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A Krabi palm plantation returned as a community forest. Protesters want more.

The Thaiger

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A Krabi palm plantation returned as a community forest. Protesters want more. | The Thaiger
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PHOTO: Mekong Eye

A private company’s concession to grow oil palms in Krabi has come to an end. So local authorities have opened it to locals as a “Community forest”. The local Forest Resource Management officials have launched a reclamation project at the site in Ban Thung Preu, Khao Phanom.

The concession to grow oil palms there expired in 2015 and authority started the process of reclaiming the land next to the overlapping Khao Kwang, Khao Yang and Khao Chong Bang Riang forest reserves.

Forest Resource Office 12 director Somchai Nuchananonthep says the site will now be designated a community forest. Members of local communities have been recruited to help manage the new reserve and keep out illegal occupants, as the land is considered viable for reforesting.

The new community forest covers some 221 rai of land. Thailand is currently the world’s third-largest producer of palm oil and most of the palm oil is grown in the southern half of the country.

Krabi has 14 oil palm plantations covering 70,000 rai. In the past decade, three of those had been reclaimed including a 1,500 rai site also in Khao Phanom and another of a 20,000 rai plot in Plai Phraya district.

But that’s not good enough to appease some activists who want all 14 plantations to be returned to local ownership and allocated as farmlands for the “poor people”. The group of some 200 people that protested on Krabi municipality steps this week, point out that the concessions have expired on all 14 sites and the land would be better used for farming, divided among 20,000 low-income people who registered to be allocated some of the disputed land last year.

The group accuses Krabi provincial officials of failing to reclaim the land for the benefit of poor people even as investors continue to earn money from the plantations. The governor, also a police lieutenant-colonel, asked the protesters to take their protest somewhere else, saying City Hall needs to prepare for annual New Year celebrations and a Red Cross fair.

He warned protesters that they faced charges of illegal assembly in a public place. He failed to comment on the ongoing situation with the 14 oil palm plantation concessions and the land’s future use.

SOURCE: Thailand Today

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32 year old British patient recovering in Phuket, suspected Coronavirus victim

The Thaiger

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32 year old British patient recovering in Phuket, suspected Coronavirus victim | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Ash Shorley remains in critical condition in a Phuket Hospital - Go Fund Me

UPDATE HERE.

A British tourist is reported to be fighting for his life in a Phuket hospital. He could be the first Western victim of the coronavirus strain sweeping through China, according to Doctors at the hospital, but is yet to be confirmed. This latest coronavirus, related to the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) viruses, is new and was first discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan last month.

32 year old Ash Shorley remains in critical condition in a Phuket hospital after being infected with a virus while visiting Koh Phi Phi, in the Krabi province. He has been in hospital for nearly a month. His parents, Chris and Julie, who live in Lancashire, are now in Phuket whilst tests are being processed to determine the virus that has attacked Mr Shorley. His parents report that Ash has lost 52 kilograms since contracting the mystery disease.

“He was two days from death. If he wasn’t so fit, he wouldn’t be with us now. We are now waiting on tests. It is very serious.” – Ash Shorley’s father.

Ash was transported to Phuket by seaplane because “his lung had collapsed”, according to the Daily Mail Online. Phuket doctors claim his symptoms are consistent with the Chinese coronavirus but a confirmation on their suspicions is yet to emerge. Experts, speaking to Daily Mail Online, say Mr Shorley’s symptoms are consistent with the new Chinese coronavirus, but could also be a sign of other respiratory infections, as yet, undetermined.

The mysterious SARS-like virus has so far killed 3 and infected up to 220 confirmed (as of Tuesday) cases, although estimates by the WHO speculate that there are as many as 1,700 cases in Wuhan, central China, since December.

The virus is now confirmed to have spread to other parts of China – 5 cases in Beijing, 14 in Shenzhen and one in a province adjacent to Shanghai. Four other confirmed cases have been reported in Thailand, Japan, and South Korea.

The spike in reported cases comes as millions of Chinese are packing their bags to travel overseas for the Chinese New Year holiday. Meanwhile, a spokesperson from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintains the country has “stuck to a serious, earnest and professional attitude” to prevent and control any further outbreak of the disease.

SOURCE: Daily Mail Online

32 year old British patient recovering in Phuket, suspected Coronavirus victim | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Instagram32 year old British patient recovering in Phuket, suspected Coronavirus victim | News by The Thaiger

GRAPHIC: Daily Mail Online

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North eastern villagers protest fishy smells from seafood factory wastewater

Greeley Pulitzer

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North eastern villagers protest fishy smells from seafood factory wastewater | The Thaiger
PHOTO: A man inspects a public drain in Khon Kaen - INN News

Villagers in the northern Khon Kaen province are complaining of a seafood “factory” that has been dumping foul smelling wastewater into public drains. Hundreds gathered in the Mueang Kao subdistrict’s Sirirat Village to plea for help from local agencies. The smelly black water spills out from the drains, stinking up homes, and has even travelled into locals fields. Thousands of villagers are complaining that they’re affected by the smell and the flies it attracts.

Many locals were seen wearing medical masks and pointing to the source of the wastewater, a home that’s been converted into a seafood factory which has been dumping wastewater, polluting the water in the area.

One villager told local media the problems started last October, when the owner changed his home into a seafood factory. Locals don’t know what’s being used to wash the seafood but the wastewater is dumped into the public drain, which travels throughout the village, giving homes in the area a common ‘rotting fishy’ smell from the sewer. Many villagers say they have to wear masks 24/7 because the smell is so bad they’re afraid that it will affect their health (not that the masks will do anything to help).

70 year old “Dahm,” the factory’s owner, admits it’s the source of the smelly wastewater. He says his family makes squid and chicken feet products for restaurants and stores in Khon Kaen. The water used used to wash the squid is dumped directly into the public drain. Dahm claims he didn’t realise the water was causing so much trouble for the villagers.

“When I realised the villagers were suffering from the water I stopped washing squid for about 2 weeks now.

“Instead, I order squid and chicken feet that have already been treated, and repackage the products before delivering them to the buyers. My daughter has sent a request to build a wastewater treatment tank to the Ministry of Public Health.”

SOURCE: Thai Residents

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The year’s first leatherback turtle hatchling emerges in Phang Nga

The Thaiger

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The year’s first leatherback turtle hatchling emerges in Phang Nga | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The year's first baby turtle. More on the way from the same nest - Thai PBS World

Officials from the coastal National Park in Phang Nga, southern Thailand, are delighted after the first leatherback turtle hatchling hatched and emerged from the nest. Whilst it was headed to the Andaman Sea, marine officials took it to a nursery to be raised, giving it a much higher chance of survival when it is eventually released to the sea. According to the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, the baby turtle was spotted climbing out of its nest this morning just after 6am.

Park officials have been keeping an eye on the nest with CCTV and expect more baby turtles to emerge today and the next few days.

104 leatherback turtle eggs were found at the nest on the Phang Nga beach outside the territory of the national park in November last year. 85 of them proved to be healthy and viable and were taken to another nest within the park’s territory to prevent them from being stolen by poachers

The Phang Nga Office of Marine and Coastal Resources was informed by villagers that they had found a turtle nest, believed to be that of a leatherback, at Bo Dan beach. Marine officials went to check and but left the eggs at the location, confident that the nest was safe enough.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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