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Japanese surrogacy dad Shigeta faces police summons

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Japanese dad Shigeta faces police summons
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Police will summons Mitsutoki Shigeta for questioning after a DNA test initially confirmed the 24-year-old Japanese man’s claim that he had fathered the nine surrogate babies recently discovered in a Bangkok condominium.

Meanwhile, Boonreung Trireungwarawat, director-general of the Health Support Department, who led a team to inspect a fertility clinic in Pathumwan district yesterday, said the facility was licensed, had operated for four to five years and treated 1,000 patients a year – 30 for surrogate services.

The department would charge the clinic with neglecting to ensure medical personnel at the clinic followed medical professional regulations under the Medical Facilities Act.

Pol Lt-General Korkiat Wongworachat, an assistant to the National Police chief, said police would take legal action against offenders but would be mindful of the impact on babies and surrogate mothers.

Shigeta would be treated as a witness. Since his children were not found to have been taken out of the country for any harmful or illegal purpose, the case did not fall within the bounds of human trafficking, he said.

An inspection didn’t find any forged documents, he said, adding that the case report should be ready within 30 days.

He believed that Dr Pisit Tantiwattanakul, owner of the All IVF clinic, would meet Lumpini police by tomorrow as invited, but Pol Colonel Decha Phromsuwan, an investigator at Lumpini Police Station, said Pisit had telephoned police on Tuesday to ask for a postponement.

Pisit was cited as saying he was busy and might not be back by tomorrow’s deadline.

In Tambon Pak Chong of Phetchabun’s Lom Sak district, several villagers dismissed the claim of a television news crew that some 20 women in the poor village were employed as surrogate mothers.

Jenjob Janteuy, 43, said the farming village had more than 800 residents and only six to seven might be working as surrogate mothers.

Prasop Saenphukha, 40, admitted that some women might have turned to surrogacy for income, but he only knew one such example in the village.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Business

Air Asia seeks to mitigate economic losses with launch of “super app”

Maya Taylor

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Air Asia seeks to mitigate economic losses with launch of “super app” | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.lowyat.net

Air Asia is introducing a super app, in an attempt to off-set – at least partially – the significant financial losses brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. The app will offer users a variety of options, including digital payment services, delivery services, and an e-commerce platform. Chief Executive Tony Fernandes says the idea for the app was floated prior to the pandemic, but Covid-19 hastened its development.

“This journey didn’t start during the pandemic, this journey started 2 years ago, but it was accelerated because of the outbreak. This is not a Plan B, this was always our Plan A, but we still think aviation will definitely come back.”

Air Asia was hit with losses of US$238 million in the second quarter of 2020 and says it desperately needs to seek new sources of revenue while the economic effects of Covid-19 continue to be felt around the globe. The Bangkok Post reports that from October 8, users in Thailand and the wider ASEAN region can access the new app through the company’s website or through its existing mobile app.

Fernandes says payment and logistics services will be provided by the airline’s subsidiary operation, Air Asia Digital. Users will be able to book flights (including those of other airlines) and hotels, as well as enroling in a rewards programme.

“Air Asia’s roots are from moving people from A to B and moving cargo from A to B, and that is the basis of Air Asia Digital and the basis for our platform AirAsia.com.”

The app is expected to face tough competition from super apps Grab and Gojek, currently understood to be in merger talks. Should a merger go ahead, the combined operation would create a monopoly on food delivery and car-hailing services in the ASEAN region. However, Fernandes remains optimistic, with the airline hoping to complement existing services.

“I don’t believe we are here to compete, but here to complement. Airlines always see us as competitors, but we complemented the full service and created a new market that was not there. Before, only a few people could fly, now everyone can fly, and in the same way we will complement the market.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Charter vote delayed, committee formed and Senators escape Parliament by boat – VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Charter vote delayed, committee formed and Senators escape Parliament by boat – VIDEO | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: Protesters gather outside the Thai parliament - Tanaporn Choopanya

Thailand’s MPs and Senators have kicked the constitutional can down the road at least a month after the parliament failed to agree on charter amendments. A panel will be sent up to examine 6 motions that were proposed and debated over the past 2 days. Meanwhile, up to 2,000 protesters were gathered outside the unfinished parliamentary buildings as an act of solidarity for the MPs supporting the changes to the current Thai Constitution.

The reality of the vote, and the setting up of an investigative committee, could push any votes on real reform well into 2021.

The 2 Houses of Parliament voted 431-255 to delay the vote. Opposition Pheu Thai and Move Forward MPs stormed out and missed the opportunity of nominating anyone to the new 45 member parliamentary committee to examine the motions, whilst the remaining members chose members for the committee. Move Forward Party’s, Pita Limjaroenrat, described the vote as “a way to stall for time” complaining that the decision “was moving the country towards a dead end”.

It was not known how the NCPO hand-picked Senators would vote on the bills. Many were thought to side with the idea of constitutional reform but the reality was that, in most scenarios, they’d be voting themselves out of a job if any reforms went ahead. Thailand’s entire upper house is a military-appointed rump of conservative former businesspeople and Army officials, mostly men.

Charter vote delayed, committee formed and Senators escape Parliament by boat - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

The protesters viewed the afternoon’s proceedings as a blunt stalling tactic to keep the current parliament, and its unelected senators, in power. The session ran until 8.30 last night. Rather than face the angry mob of anti-government protesters at the front of the building, most of the senators escaped on boat at the rear of the building, which backs onto Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River.

The demonstrators, with a consistent theme of reform over 3 months of rallies, are demanding changes to the current constitution because it was drafted by the NCPO who kicked out the elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra in 2014.

The protesters specifically point to the NCPO-appointed senate and the power they wield to elect the country’s prime minister, even though none of them were elected (nor was Prayut Chan-o-cha).

Protesters say they will now organise the next lot of rallies in October. Meanwhile, the Parliament is now is recess.

PROTESTSLive scenes from today’s protest rally to lend their voices, albeit from outside the The Parliament, to the debates inside about amendments to the Thai Constitution. The Thai parliament buildings are unfinished and, so it seems, are the student and anti-government protesters.

Posted by The Thaiger on Thursday, September 24, 2020

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid task force calls for extension to Thailand’s emergency decree

Maya Taylor

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Covid task force calls for extension to Thailand’s emergency decree | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

Thailand’s Covid-19 task force is advising the government to extend the country’s state of emergency by a further month… again. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration plans to discuss the matter next Tuesday and put it to Cabinet for consideration on Wednesday.

The state of emergency, or emergency decree, which has been extended several times since its introduction in March, is due to expire at the end of this month. It has been extended, on a month by month basis, many times this year since it was introduced in April to short-circuit the process of implementation of Covid-19 preventative measures. However, the CCSA says an extension is vital to ensure various government agencies can work speedily to combat any threat from Covid-19, particularly as neighbouring countries experience a spike in infections.

Thailand has already taken steps to seal the porous border with Myanmar after a surge in cases means that country is now recording over 500 new infections a day.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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