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Thailand Live Tuesday 15 Mar 2011

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Thailand Live Tuesday 15 March 2011

News, Bits and Tweets

with webfact

Keep up to date with live updates from the news, hour by hour.

For breaking news,national, regional and international news updates on a daily basis only, this thread is closed to commentary so that those who wish to follow the news can find it here...

Commentary is still open for Thailand news in the relevant thread posted in News Clippings.

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Related topic: Thailand Live Monday 14 Mar 2011

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Nearly 20,000 cars converted to gas during Jan-Feb 2011

BANGKOK (NNT) -- The number of cars installed with gas engines during January and February this year has risen by almost 20,000 due to expensive oil,

according to the Department of Land Transport (DLT).

As a result of fluctuations and steady increases of petrol prices, DLT Director-General Tienchote Chongpeepien stated that more car owners had opted to install compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) engines to their vehicles in order to cut costs. During the first two months of this year, 1,948 oil-consuming cars were converted to CNG while another 17,035 were converted to LPG. When combined, the number was higher than the same period of last year by 7,932 units or 27.37 percent.

As of 31 December 2010, more than 189,000 cars with CNG engines and over 666,000 others with LPG were recorded in Thailand.

In a bid to ensure maximum safety of cars running on gas, Mr Tienchote recommended owners to receive engine conversion and examination services from experts, who had been authorized by the DLT. At present, there are 843 licensed operators on engine installation and 215 on engine inspection and testing across the country.

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-- NNT 2011-03-15 footer_n.gif

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Provinces Face Drought Crisis

Severe drought has spread to several parts of the country, with people and livestock suffering from its effects as reservoirs dry up.

Local residents in all 18 districts of the northeastern province of Kalasin are now running short of water for consumption as water levels in many natural sources are rapidly depleting, forcing most rice farmers to delay planting.

The provincial administration has asked locals to use water prudently, especially for rice farming in Muang, Kamalasai, Rong Kham, Yang Talat and Kong Chai districts.

Drought continues to affect vast areas in Surin province, with a continuous drop in water levels at all 18 reservoirs, especially Ampuen Reservoir, where the water level has dropped to the lowest level in 20 years.

So far, ten of Surin's 17 districts have been declared drought-stricken areas while the provincial administration has provided water trucks to help those affected.

In Maha Sarakham province, the drought situation has dramatically affected the agricultural sector.

Governor Thongthawee Pimsane has declared six districts drought-stricken areas while ordering district chiefs and relevant agencies to closely monitor the situation so that help can be quickly provided to villagers affected.

The drought situation is also worsening in Nakhon Sawan province, especially in Kroke Phra district, where agricultural products and livestock are being badly affected.

Cattle are suffering from lack of water and food.

In Chantaburi's Muang district, a large number of migratory white egrets were seen looking for food in a deserted rice field.

Villagers said they had never seen the white egrets before and predicted that the migratory birds have fled drought-stricken areas.

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-- Tan Network 2011-03-15

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Positives, negatives to Thai economy expected to balance out

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EDITORIAL

Thailand's Cigarette tax scandal blown out of proportion

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National fingerprint database key to identifying Christchurch victims

By Mayuree Sukyingcharoenwong

The Nation

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The Thai police force's assistance with the identification of victims killed in the recent earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, has proved to successful thanks to the high standards sustained by Office of Forensic Science, commander Pol LtGeneral Jarumporn Suramanee said.

A key factor attributing to the success is the national database of fingerprints, which helped identify the six Thai nursing students. New Zealand and many other countries do not have such a database because it is considered a violation of privacy.

The physical structure of the disaster is also key to the efficiency of identification teams. Identifying victims was easier this time because the disaster did not cover a wide area and the casualties were not as far flung as they were during the 2004 tsunami.

He said the Thai team, comprising seven officers including himself, was armed with fingerprint data of the six victims - all found dead - along with other things such as DNA, physical build and dental records. Teams from other countries were not that efficient in identifying victims because they had to rely on latent fingerprints collected on the site.

Initially all the teams worked together and later focused on their own citizens once all the bodies were found and recovery operations had been completed.

Jarumporn said he was discussing the possibility with Chulalongkorn University of developing an iPhone application that scan fingerprints and verify them realtime.

The Thai team will remain in New Zealand until all the identification is completed. Their return date has not been fixed yet.

The commander said the Office of Forensic Science often helps out with general police cases, such as the recent shooting of a Thai Airways pilot and the driveby killing a boy by a drug gang in Ayutthaya.

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-- The Nation 2011-03-15

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Lighter penalties for minor copyright offences

By The Nation

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Lighter penalties will be imposed for people convicted of copyright infringements.

Offenders will be subject to a minimum fine of Bt80,000 - down from Bt200,000, and they would be able to pay via public service instead of only being ordered to pay a fine, the Department of Cultural Promotion said yesterday.

The change is part of looming amendments to a 2008 law. It was prompted largely by a case in which a garbage collector was jailed for selling movie CDs he scavenged from rubbish.

In the existing law, people guilty of copyright offences face a fine from Bt200,000 to Bt1 million. But the minimum penalty will be reduced to Bt80,000 in the upcoming amendment draft.

It will allow courts to rule on a casebycase basis, and for offenders to do public service, depending on their financial status, instead of solely having to pay money or serve a prison term, as under the law requires.

Vendors who still sell copyrightprotected material after permits expire or are not renewed will also face a lighter minimum fine - Bt40,000 instead of the existing Bt100,000 - or a maximum rate at Bt50,000. The daily fine of Bt10,000 throughout a period of violation remains.

The department is working with other agencies and copyright owners on whether it can issue temporary permits to vendors at charity or cultural events without prior consent from copyright owners. A final decision on this and other conditions will be made by the Culture Ministry late this month, and the amendment, if approved, may be left to the next government, permanent secretary Somchai Sianglai said.

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-- The Nation 2011-03-15

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