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12 million people have visited Grand Palace to pay last respects

Nattha Thepbamrung

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12 million people have visited Grand Palace to pay last respects | The Thaiger
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With two days remaining for citizens to pay their last respects to His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej at the Grand Palace in Bangkok, the number of people who have viewed the Royal Urn has topped 12 million.

The Royal Household Bureau on Tuesday reported that 12,443,890 mourners had visited the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall in the past 334 days. Thursday (October 5) is the final day for public viewing. Donations received as a form of making merit for the late King now total 870,377,871 Baht the bureau said.

Monday alone saw nearly 79,000 mourners visit the throne hall and donate 5.46 million Baht, the final visitors admitted at 3.45am on Tuesday. The beloved King Rama IX died last October 13 and private citizens were allowed to pay their respects in front of the Royal Urn from October 28 onwards.

The funeral is scheduled for October 25-29, with the cremation set for October 26. The daily highest record for throne hall visits were set on October 1, when 90,300 mourners viewed the Royal Urn, followed by the Monday’s 78,948 visitors and September 26. when there were 73,889 mourners.

STORY: The Nation

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Protests

Royalists gather in Chon Buri to support the Thai Monarchy amid anti-government protests

Caitlin Ashworth

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Royalists gather in Chon Buri to support the Thai Monarchy amid anti-government protests | The Thaiger
PHOTO: naewna

While pro-democracy protesters have been gathering nationwide over the past week, especially in their cat-and-mouse “pop up” protests around the capital, calling on an end to the military-run government and pushing the Thai PM to resign, royal supporters gathered at Chon Buri’s Banglamung District Office to show their support for Thailand and the Thai Monarchy.

They say they welcome discussion from the protesters, but not “insults against our most sacred institution”.

The royalists were dressed in yellow, a colour that symbolises the Thai Monarchy. They presented a letter to the district chief to be passed along to the governor expressing their support for the highest Thai Institution and their disapproval of insults spread online by pro-democracy protesters.

“Due to the current protest situation in Bangkok, Banglamung and other areas in Thailand, there are many photos, videos and comments that have insulted our most sacred institution which have gone viral in social media.

We appreciate our beloved monarchy. We must protect our monarchy.”

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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Environment

Large “chunk” breaks off Krabi island, damaging coral reef at popular dive site

Caitlin Ashworth

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Large “chunk” breaks off Krabi island, damaging coral reef at popular dive site | The Thaiger
PHOTO: National News Bureau

A large chunk of an island near Koh Phi Phi in southern Thailand has broken off and collapsed on top of a coral reef at a popular dive site. No one was around when the cliffsides sheered off and collapsed into the sea, but national park officers on a routine patrol noticed a section of the island had broken off and saw two large sections of rock above the water.

There has been considerable rain in the region over the past 2 months.

A section of Koh Mae Urai, located between Koh Phi Phi and Krabi, broke off in 2 large pieces estimated to weigh around 30,000 to 50,000 tonnes. Divers headed down to examine the site to see how much damage has been done to the coral reef. The water has been murky, so it’s hard to tell how much damage was done, but Koh Phi Phi National Park chief, Prayoon Phongphan, says he thinks 20% of the coral around the island was damaged.

“At this stage, we do not know how much of the reef was damaged, but the reef is home to important coral, including staghorn coral, and was a popular dive site for tourists.”

Large

PHOTO: Wikipedia

Koh Mae Urai is a unique local dive spot with 2 tunnels lined with soft and hard corals, according to Lonely Planet. When the current isn’t too strong and the visibility is good, Koh Mae Urai is “the most beautiful dive site in the Ao Nang area with number soft coral as well as seahorses”, according to Krabi Magazine.

For now, the area around the island is closed off and boat operators are warned not to approach the site until marine officials can inspect the island’s structure and be sure of the safety for divers and visitors.

“Please be careful. Boat operators must not approach the site. It can be dangerous… Park officers will mark off the area with buoys with a sign clearly explaining no entry to the sealed-off area.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Economy

“Protests could affect the economy” – Bank of Thailand

Caitlin Ashworth

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“Protests could affect the economy” – Bank of Thailand | The Thaiger

The ongoing political protests could have a negative impact on Thailand’s already crippled economy by weakening domestic consumption and tourism even more, according to the Bank of Thailand. The bank’s newly appointed governor Settaput Suthiwart-Narueput, who started this month, says they need to keep a close watch on the situation.

“Basically, the political factor is one of the uncertainties… It could affect the economy, particularly consumer confidence and tourism. The central bank has been monitoring the situation closely especially how all the parties concerned handle the protests.”

The halt of foreign tourist arrivals over the past 7 months have heavily impacted the economy. Thailand lost 1.6 trillion baht, or 10% of the GDP. Around 40 million foreign tourists visited Thailand last year while this year is only expected to have a total of 6.7 million. The bank’s governor says it’s going to take some time for the economy to recover.

“It will take at least 2 years for the economy to return to pre-pandemic levels… From now on, the economy is likely to see a continuous contraction on a quarterly basis. It is expected to begin to show a positive growth rate in the second rate in the second quarter of 2021 and be back to normal growth in the third quarter of 2022.”

President of the Tourism Council of Thailand Chairat Tirrattanajarasporn also says the continuing pro-democracy protests could negatively impact the tourism industry and is urging government officials to engage in dialogue with the protesters. He also says that people tend to save their money during protest movements rather than spending it on trips.

Those interested in travelling to Thailand on the Special Tourist Visa are not concerned with the political climate and ongoing protests, according to Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn.

“It is too early to assess the impact on tourism as mass gatherings have occurred recently and there has been no violence.”

While monitoring the protests and the potential effect they have on the economy, the governor says the Bank of Thailand will also tackle the debt crisis. Debt relief measures, put in place by the bank to aid businesses battered by the pandemic, are lifting this month. The bank is now working on debt solutions.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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