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Flash floods and landslides expected

Posted by hasekamp on 31 August 2005 at 23:34 PM
Thailand is under influence of a depression and, possibly, a typhoon or a new tropical storm; therefore, authorities concerned have warned local residents to be aware of flash floods and landslides. The Meteorological Department said in a statement released to the media today that a depression in the Tonkin Gulf, which was striking Laos after Vietnam, is moving toward Thailand. Thailand's 14 provinces in the northern and northeastern regions are likely to be affected by the depression. They include Loei, Nong Khai, Nong Bua Lamphu, Udon Thani, Chaiyaphum, Khon Kaen, Sakon Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom, Kalasin, Nan, Prae, Uttaradit, Pitsanulok and Petchabun. The Department of Mineral Resources also issued a statement today, warning residents in the kingdom's northern, northeastern, central and southern regions, covering 51 provinces, to be aware of the Talim Typhoon, which is moving toward northern Thailand. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Phuket Air fires 300 employees

Posted by hasekamp on 31 August 2005 at 23:29 PM
With revenue losses estimated at Bt500 million, Phuket Airlines has fired about 300 employees since April. A sharp rise in fuel costs and bad timing in the expansion of flights to foreign destinations like London and Amsterdam have been blamed (by the airline) as the main factors behind the carrier’s financial woes. Last year, Phuket Air posted a loss of Bt300 million. The drastic staff cutbacks have reduced its workforce by a third, to 600 employees. The airline has also introduced further cost-saving measures, such as closing its offices in Phuket, Hat Yai and Krabi and reducing the space it rents at Don Muang International Airport. The airline will instead concentrate on direct-sales operations, including Internet-based bookings. Phuket Air now only operates three domestic routes – between Bangkok and Buri Ram, Mae Sot and Ranong – and one regional route between Bangkok and Rangoon. It is considereing (when will it stop dreaming!) adding a flight between Chiang Mai and Udon Thani three times a week in October and doubling the weekly flights between Bangkok and Rangoon to four a week. (Source: The Nation)


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Scientists honored

Posted by hasekamp on 30 August 2005 at 11:35 AM
Two doctors working on osteoporosis research have been honored with Outstanding Scientists of the Year awards as part of Thailand Science Week 2005. The awards were judged by the Science Society of Thailand. Dr Ratchata Rajatanavin, dean of Mahidol University’s Faculty of Medicine at Ramathibodi Hospital, and Dr Boonsong Ongphiphadhanakul, deputy dean of the same faculty, have spent more than a decade researching the causes and treatment of osteoporosis, an illness that afflicts many Thai elders. Sufferers develop brittle and fragile bones caused by the loss of bony tissue. Three other scientists were honoured with 2005 Young Scientists Awards: Dr Pimchai Chaiyen and Dr Yuthana Tantirungrotechai of Mahidol University, and Dr Sukit Limpijumnong of Suranaree University of Technology.
"The award inspires me to carry on with what we are doing," said Dr. Boonsong, who is a member of a team of researchers led by Ratchata. He said the team was seeking to find the causes of osteoporosis as well as ways to cure and prevent the illness. Boonsong said that 10 years ago, despite the large and growing number of people suffering from osteoporosis, research into the illness was relatively limited. To remedy this, Dr. Ratchata gathered medical personnel at Mahidol University to begin the research. Dr. Ratchata has undertaken prominent research into endocrine diseases and disorders caused by a lack of iodine. These illnesses represented significant health problems currently affecting Thailand. (Source: The Nation)


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Governor rejects 10,000 homes offer

Posted by hasekamp on 30 August 2005 at 11:25 AM
Phuket Governor Udomsak Uswarangkura has rejected an offer from a mysterious businessman from Dubai to build 10,000 homes for tsunami victims. The Governor explained that Phuket already has enough donated homes to house all tsunami victims in the province. The businessman, who gave his name simply as "John", visited Phuket Provincial Hall on August 25 to request that land be donated upon which to build the Australian-made structures. The prefabricated homes would be shipped as knocked-down kits to Thailand, and then assembled on site. Today, however, Pannee Sittikan, head of the Phuket Office of Social Development and Human Security, said that 127 tsunami houses have already been built in Phuket. "There are no more names on the list of people needing housing from us, so we have closed the list," she said.
Governor Udomsak suggested that the mystery donor present documents to back up his offer, rather than just talking about it. Pointing out that he had no idea how genuine the offer was, he added, "He came to talk with me. I didn’t need to listen or agree to anything."
Neighboring Phang Nga Province has already announced that it, too, has more than enough houses for people left homeless by the tsunami. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Phuket Air blacklisted by France

Posted by hasekamp on 30 August 2005 at 11:15 AM
Phuket Air has been banned from flying into France since June 4 on safety grounds. The airline has already been banned from British and Dutch airspace. Who follows?
The French civil aviation authority website included Phuket Airlines in a list of six international carriers that have been prevented from flying into France for the past three months. The news was published on August 29. The reaction by Phuket Air is more than surprising:
"We really don’t understand what is the meaning of ‘unsafe’," Capt Chawanit Chiamcharoenvut, the carrier’s Executive Vice President, told journalists. "Unsafe for operations or unsafe for what? Because we have never had a serious incident or accident, so I would like to ask the French authorities: what is the meaning of unsafe?"
This tells us enough about Phuket Air to advise our readers strongly never again to travel by Phuket Air. Apparently the airline would not consider itself unsafe before a serious incident or accident has happenend! This, anyway, is how we understand the words of Mr. Chawanit. But the incomprehension continues: Mr. Chawanit further said the company is now working with Boeing, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to improve safety through pilot and personnel training. So, the airline does understand what "safety" means after all, but simply is not interested to implement "safety" before it is being banned around the world?
Mr. Chawanit said operations will not be directly affected by the French ban, because the company has not operated to Europe since April and does it intend to reintroduce European flights. We repeat our former advise to the management of Phuket Air: "Go out of business before serious accidents happen (not incidents; they have happened already). In Thailand - it seems - you can still save your face".
And apart from the above, we wonder if the time has not come for the Thai authorities to prevent Phuket Air to continue its business. (Based on an article in The Phuket Gazette)


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Old Siam described

Posted by hasekamp on 29 August 2005 at 14:06 PM
A Dutchman’s diaries give a fascinating glimpse into Ayutthaya’s golden age. On December 10, 1636, a party of about 12 Dutchmen went for a boat ride on the Chao Phya River. They became intoxicated and made a nuisance of themselves in one of Ayutthaya’s holiest Buddhist temples. They behaved wilfully and spitefully against all Siamese who crossed their path, calling some of them names, hitting others and even entering houses and taking food. When King Prasat Thong learned about the "picnic incident", he was extremely angry. He had all the Dutchmen arrested and sentenced them to be trampled to death by elephants. King Prasat Thong also placed restrictions on all the trading activities of the Dutch East India Company in Ayutthaya. At that time, Jeremias van Vliet (1602-1663) was acting director of the Dutch East India Company. How would he deal with the grave situation to save the lives of his fellow Dutchmen and also to protect the lucrative trading operations of the Dutch East India Company? Van Vliet spent a full month trying to resolve the conflict. He wrote a daily account in his diary, which later became known as the "Diary of the Picnic Incident". It turned out to be a vivid account of one of Ayutthaya’s most spectacular periods under the reign of King Prasat Thong, who ruled between 1629 and 1656. (Source: The Nation)


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Once more flooding

Posted by hasekamp on 29 August 2005 at 14:02 PM
Water run-off has inundated more than 1,000 homes in Muang and Mae Chan districts of Chiang Rai as the threat from a tropical depression in the South China Sea looms. The weather bureau has warned of a strengthening depression centered 450km from the east coast of Vietnam after it was upgraded from a low pressure zone. With a wind speed of 50km per hour at the eye of the storm, it is expected to hit central Vietnam some time later causing particularly wet weather in the eastern and northeastern provinces of Thailand. Meanwhile, flash floods were reported in Muang and Mae Chan districts of Chiang Rai. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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His Majesty likes new book

Posted by hasekamp on 28 August 2005 at 13:48 PM
His Majesty the King likes his book "Phrarajaamnat" ("The Royal Prerogative"), says author Pramual Rujanaseri. Pramual, a Thai Rak Thai party-list MP and former deputy interior minister, said he was delighted to receive the Royal compliment through Piya Malakul, an editor at Advance Publishing Company. "The King said through Piya that he had liked the book very much. He said with his hand on his heart that the writer had done a good job," Pramual said. Pramual, 66, said it was a personal achievement as a writer that he had been able to explain the head of state’s use of his powers as well as government administration, reflecting the problems of government he had experienced as a legislator and while serving in the Interior Ministry. In March Pramual also published a criticism of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s administration in a book distributed to well-wishers and reporters on his birthday. (Source: The Nation)


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Noise for the wealthy

Posted by hasekamp on 28 August 2005 at 13:45 PM
The homes of some of Bangkok’s rich and famous may soon receive a steady stream of unwelcome guests: jumbo jets, with the accompanying noise. Noise levels exceeding some international standards for residential developments are expected to hit wealthy housing estates just south of the runways at Suvarnabhumi International Airport. Many people are just now learning for the first time that their homes are in the proposed flight paths and that the New Bangkok International Airport (NBIA) Co is working to avoid public discussion on mitigation.
"It appears that we are directly underneath the eastern runway’s flight path. Why were we not informed, and more importantly, why are we being forced to bear most of the impact while the communities to the Southwest get peace and quiet?", one of the rich and fampois asked publicly.
Next month, when Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra takes the first jumbo jet into and out of Suvarnabhumi, many people will be paying more attention to what happens outside the airport than to whether the baggage-handling or immigration counters are functioning. If the fear of the rtich and famopus is true, we fear that they will have to live with their new noise and the only thing they can do is to buy new (soundproof) glass for their windows. It is out of the question to move the new airport. (Source: The Nation)


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Less mass transport, more water protection

Posted by hasekamp on 28 August 2005 at 13:33 PM
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has confirmed that the government is considering scaling down mass transit projects worth 550 billion baht. An estimated 200 billion baht will be saved following adjustments, and will instead be spent on tackling water problems nationwide. "A subway can accommodate 60,000 passengers an hour, but if there are only 20,000 passengers we'll switch to a light rail system or an elevated system." Later in the day, in drought-stricken Nakhon Ratchasima, Mr Thaksin told the provincial governor not to worry about a budget to alleviate water shortages. He said the government was planning to cut mega-project investment costs by 200 billion baht. "I'll spend this chunk on tackling water problems nationwide. Those in charge of operations had better study the schemes, while executives like me will get them a budget," he said.
The Transport Minister said that after revisions, the mass transit system will be increased to 283km from 274km, but costs will be reduced to 340 billion baht from 550 billion baht. He said he had scrapped the planned bidding for the Purple Line, which would run from Bang Yai to Bang Sue, pending the adjustment. Five other routes also face adjustments. A section will be added to the Light Red Line (Phaya Thai-Suvarnabhumi Airport) which is also known as the airport link. The additional Phaya Thai-Taling Chan section will be built as a subway. The Light Green Line, a BTS system, will be extended from Onnuj to Samut Prakan, via Samrong, and from Siam Square to Pran Nok via the Chao Phraya river. The Dark Green Line, also a BTS system, will be extended from Taksin bridge to Phetkasem road. The Blue Line (Hua Lamphong-Bang Khae and Bang Sue-Tha Phra via the Chao Phraya river) will have both elevated and underground sections. The Dark Red Line from Rangsit in Pathum Thani to Samut Sakhon, via Hua Lamphong station, will not be changed. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Mystery man promises 10,000 homes

Posted by hasekamp on 25 August 2005 at 17:12 PM
A businessman from Dubai met with Phuket Governor Udomsak Uswarangkura today to offer to build 10,000 houses for tsunami victims. The man, who gave his name simply as "John", visited Phuket Provincial Hall to request that land be donated upon which to build the Australian-designed structures. The prefabricated homes would be shipped as knocked-down kits to Thailand, enabling them to be assembled quickly once they arrive. His translator told the Phuket Gazette that "John" expects an answer from the Governor within a week. She said that the Dubai businessman is staying in Phuket until December, with the intention of using this period to build the houses. Governor Udomsak today declined to comment on the offer. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Post reporter resigns

Posted by hasekamp on 25 August 2005 at 12:24 PM
News Editor Chadin Tephaval has resigned from the Bangkok Post in a show of responsibility for a mistake in a front page news report on Aug 9 about runway cracks at Suvarnabhumi airport. Mr Chadin, who earned a bachelor degree in political science and sociology, and a master's degree in international relations from Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand, started his career as a general news reporter and covered a wide range of news beats including foreign affairs, parliament, United Nations and international organisations. He was later promoted to the News Desk, serving in supervisory positions for several years before being appointed News Editor two years ago, in full charge of coordinating the local news gathering operation. His long career at the Post spanned 24 years. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Thaksin does not answer certain questions

Posted by hasekamp on 25 August 2005 at 12:20 PM
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra today (Thursday) surprised reporters by raising a "X" sign to show that a question asked by one of them was "unconstructive". The prime minister was taking a stand to answer reporters' questions during his first "Meet the Press" session at Government held by the new government spokesman. A reporter asked Thaksin whether there were foreign terrorists taking part in the terror campaigns in the deep South. Thaksin pressed the buzzer and raised the X mark sign and said the question was unconstructive and refused to answer. Several reporters laughed but the reporter, who asked the question, gave Thaksin an applause. At one moment, Thaksin also pressed the buzzer and raised an "O" sign when a reporter asked about short-term measures for dealing with rising oil prices. "It's constructive question," the prime minister said. (Source: The Nation)


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Full moon party or not?

Posted by hasekamp on 24 August 2005 at 13:50 PM
Tourism business operators and residents on Surat Thani's Koh Phangan are opposing the Interior Minister's plan to ban the island's infamous full moon party. They are demanding a public hearing if the minister is determined to push ahead with the ban. The Koh Phangan Tourism Promotion Association chairman said the minister's idea to promote eco-tourism on Koh Phangan and to discontinue the full moon party was ill-advised. Business operators and residents have hosted the party for more than 20 years and it has become known worldwide, he said, adding a ban would negatively affect tourism. He said the party did not hurt the environment and attracted many foreign tourists.
The Provincial councillor said "It is not right to cite illicit drugs, town planning and environmental problems as reasons to discontinue the party. Locals are more environmentally minded than some ministers. If there really was anything bad about it, locals would not have let the party go on for so long,". (Source: The Bangkok Post)



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Encroaching: 65 meters per year

Posted by hasekamp on 23 August 2005 at 11:26 AM
Geologist advise the construction of sea walls for five coastal provinces. The northern coastline of the Gulf of Thailand is retreating at a rate of 65 metres per year and, in about 50 years, the sea will be more than three kilometres closer to Suvarnabhumi Airport, Samut Prakan and Bangkok, a leading geologist warned yesterday. The encroachment of the sea, due to rapid land deterioration, would bring the shoreline to just 13 kilometres from Suvarnabhumi Airport by 2055, and future residential development between the airport and the sea could be swallowed by the collapsing shoreline. More than 1,580 hectares of land on a 77km stretch of shoreline had disappeared in the past 27 years. The shorelines of Bangkok, Samut Sakhon, Samut Prakan, Samut Songkhram and Chachoengsao had retreated 206 metres in that time. The shoreline deterioration is caused by constant washout of sand and mud sediments, as well as the reduction of accumulative sediments at river estuaries because of the construction of dams and canals at the origins of rivers, reducing their flow. (Source: The Nation)


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Thaksin: Encroachers cause floods

Posted by hasekamp on 21 August 2005 at 13:22 PM
Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has blamed encroachers on vast tracts of forest land for the disastrous floods in the North and vowed to take tough action against them, no matter how rich, famous or influential they are. Speaking during his weekly radio address yesterday, Mr Thaksin said he has already asked Natural Resources and Environment Minister Yongyuth Tiyapairat and Prime Minister's Office Minister Newin Chidchob to crack down on trespassing and step up measures to prevent illegal logging in border areas by hilltribe people and illegal aliens. Mr Thaksin said people who had taken hundreds or thousands of rai of forest land would be severely punished. "We don't care who they are. We don't need to look at their faces and names. They will certainly face serious legal measures," he said. Mr Thaksin said people who had bought land that had been trespassed on or land in reform zones, which could not officially be sold, must return the land to the government or face legal action. People trespassing on smaller tracts of land, such as three to five rai, in order to make a living will be dealt with on a case-by case-basis. Mr Thaksin said floods and drought have been chronic problems for the country so the government would make a huge investment in large-scale water management projects.
We sometimes disagree with the Thai PM, as our raegular readers know, but this time he gets our support for 100%. It is to be hoped that the actions to be taken against encroachers will have effect. Especially the words of the PM that he will not spare anybody, are very welcome to us! (Source : The Bangkok Post)


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New gas surcharge from THAI

Posted by hasekamp on 20 August 2005 at 12:19 PM
Thai Airways International (THAI), has decided to increase its surcharge for all types of passengers due to continuing oil price hikes, a THAI executive announced on Friday. The new surcharge has been added to airfares of all THAI's tickets booked or purchased at the company's sale offices and agents throughout the country since 16 august. The surcharge will, however, be imposed on all air tickets booked or purchased from THAI's sale offices and agents abroad from 5 September. The surcharge ranges from 300 baht per single trip for all domestic routes (200 baht previously) via 1,000 baht per single trip on all Asian and middle eastern routes (from 800 baht previously) to 2000 baht per single trip on Australia's, New Zealand and all other inter-continental routes (from 1400 baht previously). THAI promised that it would reduce the additional surcharge once the global oil situation returns to normal. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Wedding ceremony for pandas

Posted by hasekamp on 20 August 2005 at 12:04 PM
A Northern Lanna-style wedding ceremony will be held in November for Xuang Xuang and Lin Hui, the giant pandas on loan from China. The director of the Zoological Park Organisation of Thailand, said the mating season of pandas was approaching and the planned wedding would be part of an International Annual Conference of Research and Breeding Technique on Giant Pandas 2005, which will take place Nov 21-23 at a hotel in Chiang Mai. Zoo officials are hoping Lin Hui, the female panda, would have a baby in Thailand before the pair are returned to China after another eight years of stay. The pair will be put through a weight reduction programme because they are now in overweight. Lin Hui now weighs 112kg, exceeding the standard weight by 2kg, while Xuang Xuang weighs 150kg, against the standard of 135kg. The pandas have been the stars of the zoo since their arrival almost two years ago, helping boost the zoo revenue by over 55 million baht. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Largest meditating Buddha in the world in Phuket

Posted by hasekamp on 20 August 2005 at 11:59 AM
Construction of a 1,000-ton concrete Buddha image, touted as the largest of its kind in the world, has started high on the Nakkerd Hills between Karon and Chalong. Suporn Wanichkul, the head of the project committee, said yesterday that the Buddha will be 45 meters high and 25 meters wide. He claims that it will be the biggest meditating, or Pang Manravichai, Buddha image in the world. "We have budgeted about 10 million baht for construction and the foundations alone will take about 14 months to complete. We plan to present this project to the Father of our Land, HM the King, on his birthday," he said. The first Buddha image on the same site, made of brass and reinforced concrete covered with gold leaf, has already been completed, and plans are ready to celebrate the completion of that project on October 13-15 this year. That Buddha, 12 meters high and weighing 22 tons, was started three years ago in an effort dogged by adversity and controversy.
The new Buddha image will be built on the same site. The project received planning permission in April 2002. "We met with many obstacles but finally, through the donations we have received, we can see that people want to make merit through it. There is no profit involved and this has nothing to do with politics. Donations totaling about 60 million baht have been received for the two projects. The world’s biggest meditating Buddha should be finished in the next three years." (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Phuket Air plane grounded in Korea

Posted by hasekamp on 19 August 2005 at 12:55 PM
South Korean airport officials announced yesterday that a Phuket Air airplane was grounded at the South Korea International Airport, after the plane was not able to pay for service charges, fuel charges, hotel charges, as well as the airport fees. Inchon International Airport officials said they would allow the 568-seat Boeing 747 C300 take off from the airport immediately once the Phuket Air Company paid for all expenses. However, no contact has yet been made with Phuket Air officials, who could provide an explanation. We believe that Phuket Air, after a numerous incidents all over the world, should consider to retire from the business. (Source: Public Relations Department)


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Chiang Mai Temples threatened by flooding

Posted by hasekamp on 19 August 2005 at 12:44 PM
While the floodwaters in Chiang Mai are receding, the water level at the historic Wiang Kum Kam temple complex remains high and is likely to inflict serious damage on the 700-year-old structure, senior archaeologist Sahawat Naenna said yesterday. In other flood-related news yesterday, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry said yesterday it planned to build 27,396 small dams across canals and tributaries of the Ping River as part of a long-term plan to develop more effective water-management and flood-prevention programmes. The entire scheme covers a 724-km stretch of the Ping River basin and connects five provinces from Chiang Mai to Nakhon Sawan. Of the 28 historic structures located within the 800-rai temple complex in Saraphi district, 26 are completely inundated. Another 14 historic sites outside the Wing Kum Kam complex are also underwater but unlikely to be damaged by the floodwater.
In Chiang Mai, the floodwater level in suburban areas has decreased but the situation elsewhere has not improved. The total number of households affected by the flooding stood at 30,000 yesterday, with around 80,000 individuals affected. Half of the businesses in Chiang Mai’s Muang municipality were damaged. The death toll for flooding nationwide stood at 10 yesterday, according to the Interior Ministry’s Department of Public Disaster Prevention and Relief (DPDPR). The eight provinces affected are Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son, Chiang Rai, Nan, Lampang, Phayao, Lamphun and Sukhothai. (Source: The Nation)


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THAI in losses

Posted by hasekamp on 18 August 2005 at 12:13 PM
Thai Airways International (THAI) will cut back on loss-making routes, restructure foreign operations, focus on corporate sales and improve services in an effort to turn its books around over the next three months. The airline’s director yesterday outlined the broad measures to reduce costs and improve earnings for the airline. He said THAI would postpone flights to Johannesburg. Also, its plan to fly direct to Los Angeles will be postponed, with flights continuing to stop over in Japan. Other connecting destinations will also be scrapped, such as the Bangkok-Brisbane-Auckland route, which will be cut back to Bangkok-Brisbane. The Bangkok-Sydney-Melbourne route will now be Bangkok-Sydney direct and the Bangkok-Singapore-Denpasar will instead become a direct Bangkok-Singapore route, he added. All loss-making domestic routes will be handed over to its low-cost subsidiary, Nok Air. (Source: The Nation)


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More storms expected

Posted by hasekamp on 18 August 2005 at 12:08 PM
Residents of seven northernmost provinces, still recovering from the weekend's flooding, are being warned for new storms and floodwaters. The Meteorological Department said a low pressure ridge is moving across the North and Northeast. Heavy downpours are predicted for today and the next two days. The weekend floods that wrought havoc in the North caused economic losses estimated at 1.5 billion baht in Chiang Mai alone. The Revenue Department has been told to delay tax collection and the Government Housing Bank ordered to grant 100% loans with annual interest of only 3.2% to flood victims. The floods also hit parts of the ancient town of Wiang Kum Kam, now a historical park, but the full extent of the damage was still being surveyed by the Fine Arts Department yesterday. More than 60 schools in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son were affected.
A little to the south, Sukhothai is preparing for flooding from provinces upstream, but was yesterday declared safe. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said Bhumibol dam's reservoir had room for more water and he did not think there would be more severe flooding in the North. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Flash floods overview

Posted by hasekamp on 17 August 2005 at 19:04 PM
The death toll in this season's biggest series of floods has risen to six, but Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said today he is confident that Thailand will be able to deal with the flooding in the North, and with its aftermath. According to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, six people died in the floods in the North. Nine people are reportedly missing and about fifty people have been injured. Mr. Thaksin said before the cabinet meeting today that the flood problem would be discussed. "The situation in Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, and Mae Hong Son has improved," he said, "while lower areas of the northern region must be on alert for possible floods." Meanwhile, floodwaters in Chiang Mai are receding, but some areas in the city are still under water. Authorities have been helping residents in low-lying areas in the path of the flooding to evacuate. The Meteorological Department said that further heavy rains are expected in the upper North on Friday and Saturday August 19-20. Last week's heavy downpour considerably raised the water level of the Yom River, a major tributary of the Chao Phraya River, and that its floodwaters are expected to cause major flooding in Sukhothai's Muang district in the coming two days. Two other major northern rivers, the Ping and the Nan, are not expected to contribute to the flood burden further south as their waters are contained in two large reservoirs, the Bhumipol Dam and the Sirikit Dam. Due to extended drought, both reservoirs have a larger-than-usual capacity at this time. An official ruled out the possibility of flooding in the central Thailand, but expressed concern regarding the lack of storage capacity for the Yom River water, which cause floods every year. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Flash foods: Pai (Mae Hong Son province)

Posted by hasekamp on 17 August 2005 at 18:58 PM
Flash floods brought on by heavy rains over the weekend buried the scenic resort town of Pai under a sea of mud. But the weather has been unable to sink the spirit of townspeople. Rainwater, mud and logs flowed down the surrounding mountainsides, knocking down trees, sweeping away homes and buildings, causing severe damage to more than 50 riverside resorts and submerging the entire town of Pai. Streets are littered with logs, broken shutters, bricks and metal debris. About 1,000 soldiers are helping with the clean-up, expected to be completed in seven days. Full rehabilitation could take more than a month. Pai, with its scenic beauty, is a popular destination among foreign tourists. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Thaksin: Force not in my interest

Posted by hasekamp on 17 August 2005 at 18:29 PM
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday assured the Thai public that a violent solution to the southern crisis was not in his best interests, saying his government wanted to be remembered in the history books as an advocate of peace, not a justifier of war. Speaking on the occasion of the Thai Peace Day celebrations, the 60th anniversary of the Free Thai Movement led by statesman and war-time prime minister Pridi Banomyong, held at Thammasat University, Mr. Thaksin said one thing he wanted even more was to stand out in history as one of the country's leaders who brought harmony to the nation. "How my administration constructively solves the southern unrest will be the proof of my legacy as a protector of peace or else I would be of no use to this country," he said. Mr Thaksin said the current controversial emergency decree imposed on the restive deep South was purely to maintain peace and order in the region since those who have killed the innocent must be punished. Mr. Thaksin claimed that since the decree came into force, trouble-makers had given themselves up of their own free will and were even happy about it. Parliament will review the emergency decree after Mr Thaksin last week said that he would tone down the measures if they were deemed unfair. Under tough measures endorsed by the cabinet last month, authorities can detain suspects for up to 30 days without charge, search and arrest without warrants, tap phones, and ban broadcasting or dissemination of media reports deemed to be detrimental to peace restoration efforts. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Four dead in floods

Posted by hasekamp on 15 August 2005 at 17:31 PM
Downtown Chiang Mai became a chest-deep lake in the worst flooding the province has seen in many years, while four people died and six rafters were reported missing yesterday in torrential water run-off in Mae Hong Son. Heavy flooding forced evacuations in many parts of the northernmost provinces of Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son. At Chiang Mai's tourist magnets, the Night Bazaar and Varoros Market, vendors raced to move their stock to higher ground but many were unable to beat the rapid surge of water. The floods are seasonal, but came early this year. The main thoroughfares in Chiang Mai's central business district such as Chang Klan and Charoen Prathet were submerged. The water reached one meter high in some spots. Housing estates near the airport were submerged under neck-deep water. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra arrived in the province to inspect the damage and handed out relief supplies to residents. The Chiang Mai governor told the prime minister that 10 districts, 56 tambons and 174 villages were flooded. The Ping river level at the main Naovarat Bridge topped 4.9 metres, the highest in 40 years. The State Railway of Thailand cancelled its Chiang Mai-bound trains yesterday as water surged 30 centimeters above the 20km tracks between Chiang Mai and Sarapee stations. The Tourism Authority of Thailand said the impact on tourism would be minimal and short-lived although revenue from the sale of souvenirs would fall since the Night Bazaar was one of the better-known shopping attractions in Chiang Mai.
The government says Mae Hong Son was worst hit. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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More stringent drug suppression

Posted by hasekamp on 14 August 2005 at 17:00 PM
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has asked officials to be more stringent and determined in suppressing narcotics. Meanwhile, the Thai Government will collaborate with other countries to solve this problem.
During the Prime Minister’s weekly radio programme yesterday, he disclosed that relevant officials have been asked to be more resolute in eliminating illegal drugs in Thailand at the moment, as certain officials have become slightly bated. Thus, all concerned officials in each province have to be more vigorous in their duties. The premier said the government is planning to work more cooperatively with foreign countries to deal with narcotics, as drug trafficking activities are still evidential in certain areas. (Source: Public Relations Department)


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Serious flooding in the North

Posted by hasekamp on 14 August 2005 at 16:55 PM
At least five villagers were injured and five others are reported missing in widespread flash floods that hit the North early yesterday, authorities said. The pre-dawn floods, triggered by a heavy downpour, wrought havoc in parts of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phayao and Mae Hong Son provinces, with reports of mudslides in some places. Hundreds of families were affected and thousands of rai of farmland were inundated. Chiang Dao was the hardest-hit area in Chiang Mai province as several roads were cut off by floods. Military and police helicopters rescued villagers who fled the floods and evacuated people to higher ground. Heavy rain burst the banks of the Ping river, uprooted trees and caused landslides. In some areas, the flood water was up to a meter deep. Five injured villagers in the district were admitted to hospital. In Mae Hong Son's Pai district, five people were swept away by floods. The local weather office said the heavy downpour, which started late on Friday night, was caused by a low-pressure ridge. Flash floods devastated Mae Suai, Phan, and Wiang Pa Pao districts in Chiang Rai province, leaving villages and farmland under water. There were no reports of casualties. Meanwhile, a military development unit in charge of a scheme to tackle flooding in the south and west of Chiang Mai municipal area, said the municipal area was likely to be spared from floods. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Warning for agressive tailors

Posted by hasekamp on 13 August 2005 at 12:41 PM
Community leaders in Kata-Karon (Phuket province) have issued a warning to the 144 (one hundred and forty four!!) tailor shops in the area that they will crack down on any that continue to use aggressive touting techniques or take advantage of tourists. The Tambon of Karon Chairman said that, at a meeting among village headmen and other community leaders, it was unanimously agreed to monitor the behavior of the shops' staff, who have been warned to end practices that pose a threat to the area's reputation among tourists. Many of the shops hire foreign nationals, mostly from India and Myanmar, he said. Shops which continue to be sources of complaint will be penalized to the full extent of the law and subject to police investigations that would see any illegal aliens deported immediately, he warned. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Birthday speech by HM the Queen

Posted by hasekamp on 12 August 2005 at 11:01 AM
Her Majesty the Queen has made an unprecedented third plea for an end to violence in the deep South, demanding a stop to the killing of innocent people and all intolerable cruelties. Speaking to more than 16,000 well-wishers on the eve of her 73rd birthday today, the Queen first put smiles on their faces by announcing some good news, then switched to the southern unrest. In her speech, broadcast live nationwide, the Queen made an impassioned plea for all Thais to put their best efforts into restoring peace to the deep South and to show the southern people that they care. "Let's show that our hearts bleed for our fellow countrymen," she said. The Queen, in a more forceful tone, said Thais can no longer afford to be indifferent to some people's inhumanity to others in the deep South. She called on the people to jointly condemn violent attacks on innocent people and to make it clear to the perpetrators of such barbaric acts that they do not fear them. The Queen had twice before called on the entire nation to denounce such inhumane acts. But this was the first time she addressed the subject in her birthday speech. The Queen said that after the July bomb attacks in London, all sectors of British society came out to condemn the bombings, and a similar condemnation of violence was needed in Thailand. "To be indifferent is not right, because it will damage the nation," she said. "I have asked for your cooperation twice before, which is unprecedented ... but I cannot stay idle any longer. I ask the Thai people to condemn these inhumane acts ...The unrest has been going on long enough." Her Majesty the Queen has started several relief projects for families affected by the southern violence.
The Queen also told the nation about an honorary medal awarded to her early this week by the World Health Organisation in recognition of her efforts to promote food safety. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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THAI president suspended

Posted by hasekamp on 12 August 2005 at 10:56 AM
Poor internal teamwork and weak management are among the factors that forced changes to be made at Thai Airways International, according to Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. He said the stripping of THAI president Kanok Abhiradee's powers came after the company board realised that the national carrier required drastic changes. The airline, 70% owned by the government, announced the surprise management change late Wednesday, after the Transport Minister warned that the carrier was due to post a sharp loss for the quarter ending in June. THAI, like other airlines around the world, has been hit hard in recent months by the sharp run-up in global oil prices as well as new competition from low-cost carriers. The sudden decline in tourist arrivals after the Dec 26 tsunami has also hurt its international operations. But the airline has also suffered allegations of corruption in its ticketing operations, staff inefficiency and questions over its risk management strategies in light of rising oil prices and volatility in the currency markets. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Relatives Kirsty Jones visit Thailand

Posted by hasekamp on 11 August 2005 at 12:10 PM
The Department of Special Investigations’ (DSI) probe into the murder of British backpacker Kirsty Jones, in August 2000, is considering searching prisoners in northern Thailand for a DNA profile that matches semen found on the victim, a senior official said yesterday. The rationale for the DNA testing of prisoners in the region is that the perpetrator may be serving a jail term or have a past record, said DSI director for foreign affairs Colonel Narat Svestanan. He said the team would first discuss the DNA test’s target group, as well as where and when to start. "We’ll keep all options open," Narat said, explaining that the DSI is considering a range of possible Asian and Western suspects including Andrew Gill, the owner of the guesthouse in Chiang Mai where Jones’ body was found in August 2000. Gill has left the country and is unavailable for summons unless new evidence is found linking him to the crime. Since taking up the case over a month ago, the DSI has not found any new evidence or suspects. The DSI has consulted public prosecutors about the five-year-old case’s statute-of-limitations expiry on July 8 and plans further interviews of witnesses, Narat said. He added that the DSI would do its best to solve the case, which has affected international relations and Thailand’s image.
While the victim’s family and British police understand that the murder is not easy to solve, they have appealed to Thai authorities to give their full attention to the case, Narat said. The DSI will keep them updated on the case’s progress and listen to their suggestions. Narat said he met the victim’s mother Sue Jones and brother Gareth along with Thai prosecutors yesterday. "The family will go to Chiang Mai to meet and thank provincial police this afternoon," said Narat, who urged the media to respect the family’s privacy during their visit. (Source: The Nation)


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Book in honor of HM the Queen

Posted by hasekamp on 11 August 2005 at 12:04 PM
The Education Ministry has published 100,000 copies of a book titled "Our Queen: Tales from the Southern Land" to commemorate Her Majesty the Queen's 73rd birthday tomorrow. The Deputy Education Minister said the book contains the Queen's biography, details of her activities in every region of Thailand, three speeches made to air her concerns about the violence in the deep South, reports on the southern crisis and names of victims of the unrest, including teachers. Ministry officials wanted Thais to know how much the Queen was concerned about the situation and the safety of teachers and students in Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat. The Queen has helped affected families in the three provinces, including providing scholarships to their children. It is a well-documented record of the southern violence. Everyone should study it and keep it, because what has happened there is part of Thai history, the Deputy minister said. The ministry would present 20,000 copies to the Queen. The rest will be sold for 100 baht each and proceeds will go to the ministry's fund for education in the South. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Leptospirosis in Lampang province

Posted by hasekamp on 10 August 2005 at 23:42 PM
An outbreak of leptospirosis has been reported in Thailand's northern province of Lampang (not far from Chiang Mai), with more than 20 patients suffering from the disease now. The province's chief public health official said that most of the patients -10 of them- were found in Thern District, followed by Wang Nua, Serm-ngam and other districts. Two of those who have contracted the disease have died.
Leptospirosis normally spreads during the rainy season, but it is a preventive disease, actually, by avoiding wading through dirty water. So, people should always wear long boots when wading through water and take a bath every time they return from work or rice fields. Given the type of the disease, there seem not to be a serious danger for tourists. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Knowledge of English lacks

Posted by hasekamp on 10 August 2005 at 20:00 PM
Special English-language curriculums are being drafted for staff in six major industries after tests revealed that Thais have the second-worst English language skills in Southeast Asia. The finding, compiled by educational testing services, is worrying those wanting Thailand to become a regional hub of car manufacturing, medical care, spas, cuisine and fashion. The poor results would seriously affect the country's competitiveness in the global market. Trying to solve the problem is done by drafting English proficiency improvement curriculums for personnel in six important industries: tourism, fashion, health science, food, automobile and information technology.
Will this make a serious update of our language page necessary? We do not believe that this will soon be the case. The typical Thai usage of the English language is burned deeply into the minds of the Thai people and in fact is part of the Thai culture. We would be sorry to hear every Thai speak "The Queen's English"! (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Follow His Majesty's advice!

Posted by hasekamp on 9 August 2005 at 12:52 PM
Statesman Prem Tinsulanonda has once again made his plea for the nation to follow His Majesty the King's call for Thais to help save their country from falling into the hands of bad people. Presiding over the award-winning ceremony of an essay contest on "I Love Good People. I Hate Cheats" yesterday, Gen Prem asked all adult Thais to set good examples for youngsters by reining in rampant graft to the best of their ability. Gen Prem, the Privy Council president and a former prime minister, has spoken out against corruption and a lack of good governance on several occasions. He praised organisers for making people write on the given topic, saying they were serving their country. "I hate cheats the most. I hate them as much as you do. People who cheat do not love this country. They slow down our progress. They cause us trouble. Let's show to them that we are now ready to fight corruption," he said.
Gen Prem said the people should also heed the King's advice not to tolerate dishonest acts and not give bad people a chance to rule the country. In his speech - as long ago as 1969 - the King said: "There are both good and bad people in our country. No one can make everyone a good person. Keeping the country in peace and order is not about making everyone good, but about making good people rule the country to prevent bad people from having power and causing trouble." (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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THAI adds fuel charge

Posted by hasekamp on 9 August 2005 at 12:47 PM
Thai Airways International (THAI) has announced yet another round of increases in its fuel surcharge on all foreign and domestic flights, to be applied to tickets issued on or after August 15. The Thai national carrier will raise the surcharge on one-way domestic flights from 200 baht to 300 baht; similar rises will be levied on regional and international routes, depending on the destination. The news came in a release to travel agents. THAI introduced a 100-baht fuel surcharge on domestic flights on May 1, 2005, then doubled it to 200 baht on July 1. The airline says the newest hike is in line with rising fuel prices on the world market. Intercontinental flights, including to other Australian and New Zealand destinations, will be increased from US$35 (1,443 baht) to US$50 (2,062 baht), or local currency equivalent.(Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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New boat service

Posted by hasekamp on 8 August 2005 at 15:17 PM
One week after deploying 10 new boats, costing five million baht each, on two new lines, the Marine Department admitted that commuters had given them a meagre welcome. The department and the Thai boat service association kicked off the Dao Khanong-Taksin Bridge route and the Soi Phetkasem 20-Memorial Bridge line, with service from 7am-9am and 4.30pm-7pm last Monday. The boat leaves every 15 minutes and charges 10 baht. The three-km-long Dao Khanong line takes passengers to the Taksin Bridge in just 15 minutes compared to at least an hour by bus. The 6km Phetkasem line reaches the Memorial Bridge in 30 minutes, while buses take about one hour. The department hoped that spending less time on a boat would lure passengers away from buses or even private cars. It uses new boats, that can carry 60 people each, on the routes, and the department has guaranteed their safety. But an official said the services could not entice more passengers. The new service has not been publicised enough, officials think. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Fly larvae against infections

Posted by hasekamp on 7 August 2005 at 11:45 AM
Now available in Thailand, fly larvae can clean and protect against infection. Maggots are now available in Thailand in a safe bio-medical form as an alternative treatment for diabetic-related injury, severe burns and other types of injuries requiring the removal of dead tissue. The treatment has been brought to Thailand by BioMonde (Thailand), which has built a laboratory to raise the maggots - or larvae - of the Lucilia sericata species of fly. The bio-maggot treatment technology was invented by Ovamed Gmbh of Germany seven years ago. Besides Thailand, it is now also available in Europe, the United States, Australia and Japan. To date, 24 million patients have used the technology, Ovamed’s managing director Detlev Goj said. "Bio-maggots can give patients relief from pain. They can also save on surgery costs," he said. (Source: The Nation)


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Second tambon declared mosquito free

Posted by hasekamp on 7 August 2005 at 11:41 AM
Tambon Dong Yai in Maha Sarakham province (Northeast Thailand) was yesterday declared the second mosquito-free community in the country after a seven-year watch. The Public Health Ministry declared the tambon free of mosquito larvae on Friday following no reports of deaths or sickness from dengue fever there since 1998. Tambon Nongthum in the same province was the first to receive such recognition last year. According to regulations, a tambon can only be declared free of mosquito larvae if there have been no reports of the disease there for three years running, and less than one-fifth of the area in the community was known to be larvae-free. The Public Health Minister made the announcement in the presence of over 1,000 villagers and also used the occasion to promote the ministry's awareness campaign against dengue fever. The successful method of the two tambons would be applied to fight dengue fever in other areas of the country. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Briton murders his wife in Phuket

Posted by hasekamp on 5 August 2005 at 15:41 PM
A British man allegedly confessed to brutally killing his wife in Kathu district in Phuket, police said yesterday. Paul Chetwynd-Talbot, 33, was arrested on Wednesday night while sitting on Patong Beach with blood pouring from wounds on his wrists and arms. He told police he had tried to kill himself earlier that night. He was arrested, charged with murder and transferred to Wachira Phuket Hospital. Police said Chetwynd-Talbot confessed to killing his wife, Debra O’Hanlon, a 31-year-old kindergarten teacher, because she was seeing a new boyfriend. Her battered body had been discovered at a Patong Beach guesthouse on Tuesday. Another investigation showed that Chetwynd-Talbot was addicted to cocaine, that had a history of assaulting his wife and often become violent when he ran out of the drug. The couple had opened the "Red Dead Bar" on Patong beach, which was destroyed by the tsunami. They returned to England having lost everything. Chetwynd-Talbot and his wife returned to Phuket some time after the tsunami. (Source: The Nation)


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Airport construction to be accelerated

Posted by hasekamp on 4 August 2005 at 15:57 PM
The Ministry of Transport will accelerate the construction of Bangkok's new international airport, or the Suvarnabhumi Airport, with its progress to be daily checked, the newly-appointed Transport Minister announced today. He told journalists that he had begun to inspect progress of the airport's construction, looking into the work from the beginning, from contracts on airport designs to delivery of all completedly-constructed buildings and areas inside the airport. He admitted finding that the airport's construction was about 8 months behind schedule. The new minister said he would see that a 'daily check' would be made on progress of the airport's construction, while he, himself, would inspect the progress every week. "This is to ensure that the new Suvarnabhumi Airport can be opened for commercial purposes by mid-2006, the dateline newly set by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra", he said. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Kirsty Jones relatives to visit Bangkok and Chiang Mai

Posted by hasekamp on 4 August 2005 at 15:52 PM
It is almost five years ago that British backpacker Kirsty Jones was brutally raped and murdered in Aree guesthouse in Chiang Mai. The Thai police never found the guilty party. We have reported extensively about this case because it is so sad and because the Thai police handled this case so unsuccesfully (to put it mildly). Use our search box to find all the postings.
The family of murdered backpacker Kirsty Jones is now preparing to fly to Bangkok as authorities say they will fully review the case. The 23-year-old Kirsty Jones was raped and strangled at Aree guesthouse in Chiang Mai on August 10, 2000. She was on a two-year trip round the world at the time.
Five years after the murder, Kirsty’s killer and rapist remains at large. The Thai police investigation has been heavily criticised.
Kirsty’s mother Sue and brother Gareth will be accompanied by two officers from Dyfed-Powys police for talks with Thai officials. Earlier British policemen also looked into the case in Chiang Mai. Initially they will meet Royal Thai Police and staff from the British embassy in Bangkok, before visiting the Aree guesthouse in Chiang Mai, where Kirsty was murdered. It will be the first time that Kirsty’s family visits Thailand. The Thai police investigation has been characterised by incompetence with Thai officers criticised after the murder scene was contaminated and vital forensic evidence lost. It is hoped by the family that the visit will spark new evidence which, five years on, could lead to the killer. "We are very grateful the Thai police have agreed to do this," Mrs Jones added. She said that the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office had been very supportive. The direction given to the Royal Thai Police is to get on and be aware that the murderer could be either a Thai national or a foreign visitor – not to leave any stone unturned and certainly not to draw any conclusions without the proper evidence being provided.
During the investigation into Kirsty Jones’ murder, a number of men, both Thai and foreign, were arrested but released without charge. (Source: The Nation)


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Cabinet reshuffle

Posted by hasekamp on 3 August 2005 at 15:29 PM
Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has recently made a cabinet reshuffle in which 17 ministers have been replaced. He said His Majesty the King asked the new Cabinet members to consider and carry out their oath. Mr. Thaksin led his new Cabinet members to be sworn in before His Majesty in an oath taking ceremony. "Taking an oath has its own meaning, even though it was just a short word. If you can follow it, you will be happy and so is the public," Mr. Thaksin quoted the King as saying. The prime minister quoted His Majesty as saying that the Cabinet members themselves would be happy and would make the country happy if they do what they have vowed to do in the oath. (Source: The Nation)


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Warranty on Shell gasohol

Posted by hasekamp on 3 August 2005 at 15:25 PM
Shell is the third oil company in Thailand to introduce gasohol, a blend of 90% gasoline and 10% crop-derived ethanol, after Bangchak and PTT, but the first to offer a performance pledge. Motorists who keep their receipts after filling up their cars with Shell gasohol can claim for damages within one month if their cars develop engine problems. However, vehicles including motorcycles covered by the guarantee must be models confirmed by their manufacturers as compatible with gasohol. "A full guarantee will be given to any motorists whose cars are damaged after filling up with Shell gasohol," the Shell chairman said. "We have not reserved a special budget for this programme because we believe that we will not have to pay for any engine breakdown at all," he further said. The guarantee will cover full engine repair, like first-class insurance coverage. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Monsoon warning

Posted by hasekamp on 2 August 2005 at 12:31 PM
If you are in Thailand at the moment, the following may be of interest to you: The Meteorological Department said Tuesday that widespread rain is expected throughout the country until tomorrow. Seasonal monsoons are strong and fisherman have been advised to stay ashore, while heavy rainfall may cause flooding in low-lying land and at-risk areas in the north. However, the storms are expected to gradually subside from Wednesday to Friday. A strong southeasterly monsoon is covering the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand today. The coastal Andaman region will experience scattered thundershowers and isolated heavy rain until Friday. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Unwanted windscreen cleaners

Posted by hasekamp on 2 August 2005 at 12:27 PM
Women motorists traveling alone are facing new forms of intimidation: unwanted windscreen-cleaning services on Bangkok streets, especially at the Silom-Rama IV intersection, where the unsolicited trade is being run by several burly men. Local police, however, say they can do little to tackle the problem, which has plagued motorists for more than 10 years. The men now forcing this unwanted service on motorists are targeting women drivers while avoiding those driven by men. After wiping a screen, they demand a fee, and usually get it from the intimidated drivers. Only rarely do they stop when a driver becomes more aggressively insistent that they will not pay. Police blame their inability to control the problem at Silom-Rama IV on overlapping jurisdictions. (Source: The Nation)


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Tsunami effects in Isan

Posted by hasekamp on 1 August 2005 at 11:59 AM
The 2004 December tsunami not only hit people and businessmen along the Andaman coastal provinces, its effect has spread to the farthest ends of the Northeast. Artist Amnuay Sutthang and members of his Thai art centre sold paintings and sculptures to southern hotels and tourists. With the drastic drop in tourism to the South in the wake of the tsunami many orders have been cancelled, and sales are down. Mr Amnuay, 49, had already made 12 characters when the tsunami struck on Dec 26. As the hotel was badly hit, the sculptures remain at his house, unpaid for. He said he invested about 20,000 baht in each of them. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Fly to Phuket half price, but only for meetings

Posted by hasekamp on 1 August 2005 at 11:56 AM
Thai Airways International (THAI) is offering 50% discount on air fares from Bangkok to Phuket and nearby provinces to encourage businesses to hold meetings and conventions there in a bid to boost tourism. THAI said the special air fares were reserved for members of the Office of the Public Sector Development Commission and the Federation of Thai Industries who attend meetings and conventions in Phuket, Krabi and Trang, the provinces suffering most from a sharp decline in tourism after the Dec 26, 2004 tsunami. The aim is to help restore the ailing tourism business in the provinces. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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