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Thailand News Today | Thailand backs UN resolution against Russia’s invasion

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Thailand voted in support of a UN resolution against Russia’s invasion, demanding that Russia “immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces” from Ukraine.

A total of 141 out of the 193 member states voted for the resolution at the UN General Assembly emergency meeting at its New York headquarters.
PM Prayut Chan-o-cha said in a previous statement that Thailand would remain neutral on the Russia-Ukraine conflict. A government source told the Bangkok Post that the prime minister insisted that Thailand will maintain its neutrality. The Post also notes that a statement by the ambassador and permanent representative of Thailand to the UN, Suriya Chindawong, did not mention Russia by name.

The statement read “Thailand is gravely concerned with the worsening hostilities and violence as a result of the use of military forces in Ukraine, which has led to the loss of life, including of innocent civilians and destruction of property and civilian infrastructure.”
The resolution is not legally binding, but the overwhelming vote denouncing Russia’s attacks on Ukraine has been seen as historic. A total of 35 member states, including China, Cambodia, and Laos, abstained from the vote and five voted against, including Eritrea, North Korea, Syria, Belarus, and Russia.

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The Thai government has vowed to end forced labour in the country’s prisons, following an exposé by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The foundation’s investigation revealed shocking abuses in the Thai prison system, with inmates forced to make fishing nets for private companies for as little as 30 baht per month. Some said they did not get paid at all. Prisoners were threatened with punishments that included beatings and having their release date postponed.
The Corrections Department initially denied the findings of the Thomson Reuters Foundation but has now vowed to eradicate forced labour and to pay inmates a fair wage if they choose to work.
According to officials, newly-formed committees will oversee planned reforms in each of Thailand’s 143 prisons, setting prison wages in line with the minimum wage of each province. Thailand’s minimum wage varies from 313 baht to 336 baht per day, depending on the province.

The anti-slavery organisation, The Freedom Fund, has welcomed the statement from the Corrections Department, but still has questions. Programme adviser Roisai Wongsuban says there’s been no word on how the department will guarantee transparency, pointing out that so far, no one has been able to gain access to prisoners, and added that the department must be able to reassure international buyers through independent inspections and public disclosure of contracts between prisons and companies.

In February, an alliance of human rights groups submitted a petition to the US Customs and Border Protection, which is the largest federal law enforcement agency in the US. The petition called for imports of fishing nets produced by 2 Thai companies to be halted due to their use of prison labour. US law prohibits the import of goods made using forced or prison labour. The Customs and Border Protection office has the authority to withhold such items and prevent them from coming to market.

—–

Police are considering whether to charge all five of Tangmo’s boat companions with negligence leading to death and making false statements.

After the actress fell into the river and drowned, one of the men on the speedboat phoned some influential friends to seek advice, according to phone conversation records obtained by the police.
In one of his calls, the man admitted that the unlicensed skipper had lurched the boat forward in the water, causing Tangmo to instinctively grab another person beside her, who reacted from fear of being dragged into the water, resulting in the actress toppling overboard, where the boat propeller cut her right leg and she drowned.

It is not yet known the exact circumstances on the boat that led up to it lurching forward, causing Tangmo to topple overboard. However, a video filmed that night on her manager’s phone before the accident shows Tangmo presumably near the back of the boat.

Furthermore, the widely circulated photograph showing Tangmo hugging her manager at the back of the boat that was supposedly taken at 9:56 pm on the night of the incident has been proven to be taken much earlier before the lights of Rama VIII Bridge automatically turned off at 9 o’clock. This would also explain why the water was so dark at the time Tangmo toppled over. It is not clear why the photo’s data was changed to reflect a later time.

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The remains of an elephant missing its ivory tusks were found by national park authorities at a mountain in the southern province Songkhla. Officials suspect the elephant was killed by those involved in the illegal ivory trade.

Locals found the bones of the elephant on a mountain in the Pa Kabang Reserved Forest in the province’s Sabayoi district. National park officers spent hours investigating the area. Reports say the elephant’s skull had what appeared to be bullet holes and the ivory tusks were missing.
Near the elephant’s carcass, park officers say some trees had been cut to make a temporary bed. Thai media reports that there will be a further investigation to track down poachers and illegal ivory traders.

—-

Air quality in Thailand’s North and Northeast is deteriorating, to no one’s surprise anymore, mostly due to the same old reasons like farmers burning waste, and villagers lighting fires in forests.

The country’s Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency said that on Tuesday there were 1,060 ‘hot spots’ across Thailand. 110 of the hotspots were in Chiang Mai province, and 92 were in Lampang province. The hot spots are leading to increasing levels of PM2.5 particles.

In addition to farmers burning waste, villagers often light fires in forests while they hunt for animals, pick produce, or clear plants ahead of the rainy season.
301 of the 1,060 hot spots on Tuesday were in forest reserves, and 254 were in conserved forests. 248 were in farming areas, and 146 were in land reform areas.
104 were in local communities, and seven were along highways.

Even though burning is causing most of the hot spots, the Geo-Informatics agency says it is also concerned about dust levels in surrounding countries, since winds have been blowing dust into Thailand. It said there were over 4,212 hot spots in Myanmar, 2479 in Laos, and 1,743 in Cambodia during the same time as there were 1,060 in Thailand. On Tuesday, the agency posted a graphic of the hot spots in Thailand on Facebook.

—-

To educate the public about Thailand’s laws on cannabis, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul is going on tour with his first stop tomorrow in Surin.

The academic conference will be held from tomorrow until Sunday at the Rajamangala University of Technology Isaan’s Surin Campus. Thai media says there will be 12 more conferences in various other provinces this year.

Anutin has been a vocal advocate for medical marijuana and cultivating the plant for research and health purposes. A government spokesperson adds that cannabis is expected to become a new cash crop, adding that farmers with permission can grow the plant for additional income.

At tomorrow’s conference, medical workers and cannabis specialists will discuss cannabis for health uses as well as how to grow cannabis. The Public Health Ministry will host more meetings and academic conferences on how to grow cannabis, how to start a business related to cannabis as well current guidelines as cannabis with high amounts of the psychoactive component THC is still illegal.

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