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Phuket Media Watch: Palestine thanks Thailand; News office attacked; Western ships

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Phuket Media Watch: Palestine thanks Thailand; News office attacked; Western ships | The Thaiger
PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

‘Thailand recognizes Palestine as independent state’

Phuket Gazette / News Wires
PHUKET: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas thanked the government of Thailand after it apparently decided to recognize Palestine as an independent state. Thai officials were unavailable for comment.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said his office received an official letter from the Permanent Mission of Thailand to the United Nations on Tuesday which stated that the Thai government has officially recognized Palestine and has initiated a process to establish diplomatic relations.

The office of al-Maliki said it established communications with the Thai government after the new government of Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra took office in August 2011. The foreign minister added that he would continue talks with his Thai counterpart to formalize the diplomatic relations.

The Thai government did not comment on Palestine’s announcement, and calls to both the Permanent Mission of Thailand to the UN and the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs were not immediately returned. If accurate, Thailand’s recognition will bring the number of countries which recognize a Palestinian state to 129.

Last month, Iceland also formally recognized Palestine after its parliament voted in favor of the move.

Daily News Rayong office attacked

Phuket Gazette / The Nation
PHUKET: An unknown number of gunmen in a pickup attacked the Daily News newspaper’s Rayong office early yesterday morning but no one was injured.The office of on Sukhumvit Road was ridden with bullet holes. Office furniture, air conditioning and neon tubes were damaged as well as a Nissan pickup truck parked in front of the office.

The vehicle belonged to Krittapas Taengphetch, 49, a reporter who was in the office when the attack occurred. He alerted police.

Found at the scene were 16 spent AKA rifle bullets, a 9mm bullet and two 9mm spent cartridges. Police are checking security camera footage from the surrounding area in an attempt to identify the culprits.

A police source revealed that the security video camera captured a golden-bronze single-cab Isuzu DMax pickup truck passing the office and a passenger in the front left seat rolling down the window and aiming a rifle at the office.

Daily News reporters suspect this attack is related to recent news coverage about a major Yaba (methamphetamine) gang in Klaeng district, which is reportedly linked to Rayong Provincial Prison inmates. The gang allegedly used war weapons to avenge another drug gang who had failed to pay them, resulting in death and injuries. The case’s suspects were on bail and might be disgruntled about the news reports.

An eyewitness, noodle vendor Khajornsak Chaisri, told police that he had seen the golden-bronze pickup truck with a driver and a passenger in the front seat. The passenger opened fire at the office before the truck sped towards Tambon Tapong.

Rayong Province is 1,010 kilometers north-east of Phuket Province (click to see map).

Ships from the West

Phuket Gazette / The Nation
PHUKET: The Portuguese – the first Europeans to hunt for treasure in Southeast Asia – got off to a poor start, spending two years in the early 1500s violently establishing a foothold in the Malay state of Malacca. Lesson learned, they were more diplomatic in Pegu, Sumatra and Siam.

Just how peaceful their history was in old Thailand will be examined in a conference in Ayutthaya next week on the 500th anniversary of Siamese relations with the West.

Over two days, dozens of scholars will describe what happened half a millennium ago when the hulking, bearded strangers (think of the frightening farang “guardian” statues at Wat Po) first appeared on these shores.

“Malacca was where East met West, and the Portuguese came to take over the maritime trade,” historian Charnvit Kasetsiri told reporters during a recent preliminary tour in Malacca, once known as “the Emporium of the East”.

The Maritime Museum makes it clear that the Malays still fume about Portugal’s invasion. With a replica of the Portuguese ship Flor de la Mar bearing witness, the version of history as told by the loser has it that the wealth of sultans was piled onto that boat and carried off to Europe, along with dozens of skilled female weavers, calligraphers and dancers.

Much more tragically, they didn’t get far – the Flor de la Mar sank in a storm off Sumatra.

Also among its haul were letters and gifts that King Ramathibodi II of Ayutthaya was sending to King Manuel I of Portugal.

The first contact with Siam occurred before the conquest of Malacca. The viceroy of Portuguese India, Alfonso de Albuquerque, sent his envoy Duarte Fernandes to Siam to make acquaintance. The relationship has continued uninterrupted ever since.

In 1516 King Ramathibodi II granted riverside land for a Portuguese settlement and permission to erect a wooden cross, thus guaranteeing their right to worship God as they chose. In return, the Siamese received lucrative market access to Malacca, its erstwhile trading rival.

— 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.

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Road deaths

Thailand road toll: 554 dead this month, 11,462 this year

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Thailand road toll: 554 dead this month, 11,462 this year | The Thaiger

PHOTO: U-Turn crash in Bangkok – Daily News

Daily news reports fatalities at the scene of accidents yesterday claimed the lives of 21 people. Yesterday was a busy day on Thailand’s roads at the end of a long weekend.

They say the numbers reported are only those that die at the scene. In reality, when hospital deaths and all regions report their stats, the figures end up much higher.

So far this October 554 have died at the scene of accidents resulting in a yearly total nationwide of 11,462. Thailand is recognised by the World Health Organisation as the fifth highest road toll in the world, per capita.

Figures are reported daily by Daily News who highlight the need to be vigilant at U-turns in their story about this air-conditioned bus (above)on Route 29 that collided with the back of a container truck.

Seven passengers on the bus were injured in the accident on Pahonyothin Road near the Kesri 5 housing estate in Klong 1, Klong Luang district north of Bangkok. The truck driver was trying to execute a U-turn at the time.

SOURCE: Daily News | ThaiVisa

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Environment

Thailand’s swift response to the ‘fall armyworm’ pest

The Thaiger

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Thailand’s swift response to the ‘fall armyworm’ pest | The Thaiger

OPINION: Somsak Samanwong – Regional Technical Educator for APAC, Corteva Agriscience. PHOTO: East-East Seed

In Thailand, corn is an indispensable staple crop, used as an important source of feed for a thriving poultry and livestock industry. About 1.04 million hectares of our land is used to produce corn, with this year’s yields estimated at a record high of 5.3 million tonnes.

As Thailand becomes increasingly recognised as a major world food exporter, our reliance on corn is growing to meet consumer demand for meat, both locally and globally – we are currently the third largest chicken exporter in the world. For many of us, it comes as a surprise that this ordinary but versatile crop is intrinsic in fuelling our status as the “kitchen of the world”.

A small but powerful threat

However, this established position and the very growth of our food economy is currently under siege from the rise of fall armyworm, a pest so damaging that it can destroy corn crops overnight. The fall armyworm is an insect native to the Americas, where it has caused significant damage for decades. With a zealous appetite for corn, the pest quickly began to ravage crops in the Africa region following its arrival in 2016, causing losses of $13.3 billion.

Fall armyworm started moving closer to home, spreading across Yemen, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, before reaching Thailand in December 2018. Since then, around 50 corn-growing provinces have been infested, particularly in the west of Thailand.

Fall armyworm infestations can result in yield losses for corn of up to 50%, which can have devastating implications – for those whose livelihoods rely on their crops, but also for the poultry and other meat production industries whose success and expansion heavily depend on their produce.

What makes fall armyworm so challenging to control is its high reproductive capacity and long migration distances. The pest has been known to migrate up to 1500 km3, slightly more than the distance from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok, covering up to 100 km per night. Couple this ability to travel with rapid reproduction – four generations of fall armyworm can be observed in a single corn crop – and you have a devastating mix.

Recognising the tremendous impact of fall armyworm on the nation’s farmers and our food security, the Thai authorities and key stakeholders across the agriculture industry have come together, uniting efforts to equip our farmers with the tools they need to help manage the spread of fall armyworm. By applying our learnings with fall armyworm in response to future threats, we can help to ensure our farmers are empowered and our nation’s food supplies – for Thailand and for the rest of the world – are protected.

Taking swift and decisive action

Thailand’s Department of Agriculture responded to the first FAO warning of fall armyworm in India by setting up a surveillance program to monitor corn growing states along the shared border with Myanmar. During this time, informative materials about fall armyworm and the ongoing surveillance program were shared with relevant agencies, universities, and most importantly, corn farmers.

Establishing communication between the authorities and those on the ground was and remains an important focus, and a telephone hotline and Line account were set up so that farmers are able to report potential infestations. As a previously unseen pest in Thailand, setting up infrastructure to monitor crops in the recognition of fall armyworm was pivotal to aiding a quick response.

Thailand’s swift response to the 'fall armyworm' pest | News by The Thaiger

Imparting knowledge through educational efforts

Knowledge-sharing between the authorities, academic experts, farmers and industry is crucial in the fight against threats like fall armyworm. In November 2018, an educational programme for Thailand’s authorities developed with the Insecticide Resistance Action Committee (IRAC) by CropLife Asia helped to provide senior agricultural and food industry leaders with in-depth information about fall armyworm and its habits.

By sharing knowledge of the pest between the government and affected industries, accurate and up-to-date information could spread across the country almost as quickly as fall armyworm itself.

Farmers remain at the heart of agriculture, and thus, in-field education is of paramount importance to safeguard crops.

Through a series of training programmes and the provision of educational materials, farmers were educated on and empowered to adopt an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach, as recommended by the World Trade Organisation on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, to control and prevent the spread of fall armyworm. IPM combines pre-emptive treatments, scouting, monitoring and targeted treatments to protect the health of corn crops from seed to plant, and, in turn, to protect Thailand’s food security.

Equipping farmers with the necessary tools

In adopting an IPM approach against fall armyworm, it is our role as agriscience experts to ensure farmers have access to safe, effective and greener solutions to control its physical spread. And, through the development of innovative technologies, solutions are available to provide farmers with long-lasting control of fall armyworm, whilst being environmentally safe to use.

Amparar®, Corteva Agriscience’s foliar spray, contains the active ingredient Spinetoram and has been recommended for use in corn in Thailand to help protect corn crops against fall armyworm. It controls the insects in two ways – through ingestion and contact by the pest, providing a quick knock-down for lasting control. Amparar® has been awarded the prestigious Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award for its positive environmental profile and margin of safety towards beneficial insects. It is recommended by the Thai authorities as the top crop protection product for managing fall armyworm.

Our fight against fall armyworm has brought to light the invaluable role of corn in the development of Thailand as global provider of food. Perhaps even more importantly, it has helped to demonstrate how much can be achieved when public and private sectors work together in response to those that threaten our food security. We must continue to activate and engage all stakeholders – from farmers, governments, industry and academia – to ensure that, whatever the next threat to our “kitchen of the world”, we remain poised for action to protect it.

Thailand’s swift response to the 'fall armyworm' pest | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Waldo Swiegers / Bloomberg

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Bangkok

The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations

The Thaiger

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The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Hello Phuket – destined for huge tourist growth in the next six years – fodors.com

In 2018, international tourist arrival traffic grew by 6% to reach a total of 1.4 billion world tourists, according to research by UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. And there’s a lot more to come with international travel predicted to increase by a massive 35% over the next six years to 2025.

But where is all that extra traffic going to go? Which destinations are quiet now that might be swarming with tourists in the years to come? Two destinations in Thailand are set for a prosperous future, according to the data. Whilst almost all the growth is excepted to be to Asian destinations, an under-visited resource for world tourism so far.

Euromonitor data has been used to simulate tourist growth models and reveal the fastest growing projected visitor arrivals in major cities and destinations around the world for 2025, compared to arrival figures in 2018.

In Thailand, Phuket’s tourist traffic is poised to increase up to 85% in the next six years, from nearly 12 million arrivals in 2018 to over 22 million in 2025. Bangkok is predicted to see the 8th most prolific rise in tourist traffic, with arrivals in Bangkok set to swell an additional 68% during the same period. Doha, the capital of Qatar, is set to explode with 104% increase in traffic over the next six years.

The data also predicts that both Bangkok and Phuket will rebound big time in 2020, Phuket in particular with a growth of around 20% for the next year, accord to the data from TravelSupermarket.com.

By 2025 the data predicts that Bangkok will be the world’s #1 tourist destination, a position it’s held before in recent years. The Thai capital will be followed by Singapore, Dubai, Phuket and Kuala Lumpur, making South East Asia the world’s emerging tourism hotspot.

Some of the world’s favourites – New York, Paris, London – will continue to grow their tourist numbers but not at the rate of most Asian destinations.

You can read the full list HERE.

The world's fastest growing tourist destinations | News by The Thaiger

Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com

The world's fastest growing tourist destinations | News by The Thaiger

Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com

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