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Everything posted by MidTMike

  1. In an effort to help revive the country travel tourism industry the Royal Thai Government has agreed to extend the exemption of the Thailand visa fee for tourist visa applications until 4 March 2010. The exemption will apply to all visitors who apply for a Thailand visa on arrival at international airports in Thailand, as well as those applying for a Thailand visa offshore for stays longer than the length of time for which they are normally eligible. Thailand currently gives a visa on arrival for the citizens of 20 countries who are not intending to stay more than 15 days. Citizens of another 42 countries are allowed a visa-free visit to Thailand if their stay is not over 30 days. Visitors who wish to stay longer must apply for a Thailand visa before their arrival in the country. Thailand tourism industry chairman, Mr. Weerasak Kowsurat said, “As a result of the global economic downturn, the worldwide travel and tourism sector has declined as people have become more cautious about spending on leisure and business travel. "Hence, the government has implemented many measures to enhance Thailand’s competitive advantage and strengthen our country’s unique qualities.” http://www.visabureau.com/worldwide/news/10-07-2009/thailand-visa-fee-waiver-to-continue.aspx
  2. PATTAYA, July 28 – Chinese investors from business associations worldwide and leading Thai businesspersons have co-invested in trade valued at US$6.2 billion or some Bt210.8 billion as part of their effort to boost business synergy, according to Industry Minister Chanchai Chairungruang. Some 400 Chinese investors and Thai counterparts participated in the four-day meeting ,“The – Chinese Business Forum 2009” , [ 27-29 July 2009] at Dusit Resort Hotel, Pattaya, to discuss business opportunities in Thailand. Describing the first day of the meeting as an impressive success, Mr Chanchai said the 35 Chinese and Thai partners achieved business deals and agreed to sign memorandum of understanding (MOU) on their joint investment. Two major companies, who signed at the meeting, are Saha Farm, a leading agricultural producer in Thailand, and New Hope Group, a large Chinese company with 270 affiliates. http://www.pattayadailynews.com/shownews.php?IDNEWS=0000009880
  3. Suu Kyi verdict set for Friday Writer: AFP Published: 28/07/2009 at 01:59 PM A court in military-ruled Burma will deliver its verdict in the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday, on charges that could see the democracy leader jailed for up to five years, her lawyer said. Burma's junta has sparked international outrage for prosecuting the Nobel peace laureate for breaching the rules of her house arrest after an American man swam uninvited to her lakeside house in May. "The verdict will be given this coming Friday. We are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst," defence lawyer Nyan Win told AFP Tuesday after the trial wrapped up with a final reply by Suu Kyi's legal team. Judges Thaung Nyunt and Nyi Nyi Soe indicated to the court at the notorious Insein prison in Rangoon, where Suu Kyi is being held, that sentencing was expected on the same day, Nyan Win said. "We have a good chance according to the law, but we cannot know what the court will decide because this is a political case," said Nyan Win, who is also the spokesman for her National League for Democracy. "If she is released unconditionally she will be home on that day -- if not, the sentence will be together with the verdict." The verdict is widely expected to be a guilty one given the previous form of Burma's courts, which have handed down heavy sentences to dozens of dissidents over the past year. But the Suu Kyi case has been repeatedly delayed since it started on May 18 amid signs that the regime is trying to quell the storm of international outrage over its treatment of the opposition leader. U2 singer Bono publicly announced during a concert in Dublin on Monday that Suu Kyi had been named Amnesty International's ambassador of conscience for 2009, the rights group's highest honour. Diplomats from Thailand, Japan, Singapore and the United States attended Tuesday's hearing, a Burma official said on condition of anonymity. Most of the trial has taken place behind closed doors. Critics have accused the junta of trying to keep Suu Kyi locked up ahead of elections next year, and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led calls for her release at an Asian security conference last week. Suu Kyi has been in jail or under house arrest for 13 of the last 19 years since the junta refused to recognise the NLD's landslide victory in Burma's last national elections, in 1990. The court made the announcement about the verdict after hearing final comments by lawyers for Suu Kyi, her two female aides and US national John Yettaw, in response to closing statements delivered by prosecutors on Monday. All face similar sentences. Her lawyers say that she was not responsible for the intrusion by Yettaw -- who has said that he was inspired by a divine vision that she would be assassinated -- and that she was charged under outdated laws. But Burma's rulers have strongly defended the trial. State media on Tuesday made the strongest suggestions yet that Yettaw was an agent of an outside power, possibly the United States, and was trying to smuggle Suu Kyi out of detention. The New Light of Burma newspaper said the trial "has not been intentionally created by the government" but was the fault of Yettaw, who "might have been sent to the country by an anonymous country or organisation". "The aim of his meeting with Daw Suu Kyi has not been known clearly. He even left two chadors (Muslim shawls) and dark sunglasses to her to act herself in disguise. Was it aimed at taking her out of the house?" it said. The newspaper also pointed out that the route Yettaw used to enter her house was the "ditch beside the US embassy" and said the place he was arrested was 25 yards (metres) from the house of the US charge d'affaires. "So there are many points to ponder," the editorial said. http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/world/150384/suu-kyi-verdict-set-for-friday-in-burma
  4. NACC to charge two more over Oct 7 Writer: BangkokPost.com Published: 28/07/2009 at 03:17 PM The National Anti-Corruption Commission on Tuesday resolved to bring criminal charges against two more people in connection with the police crackdown on People's Alliance for Democracy protesters in front of parliament on Oct 7 last year, commissioner Wicha Mahakhun said. The decision was made at a meeting of the nine-member commission on Tuesday to consider a report from a committee investigating the cause of the violence. Seven people have already been charged. The seven are former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat, former deputy prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, police chief Patcharawat Wongsuwan, his deputy Pol Gen Viroj Phaholvej, former metropolitan police chief Pol Lt-Gen Suchart Mueankaew and deputy metropolitan police chiefs Pol Maj-Gen Likhit Klin-uan and Pol Maj-Gen Ekarat Meepreecha. Mr Wicha said the NACC, after going through the report, resolved to bring criminal charges against two more people and to bring an additional charge of serious breach of discipline against one of the seven people already charged. He would not name any of them and refused to confirm the person facing the additional charge was Pol Gen Patcharawat, the national police chief. He said only that they would be summoned to hear the charges on Aug 3. The NACC is expected to decide by the middle of next month whether to institute court proceedings against the accused. At dawn on Oct 7, riot police fired tear gas at thousands of PAD protesters who the night before had sealed the entrances to parliament building to stop the Somchai government from delivering its policy statement to the House to legalise its administrative power. In the evening of Oct 7, PAD demonstrators surrounded the Metropolitan Police Bureau offices and police there again fired tear gas rounds at them. When they returned to surround parliament later in the evening, more tear gas was fired at them. Two demonstrators died in the day of violence and hundreds of protesters and police were injured. Many protesters were hit by teargas cannisters. http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/politics/150396/two-more-to-be-charged-in-oct-7-crackdown
  5. Swine flu closes 183 schools Writer: BangkokPost.com Published: 28/07/2009 at 03:59 PM A total of 371 students have been reported infected with the H1N1 flu virus nationwide, the Education Ministry reported Tuesday. Education Minister Jurin Laksanavisit said 183 schools in the country were closed at the moment to prevent the spread of the virus. However no decision had been made to close all schools in Ratchaburi, as suggested, to help curtail the rapid spread of the virus in the province, which reported the world's first known case of a foetus being infected with the flu by its mother. Each school would continue to exercise its own judgement, he said. However, if the Public Health Ministry suggests that all schools there be closed temporarily, then they should follow the advice, he said. Meanwhile, an official from the World Health Organisation has warned antiviral tablets should not be distributed to clinics across the country just yet. "Doctors and nurses at these clinics need to be trained and know whether patients with flu-like symptoms have been infected with influenza type A (H1N1) before prescribing the antiviral oseltamivir directly to them," WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Training on Viral Zoonoses director Thiravat Hemachudha said. Oseltamivir should only be given at hospitals for now, because prescribing it to unconfirmed cases may lead to drug resistance, he said. He said the fatal cases may have received medication when it was too late, or maybe they only showed symptoms in the later stages. "In most cases, if the patients' symptoms are clear no doctors would delay give them the medication," he said. Dr Thiravat said wearing face masks and using alcohol-based hand gels may not be an effective preventative if people do not also avoid crowded places. He also urged people with flu-like symptoms to see a doctor immediately. The cabinet has approved an extra budget of 450 million baht for the Public Health Ministry to import antiviral drugs and to fight the A(H1N1) outbreak. A portion of the budget will be granted to different agencies under the Public Health Ministry, deputy government spokesperson Phumin Leethiraprasert said. The money will also be used to buy 20,000 tablets of zanamivir for patients resistant to oseltamivir, Dr Phumin said. Further advertising and public relations campaigns will be implemented to educate people about the swine flu outbreak, he said. He said 1.89 billion baht will be used to buy 190 respirators for use by infected patients with lung complications. The deputy government spokesman expected the additional budget would be spent by September. http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/150403/swine-flu-closes-183-schools