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Chiang Mai

Songkran revenues flow whilst hot-season temperatures soar

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Songkran revenues flow whilst hot-season temperatures soar | The Thaiger

Songkran Festival has attracted millions of Thai and foreign tourists to popular destinations nationwide, generating significant revenue for local economies. Last week Tourism Authority of Thailand economic forecasters were predicting a 10 percent rise in spending this year.

Chuchat on-charern, the Tourism Authority of Thailand chief for the southern province of Phang-nga, said an estimated 155,000 tourists visited the province, with each Thai tourist spending an average of 4,000 baht per day and each foreign tourist spending an average of 6,586 baht per day.

The province’s 11,000 hotel rooms have an occupancy rate of over 80 per cent this year, he said, adding that the tourism revenue during Songkran is estimated to top 1.1 billion baht, up 5 per cent from the previous year.

The province is popular among German, Scandinavian and Asian tourists due to its proximity to popular islands.

On the second day of the three days of the long traditional Thai New Year yesterday, Thailand was still soaked in a festive mood, even as the Meteorological Department reported a midday temperature above 32 degrees Celsius in every part of the country.

Some provinces in the upper part of Thailand reeled in heat exceeding 40 degrees Celsius. For the remainder of the holidays, the Weather Forecast Bureau yesterday said every region would face very hot weather. Temperature in the northern, northeastern, central and eastern regions would range from 34 to 40 degrees Celsius, while the average temperature in Bangkok and the South would be slightly cooler, averaging 32 to 38 degrees Celsius.

The highest temperature yesterday was recorded at 40.2 degrees Celsius in Nong Khai, Si Saket, Chaiyaphum and Surin provinces in the Northeast.

People planning to participate in outdoor Songkran water fights were advised to stay cool to prevent heat stroke and avoid long exposure to the midday sun without skin protection, or they could suffer sunburns.

Songkran celebration venues in major cities across the country reported an unexpectedly high turnout as people played in the water to cool off during the hot day.

Wanchai Sakudomchai, director of the Meteorological Department, forecast that today – the final day of the Songkran Festival – an approaching cold front from southern China would affect the weather in the eastern and northeastern regions, with risk of summer storms from today until next Wednesday.

As summer storms often bring intense downpours, thunder, gusty winds and hail, Wanchai urged all people residing in affected regions to be cautious.

Local people and farmers have also been told to remain prepared, as the summer storms could damage crops and properties. In the northern region, large crowds of Chinese tourists were seen celebrating Songkran and joyfully splashing water on each other with colourful water guns. There also were tourists from Western countries and Thais at Chiang Mai’s Tha Pae Gate and along the moat in Chiang Mai’s old town.

In Phuket we’re heading for 33 degrees today with a 50 percent chance of rain and partly cloudy skies. Even Patong seemed to have just run out of Songkran steam as of last night.

SOURCES: Sunday Nation, The Thaiger



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Chiang Mai

Toxic free school lunches

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Toxic free school lunches | The Thaiger

“Meat balls and sausages used in student lunches were also found to be contaminated with borax and formalin.”

A major study has been released researching contaminants in vegetables used in the state-sponsored school lunch program. You’d hope that the lunches were fresh and nutritious, right?

Instead, they were dangerous.

Vegetables and fruits found in lunches for students under the government’s free lunch program are almost 100 percent contaminated with pesticides and 99 percent of the urine samples from students and teachers in four provinces were tested with organophosphate, a deadly toxic pesticide that can attack the nervous system.

The alarming findings were the result of a research jointly conducted by Thai Education Foundation, Thai Health Promotion Foundation, Field Alliance of Chiangmai University and Greenpeace Thailand between July 2017-October 2018 on student lunches in 55 schools in Chiang Mai, Pathum Thani, Sakon Nakhon and Phang-nga provinces.

Vegetables, widely used in student lunches which were tested, include carrot, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, kale, long bean and tomato.  However, only two types of chemicals were tested – organophosphate and pyrethrum because organophosphate are widely used in insecticides for fruits and vegetables.

Thai PBS reports the the Thai Education Foundation secretary-general Marut Jatikate said that the most alarming findings appear to be the organophosphate residue found in 99 percent of the 436 urine samples from students and teachers in the four provinces.

Organophosphate poisoning symptoms include increased saliva and tear production, diarrhea, vomiting, small pupils, sweating, muscle tremors and confusion.

He said that the tests this time focused on two chemicals – organophosphate and pyrethrum – but they should have covered more toxic chemicals.

Nevertheless, he said findings from this research would be sent to the schools and parents of students in order that they would change the menu of student lunches but switching from mass-produced vegetables and fruits to organic vegetables and fruits which should be safer.

Besides the unsafe fruits and vegetables, Mr Marut said meat, meat balls and sausages used in student lunches were also found to be contaminated with borax and formalin.

Toxic free school lunches | News by The Thaiger

ORIGINAL STORY: Thai PBS

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Chiang Mai

Teaching children to avoid sexual predators

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Teaching children to avoid sexual predators | The Thaiger
“These clips are then recorded and sold to a secret group.”

Members of the police-led Thailand Internet Crime against Children (TICAC), Zoe International and the Hug Project are educating students on how perpetrators lure victims and use their sexual information and images to further extort sexual favours.

“Their plans are very complex,” said Wirawan ‘Boom’ Mosby, founder and director of the Hug Project, which co-launched the program with Zoe International and TICAC yesterday.

Sexual predators have migrated to the Internet over the past few years, thanks mainly to development in technology and strong police suppression in real time, Wirawan said.

She said both boys and girls are being targeted, citing a TICAC case that involved more than a hundred teenage boys.

In a typical scenario, she explained, a paedophile sets up a fake account on social media such as Line, Facebook or Skype, using the image of a beautiful girl as a profile picture to get close to the target. After building affection and trust, the predator might then send a clip of a woman masturbating, and ask for a similar clip in exchange. These clips are then recorded and sold to a secret group.

As the target is often scared about the clip being leaked, the predator is able to extort more videos, Wirawan explained.

As per the Hug Project, two teachers in each school will be trained to help students avoid falling prey to online sexual coercion and extortion. The students will know which teachers they can reach out to, and the teachers in turn can report the case to Hug Project officers or TICAC.

“We will use technology to fight technology,” Wirawan added.

The project will also limit students’ access to adult content. By installing OpenDNS on their Wi-Fi routers, schools will be able to block pornography and websites deemed “unsafe” from being accessed by devices connected to the school’s Wi-Fi.

Wirawan’s company, Movaci Technology, will also offer free technical support.

For now, the programme includes eight state-run schools and three private foundations, along with about 3,000 students, but Wirawan hopes the initiative will be adopted nationwide.

“I hope the Education Ministry adopts and implements this project in all schools,” she said.

TICAC chief Pol Maj-General Surachet Hakpal said police had investigated 128 cases of child pornography and 39 of child trafficking between 2015 and 2018.

Of the 140 suspects, 45 were foreigners and the remainder Thai. Police rescued 107 children – 33 boys and 74 girls.

Wirawan has been honoured by the US State Department for combating child trafficking in Thailand.

Teaching children to avoid sexual predators | News by The Thaiger Teaching children to avoid sexual predators | News by The Thaiger

STORY: The Nation

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Bangkok

Nude couple pictured on top of Egyptian pyramid sparks investigation

The Thaiger

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Nude couple pictured on top of Egyptian pyramid sparks investigation | The Thaiger

“Climbing pyramids is illegal in Egypt, with critics saying the incident shows a disregard for the nation’s laws and its conservative society.”

The question of tourists and their behavior at national monuments and popular sites comes up again today. This time in Egypt…

Read the report HERE.

“A video that shows a foreign couple in a naked embrace at the summit of the Great Khufu Pyramid of Giza is sparking reaction among Egyptians.

The three-minute video recorded at night shows a man and a woman scaling what appears to be the Great Pyramid of Giza with the skyline of Cairo in the background. When they reach the top, the video shows the woman taking off her shirt and finishes with a still image of them in a naked embrace.

Minister of Antiquities Khaled al-Anani called it a violation of public morality, and said the incident and the video will be investigated by the attorney general.”

It’s happened often enough in Thailand where locals believe that foreign tourists have ‘defiled’ their monuments with poor behaviour. The incidents are often innocent affairs where tourists have climbed over something the locals perceive as sacred, all the way to posing with their naked butts in front of famous temples.

Read about that fiasco HERE.

Nude couple pictured on top of Egyptian pyramid sparks investigation | News by The Thaiger

Or a more recent example in Chiang Mai HERE.

Or this one in Ayutthaya HERE.

How can tourists know exactly what is expected of them at some of these monuments? Is it the responsibility of local authorities to alert foreign tourists about expected behaviour? In some case it may not be 100% clear about what is, and what isn’t, allowed.

Share your thoughts on our Facebook post about the topic HERE. You haven’t ‘liked’ our Facebook page? Make sure you do when you’re there and keep up-to-date with what’s happening in Thailand.

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Chiang Mai Weather
December 13, 2018, 6:57 am
22.0
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100
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Humidity
5
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Wind from South
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