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Almost best of the world?

Posted by hasekamp on 27 January 2016 at 12:59 PM
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has thanked all groups of Thai people for making Thailand recognized as one of the best countries in the world. The Prime Minister referred to a recent study by the US News and World Report, which named Thailand among the best countries in the world. The study was conducted in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and global brand consultants BAV Consulting. According to the report, Thailand ranked 21st in the Best Country Overall. It is listed in the top ten of all five individual categories: 10th place in the Open for Business section, eighth place for Heritage, sixth place for Best Countries to Invest in, and fourth place for both Adventure and Movers (this category focuses on rising economies). The 2016 Best Countries report and rankings are based on how global perceptions define countries in terms of a number of qualitative characteristics, impressions that have the potential to drive trade, travel, and investment, and directly affect national economies. Sixty nations were measured in the inaugural report. The "Best Countries" study sampled the perceptions of more than 16,000 people in four global regions, asking them to rank 60 selected countries on a range of criteria. Attributes were grouped into nine sub-rankings that rolled into the Best Countries ranking: Adventure, Citizenship, Cultural Influence, Entrepreneurship, Heritage, Movers, Open for Business, Power, and Quality of Life. Six ASEAN countries are featured in the study. (Source: Public Relations Department PRD)


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Top tourist destination, thanks to Chinese

Posted by hasekamp on 27 January 2016 at 12:47 PM
Chinese tourists can't seem to get enough of Thailand, with visitor numbers to the Southeast Asian kingdom surging over the past year at one of the fastest clips in the Asia-Pacific region. In a year that saw the Thai military government grapple with an outbreak of the deadly flu-like MERS virus as well as the bombing at a major shrine, Chinese tourists helped turn Bangkok into the region's most-visited destination in 2015, according to the first-ever MasterCard Asia Pacific Destinations Index published on Wednesday. All three Thai destinations in the 10 most-visited list -Phuket was ranked fifth, Pattaya eighth - recorded more than 10percent year-on-year growth in international arrivals, outpacing other locations like Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, which were atNo.2 and No.4, respectively. In 2016, the Thai government expects Chinese visitors to make up a larger proportion of the record 32 million people forecast to visit. "What's ultimately driving Thailand is the Chinese," said Matthew Driver, MasterCard's Asia-Pacific group executive for products and solutions, told Reuters. The survey ranked 167 islands, towns and cities in 22 countries across the Asia-Pacific. Japanese destinations recorded the fastest growth in 2015, the index also showed, as the weaker yen continued to attract Chinese tourists in droves. Tokyo was the second-most visited city, with Osaka rounding off the top 10. (Source: The Nation)


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Thailand less corrupt, but still in top 100

Posted by hasekamp on 27 January 2016 at 12:44 PM
The 2015 Corruption Perception Index for Thailand as reported by Transparency International ranked Thailand at 76th, at the same as the previous year with a score of 38 out of 100, according to the annual report released Wednesday. With such a low score, Thailand's rate of corruption level was considered as a country with a 'serious corruption level', the report said. Countries with score higher than 50 were considered as relatively clean from corruption. The world average score is 43, it said. Thailand's level and score is the same as 2014, it said, suggesting there was no significant improvement in anti-corruption efforts. The country is at the same level as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Burkina Faso, India, Tunisia and Zambia, it said. The level and score are better than many other Asean countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar. (Source: The Nation)


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Bulgarian skimmer caught in Karon

Posted by hasekamp on 21 January 2016 at 15:27 PM
Police apprehended a Bulgarian ATM skimmer on Monday after a tipoff was received from a bank in Bangkok. Boris Tulumbadzhiev, 30, was arrested at an ATM in Karon by Provincial Police after investigators were alerted to suspicious card activity by the Kasikorn Bank headquarters. "We knew we would find the suspect using a particular Family Mart ATM on Sirirat Road," said Lt Col Prawit Engchuan of the Phuket Provincial Police. "When we saw someone we thought could possibly be the skimmer using the ATM, we followed him to Karon, where he went to use another machine." Police then asked to see the man's identification and noticed that he had an extraordinary number of electronic cards in his possession. The officers arrested him and seized 130 cards with their pin codes and a skimming device. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Do not criticize the new charter draft

Posted by hasekamp on 21 January 2016 at 15:23 PM
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha Tuesday slammed politicians who disparaged the contents of the latest charter draft for fears that they would lose their political power. "If they had volunteered to represent people and to administer the country, they should have been creative with how to fix problems rather than the conflicts that they took part in," the premier said of politician's roles during his press briefing after the Cabinet meeting. "They actually should have to volunteer to solve them and promise that there won't be any more problems," he continued, lamenting over how politicians have criticized the government's reforms and corruption issues. (Source: The Nation)


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Warning for dengue fever!

Posted by hasekamp on 21 January 2016 at 15:18 PM
Bangkok Metropolitan Administration warns that the number of dengue fever cases could rise this year, with Lat Phrao highlighted as the highest-risk district. The other high-risk districts include Chatuchak, Din Daeng, Wangthonglang, Bang Kapi, Suan Luang, Prawet, Wattana, Bang Phlad and Thon Buri. Bangkok Metropolitan Administration's Health Department Director Dr. Wantanee Wattana noted that the disease could spread throughout the capital city. "All areas and all residents are exposed to the risk," she said, adding that only 10 per cent of the infected show the symptoms. BMA health staff has been assigned to launch an education campaign, she said. A total of 28,177 dengue fever cases were reported in Bangkok last year, the fifth highest among 77 provinces in Thailand. Of total, 5 lost their lives. Among the infected, most of them were in the 20-24 age group. (Source: The Nation)


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Many Phuket attractions illegal

Posted by hasekamp on 19 January 2016 at 13:28 PM
Almost 50 per cent of private tourist attractions on Phuket have been operating illegally, confirmed Phuket Vice Governor Prajiad Aksornthammakul. The in-depth investigation into animal shows and other tourism hot spots, including ATV adventures, shooting ranges and go-kart tracks, was initiated following a tourist being bitten on the nose by a snake show python after she kissed the serpent. "It is essential that we increase safety measures at all tourism venues to prevent further avoidable accidents from occurring," said V/Gov Prajiad at a meeting on Thursday. Only 45 of 80 recognized tourism venues on Phuket have the necessary tourism license, as required by the Tourism Business and Guide Act 2008, confirmed Santi Pawai, director of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports (MOTS) Phuket Office. "Those who have yet to obtain the necessary licence must do so by the end of the month," Mr Santi said. "Anyone who fails to do so risks being charged with operating without the licence, which carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment, a fine of 500,000 baht or both." (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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New draft Charter

Posted by hasekamp on 19 January 2016 at 13:18 PM
ANOTHER CRUCIAL phase has arrived in Thai politics as the Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) has completed more than 95 per cent of the new constitution during its seven-day camp in Petchaburi's Cha-am District last week, leaving only the transitory provisions chapter to be deliberated on and written in Bangkok. And in less than two weeks, the complete initial draft will be made available to the public. Now, all eyes are on the canon because of its potential status as the supreme law, which could dictate so much in Thai politics. The political fate of the country, as well as the fate of so many individuals, depend on this 261-article social code written by the panel led by Meechai Ruchupan, which in an unprecedented move was given authority to root out corruption as well as chart a course for reconciliation. Following the instructions of the 2014 interim charter, which set out to give the country a fresh start after a long period of turmoil, the draft aims at tackling corruption in the public sector. Under the new constitution, political office holders and civil servants would face stricter scrutiny and tight regulations about being disqualified from office. Among the new rules is the stipulation that officials who are found guilty of electoral fraud or are found to have misused public money would face lifetime political bans. The drafters have also empowered independent agencies as well as the Constitutional Court. The panel agreed that the Election Commission (EC), the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) and the Auditor-General's Office could jointly issue warnings to the Cabinet when its policies or practices potentially posed threats to the country. Although it is not binding on the government to heed the warning, it would be held legally responsible for its mistakes. (Source: The Nation)


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Almost 600 dengue fever victims

Posted by hasekamp on 19 January 2016 at 13:13 PM
NEARLY 600 PEOPLE were infected with dengue haemorrhagic fever in Thailand between January 1 and 11, the Public Health Ministry has said. The ministry's permanent secretary Dr Sopon Mekthon said Tuesday none of the 583 people had died during that period. However, he said dengue caused as many as 141 fatalities last year. The fever is usually more widespread during the rainy season. Famous actor Tridsadee Sahawong came down with a severe form of dengue last November. Despite extensive medical treatment, he succumbed to the disease on Monday. (Source: The Nation)


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Maltreated birds in Temple

Posted by hasekamp on 19 January 2016 at 13:10 PM
A photo of several birds confined in a small plastic bag outside a popular temple in Ayutthaya, waiting to be freed by 'compassionate' visitors, sparked another round of social media outrage, even though the animal release has long been part of making merit for Thai and Chinese Buddhists. The photo was posted on Monday by a Facebook user, who wrote: "Yesterday, I went to Wat Phanan Choeng in Ayutthaya. There are dozens of shops selling fish, turtles and birds. They are held captive in plastic bags for days and nights. Look at the animals' condition. Only inhumane people can do this. "Let us do something about this and put these animal sellers out of business by sharing this post and telling our friends, colleagues and everyone around us to do the right thing. "This evil business has to be driven out of the country and we Buddhists must stop being gullible. Follow the actual teachings of Lord Buddha!". Net users called on authorities to take legal action against animal sellers around temples. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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King sends message to Indonesia

Posted by hasekamp on 16 January 2016 at 16:11 PM
His Majesty the King has expressed his condolences to Indonesian President Joko Widodo following the terrorist attacks in Jakarta on Thursday, the National News Bureau of Thailand reported Saturday. "The Queen and I are deeply distressed by reports of the terrorist attacks, which caused loss of innocent lives and casualties in your country. We wish to extend our heartfelt sympathy and condolences to Your Excellency and through you to all those who have been inflicted with loss and bereavement from this tragic incident," said the message, which was disclosed by the Office of His Majesty's Principal Private Secretary. (Source: The Nation)


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Service temporarily suspended

Posted by hasekamp on 6 January 2016 at 11:54 AM
I am sorry that this service has been suspended for a few weeks already. The cause is a difficult to control illness of the webmaster. This suspension is expected to end around January 15, 2016.This really is completely beyond our control.


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