Saturday, February 27, 2010

Thaksin - the Verdict

Thaksin - the Verdict.

We will post some audio from BBC and some random thoughts.





Might have some time later to write a bit about everything right now it's an hour to the Hockey game and I'm a bit punchy from getting up at night to check the verdict from Thailand.  I'd rather be fresher when I'm commenting.

I can't comment on the entire verdict at the moment as I've only seen pieces of it. I have said that for it to be accepted by society it must be fair, Neutral, reasonable and not seen as being contrived. Initially the verdict appears to be reasonable, but again i have not read it completely. It does however appear that there was a leak to the government from comments and actions by the government and others prior to the verdict, if that relates into society feeling the verdict was preconceived time will tell.

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posted by Ricefield radio @ 2:09 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Friday, February 26, 2010

Does this matter in the grand scheme of things .

#thai1 In the grand scheme of things what matters? In Thailand everyone is waiting for the bomb to drop and the yelling and screaming to begin at the assets seizure. Here in Canada at the Olympics the yelling and screaming hasn't stopped since the Canadian Women's Hockey Team took the gold medal this afternoon. Not that there isn't controversy here the IOC is annoyed that the women had a bottle of Champagne and a couple of bottles of beer on the ice after the medal ceremony.

If you want to see a country erupt just strip the medals off the Canadian women and the Canuks will draw and quarter the IOC members that can't get out of town in time.

Beer, Pizza and Hockey is the Saturday night entertainment in 90% of the country as it's "Hockey Night IN Canada". I remember a long time ago that the CBC had a comedy program and they went onto the street in Toronto. They ask if people could recognize the song they were playing almost half said it was the Canadian National Anthem, in reality it was the theme song to.... You guessed it "Hockey Night IN Canada".

In Thailand, reports from some very well respected foreign media are saying that there is little action at the court house. Newley Purnell reported on twitter, "In courtyard outside supreme ct. Dozens of police, TV crews, and photogs. but very calm. haven't seen single protester outside."

You have to think the UDD sucker punched the government on this. They have decided not to protest and the Government has more security, troops and police on the street than the Burmese junta did during their last crackdown. Sure will make a good picture for the world press and help to restore the tourist industry.

In the grand scheme of things what matters? Well here in Canada it would be Hockey because if you ask anyone who Thaksin is they'd probably tell you some European Hockey player.

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posted by Ricefield radio @ 1:52 PM   0 Comments Links to this post

Songs for Today

#Thai1  Songs for today and all one hit wonders.


For the Yellows....



For Khun Suthep....



For general A



For Our PM.....




For Thaksin...



For the Reds...





For the Reds and Rural, Yellow and Elite



And for the rest of US....

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posted by Ricefield radio @ 10:25 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Former PM still a Hero with Poor

Down a bumpy rural track in Thailand's impoverished north-east, Pichit Peema is gathering produce for his thriving local business, set up seven years ago under a village loan scheme.

Previously a struggling rice farmer, he used the policy introduced by Thaksin Shinawatra, the ousted prime minister, to start a mushroom-growing operation, and can now collect up to 200 kilogrammes (440 pounds) a day to sell across Udon Thani province.

My life is better - I can give the money to my children so they can graduate and have a better life," said Pichit, 47, adding proudly that his eldest son is a qualified electrical engineer in Bangkok.

Taking a break by his brightly painted new house topped with a huge satellite dish, he praised Thaksin, who was elected twice, for bettering his lot with the low-interest lending programme.

"Thaksin was a great social engineer because he helped poor people," he said of the telecoms tycoon, who was deposed in a coup in 2006 and now lives abroad, mainly in Dubai, to escape a two-year jail term for graft.

The controversial former PM continues to be a source of deep divisions in Thailand, where his numerous critics accuse him of corruption, widespread cronyism and grave human rights abuses during a notorious "war on drugs".

But Pichit is one of the "Red Shirts" - the brightly-dressed, pro-Thaksin group planning their next mass anti-government protests after a court ruling due Friday on whether to seize the billionaire's assets, which were frozen after the coup.

Here in Thaksin's stronghold - the neglected north-eastern region of Isaan, the poorest part of Thailand - his followers say he was the first prime minister to properly address the needs of the rural populace.

"In our era we have not seen a person like Thaksin before. He is a hero for us," said Tongsri Yothkeaw, 55, who works as a rice farmer and on her family's small flower-growing operation in the village of Huay Samhan, also in Udon Thani.

Pointing to her throat, she explained that a thyroid operation cost her less than one US dollar thanks to the so-called 30-baht health care scheme introduced by Thaksin after he came to power in 2001.

"He used to help us. I want him to come back," she said. "The government doesn't help us any more... We are very scared about the economy nowadays."

While agriculture is the main economic activity in Isaan, which is tucked away from Thailand's well-trodden tourist trail, farming has been hindered by the mainly arid, sandy land that allows for fewer rice harvests than in other areas.

Analysts say a dearth of quality education, technology and infrastructure has also been instrumental in the poverty of Isaan's people.

Thaksin appealed to these marginalised masses not only with his populist policies but also in his style of leadership, according to historian Chris Baker, who has written extensively on the former premier.

"Here was this man who appeared in his open-necked shirt, not very smart, coming to the village and saying, 'Tell me what you want me to do'," said Baker.

"This was a very empowering idea in a country where politicians have tended to be rather remote," he said.

While the current prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, has maintained some of Thaksin's policies, Baker said he has returned to the older, more detached style of governance - only serving to strengthen Thaksin's popularity.

"He was a little bit corrupt but he worked more for the people," said Bangkok food vendor Yoon Poodindan, 47, one of the capital's many economic migrants from the north-east.

The fugitive ex-PM's supporters have vowed to hold fresh protests in mid-March until they see the back of Abhisit's government, which took power in December 2008 after the fall of the previous, pro-Thaksin administration.

The Red Shirts say they are campaigning against the power of Thailand's elite - including army and palace officials - whom they accuse of ousting elected governments and defending entrenched social inequalities.

"I think the Red Shirt movement is not about Thaksin alone, it's for equality in society," said Samreng Mahakor, 40, a Bangkok motorcycle taxi driver also from Isaan.

"Red Shirts have been treated as second-class people. Even if Thaksin dies, we won't stop until we get fairness," he said.

By Rachel O'Brien, in Udon Thani for AFP
 
We felt this article was worth a post as it's a very fair representation of the rural poor.

posted by Ricefield radio @ 1:32 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Another Day, Another Hockey Game

Another Day, Another Hockey Game or four.  Today Geoff his wife, Luk Aron and I watched the Canada Russian game while fine dining on pepperoni pizza.  Another blowout by Canada and a lot of yelling and screaming by Geoff and Louise. 


I have to say that our family is not a big hockey fan.  We'd much rather watch football (soccer) than anything else.  We are really looking forward to the World Cup and wish we could afford to go.  Last world cup we watched all but 3 games so we will probably be burning the candle at both ends again this summer.

Watched the woman's Giant Slalom on TV this morning and it wasn't as exciting as I thought it would be.  Maybe I'm just getting old and nothing is exciting any more. 

After the Hockey game we watched Woman's two man bobsled, an oxymoron if there ever was one and Canada got Gold and Silver with Germany getting Bronze.  Everyone in the top 4-5 could have won so it was interesting. If you have ever driven on an icy road at 120 km down a 45 degree hill with a 90 degree turn at the bottom you may have a bit of an idea what an adrenalin rush these people must have.

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posted by Ricefield radio @ 11:53 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Even more Hockey

Last night most people who had bought tickets in advance thought that they would see some poor teams like Belarus or Latvia. Instead they lucked out in the draw and got to see Germany vs Canada.





I watched with my best friend in Canada, Geoff.   To say Geoff is passionate about Hockey and the Canadian team in general would be a major understatement. Although the game was not even close the Germans played well for a group of semi professionals against the powerhouse Canuks. What was evident was the amount of passion in the stands. It reminded me of the Gladiators vs the Lions and the gladiators were tearing the Lions limb from limb. In the end the 8-2 score reflected the quality of the players but Germany could hold their head proud they scored 2 goals against the Canadians which almost doubled their goal output in the entire tournament lead up to this game. Final score 8-2.

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hockey Night on Canada

I'm not that much of a hockey fan, I'm waiting for the World Cup. We did take in 2 games yesterday and I must admit that both were much better than I had thought they would be.

Game 1 was Canada against Switzerland. The media was hyping the Canadians to destroy the Swiss as the Swiss knocked the Canuks off last time in Italy. Canada had all their highly paid superstar players. Switzerland had a ragtag team of people almost all I had never even heard of. Canada got a goal fast but the swiss managed to keep with them for a 2-2 tie at the end of regulation time. The Swiss held their own in overtime and only lost in a shootout. This morning the Media is hyping the Canadian win but in actual fact the Swiss caused Canada to lose a point, as points are split if the game goes into overtime Canada received 2 points, Switzerland one. I must admit I was really pulling for the Swiss as they were such an underdog.

The next game was powerhouse Russia VS Slovakia. Same thing good game ending up in a shootout, with the underdog Slovaks winning.

I'm still in denial that I actually watched 6 plus hours of hockey in a row. Maybe I'm getting ready for the World Cup because I only missed 3 games last time.

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posted by Ricefield radio @ 1:16 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Top 10 Medal Winners

Top 10 Medal Winners
Country G S B Total
UNITED STATES 6 5 7 18
GERMANY 4 4 3 11
NORWAY 3 3 2 8
CANADA 3 3 1 7
FRANCE 2 1 4 7
SOUTH KOREA 3 2 0 5
AUSTRIA 1 2 2 5
SWITZERLAND 3 0 1 4
CHINA 2 1 1 4
RUSSIA 1 2 1 4

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Some Great TV Adverts

Just to give some ideas of the Adverts on TV in Canada.   The best so far are from Chevrolet but you have to follow their link here.  The others are from the government and networks.

Chevrolet Adverts









posted by Ricefield radio @ 1:05 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Today's Events Feb 17

Alpine Skiing

Women's Downhill

Cross-Country Skiing
Women's Individual Sprint

Cross-Country Skiing
Men's Individual Sprint

Speed Skating
Men's 1,000 Metre

Luge
Doubles

Short Track
Women's 500 Metre

Snowboarding
Men's Halfpipe

posted by Ricefield radio @ 12:51 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Chopsticks instead of GT200

Narathiwat soldiers opt to use chopsticks instead of GT200 bomb detector.

I was going to write about the Olympics but when I saw this on MCOT I had to laugh and pass it along.


NARATHIWAT, Feb 17 (TNA) - Following the recent test results showing the poor accuracy of the controversial British-made GT200 bomb detectors, Thai security personnel stationed in Narathiwat's provincial seat on Wednesday began using chopsticks seeking for explosives possibly hidden in motorcycles.

posted by Ricefield radio @ 12:40 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Top 10 Medal Winners

Top 10 Medal Winners


Country Total          G-S-B-T

GERMANY             3  4  2  9

UNITED STATES   2  2  4  8

FRANCE                 2  1  4  7

CANADA                2  2  1  5

SOUTH KOREA     3  1  0  4

SWITZERLAND     3  0  1  4

CHINA                    1  1  1  3

AUSTRIA                0  2  1  3

NORWAY               0  2  1  3

ITALY                     0  1  2  3

posted by Ricefield radio @ 9:13 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Upgrade for GT200

There has been a major upgrade for the GT200 detector.  The manufacturer who spoke on anonymity said,  "We know this will be of great help to both the military and the police and is a worth the high cost." 


Original Unit and Cards

With this card the manufacturer guarantees the location of a red shirt within a 1 KM radius anywhere in Thailand but it appears from preliminary tests that it works best north of Bangkok or around police stations, Army camps and court houses.  The card must be used with it's Accessory PR Shirt which picks up spurious signals from ASTV and turns them into a powerful static charge at the end of the users shaft.


New Red Card followed by the Required Accessory PR  Shirt




















The company has not left out the Police although the Accessory PR Shirt is not required.














We put this card to the test in Chiang Mai and indeed it appeared to show Reds everywhere we went especially at the Night Market.  Eventually it even brought us to the Starbucks on Chiang Klan Road.  The red cards work like a dream.

We have it on good authority that Dr. Porntip will certify these new cards and Accesory PR Shirt as the best thing since instant noodles very shortly.  Akthough there is a problem removing a foot from a mouth to regain credibility.

Just in case someone can't figure this all out it's an attempt at humor.  No animals were injured in this post, no bombs were detected and the name have not been changed.

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posted by Ricefield radio @ 7:38 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

What's happening today at 2010

Curling - WTF - That's not an Olympics sport I'm sorry it's a recreation.  They are good I guess but there just isn't the drama that someone skiing around a mountain track with a gun slung over their shoulder has.

Yesterday we watched the Men's downhill it was exciting but not as exciting as I thought it would be.    It was sort of like American football with a few seconds of action interspersed with a lot of waiting.

Yesterdays thrill event was the couples figure skating.  Everyone was falling missing their jumps, out of sync.  I actually ask if they could give a gold medal to someone that couldn't stand up let alone skate.  Then came the Chinese team and they were really spectacular and flawless they were in second place and moved into first.  The other Chinese couple came out as the leader and skated well but not great and just squeaked out the gold, China's fist in skating.  China 1-2 in skating, someone came in third for the bronze but their performance was so bad I didn't even write down their names.

Caught a bit of other stuff like snowboarding on the TV but wasn't all that impressed with that either.

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posted by Ricefield radio @ 3:50 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Best thing about the Olympics

Best thing about the Olympics.  Lots of different colored shirts but no one is about to kill you for what you are wearing.  With maybe the exception of the Black vandals the other day in Downtown Vancouver.

Shhhhh, Don't tell anyone but today I dusted off my favorite yellow shirt and no even noticed when my son and I went shopping this morning.  Maybe I'll try with a blue one tomorrow.  As for red well the whole country is wearing some form of read for Canada so even the UDD's Million Man March would blend in fine here.

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posted by Ricefield radio @ 3:39 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Low Cost Thai Made GT200

Low Cost Thai Made GT200 Video Demonstration.




Turn off the radio feed while watching

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

GT200 Japanese Anime

I found a link to this pic on Twitter by Bangkok Pundent and I just couldn't stop laughing.  Hope you find it just as amusing.



posted by Ricefield radio @ 1:03 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Vancouver 2010 cancels tickets

General admission standing room tickets (priced at $50) have been canceled for Olympic men’s and ladies’ snowboard cross events on Monday and Tuesday at Cypress Mountain. Tickets will be refunded, said the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC).


Heavy warm rains in the last 48 hours have made the `general admission standing room’ area at the Cypress snowboard stadium unsafe for spectators. The rains washed away almost a foot of snow in the area where the standing room area was to be located.

With safety the top priority and with the snowboard cross events starting in less than 24 hours, there is insufficient snow to move and build the standing room area back up at the Cypress snowboard stadium. VANOC has protected sufficient contingency snow for field of play at Cypress Mountain.

This cancellation and refund will affect approximately 4,000 spectators per event.

posted by Ricefield radio @ 12:35 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Today's Medal Count

Madal Count                  G - S - B - T

United States                  1    2    3   6


Germany Germany          1   3    0   4

France France                 2   0    1   3

Canada Canada               1   1    1   3

Korea Korea                   1   1    0   2

Italy Italy                         0  0    2    2

Czech Republic Czech Republic 1 0 0 1

Netherlands Netherlands  1   0   0   1

Switzerland Switzerland  1   0   0   1

Slovakia Slovakia            1   0   0   1

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Bring cauldron out from behind bars

Vancouver Olympic organizers say they are considering changes to the chain link fencing blocking fans from getting a clear view of the Olympic cauldron.


Hundreds of people hoping to bask in the warmth of the flame have been left cold by the fact they can't get anywhere near the cauldron on a downtown Vancouver plaza.

On Sunday morning, one man yelled out: "Mr. Premier, tear down this fence!" - a reference to Ronald Regan's famous 1987 speech that challenged the Soviet Union to take down the Berlin Wall. The line prompted laughter from people in the crowd.

Taking down the fence altogether won't be an option, said Renee Smith-Valade, vice-president of communications for the organizing committee.

"I strongly doubt the security perimeter will be opened, given the sensitivity of the compound that it's in for the International Broadcast Centre and the Main Media Centre," she said.

"The goal is to make it so that at least people can take a picture and enjoy it through a photograph."

Olympic cauldrons are rarely directly accessible to fans, usually buring in or atop a stadium for the duration of the Games.

"There is a security issue and a safety issue too," said Mark Adams, a spokesperson for the International Olympic Committee, who said the issue of Vancouver's cauldron was not raised at a morning meeting between IOC and Vancouver officials.

But the idea of placing a flame behind a fence isn't sitting well with fans.

Viktor Davare, a native of Switzerland who now lives in the Vancouver Island community of Courtney, brought his 14-year-old daughter Nadia to see the flame. They had not expected to see the flame so far away behind security barriers.

"Looking through a fence, it's just a sad feeling," he said.

"I think it's terrible...It's just horrible" said Nadia. "It's like your own country that's hosting it and you should be able to go see the flame and be a part of it."


Her father said he had expected his daughter would be able to stand "in the same foot steps" of Wayne Gretzky, who lit the cauldron on Friday night.

"How close do you ever get a chance to do that in a special place like this, but now..." he said, not finishing the sentence.

Organizers say they are exploring options that won't compromise security but allow for a clear shot.

"We understand that people would like to get close and they would like to see it unobstructed so we'll look to see what we can do," said Smith-Valade.

The cauldron sits in a plaza named for Jack Poole, the chairman of the board of directors for the 2010 Olympic organizing committee, who passed away in October, the day before the flame was lit in Greece.

The choice to put the cauldron in the plaza was made with a view to its post-Games life as a monument to the Olympic Games along the waterfront and next to the $900 million Vancouver Convention Centre which is home to broadcasters during the Games.

So while the public can't get to the flame, those who have Olympic credentials can.

At one point Sunday morning, people on the outside of the fence could see Games volunteer staff posing by the flame and even leaning against one of the pillars that lead up to the cauldron.

"Look at that, so they can do it and we can't," said Nancy Ross of nearby Richmond, B.C. "So all we need is a blue jacket to get through" - a reference to the turquoise uniforms worn by the thousands of Games volunteers.

Others in the crowd Sunday dismissed concerns of Games organizers that the fence was necessary for security reasons.

"There's security right here, police right here," said Dave Patterson of suburban North Delta, pointing at the police who were on the other side of the fence.

"I don't understand why we need a 10-foot fence with concrete abutments to protect the Olympic flame, which is supposed to be about peace, harmony, global partnerships and all that great stuff."


The Canadian Press.

posted by Ricefield radio @ 6:47 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Blame game explodes over luger's fatal crash

The death of a luger has landed the Vancouver Games at the centre of an international controversy, as questions mount about the safety of the world's fastest track and the official response to the tragedy.





Officials from the International Olympic Committee, Vancouver Organizing Committee and International Luge Federation all pinned the death of 21-year-old Georgian Nodar Kumaritashvili on mistakes he made coming out of the second-to-last curve on the run, and insisted that the track is safe.

That explanation triggered outrage from around the world, as luge officials from the United States and elsewhere raised questions about the track's speed - a concern that had been raised by some before Friday's accident - and access to the course for training runs.

Even if Mr. Kumaritashvili came out of curve 15 too late and couldn't regain control of his sled - his speed was 144 km/h - that doesn't explain his death, Georgia's President, Mikheil Saakashvili, said at a news conference. "I've heard remarks from the international federation [of luge] that what happened [Friday] was because of human error," he said.

"I don't claim to know the technical details, but one thing that I know for sure is that no sports mistake is supposed to lead to a death."

In luge, such accidents are rare - pointing to the need for a better explanation, Ron Rossi, chief executive of USA Luge, told reporters at the Whistler Sliding Centre Saturday.

"Lots of drivers make errors, but they don't come flying out of the track," Mr. Rossi said.

Track design and access to the track for training should all be scrutinized, he said.

"They need to be asking questions about lack of training time. Lack of track-designer accountability. I'm going to propose a rule change, to fine the track designers when things like this happen. I'm going to propose rule changes so there is more training time for all."

Canadian officials insist that all teams were given opportunities for practice, despite some accusations from abroad that they restricted access to the track.

"We worked very closely with the FIL [luge federation] ... And largely we've lived up to those obligations and surpassed them," said VANOC vice-president of sports Tim Gayda.

In addition to two international training weeks for the luge federation, "we also offered additional training for the smaller nations starting on Jan. 1 leading up to the Games," Mr. Gayda said. "So it's really up to the teams to take advantage of these training [dates]."

Mr. Kumaritashvili, who was ranked 55th out of 62 sliders in the world last year and had moved up to 44th this season, did 20 runs on the course in November, and another five this week before his last run Friday, said Svein Romstad, secretary-general of the International Luge Federation.

Mr. Romstad said he had no complaints about the amount of training time given to international teams.

Mr. Saakashvili dismissed suggestions that Mr. Kumaritashvili lacked the experience to tackle such a difficult track. Mr. Kumaritashvili's father and uncle, he said, participated in luge; the family is from a part of the country that used to be a major winter sports training centre during Soviet times.

"You cannot say that it was inexperience," the Georgian leader said. "He is not coming out of the blue." He added that other more experienced athletes had had trouble with the track.

Training was a particularly crucial issue because of the track's speed. Its status as the fastest in the world, with a maximum speed of 155 km/h, had stirred concerns in the weeks leading up to the Games, as some experienced lugers questioned its safety.


Before the Olympics, American luger Tony Benshoof told NBC that when he first got on the track, "I thought that somebody was going to kill themselves."

A few weeks ago, the head of the International Luge Federation, Josef Fendt, told a British newspaper that the track in the $100-million Whistler Sliding Centre was too fast.

"We had planned it to be a maximum of 137 kilometres per hour but it is about 20 km/h faster," Mr. Fendt said. "We think this is a planning mistake."

Saturday, Mr. Fendt backed away from those comments, saying he was referring to future tracks when he said the track should have a maximum speed of 137 km/h.

"We're not saying the track is too fast," he told reporters. "I never said that the track is unsafe."

Mr. Fendt joined the chorus of officials who pinned the crash on Mr. Kumaritashvili losing control of his sled.

VANOC produced figures Saturday showing that out of more than 30,000 runs over the past two years, including luge, bobsleigh and skeleton, there had been only 350 sled turnovers. The "crash ratio," luge officials insisted, was no higher than other tracks.

Officials saw nothing out of the ordinary before Mr. Kumaritashvili's run. "When you look at the overall, for lack of a better word, crash ratio, it is on par with other tracks," said the luge federation's Mr. Romstad.

While they insisted the accident was not related to any "deficiencies" in the track's design, officials raised the wall of the track yesterday near turn 16 and moved the start of the men's competition to the women's starting position.

They also made changes to the ice surface to help ensure that when a sled veers off the track, it will be pulled back on. As for padding or hay bales around the steel poles, VANOC's Mr. Gayda said the objective is always to keep a slider on the track because once he or she flies off, padding or hay bales won't help to cushion an impact at such high speed. However, padding was added to the poles later in the day.

Wolfgang Staudinger, Canadian luge coach, said coaches were not consulted enough before the final decision was made to lower the start. He didn't know, he said, until he showed up in the morning and was handed a piece of paper.

"The people that are racing - the international luge and bobsled and skeleton communities - nobody will point fingers. This could have happened anywhere in the world. It's just a sad story that it happened here during training for the Olympics."

Mr. Romstad said officials considered halting the competition altogether, but decided to press ahead after meeting with team representatives.

He acknowledged that the new starting positions will only slow the men down by about 10 km/h. Instead, he said the changes were more about trying to calm the athletes.

"The bottom line is that the decisions made are to deal with the emotional components for the athletes, to mediate as best as possible the traumatic experience of this tragic event," he said.

Mr. Benshoof, the American luger who warned of the track's danger before the Olympics, was the first man to slide down the track after Mr. Kumaritashvili's death.

Mr. Benshoof said Friday he did his best to concentrate on his run.

"In my mind, I had two runs for a big competition. I'm treating it the same way. We have a job to do. I tried to put that out of my head."

CTV reports from Doug Saunders

posted by Ricefield radio @ 6:33 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Poll: Thai public fears violence if court seizes assets of ousted premier Thaksin

A new survey conducted last week by the reputable Dusit Poll found that less than half of the public has paid close attention to developments regarding the legal resolution of what should be done with the assets of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.


Only two in five--slightly over 41 per cent of respondents--have closely followed developments of the court which will deliver its verdict later this month on whether the frozen assets of ousted prime minister Thaksin and his family should be seized.

The respondents also fear that violence could occur.

The survey was conducted among 2,241 people in Bangkok and the surrounding provinces from February 9 to 13 with 41.20 per cent of respondents still believing that Mr Thaksin was innocent and violence could take place.



The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions will rule on February 26 whether Bt76.6 billion in frozen assets belonging to Mr Thaksin and his family should be seized. The ex-premier is accused of accumulating the assets by abusing his power while prime minister.

Mr Thaksin was ousted from power in a bloodless coup in September 2006.

Over one-third, almost 36 per cent, said they were uncertain, but believed that it should be handled solely by the judicial system.

< RR - If 41.2% feel he's inocent and 36% are uncertain that means that only 22.8% believe him guilty>

One-third of respondents, 33.3 per cent, said that the best solution is to let the judges decide the case justly. (TNA)

posted by Ricefield radio @ 4:43 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What went on

Women's Hockey.  Didn't think that Canada's first game would be really memorable but you couldn't help but fell bad for Slovakia when they were not just beaten but beaten to death.  18-0 is not a score it's a slaughter.  The IOC has to do something about their Goals for-against rule.  The Canadians had to rack up this huge score because of this stupid IOC rule  but it wasn't even close after 5 minutes of the first period.  All in all this was a waste of my time.

The Woman's Mogul event was interesting for a couple of reasons.  First there was little to no snow except on the course itself and it was exciting but the weather was just atrocious.  Heavy rain and high winds made it look like the final would be canceled or postponed.  In the end they ran the event and it went right down to the wire.  The second to last competitor, Canada's Jenn Heil, moved into first place.  The last competitor was Hannah Kearney who squeaked out a win for the US. by a single point.

There is still a huge controversy surrounding the death in Luge practice.  They have moved the men down to the womens start but everyone is blaming it on everyone else.  I'll do a Blog on it later but it's 8 am and I gotta go.

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posted by Ricefield radio @ 11:11 PM   0 Comments Links to this post

Top 10 Medal Winners - Day 1

Top 10 Medal Winners Day 1


Country Total   G -S-B - T

UNITED STATES 1 1 2 4

SOUTH KOREA   1 1 0 2

NETHERLANDS  1 0 0 1

SWITZERLAND   1 0 0 1

SLOVAKIA           1 0 0 1

CANADA              0 1 0 1

GERMANY           0 1 0 1

POLAND               0 1 0 1

AUSTRIA              0 0 1 1

FRANCE               0 0 1 1

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posted by Ricefield radio @ 11:55 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Arrests, Beatings as Saturday Protest Turns Violent

Arrests, Beatings at Olympics.  Black-clad activists smash downtown Vancouver store windows, police crack down.

At least two officers were injured, the Vancouver Sun said.




Local reports said the protesters hurled objects at police, spray-painted cars and buses, intimidated pedestrians and pushed over mail and newspaper boxes.

Riot police moved in to break up the protest, with several demonstrators arrested.

In the evening, around 1,500 people were involved in an angry standoff with police, and despite sticks and bottles being thrown the protesters failed in their bid to disrupt the opening ceremony.

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posted by Ricefield radio @ 5:39 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ricefield Radio Live 24/7

Never underestimate the power of Radio.
http://ricefieldradio.com/

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posted by Ricefield radio @ 1:32 PM   0 Comments Links to this post

Olympics Star Dies In Luge Crash

An Olympics star has died in an horrific 90mph luge accident at the winter games.


Georgian hopeful Nodar Kumaritashvili flew off the track and into a metal pole in Whistler, Canada.  Medics administered CPR at the scene following the second of two training runs.  Kumaritashvili was then placed on a stretcher with blood pouring from his head and taken away in an ambulance.
An International Olympic Committee official confirmed this morning that the luger had died.

Witnesses told how the 21-year-old crashed at one of the fastest points near the bottom of the track on the final 270-degree turn. 

He hit both sides of the wall before being hurled over the top and smashing into the pole at the side of the track. 

Earlier Italian Armin Zoeggler, the 2002 and 2006 gold medalist, also crashed but was not badly injured.  On Wednesday there were several accidents during women's luge training runs.  Romania's Violeta Stramaturaru was knocked unconscious for a few minutes and taken to hospital.

The track is widely-regarded as one of the most dangerous in the sport.

I have seen the video but have elected not to post it.

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posted by Ricefield radio @ 4:08 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

New Contest in April

We have joined with King Bizkit Records in the UK to bring you another contest.  This time for the re release CD of 'HOOKED ON YOU' by The Sensational King Bizkit Blues Band in the run-up to the release of their new CD in May.  'SELLING MY SOUL' will be the name of this new album and we will have yet another contest once it is released to us from King Bizkit Records.
For those that have not heard this group we'll give you a bit of a taste of what you are in for in April, some really great blues.
ANOTHER KINDA LOVE
HOOKED ON YOU
A GOOD FOOL IS HARD TO FIND
JEALOUS WOMAN

Now if you can't wait you can always go to their website and put in your order.

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posted by Ricefield radio @ 3:26 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Live Winter Olympic Coverage

Free Olympic coverage here in Canada is hard to find because it's on TV live.  A large number of stations from both Canada and the US are broadcasting it.  We have searched and found a couple to help those that don't want to spend a lot of time searching.

Sopcast will have it on for sure but you have to download and install their software.  Their system worked well once when I wanted to watch a specific sports event that just wasn't available elsewhere for free. One benefit of Sopcast is you can record to your hard disk like a video recorder, problem is that you need a huge hard disk.  Well worth a try.

 Sopcast Website....

BBC will have a specific site just for live TV of the Olympics.  They have an interactive schedule where you can you can check their programing.  I'll leave it to you to convert UK time to Thai time.

BBC Schedule Page...


BBC Live coverage

posted by Ricefield radio @ 12:26 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Friday, February 12, 2010

Don't forget to Enter

Our Contest is still going strong.


It's easy to enter.  Just send an email to
  olypin@lukamar.ca
We will take care of the rest.

We would never devulge your email, send you spam, or divulge or sell it to other.  We will of course contact you if you win. 

More Details on the Conterst At

http://ricefieldradio.blogspot.com/2010/02/olympic-pin-contest.html

posted by Ricefield radio @ 11:31 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Olympics 2010: Opening Ceremony

The opening ceremony of Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010 will  take place on February 12 at Vancouver BC Place Stadium.   The Opening ceremony coverage begins at 7:30pm Pacific time ( 10:30am on the 13th in Thailand) and will be available live broadcast (possibly via Sat in Thailand) and live streaming. 

THe venue is BC Place Stadium, British Columbia in Canada, which has a capacity of 60000 seats. The Governor General of Canada, Michaelle Jean will open the biggest event of world winter sports.

It is confirmed that the Opening ceremony of 2010 Olympic Winter Games is going to be a glittering event and will feature, among other events and exhibits, the lighting of the Olympic cauldron. The choreographer for the opening ceremonies is Jean Grand-Maitre, who is the artistic director of the Alberta Ballet.


It is unofficial but according to sources Canadian music stars Bryan Adams and Sarah McLachlan will perform at the event, and Canadian Aboriginal drummers and singers will accompany Adams on at least one song.

During the opening ceremony, historical Canadian culture will be highlighted among the three billion audiences worldwide.
Live online streaming of the opening ceremonies will be available on many web sites. Opening ceremony tickets can be purchased from $655 and up.
The theme of the Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010 is "To Inspire the World".

posted by Ricefield radio @ 5:45 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

New "Secret Weapon"

The Reds have a new "Secret Weapon" to woo the Farang contingent onto their side.


posted by Ricefield radio @ 3:10 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

A force to reckon with

In this excellent article from the Bangkok Post,  Dr. Thitinan Pongsudhirak - Director of the Institute of Security and International Studies, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University has boiled it all down into a concise form that anyone can digest.   We reprint the article here in it's entirety.

====================
Reds Are A Force to
Reckon With


By the admission of the acting government spokesman, the anti-government red shirts under the banner of United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) are now prevalent in no fewer than 38 of Thailand's 76 provinces, predominantly in the populous Northeast and North.


But the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, its backers in the army and elsewhere, and the yellow-shirted People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) still do not acknowledge the claims and grievances of the red shirts.
On the one hand, they are portrayed by the current officialdom as mere financial lackeys of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. On the other, they are sometimes depicted as ignorant and gullible peasants, who cannot see beyond Thaksin's manipulative populism.



The catalyst for the latest round of Thailand 's brinkmanship between the reds and their opponents centers on the upcoming verdict on Thaksin's assets trial involving 76 billion baht.

Thaksin is mobilizing all resources within his power to whip up red-shirted sentiment. The ringleaders of the reds have visited him time and again near and far, in Dubai and Cambodia, to receive instructions. His media offensive through Twitter and phone-ins are on full throttle.

His opponents, who hold the levers of power in Bangkok, are equally in full swing. Hardly a day goes by without official demonisation and intimidation of Thaksin and the red shirts. That the rhetoric and ominous posturing have been ratcheted up by both sides is not surprising. The reds see the verdict as the culmination of a long offensive of injustice since the Sept 19, 2006 coup. Thaksin merely symbolizes their quest for social justice and their struggle for democratic rights. The opposing yellows and their allied army, government and swathes of intelligentsia see it as the final act of political decapitation short of physical demise for a usurper and a crook. But the many who believe the reds will simply sputter out and disappear when Thaksin's money supply runs dry, are gravely mistaken at the expense of all. The reds have become much more organic and spontaneous than Thaksin himself could ever have imagined when he was ousted from power.

Even a short visit to the reds' Northeast heartland, such as Ubon Ratchathani province, can provide glimpses of a full-blooded social movement with attendant small-scale fund-raising, symbols, assorted paraphernalia like caps and T-shirts, and pent-up anger and frustration. The reds of Ubon are split into seven groups, all with different approaches and methods but with the same arguments and objectives. Their verbiage entwines Thaksin, democracy and justice.

For some reds in that province, it is all about Thaksin, his populist policies, attention to the poor and downtrodden, and leadership that took Thailand competitively into the 21st century. For others, the top priority is not Thaksin but "democracy," which was subverted when post-election winning parties that should have governed were dissolved repeatedly while losing parties and turncoat factions were given the green light to rule by the men in green. For all the reds in Ubon, injustice and "double standards" are ubiquitous in officialdom. When all parties have bought votes, dissolving fewer than all for vote fraud reeks of unfairness. To them, Thaksin was corrupt just like those who came before him and who will come hereafter. They see his pro-poor policy legacy and Thailand 's modernization for the 21st century as the difference.

Alarmingly, the reds in Ubon have set up UDD schools for education about justice. Some are militant and intransigent. But most still want a just and fair Thailand to be able to move forward in the world. As long as the reds are dismissed and denied, the fear-mongering of a "people's army" will find resonance and germination that are dangerous for Thailand's medium-term horizon. Similar stories can be recounted from Udon Thani, Si Sa Ket and a host of other rural provinces in the Northeast and North. They do not include the silent fence-sitters in the other 38 provinces who know that something does not add up about justice in Thailand but are not prepared to act.




The pro-Abhisit coalition has been effective at dissembling and marginalising opposing views. The PAD, in particular, are expert assassins of character, cowing and intimidating those who want to activate and broaden the middle ground for a way forward, into silence. If they cannot see the reds beyond Thaksin and his assets, Thailand will see much more pain and grief in store. What the government spokesman should be telling his bosses and backers is not how to suppress the reds in a three-pronged strategy from local authorities to the draconian Internal Security Act and military-run Emergency Decree, but how to listen to these reds and wean them off Thaksin.

The challenge for the government now, as it has been for Thailand's powers-that-be since coup days, is to eliminate Thaksin for his corruption and abuses of power while accommodating his red columns for their grievances, demands and expectations.

==========

Pictures reprinted courtesy of Nick Nostitz, Photojournalist and Author, Bangkok, Thailand

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posted by Ricefield radio @ 3:00 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Trip Into Vancouver

It's always nice to go into Vancouver but we were a bit apprehensive. We had heard that the traffic was snarled, there were delays and road changes, and that there were increased patrols and dogs working the ferry terminals which all would make things go much slower. Well none of that happened.

It did go a bit slower on the way in to Vancouver but that was due to the light rain that made it hard to see on the highway.  By the time we hit North Vancouver it was like a nice spring day and I was wondering to myself who was the idiot that though Vancouver would be a good place for the Winter Olympic games?



We did some stuff we had to do and when we were driving up Lonsdale Ave. in North Van the cloud cleared from Grouse Mountain and you could see "the Cut".  Now the Cut is at the same elevation as the mogul skiing is at Cypress Bowel both face due south and  generally have the same snow pack.  I was really surprised that you could see so much black, the black is dirt not snow.


A closer shot although blurry shows it all


The Weather was warm plus 9 to 11 C and that's not at all good for the outdoor events.  One would think that the IOC would have had contingency plans if there was something like an El Ninio like there is this year but maybe not.

Shopping for any Olympic stuff is just downright stupid.  The cost of everything is highly inflated and just because a Teeshirt has an Olympic emblem doesn't make it worth 300 Baht ($10 Can)  or more, than the same item without it.  We bought nothing so they are not going to get much out of us.  Probably the best comment i overheard was from a young woman to her boyfriend, "We will by able to buy any of this stuff for 99 cents (30 Bt) 2 days after the Olympics are finished."   I think I'll take her advice and pick stuff up on sale before we leave the end of the first week in March.

Now don't get me wrong there is lots of snow around, just not at the Olympic venues.  Mount Washington is having a banner year on Vancouver Island and Whistler, although not the normal snow pack, is reporting decent snow conditions.  We even snapped a picture at the ferry terminal at Horseshoe bay to show you all that it is really beautiful when there is fresh snow on the mountains and the sun is out.


posted by Ricefield radio @ 5:29 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Eat your heart out Thai Navy...

We were going to do a blog on Thailand's athletes at the Winter Olympics but there are none.  Or at least not yet.  Thailand does have one athlete registered but he has not arrived and it is uncertain if he will.  The last games Thailand had one athlete as well who only competed in the men's 10K cross country and actually had a respectable time.  I was looking at youtube.  Remember that site the government likes to block, and had an alternate idea.

We all know what happened to our aircraft carrier it's been inactive for ever due to a shortage of funds and tied up to the dock for long periods of time.  Word has it in the local mess she just plain feels lonely, ugly and neglected.



We know how much the Thai Navy wants to have a submarine.   What for is anyone's guess maybe warding of rogue PAD, Greenpeace or Red shirts attacking by sea. Or maybe to sneak up on those dastardly Cambodians while they look for Thailand's oil.  They had better hope they don't bump into one of the new Kilo class Vietnamese subs or they will become a oil spill in the making.  But having said all that some countries just have more capital with less corruption, way fewer generals & admirals and no military golf courses. 

These poor guys in Ramouski don't even speak English, they speak French Canada's other official language.  We won't even get into the fact that more people speak Chinese on the West Coast than French but what the heck, when in Quebec you speak French and the are proud of their heritage and rightly so.

Seems these Ramouski-ites got hold of a Sub from the Government and the manual being in English they were a bit confused.  They seem to have the gangway correct but they forgot to put it in the water.  Seems they are willing to sell it for some bannock bread and a big Canoe.  Maybe they would trade for some rice.

posted by Ricefield radio @ 11:32 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Vancouver Weather, Oh Boy!!!!!

There is an old adage on the BC coast, "If you don't like the weather, just wait 10 minutes".  Around town the Japanese Cherry are starting to bloom, the crocus are up and there is but a slight hint of snow on the mountains.  All this months early.  The Olympic committee must be in a panic because today it was shirt sleeve weather around 14C with bright sun.  Not exactly Winter Olympic weather.
The long range forecast is for Whistler to be down to -1C by the start of the games and then drop to -5C. but for Cypress it's not good news.  It was 5C on the ski hill today (Sunday in Thailand) at 6pm and the forecast is looking great, if you want to go to the beach to get a tan.   Last week when we came into Vancouver all you saw was big brown patches where the snow would normally be a couple of meters deep at this time of the year.

But in typical style, often though to be of American origin - not Canadian, the city has thrown vast amounts of cash at the ski hill hoping to not be an international embarrassment.  They have used helicopters to fly in thousands of  hay bales to make the half Pipe course and then with still no snow in the offing and no sign of any cold weather so they could use artificial snow making equipment they have resorted to trucking snow in from Manning Park a couple of hundred kilometers away.






On Monday (Tuesday in Thailand) we will head into Vancouver, known locally as the "Big Smoke" to check things out a bit more.   Six days to go and I'm sure glad the buck doesn't stop at my desk.

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posted by Ricefield radio @ 10:28 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Friday, February 5, 2010

Olympic Pin Contest

We will be running a contest for this genuine Olympic Collector Pin on the original card.


The rules are quite simple send us an email to olypin@lukamar.ca and tell us in 1 word or more why you would like this wonderful item.   We will then put your email address into a draw and notify the winner after the Olympics are over.  You don't have to give us your name or address but if you choose to we will send you an Olympic post card from Canada (limited to the first 25 people) and your name will still go into the draw.  It's that easy.


We will also send the winner this little decal of the mascot that you can give to your kids or whatever.



So enter now and enter often.  It's just like Voting.

Email Addresses will only be used during the contest,  will NOT BE saved after the contest end and will NEVER BE given out and you will only hear from us if you win.

posted by Ricefield radio @ 5:26 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

The 2010 Olympic Torch Relay

This morning we went to see the Olympic Torch relay in Sechelt, BC about 30 KM out of Vancouver.   The weather was  high overcast but in BC that often means rain and we were prepared with our umbrella and the jackets we bought when we were in Alaska last year.


We bought a house here about 7 years ago.  The area has a great small town feel to it  and the atmosphere was electric.  The schools from all around the area bused their kids in to see what was going on.  There was a huge mobile stage almost made you feel like you were at a Yellow or Red rally where they had numerous well known and local entertainment. There was probably close to 6,000 not bad for a small town that has few more than that in the whole area.

They  were giving away Coke Olympic Game aluminum collectible bottles, we scored 2, posters, flags and pins (more on the pin a bit later).   My son, who is 4, had a blast with all the things they had to do.  He recorded a message in English and Thai to be shown on some website, I proceeded to misplace the URL.  He even got to hold the Olympic Torch but it was very heavy and the girl at the booth had to help him hold it up.


I had a great visit with an old friend, Pauline, who is the owner and publisher of the "The Local" newspaper while we waited on the main street outside their office for the Torch procession to start up again.  My son had a snack with some kids from a preschool nearby sitting on the rock wall and having a great time.  Then the relay started up again.  There were sound trucks, buses and  dozens of police cars.



It took only a couple of minutes and the relay passed us in a flash.  Poof it was all over and we were off to the noodle shop for lunch.   We have 2 noodle places one Vietnamese and one Chinese.   For a small town there is a huge Asian community here My wife even bumped into some Thai friends who had married Canadian guys and Sechelt is home to a huge Filipino community.  For anyone that has not been to Vancouver there are areas that are almost exclusively Chinese, or Indian, or Pakistani or Japanese, it is a very culturally diverse area  Where Cantonese is the unofficial second language way surpassing French. 

Now "THE PIN" While we were collecting stuff I thought it might be nice to have a bit of a contest for our listeners who can't get to the Olympics.  I'll write a complete blog on where you can send your entry and also put it on our website.  As soon as I setup an email address that you can use and I take some pictures of the Pin. 

posted by Ricefield radio @ 4:48 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ricefield at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games

Ricefield radio will be at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada - Mid February 2010.

The 2010 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XXI Olympic Winter Games or the 21st Winter Olympics, will be held on February 12–28, 2010, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with some events held in the resort town of Whistler nearby. Both the Olympic and Paralympic Games are being organized by the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC).


The 2010 Winter Olympics will be the third Olympics hosted by Canada, and the first by the province of British Columbia. Previously, Canada was home to the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal and the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. These will also be the first games to be held in a National Hockey League market since the league allowed its players to participate, starting at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

Following Olympic tradition, then Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan received the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. The flag was raised on February 28, 2006, in a special ceremony, and will be on display at Vancouver City Hall until the Olympic opening ceremony. The event will be officially opened by Governor General Michaëlle Jean.
 

posted by Ricefield radio @ 4:53 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Modern Technology... AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

We have had problems with our automation software since we had a couple of power failures a while back.  Maybe some of you noticed that we has 24 hour a day music most of the time with only a few time checks, adverts and station ID's.

We still are not sure what caused this but we think it was a setup file that was corrupted during the power failure.  We think that we have it all beck to normal but won't know for sure until 5:00Am when our newscast is scheduled to start.

We hope that this will be the only major interruption in the near future.

posted by Ricefield radio @ 4:49 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

FACTBOX-Five political risks to watch for Thailand

A good informative article by Martin Petty that deserves a repeat.



A planned anti-government protest, a standoff in the shaky coalition, divisions in the army and rumours of a coup have deepened uncertainty over Thailand's political future and unnerved markets and investors.


Thai 5-year sovereign credit default swaps THGV5YUSAC=R are trading at a spread of 111.50 basis points, compared to a weighted average of 134.40 for the Thomson Reuters Emerging Asia Index. This implies lower default risk than regional peers like the Philippines, with a spread of 180.50 and Indonesia at 177.00, but higher than Malaysia which has a spread of 101.00.

Following is a summary of key Thailand risks to watch:

* POLITICAL INSTABILITY

Thailand remains bitterly polarised. A colour-coded political conflict, between royalists, urban elites and the military, who wear the king's traditional colour of yellow at protests, and the mainly rural supporters of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who wear red, shows no sign of ending.
Since Thaksin was ousted in a 2006 coup, Thailand has gone through six heads of government and faced several disruptive showdowns, including a siege of Bangkok's airports in 2008 and the forced cancellation of an Asian summit in 2009. In 2002, the World Bank's World Governance Indicators rated Thai political stability at 59.1 out of 100. By 2008, it had dived to 12.9.

The central bank said last month that political instability was a key factor capping growth, due to its negative impact on the confidence of both consumers and investors. Economic policymaking is also being disrupted, analysts say.

"During the recovery phase of this cycle, many neighbouring countries are preparing for the next wave of international capital inflows," Standard Chartered said. "Political concerns are distracting Thailand from such plans, which will be critical to medium- to long-term economic development."
What to watch:

-- State of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's coalition government. The army-backed, six-party alliance remains shaky and stocks .SETI hit a seven-week low on Jan. 27 on fears of a house dissolution after Abhisit's Democrats said they would not support coalition partners' constitution amendment plans. However, analysts say this is unlikely as none of the parties are in a strong enough position to contest another election.

-- Early parliamentary dissolution. An election could return power to Thaksin's allies in the Puea Thai party. The "yellow shirts" movement would then seek again to unseat the government. Worse, the military might decide to intervene once again.

-- A planned mid-February protest lasting over a week by "red shirts" allied with Thaksin. Although the last six rallies have been peaceful, this one is being dubbed "the final battle".

-- A no-confidence motion by Puea Thai. While most analysts expect the government to survive the televised grilling, disgruntled coalition partners could turn on Abhisit if they are not offered concessions, and ensure there are enough votes to bring down the government.

-- Seizure of the Shinawatra family's assets. The Supreme Court will rule on Feb. 26 on whether to confiscate $2.3 billion of assets the prosecution says was "unusual wealth" accrued after Thaksin took office. This would provoke anger among Thaksin's supporters, who believe the charges are politically motivated.

* THE THREAT OF A COUP

Thailand's military and police have a congenital inability to keep out of politics -- the country has had 18 actual or attempted coups in 77 years of on-off democracy.

What to watch:

-- Divisions in the military. The army backs the current government, having played a big role in putting together the coalition. But cracks are starting to appear in the military along similar yellow-red fault lines as society, with many pro-Thaksin officers purged after his ouster and reportedly ostracised by the top brass. A widening of these divisions heightens the prospect of a coup and, more dangerously, a violent conflict between rival military factions.

-- Level of unrest and instability. A coup becomes much more likely if Thailand sees another bout of mass unrest on the streets. In these circumstances, a successful coup could boost markets in the short term, but the long-term impact on Thailand's attractiveness for foreign investors would be negative.

* THE KING'S HEALTH

>>>>As Thailand has very strict laws regarding the Royal Family we have elected to remove the comments in this article.  We do not feel that they could be in any way offensive to the Royal Family but Who Knows, so we have censored them.  You can however read them on Reuters Website<<<<

* CORRUPTION AND GOVERNANCE

Thailand is widely perceived to have become more corrupt during the past five years of instability and a recent scandal in a $2.6 billion healthcare spending scheme, which led to two cabinet resignations, has further discredited the government.

What to watch:

-- Latest estimates of level of Thai corruption, such as the World Governance Indicators project, Transparency International and others. Signs of further worsening will not have a short-term impact on markets but will damage investment in the longer run.

* THE SOUTHERN INSURGENCY

The insurgency by separatist ethnic Malay Muslims in Thailand's southernmost provinces has become more bloody in recent years, but violence has been almost wholly confined to the deep south and so has had little impact on markets. That looks unlikely to change, but the conflict has the potential to become more worrying for investors.

What to watch:

-- The danger of escalation. So far the insurgency remains a local, ethno-nationalist conflict. There is no sign al Qaeda sympathisers have been able to gain any influence over the insurgency, or that militants have any intention of targeting foreign businesses or the crucial tourism industry. If that changes, Thai markets and the economy could be badly hit.

posted by Ricefield radio @ 8:37 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Monday, February 1, 2010

Crucial stage in battle for Siam City

The battle for control of Thailand’s Siam City Bank is expected to enter a crucial stage this week when interested parties, including HSBC, submit final bids for the lender.


People familiar with the matter said that HSBC was likely to face stiff competition from Thanachart, a local lender that is 49 per cent owned by Canada’s Bank of Nova Scotia, and Korea Development Bank when bids close on Monday .

The Thai government has said that no new full-service banking licences will be granted in the foreseeable future, making Siam City the last chance for overseas investors such as HSBC and KDB to buy in to a relatively under-banked market.

KDB involvement in the process has surprised Asia’s deal-making community, because it is a government-owned policy bank with no experience of managing assets overseas or in retail banking.

Read the rest

posted by Ricefield radio @ 8:31 AM   0 Comments Links to this post