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Wed, February 01, 2006

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PROCUREMENT SCANDAL: Apirak could have killed fire-truck deal, Samak says

Ex-governor says successor could have wiggled out of controversial contract. Former Bangkok governor Samak Sun-daravej said yesterday his successor Apirak Kosayodhin could have avoided all the problems engulfing the controversial purchase of mini fire-trucks by simply not signing a letter of credit with the Austrian manufacturer when he took office a year ago. Although Samak had already signed the Bt6.7-billion deal it could have been sunk by Apirak’s decision not to sign the letter of credit, Samak said on a television talk show he co-hosts.

BURNING ISSUE: Yian Pin: A man who’s grateful to THailand

WAS IT TYCOON’S INTENTION: to exploit Thailand’s natural resources? If you believe the sky belongs to Shin Corp and the land belongs to Charoen Pokphand, then you should believe that the underground belongs to Yian Pin, or Chanchai Ruayrungruang. Yian Pin is the foreign affairs adviser to the prime minister who is being accused of reaping what others have sown from a joint-venture project, Asean Potash Mining Plc.

Stock sale sends govt into an all-out spin

Despite a week of arguments by the pro-government camp, the legitimacy of last month’s Bt73-billion Shin-Temasek deal remains tough to comprehend for non-partisan academics, senators, civil society groups and the mass media.

Banned MPs sued for return of wages

Twenty-two former MPs, disqualified by the Election Commission for violating electoral laws, still owe the House of Representatives a total of Bt26.9 million in reimbursement of their salaries, the secretary-general of the Lower House disclosed yesterday.

PM, party discuss ways to manage big Sondhi rally

The prime minister and his wife met last night with senior party figures to discuss how to deal with the rally being organised for Saturday by his arch-critic Sondhi Limthongkul, a source said.

Senate to weigh NCCC options

The government yesterday gave the green light to convene an extraordinary Senate session to debate the list of nine National Counter Corruption Commission nominees that was sent back for review by the Royal Palace.

There were too many documents to read, Nathanon tells panel

Bangkok City Clerk Nathanon Thavisin told a fact-finding committee yesterday she had not read all the documents related to the city administration’s Bt20-billion in planned infrastructure projects, currently plagued by a corruption scandal. “There are too many documents and we have a screening committee to help review the information,” Nathanon told the committee, which was chaired by Bangkok Councillor Apichart Halamchiak.

Anti-Aids campaign to focus on gay men

Thailand will this month see its first mass campaign to prevent HIV infection among men who have sex with men (MSM), amid an alarming surge in gay infection rates.

Labour safeguards bill backed

The Cabinet yesterday approved a bill on labour protection to provide safeguards for employees. Key elements of the bill include:

Bus fares not going up yet

The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) will maintain its current bus fare rate until the price of diesel reaches Bt26 per litre, BMTA acting director Opas Petchmunee announced yesterday.

Anti-porn show starts

The Cyber Cop radio show will kick off operations today aimed at cracking down on websites promoting pornography.

Boy, family awarded Bt4.4m for brutal dental procedure

Nonthaburi Provincial Court yesterday awarded Bt4.4 million in compensation to a six-year-old boy and his mother over a brutal dental procedure that left the child physically and mentally disabled.

Anti-porn show starts

The Cyber Cop radio show will kick off operations today aimed at cracking down on websites promoting pornography.

SHIN SELL-OFF: Watchdogs to probe deal

PCT, Law Society to highlight joint study; sale ‘involves national security’. Two media and legal watchdogs yesterday vowed to publish a white paper on the controversial sale of Shin Corp to Singapore’s main investment arm by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s family and his Damapong in-laws.

Thanong failed to close loopholes: expert

Finance Minister Thanong Bidaya and Revenue Department director-general Sirote Swasdipanich have failed to do their duty and close loopholes in the tax code, a tax expert said yesterday.

Takeover sets bad precedents, forum told

The recent sale of Shin Corp to a Singaporean company has set several unwelcome precedents, members of a symposium at Thammasat University concluded yesterday.