Pattaya’s new free
bus service providing smooth ride to city’s traffic dilemma
Valentine’s Day gift to residents makes life easier
A six month trial of Pattaya’s new free bus service
went off without a hitch on Valentines Day as city officials, traffic
research officers from the King Mongkut Institute of Technology and members
of the media took a tour through the city on the new air-conditioned bus on
Saturday afternoon in front of Pattaya City Hall.
are all smiles aboard Pattaya’s new free bus, which will operate on a
6-month trial basis to ease city traffic woes.
The new service, suggested by Dr. Tawatchai
Laosirihongtong, director of the research and development department at the
King Mongkut Institute of Technology, is part of the local
administration’s efforts to ease traffic woes while further research
continues into a more permanent solution as to whether Pattaya Second Road
remains one-way or reverts back to the former two-way system.
During the launch ceremonies Dr. Tawatchai said, “We
all know that Pattaya is a popular tourist destination which has triggered a
rise in traffic problems. The lack of an adequate public transport system
increases the number of private vehicles on the city streets. This new bus
service will allow us to study the results and help in the final decision as
to how the direction of traffic best serves the interest of the public and
new free bus, shown here ready to take its maiden “voyage” through
Pattaya, is now in operation. Between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., then again between
9 p.m. and 3 a.m., buses will run every half hour. Between 3 p.m. and 9
p.m., then again between 3 a.m. and 9 a.m., the buses will run every 20
Nithi Buranjantr, deputy dean of educational activities,
at the King Mongkut Institute of Technology added, “I believe that with
the addition of this service it will significantly aid in resolving the
current and future traffic problems within Pattaya and is of great benefit
to the city’s tourism industry.”
The initial plan of the new service, which costs the city
around 80,000 baht per month, was for six buses operating round the clock,
seven days per week.
But after three days of operations, an urgent meeting was
called between the traffic research officers from the King Mongkut Institute
of Technology and the baht bus operators in Pattaya whereby an agreement was
reached to change the times and frequency of the Free Bus Service. This
would be of some benefit to the baht buses, because there would be no
competition during that period, giving them the opportunity to maintain a
reasonable income, which they felt was threatened by the free bus service.
The operating hours are now 6 a.m. until midnight. From 6
a.m. until 9 a.m. the buses will run every 20 minutes and from 9.01 a.m.
until midnight buses will run every 30 minutes.
The route starts at Pattaya City Hall, proceeds to the
Dolphin Roundabout and then down 2nd Road to the Central Pattaya Road
intersection before turning right towards Beach Road, and will continue
along Beach Road to South Pattaya Road before returning along Pattaya Second
Road to the Dolphin Roundabout. A special bus lane has been marked to be
reserved for this service and a number of bus stops have been designated
along the route.
This is a welcome change in operations during this
uncertain election period for Pattaya City.
City calls for review of entertainment legislation to allow 4 a.m. and/or 24 hour operation in specific zones
“Everyone” confused over variations in new laws
It appears that the only person who understands the new
entertainment legislation might be the person who wrote it, and even that
is not a sure thing.
By now, most likely everyone who has any interest in
the new law is well versed in the changes that have been making headlines,
but of late, these changes are being altered. At a recent cabinet meeting
Deputy PM Purachai Piumsomboon, head of the committee making the
legislation changes, proposed classification for operating times in
specific venues, such as bath massage houses and other entertainment
venues, by separating operating times according to zoning. He is prosing
these new variations due to mounting concern that the populace may try to
invoke paragraph 50 of the constitution, which allows “the people” to
overturn legislation if they gather enough signatures on a petition.
To avoid such an exercise, the deputy PM said that
zoning would be needed. For example, he said, dance venues inside the
designated “entertainment zone(s)” would be allowed to operate from 9
p.m. until 2 a.m., but those outside the zone would be required to close
at midnight. Beer bars inside the zone would be allowed to open from 11
a.m. to midnight ... Thai massage parlors inside the zone would be allowed
to operate from 4 p.m. to midnight and outside the zone, 6 p.m. to
Places offering live music and shows inside the zone
would operate from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., but those outside the zone must close
at midnight. He said that these regulations will come into effect as of
March 1 this year.
However, there might be yet another twist to the saga.
Suwit Nongyai, Pattaya city council member who is involved with the
drafting of the new entertainment legislation in parliament said, “In
reality, the law must be passed by parliament with a majority vote for it
to come into effect, since it is being proposed by the Ministry of
Interior. Currently, it has only passed through cabinet and has not been
presented to the parliament.”
Suwit went on to say, “The new legislation will give
special consideration to tourist destinations such as Pattaya, Phuket,
Bangkok and Chiang Mai only, which would allow them to operate 24 hours.
They will only be closed pending legal action if they fail to abide by the
law (laws such as serving minors, drugs found on the premises, etc.). High
ranking officials will also be able to order closure of a specific venue
if it fails to abide by the rules. These laws have also yet to be
Suwit did, however, admit, “I’m sure that there
will be changes coming.”
Meanwhile, back here in Pattaya where entertainment
venue operators are still scratching their heads, wondering what this all
means and how it will all turn out, said operators are trying to take
matters into their own hands and have submitted a petition to protect
In the petition, local bar owners addressed 5 main
issues: 1) The new laws are unclear for business owners and further
clarification is required on their part; 2) The March 1 deadline for
implementation is too soon for businesses to comply; 3) The 50,000 baht
license registration fee is too high and they have called for
reconsideration. If one complex has 20 bars, they said it would be better
if the complex owner registers a single business and then collects the
relevant fees from each operator; 4) Punishments of bar owners are too
severe, e.g. being caught serving an intoxicated customer. Such
regulations could leave an open door for officials to take advantage of
bar owners, and 5) Operating times designated to be 6 p.m. till midnight
are inappropriate for Pattaya and would negatively affect the city’s
tourist numbers, since the city never really sleeps.
After receiving the petition, city administrators met
at city hall and decided to call for a further clarification of the laws.
Tawit Chaisawangwong, council president, said that he
and other city officials presented the document to the relevant government
officials, including the Interior Ministry, the Chonburi provincial CEO,
plus Sontaya Khunpluem, Minister for Tourism and Sports and Purachai
Piumsomboon, Deputy Prime Minister, to present the case before parliament.
Tawit said, “We request that the opening and closing
times for Pattaya’s entertainment venues be reviewed and categorize the
city under two separate issues. First, people 18 years and over should be
allowed into discos and pubs. The second issue involves go-go bars and
beer bars, of which, in Pattaya, there are over 1,000 where foreign
tourists are the major clientele. It would be beneficial to consider
zoning that would allow these places to open until 3-4 a.m., or even 24
hours. Even Singapore allows their venues to stay open till 5 a.m.”
Tawit added, “This must be taken up with cabinet and
parliamentary members and officials involved in drafting these laws should
survey Pattaya for themselves.”
Baht bus drivers protest free bus service
So far, the city is not backing down
As suspected, the introduction of Pattaya’s free bus
service has led to malcontent among the city’s baht bus drivers. This prompted
an emergency meeting at city hall on Monday afternoon, February 16, to attempt
to resolve the problems facing baht bus drivers and give them an opportunity to
publicly voice their objections to the new service.
baht bus drivers are voicing their grievances over the new free bus service.
The disgruntled members of Pattaya’s Baht Bus Cooperative
met with acting mayor, Apichart Puechphant, Prof. Dr. Tawatchai Laosirihongtong,
director of the Transport Research and Development Department at the King
Mongkut Institute of Technology, and Pol. Lt. Col. Somchai Phongsai, traffic
One representative from the co-op complained that since the
start of the service, passenger numbers are down dramatically because the new
bus service is free. After just three days, drivers are facing financial
hardship as a result.
Baht bus cooperative representatives also called for a
reduction in the trial, asking for it to be reduced to three months, and added
that they are at definite disadvantage because everyone would prefer to use a
“It is killing our business,” he added emphatically.
Dr. Tawatchai Laosirihongtong replied that he would like
everyone to see the positive benefits of the service. He said that the bus
service is just one of the solutions being studied to help resolve traffic
problems in the city, and that the overall outcome of the research will, in the
long term, help the baht bus cooperative to function better if they can solve
long standing issues and create order out of the current system.
“Cooperation is needed for the betterment of the situation.
Our research revealed that this new bus service is the best alternative, and
that rather than use the current songtaew system, it would be better to opt for
an international standard of service as part of the continuing research
model,” said Dr. Tawatchai.
Not one to mince words, Sittiparp Muangkham, city engineering
director said, “I can empathize with the songtaew drivers and their current
predicament, but it is the songtaew drivers that have caused much of the traffic
problems, whether it is through not adhering to the traffic laws, or picking up
and dropping off passengers at random, unfair pricing practices or even
conforming to specified routes. It is, however, an opportunity for drivers to
get their act together and create their own order out of chaos ... (The new bus
service) is beneficial to the research and for the residents who have faced
difficulty in traveling around the city because of the one-way system still
“It will benefit baht bus drivers in the long run, but only
if they work within the rules, have a strict code of conduct and improve their
overall image and behavior,” Sittiparp concluded.
Members of the baht bus cooperative continued to air their
grievances throughout the meeting, complaining that they would lose huge revenue
to the free service over the six-month period, especially since buses have their
own special route that baht buses cannot travel on. One of the points they
brought up, however, was how they felt the baht bus system is better because it
is not restricted to specific stops like the new bus system.
Although the meeting lasted for over three hours, no
definitive agreement was reached. However, city officials did make one thing
clear, and that is that they are not about to discontinue the new free bus
service because they have already committed a large investment into the project.
Officials emphasized that the bus service is an important aspect in the traffic
research project that would ultimately benefit the city as a whole and create
more order on the city streets.
Baht bus members countered with a proposal that would have
the buses begin charging a fare after 45 days, and alternating between a period
of 45 days free and 45 days to charge, plus allow songtaew drivers to provide
alternate service during the same period. The idea was rejected by all concerned
and a motion to meet at a later date was reached.
Meanwhile, some baht bus drivers have begun using guerilla
tactics in an attempt to disrupt the new service out on the streets. Their
methods include driving along the designated bus lane in the opposite direction
to block the buses, harassing bus drivers and causing them to take evasive
action, and even harassing passengers alighting from the air-conditioned bus.
Such actions have created much disgust and further dislike for songtaew drivers
among passengers already disgruntled with their service.
Thai Rak Thai Party announces candidates
for the March election
Niran Watthanasartsatorn is party’s choice for mayor
Suchart Tanchareon, Thai Rak Thai Party deputy leader,
last week announced lists of candidates for the upcoming provincial and
district level elections.
Rak Thai candidates gather to rally support for the upcoming elections.
Party candidate for mayor, Niran Watthanasartsatorn, is seated left.
Suchart is also an election supervisor in the east, and
was appointed by Thai Rak Thai Party to monitor the March elections in
different levels in the five provinces of Chacherngsao, Chonburi, Rayong,
Chanthaburi, and Trat.
Suchart said Thai Rak Thai Party leaders assigned him to
make public all 36 candidates under the Develop-Chonburi Group. Pinyo
Tanwiset, past chairman of the Chonburi Administration Organization, was
appointed group leader.
On March 14 Pinyo will be running for reelection to the
post of Chonburi Administration Organization chairman. The election for
Chonburi MPs will also take place on March 24.
The Develop-Pattaya Group will send 24 candidates to
compete in the Pattaya elections for city mayor and council seats, which
will take place on March 27.
Niran Watthanasartsatorn is the party’s candidate for
mayor, and was chosen to lead the Develop-Pattaya Group members in their
attempt to take all 24 seats on the city council.
Suchart said there is a great possibility that PM Thaksin
Shinawatra will stay in power for another term, and it is an advantage for
Chonburi and Pattaya citizens to have their representatives from the Thai
Rak Thai party. He added that people would see quicker development because
there will be close contact between the local administration organization
and the central government.
In the past, improvement has been slow because it took
time for the central government to allocate budgets for small cities and
Suchart said, “In the near future Chonburi and Pattaya
will not face a shortage of budget allocation ... there are still a lot of
projects in the area that need to be completed that Thai Rak Thai looks
forward to develop for the people. These projects include the expansion of
Laem Chabang port, casinos, improvement of communication channels and a
Suchart said he hopes that if his team sweeps all seats
in Chonburi parliament and on the Pattaya council, it would be possible to
see initiation the hot ‘casino’ project in the area.
Niran Watthanasartsatorn, the Thai Rak Thai Party
candidate for Pattaya mayor, said his group would work under the slogan
“Determined to Develop, Add Value to Tourism”, putting emphasis on
developing tourism in the area, whilst also emphasizing social progress, the
economy and education.
Five-year-old elephant rescued from deadly mud hole
Surin Province is known world wide as the center for Thai
elephants - be they in the forest or in the parks, performing for the enjoyment
of tourists and locals alike.
But with the dwindling of the forests and the slow period for
elephant shows, owners of elephants must seek another source of income to keep
the elephants and themselves fed. Mahouts tend to ride their elephants out of
their province to other parts of Thailand to ‘seek their fortune.’
work hard to free poor “little” Plai Bird from the mud hole that was
threatening to become a muddy grave.
For Plai Bird, a 5-year-old elephant, his mahout Sarn
Boon-ing and two other elephants and their mahouts, this meant that they had to
leave their home and travel aimlessly through the land looking for a job so they
could lead a ‘trunk to mouth’ existence.
After a very long trek from Surin they arrived on the
outskirts of Sattahip where they set up temporary shelter under a huge tree
beside the highway.
For 5 days the elephants and mahouts adventurers plied the
highway all the way to the township of Sattahip, selling sugar cane and other
fruits to the villagers, before returning to spend the night at their new found
Every morning bright and early the elephants would head for a
water hole nearby for a morning bath where they splashed water and played like
children until they had to go to work.
But on this fateful morning Plai Bird unfortunately took the
wrong path and instead of stepping into a hole of cool water, he walked right
into a deep mud hole. The sludge was so soft and sticky it had a quicksand
effect, for the more he tried to free himself, the deeper he sank into the mud.
He trumpeted loudly pleading for help. The mahouts rushed to the hole to find
that the luckless Plai Bird was almost totally submerged in the mud. They tried
to pull him out, but it was all in vain.
Prasit Pookaew raced off to request the help of Narong
Boonbanjerdsri, chairman of the Rojanatham-sathan Foundation in Sattahip, who
immediately dispatched a team of men to the rescue.
On seeing Plai Bird hopelessly stuck in the mud, they knew
that the baby elephant was losing its strength rapidly as he had been struggling
for more than 4 hours. He had indeed buried himself deeper than expected. The
rescuers quickly fastened the end of a chain that was wrapped around the
elephant’s leg to a small truck mounted crane and with a lot of coaxing and
tugging, they managed to pull Plai Bird out of what might have become his murky
The relieved and thankful mahout emotionally spoke to
reporters, saying, “Elephants that live with man cannot be brought back to the
wild again. Therefore we must make the best of our lives together. We are not
allowed to go into farm areas as they say that we would destroy their crops. We
don’t want to walk our elephants on the streets or highways like this, but
where else can we go?”
Wayward auto turns Deutsches Haus Restaurant into “temporary carpark”
Security guard crushed under fridge, breaks legs
A wayward motorist accidentally turned the Deutsches
Haus Restaurant on the corner of Soi 4 Beach Road into a “temporary
carpark” last week. It was not, however, voluntary, and you can be
dead certain that this was not owner Dieter Floeth’s wish, by any
stretch of the imagination.
the restaurant was closed when late at night a car driven by Jirapat
Jaroensuk, in the wrong direction, demolished the front terrace.
During the night of February 9, Jirapat Jaroensuk
drove his Honda Civic on Beach Road. He probably wanted to take a
shortcut, because he drove the one-way road in the wrong direction.
Perhaps his foot on the accelerator became a little bit too heavy, as he
headed full speed into the restaurant. Fortunately, the restaurant had
already closed. Otherwise it would have been a very bad surprise for the
many guests often seen sitting on the terrace.
But the night guard of the restaurant, Kampon Pilong,
was not so lucky. He took a little nap, hidden behind the big Coca-Cola
refrigerator. The awakening was painful. A crushed refrigerator was on
top of him, his leg was broken in two places; he received injuries to
his arms, a concussion and had to be taken to hospital.
When Dieter Floeth arrived at the scene, he found
only the debris of his restaurant. The wall next to the road had been
ripped with such force, a part of the canopy had to be removed to avoid
Fortunately, the driver was insured and his insurance will have to
cover the damage.
Swedish man collapses mysteriously in his apartment
Police suspect heart attack as cause of death
On the afternoon of February 11 police received a call
from an employee of Julie Complex located in South Pattaya, reporting a
Swedish man’s death in his apartment. Sawang Boriboon and a police squad
led by Police Captain Anuched Boonrung, rushed to the scene.
The deceased was later identified as Swedish citizen
Rynholm Ralf Valentin. The man was found dead in a kneeling position, clad
only in underwear.
Officers examined the body and found no evidence of foul
play. They surmised a heart attack might be the cause of death. The body was
sent to the police forensic lab for an autopsy.
A room maid, 43-year-old Boonroung Thamsunee, found the
body. She told police that in the afternoon, while she was doing her routine
job, she had to enter Rynholm’s room with a master key to clean up. She
said she was shocked when she found that Rynholm was not breathing and she
immediately called for help.
Couple injured in shooting spree over money lending
7-year-old son miraculously escapes injury
Police were called to a location behind the Nakornchai
Air bus station near the TM apartment building at around 8 p.m. last
Thursday evening after Sawang Boriboon personnel reported a double shooting.
The two victims, husband and wife, later identified as
Yani Chuapanake and his wife Botar Duangnoi suffered bullet wounds to the
back, abdomen and legs after two men on motorcycles fired eight rounds at
the couple’s pick-up truck. Their seven-year-old son miraculously escaped
injury during the attack.
Sawang Boriboon staff rushed the injured pair to Bangkok
Pattaya Hospital for emergency surgery to remove the 9mm bullets from their
Police discovered that Yani is a known moneylender and
suspect that the shooting was carried out by one of the couple’s debtors
wanting to cancel their loan on a permanent basis.
They were both reported to be in serious but stable
condition. Banglamung police are anxious to question the husband and wife to
further their investigations.
Body found floating in Mabprachan reservoir
Identity still unknown
Residents in the Mabprachan reservoir went to investigate
a foul smell emanating from the water’s edge on February 8, only to
discover the severely decomposed body of a man floating in the water.
Banglamung police were immediately called to the scene to
further investigate the matter. Sawang Boriboon personnel recovered from the
water the unidentified body of a man in his mid 20’s to early 30’s.
An initial examination revealed that the man may have
died from a severe blow to the head. Clad only in his underwear, both his
hands and feet were bound. Police surmise that the man had died 3-5 days
prior to being found.
Approximately 20 meters away from where the body was
found police found the man’s clothing but found no clues as to the
identity of the victim. Judging by the deceased’s complexion and build
officers believe the man to be a foreigner and that he was murdered as a
result of a mugging committed elsewhere, and the perpetrators dumped the
body in the reservoir to avoid early detection. Decomposition made it
difficult to ascertain the man’s nationality.
The body was sent to the forensic institute for a post
mortem examination, while investigating officers continue with the case.
Foreigner dies after being run down by tour bus
Bus driver flees the scene
British citizen Ian Brown died almost instantly after he was
run down by a tour bus on Beach Road at 1 a.m. on February 10 near the entrance
to Soi 7. Police and rescue personnel arrived on the scene to find the man
laying face down on the road. Nearby was the dead man’s motorcycle and the
tour bus. The driver of the bus fled the scene of the accident. The foreigner
was identified after police discovered a bankbook in his pocket.
Witnesses told police that they saw a motorbike weaving in
and out of the traffic and had apparently attempted to avoid a mini bus before
pulling out in front of the larger tour bus.
Sources later revealed that they saw the man prior to the
accident in nearby Soi 6 and that he appeared to be intoxicated.
The body was transferred to the morgue where British embassy
officials were notified of the man’s death.
Police are still searching for the driver of the tour bus for further
questioning and to face charges of fleeing the scene of an accident and
negligent driving causing death.
Blue Ridge, Seventh Fleet visit Thailand
Seventh Fleet Public Affairs
Sattahip, Thailand - USS Blue Ridge (LCC
19) arrived here for a routine port visit Feb. 10.
The port visit gives the more than 950 sailors, marines
and Seventh Fleet staff members embarked aboard Blue Ridge a chance to
experience the unique culture and hospitality of Thailand, sightsee and
participate in community service projects with their hosts.
USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) was in the area for a routine port visit beginning
Additionally, staff talks were held between the Royal
Thai Navy and the Seventh Fleet staff. Discussions included topics of mutual
and continuing interest common to both countries.
An amphibious command-and-control ship, Blue Ridge is the
flagship of the Seventh Fleet and supports a variety of missions with a
robust communications suite, allowing the Seventh Fleet commander, Vice Adm.
Robert F. Willard, and his embarked staff to direct U.S. naval forces in the
Blue Ridge, commanded by Capt. J. Stephen Maynard, is forward deployed to
Vandals set fire to 100 beach
Shortly after 2 a.m. Tuesday morning, local police and
fire units were called to the beachfront near Soi 8 following the report of
a fire. Fire units and officers arrived to find 100 canvas beach chairs
ablaze. The fabric and wood fueled the flames while fire units worked to
extinguish the blaze. The owner of the beach chairs was not immediately
available and was later informed of the damage.
Police surmise that the incident was a deliberate attempt
to destroy the vendor’s business due to a personal conflict or as means to
extort money. Damages were estimated at around 30,000 baht and officers
requested the owner to file a report so they could continue their
investigation and find those responsible.
Unidentified body discovered in Nongprue field
Banglamung police officers were called to the bushland
behind the Khaothongtong Temple in Nongprue after residents discovered a
corpse in a wooded area close to their house. Officers arrived on the scene
to find the partly decomposed body of a well-dressed Thai man. There was no
identification on the body. The man had been dead for at least 30 hours, and
police determined he had been shot five times.
Investigating police inspected the area and discovered
signs of a struggle, 50 baht in coins and a stone covered in blood.
They questioned a nearby resident, 60 year-old Songkhram
Saithong, who reported the gruesome discovery. Songkhram recalled that two
days prior to finding the body he had heard gunshots late one evening and
heard 3 or 4 motorcycles leave the area. He thought nothing of it as all
went quiet. It was only when he noticed a bad smell coming from the area
that he went to check the cause.
Police surmise the man was led to the area and was killed
there by rivals over a business conflict or a personal vendetta.
Investigators are sill looking for clues as to the dead man’s identity.
The body was transferred to the forensic institute for a
post mortem examination as Banglamung police continue to investigate the
Public health must take priority in bird flu epidemic
World Health Organization emphasizes urgency of culling infected flocks
By Charlene Porter
Washington File Staff Writer
Washington - Tens of millions of birds infected with the
H5N1 avian influenza strain have been destroyed in Asia, and the wholesale
destruction of assets in agriculturally dependent economies brings mounting
losses. Still, the World Health Organization (WHO) February 11 re-emphasized
the very real threat that bird flu poses for human health, and the need to
eliminate the disease in poultry as a measure to protect the human
“Public health concerns about the present H5N1
situation must be given the highest priority when weighing the immediate and
measurable economic losses in animals against possible yet unpredictable
consequences for humans,” according to a statement issued from WHO
headquarters in Geneva.
The H5N1 flu strain has so far been detected in poultry
flocks in eight nations. In two nations - Vietnam and Thailand - the disease
has also been found in humans, and the fatality rate has been high. As of
February 11, 23 human cases had been reported, and among those, 18 deaths
That high fatality rate could foretell a public health
nightmare, and public health experts from many countries are working to
avoid that outcome. The H5N1 flu strain has been detected in humans only
twice before, and then only in a limited number of cases. That means human
immunity to this strain is virtually nonexistent, and thus fatalities are
high. A flu strain previously unknown to humans was the reason for more than
20 million deaths worldwide in 1918-1919, an episode that is still
considered one of the most disastrous public health events in modern
That history is what makes the international public
health community so concerned about controlling this year’s epidemic among
poultry flocks, but no conclusive evidence has yet emerged that the 2004
pathogen will be capable of sweeping through the human population as
occurred in 1918. This year’s viral vintage has apparently not yet
developed a mutation that will allow it to achieve human-to-human
transmission. That is the key biological change that must occur in the virus
before a human outbreak would begin leaping person-to-person and
Slaughtering the birds is the best way to prevent that
from happening, according to the agencies watching this situation. “In the
present situation, measures aimed at eliminating the disease in poultry will
also reduce the presence of the virus in the environment and thus reduce
opportunities for human exposures and infections,” the WHO statement says.
“These measures must be carried out urgently, giving highest priority to
the protection of human health.”
While culling flocks has been effective in past
outbreaks, the circumstances of the current epidemic are different. It’s
happening in countries where poultry range free, in backyards and on small
farms. Ensuring the wholesale elimination of the birds, and thus the virus,
is difficult under those circumstances.
An expert panel representing WHO, the U.N. Food and
Agriculture Organization and the World Organization for Animal Health
weighed all these issues in a special meeting February 3-4 and recognized
the possibility the virus might be able to establish itself in the wild bird
population under these conditions and thus become more transportable
Meanwhile, less virulent but still worrisome strains of
bird flu are being detected in other parts of the world. In the east coast
U.S. state of Delaware, avian flu has been detected in two separate flocks
since February 6. Tests have identified this strain as H7N2. The Delaware
Division of Public Health said, “There is no history of risk to humans
with this particular strain.”
Ron DeHaven, the chief veterinary officer with
Delaware’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, distanced the
Delaware poultry outbreak from the epidemic under way in Asia. “Because
it’s an H7, that clarifies that this situation is completely unrelated to
the H5N1 avian influenza that is currently being seen in Asia,” said
DeHaven at a February 9 press briefing.
Nevertheless, almost 74,000 birds have been slaughtered
in the state, and Delaware’s agricultural officials have imposed a wide
range of emergency standards to control the further spread of the disease
through the state’s poultry industry, a mainstay in its agricultural
sector. Restrictions are being placed on the spreading of poultry manure as
fertilizer, on the methods of feed delivery, and on poultry transport. The
state also is expanding the testing of other potentially vulnerable flocks.
Several nations have responded to the Delaware bird flu
outbreak by restricting imports of U.S. chickens. South Korea, Singapore,
Poland and Mexico are among the nations that have taken such action since
the February 6 announcement.
(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International
Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:
Chonburi deputy governor presides over opening of free English language training for journalists
On February 11 at the Pattaya City Hall meeting room,
Chonburi Deputy Governor Veerawit Wiwatwanith presided over opening the
project of free English language training for Pattaya and Chonburi
journalists. The opening ceremony was attended by the officers from the
Princess Sirindhorn Vocational College in Banglamung, and professors from
Burapha University, journalists and Pattaya officers.
Yuppares Wongboonmee, director of the Princess Sirindhorn
Vocational College said with the advent of the Eastern Seaboard’s rapid
growth and the increasing number of investors and tourists arriving from all
corners of the globe, communication is becoming very important. But locals
and foreigners often run up against language problems in many critical
Since English language has become an international form
of communication, the provincial administration has seen the need for local
news reporters to improve their language skills when dealing with the
Initiator of the project, Chonburi’s deputy governor,
Veerawit Wiwatwanith said, “English language courses have been implemented
for the Thai media so they can brush up on their skills as part of the
provincial government’s effort to enable newshounds to converse in a
This free program stipulates that people taking part in the course must
reach 80% attendance. The course started on February 11 and will be held
every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Pattaya City
Hall. When training is completed, the learners will receive certification
from the Princess Sirindhorn Vocational College in Banglamung and from
Sweden will help Thai initiative
on aid to women and children
King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Her Majesty Queen
Silvia arrived in here on February 11 to help with an initiative to promote
children’s rights in Thailand.
World Scouts committee of Thailand farewell HM King Carl XVI Gustaf and HM
Queen Silvia of Sweden. Uraiwan Sirinubongse (2nd right) presented orchids
to HM Queen Silvia. Also seen are Sutham Phanthusak (far left), the
commissioner of the Scouts Organization in Thailand, Saksinee Supachanya
(2nd left), chief of protocol, Suree Buranatanit (2nd right) and Jan Olav
Aamlid (right). HM King Carl XVI Gustaf is an active member of the World
As founder of the World Childhood Foundation, Queen
Silvia signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Association for
the Status Promotion of Women (ASPW) under the Royal Patronage of HRH
Princess Soamsawalee. Together they formed a joint venture that will focus
on street children and sexually abused youngsters. A focus on support to
girls and young mothers will be the main aim as a preventive step, and more
measures will be taken to prevent trafficking of women and children in the
The signing in the morning took place at ASPW office in
Don Muang, and in the evening the Swedish King and Queen attended a gala
dinner at the Oriental Hotel hosted by Volvo Car (Thailand), the local
subsidiary of Swedish Volvo and the main donor behind this royal initiative.
In 1999 Queen Silvia established the World Childhood
Foundation to defend the rights of children and to promote better living
conditions for those at risk. The foundation now has ongoing projects in
several countries around the globe.
ASPW is a charitable organization that was established in
1981 to provide assistance to women and children who are victims of forced
prostitution, HIV/Aids, unemployment, abandonment, physical and mental
Volvo President Karl-Hohan Sandesjo said, “We feel privileged to have
the opportunity to work with the foundation and find ways to help benefit
disadvantaged children in Thailand. The arrival of the King and Queen of
Sweden has reminded us that it is time we take this problem seriously and it
is a great honor that they will be lending us their support and