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Thailand Live Wednesday 2 Feb 2011

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PAD gives 3-day ultimatum to govt to bring back 2 Thais

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AFP: Thai 'Yellows' vow protest after Cambodia verdict

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Drought in Thailand less severe this year thanks to more rainfall

BANGKOK, 2 February 2011 (NNT)-Although Thailand’s agriculture industry will likely face drought this yea, the impact will be much less severe than last year’s, said the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, adding that the Ministry has already put a contingency plan in place to help farmers.

According to Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Theera Wongsamut, the plan to tackle drought problems is divided into two phases; the first of which, which has been in place since last October will end in March this year; the second phase is slated to begin in April and will finish in September this year, during which a natural phenomenon called ‘La Nina’ usually occurs.

La Nina is a buildup of warm weather in the Pacific Ocean, which consequently causes drought in this part of the world. Thailand is among the countries affected by this phenomenon almost every year. However, thanks to more rains predicted this year, the effect of the drought will be minimal, said Mr. Theera, adding that authorities will nonetheless keep an eye on outlying areas not under the provincial irrigation project in spite of the favorable forecast.

The Ministry has also urged farmers to limit their rice growing areas during the dry season to about 15 million rai of farmland to avoid water shortage problems, given water is also needed for household consumption during the dry season.

In related news, seven provinces have so far been declared drought disaster zones. The seven provinces are mainly in the North and Northeast.

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-- NNT 2011-02-02 footer_n.gif

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Online shopping increased among Thai shoppers

BANGKOK, 2 February 2011 (NNT)-MasterCard Worldwide has revealed buying air tickets is the most popular purchase on line among Thai shoppers under the recent survey on online-shopping.

According to the poll, over 67% of 500 Thai people aged between 18-64 being surveyed said they use internet as an alternative to traditional shopping. The figure is 6 % higher than the average number of online shoppers in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. The survey was carried out from 3 September to 1 October last year with 8,500 people from 15 countries participating.

In Thailand, people of 25-34 years old represent the largest group of shoppers and the majority of them are female. The survey suggested that, in the 3 months to September 2010, Thailand has the highest number of online shoppers placing orders via mobile phones which accounts for 34% of the Thai respondents. Another 30% of them said they will continue to buy products or services on the internet through their cell phone in the next 6 months.

MasterCard Worldwide Thailand has also said that over 92% of Thai people said online transactions are safer especially if they are being done on a mobile phone. The credit company said it is a good opportunity for credit card industry now, given the popularity of the card at present.

The followings are the most popular products among online shopper in Thailand: air tickets (33%), clothes (33%), accessories (32%), DVD/CD/VCD (29%), hotel rooms (27%) and cosmetics (25%). In terms of products ordered through cell phones, there are food supplements (24%), food delivery (22%), movie and concert tickets (20%), mobile phone software (19%) and cosmetics (17%)

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-- NNT 2011-02-02 footer_n.gif

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State Railway Seeks New Airport Link Operator

The State Railway of Thailand is looking for a new company to manage the Airport Link as it did not renew the contract with a German firm to manage the system.

State Railway of Thailand, or SRT, Deputy Governor Pakorn Tangjetsagao said the contract with German firm DB International GMBH, or DBI, to manage the Airport Link and maintain the tracks has ended since January 31.

The SRT did not renew the contract because DBI had canceled all overseas projects. Moreover, DBI had asked for an exemption of the fine on the late installation of the computer system.

The SRT has demanded an eight million-baht fine for the delay of one month in the installation.

The contract with DBI was for three months at 40.74 million baht.

The SRT has contacted five independent experts which had worked with DBI to manage the system while shortlisting private firms for a long-term contract.

Four firms have been shortlisted, including the Bangkok Mass Transit System, or BTSC, which operates the BTS Skytrain, the Bangkok Metro, which operates the MRT subway, Siemens from Germany and EMAST, which operates Malaysia's electric train service.

The BTSC and EMAST have expressed an interest in managing the Airport Link, so both companies have been asked to submit a proposal.

The final decision from the SRT is expected in a month.

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-- Tan Network 2011-02-02

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Crude oil price has risen to $100 a barrel the 1st time since 2008 due to the unrest in Egypt: Al Jazeera /via@tulsathit /RT @Nattha_tvthai:

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Truck Driver and former Prisoner arrested on class 1 drug offences in Sattahip

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SET index closed at 977.84, up 18.15; Bt/USD30.73; GBP49.55; AUD30.99; EUR42.44; CAD30.98; HKD3.94; SGD24.02; JPY37.52

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Security Tightened for Cambodian Embassy

Police have beefed up security at the Cambodian embassy to prevent any possible untoward incident following the Cambodian court's sentencing of two Thai activists to jail.

Police spokesman Police Major General Pravudh Thavornsiri said police have already arranged for tighter security measures for the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok after two Thai activists Weera Somkwamkid and Ratree Pipatthanapaiboon were handed down imprisonment sentences by the Cambodian court.

Pravudh added security at the Egyptian embassy will also be stepped up in wake of the ongoing riots in Cairo.

He said more checkpoints will be set up near the Cambodian embassy and the police are closely monitoring further moves of the protesting People's Alliance for Democracy.

Pravudh stated police forces have held crowd control drills periodically to prepare for a possible attempt to besiege Government House and that handling of demonstrations will be in compliance with the United Nations' guideline.

The spokesman said handling of the PAD protesters in case they would relocate from the major rally site on Rajdamnoen Avenue will depend on the size of the demonstration and the security sensitiveness of the areas they will pass so as to prevent the group's possible clash with people opposed to their campaign.

Pravudh insisted police's negotiations with the PAD leaders are still necessary although they said they did not want to hold talks with authorities.

He said he believed the group's leaders have not completely closed the door to negotiations, so the police will keep seeking a dialogue with them.

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-- Tan Network 2011-02-02

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Senior US Defense Official Visits Cambodia

A senior US defense official urges Thailand and Cambodia to exercise patience in order to resolve the ongoing border dispute during his visit to Cambodia.

US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Derek Mitchell announced in the press briefing at the US embassy in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh that he has discussed the ongoing Thai Cambodian border dispute with Defense Minister General Tea Bahn.

Mitchell said the United States has urged both Thailand and Cambodia to practice patience and work towards a peaceful solution in order to ease the current border tension.

He affirmed his visit to Cambodia is unrelated to the Thai -Cambodian border dispute, stating that his visit was a courtesy call after Tea Bahn was invited to visit Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Washington last year, the first Cambodian military representative to visit the US capital in more than 30 years.

Tea Bahn's visit indicated improving military ties between the US and Cambodia after a fallout with Cambodian Premier Hun Sen in 1997.

And in the past few years, Washington has provided assistance to the Cambodian armed forces and coordinated military training exchange programs.

Last year, the US set up the first US Cambodian military training center in Cambodia where officials are trained for the United Nations peacekeeping force.

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-- Tan Network 2011-02-02

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PTT, Bangchak raise gasoline group prices by 30 satang/litre, effective Thur, following other refineries which raised prices earlier /MCOT

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Foreign Ministry sending added flight Thursday to return some 100 stranded Thais from restive Egypt; 2,600 Thais said still there /MCOT

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Influenza situation 'worrisome'; 2 killed last month

The influenza situation in Thailand was worrisome, after 470 people fell ill and two died in the first month of 2011, Disease Control Department chief said yesterday.

Manit Theerathantikanon also urged people to see doctor immediately if they had influenza symptoms such as having high fever that won't go away in two days, coughing, having chest pain, and often gasping for breath.

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-- The Nation 2011-02-02

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Phuket mascot for Youth Games unveiled

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The blue starfish mascot.

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BreakingNews: 10 people hurt in clashes between pro- and anti-Mubarak protesters in Egypt - Reuters witness

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Breaking: Pro Mubarak forces charge into Tahrir on horses and camels, swinging clubs /via@veen_NT /RT @RAGreeneCNN

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Men on horseback and camels have entered Tahrir Square - not sure who they are. Military not intervening as of yet. /via@AJELive

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Students Protest at Cambodian Embassy

Rangsit University students have staged a protest in front of the Cambodian Embassy demanding that Cambodia show responsibility for the arrests of seven Thais and imprisoning of two of them in order to prevent war from breaking out.

Rangsit University Student Council President Teerawat Wankaew, along with members of the student union, traveled to the Cambodian Embassy to read a letter of protest.

The student council applauded and read out words of encouragement to the two convicted Thai activists, Weera Somkwamkid and Ratree Pipattanapaiboon, for doing their best to defend Thailand's sovereignty and dignity.

The students said they felt disappointed with Prime Minister Abhist Vejjajiva and the government's effort to help the two Thai activists.

They also urged the government to devise a detailed plan to respond to Cambodia's action and immediately cancel the memorandum of understanding that was signed in 2000.

They condemned Cambodia's action under Premier Hun Sen, who the students said has disrespected Thailand's sovereignty, and demanded Cambodia show responsibility for arresting the seven Thais as soon as possible in order to avoid sparking a war between the two countries.

The students then placed wreaths in front of the Cambodian Embassy to protest the Cambodian court's sentencing of the two Thai activists to jail.

The student council president affirmed that the protest was not orchestrated by any political group or individual and it was the students' own opposition against the Cambodian court's ruling.

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-- Tan Network 2011-02-02

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THAI Raises Funds For The Construction Of A Medical Center In Honor Of HM The King

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to be continued

Thailand Live Thursday 3 February

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