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Thailand News Today | Bangkok air pollution, 28 Covid cases, Lao dam protest | December 14

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Bangkok starts the new week with ‘unhealthy’ air quality

Waking up in Bangkok today you would have been surprised that the sun had disappeared to be replaced by a grey sky and views across the city limited to less than a kilometre.

Across the city the air quality readings for most of the day have been aver the 150 mark which is registers as ‘unhealthy’ in the international Air Quality Index. The weather forecast for the next few days suggests that the air pollution situation won’t improve much. 

Since the wet season monsoon is over for the year, the north-easterly airflow across Bangkok now brings down the smoke and haze from the north which is caused by burn offs of rice and sugar cane plantations… a situation that causes devastating air quality problems for the central and northern Thai regions each year, usually from around December until around April.

Majority says school uniforms should remain mandatory – NIDA Poll

According to a new poll, a majority of Thai people think the student uniforms should remain mandatory in Thai schools, while others say casual outfits should also be allowed some days of the week. 

The latter opinion, which was part of the recently conducted NIDA Poll, was reportedly due to keeping the peace and easing tensions between students and education officials.

Almost 70% of respondents say uniforms for students should remain mandatory, with 12% saying casual attire should be allowed some days of the week. About 7% say the decision should be up to the school’s administration.

Of those who think casual attire should be allowed on some days, almost 51% say 1 day a week would suffice. When asked whether they support the Bad Student protests, almost 73% said no, citing the need for students to focus on their studies.

Thai government threaten to boycott new Lao hydro electric dam project

Loas officials have announced yet another Laos hydro electric dam along th Mekong River and Thai authorities aren’t happy.

The long list of Laos and Chinese dams along the Mekong River have hugely affected the life of communities downstream of the Mekong in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. And Laos. The Lao PDR has been described as South East Asia’s ‘battery’ and has been building hydro electric dams at speed in recent decades, sometimes with disastrous consequences.

The Thai government are questioning the potential environmental impact of the planned Sanakham hydroelectric dam in Laos, and say they could exercise a section of the Mekong River Agreement to halt the scheme.

27 new Covid-19 cases in quarantine, 1 health worker infected by patient

1 local Covid-19 transmission was reported today and 27 new Covid-19 cases were detected in quarantine, according to the CCSA. It’s the largest daily rise in cases since April.

For the local transmission, a health worker tested positive for Covid-19 after coming in contact with an infected patient. The CCSA did not give any additional details on the case.

Out of the 27 cases detected in quarantine, 6 of them were Thais returning to Chiang Rai from the Myanmar border town Tachileik.

21 other people tested positive for Covid-19 in quarantine after travelling from the United Kingdom, France, Azerbaijan, Germany, Ukraine, Poland, Bahrain, Indonesia, Sweden and Jordan.

Narathiwat villager shot and killed, suspected insurgent camp found nearby

After a villager was shot and killed while he was hunting wild pigs, a military and police task force searched the area in the Southern province of Narathiwat and found a deserted camp officials suspect was used by insurgents.

The 55 year old went up to the mountain to go hunting with a group of friends. They separated, but after a series of gunshots were heard.

After 3 hours of searching, rangers found the man’s body. He had multiple gunshot wounds. 

A couple days later, a search was led by a combined police and military unit. Officers found an empty campsite with 13 tents. They also found 3 spent AK47 rifle cartridges and a pipe bomb, a type of improvised explosive device known as an IED, along with several survival kits.

Malaysia coast guard busts record methamphetamine shipment, possibly smuggled from Golden Triangle

Malaysia’s coast guard made its largest bust, seizing 2.2 tonnes of crystal methamphetamine that was hidden in packets of Chinese tea. 

The shipment of illegal drugs, valued around 105.9 million ringgit, or 789 million baht, is part of a large-scale drug trade across Southeast Asia, China and Australia.

The coast guard followed the boat, which turned into a chase when the 26 year old Malaysian driver, the only occupant on the boat, refused to stop.

The driver jumped off the boat. The coast guard later found the man and arrested him.

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