Razor wire rings Thepha power plant hearing

A public hearing on the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand's proposed coal-fired power plant in Songkhla's Thepha district opened amid tight security on Monday, with the project's opponents prevented from entering.

Coils of barbed wire were stretched around the office of Pak Bang tambon administration organisation, the venue for the hearing, to prevent villagers who oppose the project from getting inside.

About 1,500 soldiers and police were deployed around the TAO office. Another 500 defence volunteers from various villages were deployed inside the TAO compound.

Thai marchers oppose coal power plants, call for EIA reform

The 13km march started from the Pollution Control Department to the Mahidol University's Faculty of Public Health and ended at Chulalongkorn University.

The group also visited the offices of four members of the expert panel picked by the National Environment Board (NEB) to review the environmental impact assessment for the proposed Klong Ruo Coal Seaport, in Krabi, ahead of a review meeting this Friday.

Another walk is planned tomorrow to visit the remaining four members.

Industry official gets death sentence

The Chachoengsao court has handed down the death sentence against a C-8 Industry Ministry official for ordering the 2013 killing of a phuyaiban (village chief) who was leading protests against toxic waste dumping.

Prachob Naowa-opas, former chief of a Moo 14 village in Nong Han subdistrict of Phanom Sarakham district, was shot dead at a garage in the district last year.

He was the leader of the protests against illegal dumping of industrial and toxic waste in Nong Han and other tambons nearby.

Dam scheme divides Thai officials

Somkiat Prajamwong, director of the Office of Project Management at the RID, said officials have agreed to appoint an independent organisation to appraise the value of the Mae Wong forest and study the water management proposal.

He was speaking Wednesday after an Office of Natural Resources and Environment Policy and Planning (Onep) panel, which was tasked with considering the dam's environmental and health impacts, failed to reach a conclusion based on two reports into the project.

Cambodians oppose Lao dam

Cambodians staged a protest Thursday to share the concerns of more than a quarter of a million people who are calling on Laos to suspend construction of the Don Sahong hydropower project on the Mekong River.

At the protest Chhith Sam Ath, country director of the World Wide Fund for Nature, said Don Sahong Dam, a 260-megawatt hydropower project, could bring about the demise of important fisheries and critically endangered Mekong dolphins.

Asbestos pushed on Asia's poorest

The executives mingled over tea and sugar cookies, and the chatter was upbeat. Their industry, they said at the conference in the Indian capital, saves lives and brings roofs, walls and pipes to some of the world's poorest people.

The industry's wonder product, though, is one whose very name evokes the opposite: asbestos. A largely outlawed scourge to the developed world, it is still going strong in the developing one, and killing tens of thousands of people each year.

Interview: The river of dreams

Sompong Wiengjun sits on a balcony of her house along a dirt road running parallel to the Mun River in Khong Chiam district, Ubon Ratchathani. She sighs while gazing at the foul-smelling river. Twenty years ago, she would have been catching fish and planting vegetables along the river bank.

Life would have been simple and sustainable, only if the Pak Mun Dam had never been built.

China Maoming environmental protest violence condemned

Residents in Maoming, Guangdong province, on Sunday protested against the construction of a petrochemical plant that manufactures paraxylene.

Violence broke out, with reports of several injured protesters. On Tuesday, the protests spread to Guangzhou.

Protests are rare in China, where it is illegal to protest without a permit.

Hundreds of Maoming residents marched on the streets on Sunday, protesting against the proposed plant. Some protesters said turnout was more than 1,000.

Killing of environmental activists rises globally

As head of his village, Prajob Naowa-opas battled to save his Chachoengsao province community from the illegal dumping of toxic waste by filing petitions and leading villagers to block trucks carrying the stuff - until a gunman in broad daylight fired four shots into him.

A year later, his three alleged killers, including a senior government official, are on trial for murder. The dumping has been halted and villagers are erecting a statue to their slain hero.