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Thailand News: DiCaprio calls for ivory ban as DNP tries to better regulate trade

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

DiCaprio calls on Yingluck to ban ivory trade
Phuket Gazette / The Nation

PHUKET: Hollywood heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio has called on Thailand and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to show leadership on elephant conservation by banning all ivory trade in the country.

“Illegal wildlife trade is the most urgent threat facing species like tigers, rhinos and elephants. These animals are being killed every day to feed an escalating demand for their body parts,” he said.

In a personal e-mail, DiCaprio, 38, urged the public to join the initiative, which included spreading the word and signing a global petition. It also called on Yingluck to prohibit any kind of ivory trade.

He is helping to launch the World Wildlife Fund’s animal rights campaign called “Hands off My Parts”.

“Whole populations are at risk of being wiped out if we don’t take immediate action to shut down this illicit trade. As a key step, I am joining WWF and others in calling on Thailand’s government to show leadership on elephant conservation by shutting down its ivory market before the country hosts a meeting of 177 nations on wildlife trade in March 2013.”

The initiative aims to raise awareness about the rhinoceroses, tigers and elephants that are being slaughtered for their skins, bones, tusks, horns and other parts.

The actor and other celebrity animal-rights activists such as Emily VanCamp, Josh Bowman, Stacy Keibler, Alyssa Milano, Ian Somerhalder and Ethan Suplee have banded together to demand immediate action on the black-market trade in fauna.

The superstar said late last month he was taking a breather from acting.

“I’m a little bit drained,” he told the German newspaper Bild.

“I am now going to take a long, long break.”

After appearing in three films – “Django Unchained”, “The Great Gatsby” and the recently finished “The Wolf of Wall Street” – in two years, DiCaprio says he’s “just worn out”.

Publicity tours for the films still lie ahead, but he has other plans for when his schedule loosens up.

“I would like to improve the world a bit,” he said. “I will fly around the world doing good for the environment.”

Crackdown on traders as Cites looms
Phuket Gazette / The Nation

PHUKET: The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) is trying to better regulate the ivory trade in Thailand before the high-profile Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) conference kicks off in Bangkok early next month.

The DNP will also work with a CITES team in conducting random checks at ivory shops in Thailand on Thursday as part of a measure to stamp out illegal ivory trade.

DNP chief Theerapat Prayurasiddhi vowed yesterday to enforce the law strictly.

The Secretariat of CITES has informed Thailand to urgently address the smuggling of ivory from Africa.

Parties to CITES will gather in Thailand from March 3 to 14 for its 16th meeting.

Theerapat said the illegal ivory trade was a sensitive issue.

Nearly 300 entrepreneurs are engaged in the production, processing, and trade of ivory in Thailand. The ivory trade is legal here, as many elephants in the country are domesticated and are issued identification papers. Non-government organizations (NGOs), however, have raised concerns about the smuggling of African elephants’ ivory into Thailand.

Theerapat said 270 foreigners were arrested at immigration checkpoints in Europe and the United States over the past few years for carrying ivory products they had bought from Thailand. Over three tonnes of ivory was seized from them.

Although Thailand has no plan to ban ivory trade on its soil, Theerapat said the Kingdom would prove to CITES it had cracked down seriously on the trade of smuggled ivory.

Theerapat said his agency had already held discussions with relevant agencies and more than 10 Bangkok-based entrepreneurs to ensure strict compliance with laws governing the ivory trade. For example, entrepreneurs must identify the origin of ivory used for their products.

“If we find any shop fails to comply with our regulations, we will issue a warning the first time or perhaps the second time. But if the offense is repeated, we will ask the Commerce Ministry to revoke its license,” Theerapat said.

The DNP would hold similar discussions with entrepreneurs in 16 other provinces including Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nakhon Sawan, Phuket, Surin and Phitsanulok over the next two weeks.

Theerapat said the DNP would also advise that shops avoid selling ivory products to foreign tourists.

Somkuan Maliwan, a representative from an ivory shop, said most ivory-product buyers were foreigners. “So, it will be hard to provide co-operation on this requirement. For others, we are willing to co-operate,” she said.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Burmese child contracted Covid-19 while crossing the border, report says

Caitlin Ashworth

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Burmese child contracted Covid-19 while crossing the border, report says | The Thaiger
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The 2 year old Burmese child, who tested positive for Covid-19 after leaving Thailand, may have contracted the virus while travelling from Thailand to Myanmar, according to a report from Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health Disease Control Department.

The department says they suspect the child was exposed to the virus while crossing the border from the Mae Sot border district in Tak to Myanmar’s Myawaddy town. The child’s parents worked in Ayutthaya and quit their jobs last month. The department says the toddler probably contracted the virus around September 4 to September 10 while the family was travelling.

The family crossed natural, unofficial passageways into Myanmar. The news website Xinhua says it was an “apparent intent to evade anti-pandemic measures at the Mae Sot border checkpoint.”

Those in Thailand who came in close contact with the family tested negative for the virus. 146 people who worked with the family at Ayutthaya migrant worker camps all tested negative for Covid-19. Those in close contact with the family in the Nakhon Ratchasima province, where the parents worked prior to Ayutthaya, tested negative as well. 2,635 people in Mae Sot tested negative for Covid-19.

Health officials are still investigating 2 apparent local transmissions of Covid-19. Earlier this month, a Bangkok DJ tested positive for Covid-19, breaking Thailand’s 100 day streak without a local transmission. The DJ tested positive for G strain of the virus, a more infectious strain that is typically found in imported cases detected during state quarantine rather than local transmissions. Health officials do not know where the DJ contracted the virus.

A Uzbek football player for the Buriram United team recently tested positive for Covid-19. He was asymptomatic and tested negative for the virus multiple times during quarantine after he arrived to Thailand. Although it seems like a local transmission, some health officials speculate the virus has a longer incubation period than 14 days.

SOURCE:Xinhua

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Video & Podcasts

Thailand News Today | Amnesty finishes, protest round-up | September 21, 2020

The Thaiger

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Thailand News Today | Amnesty finishes, protest round-up | September 21, 2020 | The Thaiger

Daily video news about Thailand with Tim Newton

Get a visa or go to jail.

Thai Immigration Tourists, and anyone else with a lapsed visa, ha ve only 5 days to renew their visa or they could get arrested. The current visa amnesty ends on September 26 and there isn’t going to be another sudden announcement for another grace period, according to immigration officials. Those who overstay will face arrest and be deported back to their home countries. Immigration officials estimate there are more than 150,000 foreign nationals who need to have their tourist visas renewed. Immigration officials said today that people without a valid visa after September 26 could face jail.

“Overstaying the tourist visa is punishable by both a jail term and fine under the Immigration Act.”

Some foreigners who arrived on tourist visas earlier in the year have been in Thailand since late March when the Thai borders closed and many international flights were cancelled due to the world coronavirus pandemic. The visa amnesty was renewed twice since many people were unable to their home countries, but now the amnesty is coming to an end this Saturday.

There were hopes that the end of the visa amnesty could co-incide with the introduction of the new Special Tourist Visa so that those either unable to leave, due to lack of flights or problems returning to their home countries, could ‘roll over’ onto the new 90 day visas. But that has not been announced at this stage and remains just wishful thinking. The best thing you can do, if you don’t currently have a valid visa to stay in Thailand, is urgently contact your embassy, make an appointment online at your nearest Immigration office, or speak to a professional visa agent. But, be warned, there are plenty of scammers posting official looking urgent posts in social media offering to issue you with a visa so you can stay in Thailand. Do your homework before spending money with any visa agent.

Weekend protest rallies draw 30,000 people but no formal response

Protesters gathered from early Saturday morning at the Thammasat Tha Prachan campus. Although officially denied permission to hold their protest on the Campus grounds, the demonstrators stormed the campus’s gates, without resistance from onlooking police or security officials. By the afternoon the crowd had reached some 30,000 people, less than the 50,000 expected but a lot more than the 15,000 expected by government officials in the lead up to the Saturday rally. Largely peaceful the protesters sat in the wet season drizzle to listen to speeches and performances before marching together to the adjacent royal parade grounds of Sanam Luang. Here the protest continued under the watchful eye of police, all unarmed, who barricaded off sensitive areas of the historic parade grounds and access to the Grand Palace.

The protest continued into the night and punctuated the themes of political freedom, new Democratic elections, the dissolution of the Thai parliament and, controversially, reforms to the country’s revered monarchy. On Sunday morning there was a symbolic placement of a brass plaque to commemorate the event, seen as a replacement to a similar plaque that commemorated the Siam Revolution in 1932 that mysteriously vanished in 2017. The protesters then marched to the Privy Council to officially hand over a copy of their 10 point manifesto.

Meanwhile, 45,000 books – a collection of speeches and poems by some of the protest leaders – were seized in a nearby Bangkok house. The books were to be handed out to protesters. 5 people were arrested at the time.

Alcohol banned at national parks after complaints of trash and drunk tourists Alcohol is now banned at national parks after tourists allegedly got drunk at a waterfall and others left a load of trash by their campsite. Just last week, trash left at a campsite at Khao Yai National Park was boxed up in a parcel and sent back to the campers. Other tourists were allegedly drunk and making a lot of noise at the Namtok Samlan National Park, Varawut says. He says both groups of tourists face charges for their actions.

• Alcohol is banned at national parks for the time being

• Loud noise is not allowed after 9pm and noise must be stopped at 10pm

• When renting a tent, tourists must provide identification, address and phone number

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Protests

MP files complaint against 3 opposition MPs for allegedly joining the protest

Caitlin Ashworth

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MP files complaint against 3 opposition MPs for allegedly joining the protest | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Line Today

A member of parliament filed a complaint against 3 opposition MPs for allegedly joining the weekend’s pro-democracy protest where activists demanded reform of the Thai Monarchy. He’s also putting together a legal team aimed at dissolving the members’ 3 opposition parties.

Palang Pracharat MP Sira Jenjakha says he has a photo of the 3 members raising their hands in a 3 finger salute, a symbol of resistance against the military run government. He says the protest was illegal, and the location, the Royal Field next to the Grand Palace, is off limits to unauthorised people.

He filed the complaint with the Chanasongkhram police against Mongkolkit Suksintharanont, of the Thai Civilized Party, Peerawit Ruangluedolapark, of the Thai Rak Thai Party and Nattha Boonchai-insawat of the Kao Klai Party.

A legal team assigned by Sira will collect evidence and file a petition with the Constitutional Court calling on the dissolution of the 3 opposition parties: Thai Civilized Party, Thai Rak Thai Party and Kao Klai Party.

He says he also plans to ask the House Speaker to investigate the 3 members to determine if they breached the parliament’s ethical conduct.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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