Vol. II No. 14 Saturday 5 April - 11 April 2003
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NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Anti-war protesters stage die in at American Consulate

Do you want to be a super-model?

Conference contributes to future safe clean drinking water

Chiang Mai hosts international conference on drug related harm

Buy Thai campaign for Songkran Festival

Lampang One Tambon-One Product sales top 86 million baht

Computer art on display at CMU

THA supports standardizing hotel grading system

Nan Province will arrange six tribes’ culture festival April 9-11

Decrease in foreign tourists to put a dampener on Songkran?

Government looking for alternative water sources for Bhumibol Dam

Local Liquor Network allowed to produce hooch

Students in rural area to benefit from new Border Patrol Police School

Chiang Mai Muslims stay independent but join boycott of US goods

Wing 41 celebrates Air Force Remembrance Day

War on drugs producing an increase in petty theft?

Ten teachers found to be involved with drugs

Food supplements targeted by Consumer Protection authorities

Illegal immigrants detected at highway checkpoint

Army and police learn about latest drug production methods

Police and Army boost cross-border drug control

Anti-war protesters stage die in at Thapae Gate

Nuttanee Thaveephol

A gathering of Chiang Mai people, joining with United for Peace (Northern Thailand), marched from Thapae Gate to the American Consulate on March 29 to protest against the War in the Gulf. The marchers included students from Chiang Mai University, Thais and foreigners and United for Peace members.

Protesters lie on the ground in front of the American Consulate to demonstrate how innocent people have died.

Protesters increase in numbers in their opposition to the war.

Even children know the Iraqi people are “human”.

The anti-war rally moves along Thapae Road, with protesters carrying red balloons as a symbol of the failure of democracy.

Buddhists, Muslims, and Christians joined the front against war.

At the consulate, some of the protesters lay on the ground to represent how innocent people have died in the war. Many also laid black ribbons and wreaths, and released red balloons to indicate the end of democracy.

Marchers called “Peace stops war!” repeatedly, while the protesters raised placards with “Bush the Head of Terrorism”, “Bush, Blair killing democracy” and “Iraqi people are also human, Stop War!”

Protestors said that these activities were not aimed to promote Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s regime or that of American President George W. Bush, but to protest against war itself. They demanded that the US and its allies cease military operations in Iraq and withdraw their armies and revert to weapons inspections to protect the world’s peace.

Pol. Maj. Gen. Kasem Rattanasuntorn, Chiang Mai provincial police commander, instructed the traffic police to keep the demonstration from obstructing traffic flow in the area.


Do you want to be a super-model?

Enter the Preaw Super Model 2003 contest

Autsadaporn Kamthai

Central Airport Plaza in cooperation with Preaw Magazine are searching for the new face of Thailand in its Preaw Super Model Contest 2003 this coming June 14, at the Grand Hall.

Preaw Magazine is offering you the chance to become a super model - just enter the Preaw Super Model Contest 2003.

Many former winners have made it big in the Thai entertainment and movie industry, including “Mamee” Nakaprapa Nakprasit, the hot sexy star from “Mae Bia”, who is now in the international movie “Butterfly”, “Hyn” Sasithorn Panichanok, the beautiful actress from “Ta Lum Pook” or sweet-faced “Haisin” from “Jan Dara” movie and “Chompoo” Araya A., the pretty actress who has many drama performances televised through TV Channel 7.

The first round for this contest will be held at the Plaza and those who make it through will have to put their best foot forward on July 25 at the Bangkok Convention Center, Sofitel Central (Ladprao) Hotel, Bangkok.

If you want to be a shining on the catwalk get an application form at Public Relations Counter, 1st floor of Central Airport Plaza. For more information contact 053 281 661 ext. 1307, 1308, 1310, 1312.


Conference contributes to future safe clean drinking water

Ampai Kuntawong

The International Conference on Water Resources Management for Safe Drinking Water in Chiang Mai from March 26-29 was aimed at finding a resolution to deteriorated water resources as well as to manage and maintain safe drinking water levels.

The organizer, Asst. Prof. Nipon Tuwanon, president of the Chiang Mai University Faculty of Science, told the seminar that contaminated water resources were a major problem directly affecting both above and below ground water resources.

The forum was arranged for scientists, engineers and administrators to exchange information and views relating to the current status and future directions of scientific research and technological development towards the provision of safe drinking water.

Approximately 60 papers were prepared for presentation in the conference. Approximately half were contributed by distinguished scientists and engineers from various overseas countries including Australia, Bangladesh, China, Germany, India, Japan, Sri Lanka, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

The conference is expected to make a substantial contribution towards Thailand’s water resource management to ensure adequate supplies of clean, safe drinking water.


Chiang Mai hosts international conference on drug related harm

“Lead poisoning” appears to be a main “harm” during the suppression!

Supatatt Dangkrueng

The Asian Harm Reduction Network (AHRN) is working with the International Harm Reduction Association, to hold the 14th International Conference on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm April 6-10 at the Westin Hotel in Chiang Mai.

Organizers expect more than one thousand people will participate in this conference. As Thailand is the host country, the Public Health Ministry of Thailand, Office of Narcotics Control Board will join in this meeting to provide technical data on drugs commonly used in Thailand. Hopefully some rehabilitative work to reverse the harm related to drug abuse among Thai citizens will come from this conference.

It is expected that the participants will stay on in Chiang Mai to enjoy the Songkran water-splashing festival and help fill the tourism coffers during this time.


Buy Thai campaign for Songkran Festival

Ampai Kuntawong

Chiang Mai has launched a campaign to use local Thai products during the upcoming Songkran Festival, from April 1 to 8 to encourage people to buy products in the terms of the One Tambon-One Product scheme.

Udom Maneechai, chief of the Chiang Mai Community Development Office, said that Chiang Mai is the center of various cultures and customs including the Songkran Festival, which is also called Pee Mai Muang (traditional Thai New Year celebration).

There are many admirable cultures reflected during the Songkran Festival like dressing in the Thai Lanna style and using locally made products. Significantly, this custom demonstrates the close relationship between family members and shows respect for elders. During the festival there will be a large number of tourists visiting Chiang Mai.

Therefore, Udom concluded that it is the right time to encourage Chiang Mai people to maintain such traditions as dressing in Thai Lanna style and using local products during the festival.


Lampang One Tambon-One Product sales top 86 million baht

Autsadaporn Kamthai

The One Tambon-One Product scheme is progressing well, Lampang Governor Chalermpol Prateepwanich reports. Sales of local Lampang products have been hot-ticket items at many fairs both in the province and beyond, and to date, sales have amounted to over 87 million baht, well over the estimated 43 million baht the local organization had hoped for.

People in Lampang have worked very hard to improve their local products, the governor said, and have effectively raised the standards of their offerings. Lampang products have been approved by the One Tambon-One Product judging committees from many villages.

Food and Drug Administration certificates have been awarded to 24 Lampang Brand labeled products, and 37 products have received certificates at various contests.

Apart from selling products directly, 25 Lampang products can be bought through e-commerce. There is also a website containing information on 100 different villages in Thailand, although the web site address was not made immediately available.

The Lampang governor said that in this fiscal year’s budget, Lampang expected to gain 99 million baht from its products, but during the last 6 months sales from its products amounted to 98,289,062 baht. He now expects that Lampang will gain 200 million baht from its local products for the full year.


Computer art on display at CMU

Hold your mouse and click here!

Autsadaporn Kamthai

The Chiang Mai University (CMU) Art Museum, with the Faculties of Fine Arts and Architecture in cooperation with the Initiative for Cultural Exchange and Computer Arts (ICECA) is hosting the first New Media Arts Festival in Thailand, which commenced on March 28 and will run through to April 15.

The exhibition includes computer art, interactive art, video art, on-line projects as well as sound and computer installations. A special collection of Thai animation works will be presented at the CMU’s Faculty of Fine Arts. There are over 120 original media art works being shown at 3 locations on the CMU campus. These will utilize over 40 computers, 4 theater-size screens and the Internet.

A seminar on Media Art, Video Art, Interactive-Art, Electronic-Art and Software-Art has participants from USA, Germany, Holland, Denmark, UK, Israel, Greece, Russia, Ireland, Scotland, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Italy, France, Belgium, Romania, Serbia, Estonia, Brazil, Czech Republic, Canada, Mexico, South Africa, Philippines, Thailand, New Zealand and Nicaragua.

All festival events, workshops, screenings and exhibitions are free, and you can gain an insight into the festival at http://iceca.chiangmai.ac.th/events/program.html


THA supports standardizing hotel grading system

Chaiyot Yongcharoenchai

Vorapong Muchaotai, the president of Thailand Hotel Association, Northern Chapter stated that the association supports the scheme to standardize the grading system for Thai hotels.

The agreement came out of a Thailand Hotel Standard Management Conference last week organized by the Tourism Authority of Thailand and held at Chiang Mai Orchid Hotel.

“A standardized grading system would benefit the hotel industry in Thailand, not only by raising the standards, but by promoting the potentiality of Thai hotel marketing in this period of furious competition,” Vorapong said.

The method to accomplish this task would be the internationally recognized “5-star” method. Hotels that apply for this grading system have to be licensed operations and have been open for business for at least one year. Hotels would be assigned a standard rating of one to five stars.

Gradings can be shown at the main entrance of a hotel for 3 years but if the standard is not maintained, the sign will be withdrawn.


Nan Province will arrange six tribes’ culture festival April 9-11

Chertchai Wibulwuttikul, the Song Khae district chief, said that the district authorities will organize the “6 Tribes’ Cultures and Song Khae’s Good Things Festival” April 9-11 aiming to preserve the culture of hill tribes living in Song Khae District.

The district has a hill tribe population that includes Hmong, Thai Lue, Myan, Thin, Kamu, and Koa hill tribe minority groups.

There will be many activities during this local Nan festival, such as tribal performances, youth music contests, a headman singing contest, dancing contests and a hill tribe beauty contest.

It is expected that during this time, hill tribe people will come back to their homes to join the celebration and visit their relatives during the Songkran water pouring festival.

This festival is sponsored by Nan Provincial Authorities, Sports Authorities of Thailand, Tambon Na Rai Luang and Chondaen Administrative Organizations. The Song Khae district chief said that this celebration will be held annually from this year.


Decrease in foreign tourists to put a dampener on Songkran?

Phitsanu Thepthong and
Autsadaporn Kamthai

Occupancy rates for Chiang Mai Hotels was expected to be only 60% during the 5 day Songkran water festival and celebration held from April 10-15, according to Vorapong Muchaotai, the president of Thai Hotel Associations (THA), Northern Chapter. When compared to the past three years, the hotel occupancy rates in Chiang Mai were as high as 80-90 %.

Cancellations have been happening since January this year, particularly among European tourist groups, reported Vorapong, adding that the given cause of the cancellations was the US-Iraq conflict.

Vorapong, who is also the vice president of the Chiang Mai Tourism Business Association, remarked that most of the tourists booked into Chiang Mai hotels were mainly domestic tourists and visitors, businessmen, government officials, private companies and hotel clients from tourist markets in other Asian countries.

Several leading airlines have changed their air routes and strategies to avoid routes passing over the Middle East where the war in the gulf continues. The number of passengers flying over these areas have fallen by over 50%. He expected more cancellations from the European, American, and Australian tourist markets.


Government looking for alternative water sources for Bhumibol Dam

By Supatatt Dangkrueng

The Department of Alternative Energy and Efficiency, led by Deputy Director-General Sawat Hemkamol, has held discussions with people from the Chao Phraya River basin on ways to establish an alternative water supply for the Bhumibol Dam.

Department of Alternative Energy and Efficiency Deputy Director General Sawat Hemkamol meets people at the water supply seminar.

A seminar, with participants from Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Tak, Nakhon Sawan, and Kamphaeng Petch provinces has been held to follow up results of the study.

Several years ago there were water shortages during the dry season in the Chao Phraya River basin, even though the Bhumibol Dam had 5,569 cubic meters of water out of its total capacity of 9,662 cubic meters. The study recommends that the correct solution is to dam up the water level from other domestic water resources.

People from provinces like Tak, Mae Hong Son, Nakhon Sawan, Kamphaeng Petch, Lamphun and Chiang Mai will follow up the study results.

Since February 1999, the department has been studying the most effective way to transfer water from domestic water resources and the Mae La Ma Luang River in Sop Moei District, Mae Hong Son Province is a choice.

It shows that there are two possibilities to redirect water into the Bhumibol Dam. They will now go on to study the property and environmental impacts from the project.

This scheme has been planned to solve water shortage problems during the dry season. It is also expected that the water quantity in the Bhumibol Dam will be sufficient to serve human consumption as well as agriculture.


Local Liquor Network allowed to produce hooch

But the license is necessary first, says PM

Autsadaporn Kamthai and Nuttanee Thaveephol

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said in his “Thaksin Talk with the People” radio program broadcast on March 22 that the government has agreed to let local people produce their whisky but to do so legally they must have a permit from the Excise Department.

PM Thaksin said that alcohol is a habit-forming drug that must be strictly controlled. Producers who do not apply for the required permits will be arrested.

Jamnong Thepsena from the Chiang Rai Provincial Excise Office said that wine and whisky producers in Chiang Rai can apply for permission at the Excise office.


Students in rural area to benefit from new Border Patrol Police School

Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn presides over opening ceremony

Autsadaporn Kamthai

The Border Patrol Police School was constructed to honor HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on the occasion of her 48th birthday. It was built under the patronage of the Airport Authority of Thailand (AAT), which provided some 11 million baht budget to build the school. Following approval from the Princess, the school was named the Border Patrol Police School.

The school has eight buildings, including three study buildings, a home economics building, an activities building, and cooperative store. It has been constructed in Lanna style architecture and is surrounded by forest.

The school has been built to meet HRH the Princess’s aim to extend secondary education for rural students. This school is located in Mae Salong Sub-district, Mae Fah Luang District, Chiang Rai, and is the first Border Patrol Police School that has a secondary program. The Forestry Department allowed the school to be built on 50 rai of National Reserved Forest.

The school will admit 120 secondary students. It has 18 border patrol police teachers and one civilian teacher.


Chiang Mai Muslims stay independent but join boycott of US goods

Ampai Kuntawong

The president of the Chiang Mai Muslim Association, Din Arlee, believes Chiang Mai Muslims will not join the anti-war movements of the Southern Muslims.

However, like all Muslims in Thailand, they will boycott products carrying American brands, especially Coca Cola and Pepsi drinks.

He asserted that 20,000 Muslims in Chiang Mai would not participate in anti-war protests beyond praying for the Iraqis.

Buddhists in Chiang Mai will join Buddhists worldwide in prayers for universal peace.

Din Arlee said the 20,000 Muslims expected to attend the Anti Drug Sport Challenge on April 5-7, would come to Chiang Mai for sport only and not to protest against the war in Iraq.

The president said everybody would obey Chula Rajamontri, the chief of the Muslims, who has commanded all to pray in church to keep a good image and to create a peaceful atmosphere. Din also indicated that all Muslims in Chiang Mai totally disagree with the war but seem to concur with UN commands.


Wing 41 celebrates Air Force Remembrance Day

Supatatt Dangkrueng

Air Force officers who gathered on the Royal Thai Air Force Remembrance Day - March 27 - heard Wing 41’s Commander, Group Captain Anond Chariyaphan, deliver a message sent from Air Chief Marshal Kongsak Wantana.

Wing 41’s Commander Group Captain Anond Chariyaphan salutes the 89th Air Force Remembrance Day.

Air Force officers get together to commemorate Remembrance Day.

This was the 89th year of the Remembrance Day. The merit making ceremony started in the early morning, and was followed by the conferring of certificates to officers and delivery of a message from the Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Air Force.

The three officers who received certificates were: Squadron Leader Mayuri Yongsawai, Air Warrant Officer Sompong Hongwiangchan, and permanent employee Banlue Saorotha.

The Royal Thai Air Force was officially established on March 27, 1914.


War on drugs producing an increase in petty theft?

Chiangmai Mail trainee reporter robbed

News department

Chiangmai Mail trainee reporter Ampai Kuntawong had her bag snatched and lost over 11,000 baht.

While riding home at 10.30 p.m., 2 men on a motorcycle rode up on her left, snatched her bag from her shoulder and rode off. Inside her bag, there was a mobile phone, a wallet, a dictionary computer and cash.

She informed the Changpuak police that the robbery occurred on Santitham Road, and she tried to ride after them, but there were many sois in that area and she was unable to keep up with the fleeing robbers.

The police officer said that petty theft such as bag snatching is on the increase and they feel that this is as a result of the drug suppression, which has increased to price of drugs such as ya ba.

When the addicts need drugs, they have to find more money which they do in the easiest way by petty theft.

Police suggested that everyone should be aware and take care of their property by keeping valuables on their person, rather than in shoulder bags, avoid dark areas at night and travel in company, rather than alone.

In ridding society of one evil, have we opened another can of worms?


Ten teachers found to be involved with drugs

2,605 students fingered as well

Chaiyot Yongcharoenchai

An inspector with the Ministry of Education has stated that 10 teachers have been implicated and found guilty on drug charges. Most have been removed from office, but others are awaiting judicial findings.

Boonrat Wrongyai, the Ministry of Education’s Region 10 Office inspector stated that he had investigated the teachers, who were from Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lamphun, Lampang and Phayao.

Unfortunately a large number of students in region 10 were found to have drug problems. Some 2,605 students were arrested as drug users and 205 students were found to be drug dealers.

The principals of every school in region 10 areas have been charged by the Ministry of Education with solving the problem.


Food supplements targeted by Consumer Protection authorities

Eat more vegetables and save your money is the call

Ampai Kuntawong and Autsadaporn Kamthai

Jaroon Yanasarn, the chief of Consumer Protection Division, Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office, said that high intensity marketing of various kinds of food supplements has come under their scrutiny recently. Exaggerated claims that supplements can cure diseases or increase intelligence have been noted by his department.

One food supplement which he mentioned by name is Spirulina. This is one product that claims in its advertisements that it can cure any serious diseases. Chiang Mai Public Health affirmed, however, that Spirulina could not cure any diseases, and was only indicated as a supplement for convalescent patients since it was only a high protein (amino acid) product and contains chromium, magnesium and chlorophyll that could be found in vegetables.

Although Ministry of Health allows food supplements to be sold, it does not allow producers to exaggerate their product’s qualities. Those in violation can be fined and imprisoned. It seems as if the manufacturers are ignoring this.


Illegal immigrants detected at highway checkpoint

Sex trade organized through Bangkok agency

Chaiyot Yongcharoenchai

Highway Police in Denchai District, Phrae Province arrested five illegal immigrants who had been working in Bangkok in the sex industry. The aliens were detected at a routine highway immigration checkpoint.

Highway police set up the immigration checkpoint on the Phrae-Denchai-Utaradit Road looking for aliens coming into town for the Songkran Festival. They noticed one tour bus from Bangkok, whose driver was acting suspiciously. Police pulled the bus over and began checking the ID cards of the 25 passengers on the bus. Five girls at the rear of the bus looked nervous, and none had the necessary IDs. They admitted they were en route to Mae Sai District in Chiang Rai Province.

Police Captain Pisan Kamwongpin, from the Denchai District Police Station investigated and the five women confessed that they were from Yawn town in Burma, having come into Thailand through Mae Sai District, Chiang Rai. The agency that had arranged this had sent them to work in Bangkok as singers in restaurants or as prostitutes.

They were all charged with being illegal immigrants into the Kingdom and have been deported.


Army and police learn about latest drug production methods

Supatatt Dangkrueng

The Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) has launched a training course to examine or test for precursor chemicals used in the production of drugs.

Teerapat Santimetaneedol, secretary of ONCB chaired the first two group seminars on drug testing for primary substances or precursor chemicals at the Holiday Garden Hotel from March 27-28, and from April 3-4.

The training course was provided for both police and military officers who are working with drug suppression, especially on detecting the initially processed substance. These substances can be used to produce methamphetamine pills; hence it is important to seize these precursor chemicals before they are used in drug production.

Teerapat said the operation teams are also keeping their eyes on new ways of drug trafficking. The most recent police discovery was ya ba hidden in milk cartons being smuggled in from China border areas.

The precursor chemicals are still smuggled across borders into illegal labs where methamphetamine tablets are produced. Ephedrine, used for the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine in the region, is diverted and smuggled out of China and India, say the officials.

Fifty police officers from Provincial Police Region 5 and Provincial Police Region 6 became the first group of officers being trained on March 27-28, and on April 3-4, an additional 50 military officers from the Third Army Region were trained.

It is expected that the operation teams should now know some of the drug traffickers’ new tricks and how to search for precursor chemicals used to produce drugs.


Police and Army boost cross-border drug control

Chaiyot Yongcharoenchai

Border Patrol Police (BPP), Regional Headquarters 3 is preparing its forces to close the northern borders in the beginning of April.

Pol. Maj. Gen. Thanakorn Siriaut, the BPP commander said Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has commanded him to send more border patrol police forces to close the borders because of a serious influx of drugs flowing into Thailand from neighboring countries.

Most of the drugs come into Thailand through the Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son borders.

BPP, Regional Headquarters 3 plans to send another two more companies for a specific mission to close the borders in the northern part of Thailand from the beginning of April.

The Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son borders normally have only five companies of border police. Having at least seven companies would make the force stronger and more powerful.

The BPP commander said he had already arranged with the 3rd Army Region to bring in some military forces to help cope with the drug problem areas. They will be stationed at the Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son border areas.

The troops will be sent from Phitsanulok, Nan and Utaradit provinces because they are experienced and skilled in the lands and the routes near the northern Thailand borders.



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