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Zika warning

Posted by hasekamp on 29 August 2016 at 13:42 PM
Department of Disease Control chief Dr Amnuay Gajeena Monday urged Thais to help control the breeding of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.And provinces where Zika virus patients are being treated were instructed to immediately set up emergency operations centres to contain any outbreaks. Amnuay said his office had asked the Foreign Affairs Ministry to re-check information and clarify the disease's progress with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). The ECDC website cited Thailand as a "red alert" country with increasing or widespread Zika virus transmission to the point of having the region's highest number of patients within the last three months. The rise of Zika infections actually reflected Thailand's awareness, disease-monitoring measures, diagnosis and information disclosures that were up to international standards, Amnuay said. Affirming that Thailand was continuously implementing intensive measures against the Zika virus, he said the virus was declared a contagious disease under the Communicable Disease Act 2015. This meant any cases must be reported to heath authorities. (Source: The Nation)


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Arrest warrant against suspected Hua Hin bomber

Posted by hasekamp on 29 August 2016 at 13:39 PM
A military court Monday issued an arrest warrant for a Pattani resident Asmin Katemmadee in connection with a bomb attack in Prachuap Khiri Khan's Hua Hin on the Mother's Day. The suspect was one of three perpetrators who were responsible for all bombs in Hua Hin on the day, according to Deputy National Police Chief Srivara Rangsipramanakul. Last week, the court has issued an arrest warrant for Russaran Baima, a resident of Songkhla for the attack and police was looking for another suspect who is on the run, he said. A spate of bomb and fire rocked Prachuap Khiri Khan and six southern provinces during August 10-12, killing four people and injured more than 30 others including foreign tourists. Asmin, 29, was also wanted in connection with violence in the Southernmost Yala province in April and a bomb at a shopping mall in Surat Thani's Samui island in May last year. (Source: The Nation)


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Bangkok Governor suspended

Posted by hasekamp on 29 August 2016 at 13:34 PM
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has invoked Section 44 of the interim charter to temporarily suspend Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra and Khon Kaen's Ban Phai mayor Premsak Piayura. The grounds are that the two men are being investigated following allegations of corruption or misbehaviour in office. Both cases have drawn immense public interest. The two men continue to hold their positions, but have been suspended without pay until further notice. The order was signed by Gen Prayut as chief of the National Council of Peace and Order (NCPO) and published on the <em>Royal Gazette</em> on Thursday. The announcement said the NCPO chief had previously issued similar orders, to ensure those accused receive fair and transparent treatment and the opportunity to prove their innocence. Investigating officials were instructed to continue their respective inquiries and, when complete, to report their conclusions to the prime minister, who would then make a further announcement. The Office of the Attorney-General launched an inquiry into the 39.5 million baht light show erected at Lan Khon Muang in front of City Hall from Dec 31 last year to Jan 31 as a holiday-period tourist attraction. Investigators found evidence of misspending, and auditor-general Pisit Leelavachiropas suggested MR Sukhumbhand be suspended from office for his alleged involvement. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Traces of bomb found

Posted by hasekamp on 25 August 2016 at 17:50 PM
Police in Ao Nang recovered two devices yesterday that they suspect were part of the incendiary bombs used to set fire to a souvenir shop in the tourist destination on August 12. Forensic Police Region 8 Colonel Surapol Jaisan said Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) personnel assisted in examining the wreckage of the Ao Nang shop for evidence linking the August 12 fire to a series of bombings across southern Thailand on Mother's Day. Col Surapol said the EOD team investigated the scene for about five hours before discovering the two badly-burned suspicious objects in the shop's pant and shirt section. The devices include the circuit board of a mobile phone, a battery, wires and metal fragments. Devices used in the attacks that left four dead and injured over 30 across Thailand's south earlier this month reportedly utilized mobile phones as explosive controllers. "The stall owner, whose name is being withheld, said that on August 10, a pair of men wearing jackets, sunglasses and surgical masks entered the shop," Col Surapol said. "They pretended to be shopping for clothes for an hour before leaving the shop." Police reported that evidence suggests that the first incendiary device set fire to the pants section. However, a second device in a shirts section of the store did not appear to have detonated, but was damaged in the resulting fire. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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More thundershowers expected

Posted by hasekamp on 25 August 2016 at 17:44 PM
The Thai Meteorological Department Thursday forecast that thundershowers with isolated heavy rain would persist across the country.The department also warned people in Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang, Tak, Sukhothai, Kamphaeng Phet, Uttaradit, Phitsanulok, Nakhon Nayok, Prachin Buri, Phangnga, Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Satun of severe weather conditions. (Source: The Nation)


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Tiger tourism business and other torture still booming

Posted by hasekamp on 25 August 2016 at 17:41 PM
The tiger tourism business is booming and the captive tiger population is growing fast, experts say, more than two months after Thai wildlife authorities found 40 dead cubs while rescuing animals from the popular Tiger Temple. Animal rights activists called on tourists to shun Thai animal attractions, which they say are cruel and should be shut down, after the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi province, west of Bangkok, closed in June. Wildlife authorities vowed to inspect other tiger attractions, and confiscated 24 tigers from two venues, but the scrutiny has been short-lived. "On the ground, nothing has changed," said Jan Schmidt-Burbach, a Bangkok-based wildlife adviser for the World Animal Protection NGO. "The Tiger Temple case has brought attention to the topic but is unfortunately limited to the temple itself." A July report by World Animal Protection shows that the number of captive tigers in Thailand's tiger entertainment industry jumped 33%, from 623 tigers in 2010 to 830 tigers in 2015-16. Eight new venues also opened during the period. Thailand offers an array of wildlife tourist attractions, from tiger "selfies" to elephant rides and orangutan boxing. Some venues practise "speed breeding" in order to produce tiger cubs for tourist photo-ops, said Mr Schmidt-Burbach. The practice involves taking newborn cubs away from their mothers so that the females are ready to breed again sooner. Mr Schmidt-Burbach also said the rapid growth in the tiger population was not being addressed by the Thai government. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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UN: Thailand should go back to civilian rule

Posted by hasekamp on 21 August 2016 at 21:24 PM
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reiterated is concerns on massive arrests in Thailand, calling for the suspension of the use of military courts and military orders in cases involving civilians. In the press briefing in Geneva, OHCHR Spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said: "We are very concerned about the continued, mounting constraints on the democratic space in Thailand, and call for a prompt return to civilian rule." Following the military coup in May 2014, severe restrictions on freedoms of expression and opinion and assembly have been in place through the use of criminal and military laws and orders. Overall, at least 1,300 people have been summoned, arrested or charged, and 1,629 civilians have been tried before the military courts. Since June, at least 115 people have been arrested or charged under military orders, criminal codes and the Constitution Referendum Act for expressing their opinion on the draft constitution or reporting human rights violations, including torture. "We urge Thailand to immediately drop all charges against political activists and human rights defenders, and to release those jailed for voicing dissent on the draft charter in the run-up to the referendum. We also call on the authorities to suspend the use of military courts and military orders in cases involving civilians. These measures are now urgently needed as Thailand moves towards an election in 2017 aimed at restoring democracy, as proposed in the military government's roadmap," Shamdasani said. (Source: The Nation)


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Heavy storm warning

Posted by hasekamp on 21 August 2016 at 21:18 PM
A weather warning has been issued for 19 provinces in the northern and northeastern regions, some of them already dealing with floods, as tropical storm Dianmu moves toward the country. In the North, 11 provinces are possible targets of the storm: Chiang Mai, Chaing Rai, Lampang, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Nan, Phayao, Phitsanulok, Phrae, Tak and Uttaradit. The northeastern provinces are Bueng Kan, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Nong Khai, Loei, Phetchabun, Nakhon Phanom, Sakhon Nakhon and Udon Thani. They could encounter "heavy to very heavy rain" until Saturday, the Meteorological Department said in its latest warning. "People should beware of the severe conditions," it added. The Disaster Mitigation and Prevention Department said it expected harsh weather conditions to persist until Sunday and alerted its officials in the two regions to stand ready for possible floods, strong winds and landslides in some areas. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Body under bed in Pattaya hotel

Posted by hasekamp on 21 August 2016 at 21:14 PM
Two teenage boys, one 17 and the other 14, were arrested on Sunday on charges of murdering a transgender woman in a Pattaya hotel and stuffing the body inside a bed frame. Police apprehended the teens, both from Nakhon Ratchasima, at a bus terminal in Muang Chon Buri district around noon and took them for questioning at Muang Pattaya police station. The body of Amphon Kongsong was found in a room of a five-storey hotel on Soi Buakhao in tambon Nong Phrue of Bang Lamung district on Saturday morning. The hotel alerted police after a maid noticed blood oozing out from underneath the bed accompanied by a foul stench. Police officers lifted up the mattress and found Amphon’s body underneath. Two guests had left the room earlier that morning but apparently were unaware that there was a dead body under their bed. Pol Col Apichai Kropphet, the Muang Pattaya poice chief, said the two boys were questioned by investigators and admitted to murdering the transgender women. He alleged the 17-year-old admitted to killing Amphon with the help of the 14-year-old after she asked to have sex with him. The older teen got to know Amphon through recent Facebook conversations. After their friendship grew, Amphon, who worked at a beer bar in Pattaya, persuaded him to find a job in Pattaya. The teenager, who was looking for work, asked his younger friend to accompany him. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Germany warns its citizens

Posted by hasekamp on 12 August 2016 at 20:55 PM
Germany's foreign ministry said on Friday further attacks may hit Thailand after a series of blasts at three of the country's resorts and advised visitors to show "extreme caution". Thailand is a popular holiday destination for Germans. Two people were killed and dozens wounded in the blasts,which targeted three of the most popular resorts late onThursday and on Friday, days after Thais voted in a referendum to accept a military-backed constitution. "Further attacks cannot be ruled out. Therefore the foreign ministry advises extreme caution. People travelling to Thailand are recommended to avoid public places and crowds of people, to follow the media closely," the ministry said in its travel advice. The ministry also confirmed that three Germans had been injured in the attacks. Tourism accounts for about 10 percent of Thai national output and has been one of the few bright spots in a sluggish economy. (Source: The Nation)


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Bombs thought to be related to referendum

Posted by hasekamp on 12 August 2016 at 20:52 PM
National police chief Chakthip Chaijinda Friday said since Sunday's referendum on the constitution, there have been attacks in seven provinces using improvised explosive devices and firebombs. The devices were similar to those used by separatist insurgents in southern Thailand, but that did not conclusively show they were the perpetrators, he said. He personal believed it was involved with the charter referendum because the attacks took place in the provinces that voted to approve the charter. "Those who had different opinion may do it to discredit image of the country and hurt tourism industry," he said. "If you ask for my comments, I'll say they are very despicable. Aren't they Thais? I am not using rude language I am just saying they are despicable. I normally don't talk like this. But these people committed violence and caused innocent people, like vendors and women, to be injured and killed," the police chief said angrily. (Source: The Nation)


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Timeline of the bombings

Posted by hasekamp on 12 August 2016 at 20:49 PM
It began in Trang where a bomb exploded at Centre Point market 3pm on Thursday. Two more went off on a tourist spot in Hua Hin seven hours later. Since then, a series of fires and bombings have been reported in various southern provinces. At a news briefing on Friday afternoon, police gave details of a total of 13 incidents. The Public Health Ministry reported four people were killed and 35 were injured since Wednesday. Wednesday, Aug 10: 6.30pm: Two suspected bombs were reported in Patong subdistrict in Kathu district of Phuket. They were hidden at a garment stall in Paradise Market and a garment shop in the China Town market. They were low-pressure time bombs detonated by mobile phones. The bombs were destroyed. Two men were detained for questioning. Thursday, Aug 11: 3pm: A bomb went off at Centre Point Market in Muang district, Trang province. One man died and six were injured. 10.15pm: Two bombs exploded at the John 56 beer bar in Hua Hin. 11pm: A bomb went off at the Raintree spa in Hua Hin. One woman died and 21 were injured in the two incidents in Hua Hin. Friday, Aug 12: 7.45am: A bomb went off at the Loma public park in Patong district, Phuket. One person was slightly injured. 8am: A bomb exploded in front of the Muang Surat police station in Surat Thani. No one was injured. 8.45am A bomb went off at a traffic control box in Kathu district, Phuket. No one was injured. 9am: Two bombs went off five minutes apart in Hua Hin. They were hidden in plant pots under the town's clock tower, killing one and wounding three. 10am: Two bombs went off in front of Bang Miang in Ta Kua Pa district of Phangnga province. Two vehicles were damaged. 9.30am: A suspicious object was found in a potato-chip can in front of the Ban Thai Hotel in Phuket. Apart from the bombings, fires were reported in five southern provinces on Friday. Authorities have yet to confirm whether they were related to the bomb attacks. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Bombs in Bangkok on birthday HM the Queen

Posted by hasekamp on 12 August 2016 at 20:40 PM
The Interior Ministry has ordered all 76 provinces across the country to tighten security following numerous bomb blasts and fire incidents in the South yesterday and today, HM the Queen's birthday. Bombs went off in Hua Hin, Trang, Krabi and Phuket. Permanent secretary Kritsada Boonrat on Friday held a video conference in which he urged provincial governors, district chiefs and local administration organisation executives to closely follow up on the unrest in the southern provinces and beef up security in their areas. Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paojinda expressed his concern and conveyed his instructions to provincial officials as well, with governors instructed to integrate their efforts to beef up security, said Mr Kritsada. The ministry's Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department has officially declared the incidents disasters, which will allow funds to be dispersed to help families of the dead and injured people. Mr Kritsda also instructed district chiefs and local officials to coordinate with security agencies in their areas to work out prevention measures to maintain peace and order. Local leaders were also asked to increase patrols in their communities around the clock. Thailand has 76 provinces. Bangkok is not considered a province as it is a special administrative area. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Or no tracking sim so soon?

Posted by hasekamp on 11 August 2016 at 15:02 PM
The telecom regulator has tried to ease concerns about the requirement for tourists to use trackable SIM cards, saying the plan is not set in stone and will need to go through public hearings and several procedures before it can be implemented. At least five and maybe six public hearings will be held before the regulator launches the special SIM cards, tentatively set over the next six months, said Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC). The idea of tourist SIM cards, aimed at boosting national security, originated at a meeting in Phuket of the Asean Telecommunication Regulations' Council. Among the 10 Asean countries, Malaysia is the only country using them. If the plan is approved in the final stage, the NBTC might allow the SIMs to be valid for another 30-45 days after tourists depart the country. Mr Takorn said the NBTC had meant well when adopting the plan. "We have no right to violate tourists' privacy . If we disclose personal information without a court warrant, we could face five years in jail," he said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Welcome to Thailand! Here is your tracking-sim.

Posted by hasekamp on 11 August 2016 at 14:55 PM
Telecom regulators on Tuesday approved in principle a requirement that foreign visitors to Thailand use special SIM cards in their phones that can be tracked by the authorities. Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), said the resolution was in the interests of national security. The NBTC would discuss the measure with mobile phone operators, the Customs Department and other related state agencies. Mobile operators can preset some technical features in SIM cards to ensure that they can always locate users, who will be unable to turn off the function, he said. From January to July this year, 19.06 million foreigners visited the country, up 12% year-on-year, according to the Tourism and Sports Ministry. The requirement that foreign tourists must use special SIM cards that enable tracking of their movements will not apply to expatriates living in Thailand, NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith said. The announcement drew immediate criticism from foreigners working or living legally in Thailand, and concerns that they would be included in the scheme. Mr Takorn's later comments clarified the issue, as reported by Post Today. The "tourist SIM" cards were intended to improve visitors' safety and help track down overstayers, he said. "We are not limiting any rights. The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission has no authority to check on the location of users," he said. "But if tourists commit wrong, or there is a court warrant, we will then forward the warrant to a mobile phone operator and seek cooperation. "All countries do this," he said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Prayut: Election process begins

Posted by hasekamp on 10 August 2016 at 12:43 PM
The general election process will begin next year as planned, probably no later than December, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said for the first time after voters approved the draft charter in Sunday's referendum. According to Section 260 of the draft constitution, the election of MPs and the appointment of senators shall be completed within 150 days after all 10 organic laws take effect. The prime minister made the assurance on Tuesday before attending a meeting of the cabinet and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) at Government House. The meeting discussed the unofficial results of the charter referendum and preparations for the general election. Gen Prayut did not comment on the referendum result but said the poll process would happen in 2017 as planned. Please have confidence in the roadmap. I've never said otherwise," the prime minister said. NCPO spokesman Winthai Suvaree said after the meeting Gen Prayut told the meeting authorities would continue to explain the contents of the draft charter to the public and also inform them of the steps to be taken after the constitutional referendum. Meechai Ruchupan, an NCPO member and head of the Constitution Drafting Committee, said before the meeting the draft charter could be ready for submission for royal approval in either October or November and work on the 10 organic laws would start with four election-related laws. They are the laws governing elections, senators, political parties and the Election Commission. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Abhisit still rejects draft constitution

Posted by hasekamp on 8 August 2016 at 13:40 PM
Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said Monday that he accepted the people's decision that approved the charter draft in Sunday referendum. But, Abhisit said, he would not change his stand that he rejected the draft. He said he believed the people accepted the draft because they wanted the country move forward with reforms and with anti-corruption measures as well as wanting to leave political conflicts behind. Abhisit said the Democrat would have to take the people's wish into account to adjust the policies of the party. (Source: The Nation)


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Thailand gives massive yes to junta constitution

Posted by hasekamp on 8 August 2016 at 13:35 PM
The draft constitution cruised to an easy win on Sunday in the long-awaited referendum as supporters overwhelmed opponents in what was not the tight contest that had been predicted. The unofficial result from the Election Commission (EC) with 94% of the votes counted showed 15.56 million people backed the draft as opposed to 9.78 million who were against it. The 'Yes' camp accounted for 61.4% of the voter turn-out on Sunday, while the 'No' faction could garner only 38.6%. But the support for the extra question on the ballot paper was slightly behind the draft, with 13.9 million people, or 58%, voting for it as against 10 million, or 42%, who rejected it. The second question asked whether voters should allow the Senate to join the House of Representatives in selecting a prime minister. The statement by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha ahead of the referendum that he would vote for the draft apparently played a key role in building the momentum for voters. EC chairman Supachai Somcharoen said shortly after all polling units closed that the official result is expected on Wednesday, pending no complaints lodged to the election organising agency. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Plans to end child labour

Posted by hasekamp on 3 August 2016 at 18:47 PM
AT LEAST 540 companies in 33 provinces have joined the Labour Ministry's Department of Labour Protection and Welfare campaign against the use of child and forced labour. They erected signs saying "All Together Against Child Labour and Forced Labour" to express solidarity in a stance against such abuses from June 6 to July 13, Department of Labour Protection and Welfare Director-General Pannee Sriyudhsak said recently. Despite Thailand's recent upgrade from Tier 3 to Tier 2 watchlist in the US State Department's 2016 report on the fight against human trafficking the country had more to do. Pannee said Thailand had yet to submit two other reports to the US Ministry of Labour: One on the worst forms of child labour, and a second on lists of goods produced by child or forced labour (also known as the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorisation Act List and the List of Products Produced by Forced or Indentured Child Labour). There were five Thai products on the lists, she said - textiles, shrimp, fish, sugarcane and pornography. The country must formulate and implement an action plan to eliminate the worst forms of child labour as a priority mission, she said, as this was required under Article 182 of the International Labour Organisation Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour, which Thailand ratified in February 2001. Following the formulation of a master plan for the fiscal years from 2009 to 2014, agencies are now working on a second national plan for the fiscal years 2015 to 2020. This national policy and plan has five crucial strategies to carry out to eradicate the worst forms of child labour by 2020, she said. (Source: The Nation)


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10,000 security cameras in South

Posted by hasekamp on 3 August 2016 at 18:42 PM
Authorities are considering the installation of over 10,000 closed-circuit TV (CCTV) cameras in the deep South following the decision to reduce the military presence there. The Internal Security Operation Command (Isoc) is adjusting its plan to oversee security in the Deep South following the recent announcement of troop withdrawals from the area. Data from the cameras would also be linked to the Royal Thai Army Special Operation Centre, said Isoc spokesman Colonel Peerawat Saengthong Wednesday. The move is to support the withdrawal of several battalions of the Third Army Region and the First Army Region (one battalion has 184 soldiers) in the October redeployment. After this, only seven Army battalions would remain in the Deep South along with 12 regiments of rangers. Peerawat said a total of 14,756 CCTV cameras would be installed in the regions including the 6,624 cameras to be installed at schools as per the Education Ministry's request. (Source: The Nation)


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