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Tourists abandoned by taxi driver

Posted by hasekamp on 23 March 2015 at 13:54 PM
Two foreign tourists carrying a baby were left high and dry in the middle of a Bangkok tollway because the taxi driver went past their agreed destination, according to Facebook user Surachai Hiranpraditkul. Mr Surachai posted a photo of the stranded tourists on his Facebook page on Tuesday. He wrote that the foreigners had been taking the cab from Suvarnabhumi airport to Rama IV Road. The cabbie used the tollway but failed to take the exit near Rama IV Road. He did not want to take responsibility and told the passengers to get out of the vehicle in the middle of the tollway. "My friend who is a traffic policeman found the tourists and helped them, but they couldn't remember the taxi's licence plate. However, cameras at the airport should haved captured this taxi's image," he said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Illegal hotels to be made legal

Posted by hasekamp on 23 March 2015 at 13:45 PM
More than 200 illegal hotels in Cha-Am are being made registered hotels following a revised ministerial draft regulation on old building usage recently approved by the Cabinet. Surapong Techaruvichit, president of Thai Hotels Association (THA), said 14 hotels and resorts in the famous beach resort town had been registered during the last few months while 49 non - registered hotels and resorts were in the process of doing the same. He said 140 additional properties would join the scheme in the next phase this year. The Cabinet approved the revised ministerial draft regulation to allow type A and B hotels to become registered. Type C and D hotels have had no problem adhering to the hotel construction law as they are mostly large hotels with a range of services. Currently, many hotels categorised as type A (hotels with less than 50 rooms) and type B (hotels with less than 50 rooms and food service) violate the Interior Ministry's hotel construction law. Many of these hotels are located in Bangkok and the six other major tourist destinations. (Source: The Nation)


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Elections definitely next year

Posted by hasekamp on 23 March 2015 at 13:41 PM
A general election will definitely be held next year, Constitution Drafting Committee chairman Borwornsak Uwanno said Monday. He was speaking after returning from a five-day official trip to Germany, in which he examined that country's electoral system because Thailand's new voting system is modelled on it. Borwornsak said he told German foreign ministry officials and diplomats that Thailand's general election would be held early next year at the earliest and mid-2016 at the latest. He said he discussed Germany's election system - both constituency and partylist systems - with German Constitutional Court officials. He said the German officials told him the party-list system that the CDC was drawing up was the right move. (Source: The Nation)


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Democracy with a Thai flavor?

Posted by hasekamp on 20 March 2015 at 17:48 PM
PRIME Minister General Prayut Chanocha vowed Friday that he was building democracy for the country - but said it would not be 100 per cent like democracy in Western countries. Speaking at the opening ceremony for an essay contest promoting the 12 Core Values, Prayut said he was aware that his government was installed by undemocratic means. "Although I took power in this way [coup], I understand democratic means and we will not fail democracy. We will take care of the people well and equally," he said. People would be able to access justice equally and fairly, he said. "Please be confident in the existing justice system," he said. "We have to reduce conflicts and stay away from them," he said, "I myself from now on will never talk about anything to ignite conflict. "Reporters should also ask less questions about this [conflict]. It's useless. For anything that has already proceeded to the justice system, you should ask the question there," he said. "If you ask me and I answer, there will be some problems," he said. (Source: The Nation)


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Yingluck may face jail

Posted by hasekamp on 20 March 2015 at 17:45 PM
THE SUPREME Court's Criminal Division for Political Office Holders yesterday ordered former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra to stand trial on May 19 on charges of alleged negligence in failing to stop corruption and mismanagement of the rice-pledging scheme that inflicted a loss of Bt600 billion on the national coffers and the rice trade. Supreme Court Vice President Veerapol Tangsuwan, who was selected by nine judges as presiding judge, said the case was within the court's authority and it was filed correctly in accordance with the court procedure, therefore the court has accepted the case for hearing. If found guilty, Yingluck could face up to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to Bt20,000 or both. Surasak Trirattrakul, the deputy chief prosecutor in charge of the case, said 13 prosecution witnesses would testify, including National Anti Corruption Commission officials and concerned state agencies. Evidence such as documents and CDs would be provided to the court. He said a copy of the writ and the court summons would be delivered to Yingluck within seven days informing her to appear for trial at 9.30am on May 19. The court notice can be posted at her residence without her presence. Her failure to appear for the first hearing could lead to the court issuing an arrest warrant. He said the court would decide on whether to temporarily release her and decide on whether she could leave the country. Prosecutors can oppose temporary release of the defendant if they suspect she may flee or tamper with witnesses. There had been no reports of witness intimidation, he added. (Source: The Nation)


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Crabs in Krabi

Posted by hasekamp on 14 March 2015 at 13:53 PM
Krabi officials are moving to create a new eco-tourism destination out of a Krabi tidal plane that millions of tiny orange-clawed crabs call home. Locals were amazed to see a horde of crabs suddenly appear and migrate across the sands of Ao Tang Len at low tide, prompting them to notify Ao Luek district officials last week. "The stretch of sand at low tide is about 1 kilometer long and 30 meters wide. We saw millions of crabs in that stretch. They are tiny, about 1 centimeter long, with gray bodies and orange claws," said Ao Leuk District Chief Boonpas Raknuy, following his inspection of the site on Thursday. "As we started to walk on the sand, the crabs sped away to hide in their holes. It was an amazing thing to see." Mr Boonpas has requested that the local people help to protect and conserve the area so that the crabs and the natural environment can remain unharmed. "The beauty of Ao Tang Len is unmatched by other attractions in Krabi. After I saw the crabs in action, I immediately wanted to develop the area as an eco-tourism destination, but also to preserve it as part of 'Unseen Thailand'," Mr Boonpas said. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Chiang Mai fog causes health problems

Posted by hasekamp on 14 March 2015 at 13:50 PM
SOME 2,200 Chiang Mai residents have come down with respiratory problems very likely due to the ongoing smog problem. "We believe their symptoms are related to haze and forest fires here," provincial deputy public health chief Surasing Wisaruthrat said yesterday. He said the number of patients with smog-related conditions was highest at Nakornping Hospital in Chiang Mai's Mae Rim district, which has treated some 589 such patients so far. As of yesterday morning, the amount of small particulate matter up to 10 microns in diameter (PM10) stood at 138 micrograms per cubic metre of air in downtown Chiang Mai. Safety limits require that the PM10 does not go past 120 micrograms. Surasing has advised people to stay indoors and turn on their air conditioners if possible. "If you have to go outdoors, cover yourself well and wear facial masks," he said, adding that this air pollution could adversely affect the health of people, particularly children, the elderly and pregnant women. "Those with chronic diseases may also develop acute symptoms when exposed to the polluted air," he said. Mae Hong Son's Muang district was hit with 236 micrograms of PM10 per cubic metre of air yesterday, while in Chiang Rai, there was 151 micrograms of particulate matter per cubic metre of air in Muang district and 141 micrograms in Mae Sai district. (Source: The Nation)


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Elephant buffet

Posted by hasekamp on 14 March 2015 at 13:44 PM
Elephants enjoyed fruits and vegetables during an all-you-can-eat elephant buffet held to mark the National Elephant Day at the ancient historical city of Ayutthaya, Thailand, 13 March 2015. The annual National Thai Elephant Day is held on 13 March to celebrate and draw public attention to the ongoing effort to save the species and protect its habitat. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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King and Queen can be discharged from hospital

Posted by hasekamp on 14 March 2015 at 13:39 PM
THEIR MAJESTIES the King and the Queen have become healthy enough to be discharged from hospital, their doctor said yesterday. Mahidol University president Dr Udom Kachintorn, who treated Their Majesties at Siriraj Hospital, said that they were generally healthy and had no illnesses. "They are healthy enough to be discharged for a stay at Chitralada Royal Villa for a period of time. However, their health still does not permit a long trip to the Klai Kangwon Palace in Hua Hin," the doctor said. "Returning home will allow Their Majesties to better recover," he said. The news brought big delight to Thais, many of whom had gathered at Siriraj Hospital. Last September, the King and the Queen left Siriraj Hospital to stay at Klai Kangwon Palace. (Source: The Nation)


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Tourists death cause was bug poison

Posted by hasekamp on 7 March 2015 at 14:29 PM
Two Canadian sisters who were found dead in their Phi Phi Island hotel room in 2012 were probably killed by phosphine, a deadly chemical used to kill bedbugs, a Canadian coroner says. Phosphine is officially banned in Thai hotels but is probably used illicitly for fumigation, Dr Renee Roussel was quoted as saying by the National Post newspaper in Toronto. As many as 20 tourist deaths since 2009 throughout Southeast Asia, many of them in Thailand, may be linked to the chemical, she said. Phosphine is one of few substances that can kill and leave little trace in the environment or in the body, according to the coroner's report. The autopsies found lesions on the brain caused by a severe lack of oxygen, which is consistent with phosphine poisoning. "Phosphine is a pesticide that kills all that lives and all that breathes," the report states, adding that the chemical is cheap and widely available. "Science doesn't allow us to confirm [the cause of death] without a doubt. Maybe one day it will." (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Prayut will fight corruption

Posted by hasekamp on 6 March 2015 at 14:24 PM
Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha on Friday reiterated his commitment that he would fight corruption in Thailand and prevent politicians from taking advantage of the bureaucratic system. He was speaking at the opening ceremony of the seminar on Construction Sector Transparency Initiative or CoST held under the cooperation of the State Enterprise Policy Office, the Anti-Corruption Organization of Thailand and the British Embassy in Thailand. Prayut emphasised that since the beginning of his administration, all the anti-corruption units namely the Anti-Money Laudering Office, the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission and the Office of Auditor General of Thailand, have been working in cooperation with five committees the government has set up, international organisations and CoST in pushing for concrete results of the anti-corruption policy. Despite that manifestation by the government, Prayut said that he had not yet been satisfied with the progress. He vowed to strengthen it and raise public confidence in national transparency by using the Integrity Pacts in big projects. The development of public access to projects' information and plans of the government is needed. (Source: The Nation)


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NCPO does not want to stay in power

Posted by hasekamp on 6 March 2015 at 14:20 PM
The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) which has seized admistrative power in Thailand last May 22 has no wish to stay in politics after a general election is held, probably early next year, said Deputy Prime Minister/Defence Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon on Friday. Gen Prawit, also deputy chief of NCPO, said a proposal for members of the five core bodies including the NCPO, the cabinet, the National Legislative Assembly, the National Reform Council and the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) to stay away from politics for two years after they leave the office is sensible. Gen Prawit's comment followed remarks made by Jate Dhonavanik, a CDC member, on Wednesday that the CDC is considering imposing the two-year ban for members of the five bodies to stay away from politics after leaving the office. Asked whether he is worried on talks that the Constitution being drafted is not democratic, Gen Prawit said the draft is still incomplete and upon completion it will have to be sent to NCPO and the cabinet for final consideration. He said members of the five core bodies are scheduled to meet next Wednesday but there is no plan to discuss this issue. (Source: MCOT English News)


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Against junta-constitution? Go!

Posted by hasekamp on 4 March 2015 at 15:43 PM
THAIS CANNOT co-exist if they reject the new charter, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha warned yesterday after reporters asked what would happen if the majority found the new junta-sponsored constitution unacceptable. The response came as Prayut tried to reassure the public that nothing in the draft charter is written in stone, including the article allowing for a non-MP to become prime minister and a fully selected Senate. "If it's not accepted, then people cannot co-exist. It's up to them if they don't want to stay in their country," he said, adding that Thailand should not fall into what he calls a "democracy trap". Prayut's remark came amid complaints that the new charter was not democratic. "Don't forget that there's no such thing as a 100-per-cent democracy. We must look comprehensively when we talk about democracy. I see some institutions teaching people to be democratic, but what is democracy without notions like rights, liberty and duty? All these are necessary," the prime minister stressed. Prayut said the draft charter would be reviewed again, adding that he was closely following the work of the Constitution Drafting Committee and hoped that some drafters would speak less in public so they did not stir up political divisions. As for the option of allowing a non-MP to become prime minister, he said this might be necessary to break a future political impasse. However, he denied this clause was part of a scheme to let some figures close to the current administration take over. (Source: The Nation)


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Chiang Mai backpackers heaven

Posted by hasekamp on 4 March 2015 at 15:29 PM
In the northern province of Chiang Mai's provincial seat, backpackers from around the world compete to stay at guesthouses in the Chiang Mai Gate area due to modest room prices ranging from Bt80-300/night. Recently, Price of Travel conducted the latest survey for the Backpacker Index for 2014 of 124 world cities ranked from the cheapest to the most expensive. Asia's cheapest city is Pokhara in Nepal with a daily backpacker index of US$14. Hanoi came second place at US$15.88, while Chiang Mai of Thailand is ranked third of US$17.66. Living a backpacker lifestyle in Chiang Mai, a British tourist said he was renting a room for one week -- a room with a fan without facilities and shared bathrooms -- which he said could help him conserve his money and stay longer in town. (Source: MCOT English News)


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Once more Chinese tourist can not behave

Posted by hasekamp on 4 March 2015 at 15:21 PM
A supposed Chinese tourist caught on camera half-naked in an open area of a woman's restroom at Don Mueang airport has fuelled the firestorm of criticism surrounding visitors from mainland China. The photo of the bare-breasted woman was uploaded to CSI LA's Facebook page on Feb 27. Officials at the Bangkok airport later admitted that the incident took place at a hand wash sink in one of its toilet areas, and said it would be difficult for airport staff to oversee all passengers around the clock. "In general, Chinese tourists in Thailand are well-behaved and have brought substantial revenue to the country. If we see something inappropriate, we'll issue a warning or impose a penalty on a case-by-case basis," the airport stated. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports said it planned to produce a two-minute animated video explaining tourists how to behave when they visit Thailand. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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