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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Yingluck graft probe deadline stays; Three arrested for Indonesian Navy murders; Thai satellite spots MH370 debris

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

NACC rejects PM’s request to extend deadline
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The National Anti-Corruption Commission yesterday refused to extend the deadline for Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to file her defence against the charge of dereliction of duty in overseeing the rice-pledging scheme.

The NACC decided that she had already been allowed sufficient time, secretary-general Sansern Poljiak said.

On Monday, the 15-day extension for the PM to defend herself would end. The NACC had earlier given her 30 days to answer the charge of dereliction of duty.

Unless Yingluck submits her arguments in person or in writing, by Monday, the NACC would assume she had no objection to the NACC’s investigation report, Sansern said.

If she is indicted by the NACC, she will be suspended from office.

Norawit Larlaeng and Bancha Porameesanaporn from her legal team yesterday asked the NACC to grant her 45 more days to prepare her case.

Norawit said the team had received 280 pages of additional documents from the NACC but they were not the ones requested.

The team was also waiting for reports from 10 government agencies, he said.

Yingluck needed to study all of these materials or else she would be at a disadvantage, he said.

The NACC’s Sansern also said the anti-graft body had ordered a further investigation into the impeachment proceedings against former House speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont for his role in the unconstitutional amendment of the charter.

In the same case, the NACC last week decided to propose the impeachment of outgoing Senate Speaker Nikom Wairatpanij, in his capacity as Parliament vice president, for abusing his constitutional authority and cutting short a debate despite the agenda listing several legislators waiting to take the floor.

The Senate has yet to vote on his impeachment.

The People’s Radio for Democracy group, a red-shirt faction that has been protesting in front of the NACC head office and has threatened to use concrete barriers and “bioweapons” to block the building, had still not done so.

Thai satellite spots possible debris
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: A Thai satellite has detected 300 floating objects in the Indian Ocean, about 200 kilometres from the area where a search is being conducted for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Anond Snidvongs, executive director of Geo Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (Gistda), said the Thailand Earth Observation Satellite or Thaichote had recorded the objects in the Indian Ocean on Monday at 10am.

This site is about 2,700 kilometres from Perth, Australia, and some 200 kilometres from the area where the flight is believed to have crashed. Some objects were more than two metres long, Anond said.

Speaking at the same press conference, Science Minister Peerapan Palusuk said the satellite, which orbits the Earth, was initially cover other areas but was moved to where foreign satellites had reportedly detected debris. Then on Monday, Thaichote captured images of several floating objects beyond the location mentioned by the foreign satellites.

The minister added that he was glad Thailand could help Malaysia in the hunt for the missing jet.

Anond explained that Gistda had been contacted by several foreign space agencies, who wanted Thaichote to look in the southern Indian Ocean to the southwest of Perth and on Monday, it recorded images of possibly as many as 300 objects in the area.

“The resolution of the images on Thaichote were not good enough even after we removed noise such as waves and clouds. We are confident that what we saw were floating objects, but we can’t say what they are,” Anond said. He pointed out that in an area that is so far from land, there should not be so many floating objects. Though Gistda has said it will try to verify the accuracy of the location again, the job might be tough as there is no station on land to confirm it.

“We will capture images at the same location again,” he said, adding that he believed the error margin for the location calculated from the images should be no greater than 5 kilometres, adding that Malaysia and relevant agencies would be asked to verify the objects.

Anond said the findings had already been submitted to caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and that Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichak-chaikul had forwarded them to his Malaysian counterpart to see if the debris could be that of MH370.

The Thaichote satellite is normally used to observe natural resources.

Using data derived from “pings” from the plane, UK satellite firm Inmarsat concluded that the flight had crashed in the Indian Ocean and all passengers were presumed dead. Though a satellite image showed 122 objects in the Indian Ocean, search teams have yet to find them.

Reinstated NSC chief could be prosecuted, Paradorn says
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: National Security Council secretary-general Thawil Pliensri risks being prosecuted for taking to the anti-government rally stage and may have a hard time working at the NSC, former secretary-general Lt-General Paradorn Pattanatabut said.

Paradorn made the remarks in an exclusive interview with Nation News Agency’s Jeerapong Prasertpolkrung and Anapat Deechuay.

The Cabinet on Tuesday resolved to accept the Supreme Administrative Court’s order that Thawil be reinstated to his post. The court had earlier ruled that caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s order to transfer him out of his post was unlawful.

Paradorn has now swapped positions with Thawil as prime minister’s adviser on security.

Responding to the fact that Thawil is among 58 leaders of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) who face summonses by police, Paradorn said the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) would have to take action against him in accordance with its authority, and prosecutors were likely to indict him.

“The government has the power to consider whether [Thawil’s action] is a criminal offence or a disciplinary one,” he said.

“Do not forget that the stage that he took to belongs to someone [PDRC leader Suthep Thaugsuban] who [allegedly] broke the law and faces arrest warrants.”

Right after the court ruling on Thawil’s reinstatement this month, Chalerm Yoobamrung director of the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO), sidelined Thawil and said he would not have a role at the centre.

Paradorn said his new role involves screening policies on intelligence, security and the military proposed by Thawil to the government.

“Working in the security field, your boss must fully trust you, otherwise there will be problems or finally you cannot continue your work,’ Paradorn said.

Asked to comment about the frequent politically initiated transfers in the NSC, Paradorn said the Cabinet was empowered by the law to transfer government officials of Levels 10 and 11.

He said officials must follow the order since the people elect the government to run the country.

“If you

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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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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