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Brunei’s ‘vicious’ new Islamic criminal laws – Amnesty International

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Brunei’s ‘vicious’ new Islamic criminal laws – Amnesty International | The Thaiger
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Brunei, an ASEAN country, has announced the introduction of draconian sharia criminal laws.

Included, death by stoning for gays and amputation for theft.

The new penalties come into effect on April 3. And, by the way, the new laws also apply to children.

It’s all covered under the new Brunei Sharia Penal Code.

Not surprisingly governments and rights groups around the world are slamming Brunei’s introduction of these crimes and punishments into its own local code of Sharia law.

Brinei’s unelected Sultan has added the new codes on top of other laws that forbid pregnancy out of wedlock or failing to pray on Fridays, amongst others.

“To legalise such cruel and inhuman penalties is appalling of itself,” said Rachel Chhoa-Howard, a Brunei researcher at Amnesty International.

She said things like consensual sex between adults of the same gender “should not even be deemed crimes at all.”

“Brunei must immediately halt its plans to implement these vicious punishments and revise its penal code in compliance with its human rights obligations,” Chhoa-Howard said.

“The international community must urgently condemn Brunei’s move to put these cruel penalties into practice.”

The oil-rich monarchy is slipping further behind its ASEAN counterparts with the Sultan eagerly embracing some of the more savage aspects of sharia law as he ages.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah rules as head of state with full executive authority. Public criticism of his policies is extremely rare. He has been on the throne since 1967.

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Thailand

Covid-19 tests are not required for visa extensions – Phuket Immigration

Caitlin Ashworth

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Covid-19 tests are not required for visa extensions – Phuket Immigration | The Thaiger

No… you don’t need a Covid-19 test to extend your visa or apply for a work permit, according to Phuket Immigration. While multiple Covid-19 tests are required for people arriving in Thailand and undergoing quarantine, foreigners who have been in the country do not need to be tested.

The local immigration deputy chief Nareuwat Putthawiro spoke with Phuket News, debunking some rumours that were shared on social media saying Covid-19 tests could soon be required when extending visas or applying for work permits.

“We do not require any medical documents for an application to renew a visa, because there are few foreigners’ movements outside Phuket. Most of them live and work in Phuket, and have done so before the new wave of Covid-19… So they do not have to worry about it. Everything is still the same.”

Medical exams are required for most work permit applicants. The exams include a brief screening and a blood test for syphilis. At the moment, a Covid-19 test is not required for work permit applicants, although it certainly could be in the future.

“We have not received any notices about Covid-19 requirements for processing applications to renew visas. If we do receive any such orders, we will let the public know.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Tourism

Record number of tourism firms quitting Covid-ravaged sector for good

Maya Taylor

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Record number of tourism firms quitting Covid-ravaged sector for good | The Thaiger
PHOTO: MGN

As the devastating economic effects of Covid-19 restrictions persist, a record number of Thai tourism operators are quitting the sector for good. The number of tourism firms surrendering their licences peaked last month, and around 70% of outbound agents have shut up shop indefinitely. The final nail in their collective coffin has been the Covid-19 resurgence, which originated in a seafood market in the central province of Samut Sakhon and has now spread to over 60 provinces.

The president of the Thai Travel Agents Association says around 10% of outbound tour operators have returned their licences to the Tourism Department. Suthiphong Pheunphiphop says 2,598 tourism operators have left the sector for good, unable to survive having no international tourists for nearly a year now. He says the last quarter of 2020 saw the highest number of companies de-registering, at 765. Of those, 293 quit last month.

Suthiphong says domestic tourism may pick up again by April, but this depends on how effective the government is at bringing the second wave of the virus under control. He adds that with the arrival of spring in many parts of the world in the coming months, global infections may fall, but it’s still a waiting game.

“Operators have to wait and see how things turn out in June The outlook for the outbound market is the most difficult to predict as the industry faces highly uncertain factors such as vaccine efficacy and policies in each destination to allow the flow of tourists.”

The TTAA says that in 2019, 11 million Thai tourists spent 430 billion baht on overseas trips. Last year, that plummeted to 1 million spending 50 billion baht. The association has postponed the Thai International Travel Fair, which was due to take place in February. It is now scheduled for August 26 – 29.

According to a Bangkok Post report, the Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn will meet Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin this week, in order to discuss a co-payment scheme to protect those employed in the tourism industry. It’s understood the proposal is to subsidise 50% of monthly salaries, up to a maximum of 7,500 baht per employee.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

BTS Skytrain’s Green Line maximum fare to rise, Rail Transport Department disagrees with the move

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BTS Skytrain’s Green Line maximum fare to rise, Rail Transport Department disagrees with the move | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath Online

After the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration agreed to raise the maximum fare on the BTS Skytrain’s Green Line from 59 baht to 158 baht, the Rail Transport Department is calling on city officials to suspend the maximum fare ceiling, saying it would put an unfair burden on passengers.

Bangkok Governor Aswin announced earlier that the maximum fare of 158 baht is to be imposed on February 16, but a discount to 104 baht is offered during the Covid-19 outbreak. The City Hall needs to increase the fare rate because it can’t pay the debt to Bangkok Mass Transit System.

Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob says the BMA should halt its policy on the new BTS maximum fare and wait for other authorities to find proper solutions.

The Chairman of a House committee on transport, Sophon Sarum, a former transport minister, dismisses the BMA’s claim of its financial inability to repay the Green Line’s loans while suggesting the BMA to manage the Green Line’s finances by raising funds from banks and other financial institutions.

The Rail Department and BMA will meet to discuss the maximum fare ceiling this week.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | Coconuts Bangkok

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