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Update April, 2015


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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
NEWS
 

Police arrest 82 year old man in murder case

Police used CCTV footage from the motel to uncover the suspected killer of Waan (surname unknown).

Nopniwat Krailerg
Police announced the arrest of an 82 year old suspect in the murder of Waan, an employee of a vegetarian restaurant on Moon Muang Road. The victim’s body was found nude, laying on the floor of the bathroom of a motel in Paton at 5:50 p.m. on April 26, 2015.

Police said she had been stabbed with a sharp object and strangled. The police reported that witnesses saw an elderly man leave the motel at 5 p.m. before her body was discovered. Her employer said that she had many men friends and one elderly man who called on her at the restaurant regularly.

Police used CCTV cameras to track down the suspect, 82 year old Srimuang Panyasung of Patan. When confronted by witnesses who saw him leave the motel, he confessed to police that he had murdered his girlfriend because she owed him money and he was jealous of other men.


Body parts found hidden at crematorium

Police suspect black magic rituals

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Nineteen bags of body parts were found hidden at the Haiya Crematorium last week, police suspect the body parts, which were in bags labeled from hospitals around the North, were part of a gang snatching bodies for black magic rituals.

Police found the body parts after conducting a raid on the crematorium. They were led to the crematorium after arresting Chalerm Duangpeng, the former abbot of Wat Huay Dinjee in Doi Lo after four stolen bodies were found there. Police said he was using the corpses for black magic rituals.

The former monk implicated the wife of one of the undertakers at Haiya crematorium, Somboon Neramit, age 70, as the person who sold the bodies to him for the rituals. Police said she fled before the raid, her husband claims no knowledge of the body thefts.


Donations for Nepal earthquake victims accepted at Damrongdhama Center at City Hall

The government has launched a donation campaign to mobilize assistance for Nepal; meanwhile, the military and the Ministry of Public Health are prepared to send doctors and disaster response teams to the quake-hit country.

According to deputy spokesperson of the PM Office Col Sansern Kaewkamnerd, the Thai humanitarian teams will be flying to the country closest to Nepal before proceeding into affected areas, as Nepal’s international airport has been temporarily closed as a result of the tremor. The Thai Embassy in Nepal will facilitate the trip.

Col. Sansern said Thai people could help alleviate the hardships of the Nepalese by donating necessary items for survival or money via all the Damrongdhama centers, under the Ministry of Interior, across the country. The government will also hold a charity program for Nepal, which will be broadcast live on Channel 5 next week.

Thai people living in Nepal and nearby countries affected by the massive quake can contact the Thai Embassy in Nepal for help. (NNT)


Chiang Mai celebrates 719th birthday

Chiang Mai people gathered together in front of Three Kings Monument on April 12 to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the city by King Mengrai.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Chiang Mai residents gathered at Three Kings Monument on April 12 at 8:30 a.m. to mark the 719th anniversary of the founding of Chiang Mai by King Mengrai.

Deputy Governor Navin Sintusa-ard, President of the Provincial Administration Organization Boonlert Buranupakorn and Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn presided over the merit making and alms giving ceremony held to honor King Mengrai and bring blessings of prosperity and peace to Chiang Mai.

King Mengrai first founded Chiang Rai in 1262 as the first unifying leader of the Tai in Northern Lanna, he moved his capital to Chiang Mai, first establishing it in Wiang Khum Kham but flooding issues saw him move the capital to Chiang Mai in 1296, leaving it the capital of the North ever since.


Surin tops the list for Songkran deaths in first six days

Surin topped the list for traffic fatalities in the first six of the Seven Dangerous Days of Songkran. Chiang Mai topped the list for the New Year 2014-2015 period. (File photo)

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
On April 14, the sixth of the “Seven Deadly Days of Songkran” the North Eastern province of Surin saw the highest numbers of deaths at 15 killed. Nationwide 306 people have been killed and 3,070 injured. This is higher than the same period last year when 282 people were killed and 2,926 injured. Accident numbers were slightly lower nationwide with 2,915 accidents in the first six days compared to 2,926 although the death toll was significantly higher.

Surin had the highest numbers of deaths and the highest number of injuries in the first six days, followed by Phitsanulok. Only seven provinces had no traffic deaths; Mae Hong Son, Samut Songkhram, Samut Sakhon, Bung Kan, Trang, Phuket and Yala.

As always most accidents were due to drunk driving and speeding and 78% of all accidents nationwide involved motorcycles. Most accidents took place between 4 and 8 p.m. and involved teens followed by mid-twenties.

In Chiang Mai the numbers released for the first six of the Seven Dangerous Days showed that 13 people were killed in 11 accidents; 12 men and one woman with the highest number of accidents in Muang District, Doi Saket, Mae Ai and San Patong.

Over the New Year period from December 30, 2014 to January 5 2015 Chiang Mai came in first for both numbers of fatalities and accidents. Eighteen people died during the New Year holiday in Chiang Mai and 129 people were injured in 133 accidents.


Energy Minister expects power usage to peak from April 23 to 25

The Ministry of Energy has reported that the maintenance of gas pipelines in Myanmar is progressing quickly while expecting the highest energy consumption of the year to occur during April 23-25 as the temperature rises.

Commenting on Myanmar’s temporary closure of its gas fields for the annual pipeline maintenance, Deputy Permanent Secretary for Energy Tawarat Sutabutr disclosed that the works at the Yetagun gas field have been completed by over 58 percent and at the Yadana gas field by 61 percent. He assured that full completion at both fields will be made within the scheduled timeframe and gas delivery to Thailand will resume on time.

As summer is in full swing, Mr Tawarat said the annual peak load of electricity is expected to be recorded between April 23 and 25, which is forecast to be the hottest period of the year. Nonetheless, the total consumption of power is likely to be lower than the projection by 1,000-2,500 megawatts. The reduction is attributable to the stormy weather conditions in many areas as well as public involvement in energy conservation.

On the occasion of Songkran Day, the Deputy Permanent Secretary encouraged the public to keep all electrical devices away from water for safety reasons and to get involved in the energy-saving campaign. (NNT)


Fire breaks out in Mae Hong Son refugee camp

Over 200 homes were destroyed in the fire that swept through the Baan Nai Soi refugee camp in Mae Hong Son.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Fire broke out in the Baan Nai Soi refugee camp in Mae Hong Son at 10:20 a.m. on April 7, 2015 leaving 780 people homeless after 200 homes were destroyed in the fast moving fire.

Firefighters spent more than two and a half hours putting out the blaze that was made worse by the high heat and dry conditions. The camp is home to mainly Karen refugees from Myanmar. Only one person was injured in the blaze but over 200 homes were destroyed or damaged in the fire.

Officials believe that the fire may have been ignited by a cooking fire in the refugee camp that houses 12,000 people. The camp is located in the Mae Pai National Forest in Mae Hong Son.


Police launch education campaign to promote road safety in Songkran

Pol. Lt. Gen. Thanitsak Tirasawat, Commissioner of Region 5 Police, drives one of the classic cars as part of the campaign to promote road safety during Songkran.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Assistant Commissioner and spokesperson for the Royal Thai Police Lt. Gen. Prawut Thavornsiri joined in a caravan of vintage cars on April 8, 2015 with Govenor Suriya Prasatbuntitya and Pol. Lt. Gen. Thanitsak Tirasawat, Commissioner of Region 5 Police to promote road traffic safety during Songkran.

President of the Provincial Administration Organization Boonlert Buranapakorn and local beauties also joined in the parade of cars that started at Charoenmuang Road before ending at Tha Pae Gate. The event was held to educate drivers about the need for reducing road accidents during Songkran under the theme “Safe Chiang Mai Songkran to ASEAN”.

The government is implementing educational campaigns as well as increased checkpoints to reduce the incidence of people driving drunk. Last year Chiang Mai topped the list for accidents during Songkran wit 116 accidents during the “Seven Deadly Days of Songkran” and the highest number of injuries with 144 people injured. Chiang Mai came in third for road deaths during Songkran 2014 with 9 dead but topped the nation in road deaths for New Year 2014-2015. The leading causes of accident were drunk driving and speeding with motorcycles involved in the most accidents followed by pick-up trucks.


Moat water safe for Songkran revelers

Mayor reports on water treatment

 Mayor Tussanai Buranapakorn shows the beaker of water tested for cleanliness.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn reported on the water quality of the moat declaring it safe for use but not for drinking after officials tested the water in ten different spots on April 8, 2015.

The Mayor said that the moat had been dredged and fully cleaned in January of this year and in the past days have pumped out the water and replaced with clean water. The moat water has been treated with chlorine four times already, he noted, adding that officials will continuously monitor the water to ensure that it is clean and safe for Songkran revelers to use.

The Mayor also urged visitors to dress modestly, especially when visiting local temples and reminded press that the sale of alcohol is banned at the moat and that the police may prosecute violators discovered via CCTV cameras.


Community activist group asks Governor to reduce the number of stages

Tussaporn Anukul and members of the Muen Toom Community group filed a petition with the Chiang Mai Governor to implement controls on Songkran festivities.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The community activist group Muen Toom Community called on the Chiang Mai Governor to rein in the number of stages allowed to be set up around the city during Songkran. Leader Tussaporn Anukul told reporters that last year there were 16 stages set up around the city creating traffic jams and producing a lot of noise that annoyed residents when they filed their petition with Governor Suirya Prasatbuntitya on April 7, 2015.

The group also called on the government to tackle inappropriate shows and behavior. They also asked the Governor to provide a public forum for the community to give their feedback before the festival. They asked that the government strictly enforce regulations against stages such as the one on Huay Kaew Road including promoting “no alcohol” zones. They also asked the Governor to shut down stages and shows by 6 p.m. especially around the moat.

Tussaporn said that the stages and inappropriate behavior on the part of performers gave the city a bad reputation and was damaging to the traditional culture.


U.K. Honorary Consulate to close May 16

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The British Embassy announced recently that the Honorary Consulate in Chiang Mai would be closing as of May 16 and that all consular services would need to be done through the Consular Services office in Bangkok.

The announcement on their website stated, “British nationals who find themselves in need of assistance in Northern Thailand, for example because they have been hospitalised, arrested, or been the victim of crime, should contact the Consular Section of the Embassy in Bangkok +66 (0) 2305 8333. The Embassy in Bangkok will provide consular advice and assistance, working with our Honorary Consul in Chiang Mai as necessary.”

Notarial and documentary services were shifted to Bangkok in February 2015 with many of the services available via the postal system. The notarial team in Bangkok can provide a same day service for those transactions that require attendance in person but appointments must be made ahead of time.


Government launches new airport shuttle bus

Minivans to have two routes

Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya launches the new low cost minivan service from Chiang Mai International Airport to local hotels.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Chiang Mai Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya launched a new airport minivan shuttle service for travelers on April 9, 2015. He was joined by Chanchai Keelapaeng, Chief of the Land Transportation Department and Singham Nanti, President of the Nakorn Lanna Cooperative at the introduction.

There will be 20 minivans offering two routes, transferring from the airport to hotels. The cost will be 40 baht per person and the buses will leave from the airport every half hour starting from 7 a.m. The buses will stop service at 9 p.m. The buses will not be allowed to pick people up anywhere except at the airport.

Chanchai Keelapaeng said that the new service was a result of policies issued by the Deputy Minister of Transport Arkhom Termpittayapaisith to solve traffic and public transportation issues and accommodate passenger service at the airport.

The Governor noted that this new transit system is a service to visitors to Chiang Mai so that they can easily transfer to hotels. He added that Chiang Mai is growing rapidly and the economic dependence on tourism significant to the economy. Chiang Mai has a total population of 1.7 million people but, he said, there are over 7 million people visiting the province every year. The new minivan service should help with the issues of insufficient transportation out of the airport.

The first route will go from the Airport along Mahidol then left on Huay Kaew Road to the Rincome Intersection and turn onto Nimmanhaemin ending at the Kantary Hills Hotel. The minivans will also go up Huay Kaew Road to Chiang Mai Hills Hotel, Chiang Mai Phucome Hotel to Canal and to the Chiang Mai International Conference and Exhibition Center then back to Green Lake Resort and return to Huay Kaew Road to go to Chiang Mai GrandView hotel on the Superhighway before returning to town and along the moat to return to the airport.

The second route will go from the Airport to Mahidol Road to the Nong Hoi Intersection and on to the Holiday Inn Hotel. From there to Charoenprathet Road past Montfort and on to the Anantara Chiang Mai, Pornping Hotel and then to Tha Pae Road to head to the Night Bazaar to stop at Imperial Mae Ping, Duangtawan Chiang Mai, Suriwongse Hotel, Le Meridien Chiang Mai and then to the Royal Princess, Shangri-La, Empress, Lanna Palace Hotel before stopping at Rati Lanna Resort and then back to Mahidol Road to return to the airport.


Ceremonies honor HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on her 60th birthday

Chiang Mai Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya offered alms and made merit for HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on the occasion of her 5th cycle birthday April 2, 2015.

Shana Kongmun
Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya was joined by government officials, academics, students and residents of Chiang Mai to honor Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on her 5th cycle or 60th birthday on April 2, 2015.

The day began early with a merit making ceremony led by the Governor at Three Kings Monument. This was then followed by a large gathering of government officials, Royal Thai Army officers, Royal Thai Air Force, Police Region 5 and Chiang Mai police along with honorary consuls and other dignitaries in a ceremony at Chiang Mai University Convention Center. Abbots from major Chiang Mai temples gathered to offer blessings for Her Royal Highness and the Governor spoke about the Princess’s good works for the country.

The Governor speaks to the large audience at Chiang Mai University Convention Center about the Princess’s good works for the country.


Prime Ministers oversees distribution of land use permits villagers

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha visited Chiang Mai’s Mae On District to meet with villagers receiving land use permits.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha traveled to Chiang Mai on April 5, 2015 to chair the official presentation of land use permits for villagers in Mae Ta in Mae On District. The land use permits are intended for villagers to make good use of the forest in a sustainable way and revive degraded forest area.

The Natural Resources Ministry organized the distribution of permits for 7,282 rai of land which will help a total of 1,235 families in the area. Residents who have been granted the permit will be able to make use of the land for 30 years but will not be allowed to sell or exchange the land they have been given.

The government is working to bring villagers into the scheme and allow them to use the forest land in a way that is not only financially beneficial but to also preserve, sustain and restore forest area.


Chiang Mai holds big cleaning day

Government officials and members of the private sector joined in Chiang Mai’s Big Cleaning Day on April 6, 2015.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Chiang Mai held the annual Big Cleaning Day on April 6, 2015. This event mobilizes all sectors of the city in cleaning the four corners of the moat. Many local businesses also take part by cleaning the exteriors of their businesses. This year the Big Cleaning Day was led by Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya who joined everyone in honoring HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on the occasion of her 60th birthday on April 2, 2015.

Governor Suriya opened the ceremony to start the cleaning and took to the streets with broom and water to clean things up. The main areas targeted for the cleaning included Chiang Mai Gate, Tha Pae Gate, Suan Dok Gate and Chang Puak Gate as well as the four corners of both the inner and outer moat.

Governor Suriya said that the event was held to not only honor HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn but for all sectors of society, both governmental and private, to cooperate in keeping Chiang Mai clean in preparation to welcome tourists for the upcoming Songkran Festival.


Philippine Consulate to work with CMU on academic exchanges

Philippine Honorary Consul Agkarajit Phanomvan na Ayudhya met with Vice President for International Affairs and Alumni Relations Rome Chiranukrom to discuss academic exchanges with Philippine academic institutions.

Philippine Honorary Consul Agkarajit Phanomvan na Ayudhya and representatives from the Filipino community in Chiang Mai, called on Chiang Mai University (CMU) and met with Asst. Prof. Rome Chiranukrom, Vice President for International Affairs and Alumni Relations. They exchanged their views concerning Chiang Mai’s potential to become an educational center in the region and possibilities to explore new ventures between the Philippine and CMU.

Currently, Mae Jo University works closely among ASEAN University Network and signed an MOU/MOA on exchanges of academic research information, developments, scholars , students and faculties with 3 institutions namely University of the Philippines Los Banos, University of the Philippines Diliman and Central Luzon State University while employing 13 Philippine alumni as members of their faculty.


Bangkok Airways joins Chiang Mai Big Cleaning Day

Bangkok Airways team led by Passapong Jirawattanasak, Manager – Regional & International Corporate Communication joined “Chiang Mai Big Cleaning Day 2015” by providing 400 blooms to Chiang Mai Municipality to help cleaning the city to welcome tourists during Songkran Festival. Moreover, Bangkok Airways will hold Songkran activities at Mahawan Temple, Tae Pae Road during 13-16 April 2015 to present rare-sight of authentic-northern traditions together with local temple and communities.


The Bank of Thailand to Launch Commemorative Banknote for the 5th cycle birthday of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn

A new 100 baht banknote with a portrait of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will be issued on her birthday, April 2, 2015.

Mr. Prasarn Trairatvorakul, Governor of the Bank of Thailand, unveiled a 100-Baht commemorative banknote to celebrate the auspicious occasion of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s 5th Cycle Birthday Anniversary 2nd April 2015. The issuance of those commemorative banknotes is to pay tribute to Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn for her incomparable contributions to the country. The 10 million commemorative banknotes will be issued into circulation on 2nd April 2015. The color and size of this 100-Baht commemorative banknote remains unchanged; which is red in color and 72 x 150 mm size. The image on the front side is identical to the 16th series of 100-Baht banknote.

The special design depicting the portrait of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, and the scene of royal duties of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej together with Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, and two flowers (Magnolia Sirindhorniae Noot & Chalermglin, and Exacum affine Balf.f.), both named after Her Royal Highness are illustrated on the reverse side of the banknote. Major security features are the Watermark: HM King’s portrait watermark and the translucent watermark. The Latent Image: Hidden numeral “100” inside the copper-colored ornament. Iridescent Ink: Arabic numerals “100” and Thai patterns are printed vertically. A Hologram Foil Stripe: contains the Royal Emblem with Arabic numeral “100” which will change into the Thai numeral upon tilting and Windowed Color-shifting Security Thread: Embedded on the reverse side, changes from magenta to green upon tilting.

On the reverse side, the special yellow-colored ink printed on the portrait of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and the surrounding area will be fluoresced into yellow when viewing under Ultraviolet light.

The new 100-Baht banknote can be exchanged at any commercial banks, the Government Savings Bank, the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, the Government Housing Bank, and the Islamic Bank of Thailand. (BOT)


Chengdu; Chiang Mai’s newest sister city

Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya and Mayor of Chengdu Tan Liang Chih with the signed agreement to establish a sister city relationship between the two cities.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Chiang Mai and Chengdu twinned as sister cities on March 30, 2015 when Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya and President of the Provincial Administration Boonlert Buranupakorn traveled to Chengdu with government officials and business leaders including Chalermchat Nakarangkul, Honorary Chairman of the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce.

Chiang Mai officials met with Chengdu Mayor Tan Liang Chih to sign the agreement and discuss cooperation between the two cities. Key issues included direct flights, cultural and educational exchanges and the promotion tourism, trade and investment.

The two cities signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2006 to begin cooperation in trade and development. Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan Province in Western China and is the fifth most populous city in China with over 7.4 million people in the municipal area and over 6.6 million in the surrounding suburban and rural areas. Chengdu has twelve consulates including a Thai consulate.

This is Chiang Mai’s fourth sister city in China, the other three are Shanghai, Qingdao and Chongqing.


100 Years of Chiang Mai Traces and Traditions Festival in Mae Rim

Kuang Pra Jao Lanna Foundation celebrates Lanna history

A Lanna Festival will be held at the The Kuang Pra Jao Lanna Foundation at the entrance to Huay Tung Tao from April 4 – 10, 2015.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Kuang Pra Jao Lanna Foundation will be holding a special festival at the Foundation celebrating 100 years of Lanna culture from April 4 to 10, 2015 at the entrance to Huay Tung Tao.

Ajarn Varin Buaratlert, President of the Kuang Pra Jao Lanna Foundation said that the event will feature sand pagodas in the Lanna style, bathing of Buddha images, traditional treatments, fabrics and art and crafts by local people. The opening ceremony will be held at the Foundation on April 4, 2015 at 5 p.m.

A. Varin said that the Foundation aims to make this a new event for the area, focusing on the restoration of sustainable culture. The Foundation maintains the links between the home monasteries of the past, as well as a center for Buddhists in the North and in Thailand. There is also a display of art in cooperation with the Chiang Mai Rajabhat University and the Far Eastern University.

Kuang Pra Jao Lanna in Chiang Mai was built on land belonging to the army and given to the nation on April 7, 2014 by the Chief of Army Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha.


Chiang Mai dams at very low reserves

Government assures enough water for Songkran festival

The Irrigation and Water Management Department Kruakul Manasamphansakul reports on the volume of water left in the areas water reserves.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Chief of the Irrigation and Water Management Department of the Regional Irrigation Office for Chiang Mai reported recently that while the levels of area dams and small reservoirs remain very low the recent rains replenished local water supplies so that there is sufficient water for residents and for Songkran festivities.

According to the Office For Disaster Prevention and Mitigation there are currently 23 out of Chiang Mai’s 25 districts that have villages that have been declared disaster areas due to drought. 100 tambons or sub-districts have been declared disaster areas and 350,508 people in 925 villages and 53,977 hectares of agricultural land have been affected by the drought.

The head of the Irrigation and Water Management Department Kruakul Manasamphansakul said that the recent rains have allowed for enough water supply in the Tang River to provide adequate water to the U-Mong station. He added that Mae Ngat Dam has a total capacity for 265 million cubic meters of water with 129,971 cubic meters remaining or 48.98%. Mae Kuang Dam has a capacity of 263 million cubic meters with a current total of 41.05 million cubic meters or 15.61% of the reservoir remaining. There are twelve smaller reservoirs that have the capacity to hold 86.657 cubic meters with a current volume of 21.862 million cubic meters or 25.23 percent. He concluded that while Chiang Mai has 192.703 cubic meters of water available and that it is less than the same time last year, there is enough water for people in Chiang Mai to celebrate Songkran.


Drought-hit North told to brace for stormy weather

The Department of Natural Disaster Prevention and Mitigation reports that the while the dry season continues to grip a number of provinces in the country particularly those in the north, heavy thunder showers are now expected to arrive.
The drought has reportedly wreaked havoc in 8,300 villages in 30 provinces across the country, or about 11 percent of all villages. The dry season has hit Northern provinces particularly hard, as it not only depletes water sources but also obstructs attempts to contain wildfires and haze.
The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, the military and related agencies have joined hands to provide affected residents with emergency assistance which includes distribution of water for consumption and agricultural purposes. At the same time, they have dispatched teams to control the wildfires and haze in Northern provinces.
The Meteorological Department has meanwhile told the north to brace for stormy weather during April 1-3 as a result of a westerly trough from Myanmar which is on the way to the upper north of the country. Residents in the area should exercise caution while going about their normal routine during this period. (NNT)


More hotspots detected amid settling haze situation

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has detected an increase in the number of hotspots in the region, while the haze situation in the northern region is settling, says a ministry official.
The Deputy Permanent-Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) Suphot Tovichakchaikul disclosed today on the current situation of the haze disaster in the northern region, that additional hotspots have been detected in Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia. These hotspots are the potential cause of wildfires and hazes that have been troubling the northern region in the past few months.
According to the MNRE Deputy Permanent-Secretary, the detected hotspots concentrated in Myanmar and Laos, while only a few were detected in Cambodia.
191 hotspots were detected in 46 provinces of Thailand, including Kanchanaburi, Kalasin, Kamphaengphet, Chaiyaphum, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Trat, Tak, Yasothon, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Sawan, Nan, Buriram, Pathum Thani, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Prachinburi, Ayutthaya, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Phetchabun, Phrae, Maha Sarakham, Mae Hong Son, Roi Et, Ranong, Lampang, Lampoon, Loei, Sakon Nakhon, Saraburi, Sukhothai, Suphanburi, Ang Thong, Udon Thani, Uttaradit, Uthai Thani, Ubon Ratchathani, Phayao, Sa Kaeo, Nong Bua Lam Phu, and Amnat Charoen.
Meanwhile, the Department of Water Resources’ Mekhala center reported today’s northern region haze situation to be fair. The overall small particulate matter value (PM10) has continued to decrease, making the air quality index qualify the 'good' to 'moderate' level.(NNT)


Happy 60th birthday to HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn

The Chiang Mai Mail joins the nation in wishing HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn a very happy birthday on April 2, 2015.

The Chiang Mai Mail joins the Kingdom of Thailand in wishing Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn a very happy birthday on April 2. We join in with our most humble wishes for HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn for a long, healthy and happy life.

Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn was born on April 2, 1955, the third child of Their Majesties the King and Queen of Thailand. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Chulalongkorn University, a first class honor, and a gold medal in History in 1976. She earned an M.A. in Oriental Epigraphy (Sanskrit and Cambodian) from Silpakorn University in 1978, and an M.A. in Pali and Sanskrit from Chulalongkorn University in 1980 and a doctoral degree in Developmental Education in 1987.

HRH the Princess has developed special interests in agricultural extension to improve school children’s nutritional conditions; supports education from pre-school to tertiary levels; and mother and child care. She has also concentrated on helping the handicapped, especially in using information technology (IT) to develop independent living and learning skills.

HRH the Princess has been Executive Vice President of the Thai Red Cross Society since 1977; Executive Chairman of the Chaipattana Foundation (in charge of His Majesty’s development and environmental preservation projects), Ananda Mahidol Foundation (to promote higher education), the King Rama II Foundation (to conserve and promote Thai Culture); President of the Sai Jai Thai Foundation (to support disabled veterans), Prince Mahidol Award Foundation (to award prizes annually to members of the international community for outstanding performances in the fields of medicine and public health); and Adviser of the Committee of Thai Junior Encyclopedia Project by Royal Command of H.M. the King.


Happy Birthday to Princess Ubolratana

The Chiang Mai Mail] joins the Kingdom of Thailand in wishing Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya a most happy birthday on April 5.

Her Royal Highness Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Phannavadi was born on April 5, 1951, in Lausanne Switzerland. She is the eldest child of Their Majesties the King and Queen.

HRH Princess Ubolratana is a very devoted leader of young people in the campaign against drugs, and as such has instituted and keenly watches over the To Be Number One project, encouraging family values, music and sport as alternatives to drug use. She has also set up the Khun Poom project to assist autistic children in Thailand.

In 2008, HRH Princess Ubolratana played the main role in the Thai film Where The Miracle Happens and also had a role in the 2010 film My Best Bodyguard. She has been an active supporter of the Thai film industry for many years promoting Thailand as a destination for filming, production and post-production. After her son, Bhumi Jensen, was killed in the 2004 tsunami established the Khun Poom Foundation in his memory. The foundation helps children with autism and other learning disabilities.


Chakri Day is April 6

Chakri Memorial Day falls on Monday, April 6 this year and is a public holiday. Government offices and some businesses will be closed. Chakri Day commemorates the establishment of the Chakri Dynasty and the founding of Bangkok by King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke in 1782.


UK Visas and Immigration launch 24 hour super priority service in Thailand

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The U.K. Visas and Immigration services have launched a new 14 hour Super Priority Visa Service for those seeking to facilitate urgent travel needs and is available to all visitor visa applicants and some work visa categories.

The optional program will supplement regular and Five day Priority Visa services.

More than 67,500 Thai nationals were granted a UK visa in 2014, 13% more than just two years ago. This strong growth underscores the continued popularity of the UK as a destination for tourism, business and study and the strong ties between both countries.

British Ambassador to Thailand, Mark Kent said, “I am delighted to see the Super Priority Visa service being launched in Thailand. This underlines our strong commitment to make an already excellent visa service even better. We expect this new service to be particularly useful for business where opportunities can arise at very short notice. We want entrepreneurs and businessmen to be able to seize these.”

Other upcoming changes to the visa service include; the simplification of visit visa categories, from 15 different routes to just 4, and the visit visa guidance, to make it easier for visa customers to understand which visa is best for them. The new standard visit visa will allow those travelling on business to use the same visa to visit the UK as a tourist. This change will come into effect from April 24.

The new Select Business Scheme will be re-launched next month to include reducing the number of documents business visitors will have to provide with their visa application if they are travelling on business for a company endorsed by UK Trade and Investment.

Standard service for all visit and non-settlement customers takes up to 15 working days.

Priority Visa Service for all visit and non-settlement customers is a 3 to 5 working day service for an additional 100 (THB 5200).

Super Priority Visa Service for all visit customers and some work categories is a 24 hour service for an additional 600 (THB 31,200)

Passport Passback Service – enables customers to retain their passport whilst their visa is being processed for an additional 40 (THB 2,080)

Prime Time Service – gives customers the flexibility of an appointment in our visa application centre outside of usual working hours for an additional 50 (THB 2,600).


TCEB drives Chiang Mai as upper northern mice hub with public-private partnership

 

The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (Public Organization) signed agreements with Pinkanakorn Development Agency (Public Organization), the Tourism Council of Chiang Mai, the Thai Hotels Association (North of Thailand), and the Faculty of Economics, Chiang Mai University to develop an integrated MICE intelligence service.

The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (Public Organization) or TCEB Is accelerating Chiang Mai’s leadership position as a premiere MICE destination in the region, through public-private partnerships with four leading-edge organisations in an MOU to develop an integrated MICE Intelligence Centre in northern Thailand.

Nopparat Maythaveekulchai, President of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (Public Organization) or TCEB revealed that, “Highlighting the government policy to stimulate domestic meetings and seminars, as well as public-private partnerships, this year, TCEB will focus on four major strategies to develop the Chiang Mai MICE industry. These include (1) introduction of the Meeting in Thailand campaign to generate more MICE activities in Chiang Mai and enhance the network of high potential cities in the north to accommodate MICE activities; (2) Tapping into the Special Economic Zones (SEZ), and neighbouring CLMV countries such as Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam using Chiang Mai as a centre in the north of Thailand for the forthcoming ASEAN Economic Community (AEC); (3) Promotion of experiential incentives activities at Royal Initiatives Projects and Royal Thai Military Tourist Destinations such as The Royal Projects at Doi Angkhang, and Doi Inthanon; and (4) Upgrade local exhibitions to become regional domestic exhibitions, such as the Lanna Expo 2015, with more than 50,000 visitors.”

In addition, TCEB is driving Chiang Mai’s leadership position as a mega event destination, by bidding for and supporting more major events such as the Thailand International Balloon Festival. Moreover, TCEB is developing an integrated MICE Intelligence Centre by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Pinkanakorn Development Agency (Public Organization), the Tourism Council of Chiang Mai, the Thai Hotels Association (North of Thailand), and the Faculty of Economics, Chiang Mai University. Underpinning Chiang Mai’s MICE strategies, TCEB is also revving up the region’s MICE capabilities, industry standards, and services to prepare the MICE City of the North for the AEC.

Chiang Mai Governor Mr Suriya Prasatbuntitya said that, “During the 2015 fiscal year, Chiang Mai has allocated a total budget of Bt5,253,200 for the Chiang Mai MICE City project as part of a provincial development plan. To drive this sector and engage all stakeholders, last year we announced the Chiang Mai MICE Industry Promotion Committee, with the governor as president.

“This year, we have identified initiatives including Chiang Mai’s strategic direction towards the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) and BIMSTEC as well as Chiang Mai Sister Cities. The regional cooperative frameworks will complement Chiang Mai’s position as a premiere destination for major MICE events. In the next few years, Chiang Mai will focus on penetrating neighbouring countries, and the ASEAN region.

“Chiang Mai Province will play a key role in supporting the MICE sector in three key ways, including (1) regarding MICE City as a high priority policy and key strategy for provincial development, in line with the government, (2) mobilising policy and coordinating with relevant stakeholders to drive Chiang Mai MICE City’s leadership position, (3) redefining clear mutual targets and stakeholder commitments, especially among management level executives and policymakers.”


3,000 cyclists join 60th birthday celebrations for HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn

Over 3,000 people cycled from the International Convention Center to the Night Safari to show their love and respect for HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on the occasion of her 60th birthday.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Over three thousand cyclists joined with officials from the Pinkanakorn Development Agency (Public Organization) the 33rd Army Circle and the Department of Health on March 29, 2015 to honor HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on her upcoming 60th birthday the International Convention Center.

The birthday of Her Royal Highness falls on April 2, 2015 and gives the people of Chiang Mai a great opportunity to show their loyalty and pay homage to all the good works of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, organizers said. The event contributes to strengthening the participation of the people in their communities, creates harmony and builds relationships.

The event started from the International Convention Center and saw over 3,000 people cycle to e Chiang Mai Night Safari and back to the Convention Center, about 30 kilometers in total

Maj. Gen. Sarayudh Rangsri, Commissioner of 33rd Army Circle, Dr. Pornthep Siriwanarangsanm Director General of the Department of Health, Pol. Maj. Pracha Rattaphan, Deputy Commissioner of Police Region 5 and Dr. Sarawut Srisakun, Acting Director of Pinkanakorn Development Agency (Public Organization) joined with the more than 3,000 cyclists to cycle the distance.


Royal Park Rajapruek to hold traditional Songkran Festival

A Romantic Touch of Orchids

Royal Park Rajapruek will offer visitors the chance to experience a kinder, gentler Songkran with traditional activities such as bathing the Buddha image.

The Royal Park Rajapruek will be organizing a special traditional ceremony for Songkran Festival from April 11 to 18, 2015 to preserve the cultural traditions and offer visitors a view of amazing Thai orchids.
Dr. Arnada Nirantaraikul, Director of Royal Park Rajapruek Chiang Mai noted that it will enable visitors to not only view rare orchid species but also experience traditional Thai Lanna culture. The park has been decorated in Lanna style and they will offer traditional bathing of the Buddha image for prosperity and good luck, sand pagodas, and and local Lanna market offering local foods, and crafts along with craft demonstrations such as lantern making along with traditional music.
Royal Park Rajapruek will be open every day from 8 am to 6 p.m.


Seven killed in train crossing accident

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Seven passengers in a pick-up truck were killed and two other passengers injured when the truck they were riding in attempted to cross a railway crossing at Soi Local Road near the Sarapee Hospital at 5:30 pm. on March 24, 2015. Witnesses said that the truck may not have seen the train coming as there were no guard rails or crossing signals and the rain was very heavy. Five men and two women were killed instantly when the train struck the vehicle. Two other seriously injured passengers in the vehicle were taken to Sarapee Hospital.

Police said the passengers in the pickup truck were working on construction at a nearby temple and they carried no identification. Police were unable to verify their identities or nationalities.

The Nakhon Ping Express Train was delayed for thirty minutes before it could travel on to Bangkok.
 


 
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Update April 27, 2015

Police arrest 82 year old man in murder case

Body parts found hidden at crematorium

Donations for Nepal earthquake victims accepted at Damrongdhama Center at City Hall

Update April 16, 2015

Chiang Mai celebrates 719th birthday

Surin tops the list for Songkran deaths in first six days

Energy Minister expects power usage to peak from April 23 to 25

Update April 10, 2015

Fire breaks out in Mae Hong Son refugee camp

Police launch education campaign to promote road safety in Songkran

Moat water safe for Songkran revelers

Community activist group asks Governor to reduce the number of stages

U.K. Honorary Consulate to close May 16

Government launches new airport shuttle bus

Update April 7, 2015

Ceremonies honor HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on her 60th birthday

Prime Ministers oversees distribution of land use permits villagers

Chiang Mai holds big cleaning day

Philippine Consulate to work with CMU on academic exchanges

Bangkok Airways joins Chiang Mai Big Cleaning Day

Update April 2, 2015

The Bank of Thailand to Launch Commemorative Banknote for the 5th cycle birthday of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn

Chengdu; Chiang Mai’s newest sister city

100 Years of Chiang Mai Traces and Traditions Festival in Mae Rim

Chiang Mai dams at very low reserves

Drought-hit North told to brace for stormy weather

More hotspots detected amid settling haze situation

Update April 1, 2015

Happy 60th birthday to HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn

Happy Birthday to Princess Ubolratana

Chakri Day is April 6

UK Visas and Immigration launch 24 hour super priority service in Thailand

TCEB drives Chiang Mai as upper northern mice hub with public-private partnership

3,000 cyclists join 60th birthday celebrations for HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn

Royal Park Rajapruek to hold traditional Songkran Festival

Seven killed in train crossing accident


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