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Govt establishes single anti-flood command

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/national/Govt-establishes-single-anti-flood-command-30175406.html

THE NATION February 8, 2012 1:00 am

Prime Minister to appoint members of Water and Flood Management Committee, which will be led by a minister

The Cabinet yesterday approved the establishment of a single command authority for the country’s water-management and flood-prevention efforts.

This mission of the Water and Flood Management Committee (WFMC), which will operate under the National Water and Flood Policy Committee (NWFPC), is considered of the utmost importance, in light of the havoc wreaked on the country by last year’s floods. The NWFPC will be given a big say in how the Bt350 billion earmarked for the country’s flood-prevention and water-management activities is spent.

This huge sum will be made available for state use soon in the form of special loans.

In the wake of the worst flooding in decades, the Cabinet yesterday responded to a proposal by the Strategic Committee for Water Resources Management (SCWRM) that a single command authority be set up. The SCWRM, which has many water experts and prominent figures including Chaipattana Foundation secretary-general Sumet Tantivejkul and former Royal Irrigation Depart-ment chief Pramote Maiklad at its disposal, will continue to provide advice and recommendations to the NWFPC.

The WFMC will be under the command of the NWFPC, which is chaired by the prime minister. The NWFPC is in charge of formulating policies and making recommendations on budgets, loan management and all work relating to water management to the Cabinet.

The NWFPC will also advise the Cabinet on compensation for those negatively impacted by the WFMC’s operations.

While a deputy prime minister or a minister will head the WFMC, the prime minister has the authority to name its members. The WFMC is tasked with developing, reviewing and approving work plans, formulating work guidelines for authorities involved, and supervising relevant agencies.

“The WFMC will have the power to order state agencies to comply with the work plans too,” the prime minister’s deputy secretary-general, Thitima Chaisang, said yesterday in her capacity as the acting government spokeswoman.

She said the Office of the National Water and Flood Policy Committee (ONWFPC) would be set up to facilitate the work of the WFMC. Other relevant state agencies will work under this office.

The establishment of the NWFPC, WFMC and ONWFPC are the key elements of a draft ministerial regulation on water and flood management proposed by the PM’s Office.

The Cabinet approved the draft yesterday.

Thitima added that the Cabinet had assigned the Council of State to improve relevant laws to facilitate the work of the WFMC.

“We need efficiency to remove obstacles that aggravated the flooding last year,” she said.

At its meeting yesterday, the Cabinet approved plans to dredge 43 canals in Bangkok. Deputy government spokesman Chalitrat Chanthrubekkha disclosed that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and nine ministries including the Interior Ministry would collaborate on the dredging operations.

In a related development, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday said her government had drawn up a rough plan on which zones should be used as water-retention areas in the Central region during the wet season.

“These zones are usually flood-prone. However, we have to compare the planned zones with the map proposed by each provincial authority first,” Yingluck said. “We will choose zones that have the minimum impacts on people.”

She said her government would also talk to locals in the planned zones in advance.

“We won’t announce the name list of the zones via the media first, as that may cause misunderstanding and prompt opposition from people,” the prime minister said.

กรกฎาคม 31, 2012 Posted by | Agriculture, National, The Nation | , , , , | ใส่ความเห็น

Cheap steel could cause collapses

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/national/Cheap-steel-could-cause-collapses-30175405.html

PIYANUCH THAMNUKASETCHAI
THE NATION February 8, 2012 1:00 am

A Department of Special Investigation raid on Wai Wing Co, a steel mill in Samut Prakan, allegedly finds the company producing substandard steel from scrap metals.

A Department of Special Investigation raid on Wai Wing Co, a steel mill in Samut Prakan, allegedly finds the company producing substandard steel from scrap metals.

A recent raid on a steel mill in Samut Prakan has found that it has produced substandard steel from scrap metals since 1990 – which could have resulted in structural damage or the collapse of buildings, the Thai Industrial Standards Institute (TISI) said yesterday.

Such steel is popular among contractors and construction companies who prefer to buy cheap materials from the mill Wai Wing Co, which is owned by Taiwanese businessman Kevin Lor.

The registered mill allegedly produces steel from scrap metal bought from dealers or scavengers, according to secretary-general Chaiyong Krittiphol. However, he said, the plant could not be immediately forced to close before the case is considered and approved by the Department of Industrial Works.

A recent raid on the mill by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) found nothing suspicious at first, but after a thorough search of the 15-rai compound, agents allegedly found a walled-in facility that was blocked by several trucks.

Upon entering the facility, they claim that they found more than 100 tonnes of steel rods – 133,600 in total and worth Bt27 million – made of scrap metal ready for shipment. A TISI test later found the rods broke easily, failing a standard test for construction materials.

Interviewed by DSI, Lor said his plant produced standard steel rods but had trouble selling them. Contractors and construction firms preferred the cheaper substandard steel, prompting him to turn to scrap metal products.

The DSI also inspected two other steel mills in the province but found nothing illegal. There are allegedly 18 mills producing cheap steel in Thailand under DSI’s watch, he said.

กรกฎาคม 31, 2012 Posted by | National, The Nation | , , | ใส่ความเห็น

Push for salary hike for teachers

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/national/Push-for-salary-hike-for-teachers-30175404.html

CHULEEPORN ARAMNET,
SUPINDA NA MAHACHAI
THE NATION February 8, 2012 1:00 am

Education Minister Suchart Tadathamrongvech

Education Minister Suchart Tadathamrongvech

The Office of the Higher Education Commission (Ohec) yesterday urged Education Minister Suchart Tadathamrongvech to urgently implement the New Generation of Teachers Project, while the plan to hike teachers’ monthly salary to Bt15,000 will be tabled at a meeting on Monday presided over by Suchart.

Ohec deputy chief Assoc Prof Piniti Ratananukul said he had tried to meet with Suchart to tell him about Ohec’s urgent agendas, including the budget for fiscal year 2013. He said the New Generation of Teachers Project had seen 1,000 fourth-year students, who were guaranteed teaching jobs, being left in limbo as the project had come to a standstill for almost six months. Other plans include the Project to Increase Doctor Production through the 11th Higher-Education Develop-ment Plan (2012-2016), Master’s and PhD scholarships for teachers as well as celebration of HRH Prince Mahidol of Songkhla’s 120th birthday.

Following a meeting of the Teacher Civil Service and Educational Personnel Board yesterday, the permanent secretary for Education Sasithara Pichaicharnnarong said related agencies had been assigned to gather information on asking the Bureau of Budget for a salary hike for some 90,000 teachers and educational personnel who earn less than Bt15,000. At least Bt170 million would be needed to implement this project. Details should be concluded today before resubmitting it to the board’s meeting on Monday. If approved by the Cabinet, the ministry expects this regulation to be published in the Royal Gazette by March and the hike to go into effect from January 1.

Initially, Sasithara said the Office of Basic Education Commission (Obec) had 76,126 eligible teachers and personnel; Office of Vocational Education Commission (Ovec) had 3,153; Office of the Non-Formal Education Commission had 2,826 persons; community colleges had 145; Institute of Physical Education and the Bunditpatanasilpa Institute had 668 and 1,155 persons respectively; plus 16 others from the National Institute for Development of Teachers Faculty Staff and Educational Personnel.

The 51,237 teachers whose salary touched the “Khor Sor 2″ level were also eligible for a salary hike to Bt15,000, which would require Bt625 million, she said. The hike would also cover contract teachers and employees at state-run schools who have a bachelor’s degree, she added.

The Office of Private Education Commission (Opec) said 140,000 private schoolteachers earned Bt11,680 a month, so the hike would cover them as well, provided their schools were up to standard (a primary school is required to have one teacher for every 25 students and a secondary school must have one for every 20 students).

Opec is assigned to work on details and see how much the schools could cover teachers’ salaries and how much the government could help, she said.

กรกฎาคม 31, 2012 Posted by | National, The Nation | , , | ใส่ความเห็น

Chalerm looks to cross-border help

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/national/Chalerm-looks-to-cross-border-help-30175403.html

THE NATION February 8, 2012 1:00 am

Suggests Thai authorities work in neighbouring nations to control trade

Thailand might station military and police in Burma, Laos, Cambodia and China’s Yunnan province to help with suppressing the transborder drug trade, Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung said yesterday.

The function of the military and police liaisons, which will be similar to military attaches at Thai missions overseas, will be to work on intelligence and crackdowns with host countries, he said after meeting with Burmese Ambassador U Ong Teng, who will be transferred back home soon.

Chalerm, who is in charge of fighting drugs, said he had asked the diplomat to help arrange for anti-narcotics officials to be assigned to work closely with Thai officials at all border checkpoints.

In his farewell message to Thai authorities, the envoy asked that Thai authorities not stand by while Thai labour and immigration officials extort Burmese migrant workers in Thailand. He also asked for a reduction in registration and identification fees for migrant Burmese to work legally in Thailand.

The Corrections Department’s offensive on convicts’ drug dealings continued with a surprise search of a prison in Surat Thani and a search of another in Uttaradit.

The dawn search in Surat Thani came up with a haul of contraband items and drugs, following the recent arrest of outsiders who threw mobile phones over the prison wall.

At Uttaradit prison, where more than 100 mobile phones and 9,900 amphetamine tablets were confiscated last year, the three-hour search turned up no drugs but various equipment capable of being used in jailbreaks.

Chief warden Banyat Aksorn-khonburi said a guard was dismissed and three are undergoing prosecution for their involvement in prison drug trafficking.

In Ubon Ratchathani, provincial authorities had caught lawyers smuggling items into prisons during consultations with their clients. To prevent further incidents, security cameras have been installed in visiting areas, a warden told a press launch of a local crackdown.

Recently 40 new cameras were added to the existing 30 units, |while plainclothes prison officials |are watching for any smuggling attempts and monitoring conversations and meetings between inmates and lawyers or relatives, said Chairoj Sinthuphutthipong, chief warden of the provincial prison.

A two-metre-high protective net has been raised on top of the seven-metre-high wall while 11 electric wires have been strung up in addition to the existing two, he said.

กรกฎาคม 31, 2012 Posted by | National, The Nation | , , | ใส่ความเห็น

Pattani shooting probe to take a month

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/national/Pattani-shooting-probe-to-take-a-month-30175402.html

THE NATION February 8, 2012 1:00 am

An investigation into a shooting incident late last month in Pattani in which five villagers were killed – allegedly by Army paramilitary rangers – will be completed in a month, Deputy Prime Minister Yuthasak Sasiprapha said yesterday.

“The joint military-civilian probe will decide whether the rangers overreacted, violated rules of engagement, or used excessive violence,” he said. “If so, the villagers will be compensated.”

Yuthasak said villagers should be compensated because the rangers were partly responsible for the shooting. He said the criteria for compensation would follow the probe results and the amount decided later on.

Pattani police have set up a investigation team to look into the case. The team travelled to Bangkok to report on the progress of the probe to the Royal Thai Police.

A villager was shot dead, possibly by insurgents, at a tea shop in Narathiwat’s Si Sakhon district yesterday. The victim, 39, died at the scene after taking two bullets in the chest. Quoting eyewitnesses, police said two men on a motorcycle arrived at the shop and opened fire with a pistol on a group of four villagers in the shop, before they fled.

Police said that judging from the manner of the shooting, the attackers aimed to harm not only the victim but others as well, and were possibly insurgents wanting to hurt innocent civilians.

กรกฎาคม 31, 2012 Posted by | National, The Nation | , , | ใส่ความเห็น

Cartoons to teach history

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/national/Cartoons-to-teach-history-30175401.html

The Nation February 8, 2012 1:00 am

Chiang Mai University’s Faculty of Science’s math lecturer Atichart Kettapun and a team have written and published a cartoon book about Thai history from the perspective of mathematics, to promote students’ interest in both history and maths.

The book of cartoons was published under the Thailand Research Fund-sponsored research and network development project to promote history learning among Mathayom 4-6 students at Chiang Mai schools.

Atichart said the cartoons, published last month, resulted from a discovery by history teachers of primary schools that students weren’t interested in history related to maths- such as the lunar calendar, Lanna calendar or Lanna measuring methods.

As a result, Atichart and the team produced the cartoons to help students learn and have fun about the subject.

The book’s suitable for primary class teaching, for class supplementary in secondary schooling, and for the general public’s reading at leisure.

History and maths teachers are free to download the cartoon file for their class usage atwww.atichart.com

กรกฎาคม 31, 2012 Posted by | National, The Nation | , , | ใส่ความเห็น

Caution ordered at Red Cross Fair

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/national/Caution-ordered-at-Red-Cross-Fair-30175400.html

The Nation February 8, 2012 1:00 am

The Red Cross Fair’s light and sound show, to be held from February 10-19 in the Ayutthaya historical park, will be sited 10 metres away from the world heritage site – and there would be no firework lighting, Culture Minister Sukumol Kunplome said yesterday.

A 10-metre section of Wat Mahathat’s ancient wall collapsed after the devastating flood last year. Sukumol said the authority was seeking Bt4 million to fix the wall, and is awaiting a full report from the Fine Arts Department.

She has instructed the department to closely monitor the situation and find innovative construction and restoration methods to fix and strengthen the ancient sites.

As for the upcoming fair, Sukumol had discussed with the province ways to prevent further damage.

Organisers agreed to have the stage moved 10 metres away from the site while the speakers were also shifted and turned outwards, she said.

กรกฎาคม 31, 2012 Posted by | National, The Nation | , , | ใส่ความเห็น

Drug smuggler gets life term

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/national/Drug-smuggler-gets-life-term-30175399.html

The Nation February 8, 2012 1:00 am

The Appeals Court yesterday upheld the death sentence for an Iranian man caught smuggling 4.3 kilograms of crystal meth worth Bt10 million into Thailand, then commuted it to life in prison due to his useful confession.

Alireza Mahmoud Pour Emam Chaei, 28, was arrested on July 30, 2009 at Suvarnabhumi Airport with 4.3kg of ice hidden in a bag of snacks.

He told police his friend asked him to deliver the bag to a Thai man at the terminal’s fifth gate but he didn’t know the bag contained drugs.

The lower court had sentenced the man to death but reduced it to life, so he appealed for lighter punishment on grounds that he had no intention to commit a crime.

The Appeals Court saw the death sentence commuted to life as appropriate to the case.

กรกฎาคม 31, 2012 Posted by | National, The Nation | , , | ใส่ความเห็น

Caution ordered for fair in historical park

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/national/Caution-ordered-for-fair-in-historical-park-30175377.html

February 7, 2012 6:35 pm

Ayutthaya – The Red Cross Fair’s light and sound show, to be held from February 10-19 in the Ayutthaya historical park, will be sited 10 metres away from the world heritage site and there would be no firework lighting, Culture Minister Sukumol Kunplome said Tuesday.

A 10-metre section of Wat Mahathat’s ancient wall collapsed after the devastating flood last year. Sukumol said the authority was finding Bt4 million to fix the wall, and is awaiting a full report from the Fine Arts Department. She has instructed the department to closely monitor the situation and find innovative construction and restoration methods to fix and strengthen the ancient sites.

As for the upcoming fair, Sukumol had discussed with the province ways to prevent further damage. They agreed to have the stage moved 10 metres away from the site while the speakers were also moved and turned outwards, she said.

กรกฎาคม 31, 2012 Posted by | National, The Nation | , , | ใส่ความเห็น

School janitor shot dead in Narathiwat

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/national/School-janitor-shot-dead-in-Narathiwat-30175344.html

The Nation February 7, 2012 4:10 pm

A school janitor was shot and killed and his wife was seriously injured early Tuesday, police said.

Witthaya Ratanakul, 53, was shot while riding his motorcycle to his rubber plantation in Bua Rangae village in Tambon Tohdeng in Sungai Padi district at 3.30am.

His wife, Wanna, 48, who was riding pillion, was severely injured and rushed to the Sungai Kolok Hospital.

Meanwhile in Si Sa Khon district, a Muslim man was shot and killed inside a teashop early Tuesday, police said.

Azi Mazila, 39, was shot twice in the chest with a 9mm pistol while drinking tea with friends inside a shop in Moo 3 village in Tambon Sribanphot at 5.20am.

Witnesses told police that Azi was attacked by a pillion rider shortly after parking his motorcycle in front of the shop.

กรกฎาคม 31, 2012 Posted by | National, The Nation | , , | ใส่ความเห็น

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