NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

His Majesty the King’s health improving

President Obama calls for action on climate change

Happy Birthday Lin Hui

Tassanai Buranupakorn elected new mayor of Chiang Mai City

Garbage into Products project celebrated at seminar

Green Growers meet Green Customers at event and seminar

Chiang Mai prepares for further outbreak of swine flu in cool season

Mae Hong Son flood damage assessed; more heavy rain forecast

Flash floods in Mae Hong Son strand 5,000 residents as bridge collapses

Bangkok drug squad seizes huge haul of YaBa in Mae Sai

Bikers make merit at Three Kings Monument

Panda-naming contest winner granted Thai citizenship

New Mae Hong Son border pass will relieve shortages of consumer goods

 

His Majesty the King’s health improving

Thousands of citizens from all over Thailand gather in front of the Sriraj Hospital to bring flowers and pray for His Majesty the King’s speedy return to good health. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

It is with the greatest of happiness that we bring an updated report from the Bureau of the Royal Household announcing that His Majesty the King’s health has improved and that he is now able to eat normally and there was no more need for intravenous drips as he is much stronger.

 

President Obama calls for action on climate change

US Consul General conveys message during visit to Lhin Ping

U.S. Consul General Michael K. Morrow led members of the Consulate community to visit baby panda Lhin Ping, highlighting American missionaries’ participation in the founding of the Chiang Mai Zoo over half a century ago. During the visit, the Consul General underscored President Obama’s message urging action on climate change.

US Consulate Chiang Mai
On September 30, 2009, U.S. Consul General Michael K. Morrow led members of the Consulate community to visit baby panda Lhin Ping, highlighting American missionaries’ participation in the founding of the Chiang Mai Zoo over half a century ago. During the visit, the Consul General underscored President Obama’s message urging action on climate change.
The Consul General congratulated the Zoo on its sustainable growth as a center in northern Thailand of recreation, conservation and research, highlighting the success of the Panda Research Project. He encouraged the public to admire Lhin Ping not only for her beauty, but also as a symbol of wildlife under threat of extinction.
“I bring along today President Obama’s message during a special U.N. summit in New York just last week to highlight here that, ‘We all must work together to combat climate change, and the time for action is now.’”
According to Consul General Morrow, the U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai is adopting the U.S. Department of State’s Green Diplomacy Policy, which calls for posts worldwide to make offices more energy efficient and less wasteful.
“The consulate is celebrating the 60th anniversary of our establishment next year. We are concerned about current local environmental problems and are committed to taking action, starting with ourselves.” The Consul General also urged the local community to view climate change not just as a governmental or global challenge; but also a personal one.
The U.S. Consulate community’s trip to the zoo is a study tour for the staff and families to explore local nature and wildlife as well as to trace the Chiang Mai Zoo’s American roots. In 1952, American Missionary Harold Mason Young established a private zoo, which later became Chiang Mai Zoo.


Happy Birthday Lin Hui

Lin Hui, a female giant panda, eats fruits from a basket presented to her on the eighth birthday at the Chiang Mai zoo on Monday, Sept. 28, 2009. The panda is on loan from China since 2003. (AP Photo/ Wichai Taprieu)


Tassanai Buranupakorn elected new mayor of Chiang Mai City

CMM reporters.
Candidate no. 2, Tassanai Buranupakorn, has been voted in as the new mayor of Chiang Mai with a total of 24,384 votes.

Tassanai Buranupakorn, mayor elect

In second place was candidate no. 7, Wiapawan Woraputhiphong with 13,197 votes. Candidate no.1, former mayor Dr Duentemduang na Chiengmai polled 6,958 votes in 3rd place.
Officials from the local Election Commission counted the votes 4 times and announced the results overnight on October 4. The new mayor is the nephew of former mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn.
Turnout for the election was approximately 64,871 out of 106,366 Chiang Mai residents who were eligible to vote


Garbage into Products project celebrated at seminar

A photo frame made from scraps of wood,
which would otherwise have been burned.

Supoj Thiamyoj
Every provincial sector has cooperated in reducing pollution, the major issue during the last 2-3 years because of damage caused to citizens’ health and the provincial tourism industry.

Gift baskets made from old newspapers. Previously, these would have been burnt.
On September 25, researcher from the Social Research Institute of Chiang Mai University Dr. Duangchan Aphawatcharut-Charounmuang together with Assoc. Prof. Dr. Daorung Kangwanpong, Chiang Mai University’s Vice-President for Research, presided over a seminar at the Chiang Mai Holiday Garden Hotel and Resort. Results, both written and on video, of the 2nd year of their project to recycle garbage into saleable products were shared with an audience of 150 people from the several Thai residential communities involved.
The project, which involves the recycling of newspapers, tyres and other refuse into useful and saleable articles such as baskets, doormats and photo frames, took place in 4 provincial areas, with finance provided by Doi Saket Sub-District Municipality, Mae Ram Sub-District Administrative Organisation, Rim Nuea Sub-District Administrative Organisation and Lamphun’s Muang Noi Sub-District Municipality. Question and answer sessions with representatives of the project were also arranged.


Green Growers meet Green Customers at event and seminar

Jedsadapong Wongkiew
Chiang Mai’s Provincial Office of Agricultural and Cooperatives, the San Sai Sub-District Administrative Organisation, and the Provincial Public Health Office’s Food Safety Operation together hosted ‘Green Growers meet Green Customers’ at Saraphi district‘s Wat Si Don Chai. The opening ceremony was presided over by a representative of Chiang Mai’s Provincial Office of Agricultural and Cooperatives, Lamaiporn Saithong,

Lamaiporn Saithong, left, representing the Chiang Mai Provincial Office of Agricultural and Cooperatives, and Saraphi District Chief Officer Mongkol Suksai, presiding over the opening ceremony.

The aim of ‘Green Growers meet Green Customers’ was to allow participants to exchange knowledge about and understand the concept of sustainable organic agriculture. Based on the ‘sufficiency economy’ philosophy, the concept should result in increased growing of organic agricultural produce to the benefit of the agricultural community, providing an integrated method for solving sub-district and district-level community problems.
Activities included visits to sustainable organic fields and farms, a seminar on the topics of organic agriculture, the exhibiting of products and the introduction to the markets of organically grown produce. Also presented were processes for standardizing organic agricultural products and the managements of natural resources. A variety of products and plants, were on sale. Participants were joined by representatives from Chiang Mai’s local administrative organisation, agriculturists’ groups and organic agricultural networks from various Chiang Mai’s districts, the government sector and non-governmental organisations.

Booths displaying organic agricultural products in order to create more demand.


Chiang Mai prepares for further outbreak of swine flu in cool season

Jedsadapong Wongkiew
Chiang Mai Public Health Office held a meeting September 25 to issue public, community and school radio operators with correct information regarding the spread of swine flu, to be broadcast during the cool season during which a further outbreak of the disease is likely to occur.
Chiang Mai has seen 2,950 suspected cases of infection with the H1N1 virus with 18,000 confirmed. 3 deaths have occurred. Students and children under 4 year of age comprise 80% of the confirmed infections. The virus has spread to all districts; those with the largest number of infections are Muang, San Sai, Saraphi and Hang Dong respectively.
Statistics show that the number of infections is continuing to rise slowly. During the cool season when the virus may develop more easily, the public needs to be more careful and guard against other respiratory diseases, as those could lead to swine flu.
Chiang Mai Public Health Office has cooperated with every hospital in the province in arranging adequate medical facilities, equipment and medicines. 5,000 doses of Tamiflu are now available, with more promised if an outbreak occurs.
The Public Health Office has confirmed that the recent deaths of 2 students from Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna were not a result of infection by the H1N1 virus.


Mae Hong Son flood damage assessed; more heavy rain forecast

CMM reporters
Officials from Rangers 36 at Mae Sariang district, Mae Hong Son Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Centre and Sob Moei District Administrative Organisation went September 28 by helicopter to assess damage caused by the recent floods in the Mae Sam Laeb sub-district of Sob Moei district. Food parcels were also distributed to victims of the floods. One resident was drowned during the disaster.
As the Northern Meteorological Center has forecasted of heavy rains in the area Residents in Mae La Noi, Mae Sariang and Sob Moei districts in Mae Hong Son, especially those living in valleys, have been warned to protect themselves against further flash floods and mudslides, as the Northern Meteorological Centre is forecasting more heavy rain in the area.
Help centre numbers are as follows:- Mae Sariang District Territorial Defense Volunteers, 053-682-526; Natural Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Centre at Mae Sariang district, 053-681472; Mae Sariang District Police Station, 053-681308; Mae La Noi District Territorial Defence Volunteers, 053-689126; Mae La Noi District Police Station, 053-689097; Mae Sob Moei District Territorial Defence Volunteers, 053-618077.


Flash floods in Mae Hong Son strand 5,000 residents as bridge collapses

Khajohn Boonpath
Flash floods following torrential rain in mountainous territory along the Thai/Burmese border in Mae Hong Son have caused considerable damage, cutting off villages in Na Pu Pom sub-district when a bridge linking with Pang Mapha district was swept away. Fields, homes and high-voltage pylons were also damaged. Mae Hong Son province itself has received very little rain.
Teams of police and medical personnel sent from the Mae Hong Son Provincial Disaster Office and Srisangwal Hospital found that at least 5,000 residents in 10 villages were stranded by the collapse of the bridge. The nearby Mok Cham Pae sub-district was seriously affected when overflow from the Mae Sa-ngi River flooded 50 rai of rice paddies and a number of homes. 7 pylons were brought down by the force of the water, resulting in the local electricity authority cutting the supply for safety reasons. 100 rai of agricultural land in a third sub-district, Huai Pha, is also underwater.
A local resident in Mok Cham Pae, Jeerasak Tongsuk, said that river water began flooding his 3 buildings and 2 fish ponds at 1 a.m. on September 24. Damage to his property is estimated at 10,000 baht.
Prasert Osatapan, Muang District’s Chief Officer, with teams from the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office and Mok Cham Pae Police Station, have provided sandbags for protection against further flooding in the affected areas and organised repairs to a local road damaged by a mudslide. Damage costs are being estimated and financial assistance will be provided by the government.


Bangkok drug squad seizes huge haul of YaBa in Mae Sai

CMM reporters
A drug trafficker was arrested and 600,000 amphetamine pills worth more that 60 million baht on the street were seized September 29 in the Golden Triangle area by Bangkok drug suppression police, who reported that the drugs were smuggled into Thailand with the help of Red Wa groups in Burma, known to be major drug producers
Following a tip-off by an informer that a large quantity of amphetamines were to be transported across the border to drug runners in Mae Sai, police planned an intercept on the Mae Sae - Chiang Saen road. A 10 wheeled truck without a license plate was spotted, and a 20 km. chase followed, ending in Tambon Koh Chang, Mae Sai district when police vehicles forced the truck off the road. One of the traffickers, Chiang Mai resident Rewat Chaisurin, 52, was caught whilst trying to escape.
On questioning, Rewat admitted he had been hired to transport the drugs to Chiang Saen from Mae Sai after they had been smuggled across the border. The amphetamines were found in 3 Red Wa soldiers’ bags in the back of the truck.


Bikers make merit at Three Kings Monument

Supoj Thiamyoj   
The Thai Chiang Mai Biker Association was founded by members of the 15 ‘big bike’ groups in the province with the aim of good relationships and cooperation in social activities between all big bikers in Chiang Mai.

Members of Chiang Mai Bikers’ Association attended a religious ceremony at the Three Kings Monument after their ride around town.
The association, officially recognised by law, with its approximately 300 current members, has arranged many activities for the benefit of the public, including a tree-planting event in honour of HM the King and restorations in temples.
To obtain blessings and as a promise to continue organising useful activities for the province, the association held an event September 29 in which 300 members paraded on motorcycles to pay their respects to the Khruba Siwichai Monument , a Buddha image at Chiang Yuen Temple, and to the Three Kings’ Monument.
After the ride ended at the Three Kings’ Monument, a speech was given by Dr. Udonpan Chantarawiroj, President of Chiang Mai Sports Association and the Chiang Mai Biker Association’s counsellor, and a ceremony of worship took place.


Panda-naming contest winner granted Thai citizenship

CMM reporters
Naroi, the 15-year-old stateless girl who won the third prize of 100,000 baht and 2 tickets to Chengdu in the panda cub naming contest, has been granted Thai nationality and the entitled rights of a Thai citizen. She will now be able to leave Thailand and visit Chengdu, the centre for pandas in China.
Naroi was not entitled to Thai nationality as her birth and the births of her 3 siblings in a remote mountainous area were never registered by her Thai citizen parents.
At 3:00 p.m. on September 24, Mae Ai District Chief Officer Chainarong Boonwiwattanakarn gave Noroi and her 2 brothers and 1 sister their birth certificates, which officially accorded them Thai citizenship and Naroi was given her Thai ID card at the district office.
She told reporters that she was glad she was now legally Thai, promised to study hard and hoped that HM King Bhumibhol would get well soon, adding that the prize money would be spent on house repairs and a motorcycle for her father for his work.
Naroi and either her teacher or her father are expected to leave Chiang Mai for Chengdu on November 15 and will return home on November 19.


New Mae Hong Son border pass will relieve shortages of consumer goods

Mae Hong Son governor Thongchai Wongrianthong, (5th left) , accompanied VIPs from both Thailand and Myanmar  in presiding over the opening ceremony of the new Nampiangdin  border pass at Ban Nampiangdin, Mae Hong Son.

Khajohn Boonpath
The Nampiangdin border pass was officially opened for trade between Mae Hong Son and Myanmar on September 24. Mae Hong Son governor Thongchai Wongrienthong presided over the ceremony, held at Ban Nampiangdin, a satellite village of Ban Huay Due in Mae Hong Son’s Muang district. A local market is adjacent to the new border pass.
Representatives from Myanmar and Thailand attended the opening ceremony, together with wood importers and members of traders’ groups.10 of the Myanmar representatives were high-ranking members of the Karenni National Peoples’ Liberation Front (KNPLF) from Lorkor province in Kya state, loyal to the junta. They were led by Lt. Col. Ta Tun, Lt Col Jee Win, deputy army chief of KNPLF, and Lt. Col. Tun Sauw, chief of staff of KNPLF. Representatives from Thailand included Mae Hong Son government officials, and more than 200 Thai residents of the area.
A public announcement was made by the Mae Hong Son provincial authorities, signed by Thongchai. The new border pass is expected to relieve shortages of consumer goods locally, and was approved by the Ministry of the Interior on August 5 after its submission on February 22 by the sub-committee for border passes of the Office of National Security Council (NSC).
The pass will be open between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily, with the daily value of goods not exceeding 500,000 baht. Myanmar consumer products are chili, sesame seeds, sesame oil, and precious stones. For wood and log imports, traders must first get approval from Myanmar’s central government. Border procedures must be supervised by Mae Hong Son provincial authorities including immigration, police, the military and others in order to tightly control drug and weapon smuggling and other criminal activities.