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Thailand News Today | Army deny Twitter spin, “Don’t Reopen”, English proficiency low | Nov 27

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Last day of the week. Thought we’d go outside. Bad idea! Welcome to Friday’s Thailand News Today.

Royal Thai Army denies claims about Twitter campaign to spread pro-government propaganda

Following a shutdown of 926 Twitter accounts linked to the Royal Thai Army, documents were leaked of what appears to be a contract between the Army and a private company supposedly hired to spread pro-government propaganda.

But Thailand’s Army chief is denying the claims and says the Army never hired a company to spread pro-government propaganda through the over 900 Twitter accounts.

Last month, Twitter announced that it had suspended 926 accounts linked to the Royal Thai Army for violating the social media company’s “platform manipulation” policies.

A report by an independent Cyber Policy Centre says the Army used Twitter to “cheerlead” with pro-government propaganda. The report says the Army used Twitter to criticise the now disbanded Future Forward Party and neutralise criticism after February’s mass shooting where an Army soldier killed 30 people and injured 57 others.

Former WTO director cautions against re-opening Thailand too quickly

The former director general of the World Trade Organisation has issued a caution against Thailand throwing open its borders too early.

Supachai Panitchpakdi says Covid-19 is still very much a threat, pointing to other countries that appear trapped in a cycle of restrictions and lockdowns. He said that the cycle in many Western countries is not just damaging their economies, it’s also leading to more infections and deaths and prolonging the time until the affected countries can restart their economies. He warns that re-opening Thailand’s borders too quickly could have long-term negative impacts for the Kingdom.

Within Thailand there is a polarised view as to whether Thailand should be broadly re-opening its borders or not. Successive polls show that the Thai population is, generally, suspicious about re-opening too soon, especially whilst parts of the rest of the world are still trying to contain their infection rates. On the other hand Thailand’s tourism and hospitality industry has been decimated with millions unemployed.

Bangkok’s canal boat services go electric

A new electric passenger boat service started operating on Bangkok’s Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem today. The klong traverses the eastern side of Rattanakosin Island.

The Thai PM launched the service at the Hua Lamphong Railway Station Pier, and was a passenger on the first boat ride this morning.

There’s seven electric fibreglass boats in the initial service, each carrying 30 passengers.

The boats can run for four hours per charge at a speed of 10-15 kilometres per hour. There’s solar roof panels to help power the electric outboard motors.

The new e-boats operate from 6am-7pm, with a boat departing every 15 minutes. Good news, passengers can travel for free for the first six months of the service.

Thailand’s English level drops for the third year – English Proficiency Index

English skills in Thailand have dropped for the third year in a row with an English language proficiency score considered to be “very low.”

In the past year, Thailand’s ranking dropped from 74 out of 100 countries to 89, according to the 2020 English Proficiency Index by EF Education First. The index is based on test results from 2.2 million adults from 100 countries and regions.

Thailand scored 419 out of 800, which is considered “very low.” Thailand ranks 20 out of 24 countries surveyed in Asia and 7 out of 8 countries in Southeast Asia, just ahead of Myanmar in last place.

According to the report, the lack of English proficiency in Thailand, Cambodia and Sri Lanka hampers access to jobs in the tourism industry which makes up more than10% of their economies.

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Thailand

Gambling crackdown continues, 400 slot machines seized in warehouse raid

Caitlin Ashworth

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Gambling crackdown continues, 400 slot machines seized in warehouse raid | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Matichon

In a nationwide crackdown on gambling, police in the Isaan province Khon Kaen raided a warehouse and seized more than 400 slot machines.

Acting on a court warrant, police searched the warehouse in the Mueang district. The locks on the door had been changed and police had to break the locks to enter the warehouse. Inside, canvases covered 418 slot machines. Police say the machines were “plug and play” ready.

Officers say they believe the warehouse was linked to an illegal gambling den in the province. No arrests have been made and police are still investigating.

There have been numerous gambling-related busts and raids in recent weeks. A nationwide crackdown on gambling was launched after a cluster of Covid-19 cases was reported at a Rayong gambling den.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thailand

Samut Sakhon governor remains on ventilator with serious lung infection after Covid-19

Caitlin Ashworth

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Samut Sakhon governor remains on ventilator with serious lung infection after Covid-19 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Matichon

After nearly recovering from Covid-19, the Samut Sakhon governor was diagnosed with a bacterial infection in his lungs and now remains on a ventilator after nearly a month of the breathing treatment. Doctors are now doing hourly checks to monitor governor Verasak Vichitsangsri’s condition.

While the 58 year old governor’s Covid-19 infection has subsided, the virus negatively affected his lung function, doctors say. The bacterial infection is now destroying some of his lung tissue. Verasak is also diagnosed with cerebrovascular disease, which affects blood flow to the brain. The governor’s brain function has been affected by the infection, according to dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Siriraj Hospital, Prasit Watanapa. He did not go into detail about how the brain function was affected.

“All we have to do is administer antibiotics and remove mucus as much as possible to reduce infection in the body. As for the work of the brain, there has been an effect because the governor is older and has underlying cerebrovascular disease. The medical team is doing their best. “

The bacterial infection was resistant to the first round of antibiotics and doctors are now trying another antibiotic, according Prasit. Doctors will monitor the governor’s condition for the next 72 hours to see if his body responds to the medicine.

Verasak tested positive for Covid-19 last month reporting symptoms of a sore throat and cough. He was diagnosed with lung inflammation and put on a ventilator a few days later. Doctors treated him with the antiviral drug Favipiravir.

Last week, doctors announced Verasak’s condition was improving and he would be taken off the ventilator.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Shoppers disgruntled as registration for co-payment scheme fills up in 10 minutes

Maya Taylor

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Shoppers disgruntled as registration for co-payment scheme fills up in 10 minutes | The Thaiger
PHOTO: National News Bureau of Thailand

Social media users are up in arms after registration for the government’s Kon La Khreung (“Let’s Go Halves”) co-payment scheme filled up within 10 minutes. The scheme, first introduced as an economic stimulus measure in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, gives shoppers 50% off the purchase of everyday items, up to 150 baht a day and capped at 3,500 baht for the duration of the scheme.

The third phase of registration had a quota of 1.34 million users, but interested parties had to be quick. Having lost their chance to register, many disgruntled people took to social media to complain, with the hashtag #คนละครึ่งเฟส3 (#Let’s Go Halves3) trending on Twitter.

Several netizens say they filled out the online registration form at exactly 6.01am but were then forced to wait for the one-time password to be delivered to their phones before they could complete the process. In many instances, by the time they received the OTP code, registration was full. Some say they had to wait over 5 minutes to receive the password, which caused them to miss the small window for registration.

According to a Nation Thailand report, one person has described the scheme as nothing more than a government PR stunt, pointing out that, despite being funded by taxpayers’ money, only some people can avail of it.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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