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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Military sidelined as Bangkok security locked down

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Military sidelined as Bangkok security locked down | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

City put under state of emergency for 60 days
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The caretaker Cabinet yesterday imposed an emergency decree covering the capital and its outskirts for 60 days. This will give officials more power to handle the anti-government protest, which it claims has been a cause of violence, death and injury.

From today, the entire capital and Nonthaburi, plus parts of Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan will be under emergency law.

To enforce the decree, the authorities have set up a so-called Peacekeeping Centre, replacing the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order, to keep order.

Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul will supervise the centre’s policies, with caretaker Labour Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung as director in command of the centre. Police chief General Adul Saengsingkaew and the Defence Ministry’s permanent secretary Nipat Thonglek have been named as operating directors.

The decision to impose the decree was made by caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and some members of her Cabinet, including Surapong and Chalerm, sources said. In a sign of possible disagreement, there were only military representatives instead of commanders present at the meeting yesterday, sources said. With a lack of military chiefs at the centre, the police under Adul will be at the frontline.

Yingluck said she had instructed operations officials to exercise utmost restraint when handling the protest. Asked if the situation would turn violent, like in 2010, she said the government would mostly have the police force overseeing operations. Protesters should not be worried, as police would operate in accordance with law.

“If the soldiers are put under police command, it will be problematic,” academic Panitan Wattanayagorn said. “I have never seen troops being placed under police [control].”

Surapong reasoned that the emergency decree was necessary given that protesters led by Suthep Thaugsuban had violated the law, raided government agencies and state banks, as well as threatened state officials. Violent incidents were intentional and meant to hurt and kill people, he claimed.

Since the anti-government protest began in November 30, at least nine people have been killed and 554 injured.

The foreign minister said that diplomats and representatives of the international community would be briefed about the situation and the consequences of the emergency decree.

Meanwhile, hardliner Chalerm said he would call a first meeting today to map out an operation plan to handle the current situation as well the February 2 election. He said that the police would not hunt Suthep but wait for him to surrender.

The decree authorises the authorities to announce a curfew, limit people’s movement and even censor the media, National Security Council secretary-general Paradorn Pattanatabutr said earlier.

Officials operating under the decree would get some immunity from legal consequences under the Penal Code, he said.

The emergency decree was declared at about 6.30pm last night at a press briefing instead of a live TV broadcast, as is usual.

Suthep said it was unnecessary for the government to invoke the emergency decree, as this was not an emergency situation. “Protests have continued peacefully over the past three months. We will defy the emergency law,” he said.

Earlier, caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said she did not want to resort to using force to control the situation, deputy government spokesman Parkdehans Himathongkom said.

At present, police and security officials are carefully monitoring rally sites, and not allowing any weapons to be smuggled in, he said.

Yingluck also expressed sympathy for officials who were intimidated, humiliated and harassed by protesters, while the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) yesterday denounced the protesters’ hostile behaviour against a senior official at the Department of Special Investigation.

DSI chief Tarit Pengdith, who is also a member of CAPO, said it was not acceptable that protesters led by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee stormed into the Software Park and belligerently demanded that DSI officials stop working. The protesters also chained the office doors shut on Monday.

Tarit told a press conference that was broadcast live on TV that the PDRC leaders and security guards had set a bad precedent for society by cornering Pol Colonel Nirand Adulsak, chief of Special Cases Division 1, and scaring and scolding him.

Chumphon Junsai, a PDRC leader, led the mob to surround the building to block DSI personnel from working.

Tarit said that they had also gone there believing he was inside. The protesters’ verbal assault forced Nirand to wai the PDRC leaders and guards, begging them not to hurt him, Tarit said. The act was a serious crime and needs to be condemned, he said.

He noted that Nirand could have used a gun to defend himself, but chose not to do so for fear of causing deaths and injuries.

Emergency decree

Effective for 60 days (January 22-March 22)

Agency responsible: Peacekeeping Centre (located at the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Defence, Chaeng Wattana Road)

Supervisor: Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul

Commanding director: Caretaker Labour Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung

Operating directors: Royal Thai Police commander-in-chief Pol General Adul Saengsingkaew and permanent secretary of Defence General Nipat Thonglek

Affected areas: Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani’s Lat Lum Kaeo district and Samut Prakan’s Bang Phli district..

Public hospitals on alert
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The Public Health Ministry has instructed its officials to be on the alert for violent incidents ahead of the February 2 election.

Dr Narong Sahametapat, the ministry’s permanent secretary, Tuesday ordered the heads of provincial public health offices in 18 provinces to be on the look out for clashes and be ready to provide emergency medical attention to the injured.

The Public Health Ministry’s deputy permanent secretary, Dr Wachira Pengjuntr, said he had been monitoring the rallies led by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) in 18 provinces and so far, no casualties had been reported, although in Phatthalung, public health officials have had to move to another office.

“Some provincial public health offices have been shut, while some officials have moved to work in other places. The protesters are just making symbolic moves,” he said.

Dr Narong Apikulwanich, chief of the ministry’s emergency medical services operation, said his agency has not received any reports of violence during the PDRC rally to shut down several government offices in Bangkok, such as the Government Savings Bank and Export-Import Bank.

As many as 272 people have been injured and four killed in violent clashes since December 26. Up to 25 of the injured are still being treated in hospital.

PDRC tightens security at Victory Monument
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) yesterday installed 28 security ca

— 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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