Vol. VI No. 16 - Tuesday
June 12, - June 18, 2007
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NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

More than a million meth pills torched

Panda pregnancy attempts fail

Celebrating the traditional Sueb Chata

Amazing Lanna campaign is launched

Evacuation drills held in Mae Tang

Health authorities on alert

SEC warns of rampant illegal mutual funds

Silk carpet warehouse goes up in flames

North Koreans keep coming across

More than a million meth pills torched

Saksit Meesubkwang
The Shan State Army (SSA) proudly set fire to what they claim was one of the largest drug seizures on the Thai-Myanmar border.
The bonfire took place at the Shan State Army Doi Kawwan base in Myanmar, across the border from Chiang Rai province on June 6.

More than a million meth pills go up in smoke.
The ceremony was presided over by Col. Yawdserk, head of the SSA, and witnessed by a number of invited guests and media.
The SSA soldiers torched some 1.1 million methamphetamine pills with a street value in Thailand of 28.5 million baht. The pills were reportedly seized from the pro-junta militia led by Ja Seu-bo.
According to an SSA source, this was one of the biggest hauls ever seized and was a result of a tip-off.
Military sources at Thai Army‘s Pha Muang Special task force revealed that the SSA has long fought with yaba or methamphetamine dealers in the known areas for smuggling along the Mekong River, in Chiang Saen District.
Burmese military volunteers are said to protect drug smuggling caravans who cross into Thailand providing the illegal pills to Thai drug dealers.


Panda pregnancy attempts fail

Linda Ratchai
The artificial insemination on the female panda Linhui at the Chiang Mai Zoo has not produced a pregnancy according to the chief of the panda exhibit.

Linhui seen here back on April 3rd during the artificial insemination procedure at the Chiang Mai zoo.
The latest ultrasound conducted on Linhui failed to show an embryo said Prasertsak Buntragulpoontawee.
Linhui was artificially inseminated on April 3rd and weeks later her hormone levels increased causing excitement and high hopes that the procedure had been a success.
In the past months zoo officials have made several attempts to get Linhui and her partner Chuang Chuang to mate but neither has shown interest in one another.
Zoo officials said that Linhui weighs 110 kilos and is healthy.
Some 30,000 people visit the panda exhibit at Chiang Mai zoo every month. Chuang Chuang and Linhui are on loan from China and in the past 3 years over 2 million tourists have visited the pandas generating 103 million baht in income for the zoo.


Celebrating the traditional Sueb Chata

Jumping through the ring of fire was one of the popular attractions.

Linda Ratchai
The Prolong forest-Maekuang-Maelao Rivers’ Life ceremony this year was held at Doi Nang Kaew, Ban Pang-An Tambon Pamiang in Doi Saket district on the 3rd June with many citizens, provincial organizations, schools and universities joining the ceremony.

Monks join in the painting competition.
Mr. Prommin Puangmala, president of Protect Meakuang forest network said that the organizations was formed from the 55 communities of 6 Tambons which are Saded Thep, Pamiang, Luang Nue, Chaeng Doi, Maepong, Doi Saket and Hueykaew to protect and develop communities and the natural resources in Maekuang area, an idea that first came from His Majesty the King.
To mark His Majesty the King’s 80th birthday this year the network held the Prolong forest and Maekuang-Maelao Rivers’ Life ceremony to bring awareness on ways to protect the forests and the environment

11 year old Panujarin Insaeng smiling shyly during her musical performance.
The many activities throughout the day included HM the King’s worship ceremony, exhibitions, local music performances, painting and essay competition for the children among other events.
The prolong life ceremony is called “Sueb Chata” in Thai. There are three kinds of “Sueb Chata” ceremonies; “Sueb Chata Kon” to lengthen man’s life, “Sueb Chata Ban” to lengthen the village’s life and “Sueb Chata Muang” to lengthen the country’s life.


Amazing Lanna campaign is launched

Major effort to attract more tourists

Linda Ratchai
Tourism leaders and organizations in Chiang Mai Province have jointly cooperated to launch Amazing Lanna in a bid to stimulate provincial tourism industry during the green (rainy) season.

Kanok Suwanwisoot, Junnapong Saranak and Washarapong Subannapong, Chiang Mai Travel Business Association vice president announcing the Amazing Lanna promotion.
The Director-General of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Region 1, Mr. Junnapong Saranak, in collaboration with Chiang Mai tourism businesses have issued a project aimed to stimulate tourism figures during green season, promoting low prices of tour packages.
The project was officially announced at the tourism fair at Impact Arena Muangthong Thani in Bangkok and the Green Season promotion will continue through September.
Each tour package will take tourists on visits to important and historical places in Chiang Mai province and provide additional privileges.
Some 50 specially prepared travel packages that involve 300 local businesses made up of hotels, resorts, restaurants and spas will attempt to attract more tourists to Chiang Mai during the low season.
The travel packages include the Amazing Cookery and Spa, Amazing Cultural Tour and the Amazing Golf Adventure among others.
Local tourism officials fear that visitor numbers between June and September this year will decrease 14% over last year and this has prompted them to create this special promotion.
Interested visitors can search for further information at www.amazinglannajao.com (at press time the web-site was not working) or by calling 053-524533-4.


Evacuation drills held in Mae Tang

Rescue workers preparing for floods and mudslides during the drills that took place last week.

The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Regional Center: Region 10 and local units in Chiang Mai province conducted evacuation drills in order to prepare residents living in flood prone and mudslide areas. The drills took place in Mae Tang district of Chiang Mai on June 6th.

Only a drill as rescue teams learn different life saving techniques.
The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation coordinates with other agencies to revise and adjust their disaster prevention plans every year. The special committee responsible for preventing disasters instructed the Prevention and Mitigation Regional Center: Region 10 to conduct the evacuation drills in Chiang Mai province. The drills consisted of a Field Training Exercise (FTX) where simulations were conducted.
Chiang Mai Governor Wichai Srikwan said the province has often encountered floods and mudslides, and the evacuation drills allowed people to be prepared when such disasters occur. (CMM Reporters/NNB)


Health authorities on alert

The Minister of Public Health Mongkol Na Songkhla has ordered provincial health officials and hospitals nationwide to closely monitor nine severely threatening diseases during the three-month rainy season, starting this month.
The nine diseases include bird flu, influenza, lung inflammation and dengue fever, Dr. Mongkol said. He noted that he had ordered health officials and some 800,000 village health volunteers to closely follow deaths reported among poultry in the country’s villages.
However, no new bird flu victims were reported in Thailand during the first five months of this year, he said.
Disease Control Department director-general Thawat Suntrajarn said his agency had warned the public about the diseases because they usually recur the rainy season.
Dr. Thawat said a total of 21,919 patients suffering from one of the nine diseases were reported in the country during May. (TNA)


SEC warns of rampant illegal mutual funds

Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission has warned the public to invest in mutual funds with caution, saying that illegal mutual funds are rampant now.
Jarupan Intararung, director of the SEC Secretarial Office, said as many as 20 illegal mutual funds had been found providing services at present.
Over 30 cases have been reported by persons who were lured to invest in the mutual funds and incurred huge losses. One investor lost nearly Bt6 million.
Accordingly, the SEC advises the public to check background data thoroughly before deciding to invest in any particular mutual fund, suggesting that investors should not opt to invest in local funds which offer higher-than-usual investment returns.
“Illegal mutual funds have mushroomed in a larger number than usual since January. They include ones arrested earlier and new ones,” she said.
Some illegal funds lured people to invest by placing advertisements on websites or sending them emails while others phoned people to persuade them to attend seminars where they were induced to invest by offering hefty returns.
Certain funds promised that investors would get their principal back within one month. They also took potential investors to visit their modern offices to win their trust.
Many people were cheated because they expected hefty investment returns and failed to study investment data thoroughly.
She said the SEC had investigated and taken legal action against illegal mutual funds on a continual basis. Such funds are operated and owned by both Thais and foreigners. (TNA)


Silk carpet warehouse goes up in flames

Factory workers of the Chiang Rai Northern Garment company try to salvage what is left from the fire that destroyed the warehouse.

Saksit Meesubkwang
A carpet and garment factory in Chiang Rai went up in flames during the early hours of June 3 causing an estimated 10 million baht in damages.
Police and firefighters were called to the Chiang Rai Northern Garment Company located in the Doi Saken area in Tambon Robwieng.
The fire apparently started in the warehouse next to the offices of the factory.
Six fire engines and dozens of firefighters spent more than an hour trying to contain the flames. No injuries were reported.
The factory owner, Mr Kongmian sae Chern, stated he employed 300 workers who produced silk carpets for export to the US and England. The charred warehouse consumed all the silk material that was used to make the products.
Police Colonel Pratak of the Chiang Rai Police station said the cause of fire is under investigation but that the forensic police suspect an electrical short circuit may be to blame.


North Koreans keep coming across

Saksit Meesubkwang
The governor of Chiang Rai province, Amornphan Nimanant, has ordered provincial officials to investigate who is behind the smuggling of North Koreans crossing into Chiang Rai at numbers not seen before.

Through an interpreter, Mae Lao police seen here questioning four North Korean women who entered Thailand illegally.

Apparently the North Koreans who have fled their country via China and then cross into Thailand from Laos are being assisted by a smuggling syndicate based in Chiang Rai.
The latest arrests occurred on June 6 when Police Lt. Col. Phirom Sutha of the Mae Lao police station stopped a tour bus destined for Bangkok.
Four North Korean women were detained after they failed to produce the proper immigration documents and were taken into custody.
According to the police they will be charged with entering Thailand illegally.



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