Posts Tagged ‘Bangkok’
BANGKOK, April 30 (Xinhua) — Thai Parliament is hosting an international meeting of parliamentarians from 10 ASEAN member states, which mainly focus on the region’s natural disasters response and preparation for the building of an ASEAN Community by 2015.
The ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) Caucus is ongoing at a hotel in Bangkok from April 30 to May 3.
The Senate Speaker, Gen Teeradej Meepien, said the meeting helps strengthen relationships among ASEAN members and expand cooperation with other regions as well.
According to Gen Teeradej, the main topics at this year’s meeting include the update on the implementation of AIPA, presentation on each country’s disaster management program and draft laws on disaster management.
The opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva has been appointed AIPA Chairman this year.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) formed in 1967 consists of 10 Southeast Asian nations — Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam with an aim to promote political and economic cooperation and regional integration.
The establishment of AIPA was at the initiative of Indonesia in early 1970s to boost parliamentary cooperation among ASEAN parliaments.
25 October 2011,AFP
BANGKOK - Bangkok’s second airport shut down Tuesday as floodwaters advanced into the Thai capital, forcing authorities in “crisis mode” to declare a five-day public holiday in preparation for the deluge.
The cabinet ordered an October 27-31 holiday for Bangkok and 20 other provinces affected by the kingdom’s worst flooding in decades, amid warnings a high tide would surge up the capital’s main river and escalate the disaster.
“The government has switched to a crisis mode as a massive run-off will arrive in the capital on October 26, coinciding with a high tide on October 28,” the Flood Relief Operations Centre (FROC) said in a statement.
Ministers made the decision at a meeting in Don Mueang airport in the city’s north, which handles domestic flights and has also been doubling as an evacuee shelter and a headquarters for the flood relief operation.
But as the waters that have already flooded several northern and eastern districts of Bangkok closed in, both airlines operating there, Nok Air and Orient Thai, said they were suspending all flights.
“Because a lot of water is creeping into the northern premises of the airport, it could cause planes to slide on the runways,” Airports of Thailand said, adding that Don Mueang’s two runways would be closed until November 1.
About 100 domestic flights normally operate from the airport each day.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who is facing her first major crisis since coming to power in August, said before the cabinet meeting that the evacuees sheltering there would also have to relocate.
“We will move them to safe areas,” she said.
The public holidays are designed to allow Bangkok’s 12 million residents to brace for the floods now creeping towards the city centre after swamping other parts of the nation, killing some 360 people and damaging millions of homes.
“The public and private sectors have been urged to allow their flood-hit staff some time off, so that they would have a chance to look after their property and protect their homes,” said the FROC statement.
Schools and government offices will be closed, while the central bank said it was still considering whether to shut down financial markets during the newly-declared public holidays.
Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra made a televised address Tuesday warning residents along the Chao Phraya river in the capital to be on “full alert” after the waterway reached record highs of of 2.30 metres on Monday.
“If the situation continues in these circumstances, the water level this weekend will hit 2.60 metres, while our average flood embankment is 2.50 metres high,” he said.
In the city centre, residents were lining up to buy bottled water directly from trucks resupplying shops, after days of panic-buying emptied supermarket shelves.
Information about the floods has often been inconsistent, with politically inexperienced Yingluck apparently at odds with Bangkok’s local administration, run by a rival party, and rumours of tensions with the army.
A defence official in Washington said the US navy had withdrawn several ships, including aircraft carriers, sent to help with relief efforts in Thailand after receiving “mixed” messages from the Bangkok government.
“There were two channels (in the Thai government),” the defence official told AFP. “One was saying ‘Yes’ and one was saying ‘No.’”
But Thailand’s defence minister, General Yutthasak Sasiprapa, indicated that authorities felt they were able to handle the situation themselves.
“We have not denied their assistance, but we have our own aircraft so we would rather use ours,” he told reporters, adding however that he was unclear over the details of the US offer and needed to check with the air force chief.
A spokesman from the US embassy in Bangkok said one ship from the US group had docked in Thailand on October 20 and its helicopters had since been on missions coordinated with the Thai army and other US agencies.
AP-Friday, November 28, 2008
BANGKOK, Thailand — Thailand’s government demoted the national police chief on Friday after he failed to end a siege of the capital’s airports by anti-government protesters.
Hundreds of demonstrators, demanding the government’s ouster, stormed Suvarnabhumi international airport on Tuesday and took over the smaller Don Muang domestic airport a day later. The capital remains completely cut off from air traffic, stranding thousands of travelers and dealing severe blows to the economy.
Government spokesman Nattawut Sai-Kau said National Police Chief Gen. Pacharawat Wongsuwan has been moved to an inactive post in the prime minister’s office.
Nattawut declined to comment on the order, issued by Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat.
It was not clear if Pacharawat was removed because the police failed to evict the protesters, but it could be because he apparently made no attempt to negotiate a peaceful end to the crisis, as the government had asked.
Interior Minister Kowit Wattana met with police at a precinct near Suvarnabhumi on Friday.
About 200 police, carrying riot gears and shields, were seen outside airport offices, which are about 400 yards (meters) from the terminal where the protesters are camped out.
The airport takeover capped months of demonstrations by the protesters, who belong to the People’s Alliance for Democracy. They took over the prime minister’s office three months ago, virtually paralyzing the government.
They say they won’t give up until the government steps down.
“We are ready to defend ourselves against any government’s operations to get us out of those places,” said Parnthep Wongpuapan, an alliance spokesman.
Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat declared a state of emergency around the capital’s two main airports, which would allow security forces to oust thousands of anti-government protesters from the terminals.
Somchai accused the protesters of “holding the country hostage and the public hostage.”
“I do not have any intention to hurt any members of the public,” he added, though the imposition of the measures raised the possibility that violent clashes could break out as authorities moved on Suvarnabhumi international airport and the city’s older, smaller Don Muang airport.
The declaration empowers the government to suspend some civil liberties, including restricting the movement of people and prohibiting mass assembly in certain locations.
The People’s Alliance for Democracy, which has been demanding the resignation of Somchai and his government, seized control of Suvarnabhumi international airport on Tuesday, forcing the cancellation of all flights in and out of the capital and sending thousands of tourists to hole up in Bangkok hotels.
The standoff, which began three months ago when the group occupied the prime minister’s office compound, has paralyzed the government, battered the stock market, spooked foreign investors and dealt a serious blow to the tourism industry.
Government Spokesman Nattawut Sai-kua earlier called the seizure of the airports “a terrorist act.”
“The prime minister says we have to use peaceful means,” he said. “(Security officials) will negotiate (with protesters) first and we will go step by step, adhering to international standard and the law.”
The protesters are seeking the resignation of Somchai, whom they accuse of being a proxy for former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Thaksin, who is Somchai’s brother-in-law, is in exile, a fugitive from a conviction for violating a conflict of interest law.