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Thai PM Defends Herself in Rice Subsidy Case

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has defended herself against charges related to the country's rice subsidy program.

Ms. Yingluck spoke Monday with the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), which has charged her with dereliction of duty in a case that could lead to her removal from office.

NACC member Prasart Pongsivapai told reporters afterward that the prime minister submitted documents and gave a short statement in her defense. He says she also asked for the commission to call 10 more witnesses and extend the deadline for her lawyers to submit more evidence.

In the past two years, the Thai government has sent more than $20 billion to farmers and millers as part of a program that offered to pay rice growers 50 percent above world prices.

But analysts say the plan has been dogged by corruption allegations and suggestions of fake government-to-government deals that failed to materialize.



The charges against the prime minister follow months of mass protests by the opposition, which is trying to force her from power.

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