Thai-language newspapers – January 4, 2005

Matichon - January 4, 2005

* On the way back at Tak province, a bus’s tire explodes, making the bus turn over. Eleven passengers died immediately and 23 were injured. The driver ran away. From Korat and Chaingmai there were many additional buses for taking people back home. The Accident Prevention Center said 376 died in 5 days ia a decrease of 29.4 percent.

* ”Maew” [nickname of the Prime Minister] is confident that there is no big event on the one year anniversary of the crisis in the South. He is pleased that the officers solved the problem in the correct way. The Federation of Teachers in Yala has decided to continue to keep schools closed until the situation is better and people feel safe. They prepare to discuss with the teachers in Pattani and Narathiwat to stop teaching in all three provinces. Meanwhile, the 36 special police from Pichit province are sent to reinforce operations in the South for one year.

* Breaking News - After the cabinet meeting today, the Prime Minister moved the present General Director of Meteorology to work for the Prime Minister's office [an inactive post]. The reason is because he did not warn about the tsunami disaster and lots of people died. They also pledged to help Mr. Samit Thammasarot implement a warning system.

Thairath - January 4, 2005

* The head village of Ban Khaolak, Mu 2 Tumbon Khaolak revealed the legend of Khaolak [the place with the most tsunami casualties]. It was a cruel land and many people were killed by thieves and some killed each other because of fighting over mineral wealth. At the beach there is a stone pole which is tied up with red cloth and is 100 years old. The villagers always have a ritual ceremony every year, but this year (2004), people did not do so and it is believed that the disaster happened because of this.

* Bloody news [the graphic/sensational photo on the front page] -
At Amphur Taklee, Nakornsawan province, Mr. Nipun Pensri, 51-years-old, was shot by his wife. Later on she surrendered. She said she was upset that her husband has another woman and usually quarreled with her and recently hit her.

* Many sectors have asked to postpone election day from February 6 to February 13--especially the six southern provinces that faced the tsunami. The Election Commission has confirmed that every sectors is ready for election day and is able to make a voting list in time although there are some people who have disappeared.