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Merry Christmas from all of us here at Phuket Gazette and The Thaiger. We urge you to be extra careful out on the roads on this day and in the days up to New Year. It’s the busiest time for tourism on the island and there are lots of people here to celebrate. Let’s see which stories are leading the way for your Monday…

Drunk driving still the leading cause of deaths

The Academic Centre for Road Safety says drunk driving remains the issue of greatest concern regarding road safety.

According to the Road Safety Operations Centre, during the seven-day monitoring period for New Year last year, there were 4,128 injuries and 478 deaths from 3,919 road accidents. This represented a rise on previous years. The same research showed that the top five reasons for road accidents were: driving while drunk, speeding, cutting in front of another vehicle, recklessly riding a motorcycle and poor visibility on the road.

MONDAY MORNING NEWS BRIEFING - All your local news in 3 minutes | News by The Thaiger

Davao City shopping mall fire kills 37

At least 37 are feared burned alive in a shopping mall in Davao City in The Philippines. President Rodrigo Duterte broke the sad news to relatives of the 37 victims who were mostly workers of BPO firm SSI yesterday.

The president broke into tears when visited the families of victims trapped in the mall. The blaze started at the four-storey NCCC Mall on Saturday morning and people were trapped inside, including in a call centre on the top floor. The fire was still going yesterday morning. A police officer speaking to AFP believes that the fire started on the third floor which houses products like fabrics, wooden furniture and plastic ware.

MONDAY MORNING NEWS BRIEFING - All your local news in 3 minutes | News by The Thaiger

Bus plows into car in Thalang killing two

At midnight on Saturday night, at Saladaeng intersection on Thepkasattri Road in Thalang, a 6-wheel bus crashed into a car, resulting in two casualties and an injured driver in serious condition.

The bus was driven by 42 year old Boonyong Linla, who police allege was driving at high speed and ignored a traffic signal, running the red light. He crashed into the car of the family of three, driven by 24 year old Pradit Robroo with two passengers, 18 year old Kanlaya Mianbut and one year old Kornkamon Robroo.

All three were sent to Thalang Hospital, but one year old Kornkamon later died at the hospital as a result of her injuries. Kanlaya Mianbut was taken to Vachira Hospital, along with her husband, but she died at Vachira Hospital later in the morning. The husband remains at Vachira with serious injuries.

Police continue to investigate the incident and are questioning the 42 year old bus driver.

MONDAY MORNING NEWS BRIEFING - All your local news in 3 minutes | News by The Thaiger

Toon surpasses one billion in donations

The charity run by Bodyslam frontman “Toon” has hit more than 1 billion baht in donations.

As of 2pm yesterday, donations for 11 public hospitals benefiting from Artiwara’s cross-country charity run amounted to 1,000,428,000 baht – well exceeding his initial target of 700 million baht. Artiwara – who was voted in a Bangkok Poll survey as the most admirable person of the year – has run for 372.24 hours over 42 days covering 2,140 kilometres. The rocking runner is now in Chiang Rai crossing the finish line today. He started the run on November 1.

MONDAY MORNING NEWS BRIEFING - All your local news in 3 minutes | News by The Thaiger

November 2018 poll date ‘impossible’

Despite the junta leader’s claim to promote an inclusive democracy, the new Article 44 order to extend deadlines for political party activity would instead make a November election “impossible” and weaken public participation. This observation by academics concerned that the country’s roadmap to democracy will be pushed forward again by the latest changes to political party involvement.

Last Friday, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha issued an order under his absolute powers to amend the existing Political Party Act, giving the main reason as the need to extend the deadlines required for parties to follow ahead of the election. The junta’s ban against political gatherings of five or more people has stopped parties from holding meetings or making other official moves. Although the order is claimed to “facilitate” parties, it requires members of existing parties to submit “verifying membership documents” to their party headquarters.

MONDAY MORNING NEWS BRIEFING - All your local news in 3 minutes | News by The Thaiger

Phuket’s beaches missing from ‘clean beach’ list

Thirteen beaches in six provinces have been found to be of a very good environmental condition in an assessment by the Pollution Control Department of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry.

The assessment was carried out under the “beaches with stars” project for the year 2017.

The assessment measures four aspects: pollution control; natural conditions; environmental management; and tourism management.

For the year 2017, the following 13 beaches have been assessed to have a very good environmental condition, each with five stars attached:

1. Toey Ngam beach, Chon Buri, in an area under the supervision of the navy’s Sattahip Marine Command.

2. Laem Sala beach, Khao Sam Roy Yot National Park, Prachuap Khiri Khan.

3. Ao Manao beach of the air force’s Wing 5, Prachuap Khiri Khan.

4. Ao Kha, Ang Thong Islands National Park, Surat Thani.

5. Sam Sao beach, Ang Thong Islands National Park, Surat Thani.

6. Tham Rang beach, Ang Thong Islands National Park, Surat Thani.

7. Thai Muang beach, Khao Lampi-Hat Thai Muang National Park, Phangnga.

8. Ao Kuak beach, Similan Islands National Park, Phangnga.

9. Mai Ngam beach, Surin Islands National Park, Phangnga.

10. Laem Tanot beach, Ko Lanta National Park, Krabi.

11. Ko Rok beach, Ko Lanta National Park, Krabi.

12. Pile beach, Than Bokkhorani National Park, Krabi.

13. Ko Lidi beach, Phetra Islands National Park, Satun.

Moreover, Na Thap beach in Ang Thong Islands National Park is rated as being of a high environmental condition, with four stars attached.

Bottomline, not one beach in Phuket is on the list 🙁

(STORY: Thai PBS)

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    harry1

    December 25, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    l also witness tour buses going thru red lights they sound their horn and just drive thru at 80 kph as if they have right of way, no speed camera or ticketing helps ? its education and taking special test needed to drive a bus rip little angel

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Thailand News Today | Immigration deadline, quarantine update?, arrests averted | October 30

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Thailand News Today | Immigration deadline, quarantine update?, arrests averted | October 30 | The Thaiger

Last day of the week and all the main stories from around Thailand. Thailand News Today, a bit late today but here it is…

Some immigration offices open tomorrow for last minute visa extensions

The latest amnesty is up tomorrow (October 31) and some immigration offices will be open for those who still need sort out their visa extensions.

Those who miss the deadline could face fines for overstay, immigration officials warn. The extensions all go into effect from November 1 and allow a 60 day stay.

Some immigration offices that are typically closed on Saturdays will be open tomorrow for those filing for extensions. Immigration Bureau commissioner Sompong Chingduang says immigration offices on Chaeng Watthana Road in Bangkok and at Muang Thong Thani in Nonthaburi, just outside Bangkok city, will be open tomorrow from 8.30am to 4.30pm. Check with your local immigration office.

Court rejects bid to arrest activists who led march on German Embassy

A bid to apprehend 5 anti-government activists who led a march to the Germany Embassy on Monday has failed, after a court in Bangkok rejected a police application for arrest warrants.

The Bangkok South Criminal Court has turned down the application for arrest warrants.

The 5 would have faced charges of sedition and other offences. But the court told officials to instead issue a summons, given that the protesters are students who only gathered for a short time and are unlikely to flee.

On Monday, protesters marched to the German Embassy to submit a petition calling on the country’s government to investigate whether Thailand’s Head of State conducted official business while in Germany. Which nicely segues to the next story…

German government does not believe the Thai Monarch broke the law on conducting state affairs

The German government does not believe the Thai Monarch broke the law on conducting state affairs during his time in the German state of Bavaria.

Germany says His Majesty the King has not violated the European country’s ban on conducting foreign politics on German soil where he resides. The government in Berlin briefed lawmakers this week, saying the Thai Monarch is allowed make occasional decisions regarding Thai state affairs, but he cannot continuously conduct business from overseas.

So far, the German government says they do not believe the King Maha Vajiralongkorn “continuously” conducted Thailand state business during his residence in Bavaria.

PM to visit Phuket on Monday as island’s economy lies in tatters

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is heading to Phuket on Monday, where he will meet with local business leaders and discuss proposals to help revive the southern island’s devastated tourism sector.

Despite Phuket Models and any number of promises from the Thai tourism sector, Phuket remains in a perilous situation whilst the government keeps its borders closed. Almost 100% of Phuket’s economy is derived directly or indirectly from tourist traffic.

Health officials propose reducing quarantine to 10 days

Health officials are suggesting cutting mandatory quarantine for international arrivals to 10 days. We’ve heard it all before but the idea has risen to the top of the Health Minister’s file again.

Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul says the proposal will be submitted to the CCSA for approval. It’s hoped that a reduction in the quarantine period could help revive Thailand’s battered tourism sector. Only a tiny handful of STV tourists have arrived on the the tourist visa over the past month. The health minister said…

”The priority now is to strike a balance between people’s health and the economy. Thailand still has to rely on foreign tourists. Re-opening the country to foreign visitors will help put the economy back on track.”

The Minister didn’t say where all these tourists might come from or speculate when a reduction on the quarantine period might be introduced.

Police arrest woman for allegedly selling fashion dental retainers

Police have arrested a woman for allegedly selling and fitting fashion dental retainers and braces.

Police seized equipment used for making dental casts and retainers found at her home in Ratchaburi and charged the 27 year old with illegally fitting fashion dental retainers.

The woman has allegedly been selling the retainers on a Facebook page under the name since November 2017, targeting mostly teenage students.

In Thailand, braces and retainers are a fashion trend and also seen as a symbol of wealth. The Thaiger suggests that if you want a set of straight teeth, go to an orthodontist.

Floods in NE Thailand as Vietnam mops up after typhoon

Flooding persists in four north eastern provinces, including Nakhon Rachasima as of this morning. All in the wake of the weakening tropical depression that crossed the Vietnamese coast on Wednesday as Typhoon Molave.

‘Molave’ was the most powerful typhoon to hit Vietnam in 20 years. The remnants of the tropical depression are now centred over the west of Thailand where it continues to drop plenty of rain.

At least 35 people are dead, 100s injured, and 50+ missing in Vietnam as disaster mitigation authorities are now reaching some of the worst hit areas in central Vietnam.

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Protests

Some Thai students decide to boycott their graduation

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Some Thai students decide to boycott their graduation | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

Their Majesties the King and Queen of Thailand will attend Thammasat University’s graduation ceremonies tonight and tomorrow evening. But there’s been a growing contingent of graduates who are boycotting the ceremony as a personal protest in relation to current rallies around Thailand about government and constitutional reform.

The night, the biggest night of a student’s schooling, is a special event for many Thai students when a member of the Royal Family frequently attend the ceremonies to confer the degrees in a parade of passing students.

The protests, that started back in July by a core of university students, openly mentioning the reform of the Thai Monarchy for the first time, have now morphed into a common thread of discussion in social media. The role of the Thai Monarch, in the past a taboo topic for polite conversation in Thailand, is now being subjected to frequent media coverage and discussion.

Usually a night to remember for many students, it’s not completely uncommon for graduating students to miss the commencement ceremony. The highly choreographed graduation ceremonies are voluntary although the chance to accept their certificate from a member of the Royal Family, including the photo that would take pride of place in homes around Thailand, is usually not passed up.

Now a rump of students, not only at Thammasat, are taking the opportunity for a significant personal protest, and deciding to forgo the ceremonies and make their own symbolic statement about the current protest issues. In most cases the events involve an entire day of rehearsals, culminating in mere seconds as they receive their rolled-up certificate in a regimented, solemn and formal ceremony. There can also be quite a lot of costs involved with the hiring of graduation garments with strict dress codes surpassing the wardrobes of many of the young students.

One post itemised the costs including up to 500 baht for a new skirt, a 1,000 baht for hair and grooming, including a hair cut and dyeing their hair back to black if they’d decided to go ‘colour’ during their studies, and a pair of shoes for up to 1,000 baht. Then there’s make-up fees, a photographer (some graduation photos can be ‘event’ in themselves), both adding another 6,000-10,000 baht to the costs.

Some protesters earlier this month announced on social media posts that they were missing their graduation describing it as a “superfluous and onerous event”. Although plenty of graduates have missed the ceremonies in the past for various reasons, now they’re posting about their boycott, complete with explanations calling for reforms for the role of Thailand’s Head of State.

Some graduates have also taken to social media explaining why they will be attending the graduation ceremonies, in most cases saying they will attend for the benefit of their parents.

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Dengue Fever

Lockdown may contribute to Thailand’s rise in dengue fever cases, study suggests

Caitlin Ashworth

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Lockdown may contribute to Thailand’s rise in dengue fever cases, study suggests | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikipedia

Social distancing and lockdown measures may have contributed to a rise in dengue fever in Thailand, according to a recent study funded by the Singapore Ministry of Health’s National Medical Research Council.

Researchers, which included scientists from the University of Singapore, examined dengue fever cases in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. No impact on the dengue transmission was found in Malaysia or Singapore, but in Thailand, they found that social distancing may lead to an increase in the number of coronavirus cases. They say the largest impact is in Bangkok Researchers say social distancing is expected to lead to 4.32 additional dengue fever cases per 100,000 people in Thailand each month.

Many people in Thailand stayed at home during lockdown measures put in place to control the spread to the coronavirus, but the study found that people in Thailand are typically bitten by dengue-carrying mosquitos at home rather than at work. Some people even travelled back home to their home provinces to be with their families during the lockdown period.

“Although it is possible for dengue infections to occur in workplaces, it was found in one study that 60% of dengue cases live less than 200m apart came from the same transmission chain, revealing that residential areas are a focal point of transmission.”

Reported dengue fever cases in 2019

Lockdown may contribute to Thailand's rise in dengue fever cases, study suggests | News by The Thaiger

Reported dengue fever cases in 2020

Lockdown may contribute to Thailand's rise in dengue fever cases, study suggests | News by The Thaiger

To read the full study click HERE.

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