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Sexual harassment on Bangkok buses

Posted by hasekamp on 31 August 2013 at 13:05 PM
The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) launched a campaign last week to educate bus drivers, conductors and passengers about what behaviour is sexual harassment and how it can be dealt with. It has also released some 10,000 stickers, pamphlets and video clips to help the effort. Teeranat Kanjanauksorn Foundation, in collaboration with the BMTA, initiated the project after an internal survey a year ago revealed that sexual harassment was rife on public buses. Naiyana Suphapueng, the foundation's coordinator, said some BMTA staff did not know what constituted as sexual harassment and, more often than not, offenders get away with infringing on the rights of women - be they bus staff or passengers. She said some female bus conductors had either become so used to sexual taunts that they ignore it or choose to skip work in order to avoid offending male colleagues - an action that has resulted in a drop in productivity. This the reason why the BMTA had decided to sit up and take note of the issue, she said. So far, many of the 14,000 of the BMTA's staff have attended classes conducted by committees at each of the eight bus districts in Bangkok and its vicinity. In a move to reinforce measures, certain volunteers have been enlisted to detect cases of sexual harassment. (Source: The Nation)


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Phuket taxi troubles

Posted by hasekamp on 31 August 2013 at 12:27 PM
Taxi fares are set to rise in Phuket in an attempt to thwart the illegal-taxi trade and to provide legitimate taxi drivers with a decent standard of living. “We will increase taxi fares as part of our campaign to solve the problem of taxi-driver cheats in Phuket,” said Phuket Vice Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada. “If the standard fares rise, taxi drivers will have more incentive to use meters instead of charging flat rates,” he told the Phuket Gazette. The news follows Vice Governor Chamroen chairing a meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday that targeted the problems that have arisen from the excessive and embarrassing taxi fares that are charged in Phuket. “We receive more than 10 complaints a month from people telling us that metered-taxi drivers in Phuket do not charge standard fares, and they differ in the levels of service they provide,” Phuket Land Transport Department Chief Terayout Prasertphol told the Gazette. “That encourages tourists – and residents – to not use taxis. This is a big problem and it will affect Phuket’s tourism industry,” he said. “At present, the first two kilometers is set at 50 baht per kilometer. Then, up to 22 kilometers, the rate is seven baht per kilometer. And, in excess of 22 kilometers the charge is six baht per kilometer. “This rate is not fair when when one considers today’s cost of living,” he said. “We will move to have all taxis in Phuket fitted with meters in the future,” he said. Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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20 wounded by turbulence

Posted by hasekamp on 31 August 2013 at 12:17 PM
Thai Airways International's Flight TG600, bound for Hong Kong, experienced air turbulence this morning. Initially, twenty persons including a crew member were injured, said Chokchai Panyayong, THAI executive for commercial operations. In a statement, he said that the flight, operated by Airbus A380-800, departed from Suvarnabhumi Airport at 8.16am, carrying 500 passengers, two pilots, and 24 cabin attendants. As the aircraft was descending to Chek Lap Kok Airport, Hong Kong, an unforeseen turbulence occurred, causing injury to 20 passengers and cabin attendants, according to initial reports. Thereafter, despite the turbulence, the pilots safely landed the aircraft, with the THAI's ground customer services staff at Chek Lap Kok Airport and Hong Kong International Airport Authority staff immediately transporting the injured to hospital. All other passengers proceeded through the passenger terminal arrivals hall at Chek Lap Kok Airport according to normal arrival procedures and formalities. "THAI regrets this unforeseen weather occurrence and will tend to medical expenses of all passengers and staff who were injured," he said. Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt, also expressed concern and emphasised that THAI take care of those injured. (Source: The Nation)


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To Chinese killed in speedboat

Posted by hasekamp on 29 August 2013 at 11:38 AM
Two Chinese tourists were killed and four others injured yesterday when their speedboat crashed into a long-tail boat anchored in waters off southern Pattaya in Chon Buri's Bang Lamung district. The "Chok Suwannee" speedboat was carrying about 20 tourists from Koh Lan to the Pattaya Pier when it struck the second boat at 1.45pm about 200 metres from the pier. Two passengers fell out of the vessel and were fatally struck by its propeller. (Source: The Nation)


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THAI works on WiFi on board

Posted by hasekamp on 29 August 2013 at 11:35 AM
Thai Airways International (THAI) plans to make WiFi internet available on flights as the national carrier prepares to apply for a licence with the national telecom regulator. Jesada Sivaraks, secretary to the vice-chairman of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), said the airline is preparing to ask for a type-1 licence to provide in-flight WiFi, allowing its passengers to stay connected. A licence will be granted once THAI submits its application, he said. Mr Jesada said THAI is obliged to choose either OnAir of Switzerland or Britain's AeroMobile Communications as an international WiFi network service provider. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Attack by monkeys?

Posted by hasekamp on 29 August 2013 at 11:31 AM
In a village in Chachoengsao province homes are raided, property is pinched and locals are attacked by dastardly gangs operating beyond the law - but the perpetrators are monkeys, not men. "They creep into my house when they see me sleeping, they go into the kitchen and take cooking oil, sugar and even the medicines that I hide in a cabinet," said Chaluay Khamkajit, after years battling with pesky primates who are thought to have been drawn into Khlong Charoen Wai village by habitat loss. "They took my snacks, I can buy more, but the medicines are important to me," the 72-year-old said, as she and her husband demonstrated a variety monkey deterrents, including a homemade lock for the fridge and the more direct deterrent of a sling-shot. Around 150 households in this shrimp farming community in Chachoengsao's Bang Prakong district have suffered raids by these "sea monkeys" - long-tailed macaques - for about a decade. The increasing number of shrimp farms, coupled with the associated deforestation and habitat loss, is believed to be behind the surge in the monkeys' depredations. "They could find food easily in the past but when there is less forest, they have to find food in people's houses,'' said village headman Chatree Kaencharoen, expressing frustration at some villagers who give food to the incorrigible creatures. Conservation group WWF said people have encroached on the monkeys' habitat - not the other way around. "Macaques can adjust their behaviour quite well - they learn in similar ways to humans - and when they know that they can find food in a village, they come." The spread of villages into formerly dense forest has caused other clashes between people and beasts in the country. Between 1973 - the first point of available data - and 2009, Thailand lost some 43% of its natural woodland, the WWF said, although it praised the country for its network of national parks. (So0urce: The Bangkok Post)


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Italian expat steals from Temple

Posted by hasekamp on 28 August 2013 at 11:02 AM
An Italian expat down on his luck was arrested yesterday after he stole 100 baht from a donation box at a Phuket temple. Monks at Karon Temple (Wat Suwankirikhet) reported to police that a man had stolen money from a donation box several times, said Karon Police Deputy Superintendent Sophon Borirak. When police viewed the temple CCTV yesterday, they saw a man use a stick with gum attached at the end to fish money out of the donation box. Anticipating he would come back, police hid in the temple to wait for him, said Lt Col Sophon. “At about 6:30 pm yesterday, he came back, walked directly to the box and used the stick to take money from it,” he explained. “Officers waited until he put a 100-baht banknote in his pocket before they moved in and arrested him,” he added. The man, identified by police as Franco Minichelli, 54, confessed to police that he stole the money, said Col Sophon. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Three illegal resorts in Koh Samet demolished

Posted by hasekamp on 28 August 2013 at 10:58 AM
The demolition of three big resorts, built illegally in the midst of the sea on Rayong's Koh Samet, was begun yesterday by the state environmental protection agency. More than 500 national park officials were deployed to destroy the three resorts - Muk Samet, Unseen, and Ploy Samet - which had been built in the middle of the sea at the Khao Leam Ya-Mu Ko Samet National Park. Natural Resources and Environment Minister Vichet Kasemthongsri, the ministry's permanent secretary Chote Trachu, deputy permanent secretary Wijarn Simachaya and Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) director-general Manopat Huamuangkaew yesterday led the mission to demolish the illegal resorts. The demolition is expected to finish within 30 days. The move comes after the ministry's panel decided to take legal action against illegal construction in national parks. They passed a resolution on August 16, ordering officials to demolish these three resorts. (Source: The Nation)


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Photo visa considered

Posted by hasekamp on 28 August 2013 at 10:55 AM
Thailand is considering introducing a photo visa to keep criminals out of the country. "I will talk with the director-general of Consular Affairs about a new type of visa sticker to prevent fraud," Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul said yesterday. Recently 300 visa stickers went missing from the Thai embassy in Malaysia and fingers have been pointed at local staff. At least 14 suspects have been caught trying to enter the country on visas from Malaysia with the cancelled serial numbers. Hence, the minister suggested new visa stickers include a photo of the passport holder. Surapong quoted permanent secretary Sihasak Phuangketkaew as saying that 2,000 visa labels in a diplomatic pouch had also vanished on their way to the Thai embassy in The Hague. Nuttavudh Pothisaro, deputy permanent secretary, said the ministry sent the visa stickers on THAI to Frankfurt in Germany, where they were due to be put on a connecting code-share Lufthansa flight to Amsterdam. The ministry cancelled the visas and other documents in the pouch on July 15, so this case was unrelated to the Malaysian theft. (Source: The Nation)


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Illegal telephone booths

Posted by hasekamp on 28 August 2013 at 10:52 AM
There are now as many as 12,324 illegal telephone booths in Bangkok. Many of them are placed too close to bus stops, while some carry advertisements, which is not allowed by law. (While one would expect these booths not to be used any more due to the use of mobile phones, the truth is different, jst open your eyes when walking through Bagkok; Hasekamp Net). Wasan Meewong, spokesman for Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra, said yesterday the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will ask telephone-booth owners to fix the problem. "If they don't comply, we will have to remove the booths," he warned. The BMA has instructed all its district officers to work with police in regulating motorcycle-taxi stands, too. "These stands must not block traffic or footpath space," Wasan said. He added that police would be asked to ensure that motorcycle-taxi drivers do not ride down pavements as this could endanger pedestrians. (Source: The Nation)


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Rubber growers block railroad

Posted by hasekamp on 28 August 2013 at 10:47 AM
With a rubber growers' demonstration that has blocked the railway in Nakhon Si Thammarat yet to be resolved, The State Railway Authority of Thailand on Tuesday suspended another five train services to the south. The services are: number 171 (Bangkok-Sungai Kolok) leaving Bangkok at 1pm; number 35 (Bangkok- Butterworth) leaving Bangkok at 2.45pm; number 37 (Bangkok-Sungai Kolok) departing Bangkok at 3.10pm; number 167 (Bangkok-Yala) departing Bangkok at 3.35pm; and the express service (Bangkok-Yala) departing Bangkok at 10.50pm. The SRT is offering a full refund to passengers and those wanting further information are requested to call the hotline 1690. SRT officials Pornpisut Thongsad said state officials were negotiating with demonstration leaders to stop blocking the tracks and allow train services to resume. He said the five train services were suspended because the trains wouldn't be able to return from the south once they reached their destination. The rubber growers' protest continues at three locations; the Kuan Nong Hong intersection; the Ban Toon t-junction and the railway intersection in Ban Toon. (Source: The Nation)


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Passport forger arrested

Posted by hasekamp on 28 August 2013 at 10:41 AM
A Thai man has been arrested in Bangkok with a number of fake foreign passports and Thai visa stickers and has been charged him with forgery of official documents, the immigration police announced at a press conference on Monday. Pol Maj Gen Ronnasilp Phusara, chief of the investigation division of the Immigration Police Bureau (IPB), said following a joint investigation with the Armed Forces Security Centre, Paiboon Srivachararoj, 55, was arrested on Aug 24 at a restaurant in Soi Charoenkrung 105 in Bang Kholaem district, where he had made an appointment to hand over the forged documents to a client. Authorities seized a green plastic bag in his possession containing 18 fake French passports, 25 forged Spanish passports and 25 fake visa stickers each for Canada, India and Indonesia. Officials of the five embassies were invited to examine the fake passports and visa stickers, and said they were very similar to the real ones, but the differences could be seen with bare eyes. Pol Maj Gen Ronnasilp said that according to the suspect, the fake visas were sold at 1,000 baht each and the forged passports at 2,000 baht each. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Opium farms crackdown

Posted by hasekamp on 28 August 2013 at 10:37 AM
Anti-narcotics authorities have eradicated more than 1,600 rai of opium poppy farmlands in the North over the past year, but recently discovered three major drug manufacturing hubs just a stone's throw away from the Thai border, posing major challenges in the ongoing fight against the illicit substance trade. The findings were revealed in a press conference held by the 3rd Army Region on Tuesday to summarise progress in official operations to crackdown on opium cultivation and the wider drug trade in northern provinces over a one year period. Lt Gen Preecha Chan-ocha, the 3rd Army Region commander, said army officers had raided and eradicated 21 opium farms covering a total of 1,613 rai of land in Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son, Tak, Kamphaeng Phet, Lampang and Nan provinces, as a result of tip-offs from the Narcotic Crops Survey and Monitoring Institute. A further 46 rai of opium farmlands were also discovered and destroyed in the same period - 19 rai by the Border Patrol Police Bureau Region 3 and 27 rai by the Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB). (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Another derailing of Chiang Mai train

Posted by hasekamp on 24 August 2013 at 11:20 AM
A Bangkok-bound train from Chiang Mai derailed in Lampang yesterday morning, but there were no casualties. Somchai Kongchuensin, a senior official of the State Railway of Thailand, said there were 80 passengers on the train at the time of the accident. He said the derailment happened at 6.35am in Lampang's Hang Chat district. More than 50 officials and engineers rushed to the scene to put the diesel locomotive back on its tracks. More than three hours passed before the locomotive and its 10 carriages were ready to resume operations. A new locomotive was coupled at the next station to bring the 10 carriages to Bangkok. Somchai said relevant officials would investigate the derailment further to determine the exact cause. (Source: The Nation)


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Gorillas in Chiang Mai zoo

Posted by hasekamp on 24 August 2013 at 11:14 AM
Lin Ping has long been regarded as China's panda ambassador and now Chiang Mai Zoo will soon be home to some new foreign ambassadors - two gorillas from Uganda. The gorillas, a male and female and aged between three and five years olds, are gifts from the Ugandan government and will arrive at Chiang Mai Zoo before the end of this year, said Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation’s director general Manopat Huamuangkaew. "We are now preparing to build a new home for these two gorillas," he said on Wednesday. The gorillas have been given to the zoo following an agreement reached between the Thai and Ugandan governments during Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's official visit to the country last month. Thailand has just one gorilla, which is resident at the private Pata zoo in Bangkok. Manopat said he is concerned about the living conditions for the incoming apes, explaining that gorillas are social animals. "We need to study how to improve the environment so that it is more friendly for these two gorillas," he added. Manopat also expressed his concerns at the living conditions of the gorilla at the private zoo. His concerns are apparently not without foundation, as actress Nathalie Davies recently posted several pictures of the gorilla in a cage with rusty bars. Davies also has asked members of public to donate money so that 25yearold ape can be removed from zoo. "We will try our best to help you, poor gorilla. I believe it won’t be long," she posted in her instagram. Manopat said he has instructed officials to investigate the living conditions of an orangutan at Pata zoo. (Source: The Nation)


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Health King and Queen better

Posted by hasekamp on 24 August 2013 at 11:08 AM
The health of Their Majesties the King and Queen, who returned to their palace in Hua Hin three weeks ago, continues to improve, Dr Udom Kachintorn, dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Siriraj Hospital, said yesterday. "The general condition of Their Majesties has much improved, particularly the King. His health and heart are strong, partly because he is happy to be back home in a place that he is familiar with," the doctor said. The best cure for ailing people, particularly the elderly with chronic disease, was not medicine but making them happy, he said, adding that returning to their homes or an environment they were familiar with, had a good effect on their spirit and mental condition. HM the King was going to the beach every day, where he would sit in a pavilion, enjoy tea and feed the fish. He would then go to a dockyard, where sailboats - his long-time interest - were stored. The doctors were also giving him hydrotherapy. The King also wished to go to the Khao Krapuk and Chang Hua Mun Royal Projects. However, with frequent downpours at this time of year, officials were concerned about preparations for a royal visit. The Queen's general condition was also better and her heart stronger. She is able to exercise by walking every afternoon. The muscle infection that resulted in difficulty in moving her hands was less and her movements had been made easier through physical therapy. (Source: The Nation)


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Baht is falling

Posted by hasekamp on 24 August 2013 at 11:03 AM
The baht fell below 32 to the US dollar Thursday, a three-year low, while the stock market sank at one point to its lowest intraday level since last November. Capital outflows are rising after the minutes from last month's US Federal Reserve meeting showed officials support a stimulus easing this year should the US economy improve. During the past month, the baht has done this, compared with the benchmark US dollar. The inset shows the closing value of the baht on Thursday evening. The local currency slid to its weakest level since August 2010, the first time it dipped below 32 since July 2012, said Bloomberg. The baht fell to 32.09/32.13 to the greenback and has dropped about 5% this year. Other Asian currencies struggled, with the ringgit falling to its lowest level in more than three years, the Philippine peso weakening to a two-month low, Indonesia's rupiah diving to its lowest level since April 2009 and India's rupee slumping to an all-time low. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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PAD bosses quit

Posted by hasekamp on 24 August 2013 at 10:59 AM
Core bosses of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) announced last night they have quit the movement's leadership, saying they will not make sacrifices unless there are guarantees of long-term results. Their decision, which was broadcast on the satellite-based ASTV station, came after it became clear Democrat Party MPs would not quit parliament to join a campaign to push for political reforms as had been suggested earlier by one of the PAD leaders Sondhi Limthongkul. The eight PAD top brass who stepped down last night were: Mr Sondhi, Chamlong Srimuang, Pibhop Dhongchai, Parnthep Pourpongpan, Somkiat Pongpaiboon, Maleerat Kaweka, Sirichai Mai-gnam and Saranyu Wongkrachang. In their "final statement" issued last night, they said the PAD's "first generation" and "second generation" would no longer lead the movement. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Elephant camps investigated

Posted by hasekamp on 22 August 2013 at 10:33 AM
The Phuket jungle-trekking tourism industry came under scrutiny again on Wednesday when officers from the Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division (NREC) raided seven elephant camps in Phuket to try to determine whether or not seven elephants had been trafficked onto the island. The camps raided were: Sai Yuan Elephant Camp, Sea View Elephant Camp and Kinnaree Elephant Camp, all in Rawai; an unregistered house on Soi Yodsanae in Chalong (in the hills on the way to the Big Buddha); Kalim Elephant Camp in Patong; JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa in Mai Khao; and Eco Elephant Riding in Cherng Talay. The raids followed reports that many elephants had been smuggled across the Myanmar border to Thailand to work in the elephant trekking tourism industry, said NREC Commander Norrasak Hemnithi. However, no arrests were made in the raids in Phuket on Wednesday, and officers are still questioning the elephant camp owners, explained Pol Maj Gen Norrasak. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Trang airport closed after Nok Air incident

Posted by hasekamp on 8 August 2013 at 19:04 PM
Trang airport is to remain closed until Thursday while technicians attempt to shift a Nok Air plane that skidded off the runway and became lodged in the ground in an accident on Tuesday. Woradej Harnprasert, director-general of the Civil Aviation Department, declared on Wednesday that the airport would remain closed until at least 6am on Thursday, because the Boeing 737-800 could not be moved from the site of the accident. Thai Airways International has sent special equipment to Trang to help move the aircraft and the operation could complete by midnight Wednesday, he said. Authorities initially tried to use a crane from Hat Yai international airport to lift the plane from where it slid off the runway. But Trang airport director Thaworn Saengamphai said on Wednesday that the crane could not move the Boeing, because its three tyres had sunk into the ground.
Passengers on Nok Air flight DD7411, which failed to takeoff on Tuesday, were brought back to the terminal after the accident, before being transferred onto alternative flights from different airports. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Mothers free on the skytrain

Posted by hasekamp on 8 August 2013 at 18:59 PM
Mothers who travel with their children on "the Mother's Day" which falls on next Monday would enjoy free ride at all lines. Surapong Laoha-Unya, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Bangkok Mass Transit System Public Company Limited (BTSC) announced that the company is organizing a special celebration to mark the auspicious occasion of HM the Queen's 81st Birthday Anniversary on "Mother's Day", August 12. The Company will offer an exclusive privilege for mother who travel together with their children, by providing free rides on August 12 from 6am until midnight at all BTS stations both the Sukhumvit and Silom Lines. "This privilege is conditional upon mother and child entering and exiting at the same station, using free ride coupons can be obtained at Ticket Office. Children under 90 cm. height are entitled to travel free as usual. The objective of this activity is to express gratitude to our beloved mothers," he said. (Source: The Nation)


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200 kg heroin in Bang Na hotel

Posted by hasekamp on 8 August 2013 at 18:57 PM
A Thai man and three Taiwanese nationals were arrested on Thursday for allegedly possessing about 200 kilograms of heroin and trying to smuggle it out of the country. Police arrested Supadet Booncharoen, 40, in the parking lot of the Maple Hotel on Srinakharin Road in Bang Na district at 9.30am after finding 426 kilograms of heroin packed in six suitcases in a car allegedly belonging to Supadet. The confiscated narcotics would fetch an estimated Bt426 million on the street. Police moved in after receiving a tip that Supadet was smuggling drugs from the northern region to Bangkok. The suspect allegedly made an appointment with the Taiwanese at the hotel, where he checked in and left his car in the parking lot. The Taiwanese were scheduled to fly back to Taiwan at 11am, police said. (Source: The Nation)


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Heavy rain in Phuket

Posted by hasekamp on 7 August 2013 at 10:03 AM
Heavy rain in Phuket this morning caused minor flooding across the island, including in Patong on the west coast, in Chalong in the south and in Srisoonthorn in Thalang. Roads cut off by flash-flood runoff forced traffic to a standstill as small vehicles could not get through. Traffic was backed up in front of the TOT office on Chao Fa West Road in Chalong, a regular site for minor flooding after heavy rain, where floodwater reached up to 50 centimeters high. Many motorists hoping to avoid the traffic snarls on Chao Fa West Road were caught up in huge tailbacks on Chao Fa East Road, with one motorist reporting to the Phuket Gazette that it took him two hours to make it across town. Patong also suffered minor flooding, with reports of floodwater inundating the road in front of Patong Hospital on Phang Muang Sai Kor Road. Flooding was also reported at the Sainamyen Intersection and at the intersection at the base of Patong Hill. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Posted by hasekamp on 7 August 2013 at 10:00 AM
The Thai baht is down in light of intensifying political situation.
At 8.16am (August 7), the Thai currency was 0.06 per cent lower from the previous day’s closing, to 31.42 per US dollar. It also weakens against euro and Japanese yen, by 0.18 per cent to 41.79 and by 0.94 per cent to 32.33, respectively. (Source: The Nation)


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Anti government demonstrations today

Posted by hasekamp on 7 August 2013 at 9:57 AM
Security authorities are confident of their ability to handle anti-government protesters who will attempt to derail the parliament debate of an amnesty bill sponsored by Pheu Thai Party MP Worachai Hema on Wednesday. National police chief Adul Saengsingkaew and commander of the Metropolitan Police Bureau Kamronwit Thoopkrachang briefed the cabinet at Government House on the eve of the showdown expected on Wednesday. Tensions rose on Tuesday after Pheu Thai members and government whips reaffirmed their plan to put the bill on the House agenda, despite a call from the Bhumjaithai Party to withdraw the legislation, to avoid any potential clashes. A cabinet source said the two top officers are adamant that security authorities can cope with demonstrators due to march on parliament. Police have already sealed off areas leading to parliament and Government House by deploying 38,910 officers from 20 units. Dusit, Prompap Sattrupai and Phra Nakhon districts are subject to the Internal Security Act (ISA) until Saturday, to give authorities more flexibility in enforcing peace and order. Pol Gen Adul and Pol Lt Gen Kamronwit have assessed the situation, and claim the turnout of the protesters will not be unmanageable, and could be hampered by adverse weather conditions, the source said. The two did not rule out the worst case scenario in which demonstrators could surround parliament. But the situation is under control, the source quoted them as telling the cabinet, including Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Real impact oil spill remains uncertain

Posted by hasekamp on 6 August 2013 at 10:12 AM
Even though the oil spill on Koh Samet has been almost removed from Ao Phrao beach, there is a long road before the marine ecosystem and local tourism industries, which make Bt16 billion from 5.5 million visitors a year, recover. Monitoring the impact of the spill on marine life such as coral reef, seagrass or even plankton on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis needs to start as soon as possible, to estimate the damage on the marine ecosystem. It's not only possible changes in the marine life, but the quality of seawater, as well as the level of oil-related hazardous substances in marine life in affected areas and nearby sites that must be watched closely to ensure that seafood caught in the area are safe. At least 50 tonnes of crude oil leaked from a pipeline off Rayong into the Gulf of Thailand on July 27. This oil drifted to Koh Samet the following day. Measures taken in response to the spill were stepped up after the oil reached Ao Phrao on the night of July 28, nine days ago. (Source: The Nation)


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Australian beaten

Posted by hasekamp on 6 August 2013 at 10:04 AM
A 52 year old Australian was beaten by a group of 7 young men after he was forced to stop his motorbike behind the South Pattaya Road Market in the early hours of Tuesday, according to a local news agency, Pattaya One News. The agency reported that Edward Spiller made his way to Pattaya Police Station after the incident and was assisted by his transsexual partner who was with him at the time. He explained to police that the pair were riding back to Spiller's apartment when a group of 7 men on three motorbikes drove past them and appeared to stare at Mr. Spiller before driving off. At the end of the street the gang had set-up a roadblock forcing Spiller to stop his bike. He was the set-upon by the gang and one of them attempted to steal his motorbike but Spiller was able to prevent the theft. (Source: The Nation)


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Anti Thaksin rally

Posted by hasekamp on 6 August 2013 at 10:02 AM
On Sunday a large anti Thaksin rally was organised. The rally of the so-called People's Army against Thaksin Regime at the statue of King Rama 6 in front of Lumpini Park on Sunday has been orderly, police said. National police chief Adul Saengsingkaew said there were about 4,000 demonstrators in Lumpini Park on Sunday afternoon. He said officers were keeping a close watch for any interference by a third party. The officers had been instructed to act according to the law and refrain from violence. "Our intelligence reports that the demonstrators may spread to different areas but we'll follow them closely. Deputy Interior Minister Pracha Prasopdee said local administrative organisations in different provinces had found out that people were paid 300 to 500 baht per head to join the anti-government rally in Bangkok for a day. They would be given 2,500 baht each if they joined the protest for three to five days, he added. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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No explanation for oil spilling

Posted by hasekamp on 4 August 2013 at 19:40 PM
After determining the situation was under control following the spraying of dispersants from ships and a Singaporean plane, PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) president Bowon Vongsinudom had decided to head home and leave the monitoring of the situation to his staff and marine officials stationed in the area. He had spent most of the last two days trying to minimise the damage from a crude oil spill 20km offshore, when a floating hose transferring oil from a tanker to a PTT refinery pipeline broke sending, PTT says, 50,000 litres of oil spewing into the coastal waters. At 8pm on Sunday night Mr Bowon received a call from one of his staff informing him oil was washing on to Koh Samet's Ao Phrao beach in large quantities. "We were puzzled where this oil was from," Mr Bowon told Spectrum. "It is one of the puzzles that I cannot find the answers to yet. One is how the hose broke, and where this oil was from. It's a huge amount." The oil spill and the stain it has left on Thailand's world famous beaches and image as a pristine tourist destination has led to intense debate on PTT's handling of the crisis and the emergency plan it deployed. There are also serious questions being asked by academics about the size of the oil spill due to the vast area it covers and the volume of dispersants sprayed on it, which is by some estimates six times the amount required to treat a 50,000 litre spill. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Three arresteed for killing American

Posted by hasekamp on 2 August 2013 at 13:34 PM
Three Thai musicians have been arrested for the murder of 51-year-old American tourist Bobby Ray Carter Jr and the assault of his 27-year-old son in Krabi early this morning. According to one of the suspects, Ratikorn Romin, 27, from Phang Nga, a fight broke out between the three musicians and the Americans, who had joined them on-stage last night at Ao Nang’s Longhorn Saloon Bar, before the evening took a deadly turn. The police were called to the scene at about 1:30am and were confronted with the aftermath of a night of drinking and live music gone horribly wrong. “We rushed to the scene and found blood splattered in front of the bar. We were told that two injured men had been taken to Krabi Hospital before we arrived,” Krabi City Police officer Sanya Kaewnui explained. “Mr Bobby Carter had been stabbed in the chest and his son, Adam, suffered bad head injuries. At the hospital, doctors tried to save Mr Carter’s life, but it was too late,” Lt Sanya said. “We arrested three men at the bar: Ratikorn Romin, 27, from Phang Nga; Sathid Somsa, 40, from Bangkok; and Nopanan Yoddecha, 26, from Krabi. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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NSA also keeps an eye on Thailand

Posted by hasekamp on 2 August 2013 at 13:30 PM
The US National Security Agency uses computer servers in Thailand to help run a massive networked collection of information about internet users, and to store and analyse the data. Revelations about operation XKeyscore came Thursday from Edward Snowden, America's most-wanted fugitive. According to secret information leaked by Mr Snowden through The Guardian newspaper, XKeyscore is a massive programme that sweeps up email, social media activity and all browsing history. The data, according to NSA slides detailing the programme, is analysed, sifted and stored on servers around the world - more than 700 servers at approximately 150 sites, as the "top secret" slide states. Long live the freedom of gathering information and the freedom of expression! (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Cleaning up goes slowly

Posted by hasekamp on 2 August 2013 at 13:25 PM
In the 10th statement by PTT Global Chemical, over 1,000 volunteers were on Koh Samet on August 1, to help the cleanup. Since the oil spill was washed ashore on July 28, the company has mobilised supports from 300 Navy officers, 60 PTT staff, 20 from the ’Community Friend’ scheme, 150 volunteers in Rayong, 40 volunteers from the national park agency, 50 staff of IRPC, 340 staff of PTTGC, and others. It expressed gratitude to the government sector in assisting the cleanup. It also said that the company’s executives will monitor the situation and discuss with local residents. Meanwhile, PTT Group SEAL will provide the underwater watch and aerial pictures will be taken by para gliders.
From August 2 on, a realtime webcast will be available at http://iptv.pttplc.com, while other updates can be found at www.pttgroup.com. (Source: The Nation)


Category: Default

Nevertheless medical team at hand

Posted by hasekamp on 2 August 2013 at 13:22 PM
Their Majesties the King and Queen will receive full medical care during their stay at Klai Kangwon Palace in Hua Hin. Located in the seaside province of Prachuap Khiri Khan, the palace is a few hours' drive from Bangkok's Siriraj Hospital, where His Majesty has lived for more than three years, receiving treatment. "His Majesty has been at Siriraj Hospital for three years and 10 months now," Dr Udom Kachintorn said as Their Majesties were preparing for their temporary stay at the seaside palace. Udom, the dean of Mahidol University's faculty of medicine at Siriraj Hospital, said Their Majesties' conditions were now good. "So they wish to go to Klai Kangwon Palace for relaxation," the doctor said. Udom did not say for how long Their Majesties would stay at the palace, but suggested it was likely that they would be spending time at both the palace and Siriraj Hospital from now on. (Source: The Nation)


Category: Default

Hua Hin is Happy!

Posted by hasekamp on 2 August 2013 at 13:19 PM
Their Majesties the King and the Queen have moved into their seaside Klai Kangwon Palace in Hua Hin - as we reporeted earlier - to the delight of people across the country. The royal couple left Bangkok's Siriraj Hospital for the palace yesterday amid loud chants of "Long Live Their Majesties". His Majesty wore pink while Her Majesty wore blue. Tens of thousands of people gathered at Siriraj Hospital and along the route to Klai Kangwon Palace to express their loyalty to the beloved royal couple. Many of them waved the pictures of Their Majesties, flags featuring their emblems, and national flags. The royal couple waved to their loyal subjects. His Majesty has been receiving treatment at Siriraj Hospital for nearly four years. Her Majesty had also been an inpatient there during the past year. Both are in their 80s. Dr Udom Kachintorn, dean of Mahidol University's faculty of medicine at Siriraj Hospital, still describes Their Majesties as patients, but added that their condition was now good. He said the medical team had informed Their Majesties that they would have two homes. "They may stay at either Klai Kangwon Palace or Siriraj Hospital," the doctor said. Doctors and nurses treating the royal couple at Siriraj Hospital will also be taking care of Their Majesties' health during their stay at the seaside palace. (Source: The Nation)


Category: Default

Yingluck not to Koh Samet

Posted by hasekamp on 2 August 2013 at 13:16 PM
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said that she would prefer to stay in Bangkok than go to Koh Samet, after returning from the overseas trip to Africa. Arriving in Bangkok, she said the situation in Koh Samet is returning to normal, referring to the reports from Energy Minister Pongsak Ruktapongpisal. She noted that right now, all parties involved are busy plotting the rehabilitation plan, under the close coordination between the Energy and Interior ministries. She said that once the facts involving the crude oil leak are available, the authorities would devise policies to prevent reoccurrence in the long term. (Source: The Nation)


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