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Thailand Live Monday 31 Oct 2011

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Thailand Live Monday 31 October 2011

News, Bits and Tweets

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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 Sunday 30 Oct 2011

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Motorways to be free for 2 weeks

The Nation

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To help motorists during the flood crisis, tollways, motorways and elevated expressways will remain free of charge till November 14.

Supoj Sublom, permanent-secretary of the Transport Ministry, said yesterday the ministry has extended the toll-free period for the Bangkok-Chon Buri Motorway (Route 7) and the Bang Phli-Bang Pa-in Motorway (Route 9) from tomorrow till November 14.

The Expressway Authority of Thailand will also extend the free use of its tollways from Bang Na to Chon Buri (Buraphawithi), Bang Phli to Rama II (Kanchanapisek) and At Narong-Ram Intra to Lamlooka (Chalongrat) till November 14.

Pol Maj General Amnuay Nimmano, deputy Metropolitan Police commissioner, said police would take legal action against traders who hoard the 16 goods recently added to the price control list of the Commerce Ministry's Internal Trade Department.

They are sanitary napkins, sleeping bags, water pumps, water tanks, batteries, sand and sandbags, candles, bottled water, toothbrushes, toothpaste, torches, silicone, boots, rubber boats, 15-passenger boats, life vests, and |bricks.

Traders are also not allowed to sell these goods above the controlled prices or refuse sales without reason. Violators face up to seven years' imprisonment and/or Bt140,000 fine.

No cases have been reported of robberies in the flood-hit residential areas covered by the Metropolitan Police or of thefts of cars left parked on flyovers and expressways to avoid water damage.

"There have been complaints only about broken side mirrors because drivers parked their cars in tight spaces,'' he said.

Penalties would be doubled for those who commit crimes in flooded areas, he added.

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-- The Nation 2011-10-31

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Army best at rescues: poll

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Four in five Bangkok residents have praised soldiers for being the most dependable rescue operators in the face of flooding, Suan Dusit Poll said in a survey released yesterday.

Some three in 10 people voiced surprise about officials' failure to safeguard the capital from inundation. About the same number of respondents said they were confused by the floodrelated information provided by the government.

Seven in 10 people said they would not leave their homes to live in shelters because they believed they could survive, despite the flood. One in five said they wanted to assess the flood situation for them

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-- The Nation 2011-10-31

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Talks coming on more minimum wage rises

The Nation

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Labour Minister Chalermchai Srion will tomorrow start discussions with the Federation of Thai Industries and employee associations over the Democrat Party's election promise to raise minimum wages by 25 per cent within two years.

According to Democrat Party spokesman Buranat Samutarak, raising minimum wages is one of two major policies for the upcoming election to help the poor cope with the increasing cost of living. On the other hand, farmers' income will also be raised by the same amount.

"We will launch the policies soon through TV commercials and radio spots until the election takes place," he said.

The latest rises in minimum wages, by Bt8Bt11 per day depending on the province, took place in January and drew criticism from manufacturers.

Meanwhile, Labour Ministry permanent secretary Somkiat Chayasriwong, as chairman of the Central Wage Committee, noted that the planned increase was just an election-campaign promise of the Democrat Party. He also believed other parties would follow suit, however.

He said provincial subcommittees had been assigned to collect data on the cost of living in each province and submit the data within two months.

If the cost of living in any province shows significant increases, the issue will be tabled at the committee's meeting for immediate discussion. Without such signs, the issue will be discussed at the end of the year, as usual.

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-- The Nation 2011-10-31

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Research grants for 47 student projects

Students across the southern region of Thailand were given research grants last week to help carry out their science projects.

Forty-seven science projects have been selected from a total of 240 to receive the grants under the Young Scientist Competition 2012 or YSC.

Walailak University and National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre gave each student a Bt3,000 grant to complete their projects before presenting them for the final round to find the winner of the South in January next year.

Of the 47 grant projects, four involved engineering, 15 environmental science, two were on mathematics, 11 involved chemistry, 11 were about plant science and four about a rubber-tapping innovation.

The YSC has been organised for the 14th time this year.

Wansuree Prompat, director of the Centre for Academic Services at the university, said a project on bio-based packaging plastics invented from fish scales by students from Surat Thani's Suratpittaya School won the Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award.

Their packaging plastic science project also received the Best of Category award in environmental management and the First Place Grand Award in the same category.

The Suratpittaya School project also bagged a gold medal in the environment category and a special prize called NAC Environmental-Friendly Technology Award from the fourth International Sustainable World (Energy, Engineering |and Environment) Project Olympiad.

Both are international competitions.

Wansuree said the YSC was held to promote and encourage Thai secondary students to show their scientific skills in different fields on the national stage.

The nation's winner would represent Thailand in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, the world competition to be held in the US, she added.

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-- The Nation 2011-10-31

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Explosions, shootings rock troubled Thai south

NARATHIWAT, October 31, 2011 (AFP) - A dozen small explosions shook Thailand's Muslim-majority deep south on Sunday, hours after gunmen shot dead three Buddhists at a petrol station in the restive region, police said.

There were no immediate reports of serious injuries or deaths from the blasts, which struck five districts of Narathiwat Province bordering Malaysia, officials said.

"Most of the explosions were from hand-made devices planted in front of convenience stores or telephone booths and lightly injured several people," said provincial police chief Major General Chaithat Intanuthip.

"So far there were no reports of serious casualties."

Earlier Sunday unknown gunmen shot dead three people including a 75-year-old man at a petrol station in the same province.

Thailand's southernmost provinces have been plagued by more than eight years of conflict that has claimed the lives of more than 4,800 people, both Muslims and Buddhists.

People in the region complain of a long history of discrimination against ethnic Malay Muslims by authorities in the Buddhist-majority nation, including alleged abuses by the armed forces.

The latest blasts came less than a week after 15 explosions blamed on suspected Muslim rebels ripped through a town in neighbouring Yala province, killing at least one civilian and wounding dozens more.

That attack coincided with the seventh anniversary of a protest in the region that left 85 anti-government demonstrators dead, most of whom suffocated or were crushed to death while being transported to a detention centre.

Rights groups have said the failure of Thai authorities to hold security forces to account over the deaths has fuelled further violence and alienation in the region.

Observers say there has been more frequent and intense violence in recent months.

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-- (c) Copyright AFP 2011-10-31

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