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Believe in Phuket

Posted by hasekamp on 29 April 2012 at 11:41 AM
Travellers flocked to this resort province on Saturday despite rumours it is sinking, according to its governor Tri Akaradecha. He welcomed a group of 385 Thai and foreign passengers at Phuket International Airport flying the first flight with Thai Airways to visit the province. To deny the rumours, the 'Believe in Phuket' event was held in Phuket to boost confidence among tourists of the province's safety measures and to thank them for travelling to the area. He added that all flights to Phuket were fully booked today, while Phuket Airport director Pratuang Sorn-kum noted after the April 16 earthquake in the province, the number of flights has increased by about 3 percent year-on-year. Meanwhile, Mineral Resources Department director-general Nitat Poovatanakul led related officials, including the governor, to put national, provincial, and local administrative flags at the centre of the earthquake area's surface in Thalang district as a part of the 'Believe in Phuket' activities and to create confidence the island will not submerge. (Source: MCOT online news)


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Arrest in jewellery scam

Posted by hasekamp on 28 April 2012 at 16:33 PM
Officers from the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) have arrested a couple for involvement in a jewellery scam alleged to have duped people in Nakhon Pathom and Bangkok out of Bt400 million, DSI chief Tharit Pengdit told a press conference yesterday. The arrests, made at the couple's Nakhon Pathom home after the criminal court issued warrants for them, followed a complaint filed to the DSI by Poonyavee Rangsi-athiwat and others. The complaint alleged that Chuangchote Akharapanyawat and his wife Thanalak, along with Chuangchote's niece, Sriwarin Poonthanarom (also known as Sansanee Wanichkirati), duped 17 people into investing in a fake diamond/jewellery scheme between March 1, 2010 and January 6 this year. (Source: The Nation)


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Learning water management

Posted by hasekamp on 28 April 2012 at 16:30 PM
Countries in the Lower Mekong Basin will next week learn how to use their rivers for food and energy security as well as save the environment from the managers of 16 major waterways in Asia, Australia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. Ministers and senior officials from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam will meet the executives of major rivers such as the Danube, Rhine, Congo, Niger and Nile from May 1-3 Tuesday to Thursday to discuss trans-boundary impact from developments in countries that are within the same basin. A report on the conference will be sent as a message from the Mekong basin to the Earth Summit 2012 in Rio de Janeiro in June, Water Resource Department director-general Jatuporn Buruspat said. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will preside over the meeting, which will be held in Phuket. The agenda will also include the issue of disaster management, in which Thailand will ask other countries in the Mekong basin to provide more information on disaster and surveillance system so disaster management is more effective, Jatuporn said. The Lower Mekong basin comprises Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, which came together under the Mekong River Commission (MRC). Myanmar and China, which are in the upper Mekong basin and not members of the MRC, will send representatives to the conference as observers. Several controversial issues in relation to the basin will be raised at the conference and views exchanged and advice sought from the river managers. (Source: The Nation)


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Long wait for tablets

Posted by hasekamp on 24 April 2012 at 22:34 PM
Thai students will likely have to wait longer than expected for their promised computer tablets, as the China-based provider can only produce around 1,000 per day, not 20,000 as it told Thai authorities previously, a source at the Education Ministry told The Nation yesterday. Despite the expected delivery delay, training in use of the tablets by educational personnel, who will in turn act as trainers of educational supervisors, began yesterday in Bangkok. Meanwhile, Srinakharinwirot University said it would release in early May the findings of a study on the benefits and disadvantages of using tablets in schools. The source said the supplier, Shenzhen Scope Scientific Development, could produce 20,000 tablet chassis per day, but could only produce 1,000 completed units daily. The Cabinet recently approved the purchase of 1 million tablet computers for elementary students - up from an initial 900,000. If the company has the capacity to produce only about 1,000 tablets a day, it will take up to 1,000 days - or two years and nine months - to finish manufacturing 1 million tablets. Initially, the government planned to hand out the tablets to all Prathom 1 students at the start of the upcoming semester. (Source: The Nation)


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Phuket bus terminal 2 in use

Posted by hasekamp on 23 April 2012 at 10:44 AM
The Phuket Bus Terminal 2 finally went into operation this morning –more than 28 months after the completion of the structure. “I think the first day has gone well so far,” said Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO) chief Teerayut Prasertpol. Mr Teerayut estimated that about 70 per cent of the public is already aware that almost all inter-provincial buses will operate out of the new station, which is located on Thepkrasattri Road southbound in Rassada, not far from the Supercheap shopping complex. PLTO officers were posted at the station today to monitor operations and give information for first-time users. Passengers unaware of the change who arrived at the old Phuket Bus Terminal 1 on Phang Nga Road in Phuket Town were instructed to take the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization “Pink Bus” or pho thong, which connects the two stations at a fare of 10 baht. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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To die here or to die there ...

Posted by hasekamp on 23 April 2012 at 10:40 AM
More than 700 dogs, rescued from being smuggled out of Thailand for butchering, have died as thousands of others struggle to survive in overcrowded shelters in Buri Ram and Nakhon Phanom. The matter came to light after the latest seizure of about 550 dogs from a dog smuggling gang in Mukdahan's Wan Yai and Muang districts on Saturday. The dogs were being moved from a house near the Mekong River to the pier. Authorities originally planned to move the seized dogs to animal quarantine offices in Buri Ram and Nakhon Phanom, but officials there said they could not receive the dogs due to congested conditions at the shelters. The Livestock Development Department has decided to transport them to the animal quarantine in Ubon Ratchathani's Khemarat district. Buri Ram animal quarantine head Phaisan Phatthanadechakun yesterday said the shelter had been taking care of about 1,100 seized dogs. He said receiving more dogs would only worsen the overcrowding. At least 700 seized dogs transferred to his animal quarantine unit had died since last August, he said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Mobile internet on the rise

Posted by hasekamp on 23 April 2012 at 10:34 AM
The time per day Thais spend on mobile devices has now surpassed TV viewing and traditional internet use, according to a mobile media survey. Social media and entertainment are driving mobile growth in Thailand, said the survey commissioned by InMobi, the world's largest independent mobile advertising network. On average, mobile web users in Thailand spend 6.6 hours daily. Of this time, mobile devices represent 27% compared to 26% people spent online via desktops and laptops and 25% on TV. The study also found 44% of mobile web users in Thailand say mobile devices are their preferred method of going online. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Flood in Krabi and Phang Nga

Posted by hasekamp on 22 April 2012 at 11:35 AM
Twenty families fled their homes in Krabi's Muang district yesterday as two tambon were hit by forest run-off water after a night of heavy downpours. Some 20 rescue workers and police officers assisted the flood victims in Tubprik and Muang sub-districts at 6am. The kamnan of Tubprik sub-district, Suppachai Kerdsuk, said that following heavy rain since 6pm, he and village headmen alerted residents to move their belongings and prepare for evacuation as the area was flood-prone. A huge water mass early yesterday morning flowed down the mountain to flood 20 homes in five villages, leave several local roads impassable in places and damage three bridges. Phang Nga province was also affected by the flood. Petchakasem Road between Takuopa district and Thai Mueang district was flooded, as were many villages in the two districts. The situation in Phang Nga was back to normal yesterday morning. (Source: The Nation)


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Yellow shirts no longer strong

Posted by hasekamp on 22 April 2012 at 11:31 AM
The yellows no longer have a strong enough platform to stand on, to shout and scream from and hence, the passion subsided, the funds drained and the movement has waned. There's a rumour being reported in newspapers that Sondhi Limthongkul has actually made up with Thaksin Shinawatra in the interests of good business. Who knows if there is truth to that, but this much we do know. When the Kingdom's highest court ordered the seizure of 46 billion baht of Thaksin's frozen assets in February 2010, tens of thousands of screaming UDD supporters descended on Bangkok, and the streets were painted blood red. When the Criminal Court on Feb 28 this year sentenced Sondhi to 20 years in jail without parole for violating the Securities and Exchange Act, the only yellow in the streets were the lights that tells drivers to speed up, floor the gas pedal. When army tanks rolled into the capital in September 2006, the yellows greeted the soldiers with cheers and flowers. Last week when they wanted to use the grounds of the Army Club for a political rally, they were told to ''go somewhere else''. That refusal signified one of the last few remaining breaths of an organisation that once moved a Kingdom, but now can't even move more than a few hundred people onto the streets.
What matters most is, now in 2012, Thaksin's Pheu Thai Party has an absolute majority in parliament, with his sister sitting as prime minister. So, the UDD is winning the war. A movement can only fight for so long and meet with so many failures before it starts to fade away. Today, the PAD is splintered into various smaller groups, including the most active one in recent time, Tul Sitthisomwong's multi-coloured group. But none of them could ever muster more than a few hundred supporters. As for defending the monarchy, how is one to defend the monarchy against someone else who's also defending the monarchy? Everybody is defending the monarchy. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Very hot weather

Posted by hasekamp on 21 April 2012 at 16:41 PM
Officials have played down public concern over unusually hot weather but believe the mercury will keep on rising. The average temperature during this year's summer period is higher than last year's, but it is still lower than the mean temperature in the hot season, the Meteorological Department says. The average temperature range is 34.4C to 35.8C, which is still below the 30-year average temperature during the summer of 36C. But the department predicts that next Wednesday and Thursday will be the hottest days so far, with the temperature rising to 42C in some areas. A Climatological Centre official said there was no sign of irregular weather patterns during this year's hot season. The highest temperature this summer was measured on April 14 in Tak province at 41.2C, which is three degrees lower than the record of 44.5C measured in Uttaradit province in 1960, she said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Chiang Mai wants panda to stay longer

Posted by hasekamp on 20 April 2012 at 23:17 PM
The Chiang Mai Zoo will soon raise with Zoological Park Organisation executives a proposal that China allow giant panda Lin Ping to remain in Thailand for another three years, zoo director Thanapat Pongpamorn said yesterday. After that, the zoo would contact China for further arrangements over Lin Ping's extended stay, he added. The Panda Research Project head, Prasertsak Boontrakulthavee, said his team was ready to continue taking care of Lin Ping. The panda was born in Thailand but belongs to China, and was originally scheduled to be sent there when it becomes four years old in 2013. The zoo's panda display comprises one outdoor and two indoor sections. It displayed three giant pandas, Chuang Chuang, Lin Hui and their female offspring Lin Ping, and attracted 1,0002,000 visitors a day. (Source: The Nation)


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No tablets for schools after all?

Posted by hasekamp on 20 April 2012 at 23:15 PM
The Thai government's ambitious but troubled plan to hand out computer tablets to nearly a million schoolchildren is in danger of collapsing because the Chinese suppliers are reportedly putting off the signing of the contract, sources told The Nation yesterday. Even if the contract does get signed eventually and the plan goes ahead, it is now almost certain that the government will miss its deadline by weeks, if not months, of delivering tablets to Grade 1 students. The Yingluck Shinawatra administration was planning to hand out tablets to 900,000 children when schools reopen mid next month. However, this timeframe is very unrealistic now due to a tug of war over the signing of the contract. The sources are blaming the Shenzhen Scope Scientific Development for the escalating uncertainties. The Chinese supplier has reportedly backtracked on a previously agreed two-year guarantee on its products, claiming that the battery could not possibly last that long. There have also been other instances of backtracking, like the firm cutting down on its post-sale service centres from 30 to just 12. (Source: The Nation)


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Final Songkran toll: 320

Posted by hasekamp on 20 April 2012 at 23:11 PM
A total of 3,129 road accidents occurred during the seven Songkran "dangerous days", killing 320 people, Interior Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit announced Wednesday. Yongyuth, the director of the Road Safety Centre, said the seven-day period from April 11 to 17 ended with 3,320 people being injured in the road accidents. He said the period saw lower number of accidents compared with the same period last year by with 18.08 per cent increase of fatalities. On Tuesday alone, 257 accidents occurred, killing 38 people and injuring 261 others. At the end of the seven-day monitoring period for road accidents, six provinces were found with no fatalities. They were Nakhon Phanom, Trat, Trang, Pattani, Ranong and Satun. (Source: The Nation)


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Ayutthaya wants dykes

Posted by hasekamp on 20 April 2012 at 23:09 PM
Residents of Ayutthaya province agree on the construction of dykes surrounding industrial estates but are asking the government to offer relief to farmers and to people living near industrial areas who lack elevated houses. The comments were echoed at a public hearing of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) by Thai Environmental Technic Ltd for five industrial estates in Ayutthaya province. Earlier on, some residents had staged a protest to stop the construction of dykes because of their environmental impact. Malee Kongsomsak, a resident of Uthai district, said that instead of letting both industries and farmers be affected by the floods, the industrial estates should proceed to build dykes so at least one can survive. Chumpol Moryadee, an expert at Thai Environmental Technic, said measures such as having an emergency control centre in each estate will also be proposed to the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning. Aviruth Suksomat, a water resource engineer at Team Group, said the flood situation this year should be less severe than last year, but the storms occurring from August to October must be closely monitored. Mr Aviruth said the industrial estates are aiming to finish construction of dykes by September at the latest. Team Group will be able to make more precise estimations a month before the rainy season. In the meantime, the public should make use of reliable information from the Royal Irrigation Department and the Thai Meteorological Department. Areas that need to closely watch the amount of water include Nakhon Sawan, Chai Nat and Sing Buri. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Eight earthquakes in Phuket!

Posted by hasekamp on 17 April 2012 at 14:58 PM
The eight small earthquakes that have rocked Phuket over the past 24 hours are most likely related to the much larger earthquakes off the coast of Sumatra last week, experts from the Thai Meteorological Department (TMD) said. The latest quake, which hit at 12:18pm today, was a magnitude of 3.1 on the Richter scale, according to preliminary data released by the TMD website. The previous tremors dating back through yesterday, all centered in Thalang, were as follows:
Today:
1:31am: 2.3 Richter
Yesterday:
7:02pm: 2.5 Richter
6:00pm: 2.2 Richter
4:47pm: 2.1 Richter (originally reported at 4.3 magnitude; 10km deep)
4:03pm: 2.7 Richter
4:01pm: 2.6 Richter
2:17pm: 2.6 Richter
9:44am: 4.3 Richter
TMD explained that the 8.9 Richter earthquake off Sumatra on April 11 likely affected all 13 known faults in Thailand. The source of recent activity in Thalang is the 130-kilometer-long Klong Marui Fault that runs beneath Phuket and Phang Nga. TMD spokesperson Phuwiang Prakammi said on the Nation Group’s Rawangpai (Disaster Watch) Channel that he had discussed the recent earthquake activity with fellow seismologists and there was a consensus that the Thalang – centered tremors likely represented an ongoing adjustment to the much larger earthquake last week. The Thai fault zones were not directly related to the active fault zone off Sumatra, which has been the source on numerous aftershocks in recent days, he said. Mr Phuwiang said aftershocks with magnitudes greater than 5.0 Richter pose a risk of significant damage, but that earthquakes less than 4.0 Richter should not be a source of panic. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Songkran death toll now 253

Posted by hasekamp on 16 April 2012 at 11:36 AM
A total of 253 people were killed and 2,751 others injured in 2,134 road accidents from April 11 to 15, the first five of the "seven dangerous days" of the Songkran holiday period, the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department reported on Monday. Nakhon Si Thammarat and Surat Thani had the most fatalities, 10 each, followed by Pichit (9). On Sunday, 43 people were killed, with drunk driving the largest single cause. Death and serious injuries related to drink driving increased from 17.14 per cent over the same period last year to 26.19 per cent this year, according to the department. There were still 12 provinces that held to the governmen's targeted “zero rate” of traffic fatalities: Kampangpetch, Satun, Yala, Ranong, Nakhon Phanom, Lop Buri, Trang, Trat, Nong Bua Lamphu, Pattani, Sing Buri and Chonburi. Any province that achieves the government’s target over Songkran will awarded a trophy and cash prize by the Statesman General Prem Tinasulanonda Foundation. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Songkran was celebrated all over the country

Posted by hasekamp on 15 April 2012 at 19:28 PM
People have flocked to celebrate the water-splashing festival at many popular venues across the country. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday presided over the opening of celebrations in her hometown, Chiang Mai. Speaking in northern dialect on her weekly TV show, she wished all Thais happiness, a fresh start free of trouble and a safe journey during the traditional New Year. In Chiang Mai, she urged people to be polite when splashing water and refrain from drinking alcohol to prevent accidents. She broadcast her TV programme from Bo Sang umbrella village in San Kamphaeng district. Meanwhile, local residents in the province built a giant sand chedi yesterday using 700 cubic metres of sand, as part of a merit-making ceremony. Chiang Mai Night Safari's eight-year-old elephant "Nong Nam Wan" also celebrated Songkran on the Chiang Mai-Hang Dong Road by holding a rubber tube with its trunk to spray water on people. Despite the blazing heat, Khao San Road in Bangkok was crowded with Thai and foreign revellers for the second day of New Year celebrations yesterday. They were entertained by a foam party and music performance. With a huge flock of revellers on Silom Road, police from Bang Rak, Yannawa and Thung Mahamek stations combined forces to ensure safety. Selling alcohol and carrying weapons were prohibited, but reports emerged of vendors selling alcohol. To prevent improper or lewd dancing, police prohibited vehicles equipped with amplifiers from entering the road. People in Kanchanaburi celebrated Songkran in Mon style, by offering alms to 100 monks on Uttamanusorn Bridge, the longest wooden bridge in Thailand. (Source: The Nation)


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First 30 Songkran road deaths

Posted by hasekamp on 13 April 2012 at 11:20 AM
A total of 30 people were killed in road accidents on Wednesday, the first of "seven dangerous Songkran holidays", the Road Safety Centre announced Thursday. Wibul Sanguanpong, director general of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department who is the secretary of the centre, told a press conference that 343 road accidents occurred Wednesday, in which 373 people were injured. Phichit saw the highest death toll with five people killed. Nakhon Si Thammarat became the province with the highest number of accidents or 20 accidents happened on the first day. Drunk driving was - as usual - the biggest cause of accidents. (Source: The Nation)


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Tsunami fear has only small impact on tourism

Posted by hasekamp on 13 April 2012 at 11:17 AM
The initial panic over Wednesday's tsunami alert in provinces on the Andaman Sea coast has translated into only a minimal impact on the tourism industry in those areas, with cancellations for the Songkran period at between 10 and 20 per cent, tourism and hospitality industry veterans said. Suchart Hirunkanokkul, president of the Thai Hotels Association Southern Chapter, said only 10 per cent of local tourists cancelled their bookings during the Songkran festival after the tsunami warnings. Foreign tourists, especially from Europe and the United States, have largely confirmed their trips to those areas, including Phuket, Krabi and Phang Nga. Some tourist groups from Japan cancelled trips to Phuket. There have been no cancellations for the post-Songkran period in Phuket. (Source: The Nation)


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Thaksin thinks he returns this year

Posted by hasekamp on 13 April 2012 at 11:12 AM
Self-exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra says he is likely to return to Thailand this year. "With your support, I'm likely to return home this year," he said yesterday in a video address from Laos. "You probably think I've said often I'll come home. If I can't, please come to get me," he said. An estimated 2,000 people gathered in Nong Khai, just across the border, to hear the ex-leader speak. "I would like to return to Thailand, would like all of you to receive me at an airport and spend a night in Nong Khai," he added. Earlier, he insisted he was not in conflict with Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda, and the pair could meet for reconciliation talks. He also thanked the Lao government for looking after his security following rumours of an assassination plot. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Tsunami threat not over yet

Posted by hasekamp on 13 April 2012 at 11:08 AM
The government should stay alert for the possibility of another major earthquake and potential tsunami for at least another two days following Wednesday's huge quake and aftershocks off northern Sumatra, experts said on Thursday. At 3.38pm Bangkok time on Wednesday an 8.6 magnitude earthquake occurred, centred 431 kilometres north of the Indonesian city of Banda Aceh, Sumatra, and was followed by a series of strong aftershocks. It was centred about 100km from the centre of the 2004 earthquake that generated tsunamis that ravaged Thailand's Andaman Sea coastal provinces and caused a huge loss of life throughout the Indian Ocean region. Wednesday's earthquake epicentre was located at a depth of 22.9km in the earth's mantle layer. It was felt in Thailand, India, Malaysia and other countries around the Indian Ocean rim and prompted authorities to issue tsunami warnings and order evacuations. The tsunami warning sent people fleeing to higher ground in Phuket, Krabi, Phangnga, Ranong, Satun and Trang provinces. It was lifted several hours later without any report of damage or casualties in Thailand. Thursday it was reported that five people were confirmed killed in Sumatra and others injured. Prof Dr Thanawat Jarupongsakul of the disaster and geographic information study unit at Chulalongkorn University said a close watch is essential over the next few days because experience proved there could be more earthquakes and possible tsunamis in the wake of Wednesday's quake. Following the quake and aftershocks, tsunami waves of about 10 centimetres high were reported at Phang Nga. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Tsunami danger seems gone

Posted by hasekamp on 11 April 2012 at 14:06 PM
The Patong office of the Department of Disaster Mitigation and Prevention (DDPM) has confirmed that a small wave, believed to have been the tsunami, has reached Patong Beach. Officer Sampawan Wannasangkam, who was stationed literally on Patong Beach this afternoon, told the Phuket Gazette that at about 6:25pm he was ordered to leave the beach. "The time had passed for when the tsunami was expected to arrive. I did not see any larger-than-normal waves, but my superior officer reported seeing a wave measuring only centimeters higher than the normal waves and he believed that was the tsunami," he said. The National Disaster Warning Center (NDWC) reported that a monitoring station in the Similian Island archipelago reported that a wave measuring 10 centimeters - and believed to have been the tsunami - was observed reaching the shores of Koh Miant (Island Number 4) just before 6pm. The tsunami-response team of Patong DDPM officeres have been ordered to remain on standby until 8pm, and to await further orders, Mr Sampawan said. (Source: Facebook page of the Phuket Gazette)


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Evacuation ordered after tsunami alert

Posted by hasekamp on 11 April 2012 at 12:39 PM
The Disaster Warning Centre issued an order for the people in the six provinces on the western coast of Thaland to evacuate to safe areas after an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.6 on the Richter scale rocked the western coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It was initially reported at 8.9 and then downgraded. The order, following a warning from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre, was aimed particularly at people in tourist provinces of Phuket, Krabi and Phangnga, which are high risk, to evacuate to high ground far away from the sea shore. The other three provinces on the western coast are Satun, Trang and Songkhla, but they are at less risk. The massive earthquake was felt in many parts of Thailand including Bangkok. Telephone signals were reported to have been disrupted in some areas.
Smith Dhammasaroj, former chief of the Meteorological Department, said a tsunami could possibly hit the six provinces on the western coast this evening. Somsak Khaosuwan, director of the National Disaster Warning Centre, said waves about one metre high would possibly reach Phuket about 5.40pm. For the sake of safety, people living along the western coastline are advised to evacuate immediately, he said.
The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand insisted that the Egat dams remain strong following the strong earthquake. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Food sold at terminals not safe

Posted by hasekamp on 11 April 2012 at 12:33 PM
Most of the food sold at passenger terminals has been found to be below safety standards or even poisonous, Deputy Public Health Minister Surawit Khonsomboon said yesterday. Citing a survey on food hygiene as part of a ministry campaign to ensure food safety during the fourday Songkran holiday, he said 32 out of 81 samples showed Ecoli contamination, six contained the staphylococcus aureus bacteria, four showed salmonella and one had vibrio parahaemolyticus. He called on consumers to always purchase ice or drinking water packaged in containers with a Food and Drugs Administration stamp of safety. He also urged consumers to only use straws with plastic covers. The survey was conducted at three key bus terminals and a major train station. Police have also been warned against aiming highpowered water guns at people's eyes or ears to avoid injury, and revellers are being told to not throw water at motorcyclists to avoid accidents. Revellers who cause a motorcycle to tip over by using highpowered water guns will face assault charges, which carries a twoyear imprisonment sentence and/or a fine of up to Bt4,000. People are also not allowed to mix ice cubes or crushed ice in the water used to throw at each other. Shops selling banned watergun brands as well as those made from water pipes will be subjected to fines. (Source: The Nation)


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Tsunami warning in the South!

Posted by hasekamp on 11 April 2012 at 12:14 PM
The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department has issued an urgent warning for people living on the coast of six southern provinces to evacuate, the areas would be hit by tsunami starting from 5:09 pm. Anusorn Kaewkangwal said residents of Ranong, Phang Nga, Phuket, Satun, Krabi and Trang were told to clear the coastal areas before 5 pm. He said Koh Miang of Phang Nga would be the first to be hit by tsunami at 5:09 pm. Then, the giant waves would hit Karon and Patong beaches in Phuket and Phi Phi isalnd in Krabi and Jao Mai and Paliang beaches in Trant. Ranong and Satun would be hit by the giant waves later, Anusorn said.
Tourists and workers at the Patong Beach urgently evacuated to higher grounds after the tsunami sirens at the beach sounded. The tsunami alarms sounded following a 8.7 Richter quake in Indonesia. (Source: The Nation)


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Increased security in the South

Posted by hasekamp on 8 April 2012 at 11:14 AM
Police will set up seven safety zones in Yala province and 46 road checkpoints in Songkhla in the wake of the March 31 car bombings. The seven safety zones will cover Buddhist communities that have frequently been targeted by insurgents, national police chief Pol Gen Priewphan Damapong said yesterday. In the safety zones, security checks will be beefed up, special parking zones will be provided for non-residents, while traffic regulations will be adjusted to facilitate security operations. Preventing outsiders' vehicles from entering the localities will make it easier for security authorities to prevent future car bomb attacks, he said. If the measures prove successful, more safety zones will be set up in all three southern border provinces, Pol Gen Priewphan said. Apart from the safety zones, the police will set up 46 checkpoints on roads in Songkhla province that lead to the three southern border provinces. The checkpoints are aimed at preventing assailants from driving vehicles carrying bombs into the region. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Songkran Festival

Posted by hasekamp on 8 April 2012 at 11:07 AM
WE in the West celebrate Easter today and tomorrow. In Thailand it is almost Songkran, the Thai New Year Festival. The first published celebration:
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will hold a Songkran Festival from April 12-15 at Lan Khon Muang Plaza in front of City Hall. The festival, over whose opening ceremony Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra will preside, will stress the traditional aspects of the festival and encourage Thais to pay respects to parents and senior citizens. The BMA will take the Phra Buddha Sihing statue from Bangkok's National Museum to Lan Khon Muang Plaza so people can worship it on April 12-15. (Source: The Nation)


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Ice dealer arrested

Posted by hasekamp on 1 April 2012 at 9:17 AM
A former building foreman has been arrested for selling "ice" or crystal methamphetamine in Krabi. Police in Muang district in the southern province told a press conference yesterday they arrested Kamol Samuhaseneeto, 38, and seized 113 grams of "ice", found in capsules. Following a tip-off, police raided his home in Krabi town and found the drug hidden in the ceiling. Kamol confessed that he used to be a foreman at a construction site in Bangkok but he lost his job after the flooding late last year. So he decided to sell "ice", ordering the drug from Bangkok to sell in Krabi. It was sent via parcel delivery on a public bus and he successfully did that once before being arrested the second time he ordered it. Police accused him of possessing a Narcotic Drug Schedule 1 (crystal meth) for illegal sale. (Source: The Nation)


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Farmers also caused haze in North

Posted by hasekamp on 1 April 2012 at 9:13 AM
The haze problem in the North is being worsened by the burning of forest areas to grow crops such as corn for ethanol production, researchers and local officials have said. According to research data and field examinations by the Chiang Mai office of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, forest hotspots identified are areas being cleared by burning in the dry season for mono-cropping, the growing of the same crop every year. "The more remote the areas are, the more clearing and burning of forests goes on, and the more haze is contributed to the atmosphere," said Bunpot Kantasen, chief of the local office. "If we allow the practice to continue I'm afraid that within the next 10 years we will lose almost all our forests." Officials believe mono-cropping has been encouraged by the government's ethanol use policy which has resulted in higher price for crops such as corn. Ash from the burning also reduces nutrients in the soil. Chiang Mai University geographers studying satellite images for the past five years found that haze levels differed depending on the time of year and where the burning was taking place. Lead researcher Suthinee Dontree said most of the burning from late February and March onwards was related to preparing areas for rotation farming and mono-cropping, especially corn growing. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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