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Thailand News Today | The RCEP reset, Hotel Talkfest, Protesters to be arrested | November 16

First day of the week with another Thailand News Today, all the latest news from around Thailand and the region.

Hoteliers to discuss how to revive Thailand’s crippled hospitality industry

The Tourism and Sports Ministry is holding a talkfest with15 hotel operators expected to join to discuss recovery solutions for the battered industry.

Some top executives are planned to pitch in on revival plan including those from Dusit International, Erawan Group, Asset World Corp and Minor Hotels. After those from the industry weigh in on possible solutions for the plan, the proposals will be discussed at the November 24 Tourism Authority of Thailand meeting. TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn says that if needed, they’ll request an additional budget for whatever plan they come up with.

Bill Heinecke from the Minor Group, one of Thailand’s largest hotel groups, is a strong proponent of opening up Thailand’s borders and managing the situation as tourists return.

Protest members could face assault charges as police gather evidence

Core protest members could face assault charges as police gather evidence after Saturday’s demonstration in Bangkok, which saw 2 policemen injured.

“Mob Fest” and “Bad Student” protest members staged the demonstration at Democracy Monument where they wrapped a 30 square metre cloth around the monument. The cloth included numerous demands and insults on it.

Police say that assault charges will be filed after one policeman was struck on the head by a flag pole and another was hit in the face by a hard object as they tried to prevent some of the protesters from breaking through a police cordon.

In a symbolic gesture thousands of the students turned their backs on a passing motorcade as HM the King and Queen of Thailand headed to the opening of new stations along the Blue MRT line.

15 Asia-Pacific countries form the world’s largest trade bloc

After 8 gruelling years of negotiation, 15 countries have signed onto the largest free trade bloc in history. In a joint statement, the leaders of the countries, signatories of the trade deal, say RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) will form a crucial part of economic recovery once the pandemic is over.

The deal excludes the US, which withdrew from a rival Asia-Pacific trade pact 3 years ago. President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2017. That deal would have involve 12 countries and was supported by Mr Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama as a way to counter China’s surging power in the region.

Now, the leaders of China, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and the 10 ASEAN nations, have signed the free trade agreement which covers 2.2 billion people and 30% of the world’s economic output. The new free trade bloc will be bigger than both the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement and the European Union.

The combined GDP of the signatories was about 30% of global GDP, covering nearly 28% of global trade.

The deal is being seen as a significant step towards removing Asia Pacific trade barriers, and brings China under the fold of a larger regional bloc as its massive economy looks elsewhere for trading partners after the bruising US-China trade war.

Roadside bomb explodes as rangers drive to a wedding in Southern Thailand

In the southern province of Narathawit, an area troubled by insurgency-related violence right on the Thai-Malaysia border, a bomb exploded as rangers were driving to a wedding.

None of the soldiers were injured, but the bomb caused major damage to the pickup truck.

Hitman arrested over 14 year old cold-case murder in Pattaya of NZ businessman

An arrest has been made in a 14 year old Pattaya cold case following the arrest of a Thai man who allegedly murdered a New Zealander, Stephen Miller in 2006. The 40 year old is now in custody in Phetchabun province after a raid led by Crime Suppression Division. ‘Pokpong’ was wanted under an arrest warrant issued by Pattaya Court back in April 2006, on charges of murder and illegal possession of carrying a gun in public.

You can read the whole sordid backstory about Mr Miller and his Thai girlfriend at the time at thethaiger.com

Flooded underpass finally drained after locals get officials’ attention with viral photos

A flooded underpass in Nakhon Ratchasima has finally been drained after locals posted photos of them pretending to turn the area into a tourist attraction and swimming pool.

The State Railway of Thailand waited for almost a month before draining the water after the area was flooded by heavy rain.

But one enterprising Thai man came up with the idea to publicise the problem as he and some friends posed lounging in inflatable lilos on the water. Last Friday’s post went viral and got the attention of transport officials.

“I decided to post it to get the attention of the SRT. People here have nobody to turn to.”

In response to the viral post, the railway agency said the soil was blocking the pipes. Meanwhile no more free swimming pool for the two Thai guys.

Alleged drug dealers arrested after help from a stray dog

Police arrested 2 alleged drug dealers after a stray dog dropped off a bag full of amphetamine pills outside a post office in the northern province Phrae.

No one knows exactly where the dog found the bag of drugs, but surveillance camera footage shows the dog carrying the bag and dropping it off at the Rong Kwang district post office. The employees at the post office said it seemed as if the dog wanted to report a crime and they praised the dog for being so smart.

Police say 639 amphetamine pills were in the bag. Officers were able to track down the suspects. A 38 year old man and a 37 year old woman were arrested on charges of drug possession.

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