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Thailand News: Academics offer plan for interim leader; Bombs at Lumpini; Blue powder probe in elephant death

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Thailand News: Academics offer plan for interim leader; Bombs at Lumpini; Blue powder probe in elephant death | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Group comes up with plan for interim govt leader
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: A group of academics and peace advocates yesterday urged rival political camps to forget about appointing a “neutral” prime minister through Article 7 of the Constitution and jointly select an interim non-partisan deputy PM to act as head of government temporarily so that the country can move forward with reform and a general election.

The group includes Surichai Wungaeo and Chantana Banpasirichote, Chulalongkorn University political scientists; Chaiwat Satha-Anand, founder and director of the Peace Information Centre at Thammasat University; and General Ekkachai Srivilas, director of the Office of Peace and Governance at King Prajadhipok’s Institute.

For sustainable democracy and a victory for all Thais, both sides should establish a common ground and step over conflicts that could plunge the country into civil strife, the group said.

Both movements should agree upon three objectives – seek a way out of the stalemate that stays within the scope of the charter, find a “non-partisan” person who can manage the country at this critical juncture, and draft a pact to ensure that all sides will join forces to “reform” the country.

Then both camps should agree not to take recourse to Article 7 to get a non-partisan prime minister, because critics harbour doubts that this would be legitimate.

Under the group’s proposal, both the pro- and anti-government camps would agree on putting in place a “non-partisan” PM who does not have the full authority normally held by a sitting prime minister. Both then should agree on coming up with clear reform proposals that will be legally binding on the next government. The reform proposals must be drafted before the general election is held.

Both political camps must decide how they would select such a non-partisan leader. Once they come up with a candidate, the present acting prime minister would nominate him as a deputy PM for royal endorsement.

The caretaker Cabinet then must resolve to have that deputy PM serve as acting PM, replacing the current one.

The Pheu Thai Party, Democrat Party, United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship and People’s Democratic Reform Committee would nominate three candidates each, who have demonstrated that they are “neutral” in behaviour and actions, possess a clean track record and are widely accepted as having the ability to manage a crisis.

The non-partisan acting PM would then appoint a non-partisan minister to coordinate reform efforts. Not more than 35 ministers would be appointed by the opposition or neutral bodies to resolve the political crisis.

Reform proposals would be submitted to the Election Commission, which would hold an election and a referendum on the same day to save costs and time. The referendum results would be legally binding on the next government.

Both camps should sign an agreement that whoever wins the next election will be in power for one year and the House of Representatives will be dissolved and a snap election called again.

EC to meet govt on draft of Royal Decree for snap election
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Security will be beefed up for the Election Commission (EC) members who meet today with government representatives to discuss the drafting of a Royal Decree on holding an election.

EC secretary general Puchong Nutrawong said the EC had requested a police escort for five EC members, besides routine checks at their residences. However, he did not request bullet-proof vehicles or ask police for security officials to be permanently stationed at the EC members’ houses to keep them under guard at all time. He did not think the present situation warranted such high security.

He said acting PM Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan, caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Phongthep Thepkan-jana and caretaker PM’s Office Minister Varathep Ratanakorn would attend the meeting with the EC at its office.

The EC had arranged a reserve office following anti-government protest rallies to pressure them against holding a poll, he noted.

Puchong said the EC had met with its legal specialists for two hours on Monday. Those at the meeting had presented differing views over whether the EC had the authority to inform the acting PM to draft a Royal Decree to schedule a new poll date if there was a riot or a crisis.

He said the meeting also shared views on whether the acting PM had the power to request a royal endorsement or countersign royal commands. Puchong stopped short of revealing further details of the discussion.

Responding to the People’s Democratic Reform Committee’s call to have high court chiefs meet with independent agencies to nominate a non-partisan PM, Puchong said the EC needed to decide whether it would meet with any agency for discussions.

Meanwhile, Niwattumrong said today’s meeting might be held at the Royal Thai Air Force Academy.

The election should be based on the same resolution that it should be on July 20. However, there could be small adjustment if necessary, he said.

Niwattumrong insisted he and his government had full authority to submit the Royal Decree on the election.

Police find bombs in Lumpini after rally ends
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Bomb disposal officials yesterday found seven home-made bombs and two ping-pong bombs inside Lumpini Park, a day after the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) protesters moved out.

One of the bombs, which did not have a detonation circuit attached, was made of emulsion explosives used for industrial purposes. The bomb would have had a lethality radius of five metres, which would be increased if it inside a gas cylinder, explosives ordnance disposal (EOD) officer, Pol Sub-Lieutenant Narong Bootamthan said.

The bombs were found after a team of EOD officers led by Pol Colonel Kanthorn Auicharoen checked the PDRC rally site at 2.30pm yesterday. The bomb was inside a backpack that allegedly carried the identification card of Nakhon Si Thammarat-resident Naruethep Chukerd, 23.

Lumpini Police Station chief Pol Lt-Colonel Samak Panyawong said Naruethep will be summoned for questioning.

EOD personnel also found six home-made pipe bombs in the water-management section of the park. Three were hidden inside an empty water tank and another three in a garbage bag on top of the tank. The team also found 10 bullet-proof vests and fireworks.

Meanwhile, the two ping-pong bombs were found under a tree, close to where the protesters were rallying. Police also found a lot of debris from firecrackers inside a box close to where the security guards’ tent had been.

Separately, the 17-year-old wife of Thanakrit Pinwises, an ice deliveryman who was stabbed close to the Channel 5 TV station where the PDRC was rallying on Saturday night, spoke to police and psychologists at Phya Thai Police Station yesterday. Police said they only knew that the attackers were dressed in black and their faces were covered as the closed-circuit cameras nearby were only dummies.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand

Thailand News Today | Week In Review | February 26

The Thaiger

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Thailand News Today | Week In Review | February 26 | The Thaiger

Thailand News Today usually covers five days of the news week. This week only four days as today (Friday) is a public holiday. Now we have a weekend edition which goes over the biggest, or best stories, from the past week. Out every Saturday afternoon, catch up with Jett and Tim’s major Thai news stories. Welcome to the Thailand News Today Week in Review. Tim and Jett give you a quick recap of the main news stories.

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You can also LIKE our Facebook page https://facebook.com/thethaigernews to get even more information about Thailand.

 

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Thailand

45 new cases today, 37 local‐Covid‐19‐Update

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45 new cases today, 37 local‐Covid‐19‐Update | The Thaiger

Thailand reports 45 new cases of Covid-19cases today, with 37 infections being locally-transmitted. 8 of those infections were imported, raising the total amount of infections since the pandemic began to 25,809.

The Department of Disease Control reports that 32 cases were confirmed at hospitals with 5 confirmed through active case finding in communities.

Samut Sakhon province, the 2nd wave epicentre, reported over half of the new cases at 19. 14 of those cases were confirmed at hospitals and 5 were detected in Myanmar communities. Bangkok has reported 3 new cases, Nakhon Nayok reported 5, Chai Nat 3, Nakhon Pathom 3, Saraburi 2, Prachuap Khiri Khan 1, and Samut Prakan 1.

45 new cases today, 37 local‐Covid‐19‐Update | News by The Thaiger

The 8 imported cases were those under quarantine arriving from Pakistan, Bangladesh, the UK, Germany, France, The Netherlands, and Kuwait. The case from the UK was that of a 6 year old Thai schoolgirl.

Globally, Covid-19 cases rose by 444,466 over the past day to 113.54 million. The worldwide death toll increased by 10,552 to 2.52 million. The United States still has the most cases at 29.5 million, with the most deaths at 520,785.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Tourism

Surveys show Thailand still one of the top holiday choices post-pandemic

Maya Taylor

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Surveys show Thailand still one of the top holiday choices post-pandemic | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Jakob Owens on Unsplash

The Stockholm office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand has conducted a survey in which 62% of respondents say they want to spend winter in Thailand provided restrictions are lifted. The top destinations are Phuket, Krabi and Khao Lak, followed by Koh Samui, Koh Pha-ngan, Koh Tao, Bangkok, and Hua Hin.

68% say they would cancel bookings if the 14-day quarantine remains in place. 26% say they would still go ahead, and 13% said they’d be in favour of quarantine being cut to 10 days. 99% of participants say they would be worried about testing positive for Covid-19 after travel plans have been made.

Meanwhile, the TAT’s London office has also been busy, carrying out a survey in conjunction with market research firm, YouGov. The idea behind the survey was to get an idea of the future of tourism once the pandemic is over.

4,127 people took part, with 75% of them saying they’re prepared to be vaccinated if it’s required for travel. 41% are against mandatory quarantine, although 52% would accept a 5-day quarantine. 62% of those planning holidays are over the age of 50 and interested in countries with low infection rates.

According to a Nation Thailand report, Siripakorn Cheawsamoot from the TAT says the findings of the survey indicate that up to 6 million people are interested in travelling to Thailand at some point this year.

Meanwhile, a number of online travel agency platforms in France have also carried out a survey. The poll, conducted by companies such as Go Voy, Opodo, and eDreams, showed that the number of hits to tourism-related websites rose by 15% once the success of Covid-19 vaccines was announced. The top destinations searched for were Dubai at 49%, Marrakesh at 27%, and Bangkok at 25%.

Another travel survey in the Americas found that most holidaymakers have chosen to postpone their trips by 7 months to a year, rather than cancelling completely. Siripakorn says that booking flexibility is a priority for Americans.

“Flexibility to reschedule is the top priority for American tourists, followed by safety. These tourists are looking for safety, no quarantine, flexibility, and no deposit.”

Meanwhile, a report issued by Skift Research shows that travel will not recover until 2023 and will not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2025.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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