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Phuket Gazette: Myanmar lifts ban on Suu Kyi; Malaysia willing to help Thailand; Request for Iranian

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Phuket Gazette: Myanmar lifts ban on Suu Kyi; Malaysia willing to help Thailand; Request for Iranian | The Thaiger
PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Myanmar lifts government ban on Suu Kyi rallies

PHUKET (News Wires): Myanmar election authorities have lifted a ban on rallies by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi after the National League for Democracy (NLD) complained about the restrictions, a Burmese news organization in exile reported yesterday.

According to Mizzima News, the Union Election Commission (UEC) said a ministerial order from the sports minister which restricted campaign rallies in stadiums had been lifted. The announcement came after the main opposition party, the NLD, complained in a press conference that the campaign process was not free and fair.

The NLD publicly accused sports minister Tint Hsan of hampering its campaign activities as the party had been prevented from using three sports fields for the rallies.

Campaign manager Nyan Win earlier said the government has prevented the NLD from holding election rallies in a village in Kachin State, citing security concerns. “So why do they hold by-elections in a constituency where they cannot ensure security?” Nyan Win asked, as quoted by Mizzima News.

Aung San Suu Kyi is running for one of the 48 parliamentary seats during the April 1 by-election. The famed politician spent 15 of the last 21 years under house arrest until her release in November 2010.

The fairness of the April 1 by-election is being studied carefully by the international community as a test of the newly elected government’s promise to hold a free and fair election. Western governments have said Suu Kyi’s judgment about the election’s fairness would be decisive in whether or not further sanctions are lifted on the military-dominated government.

Myanmar held its first elections in 20 years in November 2010, paving the way for the end of 49 years of military rule. The country has undergone a rapid number of political changes in the past year, including the loosening of press laws, legalizing the right to demonstrate and organize as workers, the release of leading political prisoners, and ethnic cease-fire agreements.

Malaysia willing to help Thailand find solution for South

PHUKET (The Nation): Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who met with his Thai counterpart Yingluck Shinawatra here on Monday, said Bangkok should focus on creating greater participation for the southern Thai people in matters such as the economy, education and religion.

He said Yingluck had requested Malaysia’s cooperation in helping Thailand find a durable peaceful solution for the South.

“We both agreed that this is a domestic matter for Thailand and that the people in the south must not seek a separate state.”

“They must reject violence and extremism, be loyal Thai citizens and be loyal to the King of Thailand,” Najib said in a joint press conference with Yingluck at Perdana Putra after a one-and-a-half-hour meeting yesterday.

An insurgency erupted in 2004 in Thailand’s three southern-most provinces bordering Malaysia, killing an estimated 5,000 people.

Yingluck, who is on her first official trip to Malaysia since assuming the premiership in August last year, voiced her support for Najib’s call for a global movement of moderates.

“Thailand firmly believes that moderation is the key to peace and development.

“This will not only promote economic possibilities for the people along the border and surrounding areas but also enhance regional connectivity,” she said.

In a joint statement, the two prime ministers also agreed to enhance economic cooperation in seven major industries halal trade, automotive, rubber, food security, energy, tourism and oil and gas.

Thailand was Malaysia’s second largest Asean trading partner with trading value worth US$22.95 billion.

Najib said about 400 Malaysian firms had invested in Thailand.

“There is a discussion going on to look at the new cross-border agreements between our countries.

“We also touched on the problems of dual citizenship between our two countries and we agreed that we should compare our database so we can resolve this problem,” he said.

Malaysia asked to hand over Iranian

PHUKET (The Nation): A written request has been submitted to Malaysian authorities to hand over an Iranian man suspected of being part of a terror cell involved in the three blasts in Bangkok last week, a senior public prosecutor said yesterday.

The document requesting that Masoud Sedaghatzadeh be handed over to Thai authorities was dispatched through the Foreign Ministry yesterday afternoon.

“We are confident that there is sufficient evidence to support the hand-over, but additional details would be supplied upon request,” said Wanchai Rujjanawong, director-general of the Office of Attorney General’s Foreign Affairs Department.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Thanee Thongphakdee said the hand-over could be done under a 1911 extradition agreement between Thailand and Malaysia. A Malaysian court must first review the evidence supplied by Thai police and make a judgement on whether to hand over the suspect.

Intensive crime-scene investigation found residues of explosives in a room used by the Iranian suspects at the Nasa Vegas condo building, said police explosive-ordnance disposal (EOD) sources. The room was rented by Leila Rohani, a suspect who is believed to have returned to Iran. The three suspects also rented a house near Soi Pridi Banomyong 31, where the three blasts occurred.

Another suspect, Mohammad Khazaei, was questioned for seven hours yesterday. He reportedly did not answer questions about stickers bearing the word “SEJEAL” that were found posted along a Bangkok street. According to police, the street is regularly used by Israeli diplomats allegedly targeted by the suspects.

Deputy Prime Minister Yuthasak Sasiprapha said Israeli diplomats who met him on Monday praised Thai authorities for conducting a thorough investigation into the explosions and for the swift identification and arrest of the suspects.

“The suspects’ preparations were not known by Israeli intelligence services before the explosions occurred, and the incidents indicate that Israeli diplomats are also targets of terror attacks, not just Israeli tourists as widely believed,” Yuthasak quoted the diplomats as saying.

The diplomats thanked Thai authorities on behalf of the Israeli government, and urged Thai authorities and intelligence services to stay alert and not underestimate terrorists’ potential, or overlook details that could point to potential major incidents, Yuthasak said.

National police chief Pol General Priewpan Damapong has forbidden police investigators from giving interviews or commenting on the ongoing probes, assigning a deputy, Pol General Pansiri Praphawat, as the only spokesman in the case.

Before the gag order took effect, a senior EOD officer, Pol Lt-Colonel Kamthorn Ui-jaroen, said the first explosion at the rented house was accidental, possibly resulting from mistakes made while setting a fuse and five-second timer, sending the suspects running for cover.

Suspect Saeid Moradi, who lost his legs in two attempted grenade attacks following the blast at the house, may have sustained his head wounds in the initial blast, rather than from grenade shrapnel, he said.

He said bombs found in the house would have been very effective because they were to be detonated by hand grenades placed inside, which he said was a better method than using a mobile phone or two-wa

— Phuket Gazette Editors



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Bangkok

Summer storms leave 6,900 homes damaged this month

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Summer storms leave 6,900 homes damaged this month | The Thaiger

More than 6,900 houses, mostly in a patch through the central-north regions of Thailand, have been hit by summer storms since the beginning of April, according to the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department.

Chayapol Thitisak, the director-general, says the department has received reports that 6,940 houses in 1,010 villages in 307 tambon of 115 districts had been damaged by storms since April 5. Twenty-nine provinces have been affected.

He said nine villagers were reported injured during the period as a result of storm damage.

Chayapol said his department has coordinated with Army bases and government agencies concerned to provide help to the affected villagers.

The summer storms, quickly developing tropical storm-cells, are prevalent this time of the year, usually when cooler air from China starts to interact with the rising south-western monsoon. They can be quite violent, sudden and bring strong winds, torrential rain and even hail.

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North East

Forecast drought will weaken the Thai economy

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Forecast drought will weaken the Thai economy | The Thaiger

Thailand suffers calamities at both ends of the annual weather spectrum – both drought and flood. But as the demands on agriculture grow, with a growing population and the rise of tourists and development, the effects of these two extremes are becoming more apparent.

Which leads us to this year’s outlook of lower rains which is exposing the poor management of the Kingdom’s water resources. Greater development and growing population bases hasn’t been met with more or larger water catchments.

So Thai farmers are expected to face a tough 2019 as forecasters say the drought will be more acute than usual, lowering the water levels in reservoirs in the central and northeastern provinces especially.

Int eh south, Phuket, Thailand’s largest island and surrounded by water, has an acute water shortage as of Songkran and, without adequate monsoonal rain between now and November, will be facing a water crisis if it has to rely on its own island resources.

The Director General of Department of Agricultural Extension Samran Saraban says the drought this year is exacerbated by El-Nino weather cycle which causes temperature to rise 1-2 degrees higher than normal and cause the water levels in major reservoirs to drop to worrisome level. Higher temperatures mean more evaporation and more usage of reserves.

The Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has called for farmers not to grow off-season rice as drought is predicted to spread into northeastern and eastern regions. That there will likely be a new administration coping with political instability will not help leaders focus on the country’s looming water shortage.

The long dry season will lower certain farm outputs, pushing up their prices. However, an overall farm income is set to decline because the drought will leave other negative affects to farmers who are also the consumers as well. This will affect the purchasing power of farm households, which account for one-third of Thais.

Etc, etc, etc.

Economists estimated the damage from the drought on the economy this year could be high. Kasikorn Research Center estimate the drought could cost at least 15.3 billion baht. Whilst Anusorn Tamajai, Dean of Economics Faculty, Rangsit University, estimates the drought to cost even more – 20-30 billion baht -because it would affect the outputs of off-season rice, sugarcane and tapioca.

“It will dampen the purchasing power of farmers in the second quarter.”

Siam Commercial Bank’s Economic Intelligence chief Yanyong Thaicharoen said that the lackluster farm income can slash the growth rate of domestic consumption this year to 3.5% versus 4.6% growth last year, in addition to other factors, namely, high household debt and slower demand for durable goods.

Spending power from farmers, according to SCB, is crucial to sustain the growth of the economy. However, the grassroots economy is bracing for negative outlook this year.

There will be intense pressure on this season’s management of Thailand’s valuable water resources, through the remaining hot season and as the catchments gather water during the monsoon.

Forecast drought will weaken the Thai economy | News by The Thaiger

SOURCES: Thai PBS | The Thaiger | Wikipedia

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Infamous ‘large’ passenger dies in Koh Samui

The Thaiger

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Infamous ‘large’ passenger dies in Koh Samui | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: The Sun

A 200 kilogram tourist, who forced flight crews to wipe his bum as he moaned with pleasure in January, has died on Koh Samui.

The American, who hasn’t been named, died whilst staying on the Gulf island due to an undisclosed illness. But he has left an indelible memory in his wake.

At the same time, as the news emerged about his demise, EVA Air were putting plans in motion to ban the oversize traveller from flying with their airline ever again.

The man shocked readers is January when he was accused of forcing cabin crew to strip him in a cramped airline toilet (remember this guy weighed 200 kilograms) and wipe his bum while he “moaned with pleasure”.

The incident occurred on an EVA Air long-haul flight from LA to Taiwan’s Taoyuan Airport and was covered extensively on world media.

Infamous 'large' passenger dies in Koh Samui | News by The Thaiger

A flight attendant, who on the same flight, described how the passenger boarded the plane in a wheelchair and then insisted on having three adjoining seats in economy class due to his size. He then demanded to use the plane’s business class lavatory, as he couldn’t fit into the economy toilets.

But (put down your food if eating) while in the toilet, he demanded cabin crew strip him down so he could relieve himself, saying he had an arm injury that prevented him from doing it himself.

“I told him we couldn’t help him, but he started yelling. He told me to go in there immediately and threatened to relieve himself on the floor. As the passenger’s genitals were now exposed, one of my colleagues brought a blanket, which I used to cover his modesty.”

“But he very angrily slapped my hand away, saying he didn’t want it and only wanted me to remove his underwear so he could use the toilet.”

Infamous 'large' passenger dies in Koh Samui | News by The Thaiger

The flight attendant who ‘assisted’ the man should be awarded lots of medals and a lifetime supply of latex gloves

The passenger then asked crew to wipe his bum for him leading him to groan as the chief attendant fulfilled his request while wearing three pairs of latex gloves.

“He said: ‘Oh, mmm, deeper, deeper,’ and then accused my chief attendant of not properly cleaning his backside, requesting that she do it again,” recalled the attendant, who was holding onto the passenger to keep him steady.

She said the attendant repeated the action three times before the man said, “You can pull my pants back up now.”

The two female flight attendants involved, who both said they were traumatised by the incident in January, are both on extended paid leave.

The Sun.co.uk, reporting this story, says that “Party island Ko Samui – the second largest island in Thailand – is known for its prostitution and seedy nightlife.”

Despite the source, the incident has been widely reported by ‘respectable media’ on January 20 this year, and the large man has indeed passed away on Koh Samui.

SOURCE: The Sun

Infamous 'large' passenger dies in Koh Samui | News by The Thaiger

‘The Sun’ confuses Koh Samui with Walking Street

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