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BANGKOK, July 9 - Thailand's Department of Special Investigation (DSI) will investigate the case of embattled Buddhist monk Phra Wirapol Sukphol, better known as Luang Pu Nenkham Chattigo, involving several acts deemed in violation of criminal law including allegedly having sex with an underage girl.

BANGKOK, July 9 - The Marine Department on Tuesday said no oil leaks were found from the Bangladeshi-registered cargo ship 'MV Hope' which capsized off Thailand's Raya Noi Island near Phuket last week.

BANGKOK, July 9 -- Thailand's National Security Council (NSC) will begin a security evaluation of the country's three southernmost provinces tomorrow, the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, according to NSC chief Paradorn Pattanatabut. 

BANGKOK, July 9 - Malaysia and the Barisan Revolusi Nasional militant group (BRN) cancelled their planned joint news conference on ending violence in Thailand's far South during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan today without any reason given, Thailand's National Security Council chief said.

BANGKOK, July 10 - Thailand's securities analysts see investment in the country's stock exchange index in the second half of the year lowering at year-end to 1,569 points from 1,625 points.

BANGKOK, 9 July 2013 The Joint Standing Committee on Trade, Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) expressed its confidence that Thailand would still be able to achieve the targeted economic growth of 4-5%, believing that the government has all it needs to handle the fluctuation of incoming capital. 

BANGKOK, July 9 -  The Bank of Thailand's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting tomorrow is expected to maintain the benchmark interest rate at 2.5 per cent, according to a senior bank executive.

Corruption has penetrated every step of the government’s rice purchase scheme as the Commerce Ministry has refused to disclose information on rice sales, according to a senior Finance Ministry official.

Deputy permanent secretary for finance Supa Piyajitti told a Senate committee that corruption was involved from the first stage of farmers’ registration to reports on rice volume which were falsified.

The Senate standing committee on economic, commerce and industry invited Supa to give an account on the rice pledging scheme in her capacity as chairwoman of the Finance Ministry’s sub-committee tasked with the scheme’s account assessment.

She said only 10 percent of rice in the government’s stockpiles had been randomly checked due to lack of manpower, adding that rice sold under the scheme was rotated at some rice mills.

Total losses from the state’s rice subsidy scheme from 2004 to 2013 which included 14 harvest seasons were as high as Bt378 billion while losses in the last three seasons, between 2011 and 2013, were Bt221 billion.

As of January 31 this year, the government has spent more than Bt496 billion for the rice purchase program - which has to be paid to the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, Supa explained.

The government’s report of 11 million tonnes of rice in its stockpiles contradicted the figure of 18 million tonnes given by the Marketing Organization for Farmers and the Public Warehouse Organization, she told the committee.

Supa said she had asked the Commerce Ministry for the figure of rice sales but was told that it was confidential.

“They told me that only three persons - the commerce minister, permanent secretary for commerce and director general of the Foreign Trade Department - had access to the figure,” Supa said.

“We could not pursue our accounting to close entries and we do not know to whom the 10 million tonnes of rice were sold.”

A standing committee member, Mahannop Dejvitak, said the government lacked corruption prevention measures and some lots of rice were resold to make double profits from the pledging scheme.

The rice storage standard has been poor, resulting in deteriorating quality, he said.

BANGKOK, July 8 - The Thai police will seek court approval for arrest warrants against two detained suspects in the recent bomb blast incident in Bangkok's Ramkhamhaeng area as their detention period under the emergency decree will expire next week.

BANGKOK, July 8 - Deputy Defence Minister Yutthasak Sasiprapa today declined further comment on an audio clip in which voices similar to his own and that of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra discuss politics involving the armed forces.

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