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UN director says more needs to be done to fight corruption in Thailand

May Taylor

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UN director says more needs to be done to fight corruption in Thailand | The Thaiger

The chief of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Renaud Meyer, is calling on Thailand’s lawmakers to do more to fight corruption.

While acknowledging the country’s efforts so far, he says certain influential figures and groups are a stumbling block to creating a less corrupt society.

He was speaking at a conference jointly organised by the UNDP, along with the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand (ACT) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC).

ACT secretary general Mana Nimitmongkol agrees, claiming that politicians are not seen to actively participate in the fight against corruption. He points out that very few of them made this a feature of their campaigns when running for election last March.

A number of tools used to detect corruption globally are being used in Thailand.  They include an “integrity pact” (IP) for procurement projects valued at more than 1 billion baht, as well as the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST) for projects worth less than 1 billion.

It’s understood that such practices will save the government budget over 100 billion baht by the end of the year.

But Vichai Assarasakorn, vice chairman of ACT, says it’s not just about cutting down on procurement costs, but equally about collaboration between government and the private sector as well as civil society. He believes that public participation in government procurement projects brings good governance.

However, Mana says corruption still happens due to inconsistency in government policies, noting that those with enough influence, and groups with vested interests, can still get away with shady deals.

“The government and its agencies do what they want to do. For instance, public-private partnership [PPP] projects or large concessions such as duty-free licensing, are not under the IP initiative. In order to substantially eliminate corruption, all large public procurement projects should come under IP scrutiny.”

SOURCE: The Nation

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Thailand

Thailand’s Department for Disease Control issues Chikungunya warning

May Taylor

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Thailand’s Department for Disease Control issues Chikungunya warning | The Thaiger

PHOTO: www.wikipedia.com

Dr Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai from the Department of Disease Control says over 10 people in central Thailand have contracted chikungunya since July, and urges people to take precautions, saying those with high fever and joint pain should seek medical advice without delay.

In total, since the beginning of the year, 7,481 people have been treated for chikungunya, with all patients surviving. The majority were in the 25 to 34 age bracket, followed by 35 – 44 and 15 – 24.

The provinces with the highest number of chikungunya patients are Pattani, Ranong, Tak, Phuket and Songkhla.

Officials were able to prevent the mosquito spread virus from developing to other areas but Dr Suwannachai says people should also make efforts to get rid of any potential breeding grounds for mosquitos.

This includes clearing rubbish away from the home, covering all food and water containers, and removing waste water or any stagnant water from around the home.

Chikungunya symptoms include high fever and rash and may also include joint pain lasting between one and two weeks. The virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito and can affect people of all ages.

SOURCE: The Chiang Rai Times

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Significant developments in cannabis farming in Thailand

May Taylor

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Significant developments in cannabis farming in Thailand | The Thaiger

PHOTO: www.growbarato.net

In what’s thought to be the first-ever industrial scale manufacturing facility for medical cannabis within the Asean Region, Maejo University in Chiang Mai has planted 12,000 cannabis sprouts – the largest lot in the country.

It’s hoped the result will eventually be 1 million bottles, each containing 5ml of cannabis oil, by February.

Senior officials from the Ministry of Public Health attended a planting ceremony yesterday, along with the university’s executive team, the provincial government, and local administrative organisations.

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul planted the first sprout, saying recent changes in the law would allow families to grow their own plants at home.

“These are historic first steps on the path towards allowing people to grow six cannabis trees in their homes. The university will be a centre where ordinary people can learn how to plant and grow good quality cannabis. Cannabis is not an issue of politics, it is a product that can benefit people’s health. In the near future, families will be able to plant it in their back gardens like any other herb.”

In June, Maejo University signed a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Medical Service and the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) concerning the development of cannabis plantations, including local strain development for medical use. Following that, the narcotic board granted the university a plantation licence in September.

It’s understood the planting session should produce 2.4 tons of dried cannabis flowers by February, which will be forwarded to the GPO for the production of 5,000 litres of cannabis oil. This will be given to doctors who can prescribe it to qualifying patients.

The Thai Food and Drug Administration’s decision to approve cannabis oil for prescription was met with cautious optimism by medical practitioners.

Medicinal use began on August 20 and the Chief of the Deparment of Medical Service, Somsak Akasin says initial results appear to indicate that cancer patients enjoy a better quality of life due to the cannabis oil mitigating the effects of chemotherapy.

He adds that half of children with epilepsy who have been treated with the drug have responded well.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Overturned truck was carrying 450 kilos of crystal meth

The Thaiger

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Overturned truck was carrying 450 kilos of crystal meth | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Thai PBS World

Police have seized about 450 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine (ice), with a street valued around 225 million baht – a major shipment of the illicit drug. The seizure followed a ten-wheel truck ending up on its side after crashing into a traffic island in Phetchaburi province on Friday night.

The truck driver, 45 year old Adinan Laeha, and his 18 year old son, Wilayan, both from the southern province of Narathiwat, ended up with minor injuries in the overturn but are now being questioned by police over the illicit payload found in the truck.

The truck crashed on the main north-south Phetkasem highway near an underpass at about 8.30pm in Phetchaburi’s Muang district.

As the truck turned over, some of its cargo of illicit drugs crashed out onto the road. The first emergency services to arrive on the scene found several suspicious-looking packages wrapped in plastic spilled on the road and alerted police. Police checked some of the packages and found they contained crystal methamphetamine, and there was more inside the truck.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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