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Thailand Live Friday 4 Nov 2011

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Thailand Live Friday 4 November 2011

News, Bits and Tweets

with webfact

Keep up to date with live updates from the news, hour by hour.

For breaking news,national, regional and international news updates on a daily basis only, this thread is closed to commentary so that those who wish to follow the news can find it here...

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Related topic: Thailand Live Thursday 3 Nov 2011

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An ocean of cancellations

Veena Thoopkrajae

The Nation


Millions of baht lost as floods hit Thailand's entertainment industry

Thailand's worst flooding in decades has affected every industry and the entertainment business is no exception. That old adage, the show must go on, doesn't apply in this case, especially now that Bangkok has also been hit by the floods and residents of several districts have been told to evacuate.

With many venues facing the uncertainty of flooding, almost all events scheduled until early December have either been cancelled or postponed.

The main concert venue Impact Arena in Muang Thong Thani saw all its shows in late October as well as those in early November axed. The last foreign concert held there was "Yanni Live in Bangkok", with the multi-instrumentalist even pitching in to help with flood relief.

Shows scheduled for late November and those at venues outside flood-affected areas are still pending. Making matters worse is the fact that ticket holders may get only short notice of cancellation as local organisers wait for foreign promoters to call off the shows.

That was the case with the David Foster and Jason Mraz concerts - BEC-Tero Entertainment announced the cancellations only a couple of days ahead.

"I am truly disappointed that I can't perform for my fans in Thailand," Mraz said on Wednesday about his concert that was planned for tomorrow at Khao Yai National Park. "But your safety and security are more important and really matter to me. My thoughts are with you all. Stay safe. Stay strong. I am praying for my fans and the Thai people during this tough time. I promise I will come back to perform in Thailand soon."

As of publication time yesterday, BEC-Tero, which has lost millions of baht due to the floods, was still saying that next Tuesday's sold-out concert by X Japan will take place as scheduled at Impact Arena.

Saithip Montrikul Na Ayudhaya, CEO of GMM Media and managing director of A-Time Showbiz and A-Time Travellers, assesses her companies' losses at Bt10 million and rising.

"We have no confidence in the flood situation and people are hardly in the mood to be entertained," she says.

A-Time has postponed the Thammasat University concerts "Rewat Budhinan: Nong Rong Phleng Phi 15 Pee Thi Khid Thueng" to March 3 and 4 and "Wan and the Guitars" to March 24. "Sea Mix on the Beach", which was to be held at Ocean Marina Yacht Club in Pattaya on November 26, will now take place on February 25. A-Time Travellers is holding over 10 package tours.

Click Radio provisionally rescheduled the Krathing Dang Fat Fest at Bangkok University in Rangsit from this weekend to December 3 and 4 but says those dates are shaky even though the venue hasn't been flooded.

"It could be changed again because of the uncertainty of the information on the floods provided by the government and the inconveniences suffered by our audience in the weeks to come," says Pongnarin Ulice, the radio station's programming director.

"Fat Fest is our biggest event and we've already lost more than B1 million in advertising. The artist line-up will probably have to change too," says Pongnarin. "But the flood crisis is much bigger than our problem. We are much more concerned about the Thai people."

Theatre and classical music events have also been hit.

"See Phandin the Musical" at the Muangthai Rachadalai Theatre was going to start last month. It'll now be staged from November 16 to January 22.

The "King Naresuan" play set for the Thailand Cultural Centre from November 18 to 27 has been moved to December 15 to 25.

All events planned for this month at Mahidol University College of Music in Salaya are postponed indefinitely.

Although most cinemas, especially in central Bangkok, are operating normally, attendance is low and the film industry is having to adapt to conditions.

Producer Yongyoot Thongkongtoon of the GTH studio says that the postponement of films for which advertising and promotion has already been launched is not a good solution.

Yet a number of Thai films that haven't started advertising have postponed their premieres. Sahamongkol Film put off "The Melody" and "The Kick" to December 8 and 22 respectively.

Pen-ek Ratanaruang's hitman thriller "Headshot" was scheduled to open this week but will now make its Thai premiere on December 1.

The ninth World Film Festival of Bangkok has been postponed from November 4 to 13 until January 20 to 27.

The rescheduling will impact the film line-up but festival director Kriengsak "Victor" Silakong promises to maintain the programme as much as he can.

"It is inevitable that we have to shoulder the cost. Now we just hope that our guests will be available at that time especially our Lotus Award winner, Hungarian director Bela Tarr," Victor says.

Originally the festival planned to show around 80 films from more than 30 countries. The director says the selection will be pretty much the same, though there may be some screening conflicts.

"The highlights are still confirmed. Among them are the festival opener "I Carried You Home" by indie director Tongpong Chantarangkul and Rirkrit Tirivanija's "Lung Naew Visits His Neighbours".

Art and cultural exhibitions have also been called off either because the venues are directly affected by floods or the people involved in the events as well as visitors are expected to face flooding.

Many major venues have been closed. Museum Siam, which is near the Chao Phraya, shut its doors on October 12 and has yet to reopen. The National Museum, the National Gallery and the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre were closed over the special holiday. Now they're open but keeping a close eye on the water.

The private sector too is affected. Central Group cancelled its annual Flower Extravaganza set for next Wednesday.

And GMM Grammy's 1Sky has put off the November 11 launch of its set-top box. That will now take place sometime in January.

Perhaps Halloween night summed it up best. Normally a time for massive celebration, this year all Bangkok entertainment venues downplayed the event, aware that citizens are suffering from floods or fearing inundation. The run-off from the north and the high tides were in themselves spooky enough.


-- The Nation 2011-11-04

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Team hunting for deadly green mambas

The Nation


Nonthaburi Governor Wichian Phutthiwinyu yesterday assigned a team to hunt for 15 deadly green mamba snakes that escaped from a flooded home in Pak Kret district on Tuesday.

Saying that none of the creatures had been confirmed captured, Wichian urged people not to try to capture or kill the yellowishgreen snakes of 2 metres in length themselves, because the serum for their venom wasn't available in Thailand. Anyone who spotted such a snake should instead call for expert assistance via the hotline on 1131 or 1363.

Earlier in the day, a widelycirculated tweet claimed a green mamba had been found on Soi Kosumruamjai, but this has not been confirmed. Wichian has also contacted the National Parks Department in a bid to track down other wildlife dealers with permits to handle such snakes, and check if any more were loose.

Pimuk Simaroj, directorgeneral of the Zoological Park Organisation, said the tipoff over the escaped mambas had come from an Internet website, and officials had not yet traced the snakes' owner. Explaining that the mambas' natural habitat was trees, he advised people to stay away from isolated wooded scrubland and urged anyone bitten by a snake to wash the wound and see a doctor immediately.


-- The Nation 2011-11-04

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Ministry seeks to extend fuel tariff

Watcharapong Thongrung

The Nation


The fuel adjustment tariff or Ft will be extended at its current rate for all or part of next year to help flood victims under a proposal from the Energy Ministry.

Minister Pichai Naripthaphan said yesterday that three options would be presented to the National Energy Policy Council chaired by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra - maintain the Ft rate from JanuaryApril at a cost of Bt7.74 billion, or JanuaryAugust at Bt18.70 billion, or JanuaryDecember at Bt34.09 billion.

The three state power utilities will be assigned to share this cost first.

The selected option will be forwarded to the Cabinet for final consideration.

The ministry will also propose to the council a lowering of the threshold for the freeelectricity scheme to 50 units per month per household from the present 90 units.

This would ease the burden on industry, which has shouldered this cost, from 12 satang per unit per month, totalling Bt13.31 billion, to 3 satang per unit, totalling Bt3.52 billion. The ministry has also considered recruiting any parties to help industry bear this cost.

The ministry will also propose a plan to promote the "One Community, One Megawatt" project by supporting 400 communities to launch solar projects with a total budget of Bt700 million.


-- The Nation 2011-11-04

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Services may move from Mor Chit 2 Bus Terminal

The Nation

Transport Co president Wutthichat Kalayanamit said yesterday that if flood waters inundated the Mor Chit 2 Bus Terminal, the company would run its bus services either from Pathum Thani's Pratunam Phrain area or Samut Prakan's Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Though the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration said that the terminal, which is on high ground, would not be affected by nearby flooding, Wutthichat said that if floods reached the Lat Phrao Intersection, the company's 500600 buses would move to one of the two alternative bases.

Elsewhere, all 18 MRT subway stations remain open as usual, though the elevator for disabled passengers at Ratchadapisek station is closed due to flooding.


-- The Nation 2011-11-04

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