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Thailand blasted for horrific rise in ivory trade

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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Thailand blasted for horrific rise in ivory trade
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Despite Thailand’s professed reverence for elephants, the country has failed to rein in the illegal ivory trade.

Partly to blame for the current poaching crisis is Thai domestic legislation. It permits trade in ivory from domesticated Asian elephants but provides no effective mechanism or legal framework for the internal regulation of this market, according to the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC.

“Because visually, you cannot tell the difference between African and Asian ivory, once the African ivory reaches the market place in Thailand, it is sold as domesticated elephant ivory,” Vietnam-based Greater Mekong Region coordinator for TRAFFIC Naomi Doak, said yesterday. She lamented that the presence of ivory in Thailand, as a result, had increased at a “horrific” pace.

According to latest surveys, the number of shops selling ivory products has burgeoned to double the number of the previous year – from 61 ivory sellers in January 2013 to 120 in May 2014. Ivory products have also increased almost three fold – from 5,715 items to 13,237. The products accounted for were only those visible in shop fronts and did not include those hidden behind as stock.

“Each one of these represents the death of an elephant,” Doak said.

The situation in Thailand is particularly complicated because the Kingdom has domesticated elephants that produce ivory, meaning they can legally be sold on the domestic market. This ivory is illegal outside Thailand.

Doak suggested that the amount of ivory products available in Thailand appeared greater than what domesticated pachyderms would be able to provide.

In 2012, Thailand had 4,169 registered domesticated elephants. Just over 30 per cent were male. This means at most, there were 1,237 registered male elephants able to provide ivory for the domestic market. Some male pachyderms, after all, are tuskless.

Under Thai law, all shops selling ivory are required to register with the Ministry of Commerce, regardless of its size. However, many of these shops have not been registered.

Doak recommended that Thailand strictly adhere to the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora resolutions.

Thailand has recorded seven of the largest ivory seizures worldwide since 2009, totalling 9.1 tonnes of ivory. Another consignment, weighing 532 kg, was destined for Thailand but was seized at the point of export in Kenya.

Statistics show that on average, five elephants are killed per hour globally.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Family sues prime minister, CCSA after Covid-infected relative dies

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo from Kunlasub Wattnaphon's Facebook.

The family of a man who died while infected with Covid-19 is demanding the prime minister, as well as other government officials, pay millions of baht in compensation, citing “negligence” after calls to Covid-19 hotlines went unanswered or were not of help.

35 year old Kunlasub Watthanaphon died on April 23. Kunlasub is said to have contracted the virus from a cluster in Bangkok. Many of the clusters of infections early in the recent outbreak were concentrated in nightlife districts in Bangkok including Thong Lor and Ekkamai.

When Kunlasub developed Covid-19 symptoms, he called the hotline numbers for those who think they make have contracted the virus. If he had received proper treatment quicker, the family says he might still be alive.

“The CCSA announced telephone helplines – 1330, 1422, 1668, 1669 and 1323 – for people who suspected they had contracted Covid-19. When my brother developed Covid-like symptoms he called these numbers. However, they were either busy or someone picked up but did not send help right away.”

Kunlasub had documented his illness on Facebook, posting updates, as well as photos and videos, up until the day of his death.

The death of the 35 year old man, who is well known in the esport, or video competition industry, sparked controversy. One person wrote on Facebook after Kunlasub’s death “My friend didn’t die because of a congenital disease. He died because he wasn’t treated in the early days.”

The case was filed at the Administrative Court today. It demands compensation of 4.53 million baht from the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration as well as PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, his secretary and the prime minister’s office.

The family is also suing Thong Lor entertainment venues, where the first clusters were reported in the recent outbreak, for negligence.

β€œHad the CCSA imposed a strict lockdown on entertainment venues and banned travel during the Songkran holiday, the latest wave of Covid-19 with over 2,000 new infections daily would never have happened.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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Thailand

Thailand News Today | 8 clusters in Bangkok, Phuket party organisers charged | May 14

Tanutam Thawan

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Foreigners may face a slight delay in receiving their Covid-19 vaccines, The BMA has now confirmed 8 clusters of Covid infection in the capital, Thai Private Hospital Association is now working to offer a variety of Covid-19 vaccine brands to Thais and Patong police have announced that the managers of the Phuket venues that hosted the Kolour entertainment event swill be charged under Thailand’s Emergency Decree provisions.

 

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Economy

Market down as good US economy drives interest rate fears

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: The Thai stock market followed the rest of the world down yesterday, but long-term prospects may be looking up.

After US inflation exceeded targets and increased 4%, global stock markets including Thailand plummeted yesterday with fears of rising interest rates. Almost 144 billion baht was traded yesterday with the market at one point diving down 70 points in the late afternoon before recovering to a 23.72 point loss, closing at 1548.13.

2% is a high rate of inflation so the big numbers sparked fears that the US Federal Reserve will reduce quantitative easing and increase interest rate which decreases the market’s liquidity. The US economy is surging with the Consumer Price Index up 4.2% over last year.

The balancing out of the economy will likely push risky prospects like the stock market down while driving up commodity prices like energy and oil. This may hurt the Stock Exchange of Thailand in the short run, but will likely have long-term positive effects as the SET has a large number of energy stocks that will benefit from the market’s change.

Some long-term investors in Thailand fear quantitative easing and the market’s tightening because it drives away foreign investors which in the past made up 30% of the Thai market. But now foreigners only account for 20% so the negative effect should be much less. However, in the normal inflation range of 1 to 3%, the stock market should have a price-to-earnings ratio of 20 and some experts have downgraded it to 18 now.

Eyeing the US, some experts predict that even accelerated quantitative easing won’t come into effect until the end of the year and interest rates probably won’t rise significantly within the next 2 years. Watching the continued effect of the Covid-19 pandemic and US unemployment figures will be key indicators driving the global market up or down.

Even with the stock market down in Thailand, there’s still some good news as Thai corporations listed on the SET expected to cross the 200 billion baht profit threshold this week, after reporting 180 billion baht in the first quarter of the year, with 55% of the market recording a profit.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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