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News from Dusit zoo

Posted by hasekamp on 30 April 2008 at 10:30 AM
Dusit zoo deserves the attention from all foreign visitors to Bangkok. Here is the latest news:
Bangkok's Dusit Zoo will introduce the newest member of its 'community' to the public -- a wild male cat named "Sudlor" or "Handsome" in Thai of the Caracal species -- according to Zoological Park Organisation director-general Sophon Dumnui. To mark this year's May Day (Labour Day) holiday on Wednesday, he said, two-year-old Sudlor will be 'unveiled' at Dusit Zoo. Sudlor was brought to Bangkok from Khao Khiew Open Zoo in the eastern province of Chonburi, he said, but began his journey in western Asia, when he gained his Turkish name. Caracals are described as small cats, but is one of the heaviest, as well as among the fastest. Males typically weigh about 13-18 kilogrammes, while females are smaller. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Government buys and sells rice

Posted by hasekamp on 29 April 2008 at 11:48 AM
The Thai government yesterday announced a new measure to buy rice directly from farmers, to ensure that they benefit from skyrocketing prices for the product. The measure is aimed at not only maintaining the government's working rice stockpile, but also alleviating the burden of the rising cost of living on the common man by selling 5-kilogram packs of rice directly to consumers. Commerce Minister Mingkwan Sangsuwan yesterday said some of the government's 2.1 million tonnes of rice would be released. The selling price would be at least 15% lower than the current market price of Bt160 to Bt190 per 5kg pack of white rice. As the fears of exporters and rice millers will exert pressure on the prices, the government will purchase paddy rice directly from farmers. The government will offer farmers the market price, which will also enable it to maintain the government stockpile of 2.1 million tonnes at all times. "The government plans to give the consumers relief from high rice prices, so we'll sell at a low price. But to ensure that the rice price will not drop and hurt farmers, we'll buy as much as the released stocks at the current market price," said Mingkwan. (Source: The Nation)


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Thaksin website closed

Posted by hasekamp on 28 April 2008 at 23:59 PM
The pro-Thaksin Shinawatra website hi-thaksin.net has already announced that it has reached the end of the road and will close down. The website was founded soon after the military coup which saw the ouster of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra. The site recently made the headlines when it came to light that articles attacking privy council president Gen Prem had been appearing on the site. The article was written by someone who went by the penname of "Pradarb". In a final statement posted on the site, "Pradarb" also wrote about accusations of lese majeste against people involved with the website. The writer then expressed concern that this could lead to people unknowingly implicating Mr Thaksin with the case, which triggered the writer’s decision to write his/her final commentary. The closure of the hi-thaksin website also follows a request made by Mr Thaksin’s spokesman Pongthep Thepkarnjana for supporters of Mr Thaksin to distance themselves from all forms of political activity. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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New coup?

Posted by hasekamp on 27 April 2008 at 10:35 AM
After a week rife with rumours of a military coup, Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej on Sunday charged that forces aligned against his government are trying to goad the army into seizing power again. He spent much of his weekly TV address to the nation accusing the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) of trying to stir up political unrest during a gathering last Friday when it threatened, then rejected a plan to renew street protests. “Their intention was to stir-up violence but that would be difficult because peace has already been restored to our country," he said. He also accused "a certain general" of conspiring to hand out a second election red card to House Speaker Yongyuth Thiyapairat in case the Chiang Rai politician is acquitted by the court of election fraud for an offence currently under scrutiny. Then he took a wide swing at academics who use the media to attack the government. “I can’t allow a one-sided attack on the government by these academics who do it through the media," he said. "That’s why I have to continue with my weekly television programme because the government needs to give its side of the story. We can’t allow these people to say as they please and have the government sit and listen to them without a channel to defend itself, which was the case was during the Thaksin Shinawatra administration." (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Burmese PM to visit Thailand

Posted by hasekamp on 27 April 2008 at 10:30 AM
Burmese Prime Minister Thein Sein will begin his first official visit to Thailand this week. Gen Thein Sein, accompanied by 30 officials, will arrive on Tuesday. His first act will be a visit to the Dusit Maha Prasart Throne Hall, where he will pay his respects to the late Princess Galyani Vadhana. On Wednesday he will be granted an audience with His Majesty the King at Chitrlada Palace. The centrepiece of his visit will be talks with Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej. Subjects to be raised will include drug trafficking, the development of transportation routes between the two countries and joint hydro-electric cooperation. The two premiers are also expected to sign a memorandum of understanding on a contract-farming agreement to allow both countries to better handle the food crisis in the future. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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American threat

Posted by hasekamp on 26 April 2008 at 10:48 AM
The United States has escalated the threat to take trade retaliation against Thailand and eight other countries for failure to protect American movies, music and computer software against piracy. "Thailand will remain on the Priority Watch List in 2008 due to a broad range of concerns surrounding [intellectual property] protection and enforcement," said a report issued on Friday. Thailand had hoped to be removed from the priority watch list by Washington, which instead recognised improvement in only four nations. Instead, the US Trade Representative on Friday moved complaints against Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey and Ukraine to the lower-level watch list but effectively increased the threat of eventual pressure and sanctions against Thailand. The Bush administration put Thailand, China, Russia, Argentina, Chile, India, Israel, Pakistan and Venezuela on the elevated "priority watch list" as special targets for extra scrutiny and possible economic sanctions if Washington decides to pursue complaints before the World Trade Organisation. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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No new coup planned

Posted by hasekamp on 25 April 2008 at 9:48 AM
Supreme Commander Boonsang Niampradit on Friday dismissed rumours that a coup will be staged, saying they are baseless. Gen Boonsang affirmed that the army has not planned to stage a coup, nor is it preparing to move its forces anywhere. He also said he is not worried about a gathering to be staged by anti-Thaksin Shinawatra group People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) on Friday evening, which is aimed at opposing the charter amendments to be done by the government. Gen Boonsang insisted that soldiers will not get involved in the matter if the situation is not critical. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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New hospital operation suit

Posted by hasekamp on 24 April 2008 at 18:26 PM
A 'medical space suit' has been developed at a private Bangkok hospital which can ensure more sterile conditions in operating theatres where arthroplasty procedures are performed. The innovation of the High-5 or High Universal Standard "Medical Space Suit" was unveiled at BNH hospital, formerly known as the Bangkok Nursing Home Hospital on Thursday. The suit is designed to look like an astronaut's space suit of the United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The suit is able to control contamination and provide maximum prevention against possible infection during knee replacement surgery, for the operation to reach the highest standard or so-called High-5. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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New type of rice

Posted by hasekamp on 23 April 2008 at 15:31 PM
As many countries are now facing rice shortfalls for basic consumption, world's top rice exporter Thailand now announces the development of a new hybrid rice strain with a potential capability of producing yields 20 per cent more than other varieties, Thai agricultural officials said Wednesday. Prasert Kosalwit, director-general of Thailand's Rice Department, said that the Pathum Thani Rice Research Center had successfully invented a new hybrid rice which has been designated the PTT06001H and which could produce yield 20 per cent more than other rice species. The new strain is being looked to in some officials quarters as a boon to Thailand's food security. It averages 117 centimetres tall and can be harvested in just 116 days, Mr. Prasert said. It has good quality, he said, and when it is cooked it has a fragrant aroma. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Problems for rice farmers

Posted by hasekamp on 23 April 2008 at 12:34 PM
The Cabinet yesterday approved a budget of more than Bt10 billion over 12 years to lay down the groundwork for systematic farming. In the immediate term, the first stage of the plan will take two years and the interim term five years. The Judicial Council will also look into the details of introducing laws to maintain the Kingdom's farm area at 130 million rai and promoting the cultivation of crops like cassava and palm oil. The government wants to increase the rice area from 57 million rai to 60 million rai, in order to ensure that paddy production tops 30 million tonnes. However, the quantity of farm produce depends very much on effective irrigation systems. And the drought problem this year was exacerbated by the promotion of the second rice crop, which required a lot of water. Farmers this year were encouraged to plant more paddy, because of the booming rice price. Thus, a number of them planted a second crop this month, to be harvested in July. Traditionally, farmers plan the rice harvest for the rainy season. Unfortunately, the government did not mention what it planned to do to improve the irrigation system, even though water supply is the most essential element in the success of crops. Some Thai farmers are affected by drought from February to May each year, and their problems often makes headlines. Drought can also be exacerbated by inefficient water management, and this can have a severe impact on farmers' water consumption. Thailand, sadly, has not placed much emphasis on efficient water management. We still tend to depend on the most uncontrollable factor: rainfall. Drought can pose a severe risk to the entire economy. The Bank of Thailand yesterday released the latest inflation figures, rising from 2.8 per cent to 4-5 per cent. A short supply of farm produce is a main reason. (Source: The Nation)


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Human Zoo

Posted by hasekamp on 23 April 2008 at 12:30 PM
The residents of the village of long-necked women in northern Thailand say they feel like prisoners in a human zoo. The government says that is absurd. We - at Hasekamp Net - agree with the villagers, however.
The message from the refugee from Burma - who lives in northern Mae Hong Son province in a "longneck" mock village purpose-built for tourists - is crystal-clear: "We want to leave here, never mind where to, only away from here. We feel like prisoners." Visitors call the village a "human zoo," but Thailand's government rejects the term as "absurd." The villagers are part of an ethnic group called the Padung in Thailand, but they reject that term as denigrating and call themselves Kayan and their village Kayan Tayar. You have to pay an entrance fee of 250 baht each to visit Kayan Tayar, which lies at the end of an unpaved road north-west of the provincial capital of Mae Hong Son. When business is good and enough tour groups arrive, each of the 60 women wearing neck rings receives 1,500 baht a month from the village's Thai operators. The children and men get nothing at all, so the money has to support all 260 villagers. During the off season, they get nothing, the villagers say. They rely heavily on donations from charities to survive. When Thai business people recognized the money-earning potential of the exotic-looking women, they suggested they move to three artificial villages near Mae Hong Son. The village of Huay Sua Thao is populated mainly by economic migrants who were enticed to settle there to create a tourist attraction. Most of the villagers agree that their current lives are better than in Burma. How long will this human zoo continue? I suppose as long as tourists go ther and pay their entrance fee. So we - at Hasekamp Net - suggest our readers NOt to gop there. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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World Bank warns about rice export

Posted by hasekamp on 23 April 2008 at 12:22 PM
The World Bank said the organization is concerned pressure is growing in Thailand to restrict rice shipments, worsening a global food crisis, the Bloomberg press agency reported. "If a key exporter like this limits foreign sales, it would be very much like Saudi Arabia reducing oil exports," James Adams, vice president of the World Bank's East Asia and Pacific department said. A grain analyst from the Japanese firm, Kanetsu Asset Management Co said that any move by Thailand to limit exports would create panic in the global market. Thailand faces more pressure to impose export constraints if other regional countries follow suit. Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said there would be no measures by the government that may distort rice prices. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Constitution amendments ready

Posted by hasekamp on 22 April 2008 at 19:15 PM
The by the PM promised charter amendments are completed and will be proposed to the parliament next week, People Power party spokesman Kudep Saikrachang said Tuesday. He added that the amended constitution allows MPs and senators to alter it through Article 291. He also said there is no commitment that the parliament will be dissolved after the amended charter takes effect. Mr Kudep added that he is not worried that People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) is collecting names in an attempt to remove MPs who signed a motion to amend the constitution, saying it is PAD's right to protect the benefits it gained from the coup. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Dry in 55 provinces

Posted by hasekamp on 21 April 2008 at 17:52 PM
- The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Centre said 55 provinces are now suffering from drought, affecting more than 10 million people. Some of the provinces affected by the drought include Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son in the North, Si Sa Ket, Nong Khai and Ubon Ratchathani in the northeastern region, and the southern provinces of Trang, Surat Thani and Ranong. Four reservoirs contain contain about 30 to 40 per cent of capacity of water reserves. The Thai government has dispatched more than 286 million liters of water for irrigation and drinking purposes to help villagers affected by the drought. The Centre uses "drought" to describe the annual dry season, from about March to July. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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The flame in Bangkok

Posted by hasekamp on 20 April 2008 at 14:38 PM
Tens of thousands turned out in blazing heat yesterday to catch a glimpse of the controversial Olympic torch, in what was a relatively smooth running. There were heated shouting matches between about 200 Chinese students and 100 pro-Tibet demonstrators outside the UN headquarters. Police had to restrain demonstrators and supporters who tried to break through barriers. The run was shrouded in heavy security, with thousands of foot-patrol officers on hand and a police helicopter overhead. The pro-Tibet protest was generally peaceful but noisy. The opposition Chinese demonstration was mainly students at university here. The two groups exchanged heated chants. Police kept the opposing camps apart. (Source: The Nation)


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Olympic flame arrives

Posted by hasekamp on 18 April 2008 at 9:59 AM
The troubled Olympic torch relay arrived in Thailand on Friday, as more controversy erupted when one of the Japanese hosts dropped out in protest over China's crackdown in Tibet. The torch, whose worldwide journey before the Games in August has turned into a public relations debacle for China's leaders, made its way to the kingdom overnight from India, where many protesters were arrested. Thai officials have warned they will deport foreigners who try to disrupt the relay but, unlike at several previous stops, Thailand has not made plans to shorten its leg of the flame's globe-trotting extravaganza. (Source: AFP through Yahoo News)


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Final Songkran toll 360

Posted by hasekamp on 18 April 2008 at 9:53 AM
Road accidents took 360 lives during the "seven dangerous days" of the Songrang holidays, official figures showed on Friday. Another 4,794 were injured in the 4,242 road accidents - 80 per cent of them involving motorcycles - counted by the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department. The death toll was one less than last year, while the number of injured people this year is 11 less. The number of accidents also was reduced a tiny bit, 32 less than last year. On Thursday alone, there were 287 accidents, with 36 people killed and 310 injured. "The most serious cause of accidents was drunk driving, which accounted for 31.6 per cent of all accidents," Wichai Kaowsurat, deputy interior minister, told a news conference. Speeding and reckless driving also proved fatal this year, an interior ministry statement said, while nearly 80 per cent of all accidents involved motorcycles. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Best public toilets in Thailand

Posted by hasekamp on 17 April 2008 at 23:16 PM
Phuket Vice-Governor Tri Augkaradacha this morning chaired the opening ceremony of Wat Chalong’s new three-million-baht public restrooms, which are being hailed as "the first international-standard public toilets" in Thailand by the Office of Tourism Development. The restrooms, built with the help of industrial manufacturing firm SCG (Thailand) Co Ltd, are to commemorate 100 years since the passing away of revered monk Luang Por Chaem, who helped treat people injured during the Angyee Rebellion of Chinese tin miners during the reign of Rama V. The facilities comprise a total of 20 toilet stalls, two shower rooms and a toilet stall especially for disabled people. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Do not come near the flame

Posted by hasekamp on 17 April 2008 at 18:06 PM
Protesters disrupting tomorrow's Olympic-torch relay will be arrested immediately and prosecuted for public disturbance, police say.Foreigners will be expelled and banned from returning. Those with residency will have it revoked permanently, spokesman Lt-General Watcharaphol Prasarnratchakij says. "If they come here and engage in unlawful acts, they must be prosecuted ... if they engage in illegal activity, we will proceed according to the law by revoking their visa," he says. "We have prepared everything to ensure the smoothness of the ceremony. "A Government House source says there are groups in this country motivated to disrupt the relay, including human-rights groups and the local Falun Gong. Additional police have been deployed to the Plaza Athenee Hotel, where the torch and Olympic flame are housed ahead of tomorrow's 3pm run. There will be as many as 2,000 policemen on duty along the route, according to the Olympic Committee of Thailand. (Source: The Nation)


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Destroying the forest

Posted by hasekamp on 16 April 2008 at 18:08 PM
The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry is deeply concerned about widespread forest encroachment in the South, where land is being cleared for lucrative cultivation of oil palm and rubber. Ministry spokesman Pichet Wongthepanukroh said at least 700 rai of forest had been heavily encroached upon by influential figures and local villagers in the southern provinces, particularly Phangnga, Surat Thani and Ranong. "We found that both forest and mangrove areas have been heavily damaged", he said. "We are pinpointing the exact location of these damaged areas so we can ask the appropriate agencies to deal with them." In most forest encroachment cases, local people are hired by influential figures to clear forested areas, which then are planted in lucrative cash crops such as oil palm and rubber trees. These plantations are usually kept small, 50-100 rai, to escape detection by the authorities. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Songkran death toll almost 300

Posted by hasekamp on 16 April 2008 at 14:07 PM
After five of the seven "Dangerous Driving Days" campaign for Songkran, officials said on Wednesday that 276 people had died on the Thai roads, and 3,537 other injured. In the April 11-15 period, Phitsanulok province has the highest number of deaths with 15. The main reason for road accidents has been drink-driving (as usual), officials claim. On Tuesday, there were 588 road accidents reported, which killed 47 and injured 677 injuries. Five people died in a Phitsanulok accident. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Korean twins murdered

Posted by hasekamp on 14 April 2008 at 19:48 PM
The battered bodies of 27-year-old Korean twin sisters were found with their hands tied together at a beach in Pattaya, Thailand on Friday, Korea's National Police Agency said yesterday. The agency and police in Thailand are investigating the slayings. Based on fingerprints, the police identified the two women as Park Mee-hee and Park Ji-hee, born on Sept. 2, 1980, according to Korea's Foreign Ministry. Korean police contacted the twins' family in Korea and are checking the purpose of their latest visit to Pattaya. (Source: Yahoo News)


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No business during Songkran

Posted by hasekamp on 14 April 2008 at 11:00 AM
Sidewalk vendors on Khao San road in Bangkok could be losing millions of baht in lost trade during the fun-filled Songkran festival, when it's too wet to sell. These merchants choose to stop business for a few days just to keep their goods from getting soaked and damaged by the water-splashing activities. Khao San's four-day Songkran festivities, which kicked off on Saturday, will last until Monday. This specific period sees thousands of foreign tourists joining residents in celebrating the event in this particular area. Revellers splash or shoot water guns at one another no matter if they are friends or strangers. Scenes of drenched foreigners, coated in talcum and laughing hysterically, are common on Khao San during the celebrations. But not all were happy with what was going on, Many sidewalk hawkers selling all sorts of merchandise and services, ranging from fancy T-shirts, swimsuits, sneakers, ponytail wigs, music and movie CDs, second-hand books, jewellery, to Phad Thai fried noodles, expressed unhappiness with the four-day festival and wished it could be shortened to a day or two. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Thailand may focus on food production

Posted by hasekamp on 14 April 2008 at 10:53 AM
Thailand will consider a World Bank recommendation urging that food producing nations to focus on producing food to feed the growing populations of the world instead of growing crops to be used to produce alternative energy, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Surapong Suebwonglee said on Monday. Surapong told delegates attending the 77th annual spring meeting of the World Bank held in Washington that Thailand, a leading agro-based country, must consider the World Bank's recommendation on focusing in growing food to meet global demands. (Source: Yahoo News)


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Rescue network abused

Posted by hasekamp on 14 April 2008 at 10:49 AM
Calls by accident victims to the government's rescue centre in the first two days of the Songkran festival soared almost to 2,627 incidents, up sharply from only 971 calls during the same period of last year. Public Health Minister Chaiya Sasomsup said that anonymous callers had made prank calls to the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) of Narenthorn Centre 2,753 times during the past two days and opened music or teased officials at the station. Most of these callers used public telephones, he said. Such callers could face imprisonment, and/or a maximum fine of Bt5,000 or both.He added that harrassing prank calls could interfere with the opportunity to save lives of the people who may be blocked from reporting in the emergency incident. (Source: The Nation)


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Optimism about road accidents

Posted by hasekamp on 12 April 2008 at 11:26 AM
The Songkran weekend every year is a time with many road accidents, most of them due to drunken driving.
However, the Road Safety Center (RSC) is optimistic that the highway death toll during the continuing "seven dangerous days" of the Songkran festival, Thailand's traditional New Year, will decline in comparison to last year's tally, according to Deputy Prime Minister Sahas Banditkul. Mr Sahas, director of the RSC, said more than one thousand checkpoints and service centres had been established along highways to serve motorists and travellers heading home to celebrate the Songkran holidays with their families. The "seven dangerous days" began Friday and ends next Thursday. The government has not set a specific target by which to reduce the number of road death victims in relation to this year's festival, but it believes that the number of accidents will decline if government personnel do their jobs efficiently, he said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Software hub in Khon Kaen

Posted by hasekamp on 11 April 2008 at 23:59 PM
"We would like to promote this industrial estate as a high-technology hub in the same way as Silicon Valley in the United States and Bangalore in India," Deputy Prime Minister and Industry Minister Suwit Khunkitti said yesterday. Suwit's political constituency is in Khon Kaen. He said the country's software industry has the potential to generate an annual income of Bt50 billion, while the global software industry is estimated to be worth more than Bt25 trillion. "We still have big room to grow this industry and we welcome all sizes of software operators to set up their business here," he said. The Industry Ministry earlier eyed a location in one of three regional cities: Khon Kaen in the Northeast, Chiang Mai in the North and Phuket in the South. Khon Kaen was chosen due to its manpower advantage. The project will lead to collaboration between Khon Kaen University and the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand. (Source: The Nation)


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Songkran security

Posted by hasekamp on 10 April 2008 at 11:12 AM
The Thai government is working with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the Tourist Police, television and radio operators, hospitals, the Land Transport Department and private volunteers to initiate security measures during the annual festival, scheduled for April 13-15. Minister Weerasak Kowsurat said the group had set up tourist assistance centres in Bangkok and all major provinces to deal with emergencies and calls for assistance. The centres will operate around the clock. Yesterday the agencies started delivering travel guidebooks and tourist information to travellers at major transport access areas, including airports and bus terminals. "This year, we will be providing 50,000 tourism information kits to visitors," said Weerasak.He said 75 tourist attractions nationwide had been recommended for local people to visit, while 13 provinces are highlighted as good places to travel to. The TAT will spend Bt40 million on supporting events across the country and predicts that local people will spend Bt4.1 billion during this year's festival. (Source: The Nation)


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Mr. Solar Taxi

Posted by hasekamp on 10 April 2008 at 11:08 AM
Thai engineers will develop their own solar vehicle and send it to the United Nations climate change talks in Copenhagen next year, having been inspired by Louis Palmer, known as "Mr Solar Taxi". Kasetsart University's (KU) president Vudtechai Kapila-kanchana said KU would fund its solar technologists to develop the solar taxi, worth around Bt400,000. "Palmer invited us to join his solar car campaign in Copenhagen. We have accepted the invitation." Vudtechai said "Technologically, we are ready to develop the solar taxi prototype and Palmer has agreed to support us," Nontawat Junjareon, dean of the Engineering Department, said. If they succeed, Thailand will be among the first five countries to join his Copenhagen campaign, Palmer said. The other four are the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. The Swiss-born Palmer is driving around the world without using a single drop of petrol. He reached Bangkok yesterday, halfway through his "Swiss Solar Taxi on World Tour". He started in July 2007."I want to tell the world that we can stop global warming and that solutions are available," Palmer said. In 2004, he gave up his teaching career to design a solar vehicle and asked for help from experts as well as support from private companies. He called his solar vehicle a 'taxi' as it has an extra seat for a passenger. Over 400 people had experienced a ride including the Prince of Jordan and Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett. Palmer aims to have travel over 40,000 km through 40 countries in five continents to lecture 40,000 people on his world trip. "Response along the way has been incredible, especially in Thailand," Palmer said. "I hope I can make people realise that it is not technology that makes solar an option, but political will and pubic awareness," he added.
Today, Palmer will exhibit his solar taxi at Central World Plaza, in Bangkok. (Source: The Nation)


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Energy saving measures

Posted by hasekamp on 10 April 2008 at 11:03 AM
The Energy Ministry Wednesday announced 11 energy-saving measures with the hope to help the country save more than 100 billion baht a year. Energy Minister Poonpirom Liptapanlop said six of these are old measures while the rest are new.
These measures include the offering of no-interest loans for people to develop energy-saving methods, a campaign to encourage temples and mosques to switch to energy-saving light bulbs, and setting of mobile education units to teach workers and farmers methods of saving energy. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Samak wants new constitution

Posted by hasekamp on 9 April 2008 at 12:25 PM
Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said on Tuesday the whole 2007 constitution should be amended. Mr Samak said he is confident that chaos will not arise as a result of the charter amending process. He described altering the constitution as a "common practice". He also indicated the changes will be made by the government, approved by the parliamentary majority - without a public referendum. Last August, the military junta then in charge of the country conducted a nationwide referendum said to cost two billion baht. It was the first referendum ever held for Thailand, which has had 17 constitutions since the abolition of the absolute monarchy in 1932. Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Suebwonglee confirmed that the ruling People Power party has passed a resolution to amend the entire charter. He said the decision of the party will be forwarded to the five coalition parties next week for further discussion. Their support will be necessary for parliament to approve the amendments. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Passenger with knife deported

Posted by hasekamp on 8 April 2008 at 17:20 PM
A knife-wielding Bangladeshi passenger was deported to Dhaka Tuesday afternoon after frightening other passengers while an aircraft was aloft, forced the pilot of a Bangladeshi airliner to make an emergency landing in Bangkok early Tuesday, Airports of Thailand (AOT) president Chana U-sathaporn said. The incident took place as the Dhaka-bound GMG Airlines flight BG042 was carrying about 67 passengers from Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur to the Bangladeshi capital. The passenger, identified as Haran Rashid Hassan Ali, 25, was found to have a psychiatric disorder. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Dengue fever warning

Posted by hasekamp on 7 April 2008 at 15:22 PM
Thailand's Public Health Ministry warned the public to be alert regarding dengue fever prevention measures as nine persons died and over 7,000 patients have suffered from the disease during the first quarter of 2008, according to Minister Chaiya Sasomsub. During the first three months of this year the cumulative number of patients soared to 7,413, he said, adding that 99 per cent of the patients were completely recovered. However, there were nine fatalities in eight provinces: Ayutthaya, Phuket, Ang Thong, Ratchaburi, Kanchanaburi, Samut Sakhon, Samut Prakan, and Sing Buri, he said. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Songkran promotion in Patong

Posted by hasekamp on 7 April 2008 at 15:17 PM
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will hold a grandly-scaled Songkran celebration at Phuket's popular Patong beach from April 10-13, according to TAT southern office region 4 Suwalai Pinpradub. Entitled 'The Water Festival on the Beach & Phuket Bike Week 2008', the festival is aimed at boosting tourism in Phuket and its Andaman coastal neighbours. As many as 50,000 tourists are expected to flock to Phuket, generating more than Bt500 million (US$16million) in spending, Mrs Suwalai said. To make the fun-filled cultural celebration more easily accessible than in the past, Phuket Municipality has joined with the private sector in launching several Songkran-related festivities – the most prominent of which is the 'Songkran Night' at Soi Bang-la. The event hopes to entice tourists to come under the spell of the water festival for three consecutive nights, from April 10-13, in a new nocturnal tourism setting. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Airlines don't want use of cellphones

Posted by hasekamp on 6 April 2008 at 14:08 PM
Senior executives of airline companies are opposing a Thai government plan which would allow passengers to use mobile phones while in the air. Udom Tantiprasongchai, chairman of One-Two-Go Airlines, also known as Orient Thai, said he personally disagreed with the Transport Ministry’s Aviation Department considering allowing airline passengers to use cell phones while traveling. It was up to each airline and its policy on allowing passengers to use cell phones, said Mr. Udom, adding he personally believed the existing regulation concerning cell phone use should not be changed because cell phone conversations could disturb other passengers and lead to quarrels. Citing that several countries already allowed airline passengers to use mobile phones because their signals did not have any effect on airline traffic signals, the Aviation Department was now conducting a study on whether passengers could use cell phones while traveling. Mr. Udom said he believed if cell phone use was allowed by passengers, it should be allowed only for internet access. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Traffic jams through rain

Posted by hasekamp on 6 April 2008 at 14:05 PM
Thundershowers in parts of Bangkok on Sunday morning caused heavy traffic congestion especially along Vibhavadhi Rangsit and Rama II roads in the northern part of the capital. A pile-up involving 13 cars was reported on Nakhon Inn road, paralysing traffic around the area. Traffic snarls were also reported from accidents on both sides of Baromratchachonnani Road. After the accidents and traffic jams, authorities urged motorists to drive with extreme caution because of the slippery road conditions. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Extra water for Songkran

Posted by hasekamp on 6 April 2008 at 14:02 PM
As the Bhumibol dam plans to release more water to meet the needs of Songkran revelers, farmers in Chiang Mai's Doi Saket district are fighting over water to feed their drought-hit paddy fields. Tanarat Poommakasikorn, deputy director of the dam in Tak, said yesterday an extra five million cubic meters of water will be released daily from the dam during the five-day-long Songkran Festival, which begins next weekend, to ensure there is enough water to splash around by holidaymakers. The extra volume will increase the discharge from 38 million cubic meters of water to 43 million cubic meters per day during that period, he said. Mr Tanarat urged Songkran celebrants to carefully use water as the dam also needs to have enough water for generating electricity to meet the rising demand in summer. In Chiang Mai, a water shortage has reached crisis point in some villages as farmers have been seen engaging in fistfights over water to feed their farms. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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