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Phuket ‘Seasteaders’ told to pack up and go home

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PHOTO: An artist’s impression from the seasteading website

The ‘seasteading’ couple, that have set up a ‘floating’ home some 15 nautical miles off Phuket’s coast, are now the subject of an official complaint by the Thai Third Naval Area Command (that oversee Phuket’s security).

Chad Andrew Elwartowski and his Thai wife, Supranee Thepdet are said to be in violation of the the Thai Criminal Code.

The couple is believed to be in the early days of setting up an ‘independent state’ in international waters. A source, speaking to the Bangkok Post, believes the couple are preparing paperwork to codify their new ‘seasteading’ status in international waters.

But the Phuket Marine Office is being asked to contact the couple and ask them to remove the structure.

“If left untouched it will hinder shipping navigation since the route is used for transporting oil to Phuket.”

A source for the Phuket Marine Office says the couple’s claims that they are in international waters, and outside of Thai maritime territory, are untrue.

Phuket 'Seasteaders' told to pack up and go home | News by The Thaiger

In the meantime, Vice-Admiral Sittiporn Maskasem, commander of the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command, is sending officers to where the structure is set up, 15 nautical miles southeast of Racha Yai island off Phuket. Radio communication with the offshore platform has so far been unsuccessful.

It is believe that the American Mr Elwartowski made his fortune on early Bitcoin trading. The pair reportedly aimed to set up a permanent shelter out of any state territories by exploiting a loophole in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

A movement by some to set up autonomous, independent ‘nations’ has become popular in the cryptocurrency community, particularly the ones who became rich from the early trading of the controversial ‘closed system’ currency systems.

From the seasteading website

We believe the first key step is for seasteading to become not just possible, but sustainable – technologically, legally, and financially.

In other words, the cost of living on the ocean must be low enough, and the business opportunities promising enough, such that there is an economic incentive for people to live on seasteads. Currently, the high cost of open ocean engineering serves as a large barrier to entry, and hinders entrepreneurship in international waters. This has led us to look for cost-reducing solutions within the territorial waters of a host nation, while still remaining dedicated to the goal of obtaining political autonomy for governmental experiments.

Therefore, our plan entails negotiating with a host nation for maximum autonomy for a seastead in exchange for the economic and social benefits it could provide. This will allow for a proof-of-concept, and will hopefully spawn many more experiments with floating cities around the world, including those further offshore, and under different legal arrangements.

Phuket 'Seasteaders' told to pack up and go home | News by The Thaiger

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Thailand

Thailand’s tourism targets film production to gain revenue during Covid-19 crisis

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Thailand’s tourism targets film production to gain revenue during Covid-19 crisis | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Herrera & Partners

Thailand’s tourism officials have a new idea to draw in visitors: film production. The Tourism and Sports Ministry is aiming to generate around 3 billion baht from foreign film crews and is targeting projects with an investment over 100 million baht, hoping to compensate for the loss of revenue due to the lack of international tourists during the coronavirus pandemic.

Foreign tourism revenue drastically dropped nearly 83% in 2020, going from nearly 40 million tourists in 2019 to only 6.7 million tourists in 2020.

The tourism department’s director-general Anant Wongbenjarat says that Thailand welcomed 176 international film productions to the country last year, generating 1.73 billion baht for the local economy. But this is a sharp decrease compared to the previous year where the 740 foreign film crews generated 4.86 billion baht.

In August, the CCSA decided to grant special entry permission to film productions. 53 film production projects were based in Thailand during August and December, contributing 1.14 billion baht to the economy. Those entering Thailand must still undergo a 14 day quarantine.

“International productions can proceed and generate income for locals despite the tourism slowdown.”

Anant also says there are 4 more film production projects underway, and it is forecasted to generate 186 million baht, bringing the total to 57 projects. In the first half of this year, there will be nine more productions expected to come in and help create at least 800 jobs for locals.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Bangkok

Owners of vehicles emitting black smoke to be fined up to 5,000 baht

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Owners of vehicles emitting black smoke to be fined up to 5,000 baht | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS News

Owners of cars and trucks emitting an excessive amount of black smoke face a fine up to 5,000 baht. The heavy fine is an attempt to reduce air pollution in Bangkok. Along with the fine, the Department of Land Transport will also order the vehicle be suspended from use until its emission system is fixed.

According to the department, from October last year until January, 689,333 vehicles in Bangkok areas have been inspected for black smoke emissions, while 8,762 of them have been suspended from usage. Those vehicles emitting a high volume of smoke, but are under the safety standard, will receive warnings and owners are urged to check vehicle conditions and keep proper maintenance.

Vehicles with exceeding black smoke are urged to check their vehicles at the department’s certified vehicle inspection centres located around Bangkok’s outskirts, including Phutthamonthon, Romklao, and Khlong Luang areas. Motorists are also encouraged to help reduce air pollution caused by black smoke and PM2.5 particles by having their vehicles regularly serviced or alternately switching to electric or NGV-powered vehicles.

People who witness vehicles emitting black smoke can also report the authorities by calling 1584, or contact Line: @1584DLT, or via DLT GPS mobile application.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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World

Florida is ready to host Olympics if Tokyo draws back

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Florida is ready to host Olympics if Tokyo draws back | The Thaiger
PHOTO: abc News

If Tokyo backs out of hosting the Olympics, Florida might step in. The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and rescheduled for this July. With a fairly unpredictable future, Tokyo could back out of its plan to host the Olympics. Florida’s chief financial officer says the Sunshine State is ready.

The CFO, Jimmy Patronis, sent a letter to the head of the International Olympic Committee saying he encourages him to consider relocating the games to Florida.

In a letter, he pointed out strong points of Florida that make it a good site for the games, including the state’s vaccination roll-out, reopening of businesses, and ongoing sports events hosted in the state during the pandemic. Tampa, Florida is also set to host the 55th Super Bowl on February 7.

“Whatever precautions are required let’s figure it out and get it done.”

Although businesses are open and sports events still going on, Florida is rated as the third state with the highest number of Covid-19 cases with a total of 1,658,169 reported cases and 25,446 coronavirus-related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

“With media reports of leaders in Japan ‘privately’ concluding that they are too concerned about the pandemic for the 2021 Olympics to take place, there is still time to deploy a site selection team to Florida.”

But those planning the Tokyo games say they’re sticking with the plan to host the Olympics from July 23 until August 8. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga also says he’s keeping to the plan.

“I am determined to realise a safe and secure Tokyo Games as proof that mankind will have overcome the virus.”

SOURCE:AFP

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