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Earthquake in Chiang Rai claims one life

Dams reported to be safe

Chiang Rai suffered heavy damage from the May 5 earthquake but aftershocks have begun to lessen as residents clean up from the damage.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
An earthquake centered in Phan District in Chiang Rai caused major damage in Chiang Rai province and claimed one life when the walls of a house collapsed on its resident. The National Disaster Warning Center and Seismological Bureau of the Thai Meteorological Department reported that an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.3 on the Richter scale struck Chiang Rai at 6.08 p.m. on Monday, May 5, 2014. The epicenter of the earthquake was in Mae O sub-district, Phan district, Chiang Rai (19.71 N, 99.79 E) causing damage to buildings, roads, power, and communication systems in a 24-kilometre radius in Phan, Muang, Mae Lao, Mae Suai, and Wiang Pa Pao districts. The US Geological Survey listed the magnitude at 6.0.
The quake, which was 27 km southwest of Chiang Rai’s Muang District, was a shallow quake at a depth of 7.4 km, shallow earthquakes generally cause more damage than deeper ones. The last quake which was near in size in the region was a 5.1 in Chiang Mai in 2006.
The tremors were felt around the region and even in Bangkok high buildings swayed during the earthquake. Numerous aftershocks have hit the North since then with the largest being a 4.7 on the Richter scale striking Mae Suai district in the early morning of May 9, 2014.
Buildings in Chiang Mai suffered damage as well with Chiang Dao, Chai Prakan, Doi Saket, Fang, Prao, Mae Taeng, Mae Rim, Mae On, Mae Ai, Wiang Haeng, San Kamphaeng, Sansai, and Song Kwae districts reporting damage. Chiang Rai reported heavy damage in 7 districts while Phayao, Phrae and Lampang also reported some damage.
The Mao Lao – Mae Suai road suffered subsidence and there were many damaged temples and houses. Chiang Rai saw the loss of 46 homes completely and another 6, 142 partially damaged.
Lertviroj Kowattana, the Director-General of Royal Irrigation Department said that he had examined every dam already. The dams were not damaged from the earthquake because they were built strongly and can withstand an earthquake at 7 on the Richter scale.
Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn inspected joined city officials in inspecting high building in the municipal area and confirmed the structure of all buildings were secure. He had received a report that a department store in Chiang Mai was cracked and building engineers found that while there cracks on the joints between two buildings they were not structural cracks. The Mayor noted that the Chiang Mai municipal area had not been affected by the earthquake much and asked for people and visitors to not panic.
Chiang Rai Governor Pongsak Wangsamer commanded the Chiang Rai Provincial Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office together with 10 officers of the Emergency Response Team take light, machining and manpower to assist people in Phan and Mae Lao district, and also commanded the Department of Public Works and Town & Country Planning, Chiang Rai Office to inspect the structure of damaged buildings. He also ordered to Provincial Electricity to cope with blackout problem in Phan, Pa Deat, Mae Lao and Mae Suai districts. He also ordered the Chiang Rai Irrigation Project to inspect a dam and reservoir that might have been affected by the earthquake.
On May 12 in the evening a new earthquake of 5.0 on the Richter scale struck Chiang Rai province near Mae Lao. Seismologists say this was not an aftershock from the 6.3 that struck earlier. No significant damage was reported from this earthquake whose epicenter was about 8 km underground in Dong Mada subdistrict in Mae Lao, Chiang Rai. The National Disaster Warning Center is monitoring several fault lines that run under Chiang Rai, Lampang and Chiang Mai for risk of increased earthquakes..
 


Royal relief packages for earthquake victims from the Rajaprajanugroh Foundation

The Rajaprajanugroh Foundation under Royal Patronage distributed royal relief packages to 2,500 families in Phan and Mae Suai District in Chiang Rai who were affected by the earthquake on May 5, 2014.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The Rajaprajanugroh Foundation under Royal Patronage distributed royal relief packages to 2,500 families in the affected areas of Phan and Mae Suai District in Chiang Rai after the province was hit by a 6.3 earthquake (the USGS recorded it as a 6.0) on May 5, 2014..
Prasong Pitulkitja, Secretary General of the Rajaprajanugroh Foundation under the Royal Patronage, Pongsak Wangsamer, Chiang Rai Governor, Wichada Wangsamer, President of Provincial Red Cross Chapter of Chiang Rai and relief teams sent a mobile relief unit to help earthquake victims on May 8, 2014.
Chiang Rai Governor Pongsak Wangsamer reported that the disaster damaged 7 districts in Chiang Rai affecting 45 sub-districts, 519 villages and 18,488 houses. One person died when their house collapsed and 23 people were injured. 36 houses suffered heavy damage and 6,142 houses suffered minor damage. Twenty nine temples, 46 shcools, 31 government agencies, 1 hotel, 4 bridges, 5 bridge-necks and 5 roads were also damaged in Chiang Rai. The Governor has requested 185 million baht to repair the damage.
The Rajaprajanugroh Foundation will continue to provide Royal relief packages for earthquake victims.


Chiang Mai celebrates the coronation of HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej

Chiang Mai Governor Wichien Puthiwinyoo led members of the Lanna Royal Family, foreign consular officers, members of the House of Parliament and the Senate, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, government officials and many others from all walks of life to honor the reign of HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej and offer their blessings to HM the King on Coronation Day, May 5. The ceremony began with a merit making ceremony and then representatives laid flowers in front of the royal photograph. Finally, everyone glorified HM the King by singing the Thai Royal Anthem. Coronation Day marks May 5, 1950 when HM the King acceded to the throne.


Labor groups submit petition for equal rights for migrant workers

Labor Day brings labor protests

Labor organizers submitted a petition to Governor Wichien Puthiwinyoo to be forwarded on to the Acting Prime Minister to offer migrant workers equal rights.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Labor Day on Monday May 1, 2014 saw over 100 members of various labor groups including the Worker Solidarity Association (WSA), Modern Woodmen Foresters (MWF) and many Labor Networks gather in front of City Hall to submit a petition to Governor Wichien Puthiwinyoo to submit to the acting caretaker Prime Minister to provide the same labor rights to migrant workers as to Thai workers.
The group, led by Kanchana Dee-oot, the manager of Foundation for the Health and Knowledge of Ethnics Labour, called on the government to sign the Convention of the International Labor Organization (ILO) No. 87 and 98 to promote labor’s democratic freedom of association and negotiation as the same as other countries. They also requested some measures or policies, or laws involving equal rights for migrant workers in Thailand as a key part of the country’s development.
They also requested government to take serious measures to suppress human trafficking or broker movement using worker registration to exploit migrant labor by giving them no job, but selling them to a company that wants migrant workers. The government was requested to strictly examine labor imports.
The asked that the Social Security Office be in charge of forcing employers to bring their migrant workers into the social security system, without exception. There were other important demands such as asking the government to call off the home return funds for migrant workers and to establish a committee to monitor the 300 baht wage policy to be practical, effective and to no detriment of the workers. The committee should consist of representatives from the government and relevant sectors, academicians, mass media, the Labor Union, and workers, participating in the procession both nationally and regionally.


Immigration cracks down on border runners

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The Royal Thai Immigration Police have announced that those holding a 30 day visa extension will no longer be allowed to use border crossings such as Mae Sai to obtain further time in Thailand. This restriction does not apply to those holding multiple entry visas and re-entry permits and applies at border crossings that do not allow people to enter Myanmar such as Mae Sai.
Tourists will be allowed one land entry only from May 10 and must obtain a visa at a Consulate or Embassy if they plan on staying longer. Immigration is cracking down on those who use the border crossings to obtain back to back entries with no visa so that they can stay an extended time in Thailand.


Mae Chaem villagers to get permanent check dams

Wilderness Society Organization builds check dams and plants trees

The Wilderness Society Organization announced the plan to construct 100 check dams and plant 1,000 trees in Mae Chaem.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The residents of villages in Mae Chaem will benefit from the Wilderness Society Organization of Thailand which will build 100 permanent check dams (small dams built across small waterways such as a minor channel or drainage ditch) and plant 1,000 trees. Mae Hoi village in Mae Na Jon Sub-district will be the site of the opening ceremony that will be presided over by HSH Prince Bhisadej Rajani on May 19, 2014 in honor their Majesties the King and Queen on their birthdays. Government officials and residents from 8 provinces will join the ceremony.
Mae Hoi village currently has 80 Karen households, 423 residents. The village needs to build check dam because such areas have influx of water from the mountains and the villagers cannot retain water and slow water during the rainy season. Moreover, this follows royal thought on building dams. The Wilderness Society Organization of Thailand is cooperating with many organizations to conserve, preserve and restore natural resources and the environment. They also campaign and provide information about environmental crises to people.
The basin of the Mae Chaem river has seen more than 21,512 rai per year deforested in the past 6 years past (2001-2007) from farming corn, shallots and cabbage as well as from mineral exploration and mining licenses granted to mining companies. Over 47 license have been granted which will affect 81 villages if a mining concession starts work. Encroachment of the forest by agriculture and mining is still not resolved seeing the Mae Chaem river volume decrease every year, it provides 40 percent of the water that flows into the Mae Ping River and 16 percent of the Chao Phraya River.


City Pillar Festival will be held from May 25 – June 1

Inthakin ceremony brings peace and prosperity to city residents

Monks place flowers as a blessing ceremony for the Inthakin or City Pillar Festival.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
This annual ceremony is held to honor the Inthakin, or City Pillar on the 13th day of the waning moon in the eighth Northern lunar moon and continue until the second day of the waxing moon of the ninth month. This year it falls on May 25 and concludes on June 1, 2014.
It is believed the current Inthakin was erected by King Mengrai at the founding of the city on April 12, 1296 at Wat Sadue Mueang (also known as Wat Inthakin) on Inthawarorot road. It was brought to its present location inside a shrine on the temple grounds of Wat Chedi Luang by King Kawila in 1800.
The highlight of the ceremony is to sprinkle holy water and place the ‘khan dok’ on the city pillar. The first day of the festival begins with the Fon Saen Ha Buddha image with offerings parading from Wat Chedi Luang through Phra Pokklao Road to Three Kings Monument then right on to Ratvithi Raod to Chang Moi, then on to Tha Pae Gate, and Ratchadamnoen Road so that the faithful may offer their blessings before the image then returns to Wat Chedi Luang.
Governor Wichien Puthiwinyoo will preside over the ceremony with administrators and faithful citizens of Chiang Mai participating to sprinkle water onto the Buddha image, offer food to 108 monks, gild Buddha images, and offer prayers at Wat Chedi Luang.
Chiang Mai people believe that the Inthakin brings security and well-being to Chiang Mai citizens. This ceremony has been held annually since ancient times with a belief that the ceremony will bring good luck and spiritual encouragement to live peacefully and seasonal rainfall for farmers.


City provides free medical checkups for residents

City residents paid a visit to Wat Koo Tao to receive free medical tests and eye checks from Chiang Mai Municipal medical personnel.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The Chiang Mai Municipality set up free medical checks for residents at Wat Koo Tao on April 30, 2014 as part of a series of free services for Chiang Mai residents in the municipal area. Residents came from many different communities to avail themselves of the free medical checks.
In addition to eye exams, complete blood count, gout exams, fasting blood sugar tests, liver function and kidney function tests, lipid blood tests, chest x-rays and bone density tests were administered by medical personnel.
Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn visited the site to meet with residents from the communities of Pattana Baan Koo Tao, Chiang Man, Cheatawan, Lam Chang, Pa Pao, Chiang Yuen, Chang Moi, Oon Aree, Baan Ping, Sri Mongkol, Ling Kok and Paa Peng.


Free Royal Rice distributed on Agriculturalist Day

Deputy Governor Chana Pangpibul presided over the opening ceremony of Agriculturalist Days in honor of the Royal Ploughing Ceremony at Royal Park Rajapruek and distributed 5,000 packs of Royal Rice seed to the general public. There were 11 types of seed available to the public and the rice seed came from The Royal Ploughing Ceremony from May 9-13, 2014 at the New Theory Agriculture Garden at Royal Park Rajapruek.


Amnesty International calls on members to demand investigation into missing Karen activist

Amnesty International is organizing a petition campaign to push the Thai government into investigating the disappearance of Karen activist Pholachi “Billy” Rakchongcharoen.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Amnesty International, the international organization focused on human rights worldwide has urged its members to write to the Thai government demanding an investigation into the missing Karen activist known as Billy.
The Urgent Action request invited members and interested people to sign a petition that will be delivered to the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment and Deputy Director General of Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department on June 12, 2014 to speed investigation into Pholchai Rakchongcharoen, the Karen human rights activist who was scheduled to testify against abuses by National Parks officials in Kaeng Krachan.
It is feared that Pholachi Rakchongcharoen, also known as “Billy,” has been subjected to enforced disappearance in response to his activism. He has been missing since April 17, 2014, just weeks before a scheduled court appearance to testify against park officials who allegedly forced villagers to evacuate and then burned the village down.
Billy, 30, was last seen in the custody of park officials on 17 April in Kaengkrachan National Park in Thailand’s central Phetchaburi province. According to park officials he was arrested for the possession of wild bee honeycomb and then released after questioning. But there are no official records of his detention and he has not been seen since. Billy is married and has five young children.
There are grave concerns that Billy may have been disappeared by officials angered at his involvement in a lawsuit against Kaengkrachan National Park officials and the Department of Natural Park, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation. At the time of his disappearance, he was travelling from his village to meet with ethnic Karen villagers and activists as part of preparations for the lawsuit, and was carrying documents related to the case. The villagers claim that in July 2011 the authorities were responsible for the burning and destruction of the houses of over 20 Karen families living in the National Park, and Billy was planning to submit a petition about the case to Thailand’s king.
Human rights defenders in Thailand often face harassment, intimidation and attacks by officials and others opposing their work. In 2011, Karen activist Taskamon Oborm, who worked with Billy, was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen shortly after he helped villagers report on alleged abuses by Kaengkrachan National Park officials. No one has been brought to justice for his killing.
The action demands that Thai Government urge authorities to take immediate steps to establish the fate and whereabouts of Pholachi Rakchongcharoen, also known as “Billy”, who was last seen in the custody of local authorities in Kaengkrachan National Park in Phetchaburi province. And if Billy is in custody, demanding that he is released immediately, unless he is brought before an independent court, charged with an internationally recognizable offence, and if remanded have immediate access to his family, a lawyer and any medical treatment he may require.
The petition can be signed online at Amnesty International: www.amnesty.or.th/get-involved/take-action/361


Rak Chiang Mai 51 members call for appointment of new caretaker PM

Nopniwat Krailerg
Members of the Rak Chiang Mai 51 group, led by Worawut Rujanapinum, submitted a petition to Chiang Mai Governor Wichien Puthiwinyoo on May 8, 2014, calling for the speedy appointment of a caretaker Prime Minister after Yingluck Shinawatra was dismissed from office by the Constitutional Court after she was found guilty of violating the Constitution.
Worawut explained that according to the decision of the Constitutional Court justices, the ex-PM and nine ministers were found guilty of violating the Constitution and abusing powers under Article 226 of the Constitution after her order to transfer the Advisor to Prime Minister Tawin Pleansri. The court ruled that nine cabinet ministers who attended a meeting over the decision to transfer Tawin were also to be removed from office.
Rak Chiang Mai 51 members gave their request to the Governor to be filed with the Constitutional Court to allow the remaining caretaker Cabinet to have the power to appoint new caretaker Prime Minister. They also urged the powers and duties of requesting the Election decree is the duty of any person who has been appointed by caretaker Cabinet to take the position of acting prime minister with power to present a decree, and the group will be against every process which is performed by any person, group or organization, without transparency, or against the laws.
The Cabinet appointed Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan as acting caretaker Prime Minister shortly after Yingluck Shinawatra’s removal. The National Counter Corruption Commission voted to impeach Yingluck Shinawatra one day after the Constitutional Court removed her from office for her failure to suspend the rice pledging scheme despite being aware that it was losing money and rice through heavy corruption. The Commission voted unanimously that there was enough evidence to indict her.


150 million baht in assets seized from Phrao drug trafficker

Pol. Gen. Pongsapat Pongcharoen, secretary-general of the Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) points out all the properties seized from Arnan and Archan Jaiwan of Phrao.

Nopniwat Krailerg
A Phrao drug trafficker who was arrested in April with 292,000 methamphetamine pills hidden inside the spare tire of a Mitsubishi Pajero saw his and his wife’s assets value a 150 million baht seized by the Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) under the law that allows authorities to seize the profits of illegal activities.
Arnwan Jaiwan, age 42 saw his business, Phrao Auto Shop seized as well as the Phrao radio station at 102.0 MHz set on 3 rai of land. Police investigation found that he had put all his assets in his wife’s name, Archan age 40.
Pol. Gen. Pongsapat Pongcharoen, secretary-general of the Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) along with Chana Pangpibul, Chiang Mai Deputy Governor, Pol. Maj. Gen. Chamnan Ruwdrew, Deputy Commissioner of Police Region 5, Wichai Chaimongkol, Director of the Narcotics Control Board Office, Region 5 joined officers in the raid where they seized land and 5 buildings in Phrao and San Sai. A longan orchard, sand pits, a fish pond, 24 plots of teak plantation on a total of 60 rai, eight luxury cars, trucks and tractors 2 big motorcycles, and 3 guns. The total value of all property seized is set at around 150 million baht. His wife will be prosecuted for collusion and money laundering.
The Secretary-general of the ONCB reported that Arnan belonged to a gang of Lahu drug traffickers working with the infamous Lt. Col. Yi Sae and that he was close to the Southern Wa soldiers who supported his drug smuggling enterprise allowing him to operate for a long time.
Police have received a tip off that the gang intends to smuggle in 100 million pills but the police and army have prepared to intercept the shipment.


94 year old Australian man charged with sexual assault dies in custody

File photo of the accused Karl Joseph Kraus after his return from Myanmar.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Karl Joseph Kraus, the 94 year old German born Australian citizen who was charged with sexual assault of minors in June 2010 has died while under arrest in the hospital. Mr. Kraus was charged with the sexual assault of four Thai girls between the ages of 5 and 15. The girls were neighbors of Mr. Kraus and were taking English lessons with him. The parents reported him to the police when they noticed the girls started acting withdrawn and problematic. When asked the girls said the man had been sexually assaulting them for two years. At the time of his arrest, police reported that they had found more than 100 photos of naked children on the hard drive of his computer.
He pled not guilty and posted bail of 400,000 baht and had his passport confiscated awaiting trial. He managed to obtain new travel documents and fled over the border at an unmarked crossing into Myanmar in mid-2012 where he rented accommodation for a month in in the eastern Karen state capital of Pa-an. He was discovered by Myanmar authorities and returned to Thailand to stand trial.
Upon his return court appearances were regularly postponed citing health reasons. He was held in a hospital and not a prison cell due to his frail health and died in the hospital on May 1, 2014.


Nearly 2 million methamphetamine pills seized in Northern drug arrests

Ten days of drug arrests yield 2 million Yaba pills and 15 kg of Ya Ice

An arrest in Lampang on May 10 saw police uncover a half million methamphetamine tablets valued at 150 million baht.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Arrests around Chiang Mai and the North resulted in the seizure of nearly 2 million Yaba or methamphetamine pills and 15 kg of crystal methamphetamine, also known as Ya Ice.
The first case was announced on April 30 when two men, one 60 years old, the other 61, were arrested in Mae Ai District with 100,000 Yaba pills and 3 million baht in cash. Before the arrest the Region 5 Investigative Police received a report that the two suspects were selling drugs in the Mae Ai District. They set up a sting operation to purchase 100,000 methamphetamine pills for 3 million baht. They met the suspects to make the exchange in front of the Sanpasak Priests Camp in Mae Ai. Police went to arrest the two men but one turned on the police with a machete and attempted to escape. Police shot him in the foot to stop him from attacking them. He was charged with both drug smuggling and attempted murder.
On May 8, 2014, Muang Chiang Mai police arrested a second set of drug traffickers from Mae Ai, Jakha Phayamani age 41, and Naaue Jato age 36 with 400 methamphetamine pills, the police set up a sting operation after learning the couple were dealing drugs on a local level, they set up an appointment to purchase 40 methamphetamine pills on the road opposite Nakornping Hospital in Mae Rim district.
A decoy was sent to meet them but they told him that they drugs had been stored in their rectums and they needed to be taken downtown to excrete them. On the way in to town the police intercepted them, took them to the police station and waited for them to excrete the drugs. The result was condom package with 400 tablets of Yaba, the accused confessed that they were hired by to smuggle the drugs for 4,000 baht. the drugs for 4,000 Bath as the wage.
On May 11 the ONCP and police announced four separate cases on May 9 and 10 resulting in the seizure of 1,358,000 methamphetamine tablets and 15 kg of crystal methamphetamine. The first case involved two Hmong men from Chiang Khong in Chiang Rai who were arrested in Phitsanulok with 400,000 methamphetamine tablets and 10 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, two other suspects escaped from the police.
The second case involved two Hmong men from Mae Rim who were arrested with 360,000 Yaba pills and 2 kg of Ya Ice. The police had received a tip off of a drug pick up at the border of Mae Ai District. The suspects confessed that they had been hired to deliver the drugs to Pathum Thani for 250,000 baht each and that this was the third time they had smuggled drugs.
The third case involved four Hmong men from Tak province who were arrested in Phayao with 198,000 methamphetamine tablets. The men confessed that they were hired for 300,000 baht to carry drugs from Phu Chi Fa border, Phayao to Ayutthaya.
The 4th case involved a man from Satun in the Deep South who was arrested in Mae Chan, Chiang Rai with 400,000 methamphetamine pills and 3 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine. The suspects are being held pending further investigation and police hope to uncover a larger drug network.
On May 10 in a separate case two men were arrested in the parking of the Rong Kwan Hospital in Phrae Province with 80,000 methamphetamine pills. The two men, one from Mae Rim, the other from Nan, were arrested after police uncovered the 80,000 Yaba pills and 6.4 million baht in cash. Police revealed that the men belonged to one of the biggest drug trafficking gangs in the North.
A Lampang bust also on May 10 saw a 33 year old man from Chiang Rai arrested with half a million Yaba pills. The police had stopped his car but he fled and when they found the car the suspect had fled on foot into the forest. They tracked him down and arrested him. The drugs were found stashed in the trunk of the car. The man confessed that he was paid 600,000 baht to smuggle drugs from the Tachilek border in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai to Samut Prakan, and said this was his second time in drug smuggling. The value of the drugs seized was valued at 150 million baht.


Governor organizes informal coffee talk with local heads

Monthly gathering to increase dialogue

Chiang Mai Governor Wichien Puthiwinyoo has instituted a monthly coffee meeting with local heads of government to problem solve and dialogue on issues they face each month.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Chiang Mai Governor Wichien Puthiwinyoo has instigated monthly informal coffee talks with local heads of government, judges, officials, military officers, and sub-district headmen in a bid to increase dialogue and information exchange.
The first meeting, which the Governor plans to make a monthly event, was held at the Green Lake Resort Chiang Mai on May 7 and saw lively discussion amongst participants. The new Deputy Governor Navin Sintusa-ard was introduced as were other new heads of local governments.
The event was organized this month by the Protected Area Administration Regional Office 16 at the Green Lake Resort Chiang Mai; each month will see different organizers and different venues. The Governor hopes these more informal gatherings will give the heads of local authorities the opportunity to exchange experiences and allow coordination between agencies run more smoothly.
This month’s meeting covered the recent earthquake and effects of the earthquake on the dams and assured of the safety of the dams. They also discussed the needs of people affected by the earthquake. The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation of Chiang Mai arranged a donation center to receive donations to help Chiang Rai residents who were hit hardest by the earthquake.


Tree planting and love the Thai Buffalo camp for youth

Promotes sufficiency economy and sustainable agriculture

Capt. Woraprach Kassakul of the 7th Battalion Army announced a camp to teach children about sustainable agriculture and the Sufficiency Economy to be held on May 24, 2014.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The 7th Army Battalion will hold a Tree Planting and Loving Thai Buffalo Camp for youth at the Phra Pinklao Military Camp in Mae Rim on May 24, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to promote integrated and sustainable agricultural systems as well as the sufficiency economy of the HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej and provide animal therapy for youth.
Capt. Woraprach Kassakul, the Civil Affairs officer, said that the camp will work to teach youth on how to use their time wisely, improve their social, emotional state and health and learn to apply the Sufficiency Economy principles of HM the King in daily life.
The students will begin their day planting trees and plants and raising animals following the principles of the Sufficiency Economy. Next they will learn to harvest plants from the garden, eggs and quail eggs and cook food for themselves. Finally the last station will introduce them to the Thai water buffalo and they will learn to understand the animal, how to feed them, control them, touch them and ride the animals that were traditionally used in farming. Upon completion of the camp each participant will receive a certificate.
Interested youths must be between the ages of 5 – 13 years old, the fee for the camp is 150 baht. Contact Sub. Lt. Amporn Lungkhonchom Tel. 083-3046171 for information.


Training session for villages on Smokeless Biomass Incinerator

Reducing agricultural burning

Jatuporn Burutpat, Director General of Department of Environmental Quality Promotion, inspects one of the low cost Smokeless Biomass Incinerators at the workshop.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The Department of Environmental Quality Promotion held a training workshop on the use and operation of the Smokeless Biomass Incinerator at the Convention Hall of the Khum Phucome Hotel, Chiang Mai recently The workshop is part of a campaign to prevent and reduce the annual smoke and smog situation in the North.
Jatuporn Burutpat, Director General of Department of Environmental Quality Promotion presided over the workshop which saw participants learn how to build and use the Smokeless Biomass Incinerator for their groups and areas.
Bunpot Amarapiban, Director Public Education and Extension Division noted that a large part of the smoke and smog that covers the North is due to the burning of agricultural waste for new planting as well as other garbage. The Department of Environmental Quality Promotion researched the development of the Smokeless Biomass Incinerator for villages. Since April, 2013 they have created and developed the low-cost Smokeless Biomass Incinerator and showed residents the effects of using the incinerator to clear biomass garbage. Their aim is to replace outdoor burning by using the Smokeless Biomass Incinerator for decreasing pollution from smog and fire forest.
The Director Public Education and Extension Division said that the10 Northern provinces which are Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phrae, Phayao, Lampang, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Nan, Tak and Uttaradit have the worst smoke and smog problems that affect more people so the government is finding ways to decrease burning in high risk areas.


Community tackles drug and alcohol abuse

Dr. M.L. Somchai Chakraphan, adviser to the Department of Mental Health met with representatives of the Northern Substance Abuse Center, Integrated Management for Alcohol Intervention Program, Thai Community Empowerment Foundation, and the Network of Village Headmen to track the progress of The Khuenphak Community Project.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The Khuenphak Community Project was set up to tackle drug and alcohol problems that were taking over the sub-district of Chiang Mai city. A recent survey found that alcohol abuse in the area often led to drug problems and then crime, fighting and accidents. The local community members worked with local agencies to solve the issues of drugs and alcohol in the community targeting children and young people using drugs and alcohol and working to helping them get clean from drugs and alcohol and not return to drug addicted behaviors.
The program, in 10 villages, was supported by village headmen and members of the community who arranged many activities including public discussion, the appointment of a working group to screen for addiction in the community, developing caretakers for the addicts as they fought their addictions, arranging blessing ceremonies for ex – convicts and helping them to find careers and jobs so as to avoid a return to drug and alcohol abuse.
Dr. M.L. Somchai Chakraphan, adviser to the Department of Mental Health along with representatives of the Northern Substance Abuse Center, Integrated Management for Alcohol Intervention Program, Thai Community Empowerment Foundation, and the Network of Village Headmen met to track the progress of the project on May 5, 2014.
Dr. M.L. Somchai Chakraphan said that Khuenphak community is a caring and curing community whose strength comes from the community empowerment with religion, the Network of Village Headmen, elderly villagers, and the state and academic agencies. He noted that they focus on starting to do something and spreading knowledge along with solving alcohol and drugs problem in the community at the same time. The most important way to deal with the problem is to give space and warmth to the addicts because there is no medicine that can cope with the symptom completely, unless there is awareness and a strong empowerment of the community that can lead to extended results.


Maharaj Nakorn Hospital is a smoke – free zone

Associate professor Dr. Somsak Chaovisitsaree, Director of Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital and the President of the Smoke - Free Hospital Project reports on the progress of Maharaj Nakorn Hospital as a smoke - free zone.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Maharaj Nakorn Hospital under the Faculty of Medicine Chiang Mai University announced that it is a 100% non-smoking hospital and that personnel have the right to warn those found smoking in the hospital and report them for prosecution under the Non-Smokers’ Health Protection Act B.E. 2535 (1992).
The hospital, which recently signed an MoU with 8 different organizations to promote smoke – free facilities, is ready to provide care and treatment for smokers who wish to quit.
Associate professor Dr. Somsak Chaovisitsaree, Director of Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital and the President of the Smoke Free Hospital Project said that the MoU was signed with the Clergy of Pan Sao Temple, Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office, Hangdong Hospital, Sriphat Medical Center, Phuping Police Station as well as Suthep Municipality to ensure each facility is 100% non-smoking. Other organizations are expected to join in the agreement in the future.
The hospital has banned the sale and use of tobacco products in the hospital’s areas and set up committees responsible for combating smoking in addition to allowing personnel to warn smokers in the buildings and submit them for prosecution.


 
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Earthquake in Chiang Rai claims one life

Royal relief packages for earthquake victims from the Rajaprajanugroh Foundation

Chiang Mai celebrates the coronation of HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej

Labor groups submit petition for equal rights for migrant workers

Immigration cracks down on border runners

Mae Chaem villagers to get permanent check dams

City Pillar Festival will be held from May 25 – June 1

City provides free medical checkups for residents

Free Royal Rice distributed on Agriculturalist Day

Amnesty International calls on members to demand investigation into missing Karen activist

Rak Chiang Mai 51 members call for appointment of new caretaker PM

150 million baht in assets seized from Phrao drug trafficker

94 year old Australian man charged with sexual assault dies in custody

Nearly 2 million methamphetamine pills seized in Northern drug arrests

Governor organizes informal coffee talk with local heads

Tree planting and love the Thai Buffalo camp for youth

Training session for villages on Smokeless Biomass Incinerator

Community tackles drug and alcohol abuse

Maharaj Nakorn Hospital is a smoke – free zone