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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: WWII bomb kills seven; Court votes for Yingluck trial; CAPO eyes war rooms for Saturday Bangkok rallies

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

WWII bomb kills seven
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: an explosion ripped through a scrapyard in Bangkok’s Bang Khen district yesterday, killing seven victims and injuring 20 others, after workers unknowingly cut open an aerial bomb from World War II.

“Such a bomb usually weighs about 500 pounds [227 kilograms] and has the power to damage [everything] within a 500-metre radius,” Pol Colonel Kamthorn Uicharoen of the Office of the Forensic Science Police said.

As of press time, the scrapyard was cordoned off as explosive-ordnance officials scoured the place.

“We have found the explosion caused a three-metre-deep and eight-metre-wide hole in the ground,” Kamthorn said.

Witnesses told police the fatal blast took place after the scrapyard bought what looked like a thick oval-shaped iron bar and tried to cut it with gas. The bar reportedly weighed over 200 kilograms.

“The owner and workers of the scrapyard might have mistaken the aerial bomb as a simple steel bar,” Kamthorn said.

Metropolitan Police Division 2 commander Maj-General Suranit Prombutr, said this explosion was an accident. He confirmed the incident was definitely not related to political unrest, which has been blamed for several other recent blasts.

According to Bang Khen District Office’s director Kris Kiartpanachart, the scrapyard is located inside Wat Trai Rattanaram Community. Glass windows of several local houses were shattered by the blast.

Nattanan Panthong, chair of the community, quoted a local as saying construction workers found the oval-shaped iron item while they were digging a hole for a foundation pillar at a nearby construction site.

“So, they picked it up. Four of them then headed to the scrapyard in the hope of trading the item for cash,” Nattanan said.

The scrapyard had reportedly offered Bt10 per kilo. Before any payment was made, scrapyard workers were told to cut the item to check its quality.

Nattanan identified one of the sellers as Jeerasak Tabtimtong, who was killed in the blast.

Deputy Bangkok Governor Pusadee Tamthai warned people not to collect suspicious items they have discovered.

“It’s best to alert security officials for safety reasons,” she said.

Kris said the explosion rocked the scrapyard at around 12.15pm and officials managed to put out a fire there by 1pm.

His district office will today set up a tent near the scene to facilitate victims filing complaints with police and seeking help.

Many victims are now receiving treatment at the Nopparat Rajathanee Hospital, the Mayo Hospital, and the Bhumibol Adulyadej Hospital.

CAPO eyes war room for Saturday Bangkok rallies
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, as the adviser to the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO), said the CAPO might set up a war room, especially to keep an eye on the rival political rallies on Saturday. However, the police and military force deployed currently should be enough to handle the situation.

United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) chairman Jatuporn Promphan warned that Saturday’s red-shirt rally was just the beginning of a show of force and the number of red-shirt protesters would multiply for the next rally.

The military top brass yesterday held a meeting to discuss plans on how to handle violence stemming from mass rallies.

The discussions were not revealed.

Jatuporn has vowed to mobilise up to 500,000 protesters to rally at Aksa Road on Saturday in order to avoid clashes with anti-government protesters who are camping at Lumpini Park.

“The number of protesters will multiply for the next rally. We will rally on the most beautiful road so that we have the most beautiful picture of protesters facing the Buddha statue. The huge masses that spring up on the roads in protest will shake the residences of the ‘courtiers’ like an earthquake,” he said.

He said the rally on Saturday was actually a rehearsal or a ceremony aimed at boosting the red shirts’ morale and disgracing the enemy before a battle.

“This is not the time to reach breaking point. But we want to tell people who back Suthep to stop doing that so that problems end,” he said.

Udon Thani red-shirt leader Kwanchai Sarakham (Praipana) said he and Suporn Atthawong would lead 1,000 Democracy Protection Volunteers to guard the red-shirt rally on Saturday. The volunteers are red shirt-trained guards.

Responding to a reporter’s question, Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha said yesterday the military could not oust the caretaker government, just as employees cannot oust company executives if they disagreed with them.

Prayuth was speaking before a four-hour meeting of the military top brass to discuss the country’s political situation. The service chiefs did not give interviews after the meeting.

Asked to respond to a call that the military reject the power of the caretaker government, Prayuth said such a proposition was not allowed within the legal system. “It is hard to answer the question because if we accept [such a proposition] it means we side with another camp. Suppose you are a worker and you disagree with your company executives, do you dare to oust them? You have to do your duty without criticising too much because you need to maintain your status so that you can do your jobs,” he said.

Prayuth was asked if the military would quietly mediate talks between caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban. He poked fun at the idea, saying he could not because both were too big to move, but “We have to help them find a chance to talk. Anything can happen,” he said.

An official of the CAPO, Sirima Sunawin, said the centre had called on members of the public against joining the rally of both political camps for their own safety. The agency also cautioned rally leaders against mobilising protesters because if any offences were committed during the protest, the protest leaders would be held responsible.

Yingluck, who is also caretaker defence minister, yesterday held a meeting with security officials, including permanent secretary of defence General Nipat Thonglek and Lt-General Paradorn Pattanatabut, as the incumbent secretary-general of the National Security Council while Thawil Pliensri’s reinstatement is pending royal endorsement.

Court accepts case against Yingluck
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The Constitutional Court yesterday voted unanimously to proceed with a petition against caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who has been accused of breaching the charter with regard to the transfer of the National Security Council (NSC) chief.

“We agree to consider the petition against the prime minister and ask that she defend herself within 15 days of receiving the court papers,” the court said in a statement. If found guilty of breaching the Constitution, Yingluck and her entire Cabinet could face dismissal for approving Thawil’s transfer.

A group of senato

— 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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