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Accessing from above. Scientists add their knowledge to the search.

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By Pratch Rujivanarom in Chiang Rai

Academics, experts in the local geography and local people are pitching in to provide scientific data about the Tham Luang cave network. This local intel will support the official rescue mission for the youth football team believed trapped inside.

Those working on the rescue speak of a tough operation, a battle against nature, in which human ingenuity is being pitted against elemental powers in a bid to alter the balance and free the trapped footballers.

As of press time, the mission to pull 12 teenaged footballers and their assistant coach out of the flooded cave in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai District has not succeeded despite six days having passed since the group was trapped inside by a flash flood.

Knowledge and analytical power is being brought to bear on this difficult problem by many experts, including geographers from the public sector and various universities, who have stepped up to share their expertise. They hope to fill in the knowledge gaps left by incomplete surveying and geographical examination, by applying their expertise in geography, geology, mapping and hydrology to seek ways into the Tham Luang cave network.

Anukoon Sorn-ek, an independent geographical expert and leader of their team, said there is a lack of clear information about the complex cave network and the mountain above.

“From my observation when working with the official team, I have found that the official agencies’ teams still have a problem caused by the lack of geographical and hydrological data for the area, so most of the operations were executed without guidance and planning based on scientific data,” Anukoon said.

“Therefore, we can see that many missions failed, because of the lack of proper knowledge and information about the terrain.”

He said that his team was thus working against the clock to gather as much information and scientific data as possible to provide to the rescue teams in order to let them plan and make decisions based on analysed information. The group’s discussions led to a strategy to seek information on the hydrological nature of the area so that they could advise on how to maximise water drainage from the cave. They found that the rate of natural water outflow from the cave system was only five cubic metres per minute, while the water inflow to the cave from rainwater over the mountain was as high as 25 cubic metres per minute. They set up a precipitation measuring gauge at their main operation centre in Ban Pha Sak Village, around three kilometres away from the cave.

They have also tried to fly drones over the mountain to map out all major sinkholes to support the effort to reduce water inflow to the cave system and find alternative entrances to the cave from above. The team also assisted the support team from the United States Air Force with their data and led them on a mission to survey the mountain. Meanwhile, the situation inside the cave has slightly improved, according to a military news source, as the level of floodwater has lowered due to decreased rainfall and from drilling in the caves. The water level, however, remains too deep for the Navy SEALs to reach the inner part of the cave to find the missing football team.

“The water has reduced to the same level as Wednesday, and now we can access the third chamber of the cave around three kilometres from the entrance,” the source said.

“However, there was a leakage of electricity inside the cave, and we have had to shut it off, which make the officers’ operations inside the cave harder from lack of light.”

The source would not say whether there was anyone hurt from the electrical leakage, but many ambulances have been seen rushing to the cave entrance. Chiang Rai provincial governor and leader of the rescue operation, Narongsak Osottanakorn, dismissed the reports and said that some officers had fainted from insufficient rest.

Accessing from above. Scientists add their knowledge to the search. | News by The Thaiger

STORY: The Nation

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Protests

K-Pop fan-funded billboards move from BTS and MRT stations to tuks tuks to support protesters

Caitlin Ashworth

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K-Pop fan-funded billboards move from BTS and MRT stations to tuks tuks to support protesters | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Twitter: @katipunera

K-Pop fan-funded “happy birthday” billboards are moving from mass transit stations in Bangkok to tuk tuks after the BTS Skytrain and MRT Bangkok Metro temporarily shut down services during pro-democracy protests last month.

The world’s K-Pop fans are weaponising their huge numbers and online ‘power’ by supporting Thailand’s pro-democracy movement. In 3 days last month, Thai and overseas K-pop fans raised more than 3 million baht to support the growing student-led movement calling on government and monarchy reform. A lot more has been raised since then.

A Thailand fan page for the South Korean K-Pop band BTS (not to be confused with Bangkok’s BTS Skytrain) urged fans to stop paying for the “happy birthday” billboards displayed in BTS and MRT stations. The fan-funded signs celebrate the birthdays of the 7 members of the band.

The band members also issued a statement asking their fans (known as ARMY) to stop paying for signs in the BTS and MRT stations because the mass transit systems “inconvenienced protesters and normal citizens from getting home and putting them in danger.”

The “happy birthday” signs have been seen on tuk tuks throughout Bangkok while some have posted photos of empty advertising space in the transit stations.

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Thailand

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways corruption, Southern floods, Border Covid outbreak | Dec 3

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Thailand News Today | Thai Airways corruption, Southern floods, Border Covid outbreak | Dec 3 | The Thaiger

Thursday’s edition of Thailand News Today, including the latest in the local cases popping up in Northern Thailand. Thailand’s most watched English language news.

20 more people suspected of being involved in corruption at Thai Airways

20 people are now under suspicion of corruption and mismanagement within Thai Airways as accountants unravel the massive losses for the airline, spanning a decade

The news, announced by police and deputy head of the commission investigating the airline, comes as little surprise to anyone who has been following the demise of Thailand’s legacy airline. The airline is tackling a debt of around 300 billion baht.

The story follows many other tales of corruption and bad deals that have been part of a larger puzzle that is now being unraveled by accounts and committees who are handling the airlines’ bankruptcy.

Now, 20 people are suspected of corruption in 6 different parts of the company’s management.

The investigation into alleged corruption at the airline started in August. In September, 18 documents showing evidence of corruption and mismanagement at the airline was submitted to the Finance Ministry, still a major shareholder for Thai Airways.

The airline’s decision to buy 10 Airbus A340 aircraft for 100 billion baht in 2004 was catastrophic. The airline lost money on every single flight of these aircraft. All but 1 of them have been decommissioned and stored at the U-Tapao airport.

2 infected Thai women took domestic flights after illegal crossing from Myanmar

2 Thai women, both infected with Covid-19, took domestic flights after entering the Kingdom illegally from Myanmar and bypassing health checks and quarantine.

A total of 10 Thai women have now tested positive for Covid-19 after crossing the border from Myanmar, several having worked in the same hotel and entertainment establishment in the Burmese border town opposite Mae Sai in Chiang Rai.

Health officials are tracking and tracing anyone who could have been in contact with the women, a number well into the 100s. Some have travelled to Chiang Mai and Bangkok.

Thai economists say new local Covid-19 cases will slow tourism recovery

Meanwhile, the National Economic and Social Development Council says that the mini outbreak in Northern Thailand will re-ignite fears of a second wave of infections in Thailand, stifling travel and tourism in the northern cities.

Operators already note that there has been a drop off of bookings and cancellations related to the publicity from the cross border infections. Airline bookings have also dropped off to both Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.

Government to raise 5-year Elite visa fee by 20%, as foreigners flee Covid countries

As more foreigners opt for one of Thailand’s “elite” visas, allowing stays of between 5 and 20 years, and costing anything from 500,000 baht to 2 million, the most popular version is up for a price hike.

The cost of the 5-year “Easy Access” visa will go up by 20% from January, to 600,000 baht.

An additional 2,674 applicants signed up for an elite visa so far this year. That’s an increase of nearly 25%, with the scheme generating revenue of 1.6 billion baht.

By the end of September this year, over 11,100 people hold an elite visa in Thailand, as part of 9 different packages offered by Thailand Privilege Card.

Heavy rain wreaks havoc in flood-ravaged Nakhon Si Thammarat

The governor of Nakhon Si Thammarat has put the province on high alert, following 6 days of heavy rain in the southern province.

Nakhon Si Thammarat is directly east of Phuket, on the Gulf of Thailand.

Large swathes of land are underwater after extensive flooding that has affected tens of thousands of people in the region. Floods have been recorded in 351 villages in 15 districts, with some 48,000 people affected.

Heavy rain and flash flood warnings were issued for all southern provinces except Chumphon and Ranong

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Bangkok

Man shot and killed outside Bangkok restaurant

Caitlin Ashworth

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Man shot and killed outside Bangkok restaurant | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

A man was shot to death at a parking lot outside a restaurant in Bangkok’s Noi district. Police, accompanied by a doctor from the Siriraj Hospital, arrived at the scene around 2am this morning and found 49 year old Damrong Taweekkhet with 2 gunshot wounds in his chest.

Damrong, a fruit vendor, was chatting with his friends in the parking lot when a motorbike driver rode up and started arguing with Damrong, a witness told police. The driver allegedly pulled out a gun and shot it multiple times.

Police say they suspect the shooter is Damrong’s friend who had argued with him inside the restaurant prior to the shooting. Police are still looking for the suspect and say the motorbike was seen driving down Boromratchonnee Road.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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