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Heavy rain expected nationwide

Posted by hasekamp on 26 July 2016 at 10:54 AM
The rainy season is in full swing: The Meteorological Department has warned of heavy rain nationwide from Thursday to Sunday due to a strong monsoon in the South and a storm approaching southern China. The forecast is for rain over 40-60% of the country in the next two days, and from Thursday to Sunday it will rain more in the North, the Northeast, the Central Plain including the greater Bangkok, the East and the South. On Tuesday and Wednesday the southwestern monsoon would blanket the Andaman Sea, the South and the Gulf of Thailand, and a powerful low pressure area would cover upper Vietnam. From Thursday to Sunday, the southwestern monsoon would become stronger and a storm would reach southern China, bringing increased rainfall to Thailand. People in the North, the Northeast, the East and the South were advised to prepare for heavy and accumulated rain. People travelling by boats should also take precautions in the Andaman Sea and the upper part of the Gulf of Thailand.(Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Too many buses?

Posted by hasekamp on 25 July 2016 at 15:15 PM
Phuket Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada announced on Saturday that a whopping 100 new tour buses will be added to the province's transportation network next month. Speaking at the Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa in Karon, the governor said that the approval of these buses is the first step in a much larger tourism promotion endeavor that would see the "doubling" of the number of tour buses on the island. "Phuket provincial departments worked with the Department of Land Transport, the Phuket Tourist Association and the Bestlin Group Co Ltd to create solutions that would standardize tourism services in Phuket," Gov Chamroen said. "We're calling this effort the 'Livable City and Safe Travel Project,' and we're focusing on inter-departmental efforts to enhance the safety and convenience of our tourists." Governor Chamroen said the first 100 buses will be put into service on August 15, and that due to a subsidy agreement with the bus manufacturer, local tour operators can begin using the buses immediately, without having to make any down payment or paying any installments on the new vehicles. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Counterfeited goods destroyed

Posted by hasekamp on 25 July 2016 at 15:09 PM
A large amount of seized counterfeit and pirated goods, claimed to be worth about 50 million baht if genuine, were destroyed at Aranyaprathet district's customs checkpoint on Monday. Customs Department chief Kulit Sombatsiri said they had been kept as evidence in court cases that were now concluded, so were no longer needed. The goods included fake designer-brand handbags, watches, shoes, auto parts, CDs, DVDs, and cosmetics. Seized during raids throughout the country, they were broken, torn up, ripped, cut up, crushed and emptied out. Pol Col Thaneewat Tiangpitak, deputy chief of Sa Kaeo police, said the imitation goods had to be destroyed to ensure they did not re-enter the market or possibly be sent to other countries. Sa Kaeo governor Pakkharathorn Thianchai was also at the ceremony. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Car crashes into Erawan Shrine

Posted by hasekamp on 23 July 2016 at 23:03 PM
SIX FOREIGN tourists were injured when a car crashed into a crowd of worshippers at the Erawan Shrine on Friday night, in what police described as an accident. The Thai driver, a 51-year-old woman who suffered a stroke behind the wheel, was also injured in the accident and is in a stable condition after under-going brain surgery, according to police. Four Indonesians and two Singaporeans were injured. Royal Thai Police deputy spokesman Colonel Kritsana Pattanacharoen stated yesterday that the car crash at the Ratchaprasong intersection was an accident caused by the driver, Kaneungnit Thechoeran, suffering an acute stroke. She suddenly lost control of the car and crashed into the shrine while several tourists were worshipping at the Brahma statue, he said. He said the incident was not linked to the deadly attack at Erawan Shrine last year, but Royal Thai Police commissioner-general General Chakthip Chaijinda had ordered officers to closely investigate the case and keep the public updated on the findings. Pol Maj-General Songpol Wattanachai, another Royal Thai Police deputy spokesman, stated that officers were considering whether to charge the driver with reckless driving, and seize her car for investigation. (Source: The Nation)


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Karon had worst flood in decades

Posted by hasekamp on 20 July 2016 at 11:41 AM
Karon experienced the worst flooding in decades after a heavy downpour this morning, the municipality's deputy mayor Ittiporn Sangkaew told the Phuket Gazette today. Shops and houses opposite hillside construction sites along Patak Road were inundated with mud and water up to one meter deep. "This is the worst flooding we've seen in decades," said the deputy mayor. The deputy mayor and municipality staff joined locals in helping them to rescue belongings from the flooded houses and business premises. The flood water subsided after about two hours, confirmed Mr Ittiporn, who added that he has ordered drainage ditches to be dug along the road to prevent more flooding. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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PM saves teak wood

Posted by hasekamp on 20 July 2016 at 11:34 AM
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has put the brakes on a plan to cut down 2,000 teak trees in Chiang Mai for the construction of the new parliament building, following opposition from residents. The decision was revealed Tuesday by acting Royal Forest Department chief Pralong Dumrongthai. He said the prime minister telephoned Natural Resources and Environment Minister Surasak Karnjanarat to stop the plan to chop down the trees at a teak plantation in Mae Ho Phra forest park, which is owned by the FIO in Chiang Mai's Doi Saket district. The new parliament building, already far over budget behind schedule got a strong order from Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha: Do not cut any teak trees to furnish it. He said the Forestry Industry Organisation (FIO) was contacted by the new parliament construction project contractor to supply 2,000 teak trees to be used in the construction of the 12-billion-baht complex in the Kiakkai area of Bangkok. Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction Plc is the construction's contractor. The FIO chose the trees planted in the forest for the construction, but faced resistance from local communities and local governing bodies, Mr Pralong said. Opposition to the plan to cut down the trees also has gone viral on social media. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Is the Thai coup unique?

Posted by hasekamp on 20 July 2016 at 11:28 AM
The military regime has lashed out at its critics, particularly Pheu Thai politicians, for commenting on events in Turkey to undermine the Thai military, saying the political contexts in the two nations are entirely different. The regime's warning comes after several Pheu Thai politicians and red-shirt leaders voiced their opinions about the foiled coup attempt in Turkey, zeroing in on public resistance against the putsch, said the critics had nothing new to offer, and simply intend to capitalise on the event to confuse or mislead the public. However, Col Winthai said most Thais see through their intentions and are aware of Thailand's unique political situation that led to the May 22, 2014 coup. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Boy loses essental organ

Posted by hasekamp on 18 July 2016 at 13:46 PM
A teenage shrimp farm employee had the skin of his penis ripped clean off when he fell onto a spinning mechanical aerator used to oxygenate the water. The victim, a Myanmar national aged 17, suffered severe blood loss. "He was writhing in agony and covered in blood as locals rushed him to Thalang Hospital. He was later moved to Vachira Phuket Hospital," said Capt Suporn Muangkai of the Thalang police. "It turns out it was actually the boy's day off, but he was helping a colleague plaster a wall at the farm when he fell onto the aerator," said Capt Suporn. Doctors could not say at this stage whether the victim will regain full functionality of the organ or not. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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No more croc feeding

Posted by hasekamp on 18 July 2016 at 13:42 PM
A CROCODILE farm in Chon Buri was hit with a ban by the Fisheries Department yesterday on allowing tourists to board a floating platform to feed fully-grown crocodiles in its pond. Chon Buri chief fisheries officer Bancha Sukkaew served the order from the department chief to operators of "Anachak Chang" (the "Realm of the Elephant") farm in Pattaya. The order prohibited tourists from using the platform to feed hungry crocodiles by hoisting chicken meat on rods in the middle of the crocodile pond. The farm's activities have been widely debated after a tourist posted a video clip on Facebook showing tourists teasing the crocodiles by lifting the meat away when the reptiles jumped into the air to try to catch the food. Many men shared the clip and posted notes saying they wished they had a chance to take their wives to the farm. (Source: The Nation)


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Too many convicts?

Posted by hasekamp on 18 July 2016 at 13:38 PM
Somsak Sreesomsong was 18 when he was jailed for selling illegal drugs. Now, turning 30, he is not yet half-way through his 33-year sentence at Bangkok's high-security Klong Prem prison. Somsak was "just a kid, not a big-time dealer", his older brother Panit told Reuters after a visit to the jail. "We're also serving time, waiting for him to get out so he can help the family." More than a decade after Thailand declared a "war on drugs", the country is admitting defeat. As the prison population soars, Justice Minister Paiboon Koomchaya told Reuters he was looking at changes to the country's draconian drug laws. "I want to de-classify methamphetamine but Thailand is not ready yet," said Gen Paiboon, meaning downgrading the drug, popularly known as "meth", from a Category 1 substance, which would reduce jail time for possession or dealing. Use of methamphetamine is spiralling across Southeast Asia, and authorities are struggling to respond. In the Philippines, which has some of the highest rates of "meth" use, police killings of drug suspects have spiked since the swearing-in of President Rodrigo Duterte, elected on a platform of harsh measures to wipe out drug crime. Myanmar, the source of much of the drugs flooding through the region, is bracing for an explosion in domestic use. Overall, drugs supply in Southeast Asia, especially of methamphetamine, is at a record level, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Obesity now a problem

Posted by hasekamp on 13 July 2016 at 12:45 PM
Obesity has reached alarming levels in the Asean Economic Community and especially in Thailand, where 32 per cent of the population are overweight, pushing the country into second place in terms of prevalence of obesity after Malaysia at 44 per cent and ahead of Singapore at 30 per cent. At this current rate of progression and without any vigorous intervention by the public health authorities, it is likely that half the Thai population will be overweight in the coming years. Obesity is defined as having an excess proportion of total body fat. To assess weight, health professionals commonly use the Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is the weight in kilogrammes divided by the square of your height. In the western world, the BMI test is based on WHO criteria and ranges from normal (20-24.9), overweight (25-29.9) to obese (over 30). In Asian countries, the index follows the Regional Office for the Western Pacific (WPRO) standard. Due to the higher risk of developing obesity-related complications compared to the western population, its cut-off point for obesity status is a BMI of greater than or equal to 25 kg/m2. Consequently, Asians are overweight when the BMI is between 23 and 25 and obese when the BMI is equal to or above 25 kg/m2. (Source: The Nation)


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Tiger Temple will lose 80 percent of its land

Posted by hasekamp on 12 July 2016 at 10:55 AM
The notorious Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi province will be reduced to about one-fifth of its present area, with more than 1,000 rai of the land to be seized for distribution to landless farmers. The National Council for Peace and Order early this month ordered the seizure of all illegally occupied agriculture reform land. This affected the 1,322 rai used by the Tiger Temple, properly known as Wat Pa Luang Ta Bowa Yannasampanno, in tambon Sing of Sai Yok district. Wacharin Wakamanont, agricultural land reform chief of Kanchanaburi, said on Tuesday that in 2003 the Office of National Buddhism was granted 391 rai of land designated for agricultural reform for the establishment of the temple, on the condition it be used solely for religious purposes. As the temple had misused the land, the Kanchanaburi branch of the Agricultural Land Reform Office would reduce the total size of the compound to 279 rai  -  about 21% of its current area - to be used only for Buddhist affairs, he said. The temple's tiger zoo operation was shut down about six weeks ago amid suspicions the management was involved in illegal wildlife trafficking. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Bangkok will refurbish buses

Posted by hasekamp on 12 July 2016 at 10:50 AM
The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) will refurbish roughly a quarter of its public buses to reduce costs. The Bangkok bus operator on Tuesday showed some of its refurbished buses at Government House. The programme is in accordance with the government's policy to save costs and delay new purchases. The management of the loss-ridden state enterprise showed some refurbished diesel-engine buses in both air-conditioned and regular types to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha before the cabinet meeting. The vehicles had been in service for 20-22 years. The refurbishment, costing 1.1 million to 1.7 million baht each, should prolong their service life by another decade. The programme, which involves 672 buses, could delay the need to buy many new buses that would cost 3-5 million baht per unit. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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BTS line to Samut Prakan open next year

Posted by hasekamp on 8 July 2016 at 17:51 PM
Work is being sped up on the BTS's southern Green Line extension to ensure the project will be finished by next year, two years ahead of its original schedule. Speaking during an inspection at Samrong station Thursday, Bangkok governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra said he had ordered workers to speed up their work on the the southern extension which runs from Bearing to Samut Prakan, as Samrong Station is expected to launch next year. Samrong station is located in front of Samrong Nua police station. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) expects the Green Line will help ease traffic problems in Bangna and Samut Prakan province. Samrong station on the southern stretch of the Green Line will be the first after Bearing. The line will be the first BMA link for the city with greater Bangkok. The capital will also have the Purple Line, operated by the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA), which will officially open on Aug 6, linking Bang Yai and Tao Pun. Once the southern extension is completed, it would provide greater convenience for commuters who travel between Bangkok and Samut Prakan. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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1000 WiFi spots planned in Phuket

Posted by hasekamp on 8 July 2016 at 17:42 PM
One thousand free WiFi hotspots are to be made available in Phuket in time for the tourist high season at the end of this year. "The hotspots will be made available in Phuket Town and Patong by December, at the latest, as part of Phuket's development as a 'smart city', said the provincial head of the Software Industry Promotion Agency (SIPA), Pracha Asawateera. "The WiFi spots will also be a handy tool to record tourist numbers and learn about the user's internet habits," he said. Mr Pracha did not immediately confirm whether users of the free WiFi would have to register before accessing the hotspots. SIPA is also working to install more CCTV cameras across the province to boost security as part of the smart city drive, said Mr Pracha. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Government opens order centres

Posted by hasekamp on 5 July 2016 at 12:08 PM
THE government has started setting up centres at provincial and district levels nationwide to ensure that the August 7 referendum on the new charter runs smoothly. Government Spokesperson Maj-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the centres, the first of which were opened on Friday, were responsible for emergency planning, monitoring the situation and setting up checkpoints. A crucial order was announced yesterday to facilitate the opening of the centres after there were movements by politicians ahead of the referendum process. Sansern said the centres would seek information on activity that caused commotion, distorted the charter draft's content or violated the referendum law, as well as handle matters in line with the public assembly bill. The centres are run by the Interior Ministry with provincial branches directed by governors and district branches handled by local officials, Sansern added. The centres will deliver executive reports in the pre-referendum phase from now until August 6 and then in the post-referendum phase from August 8 to 10 or until the situation settles. (Source: The Nation)


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Kings health improved

Posted by hasekamp on 5 July 2016 at 12:03 PM
HIS MAJESTY THE KING'S health has improved satisfactorily following the latest treatment for excess cerebrospinal fluid, the Royal Household Bureau said yesterday. In its 30th statement since His Majesty was admitted to Siriraj Hospital, the palace said his team of physicians had adjusted the catheter in his abdomen on Saturday with satisfactory results. The procedure was performed after the doctors conducted an MRI scan to follow up on the treatment of the build-up of water on his brain last month. The scan found that the fluid had receded but the drainage was still slower than normal, so the doctors sought His Majesty's permission to adjust the catheter. On June 18, the doctors changed the catheter after an MRI scan found a build-up of fluid on his brain. The statement said doctors have been monitoring cardiac symptoms with regular electrocardiograph scans following the operation to fix the narrowing of his arteries on June 7. An echocardiography scan on June 26 found that his heart's muscles were working satisfactorily. The statement said the royal patient had developed mild fevers last month but the condition had improved. Doctors continued to give him oxygen and therapy for high levels of phlegm and saliva during the past month. (Source: The Nation)


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109-year-old in Krabi

Posted by hasekamp on 1 July 2016 at 12:19 PM
Plaipraya District Chief Paisarn Srithep visited the oldest living person in Krabi on June 21 and was delighted, and surprised, to find her in good health. Pliaw Petchpuang, 109, was born in 1907. "We were surprised to find that Ms Pliaw is in great health, able to walk unassisted, and indeed busy," said Mr Paisarn. Ms Pliaw stays with her children and grandchildren. During the day, she prefers to clean the house rather than sleep. She has no medical dietary restrictions, but avoids all kinds of meat. Her favorite food is vegetables with Thai-style salad and fish. "She also showed us her ID card, which confirms that she was born in the era of King Rama V. It is astounding that she has lived through the reign of five Thai Kings. Her hearing and vision are both strong, and she has no serious medical issues. She is a great inspiration for us all," said Mr Paisarn. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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New airport in Phang Nga

Posted by hasekamp on 1 July 2016 at 12:15 PM
A new airport in the works at Phang Nga will help ease air traffic issues in Phuket, said Phang Nga Governor Pakkapong Tawiphat at a press conference to reveal the airport plans last week. "The airport is set to be located in Taimuang District. The project is backed by a private company that has asked to remain nameless for the time being," said Governor Pakkapong. "The airport will be situated about 40 kilometers from Phuket International Airport (PIA). Its dimensions and other details have not yet been disclosed." The governor said that the traffic going through PIA is now about 12 million tourists per year, while its current capacity is only about 6.5 million. He added that public hearings would be held in the future to determine whether locals support the idea or not. Airports of Thailand Plc President Nitinai Sirismatthakarn told the Phuket Gazette last month that any further expansion of the domestic terminal building in Phuket will not be possible due to the limitations of the land on which the airport is built. The only options remaining for further airport development would be extension into the sea or removal of the surrounding hills. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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