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“Elections delayed until 2019” – Thai PM

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“Elections delayed until 2019” – Thai PM | The Thaiger
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Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has told the Thai community during his visit to the United States that the election should take place in 2019, many months later than the junta-appointed legislators had predicted.

Prayut spoke after he told US President Donald Trump on Monday that the election date would be announced next year without any further postponement.

He said the election would be organised within 150 days after the promulgation of essential organic laws, which he said should be completed by November 2018.

Given Prayut’s timeline, the election could be held in March or April 2019.

After the election, it should take a further five to six months to set up the next government and the Upper and Lower houses, the premier said.

According to the current charter, the Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) must complete drafting 10 essential bills within 240 days after the charter was promulgated on April 6.

The draft bills have to be deliberated by the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) within 60 days, and 30 more days are allowed for possible legal objections and reviews.

When the NLA has completed its deliberations, the drafts will be forwarded to the prime minister, who will have 30 days to consider them. The laws will then be submitted to the King, who could take up to 90 days to consider royal endorsement.

Prayut met the Thai community on the final day of his visit to the United States.

During an hour-long talk, Prayut was asked whether he would compete in the next general election. He replied that he would have to seek party members first.

When he was asked again if he was certain about his answer, he said “yes”.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said following the original “road map to democracy”, the CDC was supposed to complete drafting the four required organic laws by late this year. Afterwards, the NLA will have another 60 days to finish deliberating and endorsing the laws.

If there are any objections, resolving them could take about 30 days before royal endorsement. Once the organic laws are promulgated, it would take another 150 days for preparations before the election could take place, Wissanu said.

“Please do not assume. The original road map is actually addressed in the charter’s provisional chapter,” said Wissanu, adding that various factors could affect the exact date of the election.

Following the road map, Wissanu said a new government could enter office by late next year or early 2019, 60 days after the election results are announced.

NLA President Pornpetch Wichitcholchai said the prime minister’s election timetable could not be interpreted as anything but a suggestion to the NLA to complete enactment of the laws by late next year so the election date could be declared.

Following the charter, the election is to take place 150 days after election preparations are complete, so the organic laws must be in place by then.

Pornpetch said he would try to expedite the NLA deliberations process.

He said the CDC had advised that it would submit the two remaining election laws on MP elections and selection of the Senate by late November, after which the NLA would have 60 days for deliberation.

NLA Vice President Surachai Liengboonlertchai said the enactment of the organic laws would follow the timeline given in the charter. He said he could not predict whether the timeframe would be extended until next November, as announced by the premier, and whether the election would be delayed to 2019.

STORY: The Nation

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World

Sir Sean Connery dies at 90 years of age

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Sir Sean Connery dies at 90 years of age | The Thaiger

Sir Sean Connery has died at the age of 90. The Scottish actor was best known for his portrayal of British spy 007 “Bond… James Bond”, doing his first Bond movie in 1962 in “Dr. No”. According to his son, Jason Connery, he died peacefully in his sleep in the Bahamas.

He was knighted by the Queen at Holyrood Palace in 2000. He also received the Kennedy Centre Honour, and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. Scottish newspaper The Sunday Herald called him “The Greatest Living Scot” while People Magazine didn’t just vote him “Sexiest Man Alive” in 1989 but “Sexiest Man of the Century” a decade later.

He was the first to bring the role of James Bond to the big screen , appearing in 7 of the Bond franchise films, and the first of 7 actors that have played the role. Sir Sean was often voted the best actor to have played 007 in the long-running franchise in many polls.

His acting career spanned 5 decades and he eventually won an Oscar in 1988 playing an Irish cop in “The Untouchables”.

Sir Sean’s other films included The Hunt for Red October, Highlander (a Thaiger favourite), Entrapment, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and The Rock.

Jason Connery said many of his family were with him and around when he died peacefully in his sleep.

“We are all working at understanding this huge event as it only happened so recently, even though my dad has been unwell for some time.”

“A sad day for all who knew and loved my dad and a sad loss for all people around the world who enjoyed the wonderful gift he had as an actor.”

Sir Sean was also a long-time supporter of Scottish independence, saying in interviews in the run-up to the 2014 referendum that he might return from his Bahamas home to live in Scotland if it voted to break away from the rest of the UK.

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Visa

100+ foreigners ripped off in education visa scam on Koh Pha Ngan

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100+ foreigners ripped off in education visa scam on Koh Pha Ngan | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Manager Online

A language school in Koh Pha Ngan has ripped off more than 100 tourists claiming that they were able to issue them with a 1 year education visa.

A group of the victims have made an official report with the local police over the scam. The tourists were from the US, UK, Germany, France and Russia. Manager Online report that more than 100 people had been allegedly conned by the school in the Sri Thanu area of the island. The report explained that the people had originally heard about the school being able to get them a 1 year education visa from teachers working there.

The group have now made an official report, sending documentation to Koh Phangan district chief Poonsak Sophonpathumrak and the island’s chief of police Pol Col Phisit Wisetwong and Immigration police.

They allege that they had been asked for 40,000 baht each for courses at the school on the understanding that the school would issue visas for them, changing their Non-B into an ED-Visa, as a way of extending their time in Thailand.

They told police that they had put down a 50% down payment tot eh school. Their visas were promised five weeks ago. But when no paperwork turned up they headed to the mainland Surat Thani immigration office where they were told it wasn’t possible to change a Non-B into an education (ED) visa. When they confronted the school they were told there would be no refunds.

This isn’t the only case of institutions and bogus visa agents taking advantage of the current confusion on visa amnesties and extensions. Immigration police are sorting through a range of similar cases.

Police assure the victims that they are investigation the case.

SOURCE: Manager | Thai Visa

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Economy

US cuts Thailand’s tariff benefits after long-running pork dispute

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US cuts Thailand’s tariff benefits after long-running pork dispute | The Thaiger

Thailand’s duty-free privileges for US$817 million in exports with the US are to be revoked from the end of this year, according to US President Trump in an announcement yesterday. The President blamed a lack of progress in opening the Thai market to US pork products. Trump’s letter announcing the action follows more than 2 years of threats and negotiations with Thai officials over issues ranging from access to Thailand’s markets for US goods and the documented inadequate labour rights in the south east Asian nation.

Washington will now eliminate some tariff benefits for Thailand, accusing the country of failing to allow imports of pork from US producers.

US cuts Thailand's tariff benefits after long-running pork dispute | News by The Thaiger

GRAPHIC: Global pork production in 2020, by country (in 1,000 metric tonnes) – statista.com

The suspension of the Generalised System of Preferences access follows a suspension earlier this year on about $1.3 billion worth imports from Thailand, which once had such privileges for about US$4.4 billion in exports to the United States.

The US Trade Representative’s office said the list of products includes mango, pineapple, manicure kits, steel pipes and precious stones., auto parts, dried produce, tools, electrical products and aluminium kitchenware.

Writing to the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, President Trump said… “I have determined that Thailand has not assured the United States that Thailand will provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets.”

GSP, Generalised System of Preferences, is a 70s-era program of US trade preferences for developing economies aimed at improving workers’ rights and access to broader markets.

“The US Trade Representative’s office also announced that it had closed other GSP eligibility reviews with no loss of benefits for Georgia, Indonesia and Uzbekistan. It also said new GSP reviews were opened for Eritrea based on concerns about workers’ rights.”

SOURCE: Reuters | VOANews | statista.com

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