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Update December 20, 2014


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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
NEWS
 

Popular Royal Project Fair opens at CMU Convention Center

Open through December 21

The front of the Convention Hall is filled with gorgeous floral displays with beautiful and unique flowers honor Their Majesties the King and Queen.

Shana Kongmun
HRH Princess Soamsawali presided over the grand opening of the Royal Project Fair on Thursday, December 18, 2014. The popular fair, which features products from the highly successful Royal Project, is held annually at the Chiang Mai University Convention Center on Nimmanhaemin Road.

HRH Princess Soamsawali is greeted by Chiang Mai officials on her arrival at the Chiang Mai University Convention Center to open the Royal Project Fair 2014.

HRH Princess Soamsawali viewed the many projects on display as well as met with His Serene Highness Prince Bhisatej Rajani, Chairman of the Royal Project and President of Chiang Mai University Professor Dr. Pongsak Angkasith who reported on the development and its activities.
His Majesty the King began the Royal Project in 1969 to help hilltribe people grow cash crops that would replace opium poppies as income. The Project also works to change slash and burn agricultural practices that lead to deforestation and smog. This year there are several new strains of fruits, vegetables and flowers on display and for sale including a unique heart-shaped bitter cucumber, radish, turnips, Siamese tulips, new strains of chrysanthemums, begonias and others.

Also for sale are the popular Royal Project strawberries, cape gooseberries, vegetables including broccoli and other cooler mountain top crops as well as handwoven handicrafts, cut fresh and dried flowers, flowering plants and trees as well as herbs.

The annual event will run through December 21, 2014 at the Chiang Mai University Convention Center

Crowds flock to the Royal Project Supermarket which features fruits and vegetables as well as teas, baked goods, and more.


Three Swedish organizations based in Bangkok join forces to raise 138,000 baht for charity

Children with the Kid’s Ark Foundation, a registered non-profit organization that is committed to help disadvantaged children whose lives have been affected by poverty, will receive presents from Santa this year thanks to three Swedish organizations.

DIAKRIT International Ltd., Swedish Women’s Educational Association (SWEA) and The Milk Project joined forces this year to initiate fundraising for the Kids Ark Foundation (KAF) in Thailand. The companies came together in hopes of helping the KAF to develop their facilities and programs further, thus providing even better care for the children. DIAKRIT placed donation boxes in each of its offices, boxes that the company and its employees used to collect a total of 88,000 baht.
“DIAKRIT has been helping the KAF for the last ten years and it is immensely satisfying to see how the hard work of the people that run KAF is helping so many children.” says Fredrik Bergman, DIAKRIT’s President & CEO. “DIAKRIT firmly believes in giving back to the less fortunate. We are therefore more than happy to lend a helping hand to the KAF children in hopes that in doing so we are helping to pave the way for these children to have a brighter future.”
The Milk Project raised THB 20,000 thanks to the generous donations of numerous miscellaneous donors. KAF plans on using these funds to buy a large dining table for the children to be able to sit and have dinner together. SWEA chose to donate a wide range of practical Christmas presents valued at THB 30,000. Representatives from SWEA and The Milk Project went to IKEA and purchased the Christmas presents, gifts that which included pens, notebooks, and easels. They also purchased kitchen equipment, Swedish Christmas treats, and a whole lot of toys.
“We called the KAF and asked them to send us a wish list for Christmas, which they gladly did.” says Maria Mellblom, Chairman of SWEA, Bangkok. “Together with The Milk Project we went and bought everything KAF wished for, from IKEA. This Christmas the KAF children will be visited by the SWEA Santa who will deliver their presents to them. It feels incredibly fun and delightful that we have had the opportunity to spread the Christmas cheer with these children.”


German government donates to projects in the North

Helfen Germany helps coordinate efforts

Ban Mai Pattana in Galyani Vadhana District received a water filtration system and tank for the village of around 100 people. Previously villagers would have to burn wood to boil the water to purify it for drinking. The German government donated 420,000 baht for this project developed by the Musekee Foundation.

Shana Kongmun
The German government donated nearly 2 million baht through the German Embassy in Bangkok in 2014 to various projects around the North. Those projects range from building dormitories for the Ban Dek Yearee in San Sai for 30 Lahu children in need of housing, to providing clean water and tanks to a remote Galyani Vadhana District village through the Musekee Foundation and toilets for handicapped men women and children as well as agricultural produce such as fruit trees and chickens for the New Life Foundation in Chiang Dao.
Other projects that received funding included support for children in Mae Sai, a gathering point for children to beg at the bridge at the border in Mae Sai, many of the older children end up at risk for trafficking when they can no longer earn enough money begging to support their families. Baan Nana in Mae Sai provides shelter, and help with education. Funding was a joint project between the French and German governments.
Outside Northern Thailand the Home for the Destitute in Prachuab Khiri Khan received fudning for an agriculture project that allowed residents to provide for themselves by growing pineapples, flowers and fish for sale. In Myanmar the government provided funds to the Pyi Lone Monastery School in Mawlamyine to build buildings and toilets for the school that helps 60 children orphaned after Cyclone Nargis, the devastating storm that hit coastal Myanmar in 2008 killing more than 138,000 people and devastating entire villages.
The German government, through the aid of Helfen, has provided funding for other ongoing projects in the North. Helfen plans on assisting organization in requesting funding from the German government on more projects in 2015, with four planned for Thailand and four in Myanmar.


Temperatures continue to fall as Chiang Mai gets chilly

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Friday’s temperature on Doi Inthanon reached a chilly 3 degrees Celsius and frozen dew was seen on the mountaintop. The Meteorological Office said that temperatures in the city reached 15 degrees with a high of 30. Temperatures are expected to continue to drop a further one or two degrees with lows in the lower parts of the province expected to reach 11 degrees Celsius. Very cold weather and isolated frost is expected on the mountain tops, with minimum temperatures reaching as low as three degrees on the lower mountains. Doi Inthanon is the highest point in Thailand, in Chom Thong District of Chiang Mai and reaches 2,565 meters.


Northern Food Valley showcases food production

Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya views a display on food products produced in Northern Thailand at the opening of the Northern Food Valley Showcase on Friday, December 19, 2014. The event, which is being held at the Industrial Promotion Center on Thung Hotel Road. The initiative works to promote innovation in food production and packaging. This exhibit focuses on new products and new businesses in the North, looking to build networks and promote information and economic planning throughout the supply chain with the development of the Northern Food Park Project and create a sustainable food industry in the North


Countdown to New Year to be alcohol free

Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya, President of the Provincial Administration Organization Boonlert Buranupakorn, Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn, the Provincial Public Health Office and Police and sponsors Bangkok Air represented by Passapong Jirawattanasak, Regional and International Corporate Communications Department Manager onstage for the press conference.

Shana Kongmun
New festivities at Tha Pae Gate are to be alcohol free it was announced at a press conference held by the government of Chiang Mai, the Municipality and other organizations. Countdown to New Year will be held at Tha Pae Gate from December 25 to December 31, 2014 and will feature concerts by popular singers and performances. The festival will also offer a variety of food and products for sale as well as the ever popular street side massage.
Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya welcomed everyone to the event noting that Chiang Mai is one of the top New Year’s Eve destinations in Thailand. He was joined onstage by President of the Provincial Administration Organization Boonlert Buranupakorn, Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn, the Provincial Public Health Office and Police as well as sponsors Bangkok Air represented by Passapong Jirawattanasak, Regional and International Corporate Communications Department Manager.
The government is working to reduce the number of drunk driving accidents over the New Year period in Chiang Mai and offering a family friendly atmosphere at Tha Pae Gate for visitors and locals.

Along with massages there will be food, music and fun.


Japanese government helps local migrant children with education

The government of Japan provided funds for Wat Papao to build a school for children of ethnic Shan migrant workers in Chiang Mai.

The Government of Japan, under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects Scheme (GGP), has provided funds amounting to 3,707,000 baht for a project entitled “The Project for Construction of a Schoolhouse for the Myanmar Ethnic Group in Muang District, Chiang Mai Province”. On November 26, 2014, Mr. Akihiko Fujii, Consul-General of Japan in Chiang Mai, and Phra Khru Amornveerakhun, Chairman of the Wat Papao Foundation for Promotion of Education, Art and Culture, Mr. Chumphol Ratolertlop, Director of Chiang Mai Primary Education Service Area Office 1 and Nithithorn Thepthewin, Director of Non-formal and Informal Education Muang district office were present at the project completion ceremony at Wat Papao, Muang district, Chiang Mai.
The majority of Shan ethnic people residing in Northern Thailand are displaced persons who fled into Thailand to escape threats of various persecutions in Myanmar. Most of them have been earning their livelihood by working as laborers in the agricultural, construction, manufacturing and service sectors because they are able to communicate in Thai language which belongs to the same language group as Shan. However, they have been under the rough living-working condition. On the other hand, theThai government, with the background of the necessity for countermeasures to combat the serious labor shortage and the need to improvement of Thai - Myanmar relation resulted from the beginning of democratization of Myanmar, has embarked to improve the lives of displaced persons and migrant laborers from Myanmar in the terms of labor, education and welfare.
Wat Papao Buddhist temple was established in Chiang Mai city by Shan people about 400 years ago and has performed a central role in maintaining the religion and traditional culture of Shan people in Northern Thailand. The Wat Papao Foundation for Promotion of Education, Art and Culture was established in 1997. The foundation procured permission from the Ministry of Education and established a primary school (with kindergarten) and a school for adults within the temple ground, has accepted displaced Shan children and adults and tried to preserve the Shan language and traditional culture by using the class schedule of cultural and club activities.
Under these circumstances, in response to a request from the foundation, the Government of Japan provided the costs of construction of a new schoolhouse in order to resolve the lack of classrooms for new applicants to enter the school and the construction of the 3 storey schoolhouse has now been completed.
It is expected that this project will promote basic education, understanding about the situation in motherland, and empowerment with abilities as citizens of civil society, which will further lead them to play a role of community development leaders after their eventual return to homeland, and assist in the stabilization of Myanmar society in the long term. Furthermore, it is also anticipated that this project will lead to build co-existence relationship of Thai - Shan people, stabilization and improvement of the welfare of communities in the city area.
Through its Grant Assistance for Human Security Projects scheme (GGP), the Japanese government intends to continue to support projects which contribute to Human Security including assistance to improve the welfare of ethnic nationalities from Myanmar.


Ten districts in Chiang Mai declared cold weather disaster areas

Worrawit Intajai, Head of the Emergency Relief of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Chiang Mai Provincial office announced that ten districts have been declared disaster areas by the Governor.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Chiang Mai Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya declared ten districts in Chiang Mai Province as disaster areas due to cold weather as temperatures in the mountains continue to drop. Worrawit Intajai, Head of the Emergency Relief of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Chiang Mai Provincial office said that the Meteorological Department has forecast a high pressure area from China extend covering Northern Thailand, which makes temperatures drop.
Remote mountain areas have seen lows of around 15 degrees Celsius over a period of 3 consecutive days, affecting 281,259 victims, 89,336 households, 466 villages, 43 subdistricts, in 10 districts. The ten districs are; Galyani Vadhana, Om Koi, Wiang Haeng, Mae Chaem, Fang, Chai Prakan, Samoeng, Mae Taeng and Muang districts.
In addition to assistance from the local government companies have offered assistance including Honda Fund Thailand, Thai Nakorn Patana Company Limited and Spring News extend to various area such as Doi Tao, Om Koi, Chom Thong, Mae Chaem Doi Saket, Hot and Mae On donating 13,000 blankets and overcoats to victims.
Those who are neediest are elderly, poor children, and the disabled need 254,490 blankets, 22,624 wool blankets, 50,783 sweaters, 3,995 other clothes. However, members of the private sector expressed a desire to donate sweaters through the Governor. More disaster areas are expected to be declared if the temperatures continue to drop.


Parade for Anti-Corruption Day

Students and members of government organizations joined in a parade on December 8, 2014 to celebrate International Anti-Corruption Day Parade which is honored around the world on December 9. The UN enacted International Anti-Corruption Day in 2005 in a bid to raise awareness of and fight corruption around the world. This year UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said, “To dismantle corruption’s high walls, I urge every nation to ratify and implement the UN Convention against Corruption. Its ground breaking measures in the areas of prevention, criminalization, international cooperation and asset recovery have made important inroads, but there is much more to do.” (Photo courtesy of Harm DeVries)


New baby albino wallaby welcomed to Night Safari family

The Chiang Mai Night Safari shows off the new baby albino wallaby.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The newest member of the Chiang Mai Night Safari was announced by Dr. Sarawut Srisakun, Acting Director of the Pinkanakorn Development Agency (Public Organization), a baby albino wallaby. The new baby was released into the display area on December 15, 2014.
Wallabies are a member of the kangaroo family but are smaller in size and native of Australia. Full grown wallabies are about 1 meter tall and weigh between 11 – 26 kilograms. The tail of the wallaby is long and strong and used for balancing and jumping. The albinism in the baby wallaby is caused by disorders of the blood cells and may shorten the life of the baby.


GMS sub-region human trafficking report released

Knowing about the risks of human trafficking is not stopping an estimated 3 to 5 million people from Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam from migrating for work in richer neighbouring countries, a new research study has found.
The lure of earning enough money to send back to their families often overrides known risks or actual previous experiences of exploitation, dangerous working conditions or excessive hours, revealed the World Vision research being launched days before International Migration Day on 18 December.
“This is the first time we can confirm, with empirical evidence, that prevention work relying on raising awareness is not enough. Young people will continue to migrate. It’s time trafficking prevention agencies shift the focus of prevention work to safe migration,” said John Whan Yoon, World Vision’s End Trafficking in Persons Regional Programme Manager.
“Raising awareness on the risks of migration needs to focus on changing risky behaviour to protective behaviours, such as travelling with formal documents and keeping in regular contact with family members,” Whan Yoon added.
The Vulnerability Report: Human Trafficking in the Greater Mekong Sub-region, a first of its kind regional study supported by a leading UK research university, draws on responses from close to 10,000 children, young people and adults in communities across Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
The report further found that young people who knew how to protect themselves were more likely to have a job with good working conditions and earn enough money to send home.
“We are not advocating for young people to move beyond their borders for work. However, we are seeking to empower youth with protective behaviours that could keep them safe in case they decide to work in another country,” Whan Yoon said.
Across Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, China and Myanmar, World Vision works with young people children and youth clubs where they learn about safe migration and how to protect themselves from the risks of exploitation and from being trafficked.
The report’s release also coincides with an art and multimedia exhibition at the Bangkok Arts & Culture Centre from 16-21 December entitled "Journey of Voices" –hosted by World Vision and the International Labour Organisation as part of the inter-agency Saphan Siang campaign – to bring attention to the realities of the migrant labour experience in the region.


Hang Dong residents turn out for newest Rimping Branch

The Rimping Supermarket brand continues to expand after renovations on the Kad Farang branch in Hang Dong Sub-district opened to great fanfare and many excited area residents on Sunday, December 14, 2014. The new Rimping branch brings the locally owned supermarket chain to a total of nine branches including smaller Express type branches. The original store was a mom and pop grocery store started over 60 years ago and has grown into a full service western style supermarket specializing in organic and safe foods.


PTT and Bangchak lower fuel prices

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
PTT Public Co. Ltd. and Bangchak Petroleum Public Co. Ltd both announced plans to lower prices at the pump beginning December 16, 2014. The companies will lower prices across the board, including benzene, gasohol and diesel.
Benzene and gasohol will both see price drops of 2 baht per liter, although E85 will only be lowered 20 satang per liter. Diesel will be lowered by 1 baht per liter.
Prices for Benzene 95 stand at 37.36 baht per liter, Gasohol 95 at 30.30 baht per liter, Gasohol 91 at 28.28 baht per liter, E85 at 22.48 baht per liter and Diesel at 26.89 baht per liter.
The companies have lowered fuel prices in reaction to lower costs of oil, as the benchmark price for U.S. oil dropped 48% in the past six months. CEO of the Bangchak Petroleum Public Company Limited, Wichien Ussanachote reported that he believes the price of crude oil per barrel in Dubai would continue to drop in 2015. He noted that major oil producers in the Middle East, West Africa and Atlantic have not lowered production and a strong dollar would bring down prices.


Chiang Mai Japanese Association raises funds for the Red Cross

The Chiang Mai Japanese Association donated funds to the Provincial Red Cross on December 11, 2014 to help needy Chiang Mai residents. A representative of the Chiang Mai Japanese Association was joined by Japanese Consul-General Akihiko Fujii at the donation ceremony which saw the group hand over 80,762 baht to the President of the Chiang Mai Red Cross Mananya Prasatbuntitya who received the donation on behalf of the Red Cross. The funds were raised by the Chiang Mai Japanese Association from a Charity Bazaar event and the Thai-Japan Golf Friendship tournament.


Donations received for the Red Cross Winter Fair

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Chiang Mai Governor Prasatbuntitya and Mananya Prasatbuntitya, as President of the Chiang Mai Provincial Red Cross received donations for the Red Cross Winter Fair on December 11, 2014. The annual fair is a popular event in Chiang Mai featuring fun rides, games, raffles, and prizes. The Red Cross Winter Fair also sees Miss Chiang Mai chosen to represent the city in the Miss Thailand contest.
The first Winter Fair was held at Yupparaj Wittayalai School in 1936 before being moved to the Municipal Stadium in 1954 and finally to the vacant land behind City Hall. The event is being held from December 26, 2014 to January 4, 2015.


International Puppet Festival ties together ASEAN countries

Noppadon Pakprot, Executive Director of Events for the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Deputy Governor Supachai Iamsuwan, and Assistant Professor Suphachai Chuaratanaphong, M.D., Vice President for University Council Affairs and Vilawan Svetsreni, Director of Center for the Promotion of Arts and Culture are joined on stage for the grand opening ceremony by visiting and local puppets, puppeteers, and honored guests.

Shana Kongmun
The International Puppet Festival is being held at the Lanna Traditional House Museum on Canal Road from December 12 – 14, 2014 and features puppeteers and unique puppets from 10 countries, ASEAN countries and three others.
“The International Puppet Festival ties the countries of ASEAN and two other countries through the unique form of puppetry,” said Vilawan Svetsreni, Director of Center for the Promotion of Arts and Culture at the opening ceremony held on Friday, December 12, 2014. She was joined in the grand opening by Noppadon Pakprot, Executive Director of Events for the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Deputy Governor Supachai Iamsuwan, and Assistant Professor Suphachai Chuaratanaphong, M.D., Vice President for University Council Affairs.
Dr. Suphachai Chuaratnaphong said that the event brings a better understanding of each other’s cultures through art, while the Deputy Governor emphasized the importance of close ties of ASEAN countries and the continued exchange of art and culture as we head to the ASEAN Economic Community.

Hanuman’s cheeky ways kept the children entertained at the opening night’s show.

The International Puppet Festival features puppets from Japan, China, Philippines, Laos PDR, Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Singapore and others. The unique Vietnamese Water Puppets along with traditional Central Royal puppets, Shadow puppets from Southern Thailand and Indonesia, Chinese hand puppets and string puppets are just some of the many elaborate puppets performing every evening. Additionally workshops are being held daily as well as lovely handcrafted items such as phasin, bags, clothes and toys.
Workshops are held daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and puppet performances from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and in the large venue from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Traditional Lanna House Museum at the corner of Canal and Suthep Roads.


Lamphun school gets water source thanks to Japanese government funds

The Consul General of Japan signs the funding contract with Kasem Tre-intong, Director of Chalermprakiet 48 Pansa School, Lamphun so that the school can have an adequate supply of drinking water.

The Government of Japan, under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects Scheme (GGP), is providing funds amounting to 3,144,000 baht for “the Project for Improvement of Groundwater Supply System at Chalermprakiet 48 Pansa School, Muang District, Lamphun Province”. On December 9, 2014, Mr. Akihiko Fujii, Consul-General of Japan in Chiang Mai, and Mr. Kasem Tre-intong, Director of Chalermprakiet 48 Pansa School, jointly signed the funding contract at the Consulate-General of Japan in Chiang Mai.
Chalermprakiet 48 Pansa School is a private lower and upper secondary girls' boarding school, licensed as a welfare school by the Ministry of Education. The school provides free education and board for 350 disadvantaged students such as AIDS orphans and children from mountainous areas at risk of human trafficking. The school not only provides a formal curriculum for them, but also provides optional vocational training programs to prepare those who have difficulty accessing higher education so that they can be financially independent.
As the public water supply system has not yet reached Tonthong Sub-District, where the school is located, the school set up a groundwater supply system on their premises ten years ago in order to provide water for their students. However, the water did not meet the quality standard for daily use, nor did it meet the criterion for drinking water even after treatment by a water purifier. There has therefore been concern over its effect on the health of students. Moreover, the inadequate volume of water supplied by the current system has been an inconvenience to the students' daily life.
In response to a request from Chalermprakiet 48 Pansa School, the Government of Japan will bear the costs of improving the groundwater supply system. This support will enable the supply of adequate water for usage in daily life and for drinking water that meets the water quality standard to ensure a safe and comfortable living environment for students. (GGP)


 
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Popular Royal Project Fair opens at CMU Convention Center

Three Swedish organizations based in Bangkok join forces to raise 138,000 baht for charity

German government donates to projects in the North

Temperatures continue to fall as Chiang Mai gets chilly

Northern Food Valley showcases food production

Countdown to New Year to be alcohol free

Japanese government helps local migrant children with education

Ten districts in Chiang Mai declared cold weather disaster areas

Parade for Anti-Corruption Day

New baby albino wallaby welcomed to Night Safari family

GMS sub-region human trafficking report released

Hang Dong residents turn out for newest Rimping Branch

PTT and Bangchak lower fuel prices

Chiang Mai Japanese Association raises funds for the Red Cross

Donations received for the Red Cross Winter Fair

International Puppet Festival ties together ASEAN countries

Lamphun school gets water source thanks to Japanese government funds


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