Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bomb kills policeman at ex-MP's home

Bomb kills policeman at ex-MP's home

Nakhon Ratchasima (TNA) - Police on Monday said they were considering possible personal conflicts as a motive behind an explosion Sunday explosion near a rented home of former Thai Rak Thai Party MP Suporn Atthawong.

Police also included political conflict as a possible motive of the incident in Soeng Sang District on Sunday night killing a victim who was later identified as Pol Sgt Maj Damnern Maesoong, 48. He was attached to Soong-nern police station in this northeastern province.

Police also found a 9mm pistol, belonging to the victim, at the scene of the explosion.

Nakhon Ratchasima deputy police commander, Pol Col Pongdej Prommijit, said Mr Suporn rented the house near the bombing site for his subordinates. He himself has never stayed at the house.

Mr Suporn narrowly escaped a shooting against him at his resdience in Kornburi District on July 1 last year, Pol Col Pongdej said, adding that police were finding out the objectives of Mr Suporn's presence in Soeng Sang District. Mr Suporn was a member of the banned TRT Party and did not run the Dec 23 general election.

Officials who conducted a preliminary investigation at the site of the explosion speculated that Pol Sgt Maj Damnern might have accidently triggered the bomb which he was carrying, said Pol Col Pongdej,

Pol Col Pongdej and another senior police officer on Monday interrogated Mr Suporn, his family members and subordinates at the latter's residence in Kornburi District.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont, in his capacity as interior minister, said he has received an initial report of possible political violences in light of upcoming by-elections in several provinces but he would not pinpoint if the violences, if any, would be politically-related.

He said he had instructed the national police chief to be more alert for possible violence.

19:03 Jan 14, 2008

Baht hits new 10-year high against dollar

The baht currency appreciated to 33.13 to the US dollar on Monday, its strongest showing in 10 years against a continuously weakening greenback.

Currency dealers at Bank of Ayudhya predicted that the baht would further strengthen to 33 to the dollar soon. The US dollar is weaker because of concerns about a US economic slowdown.

The latest US trade figures showed that in November the country experienced a trade deficit of US$6.3 billion, the highest in 14 months, since imports, particularly of fuel, had increased.

At the same time, the country's exports edged up by 0.4 per cent, hitting a record one-month high boosted by the weaker US dollar.

Meanwhile, the Stock Exchange of Thailand's composite index continued to drop in the morning trading
session in the same direction with other regional markets.

It opened lower and fell below a support level of 790 points, but recouped its loss and closed at 791.30, down 5.17 or 0.65 per cent, with a thin trading volume of 4.95 billion baht. (TNA)

15:14 Jan 14, 2008

Army Chief denies hand in political issues

(BangkokPost.com) – Gen Anupong Paochinda has distanced himself from politics, affirming that he has no intention of interfering with matters at the Defence Ministry.

The Army Commander was responding to reports that he would soon be responsible for naming a new Defence Minister and that he was already backing former Army Commander Gen Prawit Wongsuwan as the front-runner to win the Defence portfolio.

“Politicians should be responsible for these issues. It wouldn’t be in my place to interfere. Before any new appointments are made, however, I really think there should first be political stability in the country. Having said that, Gen Prawit is a very capable soldier and he is a well-respected military figure.”

He also denied claims about his alleged role as mediator between Mrs Potjamarn Shinawatra, wife of ousted premier Thaksin and the government.

“I never met with Mrs Potjaman nor have I volunteered to act as mediator between her and the government,” Gen Anupong insisted.

15:13 Jan 14, 2008

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