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Date: 12/30/98

Publication: The Nation

Section: Headlines

BRIEFS: Controversial temple denies 'teaching' violence

WAT Dhammakaya and the Dhammakaya Foundation on Tuesday denied being involved in the mob threat against a former assistant abbot.

The temple has never supported or taught its followers to use force against anybody, said a statement, signed by Wat Dhammakaya assistant abbot Phra Palad Sutham Suthammo.

If some people use the name of the temple and the foundation to harass others, the damaged party should seek legal action against them, he stated.

Former assistant abbot of Wat Dhammakaya, Phra Adisak, said on Monday that about 30 followers of the controversial Buddhist temple had threatened violence if he did not stop criticising the temple.

The monk, now a member of Wat Paknam Pasicharoen, recently gave interviews alleging that the temple was falsely interpreting the Buddhist canon by emphasising excessive merit-making instead of concentrating on Buddha's teachings.


Act to be abolished

THE Cabinet on Tuesday approved draft legislation to abolish the Anti-Communist Act and other related laws as proposed by the the Interior Ministry.

In proposing the draft, the Interior Ministry said the laws had been issued at a time when Communists were a threat to national security but the situation had changed since then and the laws should be abolished.


Gold-diggers told to stop

The Royal Forestry Department has ordered a gold digging team to stop its operations in Kanchanaburi because it is a waste of time.

RFD director-general Plodprasop Suraswadi said on Tuesday the RFD team had stopped its search for gold in the Lijia cave. However, the department will use high-tech equipment to check if there is any gold in the area, he said.


In line with Information Law

THE Cabinet on Tuesday gave the green light to a proposal for all government agencies to appoint personnel to ensure that their organisations are in line with the information law.

Government spokesman Akapol Sorasuchart said the proposal had been made by PM's Office Minister Supatra Masdit who chairs a committee overseeing government information.

Supatra suggested that all government agencies appoint an official or a committee to ensure that their organisations act according to the Information Act which requires government bodies to reveal all information to the public.


Laos to issue visa on entry

UNDER a Laos tourism campaign, Laotian immigration authorities will grant entry visas on arrival as of Friday at Luang Prabang International Airport, the official Laotian news agency, KPL, reported on Tuesday.

The temple-filled town, listed as a World Heritage site by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, is the centre-piece of Visit Laos Year, running through 1999.

Luang Prabang's airport has been upgraded to handle more visitors.


Educating the journalists

REPRESENTATIVES from journalistic associations and universities agreed on Tuesday to set up a special task force to coordinate curricula planning and on the job-training related to journalism.

Chutima Buranaratchada, president of the Reporters' Association of Thailand, said the 15-member task force would hold its first meeting next month and work out an action plan that would involve those who teach and practice journalism.

She said the move was a milestone for media education in Thailand.


PM orders price intervention

DEPUTY Agriculture Minister Newin Chidchob said on Tuesday he had been given a direct order from Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai to supervise a new rubber-price intervention scheme to ensure transparency.

He said Chuan expressed concerns about possible irregularities in the Bt4-billion scheme in which the money may not be eventually received by rubber growers but instead by owners of rubber warehouses or middlemen.

Citing a ministry report, Newin said it had been found that there would be fewer than 5 per cent of farmers in certain provinces participating in the scheme which was approved last week.

Newin said Chuan's instruction came partially from last week's resignation of former deputy agriculture minister Somchai Sunthornvut, who oversaw the Office of the Rubber Replanting Aid Fund.

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