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Government will stay until April

Posted by hasekamp on 31 July 2010 at 11:16 AM
The Democrat-led coalition government will stay in power until next April as several factors support Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to continue running the country, Puea Thai MPs chairman Chalerm Yubamrung said on Saturday. “The prime minister would not dissolve House of Representatives and call for fresh general election before the end of this year as speculated by various parties. “There was a projection that Mr Abhisit would dissolve the lower House after the 2011 fiscal budget bill gets approval from the parliament and the military reshuffle is completed. But I do not think so”, said Mr Chalerm. However, the Puae Thai Party was ready to join hands with other political parties if the House is dissolved, he said. Meanwhile Phue Thai believes it will become a factor of importance after elections. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Another bomb in Bangkok

Posted by hasekamp on 31 July 2010 at 0:03 AM
An M-59 hand grenade was used in this morning's bombing on Rangnam Road opposite a duty-free shopping centre left one seriously wounded victim in the most recent explosion in the Thai capital, according to police. The grenade, obscured in a black plastic bag, exploded near King Power duty-free shopping center, leaving a rubbish scavenger in critical condition with shrapnel in his head. Following the incident, Pol Gen Panupong Singhara Na Ayutthaya, head of a team investigating the bombing said the explosive device was identified as a Chinese-made M-59 hand grenade not used by any Thai government agencies. Investigators gathered evidence at the scene and believed that the way the perpetrators placed the device and the type of explosive used in the incident were similar to previous attacks. If those who placed the recent bombing incidents are still at large, the national police chief adviser believed that similar bombings are likely to continue. (Source: MCOT)


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Decree in Bangkok remains

Posted by hasekamp on 30 July 2010 at 12:03 PM
The state of emergency will remain in effect in Bangkok for the foreseeable future because of fears of possible red shirt activities, a source at the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation says. The centre was most worried about the situation in the capital and decided yesterday it would be the last province covered by the decree, the source said. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva approved a recommendation from the centre yesterday to lift the decree in six more provinces: Chon Buri, Ayutthaya, Maha Sarakham, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Mukdahan and Chaiyaphum. Ten northern, northeastern and central provinces are still covered by the decree: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, Ubon Ratchathani, Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi and Samut Prakan. (Source: The Bangkok Post)ompan, Weng Tojirakarn, Korkaew Pikulthong, Arisman Pongruangrong, Adisorn Piangket, Suporn Atthawong and Payap Panket. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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New banknotes on December 5

Posted by hasekamp on 28 July 2010 at 11:58 AM
he Bank of Thailand board yesterday approved the printing of new banknotes as the present currency notes - the "15th set"- had been in circulation for 12 years now. The 16th set banknotes - those worth Bt20, Bt50, Bt100, Bt500 and Bt1,000 - would include more anti-counterfeit features. The new set format was currently awaiting approval from the Royal Household Bureau. It was expected to be distributed for use after December 5. (Source: The Nation)


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Don't swim in Phuket

Posted by hasekamp on 27 July 2010 at 17:23 PM
Red flag warnings are in force along Phuket's west coast beaches, several of which have achieved notoriety in recent years for scores of drownings and near-drownings during the monsoon season (May through October). Strong West/Southwesterly winds reaching speeds of 50-60kmph with waves rising to 4.5 metres in the waters off Phuket are expected to continue until Thursday. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Security boost after bomb

Posted by hasekamp on 27 July 2010 at 17:20 PM
Security at public places will be tightened after Sunday's bombing in downtown Bangkok, Defence Minister General Pravit Wongsuwan, who is also deputy director of the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES), said yesterday. Meanwhile, Pol Colonel Phanupong Singhara revealed that a suspicious person who might have planted the M67 grenade that went off in front of Big C Rajdamri Shopping Mall, killing one man and wounding several other people, was caught on a security camera. Saying that the CRES had urged the Metropolitan Police chief to proceed urgently with the investigation of the blast, Pravit said that they would discuss this incident in detail in a meeting tomorrow. He said he had assigned the CRES to prepare information for the meeting about beefing up security at public places such as shopping malls, bus stops, subway stations and the Mor Chit Bus Terminal. (Source: The Nation)


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Bangkok bomb attack bad for tourism

Posted by hasekamp on 27 July 2010 at 17:14 PM
Thailand's tourism recovery will be delayed further to the second half of 2011 as Sunday's explosion near the Big C Ratchadamri store in Bangkok has sparked new concern about political problems, according to the Thai Hotels Association (THA). Prakit Chinamourphong, the THA president, said the association had expected earlier that the tourism industry would start recovering in the last quarter of this year, but the Sunday blast that killed one man had shaken the hopes of hoteliers, particularly in the Ratchaprasong area. "It's difficult to see Thai tourism back to normal in the fourth quarter of this year or even in the first half of 2011 because international tourists aren't confident enough to travel to Thailand," he said. "Many countries are still maintaining their travel advisory warnings about coming to Thailand though the degree of warnings has been softened." The bigger problem, though, is that insurance companies will not offer coverage or pay claims to clients as long as the emergency decree remains in effect in the capital and other provinces, he added. The incident would certainly affect sentiment, especially among Europeans, Japanese, Chinese and Koreans, he said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Asalaha Bucha day

Posted by hasekamp on 26 July 2010 at 23:09 PM
Buddhists across the country - and even tourists in hot holiday destinations - turned out yesterday to make merit to mark the Asalaha Bucha Day. His Majesty the King had Phitsanulok deputy governor Yongyot Mekarun present a Lent candle to revered Buddha image Luang Pho Buddha Chinnaraj - at Wat Prasrirattanamahadhat Vorramahavihan - on his behalf to mark the Buddhist Lent. To show respect for the Aslaha Bucha Day and the Buddhist Lent Day, entrepreneurs on the Rin Beach of Pha Ngan island in Surat Thani province postponed the festive full moon party from yesterday to tomorrow. Wat Suan Mokkhabalaram - of the late highly respected monk, Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, in Surat Thani' s Chaiya district- was overwhelmed by both Thai and foreign tourists heading for the temple to make merit on the sacred day. They also listened to Buddhadasa's recorded sermons. Department of Religious Affairs top officials offered food to monks at Wat Srakesa Rajavaramahavihara in Bangkok, and performed the Wien Thien ceremony, in which participants holding lotuses, joss-sticks and candles walked around the main temple building while praying along with the monks' sermons. (Source: The Nation)


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Bomb in Bangkok

Posted by hasekamp on 26 July 2010 at 23:05 PM
A bomb has exploded in front of a department store in the Ratchadamri shopping district, killing one person and injuring eight. The bomb went off on Sunday at a bus stop in front of the Big C department store opposite CentralWorld shopping complex, which was torched during the red shirt riots on May 19. The bomb, hidden in a black plastic bag, exploded about 5.45pm. Seven men and two women, including a Burmese woman, were injured while waiting for their buses. Two of the victims sustained serious injuries, and one has since died. Police found three batteries, a soft drink can, electric wires and electronic circuitry at the scene. They believe the bomb was triggered by an alarm clock. Police sealed off areas around the scene from Ratchaprasong intersection to Pratunam intersection for fear of further possible bomb blasts. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Two serious deseases

Posted by hasekamp on 25 July 2010 at 10:56 AM
The Nakhon Ratchasima public health office was on alert for a leptospirosis outbreak yesterday after 68 people fell ill and three died of the disease. Provincial Public Health chief Dr Wichai Khattiyawittayakul said leptospirosis could be found all year round but would increase from July to September, a rainy period during which farmers grow rice. From January 1 to July 18, the province reported 65 leptospirosis patients, three of whom had died from the disease, he said. Many patients got the disease from wading barefoot through wet rice-fields when they had leg wounds or cuts. Wichai urged people with leptospirosis symptoms - such as fever, headache or muscle pain after wading through water - to see doctors rather than buy over-the-counter medicines to treat themselves.

In related news, a fishery academic in Phuket yesterday warned people not to eat sea tortoise meat, after three tambon Rawai villagers out of 80 people who ate hawksbill sea turtle meat at a party in June died from chelonitoxism. Dr Kongkiat Kittiwattanawong, of the Phuket Marine Biological Centre, said some partygoers still showed allergic symptoms, including a burning sensation in the mouth, numb lips, difficulty swallowing, a feeling of heaviness in the chest, respiratory difficulty, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, and double vision. Capturing sea tortoises to eat their meat is illegal and dangerous, he said, because the animals can accumulate toxic material in their flesh and inner organs from their diet. (Source: The Nation)


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Reds and yellows end legal battle

Posted by hasekamp on 25 July 2010 at 10:49 AM
Veera Musikhapong, Natthawut Saikua, Jatuporn Prompan and Korkaew Pikulthong, key leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, had filed six defamation lawsuits against Mr Sondhi, ThaiDay Dot Com Co, the owner of ASTV station founded by Mr Sondhi, and nine other people, while Mr Sondhi had filed two defamation suits against the red shirt leaders. Mr Veera, Mr Natthawut and Mr Korkaew were yesterday taken from Bangkok Remand Prison, where they are being held on terrorism charges in connection with the recent political violence, to the Criminal Court for the negotiations. The three red shirt leaders met with Suwat Apaipak, a lawyer representing Mr Sondhi. The Criminal Court mediated. The meeting was held behind closed doors. It took about seven hours for the parties to agree to end their legal battle and withdraw their lawsuits. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Direct Phuket-Bejing

Posted by hasekamp on 21 July 2010 at 12:17 PM
Hainan Airlines is preparing to launch non-stop flights to Phuket from Beijing on July 31, becoming the first and only domestic carrier to offer such a service. According to China Hospitality News, the fourth-largest carrier in China will operate three weekly flights – every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. The flights will depart Beijing at 18:00 local time and arrive in Phuket at 22:50 local time. The return flight will leave at 23:50 local time and arrive Beijing the following morning at 06:15 local time. The route will be operated with Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The non-stop flights will cut travel time by more than five hours, making it much more convenient for air passengers to the tropical island. (Source:The Phuket Gazette)


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Use the Thai language!

Posted by hasekamp on 21 July 2010 at 12:14 PM
The Association of Thai-Language Teachers of Thailand (ATTT) yesterday expressed concerns about children ignoring the need to hone their mother-tongue skills. The concerns were growing, the association's chairwoman Kanjana Naksakul said, partly because children were becoming hooked on foreign languages. Kanjana is also a member of the Royal Institute. "Children are eager to take extra courses in Korean, but not Thai language," she said. This happened, she said, despite children not being skilled in their mother tongue. "We have campaigned for more focus on Thai language every year - but the problems relating to it have not been solved," she lamented. July 29 is Thai Language Day. (Source: The Nation)


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No power and water in Phuket

Posted by hasekamp on 20 July 2010 at 13:47 PM
Residents of Phuket Town’s tambon Talad Neua might consider getting out of town tomorrow (Wednesday, July 21), when there will be a one-day suspension of both electric power and water supply services. The Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) has announced the power cuts, from 9am to 4pm, to carry out maintenance on high voltage wires. The blackout will also affect pumps used to pressurize water pipes, resulting in a “double whammy” for area residents: no power and no water. Affected areas will include Chao Fa East Road, north from Rama IX (Suan Luang) Park; Patiphat Road south of Jui Tui Shrine Intersection; Phoon Phol Road and Bangkok Road. Residents who plan to stay home are strongly advised to store enough water to last throughout the period. (Source: the Phuket Gazette)


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Decree partly lifted

Posted by hasekamp on 20 July 2010 at 13:41 PM
The cabinet on Tuesday agreed to lift the state of emergency in three more provinces, deputy government spokesman Supachai Jaisamut said. The three provinces are Lampang in the North and Sakon Nakhon and Roi-et in the Northeast. Mr Supachai said the cabinet reached this decision because there have been no unusual activities in the three provinces where the situation is under control. The decree was originally imposed in 24 provinces including Bangkok in the wake of the protests of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship. On July 6, the cabinet decided to lift the decree in five provinces - Nan, Kalasin, Nakhon Pathom, Si Sa Ket and Nakhon Sawan. The decree is now still in force in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Ubon Ratchathani, Maha Sarakham, Nong Bua Lamphu, Mukdahan, Udon Thani, Nakhon Ratchasima, Chaiyaphum, Khon Kaen, Chon Buri and Samut Prakan. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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American arrested for murder

Posted by hasekamp on 19 July 2010 at 15:35 PM
An American man, 37, has been arrested for stabbing a Thai bar girl to death, concealing her in his luggage and dumping the body near a road in Phuket's Muang district last June, police told a press conference yesterday. Police presented Ronald John Fanelli, along with the victim's cell phone and SIM card, the battle pants he wore on the day, a Suzuki motorcycle allegedly used to move the body, and a sharpedged knife police say was the murder weapon. Fanelli allegedly told police he became paranoid when Wanpen Pianjai, 33,whom he picked up from the Sweetheart Bar on June 18, played with his knife and he stabbed her to death. The body was discovered on June 24. (Source: The Nation)


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Russian musician back in Thailand

Posted by hasekamp on 19 July 2010 at 15:33 PM
Acclaimed Russian conductor and pianist Mikhail Pletnev has returned to Thailand, where he is due to appear in court after being charged with raping a teenage boy, an embassy official says. "I can confirm for sure that he is in Thailand," Andrei Dvornikov, chief of the consular section at the Russian embassy in Bangkok, said on Sunday. Mr Pletnev was charged on July 5 with the rape of a 14-year-old boy in Pattaya, where the musician has a house, a restaurant and a music school. The artistic director of the Russian National Orchestra denies the charge, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in jail. A court allowed him to travel overseas after he posted extra bail, but required him to report back to the court every 12 days, starting from Monday. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Best city?

Posted by hasekamp on 15 July 2010 at 11:18 AM
Bangkok has been voted the world's best city, followed by Chiang Mai, in the magazine Travel + Leisure's 2010 World's Best Awards readers survey. The survey was carried out before the red shirt rallies and ensuing military action in May. Florence in Italy, San Miguel de Allende in Mexico and Rome, Italy were the other cities that made up the top five. Bangkok returns to the No 1 spot, having last held that ranking in 2008. The capital ranked third last year and Chiang Mai was fifth. A questionnaire developed by the editors of Travel + Leisure, in association with ROI Research Inc, was made available to its readers from Dec 15, 2009, to March 31, 2010. Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra said that he will go to New York next week to receive the award, the ceremony for which will be held next Wednesday. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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No VAT increase soon

Posted by hasekamp on 12 July 2010 at 19:23 PM
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva asserted Monday that the value-added tax (VAT) will not be increased this year or next year, saying the country's economy is on the road to recovery. The premier commented as the Fiscal Policy Office is now studying restructuring of the entire tax system to guarantee fairness as well as pave the way for an increase in government spending through its policy implementation. Mr Abhisit said the study is aimed at widening the taxation base and making the system less complicated, adding that he believes the issue will not be finalised very soon. The prime minister assured consumers that a VAT increase is not necessary this year or next year as the country's economy is recovering. He added his government will work out a structure to make the country's economy stay competitive in the global economy. (Source:Thai News Agency)


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Russian pianist charged with child abuse

Posted by hasekamp on 10 July 2010 at 19:22 PM
Renowned pianist and conductor Mikhail Pletnev, accused of child sex abuse in Thailand, is leaving on a tour of Europe and the United States. Next Monday he is due to open a festival on the shores of a lake in Ohrid, Macedonia. Pletnev, a Grammy Winner, has been charged on Tuesday before being freed on bail. The Court allowed him to leave the country but ordered him to be back on July 18 for further investigation. Pletnev left Thailand on Thursday for Moscow. He told a news conference in Moscow that he had committed no atrocities and would defend his honour. Pletnev, the Russian National Orchestra Conductor, said he learned of charges made against him in Thailand from the internet. "I will tell you how things really were," Pletnev said. "I was vacationing in Thailand which I visit often. It is a wonderful country." The musician said he had been dining in a bar when policemen approached him and suggested the ride to his house. "They inspected the house, found nothing, and then they escorted me to a police station and set me free afterwards," he said. (Source: The Nation)


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Thai income will rise

Posted by hasekamp on 10 July 2010 at 19:16 PM
There is a possibility that Thai people’s per capita income could substantially rise to 10,000 US dollar a year in 2019, chairman of Bangkok Bank Plc Kosit Panpiamrat said on Saturday. "It is possible that Thais’ annual income could increase from the current US$4,400 per head to the projected level on a condition that there must be no more of political unrest", Mr Kosit said. The banker said his projection was based on the fact that the Thai economy would be boosted by the economic expansion in Asian nations, particularly in China and India. He said the laying siege to Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang international airports by the yellow-shirt supporters of the People’s Alliance for Democracy in late 2008 had led to the economic contraction of only 2.2 per cent in 2009. "But the gross domestic product growth rate for this year could be as high as six per cent or more. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund also revised its growth projection for Thailand, increasing it to 7 per cent", Mr Kosit said. The business sector is a crucial part in boosting the economy but the government must help train the workforces, making them skilled labours, he said. Advance technology should also be appropriately utilised, he added. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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British red-shirt released

Posted by hasekamp on 10 July 2010 at 19:14 PM
A British man arrested and charged with violating the emergency decree while taking part in the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) protests has been freed after his jail term was halved because he confessed. The Pathumwan District Court on Thursday initially sentenced Jeff Savage, 49, to three months in jail without suspension. The court commuted the jail term to one month and 15 days because Savage, who is from Kent, confessed to have violated the emergency decree by taking part in the UDD protests from March 14 to May 19. Since he had already spent time in jail since being arrested, the court ordered that he be freed from Bangkok Remand Prison. Another foreign defendant on the same charge, Australian Conor Purcell, 30, entered a plea of not guilty. The court set Sept 5 for the examination of prosecution witnesses. The Australian, from Perth, allegedly made incendiary speeches inciting violence from the protesters' main stage. The maximum penalty for violators of the emergency decree is two years imprisonment. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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State of Emergency extended

Posted by hasekamp on 7 July 2010 at 8:52 AM
The government renewed the state of emergency for another three months in Bangkok and 18 other provinces, deputy government spokesman Supachai Jaisamut said. The Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) on Monday night agreed to recommend the emergency decree be renewed in all 24 provinces. The decree was invoked on April 7, about three weeks after the red-shirts of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) began their protest in Bangkok. It has a three-month life and was to expire on Wednesday morning. Mr Supachai said the cabinet decided not to renew the decree in Si Sa Ket, Kalasin, Nan, Nakhon Sawan and Nakhon Pathom provinces. The National Security Council (NSC) was of the opinion that the situation in these provinces had settled and that the decree could be still be reinstated there if the red-shirts renewed their anti-government activities. The provinces where the emergency decree will remain in force are:
Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan, Pathum Thani, Ayutthaya and Chon Buri in the Central Region; Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Lampang in the North; and Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, Chaiyaphum, Nakhon Ratchasima, Ubon Ratchathani, Maha Sarakham, Roi-et, Nong Bua Lamphu, Sakon Nakhon and Mukdahan in the Northeast.
(Source: The Bangkok Post)


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New zoo in Khon Kaen

Posted by hasekamp on 5 July 2010 at 15:28 PM
Gorillas, orang-utans and chim-panzees will be the star attrac-tions on display at Khao Suan Kwang Zoo in Khon Kaen when it is officially opens early next year, Zoological Department chief Sophon Damnui said yesterday. Sophon performed the southern Nora dance to worship holy spirits at the zoo. After, he said it would be the most perfect place in Asia exhibiting giant monkeys and rare animals without scales after it opens in March next year. The 5,000-rai zoo is located in Khao Suan Kwang district, near Udon Thani province's Nonsa-ard district. It was half finished at present, he said, but people could visit some of the zones that had been completed. The Cabinet has approved over Bt3 billion to build the zoo. Apart from giant bird and monkey zones, the zoo will also provide academic zones to pass on knowledge about wildlife. There will also be a breeding and research centre. Visitors will be able to hike and camp within the facility as well. The zoo would promote tourism through links with Laos to lure more Lao tourists to visit the site. (Source: The Nation)


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King worried about drought

Posted by hasekamp on 3 July 2010 at 16:37 PM
HM the King has been concerned over his subjects' wellbeing especially the drought and followed the situations at five dams closely, said deputy secretary-general of Bureau of the Royal Household Disathorn Watcharothai yesterday. Addressing to nationwide provincial permanent secretaries and district chiefs yesterday, Disathorn said the king also urged the Agriculture Ministry to monitor water situation at Bhumipol, Sirikit, Ubolrat, Kwae Noi and Pasak Cholasit dams to ensure they contained as much water as possible. His Majesty also had the royal rainmaking centers in Nakhon Sawan, Chiang Mai and Khon Kaen to assist all farmers. In related news, the drought has also affected hundreds of Karen farmer families living in four villages amid Inthanon Valley that they had no water to grow rice for two months now. Usually they would grow rice in May for own consumption, which would yield about 20-60 sacks per household. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Chavarat Charnveerakul said that this year drought was severer than the previous years and the ministry was currently working on a long-term solution to excavating irrigation canals nationwide but the project wouldn't be complete by the year 2011. (Source: The Nation)


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Bangkok in the grip of rain

Posted by hasekamp on 3 July 2010 at 16:29 PM
Bangkok traffic came to a halt until nearly noon yesterday after torrential rains at dawn left most of the capital heavily flooded.
Congestion was at its worst at ten key intersections where traffic lights had stopped working due to short circuits caused by floods, prompting traffic police to manually direct the cars. Traffic radio station, Jor Sor 100, said more than 400 commuters called to complain about the traffic and report the situation from 6am to noon, when things got better. Many main thoroughfares in the suburbs and several roads downtown were under at least 40 centimetre of water. The traffic was at a standstill for more than an hour on many roads. Sanya Cheenimit, director of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration's Drainage and Sewerage Department, said the rain hit 152mm - a record in several years - exceeding the 60mm that the drainage system can handle. He said flooding in Bangkok and adjacent areas would be worse in September and October, when sea levels will rise and streams from the North reach the capital. All three major roads on Bangkok's Thon Buri side on the Phra Nakhon side were all heavily flooded and jammed for long hours, including Charan Sanitwong, Issarapharp and several sections of Ratchadaphisek. (Source: The Nation)


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