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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Royal Project Foundation celebrates 40 years and honors HM the King

“We want a real deal” say Mae Rim Residents in a global day of climate action

Our children’s urgent need: climate agreement in Copenhagen

The Lanna Architects 2009 event at Think Park showcases green construction

Long Live His Majesty The King

Elephants returned to the wild

New Year holidays will show increased vigilance by Chiang Mai Police

Renowned artist, Sangiam Yarangsi, opens new exhibit of artwork

Woven Legends by Patricia Cheesman

Contributions of Foreign Tourist Police Volunteers recognized at Christmas party

Canadian tourist found dead in a condotel near the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar

Illegal North Korean immigrants arrested in Phayao

Liverpool loss to Fiorentina leads to the suicide of a local resident

Rak Chiang Mai 51 Group block reservoir to protest against news talk show host

Army to help combat forest fires and air pollution caused by fires

Japanese woman found dead in a guest house near Night Bazaar

Fire damages KTB Leasing Offices on Superhighway

 

Royal Project Foundation celebrates 40 years and honors HM the King

HRH Princess Soamsawalee cuts the ribbon, to open the event held on December 17 at Chiang Mai University’s Convention Center (Photo by Supoj Thiamyoj)

CMM Reporters
HRH. Princess Soamsavali presided over the opening ceremony for the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Royal Project Foundation. The celebration,which Prof. Dr. Pongsak Angkasit, President of Chiang Mai University said was held in honor of HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej and HM Queen Sirikit, took place at the Chiang Mai University Convention Center on December 17. The event features exhibitions showcasing HM the King’s Royal Projects, particularly academic and research projects as well as the highland development projects that have been initiated to aid hill-tribes people in the mountains.
Products from the Royal Project Foundation, featuring the Doi Kham name, which guarantees that it is a Royal Project item, were on display and sale. Cooking demonstrations as well other activities for youth and residents of the Royal Projects areas were also organized.
The Royal Project Foundation was founded in 1969 by HM the King to place emphasis on research and development of crops to replace opium poppy farming in the highland areas

 

“We want a real deal” say Mae Rim Residents in a global day of climate action

Mae Rim residents release a lantern
as part of the candlelight vigil for climate action.

By Mary MacLachlan
On December 12 people from around Mae Rim gathered at The Prem Center amphitheatre to light candles and share stories from the front lines of climate change as part of a world-wide day of action.

Hu Chang a student at Prem Tinsulanonda Interational School, addresses the crowd about the need for action on global warming.

In other locations around the world, participants joined thousands of communities holding candlelight vigils to urge world leaders to deliver the ‘real deal’ the world needs. In Copenhagen, Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu and former U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson led a special vigil outside the climate negotiation headquarters.
“People of Mae Rim want a real deal,” said Prem resident Mary MacLachlan, a member of the online campaign network, Avaaz.org, that co-ordinated the global action. “We need a deal that is ambitious enough to leave a planet safe for us all, fair for the poorest countries that didn’t cause climate change but are suffering most from it, and binding with real targets that can be legally enforced,” MacLachlan added.
Ricken Patel, Executive Director of Avaaz.org says “The day of action shows the huge level of public concern that climate negotiations are falling short of what’s needed to avert climate catastrophe. Our leaders have heard from major corporations and big polluters for a long time. Today, finally, they heard from citizens. Reaching a real deal must now be their top priority.”
Images of the day of action from around the world, including the rally at The Prem, will be shown at the UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen.


Our children’s urgent need: climate agreement in Copenhagen

By Jere Locke
 From December 7th to December 18th, the countries of the world convene in Copenhagen, and theeffort over many years to reach a global agreement will start again. The results in Copenhagen will likely define the future of this planet. While the scientists issue ever more alarming reports, there appears to be little chance of anything more coming out of the negotiations than a political framework, devoid of specifics as to percentages of cuts, reporting requirements, or money to the developing countries for adapting to the changes ahead. They are planning, in the words of The New York Times, to “punt the most difficult issues into the future.”
The summit’s primary goal is to reach a worldwide, binding agreement that will ensure that global warming does not exceed a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, as recommended by the Nobel prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a panel of 2500 climate scientists. Our best and brightest scientists understand that if we reach this level of temperature rise, we will be on a slippery slope to at least 4 or 5 degrees C rise, dooming future generations to horrendous consequences. In Thailand these consequences include the very possible flooding of Bangkok later this century; a deep, permanent drought in some areas of the country; and the loss of maybe half of the rice crop.
A real leader of the world’s scientific community Dr. James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies in the U.S., states that the climate is nearing a crucial tipping point that, if passed, would lead to “practically a different planet”.  Dr. Rajendra Pachuari of India,  who is the chair of the Intergovernmental IPCC said in 2007, ” What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment.”
Going into Copenhagen, the main obstacle to a successful agreement is that the developed countries led by the U.S. are proposing emission cuts of 25% of what the scientists recommend, plus only about 75 million dollars for adaptation and mitigation assistance to developing countries who will bear the brunt of climate change, but have per capita emission figures far below the US and EU. In truth, the real need for adaptation is probably at least 400 billion. Since the United States is responsible for 25% of the yearly total emissions, they should pay 25% of the yearly total required.
The last century has taught a lesson of inter-connectedness, of global unity. We’re in this together as a world, and we cannot separate our fate from that of other nations. Climate change will affect everyone—the rich, the poor, the West African, the Eastern European, the US and yes, Thailand.
We must all press for an agreement which includes transparent reporting and verification—the same for everyone, no excuses, no opting out.  And all nations must sign on the dotted line affirming that they will continue this quest for a healthy climate and a secure world, accepting their respective responsibilities. But we cannot, we must not, go halfway, and postpone the hard work for later. The hard work must begin on December 7th., for the stewards of our green Earth and our children’s future—it’s the highest responsibility the present generations of our world will ever face, and the most critical.
Written by Jere Locke, member of the Northern Climate Change Network in Chiang Mai where he now lives and Director of the Texas Climate Emergency Campaign. He just spent 18 months in Texas working on the US national climate bill. Jere can be reached at [email protected]


The Lanna Architects 2009 event at Think Park showcases green construction

Supoj Thiamyoj
The 13th annual Lanna Architects fair, held by the Association of Siamese Architects in conjunction with Chiang Mai Lanna Architects Commission and TTF International, was held at Think Park at the Rim Kham intersection between December 10 and 13.

His Excellency Honorary Professor Kasem Wattanachai, HM the King’s Privy Councilor, presided over the opening ceremony and granted the awards for Best Architecture at the event on December 11.

His Excellency, Honorary Professor Kasem Wattanachai, HM the King’s Privy Councilor, presided over the opening ceremony which took place on December 11.
This year was the festival’s first outdoor event, highlighting the “Going Green” theme of the fair. More than 50 companies exhibited their goods and services and gave advice to festival goers as to green, appropriate building materials. Businesses also showcased the most recent building technologies and winners of architecture awards had their designs shown at the event. The Home Clinic, which gave free advice on interior design, was a very popular booth with attendees.
Next year’s event is planned for November 26-28, with the venue to be determined.

A booth displaying decorative home products
at the Lanna Architects 2009 event at Think Park.


Long Live His Majesty The King

Phitsanu Thepthong editor of the Chiang Mai Mail represented the management and staff in signing the Royal guestbook at Chiang Mai University’s Convention Center to wish HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej good health and long life on the occasion of His 82nd birthday.


Elephants returned to the wild

From street begging and elephant rides to a home in the wild

2 elephants were released into the forest of Doi Pha Muang Wildlife Sanctuary in Lampang on December 16, as part of the project to return 81 elephants to nature in honor of the King, in a ceremony presided over by Dr. Sumet Tantivejkul, the Chairman of the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation.
The Elephant Reintroduction Foundation found and bought the two elephants, Pang Tookta, 27, and Pang Namchok, 59, who were used for labor, tour business and street begging in different provinces, from their owner in Surin. They were the 7th and 8th elephants reintroduced to nature by the foundation.
The event celebrating the release of the elephants was sponsored by Arrow and was attended by the Director of Arrow, Somphol Chaisiriroj, well known actor Nirut Sirijanda, and Thamarat Chokwatana, Director and Executive Vice President of ICC International.
The Elephant Reintroduction Foundation was started by H.M. Queen Sirikit after a state visit from H.M. Queen Elizabeth and H.R.H. Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, to Thailand in 1996. H.M. Queen Sirikit wished to offer an alternative future for domestic elephants, one in which they live out the rest of their lives in the forest, away from humans.(PRD).


New Year holidays will show increased vigilance by Chiang Mai Police

Pol. Maj. Gen. Sommai Kongwisaisuk, the Commander of Chiang Mai Provincial Police announced increased police security measures for the upcoming New Year holiday. He said that the large number of tourists is a draw for criminals and that the police plan to monitor the province for theft, drugs and guns.
The police hope to reduce the number of thefts, with motorcycle thefts reaching 800 new cases a month. So far the police have managed to recover 5,000 of the stolen motorcycles, this despite a decrease in the force from 4,000 police officers to 3,000 due to retirement.
Police who are found to be negligent in their duties will be punished by being made to do public service, such as care for leprosy patients and practice rice farming. The commander expects that members of the police force should have a better understanding of the victims of crime.(PRD)


Renowned artist, Sangiam Yarangsi, opens new exhibit of artwork

Jedsadapong Wongkiew
Sangiam Yarangsi, the nationally and internationally-recognized Chiang Rai-born impressionist painter opened his first exhibition of paintings in Chiang Mai on December 11 at Galerie Panisa, the event was presided over by Wuttinai Ratchafak, Deputy Justice of Appeals Court Region 5. This latest exhibition of his presents 100 pieces he has created over the past year.

Sangiam Yarangsi, nationally and internationally-recognized Chiang Rai-born impressionist painter.

“I have been painting landscapes for over 20 years, since I was a student in Chiang Mai. I never want to change the style or follow the current trend because the essence and quality of my art is what I’m mainly interested in.
I like traveling and my paintings are inspired by that. So there are many different angles. I’m not fixed at one viewpoint or one identity. But I have one love and that is nature. I’d like to say that I love making my art,” Sangaim Yaransi said.
The 10th solo exhibition given by Sangaim over the years, the exhibit runs at Galeria Panisa through January 4.


Woven Legends by Patricia Cheesman

Jedsadapong Wongkiew
“Woven Legends” an exhibition by Patricia Cheesman, well known textile expert, opened on the first floor at the Le Meridian Chiang Mai Hotel on December 12. Organized by O.P Chiang Mai, the exhibit showcases traditional woven fabrics as well as traditional hand weaving techniques. The exhibit displays equipment as well as antique textiles and offers locally woven textiles for sale.

Patricia Cheesman, specialist in traditional weaving of Thailand and Laos, shows traditionally-made woven fabrics at the Woven Legends exhibit.
Working with weavers in 20 villages, Patricia Cheesman has collected old fabrics, dyed them with “khram” (indigo) and given them to members of the Weavers for the Environment Association (WFE), of which she is the founder. Members of the WFE Association produced the beautiful and unique textiles from these fabrics that are on show at the exhibit which ends January 31..
Patricia Cheesman is a well known authority on Thai and Lao textiles and is a part time lecturer at Chiang Mai University as well as author and owner of Studio Naenna.

Silk weft Ikat woven textile titled Island Paradise,
woven in 2009 on sale for 40,000 baht.

Traditionally woven textiles on display at the Woven Legends exhibit
at the Le Meridian Chiang Mai Hotel on the 1st floor.


Contributions of Foreign Tourist Police Volunteers recognized at Christmas party

(Left to right) Dr. Shu Weiming, Chinese Consul-General in Chiang Mai, Pol. Lt. Col. Yuttasit Boonklam, the inspector of Chiang Mai Tourist Police, and the Tourist Police volunteers at the party.

Supoj Thiamyoj
The Chiang Mai Tourist Police, led by Inspector Pol. Lt. Col. Yuttasit Boonklam, held a “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” party for 50 foreign Tourist Police volunteers on December 11. Dr Shu Weiming, the Chinese Consul-General for Chiang Mai, attended the event as an honorary guest. The Tourist Police gave a certificate to a representative of the volunteers, thanking them for their hard work in supporting the Chiang Mai Tourist Police.


Canadian tourist found dead in a condotel near the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar

Supot Tiamyoj
The body of a Canadian tourist, Warren Leonard Battaglia, 49, was found in his room at the Night Bazaar Condotel on December 13, has been sent to Maharaj Nakhon Chiang Mai Hospital for an autopsy.
Bussara Intapanya, a 39 year old resident of San Kamphaeng district, told the police that she left the room around 11.00 a.m and, at that time, her boyfriend Warren Battaglia, was still alive. When she returned around 4.30 p.m., she knocked on the door with no response. She then tried phoning the room but when no one picked up the phone she asked the hotel staff to open the door. Upon finding the body of Mr Battaglia on the floor of the bathroom, she immediately called the police.
The Chiang Mai Tourist Police hope that the autopsy will determine cause of death.


Illegal North Korean immigrants arrested in Phayao

14 illegal immigrants from North Korea were arrested on a passenger bus leaving Chiang Rai for Bangkok December 15.
The police at Mae Tam Check Point in Phayao stopped and searched a passenger bus on the way from Chiang Rai to Bangkok, and found 14 illegal immigrants from North Korea; 5 men, 8 women and a boy. The North Koreans confessed to police that they had entered Thailand at Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district and planned to find jobs in Bangkok. All of them were arrested and charged with illegally entering Thailand.
Police from Phayao Police Station have been intensively monitoring for both illegal immigration and drug trafficking during the period running up to and including the New Year.(PRD)


Liverpool loss to Fiorentina leads to the suicide of a local resident

Staff reporters
Maitree Saenmongkol, a 48 year old resident of the National Housing Project located in Nong Hoy sub-district, was found lying in his bedroom with a gunshot wound to his head and a gun in his hand by his wife Nongyao Aiongtai, 50 years old. Maitree subsequently died at the Rajvej hospital on December 10.
The police were called to the man’s house by his wife when she heard a gunshot from their bedroom and found her husband barely breathing with a gunshot wound to his right temple. His wife told police that he and his friends had been drinking beer and watching the Liverpool – Fiorentina match at their house. After the match, which Liverpool lost 1-2, the friends left the house and Maitree went into their bedroom. When she heard the gunshot, she ran into the room and called the ambulance.
Police examined the hands of the deceased for gunshot residue, his wife and the man’s friends were taken to Maharaj Nakhon Chiang Mai Hospital for examination as well. Police discovered that the .38 used in the shooting belonged to the deceased.
Police are investigating to see if the suicide is due to involvement in illegal betting.


Rak Chiang Mai 51 Group block reservoir to protest against news talk show host

The political group Rak Chiang Mai 51, led by Kanyapak Maneejak or DJ Aom, blocked access to a reservoir at Highlands Agriculture Development Center as Channel 3’s “Roeng Lao Chao Nee”, a live news talk program, was being filmed there. The group was protesting the show’s hosts, Sorayuth Sutasnajinda, Sukwan Bulkul, Krittika Sakmanee and Ekkarat Kengtuktang, as not being-politically neutral in the presentation of their show.
After filming ended DJ Aom and Sorayuth Sutasnajinda met to discuss the issue. DJ Aom requested that the TV host be more neutral in his program. While Sorayuth Sutasnajinda, his colleagues and the show’s crews insisted that they have always been neutral and have never sided with any political groups. He also told them that his show is open to calls from anyone and that the group’s members are encouraged to provide feedback whenever they feel misinformation about them is given. Sorayuth added that he and his staff are willing to correct any factual mistakes that may be made.
The group, which had been kept from entering the filming site by the police, dispersed peacefully at the end of the talks.(PRD)


Army to help combat forest fires and air pollution caused by fires

The 3rd Army Area Commanding General Lt. Gen. Wantip Wongwai chaired a meeting with various local and regional government offices to develop a marketing campaign to combat forest fires in the coming year. They hope to use mass media and the public relations department to increase public awareness of the pollution caused by fires.
The General said that Their Majesties the King and Queen have great concern over the issues of forest fires and air pollution in the northern region caused by burning fields, as well as the impacts of high air pressure, air pollution from the neighboring countries and El Nino.
The Third Army Area has positioned 300 teams consisting of 3000 officers and 7 helicopters, with weaponry, ready to cooperate with other offices in fighting forest fires in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son, Tak and Lampang.
The Third Army Area has set up a Special Command for Air Pollution and Forest Fire Control at Chiang Mai’s 3rd Development Battalion, the command’s term will run between December 25, 2009 and April 30, 2010.
All local and regional governmental organizations will cooperate to combat fires and air pollution that often occurs in the dry season from December to February.(PRD)


Japanese woman found dead in a guest house near Night Bazaar

Supoj Thiamyoj
A 76 year old Japanese resident of Chiang Mai was found dead in her bathtub by the housekeeper at the guesthouse where she resided in Changklan road on December 16 at 9:30 a.m.

Chiang Mai Police investigate the room of Takako Kanomi, a Japanese national who was found dead in her guesthouse room on December 16.
The housekeeper told police that she had knocked on the door of Takako Kanomi 76, in order to clean the room. When she received no response, she unlocked the door with a master key. The police, after being called by the housekeeper, sent the body to Maharaj Nakhon Chiang Mai Hospital for an autopsy to determine cause of death.
The manager of the guesthouse told police that Ms Takako Kanomi had lived in Chiang Mai for many years and that he believed she might be alcoholic. Police have contacted the woman’s family for funeral arrangements.


Fire damages KTB Leasing Offices on Superhighway

Chiang Mai Municipality firefighters bring the blaze at KTB Leasing Co.
offices under control on Saturday, December 19.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Fire broke out at the KTB Leasing Company’s offices on the Chiang Mai-Lampang Superhighway opposite the Lanna Hospital on Saturday, December 19. The fire, which started on the ground floor, quickly filled the building with thick, black smoke.
Company staff were on hand to open the building to firefighters, thus allowing firefighters to keep the blaze from spreading to nearby buildings. It took 6 fire engines about 30 minutes to extinguish the blaze.
The fire caused traffic jams in the area as Changpuak police were needed to direct traffic and to help the firefighters gain access to the burning building.
While it is believed that a short circuit caused the fire, Changpuak police said that there will be an investigation to determine the cause of the blaze. The fire, which burned the entire ground floor, damaged offices and a stationary shop, resulting in an estimated 500,000 baht worth of damage.