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Suvarnabhumi and Paragon most on Instagram

Posted by hasekamp on 30 December 2012 at 10:02 AM
Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport appears to be the most popular location for photographs shared via Instagram this year, with the capital's upscale shopping mall Siam Paragon coming in a close second.
More than 100,000 photographs shared via Instagram were taken at the airport, making it No 1 on the list of "2012's Most Popular Locations on Instagram". The two Bangkok locations even beat world-class tourist destinations like Disneyland, New York's iconic Times Square and Parisian landmark Eiffel Tower - which came third, fourth and eighth, respectively. Apart from Suvarnabhumi and Siam Paragon, the United States dominates the list with as many as seven locations in the list of 10 most "Instagrammed" spots. (Source: The Nation, but in the press worldwide)


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PM pledges for unity

Posted by hasekamp on 30 December 2012 at 9:54 AM
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra asked people yesterday to "think positively", be merciful and compassionate to others and listen to each other in order to welcome new opportunities and allow the country to achieve sustainable development. "In the New Year, please join hands and generate the power of positive thinking [in order to] bring happiness. May Thais have good health and receive whatever they wish for," she said during her weekly television programme. Yingluck thanked the state and private sectors as well as the public for joining hands in getting through the flood crisis late last year and rehabilitating the country. She said she had boosted foreign countries' confidence in investing in Thailand. The government was preparing for the Asean Economic Community by developing infrastructure, including in the provinces, especially in the areas of English proficiency and trade laws. (Source: The Nation)

"To make the economy strong and grow, exports, state investment and private-sector investment must go together. The private sector is a key player; the government is just a mediator that promotes investment opportunities and reduces obstacles, as well as creating confidence in trade and investment.

"In the past we have seen a lot of tourists coming to Thailand, and we see opportunities for future investment [in this sector]. Therefore, 2013 is deemed a year of development," she said, adding that the government aimed to improve the quality of life for the people, especially welfare for children, women, the elderly and the underprivileged. It would also develop systematically instead of letting ministries work separately.


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Death toll already 71

Posted by hasekamp on 30 December 2012 at 9:51 AM
The first two days of seven dangerous New Year Holidays saw 71 people killed and 826 injured, the road safety management committee announced Saturday. The second day of the seven-day period or on Friday, 495 road accidents were reported and 38 people were killed and 504 others injured. Drunk driving remained the biggest cause of the accidents. The committee said 32.32 per cent of the accidents involved drunk driving. (Source: The Nation)


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Tsunami memorial sertvice

Posted by hasekamp on 27 December 2012 at 13:31 PM
Patong Beach was set aglow last night (December 26) as hundreds of local residents and tourists joined the annual Light Up Phuket memorial service to honor those who died in the tsunami that struck the island eight years ago. Thai official figures state that the tsunami killed over 5,000 people and more than 3,700 disappeared in the waves that struck the Andaman coast in 2004. Phuket Vice Governor Sommai Prijasilpa chaired the official ceremony at Loma Park at 6:30pm. After observing a minute of silence to remember those lost to the waves, families and friends joined together in placing lit candles along the beach to honor the victims. Some of the people taking part placed their candles around figures of sea turtles, dolphins and other sea creatures sculpted from the sand. Others simply dug the more traditional holes and placed their candles within. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Flooding in the South

Posted by hasekamp on 27 December 2012 at 13:27 PM
Homes, schools and businesses across many southern provinces have been hit by floods over the past few days, with tens of thousands of residents affected. Surat Thani yesterday declared Kanchanadit district a disaster zone after 3,200 residents suffered flooding and 200 rai of farmland was inundated, causing an estimated Bt8 million in damage. Locals in areas at risk from runoff, landslides and coastal erosion due to high waves were warned to prepare for worse, as the Meteorological Department has forecast continued heavy rain. Around 3,000 households in Muang and Khaun Khanun districts in Phatthalung were hit when floods swamped their homes and 10,000 rai of farmland. People there were warned to keep a close eye on weather forecasts. In Narathiwat, flood victims total about 13,500 people in 4,000 households across 13 districts. Sungai Padi district was been hit hardest in the province, with more than 5,000 residents affected. Rangers from the 45th Ranger Regiment yesterday distributed royal-sponsored relief bags to residents of flood-hit areas in Rangae district. Rangers were also sent to Konae School in Rangae, which was a metre underwater, to move desks, chairs and school equipment to higher ground. Flooding also forced two other schools in the province to close. (Source: The Nation)


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Tsunami warning system ready after 8 years

Posted by hasekamp on 27 December 2012 at 13:23 PM
Thailand now has the best warning system in Southeast Asia, eight years after the Andaman coast was ravaged by a devastating tsunami on Boxing Day in 2004. Before monstrous waves hit Thai shores and killed over 8,000 people in six provinces along the southern coast, no one knew the tsunami was coming. All that will change with the early alert system and instruments installed by the National Disaster Warning Centre (NDWC) along the Andaman coast over the past eight years, backed by necessary regulations. Now, ample time for evacuation is assured with streamlined regulations, in a bid to save lives. The devastating waves killed 5,395 people - many of them foreign tourists - with another 2,817 people swept away or lost. Over 58,550 people were affected, including 1,480 children who lost one or both parents.
"Within two minutes (after tsunami waves start to form), we can now calculate the speed and know exactly when they will reach the shore. Messages could be sent out immediately after the calculation," Captain Song Ekmahachai, chief of the NDWC’s Disaster Warning and Dissemination Division, told The Nation. He said alerts could be sent to the public within 15 minutes via satellite and warning towers. (Source: The Nation)


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Russian women raped in Pattaya

Posted by hasekamp on 27 December 2012 at 13:19 PM
Another rape case in Thailand: Thai police were searching Wednesday for three men suspected of raping two Russian tourists at a beach resort. The women told police they were abducted, robbed and raped by three Thai men armed with knives and pistols while returning to their hotel from a Christmas night out in Pattaya, 100 kilometres south-east of Bangkok. "We have made sketches of the suspects based on the women’s testimony and have sent them to our officers," Pattaya police lieutenant colonel Paksa Daetpakul said. The attackers threw them into a pickup truck and drove out of the city, where they raped them, stole their phones and about 120 dollars in cash, Paksa said. (Source: The Nation)


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34 years for PAD supporter

Posted by hasekamp on 27 December 2012 at 13:15 PM
The Appeals Court on Thursday handed down a sentence of 34 years imprisonment on a People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) supporter who was previously given a suspended jail term by the Criminal Court. Preecha Treecharoon, 53, was charged with attempted murder, illegal assembly and causing unrest in connection with the yellow-shirt PAD rally in front of parliament on Oct 7, 2008. Preecha was among the PAD protesters police fired tear gas at to break up the rally. He was injured in the tear gas attack. Preecha later drove a pick-up truck into five policemen on duty, injuring all of them. One policeman suffered a broken leg. The Criminal Court sentenced him to three years in jail for attempted murder. However, since Preecha had never before been given a jail sentence, had acted out of anger and later became blind because of the tear gas, the prison sentence was suspended for two years. The Appeals Court on Dec 11, 2012 found him guilty of attempted murder and illegal assembly and altered the sentence to life imprisonment, the prosecutors said. The life sentence was commuted to 34 years because Preecha's testimony given during the trial was useful. The reduction in sentence was announced on Thursday. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Tsunami warning app

Posted by hasekamp on 22 December 2012 at 19:08 PM
The National Disaster Warning Center (NDWC) launched a mobile phone application this month that allows iPhone and Android phone users to receive instant notifications of any tsunami alerts and warnings issued by the center. The “app” was launched on the online Apple App Store for iPhones and iPads on December 11, with an Android version launched on the Android Market on December 14, NDWC public relations officer Prasert Kunneang told the Phuket Gazette yesterday. “This application is fully operational, but we are continually updating the code, so users need to maintain updates when they become available,” Mr Prasert said. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Tsunami Memorial wall ready for ceremony

Posted by hasekamp on 22 December 2012 at 19:07 PM
The Phuket chapter of the US Navy League has announced that the Tsunami Memorial Wall, which in years past has fallen into a deplorable state, has been readied for this year’s tsunami remembrance service on December 26. The Navy League volunteered for the role of caretaker for the remembrance site last year, and the volunteers organized a community project with assistance from sailors from the visiting USS Pinckney to restore the wall and the surrounding area in preparation for last year’s memorial service. “Our caretaker role for the following years simply entitles painting as needed, buying and maintaining the flags for each of the 45 countries on the memorial, and any future improvements to the Wall or the surroundings area,” explained Brad Kenny, Director of Community Service at the US Navy League Phuket. “This year no painting was needed and there were some slight adjustments in the flags with a few more replaced,” he said. “The wall has been cleaned and the 45 country flags are up. As of yesterday [December 21], the Tsunami Memorial is in fine shape, with the Mai Khao OrBorTor [Tambon Administrative Organization] cutting the grass in preparation for the annual Tsunami Remembrance Ceremony,” Mr Kenny added. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Princess Sirindhorn recovers

Posted by hasekamp on 22 December 2012 at 19:01 PM
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn is recovering after chest surgery to remove a calcified mass, the Royal Household Bureau yesterday. Following the diagnosis during an annual check-up, the princess was admitted to Chulalongkorn Hospital on December 16. On the following day, the operation went well and she regained consciousness and normal body temperature. Pathological tests didn't find any tumour, the statement said. Her physicians advised her to remain in the hospital to recuperate and suspend her royal commitments during this period. (Source: The Nation)


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Government wants to end dog meat and skin trade

Posted by hasekamp on 22 December 2012 at 18:58 PM
The Thai government is expected to declare a national agenda to end the trade of dogs destined for human consumption, the nongovernmental organisation, Soi Dog Foundation (SDF) said in its press release released on Tuesday. SDF reported that a seminar, which saw the participation of many governmental agencies including the public health ministry and livestock department, agreed to a request that the prime minister declare a national agenda to end the trade of dogs in Thailand. They also suggested education programmes and campaigns to instil a sense of responsibility and social conscience in Thai people. Whilst he believed the new law would improve animal welfare and fight against cruelty to animals, thus tackling the problem at a certain level, Nirandorn Eungtrakulsuk, former chief of Livestock Development and chairman of the Thai Veterinary Medical Association, said it would not be enough to eradicate the illegal trade because corruption is rampant in Thailand. (Source: The Nation)


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Red zone markets

Posted by hasekamp on 22 December 2012 at 18:55 PM
The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has declared eight markets in Thailand as "red zones" selling fake brand products. These new additions in its Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets issued on Dec 13 are: Chatuchak, MBK Shopping Centre, Siam Square, Klong Thom, Sukhumvit Road and Patpong Market in Bangkok, Karon Beach and Patong in Phuket, ITCity in Pattaya, and the Rong Kluea and Friendship markets at the Aranyaprathet border crossing with Cambodia. The report said Thai authorities have designated Panthip Plaza, Klong Thom, Saphan Lek and Baan Mor shopping areas as targets for enforcement of laws against product piracy and counterfeiting. The USTR said in its report that the list identifies particular markets in which pirated or counterfeit goods are available. The US urges the responsible authorities to intensify efforts to investigate reports of piracy and counterfeiting in these and similar markets. The 2012 notorious markets report, which also includes the internet markets, is the third list published by the USTR. The earlier lists were published in February and December 2011. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Traffic to worsen in 2014

Posted by hasekamp on 18 December 2012 at 19:52 PM
The worst is yet to come for Bangkokians grumbling about traffic conditions. According to Chula Sukmanop, director-general of the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning, 2014 will be the worst due to the sharp increase in the number of vehicles and construction of several mega-projects. Though 80 per cent of vehicles bought under the first-car buyer scheme - estimated to reach 800,000 units - are registered in the provinces, it remains unknown how many will be brought to the capital. "Traffic conditions will worsen, with a sharp increase in the number of vehicles against unchanged road space. Construction work plus the poor discipline of some drivers will worsen it. It'll be difficult for vehicles to move fast. At best, we can only try to maintain the current average speed," he said. The worst will be in 2014 when the Green Line (Mor Chit-Saphan Mai-Khoo Khot) construction will start on Phaholyothin, one of the main city routes, he added. Foreseeing the situation, the office is now gathering construction plans of all mega-projects planned for now until 2017 to draw up a new traffic plan. (Source: The Nation)


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Tourists refuse to pay new Park fees

Posted by hasekamp on 18 December 2012 at 19:49 PM
Koh Chang National Park will conduct a campaign to inform tourists and tour operators about the new entrance fee at the park’s Rang Islands. Tourists have so far refused to pay, saying tour operators should handle the fees, said park head Panpong Khongdech-adisak. However, tour operators say they weren't informed about the policy. The fees are Bt40 for Thai adults, Bt200 for foreigners, Bt20 for Thai children and Bt100 for foreign children. (Source: The Nation)


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Surgery for Princess

Posted by hasekamp on 18 December 2012 at 19:45 PM
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn underwent surgical removal of calcium deposits in her chest, the Royal Household Bureau announced on Tuesday afternoon. According to the bureau, doctors found the calcium deposits in the Princess' chest during an annual medical check-up at King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital. The Princess, 57, rested at the hospital on Sunday and underwent the surgery the next day. The deposits were successfully removed. After the operation, the Princess was in good health and her body temperature was normal. A pathology examination also showed no evidence of cancer. She will rest in the hospital for the time being, the bureau said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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One hour McDonalds

Posted by hasekamp on 18 December 2012 at 19:42 PM
McDonald's has imposed a new rule prohibiting customers from loitering in their shops for more than one hour. Hester Chew, the CEO of McThai, the operator of the McDonald's fast food chain in Thailand, said that customer feedbacks gathered via social media, emails and surveys, indicated people are annoyed at the lack of seating during lunch and dinner hours. On Monday, the company announced a new policy in which customers are asked not to loiter inside the restaurant for more than one hour at a time during the peak hours. The new rule is targeting people who use the restaurants as meeting place, or for tutoring students. It also requests customers to purchase food while using the restaurant seating, no waiting without buying anything. Unattended belongings will be removed from the vacant tables, according to the company's notice to customers. Customers are urged not to leave items such as laptop computers or cell phones plugged into the electrical outlets for more than 30 minutes at a time. For safety reason, any use of multi outlet extensions will be prohibited inside the restaurants.
Internation coffee chain Starbucks earlier initiated the policy discouraging tutors from using its outlets as places of work. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Wildlife sperm bank

Posted by hasekamp on 15 December 2012 at 12:27 PM
In a bid to increase the population of wild animals in Thailand, sperm banks holding specimens from endangered and rare species have been established while a pilot project to release thousands of animals in national forests is being pushed forward, officials said at a seminar yesterday. Ampika Thongpakdee of the Zoological Park Organisation (ZPO) of Thailand said there are 20 sperm banks where semen and cells of rare and endangered species are kept frozen. The ZPO has joined with world zoo organisations to promote wildlife biodiversity through research and through the release of endangered animals into the wild. The ZPO has taken care of 5,890 animals of 454 types. For example, the ZPO has bred the Eld's deer, known in Thai as lamang, and Sarus cranes, which are at risk of extinction. The ZPO has produced about 200 Sarus cranes, and released around 70 Eld's deer into the forests. (Source: The Nation)


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Thaksin cousin seeks Royal Pardon

Posted by hasekamp on 15 December 2012 at 12:23 PM
Former Supreme commander General Chaiyasit Shinawatra has sought a royal pardon for using "King's Cup" title in a boxing match without having received a royal authorisation. Chaiyasit, a cousin of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, said he had sent a letter to the Office of His Majesty Principal Private Secretary to seek the royal pardon. The controversial boxing match was held in Macao and the match was broadcast live on state-run NBT Channel. Chaiyasit explained that actually no King Cup was given, but the Lt Col Kulthorn Prachupmoh, an organiser, incorrectly spoke on the stage that that the King Cup would be handed out to the winner. Chaiyasit said the Office of His Majesty's Principal Private Secretary demanded that he issue a letter asking for a royal pardon for using the title "King's Cup" without prior authorisation. "The Office of His Majesty's Principal Private Secretary reminded us about the issue several days ago. As the chairman of the event, I had to take responsibility. I've sent a letter to seek a royal pardon," Chaisit said. (Source: The Nation)


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Risky internet access

Posted by hasekamp on 15 December 2012 at 12:20 PM
Southeast Asia is the world's most dangerous internet-surfing region and Thailand is the third most-dangerous base for accessing the web, according to a worldwide study released Thursday. The US technology publication eWeek reported that research by internet security firms showed that Thai web users have a 20.8 per cent risk of being attacked or becoming infected with some sort of malware. Only Indonesia, with a 23.5 per cent cyber-risk factor, and China with 21.3 per cent ranked higher than Thailand. East and Southeast Asian countries took seven of the top 10 "most dangerous" spots to access the worldwide web and the internet, the study said. According to the studies, web users in Thailand have "a greater than one-in-five chance of encountering malware each quarter" of the year. Thailand has become well known to security researchers for more than a year, the study said. In April, 2011, PandaLabs ranked Thailand as No 2 among "most infected countries", and estimated that two-thirds of all internet users in the country were infected by some sort of malicious software. The study cited by eWeek did not break down types of threats except in Indonesia, where internet users are subjected to widespread Trojan horses, software applications infected with malware that are then sold online. The Security Threat Report 2013 was released Thursday by Sophos. It ranked Norway, Sweden and Japan as the safest countries to access the internet, all with infection and attack rates under three per cent. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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No alcohol from New Year holidays on

Posted by hasekamp on 13 December 2012 at 13:20 PM
Starting from the New Year holiday period, roadside food stalls will be banned from selling alcoholic drinks, while all sales of alcoholic beverages will be limited to 11am-2pm and 5pm-midnight, Public Health Minister Pradit Sinthawanarong said yesterday. Violators will face up to six months in jail and/or up to Bt10,000 in fines. Pradit said a meeting of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Committee yesterday approved three PM's Office regulations. The ban on roadside alcohol sales, except on personal property, was imposed on grounds that consumption of alcohol causes traffic accidents, he said. The time limit on alcohol sales covers all sellers, except at international airports' duty-free zones and service establishments. The third measure bans alcohol sales and consumption in state-run parks, he added. (Source: The Nation)


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Artist remembered

Posted by hasekamp on 13 December 2012 at 13:17 PM
The cremation ceremony for Sathien Taptim will be held at Lard Prao Temple on Sunday, December 16, 2012 at 3pm. Sathien provided the voice-over for several foreign movies in the 1950s, '60s and '70s. In the 1970s, he founded the "Artists for Fellow Artists" Group, which documented the work and lives of late movie stars, singers and selected other artists. The foundation, which was also known for its annual solicited contribution to the Monk Hospital, was active for three decades until Sathien's declining health forced him to stop his work a few years ago. He passed away on Tuesday, December 11, at the age of 89. He is survived by three children. (Source: The Nation)


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Computer problems with 12-12-12 marriages

Posted by hasekamp on 13 December 2012 at 13:10 PM
Computer software glitches frustrated many couples trying to register their marriages Wednesday on the auspicious date of 12/12/12. Couples who hoped to have the special date printed on their marriage certificates faced hours of delays at district offices after computers slowed to a crawl. The process stopped altogether at times, as the software of the ministry's the Bureau of Registration Administration hit snags. Wichien Chidchanoknart, an information technology and data systems expert at the bureau, said yesterday the Interior Ministry was changing its computer system handling registration for documents nationwide. The software had developed malfunctions that delayed the process. The problems have occurred for some time and were unrelated to the large amounts of data keyed into the system as part of the marriage registration process yesterday. Delays in marriage registration were also experienced at the Bang Rak district office, which is a popular place to register marriages, given its name in Thai which means the district of love. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Abhisit and Suthep deny

Posted by hasekamp on 13 December 2012 at 13:07 PM
Abhisit Vejjajiva and Suthep Thaugsuban on Thursday formally denied the murder charges laid against them by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI). They also refused to sign to acknowledge conditions set for their release on bail, Democrat Party deputy leader Thaworn Senneam said. Mr Thaworn, a member of the Democrat Party's legal team, said their denial was entered after the former prime minister and former deputy prime minister were notified of the charges of murder relating to the death of a taxi driver shot dead during the 2010 riots. The two men refused to sign a paper acknowledging conditions for their not being detained. The conditions would prohibit them from travelling out of the country without approval from investigators, from meddling with evidence, obstructing the investigation into the case, or doing anything which could cause serious damage. Both insisted they would be good citizens and would not attempt to flee. Mr Thaworn said the two accused denied the charges, because they were not true. Under Article 68 of the Criminal Code, Mr Abhisit and Mr Suthep were not at fault as they were the state authority performing their duty to stop the illegal violence occuring in the country. Mr Abhisit and Mr Suthep arrived at the DSI office early this afternoon to hear the charges against them. They were accompanied by Democrat Party chief adviser Chuan Leekpai, and other senior party members including Mr Thavorn and Apirak Kosayodhin. On hand to receive them was Mr Tarit, the DSI chief. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Free WiFi at piers

Posted by hasekamp on 9 December 2012 at 11:50 AM
A free public wi-fi service will be made available at 15 piers along the Chao Phraya River by the end of the year, Deputy Transport Minister Prasert Chantararuangthong said on Thursday. The free w-ifi initiative was offered as a New Year gift for the public, in line with government policy to offer free access to wireless internet at public venues, Mr Prasert said. The 15 piers have been chosen as pilot locations and include Sathon, Chong Nonsi, Nonthaburi, Sathu Pradit, Din Daeng, Memorial Bridge (Saphan Phut), Phra Pin Klao Bridge, Ratchawongse, Thewet, Kiak Kai, Si Phraya, Krung Thon ( Sanghi) and Kheaw Khai Ka. The ministry would offer wireless internet with a download speed of 2Mbps at first but would increase that to 4-6Mbps if the initial speed was not sufficient, Mr Prasert added. Each wi-fi hotspot has a coverage radius of 50 metres. Users must type in their identification card numbers for their username, the deputy minister said, and a password would be sent to their mobile phones, which could be kept for future use. Authorities will censor illegal and inappropriate websites. (Source: The Bangkok Post) NOTE: this will not work for non-Thais, because they do not have an identification card number!


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Thailand 8th most dangerous in SE Asia

Posted by hasekamp on 9 December 2012 at 11:44 AM
Thailand has been ranked No 8 among countries most prone to terrorist attacks mainly due to insurgency in the deep South. According to the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) covering 158 countries, Thailand is the worst in Southeast Asia and the fifth worst in all Asia. The top four countries in the list are all from Asia - Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India - where terrorist incidents were "heavily concentrated". Thailand ranks top among the Southeast Asian countries, followed by the Philippines (No 10), Indonesia (29), Myanmar (33), Malaysia (90) and Cambodia (101). Laos has not experienced terrorism over the past decade, the report said. While the government played down Thailand's high ranking in terms of terrorism yesterday, opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva expressed concerns that the news would have a negative impact on the country's image. (Source: The Nation)


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King visits memorial site

Posted by hasekamp on 9 December 2012 at 11:40 AM
His Majesty the King left hospital Friday to attend a merit-making ceremony at Wat Anongkharam temple and to visit a memorial park in Bangkok dedicated to the late Princess Mother. At 3pm Friday His Majesty the King left the Chalermphrakiat Building of Siriraj Hospital for Wat Anongkharam temple in Klong San district to make merit following his birthday on Dec 5. Thousands of people, many wearing yellow, lined the route and cheered His Majesty as his motorcade passed by. At 4pm, His Majesty the King visited the Princess Mother Memorial Park on Somdet Chao Phraya 3 Road next to Wat Anongkharam. It is situated in the neighbourhood where the late Princess Mother lived during her childhood. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Abhisit will be tried

Posted by hasekamp on 9 December 2012 at 11:36 AM
Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva says he would be ready to accept the death sentence if it was handed down to him as a result of the investigation into his government's crackdown on red-shirt protesters in 2010. He was speaking after he and Democrat MP Suthep Thaugsuban were charged on Thursday by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) with authorising the killing of anti-government protesters during the April-May 2010 political violence in Bangkok. Mr Suthep was deputy prime minister under the Abhisit government and headed the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES), which was set up to handle the protests. Both are expected to turn themselves in to the DSI on Thursday. The DSI's charges were based on a Criminal Court's ruling on the death of taxi driver Phan Khamkong during the political unrest. Mr Abhisit said the charges laid against him and Mr Suthep were to pressure him and his party to support the government's proposed reconciliation law. He insisted that his government's action was to restore peace and order and was in line with the law. Moreover, the red-shirt protest was a breach of the constitution, he said. Mr Abhisit said he and Mr Suthep agreed to be investigated and tried in court after the military's actions resulted in deaths and injuries. He said there would be no negotiations for his own benefit. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Hundreds of thousands attend

Posted by hasekamp on 5 December 2012 at 19:02 PM
Royal Plaza became a sea of yellow for the monarch's 85th birthday. "Song Phra Charoen" (Long Live the King) was chanted countless times on His Majesty the King's 85th birthday on December 5 as hundreds of thousands of people, mostly wearing yellow, gathered to honour their beloved monarch. A sea of yellow was formed at the vast Royal Plaza and on the adjoining roads late yesterday morning when the King granted a grand public audience from the balcony of the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall overlooking the plaza. The colour yellow is associated with Monday, the day on which the King was born. The gathering crowds consisted of people of all ages from places all around the country, as well as overseas. They waved national and yellow royal flags. Many people raised portraits of the King above their heads. Some wore smiles on their faces and others had tears of joy in their eyes. Although the chance was slim to see the King up close during the event, many were determined to attend the historic gathering. They preferred to be - in the words of many - "just a dot of yellow" in this human sea, so the King would know how much he was loved and respected. Many arrived at the Royal Plaza on Tuesday and stayed there overnight for the big event. Millions of other Thais all over the country were glued to televisions during the live broadcast of the event. Postings in social media, meanwhile, were full of the King's photos and crowds of well-wishers at the Royal Plaza, together with the message "Long live the King". Many others waited patiently along the roads where the King's motorcade would pass - from Siriraj Hospital, where he has been staying, en route to the Throne Hall. The whole country seemed to stop for this rare occasion in Thailand's history, as the royal motorcade turned to the Royal Plaza. The King was later seated on a golden throne on the balcony. Later, the heads of the three branches of government - the administration, the legislature and the judiciary - read their statements in honour of the King. They were represented respectively by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Parliament President Somsak Kiartsuranond and Supreme Court President Pairote Wayuphab. The Armed Forces supreme commander, General Thanasak Patimaprakorn, also delivered a speech of tribute and led the Royal Guards in taking the oath of allegiance before the King. As His Majesty appeared on the balcony and read his thank-you note, many people shed tears of delight. They repeatedly chanted "Long live the King," while some shouted, "We love the King." After the King finished his speech, members of the Royal Family gathered behind him on the balcony. The prime minister was also heard chanting "Long live the King" along with others in attendance.
Her Majesty the Queen was not present during the event. The Royal Household Bureau had said in a statement on Tuesday that her health had not fully recovered. This was the sixth grand public audience granted by the beloved King from a balcony - an event known as Seeha Banchorn in Thai. Sixty-six years on the throne, King Bhumibol Adulyadej is the world's longest-reigning monarch. (Source: The Nation)


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Audience and birthday speech by His Majesty

Posted by hasekamp on 5 December 2012 at 18:56 PM
On the occasion of his 85th birthday, His Majesty the King yesterday reminded Thais to practice brotherly love so that the country will stay safe and sound for generations to come. "I always believe that your compassion and good wishes to one another will be a significant factor in creating a unifying force in any group and also in the country," His Majesty said. "If Thais truly hold these values in their hearts, they can be assured that the country will be safe and will survive regardless of what situation the country is in. Dharma will protect you from all harms,'' he said in his brief address from the balcony at the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall. As the country is struggling with a deep political division, the King mercifully granted the general public a rare audience and graciously offered his sage advice for all Thais to live in harmony while expressing gratitude for their unwavering faithfulness. "The wishes and oaths of allegiance that you have taken are so evident. I thank you and all Thais who have come here en masse. "The compassion, good will and unity that you have demonstrated today make me happy. You have greatly boosted my spirits,'' the King said before the huge gathering of his loyal subjects at the Royal Plaza. (Source: The Nation)


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Crowd is gathering already

Posted by hasekamp on 4 December 2012 at 10:19 AM
Thais began to occupy the Royal Plaza in front of Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall on Tuesday (December 4) in order to get the best view of His Majesty the King's birthday audience scheduled for tomorrow (December 5). All were wearing yellow, the colour representing Tuesday, the day of his birth. Throughout his more than 60 years on the throne, the King has granted a grand public audience on only five previous occasions. Tomorrow, His Majesty the King will turn 85 and will receive best wishes directly from his people when he appears on a balcony of the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall. The last time he granted the grand audience at the Ananta Samakhom was in June 2006.
To celebrate HM the King's birthday, also Father's Day, various public transport services will tomorrow offer free rides or discounted fares to fathers and children wearing yellow shirts in honour of the King. A total of free 22,071 rides on 2,530 city buses are available today and tomorrow, while 350 city buses and some interprovincial coaches will carry well wishers from nine locations to the event venue at the Royal Plaza. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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More place to see the King

Posted by hasekamp on 4 December 2012 at 10:15 AM
His Majesty the King has ordered royal guards to reposition themselves during his birthday address to allow his well-wishers more space and a better view. The King will appear before a grand audience on Wednesday, his 85th birthday. His Majesty has called for royal guards from 12 battalions to line up in formation inside the grounds of the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall instead of in the Royal Plaza where well-wishers will gather, the Royal Household Bureau said yesterday. Initially, the armed forces planned to hold an oath of allegiance ceremony before His Majesty in the Royal Plaza to mark the King's birthday. However, His Majesty has instructed 2,126 royal guards comprising the three armed forces to hold the ceremony inside the Throne Hall compound instead. This will lessen the distance between him and his subjects, Maj Gen Wara Boonyasit, the commander of the 1st Division, King's Guards, said. "His Majesty wants more space to be given to the hundreds of thousands of well-wishers expected to turn up there," he said, adding that the King also wants his well-wishers to be as near to him as possible. Only a battalion from the 29th Cavalry Squadron, King's Guards, will line up outside the hall, Maj Gen Wara said. Hundreds of thousands of well-wishers are expected to greet the King on the road as he makes his way to the Throne Hall. Many of the roads have been decorated with national and royal flags. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Gamnang Style for His Majesty

Posted by hasekamp on 1 December 2012 at 13:56 PM
Thai fans galloped to the catchy beat of 'Gangnam Style' ahead of an appearance by the hit song's performer Psy at a press conference a few days ago at Siam Paragon's Parc Paragon. The South Korean star also signed his birthday wish to His Majesty the King: "Please be healthy forever, sir!" Promoting last night's "Gangnam Style Thailand Extra Live" concert in Muang Thong Thani, Psy was interviewed by TV host Wuthithorn "Woody" Milintachinda. "Sawasdi khrub," said Psy, after being asked if he could speak Thai. "Fans, can I hear your voices," he then asked in English, and the crowd answered with screams. He didn't seem to be satisfied, though. "Are they fine in English? Their sound is so small." "How are you today?" he then shouted, and was answered by louder screams. He then said a greeting in Korean: "Han yong ha sae yoo". "Gangnam Style" recently became the most-watched video on YouTube. It racked up more than 817 million views, 40 million of them from Thailand - the second-largest number of "Gangnam Style" viewers after the US. (Source: The Nation)


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Toxic cough drug

Posted by hasekamp on 1 December 2012 at 13:50 PM
The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning about a toxic cough syrup that has caused at least 17 deaths in Pakistan. FDA secretary-general Boonchai Somboonsuk said the Tyno brand cough syrup hasn't been registered in Thailand. The agency has ordered checkpoints to be on watch for Tyno, which has caused deaths in Pakistan. Officials say the fatalities are mainly among drug addicts who drank the syrup to get high. The FDA and Public Health Ministry officials also checked drug stores and drug factories nationwide, Boonchai added. (Source: The Nation)


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Police bad in news again

Posted by hasekamp on 1 December 2012 at 13:48 PM
Thai police are again under fire overseas after an Australian TV report about a man who lost his girlfriend in an accident and was then allegedly framed by police on Koh Samui. Tragedy in Thailand, an episode of the popular TV show A Current Affair on Australia's Channel 9 network, accused Thai police of injustice and corruption. Police responded on Friday by reopening the case and transferring the chief of the station in charge of the original investigation. However, the chief denied allegations of corruption. During a getaway that was supposed to be the trip of their dreams, Jamie Keith faced his worst nightmare while dealing with Thai police after an accident that killed his girlfriend Nicole Fitzsimons, a former Channel 9 reporter. The couple went to Koh Samui in Surat Thani province in October this year. On their last night on the island, they were heading back to their hotel after dinner when the accident occurred. In the TV report, video footage from a surveillance camera in the area showed the couple slowing their scooter to make a right turn into the hotel when a speeding bike crashed into them. The couple, who were not wearing crash helmets, were thrown off their scooter and Fitzsimons was severely injured. She died three hours later. The Thai driver was identified as Kongla Satue. Mr Keith said he was not only saddened by his girlfriend’s death but also by the actions of the Thai police.
He was taken to the police station after being released from hospital, where he was handed a document in Thai. He said police demanded he sign a confession as the guilty party in the crash, in exchange for his passport, but he refused. Six days later, Mr Keith reluctantly agreed to sign a document which stated there was no guilty party in the accident. "Jamie and Nicole’s family were denied justice over the accident,” the show's presenter said. "Grief is momentarily overtaken by disbelief when unscrupulous Thai police tried to turn the tragic loss of a young Australian woman into a pay day for themselves.” In the video, Fitzsimons’ father said he was told that it would cost him between A$15,000 and A$30,000 (480,000 to 960,000 baht) to get Jamie out of the situation. “It’s a cruel world there (Thailand), and we have seen it; there are no laws."
The criticism comes about a month after the father of a Dutch woman who was assaulted and raped posted a video “Evil Man from Krabi” condemning the Thai police for their negligence in bringing justice for his daughter. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Bad exports expected

Posted by hasekamp on 1 December 2012 at 13:42 PM
Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom Thursday acknowledged Thai exports may grow only by single digits next year as global economic prospects remain fragile and Europe's debt crisis lingers. "We try to make the target the most realistic at the time, taking into account the world's economic prospects and the euro-zone debt crisis," said Mr Boonsong, who met with 64 Thai overseas trade counsellors and 30 honorary foreign trade advisers to discuss export targets and promotions for 2013. Exports are one of the more contentious issues facing the Yingluck Shinawatra government along with the capital-intensive rice pledging scheme. Kittiratt Na-Ranong, the finance minister and deputy prime minister, admitted in August that an earlier pledge that exports would grow by 15% this year was a "white lie", which drew a massive public rebuke. Critics have said the white lie hurt the government's credibility and rocked public confidence in the administration. In the latest forecast, Thai export growth is expected to end this year between 4.5% and 5%. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Rainy winter expected

Posted by hasekamp on 1 December 2012 at 13:39 PM
Unusually heavy rainfall will continue across the country well into this winter, the Thai Meteorological Department says. Unlike typical weather patterns in the past, high pressure fronts from China have not been moving into Thailand, said a senior official at the department. Weather this winter looks like it will be more affected by low pressure fronts from the southern part of the country, resulting in severe rainfall, she said. Bangkok on Wednesday suffered heavy downpours in many areas. Several provinces in the South and Central Plains have also experienced heavy rains recently. The unusually heavy rain "is not a result of El Nino or La Nina", the official said, adding that it will probably continue well into the winter, with especially strong downpours in December. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Virtual mannequins

Posted by hasekamp on 1 December 2012 at 13:37 PM
Bored with conventional fibre glass mannequins used in showrooms and boutiques to showcase garments? The exciting arrival of virtual mannequins will deliver an ideal, interactive display to provide information about new products, in-store promotions or made-to-order messages on request in a way that keeps people entertained. Virtual mannequins enable shop owners to create interest and save time based on the fact that digital technology can provide access to hundreds of fashion items in one location. Customers can dress in the designed garment and mix and match clothes on a virtual mannequin and buy an outfit from the shop window. Xtreme Plus, a Thai-owned interactive multimedia technology firm, is offering projection mapping on a mannequin software program. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Unhappy lottery winner

Posted by hasekamp on 1 December 2012 at 13:34 PM
A senior monk has called for help from the media, saying he won a total of 54 million baht in the lottery and has since been constantly harrassed, blackmailed even, by lottery sellers demanding a share of the winnings, reports said on Tuesday. Phra Kru Sunthornsilawatra Kantlilo (real name Sanoh Kanmachand), the abbot of Wat Tapo Taram in Chon Buri's Sri Racha district, told reporters that a group of lottery sellers continually hassled him and demanded he share some of the money with them. The 60-year-old monk said he eventually had to leave his temple and stay at a lawyer's home in Pathum Thani's Tanyaburi district. Songkran Atchariyasap, the monk's lawyer and chairman of the Facebook network against acts that destroy kingdom, religion and monarchy, said he received a complaint from Phra Kru Sunthornsilawatra, who claimed that the lottery sellers had tried many ways to force him to pay them. Mr Songkran said he will take the abbot to a temple in Bangkok where he will stay for the time being for his own safety. The lawyer later went to the Crime Suppression Division (CSD), asking the police to take legal action against the people who tried to exploit him. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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