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More than 100 horses dead as African Horse Sickness strikes Thailand

Jack Burton

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More than 100 horses dead as African Horse Sickness strikes Thailand | The Thaiger
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“This disease has just occurred in Thailand. We’ve never had it in the past”

The director-general of the Department of Livestock Development, Sorawit Thanito, says more than 100 horses in Thailand have died from African Horse Sickness (AHS). It’s the country’s first instance of the illness, which only affects animals. Latest government data show at least 131 horses have died across 4 provinces

Sorawit says the government has quarantined sick horses to limit the spread of the disease, adding that the government was notified in late March of AHS in the country.

“We have to investigate how this virus got to Thailand.”

“Horses that contract the illness can have fevers of over 39C, difficulty breathing and bleeding in the eyes.”

There has never been a case of AHS reported in humans and it is not related to the outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus, according to Sorawit.

The World Organisation for Animal Health suspended Thailand’s status as an “AHS Free Country” on March 27. Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan had their AHS-free statuses suspended in 2018. AHS is endemic in the central tropical regions of Africa, from where it spreads regularly to Southern Africa and occasionally to North Africa, according to the OIE.

SOURCE: Reuters

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Jack Burton is a writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. He attended the Henry Grady School of Journalism and his works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world.

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Crime

Cross-border drug trafficking is a “leading concern”

Caitlin Ashworth

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Cross-border drug trafficking is a “leading concern” | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Caitlin Ashworth

Thousands of people have been arrested since October for drug trafficking in Northeast Thailand. Methamphetamine and cannabis cross the Laos and Cambodia borders into Thailand and make their way down to Bangkok other parts of Thailand. According to Bangkok Post, the issue has now become a leading concern for Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin.

18,360 people were arrested from 17,685 cases between October 2019 and March 2020, the Post reports. Many of the cases were made in Ubon Ratchathani, a north eastern province near the Laos and Cambodia borders.

While methamphetamine and marijuana come over land borders, ecstasy is typically flown in from European countries, most from the Netherlands. From October 2019 to March 2020, the Airport Indiction Task Force, or AITF, seized a total of 105,382 ecstasy pills. 2019 was reportedly Thailand’s worst year when it came to the importation of illegal ecstasy.

It’s safe to say the border closures have probably lowered the amount of illegal drugs smuggled in. Thepsutin says drug smugglers at the Laos and Cambodia borders are trying different ways to get around the border closures. Some transfer money first and then pick up the drugs later, in a so far undisclosed manner.

Back in March, the government sent out three patrol boats t0 Laos and Myanmar to tackle the blossoming drug trade around the Golden Triangle. The region borders northern Thailand, the Shan state in northern Myanmar and parts of Laos. Methamphetamine and heroin are illegally shipped into Thailand on the Mekong River.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Bangkok Post | Bangkok Post

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Education

Education Ministry urged to tackle sexual abuse of students

Jack Burton

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Education Ministry urged to tackle sexual abuse of students | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Peach State Realty

92 organisations have demanded the Education Ministry ramp up proactive measures to stamp out sexual abuse of schoolchildren, following recent scandals in 3 provinces. Representatives yesterday handed a letter to the education minister, urging him to take action. They also submitted a list of some 10,000 people who signed a petition via change.org supporting the call.

The manager of the Women’s Wellbeing and Gender Justice Program says schools should be safe havens for children, and called on the Education Ministry not to stand idly by letting children and their parents seek justice on their own.

She says the ministry, must step up and file lawsuits against offending teachers, offer legal help to victims’ families and provide victims with protection and counselling.

“If teachers or education personnel are found guilty of sex crimes, the ministry must dish out severe punishment by sacking them and revoking their teaching licences.”

She believes the ministry must also come up with aggressive measures to prevent such incidents in schools and set up independent mechanisms employing experts to handle complaints. According to her, school directors and teachers must have guidelines on protecting children’s rights and gender equality.

After formally receiving the letter, the minister said he has set up a centre to help victims and protect other schoolchildren from further abuse. He said the network’s proposals will be used when drawing up future preventive measures.

“Rest assured. The Education Ministry will not let wrongdoers remain in education circles and ruin the reputation of other teachers and schools.” he said.

Early this month, police charged 7 men – 5 teachers and 2 alumni of a school in Mukdahan province – with gang-raping a 14 year old student over course of a year. 3 of the teachers were also charged with the rape of a 16 year old student.

Also this month, a 39 year old teacher in Buri Ram was accused of molesting a 12 year old girl. Last month, a primary school director in Phetchabun was charged with abusing a student in a video that went viral.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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North East

Udon Thani temple blaze claims abbot’s life

Jack Burton

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Udon Thani temple blaze claims abbot’s life | The Thaiger
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A famous forest temple in Issan’s Udon Thani province caught fire yesterday, claiming the life of its abbot. The temple has long been associated with the late Maha Bua Yannasampanno, thought by many of his followers to be an Arahant (someone who has attained Enlightenment) and a master in the Thai Forest Tradition.

75 year old Phra Ajarn Sudjai Thanthamano had served as the abbot of Wat Kesornsilakul, popularly known as Wat Pa Ban Tad, since the death of the Maha Bua in 2011.

Police were notified of the blaze at 1:37pm. Firefighters arrived at the scene to find flames engulfing the abbot’s living quarters. Monks, novices and citizens were trying to put out the flames and rescue the abbot, who was trapped inside.

The fire brigade sprayed water to control the flames. When the blaze subsided, monks rushed to bring the injured abbot out. He was taken to a van and rushed to Udon Thani Hospital but died on the way. The van then took his body back to the temple.

Although it destroyed the abbot’s quarters, firefighters were able to control the blaze before it could spread to any other areas of the temple. Police cordoned off the area pending the collection of forensic evidence, as followers began arriving at the temple after hearing of the abbot’s passing.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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