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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: School closures bite; Forecast for abundance; Seh Daeng revival; Sudarat says no

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

School closings pressure parents
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Enrolling students every other year at primary school level could be one solution to the government’s controversial policy of closing small schools, a leading educator told a Bangkok seminar yesterday.

Other proposals included teaching three two-year classes, utilising self-centred teaching methods (dubbed constant curriculum) and transferring students to nearby larger schools, said Prof Theera Rooncharoen, chairman of the Career Development for Educational Management Association of Thailand.

“The quality of education does not always mean good grades. It also means happiness of students, their being good morally and academically,” he said.

Setbacks to the existing public school system were frequent transfers of teachers, lack of teachers’ professionalism and good academic backgrounds, poor management, lack of teachers’ development and under use of technology in supporting education, he added.

One school hit by the government’s policy is Baan Khoke Mamuang School. With 10 students, it’s the smallest in Trang province.

With the start of the school term just two days away, acting director Somphorn Bunsongnak said a decision was made to send the students to Baan Khlong Teng School, 3km away. However, transportation for them has not been arranged. The school’s budget is Bt150 for daily transport, or Bt15 per student, is not enough for a motorcycle taxi. “I have to keep visiting the parents to convince them to take their children to the school,” said Somphorn, who is one of the school’s only two teachers.

In Ranong, 10 of the 86 schools have only students from migrants, said Phayab Osoth-charoen, an official with the provincial education office. “The office does not mind them studying in Thai-subsidised schools, but closing them or merging them with larger schools seems a better way to manage education,” he added.

At least five Ranong schools are slated for closure, regardless of the students’ nationalities.

Forecast for abundant crops, rain
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn yesterday presided over the Royal Ploughing Ceremony at Sanam Luang. HRH Princess Srirasmi accompanied him.
Predictions from the ceremony suggested abundant crops and huge rainfall this year.

Paddy fields in upland areas would prosper while those in low lying areas may face some damage, according to the predictions.

The forecasts were based on the choices of food selected by the Sacred Oxen, Phra Kho Fah and Phra Kho Sai, and a fabric piece chosen by the Lord of the Ploughing Ceremony.

The sacred oxen were offered seven bowls containing grass, paddy, corn, sesame seeds, soy bean, water and liquor. They chose to eat corn and grass.

Phraya Raek Na was offered three pieces of fabric, each with a different length. The one he selected proved to be one metre long.

The Royal Ploughing Ceremony ran from 8.19am to 8.59am yesterday.

Permanent secretary of the Agriculture Ministry Chawalit Chukhachorn served as Phraya Raek Na or the Lord of the Ploughing Ceremony.

This annual ceremony is held in May every year to boost the morale of farmers.

The Rice Department handed out 1,414 kilograms of rice seeds to the people gathering at Sanam Luang. The seeds came from the royal fields. Farmers usually keep the seeds for good luck.

Police to discuss slaying of Seh Daeng
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The police team probing the fatal shooting of red-shirt chief guard Maj Gen Khattiya “Seh Daeng” Sawasdiphol will meet next week to discuss progress on the case.

“We will try to wrap up the investigation as soon as possible,” Pol Maj-General Anuchai Lekbamrung, deputy of the Metropolitan Police and team head, said yesterday.

Khattiya was hit once in the head by a high-velocity bullet on May 13, 2010 while giving an interview to reporters in front of Silom subway station. He died four days later at Watchira Hospital.

Anuchai said his panel has completed inquiries into 32 out the 37 killings assigned to it, leaving only Khattiya and four other cases to finish.

Pheu Thai MP Khattiya, Seh Daeng’s daughter, and her sister gathered with 200 red shirts near the King Rama VI Monument to make merit on the third anniversary of his assassination.

At the spot where Seh Daeng was shot, the group placed a banner calling for those responsible to be identified.

In two other cases, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva and MP Suthep Thaugsuban will report today to the Department of Special Investigation to acknowledge charges of authorising the murder of Kunakorn Srisuwan, then 14 years old, and the attempted murder of Samorn Maithong, a van driver who was wounded, when Abhisit was the prime minister and Suthep was his deputy, during the red-shirt uprising three years ago.

Both Abhisit and Suthep, who were in charge of the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation, are likely to face similar scenarios, as prosecutors have sought 18 indictments related to 91 deaths during the political chaos three years ago. A conviction for authorising the killing of others is punishable by death.

Abhisit and Suthep were summoned on December 13 to hear a charge of authorising the killing of Pan Kamkong, a taxi driver and member of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship.

They both rejected the charges, which they said were politically motivated.

Police chief plays down attack on Thai Rath
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The weekend attack at the offices of Thai Rath newspaper was instigated by a “third party” but not aimed at hurting anyone, Metropolitan Police Bureau chief Pol Lt-General Khamronwit Thoopkrachang said yesterday.

The attacker merely wanted to stir things up and make it appear to be a political issue, he suggested.

The security box in front of the newspaper’s offices in Chatuchak district had been subjected to a firecracker and petanque-ball attack early Saturday morning.

Siroj Mingkwan, president of the Crime Reporters and Photographers Association of Thailand, said the attack looked to be of criminal intent.

Following the attack, Bang Sue police would check 40 security cameras in the vicinity of the Thai Rath daily’s premises, after a small incendiary device and two petanque balls were thrown by suspects at a guard box on one of the paper’s main gates, said superintendent Pol Colonel Sunthorn Kongklam.

Thai Rath’s own security cameras were not functioning at the time of the attack, which took place early Saturday morning. Two petanque balls have been sent for testing at the Scientific Crime Detection Division. Fingerprints had already been discovered and DNA tests would be carried out to secure further evidence.

Metropolitan Police Bureau 2 deputy commander Pol Colonel Charoen Srisulak said Pol Maj-General Parinya Chansuriya, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Commission, had appointed a team to find additional evidence at the scene, and would call a meeting

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Pfizer vaccines on the way, Phuket’s July re-opening | May 7

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Disease Control Department back-peddled saying that that foreigners living in Thailand WILL also be vaccinated, governor of Chiang Mai is calling for the ban on dining in at restaurants in the northern city to be lifted and for eateries to be allowed to serve food on-site until 9pm, Tourism and Sports Minister insists the southern island of Phuket must record zero Covid-19 cases if a planned July re-opening is to go ahead, and 150 million baht worth of methamphetamine pills were impounded in Nakhon Phanom yesterday

 

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Economy

Stimulus package gives more back the more you spend

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: A new stimulus package aims to get the middle class spending. (via Flickr - Marco Verch)

A new stimulus package targeting middle and high-income people aims at increasing spending by offering more e-voucher the more you spend. Ying Chai Ying Dai, which translates to “the more you spend the more you get”, will reward those who spend between 46,000 and 70,000 baht with a 7,000 baht e-voucher. This part of the government’s 225 billion baht stimulus package hopes to encourage 4 million qualifying middle- to upper-class people to spend more money by refunding 10-15% back, according to the Finance Ministry’s Fiscal Policy Office.

People wishing to participate must register and make their purchases through a government e-wallet system. The system works by refunding 10 to 15% of purchases with a maximum of 7,000 baht. So at 15%, a person who spent 46,000 baht would receive back the full 7,000. On the 10% scheme, 70,000 baht in spending would be necessary to reach 7,000 cashback. No details were available on what determines the percentage level.

An additional 2,000 baht will be available for people participating in the “Section 33 Rao Rak Kan” and “Rao Chana” scheme. The plans are expected to push 85.5 billion Baht back into the economy as recipients must spend the cash by the end of June.

The 50/50 stimulus program that has been popular with the government covering half of what people spend for half for food, drink, and other items up to 150 baht per person per day will also be expanded. That plan began on October 23, and ended at the end of 2020, covering 10 million people with each receiving 3000 baht. The second phase of the popular program added 5 million more people and raised the limit to 3,500 baht per person.

A third phase of the “Khon La Khrueng” stimulus plan is expected to begin in July with participants getting a maximum of 3,500 baht each to spend, and opening the program to 16 million new people. This massive expansion though will stipulate that anyone participating in this program cannot also participate in the Ying Chai Ying Dai scheme.

All of these cash and voucher benefits aimed at supporting vulnerable groups, along with cash handouts for people who have state welfare cards, are part of 245 billion baht the government is spending in an attempt to keep the economy from collapsing. This falls under an emergency loan decree allocating the government 1 trillion baht total to cope with Covid-19.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Thailand

Covid UPDATE: 2,044 new cases and 27 deaths, provincial totals

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Deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Natapanu Nopakun / Photo courtesy of the Royal Thai Government

2,044 new Covid-19 cases and 27 coronavirus-related deaths were reported today in the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing. There are now 29,320 active Covid-19 cases. 1,170 Covid patients are in critical condition including 367 on ventilators.

Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported a total of 78,855 Covid-19 infections and 363 virus-related deaths.

Out of 27 new fatalities, patients were ages 30 to 90. Most of the deaths were in Bangkok and surrounding provinces. Several contacted the virus from family members.

Provinces with the highest number of new confirmed cases…

Province New cases Total cases since April 1
Bangkok 869 16,917
Nonthaburi 201 3,032
Samut Prakan 165 2,902
Chon Buri 89 3,128
Samut Sakhon 69 1,299
Surat Thani 60 1,035
Pathum Thani 39 1,099
Chiang Mai 33 3,180
Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 32 607
Nakhon Pathom 29 746
Ranong 29 329

 

Districts in Bangkok with the highest number of confirmed cases…

District New cases
Khlong Toei 46
Pathum Wan 24
Bang Khae 24
Lat Phrao 13
Ratchathewi 10
Pom Prap Sattru Phai 9
Bueng Kum 9
Phasi Charoen 8
Bang Khun Thian 8
Din Daeng 8

Covid UPDATE: 2,044 new cases and 27 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

 

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