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NEWS
 

Chansom Memorial Bridge to be re-built

Chansom Memorial Bridge (photo courtesy of Library.cmu.ac.th).

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Chansom Memorial Bridge- the foot bridge near Waroros Market, will be torn down and rebuilt at the cost of 8.73 million baht, construction is expected to take around a year. Construction was scheduled for 2011 – 2012 but flooding delayed the start. Approval from the Marine Department of Chiang Mai was given on May 8, 2013 and the bridge is slated to be 3 meters wide and span 110 meters.
The bridge was not only heavily damaged during the floods but has also seen subsidence since its construction in 1966 by Montriram (Montri) Koslaphirom who named the bridge in honor of his wife Chansom.
 


Lin Ping to stay in Chiang Mai for 15 more years

Lin Ping will return to China temporarily to find a mate and have cubs now that she has reached four years of age.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Thailand reached a preliminary agreement with China after negotiations to keep Thailand’s favorite panda, Lin Ping, in Chiang Mai. They reached a preliminary agreement that Lin Ping could stay in Thailand for a further 15 years. However, the Minister of the National Forestry Bureau of the PRC is requiring that she be returned to China on October 12, 2013 where they will locate a mate in the hopes Lin Ping will become pregnant.
Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said that China hopes Lin Ping will not be gone for more than a year. In a deal that will cost Thailand $US 1 million a year, her parents, Chuang Chuang and Lin Hui, who were also scheduled to return to China in October after a ten year stay, will stay on in Chiang Mai until Lin Ping returns.


Visakha Bucha Day celebrated May 24

This, one of the holiest days on the Buddhist calendar, is also a national holiday. Government offices, banks and many businesses will be closed. Devout Buddhists around the North and Thailand honor the birth, enlightenment and death of the Lord Buddha on Friday, May 24.
Chiang Mai faithful will gather for the walk up to Wat Prathat Doi Suthep to make merit before the day, then, on the day they make merit at the Wat. The walk will start from the Kruba Srivichai monument on Huay Kaew Road in the evening of the 23rd of May, with celebrants arriving at the temple at Doi Suthep in the early morning. This will be followed by a merit making ceremony in the morning where the devout will walk around the Bot three times each holding three incense sticks, a lighted candle and a lotus flower to represent the Triple Gems of Buddhism; the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. In the evenings there will be candlelight processions at temples around the city.
Reminder: In 2009 the Prime Minister’s Office issued a no alcohol edict, banning the sale of alcohol on important religious holidays. The Notification of the Office of the Prime Minister RE: Determination of Days of Prohibition of Alcoholic Beverage Sales (No. 2) B.E. 2552 (A.D. 2009), signed by then Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, specifically prohibits the sale of alcohol on Makha Bucha Day, Visakha Bucha Day, Asalaha Bucha Day and Buddhist Lent holidays. On Friday, May 24 it is against the law for businesspeople to distribute alcohol. This includes bars and restaurants, supermarkets, convenience stores, department stores, and community retail stores. An amendment to the decree exempts hotels from the ban. Those caught breaking the law can face up to six months in jail and fines up to 10,000 baht.


3G launched in Chiang Mai

AIS offers full service across the province

A launch party was held at 3 Kings Monument by AIS as they launched long awaited 3G services across the province on May 7, 2013.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The long delayed and highly anticipated of full 3G service was launched by Advanced Info Service PLC (AIS) on May 7 at the opening ceremony held at the 3 Kings Monument under the “AIS 3G 2100 World Standard” banner.
AIS received their license four months ago after months of legal disputes involving the NBTC regarding the issuance of the licenses delayed the implementation. AIS has installed all systems into place in all districts in 20 provinces nationwide. Chiang Mai has had partial 3G service but it is now available everywhere as it is in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nakhon Pathom, Prachuab Khiri Khan, Surat Thani, Nakhon Sri Thammarat, Songkhla, Phuket, Nakorn Ratchasima, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, Chonburi, Rayong and Phitsanulok.
Dulyadej Shinawatra, AIS Northern Regional Director of the Bureau of Operations said “Thailand is progressing to the next stage of 3G services with the official opening of the 3G 2100 MHz band. 3G on the 2100 MHz spectrum is the standard of the International Telecommunication Union, or ITU, established around the world and have used this standard to provide 3G services for a long time. Our customers do not have to worry about using their mobile phones; or phones that support the 3G 2100 MHz they can use immediately and can also use while traveling abroad since it is a worldwide standard. The demand for client applications that use AIS Mobile Internet stood at 12 million at the end of 2012 and will increase to 15 million by the end of 2013 with the full 3G network for service.”
AIS will budget more than 70,000 million baht to expand the network as quickly as possible. The company has over 5,000 base stations that can accommodate up to 10 million subscribers in 20 provinces including cities and major regional areas across the country. The company will increase the base stations by at least 800 every month and expect to be able to provide 3G service to districts of 77 provinces by the end of 2013 and will cover most of the country by the end of 2014.


Bank of Thailand reports on the Northern Economy

Bank of Thailand Northern Director Supawadee Punsri reporting on the slowing Northern economy.

Chiang Mai Mail Reporters
Senior Director of the Bank of Thailand (BoT) Northern Office Supawadee Punsri reported that the expanding Northern economy is showing signs of slowing at a press conference held on May 2, 2013.
She said that the BoT looked at the Northern economy from four aspects; consumption, investment, government spending and foreign trade. She noted that private investment had slowed and that the effects of the government stimulus package were softening. She noted that the effects of the high numbers of cars ordered last year had worn off and that they would have to see how many people did not claim cars.
Department store and electrical product sales had dropped and foreign trade was slowing although there was increased demand for consumer goods across the border into Myanmar and Laos. Exports to Europe had also dropped due to the economic issues plaguing the region. The huge influx of Chinese tourists had boosted the Northern economy in the first quarter, she added.
Although domestic consumption and investment had slowed in the first quarter she noted that long term demand would remain the driving economic force and added that household income and employment rates remain high. Private investment continued to grow in two sectors however; construction and equipment.
Supawadee added that Myanmar’s economic growth had seen border trade and Myanmar exports expand and predicted that it would continue to grow. Additionally, the American economy is predicted to begin recovery and the growing Chinese economy would see expanded markets for Northern products such as electronics, processed fruits and vegetables.


City dredges drains around the city to prevent floods

14 fresh markets targeted

Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn visits dredging operations at Waroros Market on May 10, 2013.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
As part of the Chiang Mai Municipality’s flood prevention plan drains in 14 fresh markets around the city are targeted for dredging. The dredging procedures started on May 10 in Waroros and Ton Lamyai markets. The city has asked vendors to not dump food waste and garbage in the sewers and drains of the markets to help keep them unblocked as the province heads into the rainy season.
Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn noted as he visited the first dredging operation that in heavy rains the streets often flood as the drains take a long time to clear the water, slowing traffic and causing traffic jams. He added that litter and waste dumped in the drains were the main reason for the blockage.
The local authorities will clean the drains in fresh markets around the city, with Waroros and Ton Lamyai first, followed by Baan Tor, Muang Mai, Muang Sunthorn, Ming Muang, Boriboon, Thong Kham, San Pakoi, Nong Hoi, Chiang Mai Gate, Ton Payom, Siri Wattana and Pratu Gom markets.
Dredging began on May 10 and is expected to be concluded by July 27, 2013.


Hardys Wines of Australia celebrate 160 years

A party was held at the Glasshouse to introduce and celebrate Hardys Wines 160th anniversary.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Ambrose Wine Limited launched the sales of Hardys Wines at a party held in honor of the company’s 160th anniversary at the Glasshouse on May 7, 2013. Regional Director for Asia for accolade Wines International Division and Executive of Ambrose Wines hosted the party for guests and held a wine tasting of the newest wines to tempt wine lovers in Chiang Mai.
Hardys Wines was founded in 1853 by Thomas Hardy, an Englishman who moved to Bankside in Australia and started the vineyard and making wine. In 1857 his first export of 2 hogsheads (286 liters) of wine was sent to the United Kingdom. Hardys was recognized as South Australia’s largest wine producer with a yield up to 315,000 gallons per year. In the past 160 years Hardys wines has passed from generation to generation and has been awarded 3,000 prizes.
Mr. Brown said that six different wines are being imported into Thailand; Oomoo, Hardys Nottage Hill, Hardys Mill Cellars, Hardys VR, Hardys The Riddle, Hardys Stamp and William Hardy, which is available both in restaurants, hotels and supermarkets.
“The current wine market in Chiang Mai has seen a good response and more than 300% growth is expected. This year the number may go up to 400%. Thailand is one of three top in the Asian markets. I came to Chiang Mai 10 year ago and have seen a rapid change. There are a lot of restaurants, a good economy and wines are not expensive resulting in the increase of wine sales as well as interest in wine culture,” he concluded.


Chiang Mai Night Safari welcomes two white tiger cubs

Named Asia and Pacific

Asia and Pacific are introduced to the public, they were born on April 21, 2013 at the Chiang Mai Night Safari.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Two white tiger cubs were introduced to the public at the Chiang Mai Night Safari on May 4, 2013. Dr. Sarawut Srisakun, Director of Pingnakorn Development Agency (Public Organization), revealed one male and one female were born to mother Ploy and father Phet on April 21, 2013. The Chiang Mai Night Safari now has 20 tigers in the group which is known as a “streak” or “ambush”.
Dr. Sarawut said the white tigers are the pride of the Chiang Mai Night Safari and that they offer the people of Thailand the chance to learn more about these endangered animals. He added that it gives people the opportunity to see, experience and learn to love wildlife species.
The cubs were named “Asia” and “Pacific” in honor of the 2nd Asia Pacific Water Summit being held in Chiang Mai at the new Convention Center.


Chiang Mai to host global forestry meeting in 2015

Nopniwat Krailerg
Chiang Mai will play host to the Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA2015) Preecha Rengsomboonsuk, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, announced on May 6, 2013. Representatives from international organizations of 104 countries will join members of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) at the international conference that will be held at the Centara Duangtawan Hotel.
The 2015 Global Forest Resources Assessment continues the tradition of seeking to describe the world’s forests – a tradition that began in 1948. The exchange of experience and information will greatly benefit the country in the management of national resources, Minister Preecha noted.
The Minister said that Thailand had focused on the evaluation of forest resources throughout the country since 1955. In 1988 forests were declared closed and so the goal of exploring the forests had changed from exploitation to research on the distribution of plants and to determine areas that have the potential for sustainable management.
He added that it requires a lot of manpower and high capital explore the forest and to collect field data on the nation’s forests. The conference will help in finding faster more accurate ways to survey the forests to cope with the changing variables of forests including encroachment and land use changes.
“Data from the surveys and the statistics of the Department of Forestry shows that Thailand currently has approximately 171,585 square kilometers of forest remaining, representing 33% of the total area of the country. However, the area of forest that has been reported by various agencies may have slightly different definitions and it suggests that it is time that we should set a definition of the forest. We need to standardize the technique used in data collection and format the reports to international standards country organizations. We need to strengthen relations with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and partners in all participating countries.”
“This is a great opportunity to build relationships with each other and to lead to the development of each country’s forests in the future,” Minister Preecha concluded.


Thai youth arrested in Facebook drug deals

Social network trafficking

9 youth under the age of 23 were arrested after police uncovered drug deals that were enacted online.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Nine Thai youth were arrested after police investigation uncovered drug deals being brokered online through Facebook chat and the mobile messaging application Line.
Pol.Maj.Gen Chamnan Ruwdrew, Deputy Commander Police Region 5, announced the arrest of the 9 people,on May 1, 2013. The ringleader of the group Choltawat Plangwong, was arrested on April 29, 2013 alongside two other suspects near Suan Prung Hospital. Police said they found 125 methamphetamine or Yaba tablets on the suspects as part of a planned drug deal.
Police believed that the drug ring was larger than just the 3 members so investigated further and arrested 6 other suspects, aged between 19-23 years old. They found 555 methamphetamine tablets on the other suspects at the time of arrest. The police believe that the group started selling drugs to fund their own addictions.


Hail storm strikes Chiang Mai

Heavy winds cause building to collapse

The roof of the restaurant Kornwan Country collapsed into the second ring road in the city from the storm.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Strong winds and hail pounded Chiang Mai province on the evening of May 2, 2013, causing the roof of a building to collapse and hail accumulating on the roads in Samoeng.
Heavy winds and rain hit the Muang District in Chiang Mai causing damage to homes and businesses in the municipality. The roof of the restaurant Kornwan Country collapsed into the second ring road from the storm, causing traffic jams. Police and rescue were called to the scene and a forklift was needed to lift the steel structure off the road, the work took more than two hours to clear the road about 3 kilometers from City Hall.
Nearby districts saw hail storms with residents in Samoeng reporting heavy hail that accumulated on the roads. Many locals came out to view the hail as they had never seen it in their area before. Many farmers reported heavy damage to their crops from the hail and wind.
Broken trees and branches caused blackouts in some areas around the city and Doi Inthanon saw an overnight power outage although no severe damage was reported.


Red Shirts rally at Thai Rath office

Protest against political cartoonist

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Members of the Chiang Mai Red Shirt group Rak Chiang Mai 51 rallied at the Chiang Mai office of the Thai language national newspaper Thai Rath protesting against what they felt were inappropriate comments by political cartoonist Somchai Katanyutanant or Chai Rajchawat on his Facebook page.
Around 30 members of the group were led by Dr. Phetchawat Wattanapongsirikul, advisor to the Minister of Social Development and Human Security at the rally which gathered at the offices.. The group laid wreaths and placed empty coffins in front of the Thai Rath office.
Later, the group traveled to the Muang Police Station to report the remarks to the police and request they take action. The group’s protest at the police station caused an uproar but the group dispersed without any violence.
The cartoonist, who posted photos and remarks about Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on his personal Facebook page has been sued for defamation by the Prime Minister for the comments. The comments quickly went viral on Facebook, angering many supporters of the Prime Minister, who also laid wreaths at the main Thai Rath office in Bangkok.

Members of the Rak Chiang Mai 51 group led by Dr. Phetchawat Wattanapongsirikul rallied in front of the Thai Rath offices to protest the Facebook comments of one of their columnists.


Pha Muang Task Force soldiers battle drug traffickers in Chiang Rai

5 dead in shootout

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Members of the 31st Rangers Regiment of the Pha Muang Task Force engaged in a gun battle with drug traffickers at 2:30 a.m. on May 4, 2013 in Baan Ar-lae, Mae Salong in Mae Fah Luang in Chiang Rai. The commander of the Task Force, Maj. Gen. Somsak Nilbanjerdkul said that they had reports that drug trafficking gangs had hired members of the Lahu Home Gueard led by Lt. Col. Yee Sae. Yee Sae is the leader of the splinter group the “Lahu Home Guard” in Myanmar and is wanted by Thai police who are offering a reward of 2 million baht for information leading to his arrest.
After the gunfire between the Pha Muang soldiers and around 20 drug traffickers stopped, remaining members of the gang scattered into the forest leaving 5 of their group dead. The soldiers uncovered 7,000 methamphetamine tablets in 1 million baht in cash.
The Commander of the Task Force said that the group was well organized, professionally run and had local support although their bases are over the border in Myanmar. Officials plan on expanding their efforts to pursue fugitive members of the group.


Major drug network busted in Uttaradit Prison

Nopniwat Krailerg
A major drug network in the provincial prison in Uttaradit was uncovered by Region 5 Police Investigative Division this month when police announced the arrest of 5 people who were working for a drug lord currently serving time in Uttaradit prison.
On May 5, Police Region 5 officers announced the arrest of Sanong Yusoom age 26 from Sukhothai, Nopparat Visawawisut age 19 from Chonburi, Nateetorn Sangkham age 21 from Ratchaburi, Warinthorn Siritat age 21 from Uttaradit, and Private Mana Sriyarat age 21 with 20,000 methamphetamine tablets.
The leader of the gang, known as Nont Uttaradit, is currently incarcerated in Uttaradit prison on charges of drug trafficking but enlisted the gang to bring in drugs from neighboring countries. The police arrested them when they came to collect the drugs hidden in a trash can at the PTT gas station in the Muang District of Uttaradit.
Police found that one of the accused, Nopparat Visawawisut, is the ex-wife of the gang leader, Nont. Nont would call his ex-wife or other members of the gang to coordinate the drug purchase and network to distribute the drugs from prison.


Toyota Thailand joins forces with City to offer eco-safety

The “Smiling Road” project was launched on May 9, 2013 at the accident prone intersection in front of the Municipal Stadium by Deputy Governor Adisorn Kamnerdsiri and Toyota Motors Thailand, Co. Ltd. The project is the third of its kind in the nation, after Udon Thani and Chumphon, and will improve the intersection’s roundabout, provide CCTV cameras, as well as clean up the area and provide a more eco-friendly environment as part of the 50th anniversary. Toyota is working to help the government promote road safety and a low carbon society.


The Magnificent Seven!

Local lady rescues neighborhood kittens

This local expat resident was alerted by her Thai neighbours to this street cat who’d given birth to seven kittens! Worried our Soi would be over-run with cats they asked her if she could take them in and re-home them. There are 7 kittens; a mix of girls and boys, very sociable, all with long tails. Mommy has been sterilised and can now live a peaceful life back in the soi.
If you are interested in one of these gorgeous kittens give Gilly a call 0871 89 1623 Email: [email protected]


 
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Chansom Memorial Bridge to be re-built

Lin Ping to stay in Chiang Mai for 15 more years

Visakha Bucha Day celebrated May 24

3G launched in Chiang Mai

Bank of Thailand reports on the Northern Economy

City dredges drains around the city to prevent floods

Hardys Wines of Australia celebrate 160 years

Chiang Mai Night Safari welcomes two white tiger cubs

Chiang Mai to host global forestry meeting in 2015

Thai youth arrested in Facebook drug deals

Hail storm strikes Chiang Mai

Red Shirts rally at Thai Rath office

Pha Muang Task Force soldiers battle drug traffickers in Chiang Rai

Major drug network busted in Uttaradit Prison

Toyota Thailand joins forces with City to offer eco-safety

The Magnificent Seven!