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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Chiang Mai University researchers present projects to HRH Princess Chulabhorn

Royal Flora Ratchapruek event to honor H.M. the King on his 82nd birthday

15 out of 24 Municipal Council members fail to show at Council meeting

U.S. Ambassador Eric G. John visits Chiang Mai to discuss the economic outlook for the region

Owner of internet gaming cafe arrested for violating curfew on gaming hours

Payap University celebrates International Day

9 Districts declared emergency areas due to cold weather

Omkoi to be focus of special task force

 

Chiang Mai University researchers present projects to HRH Princess Chulabhorn

Agriculture Fair opens at CMU

HRH Princess Chulabhorn gives a lecture on “the importance of research to the development of the country” at Chiang Mai University Convention Center.

Supoj Thiamyoj
HRH Princess Chulabhorn graciously presided over the opening ceremony of Chiang Mai University (CMU)’s “To the 5th Decade as a University of Excellence” event on November 26 morning. She followed up by giving a lecture concerning the importance of research for the development of the country. She later toured exhibits on projects being carried out by CMU researchers.

Daoroong Kangwanpong, Vice President for Research Affairs, presents a garland to welcome HRH Princess Chulabhorn to Chiang Mai University.
According to Chiang Mai University President Prof. Dr. Pongsak Angkasith, the university, which was founded in 1964 as Thailand’s first regional university, has contributed to the development of the community and the country through its research projects. The 2 day event, in celebration of its 45th anniversary, was aimed at presenting the university’s research projects to the public. It is hoped that CMU research could lead to commercial development, as well as lend to the University’s growing reputation as an academic and research center.
The event was attended by presidents and representatives of 20 universities from 10 countries, in partnership with Chiang Mai University, and about 1,500 scholars, lecturers, university students and students from across the country.

HRH Princess Chulabhorn cuts the ribbon to officially open the 6th Agriculture Fair at Chiang Mai University.
Free academic services to the community were also offered at the Chiang Mai University Convention Center at the event, including human and pet health advice and checkups, and anti-smoking information.
Meanwhile, the opening of the 6th Annual Agriculture Fair, “Environmental Friendly Agriculture Following the Sufficiency Economy Principles”, was presided over by HRH Princess Chulabhorn on Thursday, November 26 afternoon at the Faculty of Agriculture at CMU.
HRH Princess Chulabhorn, after being met by Prof. Dr. Pongsak Angasith, President of Chiang Mai University, and Theera Visitpanich, Dean of Faculty of Agriculture, toured exhibitions on agriculture projects initiated by the Royal Family, as well as those developed by the Ministry of Agriculture and the University. She then took an electric car to visit the organic vegetable farm on campus.
The Agricultural Fair will run through the 3rd of December and seeks to promote eco-friendly agricultural technology based on the principles of the sufficiency economy. The University hopes to encourage local residents by showcasing the Faculty of Agriculture’s educational and research abilities as well as provide agricultural students and interested individuals information on new agricultural developments and technologies.

HRH Princess Chulabhorn inspects exhibitions presented by Chiang Mai University Faculty of Agriculture members.

 

Royal Flora Ratchapruek event to honor H.M. the King on his 82nd birthday

(From left) Theera Wongsamut, Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Amornpan Nimanant, Chiang Mai’s Governor, Chumphol Silpa-archa, Minister of Tourism and Sports announce the Royal Ratchapruek 2009 event in honor of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 82nd birthday.

By Nopniwat Krailerg
The Royal Flora Ratchapruek in Chiang Mai is holding an 11 day event to honor H.M. the King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 82nd birthday. Beginning November 30 and running through to December 10, the event will feature open air stage performances every evening from 6 p.m. concluding with a fireworks show at 10 p.m.
The event, which is hosted in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Tourist Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Chiang Mai, will highlight the botanical gardens with displays of plants from 13 countries including Malaysia, Japan, Netherlands, Morocco, Kenya, Sudan, Indonesia, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and South Africa and 11 Thai organizations; exhibits on the King’s royal activities, the Ministry of Agriculture’s works; agricultural, entertainment, tourism activities, such as the display of technological methods of growing garden plants, demonstration of handicrafts making, and sales of Royal Project and OTOP products.
The event will open with a ceremony releasing 999 lanterns and a parade in honor of H.M. the King on November 30 and on December 5, a fireworks show featuring 999 fireworks will wow crowds who come to wish H.M. the King well on his birthday.


15 out of 24 Municipal Council members fail to show at Council meeting

New mayor still unofficial

Nopniwat Krailerg
Once again a majority of Municipal Council members failed to show at the Council meeting that was rescheduled for new Mayor Tassanai Buranupakorn to present his administration’s policies to the Council. This time, 15 out of 24 members failed to show at the rescheduled meeting on Thursday, November 26.
On the same day, those 15 members held a press conference at Maninarakorn Hotel to inform the public as to their reasons for not showing. They felt the could not endorse the Mayor’s win given allegations of vote-buying in the election and that his case had not yet been resolved by the Election Commission and the police. They added that they were not happy that the new Mayor had not sent his policies to them for review prior to the meeting as per regulations. Mayor Tassanai Buranupakorn could still be declared the official Mayor without the Council’s presence at the meeting, once his written policies are sent out too all members of the Council.
Following the second failed attempt to announce his policies, Tassanai Buranupakorn said that although he could not yet be declared the official Mayor, he would not shirk his duties as Mayor. He added that he planned to do his best as the Mayor, even though he was not yet allowed to issue policies and orders. If he can not announce his policies within 30 days, the alternative, which is to inform to Chiang Mai’s Governor by a written statement as well as send out written policies to the council, will become necessary in order for him to take his position officially.


U.S. Ambassador Eric G. John visits Chiang Mai to discuss the economic outlook for the region

Phitsanu Thepthong
The U.S. ambassador to Thailand Eric G. John foresees a bright outlook for closer Thai-U.S. relations, especially in the area of bilateral trade and investment.
The United States is Thailand’s largest customer in the world, with U.S.-Thai bilateral trade reaching over $32 billion. Last week, Ambassador John talked about business and economic growth with five Chiang Mai journalists, including the Chiang Mai Mail.
He started the meeting expressing his pleasure to meet and talk with local reporters and wanted to introduce the most significant issues on economic and business cooperation between Thai and U.S. government organizations.

U.S. ambassador to Thailand Eric G. John foresees a bright outlook for closer Thai-U.S. relations.

“During the past 40 years, we have seen growth of bilateral trade cooperation between the two countries so that it is now worth around 1 billion US dollars, the increased growth signifies a new age in Thai-US relations,” he said.
The U.S. is also second-largest investor in Thailand and has now surpassed $23 billion in exports.“With more on the way . Investment by the private sector has proven to be much more than the government to government sectors”, he noted. However, he added that growing relations between the governments was of equal importance to the U.S.
He continued, noting that U.S. business and investment projects in Thailand have resulted employing around 250,000 people nationwide.
“The volume of exports from Thailand to US is worth around $23 billion, which is a large amount and a big step to bring great benefits for businesses in both countries”, Ambassador John added.
Ambassador John said that bilateral trade will also help stimulate growth of the economy, by way of giving more opportunities for export growth and by opening up trade potential and opportunities, adding the importance of a continued, strong relationship between Thailand and the U.S.
The Ambassador said one of his goals is to increase the U.S. presence in the North, adding that more bilateral trade as well as U.S. investment projects should be increased in the Northern region. Currently there are not many U.S. projects in Chiang Mai. “ There is less investment activity by U.S. firms in the North when compared to the Central and Eastern regions. Chonburi , Pattaya and Rayong have a much larger number of U.S investment projects.
“However, many of you may have heard about the arrival of U.S. companies, with Monsanto in Phitsanulok, Frito Lay in Lamphun, and Creative Kingdom in Chiang Mai”. Monsanto in Phitsanulok employs 500 workers and involves 10,000 Thai farmers in producing high-yield hybrid corn seeds for sale in Thailand and markets as far away as South America. While, Pepsi/Frito Lay produces snack foods in Lamphun, employing over 1,000 workers and involving 2,000 farmer households in production The U.S. IT firm, Creative Kingdom Inc., employs 300 young Thais in digital animation and video game design.
“So, it is an important mission for the U.S. Embassy to cooperate with the Thai government to stimulate and increase more private businesses as stakeholders and in regulating or setting the framework of good cooperation on economic development in the Northern region”
Last year, the U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai held a seminar on logistics system development in the Greater Mekong sub region (GMS) in Chiang Mai, and has made efforts to integrate economic activities like custom procedures and investment planning in the region’s industrial areas.
He remarked that in February of 2010, the U.S. Consulate General will also hold another seminar on the Creative Economy, the economic initiatives conference in Chiang Mai, which will focus on the growth of information technology and the need for advanced education in order to fulfill that need. The seminar agenda will be promoted by the U.S. Embassy and the Thai Ministry of Commerce to develop more businesses, especially in the field of education, which would lead to the economic development for labor or workers in this region.
“Chiang Mai is a high potential area, particularly for bilateral trade and cooperation. This region could be a leader in the field of IT and offer another alternative to attract more investment.”
Ambassador John noted the talks between the Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs and U.S. officials at the meeting held in Phuket in July this year was an attempt to promote the Mekong Lower Initiative, which includes Thailand, the U.S., Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. The most important issue discussed at that meeting was the protection of the environment along the lower Mekong River.
The ambassador added that while Chang Mai is not directly connected to the lower Mekong river, it is a link between the environment and people who live in the Greater Mekong Sub region (GMS) and that residents may see negative effects from environmental and lifestyle changes with the addition of new sources of income.
Focusing on the potential of the North is an integral part of U.S. governmental and business relations, outside that the GMS organization.
President Barack Obama has stressed the importance of increased ties between the U.S. and ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations), adding that a personal relationship developed between the President and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejajiva at the G20 meetings in Pittsburg and Singapore and the recent APEC meeting. Both leaders continue to work together to grow both governmental and business ties. He added that the recent talks between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Prime Minister Abhisit and Thai Foreign Minister Kasich Pharos shows that close Thai-U.S. relations continue to progress.
“Although Thai domestic politics still have conflicts, the status of Thailand in the international stage is not really negatively affected in the international community. The fluid political situation in Thailand does not raise serious concerns with her neighbors” he remarked, adding that Thailand does need to work to explain the situation and calm any fears as to her future.


Owner of internet gaming cafe arrested for violating curfew on gaming hours

Supoj Thiamyoj
The owner of Buddy Internet and Game Cafe in San Sai was arrested on November 23 by San Sai and Provincial Police for allowing children under the age of 15 in his cafe between the prohibited hours of 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on weekdays.
Aketrakul Somsuk was charged under the 2008 film and video law which restricts children to internet and game cafes between 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on weekdays and from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on weekends, school and public holidays. Cafes found violating the law will be subject to fines between 100,000 to 500,000 baht or 10,000 baht a day per day in violation. Owners also will have their business licenses suspended for 90 days and, if they continue to violate the law, will find their licenses revoked.


Payap University celebrates International Day

Students dressed in costumes from around Asia, India, China,
 Thailand and Malaysia, prepare to perform for the crowd at Payap
University’s International Day. ( Photo by Supoj Thiamyoj)

by Elena Sheppard
On November 20th Payap University celebrated its 7th annual International Day. Roughly 1,000 attendees joined the international festivities which included performances, activities and food from around the world. With 19 countries represented, including Thailand, Germany, Korea and Turkey, the event strove to showcase the University’s international diversity and encourage unity and appreciation amongst members of the Payap community and the Chiang Mai community at large.
Set on the spacious lawn behind the University library, International Day entertained it’s guests with 35 food and activities stalls. Attendees sampled Thai meatballs, American baked goods, and Indian samosas among many other delicacies on the day’s international menu. Food aside, there were activities from Cuban salsa dancing to Chinese calligraphy. “It was a wonderful evening,” said Lauren Whitehead an American teaching at Payap. “It was inspiring to see so many people come out with such pride for their countries and compassion for their neighbors.”
Upon entrance attendees were invited to purchase the International Day passports in which they could collect stamps to receive free prizes. Additionally their passports served as raffle tickets to win prizes including 10,000 baht, a roundtrip Thai airways ticket to Bangkok, a weekend getaway at Kantary Hills and a one day tour of Chiang Rai. “This was the first year to sell out of passports,” Jessica Loh, Head of International Campus Life, said.
As attendees sampled from the different stalls, a broad array of faculty and student performers entertained the crowds. Among the numerous acts, including the finale of the University-wide “Payap’s Got Talent” competition, the crowd enjoyed a nursing student performing traditional Thai dance, Thai students singing German songs and a visiting professor from America who performed on the Indian flute.
Perhaps most in keeping with the event’s underlying message was a performance by students from the International Master’s of Divinity program who represented the Asian countries of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal, Korea, Lahu, Kahsin and China. Representatives from each country came slowly on stage in their nation’s costumes and holding heart-shaped balloons with simple messages written on them; “Love,” “Hope.” All the while, in the background there played a song about peace.


9 Districts declared emergency areas due to cold weather

160,000 residents in Phayao affected

Staff reporters
Cold temperatures have affected more than 160,000 people in Phayao Province, prompting the government to declare 9 districts emergency areas. Financial assistance will be given to these areas to help provide residents with blankets and warm clothing. Day-time temperatures continue to be as low as 13 C.
Cherdsak Choosri, Phayao’s Governor, chaired a meeting with officials from Phayao Office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Provincial Administrative Organizations, District Chief Officers as well as representatives from relevant organizations on November 23 to organize plans to aid the affected people.
Chiang Kham, Muang and Dok Khamtai are three districts with the highest number of affected residents, the public sector has so far donated 2,000 blankets but more are needed to help the more than 20,000 people affected in each district. Governor Cherdsak added that the Provincial government plans to approve a million baht budget to distribute donations and aid locals. Residents should start receiving blankets at the beginning of December.
Additionally, 3 districts in Phayao, with more than 7,000 households affected by drought, including Pong, Chiang Muan and Phu Kamyao, have also been announced as emergency areas and as such, can begin receiving government aid.
Doi Inthanon saw Chiang Mai’s first frost on the morning of November 23 when the temperature reached a chilly 7.5 C. Doi Ang Kang saw the temperature fall to 8.5 C. More than 200,000 Chiang Mai residents have been affected by the cold weather Pairote Saengphuwong, Deputy Governor of Chiang Mai said, adding that private organizations and the public sector have generously donated clothing and blankets.
Local administrative organizations have also worked in aiding area residents and the Governor will allocate 50 million baht of the budget to areas most affected by the cold should the temperatures continue to remain below 15 C for more than 3 days. Mai Ai, Mae Chaem, Omkoi and Wiang Haeng districts have been hardest hit by the low temperatures with residents in need of warm clothing and blankets.
The Meteorological Department of Thailand predicts that temperatures should begin rising as the cool air mass loses strength.


Omkoi to be focus of special task force

Plan for opium poppy eradication

Khajohn Boonpath & Staff reporters
An integrated task force has been formed to patrol Omkoi district in Chiang Mai Province. Due to the poverty of its residents and its isolated location, it has seen an increase of illegal activities ranging from opium poppy production, illegal immigration, and has become a center for the transportation of stolen vehicles across the border. Illegal immigrants and the illegal harvesting in the National Forests remains a problem, according to the report released by the Office of Narcotics Control Board this November.
The task force created to monitor the area will consist of members of the Border Patrol Police, local administrative officials, Royal Thai Rangers, and the Omkoi police to be led by Pol, Col, Satit Katetanon, Deputy Commander of the Border Patrol Police Division, Region 3. The Omkoi Special Command, led by Lt. Col. Adul Jampatong, Deputy Commander of Rangers Force Division 36, has already found and destroyed 4 rai of opium poppy plantations.
Meanwhile, the 2010 plan for the eradication of opium poppy planting was announced November 24 at the Pha Muang Task force Center by Lt. General Wantip Wongwai, Deputy Commander of the Army Area 3. The plan will cover 76 separate areas in the north, of which the army will be responsible for 65 areas in Mae Chaem and Omkoi. They will be supported by the Office of Narcotics Control Board, Provincial and Border Patrol Police.
Lt. General Wantip traveled to the Omkoi district to observe the destruction of opium plants and to distribute sporting equipment and other goods to Rang Bee village members of which have cooperated with officials in their goal to eradicate opium poppy planting.
To date, 46 rai of opium poppy fields have been destroyed with a further 94 rai awaiting destruction.