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Waterfall closed

Posted by hasekamp on 26 September 2014 at 5:40 AM
The Mae Klang and Mae Ya waterfalls in Chiang Mai's Doi Intanon National Park as well as Doi Suthep National Park's Mae Sa waterfall were closed yesterday due to flash flooding. Officials will monitor rainfalls and water flows over the next two days before making a decision on whether to open the Mae Klang and Mae Ya waterfalls, while the Mae Sa waterfall was expected to reopen today provided there was no rainfall overnight. In related news, local residents helped the authorities clear a plant nursery in tambon Bang Nang Phaya in Uttaradit's Tha Pla district yesterday after some 40,000 seedlings earmarked for distribution to farmers under the royal-backed initiative were destroyed in a flash flood last month. (Source: The Nation)


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Solving Koh Tao murders goes slowly

Posted by hasekamp on 26 September 2014 at 5:36 AM
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha lost his temper when a reporter pressed him for a comment on a Time magazine article criticising the police work in the murders of two British tourists on Koh Tao. "If I rush them [the police] too much, the wrong suspects will be arrested. We're trying to base the probe on scientific evidence as much as we can, and no one will be made a scapegoat. If their DNA does not match, they are not suspects," Gen Prayut said. Police are meanwhile searching for more people of interest in the murders after they failed to establish any link between any of the people previously treated as suspects. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Two main suspects Koh Tao murders

Posted by hasekamp on 22 September 2014 at 10:46 AM
Police said on Sunday they had narrowed down the list of suspects in the murder of two British tourists on the southern island of Koh Tao, as the reward for information on the culprits was increased to more than 700,000 baht. Senior police adviser Pol Gen Jarumporn Suramanee said detectives were waiting for the results of DNA tests on samples collected from 30 people. They are either alien workers or staff of hotels and restaurants located near the crime scene on Sai Ree beach. He said detectives were also focusing on footprints found near a cigarette butt left on the beach where the bodies of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller, both 24,were found. DNA types from the cigarette butt match those in semen found in the body of the female victim. Senior Surat Thani police officers discussed investigative progress on Sunday and acknowledged detectives' latest report that focused on clues linking two prime suspects - a Thai national and a Myanmar worker. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Thailand addicted to smoking

Posted by hasekamp on 21 September 2014 at 20:24 PM
About 1.67 million Thai youths between 15 to 24 years old are addicted to smoking, Doctor Wanthanee Watana, the director of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration's Health Department said. She added that about 12.5 million Thais smoke, and thus being at risk of suffering serious illness and dying prematurely. (Source: The Nation)


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Prayuth regrets bikini remark

Posted by hasekamp on 19 September 2014 at 10:01 AM
PRIME MINISTER Prayuth Chan-ocha yesterday apologised for his bikini remarks in the face of an international outcry. Britain raised concerns after the junta leader suggested tourists in bikinis could be more vulnerable to attack. His comments followed the brutal murders of two British holidaymakers on Koh Tao. "I want to apologise for everything if my remark was too harsh and caused misunderstanding," Prayuth said. "I'm sorry that it hurt people. I have too much pressure and feel sorry about the loss [of lives] whether they are Thais or foreigners." Prayuth on Wednesday drew condemnation after questioning the safety of female tourists in the Kingdom. (Source: The Nation)


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More world tourism, but not for Thailand

Posted by hasekamp on 18 September 2014 at 19:12 PM
Even as tourist arrivals plummet in Thailand, International travel numbers grew 4.6% in the first half of 2014, boosted by strong growth in the rest of Asia, and in the Americas and parts of Europe, the World Tourism Organisation said Wednesday. The number of international tourists surged to around 517 million between January and June, 22 million more than during the same time last year, the Madrid-based United Nations body said in a statement. Meanwhile, International tourist arrivals to Thailand posted a decline of 10.7%, from January to August, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports. Released late last week, the ministry reported 15,703,373 visits to the country during the first eight months, down just short of 2 million visits, from 17,576,342 over the same period last year. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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PM: Thailand not always safe

Posted by hasekamp on 16 September 2014 at 22:18 PM
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Tuesday the country was not always as safe for foreign visitors as their homelands, after the murder of two British tourists dealt a blow to the country's image. "What you (the media) need to do is explain to foreigners that it is not always safe everywhere," said the PM, who also is the army chief. "They think it's safe like where they are from, everywhere and at any time, but our country still has problems." Gen Prayuth's comments came after the bodies of Britons David Miller and Hannah Witheridge were found naked with grisly wounds early on Monday on a beach on Koh Tao, a southern island famous for coral reefs and diving in Phangan district of Surat Thani province. The story of the murder would have "all sorts of consequences" for Thailand, Gen Prayuth said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Their Majesties leave for Hua Hin

Posted by hasekamp on 15 September 2014 at 9:46 AM
Many people flocked to the Siriraj Hospital Monday morning to wait to see Their Majesties the King and Queen leave the Hospital at 5 pm. Their Majesties are scheduled to leave Siriraj at 5 pm and travel to stay at the Klai Kang Won Palace. (Source The Nation)


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First working day

Posted by hasekamp on 15 September 2014 at 9:42 AM
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha entered the Government House at 9:09 am Monday to start working as the premier. He arrived in the black Mercedes Benz with license plate number of Sor Thor 1251, which is the official car of the Army chief. He dressed in a grey suit and emerged the car with smiling face. He greeted Gen Wilas Aroonrsi, who is expected to become the PM's secretary general. (Source:The Nation)


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Taxi fare rise demanded

Posted by hasekamp on 11 September 2014 at 22:38 PM
Bangkok taxi drivers have settled on a fare rise formula and warned the Transport Ministry it will face an accelerated protest if there is no positive answer within a month. The Bangkok Taxi Cooperatives Network has agreed to keep the flag-fall unchanged at 35 baht, but the distance fare will rise by up to 25% on longer rides and during traffic jams. The current fare regime is 35 baht for the first kilometre, increasing progressively from the second kilometre from 5 baht to 8.50 baht per kilometre. Passengers are charged 1.50 baht per minute when the taxi is struck in traffic. The network is demanding a fare rise after the first kilometre of 10 or 12 baht and to charge customers 2.50 baht per minute during traffic jams, citing the rising cost of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and compressed natural gas (CNG). (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Possible Ebola infected quarantined

Posted by hasekamp on 11 September 2014 at 22:33 PM
Public Health ministry has quarantined a 52-year-old Dutch man who has high fever after returning from a business trip in Ebola-hit Nigeria, said Dr Sophon Mekthon, director general of Disease Control Department. The man who returned from Nigeria on Wednesday alerted a private hospital after having a high fever. The hospital that transferred him to Siriraj Hospital that is set to take care of suspected Ebola patient. Result of his blood test is expected to know on Friday and 21 people who had close contact with him are also under close watch. (Source: The Nation)


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Flooding expected

Posted by hasekamp on 10 September 2014 at 12:31 PM
Though flooding in Phitsanulok's Phrom Piram district has started subsiding, residents were warned of another deluge in the next two to three days. This central province's three districts, including Bang Rakham and Muang, have been inundated by run-offs from Sukhothai province, which is upstream of Yom River. While Phrom Piram and Muang saw less than 10 centimetres of water, the bowl-shaped Bang Rakham reported floods rising by 8cm. This district is expected to be flooded for about a month, an informed source said yesterday. Sukhothai Governor Jakkarin Plianwong visited the flood-hit tambon Pak Kwai in Muang district yesterday, which is under some 80cm of water. Apart from providing affected residents with 300 relief bags, the governor also handed Bt50,000 to the family of 51-year-old Phayao Khlaiya, who drowned in the flood on Sunday, and Bt33,000 to 81-year-old Sampeng Kaewsit, whose home was totally destroyed by inundation. Health Support Department chief Boonreung Trireungwarawat also presented 150 first-aid kits, which included life vests, to two villages in Pak Kwai. In Ayutthaya, provincial governor Witthaya Phiewphong said yesterday that some 800 homes along Noi River in Sena and Phak Hai districts were submerged. (Source: The Nation)


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Abhisit thinks he knows it better

Posted by hasekamp on 10 September 2014 at 12:26 PM
Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva has stressed the need for more vigorous monitoring mechanisms to scrutinise the interim government and keep corruption in check. Mr Abhisit's comments came as National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) chief Prayuth Chan-ocha began his job as prime minister at Government House yesterday. Mr Abhisit said the Prayuth government wields total power in running the country, allowing it to take action more swiftly than past elected governments, particularly in pushing legislation. Even though some independent organisations and the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), which acts as a parliament, exist, the system to monitor and prevent corruption and policy mismanagement may not be as vigorous as when democracy ruled, Mr Abhisit said. The government leader must find ways to ensure monitoring mechanisms continue to function, he added. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Fighting corruption is priority #1

Posted by hasekamp on 8 September 2014 at 22:23 PM
Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-ocha has promised that his government regards the fight against corruption as a national agenda assignment and a key element of national reform. Speaking yesterday, he said that corruption would be among the first reform issues to be tackled, adding that the problem had been accumulating for a long time in Thailand and was causing severe damage to the country's economy and reputation. Prayuth blamed the deep-rooted problem for the social division and political conflict which led to fatal street protests and other violent acts over the past decade. "The worsening corruption problem has led to political unrest, a division between people in the country, social inequality, and a bad image of Thailand in the eyes of foreigners," he said. "The government and the National Council for Peace and Order treats as a top priority the fight against corruption. This problem must be tackled urgently and there must be concrete results. If we allow the problem to continue, there will be more damage to the country in many ways." (Source: The Nation)


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The Chinese stay away

Posted by hasekamp on 5 September 2014 at 19:43 PM
Chinese skipping Thailand after coup. China's biggest online travel agency is offering a 30% discount on trips to Thailand's beaches and malls. The Chinese aren't buying it. "Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore are traditionally the favourite tourism route for the Chinese," said Jiang Haibin, a public affairs manager at Ctrip.com International Ltd. "This year, that route was affected a lot." Visitors from China made up a 10th of all arrivals in Southeast Asia in 2012. The recent falloff threatens an industry that employs millions and contributes billions of dollars to the region's gross domestic product. Chinese travelers have been the fastest-growing tourism market for the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, accounting for the majority of the increase over the past decade, according to Chua Hak Bin, an economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Cabinet sworn in

Posted by hasekamp on 4 September 2014 at 23:17 PM
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and the 32 newly-appointed cabinet members were sworn in before His Majesty the King at Siriraj Hospital on Thursday evening. The new cabinet members were hurriedly informed of the royal audience shortly after 4pm. They were told to gather at Government House for the first time, in order to have their ID card photos taken and to prepare to leave for Siriraj Hospital for the audience with the King at about 5.30pm. PM Prayuth, also chief of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), was the first to show up at Government House at 4.34pm, before other cabinet members followed. Some ministers and deputy ministers found it inconvenient to go to Government House and opted to wait for the others at Siriraj Hospital. At the royal audience, the Prayuth 1 cabinet members took their oaths before the monarch and can now officially take up their appointed tasks. Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said His Majesty did not address the cabinet. (Source: The Nation)


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Heavy flooding in Sukhothai

Posted by hasekamp on 4 September 2014 at 23:11 PM
Northern province of Sukhothai on Thursday is under water after water from the Yom River overflowed the bank and flooded provincial governmental offices. Local officials had to reinforce flood protection to save the province's business heart as the run-off continued to flow from the river. The flooding in the province has worsened in the afternoon as the water level in the river rose and strong currents destroying the dykes and sand-bag walls. The heart of the province in now under 20-30 centimetres of water, and the water level continues to rise.(Source: The Nation)


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12 of 33 in Cabinet are military

Posted by hasekamp on 1 September 2014 at 19:43 PM
GENERAL Prayuth Chan-ocha's Cabinet - with nearly half the ministers either active or retired military - won royal endorsement yesterday. The interim government led by Prime Minister Prayuth has 33 ministers, including the PM, for 35 portfolios. Nine of them are military officers, while another three are former military personnel. All are close to Prayuth. In addition to military officers, who Prayuth trusts, the Cabinet has many retired civil servants, which signifies Prayuth's faith in bureaucrats to take a leading role rather than businessmen, who have lost influence due to connections with former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a source said. Prayuth reportedly learnt a lesson from the 2006 power seizure, which saw many businessmen in the post-coup Surayud Chulanont Cabinet. The generals in the latest Cabinet are expected to ensure that the PM's roadmap is not disrupted. Prayuth's former superior General Prawit Wongsuwan was appointed deputy PM and Defence Minister, while another of his ex-superiors, General Anupong Paochinda, was named Interior Minister. Prawit was chosen because of his connection with Thaksin, which could be fruitful when it comes to efforts to achieve reconciliation, with legal consequences against the fugitive continuing in the normal justice process, the source said. Four of the premier's former classmates have portfolios. General Dapong Ratanasuwan was appointed Natural Resources and Environment Minister, General Tanasak Patimapragorn is deputy PM and Foreign Minister, Gen Chatchai Sarikalya was named Commerce Minister, and permanent secretary for defence General Surasak Kanjanarat is the Labour Minister. Prayuth's 'junior' friends from pre-cadet school days, Navy chief ADM Narong Pipatanasai and Air Force chief ACM Prajin Juntong, were appointed Education Minister and Transport Minister respectively. The premier's subordinates from the armed forces who will help him administer the country include deputy Army chief General Udomdej Sitabutr, the Deputy Defence Minister, and assistant Army chief General Paiboon Koomchaya, the Justice Minister. General Udomdej, potentially the successor to Prayuth as the Army commander, is expected to utilise his potential to deal with pro-Thaksin military officers who may be "active". Prayuth reportedly interviewed all candidates for ministerial posts before making his final decision, especially former officials who performed well after the junta seized the power on May 22, the source said. Most ministers were approached by Prayuth himself. For example, he phoned National Intelligence Agency director Suwaphan Tanyuvardhana and asked him to join the Cabinet as one of the two PM's Office Ministers, a source said. (Source: The Nation)


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