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Patong tunnel to start April/May next year

Tanutam Thawan

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Looks like the island’s long-awaited tunnel through Patong Hill might actually be becoming a reality. Authorities say it will be the first of its kind in Thailand.

The Daily News is reporting on the progress of the Patong tunnel project which, it is hoped, will eliminate much of the carnage and delays experienced by drivers on the hill everyday. Sutthisak Watthanawinit, the Acting President of the Expressway Authority of Thailand, says “the Kathu to Patong road is soon expected to be opened to bidding.”

An Environmental Impact Study is currently being conducted. The report says that if the Patong Tunnel project passes the EIA, it will be subject to Government approval before being tendered out for contract bidders.

The report says that the contractor will be selected by the end of 2017 and the works begin sometime around April/May next year.

“The environmental study was key as the project would include a substantial tunnel that he said was a first of its kind in Thailand. The tunnel would help solve the accident problems associated with the hill and act as a gateway to the provinces many tourist beaches,” said Sutthisak.

The report in Daily News also outlines a new ring-road in Bangkok plus major arterials in Chiang Mai and Khon Kaen too.

ORIGINAL STORY: Daily News

- Tanutam Thawan

Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

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Phuket

Body of Phuket jet-ski staffer found in Phang Nga Bay

Tanutam Thawan

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The body of the jet-ski staffer who disappeared in a Phuket storm around the Naka Island area last Tuesday (July 17) was found today (July 22) in Phang Nga Bay.

A staff member of a jet ski business disappeared after he was hit by a wave near Koh Naka, off Ao Po in Pa Khlok at 3pm on Tuesday.

Read the original story HERE.

The Thalang District Chief Adul Chootong  was notified by rescue workers at 10am this morning that the body of 31 year old Koset ‘Oat’ Deebukkam was found floating face down on Baan An Pao Beach at Naka Noi Island in Phang Nga Bay.

His body was taken to Koh Yao Hospital. His relatives have confirmed that it is the body of Mr Koset.

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National

Same-sex civil union bill ready for Cabinet in two months

The Thaiger & The Nation

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A same-sex civil partnership law should be drafted and discussed before next year’s elections.

Pitikarn Sitthidech, the Rights and Liberties Protection Department chief, saystThe law, allowing same-sex couples to formally register as life partners, should be drafted by September.

It would then be submitted to Deputy PM and Justice Minister ACM Prajin Juntong, who would decide whether it should go to the Cabinet, she said.

Pitikarn says the sub-panel drafting the legislation that’s been hailed by some as a progressive step towards the legalisation of gay marriage would meet on July 25 to review its 63 articles. Panel members were likely to make adjustments, she said, some based on the experiences of other countries that have adopted similar legislation, such as Mexico, South Africa, Canada, Australia and Britain.


Pitikarn Sitthidech – Rights and Liberties Protection Department chief 

The bill will then be forwarded to the Rights Department’s law development committee for further tweaking in September, and then to Prajin, Pitikarn said. She pointed out that the process in some countries had taken up to 10 years, but Prajin wanted to fast-track Thailand’s version because of the many LGBT (lesbian, gay, transgendered and bisexual) citizens who deserve the same rights as everyone else.

Pitikarn said Prajin had insisted that the authors of the legislation understand the situation in society well and the sensitivities involved. He wanted guidelines set out to support the status of same-sex life partners registered in other countries who were now living in Thailand to ensure they enjoyed the rights to which they were entitled.

Prajin wanted it made clear which agency would handle registrations once the law comes into effect. And he expects the law to lay the foundation for the legalisation of gay marriage.

“Since the ministry began moving forward on this law, we have received good feedback from the LGBT community and a 60,000-name petition expressing support for the action, as well as much useful information,” Pitikarn said.

“I believe many more people are passively supporting this law – the many who haven’t yet expressed their LGBT status.”

SOURCE: The Nation

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National

Floods continue to cause havoc in the north, west and central

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Floods are causing havoc across swathes of provinces across Thailand. From the north in Chiang Mai, to the west in Kanchanaburi and as far south as Prachuap Khiri Khan and Ranong.

The Thai Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation chief says that the flooding has been triggered by tropical storm Son-Tinh which still sits over Laos, so far affecting 13 Thai provinces and 2,369 families between July 17 and today (July 22).

Director-general Chayapol Thitisak said 23 districts witnessed flooding and in some cases landslides in Kanchanaburi, Tak, Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son, Phichit, Nakhon Sawan, Trat, Phrae, Phetchabun, Phitsanulok, Ranong, Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan.

Conditions have normalised in 10 provinces, he said, but there is still flooding in six districts in three provinces.

In Kanchanaburi’s Sangkhla Buri district, 400 families are affected, in Tak’s Mae Ramat, Phop Phra, Tha Song Yang and Umphang districts 80 families, and in Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Hua Hin district another 80 families, though the water level is decreasing.

Next cause for concern, says the Meteorological Department, is a tropical depression over the upper South China Sea that’s moving towards the upper Philippines at a maximum sustained wind speed of 55 kilometres per hour.

It will not affect Thailand directly, the department predicted, but travellers should monitor the situation if they are travelling in these regions.

“The southwest monsoon over the Andaman Sea and Gulf of Thailand is also strong, creating waves up to three metres high”, it says.

“Ships should proceed with caution and small boats should stay ashore”.

Chayapol said he had contacted officials in provinces in the East and upper South to be prepared in case of flooding or seaborne mishaps.

STORY: The Nation

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