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  1. Armed deputy at Florida high school resigns after failing to engage shooter By Bernie Woodall A family sits around one of 17 crosses at a memorial for the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, February 16, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Reuters) - The armed sheriff's deputy assigned to the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed has resigned rather than face suspension after an internal investigation showed he failed to enter the school to confront the gunman during the attack, the county sheriff said on Thursday. Deputy Scott Peterson, who was on duty and in uniform as the resource officer posted at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was the only law enforcement officer present at the campus during the six-minute rampage last Wednesday, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said. Peterson's actions were caught on video during the massacre, which ranks as the second-deadliest shooting ever at a U.S. public school, carried out by a lone gunman wielding a semiautomatic AR-15-style assault rifle. “What I saw was a deputy arrive at the west side of Building 12, take up a position and he never went in,” Israel said, referring to the building on campus, popularly known as the "frehsman building," where authorities said the bulk of the shooting occurred. Israel said he would not release the video at this time and may never do so, “depending on the prosecution and criminal case” against Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old former student who is charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in the assault. Israel told reporters the shooting lasted six minutes, and that Peterson arrived at the freshman building about 90 seconds after the first shots were fired, then lingered outside for at least four minutes. Asked what the deputy should have done, Israel replied, "Went in, addressed the killer, killed the killer." The sheriff said he had decided on the basis of his findings to suspend Peterson, but the deputy resigned first. Israel said two other deputies were placed on restrictive administrative assignment, stemming from their response to numerous calls for service and reports received by the sheriff's department pertaining to Cruz during the past several years. (Reporting by Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale; writing by Steve Gorman; editing by Tom Brown) -- © Copyright Reuters 2018-02-23
  2. Tony Blair warns British voters: time is running out to stop Brexit folly By Guy Faulconbridge Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair delivers a keynote speech at a pro-Europe event in London, Britain, February 17, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville LONDON (Reuters) - Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Thursday warned voters that time was running out to reverse Brexit, a folly he said would torpedo Britain's remaining clout and be regretted for generations to come. More than a year and a half since the 2016 Brexit vote, the United Kingdom remains deeply divided over the planned EU exit that Prime Minister Theresa May says will take place on March 29, 2019. Both opponents and supporters of Brexit agree that the divorce is Britain's most significant geopolitical move since World War Two, though they cast vastly different futures for the $2.5 trillion UK economy and its relation with the world's biggest trading bloc. Blair, Labour prime minister from 1997 to 2007, said Britain would be poorer, weaker and warned that May had solved none of the problems over Northern Ireland's post-Brexit status. "We are making an error the contemporary world cannot understand and the generations of the future will not forgive," Blair said in an article published on his website on Thursday. "2018 will be the last chance to secure a say on whether the new relationship proposed with Europe is better than the existing one," Blair, 64, said. Leaving the European Union was once far-fetched: just over 15 years ago, British leaders such as Blair were arguing about when to join the euro, and talk of an EU exit was the reserve of sceptics on the fringes of both major parties. But the turmoil of the euro zone crisis, fears in Britain about immigration and a series of miscalculations by former Prime Minister David Cameron prompted the United Kingdom to vote 52 to 48 percent for Brexit in a June 2016 referendum. Blair has repeatedly called for reversing Brexit, echoing other opponents of Brexit such as French President Emmanuel Macron and billionaire investor George Soros, who have suggested that Britain could still change its mind. So far, opinion polls show little sign of a change of heart and it is unclear how Brexit could be stopped if both major political parties officially support the divorce. Half of Britons support a second vote on whether to leave the European Union and a majority think the government may be paying too much money to the EU to open the way to trade talks, according to an opinion poll published last month. Supporters of Brexit dismissed Blair and said he was undermining both the British negotiation and the will of the people. "Blair and his elitist gang are damaging our negotiating strength, thus damaging our national interest by their continuing efforts to undermine democracy," said Richard Tice, who helped found one of the two Leave campaign groups. "History will not forgive them," Tice told Reuters. Blair is unpopular in Britain for his decision to back then-U.S. President George W. Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq and the justification he used for going into a war that cost the deaths of 150,000 Iraqi civilians and 179 British soldiers. But he has become increasingly outspoken about Brexit. He implored his Labour Party, which is now led by socialist Jeremy Corbyn, to join the fight to stop Brexit. "Make Brexit the Tory Brexit. Make them own it 100 percent," Blair said. "If Labour continues to go along with Brexit and insists on leaving the Single Market, the handmaiden of Brexit will have been the timidity of Labour." (Editing by Robin Pomeroy) -- © Copyright Reuters 2018-01-04
  3. Daily Mail executive killed in Bangkok Manuela Ruiz/Linkedin A Colombian woman was killed instantly after being hit by a car while crossing a street in Bangkok on November 25th. Manuela Ruiz, 31, who lived in New York, worked for the DailyMail.com and had been travelling in Thailand with her friend during Thanksgiving. The Daily Mail reports how Manuela’s family, described as devout Christians, have already forgiven the 24 year old driver. There are few details about the incident but speaking to the Daily Mail, Manuela’s sister Daniela said: “We didn't want to press charges because we know that it's an accident. “There was no alcohol involved, she's just 24 and a student. But by local law, she's going to jail.” “She was very sad,' Daniela said added. 'She went to the police station, met my aunt and she asked for the forgiveness of the family. “We spoke with her on the phone and we said, "We know it was an accident and we forgive you. “It's a tragedy for all of us, including her.” Manuela’s distraught family said the accident “could have happened anywhere.” “It was her time,” they said. The Daily Mail reports that accident took place on the morning of November 25th. After taking cash out of an ATM was hit by a car while crossing the street and killed instantly. The female driver of the car is reportedly a student at Rangsit University and was identified by the Daily Mail as Ying Treenapongnukul. Ms Treenapongnukul reportedly asked for forgiveness in a post made on Facebook. “I ask to forgiveness for her. “Sorry for on that day and so sorry for everything . #RIP Miss. Manuela Ruiz Carvajal”. Manuela was described as “talented” and “smart”. DailyMail.com Publisher Martin Clarke said: “Everyone was extremely fond of Manuela who in her time here made a huge contribution to the business. “She was hard-working and talented and I have no doubt that she had a very exciting career ahead of her.” -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-11-30
  4. Demolished! Encroaching building torn down at Pattaya tourist site Picture INN Chonburi authorities have been successful in demanding that a popular Pattaya tourist site pull down a building encroaching on public land. Access around the coastal area of the "Ban Sakhawadee" will also be restored to the public. A dispute had arisen regarding tour buses using the area and this is now being settled. The facility - like a large palace with shops and restaurants - is owned by agriculturemogul Panya Chotitawan of the Saha Farm group. Picture INN Pictures on INN showed Chonburi building officials surveying the demolition of the offending structure and examining the coastal strip of road that has been under dispute. Source: INN -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2018-02-23
  5. U.S. gun lobby slams anti-gun 'elites' after Florida school massacre By Roberta Rampton and Makini Brice Protestors rally outside the Capitol urging Florida lawmakers to reform gun laws, in the wake of last week's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of the National Rifle Association lashed out at gun control advocates on Thursday, saying Democratic elites are politicizing the latest mass school shooting in the United States to try to erode constitutionally guaranteed gun rights. NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre echoed President Donald Trump's call to arm teachers to prevent school shootings, and weighed in on a long-running political and cultural divide over access to weapons that has been inflamed by last week's massacre at a Florida high school that killed 17 students and staff. "The elites don't care not one whit about America's school system and school children," LaPierre told a friendly audience of conservatives outside Washington. "Their goal is to eliminate the Second Amendment and our firearms freedoms so they can eradicate all individual freedoms." The U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms. At the White House, Trump told local and state school officials he had discussed his ideas to stem gun violence in schools with the NRA, the politically influential gun lobby that backed him in the 2016 campaign. He called the group "Great American Patriots." "There's a tremendous feeling that we want to get something done," he said. "The NRA wants to do the right thing." Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer condemned LaPierre's comments and said the NRA was "once again spewing pathetic, out of touch ideas, blaming everything but guns." The Feb. 14 rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida was the latest in a series of deadly shootings at U.S. schools and has spurred unprecedented youth-led protests in cities across the country. Many of the teenagers and their parents taking part have called for more curbs on guns. LaPierre, speaking at the annual gathering of the Conservative Political Action Conference, portrayed the NRA as the true protector of the country's schoolchildren and offered free training to those who want to bear arms to protect schools. "We must immediately harden our schools," he said. "Every day, young children are being dropped off at schools that are virtually wide open, soft targets for anyone bent on mass murder." It should not be easier to shoot up a school than a bank or a jewelry store, he added. The NRA set up a booth at the conference to sign up new members and recruit campaign field workers for the November mid-term elections in which Democrats are trying to take over control of Congress from Trump's fellow Republicans. ARMED TEACHERS "I'm strongly for concealed carry, strongly for arming the teachers like Trump said," said Nick Fuentes, 19, from Chicago, as he stood outside the booth. "Teachers who are adept at firearms should be armed." LaPierre attacked Democrats by name including Senators Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Christopher Murphy and also took a swipe at the FBI for failing to follow up on a tip about the alleged shooter in the Parkland massacre. The FBI has said it failed to act on the tip. Florida Governor Rick Scott also criticized the FBI for failing so far to provide details about why it did not respond to the tip. "Family members and loved ones of the victims deserve answers today," Scott said in a statement. Trump reiterated his idea, first raised on Wednesday during an emotional discussion with people affected by the shooting, to arm teachers, a notion raised by some politicians in the past but dismissed by critics as fraught with danger. "Anyone who pushes arming teachers doesn't understand teachers and doesn't understand our schools. Adding more guns to schools may create an illusion of safety, but in reality it would make our classrooms less safe," said Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers union. At an hourlong meeting on school safety with 10 state and local officials, Trump said armed teachers with an aptitude for guns would deter would-be shooters. "A gun-free zone to a killer, or somebody that wants to be a killer, that's like going in for the ice cream," Trump said. "They're not going to walk into a school if 20 percent of the teachers have guns." Trump repeated his support for tightening background checks for gun buyers, with an emphasis on mental health, and lifting the age limit to buy some kinds of guns. He also said he would push for an end to the sale of bump stocks, which allow rifles to shoot hundreds of rounds a minute. The White House said Trump does not want to ban sales of an entire class of firearms despite mounting pressure to put assault weapons such as the one used in the Florida shooting out of civilian reach. While gun laws vary widely by state, most federal gun control measures would require Congress to act. A 19-year-old former student at Stoneman Douglas, Nikolas Cruz, has been charged with carrying out the Parkland shooting. Authorities say he was armed with a semiautomatic AR-15 assault-style rifle that he had purchased legally last year. (Additional reporting by Alex Dubuzinskis in Los Angeles, Susan Heavey, Doina Chiacu in Washington; Writing by Doina Chiacu and John Whitesides; Editing by Frances Kerry and Will Dunham) -- © Copyright Reuters 2018-02-23
  6. Thai man with two beautiful wives goes viral, shares secret to happy marriage(s) By Coconuts Bangkok Photo: Warissara Poksrichan/ Facebook After photos of a Bangkok man who has two beautiful wives got attention in social media over the past week, the trio — and their nine children — have given numerous interviews sharing their secrets for having a happy marriage in Thailand. Photo: Warissara Poksrichan/ Facebook It all started when the second wife, Warissara Poksrichan, 32, posted photos of the three of them on Valentine’s Day that got 6,000 shares, “People are bragging about their husbands on Facebook. Well, my husband happens to have two wives!” “It’s been years and I’ve never changed my mind with you. The only thing that has changed is the size of our boobs, 600cc and 450cc. You love them,” Warissara joked about her and the other wife’s breast augmentation. Full story: https://coconuts.co/bangkok/news/thai-man-two-beautiful-wives-goes-viral-shares-secret-happy-marriages/ -- © Copyright Coconuts Bangkok 2018-02-22
  7. Japanese Begpackers: The virus is spreading as Asians get in on the act By Coconuts Bangkok Photos from police Facebook post. Yesterday, in a rural part of Isaan, something strange was spotted by by local police. Adding a new dimension to the ongoing debate about Westerners from developed countries begging in Southeast Asia to find their travels, was a pair of Asian begpackers in elephant pants and tourist tops hanging around by a roadside with signs, including one that said “No Money.” This is the first known viral reporting of Asian begpackers and they turned out to be from the wealthy nation of Japan. When caught, the two young men were all smiles, revealing that they were Japanese college students and posing for pictures with police, who offered them cold water and advice about safe travel. Full story: https://coconuts.co/bangkok/news/japanese-begpackers-virus-spreading-asians-get-act/ -- © Copyright Coconuts Bangkok 2018-02-23
  8. Phuket’s infrastructure needs addressing, says Minister of Tourism and Sports Eakkapop Thongtub Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat speaks during yesterday's meeting. Photo: PR Dept PHUKET: The island’s infrastructure is inadequate and needs addressing the Minister of Tourism and Sports said during a visit to the island yesterday. Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat was on the island yesterday (Feb 22) to discuss obstacles faced with the Andaman region’s tourism industry at a meeting held at the Beyond Resort Kata Hotel in Kata. Joining Mr Weerasak at the meeting were Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong, Minister of Tourism and Sports’ Permanent Secretary Pongpanu Svetarundra, President of the Phuket Chamber of Commerce Surachai Chaiwat and others. Full story: https://www.thephuketnews.com/phuket-infrastructure-needs-addressing-says-minister-of-tourism-and-sports-66074.php -- © Copyright Phuket News 2018-02-23
  9. Kanchanaburi police chief axed for alleged involvement in lottery scandal By Thai PBS Kanchanaburi police commander Pol Maj-Gen Sutthi Puangpikul has been ordered transferred to an inactive post at the operations centre of the Royal Police Office allegedly for his involvement in the 30-million baht lottery controversy. The abrupt transfer was ordered on Wednesday by Pol Gen Suchart Thiraswadi, the inspector-general. The order did not cite the reason for the transfer of the Kanchanaburi police chief, but it merely said it was necessary for police investigating the lottery controversy to be able to do their job smoothly to ensure justice to all involved. The transfer is permanent and Pol Maj-Gen Sutthi will, from now on, report directly to Pol Lt-Gen Suraphol Phinitchop, commissioner attached to the Royal Thai Police. Source: http://englishnews.thaipbs.or.th/kanchanaburi-police-chief-axed-alleged-involvement-lottery-scandal/ -- © Copyright Thai PBS 2018-02-22
  10. Pattaya moans: Nothing but rude Indians, Chinese and Arabs - "they treat the place like they own it" Picture: Sophon Cable As a Pattaya hotel association were upbeat over an increase in hotel bookings came a stream of racist comments that the tourists were not to the locals' liking. Posters on Facebook were moaning that all the tourists in the resort were either Indians, Chinese or Arabs - they don't spend much, cause trouble and have no manners, they spouted. The message was clear: Where are all the nice ones - like Americans - who spend cash and behave well!? Sophon Cable TV on Facebook quoted Sanpetch Supphabowonsathian, head of the Eastern Seaboard Hotel Association, as saying that the boat show week was a great success and advance bookings for this high season showed a 5-10% increase on last year. Though prices remained static due to oversupply it was positive news for the industry, he said. But this was met with scorn by Thai posters many of whom seemed to be operators at the resort. Nong Samnak said: "Yeh right...but it's only the Chinese". Precha Likit bemoaned the fact that it was just Indians and Chinese asking, Where are the Americans? "I Love You" clearly doesn't love the tourists much at their massage shop. They said: "Don't ask me about the Indians. I would prefer Russians any day but there aren't any". Anchalee Julakhot chipped in: "It is just Chinese groups. What's the use? They won't even buy a drink from you". While Lihi Kittyhili really turned on the guests to Pattaya: "It's just Chinese, Indians and Arabs. They have no manners and treat Pattaya like it's their own country". Source: Sophon Cable -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-11-27
  11. Jim Thompson was killed by Malay communists, sources say By Barry Broman Special to The Nation File photo One of the oldest unsolved mysteries in Asia has been solved – as recorded in a documentary film that premieres tomorrow in Bangkok On Easter Sunday in 1967, Jim Thompson went for an afternoon walk in the Cameron Highlands’ jungle-clad hills. The American, known as the “king of Thai silk”, was on vacation in Malaysia with friends at the Moonlight Cottage, a colonial-period villa in the old British hill station north of Kuala Lumpur. Something happened during his walk. Thompson was never seen again. His disappearance has been a mystery for half a century. A huge search turned up nothing. No ransom or other note was found. Thompson had left his medications behind, which suggested foul play. Several books have been written about him, spawning an array of theories about his fate that range from tiger attack to a CIA plot. First breakthrough A breakthrough in the case was made in 2013 by my friend Xuwicha “Noi” Hiranpruek. He called and said, “I think I may have solved the mystery”. Noi recounted a discussion he had with a Singaporean friend, Teo Pin, who told him the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) had killed Thompson during his visit to the Cameron Highlands. This was a new theory. How did Teo Pin know this? It was a deathbed confession of his uncle, Teo Pok Hwa, who had been a senior CPM cadre for decades fighting against the British and, later, the Malaysians. I met Teo Pin in Singapore. He was a pleasant, soft-spoken fellow, but reticent to speak about Thompson’s demise to a stranger. I told Teo Pin his information could be very important in explaining Thompson’s death and asked for details. He said his uncle Teo Pok Hwa told him that when Thompson arrived in the Cameron Highlands he asked to be put in contact with Chin Peng, the secretary general of the CPM and then the most wanted man in Malaysia. Teo Pin said asking to contact Chin Peng aroused immediate suspicion in the Camerons, a longtime stronghold of the CPM. The Moonlight Cottage, where Thompson was a guest, had at one time been a local headquarters of the CPM. Staff members were CPM sympathisers at the time he stayed there. 1967 was a bad time for an ageing American with a background in intelligence gathering to seek out the most wanted man in Malaysia. The communist struggle was not over. A second “Emergency” began a year later and did not end until the Malay communists surrendered in 1989. Thompson was put under surveillance while the CPM checked his background. They learned that the American had been an intelligence officer during World War II. He was suspected of being a spy. At the time, communication was difficult for the CPM. They lacked radios and relied on couriers to carry messages among disparate groups around Malaysia and their border headquarters in Betong, Thailand. Each CPM cell was pretty much on its own and handled security issues themselves. A decision was likely made locally, and Thompson killed during his Easter Day walk in 1967. The CPM made sure that no physical evidence was found. I told Teo Pin his information needed corroboration. Was there anyone who could confirm Teo Pok Hwa’s story? He said no. His uncle abandoned his wife and five children to fight for the CPM and had been away for decades. I thanked Teo Pin and said we would continue to look for confirmation. More than a silk tycoon So, who was Jim Thompson? Much more than a silk merchant, for sure. He was a Princeton graduate from a prominent Delaware family who had served with distinction as an officer in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during World War Two. When the war in Europe ended in May 1945, a number of OSS “stars” were shifted to the China-Burma-India theatre of operations. Jim Thompson, now a major, was one of the officers selected. Journey to meet Pridi In Thailand, Thompson became friends with the liberal post-war prime minister Pridi Banomyong, who had served as a leader of the anti-Japanese resistance. Unlike some OSS colleagues who shifted to the CIA when it was founded in 1947, Thompson left government service and disagreed with American foreign policy after the war. He opposed the return of Western powers to their colonies in the region. But it did not affect his friendship with people with whom he had served. One example is Willis Bird Sr, a top OSS officer who had known Mao in China during the war, and who set up businesses in Thailand, including airlines and selling weapons to the Thai government. Thompson was loyal to old friends including Pridi, who was forced from office by a coup d’état by his old nemesis Plaek Phibunsongkhram. The search for Thompson’s killers suddenly came to life in spring this year, when Noi called me again. “I have a second source,” he said. Noi had approached his old friend Willis Bird Jr, known to his friends as Billy, for information on what happened to Thompson. Noi recalled, “Billy was quiet for two or three minutes... and said ‘Can I tell you something that I have never spoken to anyone about for 50 years?’ He then told me about a conversation between his father and Jim Thompson.” Both Willis Bird Sr and his friend Thompson were close to Pridi when he was prime minister in 1946. Willis told Thompson in 1966 that Pridi – who was then in exile in China – wanted Willis to come to see him. Willis thought it a bad idea. The US and Thailand were heavily involved in the Vietnam War and Laos, and Willis wanted nothing to do with Pridi, who was seen as a communist sympathiser. Thompson was loyal to the deposed Thai leader and said he would make the hazardous journey instead. The first leg of the journey would be the Easter trip to the Cameron Highlands. Willis Sr said the Communist Party of Malaya must have killed Thompson, possibly at the behest of the Communist Party of China. Noi saw Teo Pin come to the same conclusion, because of the deathbed conversation with his uncle. Willis Bird Sr had told his son the CPM had killed Thompson while he was in Malaysia where Willis thought Thompson was trying to arrange further transport to meet Pridi. My next move was to contact Neil Hollander, my partner at Adventure Film Productions. Neil and I have made about a dozen films in Thailand and Myanmar, including four for the Jim Thompson Foundation (he was director, me producer). With editor Adam J Goldstein from New York, we shot and edited a 43-minute film in Thailand and Malaysia – interviewing Xuwicha, Teo Pin and Willis Bird Jr. Jim Thompson was an unwilling participant and an unlucky victim of the power struggle that gripped Southeast Asia after WWII. Xuwicha Hiranpruek found two sources of information which provided key pieces that helped solve the mystery of Jim’s untimely death. Teo Pin identified the group that killed Jim and Billy Bird provided the reason why Jim tried to visit Pridi Banomyong via the Cameron Highlands. But questions still remain. Why did Thompson ask to see Chin Peng, the CPM leader? The move was bound to arouse suspicion and put his life in danger. It is ironic that Thompson, a man who had forsaken a life of clandestine adventure and turned his back on politics should be lured back into “the game” to help an old friend. His past called him back and on Easter Sunday 1967 on a jungle path not far from the Moonlight Cottage, now known as Jim Thompson Cottage, he paid the ultimate price. The film will be shown in Bangkok for the first time at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand tomorrow. Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/opinion/30333184 -- © Copyright The Nation 2017-12-05
  12. Ten injured in two-pickup collision in Ubon Ratchathani By The Nation Ten people were injured when a family pickup truck was hit in the rear by another pickup carrying workers on an Ubon Ratchathani road on Thursday night. Police said the accident happened at 7pm on the Warin Chamrab-Pibul Mangsahan road in Ban Thai Thaworn village in Tambon Thachang of Sawang Wirawong district. Police said the pickup driven by Chaiwichit Chanthimas, 42, was hit in the rear, sending it spinning and heading in the opposite direction to its initial trajectory. Chaiwichit, his wife and three-year-old son were injured. The other pickup was driven by Anuwat Samrarnruen, 29. He was injured and stuck behind the wheel following the accident. Six of the eight workers being transported were injured. Police said Anuwat did not see that Chaiwichit's pickup had stopped ahead of him as it waited to make a U-turn. He crashed into the truck at full speed. Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/breakingnews/30339516 -- © Copyright The Nation 2018-02-23
  13. Thai sex industry now worth 260 billion baht, say Thai media Picture: Sanook Money Thai media has claimed that the country's sex industry is probably worth 260 billion baht. Sanook Money were speculating about the country's infamous sex businesses after the raid on the Victoria Secret massage parlor in Bangkok became the latest news to put the issue of pay for sex in the public spotlight. Sanook went back ten years to 2007 when famous ex soapy massage boss Chuwit Kamolvisit came up with figures for the number of sex workers, average wages for sex workers and percentage of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) garnered by the sex industry. Chuwit, who ran for political office before being jailed for corruption, later became a well-known TV host. He reckoned that the sex industry was worth 163 billion in 2007. Top of the tree for earning were Thai style traditional massage parlors, followed by beer bars, soapy massage, karaoke and other brothels. It was reckoned that the industry represented 2% of GDP. With GDP now at 13 trillion baht it could mean that the sex industry today is worth a staggering 260 billion baht, said Sanook. Source: Sanook Money -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2018-01-16
  14. A granny's tears of joy as "Kindest German in Thailand" continues charity mission! Picture: Sophon Cable A man who has been called the "Kindest German in Thailand" is now helping a destitute granny find a better life in Pattaya. Herr Reiner Abele along with his wife Ankhana and two other good Samaritans heard about the plight of 69 year old Bunreuan Phantaem. "Khun Yai Bunreuan" was living in a shack in an area of Bang Lamung before her son died four months ago. After that she moved out because she didn't feel safe with the drugged up youth in the area believing it was only a matter of time before they stole the money she made selling nuts to buy Ya Ba. Picture: Sophon Cable So she went to live in a rundown shack near the entrance to the delivery room at a local hospital. It is incredibly basic but at least she feels safe there. The problem is it is too far from the area where she once managed to scrape an existence. Herr Reiner - featured earlier this week giving alms to monks and distributing food to the homeless on Beach Road - heard about her abject plight and swung into action with two local pals. Picture: Sophon Cable Yesterday he went to see her with Worachet Empia who is also known as Chet Smile Buffalo. Completing the charity party was Jaroonsak Roopkhamdee a local historian better known as Lung Too. Khun Yai Bunreuan greeted them with smiles and a heartfelt wai as the men pledged to do their best to help gran. Chet Smile Buffalo gave her some money and dried foodstuffs to tide her over while Lung Too promised to follow up on her case and keep the help coming. While Herr Reiner promised to find her a new place to live near where she used to be so she wouldn't have to walk too far. He also pledged to help her with the rent, help her enjoy a better standard of living and make representations to secure assistance from the local authority. Khun Yai thanked all concerned with tears in her eyes, reported Sophon Cable TV on Facebook as posters gave their own thanks on behalf of the old lady. Source: Sophon Cable -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2018-02-22
  15. Using Maslows Hierarchy of Needs to Ascertain Why Some Expats Fail in Thailand By Dan Cheeseman It is well documented that for many foreigners whom come to live in Thailand that it ends up going horribly wrong. An expats life in Thailand needs some good initial discipline and awareness. Failed relationships with Thai partners, losing all their money, horrible accidents (such as on a motorbike) and/or becoming alcoholics. Now I am writing this just as debate, rhetoric and general interest; just one mans observations on what could be going on here, and I wondered if applying Maslows hierarchy of needs to this could shed some light on why it goes so horribly wrong for some expats. If we look at the basic needs, then it is quite straight forward – finding a place to rent or buy to live in Thailand, just as you would anywhere else in the world. I think where it all starts to go wrong is in our psychological needs. It is very easy to get in with the wrong crowd, you know the type, the ones that do nothing more than drink beer everyday or the guys that are always skint. Maybe you start lending some money here and there, it will never end well in most cases. The need to feel like you belong is perhaps more stronger when you are outside of your domestic country too. It would be easy to argue people try far to hard to fit in and fit in with whomever will allow them when in Thailand. People who would never be your friends in your own country can become friends too easily when in Thailand. I discussed the subject of friendship with many expats in Pattaya and most freely accepted they do not consider their friends here close friends like they had back home. They said making friends was actually quite difficult and more over the in order to make friends they would need to drink in a bar. This of course means drinking, and if not careful, a daily habit forms in order to have friends. Full story: http://danaboutthailand.com/2018/02/21/using-maslows-hierarchy-needs-ascertain-expats-succeed-others-fail/
  16. Nothing to see here! Central officials forbid tourists taking photos as smoke engulfs restaurant video screenshot We Love Pattaya on Facebook reported that Central staff ordered tourists to stop taking pictures of an incident that happened at a BBQ restaurant. Smoke came out of the AKA restaurant as patrons left in a hurry and visitors started using their phones to record what was happening. The Thai news media said that Central were determined to keep the news under wraps - like incidents when a tourist fell at the store and when a staff member suffocated, said We Love Pattaya without giving any further detail on those matters. Also the incident was not even reported to the local police or the fire department. Central staff helped AKA employees remove equipment from the restaurant and erect canvas strips to prevent anyone peering inside. AKA issued a statement that said an investigation was underway but they initially said the problem was caused when spits from a very fatty piece of beef caught fire. They tried to assure the public of safety at their restaurant. The incident happened around 3.20 pm on Wednesday afternoon. Thaivisa notes that incidents at places like Central commonly do not feature the name of the store though most people can guess quite easily from the details in reports. Source: We Love Pattaya -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2018-02-22
  17. Dramatic video shows Pattaya tour bus write off 18 motorcycles video screenshot The moment a Pattaya tour bus smashes into a row of parked motorcycles and cars has been caught on camera. The crash took place on Thursday at Pratumnak Soi 4 outside Co & Caffe. CCTV footage of the incident, which was shared on Facebook shows, the bus ploughing into the parked vehicles. According to a post on Facebook a total of 18 motorcycles were written off and 2 cars and a bicycle were also damaged. “It’s hell in Pattaya with hundreds and hundreds of poorly maintained polluting buses driven by morons pouring in every day”, read the caption which accompanied the video. Incredibly, no injuries have been reported. It’s not clear why the accident occurred, if the bus lost control, the brakes failed or for some other reason. -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2018-02-23
  18. Canada's Trudeau spurs criticism, raises eyebrows on India trip By Andrea Hopkins and Nidhi Verma Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his wife Sophie Gregoire, daughter Ella Grace and son Xavier pose for photographers during their visit to the holy Sikh shrine of Golden temple in Amritsar, India February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi OTTAWA/NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Canadian and Indian officials scrambled on Thursday to explain how a convicted Sikh extremist was invited to a New Delhi reception for Justin Trudeau, the latest misstep in the Canadian prime minister's bumpy eight-day trip to India. The tour has been overshadowed by suggestions of a lukewarm reception by the government and a series of photo ops featuring the Trudeau family in coordinated Indian attire that have raised eyebrows in both countries. The latest flashpoint, a swiftly cancelled invitation by the Canadian delegation to Jaspal Atwal -- convicted in 1986 of the attempted murder of an Indian politician visiting Canada -- came just days after Trudeau had assured his hosts he would not support anyone trying to revive a separatist movement in India. "The fact that an invitation, which was already extended to Mr. Atwal, has been withdrawn, it basically shows (Canada) have taken into account the concerns which we have," said Raveesh Kumar, a spokesman for India's Ministry of External Affairs. Atwal's invitation was withdrawn once his links to an organisation banned in India came to light. Trudeau told reporters on Thursday that a Canadian parliamentarian on the trip had taken responsibility for the mistake. A largely unrecognized figure in India, Atwal was a trending topic on Twitter across the subcontinent on Thursday after images of him in the company of Trudeau's wife and other Canadian ministers surfaced online. The trip, partly aimed at shoring up support for Trudeau's Liberals among the politically important ethnic vote in key regions, has also been criticized for being light on official government business. Support from Canada's large and concentrated South Asian community helped Trudeau's Liberals gain power in 2015, and all three of Canada's main parties -- including the New Democratic Party, lead by Jagmeet Singh -- are courting the Indo-Canadian vote ahead of the 2019 election. "I don't know if Justin Trudeau thinks that international trade missions are reality TV shows, but they are not," Conservative party leader Andrew Scheer, Trudeau's main opponent, told Reuters. Trudeau on Tuesday cited C$1 billion in deals between Canadian and Indian companies announced in Mumbai, and said the trip was "not just about political ties" but improving business and cultural ties. The Atwal controversy came as the Trudeau family's ornate traditional Indian attire raised eyebrows, with the prime minister at one point donning formal wear typically worn by bridegrooms. "FYI we Indians don't dress like this every day sir, not even in Bollywood," tweeted Indian politician Omar Abdullah. Earlier this week, Trudeau rejected suggestions that he had been snubbed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Modi tweeted a welcome to Trudeau late on Thursday, on the eve of a bilateral meeting between the two, six days after the Canadian leader arrived in the country, adding: "I hope PM @JustinTrudeau and his family had a very enjoyable stay so far." (Additional reporting by Euan Rocha in Mumbai and David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Editing by Sandra Maler) -- © Copyright Reuters 2018-02-23
  19. Survivors of Florida school shooting launch gun control push By Katanga Johnson Sen. Bobby Powell, D-Riviera Beach, looks on his computer at gun control bills moving through the Senate as he talks with students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and those that support their cause, following last week's mass shooting on their campus, in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley PARKLAND, Fla. (Reuters) - Dozens of students and parents from the Florida high school where 17 teens and staff members died in a shooting rampage boarded buses on Tuesday for a trip to the state capital Tallahassee to push for a ban on assault rifles. Last week's massacre, the second-deadliest shooting at a public school in U.S. history, has inflamed a national debate about gun rights and prompted teens from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and across the United States to demand legislative action. The incident has galvanized advocates for stricter gun controls, including many survivors of the shooting. "I am not going back to school until lawmakers, and the president, change this law," said Tyra Hemans, a 19-year-old senior, referring to Florida's law permitting the sale of assault rifles. "Three people I looked to for advice and courage are gone but never forgotten, and for them, I am going to our state capital to tell lawmakers we are tired and exhausted of stupid gun laws." Fourteen students and three educators were killed in the Feb. 14 attack at the school in Parkland, near Fort Lauderdale. Authorities have charged Nikolas Cruz, 19, with 17 counts of premeditated murder for allegedly returning to the school from which he had been expelled and opening fire with a semiautomatic AR-15 assault rifle. The youth-led protest movement that erupted within hours of the shooting attracted a prominent celebrity supporter on Tuesday when actor George Clooney and his wife Amal, a human rights lawyer, said they would donate $500,000 to help fund a planned March 24 gun control march in Washington. A Washington Post/ABC News opinion poll released on Tuesday showed 77 percent of Americans believe the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress is not doing enough to prevent mass shootings, with 62 percent saying President Donald Trump, also a Republican, has not done enough on that front. Trump said on Tuesday he had signed a memorandum directing the attorney general to draw up regulations banning devices that turn firearms into machine guns, like the bump stock used in October's mass shooting in Las Vegas. MARCHES IN FLORIDA, TENNESSEE Students in states including Florida and Tennessee staged sympathy protests on Tuesday, according to local media reports. Miami's WTVJ-TV showed video of about 1,000 teens and adults marching from a high school in Boca Raton to the site of the Parkland shooting, about 12 miles (19 km) to the west. Florida's Republican-controlled legislature has taken up at least two bills during its current session intended to provide broader access to guns. On Tuesday the state House turned down an attempt to bring up a bill that would block sales of assault rifles, News Service Florida reported. State Senator Bill Galvano, the chamber's next president, called for a bill to limit sales of assault rifles to people at least 21 years old, with some exceptions, up from the current minimum age of 18. The legislature's current session ends on March 9, leaving little time for a vote. Current U.S. high school students were born after the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado in which a pair of teen gunmen killed 13 people. There have been numerous mass shootings, not just in schools, since then in the United States, and students in this age group have grown up in an environment where they regularly train for the possibility of being targeted by a shooter on the loose in school. Gun ownership is protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and remains one of the nation's more divisive issues. The Washington Post/ABC News poll found that fewer than seven in 10 Republicans support the idea of a ban on assault weapons, the reverse of Democrats, 71 percent of whom support it. A federal ban on assault weapons, in force for 10 years, expired in 2004. Funerals continued for the young victims of Wednesday's attack. The U.S. Military Academy at West Point on Tuesday said it made a rare posthumous letter of acceptance to Peter Wang, a student of the school killed in the shooting. A Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet, Wang had aspired to attend the elite academy. (Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton in Washington and Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and James Dalgleish) -- © Copyright Reuters 2018-02-21
  20. Billy Graham, preacher to millions, adviser to U.S. presidents, dies at 99 By Bill Trott FILE PHOTO: Evangelist Billy Graham speaks at the dedication of the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. May 31, 2007. REUTERS/Robert Padgett/File Photo (Reuters) - U.S. evangelist Billy Graham, who counseled presidents and preached to millions across the world from his native North Carolina to communist North Korea during his 70 years in the pulpit, died on Wednesday at the age of 99, a spokesman said. Graham died at 8 a.m. EST (1300 GMT) at his home in Montreat, North Carolina, according to Jeremy Blume, a spokesman for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. According to his ministry, he preached Christianity to more people than anyone else in history, reaching hundreds of millions of people either in person or via TV and satellite links. Graham became the de facto White House chaplain to several U.S. presidents, most famously Richard Nixon. He also met with scores of world leaders and was the first noted evangelist to take his message behind the Iron Curtain. "He was probably the dominant religious leader of his era," said William Martin, author of "A Prophet With Honor: The Billy Graham Story." "No more than one or two popes, perhaps one or two other people, came close to what he achieved." Graham found himself at times in controversy over his disapproving stand on gay rights, as well as a over a secretly recorded conversation with Nixon in which the cleric complained that Jews had too much influence on the U.S. media. In the later years of his career he intentionally muted his political beliefs to focus on the Gospel. Graham was no longer a close associate of presidents in recent years but many former U.S. leaders paid tribute on Wednesday. President Donald Trump said on Twitter: "The GREAT Billy Graham is dead. There was nobody like him! He will be missed by Christians and all religions. A very special man." In a rare trip away from his home in his later years, Graham had celebrated his 95th birthday on Nov. 7, 2013, at a hotel in Asheville, North Carolina, where some 800 guests, including Trump, business magnate Rupert Murdoch and television hostess Kathie Lee Gifford paid tribute. The event featured a video of a sermon that his son Franklin said was Graham's last message to the nation.Graham had been working for a year on the video, which was aired on Fox News. In it, he said America was "in great need of a spiritual awakening." With his steely features and piercing blue eyes, Graham was a powerful figure when he preached in his prime, roaming the stage and hoisting a Bible as he declared Jesus Christ to be the only solution to humanity's problems. In his heyday Graham had a thunderous, quick-burst speaking style that earned him the nickname "God's Machine Gun." Through his "Crusades for Christ," Graham sowed fields of devotion across the American heartland that would become fertile ground for the growth of the religious right's conservative political movement. MEDIA MASTERY His influence was fueled by an organization that carefully planned his religious campaigns, putting on international conferences and training seminars for evangelical leaders, Martin said. Graham's mastery of the media was ground-breaking. In addition to radio and publishing, he used telephone lines, television and satellites to deliver his message to homes, churches and theaters around the world. Some 77 million saw him preach in person while nearly 215 million more watched his crusades on television or through satellite link-ups, a Graham spokeswoman said. Graham started meeting with presidents during the tenure of Harry Truman. He played golf with Gerald Ford, skinny-dipped in the White House pool with Lyndon Johnson, vacationed with George H.W. Bush and spent the night in the White House on Nixon's first day in office. George W. Bush gave Graham credit for helping him rediscover his faith and in 2010, when it was difficult for Graham to travel, Barack Obama made the trip to the preacher's log cabin home in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains. Graham's ties to the White House were mutually beneficial. His reputation was enhanced as preacher to the presidents, while the politicians boosted their standing with religiously inclined voters. "Their personal lives - some of them - were difficult," Graham, a registered Democrat, told Time magazine in 2007 of his political acquaintances. "But I loved them all. I admired them all. I knew that they had burdens beyond anything I could ever know or understand." Graham's reputation took a hit because of Nixon after the release of 1972 White House tapes in which the two were heard making anti-Semitic comments. Graham later said he did not remember the conversation and apologized. In the early half of his career, Graham often spoke his mind on social and political issues of the day, including his strong anti-communist sentiments. He dismissed Vietnam War protesters as attention-seekers and, while he eventually refused to hold segregated revival meetings, he did not take an active role in the 1960s civil rights movement. But Graham's politics were not as overt as those of some religious leaders who came after him, such as Pat Robertson, who ran for president in 1988, and Jerry Falwell, co-founder of the Moral Majority, an organization whose purpose was to promote Christian-oriented politics. As he grew older, Graham said he felt he had become too involved in some issues and shifted to a middle-of-the-road position in order to reach more people. He did, however, dive into the gay marriage issue in 2012 when he came out in support of a state amendment to ban same-sex marriages in North Carolina. He also met with Republican Mitt Romney in October 2012 and told him he supported Romney's run for the presidency. FROM FARM TO PULPIT William Franklin Graham was born on Nov. 7, 1918, into a Presbyterian family and was known as Billy Frank while growing up on a farm near Charlotte, North Carolina. As a teenager, he said he was mostly preoccupied with baseball and girls until he was moved by God after hearing a fiery revivalist in Charlotte. After attending Bob Jones College, Graham ended up at a Bible school in Florida, where he would preach at his first revival, and was ordained in 1939 by a church in the Southern Baptist Convention. He received a scholarship to Wheaton College near Chicago, where he met Ruth Bell, whose parents were missionaries in China. They married in 1943. Rather than work from a home church, Graham went on the road, preaching in tents and building a following. His breakthrough came with a 1949 Los Angeles tent crusade that was scheduled for three weeks but extended to eight because of the overflow crowds he attracted. The success of the Los Angeles campaign and the fame it brought Graham was attributed to media magnate William Randolph Hearst, who had liked Graham's style and anti-communist stance so much that he ordered his newspapers to give Graham a boost. Graham eventually outgrew tent revivals and would preach at some of the most famous venues in the world, such as Yankee Stadium and Madison Square Garden in New York and London's Wembley Stadium. He delivered sermons around the globe, including in remote African villages, China, North Korea, the Soviet Union, East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. Liberals accused him of giving credibility to abusive governments while fundamentalist Christians criticized him for going to godless countries and promoting peaceful relations with them. Graham said he simply saw the trips as apolitical opportunities to win souls for Christ. Graham concluded his career of religious campaigns in June 2005 in New York with a three-day stand that attracted more than 230,000 people, his organization said. He turned over his evangelical association to his son Franklin, who did not shy away from politics and frequently praised Trump once he became president. Graham's other four children were also evangelists. REPUTATION Graham managed to maintain his public integrity even as other TV star evangelists such as Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart were hit in the 1980s by financial and sex scandals. To keep his reputation pristine, Graham had a policy of never being alone with any woman other than Ruth. Graham's closest presidential relationship was with Nixon, who offered him any government job he wanted - including ambassador to Israel. It turned out to be a painful relationship for Graham, who said Nixon and his circle misled him on the Watergate scandal. Nixon aide H.R. Haldeman first mentioned Graham's anti-Semitic remarks in a 1994 book, which Graham strongly denied. But when audio tapes from the Nixon White House were released in 2002, Graham could be heard referring to Jews as pornographers and agreeing with Nixon that the U.S. media was dominated by liberal Jews and could send the United States "down the drain." Graham, who had a long history of supporting Israel, apologized again after the tapes' release and said he had no recollection of the conversation. "If it wasn't on tape, I would not have believed it," Graham told Newsweek. "I guess I was trying to please. I felt so badly about myself - I couldn't believe it. I went to a meeting with Jewish leaders and I told them I would crawl to them to ask their forgiveness." The author of more than two dozen books with titles such as "How to Be Born Again," Graham also ran the weekly "Hour of Decision" radio program broadcast around the world on Sundays for more than 50 years. Graham helped bring religion into the television age. He first put together a television show, which was eventually syndicated, in 1951 and began live broadcasts of his revival meetings in 1957 from New York's Madison Square Garden. In a 2011 Fox News interview, Graham was asked what he would do differently in his career. "I would study more. I would pray more, travel less, take less speaking engagements," he said. "I took too many of them in too many places around the world. If I had it to do over again I'd spend more time in meditation and prayer and just telling the Lord how much I love him." In addition to suffering with Parkinson's disease for many years, Graham's health problems in his later years included a broken hip, a broken pelvis, prostate cancer and installation of a shunt in his brain to control excess fluid. He was hospitalized in 2011, 2012 and 2013 for respiratory problems. Graham and his wife, Ruth, who died June 14, 2007, had two sons and three daughters. Graham's life, in pictures - http://reut.rs/2HBz9p8 (Reporting by Ed Stoddard and Bill Trott; Writing by Bill Trott; Editing by Diane Craft and Frances Kerry) -- © Copyright Reuters 2018-02-22
  21. OPINION What we learn from the Bt30-million lottery frenzy By Tulsathit Taptim The Naton There are times when writers are truly fearful that everything they write will be shrugged off by readers who "knew it all already", and this is one of them. The case of two men claiming ownership of a set of lottery tickets that won the first prize late last year has become nothing short of a national obsession. On the one hand, I think I should write something; on the other hand, what should I add to one of the most comprehensive analytical discussions in the modern Thai history? I guess I will spew out a stream of unconscious thoughts then. Here's what has come to my mind as the Bt30 million lottery fervour unfolds: 1) The culprits would have beaten our ancestors fair and square. What would the investigators of an older generation do? Their present-day counterparts have all the helps of technology. DNA or fingerprint traces on the tickets are achievable, and past conversations are retrievable. In the past, verbal testimonies were the only strong evidence, meaning good lies could win you cases. 2) Lottery transcends ideologies. No "political colours" have come into play, for once. They have tried to penetrate rocker Toon Bodyslam's charity marathon but are standing no chance against the lottery case. It's refreshing to see that Thais can still be "neutral spectators" who make their judgement based on evidence, not on whether alleged culprits advocate "immediate democracy" or are Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's pompom dancers. 3) In this era, news will not only find you, but also will make you hungry for more. The controversy has made people tune into TV news programmes more than ever before. Those who missed live programmes go to YouTube to watch them, with every clip with the "Bt30 million lottery" title garnering hundreds of thousands of views, if not more. The lottery controversy has created star newscasters and led viewers to news programmes they had not even known existed, giving embattled digital TV stations a temporary reprieve. Don't bet against the whole fascinating saga becoming a movie or TV drama plot. I have never met a single person who follows the lottery story through one news outlet. Brand loyalty goes out the window as far as this type of whodunit news is concerned. For example, not everyone likes politician-turned-convict-turned-news commentator Chuwit Kamolvisit, but if you follow the 30 million lottery epic with a passion, you've got to watch his analyses. 4) Signed lottery tickets are a good idea, but ... . It has been a trend now for lottery buyers to sign their names on the tickets they bought. This is obviously to pre-empt ownership challenges later. However, what if you signed your name, give the ticket(s) to a friend as a gift and he or she happened to win millions? An easy solution would be to have a written agreement on the transfer, of course, but your signature wouldn't even have prevented someone from claiming you stole the ticket(s) and sign it later. A more effective measure is to pose with the ticket(s) along with that day's newspaper for a picture. Better still, have a freshly updated website page in the photo, too. It won't help you 100 per cent but it can facilitate the work of investigators down to the minutes. 5) Evidence that is "too perfect" can work against you. I had been a firm believer in watertight argument until I watched a news clip featuring a high-ranking legal official, who said that while "perfect evidence" is good nine times out of ten, those who look at it and have to be the judges have been trained to spot whether what they are looking at was overly cooked. He was commenting on evidence presented by both sides of the lottery dispute. Keep that in mind, especially if you become involved in a legal case. Many witnesses testifying for you is good, but there are also chances that they may contradict one another. 6) Last but not least, what we say on our mobile phone is not safe. One news media commentator seemed more interested in this matter than the 30-million-baht question of who actually won the first prize. "Are we being told what we say on the phone does not vaporise into thin air?" he said, in an almost panic mode. He may have some personal reasons to be concerned, but here's hoping all the human rights advocates are not too mesmerised as most Thais to look at the big picture. The guy and lady whose phone conversations were "retrieved" are ordinary citizens. That is extremely worrisome. What if you are, say, an anti-government leader? Of course, they say you have to sign your consent for your phone conversations to be retrieved, but the fact that they are always there to be retrieved is bone-chilling, isn't it? Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/opinion/30339344 -- © Copyright The Nation 2018-02-21
  22. Sudarat likely to lead Pheu Thai party By OLAN LERTRUDTANADUMRONGKUL THE NATION VETERAN POLITICIAN Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan remains favourite to become the Pheu Thai Party’s next leader, as the politically powerful Shinawatra family stand behind her. Sudarat is strongly favoured by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his ex-wife Khunying Pojaman Na Pombejra, who both retain considerable influence in the party despite having no executive positions. There have been no candidates from the Shinawatras to lead Pheu Thai after former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra fled the country to avoid imprisonment. Yingluck was sentenced to five years in jail in absentia for negligence in a case stemming from her government’s rice-pledging scheme. There have been efforts from different party factions to remove Sudarat as the favoured candidate to lead the party and therefore its prime ministerial candidate. Some Pheu Thai politicians recently met Thaksin in Beijing and Hong Kong to persuade him to change his mind. But Thaksin opted to be noncommittal and told them to wait for a decision by a majority vote of the party to select a new executive board. Sudarat has upset many party colleagues by the way she acted in running the party, despite the existence of a caretaker leader, while others are annoyed by her personality, another source said. To lessen pressure on Sudarat, the “Big Boss” Thaksin assigned his trusted man Pongsak Ruktapongpisal to take a greater role in managing the party. However, Pongsak is likely to act as Sudarat’s sidekick rather to lead the party himself, as had been rumoured. Thaksin recently met Pongsak personally in front of a handful of key Pheu Thai figures, according to sources. Pongsak, a wealthy businessman with no political ambitions, has kept a low profile in the party although he commands a lot of respect among its members. He is also known for his ability to broker agreements between conflicting factions. His main task now is to fix the growing cracks within the party, particularly over the next leader. Pheu Thai sources yesterday dismissed the rumour that Thaksin assigned Pongsak to lead the party. A Bangkok politician who is close to Sudarat said this could be an attempt by her opponents to undermine Sudarat’s chance of becoming the next party leader. “Such a rumour is not good for the party,” the source said. “It mainly depends on the Big Boss. He will choose who leads the party. People who disagree with his choice are just undercurrents.” Pongsak was “shocked” by the rumour as he had no ambition to lead the party, according to a source. He entered politics in 1987 as a co-founder of the now-defunct Progressive Party. Five years later the party became part of a new political alliance called the Solidarity Party, in which Pongsak served as a deputy leader. After Thaksin founded his first political party, Thai Rak Thai, in 2000, Pongsak became the party director. Pongsak served as industry minister in Thaksin’s government and later as energy minister in Yingluck’s government. Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/politics/30339328 -- © Copyright The Nation 2018-02-21
  23. Frenchman killed in motorcycle crash on Samui By The Nation Picture: Tnews/77Jowo A Frenchman who owned a few French restaurants on Kon Samui in Surat Thani was killed in a motorcycle crash Tuesday evening, police said. Oliver Aunay, 54, a French citizen, died in the accident on Thawee Ratphakdee road in Moo 1 in Tambon Mae Nam of Samui district at 6pm. Footage from a security camera showed that Aunay was riding his motorcycle when a motorcycle driven by a Thai man crossed the road, cutting his way. The clip showed Aunay trying to stop his motorcycle, but it fell over and slid on the road until the Frenchman’s head hit a step pedal on the other motorcycle. The other motorcyclist was identified as Pongpol Pinpat, 30. He claimed that he had already crossed the road halfway when Aunay's motorcycle sped towards him. Aunay's friend told police that he was returning home from a meeting at a law firm in Tambon Maret on Ban Lamai beach to negotiate the sale of one of his French restaurants to a German. Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/breakingnews/30338798 -- © Copyright The Nation 2018-02-14
  24. Campaign to help destitute and impoverished launched in Phuket Eakkapop Thongtub The Minister of Social Development and Human Security Gen Anantaporn Kanchanarat. Photo: MSDHS PHUKET: The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security (MSDHS) yesterday (Feb 22) launched a ‘Thai Society Cares for the Destitute and Impoverished’ campaign in an attempt to improve the country’s image and prevent human trafficking. The Minister of Social Development and Human Security Gen Anantaporn Kanchanarat officially launched the campaign at Patong Beach to raise awareness of the problem with homeless and beggars and provided guidelines for both Thais and foreigners in order to involve every agency to solve the problem. Joining Gen Anantaporn at the launch of the campaign were Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong, Patong Mayor Chalermluck Kebsup, the Phuket Provincial Police Commander Maj Gen Teeraphol Thipjaroen and others. Full story: https://www.thephuketnews.com/campaign-to-help-destitute-and-impoverished-launched-in-phuket-66077.php -- © Copyright Phuket News 2018-02-23
  25. Money pours in for Brit and Thai wife and child down on their luck in Buriram Money has poured in for a British man and his Thai family who are suffering in Buriram in Thailand's north east. Martin Anderson, 65, and his wife Thanyalak Sapanya were featured on a Facebook appeal on the page of Bhin Fanclub. The post said that Mr Anderson has been in Thailand for thirty years. He used to work in the Pattaya area in a variety of companies over the years. But in the last year he was not paid by a company for five months and now has no money at all. To compound matters he fell down and is now unable to walk and needs constant care from his wife. She herself is blind in one eye and comes from an impoverished family. They met ten years ago and have been together ever since. They have a child in P5 (fifth year of primary school) who is unable to attend classes now. The wife needs to do everything - including take care of her husband's toilet cleansing as he is unable to wipe himself. They got behind in the rent and are now obliged to live in a filthy shack with Thanyalak's mother. Bhin Banleurit said they were in a desperate situation. He has already handed over 25,000 baht and was hugged for his kindness. A plea was made for donations to the couple and their child and many posters in the initial swathe of reactions showed bank transfer slips showing they had transferred money. Some praised the couple for their love in the week of Valentine's. The story has been shared around 15,000 times tugging at the heartstrings of Thais. Those who might like to donate to the family can do so via SCB # 221 226 8739 in the name of Thanyalak Sapanya, the wife. The family live in Laharn Sai district of Buriram. Source Bhin.fanclub. -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2018-02-16
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