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Thai government looks to revive Pak Bara and Songkhla deep-sea port projects

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Thai government looks to revive Pak Bara and Songkhla deep-sea port projects | The Thaiger
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The government is looking at reviving deep sea-port projects in the south of Thailand. They were shelved two years ago as the government bowed to public opposition at the time.

The Transport Ministry is considering reviving the Pak Bara, Satun, and Songkhla deep-sea port projects. Both projects are in the south of the country. The projects have been shelved at this stage due to strong protests by locals and environment groups.

Thai PBS World reports the the Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob has asked the Marine Department to dust off the files on the two infrastructure projects. He has asked that they begin by approaching local communities living around the two deep sea port zones to convince them of the value of the development, the benefits for their localities and the country as a whole.

Feasibility studies have already been completed but additional environment impact assessments may be required to convince opponents of the projects. They will also be necessary to get approval from Cabinet.

Speaking about the 12 billion baht Pak Bara deep-sea port project, Mr. Saksayam says project design and feasibility studies were completed in 2017.

“The project was in the process of gathering opinions from all stakeholders when resistance from local people and non-governmental organisations emerged, forcing the suspension of public hearings.”

According to the Marine Department, the land bridge linking Songkhla deep-sea port with the Pak Nara deep-sea port in Satun, and southward to Penang in Malaysia, will reduce the distance of travel and save transport costs for cargo from the Indian to the Pacific Oceans, as opposed to travelling through the Malacca Straits.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Strong surf hits Prachuap Khiri Khan beach

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Strong surf hits Prachuap Khiri Khan beach | The Thaiger
Strong surf in Prachuap Khiri Khan

High waves, peaking at 2 to 4 metres, hit Prachuap Khiri Khan’s coastal beaches, gushing over the breakwater and flooding some spots of the beachside road.

Beachfront shops and restaurants have been temporarily closed while all on-water activities are prohibited in the affected areas. Over 100 fishing boats and small boats have moored in the areas around the Khao Ta Mong Lai Mountains to shelter from the strong winds.

Swimming and other water activities are prohibited at Bang Saphan district’s Ban Krut Beach, one of the province’s most popular tourist destinations, due to the dangerous conditions.

The Prachuap Khiri Khan Governor recently warned coastal residents about the potentially dangerous strong winds.

The Thai Meteorological Department issued warnings yesterday that the strong northeast monsoon that prevailed in the Gulf of Thailand and the South might cause strong winds and high waves.

SOURCE: Matichon Online

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Thousands of people evacuated due to flood in deep south Thailand

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Thousands of people evacuated due to flood in deep south Thailand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath

Thousands of residents in Songkhla, Yala and Narathiwat, in lower south of Thailand, evacuated their homes due to flash flooding from nearly a week of continuous heavy rain. Local authorities say a total of 18,024 households across 19 districts in the 3 provinces were affected.

In Yala, the continuous heavy rain throughout the week caused the Sai Buri River to burst its banks, flooding homes and farmland. The director of Yala’s Irrigation Project Office, Chusak Sutthi, says he’s worried about the low-lying areas, adding that the total amount of rainfall to date has broken the record set 10 years ago.

Yala governor, meanwhile, declared the 8 flood-hit districts the disaster zones. Landslides were also reported with no report of fatality or injuries.

In Songkhla, 2 districts were flooded by rainwater coming down from the mountain, while some residences and farmlands on riverbank areas of Narathiwat were flooded. Local government agencies said food and other aid were already sent to the affected areas.

Heavy downpours in the lower South were the result of a strong northeastern monsoon, which is covering the mainland and the Gulf of Thailand, as well as a low pressure system above Malaysia, according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation. The department also said that they are working with all parties concerned to urgently deliver aid to the affected residents.

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Muslim couples in Yala who show affection could be arrested and forced to marry

Caitlin Ashworth

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Muslim couples in Yala who show affection could be arrested and forced to marry | The Thaiger
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Muslim unmarried couples in the southern Thai province of Yala could be arrested, and even forced to wed immediately by Islamic authorities, if they are seen being ‘affectionate’ in public. The new rule was set by the Yaha Central Mosque last month, according to Khaosod English.

It’s unclear what types of public displays of affection are considered inappropriate, but apparently even talking together can get a Muslim man and woman arrested. The imam of the Yaha Central Mosque told Khaosod English reporters that if a muslim man and woman are talking, then a third person should be present. Holding hands, kissing or hugging are strictly forbidden.

Under the new rule, unmarried Muslims are prohibited from displaying “actions of a couple” or “adulterous acts.” Those who break the rules can potentially be ordered to get married at the local mosque after a meeting with the parents and local Imam. Violators can also be arrested by police and charged for sexual obscenity which carries a maximum penalty of 5 to 20 years.

So far, no one has been arrested or forced to marry under the draconian local codes. A couple was seen whispering to each other in public, but the Imam says they were berated at the mosque and told “not to do it again”.

The restrictions were intended to keep teenagers out of trouble, a mosque committee member told Khaosod. Apparently, many teenagers in the area have been doing illicit drugs and drinking kratom. The committee member says some of their gatherings have even become violent and there was a shooting at a local gas station.

SOURCE: Khaosod English

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