Vol. VI No. 44 - Tuesday
December 25, - December 31, 2007



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


OUR COMMUNITY
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Application Fees for U.S. Non-Immigrant Visas to Increase on January 1, 2008

Christmas For All

Santa’s got the beat

God’s Greatest Gift

Application Fees for U.S. Non-Immigrant Visas to Increase on January 1, 2008

The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok and the U.S. Consulate in Chiang Mai wish to inform our customers that effective January 1, 2008, the application fee for U.S. non-immigrant visas will increase from $100.00 (3,600.00 baht) to $131.00 (4,454.00 baht). This worldwide increase will allow the U.S. Department of State to recover the costs of security and other enhancements to the non-immigrant visa application process. The application fee can continue to be paid at any one of 246 designated Thai Post locations nationwide.
At the same time, the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok will adjust the Consular Exchange Rate from 36.00 baht per dollar to 34.00 baht per dollar.  With this exchange rate adjustment, the purchase price of the appointment PIN will decrease from 432.00 baht to 408.00 baht for the Web PIN and from 720.00 baht to 680.00 baht for the Phone PIN.  The PIN prices will remain in same in dollars ($12.00 and $20.00, respectively).
Beginning January 1, 2008, all visa applicants will be required to pay the new $131.00 (4,454.00 baht) application fee. Visa applicants who paid the $100.00 (3,600.00 baht) application fee before the January 1, 2008 fee increase may be processed for a visa if they are scheduled and appear for an interview on or before January 31, 2008. Applicants who paid the $100.00 (3,600.00 baht) application fee and are scheduled to appear for a visa interview after January 31, 2008 will be required to pay the $31.00 or 1,054.00 baht fee difference before they can be interviewed. This additional payment must be made at the U.S. Embassy Consular Cashier prior to the visa interview.
The U.S. Department of State is required by law to recover the cost of processing non-immigrant visas though the collection of the Machine-Readable Visa (MRV) application fee. Due to new security-related costs, new information technology systems, and inflation, the present $100.00 MRV fee is lower than the actual cost of processing non-immigrant visas. The Department has been absorbing the additional cost for some time, but is no longer able to do so and, therefore, is forced to institute this fee increase.
The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok and the U.S. Consulate in Chiang Mai look forward to continuing to serve our customers in Thailand and wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year.

 

Christmas For All

By B. Phillip Webb Jr.
God Bless old jolly Santa Claus
And speed him on his way
With presents for the young and old
To brighten Christmas day
With pretty dolls and Teddy bears
For little girls and boys
And luxuries for older folks
Who look for larger joys
May Christmas bring good will to men
And peace to every land
With faith and hope and charity
And love on every hand
Let every one help Santa Claus
To be a real success
And decorate each Christmas tree
With perfect happiness
And may the spirit linger through
The year about to start
That God may give His blessing great
To every human heart


Santa’s got the beat

Imagine you’re in a packed club on a busy street on Christmas Eve. That old guy on the floor looks familiar—he’s got a bushy white beard and a red hat. Could it be... (or have you had one too many)?

By B. Phillip Webb Jr.

A busy street was the place late on Christmas Eve,
There was a party, at a club, you wouldn’t believe;
The beer was flowin’, the place was loud,
A farang could get lost workin’ the crowd.

I was on my second round and what did I see?
An old man with a beard was smiling at me;
He wore a red coat and he drove a sleigh;
Man, could that old codger slip and sway!

Santa is a cool dancer, burnin’ up the floor
He’s ringin’ those bells, and he’s ready to roar,
Santa is a cool dancer, and he’s got the beat,
Better make way for those magic feet.

I thought I was crazy, couldn’t believe my eyes,
It’s the Chang beer talkin’, then I realized
Santa himself was out on the town,
Kickin’ up his heels before he made the rounds;

He was a hit with the ladies under the mistletoe,
They sat on his lap, now wouldn’t you know,
He took down their number, wouldn’t you bet,
This was a Christmas they’d never forget.

I watched him as he took off in his turbo sleigh,
It had bucket seats and a microwave,
His side-kick was an elf in a mini-skirt,
She wore a pointed hat and a sequined shirt.

I heard him shout as he hit the Chiang Mai sky,
Merry Christmas, y’all, I’ve got to fly!
Next Christmas Eve, I’ll be ready for more,
And tell, Number 44, I’ll meet her on the floor!


God’s Greatest Gift

By B. Phillip Webb Jr.

The little town of Bethlehem
Is peacefully asleep
While shepherds on the hills beyond
Are tending to their sheep

There is a whisper in the wind
Of angels in the sky
And suddenly a brilliant star
Is visable on high

The heavens seem to open wide
Angelic voices sing
And wonderful and joy are
The tidings that they bring

The Baby Jesus, Son of God
In Bethlehem is born
God’s greatest gift to all on earth
This glorious Christmas morn

Let us rejoice and worship Him
And let us humbly pray
For grace and guidance and the strength
To live a better way.



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