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Thailand News: Thais score lowest in English; Money laundering blacklist; Bangkok Flood Center opens

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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

Thais score lowest in TOEFL
Phuket Gazette / The Nation
PHUKET: With TOEFL scores averaging at 450, Thai students’ proficiency in the English language appears to be the lowest in the Asean region.

In order to overcome this, academics are urging universities to seriously start strengthening students’ English-language skills by making it a working language at their campuses.

“While, Thais’ average TOEFL [Test of English as a Foreign Language] score stands at about 450; [students from] Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar have averaged around 500. Malaysia and Singapore were even higher at approximately 550 on average,” Sriwika Mekthavatchaikul said at a seminar on improving the capacity and quality of universities ahead of the Asean Economic Community.

She is part of a subcommittee that studies institutions’ readiness for the AEC, which kicks off in 2015. The seminar was held at the National Institute of Development Administration by the Inter-national Institute for Trade and Development and attended by representatives from universities and several educational institutes.

Sriwika advised lecturers to make English the first language in campuses and start using technical terms more often while lecturing. Former education minister Prof Wijit Srisa-arn said usually English is included in university curriculum and accounts for at least six credits, and some universities had technical English courses, but that was not enough.

“It is necessary for us to promote the use of English and learn how to use the language with people from other Asean countries,” Wijit said.

Thailand to go off money-laundering blacklist: Sihanart
Phuket Gazette / The Nation
PHUKET: Thailand is set to be removed from the blacklist of countries perceived as non-cooperative in the global fight against money laundering and terrorist financing, Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) secretary-general Sihanart Prayoonrat said yesterday.

The Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) met last week in Paris, and agreed that Thailand would be considered for removal from the blacklist after making significant progress in meeting international standards, Sihanart said.

The FATF would send a team of experts to Thailand in May to confirm the country had reinforced laws and measures, he said, adding that the expert team would report its findings to the FAFT in June.

The FATF had required of Thailand that it issued new and more-standardised regulations covering access to financial-services customers’ facts, that it fixed loopholes in its anti-money laundering law, and that it encouraged and supervised financial institutes in their execution of these changes.

New 5bn baht center to predict flooding
Phuket Gazette / The Nation
PHUKET: The Water and Climate Information Center opened yesterday with the key mission of predicting floods in the Chao Phraya River basin.

The center will collect and analyse all data related to water flow and flooding in the river basin from 12 relevant agencies, including the Royal Irrigation Department, Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry, Meteorological Department, Hydrographic Department, Marine Department, and Bangkok Drainage and Sewerage Department.

The center will then analyse the data, which will be used by the Water and Flood Management Commission to help formulate a strategy for tackling water issues such as floods and droughts. More than 1.9 billion baht of the government’s 120-billion-baht anti-flood budget has been used to set up the center, located at Soi Rang-Nam.

It will be run by the Science and Technology Ministry’s Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute (HAII) and Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA).

“We will use all the data and information available to deliver forecasts for flooding in and beyond a 45-day window,” said HAII director Royol Jitdon.

“As a result we should know the exact time and place that floods will hit and be able to deal with the situation immediately,” he added.

Systems used to collect, analyse and manage the data include unmanned aerial drones, hydrographic survey boats, water-metre stations, closed-circuit TV, satellite images and automated sluice gates. To date, over 600 water-metre stations have been installed in Bangkok and on main rivers across the country.

The center has already surveyed 5,600 kilometres of rivers in the capital and nearby cities for depth and conditions. However, Royol said the center’s data system needed better technology to improve its capacity to forecast and estimate water- and climate-related crises.

He said the 5bn center was launched in a bid to create a single nationwide information resource for authorities and was part of the government’s wider 350-billion-baht water and flood management project.

Anond Snidvongs, GISTDA director, has raised his concern over the center’s security protection system, which he said might not be strong enough to withstand attacks from hackers. “We need time to improve the system,” he said.

— 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.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Monks gather for a special ceremony in Pattaya to pray Covid-19 away

Tanutam Thawan

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Hands placed together in the “wai” position and seated in chairs placed a safe “social distance” apart, monks in Pattaya gathered together at a local temple for a special ceremony to pray Covid-19 away.

The Wat Chai by the Pattaya Walking Street was given special permission to hold the event where dozens of monks from other temples in the area came together to pray. To prevent the spread of Covid-19 at the ritual, monks wore face masks, practised social distancing, used hand sanitiser and had their body temperature checked.

The monks chanted several mantras and performed rituals that they believe will help slow the spread of Covid-19 in Chon Buri and help the local economy recover.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

 

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Bangkok

Protest leader tests positive for Covid-19 a week after being released from jail

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul

A pro-democracy movement leader has tested positive for Covid-19 after she spent 8 weeks in jail awaiting a trial on lese majeste charges which prohibit statements that insult or defame the Thai Monarchy. 2 other protest leaders facing similar charges have tested positive for Covid-19 while in court detention.

After being released from the Central Women’s Correctional Institution on May 6, Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul spent most of her time at home. She went to a drive-through Covid-19 testing venue on May 10. She went by the Bangkok Remand Prison the next day for the release of 2 other protest leaders, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak and Chai-amorn Kaewwiboonpan. Rung has now been admitted to the Thammasat University Hospital in Pathum Thani for treatment.

Rung says had been denied an earlier Covid-19 test because she did not have some of the symptoms of the virus.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid UPDATE: 1,983 new infections and 34 deaths, provincial totals

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ อนุทิน ชาญวีรกูล (Public Health Minister)

The daily Covid-19 death toll hit a record high today with 34 deaths reported. 1,983 new Covid-19 infections were reported today in the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing. Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported 88,907 Covid-19 infections and 486 coronavirus-related deaths.

There are now 29,378 active Covid-19 cases in Thailand. Active cases peaked at just over 30,000 infections last week and have been on a very slight downward slope. The number of patients with severe symptoms has slightly increased to 1,200 with 401 of them on ventilators.

Around 75% of the new Covid-19 infections are in Bangkok and surrounding provinces. While the infection rate remains high in the capital, several provinces have reported no Covid-19 infections and many provinces report under 10 infections.

Most of the new Covid-related fatalities reported today are patients with underlying conditions of high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. 12 of the 34 patients who died had contracted Covid-19 from family members, a trend in the deaths of patients. The elderly and those with chronic illnesses are at the highest risk of a severe Covid-19 infection.

A CCSA spokesperson notes that migrant workers are entitled to treatment under social welfare programs regardless of their legal status in Thailand.

“Legal or not, they will be treated. Legal status is not an issue at all. The priority is to get them treated and recovered as soon as possible.”

To combat the spread of Covid-19 in Bangkok, the CCSA is expediting the Covid-19 vaccination campaign in high-risk areas like Bangkok’s Khlong Toey slum. Since the nationwide vaccination campaign was launched in late February, 1.89 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered. Only 530,000 people have received both doses of the vaccine.

Provinces with the highest number of new Covid-19 cases…

Province New cases Total since April 1
Bangkok 976 21,405
Nonthaburi 266 4,035
Samut Prakan 110 3,420
Chon Buri 57 3,489
Surat Thani 53 1,256
Ayutthaya 38 743
Samut Sakhon 36 1,627
Chanthaburi 32 562
Pathum Thani 29 1,477
Pattani 28 240
Covid UPDATE: 1,983 new infections and 34 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

Daily Covid-related deaths in Thailand as of 11 May 2021, according to Worldometers.

Covid UPDATE: 1,983 new infections and 34 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

Active Covid-19 cases in Thailand as of 11 May 2021, according to Worldometers.

Covid UPDATE: 1,983 new infections and 34 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 1,983 new infections and 34 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 1,983 new infections and 34 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 1,983 new infections and 34 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 1,983 new infections and 34 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 1,983 new infections and 34 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

 

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