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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Obec bows over schools; Chalerm to head BRN peace talks; Hot rods a mystery; Bomb blast ‘from the heart’

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Pupils at small schools to use facilities at other sites: OBEC
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The Office of Basic Education Commission (Obec) bowed to public pressure yesterday, with Obec secretary-general Chinnapat Bhumirat announcing no small schools would be closed this academic year. Instead, pupils will be moved between 1,000 schools to get more efficient use of facilities.

Education Minister Phongthep Thepkanchana has ordered a new joint committee, to be chaired by former deputy education minister Sirikorn Maneerin, with Chinnapat as deputy, to gather opinions on and find solutions for small and alternative schools, before reporting back to the ministry.

Chinnapat met yesterday with representatives of some 200 parents and students who were rallying under the banner of the Association for Thai Alternative Education Council and the Community School Network outside the Education Ministry. Upset at news some directors of schools with less than 60 pupils had been removed from their posts by educational zone offices, the group called for a halt to the policy of closing and merging small schools, pending proper consultation between education authorities and the public.

Chinnapat said that 178 of the 182 primary education zones outside Bangkok had submitted plans to Obec to develop some 3,500 schools with less than 60 pupils. These would be condensed into a master plan for small-school development to be proposed to the ministry today. No small schools would be closed down, apart from schools that had no fresh intake of students in three primary education zones. The closed schools’ facilities would be used to create nurseries or non-formal education centres, he said.

Other schools, Chinnapat said, would be divided into two groups: 2,200 small schools, including 300 located in “special and necessary” areas such as islands, would undergo intensive learning-teaching development, while the other 1,000 would rotate students between their schools.

Chatchawal Thongdeelert, head of the Association for Thai Alternative Education Council, said its five seminars in March and May found people want the ministry to reduce its limits on public schools and promote participation by all in education management while the ministry adopts a role of supervising and following-up. They wanted curricula and assessments to be flexible and suited to social context and learners’ differences and an institute for education management and development according to article 12 of the National Education Act.

Resident Supat Khanthom from Roi Et’s Pathumrat district said she was worried that Ban Som Hong School, which had 49 students and three teachers, where her youngest child attends kindergarten, would be closed because the school director was removed. “If I have to send my kid to a city school, I’ll have to pay Bt1,000 in transport costs a month. We are farmers. If this school near our home is closed, we’ll be affected,” she said.

Chiang Mai’s education development for children and youth project member Boonpravee Thaweepanarat said if schools in mountains were closed villagers wouldn’t send their kids to city schools because they couldn’t afford transport expenses. So kids would suffer a lack of access to education, which would lead to problems such as drugs and human trafficking. She called for education assessment to be flexible and include cultural and vocational skills from the community’s participation in education management.

Chalerm gets PM’s nod to lead Thai delegation in BRN-NSC talks
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Following a fresh mandate from Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung said yesterday that he would replace the National Security Council (NSC) chief and lead a Thai delegation in the coming round of peace talks with insurgent representatives, scheduled for June 13 in Kuala Lumpur.

Chalerm said he had been following the peace efforts and would maintain his stance against the demand of the Barisan Revolusi Nasional-Coordinate (BRN-C) for territorial separation – a Patani state or an autonomous Patani metropolitan area.

“These drastic changes will no longer be discussed in any future meetings,” he said.

If the June 13 meeting ends in deadlock, Chalerm said he would consider seeking a meeting with Malaysia’s interior minister to discuss further steps in the peace efforts.

Asked about the practicality of dialogue while violence continued despite a promise by the BRN-C to rein in the attacks, Chalerm said no one – not even the BRN-C – could control insurgents who operated independently.

He added that the dialogue for peace sent a positive message to the world that Thai authorities were keen to find a non-violent solution.

“Thailand is a single, inseparable state, and we are always ready to listen to the insurgents and talk with them. This is what we want to tell the international community, and that is why we still need to go ahead with the dialogue,” he said.

Chalerm added that he was being briefed about the situation and the previous talks attended by NSC secretary-general Paradorn Pattanathabutr and two key members of the Thai delegation. However, he declined to say whether they would accompany him to the June 13 meeting.

Meanwhile, security officials shot dead two suspected insurgents after a shoot-out in Yala province that followed a security blockade in Bannang Sata district.

One of the dead, Yukipuelee Jehdemae, was purportedly a leader in a bomb attack in 2010 that killed dedicated and much-loved police colonel, Somphian Ek-somya. The other victim in the attack was identified as Redawa Laeha, a Muang district resident.

Burned out cars a mystery : police
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Officers of Provincial Police Region 3 are still looking for the owner of four luxury cars that caught fire on Wednesday in Nakhon Ratchasima’s Pak Chong district during transportation on a semi-trailer truck. No one has claimed ownership of the burned-out vehicles.

Altogether six cars were being transported, but only four of them burned in a mysterious fire, including a Lamborghini, a Bentley, a BMW and a Mercedes-Benz. The total value of the four cars is thought to be in the region of Bt100 million.

Investigations have so far not been able to link the cars to any illegal imports or tax evasions.

It was initially believed that the car owner was a wealthy person in the lower Northeast of Thailand.

Provincial Police Region 3 deputy chief Pol Col Panu Bunarasiri said yesterday that A-ngoon Jeungsaengmanee Co Ltd in Bangkok’s Min Buri district was hired to transport the cars to a gas station in Si Sa Ket. Police are investigating the scene for more clues and a possible cause of the fire. Luxury car experts were also called in to help police check the cars’ origin and whether they had been imported illegally. The Department of Revenue also sent officials to join the investigation to identify the cars’ origin.

Meanwhile, forensic expert Pol Col Seri Chanprathin led a team to inspect the burned-out cars at Nakhon Ratchasima’s Klang Dong police station yesterday and said the probe would take time as some evidence needed to be analy

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Poll: Work from home popular, reduces Covid-19, helps gov’t

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Working from home is believed to help slow the spread of Covid-19 among other advantages. (via PxHere)

As far as strategies to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infections goes, work from home policies may be the most popular, far more liked than masks and lockdowns. In a recent poll by Suan Dusit Rajabhat University, 1,533 people in Thailand were asked about their opinions on working from home. The majority of responses were well in favour of it.

The Suan Dusit poll was conducted online and found that when asked about various opinions and attitudes towards working from home, nearly 75% of respondents believed that staying home to work made them feel safer and could prevent Covid-19 from spreading more. Nearly half also felt like working from home was a good way to cooperate with government policies regarding Covid-19.

Nearly 43% of those polled were working from home. Only about 23% of people never worked from home, while just under 35% of people worked in some combination of home and at their office or place of business. Just over 40% of respondents said they lacked the equipment at home that would allow them to work from home.

While people generally like to work from home, those surveyed did believe that there were pros and cons to it. 44% felt working from home gave them more personal time for themselves and more time with their families. 88% believed it had a positive effect on the Covid-19 pandemic and 70% loved how working from home reduced travel and commute costs. Over 60% viewed it as a way to help the government in their struggle against Covid-19.

On the downside, about 66% of those surveyed complained that they saw an increase in their household bills as their usage of water, electricity and internet went up. 62% had trouble without their normal work equipment and 46% said slow communication was an issue.

Oddly though, when asked which they preferred, only 18% completely favoured working from home, while double the amount preferred the office and 37% liked both equally. Just under 9% gave no opinion. Overall though, work from home as a Covid-19 fighting policy had a success rating of 70% by those polled.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths, provincial totals

Tim Newton

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The CCSA have announced 2,302 new infections and 24 Covid-related deaths over the past 24 hours. There’s now been a total of 101,447 infections and 589 deaths since the start of Thailand’s tally on January 18, 2020. More than 64,000 are registered as ‘recovered’. 35,055 people remain under treatment at public and field hospitals.

More news briefs on the Covid situation below.

Here are the provincial totals for Sunday as reported from the past 24 hours.

Covid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaigerβ€’ A new study highlights the often maligned effectiveness of the Sinovac and AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, showing they are both quite effective in boosting the immune system against the Coronavirus. The Center of Excellence in Clinical Virology of the Faculty of Medicine at Chulalongkorn University conducted the study that found that one month after the first shot of AstraZeneca, over 97% of people had developed immune responses. Results were not yet in for the second injection.

Three weeks after the first injection of the Sinovac vaccine, just under 66% of people had developed immune responses, but four weeks after the second injection, that number jumped to an impressive 99.49%.

Full report HERE.

β€’ Indonesia is temporarily halting distribution of a single batch of AstraZeneca vaccine to check for “sterility and toxicity” The temporary action follows reports of a few adverse effects after immunisations.

The batch consists of 448,480 vaccine doses that arrived in the southeast Asian nation last month, part of a delivery of more than 3.85 million doses. Some of the doses have been distributed in part of the capital, Jakarta, and the province of North Sulawesi.

β€’ Starting Monday, restaurants in Bangkok, Nonthaburi (immediately north of Bangkok), Pathum Thani, and Samut Prakan (south east of Bangkok) will be allowed to offer dine-in services at 25% of seating capacity until 9pm.

Restaurants in other 17 Red Zone provinces will be allowed to stay open until 11pm without seating limitations. Restaurants in the other Orange Zone provinces will be allowed to resume “normal operations”, though alcoholic beverages may not be served anywhere across the country. In the Red Zones, schools can open as normal with permission from local and provincial authorities. In the Orange Zone schools can open without permission but under the latest rules.

β€’ The Office of the PM has dismissed as false online rumours that Her Majesty the Queen was infected with Covid-19.

The office urged people to monitor Covid-19 news from a reliable channel, such as the Facebook page of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

β€’ Chonburi and Chiang Mai are being removed rom the dark red zone, or maximum control area, due to an improvement in the Covid situation in those 2 areas.

β€œIf this proposal is approved by the prime minister, there would only be 4 provinces designated as dark red zone, namely Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan.”

Chonburi, with only 33 new infections yesterday, will be moved to the orange zone, or medium control area, joining 16 other provinces… Kanchanaburi, Chachoengsao, Tak, Nakhon Pathom, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Prachuab Khiri Khan, Ayutthaya, Phetchaburi, Yala, Ranong, Rayong, Ratchaburi, Samut Sakhon, Songkhla and Surat Thani.

Phuket was also downgraded into the Orange Zone category.

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thailand’s colour zones change from Monday – some restrictions ease

Tim Newton

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PHOTO: CCSA

From tomorrow we’ll see the resumption of limited dine-in services in restaurants located in the remaining 4 Dark Red zones of Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan.

Restaurants in these 4 provinces will now be able to resume dining on premises, until 9pm. But they can only seat 25% of their full capacity. So, a table for 4 can only seat 1 person, while takeaways can still be provided until 11pm. The serving of alcohol in these areas is still prohibited.

Schools and other educational institutions in Dark Red zones also remain prohibited from holding in-person classes and activities in their buildings.

Meanwhile, Chiang Mai and Chon Buri were removed from the list of Dark Red zones. Currently, there are 17 provinces considered Red zones, where dine-in services are permitted until 11pm, without the serving of alcohol. Phuket was downgraded to an Orange Zone.

Thailand still had no provinces categorised as Green or even Yellow yet, but hopefully, the downward trend continues. The zone layout now is: 4 Dark Red zones, 17 Red zones, 56 Orange zones for 77 provinces total.

The updated province colour-coded zones are…

DARK RED ZONE
Bangkok Nonthaburi
Pathum Thani Samat Prakan
RED ZONE
Ayutthaya Chonburi Chachoengsao Kanchanaburi Nakhon Pathom Nakhon Si Thammarat
Narathiwat Prachuap Khiri Khan Phetchaburi Ranong Rayong
Ratchaburi Samut Sakhon Songkhla Surat Thani Tak Yala
ORANGE ZONE
Amnat Charoen Ang Thong Bueng Kan Buriram Chai Nat Chaiyaphum Chanthaburi Chiang Mai Chiang Rai Chumphon Kalasin Kamphaeng Phet Khon Kaen Krabi Lampang Lamphun Loei Lopburi Mae Hong Son
Maha Sarakham Mukdahan Nakhon Nayok Nakhon Phanom Nakhon Ratchasima Nakhon Sawan Nan Nong Bua Lamphu Nong Kai Pattani Phang Nga Phatthalung Phayao Phetchabun Phichit Phitsanulok Phrae Phuket
Prachinburi Roi Et Sa Kaeo Sakon Nakhon Samut Songkram Saraburi Satun Sing Buri Sisaket Sukhothai Suphanburi Surin Trang Trat Ubon Ratchathani Udon Thani Uthai Thani Uttaradit Yasothon

There may still be some provincial-centric restrictions remaining. Keep up with your local media for the latest announcements.

SOURCE:PR Thai Government

 

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