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Thailand News Today | Visa amnesty extended, first STV tourists, teacher sacked | September 29

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Get your visa figured out by October 31

In a surprise decision that arrived late yesterday afternoon, following a week of denials and threats to prosecute foreigners on overstay, the Thai government has granted another stay of grace to foreigners up to the end of October.

Foreigners stuck in Thailand will now be able to stay until October 31 to get their visa in order. The Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, in announcing the new visa amnesty,recognised that travel restrictions are still in place around the world and the coronavirus continues to spread with global deaths surpassing 1 million.

After rumours floated around about a possible amnesty yesterday, a spokesperson for the government’s Covid-19 task force confirmed that a new visa amnesty will be in place until October 31, allowing foreigners stranded in Thailand a ‘free pass’ until then.

Under the new regulation, 60 day extensions will be issued to foreigners who are unable to leave the country due to limited flights or other issues preventing them from going home.

The first tourists to arrive next week on the Special Tourist Visa

Meanwhile… The first group of foreigners under the new Special Tourist Visa will be arriving to Thailand next week.

About 120 people are set to fly from Guangzhou, China and land in Phuket on October 8. As some would say, at least it’s a start!

The new tourist visa scheme comes after months of discussion on how to safely reopen Thailand’s borders to foreign tourists. The effort is aimed at boosting the country’s tourism dependent economy after it was crippled by the lack of travel during the coronavirus pandemic, border closures and the virtual grounding of airlines around the world.

There have been no local Covid-19 transmissions reported in Guangzhou for many months. Another group of long stay tourists from China will arrive at the end of October. A group of tourists from Scandinavian countries is scheduled to arrive at the start of November. All STV applicants have to arrive on special charter flights at this stage. The new STVs are clearly aimed at the high-spend tourists with time on their hands.

All 42 Sarasas private schools to be investigated after teacher is sacked for beating students

All of the 42 Sarasas private schools throughout Thailand will be investigated by the Office of the Private Education Commission, or OPEC, after a teacher was caught on camera allegedly hitting kindergarten students.

The teacher, Ornuma Plodprong, allegedly beat young students at the school in Nonthaburi, a suburb in Bangkok on the western banks of the Chao Phraya.

Along with other teachers who witnessed the abuse, the named teacher has been fired and may face criminal charges pressed by parents of student victims.

Surveillance camera footage of the classroom shows the teacher hitting kindergarten students and forcefully pushing them around.

It’s also been revealed that the named didn’t have a teaching license.

Russian man stabs Chiang Mai park officer, also arrested for breaking into tourist bungalows

A Russian man has been arrested after he allegedly tried to break into tourist bungalows and stealing property at a Chiang Mai national park and stabbed a park officer with a pair of scissors.

The incident follows months of complaints from Thai tourists at the national park reporting missing property after they woke up in the morning.

Thai media reports the 32 year old Russian man allegedly tried to rob a tourist bungalow at Doi Suthep-Pui National Park. He was nabbed by park offices after stabbing a night patrol park officer in the neck and head with a pair of scissors and ran off. The wounded park officer was taken to a local hospital where he has been reported as being in a stable condition.

Alcohol ban for the end of Buddhist Lent this Friday

An alcohol ban is looming for this coming Friday, as Buddhists mark the end of the Lent period.

While officials have so far remained silent on the possibility of a ban on the purchase and consumption of alcohol, previous years have seen one implemented at the end of the Buddhist Lent.

This will mean bars, clubs, and other nightlife venues will need to close for 24 hours until midnight Friday night. The ban on alcohol sales will also apply to supermarkets, hotels, and restaurants.

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Economy

US cuts Thailand’s tariff benefits after long-running pork dispute

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US cuts Thailand’s tariff benefits after long-running pork dispute | The Thaiger

Thailand’s duty-free privileges for US$817 million in exports with the US are to be revoked from the end of this year, according to US President Trump in an announcement yesterday. The President blamed a lack of progress in opening the Thai market to US pork products. Trump’s letter announcing the action follows more than 2 years of threats and negotiations with Thai officials over issues ranging from access to Thailand’s markets for US goods and the documented inadequate labour rights in the south east Asian nation.

Washington will now eliminate some tariff benefits for Thailand, accusing the country of failing to allow imports of pork from US producers.

US cuts Thailand's tariff benefits after long-running pork dispute | News by The Thaiger

GRAPHIC: Global pork production in 2020, by country (in 1,000 metric tonnes) – statista.com

The suspension of the Generalised System of Preferences access follows a suspension earlier this year on about $1.3 billion worth imports from Thailand, which once had such privileges for about US$4.4 billion in exports to the United States.

The US Trade Representative’s office said the list of products includes mango, pineapple, manicure kits, steel pipes and precious stones., auto parts, dried produce, tools, electrical products and aluminium kitchenware.

Writing to the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, President Trump said… “I have determined that Thailand has not assured the United States that Thailand will provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets.”

GSP, Generalised System of Preferences, is a 70s-era program of US trade preferences for developing economies aimed at improving workers’ rights and access to broader markets.

“The US Trade Representative’s office also announced that it had closed other GSP eligibility reviews with no loss of benefits for Georgia, Indonesia and Uzbekistan. It also said new GSP reviews were opened for Eritrea based on concerns about workers’ rights.”

SOURCE: Reuters | VOANews | statista.com

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Economy

Dow and S&P 500 take a breath after an ugly week, tech stocks lead the way down

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Dow and S&P 500 take a breath after an ugly week, tech stocks lead the way down | The Thaiger

US stocks closed lower yesterday to end an ugly week downbeat with ‘uncertainty’ remaining the overwhelming sentiment. Tech stocks led the march downwards. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped in its biggest monthly collapse since March with investors reacting to rising Covid-19 cases in the US and Europe, peppered by nervousness ahead of next Tuesday’s US presidential election. The increased volatility forced all three major indexes seeing their biggest weekly declines since the worst of the coronavirus-inspired selloff 8 months ago.

The Dow fell around 157 points, to end near 26,502, according to preliminary figures, while the S&P 500 lost around 40 points, or 1.2%, to finish near 3,270. The Nasdaq Composite gave up around 274 points, or 2.4%, closing near 10,912. The Dow had a 6.5% weekly fall and a 4.6% monthly drop. Friday’s decline saw the Nasdaq negative for the month of October, falling 2.3%. The Nasdaq was down 5.5% for the week.

The Dow dropped more than 500 points at its session low with tech stocks – primarily Apple, Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook – leading the market decline.

A number of stocks were on the move, down, following a slew of earnings, including from the tech giants. Twitter sank more than 20% on slowing growth, while Exxon reported its 3rd straight quarter of losses.

Key moments yesterday…

  • Dow closed down 0.59% for its 5th negative day out of 6
  • S&P 500 closed down 1.21% for its 4th negative day in 5
  • Dow closed down 6.47% this week for its worst week since March 20
  • S&P closed down 5.64% this week for its worst week since March 20 when the S&P lost 14.98%
  • S&P closed down 2.77% this month for its second-straight negative month
  • Nasdaq closed down 5.51% this week for its worst week since March 20 when the Nasdaq lost 12.64%

Dow and S&P 500 take a breath after an ugly week, tech stocks lead the way down | News by The Thaiger

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Economy

Free Trade Agreement talks continue between Thailand and EU

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Free Trade Agreement talks continue between Thailand and EU | The Thaiger

Thailand is resuming trade talks with the European Union on the long-delayed Thai-EU free trade agreement. The 15th Thai-EU Senior Officials’ conference was held virtually between leading Thai and European trade officials this week. The push was on to have the Free Trade Agreement signed and sealed by the end of this year.

Discussions were held regarding the ongoing affects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the impact on Euro and Thai economies, the current political unrest in Thailand, the fight against Illegal Unreported and Unregulated fishing, promoting the protection of labourers and a commitment to strengthen ties between the Euro zone and Thailand.

The next step in the establishment of the FTA will be a forthcoming meeting on trade and investment in December.

The virtual meeting was represented by Sasiwat Wongsinsawat, the Director-General of the Department of European Affairs and the European Union’s Paola Pampaloni , the Deputy MD for Asia and Pacific Department at the European External Action Service.

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