Monday, November 24, 2014

Stolen Artifacts from Ban Chiang
Archaelogical Site are back In Thailand

Pieces of pottery, bronze ornaments and instruments, stone instruments, sandstone moulds and glass ornaments, stolen mostly from Ban Chiang บ้านเชียง, an archaeological site in Thailand's Northeast near Udon Thani: They all have returned to Thailand now and will be kept at Kanjanapisek National Musuem in Pathum Thani. The Bowers Museum in Santa Anna, California, has given back more than 550 artifacts. They were handed over to Thailand by the US government following almost a decade of investigation, as The Nation reports. The pieces date back to as early as 1500 before Christ. Ban Chiang-style pottery is unique in appearance, with its characteristic brownish orange hue and circular, stylised pattern.

Picture by Gryffindor
Example of Ban Chiang pottery, at Museum für Indische Kunst in Berlin-Dahlem

After a five-year undercover operation, US federal agents in 2008 had seized hundreds of allegedly looted antiquities from the Bowers, the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, the Mingei International Museum in San Diego and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Lacma). The authorities were investigating an alleged smuggling network that funnelled looted Thai, Cambodian and Burmese artefacts into museums, as theartnewspaper.com wrote. One of the early targets of the investigation was Armand Labbé, the chief curator at the Bowers Museum for nearly three decades before his death in 2005, court records show. Labbé accepted two donations of illegally imported Thai antiquities from an undercover federal agent posing as a donor, the records allege according to the theartnewspaper.com. In exchange for the returns to Thailand, government prosecutors agreed not to criminally charge anyone at the Bowers, the museum’s lawyer says.


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Saturday, November 15, 2014

China is to loan Thailand cash for three Railway Lines - serving as Connection with China

15.11.2014 China is to loan Thailand cash to construct three dual-track railways: The agreement was made at a meeting led by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. The meeting followed bilateral talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Gen Prayut said at the Apec summit in Beijing that the project will cover three routes — Bangkok-Nong Khai, Bangkok-Map Ta Phut and Kaeng Khoi-Map Ta Phut, as Bangkok Post reports. Thailand will be able to repay the investment costs to China with rubber and rice.

Map by Bangkok Post


8.3.2014
The plans for highspeed railway lines in Thailand are back on track: Thailand military junta, National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), first put on hold the projects, when it took power in May. Now it has approved two high-speed train projects at a total cost of 741.4 billion baht according to Bangkok Post. The two routes will serve as a transport link between Thailand and southern China.

One route would travel 655km from the border town of Chiang Khong to Ban Phachi in Ayutthaya province in central Thailand. Another would see freight carried 737km from Nong Khai, across the Mekong River from Vientiane prefecture, to the Thai port and industrial estate of Map Ta Phut, as The Nation reports. The former project of the Shinawatra government included lines from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Bangkok to Rayong, Bangkok to Nong Khai and Bangkok to Padang Besar.

The NCPO intends to bring down the costs of the projects from 500-600 million baht per km to a range of 350-400 million baht per km. Therefore the railways are planned for a maximum speed of 160 kilometres per hour instead of 200 kilometres per hour, announced permanent secretary for transport Soithip Traisuth according to Bangkok Post. This was to allow a possible shift to a higher speed train system in the future after more investment were put in,she said.

The construction of the two routes should begin in 2015 and be completed by 2021, said Soithip.

Also endorsed by the NCPO were six more metre gauge dual-track rail routes for a construction budget of 117.4 billion baht with construction to begin next year. These routes are from Chira junction to Khon Kaen (185 kms), from Prachuap Khiri Khan to Chumphon (167 kms), from Nakhon Pathom to Hua Hin (165 kms), from Mab Kabao to Nakhon Ratchasima (132 kms), from Lopburi to Pak Nam Pho (148 kms) and from Hua Hin to Prachuap Khiri Khan ( 90 kms ), as Thai PBS reports.


Read older stories:
Chinas Railway for Laos: Waiting for Thailand
Chinese money brings big change: A railway from the North of Laos to Vientiane and Thailand


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