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Thai Officials: Thaksin May Resume Full Duties Tuesday

Thai officials say Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra may resume his full duties Tuesday by leading the government's weekly Cabinet meeting.

A Thai government spokesman Suraphong Suebwonglee says Mr. Thaksin may chair the meeting for the first time since he took a break from politics early last month.

Mr. Thaksin transferred his duties to his deputy Chidchai Vanasathitya after weeks of mass pro-democracy protests in Bangkok calling on him to resign.

Mr. Thaksin returned to government headquarters Monday to attend a security meeting with top officials.

Reports say the meeting focused on how to improve security in southern Thailand after Muslim villagers kidnapped and beat two female Buddhist teachers in Narathiwat province last week.

Authorities in the province closed more than 100 schools today, saying teachers are too afraid to go to work.

Officials say the schools will remain shut for the rest of the week.

Separately, Thai officials say suspected Muslim insurgents fatally shot a telephone worker today in Pattani province and set his body on fire.

More than 200 Muslim villagers in Narathiwat stormed into a school Friday and seized the two teachers, demanding authorities release two suspected insurgents in exchange. Thai security forces freed the teachers several hours later.

One of the teachers remains hospitalized in a coma following the incident.

Mr. Thaksin said Saturday he planned to resume his duties because of uncertainty about when new parliamentary elections will be held.

Thailand's Constitutional Court annulled last month's general election held on April second after it failed to produce a full parliament due to an opposition boycott.