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Free WiFi in Phuket Town

Posted by hasekamp on 25 November 2010 at 16:44 PM
Phuket City and TOT Plc, Thailand's state-owned telecommunications company, have joined hands to provide free Wi-Fi hotspots to the public in some areas under the project of "Phuket Free Wi-Fi". Two public parks -- Saphan Hin Public Park and Chalermprakiat Public Park -- are the spots for Wi-Fi access. The project aims to offer local residents and tourists alike to be able to search for information through a modern communication channel and to promote the use of information technology (IT) among the public, which is as well regarded as to promote a better quality of life. "We want to create a learning society in Phuket, and public parks can be both a recreational and learning place at the same time," said Phuket City mayor Somjai Suwansupana. Those interested can register for the free-of-charge access at both public park's service points before loggin on to the Wi-Fi system on their laptops or mobile phones. The city has initially targeted 600 users monthly for the service, with each user having two hours to surf the internet for a log-in. (Source: MCOT online news)


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Plans for December 5

Posted by hasekamp on 24 November 2010 at 16:05 PM
At least 50,000 people will get an opportunity to light candles in honour of their beloved monarch on decorativelight boats floating in front of the Siriraj Hospital on His Majesty's upcoming birthday. His Majesty will turn 83 on December 5. The muchrevered monarch has stayed at Siriraj hospital for more than a year now because he needs to receive treatment there. "We have arranged the decorativelight boats for wellwishers because we aim to allow them to get as close as possible to His Majesty," Newin Chidchob said at a press conference yesterday. He chairs a panel organising the "King of King" celebrations, which will run from December 5 this year to December 5 next year, under supervision of the Interior Ministry. Interior Minister Chaovarat Chanweerakul, who leads the Bhum Jai Thai Party, is very close to Newin. Newin said more than 800 boats would be prepared for the event. The procession of the decorativelight boats promises to be a delightful sight. Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department deputy director general Srisombat Pornprasit said his department would deploy hundreds of volunteers and emergency officials to ensure safety. "Other relevant agencies like the National Police Office and the Royal Thai Navy have also worked with us," he said. In a related development, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban announced that the Culture Ministry was preparing the celebrations for His Majesty's birthday on behalf of the government. "The celebrations will run from December 1 to December 9," he said. (Source: The Nation)


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King travelsover Chao Phraya

Posted by hasekamp on 24 November 2010 at 15:08 PM
Six bridges across the Chao Phraya River bridges will be closed for 15-20 minutes later this afternoon when His Majesty the King travels along the river, metropolitan police have announced. The bridges are Phra Phutthayodfa, Phra Pokkhlao, Taksin, Rama 3, Bangkok and Rama 9.
The King is scheduled to travel from Siriraj Hospital by his private boat to preside over the official opening of the Bhumibol 1, Bhumibol 2 bridges and Klong Lat Pho floodgates in Samut Prakarn's Phra Pradaeng district about 4pm. The Bhumipol 1 and Bhumibol 2 are known as the industrial ring bridges. The Bhumibol 1 bridge links Bangkok with Samut Prakarn and Bhumibol 2 links Phra Pradaeng and Samrong Tai district. He will be accompanied by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. The King will return to Siriraj hospital about 8pm. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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His Majesty to open bridges

Posted by hasekamp on 23 November 2010 at 14:31 PM
HM the King Bhumibol Adulyadej will preside over the inauguration ceremony of two important bridges and the water gates of a shortcut canal, which plays a crucial role in preventing many parts of Bangkok and Samut Prakan from flooding, Wednesday evening. The useful constructions come from the much-revered king's initiatives. Located in Samut Prakan, the two bridges are thus named Bhumibol I and Bhumibol II. Nearby are the water gates of the Pho shortcut canal. His Majesty, to be accompanied by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, will leave the Siriraj Hospital via its pier at around 4.30pm Wednesday. The royal boat "Angsana" will sail along the Chao Phya River and then along the Pho shortcut canal until it reaches its destination in Samut Prakan. The king and the princess are scheduled to arrive at the inauguration venue around 5.50pm. (Source: The Nation)


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Flood toll keeps rising

Posted by hasekamp on 23 November 2010 at 14:19 PM
The confirmed death toll from the flooding that has hit many provinces in the Central Plains, North, Northeast, East and South since Oct 10 has risen to 241, the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department reported on Tuesday. The floodwaters have not yet been receded in 60 districts of 14 provinces, affecting 908,133 people, said Wibul Sanguanpong, the department’s director general. Of the total 14, 10 are provinces in the Central Plains and Northeast and the remaining four are in the South, he added. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Yesterday was Loy Krathong

Posted by hasekamp on 22 November 2010 at 17:27 PM
Foreign and Thai revellers have flocked to several destinations renowned for Loy Krathong celebrations across the country - on the eve of the ceremony being held for Loy Krathong yesterday. While lots of people enjoyed the colourful nights of the festival, teenagers in Ranong marked the celebration by shooting a group of rivals, which four people injured. Meanwhile in the North, officials at Lampang Airport said aeroplanes had not been affected by flying lanterns released during the festivities, as tourism entrepreneurs in Chiang Mai agreed to follow Transport Ministry measures that limit the number and period when yi-peng lanterns are released for safety reasons. In Bangkok, city Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra yesterday surveyed pontoons and insisted that all appeared to be safe and strong enough to support people who would use them to float their krathongs in the Chao Phraya river and klongs. Tens of thousands of revellers had arrived in Tak to celebrate the festival in a traditional way with the Loy Krathong Sai (floating coconut-shell krathongs lined along the river) for a competition to win His Majesty the King's trophy. It kicked off late on Friday night with a magnificent opening ceremony that drew a huge number of revellers. Eight krathong vessels were granted by members of the royal family's to float along the Ping River to mark the beginning of the celebration. The event takes place near the Sompot Krung Rattanakosin 200 Years Bridge. The world's largest krathong vessel was showcased in Nakhon Ratchasima after the province began the festival celebration yesterday. The vessel has a 40-metre diameter, with a circumference 125 metres long, is seven metres high and weighs five tonnes. It is decorated with 534 petals made of pink cloth. Images of their Majesties the King and Queen are placed on the top. People were able to view the vessel at the King's 80th Birthday Anniversary, 5th December 2007 Sports Complex, and sign good wishes on the petals for the King and Queen. Almost 1,000 tourists have flown from Russia, meanwhile, to enjoy the festival in Pattaya. And despite the recent floods that caused huge damage to the southern province of Songkhla, it is still the main destination for Malaysian and Singaporean tourists to celebrate Loy Krathong. (Source: The Nation)


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Will decree be lifted?

Posted by hasekamp on 20 November 2010 at 16:04 PM
The Thai government is prepared to revoke the emergency decree now imposed in the capital of Bangkok and three neighbouring provinces as well as in four trouble-plagued southern provinces after peace has returned to those areas, said newly reappointed Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban on Saturday. Asked whether the government is willing to lift the emergency decree in the capital and adjacent provinces after a one-day rally by the anti-government Red Shirt movement in Bangkok ended peacefully Friday, Mr Suthep said Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has a clear-cut policy that the emergency decree could also be lifted in the four southern provinces of Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and Songkhla immediately after peace is restored there. In response to demands made by the anti-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) for the Department of Special Investigation to speedily find the causes of those killed during the marathon rally in April and May within seven days otherwise they would organise a prolonged demonstration, Mr Suthep said the people have rights under the Constitution to a rally but it must be held within the legal framework and not cause trouble to others. (Source: MCOT online news)


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1,700 foetuses in Temple

Posted by hasekamp on 19 November 2010 at 22:34 PM
Thai police found the remains of almost 1,700 illegally aborted foetuses hidden at a Buddhist temple in Bangkok Friday as the full extent of the grisly discovery emerged. More than 2,000 bodies, wrapped in plastic bags, have now been uncovered in the temple's three mortuary rooms and police said they have now finished searching the building. After authorities found 348 foetuses in an initial search earlier in the week, two temple undertakers confessed to stashing them, leading to the new inspection, police said. The discoveries have shocked Thailand and highlighted the scale of illegal abortions in a country where the procedure is only allowed when delivery would harm the mother or the pregnancy is the result of rape. "This reflects the severity of the problem," said Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, although he rejected suggestions that the abortion law be amended, saying it was "flexible enough". The public health ministry, which ordered a nationwide crackdown on abortion clinics as a result of the finds, estimates that of one million pregnancies in Thailand each year, 80,000 are illegally terminated. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Red shirts rally again

Posted by hasekamp on 19 November 2010 at 14:39 PM
Red-shirts began gathering at the Ratchaprasong intersection on Friday evening to mark six months to the day since the deadly crackdown on their prolonged anti-government rally. The United front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) organised a mass rally of supporters at the intersection in remembrance of the victims of the lethal military crackdown on May 19. A total of 91 people died during the April-May violence. Scattered groups of red-shirts were seen gathering at the intersection near the CentralWorld shopping centre, in front of Gaysorn Plaza and a McDonald's outlet at Amarin Plaza. It paralysed traffic in the area, which is the heart of the capital. Protest leader Sombat Boonngarm-anong said as many as 10,000 supporters were expected to take part in the rally. UDD co-leader Jatuporn Prompan would also be at the event. City police chief Chaktip Chaichinda said about 1,050 police, armed only with shields, would be deployed there. The US embassy has warned its citizens to keep away from the proceedings and predicted that as many as 15,000 people could attend. The red-shirt supporters began a day of symbolic protests in the capital in the morning by gathering outside the Bangkok Remand Prison. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Plans for December 5

Posted by hasekamp on 18 November 2010 at 11:36 AM
The government has announced its plans for a variety of activities to celebrate His Majesty the King’s upcoming 83rd Birthday Anniversary. The much-beloved monarch will turn 83 on December 5. A procession of decorative-light boats in honour of His Majesty will sail along a portion of the Chao Phraya River from the Pinklao Bridge to the Royal Thai Navy’s Convention Hall between 6pm and 8.30pm on the auspicious day. “The procession will comprise 600 boats,” the organising committee’s chairman Suwat Liptapanlop said. He said also on December 5, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva would lead people in lighting candles to express well wishes to His Majesty in front of the Supreme Court at 7.29pm. The candle-lit ceremony would be held simultaneously with the boat procession in front of the Siriraj Hospital, where the king has been staying for treatment since last year, and the Royal Plaza. The Religious Affairs Department will organise a mass ordination on November 25, as 7,056 men enter the monkhood in dedication to their beloved King. An alms-giving ritual will be held at the Royal Plaza between December 1 and December 9. Dedicated to His Majesty, the ritual will run from 7am to 8am daily. Between December 1 and December 9, the Culture Ministry will prepare floral trays for people eager to wish His Majesty a happy birthday at the Royal Plaza. Floral-tray presentation can be made from 1pm to midnight.
Moreover, the Culture Ministry announced yesterday it was screening three special films for free viewing to celebrate His Majesty’s 83rd birthday. The films will run from November 29 to December 3 at CentralWorld’s SF World Cinema. (Source: The Nation)


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Death toll 227

Posted by hasekamp on 16 November 2010 at 15:46 PM
Thailand's flood death toll rose to 227 on Tuesday, and the government centre helping flood victims pledged to compensate all victims in 38 provinces within this month. Wiboon Sanguanpong, director-general of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, confirmed as of Tuesday 227 people had died in flooding in 28 provinces -- 77 in the central region, 50 in the Northeast, 25 in the North, three in the East and 72 in the South. The families of the dead will receive additional financial aid under state regulations, said Mr Wiboon. Fifty-one provinces overall have been impacted by flooding which began Oct 10, affecting more than 8.6 million people. The floods in 35 provinces have eased and restoration work has begun, while floodwaters remain in 16 provinces, with 1.4 million people being affected. Meanwhile, Minister Attached to the Prime Minister's Office Satit Wonghnongtoey, director of the centre to help flood victims, reaffirmed Tuesday that by the end of November, Bt5,000 initial compensation payments will have been paid to all flood victims in 38 provinces where surveys on the damages have been conducted. So far 520,000 people already received compensation via the Government Savings Bank, said Mr Satit, adding that the distribution of compensation to the rest victims will be completed within this month.
Nearly one million households -- 950,000 family units -- are expected to be compensated, said the minister. The government however has prepared an overall central budget to provide help to one million households. (Source: MCOT online news)


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More flooding and landslides

Posted by hasekamp on 15 November 2010 at 16:39 PM
Eight provinces in the South face further threats of flash floods and mudslides all this week when monsoons travelling from the Gulf of Thailand will continue bringing heavy rain in the region, a weather forecast said Monday. Chumphon, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Surat Thani, Songkhla, Phatthalung, and the three southernmost provinces of Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani face the greatest risk until tomorrow, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation said in a statement.
Flood-related deaths have hit 224, with the number of those affected rising to 1.49 million people in 100 districts in 17 provinces. In Surat Thani, 200 households living in Vibhavadi district's tambon Takuk Nua are refusing to relocate because they are worried about losing their belongings, though some 130 residents have agreed to move into their relatives' homes elsewhere. In tambon Pak Mark, 427 people have taken shelter in a school because they cannot access their homes. In Phunphin district, 15 villages located along Tapee River are still under water, with most of the residents relying on relief supplies provided by authorities. In neighbouring Chumphon province, heavy rains have caused flash floods in three villages in Sawi district, forcing villagers to relocate on Sunday. The waters had subsided in certain areas as of Monday. In Songkhla's Hat Yai district, the waterworks office has stopped looking for the missing 11 tanks of chlorine, because they are now believed to be empty, posing a minimum risk of contamination. The office said workers have been mobilised to provide tap water and do repairs at homes where the water supply has either stopped or is heavily contaminated. About 58 empty chlorine tanks were washed away in the flash flood last week, causing panic due to unconfirmed reports that they might be full of chlorine. "The tanks will be safe if they are not broken open or if the pressure valves are not adjusted," office manager Theeraphol Khongpanya said. (Source: The Nation)


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Ceremony at Wat Saket

Posted by hasekamp on 15 November 2010 at 16:33 PM
Large crowds joined a procession to Wat Srakesa Rajavaramahavihara (Temple of the Golden Mount, better known as Wat Saket) yesterday to celebrate His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej turning 84 on December 5 next year. The event was also held to celebrate the 111th anniversary of inviting Buddha relics to the Golden Mount pagoda in the Rama V era. The pilgrims held a 3 kilometrelong red fabric to be wrapped around the Golden Mount pagoda in the annual ceremony of worshipping the Buddha relics. The monastic chair of the event was His Holiness Somdet Phra Buddhacharya, president of the executive committee for the Supreme Patriarch. Office of National Buddhism director Nopparat Benchawattananan, as layman chair of the event, said it had been a tradition since the reign of the King Rama V, when the relics were invited from India to be worshipped with the Buddha relics in the Golden Mount pagoda. The ceremony is believed to eliminate evil and bring prosperity to the country. Since ancient times, the use of red fabric was aimed to draw attention and notify people about the celebration. (Source: The Nation)


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Thais read 94 minutes per day

Posted by hasekamp on 13 November 2010 at 11:37 AM
Thais spend 94 minutes a day reading, a research project by the Thailand Knowledge Park (TK Park) and Chulalongkorn University (CU) Faculty of Education has discovered. The project comprised a survey covering 5,865 people in 13 provinces, a focus group of 156 people as well as 191 people who are either passionate about reading or hate it. “The average figure is satisfactory, but if we look closely, things are different,” CU lecturer Assoc Prof Dr Wannee Kaemkate said in her capacity as leader of the project. She said some respondents spent up to 18 hours a day reading, while some did not read a single sentence.
In the experience of the editor of Hasekamp Net much of this reading is done in book shops! When you enter such a shop, you will find many (young) people sitting and reading between the books. (Source: The Nation)


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Will Asia go for the Yuan?

Posted by hasekamp on 13 November 2010 at 11:31 AM
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, fearful of the effects of the soaring baht due to massive capital inflows, has proposed the use of the Chinese yuan as a major regional trading currency. Asia-Pacific leaders will have to discuss measures to deal with the fund inflows after the Group of 20 major economies failed to reach any tangible decisions, Mr Abhisit said yesterday. "The G20 did not make any progress on the matter and it is difficult to get the United States and China to express their clear stances on the issue. But what we can do is try to cooperate in the region and reduce the impact from currency volatility," Mr Abhisit said before leaving for the Asian Games in China and an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) leaders' meeting in Yokohama, Japan, this weekend. G20 leaders drew a veil over their economic policy disputes in South Korea yesterday. They agreed to tackle tensions that have raised the spectre of a currency war and trade protectionism, but they fell short of already low expectations. Mr Abhisit echoed a call made by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to use China's yuan as a major trading currency in the region to reduce the impact of currency volatility, especially linked to the weakening of the US dollar. He said he was the one who proposed the idea to the ADB. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Flood toll now 215

Posted by hasekamp on 13 November 2010 at 11:28 AM
The confirmed death toll from the heavy flooding in many provinces since Oct 10 has risen to 215, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation reported on Saturday morning. The department said a total of 152 people in the North, Northeast, East and Central Plains and 63 in the South had died in the floodwaters. The department on Friday reported the confirmed flood death toll at 206. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Reds gather in Lumphini

Posted by hasekamp on 13 November 2010 at 11:26 AM
The red-shirt supporters of the United front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) late Saturday afternoon gathered in front of King Mongkut Monument (to the best of our knowledge this is King Rama 6, not King Rama 4!) in front of Lumpini Park to hold an activity in remembering of the late Maj-Gen Khattiya Sawasdipol, who was killed six months ago, reports said. Maj-Gen Khattiya, a former army specialist widely known as Seh Daeng, was shot by a sniper near Lumpini Park on May 13. Maj-Gen Khattiya was a key supporter of the red-shirt people group. The red-shirts said they might move to rally at Ratchaprasong intersection about 5pm today. They had to discuss with other red-shirts as no UDD co-leader had show up at Lumopini Park for the time being, the reports said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Decree to end before 2011?

Posted by hasekamp on 11 November 2010 at 16:56 PM
The emergency decree still in force in Bangkok and adjacent provinces could be lifted before January because the overall siutation has improved, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Thursday. However all security agencies would have to reassess the situation before a final decision was made to lift the decree. The emergency decree was initially imposed in 24 provinces after the red-shirts of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) began to hold protest rallies. It has been gradually lifted and is now still in place only in Bangkok, Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi and Samut Prakan.
The prime minister today invited two UDD suspects who were freed on bail, with money placed by the Justice Ministry, to meet him at parliament. The two - Sommai Inthanakha, 32, and Boonyarit Sodakham, 24 - had been detained on a charge of violating the emergency decree.
They were entitled to release on bail but they had no money to put down as a guarrantee. With help from the Justice Ministry they were released on Nov 9. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Tunnels to prevent flooding

Posted by hasekamp on 11 November 2010 at 16:52 PM
Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has plans for four drainage tunnels under Bangkok to prevent the city being inundated, Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said on Thursday. The construction of the four giant tunnels is planned for completion in five years at an estimated total cost of 16 billion baht, he said. Construction of the first tunnel had began 10 years ago in eastern Bangkok. It would be completed in January. The construction of this Rama IX-Ramkhamhaeng tunnel began in 2001, when the late Samak Sundaravej was Bangkok governor. It had a budgeted cost of 2.09 billion baht. Work on the second tunnel, Ratchadaphisek-Suthisarn, is expected to begin next year. Tenders will be called in December. It will have a diameter of 5 metres and a length of 6 kilometres. The third tunnel, the Don Mueang tunnel, is the biggest of all with a diameter of 6 metres and length of 13.5 kilometres. The last tunnel, the Rama IX Park tunnel, will be 3 kilometres long, with an estimted cost of 995 million baht. MR Sukhumbhand said the system would increase the current drainage capacity from 95 cubic metres a second to 240 cubic metres a second. The tunnels will channel the floodwaters under Bangkok into the Chao Phraya River, which runs into the Gulf of Thailand. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Weather warning for Phuket and South

Posted by hasekamp on 10 November 2010 at 14:55 PM
The Meteorological Department (MET) has issued a weather advisory warning of possible large waves and heavy rains in Phuket and the rest of Southern Thailand from today through Thursday. “All ships in the Gulf should proceed with caution and small ships should keep ashore during the period. The South from Chumphon to Narathiwat will see an increase in rain, with heavy rains mainly in Chumphon, Surat Thani and Nakhon Sri Thammarat. People in the areas should beware of heavy rain and possible flood conditions during the next one to two days,” reads the report issued at 11:30am today. A synoptic chart of conditions at 7am today shows a low-pressure trough extending across the region, all the way from South India to the Philippines, passing over Phuket. The 24-hour forecast for Phuket issued by the MET’s Southern (West Coast) Center at Phuket Airport at 4pm today calls for scattered thundershowers covering 60% of the province and northeasterly winds 20 to 35kmh. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Karen return to Burma

Posted by hasekamp on 10 November 2010 at 14:52 PM
Burmese troops and Karen rebels have stopped exchanging fire near Sangkhla Buri and Mae Sot and many Burmese refugees are gradually returning home, deputy army spokeswoman Sirijan Ngathong said on Wednesday afternoon. "Although the situation along the border with Burma has eased, the 4th Infantry Regiment and special army units are still keeping a close watch to ensure the safety of the people and their property," Col Sirijan said. There were about 2,500 Burmese refugees in Sangkhla Buri and all of them should return home today. Several vendors had already reopened for business along the border, she said. Thai and Burmese troops had exchanged information and the Burmese authorities were informed about the impact of the fighting on Thai people. Both sides will seek ways to deal with any future reoccurence. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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20,000 Birmese flee to Thailand

Posted by hasekamp on 9 November 2010 at 10:02 AM
About 20,000 Burmese refugees have fled over the border into Thailand since the latest clash between the Burmese army and Karen forces began on Monday in Myawaddy, opposite Tak's Mae Sot district, secretary-general of the National Security Council Thawil Pliensri said on Tuesday. Mr Thawil said about 17,000 poured into Mae Sot district, 400 fled to Tak's Phob Phra district and about 1,700 others had escaped through Kanchanaburi's Sangkhla Buri district since Monday. He expected the fighting to be prolonged, but said armed men will not be allowed to enter Thailand. "We will follow our protocol. Fighters will not be allowed to enter Thailand unless they disarm first," he said. He said refugees were being given humanitarian assistance and the authorities were still able to take care of them at this stage. When situation returns to normal, they would have to return to Burma. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Flood death toll now 181

Posted by hasekamp on 9 November 2010 at 9:59 AM
The death toll from heavy flooding in 28 provinces since Oct 10 has risen to 181, Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation director-general Wiboon Sanguanpong said on Tuesday. Mr Wiboon said Nakhon Ratchasima had the highest number of fatalities at 31, followed by Songkhla at 26 and Lop Buri at 17. The department chief said 141 districts in 10 provinces have been declared disaster zones due to cold weather. The 10 provinces are Chiang Mai, Phayao, Mae Hong Son, Nan, Lamphun, Chiang Rai, Udon Thani, Sakon Nakhon, Loei and Khon Kaen. He said 16,400 blankets were given to villagers in the disaster zones. People affected by the cold spell can contact authorities for assistance at 1784 hotline around the clock. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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King expresses concern about flooding

Posted by hasekamp on 6 November 2010 at 19:02 PM
His Majesty the King has expressed concern about the severe flooding in Thailand and urged the authorities to thoroughly study irrigation systems so they don't affect people adversely, the prime minister said yesterday. After his audience with the King at Siriraj Hospital on Friday, Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday His Majesty was worried about people affected by the flooding and suggested ideas as long-term solutions such as more flood-prevention projects along the Chao Phraya River and other waterways in the future. He said the King suggested thorough studies were needed into possible projects plus impact assessments as different technical aspects remained academically debatable and people could be adversely affected once projects were undertaken. Abhisit said he also told the King that several areas could be built as "Monkey Cheek" water retention areas to store excess water and initially they would look at state land, where this could be done quickly. He said officials in several Central provinces had used water pumps to drain water out of flooded areas. (Source: The Nation)


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Mudslides in the South

Posted by hasekamp on 5 November 2010 at 22:56 PM
The province of Nakhon Si Thammarat has not pulled out of the flood crisis yet, with two more people drowning and water levels remaining unchanged coupled with the risk of falling rocks. A second wave of mudslide run briefly through an area in Khanom district damaging a number of homes and farmland, forcing villagers to move away to a safe area. Rocks are falling sporadically from Khao Luang mountain ridge on residential areas in tambon Thung Sai in Si Chon district, while those fleeing away from the first mudslide on Thursday, which is now spreading to cover a total of around 100 rai from the original area of 60 rai, have been restricted to return to their homes. (Source: The Nation)


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Death toll now 140

Posted by hasekamp on 5 November 2010 at 22:51 PM
The death toll from heavy flooding nationwide since Oct 10 has risen to 140, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation reported on Friday. In the North, Northeast, Central and East, the death toll was 110 and of these 107 of those were Thais and the other three were from Cambodia, Burma and the Netherlands. The department said 1.69 million people in 94 districts of 19 provinces were still affected by the disaster and 6.31 million rai of agricultural land had been damaged. The 19 provinces are Nakhon Sawan, Nakhon Ratchasima, Chaiyaphum, Si Sa Ket, Surin, Khon Kaen, Kalasin, Mahasarakham, Roi Et, Ubon Ratchathani, Chai Nat, Sing Buri, Ang Thong, Suphan Buri, Ayutthaya, Lop Buri, Saraburi, Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani. In the South, 30 people died from flooding from Nov 1-4. Thirteen of those were from Songkhla and four others were from Surat Thani. Phatthalung, Trang and Nakhon Si Thammarat had three deaths each. Pattani had two and Satun and Chumphon one each. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Justice at last?

Posted by hasekamp on 4 November 2010 at 15:44 PM
The national police chief has approved a recommendation to indict 21 leaders and core supporters of the People's Alliance for Democracy for blocking parliament in 2008. Police chief Wichean Potephosree yesterday approved the 21 indictments from a list of 24 urged by an investigation team led by Pol Maj Gen Amnuay Nimmano, a metropolitan deputy police chief. The 21 suspects include four PAD leaders _ Sondhi Limthongkul, Somkiat Pongpaibul, Pibhop Dhongchai and Somsak Kosaisuk _ and PAD secretary-general Suriyasai Katasila. Others are core supporters including Samran Rodphet, Sirichai Mai-ngam, Veera Somkwamkid, Anchalee Paireerak and Maleerat Kaewka. A fifth co-leader, Chamlong Srimuang, is not included on the list. PAD demonstrators laid siege to parliament on Oct 7, 2008, to prevent new prime minister Somchai Wongsawat from delivering his initial policy statement. A confrontation with riot police ensued in which two protesters were killed and scores injured. The Royal Thai Police will forward the case to the Office of Attorney-General to decide on what further action to take. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Citizens do it themselves

Posted by hasekamp on 4 November 2010 at 15:42 PM
The volunteer spirit shown by many Thai people during the flood crisis is remarkable and should serve as a lesson for our feuding politicians to settle their political differences and seek reconciliation. Private citizens are the heroes in the flood crisis which has struck more than half of the country and affected millions of people. They were on the forefront, soliciting donations from other members of the public, rushing aidsto flood-strucken areas and distributing relief packages to flood victims - while the government was still floundering around, unsure how to respond to the disaster. Thanks to this instinctive volunteer spirit, these private citizens -- who included corporate executives, actors and actresses, members of the media and the general public -- took the initiative themselves to respond to the needs of their distressed countrymen, without having to wait for instructions or appeals from the government as was the case in the past. No wonder politicians in both the government and opposition camps were rated poorly in last week’s Abac Poll on how the public felt about their response to the flood crisis. Out of a maximum score of 10, rescue volunteer groups scored the highest with 7.52, followed by the armed forces (7.28), the Public Health Ministry (7.07), entertainers (6.66) and private corporations (6.56). As for the politicians - the government rated 5.55 and the opposition only 4.54. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Al,most 700,000 affected in the South

Posted by hasekamp on 4 November 2010 at 15:38 PM
A total of 196,304 households and 682,970 residents in 96 districts of 11 southern provinces have been affected by the flooding, the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation reported on Thursday afternoon. The provinces are Songkhla, Satun, Trang, Narathiwat, Yala, Pattani, Phatthalung, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Krabi and Chumphon. The region's flood death toll was confirmed at 12. Songkhla had the highest number of fatalities with eight, followed by Pattani (2) and one each in Surat Thani and Satun, the department said. Earlier today, the department reported the confirmed flood death toll across the country at 122. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Their Majesties donate

Posted by hasekamp on 3 November 2010 at 14:11 PM
With many regions still suffering from floods and the cold snap, Their Majesties the King and Queen yesterday graciously presented Bt5 million to the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department to buy flashlights, food, bottled water and other daily necessities for people affected in various areas. Temperatures have plunged in the North, Northeast and Central regions, adding to the agony of flood victims. Angthong Governor Wisawa Sasisamit said Her Majesty ensured that the Saiyairak Haeng Krobkrua Foundation under HRH Crown Prince's patronage used its mobile kitchen to cook food for flood victims in Pa Mok district's Tambon Phong Pheng. The Princess Pa Foundation also set up a mobile kitchen in Muang district's Tambon Jampalor and distributed 772 relief kits and 2,000 bottles of water. Public and private sector organisations brought cash donations and consumer items to assist the victims. Today the Rajaprajanugroh Foundation will hand out supplies to 422 families in Angthong's Muang district and 578 families in Chaiya district, he said. (Source: The Nation)


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Hat Yai situation

Posted by hasekamp on 3 November 2010 at 14:08 PM
Work crews are doing their best to drain water out of Songkhla's Hat Yai city and restore water, electricity and other public utilities, Deputy Interior Minister Thavorn Senniam said on Wednesday. Mr Thavorn said he had invited representatives of the 4th Army and the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department to attend a meeting to draw up a work plan to rescue Hat Yai. Flood relief centres have also been set up in other flood-hit provinces, including Phatthalung and Nakhon Si Thammarat. Wiboon Sanguanpong, director-general of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, said the water level in Hat Yai was at a standstill on Wednesday morning and there was no more rain. If conditions continued, the floodwater would soon drain out. Flat bottomed boats were being used to deliver relief items to people trapped in their residences. He said there were reports of deaths in Hat Yai, but the toll was unclear at this time. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Ayutthaya flood damage

Posted by hasekamp on 3 November 2010 at 14:05 PM
The recent severe flooding in Ayutthaya caused at least 5.24 billion baht in damage, according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation. Ayutthaya governor Wittaya Phewpong said on Wednesday 131,908 households, or 406,412 people, in 16 districts were hit by the heavy flooding. He said 341,812 rai of farmland were inundated and about 100 roads were damaged. The floods hit 428 wats, 31 mosques and two churches along with 100 schools and 98 state offices. The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation reported that the flooding in Ayutthaya could spread further, especially in areas between Phak Hai, Bang Sai, Sena and Lad Bualuang districts. The situation could be worse than the flood crisis in 2006. The department also warned that more floodwater could flow into Pathum Thani's Lat Lum Kaeo, Nonthaburi's Bang Bua Thong and Nakhon Pathom's Bang Len districts. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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And Phuket also ...

Posted by hasekamp on 1 November 2010 at 13:18 PM
The Meteorological Department this morning issued an advisory warning of heavy rain with the chance of flooding in Phuket. The warning, also issued for other southern provinces, comes as a tropical depression is passing over the region. The affected provinces were given as Pattani, Songkhla, Phatthalung, Nakhon Sri Thammarat, Satun, Trang, Krabi, Phuket and Phang Nga. Wave heights of up to five meters are forecast in the Gulf of Thailand, where all ships were urged to remain in port. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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English too popular

Posted by hasekamp on 1 November 2010 at 13:10 PM
State schools worry lack of native speakers may reduce quality of courses if many more institutions are allowed to run such classes. The number of Thai-English schools in the country has risen to 331 in response to growing demand. And 60 more schools are seeking approval for plans to run an English programme or mini-English programme. While students of current bilingual programmes have demonstrated satisfactory qualities including fine academic performances and self-confidence, the rising popularity of bilingual schools has raised concerns as to whether the quality will drop. A key concern is that the pool of qualified native English speakers in Thailand is very limited. This is partly because remuneration packages for teaching foreigners are much higher in Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan. Foreigners who agree to accept a lower wage for teaching jobs are often underqualified. (Source: The Nation)


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Songkhla now flooded

Posted by hasekamp on 1 November 2010 at 13:06 PM
Residents in four districts of the southern province of Songkhla have been affected by flooding after days of heavy rain, Wichit Chantrapan, head of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation of Songkhla provincial office, said on Monday. The districts are Hat Yai, Sadao, Na Thawi and Saba Yoi, he said. Mr Wichit said the flooding in Na Thawi and Saba Yoi districts is worrisome because the areas are close to mountain ranges, which makes providing assistance difficult. Hat Yai provincial office in the morning warned the people of possible flash floods. Schools there have temporarily closed because roads have already been flooded. The Metrorological Department issued a warning on Monday that a tropical depression in the lower Gulf of Thailand was centred about 350 km southeast of Songkhla. Torrential rain is expected in the southern region from Surat Thani southwards. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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