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Thailand News Today | No vaccine, no flight, protest latest, smoking ban | November 25

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Thailand News Today | No vaccine, no flight, protest latest, smoking ban | November 25 | The Thaiger

The latest on today’s protests and the background as to why the protesters moved from the Crown Property Bureau. All on Wednesday’s Thailand News Today.

Protesters flip the location of today’s protest. Counter protests planned.

Protesters moved the location of today’s protests to the the headquarters of Siam Commercial Bank in Bangkok.

When protesters heard about a counter rally to meet and challenge them at the Crown Property building they decided to switch locations to the SCB headquarters around 10.30 last night.

SCB is a Thai bank that was set up under the auspices of the Crown Property Bureau. Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn is still the largest single shareholder, owning 23.35% of SCB shares.

Deputy PM and police warn protesters to stay away from the Crown Property Bureau

Stay away. That was the orders from police when the protesters were set to rally outside the Crown Property Bureau. Demonstrators would have been required to stay at least 150 metres away from the building in Phitsanulok Road.

A record 6,000 police were mobilised to handle the expected large crowd. Additional police have been shipped in from the provinces to bolster security for today’s rally.

Army re-inforcements have also been called in today, according to an Army spokesperson. The anti-government groups have also brought in their unarmed security force of some 50 people calling themselves “special services”.

Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon also warned royalists groups to avoid mounting a counter-demonstration against the planned anti-government rally yesterday.

12 anti-government protesters summonsed to hear lèse majesté charges

Meanwhile, with almost impeccable timing, 12 pro-democracy protesters have been issued with police summons to hear charges under the lèse majesté laws.

Section 112 covers insulting, defaming or threatening the Monarchy. Anyone convicted on lèse majesté charges faces imprisonment of between 3 and 15 years.

In June this year the Thai PM announced that HM the King had asked the government not to impose the country’s lèse majesté laws.

BBC names Thai protest leader Panusaya in global list of 100 most inspiring women

One of the protesters facing charges has also been named by the BBC as one of the world’s 100 most inspiring and influential women of 2020.

Thai pro-democracy activist, Panusayaaka. “Rung”, has been singled out in thelist of women around the world who are driving change in challenging times. Panusaya is one of 3 Thai women to be listed.

As the leader of protest group, the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration, she came to international attention at a Bangkok rally in August, when she read out the group’s controversial 10 point manifesto calling for reform of the Monarchy – a taboo topic never before publicly discussed.

We’ll have the latest information about today’s protests at the end of the bulletin.

Monk dies after jumping in front of speeding train in north-east Thailand

A monk has died after jumping on to rail tracks and into the path of an approaching train in the north-eastern province of Si Sa Ket, near the Cambodian border.

The incident occurred at a provincial train station in front of horrified witnesses yesterday morning.

Witnesses report that he jumped onto the tracks and stood with his arms open, in the path of an oncoming train.

Health officials call for smoking to be banned in residential buildings in Thailand

Thai health officials are calling for a ban on smoking in residential buildings, such as condominiums, hotels, and dormitories.

Those campaigning for a change in the law say it’s needed to protect the health of residents, and children in particular. The Health Laws and Ethics Centre at Thamassat University, says residential buildings should be smoke-free in order to protect residents from second-hand smoke. He was speaking at a seminar on the protection of non-smoking condo residents.

According to recent surveys only 15% say they are still smokers. 89% of respondents were in support of a total ban on smoking in condo buildings.

No vaccine, no flight – Qantas will require international travellers to be vaccinated

Qantas, Australia’s national airline, has been the first of what will likely be a common airline stipulation, with a requirement that all international travellers will need to have a vaccination against Covid-19 when it finally becomes available.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says the Australian flag carrier would implement the measure once a coronavirus vaccine was made available to the public.

“For international visitors coming to Australia and people leaving the country, we think that is a necessity.”

Joyce says the new rule is likely to become a standard practice by all airlines worldwide as many governments are now working to introduce electronic vaccination passports.

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Thailand News Today | Holiday road toll, protests tomorrow, GDP recovery | November 24

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Thailand News Today | Holiday road toll, protests tomorrow, GDP recovery | November 24 | The Thaiger

There’s been some heavy downpours around sections of Bangkok over the past few days. We start with some video of the flooded streets. Then, into the news…

139 killed, 653 injured, as Thailand’s holiday weekend sees surge in road accidents

The Ministry of Transport has confirmed that hundreds of road traffic accidents have taken place over Thailand’s 4 day holiday weekend.

139 people have died and 653 have been injured in the course of the 4 day break, which was introduced to boost domestic tourism.

455 car accidents were recorded, with nearly 79% of them being caused by excessive speed. 82 people died in car accidents, with another 466 injured.Another 153 accidents involved motorbikes, with 47 bike riders killed and 165 injured.

Public transport vehicles and trucks accounted for 21 accidents, with 13 caused by trucks, 5 by buses, and 3 by trains. Over 10.7 million people took to public transport between last Wednesday night and Sunday night.

Protesters target the Crown Property Bureau tomorrow, taking direct aim at the country’s Monarchy

Tomorrow the protest road show moves to the Crown Property Bureau in Phitsanulok Road, taking aim directly at the the management of the Thai monarch’s affairs.

Protesters, who first brought up the issue of the role of the Thai Monarchy in July this year, say they have “a big surprise” in store. This will be the first time when the entire focus of the protest will be Thailand’s Head of State, previously considered a taboo topic in Thai society and the media.

The Crown Property Bureau is the quasi-government agency responsible for managing the property of the Thai Monarch. The bureau is legally defined as a juristic entity and is not a government agency. It also has no tax obligations.

In speeches during last week’s protests, speakers at the rally said… “we demand the return of taxpayers’ money”.

But Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha questioned the protester’s plans…

“Why they want to get close to the Crown Property Bureau? I think you know their purpose.”

There’s a longer article with some history about the Crown Property Bureau at TheThaiger.com

Protester slammed for dressing as schoolgirl to highlight sexual harassment in Thai schools

2 government MPs have criticised a member of the “Bad Students” protest movement after she dressed as a schoolgirl to highlight sexual harassment in Thai schools.

In an online protest, the activist put on a school uniform and held up a sign condemning sexual harassment in the Thai education system.

Whilst her actions have generally been supported by netizens, some pro-establishment figures have hit out at the protester including 2 Palang Pracharat MPs, who says the protester’s decision to wear a school uniform will bring Thai schools into disrepute.

His accusation comes as sexual harassment figures from the Office of Basic Education Commission have been released, showing hundreds of sexual harassment incidents recorded between 2013 – 2017. In January this year alone, there were over 700 cases reported of sexual harassment. The report says that many other victims remain too scared to come forward.

Finance Minister says Thailand’s GDP will take 2 years to recover

Thailand’s finance minister says the country’s GDP will take 2 years to recover the 9% it has lost since the Covid pandemic ravaged the economy.

The Finance Minister says the economy would have expanded by 3% this year if it weren’t for the pandemic.

“The pandemic crisis will make the economy contract by around 6% in 2020, therefore there is a 9% gap that needs to be recuperated. If Thailand’s GDP growth could arrive at 4% in 2021 and 2022, this would propel the country’s economic growth momentum to return to a normal ratio.”

As for the 2022 budget, he says it is still being designed to support economic growth through public investments in infrastructure and energy, with some projects relying more heavily on help from the private sector.

Police have yet to investigate illegal hiring of foreign teachers at international school in Phuket

Chalong police in Phuket say they have yet to start investigating the illegal hiring of foreign teachers at an international school in Rawai.

Palm House International School allegedly hired foreign teachers illegally where 2 were arrested by Phuket Immigration police on November 4.

The Chalong police leading investigations into the case, says the 2 Brits were informed that police were processing a charge of working illegally in the country against them, where both denied the charges. The 2 men have been released on bail.

But he says the investigation is yet to begin with police saying they haven’t even questioned the owner of the school.

“The investigation into the school will take time. The investigation into the two British people must be finished first.”

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Thailand News Today | Dinosaurs in BKK, BOT tackles Baht, Special K isn’t special | November 23

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Thailand News Today | Dinosaurs in BKK, BOT tackles Baht, Special K isn’t special | November 23 | The Thaiger

Start of the week, a busy day of news around Thailand with Tim Newton.

Bank of Thailand takes action to curb Thai baht’s strength

The Bank of Thailand is moving forward measures, originally meant to begin early 2021, but most of which will now take effect from end of this month.

The end result is that the new rules will make it easier for Thais to shuffle money overseas and invest in foreign assets. It will also make is easier for Thai citizens to hold foreign currency in local banks. The new rules will also require the registration of local and overseas bond investors.

Last week the Bank of Thailand assessed that the Thai baht’s recent rapid gains could affect the country’s “fragile” economic recovery. The Thai government has called on the central bank to do its best to use what tools it has at its disposal to restrain the baht to protect exports.

Protests go west, up to 2,000 gather in Thonburi

The protests headed west over the weekend. A smaller but symbolic rally. There was also a rally held in central Bangkok on Saturday.

Fit for the end of a 4 day long weekend, the protest road show headed west yesterday, to a far western district of Bangkok, an hour’s drive from the city centre. It turned into more of a festival than a political rally where up to 2,000 people gathered. A similar rally was held at the same location by then pro-government, pro-Thaksin, red-shirts one month before the May 2014 Army coup.

#ByeByeDinosaurs – Jurassic Park comes to Bangkok’s streets

Meanwhile Jurassic Park clashed with Thai politics on Saturday. Some students attending yesterday’s Bad Student protest in Bangkok dressed in dinosaur costumes to represent Thailand’s establishment. The high school-aged students joined the calls for the Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to resign and reform of the Thai monarchy. They are also demanding reform of Thailand’s education system and an end to sexual abuse and harassment from the teachers and school officials.

The next protest will be This Wednesday outside the Royal Household Bureau.

Ketamine seized last week in “biggest drug bust ever” contains only chemical cleaning agents

That huge Ketamine bust in Chachoengsao province last week, some 11.5 tonnes (yes tonnes!) of the drug, has turned out to not be quite what it seems.

Originally drug officials seized 475 bags, each weighing 25 kilogram. 66 of these bags were tested. What was inside the bags wasn’t Ketamine, as claimed by police, but trisodium phosphate instead.

TSP is used as a cleaning agent, builder, lubricant, food additive, stain remover, and degreaser.

It’s certainly not Ketamine. The fact that the bags had great big labels saying TSP might have been a big clue the local drug squad had made a big, and embarrassing, mistake.

Phuket sees 300 million baht boost over long holiday weekend

The Tourism Authority of Thailand says that Phuket has received a much-needed 300 million baht boost over the 4 day long weekend with around 54,000 tourists flocking to the island.

The average expenditure per visitor was about 5,500 baht, which was higher than the average spend for a Thai tourist to Phuket 2 years ago. Random checks on hotels showed that occupancy rates climbed to about 35%, with most guests staying 2 nights. But most of Phuket’s hotels still remain closed.

Some good tourist numbers were also reported in Chiang Mai, parts of Pattaya, Hua Hin and the north east. Bangkok, on the other hand, was very quiet.

German parliament clarifies its stance on HM the King’s stays in Bavaria

The Bundestag, Germany’s federal parliament, has announced that Thailand’s King may face challenges if he wants to continue to conduct affairs of the Head of State from the German state of Bavaria.

Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn could be expelled from Germany if he continues to conduct national business whilst staying in his Bavarian villa, a popular oversees stay for the Thai monarch. HM the King’s long stays in Europe have come under scrutinyand criticism during the current spate of pro-democracy protests.

The German Parliament says that Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn enjoys diplomatic immunity during his extended stays in his Bavarian hotel, but that the state does have the power to expel him from the country if it believes he is conducting affairs affecting Thailand during his extended stays.

On November 1, during a public audience following a ceremony, HM King Vajiralongkorn described Thailand as “the land of compromise” as thousands of people chanted “Long live the King” in front of the Royal Grand Palace. He was responding to a question posed from the crowd by a British Channel 4 journalist.

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