Airbus A380 mishap
delays Chiang Mai landing
The eagerly anticipated arrival of the world’s largest passenger jet to
Chiang Mai was delayed by almost 4 hours as the jet’s wing collided with a
hanger door while backing out of its parking space at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi
The Airbus A380, carrying VIP passengers including the President of Thai
Airways was preparing to taxi to the runway and fly to Chiang Mai when the
No one onboard was injured but perhaps some egos were as this was supposed
to be the
“smooth entry into service” demonstration tour as touted in their press
The winglet on the plane’s left wing was damaged and removed. The undamaged
winglet on the right wing was also removed so the super jumbo could continue
on to Chiang Mai.
According to one Airbus official the winglets are not a necessary component
for flight safety but a feature added to reduce air drag and turbulence.
The massive jet touched down at Chiang Mai airport just before 4pm on
Saturday and only a few dozen onlookers gathered outside the airport to view
It did not taxi at a jetway, but instead parked in front of the Thai Airways
The flight to Chiang Mai was planned to counter criticisms that the massive
A380, with a wingspan of 79 meters, was too big for most airports.
‘We want to prove with the flight to Chiang Mai that the A380 is capable to
operate also on so-called secondary airports,’ said Edouard Ullmo of Airbus.
Members of the Chiang Mai media were allowed to tour the interior of the
massive jet which remained on the tarmac for several hours.
The spacious interiors provided a glimpse of what customers can expect in
three different classes.
This jet was configured to carry 516 passengers but the interiors, number of
seats, width and pitch are decisions that will be left up to each airline.
Thai Airways has ordered six of the planes with the first to be delivered in
Total orders and commitments for the A380 have reached 173 by 14 customers,
according to Airbus.
Governor and Police Chief promoted
Outgoing Chiang Mai
governor Withal Srikwan heads to Bangkok to oversee general
Provincial Police Bureau, Region 5 Pol. Lt. Gen. Kittitach Ruangthip
promoted to the National Police Office in Bangkok.
Chiang Mai governor Wichai Srikwan has been promoted to Director General of
Local Administration Department (LAD) to help facilitate the upcoming
general election which is expected to take place on December 23.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Provincial Police Bureau, region 5 Pol Lt Gen
Kititach Runagthip was promoted to Assistant Police Chief of National Police
Both positions take effect on October 1. Their replacements have not been
Sin taxes go up
Cigarette prices have risen one to two baht per pack
following a one per cent increase in the excise tax under the Thai
government policy to curb smoking by up to 20 million packs a year.
The president of Phillip Morris in Thailand, Achoke Rammohan said the
wholesale prices of imported cigarettes have risen two baht per pack due to
the 1 per cent excise tax increase. However, he said it remains to be seen
how much the retail price of cigarettes will be affected.
Thailand Tobacco Monopoly spokeswoman Praphatsorn Phongphanphisal confirmed
the wholesale prices of the state firm’s cigarettes increased one to two
baht a pack and said that cigarette dealers would likely observe trade
ethics and not raise the retail prices disproportionately.
Excise Department chief Visut Srisuphan said the 1 per cent tax increase on
cigarettes was designed to raise an additional three billion baht tax
revenue per year, as well as to discourage smoking by 20 million packs
annually. The latest excise tax increase was not in response to a shortfall
in tax collections, the department chief said.
Legislation on cigarettes, which is yet to enter the National Legislative
Assembly, seeks to have the Excise Department gradually raise cigarette
taxes by up to 90 per cent, he added. TNA
Cloud cover obstructs eclipse viewing in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai University students
at the observation tower trying to get
a glimpse of the eclipse.
The lunar eclipse last week brought out hundreds of
gazers in Chiang Mai who gathered on the deck of 9th floor of the Science
Faculty building at Chiang Mai University to try and get a peek of the rare
The unfortunate cloud cover over the city dampened the hopes of the
students, teachers and residents who were invited by the National
Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand to view the natural phenomenon.
The director of the institute, Assoc. Prof. Boonraksa Soonthrontham, did
provide explanations and historical data of the eclipse, so all was not
It wasn’t until 7:20pm when some parts of the moon could be seen through the
clouds above Chiang Mai.
Around the world the eclipse was seen in East and Southeast Asia, Australia,
New Zealand, the Pacific Ocean, North and South America.
Bird flu alert in Mae Hong Son
Two patients under observation
Public health authorities in Mae Hong Son are on alert
following the discovery of more than 100 dead ducks and chickens in a
refugee camp in Ban Mae Surin.
Two female residents of the refugee camp appear to have flu symptoms and are
being closely watched in a hospital by doctors of the Public Health
Authorities were called to the camp after receiving reports that chickens
and ducks had suddenly perished at the Paki Ping Refugee Center.
Marut Panyabun, Deputy District Chief, border patrol volunteers, district
public health and livestock officers went into the camp to cull all the
remaining chickens out of fears that if the deaths of the other birds had
been caused by the avian influenza, the disease could spread outside the
camp. Health officials are conducting tests to determine if the dead
livestock was infected with the avian virus.
The Paki Ping refugee camp is home to 3,808 refugees from Myanmar. CMM
Breakthrough for stem cell researchers
Thai medical researchers and physicians have achieved
success in treating foot wounds of diabetes patients with their own stem
cells, according to an announcement from Thailand’s National Innovation
Agency chief Supachai Lorlowhakarn.
Several diabetes patients, aged from 50 to 72, with chronic wounds on their
feet — especially difficult in the case of diabetics — were injected with
stem cells extracted from their own blood and the wounds completely healed
in a three to four month period.
The stem cell treatment of wounds of diabetes patients, which costs about
200,000 baht (US$5,880) per patient, can save a large sum of money, compared
to perhaps one million baht in conventional treatment for a leg wound. In
addition to the patient’s blood, stem cells may also be extracted from his
Each year, an estimated 40,000 diabetes patients had lacerations of their
Besides diabetes-related illnesses, stem cells may be used to cure
thalassemia, leukemia and cardiac syndromes, according to the National
Innovation Agency chief during a press conference attended by physicians of
the Chulalongkorn University Faculty of Medicine, Samitivej Srinakharin
Hospital and THAI StemLife Co. TNA
Unpaid workers protest in Mae Sai
Some 300 day laborers from Myanmar demonstrated in front
of Mae Sai Bridge after their Thai employer had failed to pay them for three
months of work, a total of more than 500,000 baht owed in back wages.
Thai officials contacted the Thai employer representatives who promised to
pay them within a week and the demonstrators dispersed following the promise
Their Thai employer had claimed that he had been unable to collect payments
for the construction work. The workers were unhappy and experiencing
difficulties so they decided to gather at the bridge and protest after
finishing work before crossing back over the border to their camp in
Mae Sai Police, Mae Immigration Police and military officers contacted the
employment agency to come and resolve the matter.
Mr. Chuchai Udompoche, Head of the Mae Sai border customs checkpoint, said
that the employer was in breach contract with the foreign workers. CMM
Alcohol and strangers don’t mix
Tourist may have been slipped a Mickey
Chiang Mai police paid a call on Kevin Michael’s hotel
room, a tourist visiting from England, after being informed that he had been
Police arrived at the Thai Cool House and found 44 year old Mr. Michael in a
less than sober condition.
According to the police, Mr. Michael invited two Thai ladies to his room and
they partook of three bottles of an unknown spirit and a can of beer. After
he apparently passed out he was stripped of his belongings including a
digital camera, credit cards, a Rolex watch and 1000 dollars in cash.
The two women, whose nicknames are Som and Joy, had been staying in the same
guesthouse and had befriended Mr. Michael.
After the theft occurred the women departed the guesthouse without checking
out leading police to believe they are the culprits.
The victim was taken to Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital for a check up to
determine if he had been slipped a Mickey. A Mickey is a term for a drink
laced with chloral hydrate usually given to someone without their knowledge
in order to incapacitate them.
The police are on the lookout for Som and Joy. CMM Reporters.
Massive spraying to take place
The Livestock Development Department is scheduled to kick
off a campaign to spray disinfectants across the country within the next
week. The campaign is aimed at preventing bird flu pandemic in high risk
Deputy Director-General of Livestock Development, Chaweewan Liewwichak,
reported that the department will arrange the campaign from September 3rd –
9th. Disinfectant will be sprayed at areas which repeatedly have had sick
and dying poultry especially those in the upper central and the lower
Other high risk areas which will be inspected for bird flu viruses include
poultry stalls in markets and border zones adjacent to Vietnam and Myanmar.
The department has instructed the provincial livestock development officials
to step up measures inspecting all kinds of poultry transport.
The director-general also suggests poultry butchers to avoid buying poultry
with suspicious symptoms of bird flu including drowsiness and swollen combs.
They should also avoid directly contacting the poultry by wearing gloves and
face masks to prevent themselves from contracting the viruses. NNB
Flash floods in Lampang province
Floodwaters in Lampang have receded, while highway
workers proceed with clearing a provincial road blocked by a landslide.
Flash floods struck five villages in Lampang last Wednesday, triggering at
least one local landslide and forcing the closing of a road.
Local disaster prevention and mitigation chief Sanlek Kamjai said that
forest run-off from the Wiengkosai National Park in Phrae rapidly flowed
into mountain streams and caused sudden flooding in five villages downstream
in Lampang’s Maetha district.
A landslide of topsoil, rocks and forest cover slipped down the
mountainside, blocking some portions of the Lampang-Denchai highway, but the
roadway remained passable.
Highway workers had cleared the road last Thursday evening.
The Maetha district chief said that he would talk to national park officials
to maintain surveillance of possible floods to warn local residents in
advance. The local authorities will also inspect reservoirs and waterways in
the national park to determine the cause of the flood, which occurred
without apparent warning. TNA
Narcotics Control Office officials concerned about drug activities
The Director of the Office of the Narcotics Control
Office Region 5, Mr. Chanya Samatcha, said drug activities are still rampant
throughout the eight upper northern region provinces.
Authorities have seized several drug consignments, comprised of heroin, and
amphetamines. Opium production in neighboring countries is estimated at 90
tons, with the majority of drugs being smuggled into Thailand to be sold.
Mr. Chanya said major drug trafficking routes are in international waters in
the Gulf of Thailand, through the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and
through regions of Thailand for sale in third nations.
The Director of the Office of the Narcotics Control Office said several
nations are cooperating closely in order to suppress drug trafficking,
although the United States has decreased funding for drug suppression in
Thailand and has shifted its focus to the opium fields of Afghanistan. Mr.
Chanya affirmed that officials nonetheless remain dedicated in their drug
control efforts. NNB
Jatukam T-shirt, anyone?
The overwhelming success of the Jatukam cookies as an
antidote to amulet fever has resulted in the outspoken Buddhist monk Phra
Payom Kalyano to extend his production line to Jatukam T-shirts to combat
superstition and magical thinking about money with clothing instead of
Indicating that orders for Jatukam cookies had exceeded his production
capacity, Phra Payorm, abbot of Wat Suan Kaew in Bangkok’s north suburban
province of Nonthaburi, said the pure reason behind the distribution of
Jatukam cookies was to urge people to stick to good deeds and hold on to the
Lord Buddha’s teachings.
The cookies were made almost the same shape and design as Jatukarm amulets
which have been produced in mass and sold in great volumes. The nationwide
marketing of Jatukarm amulets has sparked off criticism among some people
who strongly disagreed with what they termed “Buddhist commercialism.”
Phra Payorm said a limited collector’s edition of 999 Jatukam T-shirts will
be produced and sold for 180 baht each. The front of the T-shirt is printed
with a Jatukam logo and carries a short statement encouraging people to work
hard and save money.
Wearing the Jatukam T-shirt is almost equivalent to possessing the Lord
Buddha’s teachings, according to the renowned abbot. He did not deny that
the sale of the T-shirt was more or less “Buddhist commercialism” but he
asserted that the “revenue from the sales will go to help the poor and
develop temples.” TNA