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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Govt won’t budge on rubber; Porn in Parliament; People power fights corruption; Floods in Trang

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Govt won’t budge on rubber; Porn in Parliament; People power fights corruption; Floods in Trang | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Govt refuses to budge in talks
The Nation/ Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Government representatives and protesting farmers failed to agree yesterday on the subsidy for rubber prices.

The government side, led by Deputy Prime Minister Pracha Promnog and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong, remained firm about a price of Bt90 a kilogram of rubber while the rubber growers called for Bt100. The farmers’ representatives later cut their requested price to Bt95 but the government officials turned down their demand.

The two sides met at the Twin Lotus Hotel in Nakhon Si Thammarat. Members of the government-appointed committee to solve the rubber price problem also were present during yesterday’s talks.

The rubber growers also demanded that the government offer compensation after a protester was killed and many others injured during recent police crackdowns, according to Amnuay Yutitham, one of the rubber growers’ representatives at yesterday’s talks.

Government representatives were firm also on a subsidy of Bt1,260 for fertiliser cost for every rai of rubber plantations. However, the growers said such a measure would only go to owners of rubber plantations, and not small-time planters.

Thawat Boonfuang, the PM’s deputy secretary general, said Bt90 a kilogram was the highest the government could go. And that amount would cause a big fiscal burden for the state, he said.

Amnuay, after consulting with other representatives, responded that both sides should meet “half way”, demanding that the subsidised price should be Bt95.

After the latest round of talks failed, the rubber growers decided to hold another large rally on September 14.

Groups of rubber farmers were still protesting at many locations in southern provinces yesterday, blocking some sections of roads.

Royal Thai Police spokesman Maj-General Piya Uthayo said hundreds of protesters still blocked roads in Nakhon Si Thammarat and Trang in the South, plus Ubon Ratchathani in the Northeast yesterday.

He said 24 policemen were injured, two of them seriously, during the clash with protesters in Prachuap Khiri Khan, adding that three media cars were also burnt. Twelve protesters were arrested – eight of them men and four women, he said.

Police also had evidence that Capt Songklod Chuenchuphol, an outspoken member of the anti-government movement, was present during the turmoil in Prachuap, according to the police spokesman. He added that the investigators were considering getting a warrant to arrest him.

‘Teargas not used’

The authorities yesterday rejected an allegation that they used teargas during a clash with protesting rubber growers on Thursday night in Prachuap Khiri Khan.

Pracha said he closely followed the situation and he insisted that police did not use teargas against the protesters. He questioned the credibility of photos of teargas use shown by an opposition MP.

However, protest leader Santad Dejkerd, who is a rubber grower in Prachuap Khiri Khan, said teargas was used during the police crackdown. He added that firecrackers were also thrown at the protesters.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday met representatives from the private sector at Government House to discuss the low price for rubber.

Yingluck called on the rubber growers to take part in talks with government representatives in a bid to resolve differences over the subsidy. “We do not want to see violence, which may bring negative impacts to businesses and tourism in the South,” she said.

Federation of Thai Industries president Payungsak Chartsuthiphol said during the meeting with the PM he foresaw the price of rubber rising in the fourth quarter this year, when there would be higher demand for natural rubber.

Opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday expressed concern over the protest by rubber farmers. He called on the government to “adapt its stance in order to better respond to the protesters’ demand”.

PM mulls Rubber City
MCOT / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday floated the idea of a “Rubber City” for Thailand as a long-term idea to help shore up falling rubber prices.

Chairing the Joint Public-Private Committee (JPPC) meeting, she said the Board of Investment (BoI) would be ready to offer promotional investment privileges for the development of the rubber industry in Thailand.

“Manufacturers of rubber products can be located at a single industrial estate to create a “Rubber City,” she said. “Research on rubber by the National Science and Technology Development Agency could be utilised by the private sector.”

The JPPC meeting was attended by economic ministers and local rubber manufacturers.

Deputy Commerce Minister Yanyong Puangrach said rubber prices have dropped to the lowest level at Bt60/kg and surged to Bt75-76/kg while smoked rubber sheets are Bt80/kg and exported rubber at Bt95/kg.

When the global economy gains strength in Q3 and Q4, rubber prices will be higher, he said.

Industry Minister Prasert Boonchaisuk said Thailand produces 3 million tonnes of rubber but local consumption is only 500,000 tonnes, adding that the private sector would be encouraged to invest more in rubber-related industry.

Several investors have applied for BoI promotional privileges – a move which should increase rubber consumption to 800,000-900,000 tonnes next year and a million tonnes in 2015, he said.

Transport Minister Chatchart Sithiphan said asphalt would be used to pave roads nationwide and the government’s planned Bt2 trillion infrastructure development would .

Porn in Parliament adds to outrage
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Pornographic photos, chair throwing, and fights – you can see it all in the Thai Parliament these days.

In a Senate meeting yesterday, an elected senator was caught on camera using his mobile phone to view pornographic photos. He was caught on the camera zooming in on some photos of a woman with her genital area visible.

Last month, Pheu Thai MP for Nong Khai Pongpan Sunthornchai was caught viewing photos of barely dressed women on his iPad during a parliamentary debate. He later claimed he accidentally clicked on a link that downloaded the images.

Opposition and Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva pleaded yesterday for people not to get bored with politics, after one of his MPs threw a chair in the parliamentary chamber.

“The public should know and understand what the root cause of the conflict is. As an MP, Shane [Thaugsuban] felt frustrated to be barred from speaking, so he got angry. We try to exercise our rights within the limit,” Abhisit said.

During a House meeting on a motion sought by Democrat MPs on the low prices for agricultural produce on Thursday night, a Democrat MP told the chamber that police were dispersing rubber protesters in Prachuap Khiri Khan, but the Pheu Thai Party tried to end the debate.

Democrat MP from Surat Thani Shane Thaugsuban got angry, saying there were still plenty of farmers suffering from low prices for their goods, who the government should have listened to. Suddenly, Shane lifted a chair and threw it over the desk in front of him. Then he threw

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Protests

3 protesters denied bail as 10pm deadline for the PM’s resignation looms

The Thaiger

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3 protesters denied bail as 10pm deadline for the PM’s resignation looms | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The arrest of protester Panupong Jardnok, aka. Mike Rayong - Thai PBS World

Whilst 1 protester was freed from the Bangkok Remand Prison last night, 3 of his peers remain in custody after being denied bail this afternoon. Supporters of the group protested last night outside the Bangkok Special Remand Centre, demanding their release and dropping of all charges against them. They disbanded around 5am this morning but have been re-assembling as Saturday goes by.

Chatupat Boonpatthararaksa, aka. Pai Daodin, was released from the Bangkok Remand Prison last evening after a hearing by the Appeals Court. Protesters were waiting outside demanding the release of 3 other key protest leaders, still being held at the prison – Parit Chivarak, Panasaya Sitthijirawattanakul and Panupong Jardnok, aka. Mike Rayong. Panasaya was the university student who first read out the now-infamous 10 point manifesto listing the protesters persistent list of demands.

The group of protesters continues to call on the Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, to resign by 10pm this evening. They have not clarified what may be the consequences if their demands are not met.

The 3 protest leaders were deemed by the Court of Appeals as “potential flight risks” as well as likely to break conditions of their bail, eg. participating in, and organising, more anti-government rallies. Charges for the 3 include using a sound amplifier without a permit, assembly of more than 5 people (during the State of Emergency), posting social media deemed to be a threat to national security, and sedition.

As the 10pm deadline passes this evening, earlier being set as Sunday night at 10pm, the situation will be ripe for more protests as we head into the new week. Parliament has been called to a joint emergency parliamentary session on Monday and Tuesday where the protesters demands will be discussed and debated.

Opposition MPs are demanding that motions can be put to a vote whilst the ruling coalition has stated that it does want any votes on debate matters. The opposition is also calling on debate of the most contentious issue, the future role of the Thai monarchy, whilst the government has ruled that out in this emergency session.

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Thailand

More catchy than Covid, K-Pop fans raise millions to support Thai protesters

The Thaiger

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More catchy than Covid, K-Pop fans raise millions to support Thai protesters | The Thaiger

More catchy the Covid and spreading out around the world, this time from South Korea.

Fans of K-Pop groups, South Korea’s slick pop music genre, have already raised millions of baht to support Thailand’s anti-government protests. The young Thai protesters have been showered with support, supportive K-Pop lyrics, Tweets, messages. And money.

The incredible worldwide reach of K-Pop fans, for over 20 ‘idol’ groups and South Korean celebrities, has been a major force in spreading the plight of the Thai protest movement to a younger audience, across the world.

K-pop fandom have rallied together and pooled their resources to support the anti-government protesters who have been holding rallies around Thailand, mostly in Bangkok, since July. The Girls’ Generatin ‘Into The New World’ is just 1 K-Pop song being taken on as an unofficial anthem for the Thai protesters.

Political statements are relatively unusual from South Korean idols but some defy their tightly controlled public image. It’s even led common in Thailand where lucrative endorsements rely on the billionaire clans that control the country’s ‘establishment’. But last week’s use of water cannons against the protesters at the Pathumwan intersection has pushed some to publicly voice their support for the protest movement.

Thai-American K-Pop idol Nichkhun, the so-called “Thai Prince”, Tweeted to his nearly 7 million followers that he cannot “stand idly by”. Nichkhun is a member of popular South Korean boy band 2PM

“The use of violence is something I cannot watch and stand idly by.” His message has been retweeted nearly 100,000 times.

Even Thailand’s BNK48 member Milin “Namneung” Dokthian – the group criticised in the past for doing paid promos for the Thai government – has made it clear where she stands in regards to the protests, posting “stay safe” this week.

“We wouldn’t have to say ‘be safe’ if we had a true democracy”. Her post was shared by the other band members.

Amanda Obdam, the current Miss Universe Thailand, posted on her Instagram a photo of a young protester facing off against a cordon of riot police.

“A picture says a thousand words. Your job is to protect the people not harm them.”

Former Thai beauty queen and TV presenter Maria Poonlertlarp posted on her Facebook page that the treatment of protesters was “completely unjust”.

“People have been silenced from speaking up about the double standards and the abuse of power. We’ve had a lot of injustice going on in Thailand for decades, fighting against our government for democracy.”

Thai daily Khaosod reported last week that K-pop fan groups had collectively raised more than 3 million baht to help the anti-government protest organisers. It’s now well past 5 million baht.

Thai Actress Intira “Sai” Charoenpura Tweeted that the funds raised from fans of groups including BTS , Exo , Got7 , and Girls’ Generation had helped buy equipment such as helmets and raincoats.

Mega group BTS (last week they held the Number 1 and 2 positions on the US Billboard Top 100 singles chart, this week 5 and 6), tweeted that they wanted fans (aka. ‘Army’) to stop spending money on fan posters for members’ birthdays with the owners of the Thai public transport system. The BTS fandom frequently buy expensive poster spots in the Skytrain and MRT statins to wish their favourite idol members happy birthday. Bangkok’s skytrain system was closed down last Saturday in a move by the operators to prevent the movement of protesters to rally around the city. The command had come from the police.

The Thai protesters are being funded by donations, in-kind support and the selling of merchandise on their social media platforms. But they’ll be happy for the support from the huge worldwide K-Pop fan base.

BTS, ‘Not Today’ lyrics

All the underdogs in the world
A day may come when we lose
But it is not today
Today we fight!

No not today
Someday the flowers will fall
But no not today
That time is not today
No no not today
Never die, not today
The light pierces through the darkness
The new world. You want it too
Oh baby yes I want it.
If you can’t fly, then run
Today we will survive
If you can’t run then walk
Today we will survive
If you can’t walk, then crawl
Even if you have to crawl, gear up
Aim gun! Ready! Fire!
Click here to watch… https://youtu.be/9DwzBICPhdM
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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

TAT announces update to compulsory Covid-19 insurance for foreign visitors

The Thaiger

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TAT announces update to compulsory Covid-19 insurance for foreign visitors | The Thaiger

The Tourism Authority of Thailand has announced today an update about compulsory Covid-19 insurance. They say it’s now “conveniently” available online in a one-stop-shop. Up to now the compulsory Covid-19 insurance, a pre-requisite before foreigners can come to Thailand, under any visa, was through selected insurance providers at their own websites. The Thailand Office of Insurance Commission has allowed the review of its policy, making it easier to find and purchase the compulsory insurance.

“Foreign travellers will enjoy the following advantages of purchasing an OIC-endorsed medical insurance policy, which is available online HERE.”

The update provides additional clarity and ease for people looking to travel to Thailand at this time.

“The Tourism Authority of Thailand is pleased to share the latest announcement that foreign visitors will be able to purchase compulsory Covid-19 insurance policy online prior to visiting the Kingdom.”

TAT Governor, Yuthasak Supasorn says the compulsory insurance is part of any package of documents that will need to be completed by foreigners entering Thailand at this time.

“A medical insurance policy with at least US$100,000 coverage or about 3.16 million baht for possible Covid-19 treatment is among the official documents required from foreign visitors planning to visit Thailand.”

“TAT hopes the Covid-19 insurance protection program, under the regulation of the OIC, offers additional peace-of-mind for foreign visitors and hopefully makes it easier for inbound travellers before departing from their country of origin.”

TAT announces update to compulsory Covid-19 insurance for foreign visitors | News by The Thaiger

The Thai General Association and the Thai Life Assurance Association, plus 16 leading and non-life insurance companies in Thailand are partnering together with the oversight according to regulations from the OIC to offer the Covid-19 insurance protection program to foreign visitors.

  • The insurance policy has been approved by the Thai government and can be used in the Thai visa application process. Coverage begins immediately upon arrival in Thailand.
  • No need for advance payment or out-of-pocket expenses when admitted at private hospitals nationwide. Insurance coverage does not exceed US$100,000 or about 3.16 million Baht.
  • In the case of death from Covid-19 infection, the insurance company will provide a life insurance benefit of USD $100,000 or about 3.16 million Baht to the beneficiary.
  • The insurance premium cost is reasonable, the process is overseen by the OIC, and purchase can be done efficiently online.
  • Thailand’s public health infrastructure and healthcare facilities, as well as healthcare professionals are recognised as some of the best in Asia for treating infectious diseases.

Here’s an example of some of the costs for packages that vary from 30 days to 1 year. The premiums range from 1,600-4,800 Baht for 30 days of coverage; from 2,880-8,640 Baht for 60 days; from 3,840 – 12,160 Baht for 90 days; from 7,680 – 23,040 Baht for 120 days, and from 14,400 – 43,200 Baht for one year.

The Thaiger recommends that, before you make any other travel arrangements about a trip to Thailand, including the booking os flights or ASQ hotels, you should make general enquiries at the Thai Embassy or Consulate-General in your country.

SOURCE: TAT

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