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Don’t ride elephants in Thailand – warning to Kiwi tourists

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Don’t ride elephants in Thailand – warning to Kiwi tourists | The Thaiger

by Alex Baird

Elephant rides in Thailand are coming under increasing international pressure as stories of abusive training practices reach mainstream news and travel sites.

NewsHub reports that New Zealand travellers are being told to steer clear of elephant riding due to the severe abuse the animals face. Intrepid Travel co-founder Geoff Manchester released shocking footage on Sunday – which happens to be World Elephant Day – to show tourists the dark side of elephant riding in Thailand.

“A female elephant will be shot and then its baby is captured,” Mr Manchester says. “That baby is then tortured until it’s willing to submit to humans and it’s then trained to do elephant riding.”

He was the person who first put elephant riding on Intrepid’s regular itinerary – but in 2014, his company realised its mistake and banned the rides.

“The evidence is so overwhelming that it had a big impact on all of us who’d taken elephant riding.”

Read the rest of the story HERE.


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Thai Life

‘Overwhelming support’ for decriminalising marijuana for R&D

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‘Overwhelming support’ for decriminalising marijuana for R&D | The Thaiger

“An overwhelming number of people are voicing support for decriminalising the use of marijuana for research and development, and for medical purpose.”

This from Somchai Sawaengkarn, a member of the National Legislative Assembly, citing results of an opinion survey conducted between October 1-15.

Of the 16,431 people who voiced their opinions on the issue, 16,264 voted in support of the bid to amend the narcotics law to make it legally possible for marijuana to be used for medical research in the hope that medicines can be developed from the addictive drug for the treatment of certain diseases.

Somchai said over 290,000 had logged into the NLA’s webpage to take a look at the bill to amend the current narcotics law.

The NLA will conduct another public hearing during October to gauge public opinion about the topic and the results of the survey.

Earlier, Justice Minister Prajin Jantong cautioned that decriminalisation should not be rushed, noting that there are many strains of marijuana and each has different medicinal qualities.

He said that the patients must give their consent if they were to be given medicines extracted from marijuana and that measures must be put in place to prevent abuse of the drug if it was to be decriminalised.

The minister said several countries had conducted research on marijuana for medical purpose, but they could not produce medicines from the plants because of patent problems. In the case of Thailand, he said it was necessary for the country to conduct its own research and to develop medicines by itself.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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Thailand

Wet season, not so wet – some dams are less than 60% full

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Wet season, not so wet – some dams are less than 60% full | The Thaiger

FILE PHOTO: Ubonrat Dam – The Nation

Emerging from the back end of the annual wet season, Thailand should be well poised for adequate water supplies for the forthcoming dry season. There’s been major flooding of some dams in the central, far north-eastern and some southern areas. But the wet season rains have been ‘lumpy’ leaving many of the country’s major reservoirs half empty.

The Smart Water Operation Centre (SWOC) says they will need to manage water consumption more carefully as the quantities of water in nine major dams is currently less than expected.

According to the SWOC, dams containing less than 60% of their capacity include Chiang Mai’s Mae Kuang Udom Thara Dam at 44%, Lampang’s Mae Mhok Dam at 32% , Nakhon Ratchasima’s Moon Bon Dam at 54%, Udon Thani’s Huai Luang Dam at 50% , Khon Kaen’s Ubonrat Dam at 35%, Buriram’s Lam Nang Rong Dam at 34%, Suphanburi’s Krasieaw Dam at 36%, Uthai Thani’s Thap Salao Dam at 30%, and Yala’s Bang Lang Dam at 59%.

The National News Bureau of Thailand reports that dams with less than 30% of water will supply only domestic consumption and enough to sustain the ecosystem in the short-term.

The Secretary-General of the Office of the National Water Resource, Somkiat Prajamwong, has held a meeting to find ways to handle runoffs in the west and south of Thailand as well as a possible drought crisis in summer.

According to the Meteorology Department, heavy rains have been forecast this weekend, particularly in Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan provinces (where floods were reported throughout August and September and the dams are mostly full in the area).

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Somkid says he’ll fly to Beijing to discuss luring back Chinese visitors

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Somkid says he’ll fly to Beijing to discuss luring back Chinese visitors | The Thaiger

The fallout from a number of tragedies and bad PR has mobilised the Thai government to take firm steps towards luring back the Chinese travellers who have been looking elsewhere, other than Thailand, for their chosen holiday breaks.

The Nation is reporting that Deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak has said today that he may have to hold talks with the Chinese government in Beijing to explore ways to boost the number of Chinese tourists back to the kingdom.

He says the number of Chinese tourists in September plunged by 14.80 per cent compared to the same month last year and the Thai government must find ways to improve the number of visitors.

In Chiang Mai, a crisis meeting for tour operators was held on tuesday night where hotel owners and tour group operators learned that Chinese tourism was down 50% in the first nine months of 2018, compared to last year.

Some measures were put forward at the Chiang Mai meeting to woo them back, including setting up Chinese language classes to improve communication with the tourists from China.

Deputy PM Somkid says Chinese tourists are a major group of foreign tourists for Thailand and he has instructed the Tourism Authority of Thailand to work with the Thai Airways International to come up with promotional packages for Chinese tourists for the final two months this year (reading between the lines there could be some cheap tickets coming up for flights to Chinese destination in November and December).

Somkid said THAI has also been instructed to hold talks with China Southern Airlines on cooperation of flights to attract more Chinese tourists. The deputy prime minister added that he has also instructed the Foreign Ministry to consider granting Chinese tourists visas on arrival, lessening the paperwork and costs for travellers from China.

Somkid says he'll fly to Beijing to discuss luring back Chinese visitors | News by The Thaiger

Deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak – PHOTO: The Nation

SOURCES: The Nation, The Thaiger

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