Vol. VIII No. 49 - Tuesday
December 8 - December 14, 2009



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Royal Flora Ratchapruek, “Our hearts to our beloved King”

December 10 is Constitution Day

10,000 monks in annual merit making ceremony

“Operation: Clean Chiang Mai” encourages creative solutions

Security training of special task force

Taiwanese men charged in 11 million baht armed robbery

Red Shirt protest against PM

Tourists lose money and valuables to motorcyclist

New daily flight to Nan to boost Chiang Mai as travel hub

Community Development office promotes OTOP products as great gifts

Global Economy, Thailand Economy seminar forecasts improvement

World AIDS Day parade promotes AIDS awareness

“Youth Fight AIDS” on World AIDS Day

 

Royal Flora Ratchapruek, “Our hearts to our beloved King”

Supoj Thiamyoj
“Royal Flora Ratchapruek, “Our hearts to our beloved King”, known locally as Ruamjaipak Rak Por Luang, opened at the Royal Flora Park on November 30 to honor His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej on his 82nd birthday. Former Prime Minister Banharn Silpa-archa presided over the opening ceremony of the Ministry of Tourism, and Department of Agriculture sponsored event in Mae Hia. He was joined in the celebrations by former Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, Theera Wongsamut, the Minister of Agriculture, Somsak Prissanannanthakul, former Minister of Agriculture and former Chart Thai Deputy Leader, Kanchana Silpa-archa.
On December 5, His Majesty the King’s birthday, at the Hor Kham royal pavilion or gilded house at the Royal Flora park, about 1,000 residents and tourists celebrated the auspicious occasion by lighting the candles and watched 999 fireworks for each one set (there were 9 sets) which were set off in honor of H.M. the King.
The Royal Pavilion will exhibit activities of H.M. the King and the gardens will show exhibits with the theme of “The King and global warming” during the 11 day celebration for H.M. the King’s birthday. The tulips from Netherland, given the name “King Bhumibol” will be on show, as well as many other exotic and local flowers and plants.
Regional performances will be on offer during the event, representing all four regions of the country. There are light and sound shows as well as OTOP goods and souvenirs from Royal Projects on sale at the Royal Flora Ratchapruek.

 

December 10 is Constitution Day

Thursday, December 10 marks Constitution Day in Thailand. The holiday is celebrated annually to commemorate the advent of the Constitutional Monarchy in Thailand.
Constitution Day is a public holiday and as such, all government offices, banks and many businesses close. Shopping centers and bank currency exchange booths, however, are open. Places of entertainment are usually open without restriction.


10,000 monks in annual merit making ceremony

10,000 monks receive offerings from Chiang Mai’s Buddhist residents
at the annual merit-making event.

Supoj Thiamyoj
10,000 monks from across the northern region as well as Burma, Laos and Sri Lanka received alms on Nimmanhaemin Road in the 6th annual ceremony dedicated to Chiang Mai Province on November 28. Organized by the Lanna Buddhist Association, Chiang Mai Provincial Administrative Organization, Chiang Mai Municipality and Chiang Mai Provincial Police, the merit making ceremony offered King Bhumibol Adulyadej wishes for good health and encouraged donations to help the monks in 266 temples in the Deep South of Thailand.


“Operation: Clean Chiang Mai” encourages creative solutions

Jedsadapong Wongkiew
The Operation Clean Chiang Mai workshop was launched on November 28 at Chiang Mai University’s Art Center in a bid to increase volunteerism and to encourage creative solutions for Chiang Mai among the youth of the city. Chatchai Shinawatra, Director of Plan and Project Division of Chiang Mai Municipality, presided over the opening ceremony of the event promoted by the Thai Health Foundation, which hopes to promote creative solutions, cooperative efforts and increasing productive thinking by bringing students together with experts from 8 fields in media, including television, advertising, film, media for children as well as social urban planning. The workshop promotes the idea of a time bank, where local youth are encouraged to deposit their time by doing volunteer work in their community.

Chatchai Shinawatra, Director of Plan and Project Division of Chiang Mai Municipality, (6th from left in middle row) with experts and other participants in the workshop program.


Security training of special task force

Riot police attempt to subdue a crowd in a simulated clash
between police and protesters at a recent training exercise.

Jedsadapong Wongkiew
Provincial Police and Special Forces, led by Pol. Lt. Gen. Somkid Boonthanom, the Commander of Provincial Police Region 5, underwent security training at Khun Nen Camp in Mae Rim on November 27. The training, involving 3,500 officers from Provincial Police Region 5, Chiang Mai Administration, as well as police from 8 other Northern stations, consisted of simulations of violent riots as well as abduction attempts on the Prime Minister. Decked out in full riot gear, the officers were trained to deal with possible violent situations arising from political conflicts and to promote cooperation among the various agencies.

Officers trained in how to react to abduction
and terrorist acts in simulated training.


Taiwanese men charged in 11 million baht armed robbery

The 4 Taiwanese robbery suspects, from left, are Hsu Shun, Lo Wei Chun, Ciou Cian Jie, Lin Jhong, Wei De and the Thai suspect who drove the van, Kritsada Nachalitkhachanchak. They were detained for questioning at the Provincial Police Bureau, Region 5 Chiang Mai on December 3.

Supoj Thiamyoj & Jedsadapong Wongkiew
Taiwanese businessman, Kao Han Xia, 31, and his wife were the victims of a home invasion on December 2 in Chang Phuak. He had rented a house in Chiang Mai with his Thai wife and had recently taken out an 11 million baht loan in order to open a karaoke bar. At noon, on December 2, a Taiwanese acquaintance of his, Hsu Shun, who had previously stayed in the house with him, drove up in a van with 4 other men. They proceeded into the house, threatened Kao Han Xia and his wife with weapons, and forced them to open the safe holding the 11 million baht in cash. The men then escaped in the waiting van.
Chiang Mai Provincial Police Commander Police Major General Sommai Kongvisaisuk ordered immediate roadblocks at all police checkpoints. The Highway Police apprehended the men at a police checkpoint in Utapao in Chai Nat. 11 million baht in cash was found inside a Louis Vuitton bag inside the van.
The van driver has been identified as Kritsada Nachalitkhachanchak, 47, of Bangkok, who claimed he was hired by the 5 men to drive them to Chiang Mai. He told investigators that he was unaware that the men planned to rob the house, but had only been asked to drive them to Chiang Mai, He continued that he had been directed to drive to the but did not take part in the robbery.
The four Taiwanese men denied all accusations and refused to offer police any further information. All 5 men were returned to Chang Phuak Police station in Chiang Mai with the cash.


Red Shirt protest against PM

Supoj Thiamyoj
50 members of the Red Chiang Mai for Democracy Group marched through town on November 28, starting from the Chiang Mai Stadium they paraded to the 3 Kings Monument where they were joined by a further 200 members of the group.

Members of the Red Chiang Mai for Democracy Group display banners in protest of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejajiva as they parade past Tha Pae Gate.

Led by Peerapol Morakot, the protestors stated that they were protesting against Prime Minister Abhisit Vejajiva, who they believe, was not elected by a majority so therefore, not elected democratically. They stated that the group would demonstrate against him anytime he chose to come to Chiang Mai. Peerapol added that the group planned to protest peacefully and would not cause difficulties for residents or tourists.


Tourists lose money and valuables to motorcyclist

Supoj Thiamyoj
A motorcycle riding thief stole a Spanish couple’s bag out of the basket of their bicycle in front of Wat U-Mong in Suthep District on Tuesday afternoon, December 1. The couple said a man in a green jacket and black helmet rode by on a motorcycle and grabbed the bag. The thief made off with 6,000 baht cash and their belongings.
Police took the couple to Phuping Police Station to file an official complaint and to give a fuller description in the hopes that the thief could be caught.


New daily flight to Nan to boost Chiang Mai as travel hub

Supoj Thiamyoj
Nok Mini, the new alliance between Nok Air and SGA Airlines, launched a new route from Chiang Mai to Nan on December 5, a move that is expected to boost Chiang Mai as a hub for travel to the North. With one flight a day to Nan, passengers will now be able to connect to Nan, Pai, Mae Hong Son, Chiang Rai and Bangkok at Chiang Mai International Airport.

Sobtana Anprasert, Deputy Director of TAT Chiang Mai Office, announces new flights to Nan with Nok Mini.

Nok Mini plans to add more flights to more provinces in the future while Nok Air will launch the Chiang Mai-Udon Thani route on January 17, 2010 with 33 new SAAB airplanes with an increased passenger capacity.
“The new flight will enable the transportation of tourists from Luang Prabang to Nan and to Chiang Mai and support the establishment of Chiang Mai as tourism hub of the northern region,” according to Sobtana Anprasert, Deputy Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Chiang Mai Office.
For more information, please contact Nok Mini Call Center: 053-280-444 or 1318, or visit www.nokmini.com.


Community Development office promotes OTOP products as great gifts

Nopniwat Krailerg
Encouraging the purchase of One Tambon, One Product (OTOP) goods for New Year gifts as being unique and beautiful, Kopong Komalrat, from Chiang Mai Community Development Office, added that by purchasing OTOP products, residents can help boost the local economy as well. OTOP products reflect not only the traditional ways of life and local culture but also make interesting gifts with products ranging from hand woven scarves to coffee, herbal products, cosmetics and decorative accessories.

Kopong Komalrat of the Chiang Mai Community Development Office promotes OTOP products.

“This year, Chiang Mai has had 900 people register their OTOP products, of those 486 products have been approved by the commission: 25 as 1 Star product, 164 as 2 Star products, 127 as 3 Star products, 143 as 4 Star products, and 27 as 5 Star products. The commission helps with sales promotion and marketing the products. From October 1 to September 30, 2009 Chiang Mai OTOP products have sold for approximately 3.5 billion baht.” Kopong said.
OTOP products are available for purchase at the District Development Office in every district or the Chiang Mai Community Development Office at City Hall.

Some of the many OTOP products available for purchase in Chiang Mai.


Global Economy, Thailand Economy seminar forecasts improvement

Jedsadapong Wongkiew
The 2010 Global Economy, Thailand Economy and Opportunities for New SME’s seminar was held at the Empress Hotel in Chiang Mai on November 24 to discuss the role of small to medium business enterprises (SME’s) in the Thai economy as it moves forward into 2010. Vallapa Posyanond, Executive Vice President TMB and Head of the SME Business Relationship Management Group, presided over the event.

Vallapa Posyanond, Executive Vice President of TMB and Head of SME Business Relationship Management Group, left, with Nitipoom Navaratna, Director of the Institute of Asia and Africa Studies of ABAC, right.

The Thai economy is forecast to return to positive growth in the upcoming year with an estimated Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 2.3%- 3.5%. Increasing rice prices are forecast bringing a revival to the country’s economic sector and as the global economy returns to recovery and growth, tourism to Thailand is expected to increase. Although the numbers remain low, it is an improvement over the negative numbers of the past year and it is believed that the economy will improve over the coming year.


World AIDS Day parade promotes AIDS awareness

Young people and representatives of the Chiang Mai AIDS network carry banners promoting the prevention of AIDS.

Supoj Thiamyoj
The Anti-AIDS Caravan organized by the Chiang Mai Public Health Office set off from Chiang Mai City Hall on World AIDS Day, December 1. Consisting of young people and representatives from the AIDS network in Chiang Mai, they carried anti-AIDS banners and were joined by tuk-tuks affixed with AIDS prevention posters to parade around the city promoting AIDS awareness and prevention.
Joined by Pairote Saengphuwong, Chiang Mai’s Deputy Governor, Dr. Surasing Wisarutrat, Deputy Head of Chiang Mai Public Health Office, discussed HIV/AIDS prevention, noting that unsafe sex behavior and limited knowledge increased the risk factors for groups like teenagers, drug users and others. He added that the number of young patients continued to rise, with the latest statistics showing that every day Chiang Mai has 3 new HIV/AIDS patients, 2 deaths resulting from AIDS, and an average of 200 people under the age of 20 on HIV medication.


“Youth Fight AIDS” on World AIDS Day

Jedsadapong Wongkiew
120 secondary students from 26 private and public educational institutions participated in the “Youth Fight AIDS” seminar as part of World AIDS day on December 1.

Dr. Ken Santitham opens the seminar “Youth Fight AIDS” for World AIDS Day.

Dr. Ken Santitham, Municipal Clerk of Chiang Mai Municipality joined representatives from the Thai Youth Action Program (TYAP) who presented lectures and information on prevention of AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
The students who attended the conference will then be able to take the information they learned back to their schools to help inform fellow students on the prevention of STD’s.
Of the province’s 30,298 known AIDS patients, Chiang Mai Municipality has the highest number compared to other districts. 2,198 of those patients are between the ages of 10 and 24. A recent report shows that young adults are considered a high risk group due to unsafe sexual behavior. It is hoped that the seminar will help increase awareness among youth as to prevention measures.

Secondary school students attended the “Youth Fight AIDS”
seminar for World AIDS Day in Chiang Mai.



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