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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: D-Day – Rallies in Bangkok hit critical mass; ICJ ruling on Preah Vihear temple today; Woman confesses to Jakkrit slaying

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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

Anti-amnesty groups step up rallies in bid to topple PM
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Today is D-Day for Yingluck Shinawatra’s government, which is under pressure from all-out resistance to the amnesty bill from various groups. Several anti-amnesty movements will today join forces to hold street marches with the objective not just of killing the amnesty bill, but of over throwing the Yingluck government.

Apart from the bill – which many see as a case of the govern ment having shot itself in the foot – the administration is also on the defensive against nationalist groups fired up by the Preah Vihear land dispute, which is expected to reach its conclusion today in a much-awaited ruling at 4pm by the International Court of Justice.

Depending on what action the court takes, a possible outcome is that Thailand will have to cede some of its soil to Cambodia.

In another move by the anti-amnesty movement to pile up pressure on the Pheu Thai-led government, demonstrators belonging to the People’s Army Against the Thaksin Regime camping at the Phan Fa Lilat Bridge will this morning march to three undisclosed locations. The largest anti-amnesty rally is being held at Democracy Monument.

Four newly formed groups, rallying their supporters through the social media, have also announced separate marches to be held today on several Bangkok streets. The first group, calling itself the Civil Community, vowed to gather in front of the Silom Complex at noon and begin a march at 12.34pm.

They will be joined by marchers from the Asoke Community, the Ratchadaphisek Community and a group based in the Saphan Khwai and Aree areas, in a march to Rajdamnoen Avenue to meet up with those currently rallying at the Democracy Monument under the guidance of the opposition Democrat Party.

Meanwhile, former leaders of the yellow-shirt People’s Alliance for Democracy Sondhi Limthongkul and Chamlong Srimuang will hold a press conference on the political situation today at 10.30am.

In defiance of the anti-amnesty movement, the red-shirt movement has sponsored a large gathering of around 10,000 red shirts at Muang Thong Thani in Nonthaburi in a show of unity between the ruling party and the pro-Thaksin Shinawatra red-shirt movement, despite the fact that a large number of red shirts are opposed to blanket amnesty.

In another move not to be missed today, the Senate will meet at 10am to vote on rejecting the bill in its first reading. Will it be in time? The anti-amnesty rally led by the Democrat Party has delivered an ultimatum for the ruling Pheu Thai Party to scrap the bill by this evening.

Political observers believe the government will miss the opposition’s deadline to abandon the bill by 6pm.

The protesters would then escalate their efforts to topple the government as their goal goes beyond the annulling of the bill, a key leader of a coalition party told The Nation.

A House dissolution could be demanded by the protesters.

However, for several reasons, the ruling Pheu Thai Party is not ready to call a snap election at this juncture.

Dissolving the House now will not ensure the bill is absolutely dead because the new House of Representatives can resubmit the same bill within 60 days. If there is a chance for the bill to be revived, that point will be used by the opposition Democrat Party in its election campaign.

These issues are coming to a crescendo as the government and Yingluck are losing popularity, according to poll results released yesterday.

Last week’s strategic retreat by the government on the amnesty bills also signals that dissolution of the House is not an option. On the contrary, it seems to be rather a tactical retreat before striking back.

A Pheu Thai source said the party would do anything to try to convince society that the government would not reaffirm the amnesty bill after it is rejected by the Senate.

The source said the red-shirt rally yesterday was a strategy of the party to show to its supporters it was not retreating and the show of force was also aimed at intimidating the military and independent organisations.

“But in the end, if the party sees that it cannot go further, the House will be dissolved,” the source said.

Pheu Thai denied yesterday that its strategic committee has recommended the government to dissolve the House following mounting protests against the amnesty bill.

“I think the false news was spread with a political purpose,” party spokesman Prompong Nopparit said.

He said he had checked with government leaders and they also ruled out a House dissolution.

The government’s opponents would hold simultaneous protests on Silom Road, the Asoke intersection and Soi Ari in the Saphan Kwai area before moving to the Democracy Monument, he said.

A complaint would be lodged with the attorney-general this week, seeking to dissolve the Democrat Party for allegedly attempting to bring down the government, he added.

Reds stage counter-rallies to back govt
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The red-shirt Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship (DAAD) yesterday held three rallies to counter anti-government protests, with the demonstration in the evening attracting tens of thousands of supporters.

The DAAD held its first rally at Don Muang Technical School at 9am, and then held its “Over 10,000” rally at the Ratchaprasong intersection.

The “DAAD-Pheu Thai Defending Democracy” evening rally was held at SCG Football Stadium Muang Thong Thani at 4pm, with several red-shirt leaders and Pheu Thai MPs attending.

The leaders who spoke on stage at the Muang Thong Thani rally included DAAD chairwoman Thida Thawornset, Deputy Commerce Minister Nuttawut Saikuar and Pheu Thai MP Weng Tojirakarn.

Weng told the Muang Thong rally that the government’s opponents – including the Democrat Party – were holding protests against the amnesty bill with the intent to topple the elected government. The red shirts were, therefore, left with no choice but to turn out and defend the administration they had elected, Weng said.

Sombat Boonngarmanong, editor of Laijud magazine, who is the leader of the Red Sunday Group, led thousands of red shirts to demonstrate at the Ratchaprasong intersection.

The red shirts gathered in front of McDonald’s fast-food restaurant at Amarin Plaza and walked to the intersection to tie up pieces of red cloth.

Sombat said his group was opposed to the amnesty bill because it would absolve former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban for their alleged roles in the killings of red-shirt demonstrators in 2010.

Education Minister Chaturon Chaisang, DAAD leader Jatuporn Promphan, former DAAD leader Veerakarn Musigapong and Weng, also joined the Ratchaprasong rally.

Jatuporn told the red shirts at Ratchaprasong the government would bring Abhisit and Suthep to justice.

Yuthasak confident calm will prevail after Preah Vihear temple ruling
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Deputy Defence Minister Yuthasak Sasiprapha yesterday expressed confidence that peace would be maintained following today’s announcement of the Internatio

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Pfizer vaccines on the way, Phuket’s July re-opening | May 7

Thaiger

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Disease Control Department back-peddled saying that that foreigners living in Thailand WILL also be vaccinated, governor of Chiang Mai is calling for the ban on dining in at restaurants in the northern city to be lifted and for eateries to be allowed to serve food on-site until 9pm, Tourism and Sports Minister insists the southern island of Phuket must record zero Covid-19 cases if a planned July re-opening is to go ahead, and 150 million baht worth of methamphetamine pills were impounded in Nakhon Phanom yesterday

 

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Economy

Stimulus package gives more back the more you spend

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: A new stimulus package aims to get the middle class spending. (via Flickr - Marco Verch)

A new stimulus package targeting middle and high-income people aims at increasing spending by offering more e-voucher the more you spend. Ying Chai Ying Dai, which translates to “the more you spend the more you get”, will reward those who spend between 46,000 and 70,000 baht with a 7,000 baht e-voucher. This part of the government’s 225 billion baht stimulus package hopes to encourage 4 million qualifying middle- to upper-class people to spend more money by refunding 10-15% back, according to the Finance Ministry’s Fiscal Policy Office.

People wishing to participate must register and make their purchases through a government e-wallet system. The system works by refunding 10 to 15% of purchases with a maximum of 7,000 baht. So at 15%, a person who spent 46,000 baht would receive back the full 7,000. On the 10% scheme, 70,000 baht in spending would be necessary to reach 7,000 cashback. No details were available on what determines the percentage level.

An additional 2,000 baht will be available for people participating in the “Section 33 Rao Rak Kan” and “Rao Chana” scheme. The plans are expected to push 85.5 billion Baht back into the economy as recipients must spend the cash by the end of June.

The 50/50 stimulus program that has been popular with the government covering half of what people spend for half for food, drink, and other items up to 150 baht per person per day will also be expanded. That plan began on October 23, and ended at the end of 2020, covering 10 million people with each receiving 3000 baht. The second phase of the popular program added 5 million more people and raised the limit to 3,500 baht per person.

A third phase of the “Khon La Khrueng” stimulus plan is expected to begin in July with participants getting a maximum of 3,500 baht each to spend, and opening the program to 16 million new people. This massive expansion though will stipulate that anyone participating in this program cannot also participate in the Ying Chai Ying Dai scheme.

All of these cash and voucher benefits aimed at supporting vulnerable groups, along with cash handouts for people who have state welfare cards, are part of 245 billion baht the government is spending in an attempt to keep the economy from collapsing. This falls under an emergency loan decree allocating the government 1 trillion baht total to cope with Covid-19.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Thailand

Covid UPDATE: 2,044 new cases and 27 deaths, provincial totals

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Deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Natapanu Nopakun / Photo courtesy of the Royal Thai Government

2,044 new Covid-19 cases and 27 coronavirus-related deaths were reported today in the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing. There are now 29,320 active Covid-19 cases. 1,170 Covid patients are in critical condition including 367 on ventilators.

Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported a total of 78,855 Covid-19 infections and 363 virus-related deaths.

Out of 27 new fatalities, patients were ages 30 to 90. Most of the deaths were in Bangkok and surrounding provinces. Several contacted the virus from family members.

Provinces with the highest number of new confirmed cases…

Province New cases Total cases since April 1
Bangkok 869 16,917
Nonthaburi 201 3,032
Samut Prakan 165 2,902
Chon Buri 89 3,128
Samut Sakhon 69 1,299
Surat Thani 60 1,035
Pathum Thani 39 1,099
Chiang Mai 33 3,180
Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 32 607
Nakhon Pathom 29 746
Ranong 29 329

 

Districts in Bangkok with the highest number of confirmed cases…

District New cases
Khlong Toei 46
Pathum Wan 24
Bang Khae 24
Lat Phrao 13
Ratchathewi 10
Pom Prap Sattru Phai 9
Bueng Kum 9
Phasi Charoen 8
Bang Khun Thian 8
Din Daeng 8

Covid UPDATE: 2,044 new cases and 27 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

 

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