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National Geographic tries to secure rights to produce Tham Luang rescue doco

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National Geographic tries to secure rights to produce Tham Luang rescue doco | The Thaiger

National Geographic has made top level contact with the government-appointed Creative Media Committee to negotiate shooting a documentary about last July’s dramatic rescue operation at the Tham Luang caves in Chiang Rai.

British diver Rick Stanton, who was actively involved in the complicated rescue operation to save the 13 young Mu Pa footballers, says that the British cave diving team wrote a letter to the guardians about their project to shoot a film for National Geographic.

The team says the film would be directed by David McDonald, who won an Oscar for “The Last King of Scotland” and he wants to capture the real story of the dramatic operation, the spirit of international cooperation and the experiences of the 13 who were trapped underground for almost three weeks.

Rick, along with some members of the production team visited the 13 footballers and their coach earlier this year and were informed about the Creative Media Committee’s selection of two film production houses which had passed the committee’s qualification screening. It was reported that the two companies wanted the movie rights to be granted to only one winner.

Rick has told Thai PBS that, in case the film rights were granted to one production company, National Geographic would not be able to continue with its project, as planned.

Lt-Gen Veerachon Sukonthapatipark, spokesman of the Creative Media Committee, said he expected the movie rights issue to be concluded next week adding that he was optimistic that the rights would not be granted to just one producer.

The 13 footballers are represented by the Tham Luang Company set up by their parents and guardians to handle the potential commercial benefits from film and book rights.

Watch The Thaiger’s short tribute to the drama surrounding last year’s cave rescue…



Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Chiang Rai. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

If you have story ideas, a restaurant to review, an event to cover or an issue to discuss, contact The Thaiger editorial staff.

Air Pollution

Week kicks off with more choking haze and cancelled flights in the north

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Week kicks off with more choking haze and cancelled flights in the north | The Thaiger

From Nan to Mae Hong Son, Phrae, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, choking smog continues to be a persistent problem and part of daily life in the North, where more than 400 brushfire hotspots have now been identified.

Most of the fires are in Mae Hong Son, on the far north-west border with Myanmar, which counted 100.

Bangkok Airways has already cancelled its morning flights between Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son until at least next Sunday, extending the deadline from this weekend, saying there had been no improvement in visibility so the situation was too risky for flights.

Yesterday morning visibility at Mae Hong Son was just 1,600 metres, whereas Bangkok Airways requires 6,000 metres. At this stage other flights are continuing their schedule.

Week kicks off with more choking haze and cancelled flights in the north | News by The Thaiger

Areas north of Chiang Mai this morning, registering well above safe levels for air quality

The Pollution Control Department reported the level of PM2.5 – particulate matter 2.5 micrometres or less in diameter – in Mae Hong Son more than twice the safe limit of 50 micrograms per cubic metre.

Authorities say that deliberately set brushfires and plantation burn-offs are the main cause of the air pollution. With Mae Hong Son topping the list, Chiang Mai had 83 hotspots on Sunday, Phayao 54, Tak 49, Nan 38, Chiang Rai 37, Lampang 31, Phrae 24 and Lamphum 20.

Authorities in several provinces have declared total bans on outdoor burning, but farmers often risk the threatened fines because they have no other viable way to clear their land.

Several outdoor activities have been cancelled in Nan, such as sports tournaments, as a result of the danger to health.

Week kicks off with more choking haze and cancelled flights in the north | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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Air Pollution

Northern haze to go onto ‘national agenda’

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Northern haze to go onto ‘national agenda’ | The Thaiger

by Chularat Saengpassa – PHOTOS: The Nation

Flights cancelled, schools closed, locals visiting hospitals in record numbers and the visual proof is overwhelming. Some of Thailand’s most beautiful areas and popular locations are shrouded in a dense smog and an equally hazy list of solutions.

Calls for the government to tackle the problem of serious air pollution as a vital part of the national agenda are getting louder.

The North has been struggling with severe air pollution for several months now, as outdoor fires are increasing the amount of airborne dust particles.

“Smog is a threat to people’s health,” said Sonthi Kotchawat, an independent environmental health expert.

He added that the region has been struggling with this dust problem for a long time now, but relevant parties have simply waited for nature – such as wind and rain – to blow away the dangerous dust particles.

“We can’t let northerners struggle with smog every year because their health is in grave danger,” Sonthi said, demanding that the authorities issue clear action plans to address the problem.

He also emphasised that the government actively participate in dealing with the problem instead of leaving the job to local authorities.

“Don’t rely on provincial authorities to address this problem. The government needs to take action because the smog has worsened over time,” Sonthi said.

Northern haze to go onto 'national agenda' | News by The Thaiger Northern haze to go onto 'national agenda' | News by The Thaiger

Records show that there were 6,080 hotspots in Myanmar and 3,030 in Laos on Wednesday. Both countries border Thailand in the North. Although the ASEAN Transboundary Haze-Fee Roadmap is in place, fires from Thailand’s neighbours have continued polluting the air.

Meanwhile, Chiang Mai has been topping the global list of the world’s most polluted city for a few hours every day since Tuesday.

The Pollution Control Department wrote to Myanmar authorities this week asking for help with the smog, but there has been no satisfactory result so far.

In Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district, which is next to Myanmar, the PM2.5 level hovered around 208mcg per cubic metre of air as of noon yesterday and its AQI stood at a shocking 318 – a threat even to healthy people.

Thai representatives in the Thailand-Myanmar Township Border Committee will soon be sent to Myanmar to discuss the problem.

Meanwhile, the Deputy PM and Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwon attended a meeting on the pollution in Chiang Mai yesterday.

“We will use this as an opportunity to raise public awareness about PM2.5 and will take tough action against those who violate the ban on outdoor fires,” he said after emerging from the meeting.

Northern haze to go onto 'national agenda' | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: A longer version of the story at The Nation

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Chiang Rai

Two men, 14 buffaloes killed in Phayao truck crash

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Two men, 14 buffaloes killed in Phayao truck crash | The Thaiger
Two men and 14 water buffaloes have been killed when a truck transporting 20 buffaloes lost control and overturned in Phayao’s Muang district, east of Chiang Mai.

Police say the incident happened at 4.48am on the Ban San Khajao-Huay Nam Khao road in Tambon Tha Wang Thong, Phayao.

The truck driver, Kitisak Phanphon and his passenger Kamphol Srikham, both 30 years old, were killed. Fourteen of the animals were also killed when the truck overturned, the rest were injured.

Rescuers had to use iron cutters to free the men from the truck. Police say the truck lost control at the curve of the road and overturned, apparently because of the weight of the animals.

Two men, 14 buffaloes killed in Phayao truck crash | News by The Thaiger

Two men, 14 buffaloes killed in Phayao truck crash | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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