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Foreign leaders express concern, Thaksin cancels UN address

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Foreign leaders express concern, Thaksin cancels UN address | Thaiger

BANGKOK (Agencies, Nation): Foreign leaders reacted with concern over the military coup against caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan saying “this is not a practice to be encouraged”.

Speaking to CNN television on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting, Annan said: “We as an organization [UN] have always supported governmental changes through democratic means, through the ballot box. As the African Union, for example, has indicated they do not support those who come to power through the barrel of a gun.”

Annan urged Thai people to “remain calm”. He told CNN: “Over the past decade or so they have established a solid democracy and institutions under the leadership of the king. And I’m sure they will be able to restore that institution and go back to a democratic system as soon as possible.”

Thaksin is in New York for the General Assembly but canceled his plans to give a speech to the meeting after the military staged a coup.

Thaksin, who was due to speak today, initially switched places with Montenegro on the speaker’s list to allow him to speak yesterday evening due to the coup.

But, just three hours before he was expected to address the 192-nation world body, UN deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe announced that “Thailand is no longer on the General Assembly speaker’s list this evening.” She gave no explanation for the cancellation.

Meanwhile, the United States said it was monitoring the situation with concern and was uneasy about the military takeover in Thailand.

The US State Department said in a statement issued yesterday said it hoped the political differences in Thailand could be resolved through democratic principles. There had been no indications of violence, but “we are monitoring the situation with concern”.

The department described the situation as “still unfolding”.

“We continue to hope the Thai people will resolve their political differences in accord with democratic principles and the rule of law,” the statement said.

The State Department responded initially with caution but injected an expression of concern several hours later in its second statement of the day.

In New York, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice returned to her hotel from UN headquarters to speak with her staff about the coup. US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton said it was still too early to comment but appealed for the maintenance of the rule of law.

“We have press reports and I think for now the important thing is to look for the sustaining of constitutional processes in Thailand,” Bolton said.

Meanwhile Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen – whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency – said Thailand needed to “revert to democratic order without delay.

“It is highly regrettable that democratic institutions seem to have been taken over by military force,” he said in a statement.

France’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement: “We are following the situation closely.” It urged some 6,000 French citizens resident in Bangkok to “stay indoors”.

Britain is “never happy” to see a military coup in a country, Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said yesterday in a reaction to the over-throw of caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

“We are never happy about military attempts to overthrow a government, if that is what is happening,” Beckett told reporters on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

“But we very much hope there will be peace and the situation will be resolved and that some peaceful way out of the problem will be determined,” she added.

Beckett said, “Details and information are still coming in, as you know, and I’m cautious of commenting on what is clearly an unfolding situation.”

Australia said it was gravely concerned at the “unacceptable” overthrow of the Thai government in a military coup, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said yesterday.

The tough comments from Downer, who is in New York attending the UN General Assembly meeting, came as Canberra issued a travel advisory warning its citizens to reconsider travel to Thailand following the overnight coup.

“We want to see a return to democratic rule [in Thailand],” Downer said in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation from New York. “It’s of grave concern for us that the government has been overthrown in this way.

“There was an expectation in Thailand that there would be an election towards the end of this year and it is of concern to us that the military appear to have simply seized power,” Downer said.

The Netherlands’ main airline, KLM, said it had made no changes to its flights to Bangkok for the moment, as the situation in the Thai capital appeared to be calm.

The British Foreign Office cautioned Britons traveling to Bangkok or already there to monitor all available information and avoid large crowds and protests.

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

For travellers to Phuket, testing is out, quarantine is in

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Phuket Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong (via Facebook)

The on-again-off-again plans for testing people for Covid-19 as they arrive in Phuket will be replaced by quarantine after May 15, according to Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong’s latest announcement. In an online video broadcast last night, the vice governor confirmed the new scheme after Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew first mentioned it in an executive meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday.

There are now 25 provinces on the Phuket red zone list that they instated on April 22, with anyone arriving from those places required to have proof that they are either fully vaccinated or tested negative for Covid-19 within the last 72 hours. Without proof, people have to take a rapid antigen test to confirm they did not have Covid-19 before they would be allowed on the island. The test was first set to be 300 baht for everyone, and later controversially made free for Thai people and 500 baht for foreigners.

There had been some back and forth with budget concerns of being able to provide the mass testing and who would pay how much for continued testing. Perhaps requiring people to quarantine in Phuket is cheaper than testing them when they arrive. The original scheme was set to expire May 15, and announcements were made about extending the plan and stopping testing right away. For now, this debate seems to have settled on replacing the testing with a mandatory quarantine upon entering Phuket.

The vice-governor explained that the rapid antigen test will continue through May 14, and then starting May 15, anyone who arrives without a vaccine or a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arriving in Phuket will be required to quarantine for 14 days. They set a goal of zero new infections by the end of the next two weeks. And he stated they are committed to doing whatever it takes as “Phuket cannot continue with this risk”.

Speaking to The Phuket News… β€œWe want to send a sign to the country that we are cleaning up our province. The 3 vice governors [in Phuket] have been ordered to take care of each district by cooperating with local administration officers as well as community leaders to do proactive screening,”

After announcing the quarantine plan for Phuket, the vice governor spoke confidently that in the near future the island will have enough jabs to vaccinate every person on the island. Religious leaders from any faith are currently being vaccinated because of their general proximity to people during religious ceremonies and practices.

Vice Governor Piyapong pled with people with the people of Phuket who were on the fence about Covid-19 vaccinations, anti-vaxxers, or those otherwise resisting getting the jabs needed to reach herd immunity.

“If you are still deciding whether or not to get vaccinated, please come to get vaccinated”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Pfizer vaccines on the way, Phuket’s July re-opening | May 7

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Disease Control Department back-peddled saying that that foreigners living in Thailand WILL also be vaccinated, governor of Chiang Mai is calling for the ban on dining in at restaurants in the northern city to be lifted and for eateries to be allowed to serve food on-site until 9pm, Tourism and Sports Minister insists the southern island of Phuket must record zero Covid-19 cases if a planned July re-opening is to go ahead, and 150 million baht worth of methamphetamine pills were impounded in Nakhon Phanom yesterday

 

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We’re looking for a Video Editor/Production Assistant in Phuket

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The Thaiger is seeking a full time video editor and production assistant for a new project based in Phuket. The role is open to a Thai national but with great English skills as well. You will need to be able to work to deadlines with a crazy bunch of stressed out news hosts, guests and the rest of The Thaiger team.

You’ll also need a general knowledge of the Thai news cycle as the content will be largely centred around daily news and current affairs. Knowledge of social media, and especially YouTube, will be an advantage.

Prior work in the TV or video production industry would be a requirement; we couldn’t care less about your educational qualifications. The role would be Monday to Friday.

The work hours would be earlier in the day, probably starting around 7am. There may be some occasional travel to Bangkok involved as well. Salary would be between 30-40,000 baht per month, depending on experience with opportunities for bonuses. The initial contract would be for 3 months, renewable.

If you are interested, or know someone who could fit the job, send an email to THAIGER EDITOR at info@thethaiger.com

 

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