FILE PHOTO (This hotel is not for sale!)
Chiang Mai’s small to medium accommodation sector is facing fresh challenges as the tourist mix in the northern city changes, and shrinks in arrival numbers.
The fallout from declining tourist arrival numbers, especially Chinese since the Phuket Phoenix tourist boat tragedy in mid-July, is forcing more than 10 small hotels and hostels in Chiang Mai to put their properties up for sale.
According to Nikkei Asian Review, the offering selling prices range from a few million baht up to 50 million baht as the hotel or hostel operators have been hard hit by the sharp drop of tourists arrivals from China since July 5 since the boat tragedy in the Andaman Sea south-west of Phuket when 47 Chinese tourists drowned.
One property agency said this phenomenon of small hotels and hostels offering their properties for sale was unprecedented.
According to official TAT statistics of tourist arrivals this year, Chinese tourist arrivals during the third quarter this year dropped 8.8 percent compared to last year’s figures.
Breaking down on monthly basis, tourist arrivals from China in July dropped 0.9 percent, 11 percent in August and 15 percent in September.
Tourism and Sports Permanent Secretary Pongpanu Sawetroon said tourist arrivals in October numbered 2.71 million representing 0.51 percent drop compared to the same period last year – the first drop in ten months.
But he says tourist spending grew 0.66 percent with Chinese tourists being the top spenders.
SOURCE: Nikkei Asian Review
Noodle sellers dodging police bullets in Chiang Mai
PHOTOS: Manager Online
When people fire guns, the bullets that miss still end up somewhere. Like into the cooking pot of a surprised noodle seller in Chiang Mai!
The man selling noodles was working the late night shift on a road leading to Mae Rim, according to Manager Online. He had a very lucky escape after a bullet shell-casing hit a pot lid that he was holding at the time.
Police from the Chang Pheuak station had opened fire on a motorist who failed to stop at an alcohol checkpoint at 2 am on Tuesday. Natthawut, the younger brother of the noodle seller, jumped onto his Facebook page to take aim at the local police and their stray bullets.
Police contacted the pair later and claim that ‘all was settled amicably’.
“The police were just doing their job”, said Natthawut, according to the Manager Online article.
They agreed that the path of the bullet was not directed towards their noodle stand.
In other news, make sure you stop at police checkpoints!
SOURCE: Manager Online
Toxic free school lunches
“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.
ORIGINAL STORY: Thai PBS
Teaching children to avoid sexual predators
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.
STORY: The Nation
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