Archive | July, 2011

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At celadon fest, rhapsody in blue

Posted on 31 July 2011 by admin

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Nanobreaks new tourism trend in S. Korea

Posted on 31 July 2011 by admin

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Hands-on farming experience for city slickers

Posted on 31 July 2011 by admin

Ang Thong, the diminutive Central Plains province about 100km north of Bangkok, has a brand new tourist attraction: the Anake Farm Floating Market, in Muang district.

Next time you visit the big Buddha statue in Ang Thong, spare a few hours to check out the town’s new floating market.

Opened in the middle of July, the market aims to attract more visitors to Ang Thong as well as promote locally made products, according to project advisor Thongchai Suwanachoti.

It is located on a 50-rai plot of land, two thirds of which was a flooded paddy field while the remainder was used to breed quail. It was the owner of this quail farm, Anake Sikhiewsod, who initiated the idea, investing some 20 million baht in the project.

“We want our market to be not only a destination, but also a learning centre where anyone can get some hands-on experience of life on a farm,” said Thongchai.

Facilities have been prepared on site to teach visitors how to grow mushrooms, bottle-feed milk to young goats and some of the techniques involved in raising geese, ducks and fish. There are also plans to make accommodation available and to rent out land to anyone interested in trying their hand at growing rice or any other crop.

As part of the deal, expert advice will be provided to lessees on organic and other agricultural methods.

“Working on a farm can be a relaxing activity for city people,” Thongchai noted, adding that any produce grown could be sold in the floating market.

At present, there are about 80 shops on site offering food, souvenirs, quail products, woven baskets and bags, herbal products and silk clothing. There are plans to add 50 more shops over the next three months.

Visitors can also rent out paddle-boats, hop on a private train to get from one spot to another in the market, see a classical dance performance (put on three times a day on weekends and public holidays) and offer alms to monks, who visit the market between 10am and 11am on weekends and pubic holidays. It is also hoped to collect donations for Wat Phrabat Nam Phu, a temple in Lop Buri which operates a hospice for people with HIV/Aids.

The floating market is open daily from 9am to 7pm. It is located on Wiset Chai Chan-Suphan Buri Road, about 3km from Ang Thong town. Signposts have been erected throughout the province.

Call 081-1Ȼ-4449 or 081-300-8679 for more information.

Phuket gets new shopping mall

Featuring some 50 shops and restaurants, The Kee Plaza recently opened in Patong Beach, Phuket.

It covers an area of 3,200m2 and is part of a 1.2-billion-baht mega project which includes The Kee Resort Spa and the Sea Dragon entertainment avenue.

Airlines update

- Thai Airways International has signed a contract with Amadeus to use the Altea Customer Management Solution IT system to manage THAI’s domestic and international reservation, inventory and departure-control processes.

The move is expected to improve THAI’s check-in procedures, simplify tasks related to flight departures and also support the need to share seat availability, fares, customer and booking information with partner airlines in the Star Alliance programme.

The migration to the so-called Altea Suite is expected to be complete by 2013.

- Until October 31, Bangkok Airways will allow passengers travelling between Bangkok and Rangoon to check-in an extra 10kg of baggage on top of the existing allowance of 20kg.

The airline operates two flights from Bangkok to Rangoon daily, using a 162-seater Airbus A320. Departures are at 9.15am and 3pm. Visit bangkokair.com for more details.

- Air Asia has introduced a Fly-Thru service allowing passengers on multi-flight journeys to do a single check-in to their final destination, obviating the need to apply for transit visas.

The service is available from Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou, where travellers can connect to flights via Air Asia’s regional hub in Kuala Lumpur to other Asean member states, New Zealand, Iran, France or the United Kingdom via the Air Asia X service.

Hotels update

- The Sofitel So Bangkok will have its soft launch in November.

The “designer boutique” brand was created in 2007 and this will be the second Sofitel to open in the region.

Overlooking Lumpini Park, the new 1.8-billion-baht hotel is situated on a 2.5-rai plot of land on the corner of North Sathon and Rama IV roads. It was designed by well-known architect Smit Obayawat and the concept for the interior decor is based on the five elements of water, earth, wood, metal and fire.

The 30-storey building will feature 238 rooms and suites with accommodation ranging in size from 38m2 to 140m2. Each room will have an Apple Mac Mini with a flat screen and wireless keyboard which guests can use to order room service as well as surf the internet.

Other facilities will include four restaurants, bars, a roof-top lounge, an infinity pool, function rooms, a ballroom, spa and fitness centre.

Visit www.sofitel.com for more details.

- Phuket Square, the operator of Jungceylon, has opened the Pimnara Boutique Hotel on Phuket’s Patong Beach.

A 220-million-baht investment, the hotel has 67 rooms and suites ranging in size from 27.5m2 to 54m2. Each room has a unique look, with fancy dress and accessories being used as decorative items, and all are painted in solid colours such as pink or green.

Deluxe rooms and suites are equipped with iPads for guests’ entertainment. Other facilities include a spa, bar, restaurant, swimming pool and free wireless internet.

Visit www.pimnaraboutiquehotel.com for more details.

- Dusit Hotels Resorts plans to open its first resort in the Maldives by the end of this year.

Located on Mudhdhoo, an island in Baa Atoll, the Dusit Thani Maldives will feature 100 villas and houses, a 50m-long swimming pool and pool bar, over-water and grill restaurants, a treetop spa, tennis courts, a dive centre and facilities for water sports/activities in and around the resort.

The total investment in the venture came to US$77 million (2Ǐ billion baht).

The resort is 40 minutes by seaplane from Male, the capital, and 10 minutes by speedboat from the country’s new domestic airport.


If you have any comments or news to share, send them to karnjanak@bangkokpost.co.th


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About the author

columnist
Writer: Karnjana Karnjanatawe
Position: Reporter


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Viet Nam’s tiger population hits crisis point

Posted on 31 July 2011 by admin

Just 30 wild tigers survive today in Viet Nam out of 3,200 across the world, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

The WWF said there were 100 wild tigers in Viet Nam 10 years ago.
The conservation body said the number of tigers across the world had decreased by 97 per cent since 1900.

The main reason for the diminishing tiger population was deforestation, said Do Quang Tung, deputy director of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Viet Nam.

The growing human population had also put pressure on tiger numbers, he added, as had illegal hunting and trafficking.

Meanwhile, Nick Cox, WWF’s manager of protected areas, species and wildlife trade, said Viet Nam was a trade hub for tiger products, while illegal medicines made from tiger bones had become increasingly popular

“It’s very important at the moment to halt the illegal international tiger trade and domestic consumption of tigers,” Cox said.

Keshav Varma, programme director of Global Tiger Initiative (GTI), said the continuous demand for tiger parts and the surge in illegal smuggling were totally unacceptable.

He said if things continued going as they were, the last remaining tigers in Indo-China would be wiped out within a few years.

Hoang Thi Thanh Nhan, deputy head of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry’s Bio-diversification Conservation Department, said Viet Nam, in a bid to save tigers in the wild, had participated in Global Tiger Initiative forums.

Viet Nam and 12 other countries had made a historic commitment to eradicating poaching and the illegal trade in wild tigers at the St Petersburg Tiger Summit last November, she said.

CITIES’ Tung added that a US$50 million national programme on tiger conservation had been set up with the aim of doubling the numbers of animals in the wild in Viet Nam by 2020.

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Ramadan this year to focus on the Koran

Posted on 31 July 2011 by admin

Ramadan may be going high-tech with new smartphone applications and other online platforms to better engage followers here.

But Muis, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, also wants more Muslims to focus on the Koran, hence the decision to make it the theme of this year’s festivities.

Muis president Mohammad Alami Musa said it had chosen the holy book to encourage younger Muslims to see it as a companion and source of knowledge.

“The lessons in the scripture can guide them in their daily lives,” said Mohammad, who was speaking at an event Saturday (July 30) to launch the holy fasting month, which starts Monday.

Other events over the 29-day fasting period will include a Koran recitation clinic and an exhibition roadshow to better acquaint Muslims with the holy book.

More than 200 volunteers will also distribute packages containing mineral water, dates and Koran introductory materials to fellow Muslims around Singapore.

A new Web portal, Ramadan.sg, and two smartphone applications, which Singaporeans can use to, among other things, learn more about the Koran and check the times to break fast, were also launched at the event.

Live webcasts of events throughout the fasting month will be broadcast on the website.

Minister for information, communications and the arts Yaacob Ibrahim, who is also minister-in-charge of Muslim affairs, was the guest of honour at the event Saturday.

Mufti Dr Fatris Bakaram, who is participating in Ramadan as a mufti for the first time, said the Koran could inspire young Muslims to be environmentally conscious.

“There are verses that talk about trees and the sea and how important they are to life,” he said.

Student Arfine Mohamed, 17, who reads the holy book at least once a week, said it gives her “a sense of peace”.

This year’s celebrations are led by the Central Mosque Cluster and the Ramadan Youth Challenge Committee 2011.

Some 3.2 million people, including tourists, are expected to visit Geylang Serai, which will be decked in lights and lined with an array of food bazaars from tonight to celebrate Ramadan and Hari Raya.

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Japan drafts path to less reliance on nuclear energy

Posted on 31 July 2011 by admin

A Japanese government panel has decided on a draft policy guideline aimed at giving direction to the process of reducing the nation’s dependence on nuclear power.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan and other members of the energy and environment panel agreed to continue utilising nuclear energy while enhancing safety, during a meeting held at the Prime Minister’s Office on Friday.

In its interim draft for innovative energy and environment strategy, the panel outlined a policy of reducing dependence on nuclear power by increasing the use of renewable energy, promoting energy conservation and introducing cleaner, more efficient fossil-fuel technologies.

“To put it in basic terms, (the government plans) to decrease the use (of nuclear power) but still utilise it,” Koichiro Gemba, state minister for national policy and chair of the panel, said at a press conference after the meeting.

“We’d like to take a year before we draw any conclusions,” Gemba said.

At a separate press conference held later on the day, Kan stressed that the government planned to move toward “denuclearization.”

“The government will push for reduced dependence on nuclear energy, systematically and in stages, seeking a society that does not rely on nuclear energy,” Kan said.

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Thai TV host apologises for filming in restricted area

Posted on 31 July 2011 by admin

Actor and TV host Jessadaporn ‘Tik’ Pholdee Saturday (July 30) issued an open letter of apology after being charged with trespassing and disobeying officials’ orders for recording a TV programme in a restricted area in Phu Khiao wildlife reserve in the northeastern province of Chaiyaphum.

In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Nation, he apologised for causing conflict and doubt but said his action was based on good intention and he had explanation, although it was hard for everybody to understand. However, the most important thing was that he wanted the conflict and argument to end with a good solution.

He said he understood and respected reasons of all sides as everyone had their own duty. He wanted to help preserve the environment, as did the authorities who filed charges against him, so he wanted to say sorry for causing any trouble.

In an interview, Jessadaporn said the area where his team recorded the programme had a nature trail, which was available for learning and doing research. Villagers and tourists could visit the area. And, there was no officer stationed to prohibit his team at the area where the team recorded the show.

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation allowed him to air the disputed episode on August 12 but he had to leave out two sections in the episode before airing it, according to INN News.

The department filed the charges on July 20.

Meanwhile, Chaiyaphum governor Jarin Jakkapak said Phu Khing was the only restricted area in Phu Khiao wildlife reserve. Therefore, everybody would have to understand his or her limits and obey the law.

In related news, people who use Sor Por Kor land meant for poor farmers for other purposes would lose rights over such land, Agriculture Minister Theera Wongsamut said, noting that Wang Nam Khieo in Nakhon Ratchasima was an area where land had been used wrongly.

He said people using land improperly, especially those who build resorts, must turn the land to agricultural areas within 60 days otherwise they would lose ownership of such blocks.

The rights of around 300 Sor Por Kor recipients had been withdrawn after authorities found they had not used blocks for agricultural purposes, he said, adding that initially 25 resorts had been constructed on some Sor Por Kor blocks.

Theera said Agricultural Land Reform officials warned farmers about the issue. It had also asked resort owners to explain their actions.

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‘Were They Spokes?’

Posted on 31 July 2011 by admin

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Destined to be the Seacoast’s picture man

Posted on 31 July 2011 by admin

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The Indomitable Dubrovnik is a City on the Rise

Posted on 31 July 2011 by admin

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