Thais launch campaign for repeal of royal defamation law
Pro-democracy activists in Thailand on Sunday announced a campaign to gather 1 million signatures to support the abolition of the law that makes defaming the monarchy a crime. About 3,000 people turned out in central Bangkok for a rally urging the end of the lese majeste law -- also known as Article 112 -- which makes even constructive criticism of the royal institution risky. The rally organizers last year began holding street demonstrations with three core demands: the resignation of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who initially came to power as army commander by staging a coup in 2014; amendment of the constitution to make it more democratic; and reform of the monarchy to make it more accountable.news.yahoo.com
Flooding threat hangs over Thai capital Bangkok
Bangkok and other areas of central Thailand received new warnings of possible major flooding, even as disaster relief authorities said Wednesday the threat had eased in 13 of 30 provinces elsewhere that were lashed by seasonal monsoon rains. Seven people have died and two are missing since the weekend from flooding triggered by Tropical Storm Dianmu, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigations said. Bangkok has had no major flooding yet, but many rural areas have been severely affected.news.yahoo.com
Thai leader sacks 2 Cabinet members suspected of disloyalty
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha sacked two Cabinet members on Thursday, including one who was widely reported to have unsuccessfully plotted for him to lose a parliamentary no-confidence vote last week. Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat Prompao was deeply controversial even before the alleged mutiny attempt for being imprisoned for four years in Australia in the 1990s in a case involving heroin smuggling. Thammanat won his Cabinet position by being a political power broker capable of turning out the vote in northern Thailand for the governing Palang Pracharath party, and was made party general secretary in June.news.yahoo.com
Protest on wheels in Thai capital seeks government's ouster
A long line of cars, trucks and motorbikes wended its way Sunday through the Thai capital Bangkok in a mobile protest against the government of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. The protesters on wheels hope their nonviolent action, dubbed a “car mob,” can help force the ouster of Prayuth, whom they accuse of botching the campaign against the coronavirus. “There is only one message from this car mob, which is ‘Prayuth get out!‘” Sombat Boonngamanong, a veteran social activist who helped originate such protests in July, said ahead of the protest.news.yahoo.com
Thai police fire tear gas at protest over COVID response
Thai riot police have fired water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets to repel a crowd of several hundred young anti-government protestors who marched on an army base where Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has his residence to demand his resignation.
Thai media restrictions raise freedom of expression concerns
Thailand implemented have new regulations that appear to broaden the government’s ability to restrict media reports and social media posts about the coronavirus pandemic, raising immediate concerns that authorities will seek to stifle criticism.
Thailand to join COVAX, acknowledging low vaccine supply
The head of Thailand’s National Vaccine Institute has apologized for the country’s slow and inadequate rollout of coronavirus vaccines, promising it will join the U.N.-backed COVAX program to receive supplies from its pool of donated vaccines next year.
Thai police use tear gas against anti-government protesters
Thai police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons Sunday to disperse hundreds of anti-government protesters who held a rally in Bangkok despite coronavirus restrictions banning gatherings of more than five people. The demonstrators were demanding Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s government step down, insisting the budget of the monarchy and the military be cut during the pandemic, and calling for the importing mRNA coronavirus vaccines that have yet to be brought to Thailand on a large scale to fight a growing surge of the virus.news.yahoo.com
Thailand tightens measures as daily cases cross 10,000
Thailand has tightened coronavirus restrictions further as daily cases surpassed 10,000 and the death toll hit a record 141 on Saturday despite an overnight curfew in Bangkok and several other provinces. Cases have been climbing particularly in Bangkok and surrounding provinces.news.yahoo.com
Phuket draws tourists despite rising Thailand virus cases
A week into an ambitious but risky plan to open the Thai resort island of Phuket to vaccinated visitors, signs were encouraging that the gambit to resuscitate the decimated tourism industry was working, even as infections elsewhere in the country surged Thursday to record highs. After seeing fewer than 5,000 foreign travelers over the first five months of the year, the island off Thailand's southwest coast, whose economy is 95% reliant on the tourist industry, welcomed 2,399 visitors during the first week of July. The so-called Phuket sandbox plan relies on a strategy of vaccinations, testing and restrictions — measures that officials are hoping are strict enough to mitigate any COVID-19 threat, while still providing enough freedom for tourists to enjoy a beach vacation.news.yahoo.com
Thailand chemical factory fire out; health concerns remain
Firefighters have finally extinguished a blaze at a chemical factory just outside the Thai capital, more than 24-hours after it started with an explosion that damaged nearby homes and then let off a clouds of toxic smoke that prompted a widespread evacuationwashingtonpost.com
Thailand chemical factory fire out; health concerns remain
Firefighters finally extinguished a blaze at a chemical factory just outside the Thai capital early Tuesday, more than 24-hours after it started with an explosion that damaged nearby homes and then let off a clouds of toxic smoke that prompted a widespread evacuation. Little was left of the Ming Dih Chemical factory other than the twisted metal frames and charred remains of its warehouses that were destroyed in the explosion and fire, which broke out at about 3 a.m. Monday.news.yahoo.com
Bangkok, 9 provinces restrict movements to curb rising cases
Faced with a sharp rise in coronavirus cases, the Thai capital on Sunday announced a ban on indoor dining and gatherings of more than 20 people, in addition to the closure of construction sites and the sealing off of workers' quarters in Bangkok and nine other provinces. Thailand reported 3,995 confirmed cases and 42 dead in the last 24 hours. The numbers have doubled recently, and health officials blame a lack of cooperation from migrant workers employed in construction and in factories.news.yahoo.com
Thailand isolates construction workers to curb virus spread
As Thailand struggles to slow its worst wave of coronavirus infections, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha announced Friday a one-month lockdown of camps where construction workers are housed in Bangkok and nine other areas. The situation has become critical as the number of hospital beds in Bangkok for seriously ill COVID-19 patients runs short despite the creation of several field hospitals. Prayuth said a proposal for a seven-day curfew for all of Bangkok has been rejected for the time being.news.yahoo.com
Coronavirus latest news: Officials call for help after NHS workers abused over AstraZeneca vaccine
Europe holidays hit by 'quarantine the British’ demand Queen calls Matt Hancock ‘poor man’ in meeting with PM ‘Overcautious’ teachers blamed for student ban jump Euro 2020 exemption for up to 2,000 overseas fans Exams could face disruption 'next year and beyond' NHS workers are being abused in Covid vaccination clinics by people who are refusing the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine due to fears of side effects, it has emerged. Health boards have appealed to the Scottish Government for help to addressnews.yahoo.com
Mississippi Aquarium to release some rescued sea turtles, others still sick
The Mississippi Aquarium plans to release seven endangered sea turtles this week, but other institutions in New Orleans and Mississippi are still treating turtles rescued in the fall from frigid New England waters.news.yahoo.com
Thais debut locally made AstraZeneca but supplies are tight
Health authorities in Thailand began their much-anticipated mass rollout of locally produced AstraZeneca vaccines on Monday, but it appeared that supplies were falling short of demand from patients who had scheduled vaccinations for this week. Hospitals in various parts of the country have been posting notices for several days that some scheduled appointments would be delayed, adding to existing public skepticism about how many doses Siam Bioscience would be able to produce each month. “The vaccines will be delivered as planned,” Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters Monday morning as he paid a visit to a vaccination station at an indoor stadium in the capital, Bangkok.news.yahoo.com
Thai villages isolated over variant find amid vaccine worry
Thailand placed barbed wire and checkpoints in several southern villages along the Malaysian border Monday after identifying a cluster of infections with a coronavirus variant that's believed to spread faster. The lockdown came as Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha sought to assure people that his government could manage a recent surge as it is set to start a national vaccination campaign next month. “Please understand that we can manage this,” Prayuth said as he received the second dose of his coronavirus vaccine.news.yahoo.com
Thai PM tells UN envoy he won't push back Myanmar refugees
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha promised a United Nations special envoy on Friday that he will not force back people fleeing violence in neighboring Myanmar, where the military ousted a democratically elected government in February. U.N. Special Envoy on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener told Prayuth in a meeting in Bangkok that she hopes Thailand will help find ways to work with Myanmar’s military to ease the crisis, the prime minister’s office said in a statement. People across Myanmar have participated in massive protests against the military coup.news.yahoo.com
2 Thai pro-democracy activists released on bail
Two jailed leaders of a student-led pro-democracy movement that attracted both support and controversy last year when it called for reform of Thailand’s monarchy were released Tuesday after repeated requests for bail. The Criminal Court freed Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak and singer Chaiamorn Kaewwiboonpan, who are are both charged with lese majeste, defaming the monarchy. Parit had been hospitalized after starting a hunger strike in jail.news.yahoo.com
Myanmar junta deepens violence with new air attacks in east
(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)MAE SAM LAEP – The military launched more airstrikes Tuesday in eastern Myanmar after earlier attacks forced thousands of ethnic Karen to flee into Thailand and further escalating violence two months after the junta seized power. The U.S. earlier suspended a trade deal and imposed sanctions on junta leaders as well as restricted business with military holding companies. Tuesday's air raids in eastern Myanmar killed six civilians and wounded 11, said Saw Taw Nee, head of the KNU's foreign affairs department. AdProtests against the junta continued in several Myanmar cities Tuesday despite its lethal crackdown that killed more than 100 people on Saturday alone. They said on Monday, however, that Thai soldiers had begun to force people to return to Myanmar.
Thai police use tear gas, rubber bullets to break up protest
Police behind the containers responded first with warnings and then by shooting water cannons and rubber bullets. AdThe city's emergency medical service Erawan reported 33 people, including 13 police, were injured by rubber bullets, rocks and tear gas. At least two reporters were hit by rubber bullets. He said in addition to throwing various objects, protesters used slingshots to fire nuts and bolts at police and hit them with metal rods. He said police had used water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets according to proper procedures.
EU regulator 'convinced' AstraZeneca benefit outweighs risk
Pharmacist Rajan Shah prepares a syringe of the AstraZeneca vaccine at St John's Church, in Ealing, London, Tuesday, March 16, 2021. “We are still firmly convinced that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing COVID-19 with its associated risk of hospitalization and death outweigh the risk of the side effects,” said Emer Cooke, the head of the agency. AdThe AstraZeneca shot has already struggled to gain public trust after troubles with reporting of its data and concerns about its effectiveness in older people. In addition to the EMA, AstraZeneca and the WHO have said there is no evidence the vaccine carries an increased risk of blood clots. AdStill, the torrent of decisions casting doubt on the AstraZeneca vaccine despite assurances of experts is testing public opinion.
Thai PM gets AstraZeneca jab, 1 Asian country suspends
“There are people who have concerns," Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said after he received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. AdThailand last week was the first country outside Europe to temporarily suspend using the AstraZeneca vaccine. The country has so far received 525,00 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine under the World Health Organization’s COVAX arrangement and has administered 12,788 doses so far. Australia has vaccinated about 200,000 people so far and plans to import and manufacture 70 million vaccine doses from AstraZeneca. By March 4, India had exported over 48.1 million doses of vaccine, including 11.9 million doses to COVAX and 28.8 million doses as commercial exports, according to government data.
EXPLAINER: Why countries are halting the AstraZeneca shot
A medical staff dispays AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site set up in the Marseille soccer Velodrome stadium, during a presentation to the media, in Marseille, Monday, March 15, 2021. On Saturday, Norwegian authorities reported that four people under age 50 who had gotten the AstraZeneca vaccine had an unusually low number of blood platelets. Ireland and the Netherlands then announced that they too, were stopping their use of the AstraZeneca vaccine. It said while its review was ongoing, the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweighed the potential side effects. “People should still go and get their COVID-19 vaccine when asked to do so.”___Jamey Keaten in Geneva contributed to this report.
The Latest: US health officials warn of false positives
WASHINGTON — U.S. health officials are warning health professionals about the risk of false positive results with a widely used laboratory test for COVID-19 and flu. The Iowa Department of Public Health said Friday that Iowa has administered 1.03 million doses. The state health department sent a notice Thursday to the hospitals, pharmacies, clinics and other community providers of the coronavirus vaccine detailing the state’s expectations. AdBrazil has already secured contracts for 200 million vaccine doses, half made by AstraZeneca and half by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac. It could use those mechanisms as well to expand eligibility___PRAGUE — The health authorities in the Czech Republic have administered over 1 million coronavirus vaccine shots.
Thai PM ends presser by spraying reporters with disinfectant
Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha sprays alcohol mist on a front row of reporters sitting inside the press conference room at Government house in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, March 9 , 2021. Riled by a final question about a possible Cabinet reshuffle, the prime minister told reporters to mind their own business, then grabbed a container of alcohol mist and doused the front row before sauntering off. On Tuesday, Thailand’s prime minister sanitized members of the press. After fielding a slew of questions from journalists at his weekly news conference in Bangkok, the famously mercurial Prayuth Chan-ocha sprayed back — with disinfectant. Riled by a final question about a possible Cabinet reshuffle, he told reporters to mind their own business, then grabbed a container of alcohol mist and doused the front row before sauntering off.
Thailand probes Facebook's removal of army-linked accounts
FILE - In this Nov. 27, 2020, file photo, Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha attends a signing ceremony at Government House in Bangkok, Thailand. Facebook says the network of accounts originated in Thailand and targeted domestic audiences in its southern provinces, where the army faces a longstanding insurgency movement. The issue of army information operations has surfaced during parliamentary debates. In October 2020, Twitter disclosed it had uncovered a network of 926 accounts allegedly involved in information operations linked to the army. It said the accounts were engaging in amplifying pro-Royal Thai Army and pro-government content and also targeting prominent political opposition figures.
The Latest: First US J&J vaccine doses shipping Sunday night
(AP) – Nearly 4 million doses of the newest COVID-19 vaccine will be shipped Sunday night, and will begin to be delivered to states for injections starting on Tuesday. AdJ&J plans to ship several million vaccine doses to states in the coming week, delivering a total of 20 million shots by the end of March. Utah so far has administered more than 680,000 vaccine doses and estimates that 10% of its 3.2 million population has been fully vaccinated. Health Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul was given the first shot at a hospital near Bangkok, followed by the deputy health minister and other senior officials. They are part of the government’s plan that has so far secured 2 million doses from Sinovac and 61 million doses from AstraZeneca.
Thai marchers link their democracy cause to Myanmar protests
The group joined the march after Prayuth met with the Myanmar Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin in Bangkok earlier in the week. (AP Photo/Fu Ting)BANGKOK – A new faction of Thailand’s pro-democracy movement staged a protest march Sunday, linking their cause with that of demonstrators in Myanmar battling that neighboring country’s coup-installed military government. Marchers sought but failed to go to Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s house, which is on an army base in Bangkok. Thai pro-democracy demonstrations have recently become marred by increasing violence. ___This story has been corrected to show the name of the new protest group is Restart Democracy.
'Don't worry, come forward': Asian nations get 1st shots
(Malaysia Health Ministry via AP)Many nations in the Asia-Pacific region are rolling out the first shots for COVID-19 this week. AUSTRALIATwo elderly people have been administered with higher-than-prescribed doses of the Pfizer vaccine, Australia’s health minister said Wednesday. Thai officials have said they had secured an additional deal with AstraZeneca for a total of 61 million doses. More than half a million health care and front-line workers will be given priority in the first phase. CHINAChinese regulators are looking at two more potential COVID-19 vaccines, one from state-owned company Sinopharm and another from a private company, CanSino.
Indonesia presses regional effort to resolve Myanmar crisis
Anti-coup protesters display placards near the Indonesian Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. The Indonesia Foreign Ministry has denied the report. The meeting was part of her efforts to coordinate a regional response to the crisis triggered by Myanmar's Feb. 1 military coup. In a virtual news conference after her return to Indonesia, Marsudi said she expressed her country’s concern about the situation in Myanmar. “This postponement ... did not dampen the intention to establish communication with all parties in Myanmar, once again, with all parties in Myanmar, including with the Myanmar military and the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw."
Thailand's prime minister survives no-confidence vote
Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha smiles in parliament after a no-confidence vote against him was defeated in Bangkok, Thailand Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)BANGKOK – Thailand’s prime minister survived a no-confidence vote in parliament on Saturday amid allegations that his government mismanaged the economy, bungled the provision of COVID-19 vaccines, abused human rights and fostered corruption. It marked the second no-confidence test that Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha's government has faced since taking office in July 2019, following a contested election after Prayuth seized power in a 2014 coup as the army chief. In February last year, he and five Cabinet ministers easily defeated a no-confidence vote in the lower house. This is an evil action, making him no longer qualified to be prime minister,” he said.
Thai leader threatens punishment for false vaccine news
(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)BANGKOK – Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha warned Tuesday that his government will prosecute anyone who shares false information about coronavirus vaccines in social or mass media. Prayuth’s warning was an apparent reaction to charges that his government has done too little to acquire adequate supplies of vaccines. Supakit Sirilak, director general of the Medical Science Department, said the Health Ministry has been working to obtain vaccine supplies since last February, but has taken time to evaluate which are appropriate. A first batch of 200,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine from China is scheduled to arrive next month. Public concern about the vaccine situation shot up last month after Thailand experienced a surge in its relatively modest number of confirmed coronavirus cases.
Thai court gives record 43-year sentence for insulting king
The court initially announced her sentence as 87 years, but reduced it by half because she pleaded guilty to the offenses, the group said. Violating Thailand's lese majeste law — known widely as Article 112 — is punishable by three to 15 years’ imprisonment per count. After King Maha Vajralongkorn took the throne in 2016 following his father's death, he informed the government that he did not wish to see the lese majeste law used. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights identified the woman sentenced Tuesday only by her first name Anchan and said she was in her mid-60s. She denied the charges when her case was first heard in military court, where lese majeste offenses were prosecuted for a period after the coup.
The Latest: Tens of thousands on Vegas strip despite warning
(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)LAS VEGAS — Tens of thousands of people were walking on the casino-lined Las Vegas Strip on New Year’s Eve by early evening despite a plea from Nevada Gov. China on Friday reported a total of 19 new virus cases, including 10 that were brought from outside the country. ___LONDON — The coronavirus pandemic canceled London’s annual New Years’ Eve fireworks display, which usually draws tens of thousands of spectators. The nation’s most populated county has about 40% of California’s virus deaths. ___NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee ends the year ranked first in coronavirus cases per capita.
Thailand imposes new restrictions amid coronavirus outbreak
Thailand generally has been viewed as successful in combating the coronavirus, due partly to its well-regarded public health infrastructure and people’s adherence to mask-wearing and other protocols. But cases have jumped significantly since an outbreak was detected last week among migrants from Myanmar working at a seafood market in Samut Sakhon province. Samut Sakhon Gov. Weerasak Wijitsaengsri tested positive for the virus after meeting Sunday with senior health officials including Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul. Samut Sakhon was put under lockdown on Dec. 19, followed by Samut Songkhram and Samut Prakarn.
Gov't to lose majority Thai Airways share in restructuring
Thai Airways International Head Office is seen n Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, May 19, 2020. Thai Airways is carrying an estimated debt burden of almost 300 billion baht ($9.4 billion). It ran up losses of 12 billion baht ($374.3 million) in 2019, 11.6 billion baht in 2018 and 2.11 billion baht in 2017. This is the time for Thai Airways to be x-rayed to see what mistakes they have made and correct them, Saksayam said. The airline was founded in 1960 as a joint venture between Thailands domestic carrier, Thai Airways Company, and SAS, Scandinavian Airlines System, which sold its stake in 1977.