Make Chiangmai Mail | your Homepage | Bookmark

Chiangmai 's First English Language Newspaper

Pattaya Blatt | Pattaya Mail | Pattaya Mail TV

 
 
NEWS
 

Army tackles Northern haze

Fire ban in place in Chiang Mai

Fires have been seen across Chiang Mai in fields and on road sides, many fires go unreported and unchecked. (Photo courtesy of Ajarn Ron).

Nopniwat Krailerg
The 3rd Army launched their headquarters to battle forest fires and the smoke that envelopes the North on January 23 when Lt. Gen. Preecha Chan O-Cha, Deputy Commander of the Operations Forces of the 3rd Army held the opening ceremony at the7th Battalion Pin Klao Camp in Mae Rim district ,Chiang Mai with various agencies.
Lt. Gen. Preecha Chan O-Cha said that His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen were very concerned about the fires and haze that blanket the region on an annual basis. They raised concerns that they fires were causing serious damage to natural resources and the environment, loss of wildlife and that the choking smog affects the respiratory health of the people.
He reported that the 3rd Army saw the need for all sectors to focus and collaborate in reducing forest fires and smoke in 2013-14. He added that the military would provide all necessary support personnel and equipment to battle fires.
Director of the Regional Environment Office 1 Apiwak Kunarak confirmed to Ricky Ward that a total fire ban has been set in place and that setting a fire in a forest area can lead to a jail sentence, fires in town to a fine. The Hotline number 1784 has been set up for members of the public to report fires.
At the Prime Minister’s initiative the Government has appointed Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi to oversee implementation of new reporting requirements that will see four provinces required to report their haze data as well as provide a summary for the previous week for each Cabinet meeting. The Pollution Control Department will monitor fires using satellite imagery with sanctions against provincial governors where suppression is inadequate. An interactive website has been set up to monitor fires: www.thaiforestfire.com.
 


Site of Women’s Prison to become a green area for city

Buddhist shrine to be completed in 2600 BE

Buddhist monks perform a ceremony to honor those who had died in prison before the demolition of the prison began.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The demolition of the Women’s Prison located inside the old City began on January 26, 2013 as Phrathep Kosol, Dean of Chiang Mai monks, Governor Tanin Subhasaen and Dr. Chao Duangduan na Chiang Mai, President of the Chiang Mai Culture Council, presided over the ceremony to create the Kuang Luang Wiang Kaew green space in the space.
Many people visited the prison in the last days before destruction and on the day the Governor and his team hit the front wall with a hammer to start the demolition.
Phra Thep Worasithajarn the abbot of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep invited the Buddha image inside the prison and performed a Buddhist ceremony for those who had lost their lives in the prison.
The Chiang Mai Women’s Prison was built on the former site of a palace of King Mengrai called Wiang Kaew who built the city in 1296. In 1902 the remains of the palace were pulled down and the City Hall, Provincial Court District Office and Central Prison were built in the area. The Cabinet gave approval to the development of the new green area at a meeting on January 15, 2013.
Governor Tanin said that the government had held a public hearing as to how to develop the area and the public chose to add a green space inside the old city. The Fine Arts Department of the Ministry of Culture will explore the area to find historical evidence and finally a shrine will be completed by the year 2600 B.E., the 2,600th anniversary of Buddha’s enlightenment. The green space is slated to be open to the public by December 5, 2013 in honor of HM the King’s birthday.


Public hearing on proposed High-Speed train Project

The proposed joint China – Thailand high speed train project could connect Chiang Mai to Bangkok by rail in 3 hours.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Director of the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy led a public hearing on the proposed high speed railway project connecting Chiang Mai and Bangkok on January 22, 2013. The hearing was attended by representatives of government agencies, local government officials, private business people, representatives from educational institutes and the general public. More than 200 people from around the North, including Uttaradit, Phrae, Lampang, Lamphun, Chiang Mai and Sukhotthai attended the meeting to hear the scope of government plans and to offer feedback on the proposed project.
The Central government has set its sights on developing high speed rail transport to develop the region, and improve economic conditions and competitiveness. The government believes that development of the high speed rail line along four routes including Bangkok-Chiang Mai, Bangkok - Nakhon Ratchasima, Bangkok - Hua Hin and Bangkok - Chonburi/Pattaya would optimize travel and transport interconnectedness in the region. The OTP has assigned a feasibility study to be done and hopes to open the Bangkok – Chiang Mai line by 2018.
Attendees were told that the train would travel the 680 km distance from Chiang Mai to Bangkok in about 3 hours at speeds up to 300 km / h. The train would be able to carry around 800 passengers at a cost of 1700-2000 Baht per person. After public hearings in the affected provinces are concluded the matter will be brought to the Cabinet again.


Mae Suai villagers receive funds for water supply system from Japan

On 30 January 2013, Mr. Kazuo Shibata, Consul-General of Japan in Chiang Mai, and Mr. Thomas Benton, Country Director of Adventist Development and Relief Agency Thailand (ADRA Thailand), jointly signed the funding contract at the Consulate-General of Japan in Chiang Mai.

The Government of Japan, under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects Scheme (GGP), is providing funds amounting to 2,832,900 baht for a project entitled “the Construction of Water Supply Systems in Thako Subdistrict, Mae Suai District, Chiang Rai Province”.
ADRA Thailand is an NGO that has been working among the hill tribe communities of Thako Subdistrict, Mae Suai District since 2006 with a sustainable community development approach in order to alleviate poverty and improve people’s livelihoods.
Villagers in Thako earn their living by farming the limited land, from which they can earn a very small income. Besides, the geographical conditions impede the development of sufficient social infrastructure, i.e., medical services, education, water management, electricity, communication, etc., causing the villagers considerable hardship. The lack of a sustainable supply of sufficient clean water in particular is a major concern for villagers especially in the 10 targeted villages along the Mea Tam catchment, one of the valleys in the area. They suffer from chronic water shortages and contamination, which have affected their health and recently become more serious. The improvement of water supply systems is thus an urgent need. Nevertheless, the problem remains unsolved because the local government has a small budget and limited technical capacities.
ADRA Thailand, with many years’ experience in the provision of water supply systems, has planned this project with the participation of local people as well as the understanding and cooperation of the local government. In response to the request from ADRA Thailand, the Government of Japan will bear the costs of the construction of water supply systems. Consulate-General of Japan in Chiang Mai, Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects Scheme (GGP) 053-203-367.


Asia-Pacific Water Forum Summit to be held in Chiang Mai

Nopniwat Krailerg
Thailand will host the 2nd annual Asia-Pacific Water Forum Summit (APWF) at the new International Exhibition and Convention Center on May 19 and 20.
Dr. Plodprasop Suraswadi Deputy Prime Minister asked the sub-committee that has been meeting regarding this conference to present their budget to the government. He noted world focus will be on this meeting and the Thai government can show that they are working on water management and are paying attention to the problems of water; floods and drought in order to increase foreign investor confidence in Thailand. International leaders will be attending the meeting.
The APWF began in 2006 with its headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, and former Prime Minister of Japan Yoshiro Mori as its Secretary-General. The APWF has pledged a leading role in forging regional collaboration in water resources management.


Nakornping Hospital celebrates 33 years

Nakornping Hospital administrators celebrate the hospitals 33rd year of operations.

Nopniwat Krailerg
As Nakornping Hospital enters its 33rd year, the hospital director Dr. Virat Phanpanich reported that the hospital, which started out with just 65 beds on its opening September, 1980 has grown to 665 beds with 114 medical specialists in 30 different fields, 19 dentists and a total of 1,889 personnel. The hospital has developed as a high end center specializing in accidents, heart disease, cancer and newborns. The Hospital serves 3 provinces; Chiang Mai, Lamphun and Mae Hong Son and has helped over 2.2 million people including migrant workers, tourists and residents.
The hospital serves and average 2,100 people per day, far beyond its capacity of 800 patients per day and so has implemented a fund raising campaign to begin construction of a 5 story treatment services center with a Radiology Department, Pathology and ICU as well as Delivery rooms and Operating rooms with a budget of 204 million Baht. Additional construction includes a 7 story building for outpatient and emergency care. Once all construction is completed the hospital will be able to accommodate more than 3,000 people per day. Additionally they hope to build a 9 story car park to add convenience to those visiting the hospital.


East-West Seed hosts International Field Day in Chiang Mai

Showcases new tropical seed innovation

Farmers and dealers from around the world visited the International Field Day held on

Nopniwat Krailerg
East – West Seed showcased their innovative seed technology and plant breeding to farmers and dealers from around the world at the International Field Day at Simon Groot Research Center in San Sai District Chiang Mai, as part of the celebration of their 30th anniversary.
Primed and pelleted seeds, coated seeds, and grafting technology were among the innovative technologies presented at the International Field Day. More than 200 improved varieties with stronger resistance against diseases and better fruit quality were on display over a combined 4 rai land area in San Sai.
There were14 varieties in the open fields including sweet corn, waxy corn, yard long beans, French beans, lettuce, kangkong, coriander, amaranth, basil, bunching onions, and okra. Cucurbits like cucumber, bitter gourd, pumpkins, bottle and wax gourds, zucchini and watermelons. Showcased on the open fields were both indoor and outdoor varieties of solanaceae crops like tomato, eggplant, hot pepper and sweet pepper, Indoor farming is becoming a growing trend in many parts of the world so greenhouse varieties of cucumber, melon and bitter gourd were also highlighted. A tasting booth lets guest try a new commercial varieties of corn melon and papaya. Over 150 of East-West Seed’s dealers and farmers from 25 countries in Africa, Middle East, Latin America, South Asia and South East Asia participated in this event.

Bert van der Feltz, Senior Vice President of East-West Seed Group introduced the company’s latest technological developments at the International Field Day held in San Sai.

Bert van der Feltz, Senior Vice President of East-West Seed Group, said this year East-West Seed celebrates 30 years in Thailand as the market leader in tropical vegetable seeds. “It’s great opportunity to host the International Field Day here in Thailand and to showcase our long- standing expertise, innovation and leadership in vegetable seed technology,” he said. Mr. van der Feltz added that Thai farmers have benefitted a great deal from seed technology and continued development of new varieties with higher productivity and better resistance to pests and diseases.


Celebrate the Year of the Snake this weekend!

Celebrate Chinese New Year 2013 at Chiang Mai China Town from 10-11 February, 2013 at Waroros Market from 9 a.m. to midnight. The opening parade will start on 10th February about 9 a.m. from Thapae road (in front of Wat Saen Fang), then turn right to Trok Lao Joa (Kuang Meru Road) and turn right to Wichayanon Road (in front of 7-11). There will be plenty of Chinese activities and performances including a fire dragon parade, Chinese music show, Chinese Dances, Lion dancers, Chinese Kid Contest and lots of Chinese food. For further information please feel free to contact TAT Chiang Mai at Tel. 66 (0) 5324 8604, 66 (0) 5324 8607 every day from 8.30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or at TAT Call Center Tel. 1672 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.


Thailand places in top ten for best retirement haven

International Living, the self-proclaimed number one resource for helping people find the best places to retire around the world, has recently released their annual list of top retirement havens. Thailand, long a mainstay on surveys detailing possible locations for spending one’s golden years, placed 9th for 2013.
This year’s list focuses on the 22 best retirement destinations based on eight categories including climate, affordability, and ease of integration, as well as real estate, special retirement benefits, entertainment, health care and retirement infrastructure. Editors at InternationalLiving .com analyzed the feedback they received from correspondents in the places most popular with American and Canadian retirees.
Topping the list for the fifth straight year was Ecuador, highly regarded not only for its wonderful weather and remarkably inexpensive cost of living, but for the ease with which expats can integrate into life there.
Thailand, an immensely popular destination for tourists – as evidenced by the nearly 22 million who visited the country in 2012 – is also well regarded for its retirement opportunities. The Land of Smiles scored highly in two important categories: cost of living, where its 97/100 rating was second best on the list to the Philippines, and entertainment & amenities, where a score of 96 placed it in the top 5.
The index also points to the diversity of lifestyle options awaiting retirees in Thailand. Expats can choose between the bustling city life of the capital, Bangkok, and the white-sand beaches and clear blue waters in the south, or the slightly more temperate higher elevations in the north. The report also brought attention to the inexpensive accommodation costs, as condo rentals can be had almost anywhere for just $500 (USD) per month.
While earning high marks in many areas, the report did indicate that Thailand looks to improve on special benefits offered to retirees, such as discounts on goods & services or duty-free imports of home furnishing, and the English proficiency of the locals.
Rounding out the top 10 was Malta due to its very low crime rate, Mediterranean climate and large numbers of English speakers. Other EU members making the list include Spain, Ireland, France, Portugal and Italy. Thailand was one of only two Asian countries to make the top 10, along with Malaysia. (TAT)


Nok Air launches new Chiang Mai – Hat Yai route

Trips to the South just got easier with direct Chiang Mai – Hat Yai flights from Nok Air on a daily basis.

Nok Air announced the launch of additional routes including a direct Chiang Mai – Hat Yai flight that travels between the two cities once a day. The Boeing 737 carries 189 passengers and began flying to the Southern city on January 1, 2013. The flights depart daily at 8:40 a.m. and returns from Hat Yai every day at 11:15 a.m. The flight takes around two hours each way.
On the occasion of the opening of the new route Nok Air invited media from Hat Yai to explore the tourist attractions of Chiang Mai while media from Chiang Mai traveled to the Southern city to see the many interesting sights around Hat Yai and Songkhla Province. They also traveled to Phattalung to see the many beautiful natural sights there.
Nok Air flights can be reserved online at www. nokair.com or by dialing 1318 to reach the call center. Payment is easily made at ticket agents or counter services in 7-11s nationwide.


10th Miracle of Lanna festival at Ton Pao

Unique Sa Paper products

Ton Pao in San Kamphaeng readies for the Sa Paper festival to be held from February 14-17, 2013.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Ton Pao Municipality in San Kamphaeng District is hosting the 10th annual Miracle of Lanna; Ton Pao, city of Sa Paper festival from February 14-17, 2013.
Sa Paper, or Mulberry paper is made from bark harvested from the Mulberry tree in remote areas of the North by villagers and hilltribe people, it can take a full day for one person to harvest 5 kilos of good quality washed and dried bark. Traditionally used in Buddhist texts, these days Sa paper is used for everything from greeting cards and wrapping paper to napkins and wallpaper.
Supakin Wongsa, the Mayor of Ton Pao Municipality reported that the concept of the event this year is “Miracle of Love -Love and Harmony” with an aim to promote tourism in Chiang Mai, preserve local culture and promote the production of local handicrafts. Ton Pao has the largest variety of Sa Paper products and will offer a variety of activities including a beauty contest, and Lanna Victory Drum contest as well as a huge variety of Sa Paper products for sale. The opening ceremony will held on Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 5 p.m.


Famed local bakery damaged in fire

Fai Bakery at Suan Dok Gate was damaged in a fire on Monday, January 28. Fire inspectors suspect an electrical short.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Well-known and popular local bakery Fai Bakery near Suan Dok Gate in the Sri Phum District was damaged in a blaze that broke out at 11 p.m. on Monday, January 28, 2013. Fire fighters were called to the scene to find the fire spreading quickly and already reaching the ceiling.
Fire fighters battled the blaze for more than 20 minutes before they were able to put out the worst of it and enter the building to eliminate fuel sources.
Fire inspectors checked the building and believe the fire may have been caused by a short circuit, the sparks igniting the flammable materials stored there caused the fire to spread quickly. Preliminary damage estimates are set at around 400,000 Baht.


Police Commission Council receive report from Region 5 Police

Provincial Police Region 5 Commissioner Pol Lt-Gen Suthep Dejraksa reports on the latest arrest numbers in drugs, prostitution and gambling in the North.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Chairman of the Police Commission Council Somchai Lohsatapornpipit and the Board of Directors visited Police Region 5 offices to receive a briefing on the problems of gambling, prostitution and drugs in the 8 upper North provinces from Provincial Police Region 5 Commissioner Pol Lt-Gen Suthep Dejraksa.
The Commissioner reported that the Region 5 police had been fighting continuously against the problem of gambling in the region and that many people travel to neighboring countries to visit the more than 20 large casinos operating. Additionally, they had uncovered 3 illegal casinos operating in the North since October 2012 and had arrested 12 people in those operations. A further 526 people were arrested for gambling related issues.
Since the beginning of the year, the police have arrested 52 people on prostitution charges. The drug trafficking problem remained strong in 2012 as neighboring countries continue to produce large quantities of methamphetamine and crystal methamphetamine and smuggle them into Thailand. Police set up 113 checkpoints across the North and arrested 24,930 people in 2012, seized nearly 25 million Yaba or methamphetamine tablets, 413 kilograms of Crystal methamphetamine or Ya Ice and 273 kilograms of heroin. More than 211 million baht in property has been seized under the law allowing the proceeds of drug trafficking to be seized by the government.


44 year old Swiss man dies in guesthouse

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Muang Chiang Mai Police were called to the Inter-Inn Guesthouse on Kotchsaran Road at 11 am. on January 25 by staff. Police and the medical team from the Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital and Ruam Jai Rescue Foundation rushed to the scene where they discovered the body of 44 year old Swiss man Stephane Claude in his room. The body of the Swiss man was found sitting with his head close to the wall and holding a bottle in one hand and a folded piece of paper with an unknown white powder inside.
Doctors estimate he had been dead for -2 days. The body was taken to the Forensic Department of Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital to determine the cause of death.


Region 5 police arrest 189 people in two provinces

More than 1000 people took part in a series of raids in Nan and Phrae that resulted in the arrest of 189 people for drugs and other illegal activities.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Police Region 5 organized a cordon search operation in Phrae and Nan provinces in a bid to crack down on drug trafficking and other illegal activities in the two provinces.
Deputy Commander Police Region 5 Pol. Maj. Gen. Chamnan Ruwdrew led the opening ceremony for the search operation on January 23, 2013 where he oversaw 1,082 officers from the Phrae Provincial Police, Nan Provincial Police, Investigation Division Police Region 5, Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) Region 5, 324th Border Patrol Police, 12th Cavalry Regiment, Highway Police, Forensic Police, Public Health Office and volunteers take part in the searches.
59 people were arrested in Phrae with 521 methamphetamine or Yaba tablets, 6 guns, 2 chainsaws and 76 pieces of processed wood that is suspected to be illegal. More than 10.89 million Baht in property was seized under the law that allows the government to seize the proceeds of drug trafficking.
In Nan Province, 130 people were arrested with 3,551 methamphetamine tablets and police destroyed 2 opium filed. Police arrested 189 people in the two provinces in the raid.


Norwegian man found dead in condo

Nopniwat Krailerg
A 75 year old Norwegian man was discovered dead in his bed by his wife on the morning of January 28, 2013 according the Mae Ping Police who were called to scene by the Norwegian woman. The forensic medical team from Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital and the Rescue Foundation went to the 7th floor condo and discovered 75 year old Norwegian Jan Homeland.
Doctors reported no sign of injury or struggle and his wife told police that he suffered from congenital heart failure. She slept in a separate room at night and when she awoke in the morning discovered her husband had passed away during the night. Doctors expect the cause of death to be heart failure due to his heart problems. The body was taken to Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital. to determine the cause of death.


DSI investigates corruption in issuance of ID cards

Deemed a serious threat to national security

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Chief of the Department of Special Investigation, Tharit Pengdit, met with Deputy Governor Adisorn Kamanerdsiri to discuss cases of corruption in the issuance of Thai ID cards on January 24, 2013. The Ministry of the Interior and the Department of Justice believe that officers have been taking money to issue identification cards to illegal aliens. The government is concerned that the ID cards could not only be used for drug trafficking, but human trafficking and would allow criminals to escape detection and prosecution. The Department stated it considers this a serious threat to national security.
Chief of the DSI Tharit said that ID cards or certificate of registrations had been issued to unqualified people and that it is believed officers had taken money to issue the ID cards. The investigation found that the people who do not have Thai national status in Wiang Haeng district in Chiang Mai had been surveyed and added to a database of approximately 19,000 people who were registered with about 100,000 documents. They believe illegitimately issued cards are mixed in with legitimate ones. Each case must be examined and when illegitimate cards are found to have been issued then action will be taken against the officers and aliens involved and either criminal or disciplinary actions will be issued. The investigation is expected to be completed within two months.


Kachin Community protests against Myanmar government

Rally held in front of Chinese and U.S. Consulates

Nopniwat Krailerg
More than 60 members of the Kachin community in Chiang Mai joined a rally held outside the Chinese Consulate General on Chang Loh Road calling for the Chinese government to use its influence to push the Burmese government and military into a dialogue with the Kachin. They also called on the Chinese government to help in resolving the conflict and allow for Kachin refugees fleeing from violence and abuse into China and provide them with safe shelter. They also asked that China allow international aid agencies to be able to provide assistance to the Kachin refugees who have fled into China
The group, led by Mr. La Nu Nan and Mrs. Seng Zin then travelled to the U.S. Consulate General to submit a request for the U. S. government to provide humanitarian assistance to refugees from at camps along the border with China and around Laiza city and other areas. They requested the U.S. put pressure on the Burmese government with trade sanctions and to push the Chinese government to allow the UNHCR access to refugees on the border. Additionally they asked the U.S. to put pressure on the United Nations General Assembly to consider the case of the Kachin people and to put pressure on the Burmese government to enter into a dialogue.
According to the group, the conflict between the Kachin Independence Army and the Myanmar Army has resulted in the displacement of more than 100,000 people since June 2011. They said the Burmese Army has used aircraft and artillery to bombard Kachin strongholds and refugee camps resulting in the loss of many lives. They said this action made it clear that the Myanmar government’s announcement for equal rights for all ethnic groups was not real but that the government intended to eliminate the Kachin.


 
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Army tackles Northern haze

Site of Women’s Prison to become a green area for city

Public hearing on proposed High-Speed train Project

Mae Suai villagers receive funds for water supply system from Japan

Asia-Pacific Water Forum Summit to be held in Chiang Mai

Nakornping Hospital celebrates 33 years

East-West Seed hosts International Field Day in Chiang Mai

Celebrate the Year of the Snake this weekend!

Thailand places in top ten for best retirement haven

Nok Air launches new Chiang Mai – Hat Yai route

10th Miracle of Lanna festival at Ton Pao

Famed local bakery damaged in fire

Police Commission Council receive report from Region 5 Police

44 year old Swiss man dies in guesthouse

Region 5 police arrest 189 people in two provinces

Norwegian man found dead in condo

DSI investigates corruption in issuance of ID cards

Kachin Community protests against Myanmar government