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New destinations for THAI

Posted by hasekamp on 29 July 2005 at 11:43 AM
Thai Airways International has found five new destinations: Moscow, Johannesburg, Berlin, Sendai in Japan, and Manchester. The scheduled flights to Moscow and Johannesburg are set to start in November and December respectively, while flights to the three other cities are expected to begin between 2006 and 2007. The Thai national air carrier is also looking at serving Hiroshima, in Japan as well as pondering a new route to Tibet, according to the executive vice-president for customer services. THAI will offer three direct flights a week from Bangkok to Moscow's Domodedovo airport, using Airbus A340-500 aircraft. The same frequency will be also applied for the Bangkok-Johannesburg route. The services are the first for THAI to Russia and South Africa, potentially lucrative routes from Asia. Three or four flights a week are planned for the service to Manchester, the airline's second serving city in the UK, in 2007, while it plans to start flying to Sendai three times a week sometime next year.
THAI, meanwhile, is working out the timing for a service to Berlin, which would be its third German destination after Frankfurt and Munich. THAI now flies to 59 cities in 33 countries on four continents: Asia (41 cities), Europe (11), Australia (5) and North America (2). In Thailand, it serves 13 destinations. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Thaksin: Airport over time

Posted by hasekamp on 28 July 2005 at 19:58 PM
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday went to see the site of the new Airport personally and admitted for the first time that Suvarnabhumi Airport would miss its scheduled opening on September 29 by as much as eight months, due to delays in several major peripheral projects. "It is normal for delays at a new international airport. But if the opening has to be delayed to make security and structural work perfect, that is acceptable to me," he said. The most delayed project is the construction of elevated ramps at the front of the main passenger-terminal building, he said. The job will only be half finished on September 29, he said. Thaksin said he would hasten all unfinished construction projects so that they were completed by February 9 at the latest. "We will try not to delay commercial operations more than six to eight months, but the first test flight is still on September 29," he said. The premier said he would be on board the first plane as it landed on the main eastern runway. (Source: The Nation)


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Remembering the tsunami

Posted by hasekamp on 27 July 2005 at 17:45 PM
A committee meeting has been held to prepare for holding the 1st anniversary of Tsunami disaster memorial days on Phuket Island at the end of this year. Phuket Governor Udomsak Asawarankula stated that, in memory of the Tsunami disaster, a fair will be organized on the island between December 23rd and 29th, 2005. Relatives of those who lost their lives in the tragic incident will be provided with the opportunity to join in. At the same time, it is intended to promote - yes, what else - tourism in Phuket Province. Scheduled to be held on Patong and Kamala beaches, as well as in Mai Khao cemetery, there will be a variety of activities. They include for example on-stage shows, an academic conference and exhibition, and sporting events. (Source: Public Relations Department)


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New aquarium for Bangkok

Posted by hasekamp on 27 July 2005 at 17:38 PM
Australia’#39;s Oceanis Group will open Southeast Asia’#39;s largest aquarium at Siam Paragon in November with an investment of Bt1 billion. Siam Ocean World will occupy an area the size of two football fields and will be able to accommodate 20,000 visitors per day. Siam Ocean World will feature more than 30,000 aquatic creatures and over 400 different species, including the grey nurse shark, an elephant nose shark and penguins. The aquarium is the fifth undertaken by Oceanis Group after similar operations in Melbourne, Brisbane, Shanghai and Busan in Korea. This is bad news Phuket, where the aquarium is being reconstructed for quite some time already, to become one of the largest in the region. It looks as if Bangkok will have a lerger one. (Source: The Nation)


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Tsunami fear causes evacuation

Posted by hasekamp on 25 July 2005 at 12:14 PM
Tourists and locals in six southern provinces rushed inland last night, causing chaos and traffic jams on coastal roads after a tsunami warning was issued for the area. The National Disaster Warning Centre issued the alert after an earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale struck near India’#39;s Andaman and Nicobar islands in the Indian Ocean, about 664 kilometres from Phuket. Tourists on Krabi’#39;s Phi Phi island also moved to higher ground after the centre’#39;s director said in two broadcasts shortly before midnight that a tsunami might strike Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi, Satun, Ranong and Trang. The centre expected the first of the giant waves to hit Phuket’#39;s Karon beach at 0.12am. In a third emergency broadcast the warning was repeated even though it was 15 minutes after midnight. The governors of Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi ordered the evacuation of residents in coastal areas following the warning. Authorities called the operation a 90% success. (Source: The Nation)


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Increased security measures in Bangkok

Posted by hasekamp on 23 July 2005 at 10:59 AM
Bangkok’#39;s police chief yesterday conducted an inspection tour of the capital to ensure heightened security measures had been implemented in the wake of the latest terrorist attacks in London. He said that 1,122 public places and key installations, including the British Embassy, had been placed under a security alert. Eighty-eight installations, comprising public-transport networks, energy-storage facilities and foreign-representative offices, are considered high security risks and have received the highest level security. Another 43 locations, including government buildings and crowded public places, have been designated medium security risks and appropriate protective measures have been put in place. Routine security checks, including police patrols, were being conducted at a further 991 locations. As a precaution, increased security surveillance on underground-train services has been introduced, he added. (Source: The Nation)


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New airport delayed after all

Posted by hasekamp on 23 July 2005 at 10:55 AM
Officials have always denied that the opening of the new Bangkok airoport will be delayed. Until now, because construction work is behind schedule and could delay the opening of Suvarnabhumi airport for up to a year, to September next year. An - anonymous - airport official said this yesterday. Despite promises by the Transport Minister to finish construction of all facilities by Sept 29 this year the anonymous source, who is directly involved in the project, was pessimistic that could be achieved. Construction was likely to last until December, but then another three months would be needed to test system integration and another six more months for virtual operations. The construction of an elevated road in front of the airport's terminal has failed to meet its deadline and the builder has been fined 22 million baht. Other construction jobs are also delayed. Then there are problems with the bomb detecting apparatus. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Children as living shield

Posted by hasekamp on 22 July 2005 at 17:51 PM
A teacher in the deep South of Thailand puts one student in front of him and another behind when he drives his motorcycle home from school. "I think those bandits dare not hurt the children," he says. At least 24 teachers are among the more than 800 people killed in the deep south since January last year. Many teachers are escorted to and from school by soldiers, but the home of this teacher lies in a different direction. About 3,600 teachers have asked for transfers from the region. The ministry promised to replace 3,600 civilian teachers wanting to leave with graduate soldiers and police. While waiting for transfers, teachers, even with guns, say they move around with extreme caution, even in the school compound. (Source: Reuters)


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Bangkok on Google maps

Posted by hasekamp on 22 July 2005 at 17:15 PM
Google is expanding its maps to locations outside the US. If you follow this link you come to a satellite picture of Bangkok, with a great view of the Chao Phraya River. We also tried to get a map, but this timed out. You can try other locations within Thailand too. "Phuket, Thailand" gives a great satellite map of Phuket, for instance. Be sure to click "satellite". Gradually you will find any location within Thailand, we expect. (Source: Google)


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Baby elephants sold to Australia

Posted by hasekamp on 21 July 2005 at 12:29 PM
Despite condemnation by environmentalists, the Australian government yesterday gave a green light allowing two public zoos to import eight baby elephants from Thailand. "It is a decision I have taken a long time to come to," said the Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage (Campbell). Both the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and Humane Society opposed the sale. At a press conference organised at Sydney’#39;s Taronga Zoo, Campbell said that he approved Tarong Zoo to import five elephants while Melbourne Zoo was permitted to import three. He added that his approval was in accordance with the Australian Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and the Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species (Cites). The Australian government originally wanted to import nine baby elephants from Thailand, but due to the health condition of one animal, only eight elephants could be shipped. Environmentalists in both countries renewed their attacks on the plan after Campbell’#39;s announcement. (Source: The Nation)


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Thailand afraid of biopiracy

Posted by hasekamp on 20 July 2005 at 11:30 AM
While United States trade negotiators seek to strengthen intellectual property protection under the proposed Thai-US free trade area agreement, Thailand is raising the issue of genetic resources and ways to guard against "biopiracy". Biopiracy is an issue that the US has never raised with its counterparts under a bilateral free trade framework. So it might prove difficult for Thailand to insist that this is part of the discussions, according to the deputy director-general of the Intellectual Property Department. Thailand might seek protections similar or beyond the country's anti-biopiracy proposals to the World Trade Organisation. Thailand, with a wide range of biological resources, wants at a minimum agreement that any country using local genetic resources clarify their origin in any patent applications. Developing countries want safeguards that guarantee benefits are shared fairly with the countries in which the biological resources are sourced. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Developing alternative energy

Posted by hasekamp on 20 July 2005 at 11:23 AM
The Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Science have joined hands to develop alternative energy sources, particularly solar cells and bio-diesel. The Energy Minister said after a meeting with representatives from the Ministry of Science that an emphasis was put on solar cells and bio-diesel, in which a working group of the Ministry of Science has been assigned to conduct intensive research on both projects. For the solar cell project, this working group would have to conduct scientific research on the suitable qualifications for Thailand. The Minister of Energy said further that, for the bio-diesel production project, the meeting has resolved to study the possibility of extracting bio-diesel fuel from black soap. (Source: Public Relations Department)


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Herb against influenza

Posted by hasekamp on 19 July 2005 at 23:12 PM
A local herb promises to be a cheap alternative cure for human influenza, a senior health official said yesterday. Researchers have successfully developed a new medicine called "Phyto-1 maeng luck kha" (Lamiaceae), a herbal plant common to Thailand. The department has registered Phyto-1 as a patented traditional medicine after the first phase of clinical experiment showed promising results. Phyto-1 could be a good alternative to modern antiviral medicines which could cause drug-resistance symptoms in the long run. A dose of 5mg per 5ml of the herbal medicine could reduce 93% of influenza virus in experimental animals without any side effect. A group of 100 volunteers participating in the first-phase trial also developed immunity. This sounds like a breakthrough. Hopefully we hear more of it later. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Breeding elephants

Posted by hasekamp on 18 July 2005 at 10:06 AM
The owner of the country’#39;s biggest elephant shelter has come up with a controversial business idea: Setting up a farm for the breeding and sale of elephants. "We will manage the farm professionally", he said. He further said the project would aim to develop the traits of the endangered animals, which were a national symbol. However, he disclosed that the farm would eventually cater for rich people who wanted to buy elephants as a symbol of their status. One baby elephant should cost 2 million Baht. He admmitted that the real purpose of the fair was to encourage rich people to buy elephants to boost their status. He believes that his farm project would build a new era for the Thai elephant.
Environmentalists (and we, from Hasekamp Net) vigorously oppose to the plan. The secretary-general of Friends of the Asian Elephant, said elephants could not be raised in a back yard as an urban pet. "To own an elephant, an understanding of the animal’#39;s behaviour is needed," she said. "They are cute only when they are young. When they reach adulthood, I don’#39;t think those rich people would want to continue caring for them." She was also afraid that the farm proposal and trading in elephants would encourage the capturing of the animals from the wild. (Source: The Nation)


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Briton caught for child abuse

Posted by hasekamp on 17 July 2005 at 18:09 PM
A British man has been charged with molesting underage children in Thailand, using computer games to lure dozens of boys to his home, police said on Saturday. Nicholas John Rabet, 56, was detained on Thursday at a rented house in the resort town of Pattaya with 11 game machine consoles, snacks and plastic bags filled with clothes of children who came to play at his place, police said. He has been charged with molesting children aged under 15, no matter whether it was consensual or not. If found guilty, he faces a maximum jail term of five years. In our opinion it should be five years per boy abused.
The age of sexual consent is 15 in Thailand. Police said there were hundreds of boys who had played at the house, but there were about 30 of them who visited regularly, and would be paid between 500-1,000 baht for performing sex acts on him. (Source: Reuters, through Yahoo!)


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His Majesty sixty years on the throne

Posted by hasekamp on 17 July 2005 at 17:30 PM
A grand celebration will be held in June 2006 to celebrate the 60th year on the Throne of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. A cabinet minister said the anniversary is the first in the world, as no other monarchs have ever gained accession to the throne for such a long period. The celebration is therefore opportune and an international practice. The Government has already announced a 2-year celebration for the 60th anniversary of His Majesty the King’#39;s accession to the Throne, starting from January 1st, 2005, until December 31st, 2006. A series of activities have been arranged, but the major celebrations will be held in June 2006, particularly on June 9th.
The celebrations will be divided into three parts: - Royal ceremonies, - Religious ceremonies and - State ceremonies. (Source: Public Relations Department)


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Potter craze also in Thailand

Posted by hasekamp on 17 July 2005 at 17:25 PM
The magic of JK Rowling’#39;s sixth book, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" cast its spell at 5am (midnight in London) at Siam Discovery Plaza Hall, with hundreds of Harry Potter fans gathering to obtain the new book. The first to own the new Harry Potter book was a third-year student at Thammasat University, who received an Asia Book’#39;s VIP card for her efforts. The VIP card entitles her to free books over the next two years. She arrived at Siam Discovery Plaza Hall at midnight.
There was also a costume contest Siam Discovery Plaza Hall, in which many people were dressed up in black costumes, including hats. A four-year-old boy won the contest. (Source: The Nation)


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Unique area in danger

Posted by hasekamp on 17 July 2005 at 17:18 PM
The Khlong Bang Pratun canal community in Bangkok has a unique charm, for people here still maintain traditional Thai livelihoods. Located just 20km from the city's business district, the area is tranquil, with green orchards set in a web of canals. In fact, boats and canals are the community's lifelines. Residents rely largely on water transportation.
However, this rustic canal community may become a thing of the past now that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is planning to build floodgates to block the water flow, the city councillor for Chom Thong district said. The floodgates are part of a flood prevention scheme which has received a 340-million-baht budget from the BMA. Residents have complained that the BMA went ahead with the project without consulting them. They learned about it only when the city's workers moved heavy construction machinery into the area.
An official of BMA said that "It is possible that the community was left out of the consultation process since the scope of this project is very large". A former village head urged the BMA to abandon the project, saying the residents would fight it all the way. "The BMA must listen to local people before making such decisions," he said. The project raises many questions, particularly about the usefulness of watergates, he said. Besides, the community doubts whether an ideal floodgate really exists. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Thaksin gets more powers

Posted by hasekamp on 15 July 2005 at 13:40 PM
Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been granted new powers to deal with attacks by suspected Muslim militants in the country's south. The new measures allow him to order the detention of suspects for seven days, censor newspapers and tap phones. The Thai Cabinet agreed to issue the powerful decree after the series of co-ordinated attacks in the southern city of Yala on Thursday night, about which we reported today. The emergency powers were granted without judicial approval, and they replace the existing martial law. (Source: BBC News)


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Raid on Yala by separatists

Posted by hasekamp on 15 July 2005 at 13:22 PM
Yesterday evening chaos was created in Yala’#39;s Muang district with a string of bomb and shooting attacks that left one soldier dead and blacked out the southern town’#39;s power grid. Yala Deputy Governor Winyu Thongsakul described the attacks as "the most serious ever" in the southern border province. Gunmen on motorcycles shot at people and threw petrol bombs into shops and houses, causing serious damage to several of the buildings. Road spikes were scattered in several areas, in an attempt to slow down pursing authorities. At least eight targets were hit in the synchronised raid, which included the bombing of a newly opened cinema complex and a hotel cafe, as well as arson attacks on another hotel, a warehouse, and a row of shops, according to police radio. A soldier was shot dead and nineteen other people were injured, including three policemen who suffered gunshot wounds. (Source: The Nation)


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Phuket has been moved

Posted by hasekamp on 15 July 2005 at 13:16 PM
Scientists say that Phuket moved 27 centimeters to the southwest when the massive tsunami-generating quake erupted near Sumatra on December 26 last year, and moved a further 7cm in the 50 days following the quake. Writing in the latest issue of the British "Nature" magazine, scientists say that the quake ripped a gash in the Earth’#39;s crust more that 1,000 kilometers long, stretching in an arc from Sumatra to the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The team also worked out that the rupture initially traveled at more than 13,000 km/h then at a more leisurely 7,000 km/h along a second segment.
The team of Dutch, French, Indonesian, Malaysian, Thai and US researchers used data gathered from some 60 global positioning system (GPS) sites in Southeast Asia. They learned that the positions of observation stations as far away as 3,000km from the quake’#39;s epicenter had shifted as a result the seismic event, one of the largest in recorded history. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Thailand to offer cheap AIDS drugs

Posted by hasekamp on 14 July 2005 at 18:33 PM
Thailand has announced it will offer anti-retroviral drugs for the treatment of HIV/Aids to all infected Thais, at virtually no cost to the patient. The drugs will be available on the government's 30 baht healthcare scheme. There are estimated to be approximately 500,000 HIV-positive people in Thailand. The drugs have already been made available under pilot schemes to some low-income groups, but now they will be available to all who need them. In the past, the complicated cocktail of drugs used in treatments had been too expensive to distribute widely. But by combining a combination of those drugs in one pill, the Thai government's Pharmaceutical Organisation has managed to produce a cheap treatment for HIV/Aids which can be easily prescribed and monitored. Thailand considers to export the drug to Africa. (Source: BBC News)


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Siriraj develops HIV test kit

Posted by hasekamp on 14 July 2005 at 18:28 PM
A new HIV-test kit under development by Siriraj Hospital appears highly promising, according to an expert of Chiang Mai University. The test kit, once fully functional, is expected to provide an alternative to imported products, which cost at least three times as much and are less specific to the subtype of the HIV virus common in Thailand. Almost all imported test kits are designed for the detection of the HIV 1 subtype B virus, whereas the most common strain in Thailand is subtype E. The new prototype test kit has a 99.6 per cent sensitivity mark, which is higher than the standard 99.5, set by the World Health Organisation. The kit’#39;s specificity is also remarkably high at 98 per cent, he added. Presently, the Thai-developed kit costs only Bt15 per test, whereas the cheapest comparable imports retail at around Bt50 per unit. (Source: The Nation)


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No more free-range ducks

Posted by hasekamp on 13 July 2005 at 11:43 AM
The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has banned the raising of free-range ducks after bird flu infections resurfaced in five areas of Suphan Buri province last week. The Deputy Prime Minister who is in charge of agriculture said that an immediate halt to the raising of free-range ducks until the year's end was necessary. Officials believe that free-range ducks have contributed to the spread of the deadly disease as they are allowed to freely move about from one paddy field to another. The duck farmers had asked that they be given at least six months to prepare for the closed system duck farming.
Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry has ordered provincial governorsto shut down all cock-fighting stadiums. The livestock department last year forced all owners of fighting cocks to register their pets.
This is a measure that we have waited for for years (for more than one reason). Officials believe there are over one million fighting cocks in the country, but only 400,000 have been registered. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Condoleezza Rice in Thailand

Posted by hasekamp on 12 July 2005 at 14:54 PM
Yesterday morning (July 11th), the Thai government welcomed U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, as the guest of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She visied Phuket and Pang Nga. Ms. Rice said this was her first time in Phuket, to witness the area affected by the tsunami disaster. She said that in the joint discussions with the prime minister and the foreign affairs minister included such topics as North Korea having agreed to return to the 6-nation talks, the bilateral relations between Thailand and the United States, as well as Myanmar, anti-global terrorism and regional peace and stability. A Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman said the discussions were of great benefit. He said the relations between the two countries were deep and with a long history, and currently as business partners with intimacy. He said the Thai side has commemorated the U.S.'s role in helping Thailand and other countries in the region that were affected by the tsunami. Thailand and the U.S. also had the joint role of providing assistance to other countries by using Thailand as a base. The two sides also talked about the situation in the region, and both sides saw that more collaboration will have to be made with China to support China's role in the region.
After the press conference, Ms. Rice travelled with Mr. Surakiart to visit areas in Phang Nga that were struck by the tsunami. (Source: Public Relations Department)


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New bird flu outbreak caused by fighting cocks

Posted by hasekamp on 12 July 2005 at 14:43 PM
Bird flu —#8212; avian influenza —#8212; has been found in fowl in villages in the central province of Suphanburi, as we reported yesterday. However, our source yesterday did not mention that the disease was found in 10 fighting cocks in the five villages where an outbreak hit last year.
We have more than once given as our opinion that fighting cocks should be killed as well when poultry is being killed to stop avian flu. These fighting cocks are owned by a gambling mafia, of which the Thai officials seem to be afraid. We hope that Thailand will consider these fighting cocks also as poultry, whenever poultry has to be killed to stop the avian flue to spread (Source for the first sentence: The Bangkok Post)


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Thaksin's popularity falls

Posted by hasekamp on 11 July 2005 at 15:34 PM
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has the lowest popularity rating in three years, according to a public opinion poll, although most people continue to trust his government to run the country. The Abac Poll centre of Assumption University conducted the survey of 4,634 people to mesure the popularity of the second Thaksin government in its past three months in office. The ruling Thai Rak Thai party is still more popular with 45.3% compared with the opposition Democrat party's 37.4%. Respondents in all regions except the South prefer Thai Rak Thai to the Democrats although one-third of respondents in the Central region and Bangkok favour the Democrats. But Mr Thaksin's popularity has taken a tumble as only 45.9% said they liked him, though that is still more than his political rival and Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva's 38.8%. The rating for Mr Thaksin is the lowest in the last three years of polling. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Bird flu starts agian

Posted by hasekamp on 11 July 2005 at 10:13 AM
The bird flu virus which has killed 55 Asians has erupted again in Thailand despite a major campaign to eradicate it, the government said today. Infected fowl were found this month in five places of three districts in Suphanburi province. The discoveries reinforced warnings by international health bodies about how difficult it will be to eliminate the H5N1 virus now it has become endemic in parts of Asia. "Infected fowl are living longer due to increasing immunity", an expert said. Twelve Thais have died after being infected by the virus, but there have been no reports of human infections since October in the country.
The World Health Organization says that it fears the possibility that the H5N1 virus, which does not move easily between people, could develop the ability through mutation to sweep through human populations. The world would then face a pandemic without immunity to the strain and millions of people could die. (Source: Reuters, through Yahoo!)


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Corn for energy

Posted by hasekamp on 10 July 2005 at 12:22 PM
The public sector is collaborating with Kasetsart University in introducing a new strain of corn and millet that could be used as an alternative energy source. These plants will be unveiled at the 32nd Corn and Millet National Academic Conference. This national event will be held from July 13th to 15th. Many corn and millet farmers across the country have shown interest in attending this conference. The "Nakorn sawan 2" and "Wanmaejo 72" corn strains will be displayed to the public. The millet that will be used in the ethanol production process will also be presented during the conference. (Source: Public Relations Department)


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Thai economy weakening

Posted by hasekamp on 10 July 2005 at 12:15 PM
The baht almost broke through the level of 42 to the US dollar to 42.02, the weakest point in 2 years, according to a money dealer. The further weakening of the baht is attributed to the continued purchase of the dollar as investors expected the United States’#39; Federal Reserve would raise key interest rates while the central banks of other countries were likely to decrease them. Meanwhile, the Stock Exchange of Thailand’#39;s index continued to fall. At present there is no signal of the foreign capital outflow from the country. However, the fuel price rise in Thailand would have greater impacts on the Thai stock market than terrorist attack fears. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Thailand condemns attacks in London

Posted by hasekamp on 8 July 2005 at 13:36 PM
Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinwatra today condemned the series of bomb attacks in London’#39;s transport system on Thursday killing at least 50 people and wounding 700. "On behalf of Thai people, I would like to express deep sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims," he said. Thailand and its people strongly condemned this act of terror causing many lost of lives and have shared the sadness with the British people, he said in a statement. The Prime Minister urged the international community to unify its strong force to fight against the terrorism that could happen at any corner of the globe. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Thai public should take check-up

Posted by hasekamp on 8 July 2005 at 13:29 PM
As common cancers strike more and more people, with many cases going undetected until it is too late, people are encouraged to think seriously about getting early cancer check-ups. Particularly those with high-risk factors – middle age, family history of cancer, associated diseases such as hepatitis B and C – should get examined for cancer on a regular basis, oncologists told the Siriraj Medical Congress yesterday. Last year, the three most common cancers among men were lung, colorectal and liver, while breast, cervical and lung cancers were tops among women, according to Siriraj Hospital’#39;s Cancer Centre. People in middle age should get themselves looked over for common cancers once a year, a doctor said. In Thailand cancers are killer number one. (Source: The Nation)


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Queen concerned about continuing violence

Posted by hasekamp on 8 July 2005 at 13:22 PM
Her Majesty the Queen has expressed her concern over the continuing violence in the deep South of Thailand and urged local people to find ways to protect their lives and their communities. The Queen is saddened by the plight of southern residents facing threats to their lives. Local people in five villages where royal-initiated projects were being carried out had lodged a complaint with Her Majesty saying they now lived in fear. Insurgents carried out murderous acts to force locals to leave the land. The Queen told local people to stay united and protect their communities, said Gen Naphol. Projects such as weapons training for volunteers and self-sufficient village schemes had been launched. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Use organic fertiliser!

Posted by hasekamp on 7 July 2005 at 17:49 PM
A pilot project to train Thai farmers across the country to produce and use organic fertilisers has proven to be success. After one year, many farmers who had earlier relied heavily on chemical fertilisers and pesticides have now opted to use organic fertilisers. The use of organic fertilisers helped farmers save in terms of costs. The pilot project was supervised by a non-profit company. The firm trained farmers how to produce organic fertilisers. Twenty-two provinces across the country took part in the project. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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New beach in Phuket City

Posted by hasekamp on 7 July 2005 at 15:49 PM
Phuket City Municipality will spend a total of 39 million baht on drainage, repairs and other improvements at Saphan Hin, the seaside part of Phuket City. Once the project is complete, Saphan Hin will have a 500-meter-long beach, created from recovered sand, near the small area with remaining mangrove stands on the north coast of Phuket. The deputy Mayor said that 5 million baht from the Ministry of Interior Post-Tsunami Redevelopment Fund would be used to repair concourses and walkways damaged by the tsunami. Some 80% of the work will involve simply resetting the red paving stones that were washed up, with the city buying more bricks in a different color to complete the project. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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New banknotes

Posted by hasekamp on 6 July 2005 at 23:28 PM
The Bank of Thailand (BOT) will issue new 1,000 baht banknotes this November, aiming to prevent counterfeiting activities. The Managing Director of the Banknote Printing House of the BOT has indicated that there had been many counterfeiting activities in Thailand. Many counterfeiters had been able to forge 100 baht, 500 baht and 1,000 banknotes. Many of them had been counterfeiting 100 baht banknotes, as its value is not too high and many people do not observe them as much as other banknotes with higher values. As a result, the central bank had earlier issued new 100 baht banknotes with a hologram attribute, and the counterfeit activities had lessened. The BOT will issue a new 1,000 baht banknote with a hologram feature this November, in order to prevent certain people from fabricating fake 1,000 baht banknotes. (Source: Public Relations Department)


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Anti-mosquito coat against malaria

Posted by hasekamp on 5 July 2005 at 18:12 PM
The use of special anti-mosquito coats has reduced by four times the rate of malaria spread among rubber-plantation workers in Surat Thani, Public Health Minister said yesterday. The Minister, who visited the southern province to inspect malaria control measures, said the local office of the Disease Control Department had made and distributed about 9,000 anti-mosquito coats since last year. Only 975 rubber plantation workers caught malaria in the province last year, compared with 3,969 cases in 2002. The coats look like raincoats and have a hood and long sleeves. They are made of mosquito netting and are treated with the chemical insecticide permitrin. (Source: The Nation)


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Taxi fare to go up

Posted by hasekamp on 4 July 2005 at 12:03 PM
The Department of Land Transport is studying proposed new tariff rates for taxis as energy prices continue to soar. A decision is expected within the next two weeks. Taxi operators are among public transport operators seeking government approval to raise their fares because of the increased fuel costs. The current meter start is 35 baht for the first two kilometres of a journey. This rate has remained unchanged for ten years and is likely to be increased to somewhere between 36 and 40 baht. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Wisut sentenced to death

Posted by hasekamp on 4 July 2005 at 11:44 AM
The Appeals Court ruled today on Dr Wisut Boonkasemsanti's conviction for the murder of his wife. We reported extensively about the bizarre murder case. In November 2003, the Southern Bangkok Criminal Court sentenced Wisut to death for killing and dismembering his estranged wife, obstetrician Phassaporn Boonkasemsanti, in 2001.
The case against Wisut – then a famous gynaecologist at Chulalongkorn Hospital – was filed by public prosecutors and Phassaporn's father. Pieces of Phassaporn's body were recovered from the cesspools of a Bangkok hotel and a Chulalongkorn University dormitory.
According to the latest update of The Nation, Dr. Wisut was also sentenced to death by the appeal court. (Source: The Nation)


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Microsoft or Open Source for Thailand?

Posted by hasekamp on 2 July 2005 at 10:42 AM
Partnerships between the government and Microsoft, announced on Thursday upon the visit of Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, are worrying the open source community in Thailand which wants to promote alternative open standard software. According to the National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre (Nectec) building a standard for e-government is a good thing to do, but in his view the standard should be based on open standard, which allows others to see the source code. Mr Gates announced a 180-million-baht (US$ 4.5 million) investment over the next three years to promote web services via the Thailand.net project, Partners in Learning, for teaching ICT to schools nationwide and support for e-government.
"I am worried the e-government standard will not be based on open source," Dr Thaweesak of NECTEC said. "Mr Gates saw Thailand as a potential web service hub for the region, which was a good thing. However, web services should also be based on the open source standard."
The Open Source community said that the government should continue to support the open source community as a means to promote the use of legal software. An open source policy would encourage new software development which meant Thais could develop their own software or even become a seller, not always a buyer.
As is generally known, software piracy is immense in Thailand. The promotion of Open Source software would be a means to stop this piracy. The penetration of open source software is still low in Thailand, however. A joint survery by the Thai ICT Industry (ATCI) and the Association of Thai Software Industry (ATSI) showed the amount of open source software used by large organisations was only 20-30% of the total. For PCs it represents just 1% of the market. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Taiwan cancels travel warning

Posted by hasekamp on 1 July 2005 at 18:08 PM
Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has finally lifted its "orange" alert, which warned against travel to Phuket. The ministry announced on Tuesday that it had received a report from Taiwan's representative office in Thailand confirming that Phuket's tourism facilities and transportation networks have been successfully repaired and rebuilt. Daily living for locals has returned to normal, the report said, and tourists from North America and Europe are returning to the island. The Vice President of the Phuket Tourist Association said: "I am pleased that Taiwan has now officially lifted the orange travel alert. However, the number of tourists visiting a place depends upon the availability of transportation. China Airlines of Taiwan suspended its regular flights to Phuket after the tsunami. Only a few airlines are still offering direct flights to Phuket," he said. "The government must tell Phuket's tourist markets how safe it is here," he added. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Phuket Air again

Posted by hasekamp on 1 July 2005 at 18:02 PM
The Labour Ministry ordered Phuket Air yesterday to ground one of its foreign pilots on suspicion he did not have a permit to work in Thailand. It concerns an Indonesian pilot. Phuket air also came into problems in the Netherlands because of a foreign pilot without a valid madical certificate. Can't they get Thai pilots?
The Indonesian pilot would not be allowed to fly planes operated by the airline until it had been determined he was legally entitled to work in the Kingdom. The department had acted on a tip-off. The airline, and the pilot, will face legal action if Phuket Air fails to provide the pilot's work permit within a deadline.
The acting president of Thai Airways International's labour union, said he had received complaints from Thai pilots that certain airlines had been illegally hiring foreign pilots.
And so Phuket Air is in problems once more. we wonder if the airline has a chance to survive. (Source: The Nation)


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