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Death toll now 101

Posted by hasekamp on 31 October 2010 at 10:48 AM
The number of people who have died in the floods has risen to 101, as the government warns people to be more careful in the water. Some of the deaths could have been avoided, officials suggested yesterday, as one agency started an inquiry into why so many people have died. Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanavisit said 90 of the total were found drowned while officials were investigating whether the other 11 died in flood-related incidents. Chatree Charoencheewakul, secretary-general of the Emergency Medical Institute of Thailand, said most of the deaths were caused by drowning and electric shock. "People should be aware of the dangers of flooding. Many people are careless in the water, despite the fact that they can't swim. "Some are careless when using electrical equipment or while fishing in the floods," he said. He said most of the deaths were in areas where flooding is rare, such as Nakhon Ratchasima and Lop Buri. People in such areas may lack swimming skills. "This is not a small issue but a national concern. The Disease Control Department and the institute are studying the cause behind the large number of deaths resulting from the floods," he said. He said the institute will teach Thais how to swim, particularly children. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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First peace, then votes

Posted by hasekamp on 31 October 2010 at 10:44 AM
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said in his “quot;Confidence in Thailand with PM Abhisit”quot; weekly programme on Channel 11 on Sunday morning that the general election will take place only after peace is in place. Mr Abhisit did not say whether the fresh election is to be held early or late next year. “quot;It depends of the political situation. If the country does have peace and order, all political parties reach agreements on election rules and anti-government groups stop movement, the election will definitely take place”quot;, he said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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First peace, then votes

Posted by hasekamp on 31 October 2010 at 10:44 AM
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said in his “quot;Confidence in Thailand with PM Abhisit”quot; weekly programme on Channel 11 on Sunday morning that the general election will take place only after peace is in place. Mr Abhisit did not say whether the fresh election is to be held early or late next year. “quot;It depends of the political situation. If the country does have peace and order, all political parties reach agreements on election rules and anti-government groups stop movement, the election will definitely take place”quot;, he said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Heavy rain in the South

Posted by hasekamp on 31 October 2010 at 10:42 AM
The Meteorological Department on Sunday issued an official warning advising people in southern provinces to brace themselves for heavy rains and possible flashfloods from tomorrow to Wednesday. The provinces at risk of flooding are Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Patthalung, Songkhla, Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, Krabi Trang, and Satun. The department also warned of high tides in the Gulf of Thailand and that the small fishing boats should not go out to the open sea. The department avised the people to closely follow its weather forecasts. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Flood death toll 94

Posted by hasekamp on 29 October 2010 at 13:11 PM
Thailand’#39;s flood death toll rose to 94 persons, including 78 men and 16 women in almost three weeks of flooding, the Emergency Medical Institute of Thailand reported on Friday. The highest number of deaths were recorded at 18 in the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima, followed by 12 in Nakhon Sawan, 11 in Lopburi and seven in Ayutthaya. The national Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department reported that the floods continued in 27 provinces and had returned to normal in 11 provinces. About 3,000 businesses and some 250,000 employees have been affected while 306 schools have been flooded. In Bangkok, the water level in the Chao Phraya River will reach its peak at 2.02 metres at 12.45 pm at the Royal Thai Navy headquarters on Friday, according to the Hydrographic Department. In Nonthaburi, adjacent to Bangkok, the flood water at Sawang-arom temple is about ten centimeters higher that during the severe flood in 1995. Across the river, Koh Kret, a small island and cultural tourist site in Nonthaburi, the chest-deep flood water caused tourist numbers dropped from some 500-1,000 on weekends to only 300-500 visitors now. In the hardest-hit province of Nakhon Ratchasima, the water level in the Mun River has dropped 5-6 centimetres. In the northeastern province of Ubon Ratchathani, authorities are on alert as the rising water from the Chee and Mun rivers will converge in Ubon Ratchathani during November 2-10. However, Royal Irrigation Department director-general Chalit Damrongsak said that the water will overflow its banks by not more than 60 centimetres due to effective water management of the two rivers upstream. Mr Chalit inspected the water level in Ubon Ratchathani on Friday as it stayed at 7.02 metres. He said floodwaters flowing into Ubon Ratchathani next week will have little impact on local residents. (Source: MCOT online news)


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PM promises election

Posted by hasekamp on 28 October 2010 at 14:45 PM
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has confirmed he plans to call a general election before his government's term of office expires at the end of next year. Mr Abhisit said be would dissolve the House of Representatives to make way for a snap poll. "There will be elections for sure next year," he told an economic forum yesterday. "The government has no plan to stay in office and complete its term." Mr Abhisit said he did not mind losing the election if it could bring peace and order to the nation. "I don't want to win on the nation's bloodshed," the Democrat Party leader said. He said he would try his best in the meantime to minimise risks to people's security and ensure peace and political stability. The prime minister said after the forum he could not be specific about the month when the election would be held next year. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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More than 3 million people affected

Posted by hasekamp on 27 October 2010 at 11:07 AM
Flooding has affected at least 1,091,515 households, and more than 3.2 million people, in 289 districts of 36 provinces since Oct 10, the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department reported on Wednesday. The department said 47 people were confirmed to have lost their lives from more than two weeks of flooding. The figure was different from those of the Emergency Medical Institute of Thailand at the Ministry of Public Health which earlier this morning reported that the confirmed death toll from the flooding rose to 59, from 56 reported on Tuesday. The floodwaters in 11 provinces had receded, leaving 25 cities in the Central Plains, North, Northeast and East facing the flood havoc. These provinces are Kampaeng Petch, Uthai Thani, Chainat, Nakhon Sawan, Sing Buri, Ang Thong, Suphan Buri, Ayutthaya, Sara Buri, Lop Buri, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom, Chachoengsao, Prachin Buri, Samut Prakarn, Nakhon Ratchasima, Chaiyabhum, Si Sa Ket, Surin, Buri Ram, Khon Kaen, Kalasin, Maha Sarakham and Ubon Ratchathani. It is estimated that about 3.47 million rai of farmland and paddy fields have been damaged by the flooding. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Preventing flooding at Suvarnabhumi

Posted by hasekamp on 27 October 2010 at 11:04 AM
Measures are in place to guard against flooding at Suvarnabhumi, the international airport's general manager Anirut Thanomkulbutra said on Wednesday. These include a 3.5-metre-high 23.5 kilometre flood wall around the airport and ponding areas to store up to 4.6 million cubic metres of water, he said. High-powered pumps were ready in case of emergency on both the western and eastern sides of the airport. They pumps can drain one million cubic metres of water a day, he said. Airports of Thailand, the majority state-owned company that operates Suvarnabhumi, has set a goal that water levels in the area must not exceed 140 centimetres above mean sea level, he said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Death toll now 56

Posted by hasekamp on 27 October 2010 at 11:01 AM
The toll of flood-related deaths climbed to 56 yesterday. Of these, 49 people had drowned, the Public Health Ministry reported. Moreover, about 121 people in flood affected areas are now facing severe depression because their homes have been seriously damaged by floodwaters. As well, 170,000 people have suffered from waterborne diseases, the ministry said. Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said flood-related diseases affected 141,918 people between October 20 and October 25. Most of them suffered from athlete's foot, followed by flu and fatigue. The Emergency Medical Institute reported a total of 56 flood-related deaths from October 15 to October 25 in 17 provinces. About 60 per cent of the casualties came from drowning in floodwater.
We agree with the Bangkok Post, reporting yesterday in its "Morning Focus" in English on tv, that is is a bit strange that the PM said yesterday that "everytthing was under control". (Source: The Nation)


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Bangkok survived ... not yet

Posted by hasekamp on 27 October 2010 at 10:55 AM
Bangkok survived yesterday's "perfect storm" scenario - when a combination of rain, runoff from the North and peak seasonal tides failed to raise the Chao Phraya River beyond its 2.5m-high flood barriers - but residents in riverside areas in other provinces weren't so lucky. City officials remain wary about further rain and runoff from the North, as the capital faces another high tide period from November 6-10. Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute director Royol Chitradon has suggested that runoff from the North be diverted to areas upstream and that water be released from dams at a lower rate - just as the Royal Irrigation Department said before the tidal peak yesterday. HM the King had on Saturday instructed Rajaprachanukroh Foundation chairman Dissathorn Watcharothai to find ways to prepare for a major flood in Ubon Ratchathani, which would take place in three days and be worse than the Nakhon Ratchasima and Bangkok flood. Bangkok Governor M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra yesterday inspected the flooding by helicopter yesterday. He was told that the river rose to 2.1 metres at Pak Klong Talad - less than the expected 2.3 metres. Water being released from the Chao Phraya and Rama 6 dams was flowing into the river at a rate of 4,652 cubic metres a second. After his flight over Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Ayutthaya and Samut Prakan, Sukhumbhand expressed sympathy for flood victims, especially those in Ayutthaya. He said it would be a while before the water would recede, but the city was ready to help solve problems on request, as it was clear the situation in Bangkok was controllable today. In the meantime city officials would work closely with the Royal Irrigation Department to manage runoff from the North so the amount of water released would be lower than 5,000 cubic metres a second, he said.
Upriver, several provinces in the Chao Phraya basin continued to suffer flooding. (Source: The Nation)


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Today critical for flooding

Posted by hasekamp on 26 October 2010 at 12:18 PM
The Bangkok Governor has asked Irrigation Department officials not to let out excess water from dams upriver, as the Chao Phraya reached a critical level in the capital yesterday. Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra said Bangkok would be submerged if the flow into the Chao Phraya reached 5,000 cubic metres a second. The Pak Klong Talad station measured the river at 1.97 metres above mean sea level yesterday, with the current at 4,573 cubic metres a second. While the amount of water flowing into the river remained controllable, he admitted the situation in Bangkok was critical, as a high tide was expected this morning at 1.17 metres. This would make the river rise to 2.22.3 metres over the mean sea level. Sukhumbhand urged people not to panic, saying the city had means to tackle floods and related agencies were monitoring water levels around the clock. He said he had asked the Royal Irrigation Department not to release more than 5,000 cubic metres a second for a period of 24 hours. The city would also contact the Department of Rural Roads for permission to improve the floodprone area under Sathorn Bridge with city funds, he said. Sukhumbhand would inspect risky areas by helicopter this morning. (Source: The Nation)


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High speed trains

Posted by hasekamp on 26 October 2010 at 11:57 AM
The joint parliamentary meeting on Tuesday morning approved a proposed draft framework of Thailand-China negotiations to construct a high speed train system in Thailand. The meeting voted 295 to 10 in favour of the draft framework approved by the cabinet last month. Transport Minister Sohpon Zarum said the government wanted to invest with China in particular, because the Beijing had been successful in developing high-speed rail routes in Laos. He said the government might take about four to five years to study the details of the project. Further studies will have to done to determine the project's feasibility and construction sites. The high-speed rail network will be a government-to-government project, he said. The three proposed high-speed rail routes, with an investment value of about 480 billion baht, are: Bangkok-Nong Khai, Bangkok-Rayong, and Bangkok-Padang Besar on the Malaysian border. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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HM pays respects to King Rama V

Posted by hasekamp on 25 October 2010 at 19:13 PM
His Majesty the King, on Friday, has marked the 100th anniversary of his grandfather's death by paying his respects to the statue of King Rama V at Siriraj Hospital. After laying flowers in front of the statue, His Majesty paid respects to the statues of other deceased members of the royal family. Wearing a pink-striped shirt and a pink suit jacket, the King smiled and waved to a crowd of hundreds chanting "Long Live the King". The King, who was accompanied by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, photographed spectators as he moved to the hospital's pier where he spent 20 minutes observing the water level on the Chao Phraya River. He has been closely monitoring the flood crisis, checking maps to evaluate the situation daily, said Chai Pattana Foundation secretary Sumeth Tantivejjakul. His Majesty was admitted to Siriraj Hospital with a lung infection in September of last year and has remained there for physical therapy. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Princess visits Korat

Posted by hasekamp on 25 October 2010 at 19:09 PM
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn visited people who have been affected by heavy flooding in Nakhon Ratchasima's Chaloem Phra Kiat district on Monday. Nakhon Ratchasima governor Rapee Pongbuppakit said the princess was concerned about the flood situation and donated 300 survival kits to the affected residents.
Meanwhile the death toll in connection to the flooding has risen to 41. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Flooding death toll around 30

Posted by hasekamp on 24 October 2010 at 17:03 PM
State agencies yesterday reported different death tolls from flood crisis in various parts of the country. The Emergency Medical Institute reported a total of 32 flood-related deaths from October 10-23, with Nakhon Ratchasima and Buri Ram both having six deaths each. But the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department said some 25 people were killed in floods and one person was missing from October 10-23. The Emergency Medical Institute reported in its website that 32 people died after being swept away by floods or killed in accidents as vehicles were carried away by swift torrents. Nakhon Ratchasima and Buri Ram had the most deaths at six cases each followed by five in Lop Buri, while there were three deaths in Khon Kaen and Phetchabun, two deaths in Rayong and Chaiyaphum, and single fatalities in Sa Kaew, Ayutthaya, Trat, Saraburi and Nonthaburi. Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department chief Wiboon Sanguanpong said yesterday that the agency had concluded that from October 10-23, more than 1,45 million people in 196 districts in 30 provinces had been affected by flooding. He put the death toll at 25 with one person missing. (Source: The Nation)


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Rising water in Chao Phraya

Posted by hasekamp on 24 October 2010 at 17:00 PM
he water level in the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok rose about 20 centimetres higher to 1.98 metres on Sunday morning but the situation was still under control, Bangkok officials said. There was some water seeping through the flood barriers. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration would ask riverside residents to evacuate if the water level continued rising. The runoff from the North had slowed down but the flood situation could also worsen due to full-moon tides and potential rainfall. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Chao Phraya may flood Sunday and Monday

Posted by hasekamp on 22 October 2010 at 12:30 PM
The water level in the Chao Phraya river is expected to peak on Oct 24 and 25 because of water run off from the North and high tides, Royal Irrigation Department director-general Chalit Damrongsak said on Friday. Mr Chalit said water was being released from the Chao Phraya dam in Chai Nat province at 2,872 cubic metres per second and the Pasak Jolasid dam in Lop Buri at 1,200 cubic metres per second. The volume of water flowing into the Chao Phraya river at Bang Sai in Ayutthaya was about 3,081 cubic metres per second, he said. Mr Chalit admitted that his figure was different from the estimate of 4,600 cubic metres per second made by Bangkok Metropolitan Administration's drainage and sewerage department. "No matter what, more water is flowing into the Chao Phraya and the water level is expected to be particularly high on Oct 24 and 25 when it will be pushed up by the high tides from the sea," he said. He said flood walls along both sides of the river from Ayutthaya down to Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi should be raised to more than 2m high. The department's floodwater monitoring centre reported that water had begun to flow from parts of Nakhon Ratchasima province into the Moon river. It was expected to reach Chumphon Buri, Tha Tum and Rattanaburi districts of Surin province in two to five days. People living along both sides of the Mun River in these districts of Surin should prepare for flooding and move their belongings, animals and vehicles to high grounds, Mr Chalit said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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All Korat districts flooded

Posted by hasekamp on 22 October 2010 at 12:26 PM
All 32 districts of Nakhon Ratchasima have been flooded and the death toll in the province is five, the provincial flood relief centre reported on Friday. The centre said more than 300,000 people had been affected and more than 450,000 rai of farmland devastated. Hardest hit were Pak Thong Chai, Muang, Chok Chai, Sung Noen and Phi Mai districts. The volume of water in the Lam Ta Khong dam reservoir was 314 million cubic metres, 62 million cubic metres more than its capacity. Floodwaters had begun to recede in Muang and Pak Thong Chai districts, but remained unchanged in all 12 tambons of Phi Mai district. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Bangkok to inundate too

Posted by hasekamp on 21 October 2010 at 15:22 PM
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) on Wednesday ordered all districts to brace for flooding, with the first surge down the Chao Phraya River from the north expected to reach the capital this evening and high tides predicted later this week. City clerk Charoenrat Chukarn said the BMA expects 1,300 households in 27 communities along the river will be flooded with high tides from Saturday to next Tuesday. Mr Charoenrat said he expected the flooding this year will be more severe than recent years. The BMA has organised staff and relief equipment, he said, and will also provide temporary refuges for affected people. The confirmed death toll from flooding in the Central, Northeast and East regions climbed to 12 on Wednesday, the Interior Ministry reported. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Heavy flooding in Korat

Posted by hasekamp on 21 October 2010 at 15:19 PM
Hundreds of villagers in Nakhon Ratchasima remain without help despite authorities stepping up relief efforts to cope with the devastating and deadly flooding now ravaging more areas of the Northeast and Central Plains. The deputy director-general of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Chatpong Chatphuti, said yesterday 11 people had been killed and one person was missing from Oct 10 to 19 in the floods sweeping across the country. The death toll stands at four in Buri Ram, three in Nakhon Ratchasima, two in Lop Buri and one each in Rayong and Trat. The missing person was reported in Nakhon Ratchasima. Although floods in central Nakhon Ratchasima have begun to recede in some areas, the water level yesterday was still very high in many communities, hindering aid efforts by state officials and volunteers. Many resorted to swimming or wading through the flood waters to get help. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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PM wants flooding solution

Posted by hasekamp on 21 October 2010 at 15:15 PM
City planning needs to be well managed to address flood problems in the long run, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said after visiting the flood-hit province of Lop Buri on Thursday. "A project must be developed to handle all water issues such as water drainage, construction that obstructs the flow of water and city planning," Mr Abhisit said. "Local administrative organisations and the Interior Ministry are responsible for these tasks." The prime minister said rectifying the flood situation in the northern, northeastern and central regions is determined by how much more rain falls, how fast the waters drain and the high tides. People should listen to the weather reports closely and all agencies should promptly inform the people of the situation. "The government's moves to facilitate financial transactions has helped people in flooded areas. Each agency can still work and there is no need to integrate them yet," he said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Serious flooding in Korat

Posted by hasekamp on 17 October 2010 at 14:46 PM
Nakhon Ratchasima has been hit with its "worst flood in 50 years", forcing the provincial governor to declare Muang, Sung Noen, Pak Chong and a dozen other districts disaster zones. After two days of continuous downpours, several sections of Mitraparp Highway in Pak Chong and Sung Noen districts were a metre underwater yesterday with small vehicles unable to get through. This caused severe traffic jams and forced motorists driving to Bangkok to use other routes. Some 2,000 villagers were evacuated from Pak Chong district to higher ground after water runoff from Khao Yai National Park began to hit their homes late on Friday. Officials from the Fine Arts Department rushed to drain water from around Phimai Historical Park, where over 3,000 rai of farmland was under water, as they feared the flood would ruin the site if it remained too long. (Source: The Nation)


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Pangolins seized

Posted by hasekamp on 17 October 2010 at 14:43 PM
Customs officers arrested a Thai man and seized 106 Malayan pangolins worth Bt1 million bound for Laos at a Phetchkasem Highway checkpoint in Prachuap Khiri Khan's Thab Sakae district on Friday. Customs' Investigation and Suppression Bureau chief Seri Thaijongrak told a press conference yesterday a pickup truck driven by Winyu Sriphuttha was stopped at the checkpoint and officials found the pangolins in 45 plastic boxes. Winyu reportedly confessed to bringing the animals from Songkhla's Hat Yai district to deliver at the Nong Khai border, so the protected species could be smuggled to Laos. Pangolins are protected animals, used for dubious "medical" parctices (Source: The Nation)


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Reds in Ayutthaya

Posted by hasekamp on 17 October 2010 at 14:38 PM
Supporters of the red-shirt movement from different provinces started gathering at a football stadium in Ayutthaya province on Sunday morning, reports said. The red-shirts led by the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship gathered to take part in anti-government activities. They planned to gathered at Pridi Thamrong bridge at about 3 pm to erect red flags in honour of late former prime minister Pridi Panomyong before returning to the provincial stadium at 5pm. The UDD supporters will return to the provincial stadium at 5pm and will organise fireworks during the night. The gathering was set to end at 10pm. About 2,400 policemen were deployed to oversee security at the rally. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Bangkok Eye

Posted by hasekamp on 14 October 2010 at 16:06 PM
The so-called Bangkok Eye will become one of the world's tallest Ferris wheels, surpassing even Britain's famous London Eye, a deputy Bangkok governor said yesterday. The Bt30-billion structure will be built at a site near the bank of the Chao Phya River, Pornthep Techapaibul said yesterday. As per the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration's plan, the Bangkok Eye will stand at 176 metres, compared to the London Eye, which is 135m tall. The contract will be awarded to a private company, while the BMA will provide the location. The first location nominated is a plot owned by ThaiBev owner Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi near Charoen Krung Road along the Chao Phya River and the second site proposed is within the Queen Sirikit Centre compound. Just like the London Eye, which is located by the Thames River in the British capital, the Bangkok Eye should also be placed next to the Chao Phya. The BMA has set up a working committee on the Bangkok Eye project, chaired by deputy governor Thaya Theepasuwan, who will soon call a meeting between officials who look after the London Eye officials and the BMA. (Source: The Nation)


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Troops all around Bangkok

Posted by hasekamp on 14 October 2010 at 16:02 PM
Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha has ordered deployment of troops in 1,868 communities in all 50 districts of Bangkok and nearby provinces for civic action, intelligence collecion and prevention of bombings and sabotage, an army source said. Gen Prayuth's order follows the explosion at Saman Metta Mansion apartments in Nonthaburi on Oct 5, in which four people were killed, including the suspected bombmaker, and nine wounded. Intelligence agencies were convinced there could be more sabotage attempts and bombings of important installations, the source said. The troops are drawn from three main units - the 1st Infantry Division, 2nd Cavalry Division, and the army's Air Defence Command. The operation covers all 50 districts of Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan where the emergency decree is still in force. The army chief's order is for the troops to develop relations with the local people so that they can act as the eyes and ears of the authorities. Each main force has been ordered to set up a rapid deployment company capable of reaching any location where a violent incident occurs in 15 minutes. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Cambodia denies training camp for reds

Posted by hasekamp on 12 October 2010 at 16:20 PM
Cambodia has again denied claims that it provided a training camp for red-shirt supporters planning assassinations in Thailand. Cambodian government spokesman Khieu Kanharith has quoted by AP news wire, saying: "Why would we need to do this? Cambodia would receive absolutely no benefit from training these people." "Cambodia strongly rejects these allegations," he said on Tuesday. His response came after an investigator of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) Phayao Thongsen said on Monday 11 people arrested in a raid on a resort in Chiang Mai on Oct 2 claimed they and 28 other individuals underwent weapons training at Siem Reap. Pol Lt Col Phayao said a plot to assassinate high-profile figures, including former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban, was among the group's alleged missions. According to Pol Lt Col Phayao, the 11 suspects said the training took three weeks. They were shown anti-monarchy videos during the first week, the second week involved lessons in general weapons knowledge, while the final week involved actual hands-on use of weapons. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Not ready for English as second language

Posted by hasekamp on 11 October 2010 at 14:41 PM
It's too soon to declare English the second language for teaching in schools, Office of the Education Council (OEC) secretary-general Tongthong Chandransu said recently. News reports late last week said the Education Ministry planned to declare English the second language in schools on October 22. But Tongthong denied there would be declarations related to the issue on October 22, as reported by the media. "The education reform policy committee, chaired by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has discussed improving or upgrading English language teaching in educational institutions. But the committee has not yet reached a conclusion of how to develop the teaching," Tongthong said. (Source: The Nation)


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UN: Child porn should end!

Posted by hasekamp on 11 October 2010 at 14:38 PM
The UN Children's Fund (Unicef) on Monday urged the Thai government to crack down on child pornography, which is widely available in Bangkok.
"The sale of such material is a blatant and serious violation of children's rights, and it must not be tolerated for another day," said Tomoo Hozumi, the Unicef representative in Thailand. Despite the media exposure, there has been no crackdown on the illicit trade. Street stall operators are said to pay the police monthly fees for permission to use public sidewalks for their trade, often in illegal items such as pornography and pirated DVDs and CDs. "Thailand has made great progress in protecting children from sexual exploitation and other forms of abuse," Hozumi said. "But by not responding quickly to these reports, it is in danger of damaging its reputation as a country that is working hard to stop the exploitation of children." Selling pornographic material is a criminal offence in Thailand carrying a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment and a maximum fine of 6,000 baht (200 dollars). (Source: The Nation)


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Red gathering at prison

Posted by hasekamp on 11 October 2010 at 14:33 PM
Supporters of the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) plan to gather outside Bangkok Remand Prison on Tuesday, calling for the release of political protesters detained under the emergency decree over the past six months, acting Bangkok police chief Chakthip Chaijinda said. Pol Maj Gen Chakthip said on Monday police will implement the same security measures used during the recent gatherings, but will evaluate the situation again to determine the number of officers to be deployed. He said the police are concerned that a third party could try to create unrest during the gathering and that the situation would be difficult to control during the night. The police were satisfied with the red-shirt gathering yesterday as the situation was under control. Some road lanes had to be closed because of the large number of people at the rally. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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PM expects more bombs

Posted by hasekamp on 9 October 2010 at 15:31 PM
October marks the anniversary of several political revolts against past military and civilian governments. Mr Abhisit believes that attacks may be launched to mark these events, and that the trouble could spill over into next month. He insisted, however, that security officials have a "clearer picture" of who is behind the attacks. "The police have managed to find some useful links between incidents," he said yesterday. "They now have a clearer picture of which groups they should target. Naturally, the instigators will try to eliminate the connections so that we won't be able to reach the real masterminds. "The authorities will have to prosecute existing cases and launch proactive measures to enhance the results so that they can get at the whole network," Mr Abhisit said during a visit to the Bangkok Post. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Best toilets in Bangkok

Posted by hasekamp on 8 October 2010 at 14:28 PM
Think of it what you want, but the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) yesterday gave "Best Toilet of the Year" awards to organisations including: Wat Pathumwararam School, Wat Pathumwararam, Suan Siam, Klong Sam Wa District Office, Ajarn Mallika restaurant, Bangkok University's Kluaynam Thai campus, Phyathai 1 Hospital, Bang Khen train station, and the PTT Expressway gas station. Deputy Bangkok Governor Malinee Sukvejchavarakit, who presided over the award ceremony yesterday, said only 10 per cent of the toilets at Bangkok gas stations and schools met health standards. As a result, the city would invite 12 target groups in public places to improve their toilets to meet health standards of facility cleanliness, toilet supply sufficiency, special toilets for the disabled, elderly and pregnant women, and public users' convenience and safety. (Source: The Nation)


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Free WiFi in Phuket Town parks

Posted by hasekamp on 7 October 2010 at 15:48 PM
Phuket City Municipality is now providing free Wi-Fi internet access at Saphan Hin and testing a similar service at Queen Sirikit Park on Thalang Road. The TOT has signed a contract to provide 24-hour access in both areas for three years, the municipality agreeing to paying 180,000 baht annually for the service. Phuket City Mayor Somjai Suwansupapana said the project targets an initial 600 users a month, with each user expected to stay online for about two hours per session. “quot;We expect Phuket to become a ‘learning society’#39;,”quot; she said. The TOT began testing the service on October 1. The Saphan Hin service is already operational, while the service at Queen Sirikit Park is expected to be up and running "soon". (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Nonthaburi bomb-maker dead

Posted by hasekamp on 7 October 2010 at 15:44 PM
Examination of fingerprints confirms that a body found after the explosion in a Nonthaburi apartment building on Tuesday was Samai Wongsuwan, a suspected bomber who rented room 202 of the Saman Metta Mansion in Bang Bua Thong, police spokesman Pol Maj-Gen Prawut Thawornsiri said on Thursday. The bodies of three victims were also found among the wreckage on Tuesday. Police said earlier that Samai was a fervent red-shirt and fierce supporter of Thaksin Shinawatra. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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PAD case once more postponed

Posted by hasekamp on 7 October 2010 at 15:40 PM
The prosecution on Thursday deferred until Dec 7 a decision whether to indict nine leaders of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) in connection with the 193-day seizure of Government House in 2008. Maj-Gen Chamlong Srimuang, Sondhi Limthongkul, Pibhop Dhongchai, Somsak Kosaisuk, Somkiat Pongpaiboon and four other PAD leaders have been charged with illegal assembly and causing a public disturbance. Director-general of the Criminal Litigation Department Kaiyasit Pissawongprakan said the postponement was necessary because prosecutors handling the case were still waiting for reports on the police questioning of additional defence witnesses requested by the accused. However, if the color of your shirt is red, you can count on a speedy trial. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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English second language

Posted by hasekamp on 7 October 2010 at 15:36 PM
The Education Ministry plans to declare English the second language for teaching and learning in schools with an aim to enable Thai people of the new generation to communicate with other people in Asean and world communities in English, Chinaworn Boonyakiat said on Thursday. The education minister said he had discussed this matter with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij. A plan to develop learning and teaching in English is being drafted by the Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC), he said. Mr Chinaworn said in order to successfully carry out the plan it is necessary to have foreign teachers from countries using English as the mother language for all schools for Mathayom 4-6 level (Grades 10-12). Schools for Mathayom 1-3 level (Grade 7-9) should at least have Thai teachers majoring in English. Elementary schools should also have more English teachers, he said.
For problems to be expected with Thai pupils, to learn English, using the Thai alphabet, we point at http://www.hasekamp.net/language.htm . (Source: The Bangkok Post, except for the last sentence).


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Flash floods are coming

Posted by hasekamp on 5 October 2010 at 15:07 PM
Weather officials are warning people in the central, eastern and upper southern regions to brace for flash floods as heavy rains continue to wreak havoc in provinces bordering Burma. People in Kanchanaburi, Ratchaburi, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan have been warned of potential flooding. Torsak Wanitkhachorn, a deputy chief of the Meteorological Department, said widespread rainfall covering many parts of the country was caused by a depression located yesterday about 200km east of Mukdahan in the Northeast. The downpours have caused flash floods in many areas, particularly in Ratchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Phetchaburi, which share a border with Burma. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Decree renewed

Posted by hasekamp on 5 October 2010 at 15:04 PM
The cabinet meeting has decided to renew the emergency decree in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan and Pathum Thani for another three months, deputy government spokesman Suphachai Chaisamut said on Tuesday. The emergency law declared six months ago is still in force in the capital and the three adjoining central provinces, but will expire on Wednesday. It has already been lifted throughout the North and Northeast. The cabinet also acknowledged the appointments of Defence Minister Pawit Wongsuwon as head of the Centre for Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) and new army chief Gen Prayud Chan-ocha as chief of operations of the CRES. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Red training camp raided

Posted by hasekamp on 4 October 2010 at 16:33 PM
Police have arrested 11 red shirt supporters who they allege were training at a resort in Chiang Mai in preparation to launch violent acts and political assassinations. Pol Maj Gen Chaiya Siriampankul, the acting commissioner of Police Region 5, which oversees the upper northern provinces, yesterday acknowledged the arrest but refused to provide details. A joint police and administrative officer raid was carried out at Phu Fa resort in Chiang Mai's Mae On subdistrict on Saturday evening. Eleven people who police said claimed to be hard-line red shirt supporters were arrested on suspicion of training to carry out a mission of political violence and assassinations. The raid came after one man who allegedly took part in the training approached a village headman near the resort to ask for directions. The headman thought Kittichai Chansawasdi was behaving suspiciously and reported him to police. Mr Kittichai allegedly confessed to police that he had been part of a group training at the resort for a secret mission. He said he had fled from the camp because he was unable to sustain the demanding regimen and had been physically assaulted during training. Mr Kittichai said the group had been at the resort since Sept 7 after having received arms training near the Cambodian border. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Her Majesty's health improving

Posted by hasekamp on 3 October 2010 at 15:20 PM
Her Majesty the Queen's condition has returned to normal after having been admitted to Chulalongkorn Hospital late Thursday night, according to a statement from the Royal Household Bureau. Her Majesty was admitted to the hospital due to "an irregular heartbeat", the bureau said. The statement said Her Majesty's condition is now improving. Her Majesty's heartbeat had returned to normal after doctors treated her with radio frequency ablation, which uses high frequency alternating current. The Queen celebrated her 78th birthday on Aug 12. His Majesty the King visited her on Friday evening. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Shame! Child porn on the streets

Posted by hasekamp on 3 October 2010 at 15:17 PM
After receiving several complaints about the DVD and VCD vendors along Sukhumvit Road between Soi 3 and 21, the Bangkok Post Sunday discovered that child pornography was openly displayed on tables along with copies of the latest Hollywood blockbusters. The child pornography, sold on VCDs for 80 baht a disc, featured children from Burma, China, Europe, the Philippines and Thailand. Some of the VCD covers, which graphically showed children in sex acts, advertised that the children were as young as seven years old. Pornographic videos of bestiality were also displayed by vendors. Several diplomats who live in the area expressed dismay when told of the open sales and after being shown the explicit covers of the VCDs. One resident who alerted the Bangkok Post Sunday to the VCDs said he was horrified that police were not cracking down on the vendors. The open display of pornography would have been unthinkable only a few years ago. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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King visits Queen in hospital

Posted by hasekamp on 2 October 2010 at 22:49 PM
His Majesty the King on Friday afternoon paid a visit to Her Majesty the Queen at Chulalongkorn Hospital, according to television reports. The King was taken in a car from Siriraj Hospital to Chulalongkorn Hospital at 4.57pm. Her Majesty the Queen was admitted to the hospital on Thursday night and is staying on the 20th floor. The Royal Household Bureau will on Saturday arrange a table on the 10th floor for high-ranking officials and another on the 1st floor for the people to sign the visitors' books from 8am to 7pm. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Bangkok still sensitive

Posted by hasekamp on 2 October 2010 at 5:14 AM
The meeting of the Centre for the Resolution of Emergency Situation (CRES) on Friday decided to keep the state of emergency in effect in four central provinces because they are sensitive areas, but the prime minister lifts it from the Northeast. The four provinces where is remains in force are Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani, CRES spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said. Col Sansern said all security agencies had been ordered to go on full alert during the month of October for possible acts of violence. On a report that the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) plans to rally at the Royal Plaza on Oct 7, Col Sansern said this would be in violation of the emergency decree. Prime Minister and Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva's personal spokesman Thepthai Senpong said the emergency decree in Bangkok was still needed to prevent ill-intentioned groups from inciting violence. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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