Thai-language newspapers – January 17, 2005

Matichon - January 17, 2005

* Maew [nickname of PM Thaksin] distributes sweets to teachers on Teacher’s Day, January 16. After election day he will organize a workshop to listen to teacher’s opinions about their safety, security and curriculum. It is necessary to listen closely otherwise the teachers’ lives go down and impact the education system.

* Mr. Sunti Utaiphan, the Deputy Director of the Village and Urban Fund Committee said that they will lift the status of village funds to be village banks as they request. In the beginning, 100 banks will be organized at the end of January. When each fund is ready it can become a bank and the Government Savings Bank will set up a management system and computer network for them.

* Mr. Aut Somrang, the General Director of Land Development Department warns that Watermelon-Grape are contaminated with a lot of chemicals. They prepare to push organic agriculture to be a national agenda which is a 5-year-plan after year 2005 and will need a budget around 20,000-30,000 million baht. Meanwhile, NGOs in Surin noted this year is a safe food year, but we still find 2-3 kinds of banned chemicals at the dry grocers in villagers.

Thairath - January 17, 2005

* On January 16, Mr. Natthi Jitsawang, the Director General of the Penitentiary Department, Ministry of Justice, said that there will relay the execution of prisoners online and show prisoners' activities before they are going to die. Normally the execution zone is mysterious and they do not allow people to see it so online view will be the first time in 86 years people can see it. People can visit www.correct.go.th.

[This scheme was quickly shot down (see below) and is a good example of state officials who are out-of-touch with the rights of their charges as well as basic modern notions of what one should say in public. It is also interesting to note that in most cases, the English-language newspapers do not mention names of Thai-language newspapers.]

PRISONER RIGHTS: Death row reality show axed - Justice Ministry halts plan for TV programme on the last days of inmates facing execution - The Nation, January 18, 2005
Corrections Department director-general Natthee Jitsawang unveiled the plan on Sunday and a Thai-language mass-circulation newspaper, gave the story front page treatment with promises of live broadcasts about executions. The Justice Ministry pulled the plug yesterday on a plan by the Corrections Department to initiate a reality-show programme by installing Web cams in the cells of inmates on death row and broadcasting live their final moments before they are executed...

* For the lottery of January 16, double digits come out again after skipping for two times. Mr. Jumroon Chaloenjit, a farmer from Saraburi province, won 29 million baht with No. 22.

* Bloody news [the graphic/sensational photo on the front page] - On January 16 at 2:00am, a 27-year-old in a Chevrolet Safira van, crashed a green Mira making it turn over and catch fire on the tollway Boorapaviti (Bangkok-Chonburi road). The driver of the Mira, Mrs. Samai Somnet, and her daughter and son died in the fire. The van driver and his friend were injured and sent to Chularat Hospital.

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