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Phuket bus project wins award

Posted by hasekamp on 29 September 2010 at 16:51 PM
The Phuket Provincial Administration Organization’#39;s “quot;Pink Bus”quot; project providing reasonably-priced public transport for Phuket City residents has won a national award for “quot;Local Innovation”quot; from the Prime Minister’#39;s Office. The award was one of 61 awarded to local administration offices by a new Prime Minister’#39;s Office committee on decentralization of power to local administration organizations. A total of 1,003 projects were nominated nationwide. PPAO President Paiboon Upatising accepted the award from Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva at Government House in Bangkok on the morning of September 17. It was the first-ever presentation of the Thai Local Innovation awards, a project started by the Abhisit administration. The Pink Buses, known locally as Po Thong, were introduced by PPAO President Paiboon in September last year. The fleet of 16 songtaew (“quot;two-row”quot;) open-air buses gradually replaced a fleet of mechanically-plagued air-conditioned minibuses introduced by a previous PPAO administration. The Pink Buses run the same two routes as their predecessors: Route 1: Big C to Saphan Hin; and Route 2: Super Cheap to the Fresh Market on Chao Fa East Road. Fares are 10 baht for all journeys and free for children. A third route connecting Koh Sireh in Rassada to Phuket Town is the next route planned. (Source: the Phuket Gazette)


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Young robot makers win

Posted by hasekamp on 29 September 2010 at 16:45 PM
Thai students have won 30 awards in an international robot contest in Hong Kong - ten first prize awards, three in the primary school level and the remainder in secondary level. In the Inter Robotic City 2010 event, which began on Sunday and ended yesterday, Benjama Rajrangsarit from Chachoengsao won four first prize awards in the secondary school level in the categories for hand-cranked speed-running robot, triathlon robot, a planet-exploratory robot, and an amphibious robot. Three other first prizes went to Triam Udom Nonthaburi for a hand-cranked tug-of-war robot, to Nong Soong Sammakkhee Witthaya from Mukdahan with a fighter robot, and to Rongkham from Kalasin with a handmade robot. Montfort College in Chiang Mai won three awards in fourth-prize categories - basketball robots, a maritime exploratory robot, and a water polo robot. In the primary school level, the In Plang School at Sakon Nakhon won first prizes in two categories - a four-legged hand-cranked robot, and a fighter robot, and Montfort College in Chiang Mai won with a maritime survey robot. (Source: The Nation)


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Police on track of bombers

Posted by hasekamp on 29 September 2010 at 16:42 PM
National police chief Wichean Potephosree said yesterday intelligence reports from the Police Special Branch had identified five or six people who want to derail reconciliation efforts. He did not give any clues to their identity. Authorities are keeping a close watch on their movements but have yet to find evidence to implicate them in the violence. Pol Gen Wichean said other security agencies, including the National Security Council and the military, had received similar reports which were forwarded to the cabinet yesterday. "We will do all we can to monitor and pressure them," he said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Hat Yai inundated

Posted by hasekamp on 28 September 2010 at 5:45 AM
Suburban areas in Songkhla's Hat Yai district have been inundated by flash flood travelling from mountainous areas due to three hours of heavy rain yesterday. The strong currents begin flooding Khor Hong municipality areas at around 7 pm and the lowestlying areas are under 50cm flood water at press time, especially a halfk stretch passing Hat Yai Technology School. Fire engines are being utlised as makeshit water pumps to drain flood water out of homes while flood embankment wals made of sandbags are being built as dams. The situation should improve if there is no more heavy rain, flood relief authorities said. We can agree with that! (Source: The Nation)


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Spring violence still not clear

Posted by hasekamp on 28 September 2010 at 5:42 AM
Leaders of the security forces have provided the Truth for Reconciliation Commission with little new information in an initial meeting on the events of the April and May red shirt protests. Somchai Homla-or led a 20-member TRC team in a meeting with officials from the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) on Monday, in an attempt to learn more about the security forces' operations. The commission has been asked to uncover details of the violence which erupted between security forces and protesters in April and May of this year, resulting in 91 deaths, most of them red shirts, and at least 1,400 injuries. The initial meeting failed to shed any light on the events and turned out to be more of a briefing by the army's deputy chief-of-staff, Lt Gen Daopong Ratanasuwan, and the other CRES members, Mr Somchai said. Over the course of two-and-a-half hours, the CRES members spoke on the overall system of mobilisation and organisation of security forces before and during the final dispersal of the protesters on May 19 as well as other clashes. The briefing and a subsequent situation report submitted by the CRES did not provide details such as who was involved in the planning, endorsing and ordering of the crackdown on protesters, Mr Somchai said. Security officials also failed to provide specifics of controversial incidents such as the fatal clashes in Bon Kai and at Wat Pathum Wanaram. Mr Somchai said some of the information presented by the CRES had already been widely reported by the media. Mr Somchai said he had not expected much from the meeting, but was satisfied to see a certain degree of cooperation. His team will meet the CRES officials again in the middle of next month. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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First peace, then elections

Posted by hasekamp on 25 September 2010 at 15:15 PM
It is possible that the next general election could take place early next year if the red-shirts and the opposition Puea Thai Party can prove that they would refrain from violent political activities, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said. During an interview with foreign reporters in New York, Mr Abhisit said if there is no unrest over the next six months, the government was ready to hold fresh general election. “quot;It depends on how the leaders of the United front for Democracy against Dictatorship and the opposition camp would react on my intention. “quot;If Puea Thai Party and the red-shirt people group have clearly shown that they want the democratic system to move forward, to create national reconciliation and to refrain from illegal political activities and violence, I think it would be the time that we can join force to settle problem of political conflict”quot;, said Mr Abhisit. Asked about the emergency decree which is still in place in Bangkok and six other provinces, Mr Abhisit said the special law is needed as the government did not sure the situation has returned to normal. He insisted that the people will not be affected from the emergency law. On the question on press freedom in Thailand, the prime minister said only the media that incited violence were ordered closed. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Hippo birthday to you

Posted by hasekamp on 24 September 2010 at 17:06 PM
Dusit Zoo on Thursday would celebrate the 44th anniversary of Mae Mali or Mama Jasmine, a hippotemus which has been in the zoo for long time.
A Netherland zoo gave Mali to Dusit Zoo in 1967 and She had delivered altogether 14 baby hippos that were given to local zoos and those in neighbouring countries including Malaysia and Laos. Her birthday celebration will be held from Friday to Sunday. The zoo authority on Thursday provide the hippopotemus a 'birthday cake' made of fruits for her. Visitors to the students, comprising children and students, sang 'Happy Birthday' song for her. (Source: The Nation)


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Another bomb in Bangkok

Posted by hasekamp on 24 September 2010 at 17:03 PM
A bomb hidden in a garbage bin exploded in Rama III area in Bangkok on Friday evening, wounding three passers-by, according to television reports. The reports said that a man and two female students were wounded in the explosion, which occurred around 5.30pm. They were rushed to hospital. Pol Lt Col Kamthorn Ouicharoen, deputy chief of the disposal unit under the Metropolitan Police Bureau, said a team has been dispatched to the scene to collect evidence. He said he cannot confirm at the moment what was the cause of the explosion. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Medicines at Chatuchak?

Posted by hasekamp on 23 September 2010 at 14:25 PM
The Food and Drug Administration yesterday warned pet-shop owners at Chatuchak weekend market to register with the FDA before trying to sell medication for pets. In addition, medication being sold at the stalls did not have FDA approval. Pet-shop owners who do not have a licence to sell drugs will be fined Bt10,000 and/or given five years in prison, while those who sell drugs that are not registered will be fined Bt5,000 and could face up to three years in jail, FDA drug control division director Vinit Atsawawithee said. He was speaking at a meeting with pet-shop owners at the FDA building. In a recent survey of 50 pet shops at Chatuchak market, the FDA found that most of them were selling drugs and vaccines for animals, but that only one shop had a licence to do so. (Source: The Nation)


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Eyeballs made in Thaiand

Posted by hasekamp on 23 September 2010 at 14:23 PM
Artificial eyeballs made in Thailand have proved effective in clinical trials, Mettapracharak Watraikhing Hospital director Dr Pannet Panphuttiphong said yesterday. His hospital has been involved with a project to produce polyethylene artificial eyeballs, in collaboration with the National Metal and Materials Technology Centre (MTEC). The product has passed safety tests and checks by ophthalmologists. In clinical trials, the products were implanted in 15 patients. Of them, six were women. "After the operations, they are healthy," Pannet said, "There's no infection and the eyeballs do not slip out." Currently, a cheap artificial eyeball costs a few hundreds of baht. However, such artificial eyeballs are prone to slipping out. Users also cannot roll these artificial eyeballs. Patients who want high-quality artificial eyeballs thus have to rely on imported products, each of which costs around Bt29,000. These imported artificial eyeballs are made of hydroxyapatite. Pannet said the Thailand-made artificial eyeballs cost around Bt22,000 each. (Source: The Nation)


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Vegetarian tourists

Posted by hasekamp on 21 September 2010 at 10:53 AM
Promising signs are emerging for Phuket’#39;s upcoming high season, as reservation rates have reached 50% for the upcoming Phuket Vegetarian Festival, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has announced. TAT South Region 4 in Phuket, believes the October 8 to 16 Vegetarian Festival will help the 2010-2011 high season get off to a good start. The Phuket “quot;high season”quot; nominally begins November 1, about the time when the monsoon season begins to abate in Phuket and chilly weather begins to set in across the island’#39;s primary inbound markets in Europe, North Asia and North America. Other upcoming events this month, including the Quicksilver Thailand Surf Competition at Kata Beach (September 22 to 26) and the Tourism Association of India Conference at the Banyan Tree at Laguna Phuket (September 24 to 27), also play an important role in drawing tourists in advance of the upcoming high season. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Teaching is dangerous

Posted by hasekamp on 21 September 2010 at 10:47 AM
Separatists have killed 135 teachers in southern Thailand over the past eight years in their efforts to rid the region of "Siamese infidels," a human rights group said Tuesday. Since January 2004, insurgents in Thailand's southernmost provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala have deliberately targeted school teachers in their fight against Thai rule. "Southern Thailand is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a teacher," Human Rights Watch (HRW) researcher Bede Sheppard said. A report titled Targets of Both Sides: Violence Against Students, Teachers and School in Thailand's Southern Border Provinces, said 135 school personnel had been killed and 121 injured. (Source: The Nation)


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No violence during red rally

Posted by hasekamp on 20 September 2010 at 15:18 PM
Mass red shirt gatherings in key cities throughout the country have gone off without major incidents. The biggest turnout yesterday was reported at Bangkok's Ratchaprasong intersection, the former focal point of the group during protests in April and May. Despite the day being free of incidents, the return of about 10,000 red shirts to Ratchaprasong has alarmed authorities that the anti-government movement could be regaining power. Members of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) converged in Bangkok and provinces considered red shirt strongholds: Chiang Mai, Phitsanulok, Phayao, Ubon Ratchathani, Ayutthaya, Rayong and Nakhon Si Thammarat. The red shirts timed the gathering, the group's strongest show of force since troops moved in to disperse their rally at Ratchaprasong on May 19, to coincide with the fourth anniversary of the Sept 19, 2006 coup that led to the ouster of Thaksin Shinawatra, seen as the UDD's main supporter. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Chinese Moon Festival

Posted by hasekamp on 18 September 2010 at 17:14 PM
The Chinese Moon Festival will be celebrated in Phuket with three nights of activities at Queen Sirikit Park on Thalang Road in Phuket Town, starting at 7pm on Monday. The event is organized by Phuket Municipality, the Muang District Culture Committee and the Old Phuket Foundation. Phuket Town Mayor Somjai Suwansupana announced details of the festival on Wednesday. “quot;The Moon Festival is held on the full-moon night of the eighth month of the Chinese Lunar calendar. The festival is being held to exhibit the beautiful culture of the people of Phuket and [to] promote tourism,”quot; she said. The event will feature handicraft demonstrations, local cuisine and staged song and dance performances from every tambon in Muang District. At midnight on September 22, there will be a moon-worship ceremony, with Chinese monks chanting for prosperity and peace. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Bangkok uninhabitable?

Posted by hasekamp on 17 September 2010 at 21:48 PM
Dr Ajong Chumsai na Ayudhya, a Thai scientist who has worked with the US space agency Nasa in the past, said yesterday that the areas around the Gulf of Thailand would be hit by tsunamis and that Bangkok would be under water in less than seven years. At a seminar yesterday about the impact of global warming on Chiang Mai residents, Ajong said humans were mainly to blame for such disasters because they were using up natural resources, chopping down forests and kept emitting greenhouse gases with no regard for the future. The United States is the biggest contributor to carbon dioxide at 30.2 per cent, followed by China at 30 per cent and India at 23 per cent, he said. Thailand was at rank 22 or 23 out of the 200 biggest emitters of CO2 in the world. With the current CO2 emission rate standing at 395 parts per million (ppm) from the previous 300ppm, he warned that greenhouse gases would increase and bring about inevitable changes. Ajong explained that over the past three decades the temperature has risen, with warmer seas killing coral reefs, glaciers melting, storms becoming stronger and earthquakes being of greater magnitude. So far there have been two significant changes to the Earth. Firstly, the planet's axis has shifted, changing weather patterns, and secondly, the Earth's crust has displaced, causing more frequent and more severe earthquakes and tsunami disasters. Thailand, which is located on the Eurasian Plate, will be affected, Ajong warned, adding that the Gulf of Thailand would be hit by tsunamis and affect the South very badly. Earthquakes within the 6-Richter scale and severe flooding would hit provinces in the North, such as Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phayao, Nan, Lampang and Uttaradit, he said. The Central region, namely Bangkok, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, Samut Prakan, Nonthaburi and Ayutthaya, would be under seawater, he said, adding that the capital would be uninhabitable in seven years. (Source:The Nation)


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Tight security for rally

Posted by hasekamp on 16 September 2010 at 23:01 PM
Bangkok city inspectors, or thetsakit, will work with police in guarding about 40 locations in the capital when supporters of the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship gather on Sunday. Bangkok Deputy Governor Theerachon Manomaipibul on Thursday confirmed the arrangement and asked Bangkokians to be on alert for any violence, riots and crime from now until Monday. The public are urged to inform authorities if they witness anything unusual, he said. He said the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and police are closely monitoring about 40 locations including subway and skytrain stations, houses of key figures and symbolic venues to prevent ill-intentioned people from inciting unrest. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Qatar comes to Phuket

Posted by hasekamp on 15 September 2010 at 11:55 AM
Qatar Airways will expand and strengthen its first and business class offerings with the addition of Phuket to the airline's Thailand routes. The daily service to and from Doha starts October 12. This is a major advance for Qatar, which will put the carrier into closer competition with the Middle Eastern giants who also offer first and business class services to Thailand, particularly Emirates and Etihad Airways. The route will fly through Kuala Lumpur and will make Qatar the first Middle East airline to fly to Phuket without transiting Bangkok. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Once more pirated goods destroyed

Posted by hasekamp on 15 September 2010 at 11:50 AM
Thai authorities used bulldozers to destroy more than 600,000 pirated goods, worth about Bt2.2 billion, in a ceremony at the Crime Suppression Division headquarters on Wednesday. The ceremony was presided over by Deputy Commerce Minister Alongkorn Polabutr.
Alongkorn said the bulldozers destroyed a total of 613,374 products including game machines, mobile phones, watches, shoes, CDs and DVDs. The products weighed about 90 tons and were worth Bt2.265 billion. This is the third ceremony held to destroying pirated goods so far this year, the minister said. The ceremony was witnessed by celebrities, singers, movie stars and owners of the violated brands. The destruction of the pirated products is aimed at preventing the pirated goods from being resold on the market, Alongkorn said, adding that the ceremony showed the transparency of the procedure. (Source: The Nation)


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Convention center in Phuket

Posted by hasekamp on 13 September 2010 at 14:46 PM
Work on a world-class conference and exhibition center for Phuket should begin next year and be ready to open by mid-2014, project consultants told two recent public hearings. The meetings about the proposed Phuket International Convention and Exhibition Center (Phuket-ICEC), planned for the island’#39;s northern tip, met with no serious opposition, but some concerns over environmental impact and infrastructure needs were voiced. The first hearing, held at the Mai Khao Tambon Administration Organization offices near the Tah Chat Chai checkpoint on August 31, was followed by a gathering at The Metropole hotel in Phuket Town the next day. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Decree back in Chiang Mai?

Posted by hasekamp on 13 September 2010 at 14:42 PM
The government will consider Chiang Mai authorities' call for the government to declare a state of emergency in the province again, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Monday. Mr Abhisit's comment came after a grenade exploded outside a construction company owned by the father in law of of Bhumjaithai Party powerbroker Newin Chidchob in Chiang Mai early on Sunday morning and the five grenades fired into an army camp in Chiang Mai's Mae Rim district on Thursday. He said it would not be necessary to reimpose the emergency rule in areas where the anti-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship planned to gather to mark the Sept 19, 2006 coup. However, local agencies can ask the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation to consider enforcing the decree in their areas, if needed. The red-shirt community radio stations had requested to be allowed on air again after they were shut down by the government during the red-shirt protests. The government would consider their requests in accordance with the law. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Baht at record high

Posted by hasekamp on 9 September 2010 at 21:53 PM
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva hinted that the baht could strengthen even further after rising to Bt30.84 per dollar yesterday, breaking a 13-year record. The baht's rapid appreciation prompted the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce economic forecasting centre to caution that the country could lose an estimated Bt100 billion in export and tourism revenues. Kasikorn Bank yesterday issued a forecast that the baht would likely appreciate to 30.2 per dollar by year-end and to 29.5 per dollar next year. Kiat Sithi-amorn, president of the Office of Thai Trade Representatives, said exporters should adjust themselves to the prevailing exchange rate, rather than expecting the baht to stay weak all the time. (Source: The Nation)


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New market in Phuket

Posted by hasekamp on 9 September 2010 at 21:48 PM
The new market on Ranong Road finally opened for business on Sunday, despite the refusal by a handful of holdout vendors to sign the contracts and occupy stalls they are entitled to. On the ground floor are stalls selling fresh meat, seafood and dry foods. Below, in the basement level, are small restaurants and vendors selling fresh fruit and vegetables. Surrounding the main market areas on both levels are stalls selling a variety of dry goods, souvenirs and snacks. The third and fourth floors are dedicated to parking. The entire project, including construction and relocating the vendors to a temporary market during the building period, has so far cost Phuket Town Municipality some 280 million baht. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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More attacks expected

Posted by hasekamp on 9 September 2010 at 21:32 PM
More attacks on the government are anticipated in the very near future, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Thursday. "Many people, including myself, have assessed the situation and decided we'll have to be more cautious over the next two weeks," Mr Abhisit said. He said the perpetrators wanted the attacks to be symbolic, to mark the fourth anniversary of the Sept 19 coup. "The political situation has intensified and there are people who do not want to see reconciliation in the country," he said. The government was not trying to create a scenario, or to incite violence, as an excuse to extend the use of the emergency decree, he said. The authorities were trying seriously to identify and arrest the culprits behind the on-going attacks. Those behind the violence wanted to link the attacks of the past few days with political factors. The political sector must shake off their plot, the prime minister said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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King tells military to ensure justice

Posted by hasekamp on 7 September 2010 at 16:44 PM
His Majesty the King yesterday told the military to ensure justice so that the country will survive any threats and perils. Military judges "must be honest and straightforward to maintain justice. Senior military officers have an important duty of maintaining order in the country," he told a group of newly-appointed court-martial judges and armed forces' judge advocates having a royal audience at Siriraj Hospital for a swearing-in ceremony. "Soldiers must maintain justice strictly and everything will be all right. If soldiers are strict about ensuring justice for the country, things will proceed well," he said. The King urged senior military officers to serve as good examples for their subordinates in performing their duties honestly and devotedly. He told new judge advocates to strictly keep their vow of honesty given before him yesterday. "Then our country will be able to survive any future threat and peril. If you perform your duty well, everything will go well. I wish you maintain justice so that the country will be in peace as you desire." (Source: The Nation)


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H1N1 may return

Posted by hasekamp on 6 September 2010 at 0:11 AM
The Public Health Ministry has warned of a widespread return of the 2009 flu virus after reports that two people in Lop Buri and Nonthaburi provinces died from the infection of the type-A (H1N1) virus last week, raising the death toll for this year to 57.
About 260 people have been hit with the flu-like symptoms in the last two weeks, lifting the number of infected cases this year to 8,442. Recent cases have been reported in 20 provinces between August 15-28, including : Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom, Samut Prakan, Lop Buri, Sa Kaew, Sing Buri, Prachin Buri, Rayong, Chon Buri, Ayutthaya, Uthai Thani, Sukhothai, Phayao, Nakhon Sawan, Chiang Rai, Maha Sarakham, Roi Et,Si Sa Ket, Khon Kaen, Kalasin,Udon Thani, Nakhon Ratchasima, Pattani, and Songkhla. According to a flu infection surveillance report during August 22-28 from 710 hospitals across the country, 232 hospitals in 68 provinces saw an increase in the number of patients with influenza-like illness to over 10 percent, exceeding the standard ratio of 5 percent or lower. The 2009 flu virus spread through Thailand in April that year and infected 30,336 cases and killed 197. (Source: The Nation)


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Three candidates for World Expo

Posted by hasekamp on 5 September 2010 at 18:13 PM
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva will announce in Shanghai on Sunday Thailand's bid to host the 2020 World Expo - with Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai and Chon Buri vying for the honour. The winner will be named by year's end and today we take a look at the three candidates.
- Chon Buri is banking on its world-class meeting facilities and Pattaya's position on the tourism map to ensure it is chosen as Thailand's proposed venue for the 2020 World Expo. The province aims to capitalise on Pattaya's exposure among international travellers, proximity to Bangkok and experience hosting past international events. A 1,500-rai plot of land has been earmarked for the event near Thammasat University's Pattaya campus, Pattaya Country Club & Resort Golf Courses and Bira Circuit, Thailand's only internationally certified race track.
- Ayutthaya reckons its strengths lie in its modern infrastructure, easy access to the capital and cultural heritage. Located about 75km from the capital, the province is an hour by car from Bangkok connected by highway No9. Five other main roads make it accessible to the rest of the country. Visitors to Expo would also have a choice of travelling to the province by boat along the Chao Phraya, Pasak and Lop Buri rivers. Ayutthaya envisages the Expo site would cover about 4,000 rai of land. Between 1,000 and 1,500 rai belonging to the Bang Sai Arts and Crafts Training Centre in Bang Sai district would be designated as the main site. Another 3,000 rai of land would be earmarked for non-core events.
- Chiang Mai's governor says that the province's close proximity to regional economic powers makes it an ideal choice to host the 2020 World Expo. Governor Amonphan Nimanan said the province's location near member countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) and Bangladesh-India-Sri Lanka-Thailand Economic Cooperation (BIST-EC) economic pacts give it an edge. The province is also easily accessible by road and air, he said. Mr Amonphan said Chiang Mai is a centre for trade, investment and transportation with logistical links to GMS and the BIST-EC members. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Oil spill near Phuket

Posted by hasekamp on 5 September 2010 at 18:01 PM
A Third Naval Area Command reconnaissance has found no additional oil spill from boat which sank yesterday off Phuket, but dispatched a naval vessel to help clean up oil spill which leaked from from the sunken ship. Chief of Staff Rear Admiral Nawin Thananate said that the sunken ship, the Choke Thaworn 6, was modified with a license registered legally. The ship, containing about four fuel tanks with a capacity of about 35,000-40,000 litres, sank about 10 metres beneath the surface. He said the third Naval Area Command sent a ship to help the cleanup with about 4,000 litres of chemicals provided by energy corporation PTT and the navy. Officials from agencies concerned including the Marine Police and the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources inspected the site where the ship sank and collected water samples for laboratory tests. The latest survey on Sunday found oil spill decreased to a level of one fifth or 20 per cent of the amount of oil spill when the accident occurred. It spread around the area where the ship sank, but did not spill additionally from the ship's tanks. (Source: MCOT online news)


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Tsunami drill

Posted by hasekamp on 4 September 2010 at 16:37 PM
The National Disaster Warning Center (NDWC) has announced that a full-scale tsunami evacuation drill will be conducted simultaneously in the six Andaman coast provinces on September 13. All 127 tsunami warning towers in the region will be sounded from 9:30am to 10:30am. The 19 towers in Phuket are located at: Mai Khao, Nai Yang, Bang Tao, Kamala, Patong, Kata, Karon, Kata Noi, Nai Harn, Rawai, Ao Por, Laem Tukkae, Saphan Hin, Chalong Bay, Ao Yon, Koh Lon and Koh Racha. While all 19 towers in Phuket will sound the alarm, there will be only one government-agency co-ordinated evacuation drill: at Loma Park in Patong. In the other Andaman provinces, evacuation drills will be conducted at the tsunami memorial at Ban Nam Kem in Takuapa District, Phang Nga; at Ao Nang in Krabi; at Ban Bang Ben in Kapur District, Ranong; at Samran Beach in Trang; and at Tanyongpo School in La-ngu District in Satun. The NDWC encourages all Phuket residents and tourists to take part in the drill. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Promoting the country internationally

Posted by hasekamp on 4 September 2010 at 16:25 PM
The government is launching its "Thailand in your mind" project as part of an attempt to invite citizen input on how brand Thailand should be promoted internationally. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday presided over a ceremony to kick off the campaign at the Foreign Ministry. The campaign urges citizens to vote for which image of Thailand they want the government to promote internationally. Four choices are offered:
- Thailand as a country of open-minded people with a positive attitude.
- Thailand as a country with local wisdom that is still open to the world.
- Thailand as the place where business, culture and nature converge into one destination.
- Thailand as a hub for investment and exemplary service.
Voting started yesterday and will continue until Sep 24, and can be done via the post, text messaging, and through many online venues including Facebook and Twitter. Full details are available on ThailandBranding.org. In addition, the Foreign Ministry has printed 4 million ballots for the project that are available at selected 7-Eleven, stores, Bangkok Bank branches, MK restaurants and Thailand Post. The ministry will advertise the campaign through several media such as television, newspapers, local cable stations, stickers, billboards as well as conducting roadshows in provinces. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Phuket land owned by small group

Posted by hasekamp on 2 September 2010 at 11:28 AM
Land ownership in Phuket is highly concentrated in the hands of a relatively small group of wealthy landowners, according to a prominent Thammasat University economics professor. Prof Duangmani Laowakul, a member of the watch-dog committee Policy Watch, said the top 50 largest landholders in Phuket control 14.3% of the island's total area. A report reveals to some extent the concentration of wealth in Thailand. It also hints at the failure of meaningful land reform in this nation of farmers – and suggests that the inaction of successive governments in overhauling Thailand's land tax structure and enforcing tax collection is purely a matter of self-interest on the part of those in power. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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No rest, no elections

Posted by hasekamp on 2 September 2010 at 11:15 AM
A general election will not be called as long as there is disorder in the country, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Wednesday. His statement came a day after The state-run National Broadcasting Service of Thailand (NBT) Channel 11 television station was attacked with an M79 grenade. The blast, which caused no injuries, occurred in the car park in front of the buildings housing the national broadcaster about 1.45pm. It damaged a van and four sedans. "What happened will be taken into consideration when I make decisions relating to the election. I have said before that people's confidence will have to be restored before an election is held," he said. However, Mr Abhisit said he does not believe that those who were behind the attack have the intention to delay the election. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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