PM vows to bring peace to deep South
PATTANI, April 29--- Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on
Sunday pledged to bring the peace to Thailand’s troubled southern region and
instructed security-related agencies to work in a more integrated direction in
tackling the problems.
While meeting with local religious leaders from the five
southern border provinces and community leaders during Sunday’s trip to the
southern province of Pattani, Ms Yingluck said that the visit was aimed at
following up the situation in the region and delivering policies to resolve the
The prime minister also affirmed to bring peace to the southern border
provinces, adding that the government would step up security measures as well as
support and give importance to all regions equally.
Meanwhile, the local religious leaders asked the premier to visit the far South
continually and to not neglect southern border residents.
After being briefed about the ongoing situation in the
violence-plagued provinces by local security agencies, Ms Yingluck said that the
government needed cooperation from all relevant parties and local religious
To tackle regional unrest, the premier stressed that the government would follow
the security-related strategy delivered to the Parliament which focused on
understanding, access, and development, along with the sufficiency economy
principles, as well as equality.
As there are 66 agencies under 17 ministries working on the southern violence,
Ms Yingluck admitted that work of the agencies lacked coordination.
However, the premier pledged to urge concerned officials to
work in a more integrated manner for unity in resolving the problems, adding
that a strategic committee, supervised by deputy premier Gen Yuthasak Sasiprapa,
would be set up to address the problems.
To ensure safety for residents in the restive southern provinces, more
checkpoints would be set up, Ms Yingluck said, adding that the government would
support if the budgets or security forces were not sufficient.
Regarding possible lifting of the emergency decree enforced in the three
southern border provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, a discussion was
necessary regarding whether or not the decree should be revoked, the premier
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister/Finance Minister Kittirat
Na-Ranong was assigned to meet with the private sector on development of five
southern border provinces to boost incomes.
In a related development, Narathiwat police on Sunday told a press briefing
about an arrest of four Runda Kumpulan Kecil (RKK) members allegedly involved in
a failed car bomb attack in front of a telephone exchange office in Waeng
district on March 19.
The four detainees were Ampan Wa-ngo, a 25-year-old suspect with an outstanding
arrest warrant, Nasoree Ibbraheng, 31, Aduloh Samaair, 38, and Taofig E-la, 24.
Meanwhile, Ahama Dolohmae, another suspect with an arrest warrant and a leading
RKK member, was still at large.
On March 19 a group of assailants planted an explosive device in a gas cylinder
which was built into a pickup truck and connected to a radio communication
signal for detonation in an attempt to cause an explosion in front of the
telephone exchange office on Waeng-Su-ngai Kolok road.
However, the attack failed as a bomb disposal unit successfully defused the
Apart from the arrest, the police seized a stolen pickup truck used in the
attack, two motorcycles, one helmet, one gas cylinder, urea fertiliser and
benzene gasoline. In addition, Mr Ampan will be sent to the Peace Protection
Centre for further questioning, according to the police. (MCOT online news)
Shan drug kingpin suspect may not be extradited to Thailand: ONCB
BANGKOK, April 29--- Jai Norkham, a suspected ethnic Shan
drug kingpin with alleged involvement in the killing of 13 Chinese shipping
crewmen last year on the Mekong River in Chiang Rai, was arrested in the Lao PDR
last week but may not be extradited to face drug charges in Thailand, according
to Thailand’s Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB)
After confirmation by Lao PDR authorities about the arrest of Mr Norkham,
believed to be an aide of the late so-called ‘Opium King’ Khun Sa, the deputy
secretary-general of the ONCB, Sukhum Opasniputh, disclosed on Sunday that the
drug suspect was in detention in the Lao capital of Vientiane.
Mr Sukhum believed that Mr Norkham, who was also on China’s most wanted list,
would soon be extradited to China to face prosecution for involvement in the
killing of 13 Chinese boat crewmembers on 5 Oct 2011 on the Mekong River in
Chiang Rai’s Chiang Saen district, as well as for other cases related to
robberies of shipping boats and the murder of boat crewmen along the Mekong
River connecting China, Myanmar, the Lao PDR and Thailand.
As a consequence, the deputy secretary-general admitted that eventually the Shan
drug suspect might not be taken to face drug charges in Thailand.
Mr Norkham was suspected by Thai authorities after being implicated by detained
drug ring members that he was involved with other drug cases.
The arrest of Mr Norkham would benefit cargo transportation routes along the
Mekong River and be a significant blow to a major drug syndicate.
Currently, some of Norkham’s aides have begun turning themselves in to the
police, according to Mr Sukhum. (MCOT online news)
German Foreign Minister meets with Thai counterpart to boost ties
BANGKOK, April 29 - German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle
on Sunday met with his Thai counterpart Surapong Tovichakchaikul in a visit to
boost the 150th anniversary of Thai-German relations.
Both ministers held a joint news conference after a 30-minute
discussion at the Thai Foreign ministry headquarters in Bangkok. On Friday, Mr
Guido paid a courtesy call to Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at
Mr Surapong said this is the first visit to the kingdom by Germany's ministerial
official since 2006, a good sign that the German government is now confident in
the administration of the current government and the overall situation in
Apart from a discussion of the celebration to mark the 150th anniversary of
Thai-German relations, Mr Surapong said cooperation on trade and investment was
raised during the talk.
Mr Surapong noted that Germany ranked first as Thailand's trade partners in the
European Union and that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will pay an official
visit to Germany on July 24.
There are currently three thousand German companies investing
in Thailand, of which six hundred have announced plans last year to expand their
businesses here, said Mr Surapong, adding that the German minister also said he
was seeking to push forward a free trade agreement between the two countries.
Germany also informed that it would like to send its experts to Thailand on
natural disaster management and donated 100,000 Euro to the Thai ministry of
Culture for the restoration of last year's flood-ravaged Ratburana Temple in
Ayutthaya province, according to the Thai foreign minister.
The German foreign minister said his three-day visit (April 27-29) is aimed at
boosting ties between the two countries and that Germany stands ready to support
Thailand on democracy development and humanitarian aid, as well as offer
scholarships to Thai students as a promotion of cultural exchange. (MCOT online
DPM proposes drug eradication as regional agenda
SAKON NAKHON, 29 April 2012 (NNT) – Deputy Prime Minister
Chalerm Yubumrung has pointed out that the achievement of the goal to eliminate
drugs requires an efficient coordination between administrative authorities and
the police, while adding that drug eradication should be promoted as a regional
During his visit to deliver drug prevention and suppression policies to local
authorities in Sakon Nakhon province, Deputy Prime Minister Pol. Capt. Chalerm
Yubumrung has reiterated that the fight against drugs is a pressing national
agenda, which must be achieved promptly. He explained that the suppression of
drugs cannot be fulfilled by the government alone. However, the main players in
drug suppression, which include provincial governors, local administrative
officials and police officers must work together to closely monitor the
situation and efficiently solve the problem. In the meantime, a rehabilitation
program should be carried out for those who need it, alongside drug suppression
Besides being a national agenda, the Deputy PM also stressed that drug
eradication should become a regional agenda. Thailand must coordinate with
China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos to stop drug trafficking along the borders.
Serious penalties must be applied to both drug traffickers and drug users.
Pol. Capt. Chalerm stated currently Udon Thani and Kalasin have been piloted as
model provinces in drug fighting.
PM visits deep South to follow up on situation
PATTANI, 29 April 2012 (NNT) – The Prime Minister visited
Pattani province to follow up on the situation on the southern violence as well
as the implementation of measures to protect the lives and property of local
Accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Gen. Yuthasak Sasiprapa and Army Chief Gen.
Prayuth Chan-ocha, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was given a warm welcome
by the local residents in the violence-stricken province. The PM reassured them
that all relevant authorities are determined to resolve the southern unrest. She
explained that HM the King's advice has been applied to the government's working
strategies in order to fully understand and hear out public opinions before the
right development is taken. Additionally, she reiterated that the government
will bring peace to the area and develop the economy and other aspects of the
society in order to create income for the well-being and stability of the
The PM, then, met with local religious leaders to discuss possible ways to
create peace in the deep South. She also took this opportunity to follow up on
investigations into the explosions in Yala province and Hat Yai district on
March 31, as well as deliver government policies to local authorities in charge
of security matters.
PM says govt units to be more united in dealing with Southern conflict
BANGKOK, 29 April 2012 (NNT) – Prime Minister Yingluck
Shinawatra has admitted that the government’s work to resolve the Southern
unrest still lacks unity. The premier has assigned Deputy Prime Minister Gen.
Yuthasak Sasiprapa to follow up on the establishment of a strategic steering
committee responsible for the deep South.
PM Yingluck traveled to Pattani province on Sunday and received a briefing on
the situation in the three Southernmost provinces. The premier said from now on
all relevant government units would be more unified and working in the same
direction in tackling the Southern conflict. The Southern Border Provinces
Administrative Center and the Internal Security Operations Command will apply
advanced technology to suppress crime in the region while police will help
providing security in city areas.
The prime minister also stressed on the government’s deep South policy focusing
on public participation and the role of religious leaders. She added that the
government would continue to help generate income for the locals in line with
the Sufficiency Economy concept and promote peace based on the principle of
equal treatment. The premier said she had assigned Deputy Prime Minister
Kittiratt Na-Ranong and the commerce minister to meet with the private sector to
look for measures to help develop the Southernmost provinces.
Royal rain to alleviate Northern drought crisis
CHIANG MAI, 30 April 2012 (NNT) - The Northern Royal
Rainmaking Center is set to make artificial rain to assist farmers in the
drought-hit provinces of Northern Thailand.
In an attempt to resolve the drought situation which has been brought on by the
lack of rain, Northern Royal Rainmaking Center Director Song Klinprathum has met
with academics and rainmaking officials to evaluate the weather condition in
order to establish the target area for artificial rain distribution. The center
aims to create more rain in order to increase moisture in the forests and
Meanwhile, pumping stations have been established in certain areas facing a
shortage of water in order to alleviate the drought situation and distribute
water in the areas where local residents rely mainly on farming and livestock
for a living.
On the other hand, some areas are currently facing rainstorms, hail and gusty
wind, which have caused severe damage to a number of homes. Strong wind has been
predicted for this year as a result of the heat waves happening across the world
Thai Parliament hosts 4th ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly Caucus
BANGKOK, 30 April 2012 (NNT) - Thailand's Parliament is
hosting an international meeting of parliamentarians from 10 ASEAN nations,
which focuses on the region's readiness to handle natural disasters.
The ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) Caucus is being held at Imperial
Queen's Park Hotel in Bangkok, beginning on April 30th and running till May 3rd.
The Senate Speaker, General Teeradej Meepien, said the meeting helps tightening
relationships among ASEAN members and expanding cooperation with other regions
General Teeradej added the main discussion topics at this year's meeting include
the update on the implementation of AIPA, the presentation on each country's
disaster management program and draft laws on disaster management as well as the
establishment of the AIPA Caucus Group of Parliamentarians
This year, Opposition Leader Abhisit Vejjajiva has been appointed AIPA Chairman.
Travellers flock to Phuket despite rumours of it sinking
PHUKET, April 28 - Travellers flocked to this resort province
on Saturday despite rumours it is sinking, according to its governor Tri
He welcomed a group of 385 Thai and foreign passengers at
Phuket International Airport flying the first flight with Thai Airways to visit
To deny the rumours, the 'Believe in Phuket' event was held in Phuket to boost
confidence among tourists of the province's safety measures and to thank them
for travelling to the area.
He added that all flights to Phuket were fully booked today, while Phuket
Airport director Pratuang Sorn-kum noted after the April 16 earthquake in the
province, the number of flights has increased by about 3 percent year-on-year.
Meanwhile, Mineral Resources Department director-general Nitat Poovatanakul led
related officials, including the governor, to put national, provincial, and
local administrative flags at the centre of the earthquake area's surface in
Thalang district as a part of the 'Believe in Phuket' activities and to create
confidence the island will not submerge.
An exhibition on natural disasters and how to act in times of
earthquakes was also held at the event.
Concerning assistance to those affected by the earthquake, the Phuket Governor
said financial aid is to be distributed for the first round on May 7.
Over 500 local households have so far reported damages to their homes due to the
Sri Soon-torn sub-district mayor Worawut Songyos said officials have already
inspected 300 homes. Most damages were cracks on the walls.
He said his organisation has initially cooperated with the local Disaster
Prevention and Mitigation office to find joint measures for further solutions
and to ask for a budget for urgent assistance to those affected. (MCOT online
Suvarnabhumi Airport sees 15% passengers rise year-on-year during Songkran
BANGKOK, April 28 - Suvarnabhumi Airport saw a 15 percent
rise in the number of passengers year-on-year during the Songkran holiday on Apr
9-18, according to the airport's director of Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT).
Sawasdipol said there were 156,000 passengers/day using the airport during the
long holiday, or about 1.56 million passengers over the ten-day period.
The number of domestic travellers increased 29 percent (389,000 passengers),
while there were over 1.75 million passengers, or a 11 percent rise, in the
figure for international passengers.
The number of flights also rose during the Thai New Year festive season, with
over 9,300 flights operating (a 9.5 percent rise in flights). Over 2,700 flights
operated on domestic routes (an increase of 9.5 percent), and more than 6,600
flights for international routes (a rise of 5.3 percent).
During the current fiscal year (October 2011-September 2012), Mr Somchai said
passengers using Suvarnabhumi Airport have continuously risen.
There were about 26 million travellers using the airport during the first six
months of the fiscal year (Oct 2011-Mar 2012), which was about a 7 percent
growth year-on-year. Of the figure, about 7.7 million counted for domestic
passengers (a 38 percent rise), and 18.7 million for international passengers (a
1.52 percent decrease) due to last year's mega floods.
The director said AoT expected the number of passengers using Suvarnabhumi
Airport to reach 52.5 million, or an increase of 9.8 percent, by September.
(MCOT online news)
Andaman Poll showed more than 90% of Phuket visitors donīt believe in rumors of sinking
PHUKET, 29 April 2012 (NNT) – A public poll showed that most
visitors to Phuket are not buying the rumors, which suggested that this popular
tourist island would sink.
Associate Professor Pun Thongchumnum, Deputy Dean of the Prince of Songkla
University, Phuket Campus, revealed that the latest opinion survey on Thai and
foreign visitors to Phuket found that 91.68 percent did not believe that the
island will ever sink, while 6.44 percent were buying the rumors.
The survey, conducted on April 26th, asked 512 respondents through the
'accidental sampling' method.
Mr. Pun said that more than 8 in 10 of the sample population saw the sinking
rumors as a serious damage to Phuket's money-making tourism industry. The survey
also found that 66.53 percent have studied more about earthquake and related
At the same time, as most people have been worried by such rumors, they are
urging all related state agencies to step up necessary measures, including the
evacuation plan, to cope with any undesirable circumstances.
Khao Kheow Open Zoo introduces new Barbary sheep babies
CHONBURI, 30 April 2012 (NNT) – Two baby Barbary sheep were
recently born in the Khao Kheow Open Zoo. They will be introduced to the public
on Labor Day or May 1st.
One male and one female baby Barbary sheep were born on March 29th. Both of them
are healthy and being raised with the herd. Khao Kheow Open Zoo has announced
that it will show them to the public on May 1st.
The zoo received 5 pairs of Barbary sheep from Czech Republic in 2003. Barbary
sheep is a wild animal found in Africa. It has thick fur on the neck. Both male
and female have large horns. It resides mostly in drought areas spanning from
the Atlantic Coast to the Red Sea in the north of Africa. The animal gives birth
once a year, delivering only 1-2 babies each time.
Biggest riverfront shopping venue in Asia opened in Bangkok
BANGKOK, 30 April 2012 (NNT) - Asiatique the Riverfront, the
largest riverfront shopping venue in Asia, was officially opened on Friday.
Located on Charoen Krung Road, the shopping venue has a 300-meter stretch facing
the Chao Phraya River, with a total of 80,000 square meters of usable space. The
first phase of the project is located on 44 rai of land.
It is built under the Life Museum concept, taking visitors back to the past,
while decorations combine the hints of modern living. The design of Asiatique
was influenced by the architectural style during the reign of His Majesty King
Rama V, indicating the rise of the era in the past. Charoen Krung was the main
trading venue in that period.
Suvarnabhumi voted 10th best airport of the world
BANGKOK, 29 April 2012 (NNT) – Suvarnabhumi Airport has been
voted by over 12 million passengers worldwide as the world's 10th best airport
in a recent survey conducted by a world's leading airport and airline review
Suvarnabhumi Airport Director Somchai Sawasdipol has revealed that a leading
airport and airline review website, SKYTRAX, has announced the results of the
SKYTRAX World Airport Awards, which are considered the global benchmark of
airport excellence and quality ranking. Among other international airports
across the globe, Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi Airport was ranked as the world’s 10th
best airport for its outstanding service under the category of airports handling
30-50 million passengers annually.
SKYTRAX’s ranking of airport excellence was compiled from the online votes, cast
via www.worldairportsurvey.com, by over 12 million passengers using the services
of 385 airports worldwide during July 2011 and the beginning of 2012. The
ratings are arranged into categories, such as Best regional airports, Best
airports by size of airport, among others.
Besides being the 10th best airport of the world, the Novotel Suvarnabhumi
Airport has also been awarded the world 5th best Airport Hotel by the same
Earlier, Suvarnabhumi Airport had been dubbed by the Airports Council
International (ACI) as the world’s 7th best airport of 2011 in the category of
40 million passenger-size.
Phuket won’t sink from earthquakes: Mineral Resources Department
PHUKET, April 27 - A team of experts from Thailand’s Mineral
Resources Department affirmed today that this idyllic Andaman Sea resort
province will not submerge as a result of an earthquake.
The assurance was given after an examination of Phuket's cumulative aftershocks
following the recent earthquake in the province.
Mineral Resources Department’s Active Fault Research Division chief Suwit
Kosuwan spoke at a news conference in Thalang district in response to concerns
expressed following the recent earthquake of 4.3 Richter scale here on April 16.
He said that Phuket will not submerge due to an earthquake as 90 per cent of the
island is supported by strong granite about hundred million years old and that
the province is located on a wide surface of the earth.
Rumours have been circulating that the island will sink tomorrow (April 28) and
caused considerable worry on the part of some local residents.
After examing the three subdistricts of Sakoo, Pa-Klok and Sri Soontorn, Mr
Suwit said that the strength and seriousness of the aftershocks tends to become
less. For the past five days, a seismograph has been testing the examined area
with less than 1 Richter scale earthquake response, which Mr Suwit said will not
cause any impact. (MCOT online news)
Shan drug kingpin suspect held in Laos, says Chalerm
BANGKOK, April 27--- Thai Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm
Yubumrung on Friday confirmed that the Lao authorities have arrested Jai
Norkham, ethnic Shan drug kingpin suspected by the Thai authorities for alleged
involvement in the killing of 13 Chinese Mekong River shipping crewmen last year
in Chiang Rai.
Citing a source in the Lao PDR, Mr Chalerm disclosed that Mr
Norkham, believed to be an aide of the late so-called ‘Opium King’ Khun Sa, was
apprehended Thursday by Lao PDR authorities.
Apart from being on Thailand’s most wanted list with a Bt2 million reward for
information leading to his arrest, Mr Norkham was allegedly involved in the
murder of 13 Chinese boat crew members on 5 Oct 2011 on the Mekong River in
Chiang Rai’s Chiang Saen district.
Following the news of his detention, Mr Chalerm said that he had instructed
Narcotics Control Board officials to coordinate with Lao authorities to
extradite Mr Norkham to Thailand for prosecution.
China’s official news agency Xinhua reported on Oct 10 last year that the Thai
authorities confirmed all 13 Chinese crewmen on two hijacked ships were killed.
Investigators believe that a drug ring of the Shan (Tai Yai) ethnic group led by
Nor Kham was responsible for the incident, according to Chiang Saen District
Chief Seramsak Seesant, as told to Xinhua.
The Chinese news agency said Thai border troops seized drugs on board two
Chinese-flagged ships coded Yi Xing 8 Hao and Hua Ping, after a gunfight lasting
more than 30 minutes with drug traffickers in Chiang Saen district bordering
Myanmar. One drug trafficker was reported killed.
The police found bodies of three Chinese sailors handcuffed behind their backs.
Another nine bodies were also found.
The bodies were identified as the crew of Yu Xing 8 Hao and Hua Ping. Police
believed the traffickers planned to use the hijacked boats to smuggle drugs into
Thailand and that the crew were killed before the Thai authorities engaged in
the firefight with the suspected smugglers..
Mr Seramsak was quoted as saying that this was the first time a commercial ship
was hijacked by drug traffickers. (MCOT online news, Agencies)
Police seize 3.5 tonnes of UK-bound cannabis
BANGKOK, April 27 -- Saraburi provincial police arrested a
drug suspect and seized 3.5 tonnes of marijuana worth more than Bt50 million
(US$1.64 million), ready to be shipped to the United Kingdom.
Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung, in his capacity as Director of the
National Command Center for Drugs (NCCD), and National Police Chief Prewpan
Dhamapong jointly told a news conference of the capture of the drug suspect,
identified as Nipon Mopad, 43.
Police planned to arrest Mr Nipon at home in Saraburi's Nong Khae district after
investigators found that he used his house to pack the dried cannabis into boxes
for shipping to the UK.
The police also found 3.5 tonnes of dried cannabis packed in boxes with a street
value of about Bt51 million.
Mr Nipon told police that he was hired by a man he knew only as Mr Toss to pack
the drug before delivering the packages to another man named Mr Tong. He was to
be paid Bt100,000 for the packing job.
Charged with possession of drugs for sale, the suspect could lose all his
assets, including his home and vehicle, if found guilty.
Meanwhile, Saraburi Highway Police stopped a pickup truck with a Bangkok
registration plate when the driver attempted escape when police asked to search
The driver, identified as Atchariya Ponyukol, 25, had packages of marijuana
weighing 648 kilos in his possession.
Mr Atchariya said that he was hired to pick up the drug in the northeastern
province of Nakhon Phanom and was to deliver it to customer at a Minburi market.
He was to receive Bt35,000 for making the run, and told police he had twice
previously made similar deliveries. Persons travelling in another vehicle who
were thought to be involved escaped. (MCOT online news)
PM Yingluck ready to pass new laws on water management
BANGKOK, 28 April 2012 (NNT) – The prime minister is planning
to introduce new laws to rein in the country's water resources management.
PM Yingluck Shinawatra spoke during the weekly “Yingluck Government Meets the
People” TV program that Thailand has been assured by China that it will lend a
hand to help the country's Strategic Committee for Water Resources Management
carry out its tasks.
The PM said that China has agreed to join in this collaboration following her
visit to Asia's number-one economy.
The Thai Premier said that China has more than 20 years of experience in drought
and flood management and is now equipped with strong integrated system to handle
all these problems, including the passing of related laws.
Accordingly, Thailand is now planning to issue similar laws to help with the
management of water resources.
In doing so, PM Yingluck said more time is needed and a new ministry will have
to be set up to take charge of the issue.
And before the new efforts are realized, the government is set to invite
specialists from 17 existing ministries and the private sector to help the
Strategic Committee for Water Resources Management in assuring the public that
there will not be a repeat of last year's flood crisis again.
The prime minister added that in her meeting with leading Chinese businesspeople
during the official visit to China, she had discussed Thailand's severe flooding
and their confidence in the country's post-flood efforts.
According to the PM, 14 Chinese companies have expressed their interest in
setting up a heavy industrial base in Thailand soon.
Dusit Zoo hosing down wildlife to cool animals in heat
BANGKOK, April 27-- Amid the the Thai capital’s current
extreme hot weather, the country’s oldest zoo, the Dusit Zoo, also known as Khao
Din, has been spraying water and stepping up measures to cool off the animals,
according to a zoo veterinarian.
In an attempt to protect animals from scorching heat and being at risk of dying
of the heat stroke amid the rising
temperature, Veterinarian Kwanjai Kanchanapitakkul, chief of the zoo’s
healthcare section, said on Friday that the zoo was preparing measures against
the heat for all the animals in their enclosures, particularly mammals living in
the outdoor enclosures.
Apart from sprinkling water in the enclosures and installing shades, zookeepers
also provided quenching desserts and dessert ice for the animals.
However, Dr Kwanjai explained that the animals have the body’s mechanism which
was able to adapt the heat naturally and to transfer heat.
There are more than 2,200 animals housed in the zoo.
Meanwhile, Thai Meteorological Department announced that April 27 (Friday) was
the day which the sun orbited to be vertically located at the closest distance
to Bangkok, while this weekend was forecast to be the hottest days of the year.
Elsewhere in the country, the hottest provinces in the north are in the lower
part -- Uttaradit, Sukhothai, Kampaengphet – while the hottest provinces in the
central region are Uthai Thani and Kanchanaburi. (MCOT online news)
PM seeks blessing from Privy Council president
BANGKOK, April 26 - Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra
on Thursday sought blessing from Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda at
his Bangkok residence in a traditional custom of paying respect to elders on the
traditional Thai New Year.
The premier, donning pink jacket, was accompanied by Deputy
Prime Minister/Interior Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit, Deputy Premier Gen Yuthasak
Sasiprapa and Deputy Premier/Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong, attended the
belated blessing ceremony at Gen Prem's Si Sao Theves residence this afternoon.
Following the 15-minute meeting between the premier, her deputies and Gen Prem,
the three deputies left the scene to wait outside the house while Ms Yingluck
was inside with the privy council president.
After a brief talk, the premier and her deputies left the residence without
giving any interview to the media.
The premier's plan to seek blessing from the Privy Council president was both
welcomed and opposed by several groups although she earlier said that the
ceremony was simply organised in accordance with the custom of paying respect to
elders during Songkran Festival and would not involve any politically-related
A man, identified as Sompong Phothino, who said he was a radio host in the
northeastern province of Khon Kaen, turned up outside Gen Prem's residence with
placard calling on the Democrat Party and the elites to take responsibility for
the death of 91 persons during 2010 political protests, as well as urging the
Pheu Thai-led coalition government not to exploit its Red Shirt supports.
Gen Prem, as Thailand’s elder statesman, normally opens his residence for
well-wishers to pay courtesy calls and give as well as receive blessings during
the Songkran New Year festival.
Gen Prem, prime minister from 1980-1988, was much criticised by some leaders and
supporters of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD)—the Red
Shirt movement--for his alleged role behind the 2006 coup ousting then prime
minister Thaksin Shinawatra, elder brother of Prime Minister Yingluck.
The UDD chair Thida Thavornsreth on Thursday commented that the premier's
meeting with Gen Prem is her effort to create better atmosphere, paving the way
for national reconciliation and restore confidence among the public that the
government is stablised.
Ms Thida however noted that the reconciliation could be materialised if more
than 40 detained Red Shirt protesters are granted bail.
"Although the UDD is still confident in the government but the government itself
must be clear on creating justice based on the rule of law, otherwise, the
government could face problems in the future," warned the red shirt movement
leader. (MCOT online news)
Govt monitors deep South on 8th anniversary of Krue Sae incident
BANGKOK, April 27 - The Thai government has initiated
proactive strategies to deal with the violence in the country’s three southern
boder provinces and it is closely monitoring the situation as Saturday marks the
eighth anniversary of the Krue Sae incident, Deputy Prime Minister Yuthasak
Sasiprapa said on Friday.
Gen Yuthasak made his remarks in response to concerns of
possible violence tomorrow, the eighth anniversary of the April 28, 2004 Krue
Sae incident in which 32 people were killed in clashes between authorities and
suspected insurgents at a Narathiwat mosque.
The deputy prime minister said that intelligence agencies are closely watching
the situation and are proactive in their engagement with the southern border
Gen Yuthasak expressed his belief that there will be no violence on tomorrow’s
anniversary as the army, police and the Southern Border Province Administration
Center (SBPAC) have closely monitored the situation in the area.
He said Deputy Prime Minister/Interior Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit will visit
the insurgency-torn provinces on Saturday to follow up the work of government
agencies and try to create better understanding of the government compensation
scheme for the victims of violence.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is scheduled to visit the region to boost
morale of local residents on Sunday, Gen Yuthasak said.
Following various reports that the young generation of insurgents have been
trained overseas, Gen Yuthasak said he has received the report on the matter and
instructed officials in the region to win the hearts and minds of those people
and keep them better informed regarding the government's policies.
Gen Yuthasak reporting that the government-initiated proactive operations were
underway in the violence-plagued region, He advised the education ministry to
play a larger role in providing solutions to the problem as well.
More than 5,000 people, including local residents, security officials, monks and
insurgents, have been killed since violence erupted in the restive southern
provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat in 2004. (MCOT online news)
ICT Ministry is setting up national cyber protection system against online crimes
BANGKOK, 27 April 2012 (NNT) - In an attempt to keep all
types of cyber and electronic crimes in Thailand at bay, the Ministry of
Information and Communication Technology (ICT), ThaiCERT, the Electronic
Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) and an American company ‘Cymantec Corp.’
have been cooperating in establishing a national security system in cyberspace.
ICT Permanent Secretary Mrs. Jeerawan Boonperm said all the four organizations
have signed an agreement to create a system that not only protects online users
but also analyzes threats and identify their whereabouts. She said the new
technology would significantly assure safety for online banking for people and
The popularity of online transactions, she said, is expected to increase in
terms of both value and services once the security system is up and running.
According to her, the move will also boost Thailand’s ability to build a safe
environment on the internet and deal with any types of cyber crime. Any threats
detected will be useful for Thailand to become better prepared to combat them in
PM to visit South after Krue Se anniversary
BANGKOK, 27 April 2012 (NNT) – Prime Minister Yingluck
Shinawatra will visit the South this Sunday, the day after the 8th anniversary
of the Krue Se massacre.
Deputy Prime Minister General Yutthasak Sasiprapa said this April 28th will be
the 8th anniversary of the bloody Krue Se incident in Pattani province. The
national intelligence office has been gathering reports of insurgents’ movements
to prevent violence on the day.
Interior Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit will visit the South on Saturday, while the
Prime Minister will go to the region on Sunday morning to boost morale of the
residents and military officers. General Yutthasak did nit believe that violence
will occur as many related agencies have been working together to ensure peace.
On April 28th, 2004, Islamic militants launched a number of pre-dawn attacks
against the government and barricaded themselves inside the Krue Se Mosque. All
32 militants inside the mosque were later killed by the army. The shootings
outraged many local Muslims, and the army was later criticized by human rights
groups for using excessive force.
As for reports that some youths have learned terrorist weapon tactics from the
Middle East, General Yutthasak said authorities are tracking the history of this
group of young people and trying to change their ideology. He saw that the
southern problem stems from differences in perspectives which can be compromised
if related parties are given the right information.
Hat Yai hotel bombing probe makes headway: Police
SONGKHLA, April 26 - Police are continuing their search for a
key suspect in the car bombing of the Lee Gardens Plaza Hotel in Hat Yai’s
commercial district who still remains at large, despite investigation of the
incident having made much progress, the provincial police chief said on
Pol Maj-Gen Suwit Chernsiri, Songkhla provincial police
chief, said an arrest warrant in the effect for Seri Waemamu regarding the hotel
bombing and that he is reportedly hiding in Pattani province.
As for the remaining suspects, Gen Suwat said the National Police Operations
Center has been asked to help locate them, though arrest warrants have not yet
been issued as the suspects were the same assailants who attacked a paramilitary
ranger operations base in Songkhla's Thepa district last August.
Gen Suwit said investigation has progressed as 200 eyewitnesses have given
testimony and police are now speeding up collecting evidence.
Fifteen people were killed and more than 500 were injured in a string of mid-day
car bombings in Yala and Songkhla on March 31.
Saturday is the eighth anniversary of April 28, 2004 Krue Sae incident in which
32 people were killed in clashes between authorities and suspected insurgents at
a Narathiwat mosque. Gen Suwit said the authorities have been instructed to
tighten security measures to prevent any recurrence of violence.
He said security officials have been ordered on high alert in the Hat Yai
commercial district, security operations bases and all checkpoints in four
Songkhla districts bordering Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat provinces. (MCOT
Extortion of southern victim compensation to be probed: PM
BANGKOK, April 26 - Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on
Thursday ordered officials to probe a group of persons allegedly demanding some
portion of the government's compensation payments for victims affected by the
The premier’s instruction came one day after Deputy Prime
Minister Gen Yutthasak Sasiprapa disclosed that he heard from some
violence-affected residents during his trip to the deep South last week that a
group of unauthorised persons visited victims’ homes and tried to extort 20 per
cent of the compensation to be allocated by the government from them.
In response to the report, Ms Yingluck initially ordered relevant agencies and
governors tp pay compensation transparently and fairly for those affected,
urging the government agencies to probe any irregularities.
Any money extortion, extortionists and others involved, will be prosecuted by
law, the prime minister stated.
The Cabinet on Tuesday approved in principle a Bt2.08 billion budget to
compensate victims of southern violence, according to Justice Minister Pol Gen
The justice minister said the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre
(PBPAC) was authorised to set criteria for compensation as earlier proposed by
the rehabilitation committee, with the victims being divided into four
Gen Pracha said Bt500 million will be allocated to the first group (the general
public) affected by the violence, Bt200 million for state officials, Bt1 billion
for those affected by state security operations and Bt300 million for those
detained or prosecuted in insurgency-related cases. (MCOT online news)
Thai Deputy PM attends meeting of governors of Thai-Cambodian border provinces
BANGKOK, April 27 -- Thai Deputy Prime Minister/Interior
Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit left Friday for Phnom Penh to attend the fourth
meeting of Thai and Cambodian governors of the two countries border provinces.
The meeting will be co-chaired by Mr Yongyuth and Cambodian
Interior Minister Sar Kheng and aims to discuss border trade, border entry-exit
policies and transborder drug trafficking.
Participating Thai governors in this year's meeting, which opened Tuesday and
ends today, are from Chanthaburi, Sa Kaeo, Surin, Si Sa Ket, Ubon Ratchathani,
Trat and Buriram.
Thai Interior Ministry Deputy Permanent Secretary Surapol Pongtadsirikul
co-chaired the Senior Official Meeting with Sak Setha, Secretary of State of the
Cambodian Interior Ministry. He said that the meeting followed up development of
cooperation along the Thai-Cambodian border, particularly economic cooperation
resulting from a pilot project on border management at the Khlong Leuk-Poi Pet
The experience of success of the border management there could be expanded to
other permanent border checkpoints, he said.
Meanwhile, he said, Thailand will seek more cooperation in illegal operations
prevention and suppression along border especially transnational crime.
The two countries will in future consider establishing ‘twin’ relationships
between Thai and Cambodia's border provinces under the strategic framework of
the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya- Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS).
Healthy menu being promoted by Health Department to reduce obesity
BANGKOK, 26 April 2012 (NNT) – As the number of people with
obesity in Thailand who are suffering from chronic diseases has more than
tripled during the past decade, Department of Health Director General Dr. Somyos
Dirasami has decided to launch a health campaign to promote a healthy life style
among Thai people.
The objective of the campaign is to encourage Thais to eat foods that are low in
sodium, sugar and oil. The campaign has been piloted at Prajaksilpakhom Camp
Hospital in Udon Thani to improve the health of their patients.
Prajaksilpakhom Camp Hospital has been nominated a prototype learning center on
healthy menus for other hospitals to follow since 2008. The obesity studies
conducted during 2003-2004 and 2008-2009 found that the numbers of women and men
having obesity rose from 34.4% to 40.7% and from 22.5-28.4% respectively.
Obesity is the cause of many health issues such as coronary heart disease and
hypertension. In 2009, the number of obese patients suffering from heart disease
and stroke grew four-fold to 558,000 compared to the previous decade. Patients
with hypertension also rose 3.8 times. Those chronic diseases had cost the
government 302 billion baht on health bills.
Dr. Somyos further stated that, besides hospitals, over 10,600 restaurants have
participated in the campaign to create healthy menus for consumers. He said it
is hoped that with more choices of healthy menus for Thai people, the obesity
rate in Thailand will decline.
Thailand and Russia to boost agricultural cooperation
BANGKOK, 26 April 2012 (NNT) – Thailand and Russia are set to
boost mutual agricultural cooperation under the Thai-Russian Joint Commission
for Bilateral Cooperation framework, especially in the areas of rice and cooked
The 1st meeting of the Sub-commission on Agricultural Cooperation under the
Thai-Russian Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation was recently hosted by
the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. Among the participants of the
meeting were Agriculture Minister Theera Wongsamut and his Russian counterpart,
along with representatives from relevant agencies, agriculture unions, and
business entrepreneurs from Russia.
The main objective of the meeting was to promote agricultural cooperation
between Thailand and Russia. The session also saw the drafting of a Term of
Reference (TOR) of the Sub-commission on Agricultural Cooperation, the drafting
of an agreement on agricultural cooperation between Thailand and Russia, food
safety, information exchange on rules and regulations concerning agricultural
imports and exports, cooperation on the export of Thai rice to the Russian
Federation, as well as the inspection of cooked poultry meat.
Russia has established a condition that Thai factories wishing to export
processed poultry meat to the country must be inspected and certified by Russian
authorities prior to the export. So far, the Department of Livestock Development
has invited Russian officials to inspect all the 31 factories in Thailand.
Govt distributes drinking water to drought victims
BANGKOK, 26 April 2012 (NNT) - The Ministry of Natural
Resources and Environment has instructed its agencies to distribute drinking
water to drought victims in 46 provinces across the country.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Preecha Rengsomboonsuk has disclosed
that he has ordered the Department of Water Resources and the Department of
Groundwater Resources to dispatch 20 trucks equipped with water-purifying
machines to the 46 drought-hit provinces throughout Thailand as an assistance
measure for those facing hardships brought on by the drought situation.
The Department of Groundwater Resources has been assigned to transform 1,600
schools nationwide into water production and distribution centers of the
community. At the same time, all ten regional Water Resources Offices have been
assigned to set up an ad-hoc operation centers to assist provincial governors in
providing aid to local residents suffering from shortage of water for
Thai-Cambodian border issue up for discussion in Phnom Penh
BANGKOK, 26 April 2012 (NNT) - Thai and Cambodian officials
have begun their 3-day meeting in Phnom Penh, where they are expected to discuss
issues related to border areas.
Deputy Permanent Secretary for Interior Surapol Pongtadsirikul said that the
Thai and Cambodian Ministries of Interior have jointly organized the 4th
Thai-Cambodian border provincial governors' meeting in Phnom Penh, from April
The annual meeting aims at promoting good relations and strong friendship
between the two neighbors.
It is also the opportunity for governors from both countries' border provinces
and related government officials to discuss, review and plan various issues of
Mr. Surapol said that Deputy Prime Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit will lead the
Thai delegation to the gathering while Thai provincial governors participating
in this year's meeting are from Chanthaburi, Sa Kaeo, Surin, Si Sa Ket, Ubon
Ratchathani, Trat and Buriram.
He added that issues to be raised for discussion include the progress on
cross-border development projects, economic cooperation, the expansion of
checkpoints, transnational crime, and the establishment of twin cities under the
Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS).
Drought still widespread in North and Northeast
PHICHIT, 26 April 2012 (NNT) – Drought crisis remains
widespread in the North and Northeast. Recently, more districts in Nakhon
Ratchasima, Kalasin, and Phichit have been declared drought disaster zones.
The drought crisis has affected many people in Phichit. Most of them lack water
for consumption. Six districts in the province have been declared drought
disaster zones, while two more are expected to join the list soon.
Meanwhile, 12 out of 19 districts in Kalasin have also been declared
drought-struck zones. Authorities have been helping affected people as the water
sources in the province are holding only 20 percent water of its capacity.
Nakhon Ratchasima has recently announced 28 out of 32 districts in the province
drought disaster zones. Over 760,000 people have been suffering from lack of
water, while crops in nearly 17,000 rai of farmlands have been damaged and dead
from the severe drought. Local officials have so far distributed over 2 million
liters of potable water to the residents.
TAT expects 150,000 visitors at Pattaya International Music Festival 2012
CHONBURI, 26 April 2012 (NNT) – The Tourism Authority of
Thailand expects more than 100,000 visitors at the international music
extravaganza in Pattaya.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)'s Chonburi office director Attaphol
Wannakij said that the upcoming Pattaya International Music Festival 2012 is
expected to welcome as many as 150,000 Thai and foreign revelers during the
3-day event, which starts on April 27th.
Mr. Attaphol stated that the organizers have spent around 40 million baht to put
this year's event together.
In return, it is forecast that the festival will see approximately 1 billion
baht in tourist revenue circulating in Pattaya.
The TAT's Chonburi office director added that the Pattaya International Music
Festival 2012 is part of the government-initiated Miracle Year of Amazing
Thailand 2012 project, which aims to boost the tourism industry and tourist
Special Report: The Columbia Trail Masters 2012
Next month, Phuket will lend its lush tropical setting to hosting its first
off-road adventure race – the second edition of the Columbia Trail Masters 2012.
Organized by Active Management Asia, in collaboration with Columbia, the Tourism
Authority of Thailand, Nok Air and PTT Plc and hosted by Thanyapura Sports and
Leisure Club, Episode Two of Thailand Trail Running Championship will take place
on May 6.
January 22 this year saw a crowd of over 450 runners gather in Pattaya for the
first Columbia Trail Masters Race of the year. Set in Khao Mai Kheow’s forest,
the event welcomed back many competitors from last year, as well as a number of
Described as a mixture between hiking and road-running, trail running is a new
and relatively growing sport that combines the passion for adventure in the
great outdoor with physical and mental endurance associated with
marathon-running. Decidedly different from road running and track running, trail
running generally takes place on hiking trails in natural settings.
The event, based at the leisure club in Khao Phra Taew National Park, will
comprise a 21-km Half Marathon, a 10-km trail run, and a 3-km Fun Run for
participants of all ages. The race is set to offer refreshingly new routes that
travel along scenic trails exploring the hilly course and the open farmlands of
Serge Henkens, Managing Director of Active Management Asia, said that in
addition to improving fitness levels, trail running proves to be gentler on the
body’s bones and joints. Unlike running on road surfaces, trail running has a
decreased impact on the joints and back as the foot strike takes place on softer
Speaking of the future of adventure races in Thailand, Mr Henkens said the sport
is gradually gaining popularity in the country as every new event sees a bigger
number of local and expat runners.
Mr Henkens also revealed that the third and final edition of the Columbia Trail
Master this year will conclude on Samui island on September 29, with another
adventure race expected to be held in Krabi province next year.
Kritsada Atthapant, Columbia’s Brand manager, said with the success from the
first edition of the race, he expects over 400 participants at the Phuket event.
He added that to register for the Columbia Trail Masters Championship in Phuket,
interested participants can log onto www.ama-events.com or register in person at
Thanyapura Sports and Leisure Club from March 29-May 2.