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Justice minister says he’ll speed up kratom decriminalisation

Greeley Pulitzer

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Justice minister says he’ll speed up kratom decriminalisation | The Thaiger
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Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin says he will speed up the decriminalisation of kratom, after researchers registered patents for kratom-based medicines in Japan and the US. Kratom is a local plant, related to coffee, whose leaves are still classified as a narcotic in Thailand.

Somsak said his ministry has formed a committee to consider legalising kratom-based medicines. Kratom leaves are a mild stimulant and are traditionally chewed by farmers and labourers.

The justice minister, a kratom fanboy, says…”I will proceed with this project as soon as possible because legalisation will truly benefit society.”

He says a team of Thai and Japanese researchers has already registered four patents. Somsak points out that kratom has a long history as a traditional medicine, used to treat pain, fever, dysentery and diarrhoea, and to ease withdrawal from opium addiction.

Kratom is not considered a narcotic drug by the UN, and kratom products can be freely imported and exported in many countries. Yet in Thailand, it has been illegal since 1943 and in 1979 was classified as a narcotic. Possession can result a jail term of up to a year and a 2000 baht fine, and selling it can lead up to two years in jail and a fine of between 40,000-200,000 baht.

In recent years, kratom has also been mixed into a recreational cocktail known as “4 by 100”, named after for its four main ingredients: kratom leaves, cough syrup, Coca-Cola and ice (frozen water not the other ‘ice’).

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Air Pollution

Celebrities take to social media and point out Government incompetence over air pollution problem

The Thaiger

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Celebrities take to social media and point out Government incompetence over air pollution problem | The Thaiger
PHOTO: More people than not now walk around the city wearing face masks, most of them useless - Travel Daily Media

“Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha said it’s hard to enforce laws to reduce PM2.5 pollution and blamed the public for the poor air quality.”

Thai celebrities have taken to social media in a campaign to show the incompetence of public authorities and the Thai government in handling Bangkok’s pollution problem, indeed the entire central and northern Thailand which is currently suffering air quality problems. Whilst the litany of clear evidence of what is causing the smoke and haze isn’t getting any attention from authorities, social media is now making it abundantly clear and demanding urgent attention.

So some Thai celebrities are joining residents in Bangkok and the suburbs to accuse the Government of being “complacent and incompetent” in its approach to solving the worsening PM2.5 dust pollution that is clouding the skies.

Well known singer Lydia Sarunrat posted pics of her bloodshot eyes on her Instagram account yesterday, showing her irritated her eyes after just 15 minutes riding a motorcycle through the smog in Bangkok.

She explained that she’d been wearing an appropriate face mask, but it didn’t help.

Bangkok authorities have famously blamed everything from the traffic pollution and even asked people to stop burning incense sticks. They created big media photo opportunities showing their flashy water cannons and even an army of drones spraying a few litres of water through the air. All of this has done approximately NOTHING to address the problem, the elephant in the room. And the elephant, in this case, is the clear and obvious plantation fires around central and northern Thailand with the smoke blowing across the land and polluting the skies. Without enough wind or rain to blow the smoke away, it just hangs around and causes a health hazard.

The fires are mostly lit by farmers burning off their sugar cane to prepare for a new harvest because it’s the cheapest way to prepare their paddocks.

Meanwhile, Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha said it’s hard to enforce laws to reduce PM2.5 pollution and blamed the public for the poor air quality.

“The public is responsible and a culprit in the PM2.5 problem. Yet we cannot simply put the blame on people and penalise all the polluters because the outcome of penalty measures will create other serious problems for society. We need to rely on asking for cooperation.”

The Thammasat University Student Organisation issued a statement condemning the Thai Government’s apparent complacency over the deteriorating dust problem.

Many other celebrities have posted the evidence of the fires from Air Visual and other air pollution apps. As well as data from NASA which clearly shows the fires and the spread of the smoke. The evidence should be clear to anyone, except the city authorities and pollution control departments who appear to be unable to read the information and fiddle while Bangkok chokes.

Former Ms. Thailand World 2014, Meya Nonthawan, said she visited a hospital two days after her return to Bangkok from an overseas trip.

“I am now resting at home with an air purifier working.”

Rapper Apisit Joeyboy Opasaimilikit asked, in his Facebook post, “I wonder why no one is worried? Are those responsible not worried about us? It is understandable that the pollution comes at this time of the year and then goes away, but no apparent action is being taken at this critical time.”

Actress Atthama “Bowie” Chivanichapan’s Instagram page shows her wearing a face mask. She says she felt an irritation in her throat after going outdoors.

A Facebook post by “Infectious” reported the children are cluttering up hospitals, suffering respiratory problems, flu, coughing, red eyes, allergies, runny noses and asthma.

‘Narisara Student’ said, on her Facebook page, that she blames PM2.5 dust and pollution for her dog’s respiratory health problems.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

Celebrities take to social media and point out Government incompetence over air pollution problem | News by The Thaiger

GRAPHIC: The pollution levels and the actual fires. There they are, on a map… HELLO!?! – Air Visual

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Politics

Opposition will ask NACC to probe Thai PM on three counts

Greeley Pulitzer

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Opposition will ask NACC to probe Thai PM on three counts | The Thaiger
PHOTO - Te Aung THU

Seven of Thailand’s opposition parties are demanding that the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) investigate Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha for allegedly breaching the law on three issues. They claim…

• The Prime Minister failed to state the sources of the Government’s revenue in its policy statement presented to parliament last year.

• The process of selection of senators was illegal due to the presence of members of the post-coup junta on the selection committee.

• The Prime Minister failed to recite the oath of office fully during the swearing-in ceremony, an issue which remains unresolved as the Constitutional Court has not accepted the matter for consideration.

The acting chief opposition whip and Prachachart party secretary-general Thavee Sodsong says the move is unrelated to the upcoming censure debate, where seven cabinet ministers, as well as the PM, are to be challenged.

The opposition will submit the official censure motion to the Lower House tomorrow. The House will set the dates for a no-confidence debate when the Government is ready defend itself against the motion.

Phumtham Vechayachai, advisor to the leader of the opposition, said that the Government should step down if it is shown that the Government cannot solve the nation’s pressing economic problems.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Politics

Thailand’s Future Forward party cleared in surprise Court verdict

The Thaiger

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Thailand’s Future Forward party cleared in surprise Court verdict | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thanathorn Jungroongruangkit, delighted at this morning's verdict - Thai PBS World

The Constitutional Court have beaten their own schedule for a verdict by announcing late this morning a decision that cleared the Future Forward Party of charges that it was attempting to undermine “the democratic system under the monarchy”.

The ruling is one of the few that have come out on the side of Government opposition parties in Thailand, and is considered a triumph for the young political party leader Thanathorn Jungroongruangkit, the party’s top executives, FF voters and broader support base.

Future Forward’s supporters gathered at its headquarters this morning, expecting the worst, but then erupted in cheers when the Constitutional Court handed down its verdict.

The court ruled that “all the charges against the party were not enough grounds to prove it acted in a way that would harm the constitutional monarchy”.

Dr. Natthaporn Toprayoon, a lawyer and a former advisor to the ombudsman, had asked the Court to consider dissolving the political party last July, alleging they were involved in the obscure 300 year old “Illuminati” group, and that its executives were openly critical of the Thai monarchy.

The court said that it was the duty of the country’s Election Commission to check and amend any discrepancies in the party’s stated policies and ensure it “conformed with the constitutional requirements”.

It dismissed “as groundless” Natthaporn’s charge that the party was emulating the bizarre secret society known as “Illuminati”. In his original submission, Natthaporn claimed that in reverse the party’s logo bears close resemblance to the Illuminati’s triangle sign.

Thanathorn and other leaders of the party planned to call a press conference later in the afternoon.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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