Vol. IX No. 40 - Thursday
December 16 - Friday December 31, 2010



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NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Chiang Mai honors HM the King on his birthday

The 15th ASEAN University Games in Chiang Mai

Lampang ceramics fair promoted Lampang industry

Thai- Burma Tourism Relations

Mae Hong Son district declared disaster zone after crops destroyed

Green City Initiative at Agria Conference

Huay Ton Noon border pass gets green light from Myanmar government

Meet the Consuls

New Year’s gift baskets inspected for health safety

Lampang residents warned to avoid raw pork

Authorities urged to enforce alcohol laws

Golden teak lumber confiscated in Mae Hong Son

Chang Puak police sweep nets eight suspects

 

Chiang Mai honors HM the King on his birthday

Governor of Chiang Mai M.L. Panadda Diskul is joined by government and military officials, Consuls and Honorary Consuls, distinguished guests, students and local residents to pay their respects and honor HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej on the anniversary of his 83rd birthday on December 5, 2010 at Chiang Mai University Convention Center. (Photo by Shana Kongmun)

Phitsanu Thepthong
and Nopniwat Krailerg

Ceremonies to honor HM the King on his 83rd birthday anniversary on December 5, were held around the city. Chiang Mai Governor M.L. Panadda Diskul led northern dignitaries, consuls, honorary consuls, senators, judges, attorney, civil government officials, police, military officers, local organizations administrators, students, educational institutions, clubs, associations, merchants, and general public representatives at the ceremonies.

A grand merit making was held at 7 00 a.m. on the morning of the December 5 with 199 monks receiving alms from the Governor and area residents at Tha Pae Gate. Later a blessing for long life was held at the Chiang Mai University Convention Center.

In the evening, at 7:19 p.m. a candle lighting ceremony was held at Chiang Mai City Hall with offerings presented as a tribute to HM the King.

The Chiang Mai Municipality held a candle lighting ceremony at Tha Pae Gate, the Ratchaphruek Royal Park and Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperative also organized its grand celebration with opening ceremony of the 3rd ‘Ratchaphruek Ruamjaipak Rak Por Luang’ event from December 4-6, 2010 with exhibitions of royal activities in the field of agriculture on display. Additionally the Flora Fest is being held at the Park, to blossom with color in time for HM the King’s birthday. The Fair ends February 6, 2011.

As part of the event, an Agriculture commodities market by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (Chiang Mai), and Marketing Organization for Farmers, ran from December 3 -12, followed by Agriculture Asia 2010 from December 4 -12, and the auspicious occasion of His Majesty the King’s birthday “Ratchaphruek Ruamjaipak Rak Por Luang’ fair, to mark the grand celebration from December 4- 6.

 

The 15th ASEAN University Games in Chiang Mai

The Chiang Mai Mail is proud to be working together with Chiang Mai University’s Faculty of Mass Communication and participants in the 15th ASEAN University Games in producing the daily English language news covering the day’s events. Visiting sports men and women will be able to access daily schedules, photos and events in the paper which will also be published online as a PDF file on www.chiangmai-mail.com. Additional information can be found at the Games site: www.thai2010aug.com/


Lampang ceramics fair promoted Lampang industry

Athikhom Suphanapong, Governor of Lampang and committee members opened the 23rd Ceramics Fairs 2010, with the President of Lampang Ceramics Association.

Jittarporn Charasrum in Lampang

The 23rd Lampang ceramics trade fair was expected to earn between 120 and 200 million baht according to Wuthichai Wongnak, the chief of Lampang Provincial Commerce Office and Deputy Lampang Governor Suwan Klaosunthorn. The fair, with accompanying products on sale, dances and performances was held from December 1 to 12 in Lampang at the famous ceramics market on the Kor Kha superhighway.

Wuthichai said Lampang province is regarded as the country’s biggest production center, generating about 5,000 -6,000 million baht in revenues. The ceramics produced here are internationally recognized by internationals for their quality and design. He added that Lampang is said to be the “City of Ceramics”.

Lampang has about 300 factories producing high quality ceramics for export. Some of the products were brought for display and sale at the Fair at deep discounts. About 150,000 people visited the annual trade fair added Deputy Lampang Governor Suwan Klaosunthorn

He said this fair is annually organized to stimulate the economy by publicizing Lampang ceramics countrywide and abroad.


Thai- Burma Tourism Relations

Maj Gen Hla Min, Chairman of Bago Division Peace and Development Council Commander of Southern Command, Burma, and his wife visited a booth of Mae Hong Son products on sales in Taung Oo, Burma. He and his wife were welcomed by Thanin Supasaen, the deputy governor of Mae Hong Son.

By Phitsanu Thepthong

A recent visit to Myanmar by Northern delegates from the tourism and trade sectors resulted in cooperation agreements between Thailand’s Mae Hong Son Tourist Business Association and the Union of Myanmar Travel Association (UMTA) on tourism cooperation as well as agricultural collaboration between Thailand’s Mae Hong Son Chamber of Commerce and The Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI).

During the initial talks for tourism between the two countries’ representatives Major General Soe Naing, the Minister of Hotels and Tourism of Myanmar, said that this was first official visit to Burma by a Thai delegation.

“We are now on the right track for Thai-Burma tighten relations and then we need more members of the private sector from both countries to be leaders to do business –to – business promotion for tourism and hotels while the governments of both sides will be serving as the backup.”

“Our top priorities are tourism, culture and sports, while investment will be coming up later when the new government’s policy is declared,” he added.

U Win Aung, Deputy Chairman of Myanmar’s Bago Division for Chamber of Commerce and Industrial Federation said, “We would need further development of quality personnel in large numbers, especially in the fields of tourism and hotels.”

Maung Maung Swe, the Chairman of Union of Myanmar Travel Association (UMTA) said his targeted groups of tourists and visitors at present are mainly from Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and China.

Prachuab Supinee, a Thai trade diplomat in Yangon remarked “actually, Burma can see that Thailand wants to create good relations with Burma, especially for trade and business. And Burma is happy to cooperate by working together with Thais.”

“However, post-election it seems that Burma wants to open the country for doing more businesses and seek opportunities with foreign traders, investors and tourism operators and while its economic development grows, the infrastructure is not there to handle large numbers of tourists,” he said.

Supoj Klinpraneet, the President of Mae Hong Chamber of Commerce, added that

“In the near future, we will have Asean Integration in 2015 and so tourism between the countries in this sub-region will become more significant.”

“Trade and tourism are expected to have a bright outlook,” he said with confidence.


Mae Hong Son district declared disaster zone after crops destroyed

Fields of corn and rice have been devastated by a plague of rats and aphids
in Pang Mapha District in Mae Hong Son.

Khajohn Boonpath

More than 5,800 rai of agricultural land has been declared a disaster area after rats and aphids devastated crops of rice and corn in Pang Mapha District in Mae Hong Son Province.

Mae Hong Son Governor Kamthorn Thawonsathit made the announcement earlier in December after 1,090 families had been affected by the devastating pests. He has ordered the Office of Social Development and Human Security to assist those villagers in need as many of them were growing the crops for personal consumption.


Green City Initiative at Agria Conference

By Shana Kongmun

Dr. Henk van Reuler, a soil fertility specialist at the Applied Plant Research facility for Wageningen University in the Netherlands was on hand at the Agria Conference to promote the Green City concept to Chiang Mai.

In cooperation with the Dutch Embassy in Bangkok, the Consulate here in Chiang Mai, the Municipality and other groups, there is a concerted drive to “green” Chiang Mai. Not just planting trees and using structures to incorporate plants but preserving those plants and trees already growing. Maintenance of existing plants, water infrastructure and ensuring the plants have adequate growing space.

Urban development in Chiang Mai is growing, he added and development must take existing trees and plants into account when planning. The impact on social well being is as great as the economic and environmental impact, he noted.

Trees can help with pollution by absorbing some pollutants but cities and governments must fight it at the source to truly tackle the pollution problems. To that end, a poll of “monumental trees” has been undertaken in Chiang Mai and 20-25 trees in public places around Chiang Mai qualified as monumental either due to size, age, or religious significance. A tour is being developed to visit these trees. Many temples harbor some of these trees and of the most well known in Chiang Mai is the magnificent Raintree at the Chiangmai Gymkhana Club. He added that many old trees are in schools but they aren’t included in the tour due to disruption concerns. They plan to publish a tour book with sites, directions and information about the trees to give to tour agencies and area businesses to create bicycle tours. He added that the route inside the moat was about 5-6 kilometers but the entire route would cover 25 kilometers.

The project has been done in conjunction with the Urban Development Institute, Yawanit Tharachai from Mae Jo University, and Dr. Duangchan Apavatjrut Charoenmuang of Chiang Mai University’s Social Research Institute.

He noted that there already many Thai initiatives to protect big trees including an ongoing Municipal project, “tree of the year” that nominates a significant tree each year.


Huay Ton Noon border pass gets green light from Myanmar government

By Phitsanu Thepthong

Maj Gen Hla Min, the Chairman of Bago Division Peace and Development Council Commander of the Southern Command, Burma, recently announced full support for Thailand’s road improvement project to link Thailand and Burma through Huay Ton Noon border pass in Mae Hong Son. He noted that the new link had a high potential for cross border trade and tourism.

During the visit of the Mae Hong Son, Lamphun and Chiang Mai trade and tourism delegation to Burma late last month, apart from attending the grand celebration of the Taung Oo city’s 500th anniversary for its establishment, trade and tourism talks were also held between the Thai and Burmese delegates.

“We have raised the trade issues on the five western gateways to Burma by proposing to using the North-South and East -West economic corridors, as well as the improvement plan for the R3W road links, the maintenance work of the first Thai-Burma Friendship Bridge in Mae Sot, Tak and then mapping out the building up of the second Thai-Burma Friendship Bridge,” Supoj Klinparneet, President of the Mae Hong Son Chamber of Commerce noted.

A top priority is to accelerate cooperation on the upgrade at Huay Ton Noon and the S

And one of the top priorities, it’s to speed up the cooperation plan to upgrade the Huay Ton Noon - BP13 border pass for trade and tourism to be the permanent check- point in Khun Yuam district, Mae Hong Son, as well as the Sinkhon border pass in Prachuab Khiri Khan. Re-opening closed border passes, such as the one in Three Pagodas in Kanchanaburi also remains a priority.

Finally, they also considered opening new ones at Myawaddy, in Kanchanaburi, and Mae Hong Son.

Earlier this year, Thai Deputy Minister of Commerce Alongkorn Polabutre, Myanmar’s Director of Border Trade Department Aung Soe Thein, and Mae Hong Son Governor Kamthorn Thawornsathit, accompanied by both Thai and Myanmar delegates visited Huay Ton Noon border pass in Khun Yuam District to discuss upgrading it to a permanent border checkpoint.

It was then that the group of business and trade officials visited Myanmar to discuss the status of the pass.


Meet the Consuls

Republic of India

By Shana Kongmun

Arvind Kumar, the affable and well informed Consul for India here in Chiang Mai originates from the state of Bihar about 90 kilometers from where Buddha obtained enlightenment in the ancient capital city of Patna, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Pataliputra as it used to be called, was the capital of the Magadha Empire and is a holy site for Sikhs and located near important pilgrimage sites for Buddhists, Jain and Hindus.

Consul Kumar attended Patna University and Delhi University for his Graduation and obtained his Post Graduation and M.Phil. in Sociology at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He joined the Civil Service in 1993 serving in various ministries until 2006 when he joined India’s Foreign Service or Ministry of External Affairs, as it is called. He was posted to Chiang Mai as Consul in April of 2007 and while his 3 year tenure as Consul is up, the Ministry has yet to appoint a successor. It depends, he noted, on the Ministry finding someone suitable for the post. It could be early next year but the Ministry is flexible and it could be as long as a full year longer.

He said that there is no center for teaching the Thai language in India and that learning the local language depends on the interest of the Consul, he confessed to speaking a little Thai, but not well as he has only learned a bit “here and there” in between his very busy schedule.

The Consulate was established in Chiang Mai in 1972 and is currently housed at 33/1 Thung Hotel Road, and serves 17 Northern and North Eastern provinces. They offer visa services to both Thai and foreigners here in Chiang Mai, with visa hours running Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, excluding holidays. The Chiang Mai Consulate issues around 2,000 visas a year, with it split fairly evenly between Thai nationals and other foreigners. He said Thai nationals can pick up their visas after 1 working day but other nationalities will take about 5 working days.

Mr. Kumar noted that the number had been increasing year by year and in the last 5 years the number of visas issued has doubled. He feels this is due to enhancement in tourism, “India is coming into prominence and a lot more airlines are flying into the country but also inside the country.”

Additionally, the Consulate offers notarial and other consular services to Indian nationals, but, he noted, there are only about 100 Indian nationals residing here. He added that there are about 1000 persons of Indian origin but carrying a Thai passport.

Last year about 700,000 Indians visited to Thailand and this year the number is expected to cross one million but mostly they travel to Phuket, Pattaya and Bangkok. Although, he added, there have been two grand Indian weddings held in Chiang Mai. The most recent wedding saw 700 guests fly in from India in 8 chartered flights. He added two more large weddings are in line for next year with one confirmed in January, 2011.

Consul Kumar added that while not a full Consulate General, he hopes the government will expand the current Consulate to include a trade office. Currently, he approves all visa applications, liaises with local Thai authorities representing his countrymen and women and attends diplomatic and Thai government functions as the representative for India. He works to promote bilateral relations and to inform people about India. He said, however his most important role related to issuing visas and consular services. “We need to expand our consulate; it is very small and needs to expand to cover commercial and educational roles.” This, he noted, was his main goal as Consul.

Trade between Thailand and India, he noted, has increased by 10 times in the past 7 years with a lot of companies interested in investing but there is no commercial wing. He added that adding a commercial section has been proposed to the Ministry and he hoped that the Consulate could be expanded to meet these new needs.

Consul Kumar added that once Indo-U.S. relations improved, Indo-Thai relations also warmed as India took a proactive role in improving political and economic relations with East and South East Asia.

He noted the polite and friendly people, the civic facilities, and the safe and secure feeling of Chiang Mai has made it a most pleasant place to live these past 3 years. Finally, he added “When I leave I will miss the greenery and cleanliness of the city.”


New Year’s gift baskets inspected for health safety

Chiang Mai Mayor Tassanai Buranupakorn is joined by Public Health officials inspecting gift baskets at area stores.

Nopniwat Krailerg

Public Health officials have inspected gift baskets on sale around the city for out of date food goods that may present a risk to public health. Dr. Wattana Kanchanakamol, the Head of Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office accompanied by Mrs. Niyada Muen-anant, the Head of the Chiang Mai Office of Internal Trade, and officials chose random baskets for inspection consisting of canned food, tea, coffee, canned fruits, sweets, biscuits and beverages.

The goods and products in the baskets must be sealed with the price tag and expiry date clearly attached and no alcohol allowed.

They said there were some convenience stores in outside districts that prepared New Year’s baskets with out of date, copied and smuggled products like wine and whiskey. Officials have also found some fresh markets that package unwashed fruits and vegetables still containing pesticides in baskets so consumers should be aware of this.

Chiang Mai Mayor Tassanai Buranupakorn and Sanitation Group officials, Public Health and Environment Office, Municipal and Provincial Public Health Officials, and with Internal Trade officials have launched an inspection tour to several department stores shopping centers, and convenience stores that sell New Year’s baskets to ensure food safety.


Lampang residents warned to avoid raw pork

Thaweerat Pensalaphan

Medical doctors in Lampang have announced a warning to the public to avoid eating raw pork. Dr. Chinoros Leesawas of Lampang Provincial Public Heath said that after the medical monitoring two people were found sick of streptococcus suis, caused by eating Larb Moo or raw spicy minced pork meat at a birthday party.

Authorities dispatched a mobile medical unit to Tambon Thonthongchai to help control the situation and prevent the disease spreading.

Aabout ten villagers ate the Larb Moo at the wedding party and shortly after that some of them felt sick. So, there, the medical unit had to carefully watch them in the Ban Tonthongchai village and nearby villages. After that, it was found that one more villager was also found sick.

The medical unit monitored the situation there until it appeared to be improved.

The three villagers survived but officials warned that it can be fatal.

“If any one eats a lot of raw Larb Moo, he or she will express her or his symptoms, like high fever, headache, strength at neck, and shock. These symptoms then maybe affected to the ear nervous system and could cause deafness and in some cases, death.”

Doctors stressed that people should avoid eating raw pork as these cases continue to occur.


Authorities urged to enforce alcohol laws

Members of the No Alcohol network
meet to present their petition to the Deputy Governor.

Nopniwat Krailerg

The No Alcohol and Stop Drinks network with members from 17 Northern Provinces lodged a complaint with the new Deputy Governor of Chiang Mai, Mrs. Naruemol Palwat, to step up enforcement on those breaking laws regarding alcohol sales and promotions in time for the Winter Fair later this month.

A hundred members of the group submitted their saying that 87 percent of stores illegally sold alcohol to underage youth. A further 82 percent contravened advertising regulations and sold in forbidden areas.

Thongchai Yongyuen, the network core coordinator along with Stop drinks Network said Chiang Mai is a tourism city, ranked the world’s best second city, and is popular with Thais and foreigners, especially during this peak tourism season.

He added that they fear that underage drinking and drunk driving will be a problem causing more accidents and deaths.

He said, judging from a survey conducted of 1,000 people in the Muang district in Chiang Mai from November 12 -19, 45.66 percent reported problems from breaking the rules and regulations on alcohol sales and drinking.

Moreover, it was found that 55 .39 percent of them reported seeing drinking in temples and public parks. 82.6 percent had seen advertising that broke the laws regarding alcohol promotion while 87.1 percent report that they had seen alcohol sales to youth under 20 years of age.


Golden teak lumber confiscated in Mae Hong Son

Some of the illegally cut golden teak wood
that had been processed into lumber in Mae Hong Son.

Khajohn Boonpath

Mae Hong Son authorities confiscated about 40 pieces of smuggled lumber in a raid at Huay Ha, near the long neck Karen village of Ban Pu Kaeng.

Mae Hong Son Governor Kamthorn Thawornsathitkul ordered the raid after receiving several complaints of teak smuggling in the area. No suspects were arrested in the raid, however, Forestry officials believe the wood was ready to be smuggled out of the area and had been cut by villagers of nearby Ban Hay Due.

Governor Kamthorn also denied that there was a report about log smuggling through the Ban Nampiengdin border pass between Thailand and Myanmar, noting that the border pass is mined by minority groups from inside Myanmar. He added that there had been no official report of log poaching in the area but that he would be reporting the complaints to the House Commissioners on Natural Resources and Environment.


Chang Puak police sweep nets eight suspects

Police and the 8 suspects arrested in one day in Chang Puak.

Nopniwat Krailerg

Chang Puak police arrested 8 suspects from in one day, Pol Col Veerawuth Niamnoi, Deputy Commander of Chiang Mai Provincial Police reported.

Police arrested Anant Kasobsod, 28 of Saraphi, along with his wife Mrs. Saowanee Pansin, 21 of Mae Rim district with 100 yabaa pills and charged them with possession of drugs with intent to sell after the couple were stopped at a road block and searched. They confessed to the police that they had just bought from a man and were going to sell them on.

A security guard with PAM Inter-Guard Co. Ltd was charged with theft from the Madu Arts and Heng Karnkaset Companies located in the market where he worked. Additionally, the Burmese man was charged with illegal entry and working illegally.

During the search of his house situated behind the Chang Puak bus station, the police also charged two Thai Yai illegal immigrants from Burma, who were identified such as Phyimaung, 34 and Kruesaeng, 20. All were then detained for questioning.

The final case involved three youths who were accused of robbery. The police said they would follow people riding on a motorbike, kick their bike to the ground, and then steal valuables from the victims as they lay on the ground. Police said they had done this at least 8 times in both Chang Puak and the Muang Districts.



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