2000 orchids planted to mark HM the Queen’s birthday
Members of the Karen hilltribe
took part in planting over 2000 orchids at the future botanical garden in
Mae Hong Son province.
Joining hands to return orchids back to nature and marking the birthday of
Her Majesty the Queen, Mae Hong Son provincial authorities and residents of
the Karen, Mae Samat, and Huay Maklang villages planted wild orchids in the
area called Doi Uang Sae mountain.
This mountainous area is the source of orchid breeding where it can be
developed into an ecotourism project in the future, according to Mae Hong
Son Governor Direk Kornkleeb.
General Niphon Parunnit, Advisor to the Royal-Initiated Project, graciously
presided over the opening day by joining hands to return numerous orchids to
this wildlife area, marking the auspicious occasion to celebrate the
birthday of HM Queen Sirikit.
About 2000 orchids from various species were planted by the highlanders and
Karen hilltribe who participated in this event.
Gen Niphon said this gathering was in response to the Royal-Initialed
Project of HM the Queen, who realizes the importance of trees, forests,
wildlife species, flora and fauna where ‘man can live together with nature.’
Governor Direk added that next year the provincial authorities will open up
its orchid plantation area, to be named Uang Sae orchid botanical garden as
another tourism attraction in this province.
Night Safari to remain open
Elephant Reserve and Cable Car projects postponed
Deputy PM Paiboon
Wattanasiritham, center, chairing the recent meeting where some answers
about the future of the Night Safari were provided.
More than 100 representatives of the local community, academics, government
organizations and business operators attended a forum to discuss and obtain
some answers about the future of the Night Safari, the Elephant Reserve and
the cable car project.
The forum was chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Social
Development, Mr. Phaiboon Wattanasiritham, who admitted the Night Safari and
the pending projects have created conflicts and consternation in Chiang Mai.
The Deputy Minister added that the Special Zone Development (Public)
Organization for Sustainable Tourism was created to provide participation
from all sectors who can work together on the present and future projects in
order to benefit all concerned.
As for the future of the Night Safari the Deputy Prime Minister said that at
this time it would be difficult to close it down, but changes and
improvements are needed and the end result would be to satisfy all parties
who have objected to the tourist attraction in the past.
The Chiang Mai Night Safari will be transferring management to the Ministry
of Natural Resources and Environment and suggestions for the creation of an
advisory committee made up of local residents was put forward as one way to
involve the community.
Mr. Pisal Vasuvanich, Director of the Special Zone Development (Public)
Organization for Sustainable Tourism, said that the Faculty of Business
Administration at Chiang Mai University is developing administrative plans
for the Chiang Mai Night Safari in order to make it more efficient.
As for the controversial Elephant Reserve and the Cable Car to Doi Suthep
project—postponed for the time being.
Foreign Minister assures
US of election schedule
Foreign Minister Nitya Pibulsonggram assured United
States Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte that Thailand would have
a general election late this year.
States Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte (left) meeting with the
Thai Foreign Minister Nitya Pibulsonggram at last week’s ASEAN Regional
Forum last week in Manila. (AP Photo)
He gave the assurance during a bilateral discussion on the sideline of the
ASEAN Regional Forum being held in Manila.
The ASEAN Regional Forum brought together the 10 members of the Association
of Southeast Asian Nations and officials from 27 other countries, including
China, Australia, Japan, EU, Russia and the two Koreas.
The Foreign Minister said one of the main issues raised for discussion with
the US Deputy Secretary of State involved democratic developments in
He told Mr. Negroponte the general election would be definitely held in
Thailand on December 16 or 23 and what the Thai government had done in the
past eight months.
The US deputy secretary acknowledged his explanation and told him the US
government had monitored the political development in Thailand all along.
Mr. Nitya said he also told him that the current Thai government had never
used force as had earlier military-installed ones. (TNA)
Ex-attorney general to chair
extrajudicial killings probe
Former Attorney General Kanit Na Nakhon has agreed to
chair a special committee to investigate some 2,500 extra-judicial killings
carried out during former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s ‘war on drugs
campaign’, said Justice Minister Charnchai Likhitjittha.
Mr. Charnchai added that he already signed a proposal to be submitted for
Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont for consideration.
“The special committee will be tasked with an investigation to find out the
truth about the deaths as well as to identify remedial measures for their
relatives,” said Mr. Charnchai.
Another major reason to set up the special committee, the minister said, was
to provide clarification on this matter among international community.
“The community formation has been initiated by the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs,” the minister said. (TNA)
Flood warning system
installed in Mae Hong Son
Mae Hong Son provincial authorities along with NECTECH have set up an
electronic warning system to deal with the unexpected flash foods during
this rainy season. The authorities also ordered tambon administration
organizations (TAO), and provincial administration organization (PAO) to be
The warning systems have been installed in Pai and Pangmapha districts,
where they will sound every two hours in case there is an excess in rain.
The warning will alert officials stationed at the provincial center at city
This hi tech equipment will help inform the provincial authorities to be on
alert in time for coping with the floods and landslides and provide them
with two hour advance notice.
Governor of Mae Hong Son Direk Kornkleeb disclosed that the provincial
authority has instructed 80 at risk villages on how to prepare for flash
floods and landslides.
In addition, the Governor ordered volunteers forces of military, police,
foundations, relief units and rescue teams in the at risk areas to prepare
their equipments, tools, materials, and relief kits and to be on alert.
Meanwhile, Mr. Thada Sattha, the chief of meteorological station in Mae Hong
Son said that the rain volume at present is increasing as well as
underground water sources. If rains continue for several days at a time
flash floods from the forests and landslides are likely to occur.
approves 20,000 positions
Interim Royal Thai Police Commissioner General Pol. Gen.
Seripisut Temiyavet reported that the Office of the Police Commission has
authorized the appointment of 20,000 commissioned police officers to
positions ranging from police superintendent and inspector in police
precincts nationwide. 1,500 police positions will be for criminal
suppression positions, while 156 will be for precinct superintendents.
Pol. Gen. Seripisut added that police positions will gradually be opened,
with the Cabinet having already approved the appointment of 8,000 police
officers with more officers expected to be appointed by the end of the year.
Officials will take seniority into account for the placement of police
PM speaks out on
After administering Thailand following a military
bloodless coup 10 months ago, interim Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont
admitted that two major problems — politics and the continuing violence in
the restive South — could not be solved during the tenure of his government.
Speaking during his weekly television program, Gen. Surayud said he still
could not say what were major successes achieved by his government even
after administering the country one year, and that the two major tasks which
he wanted to solve could not be solved within this administration.
The premier said he never set the timeframe that problems could be solved
within a short period because political developments had to be conducted on
a continual basis and that this government’s duty was to set the direction
and rules for the future.
Gen. Surayud said he would be happy and relieved on the day that the duty is
handed over to an elected government.
Touching on the achievement of reconciliation among the people after his
government had come into office, he said it was difficult to measure as it
is clearly seen that it is not easy to change people’s thought on politics.
However, people at the family level now want to see the country’s problems
to be honestly tackled.
People are not talking about reconciliation and they are pondering how the
country could sail through the current crisis, on the upcoming general
election and on the new constitution which could solve national problems, he
“I think this is important,” said Gen. Surayud. “Having differences in
thinking is not important, but people should look forward and try to solve
the (overall political) problem for the long term.” (TNA)
Economy set to improve
after general election
Thailand’s economy is expected to improve after the
general election as investors gain more confidence, but the new elected
government must give more attention to solving problems of poverty and
restructuring the industrial sector, according to a cross-section of senior
Thai economists at a seminar held last Saturday in Bangkok.
Voraphol Sokatiyanurak, vice chairman of the National Economic and Social
Advisory Council, said the problem of poverty and indebtedness will be an
immediate concern of any new government formed after the general election
later this year. Consumer spending has slowed while household debt has
doubled to 120,000 baht (US$3,640) from 60,000 baht (US$1,820) listed
earlier, Mr. Voraphol said.
The new government must provide programs to generate income and issue
transparent laws regarding retail trade, foreign investment and reduce the
large and growing income gaps between the rich and the poor.
Karun Kittisataporn, Permanent Secretary for Commerce, said the new
government must restructure the industrial sector and the country must
become the owner of more brands instead of simply being a hired producer.
Thai industry has not advanced greatly after the 1997 financial crisis, Mr.
Karun observed, noting that most major local plants are hired by overseas
manufacturers to produce their brands until the machinery is worn-out and
the plants are closed.
In reality, the problem of Thai industry is not simply a result of the
strong baht, said Mr. Karun, but an accumulation of factors made worse by
the recent condition of the baht.
Another speaker, National Economic and Social Development Board secretary
general Amphol Kitti-amphon said the Thai economy still depended on exports
for the time being.
Although the country enjoyed a trade surplus of 200 billion baht during the
first six months this year, 80 per cent of the surplus came from industries
set up by foreigners in Thailand which benefited only little to Thai people.
The new government must restructure both Thailand’s system of income
distribution system and the social structure, added Mr. Amphol. (TNA)
Not everyone in favor
of the draft constitution
A network of allied organizations gathered recently to reject the
constitutional referendum stating it was authored by a dictatorship and
placed restrictions on mass media reform.
Thongnoo-iad, one of the many who aired their views on the upcoming public
referendum for adopting the new draft constitution 2007.
About 60 people representing a number of non-governmental organizations,
foundations, volunteers, news agencies, radio, media reform committees, and
the Chiang Mai and Lamphun land reform committees gathered to exchange ideas
and explain why they were voting against the draft charter which takes place
on August 19.
Mr. Suriyan Thongnoo-iad, Secretary General of the Northern Private
Development organization, said this new charter and the present government
did not promote media reform and also disagreed with the government efforts
to push up drafting the internal security act.
He added that they were not campaigning for the side of former deposed
government, but they just want to inform the public regarding their rights.
Governors lobby voters
for upcoming election
Flags, stickers and books on the 2007 draft constitution
are being distributed to all Provincial Governors to be used to educate the
public regarding the draft charter and to encourage eligible voters to cast
their ballots for the national referendum on August 19.
The educational materials will be distributed to the public nationwide and
will explain to them why the constitution should be approved by the voters.
Mai governor Wichai Srikwan receiving the flags from the village
representatives, at city hall, among the district volunteers, from 24
These flags were then presented to the PM Gen. Surayud Chulanont at the
Government House in Bangkok on August 2.
The Council for National Security and the interim government of Prime
Minister Gen. Surayud Chulanont has said that one of the kingdom’s previous
constitutions would be used if the electorate rejects the draft charter.
Without a constitution in place, the general election set to be held in
November or December cannot be conducted.
However, the Prime Minister’s Office Minister, Mr. Thirapat Serirangsan,
says he believes the 2007 constitutional referendum will endorse the 2007
charter draft. However, if the draft is rejected, Mr. Thirapat says the
Council for National Security (CNS) will have a meeting to discuss which
constitution will be used instead.
CNS Chairman Sonthi Boonyaratglin has indicated that if the 2007 charter
draft has not been approved, then the 1997 constitution would be used
instead. Mr. Thirapat says it is only Gen. Sonthi’s opinion. Mr. Thirapat
says many sides have spent considerable time in revising and correcting the
new charter draft, and he believes it will be accepted by the public.
However, if the referendum on August 19th does not endorse the draft, then
the CNS will have a meeting on this matter again.
Chiang Mai Governor Wichai Srikwan said after reviewing the promotional
materials, including booklets and flags, that portions of the draft charter
were difficult to understand and it was necessary to summarize vital points
so all voters could become educated on the changes.
He said he expected that at least 60 per cent of eligible voters in Chiang
Mai province would vote on that day.
Meanwhile, Chiang Mai Provincial Authority organized a jogging parade
through the streets of the city to launch the promotional campaign to create
awareness among the voters. The national government launched a similar
campaign throughout the nation.
In addition an exhibition on democratic awareness has August 2nd through the
5th at the City Hall.
Chiang Mai province has a population of 1,100,000 of who 60% are eligible
voters. (CMM Reporters/TNA)
to disappear next year
This file photo shows US
Ambassador Ralph L. Boyce visiting a poppy plantion in Om Koi district, in
February this year. The diplomat was briefed on the drug situation by Lt Gen
Jiradet Khotcharat, the commander of the third Army region.
Chiang Mai authorities plan to swoop in and clear up the opium poppy
plantations by next year.
A disturbing revelation has found an increasing number of farmers are
growing poppies, the source for opium and heroin.
Over 1,000 rai of plantations have been found growing poppy in the Om Koi
district of Chiang Mai. Other fields have been discovered in Chiang Dao and
Mae Chaem districts.
The government authorities indicated that the drug situation gets worse when
social and economic problems increase.
Mr Chumporn Saengmanee, assistant Governor of Chiang Mai disclosed at a
meeting that drug addiction is coming back and due to economic and social
Chiang Mai authorities plan to eradicate the plantations and institute
projects in 9 districts with a budget of 2.28 million baht. These projects
will include working on prevention, monitoring, suppression, eradication,
rehabilitation, career promotion, and public relations.
The 9 targeted districts are Koi, Mae Chaem, Chiang Dao, Fang, Mae Ai,
Chaiprakarn, Wiang Haeng, Mae Taeng, and Phrao where most of the plantations
have been found.
Chiang Mai province leads the country as the number one grower of poppy.
The authorities have been working closely under United Nations guidelines to
eradicate the number of plantations and create so called free zones within a
Nan hit again by flash floods
Three days of heavy rains in Nan province left 120
homeless as homes, crops and businesses were ravaged by floods last week.
Several roads were cut off by landslides and numerous towns and village
became inaccessible to rescue workers who were trying to reach them to
The Nan provincial authority has ordered all agencies to be on standby and
alert for more flooding.
The flooded canals and rivers of Songkwae District produced damage to many
homes and many hilltribe villages were also flooded.
The rains and floods damaged some 1,000 rai of corn fields, fruit orchards
and vegetable gardens. The cost of damage is under review by Nan provincial
Colonel Montri Jinsen of the Nan provincial Army led 100 soldiers to help
victims collect what they could salvage and evacuate residents to higher
ground. Food, drinking water and other supplies were also distributed.
In September of 2006, Nan province was hit hard by flash floods that
inundated a record number of villages and left tens of thousands homeless
and some 600 million baht in damages. (CMM Reporters)
Prime Minister and CNS chairman urge vote for newly-drafted charter
Prime Minister Gen. Surayud Chulanont and Council for
National Security chairman Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratkalin called on the Thai
people to participate in the public referendum scheduled for August 19 to
decide whether or not the nation accepts the newly-drafted Constitution.
Addressing an estimated 10,000 civil servants and others at Muang Thong
Thani exhibition center, Gen. Surayud launched a Democratic Development
Declaration of 2007 under the terms of which, he assured his listeners, that
democratic rule will return and the people will be able to constructively
participate in running the country by electing a government whose
performance will be subject to public scrutiny.
Gen. Sonthi said that the people, regardless of their religious, political
and social preferences, will peacefully co-exist on the basis of national
Constitution drafting committee chairman Noranit Sethabutr made assurances
that the new Constitution provides and promotes human rights and freedom of
expression, contains the monopolistic powers of government, combats
corruption and abuse of power, fosters transparency in government and
political activity and establishes an efficient process for checks and
balances within government.
Gen. Surayud called on the people not only to cast their votes for the new
Constitution but also to go to the polls for the general election yet to be
scheduled at the end of this year. (TNA)