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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
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– 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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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thailand targeting specific Chinese provinces for “tourism bubble”

Jack Burton



Thailand targeting specific Chinese provinces for “tourism bubble” | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Travelwire News

Thailand’s minister of tourism and sports says his ministry will target specific provinces in China in a bid to attract tourists back to the resort island of Phuket as travel restrictions are gradually eased. Pipat Ratchakijprakarn says the ministry will not splash out money launching a tourist campaign all across China but rather target some of the many provinces that have brought Covid-19 under control.

He didn’t specify which provinces, but said Phuket is being eyed to lead the planned “tourism bubbles” comprising Thailand and its selected partners. The primary target is selected Chinese cities and provinces.

“China is the first market with potential, because flying time to Thailand is less than six hours.”

Other markets being discussed include South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and some south east Asian countries.

Before the pandemic, 1 in every 4 foreign visitors to Thailand was Chinese. There were almost 40 million foreign arrivals last year.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Visa amnesty extension for foreigners “being considered”

Jack Burton



Visa amnesty extension for foreigners “being considered” | The Thaiger

Thailand’s Immigration Bureau is considering extending the current visa amnesty for foreigners stranded in Thailand. The Foreign Ministry’s deputy spokesperson made the announcement at this morning’s daily Covid-19 briefing by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

The Cabinet’s last resolution was to grant an automatic visa extension for foreigners stranded here to stay until July 30. The deputy spokesperson asked for patience and said the bureau’s decision on the subject will announced soon.

In April, the Cabinet granted a second automatic visa extension for foreigners for 3 months. The extended amnesty was a bid to prevent long queues at immigration centres around the country. A spokeswoman for the Thai government said then that they wanted to stem the spread of the virus and avoid foreigners having to wait in lines, threatening their own health and that of immigration officials.

Only 1 new case of the virus was reported in Thailand today, a 24 year old woman who returned from Bahrain on June 28 and tested positive in state quarantine in Chon Buri province after showing symptoms.

As of today the total number of confirmed cases in the country since the outbreak stands at 3,180 (2,444 domestic cases and 243 in state quarantine). 3,066 have recovered and been discharged, making the recovery rate 96%. There have been 58 deaths.

Globally, the total number of confirmed cases reached 11 million, up by 179,000 in Thursday (up an additional million in less than a week). 5.9 million people have recovered while total deaths now stand at 524,580.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Medical, wellness tourists will be first to be allowed in: CCSA

The Thaiger & The Nation



Medical, wellness tourists will be first to be allowed in: CCSA | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Royal Thai Embassy

The government plans to allow local tours for overseas medical and wellness tourists beginning this month, and the start of tourism “travel bubbles” in September. Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, said medical and wellness tourists will be welcomed from this month on. If they are properly handled during their 14 day quarantine and treatment at hospitals, they can then go anywhere in the country (their treatments and stay in hospital are considered part of their quarantine time).

“After the 14 day period, tours can be arranged for them to visit anywhere in Thailand.”

This would coincide with the first arrivals of “villa tourism” visitors, booked to stay full-time at specific villas, resorts and hotels that provide full services. How they arrive, go through Immigration, pick up their luggage and catch a taxi without interacting with anyone hasn’t been explained yet.

The government is also arranging for public and private hospitals to cater to medical and wellness visitors. Taweesilp says 62 private hospitals have applied to participate. About 1,700 foreigners from 17 countries have already registered to enter Thailand for medical and wellness services. They will have to arrive by air to ensure effective disease control, according to Dr. Taweesilp.

The government also plans to welcome specific, low-risk groups of tourists through travel bubble arrangements with countries that have controlled Covid-19, as determined by the World Health Organisation and the Thai government.

The Thai government is still repatriating Thai citizens from other countries during this month.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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