KALASIN, 26 January 2014  The early voting on January 20, 2014 concluded at 15:00 (). In Kalasin, the Provincial Election Commission indicated that out of the 668 people who had registered for the advance poll in their election district, 583 of them, or 87.27%, showed up to vote; whereas 146 out of 1,236 eligible voters, accounting for only 11.81%, of the people registered for the advance poll out of their election district, cast their votes .

According to Mr. Wittiya Chitramat, the Kalasin Provincial Election Commission director, the early voting proceeded smoothly in Kalasin with no protesters showing up. He said that voters who had registered for early voting in their district but were unable to participate could still exercise their rights on February 2, 2014. However, those who had registered for early voting out of their district but were unable to participate would not be able to do so on February 2, 2014.

BANGKOK, 26 January 2014 The Ministry of Transport has designated five parking zones to facilitate the motorists who want to take public transportation during the anti-government rallies in Bangkok. 

BANGKOK, 26 January 2014  Voters were prevented to cast their votes at most polling stations in the southern provinces during the advance election on Sunday, while only 13 polling stations in Bangkok were not surrounded by anti-government protesters.

According to Deputy Secretary-General of the Election Commission (EC) Thanit Sriprathet, 34 polling stations in Bangkok were shut down by the protesters but the EC could open the other 13 for vote casting, which included those in Pharnakhon, Pathumwan, Ratchathewi, Bang Rak and Sathorn districts.

Meanwhile, the polling stations in all 15 southern provinces were occupied by the protesters, prompting the EC to cancel advance elections in 11 provinces. Only voters in the provinces of Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and Satun were able to exercise their voting rights at the polling stations.

The advance voting in most provinces in the northern, eastern, northeastern and central regions, however, were not cancelled despite the protests, the official said.

BANGKOK, 26 January 2014 The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is calling on all sides involved in the Thai political deadlock to be respectful and not violate the rights of other people.

In light of the Thai government’s announcement to impose the state of emergency, the OHCHR has come out and voiced its stance, calling for everyone in the current conflict to exercise utmost restraint and refrain from using all forms of violence, adding that the government must make sure the Emergency Decree is being implemented under the international human rights standards.

The OHCHR also revealed that it had sent a team to Bangkok to closely monitor all activities in a bid to ensure that no human rights had been violated. The team visited various locations, including police stations and protest sites.

The organization has also voiced concern over the two bombing incidents that killed 1 person and injured a number of people.

BANGKOK, 26 January 2014 Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Tovijakchaikul has announced that the government will issue arrest warrants for violators of the Emergency Decree and those who obstructed the advance poll on Sunday. Mr Surapong confirmed the election on 2 February 2014 will not be postponed.

The deputy premier said the government would hand down arrest warrants against the violators of the Emergency Decree and the Election Act this Monday. As for the election on 2 February, it would go as planned since as much as 90% of the advance poll today was able to take place, Mr Surapong said.

The deputy PM also urged the Election Commission (EC) to seek legal actions against the protesters who obstructed the advance poll and said all government units were ready to assist the EC in arranging the election.

BANGKOK, 26 January 2014 Almost all polling stations in 50 constituencies Bangkok have been forced to shut down by anti-government protesters. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is obliged to notify the police of the obstruction of the advance poll.

Permanent Secretary for the BMA Ninnart Chalitanont gave a briefing on the advance election in all 50 constituencies in Bangkok on Sunday, saying that the protesters now occupied almost all polling stations. As for the unobstructed ones, the BMA allowed the stations’ chiefs and district directors to decide together whether to close them if the situation turned unfavorable.

The official said the BMA would report to the Election Commission as well as the police on the incidents today and ensured close monitoring of the situation.

BANGKOK, 26 January 2014 The government has assured that its decision to invoke the Emergency Decree is constitutional as well as to protect the country’s democracy. 

General Situation

The weak high pressure over upper Thailand cause cool to cold weather with fog in the morning, as well as thick patches in some area. All transports should take caution due to poor visibility.

BANGKOK, 24 January 2014 The Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) has come up with measures to relieve the plight of farmers who have so far not been paid by the government for the rice pledged under the mortgage scheme.

According to the bank's executive vice president Songserm Saksit, the board on Friday agreed to help those farmers struggling with their own debts, by extending higher amounts of loan, up to 80% worth of the face value of vouchers issued for the rice pledged, up from the 20% previously extended, as well as cutting loan rate from 7% to 3-5%.

The bank will earmark 40 billion baht for its new lending packages. Songserm said about 1.4 million farmers have not yet received their money from the government's rice pledging scheme.

There are about 1.4 million farmers holding rice vouchers valued about 130 billion baht altogether at present, and over 100,000 farmers have been in arrears for their payments. To help the latter group, the bank will extend their loan repayment for another 6-12 months and waive the 3% fine for defaulting on payment.

ANGKOK, 25 January 2014 The Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) is confident Thailand's export of frozen chicken to Japan will top 500,000 tons this year, thanks to Japan’s decision to lift its ban on Thai chicken late last year.

Nuntawan Sakuntanaga, Director General of the DITP, revealed after the Japan–Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement (JTEPA) meeting that both countries expected to see an increase of 5 percent in their two-way trade, especially in textile and poultry industries.

She said the Japanese side was targeting to import 500,000 tons of chicken products from Thailand, 300,000 tons of which would be fresh frozen chicken and the rest processed chicken; valued at 70-80 billion baht in total.

As for textile products, the industry is aiming for a 9 percent export growth, believing that there will be a continuous rise in demands from Europe, Japan, and the US., added Miss Nuntawan.

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