Some 200 dugongs spotted in Andaman Sea
Bangkok - Ko Libong Animal
Sanctuary Chief, Chaiyapruek Weerawong, says the population of dugongs
offshore in Trang province can mostly be found at Ko Libong Animal
Sanctuary, specifically at Laem Ju Hoei and Ao Thung Chin, with about 180
dugongs taking to living around the sanctuary. Dugong communities are also
found at seagrass sources in Hat Chao Mai National Park.
The latest marine observation by air
this year confirmed there are no fewer than 200 dugongs living in the
Andaman Sea from Satun up to Krabi. Many mother and baby dugongs have been
spotted, and the birth rate of the dugongs has increased every year. Dugongs
are still in need of protection and conservation to raise their population,
and spare them being faced with extinction.
The dugong is a protected species
according to the Wild Animal Reservation and Protection Act BE 2562. They
are also protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) prohibiting all kinds of trade
except for research and reproduction.
DMS dismisses claim that microwaves more dangerous than atomic bombs
Bangkok - The Department of Medical Sciences (DMS)
says information indicating that microwave ovens are more dangerous than
atomic bombs is not true as the mechanism of operation to channel heat
energy directly to molecules inside food does not cause harmful radiation.
A rumor spread online suggested that the Japanese
government had decided to dispose of all microwave ovens in the country
before the end of this year because a research finding suggested they are
more dangerous than the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It
further went on to allege that all Japanese citizens not fulfilling the
requirement to dispose of their ovens would face a fine or imprisonment.
DMS Director General Ophas Karnkawinphong said the
Bureau of Radiation and Medical Devices has confirmed that microwave ovens
do not release any residual radiation and the rumor online is not true.
Those still interested in checking their microwave
ovens for safety can have them examined at the Bureau of Radiation and
Medical Devices at the Medical Science Centers throughout the country during
Public health official in Nan inspects cannabis oil’s side effects
Bangkok - A public health official in Nan
province yesterday inspected cannabis oil, which reportedly caused muscular
spasms and numbing in a user. Authorities have warned villagers about the
oil which might cause such side effects.
Thawat Sitthiyot, Phuphiang district’s public health
official, visited Baan Nong Rang village in Phuphiang district of Nan
province where a villager had used cannabis oil only to be sent to hospital.
He called on the village headman and villagers to beware of peddlers who
might offer illegal cannabis oil for sale. The oil is reported to sell for
as much as 2,500 baht a bottle.
The public health official said marijuana or cannabis
is currently considered an illegal drug which should not be used to cure
diseases. Villagers might be lured into buying cannabis oil only to lose
money and fall ill due to dangerous side effects.
According to the villagers, the illegal cannabis oil
had been offered by roving vendors on regular basis.
King Power wins Duty Free auction for three regional airports
Bangkok - King Power has won the bidding to run
duty-free shops in three regional airports, marking another victory for the
firm which previously won two licenses to operate duty-free shops and the
commercial zone at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) unsealed bid envelopes
this week for the duty-free operation at airports in Phuket, Chiang Mai and
Hat Yai. The three bidders were King Power Duty Free Co that won the
auction, followed by a Royal Orchid Hotel (Thailand) Plc joint venture, and
a consortium led by Bangkok Airways Plc.
The results of the three bids to run the duty-free
concessions will be submitted to the committee in charge of revenue
assessment on June 12 before being forwarded to the AoT board for
consideration on June 19.
Court sentences ex-PM Thaksin to prison over lottery program
Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is shown in this Friday, March 22, 2019 file
photo. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Kaweewit Kaewjinda and Pitcha
Bangkok (AP) — A court on
Thursday sentenced former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in absentia to
two years in prison over his handling of the state lottery program he
initiated while in office more than a decade ago.
His conviction by the Supreme Court's
Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions was for malfeasance,
for carrying out a policy judged to be in violation of the law or official
He was earlier sentenced in April to
three years' imprisonment for ordering Thailand's Export-Import Bank to make
a loan to Myanmar which was used to pay a satellite communications company
then controlled by him and his family.
It is not clear why this year's cases
were completed such a long time after the alleged offenses dating back over
The lottery case involved the
establishment in 2003 of an effort to mimic the illegal underground lottery,
a flexible game in which people could pick two- and three-digit numbers and
bet small amounts, compared with the official system of lottery tickets with
fixed numbers and fewer potential winning opportunities.
The illegal lottery is hugely popular,
and Thaksin's scheme was an attempt to steer some of the money that went to
it to government coffers instead.
The court found that Thaksin ignored
standard administrative practice in starting the new lottery, which was
discontinued when he was forced from office.
Thaksin, who maintains a home in Dubai
and travels frequently, could not be reached for comment but has
consistently denied any wrongdoing while in office and described the cases
against him as politically motivated.
Thailand's decades-old official lottery
has been dogged time and again by rigging and corruption scandals.
The court's ruling Thursday appeared to
claim that the lottery scheme initiated under Thaksin involved unacceptable
financial risk to the government.
Thai news reports said dozens of other
officials were previously tried and convicted for involvement, with some
senior figures given suspended prison terms.
Prime Minister has little to say about staying in power
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha smiles before a
meeting at government house in Bangkok, Thursday, June 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Sakchai
Bangkok (AP) —Prime Minister
Prayuth Chan-ocha stayed out of the spotlight Thursday, a day after he
skipped a Parliament session in which lawmakers voted to keep him in the job
he has held since the military coup in 2014.
He delivered little more than a brief
thank you through a spokesman and on his Facebook page, also promising to
carry out his duties to the best of his ability.
"He is in a kind of a strongman mold,
but now he has to be accountable, more scrutinized, so we can expect him to
lose some temper. We can expect him to be flustered, frustrated. But the big
question is whether the coalition government will hold," said Thitinan
Pongsudhirak, a professor of political science at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn
The junta will be dissolved when
Prayuth appoints his new Cabinet, and Article 44, which handed him lawmaking
powers without the need for approval from anyone, will expire with it, even
though the orders enacted under Article 44 will remain in force.
Thitinan expects Prayuth's will try to
stay above the fray and allow military-allied lawmakers to protect him, a
strategy other previous unelected military prime ministers employed. He said
that may prove a difficult task, given the size and determination of the
opposition bloc and the unwieldy nature of his own coalition.
"General Prayuth as head of it all will
have a big headache at a minimum, but beyond that, he also will face a kind
of scrutiny he hasn't seen in the last five years that may involve some very
sensitive issues," such as his personal assets, his relatives and
associates, Thitinan said.
Government returns over 300 million baht to fraud victims in China
Bangkok - Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu
Krea-ngam and AMLC Chairman Chaiya Siri-ampholkul have left for China to
return money illegally collected from Chinese fraud victims.
A high-level Chinese security official confirmed
receipt of a sum of 356 million baht in a bank savings account, which is to
be returned to a total of 33,928 victims in China. The Chinese authorities
thanked their Thai counterparts for having returned the money to foreign
Thai and Chinese authorities have discussed close
cooperation in efforts to crack down on transnational crimes, prevent and
suppress terrorism and raise the confidence in international judicial
Abhisit resigns as MP
Former Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva.
Bangkok - Former Democrat Party
leader Abhisit Vejjajiva has resigned as an MP because he said he could not
condone his party’s resolution to support Prayut Chan-o-cha as prime
Abhisit said his resignation as an MP
was necessary to maintain his stand against efforts to help the current
premier keep the top office of government. However, he said he respected the
party’s resolution adopted at Tuesday’s party meeting in support of Prayut.
Abhisit apologized to all supporters
who had voted for his party and for his decision to resign as an MP to keep
his word and personal honor. He said he has never compromised his ideologies
and principles. He declined to say whether he might also resign as a member
of the Democrat Party which he used to lead.
Parliament votes for Prayuth to stay on as PM
the parliament raise their hands approving the nomination of Prayuth Chan-ocha
as Thailand's Prime Minister during a session to vote for a new of Prime
Minister in Bangkok, Wednesday, June 5, 2019.(AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
Kaweewit Kaewjinda and Pitcha
Bangkok (AP) — Thailand's
Parliament elected 2014 coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha as prime minister in a
vote Wednesday that helps ensure the military's sustained dominance of
The Palang Pracharath party that
nominated Prayuth won the second-highest number of seats in the House of
Representatives in a general election in March. But his selection was
virtually assured because the prime minister is chosen in a joint vote of
the 500-seat House and the 250-seat Senate, whose members were appointed by
the government. Two House seats were vacant due to a suspension and
Prayuth was elected to serve a second
term by a vote of 500 to 244 over his opponent, Future Forward party leader
Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit. Prayuth's appointment becomes official when
it is endorsed by HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn.
"The people are still calling for
liberties. The people are still calling for justice," Thanathorn said after
the vote. "This is not the time to lose hope. Hope is still on our side.
Time is still on our side. I want to thank all 244 people who love democracy
for voting for me."
Prayuth made no immediate public
comment on the vote.
Wednesday's vote indicates that
Prayuth's coalition also has control — by a small margin — of the House,
necessary to pass laws and approve budgets.
But there are doubts that a government
led by Prayuth, used to governing by fiat, can fare well in a parliamentary
"General Prayuth's return to the
premiership has gone according to the ... junta's design. But managing a
coalition government and a Parliament with a sizable opposition is very
different from overseeing a military dictatorship," said Michael Montesano,
coordinator of the Thailand Studies Program at Singapore's ISEAS-Yusof Ishak
An open-ended parliamentary debate,
with the two sides touting the merits of their candidate and the weaknesses
of their opponent, pushed Wednesday's vote late into the night. The official
result was announced just before midnight.
During the debate, Palang Pracharath
lawmaker Koranis Ngamsukonrattana praised Prayuth for his character and his
"He's patient and sacrificed himself so
much for the country," he said. "He's the savior who came in and saved the
country when all hope was lost."
Thanathorn's supporters attacked
Prayuth as a destroyer of democracy.
"Coups are the ultimate crime against
the rule of democracy with the monarch as head of state," said Piyabutr
Saengkanokkul, secretary general of Thanathorn's Future Forward party. "It
rips apart the entire constitution and takes power to rule over the country
by establishing yourself as a 'sovereign' with the highest power."
UN agencies urge stronger efforts to stop illegal fishing
In this May
21, 2019, photo, staff monitor fishing vessels in real time at a
state-of-the-art surveillance center in Bangkok. (AP Photo/Elaine Kurtenbach)
Bangkok (AP) — Major United
Nations agencies are urging key fishing nations to join efforts to fight
illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
The U.N. Food and Agricultural
Organization and other groups made the call at a conference in Bangkok on
Wednesday focused on helping protect fisheries and those working in the
Thailand is the world's biggest
importer of tuna. It has one of the seven state-of-the-art centers in the
region monitoring fishing vessels in real time to help control access to
regional ports and curb illegal fishing.
The centers are helping enforce the
Port State Measures Agreement, which aims to help curb illegal, unreported
and unregulated — or IUU — fishing. Dozens of governments have joined but
U.N. officials are urging more to support the effort.
Illegal fishing costs countries in the
Asia-Pacific region some $5 billion a year; globally more than $20 billion.
And rogue fishing vessels often engage in other crimes such as piracy and
human and drug trafficking, abuses being fought along with the International
Labor Organization and International Organization for Migration.
Preventing such vessels from selling
illegal catches is the most vital element for stopping illegal fishing,
Adisorn Promthep, director-general of Thailand's Department of Fisheries,
said during a visit to the center in Bangkok.
"We also make certain that no IUU fish
or products come to Thailand and this is going to be a big help to work
against IUU," Adisorn said in an interview.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated
Press investigation in 2015-16 that uncovered severe rights abuses affecting
migrant workers in Thailand's fishing and seafood industries helped focus
attention on the problem. The stories helped free more than 2,000 enslaved
men from Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos, and led to more than a dozen
arrests, amended U.S. laws and lawsuits seeking redress.
The European Union in 2015 gave
Thailand a "yellow card" on its fishing exports, warning that it could face
a ban on EU sales if it didn't reform the industry. Thailand responded by
introducing new regulations and setting up the command center to fight
During a recent visit, about a dozen
staff in the surveillance center were keeping a round-the-clock watch on the
positions of fishing and other vessels to see if they were operating in
areas they were not authorized to fish in.
The system includes detailed online
records and photographs of each vessel, their crews, logs and other
information that is verified by officials at ports before the ships are
allowed to unload catches, refuel or restock.
The FAO estimates that almost a third
of global fish stocks are degraded from overfishing, and a further 60% are
"fully exploited." Illegal catches account for much of the overfishing, or
up to 26 million tons a year, at times nearly one-fifth of the total harvest
from the sea.
And while the systems are improving and
expanding, they are not failsafe. In some cases, small-scale fishers are
unfamiliar with territorial limits in traditional fishing areas, said Simon
J. Nicol, a senior fishery official at the FAO's Bangkok office.
Adisorn agreed that relatively recently
established boundaries and controls can be a problem for some fishermen,
especially artisanal, small boats. But having fishing vessels comply means a
"level playing field," he said.
Ultimately, Nicol said, the aim is not
just to combat illegal fishing, but to try to ensure sustainable use of
fisheries at a time of declining stocks of some species, such as the bluefin
tuna favored by sushi bars.
"We are on the right track," Nichol
Oil prices going down 0.3-0.6 baht
Bangkok - PTT Oil and Retail (PTTOR) Company
Limited and Bangchak Corporation Public Company Limited have announced their
latest oil price adjustment by decreasing sale pricing of all products at
0.6 baht per liter, except for E85 product which will be cheaper by 0.3 baht
per liter, effective from June 5.
The new adjustment will result in the lower fuel
pricing at petrol stations, with the adjusted pricing at stations in Bangkok
and neighboring provinces being at 35.16 baht per liter for Benzin 95, 27.75
baht/liter for Gasohol 95, 27.48 baht/liter for Gasohol 91, 24.74 baht/liter
for E20, 20.04 baht/liter for E85, 26.49 baht/liter for Diesel, 30.09
baht/liter for Diesel Premium, 25.49 baht/liter for Diesel B10, and 21.49
baht/liter for Diesel B20. These prices are exclusive of local taxes.
No rent for 1 year for fire-affected vendors at Chatuchak market
Bangkok - Police have continued to
investigate Sunday’s fire at Chatuchak market which may have been caused
by an electrical short circuit. A sum of 10,000 baht in compensation
payments will be provided to each of the affected vendors by Friday and
no rent will be collected from them for a year.
Bangkok Governor Asawin Khwanmuang inspected the
fire scene this week where tents are being set up for temporary use by
the 110 affected vendors. New stalls will be built in four phases and
construction won’t take longer than two-months.
Sunday’s fire was the most severe in Chatuchak
market in 30 years.