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Drug-risk areas in Phuket

Posted by hasekamp on 30 October 2012 at 15:02 PM
The national anti-drug initiative “X-ray every inch over a 90-day period” will take hold of Phuket starting November 1, Vice Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada announced at Provincial Hall on Thursday. The aims of the project are to get treatment for existing drug addicts, solve family issues associated with drug addiction, and prevent people from becoming criminals to feed their drug habit, explained V/Gov Chamroen. “The ‘X-ray every inch over a 90-day period’ campaign is a strategy formulated by the National Command Center for Combating Drugs (NCCD). In Phuket, it will start on November 1 and continue to January 31,” he added. The strategy, to be employed throughout the Kingdom, identifies and monitors particular places which have a high number of drug related incidents. “The offensive will involve increasing overt police patrols, installing CCTV cameras, and using [plain clothes] officers to monitor people in the community who have received drug treatment and who tend to be involved with the drugs trade,” he said. “In Phuket, we have chosen Ban Bang Chi Lao [near the Supercheap market on Thepkrasattri Road] in Rassada; Baan Para [along the Pa Khlock-Muangmai Road] in Pa Khlok, and Baan Thung Thong [600 meters west of the Bang Wad Dam turn off],” he added. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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BMTA has to stop polluting

Posted by hasekamp on 30 October 2012 at 14:57 PM
The Supreme Administrative Court on Tuesday ordered Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) to reduce the black smoke belching out of its more than 14,000 public buses that is causing pollution in the capital. The BMTA must follow the order immediately, the court ruled. The court stood by the verdict handed down earlier by the Central Administrative Court. The case was brought to the court in 2002 by AntiGlobal Warming Association’s chairperson Srisuwan Janya, who said the government agency had failed to ensure no black smoke was emitted in the operations of its own buses as well as buses operated by concessionaires. The Pollution Department was also enlisted as a defendant. The Central Administrative Court in 2006 ruled that BMTA was negligent and must take action, providing progress reports to the court every three months. However, the Pollution Department was not deemed responsible for the mishap. "This case, launched on behalf of ordinary citizens, is setting a new standard for government agencies, state enterprises and public organisations involved in public services. They must take into account the quality of life in their operations, above profits or other gains which are shared among executives in the form of bonuses, welfare, and meeting allowances, and stop holding the poor hostage," Srisuwan said today. (Source: The Nation)


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Tablets for all students, thanks to China

Posted by hasekamp on 30 October 2012 at 14:53 PM
China has offered to provide a massive loan for the full implementation of Thailand's One Tablet Per Child scheme. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra Tuesday informed the Education Ministry of the offer.
"The loan will be huge enough to procure tablets for all school students," the ministry's permanent-secretary Panita Kamphu na Ayutthaya said. This year, the Thai government ordered 900,000 tablets from a Chinese supplier via the government-to-government arrangement. Currently, the projected number of tablets is high enough to supply Pathom 1 students only. (Source: The Nation)


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194 illegal taxis charged in Phuket

Posted by hasekamp on 25 October 2012 at 22:30 PM
A total of 194 drivers were charged and fined yesterday for illegally operating a taxi or for not displaying the now-mandatory stickers that publicly identify the drivers on the sides of their vehicles. The haul in arrests came on the first day of an island-wide crackdown on illegal taxi drivers in Phuket as officers from the Phuket Land Transportation Office (PLTO) joined forces with their Bangkok counterparts in setting up checkpoints on major roads across the island. Phuket Vice Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada, who inspected the checkpoint in front of the Thung Thong Police Station in Kathu late yesterday afternoon, told the Phuket Gazette that checkpoints were also set up at Muang Mai, in Thalang, and near Nai Yang Beach. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Bike rentals

Posted by hasekamp on 25 October 2012 at 22:26 PM
The City of Bangkok has a plan which envisions 50 stations with 330 bicycles in bid to cut traffic congestion. In less than a week, the first 100 bicycles will be ready to rent as part of a project in the heart of Bangkok designed to get commuters to use pedal power, making ours a greener world and reducing traffic congestion. The initiative would be a good way to get people to start thinking about riding around on two wheels. The project will expand to 50 stations with 330 bikes in only four months. Only single-seat models would be offered. The stations would be open every day from 6 am to midnight. (Source: The Nation)


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Pepsico to invest in Thailand

Posted by hasekamp on 25 October 2012 at 22:20 PM
PepsiCo, the US-based beverage giant, Thursday announced a huge investment of US$600 million (Bt18.4 billion) into the Thai market over the next three years set to further strengthen the company's leading position in the country and drive future growth. The company will terminate its conventional returnable glass bottles and replace them with multi-ranges and multi-sizes of non-returnable PET bottles and cans, which have been concerned as 'growing' categories in the future. The move is after the local bottling and distribution contract between PepsiCo and Serm Suk being expired in November 1. Serm Suk itself plans to launch its owned carbonated drink brand, namely 'ies', to be placed on retail shelves on November 2. The investment capital also includes the US$170-million (Bt5.2-billion) bottling plant in Amata City Industrial Estate in Rayong bought from San Miguel in February. Located on 96-rai land plot, the plant is one of PepsiCo's largest beverage plants in the world and has been facilitated with eight high-speed production lines, each of which is able to produce between 600 and 800 PET bottles per minute depending on size. The remaining portions of investments will be allocated to other business pillars, which are building infrastructures on sales and distribution, marketing and consumer engagement activation, and on people development. You can see the current Pepsico factory in Bangkok from the express boat to Nonthaburi. (Source: The Nation)


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Thailand now #3 rice exporter

Posted by hasekamp on 25 October 2012 at 22:16 PM
Thailand's rice exports have now slipped to third place, behind Vietnam and India, but officials insist they are confident in the country's ability to retain its role as the world's biggest rice seller. In the year to date, Thailand has fallen to third place among the world's top rice exporting countries, exporting 5.2 million tonnes of rice compared to Vietnam's 5.9 million tonnes and India's 5.6 million tonnes, said Tikhumporn Natvaratat, deputy director-general of the Foreign Trade Department. Exporters have blamed the government's rice pledging scheme for a sharp drop in exports by 47% this year. But Mr Tikhumporn said Thai rice is being sold at higher prices than in the past, earning US$3.5 billion (108 billion baht) for its 5.2 million tonnes, while Vietnam received $4.45 billion and India fetched $2.99 billion. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Dress rehearsal Royal Barges procession

Posted by hasekamp on 23 October 2012 at 12:05 PM
HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn will preside over the Royal Barge Procession for the Royal Kathin Ceremony on behalf of His Majesty the King on November 9, Royal Thai Navy commander-in-chief Admiral Surasak Rounroengrom said yesterday. The Navy will host a dress rehearsal on November 2. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will observe and be briefed about the preparation, Surasak said. To celebrate the King's 85th birthday on December 5, the government assigned the Royal Thai Navy to orchestrate a royal barge procession on the Chao Phraya River for the Kathin Ceremony, a traditional royal Buddhist rite to mark the end of Buddhist Lent. The Royal Barge Procession for the Royal Kathin Ceremony, the 16th such occasion during His Majesty's reign, will comprise 52 vessels, including four exquisitely crafted royal barges - the Suphannahong, Narai Songsuban HM Rama IX, Anantanakkharaj and Anekkachatpuchong. There will be eight animal-masthead barges, 22 lesser escort barges and 18 other vessels. A total of 2,311 oarsmen, mostly from the Navy, will take part. As the procession proceeds from Wasukri landing to Wat Arun, Commander Nattawat Aramkleu will chant a song specially composed for this year's procession by retired naval Captain Thongyoi Saengsinchai, said Vice Admiral Pojana Puekpong, the Navy's deputy chief of staff. The November 2 rehearsal is open to public viewing all along the river from 3 to 4pm. Go and see it if you can! (Source: The Nation)


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Returning elephants is costly

Posted by hasekamp on 22 October 2012 at 10:46 AM
Two elephant conservation groups are working together to reintroduce domesticated elephants to the wild, releasing 84 of them over the past 10 years under an initiative of Her Majesty the Queen. The Elephant Reintroduction Foundation (ERF) must shoulder not only the increasingly high cost of purchasing elephants, but also of preparing them for their return to the wild. In the meantime, it focuses on taking good care of the domesticated elephants in its custody, which is only a fraction of the number in the Kingdom that could potentially be released back into their natural habitat. ERF secretary-general Siwaporn Thantharanont said that without the conservation efforts of the foundation and the National Elephant Institute (NEI), an estimated 2,500 to 2,800 domesticated elephants could die unnecessarily over the next 30 years. Due to higher demand for elephants in the tourism business, where the pachyderms are put on show for tourists, plus begging on the streets of Bangkok, an elephant now costs up to Bt1.5 million, compared to Bt300,000 in recent years. Reorienting a domesticated elephant for life in the wild once cost the ERF Bt300,000 to purchase the animal plus Bt200,000 in nurturing expenses, food and mahouts' fees. This later rose to Bt1 million: Bt700,000 to buy the elephant plus Bt300,000 in costs. A well-respected monk recently agreed to release two elephants to the wild, but the ERF could not obtain either elephant, because each would have cost between Bt1 million and Bt1.5 million, Siwaporn said. Of the country's approximately 2,800 domesticated elephants, around 1,500 to 1,800 are in the custody of conservation dens in Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai, Lampang and Surin. The remainder are privately owned, either by individual mahouts, loggers who use them in their work, or zoos and tourist attractions. A 1998 estimate put the number of remaining wild elephants in Thailand at around 2,000. The ERF now has 67 elephants undergoing reorientation for a return to the wild at three dens. Wild elephants, and those transformed and returned to the jungles, minimise human-made wildfires, because they keep people away [from the jungle], while benefiting ecological systems, and help maintain the natural reproduction of plants by scattering plant seeds in their excrement. So far, the 84 elephants the group has returned to the wild since 1998 have produced only one baby, and as many as 20 of them are thought to have died due to old age. They were released at three locations: the Doi Pha Mueng Wildlife Sanctuary in Lampang, the Sublanka Wildlife Sanctuary in Lop Buri and Phu Phan National Park in Sakhon Nakhon. (Source: The Nation)


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Thais eat too much salt

Posted by hasekamp on 17 October 2012 at 6:45 AM
Thai people should reduce their consumption of salty foods for their own good health, according to the public health deputy permanent secretary. Dr Sophon Mekthon was speaking at the launch of a campaign to enourage people to eat more healthily. The health ministry is cooperating with the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, the Royal College of Physicians of Thailand (RCPT) and the network for consuming less salt. Dr Sophon said a survey showed that Thais on average consume about 5,000 milligrammes of sodium salt a day, twice the recommended daily maximum of 2,400 mg, or about one teaspoon, per day. As a result of consuming salty foods, 21.4% or 11.5 million Thai people were suffering from high blood pressure, 17.5% or 7.6 million from kidney ailments, 1.4% or 750,000 from constricted heart arteries, and 1.1% or half a million from cerebrovascular disease. The five most popular seasonings are fish sauce, soy sauce, salt, shrimp paste and oyster sauce, all with high sodium content. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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3G will come

Posted by hasekamp on 17 October 2012 at 6:42 AM
Academics and politicians alike slammed telecom regulators Tuesday for essentially gifting new licences to the private sector at taxpayer expense. Tuesday's 3G auction by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) saw all three mobile operators awarded spectrum in an auction criticised as uncompetitive and underpriced. The sale fetched 41.625 billion baht overall, only 1.125 billion or 2.78% above the reserve price. The three bidders, all representing units of mobile operators Advanced Info Service (AIS), Dtac and TrueMove, each won their maximum quota of 15MHz of spectrum in seven rounds of bidding that were completed in six hours. Only three of the nine slots auctioned attracted competition, with six slots, representing 5MHz each, selling at the minimum reserve price of 4.5 billion baht. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Free WiFi if you can log in

Posted by hasekamp on 17 October 2012 at 6:40 AM
The world has gone digital. The internet has become a life necessity in this age in which people feel the need to access the world wide web - always and everywhere. ICT Minister Anudith Nakornthap said the free wi-fi initiative is aimed at providing all Thais with an opportunity to access to the wireless internet regardless of their earnings, whereabouts or other factors. "It will help eliminate any inequality in access to information. It will also improve people's quality of life as well as open more doors to more knowledge," said the minister.
The free wi-fi service, the minister added, is currently available in some 50,000 to 60,000 locations, mostly in communities, department stores, restaurants, hotels, academic institutes and other public venues. Registration is required yet it is simple. Basically, all users need to register online with their identification number and email address. A username and password will be sent back to them via the provided email. Usage conditions and data transfer speed, however, vary according to each individual service provider. Advanced Info Service (AIS) offers wireless internet with a download speed of 10Mbps up to 100Mbps in some areas and allows five-hour usage per month on its network and another five hours per month on the 3BB network, which is AIS' business partner. State-owned TOT Plc also offers free wireless internet for the public with a maximum download speed of 3Mbps and upload speed of 512bps. The username and password are valid for six months and users can access free wi-fi on the TOT network for no more than two hours per each log-on. At the same time, True Corp offers 15 hours-per-month free wireless internet access on its network for no more than 30 minutes a day. The network's maximum download speed is 2Mbps. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Vegetarian Festival started

Posted by hasekamp on 14 October 2012 at 14:51 PM
The annual Phuket Vegetarian Festival gets underway at sunset tonight with the raising of the go teng poles for the Jade Emperor and the Nine Emperor Gods to descend to our earthly realm. Each year, the nine-day Vegetarian Festival attracts thousands of tourists to Phuket to witness the various activities held across the island. The street processions each year, however, add to the usual traffic jams on the island. This year, the impending start of road works at the Central Festival intersection as construction on the underpass may add to the experience. To assist tourists and help motorists avoid traffic jams during the festival, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has posted the street procession information:
Wednesday, Oct 17 7am – Sapam Shrine.
Thursday, Oct 18 7:19am – Samkong Shrine
Friday, Oct 19 7am – Sapam Shrine, 7:30am – Tha Rue Shrine.
Saturday, Oct 20 7am – Bang Neow Shrine, 7:30am – Cherng Thalay Shrine
Sunday, Oct 21 8am – Jui Tui Shrine.
Monday, Oct 22 7am – Kathu Shrine and Yokkekeng Shrine, 6:30pm – Tha Rue Shrine. Street procession in Thalang District only.
Tuesday, Oct 23 7am – Sui Boon Tong Shrine, also called the “Lor Rong Shrine”.
All participating shrines stage street processions from their shrines to Saphan Hin on October 23 to take part in the “Grand Farewell” bonfire to send the gods heavenwards as the official closing ceremony of the festival. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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New Bangkok motto

Posted by hasekamp on 12 October 2012 at 5:57 AM
"Bangkok, glorious as if created by angels, the administration centre, beautiful temples, glittering palaces, the capital of Thailand," is the new motto for the city, unveiled yesterday by Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra. The Thai slogan - no official English translation was made available - was chosen from the Bangkok Motto Contest Project, which invited entrants to create a motto no longer than 30 syllables that best demonstrates Bangkok's distinctiveness. Sukhumbhand has ordered the posting of 800 signs of the new motto in the city's 50 districts. The motto will also be used to promote tourism in conjunction with the city's 230th anniversary and its being named the best city in the world for the third consecutive year by Travel & Leisure magazine. (Source: The Nation)


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Japan donates for Wat Arun

Posted by hasekamp on 12 October 2012 at 5:55 AM
Japan's Tokugawa Museum has granted Bt400,000 for the repair of 23 Buddha images at Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn, which were damaged by last year's flood, abbot assistant Phra Kru Arun Thammanuwat said yesterday. The museum also sent a certificate in Japanese language saying Wat Arun was nominated as cultural heritage worthy of conservation this year. (Source: The Nation)


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Arrest warrant against Thaksin

Posted by hasekamp on 12 October 2012 at 5:50 AM
A warrant for the arrest of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been issued by the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions. The warrant, issued on Wednesday, is connected to a case involving 11.58 billion baht in loans from state-owned Krung Thai Bank. The Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) filed malfeasance charges against Thaksin and 26 others, including the former KTB president Viroj Nualkair. The case involves a batch of KTB loans provided to the affiliates of Krisdamahanakorn Plc, a major property and real estate firm. According to the charges, KTB approved large loans to the firm's affiliates, despite Krisdamahanakorn being classified as a non-performing debtor of the bank. All of the defendants, except Thaksin, appeared before the court and denied the charges. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Sandbags or not

Posted by hasekamp on 12 October 2012 at 5:48 AM
The government's flood management commission and City Hall will meet today to resolve their row over the placement of sandbags in the city's drains. Plodprasop Suraswadi, head of the Water and Flood Management Commission (WFMC) said he asked Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra to attend the commission's meeting to settle the sandbag conflict as suggested by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva. The discussion will be "academic," said Mr Plodprasop, who is also Science Minister. "I hope the BMA will present facts about the issue. I personally insist that what the BMA has been doing is technically wrong." The disagreement between Mr Plodprasop and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration came to a head on Tuesday when the head of the WFMC ordered the BMA to remove all sandbags stuffed in the city's drains within 15 days. The Bangkok governor refused, saying the city's drains are under his sole jurisdiction. Mr Plodprasop said the sandbags disrupt water drainage, but the BMA claims the sandbags are part of the city's flood prevention measures and are needed to block water from canals during the high tide. That argument isn't valid, according to Mr Plodprasop, who said all canals in Bangkok are at low levels after water was released in preparation for heavy rainfall. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Useful phone travel apps

Posted by hasekamp on 10 October 2012 at 4:25 AM
We all take our mobile phones with us when we travel to far away destinations like Phuket, be it for business or relaxation. The costs of international roaming can become truly exorbitant; however, the explosion in phone apps, either free or with nominal download charges, could provide the solution. Most will require an internet connection, though "free WiFi" is commonplace, and many offer offline features which can be prepped before departure. Here is a small sample of apps that can provide even the most seasoned among us with hints, tips, cost savings and gems that might otherwise be missed.
Stay.com is a travel guide to over 120 cities worldwide, including Bangkok, and whilst relatively new to Android and iPhone it is already receiving rave reviews. It offers all the expected information, such as hotel and, restaurant reviews, together with must see attractions in your destination of choice. In addition, it provides a full download option for offline use, with an incredibly small file size, bearing in mind the detail given for each city, which includes maps and directions, emergency information and a fast search facility for almost anything else you may need. This app will automatically sync with friends travelling together to ensure all have the same guide. Of course, you can add your own places of interest or notes, such as a friend’s apartment or meeting points, with linking to Facebook to share the experience.
HearPlanet, available either in a lite or premuim version (US$4.99) is an audio guide to places of interest with over 300,000 locations, including some notable sites in Phuket. HearPlanet’s content is drawn from Wikipedia, though there are more detailed bespoke descriptions for many places. The maps are not the best and as a consequence the "lite" version is preferred by the 10,000+ downloaders. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Stop death penalty

Posted by hasekamp on 10 October 2012 at 4:19 AM
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (WCADP) on Tuesday sent an open letter to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, asking her to abolish the death penalty.
Here is (part of) the open letter:
"On the eve of the 10th World Day Against the Death Penalty, the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (WCADP) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) write to you to urge the Government of Thailand to take immediate steps to abolish the death penalty, an irrevocable, inhuman, cruel and degrading punishment that does not make society safer. Thailand has not carried out any execution since August 2009 when two convicted drug traffickers were executed by lethal injection. Before that, there were no executions between 2003 and August 2009. Thailand voted against the first two United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) moratorium resolutions, but changed its position on the third resolution in 2010 by abstaining. Thailand’s second National Human Rights Action Plan (2009-2013) includes the review of laws which permit capital punishment and the replacement of capital punishment with life imprisonment as indicators of success. In August 2012, Thailand abolished the death penalty for offenders under 18 years of age and reduced life imprisonment for minors to 50 years. On 16 August 2012, a royal pardon was announced whereby all prisoners who have been sentenced to death and whose cases have reached a final verdict would have their death sentences commuted to life imprisonment. The World Coalition and FIDH hope that these positive steps indicate a growing political will on the part of the Government of Thailand to move progressively and expeditiously towards abolition. We are concerned, however, that Thai courts continue to hand down new death sentences every year, including for drug-related offenses, in contravention to the recommendation of the UN Human Rights Committee in 2005. Thailand is a State party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which requires States that still retain the death penalty to restrict its use to only the "most serious crimes", which drug-related offenses are not. We are therefore disturbed by reports that the Deputy Prime Minister recently publicly supported an amendment to the Narcotics Act to shorten the appeals process for drug offenders sentenced to death and expedite their executions. We are also appalled by the inhuman practice of permanently shackling male death row prisoners, despite a landmark ruling in 2009 by the Administrative Court which found shackling to be unlawful under both domestic and international law." (Source: The Nation)


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Gaemi only gave some rain

Posted by hasekamp on 10 October 2012 at 4:14 AM
Bangkok escaped severe torrential downpours after the much-hyped Gaemi storm, which was downgraded to a low pressure system, caused only moderate rainfall in the capital Monday. Government agencies, however, will be on standby for possible flooding in the city's at-risk areas until tomorrow. Average rainfall was measured at 60 millimetres in Bangkok Monday, well below the 90mm predicted earlier. Rain fell on all 50 districts of Bangkok, with reports of minor flooding in some traffic lanes. The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department yesterday reported that flooding is now affecting 40 districts in nine provinces, comprising Prachin Buri, Chachoengsao, Phitsanulok, Phichit, Ang Thong, Ayutthaya, Suphan Buri, Nakhon Pathom and Samut Prakan. Meteorological Department deputy director-general Somchai Baimuang said the low pressure cell was moving in a westerly direction toward Nakhon Pathom, Ratchaburi, Kanchanaburi and finally the Andaman Sea. There will be no storm surge as feared, he said, adding that normal weather is expected to return tomorrow. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Grisly killings

Posted by hasekamp on 8 October 2012 at 4:38 AM
Police yesterday uncovered two grisly killings - in one case a wife beheaded her bedridden spouse and in the other a husband slashed and stabbed his wife to death in a jealous rage. In the first case, Bang Khun Non police detained Pornsuree Deepaew, 36, on suspicion of beheading her husband Prasit Seesomboonyanon, 47, who suffered paralysis for the past two years. Alerted by a security guard at an apartment building in Bangkok Noi, police found a plastic bag with a male body inside minus the head and with its hands and right foot missing. A team of police divers later retrieved the victim's head from a nearby pond. Witnesses said Pornsuree had acted suspiciously since Saturday night, when she abruptly told the apartment management to end her lease. Early yesterday morning, she went out to buy several plastic bags for packing in her room. She was then seen to throw one of the bags into the pond. She later asked security guard Sayan Nualphya to help her move some bags to the hall to await final disposal. But the suspicious nature of the bags caused him to call police.
In the second case, Pathum Wan police went to investigate an incident of domestic violence and discovered the murder. Neighbours reported a fight between murder suspect Chanchai Winakorn, 29 and his wife and victim Saichon Kongkaew, 31. Police found Saichon with her throat slashed and body with 14 knife wounds. Chanchai was nearby with serious injuries - a slash wound to the neck and a stab in the abdomen. At his side were two suicide notes. One was written by the victim, voicing her willingness to die with her husband, while Chanchai wrote a vow to die to end his wife's affairs. (Source: The Nation)


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4G wanted, but not even 3G in Thailand

Posted by hasekamp on 8 October 2012 at 4:34 AM
An independent telecom specialist will file a legal challenge in the Administrative Court on Wednesday against the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, saying its plan to auction 3G licences on Oct 16 does not benefit Thais. The filing will ask the court to suspend the auction until the NBTC issues more conditions that give the most benefit to the Thai people, complying with constitutional law that rules frequencies are a national limited resource. Therefore the auction must give the most benefit to the people. Anuparp Thiralarp, an independent telecom specialist, said the auction's conditions do not have four important items needed to benefit the people. He said there is a lack of conditions to control the quality of signals for mobile services in order to guarantee speed capacity when in use and the NBTC has set no pricing tariff for data use so operators can charge the highest possible rates. Moreover, there is nothing assist disadvantaged or poor people in remote areas. His final point is that the NBTC has not clearly determined how the auction fees can be distributed to benefit the public or be returned to state coffers. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Gaemi visits Bangkok but does not spoil all the fun

Posted by hasekamp on 8 October 2012 at 4:32 AM
The storm clouds from Gaemi are edging closer to Bangkok, but because it has been downgraded to a depression, city Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra is hoping that the capital may not hard hit by rain as earlier predicted. However, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has been put on high alert, as have officials and the public in other provinces expected to be in the path of Gaemi. The latest forecast by the Thai Meteorological Department downgraded Gaemi as it was passing over Cambodia and said it will become a low pressure wedge on entering the country over Sa Kaeo province on Sunday night. However, the BMA will continue to watch the situation and remain on full alert. "City people can lead a normal life. They will be immediately informed if there is any change," he said. (Source:The Bangkok Post)


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Gaemi takes another route

Posted by hasekamp on 6 October 2012 at 15:17 PM
The path of tropical storm Gaemi has created another worry for officials trying to curb the impact of wet weather in Thailand. The storm could weaken as it moves farther west to Cambodia and Thailand, the Meteorological Department said in its latest warning issued at 4pm on Saturday. However, its course was changing slightly, making the exact locations of heaviest impact harder to predict. The department and a flood monitoring panel under the Water and Flood Management Commission believe Gaemi could enter the Gulf of Thailand from the mainland on Monday and affect lower central and southern provinces. Royol Chitradol, the chairman of the panel, said on Saturday that the slight change in the weather pattern indicated that Gaemi could regain strength over the water before it hits the lower central and southern provinces. Earlier, the Meteorological Department had expected Gaemi to take a more northerly course across Cambodia and toward the lower Northeast of Thailand. The storm was approaching central Vietnam late Saturday. Mr Royol did not rule out the possibility of more storms this year. In the updated advisory, the provinces to be affected by the storm on Monday and Tuesday are Ratchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon, Ranong, and Phang-nga. Other provinces include Uthai Thani, Nakhon Sawan, Kanchanaburi and Suphan Buri, the weather agency said. It also forecast heavy rain and strong winds over the weekend in Amnat Charoen, Ubon Ratchathani, Si Sa Ket, Surin, Buri Ram and Nakhon Ratchasima provinces in the northeastern region. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Tiger Disco will be charged

Posted by hasekamp on 4 October 2012 at 4:51 AM
The operators of Tiger Discotheque have been charged with negligence causing death and physical and mental injury to others, as well as with trading after hours, Patong Police Superintendent Chiraphat Pochanaphan has confirmed to the Phuket Gazette. The blaze that broke out at the nightclub, just before 4am on August 17, while hundreds of patrons were still inside the venue, killed four people, including two tourists. “Tiger Group CEO Piya Isaramalai has been personally charged with both offenses, so has Tiger Group’s parent company, Sara Entertainment Co Ltd,” Col Chiraphat told the Phuket Gazette this morning. “We have informed the suspects of the charges against them and we are now compiling our evidence to hand over to the Public Prosecutor,” he added. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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This weekend flooding in Bangkok

Posted by hasekamp on 4 October 2012 at 4:41 AM
This is different from a former posting: Eight key areas in Bangkok could be under as much as 30 centimetres of water for up to two weeks this month, especially when Tropical Storm Gaemi brings in torrential rain this weekend, a Bangkok seminar on flood prevention was told yesterday. The volume of rain brought by the storm could average 800 millimetres this month alone, compared with Bangkok's annual average of 1,500mm, said Associate Professor Sujarit Khoonthanakulwong, from Chulalongkorn University's faculty of engineering. The faculty hosted the seminar. In addition to Gaemi, two more storms are believed to be heading to northern Thailand via Vietnam, which could bring huge volumes of rain in the North and the upper Central region. "The resulting torrential rain will increase the volume of water in the North and Central regions, prompting floods in Bangkok," he said. Because of the many flood-prevention measures put in place, Bangkok is safer from widespread inundation but is still vulnerable because the heavy downpours could result in rainfall levels exceeding 100mm per day, while Bangkok's drainage capacity stands at 60mm. "Widespread flooding for longer periods in Bangkok is not beyond expectation if it cannot be drained in the first hour," Sujarit said. (Source: The Nation)


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AirAsia back at Don Mueang

Posted by hasekamp on 4 October 2012 at 4:37 AM
Regional budget carrier AirAsia started operations from its new Thailand base Monday, the day the nation's airports authority consolidated low-cost carrier services at Bangkok's old international airport. Thai AirAsia Co Ltd had been based at Suvarnabhumi Airport, but the government urged it to move to Don Mueang Airport to release pressure on the overtaxed and troubled-plagued Bangkok hub that opened in 2006. "I am satisfied with the operations at the (Don Mueang) Airport sofar, including immigration and check-in services, which have not caused any flight delays," Thai AirAsia chief executive Tassapon Bijleveld told Thai PBS television. "At Suvarnabhumi, delays in landing queues and the cost of aircraft circling the airport added 2 to 3 per cent to our operating costs." Thailand’s second-largest carrier by revenue and passenger volume joined Nok Airlines Co Ltd, Orient Thai Airlines Co Ltd, Solar Aviation Co Ltd (Solar Air) and charters at Don Mueang, which reopened in March after being forced to close in October last year because of Thailand’s worst flooding in more than 50 years. (Source: The Nation)


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Spelling of borrowed words unclear

Posted by hasekamp on 4 October 2012 at 4:34 AM
Royal Institute secretary-general Kanokwalee Chuchaiya said Tuesday that correcting the spellings of the 176 words borrowed from the English language so that they included tones to reflect how they are pronounced is a huge issue that needs several more steps. She said the institute was conducting a survey on the issue and would wait for its official result before deciding on future steps. Once this is done, another opinion poll would be needed to set guidelines on how best to implement the changes, she said. She also confirmed that the latest edition of the institute's official dictionary would not include the 176 words in question because the manuscript had already been submitted to the printing house. (Source: The Nation)


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Reckon with 20 cm

Posted by hasekamp on 4 October 2012 at 4:30 AM
Flooding is likely as tropical storm Gaemi hits central Thailand this weekend, but the problem in Bangkok will not be severe, water engineering experts from Chulalongkorn University say. Sucharit Koontanakulvong, an expert from the department of water resources engineering at Chulalongkorn University, said the approximate flood level would be 20cm. At least 11 areas around Bangkok are at risk. The areas are Lat Phrao, Min Buri, Phra Khanong, Bang Kae, along Khlong Prawet, Khlong Sam Wa, Khlong Song Wa, Khlong Phraya Ratchamontri, Khlong Phittayalongkorn, Khlong Thawi Wattana, and the area to the east of Suvarnabhumi airport. The storm would bring with it heavy rainfall, Dr Sucharit said. Two storms coming: After Gaemi, Phrapiroon.
He said the water level in two major dams in the North _ Bhumibol and Sirikit _ would be kept at 60% of total capacity, which means the dams still have space to store water.
The Meteorology Department said the level of rainfall in the lower Chao Phraya River basin last month was equivalent to one-third of the rainfall in the area over the whole year average of the past two years. The government has set aside 20 billion baht to improve the drainage system and create water retention areas in Bangkok. However, Dr Sucharit said only 50% of the work has been done. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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