Friday, 29 February 2008

Baht hits new high as market readies for capital controls end

BANGKOK, Feb 29 (TNA) – The Thai baht hit a new high again in Thursday's trading session because there is an expectation in the market that the central bank will scrap the 30 per cent reserve requirement, according to Bank of Thailand Governor Tarisa Watanagase.

She said the baht strengthened and broke through 31.99 to the US dollar compared with a range of 32.085-32.105 to the dollar on Wednesday, it's strongest level in 10 and a half years.

Mrs. Tarisa attributed the continued baht rise to the market expectation that BoT would call off the reserve withholding measure.

However, she said, the local currency had strengthened in conjunction with other regional markets.

The previous government imposed currency controls in December 2006 in an attempt to halt the baht's rapid rise against the dollar. The measure caused the biggest single-day drop in the Thai stock market in late 2006, with losses worth 203 billion dollars. Relaxations have since been made to the currency rules.

Mrs. Tarisa said should anyone want to know whether the central bank had intervened in the baht movement for now, they could see data on the country's international reserve through the website of the bank.

She reiterated the bank's supervision and management policies would remain unchanged.
Regarding a comment by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that the BoT is indecisive and uncertain in the scrapping of the capital controls, she said it is a difference of perspectives.

However, she reasserted that what the central bank would do must benefit all parties. (TNA)-E005

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Ex-PM Thaksin vows to fight charges, restore reputation

BANGKOK, Feb 28 (TNA) - Thailand's ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, repeating his intention to refrain from politics, announced Thursday he would spend his time back in the country fighting charges against him and restoring his tarnished reputation.

Flanked by his wife Pojaman and three children, Mr. Thaksin told a press conference at the luxurious Peninsula Hotel that he felt disheartened to have his fingerprints taken before the authorities as if he was a "vital criminal."

He disclosed that he wanted to return to his homeland the next day after the September 19, 2006 coup but the situation was far from normal at that time.

"I have to apologise for what has happend in Thailand. I have finally decided to return home in light of the relaxing situation after the [December 23] general election," Mr. Thaksin said on arrival at Suvarnabhumi airport on a Thai Airways International flight from Hong Kong Thursday morning.

The deposed premier called on anyone who has been worried about his political rivalry or revenge to take it easy for he has decided to live a peaceful and constructive life.

"I'm 59 years old and life is not that long," said the former prime minister. "My utmost desire is to spend a happy life with my family. I want to work for charity and sports"

Mr. Thaksin apologised to well-wishers at the airport for not stopping by to talk to them because "I didn't feel comfortable with the security system."

He added that he wanted Thailand to be back on its own feet given the mounting economic concerns the country has been encountering, whether the subprime crisis or the rising oil prices.

Mr. Thaksin and his family later moved to a luxury suite at the Peninsula where they would stay overnight. It was reported that he has booked 11 rooms, each Bt106,000 (US$ 3,312) a night, on the 33rd-35th floors. (TNA)

Thai ex-PM returns home amid tight security

BANGKOK, Feb 28 (TNA)--Thailand's former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra returned to his homeland amid tight security Thursday morning, ending 17 months of self-imposed exile abroad since the Sept ember 2006 military coup that ousted him from the country's leadership. Once stepping on the Thai soil, Mr. Thaksin knelt down, placed both his hands on the ground and bowed down.

At least 600 policemen were deployed at Suvarnabhumi airport where a large crowd of Thaksin supporters, many of them carrying placards welcoming him back, waited anxiously for his arrival.

Mr. Thaksin, accompanied by his aides and a group of journalists, travelled from Hong Kong on a Thai Airways International flight TG603. He was welcomed at Suvarnabhumi airport by members of the present and previous cabinets.

The ex-premier went directly from Suvarnabhumi airport to the Supreme Court and was scheduled to move later to the Office of the Attorney-General to surrender himself to the authorities to fight malfeasance charges.

The Supreme Court's Crime Division for Holders of Political Positions has issued an arrest warrant for Mr Thaksin over the 772-million-baht purchase of Bangkok prime land from the Financial Institutions Development Fund in 2003. The Assets Examination Committee found that he used his position to influence the deal.

The Department of Special Investigation has charged Mr. Thaksin and his wife Pojaman for allegedly concealing ownership of shares in family business, SC Asset. (TNA)

Diesel price hits new high; traders raise fuel prices again

BANGKOK, Feb 28 (TNA) – The price of diesel fuel in Thailand reached a new high of almost 30 baht per litre as oil traders raised fuel prices in all categories of petroleum and its byproducts by 0.40 baht per litre on the continued rise in global fuel prices.

Effective before dawn at 5 am Thursday morning, premium and regular gasoline prices at all service stations in metropolitan Bangkok edged up to 33.59 and 32.49 baht per litre.
Prices of premium and regular gasohol as well as diesel went up to 29.59, 28.79, and 29.94 baht per litre respectively.

The latest fuel price increase was mainly attributed to higher oil prices overseas as the crude price surged by US$2.2 to $101.43 per barrel, and refined gasoline and diesel prices in Singapore rose to $109.42 and $115.73 per barrel.

Anusorn Saengnimnual, president of Bangchak Petroleum Plc, said the company and other oil traders are ready to cooperate with the government in containing energy prices to ensure that the public gets the least burden and traders are commercially viable.

He said the firm is willing to bring cooking gas derived from oil refining for local sale although prices do not reflect the actual cost. (TNA)-E005

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

EC resolves to disqualify House speaker Yongyuth

BANGKOK, Feb 26 (TNA) – Thailand's Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday resolved to disqualify House Speaker and President of Parliament Yongyuth Tiyapairaj for alleged election fraud in his electoral constituency in the northern province of Chiang Rai.

The disqualification of Mr. Yongyuth could also lead to the dissolution of the ruling party.

Speaking after the meeting of EC, Somchai Chuengprasert, commissioner in charge of investigations, said the five-member commission ruled with a majority vote of 3 to 2 to petition the Supreme Court's Election Frauds Department to nullify Mr. Yongyuth's victory and remove his election right for alleged election vote-rigging.

He said the petition would be submitted together with the EC's comments to the department within two weeks.

Should the court accept the petition, Mr. Yongyuth's duty as House Speaker and President of Parliament must be immediately suspended although he would be allowed to retain his seat pending a verdict.

If the court upholds the EC's decision to disqualify him, he would lose his parliamentary seat and face a five-year ban from the electoral process, he said.

EC secretary-general Suthiphon Thaveechaigarn said the commission also resolved to give a yellow card to Mr. Yongyuth's younger sister La-ong Tiyaparaj, who is a member of parliament of the ruling Palang Prachon Party for the connected election violation in her constituency in Chiang Rai. The decision would lead to a by-election in the constituency.

Since Mr. Yongyuth is concurrently a PPP executive, the EC is obliged to form an investigative committee to see whether his alleged violations were linked to the party.

Should the linkage be suspected, the EC must petition the Constitution Court to rule whether the party should be dissolved. (TNA)-E005

Bring back investors

Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama said at Post Forum 2008 that he is telling foreign investors that democracy is restored in Thailand and the country wants to welcome them back.

Mr Noppadon also called on the public to judge the achievements of the ministry, not its policy.

He then touched on the policy of the Foreign Ministry, and explained that it is written based on the wants and needs of people and the country.

He also said he is expected to travel a lot to create a better understanding about Thailand among foreigners after the military coup.

Mr Noppadon used a relation between Thailand and Singapore as an example. He said the relation with the city state has been improved, and Singapore investors will travel to Thailand to discuss with the government further investment in April.

He also mentioned his plan to push Thai embassies to become business centres.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Thailand, The Land of Smiles

The Kingdom of Thailand is a country in Southeast Asia. Thailand borders Laos and Cambodia to the east, the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia to the south, and the Andaman Sea and Myanmar to the west. Vietnam is a close neighbor of Thailand. Thailand means โ€œFree Landโ€.

Thailand was known as Siam until 1939. Thailand is also known as the land of white elephants. The White Elephant have always been important symbol of royal power in Thailand.

Thailand is also dubbed as โ€œthe Land of Smilesโ€ after the perceived gentleness of its inhabitants. Thailand is truly the โ€œLand of Smilesโ€. A smile seems to be a continuous part of life in Thailand.

Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Udon and Ubon are the main cities of Thailand. Patong, Karon beach in Phuket, Pattaya, Khao Lak, chiang mai and Sukhothai Historical Park are famous places in thailand.

Bangkok is the capital as well as the largest city of Thailand. Chiang Mai and the northern Thailand region are part of the infamous Golden Triangle. The Golden Triangle is the term used for the meeting point of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. Chiang Mai is located on the serene Mai Ping River in a beautiful mountain valley. Chiang Mai is a modern city surrounding the ancient walled & moated city.

Thailand is one of the hottest sex tourism destinations of the world. Tourism is one of the corner stones of Thai economy.

The flights to thailand are available from all over the globe. Bangkok International Airport, Suvarnabhumi Airport, Chiang Mai International Airport, Chiang Rai International Airport, Phuket International Airport are the major airports in Thailand.

Bangkok International Airport, also known, as Don Muang International Airport or Don Mueang is an airport in Bangkok, Thailand. Itโ€™s an important hub of Asia and the hub of Thai Airways International and it serves the most air traffic in Thailand.

Suvarnabhumi Airport, also New Bangkok International Airport or Second Bangkok International Airport is the new international airport of bangkok, Thailand. The airport is located in Racha Thewa in the Bang Phli district of Samut Prakan province, some 25 kilometers east of Bangkok.

Chiang Mai International Airport is the major gateway to the north of Thailand. Air Asia, Air Mandalay, Angel Airlines, Bangkok Airways, Lao Aviation, LTU International, Malaysia Airlines, Mandarin Airlines, Nok Air, PB Air, Phuket Air, Silkair and Thai Airways International serve Chiang Mai International Airport.

Chiang Rai International Airport is located in Chiang Rai in the north of Thailand. It is located about 8 kilometers from the city center. The airlines that serve the airport include Thai Airways International, Angel Airlines, Air Asia and One-Two-GO.

The Phuket International Airport, the airport in phuket, Thailand, is served by Air Asia, Air China, Asiana Airlines, Bangkok Airways, China Airlines, Bal Air, Britannia Airways, Britannia (Sweden), Condor Flugdienst, Far Eastern Air, Finnair, Dragonair, Lauda Air, LTU, Malaysia Airlines, Nova Airlines, Phuket Air, Premi Air, Silkair, Thai Airways International, Tiger Airways, Trans Asia Airways and Uni Airways.

About Author: The author owns a website on flights to thailand, offering volumes of info on cheap flights thailand and valuable tips to take thailand flight, cheap flight thailand, thailand domestic flights etc. You can get more information about Thailand Flights from his site.

The Sights of Bangkok in Thailand

The Sights of Bangkok in ThailandBy Clint Leung

One of the most popular destinations in Asia to visit over recent years has been Thailand. This of course has also coincided with the booming popularity of Thai cuisine around the world. Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand, is the main entry point where the vast majority of tourists to Thailand will use.

Bangkok is a very interesting city because in addition to the usual modern buildings of offices, hotels and shopping centers, there are also about 400 exotic Thai temples that seem to stick out among the urban landscape. There are Thai citizens on the streets dressed in modern business clothing as well as Buddhist monks in saffron robes. Yet this is what part of Thailand is. The traditional mixed in with the modern. In fact, itโ€™s the traditional attractions that make Thailand so magical. The temples are sights that one just cannot see in the western world. They are like objects that popped out of an Asian fairy tale.

Like many other large Asian cities, Bangkok is congested with traffic, people and pollution. In fact, the air can be bad enough that there are locals wearing surgical masks in the streets. With an average annual temperature of 28 degrees Celsius or 83 degrees Fahrenheit, it can be somewhat uncomfortable outside for some tourists, especially those from northern climates. Also beware that there will be people on the streets who will try to hustle tourists and direct them to their own businesses and tours. But unlike places in the Caribbean, Thais are polite and not aggressive people. For example, once upon arrival at the international airport, there will be people within the terminal including the ones at the booths who will be offering taxi transportation to your hotel. Although these are legit, they will charge a premium compared to the taxis waiting outside the terminal. There is a similar situation at the hotels. The taxis waiting right outside the main hotel entrances do seem to quote more than those waiting on the side streets just further down. The three-wheeled โ€˜tuk tukโ€™ vehicles also vary a lot so it may be wise to ask for quotes from a few drivers rather than taking the first one you see. The tuk tuks are a fun ride by the way so they should be experienced at least once while in Bangkok. The city also has various public buses and river taxis which are long boats used on the river canal system. A nice way to spend some time is to take a ride on one of these river taxis to cruise the canals which some refer to as the โ€˜Venice of the Eastโ€™.

The Grand Palace is probably the most visited attraction in Bangkok. This complex is surrounded by walls built in 1783 and contains government offices, royal residences monuments and the Emerald Buddha Chapel. The Royal Chapel which contains the Emerald Buddha is the monarchโ€™s private chapel. The Buddha itself is actually a one piece jade sitting on top of a golden altar. Itโ€™s not a large Buddha but it is very special. Apparently, they change the Buddhaโ€™s clothing which is also made of gold on a seasonal basis. There are numerous monuments on the grounds that are dedicated to past monarchs. Walls with large mythological scenes are displayed throughout. The buildings and monuments within the Grand Palace have some very striking colors including golds and greens. Gold color is used quite a lot and the distinctively curved Thai roofs on the buildings are very detailed. Equally stunning are some of the interiors of these buildings with their magnificent rooms and halls used for different ceremonies and events. Some of these halls have special royal altars.

One temple not to miss is Wat Pho which is the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. It features a giant Buddha lying on its side. Even the soles of this Buddhaโ€™s feet have very intricately detailed designs. Other nice temples to see are Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) and Wat Benchamabophit (Marble Temple). The Wat Pho temple has traditional Thai massage services which are very popular among tourists. Other temples such as Wat Mahathat and Wat Parinayok also have Thai massages available. The Royal Barges or long boats which are used during ceremonies on the river are also nice to see. The details put into decorating these boats are just remarkable.

For wildlife enthusiasts, thereโ€™s the Pasteur Instituteโ€™s Snake Farm where poisonous snakes are fed daily and visitors can watch handlers milk cobras for their venom. There is also the worldโ€™s largest Crocodile Farm. The national sport of Thai kickboxing can be seen at two different stadiums in Bangkok. Both the Ratchadamnoen and Lumphini stadiums feature events throughout the week on different days. Thai theatre and traditional dance are very interesting to watch as cultural entertainment. These can be seen at theatres as well as some of the top hotels in the city.

Bangkok has some good shopping opportunities especially for jewelry, handicrafts and textiles including silks as well as cottons. As in other locations in Asia, vendors in the streets will expect some bargaining of prices where the retail stores have fixed prices. Just like in Hong Kong, Bangkok has many custom tailors who can make suits, shirts and dresses for clients within 24 hours. Some will even delivery the finished clothing to your hotel free of charge.

There are some general guidelines of etiquette in Thailand that should be followed by all visitors. The Thai royal family is revered in this country so no outsider should ever make any even slightly negative remarks about the countryโ€™s monarchy. Temples should not be entered unless one is covered with long pants or skirts. Shorts and shoulderless tops are not permitted in temples. Footwear is always removed prior to entering any temple. Images and statues of Buddha, even postcards, are considered sacred in Thailand so one should never climb on one or do anything that will show disrespect. Public displays of affection between men and women are also frowned upon. Of course this seems to be a complete contradiction to Bangkokโ€™s famous red light and adult entertainment districts such as Patpong. But this is yet another example of the contrast thatโ€™s found in Thailand.

The attractions in Bangkok warrant a few days stay in the city before heading out to other parts of Thailand where thereโ€™s much less pollution and more beautiful natural scenery. Bangkok has good air connections with other Asian destinations as well so it can easily be fit into a larger tour of Asia.

Clint Leung is owner of Free Spirit Gallery, an online gallery specializing in Inuit Eskimo and Northwest Native American art including carvings, sculpture and prints. Free Spirit Gallery has numerous information resource articles with photos of authentic Inuit and Native Indian art as well as free eCards.

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