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Heavy rain, big protest tomorrow, special tourist visa | Thailand News Today | September 18

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Police catch inmate who escaped prison dressed as a guard

He was smart enough to get hold of a prison guard uniform and escape, but was wasn’t smart enough to not get caught. The inmate who walked out of Phetchabun Provincial Prison yesterday, disguised as a guard, has now been recaptured.

Police were able to track him down and found him later in the day, hiding in an abandoned house in the province’s main city district.

The 35 year old was incarcerated on charges over 6 burglary cases. The man told police he decided to escape because he faced a long prison sentence. The man has a long track record with similar criminal offences.

Wutthichai walked out of the prison’s front gate yesterday. No one noticed at first and no alarms went off. Surveillance camera footage shows him wearing a prison guard’s uniform and was carrying documents.

Travel businesses told to prep for long stay tourists, with an October kick-start looming

The first round of long-stay tourists on the newly approved special tourist visa will be able to enter Thailand by the start of October and the Tourism Ministry is pushing for tourism business to get ready…. now.

On the other hand, not much has been said about the thousands of foreigners who are already here, many of them trying to figure out how to stay in the country as the September 26 deadline for the visa amnesty is only a week away.

Whilst the country’s TAT and the ministry of sports and tourism hammered out the arrangements for the new Special Tourist Visa, the online reception has been less than enthusiastic. Many foreigners, hoping to return to Thailand to live, or as tourists, believe the minimum 90 day stay and 14 day quarantine, plus the need to book only on charter flights, remains overly restrictive.

The new long-stay visa, called a Special Tourist Visa, is expected to help boost Thailand’s tourism dependant economy. But many restaurants, hotels, tour companies and attractions that rely on foreign tourists say they can’t make a profit again until international tourists are let back in the country, without restrictions or 14 day quarantines.

Heavy rain across the country this weekend

Heavy rain is expected across much of Thailand over the next few days, mostly as a result of the intensity of a tropical storm crossing into Vietnam today, ‘Noul’, from the South China Sea.

The low pressure cell will help intensify the effects of the south west monsoon too. There will probably be a lot of rain and increased winds, especially in the north east, but Noul will be weakened by the time it passes through Laos and reaches the Thai north east border, sometime tomorrow morning.

Around the country, Saturday will be the worst with rains easing during Sunday. Here are the forecasts in your part of Thailand for the weekend….

Thai PM uses Covid fears to persuade protesters to postpone Saturday rally

The Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is rolling out his biggest weapon, fear, to try and persuade anti-government protesters to postpone tomorrow’s rally at the Thammasat University Tha Prachan campus. He asked them to consider putting off their plans to hold the rally at least “until the Covid-19 outbreak is over”.

In a televised address, he asked Thais to unite in ending the Covid-19 crisis “before focusing on political issues”. PM Prayut has not mentioned ‘Covid’ as an issue before the other student rallies.

The rally has been planned for tomorrow with student and anti-government groups demanding amendments to the 2017 Thai constitution, dissolution of the parliament, an end to intimidation of government critics and changes to the role of the Thai Head of State.

His appeal, using Covid-19 as his main argument to stop the rally, will probably do little to dampen the enthusiasm of the anti-government groups. But the forecast for a 90% chance of rain around Bangkok tomorrow probably will.

Speaking about the planned protest, the PM has said, numerous times, that he wants to avoid any violence “at all costs”.

Travellers from Thailand can enter United Kingdom without quarantine

No more quarantine for those travelling from Thailand and entering the United Kingdom. Thailand and Singapore will be added to the UK’s so called “travel corridor” list ,starting tomorrow.

The Thailand Foreign Ministry says this is “good news, adding that Thailand’s Covid-19 prevention methods have been recognised by other nations. He says several countries have removed Thailand from their so called “watch lists.” Israel and Germany also recently stopped requiring quarantine for travellers coming from Thailand.

The UK Department of Transport says travellers need to complete a passenger locator form before entering the UK. The form can be completed online up to 48 hours before arrival. A confirmation email must be shown to border office.

Other countries on the travel corridor list include Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Malaysia.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    EdwardV

    September 18, 2020 at 11:21 pm

    Get ready for what, 1,200 tourists? You can get ready for that many by just rolling out of bed. Does Thailand want businesses to spend untold hundreds of thousands Baht in the hope of getting a few tourist to visit them? In what world does that make sense? Think about it, at any given time there will be some 4,000 to 8,000 tourists in the entire country. It’s highly unlikely you will ever max out at 10,800 but even if you did that still such a tiny number spread out all over Thailand to be almost meaningless. That’s not even taking into account a number of those will in fact not be tourists at all. They will be expats just trying to get back to their loved ones and homes. You have to honestly ask yourself if Thailand is even serious about tourism at this point in time. Because this plan sure isn’t.

  2. Avatar

    Yakan Mehmet

    September 19, 2020 at 9:03 pm

    Thailand is a beautiful country and so too are the people and their great food. The culture and places are amazing. I have been comint to Thailand every year for past 15 years. This is the longest i have been away, 8 months, i understand the caution and the need to protect people from the covid 19. I hope that the authorites will treat tourists the same as Thai people and place in 2 week quarantine with the usual protocols and then have the freedom to enjoy.
    Thank you

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Thailand News Today | German Embassy rally, permanent residency prospect, crowds in Pattaya | Oct 26

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Thailand News Today | German Embassy rally, permanent residency prospect, crowds in Pattaya | Oct 26 | The Thaiger

Today’s latest news from The Thaiger, looking at the latest in the protests, a surge of crowds in Pattaya and the latest proposals from the Thai government to increase a new stream of revenue.

Permanent residency, changes to quarantine period – Government mulls strategies to revive economy

Thailand’s energy minister has outlined a number of new strategies the government is discussing tohelp the Thai economy recover from the fallout of Covid-19 fallout.

Permanent residency for some condo purchases, changes to the mandatory quarantine and incentives for foreign investment are all under discussion.

The Eastern Economic Corridor, the special economic zone covering the eastern provinces of Rayong, Chon Buri and Chachoengsao, continues to eye foreign investors with a number of large infrastructure projects in the pipeline.

Of particular interest in the topics for discussion are that the government is considering offering permanent residency to people buying condos in the Kingdom, provided they don’t mortgage, transfer, or sell the units within 5 years of purchase.

In relation to foreign arrivals, he says the government will clarify its plans on any further reduction in quarantine time. He says that if the current 14 day quarantine period is to be reduced, this would only apply to those coming from countries considered “low risk” for Covid-19. It’s understood the Public Health Ministry is working on categorising countries into low, medium, and high risk.

Parliament in the middle of a 2 day session to discuss political impasse

An opposition spokesperson opened the special joint session of parliament today with a call for Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to step down, as anti-government protesters continued to keep up their pressure.

Mr Sompong also called for the release of detained protesters as a goodwill gesture to try and end the current impasse. “ He said… The prime minister should be open-minded to the young protesters’demands, and stop delaying the process of writing of a new constitution.”

Meanwhile a Palang Pracharath Party MP Paiboon Nititawan defended the PM saying the country needed his leadership to get through the economic crisis and to protect the institution of the monarchy, which was under attack by protesters.

Protesters march on German Embassy in Sathorn Road

Meanwhile protesters gathered at the Sam Yan intersection today at 5pm, near Chulalongkorn University, and marched to the Germany embassy on Sathorn Road, to submit a controversial petition.

Protesters are asking German authorities to look into whether His Majesty the King had violated German sovereignty by exercising his power from German soil. It is the first time a foreign government has been targeted by the anti-governmentprotesters.

Protesters say the intention is to push for the restoration a “truly” constitutional monarchy in Thailand, under law.

A ‘spoiler’ rally is also underway by government supporters and ‘royalists’ at Lumpini Park, right in the middle of the march route to the German Embassy.

Protesters massed at the Ratchaprasong intersection in Bangkok last night

Last night crowds gathered at the Ratchprasong intersection, one of the promised locations for a rally in response to Saturday night’s refusal of the Thai PM to resign. Thousands gathered, mostly along the Ratchadamri Road, to hear speeches and musical performances.

Messages on some of the banners read “We are the people”, “Everyone is a leader”, “Thailand is for the people”, “Police should protect the people”.

Whilst blocking the intersection for 3 hours, with little police presence, the protesters disbanded peacefully just after sunset.

Pattaya springs back to life over the long weekend, more to come

Pattaya, struggling along for the past 7 months with a handful of domestic tourists and Bangkok weekenders, has had its busiest weekend for a long time, albeit a long weekend created by the public holiday in commemoration of King Chulongkorn.

Much of the increased traffic were Thai faces, a big change to the city’s old demographic of international tourists and expats.

Tourists flocked to the city for the long weekend which included the Eastern Colorful Food, Culture and Music festival stretching along the Beach Road foreshore.

The focus of the weekend’s events was the Beach Road which was visibly busy with locals and tourists joining in the foreshore festival, talent shows, music concerts and local food.

Schools advised to improve online learning in case of second Covid-19 outbreak

Thailand schools are told to get ready for a possible second wave of Covid-19 and prepare to for lockdown measures, just in case, to make sure all children have equal access to education.

A Thai economist warns that the education gap between rich children in urban areas and poor children in rural areas could widen if schools are shut down again and resort to the same online learning measures tried out months ago.

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Expert says all rail crossings should be upgraded after fatal train-bus collision

Caitlin Ashworth

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Expert says all rail crossings should be upgraded after fatal train-bus collision | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: @pr8riew

After the fatal freight train-charter bus collision earlier this month, authorities are looking into ways to make the rail crossings safer and to prevent potentially deadly incidents from happening in the future.

An expert in rail engineering says all rail crossings need to upgraded, urgently, while unofficial or illegal crossings should either be permanently closed off or upgraded with the proper safety equipment. Unofficial crossings are those that are used by locals, but are not approved by the State Railways of Thailand.

Chairperson of the Rail Engineering Committee at the Engineering Institute of Thailand, Rattapoohm Parichatprecha, gave suggestions about how to improve the rail crossings after an incident in Chachoengsao. On October 10, a train collided with a charter bus crossing the railway, killing 18 and injuring 44 who were on their way to a merit-making ceremony. Officials say the signal was broken and the crossing didn’t have a barrier gate to block traffic.

Then, a passenger train collided with a car, killing a woman and injuring 2 others at a railway crossing in Phetchaburi’s Khao Yai district on October 15.

The State Railway of Thailand says an average of 77 railway crossing incidents happen each year, killing an average of 28 people yearly and injuring 74. Some crossings are known as “black spots” where accidents occur more frequently, sometimes up to 4 times a year.

Rattapoohm says all legal crossings upgrade the warning signs and barricades, but warns that revamping the crossings could be expensive. In a previous report, Transport Minister Saksiam Chidchob acknowledged that the State Railways of Thailand’s budget to install railroad crossing gates has been cut.

The size of the rail crossing as well as the direction also comes into play, according to Rattapoohm.

“The width of the crossing must not be at least three metres. The road should also cut through the rail tracks in a straight line and not in a diagonal direction which would create blind spots.”

He says tree canopies must also be trimmed regularly to prevent branches and leaves from obstructing the view for both train conductors and drivers crossing the railway.

For illegal crossings, Rattapoohm says some can stay put since they are just used by the locals who are familiar with the terrain and know where the blind spots are, but says they should make sure the unofficial crossings stay off Google Maps.

“People outside the areas are unaware of the lurking danger the illegal crossings pose and many just follow directions in Google Map.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Schools advised to improve online learning in case of second Covid-19 outbreak

Caitlin Ashworth

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Schools advised to improve online learning in case of second Covid-19 outbreak | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Equitable Education Fund Facebook

Thailand schools are told to get ready for a possible second wave of Covid-19 and prepare to for lockdown measures – just in case – to make sure all children have equal access to education. An economist warns that the education gap between rich children in urban areas and poor children in rural areas could widen if schools shut down again and resort to the same online learning measures tried out months ago.

In an online seminar called “My school and Covid-19,” human development economist Dilaka Lathapitate stressed that school closures and the switch to online learning during the lockdown period led to an increase in the country’s education disparity. Dilaka, from the education unit of the World Bank in Bangkok, says Thailand’s education system isn’t ready for another outbreak.

“The pandemic denied many children, particularly those in rural areas, learning and self-development opportunities.”

Thailand tried the “distance learning” experiment during the lockdown, but it was deemed a failure. Many in remote areas had problems like the lack of WiFi, faulty reception and limited to no access to working computers. At one point, hundreds of volunteers were sent out by the Equitable Education Fund teach children in remote areas.

Taking students out of the classrooms and moving to online learning hit poor students the hardest, according to chairperson of the Princess Maha Chakri Award Foundation, Krissanapong Kirtikara. He says those students are often the most in need of comprehensive support.

Thailand isn’t ready to implement online learning, Dilaka says. If there was another coronavirus outbreak, the education gap between the rich and the poor would likely widen due to access to technology. Dilaka cited a survey that showed a “digital divide” between children in urban and rural areas.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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