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BNK 48 pop idol under fire for hosting pro-junta programs

The Thaiger & The Nation

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BNK 48 pop idol under fire for hosting pro-junta programs | The Thaiger

by Kittipong Thavevong of The Nation

A young Thai pop star has become the subject of a heated political debate and the target of attack for hosting a television show publicising the government’s achievements.

Anti-junta activists are calling the show ‘political propaganda’ and called out Cherprang Areekul, ‘captain’ of the popular girl pop band BNK 48 for “serving the dictatorship” and “helping whitewash the junta”.

The popular 22 year old is one of many showbiz celebrities recruited to host “Doen Na Prathet Thai” (Moving Thailand Forward). Yet, Cherprang appears to be the only one targeted by anti-junta activists.

Academic Pavin Chachavalpongpun, who is living overseas to avoid the lese-majeste charge, describes Cherprang as a “detergent for dictatorship” and a “greenhorn in democracy”.

Rangsiman Rome, a student activist campaigning for an early election, said in his Facebook post that Cherprang has become a “mouthpiece for the dictatorship” and that this would become a “lifelong stigma” for her.

Cherprang’s supporters, however, hit back, saying she had the right to choose what to do and that these “cyber-bullies” must respect her judgement if they really believe in human rights. Some noted that Cherprang and other BNK 48 members had also joined events hosted by Pheu Thai Party’s senior figure Sudarat Keyura-phan.

Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says he feels sorry for Cherprang as she had done nothing wrong.

“She is just acting like a government spokesperson, free of charge. Is that wrong? What’s wrong with doing good?” he asked.

The premier said he suspected the critics were simply trying to “get a free ride” on Cherprang’s popularity by criticising her.

On Monday, Deputy PM and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said student activist Rangsiman should also respect other people’s rights.

At Government House last week, Cherprang and other showbiz celebrities met General Prayut, who honoured them for helping provide public services free of charge. Cherprang’s boss, Jirat Bowornwattana, says that she was participating in the government show for public interest and had no political purposes.

The program is broadcast every evening after the national anthem is played at 6pm. The audience rating was previously low, as the program mainly focuses on the government’s projects. However, the ratings have risen after showbiz celebrities began participating.

A recorded episode of the show, in which Cherprang acts as guest host, will be broadcast this Saturday. This episode focuses on the government’s moves to reduce inequality in education.

BNK 48 pop idol under fire for hosting pro-junta programs | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation



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Bangkok

Bangkok smog: Police on the lookout for dirty exhaust from vehicles

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Bangkok smog: Police on the lookout for dirty exhaust from vehicles | The Thaiger

by Khanathit Srihirundaj

It’s either a knee-jerk reaction, media stunt or something we hope to see a lot more of.

Checking vehicles with plumes of dirty smoke coming out of their exhaust.

To help curb fine-particle dust pollution in Bangkok, traffic police have increased the number of checkpoints where they will check vehicles spewing black exhaust smoke.

The number of checkpoints was increased on Tuesday to 20 from the previous 12, leading to 1,000 vehicles being cited and fined, traffic police commander Pol Maj-General Jirasan Kaewsang-ek said on Wednesday.

Jirasan said diesel-engine vehicles were the main culprits, along with too-old engines, and they together made a large contribution to the 60 per cent of the polluting PM2.5 particulates that were attributed to vehicle engines.

Police are putting an emphasis on removing the exhaust-spewing vehicles from the most pollution-prone areas such as Bung Kum and Chatuchak districts.

As there was insufficient staff for the checkpoints, police would ask that some officials from the Pollution Control Department be assigned to aid them during this period, Jirasan said.

In future, police may impound the vehicles or suspend the vehicle’s use as a more severe punishment, he added.

Bangkok smog: Police on the lookout for dirty exhaust from vehicles | News by The Thaiger Bangkok smog: Police on the lookout for dirty exhaust from vehicles | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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Bangkok

Bangkok smog: Chatuchak school closes for the rest of the week

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Bangkok smog: Chatuchak school closes for the rest of the week | The Thaiger

A kindergarten in Chatuchak, to the north of central Bangkok, has suspended classes because of air pollution that has landed Bangkok in the top 10 list of worst-polluted cities.

Bangkok still lags far behind some of the world’s most polluted cities, including the Afghani capital Kabul (at 576), Delhi in India (306) and Mongolia’s Ulaanbaatar (300). But the Top 10 worst air-pollution list is not the list Bangkok wants to be in.

Bangkok and Pattaya remain in the ‘unhealthy’ or ‘unsafe’ levels today whilst some cities in northern Thailand are also suffering with poor air quality.

Surang Khamneungnet, director of Jananan Kindergarten in Chatuchak, said pupils had been kept indoors in recent days and the grounds sprayed with water three times a day, but the children had become listless and were eating less.

The school is closed for National Teachers Day today anyway but will remain closed tomorrow and Friday because of the air pollution, she said.

Chulalongkorn University logistics expert Manoj Lohatepanont at a seminar on Tuesday advised schools to consider closing temporarily to reduce health risks for students and curb the number of cars on the roads, one source of PM2.5.

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha separately said the Education Ministry should use its discretion in deciding whether “at-risk” schools should be closed.

SOURCE: The Nation | aqicn.org

Bangkok smog: Chatuchak school closes for the rest of the week | News by The Thaiger Bangkok smog: Chatuchak school closes for the rest of the week | News by The Thaiger

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Bangkok

Crisis meetings in Bangkok today over smog solutions

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Crisis meetings in Bangkok today over smog solutions | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: The Nation

Urgent meetings are being held in Bangkok today to address the acute smog problems in the capital.

The Pollution Control Department and Bangkok Metropolitan Administration are gathering today in their latest efforts to battle with the persistent smog while dust particles continue to blanket the capital with smog levels alarming locals and causing tourists to cancel their holidays.

The meeting was organised after the authorities concerned rushed rushed to find solutions to help ease the problem, including cleaning roads more often, spraying water over Greater Bangkok’s sky (useless), trying to produce artificial rain with cloud-seeding and enforcing strict laws against vehicles emitting excessive exhaust fumes.

PM General Prayut Chan-o-cha “has instructed relevant authorities to introduce additional measures to deal with this situation”, Government Spokesman Puttipong Punnakanta said.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and the Army’s efforts to spray water to ease the pollution on Monday night and yesterday morning did not appear to help much.

For instance, pollution was marginally brought down to 90 from 96 on Monday and to 71 yesterday on Phaholyothin Road in the capital.

Crisis meetings in Bangkok today over smog solutions | News by The Thaiger

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