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Thailand News Today | More Thai Airways debt, Korean soldier, TripAdvisor warning | November 12

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Today’s Thailand News Today coming to you from the 17th floor of The Thaiger Bangkok offices.

Thai Airways adds another 21.5 billion baht in debt in Q3 report

Thai Airways has accumulated more losses, on top of a decade of annual losses, for the latest quarter.

At the moment the national airline’s debt is four times higher than last year’s debt. The airline, already struggling, has been mostly grounded since the end of March. At the end of last week Thai Airways put 34 of its old planes up for sale (you have until tomorrow to put in a bid). 5,000 employees were also being shed in an early retirement offer under its current rehabilitation plan. It’s also selling spare parts and other random stock in its warehouse as well as leasing out part of its offices to save costs.

Passenger numbers were down 92% in the last quarter compared to the same time last year.

Public concern prompts government to shelve 10-day quarantine plans

The Public Health Minister says concern from members of the public have led the government to shelve plans to reduce quarantine for overseas arrivals from 14 days to 10.

Anutin Charnvirakul’s statement comes after a number of mystery local infections.

One involves a woman recently returned from France who tested positive for Covid-19 after she’d completed her quarantine period and travelled to Koh Samui. Another is the case of an Indian man in Krabi province who was found to be infected, despite no recent international travel, and the Hungarian Foreign Minister and Hungarian diplomat, both of whom tested positive in Bangkok. And then the South Korean soldier who tested positive after returning home from a training exercise Thailand.

While acknowledging that the decision will not help efforts to revive foreign tourism, Anutin says the health and safety of Thai residents must take priority.

Thai health officials investigate South Korean military officer Covid-19 case

Now to the curious case of the Covid Korean. Thai health officials are trying to determine how the South Korean military officer, who tested positive for Covid-19 after returning home from Thailand’s annual Cobra Gold training, became infected with the virus.

Local health authorities investigating the case are asking South Korean authorities for more information about the officers whereabouts to figure where exactly the officer might have come in contact with the virus.

Here’s the timeline of the officer’s movements…

October 17: The 32 year old South Korean military officer arrived in Thailand and checked in at an ASQ hotel in Bangkok.

November 1: He was released from the ASQ after 2 tests came out negative. He checked out and stayed at a hotel for a night in Bangkok’s Sukhumvit area.

November 3: He travelled to Rayong’s Ban Chang district and participated in the Cobra Gold military training exercise.

November 6: He travelled back to Bangkok and stayed at a hotel for 2 nights.

November 8: The military officer left from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport and landed at the Incheon Airport in Seoul where he tested positive for Covid-19.

Those who came in close contact with the infected officer are now having to quarantine for 14 days. Others who participated in Cobra Gold’s 5 day training exercise are being advised to self-quarantine at home.

Police to deploy more female officers ahead of Saturday’s rally in Bangkok

Police in Bangkok say they plan to deploy more female officers to assist with crowd-control measures ahead of this Saturday’s rally in the capital.

The Royal Thai Police says most of those gathering at the Democracy Monument and the Education Ministry are expected to be students. An RTP spokesperson says…Metropolitan Police Bureau was ordered to deploy more female crowd-control officers to monitor the situation and prevent any violence that might occur.

There was no mention as to why deploying more female police was somehow relevant to the protests.

Since October 13, 89 activists have been arrested and charged, mainly with sedition.

TripAdvisor slaps warning on Thailand’s ‘Sea View Resort & Spa’ review page

TripAdvisor, the review website everyone loves to hate, is warning potential travellers to a particular Thai hotel that they could face severe consequences for sharing negative opinions about their experience.

Be careful if you want to trash a Thai hotel in the land of fragile egos who use the handy tools of eager lawyers and draconian libel laws.

One visitor, Wesley Barnes from the US, was arrested after he waxed lyrical in his opinions about poor service at the particular establishment. Mr. Barnes was freed and eventually apologised in a settlement between him and the hotel. But TripAdvisor slapped this notice on the hotel’s listing…

Management at the hotel made an official complaint to the local police about the critique at the time. Mr. Barnes’ review strayed somewhat from the usual commentary about dirty bathrooms and cold soup to include the term “modern day slavery”. The resort’s management claimed that it had first tried to reach Mr. Barnes directly to “resolve the matter”, but took legal action because other reviews had been posted across different platforms, a few weeks apart.

Parliament to debate draft charter amendments in 2-day meeting next week

Parliamentary Speaker Chuan Leekpai says members will meet on November 17 and 18 to vote on 7 draft amendments to Thailand’s 2017 constitution.

6 of the drafts are the work of the government and a number of opposition MPs, while the seventh has the support of more than 100,000 citizens.

The government chief whip says they will attempt to persuade senators to support its proposed charter amendments. To be approved, each draft requires at least 375 parliamentary votes including support from the 250 senators hand-picked by the military junta. Protesters say they will assemble outside the parliament in support of the amendments.

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Thai netizens say pro-government royalists carried out Wednesday’s protest shootings

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Thai netizens say pro-government royalists carried out Wednesday’s protest shootings | The Thaiger
Thailand’s netizens are refuting police’s claims that pro-democracy protesters carried out Wednesday’s rally shootings. The shootings occurred at the rally site near Bangkok’s Siam Commerical Bank head office, where the rally site was originally planned but was then moved after protesters tried to avoid a clash with pro-government royalists. However, shots were fired, with police arresting a suspect on charges of attempted murder, shooting in public without reason, and carrying a firearm in public.

The netizens found footage of the scene, in which they say they identified the faces of the offenders. The revelation came after Deputy Metropolitan Police Bureau commissioner Piya Tawichai blamed Ratsadon guards for the shootings and injuries.

Meanwhile, the pro-democracy leaders have been called into questionby donors to the movement, as they have criticised how the leaders have used the donations, when a guard was shot and injured. Netizens took to social media to ask what “fairy godmother” Inthira “Sine” Charoenpura and Pakorn “Hia Bung” Pornchewangkurn were buying with the donation money with some online comments mentioning the display of yellow ducks and props as a poor use of donation funds. Some criticisers pointed towards using the donations to buy protective gear for protesters after the shootings occurred, prompting the 2 leaders to issue a statement that they would now use such funds for the injured guards.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thai protests to continue in full force into December in line with symbolic calendar events

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Thai protests to continue in full force into December in line with symbolic calendar events | The Thaiger

The pro-democracy protests are set to continue well into December, according to Thai security officials. Officials have been preparing to cope with a rise in anti-government activities as symbolic calendar events are coming up. Today the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration group says a protest will take place outside the 1st Infantry Battalion on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road in Phaya Thai District, giving credit to the predictions that there will no end in sight to the protests.

Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, a secretary to PM’s Office Minister Anucha Nakasai, made the announcement yesterday in light of the Constitutional Court being set to pass a ruling this Wednesday on whether PM Prayut is guilty of occupying a house that is meant for military officials.

Prayut is accused by the opposition of engaging in the conflict of interest by occupying the army residence. Such a move should have ended with his army chief tenure in 2014, according to critics.

Following the upcoming ruling on Wednesday, the symbolic calendar event of Constitution Day falls on December 10, a day which will ignite more protests as one of the main demands of pro-democracy demonstrators is to have a new Thai charter, along with the resignation of Prayut and reform of the Thai monarchy.

But despite the anticipated rise in rallies, security officials have ruled out the possibility of a military coup. Critics remain sceptical as many demonstrators claim the government has put police on the front lines of the protests, dressed in yellow shirts, in an attempt to spark a clash to pave the way for a coup. The current PM, when he was the head of the Thai Army in 2014, also said there would be “no coup” against the elected Yingluck Shinawatra government. A month later the NCPO led a bloodless coup and installed Prayut Chan-o-cha as the interim prime minister.

Piya Tawichai, the deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, says protesters yesterday gathered near the Imperial World Samrong shopping mall in Samut Prakan before marching to the Bang Na intersection to rally, partially blocking the road. According to Kissana Phathanacharoen, the deputy spokesman for the national police, the protesters did not obtain permission for staging the rally.

Some protesters also reportedly spray-painted traffic police kiosks with messages that criticised the police for “ditching the people,” and smashed kiosk windows. Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, a protest leader, posted on Facebook yesterday that she has been summoned for violating Section 112 of the Criminal Code, which bans anyone from criticising the King which states:

“Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years.”

Rung says she believes the summons is linked to the September 10 anti-government rally.

SOURCE:The Phuket News

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Chiang Rai

Ron Howard to direct cave rescue feature film ‘Thirteen Lives’ in Australia

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Ron Howard to direct cave rescue feature film ‘Thirteen Lives’ in Australia | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The entrance to the real Tham Luang cave near the Myanmar border in far north Thailand

The Australian Government is putting up A$13 million to Imagine Entertainment and film giant MGM to shoot a live-action feature film called Thirteen Lives, based on the Chiang Rai Tham Luang cave rescue story. The film will be shot in Queensland, Australia in the hinterland areas behind the Gold Coast.

The film will be directed by Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, The Da Vince Code, Cocoon, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Splash, Frost/Nixon), and start filming in March 2021. The state’s Gold Coast hinterland will double for Thailand with a similar hot, humid climate.

The Australian Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher MP, says the production ishould inject more than A$96 million into the Australian economy, “directly creating around 435 jobs for cast and crew”.

Thirteen Lives will tell the remarkable story of the effort by many volunteers, including Australians, to undertake an incredibly complex rescue. And I am proud to say that this story will be told here in Australia.”

“I understand this project will also undertake a significant amount of cutting-edge visual effects work here, a great opportunity for our local post, digital and visual effects companies.”

Thirteen Lives follows the true story of the 2018 Tham Laung cave rescue of the Mu Pa (Wild Boar) football team, trapped in a cave by heavy rain and flooding in Chiang Rai, far north Thailand. After the team was stuck for days with no supplies and falling oxygen levels, a group of diving and rescue experts from all over the world were called up to work together with their Thai counterparts to save the 13 young men. Among those experts were a group of divers from the United Kingdom and Australia.

The first major feature film about the rescue operation was The Cave, released in October 2019. The film was quite critical of the Thai red-tape which hampered much of the early rescue efforts.

Ron Howard has worked with plenty of Australians in the past.

“From Thirteen Lives to the animated projected I am directing with Animal Logic in Australia, I am excited about the opportunity to film and work in Australia and dramatically expand on that list of collaborators whose sensibilities and work ethic I have long admired and respected.”

Imagine Entertainment and MGM’s Thirteen Lives will be distributed by Universal Pictures International.

Watch a message from director Ron Howard HERE.

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