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Flooding in 25 provinces now

Posted by hasekamp on 29 September 2013 at 19:57 PM
A number of 170 districts in 25 provinces have been flooded, according to the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department. Of total, 8 provinces are in the Northeast; 6 in in the North; 4 in the East; 3 in the Central; and 4 along the Chao Phraya River and the Tha Chin River. The department said that the overall situation improved today, as water level in many areas receded. However, villages in low-lying areas are still at risk. (Source: The Nation)


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Flood-related ilness

Posted by hasekamp on 29 September 2013 at 19:54 PM
The Public Health Ministry's mobile medical units have reported the number of 26,016 patients, who are mostly suffering from Hong Kong foot, muscle pain and headache. The patients used services of 504 mobile units. The ministry has so far distributed 80,000 sets of drugs to treat flood-related diseases. While 120,000 sets are ready for further distribution, the production of another 300,000 sets is under way. A number of 35 health centres have been inundated. (Source: The Nation)


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Suvarnabhumi wants to be number one

Posted by hasekamp on 29 September 2013 at 19:51 PM
Suvarnabhumi Airport sets sight to become the world's No.1 airport six years after the second-phase development is completed. Pongsak Semson, a vice chairman of Airports of Thailand - the operator of the Bangkok’s airport, said on Friday that works must be stepped up to increase the airport’s competitiveness. He foresees fiercer competition when the ASEAN Economic Community takes shape in 2015. The airport celebrated the 6th anniversary today. "Six years after the second phase is completed, we’ll be fully ready to complete and there’s a chance that we become the No.1 because of the competitive edge in terms of tourist destinations," he said. In the region, Suvarnabhumi is inferior to Changi Airport in Singapore in terms of language skills of personnel, congestion and convenience, he said. (Source: The Nation)


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More flood for Ayutthya

Posted by hasekamp on 29 September 2013 at 19:47 PM
The provincial irrigation office has warned of flooding in three districts on Sunday as the Phra Ram VI dam will discharge more water, affecting locations downstream. Maitree Pitinanont, director of irrigation projects in Ayutthaya, alerted all agencies in the central province on Saturday to prepare for increasing water levels, especially in Tha Rua, Nakhon Luang and Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya districts. The Phra Ram VI is currently discharging 350 cubic metres of water per second but the volume will increase to 500 cu m/second on Sunday as it has been unable to absorb rising water from the Pasak Jolasit Dam in Lop Buri, Mr Maitree said. As a result, the water level of the Pasak River on Sunday would rise by one to 1.5 metres more, he added. Many areas in Ayutthaya including Sena, Phak Hai and Bang Ban districts have been flooded due to the rising water level of the Chao Phraya River, relief officials said. In Prachin Buri, meanwhile, workers at the 304 Industrial Park were fighting flooding that continued to hit Sri Maha Phot and other districts in the province. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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More rain, and storm

Posted by hasekamp on 29 September 2013 at 19:44 PM
The Meteorological Department on Sunday issued an advisory for people in the upper Northeast and the eastern part of the North of Thailand to brace for more rain. As of 7am, Typhoon Wutip, centred 480 kilometres east of the Vietnamese coast, was moving in a northwesterly direction at a speed of 10 kilometres per hour, with a speed of about 130kmh at the centre, the department said. It is expected to make landfall over Hue, Vietnam, on Monday or Tuesday. Thereafter, it's strength will decline and move westward to Nakhon Phanom province. The storm is expected to bring more rain, isolated heavy rain and gusts over Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan, Kalasin, Nong Khai, Sakon Nakhon, Udon Thani, Nong Bua Lamphu, Loei, Khon Kaen, Chaiyaphum, Phitsanulok and Phetchabun, beginning with the eastern part of the Northeast on Monday afternoon. Chatchai Promlert, chief of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, said more than two million people in 210 districts of 30 provinces have been affected by floods since Sept 17. According to a report by the water situation analysis centre of the Royal Irrigation Department, as of Sept 27 the combined volume of water in all major dams around the country was 47.26 billion cubic metres, or 67% of capacity. The dams can still take an additional 22.8 billion cubic metres of water during the rainy season. The Royal Irrigation Department's emphasis is on the management of water at various reservoirs in line with the volumes of rainwater in each locality to keep water for use in the dry season. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Nine dead, but floods under control ...

Posted by hasekamp on 25 September 2013 at 10:14 AM
Floods triggered by heavy rains have claimed at least nine lives in Thailand this month and affected up to 1.5 million people, according to the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department. Flooding has been reported in 23 of 77 provinces, the department said on Tuesday. Nine people have drowned over the past week in the northeastern provinces of Surin and Si Sa Ket, it said. In Pathum Thani, floodwater from the swollen Rangsit Prayurasakdi Canal has engulfed more than 1,000 homes in Muang district. Meanwhile, the Chao Phraya Dam in Chai Nat and Pimai Dam in Nakhon Ratchasima have started releasing water in preparation for deluges from upstream. Maitri Pitanon, director of the Irrigation Office in Ayutthaya, said the Chao Phraya Dam is releasing water at 2,100 cubic metres per second, and will do so every day until the end of September. On some days, water may be released as quickly as 2,500 cubic metres per second. This means water levels below the dam may increase between 75cm and 125cm. Mr Maitri said floods in Ayutthaya have spread to eight districts, with the highest water levels in Bang Ban and Sena districts between one and two metres, and set to increase by at least 65cm. In Nakhon Ratchasima, water levels in the Moon River in Pimai district have increased rapidly because of water flowing in from other smaller rivers. Pimai Dam officials are also releasing around 130,000 cubic metres of water a day into a waterway, to provide space for water flowing in from Lam Takong, Lam Chiang Klai, Lam Boriboon and Lam Mun rivers. The Meteorological Department has forecast heavy rains for the remainder of the month, especially in northern provinces. Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi said on Tuesday that the flood situation is (nevertheless) under control and the volume of water currently being dealt with is far lower than in the great floods of 2011. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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No 4G for Thailand now

Posted by hasekamp on 25 September 2013 at 10:09 AM
The national telecom regulator has rejected a proposal by Total Access Communication (DTAC) to run its fourth-generation (4G) mobile broadband service under the existing concession. The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) pointed out that the second-ranked mobile operator instead needs to ask permission to do so from its concession owner CAT Telecom. DTAC has raised two options to provide 4G. One is for the NBTC to let DTAC provide 4G service on its unused portion of the 1800-megahertz frequency under a 2G concession with CAT Telecom. The alternative is to return the unused 25 MHz of mobile spectrum to the NBTC for auction. DTAC has 50 MHz of the 1800-MHz spectrum under a concession with CAT due to expire in 2018. Col Settapong asked why DTAC does not operate 4G service on its existing 2100-MHz network, similar to True Corporation. Amending the existing concession is a difficult task for DTAC, said Col Settapong. CAT chief executive Kittisak Sriprasert was not available for comment. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Elephant owners angry

Posted by hasekamp on 24 September 2013 at 14:11 PM
Elephant owners are rising up against government efforts to put domesticated pachyderms they own under the wildlife-protection law. The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) is preparing to amend the law to ensure that it covers all elephants in the country. "We believe the improved law will lead to better control and care for elephants. It should also reduce problem related to the illegal trade of elephants," DNP deputy chief Theerapat Prayurasiddhi said yesterday. Officials and non-government groups say wildlife traffickers have for years used fake identity papers to claim that elephants caught in the wild are domesticated so they can be used in tourist shows and their tusks can be legally sold to make ivory products. Theerapat presided over a public forum yesterday on a proposed amendment to the Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act. The changes focus on elephant protection. Currently, wild elephants are protected under this act but domesticated elephants come under another law enforced by the Interior Ministry. (Source: The Nation)


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Haul on drugs successful

Posted by hasekamp on 24 September 2013 at 14:08 PM
Authorities have confiscated assets worth more than Bt2.28 billion from drug traffickers over the past two years, exceeding the target of Bt2 billion. The haul of drugs has also exceeded the target. According to the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), 180 million methamphetamine tablets, 708 kilograms of heroin and 25,000kg of marijuana were seized during the period. In the past two years, more than 700,000 drug abusers have undergone drug-rehabilitation programmes. "Yet, the spread of drugs continues," ONCB deputy secretary-general Permpong Chaovalit said yesterday. He said some people who had completed rehabilitation programmes were found to have returned to using illicit drugs. (Source: The Nation)


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Authorities: Everything under control

Posted by hasekamp on 24 September 2013 at 14:06 PM
While industrial estates and households along waterways are bracing for heavy water runoff, the authorities have soothed public fears, saying the situation will not be as bad as in 2011. "The situation, so far, is not as worrying as in 2011. It's only that the media is reporting about it so intensely that the public has started panicking," Deputy PM Plodprasop Suraswadi said yesterday, adding that this year, the level of floodwater was only half of that in 2011. Major dams are still well below their capacity, Plodprasop said, adding that rain was mostly falling in areas to the south of the dams. He added that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, in her capacity as defence minister, had instructed military units across the country to help flood-affected residents in their vicinity. Plodprasop, who oversees flood and water-management operations, said that though the flooding has not resulted in any casualties, it has brought the situation to a "semi-crisis" level. All relevant agencies have been instructed to set up coordination centres in order to implement measures and handle emergencies - which will be overseen by a centre set up at Government House. Districts in about 20 provinces have been inundated, with several roads left impassable and train services suspended. (Source: The Nation)


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Baht falls low

Posted by hasekamp on 24 September 2013 at 14:01 PM
The Thai baht on Monday opened lower against US dollar, falling below the $/31 level. At 8.16am, the Thai baht fell by 0.31 per cent from the previous closing to 31.04. At the level, it still gained 3.58 per cent against the greenback, compared to 32.15 at the end of last month. The baht also weakened against euro and Japanese yen. It fell 0.23 per cent from the previous closing to 42 against the euro and 0.47 per cent to 31.30 per 100 Japanese yen. (Source: The Nation)


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Flooding season again

Posted by hasekamp on 24 September 2013 at 13:56 PM
State authorities are gearing up to protect industrial estates in Ayutthaya and Pathum Thani provinces as flood water begins inundating many low-lying areas in the Central Plains. Days of widespread and heavy rain in the upper part of the central, lower northeastern and eastern regions have also resulted in flash floods in many provinces, affecting farmland and businesses in urban areas. Flood water from the North has reached Ayutthaya province through the Chao Phraya and Pasak rivers and flowed into the Hantra and Kamang canals. Sluice gates intended to protect urban areas in the heart of the province, as well as its Uthai district and the Rojana Industrial Park, have not yet been completed. The canals are overflowing in tambon Phai Ling sub-districts. Water from both canals is also flowing into the Khao Mao canal which leads to the Rojana Industrial Park and the Muang Mai community. The Royal Irrigation Department closed the sluice gate at the mouth of the Khao Mao canal. If the water gets through the gate, it would reach the commercial areas of Ayutthaya very quickly. Industry Minister Prasert Boonchaisuk said he was worried about the situation at Saha Rattana Nakorn Industrial Estate as it was the only one of six industrial estates in Ayutthaya and Pathum Thani where floodwalls have not been completed. The flood protection system at Saha Rattana Nakorn is only 30% complete. Floodwalls are in place at the other five facilities, namely the Bang Pa-in Industrial Estate, the Ban Wa (Hi-Tech) Industrial Estate and the Rojana Industrial Park in Ayutthaya, and the Navanakorn InDespite flooding elsewhere in Prachin Buri, the newly built Hi-Tech Kabin Industrial Estate in the eastern province remained intact because its compound is elevated. Koh Kret island in Nonthaburi province, north of Bangkok, is now partially flooded as a result. Koh Kret is located on the river. The tide in the Chao Phraya River is only about one metre above the mean sea level, so he is confident Bangkok will be safe from flooding. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Flood spots marked

Posted by hasekamp on 22 September 2013 at 17:33 PM
Authorities have identified 37 flood-prone spots in Bangkok in the face of a coming tropical depression. The depression, which entered Thailand's Northeast yesterday morning, is expected to reach the Central region from (last) Friday on. It is expected to bring rain. Traffic Police chief Pol Maj-General Piya Tavichai yesterday said Bangkok residents should avoid all of the 37 flood-prone spots, if possible, during heavy downpours. Among these spots are a portion of Rajavithi Road between Suan Dusit Rajabhat University and the Krung Thon Buri Bridge; a portion of Phya Thai Road in front of the Livestock Development Department; and a stretch of Ratchadaphisek Road in front of Robinson Department Store. Sanya Chenimit, deputy permanent secretary of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), said some of the capital's low-lying spots had already been drained in preparation for possible rain. (Source: The Nation)


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Wat Arun stupa will be closed 3 years

Posted by hasekamp on 22 September 2013 at 17:29 PM
The world-famous Temple of Dawn stupa, known locally as Phra Prang Wat Arun, will be closed for three years starting from next Tuesday to undergo repairs and renovation along with other structures in the temple compound, a deputy abbot said yesterday. This will be the biggest repair and renovation work on the stupa in the last 14 years. In the past, even while large-scale work was being done, the stupa used to remain open to tourists, said Phra Sakkaya Puttiyawong. The temple is asking the Tourism Authority of Thailand to build a four-metre replica of the stupa for tourists to visit during the three-year closure, he added. The original tiles covering the 81.85-metre-high stupa, which were set aside during the 1999 renovation, will be used this time. The Department of Fine Arts will carry out the repairs and renovation. They will also carry out an underground exploration of the stupa's foundation to determine its condition, the monk said. (Source: The Nation)


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Lin Ping has to go soon

Posted by hasekamp on 22 September 2013 at 17:24 PM
The countdown for "superstar" panda Lin Ping's trip to China has begun in earnest. Born in Thailand, the giant panda is scheduled to leave for Chengdu next Saturday on September 28. She will spend one year there, during which she is expected to choose a mate. The couple will then head back to Thailand together for a 15-year stay under an agreement made between Thailand and China. Countdown activities are now being held at Chiang Mai Zoo. Lin Ping was born to Chuang Chuang and Lin Hui, who were lent to Thailand by the Chinese government. The panda family has been living at Chiang Mai Zoo and have proved to be a powerful attraction for tourists. Zoological Park Organisation's director-general, Sanchai Jullamon, said Lin Ping was now healthy and ready for the trip. "Veterinarians will accompany her," he said. (Source: The Nation)


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Heavy weather in Central, Isan areas

Posted by hasekamp on 22 September 2013 at 17:19 PM
A total of 54 tambons in 17 districts of seven provinces have been hit by flash floods, triggered by continuing heavy rain, according to Chatchai Promlert, director-general of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department. Phitsanulok, Ayutthaya, Angthong, Kalasin, Surin, Si Sa Ket and Ubon Ratchathani were the hardest hit by Friday, but with reports coming in of flooding in Chon Buri. Mr Chatchai said the tropical depression that brought the rain had now weakened, but a low-pressure system was still moving through the northeastern region. This was causing widespread rain, with particularly heavy downpours in the Northeast, East, Central Plains and Bangkok and nearby provinces. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Phuket tourist court to open

Posted by hasekamp on 22 September 2013 at 17:15 PM
A court to make quick rulings on all conflicts involving tourists will open in Phuket on Tuesday in an attempt to bolster the tourism image of the resort island. The court handles civil and criminal cases lodged by local and foreign tourists. Suvarnabhumi Airport will also open a courtroom for foreign plaintiffs on Monday, with a plan to set up a court by the Courts of Justice and the Tourism and Sports Ministry in the pipeline. Like the one in Pattaya, the Phuket court is part of the tourism division at the Phuket provincial court, with staff members specifically to serve tourists and a prompt ruling process, as fast as one day in some cases. Virat Chinvinitkul, secretary-general of the Courts of Justice, said the court in Phuket was needed to help visitors to the island, which is become a world-famous destination. Ministry spokesman Vachara Kannika said on Saturday that the Phuket court could help improve the image of the island in the longer term. The first case to go before the court for tourists involved a speedboat accident in Pattaya on Aug 28. Phuket has been facing a growing number of complaints by tourists about scams and extraordinary fees charged to foreigners by tuk tuk and taxi drivers. The European Union and some European diplomats urged the government in June to solve those problems for their nationals or the EU would have to post warnings to tourists planning to come to Phuket. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Number of tourists up

Posted by hasekamp on 18 September 2013 at 17:52 PM
The number of inbound tourists during January and July rose 20.4 per cent year on year to 14.97 million, while outbound tourists were up 7.10 per cent to 4.71 million, according to the Tourism and Sports Ministry. The data will be reported to the Cabinet at tomorrow’s meeting. The top 10 tourist sources were China, Malaysia, Russia, Japan, South Korea, India, Britain, Laos, Australia and Germany. In July alone, Thailand welcomed 2.2 million tourists, up by 22.47 per cent from the same period last year. Among top outbound destinations are countries in East Asia. The ministry said that the number tends to rise significantly. (Source: The Nation)


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Parts of Lamphun disaster zone

Posted by hasekamp on 18 September 2013 at 17:50 PM
The Disaster Rescue office of the northern province of Lamphun on Monday prepared to add Ban Thi and Mae Tha districts as disaster zones after they were hit by major flooding. (Source: The Nation)


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Train trips cancelled

Posted by hasekamp on 18 September 2013 at 17:47 PM
Many train passengers cancelled their reservations yesterday as the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) started the suspension of all North-bound trains until October 31 beyond Sila At train junction in Uttaradit to make way for repairs. The SRT is organising vans to transport travellers if their destination is beyond Sila At, SRT governor Prapat Chongsanguan said. Meanwhile, a South-bound train derailed yesterday at Bangkok's Hua Lamphong station. No casualties were reported. In recent months, there have been as many as 10 derailments involving North-bound trains, plus a few other mishaps, including last week's accident at a Bangkok terminal and yesterday's derailment at Hua Lamphong. (Source: The Nation)


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Their Majesties happy and healthy

Posted by hasekamp on 18 September 2013 at 17:43 PM
Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn has said that both Their Majesties the King and the Queen, currently residing at their Hua Hin Palace, are happy and their health is improving. The princess was speaking during an interview pre-recorded for Channel 5 and which will be aired to mark ’Mahidol Day’ on Saturday. Clinical Prof Udom Kachintorn, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, meanwhile said he just returned from the Hua Hin Palace and both the King and the Queen looked very happy because of the good environment. "There, they feel at home. The environment is very good because the palace is close to the sea and has gardens. The Queen spends time at a seaside pavilion every afternoon. I want to tell people who are worried about Her Majesty's health that the Queen can now walk well and does so everyday.
The King occasionally went to the beach, the doctor said, as well as to the lake inside the palace, where he would feed the fish. (Source: The Nation)


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Tear jerker advertisement

Posted by hasekamp on 18 September 2013 at 17:40 PM
An uplifting three-minute commercial from True Move, Thailand's third-largest mobile operator, has gone viral, stirring the emotions of internet users across the world. 'Giving is the best communication' is the theme of the advert, which was posted on YouTube by TrueMoveH on Sept 11, 2013. As of 5pm, the ad had racked up more than 5.3 million page views, eliciting around 52,000 "thumbs-up" endorsements from YouTube users, and 300 "thumbs-down" responses. The plot centres on a noodle vendor and a boy who is caught stealing medicine for his sick mother. As a pharmacist scolds the boy, the noodle vendor intervenes and pays for the medicines. The vendor then hands the drugs and a bag of soup to the boy, without asking anything in return. The story becomes more poignant when it jumps ahead thirty years. True Move said it made the ad because it believes in the power of giving without expecting anything in return, and claims that the story is inspired by real life stories shared on the Internet. (Source: Te Bangkok Post)


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Bangkok gets floodwater tunnel

Posted by hasekamp on 15 September 2013 at 17:21 PM
A new tunnel in Bangkok to drain floodwater from five inner districts northwards to a Chao Phraya outlet in Nonthaburi will be ready for use by September 2016, after a contract was signed yesterday between the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and the contractors. The 6.4km tunnel is the second in the capital and will channel waters in Huay Khwang, Din Daeng, Chatuchak, Phya Thai and Dusit areas, including six major roads prone to flooding after heavy rain, Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said. Half of the Bt2.44-billion budget to build the tunnel is subsidised by the government, he said, adding that the BMA was planning to build another two such tunnels. (Source: The Nation)


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First case for tourist court

Posted by hasekamp on 15 September 2013 at 17:18 PM
A speedboat accident that killed two Chinese tourists on August 28 was the first case resolved by Thailand's first tourist court in Chon Buri's Pattaya City. After this specialised court section was opened on September 5 to fast track tourist-related cases and reassure travellers of their safety while visiting the country, families of the deceased Chinese tourists filed a civil complaint for compensation. The Provincial Pattaya Court head judge Apichat Thepnoo said the court called in the speedboat owner and the insurance company to attend a dispute settlement procedure along with the plaintiffs, who spoke through a translator. The deceased tourists' families initially had asked for a total of Bt16 million in compensation. At the second round of talks on September 6, both parties agreed that the insurance company would pay Bt1.3 million to each victim's family, while the speedboat owner would pay Bt1 million to each victim's family, he said. The families then took the compensation money in front of the court and said they wouldn't sue for further compensation. However the case's criminal code procedure was separated from this and would go on according to the justice system. Speaking on the origin of this new specialised court section, Court of Justice spokesman Sitthisak Wanachakij said Tourism Minister Somsak Pureesrisak had a policy to join with the Court of Justice to take care of foreign holiday-makers - about 20 million visit Thailand every year. He said the two agencies had agreed to open a tourist court section at seven provincial courts -Pattaya, Phuket, Samui, Chiang Mai, Krabi, and Bangkok's Dusit District covering Wat Phra Kaew and khao san Road areas and another in Pathumwan district covering Siam Square, Patpong and Silom areas. (Source: The Nation)


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THAI had earlier Airbus problems

Posted by hasekamp on 15 September 2013 at 17:14 PM
Thai Airways International (THAI) said Wednesday it had encountered problems with landing gear on its Airbus A330-300 fleet prior to Sunday night's landing mishap. Part of the landing gear had also been subject to an aviation watchdog warning. A THAI A330-300 veered off the runway after landing at Suvarnabhumi airport on Sunday, injuring 40 people. THAI executive vice-president for the technical department, Flt Lt Montree Jumrieng, said Wednesday that preliminary testing showed the accident was the result of a defective bogie beam on the aircraft's landing gear. He said the faulty part caused the gear to collapse about 1km down the runway. A bogie beam connects the wheels on an aircraft's landing gear horizontally and allows them to pivot on takeoff and landing. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Northern railroad closed for repairs

Posted by hasekamp on 15 September 2013 at 17:09 PM
Service on the northern train line to Chiang Mai will be suspended for 45 days starting from Monday, as the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) carries out badly needed repairs after a dozen accidents this year. All northbound trains from Bangkok will end at Sila At station in Muang district of Uttaradit from Monday until Oct 31, the SRT said. The closure affects all rapid and express trains to and from the popular northern city. Travellers will have to take buses or other transport to Chiang Mai. Regular service will resume on Nov 1 and by then SRT governor Prapat Chongsanguan has promised no more derailments. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Phuket Town inundated

Posted by hasekamp on 10 September 2013 at 13:01 PM
Many parts of Phuket Town were briefly underwater yesterday in the wake of a ferocious three-hour morning rainstorm. A number of roads were flooded and the Bang Yai Canal threatened to burst its banks. Phuket Governor Maitri Inthusut and Phuket City Mayor Somjai Suwansupana led officials to inspect Bang Yai Canal’s alarming water levels near the Standard Chartered Intersection in the Old Town quarter. “The rain fell heavily and continually for three hours, causing floods as water could not be drained out quickly enough,” Mayor Somjai said. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Derailment #15

Posted by hasekamp on 10 September 2013 at 12:57 PM
A train heading to Bangkok derailed on Tuesday early morning in Suphan Buri province. No one was injured when the train slipped from the tracks at Malai Man station at 4am. If we have counted them well, this is numnber 15 since January 2013. (Source: The Nation)


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Tourist police roadshow

Posted by hasekamp on 10 September 2013 at 12:54 PM
"Thailand Tourist Police Roadshow 2013" was kicked off on Tuesday, ahead of the high season. Mobile trucks to promote the roadshow in four major destinations throughout this month - Ayutthaya, Phuket, Pattaya and Hua Hin - were introduced. The caravan comprises of four vehicles, equipped with a kitchen, a bed, a toilet and Wi-Fi internet. Gen Roy Inkapairote, tourist police commander, said that tourists can seek help from police officers accompanying the caravan. The officers also stand ready to provide security to all tourists. (Source: The Nation)


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Dam will affect wildlife

Posted by hasekamp on 10 September 2013 at 12:51 PM
A group of prominent environmental activists will kick off a protest today against the Nakhon Sawan Mae Wong Dam project, calling on the government to scrap the plan. They said the dam project would inundate more than 13,000 rai of forest areas in Mae Wong National Park, affecting the balance of wildlife, including tigers. A group led by Seub Nakhasathien Foundation's secretary-general Sasin Chalermlarp, will hand the petition to the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP)'s panel of environmental experts. It will request they stop conducting a environmental and health impact assessment (EHIA) report on the proposed dam. The Mae Wong Dam project was initiated by the Royal Irrigation Department (RID) 30 years ago and is now part of the government's Bt350-billion water-management and flood-prevention scheme. The dam is aimed at resolving flood and drought problems in areas, which deliver water to 291,900 rai of irrigated areas in Nakhon Sawan, Kamphaeng Phet and Uthai Thani. (Source: The Nation)


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Bangkok wants to clean footpaths

Posted by hasekamp on 10 September 2013 at 12:48 PM
Bangkok Metropolitan Administration last week removed 3,118 unlicensed ad banners installed near bus stops and on footpaths, as part of its plan to restore the order of footpaths across the capital city. Legal actions will be taken against the owners, for causing damage to public properties - trees and footpaths. Civil lawsuits will also be launched, said BMA spokesperson Tridao Apaiwong. The consensus reached at the city council’s meeting on Monday is to remove unlicensed banners and phone booths. The motorcycle taxi stations will also be re-arranged. Tridao said that the transport office has awarded permission to over 8,000 ad banners. The office is now working on the mapping and district offices will check if the banners are located accordingly to the mapping. "BMA also considers to lower the number of banners," she said. On motorcycle taxi, there will be a discussion with the Transport Ministry’s Transport Department over the parking stations. At present, many of them use footpaths as the parking stations though this is illegal. Violation is subjected to Bt2,000 in fine. Tridao said that there are about 200,000 motorcycle taxi in Bangkok. (Source: The Nation)


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Millions more found with ex-monk

Posted by hasekamp on 10 September 2013 at 12:43 PM
The DSI said Monday that it has found additional hidden assets worth tens of millions of Baht allegedly belonging to jet-setting ex-monk Wirapol Sukphol or Luang Pu Nenkham in Tak. The DSI’s Bureau of Security Crime deputy director Col Chatchanan Methithammaporn said his department was able to confirm the assets in Mae Sot district and it is extending the investigation in the belief that many more people were involved in the fraud. (Source: The Nation)


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Elephant poachers bribe oficials

Posted by hasekamp on 10 September 2013 at 12:41 PM
Elephant poachers who bribe officials to obtain illegal domestic registration papers for the animals have been targeted by the authorities. The registration documents make it easier for poachers to sell the animals to entertainment business operators and other parties. The issue of 69 documents to certify domesticated elephants in Chaiyaphum in the past three years has highlighted the increased poaching of wild elephants. Police who have been pursuing elephant poachers recently discovered domesticated elephant authentication papers issued in Chaiyaphum. The papers are not usually easy to obtain - for 69 of them to have been issued in the past three years is unusual, police said. Pol Maj Gen Siwara Rangsipharammanakun, deputy chief of the Central Investigation Bureau, said two men, Surat Toemsak and Prasong Butchaiyaphum, applied for and received the 69 papers. However, police found they were part of a gang which poached wild elephants and lied to state officials that the elephants were domesticated in order to obtain the papers. They were charged with poaching and possessing wild elephants and giving false statements to officials. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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THAI landing incident

Posted by hasekamp on 10 September 2013 at 12:34 PM
About 40 passengers injured in Sunday night's ThaiAirways International(THAI) landing accident have complained of poor treatment by ground staff. Fourteen injured passengers were sent to hospital and of them 12 have now been discharged. The passengers gathered at Suvarnabhumi airport Monday evening to submit their complaints to THAI president Sorajak Kasemsuvan. They said no one from the airline had informed them of how the company would reimburse their medical fees. They also claimed a lack of communication immediately after the accident, saying they were left abandoned. Former Bangkok governor candidate Kosit Suvinitjit was travelling in business class on THAI flight TG679 from Guangzhou, China, which veered off the runway on landing at Suvarnabhumi after an apparent landing gear malfunction. He did not join the complainants Monday, but said ground staff performed poorly. "I would have liked to have seen more ground staff helping passengers," he said. "There should have been interpreters in several languages to inform passengers of the situation, as many were tourists." Mr Kosit said passengers were taken from the accident scene to immigration counters, but some of the passengers had fled the aircraft without their passports, causing confusion. However, Mr Kosit praised the efforts of the pilots and cabin crew, saying they controlled the situation well. He also thanked the airport's emergency response staff, including firefighters, for reaching the stricken aircraft swiftly. However, the buses remained stationary with passengers locked inside unattended for 20 minutes. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Shooter of Russian tourist arrested

Posted by hasekamp on 7 September 2013 at 23:09 PM
Police have arrested the man who injured a Russian tourist by opening fire on a car in a fit of road rage in Rawai last month. Officers took Narongsak Saelim, 21, into custody yesterday, the same day Phuket Provincial Court issued a warrant for his arrest (story here). He is charged with attempted murder and possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition in a public place, said Lt Col Jarun Bangprasert, who assisted in the investigation.
The shooting took place on August 17 when Maksim Klocskov, a Russian tourist, was shot when a bullet pierced the trunk of the car he was riding in. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Patong tuk-tuk drivers angry

Posted by hasekamp on 7 September 2013 at 23:05 PM
Patong tuk-tuk drivers yesterday filed their second complaint with the governor about illegal tuk-tuks operating in Patong and stealing their jobs. The drivers asked for an update on the complaint they filed on June 26 and noted that the numbers of illegal drivers continues to increase. “On June 26, we filed a complaint to Governor Maitri Inthusut against tuk-tuk drivers who had adapted private vehicles to use as tuk-tuks and serve passengers without registering their vehicles as taxis,” said Sakol Srisompoch, the leader of the group of 10 tuk-tuk driver representatives who filed the complaint. “However, the number of these illegal tuk-tuks is growing and they have stolen many of our passengers,” he said. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Corruption is getting out of hand

Posted by hasekamp on 7 September 2013 at 23:02 PM
The corruption problem plaguing Thailand is reaching "mega-critical" proportions, the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand (ACT) chairman Pramon Sutivong has warned. Mr Pramon was speaking on Friday as he presided over the opening of an anti-corruption event titled "ACT NOW: Fight Together and Salvage the Future" in Bangkok, attended by more than 1,000 people. Mr Pramon told the gathering that corruption in Thailand over the past three years has been getting worse. This is because Thai society as a whole lacks awareness of the importance of tackling graft while the government appears not to take the issue seriously. Even though the government has declared its intention to combat corruption, it has still failed to make serious efforts to address the problem. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Taxi problems

Posted by hasekamp on 7 September 2013 at 22:56 PM
More than 20,000 complaints against taxi drivers have been lodged this year but it's often the owners, rather than the offending drivers, who end up paying the fines. Most complaints focus on drivers who point-blank refuse to take passengers to their destination. The Department of Land Transport (DLT) reported 23,092 calls to the taxi complaint hotline this year. They include complaints about drivers who turn down passengers (11,216), followed by refusing to turn on meters (3,802), impolite service (3,002), going to the wrong destination (2,361) and careless driving (1,436). The complaints were made against 19,819 drivers, and the department has cleared 15,992 of the cases. Drivers can receive fines of 1,000 baht if a first offence is proven, the same fine and a seven-day licence suspension for a second offence, and a fine of 1,000 baht and permanent licence cancellation for a third offence. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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And yet another train accident

Posted by hasekamp on 7 September 2013 at 22:52 PM
A short-haul train encountered an accident at the Taladphu train station Saturday morning, injuring two persons. Police and State Railway of Thailand governor Prapat Chongsanguan were at the station at 11.30am. The injured were taken to Samitivej Hospital Thonburi. The third of four carriages of Train No. 4322 (Mahachai-Wong Wian Yai) hit the station roof. Train driver Jaru Kanchanaphan attributed the accident to the sinking of the rail track. The third carriage bounced and hit the roof. Prapat said he would rush on tackling the problem that hurt the public train service. A number of train-related accidents have been reported this year. (Source: The Nation)


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Tram service considered

Posted by hasekamp on 6 September 2013 at 11:59 AM
A trial tram service will be deployed around Rattanakosin Island on September 22, to commemorate Bangkok's Car Free Day, said Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) spokesperson Tridao Apaiwong. She said that if the service is warmly welcomed, BMA may consider offering the service on a permanent basis. This would be thoroughly studied before an official proposal would be submitted for top BMA executives’ decision, she said. The tram service, operated by three carriages, will serve tourists on Rattanakosin Island. This is expected to reduce the number of vehicles on the Car Free Day and revive the good old days during the Rama V era when the tram service was first unveiled in Bangkok. The service was temporarily available before the termination in June 2010. The carriages are mostly privately-assembled and could not be registered as public transport vehicles. (Source: The Nation)


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Heavy rains expected

Posted by hasekamp on 6 September 2013 at 11:55 AM
Provinces in the Northeast, especially Sakhon Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom, Nong Khai, Beung Kan, Udon Thani, Nong Bua Lamphu and Loei, have been warned to brace for heavy rains, floods and landslides until Saturday, Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department chief Chatchai Phromlert said yesterday. Residents in need of help can call the 1784 hotline round the clock, he added. (Source:The Nation)


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Tourist complaints court

Posted by hasekamp on 6 September 2013 at 11:52 AM
Thailand's first court to specifically handle tourist complaints opened in Pattaya on Thursday. It will deal with small issues involving local and foreign tourists in a bid to bolster the image of the country which relies greatly on revenue from the tourism sector. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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End of dog meat at last?

Posted by hasekamp on 2 September 2013 at 17:16 PM
Government officials from the countries of Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam have pledged to end the inhumane, commercial trade in dogs for meat. Government officials agreed to work to end the trade at a recent meeting in Hanoi with animal welfare coalition Asia Canine Protection Alliance. Concerned about the spread of rabies, officials said they would enact a moratorium on the commercial transport of dogs from one country to another for the next five years. In that time, authorities will measure the impact of a moratorium on rabies transmission in the region. In Thailand, where the trade is illegal, authorities agreed to improve the enforcement of existing regulations. "We cannot change culture or habit, but we should stop the smuggling of dogs. This meeting was important to urge government agencies to see the problems caused by the dog meat trade and discuss a platform to stop the spread of rabies," said Pornpitak Panlar, an official of the Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health. (Source: The Nation)


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11 derailments in 9 months

Posted by hasekamp on 2 September 2013 at 17:13 PM
Chiang Mai-Bangkok train services resumed at 5am Monday after officials salvaged a Bangkok-bound train that derailed in Lampang's Mae Mo district last night. There was no injury to its 192 passengers. This was the 11th northern train derailment in the past nine months. (Source: The Nation)


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Protesters gunned down

Posted by hasekamp on 1 September 2013 at 23:27 PM
TENSION at the week-long rubber growers’ rally in Cha-uat in Nakhon Si Thammarat intensified early yesterday when unidentified men opened fire on volunteer guards, killing one and seriously wounding another. The shooting came just two days before tomorrow's mass protest planned for farmers from 14 southern provinces in Surat Thani, raising fears that the transportation blockades could turn bloody. Tempers flared, as the protesters suspect the attack was planned by state officials. Meanwhile, Governor Wirote Jiwarangsan and Maj-General Ronnapong Saikaew, the provincial police chief, denied any involvement by the authorities, saying they had no policy to crack down on protesters. They offered a Bt150,000 bounty for the attackers. Ronnapong also urged the farmers to give forensic police access to the scene. Wirote offered his condolences and said if what happened tarnished the image of the province, he was willing to be transferred out. Five shots were reportedly fired at the rubber farmers blocking the Ban Toon railway crossing, hitting Sirichai Boonnuwong, 29, in the eye and chest and Sitthisak Chaingam, 25, in the neck and left cheek. Sirichai was pronounced dead at Maharaj Hospital at 8.45am, while Sitthisak was still in a critical condition at press time. (Source: The Nation)


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