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  • PM orders help to be sent to flood victims in Thailand’s 4 southern provinces

    Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has expressed concern over the flooding in the country’s four southern provinces and has ordered manpower and materials to be rushed to the area.

    Government deputy spokesperson Traisulee Traisoranakul said today that troops, officials from the Interior Ministry and other agencies will also help to evacuate people from hard-hit areas and speed up the discharge of flood water into the sea.

    She said that more than 50,000 households in Songkhla, Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat provinces have been affected.

    In Pattani province, the entire central business district is now under water, due to runoff from nearby Yala province, with the water about a metre deep in communities along the Pattani River.

    Mr. Pitak Kongkiatpitak, the mayor of Muang district, has warned residents living along the river to move their valuables to higher ground because the water level is expected to rise further.

    In Yala, however, the flooding is easing and most roads are now passable, although the Pattani River is still overflowing. Many people were seen cleaning up their houses and washing away mud residue.

    Prasert Intub, assistant governor of the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, said officials have reduced the amount of water being released through the Bang Lang dam to about 530 cubic metres per second, and will reduce it further in line with inflow to the reservoir.

    He explained that the dam had to discharge water last week because of heavy rain, which caused the level of the reservoir to rise beyond its capacity.:

    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


    • 'Speed up Lese Majeste probe': PM

      Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has asked four agencies to speed up their probes into lese majeste cases regarding unlawful online content, and to take legal action against the suspects, according to Digital Economy and Society Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta.

      The four agencies in question are the Digital Economy and Society Ministry (DES), the Department of Special Investigation, the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD), and the Foreign Affairs Ministry, he said.

      Gen Prayut said he has impressed upon them the need to step up suppression against lese majeste activities on social media, as well as to curb fake news currently being spread online about Covid-19, said Mr Buddhipongse.

      The TCSD had on Saturday summonsed anti-government protest leaders Parit Chiwarak and Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul — who are now among a number of people facing lese majeste charges in connection with the anti-government protests — to come in person and acknowledge their charges of violating the Computer Crime Act, said an informed source.

      The two, however, opted to give a written statement instead, to which the TCSD officials agreed. The TCSD has asked them to submit their written statements by Wednesday, said the source.

      If the two fail to lodge their statements in time, the TCSD investigators will have to proceed with concluding the cases and present them to prosecutors for further legal action, said the source.

      The TCSD is also pursuing legal action against more than 20 other suspects facing charges for their alleged online posts that are in violation of Thailand’s lese mejeste law.

      The DES Ministry’s division for technology and information technology crime suppression and prevention also submitted a number of court-approved orders regarding online lese majeste acts to the foreign companies which own Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and a number of websites along with a request to suspend public access to 9,192 posts containing lese majeste content, said the source.

      In a joint statement read at the 14 October 1973 Memorial last month, the protest leaders said they would use every possible channel to achieve their goal as they believe Section 112 presents a legal obstacle to many issues.

      They likened Section 112 to “the first stone that needs to be removed”.:

      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


      • PM will allow local administration to buy FDA-approved vaccines

        Local government bodies in Thailand will be allowed to acquire COVID-19 vaccines using their own budgets, but the vaccines must be approved by the Food and Drug administration of the country of origin, and the Thai FDA.

        Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said today that he understands that a lot of people have high hopes for the vaccines and the government is acquiring them through many channels.

        He said the government is trying its best, but it will be difficult to please everyone. He said the important point is to ensure that as many people as possible get inoculated.

        The cabinet will oversee the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, and will be very careful over the procurement process.

        Prayut said, however, the timeline of getting vaccines manufactured by Siam Bioscience in Thailand is in progressing well, but still needs to complete several more processes.:

        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


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          • BCG economic strategy to drive Thailand for next 5 years: Prayut

            The strategy for national development under the BCG Model – bio-economy, circular economy and Green economy – was approved by the BCG committee on Wednesday.

            The five-year strategy will begin this year. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who chaired the committee meeting, said the BCG Model will be included in the national development agenda.

            The model seeks to capitalise on Thailand's abundant agricultural products and vast farming zones. It covers the farm, food, health, medical, energy, biochemical and tourism sectors, which account for half of the country's total employment.:

            Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


            • Electricity, water and internet bills to be reduced to help public and SMEs

              Thailand’s cabinet has resolved to launch a set of urgent relief measures, to help the public and SMEs, by boosting liquidity, increasing benefits for the unemployed and reducing the cost of living by lowering electricity and water bills in February and March.

              Households using fewer than 150 units of electricity will not be charged for the first 90 units in the months of February and March. Those exceeding 150 units will be charged discounted rates, in accordance with conditions yet to be announced. For small enterprises, the first 50 units of electricity will be free of charge.

              For water fees, a flat 5% discount will be given to all households and small enterprises, with the exception of government and state enterprises.

              The government will also ask internet service providers to reduce fees and increase connection speeds, in support of people having to work from home.

              The announcement was made via the prime minister’s Facebook page. It said that, by the end of this month, the government will finalize more subsidies, which will help those who are struggling financially.

              Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha assured that the government still has enough money to take care of the economic issues resulting from this new outbreak of COVID-19. The Finance ministry is authorized to spend 1 trillion baht to revive the economy and relieve a society affected by COVID-19. So far, only 500 billion has been spent.

              Prayut promised that the government will spend the taxpayers’ money effectively and in a timely manner.

              He asked the public to be confident that the government can handle the latest outbreak. He said Thailand had no experience or knowledge when the first wave hit last year, but still did very well. This time around, with the expertise of public health officials and, most importantly, with cooperation from everyone, Thailand will be able to survive the crisis.:

              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


              • Safety of Thai people most important for vaccination: PM

                Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has said he would not risk Thai lives by rushing to approve vaccines that have not been fully tested

                In a message on his Facebook page on Sunday, the PM refused to let Thais be guinea pigs.

                The PM alluded to recent news about side-effects or adverse effects from Covid-19 vaccine in some foreign countries. He said Thailand must wait to hear opinions of experts on whether the symptoms were vaccine-related, or other factors, such as certain medical conditions, physical condition, or age, including whether the rate of side-effects is acceptable?

                He said some countries wanted to start vaccination early, even before the efficacy and safety of the vaccine had been fully tested.

                "I have an important policy -- to ensure that the vaccine is safe, so it can be used for Thai people," he said.

                The National Vaccine Committee will advise and closely supervise the whole process, he said.

                Success in curbing Covid-19 can be better achieved by cooperation and implementation of various measures, especially wearing a mask at all times, frequently washing hands, and social distancing. In addition, if you want the disease control to be effective, scan the QR Code "ThaiChana" every time you are in public, and using the app "MorChana" will be very good, he said.:

                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


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