Questions raised over Anutin’s military college enrolment

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Breaking News August 08, 2018 19:39

By The Nation

A former Pheu Thai Party MP has questioned the enrolment of Bhum Jai Thai party head Anutin Charnvirakul at a top military college, widely seen as a “patronage-seeking” institution for senior officers, company CEOs and politicians.

Anutin is among a couple of hundred names enlisted in a one-year programme run by the National Defence College of Thailand under the Defence Mnistry. He will attend the college as “CEO of STP&I Public Company Limited”.

Ex-MP Yutthapong Jarassathien complained that Anutin, a top politician and a construction contractor with the current government, had a high profile already and his enrolment would endanger the principle of social equality.

It would go against PM Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha’s declaration that politicians should not enroll and thus be able to seek connections with civil servants and military officers, the ex-MP said.

“This double standard shouldn’t occur and we might suppose it is because Anutin once recruited thousands of supporters to cheer the premier,” he said, referring to Prayut’s field trip in Buri Ram in May, where he was greeted by tens of thousands of locals, as arranged by Anutin and local politician Newin Chidchob.

He also called for Prayut to investigate how Anutin got to enroll in the course.


Source :  Tha Nation Multimedia

A vivid illustration of Asean’s rich diversity

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Photo courtesy of Culture Ministry

national August 08, 2018 20:00

By Phatarawadee Phataranawik
The Nation

The Culture Ministry is using the diversity of the vivid culture that exists in Southeast Asia as a key tool to strengthen relations between countries in the lead-up to Thailand taking over as Asean chair next year.

The ministry today marked Asean Day by launching a book and photography exhibition “Vivid Asean” at the Asean Central Centre in Rajdamnoen Klang Avenue.

“The book features the diversity of Asean cultures, their similarities and differences,” Culture Minister Vira Rojpojchanara told The Nation, adding that the English version would be launched next year.

“By learning about the history and culture of our neighbouring countries, we will better understand [each other] and live together harmoniously.”

“Next year, Thailand will host a variety of cultural Asean activities with the bigger ones including the Ramayana Festival, Asean films and food festivals,” Vira said.

The 200-page book features 13 chapters on topics ranging from food, architecture, costumes, lifestyle, cultural performances and religions. It concludes by showing how Thailand is a multicultural nation.

National artist and photographer Teerapap Lohitkul, the book’s editor-in-chief, teamed up with SeaWrite Awardee Jeeranan Pitpreecha, photographer Sayan Chuenudomsavad and author Hor Supawut Jantasaro to put together the book, which is illustrated with more than 300 beautiful images of all things Asean. The book is available at the Asean Central Centre and the show runs until August 26.


Source :  The Nation Multimedia

Stateless ‘Mu Pa’ are now Thai citizens

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national August 08, 2018 20:30


FOUR STATELESS Mu Pa Academy footballers who were rescued from a flooded cave last month on Wednesday officially became Thai citizens.

Ekkapol Chantawongse

They attended a naturalisation ceremony held in Chiang Rai province and each of them was given the national identity card.

Adul Samon

The four are: Adul Samon, Mongkol Boonpium, Pornchai Khamluang and assistant coach Ekkapol Chantawongse.

They were among 13 members of the Mu Pa football club who went missing in the Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district in late June.

They were located and evacuated two weeks later in a multinational operation. Their rescue mission made headlines around the world as the method of evacuating them from the dark and flooded cave was regarded as the first of its kind.

Pornchai Khamluang

Mae Sai district chief Somsak Kanakham said they were granted citizenship according to the laws. During the ceremony chaired by Somsak, 30 people became Thai citizens.

The births of Adul, Mongkon and Pornchai were registered at Mae Sai and Wiengpankham municipalities and they were granted Thai citizenship after they presented their birth certificate to the district chief.

Mongkol Boonpium

Ekkapol, who is still in the monkhood, was born at Mae Sai Hospital and has a parent who was born in Thailand.

He was granted citizenship on grounds of his good behaviour and actions that benefited society.


Source :  The Nation Multimedia

Lao dam review ‘right decision’

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Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy hydropower dam

national August 09, 2018 01:00


Safety standards to be examined; new investments on hold.

ENVIRONMENTAL and communal rights activists praised the Lao government for its decision to examine the safety standards at all planned hydropower dams and reconsider its “impactful” strategy of generating electricity for export and becoming the Battery of Asia.

The Lao government has also decided to suspend the consideration of new investments in hydropower projects in order to review its hydropower development strategy and plans.

Laos issued the latest order on Tuesday in the aftermath of the deadly dam catastrophe at Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy hydropower dam, and said it would inspect every dam to check for flaws in structure and design to ensure safety.

After the disaster at the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy hydropower dam, which claimed at least 34 lives and displaced thousands, Laos has decided to reconsider its dream to become a power supplier for the region.

Chainarong Setthachua, a lecturer at Maha Sarakham University, said yesterday that the Laos government’s decision could be considered a turning point for development in the entire region.

“After Laos started moving towards capitalism, it has focused on taking advantage of the country’s rich water resources and its mountainous geography to develop hydropower as a core economic engine of the country by generating electricity for export,” Chainarong said.

“However, profits earned from selling power to neighbouring countries has come at a great price, because the development and foreign direct investment on hydropower dam projects have largely been done without proper environmental protection studies and consideration of the livelihood of local people.”

He said that after experiencing dam disasters over these past three years, especially the devastation wreaked by the latest one, the people of Laos have finally realised the true cost of these hydropower dam projects that have been constructed all around them.

“I hope the Laos government stays firm in its decision and seriously considers the pros and cons of hydropower projects. If Laos changes its strategy and abandons its plan to invest in hydropower and allow intensive development, it is bound to have a huge impact on the regional energy sector and the many players,” he said.

Chainarong added that in the end both Thai and Laos authorities have to ensure that the investors of the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy hydropower dam project are held responsible for damages and loss caused by the disaster. He said the dam had burst because it was poorly constructed, and there was a severe lack of proper warning systems and emergency plan for locals.

Leading researcher and founder of Mekong Butterfly, Montree Chantawong said the government’s decision to examine all hydropower dams was commendable, because over the past 10 years dams have been built in almost every corner of the nation. He also pointed out that the country’s laws were not strong enough to ensure proper construction and safety of these dams.

According to Laos’s national strategy to become a Battery of Asia, the government plans to build more than 90 hydropower plants by 2020 and export most of the generated electricity.

Nevertheless, Thai Energy Minister Siri Jirapongphan had earlier pledged the support of Lao’s hydropower development strategy, as he pointed out that this policy will not only benefit Lao economy, but it is also an important economic partnership on energy sector and it will make the economy of the whole region prosper.

The meeting, attended by cabinet members, agreed to establish a taskforce committee to lead the investigation into the reason for the collapse of saddle dam D, one of five auxiliary dams at the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy hydropower project, according to the Vientiane Times.

The failure of the dam on July 23 flooded 13 villages in Sanamxay district, killing 34 people as of August 6 while 100 villagers are still missing. Thousands have been left homeless. The investigation committee is chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and chairman of the Government Inspection Authority, Bounthong Chitmany.

The committee welcomed the help of international experts in carrying out the investigation and verifying the cause of the dam fracture. The committee will also invite representatives of the governments of South Korea and Thailand, whose companies were stakeholders in the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy hydropower project, to provide consultation and observe the investigation process.


Source :  The Nation Multimedia

Phetchaburi town set to reel under runoff

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Phetch Dam

national August 09, 2018 01:00

By The Nation

PHETCHABURI town is set to be inundated this weekend, even after the Royal Irrigation Department has stemmed and even slowed down the run-off from upstream zones.

The department expects the volume of water in Phetchaburi River to peak on Saturday, with 230 to 250 cubic metres of water flowing into the Phetch Dam per second.

Phetch Dam sits in Phetchaburi’s Tha Yang district, between the now-overwhelmed Kaeng Krachan Dam and Phetchaburi’s Muang district. Some 55 cubic metres per second will be diverted from the Phetch Dam to the irrigation system along the river before it heads to town, while another 35 cubic metres per second will be directed to the D9 drainage canal.

Kaeng Krachan Dam

The remaining 140 to 160 cubic metres per second will hit downstream areas.

Though this volume of water is not expected to flood the Tha Yang district, Muang district could suffer from the overflowing Phetchaburi River on Sunday.

In fact, some communities in the district will find themselves under 30 to 50 centimetres of water for seven to 10 days.

Close watch on all dams

The department’s director-general, Thongplew Kongchan, confirmed yesterday that Kaeng Krachan Dam had exceeded its capacity.

“The dam is now 103 per cent full,” he said, explaining why large volumes of water had to be discharged from the dam.

“He added that water up to 46-centimetres deep was being released down the spillway constantly.

However, downstream communities should not be too badly affected by this rapid release, apart from some low-lying riverside resorts, he said.

Also, some 40 pumps have been installed along the Phetchaburi River to speed the run-off to sea.

These boats and officials are in charge of speeding up the water flow in the Phetchaburi River in Phetchaburi province yesterday, as Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha turns up to inspect water management. 

While Muang district should be inundated for a week to 10 days, Ban Laem – located at the point where Phetchaburi River meets the sea – could be submerged for about a month, he said.

High tide could slow the run-off to sea in Ban Laem, but action is being taken to minimise the effect, he added.

So far, 40 boats and pumps have been put in place in the area to ease the impact, though the boats may not be that effective when high |tides hit the area during the weekend.

Thongplew was at hand to brief Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha during his visit to Phetchaburi yesterday.

The authorities are keeping a close watch on four dams in the area due to the huge volumes of water they contain.

Apart from the brimming Kaeng Krachan Dam, Nam Oun Dam in Sakhon Nakhon province is 103 per cent full, while Vajiralongkorn and Srinakharin dams in Kanchanaburi province are 85 and 87 per cent full respectively.

The weather bureau, meanwhile, has predicted heavy downpours and warned of landslides in 31 provinces. Among them is Ranong province, where some 3,000 residents in Kapur district are suffering from the impact of flash floods.

Though flooding has subsided in some areas, many low-lying parts were reported to still be submerged as of press time.


Source :  The Nation Multimedia