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Political ban lifted ahead of February 24 election

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Political ban lifted ahead of February 24 election | The Thaiger
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The Thai Junta, aka NCPO, has today lifted restrictions on political activities that have been in effect since the May 2014 military coup.

The Nation reports the the lifts a previous prohibition on political parties holding meetings or organising political activities. The cancelled restrictions include the ban on political gatherings of five or more people.

The Royal Gazette has published the ban lifting today. This officially sets in train the countdown to the February 24 election.

As a result of the today’s announcement, election campaigning can begin from January 2, once the Royal Decree on the general elections is issued.

Also lifted today was an order banning financial transactions involving people’s assets that were deemed necessary for the sake of national security and the public’s life and assets security.

The cancellation of the orders was aimed at facilitating political activities in advance of the general election expected on February 24, the first under the 2017 Constitution.

The announcement follows an announcement made by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha on December 7 that the poll will definitely be held on February 24.

The new law on MP elections also came into effect on December 11.

With the new legislation in effect, the ruling NCPO is essentially forced to lift restrictions on public discussion of issues.

Political ban lifted ahead of February 24 election | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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Thailand

Doctors warn against internet claims that popular herb cures cancer

Maya Taylor

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Doctors warn against internet claims that popular herb cures cancer | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.phuketindex.com

Medics from the National Cancer Institute are urging Thai netizens not to fall for internet claims that a herb known as Khao Thong can cure cancer. The herb, with the scientific classification, Houttuynia cordata, is also known as fish leaf or heart leaf, but Jida Rojanamethin from the National Cancer Institute, says social media users shouldn’t believe unsubstantiated claims about its potential to cure cancer.

“Misunderstanding could lead to health risks or reduced chance of success when receiving standardised treatment. Although this herb is good for your health, one should also eat the 5 food groups proportionately as well as avoid cancer risk factors such as smoking and drinking.”

His words are echoed by Somsak Akksilp from the Department of Medical Services, who says patients shouldn’t credit the herb with healing properties that simply aren’t there.

“Khao Thong is a Thai traditional herb in the Saururaceae family, which is rich in anti-oxidants of the polyphenol group, such as flavonoid and chlorogenic acid. However, there is no conclusive study proving that it is effective in treating cancer in humans.”

Somsak’s warning is similar to one he issued earlier this year, when he had to refute online claims that bitter cucumber could cure cancer.

For legitimate advice on cancer treatments and other medical information, patients are advised to visit the website of the National Cancer Institute (Thai only) or that of the Department of Medical Services.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Politics

Election Commission to investigate charges that Progressive Movement is run as a political party

Maya Taylor

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Election Commission to investigate charges that Progressive Movement is run as a political party | The Thaiger
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Political activist Srisuwan Janya is accusing the Progressive Movement of being run like a political party, with its leaders campaigning for members in local elections, in violation of the Political Party Act. The claim has prompted the Election Commission to launch an investigation into the movement.

The movement was formed by Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, Piyabutr Saengkanokkul and Pannika Wanich, after their former party, the Future Forward Party, was disbanded by the Constitutional Court. The movement was ostensibly created to carry out political campaigning outside of Parliament.

However, Srisuwan says that by campaigning for its members in local mayoral and council elections, the movement is acting like a political party, thereby breaking the law. If found guilty, Thanathorn, Piyabutr, and Pannika could receive a sentence of up to 3 years’ imprisonment and/or a 60,000 baht fine, as well as being banned from politics for 5 years. The movement’s members could also face having their election results cancelled, and their right to stand in future elections suspended.

The leaders of the defunct Future Forward Party have been a thorn in the side of the ruling administration for some time, with several attempts to discredit them eventually leading to a successful dissolution in late 2019, on charges of accepting illegitimate donations. Since then, they have been threatened with potential legal action in relation to donations, with others accusing them of orchestrating the ongoing anti-government protests from behind the scenes.

Meanwhile, anti-corruption activist Srisuwan Janya has already earned the nickname, “Complainer in Chief”, for what many see as a tendency to lodge frequent complaints in his efforts to hold government and others to account.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Tourism

Thailand will remain closed to general tourism until at least the 2nd quarter of 2021 – Minister

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Thailand will remain closed to general tourism until at least the 2nd quarter of 2021 – Minister | The Thaiger

Kiss any resemblance of general tourism to Thailand goodbye, at least until march next year, at the earliest. That’s the outlook for Thailand’s beleaguered tourism industry from the usually optimistic Minster for Sports and Tourism, Pipat Ratchakitprakan.

So, apart from the STV and the modified 60 day Tourist Visa, and a few other options – all involving quarantine and a lot of red-tape for now – there’s not much good news on the horizon for people wishing to get back to Thailand right now. The minister’s outlook wipes out any hope of any tourism resurgence for the 2020/2021 high season.

The Thai Hotel Association and The Thailand Travel Agents Association have been lobbying, even demanding, the Thai government to drop its mandatory quarantine provisions and urgently negotiate travel bubble with provinces in China and other nations that are currently “low risk” for Covid-19, including Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan.

But Pipat says everything is on hold at this stage and that the Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is urging caution in regards to any wholesale easing of restrictions.

“The country will continue with opening to businessmen, technical experts, high level workers and those in the medical field for now. 14 day quarantine will continue for now with many countries still in the grip of the pandemic.”

He also noted that even Chinese officials are advising caution and suggest waiting until the hot season next year (mid year).

There was small outbreaks in 3 cities in China over the past few weeks, less than 10 cases in each city, where Chinese health officials rolled out quick response lockdown teams for the affected communities.

The Minister, indeed the Thai government and the CCSA, appear to be bowing to survey after survey which shows Thai people, around the country, are in favour of keeping the borders closed for now, despite the country’s tourism and hospitality industry being decimated by the government’s policies.

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