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Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit – Risk-taking billionaire pursuing social justice

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit – Risk-taking billionaire pursuing social justice | The Thaiger

New blood politician Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit may have led his family auto-parts business to international success but he remains a socialist in his economic philosophy and a political liberal, with a passion for social justice.

The 40 year old has been in the spotlight for less than two months since he announced the formation of the new Future Forward Party. But his interest in public issues and politics goes back many years to when he was a student of engineering at Thammasat University in the 1990s.

Having grown up in a billionaire family, Thanathorn has admitted to once being a party animal who enjoyed the high life. But his passion for social justice was kindled when he joined volunteer camps with like-minded fellow-Thammasat students. The next thing he knew, Thanathorn had become the president of the Thammasat University Students Union and later deputy secretary-general of the Students Federation of Thailand.

Both organisations are well-known for intermingling with student movements that go beyond student affairs to national politics. Thanathorn thus became an “activist” who worked towards the greater good. He took part in many demonstrations, including the Assembly of the Poor, calling on the government to respond to the people’s demands.

After graduating, he continued to work with some non-governmental organisations. But he found himself having to take over the auto-parts business from his late father, shifting his philosophy from volunteering and demanding justice to maximising profits for the company.

However, as it turns out, his stint with social activism was not just a phase of the past. Even when he led Thai Summit Group to make billions of baht in sales, Thanathorn told Sarakadee magazine in an interview that he would continue to hang out with activist friends. This served as a reminder to him to not get deluded by wealth and power.

Coming from a rich family, he was often hurled insults that his activism was not genuine. But Thanathorn said no matter what, “I would still see social injustice whenever I saw a boy the same age as my little brother selling garlands in the street”. That level of disparity is unacceptable, he said.

Some fellow-activists who had seen Thanathorn working in social movements when he was younger, described him as a serious person but at the same time he was also a sincere and a loyal friend.

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit - Risk-taking billionaire pursuing social justice | News by The Thaiger

Thanathorn, a father of three, is also an adventurer, having conquered exotic destinations from Mount Rainier in the United States to Antarctica. These are no elite destinations that can be bought with money. They require a lot of determination and great perseverance. For his True South programme, for which he recruited nine other adventurers to travel with him to the Antarctic last year, Thanathorn generously rewarded the nine with 1 million baht each to use for any social activity of their choice.

As a businessman and a traveller, Thanathorn also described himself as a risk-taker and his actions have proved so. Asked by The Nation why he had done so many things that the rich generally wouldn’t, Thanathorn said, “Everything else is just not fun.”

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit - Risk-taking billionaire pursuing social justice | News by The Thaiger

ORIGINAL STORY: The Nation

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World

The stakes are high, the deliberations continue – Parliamentary Brexit vote

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The stakes are high, the deliberations continue – Parliamentary Brexit vote | The Thaiger

Call it Super Saturday, call it Deal or No Deal, call it the most important day in recent UK history. Today (Saturday) the UK House of Commons will gather on a Saturday, the first time for decades. Golf games have been postponed, polo sticks will have to gather dust and the cleaner’s been told to come back on Sunday.

Earlier this week, British PM Boris Johnson did the near impossible and secured a new Brexit deal from the EU. The EU shocked everyone by throwing out the controversial Irish border backstop and replacing it with an alternative plan, after months of saying that Theresa May’s deal could not be changed. Moreover, the EU leaders seem happy with the deal and have been waxing lyrical about the scruffy British PM they all dreaded negotiating with.

But it’s not going to be easy. Some PMs have already tabled amendments that could make Johnson’s run of success fall short of a finish line. Opposition MPs will put forward proposals to scrap Brexit or schedule a second referendum.

So how is the crucial, and historic vote, going to roll?

It’s far too close to call. PM Johnson doesn’t have a majority in Parliament and his Northern Irish allies, the DUP, who he needed to pass legislation, have already said that they won’t back the new plan. Meanwhile, his opposition MPs are lining up to criticise the deal. And there’s serious concern that the arch-Brexiteers in his own Conservative party will vote against the deal too.

Bottomline, if MPs don’t vote for this deal then they can’t be certain that Brexit will be delayed, despite the fact that Johnson is legally obliged to request a Brexit extension if no deal has been agreed by 11 pm on Saturday night. Last month, opposition MPs passed legislation that binds the British to this commitment. Mr. Johnson says he will comply with the law but reminds his opponents that this decision relies on the EU still having to unanimously agree to it.

But, if the deal passes, the UK finally leaves the EU. Johnson would probably hope to capitalise on his success and call for a general election soon after. His poll ratings are good at the moment, and you’d think they would improve after delivering Brexit.

If the deal goes down, Johnson requests the extension and it’s approved, then we get into the nasty election where both sides will tear each other apart, adding more to a polarised community that may take decades to recover from this folly.

And if the EU refuses an extension, then all hell breaks loose.

Has it all been worth it?

Anyway, bring on Super Saturday as the deliberations continue.

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Thailand

Points deduction system for drivers to be introduced mid-December

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Points deduction system for drivers to be introduced mid-December | The Thaiger

The point deduction system, for traffic and road infringements, is tentatively scheduled for activation for motorists and motorcyclists in mid-December. It is hoped that the system will help reduce road fatalities and injuries on Thai roads.

The deputy commander of Highways Police Command says that every licensed driver will be given an allocation of 12 points. Each time the driver commits a traffic law violation, points will be deducted. When there are no points left, the driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days, after which the driver or motorcyclist will have to undergo training administered by the Land Transport Department to get their licence back, and another 12 points.

Those who don’t attend the training, however, will have their licence returned after 90 days, but with only 8 points.

Points to be deducted differ, depending on the offence. Offences are divided into four categories:

• One point deduction

Using a cell-phone while driving; exceeding the speed limit; not wearing crash helmets for motorcyclists; not wearing seat belts; not giving way to emergency vehicles, riding on the sidewalk and not stopping for pedestrians on zebra crossings.

• Two points deduction

Running a red light; driving on the wrong side of the road; reckless driving; driving while his/her license is suspended and drunk driving.

• Three points deduction

Organising or promoting street racing without permission; hit-and run; driving while under the influence of narcotics; driving while under the influence of alcohol exceeding 150mg per ml.

• Four points deduction

Driving under the influence of alcohol exceeding 200mg per ml, drunk driving in a way which may cause serious injuries or death to the other people; driving in a manner disregarding the safety of the other people or causing trouble to other people.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Pattaya

The body of an unidentified foreigner found floating south of Pattaya

The Thaiger

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The body of an unidentified foreigner found floating south of Pattaya | The Thaiger

A fisherman has recovered a body, thought to be a foreigner, from the Gulf of Thailand off Sattahip.

Na Jomtien Police were notified of the body by 24 year old Teerapong Boonwat, a fishing boat captain plying the waters around Sattahip, south of Pattaya.

Mr. Boonwat had recovered the body found floating near Koh Ped (Duck Island), about three nautical miles from the Sattahip shore. Police and emergency responders rushed to the scene near Amparam Temple.

Police report that the male body appears to be a foreigner aged around 40 years old with a beard and little head hair. He was wearing a white T-shirt, long jeans and black sneakers.

No identification was found on the man. It is believed that he had died at least 7 days before his body was found floating in the water. The police didn’t state if there was any signs of foul play or the condition of the body.

Police are investigating the incident and reviewing missing person reports to establish identification.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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