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Authorities struggle to find solutions for the BKK smog

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PHOTO: The Nation

“Normal cheap face masks are useless to protect people from air pollution.”

Bangkok is suffering some severe air pollution as authorities struggle to find a way to reduce the dangerous levels of particulate matter floating around the city. A lack of wind is allowing the pollution, mostly from vehicle emissions and local industry, to hang around the streets and not be blown away.

The Bangkok Post is reporting that the hazardous ultra-fine dust that has been sweeping through 20 districts of Bangkok is predicted to last for a few days, warns the BMA.

The warning corresponds with dust levels measured by the Pollution Control Department (PCD) which started issuing alerts on Thursday.

With a size of up to 2.5 microns, the airborne particulate matter (PM) can easily lodge in in the lungs. Normal cheap pharmacy face masks do not work effectively, as the particles are smaller than the width of a single human hair. To be of any value, a face mask would need to be a KN95 level mask.

Read more about the air pollution problems in Bangkok HERE.

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Bangkok

Thai-American US senator says women need to break through the glass ceiling

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai-American US senator says women need to break through the glass ceiling | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikipedia

Thai-American United States Senator Ladda “Tammy” Duckworth says women – in both Thailand and the US – need to take on leadership roles and break through the glass ceiling. Her speech, recorded in Illinois and played back at the Bangkok Post International Forum 2020, comes at a time where groups of Thai women attending the ongoing pro-democracy protests are expressing concerns with patriarchal society.

At a recent protest, a woman dressed in a school uniform with tape over her mouth held a sign saying “A teacher sexually assaulted me. The school is not a safe space.” At another protest, a group of women performed a dance and chant to raise awareness about how some victims sexual harassment and rape are blamed because the way they dress.

Others attending the protests have brought to light issues on gender equality in Thailand, such as how the nation’s top military school does not accept women. In an earlier report, a student protester told a New York Times reporter “The monarchy and the military have all the power in Thailand… I shouldn’t be afraid to say that men have almost all the power.”

The US senator, who was born in Bangkok, says she spent her entire life in male-dominated fields. She served in the US army and lost both her legs back in 2004 when a Black Hawks helicopter she was co-piloting in Iraq was shot down. In her speech, she told a story about her experience being a woman in the army.

“I made sure that on every sub-zero morning there were hot teas and hot cocoas for my crew because it’s so cold in Chicago in the winter, but some of the male commanders and platoon leaders started to call me ‘the mommy platoon leader’. It was meant to be an insult.”

“Once I took away the warm teas and warm cocoas, my guys performed worse because they were cold. They were doing better when I provided them hot beverages to keep them going. What I should have done is to fight like a woman and beat those male leaders by doing it.”

She says women in America and in Thailand will never be as strong as they can be if they keep accepting the status quo that doesn’t “fully accept” half the world’s population, women.

“Our nations will never be at their best as long as 50% of our population have to keep ducking our heads to avoid hitting that glass ceiling.”

“National security is a women’s issue. The economy is a women’s issue. Healthcare is also a women’s issue. Our countries will never reach high stature as long as we keep siloing women’s issues in the way we are used to, because women’s issues don’t start and end with equal pay.”

Along with urging women in both Thailand and America to challenge gender barriers, Tammy says she hopes to see closer ties between the 2 countries.

“There’s a reason Thailand is often called Washington’s oldest ally in Asia. Ever since Washington’s ship landed on Siam’s shore more than 200 years ago. Ever since King Mongkut offered to send elephants to President Abraham Lincoln. Ever since we agreed to help strengthen one another’s economies with the Treaty of Amity and Commerce and helping defend one other through the Manila Pact.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Crime

Thief makes off with over 500,000 baht in Bangkok bank robbery

Maya Taylor

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Thief makes off with over 500,000 baht in Bangkok bank robbery | The Thaiger

A man who robbed a Bangkok branch of the Government Housing Bank at gunpoint has escaped with over 500,000 baht. Nation Thailand report that the robbery took place yesterday afternoon, at the bank’s Bangbon branch on Soi Ekachai 86 in the capital.

A security guard at the branch told police that the thief jumped over the counter, before grabbing the cash and running out. It’s understood nobody was hurt in the incident. CCTV footage shows a man wearing a long-sleeved grey shirt and a face mask entering the branch, before producing a gun and pointing it at employees. He produces a plastic bag, before jumping over the counter and grabbing cash from a drawer and making his escape.

It’s understood additional footage shows the man fleeing in a vehicle, headed towards Ekachai Road. The police investigation is ongoing.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thailand

Ex-Thai Airways official gets fat prison sentence for failing to pay excess baggage fees

Caitlin Ashworth

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Ex-Thai Airways official gets fat prison sentence for failing to pay excess baggage fees | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath

You’ll never complain about excess baggage charges after reading this… The former chairperson for Thai Airways has been sentenced to 2 years in jail because he didn’t pay for 300 kilograms of excess baggage back in 2009. The Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases says Wallop Bhukkanasut abused his authority as chairperson by ordering airline staff to change the stated weight of luggage so he could get out of paying excess baggage fees.

Wallop and his wife had taken a trip to Japan in November 2009. For his flight from Narita International Airport in Japan to Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Wallop used his position as Thai Airways chairperson to bring more than 300 kilograms of luggage onto the aircraft without paying fees for the extra weight.

Following a fact-finding investigation a few months later in early 2010, Wallop was ordered to pay the excess baggage charges and he resigned from his post as the airline’s executive chairperson.

Criminal charges were filed by the National Anti-Corruption Commission, or NACC, for violating Section 11 of the Act on Offences Committed by Officials of State Organisations or Agencies. The NACC also accused Wallop of accepting gifts from a private firm including Kobe beef and expensive fruit adding up to more than 3,000 baht.

The Court sentenced Wallop to 2 years in prison without suspension.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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