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King recovers from infection

Posted by hasekamp on 30 September 2009 at 21:19 PM
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej's general condition is good after his team of physicians diagnosed a lung infection and fever and administered appropriate medications, according to the latest report from the Royal Household Bureau. In its ninth statement, dated Monday September 28, the bureau said that the Thai monarch developed fever Sunday evening and his medical team diagnosed a lung infection after examining his chest and abdomen using computer-assisted X-ray diagnostic technology. However, His Majesty the King has no cough and his doctors found no inflammation. The medical team, administered antibiotics and intravenous fluid to the 81-year-old monarch. The king’s fever had receded since Monday morning and his general condition is good, according to the statement. His Majesty the King was admitted to Siriraj Hospital after developing fever and not eating ten days ago. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Floods upcountry

Posted by hasekamp on 30 September 2009 at 21:16 PM
A number of provinces nationwide are affected by Tropical Depression Ketsana, with three dikes in the northeastern province of Chaiyaphum failing due to forest torrents. Incessant heavy rains and floodwaters triggered forest run-offs, breaking three dikes in the Chaiyaphum municipality and to prevent flash torrents from flooding farmland and state offices. Over 8 million cubic metres of water from Phu Lanka Mountain and forest-runoff, with rising waters in the Lam Pa Tao River quickly overflowing into Chiyaphum municipality. Reportedly many roads were inundated by high floodwaters. Provincial authorities urged local resident to keep updating on the flood situation in the province. In another Ketsana storm-related development, a wave over two metres high hit Pattaya, sinking nine tourist ferries onshore. The wave also damaged beachside restaurants and bars. Rescue teams inspected the scene were to search the wreckage of the ferries after the weather condition returned to normal. In the southern province of Narathiwat, scattered thundershowers with gusty winds of 50-60 km/hr due to tropical storm Ketsana destroyed 15 homes in Sungai Kolok municipality. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Flasgh floods in the North

Posted by hasekamp on 28 September 2009 at 10:04 AM
Flash floods, triggered by heavy rains hit Thailand’s lower northern provinces of Phichit and Phisanulok over the weekend. Heavy rainfall and forest runoff torrents flooded a village near Phichit’s provincial seat forcing residents to move their valuables to higher ground. Floodwaters are as deep as 30-70 centimetres enveloped 10 homesteads, with some orchards flooded as well. Fruit growers used pumps to drain floodwater from their orchards, many of which are at harvest time. Some areas of Phitsanulok’s provincial seat are flooded, triggered by overnight rains, while government workers are draining water from residential areas and roads. A large area of paddy fields has been damaged, according to Governor Preecha Chanruang, and provincial workers are assessing the damage to arrange assistance for farmers. The governor warned residents in five districts, including Chat Trakan, Nakhon Thai, Noen Maprang, Wang Thong and Wat Bot to be alert to possible floods on Sunday. They were advised to move valuables to higher ground and closely monitor weather news. In the northeastern province of Chaiyaphum, residents of low lying areas along the Chee River feared a possible second round of flooding due to the reported possible release of stored water in a dam upstream. Residents moved their belongings to higher ground and placed sandbag embankments around their homes in preparation for possible flooding. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Still problems at Suvarnabhumi

Posted by hasekamp on 28 September 2009 at 9:59 AM
After three years in operation, Suvarnabhumi which aims to be the top 10 best airports in the world is still plagued with problems. The airport, which began its first commercial opening on Sept 28, 2006, had the problems even before the construction started. Policies on the new airport had been initiated and changed by past governments until it was settled at a 215,000-rai area at Bang Phli district in Samut Prakan with the construction cost at 120 billion baht. When it was opened on the first days, many people were excited to see the world's largest single terminal airport. The bustling atmosphere suddenly turned chaotic when a ticketing system and luggage-checking equipment did not function. But the problems were quickly solved. Suvarnabhumi later encountered a series of problems that caused many passengers to think of more comfortable facilities at the aging Don Mueang airport. The number of toilets was not enough to serve passengers. Direction signs were not clear, causing confusion to users. Up to 400 spots on its roof were also needed to be caulked after water came through them when there was heavy rain. What seemed to be the most serious problem was small cracks found on taxiways and parts of runways. A worry over the safety of plans forced then Surayud Chulanont government to tell budget airlines to come back to temporarily use Don Mueang airport to reduce crowdedness and open way for repair work.
Passengers further have made complaints with the AoT over the robbery of their assets in luggage. An investigation found the act was mainly done by staff outsourced to transport and carry bags in the airport. Strict measures were ordered by current AoT board chairman Piyapan Champasut to solve this problem. Police were also asked to crack down on thieves whose gang, backed by some airport security officials, were later arrested as a result. However, despite the frequent patrols of police, the AoT has failed to weed out illegal taxi and tour guides at the airport. For three years, their numbers have grown to 40 gangs colluding with some airport staff to swindle passengers. So, three years after its opening the performance of the airport is still poor. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Abhisit want industrialized countries to pay

Posted by hasekamp on 28 September 2009 at 9:54 AM
Developing and industrialised countries will have to set aside their own interests for the sake of the common good if the global effort to tackle climate change is to succeed, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva says. The two-week Bangkok climate change talks, which start today, are an opportunity for countries to plan for tomorrow, Mr Abhisit told the United Nations General Assembly in New York at the weekend. "Thailand will spare no efforts in ensuring that the Bangkok climate change talks will make tangible progress towards a successful Copenhagen conference," he said, referring to the climate change summit in Denmark in December when countries are hoping to seal a new deal to combat climate change. At a UN summit on climate change last week, industrialised countries agreed to set clear goals and targets to combat climate change. The Bangkok meeting brings together almost 3,000 delegates from over 190 countries to prepare the negotiating text for the new agreement. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Five PAD leaders charged

Posted by hasekamp on 25 September 2009 at 12:02 PM
Five of six leaders of the People's Alliance for Democracy on Friday reported to police to acknowledge charges related to the trespassing of Government House last year. The case stemmed from the PAD's seizure of the seat of the government from August 26 to December 3 to protest against two governments under Samak Sundaravej and Somchai Wongsawat. Police cite Articles 358 and 365 of the Criminal Code to build up the case. If convicted, the combined penalties will be a jail term of up to three years and a fine of no more than Bt10,000. The suspects have denied any wrongdoing, declined to give statements to police and reserved their right to testify in courts. They are Chamlong Srimuang, Somsak Kosaisuk, Pipop Thongchai, Somkiart Pongpaiboon and Suriyasai Katasila. The sixth suspect, Sondhi Limthongkul, has sought and received the police permission to surrender at a later date due to his trip abroad. (Source: The Nation)


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AIDS vaccine test

Posted by hasekamp on 25 September 2009 at 9:42 AM
An experimental AIDS vaccine has for the first time cut the risk of infection in a "breakthrough" in the quarter-century battle against the deadly epidemic, researchers said on Thursday. The vaccine reduced the risk of being infected by almost a third, they said after the world's largest vaccine trial of more than 16,000 volunteers, carried out by the US Army and Thailand's Ministry of Public Health. "It is the first demonstration that a vaccine against HIV can protect against infection," Colonel Jerome Kim of the US military HIV research programme told a news conference in Bangkok. "This is a very important scientific advance and gives us hope that a globally effective vaccine may be possible in the future," he said. The vaccine was a combination of two older shots that had not reduced infection on their own, and the researchers said they were now studying why the two vaccines apparently worked together. The study combined the canarypox vaccine ALVAC, manufactured by Sanofi-Aventis of France, and AIDSVAX, originally made by VaxGen Inc and now licensed to Global Solutions for Infectious Diseases. It was tested on volunteers -- all HIV negative men and women aged from 18 to 30 -- at average risk of infection in two Thai provinces near Bangkok starting in October 2003. Half received the vaccine and the rest were given a placebo. Out of the placebo recipients 74 of 8,198 became infected compared with 51 of 8,197 who got the vaccine. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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King's fever drops

Posted by hasekamp on 22 September 2009 at 10:01 AM
His Majesty the King's fever has dropped but he still suffers from loss of appetite, the Royal Household Bureau said in a second statement released on Monday. Doctors continued to treat the King with intravenous drips and antibiotics, it said. His Majesty was admitted to Siriraj Hospital on Saturday suffering from a fever, fatigue and loss of appetite. As the news of the King's illness spread, people from all walks of life flocked to the hospital to sign get-well books and wish him a quick recovery from his illness. A total of 2,374 well-wishers turned up to sign the get-well books Monday. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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PM happy with peaceful reds rally

Posted by hasekamp on 21 September 2009 at 11:56 AM
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said that it was a boost to the country's image after the red shirted rally on September 19 ended with any incident. There always have been concerns among ourselves and foreign countries when rallies happened in Thailand, therefore, it would be better for the country to have peace for a period of time. Thailand's economic and social infrastructures have been acceptable worldwide, Abhisit said, adding that however political-related unrests in the country in the past few years have raised many questions. Pro-Thaksin rally was held on September 19 at the Royal Plaza ground to mark the three anniversary of the coup that ousted then PM Thaksin Shinawatra. (Source: The Nation)


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Abhisit to UN and G-20

Posted by hasekamp on 21 September 2009 at 11:54 AM
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva left for the United States early Monday morning to attend the 64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York and the Group of 20 (G-20) Summit in Pittsburgh. Mr Abhisit said earlier that his agenda for the visit consisted of three main missions--attending the 64th Session of the General Assembly, attending the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh, and building confidence in Thailand through meeting major US investors in the stock exchange, business leaders, importers, members of the U.S.-Thailand Business Council, and the American media. The prime minister will join the G-20 summit in his capacity as chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). On Tuesday, the prime minister will participate in a High-Level Meeting on Climate Change and Interactive Roundtable Session. On the same day he will also deliver speech “Post-crisis Thailand: Building a New Democratic Society” at Columbia University to renew confidence in Thai politics and the building of a new democratic society. The prime minister will participate in the opening ceremony of the 64th United Nations General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters, and hear the address of the president of the United States on September 23. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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His Majesty the King is ill

Posted by hasekamp on 21 September 2009 at 11:44 AM
People flocked to Siriraj Hospital yesterday to wish His Majesty the King a quick recovery after news of his illness was announced by the Royal Household Bureau. The bureau issued a statement saying His Majesty was admitted to hospital on Saturday suffering from a fever, fatigue and loss of appetite. The King was admitted for observation on the advice of his doctors and is being treated with intravenous drips and antibiotics. Members of the public streamed to the hospital to sign get-well books. The books can be signed from 8am to 8pm. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, army chief Anupong Paojinda and Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra were the first to sign the books. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Reds peaceful, yellows violent

Posted by hasekamp on 19 September 2009 at 15:33 PM
Thousands of red-shirted protesters rallied in Bangkok amidst tight security on Saturday to mark the third anniversary of the coup against former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. But tensions rose when rival anti-Thaksin "Yellow Shirt" demonstrators clashed with police near Preah Vihear temple on the border with Cambodia in Si Sa Ket province. The events shows there is little sign of ending three years of political turmoil.
In Bangkok, the government imposed the draconian Internal Security Act once again for the latest red shirt demonstrations and deployed more than 9,000 soldiers and police to guard key locations. Police estimated that around 5,000 people had arrived at the protest site by the middle of the afternoon and that more would come for a video or telephone speech by Thaksin scheduled for the evening.
On the Cambodian border, around 5,000 People's Alliance for Democracy demonstrators broke through barricades and were moving towards the 11th century Preah Vihear temple, the scene of several deadly battles between Thai and Cambodian troops over the past year. Television footage showed yellow-clad protesters armed with sticks beating local villagers and Thai riot police, who pushed back with shields. Official Thai News Agency reported that the "scuffle" lasted 10 minutes. Both sides used catapults and sticks to hurt each other before Thai police on security in the area separated them. A number of villagers were reported injured in the clash. By 2 pm the PAD demonstrators broke through barricades and marched towards the 11th century temple at the centre of several clashes between Thai and Cambodian soldiers after it was awarded World Heritage Site status in July last year by the United Nations cultural body UNESCO, angering nationalists in Thailand who continue to claim ownership of the site. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Similar measures against red shirts

Posted by hasekamp on 18 September 2009 at 12:39 PM
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva instructed security agencies Friday to closely monitor Saturday protest of pro-Thaksin protesters. Abhisit insisted that they tried to avoid clashing with the protesters. The so-called red shirts announced it would hold its rally at the Royal Plaza to mark the third anniversary of the 2006 coup which ousted then prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. They claimed the rally is expected to be the largest public protest since its demonstrations at Government House in April, which turned into riots leaving two dead and over 120 injured. The Cabinet on Tuesday imposed the Internal Security Act from September 18 to 22 in Dusit district, where most official buildings are located, including Parliament and Government House. (Source: The Nation)


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PAD behind barbed wire

Posted by hasekamp on 18 September 2009 at 12:36 PM
The 2nd Army plans to restrict a rally scheduled for tomorrow by a group linked to the People's Alliance for Democracy in a bid to prevent any possible intrusion into a disputed border area claimed by both Thailand and Cambodia. The move comes amid fears the PAD protesters will enter the 4.6-square-kilometre disputed area and proceed to the Preah Vihear temple ruins. There are concerns this could lead to possible clashes with Cambodian troops and villagers, which would further complicate the border dispute. Second Army chief Wibulsak Neepal yesterday said an area on the Thai side of the border had been designated for the PAD demonstrators to hold their rally. Lt Gen Wibulsak said the disputed area, which is claimed by both Thailand and Cambodia, was a danger zone. He said the overlapping area had limited space and few facilities, and was not suited for a rally. Thai troops stationed at the border have been told to ensure protesters do not enter the danger area and that there are no clashes between the protesters and Cambodian soldiers and villagers who have built houses and shops in the area. Those planning to take part in the rally were advised to comply with the law and factor in the significance of maintaining good relations with Cambodia. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Asia Foundation: Thailand heading wrong side

Posted by hasekamp on 17 September 2009 at 10:59 AM
In a latest survey by the Asia Foundation, most Thais believe the nation is heading in the wrong direction. The survey, conducted on 1,500 Thais in 26 provinces, said that 58 per cent believe the nation is going in the wrong direction, with 64 per cent of them blaming the bad economic situation. According to 60 per cent of respondents, the economic crisis is Thailand's biggest problem, followed by the ongoing political conflicts (24 per cent). Some 67 per cent of the respondents feel their own economic situation has deteriorated in the past two years. Despite this, 53 per cent are satisfied with the current government and see democracy as the best form of government (95 per cent), even though 68 per cent agree it makes decisions difficult, because there is always conflict. However - even if 70 per cent are satisfied with democracy in Thailand and two thirds see the nation as a democratic one, 80 per cent of Thais are still not convinced they have influence over national government decisions, with the majority feeling alienated by their politicians. (Source: The Nation)


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PAD banned from disputed area

Posted by hasekamp on 17 September 2009 at 10:54 AM
Protesters of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) will not be allowed inside the disputed 4.6-square-kilometre area around the Preah Vihear temple since this could affect relations with Cambodia, Lt-Gen Wibulsak Neepan said on Thursday. The Second Army commander was responding to the PAD's announced plan to converge on Phra Viharn National Park in Si Sa Ket's Kantharalak district and demand that Cambodian troops and villagers be pushed out of the disputed area around Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple. Thai soldiers have put up barbed wire to prevent PAD protesters entering Phra Viharn National Park, and set up more checkpoints along the road to the park, according to a local reporter in Si Sa Ket province. Entry to Preah Vihear is through Phra Viharn park. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Kasit to negotiate with PAD

Posted by hasekamp on 15 September 2009 at 13:48 PM
Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya has been assigned to negotiate with People's Alliance for Democracy leaders about calling off their plan to rally near the Preah Vihear temple, for fear it could harm the relations with Cambodia, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Tuesday. The PAD plans to rally near the temple on Saturday and demand that Cambodian people and troops be withdrawn from the 4.6-square-kilometre area still under dispute. Mr Abhisit said the government has tried to seek understanding with the local people who still held different opinions over the issue. Mr Kasit has been assigned to ask PAD leaders to call off the rally. The government had no hidden agenda in its handling of the border dispute and was duty-bound to protect the country's sovereignty. He said the government would negotiate to bring about peaceful co-existence without violent clashes. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Severe flood in Nan

Posted by hasekamp on 15 September 2009 at 13:45 PM
The "worst forest flood in 30 years" swept through Huai Mon Village in Nan's Muang district on Sunday night, isolating 128 households and killing four people. A flood victim's body was found yesterday in Si Sa Ket's Prang Ku district. Flood damage caused Huai Mon School to suspend classes. Local authorities helped evacuate some 1,000 residents to higher ground, transfer their possessions away from the floodwaters and provide them with drinking water. Anucha Salaisuthee, a villager in his 30s, said the flood came after two hours of downpours. The currents were so fast and strong that many had to run for their lives and couldn't move their belongings to safer places. "This is the worst forest flood in 30 years. I've never seen a flood like this before," he added. (Source: The Nation)


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Drugs free full moon

Posted by hasekamp on 12 September 2009 at 11:44 AM
Koh Phangan, long associated with wild Full Moon parties, is undergoing an image change to make the island a family destination. The monthly all-night Full Moon party on the Surat Thani island's Had Rin beach draws mostly foreign tourists and the event is synonymous with illicit drug use. However, moves are afoot to rebuild the island's image as a drugs-free haven for holiday makers, with drugs authorities, residents and tourism operators committed to the efforts. The Office of the Narcotics Control Board's Division 8, responsible for the upper South, has implemented a joint operation with residents and tour businesses to prevent the use of illicit drugs at the beachside party. The campaign is being conducted in consultation with stakeholders, including local leaders and tourism businesses from nearby Koh Samui. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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New Phuket-based airline

Posted by hasekamp on 11 September 2009 at 11:43 AM
A new Phuket-based airline has announced the launch of daily flights between Phuket and Haad Yai along with a new weekend Phuket-Langkawi route. The newly-launched Happy Air will begin operating flights from Phuket next month with its 34-seat Saab 340A aircraft. The daily 40-minute Phuket-Haad Yai flights are currently scheduled to depart from Phuket at 9:30am and arrive in Haad Yai at 10:30am. The return journey from Haad Yai is scheduled to depart at 11am. Tickets on this route are priced at 2,500 baht (one way) and 5,000 baht for a round trip. The 50-minute flights between Phuket and Langkawi are currently scheduled to depart from Phuket at 1pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and to depart from Langkawi at 3pm. Ticket prices for this route are 4,500 baht (single) and 9,000 baht round trip. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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New Royal plane

Posted by hasekamp on 11 September 2009 at 11:39 AM
A new aircraft for personal use of His Majesty the King was yesterday inaugurated in a handover ceremony to the Royal Thai Air Force. The Frenchmade twinpropellor ATR 72500 mediumsized transport airplane in VIP version is the first commissioned, among all four purchased at a cost of Bt3.65 billion. One plane will be used as a backup for the royal purpose, and two other planes for general VIP use. (Source: The Nation)


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Three doctors honored

Posted by hasekamp on 11 September 2009 at 10:38 AM
A doctor in violence-plagued Pattani and two colleagues in the Northeast have been honoured by the Rural Doctors Society for outstanding service.
Somchai Pongthanyawiriya, director of Yaring Hospital in Yaring district of Pattani, Jaroen Saereratanakorn, director of Warin Chamrap Hospital in Ubon Ratchathani, and Viroj Viroanawat, director of Yuparat Sawang Daen Din Hospital in Sakhon Nakhon, have been named for this year's award. "The spirit of being a doctor is to adapt medical knowledge to practise and help people upcountry to the best of one's ability," Dr Somchai said. Having worked at the community hospital in his place of birth for 19 years, he said the violence was getting worse. But the unrest had not discouraged him from continuing to run the hospital.
Dr Jaroen, who has worked at the hospital in Warin Chamrap district for 25 years, believes rural doctors help improve the quality of life of people in local communities as most of them lack access to good medical services compared to people living in urban areas.
Born in Bangkok, Dr Viroj has dedicated himself to a community hospital in Sakhon Nakhon's Sawang Daen Din since 1987. He has turned down opportunities to study in a specialised area several times because he wanted to continue taking care of 30,000 villagers. He was the only doctor at the hospital at the time. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Bangkok wants an end on roaming elephants

Posted by hasekamp on 10 September 2009 at 12:17 PM
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will propose to the government long-term solutions to roaming elephants, hoping to receive support on City Hall’s Chang Yim (Smiling Elephant) Project, according to Deputy Bangkok Governor Teerachon Manomaiphibul. Chang Yim aims to take Bangkok’s roaming elephants off the capital’s streets within a year, and get them back to their natural environment, or something almost like their real homes. The BMA is targetting Bangkok mahouts who drive the stately beasts throughout the city to beg for coins and tourist dollars by selling bananas, sugar-cane and other edibles to feed the pachyderms. The BMA launched its “Smiling Elephants” campaign in mid-August and city officials are claiming positive results. One measure is to publicise information regarding Thailand’s 3,800-plus domesticated elephants to check data of elephants via microchips inserted under their skin. The BMA will also cooperate with the Department of Livestock Development, police and national local administration authorities to closely inspect the movement of elephants from their domiciles without travel documents. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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750 illegal taxis at airport

Posted by hasekamp on 9 September 2009 at 11:31 AM
More than 750 unlicensed taxi drivers and over 400 illegal tour guides have been arrested in an ongoing crackdown by the authorities, beginning July 31. Airport director Niran Thiranartsin said the joint operation of personnel from the department of Land Transport, police and security personnel arrested 759 unlicensed taxi drivers from July 31 until September 8. Four hundred and five illegal tour guides were nabbed from August 9 to date. Each faces a maximum fine of Bt1,000 (US$29). Police are gathering more evidence to file charges against some proprietors, who repeated the offense to seek harsher punishment for repeat offenders. About 50 additional closed circuit television cameras are being installed at the inbound passenger area and the second floor of the passenger terminal. The installation is expected to be completed at the end of this month, the airport director said. Faced by a number of negative reports appearing in international media about malpractice problems and scams taking place at the airport, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has ordered airport officials to resolve the problems and restore confidence among foreign tourists. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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3G trials in Bangkok

Posted by hasekamp on 9 September 2009 at 11:24 AM
After years of waiting, Thailand's number two mobile operator DTAC has finally launched its 3G service on a limited trial basis in Bangkok on the 850 MHz frequency. But behind the cheers and promise of a revolution in broadband access, the future of 3G - and indeed 4G - remains as cloudy today as it ever was. Speaking at the pseudo-military styled launch, DTAC CEO Tore Johnsen spoke of the advent of 3G in Thailand as a revolution in broadband Internet access. Broadband penetration in Thailand reaches only 2 percent of the population, with sixteen million users. The world average is 10 percent. Closer to home, comparable markets such as Vietnam and Malaysia have double and four times Thailand's penetration, respectively. The situation is the way it is because 75 per cent of people in Thailand do not have access to a fixed line and therefore have missed out on the first phase of broadband through ADSL (asynchronous digital subscriber line). Furthermore, half of Thailand's seven to eight million phone lines are concentrated in Bangkok. On the other hand, Thailand has virtually 100 per cent mobile penetration and DTAC believes that mobile will be the way forward for Internet access. HSPA (high speed packet access) 3G has the potential to provide true broadband access to everyone wherever, whenever and on whatever size screen is needed. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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UFOs in Phuket?

Posted by hasekamp on 8 September 2009 at 11:13 AM
A family in Phuket had a close encounter with unidentified falling objects at the weekend when about a hundred small spheres 'dropped from the sky' onto their roof and garden. The family said the transparent balls fell on their home in Wichit about 9am on Sunday directly after a rain shower. "After the rain had stopped, we heard the sound of things falling on the roof," said home owner 52-year-old Paweenarak Boonsiew. Her son then went outside and discovered more than a hundred small, transparent balls on the ground. The spheres each measure about one centimeter in diameter and are soft and pliable. They have no coloring and do not give off any odor. Officials from the the Phuket Medical Sciences Center later collected some of the spheres for further examination, leaving the rest with Ms Paweenarak, who said she would keep them for good luck. The findings will be announced as soon as possible. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Twitter interview

Posted by hasekamp on 7 September 2009 at 15:11 PM
In perhaps the first interview of its kind in the world, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva will discuss his tumultuous tenure as head of government and its future with Nation group editor-in-chief Suthichai Yoon this evening- on Twitter. If any world leader has given a formal media interview on Twitter, we have never heard of it. But at 9.30pm tonight, you can follow the mini-history firsthand by watching ModernineTV's Khao Khon programme and Nation Channel which will broadcast the event live. You can write down your questions for Suthichai's interview with the premier in the comment column below or send it to webeditors@nationgroup.com. (Source: The Nation)


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Proposed constitution changes

Posted by hasekamp on 7 September 2009 at 15:06 PM
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Monday he will propose constitutional amendments to the cabinet for consideration tomorrow. The prime minister said all parties in the coalition agreed in principle on this matter and wanted to see further developments. "I would have no objection if a constitution drafting council were to be set up. I don't expect opposition to doing this," he said. A total of 163 MPs and senators filed a motion for constitutional amendments to the parliament in the morning through Senate Speaker Prasopsuk Boondej. The motion seeks to amend the 2007 constitution in six areas:
- Articles 93-98 on the election of MPs;
- Articles 111-121 on how Senate seats are filled;
- Article 190 on the types of international agreements which require approval from parliament.
- Article 237 on party dissolutions and the political ban on the leader and executives of a party in cases of electoral fraud;
- Article 265 to enable MPs to concurrently hold political posts; and,
- Article 266 (1) to enable MPs and senators to have a role in the administration of government officials and implementation of various government projects, so that they can more effectively help the people. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Revival for floating markets?

Posted by hasekamp on 5 September 2009 at 9:47 AM
In danger of getting too slick even for tourists, Central Thailand's floating markets are boasting renewed appeal. The market at Damneun Saduek is a case in point - still popular and photogenic, but hyped beyond recognition of its original appeal. Elsewhere, though, the story's not so dismaying. Amphawa, Bang Nam Phueng and other floating markets are flourishing in the central region, and their ties to the farming community remain strong. Bangkok's Taling Chan Market, perched on the Khlong Chak Pra Canal and fresh with fruit trees and orchids, is still the area's main destination for farm produce. The choice is bountiful on both sides of the streets and on the boats that punt and putter about. The market itself is smaller than many, making it perfect for short strolls and careful browsing. You can taste a lot of the food on your way to the canal, where the tour really begins. All of Taling Chan district waits to be discovered by boat, and it's an interesting, relaxing sightseeing excursion among the old houses, orchid gardens, fruit farms and temples. The Taling Chan weekend market was the first to be established in suburban Bangkok. These days the market is open at 8.30am and keeps going through the afternoon. Getting there early is best so that you can have a look around the district and visit other markets that have popped up more recently. The same district has the Khlong Lad Mayom floating market, just three years old but already quite popular among weekenders and families. Its founder was farmer Chuen Choochan, known as Uncle Chuen. (Source: The Nation)


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No Pheu Thai - Democrats coalition

Posted by hasekamp on 3 September 2009 at 12:09 PM
Key figures from the ruling Democrat Party and opposition Pheu Thai Party yesterday rejected speculation of a new coalition between the two largest political parties. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who is also Democrat leader, said his party had never discussed forming a coalition with Pheu Thai. He didn't think such an option was viable due to due to the "apparent difference" in the parties' standpoints. "There won't be any changes at this time. And I don't think there will be a change of that kind. It's improper," Abhisit said, referring to the dumping of present coalition partners Bhum Jai Thai to form a new government with Pheu Thai. The prime minister played down tension in his coalition, saying disagreement between partners was common in a coalition government. (Source: The Nation)


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Thailand will produce vaccine in December

Posted by hasekamp on 2 September 2009 at 16:11 PM
The Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) is confident that Thailand will be able to produce its own vaccine against Influenza Type A (H1N1) in December as targeted. GPO board chairman Vichai Chokewiwat said the vaccine trial project has seen much progress with success in culturing the virus seed in hen eggs in the second batch. The amount of virus seed was calculated and it found 8.32-9.33 Log (the amount of the virus per cubic centimetre), resembling the amount of virus in the Russian vaccine trials. The calculation of the live attenuated virus cultured in hen eggs will be conducted again Wednesday afternoon before the test in animals will start. However, the start of the human trials have been postponed from September 7 to September 21 because the first lot of virus seed gave low yield, he said. The vaccine trials in human will be conducted in 24 volunteers simultaneously time as the amount of the live attenuated virus is adequate, he said. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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