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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Thaksin makes birthday call; Nenkham family to be probed; BRN behind some Ramadan attacks; Police Station fraud charges loom

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Thaksin makes birthday call; Nenkham family to be probed; BRN behind some Ramadan attacks; Police Station fraud charges loom | The Thaiger
PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Birthday boy Thaksin calls on Thais to rely on one another
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra may have been in Beijing, but his figure was standing right there next to Deputy Education Minister Sermsak Pongpanit as he lit and blew out candles on a 29-kilogram cake to celebrate the former leader’s 64th birthday yesterday.

In a brief phone-in at the event, Thaksin said Thais had no choice but to rely on one another to solve the country’s conflicts.

Meanwhile, many Pheu Thai MPs flew to Hong Kong yesterday and more were to follow today to deliver their birthday wishes in person.

Hundreds of people flocked to Nonthaburi’s Wat Kaew Far to join the event, while hundreds of others held similar events in their home towns.

Just before Thaksin called after the clock struck noon, Sermsak performed Buddhist, Hindu and Chinese blessing rituals using 65 candles to extend the former leader’s life span.

In a five-minute video clip posted by Thaksin’s son Panthongtae on Facebook yesterday, Thaksin is heard calling on people to trust one another to help solve their problems.

“Brothers and sisters, I care for Thailand. There are many things that can be fixed but haven’t been fixed because of doubts and distrust owing to the conflicts. If we turn towards each other, we can achieve reconciliation in the country.

“We talk like Thais, in our language, when we discuss the core of the problems and how we can solve them together. If we focus on our country, I’m sure it will become prosperous again,” he said.

Thaksin recalled that he was overthrown when he was 57, and though he returned briefly when he was 59, he had not returned since.

He said the benefit of his exile was that he was able to see the world and learn new things. He promised to share his new knowledge on Facebook when he returns to Dubai.

He went on to say that he missed his family, but commended his children for visiting him often so he is not lonely.

Up to 50,000 cards, depicting a caricature of Thaksin along with a message written in his own hand, were handed out along with a “reconciliation dessert”, which came in the form of red and white intertwined pastry.

“I thank my Thai brothers and sisters for not having forgotten me. I would like to see peace return for the future of our descendants and the country.

“I hope to pass on happiness from all corners of the world to each and every Thai,” the message on the card read.

Thousands of people gathered at temples nationwide to make merit on Thaksin’s behalf and wrote birthday wishes on a long, white cloth that will be taken to the former leader as a present.

In Chiang Mai, the Rak Chiang Mai 51 group hosted an event titled “64 Years: The Good Man of the Country” to toast the birthday boy at the Warorot Grand Palace Hotel.

In Nakhon Ratchasima, red-shirt supporters prepared a 4.5kg cake to mark the event.

In Udon Thani, Pheu Thai MPs along with 500 supporters attended a merit-making ceremony at Wat Thip Santiwan, where up to Bt65,000 was raised in donations.

Red-shirt leader Kwanchai Sarakham was unable to attend because he had a court appointment, though his wife arranged a similar event at another temple.

In Trang, which is a Democrat Party base, a few hundred red shirts from that province and adjacent ones gathered at the Rose Inn to celebrate Thaksin’s birthday.

Indian duo nabbed in huge Samui meth haul
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Customs officials in Koh Samui have arrested two Indian nationals for allegedly smuggling more than 12 kilograms of the illegal drug crystal methamphetamine, known on the street as “ice”.

The illicit haul of drugs found in the possession of the suspects is estimated to be worth Bt43 million.

Deputy Finance Minister Benja Louicharoen announced the arrests of Virdi Hardev Singh, 51, and his accomplice Puran Singh, 41, who said they had flown from India to Singapore and then to Koh Samui where the illicit drugs were discovered in their luggage.

Initial investigations suggest the two were allegedly hired to deliver the drugs to a contact in Koh Samui, who would then arrange for the massive stash to be delivered to Bangkok.

Between October last year and July this year, the Customs Department said it had confiscated more than 73 kilos of crystal meth-amphetamine, over 8,000 kilograms of heroin and 260,000 meth-amphetamine tablets,

According to the department, more than 92 drug suspects have also been arrested over the same period.

BRN behind a few of the Ramadan attacks: study
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: A study claiming that the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) is so far responsible for a few of the 20 insurgent attacks during the holy month of Ramadan was cited yesterday by National Security Council secretary-general Paradorn Pattanathabutr during a seminar in Bangkok.

According to the study, a number of incidents have been proved to be conducted by the BRN, which is currently in peace talks with the Thai government. Other insurgent groups were allegedly behind the other 15 incidents cited in the study, though Paradorn did not identify the groups allegedly involved at the seminar, which was organised by the Royal Thai Navy.

During his presentation, Paradorn said the BRN had readily admitted to him that it was responsible for the latest bomb attack in Narathiwat on Wednesday. However, he said the insurgents’ umbrella group claimed it had not intended to harm ordinary citizens. Two government teachers travelling by car were killed by shrapnel in the roadside bomb blast, which is thought to have been laid to ambush a military vehicle that was also in the area.

Navy Captain Somkiat Pholprayoon, who also spoke at the seminar, said there were about 2,900 insurgents among the 1.8-million Muslim population who live in the deep South, while another 400,000 were Buddhists. He said the majority of Muslims in the region wanted to be part of Thailand.

General Ekkachai Sriwilas, a senior official with the King Prajadhipok’s Institute, cited several internal conflicts around the world that had had positive outcomes, including the unrest in Northern Ireland, which took 26 years to end, and the seven-year insurgency in Aceh, which had also ended favourably.

Meanwhile, a number of new notices have been erected by insurgents in Narathiwat calling on military units to withdraw from outposts in the deep South. Two fake bombs were also reported at two locations where notices had been placed. Security forces said they believed the notices were erected by the same group who posted 38 notices in eight of Narathiwat’s 13 districts on Monday. Police said they were trying to track down the source of the paints used to make the signs.

A network of government teachers based in the deep South yesterday condemned the Wednesday attack, saying the two female teachers were truly dedicated to their professions. Their absence would result in a drop in educational standards at the school where they taught, the network said.

Nineteen schools in Chanae district where the bomb attack took place have closed and will reopen on Monday.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Technology

The dangers of 5G – coming to a mobile phone near you

Tim Newton

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The dangers of 5G – coming to a mobile phone near you | The Thaiger

MONTAGE: The Thaiger

5G, the next generation of mobile phone technology is coming, within months here in Thailand. It will continue to roll out over the next few years, replacing the earlier 4G technology.

Along with any new technology there’s also valid concerns about potential health risk of this new, more powerful network. There’s also been a lot of misinformation and scare-mongering. So is there a looming 5G health apocalypse?

The key concerns, or claims, about 5G is that it’s a dangerous escalation of traditional mobile technology, higher energy radiation that delivers potentially damaging effects on humans. Some 5G decriers contend that the new network generates radiation that can damage DNA, lead to cancer, cause oxidative damage, premature ageing; disrupt cell metabolism and hosts of other diseases. There are articles citing research studies and even opinions by the World Health Organisation.

But first, some science.

5G is the industry standard that will supersede the current widespread 4G LTE standard, just as 4G took over from 3G. 5G just stands for the “fifth generation” in mobile cellular technology.

This standard is designed to be much faster than current 4G and 4GLTE technology. Simply, it will allow faster wireless internet everywhere for everything, as long as you’re in signal range of course.

The speed, and it’s a LOT faster, will allow virtual realtime connection, even faster that human reflexes, to provide more accurate and real experiences. For the new world of auto-drive cars, remote surgery, even gaming and other internet-of-things products and services, 5G will take the online world to the next level. Words like ‘latency’ will vanish as there simply won’y be delays.

5G is poised to deliver peak speeds between 10 and 20 Gbps – that’s 10 – 100 times faster than the current 4G services.

Health concerns

Concerns about 5G are just the latest evolution of decades of headlines about the dangers of electromagnetic radiation. We’ve seen controversies about everything from the health risks of Wi-Fi, smart metres, fluorescent tubes, overhead electric wires, even our mobile phones we use all day. So far there has been no conclusive studies about any of these causing reliable, repeatable, measurable or sustainable health concerns.

But the concerns persist, swirling around the internet and sparking off renewed concerns every few years.

Electromagnetic hypersensitivity, for example, is a hypothetical disease in which certain people experience debilitating symptoms in the presence of radiation like mobile phones and Wi-Fi.

But despite thousands of people claiming these sorts of sensitivities for at least 30 years, extensive scientific studies have shown that people claiming to be afflicted with this ‘disease’, when blind-folded, are unable to tell or ‘feel’ when they’re in the presence of an electromagnetic field. The World Health Organisation now recommends psychological evaluation for people who continue with these alleged symptoms.

Beyond that, decades of studies have found no link between mobile phones, wi-fi and cancers, including brain tumours from holding your mobile phone to your ears when calling people.

The dangers of 5G - coming to a mobile phone near you | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: echo.net.au

RF or Radiofrequency Radiation?

At the root of all concerns about cell phone networks is radiofrequency radiation. RF could be anything from microwaves to x-rays to radio waves to light from your screen or light from the sun. Even when you turn on a light at home. It’s all electromagnetic radiation.

We walk through a sea of RF, all day, everyday, it’s impossible to escape – from the sunlight, to the power sources around our house, to the TV screens, to the electric kettles, microwave ovens and electric cookers in the kitchen.

In the RF spectrum there are ionising or non-ionising radiation, only the ionising radiation has the potential to interfere with breaking up chemical bonds.

Ultraviolet light, visible light, infrared light, and everything with a lower frequency – radio waves, power lines, FM radio, Wi-Fi and our mobile cellular services – these are all considered non-ionising radiation.

Frequencies above UV, like x-rays and gamma rays, are ionising.

The assistant professor of neurology at Yale and the editor of Science-Based Medicine, Dr. Steve Novella, says there’s been decades of misunderstanding about the ill-effects of lower frequency radiation.

“Using the term radiation is misleading because people think of nuclear weapons – they think of ionising radiation that absolutely can cause damage. It can kill cells. It can cause DNA mutations.”

“Most concern about mobile phone RF radiation is misplaced. There’s no known mechanism for most forms of non-ionszing radiation to have any biological effect.”

It’s not a tumour!

But researchers continue to conduct studies. A recent study was released by the National Toxicology Program, an agency run by the US Department of Health and Human Services. In this widely quoted study about cell phone radio frequency radiation, “scientists found that high exposure to 3G RF led to some cases of cancerous heart tumours, brain tumours, and tumours in the adrenal glands of male rats.”

But as RealClearScience points out in their response to the study, “the number of tumours detected were so small that they statistically could have occurred by chance (which may be more likely since they were only detected in male subjects).”

“The level and duration of the RFR exposure were well in excess of what any actual human would ever be exposed to, and in fact, the irradiated test rats lived longer than the unexposed control rats.”

“Experienced researchers look at a study like that and say that doesn’t really tell us anything.”

The dangers of 5G - coming to a mobile phone near you | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Asiatimes.com

5G risks

A common complaint about 5G is that, due to the lower power of 5G transmitters, there will be more of them around our towns and cities. The Environmental Health Trust contends that “5G will require the buildout of literally hundreds of thousands of new wireless antennas in neighbourhoods, cities, and towns. A cellular small cell or another transmitter will be placed every two to ten homes according to estimates.”

Despite the estimate being exaggerated, the contention is reasonable.

But skeptics caution you shouldn’t conflate asking the question with merely asserting that there’s a risk. The reality is that the power and frequency of the radiation is still less than light outside or even inside your office or home. You go out in the sun, and you’re bathed in electromagnetic radiation that’s far greater than these 5G cellular towers and transmitters.

The US FCC, responsible for licensing the spectrum for public use, says that 5G equipment, the signals from commercial wireless transmitters are typically far below the RF exposure limits at any location that is accessible to the public.

The FCC defers to the FDA concluding that the weight of scientific evidence has not linked mobile phones with any health problems.

But scientists will continue to test new networks as technology evolves, to make sure the technology we use every day remains safe. Research into radiation risks is difficult and often inconclusive, meaning it can take a long time to make real progress. But the research will continue as the technology evolves and new claims will continue to be made asserting dangers from 5G.

SOURCES: US FCC | World Health Orginisation | howtogeek.com | Real Clear Science

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News

30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands

Greeley Pulitzer

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30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands | The Thaiger

Tourists were treated to the sight of a school of dolphins in the Similan Islands off the Phang Nga coast on Sunday.

Tour organisers said that around 30 dolphins swam close to the boat six or seven miles offshore, creating excitement for passengers. It was the first time dolphins had been seen in the vicinity since October 15.

The Similan Islands National Park director said they were bottlenose dolphins and were among several species now returning to the area following a five-year closure of the park for environmental rehabilitation. Food is again plentiful there for them, he said.

Tourists are forbidden to feed wildlife lest the free handouts alter the animals’ natural behaviour, and the park’s waters are also very sensitive to contamination from human disease and marine debris, according to the director.

SOURCE: nationthailand.com

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Economy

Asia leads the world in medical tourism

Greeley Pulitzer

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Asia leads the world in medical tourism | The Thaiger

Over the past ten years, Asia has become a favourite destination for medical tourism for people from around the world. Besides the white sand beaches, historic monuments and rich cultural legacy, healthcare in Asia is now a major attraction. From transplants and surgeries to dental procedures and botox, people are turning to Asia.

But what makes Asia the most popular destination? Some say lack of specialised treatments in their home countries or the affordable cost of treatment in Asia: these combined with ease of travel and lax visa rules for medical treatment have opened vast avenues for the region.

In 2017, some one million medical tourists visited Malaysia and 3.3 million visited Thailand. India too saw a surge from 4,27,014 medical tourists in 2016 to 4,95,056 in 2017.

Here’s a look at the top Asian countries for various medical treatments:

Thailand is popular for breast implants and gender reassignment surgeries. Since 2003, the Thai Government has taken steps to make Thailand a global centre for medical tourism through its Centre of Excellent Health Care of Asia initiative, and now has 37 Joint Commission International (JCI) accredited hospitals.

A 2016 WHO study revealed that medical tourists visiting Thailand were more likely to be residents of the eastern Mediterranean or south-east or south Asia. However, what makes the country a preferred destination is its world-class hospitality, highly specialised care and tailored care packages.

India is a favoured destination due to its its advanced technology, world-class surgeons and cost-effective treatments. Patients visit India not just for specialised treatment and surgeries but for routine check-ups as well.

India amended e-visa rules for 150 countries in 2016, making visa procurement easy for foreigners. India’s National Health Policy specifies that the government supports medical tourism and issues visas patients’ accompanying spouses.

Singapore is a choice for patients seeking state-of-the-art facilities, well trained doctors and quality care. Although it is one of the most expensive cities in the world, the city-state has more than 15 hospitals catering to medical tourists. Singapore was ranked the most attractive among seven Asian countries in terms of “patient experience”, but was also one of the least attractive in terms of cost-effectiveness.

Malaysia is picking up the pace and is a preferred destination for people from other Asian countries, especially Indonesia. Of one million medical tourists who visited the country in 2017, 600,000 were from Indonesia.

According to the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council, Malaysia has set a target of at least one million medical tourists from Indonesia by 2020. Since the health ministry regulates the prices that private hospitals charge in Malaysia, quality care at affordable prices lures patients from across Asia and the world.

World-famous for its beauty clinics, South Korea’s ambitions go beyond cosmetic surgery. According to the South Korea Ministry of Health and Welfare, about 3,64,000 foreign medical tourists visited the country in 2016, including patients from Canada, the USA, UAE, China and Japan.

South Korea’s healthcare system is considered one of the best in Asia and has established a niche in the medical technology industry. To promote medical tourism, the government offers a special visa to medical tourists and insurance that covers both injury and death resulting from medical treatment or procedures.

SOURCE: nationthailand.com

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