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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Kwanchai shooting political, say police; Protests spread, unfazed by emergency decree

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Kwanchai shooting political, say police; Protests spread, unfazed by emergency decree | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Political motive suspected in shooting of red-shirt leader Kwanchai
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Police suspect politics was the motive for the shooting attack that injured top red-shirt hard-liner Kwanchai Praipana in his home province of Udon Thani yesterday.

Kwanchai, a local radio presenter, has played an active role in mobilising supporters of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) in the Northeast.

Kwanchai was reading a newspaper in front of his home near the Khon Rak Udon group radio station at 10am when at least two assailants in a pick-up truck fired 42 bullets at him with an AK-47 assault rifle from about 100 metres outside the fence.

Udon Thani police chief Pol Maj-General Boonleu Korbangyang said the Khon Rak Udon group chairman was wounded in his right arm and leg and taken to Aek Udon Hospital. As red-shirt supporters crowded the hospital to get updates, Kwanchai was reported to be stable and recovering. Police also set up checkpoints on a stretch of road in Nong Khai heading towards the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge, to which the suspects’ truck was reportedly heading.

Boonleu said Kwanchai’s house was previously attacked by two dud hand grenades.

Kwanchai had organised several movements and forums in the region to support the February 2 general election in opposition to the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC)’s demand for the resignation of the caretaker government and national reform before the election.

Kwanchai has a number of rivals, including several red-shirt groups not under his supervision, and Udon Thani politicians. He also made negative comments recently against senior military officers.

Another red-shirt hard-liner, Yossawaris Chuklom, aka Jeng Dokchik, said Kwanchai’s shooting might be a result of the ongoing political conflict because Kwanchai was very vocal in his opinions.

“I want to tell those behind this attack that we are all Thais. Even though we have different political points of view, there is no need to use violence like this shooting. I think we are in ‘violence mode’, and even I have to be cautious from now on,” he added.

Govt briefs diplomats on aims of decree; US calls for restraint
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: In imposing the emergency decree, the government’s aim is to limit violence and to empower security agencies to maintain peace and public safety – not to quell protests, foreign diplomats were told yesterday.

Foreign Ministry permanent secretary Sihasak Phuangketkeow yesterday invited diplomats from 65 countries and eight international organisations to hear an explanation of the government’s intention in declaring a state of emergency on Tuesday.

“We will continue to exercise prudence and discretion in solving problems and will not deprive the people of their rights,” he said.

He said the government has also requested that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights send observers to monitor the government’s actions in light of the state of emergency, which he said would adhere to international standards. In a separate development, the United States on Tuesday urged all sides in Thailand to show restraint and refrain from violence as the US ally imposed emergency rule to tackle mass protests.

Washington condemned violence and called for an investigation into incidents including grenade attacks that have killed one person and injured dozens more.

“We urge all sides to refrain from violence, exercise restraint, and respect the rule of law,” US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement.

“We encourage all involved to commit to sincere dialogue to resolve political differences peacefully and democratically.”

PDRC targets EC officials outside capital
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: With the anti-government rally in Bangkok now being held under a state of emergency, People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) supporters elsewhere, especially in the South, yesterday stepped up pressure on the Election Commission (EC) to call off the general election next month.

In Songkhla’s Muang district, PDRC demonstrators surrounded the Border Patrol Police Region 4 (Ramkhamhaeng Camp), where Election Commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn and his team were meeting with Songkhla EC director Chokchai Phonwattana and officials to discuss preparations for Sunday’s advance balloting and the February 2 vote.

Chokchai said some state offices and the community centre would be used as venues. However, applications for running in the constituency MP race could not be completed yet due to the protest.

He said he and other officials were worried that chaos could break out on election day due to protests.

Somchai urged everyone to perform his duty and keep the central office posted about the protest situation until election day for better assessment.

The protesters then called for Somchai to come out in person to accept their request for “reform before election”, and accept a flower basket. However, he sent a representative instead reportedly because his position required him to be impartial. The protesters later marched back to their base in front of Songkhla City Hall.

In the afternoon, Somchai was subjected to more boos and whistles as he inspected preparations for advance voting in Phatthalung and was told by the provincial EC director that some documents went missing because they were forced to move operations three times.

In Narathiwat’s Sungai Kolok district, 2,500 PDRC protesters marched to the district public health office, municipality office and district office to invite officials to stop working for three days.

The group reportedly wanted to prevent household-registration officials from distributing voter lists to the 77 polling stations in the district.

In Yala, PDRC protesters encouraged officials to leave City Hall as they blocked the premises’ four entrances.

The protesters also marched to the provincial offices of the departments of Livestock Development and Irrigation and the Rubber Replanting Aid Fund, as well as the TOT branch in Muang Yala, to seek their closures.

In Nakhon Si Thammarat’s Muang district, schools were shut by protesters, who were joined by students and parents, as well as state offices – except for police stations and hospitals.

Similar protests could also be seen in Chon Buri, Samut Prakan’s Bang Phli district, Ratchaburi and Trang.

Rice row could see Phichit leaders join Bangkok protest
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Upset at the breakdown of the rice-pledging scheme, local leaders in Phichit are considering joining the People’s Democratic Reform Committee’s anti-government protest to pacify farmers who have not been paid for their crops.

Payments to farmers participating in the ruling Pheu Thai Party’s flagship populist programme have been delayed repeatedly for months.

The Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) has said the government has not ye

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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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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World

The World’s 50 Best Foods… Thai massaman curry tops the list

Maya Taylor

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The World’s 50 Best Foods… Thai massaman curry tops the list | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Young Sok Yun on Flickr

The humble Thai massaman curry has topped a list of the World’s 50 Best Foods, compiled by the CNN Travel team. Thailand’s smooth coconut milk and potato-based curry (add meat, tofu or vegetables of your choice) comes in at Number 1, with 2 other popular Thai dishes also making it into the World’s Best food list.

The hot and spicy shrimp/prawn soup, Tom Yum Goong, comes in at Number 8, with papaya salad, aka somtam, in 46th place (mai phet please!) Tell us your favourite Thai dish, and why, in the comments section (below).

CNN Travel says its staff conducted extensive research on global cuisine to find the 50 best dishes ever created. Nice work if you can get it…

Italian pizza, Mexican chocolate, Japanese sushi, Chinese Peking duck, Penang Assam laksa, Malaysia and German Hamburger also top the delicious list.

Here’s what the writers had to say about the 3 Thai dishes that made the top taste grade…

First Place, Massaman curryEmphatically the king of curries, and perhaps the king of all foods. Spicy, coconutty, sweet and savoury. Even the packet sauce you buy from the supermarket can make the most delinquent of cooks look like a Michelin potential. Thankfully, someone invented rice, with which diners can mop up the last drizzles of curry sauce. “The Land of Smiles” isn’t just a marketing catch-line. It’s a result of being born in a land where the world’s most delicious food is sold on nearly every street corner.

Eighth Place, Tom Yum Kung

This best food Thai masterpiece teems with shrimp, mushrooms, tomatoes, lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves. Usually loaded with coconut milk and cream, the hearty soup unifies a host of favourite Thai tastes: sour, salty, spicy and sweet. Best of all is the price: cheap.

The World’s 50 Best Foods... Thai massaman curry tops the list | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Richard Lee on Flickr

46th Place, Som Tam/Papaya salad

To prepare Thailand’s most famous salad, pound garlic and chilies with a mortar and pestle. Toss in tamarind juice, fish sauce, peanuts, dried shrimp, tomatoes, lime juice, sugar cane paste, string beans and a handful of grated green papaya. Grab a side of sticky rice. Variations include those made with crab (som tam pu) and fermented fish sauce (som tam pla ra), but none matches the flavour and simple beauty of the original.

The World’s 50 Best Foods... Thai massaman curry tops the list | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: www.needpix.com

SOURCE: Thai Residents | CNN Travel

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