NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Bomb scare at local bank

HM the King recovering satisfactorily

Local soldiers depart for troubled South

Majority of Thai youth know too little about AIDS

Protest at Three Kings monument

Hilltribes to rock Chiang Mai

Poll - Majority willing to sell their vote

Martial law eases - not in Chiang Mai

 

Bomb scare at local bank

Saksit Meesubkwang
The Siam Commercial Bank Meechoke branch received a call at 9:45am on October 22 informing them a bomb had been planted at the entrance of the financial center. The caller then gave instructions to the manager to place all the bank’s money in bag and place it in front of the institutions ATM machine.
The bank manager, Sujinda Srisommai, said the caller would detonate the bomb if she did not follow through on his instructions.
The police were called and arrived outfitted in their bomb disposal gear along with a remote control robot. They quickly cordoned off the area and began the slow process of retrieving a suspicious box on the floor of the bank’s entrance.
The police led by Police Major General Banthop Sukhonthaman used a high pressure water hose to deactivate any bomb circuits.
After a 90 minute tense ordeal police concluded there was no bomb and the threat came from an unidentified called trying to extort money from the bank.
The contents of the box produced a child’s t-shirt packed in foam.
Police Commander Bandop said his team will question all bank employees, review video from the banks security cameras and trace all phone calls in order to locate and arrest the suspect.

 

HM the King recovering satisfactorily

His Majesty the King was reported as making satisfactory progress in recovering from his recent illness, it was announced Monday by the Royal Household Bureau, following a report by the monarch’s medical team who checked His Majesty’s brain and large intestine.
In its tenth statement on the king’s health, the Royal Household Bureau said the team of royal physicians reported that a magnetic resonance image (MRI) scan of his brain showed that there was no infraction or brain damage.
“There is no evidence of cerebral blood vessel stenosis nor occlusion, which indicated that there was temporary cerebral ischemia,” according to the statement.
The result of a computerized tomography (CT) scan of His Majesty’s abdomen disclosed that the infection on his large intestine is now resolved to nearly normal.
His general condition is satisfactory, the statement concluded.
Queen Elizabeth II of Britain has sent a message to HM the King wishing the monarch a quick recovery.
The British monarch’s message was delivered last Thursday to His Majesty the King by the nation’s Ambassador to Thailand, Quinton Mark Quayle.
Praising the close relations between two royal institutions, Queen Elizabeth said she hoped the HM the King would recover soon and fully perform his duties again. TNA


Local soldiers depart for troubled South

Saksit Meesubkwang
Special forces from the 7th Infantry Division gathered at the Three Kings Monument to bestow merits before departing for duty in the three southernmost provinces.

Col. Nopporn Ruonchan, Commander of the Special Forces 7th offers instructions and presents garlands to his troops during the emotional send-off ceremony.

Many of the 800 soldiers were accompanied by family members during an emotional send-off as they begin their term of duty in the troubled southern provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat.
Mothers and wives placed garlands on the soldiers and threads from their skirts into little bags for their son’s to wear around their necks as it is believed that it will keep them from danger. The soldiers also carried different types of amulets.
Tears flowed as many are aware they will be stationed in a troubled region rife with daily killings.
Colonel Nopporn Ruenchan, Commander of the Special Forces 7th Infantry Division presided over the send off ceremony and asked for blessings from Chiang Mai’s most sacred monks who sprinkled holy water on the soldiers.
The soldiers will be assigned to protect government institutions, teachers and monks when they make their early morning rounds to collect alms.
The Colonel said that his troops had received training in weapons, psychological warfare and in Yavi language.


Majority of Thai youth know too little about AIDS

Almost 77 per cent of Thailand’s youth — the segment of the population most vulnerable — have little knowledge about the potentially-deadly acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), according to the Ministry of Public Health.
Deputy Permanent Secretary for Public Health Dr. Paichit Varachit said the problem of contracting AIDS among adolescents is now of concern because the social environment had changed swiftly.
According to the AIDS surveillance report released on September 30, the number of AIDS patients is as high as 321,650. Of this, 50 per cent are persons aged between 25-34 years.
It showed that most people with AIDS had contracted the usually-fatal disease in adolescence and began to show signs of illness when they grew up and become adults.
A survey on the knowledge about AIDS among Thai youth found only 23 per cent of young males and 26 per cent of young females properly understood the development and seriousness of the disease.
A report on surveillance of risky behavior found only about half of young Thais use condoms when they have casual sexual encounters.
An average age of the youth who engage in sexual activities begins at 15 years old compared with the 18 year age-level indicated in an earlier survey.
It found 36 per cent of male students and 28 per cent of female students have had sexual intercourse.
Dr. Paichit said such behavior might lead to other problems such as contracting HIV and premature pregnancy, which could deny youth the opportunity for further study for a better future.
The problems would also impact on the family, community, society and eventually, the nation. TNA


Protest at Three Kings monument

Twelve women gathered in front of the Three Kings monument in the old city last Wednesday evening to bring attention to the ongoing conflict in Myanmar.
The women tied their hands together to represent 12 years pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest. Some 150 sympathizers showed up for the demonstration.


Hilltribes to rock Chiang Mai

On November 3rd, 2007, in honor of H.M. the King, the hills of Chiang Mai will rock once again as hilltribe musicians stage their second International Pop Concert to advocate for recognition of legal status and the prevention of HIV/AIDS, human trafficking, and drug abuse. The Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister will be the events’ master of ceremony.
The Concert will attract more than 20 popular hilltribe singers, from seven ethnic groups, who will lead the show with songs, entertainment and messages delivered in Karen, Hmong, Mien, Akha, Lisu, Tai Yai and Lahu languages. A group of young Thais who participated in the Mekong Youth Forum on Human Trafficking this summer in Bangkok will also take part in the Chiang Mai event – reinforcing one of the Hilltribe Concert’s main messages – that vulnerable groups, including children, should have a voice in the prevention of trafficking and other matters that seriously affect their lives.
The show will take place at Kard Cherng Doi, and will be broadcast live by Radio Thailand Chiang Mai, which transmits across Thailand, southern China, Lao PDR, northern Viet Nam, Myanmar and parts of India (beginning at 7 pm). Thailand’s Channel 11 television station will also conduct a simultaneous live prime time telecast from 8.30pm onwards for viewers throughout the kingdom.
Dr. David A. Feingold, head of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Trafficking and HIV/AIDS Project and one of the event’s co-organizers said “This year’s event is even bigger, and highlights the importance of legal identity in preventing human trafficking.”
Over 5,000 highland minorities and lowland people are expected to attend. Admission is free, but requires a ticket, which can be obtained from Radio Thailand Chiang Mai. The concert will coincide with an exhibition to honor His Majesty the King, and the Chiang Mai Food Festival.
Tickets are available at: Radio Thailand Chiang Mai, 49 Prachasamphan Street, Tambon Changklan, Muang District.


Poll - Majority willing to sell their vote

Attempts by interim Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont to eliminate vote-buying during the upcoming general election are likely to be fruitless as a recent survey shows that two out of three Thais - 64.6 per cent of the respondents in a new survey - are quite ready to accept gifts or money in exchange for their votes.
Assumption University ABAC Poll director Noppadol Kannikar said the poll conducted among 3,758 eligible voters aged above 18 in 14 provinces nationwide between October 15 -20 showed that almost 65 per cent of all respondents were willing to accept bribes in exchange for their votes in the December 23 election.
Only of 35.4 per cent of the respondents said they would not accept bribes or favors in exchange for their votes.
Also, the most worrisome result obtained from the survey was that 83 per cent of the respondents said they would not inform the Election Commission or concerned officials on any vote-buying practices even if they had evidence.
Two-thirds — 66.7 per cent — said vote-buying in Thailand is now reaching its most critical point ever.
Only 51.9 per cent of the respondents said they would consider both political party policies and the qualifications and personalities of the candidates before casting their ballots, while 28 per cent said they would give preferential attention to the candidates themselves and only 20.1 per cent indicated they would make their decision based on party policy platforms. TNA


Martial law eases - not in Chiang Mai

The Cabinet resolved last week to further lift martial law in additional areas, in an apparent move toward normality that is intended to lessen pressure from political groups seeking a more democratic atmosphere for their campaigns in the run-up to the upcoming December 23 election.
The Cabinet agreed that martial law, currently imposed in 27 provinces nationwide, will be minimized to the least number of areas as possible, Deputy Prime Minister Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratkalin said.
“Martial law will be maintained only in some districts or provinces (where it is) deemed really necessary,” Gen. Sonthi said. “Should it be considered unnecessary in any districts or provinces, it can be lifted. This will help lessen distrust and frustration of the political side.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont said the Cabinet asked the National Security Council (NSC) to consider partial lifting of martial law in some border provinces, particularly in districts which do not share the border with neighboring countries. However, the law needs to remain imposed in the three southernmost border provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat.
The NSC in its October 12 meeting recommended that martial law be revoked in 11 of 35 provinces and be instated in an additional three provinces. As a result of the NSC resolution, only 27 provinces nationwide are now under martial law.
The provinces of Chiang Mai and the northeastern province of Buriram are among the provinces remaining under military rule. TNA