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Education Ministry sets up investigation unit to fight corruption

The Thaiger

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Education Ministry sets up investigation unit to fight corruption | The Thaiger
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The Education Ministry is poised set up its own version of a DSI (Department of Special Investigations) style department tasked with investigating corruption amongst education officials.

Speaking to provincial education officials and legal affairs officials this week, Education Minister Thirakiart Charoensetthasilp says his ministry planned to form a special team of legal experts, similar to the DSI, to address corruption problem in the ministry.

He says the team will be made up of eight legal experts and directly answerable to him and will be tasked with probing complaints of alleged corruption lodged against education officials or against any parts of the Education Ministry.

Thai PBS says the Minister pointed out that in the past when a complaint of alleged corruption was lodged with an office or department in the ministry, such as alleged corruption in the student lunch program, the office or department in question might be slow in taking action.

Thirakiart admitted that the Education Ministry had been viewed by the public in a bad light as far as corruption was concerned, citing several corruption cases being investigated by the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

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Thailand

Royal Thai Army denies claims about Twitter campaign to spread pro-government propaganda

Caitlin Ashworth

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Royal Thai Army denies claims about Twitter campaign to spread pro-government propaganda | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Following a shutdown of 926 Twitter accounts linked to the Royal Thai Army, documents were leaked of what appears to be a contract between the Army and a private company supposedly hired to spread pro-government propaganda.

Army chief Narongphan Jitkaewtae denies the claims and says the Army never hired a company to spread pro-government propaganda through the Twitter accounts.

Last month, Twitter announced that it had suspended 926 accounts linked to the Royal Thai Army for violating the social media company’s “platform manipulation” policies.

A report by Stanford Internet Observatory’s Cyber Policy Centre says the Army used Twitter to “cheerlead” with pro-government propaganda. The report says the Army used Twitter to criticise the now disbanded Future Forward Party and neutralism criticism after February’s mass shooting where an Army soldier killed 30 people and injured 57 others.

Former Future Forward Party spokesperson Pannika Wanich says members of the opposition plan to sue the Army for “using tax money to cause divisions and hatred among Thais.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Bangkok

Thai officials approve transfer of 3 Iranians involved in 2012 botched bomb plot in Bangkok

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai officials approve transfer of 3 Iranians involved in 2012 botched bomb plot in Bangkok | The Thaiger
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Thai authorities are transferring 3 Iranian inmates to Tehran. The inmates were involved in the 2012 failed bomb plot, which Israeli and Thai officials say, was targeted at Israeli diplomats in Bangkok.

According to Iranian state TV, the transfer was a swap. The report says 33 year old British-Australian Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who was incarcerated for the past 2 years on espionage charges, was released from Iran prison in exchange for the 3 Iranians imprisoned overseas.

Although Iranian media reports the transfer was a prisoner swap, Thai officials have not confirmed the reports. Thailand’s deputy general Chatchom Akapin says the transfers are normal and Thailand approved the transfer in an agreement with Iran.

“These types of transfers aren’t unusual… We transfer prisoners to other countries and at the same time receive Thais back under this type of agreement all the time.”

Back in 2012, a cache of homemade explosives accidentally blew up at a Bangkok villa on Sukhumvit 71 rented by the Iranians. Saeid Moradi fled the home carrying explosives, but dropped them as police chased him. He lost both his legs in the explosion.

While both Thai and Israeli officials say the explosives were intended to attack Israeli diplomats in Bangkok, Iran officials deny the allegations. The men never faced terrorism charges or any charges relating to attempting to kill the Israeli diplomats.

Moradi along with his accomplice, Mohammad Kharzei, were convicted in 2013. Thai Court sentenced Moradi to life in prison for attempting to murder a police officer and sentenced Kharzei to 15 years in prison for possessing explosives. Another suspect, Masoud Sedaghatzadeh, was arrested in Malaysia in 2012 and then extradited to Thailand in 2017.

SOURCE: Associated Press

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Bangkok

Whale skeleton around 3,000-5,000 years old found in Samut Sakhon

Caitlin Ashworth

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Whale skeleton around 3,000-5,000 years old found in Samut Sakhon | The Thaiger
PHOTO: MGR Online

A whale skeleton estimated to be around 3,000 to 5,000 years old was found in Samut Sakhon, just west of Bangkok, about 12 kilometres inland from the coastline. The bones will be carbon dated to determine a more precise age.

The Natural Resources and Environment minister Varawut Silpa-archa says the bones resemble the Bryde’s whale. About 50 Bryde’s whales live in the upper Gulf of Thailand near the Samut Sakhon coast.

“The seas around Thailand have been abundant with life for thousands of years, as shown by fossils.”

The partially fossilised skeleton is around 12 metres long with 3 metre long skull. Archaeologists excavated 19 vertebrae with 5 ribs each along with a shoulder blade and left fins. They estimate another 20% of the skeleton needs to be excavated.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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