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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Govt won’t budge on rice price; Cabinet V sworn in; Cameras out in Deep South attack

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Govt won’t budge on rice price; Cabinet V sworn in; Cameras out in Deep South attack | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Govt won’t budge much on rice price
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Despite increasing pressure from farmers, the National Rice Policy Committee is unlikely to budge on the new rice-pledging price of Bt12,000 per tonne, due to financial burdens, a government source has revealed.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong will chair the committee’s meeting today at which petitions by farmers will be discussed, along with the financial cost of the pledging scheme, which during the 2011/2012 harvest amounted to over Bt130 billion.

The source said the committee was not likely to give in to demands by farmers that the new price take effect in the next harvest year, as the price already covered the main crop, while only 2 million tonnes were expected from the excluded second crop.

“It remains to be seen how the committee will resolve the problem,” the source said. “If the new pledging price is maintained, the committee will also draw up measures to minimise the negative impact on farmers.”

Kittiratt said last week that the price could not remain at Bt15,000 given the current state of the global rice market. Thailand’s white rice is now quoted below US$500 per tonne (Bt15,000), inclusive of all export costs involved.

At best, the price may be raised slightly but not to the old Bt15,000 level. The pledging sum limit of Bt500,000 for each household may be lowered in that case, as over 80 per cent of farmers under the programme have earned no more than Bt300,000 per household.

Focus on four elements

Meanwhile, the committee’s secretary, Viboonluck Rumraksa, director-general of the Internal Trade Department, said that the committee would consider the government’s approach for the 2013/2014-harvest year with a focus on four elements. The scheme must not destroy fiscal disciplines such as the annual loss limit at Bt70-Bt80 billion.

The price is also set accordingly to global levels, with the domestic price slightly above. In addition, the price reflects the production cost, while benefits for farmers are compared to gains from other economic crops like sugar, oil palm and rubber.

“The department will present the overall plan and estimated losses at the meeting,” she said. “We will also propose a cut in the pledging sum per household limit, or a limit on household outputs, to ensure a larger number of households – as well as honour the fiscal disciplines.”

She explained that the output limit on, for example, 25 tonnes per household, would discourage farmers from focusing on quantity while ignoring quality. In previous harvest years, losses were found to have stemmed from low-quality rice.

The huge loss in revenue from the rice-pledging scheme is the main reason behind the government’s decision to reduce the pledging price from Bt 15,000 to Bt 12,000 per tonne, an academic said yesterday.

Nipon Poapongsakorn, a senior fellow at the Thailand Development Research Institute, said the reduction of the pledging price would also affect the price of rice on world markets. He was speaking at a seminar organised by Social Venture Network Asia (Thailand) entitled, “The Facts About Rice in Thailand: Who Will Become Rich and Who Poor?”

Nipon said he was also concerned that a reduction in the price would have a negative impact on rice prices in the local Thai market.

New Cabinet sworn in at Siriraj Hospital
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: His Majesty the King yesterday granted an audience to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and new Cabinet members for a swearing-in ceremony.

The ceremony took place at Siriraj Hospital, where the much-revered monarch has been undergoing treatment for years.

Yingluck and most of the new Cabinet members met at Government House yesterday afternoon for a group photo before heading to Siriraj Hospital.

Former deputy prime minister Chalerm Yoobamrung was not present for the group photo. He, however, joined Yingluck and other Cabinet members at the hospital for the swearing-in ceremony, which is compulsory for the prime minister and her Cabinet.

Yingluck, earlier yesterday, cut short her official visit to an immigration checkpoint and a temple in Mukdahan and flew back to Bangkok for the ceremony.

Before leaving for Bangkok, the PM visited the Phu Thai community and home-stay tourism in Mukdahan’s Nongsung district. The villagers there carried out the traditional welcoming ceremony of the Bai Sri Su Kwan for Yingluck to ward off bad luck and bring prosperity.

Government Spokesman Teerat Ratanasevi said Yingluck would today fly back to Mukdahan to carry out the remaining part of her engagements.

There are 11 newcomers in Yingluck’s Cabinet, including veteran politician and women’s rights activist Pavena Hongsakul.

As widely expected, Pavena got the post of social development and human security minister.

An Abac Poll of 467 respondents from Thursday to Saturday showed Pavena receiving overwhelming public support to head the Social Development and Human Security Ministry with 88 per cent backing her; 71 per cent approved PM Yingluck’s move to double up as defence minister; 70 per cent backed Chaturon Chaisang as the new education minister; 66 per cent agreed with the appointment of General Yuthasak Sasiprapha as deputy defence minister, but only 41 per cent backed Chalerm Yoobamroong to helm the Labour Ministry.

Cameras knocked out in latest Deep South attack
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Unidentified saboteurs put burning tyres on 20 security cameras at 12 spots across Narathiwat in the Deep South yesterday morning.

The sabotage was reported at about 4am.

“I have instructed local police to closely examine the security cameras in nearby areas to determine whether they could have recorded any suspect,” Narathiwat police chief Maj General Wichai Kasemwong said.

He believed moves to knock out security cameras were staged to fan unrest in the South.

Thailand’s southernmost region has been struggling with insurgency-related violence for nearly a decade.

On a road in Narathiwat’s Ra-ngae district, a banner went up with a message demanding the withdrawal of troops from the area. The pull-out is a key demand put forward by the BRN in its peace dialogue with Thai authorities.

Despite the ongoing talks, violent incidents continue to take place on a daily basis.

On Saturday, an explosion erupted in Yala, ripping through a military truck and killing eight soldiers about to head back to their base in Nakhon Sawan after completing their time in the Deep South.

The victims were Sergeant Major 1st Class Wiroj Khamruang, 51, Corporal Kromkrit Hetakarn, 27, Private Thirapong Duangsuwan, 23, Corporal Anon Pangsiri, 44, Private Thirapat Bannasarn, 23, Private Sakda Wongkham, 24, Private Pissanudej Hoysang, 24, and Private Sawang Namprai, 26.

Nearly 100 people including teachers and children expressed their grief when they showed up at Pattani Airport to bid farewell to the dead soldiers, whose base was close to a school.

The bodies of the soldiers were airlifted from Pattani to their home provinces.

In a related development, th

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Road deaths

4 people drown after SUV careers into canal in Chon Buri

Caitlin Ashworth

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4 people drown after SUV careers into canal in Chon Buri | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath

4 people died after a driver allegedly hit a curb and lost control of her Toyota Fortuner SUV, running it off the road and into a Chon Buri canal.

The driver, 38 year old Sukanya from Bangkok, survived and told police she was driving 6 friends from Bangkok to Rai Lak Thong, a subdistrict in Chon Buri. She says the road was dark and she was unfamiliar with the area. She hit a curb, breaking through the road barrier and overturning the car. The SUV then slid into the a Phanat Nikhom district canal.

The water in the canal was high due to the weekend storm. The driver and 2 others were able to get out through the window, but the others – 1 man and 3 women – drowned in the submerged vehicle. By the time rescue workers arrived and pulled the bodies out of the car, they were dead.

SOURCE: Pattaya Mail

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Protests

5 protesters to be charged over a rally in front of the Thai Army’s headquarters

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5 protesters to be charged over a rally in front of the Thai Army’s headquarters | The Thaiger

With impeccable timing, Nang Loeng police have summoned 5 protest leaders to appear before the Special Prosecutor’s Office at the Dusit District Court in Bangkok. They will be formally charged over their roles in a protest in front of the Army’s headquarters on July 20. At the time it followed an online exchange from an Army official criticising the students who had been protesting at the Democracy Monument days before.

The protest targeted Colonel Nusra Vorapatratorn, deputy spokesperson of the Army. Posting on her Facebook page about the Saturday protest, the Colonel said that rally’s participants should “focus on doing their jobs rather than joining the protest.” The Colonel later deleted the social media post.

Another army spokesman, Colonel Winthai Suvaree, spoke to the media at the time and stated that Nusra “had expressed her personal opinion” and that “she is no longer the deputy spokesperson”.

After protesting outside the Army over the contents of the post, 5 protest leaders face official charges of “violating the Emergency Decree, the Traffic Act and use of loudspeakers in public without permission. The 5 protagonists facing charges are human rights lawyer Anon Nampa, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, Piyarath “Toto” Jongthep, Suwanna Tarnlek and Panupong Jardnok (Mike Rayong).

All 5 deny the charges and say they will defend their roles in court.

The charges follow a weekend of protests, with up to some 30,000 people gathering in the Bangkok rain to rally against the government and confirm a 10-point manifesto which includes demands to reform Thai politics and the country’s monarchy. Specially the demands include the dissolution of the Thai parliament, standing down of the current PM and a new constitution to replace the 2017 Thai charter.

Today the Fine Arts Department has also says it will file charges of “trespassing on an archaeological site” after protesters yesterday embedded a symbolic brass plaque to replace another plaque that dates back to the 1932 Siam Revolution (when a bloodless coup overthrew the ‘absolute monarchy’ in Thailand). That plaque mysteriously disappeared in 2017.

The protesters responded this afternoon by saying that Sanam Luang is not an archaeological site, but a “public space for recreation and for vendors and hawkers”.

Following on from the support of the crowd over the weekend, the protesters are planning to stage another protest in front of Parliament this Thursday. A House debate on constitutional amendments is due to start this Wednesday.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Thailand

Thailand Post to upcycle parcel boxes into furniture for Border Patrol Police School

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thailand Post to upcycle parcel boxes into furniture for Border Patrol Police School | The Thaiger
PHOTO: beartai

The Thailand Post is going to turn its parcel cardboard boxes and paper envelopes into tables and chairs for students at the Border Patrol Police School. The postal service says they’ve already received 10,000 kilograms of used boxes and envelopes for the upcycling project.

People can send used parcel boxes and envelopes back to Thailand Post to be collected for the furniture project. President of the postal service Korkij Danchaivichit says discounts and promotions are offered through the 9.9 online shopping campaign which promotes the reuse of the packages. He says some local online marketers have already hopped on board.

“It is a win-win situation for all… First of all, suppliers use compostable paper parcels that are eco-friendly; also 9.9 online shopping enhances the economy, and finally, we (Post Office) get to collect the reusable paper parcels and turn them into furniture to supply schools.”

The campaign ends on October 31. Korkij says he’d like to invite more people, online retailers and businesses to send back their used parcel boxes and envelopes.

SOURCES:Xinhua| Nation Thailand

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