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Thailand to Provide Free Cable TV in Restive South

Thailand's government says it will provide free cable television in the country's restive south in its latest effort to stem violence in the Muslim-dominated region.

Under the plan announced Tuesday by Interior Minister Kongsak Wanthana, the government will install at least 500 television sets in local stores.

Programming will be limited mainly to sports, including English Premier League soccer matches. Mr. Kongsak says the move could encourage the youth to become more interested in sports, and less interested in violence.

More than 800 people have been killed since violence broke out in the Muslim-dominated provinces of Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala in January 2004.

The Thai government has tried a range of measures to quell the violence, including martial law and air-dropping millions of paper birds as a goodwill gesture.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.