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SA KAEO, 8 March 2014 - Thai and Cambodian representatives have inspected the temporary check point being set up for border trade, in Sa Kaeo province. The international entry point for trade, results from an agreement between Thailand and Cambodia reached at the thirteenth RBC meeting. Thailand has now prepared its building space while Cambodia is facing a delay in building the structure on its side of the border.

Mr. Choosak Treesan, Sa Kaeo Deputy Governor and Thai security officers, together with the Cambodian representative Mr. Chong Phet, the Banteay Meanchey Province Deputy Governor, and some 50 security officials, visited territory 43 at Ban Non Mak Mun moo 1, Non Mak Mun subdistrict, Khok Sung district, Sa Kaeo province to inspect the area designated a temporary border check point for trade, at the frontier of Sa kaeo province and Banteay Meanchey province. The check point is in accordance with the agreement Thailand and Cambodia signed at the thirteenth Regional Border Committee (RBC) meeting on 27-28 February 2008. On 1st August 2008, the committee proposed the building of a temporary check point for border trade. The National Security Council agreed to the plan to open a check point at Ban Non Mak Mun. The Ministry of the Interior and Sa Kaeo province were given responsibility for the project and discussed the guidelines with Cambodia.

The Ministry of the Interior and Sa kaeo province subsequently designated the location of a border check point between the 43th and 44th landmark, east of Ban Non Mak Mun moo 1, Non Mak Mun subdistrict, Sa Kaeo province and opposite Ban Bueng Sa Nor, Banteay Meanchey province. This area has no issue about border demarcation. Thailand has now constructed a building and road to the border check point while Cambodia has not yet been able to start construction. They say that the delay is because of unclear marking of the border. Cambodia is being urged to construct both an office building and road to the border trade point to enable the full implementation of the border check point agreement.

BANGKOK, 8 April 2014  - The funds launched by the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) to help compensate rice farmers who have yet to be paid for their pledged rice crops has reached 1.44 billion baht today.

The BAAC, which had invited the public and businesses to take part in the fund, has given an update on the latest progress concerning the fund. There are three types of funds on offer: 1) the donation fund, which has gained a total of 22,765,112.87 baht (the savings account number for donations is: 0200-3-3477-582 BAAC, Bang Khen branch), 2) the interest fund, which has gained 791,346,607.92 baht, 3) the interest-free fund, which has gained 626,883,075.01 baht. The last two types of the fund require a minimum principal of 1,000 baht upon subscription. The combined sum of the funds is 1,440,944,795.80 baht in total.

BANGKOK, 8 April 2014 – President of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) Suphan Mongkholsuthee has admitted that he is worried about the political situation after the Songkran festival in April and fears its effects on the economy and investment.

Mr Suphan, who is a new FTI chief, on Tuesday said rallies by anti- and pro-government groups this month might worsen the political standoff in the country and make investors delay their investment decisions. If it did not improve, the political situation would lead to less than 3% economic growth, the FTI president said.

As for the export sector, Mr Suphan said he believed it would help propel the economy this year and was likely to grow 5-6% following recovery in the U.S. and euro zone. Positive signals were also seen in border trade, he added.

PATTANI, 9 April 2014  - Mr. Srisompob Jitpiromsri, an academic from Pattani Campus of the Prince of Songkla University, has indicated 3 major factors contributing to the recently intensified southern violence.

Mr. Srisompob, who is also the Director of the Deep South Watch Center, elaborated that April is one of months that fall into the separatists’ seasonal attacks. According the center’s data, assailants tend to carry out more assaults during the month of April to June each year.

The second reason, Mr. Srisompob speculated, is the 10th anniversary of the beginning of violence in the region. He said the separatists might have intensified their attacks in order to symbolize the anniversary. He also pointed out the pattern of the attacks, which are focused on vulnerable targets such as innocent citizens, teachers, and monks. The latest incident saw attacks launched at a business center in the central district of Yala Province.

The academic said the final factor is the fact that the peace talks between the government and the separatists are being put on hold due to the political turmoil. He said the absence of the talks has led to the assailants’ negligence to honor the agreement to subside attacks.

BANGKOK, 9 April 2014, - The Center for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) is currently collecting evidence against the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC)’s core members for supporting their leader’s plan to claim sovereign power.

According to Chalerm Yubamrung, the Director of the CAPO, the plan to reclaim sovereign power announced by Suthep Thuagsuban, the Secretary General of the PDRC, is unconstitutional. He is convinced that the public would not accept the government assembled through a non-democratic method.

Mr. Suthep has declared that the PDRC would gain sovereign power and that he would personally seek endorsement from His Majesty the King for a new prime minister.

The CAPO’s team of spokespersons concurred that the speech made by Suthep on April 5th implied a clear sign of his attempt to abolish democracy under constitutional monarchy, adding that the move is in violation of Section 113 of the constitution. The center thus appointed the Department of Special Investigation to seek legal action against Suthep and 58 other PDRC core members for treason.

BANGKOK, 9 April 2014  – Closed-circuit camera footage clearly captured the face of one of the perpetrators of Sunday's (April 6) chain bombing in Yala City, according to police investigators.

Officials determined from the CCTV footage that no less than 4 insurgents had been on a Mazda BT50 pickup truck that was used as a car bomb in front of a furniture store on Sunday. The car bomb blast killed 1 person and injured 41 others. During the same time period, two men had parked a motorcycle with a sidecar in front of another furniture store and detonated the bomb. CCTV footage clearly captured the face of one of the two men involved in the motorcycle bombing.

In nearby Pattani, security officials erected checkpoints all over the downtown area after intelligence indicated that insurgents were preparing to strike in Pattani City in a fashion similar to the Yala blasts. Authorities were especially on the lookout for 8 stolen vehicles that may have been rigged into car bombs, although the number of lost cars in the Deep South, counting from 2009, stood at 30.

SAMUT PRAKAN, 9 April 2014 – Officials have the fire at Phraekkasa landfill in Samut Prakan under control and are maintaining vigilance as the hot weather continues to favor a new round of ignition.

Pollution Control Department officials used chemical fire extinguishers to put out the flames at Phraekkasa landfill in Mueang district, Samutprakan on Tuesday. Just last month, blazes at the landfill filled the air in the vicinity with smoke and prompted the evacuation of hundreds of households.

On Tuesday, officials determined from air quality tests that harmful sulfur dioxide was not present in the air. However, they said another fire may erupt from underneath the trash pile because there was still heat and methane present. The Phraekkasa sub-district administrative organization has been asked to ready its fire engines for putting out any new blazes that might break out at the landfill.

The public can make inquiries about pollution or report pollution problems at hotline number 1650.

BANGKOK, 9 April 2014  – The United States has handed a letter to the Thai government expressing grave concern over the political situation and the possibility of a power grab.

US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel R. Russel and US Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney attended a meeting with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at the Ministry of Defense on Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said after attending the meeting that the US delegation handed a letter from US Secretary of State John Kerry, which expressed concern over the political situation in Thailand, to Ms. Yingluck.

Mr. Surapong added that the US was especially against a military coup or seizure of power. The US was also worried over the effects the problems in Thailand would have on ASEAN as a whole, as Thailand was unable to initiate any new policies in the multilateral arena due to the caretaker status of the government.

BANGKOK, 8 April 2014 – Residents living in the surrounding areas of the Praekkasa landfill have requested the governor of Samut Prakan to permanently close down the dump site following repeated fire incidents.

About 100 locals previously affected by garbage fires at the Praekkasa ground today gathered in front of the Samut Prakan City Hall to call on Governor Kanit Iamrahong to clarify the province’s measures to prevent recurrences of the fires. The governor then invited the group to a meeting to listen to their suggestions.

The troubled residents reportedly expressed their wish for a permanent shutdown of the Praekkasa landfill. They also claimed that a number of people in affected communities had not been given their compensation by the province.

In response, Governor Kanit explained that the Praekkasa Tambon Administrative Organization was the agency empowered to make a decision whether or not to close down the dump site as demanded. A committee will be set up to study ways to deal with this matter while the locals will be allowed to become part of the panel so as to make their voices heard.

As for the rehabilitation process, representatives from the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security noted that only the affected residents who had to reside at the evacuation center during the fires were entitled to financial compensation; the rest had been given assistance in the form of relief packages. So far, around 70 evacuees have been compensated at the rate of 2,000 baht each.

BANGKOK, 8 April 2014  -A Pheu Thai Spokesman Prompong Nopparit has requested the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) prosecute Suthep Thaugsuaban, the leader of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) on charges of insurrection. 

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