NATO seeks troops to deter Russia on eastern flank
BRUSSELS NATO will press allies on Wednesday to contribute to its biggest military build-up on Russia's borders since the Cold War as the alliance prepares for a protracted quarrel with Moscow.
BANGKOK Nine people have died and more than 1 million have been affected by flooding in Thailand, officials said on Wednesday, but authorities offered assurances that floodwaters would not reach central industrial areas and near Bangkok as in 2011.
Widespread floods in 2011 killed more than 800 people and caused massive disruption to industry, cutting economic growth that year to just 0.1 percent.
Authorities discount the possibility of any similar disruption, but have expressed concern over one industrial estate in Ayutthaya province, 80 km (50 miles) north of Bangkok.
"We are monitoring Saha Rattana Nakorn complex in Ayutthaya, where flood walls are only 30 percent complete, but are confident that we will be able to take care of all industrial estates," Chatchai Promlert, director general of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, told Reuters.
Ruangrit Kusolgambot, director of the estate which specialises in production of parts for global auto makers, told Reuters the water would not enter the compound.
"The water is a safe distance from our complex and water levels in surrounding areas have decreased significantly over the past few days" he said.
The national meteorological department forecast more rain for the coming weekend.
So far, around 1.5 million people living in 27 of Thailand's 77 provinces have been affected by the floods. Nine districts have been evacuated.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra reassured businesses on Tuesday that there would be no repeat of the flooding that affected more than 13 million people in 2011.
A court has ordered the suspension of flood control projects worth 290 billion baht ($9.26 billion) undertaken as part of a campaign to reassure investors of improved flood defences. The projects had encountered legal delays and protests.
($1 = 31.3250 Thai baht)
(Additional reporting by Aukkarapon Niyomyat; Editing by Ron Popeski)
CARACAS Venezuela's opposition was to hold nationwide rallies on Wednesday against unpopular socialist President Nicolas Maduro, whom they accuse of morphing into a dictator by preventing a plebiscite to remove him.
BEIJING A blast that killed 14 people in a block of prefabricated houses in China on Monday was caused by "illegal production and storage of explosives", the state news agency Xinhua reported.