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Govt claims social advances since taking over

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Govt claims social advances since taking over
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The Government has made several achievements on the social front over the past six months, Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha and his Cabinet members claimed yesterday.

The current administration started working on September 12. In the following six months, the government has been serious about boosting educational quality, reducing social inequality, improving laws and tackling various social issues, according to official statements.

“We have recognized the need to solve the shortage of teachers and enhance teachers’ abilities,” PM Prayut said, jokingly adding that Thai students these days could not even do math problems in their head.

The PM added that broadcasts of classes conducted by good tutors like Kru Ou (Uraiwan Siwakul, a famous chemistry tutor) would be useful to students in rural areas.

This idea reflects his government’s plan to use technology to improve rural children’s access to quality education. PM Prayut also said he was interested in promoting life-long education.

Deputy Prime Minister Yongyuth Yutthawong backed Prayut’s remarks on education policy, noting that the government had an educational “superboard” that focused on student centered teaching, life-long education and students’ academic success and employability.

“We are focusing on the education of teenage mothers and the elderly, because these groups are the most problematic, and we have to prepare our country for the upcoming aging society,” Mr Yongyuth said.

“As for employability, we have a bilateral system for high-school students. They will have an opportunity to train in the business [they intend to get jobs in] alongside their studies in school. About 8,000 businesses have joined the project,” he said.

He also said that to improve the healthcare system, an organization to oversee the National Health Security Fund, the Social Security Fund and the Government Officers Welfare Fund would be set up. The organization will have the duty of taking care of these three funds to work together properly and to same standards.

Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan, meanwhile, said the government had tackled land disputes by granting 7,200 rai (1,150 hectares) of land in forest areas to 1,200 families in Chiang Mai and allocating 105,000 plots to farmers. He also said the government had successfully tackled the illegal trade of wild-animal products and problems related to wildfires and haze.

On this matter, PM Prayut said people who were allowed to use forestland had to take care of the forest and warned against more encroachment.

Commenting on labor issues, Deputy PM Prawit said the government had sent three reports to the US State Department to use when updating its Trafficking in Persons report, and the feedback was good. The government has also been complying with the European Union’s rules against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing to ensure that Thailand’s exports of seafood products to the EU are not banned.

PM’s Office Minister Suwaphan Tanyuvardhana said 72 laws had been enacted by the junta-appointed National Legislative Assembly, 28 bills were undergoing scrutiny and another 258 were awaiting legislation.

Among the laws Suwaphan said were either essential or useful for Thai society were the anti-human-trafficking law, legislation against loan-sharking and related to debt collection, and laws related to social security, plus civil liability for causing petrol-related pollution, consumer protection from harmful cosmetics, public gatherings, building regulations and employee provident funds.

Despite “good intent”, Surapong Kongchantuk, from the Lawyers Council, said he thought the regime was tackling forced labor wrongly. “The government should rather focus on destroying human smuggling, which is the origin of the problem.”

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Koh Samui

Koh Samui to start Covid-19 vaccinations early next month

Caitlin Ashworth

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Koh Samui to start Covid-19 vaccinations early next month | The Thaiger
Stock photo by Alexandr Podvalny for Pexels

Covid-19 vaccinations on Koh Samui will start early next month with 2,500 doses planned to be given to 1,250 people on the island, according to Surat Thani governor Wichawut Jinto. Island authorities are also proposing that foreign visitors be allowed to quarantine on their yacht, at a villa hotel or at a wellness centre.

The tourist island off the coast of Surat Thani in the Gulf of Thailand is deemed as an area of “economic significance” and is included in the first phase of the country’s immunisation plan. The first doses will be given to disease control officials and those in the tourism sector.

The vaccines, which just arrived from overseas yesterday, are expected to be delivered to the island before the end of the month and vaccinations are set to start in early March.

Half of the vaccines are reserved for those in the healthcare field as well as local government officials. Around 26% of the doses would be given to local health volunteers and the general public. 22% of the doses would be given to workers in the tourism industry, including airport employees and hotel quarantine employees. 2% of the doses will go to Covid-19 inspectors.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Pattaya

Another Thai man claims to have found a rare Melo pearl, shell was sold at a Pattaya market

Caitlin Ashworth

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Another Thai man claims to have found a rare Melo pearl, shell was sold at a Pattaya market | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath

Another Thai man is claiming to have found a rare Melo pearl. The Pattaya chef says he bought a shell from a local market a decade ago and had no idea the object inside was a rare pearl. After hearing the news about the man in Nakhon Si Thammarat finding what he believes is a Melo pearl possibly worth millions of baht, 57 year old Patipat Hatthadon took the pearl off his shelf and brought it to the Gem and Jewelry Institution of Thailand where it was declared a real Melo pearl weighing 90.10 carats.

The chef bought the shell at the Larn Poe Market in Naklua 10 years ago. He found the pearl inside, but didn’t realise what it was. At first he thought the orange pearl was just a weight, like a lead ball some market vendor put inside to make the shells heavier and up the price.

“I tried to use a knife to pierce the pearl and determine what it was but it didn’t work and I had left it on a religious shelf for the past decade, unaware of what I potentially had.”

Patipat obtained a certificate from the institution. He’s keeping the pearl at a bank and he’s filed a report with Banglamung Police for legal protection due to the value of the pearl. It might be worth millions of baht. He says he’s already been contacted by numerous collectors from across the world. He’s currently considering the offers, he says.

Earlier this month, a Thai fisherman found what he believes to be a Melo pearl possibly worth 10 million baht. He found the pearl in a shell on a Nakhon Si Thammarat beach in Southern Thailand. The news coverage, both nationally and internationally, caught police attention who say the man is a suspect in a drug case. He was arrested 2 weeks ago at his home by the beach.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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Drugs

Thailand law enforcement gets new “laser” narcotics analysers

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thailand law enforcement gets new “laser” narcotics analysers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Thailand law enforcement will now use a new “laser” narcotics analyser to test suspicious substances and chemicals in major drug busts. It’s apparently a more accurate method to identify illicit drugs than the current colour test. The new portable drug test happens to come a few months after Thailand claimed to have seized 11.5 tonnes of ketamine in the “biggest drug bust ever” and then discovered the substance was actually a cleaning agent.

In earlier reports, Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin said the mistake was a “technical error” and the testing fluid had turned “purple,” a positive sign for ketamine. Somsak didn’t mention the failed ketamine bust when announcing that a pair of “portable Raman spectroscopy analysers” had been delivered to Thailand from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. He says the new tool is more accurate than the colour test.

“The new portable analysers utilise the Raman spectroscopy technique to identify suspicious drugs and chemicals in less than 30 seconds, and more accurately than the colour test method that we currently use.”

Not only can the device detect drugs, but apparently its laser can also detect additives like colouring and flavouring agents, according to Office of the Narcotics Control Board secretary general Wichai Chaimongkhol.

“The machine can detect chemicals either in powder, crystallised, tablet, capsule or liquid form… Its laser can penetrate transparent containers or wrapping of up to 2mm thickness and read the scattering of light to identify the substance accurately, reducing the risk of officials handling harmful chemicals while also helping preserve the evidence.”

The tool is planned to be used to identify suspicious drugs and chemicals that are smuggled across the border as well as at airports and seaports.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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