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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Child killer confesses; Democrats to vote on election boycott; Cold bites hard in North

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Child killer confesses; Democrats to vote on election boycott; Cold bites hard in North | The Thaiger

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

Lessons learnt in sad fate of 6-year-old girl
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: A former convict has confessed to raping and strangling a six-year-old girl in Bangkok earlier this month after she strayed briefly from her father’s attention. Police say she was just one of his many victims.

The self-confessed serial abuser, now identified only as Nui, is in police detention.

On Sunday, police arrested him in Nong Khai, where a popular Mor Lam band had staged a performance. The alleged suspect was tracked down after media, including social media, showed pictures of the suspect walking alongside his latest victim. The pictures came from security cameras. Some members of the audience noticed the suspect’s T-shirt and alerted police that it was the type used by crewmen of the Mor Lam band.

The girl went missing after she went to a concert with her father on December 6. The father said his daughter fell asleep during the performance. He decided to take her to his friend’s pickup truck hoping she could get a proper sleep. He went back to see the concert. On his return to the vehicle, he found his daughter was gone.

“I was drunk and had a sexual urge,” Nui said.

According to police, Nui is a repeat offender and has confessed to raping and killing a large number of girls.

“He said he had raped about 10 girls and killed some of his victims,” a senior commander, Pol Maj-General Suebsak Phansura said.

Bangkok police chief Camronwit Toopgrajank suspected that Nui might have committed many more crimes.

In 2008, Nui was sentenced to a jail term for taking a minor away from guardians. He was released on August 23 last year.

Nui’s confession has dashed their hopes of finding her alive. In a desolate area on Soi La Salle, a human skull was found on Sunday and DNA tests are ongoing to determine if the remains are those of the missing girl.

The Mirror Foundation has warned parents not to leave their children unattended. Parents should teach their children not to trust strangers.
.

Democrats decide on election boycott today
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The opposition Democrat Party is facing a dilemma in having to decide today whether to field candidates in the general election scheduled for February 2 amid calls from within the party to boycott the poll.

The most talked-about issue amid the current political impasse has been whether to bring about reforms first or hold the elections first. The anti-government protesters want national reforms before the election, while the Pheu Thai-led caretaker government wants to hold the election first and then proceed with the reforms.

A party resolution, in general assembly, on the issue, which might be reached tomorrow at the latest, will be decided by a new 35-member executive board, which will be elected this morning. It’s likely that Abhisit Vejjajiva would retain his post for another term while former MP from Phitsanulok, Juti Krairiksh, is tipped to become the party’s new secretary-general, a party source said.

Heated debate is expected today on the issue of boycotting the election. The source said opinions within the party were divided. One camp led by Abhisit, party chief adviser Chuan Leekpai, former MPs from Bangkok and some southern MPs close to Chuan disagreed with the idea of boycotting the election.

The pro-election faction argues that running in the election after the House dissolution is a democratic way. But they agreed that a national reform is needed after the poll. If the party decided to boycott the election, there would be no opposition party in the House until its term ended, the camp argued.

However, the other camp supported protest leader and former Democrat MP Suthep Thaugsuban’s demand for national reforms before an election. They argue that without reforms, all problems will not be solved.

Early this month, the party’s MPs resigned en masse to put pressure on the Yingluck government. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved the House on December 9.

However, a Democrat boycott of the election will not be an obstacle in holding the election. The Democrats and other opposition parties had boycotted the election in April 2006, called by then prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra under Thai Rak Thai.

The Thai Rak Thai Party won a landslide victory, but several candidates of the party failed to meet the minimum requirement of getting at least 20 per cent of eligible votes in a constituency if the constituency has only one candidate.

The Constitutional Court found it guilty of paying smaller parties to contest the election to fulfil the 20-per-cent rule, which led to the dissolution of the party.

Pheu Thai this time has already prepared to face the legal obstacles and won’t allow a repeat of the situation.

“We are not worried. If the Democrats boycott the poll, we could have 60 small parties field candidates for 375 constituency-based MPs to avoid the 20-per-cent minimum votes rule,” former deputy House speaker Apiwan Wiriyachai said.

He said Pheu Thai’s strategy committee would call a meeting after the Democrat Party decides on whether to take part in the election or not.

Apiwan said the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) would be acting like gangsters if its members blocked voting at some polling stations on election day.

The PDRC leaders on Sunday announced a blockade of all polling stations and threatened to create political disturbances in some areas to obstruct the holding of the election.

He said he will recommend at the party’s meeting that it should mention its constitutional amendment plan on the election manifesto.

“We could have a referendum on whether to amend the current charter or not at the same time as the general election,” he said.

A Pheu Thai source said the party would field Yingluck and her brother-in-law and former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat as No 1 and No 2 party-list candidates respectively.

“She is still popular. But if she feels she has had enough of politics, then Somchai can replace her,” a party source said.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission’s newly appointed chairman, Supachai Somcharoen, insisted that the national election would take place on February 2.

He foresees no hurdles in hosting the elections, despite calls for a boycott from some political parties. Some anti-government protesters are planning to disrupt the process, when the EC opens registration for party-list candidates.

Army chief Prayuth reaffirms armed forces’ neutrality
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Army commander General Prayuth Chan-ocha insists on a neutral stance on the current political situation, saying the Army must always stay neutral in politics while continuing to maintain peace and social order, an Army spokesman said yesterday.

Chiang Mai districts named disaster zones
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Chiang Mai’s Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department Office has declared Omkoi and Fang districts as disaster zones during the ongoing

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Economy

Twin TAT campaigns will boost domestic travel

Greeley Pulitzer

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Twin TAT campaigns will boost domestic travel | The Thaiger

In November the Tourism Authority of Thailand plans two campaigns – “Visit Thailand with 100 Baht” and “Shocking Price Weekday Travel”, – aimed to generate 400 million baht in local tourism revenue before the end of the year.

The TAT’s executive director of product promotion said “Shocking Price Weekday Travel” would encourage upper and middle-class Thai tourists to travel more on weekdays, enjoying discounts of up to 80% on high-end tourism products, including five-star hotels, airlines, spas, yachting, Michelin-star restaurants and other privileges from online travel agents. The TAT says at least 4,000 tourism operators and members of tourism associations have registered to take part in the scheme.

A second campaign, “Visit Thailand with 100 Baht”, will feature 40,000 tourism products priced at just 100 baht, offering 10,000 products per day on November 11-12 and December 11-12. You’ll need to be 18 or older and have e-banking and a mobile phone number to join the campaign via the TAT’s website, and can shop for only one tourism product outside their hometown.

Registration will run from 6am until midnight or whenever the 10,000 products for that day run out, the TAT said. The campaign will offer air and bus tickets, hotels, food and drink, tour packages and attractions.

The TAT’s governor said 116 million baht will be used for the two additional programs, above the government’s 1,000 baht cash giveaway Chim-Shop-Chai (Taste-Shop-Spend) scheme, and a 15% cash rebate for spending on tourism products. He expects the new campaigns should add about 400 million baht in tourism revenue and increase the number of Thai tourists travelling domestically by 10-20% .

“The new campaigns, are expected to raise domestic tourism revenue to 1.12 trillion baht this year.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Economy

Thailand resume free trade talks with EU, reducing reliance on China

Greeley Pulitzer

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Thailand resume free trade talks with EU, reducing reliance on China | The Thaiger

The European Union has restarted talks with Thailand about a potential free trade agreement. The talks started just days after unfreezing a deadlock put in place by the previous military junta. The resumption of talks comes as Thailand seeks to diversify its economy and reduce reliance on China, which accounted for 14% of the its total foreign direct investment in 2018.

The director-general of the Thai foreign ministry’s department of European affairs held talks in Brussels yesterday with top EU officials in charge of Asia. The talks underlined the EU’s interest in developing closer ties with Southeast Asia, with the ultimate goal of a strategic partnership with ASEAN, which 10 countries in the region.

ASEAN represents the EU’s third-largest trading partner outside Europe, after the US and China, with more than 237.3 billion euros (263.9 billion USD) of trade in goods in 2018. According to latest available statistics bilateral trade in services amounted to 85.5 billion euros in 2017.

Free trade talks between Thailand and the EU also started in 2013 but were put on hold by the EU after the military coup that ousted the democratically elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra.

The EU said at the time that “political and civil rights and liberties in Thailand had been severely curtailed” during its years of military rule.

SOURCE: South China Morning Post

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Technology

The dangers of 5G – coming to a mobile phone near you

Tim Newton

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The dangers of 5G – coming to a mobile phone near you | The Thaiger

MONTAGE: The Thaiger

5G, the next generation of mobile phone technology is coming, within months here in Thailand. It will continue to roll out over the next few years, replacing the earlier 4G technology.

Along with any new technology there’s also valid concerns about potential health risk of this new, more powerful network. There’s also been a lot of misinformation and scare-mongering. So is there a looming 5G health apocalypse?

The key concerns, or claims, about 5G is that it’s a dangerous escalation of traditional mobile technology, higher energy radiation that delivers potentially damaging effects on humans. Some 5G decriers contend that the new network generates radiation that can damage DNA, lead to cancer, cause oxidative damage, premature ageing; disrupt cell metabolism and hosts of other diseases. There are articles citing research studies and even opinions by the World Health Organisation.

But first, some science.

5G is the industry standard that will supersede the current widespread 4G LTE standard, just as 4G took over from 3G. 5G just stands for the “fifth generation” in mobile cellular technology.

This standard is designed to be much faster than current 4G and 4GLTE technology. Simply, it will allow faster wireless internet everywhere for everything, as long as you’re in signal range of course.

The speed, and it’s a LOT faster, will allow virtual realtime connection, even faster that human reflexes, to provide more accurate and real experiences. For the new world of auto-drive cars, remote surgery, even gaming and other internet-of-things products and services, 5G will take the online world to the next level. Words like ‘latency’ will vanish as there simply won’y be delays.

5G is poised to deliver peak speeds between 10 and 20 Gbps – that’s 10 – 100 times faster than the current 4G services.

Health concerns

Concerns about 5G are just the latest evolution of decades of headlines about the dangers of electromagnetic radiation. We’ve seen controversies about everything from the health risks of Wi-Fi, smart metres, fluorescent tubes, overhead electric wires, even our mobile phones we use all day. So far there has been no conclusive studies about any of these causing reliable, repeatable, measurable or sustainable health concerns.

But the concerns persist, swirling around the internet and sparking off renewed concerns every few years.

Electromagnetic hypersensitivity, for example, is a hypothetical disease in which certain people experience debilitating symptoms in the presence of radiation like mobile phones and Wi-Fi.

But despite thousands of people claiming these sorts of sensitivities for at least 30 years, extensive scientific studies have shown that people claiming to be afflicted with this ‘disease’, when blind-folded, are unable to tell or ‘feel’ when they’re in the presence of an electromagnetic field. The World Health Organisation now recommends psychological evaluation for people who continue with these alleged symptoms.

Beyond that, decades of studies have found no link between mobile phones, wi-fi and cancers, including brain tumours from holding your mobile phone to your ears when calling people.

The dangers of 5G - coming to a mobile phone near you | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: echo.net.au

RF or Radiofrequency Radiation?

At the root of all concerns about cell phone networks is radiofrequency radiation. RF could be anything from microwaves to x-rays to radio waves to light from your screen or light from the sun. Even when you turn on a light at home. It’s all electromagnetic radiation.

We walk through a sea of RF, all day, everyday, it’s impossible to escape – from the sunlight, to the power sources around our house, to the TV screens, to the electric kettles, microwave ovens and electric cookers in the kitchen.

In the RF spectrum there are ionising or non-ionising radiation, only the ionising radiation has the potential to interfere with breaking up chemical bonds.

Ultraviolet light, visible light, infrared light, and everything with a lower frequency – radio waves, power lines, FM radio, Wi-Fi and our mobile cellular services – these are all considered non-ionising radiation.

Frequencies above UV, like x-rays and gamma rays, are ionising.

The assistant professor of neurology at Yale and the editor of Science-Based Medicine, Dr. Steve Novella, says there’s been decades of misunderstanding about the ill-effects of lower frequency radiation.

“Using the term radiation is misleading because people think of nuclear weapons – they think of ionising radiation that absolutely can cause damage. It can kill cells. It can cause DNA mutations.”

“Most concern about mobile phone RF radiation is misplaced. There’s no known mechanism for most forms of non-ionszing radiation to have any biological effect.”

It’s not a tumour!

But researchers continue to conduct studies. A recent study was released by the National Toxicology Program, an agency run by the US Department of Health and Human Services. In this widely quoted study about cell phone radio frequency radiation, “scientists found that high exposure to 3G RF led to some cases of cancerous heart tumours, brain tumours, and tumours in the adrenal glands of male rats.”

But as RealClearScience points out in their response to the study, “the number of tumours detected were so small that they statistically could have occurred by chance (which may be more likely since they were only detected in male subjects).”

“The level and duration of the RFR exposure were well in excess of what any actual human would ever be exposed to, and in fact, the irradiated test rats lived longer than the unexposed control rats.”

“Experienced researchers look at a study like that and say that doesn’t really tell us anything.”

The dangers of 5G - coming to a mobile phone near you | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Asiatimes.com

5G risks

A common complaint about 5G is that, due to the lower power of 5G transmitters, there will be more of them around our towns and cities. The Environmental Health Trust contends that “5G will require the buildout of literally hundreds of thousands of new wireless antennas in neighbourhoods, cities, and towns. A cellular small cell or another transmitter will be placed every two to ten homes according to estimates.”

Despite the estimate being exaggerated, the contention is reasonable.

But skeptics caution you shouldn’t conflate asking the question with merely asserting that there’s a risk. The reality is that the power and frequency of the radiation is still less than light outside or even inside your office or home. You go out in the sun, and you’re bathed in electromagnetic radiation that’s far greater than these 5G cellular towers and transmitters.

The US FCC, responsible for licensing the spectrum for public use, says that 5G equipment, the signals from commercial wireless transmitters are typically far below the RF exposure limits at any location that is accessible to the public.

The FCC defers to the FDA concluding that the weight of scientific evidence has not linked mobile phones with any health problems.

But scientists will continue to test new networks as technology evolves, to make sure the technology we use every day remains safe. Research into radiation risks is difficult and often inconclusive, meaning it can take a long time to make real progress. But the research will continue as the technology evolves and new claims will continue to be made asserting dangers from 5G.

SOURCES: US FCC | World Health Orginisation | howtogeek.com | Real Clear Science

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