Make Chiangmai Mail | your Homepage | Bookmark

Chiangmai 's First English Language Newspaper

Pattaya Blatt | Pattaya Mail | Pattaya Mail TV

 
 
NEWS
 

Miracle Tourism Forum 2012 draws tourism professionals from around the region

Chiang Mai Governor M.L. Panadda Diskul is joined on stage by Mae Hong Son Governor Naruemol Plawat and Lamphun Deputy Governor Chumporn Saengmanee and the TAT Deputy Governor for Marketing Mrs. Juthaporn Rerngronasa as well as by the heads of tourism business associations, the Chiang Mai Head of the TAT Chalermsak Suranont and other noted guests to formally open the Forum.

By Shana Kongmun

The Miracle Tourism Forum 2012 was held this past weekend at the Holiday Inn Hotel from May 26-29 and worked to promote tourism in Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang and Mae Hong Son Provinces. Chiang Mai Governor M.L. Panadda Diskul was joined by Mae Hong Son Governor Naruemol Plawat and Lamphun Deputy Governor Chumporn Saengmanee and the TAT Deputy Governor for Marketing Mrs. Juthaporn Rerngronasa as well as by the heads of tourism business associations for the provinces involved. Area businesses joined the forum which was split up into four sections covering each province and covered Culture, Cuisine, Nature, Handicraft, Hospitality and value for money.

The Director of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports Chiang Mai Provincial Office Churairat Preawprai noted that the event highlights the strengths of the Northern Lanna culture and that it is part of the government’s Miracle of Thailand Year promotion campaign.

The Vice President of the Association of Thai Travel Agents Virat Chatturaputpitak said that the European economy was hurting tourism to the North as well as the view that there was a loss of cultural traditions. He added that the area needs to build quality tourism in order to attract tourists and said that the ATTA has again brought up the idea of a cable car being built to the top of Doi Suthep to make it more accessible for tourists.

(Far right) Honorary Consul to Bangladesh and MTF award winner Rachan Veerapan is joined by other members of the forum at the start.

The opening show was filled with Lanna culture and was both beautiful and entertaining.

Anchalee Kalmapijit (2nd left), an MTF award winner and owner of the Elephant Life Experience is joined by Siripanna Resort Managing Director (left) Supamit Kitjapiphat, Resort Manager Manus Kaewpaeng and Dear Sarikbutr of Siripanna.


Visakha Bucha Day festivities have begun

Buddhist faithful around Thailand and the North gather to honor the Buddha’s birth, death and enlightenment on Visakha Bucha Day, which falls on the Full Moon in May or June. Here, Lampang residents and tourists make merit at Wat Phrathat Lampang Luang. (File photo)

The Chiang Mai Municipality announced the schedule for Visakha Bucha Day with festivities beginning Tuesday, May 29 with the Opening Ceremony of Buddhism Promotion Week. Thursday, May 31 from 8.30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. will see Dharma talks and meditation of students at Buddha Satan...

The Municipality will hold a Lantern Parade on Sunday, June 3 at 6:30 p.m. from the Governor’s House on Nawarat Bridge to Wat Chedi Luang where participants will all be dressed in white and the public is invited to dress in white as well. Sunday night there will be a Lanna style parade to bring the lustral water up to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep and the procession of the faithful begin their 11 km walk up Doi Suthep. Most people will arrive around 1-3 a.m. to walk three times around the temple. People will give alms to 225 monks at 6:30 a.m. at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. There will be a bathing ceremony with Royally blessed lustral water of the Buddha images at 3 p.m.

Visakha Bucha Day falls on Monday, June 4 and is one of the most venerated days in the Buddhist calendar. The day celebrates the Buddha’s life, enlightenment and death and finally, achieving final release from the circle of rebirth. It is a national holiday and alcohol will not be sold or served around the country.


Lucky license plates net 23 million baht in auction

Chiang Mai Governor M. L. Panadda Diskul launched the auction of lucky license plates at the Empress Hotel in May 26 and 27.

Nopniwat Krailerg

The Land Transport Office held an auction of new license plates on May 26 and 2 at the Empress Hotel, raising a total of 23,110,055 baht for the Road Safety Fund that assists victims of road accidents.

The first day of the auction saw nearly 13 million baht in sales and the second day over 10 million Baht. Many people participated in the auction where a pharmacist from Prima Herb Co. paid 1.8 million baht for the lucky 9999 plate, the license plate honored by the Prime Minister that was expected to bring in the most fetched 620,000 Baht.


EU launches Happen project

Activities organized for World Environment Day

Nopniwat Krailerg

Apiwat Kunarak, the Director of the Regional 1 Environment Office, said that the office is organizing activities for the annual World Environment Day 2012 to be held on June 4 and 5, 2012. A public seminar will be held where participants will exchange experiences in dealing with fires and smoke in a bid to help reduce the smog caused by forest fires. Additionally, a walk will be held on Tuesday, June 5 a 9 a.m. at Nawarat Bridge to the Train Station Park.

Apiwat Kunarak discusses the upcoming launch of World Environment Day activities.

The HAPPEN Project or Holistic Approach of Public Partnership for the Environment, funded by the European Union, will be launched at JJ Market. With a budget of 490,000 EU the project will take place in 5 districts in Chiang Mai from 2012 through 2105. The Muang district, Hang Dong, Mae Rim, San Sai and Doi Saket will see about 700 people from local and government organizations as well as NGO’s, students and members of the public.

It aims to improve environmental management and resource efficiency as well as the skills of the local communities involved and will include the participation of highland people or hill tribes who were often accused of burning forests that cause the choking haze that blankets Chiang Mai annually.


Assistant Ministry of Industry inspects steel production standards

The Assistant Minister of Industry Supab Kleekhajai inspected for substandard steel construction products.

Nopniwat Krailerg

Assistant Minister of Industry Supab Kleekhajai joined the management team of industry professionals from the Thai Industrial Standards Institute Office to check hardware at the Tor Kehaphan (2002) Co., Ltd to ensure that non-standard products are being destroyed and to inspect current goods to make sure they are up to industry standards, especially products related to the safety of consumers.

The Assistant Minister of Industry said that substandard products had ot yet been and included rebar and steel supports for structures. The government would not allow substandard building materials to enter the market and pose hazards to the safety of consumers.


50 million baht budget for PAO elections

The President of the Office of the Election Commission of Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Organization (PAO) Phet Kanthadee reported on the budget for the PAO elections to be held on June 23, 2012.

Nopniwat Krailerg

The President of the Office of the Election Commission of Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Organization (PAO) Phet Kanthadee said that the upcoming elections for PAO President and members of the PAO Council that will be held in 25 districts on June 23, 2012 has been granted a budget of 50 million baht.

By law, the candidates for PAO President cannot have more than 4.2 million baht in campaign financing while the candidates for Council will receive no more than 100,000 baht.

There are currently four candidates for PAO President; number one Boonlert Buranupakorn from the Pheu Thai Kunnatham party, number two Dr. Thaworn Kiatchaiyakorn from the Pheu Thai Chiang Mai party, number three Kwanchai Sakulthong, Independent, and number four Kingkarn Na Chiang Mai also known as Jae Dang, from the Khon Chiang Mai Pattana Chiang Mai party. There are a total 130 candidates for the PAO Council of which only 20 are women. The Province has a voter population between 1.2 and 1.6 million people.

"There is  concern that there will be fraud in the election and that the Election Commission may issue a yellow or red card after the election which could lead to a new election. This would require an additional budget of about 20-30 million baht because of new ballots and elections.” Phet added that they will have a media campaign to raise awareness on election fraud and encourage people to not sell or buy votes.


Lychee product rise in the north

Head of the Chiang Mai Agriculture Office Sompol Saenkham reports on the lychee market glut.

Nopniwat Krailerg

Despite the unseasonal weather earlier in the season, lychee production is on the rise with the Head of the Chiang Mai Agriculture Office Sompol Saenkham reporting that production in the four Northern provinces of Chiang Mai Chiang Rai, Phayao and Nan up 79.53 percent. So far 2012 production has reached 62,000 tons, a vast increase over the 25,488 tons produced in 2011.

Important growing areas such as Fang, Chai Prakan, Mae Ai, Mae Taeng and Mae Rim in Chiang Mai have produced about 30,097 tons, up from last year by about 16,000 tons. The cold weather early on resulted in the high production.

The market for lychees reaches its peak from mid-May to mid-June which corresponds to peak season for fruit such as rambutan, durian, and mangosteen from Eastern and Southern Thailand markets. The Agriculture Office is working with local manufacturers to grow the overseas market for processed fruit so that local farmers won’t be hit hard by low prices from the large production of fruit this year.


Lin Ping to celebrate her 3rd birthday

The Chiang Mai Zoo has announced the upcoming birthday party to be held for the Zoo’s most famous resident; Lin Ping who turns three this month. The party will be held on Sunday, May 27 at the Panda Enclosure at the Chiang Mai Zoo beginning at 9 a.m. when distinguished guests, sponsors and friends of the Zoo will sing happy birthday to Lin Ping. Then at 10:30 a cake of fruit and other foods the panda loves will be presented to Lin Ping at the Panda Enclosure followed by a photo session (no flash). (File photo from Lin Ping’s 20th month birthday party).


CMU Freshmen welcomed at the Train Station

Traditional greeting for newcomers

Incoming freshmen students were welcomed at the Train Station in a long standing CMU tradition.

Nopniwat Krailerg

Incoming Chiang Mai University freshmen were greeted at the Chiang Mai Train Station on Thursday, May 24, 2012 by various student clubs from CMU in a tradition that dates back almost 50 years.

CMU Vice President Asst. Prof. Amnaj Yoosuk said this tradition of welcoming new students to CMU dates back more than48 years to the first class of new students at CMU. It is a tradition that new students embark in Bangkok together and travel by train to Chiang Mai to be greeted by students already in Chiang Mai. Alcohol was banned from the “White Train” to prevent alcohol related incidents among freshmen.

The tradition is aimed at building relationships among students and to make the new students feel at home.


Municipality prunes trees around the city

The strong winds and rains of the summer monsoon season have seen an increase of tree branches breaking and falling on streets and cars creating hazardous driving conditions. The Municipality started trimming and pruning off weak and too heavy branches from trees on Friday May 25, 2012. Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn joined in the tree trimming and added that the Municipality has installed a direct line for those who have suffered damage or injury from storms and natural disasters. The public can call 199 , 053-233444, 053-234193 24 hours a day.


Former PM Abhisit visits San Kamphaeng to campaign

Former Prime Minister Abhisit and Democrat candidate for Constituency 3 seat Kulyakorn campaign in San Kamphaeng District. Constituency 3 consists of Mae On, San Kamphaeng and Doi Saket Districts.

Nopniwat Krailerg

Former Prime Minister and current leader of the Democrat Party Abhisit Vejjajiva paid a visit to Chiang Mai’s San Kamphaeng District on Thursday, May 24, 2012 to help Kulyakorn Jiamkitwattana campaign in a bid to win the Constituency 3 seat for Member of Parliament recently vacated after Chinicha Wongsawat was found guilty of filing false assets declarations and barred her from politics for 5 years by the Election Commission.

The former Prime Minister met with people at the San Ton Dou Market before visiting Bo Sang and Ton Pao where he was generally welcomed by locals.
A group of Red Shirts in the area that support the Pheu Thai candidate followed the group around, shouting slogans and epithets but there were no confrontations.

Abhisit Vejjajiva as leader of the Democrat Party said the party has sent candidates to the elections this time and is demonstrating a willingness to work with people. He said that the issues of the local people should not be ignored and that rising prices should be addressed. He added that although the Democrat candidate is considered the underdog, the 29 year old Kulyakorn is a Chiang Mai native and lives and works locally. Kulyakorn works at a local community radio station will face her political rival Kasem Nimmonrat, 48, a local politician and close aide to Yaowapa Wongsawat, mother of the banned former MP Chinicha and wife of former Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat in the June 2 by elections.


Registration for PAO elections begins

Thousands of Red Shirts support the candidates

Boonlert Buranupakorn is greeted by supporters upon registering for the elections for the office of the President of the PAO.

Nopniwat Krailerg

Thursday, May 24, 2012 saw the first day of registration for Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Organization (PAO) Council members and President with two main candidates, both Pheu Thai, registering for the seat of President.

PAO President Boonlert Buranupakorn and head of the Pheu Thai Khunnatham Party received number one on the ballot while Dr. Thaworn Kiatchaiyakorn, former Senator of the Pheu Thai and member of the Pheu Thai Chiang Mai Party, received number 2.

Thousands of red shirted supporters turned out to meet the canddiates at the 80th Anniversary of HM the King building near the Provincial City where brother of ousted Prime Minister Payap Shinawatra, Chiang Mai Member of Parliament Tassanee Buranupakorn and Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn joined K. Boonlert on stage to show their support. Thousands of supporters thronged the stage, the majority of which had turned out to show their support for Boonlert Buranupakorn.

Payap Shinawatra noted that while the Pheu Thai had not submitted a candidate to the office and added that while both candidates are allowed to use the Pheu Thai name, they are not related to the party. He said that he simply came to congratulate his old friend; Boonlert Buranupakorn.

The President of the PAO will oversee 25 districts with more than 2,000 villages. Election Day is scheduled for June 23, 2012.

Payap Shinawatra (4th right), MP Tassanee Buranupakorn (2nd left) and Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn (1st left) join Boonlert Buranupakorn and supporters on stage to show their support for his candidacy.


Yunnan government officials in Chiang Mai to expand relations

Mr. Kwang Yong Ching will meet with the heads of relevant government agencies, and representatives from Provincial offices from May 24-28, 2012.

The President of the Pu’er Municipal Council of Yunnan in the People’s Republic of China traveled to Chiang Mai on May 24 and will spend the next few days meeting with local government officials.

Mr. Kwang Yong Ching will meet with the heads of relevant government agencies, and representatives from Provincial offices including the commercial office, the head of the Passport Office, the provincial Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Culture Office. They will exchange ideas and promote and expand economic relations, trade, investment and tourism between the two cities.

The goal is to strengthen relations between Chinese business people and private sector businesses in Chiang Mai as well as between government officials. Pu’er in Yunnan is famous for its tea reputed to be the best in the world. It is the largest city in Yunnan Province and shares many things in common with Chiang Mai as it has a large hill tribe population and has many agricultural crops.


Chiang Rai couple arrested smuggling drugs

120,000 methamphetamine tablets, or Yaba, were discovered hidden under the passenger seat of a Chiang Rai couple’s car at a police checkpoint in Lampang.

Nopniwat Krailerg

Police announced the arrest of a Chiang Rai couple after 120,000 Yaba tablets were found hidden under the passenger seat of their car after they were stopped at a police checkpoint in Ngao, Lampang.

National Police Chief Pol. Gen. Priewpan Damapong and Commissioner of Police Region 5 Lt. Gen. Suthep Dejraksa announced the arrest at Police Region 5 station on May 25, 2012 where they displayed the car and the 120,000 methamphetamine tablets.

The accused, Hue Saeher, age 27 and Panida Saeher, age 21 both of Wiang Kaen, Chiang Rai confessed to police that they had been hired to carry the drugs to Bangkok and that this was their third such trip.

The National police Chief Pol. Gen. Priewpan Damapong said the groups transporting drugs tend to avoid the main checkpoint so a second checkpoint on a less busy road had been set up, leading to increased interception of drugs.


Walk up Doi Suthep for Visakha Bucha Day planned

The organizing committee met to discuss the annual Walk Up Doi Suthep held on the night before Visakha Bucha Day on June 3 and 4.

Nopniwat Krailerg

The organizing committee for the annual “Walk up Doi Suthep” that takes place on Visakha Bucha Day met on May 21, 2012 at Wat Lok Molee to prepare for the event and announce the schedule.

Prathep Worasitthajarn, the Abbot of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep noted that this holiday celebrates the anniversary of Buddha attaining enlightenment 2,600 years ago. There will be ceremonies every evening from May 29 to June 3, 2012 at Wat Chotikul Suwannaram (Wat Mou Boon) near the Kruba Srivichai Monument.

Sunday night, June 3 there will be a Lanna style parade to bring the holy water up to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep and the procession of the faithful begin their 11 km walk up Doi Suthep. Most people will arrive around 1-3 a.m. to walk three times around the temple. Then at 6:30 a.m. people will give alms to 225 monks at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. There will be a bathing ceremony with Royal lustral water of the Buddha images at 3 p.m.


Prime Minister to visit Chiang Dao Royally sponsored reforestation projects

Maj. Gen. Somsak Ninbunjerdkul, Commander of the Pha Muang Task Force announced the May 24 visit of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Nopniwat Krailerg

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra plans to visit the Chiang Dao reforestation projects under the Royal sponsorship of HM the Queen on Thursday, May 24, Maj. Gen. Somsak Ninbunjerdkul, Commander of the Pha Muang Task Force announced.

The Prime Minister will be joined by the Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Army Gen. Prayut Chan-O-Cha when they visit the projects at Baan Na Wai in Tambon Muang Na in Chiang Dao District.

The Army has created forest restoration projects under the sponsorship of HM the Queen and in honor of her 80th birthday on August 12, 2012 in the area upstream of the River Ping, Wang, Yom and Nan.

There is a weir, 1,200 trees have been planted, canals dredged to carry water and a dam to store 12,600 cu. m. of water. Additionally there is an exhibition on conservation of natural resources and a mobile medical unit.

The Prime Minister will provide guidelines for the conservation of the environment and natural resources and meet with local residents and members of the Youth Conservation who have taken part in planting trees I the area.


Chiang Mai Governor leads inspection of Central Prison

Chiang Mai Governor M.L. Panadda Diskul and 600 corrections officers led an inspection raid in the early morning hours of May 19, 2012 at the Central Prison.

Nopniwat Krailerg

Chiang Mai Governor M.L Panadda Diskul was joined by 600 corrections officers in an inspection of Chiang Mai Central Prison at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 19, 2012 in a search for prohibited and illegal items.

22 porn magazines were found as well as 200 lighters that could be converted into explosives, 300 forks that could be sharpened into weapons, playing cards used for gambling, rope, 3 syringes and coffee and cigarettes. However, no drugs were found during the inspection and o the 200 inmates, none tested positive for drugs in urine tests.


Road drainage works begin

The Chiang Mai Municipality has started road works to improve street drainage for the upcoming rainy season. Repairs and replacement of drain covers began on Patan Road on Tuesday May 22, 2012. Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn pointed out that there were a lot of broken drain covers causing traffic accidents. Closing off the drain covers is not the solution, he pointed out, but that better quality improved covers need to be put in place, ones that will not break down from heavy traffic. (Photo courtesy of Chiang Mai Municipality).


300 Rak Chiang Mai 51 members rally at Tha Pae Gate

Around 300 members of the Rak Chiang Mai 51 group rallied at Tha Pae Gate on Saturday, May 19, 2012.

Nopniwat Krailerg

Around 300 members of the Rak Chiang Mai 51 Red Shirt group met at the community radio station at Grand Warorot Hotel behind Wat Phra Singh where they travelled by motorcycle, tuk tuk and songthaew to the Democrat Party Headquarters on Huay Kaew Road where they laid a wreath and burned an effigy in remembrance of the May 19 crackdown on the Bangkok demonstrations in 2010.

Led by Krishna Prombungrum, the crowd then moved to Waroros Market and down Tha Pae Road to Tha Pae Gate where the leaders addressed the crowd and called for the punishment of former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejajiva and former Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, they also asked that the government expedite the investigation of the deaths that occurred during the crackdown.


Dengue fever education at local schools

The Muncipality’s campaign to fight dengue fever kicked off at the Wichai Wittaya School’s Science Department on May 22, 2012 where Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn joined the students to discuss methods to prevent the spread of Dengue Fever by removing the mosquitoes breeding grounds. He pointed out that this year there have already been 93 cases of Dengue in Chiang Mai and about 1,000 cases in the past two years. An education campaign with demonstrations, leaflets and prevention tips will be held at all the Municipal schools in the coming weeks. (Photo courtesy of Chiang Mai Municipalty).


City Pillar or Inthakin Festival opens

Chiang Mai Governor M.L. hits the ceremonial gong to formally open the Inthakin Fetival.

By Shana Kongmun

The Inthakin Festival 2012 opened on Thursday, May 17, 2012 with a parade of the Buddha image from Wat Chedi Luang, led by Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn, that then visited major temples as well as 3 Kings Monument before winding its way back to Wat Chedi Luang where Governor M.L. Panadda Diskul opened the festival in Thai and then spoke in English to greet visitors to the festival and thanking them for their support of Chiang Mai.

The Governor and Mayor then proceeded to lay flowers as an alms giving before entering the shrine of the City Pillar. They then proceeded to the main temple and joined in the Buddhist ceremony led by the Abbot of Wat Chedi Luang.

This annual ceremony is held on the 13th day of the waning moon in the eighth Northern lunar moon and continues until the second day of the waxing moon of the ninth month. This year it runs from May 17 to May 24. May 19, 2012 is the actual Inthakin ceremony where offerings are made and the festival ends on May 24, 2012 when the Mayor will hold the Closing Ceremony and pray to the Buddha image and gives food offerings to 108 monks.

The Inthakin was believed to be erected long ago when a hermit advised the residents of the area to erect the pillar to ward off demons and bring good fortune. Buddhist ceremonies are integrated with the ancient ceremony. The ceremonies ensure the continued long life of the Buddha while bathing the Buddha image will bring the rains and good fortune.

The Procession of the Buddha image was led by a parade on May 17, 2012.

The Governor bathes the Buddha image at the ceremony.

The Buddha image known as Phra Fon Saen Haa (the Five Hundred Thousand Raindrop Buddha) is carried through the city streets.


65 Rai returned to Mae Taeng farmers

Chiang Mai Governor M.L. Panadda Diskul greets local hill tribe farmers at the land grant ceremony.

Nopniwat Krailerg

Chiang Mai Governor M.L. Panadda Diskul presided over the delivery of land documents to farmers in Baan Nong Phung in Mae Taeng District on May 18, 2012.

The land had been taken out of agricultural production for local farmers and allocated to foreign workers for building residences in 2003. The locals petitioned the Agricultural Land Reform Office to return the land to area farmers.

Under the King’s sufficiency economy program, the land is being divided among the landless poor of the area, 2 rai per household.


Partial solar eclipse Monday morning

Annular eclipse where the moon’s shadow partially covers the sun. (Photo courtesy of NARIT)

The National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand invites people to join them to view the partial solar eclipse that will be visible in Chiang Mai on Monday, May 21, 2012 and will only be visible for 16 minutes from 5:50 a.m. to 6:06 a.m. The eclipse will be seen in Asia, across the Pacific and North America. This is an annular eclipse where the moon passes between the sun and the earth, casting a shadow over the sun and leaving a fiery ring around the moon. This is the first annular eclipse since 1994.

NARIT warns that because the sun will be so close to the horizon that early in the morning it may only be partially visible.


Chiang Mai to host Vegetarian conference

The South East Asian Vegetarian conference will be held in Chiang Mai November 23-25, 2012.

Nopniwat Krailerg

Chiang Mai will host the South East Asian Vegetarian Union for the first time the President of the Thailand Vegetarian Association Chiang Mai Branch  Dr. Nasaphon Phothivichit  recently reported. He said that the Confederation of  South East Asian Vegetarian Union (SEAVU) assigned the  Thailand Vegetarian Association, (TVA) to host the SEAVC 2012 meeting in Chiang Mai in November this year.

The South East Asian Vegetarian Union (SEAVU) is a cooperation of private enterprises from four countries; Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand with a plan to add other countries. They hope to add such ASEAN members as Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The SEAVU was started in 2007 with a goal to strengthen relations among members.

The meeting will be held from Nov 23-25, 2012 at the Win Place Hotel, Chiang Mai with the theme “Go Veg for a better world.” They are promoting better diet and eating vegetarian for better health across South East Asia.


World “No Tobacco Day” at Tha Pae Gate on May 31

The Chiang Mai Public Office is organizing “No Tobacco Day” events at Tha Pae Gate for May 31 to honor World “No Tobacco Day”.

Nopniwat Krailerg

The Chief of the Chiang Mai Public Health Office Dr. Wattana Kanchanakamol reported that World No Tobacco Day to be held at Tha Pae Gate on May 31, 2012 will include public and private schools in the parade and activities that will see students pledge to not smoke.

The World Health Organization designated May 31 of each year as World No Tobacco Day, this year the is Tobacco Industry Interference. Activities will focus on creating awareness of the problems of interference from the tobacco industry that impact society. The events will advocate literacy in advertising and public policy regarding tobacco and its promotion. A parade will end at Tha Pae Gate where various activities will be held on May 31, 2012.


Chiang Mai prepares for dengue fever in the rainy season

Chiang Mai Mail online reporters

In preparation for the upcoming rainy season Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn announced plans to hold education seminars on dengue fever for local residents and students at area schools over the next two weeks. Education on dengue, mosquitoes and how to prevent dengue by eliminating breeding grounds for the mosquitoes will be provided as well as mosquito sprays and other preventative measures.

The first seminar will be held at Wichai Wittaya Bilingual School on Tuesday, May 22 at 8 a.m. Then at Princes Royal College on May 24 at 8 a.m. and finally on May 29 at Montfort College at 8 a.m.


CMU Faculty of Medicine gets new robotic surgical arm

The new robotic surgical arm has a 3 D camera and will reduce the risk of complications during surgery.

Nopiwat Krailerg

Professor Dr. Bunnakit  Lojanaphiwat, a lecturer with the Department of Surgery, Urology of the Faculty of Medicine at  Chiang Mai University reported the launch of the latest technology in surgery a robotic arm with a 3D camera that will allow for surgery to be ten times more accurate. The arm can rotate freely and will allow for greater freedom to explore via the camera. The arm can be used for those suffering urintary tract problems, digestive system ailments, as well as gynecological and cardiovascular patients.

He noted that the arm will reduce the risk of complications during surgery and decrease the risk of infection after surgery. The arm will reduce the time needed for surgery and thus blood loss during surgery will be less.

The arm was imported from the United States and is the first of its kind in the North and only one of four in Thailand.


Seminar on local education reform

Chiang Mai Governor M.L. Panadda Diskul chaired the meeting on educational reform at the Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel on May 11, 2012, he was joined by Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn and Department of Education officials.

The Chiang Mai Education office together with the Province and Municipality held a seminar on local education reform at the Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel on Friday, May 11, 2012. The seminar was chaired by Governor M.L. Panadda Diskul. Chiang Mai has been chosen to host regional meetings to receive comments on the proposed reforms in Thai education for the next ten years. The current government is working on proposals to reform education in Thailand and bring it up to international standards nationwide. A series of seminars including those in the forefront of education in the North will be held in Chiang Mai to come up with proposals on necessary changes.


Gusty summer storm brings hail, strong winds

A sudden summer storm on May 15 at 5:30 p.m. brought hail to some parts of Chiang Mai and strong winds broke tree branches damaging some homes, billboards and street lights. The strong winds caused a small tree to break and fall on a pickup truck on Assadathorn road but nobody was injured in the accident. The Thai Meteorology Department has noted that a strong monsoon out of China will continue through the 19th, bringing high temperatures during the day and strong gusty winds with scattered rain and possible hail to the North.


Prime Minister celebrates 2,600 years of Buddha’s enlightenment

Buddhist relics from Sri Lanka were carried by elephant back from the Three Kings Monument to Wat Phra Singh.

Nopniwat Krailerg

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra traveled to Chiang Mai to join in the ceremony of installing Buddhist relics from Sri Lanka at Wat Phra Singh in honor of the 2,600th anniversary of the Lord Buddha’s enlightenment on May 11, 2012 at 5 p.m.

The ceremony was organized by Chiang Mai Province and the Sangha Council of Chiang Mai, the Foundation of the Triple Gems under the Royal Patronage of HRH the Crown Prince and is being held to celebrate the birth of Buddha and his enlightenment 2,600 years ago. Additionally, it will honor HM the King’s 85th birthday, HM the Queen’s 80th birthday and HRH the Crown Prince’s 60th birthday.

The relics were carried by elephant back from Three Kings Monument to Wat Phra Singh where the relics will be on display for veneration from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. for ten days.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra lights a candle to venerate the relics, which will be at Wat Phra Singh for ten days for the public to see and light candles to.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra presents offerings of flowers at the ceremony that was held on May 11, 2012 at Wat Phra Singh.


Chiang Mai prepares for dengue fever in the rainy season

The Mae Kha Canal is filled with quick growing water hyacinth and other invasive pest plants; the city has begun removing the plants.

Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn joined city workers to inspect dredging of Mae Kha Canal near the dusit D2 Hotel on Thursday, May 10, 2012. The Mae Kha Canal is overgrown with water hyacinth and the city has been working to remove the plants and other growth impeding the flow of water in the canal to prepare for the upcoming rainy season.

The Mayor said that the canal is very important for the city as it catches water overflow from roads and if the canal is not able to take up the overflow then drainage will be disrupted. The city is in the process of removing massive amounts of the quick growing and invasive water hyacinth and other pest plants. He said they hope to have 11 km fully dredged so that the water will be able to flow through quickly. The city is working on fixing the sewers, cleaning out street drainage and the Sri Donchai bridges.

He noted that the Mae Kha canal is the second most important waterway after the Ping River which has also been undergoing dredging and cleaning in preparation for the rainy season. He concluded that while this will not solve the problem permanently in areas that flood in heavy and persistent rains like last year but that it will help to accelerate the flow of movement of water and that along with installing water pumps that should help alleviate flooding.

Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn discusses the dredging plans.


Flood protection projects being implemented

Inspector General of the Prime Minister’s Office Chamroen Yuttithamsakul meets with the Deputy Governor and Provincial officials to discuss the progress of flood control projects.

Nopniwat Krailerg

The Inspector General of the Prime Minister’s Office Chamroen Yuttithamsakul reported on May 11, 2012 that implementation of flood protection and landslide warning projects was moving along with the 111 km dredging project of the Ping River nearing 95 percent completion and the 61 km dredging of the Mae Kuang River had been fully completed.
The landslide warning system has reached 87 percent completion and that city flood warning systems were more than 80 percent complete. More than 200 million Baht of the 575 million Baht earmarked for flood control in Chiang Mai has already been distributed and the government expects that the projects will all be fully completed in time for the rainy season.

Chamroen noted that there had been a 600 million Baht budget nationwide for 300,000 projects across the country and that he had been tasked by the Prime Minister’s Office to investigate their progress and to put pressure on the responsible Provincial agencies to accelerate completion of the projects. Timely completion of flood control projects will build confidence among both Thai people and foreign investors.


Governor checks consumer prices at Thanin Market

Governor M.L. Panadda Diskul checks out prices on both fresh and cooked food at Thanin Market on Thursday, May 11 2012.

Nopniwat Krailerg

Chiang Mai Governor M.L. Panadda Diskul toured Thanin Market on May 11, 2012 with Panjit Pitsawong, Head of the Chiang Mai Office of Commerce and staff to check out prices of key consumer products in Chiang Mai upon reports of price increases.

The Governor noted that the market was popular with the middle class, including government officials, and with students, where a bag of pre-prepared food is around 30-40 baht, which is still considered within the normal price range. Most vendors say they have not put their prices up despite the news in the media of rising consumer prices.

“The government has instructed officials to monitor price increases to ensure that consumers are not being exploited. The state has established a team to keep track of the various products in the markets every day and to send the data back to the provincial office,” the Governor said. The Governor noted that Thanin Market is quite well known for being a very good, clean fresh market that follows hygiene regulations.


Auspicious license plate number auction

The 301 lucky license plates to go up for auction on May 26 and 27, 2012.

Nopniwat Krailerg

The next auction of auspicious license plate numbers will be held at the Empress Hotel on May 26 and May 27 with the auction expected to bring in at least 25 million Baht for the road safety fund, according to Director of the Chiang Mai Land Transport Office, Chanchai Keelapaeng.

The number of license plates to go on auction, 301 in total, was picked during a ceremony of the Brahman Muni at Suthat Thepwararam Temple. The license plate numbers will carry “Treasures of Lanna and the precious Nakorn Ping”. The number 301 is considered propitious for fortune and careers.

The Director noted that the auction of lucky number plates has brought in more than a hundred million Baht to the Road Safety fund over the years.


Official election results announced for City Council

Voters gather at the Municipality in this file photo from Election Day.

Nopniwat Krailerg

Apichart Sukhagganond, the Chairman of the Office of the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT) announced the official results for the May 3 City Council elections in Nakornping, Kawila, Mengrai and Sriwichai sub districts.

The Chiang Mai Khunnatham Party won 18 seats to the Khon Muang Pattana Party’s 6 seats, all in the Sriwichai Sub-District.

Municipal Council members from the Nakornping Sub District are Pornrudee Putthisri, Pornpaka Takranta, Akkaradej Udomsiridumrong, Krisada Saeteao, Dusit Buranapim and Surapol Maneekat.

Area 2 Kawila Sub District winners are Surapong Pongsumakorn, Yuthana Rangsiyanant, Thipaporn Chompurat, Wilaiporn Putthisri, Daran Sireelert and Pojjana Srisilpnant.

The Council members from Mengrai Sub District are Natkritra Puangtong, Arkom Kanthawong, Wichai Sirirat, Pisuth Phisuthakul, Rachin Tantranont, and Napaporn Yamsiri.

Area 4, Sriwichai Sub District winners from the Khon Muang Pattana Party are Thanadol Worawan, Punyada Fungkittikul, Supapan Pawarana, Ratsarin Pinkunpiphat, Supansri Kanjanaket and Kiattisak Kuiarpai.


Consumer protection day in Chiang Mai

Deputy Governor Worakarn Yokying joined students and community leaders in Thai Consumer Protection Day.

Nopniwat Krailerg

Chiang Mai’s Deputy Governor Worakarn Yokying presided over the opening of Thai Consumer Protection Day at the Mercure Hotel on May 11, 2012. The Consumer Protection Agency and the Office of Public Health organized the seminar to build awareness on the safeguards of consumer protection in Thailand, including the establishment of an independent organization to investigate consumer fraud, and to push for the enforcement of legal measures to protect consumers in a serious manner.

The Deputy Governor said that the Consumer Protection Agency was there to help consumers in all areas, from cars to other areas and worked to prevent fraudulent practices, noting that the buyer should not take advantage of the seller either.


Royal Ploughing Ceremony held today at Sanam Luang

The annual Royal Ploughing Ceremony at Sanam Luang near the Grand Palace in Bangkok, and the accompanying Cultivation Ceremony held at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha the day before, are of great significance in Thailand. This year the ceremonies take place on May 9 and 10.

Oxen are guided by royal attendants during royal ploughing ceremonies in Bangkok. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

During the ceremonies, appropriate strains of different grains for cultivating crops are selected just prior to the planting season, and rituals are performed to interpret the year’s harvest. Grain selection is an important consideration when planting crops, as the crops rely on soil, ample rainfall and other natural factors.

The Cultivation Ceremony is also performed to help keep the different grains free from disease, producing a bountiful harvest.

His Majesty the King, accompanied by Her Majesty the Queen, has presided over the Cultivation Ceremony held at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in the past but recently, HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn has performed the ceremony.

The Royal Ploughing Ceremony signals the beginning of the planting season in Thailand. Two well cared for oxen of the same color pull an ancient plow, breaking the ground so that sacred seeds may be planted. Two other oxen wait in reserve.

Two Brahman priests sprinkling sacred water along the path lead the royal procession, with its nine-tiered royal umbrella.

Two pairs of female guardians carry grain in one gold and one silver container following behind the ploough, seeding the tilled ground.

Three circuits tilling the earth around Sanam Luang are completed and at the end the oxen are offered seven types of foods to select from: rice grain, corn, peas, sesame, liqueur, water and grass. Brahman priests then interpret their selection.

Following the ceremony, many people collect the seeds from the ground to keep as sacred objects promising a prosperous year, while others sow the ceremonial seeds mixed in with other seeds to sanctify the season’s crop. Many farmers in several provinces will sow their crops on this day as it is considered to be a most auspicious day.


HRH Princess Soamsawali Opened The Royal Agricultural Hall of Kings

HRH Princess Soamsawali opens the new Royal Agricultural Hall of Kings for Chiang Mai University on May 8, 2012.

Nopniwat Krailerg

HRH Princess Soamsawali presided over the opening ceremony of the Royal Agricultural Hall of Kings at the Mae Hia Demonstration and Training Center for the Faculty of Agriculture, Chiang Mai University on Tuesday, May 8, 2012.

The new Agriculture Hall was built to exhibit the genius of Thai agriculture and to honor HM the King’s patronage of agriculture. The Hall was built in honor of HM the King’s 85th birthday, HM the Queen’s 80th birthday and HRH the Crown Prince’s 60th birthday.

HRH Princess Soamsawali then visited the exhibition of the National Agricultural Fair 2012 which was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and CMU which is behind held until May 10 on over 800 rai of land.


Registration begins for new MP elections

Chiang Mai Mail online reporters

Monday, May 7 marked the first day of registration for the election of the Region 3 Member of Parliament. Region 3 encompasses Mae On, San Kamphaeng and Doi Saket Districts. The daughter of former Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, Chinicha was evicted from the seat after the Election Commission found her guilty of filing false assets declarations and barred her from politics for 5 years.

The only candidate to register on the first day was Kamol Nimmolrat of the Pheu Thai Party. Registration will be open until May 11, 2012 and new elections are scheduled for June 2, 2012. After Chinicha was removed as Member of Parliament, the Election Commission ruled that by elections must be held within 45 days.


Flash flood warnings across the North

Despite the respite from the heavy rains of the past few days, the Thai Meteorological Department issued a warning for flash floods from sporadic and isolated heavy showers around the North in the next few days. The Department of Mineral Resources has warned of landslides due to the heavy rains and Phrae has already seen a section of the Den Chai-Lampang road in the Long District. 9 people were rescued from Opkhan National Park after flash floods closed off the main exit.

Parts of the South have also been issued warnings; the provinces include Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phayao, Nan, Lamphun, Lampang, Phrae, Uttaradit, Ranong and Phang-nga.


Mayor visits city pawn shops

Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn discusses the increased business at Municipality pawn shops as parents ready for the coming school year.

Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn visited the Municipality’s three pawn shops on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 to determine how many people were visiting the shops to take out loans for the start of the school year. He was informed that the pawn shops had seen an increase of people coming to the pawn shop for money with an average month seeing 300 people per day and now increasing to over 400 per day.  The Municipality has three pawn shops set up around the city with a budget of 30 million Baht each up to a total of 100 million baht, and if demand outstrips that budget a further 270 million Baht can be supplemented from the municipality.

The mayor also said the pawn shop loans at a fair rate and that it is better to use the pawn services here than to borrow money outside the system with a loan shark who may charge high interest rates.


Thailand celebrates Wan Chatramongkhol (Coronation Day) May 5

The Chiang Mai Mail joins the nation in celebrating Coronation Day on Saturday May 5, 2012. Monday, May 7 will be a public holiday to honor the day. (Photo courtesy of the Bureau of the Royal Household)

Saturday, May 5 marks the 62nd anniversary of the Coronation of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great. Since the day is celebrated as a national holiday, and = all government offices and commercial banks close for the day, the holiday will be held on Monday, May 7, 2012.

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great took a sacred oath upon ascending the throne to rule with Righteousness, for the Benefit and Happiness of the Thai people, which He has done magnificently, garnering tremendous respect from His people. HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great is the longest reigning monarch in the world. Long Live the King!

Chiang Mai Governor M.L. Panadda Diskul led the celebrations honoring the Coronation Day of HM the King at CMU Convention Hall on Saturday May 5, 2012. (Photo courtesy of CityNow!)

Each year on the 5th of May, the Kingdom of Thailand commemorates the day when, in 1950, the Coronation Ceremony was held for His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great, the 9th in the Chakri Dynasty (Rama IX).

HM the King, after studying in Europe, returned to Thailand and was crowned King during an elaborate and highly intricate ceremony that out lavished all previous coronations in Thailand.

A week prior to His being crowned King, on April 28, 1950, H.M. King Bhumibol and Mom Rajawongse Sirikit Kitayakara were married. Following the Coronation, HM the King returned to Switzerland to continue studying.

The Coronation Ceremony reinforces the stature of the Kings of Thailand. The first such elaborate ceremony was performed when Pho Khun Phamuang succeeded Pho Khun Bangklangthao as the ruling King of Muang Sukhothai. Phaya Lithai, a former leader in Sukhothai, left a historical record in stone describing the coronation ceremony in Sukhothai at Wat Srikhum.

The elaborate coronation ceremony of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great included all the ancient rituals required for assuming the full title and the nine-tiered umbrella. HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej then bestowed the honor posthumously on His brother HM King Ananda Mahidol. HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s benevolent act raised HM King Ananda Mahidol’s regal status from seven to a nine-tiered umbrella.

The annual coronation ceremony is currently a three-day affair, starting with a ritual “tham boon” ceremony on May 3 to honor the King’s ancestors. Later on the first day, another ceremony is performed, whereby flags of honor are issued to distinguish various military units.

The following day, Buddhist ceremonies continue with chanting rituals, prayers and Brahman priests announcing the auspicious occasion forthcoming the next day (May 5).

On the 5th of May, His Majesty conducts a merit making ceremony, presenting offerings to Buddhist monks, and leads a “Wien Thien” ceremony, walking three times around sacred grounds at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

In the evening the King conducts another sacred ceremony: changing the yellow cloth on the Emerald Buddha, the guardian symbol protecting the Thai people, which was transferred from Thonburi to Wat Phra Kaew by Rama I.

Many rooms in the Royal Palace are opened for public viewing on Coronation Day. Auspicious ceremonies are performed and displays depicting Royal achievements are exhibited to reconfirm the King’s stature.


Supermoon this month

Comparisons of a regular moon (top) and a supermoon (bottom) (Photo from Wikimedia.com)

Both a “supermoon” and a meteor shower are expected to fill the night skies this month. The supermoon is the biggest full moon, appearing 14 percent larger and 30% brighter than the rest of the full moons during 2012. Also known as a perigee moon, it is because the moon follows an elliptical orbit around the Earth and the perigee leg is when the moon is 50,000 km closer to the Earth. The moon will reach its closest point to the Earth this year on May 6, at 3:34 a.m. UT when it will be 356,953 km from the Earth. While it won’t be at the absolute perigee when the moon rises in Thailand it will still be large and bright. Last year’s supermoon was last year in March when the moon was 400 km closer. Perigee moons are actually pretty common and despite doom and gloom predictions, so far, nothing much has happened except the sky is very bright!

The Eta Aquarid meteor showers are expected around the same time but the brightness of the moon may overpower any meteors to spot. May 20 will see a partial or annular solar eclipse, the sun will rise in Thailand only partially eclipsed while parts of North America will see about 95 percent coverage.


UNWTO meeting opens in Chiang Mai

Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization addresses the seminar.

Nopniwat Krailerg

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) met at the Le Meridien Hotel on May 3, 2012 for the 24th joint meeting of the UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific the UNWTO Commission for South Asia at the Regional Conference on Green Tourism.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism and Sports Chumphon Silpa-archa joined Secretary General of the UNWTO Dr. Taleb Rifai, the Minister of Arts and Culture from the Maldives Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor and Chiang Mai Governor M.L. Panadda Diskul at the meeting which saw 153 participants from 23 countries.

Chiang Mai Governor M.L. Panadda Diskul is seen here with the visiting speakers.

Minister Silpa-archa noted that tourism in Thailand has been the first business to recover and grow rapidly after the flood crisis of last year generating 700,000 million Baht in revenue per year. The government is implementing forward looking policies to promote and support travel in Thailand within 5 years as well as ensure security and build confidence for tourists. Additionally, Thailand is working on developing transportation links with their neighboring countries to help ease travel in the region.

The Secretary General noted the UNWTO’s satisfaction in Chiang Mai for the meeting, noting that not only is it a safe destination but that it is center of Arts and Culture and has a growing reputation for green tourism in the world.


Chiang Mai’s creative design awarded

Award winners joined Creative City Committee members, judges and the Mayor and Deputy Governor for a group photo.

Shana Kongmun

Chiang Mai is renowned for its art and culture, its history and beauty and, with the creative efforts of artists, designers, architects and restaurants is earning a reputation for its creative endeavours as well. The Creative City Committee assembled a group of judges to award the best designs, the winners were revealed at the Chiang Mai Design Awards on May 3, 2012.

Chiang Mai Deputy Governor Worakran Yokying opened the ceremony praising the creative works and the flourishing of art and culture in the city and across the province. Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn then quickly handed out the awards in architecture, decorative items and crafts, jewelry and fashion and new media. Notable winners include the unique and green Panyaden School made out of rammed earth and adobe, EZA Design known for their gorgeous timber bamboo furniture, the Royal Project Shop on Suthep, Onyx Export for their fantastic water hyacinth furniture, new kid on the block 137 Pillars House with its stunning new hotel and resort, Digital Zoo and CMMap for their media work and Rubber Killer and Metal Work in Fashion and Jewelry along with many other noteworthy businesses in Chiang Mai, both Thai and foreign owned.

The Chiang Mai Design Awards is a non-profit endeavor that works to recognize, support and promote innovative design in Chiang Mai and to bring the designs of Chiang Mai to the world.

Panyaden School won in the Architecture category for their flowing and natural green campus made of rammed earth and recycled products.

Deputy Governor Worakarn Yokying (far right) and Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn (2nd left) join Creative City Committee members at the start of the award program.

Manfred Ilg of the new 137 Pillars House won in the Architecture Design award category.


Police ready for school traffic jams

Pol. Col. Sitthichai Tananchai, Chief of the Chiang Mai Traffic Police, reported on the plans for the upcoming school year.

Nopniwat Krailerg

The Chief of the Chiang Mai Traffic Police, Pol. Col. Sitthichai Tananchai , reported on police readiness to deal with the influx of traffic in the city and traffic jams created by the opening of schools on May 16, 2012. He noted that the number of parents bringing their own children to school is quite high contributing to the traffic and noted that Charoenphratet and Kaewnawarat Roads have a high concentration of schools and will see heavy traffic at the beginning and end of each school day. He said measures will be taken to ease the flow of traffic in these areas as well as others.

He noted that the top 5 most congested areas were the Sandek intersection of Charoen Prathet Road, the Rincome intersection at Huay Kaew Road, the Nong Hoi intersection at Mahidol Road, The streets in front of Princes Royal College, Dara Wittayalai School, Sacred Heart School, and Varee School were also spots with heavy traffic jams. He added that back up in one place affected other areas such as the Airport, Ton Payom Market and the Kuang Singha intersection.

He said the traffic police will work to facilitate the movement of traffic around school and that they plan to enforce the laws against cars that park and block traffic as well as drive down the wrong way on scheduled one way streets.

The police will coordinate with school administrators to enable more parking at the schools for parents and to work with traffic police who will direct traffic.


Public Health Office checks medical warehouse for pseudoephedrine

Wattana Kanchanakamol, Chief of Chiang Mai Public health Office and Staff check out the medicine storehouse at Siam Chai Co., Ltd. on May 4, 2012.

Nopniwat Krailerg

The Chief of the Chiang Mai Public Health Office Dr. Wattana Kanchanakamol and the Head of the Consumer Protection Office visited a medical warehouse on Suriyawong Road on May 4, 2012 to inspect the contents and ensure that there was no pseudoephedrine there.

The Ministry of Public Health announced that any drugs containing pseudoephedrine would be restricted and that all medicine containing it must be returned to the manufacturer before May 3, 2012. The inspection visit was to ensure that the announcement was being followed by medical companies.

An audit of the company documents showed that there were no cold medicines remaining containing a mixture of pseudoephedrine and that the new cold formulas such as Sulidine CP and Nasolin PL contained a different mixture of compounds; Chlorpheniramine Maleate and Phenylephrine Hydrochloride.

Dr. Wattana Kanchanakamol said that people who had cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine at home should return them to the Public Health Office as the only licensed distributors are now government hospitals although some private hospitals are licensed to use the drug. The pharmacist is the only legal authority for this drug and Dr. Wattana said that if people are unsure as to the contents of a cold medicine to consult a pharmacist or hospital.


San Sai Police crack down on drugs suspects

Police in San Sai crack down on drug users and theft on May 1 and 2, 2012.

Nopniwat Krailerg

The Deputy Commissioner of Police Region 5, Pol. Maj. Gen. Chamnan Ruadrew and San Sai police officers announced the arrest of 12 people over May 1 and 2, 2012 in a major crackdown on drug traffickers in San Sai.

The police set up a road blockade and arrested 12 people with 2,166 methamphetamine pills or Yaba. The week also saw the arrest of Maitri Sangmaneechan, age 42, with 8 motorcycles and a handgun.

The Court also issued an arrest warrant for Wichean Maneelam, age 22 of Ayutthaya, who has been accused of robbery with a firearm at the SPA Computer Shop in San Sai.


Sixteen districts suffer from drought conditions

Komsan Suwanampha, Chief of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office reports on the drought situation around Chiang Mai.

Nopniwat Krailerg

Sixteen districts in Chiang Mai Province are experiencing drought conditions and the drought has affected 240,000 people, Komsan Suwanampha, Chief of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office for Chiang Mai reported recently.

Additionally over 38,000 rai of farmland has been affected by the drought, with areas outside irrigation areas seeing shortages of water for agriculture. Additionally, the intense heat has caused major losses in lychee crops locally, with 70 % of the crop expected to be lost this year.

So far the government has only been able to provide drought assistance to people in Chom Thong, Mae Cham, Doi Lor, San Kampaeng and Samoeng Districts. There have been 89 assistance projects initiated with a total budget of 4.7 million baht.

22 districts have been hit hard by damaging summer storms, with one death in Mae Cham in March from lightning. More than 45,000 households have suffered damage from high winds and strong storms. Additionally, Wiang Haeng and San Sai have had a very minor earthquake in April of only 1.8 on the Richter scale.


Seminar on the Lanna identity in the ASEAN Community

A conference on the preservation of Chiang Mai’s Lanna identity in the upcoming ASEAN economic integration.

Nopniwat Krailerg

The Chiang Mai Broadcasters and Reporters Association held a seminar on the Lanna identity within the ASEAN Community at Tha Pae Gate on April 28, 2012. Led by Permanent Secretary Adisorn Kanmerdsiri, President of the Northern Thai Journalists Association Insom Panyasopha and Panom Meesuk , President of The Association of the Northern Tourism Federation, the seminar was held to exchange ideas on the upcoming ASEAN integration in 2015 and its impact on Northern Thailand’s Lanna culture and economy.

Adisorn Kamnerdsiri pointed out that Thailand ranked 9 out of 10 member states as far as awareness and knowledge of the upcoming integration. He noted that the three major issues concerning the integration were security, economic and social stability. He expressed concern that Chiang Mai retain its unique cultural identity and that people must learn to adapt to the upcoming integration where rapid changes in member nations are expected as they integrate.

He said that it was important that Chiang Mai and Thailand’s culture won’t be swallowed up by trends, noting the preponderance of trendy Japanese and Korean fashions.

Insom Panyasopha added that people will need to learn at least three languages, especially English because of the influx of people coming to work and study in the next three years. The city’s major cultural attractions and organizations will have to work together.

Panom Meesuk said that the enduring cultural identity with Buddhism was key to Chiang Mai retaining its Lanna identity and that the abbots and monks will play a key role in retaining and recovering that identity.


Renovation due for Kanchanapisek Park

The Chiang Mai Municipality has plans to begin renovation on Kanchanapisek Park next to Suan Prung Psychiatric Hospital. This small park is one of the valuable green spaces in the city and Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn and Municipal officials visited the park on April 25, 2012 to discuss plans to turn it into a pleasant park for residents. (Photo courtesy of Chiang Mai Municipality).


Chiang Mai Governor visits Central Prison

Chiang Mai Governor M.L. Panadda Diskul visited with prisoners at Chiang Mai’s Central Prison and discussed the drug problem with the Commander there.

Nopniwat Krailerg

Chiang Mai Governor ML Panadda Diskul visited the Chiang Mai Central Prison to meet and discuss the drug problem present in many prisons in Thailand with the Commander of Chiang Mai Central Prison Piroon Norkeaw on May 1, 2012.

The Commander said that the prison is limited to 9 rai and has 2,000 male prisoners in a 5 storey building. There has been overcrowding in the prison due to the measures to combat drugs. He informed the governor that from October 2010 to April 2012 there has been 30 prisoners found with Yaba, one with marijuana, 9 alcohol related cases and 17 cases of people sniffing thinner in the prison.

Officers have permission to search the cells and have found visiting relatives smuggling drugs in food and gifts brought in to the prison.

Random urine tests from a selection of high risk groups found that 351 prisoners out of 1,630 tested positive for methamphetamine. Additionally 72 mobile phones were found after searching prisoners. The Governor said that the prison needs to rigorously investigate prisoners and visitors so as to bring these numbers down to zero, he added that the fact the prison staff had allowed this much to be smuggled in was a disgrace and that they needed to work to rebuild public trust. The Governor added that the Chiang Mai Prison should become a standard for all other prisons to follow” and that all measures should be implemented in both men and women’s prisons.


Monks caught gambling in Lamphun

The Abbots of three separate temples, one in Chiang Mai and two in Lamphun, were defrocked and arrested after being caught gambling in Lamphun.

Nopniwat Krailerg

Police Bureau Region 5 Police arrested 3 Buddhist monks and 8 people for gambling in a longan plantation in Lamphun. The police found Phra Kru Kosolpariyat, the Abbot of Wat Tha Kham in Mae Hia in Chiang Mai gambling with Phra Sawaeng Panyawilo, the Abbot Wat Wang Sakaeng in Viang Nonglong District in Lamphun and Phra Kru Supoj Siriwanno, the Abbot of Wat Pa Por in Pasang, Lamphun.

The three monks were defrocked by the Deputy Abbot for Lamphun Province immediately and then taken to the police station for prosecution. Also arrested was the organizer of the gambling party, Nuan Kruapang, confessed to police that she hosted the gambling sessions.
 


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Miracle Tourism Forum 2012 draws tourism professionals from around the region

Visakha Bucha Day festivities have begun

Lucky license plates net 23 million baht in auction

EU launches Happen project

Assistant Ministry of Industry inspects steel production standards

50 million baht budget for PAO elections

Lychee product rise in the north

Lin Ping to celebrate her 3rd birthday

CMU Freshmen welcomed at the Train Station

Municipality prunes trees around the city

Former PM Abhisit visits San Kamphaeng to campaign

Registration for PAO elections begins

Yunnan government officials in Chiang Mai to expand relations

Chiang Rai couple arrested smuggling drugs

Walk up Doi Suthep for Visakha Bucha Day planned

Prime Minister to visit Chiang Dao Royally sponsored reforestation projects

Chiang Mai Governor leads inspection of Central Prison

Road drainage works begin

300 Rak Chiang Mai 51 members rally at Tha Pae Gate

Dengue fever education at local schools

City Pillar or Inthakin Festival opens

65 Rai returned to Mae Taeng farmers

Partial solar eclipse Monday morning

Chiang Mai to host Vegetarian conference

World “No Tobacco Day” at Tha Pae Gate on May 31

Chiang Mai prepares for dengue fever in the rainy season

CMU Faculty of Medicine gets new robotic surgical arm

Seminar on local education reform

Gusty summer storm brings hail, strong winds

Prime Minister celebrates 2,600 years of Buddha’s enlightenment

Mayor checks out progress of Mae Kha Canal dredging

Flood protection projects being implemented

Governor checks consumer prices at Thanin Market

Auspicious license plate number auction

Official election results announced for City Council

Consumer protection day in Chiang Mai

Royal Ploughing Ceremony held today at Sanam Luang

HRH Princess Soamsawali Opened The Royal Agricultural Hall of Kings

Registration begins for new MP elections

Flash flood warnings across the North

Mayor visits city pawn shops

Thailand celebrates Wan Chatramongkhol (Coronation Day) May 5

Supermoon this month

UNWTO meeting opens in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai’s creative design awarded

Police ready for school traffic jams

Public Health Office checks medical warehouse for pseudoephedrine

San Sai Police crack down on drugs suspects

Sixteen districts suffer from drought conditions

Seminar on the Lanna identity in the ASEAN Community

Renovation due for Kanchanapisek Park

Chiang Mai Governor visits Central Prison

Monks caught gambling in Lamphun