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SOP for Schools:
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Friday, March 18, 2011,
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Weekly NewsLetter
23 May 2011
    Vol.1 No.15

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The Editor's Corner


Who’s in Charge?
          On Thursday, May 19, a crowd of about 20,000 red-shirt members of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) invaded the Ratchaprasong intersection of Bangkok to mark the 1-year anniversary of the end of their three-month occupation of the same intersection in 2010.

Prior to the commemoration event, Thai media had reported that the Thai Royal Police, the area merchants and the UDD leadership had agreed not to block traffic or cause merchants distress and to remain peaceful. Of these three items, only the peaceful nature of the gathering occurred. The first thing the UDD did was to set up a stage at the intersection, which of course blocked traffic in Bangkok, a city with more than enough traffic problems already. The five companies of Thai police apparently stood idly by as observers.

The economic fallout of the red-shirt event started with the cancellation of about 1,500 room reservations and meetings for 3,000 guests at the many 5-star international hotels in the Ratchaprasong district.

On Friday, the Ratchaprasong Square Traders Association (RSTA) and members of democracy Without Infringement announced plans to sue the government and the UDD for total business losses estimated at 10 billion baht (US$329.5 million) since the red shirts seized area in April 2010. Chai Srivikorn, the president of the RSTA, said, “ They broke all the agreements. We're in trouble again and again,If the government can't handle this issue and lets demonstrations happen everywhere, it should not manage the country anymore. We pay tax but the protests infringe on our rights and cost us money."

Napatsakorn Limsuwongkasam, a cloth shop owner in the Pratunam area, borrowed around 500,000 baht to keep her shop afloat after the May 19, 2010, riots. She said, "My shop has been affected by repeated red shirt protests since last April. Whenever there is a protest, local and foreign customers disappear. Red shirts can move their rallies elsewhere but we can't do that with our shops because we have been here for more than 10 years. The rallies should not affect other people, but they end up costing us money."

This is not the first time that Thai police have defaulted on their duties to protect the public interest. With the Thai general election campaign under way and the election set for July 3, the failure of the Thai police in this instance is an ominous sign.


Top News from Southeast Asia

May 22 , 2011


These were the most important stories published by Asean Affairs during the week of May 14-20.

Experts to review Lynas project
The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has agreed to appoint an expert team to review the health and safety aspects of the proposed rare earth processing facility to be undertaken by Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd in Gebeng, Pahang. The review will take place from May 29-June 3.

Philippine economy grows  
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Cayetano Paderanga expects economic growth to grow by more than 6 percent during the first three months of this year due to a strong agricultural growth.

Thai footwear industry awaits AEC  
Chanin Jitkomut has high hopes for the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015, as he intends to make Thailand the regional footwear leader as president of the Thai Footwear Association.

Toyota resumes operations in June  
The Philippines’ largest vehicle assembler, Toyota, plans to returns to normal operations next month, after the disruption caused by Japan’s triple disaster at the end of the first quarter.

Indonesia can bridge West-Islam  
Indonesia has been able to prove its hope of bridging Islam and the West, Indonesian Ambassador to Germany, Eddy Pratomo said.

Party formally approves Yingluck  
As her fugitive brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, proclaims her as his "clone," Yingluck Shinawatra has formally been voted the No.1 candidate on the Pheu Thai party list system to compete against the Democrat Party's Abhisit Vejjajiva for the next premiership in Thailand's July 3 election.

Vietnamese seaports to use e-customs  
Seven seaports will experimentally apply electronic customs declarations effective June 9 under a new decision by the Prime Minister.

Fall in commodity prices-“temporary” 
Growth concerns and inflationary pressure continue to plague the commodity markets, which are experiencing the worst rout since 2008 when the subprime crisis came to a head.

Malaysia launches green economy  
Malaysia is launching an ambitious plan to build a “green economy” with the help of an advisory council that includes economist Jeffrey Sachs and the UN climate change chief.

Philippines competitiveness ranking slips 
Despite improved macroeconomic indicators and private sector efficiency, the competitiveness ranking of the Philippines dropped two notches and remained the cellar-dweller among the Asia-Pacific countries covered by the World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY) 2011.

Kasikorn Bank finances solar projects  
Kasikornbank is preparing to help the developer of Asean's largest solar power project raise 21 billion baht as the bank seeks to maintain its leadership in renewable energy financing, says Krisada Lamsam senior executive vice-president.

Vietnam asserts islands sovereignty  
Vietnam has affirmed its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos and protested against China's recent actions concerning the two island groups.

Talks move forward on Trans-Pacific trade deal  
Asia-Pacific nations said on Thursday they were making progress on reaching a free trade framework by November as the United States urged negotiators to look beyond deadlocked WTO talks.

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