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Chiang Rai

British divers reveal more details – VIDEO interview John Volanthen

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Whilst the Mu Pa 13 team, along with some Thai Navy Seals, doctors and psychiatrists have participated in a group interview in Chiang Rai tonight, some of the British divers have related their stories to the British press.

Three of the British divers involved in the extraordinary rescue of 12 boys and their football coach who were trapped inside the flooded Tham Luang cave have revealed more details about the dangerous operation.

Richard Stanton who was one of the first divers to find the boys revealed how he first smelt the boys, adding “then they obviously heard us talking, and we saw our lights, and then they started coming down this slope one by one. They were kind of on this ramp around the corner,” he said.

“It was incredible. I wasn’t convinced that they were all going to be OK. But they were all OK,” he added.

Meanwhile, diver Jason Mallinson played down praise of the divers being heroes.

“We just did what we’re… not trained to do, but what we’ve experienced over the last 25 years – we’re happy that we can use that skill set to go and help people, he said.

Meanwhile, in his only solo interview, British diver John Volanthen, who was the other diver along with Richard Stanton to find the group told the BBC just how “remarkable” the rescue was.

SOURCE: The Nation, BBC

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Chiang Mai

Nan, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai report damage from current floods

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Weather warnings remain current for 38 Thai provinces affected by tropical storm Bebinka which is currently hovering over northern Vietnam, moving west. Meanwhile its affects are already being felt in the north.

Moutain run-off has hit and washed away three sections of the main Chiang Rai-Chiang Mai road early today. The Doi Saket police station in Chiang Rai was alerted at 3am that the run-off had taken out sections of the highway No 118 making the road impassable. The police station issued an urgent warning for motorists to instead use the Chiang Rai-Prao-Chiang Mai route.

The Highway Department is currently trying to provide urgent temporary repairs to the highway.

Meanwhile, a community on the Nan River bank in the downtown of the northern province has been inundated after the river burst a flood levee.

Nan Governor Phaisarn Wimolrat and Muang Nan Municipality Mayor Surapol Thiansutr visited the Ban Suan Tan community shortly after the river burst its flood levee at 6.40am this morning and the water from the bloated river gushed into the community, flooding it. The community was quickly under 30 centimetre-high water, causing problems for small vehicles.

Officials have since said that water has started seeping into other communities along the river.

Surapol said the water level in the river has surpassed the crisis level to now reach 8.4 metres – the same level as during the 2006 “great flood”.

But Surapol said the damage this year could be less than in 2006, because flood levees have subsequently been built along the river banks and local residents have been warned in advance of possible flooding.

At 7.10am workers were using sandbags to build flood levees around the Nan Provincial Hospital. At 7.50am, hospital officials closed the bridge near the hospital.

PHOTO: Nan provincial administration’s PR office

SOURCE: The Nation

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Chiang Mai

Chiang Rai venue chosen to move the buildings for judges on Doi Suthep

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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PHOTO: Thai PBS

Thai PBS is reporting that judicial administrators have agreed to ask the Agricultural Techniqe Department  in Chiang Rai for the use of a 40-rai plot of their plants research centre to construct new offices and housing tor the Region 5 Appeals Court.

The request follows a protracted protest from Chiang Mai residents about the special housing for judges and staff on the slopes of Doi Suthep, a sacred mountain in Chiang Mai.

The secretary-general of the Office of the Judicial Affairs, Saravuth Benjakul, says the judicial board, chaired by Mr Cheep Julamont, president of the Supreme Court, resolved at a meeting held in Chiang Rai, to assign the Office of the Judicial Affairs to ask the Agricultural Technique Department for the use of land at the plants research centre to build a new office building and housing units for officials of Region 5 Appeals Court.

Once the construction at the new location is completed, judges and officials of Region 5 Appeals Court will be moved to the new site and then hand over the existing office build and housing units at the foot of Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai.

Mr Saravuth disclosed that the final phase of the construction at Doi Suthep foothill would be officially handed over to the Office of the Judicial Affairs by the builder on August 24.

Construction of the new office building and condominium units will take about three years, said Saravuth, adding, however, it would depend on when the government will approve the funding for the project.

Protests by Chiang Mai’s green groups and residents earlier this year against the Region 5 Appeals Court’s construction project at Doi Suthep foothill led to the intervention by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha who announced that no one would be allowed to stay at the foothill housing units and that a new solution should be worked out for the judicial officials.

Read more about the story leading up to this decision HERE.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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Chiang Rai

Four of the Mu Pa 13 become Thai citizens

The Thaiger & The Nation

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PHOTO: Adul Samon, Mongkol Boonpium, Pornchai Khamluang and assistant coach Ekkapol Chantawongse.

Good news for four of the stateless Mu Pa Academy footballers. During their time in the cave it was revealed that four of the team were officially stateless – unable to get a bank account, get legally married, start a business, etc.

Tonight the four officially became Thai citizens. They attended a naturalisation ceremony held in Chiang Rai province and each of them was given the national identity card

They were among 13 members of the Mu Pa football club who went missing in the Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district in late June. They were located and evacuated two weeks later in a multinational operation. Their rescue mission made headlines around the world as the method of evacuating them from the dark and flooded cave was regarded as the first of its kind.

Mae Sai district chief Somsak Kanakham said they were granted citizenship according to the laws. During the ceremony chaired by Somsak, 30 people became Thai citizens. The births of Adul, Mongkon and Pornchai were registered at Mae Sai and Wiengpankham municipalities and they were granted Thai citizenship after they presented their birth certificate to the district chief.

Ekkapol, who is still in the monkhood, was born at Mae Sai Hospital and has a parent who was born in Thailand. He was granted citizenship on grounds of his good behaviour and actions that benefited society.

Ekkapol Chantawongse

Adul Samon

Pornchai Khamluang

Mongkol Boonpium

SOURCE: The Nation

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