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Thai foreign minister criticises visa waiver proposal

May Taylor

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Thai foreign minister criticises visa waiver proposal | The Thaiger

The Foreign Ministry opposes the Tourism and Sports Ministry’s proposal to waive visas for Indian and Chinese tourists, calling it a “risk to national security”. The proposal was put forward at a meeting last Friday, as part of a series of measures to boost the economy through an injection of over 300 billion baht in tourism.

It would permit Chinese and Indian nationals to remain in Thailand for up to 30 days, 15 days without a visa, with hopes of boosting numbers from those countries. However, it could cost about 12-13 billion baht a year in lost visa fee revenue.

Approximately 11 million Chinese tourists will have visited by the end of this year, along with 2 million Indian visitors, and Indian numbers are expected to grow to 3 million next year.

However, Foreign Affairs Minister Don Praramudwinai has written to the PM to oppose the plans, arguing that the visa stamp helps with visitor screening and national security.

With a population of more than 1 billion each, there is also concern about how Thailand would cope with a huge surge in Chinese and Indian visitors. The ministry argued that many may see it as a chance to escape hardships in their own countries.

Minister Don added that visa requirements are not solely to blame for an economy hampered by a strong Thai baht and the US-China trade war. He suggests that waiving visas for Indian and Chinese visitors could make managing tourist arrivals chaotic.

He voices concern that the Thai embassy in India has detected false documents provided by some visa applicants. However, an immigration officer at one of the country’s international airports was unconcerned about the proposal, saying Chinese and Indian tourists rarely overstay their visas.

SOURCE: The Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Significant developments in cannabis farming in Thailand

May Taylor

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Significant developments in cannabis farming in Thailand | The Thaiger

PHOTO: www.growbarato.net

In what’s thought to be the first-ever industrial scale manufacturing facility for medical cannabis within the Asean Region, Maejo University in Chiang Mai has planted 12,000 cannabis sprouts – the largest lot in the country.

It’s hoped the result will eventually be 1 million bottles, each containing 5ml of cannabis oil, by February.

Senior officials from the Ministry of Public Health attended a planting ceremony yesterday, along with the university’s executive team, the provincial government, and local administrative organisations.

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul planted the first sprout, saying recent changes in the law would allow families to grow their own plants at home.

“These are historic first steps on the path towards allowing people to grow six cannabis trees in their homes. The university will be a centre where ordinary people can learn how to plant and grow good quality cannabis. Cannabis is not an issue of politics, it is a product that can benefit people’s health. In the near future, families will be able to plant it in their back gardens like any other herb.”

In June, Maejo University signed a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Medical Service and the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) concerning the development of cannabis plantations, including local strain development for medical use. Following that, the narcotic board granted the university a plantation licence in September.

It’s understood the planting session should produce 2.4 tons of dried cannabis flowers by February, which will be forwarded to the GPO for the production of 5,000 litres of cannabis oil. This will be given to doctors who can prescribe it to qualifying patients.

The Thai Food and Drug Administration’s decision to approve cannabis oil for prescription was met with cautious optimism by medical practitioners.

Medicinal use began on August 20 and the Chief of the Deparment of Medical Service, Somsak Akasin says initial results appear to indicate that cancer patients enjoy a better quality of life due to the cannabis oil mitigating the effects of chemotherapy.

He adds that half of children with epilepsy who have been treated with the drug have responded well.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Overturned truck was carrying 450 kilos of crystal meth

The Thaiger

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Overturned truck was carrying 450 kilos of crystal meth | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Thai PBS World

Police have seized about 450 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine (ice), with a street valued around 225 million baht – a major shipment of the illicit drug. The seizure followed a ten-wheel truck ending up on its side after crashing into a traffic island in Phetchaburi province on Friday night.

The truck driver, 45 year old Adinan Laeha, and his 18 year old son, Wilayan, both from the southern province of Narathiwat, ended up with minor injuries in the overturn but are now being questioned by police over the illicit payload found in the truck.

The truck crashed on the main north-south Phetkasem highway near an underpass at about 8.30pm in Phetchaburi’s Muang district.

As the truck turned over, some of its cargo of illicit drugs crashed out onto the road. The first emergency services to arrive on the scene found several suspicious-looking packages wrapped in plastic spilled on the road and alerted police. Police checked some of the packages and found they contained crystal methamphetamine, and there was more inside the truck.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Thailand ranked sixth best in the world for healthcare

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Thailand ranked sixth best in the world for healthcare | The Thaiger

Sixth best healthcare system in the world! Well done Thailand.

The Kingdom is gaining worldwide recognition for quality healthcare services after placing sixth in a ranking of countries with the best healthcare systems. The ranking was conducted by the US magazine CEOWORLD who do annual rankings of a number of world businesses and services. The rankings came out last month.

The annual Health Care Index is a statistical analysis of the overall quality of a country’s healthcare system.

Thai Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul says the ranking as an indication of Thailand’s success in developing a sustainable and valued healthcare sector.

According to CEOWORLD Thailand is among few Asian countries which managed to place in top 10 in 2019. Thailand joins South Korea who reached second place and Japan in third place.

But European countries dominate the list – Austria leading at fourth place, followed by Denmark (5th), Spain (7th), France (8th) and Belgium (9th). Australia rounded out the top 10 at 10th place.

Taiwan’s health care topped the the list of 89 countries, scoring 78.72 out of 100 on the Health Care Index. At the opposite end of the spectrum, with a score of 33.42, Venezuela was named the country with the worst health care system in 2019.

The Health Care Index rates a number of factors in a country’s health care services, including infrastructure; health care professionals’ (doctors, nursing staff, and other health workers) competence, cost, availability of quality medicine, and government readiness.

The Public Health Minister, responding to the great result, says that the government must not rest on its laurels, “as mere rankings do not matter as much as how well the ministry performs its duty of maintaining public health”.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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