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Better English lessons wanted

Posted by hasekamp on 31 May 2003 at 11:23 AM
Those of you who have visited the page on this site about the Thai language (http://www.hasekamp.net/language.htm) know that I am of the opinion that the way Thais pronounce the English language could be improved, to put it mildly. But I have also explained on that page that the problem is that the Thais pronounce English according to the Thai pronunciation rules.
It seems that I have found support for my view from educators in Thailand. One of them says that poor-quality English programs in schools are wasting parents' money and students' talent.
He says regulations and quality standards are needed to screen out poor local teachers and unqualified English native instructors. English courses are growing in popularity in schools. International schools are blossoming in Bangkok and other cities.
The Education Ministry has recently allowed 36 primary and secondary schools to open English programs from this term.
However, standards for English teaching should be introduced and qualified foreign teachers should come and work in Thailand. Therefore the ministry should scrap plans to create English courses in schools until a network with schools in other countries could be set up and could keep up an international standard. Schools need native speakers to teach students in English, with Thai teachers playing only a supporting role, according to the educator cited in the article (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Gem scam under investigation

Posted by hasekamp on 31 May 2003 at 11:22 AM
Tourist police in Bangkok yesterday arrested the owner of a Bangkok jewelry shop and his assistant on fraud charges, following complaints from an Indian couple that their ornaments were overpriced. Police confiscated 30 million Baht worth of jewelry items from the large First International Lapidary Co Ltd on Rama VI road for quality checks. They also arrested seven tuk-tuk drivers luring foreign tourists to the shop and charged them with causing a public disturbance.
The shop owner (32!), and his assistant (54) were arrested and charged with fraud. Warrants also were out for another shop owner, a tuk-tuk driver and two unlicensed guides.
The Indian couple had told police that they had bought a pair of ruby earrings and a ruby-studded ring from First International Lapidary for 38,000 Baht and had used their credit card to pay the shop on May 5. They later went to another jewelry shop and had their purchases examined, where they were told that the items were too expensive.
An initial investigation had found that the shop allegedly used some unlicensed guides and tuk-tuk drivers to bring in customers and paid them a commission of between 20%-30% on the sold items. The jeweler said to the police that the Indian couple wanted to return the ear-rings and the ring, claiming they were overpriced and asked for a 38,000-Baht refund in cash.
He also said commission payments for guides were common among jewelry shops. His rate was only 20% while others were paying as much as 40%.
On this site we have warned time after time against these practices by jewelry shops. Similar warnings can be found in any tourist guide for Thailand and on signs in the streets of Bangkok, in areas where may tourists come. It now looks as if the authorities are starting to take the many complaints about jewelry scams seriously. The phone number of the Tourist Police is 1155. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Two new patents for His Majesty

Posted by hasekamp on 27 May 2003 at 13:23 PM
Two new patents will be presented to His Majesty the King for his development of a new rainmaking technique and an engine lubricant made from pure palm oil.
The Deputy Commerce Minister and a delegation including the director-general of the Intellectual Property Department will seek an audience with the King at the Klai Kang Won Palace in Prachuap Khiri Khan on June 2 to present the patents.
The patent for rainmaking was sought on Aug 28 last year and issued on Nov 29. It is for His Majesty's Super Sandwich technique in which two aircraft seed warm and cold clouds at different altitudes to make rain. It is a most effective technique because it generates rain over a wider area than other methods, and is more precisely. His Majesty the King has started been researching this matter for a very long time, even before Thailand had its own patent law.
On Aug 23 last year, the King sought a patent for a lubricant made from palm oil for use in two-stroke engines. The patent was issued on Oct 11. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Illegal ivory trade in major hotels

Posted by hasekamp on 25 May 2003 at 16:20 PM
Fifteen major hotels in Bangkok are continuing to sell elephant tusks and ivory products to tourists, the director of WWF Thailand said today. He is concerned that loopholes in wildlife protection legislation are making the continuation of the trade in illegal wildlife possible.
The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Flora is also concerned about trade in ivory and other wildlife-related articles. He is requesting people in possession of protected species right now to register them within 120 days. However, the new registration process may contain loopholes allowing for the semi-legal trade in endangered wildlife.
Thai hotels are now also being urged to clean up their illegal trade. A recent letter of warning, distributed by the Swiss-based Office of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has been sent to at least 15 major Bangkok hotels that were continuing to sell ivory products and elephant tusks, telling tourists that the sale and export of such products was legal. We hereby warn our visitors that this is not true. Ivory trade in Thailand and export of ivory from Thailand is illegal. And should you be tempted to buy ivory in Thailand nevertheless, then your local custom officers are entitled to confiscate it and you risk a criminal action. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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More tourism wanted!

Posted by hasekamp on 25 May 2003 at 16:19 PM
Tourism, tourism, tourism, that is what it all seems to be about. Sars has reduced the number of tourists dramatically, as we reported. Now the government gives it a new try: The Tourism Minister today called on the Tourism Authority of Thailand to encourage department stores to reduce prices for domestic and foreign tourists in order to ensure that tourists continue to flow into the country. The Minister seems to be confident in her attempt, because he had asked the TAT to negotiate with the stores in question, and added that further meetings would be held to work out the details of the scheme later this week, prior to the official launch of the program.
Thailand's next major tourism fair is due to be held on June 5-8 at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, where visitors will be offered 30-70 percent reductions on package tours and special promotions for low season travel. Visitors will also be offered 25 percent reductions on airfares, and discussions are currently underway with the state railway and coach companies to offer low-price tickets.
For the State Railway this would be a very sympathetic gesture, but really, for foreign tourists the Thai railway fares are so low that traveling by train in Thailand can be considered practically free. The same goes for buses. What I pay at home for a 10-minutes ride gives me at least a two hours ride in Thailand. It will not be of great use to further drop these fares at the expense of the bus companies. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Will legal CDs become cheaper in Thailand?

Posted by hasekamp on 23 May 2003 at 23:41 PM
The Commerce Ministry is urging the music industry to reduce prices of its CDs, now that authorities are successfully cracking down on pirated CDs in the street markets nationwide as part of the War against Piracy.
The Deputy Commerce Minister said that manufacturers, and especially those in the music industry, should cut the prices by an average of 100 Baht apiece since their copyrighted products have been selling very well due to the crackdowns on pirated items. The Ministry might even look into the costs of the copyrighted CDs and see if the manufacturers are selling their products at fair prices. Consumers are now being protected against opportunistic traders, according to the Deputy Minister.
The Intellectual Property Department is seeing to it that 36 factories which manufacture copyrighted CDs stop their production lines for pirated CDs. Some of the factories had earlier been found to be producing not only copyrighted CDs but also pirated ones.
Meanwhile, authorities are coping with vendorsof pirated CDs at Pantip Plaza in Bangkok, once more: according to the Deputy Commerce Minister. (Source: Public Relations Department)


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First victims of War on Dark Influences

Posted by hasekamp on 23 May 2003 at 23:28 PM
As we reported very recently, the Thaksin government has started a new war: The War on Dark Influences. It has already claimed its first victims: Two suspected arms traders have been killed in Bangkok and an illegal plantation in Kanchanaburi was raided under the government's war on dark influence.
The two arms traders (30 and 32) were killed in a shootout with undercover police. They were found to possess automatic weapons, 500 bullets, and 180 speed pills. That was enough to kill them without a trial.
In Kanchanaburi forestry officials raided an illegal rubber plantation and two rubber sheet factories in Khao Chang Phuak forest reserve. Six workers were arrested but they declined to name their employer.
No dead were reported here. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Thai Government launches new campaign

Posted by hasekamp on 21 May 2003 at 19:47 PM
The Thai Government yesterday (May 20) gave a final warning to all outlawed, influential persons including those without criminal records to give up vicious practices or face a serious crack down. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra confirmed that the Government will take drastic action against 15 categories of outlawed, influential elements nationwide, in a new campaign.
The Prime Minister said the National Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council had compiled a list of about 600 suspected outlawed, influential persons, compared to about 800 blacklisted by police and provincial authorities throughout the country.
Mr. Thaksin said a number of government officials had reportedly been connected with extortionists and outlawed businesspersons; many of them have become local politicians and canvassers.
The Bangkok Governor and the Bangkok Metropolitan Police Commissioner will be in charge of the campaign in the capital while provincial governors and provincial police commanders will be responsible for provinces nationwide, he said. Government officials have clearly understood the policy about the planned suppression of all vicious elements in the country, it has been said. We wonder what the results of this latest Thaksin campaign will be. Mr. Thaksin seems very inventive in thinking out campaigns! (Source: Public Relations Department)


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Ministry website hacked

Posted by hasekamp on 20 May 2003 at 14:00 PM
The website of a Thai ministry has been hacked. But not the website of just a ministry, but the website of The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Ministry. This ministry should be the official promoter of all things related to computers. But –apparently- it does not master the technology fully.
Yesterday hackers managed to invade the website and inserted a small news item announcing a plan by the ICT Minister to set up a club for all pornographic sites. It said the club would promote prostitution to appease our farang masters. Although the message was deleted in a few hours time, some damage had been done already. Webmaster said the hacker or hackers, still unidentified, had intruded through the office computer system. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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American faces ten years

Posted by hasekamp on 20 May 2003 at 13:49 PM
American citizen Charles Elliott Rook, 55, was arrested in Patong yesterday on charges of possession of cannabis with intent to sell. An official from Patong Police Station said that Rook was arrested, after a raid on his home showed up one kilogram of cannabis.
Undercover police had tried to buy cannabis from a 23-year-old woman, who only possessed a few grams. She took the undercover agent to Rooks home where, she said, the cannabis had come from. The police officer called for assistence and burtst into the house. A search showed up the kilo of cannabis, worth 100,000 Baht.
Rook was arrested on a charge of possession of a Class 5 drug with intent to sell. The maximum penalty for this offense is a fine of up to 200,000 Baht, or up to 10 years in jail, or both.
We cannot warn our visitors enough that even possession of what are called soft drugs can bring you in jail for a long time in Thailand and that it therefore is highly recommendable not to possess any drugs. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Thaksin under threat

Posted by hasekamp on 19 May 2003 at 16:15 PM
The US government has warned Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra that he could become a target of assassination, a source said yesterday. In a written warning made through the US Embassy in Bangkok, American authorities said that the threat has to do with the war on drugs.
Security has been stepped up for the prime minister over the past week and Thaksin said on Saturday that security agencies advised him to avoid large public gatherings. His schedule was changed yesterday as the premier left for Pattaya to attend a mobile Cabinet meeting today.
More than 1,000 security officials - consisting of police, naval troops and civil officials - have been dispatched to the Cabinet meeting in Pattaya. A security X-ray machine has been installed at the entrance of the conference room where the Cabinet meeting is to take place.
Mr. Thaksin also rescheduled his trip to Si Sa Ket to campaign for a Thai Rak Thai party. Thaksin will join the campaign on Saturday instead of May 30. Thaksin will also avoid appearing on the stage.
Despite these new safety mesures, the prime minister still has a busy schedule of up-country trips. In addition to the Si Sa Ket campaigning, he is also to travel to Phetchaburi and Phuket later this month. (Source: The Nation)


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Strays are not the best police dogs

Posted by hasekamp on 19 May 2003 at 16:14 PM
A project to take abandoned dogs off Bangkok's streets and train them to be drug-sniffing canines isn't working very well because many of the dogs can't stand the discipline, police said Saturday. His Majesty the King suggested the project in his birthday speech last December.
The dogs' trainers find it hard to keep the animals still, as they were used to roaming freely. It also is difficult for them to take an interest in training games, a police official said.
So far less than one-third (15 out of the 50 stray dogs) have shown enough agility and obedience to possibly qualify for police work. The recruits began drug detection training in January and are due to graduate in June. Those that make the grade will be deployed to public transport terminals to search for illicit drugs, he said. We are afraid that the others will go back to shelters. Or will they have befriended their trainers enough to be taken home? (Source: Associate Press)


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New Royal Project

Posted by hasekamp on 16 May 2003 at 14:15 PM
His Majesty the King has instructed the army to play a leading role in the planting of vetiver grass to improve soil quality and prevent erosion nationwide. Army units around the country have been ordered to grow vetiver on mountains and road-sides in conjunction with His Majesty's demand. Also a sub-project, aiming at cultivating nursery stocks of vetiver, has been started.
Many villagers previously mistook vetiver as a weed, but it is very useful for soil conservation, according to His Majesty. His Majesty the King has already studied its benefits.
Also under the project, army conscripts would be trained in how to grow vetiver, in the hope they will use their knowledge to help prevent soil erosion upon their return to their hometowns.
Also the army-run media will seek to raise public awareness of the benefits of planting vetiver grass.
His Majesty will be constantly informed on the progress of the project, which is intended to be completed by 2006. The leader of the project said that the grass can also be used to improve the quality of soil at sites of abandoned shrimp farms. Furthermore villagers will be encouraged to produce and sell essential oil derived from vetiver.
This new project once more shows how active His Majesty still is and how concerned he is about the development of Thailand and about the conservation of its environment. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Temple bell from Sri Lanka

Posted by hasekamp on 15 May 2003 at 21:57 PM
Thailand and Sri Lanka are celebrating their 250 years of religious bonds by restoring the temple where a Thai monk, Phra Upali, who was sent to re-establish Buddhism in Sri Lanka over two centuries ago, used to live. Buddhism in Thailand and in Sri Lanka have always been closely related.
The restoration of Dhammaram Temple in Ayutthaya Province is being sponsored by the Sri Lankan Government, which has also cast a bell weighing 75 kilogrammes for the temple. The bell was handed over to the temple yesterday, in a boat procession.
The Sri Lankan Minister of Tourism Development said at the handing over ceremony of the bell that the procession symbolized the sea voyage taken by Phra Upali 250 years ago to Sri Lanka where he established the Siam Nikaya or Siam Wong which remains the largest single Monk Order in his country to this day. (Source: Public Relations Department)


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Siam Square empty

Posted by hasekamp on 13 May 2003 at 11:22 AM
Despite repeated government declarations that the Thailand is safe, these days one can walk comfortably through Siam Square in Bangkok, without being hindered by thousands of people. It's even relatively easy to find a parking space and one sometimes even could cross the street.
This phenomenon began in late March, just after Sars became known. Siam Square changed totally from the first day people learned about Sars. They were scared of going to crowded places, and this is the result. The car park is almost empty. Store owners worry that many of the current customers still wear masks and talk about Sars as they shop. And, even worse, foreign tourists are no longer eagerly greeted, but treated with suspicion. They might carry Sars, after all. And rumours that the virus can live on the surface of imported products are scaring both merchants and customers alike.
Managers are pleased with the prime minister's guarantee that the family of anyone who dies from Sars contracted in Thailand will receive one million Baht, but while that may provide some mental relief, the fact remains that the Siam Square crowd is the smallest it has been in years. So, for comfortable shopping these days, go to Siam Square.(Source: The Nation)


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Food labeling does not work

Posted by hasekamp on 12 May 2003 at 16:39 PM
Labels on food products on supermarket shelves remained unchanged yesterday when the regulation requiring labeling of genetically-modified ingredients came this lapse on loopholes in the rule by the Public Health Ministry. The rule requires labeling on 24 types of products made from GM corn and soybeans. A product where one of the three main ingredients contains more than 5% GM materials must be labeled "made from genetically-modified corn or soybeans". However, a survey at a Bangkok supermarket yesterday found that none of the products made from corn and soybeans was carrying such a label. Consumers say they know too little about genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) to be concerned.
Thailand says it has based its labeling rule on a Japanese model, but Japan has another law banning imports of GM materials. The Thai FDA says it has no equipment to check GM presence in food other than corn and soybean. And so, we have to come back upon our optimistic view of some time ago, when we wrote that Thailand is one of the first countries in the World that has an (effective) system of compulsory labeling of GMOs. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Ploughing Ceremony

Posted by hasekamp on 9 May 2003 at 18:24 PM
Yesterday was the day of the Ploughing Ceremony. In short, by the choice of food, made by a pair of oxen, the future for Thailand for the coming year is predicted.
This year the Ceremony led to the following prediction: Thailand will enjoy a booming economy, a bountiful harvest, good communications and prosperous foreign trade this year. This was forecast by the Royal astrologer at the Ceremony. A pair of sacred white oxen chose to eat from banana-leaf bowls of rice, grass and liquor, and that led to the prediction mentioned above.
Opting by the oxen for rice meant food will be abundant this year. They consumed grass, and the prediction is that there will be adequate water, good crops and herds will multiply. By drinking liquor the sacred oxen indicated transport will be more convenient, international trade will improve and the economy will thrive, the master of ceremonies, Phraya Raekna, told His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, who presided over the royal ceremony. Well, could Thailand wish better? No sars, no fall in tourism or trade, nothing bad at all! (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Will buying jewelry soon become safe?

Posted by hasekamp on 8 May 2003 at 12:57 PM
The government will enforce its assets seizure law to stop jewelry shops cheating tourists, said Deputy Prime Minister Korn Dabbaransi. We have reported about these pland before. Stern action has to teach fraudulent jewelers a lesson.
The assets seizure law will be used to impound ill-gotten gains from repeated offenders. It will be applied in coordination with the consumers' protection and anti-fraud laws. The deputy premier said this after meeting the Tourist Police, the Gems and Jewellery Institute and the Special Investigation Department (SID). They called for a joint effort to fight jewellery scams.
The Gems Institute will report on sales of overpriced gems. The jewelry scams hurt tourism and the gems trade. One incident in which potential Chinese customers turned away from a Thai gem exhibition in China was reasonfor the Thai government to try to do something about the scams. Tourist complaints against jewellery shops make too little headway as tourists often return home before legal action has taken place. The impostors normally reopen their shops under new names and at new locations to continue cheating. A well-known practice also is to pay taxi drivers and tour guides a commission to bring tourists to the shops.
Shops with a tainted history face their licences to be revoked permanently. Some jewelry shops have offered to broker gems for tourists overseas. They claimed the sale abroad would triple the original price and promised to remit the money earned. But remittance was never made and in one case the tourists were assaulted by the shopkeeper when they showed up to demand the payment.
We do hope that there will ever come a day when tourists, like you and me, can buy jewelry in Thailand at acceptable prices, not higher than the prices Thais pay for the same items (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Thaksin will inform foreign embassies again

Posted by hasekamp on 8 May 2003 at 12:43 PM
Foreign diplomats will be briefed again this month about the government's anti-drugs crusade after the US expressed concern about the high death toll, as we reported yesterday. The US action followed previous expression of concern from European countries, Australia and South Africa about the more than 2,300 people that have died in the Thaksin government War on Drugs.
The Thai government insists that drug dealers have been killing each other to avoid prosecution, but critics charge most deaths were summary executions of drug suspects by the authorities. The Bush administration was asked by congressmen about the campaign. TheUS embassy sought clarifications in response. The US deny that they link the matter to Mr. Thaksin's visit to the US on June 9-11, when he is due to meet President George W Bush.
Mr Thaksin defended his war on drugs yesterday, saying the crackdown had benefited Western countries. He emphasized that everything has been done according to the constitution of Thailand, and also under the law. Police have admitted to shooting dead 51 people, but Mr Thaksin said there were only about 35 cases of extraordinary killings, all involving officers shooting in self-defence.
Mr Thaksin suggested that foreign countries should be grateful for Thailand's efforts to curb the drug trade. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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US want Thailand to arrest war-on-drugs killers

Posted by hasekamp on 7 May 2003 at 14:28 PM
The United States have expressed serious concern yesterday about the number of killings during Thailand's recently concluded War against Drugs. The US urged the Thai government to investigate the cases and bring the killers (in many cases police and army officials) to justice. The spokesman for the US said it would be premature to speculate on possible consequences should the government refuse to comply with the request. The US embassy spokesman also said he was not authorized to comment on any written communications that have passed between the two governments.
We wonder what the US are putting their nose in here. It is the responsibility of Thailand, and of Thailand only, what (possible) crimes, committed by its own citizens on its own soil, it wants to investigate. Foreign countries have nothing to do with that, we believe, at least if we may assume that the Thai judicial system is independent, as is the judicial system of other countries, including the US.
This does not mean that we approve of the (more than 2000) killings during the War on Drugs, but Thailand has its own sovereignty.
The US, however, argues that it gives 132 million Baht of financial assistance annually to Thailand to fight the trafficking of narcotics and on that basis wants to control the judicial system in Thailand, it seems.
The Thai government has consistently said the 2,000 murders were primarily perpetrated by drug dealers and has dismissed calls by human rights groups to investigate the killings. So that should officially clear Mr. Thaksin.
Nevertheless, the concern expressed by the US Embassy could prove a problem for Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, because he is planning to visit the United States in June. The nature of the visit might become different now.
And on top of the killings issue there are reports that Washington is upset with Thailand for not offering moral support for the US assault to disarm Saddam Hussein. Maybe Mr. Thaksin should postpone his trip? (Source: The Nation)


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Condo for stray dogs

Posted by hasekamp on 5 May 2003 at 19:06 PM
Phra Phayom Kalayano of Wat Suan Kaew in Nonthaburi has started a project to build a condominium for stray dogs. The five-story condominium will be built on a piece of ground that his temple bought from villagers a few years ago for about 10 million Baht. The condo will be completed by the end of this year, for about 1 million Baht, and will accommodate up to 1,000 dogs. A playground for dogs will be included on the grounds.
People can visit the place after it is finished, donate money and take a dog home.
Companies that sell animal food have made donations to the temple for the condo. Boxes to take donations for the stray dogs have been set up in several places.
The condominium is part of Phra Phayom's project for stray dogs at Wat Suan Kaew. More than 100 dogs have already been raised at the temple. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Thaksin claims victory

Posted by hasekamp on 3 May 2003 at 11:57 AM
Prime Minster Thaksin Shinawatra has claimed victory in the War against Drugs that has been going on since February. He did so in a TV speech.
Some figures: In three months 1600 people died (not of natural causes!), 43,000 dealers were arrested and 285,000 addicts volunteered for a treatment (instead of prison or worse). Mr. Thaksin has been criticized widely, within Thailand, but above all internationally, that government officials simply had executed many of the people who did not survive the War on Drugs. This has never officially been denied in a convincing manner, but Mr. Thaksin does not care. The only thing that has been said officially is that in 42 cases people died as a result of self-defense of police officers. And, it seems, many Thais either. Drugs have been expelled from Thai society for about 90% and everybody is happy about that. Thaksin himself said that death is a logical fate for bad people, and that is that. Human Right Organizations protested, but in vain. Most cases of the 1600 dead were not really investigated. The protests of the Human Rights Organizations were replied by government official with a simple "Let them do their work, then we will do ours". We wonder what the work of these organizations is if they are not allowed to protest against suspicious deaths of people.
Especially internationally Thailand has received much criticism about this War on Drugs, but the government does not care, as long ads tourism is not seriously influenced.
And, after all, the program was very successful. In that respect other governments could learn from it. It must be said that it is an achievement to get rid of 90% of all the drugs in the country within three months!
Piracy is the next target of the Thaksin government, as we announced already, although it is not very likely that in that war also 1600 dead will fall. Others say that illegal workers are the next after that. This time we found it interesting to use a foreign source. (Loosely based on an article in Trouw, a Dutch newspaper)


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War against Piracy started yesterday

Posted by hasekamp on 2 May 2003 at 11:48 AM
Yesterday the War against Piracy, the successor to the War on Drugs of the Thaksin Government, started. Thje War on Drugs will never really end, but it will become more low profile from now on.
On this first day more than 5,000 pirated CDs, VCDs and DVDs were confiscated. Six task forces of up to 100 members were dispatched at 11 am yesterday to 15 venues suspected of selling counterfeit goods. The addresses will be well known to every visitor to Thailand: Pantip Plaza, Mahboonkrong (MBK), Klong Thom and Ban Moh were on the top of the list.
Many shops that normally sell fake goods had been aware of the highly publicized starting date of the new war and chose to stay closed. But they will get their turn too. Only when they choose to close forever they will stay free of this war by the Thaksin government.
Many of the shops that normally sell pirated products, in venues including Fortune Plaza on Ratchadaphisek Road were closed. Those that were open were offering only legitimate goods.
The Commerce Ministry plans the new anti-piracy campaign for three consecutive months. Inspections can be carried out at any hour, at the request of copyright owners, to make sure the piracy rate would be reduced. Legitimate music and movie shops must hold three operating licenses, with one from the Business Development Department, one from the copyright owners and one for movies from the police. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Soon GMO labeling compulsory

Posted by hasekamp on 1 May 2003 at 12:46 PM
The Food and Drug Administration, Ministry of Public Health, has set May 11 as the launching date of GMO labeling for consumer protection. The FDA says that it has continuously followed up on GMO labeling, taken into account impacts on consumers, exports, imports of food and raw materials, and international trade practices. Numerous conferences and public hearings were held on the issue.
According to the FDA rule food items that require GMO labeling include those containing soybean and soy products, maize and related products as main ingredients. As for maize, a total ban is imposed on Cry9C DNA or protein. Importers and manufacturers can ask for laboratory test on uncertain items at DNA Technology Laboratory, National Science and Technology Development Agency, and at the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. We believe that Thailand, with compulsory GMO labeling, is one of the first countries to take this issue serious. In many other countries politicians do not get further than discussions. Another first for Thailand! (Source: Public Relations Department)


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