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Thailand Live Wednesday 2 Feb 2011

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Thailand Live Wednesday 2 February 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 sothat 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 Tuesday 1 Feb 2011

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Crime suppression in high gear under Pracha Wiwat policy

BANGKOK (NNT) -- Police set out to reduce crimes by 20 percent within the next 6 months in accordance with the government’s Pracha Wiwat welfare scheme.

During the police board meeting, Police Chief Wichien Pojphosri handed down operational guidelines to his subordinates for crime suppression and prevention as part of the Pracha Wiwat policy of the Democrat-led government. The goal was set on the eradication of crimes in the country by 20 percent within a six months’ time.

The focus will be placed on people’s participation in preventing all forms of crimes in their own communities, particularly those involving narcotic drugs. The Police Chief expressed confidence that the establishment of civil networks for the purpose would help provide the police with more information and add to the effectiveness of their performance.

Meanwhile, Police Spokesperson Police Major General Prawut Thavornsiri commented on the current demonstration by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), saying that the prolonged gathering is conducive to criminal activities and creates difficulties in the police operations. Therefore, action plans have been adjusted to better suit the situation while more officers have been dispatched to patrol the rally site.

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-- NNT 2011-02-02 footer_n.gif

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Police: Nobody lodges legal complaint against PAD on traffic blockade

BANGKOK (NNT) -- The police do not intentionally neglect their duty to take legal action against the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) group for blocking traffic, according to National Police Chief Police General Wichean Potephosree.

Police General Wichean reasoned that the police could not prosecute the protesters assembling at at Makkhawan Bridge and blocking road there since no one has lodged a petition to the court yet. He added that the street-protest of the PAD remains peaceful and in order so far.

The police commissioner-general continued that the police would have legitimacy to retake the rally site from the PAD group if anyone affected by the protest such as the Secretariat of the Prime Minister or schools nearby the site asks the court for a temporary injunction.

He cited as example an earlier successful injunction taken by the Secretariat of the Prime Minister to prevent PAD demonstrators from blocking entries into Government House.

The PAD supporters have been gathering near Government House compound since 25 January 2011, vowing to hold their grounds until their demands regarding the Thai-Cambodian spats are heeded. As a result, roads nearby the protest sites have been closed.

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-- NNT 2011-02-02 footer_n.gif

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Suthep unconcerned over PAD’s lawsuit

BANGKOK (NNT) -- Deputy Prime Minister for Security Affairs Suthep Thaugsuban has shrugged off the lawsuit filed by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) and Santi Asok, a group affiliated to the PAD, accusing him of causing the loss of the 4.6 sq-kilometer area to Cambodia.

The deputy prime minister stated that he had no problem although the suit accused him and three other ministers of dereliction of duty leading to the loss. According to him, this would give him an opportunity to prove his innocence in the court of law.

Mr Tainae Mungmajon, on behalf of the PAD and its affiliate Santi Asok, on Monday lodged a complaint with the Criminal Court accusing the four ministers of causing the nation to lose part of its territory around the Preah Vihear temple to the neighboring country.

Apart from the deputy prime minister, other ministers facing the charge are Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, and Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan.

The four could face life in prison or even death penalty if proven guilty.

As for the prolonged demonstration of the PAD and its affiliates near Government House since 25 January 2011, Mr Suthep responded that the police had been trying their best to negotiate with the group; however, no special laws would be enforced for the time being.

The deputy prime minister then expressed his sympathy for the police given the government has already tasked them with numerous other duties including narcotics suppression, forcing them to spread themselves too thin and consequently affecting their ability to guard against possible incidents around Government House.

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-- NNT 2011-02-02 footer_n.gif

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2 Nigerian Men Arrested In Bangkok For Selling 13Kgs Of Cocaine

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Poor public response in Bangkok on first day of 'eggs by kilo' scheme

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Thai Govt agrees to negotiate compensation claims with telecom firms

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STOPPAGE TIME

The Thai tradition of coup talk begins again

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Stranded Thais due back

By The Nation

Thai citizens stranded at the airport in Cairo for several days are expected back in Bangkok early today.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongpakdi said yesterday they were on a flight due to land at Suvarnabhumi Airport at 3.45am.

Some 85 Thais were due to fly out of Cairo on a chartered Royal Jordanian Airlines jet to Amman in Jordan. Most - 69 - of them were then due to board a Thai Airways International flight home, while the other 16 were heading to Libya, he said.

Foreign Minister's Secretary Chavanond Intarakomalyasut and Department of Consular Affairs deputy chief Mathurapojana Intharong were escorting the strandฌed Thais back, he said.

Thani said the situation in Cairo was worrying, so people wishing to travel to Egypt should postpone their trips until there was peace.

He also urged Thais still in Cairo to strictly follow the law - to remain at home for their own safety and avoid going to protest sites. So far no other Thais had expressed a wish to return to Thailand, he said.

Suwit Yingwattanakrai, whose daughter is studying for a master's degree in Cairo, urged the Thai govฌernment yesterday to take care of the remaining Thais and to send another flight to bring more Thai students home. His daughter had been unable to contact the Thai Embassy all day yesterday, he said, and life had become much harder with food more expensive and protests continuing.

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-- The Nation 2011-02-02

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Thai environmentalist may leave Prachuap after bid to kill him

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Draft on nationality moves forward

By The Nation

The Cabinet has approved the new Thai Nationality Act, aimed at solving the problem of stateless people, and it will be submitted to the Parliament for consideration within a couple of weeks, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday.

Deputy government spokesman Supachai Jaisamut confirmed that the legislation will be up for House consideration before February 15, and that he would contact the government whips to prioritise this draft bill.

This is in response to stateless people rallying outside Parliament and demanding that the government finalise the bill, which has been on the shelf for nearly two years.

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-- The Nation 2011-02-02

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Democrats urged to back savings fund bill

By The Nation

At a meeting yesterday, the Democrat Party urged its MPs to support the National Savings Fund draft bill, which will be considered by the Parliament today.

After chief government whip and deputy party leader Wittaya Kaewparadai encouraged Democrats to vote for the bill, deputy party leader and Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij explained fine points of the bill.

The new fund would let Thais aged 15 to 60, who were not members of the Social Security Office or other welfare services, and senior citizens who had no pension, to join in. Their monthly contributions would be met with government contributions at different rates.

For instance, people aged 15 to 30 will be entitled to 50 per cent government contribution, those between 30 and 50 would get 80 per cent, while those over the age of 50 would get 100 per cent. People need to contribute a minimum of Bt50 per month and a maximum of Bt1,100 per month. The monthly contributions will also earn an interest of 2.5 per cent a year.

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-- The Nation 2011-02-02

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Social security scheme deemed ineffective

By Pongphon Sarnsamak

The Nation

An independent health economist yesterday slammed the Social Security Fund (SSF) for its ineffecฌtive management and inability to provide proper healthcare to its members.

Dr Pongsadhorn Pokpermdee, who conducted a study comparing healthcare coverage under the National Health Security Fund (NHSF) and the SSF, said the SSF paid Bt2,105 to cover hospital expenses for its members, but the hospitals only spent about Bt700 per member and kept the rest of the money for themselves. This means, the per capita spending on healthcare coverage under the SSF should be lowered.

A source from the National Health Security Office (NHSO), who wanted to remain unnamed, said the SSF spent about Bt22 billion per year on providing healthฌcare for its 10 million members, with about 50 per cent of the hosฌpitals registered under the SSF being private institutions.

Pongsadhorn, meanwhile, lamented the lack of records on how this percapita budget was being spent since the SSF was established 20 years ago.

Moreover, he said, many hospitals under the SSF did not refer serious cases to other hospitals that could provide better treatment, because they did not want to share the SSF contribution.

Dr Vichai Chokwiwat, a member of the SSF medical panel, said hospitals registered with the SSF did not prescribe expensive medฌication because they wanted to save the money contributed by the SSF.

"We found that SSF members do not have access to the kind of medication NHSO members have," he said.

The Labour Ministry's permanent secretary Somkiat Chayasriwong said he accepted the fact that there were problems related to services offered under the social security schemes, such as substandard medical services and noncoverage for some treatments.

He said the Security Social Office (SSO) would listen to all complaints and come up with answers for its members.

In addition, there's a problem with the scheme's management system, which could not be resolved right away. The NHSO, on the other hand, had a welldeveloped system to start with.

He said he has told the SSO's executive board and medical panel to adapt their management style.

People have also been complaining about the SSO's regulations, for instance the one that only allows members to access medical services under the SSF after they've made contributions for three to six months. Somkiat said the SSO was looking for a resolution to solve this problem.

He said this regulation was established in 1991 to prevent some members from exploiting the fund, and that it would be changed soon.

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-- The Nation 2011-02-02

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Senators want govt to respond to concerns

By NERISA NERYKHIEW,

KORNCHANOK RAKSASERI

THE NATION

Senators are planning to scrutinise the government over its handling of conflicts with groups such as the yellow shirts, about the Cambodian border, and justice issues raised by the red shirts.

Uthai Thani senator Singchai Thungthong said yesterday he was getting signatures from colleagues so that they can propose a motion to debate the government's performance in a parliamentary meeting.

Fifty senators - one third of the total (150) - are required to open such a debate. Senators can pose questions in "general debate" for the government to clarify. But there is no voting as in censure debates.

As of yesterday, Singchai said he had 25 signatures.

"I want to urge the government to think creatively how to solve its problems. It should not ignore when yellow shirts protest about Thai-Cambodian border disputes," he said.

"And the red shirts' protest about injustice - that they feel especially when their leaders are still in jail but (Thai Patriots Network's leader) Chaiwat Sinsuwong has already got bail.

"Whether the accusations are true or not is another issue, but the government should make people understand and have confidence that the government has a good plan for the country," the senator said.

"The government must not think it is Democrat Party. It must think as the government for the whole country. It has just rebutted political attacks by its rival. But it should have thought of strategies to really solve the problems."

Singchai said the ruling party must not be worried about its popularity or the conflicting interests of coalition parties.

He said it was difficult to prove or agree clear-cut about the sovereignty of disputed areas on the border. But the government should think of how Thailand and Cambodia could join hands to make the most of the areas.

Appointed Senator Ruangkrai Leekitwattana said he supported the motion to exercise their right to examine the government's work. However, he thought Singchai's motion should be more specific.

"I once proposed a motion asking the government to clarify its legitimacy in getting to power on December 15, 2008. I still want the answer," he said.

Appointed Senator Ninlawan Petcharaburanin said she did not know about the move - but she would back it, as she also wanted to hear about the government's plans. However, she feared there may not be time for the debate before the term for appointed senators ends on February 18.

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-- The Nation 2011-02-02

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Mingkwan chosen to lead censure debate for Pheu Thai

By THE NATION

Pheu Thai MP Mingkwan Saengsuwan has won the trust of the main opposition party to lead the censure debate and become the designated replacement prime minister.

Pheu Thai Party rallied yesterday behind Mingkwan and to give him a full mandate to draft the motion of no-confidence and single out targets for grilling. Ranking MPs and executives turned out in full force. Also at yesterday's meeting were party leader Yongyuth Wichaidit and MP Chalerm Yoobamrung.

Mingkwan said, in response, he would start his work right away by meeting today with fellow members to map out a strategy. He would invite Chalerm to join the team grilling the government.

Chalerm, in turn, said he would not make a public statement about his role to avoid any misunderstanding. He used to lead past grillings, and many felt he was snubbed.

Chief opposition whip Withaya Buranasiri said Mingkwan was picked for the job because he was a capable leader seen by many as a potential replacement for Premier Abhisit Vejjajiva.

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-- The Nation 2011-02-02

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Free park stay for couples who register on Day of Love

By The Nation

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Sweethearts who register their marriage at four "romantic" national parks on St Valentine's Day will receive a free stay at a park of their choice.

The marriage-registration service will be specially made available on the Day of Love at Doi Inthanon National Park in Chiang Mai, Chao Mai Beach National Park in Trang, Kaeng Krung National Park in Surat Thani, and Kaeng Krachan National Park in Phetchaburi.

"They can exercise their right [for a free stay] at any of the 50 national parks until September 30," Sunan Arunnopparat, the head of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, said.

He said his department would give the same prize to 84 couples who declared their marriage on official paper on February 14 under a project conducted in collaboration with Nonthaburi provincial government.

"During the free stay, the couples will be treated like VIP guests. Chiefs of the national parks will be tour guides for them and they will learn about eco-tourism," Sunan said.

He described the treat as a honeymoon in the embrace of nature.

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-- The Nation 2011-02-02

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BURNING ISSUE

PAD protest: Just who is benefiting from rally?

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Probe into riot deaths is independent: Thailand DSI chief

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Thai Army seeks Bt770 billion to buy tanks, guns and bullet-proof jackets

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