Vol. VII No. 14 - Tuesday
April 1, - April 7, 2008



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

A most happy birthday to Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn

Tourist bus runs off Doi Suthep hill, one killed, many injured

World governments start talks on climate change agreement

Chiang Rai gemstone trader arrested for fraud

Chiang Rai teenagers arrested for pimping and prostitution

Disaster Prevention volunteers’ selfless efforts celebrated at 700 year Stadium

 

A most happy birthday to Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn

The entire Chiang Mai Mail staff joins the Kingdom of Thailand in humbly wishing HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn a long, healthy and happy life on this occasion of the Royal Anniversary of Her Birth. (Photo courtesy Bureau of the Royal Household)

The Kingdom of Thailand on April 2 celebrates the most auspicious occasion of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s birthday. We at the Chiang Mai Mail join in with our most humble wishes for HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn for a long, healthy and happy life.

 

Tourist bus runs off Doi Suthep hill, one killed, many injured

Second fatal accident at same location in seven years

Rescue workers work to free passengers from the ill fated bus.

Saksit Meesubkwang
A tourist bus carrying 19 Malaysian tourists returning from Doi Suthep temple, veered out of control crashing through the road barriers, plunged down the hillside coming to a stop 30 meters below instantly killing the driver and injuring most of the passengers.
The incident occurred around 4 pm on of Sunday March 30.

Rescue workers take a much deserved break after their strenuous task of saving lives.
Police guards at a check point near the revered Doi Suthep temple informed their superiors that they had witnessed a tour bus lose control, crashed through the road barriers and rolled off the hill.
On receiving the report of the accident police and rescue workers rushed to the scene. On approaching the bus, they heard cries for help coming from within. Inside the bus police found the dismembered body of Somporn Rasamee, the bus driver along with 19 injured Malaysian tourists and 2 bus conductors.
The injured were rushed to the Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital for treatment of their injuries. At press time, we learned that all the injured had been released except for two passengers and one conductor, who doctors recommended, remain in hospital for further observation.
Police said that the bus carrying the Malaysian tourists was travelling at high speed down the hill after having visited the Doi Suthep Temple when it reached the sharp curve in the road where the driver lost control of the bus and crashed down the hill.
They also said that this was the second accident at this very same location. Seven years ago a tourist bus carrying European tourists crashed at the very spot killing many passengers.
Chiang Mai authorities informed us that there was a regulation in place which states that bus drivers from other provinces are not permitted to drive busses on the Doi Suthep route as they were not familiar with the dangerous roads in the area. Busses had to be driven by Chiang Mai based drivers who were well trained to drive on these mountainous roads.
At press time it was yet not determined whether the bus driver was a local resident or from elsewhere.

Onlookers gather around the scene of the accident
as rescue vehicles take away the dead and injured.


World governments start talks on climate change agreement

Michael Casey
AP Environmental Writer

Governments from nearly 200 countries launched discussions Monday on forging a global warming agreement, a process that is expected to be fraught with disagreements over how much to reduce greenhouse gases and which nations should adhere to binding targets.
The weeklong, United Nations climate meeting in Bangkok comes on the heels of a historic agreement reached in December to draft a new accord on global warming by 2009.
Without a pact to rein in rising greenhouse gases in the next two decades, scientist say warming weather will lead to widespread drought, floods, higher sea levels and worsening storms that could put billions of people at risk.
“The challenge is to design a future agreement that will significantly step up action on adaptation, successfully halt the increase in global emissions within the next 10 to 15 years, dramatically cut back emissions by 2050, and do so in a way that is economically viable and politically equitable worldwide,” said Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is hosting the meeting.
All governments, including the United States, agree emissions need to be reduced to avert an environmental catastrophe. But the major polluters remain far apart over how best to achieve these goals.
Adding to the complexity of negotiations will be disputes over how best to help poor countries adapt to environmental changes by speeding up the transfer of technology and financial assistance from rich nations.
The European Union has proposed that industrialized countries slash emissions by 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. The U.S., which is one of the world’s top polluters, has repeatedly rejected mandatory national reduction targets of the kind agreed to under the Kyoto Protocol a decade ago.
Japan, which is struggling to meet its emissions-cut obligations under the Kyoto pact, is looking for less stringent conditions this time around. It has talked of using 2005 rather than 1990 as the baseline for reductions and is campaigning for industry-based emission caps.
Under its plan, global industries such as steel or cement would set international guidelines for greenhouse gas emissions. Proponents, including the United States, say that would help set a level playing field for competitive industries.
Critics, however, worry sectoral caps could be used to favor industries in richer countries with access to more advanced technology, while those in less developed nations would suffer.
Another contentious issue will be which countries will be required to make cuts under the new pact and how best to determine the level of reductions.
While the EU says the West has to take the lead in reducing emissions, the United States argued it should not have to make cuts that would hurt the U.S. economy unless China and India agreed to the same.
“We’re willing to take on international binding targets as long as other major economies _ both developed and developing _ do so,” U.S. negotiator Harlan Watson told The Associated Press.
“The primary concern is the so-called leakage issue,” Watson said. “If you take commitments and you have energy intensive industries, they might want to move to other countries which don’t have commitments.”
China has argued that developed countries should be required to take the lead in reducing pollution because their unrestrained emissions over the past century contributed significantly to global warming.
De Boer has said that requiring China and other developing countries like India and Brazil to take on binding targets “is not realistic.”
“Developing countries see that as problematic,” he said. “The problem of climate change as we see it today is a result of rich countries’ emissions, not the result of poor countries’ emissions. The historic responsibility of this problem lies with industrial nations.”
Alden Meyer, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, said a compromise might be building on the agreement reached in Bali where developing countries for the first time agreed to take voluntary actions that were “measurable, reportable and verifiable.”
Meyer said the West could provide the technology that would allow poor nations to reduce their emissions in certain sectors like steel and cement.
“Now you have this new animal agreed to in Bali. That is a big deal,” he said. “You’re opening negotiating space for new tools and mechanisms that will help developing countries bend down their emission curves while achieving sustainable development strategies.”


Chiang Rai gemstone trader arrested for fraud

Traders in Mae Sai and Chantaburi fall victim

Staff Reporters
On March 22, immigration police at Suvanabhumi International Airport arrested a Mae Sai man, Saran Thamakul, 32, on a charge of fraud. Saran, a gemstone trader, was the subject of an arrest warrant involving bounced cheques to the value of 10 million baht. At least seven claimants had filed complaints against him with Mae Sai police. During questioning, Saran admitted that he had issued the cheques knowing that they would be returned, and that he was unable to cover his resulting debts. The scam had been ongoing for some while, and had affected other traders both in Mae Sai and in Chantaburi. He has since been transferred to Mae Sai, where his seven victims will be called in to identify him as the fraudster.
Apparently, Saran had been trading in gemstones along the Thai/Burmese border for some 10 years. At one time, he had been the victim of a mugging by a gang of armed men, who robbed and beat him, then threw him into the Mekong River. He had subsequently lodged a complaint with the then MP for Chantaburi, as he had suspected that plain clothes police had been responsible for the attack.


Chiang Rai teenagers arrested for pimping and prostitution

Parents unaware of their activities

Staff Reporters
A recent police operation in Chiang Rai uncovered three teenaged girls who were selling sex to local men and tourists in the city. The girls, who cannot be named, were caught when police became aware of their activities and initiated an operation which involved making an appointment to use their services. The girls were invited by telephone to visit a client at a nearby rooming house in order to provide sexual services. At the appointed time, three girls arrived, were arrested, and were taken to a local juvenile detention centre. It transpired that one of the girls was acting as a pimp, arranging the appointments, whilst the other two, aged 15 and 17, were acting as prostitutes. The girls’ parents were not aware of their daughters’ activities until they were informed by police after the arrests.
Subsequently, one girl was charged with pimping and forcing others into prostitution, and was remanded to the juvenile detention centre to await legal proceedings. The other two girls were charged with prostitution on the streets and in public places, and with being a public nuisance. They were fined 300 baht each. Police spoke severely to the parents, and warned them that they should take care of their children and not allow them to break the law in this or any other manner.


Disaster Prevention volunteers’ selfless efforts celebrated at 700 year Stadium

Governor of Chiang Mai praises 2000 “normal, everyday people”

Civil Defence and Rescue Volunteers on a parade
at the Chiang Mai 700 Year Stadium.

Saksit Meesubkwang
On March 24 at the Chiang Mai 700 Year Stadium, the Governor of Chiang Mai, Wibun Sa-nguanphong, chaired the Chiang Mai Parade of 2000 civil defence and “One Tambon, one Search and Rescue Team” volunteers and praised them for their efforts over the past year. In his speech, Wibun noted that the volunteers are normal, everyday people who regularly make sacrifices and even risk their lives in order to help their fellow citizens, without thought of compensation or wages. The occasion of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Day was intended to show the community’s and the local authority’s appreciation of their selfless efforts.
Demonstrations of various types of operation followed, including simulated rescues of the injured from fires, floods and earthquakes. The civil defence volunteers demonstrated support protocols for use in disaster situations, including the dropping of clothing and provisions to those in inaccessible areas. A plaque was awarded for the best performance.



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