Partial lunar eclipse seen in Chiang Mai
About 150 people turned out to the Observatory Tower on Doi Suthep –Pui
National Park .in Chiang Mai on June 26 to observe the partial lunar
Crowds gathered at the Observatory Tower on Doi Suthep to
watch the partial lunar eclipse on June 26 that started at 7:21 p.m. Assoc.
Prof. Boonraksa Sunthorntham, Director of National Astronomical Research
Institute of Thailand (Narit) led Narit staff set up telescopes of differing
sizes so that the general public could participate in viewing the partial
A more than 50 percent lunar eclipse was viewed by many
residents on top of Doi Suthep at the Observatory Tower on June 26 at 7:44
p.m. The first lunar eclipse of 2010, a total solar eclipse is predicted for
July 11 and will be visible over the South Pacific. This eclipse is a part
of Lunar Saros 120 series, repeating every 18 years and roughly 10 days,
last occurring on June 15, 1992, the next one will occur July 6, 2028. This
series is winding down: The final total eclipse of this series was on May
14, 1938 and the final partial lunar eclipse will be on July 28, 2064. Story
on Page 2. (Photo courtesy of NARIT)
Even though there were dark clouds people could observe
the moon rising on the eastern horizon and could see part of the eclipse,
until finally at 7:44 p.m. the clouds moved away and the moon could be seen
at a 15 percent eclipse. About 150 people gathered to witness this natural
This was the 57the part of the
Saros Eclipse cycle that began in the time of King Mengrai Maharaj when a
full eclipse occurred on 10 December 10, which King Mengrai Maharaj viewed
from Yen Throne in Tambon Talechoobsorn, Muang District, Lopburi province.
More than 50 percent of the lunar eclipse was seen at 7.21 p.m. on June
26. (Photo courtesy of NARIT)
A Saros eclipse cycle is calculated at occurring every
223 lunar months following an eclipse, another eclipse of similar duration
will take place. This 223-lunar month eclipse cycle equals 6,585.321 days,
or 18 years and 11.321 days (the figure sometimes varies by one day,
depending on the number of intervening leap years).
The Saros period is about one-third of a day (8 hours)
longer than 18 years and 11 days. Therefore, each successive Saros takes
place about 8 hours later and 120 degrees west of the previous eclipse. At
the third return of the Saros (669 lunar months), the eclipse swings full
circle (120 degrees x 3 = 360 degrees), happening at roughly the same time
and the same geographical location. This triple Saros is called an Exeligmos,
a period of about 54 years and 34 days.
According to Narit, the next full eclipse will be seen again in Thailand
on December 10, 2011, from 7.30 -11.30 p.m.
Climate change seminar
in a bid to inform public
The Office of National Resources and Environmental Policy
and Planning held a seminar in Chiang Mai to receive the feedback, ideas and
suggestions on drafting the country’s master plan for 2010 – 2019 to cope
with climate change.
Araya Nanthaphothidej, Deputy Secretary General of the
Office of National Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning
was a guest speaker on climate change at Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel
in Chiang Mai.
On June 28, the Office, and the Climate Change Convention
Office held the seminar at Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel to develop guidelines
for ensuring readiness to deal with the impact from climate change, and also
to support all sectors concerned to participate in reducing the amount of
green house gasses.
Thailand is following procedures agreed to under the
United Nations declaration on climate change, according to Araya
Nanthaphothidej, Deputy Secretary General of the Office of National
Resources an Environmental Policy and Planning who was a guest speaker at
She said the general public’s opinions and feedback were
of great for helping draft the national operational plan on the country’s
climate change, to be proposed to the Cabinet for further approval in August
this year. Seminars have been held around the country to garner suggestions.
British Embassy representative pays visit to Chiang Mai
By Shana Kongmun
Deputy Head of Mission Daniel Pruce paid his first visit
to Chiang Mai for a few days during the last week of June on a mission to
get a sense of what nationals in Chiang Mai need and to meet with local and
provincial government officials to gauge the mood in the North.
“We need to get a sense of what’s going on in the rest of
the country,” Mr. Pruce said, “I’ve come here to meet the Mayor and the
Police. I went to Chiang Mai University to talk to people there and I am
also talking with British expats living in Chiang Mai.”
Chris Hedges of the Chiang Mai Expats Club joins Deputy
Head of Mission for the United Kingdom Daniel Pruce and Shana Kongmun,
Managing Editor of the Chiang Mai Mail to discuss the role of the Embassy
Mr. Pruce, as the Deputy Head of Mission for the British
Embassy is essentially the man who runs the nuts and bolts of the operation.
When Ambassador Quinton Quayle is out of the country, he stands in as the
representative for the United Kingdom in Thailand. The Embassy, he noted, is
one of the larger missions that the U.K. has in the world. With 150 staff
and about 3 dozen British nationals on duty, “it ranks in the top dozen in
size,” he added.
The Embassy focuses on delivering services to it’s’
nationals, he said, pointing out that an estimated 50,000 British citizens
reside in Thailand and 840,000 visited as tourists last year. He said the
key role that they try to offer tourists is the best advice possible with
their “know before you go” website. He added that the British Embassy, with
about 12-13 consular agents, correspondents and honorary consuls, the
network covering Thailand to offer British citizens aid is quite extensive.
He reiterated the importance of their program to register
overseas citizens, LOCATE (https://www.locate. fco.gov.uk/locateportal/),
stating that in the April and May crisis; they issued nearly daily updates
so that citizens could stay abreast of the situation. He added that the U.K.
was also the first to relax travel advice after May 19, with other countries
He clarified the situation with the VAC or Visa
Application Center, stating that while the reception of applications has
been outsourced to a commercial partner, all decisions are taken by consular
experts in the Embassy. “The dedicated center gives our citizen’s a more
efficient experience and mitigates the security risks taken by allowing a
large number of people into the Embassy daily,” Mr. Pruce pointed out.
Employees of the VAC are vetted very carefully, he added, and the center
allows the Embassy to keep costs under control. He added that he was not
aware of any plans to open a VAC in Chiang Mai, however, so visa applicants
will still have to make the trek to Bangkok.
Mr. Pruce discussed the various responsibilities of the
Embassy in Bangkok; citizens’ services being key, as well as visa
applications, trade and investment, improve educational links and developing
a close relationship with the Thai government. “We’ve had a challenging two
years with the airport closure, the disruption of the ASEAN meeting in
Pattaya, the Songkran riots, Santika nightclub fire on New Year’s Eve, the
Samui airport crash and finally the crisis in April and May which blocked
off access to the Embassy. We ran consular services out of the Sofitel Hotel
near the airport, helping 300 people over that period,” he noted.
“Putting the consulate in a hotel wasn’t part of our
contingency plans,” he said, “we had fallback locations identified, but they
ended up being in the demonstration zones.”
Another aspect of the services provided to citizens is a
dedicated prisoners team that provides consular support to those in Thai
jails. They ensure adequate medical access, monitor the welfare of the
prisoner and make certain the prisoner understands the procedures.
Finally, he noted that there are 2000 registered British
nationals in the North, but it could be as high as 4-5 times that number. He
said, that for now, there are no plans to expand notarial services in Chiang
Mai but that they would like feedback on both their LOCATE program and what
expats need from their representatives in Thailand.
Chiang Mai Participates In Third Annual Worldwide Photo Walk
Event Hailed as the Largest Global Social Event for Photographers
On Saturday, July 24, 2010, thousands of people
around the world will be walking with Photoshop guru Scott Kelby in the
Third Annual Worldwide Photo Walk. Chiang Mai is hosting two walks: one
at Wat Umong and the other around the markets of Chiang Moi.
The Worldwide Photo Walk is the world’s largest
global social photography event in the history of photography
itself. It takes place on the same day around the world where
photographers of all walks of life and skill levels gather together,
usually in downtown areas to socialize, learn new tips from each other,
and explore their corner of the world through photography.
“In 2008, we had 241 walks,” said Scott Kelby, “Last
year, we had over 900 walks with over 32,000 photographers
participating. We did the math… your average photographer will take
upwards of 300 photos during a photo walk. That means that nearly 10
million pictures were taken in that one single day that may never had
happened otherwise. I think that’s pretty cool and we all can’t wait to
see what happens this year.”
Wyndham Hollis, co-organizer of the Chiang Mai
Photographic Group, is leading one of the city’s two walks which starts
near the US Consulate and ends up at Wat Ket across the river via
several markets and the Chinese Temple. There is no fee to participate
but pre-registration is required. Just go to worldwidephotowalk.com,
enter Chiang Mai in the search box and join in the fun.
Anyone can participate - all you need is a camera. It
doesn’t even matter what kind of camera either: people have showed up
with disposables in the past, had a blast, and left with a new
appreciation for photography. (PR)
Beloved resident songstress sadly passes away
By Rebecca Lomax
Cheri Potter, talented, extroverted, and filled with a
love of living, died just after midnight on the morning of July 2, 2010,
leaving a life that she described as “brimful and overflowing”. She leaves
behind Mike, her husband of forty years; their children, Andy and Christy;
three grandchildren, Audry, Mason and Hunter; and uncountable others who
Cheri Potter is seen here with her husband of 40 years, Mike.
Cheri was a native of Oklahoma, and how she wrote the
script for that “brimful and overflowing” life is a wonderful story. Always
the carrot-topped family clown, she was in every speech, comedy and drama
club in school. She performed in Bye, Bye Birdie, Grease,
Little Shop of Horrors, L’il Abner, and Hello, Dolly, but it
wasn’t until she performed in Oklahoma! that she found her beautiful
soprano voice. She was the high school state champion in speech and drama,
no surprise to anybody who knew her. She had talent and a waiting
scholarship, but her dad insisted on secretarial school and the possibility
of jobs she admitted were never on her to-do list. She later graduated from
Oklahoma State University.
She didn’t hesitate for a minute when Mike, in full
Marine uniform, proposed to her on bended knee. She always described him
simply as “the love of my life”. Before they got married, though, she
surprised even her parents when she struck out for Europe alone to tour the
great museums. It was the beginning of a lifetime of travel that she shared
with Mike. The couple married the next spring.
Cheri was thrilled when Mike chose elementary school
teaching as a career. Andy and Christy were born, and the family moved to a
log house in a rural setting. Cheri began a career at Eastern Oklahoma State
College as the activities director, conjuring up all sorts of student
contests and races and even inventing the Great Chicken Fly-Off. She wrote a
book based on her adolescent misadventures, Good for a Laugh Lilly Goes
for Broke, and started a humor column in the newspaper.
Life went on, the children grew up, and Mike and Cheri
retired - but not for long.
The quiet life of retirement was too quiet, and an
international school job brought Mike and Cheri to Chiang Mai. Mike again
taught school, and Cheri coached drama and taught creative writing. They
moved to a condo in the Night Bazaar, found a home at Community Church and
volunteer opportunities in the community. They could not get enough of the
volunteer work they did, and loved every minute of it. Cheri discovered an
outlet for her musical talents with the Chiang Mai Choral Society. She was
sweet Eliza Doolittle on stage, but didn’t hesitate to wear a cow costume to
a Mardi Gras party, parading through the lobby of their condo and down the
streets of the Night Bazaar in full cow drag.
The Chinese proverb says, “A bird does not sing because
it has an answer; it sings because it has a song.” Cheri had a song, and she
sang it well. We will miss the music of her life.
The funeral will take place on Tuesday, July 13, at 4
p.m. at the Community Church with burial scheduled for Wednesday, July 14 at
12 noon at the Chiang Mai Foreign Cemetery.
90 year old Australian man arrested for pedophilia
Karl Joseph Kraus, a 90 year old citizen of Australia,
has been charged with having sex with four sisters under the age of 15.
A 90 year old Australian man was arrested on June 29 by
the Doi Saket Police along with the Chiang Mai Tourist Police for having sex
with four underaged sisters.
Karl Joseph Kraus was held on charges after their parents
of four girls lodged a complaint with Doi Saket police, accusing Mr. Karl of
raping their daughters. The girls are aged between seven and 14. The parents
suspect the girls were lured into having sex with Mr. Karl at his house in
Doi Saket district several times.
The parents became suspicious by their daughters’
abnormal behavior and questioned them to find out that Mr. Kraus had them
perform oral sex on him as well as raping them. They then turned to the
police with their daughters’ statements. Police had doctors examine the
girls before obtaining the search and arrest warrants.
After searching Mr. Kraus’ house, police found more than
100 photos of nude girls under the age of 15 as well as sex aids. They
confiscated his computer, photo album and a video camera. Police found
photographs and video footage depicting alleged sexual activities with
During the search, Mr. Kraus called the Australian Consul
accusing the police of blackmailing him. The police subsequently charged him
with filing a false statement accusing Thai police of attempting to extort
money. He insisted he had been a victim of police extortion when he was
charged with rape in an earlier case.
Police said that Mr. Kraus, a former engineer, has lived in Chiang Mai
for about ten years and they suspect he has been engaging in pedophilia the
Pai hit by major deforestation
Watershed land has been clear cut by poachers intent
developing the land for agriculture and tourism.
Deforestation and trespassing on forest lands covering
huge amounts of land were found around Pai in Mae Hong Son recently by the 7th
Infantry Regiment that had been surveying the area for an aerial map.
More than 10,000 Rai of land was found clear cut, mainly
for agriculture and tourism related businesses, in a massive deforestation
that threatens the watershed. It is feared this will negatively affect the
area and it is suspected the clear cut was done because some ‘influential
investors’ have bought up forest land to develop into tourist destinations.
Col Uthai Chaichana, Commander of the 7th
Infantry Regiment reported that a helicopter mapping the area on June 24
discovered the devastated forest land and has disseminated seeds to help
reforest the area. The hardest hit areas were on the Thai – Myanmar border
and Pang Mapha and Pai districts.
Col Uthai said that some of the deforested land is being
used for farming by local Thai villagers who are growing rice, sesame, corn,
bean and other field crops as well as for a corporate agricultural projects
and tourism related businesses like mountain resorts.
Pai district is counted/ regarded as the country’s number
one tourist destination and during the past two years, it was one of the
world’s top 50 tourist attraction.
Chiang Dao bust yields 4,000 yabaa pills
The Pha Muang Task Force arrested a drug suspect with a
haul of 4000 ya baa tablets in Chiang Dao, Chiang Mai on June 27.
Ong-art Phuriboriboon, a Hmong hilltribesman, was
arrested after 4,000 yabaa tablets were discovered in his truck.
Col Thatathep Rodchit, the Commander of the 4th
Calvary Regiment of the Task Force arrested Ong-art Phuriboriboon, a Hmong
hilltibes man from Ban Huay Luek, in Chiang Dao district after discovering
the yabaa pills hidden in a secret compartment under the driver’s seat.
Authorities set up a check- point at Ban Kaeng Pantao,
Tambon Mae Na, Chiang Dao district when they searched Mr. Ong-art’s truck he
displayed suspicious behavior. After police interrogation, Ong-art confessed
that he was hired by a drug a dealer to transport the drugs to an agent in
Mae Taeng district at the cost of 10,000 baht per trip. Police said the drug
dealer who had hired the man had left the district.
Mr. Ong-art was detained on charges of smuggling drugs.
Phone booth bombers hit two in one night
Chiang Mai Mail
Two phone booths were destroyed when unidentified people
threw homemade bombs at them around midnight on June 27.
The first phone booth was located in front of Siripanna
Villa and Spa on Ratcha-utis and the second one at the entrance to Jinda
Nives Housing estate on Chiang Mai – Lamphun roads, both in Tambon Nonghoi
in Muang District. The locations of the bombings were only about a kilometer
apart and located about one kilometer from 33rd
Military Circle, Kawila Army camp.
Military inspectors and local police rushed to the scene
to investigate, with eye witnesses reporting that two motorbikes carrying
two young men each were seen throwing the bombs. Police suspect a youth
The police are trying to trace the bomb suspects and will
review the incidents through the CCTV cameras of both Chiang Mai
Municipality and Traffic Police. They hope to make an arrest soon.
Emergency Decree to be re-evaluated
Governor Amornphan Nimanant, as the commander of the
Center for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) in Chiang Mai
has ordered the combined forces of police, military, internal security
command, local administration, and intelligence agencies to investigate the
possibility of lifting the Emergency Decree and that they will then submit
their suggestions to the Cabinet for consideration.
Chiang Mai Governor Amornphan Nimanant reports that the
CRES will consider lifting the Emergency Decree at a press conference on the
Chiang Mai Grand Sale 2010, held at the Good View Restaurant on July 2.
The State of Emergency has been in force since May 13 and
has negatively affected tourism in Chiang Mai.
“The Emergency Decree changed the minds of visitors,
especially foreign tourists, about the safety of Thailand and many changed
their destination to other countries,” the Governor said.
The CRES in Chiang Mai has monitored the situation here
closely, he added. Saying, “We follow the current situation to keep aware of
anything that might happen. We are doing our best to solve the problems of
unrest and bombs as well as the damage to our reputation with tourists.”
He told reporters that in the past week Ambassadors and
senior officials from several countries had visited Chiang Mai in an attempt
to assess the situation. The US, Canada, Australia, India, EU, Brunei and
the UAE all had representatives in the area.
The Canadian Ambassador told the Governor that he will
inform the Canadian government that the situation in Chiang Mai had returned
to normal and that he would request they inform tourists of this.
He added that he has not clamped down strongly, feeling
that such action would inflame things, but rather finds that flexibility has
helped to calm the situation. He said that some areas were still sensitive
and being monitored so, until the situation has been fully assessed he is
not yet sure what his recommendation to the Cabinet will be.
Chiang Mai Mail’s new office
Chiang Mai Mail has opened
an office in town, be sure to drop in. We are conveniently located behind
Kad Suan Kaew at Sirimangkalajarn Soi 7. Number 26, you can’t miss the big
Chiang Mai Mail sign out front. You can reach us by phone 053-221-402 or fax
053-221-403 or email [email protected] Sales enquiries can be
directed to [email protected] Or visit us on the web at
www.chiangmai-mail.com. The new Chiang Mai Mail team looks forward to
hearing from you!