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Ready for countdown

Posted by hasekamp on 30 December 2014 at 10:44 AM
A total of 75 spots have been designated for organizing festive and praying countdown for the New Year Day. The spots include Wat Benjamabophit, the RCA nightspot, Wat Sroythong, the Temple of the Dawn, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Wat Pho. Central World is expected to be the biggest countdown venue with some 80,000 revelers expected to turn up. (Source: The Nation)


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Extra safety by AirAsia

Posted by hasekamp on 30 December 2014 at 10:40 AM
An AirAsia flight turned back five minutes after takeoff from Bangkok's Don Mueang airport on Tuesday morning after the pilots reportd hearing unusual sounds in the luggage compartment, but an inspection subsequently cleared the plane. Among the passengers was Thai football team manager Kiatisuk "Zico" Senamuang, who was travelling to his home province of Khon Kaen. Flight FD3254 departed Don Mueang airport at 11.10am for the northeastern province of Khon Kaen. The scheduled arrival time was 11.55am. Thai AirAsia chief executive officer Tassapon Bijleveld said the pilots heard unusual sounds in the luggage compartment and decided to return to Don Mueang for safety check. A safety inspection found nothing wrong with the Airbus A320 and it took off again at 12.12pm, finally landing at Khon Kaen airport at 1.10pm. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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The tsunami remembered

Posted by hasekamp on 27 December 2014 at 11:58 AM
One decade on, people gathered at various seaside spots in tsunami-hit provinces to remember those who perished in the deadly waves. Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the tsunami that killed more than 5,000 people of various nationalities in this country. In Phuket province, people laid flowers and lit candles in memory of tsunami victims on Patong Beach. The Light Up Phuket event, which runs until tomorrow, also offers musical performances and exhibitions on emergency responses so people can take care of themselves should a similar event happen in the future. In Phang Nga province, Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda joined several high-ranking officials in an event at Baan Nam Khem Tsunami Memorial Park. Anupong read a statement from Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-ocha that emphasized the need to promote a culture of safety among Thais. Anupong said he hoped the 10th anniversary of the tsunami would remind people of the need to be on the alert and well prepared to deal with disasters. In Phuket, the Tambon Mai Khao Administrative Organisation organised Buddhist, Muslim and Christian rituals in dedication to tsunami victims. There was also a one-minute vigil among people who showed up in memory of those who died in the tsunami 10 years ago. In Krabi province, a commemorative event was held at Loh Dalum Bay, Ban Koh Phi Phi, Muang district. There, the tsunami killed 722 people and left 587 missing on December 26, 2004. "I still vividly remember what happened that day," said Mard Wangsen, 76. "I hope the commemorative event will nudge people into understanding that they need to rush uphill if there are signs of tidal waves coming." (Source : The Phuket Gazette)


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13 flood victims

Posted by hasekamp on 27 December 2014 at 11:51 AM
Thirteen people have been killed in flooding in eight southern provinces since December 14 while five others injured, Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department Director General Chatchai Promlert said Friday. The eight provinces are Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, Songkhla, Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Trang. Deputy Interior Minister Suthi Makbun said the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department would speed up efforts to alleviate the flood victims. (Source: The Nation)


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Top traffic

Posted by hasekamp on 27 December 2014 at 11:46 AM
Traffic was heavily congested on a southern Isan highway, with vehicles stuck on the street for as long as 10-15 kilometres as of noon on Sunday. Three days ahead of the long New Year holiday, people have obviously taken an early start and the Khao Chong Ta Ko hill section of the Sa Kaeo-Buri Ram highway was jam-packed at noon today, according to a Thairath Online report. Thairath said the highway had been congested since 3am, especially the narrow uphill section, where trucks could not go full-speed. Police are trying to ease the jam by informing incoming motorists heading in the direction. The Sa Kaeo-Buri Ram is a main highway to south Isan frequented by northeastern people working in the East. Motorists from Bangkok have also taken the route in the hope of avoiding the main Kabin Buri-Pak Thong Chai highway in Nakhon Ratchasima. (Source : The Bangkok Post)


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LINE srongly denies

Posted by hasekamp on 24 December 2014 at 10:53 AM
The owners of the LINE messaging service Tuesday denied reports that the Thai government was monitoring its users' communications in the country. The chat application has over 18 million users in Thailand, according to the media website Tech in Asia. "No monitoring by the Thailand government has been conducted," Nam JiWoong, spokesman for South Korea-based Naver Corp, was reported assaying by Bloomberg financial news agency. Thailand's Information and Communications Technology Minister Pornchai Rujirapa said his ministry was monitoring more than 40 million messages sent via the popular chat application in Thailand every day. "We focus especially on those that are libelous, anti-monarchy, or threatening national security," he said. Woong denied the claim, saying that LINE "considers consumer's privacy as a top priority." (Source : The Nation} </p> <p>In our humble opinion LINE does not even give a beginning of proof that they are NOT being monitored. The only thing they state is they do not WANT to be monitored. If I were a LINE user I would take care in Thailand. Or better: I would change to a better application. One with encryption. (Comment by Hasekamp Net)


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No elected PM

Posted by hasekamp on 24 December 2014 at 10:38 AM
The Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) on Tuesday rejected a proposal to introduce direct elections for the prime minister and cabinet, saying the idea is untested and carries "risks". The CDC decided the conventional parliamentary structure and relations between the executive and legislative branches should be retained in the new constitution. CDC deputy chairman Suchit Bunbongkarn said the committee had discussed the direct election proposal and agreed the system under which the prime minister is elected by the majority of the House of Representatives should remain. He said the CDC could not accept the proposal because the direct election of the premier and the cabinet is fraught with risks. (Source : The Bangkok Post)


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Thai government monitors LINE

Posted by hasekamp on 23 December 2014 at 13:14 PM
The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Ministry is keeping its eye on LINE message exchanges - particularly those related to the monarchy and national security. "We can monitor all the nearly 40 million LINE messages sent by people in Thailand each day," ICT Minister Pornchai Rujiprapa said yesterday. He said about 33 million Thais use the LINE chat programme. "If you receive LINE messages that offend the monarchy and threaten national security, you can lodge a complaint with police. We can trace where the messages originally come from," Pornchai said. He spoke at a press conference at Government House on a LINE Sticker campaign to promote 12 national core values. Deputy Prime Minister Yongyuth Yutthawong, who was also present during the event, said the LINE sticker was in line with Prime Minister and National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) chief General Prayut Chan-ocha's policy. They were based on His Majesty's guidelines. For example, the values encourage filial piety towards parents, guardians and teachers, morality, integrity, generosity, and sharing. LINE denies being monitored. (Source :The Nation)


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Trial with returning beach vendors

Posted by hasekamp on 22 December 2014 at 10:57 AM
Vendors renting out umbrellas, offering massages or selling food and drinks are allowed to return to Phuket's beaches €“ but not vendors who rent out sun-loungers or beach chairs. Governor Nisit Jansomwong delivered the news at a meeting at Provincial Hall yesterday, when he laid down a stringent list of conditions under which beach vendors will be permitted to return to work. Special zones covering only 10 per cent of the sand at each beach will be allocated to vendors. "This ensures that the vendors do not detract from the natural beauty of the beaches," Governor Nisit explained. The vendors must wear uniforms. All fees charged by vendors must be displayed and be the same at all beaches €“ they cannot be increased to accommodate "extra services". (Source : The Phuket Gazette}


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Ready for next tsunami

Posted by hasekamp on 21 December 2014 at 13:55 PM
Phuket hosted "The Next Tsunami Zero Lost" conference last week, during which more than 100 experts from about 12 countries reviewed emergency medical procedures to ensure the recovery, safety and survival of tsunami victims. "We are prepared for the next natural disaster, and have continued to work closely with Japan International Cooperation Agency [JICA] to stay abreast of developments," Deputy Minister of Public Health Somsak Chunharas said at the opening ceremony. Representatives from ASEAN member states were in attendance, along with experts from the United States and Japan. "Having people from JICA at the conference is important, as they have dealt with a number of natural disasters in recent years," Dr Wiwat Seetamanotch, one of the conference coordinators, told the Phuket Gazette. "We have reviewed how different countries have managed these disasters and what actions they have taken to minimize the impact on the lives of their citizens." JICA has been working closely with Thailand since the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. "Since then, we have been preparing and improving our ability to conduct searches and rescues, as well as establishing disaster medical emergency protocols," Dr Wiwat said. "I can assure you, we'll be ready next time." (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Below zero on Doi Inthanon

Posted by hasekamp on 21 December 2014 at 13:42 PM
Thousands of tourists visited the Doi Inthanon mountaintop early Sunday when the temperature dropped to minus one Celsius degree at 6 am, Doi Inthanon Park chief Pornthep Charoensuebkul said. He said the park was all white with frozen dews. (Source : The Nation)


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More than 200 police reassigned

Posted by hasekamp on 17 December 2014 at 15:18 PM
Over 260 Thai police officers serving in the same unit as a disgraced former commander would be reassigned, police said Tuesday. The 262 officers being transferred were part of the "network" of disgraced former Central Investigation Bureau chief Pongpat Chayapan, police chief Somyot Poompanmoung told reporters. The reshuffle is the largest of its kind and is to include officers ranging from patrolmen to deputy commanders, he said. General Pongpat was arrested along with several senior officers in late November for charges of corruption, extortion and lese-majeste. Over Bt1 billion, in cash and other valuables were found in his home during a police search. Local media reported that the lese-majeste charges were brought because Pongpat would claim he was acting on royal behalf to intimidate business connections. Pongpat is related to the wife of the crown prince, Sirasmi, who since the scandal came to light has renounced her royal titles and public role. (Source :The Nation)


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Expensive calls in jail

Posted by hasekamp on 17 December 2014 at 15:11 PM
The economics behind today's cheap mobile phones and virtually free calling don't apply behind the walls of Thailand's prisons where cellphones cost up to 2.5 million baht and inmates charge calls at 2,000 baht a minute. Corrections authorities said Wednesday that raids on several prisons revealed the existence of innovative, lucrative - and ultimately illegal -businesses aimed at smuggling mobile phones and other contraband into jails. Charnchao Chaiyanukit, deputy permanent secretary and spokesman for the Justice Ministry, said that in the past six months authorities seized 6,703 mobile phones, 1,280 SIM cards, 24,767 speed pills, 2,839 grammes of crystal methamphetamine and six grammes of marijuana at prisons. (Source :The Bangkok Post)


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Chinese travel agencies look into behaviour

Posted by hasekamp on 15 December 2014 at 11:53 AM
Tourism authorities will urge travel agencies to monitor tour groups and will explore the use of personal credit reports to identify possible offenders in advance. The move comes after four Chinese travellers poured hot water on a Thai flight attendant and triggered public outrage online. The China National Tourism Administration released a statement asking all provincial tourism authorities and travel agencies to help regulate tourist behavior. "This incident disrupted the flight and other passengers' schedules by forcing it to return to Bangkok.. They were all punished," the statement said. "Despite this being an isolated case, it damaged the overall image of Chinese people," it said. The administration said it will ask provincial tourism authorities to note the incident in the four tourists' personal credit reports. (Source: The Nation)


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Ebola meeting in Bangkok

Posted by hasekamp on 15 December 2014 at 11:50 AM
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha kicked off the ASEAN plus three health minister's Special Meeting on Ebora Preparradness And Response at the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel at 8:15 am. The meeting was attended by the ASEAN secretary general and public health ministers from China, Japan, South Korea and ASEAN nations. (Source : The Nation)


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Chinese misbehave in plane

Posted by hasekamp on 14 December 2014 at 10:23 AM
An AirAsia flight abruptly returned to Don Mueang airport after a Chinese passenger splashed a flight attendant with boiling water after she and her boyfriend found they had been allocated separate seats. After the incident was reported by a Chinese blog, the airline issued a statement saying the incident happened on FD9101 to Nanjing on Thursday after take-off from Don Mueang airport at 5.55pm. The statement said the Chinese couple became enraged when they were told they would have to sit apart from each other and berated the crew member. The captain decided to return to Don Mueang and asked the passengers to disembark. No charges were laid. According to a regional, southern China blog, TheNanfang.com, which reported the incident, the flight had 174 passengers on board. The website reported that witnesses on the flight said the man threatened to blow up the plane and his girlfriend told other passengers she wanted to commit suicide, which led to the decision to turn around. The couple found they would not be sitting together which happened because they were part of a tour group and were seated in alphabetical order. A flight attendant fixed the situation and found seats for them together, but they still complained loudly. The woman bought a bowl of instant noodles and asked for boiling water which she promptly splashed on the flight attendant. (Source : The Bangkok Post)


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Princess loses status

Posted by hasekamp on 13 December 2014 at 10:54 AM
His Majesty the King has allowed the wife of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn to relinquish her royal title, a statement announced. The statement was carried in the Royal Gazette issued late Friday. "The King has granted permission to announce that Princess Srirasmi, the wife of Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, has informed in a written document that she has resigned from her royal status," the statement said. "Acknowledgement and permission has been granted by His Majesty the King," the statement added. (Source : The Bangkok Post)


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Minister:No CIA jails

Posted by hasekamp on 11 December 2014 at 10:28 AM
There have been no secret jails used by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to detain and torture terrorist suspects of al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups in Thailand, Prime Minister's Office Minister Suwaphan Tanyuvardhana said on Thursday. Mr Suwaphan said this when asked to comment on stories about a US Senate report that refers to alleged CIA torture of terrorist suspects at facilities said to be in Thailand. Asked if he meant to say that the CIA report is inaccurate, Mr Suwaphan said had not seen any part of the report that mentioned Thailand. He said this was an internal affair of the United States, involving the committee on intelligence and security, the Senate and the CIA, and Thailand had nothing to do with it. Whatever was mentioned in the report occurred many years back, he said. "The current cooperation between the US and Thailand is based on national sovereignty. There are no policies or any practices which are against the law. I can assure you that that there are no secret jails or torture in Thailand," said the minister. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Thailand 'not free'

Posted by hasekamp on 8 December 2014 at 11:13 AM
Thailand's internet freedom has slipped from "partly free" last year to "not free" this year, placing it among the ranks of China, Vietnam, Iran and Libya in that category, according to the latest annual report by Freedom House. "After the coup, the NCPO [National Council for Peace and Order] made dozens of arrests, stepped up digital surveillance, infringed on online privacy and create a climate of fear where Internet users conducted an on and offline "witch hunt" against fellow citizens," the Washington DC-based organisation stated. Freedom House noted that charges of lese majeste and computer-related crimes brought by Internet users against fellow citizens increased along with political detention. "In the month after the coup, there were at least five cases of a lese majeste charge added when an individual was already in detention. Three notable ones involved digital content." Even those who use the Internet anonymously have come under threat since the May 22 coup, the organisation noted. "In late May, the MICT reportedly proposed to establish a single national gateway to the International Internet to expedite monitoring and censorship online content that is deemed illegal. Reports in June 2014 said MICT officials were consulting with vendors to implement plans, which would require every Thai citizen to authenticate their identity using their smart ID cards before logging onto the Internet." Another control method cited by Freedom House was surveillance to capture personal data. "In early July 2014, many Thai Internet users found that visiting blocked websites prompted a screen with a TCSD logo and a message explaining it had been censored. Attempting to close the message triggered a request for consent to share the user's personal data, apparently through a Facebook app titled Login. Clicking "Agree" automatically compromised users' Facebook account details." Calls are also made for Internet users to uncover suspicious activity online. Harassment outside the legal system is also taking place and the organisation cited the case of historian Somsak Jiamteerasakul, now in self-exile, who is known for posting critical remarks on the highest institution. Despite the ongoing surveillance, blocking of websites and prosecutions of Internet users, Freedom House noted that the Internet is increasingly becoming a major venue for political debate along with notable resistance to state's restriction. (Source: The Nation)


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Koh Tao suspects plead not guilty

Posted by hasekamp on 8 December 2014 at 11:07 AM
Two Myanmar workers have pleaded not guilty to charges including murder over the killing of two British tourists in Thailand, their lawyer said Monday. The bodies of David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, were found on a beach on the southern Thai island of Koh Tao on Sept. 15. Police arrested Myanmar workers Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, both 21, in October, saying DNA taken from the pair matched samples found on the victims. On Thursday, Thai prosecutors filed charges against the Myanmar men ranging from conspiracy to commit murder and rape to illegal entry. They were taken to court on Koh Samui on Monday to hear the charges. "They pleaded not guilty to all the charges today," Thanu Akekachote, a lawyer representing the pair, told Reuters. "It is my understanding that the court wants to speed this up given its impact on tourism and international relations." Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo initially confessed to the murders but later retracted their confessions, saying they had been made under duress. The investigation into the murders has been marred by allegations of police incompetence and torture. The suspects said they were beaten and threatened by police, allegations which police deny. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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No public appearance

Posted by hasekamp on 5 December 2014 at 10:42 AM
The team of Siriraj doctors has advised His Majesty the King to cancel an audience with Royal Family members, government officials and members of the public at the Amarin Winitchai Throne Hall, the Royal Household Bureau announced. A statement from the bureau said the doctors checked His Majesty's condition Thursday evening and decided that His Majesty should cancel the audience Friday. (Source: The Nation)


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Sanam Luang roads closed round 5 December

Posted by hasekamp on 4 December 2014 at 11:32 AM
Roads around Sanam Luang will be closed to traffic starting from 4 am Friday to make way for grand celebration of His Majesty the King's birthday anniversary. The roads that will be closed are Rajdamnone Nai, Na Phra Larn, Maharat, Thaiwang, Sanamchai, and Na Phra That roads. (Source:The Nation)


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Koh Tao suspects will be tried

Posted by hasekamp on 4 December 2014 at 11:27 AM
Two Myanmar men suspected of murdering two British backpackers on Koh Tao in September were indicted on Wednesday on five charges after prosecutors spent about two months looking into the case filed by police. A team of public prosecutors spent almost three hours in a meeting at the Public Prosecution Office Region 8 in this province looking at more than 1,000 pages of evidence before deciding to indict Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, who have been detained at the Koh Samui prison since Oct 4. Chief prosecutor Thawatchai Siangjaew said the indictment was for five charges - illegally entering Thailand, illegally staying in the country, murdering David Miller, raping Hannah Witheridge and murdering her. Zaw Lin was also indicted for robbing Miller, he added. Koh Samui prosecutor Paiboon Achawananthakul has been assigned to forward the case to the Koh Samui court on Thursday. Mr Thawatchai said the office will request a quick trial as the case is being closely watched by locals and people in other countries. (Source: The Bangkok Post}


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King and Queen will appear on 5 December

Posted by hasekamp on 3 December 2014 at 15:58 PM
Their Majesties the King and Queen, along with royal family members, will appear for an audience at the Amarin Vinitchai Hall, at the Grand Palace, at the monarch's 87th birthday celebration on Friday, according to a schedule issued by the Royal Household Bureau. The monarch will appear in the hall at 10.30am to allow well-wishers to wish him a happy birthday. His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn will lead the ceremony to wish the King a happy birthday after the 21-gun salutes. Prime Minister Chayut Chan-o-cha and the chairman of the National Legislative Assembly, Pornpetch Wichitcholachai, will respectively state their good wishes to the King. According to the announcement, His Majesty will respond to the well-wishers and then leave the palace. Beginning at 9:17am Wednesday, the Grand Palace welcomed members of the public who wished to sign books of birthday wishes for the King. This opportunity will continue each day for the rest of the week. His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, King Rama IX of the Chakri dynasty, was crowned on May 5, 1950. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Royal name stripped

Posted by hasekamp on 2 December 2014 at 10:03 AM
The Personal Affairs Division of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn issued the order to remove "Akkharaphongpricha" from the register of family names approved by the monarchy. It was the last name of three suspects accused of being involved in the alleged criminal network of Pol Lt Gen Pongpat. A family with members who have served the country or the palace may apply for a royally-approved surname under the 1915 Surnames Act. If granted, it is considered an honour for the family. Pol Lt Gen Prawut Thawornsiri, spokesman for the Royal Thai Police and acting CIB commissioner, said on Saturday that police received a letter revoking the name and ordering the suspects to revert to using their old family name. Their previous surname was Kerdampang, Pol Lt Gen Prawut said, adding the Interior Ministry will carry out the next steps to outlaw the now banned name. The letter making the order, which has been widely circulated on social media, says the revocation applies to all people using the name Akkharaphongpricha, not just the suspects. The letter, dated Friday and addressed to the permanent secretary for the Interior Ministry, was signed by ACM Satitpong Sukvimol, secretary to the Crown Prince and acting chief of the division. (Source: The Bangkok Post) The background to this issue is complicated and cannot be discussed in the Thai press or on this website. We refer to the serious foreign press.


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