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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: NSC rejects BRN demands at Deep South peace talks; Yingluck slams agencies for abusing power

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: NSC rejects BRN demands at Deep South peace talks; Yingluck slams agencies for abusing power | The Thaiger
PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

NSC rejects BRN demands at peace talks
Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The Thai authorities on Monday rejected demands by the southern Muslim separatists in their second round of talks, but both sides agreed to hold another meeting on June 13.

National Security Council secretary general Lt-General Paradorn Pattanatabut, who headed the Thai side in the dialogue with the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), said that the demands raised by the group’s liaison officer Hasan Taib were turned down by the authorities.

Paradorn, speaking to reporters after the meeting that lasted almost seven hours, said the Thai authorities would not agree whether to consider the demands by the BRN.

The five proposals were made on Sunday via a YouTube video message by key BRN leaders.

In the YouTube clip, Taib and another BRN leader Abdul Karim Khalib demanded that:

– Malaysia’s role be upgraded to mediator in the ongoing peace dialogue, from merely facilitator as is currently the case,

– Only BRN-represented members take part in the process,

– Members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation or NGOs observe the next round of meetings,

– All suspects detained for terror attacks be released and all warrants revoked, and

– The BRN be recognised wholly as a liberator, not a separatist organisation.

Paradorn said on Monday that the Malaysian authorities insisted that they would still act as facilitator.

He also said the Thai side asked the BRN leaders taking part in the talk to make sure that their group’s insurgency agents would end their violent attacks in the southern border region.

Both sides agreed to meet again on June 13, according to Paradorn.

PM slams agencies for abusing power
Phuket Gazette


PHUKET: Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday heated up the ongoing confrontation between the government – backed by its MPs and supporters – and the Constitutional Court. In an unprecedented action, she assailed independent agencies, accusing them of abusing their power.

The PM has never publicly made such strong remarks against coup leaders or independent agencies.

Yingluck said Thailand headed downwards after her brother, ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra, was overthrown in a military coup in September 2006.

“Thailand lost track and the people spent almost a decade regaining their democratic freedom,” she said in her speech at the 7th Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies in Ulan Bator, Mongolia.

The prime minister said she had raised the matter for the benefit of the country, and not just her family.

“Many who don’t know me say, ‘Why complain?’ It is a normal process that governments come and go. And if my family and I were the only ones suffering, I might just let it be. But it is not,” Yingluck said.

“Thailand suffered a setback and lost international credibility. Rule of law in the country was destroyed. Projects and programmes started by my brother’s government that came from the people’s wishes were removed. The people felt their rights and liberties were wrongly taken away,” she said. Yingluck also said that despite her political party’s election victory in 2011, “it is clear that elements of the anti-democratic regime still exist. The new Constitution, drafted under the post-coup government, put in mechanisms to restrict democracy.”

She pointed her finger at independent agencies. “The so-called independent agencies have abused the power that should belong to the people, for the benefit of the few rather than for Thai society at large,” she said.

Opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday said Yingluck should clarify her roles as Thaksin’s sister and Thailand’s prime minister.

“She should clearly distinguish her roles as a sister and the prime minister. She may feel sorry for her brother being overthrown from power, but that’s a personal matter. It is also not right to defend her brother, who is a fugitive wanted by the Thai authorities,” said Democrat Party chief Abhisit.

He said Yingluck omitted the fact that Thaksin violated the law and she failed to mention the good points of the post-coup 2007 Constitution. He added that the PM also tried to mislead people about problems in Thailand, including the provocation by protesters rallying in front of the Constitutional Court office that were spreading inaccurate information.

Meanwhile, tension rose at the Constitutional Court yesterday as a group of demonstrators appeared in support of the court’s judges, in opposition to a red-shirt group that has been rallying for nine consecutive days demanding the judges resign.

About 100 members of the Motherland Protection Organisation and Network came to the Constitutional Court to provide moral support to the nine judges.

The demonstrations were led by Wirat Ratanachart and Wanthongchai Chamnarnkit.

The group arrived at the court from the back of the Ratchaburi Direkrit Building, which is the office of the Constitutional Court inside the Government Complex, to avoid conflict with the red-shirt group protesting against the court in front of the complex. Wirat read from the statement that his group wanted to encourage the nine judges to continue working to defend justice so the community could bank on them.

The Pro-Democracy People’s Radio Group, on the other hand, insisted the nine judges must resign immediately. The group, led by Pongpisit Kongsena, has been camping in front of Government Complex for nine days after the court agreed to review the constitutionality of the bill to amend Article 68. The amendment would prohibit the Constitutional Court from receiving petitions from the public directly, requiring petitions to be channelled through the attorney-general.

Pongpisit said the protest would continue until the nine judges resigned. He said his group would today campaign for Thais to wear black shirts with the words “shameful judges” printed on them.

In a related development, Pol Maj-General Sangiam Samranrat, an official attached to the PM’s Office, filed a complaint with the Crime Suppression Division, alleging the nine judges were causing a public disturbance.

Former senator Ruangkrai Leekijwatana alleged that the current Constitutional Court president, Wasant Sroypisuth, should be disqualified as chief of the court as the Constitutional Court judges have never been endorsed by HM The King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Two police officers ‘dismissed’ pending inquiries
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Metropolitan Police chief Khamronwit Thoopkrajang yesterday temporarily dismissed two policemen from civil service pending investigations.

One officer from Thong Lor Police Station was accused of raping a Laotian woman while he was sidelining as taxi driver on April 21 and another officer from Din Daeng station was accused of taking a female drug suspect from a checkpoint to a motel on the night of April 26, instead of taking her to the station for a urine test.

Khamronwit said fact-finding committees were set to look into the two allegations within three days.

Given that a report from acting Metropolitan Police Area 5 chief Anuchai Lekbumrung said initial inquiries found grounds suggesting w

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand

Researchers claim Thailand’s bats not responsible for Covid pandemic

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Researchers claim Thailand’s bats not responsible for Covid pandemic | The Thaiger

Thai researchers are claiming that horseshoe bats are not responsible for transmitting the Covid virus to humans. Supaporn Wacharapluesadee, a researcher with the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases-Health Science Centre, says hat even though the bats have tested for a coronavirus, it is not the strain that is transmissible to humans.

“They are in the same family [of coronaviruses], but they do not cause Covid-19. As of now, there is no evidence to show that the strain we found in bats [in Chachoengsao] can be transmitted to humans.”

Supaporn is an expert on emerging infectious diseases in bats and made the statement after a Russian news agency claimed that researchers found a new strain of coronaviruses in a Thai bat colony which closely resembles the Sars-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19.

Supaporn admitted that a research team from the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases-Health Science Centre is studying emerging pandemic threats in bat populations, she said the study’s findings were misrepresented.

Rungnapar Pattanavibool, deputy chief of the DNP, says the department is aware that wild animals can transmit diseases to humans and they are working with other agencies to check imported animals for such diseases.

But Supaporn insists that public fears over the horseshoe bats are unwarranted as she says there is no evidence that the bats carrying a similar strain of Covid can transmit the strain to humans. The new strain’s genetic code does, however, feature a 91.5% match with Sars-CoV-2.

And, that’s not to say the bats cannot spread other strains of coronaviruses as scientists say it is likely that bats across Asia are doing the same thing. Infectious diseases such as SARS, MERS, Hendra, Ebola and Nipah, are thought to have emerged from bats, making research into Asian bats all the more necessary.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Crime

Another drug bust near the Mekong River, 500 kilograms of cannabis seized

Caitlin Ashworth

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Another drug bust near the Mekong River, 500 kilograms of cannabis seized | The Thaiger
PHOTO: MGR Online

In another drug bust in Northeastern province Nakhon Phanom, police arrested a man and seized 500 kilograms of compressed cannabis. Just yesterday, border patrol police in the province seized 920 kilograms of compressed cannabis from a boat on the Mekong River. In both cases, police suspect the cannabis came from Laos, just across the river.

Police say they searched a black Nissan Navara pickup around 1am in the province’s Na Kae district. Police opened the truck’s bed cover and found 12 sacks with 500 packages of dried, compacted cannabis. Each package of cannabis weighed 1 kilogram, similar to the previous bust on the river.

28 year old Saravut Butngam was arrested. Saravut previously worked in construction, but has recently been unemployed. He allegedly told police that a man called him with an opportunity to make 50,000 baht. He was told to drive the pickup truck from a petrol station in the Na Kae district to a specified location in the neighbouring province Sakon Nakhon, police say. From there, another driver would take over.

Border police commander Sippanan Sornkhunkaew says he suspects the cannabis seized in the province was trafficked from Laos across the Mekong River. He says he believes the cannabis was planned to be trafficked to Southern Thailand and then smuggled across the border, possibly to Malaysia.

On Sunday morning, police confiscated 920 kilograms of cannabis from a boat on the Mekong River. When police approached the boat, men jumped off onto a smaller boat and fled the scene. The dried, compacted cannabis was wrapped in 1 kilogram packages.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

How to Wai like a Thai, with Som | VIDEO

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How to Wai like a Thai, with Som | VIDEO | The Thaiger

The wai, the polite gesture Thais use for greetings, farewells, prayers and even apologies, dates back to the 12th century, where both hands clasped together in front proved that you weren’t holding a weapon. That’s the folklore anyway.

Recently, the greeting has increased in general popularity around the world as a anti-Covid ‘safe’ replacement for the western handshake. So, how, when and with whom should you wai? Here’s a few easy tips to learn how to wai. Today Som teaches us some of the basics of the lovely Thai ‘wai’ (pronounced ‘why’).

As a foreigner you don’t look Thai, dress Thai and you probably can’t eat full-strength Thai curry either. So this means you’re exempt from Thailand’s most nuanced courtesies. There’s a lot of subtlety in the Thai wai so, chances are, you’re not going to get it right. But your best efforts will be appreciated.

How to wai when you’re uncertain? At a minimum, when someone wais to you, return the gesture with a kind smile and an acknowledging nod. In restaurants and shops: You’ll often receive a wai from shop and restaurant staff. It’s not necessary to wai in return to anyone providing you with a service of this nature. Instead, a nice (grateful) smile is plenty. To children / those younger than you:

Also, there’s no need to wai to a child or anyone who’s clearly younger than you – so, baby boomers, you’re increasingly in the clear! The wai is a mark of respect to elders.

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