Thailand morning news for December 14

Thailand morning news for December 14

Thailand morning newsTham Luang cave rescuers named Time’s heroes of the year 2018
Rescue volunteers involved in the dramatic and complex rescue operation to extract 12 boys and their football coach trapped deep inside the Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district have been named among Time magazine’s heroes of the year 2018.
— Thai PBS World

Baht set to top 2018’s emerging-market list
The Thai currency has declined 0.3% to 32.672 against the dollar this year as of 1.11pm, the best performance among 22 major developing-economy currencies tracked by Bloomberg.
— Bangkok Post/ Bloomberg

Court fines mining firm B15m
The Loei Provincial Court yesterday ordered Tungkum, a gold mining company, to pay about 15 million baht in compensation to families affected by its mining activities.
— Bangkok Post

Prayut comes under blistering attack as political bans are lifted
PRIME MINISTER Prayut Chan-o-cha and his government yesterday came under attack from politicians taking advantage of the junta’s lifting of political restrictions on Tuesday.
— The Nation

Thailand dengue cases top 80,000, measles cases rise
Thai health officials report from Jan. 1 through Dec. 10, 80,065 dengue fever cases have been recorded from all 77 provinces. 107 fatalities have been reported.
— Outbreak News Today

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Companies in Thailand lose 73 days of productivity per employee each year due to health issues, study says
Organisations in Thailand are losing an average of 73 days of productive time per employee each year due to health-related absenteeism and employees who still work while ill, a survey by AIA Thailand has found.
— The Nation (annoying pop-ups)

FPO proposes debt test to screen welfare smartcard recipients
The Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) has floated the idea of adding debt burden to the criteria in screening recipients for the government’s welfare and subsidy scheme for the poor in an effort to weed out cheats.
— Bangkok Post

Pattaya police seize 200,000 meth pills
Police arrested an alleged 46-year-old drug runner along with 200,000 methamphetamine pills in Pattaya City, Chon Buri police chief Maj General Nanthachat Supamongkol told a press conference on Thursday.
— The Nation

‘Starving’ Poor Need Govt Help, Says Minister/Politician
Defending the military government’s handing out of 500-baht cash stipends to welfare card recipients, one of its ministers – who also helps lead a pro-junta political party – said Thursday that Thailand’s poorest are in dire need of help.
— Khaosod English

NLA passes labour bill aimed to increase severance pay and maternity leave
The National Legislative Assembly on Thursday passed amendments to the Labour Protection Act which will essentially increase severance pay for employees who have been working for their employers for 20 years upward.
— Thai PBS World

EC says welfare cash not a ruse for election
The Election Commission (EC) has leapt to the defence of the state welfare scheme for low-income earners, criticised as a populist policy and a thinly veiled attempt to support a pro-regime party’s campaign ahead of the Feb 24 poll.
— Bangkok Post

Upgrades to Thailand’s Easter Economic Corridor Help Drive Global Tech Innovation
The Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) announced a recently approved public-private partnership plan for Digital Park Thailand (EECD), one of the key components of the Thai Government’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) development initiative.
— PR Web (media release)

Leicester City players head to Thailand for owner‘s funeral
The footballers departed the UK soon after they beat Cardiff 1-0, their only goal dedicated to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha who many thought of as a father figure.
— Herdon Gazette

From Cave Divers to a Fearless Flier, Here Are the Heroes of 2018
The failure of any one of the plan’s delicately moving parts might have meant the difference between a miracle and a tragedy, but in the end enough went right.
— Time

Thailand and Lao PDR mark 50 years of electricity sharing
Thailand’s Minister of Energy, Siri Jirapongphan , has joined Laotian Minister of Energy and Mines Khammany Inthirath to lead officials from both countries in marking the 50th anniversary of the first high power line between Thailand and Lao PDR.

Opposition to Foreigners Threatens to Stall Medical Marijuana Legislation in Thailand
Thailand is set to become the first Asian country to legalese medical marijuana, but a battle is brewing between local and foreign firms over control of a potentially lucrative market.
— Chiang Rai Times

Chinese man ‘murders’ wife in Bt143m insurance scam
A Chinese man from Tianjin is alleged to have murdered his wife during a family vacation in Phuket after buying up more than 30 million yuan (US$4.3 million) in life insurance policies in her name.
— The Nation/ The Thaiger

Google launches Thai AI project to screen for diabetic eye disease
Google said on Thursday it had launched an artificial intelligence program in Thailand to screen for a diabetic eye disease which causes permanent blindness.
— Reuters

Thai PTTEP wins bids for petroleum concessions in Gulf of Thailand
Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production Pcl (PTTEP) has won bids for Bongkot and Erawan petroleum concessions in the Gulf of Thailand, Energy Minister Siri Jirapongphan said on Thursday.
— Reuters

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A gentle reminder for Thai army chief about his father’s coup
There is new hope that Thailand will have a general election next February, more than four years after the military staged a coup in May 2014.
— The Jakarta Post

A Southeast Asian Currency Is Set to Top 2018’s Emerging-Market List
Having a strong buffer in times of stress does pay off. Just look at the baht.
— Bloomberg

Chiang Mai Airport development plan to accommodate over 16 million passengers
Thailand’s Chiang Mai Airport is progressing with its development plan to reduce congestion and accommodate more than 16 million passengers per year in the future.

Government to ‘streamline’ health funds
The government is planning to revamp its medical welfare management system to ensure all citizens can benefit from existing healthcare funds, said the chairman of a sub-committee on pblic health reform.
— Bangkok Post

MFA: Thailand ready to assume ASEAN chairmanship
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed confidence in Thailand’s ability to lead the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN next year.

19 illegal Chinese workers nabbed in Samui
Security authorities on Thursday arrested 19 Chinese citizens illegally working at a construction site on Koh Samui.
— Bangkok Post

Chevron loses to Thai company for two prize Thailand gas fields
Chevron (CVX -0.7%) opens lower after the company loses the bidding to Thailand’s PTTEP for the rights to operate two blocks in the Gulf of Thailand containing the producing Erawan and Bongkot gas fields.
— Seeking Alpha

Scant few eligible for VAT return scheme
A meagre 360,000 of the 11.4 million recipients of the government’s welfare and subsidy scheme for the poor are entitled to value-added tax (VAT) payback in the first month after the tax incentive scheme started last month.
— Bangkok Post

The Thai military junta this week announced that the country’s long-awaited elections will be held on February 24, 2019 – but while the government has lifted a ban on political activity, political parties and analysts say the measures are not enough to ensure the process will be democratic.
— South China Morning Post

Firm warns of local critical infrastructure threats
Critical infrastructure (CI) attacks, data protection and mobile application vulnerability are high security threats in Thailand, says a global cybersecurity firm.
— Bangkok Post

Anti-junta film ‘Ten Years Thailand’ aims to fire political debate
With cat-like humans, soldiers infiltrating an art gallery and brainwashed cadets, dystopian “Ten Years Thailand” is the latest in a pan-Asian film series aiming to stir political debate that debuted in the kingdom Thursday.
— The Business Times

Thailand: Islamic Leader to Increase Age for Muslims to Marry
Thailand’s top Muslim leader is expected to raise the minimum age of marriage without parental consent from 15 to 17 – effective Friday – following an international outcry over the wedding of an 11-year-old girl in June, officials said Wednesday.
— Benar News

Is Prayut forcing the EC’s hand?
Reports have recently surfaced of a proposal by the Election Commission (EC) in Thailand, that ballots for the upcoming election only show the names and numbers of candidates without party logos.
— The Asean Post

AI trial shows promising diabetic retinopathy detection results
Thailand’s Rajavithi Hospital’s trial with Google’s advanced algorithm for detection of diabetic retinopathy in retinal fundus photographs has resulted in 20% more accuracy, and the technology will be implemented in two more pilot hospitals.

Thailand’s Chikungunya Outbreak Accelerates
Phuket Public Health Office (PPHO) Chief Tanit Sermkaew confirmed to The Phuket News on December 12, 2018, that government hospitals across Thailand had reported 47 confirmed Chikungunya virus cases during November.
— Precision Vaccinations

Bridge inequality gap or worse will follow
The latest annual Global Wealth Report by Credit Suisse (CS) ranked Thailand as one of the countries with the highest rates of economic inequality, stunning many people, including policymakers.
— Bangkok Post

Parents of Wild Boars Soccer Team Launch The Wild Boars Education Fund Online
Nearly six months after they were dramatically rescued from a flooded cave in northern Thailand, the Wild Boars soccer team has a message for the thousands of people who helped save them: “Thank you.”
— Chiang Rai Times

Student arrested for hosting profitable porn sites
Police have arrested a 17-year-old computer student in Bangkok for allegedly running creeper pornographic websites and social media accounts from which he allegedly made half a million baht in three months.
— Bangkok Post

Thailand to auction 2.6-GHz spectrum in 2H19
Thai telecoms regulator NBTC has revealed plans to hold a 2600-MHz spectrum auction in the second half of 2019 as part of efforts to facilitate the launch of 5G by 2020.

Li Zhanshu holds talks with Thailand’s head of parliament
China and Thailand on Wednesday vowed to enhance parliamentary exchanges and cooperation to contribute to bilateral relations.

Thailand set to legalise cannabis for medical use by May next year
The Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) of Thailand has said that cannabis for medical use in the country is expected to be legalised by May next year.
— Khmer Times

Thailand, Japan hold joint RCEP seminar
A seminar to promote cooperation toward finalizing a regional trade pact has been held in Bangkok.
— NHK World Japan

Thailand coach Rajevac given Asian Cup ultimatum
The fate of Thailand coach Milovan Rajevac will be decided at next month’s Asian Cup, said Football Association of Thailand (FAT) chief Somyot Poompanmoung yesterday.
— The New Paper

To infinity and beyond: Thai startup plans to jet tourists into space
Last December, Thailand-based communications technology company mu Space was the country’s first startup to land a satellite operator license.
— Southeast Asia Globe

Visa on Arrival for Georgians Traveling to Thailand
From February 2019, Visa on Arrival will be opened for Georgian citizens traveling to Thailand. This will enable Georgians to travel freely to Thailand, obtain a visa on arrival and stay within the area for up to 15 days.
— Georgia Today

Thailand: local heritage of ethnic people on display
Chiang Rai in northern Thailand is organising its 6th Amazing 10 Tribes of Mae Sai event to showcase the local heritage of its ethnic people.
— Vietnam Plus

Private hospitals in Thailand to list prices online to combat overpricing
Expats in Thailand are welcoming private hospital promises to publicise their prices for treatment and medicines.

PM to attend meeting with Lao PDR
The Prime Minister is ready to discuss seamless connections between Thailand and Lao PDR at the third unofficial Thai-Lao meeting taking place today and tomorrow (December 13-14).

Fish with sword-like beak kills sergeant in freak attack
The chief petty officer who bled to death after a fish cut his throat during training with the navy on Wednesday was the victim of a very rare attack by a ‘barred long tom’ fish.
— Bangkok Post

PM expresses concerns for farming sector, calls for national mobilization
Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has voiced his concerns for the agricultural sector while calling on the Thai public to mobilize national development.

TAT to step up tourism promotion projects in Prachuap Khiri Khan
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will accelerate the implementation of seven tourism promotion projects in Prachuap Khiri Khan province next year.

Min of Digital Economy introduces Pracharat internet program to Chanthaburi
Thailand’s Ministry of Digital Economy and Society is expanding the government’s Pracharat internet program to Chanthaburi to support the local economy.

Southern militants escape after gunfight in Narathiwat
Fighting between soldiers and eight armed militants has erupted on a remote mountain range in the southern province of Narathiwat in the Taway mountains.
— The Thaiger/ The Nation

Nakhon Si Thammarat to register Wat Phra Mahathat as UNESCO World Heritage Site
Thailand’s Nakhon Si Thammarat is preparing documents to register Wat Phra Mahathat as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Bueng Kan province adopts rubber latex in road construction
Rubber is the number two export goods from Thailand. According to the latest data, the latex industry occupies about 22 million rai of farmland in the Kingdom.
— NBT World (video)

Mature coconut, related products declared as controlled products
The government’s Central Committee on the Price of Goods and Services has declared mature coconut and related products as controlled products.

Irrigation Dept in Nakhon Si Thammarat boosts domestic rubber consumption
Thailand’s Royal Irrigation Department is using 100 tons of natural rubber in 15 road projects in Nakhon Si Thammarat, implementing the government’s policy to increase domestic demand for rubber and latex.

Statue of Tham Luang hero arrives in Chiang Rai, to be installed tomorrow
The statue of Ja Sam has already been transported to Chiang Rai province and will be installed at Tham Luang cave tomorrow afternoon.
— NBT World (video)

Warning against waves and winds in Gulf of Thailand
The South East Meteorological Center has issued a second warning of high winds and waves in the Gulf of Thailand, urging small boats to stay in port until December 16.

Dying to be beautiful: Illegal plastic surgery in Thailand
An underground cosmetics industry is flourishing in Thailand, fueled by demand from people who will do whatever it takes to be beautiful.

DDproperty expects a rush to avoid April charges
DDproperty, a Thai property portal, says demand for accommodation from millennials will continue to grow significantly.
— The Nation  (annoying pop-ups)

Thailand voted best MotoGP of 2018
Thailand has been voted the best MotoGP event of the 2018 season, during its first appearance on the grand prix calendar.
— Crash


Feature photo John Le Fevre

This week’s Thailand morning news feature photo acknowledges Thailand Constitution Day, December 10.


Find our previous morning news feature photos in the AEC News Today Morning News Feature Photos gallery where you will find a pictorial display of daily life throughout the Asean Economic Community (AEC).

Thailand morning news by AEC News Today is your one stop source for Thailand news on matters of governance and policies affecting Asean business communities. It is published M-F by AEC News Today: Governance, not government; policies not politics.


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John Le Fevre

Thailand editor at AEC News Today

John is an Australian national with more than 40 years experience as a journalist, photographer, videographer, and copy editor.

He has spent extensive periods of time working in Africa and throughout Southeast Asia, with stints in the Middle East, the USA, and England.

He has covered major world events including Operation Desert Shield/ Storm, the 1991 pillage in Zaire, the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the 1999 East Timor independence unrest, the 2004 Asian tsunami, and the 2009, 2010, and 2014 Bangkok political protests.

In 1995 he was a Walkley Award finalist, the highest awards in Australian journalism, for his coverage of the 1995 Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) Ebola outbreak.

Prior to AEC News Today he was the deputy editor and Thailand and Greater Mekong Sub-region editor for The Establishment Post, predecessor of Asean Today.

In the mid-80s and early 90s he owned JLF Promotions, the largest above and below the line marketing and PR firm servicing the high-technology industry in Australia. It was sold in 1995.

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