NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Plans for permanent border checkpoint at Ton Noon, Mae Hong Son

Department of Livestock chief injured in accident in motorcade of HRH Princess Sirindhorn

Community based tourism in Chiang Mai’s new Galyani Vadhana District

Noted research biologist to speak about the sacred lotus at the Prince Royal’s College

SIPA training Syslog free! For the government sector

Corrections

Mae Chaem announces the 17th Tin Chok Woven Arts Festival

Chiang Mai Big Bike Riders head for the 2nd Bangkok Motorbike Festival 2010 

2 members of stage crew for Fon Thanasunthon killed in truck accident

Nok Air will replace Thai Airways on the Mae Hong Son – Chiang Mai Route

Three red shirt demonstrators arrested at protest

Thailand to repatriate Karen villagers who fled Myanmar army

300 students at risk from A(H1N1) under close watch, schools closure ordered temporarily

 

Plans for permanent border checkpoint at Ton Noon, Mae Hong Son

Phitsanu Thepthong & Supoj Thiamyoj
Alongkorn Polbutre, Deputy Minister of Commerce announced that the border pass at Ban Ton Noon in Tambon Mae Ngao, Khun Yuam District, will be upgraded to a permanent border check point, linking the Khun Yuam district of Thailand and Mae Chae district of Myanmar. The Deputy Minister, the Mae Hong Son Governor Kamthorn Thawornsathit, General Boonyarit Kalayanamit of the Department of Trade Negotiations and the Mae Hong Son Chamber of Commerce President Supoj Klinpraneet met with Aung Soe Thein, the Director of the Department of Border Trade for Myanmar in Yangon between January 24 and 28.
Free trade agreement talks were also held in Mae Hong Son in an effort to increase cross border trade, tourism and investment projects and to enable ASEAN agreements with Mae Hong Son.
The Deputy Minister of Commerce, Alongkorn Polbutre also attended the first meeting in Mae Hong Son with the Director General of the Myanmar Trade Department, the Director of the Myanmar Chamber of Commerce and the Director of the Chamber of Commerce. Members of the business community also participated in the meetings to seek cooperation on increasing cross border trade and tourism.
After the meeting the group travelled to the Ton Noon border pass on the Thai-Myanmar border. Once open, the border checkpoint would link Mae Hong Son’s Khun Yuam district with Myanmar towns like Toungoo, Pray and the coastal town of Thandwe, deputy minister Alongkorn said.
“From Khun Yuam district own to Ban Ton Noon border pass is about 30 kilometers, and then from the Thai-Myanmar border checkpoint to Toungoo town in Myanmar is about another 200 kilometers”, he added.
The meeting and border inspection is regarded as the first step of the plan to improve relations between Myanmar and Mae Hong Son province and is in line with Thai government policy, following last year’s official visit of the deputy minister Alongkorn to Myanmar. The government aims to open more border crossings with a hope to increase trade and tourism between Mae Hong Son and Myanmar.

 

Department of Livestock chief injured in accident in motorcade of HRH Princess Sirindhorn

The Director General of the Livestock Department, Preecha Somboonprasert and Nara Lanowittaya, the Director of Phitsanulok’s Informal Education department both suffered broken bones after their vehicle went off the road and into the ravine on January 22, both were airlifted to the to Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital.

Jedsadapong Wongkiew
Photos courtesy of NBT TV

The Director General of the Livestock Department, Preecha Somboonprasert and Nara Lanowittaya, the Director of Phitsanulok’s Informal Education department both suffered broken bones when the vehicle they were traveling went off the road and into a ravine on January 22. The car, part of HRH Princecss Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s motorcade, fell into the ravine after traversing a narrow and steep dirt road. The driver, Worapoj Tiewkul and Apichat Jeerawut, Secretary General of Informal Education were also injured and all four victims were airlifted to Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital by helicopter at the request of HRH Princess Sirindhorn.
HRH Princess Sirindhorn and the group were on the way to visit the Mae Fah Luang Hill Tribes Education Center at Ban Pituki in Om Koi when the accident occurred.


Community based tourism in Chiang Mai’s new Galyani Vadhana District

Chalermsak Suranan, Director of TAT Chiang Mai with members
of the Travel Agent Group of Ban Wat Chan Galyani Vadhana district.

Jedsadapong Wongkiew
Chiang Mai’s newest district, Galyani Vadhana, is the focus for Chiang Mai’s community based tourism model as furthered by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). Community based tourism at Wat Chan in Galyani Vadhana District was promoted by the director of TAT Chiang Mai, Chalermsak Suranan at Chiang Mai University’s Center for the Promotion of Arts and Culture on January 23.
Community based tourism (CBT) is the concept that unique and authentic tourist experiences which support community development and conservation are developed and marketed to responsible travelers. The community organizations become the manager and operator of the community’s own tourism resources providing not only themselves with a sense of achievement and worth in their own culture but provide tourists with unique cultural experiences in a socially and environmentally responsible way.
Wat Chan is located in Chiang Mai’s newest district, Galyani Vadhana created in memory of HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana, Princess of Naradhivas. The village is the focus of an effort to promote eco tourism in the district using community based tourism as a way to educate tourists about the way of life of the local villagers but to also bring villagers into the tourism process and make them more empowered in their own promotion.


Noted research biologist to speak about the sacred lotus at the Prince Royal’s College

By Jack.C. Neale
Noted senior scientist and research biologist, Jane Shen-Miller, will speak on The Exceptional Longevity of Fossil Seeds of the Sacred Lotus, Nelumbo Nucifera-Survival of the Fittest at the Prince Royal’s College, Harris Institute Auditorium on February 8, at 10.00 a.m.
In 1996, Shen-Miller and her team traveled to the village of Xipaozi in Pulandian , Liaoning province, China, to search fro ancient lotus seeds. They collected 20 seeds from lotus fruits recovered from an ancient lotus lake.
“The cultivation of offspring from old seeds radiocarbon dated at between 200 and 500 years of age is a first in plant biology,” she said.
An international team led by UCLA scientists has germinated lotus seeds nearly 500 years old from lotus fruits recovered from an ancient lake in northern China. All four of the lotus seeds that were tested for viability germinated; however, all showed abnormalities, particularly in their leaves, stalks and underground stems.
Shen-Miller said that all soils are radioactive. The soil the lotus seeds were found in emits low doses of potentially harmful, mutation-causing radiation, which she said” most likely” is the cause of the abnormalities that are similar to those in other plants irradiated experimentally.
Regardless of the abnormalities , the long-term low dose radiation does not affect lotus seed germination; they still sprout. This research represents the longest natural experiment of low-dose radiation ever recorded, and the first time scientists have seen examples of the effects of radiation exposure over centuries.
Research on the lotus seeds may have important implications for aging in other organisms, she said, believing that the lotus must have a powerful genetic system to repair germination defects arising from hundreds of years of aging.
“The lotus is so robust that it can sprout after centuries of exposure to low-dose gamma radiation,” Shen-Miller said. “We need to learn about its repair mechanism, and about its biochemical, physiological, and molecular properties. The repair mechanisms in the lotus would be very useful if they could be transferred to crops, such as rice, corn and wheat, whose seeds have life spans of only a few years.”
Jane Shen-Miller is senior scientist at the Center for the Study of Evolution and the Origin of Life, and a research biologist for the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles. She received her undergraduate education at Washington State of University, and her Ph. D., in horticulture and botany, at Michigan State University.
After serving as Botanist in plant physiology and radiation biology at Argonne National Laboratory, Illinois, she was Associate Director of the Metabolic Biology Program of the U.S. National Science Foundation, Washington, DC, and Research Chemist (Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry) and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research at UCLA.
An active contributor to studies of plant hormones, space biology, and the developmental and physiochemical biology of the seeds of the Sacred Lotus, Nelumbo nucifera, she has authored 180 scientific papers. Additionally, she is a published poet and has recently edited a major work (My Two Years in Nanking, Reminiscences of Inyeening Shen; Universe: NY, 2009) in which her mother recounts the years of 19467-48 when her father, Dr. Shen Yi, was Mayor of Nanking, the Nationalist capital of China.
An elected member of national science honors societies and a Charter Member of the American Society of Gravitational and Space Biology, the American Society of Photobiology, and the Association of Women in Science, she has served on major committees and the editorial board of the American Institute of Biological Sciences, the Association of Women in Science, the American Society of Plant Physiologists and the Botanical Society of America.


SIPA training Syslog free! For the government sector

Jedsadapong Wongkiew
The Software Industry Promotion Agency (SIPA) announced free Syslog training for those in the government sector at a seminar to be held on February 8 and 9 at the Conference Room at the Chiang Mai Far Eastern University.

Sarawut Laohawisuth Manager Assistant of Software Industry Promotion Agency (Public Organization)/SIPA Chiang Mai branch announced the seminar for free Syslog training to be held on February 8-9, 2010 at Conference Room at Chiang Mai Far Eastern University.

SIPA will hold training in “SRAN Road Show & Security Solution” with the main target to promote and support the government’s use of open source software and ensure that government offices are not in violation of the laws.
Officials are required to follow certain procedures and have certain qualifications in order to attend; however, the seminar is free of charge for up to 30 officials. Each must bring their own laptop and must have knowledge of data accumulation and open source software.


Corrections

Chiang Mai Mail Vol IX No. 4 January 26-Febraury 1, published in the page 1 story about Narong Wongsawan’s funeral ceremony that Narong Wongsawan was born on May 20, 1914. In fact, he was born on May 20, 1932.
In the same edition in the story about Japanese funding for a day care center, it was printed that Mrs. Amnoauporn Jirakoon, President of the Mission for Tribal people Foundation signed the agreement to fund the construction of a day care center, and also Kannika Kuankajorn, Director of the Thai Volunteer Service Foundation when in fact, it was Mrs. Amnuayporn Jirakun, Chairperson of the Integrated Ministries for Ethnic Minorities Foundation and Ms. Kannika Kuankachorn, Director of the Thai Volunteer Service Foundation (TVS).


Mae Chaem announces the 17th Tin Chok Woven Arts Festival

Wichitra Langsan, Mae Chaem’s District Officer, announced the upcoming woven arts festival at the Mae Chaem District Office, featuring weaving demonstrations, performances, a parade and the Miss Tin Chok beauty contest.The festival will run from February 5 to 7.

Jedsadapong Wongkiew
Mae Chaem District plans to celebrate its 17th festival promoting the art of the uniquely woven Tin Chok, the intricately woven hem pieces of the Pha Sin, or sarong. The art of making Tin Chok is handed down from generation to generation and Mae Chaem is famous for its unique and intricate Tin Chok pieces.
Wichitra Langsan, Mae Chaem’s District Officer, described the upcoming festival at the Mae Chaem District Office, it will feature weaving demonstrations, hill tribe performances, a parade and the Miss Tin Chok beauty contest. The festival runs from February 5 to 7 at the Mae Chaem District Office.


Chiang Mai Big Bike Riders head for the 2nd Bangkok Motorbike Festival 2010 

Kick off for the bike ride to Bangkok, hosted by Chalermsak Suranant, Director of Tourism Authority of Thailand Chiang Mai, for the participants of the Chiang Mai big Bike Riders, at Khum Khantok Palace on January 24.

TAT’s Chiang Mai Office
Big Bike riders started from Chiang Mai on January 24 to ride to Bangkok to join the 2nd Bangkok Motorbike Festival 2010. Former Director of Bangkok’s Mass Rapid Transit Authority and big bike enthusiast Prapat Jongsanguan joined a former Bangkok gubernatorial candidate, press from American Iron, Rider Magazine and Ayres magazine, both of the U.S.A and members of the Harley Club of Japan in the ride through Thailand’s countryside from Chiang Mai.
The event started in style with Chalermsak Suranant, Director of Tourism Authority of Thailand, and Chiang Mai Office presenting Thailand’s newest signature cocktails “Siam Sunray” to the gathered group.
Riders started from Chiang Mai and drove through Doi Ang Khang to Chiang Rai, then on to Sukhothai and Nakhon Sawan to arrive in Bangkok in time for the grand opening of the 2nd Bangkok Motorbike Festival 2010 held at Central World Plaza by Amalgamm Illumination Ltd on January 28.


2 members of stage crew for Fon Thanasunthon killed in truck accident

Khajohn Boonpath
A 6 wheel truck belonging to the stage crew of folk singer Fon Thanasunthon overturned on a sharp curve in the early hours of January 26 on Highway 108 near Mae La Noi, killing two members of the team.

The 6 wheel truck that overturned on a sharp curve in the early hours of January 26 on Highway 108 Mae Hong Son - Chiang Mai , near Mae La Noi district, killing two members of the stage crew for Fon Thanasunthon.
Ladda Botradalert, 24 and Montharat Kekhua, 15, were found dead by local police on their arrival at the scene. The driver, Nopadon Kekhua, 38 and Marnit Aonart, 22, were both injured in the accident. The truck carried stage equipment for a series of shows that Fon Thanasunthon gave at the Red Cross Fair in Mae Hong Son from January 16 to 25.
The truck was leaving Mae Hong Son for the next show at Rayong when the accident occurred at 3 a.m., killing the two members of the crew. Given the early hour of the morning, police suspect the driver may have fallen asleep at the wheel.


Nok Air will replace Thai Airways on the Mae Hong Son – Chiang Mai Route

Supoj Thiamyoj
Thai Airways International announced the cancellation of its Mae Hong Son – Chiang Mai route, effective March 1, Nok Air will replace Thai Airways as the provider of service for the route. Thai Airways holds a 39% stake in Nok Air.
Chokchai Panyayong, vice president of Thai Airways International for Strategy and Business Development met with Mae Hong Son Governor Kamthorn Thavornsathit and the President of the Mae Hong Son Chamber of Commerce Supoj Klinpraneet to discuss the cancellation. The decision to allow Nok Air to service the route was the result of negotiations between the parties.
Chockchai said that Thai Airways is letting Nok Air operate on this route, following the airline’s policy of Two-Brand Strategy which is aimed at giving service in terms of Premium Services, transporting international passengers, and flying in to Thailand’s cities with tourism potential.
“Actually, Thai Airways has to change its strategy for business operations, because of the economic crisis and recession during the past year, as well as the effects of bird and swine flu and the high price of fuel. These are the main factors, and for Thai Airways to survive the crisis we need to implement restructuring plans, such as reducing expenses, pay raise reductions and financial structure adjustment
Supoj Klinpraneet, President of Mae Hong Son Chamber of Commerce, said that they would like to request Thai Airways to suspend its plan to cancel the Mae Hong Son-Chiang Mai route for a while.
“We also ask Thai Airways to keep its brand name or THAI logo on this route whether they cancel its operations or not, since Thai Airways is the national carrier, people have greater confidence in them.”
President Supoj added that Thai Airway cancellation is expected to affect the economy, tourism, educational and governmental agencies and those losses of up to 10 billion baht to the Mae Hong Son economy could occur as a result of the cancellation of the route .


Three red shirt demonstrators arrested at protest

Supoj Thiamyoj
Three Rak Chiang Mai 51 supporters were arrested after throwing stones and firecrackers at police during a demonstration against Pol Lt-Gen Somkid Boonthanom , Chief of Police Region 5 at the Provincial Police Region 5 headquarters . Pol Lt-Gen Somkid has been arraigned with 4 other police officers in the disappearance of Saudi businessman Mohammad al-Ruwaili 20 years ago. The Rak Chiang Mai 51 group organized at the police headquarters on January 25 to demand that Pol. Lt-Gen Somkid be suspended from active duty as Chief of Police for the region. The gathered group threw a homemade coffin adorned with a photo of Pol Lt-Gen Somkid and then, in an attempt to enter the station, threw fireworks and stones. Police used water cannons to subdue the crowd.
Anuwan Kemacha, a novice from Vieng Dong Temple in Hang Dong district, Mr. Kongkaew Wangtun, 49 of Sob Perng village in the Mae Taeng district and Mr. Thep, surname unknown, 23 were released by police and then went to file charges of police brutality at the Mae Ping Police Station stating they had photographic evidence.


Thailand to repatriate Karen villagers who fled Myanmar army

Bangkok, Jan 25 (TNA) - Thailand will repatriate more than 1,500 displaced Karen villagers from Myanmar along the Thai Myanmar border, a population which who escaped fierce fighting in Myanmar to Thai territory since June 2009, according to Lt-Gen Thanongsak Apirakyothin, the 3rd Army Area Commander.
 Gen Thanongsak said that the meeting of Thai security agencies and representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the northern province of Tak on January 14 agreed that more than 1,500 villagers who crossed into Thailand to escape the fighting in Myanmar since mid-2009 would be sent back to Myanmar without seeking their consent.
He said there is no fighting in Myanmar, therefore, all of them would be safe when they return to their country.
Gen Thanongsak added that the government had no policy to provide additional temporary shelter for these people.
He said that the government would gradually send them back to Myanmar. (TNA)


300 students at risk from A(H1N1) under close watch, schools closure ordered temporarily

Bangkok, Jan 25 (TNA) - Thailand’s Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC) on Monday ordered the temporary closure of schools where students reportedly contracted Influenza A(H1N1), and placed some 300 high-risk students across the country under close watch.
Special Affairs Bureau director Satchathorn Wattanamongkol of the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Education said that according to the weekly report on the A(H1N1) situation from January 18 to 23, laboratory test results confirmed nine students in OBEC schools were infected with the virus.
Of the nine, two are in the capital, three in Ayutthaya, two in Phrae, one each in Chaiyaphum and Narathiwat, said Mr Satchathorn.
He said that the ministry has also ordered the temporary closure of schools in Narathiwat and Phrae to contain the disease.
Mr Satchathorn said that 296 students in 23 OBEC schools in 14 provinces are also under close surveillance.
Contracting A(H1N1) since June 2008 were 2,708 students nationwide, but the situation can be contained and controlled despite the continued spread of new patients.
The education ministry has instructed provincial OBEC directors across the country to step up screening the measures in schools to detect A(H1N1) risk students, he said.
However there have been no reports of A(H1N1) in private schools. (TNA)