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The beach is that way

In Uncategorized on July 5, 2010 at 4:12 pm




The beach is that way


QĐND – Monday, July 05, 2010, 21:27 (GMT+7)

The central province of Quang Binh is home to some of Vietnam’s most enchanting coastal areas with a string of beautiful beaches that could also help reverse the province’s economic fortunes.


With the pace of development comes a price. Popular beach destinations become too crowded, too built up, too much of a hassle. For those who like to flop around on a quiet beach and forget about the world, the most popular ‘holiday’ beaches become contradictions. Who can feel relaxed on a public holiday if you’re surrounded by thousands of screaming kids and perpetually hassled by vendors? Inevitably, you move on. You seek new horizons far from the madding crowds.


For now, my tip is Quang Binh province in the ‘north’ of Central Vietnam. South of Ha Tinh and bordering Laos, this is one of the country’s poorest provinces. The average annual per capita income is one of the lowest in Vietnam. But the province’s tourism industry might be the main key to boosting the local economy. The UNESCO heritage site of Phong Nha- Ke Bang cave has flown the flag so far.


Now the province is looking to the white sandy beaches with a great deal of justifiable expectation. The bewitching sight of Nhat Le would certainly convince any developer that this is a stretch of coast worth banking on. But for now, I am also delighted to bask in the peace and tranquility that remains on offer before the bulldozers and master builders roll in. It’s a breathtaking spot and in my humblest opinion one of the country’s most beautiful beaches. Inspired by the prospect of discovering more unknown beaches, I recently decided to explore more of the coast by motorbike. And there is plenty to discover.


In Quang Trach district, I came across Quang Phu beach, which is popular with locals but yet to be tapped by the tourism moguls. It’s only five or 10 minutes drive from Nhat Le beach and utterly pristine. The water is refreshingly clear. As you swim around, you can see scallops beneath your feet. It’s a wonderful spot to spend a morning or afternoon lolling around in the sunshine, happily contemplating life.


Further along the coast, you will find Hai Ninh beach and fishing village. The views around are wonderful with imposing mountains to the west and a deep blue sea to the east. After arriving in the late afternoon, I decided to stay until sunset – yes, I’m an old romantic at heart.


The next morning I headed for Dong Hoi market to enjoy the bustling atmosphere. The fishermen, traders and customers convene over the catch of the day. The market might be the only hectic spot you will come across on the coastline.


There are already some resorts taking advantage of Quang Binh’s stunning shores and sweeping sea views. The Sun Spa Resort is leading the pack. Set on a picturesque peninsular the resort boasts 234 international standard rooms. The overall design is wonderfully harmonious and tranquil with fern-trunk thatching, private tropical gardens overlooking the ocean, private swimming pools and spacious, elegantly designed rooms.


Sun Spa Resort is the perfect gateway to discover the World Natural Heritage Site of Phong Nha – Ke Bang Reserve – though the resort is a natural wonder in its own right, set amidst a spacious 29 hectares of landscaped garden alongside the pristine white sands of Bao Ninh beach.


Further up the coast, there may be more to come. Development plans have been made for Da Nhay beach, another wonderful spot, 40km north of Dong Hoi. In Vietnamese ‘da nhay’ means ‘the rocks that jump’. As you might guess by that name, this is a rugged, rocky spot but there are also sandy coves for bathing on.


You can find more modest accommodation than the Sun Spa Resort with rooms available in family-run hotels for VND150,000 to VND200,00. Either way searching the coast for quiet spots to have a dip in the sea is a wonderful way to spend a couple of days (rather than being dragged around by a tour guide). Everywhere in Quang Binh people are hospitable, helpful and happy to share the incredible natural scenery with people from out of town. I guess they want the word to spread. 


Source: Timeout/VietnamNet


 


Source: QDND

The beach is that way

In Uncategorized on July 3, 2010 at 4:11 pm




The beach is that way


QĐND – Saturday, July 03, 2010, 20:59 (GMT+7)

The central province of Quang Binh is home to some of Vietnam’s most enchanting coastal areas with a string of beautiful beaches that could also help reverse the province’s economic fortunes.


With the pace of development comes a price. Popular beach destinations become too crowded, too built up, too much of a hassle. For those who like to flop around on a quiet beach and forget about the world, the most popular ‘holiday’ beaches become contradictions. Who can feel relaxed on a public holiday if you’re surrounded by thousands of screaming kids and perpetually hassled by vendors? Inevitably, you move on. You seek new horizons far from the madding crowds.


For now, my tip is Quang Binh province in the ‘north’ of Central Vietnam. South of Ha Tinh and bordering Laos, this is one of the country’s poorest provinces. The average annual per capita income is one of the lowest in Vietnam. But the province’s tourism industry might be the main key to boosting the local economy. The UNESCO heritage site of Phong Nha- Ke Bang cave has flown the flag so far.


Now the province is looking to the white sandy beaches with a great deal of justifiable expectation. The bewitching sight of Nhat Le would certainly convince any developer that this is a stretch of coast worth banking on. But for now, I am also delighted to bask in the peace and tranquility that remains on offer before the bulldozers and master builders roll in. It’s a breathtaking spot and in my humblest opinion one of the country’s most beautiful beaches. Inspired by the prospect of discovering more unknown beaches, I recently decided to explore more of the coast by motorbike. And there is plenty to discover.


In Quang Trach district, I came across Quang Phu beach, which is popular with locals but yet to be tapped by the tourism moguls. It’s only five or 10 minutes drive from Nhat Le beach and utterly pristine. The water is refreshingly clear. As you swim around, you can see scallops beneath your feet. It’s a wonderful spot to spend a morning or afternoon lolling around in the sunshine, happily contemplating life.


Further along the coast, you will find Hai Ninh beach and fishing village. The views around are wonderful with imposing mountains to the west and a deep blue sea to the east. After arriving in the late afternoon, I decided to stay until sunset – yes, I’m an old romantic at heart.


The next morning I headed for Dong Hoi market to enjoy the bustling atmosphere. The fishermen, traders and customers convene over the catch of the day. The market might be the only hectic spot you will come across on the coastline.


There are already some resorts taking advantage of Quang Binh’s stunning shores and sweeping sea views. The Sun Spa Resort is leading the pack. Set on a picturesque peninsular the resort boasts 234 international standard rooms. The overall design is wonderfully harmonious and tranquil with fern-trunk thatching, private tropical gardens overlooking the ocean, private swimming pools and spacious, elegantly designed rooms.


Sun Spa Resort is the perfect gateway to discover the World Natural Heritage Site of Phong Nha – Ke Bang Reserve – though the resort is a natural wonder in its own right, set amidst a spacious 29 hectares of landscaped garden alongside the pristine white sands of Bao Ninh beach.


Further up the coast, there may be more to come. Development plans have been made for Da Nhay beach, another wonderful spot, 40km north of Dong Hoi. In Vietnamese ‘da nhay’ means ‘the rocks that jump’. As you might guess by that name, this is a rugged, rocky spot but there are also sandy coves for bathing on.


You can find more modest accommodation than the Sun Spa Resort with rooms available in family-run hotels for VND150,000 to VND200,00. Either way searching the coast for quiet spots to have a dip in the sea is a wonderful way to spend a couple of days (rather than being dragged around by a tour guide). Everywhere in Quang Binh people are hospitable, helpful and happy to share the incredible natural scenery with people from out of town. I guess they want the word to spread. 


Source: VNN


Source: QDND

Euro is a ‘credible, solid’ currency: Lagarde

In Uncategorized on June 26, 2010 at 12:41 pm

LONDON, June 26, 2010 (AFP) – French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde called the euro “a credible, solid” currency and expressed confidence that troubled eurozone member Greece will be able to cut its public debt.

(AFP file) French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde

Asked in an interview with the BBC whether the European currency faced a threat to its continued existence, Lagarde said: “I know that that’s some sort of an existential dream of some economists.


“They’re very pleased to drive those sorts of dark scenarios and my position is I don’t want to drive those dark scenarios.


“What I’m focused on is what is going to work so that the eurozone stays together, supports the euro together, because the euro is a credible, solid and good currency for all of us and it’s our public good,” she added.


She dismissed as “just a lot of rubbish” speculation about Greece’s ability to repay its debts within the next 18 months.


“The plan that we’ve put together for Greece is a five-year plan, with a three-year grace period when they pay back nothing and then there are 24 monthly instalments over the next two years,” Lagarde said


“So let’s not mess around with 18 months,” she said, adding that Greece was “currently delivering against its commitments”.


Greece has adopted austerity cuts to secure a 110-billion-euro (135-billion-dollar) bailout loan from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund and save itself from default.


It is struggling to reduce a debt of nearly 300 billion euros while mired in a deepening recession.


Lagarde also said there was “no difference, no crack” between France and Germany over how to deal with the financial crisis.


“We’re both driven by the two-fold objective to maintain growth and of cutting deficit and debts, and this is our joint commitment,” she said.


Asked whether Germany was doing enough in the crisis, she said, “Germany is doing everything it can at the moment.


“We can all do more and some can do more in cutting deficits and debts, some can do a little bit more in spending and consuming,” she added.


Europe has come under increasing pressure from the United States to focus on measures to stimulate and protect economic growth, rather than to rein in spending programmes put in place to combat the worst recession in decades.


But German Chancellor Angela Merkel, head of Europe’s largest economy, has led moves to slash spending after the eurozone debt crisis forced Berlin to stump up the lion’s share of cash for an unprecedented rescue mechanism.


Critics have said that the more than 80 billion euros (98 billion dollars) in savings announced by Merkel over the next four years, which mirror similar efforts in other European countries such as Britain, will hit growth.

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Source: SGGP

EU is Vietnam’s priority partner, says Deputy PM

In Uncategorized on June 19, 2010 at 4:24 pm




EU is Vietnam’s priority partner, says Deputy PM


QĐND – Saturday, June 19, 2010, 20:49 (GMT+7)

Vietnam considers the EU a priority partner in its foreign policy and wants to build an equal partnership of long-term and comprehensive cooperation with the EU for peace, development in the region and the world.


Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai made the confirmation during talks with European Union Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht in Brussels on June 18. 


Both host and guest shared the view that Vietnam-EU relations are developing well in all areas, from politics to economics, trade, culture, education and science and technology. They suggested that both sides maintain regular high-level visit exchanges to expand bilateral cooperation in various areas.


They discussed preparations for the upcoming EU visit by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung scheduled for this October as part of activities to mark the 20th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and the EU.


They placed great emphasis on negotiations of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) between Vietnam and the EU, saying this document will lay a firm foundation for increasing bilateral cooperation in the next 10-15 years. They said both sides should show strong political commitments to finalise negotiations and initial the document during Mr Dung’s visit later this year.


Mr Hai and Mr Karel exchanged measures to boost cooperation in economics, trade and investment in the coming months.


Mr Hai welcomed a EU proposal to kick-start free trade area (FTA) negotiations with Vietnam and confirmed that his government will work closely with the EU to speed up technical preparations for negotiations.


He proposed that the EU consider granting the generalised system of preferences (GSP) to Vietnam again and that it abolish anti-dumping tariffs on leather shoes and bicycles imported from Vietnam and soon recognise its market economy status. 


Source: VOV


Source: QDND

Horn entrepreneur says vuvuzela is S.Africa’s 12th language

In Uncategorized on June 18, 2010 at 12:22 pm

 They may drown out conversation but the World Cup vuvuzelas have created a new common language in multilingual South Africa, according to the man who mass-marketed the deafening plastic horns.

Niel Van Schalkwyk, the so-called inventor of South Africa’s Vuvuzelas, holds a vuvuzela in England colours during a press conference, on June 18, 2010 at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

Neil van Schalkwyk said Friday that the first commercial vuvuzelas, the must-have accessory at the football World Cup, had to be handed out for free at local football matches in South Africa 10 years ago.


“We started out with about 500 units that we sold in the first year. To create an initial interest, we needed to hand out some,” he told reporters.


Van Schalkwyk’s Cape Town company now holds 25 percent of the vuvuzela market in South Africa after snapping up a first bulk order for 20,000 in 2002.


An estimated two million vuvuzelas are in circulation in South Africa with Van Schalkwyk’s company turning over between six and seven million rands (925,000 dollars, 750,000 euros) in the last 10 years.


The instrument has drawn fierce criticism for drowning out fans singing in stadiums, hindering communication between coaches and teams, and for dominating television coverage. Experts also say it can cause permanent damage to hearing.


But Van Schalkwyk said the vuvuzela had broken down the language barrier in a country with 11 official languages, adding that it was now part an integral part of football in South Africa, as singing was elsewhere.


“Out of respect for the way that we celebrate footballl, I think people should also take that into consideration,” he said.


“We’ve got a multi-cultural society in South Africa and we’ve got 11 different languages. But there’s one language they do understand: it’s the 12th language of the vuvuzela.”


A new lower noise horn, which is 13 decibels lower than the standard vuvuzela which measures 134 and 140 decibels, and which will break apart into three pieces if used as a weapon, said Van Schalkwyk.


 

Source: SGGP

NA: Careful consideration is needed before implementing large-scale projects

In Uncategorized on June 8, 2010 at 2:31 pm




NA: Careful consideration is needed before implementing large-scale projects


QĐND – Tuesday, June 08, 2010, 21:1 (GMT+7)

At a working session in Hanoi on June 8, many National Assembly (NA) deputies raised concern about financial sources, implementation duration and resettlement for the project to build the Hanoi-HCM City express railway.


The Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City express railway project is a large-scale project that needs a total investment of US$56 billion. It will run as long as 1,570 km across 20 provinces and cities. With a design speed of 300km/h, it will take about five and a half hours to complete the journey from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City.


To proceed with the project, 4,170ha of land will need to be requisited and 9,500 households will need relocating so the project can be completed by 2035.


Most NA deputies agreed to the project, saying it would help to ease traffic congestion, improve the transport network and boost the country’s business operations between regions. However, some also pointed out challenges, such as the huge investment required, resettlement-related issues and the long-term duration of the project’s implementation.


Huge investment


NA delegate Sung Thi Chu from Yen Bai province said the US$56-billion estimated figure is a huge amount as it accounts for up to two third of the nation’s annual GDP. To implement the project, Vietnam will have to borrow massive amounts from foreign countries, and this will increase the country’s debts for decades. Therefore, she added, the NA should consider the project carefully.


Mr Chu’s view was shared by deputy Tran Ngoc Vinh from Hai Phong province, who noted that at present, only 11 countries in the world have an express railway. Some developed countries in the G7 group have not even built an express railway. Vietnam’s State budget is limited, while many other fields still need investment, he said.


Mr Vinh suggested upgrading the current railway network and building high-speed ships as an alternative.


He emphasised that borrowing official development assistance (ODA) loans is not always an advantage because some countries like Thailand and the Philippines have stopped borrowing these loans.


Long duration for implementation


As scheduled, the project will be carried out from 2014 to 2035. This is a long period of time that may affect the effectiveness and quality of the project. According to NA deputy Hoang Van Toan from Vinh Phuc province, it is essential to shorten the project’s duration. Vietnam should apply modern technologies to reduce the duration to 10 years, he said.


Delegate Dao Xuan Nay from Binh Thuan province said the project should be completed more quickly and also be split into several different routes, from Hanoi to Vinh, and from HCM City to Nha Trang.


People’s daily lives need to be ensured


Delegate Sung Thi Chu stressed the need to ensure people’s living conditions in their new resettlement places. The total expenditure for land acquisition and compensation is estimated at more than VND30,000 billion. More than 9,500 households will be relocated, most of them farmers. So, the NA should pay due attention to creating jobs for them and helping them stabilise their lives, she said.


NA deputy Luong Phan Cu from Dak Nong province said it may take more time to implement the project as it affects an additional 16,500 households.


Source: VOV


Source: QDND

Capital city development plan is not for one term

In Uncategorized on June 3, 2010 at 6:08 pm




Capital city development plan is not for one term


QĐND – Thursday, June 03, 2010, 21:9 (GMT+7)

PANO – Deputies to the National Assembly listened to the government report about the Hanoi Urban Spatial Development Plan to 2030 and the vision to 2050, as well as reflections from the National Assembly Economic Committee on this plan.



The development plan attracted great attention from the Vietnamese public. The People’s Army Newspaper Online interviewed Mr. Nguyen The Thao, Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee along the sideline of the NA meeting.



Reporter: The total investment estimated for the infrastructure of the plan is at USD 90 billion. This is a huge number. Is it possible to mobilize this investment?


This is the main issue. However, this is the plan for 2030 and the vision to 2050. With the present economic growth rate and the mechanisms to attract domestic and international resources, I believe that it is possible.



Reporter: There have been rumours about wasteful “term plans”. What do you think of these?


I can confirm that this development plan is not like a term plan. The Hanoi Spatial Development Plan to 2020 was approved by the Prime Minister in 1998. According to the plan management mechanism, we are allowed to adjust the plan every five years. However, there have been no adjustments in the master development plan but some minor changes were made when Ha Tay Province merged with Hanoi. Therefore, it was time to make the changes so we could plan our city better.


Reporter: The plan has not been approved by the Prime Minister. However, the price of land in the Ba Vi and Thach That districts has increased sharply. What do you think of this?


This resulted from the nature of the market. Due to inflation, estate property price has stood still for a while and returned to is normal state when inflation was over. From the end of 2009 to early 2010, the land price increased sharply in the first and second quarter of 2010.


Through surveys, land which are under the city’s plan have had a fluctuation of prices. The reason for the price inflation is that the demand is greater than the supply for housing. In addition, Hanoi needs more public buildings, trade centres and hotels.


The other reason is that the plan gives us images and orientations about the infrastructure and living conditions that are good for residents so many others want to sell and buy lands in these projects. More transactions causes land prices to increase.


Reporter: What is the solution to stabilize the land price?


The solution is to complete the plan soon and to submit it for approval and to inform the public and investors of the plan and its roadmap. After surveying, most of land transactions are speculative.  In some cases people even submitted fake transactions to push land prices up. Once the information about the plan is clear, real estate prices will stabilize.


Reporter: According to the roadmap, when will these issues be solved?


Several issues such as environment pollution, traffic jams, flooding, urban awareness and rules are mentioned in the plan with 9 short-term and long-term strategic solutions. 


For example, to solve traffic jams in the city, there are many short-term measures such as upgrading the infrastructure, dividing routes, enhancing education, improving awareness on traffic laws among others.


In the long-term, these issues need comprehensive measures including speeding up the construction of public transport systems such as the railway and metro. In fact, Hanoi has developed the bus system to meet the demand of residents. However, the bus system is not the key measure for the issue. Investments into improving the railways, helping to increase traffic areas are one of long-term solutions to solve this issue.


Reporter: Thank you very much!


Translated by Ngoc Hung & Duy Minh


Source: QDND

Da Nang City is to attract in the region of 1.5 million tourists

In Uncategorized on May 29, 2010 at 5:16 am




Da Nang City is to attract in the region of 1.5 million tourists


QĐND – Friday, May 28, 2010, 21:4 (GMT+7)

The Danang City Culture, Sports and Tourism Department has launched a tourism promotion program with the title “Vietnam – Your Destination” to attract 1,450,000 visitors including 350,000 foreigners and 1,100,000 domestic tourists.


Vitours, Danatours, Vietravel, Saigontourist, 12 hotels (including Hoang Anh Gia Lai, Sandy Beach, Danang, Phuong Dong, Sao Mai, Ba Na, Gold Coast, Tre Xanh Trung Tam, Minh Toan, Saigontourane, Royal, Silvershore), 7 shopping centers (including Big C, Intimex, Metro, CoopMart, SJC Danang) and some other businesses and restaurants in Danang City have registered to take part in the program.


These businesses will offer discounts of 5% to 25% for their products and services as well as other interesting promotion programs for customers.


The Danang City Culture, Sports and Tourism Department provides free training to staff working in tourism sector to improve service quality, organise tourism competitions and environmental protection programs for tourists.


Source: DT


Translated by Duy Minh


Source: QDND

UN experts say NKorea is exporting nuke technology

In Uncategorized on May 28, 2010 at 5:11 am

U.N. experts say North Korea is exporting nuclear and ballistic missile technology and using intermediaries, shell companies and overseas criminal networks to circumvent U.N. sanctions.

A North Korean soldier waits on the river banks of Sinuiju in North Korea as seen from along the Yalu river near Dandong in northeastern China’s Liaoning province, Friday, May 28, 2010

The seven-member panel monitoring sanctions against North Korea said in a report obtained by The Associated Press late Thursday that its research indicates that Pyongyang is involved in banned nuclear and ballistic activities in Iran, Syria and Myanmar. It called for further study of these suspected activities and urged all countries to try to prevent them.


The 47-page report and a lengthy annex document sanctions violations reported by U.N. member states, including four cases involving arms exports and two seizures of luxury goods. The report also details the broad range of techniques that North Korea is using to try to evade sanctions imposed after its nuclear tests.

Source: SGGP

Thai General Khattiya, Red Shirt Backer, Is Shot in Head

In Uncategorized on May 14, 2010 at 8:51 am

The Thai general popularly known as Seh Daeng has never been shy about talking to the press, even if he is coy about owning up to what he has been charged with: providing security for the Red Shirt protest movement and allegedly fielding a death squad to counter death squads associated with the government.


Major General Khattiya Sawatdiphol has been the swashbuckling, profanity-spewing field marshal of the protest movement that has virtually shut down the center of the capital, Bangkok, and withstood military assaults for five weeks. But on Thursday, as he was talking to a reporter from the International Herald Tribune, Seh Daeng was struck in the head by a bullet, an incident captured on video, and rushed to a hospital as the military appeared to have surrounded the Red Shirt encampment.


Thai emergency medical staff rush Maj. Gen Khattiya Sawasdiphol, also known as Seh Daeng’ to surgery after he was shot by a sniper Thursday, May 13, 2010, in Bangkok, Thailand

The attack on Seh Daeng dramatized the collapse of a peace deal between the government and the protest movement. Ten days ago, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva attempted to break the country’s political deadlock by announcing an early election date as part of a compromise aimed at ending the occupation of a key commercial district in Bangkok by thousands of anti-government protesters. But the rebels refused to end their protests, apparently because of a split among their leaders, who reportedly include more than 20 people ranging from opposition members of parliament to former communist revolutionaries, anti-monarchists and rogue military officers like Seh Daeng. Earlier on Thursday, with the protesters still refusing to leave, Abhisit said an early election was off the table. By evening, Seh Daeng was shot. He is in a coma, but doctors say he will survive. Local reports claim that Seh Daeng had been in a heated argument with other Red leaders not long before he was shot.

The Thai military had accused the rebel general of being behind the “Ronin Warriors,” a gang that has apparently gone after government targets with grenade attacks. He has denied the charge but said it is only fair that a death squad is helping the protesters since the government seemed to have its own “men in black” attacking the demonstrators and their sympathizers. “Ronin” is a reference to masterless Japanese samurai. Seh Daeng himself had been ostracized by his masters in the military. According to the journalist Richard Ehrlich, who interviewed him on Tuesday, Seh Daeng, one of the Thai army’s most experienced strategists, was reassigned to teach aerobics in 2008. He reportedly responded to the insult by saying, “I have prepared one dance. It’s called the ‘Throwing a Hand Grenade’ dance.”



There was much speculation that Seh Daeng was manipulating the Red Shirt protest in order to give his allies in the military an opportunity to stage a coup. He is believed to have coordinated and to be responsible for dozens of grenade attacks around Bangkok during the past two months. He is close to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 coup and lives abroad rather than serve a prison sentence for a corruption conviction. Seh Daeng visited Thaksin in Dubai several times, and he coordinated the building of the barricades and military-style operations of the Reds.

The Red Shirts have come to Bangkok primarily from poorer, rural parts of Thailand and are supporters of Thaksin, who won their allegiance with a raft of populist policies including easy credit and universal health care. They claim Abhisit rose to power illegitimately through backroom deals and with the help of the military, and they are demanding that he resign.



The number of demonstrators, once as many as 140,000, has shrunk to less than 10,000 in recent weeks. But they have erected a tent city and improvised fortress in the Rajaprasong commercial district in the heart of Bangkok. The Red Shirts have barricaded themselves inside the district, erecting walls using tires, bamboo spikes and gas containers that are rigged to explode. Rajaprasong is home to shopping malls, luxury apartment buildings, embassies, schools and hospitals. On Thursday, the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce said the economic damage caused by the protest was about $2 billion.



The ongoing violence and Abhisit’s announcement have dashed hopes that the two sides could reach a quick and peaceful end to the two-month-old demonstration. A previous attempt on April 10 to disperse the protesters from a different part of Bangkok failed, as paramilitaries among the protesters, reportedly including the Ronin Warriors, fought back against soldiers with grenades and guns. Twenty-nine people were killed, including six soldiers, and more than 800 were wounded.



“I have canceled the election date … because protesters refuse to disperse,” Abhisit told reporters on Thursday. He said he would still proceed with a plan to end political divisions, which he first unveiled when making his offer of holding early elections on Nov. 14. His term legally expires at the end of 2012. “I will proceed with the five-point reconciliation plan,” the Prime Minister said. The plan includes steps to build a social-welfare system and address injustices and political grievances. Protest leaders had earlier said they accepted the plan in principle but then began issuing more demands on a daily basis and ultimately refused to abandon their occupation.



In the meantime, the government began taking steps to choke off logistical support for the protest. It positioned more troops around the demonstration site. Checkpoints were set up to stem supplies of food and other equipment, and to restrict the movements of the demonstrators who had staged raids on parliament, the office of the election commission and other sites in recent weeks. “We have been having some success against them,” said Panitan Wattanayagorn, a government spokesman. “They can no longer roam freely around Bangkok.”



The protesters, however, remained undaunted by the security moves against them and noted that they have their own electrical generators. “We don’t fear anything the government can do to us,” protest leader Weng Tojirakan told followers from the main rally stage. “We are fighting for justice.”

Source: SGGP