Thai cave boy divers explore new tunnel in Vietnam

Published April 10, 2019 by SoClaimon

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  • This handout photo tken on April 3, 2019 and released by Oxalis Adventure Tours on April 9, 2019 shows divers preparing their equipment during an expedition in Vietnam’s Son Doong cave.//AFP
  • This handout photo taken on April 3, 2019 and released by Oxalis Adventure Tours on April 9, 2019 shows a diver swimming underwater during an expedition in Vietnam’s Son Doong cave.//AFP

Thai cave boy divers explore new tunnel in Vietnam

ASEAN+ April 10, 2019 09:00

By AFP

Hanoi – Three divers who helped rescue a Thai football team last year have made a fresh discovery in Vietnam where they explored a tunnel that could expand the footprint of the world’s largest cave.

The team was invited to descend into a waterlogged pit in the Son Doong cave in central Vietnam that has never been explored and is believed to connect to nearby chambers.

They were forced back at 77 meters (252 feet) because they did not have enough oxygen to push further, but they think the tunnels could be 120 meters deep.

If the tunnel connects to another cave, it would make Son Doong “easily the largest cave in the world and it would never be overtaken,” British cave expert Howard Limbert, who helped organise the dive, said Tuesday at a press conference announcing the find.

The three divers — Rick Stanton, Jason Mallinson and Chris Jewell — were part of the daring rescue to save 12 Thai footballers and their coach who were trapped in a cave for eighteen days last year.

Stanton — who found the boys on a ledge — said the painstaking task of safely leading the group out of the tunnel alive helped to prepare for the mission in Vietnam.

“Our planning and preparation is without parallel,” he said.

The team plans to return to Vietnam next year to try to link the tunnel to another cave near Son Doong, which is so big that it has its own ecosystem and weather patterns.

The cave in central Quang Binh province was first found by a local forager in 1991, but was not re-discovered for another 19 years because its entrance was hidden by thick surrounding jungle.

Only 30 percent of Vietnam’s Phong Nha national park — where Son Doong and a network of adjacent caves are located — has so far been explored.

Son Doong is the world’s largest cave by volume, big enough to house a New York city block — including 40-storey skyscrapers — according to Oxalis, which runs tours into the caves.

Proposed plans to build a cable car in the area have sparked anger among the Vietnamese public who fear it will harm the area’s wildlife and pristine views.

An official said Tuesday there were no plans to move ahead with the project despite offers from several companies.

“That is only in theory, in truth, to build a cable car there is no such project yet,” the vice chairman of Quang Binh province Tran Thien Dung said Tuesday.

Vietnam’s tourism industry is booming among domestic and foreign travellers alike, but the communist country has come under fire for failing to preserve landscapes as it rapidly expands the sector.

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Air strike halts Libya flights as thousands flee clashes

Published April 10, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/asean-plus/30367401

  • This combination of pictures shows Libya’s UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar.//AFP
  • Cars drive past heavily damaged buildings in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi on April 8.//AFP

 Air strike halts Libya flights as thousands flee clashes

ASEAN+ April 09, 2019 13:39

Tripoli – Fighting raged around Tripoli and an air strike closed its only functioning airport Monday, as Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar defied international calls to halt his advance on the capital.

    Thousands were also reported by the United Nations to be fleeing the capital city in the face of Haftar’s surprise assault which has left dozens dead.

French President Emmanuel Macron held a telephone interview with Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord.

The internationally recognised GNA said Macron had spoken of his “total opposition to the offensive against the capital and the endangering of civilian lives”.

    The French presidency confirmed the call took place, without releasing details of the discussion.

The EU’s foreign policy chief added her voice to those urging Haftar to stop his offensive, after calls for restraint by the UN Security Council and the United States.

“I make a very strong appeal to Libyan leaders and in particular to Haftar to stop all military activities… and to return to the negotiation table”, Federica Mogherini said after talks with EU foreign ministers.

Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army claimed Monday’s air strike against Mitiga airport, east of the capital.

LNA spokesman Ahmad al-Mesmari said the strike targeted a MiG-23 military plane and a helicopter.

A security source at the airport said the strike hit a runway without causing casualties.

The UN’s envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame, denounced the strike.

“This attack constitutes a serious violation of international humanitarian law which prohibits attacks against civilian infrastructure,” Salame said.

A spokesman for national carrier Libyan Airlines said the civil aviation authority decided “to suspend aerial traffic until further notice”.

An airport source, who did want to be named, confirmed the suspension.

 

– ‘Immediate halt’ –

 

The oil-rich northern African country has been rocked by violent power struggles between an array of armed groups since the NATO-backed overthrow of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

Haftar, a former Kadhafi military chief, has emerged as a major player.

His LNA backs an administration in the country’s east in opposition to the UN-backed GNA.

Having seized control of much of eastern Libya — and buoyed by a series of victories in the desert south — Haftar turned his sights on Tripoli, vowing to “cleanse” it of “terrorists and mercenaries”.

After a pause overnight, fighting resumed Monday morning around the capital’s destroyed main airport, some 30 kilometres (18 miles) south of Tripoli, and the rural area of Wadi Rabi further east.

World powers have expressed alarm at the violence, saying it threatens to further destabilise Libya and derail UN-led efforts to find a political solution to the country’s woes.

The US has appealed for an “immediate halt” to combat operations and the UN Security Council has called on Haftar’s forces to stop their advance.

On Sunday Russia blocked proposals for the council to adopt a formal statement, instead insisting that all Libyan forces be urged to stop fighting, diplomats said.

Moscow is a key supporter of Haftar, along with Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

But the Kremlin on Monday urged “all sides to reject actions that could provoke bloodshed in battle and the deaths of civilians”.

Fierce clashes Sunday near Tripoli saw Haftar’s fighters and other powerful western Libyan armed groups exchanging fire including air strikes.

Forces backing the Tripoli-based GNA on Sunday announced a counteroffensive dubbed “Volcano of Anger”.

Spokesman Colonel Mohamed Gnounou said it was aimed at “purging all Libyan cities of aggressor and illegitimate forces”, in reference to Haftar’s fighters.

 

– Civil war fears –

 

Unity government health minister A’hmid Omar told Libya’s Al-Ahrar television station late Sunday that around 50 people had been wounded along with those killed.

His ministry on Monday put the death toll at 35.

Haftar’s forces have said 14 of their fighters have died.

The UN said on Monday that the fighting has displaced some 3,400 people, up from an earlier estimate of 2,800.

“Clashes with heavy weapons are affecting residential areas, and an unknown number of civilians are unable to flee these locations,”  UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York.

“We have no positive news to report on our call for a humanitarian truce.”

Haftar’s offensive has threatened to plunge the country into a full-blown civil war and once again thwart diplomatic efforts to find a solution to Libya’s woes.

It was launched just days ahead of a planned UN conference aimed at uniting Libya’s rivals and paving the way for elections.

The UN’s Salame has insisted the international community is “determined” to go ahead with the April 14-16 conference.

The UN mission in Libya said on Twitter that Salame met Monday with Sarraj in Tripoli to discuss how to “assist at this critical and difficult juncture”.

Britain’s May seeks Brexit delay from Merkel, Macron

Published April 10, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/asean-plus/30367400

In this file photo taken on December 11, 2018 German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) precedes British Prime Minister Theresa May after greeting her at the Chancellery in Berlin.//AFP
In this file photo taken on December 11, 2018 German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) precedes British Prime Minister Theresa May after greeting her at the Chancellery in Berlin.//AFP

 Britain’s May seeks Brexit delay from Merkel, Macron

ASEAN+ April 09, 2019 13:32

By AFP

London – British Prime Minister Theresa May meets the leaders of Germany and France on Tuesday in a last-gasp bid to keep her country from crashing out of the European Union later this week.

Her huddles with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin and French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris come on the eve of another tension-packed summit in Brussels focused on the fate of the 46-year-old partnership.

May asked EU leaders on Friday to delay Brexit until June 30 to give her time to strike a compromise with the opposition that lets Britain’s hung parliament back an orderly divorce plan on the fourth attempt.

But the 27 European leaders have already signed off on one extension — the original deadline was March 29 — and have serious doubts that May will somehow break through the political gridlock now.

    May’s predicament is complicated by growing EU fears that the chaos will soon carry political and economic costs even heavier than those potentially incurred in case of a messy “no-deal Brexit”.

This view is being promoted publicly by Macron and is also believed to be backed by Belgium and Spain.

“We’d need a strong political reason to delay,” a diplomat from this camp said.

EU Council president Donald Tusk’s office last week floated a compromise proposal that gives Britain a “flexible” extension of up to a year — which ends earlier should some way forward emerge in London.

But a diplomatic source insisted that this was “Mr. Tusk’s position, not the position of the Council”.

Merkel takes a more conciliatory approach backed by EU member Ireland — a crucial player whose politically sensitive border with Britain’s Northern Ireland is holding up May’s deal in parliament.

“I will do everything in order to prevent a no-deal Brexit,” Merkel said Friday.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

   – Paralysis and disarray –

The diplomatic disarray in Brussels is mirrored by political paralysis in London that has forced May to promise to resign as soon as she gets this first stage of Brexit over the line.

The weakened British leader had been hoping to come to Brussels with either her deal approved or some sort of alternative way forward drafted that could convince the likes of Macron.

But her talks with the opposition Labour Party have made no tangible progress and seem unlikely to find common ground before she flies to Brussels seeking a second delay in three weeks.

“The problem is that the government doesn’t seem to be moving off the original red lines,” Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Monday.

The government will instead present a plan to parliament Tuesday to outline how long it intends to delay Brexit.

This is part of legislation passed into law late Monday to force May to postpone Brexit if the only other alternative is a no-deal scenario.

May’s talks with Labour have stumbled over Corbyn’s demand that Britain join some form of European customs arrangement once the sides formally split up.

EU officials are ready to include such a promise in the outlines of the sides’ future relationship that was agreed alongside the binding withdrawal deal.

But May knows that the prospect of close post-Brexit economic relations could further fracture her government and party ahead of possible snap elections.

Almost any form of European customs arrangement would keep Britain from striking its own global trade agreement and leave one of the biggest perceived advantages of Brexit unfulfilled.

‘Smallville’ actress pleads guilty in sex cult case

Published April 10, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/asean-plus/30367399

  • In this file photo taken on January 9, 2019 actress Allison Mack arrives at the US Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn, New York. //AFP
  • File photo : Allison Mach//EPA-EFE

 ‘Smallville’ actress pleads guilty in sex cult case

Breaking News April 09, 2019 13:23

By AFP

New York – US actress Allison Mack pleaded guilty Monday to racketeering after recruiting women to a cult-like secret society that turned followers into “slaves” branded with the leader’s initials and coerced into having sex.

Mack, 36, was arrested a year ago on sex trafficking charges for getting the women to join Nxivm, a purported executive coaching organization that forced them to have intercourse with 58-year-old leader Keith Raniere.

Mack, best known for her role as Clark Kent’s friend in superhero television series “Smallville,” was one of six defendants in a federal indictment filed against members of Nxivm, based near Albany in upstate New York.

She admitted racketeering and racketeering conspiracy, and could face up to 40 years in prison when she is sentenced on September 11.

    Before being accepted as “slaves,” women had to provide compromising photos and other personal effects, which the organization threatened to make public if they tried to leave.

They also had their skin branded with Raniere’s initials as other members held them still and filmed.

Another of the high-profile defendants in the case is Clare Bronfman, heiress to the Canadian Seagram liquor empire. She and a sister are believed to have given more than $100 million to the group.

PM urges people to wait for results, rejects unity govt idea

Published April 10, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/politics/30367442

PM urges people to wait for results, rejects unity govt idea

politics April 10, 2019 01:00

By Kas Chanwanpen
The Nation

JUNTA CHIEF General Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday dismissed the idea of a national unity government amid a lack of clarity over the poll outcome, and insisted on waiting for the official vote results next month.

Apparently upset by the idea, Prayut said the government must be formed based on the Constitution and laws.

“We cannot just draw up regulations on our own. Now, we can only wait for the election results. The establishment of the government cannot be completed now,” the PM said.

“You’ll have to see what motivated them to say that. What do they want?” he asked of the critics.

Prayut was referring to the suggestion by Democrat MP-to-be Thepthai Senapong.

Conflict has revived after the general election, focused on which faction could muster sufficient MPs to form a coalition government.

Thepthai proposed on Monday that a national unity government could be a solution, but not with Prayut as head of government.

Rather, Thepthai said, the chosen PM should be a person acceptable to all sides.

In a related development, the Election Commission (EC) continued to be targeted following allegations of irregularities both in the elections and in the post-election procedures.

These include its choice of method in calculating MP seats, which would allot seats to 11 small parties despite their failure to win sufficient votes to gain a single seat.

Several activists, including Srisuwan Janya and Ekachai Hongkangwan, yesterday lodged complaints with the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) demanding impeachment of the seven EC commissioners.

They accused the EC of failing to conduct a credible election and deliver the results.

Meanwhile, anti-junta politician Ruangkrai Leekitwatana yesterday filed a complaint with the Ombudsman to consider nullifying the March 24 election altogether, citing multiple errors related to the vote counting.

Formula ‘unconstitutional’

In a related development, Pheu Thai Party yesterday asserted that the formula the EC planned to use was unconstitutional.

Party member Tossaporn Serirak told the press the EC’s calculation allocating some 11 seats to smaller parties that had gained less than 70,000 votes could not be permitted.

Citing the Constitution, the politician said the formula could only be used if there were not enough MPs in the House.

Not only had the smaller parties failed to gain sufficient votes, said Tossaporn, but their entry into Parliament would be at the expense of larger parties that had got the votes, he explained.

Future Forward Party, for example, would lose seven seats if the EC changed the formula to favour the smaller parties, he said.

“I believe they will use this incorrect formula to pave the way for a particular party to become the coalition leader,” Tossaporn said. “Previously, the spokesman of that party has said they would make a deal with these small parties to muster MPs to compete with Pheu Thai’s coalition.”

Tossapon yesterday also petitioned the EC to reconsider its calculation method.

Don says envoys had no right to attend police questioning of Thanathorn

Published April 10, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/politics/30367440

Future Forward Party co-founder and leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit (R) stand next to an observer from a foreign embassy after meeting with police at the Pathumwan Police Station in Bangkok, 06 April 2019. // EPA-EFE PHOTO
Future Forward Party co-founder and leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit (R) stand next to an observer from a foreign embassy after meeting with police at the Pathumwan Police Station in Bangkok, 06 April 2019. // EPA-EFE PHOTO

Don says envoys had no right to attend police questioning of Thanathorn

politics April 10, 2019 01:00

By Jittraporn Senawong
The nation

THE FOREIGN MINISTER yesterday slammed a group of foreign diplomats for showing up at a Bangkok police station to witness the interrogation of Future Forward Party leader on April 6.

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit was officially hit with three charges, including sedition for an offence he allegedly committed in 2015.

“The acts of those foreign diplomats can be considered as diplomatically inappropriate and not in line with the United Nations’ diplomatic principles.

“They can only get involved in the Thai justice system if their citizens are accused and charged for committing offences in Thailand. In that case, they have the absolute right to get involved in questioning and the legal process,” Don Pramudwinai said.

He added that nobody would be allowed to do this in their countries, so he wondered why the diplomats thought they could do this in Thailand.

A group of foreign envoys, including a UN official, showed up at Pathum Wan Police Station on April 6 when Thanathorn faced official charges.

The diplomats were later seen shaking hands and taking pictures with Thanathorn at the stairs of the police station.

Thanathorn later posted two photographs showing the diplomats sitting in a room with chief investigator Pol General Srivara Rangsibhramanakul at the top of the table and Thanathorn near him.

The caption read: “Observed by the UN, the EU and 11 other foreign embassies, including the US Embassy during my interrogation by the deputy commissioner of Thailand.”

Srivara, who is also deputy National Police commissioner, said yesterday that the diplomats did not attend the questioning session, but that he had invited them for a briefing later on.

Don reiterated that the diplomats should not have done this, adding that if they wanted to gather information about the case as they claimed, they could have done so without attending the questioning session.

Don said his ministry would explain its concerns to the countries whose diplomats showed up, but added that he was considering whether to “invite” them for talks verbally or with a letter. Asked if the envoys have the right to show up, if invited by a Thai individual, Don said: “No, they are not. The individual in question could not invite them to engage in our justice system.

“All foreign diplomats should ask the Foreign Ministry and the government first if they are invited to attend such activities. In this case, the Foreign Ministry was not asked.”

Meanwhile Pannika Wanich, spokesperson for Future Forward Party, said that on April 4 a UN official contacted her party, Thanathorn’s lawyer and Pathum Wan Police Station saying he wanted to observe the April 6 interrogation session.

She added that the party has good ties with the ambassadors of the US, Canada and the European Union and that the party knew in advance that their diplomats would be attending the questioning session.

She defended the diplomats, saying they were aware of the protocol but decided to attend the session any way, because they believe the sedition charge is severe.

The diplomats were also concerned because this action is being used against a political leader who has just made his debut and his party has unofficially gained some 80 seats in Parliament.

Smog in North easing slowly

Published April 10, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

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A helicopter scoops up water in Lampang’s Wang Nua district yesterday in the battle against forest fires, which have been identified as the main cause of air pollution in the area.
A helicopter scoops up water in Lampang’s Wang Nua district yesterday in the battle against forest fires, which have been identified as the main cause of air pollution in the area.

Smog in North easing slowly

national April 10, 2019 01:00

By The Nation

Prayut’s one-week deadline for tackling haze appears to have triggered action

AIR POLLUTION in the North has eased considerably within the seven-day timeframe set by Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, who flew to Chiang Mai last Tuesday to address the problem.

The amount of PM2.5 – hazardous particulate matter of no more than 2.5 micrometers in diameter – in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district, for example, has dropped from 272 micrograms per cubic metre of air last Tuesday to 106mcg yesterday. According to the Pollution Control Department, the PM2.5 level above 50mcg shows the air is not safe to breathe.

Complaints about prolonged smog in the North prompted Prayut to make a short trip to Chiang Mai on April 2. During the visit, the premier made clear that he expected clear results within seven days and promised to take action against officials who failed to meet the target.

Prayut also directed relevant authorities, as part of short-term measures, to focus on reducing the number of hotspots, as they were the main polluters.

His intervention led to intensive efforts to combat forest fires and agricultural fires.

The Third Army Area organised more than 100 helicopter flights to help extinguish wildfires during the week.

The GeoInformatics and Space Technology Development Agency’s fire-monitoring system reported that the number of hotspots in nine northern provinces had dropped to 231 yesterday – a far cry from nearly 2,000 on April 2.

In Mae Hong Son province, several officials worked together to douse fires in a 500-rai (80-hectare) forest. The mission proved successful after helicopters sprayed the area with water at least 100 times.

Meanwhile, teams are on standby across the province to quickly respond to reported fires.

Mae Hong Son Governor Sirirat Chumuppakan also on Monday threatened to withhold the land-demarcation survey required for issuing land-rights documents for farmers who had set fire to clear scrub on their land.

He even suggested that the presence of outdoor fires in a village or a tambon would affect the authority’s future considerations for providing the areas with infrastructure such as electricity and roads.

Sirirat also urged officials to identify and arrest those who light fires, so they can be punished.

He also emphasised the importance of continuous monitoring and weekly updates throughout April for the most at-risk communities of tambons Mae Khong, Sao Hin and Mae Yuam in Mae Sariang district |and tambon Mae Sam Lap in Sop Moei district.

Sirirat also presented drinking water and other commodities to those fighting the forest fires.

While intensified efforts have apparently improved air quality in the smog-hit North, the progress is bittersweet.

Siriwat Srisapha, a senior official based in the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima, revealed yesterday forest-fire responder Wichien Panures had a stroke while helping fight a blaze in the northern province of Lampang.

“While there, he suffered serious stomach ache and headache.

“Though he was rushed to hospital, he suffered a stroke on the spot and needed to be transferred to a better equipped hospital,” Siriwat said.

According to doctors, Wichien is currently in a coma, and his body is showing no signs of response. Doctors believe there is little chance of recovery.

Activist sued for cannabinoid drug production gets bail

Published April 10, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30367439

Activist sued for cannabinoid drug production gets bail

national April 10, 2019 01:00

By Pratch Rujivanarom
The Nation

A DEFENDANT in a case involving cannabinoid drugs production and distribution was yesterday released on bail while another activist walked free as a warrant issue for him could not be found.

Biothai Foundation director Withoon Lienchamroon revealed yesterday that Suphan Buri Provincial Court had granted release to Pornchai Chulert, an officer of Khaw Kwan Foundation, on Bt600,000 bail. He had been arrested for producing and distributing cannabinoid drugs and had been in jail since last Wednesday.

However, as officers could not find the warrant for another defendant, Decha Siriphat, in the system he was allowed to walk free without needing bail.

“We are going to make this case against medical practitioners who distribute cannabinoid drugs for patients for free, a historic one,” Withoon vowed. “We are going to fight the legal system and prove that it was the authorities who had broken the law and deprived people of their right to get the required medicines,” Withoon added.

Komsarn Pokong, lecturer at the Faculty of Law, Rangsit University, questioned the legality of the action against Decha and Pornchai as the latest amendment to the Narcotics Act allows a 90-day amnesty period to owners and distributors of cannabinoid medicines.

Komsarn explained that according to Article 22 of the amended Narcotics Act, those who use, possess or are researching cannabis for medical purposes will have 90 days starting from the first day of the enforcement of this law to notify and register their possessing cannabis to the Food and Drug Administration.

For 90 days – from February 19 to May 20 – those who possess cannabis are protected from any legal action.

“There have already been precedents of defendants being absolved in cases during an amnesty period. For instance, some were sued for possessing firearms during the amnesty period but they won the case. This case is similar and we can use the lessons from the previous cases to further litigate against the plaintiffs,” he said.

“The lawsuit against Khaw Kwan Foundation was clearly against the rule of law and the officers responsible for this action can themselves be sued for abuse of power.”

Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Wiwat Salyakamthorn said he was more than ready to do anything to help Decha and Pornchai over the lawsuits against them, as they had only tried to help fellow-humans who were sick with cannabinoid medicines.

“Decha is a very good and honest person. He is already more than 70 years old, but he continues to help people who are sick and are in trouble, even though his generosity may cause him problems,” Wiwat said.

“I would like to call on politicians, academics and experts to help Decha and his teammate on the legal issue of medical cannabis and allow them to keep producing cannabinoid medicines for those who need them, without any legal barriers.”

He criticised the authorities for applying the law in this manner against Decha and Pornchai, as it was crystal clear to everyone that the men’s actions were benefiting the public as a whole.

“Arresting people like Decha and Pornchai will only benefit multinational pharmaceutical giants, as they are trying to monopolise the cannabinoid medicine market in our country.”

A mysterious fall from grace

Published April 10, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

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A mysterious fall from grace

national April 10, 2019 01:00

By The Nation

2,554 Viewed

In second transfer within a week, new civilian post created for ousted immigration bureau chief

THE HIGH-PROFILE former Immigration Bureau chief, Pol Lt-General Surachate Hakparn, once considered a rising star in the police force, was shockingly transferred yesterday to a newly created civilian post.

His designation as special adviser attached to the Prime Minister’s Office only fuels more speculation about his fate.

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, in his capacity as head of the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), issued an order dated yesterday transferring Surachate from Royal Thai Police to a civil servant in the Prime Minister’s Office.

According to the order, published in the Royal Gazette yesterday, Surachate is among state officials who have been moved to other jobs because they are undergoing investigation or have problems regarding personnel. The order said the NCPO saw it fit to add Surachate’s name to the list, but did not say why.

The NCPO order said the prime minister would seek royal endorsement for Surachate’s new post.

The Cabinet “acknowledged” the order at its weekly meeting yesterday, Deputy Government Spokesperson Colonel Taksada Sangkachan said.

The list of transferred state officials, to which Surachate’s name was added, dates back to May 2015 – a year after the NCPO took power after a military coup.

However, questions regarding the abrupt move remain unanswered, as those involved are maintaining a silence. Prayut, National Police chief Pol General Chakthip Chaijinda, and even Surachate himself, who was seen at a meeting at the National Police headquarters yesterday, refused to reveal the real reason behind this sudden exit.

Surachate was initially transferred to the Royal Thai Police’s operation centre in an order issued on Friday by the National Police chief. Then, in an additional order issued yesterday, the National Police chief said Surachate had been “removed” from all duties at the Immigration Bureau, before the premier decided to move him to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Chakthip also announced yesterday that Surachate was removed from all special task forces and ad hoc positions in the Royal Thai Police. Apart from leading the Immigration Bureau, Surachate was the deputy director of Action Taskforce for Information Technology Crime Suppression.

The Royal Thai Police was yesterday scheduled to discuss Surachate’s successor as Immigration Bureau chief, but the meeting was cancelled for unknown reasons, an official said.

Deputy police chief Pol General Srivara Ransibrahmanakul, meanwhile, refused to answer questions by reporters who wanted to know if he had been told to investigate allegations that had resulted in Surachate’s sudden transfers. He only said that he had not received any verbal or written instructions to do so.

Surachate, better known as “Big Joke”, was considered a rising star in the police force, attaining a general’s rank in his mid-40s. He quickly began climbing the career ladder after graduating from the Police Cadet School in 1995. It is rare for police officers to move from the rank of sub-lieutenant to police lieutenant-general in merely 22 years.

Surachate began making a name for himself from 2015, when, as chief of tourist police he began suppressing crimes committed by foreigners and tour operators.

He had the opportunity to serve some top police officers in the past, and is believed to be close to Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan, who oversees the police force.

Prawit was not available for comment, as he did not attend the Cabinet meeting yesterday. Defence Ministry spokesman Kongcheep Tratravanich said Prawit’s absence was because he suffered from food poisoning, not to avoid questions from reporters.

Airports Department expects more than 400,000 Songkran holiday flyers

Published April 10, 2019 by SoClaimon

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http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30367437

File photo: Suvarnabhumi Airport
File photo: Suvarnabhumi Airport

Airports Department expects more than 400,000 Songkran holiday flyers

national April 09, 2019 21:00

By Thai Visa

The Airports Department is expecting more than 400,000 passengers to travel through 25 Thai airports during the Songkran holidays this year.

The agency’s director-general, Ampawan Wannako, on Tuesday said this year’s passenger number projection for the holidays was 404,773 for the period from April 11 to 17, or 57,224 passengers per day.

The projected number has increased from last year.

Some 365,891 passengers this year are expected to take domestic flights, which is more than the 347,423 passengers recorded last year, while the number of international passengers is expected to be 38,882, exceeding last year’s 33,476, Ampawan said.

The number of flights during the period will be 2,223, slightly fewer than last year’s 2,227. Compared to the 2018 figure, passenger numbers are forecast increase by 23,874, or 6.26 per cent, while flight numbers will reduce by 0.1 per cent, she added.

Source: Thaivisa.com

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