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SUNDAY MORNING NEWS BRIEFING – All your local news in 3 minutes

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SUNDAY MORNING NEWS BRIEFING – All your local news in 3 minutes | The Thaiger
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Last day for 2017. But it’s the middle of the ‘Seven Days of Danger’ and the road carnage continues despite an all out effort of Thailand’s police to stem the flow. Not surprisingly, drunk-driving is still the leading cause of deaths on our roads. PLEASE be safe tonight, make arrangements ahead of time for your safe return home after celebrations. We look forward to seeing you again tomorrow for the start of 2018. Let’s see what’s in the news for the final day of 2017…

More Facebook pics of Yingluck in London surfacing

In what’s turning out to be a bit of a UK travel blog, more pictures are surfacing, said to be of former PM and fugitive Yingluck Shinawatra strolling around London shopping.

Facebook page ‘secret100million’ posted more photos showing a woman who looks like Yingluck and a boy, who resembles Yingluck’s 15 year old son Supasek in a shopping mall.

(Looks like Facebook has been able to do something Interpol and Thailand’s police force haven’t been able to achieve so far.)

Yingluck fled the country a few days before the Supreme Court was set to rule in August in a case against her government’s rice-pledging scheme. She has not been seen in public since.

SUNDAY MORNING NEWS BRIEFING - All your local news in 3 minutes | News by The Thaiger

Chalong searching for 6, missing off Karon

Chalong police are following up a report about 6 men who went missing while fishing off Karon in a local boat.

The boat, called Jarin, headed off on the morning of December 29 from Chalong Pier. A mother of one of the missing men says he contacted her when they were off Kata Beach the same afternoon saying that there was a fuel leak and they were running out of fuel. The mother and other relatives have been searching for the 6 ever since and haven’t had any contact with them since Friday afternoon.

SUNDAY MORNING NEWS BRIEFING - All your local news in 3 minutes | News by The Thaiger

Breakdown of first two day’s road statistics – Seven Days of Danger

A total of 92 people were killed and 1,107 injured during the first two days of the ‘seven days of danger’ around the country.

More than 42 per cent of the accidents had been caused by drunk driving, followed by speeding at 23 per cent. 78 per cent of the vehicles in the accidents were motorbikes. And 68 per centof the accidents happened on straight roads.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha says he will assign the Transport Ministry to figure out how to improve road networks by creating web-like transport routes to avoid traffic congestion.

He’s also asking relevant government agencies to better inform drivers of alternative routes so that they could avoid the heavily congested main roads.

SUNDAY MORNING NEWS BRIEFING - All your local news in 3 minutes | News by The Thaiger

90% occupancy in Phuket for New Year period – TAT

Hotels and resorts in Phuket report an average of 90 per cent capacity for the New Year holidays, according to the director of the Phuket office of the TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand).

The local TAT is reporting the occupation rate was about 10 per cent higher than last year, and tourists had arrived from China, Russia, Australia and Europe.

Phuket Old Town will be the venue for the “Amazing Thailand Countdown 2018 @ Phuket” at the Charter Bank intersection tonight, as well as Government-organised celebrations at Saphan Hin and Patong.

Richard Hearne captures last year’s fireworks over Patong…

Passenger vans biggest cause of accidents in public transport

Most of the road accidents involving public transport in 2017 were caused by vans, this from the chairman of Project for Safety Passengers of the Foundation for Consumers.

Passenger vans had 236 accidents for the first 11 months this year, or just over 21 accidents per month, injuring 906 people or 82 people per month. Accidents in passenger vans have been responsible for 113 deaths over 2017.

Regular public buses had 102 accidents and 26 killed during the same period.

SUNDAY MORNING NEWS BRIEFING - All your local news in 3 minutes | News by The Thaiger

Second airport approved for Chiang Mai

The cabinet has given a go-ahead for the construction of a second international airport in Chiang Mai.

The cabinet’s also endorsed the Transport Ministry’s proposal to expand the current passenger’s terminal at Chiang Mai airport so that it will be able to accommodate up to 20 million passengers a year from 10 million passengers as it is now. New passenger terminals are also planned to be built at Mae Sot, Phrae and Phetchabun airports and their runways extended.

SUNDAY MORNING NEWS BRIEFING - All your local news in 3 minutes | News by The Thaiger

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Environment

Chiang Mai-Chiang Rai highway closed by flooding again – VIDEO

Jack Burton

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Chiang Mai-Chiang Rai highway closed by flooding again – VIDEO | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: Chiang Rai Times

There seems no end in sight for the construction of the Chiang Mai-Chiang Rai highway as yet another night of severe rains caused massive flooding in the Doi Saket district. The bypass and the road were underwater, creating a traffic pandemonium. The police came to the scene and began suggesting alternative routes. As the waters subsided the road was opened again, but police urged motorists to drive carefully and stay alert to avoid accidents, as the road was covered with mud and “extremely slippery”.

Less than 2 weeks ago, torrential rains washed away sections of the road and a bridge under construction in the same district, forcing drivers to find alternate routes. Police and officials inspected the damaged sections from kilometre markers 32 to 36 on the highway. An information post was established at the entrance to the Mae Kuang Udom Thara dam, where police and volunteers advised motorists travelling from Chiang Mai to use alternative routes via Phrao district in Chiang Mai and Wiang Pia Pao district in Chiang Rai.

Chiang Mai’s governor says he’s asked the Highway Department and its contractor to speed up repairs after the flooding as the route’s bridge was damaged in 3 sections.

Motorists are greatly concerned about the road’s paving-especially as the rainy season brings heavy traffic due to the many traffic incidents. Such travellers are demanding the road to be completed as soon as possible.

Authorities have yet to respond with any suggestions as to how to hasten the construction.

Chiang Mai-Chiang Rai highway closed by flooding again - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

SOURCES: Chiang Rai Times | CityNews | TV5

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Crime

50 dogs rescued from alleged Chiang Mai puppy farm

Jack Burton

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50 dogs rescued from alleged Chiang Mai puppy farm | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: Sanook

A raid on an alleged puppy farm owned by an American man in Chiang Mai has resulted in the rescue of some 50 Thai Ridgeback dogs. Non-profit organisation Watchdog Thailand says most of the dogs were found in terrible condition and many more had died from illness and starvation.

The owner claimed the dogs were kept as pets and he was not breeding them for sale, but evidence indicated otherwise. Tiny cages were stacked on top of each other. The animals had no space to play or exercise. Their waste was everywhere, and some were still left where they had died.

Watchdog Thailand representatives went to the Sarapee Police Station in Chiang Mai to file animal cruelty charges against the 73 year old American man, who they claim has been breeding Thai Ridgebacks to sell and export to buyers abroad. The owner himself contacted Watchdog asking for help, claiming that he’s become ill and can no longer take care of his “pets” – more than 50 dogs. Watchdog went the location and discovered the dogs living in extremely unhygienic conditions. Most had scabies and were starving. They immediately contacted the police and the Chiang Mai Department of Livestock Development.

Representatives rescued the dogs and moved them to the Save Elephant Foundation in Mae Rim district. The man would not give up 5 dogs that were still healthy. The foundation disagreed as, by his own admission, the man lacks the ability to care for them. Watchdog realised that they needed police involvement to help save the remaining 5 dogs.

Animal lovers abroad report that the man has a history of animal cruelty. He has allegedly been breeding and selling the dogs at very high prices without a license. Watchdog Thailand wants to bring all the dogs into their care, and the the Chaing Mai DLD agrees that the man can no longer take responsibility for them. He has filed a police report claiming that Watchdog stole his dogs.

50 dogs rescued from alleged Chiang Mai puppy farm | News by The Thaiger

SOURCES: Thai Residents | Sanook | Watchdog Thailand

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Thailand

Thailand growing more expensive for expats

Jack Burton

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Thailand growing more expensive for expats | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Business Traveller

According to Employment Conditions Abroad, Bangkok and Chiang Mai are among the 30 most expensive cities for expats in Asia. The capital of Turkmenistan might not spring to mind when with considering the priciest cities, but according to ECA International it ranks first on both the global and Asian tables, a 5 point rise up the rankings due to an ongoing economic crisis, food shortages and the resulting hyperinflation.

The survey is performed in March and September every year, based on a basket of items such as rents and utility fees. Car prices and school fees are not included.

In Asia, Bangkok ranks 28th, just above Chiang Mai, according to the latest ECA International survey on the cost of living for expatriates. But it dropped out of the top 50 global rankings from the report released in December 2019. In global rankings, Bangkok is now at 60 and Chiang Mai at 142. Bangkok has lost a good deal of its former appeal for budget-conscious travellers and expatriates, rising 64 places over the past 5 years, according to the survey.

ECA says a rapidly expanding economy and increased foreign investment, at least, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, made Thailand more expensive, fuelled by the strengthening baht.

“The baht has strengthened considerably, making the country more expensive for expatriates and tourists. However, this trend has slowed over the past year, partly in response to government attempts to weaken the baht in order to keep the country competitive.”

Hong Kong is the second most expensive city in Asia after Ashgabat (Turkmenistan), but ahead of Tokyo and Singapore. Singapore is rated the most expensive place for expats in Southeast Asia and has led that ranking for many years.

Hong Kong remains sixth in the global standings, 1 place ahead of the Japanese capital. Singapore was fourteenth in Asia, dropping 2 notches from the previous survey.

Ashgabat’s sudden rise to the top of the is largely attributable to the economic dilemmas of Turkmenistan’s government, according to ECA. The energy-rich Central Asian nation faces severe inflation, and a black market for foreign currencies has caused the cost of imports to rise. Both factors have sparked a large increase in the costs visitors pay.

The ECA says Chinese cities fell across the board due to signs of a weakening economy and poorly performing currency, even before Covid-19 began taking its toll.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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