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Border agreement reached by Thailand and Cambodia; Burma and Thailand economic co-operation

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Border agreement reached by Thailand and Cambodia; Burma and Thailand economic co-operation | The Thaiger
PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Agreement reached to withdraw troops from border
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

Thailand and Cambodia agreed yesterday to comply with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) order to withdraw troops from the disputed border area near the Preah Vihear Temple following a meeting of the General Border Committee.

Both sides have also agreed to set up a Joint Working Group to work towards complete troop pullout from the provisional demilitarized zone (DMZ) determined by the ICJ, according to China’s Xinhua news agency.

The meeting was chaired jointly by Defense Minister General Yuthasak Sasiprapha and his Cambodian counterpart Tea Banh. A joint statement issued after the meeting said the group would work for a complete and simultaneous redeployment of the two countries’ military personnel from their current positions in the DMZ “at the earliest” in a transparent manner under the watchful eyes of Cambodian, Thai and Indonesian observers.

The Joint Working Group will comprise representatives designated by each side and convene a meeting at the earliest date, it said, adding that Thailand had agreed to host the first meeting.

Both sides have also agreed to cooperate on clearing landmines in the DMZ, which covers some 17 square kilometers near Preah Vihear.

The court’s injunction is pending an interpretation of the ICJ’s 1962 ruling, requested by Cambodia to clarify whether the land in the vicinity of the temple comes under Cambodian sovereignty. In 1962, the court ruled that the temple is situated in Cambodia, but Thailand argued that it owns the area adjacent to Preah Vihear.

The withdrawal will take place in the presence of Indonesian observers, according to the AFP news agency.

Thailand does not dispute Cambodia’s ownership of the World Heritage-listed temple, but both sides claim some of the surrounding area.

Tension had been increasing between Cambodia and Thailand since Unesco awarded Preah Vihear World Heritage status in 2008.

The tension escalated in February 2011, when at least eight people were killed in several days of fighting.

Yingluck focuses on economic benefits
Phuket Gazette / The Nation

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has sidelined democratization and instead placed economic interests at the core of bilateral relations between Thailand and Burma.

Her Cabinet is expected to fully endorse the Dawei special economic zone project and an energy deal.

Yingluck’s meeting with Burma’s democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday to highlight political reform in the military-dominated country was also aimed at raising the profile of Thailand’s first female prime minister.

Yingluck became not only the first Thai PM but also the first head of government to formally meet Nobel Laureate Suu Kyi.

The Burmese government deserves some credit for its openness in allowing the meeting, which gave Yingluck the chance to praise and respect the role of Aung San Suu Kyi as a democratic leader.

Former premier Thaksin Shinawatra claimed it was he who had paved the way for the meeting of the two ladies.

Rangoon-based analysts said the meeting did not yield any significant outcome on political reform in Burma or for bilateral relations between the two countries. Other than being a woman, Yingluck has nothing in common with Aung San Suu Kyi in terms of political struggle, they said. On the other hand, the meeting was good for Yingluck as Aung San Suu Kyi could become an inspiration for her to fight for real democracy in Thailand.

Political reform and democratization in Burma are not high on the agenda of the current Thai government in building relations with this neighboring country. What Yingluck really pushed in her discussions with Burma’s President Thein Sein earlier in Naypyidaw was economic cooperation in the Dawei special economic zone and in energy.

Yingluck was in Burma early this week for the 4th summit of Greater Mekong Subregional (GMS) economic cooperation. She was accompanied by Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul and Energy Minister Pichai Naripthaphan who focused on energy cooperation.

Pichai said yesterday in Bangkok that he was successful in clinching a deal with his Burmese counterpart Than Htay for an on-shore petroleum resource in Block M9 near Naypyidaw and offshore Block M3 in the Gulf of Martaban, north-east of Phuket, often described as an arm of the Andaman Sea.

Meanwhile, Surapong said the Cabinet would be soon endorsing the energy project and the Dawei economic zone project, which would be linked to the western part of Thailand.
The Dawei project, run by construction firm Italian-Thai Co, would be a special economic zone. It would include a deep sea port, and an industrial estate to become the ‘western gate’ of Thailand to the Indian Ocean as well as Burma’s port to the Pacific via the East-West Corridor of Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

Surapong, together with the ministers of finance, energy, industry and transportation, will visit the Dawei project early next month to help speed up development.

Yingluck and her ministers’ moves closely followed those of Thaksin, who was in Burma a few days ahead of the visit by his sister.

A Burmese source said Thaksin flew directly to Dawei to see the project, in which he was likely interested in having some stake.

The former premier was also aware of the Thai government’s deal on the petroleum resource.

However, Yingluck said her government had nothing to do with Thaksin’s moves and his personal business deals.

The Thai government has negotiated directly with the Burmese government under a legal framework, and not for the personal interest of anybody, she said.

Asked if the energy deal with Burma would benefit only the government’s cronies, Yingluck insisted that she represented the government of Thailand and has not negotiated for personal interest.

Asked about Thaksin’s claim that he had paved the way for the government in its negotiations with Burmese government, Yingluck said her Cabinet did not reject good things but the decision would be made by her Cabinet under legal procedure.

— Phuket Gazette Editors



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Plastics

Thailand to ban three kinds of plastic by end of this year

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Thailand to ban three kinds of plastic by end of this year | The Thaiger

By the end of 2019 Thailand will be free from three types of plastic – microbeads, cap seals and oxo-degradable plastics.

Then by 2022 four other types of single-use plastics will also be banned – lightweight plastic bags less than 36 microns thick; styrofoam food containers for takeaways; plastic cups and plastic straws – according to a road map approved by the Cabinet.

The Plastic Waste Management Road Map 2018-2030 also includes an ambitious plan for Thailand to use 100 per cent recycled plastic by 2027 in various forms, including turning waste into energy.

The Cabinet has acknowledged the road map and assigned the Natural Resource and Environment Ministry to formulate a draft action plan for plastic waste management, so it is in line with the 20-year national strategy.

Thailand to ban three kinds of plastic by end of this year | News by The Thaiger

The Cabinet also called for clear details on related agencies’ role in the integration of the work for managing plastic waste, which will also get huge participation from the private and business sectors. The related state agencies should create various mechanisms to propel this forward such as creating a good understanding among agencies, continuously implementing a public relations campaign via social media to achieve the set goals, the Cabinet instructed.

The work procedure must consider lifecycle plastic-waste management so steps are taken from the very start: with plastic products designed applying the “Eco Design” approach, manufacturing and post-consumption disposal which will include garbage separation, transport and storing, recycling and proper disposal.

According to the Department of Environmental Quality Promotion, Thais generate as much as 1.14 kilogram of garbage per head per day, contributing to the 27.04 million tonnes of waste per year.

One person uses approximately eight plastic bags a day – or 500 million plastic bags per day for the whole nation.

Most of the plastic waste ends up in the oceans, accounting for 16% of garbage in the seas.

SOURCE: The Nation

Thailand to ban three kinds of plastic by end of this year | News by The Thaiger

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Infamous ‘large’ passenger dies in Koh Samui

The Thaiger

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Infamous ‘large’ passenger dies in Koh Samui | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: The Sun

A 200 kilogram tourist, who forced flight crews to wipe his bum as he moaned with pleasure in January, has died on Koh Samui.

The American, who hasn’t been named, died whilst staying on the Gulf island due to an undisclosed illness. But he has left an indelible memory in his wake.

At the same time, as the news emerged about his demise, EVA Air were putting plans in motion to ban the oversize traveller from flying with their airline ever again.

The man shocked readers is January when he was accused of forcing cabin crew to strip him in a cramped airline toilet (remember this guy weighed 200 kilograms) and wipe his bum while he “moaned with pleasure”.

The incident occurred on an EVA Air long-haul flight from LA to Taiwan’s Taoyuan Airport and was covered extensively on world media.

Infamous 'large' passenger dies in Koh Samui | News by The Thaiger

A flight attendant, who on the same flight, described how the passenger boarded the plane in a wheelchair and then insisted on having three adjoining seats in economy class due to his size. He then demanded to use the plane’s business class lavatory, as he couldn’t fit into the economy toilets.

But (put down your food if eating) while in the toilet, he demanded cabin crew strip him down so he could relieve himself, saying he had an arm injury that prevented him from doing it himself.

“I told him we couldn’t help him, but he started yelling. He told me to go in there immediately and threatened to relieve himself on the floor. As the passenger’s genitals were now exposed, one of my colleagues brought a blanket, which I used to cover his modesty.”

“But he very angrily slapped my hand away, saying he didn’t want it and only wanted me to remove his underwear so he could use the toilet.”

Infamous 'large' passenger dies in Koh Samui | News by The Thaiger

The flight attendant who ‘assisted’ the man should be awarded lots of medals and a lifetime supply of latex gloves

The passenger then asked crew to wipe his bum for him leading him to groan as the chief attendant fulfilled his request while wearing three pairs of latex gloves.

“He said: ‘Oh, mmm, deeper, deeper,’ and then accused my chief attendant of not properly cleaning his backside, requesting that she do it again,” recalled the attendant, who was holding onto the passenger to keep him steady.

She said the attendant repeated the action three times before the man said, “You can pull my pants back up now.”

The two female flight attendants involved, who both said they were traumatised by the incident in January, are both on extended paid leave.

The Sun.co.uk, reporting this story, says that “Party island Ko Samui – the second largest island in Thailand – is known for its prostitution and seedy nightlife.”

Despite the source, the incident has been widely reported by ‘respectable media’ on January 20 this year, and the large man has indeed passed away on Koh Samui.

SOURCE: The Sun

Infamous 'large' passenger dies in Koh Samui | News by The Thaiger

‘The Sun’ confuses Koh Samui with Walking Street

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Average hotel prices drop in Thailand in 2018

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Average hotel prices drop in Thailand in 2018 | The Thaiger

The latest Hotel Price Index (HPI) released by Hotels.com reveals no sign of a slowdown for the global travel industry. Prices are up for overnight accommodation by 3% globally in 2018 across every regional index, except for the Pacific region, including Thailand.

Hotel.com has 85 websites in 34 languages, and lists over 325,000 hotels in approximately 19,000 locations. Its inventory includes hotels and B&Bs, and some condos and other types of commercial lodging.

Travellers to and around Thailand paid an average price of 1,720 baht a night for their domestic accommodation last year, a 7% drop compared to 2017, and paid the same average price of 4,437 baht a night for international accommodation in both 2018 and 2017.

The growth in travel comes despite global uncertainties including Brexit, California wildfires, South African drought and Japanese earthquakes. Travellers also showed resilience and renewed confidence in destinations touched by unrest: Paris, Egypt, Turkey; regions experiencing currency fluctuation: South America; and areas affected by natural disaster: North America.

Despite the overall growth in global accommodation prices, average prices paid for domestic accommodation in Thailand have decreased, with average prices for international beds remaining stable.

SOURCE: The Nation | Hotel.com

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