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The end of the Tiger Temple

Posted by hasekamp on 31 May 2016 at 17:45 PM
ALL 137 tigers at Wat Pa Luang Ta Mahabua, better known as the 'Tiger Temple', in Kanchanaburi's Saiyok district will be moved to a new home, provincial governor Sak Somboonto said yesterday. Sak spoke after a meeting at City Hall with the officials from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation's Protected Area Regional Office 3 (Ban Pong) to prepare transport for the tigers. Sak said the transfer was necessary given reports that the temple is in process of applying for a permit to build a zoo, and has asked to keep 70 tigers. He affirmed that procedures would be in line with the law, so there should be no problem. The two hour-long meeting ended with a conclusion that the tigers would be removed from Monday May 30. Sak also noted the department's previous agreement to let the temple keep the tigers and claims the temple might ask for a fee for taking care of the tigers, saying all should uphold the law. (Source: The Nation)


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Two years for drunk driving

Posted by hasekamp on 31 May 2016 at 17:38 PM
A drink-driver who killed three Chiang Mai cyclists and injured four others last May was sentenced on Tuesday to four years in prison and ordered to pay 2.1 million baht to the two bereaved families. Patchuda Jayruan, 24, appeared before the Chiang Mai Provincial Court on Tuesday to hear rulings in both criminal and civil lawsuits seeking 4 million baht in damages for each family of the dead cyclists. The court commuted the sentence to two years due to Patchuda's confession and revoked her driving licence. Phatchuda was charged with reckless driving causing death and injury after she ploughed her car into members of the Sua San Sai cycling club on Highway 118 at dawn on May 3, 2015. She was found to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.67 milligrames per 100 millilitres of blood, beyond the legal limit of 50mg per 100ml. Patchuda paid 100,000 baht to each of the families for funeral expenses over payments from the insurance company. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Storm warning for South Thailand

Posted by hasekamp on 23 May 2016 at 15:48 PM
The Southern Meteorological Center (West Coast) on Saturday issued a storm warning about heavy rains and increasingly strong winds for the remainder of this week in Phuket and other areas in the Andaman and Southern Thailand. The following areas are placed on high alert: Phuket, Ranong, Phang Nga, Krabi, Trang and Satun. Residents are warned to remain cautious due to the risk of flash floods in these areas. The Roanu Storm, as it's been named, is causing high waves up to four meters in the Andaman waters, with current wind speeds at 37km/h. Ships are advised to proceed with caution, while smaller boats should remain ashore. The storm warning is in effect until Saturday, May 28. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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School pays some compensation

Posted by hasekamp on 23 May 2016 at 15:45 PM
The Pitakiatwittaya School will pay Bt100,000 to each family of the 17 girls killed in the dormitory fire late Sunday night, the school manager said. Rewat Wassana, the school manager, said the money would come from the school's insurance compensation. He said each of five injured girls would receive B20,000 as a compensation for medical expense. Two of them are being treated at the Chiang Rai Prachanukroah Hospital and three at the Wiengpapao Hospital. (Source: The Nation)


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Al least 17 school girls killed in fire

Posted by hasekamp on 23 May 2016 at 15:43 PM
At least 17 girls died in the night after a fire swept through a school dormitory in the northern province of Chiang Rai, a police commander said on Monday, adding several others were either missing or injured. The fire started late at night, meaning many of the children were asleep and unable to escape as flames engulfed the two-storey building. "The fire broke out at 11pm on Sunday (local time, 1600 GMT). Seventeen girls were killed and two are still missing, with five injured," Police Colonel Prayad Singsin, Commander of Wiang Pa Pao district in Chiang Rai told AFP. Two of the injured are in a serious condition, he added. The Pitakkiat Wittaya School, which belongs to a local foundation and is not government run, is home to girls aged from three to 13 years old, he said. A second police officer from the same precinct said the school is home to pupils from impoverished local hill tribes in the mountainous area. "The fire is out, but the cause of the blaze is still under investigation," Prayad said, adding forensic officers were due to arrive on Monday. A Chiang Rai provincial official confirmed the death toll, adding that the privately-run school is home to girls aged between six and 13 years old, drawn mainly from the deprived local hill tribes. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Phi Phi corals threatened

Posted by hasekamp on 20 May 2016 at 17:00 PM
Coral bleaching is rife in Phi Phi national park - the worst ever recorded in Thailand - alarmed conservation officials reported Thursday.Many varieties of coral have been affected by the bleaching, which is due to the sea temperature rising to between 31 to 35 degrees Celsius, said an official from the Department of National Parks Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP). Staghorn coral, lesser coral, mushroom coral, cauliflower coral, and hump coral are all being affected by the bleaching, which is far worse than observed in 2010, said Tikamporn Wongtawatchai, a specialist from Marine National Park and Protected Areas Innovation Center (MNIPC). "Coral bleaching has been recorded all over the Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi marine national park, but the bleaching is worse at Koh Kai," said Tikamporn. This is the first time hump coral has been affected by bleaching, indicating that the bleaching is far worse than ever before. The bleaching has occurred in several popular dive spots, including Pileh Bay, Loh Samah Bay, Koh Yoong, Monkey Beach, Koh Pai and Koh Gai. Conservationists earlier this week proposed closing off Maya Bay to tourists to help restore the bleached coral and other endangered marine life there. (Source: The Nation)


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Emerald Pool closed

Posted by hasekamp on 17 May 2016 at 20:41 PM
People have been banned from entering the 'Sa Nam Pud' warm water stream area, where the Unseen Thailand attraction Emerald Pool in Krabi's Khlong Thom district originates, until October. The site has been closed for this period by the Khao Pra - Bang Kram Wildlife Sanctuary to conserve Taew Laew Tong Dam or Gurney's Pitta, one of the world's rarest birds. As of 2010, there were 16 Gurney's Pitta in the forest. Sanctuary head Wutthipong Chusangrat said the upstream part of Emerald Pool and trekking path must be closed as it was habitat of Gurney's Pitta, whose mating season and nesting falls during this period. In mid-April, only one female bird was spotted for the first time in five years. He said the closure wouldn't affect tourism, as the Emerald Pool would be open as usual. He urged tour companies to explain to clients as some tourists still tried to enter the area. (Source: The Nation)


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Beloved orangutan dies

Posted by hasekamp on 13 May 2016 at 18:40 PM
Milo, the beloved orangutan saved from captivity at the Phuket Zoo, passed away last night, Warapong Kosarat, a veterinarian at the Pasupalun Livestock & Wildlife Hospital confirmed. The 13-year-old orangutan disappeared from the Phuket Zoo ahead of a raid on the facility in February. Khao Phra Thaeo Non Hunting Zone officers then discovered her trapped in a locked cage, after she was allegedly released into the jungle. (Source: The Nation)


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Buffaloes in the wild

Posted by hasekamp on 13 May 2016 at 18:35 PM
Water buffaloes on Koh Sukorn, Trang's second largest island, have become a tourist attraction as word has spread of their fondness for salt water. As many as 300 of the beasts have been observed cooling off in the sea in this southern province as they seek a respite from the heat wave. While the animals, which normally work in local rice fields, are known for their love of water, only those found on Koh Sukorn are known for venturing into the sea. They also keep a routine and go to Tangmo beach twice a day, at 5.30am and 6pm or before sunrise and sunset, say local residents. Unlike other areas in the South where farmers prefer cows, Koh Sukorn, a Muslim-majority island in Palian district, has long had a tradition of using buffaloes. (Source: the Bangkok Post)


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Rain at last?

Posted by hasekamp on 9 May 2016 at 12:34 PM
Thailand's drought-stricken farmers got a rare bit of good news Monday, when a pair of sacred bulls predicted that the heavens would finally open during the upcoming rainy season. The bovine prophecy came during the kingdom's much-watched annual royal ploughing ceremony, an ancient rite officially marking the start of the main rice cultivation season. During the ceremony, the creatures -- who must adhere to a strict list of physical attributes and boast a "polite temperament" -- are offered bowls containing various foods. At Monday's ceremony, presided over by Thailand's Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, the two animals chose rice seeds, sesame, hay, water and liquor -- a combination the country's livestock department said meant sufficient water, bountiful crops and better foreign trade for the year ahead. The bulls made a similarly positive prediction last year, but their forecast did not bear fruit. Instead, like much of the greater Mekong region this year, Thailand has been hit hard by one of the worst droughts in decades. Unable to plant their crop, rice farmers have lurched deeper into debt. Thousands of villages in the north east have had to have water trucked to them as the river beds, reservoirs and waterfalls run dry. Rains usually arrive from May onwards, peaking in August and September. (Source: The Nation)


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ATM too strong for thieves

Posted by hasekamp on 9 May 2016 at 12:26 PM
Thieves tried in vain to break open an ATM machine in Khlong Luang district overnight, police said on Monday. Pol Capt Udom Chantrapinan, the duty officer at Khlong Luang police station, said police went to New Pharmacy drug store on the ground floor of a three-storey commercial building in tambon Khlong Song to examine the damage on Monday morning after being informed of the incident. Surachai Tanyasithi, 49, the shop owner, said he woke up about 5am and found the front gate had been locked from the outside when he tried to leave the shop. He cut the lock and examined the shopfront, where there are two ATM machines, Bank of Ayudhya and Siam Commercial Bank. He found the door Bank of Ayudhya's ATM had been forced open beneath the screen and the surveillance cameras for both machines had been blocked with black adhesive tape. Mr Surachai informed the police. Police collected fingerprints from the machine for further investigation. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Fire at Doi Suthep

Posted by hasekamp on 9 May 2016 at 12:21 PM
Fire fighters were maintaining a close watch over the remains of a large forest fire that caused severe damage to more than 290 rai of Doi Suthep-Pui National Park overnight before being brought under control, provincial forest fire operations centre chief Pongpawat Yaiwongkorn said on Monday. Some earlier media reports had suggested the burned over area was far larger. Mr Pongpawat said about 80 people from fire fighting units of the Forestry Department and staff of Doi Suthep-Pui and other national parks in the province were called in to combat the fire, which began on Sunday afternoon. They were deployed to four points and were able to contain the flames by about 1am on Monday, but the fire was still burning in places. Fire breaks were then built around burning stumps and at vulnerable spots where the flames could spread again. This work was continuing. Fire crews and rangers would remain in the area and keep it under close watch until the rain comes. The blaze had destroyed about 290 rai of forest, said Mr Pongpawat. (Source: The Bangkok Post).


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Draft constitution not clear to many

Posted by hasekamp on 8 May 2016 at 16:35 PM
Most people say they need more explanation on the draft constitution, but do not want any more explanation on the eight-point prohibition during the lead-up to the Aug 7 referendum as meted out by the Election Commission, according to an opinion poll conducted by National Institute for Development Administration, or Nida Poll. The poll was conducted on May 3-4 on 1,250 people aged 18 and over people of various levels of eduction and occupations throughout the country. Asked whether they need any more explanations on various provisions in the draft charter, most or 34.32% of the respondents said every issue needed more explanation while 25.04% said they do not need any more information. To the same question, 11.2% said they wanted explanations of the prevention of corruption; 10.32% wanted to know more about the rights, liberties and duties of the Thai people; 5.60% about state policies; 5.12% about the qualifications and methods of getting the prime minister and cabinet ministers; 5.04% about the election and the qualifications of members of the House of Representatives; 3.68% about the election and qualifications of senators; and, 11.84% no answers.(Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Over 40,000 flu cases

Posted by hasekamp on 8 May 2016 at 16:30 PM
A total of 44,618 Thais were infected with influenza in the first four months of this year, according to the Department of Disease Control. As of May 3, five lost their lives. The department expected the situation to worsen once the new school semester begins. It urged schools to separate students with flu symptoms and send them home immediately. Most of the patients in the first four months were in the northern part of Thailand. They were mostly aged 7-9 years old. Flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. (Source: The Nation)


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