With the deadline for approval now passed, it looks like Nasa’s request to use U-tapao naval airbase for atmospheric studies is going nowhere. The matter now goes to parliament which will not met until August.
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Nasa already has prepared an official logo for the the Southeast Asia Composition, Cloud, Climate Coupling Regional Study (SEAC4RS). The exercise aims to address key questions regarding the influence of Asian emissions on clouds, climate, and air quality. (Nasa handout)
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Cabinet sends Nasa plan to parliament
Cancellation likely, Yingluck concedes
The cabinet yesterday voted to forward Nasa's request to use U-tapao naval airbase in Rayong for atmospheric studies to parliament for debate in August, which will likely result in the project being cancelled.
The request will be debated at the next session of a joint sitting of parliament, under Section 179 of the constitution, which does not require a vote. The parliament is now in recess and will not convene until August.
Speaking after the cabinet meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra admitted the decision might cause Nasa to scrap the project.
It would be a pity if Nasa withdrew the request as Thailand would lose an opportunity to develop its weather forecasting capabilities, she said.
"The cabinet agrees that we should use parliamentary mechanisms to scrutinise the request in the interests of the country," she said.
Nasa sent the request to use U-tapao last year, but the government did not respond until this month.
Last week, Nasa made it clear the request for use of the airport for scientific studies in August and September would be withdrawn if approval was not forthcoming by yesterday.
Although the Council of State, the government's legal adviser, confirmed that the request did not require parliamentary approval under paragraph 2 of Section 190 of the constitution, and ministries concerned had publicly explained the benefits of the Nasa project, there were still conflicting opinions, she said.
Moreover, the opposition has said it might affect national interests. This was a serious accusation, Ms Yingluck said.
She said the cabinet had assigned Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul to explain the decision to the United States and hoped that Washington would understand and respect it.
Democrat Party and opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday said he agreed with the government's decision to seek parliamentarians' views on the Nasa request.
Problems could have been avoided if the government had done this at the beginning, Mr Abhisit said.
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address – to deal with a problem จัดการปัญหา
influence – the power to have an effect on people or things อิทธิพล
emissions – gases going into the air การปล่อยก๊าซเสียสู่ท้องฟ้า
cabinet – the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy คณะรัฐมนตรี
cancellation – a decision to stop something that has been arranged from taking place การยกเลิก
concede – to admit that something is true ยอมรับว่าถูก
forward – to send onwards ส่งต่อ
request – an act of asking for something in a formal or polite way การขอร้อง
atmosphere (adjective form atmospheric) – the mixture of gases that surrounds the earth บรรยากาศรอบโลก
session – a formal meeting, or a series of meetings, of an institution such as a parliament or a court การประชุม, สมัยการประชุม
joint session – a meeting of both Houses of Parliament, i.e., the House of Representatives and the Senate การประชุมร่วมกันของสมาชิกจากสองสภา
section – any of the parts into which something is divided, in this case, part of a constitution ส่วน, มาตรา
constitution – the set of laws and basic principles that a country in governed by รัฐธรรมนูญ
recess – a period of time in the year when the members of a lawmaking body or a court are not meeting ข่วงระหว่างการปิดประชุม, ช่วงระยะเวลาที่ศาลปิด
convene – to gather for a meeting มาชุมนุมกัน
admit – to agree that something is true, especially when you are unhappy, sorry or surprised about it ยอมรับ
scrap – to stop using or accepting เลิก
pity – disappointing น่าผิดหวัง น่าเสียดาย
withdraw – to take away ถอน
opportunity – a chance to do something, or a situation in which it is easy for you to do something โอกาส
forecast – a statement about what will happen in the future based on information available now พยากรณ์
capability – the ability to do something ความสามารถ
mechanism – a method or a system for achieving something กลไก, วิธีการทำงาน, วิธีการ
scrutinise – carefully examined ตรวจสอบอย่างละเอียด
interests – good results or an advantage for somebody/something ประโยชน์ส่วนบุคคล
approval – agreement to do or accept something ความเห็นชอบด้วย
forthcoming – happening or coming soon ที่กำลังจะมาถึง
Council of State – an official organisation that advises the government on proposed laws and other legal matters คณะกรรมการกฤษฎีกาและสำนักงานคณะกรรมการกฤษฎีกา
concerned – involved in something, or affected by something เกี่ยวข้องกับ ที่สัมพันธ์กับ
benefit – an advantage you get from a situation; a helpful or good effect, or something intended to help ผลประโยชน์
conflicting – having seriously difference that cannot all be right at the same time ที่ขัดแย้งกัน
the opposition – the political party or parties that are not part of the government ฝ่ายค้าน
accusation –a statement that someone has done something wrong or illegal even though this has not been proved ข้อกล่าวหา
assign – to give someone a job to do มอบหมาย, สั่งงาน
respect – to accept the importance of someone's rights or customs เคารพ
parliamentarian – a member of parliament สมาชิกรัฐสภา
avoid – to try to prevent something from happening หลีกเลี่ยง