Prayers across Asean borders to welcome new year

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Prayer 1

CROSS-BORDER prayer ceremonies

Dubbed “Asean prayers”, the campaign aims to boost Thailand’s ties with neighbouring countries through friendly exchanges via the religious dimension, Culture Minister Veera Rojpojanarat said yesterday. This is the first time the Religious Affairs Department has extended this New Year activity to the border provinces of Mae Hong Son, Chiang Rai, Tak, Loei, Nong Khai, Bung Kan, Mukdahan, Nakhon Phanom, Ubon Ratchathani, Si Sa Ket, Sa Kaew, Surin, Ranong and Songkhla, he said.

In Central Thailand, traditional prayers will be held on New Year’s Eve at several renowned temples, including Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimonmangalaram (Wat Pho), Wat Sraket Rajavaramahavihara (Golden Mount) and Wat Benchamabophit Dusitvanaram, he added.

Meanwhile, police spokesman Pol General Dechnarong Suticharnbancha yesterday inspected police and related officials’ preparedness at four key New Year countdown venues in Bangkok.

He said some 4,000 policemen would be deployed to provide security at the most popular countdown site in Bangkok, the CentralWorld Plaza, where some 200,000 partygoers are expected to show up. Early on New Year’s Eve, the area will be cleared of roadside stalls, and before midnight a bomb squad will be on hand to provide security.

Prayer 2

About 10,000 city law enforcers and police will be patrolling 11 sites across Bangkok and manning 18 metal-detector entrance points, he added.

Eye on road accidents

The beginning of the so-called “seven dangerous days” of road accidents yesterday saw Interior Ministry permanent secretary Krissada Boonrat preside over the opening of a Road Safety Centre at the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation. The centre will monitor road accidents and provide daily updates until January 5.

Public opinion is being sought over the policy of police and the Peace and Order Maintaining Command to temporarily seize cars and motorcycles from drunk drivers, which has been operating since Christmas Day.

A Suan Dusit Poll said yesterday that 80.47 per cent of 1,280 people surveyed from December 24 to 28 agreed with the measure on grounds that it would prevent road accidents, serve as a punishment and as a warning to motorists to abide by traffic laws. About 13 per cent disagreed with the policy, and suggested that fines and prison sentences be imposed, and alcohol-beverage selling outlets be dealt with as the root of the problem.

In the Northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima, a provincial transport office added another 100 bus trips to its 300-strong daily service yesterday and today, to serve an expected 20,000 holidaymakers. It also conducted alcohol breathalyser tests on bus drivers and checked their buses. Traffic volume on Mitraparp Highway heading towards Nakhon Ratchasima also rose yesterday, but cars were moving at an average speed of 70 to 80 kilometres per hour.

Source: The

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