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Nakhonchaiair to resume interprovincial bus services from Monday

Jack Burton

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Nakhonchaiair to resume interprovincial bus services from Monday | The Thaiger
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In a move bound to thrill many Thais stranded away from their home provinces by the Covid-19 crisis and the Emergency Decree, interprovincial buses operated by Nakhonchaiair will resume service from Monday. The company’s CEO made the announcement today.

She added that social distancing measures will be strictly enforced in the seating of passengers, all of whom who will also be required to wear masks or face shields. She also said passengers will have to register on the ThaiChana mobile application before boarding the buses.

Kruawan added that every passenger will be screened for temperature, while all frequently touched areas such as toilets, walkways, handrails, chairs and ticket counters will be disinfected every hour.

On Tuesday, state sponsored Transport Company announced it was maintaining its ban on services to the southern provinces and journeys of more than 300 kilometres. It did not say when services will resume. The company was expected to resume services from Bangkok to Koh Samui, Phuket and Trang from June 1.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai industry representatives push government on vaccine passport policy

Maya Taylor

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Thai industry representatives push government on vaccine passport policy | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Lukas on Unsplash

Industry representatives are urging the Thai government to press ahead with the adoption of a vaccine passport scheme to re-ignite international tourism. The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking is also pushing for Thailand to form travel bubble arrangements with countries where Covid-19 infection rates are low to moderate.

Kalin Sarasin from the Thai Chamber of Commerce and a JSCCIB member points to the Digital Green Pass being introduced by the EU, which allows vaccinated people to travel more freely. He believes Thailand should introduce something similar.

“JSCCIB is confident a vaccine passport would boost economic sentiment. Many countries have already started mass vaccination regimes for their people.”

(Video below about the current world and Thailand Covid travel situation)

He adds that private companies should be allowed to purchase and distribute vaccines to employees in order to accelerate the national vaccine rollout.

The push for a vaccine passport scheme follows confirmation from the Thai PM that he has ordered a study into the idea. However, Prayut Chan-o-cha points out that nobody knows how effective such a scheme would be. The idea does have its critics, particularly among rights’ groups and doctors, who say there is not yet enough data to show that vaccines prevent transmission.

A limited number of Covid-19 vaccines have arrived in Thailand and have been distributed to 13 priority provinces. Healthcare workers and vulnerable groups are among the first people to be inoculated.

Supant Mongkolsuthree, a JSCCIB member from the Federation of Thai Industries, says a vaccine passport policy is one more way to restore tourism and, as vaccines are rolled out in the Kingdom, the economy has a chance at recovery.

“JSCCIB believes the economy is recovering. The vaccine will gradually build up confidence among business people.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Cannabis could generate 8 billion baht for Thai pharmaceutical industry by 2025, expert says

Caitlin Ashworth

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Cannabis could generate 8 billion baht for Thai pharmaceutical industry by 2025, expert says | The Thaiger

Cannabis could become a major cash crop in Thailand. An expert says the cannabis-based medicinal products could generate up to 8 billion baht for the Thai pharmaceutical industry by 2025. Medical cannabis has been legal in Thailand for the past couple years, but recently the government agreed to allow parts of the plant with very, low traces of the “high-inducing” component tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, to be in medicinal products and food.

Cannabis-based medicines have been used as palliative treatment for some cancer patients in Thailand. Last year, nearly 1 million patients used cannabis-based medicines, according to an economist at Kasetsart University’s Agricultural and Resource Economics Department, Ravissa Suchato.

Around 1.2 billion baht worth of medical cannabis was consumed last year, according to Ravissa, who led a recent study on the economic impact of commercial cannabis cultivation in Thailand. If the average consumption rises as expected, medical cannabis could generate 8 billion baht within the next 5 years.

“We believe marijuana has great potential as a cash crop because more patients will start using marijuana-based drugs soon.”

In the past, Thai officials have discussed the opportunity to tap into the global cannabis market by exporting medical cannabis, but Ravissa says Thailand still has a way to go.

“Globally, the recreational use of marijuana has risen a lot faster than pharmaceutical use, so the prospect of exporting marijuana-based medicines from Thailand is still a long way off.”

Parts of the cannabis plant that are rich in THC, like the buds, are still illegal and classified as a Category 5 narcotic. Trafficking the plant is still heavily criminalised. Just over the past few days, border patrol police in the Northeastern province Nakhon Pathom seized hundreds of kilograms of dried, compressed cannabis believed to have been trafficked across the Mekong River from Laos and destined for the South, possibly to Malaysia.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO | The Thaiger

“The rules signal greater willingness by countries around the world to rein in big tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter that the governments fear have become too powerful with little accountability.”

India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social.

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The companies are also being made to publish a compliance report each month with details about how many complaints they’ve received and the action they took.

They’ll also be required to remove ‘some’ types of content including “full or partial nudity,” any “sexual act” or “impersonations including morphed images”

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told.

The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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