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  1. If you moan about Thai people maybe the problem rests with you By Dan Cheeseman It is quite often I will moan about a Thai person, it could be a member of staff forgetting to do something or it could be the bad service I had at a restaurant. In fact, the topic of a Thai persons failings is something I hear other expats discuss on a weekly basis. Maybe I am in a business meeting and the client is discussing how his Thai staff are unable to make simple decisions on their own, or it could just be a friend telling me that ‘Thai excellence in service’ is the biggest myth of all timei (which I actually do agree it is though). The point is there is always some rant as to why a Thai person has not come up to expectation. Thai people can be infuriating Thai people can be infuriating. This I cannot deny and if you have lived in Thailand long enough I am sure you agree with this, how can you possibly not?! So then, how does my title marry up with the opening couple of sentences? Well, it does, you see I think we need to take ourselves off our ‘Western pedestal’ that assumes because things and people are not doing things the ‘Western’ way that somehow this makes them a lesser person. Because one culture is fundamentally different to our own, does not mean it is worse. I have to correct myself on this all the time. This negativism is why we get conflicts between countries, religion and the likes. If we do not understand the other person, we look at them as unequal and somehow less of an individual than ourselves. There are times when I admire the Thai laid back, family centric attitude. We could die tomorrow and in a moment our position in society is worth nothing, however you view your position or status in society, that moment your inhale your last breathe everything disappears with it. Full story: https://danaboutthailand.com/2018/06/11/if-you-moan-about-thai-people-maybe-the-problem-rests-with-you/ DAN ABOUT THAILAND Weekly Vlogs and Blogs from in and around Thailand
  2. Trump attacks report on FBI, saying in fact there was 'total bias' U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference after his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday a Justice Department inspector general's report that concluded there was no bias in how the FBI handled its investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails was wrong, saying there was "total bias." "The end result was wrong," Trump said in an interview with Fox News Channel, adding that the inspector general "blew it." "There was total bias when you look at (FBI staff member) Peter Strzok, what he said about me; when you look at (then-FBI Director James) Comey and all his moves." The 500-page report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz found that Comey, who was later fired by Trump, made a "serious error of judgment" when he announced shortly before the 2016 U.S. presidential election that he was reopening an investigation into candidate Clinton's use of a private e-mail server. But the report, released on Thursday, also concluded that the FBI's investigation was not tainted by political bias, even as it uncovered an email from Strzok to then-fellow FBI employee Lisa Page during the 2016 campaign saying Trump would not become president. "We'll stop it," he said in the email. [nL1N1TG0XR] The findings have no direct bearing on a separate Justice Department special counsel probe on Russia's alleged interference in the election, and the possibility there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow. [nL1N1TG0XR] Trump, however, has used the findings on Strzok, who also worked on the Russia probe, to sow doubts about that investigation. "They were plotting against my election," Trump said in the Fox News interview, referring to people in the FBI. Russia has denied that it interfered in the election. Trump has repeatedly said there was no collusion or attempt by him to obstruct the Russia investigation, and has called Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe a "witch hunt." Despite his criticism of the inspector general's report, Trump presented the report's findings as vindication of his decision to fire Comey in May last year. 'GREAT SERVICE' IN FIRING COMEY "The IG Report is a total disaster for Comey, his minions and sadly, the FBI," Trump said in a post on Twitter. "I did a great service to the people in firing him." Initially when Comey was fired, the Trump administration presented the dismissal as related to his handling of the Clinton email probe. However, Trump later said that he had the FBI's Russia probe in mind when he dismissed Comey. It was Comey's dismissal that led to the Justice Department appointing Mueller to take over the federal probe into Russian election meddling. Comey defended his actions in an op-ed published in the New York Times after the report was released. "In 2016, my team faced an extraordinary situation — something I thought of as a 500-year flood — offering no good choices and presenting some of the hardest decisions I ever had to make," Comey wrote. -- © Copyright Reuters 2018-06-16
  3. Papua New Guinea declares state of emergency over riots By Alison Bevege FILE PHOTO: Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Peter O'Neill addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz SYDNEY (Reuters) - Papua New Guinea has declared a state of emergency, suspended a provincial government and is sending armed forces to its rugged highlands to restore order after rioters went on a rampage of looting and burning, the government said. Violence has often ravaged the remote interior of the resource-rich Pacific nation, where tribal and land disputes overlay regional politics. Armed crowds angered over the failure of a court challenge to a regional governor's election burned an airplane, looted a warehouse and torched buildings in Mendi, the capital of the Southern Highlands province, this week. Papua New Guinea has declared a nine-month state of emergency in the province, and suspended its government for the duration, Prime Minister Peter O'Neill said on Friday. "The actions of reckless individuals damaging property in Mendi has disgusted the nation," O'Neill said on his website. "Police will investigate every agitator, and every person who was involved in the unrest." Thomas Eluh, a former policeman and acting administrator in the province, has been given constitutional emergency powers. Police, including a mobile squad, were immediately deployed, along with criminal investigators, O'Neill added. More than 200 PNG Defence Force troops are to be flown to the city of Mount Hagen on Saturday before making their way to Mendi, media outlet Loop PNG said. Reuters was unable to independently confirm the report of troop movements. Looters ransacked a warehouse of earthquake relief supplies during the Mendi rioting, said Barclay Tenza, a spokesman for the provincial disaster. "They took all the foodstuffs," he said by telephone from Port Moresby. Many communities are still receiving aid after February's 7.5-magnitude earthquake killed 100 people, testing the finances and capacity of one of the world’s poorest countries. -- © Copyright Reuters 2018-06-16
  4. Merkel seeks EU migrant talks as German coalition crisis looms - paper German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during the "70 Years of Social Market Economy" anniversary event at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in Berlin, Germany, June 15, 2018. REUTERS/Michele Tantussi/File Photo BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel, struggling to avert a crisis within her coalition on migrant policy, is trying to set up a meeting of some EU states to discuss the issue before a leaders summit on June 28-29, a German newspaper reported on Sunday. Citing government sources from representatives of several EU states, top-selling Bild reported on its website that Merkel wanted to discuss possible solutions with Greece, Italy and Austria. "It is not yet agreed, we are in the planning phase. It is also unclear exactly when this special summit would take place," a member of the Italian government told Bild. The paper added that next weekend might be one possibility. A German government spokesperson was not immediately available to comment on the report. EU states are deeply divided on how to deal with large numbers of people fleeing conflict, especially from the Middle East. The issue has come to a head in the last week with a new Italian government refusing to let a ship carrying hundreds of migrants dock at its ports. Merkel is adamant that migrant policy can only be effectively agreed and implemented at the European level and is at loggerheads with her own conservative Bavarian allies and her Interior Minister who want unilateral action. The Bavarians have threatened to defy Merkel and on Monday go ahead with plans which she has sought to block. Under the minister's proposal, Germany would send back migrants who have already registered in other EU countries. This would undermine Merkel's authority as it represents a reversal of her 2015 open-door approach, and would also be a blow to the EU's Schengen open-border system. Merkel has asked the Bavarian conservatives to give her two weeks to come up with bilateral deals with some countries, like Italy and Greece, similar to one agreed between Turkey and the EU in 2016. Bild said it was unclear whether Spain and other countries from the Balkans would take part in Merkel's meeting. -- © Copyright Reuters 2018-06-17
  5. Britain's May to pledge 20-billion-pound health service cash boost: reports FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London, June 13, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Theresa May will pledge a cash boost to the National Health Service, to be funded partly from tax hikes and partly from money that will no longer be going to the European Union after Brexit, newspapers reported on Saturday. May will pledge to increase the NHS budget by 20 billion pounds ($26.6 billion) a year, or 384 million pounds a week, after Brexit, according to front-page reports in the Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph and Observer, which were published late on Saturday. The announcement, timed to mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS, which delivers care for free to everyone living in Britain, aims to foster unity in the government and the country after two years of bitter divisions over Brexit, the reports said. An official spokeswoman from May's Number 10 Downing Street said she did not have the details available. She said the reports were the result of unofficial briefings by "spads," or special advisers. Downing Street had earlier said May would deliver a speech about the NHS on Monday, giving no further details. Spads are known to sometimes brief the content of speeches to newspapers ahead of time for their own purposes. The NHS budget increase was expected to take place over five years, reaching the full amount in 2023/24, the newspapers said. Britain's official exit date from the European Union is March 29, 2019. During the 2016 referendum campaign on EU membership, the pro-Brexit camp claimed that Britain was sending 350 million pounds a week to the EU and should spend that money on the NHS instead. The claim was controversial because the figure of 350 million pounds did not take into account Britain's sizeable rebate or the payments that were flowing back from the EU to Britain, so it was widely seen as overstating Britain's contribution to the bloc. The newspapers said the 384-million-a-week pledge was politically significant from May - who campaigned against Brexit in 2016 and has been under pressure from hardline Brexiteers ever since to prove her conversion to the cause - because it went above and beyond 350 million. Jeremy Hunt, the health minister who also campaigned for Britain to remain in the EU, was quoted by the Sunday Telegraph as saying that the new pledge "can now unite us all." The newspaper said the precise details of how the spending increase would be funded would be disclosed in a future government budget. -- © Copyright Reuters 2018-06-17
  6. 50 foreigners arrested in weekly crackdowns By The Nation The Tourist police joined forces with other police agencies to search 87 areas around the country on Friday night and arrested 50 foreigners, mostly for overstaying their visa and sneaking into the Kingdom without documents. Deputy Tourist Police chief Pol Maj-General Surachet Hakpal held a press conference at 2am at the Bang Lamphu roundabout to announce the results of the weekly operation. He said 17 foreigners – four Indians, three Vietnamese, three Nigerian, two French, one Russian, one Guinea national, one Gambian, one Ivory Coast national, and one Lesotho national – were arrested for overstaying their visas. He said 31 others were arrested for entering the Kingdom without documents. They comprised 11 Cambodians, six Indians, six Lao, four Myanmar, three Vietnamese, and one Nigerian. Surachet added that two Myanmar were arrested for failing to report to the authorities of their presence in the Kingdom within the deadline. A Thai was also arrested for providing shelter to illegal immigrants, Surachet said. Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/breakingnews/30347895 -- © Copyright The Nation 2018-06-16
  7. Car, 500 motorcycles seized in crackdown on road racing By The Nation Police in Samut Prakan province seized a car and some 500 motorcycles in an operation to crack down on road racing on Friday night. Pol Maj-General Surachet Hakpal said police from 14 police stations in Samut Prakan set up road checkpoints to check for vehicles that were illegally modified for racing. They impounded a car and some 500 motorcycles. The operation also found that 10 motorcyclists tested positive for drug use. They would be fined and subject to mandatory rehabilitation, Surachet added. He said police also checked 61 motorcycle parts shops in Samut Prakan and arrested the owners of two shops for allegedly providing services to modify motorcycles for road racing. Full story: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/breakingnews/30347899 -- © Copyright The Nation 2018-06-16
  8. Taxi ploughs into Moscow crowd including soccer fans, injuring seven By Jack Stubbs, Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber and Maria Kiselyova A view shows a damaged taxi, which ran into a crowd of people, in central Moscow, Russia June 16, 2018. REUTERS/Staff MOSCOW (Reuters) - A taxi drove into a crowd of pedestrians near Moscow's Red Square on Saturday, injuring seven people including two Mexicans in the city for the soccer World Cup which Russia is hosting, officials and eyewitnesses said. The incident took place as residents and visiting soccer fans thronged the centre of Moscow on a balmy summer evening, a short distance from the Kremlin. Moscow's traffic management authority said the taxi driver had a driver's licence issued in Kyrgyzstan, a mainly Muslim ex-Soviet republic. The driver, in custody, told police he had not driven into the crowd on purpose, according to a footage published on the Moscow police website. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said in a post on Twitter: "There was an unpleasant incident with a taxi. The driver lost control of the vehicle." The city's police said they had opened a criminal investigation into a suspected violation of the traffic code. The police said seven people were injured in the incident. Moscow city's healthcare department said earlier that eight had been hurt and taken to hospital, of whom seven were in a satisfactory condition, while one woman was seriously hurt. The Mexican embassy in Moscow said two Mexican women had been lightly injured. Also among those hurt were a Ukrainian, two Russians and two citizens of Azerbaijan, Russia's RIA news agency quoted a source in the emergency services as saying. Video of the incident posted on social media showed the yellow Hyundai taxi pull sharply out of a line of stationary traffic, accelerate and mount the narrow pavement, which was packed with pedestrians. The taxi drove for about 10 metres along the pavement, bowling over pedestrians and carrying some on the bonnet of the car. It came to a halt after hitting a traffic sign. As bystanders tried to pull open the driver's side door, the driver, dressed in black trousers and black T-shirt, jumped out and sprinted away. More bystanders chased him and could be seen trying to tackle him as the footage ended. MEXICO SOCCER MATCH A witness told Reuters that some of the people hit were wearing Mexican team colours. Mexico take on Germany on Sunday in their first World Cup match at Moscow's Luzhniki stadium, and thousands of Mexican fans are in the Russian capital. A second witness told Reuters about the driver of the taxi: "He was pulled out of the vehicle, he ran off but bystanders apprehended him. He was shouting: 'It wasn't me'." Another witness, Viktoria Geraimovich, said she called emergency services on her mobile phone. She said the driver "ran into a group of Mexicans. There were shouts, moans. He was only stopped because he hit a traffic sign." "Someone gave him a punch in the face. He stayed in the car, people came up to him, said what are you doing, punched him in the face, he opened the door and tried to run away." "It's scary that it was in the centre (of Moscow) and I was right opposite," she said. Moscow's traffic management authority said the driver was not drunk and Interfax news agency cited a source saying there was no alcohol in his blood. The driver said he wanted to brake but accidentally hit the accelerator instead, according to a video published by police. "I regret very much... I wanted to go home afterwards, to have a sleep," he said. The driver said he had been working for 20 hours by the time the incident happened. Asked why he ran away, he said he was afraid he would be killed after bypassers beat him. A court will hold a sentencing hearing on Monday, TASS reported. Authorities have vowed a safe soccer World Cup, which Russia is hosting for the first time ever. It is taking place in 11 cities until July 15. In central Moscow, authorities have installed heavy concrete blocks across the entrances to pedestrian areas following a spate of incidents in European cities in which vehicles were used to mow down people. The U.S. State Department on Friday updated its travel advice on Russia, saying terrorist groups were plotting attacks. "Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities," the travel advice stated. DRIVER'S LICENCE The Moscow traffic authority posted on Twitter a copy of what it said was the taxi driver's licence. It gave his name as Chingiz Anarbek Uulu and said he was born on April 22, 1990. It gave his birthplace as the town of Kochkor-Ata in Kyrgyzstan, near the border with Uzbekistan. An account on Russian social media platform Odnoklassniki for someone with the same name and date of birth was last updated two years ago. The last video he posted on his page depicted chapter 82 of the Koran, Islam's holy book, which discussed judgement day. There was nothing on the page to suggest any links to, or sympathies with, Islamist militant groups. People walking around in central Moscow on Saturday evening said they were aware of the taxi incident, but it did not put them off spending time in the city. The streets were packed with people listening to street musicians perform, or sitting at pavement cafes. "We're not scared but disappointed," said Youseff Fraige, 27, from Monterrey, Mexico. "We didn't expect something like this to happen in a place like this. It could happen anywhere in the world, but that it happens here in Moscow, in the middle of the World Cup, it's shocking for us." -- © Copyright Reuters 2018-06-17
  9. Top Ten movies made in Thailand and Phuket By Tim Newton In no particular order…. The Railway Man (2013) A Colin Firth movie made partly in Thailand (also ‘Bridget Jones – The Edge of Reason’, 2004), ‘The Railway Man’ is a 2013 British–Australian war film directed by Jonathan Teplitzky. The movie also starred Nicole Kidman, Jeremy Irvine, and Stellan Skarsgård. The movie follows a tortured soul and his traumas as an ex-POW who was interred and tortured by Japanese troops in camps around the Thai Burmese border. He returns later in life to confront his demons. From ‘The Telegraph’… “One of the most striking things about the terrain through which the “Death Railway” linking Thailand to Burma passed, is its extraordinary beauty. Much of the scenery is classically south-east Asian: lush and tropical, fringed with rugged, mountainous mystery. It is the stuff of travellers’ dreams. But as ‘The Railway Man’, the latest film to throw light on one of history’s darker chapters reveals, it is also the stuff of nightmares”. Full story: https://thethaiger.com/thai-life/top-tens/top-ten-movies-made-thailand-phuket -- © Copyright The Thaiger 2018-06-16
  10. At odds with Trump over trade, Canadians say they will avoid U.S. goods: poll By Andrea Hopkins A truck carrying logs heads toward the Canada border in Champlain, New York April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi/File Photo OTTAWA (Reuters) - Seventy percent of Canadians say they will start looking for ways to avoid buying U.S.-made goods in a threat to ratchet up a trade dispute between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump, an Ipsos Poll showed on Friday. The poll also found a majority of Americans and Canadians are united in support of Trudeau and opposition to Trump in their countries' stand-off over the renegotiation of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Amid the spat, Trump pulled out of a joint communique with six other countries last weekend during a Quebec summit meeting of the Group of Seven rich nations and called Trudeau "very dishonest and weak." Trump was reacting to Trudeau's having called U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs insulting to Canada. Trudeau has said little about the matter since a Trump Twitter assault. Despite the tensions, 85 percent of Canadians and 72 percent of Americans said they support being in NAFTA, and 44 percent of respondents in both countries said renegotiation of the deal would be a good thing for their country. While the poll showed support for a boycott of U.S. goods in Canada, pulling it off could be difficult in a country that reveres U.S. popular culture and consumer goods over all others. Canada is the largest market for U.S. goods. TRUDEAU OVER TRUMP The poll showed 72 percent of Canadians and 57 percent of Americans approved of the way Trudeau had handled the situation, while 14 percent of Canadians and 37 percent of Americans approved of Trump's behavior. More than eight in 10 Canadians and seven in 10 Americans worry the situation has damaged bilateral relations. Canada has vowed to retaliate against U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum with tariffs against a range of U.S. goods, a move supported by 79 percent of Canadians, according to the poll. By contrast, Americans opposed escalating the situation. Thirty-one percent of Americans said they favored even stronger tariffs, and 61 percent said other elected U.S. officials should denounce Trump's statements. Canadian respondents also signaled approval of the united front their politicians have shown, with 88 percent saying they welcomed the support of politicians from other parties for the Liberal government's decision to push back on tariffs. While Canadian consumers appeared ready to boycott U.S. goods, 57 percent of Canadians and 52 percent of Americans said Canada should not overreact to Trump's comments because it was just political posturing. The Ipsos Poll of 1,001 Canadians and 1,005 Americans - including 368 Democrats, 305 Republicans and 202 Independents - was conducted June 13-14. It has a credibility interval of 3.4 percentage points. -- © Copyright Reuters 2018-06-16
  11. Frenchman reports sale of Nazi inspired goods to Pattaya Tourist Police Image: Manager A French tourist has raised concerns about the sale of Nazi paraphernalia in Pattaya. Alexandre Jandaeng, 34, spoke of his shock at seeing the goods, which included pictures of Adolf Hitler, swastika emblazoned scarves and coins, on sale at a market in the popular resort town. Mr Jandaeng reported the sale of the goods to Pattaya Tourist Police, telling them that if such things were on sale in his native France, the person selling them could face up to 10 years in jail. A video posted by Manager showed Mr Jandaeng at the police station showing pictures of the goods to an officer. In the video, the Frenchman explained how he did not like to see such things and that Nazi related goods should not be allowed to be sold in Thailand or anywhere else. “For me, it is very very important the police stop this”, Mr Jandaeng said in the video. “It is important to remember history, he said. “Many people died for that and for me it is impossible to see this and is very shocking. “I don’t like,” he added. Mr Jandaeng praised the tourist police officer for listening to his complaint but admitted that he does not know if any action will be taken against the vendor who was selling the Nazi goods. This isn’t the first time Nazi imagery or so called “Hitler-chic” has been seen in Thailand. As well as being found on sale in some of Thailand’s most popular night markets, Nazi imagery has even been featured some of the countries leading educational institutions and in government videos. In 2011 a Catholic school in Thailand was forced to apologise after it made students wear Nazi uniform for a sports day parade. Some students also had swastikas painted on their faces. In 2013, Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University was forced to issue an apology after students created a large mural which depicted Adolf Hitler alongside comic book heroes such as Batman, the Incredible Hulk and Superman. Alongside the mural read the word “congratulation”. Students who created the mural were said to be unaware of the significance of including an image of Adolf Hitler. In 2014, Israel’s ambassador to Thailand, Simon Roded lodged an official complaint after a film commissioned by the Thai government contained an image of a Thai child painting an image of Adolf Hitler while his classmates applauded. The film, which was shown in cinemas nationwide, was to meant to promote the 12 core values that students in Thailand must learn. Source: Manager -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2018-06-10
  12. Malaysian tourist falls to death from Hat Yai hotel By The Nation A drunk Malaysian tourist fell to his death from a hotel in Songkhla’s Hat Yai district when he landed on the balcony of an adjacent townhouse early on Saturday, police said. The owner of the townhouse, which houses a photo shop, said he heard a loud noise at 3am but did not get up to check because he had become used to things falling from the adjacent Golden Grown Grand Hotel. The owner said when he got up at 9am and opened bedroom curtains, he saw the tourist’s body, which was later identified as Kong Soon Keong, 29. Police learned that the man and 14 friends had checked in at the hotel on Friday, and the man was staying with four friends in room 804 on the eighth floor. They went out to eat and drink on Nipat Uthit 3 road not far from the hotel and returned to their room at 1am. The friends said they fell asleep after returning to their room as all had drank a lot, and they did not know how the man fell. Police have yet to finished investigating whether the incident was an accident or a murder. Full story: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/breakingnews/30347913 -- © Copyright The Nation 2018-06-16
  13. Reform of drug laws begins as bill passes first reading By Pratch Rujivanarom The Sunday Nation Marijuana NEW narcotics laws to decriminalise drug users and legalise the controlled use of kratom and marijuana passed first reading at the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) on Thursday. The NLA passed by a landslide vote the three narcotics control policy bills, which are an effort by authorities to reform official drug policies and tackle the problem of overcrowded prisons. Academics praised the new laws as heading in the right direction for drug reform, but cautioned that there remained the need for clear regulations to help prevent drug abuse and segregate drug users from drug dealers. Deputy Prime Minister ACM Prachin Chantong said that the three bills will later be merged into a single law regulating various aspects of drug issues. The final bill will aim to legalise a limited use of narcotics for medical, science and industrial purposes, while enhancing the rehabilitation of drug users and limiting the spread of drug abuse in society. Prachin said that in parallel with the new laws, a committee will be set up under the Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) responsible for drafting rules and measures governing the use of narcotic drugs. As well, the ONCB will be required by the new laws to announce the legal use of kratom in specific areas and under certain terms and conditions. Under the new narcotics law, kratom and marijuana will not be labelled a narcotic drugs with attendant punishments for use. Use of the two plant-based drugs would remain controlled and regulated by Public Health Ministry and ONCB, he said. Prachin also said a committee would be created to revise enforcement procedures for narcotic drug offences. There will be a shift from punishing drug users to instead treating drug use as a medical issue, with users sent to hospitals for rehabilitation. The shift is expected to help solve the problem of overflowing prisons. According to the Thailand Institute of Justice, the country now has 343,657 people jailed, the highest number in Asean, and sixth highest globally. Over 70 per cent of prisoners in Thailand are there for drug offences. Prapapun Chucharoen, expert on narcotic drugs at the Asean Institute for Health Development at Mahidol University, said the authorities’ change of policies governing use of kratom and marijuana is a step in the right direction. The plants have many medical and scientific benefits, she said, but clear control measures need to be in place to prevent abuse. Prapapun said kratom has no serious harm on human health if used properly, but she has found that many youths abused kratom by mixing it with other substances to create dangerous narcotic cocktails. Authorities must ensure there are clear rules to restrict the improper use of the plants. “I also agree with the decriminalisation for drug users, as from a medical point of view they are patients with brain and behavioural disorders. But the officers will have to make sure that we have a good system in place to separate drug users from drug dealers, or we will not be able to stop the spread of drugs in our society,” she said. Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30347919 -- © Copyright The Nation 2018-06-17
  14. Weatherman warns of strong winds and high waves in Andaman Sea and upper Gulf Small boats are warned not to venture out of the sea in the Andaman Sea and the upper part of the Gulf during June 16-20 because of strong winds and high waves while sailors are also warned to exercise special caution. The Meteorological Department issued an announcement at 5 pm on Saturday warning of strong winds and high waves in the Andaman sea on the western coast of Thailand and the in the Gulf from Surat Thani province upward from Saturday until next Wednesday. It said that the waves in the Andaman Sea are between 2-4 metres high while in the upper part of the Gulf, the waves rise to 2-3 metres high. Full story: http://englishnews.thaipbs.or.th/weatherman-warns-strong-winds-high-waves-andaman-sea-upper-gulf/ -- © Copyright Thai PBS 2018-06-17
  15. In bombshell, Trump says U.S. backs out of G7 communique, criticizes Trudeau By Roberta Rampton and Jean-Baptiste Vey Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and G7 leaders Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, France's President Emmanuel Macron, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, and U.S. President Donald Trump discuss the joint statement following a breakfast meeting on the second day of the G7 meeting in Charlevoix city of La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, June 9, 2018. Adam Scotti/Prime Minister's Office/Handout via REUTERS LA MALBAIE, Quebec (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday said he had instructed his representatives not to endorse a joint communique put out by the Group of Seven leaders after what he called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's "false statements" at a news conference. Trump left the G7 summit in Canada early, then wrote on Twitter that Trudeau's remarks, including that his country would not be pushed around, "were very dishonest and weak." "PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that, 'US Tariffs were kind of insulting' and he 'will not be pushed around.' Very dishonest & weak. Our Tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!" the U.S. president tweeted. The bombshell tweet came after G7 nations appeared to have papered over the cracks in their alliance at the two-day summit in La Malbaie, Quebec, where Trump defiantly brandished his "America First" agenda. All the group's leaders had spoken publicly about the summit and the Canadian government had issued the communique when Trump's tweets were posted. There was no immediate reaction from the Canadian government on Trump's tweets. Trump, who last week slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, the European Union and Mexico, threatened at the summit to cut off trade with countries that treated the United States unfairly. "We're like the piggy bank that everybody is robbing," he said at an earlier news conference as his counterparts continued their meeting in La Malbaie, Quebec, and officials hammered out a joint communique. "This isn’t just G7. I mean, we have India, where some of the tariffs are 100 percent ... And we charge nothing," Trump said. "And it's going to stop. Or we'll stop trading with them." The communique said the leaders of the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Italy, Germany and Japan agreed on the need for "free, fair, and mutually beneficial trade" and the importance of fighting protectionism. "We strive to reduce tariff barriers, non-tariff barriers and subsidies," the statement said. Trump, who argues his tariffs are meant to protect U.S. industry and workers from unfair international competition, told reporters he had suggested to the other G7 leaders that all trade barriers, including tariffs and subsidies, be eliminated. The U.S. president is en route to Singapore for a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which Trump described as a "mission of peace." -- © Copyright Reuters 2018-06-10
  16. 65 directors of centres for the destitute transferred A total of 65 directors of the centres for the protection of the destitute have been transferred out of their areas of responsibility to facilitate investigations by the Department of Social Development and Welfare and the Public Sector’s Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), the department director-general Mrs Napa Setthakorn told the Thai PBS on Saturday. Of the 65 transferred dirertors, she said that disciplinary probes had been carried out against 14 of them and, so far, the director of Khon Kaen’s centre for the protection of the destitute which was the first to be exposed of fraudulent practice had been dismissed from government service. She added that result of disciplinary probe against the director of Chiang Mai’s centre would be known at the end of this month. Full story: http://englishnews.thaipbs.or.th/65-directors-centres-destitute-transferred/ -- © Copyright Thai PBS 2018-06-17
  17. Poll finds Thais estranged from National Strategy By THE SUNDAY NATION MORE THAN half of the Thai people remain in the dark about the national strategy that is expected to soon pass the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) and to be influential in setting the country’s direction for the next 20 years, a survey released yesterday has found. The Super Poll, which interviewed 1,150 people of various backgrounds during June 5 to 15, found 54.9 per cent of the respondents said they had no idea what the national strategy was. However, 64 per cent of those surveyed said that had heard of the term, while 90.2 per cent said the national strategy should be better explained to the general public so that they could become involved in also protecting the national interest. The poll was released after the Cabinet presented the 20-year National Strategy plan to the NLA on Friday. The creation of the plan was included in the 2017 Constitution as part of the junta’s attempt to redirect the country after a long period of political conflict that had held the country back economically, politically and socially. Noppadol Kannika, director of Super Poll, said the lack of familiarity with the national strategy could be explained by the lack of proper public communication about the plan. Most discussion had been clouded by academic jargon that distanced the plan from people’s everyday lives. The poll director also said that the strategy itself was centred on state power, rather than issues more salient to average Thais. The public was not involved in creating the plan, which then did not reflect their priorities and was not properly communicated, resulting in both a poor national strategy and the lack of support from Thai citizens, Noppadol said. The survey’s respondents also expressed concern over the nation’s economic situation. Nearly one-third (29 per cent) said that the future they wanted most from the country was to have a proper job with sufficient pay to cover their costs of living. They did not want migrant workers to steal their jobs, the respondents said. They also placed higher importance on their concerns about jobs than public peace. In follow-up interviews, the pollsters found that working people saw political unrest as not involving the majority of people, while fear of unemployment did. Respondents said that migrant workers were today getting more jobs than were Thais and so placed the highest importance on improving the employment opportunities. Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/politics/30347924 -- © Copyright The Nation 2018-06-17
  18. Baht depreciation expected By SUCHEERA PINIJPARAKARN THE NATION Tak Bunnag, head of Bank of Ayudhya’s Global Markets Group. BANGKOK:-- THE EXPECTED policy-rate increase by the US Federal Reserve next month would result in the baht deprecating for at least two quarters consecutively, and Thai companies that plan to raise finances from bonds would face rising funding costs, according to Bank of Ayudhya (Krungsri). The market predicts that the Fed will increase its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points in December, and Krungsri has the same view, said Tak Bunnag, head of the bank’s Global Markets Group. The bank expects the Fed will rise the policy rate twice in 2017, ending up at 1 per cent from 0.25 per cent currently. Full story: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/business/investment_finance/30300862 -- © Copyright The Nation 2016-11-26
  19. Britain's May 'disappointed' after colleague blocks 'upskirting' law FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Friday she was disappointed a lawmaker from her Conservative party had blocked a bill to make "upskirting" - surreptitiously taking photographs up women's skirts - a criminal offence. Christopher Chope, 71, a veteran politician who was knighted this year, blocked the bill proposed by opposition Liberal Democrat parliamentarian Wera Hobhouse that was widely supported in the House of Commons. Chope did not explain his reasoning publicly and was not immediately available for comment. Commenting on Twitter, May said: "Upskirting is an invasion of privacy which leaves victims feeling degraded and distressed. "I am disappointed the Bill didn't make progress in the Commons today, and I want to see these measures pass through Parliament - with government support - soon." The bill would make the crime punishable by up to two years in prison. Dawn Butler, the main opposition Labour party spokeswoman for women and equalities, said: "What possible reason could there be to block a law that supports women and girls?" Conservative lawmaker Nick Boles tweeted: "In every party, there are one or two MPs whose knuckles drag along the ground. Today, unfortunately, a sensible reform to protect women was blocked by one of ours." -- © Copyright Reuters 2018-06-16
  20. SPECIAL REPORT: Fresh impetus to recover lost heritage By Phatarawadee Phataranawik The Sunday Nation In 2014, the US government returned more than 500 artefacts looted from Ban Chiang, originating from the prehistoric period, which were in possession of the Bowers Museum in Santa Anna, California. Photo/The Nation Accustions by a scholar in London that her prestigious institution possesses a 13th-century sculpture suspected of being looted from Thailand have re-alerted authorities here to illegal trafficking in Thai artefacts. The Foreign and Culture ministries have responded quickly by launching an investigation into the case. The move came after Thai media early this week revealed that School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) scholar Angela Chiu had accused her institution of accepting the potentially looted one-metre-tall Buddha statue that stands at the entrance to its Brunei Gallery. It was gifted to the SOAS by American alumni Mary and Paul Slawson who reportedly bought it minus documents of its provenance some 30 years ago. On its website, the SOAS describes the statue as “a delightful 13th-century Lopburi Buddha torso of Thai origin”. It has denied any wrongdoing in accepting the sculpture. A scholar of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) accusation her prestigious institution possesses a 13th Century sculpture possibly smuggled from Thailand. Photo courtesy of Angela Chiu “We strongly reject any suggestion that SOAS University of London has handled this donation improperly. The allegations made in the blog post by this student are without foundation,” SOAS spokesperson Vesna Siljanovska told The Nation by email. Thai Ambassador to the UK Pisanu Suvanajata has since contacted SOAS director Baroness Valerie Amos for answers. Thai embassy officials in London also met with John Hollingworth, head of Galleries and Exhibitions at the SOAS. “He informed them that his team had checked with the International Council of Museums and found that the artefact is not on the ICOM [International Council of Museums] Red Lists of lost or vulnerable artworks.” However, Chiu commented that checking ICOM Red Lists was not sufficient. “ICOM does not say that checking its Red List is a substitute for documented provenance.” There are no Thai objects on the Red List. SOAS is preparing information on the statue to hand over to the Thai Embassy in London. The Foreign Ministry will report back to the Culture Ministry’s Fine Arts Department (FAD) with the results. “If we feel there is a case to be made, we will ask the Thai authorities’ ad hoc committee responsible for retrieving looted art from abroad to follow up,” FAD director Anan Chuchote told The Nation. Chiu had already consulted a member of the ad hoc committee, archaeologist Tanongsak Hanwong, as part of her own investigation. “This Thai treasure is very important as the 700-year-old artefact is among the rarest of Lopburi Buddha statues,” said Tanongsak, adding that Chiu’s investigation had considerably cut the time Thai authorities required to gather information. “If we prove that it’s our treasure, Thai authorities will negotiate with SOAS for its return,” Anan said. Archaeologist Tanongsak has for decades devoted himself to retrieving looted Thai treasures. “I hope this case will inspire the ad hoc committee to hasten efforts to retrieve many other smuggled Thai artefacts from US museums,” he said. Set up just over a year ago, the ad hoc committee has located several missing Thai treasures in prestigious institutions overseas. “After a one-year investigation, the ministry’s urgent task is to bring back five architectural artefacts, including two prominent 11th-century stone lintels from Prasat Nong Hong in Buri Ram and Prasat Khao Lon in Sa Kaew, which are currently in the permanent collections of the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco,” Anan said. “Another masterpieces – an eighth-century bronze preaching- Avalokitesvara Buddha statue from Prasat Hin Khao Bat II in Buri Ram – is currently at the Metropolitan Art Museum,” Tanongsak added. Thailand calls on the return of the 8th-Century bronze preaching Buddha statue called Avalokitesvara from Prasat Hin Khao Bat II in Buri. It's a permanet collect of NY's Metropolitan Art Museum. Photo courtesy of MET Thai authorities are also working with US counterparts to verify whether 69 prehistoric Thai artefacts currently stored in US museums were also looted. In 2014, the US returned more than 500 prehistoric artefacts from Ban Chiang, from the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California. Among other Thai looted art treasures retrieved are the Narai stone lintel, from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1988, and a 12th-century Lopburi-style Buddha Statue that was stolen from Tung Saliem Temple in Sukhothai in 1977. Efforts to retrieve more missing Thai heritage are being spurred by the rise of a new hi-tech National Artefacts Storage facility, which will house five millennia of Thai artefacts. The Bt491.5-million storehouse in Pathum Thani’s Klong Luang district will be finished by the end of this year. Its four storeys will shelter more than 200,000 cultural relics over 30,000 square metres, protected by hi-tech humidity controls, handprint scanners and a fire-fighting system of the type found in the finest museums. “When the storage facility dubbed ‘Thailand’s Smithsonian’ opens its doors in early 2019 it will be a learning centre for archaeologists and museologists from across Southeast Asia,” explained Anan. “The new building will be a modern ‘visible storage and study collection’ centre for both academics and the general public to learn more about the region’s history and heritage.” Full story: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30347908 -- © Copyright The Nation 2018-06-17
  21. Call me any time: Trump says he gave North Korea's Kim direct number FILE PHOTO: North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un visits The Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore, June 11, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he had given Kim Jong Un a direct phone number and suggested he might call the North Korean leader on Sunday, following their summit in Singapore this week. "I'm going to be actually calling North Korea," Trump told Fox News in an interview when asked what he planned to do on Father's Day, without saying who he would be speaking to. Trump, who has hailed his meeting with Kim on Tuesday as a success that removed the North Korean nuclear threat, told reporters later that he had given Kim a phone number to allow him to reach him directly. "I can now call him. I can now say, 'Well, we have a problem.' I gave him a very direct number. He can now call me if he has any difficulties, I can call him," Trump said during an impromptu news conference on the White House lawn. Asked about who he would speak to on Sunday, Trump said: "Well, I'm going to speak to people in North Korea, and I'm going to speak to my people who are over in North Korea." He did not elaborate. Trump and Kim issued a joint statement after their meeting that reaffirmed the North's commitment to "work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," while the United States undertook to provide security guarantees. [nL1N1TF11E] Democratic critics in the United States said the agreement was short on detail and the Republican president had made too many concessions to Kim, whose country is under U.N. sanctions for its nuclear and weapons programs and is widely condemned for human rights abuses. [nL4N1TF1DF] Trump has said he trusts Kim to follow through as the two countries negotiate dismantling North Korea's nuclear program. Critics have assailed Trump for talking warmly of Kim after their meeting. In response to a reporter who suggested on Friday that he was defending Kim's human rights record, Trump said, "You know why, I don't want to see a nuclear weapon destroy you and your family ... I want to have a good relationship with North Korea." U.S. Defense Secretary Mattis said Trump's summit with Kim, the first between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader, showed that the past did not have to define the future, but that the U.S. military remained vigilant. "While a possible new avenue to peace now exists with North Korea, we remain vigilant regarding pursuit of nuclear weapons anywhere in the world," Mattis said, speaking at a U.S. Naval War College graduation. -- © Copyright Reuters 2018-06-16
  22. Why I had to leave the UK for Thailand By Dan Cheeseman If anyone has done the daily commute into London at 630am in winter then you will know it can be very hard work. For me it was one such morning that proved the tipping point, I needed to get out of the UK and change my life. I never disliked living and working in the UK by the way, in fact it was tremendously rewarding and challenging. I just wanted something different and did not fancy another 30 years of a fairly predictable, mapped out life that I felt living in the UK would have given me. Many people fail to grasp just how short our lives are and kind of just coast by and let life control them. I wanted to control my life in a more significant way. Leaving the UK and relocating to Thailand was the kind of big life changing move I wanted to make. Full story: https://danaboutthailand.com/2018/06/15/why-i-had-to-leave-the-uk-for-thailand/ DAN ABOUT THAILAND Weekly Vlogs and Blogs from in and around Thailand
  23. rooster59

    Sodium cyanide stocks impounded

    Sodium cyanide stocks impounded By THE NATION Thai security officers |yesterday take pictures and inspect 48 tonnes of sodium cyanide |confiscated at a |warehouse for rent in Chiang Rai’s Chiang Saen district. THAI AUTHORITIES yesterday temporarily impounded 48 tonnes of sodium cyanide at a warehouse in Chiang Rai province, while the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) announced a separate confiscation of 9 million methamphetamine pills and 300kg of crystal meth or “ice” in Chiang Mai. During the raid of the rented warehouse in Chiang Rai’s Chiang Saen district, caretaker Anusorn Pharino presented a document to the searching team of ONCB officers, police, navy officers and district administrators that the chemicals were stored there to be dispatched to a gold mine in Myanmar. On Monday, Provincial Police Region 5 chief Pol Lt-General Pulsap Prasertsak and his team would inspect this batch in detail, officers said. The ONCB would also check with Myanmar authorities for confirmation about import of the batch and if it were meant for use in a gold mine as claimed, officers said. A source at the ONCB claimed that although sodium cyanide can be used to extract gold, it could also be synthesised into the narcotic substrate called phenyl-2-propanone to make methamphetamine. The seized 48 tonnes of sodium cyanide could be used to produce 18 tonnes of the substrate – enough to make 1 billion methamphetamine pills, the source said. Monitoring of sodium cyanide was made more stringent after some Burmese factories legally ordered sodium cyanide from a third country but the products were suspiciously transported via Thailand [even though it is a farther entry point], said ONCB secretary-general Sirinya Sidthichai. Some 15 tonnes of sodium cyanide were seized in the Myanmar border town of Tachileik early this month and the Thai truck driver claimed he was hired to transport the batch – originally ordered from China – to a gold mine in Yangon. Sirinya made his comments while he was in Bangkok to announce a separate major drug bust. Sirinya told the press that 9 million methamphetamine pills and 300kg of “ice” had been confiscated in Chiang Mai’s Chiang Dao district. Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30347847 -- © Copyright The Nation 2018-06-16
  24. UK authorities release confiscated cannabis after boy hospitalised By Estelle Shirbon FILE PHOTO: Charlotte Caldwell, and her son Billy, leave the Home Office after a meeting with officials to discuss how Billy can have his severe epilepsy treated with cannabis oil, which is a banned substance in Britain, in London, June 11, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's interior minister used an exceptional power on Saturday to release medicinal cannabis oil that had been confiscated from an epileptic boy who was later hospitalised suffering from seizures. Full story: https://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/1043436-uk-authorities-release-confiscated-cannabis-after-boy-hospitalised/
  25. More celebrities report to police over Magic Skin scandal Six more celebrities reported to police yesterday to give testimonies on their reviews of Magic Skin cosmetics and weight loss products, bringing the number of celebrities summoned by police so far to 46. The deputy commissioner Pol Gen Veerachai Songmetta hinted after their testimonies that some might face charges for over exaggeration of some fake and substandard products. The latest group of six celebrities giving testimonies to Pol Gen Veerachai included Porshe Saran Sirilak, Sawika Chaidej, Waratthaya Nilkuha, Warittisa Limthammahisorn, Usamanee Waithayanont and Miss Universe Thailand 2017 Maria Poonlertlarp. Full story: http://englishnews.thaipbs.or.th/celebrities-report-police-magic-skin-scandal/ -- © Copyright Thai PBS 2018-06-16
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