Search Keywords:
Searched the site for keyword(s):
Search again ordering: alphabetical newest-to-oldest oldest-to-newest
Results - of matches
Search took seconds

ALERT: Bomb attacks in Bangkok

Posted by hasekamp on 31 December 2006 at 16:55 PM
Two persons have been killed and at least 25 injured as a series of bombs or hand grenades exploded in at least six areas in the Thai capital and neighboring province on New Year's Eve, police said. Bangkok Governor Apirak Kosayodhin canceled the Thai capital's New Year's Eve countdown at the downtown Central World shopping complex.
At least six bombs exploded across the city in the early evening, leading to quickly intensified security on the two light rail systems, the MRT Skytrain and the MRTA subway, and cancellations of varied celebrations.
The first bomb went off about 6 pm near a bus shelter at the Victory Monument followed by another nearby bomb shortly after. Initially Bangkok Deputy Governor Wallop Suwandee said five persons, including one woman, were injured. One died later in hospital. Another bomb was detonated at a crowded Klong Toey market, injuring seven people, one of them a ten-year-old girl, and a 61-year-old man who later succumbed to injuries at hospital. Another bomb went off at a traffic police post near busy Saphan Kwai-Skytrain overpass intersection injuring 17 people, two seriously. Police cordoned off the area for further investigation and a squad of 20 soldiers was dispatched to the scene to ensure no further untoward incident. A fourth bomb went off at a police box on Sukhumvit Road Soi 62. No one was injured. A police traffic post near a major intersection in Nonthaburi province, north of Bangkok was also hit by a bomb but no casaulties were reported. Another bomb went off in the compound of the Tesco Lotus superstore at Prachachuen, while another was planted in a waste bin at Seacon Square Shopping Mall, in eastern suburban Bangkok, but a bomb-disposal squad defused the device before it exploded.
There was no immediate word on the bombers' identities or possible motive, but Government Spokesman Yongyuth Mayalarp told a news conference that the incidents were apparently the work of ill-intentioned people who wished to create disturbances in the country. He also urged the public to remain calm and alert police immediately for any irregularities. The explosions took place as Bangkokians are celebrating the upcoming New Year. It was not immediately clear if the bombs had anything to do with the military coup of September 19 that ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, or with continuing insurgency violence in the Muslim-predominant southern border region which has left more than 1,900 people dead since 2004. (Source: Thai News Agency)


Category: Default

Year of yellow

Posted by hasekamp on 31 December 2006 at 12:54 PM
As the nation celebrated His Majesty the King's 60th year on the throne in 2006, it witnessed the great love his subjects have for their monarch. Despite political turbulence which peaked shortly before the royal event, waves of people all wearing yellow tops, swarmed the Royal Plaza and the length of Ratchadamnoen Avenue to receive their King who appeared on the balcony of Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall during the grand congregation. Some of his subjects arrived there the night before the event to secure a place from where they could be close to their beloved monarch. Solemnly listening to the King's speech, many people shed tears of joy. The royal event has led to what is called the "yellow-shirt phenomenon". The shirts, with emblems which announce "We Love the King", have become much sought after products. Millions of people have worn them for occasions throughout the year. The yellow-shirt phenomenon is expected to extend into next year since the nation has grand plans for the King's 80th birthday _ also a year-long celebration.
Prints and photos featuring the royal event, particularly images of Their Majesties the King and Queen on the Ananta Samakhom's balcony, became popular keepsakes for Thais who, according to a recent poll, described the event as the one that had made them happiest. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


Category: Default

Fire in Bo Bae

Posted by hasekamp on 31 December 2006 at 12:48 PM
Parts of Bo Bae market, arguably the country's largest wholesale garment market, were declared a danger zone yesterday by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) after 95 buildings were damaged by a fire that raged for eight hours overnight. Governor Apirak Kosayodhin said during an inspection of the scene that he was afraid some of the buildings might collapse. "No one is allowed to enter the damaged areas," he said.
The fire started on Friday night and was not brought under control until dawn. One building collapsed in the morning as flames broke out again in some areas.
Apirak said that about two rai of the 6.25 rai market was destroyed, and 300 shop owners were affected. The total cost of the damage has yet to be calculated.
No deaths were reported, although three rescuers were injured while tackling the blaze. Beside the buildings, 40 street stalls and 55 houses in the market were destroyed.
Interior Minister Aree Wongsea-raya visited the scene and asked shop owners not to rush to the conclusion that the fire was an act of arson. He said the cause of the blaze was under investigation. (Source: The Nation)


Category: Default

Still no tsunami memorial

Posted by hasekamp on 29 December 2006 at 11:29 AM
Political changes have left a tsunami memorial project in Khao Lak Lamru national park mired in uncertainty as the government wants to correct problems left by the previous administration. Apinan Poshyananda, director of the Office of Contemporary Art and Culture in charge of the project, said the interim government had suspended construction of the the memorial while environmental impact assessment (EIA) studies and public hearings for the 600-million-baht project, initiated by the deposed Thaksin Shinawatra government, were underway. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


Category: Default

Slow internet remains

Posted by hasekamp on 29 December 2006 at 11:24 AM
CAT Telecom, Thailand's Internet regulator and monopoly operator of Thailand's international internet gateway, said it would invest in 300 extra internet connections via the Indian Ocean as alternatives to those in the Pacific that failed after a powerful earthquake off Taiwan. Thailand was slowly recovering its Internet connectivity on Friday, but was still operating far below normal bandwidth as Korean and Taiwanese technical operators tried to repair the damaged and seveered cables from the Tuesday earthquake. Four of CAT�s eight optical networks had been affected by the earthquake, causing its speed to drop by 50 per cent. The problem was expected to continue until repairs to the undersea network were completed. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


Category: Default

Airport not yet certified

Posted by hasekamp on 28 December 2006 at 16:53 PM
Bangkok's new Suvarnabhumi Airport must wait for permanent certification from Thailand's Department of Civil Aviation as the airport is still in the process of rectifying problems before the civil aviation authorities can certify its readiness to provide full capacity services to passengers, according to DCA director-general Chaisak Angkasuwan. Mr. Chaisak said the DCA had granted an interim certification to Suvarnabhumi Airport earlier this year, giving operational permission to the new facility and that the certification will expire on January 25. However, he said, Suvarnabhumi Airport cannot yet be given the permanent certification as the airport must make alterations regarding the revolving doors for entering the terminal building. "Passengers with baggage trollies may become stuck when using the revolving doors and risk breaking the glass of the doors, causing injury," he said. Mr. Chaisak confirmed that without permanent certification, the airport is nonetheless able to operate with full safety and that the DCA decision is unrelated to earlier comments from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). (Source: Thai News Agency)


Category: Default

First scandal for new government

Posted by hasekamp on 27 December 2006 at 14:09 PM
The current PM of Thailand has been criticized about his ownership of some land, that is part of a preserved area. Now PM Surayud Chulanont said if officials could prove that his piece of land in Khao Yai Thiang Mountain in Nakhon Ratchasima has encroached on a preserved forest, he will show responsibility by reconsidering his post. The PM affirmed that he had acquired the property according to the law. He said that his wife had been renting the land from villagers and had been properly paying holding taxes. He said if the state wanted the land back, he would be willing to return as he was not using it for any purpose now. Sources revealed that officials from the National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) have paid a visit to Khao Yai Thiang Mountain and had taken some photographs of the land. 'To be continued'. (Source: Public Relations Department)


Category: Default

New airport: Who did it wrong?

Posted by hasekamp on 27 December 2006 at 14:02 PM
The prediction of many experts and media has come true: The new airport - stated shortly - was not ready to open. But it had toi be opened, as a matter of prestige, and now everybody wonders how things can be mended and 'who did it'.
So, Thai authorities have yet to determine who's to blame for the shoddy workmanship and problems plaguing Suvarnabhumi airport, but they now know repairs will cost at least 1.5 billion baht. Airports of Thailand (AoT) board member Yodyiam Theptranont, whose working group is examining the host of problems at Suvarnabhumi airport, met technicians, Suvarnabhumi designers, builders and construction supervisers yesterday. The meeting concluded the airport, opened only three months ago, had 61 construction-related problems that must be sorted out immediately and the task would cost at least 1.5 billion baht. Mr Yodyiam said who was to blame for the problems could be eventually uncovered through examination of all the designs. Changes had been made repeatedly as the airport project was supervised by many governments, he said. He had set up a www.checkairport.com website to gather information to facilitate the investigation. Meanwhile, he said, improvement was the first priority and both builders and designers had promised to cooperate.
Suvarnabhumi airport was originally designed to commence operations in 2000. As the opening was delayed to 2006, adjustments to the designs were inevitable to suit the prevailing conditions. Cost cutting was a reason for some of the changes. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


Category: Default

Tsunami memorial ceremony

Posted by hasekamp on 26 December 2006 at 11:26 AM
More than 700 mourners joined local dignitaries for the tsunami memorial ceremony held at Loma Park this morning, two years after the tsunami struck the beach there. The ceremony, led by 99 monks from nearby Laem Petch Temple, was mostly conducted in silence, with only the sounds of the monks praying and the waves on the beach to be heard. Many of the onlookers brought food and gifts for the monks as an exercise in merit-making. Phuket Governor Niran Kanlayanamit was joined by other provincial officers, including Suwalai Pinpradab, Director of Tourism Authority of Thailand�s Southern Region 4 office; Patong Mayor Pian Keesin; and Aroon Kerdsom, Chief of the Phuket Provincial Office of Disaster Prevention Mitigation. Memorial services will continue this evening on Patong Beach, as well as at Kamala Beach and Khao Lak. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


Category: Default

Two years after tsunami - Where did the money go?

Posted by hasekamp on 25 December 2006 at 12:45 PM
Seven major Western countries recently submitted a joint complaint to the Royal Police Headquarters alleging that money intended to help identify tsunami victims had been stolen, according to informed sources. The sources, who asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the subject, said funds contributed by Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States and France amounted to almost Bt60 million. The money was donated by the citizens of those countries, who wanted to help victims of the tsunami. The source said more than 60 per cent of the funds were wasted and disguised as traveling and other miscellaneous costs. "To be frank, someone has stolen our citizens' money," said one of the sources, who has followed the victim identification process from the beginning. In a joint letter dated November 22 addressed to General Kowit Watana of the Royal Thai Police, diplomats raised two pivotal issues: the status of DNA data of over 400 bodies and the bodies of over 400 missing victims which have not been located. The issue was raised in the letter in a polite way. It said that during the first 10 days after the tsunami, approximately 2,000 bodies were released to relatives. Among them, the diplomats believed, were some misidentified bodies. At the time, nobody wanted to raise any questions as efforts were concentrated on helping the tsunami victims. The most damaging part of the letter was the request to have an internal audit concerning the funds. The sources claim to have reliable information that the funds contributed by the seven countries were misused. It requested an internal auditing by "a reputable and qualified private accountancy company" covering the period from January 2005 until the present time. The sources said the US government had agreed to meet the costs of the audit using the funds available in the tsunami-related cooperative agreement with the TTVI and DVI, which began in January 2005. The letter said that "any such misuse would be an especially sensitive and distressing matter for us all, given the generous-spirited and cooperative nature of the whole DVI operation". (Source: The Nation)


Category: Default

Two years after tsunami - Phi Phi

Posted by hasekamp on 25 December 2006 at 12:38 PM
It looks as if the paradise island in Krabi province has made a remarkable recovery. Tourists are returning, with resorts, guesthouses, restaurants, internet cafes, convenience stores, bars and vendors lining the road at Ao Ton Sai, the front bay of Phi Phi Don island. But for most local people and business operators, the island's rehabilitation is proceeding at a slow pace. The attempts by the previous government to put Koh Phi Phi under the Designated Area for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Dasta), with the proposed plan to develop the island into a high-end tourism destination, had faced strong opposition from local residents and stalled the rehabilitation process. It was not until November last year that the island was reopened, and entrepreneurs had to wait a few more months for the monsoon season to pass before they could get down to work. Even after that, the reconstruction process is not easy. There was no authorized agency to look after the island since the Thaksin government decided to put Phi Phi under Dasta, taking away power from the Tambon Ao Nang Administration Organisation, which oversees the island. The unsettled conflict between Dasta and the local groups left Phi Phi in a state of vacuum. No agencies dared to step in. The planned reconstruction of the island pier was halted and no government aid was offered the housing project for the poor. Phi Phi may already be enjoying the return of tourism, but much work needs to be done on the infrastructure. The communities are not being orderly rebuilt, and construction of hotel and resort buildings are legally suspended, due to the unfinished town plan. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


Category: Default

Monsoon in Surat Thani

Posted by hasekamp on 22 December 2006 at 23:12 PM
Strong waves in the Gulf of Thailand destroyed 15 houses along the coast in Surat Thani's Thachana district, forcing ferries to suspend services and pushes local resident to evacuated to higher ground. Surat Thani authorities issued a warning for people living along the coast to be more cautious as the monsoon reached the province. The monsoon pushed through four-meter-high waves that flooded numerous houses along the beaches in Tambon Ta Krajai area. District authorities ordered immediate evacuation of people, particularly children and elder people, to higher places. Koh Samui was also affected by the monsoon, particularly roads along Baan Nathorn beach. (Source: The Nation)


Category: Default

Will Don Muang reopen?

Posted by hasekamp on 21 December 2006 at 17:37 PM
Don Muang airport, which closed in late September after 92 years of service, may return as Bangkok's second airport because Suvarnabhumi airport is now congested. Deputy Transport Minister Sansern Wongcha-um said passenger and airline inconvenience at Suvarnabhumi airport had prompted airline operators to demand Don Muang airport be reopened, and revive a plan to use both Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang airports to serve Bangkok's air traffic. Yesterday, he chaired a meeting with current and former executives of Airports of Thailand (AoT) and representatives of the Civil Aviation Department, low-cost airlines and the Airline Operators Committee. The government of deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra changed the dual-airport policy to a single-airport policy. Mr Sansern said AoT would now review its Suvarnabhumi master plan. He believes AoT proposed expanding Suvarnabhumi without considering its actual physical limitations. AoT planned additional land acquisition and as many as six runways for Suvarnabhumi, he said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


Category: Default

Financial controls lifted

Posted by hasekamp on 20 December 2006 at 17:21 PM
Buoyed by clarification on easing stringent government-imposed currency controls, the Thai stock rebounded sharply by the end of the Wednesday morning trading session after a historic fall on Tuesday. The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) composite index surged 66.03 points to close at 688.17, up 10.61 per cent from Tuesday, on turnover of Bt34.8 billion. The SET index plunged 14.84 per cent on Tuesday as investors sold almost across the board in trading that saw the index close at 622.14 points, down 108.41 points, which was the largest drop since the bourse was established 31 years ago. Tuesday's total turnover stood at Bt72.1 billion. Heavy buying on Wednesday morning came after Pridiyathorn Devakula, deputy prime minister and finance minister, said Tuesday night on television that effective Wednesday, both stocks and foreign direct investment (FDI) would be exempted from the new Bank of Thailand (BoT) rule, announced late Monday.
This seems to us a case of "do first, think later" by the not yet very experienced Thai government.
The new rule issued by the BoT is aimed at slowing the sharp appreciation of the Thai baht. Earlier this month, the central bank imposed several measures limiting foreign investment in short-term debt instruments to help slow the strengthening of the baht after it gained nearly 15 per cent against the dollar since January. Foreign investors became less worried after the clarification was made and entered the market Wednesday morning which would benefit the capital market, according to SET president Patareeya Benjapolchai. (Source: Thai News Agency)


Category: Default

More money for anti-HIV drugs

Posted by hasekamp on 19 December 2006 at 17:54 PM
The Thai government has approved an extra Bt 1 billion for people living with HIV/Aids this year, the National Health Security Office (NHSO) said yesterday. Last year the government allocated Bt2.796 billion for the NHSO to provide 80,000 people who have HIV with life-saving anti-retroviral drugs, said Dr Piya Netrawichien, the NHSO deputy secretary general. This year the Budget Bureau has approved a budget of Bt3.8 billion for treatment and care of approximately 120,000 HIV-infected people. The majority of the budget will help provide anti-retroviral medicines - both the basic regimens and second-line drugs for those 10 per cent of people who are disease resistant to the basic drugs, Piya said. To take care of more than 47 million Thais, the NHSO this year was given a budget of about Bt1,899 per person. The budget for HIV treatment is a special addition. Apart from the provision of anti-retroviral treatment, the budget will also provide other medical supplies associated with HIV treatment and care including testing to determine the patient's white blood-cell count and viral load. (Source: The Nation)


Category: Default

Thai stocks plunge after BoT interferes

Posted by hasekamp on 19 December 2006 at 17:43 PM
Worried over harsh measures imposed by the Bank of Thailand (BoT) aimed at curbing short-term capital inflows, stock investors on Tuesday sold their holdings in volume, forcing the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) composite index to plummet to its lowest level since the market was set up 31 years ago. The SET composite index plunged 108.41 points to close at 622.14, down 14.84 per cent from Monday. The Thai baht closed at Bt35.85-35.90 to the dollar, after hitting a new nine-year high of Bt35.12 Monday. The baht has risen by 14 per cent since the beginning of 2006. (Or did the dollar go down instead?)
Securities and Exchange Commission secretary general Theerachai Puvanartnaranubala said foreign investors said they were concerned that the new measures imposed by the central bank on Monday while many believed that the BoT would come up with more stringent measures in future. Foreign investors should slow down selling and wait for clarification from the central bank otherwise they may lose an opportunity to invest, said Mr. Theerachai, adding that it would benefit stocks investors if the new measures would impact only currency speculators. Under new Bank of Thailand rules which took effect Monday, financial institutions must deduct 30 per cent as a reserve requirement from short-term foreign exchange transactions against the baht. (Source: Thai News Agency)


Category: Default

Assistance at the airport

Posted by hasekamp on 17 December 2006 at 13:02 PM
Having high expectations that large numbers of foreign tourists and local travelers would be traveling by air during the New Year weekend holiday, the management of Suvarnabhumi Airport will offer special traveler's assistance next week, Somchai Sawasdeepon, general manager of the airport, said Sunday. The travelers center will be on the seventh floor of the passenger terminal building as airport officials believe that the airport will be more crowded with the greatest number passengers at any given time since it opened commercially September 28, Mr. Somchai said. Services at the reception center include advice on facilities available at the airport, flight timetables, prevention of luggage delays and providing sufficient transportation facilities, he said. Acknowledging problems such as insufficient toilets, delayed luggage delivery, and safety concerns -problems that have prevailed for almost three months now - Mr. Somchai said the Airports of Thailand (AoT) and he himself personally would accept full responsibility. He said the AoT is trying to resolve the problems, and that he believed they could be eliminated within six months. (Source: Thai News Agency)


Category: Default

Rethinking the skytrain extensions

Posted by hasekamp on 15 December 2006 at 17:48 PM
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is set to back down from its plan to pay for 100 per cent of the cost of the Skytrain extension along Sukhumvit Road. The planned route will stretch 5.2 kilometers from On Nut station to Sukhumvit Soi 107. The change in the investment proportion is in response to a Cabinet resolution that approved the construction of five electric-train routes. According to the resolution, the government sector must pay for construction works - while the private sector pays for the rolling stock (trains). The administration's Traffic and Transport Department has prepared a study on the change, as ordered by city Governor Apirak Kosayodhin. It will be presented soon to the committee overseeing the five electric routes. It looks like the BMA will hire Italian-Thai Development Company to take charge of the construction and will ask the Bangkok Transit System (BTS) to arrange rolling stock. BTS operates the first phase of Skytrain system, which stretches over 23.5 kilometers. (Source: The Nation)


Category: Default

Quake in Chiang Mai

Posted by hasekamp on 14 December 2006 at 11:02 AM
Residents in three northern provinces were alarmed by an earthquake centred in Chiang Mai yesterday. It measured 5.1 on the Richter scale, and was followed by 69 aftershocks that slightly damaged some buildings. There were no reports of any casualties. Suparerk Tansriratanawong, director-general of the Meteorological Department, said the quake was the strongest vibration ever to occur in Chiang Mai.He warned residents living near the earthquake's centre in the northern province's Mae Rim and San Sai districts to expect more earthquakes in the future. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


Category: Default

Thai genes identified

Posted by hasekamp on 13 December 2006 at 11:24 AM
Scientists have successfully identified a genetic pattern common to Thai people that could help efforts to develop innovative drugs and treatments that suit Thai people, according to the Thailand Centre of Excellence for Life Sciences (Tcels). The so-called Pharmacogenomics project, developed and funded by Tcels, was run by a team of scientists from Mahidol and Chulalongkorn universities, the Mental Health Department, Riken Yokohama Institute in Japan, and Yale University in the United States. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


Category: Default

Healthy living

Posted by hasekamp on 13 December 2006 at 11:20 AM
The Thai cabinet yesterday gave the go-ahead to the "Healthy Living Plan" which aims to reduce the number of gamblers in the country by half in five years. It set aside a budget of 2.5 billion baht for the plan, submitted by the Social Development and Human Security Ministry. Some 900 million baht of the budget will be used to finance campaigns against gambling, 420 million baht injected into public relations work, and 210 million baht invested in research and administrative work. The remaining 975 million baht will go towards activities to strengthen local administration bodies, enabling them to better promote the sufficiency-economy concept and democratic values. A Healthy Living office will also be set up to press ahead with the five-year plan, from 2007 to 2011. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


Category: Default

King endorses NPA

Posted by hasekamp on 11 December 2006 at 12:27 PM
His Majesty the King has endorsed the list of 1,989 members of the National People's Assembly (NPA), which will soon kick-start a process to draft a new constitution, according to Meechai Ruchupan. "I believe the drafting process would be finished within six months as required by the interim constitution," said Mr Meechai, who is chairman of the NPA and president of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA). The NPA will sit for peer voting at the Impact Convention Centre or at the Royal Thai Navy auditorium. The assembly, which consists of members selected from civic groups, state agencies, businesses, and academics, will vote among themselves to choose their 200 representatives. They will be further downsized by the Council for National Security (CNS) to 100, who will then form a so-called constitution-drafting council.
The 1997 constitution was abolished by the CNS, which led the Sept 19 coup. The deposed Thaksin Shinawatra government had allegedly exploited the flaws in the charter to strengthen its hold on power. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


Category: Default

Thai time capsule

Posted by hasekamp on 11 December 2006 at 12:23 PM
Thailand's first astronomical Time Capsule is almost ready to be buried as the Thai Astronomical Society has nearly completed collecting items that will be kept in the capsule. Among the items are Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn's glasses she wore while viewing a total solar eclipse and her letter telling future generations about her astronomical experiences, said Aree Sawasdee, chairman of the Thai Astronomical Society. The Time Capsule will be embedded at the Military Cadet School in Nakhon Nayok province for 60 years as soon as the Princess finishes writing the letter, he said. "We will put the Princess' memo and her eclipse glasses into the capsule, together with the astronomical equipment we use nowadays, microfilm, books, and documents on astronomy," he said. Records about the late kings who had expressed an interest in solar system studies as well as His Majesty the King's talent in astronomy would all be stored in the 1.7 by 0.75 metre capsule.
According to Mr Aree, the King once suggested that deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra scrap the idea of adjusting Thailand's time zone after the King had an in-depth discussion with prominent astronomers about the current time zone. Mr Thaksin in 2001 planned to adjust Thailand's time zone by advancing it one hour and putting it in the same zone as Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong, claiming that it could help facilitate business activities, but the proposal was later dropped. Mr Aree said the Thai Astronomical Society planned to store as many items as possible in the capsule about Thailand's astronomical history, dating back to B.E 1805. The capsule would be reopened on April 11, 2070, when the next total solar eclipse is predicted to take place. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


Category: Default

Old caves discovered

Posted by hasekamp on 10 December 2006 at 11:52 AM
Scientists have recently made significant cave discoveries in the Pang Mapha district of Mae Hong Son. They are excited about the geological, ecological and archaeological importance of the finds. A few of the caves will be opened to tourists but most will be preserved for research. While the discoveries are naturally beautiful and hold tourism potential, they are important archaeologically - they were formed an estimated 10,000 years ago and can provide answers about life in the North. Geological data is abundant, too, researchers said. The discoveries are the result of nine years of exploration by a team of 50 geologists, archaeologists and other scientists. The work was supported by the Thailand Research Fund (TRF). The new sites will not be opened to the public immediately. Experts fear tourism will damage their fragile nature. (Source: The Nation)


Category: Default

Highway instead of nature

Posted by hasekamp on 10 December 2006 at 11:49 AM
A Highways Department plan to build a new southbound motorway from Nakhon Pathom to Prachuap Khiri Khan threatens unique fruit orchards in Samut Songkhram's Amphawa district, scholars and locals say. The motorway project is to replace the controversial Laem Pak Bia project - a motorway across the Gulf of Thailand - which was shelved due to environmental fears. The new project would be a shortcut from Bangkok to Prachuap Khiri Khan province. The Highways Department in August signed consultant firms Asdecon Co and Daoreuk Communications to a 40-million-baht contract to study technical feasibility and conduct public consultations. Renowned historian Sujit Wongthes said the district is now the last bastion for orchards in Thailand and should be kept that way. "This is the only community that can remind future generations what orchards look like and how the older generation lived," the historian said. More than a century ago, Bangkok and its vicinity were covered by massive orchards that were linked together by rivers and intricate webs of thousands of canals. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


Category: Default

His Majesty is 79 years old

Posted by hasekamp on 6 December 2006 at 12:39 PM
Hundreds of thousands of people packed Sanam Luang and both sides of Ratchadamnoen Avenue yesterday before joining the entire country in a mass candle-lit ceremony to commemorate His Majesty the King's 79th birthday. Some well-wishers arrived early in the day, lining the route from Chitrlada Palace to the Grand Palace. His Majesty the King delivered a speech to a congregation of royal family members and dignitaries, who gathered at the Amarin Vinijchai Throne Hall in the Grand Palace yesterday to mark his 79th birthday. They were eager to catch a glimpse of the King, who travelled to the Grand Palace in the morning for an audience with officials and dignitaries at the Amarin Vinijchai Throne Hall. The King, accompanied by Her Majesty the Queen, waved to his subjects who were dressed in yellow shirts, signifying Monday, the day he was born. People at Sanam Luang received some of the 1.5 million blessed candles distributed around the country.
They were lit at precisely 7.19pm, considered an auspicious time.
Police set up 12 activity booths along the avenue to honour the King. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


Category: Default

Birthday speech by His Majesty

Posted by hasekamp on 6 December 2006 at 11:29 AM
Contrary to what we expected, His Majesty the King gave a speech on the eve of his 79th birthday. This is the translation by The Nation:
"Thank you all for being here today to wish me a happy birthday. The well wishing as expressed by the prime minister is especially encouraging. I did not stand up to acknowledge your well wishing gesture since my physical strength did not permit although mentally, I am fit enough. I hope you understand that. Physical strength has its use.
For our nation, both physical and mental strength is essential. For the prime minister, he has to exercise both physical and mental strength to show how useful it is. Every other people must also use their physical and mental strength to save the country from perils. Do not leave it to the government alone since the government is not all that powerful. This government in particular is run by the elderly but being elderly is in fact a power.
For me, I am still 78 years old today and will be 79 tomorrow. I am not 80 yet and the prime minister is not yet 80 either. At the age of 80, some still can work vigorously. Old age can be an advantage in terms of accumulated knowledge and experiences. Young people who look down on the elderly are in fact inferior themselves. Old people who well maintain their intelligence and moral integrity can help the country prosper. But for those who do not know how to make use of their old age, they are just like children mentally.
This kind of people can be very dangerous. Their immaturity and inferior feeling about their old age could lead to the fall of the country. It is sad for those who keep regretting about getting old without trying to make use of it. Elderly people can make use of their old age and experiences to help other people and the country. I hope old people with good experiences will successfully work for the nation.
For old people in the government, they have no greed for themselves and deserve a compliment for their willingness to continue to serve the country although they have long worked and should have their retirement time. Although they have never taken this kind of job before, they will likely do it well thanks to their experiences.
Those people took the job in time of trouble. It is not politics that I am talking about. I do not want to talk about politics now. I am bored with it. It is the flooding that I will talk about.
Although the overall volume of rainwater this year is lower than the 1995 record, floods this year are more serious because of poor water management. With better management, the flood problem should not be as serious as it is now. I have information about flood and natural water situations with me here. With better equipment nowadays, floodwater can be drained out faster than in 1995.
This can be done in many areas especially at the Chao Phya River estuary. Existing floodgates in Phra Pradaeng can be effectively used to block a high tide from overflowing the river and flooding Bangkok. Under good timing management, the facilities can also drain out a groundwater overflow from the city at the time of low tide. The same method should be used in other areas too with some investment and labour required. When to open or close floodgates holds key to effective flood prevention.
Back in 1995, I sent out a Royal guard to check out a seaside flood station one night and he reportedly found the floodgate keeper sleeping while the tide was rising. The man said he was not aware of the timing of low and high tides but just followed his superiors' orders on when to close or open the floodgate. This explained how a high sea tide could then cause the canal linked to the floodgate to overflow and thus flood part of Bangkok. There is still about one more month left to correct what was wrong in flood prevention and it is not too late though. I just pick up the flood topic today since my tired voice about it might not be well heard once before. Today my voice gets clearer thanks to good medicine and I want to let you know about it.
Too much talking is like flooding and I do not want to talk too much myself. But I cannot miss talking about Prime Minister Surayud for the sake of his good intention and honesty in serving the country. I hope everyone will do their duty well and I will be as happy as I am at the age of 80. May everyone who works with determination and honesty and realises in the use of their old age succeed in their jobs." (Source: The Nation


Category: Default

How-to-behave rules for tourists

Posted by hasekamp on 4 December 2006 at 12:34 PM
Thailand's Ministry of Culture will distribute a handbook on Thai manners and 10 'Do's and Don'ts' in Thailand to foreign tourists to enable the visitors to understand and avoid doing things considered taboo in the kingdom, according to Ministrer of Culture Khunying Khaisri Sri-arun. Khunying Khaisri said the handbook is designed to create more understanding among foreign tourists regarding Thai etiquette and actions that may not appropriate among the Thai public. The Fine Arts Department and the Culture Monitoring Centre frequently receives complaints of inappropriate behaviour by foreigners such as placing Buddha image heads at inproper places. "Some foreigners use the Buddha images as hatracks, some put them at the foot of their beds and some use them as a decoration in the product sales display cases," she said. Many foreign tourists were found dressing inappropriately when visiting temples in Thailand, she added. The minister said the handbook would be issued in eight languages including English, Chinese, Japanese and Arabic, and would be given to foreign embassies in Thailand for distribution. The manual would also available at hotels, Suvarnabhumi Airport and on board Thai Airways International aircraft. (Source: Thai News Agency)


Category: Default

Preparing for birthday of HM the King

Posted by hasekamp on 3 December 2006 at 19:10 PM
People across the country are to celebrate His Majesty the King's 79th birthday on Tuesday as the international media reports the event around the world. The December the Fifth Foundation yesterday arranged a mass ordination of 80 monks at Wat Sa Ket to mark the royal birthday. The 80 candidates for the Buddhist priesthood include soldiers, police officers and civil servants. The National Council of Women invited 109 monks from across the country to pray and meditate to bless His Majesty. Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and the military have invited people aged 80 to sign well-wishing books for the King at Sanam Suapa and Chitrada Palace tomorrow. In the provinces, over 10,000 Si Sa Ket people took part in a marathon walk to mark the royal anniversary, while 6,000 Nong Khai residents set off on a mini-marathon held by the local administration. In Chiang Mai, provincial deputy governor Kritsadaporn Siemphakdee launched a cycling marathon in which riders were racing 700 kilometres to Bangkok. They included British cyclist Alan Bate, 40, who aimed to make the ride in 26 hours and arrive at Sanam Luang by 8am today for a ceremony in honor of His Majesty. In Uttaradit, about 500 women were ordained as nuns in honor of the King. We do not expect a birthday speech by the King, due to the undemocratic circumstances in the country, but one never knows. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


Category: Default

Clinton: Go back to democracy

Posted by hasekamp on 2 December 2006 at 18:13 PM
Former US president Bill Clinton yesterday urged Thailand's military rulers to keep their promise to quickly restore democracy after their coup in September. "They say they are going to restore democracy in the near future, and I think it's important that they do so," said Clinton as he toured a village on the resort isle of Phuket. The coup leaders, who ousted twice-elected prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on September 19, have promised to hold elections by October 2007. Clinton was in Thailand to assess reconstruction work nearly two years after the Indian Ocean tsunami devastated the coastal region of southern Thailand, killing some 5,400 people. The former president, who is currently acting as a special envoy of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan for tsunami aid, is on a tour of areas affected by the disaster, which killed a total of about 220,000 people in a dozen countries. (Source: The Nation)


Category: Default

AIDS vaccine tested

Posted by hasekamp on 2 December 2006 at 18:09 PM
The last phase of an AIDS vaccine clinical trial in Thailand has gone well, heightening hopes that the search for a preventive treatment for HIV/AIDS might succeed within three years. Up to 16,000 volunteers in the eastern Thai provinces of Chonburi and Rayong were given the vaccines and have shown few side effects, according to Dr Supachai Rerkgnarm, a principal investigator in the prime-boost Phase III vaccine trial. Two vaccines are being tested here in combination. The trial will see whether four shots of Alvac at one month and then three-monthly intervals, the last two combined with Aidsvax, can protect healthy 18 to 30 year-olds. Only half get the genuine jab while the rest get a placebo. If fewer in the vaccinated group get HIV, it will be champagne all round. Over 14,000 persons have been given a full dose of vaccines since July and have shown few side effects. Follow-up checks are conducted every six months and the first batch would be monitored for three full years in May next year. Doctors expect to analyze the data until the final batch of volunteers have completed a three-year monitoring process in 2009. The final data analysis would take a year, Dr Supachai said. Aidsvax was developed by Canadian biotech company VaxGen and became the first vaccine to reach large-scale phase-3 trials. (Source: Thai News Agency)


Category: Default

Government complaint box

Posted by hasekamp on 1 December 2006 at 16:57 PM
The Thai government has established a new postal service mailbox where the public can post complaints, in addition to a special website and telephone hotline. According to the Center of Public Service in the Office of the Prime Minister, the mailbox address is 1111 which matches the website address - www.1111.co.th - and a telephone hotline number for the same purpose. Both the website and the telephone hotline were launched on last Friday, November 24. Letters sent to the special mailbox require no postage. To post a complaint, simply write: To the Prime Minister, Government House, PO Box 1111. In a statement, it hoped the mailbox, which opened Friday, would be used by the public to make complaints, suggestions and feedbacks in regard to government policies. A similar scheme used by the ousted Thaksin Shinawatra government was closed after the September 19 coup. (Source: Thai News Agency)


Category: Default

Tsunami warning buoy installed

Posted by hasekamp on 1 December 2006 at 16:53 PM
The first of a planned network of tsunami early warning buoys has been laid in the Indian Ocean. The buoy is being placed between Thailand and Sri Lanka. The buoy, provided by the US, is able to detect sudden increases in pressure deep under the sea and give coastal communities early warning of a tsunami. The US already operates a similar system in the Pacific Ocean. The cost of the US-designed device is being shared by the US and Thailand. It is hoped that eventually a network of 24 buoys will extend to Indonesia and Australia, along the deep and unstable fault-line that caused the 2004 earthquake.
"Two years ago, few people really knew what a tsunami was or how powerful and destructive a tsunami could be," US Ambassador to Thailand Ralph Boyce said ahead of the buoy-laying mission. "There were no warning systems then, and most people did not know what to do when they watched the waters recede from the beaches before the waves struck. "With the launching of this buoy, we are taking a big step forwards in better protecting hundreds of millions of people living across the Indian Ocean," he added. (Source: BBC News)


Category: Default

Results of the search for [which took seconds]

  • Total Matches: Documents
  • Total Pages:
  • Current Page #:
  • Matches on This Page: -