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20,000 CCTV cameras in Bangkok

Posted by hasekamp on 31 July 2012 at 23:44 PM
Bangkok Governor Sukhum-bhand Paribatra yesterday promised to have more than 20,000 security cameras up and running across the capital before the end of this year. So far, half of them are already in place. "We will install 10,000 more," he said, adding that many of these cameras would be installed in areas where student brawls have taken place in the hope of preventing such violence."Cameras will also be installed at communities with a high concentration of schools," he said, adding that the cameras would be linked to 88 police stations across the capital to boost public safety. He said Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) would allow the Traffic Police Division and the Intelligent Traffic Information Centre to use information gathered via the cameras. "It would be very useful for drivers," he said. (Source: The Nation)


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First Olympic medal

Posted by hasekamp on 31 July 2012 at 23:40 PM
Weightlifter Pimsiri Sirikaew on Monday wins Thailand’s first Olympic medal at the 2012 London Games. Pimsiri, 22, got the silver medal while Li Xueying won China's second weightlifting gold medal of the London Olympics. Li led the way in both the snatch and the clean and jerk in the women's 58-kilogram category.Yulia Kalina of Ukraine took bronze. World champion Nastassia Novikava of Belarus ended up in seventh place. (Source: The Nation)


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Free eye surgery

Posted by hasekamp on 31 July 2012 at 23:37 PM
As part of a project launched to mark Her Majesty the Queen's 80th birthday on August 12, people suffering from cataracts can have their eyes checked for free on August 10 between 7am and 5pm at the 11th Infantry Regiment's army club in Bangkok's Bang Khen district. Patients will also be provided free cataract surgery. This project is being repeated because only 60 out of 350 patients could be given free cataract surgery under a similar project organised to mark HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn's birthday on July 22. The free surgery is sponsored by the Army, the Internal Security Operations Command, Samut Sakhon's Ban Phaeo Hospital and the National Security Business Association. (Source: The Nation)


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Monks on diet

Posted by hasekamp on 31 July 2012 at 23:35 PM
Thais were asked to make more healthy choices when donating food to monks after a survey released Tuesday found that nearly half of the monks recently checked for health problems were overweight or suffering from diet-related diseases. Of the 246 Buddhist monks in 11 provinces taking part in the survey, 45 per cent were overweight and about 40 per cent suffered from diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, ulcers and allergies that could be blamed on unhealthy diets, the survey conducted by the government’s Thai Health Promotion Foundation found. The foundation, which released its results prior to the start of Buddhist Lent on August 3, advised laymen to be more selective about the food they donate during the three-month Lenten period when monks are restricted to their monasteries and temples. Thais tend to offer monks rich foods that were the favourite dishes of departed ones, such as curries and sweets, as a means of making merit. (Source: The Nation)


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Three policemen sentenced to death

Posted by hasekamp on 31 July 2012 at 23:32 PM
Three police officers were sentenced to death yesterday for the 2004 murder of a 17-year-old during the Thaksin Shinawatra government's war on drugs. Kiattisak Thitboonkrong, of Kalasin province, was arrested in July 2004 for alleged motorcycle theft, but he was found hanged from the ceiling of a hut in Roi Et's Chang Han district days after being released from Muang Kalasin police station. His relatives suspected the teenager was a victim of extra-judicial killing, which was widespread during the war on drugs campaign between 2003 and 2005. The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) accepted the case and pressed charges of premeditated murder against six police officers attached to Muang Kalasin police station. The Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Road in Bangkok read out the verdict on the case yesterday, sentencing three of the police officers to death, one to life imprisonment and another to a seven-year prison sentence. The sixth defendant was acquitted. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Demolition of illegal resorts

Posted by hasekamp on 29 July 2012 at 18:56 PM
Demolitions of illegally built resorts in Thap Lan National Park were scheduled to begin last night(July 27 night) in a large area covering nine locations between Prachin Buri and Nakhon Ratchasima. This is the third in a series of crackdowns on illegal encroachment and resort operations. The nine locations cover 1,857 rai (297 hectares) and comprise 55 resorts - one large resort on a 45rai plot and 54 others elsewhere in the area. Demolitions were to be carried out simultaneously at all nine locations by nine forestranger teams, with machinery required at two of them. A total of 418 resort owners, who had encroached on more than 8,000 rai of land in Thap Lan National Park, face legal action. Fortynine of them will have to stand trial, said deputy park chief Anuwat Leelaphata. (Source: The Nation)


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700 dogs saved

Posted by hasekamp on 29 July 2012 at 18:53 PM
Authorities transferred 700 dogs to Nakhon Phanom Animal Quarantine Centre yesterday that were believed destined for dining tables in Vietnam following the arrest of a Thai truckdriver in Ban Phaeng district on Friday night. Driver Salud Khottakok was transporting the dogs from Sakhon Nakhon to the border in a six-wheel truck when he was stopped. He confessed to being hired by a Vietnamese investor to deliver the dogs to Ban Phaeng Pier, from where they were to be taken down the Mekong River to Vietnam. Centre head Chusak Pongpanich said the latest batch took the centre's dog population to about 2,000. The shelter has Bt8 million in donated funds left, but it spends Bt30,000-40,000 a day to care for the dogs. Chusak urged people to donate more money, food and medicine. (Source: The Nation)


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Thailand now third rice exporter

Posted by hasekamp on 27 July 2012 at 13:56 PM
After having been for almost 50 years the world's largest rice exporter, Thailand is now on the third place. India is now rice exporter #1 and Vietnam is second. According to the American Ministry of Agriculture, Thailand now exports 6,5 million tonnes of rice rijst per year, whereas India exports 8 million tonnes and Vietnam 7 million tonnes. (Undocumented in Thailandblog.nl)


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Hand, Foot,Mouth disease under control in Phuket

Posted by hasekamp on 27 July 2012 at 13:47 PM
Following the outbreak of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) in Thailand which caused the death of a 2-year-old toddler in Bangkok last week, the situation in Phuket is largely under control, health officials say. Phuket Public Health Office (PPHO) Chief Dr Sak Tanchaikul told the Phuket Gazette that more than 10,000 cases of the viral disease have been reported in Thailand from January 1 to July 22 this year. PPHO statistics for the same period revealed 246 reported cases in the province, with most patients under 15 years of age and clustered in the Cherng Talay area, he said. Symptoms may include fever, headache, vomiting and fatigue as well as a rash that develops on the body parts that the condition is named for. To be on the safe side, the PPHO is urging educators to call the parents of children who have even slight fever symptoms. Such students should be cared for at home and not returned to school until they are feeling well, he said. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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School tablets well received

Posted by hasekamp on 27 July 2012 at 13:42 PM
A second consignment of 730,000 tablet computers has been delivered to Thailand and will be distributed to schools pending random inspection of specifications by the Information and Communications Technology Ministry. Starting next week - if the whole lot passes inspection - the tablets will be distributed to schools in Chon Buri, Chainat, Chaiyaphum, Chumphon, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Trang, Tak, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nakhon Phanom and Nakhon Ratchasima. The order of distribution was arranged by the Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC), said secretary-general Chinnaphat Phoomirat. The remaining 3,427 units in OBEC custody from the first consignment of 55,000 received by first graders on July 19, will be distributed to all specified provinces. Under the rules of the inspection, Chinnaphat said 500 units would be selected randomly from every 35,000 units, and only seven units were allowed to fail the test for the 35,000-unit lot to pass. He said school reports showed students given the tablets were becoming increasingly familiar with them, making their learning fun and enjoyable. An OBEC seminar will be held soon in Kanchanaburi to evaluate the use of the tablets and students' performances afterwards.
Citing reports from Bangkok-based schools, Chinnaphat said students given the tablets had shown good concentration in their lessons and schoolwork - especially in English, science and math - considered the most difficult subjects. (Source: The Nation)


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Flood warning

Posted by hasekamp on 27 July 2012 at 13:39 PM
The Meteorological Department yesterday warned that Depression Vicente, downgraded from tropical storm status over China, would cause heavy rains and possible flash floods in lowland areas near waterways in the North and the Northeast until Friday. The warning was for Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nan, Phayao, Lamphun, Lampang, Phrae, Uttaradit, Sukhothai, Tak, Phitsanulok, Phetchabun, Loei, Nong Bua Lamphu, Udon Thani, Nong Khai, Beung Kan, Sakhon Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom, Trat, Chanthaburi, Ranong and Phang Nga. The strong southwest monsoon over the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand resulted in waves 23 metres high, and ships were advised to be cautious and small boats to stay ashore. (Source: The Nation)


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Thaksin believes to be back soon

Posted by hasekamp on 27 July 2012 at 13:33 PM
Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra said during a birthday video link from Hong Kong to the Pheu Thai Party headquarters on Thursday that it will not be long before he can return to his home country. He was speaking during a ceremony marking the opening of the party's "Thaksin Shinawatra Library" to mark his 63rd birthday. He said his family opened the library for him, knowing that he liked to read and wanted other people to follow suit. Reading brings knowledge, and knowledge is power, not money, as people in the opposition Democrat Party think, he said. This belief was what caused them to take away his money, Thaksin said. The deposed prime minister said he wanted the Democrats to come and read the books in the library, so that they could get to know the way he thinks. Thaksin said Thailand is now in chaos because there are more uninformed people than there are knowledgeable people, so people did not know that they had been deceived. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Taxi drivers learn English

Posted by hasekamp on 24 July 2012 at 16:31 PM
I believe I have read this before: The Asean Economic Community's arrival in 2015 will concern business people of all sizes, from major corporation heads down to individual taxi drivers. Around 1,000 taxi drivers participated in the second Taxi Thai, HuaJai Inter English training programme, organised by Traffic Radio Society FM 99.5. The changes that the AEC will bring, including a common business language of English, are being recognised by some drivers, who are making the necessary adjustments. Wiset Bangwiset, a 38-year-old taxi driver, admits that in the past he would often refuse to stop for foreigners because he could speak only Thai and he was nervous about communicating with them. Now, with the AEC less than three years away, he recognises the importance of foreign customs and the likelihood that the number of foreign passengers will increase. He decided to attend a customer service and English-language training course and now always opens his door to foreigners so that he may increase his confidence in dealing with them. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Health of King and Queen improves

Posted by hasekamp on 24 July 2012 at 16:26 PM
The health of Their Majesties the King and Queen is improving. The King's latest X-ray scan showed no more subdural bleeding in his brain, the Royal Household Bureau has announced. The Royal Household Bureau also said that Her Majesty the Queen is recovering after being diagnosed with a shortage of blood to her brain. The Queen is no longer suffering from dizziness, has started to eat and her balance has improved, it said. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examination did not detect any complications and royal doctors continue to provide Her Majesty with intravenous medication and physical therapy in order to bring her back to good health. Her Majesty felt dizzy and stumbled as she took a walk at Siriraj Hospital on Saturday morning. She was diagnosed with a slight shortage of blood to the right side of the cerebellum. The Royal Household Bureau also had good news about the King's health. It said royal physicians had reported that the latest X-ray computerised tomography scan on Sunday night showed there was no further subdural bleeding in the left frontal area of the King's brain. His Majesty is now able to eat and sleep well, the bureau said. The King was diagnosed with minute subdural bleeding and experienced intermittent twitching of his right hand on the night of July 12. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Preah Vihar overlook reopened

Posted by hasekamp on 22 July 2012 at 18:49 PM
Mor EDang Cliff, a scenic overlook near the trail to Phreah Vihear Temple in Si Sa Ket Province, reopened to visitors yesterday following the withdrawal of troops from the disputed area on Wednesday. Thai and Cambodian soldiers stationed at the symbolic steel gate yesterday bade farewell to each other, as part of the troop withdrawal deal, which requires army regulars of both countries to vacate the area. They have been are replaced by lightly armed borderpatrol forces. The steel gate area is still offlimit to visitors, as it is still regarded a militaryregulated buffer zone, said Saksit Pholsapsiri, chief of Thailand's Khao Phra Wihan National Park. The admission price for visitors is still at half price - Bt20 for Thai nationals and Bt200 to foreigners, he said. (Source: The Nation)


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Queen treated in hospital

Posted by hasekamp on 22 July 2012 at 18:46 PM
Her Majesty the Queen was treated at the Siriraj Hospital early Saturday for minor insufficient blood supply to the brain, the Royal Household Bureau announced late Saturday night. The bureau said Her Majesty felt dizzy and stumbled a little bit while walking and exercising in Siriraj Hospital early Saturday morning. The bureau said Her Majesty was fully conscious and cold talk at that time. The team of Siriraj doctors performed a medical examination and a magnetic resonance imaging scan for Her Majesty's brain and found that there was a minor symptom of insufficient blood supply to the right side of the back part of the brain. No bleeding in the brain was found. The doctors gave intravenous medicine for the Queen and monitored her condition closely. The doctors also advised Her Majesty to cancel all activities for now. (Source: The Nation)


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Most tourists are from China

Posted by hasekamp on 18 July 2012 at 16:39 PM
The number of Chinese nationals visiting Thailand surged during the first half of the year, exceeding Malaysians for the first time, tourism officials said Wednesday. Between January and June, some 1,124,234 Chinese tourists visited the kingdom, up 28.9 per cent from the same period last year, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said. Altogether some 10.5 million tourists visited during the first half of 2012, up 7.6 per cent year-on-year. "The most important contributor to this growth was arrivals from China which, for the first time, crossed the 1 million arrivals mark in the six-month period," TAT said. (Source: The Nation)


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Airport congestion

Posted by hasekamp on 18 July 2012 at 16:36 PM
Authorities are trying to reschedule flights to relieve congestion at Suvarnabhumi airport as it enters the second phase of its expansion, which is expected to be completed in five years. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra discussed congestion problems at Suvarnabhumi with officials yesterday. She said officials would try to decrease the number of day flights and increase night flights. At the moment, there are more flights in the daytime, when the airport is more vulnerable to congestion. She ordered officials to speed up the 62-billion-baht second phase of the expansion of the airport's passenger terminal and the construction of a 13-billion-baht third runway to increase its capacity. She also ordered greater use of Bangkok's second airport, Don Mueang, to help ease congestion at Suvarnabhumi. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Schools to be temporarily closed

Posted by hasekamp on 18 July 2012 at 16:32 PM
More schools will be ordered to close temporarily as the Health Ministry battles to curb the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) outbreak. The ministry is also racing against time to prevent a more dangerous and potentially lethal strain of the virus found in Cambodia from taking hold. The spread of HMFD will probably continue for another month or two, the ministry warned yesterday. Wattana Wittayalai School in Watthana district of the capital is the latest to shut after four kindergarten children were found to have contracted HFMD. Public Health Minister Witthaya Buranasiri yesterday said HFMD infections will continue and spread in several provinces because schools are already open and the rainy season is under way. As of yesterday, nearly 30 schools in Bangkok had either closed or suspended some classes after students were found to have caught the disease. Health authorities have been told to monitor the situation closely and set up a provincial-level operation centre when the number of HFMD cases rises to more than 10 in one day, he said. It is part of the Public Health Ministry's six-point surveillance plan which also aims to prevent the potentially deadly enterovirus type 71 (EV-71) strain, which has killed dozens of children in Cambodia, from striking in Thailand. Mr Witthaya said the temporary shutdown of schools is necessary to curb the outbreak of HFMD, a viral infection that affects mostly children. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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King ill, duties postponed

Posted by hasekamp on 14 July 2012 at 12:07 PM
His Majesty the King's scheduled trip to Ratchaburi will be postponed indefinitely after the detection of slight bleeding in his brain. Agriculture Minister Theera Wongsamut yesterday said Grand Chamberlain Distorn Vajarodaya had informed him that the King's trip to the royally initiated Khao Cha-ngum soil-rehabilitation project and the Nong Pho Dairy Cooperative in Ratchaburi - which was scheduled to take place tomorrow - would have be to postponed until further notice. The Royal Household Bureau, meanwhile, released a statement that His Majesty experienced muscle spasms and a slightly faster heartbeat rate on Thursday. According to the statement, X-ray results show a slight subdural bleeding in the left frontal lobe. "After medication was given, the muscle spasm disappeared and the heartbeat rate returned to normal," the statement said.
However, his doctors have suggested that he refrain from engaging in royal work for some time. The much-beloved monarch has been undergoing medical treatment at Bangkok's Siriraj Hospital for the past few years. Hundreds of people flocked to the hospital yesterday to sign messages wishing the King well. (Source: The Nation)


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Court rules about Constitution

Posted by hasekamp on 13 July 2012 at 16:53 PM
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said on Saturday that she will forward the ruling of Constitution Court to the Council of State for deliberation on the next steps. The prime minister made her remarks after the Constitution Court on Friday ruled that amending the constitution is lawful, and rejected a petition opposing the government's attempt to amend the charter. Ms Yingluck, who has returned from the ASEAN foreign ministers meeting in Phnom Penh, said she will send the court ruling to the Council of State to lay out possibility of the next procedures before pursuing the charter amendment. The Council of State's recommendations then will be raised in the cabinet meeting, said the premier, adding that the charter amendment will be done under parliamentary mechanism. Ms Yingluck reaffirmed that the ruling Pheu Thai Party will push ahead with a constitutional amendment as the issue was part of the party's election campaign. The premier said she believed the ruling will not delay the charter amendment process, while expressing her gratitude that the public heard the court ruling in a peaceful manner. In the crucial verdict, the eight-judge bench voted unanimously that there were insufficient grounds to support the complainants regarding alleged attempts to overthrow Thailand’s constitutional monarchy. Therefore the court rejected the petition. Filed by five complainants, including lawmakers, the petition claimed the ruling Pheu Thai Party’s move to rewrite the charter and to set up a constitution drafting assembly was tantamount to an attempt to topple the constitutional monarchy. The court however said the constitution could be amended article by article, but not be entirely rewritten. (Source: MCOT online news)


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Much illegal encroachment

Posted by hasekamp on 13 July 2012 at 16:48 PM
More than 12,000 rai of public land and forest reserve has been illegally encroached on nationwide, says the National Anti-Corruption Commission. The situation in Phuket is the most critical in the country, accounting for 30% of encroachment on public land, a NACC member said. The agency has partly solved the problem of public land encroachment in many areas, Vicha Mahakun told an anti-corruption forum on the resort island yesterday. He said over 12,000-rai of public land had been encroached on in the country. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Royal pardon for lese majeste

Posted by hasekamp on 13 July 2012 at 16:45 PM
The Thai-born US citizen jailed for posting online his translation of a banned book about the King was granted a royal pardon and freed on Tuesday, the United States embassy said. "We are pleased that His Majesty granted US citizen Joe Gordon a royal pardon, which allowed him to be released from prison on Tuesday," embassy spokesman Walter Braunohler said. "The US has the utmost respect for the Thai monarchy. As for Mr Gordon's plans from this point forward, due to privacy considerations we have no further comment at this time," he added. In his latest interview with the Bangkok Post in early May, Mr Gordon, 55, said he was looking forward to a royal pardon since confessing to the lese majeste crime in October 2011. The former car salesman from Colorado was convicted for posting a translation of excerpts from the book The King Never Smiles, which is banned in Thailand, on a blog he set up in the US under the pseudonym Nai Sin Sae Jiew. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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King had small health problem

Posted by hasekamp on 13 July 2012 at 16:41 PM
The Bureau of the Royal Household announced on Friday that His Majesty the King had a "minute subdural bleeding in the left frontal area" and doctors have requested His Majesty to cease royal activities for a time. The Committee of Royal Physicians reported that the King on Thursday night "experienced intermittent twitching of his right hand and his heart beat was slightly increased". "An x-ray computerised tomography of his brain revealed that there was minute sudural bleeding in the left frontal area. After medication was given intravenously last night the seizure disappeared." The King's right hand movement, heart beat and pressure are now normal, the doctors said. Earlier today, Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Theera Wongsamut said His Majesty the King has indefinitely postponed a planned trip to Ratchaburi province. Mr Theera said he had received the information from Royal Household Bureau deputy secretary general Dissathorn Watcharothai. His Majesty had planned to visit Khao Cha-ngum Land Development Project in Ratchaburi's Photharam district on Sunday. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Sentence reduced from 1765 to 50 years

Posted by hasekamp on 11 July 2012 at 16:52 PM
The Supreme Court on Wednesday sentenced a Bangkok policeman to a total of 1,765 years in prison for embezzling Bt512,342 in fines, but reduced that to the legal maximum jail term of 50 years. The lawsuit stated Pol SgtKosol Jompol, 41, a former administrative Bueng Kum district policeman, had failed to pay the fines into state bank accounts but instead put the money into his own pocket on 353 occasions from February 10, 2003 to April 30, 2004. The primary court had ruled on November 19, 2010 that Kosol was guilty and gave him a 1,765-year prison term, which was halved due to his useful confession and then reduced to the maximum jail term of 50 years along with an order to return Bt512,342 to the state. After the Appeal Court upheld the ruling in September 2011, the defendant, who had been detained throughout the trial, appealed further for a reduced sentence. He claimed that he didn’t realise the consequences of his action, that he had no financial expertise, that he had to take care of his ailing mother and that he had already returned the embazzled money to the state. However, the Supreme Court did not consider there were sufficient grounds for reducing the sentence, which the lower courts had appropriately passed, and thus upheld the ruling, which will see the former policeman stay in jail the maximum 50 years.After hearing the verdict, Kosol appeared calm and without emotion. None of his family members was present for the verdict. (Source: The Nation)


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Flooding in Patong and Phuket Town

Posted by hasekamp on 8 July 2012 at 21:15 PM
Council workers have installed a battery of pumps along Phang Muang Sai Kor Road in Patong to alleviate flooding, especially in front of Patong Hospital. The heavy rain recently caused flooding in many areas, with water up to 50 centimeters deep in some parts, said Poonsak Naksena, Chief Administrative Officer (Palad) at Patong Municipality. About 200 meters of Phang Muang Sai Kor Road are under water, he said. “Small vehicles should avoid the area. It is low-lying land, and when heavy rain falls, water cannot be drained quick enough,” Palad Poonsak explained. The 250-million-baht project to improve the busy road, which runs the entire length of Patong from north to south, is on target for completion by next year, he added. “I believe that when it is done, flooding will no longer be a problem because big drains will be installed along the sides of the road,” Mr Poonsak said.
Several areas in Phuket Town were also affected by minor flooding, including the area in front of the Shell gas station on Surin Road, Yaowarat Road, Bangkok Road, Phang Nga Road, a stretch front of Krung Thai Bank on Rassada Road, and along Wirat Hongyok Road to the south of Phuket Town. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Bird flu warning

Posted by hasekamp on 8 July 2012 at 21:12 PM
The Public Health Ministry yesterday instructed health officials nationwide to keep an eye out for birdflu infections among humans. This move follows a report that more than 150,000 chickens in China's northwestern region of Xinjiang were culled due to an outbreak of bird flu. Public Health Minister Witthaya Buranasiri said members of the public should report to health volunteers or livestock officials immediately if they find any suspicious deaths among birds in their area. Disease Control Department's deputy director Dr Suwanchai Wattanayingchareon said symptoms that a bird might be infected include diarrhoea, bluish purple cockscomb, a loss of appetite, softshelled eggs and a drop in egg production. (Source: The Nation)


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Dengue fever expected

Posted by hasekamp on 8 July 2012 at 21:10 PM
Dengue fever has claimed 18 of the 17,086 patients this year, which is considerably more than the number affected in the same period last year, Bureau of Vector Borne Diseases Director Dr Wichai Satimai said. He said the number of people who have died from dengue fever Type III, which is a more severe infection, mostly took place in the South. The Type III virus seems to be on the rise and the authorities will be handing out a handbook to help diagnose the disease. He has also urged communities to destroy mosquito larvae. Chiang Mai health official Dr Wattana Kanchanakamol said that so far 200 dengue fever infections have been reported and the numbers are expected to rise in the July-September period, which is why his office is campaigning for people to take protective measures. Citing the trend of a dengue fever outbreak occurring every other year - 2010 saw 6,000 patients and three deaths, and 2011 only saw 600 patients and no deaths - he said this year could result in a severe outbreak and hence officials should destroy larvae and fumigate homes. (Source: The Nation)


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Airport runway damaged and repaired

Posted by hasekamp on 8 July 2012 at 21:06 PM
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra Saturday brushed aside concerns about Suvarnabhumi airport's safety following damage to the western runway. Ms Yingluck said the problem was unlikely to shake travellers' confidence while stressing that the damage had already been fixed. She said the runway defect was caused by normal wear and tear. Heavy use of the western runway following the closure of the eastern one could have also contributed to the damage. "Actually it is normal because Suvarnabhumi airport has been in use for several years. The number of flights has exceeded expectations, shortening its use," she said. She said the damage would not compromise safety standards and she had asked concerned officials to look into the issue and maintain standards. According to Suvarnabhumi management, the airport has handled about 1.5 million flights since it opened in September 2006. However, critics have called into question whether the construction of the airfield met required standards. Airports of Thailand (AoT) president Aniruth Thanomkulbut said a surface area covering 3,600 sq cm and five centimetres deep at the northern part of the western runway peeled off at about 8pm on Thursday. It was not a structural problem. The western runway was quickly closed for repairs, delaying a number of flights and diverting 11 others. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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King on the river

Posted by hasekamp on 8 July 2012 at 21:02 PM
Thousands turned out to greet His Majesty the King Saturday as the Chao Phraya River from Bangkok to Nonthaburi was lit up by a spectacular show. Colourful flags, performances and light and sound displays marked the royal cruise. At 4.30pm, the King in a white navy uniform, accompanied by Her Majesty the Queen and Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, left Siriraj Hospital by boarding the double-decker Angsana, provided by the navy, to inspect riverside communities affected by last year's floods. The royal vessel cruised upriver to Koh Kret in Nonthaburi before returning to the Royal Irrigation Department in Dusit district where His Majesty presided over a ceremony. Along the river, members of the public had lined up waiting to pay their respects to the King. Many arrived from faraway provinces early in the morning to get the best vantage points along both sides of the river so that they could witness the King's cruise. Most of them were clad in the royal colour of pink as they waved small national and royal flags as the cruise passed. A light and sound show was displayed on a giant screen as lights flashed on high-rise buildings along the riverbank. Buddhist monks at monasteries along the river gathered in front of their places of worship to chant blessings for His Majesty's happiness. Tight security was deployed along the route. The vessel arrived at the Royal Irrigation Department's pier at about 7.30pm. At the department, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra reported to the King on five irrigation projects, followed by a multimedia presentation about royally initiated projects. Still on the royal vessel, His Majesty placed his hand on a symbol of the five projects to officially mark the inauguration at around 8.15pm. The ceremony was broadcast on a big screen set up onshore to allow people to see the occasion. At 8.30pm, the royal vessel cruised back to Siriraj Hospital. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Heavy rain warning in Andaman area

Posted by hasekamp on 4 July 2012 at 19:01 PM
A strengthening of monsoonal conditions over the Andaman Sea has prompted the Thai Meteorological Department to issue a weather warning for all six Andaman coast provinces: Ranong, Phang Nga, Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Satun. The warning, issued at 6am today, reads:
"A rather strong southwest monsoon prevails over the Southern Thailand west coast and the Andaman Sea. Abundant rain, and heavy to very heavy rain in some areas, expected over much of the windward side, with wind gusts. Flash flooding may occur in some areas. People should be cautious." The wind-driven waves will become stronger, reaching two to three meters mainly in the Andaman Sea, especially in rain areas. All ships should proceed with caution. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Chedi proposed World Heritage

Posted by hasekamp on 4 July 2012 at 18:59 PM
The Cabinet yesterday approved the Culture Ministry's plan to propose a 1,000-year-old chedi in Nakhon Si Thammarat as a world-heritage site. "The next step is to submit an application to the Unesco World Heritage Centre," Culture Minister Sukumol Kunplome said. The Phra Barommathat Chedi is located at Wat Phra Mahathat in Nakhon Si Thammarat. Built in 555 by King Si Thammasokarat I, the chedi was renovated in 1227 and now stands as a striking example of the Sri Lankan architectural style of the period. "It is proof of Buddhism's glory in the region," commented Sukumol. She said that if the Unesco Heritage Centre accepted the application, the chedi would appear on a tentative list of new world-heritage sites. (Source: The Nation)


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Serious bus accident

Posted by hasekamp on 4 July 2012 at 18:56 PM
Ten people were killed and 17 others injured when a Bangkok to Koh Phangan tour bus skidded off the Surat Thani-Nakhon Si Thammarat highway and rammed a large power post in tambon Takhian Thong of Kanchanadit district early Tuesday morning, police said. Police said the bus left Bangkok at 7.30pm on Monday with 24 passengers and three crew members, bound for Koh Phangan island off Surat Thani. As it approached a village in tambon Takhian Thong about 5.30am the bus suddenly careered off the road into a pit on the left, in front of a petrol station, and then ploughed into a large power post. The broken post fell on top of the Transport Co bus. Ten people died on the spot: the male driver, a male Indian tourist, five female Thai passengers and three Thai male passengers. Seventeen other people, Thais and foreigners, were injured, eight of them seriously. Police said the accident occurred when the front right tyre burst, causing the driver to lose control. The bus hit a tree and then the electric pole at full speed. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Special banknotes

Posted by hasekamp on 4 July 2012 at 18:53 PM
The Bank of Thailand has launched commemorative 80-baht and 100-baht banknotes to mark the 80th birthday of Her Majesty the Queen and the 60th birthday of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn. Her Majesty's birthday is on Aug 12, while that of the Crown Prince is on July 28. Central bank governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul said the bank will release 2 million 80-baht commemorative banknotes. This will be the first time a banknote of this value has been printed. The predominant colour of the special banknote is blue, the official colour of the Queen. It is 80 millimetres wide, signifying the 80th birthday. A portrait of Their Majesties the King and Queen is on the front of the banknote. On the back is a blue security thread imprinted with the number "80" which turns into a rose motif when tilted. Mr Prasarn said the commemorative banknote will be encased in a hard-paper cover and priced at 120 baht each. The banknotes will be available from Aug 9 onwards. The bank will also issue 10 million commemorative banknotes with a face value of 100 baht to celebrate HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn's 5th cycle, or 60th birthday, on July 28 and circulate them in the financial system. The front of the special edition 100-baht banknote will be identical to those currently in circulation. The back, however, will bear a portrait of the Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn in full regalia and an illustration depicting the Crown Prince's investiture. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Don Mueang already open August 1

Posted by hasekamp on 4 July 2012 at 18:50 PM
Don Mueang airport will reopen for commercial aviation on Aug 1, not on Oct 1 as earlier planned, Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said on Wednesday. “After its opening, Don Mueang airport will become another important source of revenue for the country, in addition to Suvarnabhumi airport,” Mr Kittiratt said. The meeting of economic ministers, chaired by Mr Kittiratt, who is also deputy prime minister for economic matters, this morning reviewed the eurozone debt crisis situation and its possible impact on the Thai economy. The government will oversee the value of the baht to help strengthen the trade competitiveness of exporters. The baht's value is now stable and it is not a pressure on the inflation rate, he said after the meeting. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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More night patrols in Phuket

Posted by hasekamp on 1 July 2012 at 11:20 AM
Phuket stil is heavily shocked by the murder of a tourist, for a few hundred Baht. Phuket Provincial Police Commander Chonasit Wattanavrangkul has now ordered all police stations across Phuket to take part in the formation of a "Special Operations Unit" in order to boost patrols in key tourist areas from 9pm to 4am. Maj Gen Chonasit announced the news on Thursday at a meeting of the Regional Peace Keeping Council, Phuket Office, headed by Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha. "I have to admit that we do not have enough police officers here to be able to monitor all areas closely," Maj Gen Chonasit explained. "That is why I have asked for special assistance from all police stations in Phuket to designate officers to help with the formation of a ‘Special Operations Unit’ so we can patrol main tourist areas, such as Kata, Karon, and Patong," he added. Maj Gen Chonasit said he had also ordered officers to co-ordinate with local people in each area to help prevent crime and to provide assistance to tourists in need. "This will help tourists feel safe during their visit here and it will help to restore their confidence in Phuket as a tourism destination," he said. Maj Gen Chonasit pointed out that southern Phuket was suffering from higher crime rates than elsewhere on the island. "I looked at our records and found that most of the crimes committed in Phuket have been in the areas that Chalong Police Station is responsible for,” said the police chief. Governor Tri stressed the importance of how the many negative incidents in Phuket directly affect Phuket’s reputation as a tourism destination. "This is one of the most important issues that everyone has to discuss together: how we can better improve our public safety. We need to regain tourists’ confidence, as well as that of local residents. Perhaps, we should be more stern in enforcing the law as part of our safety measures," said Governor Tri. "I have to thank the police for arresting the two men who attacked the two Australian tourists [Michelle Smith and Tammee Lee Lynn]. However, everyone should still pay attention to the issue of safety. "Phuket is a popular holiday destination and a lot of tourists come here all year round. We can generate a lot of money for Thailand through tourism alone. But if we let tragic incidents like this happen again, no one will want to travel to Phuket," he said. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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19 vaccines declared safe

Posted by hasekamp on 1 July 2012 at 11:14 AM
Public Health Ministry yesterday affirmed that the 19 vaccines available in Thailand were safe to use. It said that last year there were only 788 cases in 72 provinces in which complications developed after the vaccination. Most such cases were in the Northeast and 81 per cent of the patients suffered mild complications (pain and swelling), recovering within three days, Public Health permanent secretary Dr Paijit Worajit said. There were 14 deaths after vaccination, but investigation found that the fatality had nothing to do with the vaccines. Presiding over a workshop attended by health officials from 12 disease-control zones, Paijit said children up to the age of 12 were given 10 basic vaccines on 14 occasions besides seasonal/additional vaccines. The ministry assigned 1,200 disease investigation teams to follow through post-vaccination safety, a system that leaves Thailand among the 10 countries that have received World Health Organisation’s approval, he added. (Source: The Nation)


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Thailand major center for human trafficking

Posted by hasekamp on 1 July 2012 at 11:11 AM
Many locals and job-seekers from neighbouring countries continue to be ensnared in the sex industry or trapped in slave labour despite the enactment of the Anti-Human-Trafficking Act in 2008, "Thailand is still a source, transit and destination in human trade," Yanee Lertkrai, inspector-general of the Social Development and Human Security Ministry, said yesterday. Several border provinces in the North and Northeast are the starting points. "The victims are sent from there to other provinces in Thailand and often to a third country," she said. Today, the victims also come from nearby countries such as Laos, Myanmar and even China. Nukool Chinfuk of Hat Yai University's Political Science Faculty has conducted research on the problem and found that it is getting very serious in the South. "Some gangs have brought Myanmar people to Ranong, from where some are sent to Samut Sakhon, while some others are sent to Thailand's lower Southern region, Malaysia and Singapore," he said. (Source: The Nation)


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Mangrove hit by oil

Posted by hasekamp on 1 July 2012 at 11:08 AM
Fishermen from Krabi's Neu Khlong district yesterday alerted reporters to an oil leak that reportedly began on June 10 and severely affected the ecosystem of Ban Laem Kruad's 1,000-rai mangrove forest. So far, no officials have inspected the 10-kilometre-long black oil slick covering coastal seawater and the muddy soil surface and mangrove trees in Tambon Khlong Khanan, said resident Lheb Chonthee, 49. He said many marine animals had died, affecting coastal fishermen and fish and shrimp farmers. Krabi Power Plant pier head Payong Tantapakul said the plant didn't cause the oil leak, claiming it began on June 10 due to the actions of a private operator. Following the discovery of spilled oil at the Ban Laem Kruad pier on June 10, Payong said, police and pier officials went to investigate, taking cleanup equipment with them, he said. They found an oil-transporting boat, "Ore Somsak", which was transferring tens of thousands of litres of fuel oil onto a tanker truck, as the boat had hit an underwater rock, resulting in a large leak. A source reported that police arrested the boat captain and fined him Bt100,000. (Source: The Nation)


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Firearms seized

Posted by hasekamp on 1 July 2012 at 11:05 AM
Bangkok police, with the help of vehicles equipped with x-ray machines, seized a total of 234 firearms, explosives and drugs in car searches between June 22 and June 26, Metropolitan Police Bureau chief Khamronwit Thoopkrachang said on Wednesday. Of the total, three were military weapons, 112 were licensed firearms, 97 were unlicensed and 22 others were homemade guns. Pol Maj Gen Khamronwit said a large amount of ammunition, explosives and illegal drugs were also discovered. "I'm not happy with the number of weapons seized in the past five days," the city police chief said. "I believe that there are many more illegal firearms in the metropolitan area because is is so large." He said the Metropolitan Patrol and Special Operations Division will also bring in vehicles equipped with x-ray machines to search for weapons and drugs in parking areas of entertainment venues. Police chiefs who failed to deliver results in their respective areas over the past five days would be transferred because they did not follow police policy, he said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Brits arrested for ATM theft

Posted by hasekamp on 1 July 2012 at 11:02 AM
Police arrested Alexander Milbourn, 25, and Shaun Edward Tracy, 34, who were hiding at a house in Soi Thep Prasit in south Pattaya. The duo and a third man were responsible for trying to steal money from ATMs at three bank branches on June 14, 21 and on Thursday in Si Racha district of Chon Buri, police said. The suspects fastened the ATMs to a vehicle with a rope to pull them off the wall into which the machines were built. However, they failed to get any money from the machines. The third suspect, whom police identified only as Richie, is still at large. He is believed to have fled from the house before the police raid. Investigators said the gang used both pickup trucks and a rented saloon car to try to yank out the ATMs. The first place they hit was Bangkok Bank's Bo Win branch. Its ATM machine was heavily damaged by their attempt. The other two attempts were at Bank of Ayudhya's branches at Laem Chabang and Pak Ruam. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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