Vol. VI No. 20 - Tuesday
July 10, - July 16, 2007



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Her Majesty Queen Sirikit on official visit to Russia

Thai Kingdom celebrates HRH Princess Soamsawali’s Royal Birthday

HRH Soamsawali dedicates new wing at Regina Coelli School

Fire ravages through employee housing at CMU

Muslim leader visits Chiang Mai

Construction of the convention center underway

Lampang police net major drug haul

Her Majesty Queen Sirikit on official visit to Russia

His Majesty the King of Thailand has graciously designated Her Majesty Queen Sirikit as His Majesty’s Representative to pay a State visit to the Russian Federation from the 2nd through the 11th July at the invitation of His Excellency Mr. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, President of the Russian Federation. The State visit coincided with the celebration of the 110th anniversary of Thai-Russian diplomatic relations when His Majesty King Chulalongkorn paid a Visit to Russia in 1897.
Upon arrival in Moscow, the Government of the Russian Federation held an official welcoming ceremony for Her Majesty the Queen at Vnukovo Airport. Throughout Her Majesty the Queen’s visit to Moscow, the Government of the Russian Federation arranged the Kremlin Palace as Her Majesty the Queen’s residence. In addition, His Excellency Mr. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, President of the Russian Federation, hosted a State Banquet in honor of Her Majesty the Queen at Kremlin Palace where handicrafts from the SUPPORT Foundation of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit were exhibited to promote Thai arts and crafts as well as Thai culture.
After the State visit to Moscow, Her Majesty the Queen traveled to St. Petersburg to visit places of historical and architectural importance, especially those historically related to Thai-Russian relations. During this trip, Her Majesty the Queen also paid a visit to Peterhof Palace, which once served as the residence for His Majesty King Chulalongkorn during his visit to Russia in 1897, and the Governments of Thailand and the Russian Federation jointly organized a project to restore the Left Wing of Peterhof Palace in commemoration of that visit. In addition, St. Petersburg State University presented an Honorary Doctorate Degree in the field of Eastern Languages and Cultures to Her Majesty the Queen.
The State visit to the Russian Federation enhanced the long-established friendly relations between Thailand and the Russian Federation and promoted friendship and mutual understanding among the peoples of the two countries.


Thai Kingdom celebrates HRH Princess Soamsawali’s Royal Birthday

Photo courtesy of the Bureau of the Royal Household

Saturday July 13 marks the 45th Royal Birthday Anniversary of Her Royal Highness Princess Soamsawali. Her Royal Highness is well known for her dedication in helping the poor and is loved by the people of Thailand.
The Chiangmai Mail and the people of Thailand humbly wish Her Royal Highness Princess Soamsawali a very happy 45th Royal Birthday Anniversary Saturday July 13.
Princess Soamsawali is involved in many charitable organizations and activities, particularly those dealing with public welfare, and is often accompanied by her daughter. Her Royal Highness also tirelessly attends royal functions.
A member of the Foundation Committee, the princess began her work at the Saijai Thai Foundation in 1975 by visiting and boosting morale of military and police officers, volunteers and civilians who were injured in the fight against terrorists and admitted at various hospitals.
Princess Soamsawali often presides over the annual Thian Song Chai (Candle in the Mind) Festival. The festival has been held on World AIDS Day, December 1st since 1991.
The festival’s main function is to promote more understanding in Thai society toward HIV and AIDS victims. It is a vehicle to show Thais that HIV-infected people are not dangerous to the public, and in fact members of this group can make positive contributions to their families and communities. Princess Soamsawali was the keynote speaker for the 4th International Congress on AIDS held in the Philippines in 1980 and vigorously champions the AIDS prevention movement.
Princess Soamsawali’s kindness has also been extended to Red Cross projects such as the “Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Infection Project” and the “Friend Helps Friend While in Difficulties Project” and was instrumental in setting up the “Home Care Project”.
HRH the Princess performs other duties at graduation ceremonies, such as conferring degrees or certificates to graduates
The people of Thailand extend a “Happy Birthday” to Her Royal Highness and wish her much happiness.


HRH Soamsawali dedicates new wing at Regina Coelli School

Princess Soamsawali arrives at the Regina Coelli School to dedicate the new Ursala wing.

HRH Princess Soamsawali graciously meets with teachers and staff during her visit to the Regina Coell School.

Jim Messenger
Regina Coelli School, on Chareon Prathet Road next to the river is 75 years young. It’s one of the oldest schools in CM and hosts 2500 students. The recently concluded new Elementary wing opened its doors Friday, June 29. Upwards of 7000 people were on hand to welcome HRH Soamsawali when she arrived to graciously dedicate the new building.
Madcap efforts had been underway for weeks to get the multi-purpose building ready on time. Trees and plants were late arrivals, while dozens of flower arrangements were being prepared and several of the first floor display areas were being given their last minute polish, well into the previous night. Everything was spic and span however by the time HRH arrived.
The school and Chiang Mai itself have a special relationship with the Princess, in view of the fact that she spend two of her formative years here as an Elementary (Prathom 4 -5) student. That was in 1938 to 1941 and she’s always come back to visit her many friends and former teachers. She made three official visits since becoming engaged to the Crown Prince, so it is no surprise that she returned this time to inaugurate the new wing.
It’s a truly fine, majestic, airy building, built on a curve of the road that mirrors the Sofitel the next street over. Both roads follow the river and these spots make for imposing locations with dramatic perspectives. The plant-filled atrium and ceramic tiles makes one think of Tuscany.
The Royal Household in both white and tan was in attendance, as well as various factions of the Army and the many ranks and degrees of Lanna Thai society brightly decked out, pretty as an English country garden in full bloom.
Outside, the band waited. The flag wavers were in place. Finally the royal carpet was rolled out. People gathered to watch. The signal was given. The high military stepped into place. Dignitaries were lined up along the carpet, cameras across from them. The royal blue umbrella took its place, and then the motorcade rolled into view.
The band began to play as the royal yellow car slipped into alignment with the red carpet. The door opened. Her Royal Highness had arrived.
Thai royal ceremonials are always protocol rich affairs. The itinerary of this visit saw Her Highness receive formal reports of work done; press the official button to reveal the name of the new building: Ursala; inspect the displays; as well as sit for photos with all and sundry. The informal celebrations, which followed, lasted well into the night. The performers, young and old entertained their home crowd with song and dance. The food stalls were bountiful and varied. Lanna-brand ‘sanuk’ was very much in evidence throughout.

Students watch and listen as the new wing of their school is dedicated by HRH Princess Soamsawali.


Fire ravages through employee housing at CMU

One of the occupants was lucky enough to remove part of his belongings before the fire engulfed his home.

Saksit Meesubkwang
A fast moving fire broke out in a worker’s residence on the grounds of Chiang Mai University at 7am on July 3. Phu Ping Police coordinated with four Chiang Mai Municipal and Suthaep District Administration fire engines to douse the fire, but on arrival the single story wooden premises which was divided into 4 lots was already destroyed because the wood helped to fuel the fire.
It took the fire engines 40 minutes to arrive at the scene because it was the rush hour with people traveling to work. Two cars, two motor cycles were damaged and the kitchen utensils were totally destroyed. The owner had not left the premises before the fire broke out and was able to rescue some items before fleeing the fire. Total damages were estimated at about half a million baht.
Mrs. Oraphan Phromwikaan 53, an employee of the Faculty of Sociology at Chiang Mai University who apparently owned or lived in one of the homes said that she left before 7am to take her children to school and was then going to continue on to work, but she received a phone call informing her that her house was on fire and to return because police wanted to question her.
Prof. Phongsak Angkalasit, Rector of the University, said that the house was made of wood because it was the first house constructed on the university grounds more than 40 years ago. The occupants were low income earners employed by the university. He added that meetings had been held in the past warning occupants to be careful about fires.
The university will find alternative temporary accommodation for the occupants. It had also been planned for quite some time to knock down the homes.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Firefighters were delayed to the scene due to heavy morning traffic.

Firefighters douse the flames while Prof. Phongsak Angkalasit, Rector of the University and Pol. Maj. Gen. Pantop Sukoltanan asses the damage.


Muslim leader visits Chiang Mai

The Secretary General of the Muslim World League, H.E. Abdullah Bin Abdul Mohsin Ai-Turki speaking with residents of Chiang Mai at Ban Hor during his recent visit to the city.

Saksit Meesubkwang
The Secretary General of the Muslim World League, H.E. Abdullah Bin Abdul Mohsin Ai-Turki, met with fellow Muslims at Ban Hor community near the Chiang Mai night bazaar during his recent visit to the city.
On hand to welcome him, were high ranking government officials from Ministry of Interior and residents of Chiang Mai.
The Secretary General and his delegates were touring Thailand as guests of the Thai government. The Muslim leader also visited the Huay Hong Krai, the royally initiated project in Doi Saket District, and the wood handicraft village in Ban Tawai in Hang Dong District.


Construction of the convention center underway

Construction of the Chiang Mai International Exhibition and Convention Center finally started work last month after a budget allocation of 400 million baht (US$11.6 million) from the Thai government.

Illustration of the new Chiang Mai International Exhibition and Convention Center shows what it will look like upon completion in 24 months.
The project, initiated in June 1996, was to have begun last year but was held back because of the coup in September.
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Investment Planning Division director, Mr Prommate Nathomtong, expects the venue to be completed within 24 months if there are no delays in the selection of the contractor. Total cost is estimated at 1.8 billion baht.
The center will be built on a 64-hectare parcel of land near the 700th Anniversary Stadium, 10km north of downtown Chiang Mai. The plan includes office space for small- and medium-size enterprises that will also act as semi-permanent exhibits. There will be a 3,000-seat convention hall, a 150-seat meeting room and two 300-seat meeting rooms.
The exhibition area will cover 8,000 square meters for up to 450 booths. The 2,500 square meter food and beverage area will be able to handle up to 1,400 diners. The center’s biggest convention room can be joined with the exhibition area to make up a combined space for up to 12,000 participants.
Mr Prommate said the centre would be the property of TAT, which planned to award a management contract to a private professional venue management company. “We have yet to convey our interest or be in discussion with any venue management company. The priority is to push for the construction to begin.”
NCC Management & Development, which manages Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, and IMPACT Exhibition Management, which operates and manages IMPACT Muang Thong Thani, have expressed interest to manage the new venue. TTG


Lampang police net major drug haul

Saksit Meesubkwang
A tip-off led police in Lampang to arrest three suspects and confiscate 50,000 amphetamine pills and two automobiles.

The suspect accused of transporting drugs shown (seated) in front of 50 thousand amphetamine pills seized by Lampang police.
Lampang Governor Mr. Amornthat Niratisayakul, Pol. Maj. Gen. Jiroot Pornmobol, Commander of Lampang Police, Pol. Col. Somphol Akradechochai, Pol. Col. Chuchai Khunklangmeewon and special crime suppression officers held a news conference announcing the arrest of suspects identified as Mr. Samart Ootkaew 35 of Phrae, Mr. Jirayu Singsatit 41 of Phrae and Mr. Maythat Komenrat 43 of Chiang Rai.
During police questioning, Mr. Maythat admitted he was hired by 2 Lahu hilltribesmen to deliver the drugs from Mae Suay district, Chiang Rai to a location opposite Big C Lampang Branch for 50,000 baht and someone would be there waiting to make the collection.
Police officers then set-up Maythat to make the delivery at the appointed location and on arrival Mr. Maythat received a telephone call instructing him to take the drugs to the Rose Inn Hotel where officers arrested Mr. Samart Ootkaew and Mr. Jirayu Singsatit and confiscated an automobile.
Officers charged the three with possession of Class 1 drugs with intent to sell. During questioning the three admitted to the charges stating that they acted as a team each having different duties and kept in touch by mobile phone according to the police.
Police believe that more suspects are still at large and have coordinated with Chiang Rai Police to prosecute the suspects.
Police Maj. Gen. Jiroot Pornmobol, Commander of Lampang Police said that recently police have made more drug related arrests as Lampang has become a transit point and the offenders are unaware that police are aware of their movements. He added that he has instructed all jurisdictions to be strict on carrying out vehicle searches. Most of the drug seizures have been amphetamines from the Thai – Myanmar border.



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