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Krabi landslide, at least 12 dead

Posted by hasekamp on 30 March 2011 at 18:14 PM
The death toll in the Krabi landslide disaster has risen to 12, while 30 people remain unaccounted for, a Krabi official confirmed to the Phuket Gazette this afternoon. Khao Phanom District Chief Adminstrative Officer Trithawat Rakmuang said that one of the dead has been identified as 31-year-old Paisarn Chusri. He added that 24 people have been injured so far. “Six subdistricts (tambon) comprised of 54 villages are at risk of landslides and flooding, and tambons Na Khao and Kok Han are in serious trouble after landslides there killed people,” Mr Trithawat said. There are about 1,000 people staying at an emergency shelter at Huay Nam Kaew school and another 400 at a shelter at Wat Tam Kob, both in tambon Na Khao, he said. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Navy brings tourists to Phuket

Posted by hasekamp on 30 March 2011 at 18:11 PM
The Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command yesterday rescued Thai and foreign holidaymakers, including many bound for Phuket, who were stranded on the Similan and Surin islands due to the heavy seas. HTMS Bangpakong, under the command of Joint Rear Admiral Rangsarit Sattayanukul, at 2pm sailed to the Similans from its port at the navy base in Thap Lamu, Phang Nga. A total of 133 tourists were safely returned to the mainland after being stranded on the remote islands since Saturday, when an active low pressure cell settle in the region bringing unprecedented and heavy, wind-driven seas. Another navy vessel, HTMS Longlom, left Ranong Harbor at 7pm to conduct a similar mission of rescuing tourists stranded on the more remote Surin Islands. All 73 were safely returned to shore at Kuraburi Pier in Phang Nga at 10pm. Tourists to the popular marine national parks typically get there by speedboat from Kuraburi and other ports in Phang Nga, but high seas made it too dangerous for them to continue operating. The bad weather could spell an early end to the dive tourism industry in the parks, which close annually during the monsoon season from May through October. Meanwhile, the Southern Meteorological Center (West Coast) at Phuket International Airport has issued another weather advisory warning the public of heavy rains and high seas from the low pressure system. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Severe flooding in the South, 15 dead

Posted by hasekamp on 30 March 2011 at 18:06 PM
Floods across southern Thailand killed at least 15 people and stranded around 15,000 tourists on storm-swept islands, officials said on Wednesday, as the navy's aircraft carrier joined the rescue. Victims were either swept away by the rising waters, or buried in mudslides as the unseasonably wet weather deluged the homes and businesses of around a million people in what should be one of the hottest months of the year. Rising waters have choked off road, rail and air links to the southern region, while islands in the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea were left isolated as ferries were cancelled. Around 13,000 holidaymakers were stranded on Koh Samui alone, said Bannasat Ruangjan, of the island's tourism association, who warned that food and fuel stocks could run low in the next few days if rain continued to hamper the flow of supplies. "We advised tourists to stay in hotels and not to travel to the airport until the situation returns to normal, so far food and utilities are still adequate but I worry about stocks of diesel," he said. Deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban said the government had sent its only aircraft carrier to rescue around 1,000 people stuck on Koh Tao island. The 14-year-old HTMS Chakri Naruebet has a displacement of 11,485 metric tons and can accommodate 10 helicopters. According to the Thai interior ministry, there are 1,225 tourists stranded in Koh Tao and 1,100 in the Phangan islands in the Gulf of Thailand. There were about 70 holidaymakers in the Similan islands and 55 in the Surin island chain off the west coast of Thailand. It did not mention Samui. A government statement said four people were confirmed dead after a mudslide in the Khao Phanom district of Krabi province early Wednesday. Meanwhile several governments have given a negative travel advise to their country-people. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Flooding in the South

Posted by hasekamp on 27 March 2011 at 17:14 PM
Heavy downpours have caused serious flooding in five southern provinces with Nakhon Si Thammarat the hardest-hit. Following heavy rainfall in the South, flash floods have already hit Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, Surat Thani, Trang and Chumphon. Torsak Wanitkhachorn, director-general of the Meteorological Department, said a cold air mass has moved down from China to the northern and northeastern parts of Thailand lowering temperatures and bringing rain that started yesterday and is expected to last until tomorrow. Heavy downpours in the south have caused flooding and wrecked havoc in many areas. Residents in the southern provinces from Surat Thani to Narathiwat, especially those living near mountainous areas, should be cautious about flash floods, said Mr Torsak. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Chiang Rai pagoda damaged

Posted by hasekamp on 26 March 2011 at 13:39 PM
Several structures, including a 667-year old pagoda in Thailand, have sustained damages and cracks following the earthquake that rocked eastern Burma on Thursday. Tremors caused by the 6.8 magnitude quake and aftershocks damaged the ancient pagoda, known as Phra That Chedi Luang, located in the northern border province of Chiang Rai. "The top of the pagoda fell off," tambon Wiang Chiang Saen municipality mayor Pollapop Manamontrikul said yesterday. A smaller pagoda nearby also was damaged when the seven metre tall pagoda fell on it, following the tremors. The tremor also left many cracks and holes on other parts of Phra That Chedi Luang. Built in 1334, this Lanna style pagoda stood 88 metres tall before being hit by the tremors. Officials have now sealed off the pagoda zone for repairs and renovation. Fine Arts Department directorgeneral Soamsuda Leeyawanich said the umbrella on the top of the Phra That Chom Kitti in Chiang Rai was also damaged. (Source: The Nation)


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Earthquake risks calculated

Posted by hasekamp on 26 March 2011 at 13:35 PM
Earthquake preparedness is a must for Bangkok as the capital is not far from active fault lines where even a moderate quake could send strong shock waves to the city, seismologists have warned. City Hall has issued a warning that about 2,700 buildings in the capital could be damaged by an earthquake. Bangkok is less than 200 kilometres from Kanchanaburi, home to the Chedi Sam Ong fault line, and about 800km from Chiang Mai, where the Mae Ta and Mae Chan fault lines are located. The Chedi Sam Ong, Mae Ta, and Mae Chan are among 13 active fault lines in Thailand covering 22 provinces. Studies showed there is a high possibility that a powerful earthquake of 6-7 magnitude will occur along the fault lines in Kanchanaburi and Chiang Mai provinces, Pennung Warnitchai, a seismologist from the Asian Institute of Technology, said yesterday. His comment followed the 6.8-magnitude earthquake in northern Burma that killed at least 75 people, including a Thai villager in Chiang Rai, on Thursday. The quake sent shock waves that could be felt in several parts of Thailand, including Bangkok. Quakes in Kanchanaburi or Chiang Mai would not only cause severe damage to the two provinces but also to Bangkok, Mr Pennung said. He said most people only pay attention to the 13 main fault lines, but studies have confirmed that many sub-fault lines are also active and have the potential to produce mild earthquakes. The Chedi Sam Ong fault line has eight sub-fault lines, while the Mae Chan fault line in Chiang Mai has up to 18 sub-fault lines, he said.
However, Lertsin Raksaskulwong, director of the Mineral Resources Department's environmental geology and geohazard bureau, disagreed.
He said earthquake damage in Bangkok would not be serious.
"There won't be total building collapse. People will only feel the buildings shaking, like many people in highrises felt on Thursday," he said. So, who is right? (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Drought in many provinces

Posted by hasekamp on 26 March 2011 at 13:28 PM
The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation has declared 354 districts of 47 provinces across the country as drought disaster zones, the director-general Wibul Sanguanpong said on Saturday. Of the total, 17 provinces are in the northern region, 15 in the Northeast, 5 in the Central Plains, 7 in the East and 3 in the South, he said. The department on Thursday declared 333 districts of 45 provinces as drought disaster zones. Mr Wibul said the continuing heavy rain that hit several provinces in the southern region since March 23 had caused flash floods in nine districts of Nakhon Si Thammarat and another eight districts of Phatthalung. The Meteorological Department on Friday told Phatthalung and other nearby provinces to brace for more rain and possible flash floods until Monday. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Birma earthquake makes some Thai victims

Posted by hasekamp on 25 March 2011 at 12:28 PM
Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanawisit reported on Friday that one person was killed in northern Thailand and five others slightly injured by the powerful earthquakes that hit northern Burma on Thursday night. The injured people were admitted to Mae Sai hospital and later allowed to go home, he said. Six hospitals under the supervision of the ministry were partly damaged: Chiang Rai Prachanukroh, Mae Fa Luang, Mae Sai, Chiang Saen, Pan and Mae Chan, the minister said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Spanish woman gets life

Posted by hasekamp on 24 March 2011 at 22:58 PM
The Ratchadaphisek Criminal Court yesterday sentenced a Spanish woman to life for smuggling 2.9 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine into Thailand with intention to sell. Maria Nieves Garcia Alcaraz was arrested on August 9 at Suvarnabhumi International Airport after being seen acting suspiciously. The court initially sentenced her to death but reduced it to life because her confession was useful to the case. (Source: The Nation)


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Spanish woman gets life

Posted by hasekamp on 24 March 2011 at 22:54 PM
The Ratchadaphisek Criminal Court yesterday sentenced a Spanish woman to life for smuggling 2.9 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine into Thailand with intention to sell. Maria Nieves Garcia Alcaraz was arrested on August 9 at Suvarnabhumi International Airport after being seen acting suspiciously. The court initially sentenced her to death but reduced it to life because her confession was useful to the case. (Source: The Nation)


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Spanish woman gets life

Posted by hasekamp on 24 March 2011 at 22:47 PM
The Ratchadaphisek Criminal Court yesterday sentenced a Spanish woman to life for smuggling 2.9 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine into Thailand with intention to sell. Maria Nieves Garcia Alcaraz was arrested on August 9 at Suvarnabhumi International Airport after being seen acting suspiciously. The court initially sentenced her to death but reduced it to life because her confession was useful to the case. (Source: The Nation)


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PAD does not want election

Posted by hasekamp on 24 March 2011 at 22:45 PM
The call by the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) for voters to boycott the general election is likely to fall on deaf ears, just as its self-righteous demand for the forced occupation of disputed territory on the Cambodian border has attracted little public support. "Say No to the Election” is the latest mantra being preached by Sondhi Limthongkul, leader of the yellow-shirt PAD movement. While accusing all political parties of being self-serving, greedy for money and power, Sondhi, in his address to yellow-shirt protesters on Ratchadamnoen Avenue on Wednesday night, urged people to boycott the coming election by casting a “no vote” on the ballot paper. He also demanded that the New Politics Party, an offshoot of the PAD, not run any candidates in the polls, a clear threat that anyone who wants to join the electoral race can do so, but not under the party’s banner. An election boycott has no place in a functioning democracy, but it was used once by the Democrat Party in the 2006 general election called by the Thaksin Shinwatra government. The Democrat party argued that democracy was not functioning and that a boycott should been seen as a tactic to force a constitutional crisis which would eventually put an end to the political impasse at the time. Instead, there was a military coup on Sept 19 of the same year that toppled the Thaksin government. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Does Thailand ned a nuclear power plant?

Posted by hasekamp on 24 March 2011 at 22:42 PM
Thailand needs to build a nuclear power plant as the country might not able to generate enough electricity from fossil fuels in the next 20 to 30 years, Foundation for National Disaster Warning Council chairman Smith Dharmasaroja said on Thursday. Nuclear power is a clean energy and can be used for maximum benefit, he said. Constructing a nuclear power plant takes a long time and people now need to understand its advantages and disadvantages, Mr Smith said. He said the radiation escaping from the quake-hit atomic power plants in Japan should not affect Thailand at this time, but it could reach the country by the end of this year, depending on the direction of the winds. The intensity of radioactive particles would likely diminish, but the situation would have to be reevaluated, he said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Earthquake near Thai border

Posted by hasekamp on 24 March 2011 at 22:38 PM
A strong earthquake struck eastern Burma Thursday, the US Geological Survey said, as Thai police reported at least one death and shaking was felt in several countries across southeast Asia. A scientist points to a seismograph. A strong earthquake has struck eastern Myanmar, the US Geological Survey said, as Thai police reported at least one death and shaking was felt in several countries across southeast Asia. The quake was felt as far away as Bangkok, almost 800 kilometres (500 miles) south of the epicentre, Hanoi and the Burma capital Naypyidaw, and was initially put at magnitude-7.0, before being revised slightly downwards to 6.8. The epicentre, in the hills of Burma close to the borders with Thailand and Laos, was only 10 kilometres (six miles) deep. It was located 90 kilometres (56 miles) north of Chiang Rai in Thailand and 235 kilometres (146 miles) north-north-east of Chiang Mai, Thailand's second city and a popular tourist destination. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Three times life plus death

Posted by hasekamp on 21 March 2011 at 17:25 PM
Serial killer Somkid Pumpoung Monday was sentenced to life for the June 2005 murder of a cafe singer in Trang's Muang district. At the Ratchadaphisek Criminal Court, the public prosecutor said that Somkid, 42, who allegedly robbed and killed five sex workers, strangled Patcharee Amataniran and made off with her Bt1,000 mobile phone and Bt2,000 cash. The court considered evidence and testimony from both sides and ruled that Somkid was guilty of stealing from and murdering the victim. He was sentenced to life and ordered to pay Bt700 restitution for lost property to the victim's family. This was the fourth murder case against Somkid in which the court has passed down a sentence. Somkid already faces life imprisonment for the murder of a Mukdahan cafe singer, life imprisonment for the murder of a traditional masseuse in Buri Ram, and a death sentence for the murder of a traditional masseuse in Lampang. (Source: The Nation)


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Looking for 832 Thais in Japan

Posted by hasekamp on 20 March 2011 at 11:27 AM
The Thai embassy in Tokyo is focusing on helping 832 Thais who are unaccounted for in the worst-affected parts of tsunami-hit Japan. The ministry reported on Thursday that about 5,000 Thais were unaccounted for in Japan. However, the latest check found only 832 Thais living in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, which were the worst hit by last week's earthquake and tsunami, were still out of contact, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongphakdi. The Foreign Ministry is working with the Immigration Office to check the number of Thais who have returned from Japan since last week. He urged people who have returned to Thailand from Japan to inform the Foreign Ministry's Coordination Centre. Mr Thani also called for Thais in Japan to register themselves with the Thai embassy in Tokyo or the consul-general in Osaka, regardless of their legal status, so the Thai government can help them in case of emergency. Two C-130 aircraft left Bangkok last night carrying 3,000 disaster relief packages from HRH Princess Soamsawali and HRH Princess Bhajrakitiyabha to Japan. Another one is scheduled to leave today . The Thai embassy in Japan announced through its website, www. thaiembassy.jp, that Thais who have already reported to the embassy could board one of three C-130 flights from Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Phuket travelers get pills

Posted by hasekamp on 17 March 2011 at 18:19 PM
Passengers traveling to areas in Japan where they may be exposed to radiation are being offered free Potassium Iodide tablets at Phuket International Airport. The anti-radiation tablets are available at a Phuket Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO) booth set up today on the second floor of Terminal 1. The booth is open from 6:30am to 9:30pm daily until further notice. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Travelers from Japan tested for radiation

Posted by hasekamp on 17 March 2011 at 18:17 PM
People coming from Japan are being scanned for radiation contamination at Suvarnabhumi Airport as a precautionary measure, while initial tests show that food products imported from the disaster-stricken country are safe for consumption, Thai health authorities said Thursday. Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said passengers from Fukushima Daiichi and areas close to the nuclear reactor explosions are advised to seek medical treatment immediately if they develop a skin rash, nausea, severe diarrhoea or become unnaturally pale - a symptom of radiation affecting the digestive or circulatory system. Treatment for radiation will be provided at Rajavithi Hospital and Nopparat Rajathanee Hospital. Jurin, who visited the health checkpoint at the airport Thursday, said that as of 6pm Thursday, 1,842 passengers from Japan had arrived in Thailand since Wednesday. Of this number, 550 passengers were Thai nationals and so far, only 10 people have sought medical advice at the airport.
"There have been no reports about radiation contamination in humans," he said. Two health checkpoints have been set up at the airport. The first one is at the arrivals gate, where arriving tourists are offered medical advice, and the second has been set up at the departure gate, where people travelling to Sendai or other affected areas are provided with potassium iodide, which is believed to help protect the thyroid gland. The ministry has prepared 15,000 of these tablets. The dose for children is half a tablet per day, while adults should take a full tablet.
People with skin disease and iodine allergy as well as pregnant women, and those with hyperthyroidism are advised against taking potassium iodide, as it would have an adverse effect. "This is a precautionary measure to take care of travellers from Thailand," Jurin said. (Source: The Nation)


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Phuket Heroines Festival

Posted by hasekamp on 15 March 2011 at 16:00 PM
The “Thalang Historical Drama”, being performed nightly at Phuket’s annual Heroines’ Festival currently underway in Thalang, is expected to attract more than 2,000 people each night to watch the show. “The show last night went very well. Governor Tri Augkaradacha played the part of Rama I, but that was the only performance he will act in during the festival,” Dr Sawit Pongwat, screenwriter and director of the performance said. “Tonight Satun Immigration Superintendent Chayawut Jansomboon will play for the part of Rama I instead of Gov Tri,” he added. Tonight's performance starts at 7pm. The drama includes a large-scale reproduction of the Battle of Thalang, in which Phuket villagers led by famed Phuket Heroines Mook and Chan routed a Burmese incursion in 1785. The festival began on Sunday at the Thalang Victory Memorial Field, believed to be the actual site where the battle took place. “We attract a full house of about 2,000 people every year, but this year I think we will attract even more,” said Dr Sawit. “This year, students from throughout Phuket City Municipality are also taking part in the drama, so I think their parents will come to see them perform.” (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Gold shop robbed.Two dead

Posted by hasekamp on 15 March 2011 at 15:55 PM
The owner of a gold shop and a security guard were killed and four other people wounded during a violent hold up in broad daylight in Narathiwat's Sungai Kolok district today. The thieves made off with a large quantity of gold jewellery. Pol Lt Ram Jansupolpote, the duty officer of Sungai Kolok police station, said the robbers struck shortly after 9am. According to eyewitnesses, seven men arrived at Lieo Ah gold shop on Bussayaphan road in the municipality of Sungai Kolok in a bronze Mazda car. Armed with M16 rifles and Uzi submachine guns, the men forced their way into the gold shop in two groups. The men in one group opened fire, instantly killing Jitti Pluemjai, 34, the security guard, and Wichai Srithaksinakhun, the shop owner. One of the robbers then took a .38 pistol from the holster at Jitti's waist. The gunfire also seriously hurt Wichai's wife Malee and younger brother Wichit. The second group opened fire at the nearby Yong Tun gold shop, seriously wounding Chainarong Papakhe, the shop owner, and his relative Wuthikorn Jittanachote, and causing considerable damage to the premises. They broke the glass showcases in the Lieo Ah gold shop with their gun butts and swept gold ornaments into several bags, left the shop, and fled in the Mazda car. The four seriously wounded were rushed to Sungai Kolok hospital for emergency treatment. Pol Col Nitinai Langyanai, the Sungai Kolok police chief, said later today the car used by the seven gunmen in their escape had been found. Pol Col Nitinai said the car, with licence plate number Kor Thor 970 of Songkhla province, was found in Waeng district, about 20km from the gold shop. The licence plate was false, he said. Police along the routes that might be used by the robbers to flee to Malaysia had been alerted to try to intercept them. (Source:The Bangkok Post)


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Warning for thunderstorms

Posted by hasekamp on 15 March 2011 at 15:51 PM
People living in upper Thailand, Bangkok and surrounding provinces, and the eastern coast should brace for thunderstorms, strong winds, and hailstorms today, the Meteorological Department said. The southern provinces from Surat Thani down are also warned to prepare for rough seas in the Gulf of Thailand on Wednesday and Thursday. (Source:The Bangkok Post)


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No tsunami effects at all

Posted by hasekamp on 13 March 2011 at 10:37 AM
Following the massive quake and devastating tsunami in Japan, the Narathiwat Meteorological Office director Manee Utharak told people yesterday that whatever danger existed had passed. The Meteorological Department had cancelled its tsunami warning - which said unusual activity might occur in the southern part of the Thai portion of the Isthmus of Kra linking Thailand and Malaysia. Officials in Ranong, which experienced the 2004 tsunami, yesterday confirmed that its 13 tsunami-warning towers, covering 45 at-risk communities, were in good condition and well connected with the National Disaster Warning Centre and buoys at sea. (Source: The Nation)


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Early election a fact

Posted by hasekamp on 13 March 2011 at 10:34 AM
The government will certainly dissolve the House of Representatives during the first week of May, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said in his “Confidence in Thailand with PM Abhisit" weekly programme on NBT on Sunday morning. “It’s the time to return the power to people so they can make the decision on the country’s future,” Mr Abhisit said. He added that an early election will be called to pave way for the people to decide whether to allow the government to continue resolving economic problems of the country or to move forward to the same old political conflict. Mr Abhisit confirmed that he will bring the House dissolution to the intention of His Majesty the King within the first week of May. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Phuket bus overturns

Posted by hasekamp on 10 March 2011 at 15:26 PM
Many people were injured and one man is feared dead after a Patong Municipality bus returning from a funeral overturned on Patong Hill this morning. Rescue foundation volunteers, municipality officers and rescue workers from various agencies continue to pull people from the wreckage of the bus, which came to rest about 10 meters off the road near the Sea Pearl development on Phra Barami Road. Two men and one woman remain trapped inside the bus. It is feared one of the men may be dead, a Kusoldharm Foundation worker told the Phuket Gazette. The crash took place at about 8:30am. To facilitate the rescue effort, police have blocked Patong Hill road from the Thung Thong police station in Kathu Municipality to the bottom of Patong Hill, at the Phisit Gorani Road intersection. Thirty people have been taken to hospital, two of whom were seriously injured, a Kusoldharm Rescue Foundation worker said. One suffered serious head trauma and the other had a compound fracture to the hand with severe bleeding, the rescue worker added. The bus was returning about 40 Patong Municipality volunteers from the funeral of highly revered monk Luangta Maha Bua Yannasampanno in Udon Thani. The bus was only about one kilometer short of home after the two-day, 1,160-kilometer journey when it overturned on the notorious Patong Hill road, which has been nicknamed “Mount Mayhem” for the number of traffic accidents that occur there. Patong Municipality is currently seeking some 6 billion baht in funding to bore a tunnel under the mountain. The town cites safety as among the reasons the mega-project is needed. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Unhealthy air in the North

Posted by hasekamp on 9 March 2011 at 23:54 PM
The amount of carcinogenic chemical compounds in the air has been growing in provinces in the North in recent years. Studies by Chiang Mai University's Research Institute for Health Sciences reveal that air pollution has got more serious outside city zones. "We have conducted urine tests among children aged between 11 and 15 years old to check their exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons [PAHs]," Dr Tippawan Prapamontol said yesterday. Tippawan heads a research project on air pollution and health being conducted by the institute, which has received funds from the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT). She said the amount of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in particulate matter with a diameter not exceeding 10 microns (PM1) has risen by 2.8 times when compared with five years ago. Findings outside towns had an even higher level of PAHs - up "by about 3.5 times". Tippawan said the survey covered 968 subjects, the biggest sample size for tests about exposure to PAHs. Tippawan said her institute was planning to manufacture mobile devices that could monitor the amount of dust particles in real-time for all districts so they could deal with the haze problem better. Chiang Mai University assistant president Paisit Panichkul urged all sectors in the country to help fight the smog problem in the North. (Source: The Nation)


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House dissolution will go ahead

Posted by hasekamp on 9 March 2011 at 23:49 PM
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is unfazed by anti-government elements going "after his scalp" and will move ahead with a plan to call an early House dissolution, a highly-placed source with the Democrat Party says. The source told the Bangkok Post anti-government groups were unhappy with the premier's plan to dissolve the House to clear the way for an early general election and were working hard to thwart it. Anti-government elements led by the red shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship were now stepping up "a hate campaign" against the prime minister. But the source said the prime minister would stick to the plan to dissolve the House of Representatives within the next four weeks. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Killing elephant released

Posted by hasekamp on 7 March 2011 at 23:03 PM
The male elephant that killed a Phuket tourist at Khao Sok National Park on February 22 has been released into a wildlife sanctuary and will no longer be used in the tourism industry. One of the survivors, Helen Gothe of Australia, said she was told by the general manager of Siam Safari that the animal had been sent to a sanctuary after it attacked the elephant she was riding. The pachyderm later stomped to death a Swiss woman in her 60s who had the misfortune of being put on its back. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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PM plans election

Posted by hasekamp on 7 March 2011 at 22:59 PM
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday that he would meet with the Election Commission on Friday to discuss organising the general election.
He said he would have to discuss with the EC first how much time it needs to prepare before his decision to dissolve the House of Representatives. Commissioner Sodsri Satayathum said the EC would ask the prime minister to ensure that the organic election laws were amended to comply with the recent constitutional changes before the House was dissolved so legal complications would not emerge after the poll.
Abhisit's coalition government will face a censure debate from March 15-17, with a no-confidence vote set for March 18, House Speaker Chai Chidchob said.
The censure motion has been put on the agenda, and Abhisit has been informed of the official debate schedule, he said. (Source: The Nation)


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Hotel of death declared clear

Posted by hasekamp on 6 March 2011 at 15:43 PM
Police have ruled out foul play after four people staying at a Chiang Mai hotel died over a 16-day period. Two foreign tourists and a Thai tour guide were all found dead in the Downtown Inn hotel in Chiang Mai's Muang district last month. A third foreigner staying at the hotel later died in hospital. Despite some coincidences and similarities in the deaths, police do not believe any of the victims were murdered. The first death was that of Thai tour guide Waraporn Yingmahasaranont, 47, whose body was found in front of the bathroom inside her fifth-floor room on Feb 3. Police said she had suffered from diarrhoea before her death. On Feb 18, New Zealand tourist Sarah Carter, 23, was killed by an apparent bout of food poisoning. Hotel staff interviewed by police said Carter and two foreign friends, who had also checked in to a room on the fifth floor, had brought barbecued pork and chicken back to the hotel that night and later became violently ill. The staff took them to a local hospital, where Carter died. The two friends recovered and have since left Thailand. Pol Lt Col Sawat Lakas, deputy chief of Muang district police in Chiang Mai, said investigators were still waiting for results of the post-mortem examination on Carter and Waraporn. The next night, an elderly British couple died in their fourth-floor room. A post-mortem examination confirmed both George Everly, 78, and Elean Everly, 74, died as a result of an unusual enlargement of their heart muscles with blocked arteries, Pol Lt Col Sawat said. However despite the coincidence, doctors found no trace of poison in their stomachs, nor did police find any evidence of a struggle in the room. The deputy chief said all three of the guests who died at the hotel had locked their rooms from the inside. Hotel manager Thanthep Boonkaew has been called for questioning by police. Mr Thanthep said many bookings at the hotel have been cancelled since news of the deaths had spread. Monks will perform religious rites at the hotel on Tuesday. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Yellows (also) want Abhisit to go

Posted by hasekamp on 4 March 2011 at 14:58 PM
Yellow shirts movement planned to collect 20,000 signatures in a bid to impeach Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva for alleged neglect of duty which caused the country to lose territory to Cambodia, a movement leader said Friday. Prapan Koonmee said the movement (People's Alliance for Democracy) will put pressure on Abhisit government by collecting 20,000 signatures, as required by the Constitution, and present them to the Constitution Court. He said the premier should be impeached for neglect of duty by bringing up 2000 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Thailand and Cambodia which the PAD claimed that it was legally ineffective as a tool for negotiation with the Cambodian authorities. The move caused Thailand to lose territory to Cambodia, he claimed. Meanwhile, Maj Gen Chamlong Srimuang, a PAD core leader, said the government was trying to put pressure on the PAD. He said that now the PAD would step up its campaign to inform the public that if Thailand loses the 4.6 square kilometres of contested land to Cambodia, the kingdom will lose another 180,000 rai (72,000 acres) along the border to Cambodia. (Source: The Nation)


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Rare sea-turtle found dead

Posted by hasekamp on 3 March 2011 at 19:34 PM
Experts believe a 200kg leatherback sea turtle found floating in the shallows of Klong Tha Cheen in Phuket yesterday afternoon died after becoming entangled in a fishing net. The death comes amid what one expert has described as a “crisis” for the endangered species. The body of the turtle, estimated at between 15 and 25 years old, was discovered floating in mangrove forest by residents of the Bang Hon Sai Thong residential estate in Rassada subdistrict. The villagers hauled the carcass onto the beach and alerted officials from the Marine Endangered Species Unit at the Phuket Marine Biological Center at Cape Panwa. The animal had large wounds to its front legs thought to have been made by fish hooks. A large cut in its mouth was also consistent with entanglement with a fishing line. PMBC director Wannakiat Tubtimsaeng said the turtle was of mating age and it was likely swimming ashore to lay eggs on one of Phuket's beaches. Leatherback turtles have also been known to lay on other west coast beaches including Kata, Karon and Patong. The official cause of death will be determined pending a full autopsy, he said. He called the situation a “crisis” for the population of leatherbacks, the most endangered species of turtle in the region. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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