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Thailand Live Saturday 5 Nov 2011

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Thailand Live Saturday 5 November 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 Friday 4 Nov 2011

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FLOOD-RELATED ISSUE

Judge's harsh flood verdict

Noppatjak Attanon

Nation Channel

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The volatile maker of diatribes on YouTube says he's actually restraining his anger

The flood crisis has made Theema "Judge" Kanchanapairin something of a star with his "Judge Judd" talk shows - not on TV but on YouTube, where he's attracted more than 700,000 views. Evidently a lot of people agree with him that the Flood Relief Operation Centre (FROC) is doing a poor job.

What he calls a lack of clear and reliable information about the flooding irks the 29-year-old former radio DJ, and he's not pulling many punches in his criticism. We got him talking some more just after his third video was posted and already well on its way to a million views.

You spent eight years in mainstream showbiz. What happened to that?

At some point I just changed. What I was doing couldn't fulfil me in life. I wanted to contribute more to society.

You've said you'll talk about everything in your videos. If there were no flooding, what would you be talking about right now?

The transferring of government officials, or the Press Act, which I think is really a threat to the media. I'd also talk about government policies like the plan to distribute computer tablets to all the schools, because it concerns youth and that's my main target audience.

How long does it take you to put together a segment of "Judge Judd"?

It doesn't take long to record - I have the script in my head and I press "record" when I'm ready - not a whole script, just the topics I want to talk about - but the research is time-consuming. I jot down stuff I want to talk about on a notepad.

Recently I wanted to talk about the ICT Ministry spending all its time tracking down hackers when they could be helping agencies like the National Disaster Warning Centre or the Thai Meteorological Department.

And I wanted to talk about the FROC chief. I'm wondering why it's not Khun Yongyuth [Wichaidit] from the Interior Ministry rather than Khun Pracha [Promnok].

A lot of this stuff I wrote down but couldn't fit in because there wasn't enough time.

Another thing I left out is the flood solution suggested by Thai PBS - for the authorities to "pair up" so everyone has a buddy to work on the crisis together. What's happening now is every agency goes around doing its own thing and never hanging around along enough to see if their strategies work. At the end of the day the problems are still there.

You ever get carried away with emotion?

No, that's not professional.

A lot of people think your vocabulary is quite strong, though, especially your use of the word "stupid".

I admit I have to tone it down a little. I've sometimes referred to phu yai [VIPs in society who command respect] in vulgar terms and it's not decent, because even if they're inefficient, they're still phu yai.

I won't use "stupid" again. The second clip was a bit too radical - my mother and sister even asked if I was fighting with someone while recording it because I was very loud!

Are you scared of repercussions?

I wasn't at first because I didn't think many people would watch the videos. But then we had a work suspension, and a tyre on my car was punctured. I'm sure it was because of the clips because I normally never have enemies.

Some people called me "fag", but that doesn't bother me. I find it funny, actually.

I was thinking about clarifying what I do for the public, but I never did it. I even thought about deleting the clips from the Internet because it really affects my career - I've lost some opportunities because of them.

But you won't.

I will never delete them. This is me. It looks like I've undergone a radical change, but I've always said what I think, and I have the courage to speak up. Deep down, I'm proud that so many people have watched the videos. If I didn't have to care about my career and the income I need for the family, I would have gone full swing.

Some people had said you're just seeking fame.

I just present my thoughts. I can't avoid expressing them. I really want to do this, even though bad people are watching them, because I want Thai people to follow the news and value it more than they do entertainment. I want us to research, dig deep and find more information about the reported news that we don't understand. That's what people in developed countries do.

You've worked with Voice TV, which is linked to Thaksin Shinawatra.

Yes I did, purely for financial reasons. That was over two years ago, for a programme called "Men in Trend", which had nothing to do with politics.

Do you support any political party?

I respect the monarchy. That's all I can say. No matter what side or what colour you are, if you intend to sabotage His Majesty the King and the monarchy, I'm not happy about it.

If Khun Abhisit [Vejjajiva] was still the prime minister and doing the same as the present government, I'd be doing these same clips. Anyone with this much inefficiency in a crisis deserves a clip.

I support the monarchy and I might lean toward the Democrat Party, but what's wrong is wrong, and no exceptions.

On the Web wou can watch his videos at http://www.YouTube.com/user/TheJudgeJudd

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-- The Nation 2011-11-05

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Dusit Zoo prepares to move animals to Chon Buri zoo

The Nation

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The Dusit Zoo in the heart of Bangkok is preparing an evacuation plan for its animals in the face of looming floods.

Flood water has already covered a large part of the capital.

"If the flood water level rises to 50 centimetres, we will move some animals to the Khao Kheow Open Zoo," Dusit Zoo director Kanchai Sanwong said yesterday.

"If it rises to one metre high, we will evacuate tigers, lions, leopards and bears too," he said.

Spanning over 118 rai of land in Dusit district, the zoo is home to about 1,200 animals from 250 species.

"We have already evacuated between 3 and 4 per cent of the animals," Kanchai said.

Among the evacuated animals are two albino barking deer, 14 spotted dear and four common serows.

Kanchai said the zoo had prepared bamboo beds for the animals as dry spots in case flood water seeped in.

He believed the flood water level at the zoo would stay below 50 centimetres. Ponds in the zoo totalled over 30 rai in area and were ready to take in more water, he said.

The zoo has two weeks' worth of animal feed in stock.

"Should the flooding be prolonged, we can seek help from our allies such as the Khao Kheow Open Zoo," Kanchai said.

Khao Kheow Zoo is located in Chon Buri.

Dusit Zoo is still open to visitors between 8am and 6pm. The number of visitors, however, has dropped to around 400 a day, or one tenth of its usual level.

"We used to get many visitors during school breaks, but not during the current break," Kanchai said.

In Bangkok's Klong Sam Wa district, the vast Safari World has closed to the public as flood water has spread through most of its zones.

"We are now trying to protect the Marine Park zone," Safari World executive Amnat Kewkacha said, referring to sandbag walls being erected in the zone.

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-- The Nation 2011-11-05

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Amendment to the Printing Act of 2007 will take press freedom in Thailand back to the dark ages

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Chinese tourist found dead in Phuket hotel room

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Suspicions were raised when Miss Hou Juan failed to check out on time.

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Ministry seeks to help tourists

The Nation

The Tourism and Sports Ministry has come up with measures to facilitate access to Suvarnabhumi Airport.

The first step is for the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Thai Hotels Association to jointly check the number of tourists heading for the airport and provide transportation to Airport Rail Link Station on Makkasan Road. The State Railway of Thailand should also be alerted.

The second step would be to provide police escort for travellers from the station to the airport, and security at Suvarnabhumi should be told to provide fasttrack immigration services.

In addition, tourist police should cooperate with airport authorities to allocate rest areas for travellers and facilitate late checkins, flight changes and other such instances.

Tourism and Sports Ministry's permanent secretary Suwat Sidthilaw, who chaired a meeting on Wednesday during which these measures were agreed upon, said TAT data showed that as of October 27, tourist attractions in 20 provinces have been affected by the floods.

Though October marks the beginning of high season, arrivals have dropped from the daily peak on October 1 of 40,528 to 22,197 on October 31.

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-- The Nation 2011-11-05

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Bangchan estate seeks more pumps

The Nation

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Management of the Bangchan Industrial Estate has asked for two additional pumps, while the estate in Lat Krabang is strengthening and raising its flood barriers.

Bangchan will use the pumps to drain water into three key canals because the nearby Bueng Krathiam pond is close to brimming over and could flood 300 factories in the estate's Phase III section.

Meanwhile, Lat Krabang Industrial Estate seemed to be at great risk of being submerged yesterday, after the nearby Saen Saeb Canal spilled over and submerged a major road that doubles as a barrier. The estate's management ordered an urgent clearing of the canal to ensure the pumping of 6 million cubic metres of water daily.

The estate officials said that to avoid total inundation, up to 20 million cubic metres of water needs to be drained every day, especially at Gate 8, 9 and 10 of the lower Hok Wa Canal.

Owners of the 231 factories in Lat Krabang estate met with the management team yesterday and decided to hold an evacuation drill so they are prepared if floods rise higher than 3 metres from the mean sea level, a senior official of the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand said.

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-- The Nation 2011-11-05

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Remaining Lat Phrao MRT exits likely to close: reports

The Nation

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All five entrances to the MRT underground train station at the five-way Lat Phrao junction will soon be closed temporarily due to serious flooding in the area, according to news reports yesterday.

Entrances 1 and 2 were already closed.

Entrance 3, which is near Central Lat Phrao shopping centre, would be closed if the level of the flood water got any higher than its level yesterday, according to the reports.

There was still no official announcement yesterday about possible closures at this important station on the MRT's website, however. Call 02-624-5200 during office hours for more details.

Entrances to several of Bangkok's MRT stations, especially those close to waterways in low-lying areas, have been closed for a week, with temporary barriers built behind the gates as an extra precaution.

The BTS Skytrain service continues uninterrupted and is considered not to be at risk as the entire rail structure is elevated. Only very serious flooding could threaten to block access to BTS stations.

According to Transport Company manager Wutthichart Kalayanamitr, the Mor Chit 2 Terminus for North- and Northeast-bound inter-provincial buses may have to relocate to one of the following sites: near Phra-In watergate in Pathum Thani; Suvarnabhumi Airport; or a location in Chon Buri. Evacuation could begin at an hour's notice, Wutthichart said.

Waivers on expressway fees on three routes - Ram-Intra to the Outer Ring Road; Bang Na-Chon Buri; and Bang Phli-Suksawas - have been extended until November 14. Call 1543 around the clock for more details.

Buses on routes 26 and 501 based at Min Buri Terminus, which is now partially flooded, have changed service routes to avoid a flooded section of Ram-Intra Road. Buses plying 24-hour routes will now run every 30 minutes after midnight - a longer-than-usual interval, the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority said.

Traffic police yesterday announced the closure of another 10 roads, or sections thereof, in Bangkok, joining an existing list of 29. They are: Sai Mai, Prasert Manookij, Sena Nikhom 1, Nawamin, Ratchadaphisek, Suwinthawong, Romklao, a section of the Bang Na-Trat highway, Rat Uthit and Hathai Raj.

Nationwide, floods have killed 442 people with two missing, according to a damage update released yesterday. A total of 2,096,521 people from 713,836 households in 145 districts of 25 provinces are affected. The flood situation is easing in another 39 provinces where restoration works are underway.

Flooding has receded in Khlong Luang district in Pathum Thani, allowing small vehicles to run on many roads, with local administrative bodies estimating it would take another 10 days for flood waters to drain.

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-- The Nation 2011-11-05

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