Vol. V No. 24 - Saturday June 10, - June 16, 2006
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by Saichon Paewsoongnern
 

 


Columns
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Your Health & Happiness

The Doctor's Consultation

Agony Column

Camera Class by Snapshot

Money Matters

Life in the Laugh Lane

Your Health & Happiness: Hand Sanitizer kills the avian ‘bird flu’ virus

New study claims Skinvisible’s patent-pending Chlorhexidine Hand Sanitizer kills the avian ‘bird flu’ virus H5N1 on contact for up to four hours

First drug delivery system of its kind to carry an active ingredient on the hands to prevent the spread of disease-causing viruses and bacteria
A new hand sanitizer could offer greater protection against the spread of the ‘bird flu’ virus H5N1 through personal contact with carriers of the virus, according to study results released today by Skinvisible Pharmaceuticals, Inc.The Las Vegas-based research and development company for topical skin applications announced that its patent-pending Chlorhexidine Antimicrobial Hand Sanitizer had a greater than 98 percent inactivation/kill on the “bird flu” virus H5N1 for up to four hours on skin.
The new study, conducted by Retroscreen Virology, a subsidiary of University of London’s Queen Mary School of Medicine, differentiates the Chlorhexidine Antimicrobial Hand Sanitizer from other medicinal scrubs or alcohol-based sanitizers and treatments on the market, which only offer protection upon immediate application to the skin. According to Retroscreen, “antiviral hand care products that are shown to inactivate H5N1 will be an important weapon in stopping the spread of this virus. The longer the duration the active stays on the skin to kill the virus the better.”
As major international organizations such as the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control warn that the H5N1 virus may prove to be the source of the next human catastrophe, Skinvisible is looking to establish its Chlorhexidine Antimicrobial Hand Sanitizer as an essential product for the healthcare industry to inactivate/kill this virus if it should become resident on the hands. This could stop person to person cross contamination
“We are pleased with these latest studies and are hopeful that by June 30 we will have completed all studies currently underway with success so we can approach the necessary health authorities worldwide for the appropriate approval process to make this product available to all consumers.” says Terry Howlett, President and CEO of Skinvisible.
Skinvisible Pharmaceuticals developed this antimicrobial hand sanitizer formula, primarily for the healthcare industry, using 2.25 percent Chlorhexidine as the active ingredient. Chlorhexidine is a non-toxic antiseptic that kills or inhibits the growth of disease-causing bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms, and is used for surgical scrub, skin wounds, germicidal hand rinse, and antibacterial dental rinse. Skinvisible’s proprietary Invisicare family of polymer delivery vehicles allow the formulations to stay on the skin for extended periods of time, as shown in this latest study.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the common seasonal influenza flu virus kills nearly one million people globally every year, and Skinvisible believes its Chlorhexidine Hand Sanitizer may offer an alternative to the alcohol-based hand sanitizers now used worldwide in the healthcare industry. Skinvisible’s product also has been tested against a variety of bacteria of concern to the healthcare industry, including the Super Bugs, VRE and MRSA. The product will be undergoing further tests soon against other viruses, including Norovirus (Norwalk), Rhinovirus, Influenza A (H1 and H3), H2 and Influenza B.
About Retroscreen Virology Ltd.
London-based Retroscreen Virology is Europe’s leading contract virology research company, created in 1989 from St. Bartholomew’s Hospital and the Royal London Hospital by Professor John Oxford, a world-renowned influenza virologist. Retroscreen Virology, which specializes in laboratory and clinic-based respiratory virology research, is the only company in the UK that is able to conduct human influenza challenge studies in a specialized quarantine unit with A/Panama/2007/99 and A/New Caledonia/20/99 viruses, and has characterized influenza A (H1N1 and H3N2) and B viruses. Contact: Dr. Rob Lambkin Managing Director. Tel: +44-20-7882-7966.
About Invisicare
At the heart of Skinvisible’s patented technology and trademarked Invisicare family of polymer delivery vehicles is its formula and process for combining hydrophilic and hydrophobic polymers into stable complexes in water emulsions. This allows formulated products using Invisicare as their platform to remain on the skin for extended periods of time, thereby affording active agents a prolonged timeframe to perform their intended functions. Products utilizing Invisicare  have the proven ability to bond active ingredients to the skin for up to four or more hours. They are non-occlusive and allow normal skin respiration and perspiration while moisturizing and protecting against exposure from a wide variety of environmental irritants. When topically applied, these formulated products adhere to the skin’s outer layers, forming a protective bond, resisting wash-off, and delivering targeted levels of therapeutic or cosmetic skincare agents to the skin. They allow enhanced delivery performance for a variety of skincare agents resulting in improved efficacy, longer duration of action, reduced irritation and lower dosage of active agent required. The “invisible” polymer compositions wear off as part of the natural exfoliation process of the skin’s outer layer cells.


The Doctor's Consultation: Beware of the Black Snake?

by Dr. Iain Corness

The workings of the human mind have always fascinated me. We can put such an importance on things that are really inconsequential, but at the same time, ignore items that are important.
As an example of the former, I read the other day that we have developed a new credit card that can cut down our time at the cash register by a whole nine seconds. Instead of 24 seconds at the checkout, you can pay for the weekly groceries in only 15 seconds of your precious time for the transaction. Now isn’t that wonderful? We have another nine seconds each week, to do with which whatever we want! That’s just over half a minute per month! Six minutes a year. An hour in every decade! I hope you use it wisely.
Yet we can ignore symptoms of ill health and refuse to look at potentially life-saving technologies, because we do not make it of high enough importance, or use the old “haven’t got the time” excuse. An excuse you can use no longer if you use your Visa card and the extra nine seconds it gives you.
One of the procedures we tend to overlook is a Colonoscopy, sometimes referred to outside the hospital environs as the ‘black snake’. This is a procedure by which the doctor can look directly at the inside of your entire colon. Not by X-Ray, not CT, not Ultrasound, but look directly at the inside of your insides using a fibre-optic camera.
Colonoscopy is an alternative examination to assess the colon instead of the barium enema which leaves you laying foundation stones for days afterwards. CT scans of the abdomen and pelvis are useful but do not always provide sufficient information about the colon itself. CT scans are also expensive, especially the 64-slice variety. They are, however, excellent tests for looking at structures surrounding the colon and intestines.
Colonoscopy is indicated for patients with many conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease, GI haemorrhage, polyp removal, evaluation of abnormal x-rays of the GI tract and screening for colon cancer.
It is the latter situation that I want to devote a little time to today. Cancer of the colon is a frequent form of cancer, and one that is difficult to cure, often requiring extensive abdominal operations and sometimes ending up with a permanent colostomy bag.
So what is involved? Before the procedure, an oral laxative solution is given the day before. This will cleanse the faeces from the colon. It is important that the preparation be followed completely. If faeces are retained, or the preparation is inadequate, areas of the colon that may be of importance to your health may be missed or misinterpreted. Please also make sure that your physician knows well beforehand if you are taking any blood thinners.
In general, this procedure takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes to perform when done by a trained gastroenterologist. The procedure may take longer depending upon any intervention that may be required for any individual patient.
During the procedure, a fibre optic endoscope (the black snake) will be inserted into the anus. The scope will then be advanced through the inside of the colon to the caecum (the last part of the colon). Inspection and removal of polyps usually is done during withdrawal of the endoscope.
Patients usually receive a combination of intravenous anaesthetics and the dose and frequency of each of these are individualized for each patient. In most cases, patients do not remember their procedure or are adequately sedated such that the discomfort is well tolerated.
During the procedure, the nurse assisting your physician with the procedure will continuously monitor your heart rate, oxygen saturation and blood pressure. Thus, should any difficulties occur, your physician and his team will be aware of the change quickly. As you will still have some sedation at the end of the procedure, it is important that someone else drives you home.
How often should you have this procedure? This is something you should discuss with your doctor. If you have a bad family history, then it should be sooner, rather than later, but you will be generally looking at something between five to ten years.
And do spare the time for it! It may save your life.


Agony Column

Dear Hillary,
I thank you very much for your answer to my letter two weeks ago, and I also thank you much for helping me with my bad englisch (sic). It is correct what you are saying: 1. This was straight from my heart, and 2. my native tongue is also right because I come from Scandinavia and in Scandinavia we have Danich (sic), Norway and Swidich (sic) but most of us understand all three.
I have readed in your fantastic newspaper that you like chookolate (sic) and Champagne and maybe I one day went to you office and give you this but sorry I don’t know were to find Belgian Chocolate-but never mind - I can buy 1 dark choockolate (sic, at least you are consistent) and one light brown and one bottle of Champagne (price in the middle?) I think you will be happy.
I hope you can believe me when I say following during my stay in Thailand I have never had one big problem with Thai people but believe me the big problems I have head have coming from Farangs and especially people from the country I come from in Scandinavia.
David

Dear David,
Thank you too for this second letter, which you can see, I did have to shorten somewhat. I would not worry too much about the spelling, as you can get your message across quite well, and yes, any chocolate and champagne is fine! Do they make chocolate in Scandinavia? It would be a little cold for the grapes, I am sure.
Dear Hillary,
I wonder if you can help us? We are the “Pratathology Society” here in lovely Prattaya and we meet weekly at the Dusit Resort. Our hobby is “POB”(Prats on bikes) watching and we are looking for amateur POB spotters to join our society.
We welcome people of all ages and from all walks of life to join us in our regular “POB Watch”. These outings are both educational and entertaining and a constant source of hilarity for our members.
We are on the lookout for “POBs (the most common both local and introduced) POBWITs (Prats on bikes with tattoos, also fairly common), POBWITERs (Prats on bikes with tattoos and earring(s) less common but on the increase) and the most elusive but ultimately the most spectacular POBWITERPITs (Prats on bikes with tattoos, earring(s)and ponytail). These specimens can be spotted all over Pattaya on the Beach Road, Sukhumvit and Pattaya Tai, Klang and Nua and also increasingly on Soi Siam Country Club and as far east as Mabprachan. They invariably ride bikes that are too heavy, too powerful and too young for them and when they flock together with their females they can be seen and heard revving up their phallic symbols like the petrol price was still B. 15 per litre! Many thanks for a great publication,
EasyRider

Dear EasyRider,
You certainly did pick the right nom de plume, didn’t you, my Petal. Reviewer Tom Dirks a few years ago described Easy Rider as an extremely successful, low-budget (under $400,000), counter-cultural, independent film for the alternative youth/cult market, with sex, drugs, casual violence, a sacrificial tale (with a shocking, unhappy ending), and a pulsating rock and roll soundtrack reinforcing or commenting on the film’s themes. Just for interest, groups that participated musically included Steppenwolf, Jimi Hendrix, The Band and Bob Dylan.
However, Middle America’s hatred for the long-haired motorcyclists is shown in the film’s famous ending. Death seems to be the only freedom or means to escape from the system in America where alternative lifestyles and idealism are despised as too challenging or free. And all that was 1969, and here we all are, 37 years later, and you are having problems letting some folk wishing to express an alternative lifestyle just be themselves. The Middle America syndrome is alive and well. What is wrong with being a POB? Your group of voyeurs who meet weekly are just as much deviates from the central thread of society, if you really want to sit down there in your Dusit easy chairs and contemplate life, its meaning and your navel.
At your next weekly meeting, play Steppenwolf’s Born To Be Wild and remember the days when you too thought you could be free and just motor off into an idyllic future.
“Get your motor runnin’
Head out on the highway
Lookin’ for adventure
And whatever comes our way
Chorus 1
Yeah, darlin’ gonna make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of the guns at once and
Explode into space.”
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, did it, EasyRider? You found that you couldn’t be free either. As the slogans on promotional posters in 1969 proclaimed, they were on a search: “A man went looking for America and couldn’t find it anywhere.” What is it that you and your “Pratathology Society” is really looking for? Poking fun at the tattooed bikers, which you describe as “invariably ride bikes that are too heavy, too powerful and too young for them” will not get you anywhere either. As Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper showed in the movie, discrimination by what one wears, what one does and how one appears has no real value in this world. It didn’t in 1969, and it doesn’t in 2006.


Camera Class:  How to beat red eye

by Harry Flashman

There are many causes for ‘red eye’. There is late nights with excessive alcohol and scratchy contact lenses or the highly contagious medical ‘red eye’, and then photographic ‘red eye’ which is a condition often seen with many flash photographs these days. And unfortunately, it can spoil what is otherwise a great portrait.
The photographic cause of ‘red eye’ is the flash burst illuminating the back of the eyeball! This is also particularly a problem with most cameras that have their own in-built flash. And that’s about most of them these days. It also happens just as much with digital images, so it’s not a “film” problem.
The reason for the red eye is that the beam of light from the flash is very close to and parallel with the optical axis of the lens, so the lens “looks” directly into the back surface of the eyeball illuminated by the flash beam. Another reason for the prevalence of ‘red eye’ is that in low light situations (and that’s the times when you have to use flash illumination) the subject’s pupils are also dilated and so it becomes even easier to see into the eye.
Now the observant ones amongst you will have noted that you don’t get ‘red eye’ when you photograph the family dog! You get ‘white eye’ or ‘green eye’. You see, the red color comes from light that reflects off the blood vessels in the retina of our eyes. However, in many animals, including dogs, cats and reindeer, the retina has a special reflective layer called the Tapetum Lucidum that acts almost like a mirror at the back of their eyes. If you shine a flashlight or headlights into their eyes at night, their eyes shine back at you with bright, white light. The flash burst is reflected in the same way.
The way to get around the problem is actually quite difficult. Pro shooters will use a flash gun mounted to the side of the camera, so the flash burst actually goes across the eyeball at an angle and does not light up the back of the eyeball, where the camera lens is “looking” at. I use an ancient Metz 45 CT1, mainly just for that reason.
However, not everyone wants a large flash gun hanging off their camera, so some of the camera manufacturers have produced a ‘pre-flash’ mode (sometimes called ‘red eye’ mode). The “pre-flash” mode gives a short burst of light before the main flash fires to make the pupil contract, so it is less likely that you will see inside the eyeball. The only problem here is that many people imagine that the “pre-flash” going off means picture taking is over and move away. Best to warn the subject that there will be two flashes, with the real one being the last one! Countless numbers of good shots have been ruined by the subject walking off before the shutter had fired, thinking that the pre-flash was the right one!
Another trick is to turn on all the room lights, if you are photographing indoors. If the ambient light levels are quite high, this again causes the pupil to constrict. It is the dilated pupil that lets just so much light into the back of the eye, which also explains why photographs of people at parties have even more ‘red eye’. (Alcohol dilates the pupil!)
Of course, if you still end up with ‘red eye’, there are other ways of now correcting the situation. All these involve the use of digitizing the image (scanning or using a digital camera) and then using an image manipulating program.
One of the simplest is to use Paint Brush, put it on a nice green, lower the opacity, and paint over the red using your zoom tool. Green, for these purposes, is opposite red on the colour wheel, so it’s the complementary colour, and they will cancel each other out. This method will work for any version. You will just have to vary the opacity, depending on how red the eye is. The other digital method is to use Paint Shop Pro version 7 which has Choose Effects, Enhance Photo, and then click on Red-eye Removal.


Money Matters:  Gold - Onwards and Upwards

Part 1

Alan Hall
MBMG International Ltd.

James Turk is the founder of Goldmoney.com and he pinpointed the start of the current bull market in gold in September 2002. Also, he has been spot-on in continuing to assess the direction of the metal and the drivers behind its move.
Turk, a longtime authority on gold and other precious metals, started Goldmoney.com as a company that enables online cross-border commercial transactions using gold as a currency. He is also a co-author of The Coming Collapse of the Dollar, published in 2004 by Doubleday. As you might surmise from the title of the book, Turk sees plenty of room for gold to climb higher. This is because he thinks there are still problems with the dollar, and that’s being reflected in a higher gold price. So, in reality, it is not that gold is going higher - it’s that the dollar is going lower. An ounce of gold still purchases as much crude oil, essentially as it did 50 years ago, but that can’t be said about dollars.
One of the factors that allowed Turk to be so good was that he based his forecasts on the now non-reported M-3 numbers. He was quite scathing about this, “They said the motivation for doing that was to save the time of reporting it, and they’re also going to save a million dollars in the cost of compiling that data. I find it quite shocking they would stop reporting M-3, because it is the most important component of money, revealing the total quantity of dollars in circulation. My guess is they want to try to hide the amount of inflation that’s in the pipeline”.
He believes that when the US Government stopped reporting M-3, it was growing at well over 8% per year, and the annual growth trends were increasing so it was all part of this policy to control inflationary expectations. However, he thinks it is a big mistake because it will end up heightening people’s concerns about the dollar. And that’s going to make gold go up.
He does not believe the US Dollar is in crisis now, as some people do, but he has stated that if you look at where the dollar has come in the past few years in terms of loss of purchasing power, “we haven’t reached a panic point yet. But I still fear we are going to see a panic in the dollar at some point in the future”.
There are other concerns such as the worries overseas about the prospects of the US Dollar - particularly from sophisticated investors - wealthy individuals as well as some money managers. This has been linked to two specific events. First, Chinese National Offshore Oil Co., or CNOOC, was not permitted to purchase Unocal. Most people at the time shrugged it off as just a one-off event. But when the Dubai Ports deal was blocked, that really changed people’s perceptions, because it made clear holders of dollars outside the United States are not going to be allowed to exchange their money for things of tangible value.
Worldwide, there is an increasing desire to convert dollars into such things as commodities, which dollars can still buy. The boom in commodities to a large extent is the result of people exiting dollars. People are looking for alternatives to the U.S. dollar, and the dollar’s role as the world’s reserve currency is being questioned seriously now.
The Russian finance minister raised the issue in the recent G-7 meetings. This questioning is a critical development. Financing the growing federal budget deficit and trade deficit requires that a large amount of dollars be created. These dollars are being created as demand for the dollar is declining - from all sources. The central banks are diversifying out of the dollar, as are individuals and corporations. This could be interpreted as seeing the monetary system as being broken. It is possible to say this because there is no discipline on U.S. dollar creation.
The gold standard’s greatest attribute was forcing discipline on the creation of national currencies; if too much national currency was being created, gold would flow from one country to another and eliminate and minimize the impact of the boom- and-bust cycles. The huge trade imbalances we are seeing now between China and the U.S., and the U.S. and other countries, never could have existed under the gold standard.
Ultimately, capital controls may have to come to the U.S. as a way for the government to attempt to deal with these huge trade and international capital-flow imbalances. Instead of limiting the amount of dollars in circulation and trying to get back to some kind of a disciplined basis, we are probably going to move toward capital controls as the next. The protectionism mentioned above with the Dubai and Unocal deals is an excellent indication of this, as protectionism and capital controls are very closely related.
Turk still believes that in the long term gold could reach USD8,000 per ounce. In the short term, he believes that USD2,000 is not inconceivable. There are two aspects to what’s driving the gold price: First, there is strong physical demand around the world. When gold crossed the $500-an-ounce level, people started buying gold in anticipation of monetary problems. Second, the physical demand for gold is causing a huge problem for the gold shorts. There has been a large gold carry trade in place. It is very possible gold could have a massive spike in the next six to 12 months to as high as $2,000, driven by these factors.
The problems lie in the fact that central banks loaned a lot of gold from their reserves. It was borrowed by various banks and others for the carry trade. You borrow gold at very low interest rates and sell it at the spot price. Then you invest the proceeds in higher-yielding dollars and other currencies. As long as the gold price doesn’t rise, you are going to make a lot of money on the spread. But in a rising gold-price environment, you are stuck. You have to buy that gold back or suffer the consequences of ultimately having to deliver the gold at a much higher price than what you are earning from your assets. The bullion banks and others who borrowed it are short. What’s happening in gold is probably even worse in silver, in the sense that the short position in silver looks even bigger than gold’s. Recently, silver has risen more rapidly than gold.
Turk thinks it was a mistake for people to get out of the gold market when they did because they were expecting a correction which often happens at the start of a bull market. “In December, when gold went over $500 an ounce, I said gold is never going back below $500, ever. Now we have to think about the possibility that gold is never going to go back below $600, ever”.
He states that gold is too cheap and undervalued. It is easy to draw a comparison to the 1970s when gold went through $50 and never looked back. After Nixon closed the gold window in August 1971, gold went from $40 to $120 an ounce in the next two years. Adjusting for inflation, it can be argued that $500 today is like $42 in 1971. Multiply $120 by 11 times in order to get the inflation-adjusted dollar equivalent, and you get a potential target of more than $1,300 an ounce.
To be continued next week…

The above data and research was compiled from sources believed to be reliable. However, neither MBMG International Ltd nor its officers can accept any liability for any errors or omissions in the above article nor bear any responsibility for any losses achieved as a result of any actions taken or not taken as a consequence of reading the above article. For more information please contact Alan Hall on [email protected]


Life in the Laugh Lane: The Klutz Klub

by Scott Jones

Clubs never attracted me. I’ve played in clubs but seldom joined any. For years I had a card in my wallet for a TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday) Club alternative called the POETS (Piss On Everything Tomorrows Saturday) Club, but I never met another member.
As a pre-pubescent pup in fourth grade, I did start a club after the girls were taken out of class, sent to the auditorium and shown a sex education film. Were boys supposed to learn about sex on the streets, which, in North Dakota, were frozen solid for seven months every year? Anything learned about the birds and the bees in Fargo had to do with hornet stings and pigeon poop.
In our small, Silly Putty brains, the Girl Haters Club was the ideal form of protest. Membership exploded and our activities were tremendously successful for a few of those long, lingering childhood days that lasted forever. The club disintegrated quickly when the gym teacher found our secret manual containing initiation rites like “Step on the toes of 10 different girls” plus inventive drawing of how babies were made and what we thought girls might look like under their clothes. Unlike the Science Club, we were not granted official status and the principal sold our manual to the Elks, an ancient American men’s club, where it is still in use today.
Presently I am only a member of one club: The Klutz Klub. (Dictionary says: Klutz – someone who drops things or falls easily.) I’m not particularly proud of this club, but I was born into it and only death can take me out. My father started it and because I inherited his klutz gene, I was in by default. Even if people want to be a member of the Klutz Klub, it is difficult to get in.
Members must not only have an innate and consistent proficiency for dropping, spilling, breaking, or completely destroying anything, everything and themselves, they must also add a creative touch to their capers. For example, during a concert in Des Moines, Iowa, it may have been normal for my pants to rip audibly, leaving me with a 10-inch tear from crotch to rear belt loop. (I backed around on stage a lot.) The creative part came the next night in Duluth, Minnesota, when I walked to stage down the aisle through the audience wearing the same unrepaired pants from the previous night. The memory is exceptionally clear since I wasn’t wearing any underwear. (You’re thinking, “He should have seen that film in fourth grade. Maybe we can still get him a copy.”)
As I sit here deciding which klutz moments to confess, I marvel I’m still alive and haven’t broken or lost everything I own. Example #489: When living in Boston and working three jobs – carpenter by morning, school bus driver by afternoon and musician by evening – my brain would take little vacations. During errands one Saturday, I stop by my apartment to pick up something, leave my International Scout truck running in the street and run inside. I talk with the neighbor, eat dinner and go to bed several hours later. The next morning, I walk out to get the paper and notice my car in the street, with the door open, still running. (At least I didn’t run out of gas.)
Soon after that incident, Scott and his Scout have a close encounter with a telephone pole. Unfortunately, only the telephone pole and I survive. When I cash the insurance check, I ask for 300 brand new dollar bills. On the way home, I visualize throwing the money into the air, encircling my girlfriend and me with floating greenbacks, and yelling, “We’re rich, honey, we’re rich!” I open the door, see her on the other side of the room and hurl the money. However, as is the habit of fresh new paper, all the bills stick together, shoot across the room like a rectangular shot-put, and hit her in the face. She is not impressed. I want to say, “I’m very sorry, but you’re just lucky I didn’t come in here with thirty rolls of quarters,” but I also want to live. Needless to say, I am no longer with this woman.
Stay tuned next week for more embarrassing confessions. It’s not easy admitting all this stuff, but someone has to do it.



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