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King tells cabinet to be honest. Charupong, New Pheu Thai Party leader and Interior Minister, to press ahead with controversial reconciliation and charter amendment bills, renewing fears of new round of political unrest. Thai women and men in sex-slavery ring, busted in Geneva.
UN demands Myanmar halt anti-Rohingya fighting, discrimination. Thousands protest in Bahrain against opposition leader jailed for insulting emir.
– THAILAND TO HOLD ROYAL BARGE PROCESSION ON NOVEMBER 9: World travelers seeking to add another masterpiece event to their list of lifetime experiences should pencil November 8, 2012 into their calendars and be in Bangkok to watch the majestic Royal Barge Procession along the Chao Phraya river, The River of Kings.
One of the grandest spectacles in Thailand and indeed, the world, the Royal Barge Procession is an ancient tradition that was revived by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 1959. This breathtaking water-borne procession is reserved for nationally-auspicious occasions and has been held only 16 times during His Majesty’s reign. The main procession will be held between 1500 hours and 1600 hours on November 9, but full dress rehearsals by the Royal Thai Navy will also be held on November 2 and November 6 at 1500 hours. Tickets are available via the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) for those wishing to watch the procession in comfort from the Royal Thai Navy pavilion. Alternately, the procession can be viewed from various public spots along the river.
King Bhumibol, the ninth monarch of the Chakri dynasty, founded in 1782, is the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history, and has since 1989 been the world’s longest-reigning incumbent monarch.
The Procession, which this year will commemorate the auspicious occasion of HM the King’s 85th birthday on December 5, 2012, involves barges carrying the deeply-revered Buddha image (Phra Buddha Sihing) and members of the royal family to present offerings of saffron kathin robes, food, and other necessities to the monks at Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn).
Truly a sight to behold, the procession consists of a flotilla of 52 traditional-style barges arranged in five columns, based on a battle formation from ancient times. This is made up of four major royal barges — Suphannahongse, Narai Song Suban H.M. King Rama IX, Anantanagaraj, and Anekchatbhuchongse – ten barges with animal figureheads, and 38 smaller vessels. The five-column flotilla stretches 1,280 meters in length and 110 meters across. A total of 2,200 sailors from various units within the Royal Thai Navy will serve as oarsmen.
The procession takes approximately 55 minutes to make the 4.5-kilometer journey down the Chao Phraya River to Wat Arun, covering the section from Thonburi Bridge to Phra Phutta Yodfa Bridge. The official ceremony is expected to end at approximately 1730 hours.
The royal barges of Thailand are the last of their kind in the world. The last time that a royal barge procession was organized was on June 12, 2006 for the diamond jubilee celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of HM King Bhumibol’s accession to the throne.
This year, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn will preside over the Royal Barge Procession and Royal Kathin ceremony at Wat Arun on behalf of His Majesty the King.
Date of Dress Rehearsals: November 2 and 6, 2012.
Date of the Royal Kathin Ceremony and Royal Barge Procession: November 9, 2012.
Place: Tassana Pirom Yard, Naval Assembly, Royal Thai Navy, Bangkok.
Information and tickets and program can be found on the website of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
– ECO-GREEN FAIR: The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) plans to organize the first official eco-tourism consumer fair in the third quarter next year to cash in on a growing trend.
Vilaiwan Twichasri, TAT’s Deputy Governor for tourism products and business, said the fair would feature ecological and green tourism products, soft adventure, and One Tambon One Product items, focusing on domestic tourists.
Eco-tourism shows a concern for the environment, culture, tradition, and sustainable interest of the planet.
“Ecological and green tourism is the global trend,” said Ms. Vilaiwan, “This segment is tourism’s future and could provide sustainable development for Thailand’s tourism industry.”
Generation X and Generation Y tourists favor eco-tourism and soft adventure activities such as the children’s boat (The Bonanza Resort, Khao Yai), horse riding (Chokchai Farm), and high ropes (Springfield Village Golf & Spa).
In previous years, the private sector has pioneered eco-tourism activities. TAT is studying the segment’s marketing value, business direction, marketing trends, and demand to upgrade the standard of operators.
– AMITA THAI COOKING CLASS: We alight at a small jetty where we are met by Piyawadi Jantrupon or Tam, as she’s affectionately known.
She’s a qualified lawyer who, along with her husband, worked for the Tourism Authority of Thailand, giving her the opportunity to cook at engagements around the world.
But four years ago, Tam returned here to Bangkok to her childhood home. In this compound, she watched her grandmother and aunts prepare meals for the family and she continues the tradition, passing on old methods and the importance of fresh ingredients in her cooking school.
She greets each of us humbly, palms together, eyes flashing, head bowed forward, and then she’s off. With lightning speed, we are each doled out a bright white apron and, after a refreshing lemongrass drink and an appetizer of fried Ixora leaves and blue butterfly pea flowers, Tam leads us to the garden on a scavenger hunt for ingredients.
There are echoes of the past among the leaves, herbs, and bulbs. Nearby, a stone rice grinder is being put to work as it has been for 130 years, since the days of Tam’s great-grandmother.
And Tam is still surrounded by family who help her run the cooking school. She’s also followed through the garden by a pet rooster called Soy Sauce and as we pick ingredients she describes the medicinal uses for hairy basil and bird’s-eye chili and thick finger length turmeric bulbs.
“Thai people take this for flu,” she says of one small postage stamp of a leaf. “This one has cancer-fighting properties,” she says pointing deep into the undergrowth, “and this one can make you beautiful but you have to turn it into a paste.”
Perhaps there’s something to be said for this naturopathy. Tam’s great- grandmother died only last year at the age of 105. She picks each ingredient, adding ginger to galangal, cloves, holy basil, and chili. By the river bank she picks the vivid pink stamen of Malay rose apples. And then she leads us to her open-air kitchen where she mixes and crushes, blends, and fries up three delicious courses from these herbs, to which she has added chicken, prawn, and shrimp flakes.
Half-day cooking classes run from 0930-1330 hours and include boat and car transfer, the preparation of four courses, and then the chance to eat them. The school is open every day except Wednesday. For more information, visit www.amitathaicooking.com
– WORLD EXPO & TCEB: Thailand may lose its chance to host the World Expo in 2020 unless it shows strong commitment to meet the key criteria requested by the Bureau of International Expositions.
The problem is that Thailand cannot promise to the BIE’s bid committee that it would clarify visa regulations and cut customs duties for participants entering the country, and also to provide free support to participating underdeveloped nations.
Thongchai Sridama, the TCEB’s Acting President, said those barriers were out of the agency’s control. It cannot make any specific commitments on those issues to the committee. In fact, solutions must be made by the Cabinet.
From November 21-22, Tourism Minister Chumphol Silapa-archa will spearhead the bid team when they present the Thailand bid in Paris.
At the presentation in Paris, the TCEB will try to make the case that Thailand is a qualified contender by showing the flood-prevention measures at the venue and also infrastructure to connect conveniently between the old city of Ayutthaya and other places, especially downtown Bangkok.
Venue facilitation is a key factor in the competition, so the government should move ahead even faster to construct the extension of the mass transit line to the venue, from the line that will terminate at Thammasat University’s Rangsit campus.
Yesterday, TCEB also outlined its plan to strengthen Thailand as an exhibition center ahead of the implementation of the Asean Economic Community in 2015. The bureau will promote a strong network of exhibition-business operators across the region, thanks to the strategic geographical location of the nation.
The bureau hopes the move will help boost the Thai exhibition business by 30 percent to Bt30 billion in 2015 and attract 300,000 visitors to the nation.
– iPHONE 5 ARRIVES IN THAILAND: All-new design. At 7.6 millimeters and 112 grams, iPhone 5 has a remarkably thin and light design. It’s made from anodized aluminum beveled edges that are diamond cut, 3 options in white and silver or black and slate are available, 16 GB, 32GB, and 64GB; brilliant 4-inch Retina display, in vivid, lifelike detail. And users say that even though the display is bigger, it’s the same width as an iPhone 4, so it’s just as easy to use with one hand.
A powerful A6 chip, and CPU performance and graphics performance are up to twice as fast as on the A5 chip, and the iPhone 5 gives you a longer battery life and ultra-fast wireless. With support for the latest wireless technologies, iPhone 5 connects to more networks all over the world with Wi-Fi capability that is faster.
– ASEAN FRONTIER DEMAND: Charoen Pokphand Foods, Bumrungrad Hospital, and Airports of Thailand could benefit the most from rising demand in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam (CLMV), Credit Suisse said.
These countries were already significant for the Thai economy, but the broader stock market significance of CLMV remains limited.
Bumrungrad Hospital has seen a surge in medical tourists from CLMV, with growth for CLMV patients last year at 43 percent against 12 percent for the hospital as a whole and 18 percent for foreign patients.
– UK COMEDIAN ARRESTED: British police arrested comedian Freddie Starr as part of an investigation triggered by allegations that the late BBC presenter Jimmy Savile sexually abused hundreds of children. Savile’s 4.3 million pound estate has been frozen in response to the allegations.
– US ELECTION: In a surprise announcement, New York’s Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, says Superstorm Sandy has reshaped his thinking about the presidential campaign and he is endorsing Barack Obama.
– FUTSAL: Brazil has begun the defense of their Futsal World Cup crown in convincing fashion, thumping Japan 4-1 on the opening day of the tournament in Thailand.
Thailand opened their Futsal World Cup campaign in highly impressive fashion with a 3-1 victory over Costa Rica to set the early pace in Group A. They next face Ukraine on Sunday.
– CELEB WEDDING: Aerosmith’s lead singer Steven Tyler proposed in December last year and said that their wedding planning was going swimmingly: ”I thought either Hawaii or Phuket. I’m all about writing ‘I love you’ on a beach and surprising somebody,” he said.