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PM orders help for storm-hit Thais

Posted by arnon_k On August - 29 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has ordered the Foreign Ministry to help Thais affected by Hurricane Irene.Ms Yingluck said yesterday that Thais in the US were reportedly safe and she had ordered the Foreign Ministry to work with authorities there to offer any help needed.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry advised Thai people in the US and those planning to travel to the eastern seaboard to closely follow the hurricane situation.

Piriya Khempon, Thai consul-general in New York, said Thais in New York could take refuge at local hotels and universities as US authorities had turned them into hurricane shelters.

The Thai consul-general is also arranging additional accommodation for Thai nationals.

Pheu Thai forms policy address team

Posted by arnon_k On August - 19 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

The Pheu Thai Party has formed an eight-man team to defend Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and ministers during their policy address which looks set to take flak from opposition MPs.

Pheu Thai deputy spokesman Jirayu Huangsap, who did not want to refer to the team as guards, said the panel is named the “committee for promoting democracy”.

Its job is clarifying questions rather than arguing with opposition MPs, he said.

They will take turns to monitor the questioning of MPs and only “control their speaking time”, Mr Jirayu said.

The committee, led by Nan MP Chonlanan Srikaew, is made up of Mr Jirayu, a former TV news anchorman, party-list MP and red shirt leader Payap Panket, Khon Kaen MP Nawat Tocharoensuk, Chiang Rai MP Wisaradi Techathirawat, Nong Khai MP Somkid Banthaisong, Maha Sarakham MP Kusumanwati Sirikomut and Surin MP Prasit Chaisisa.

The government is ready to receive comments from the opposition MPs to improve the policies. This is a way to promote democracy, Mr Jirayu said.

Pheu Thai will divide the address into eight areas: immediate measures, those for within the first year, security issues, the economy, society and quality of life, land, natural resources and environment, sciences and technology, foreign affairs and good administration of the nation.

The government will spend most of the time explaining economic measures, Mr Jirayu said.

The policy address is scheduled for this coming Tuesday and Wednesday.

PM: Charter change not for Thaksin

Posted by arnon_k On August - 17 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Any constitutional amendments will be based on the people’s opinions and will not be tailored to benefit her elder brother, fugitive former prime minister Thaksin, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said on Wednesday.

The youngest sister of Thaksin insisted that she had never said that the charter changes must be completed in three months time, as was reported by some media.

“In principle, I want to hear what people think about the amendments. I want people’s participation and decisions in this matter,” she said. How to go about it rests with the House of Representatives.

Asked about Thaksin’s plan to visit Cambodia this weekend before going to Japan, Ms Yingluck said her brother is going to there to discuss energy business on his own, not on behalf of the Thai government.

House Speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont said there are some points in the constitution that need to be changed.

In principle, constitutional amendment is the responsibility of all Thai people, who should make the decision on whether it should be altered.

Mr Somsak insisted that the proposed charter changes have nothing to do with the issue of amnesty, but its effect on any particular individuals or groups is another story.

Govt urged to avoid Thaksin drugs blueprint

Posted by arnon_k On August - 14 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

RIGHTS GROUP FEARS BLOODY CAMPAIGN

A human rights group and a victim of drug violence have called on the Pheu Thai government to implement its drug suppression policy carefully so as not to repeat the mistakes of Thaksin Shinawatra’s war on drugs in 2003.

The demand was made yesterday after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra vowed to abide by Her Majesty the Queen’s advice, suggesting the government solve the problem of drug abuse.

Angkhana Neelaphaijit, chairwoman of the Justice for Peace Foundation, which was set up to investigate human rights abuses, said she was delighted to hear the government will try to deal with drug use, but was concerned over the tactics the government would undertake.

“We don’t want to see a recurrence of the drug war that took place when Yingluck’s brother Thaksin was prime minister,” she said.

“About 2,000 to 3,000 people were killed. Most were innocent people, not drug traffickers. The Yingluck government must learn a lesson from the Thaksin administration.”

Mrs Angkhana said the government must emphasise prevention and addiction treatment rather than suppression.

Her Majesty granted an audience to the prime minister, her cabinet members and dignitaries on Thursday at Chitralada Palace on the occasion of her 79th birthday, which fell on Friday.

Ms Yingluck said Pheu Thai pledged to suppress drug trafficking during the campaign.

The Thaksin government initiated a drug war in 2003 and he told police and other authorities to show no mercy in suppressing the drugs trade, in particular methamphetamines trafficking.

The National Human Rights Commission says the drug war claimed almost 2,700 lives. Among those who lost relatives was Somchai Kerdrungruang.

Mr Somchai lost his nine-year-old nephew Chakkraphan Srisa-ard, or Nong Fluke, who was shot and killed by police on Feb 23, 2003 while asleep in his family’s car driven by his mother Pornwipa Kerdrungruang during a bungled sting operation.

Ms Pornwipa disappeared after the incident and her husband Sathaporn Srisa-ard was arrested and sent to jail for dealing drugs. Sathaporn was about to deliver 6,000 methamphetamine pills to police posing as buyers near Saphan Khao market in Dusit district, Bangkok.

Three police were charged with his killing. The Criminal Court last month sentenced them to two years in jail, suspended for two years, and fined them 10,000 baht each for manslaughter.

Mr Somchai said the government must respect the rule of law and justice.

All addicts, traffickers and dealers arrested must be brought to justice without torture, extrajudicial killings and human rights abuses.

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