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Saturday – Ahh, the weekend. Many things happening around the island. Tonight you have another Boat Lagoon Weekend night of music, crafts, food, entertainment and chilling. Starts at 6pm. Also the Kata Rocks Superyacht Rendezvous on today as the fleet makes its way from Kata Rocks to The Surin for a beach party – you’ll see some magnificent vessels making their way north along the west coast today. The Phuket King’s Cup is also still on off Kata today. Let’s check today’s main news stories….

SATURDAY MORNING BRIEFING - All your news in 3 minutes | News by The Thaiger

When your investigator used to work for you….

The national Anti-Corruption Commission president should step aside in the investigation of his former boss, General Prawit Wongsuwan, regarding the Deputy PMs possession of an extravagant wristwatch and diamond ring… this according to political academics and critics. While the anti-graft body has agreed to investigate the case involving what appeared to be a multi-million-baht Richard Mille watch worn by the junta’s deputy prime minister, many doubt that Pol General Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit will conduct a fair investigation.

Prawit, who did not declare any assets worth more than 200,000 baht when he entered the Cabinet in 2014, is suspected of not only concealing his assets from the NACC but also of “unusual wealth”, as the 72-year-old retired general does not appear to have any business investments.

SATURDAY MORNING BRIEFING - All your news in 3 minutes | News by The Thaiger

How much is that phone bill?!

Total Access Communications Company, operator of DTAC mobile phone service, has been asked to explain two recent incidents.

The first incident involves the seizure of 50,000 unused DTAC SIM cards by customs officials at the Thai/Cambodian border yesterday.

The second case is about a complaint from a customer that her mobile phone signal was cut off on Dec 7 because she ran out of credit. After checking with DTAC, she found out that she was charged 461 trillion baht for phone services. That’s 461 with 12 zeros after it. We don’t think she’ll be paying that off with instalments!

SATURDAY MORNING BRIEFING - All your news in 3 minutes | News by The Thaiger

New policies for Thailand’s agriculture sector

Deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak is holding discussions with officials from a range of agriculture-related agencies in a bid to set the direction for fresh economic policies aimed at improving farmers’ livelihoods.

Officials have responded to Somkid’s urgent call for new strategies in line with the guiding principles of the sufficiency economy philosophy espoused by His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The key concern, according to Somkid, is that farmers must have additional ways to earn an income after a harvest season.

Somkid says a committee would be established to create a central database for main crops such as rice, rubber, palm oil tapioca and fruit. The database would also enable producers to benefit from an early warning system of looming hazards for certain sectors.

SATURDAY MORNING BRIEFING - All your news in 3 minutes | News by The Thaiger

PM visits flood-inundated Trang

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha and three Cabinet ministers spent most of yesterday touring Trang to inspect the flooding situation in the southern province.

The Junta quartet were on hand to inspect some of the areas still inundated and chat to locals. They headed back to the capital last night.

SATURDAY MORNING BRIEFING - All your news in 3 minutes | News by The Thaiger

NACC to re-open cases over former PM Thaksin

The National Anti-Corruption Commission has passed a resolution to submit a petition for the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions to revive three cases, two of them involving former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, after the passage into law of an organic bill which allows for trials of fugitive politicians to be held in absentia.

The new law allows for the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions to revive cases – which have been shelved because the defendants failed to appear for trial as ordered by the court – and renew the trials in absentia.

In one of the cases Exim Bank lent 4 billion baht to Myanmar to buy telecommunications equipment from companies affiliated to Shin Corp, owned by the Thaksin family. Former PM Thaksin, who approved the loan, was named the defendant in that case.

SATURDAY MORNING BRIEFING - All your news in 3 minutes | News by The Thaiger

Road closures for the Phukethon

The Phukethon 42 kilometre marathon is being run tomorrow from Saphin Hin to Cape Promthep and back to Phuket Town. The event is scheduled to start at 3.30am… most runners will be back by sunrise tomorrow. More than 10,000 runners have been registered for Phuketon events over this weekend, of different running distances. There’s a full story about the road closures at phuketgazette.net HERE.

Hourly local news and Phuket weather updates on The Thaiger 102.75 FM.

SATURDAY MORNING BRIEFING - All your news in 3 minutes | News by The Thaiger

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Thailand News Today | Army deny Twitter spin, “Don’t Reopen”, English proficiency low | Nov 27

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Thailand News Today | Army deny Twitter spin, “Don’t Reopen”, English proficiency low | Nov 27 | The Thaiger

Last day of the week. Thought we’d go outside. Bad idea! Welcome to Friday’s Thailand News Today.

Royal Thai Army denies claims about Twitter campaign to spread pro-government propaganda

Following a shutdown of 926 Twitter accounts linked to the Royal Thai Army, documents were leaked of what appears to be a contract between the Army and a private company supposedly hired to spread pro-government propaganda.

But Thailand’s Army chief is denying the claims and says the Army never hired a company to spread pro-government propaganda through the over 900 Twitter accounts.

Last month, Twitter announced that it had suspended 926 accounts linked to the Royal Thai Army for violating the social media company’s “platform manipulation” policies.

A report by an independent Cyber Policy Centre says the Army used Twitter to “cheerlead” with pro-government propaganda. The report says the Army used Twitter to criticise the now disbanded Future Forward Party and neutralise criticism after February’s mass shooting where an Army soldier killed 30 people and injured 57 others.

Former WTO director cautions against re-opening Thailand too quickly

The former director general of the World Trade Organisation has issued a caution against Thailand throwing open its borders too early.

Supachai Panitchpakdi says Covid-19 is still very much a threat, pointing to other countries that appear trapped in a cycle of restrictions and lockdowns. He said that the cycle in many Western countries is not just damaging their economies, it’s also leading to more infections and deaths and prolonging the time until the affected countries can restart their economies. He warns that re-opening Thailand’s borders too quickly could have long-term negative impacts for the Kingdom.

Within Thailand there is a polarised view as to whether Thailand should be broadly re-opening its borders or not. Successive polls show that the Thai population is, generally, suspicious about re-opening too soon, especially whilst parts of the rest of the world are still trying to contain their infection rates. On the other hand Thailand’s tourism and hospitality industry has been decimated with millions unemployed.

Bangkok’s canal boat services go electric

A new electric passenger boat service started operating on Bangkok’s Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem today. The klong traverses the eastern side of Rattanakosin Island.

The Thai PM launched the service at the Hua Lamphong Railway Station Pier, and was a passenger on the first boat ride this morning.

There’s seven electric fibreglass boats in the initial service, each carrying 30 passengers.

The boats can run for four hours per charge at a speed of 10-15 kilometres per hour. There’s solar roof panels to help power the electric outboard motors.

The new e-boats operate from 6am-7pm, with a boat departing every 15 minutes. Good news, passengers can travel for free for the first six months of the service.

Thailand’s English level drops for the third year – English Proficiency Index

English skills in Thailand have dropped for the third year in a row with an English language proficiency score considered to be “very low.”

In the past year, Thailand’s ranking dropped from 74 out of 100 countries to 89, according to the 2020 English Proficiency Index by EF Education First. The index is based on test results from 2.2 million adults from 100 countries and regions.

Thailand scored 419 out of 800, which is considered “very low.” Thailand ranks 20 out of 24 countries surveyed in Asia and 7 out of 8 countries in Southeast Asia, just ahead of Myanmar in last place.

According to the report, the lack of English proficiency in Thailand, Cambodia and Sri Lanka hampers access to jobs in the tourism industry which makes up more than10% of their economies.

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Road deaths

Local singer dies after crashing his car while on a video call

Caitlin Ashworth

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Local singer dies after crashing his car while on a video call | The Thaiger
PHOTO: naewna

A Thai singer died after crashing his car into a lamppost while on a video call with his girlfriend. Thai media did not report on the estimated speed, but photos of the wreckage show severe damage. The roof ripped off the Toyota Altis and the car is almost unrecognisable.

23 year old Akkarachai, known as Ice, was found dead at the scene on Pahonyothin Road, or Route 1. He performed at many night venues and events around the Central Thailand province Chai Nat. Ice’s friend told police that he was on his way home to his girlfriend’s house in Nakhon Sawan about 25 kilometres away. While on the phone with his girlfriend, there was suddenly a loud noise and the phone went dead.

Chai Nat police warn people not to use their phones while driving.

SOURCE: Thai Visa

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Crime

9 arrested for allegedly embezzling more than 2.8 billion baht from Railway Club Cooperative funds

Caitlin Ashworth

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9 arrested for allegedly embezzling more than 2.8 billion baht from Railway Club Cooperative funds | The Thaiger
Line Today

Police arrested 9 people involved in the Railway Club Cooperative, including the former chief, on collusion charges for allegedly approving loans behind closed doors to embezzle a total of 2.8 billion baht from members’ funds.

Officers from the Central Investigation Bureau have been investigating since June 30 of last year. Investigators say the suspects approved loans without calling meetings for the roughly 2,300 cooperative members and used falsified documents to take out loans of about 15 million baht each.

When reviewing loan approvals made between January 2012 and November 2016, investigators say they found loans given to a hotel, housing estate, resort and property project. They say loans were also used to buy luxury cars and other valuables.

Officers from the bureau along with the Department of Special Investigation and the Anti-Money Laundering Office recently raided 26 locations in Bangkok, Phetchaburi, Samut Prakan and Nonthaburi. Officers seized a total of more than 10 million baht as well as luxury cars.

The 9 suspects face charges of colluding in theft, falsifying documents, using fake documents and money laundering. Along with arresting the cooperative’s former chief executive, 70 year old Boonsong Hongthong, police arrested committee members 49 year old Pimpa Rodrassamee, 31 year old Orchanok Sa-ngadsap, 59 year old Weerachai Srisawat, 69 year old Surat Srisawat, 37 year old Prapat Srisawat, 44 year old Supakit On-aree, 63 year old Preecha Thanapairin and 40 year old Natyanit Mahachot.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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