Tourist alert! Only 1 month left to see Thailand’s tallest waterfall

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Tourists only have one month left to see the largest waterfall in Thailand before it is roped off for the rainy season.

Tourist alert! Only 1 month left to see Thailand’s tallest waterfall

Thi Lo Su Waterfall in Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary, Tak province, will be shut to tourists from July 1 to September 30 for safety and to allow rehabilitation of its natural beauty.

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation explained on Tuesday that steep trekking routes around the waterfall become hazardous during the rainy season.

Thi Lo Su is the highest and largest waterfall in Thailand, standing 250 metres tall and nearly 450 metres wide on the Mae Klong River, flowing down from Huai Klotho into the Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary. The falls have several cascades with pools for swimming and are a popular spot for picnics and photography in the eastern border province.

Tourist alert! Only 1 month left to see Thailand’s tallest waterfall
Tourist alert! Only 1 month left to see Thailand’s tallest waterfall

Published : May 24, 2022

By : THE NATION

Prayut denies Bangkok gave verdict on govt ahead of national election

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Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has given a rosy picture of Thailand’s economic recovery while dismissing talk that Bangkok’s elections showed voters’ dissatisfaction with his government.

Prayut denies Bangkok gave verdict on govt ahead of national election

Prayut said on Monday that the economy expanded 2.2 per cent in the first four months of 2022 from a year earlier as stimulus campaigns boosted public spending by 3.9 per cent.

The “Khon La Khrueng” (Let’s Go Halves) and “Rao Tiew Duay Kan” (We Travel Together) schemes had driven public spending and domestic tourism, while exports were up 12 per cent, the PM added. Meanwhile Thailand had welcomed 1.02 million visitors from May 1-18 after Test&Go restrictions were lifted.

Asked about Chadchart Sittipunt winning the Bangkok governor election with a landslide 1.3 million votes, Prayut said the government was happy with Chadchart and will support him in his work for Bangkok people.

“I don’t believe the election result reflects people’s rating of me or the government. It’s a democratic process like any other election,” said Prayut. “The party that supports me [Palang Pracharath] did not field a candidate for governor anyway.”

Prayut also put a brave face on the government party’s dismal showing in the Bangkok council election, which saw only two of 50 seats go to Palang Pracharath.

“As for the two Palang Pracharath candidates who won city council seats, I believe they can help make things better,” he said.

Pheu Thai won the most council seats – 20 – followed by fellow opposition party Move Forward with 14, the Democrats (9), the Rak Bangkok group (3), and Thai Sang Thai and Palang Pracharath with two apiece.

The results left the capital in the hands of progressive politicians ahead of a general election expected late this year or early next year.

Prayut was speaking after attending a meeting for the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) at Government House.

Published : May 24, 2022

By : THE NATION

Thailand records 4,144 Covid-19 cases and 36 deaths on Tuesday

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Ministry of Public Health reported on Tuesday (May 24) morning that in the past 24 hours there are 4,144 new patients who tested positive for Covid-19, one of whom has arrived in Thailand from abroad.

Thailand records 4,144 Covid-19 cases and 36 deaths on Tuesday

Death toll increased by 36, while 7,235 patients were cured and allowed to leave hospitals.

Cumulative cases in the country since January 1, 2022 are at 2,196,302.
 

Published : May 24, 2022

By : THE NATION

Online scams in Thailand rose sharply, inflicted over THB1 billion losses

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Thailand incurred damage worth more than THB1 billion as the country faces the aggravating problem of online scamming, posing a challenge both for the government and the private sector to improve security technology and strictly enact data protection regulations.

Online scams in Thailand rose sharply, inflicted over THB1 billion losses

The Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) says a study on “The problem of scamming in the digital age and its solutions” found that scamming through modern communication tools is something very common, which everyone could encounter in their daily lives.

The NESDC pointed out that in 2021, Thailand had received over 6.4 million fraudulent phone calls, an increase of 270 per cent and a 57 per cent increase in fraudulent SMS messages. From the complaints in 2021, it was found that more than 1,600 people had fallen victims to call centre gangs. The total damage was more than THB1 billion. There were also 48,513 online complaints, more than double the number in the previous year.

Meanwhile, the NESDC has conducted another survey on scams through the Internet and modern communication from January to March this year among people aged 17 to 77 years old, covering 5,798 people around the country.

Online scams in Thailand rose sharply, inflicted over THB1 billion losses

The survey found that nearly half of Thai people have been scammed in one year and about two in five have been the victims of scamming while 48.1 per cent of the respondents had experienced fraud. Of these, 42.6 per cent were victims of fraud, with an average damage value of about THB2,400 per person.

Due to the amount of time spent on the Internet and their online activities, it has been found that Gen Y and Gen Z are more vulnerable than Gen X and Baby Boomers. However, Baby Boomers suffered the most average damage in terms of value per time.

The most common form of scam is phishing email/SMS. The type of scam with the highest victimisation rate is online sales. Some 82.6 per cent of online goods buyers did not receive the product, but the average damage at THB600 – THB700 per person was not very high. In comparison, phishing email/SMS, personal data scams, hacking or fraudulent requests for credit card information and investment scams have low victimisation rates, but the damage value is quite high.

Also, more than half of the victims take no action and believe that the government’s prevention/management was not as effective as it should be.

Online scams in Thailand rose sharply, inflicted over THB1 billion losses

More than 54.1 per cent of the sample group did not take any action as:

— the damage had already been inflicted
— difficulty
— lack of time
— a belief that it won’t help in any way
— the loss amount is not high.

In addition, most of them still do not know the appropriate notification channels.

Regarding factors affecting deception and survival, the survey found that risk behaviour in using modern communications technology and individual personality are important factors that make some people more vulnerable to becoming a victim, while knowledge of information about frauds can reduce the chance of becoming a victim.

However, there are some scams against which one cannot be protected by news awareness, such as malware scams, bank account/social media hacking, and fraud requesting credit/debit card information.

Scammers’ technology and skills/strategies are key factors in reaching and luring victims, such as through loan applications and online job applications, for deceptive tactics such as communication and persuasion, creation of credibility, and victim selection.

However, there are limitations to coping with the problem as scams are constantly evolving in new forms, becoming more complex and harder to be aware of. Information about scams is sparse. The collection and storage of data are not systematic. These make it difficult to assess the situation and picture the overall problems.

Online scams in Thailand rose sharply, inflicted over THB1 billion losses

The management of fraud problems by government agencies is not as effective as it should be due to the lack of proactive work in terms of defence, educating society to be up-to-date, and developing investigation methods to keep up with the situation. Moreover, many scams are transnational organised crime/criminals, making them unable to find the mastermind.

Following this study, the NESDC has come out with some proposals aimed at helping the country tackle the problems better.

Thailand needs to build immunity for living in the digital era by campaigning/public relations to educate people about various scam patterns that they need to be aware of. It includes campaigning for the public sector to participate in providing information and reporting clues, whether there is damage or not, in order to provide information for effective deterrence.

Also, the government has to establish partnerships with the private sector as a communications intermediary to help stop or curb the problem of scams before they spread to the wider society. For example, trading platform businesses have tight/strict subscription terms, and mobile operators must be empowered to suppress suspicious numbers.

Online scams in Thailand rose sharply, inflicted over THB1 billion losses

Meanwhile, the government should consider setting up a specific agency with oversight duties to prevent and deter scams through the internet and modern communications. It should provide an information centre, coordinating and developing prevention tools and investigating wrongdoings. It must work together with other relevant agencies and build mutual international cooperation on the suppression of transnational cybercrimes by coordinating information, news and facilitating investigation of relevant officials.

Published : May 23, 2022

By : THE NATION

Ramathibodi Hospital will have monkeypox test kits ready in two weeks

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Ramathibodi Hospital’s Centre for Genomics said it has successfully sequenced the genome of monkeypox and is confident it can come up with test kits within two weeks.

Ramathibodi Hospital will have monkeypox test kits ready in two weeks

The centre announced this achievement on Saturday via Facebook and updated the post on Monday morning.

The post said the centre is ready to help other agencies sequence the monkeypox virus’s genome after the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a warning about the virus being found in several countries outside Africa, where the disease is endemic.

On Saturday, the WHO announced that cases of monkeypox have been reported by 12 countries across three regions since May 13. As of 1pm on Saturday, there were 92 confirmed and 28 suspected cases of monkeypox.

The WHO said that genome sequencing from a swab sample of a confirmed case in Portugal indicated a close match of the monkeypox variant causing the current outbreak to infections in the UK, Israel and Singapore that were brought in from Nigeria in 2018 and 2019.

The symptoms of monkeypox are fever and skin rashes that can turn infectious, the Centre for Medical Genomics said, adding that the fatality rate is as high as 10 per cent for the Congo strain and 1 per cent for the West African strain.

The centre said that if there are many suspected cases in the country, then agencies concerned can take saliva or pus swabs and process the sample with nucleic acid purification before sending it to the centre for genome sequencing.

The centre currently uses the long-read nanopore sequencing technology to check the genome but is considering using the blueprint of the sequencing system used in Portugal and Belgium and develop a test kit accordingly.

For now though, it said it is developing test kits using the mass-array genotyping technique and should have them ready in two weeks. The kits will cost and take as much time as RT-PCR tests take for checking and confirming Covid-19 infections.

Published : May 23, 2022

Plethora of activities on offer for lawmakers at Parliament

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A variety of facilities inside Parliamentary Club, which is located on the fifth storey of Parliament complex in Bangkok’s Dusit district, would soon be available for MPs, senators and personnel.

Plethora of activities on offer for lawmakers at Parliament

The club has many facilities, such as spa and massage parlours, dance studio, singing practice room, golf room, fitness centre, gymnasium and treadmills.

Plethora of activities on offer for lawmakers at Parliament

Once the Covid-19 crisis resolves, this club would be able to support various recreational activities, such as golf, music and dance, said Senator Peerasak Porjit, who is also social and recreation activities committee chairman.

Plethora of activities on offer for lawmakers at Parliament

He said the Parliamentary Club has not opened yet, but MPs, Senators and personnel can prepare their equipment to organise activities there.

Plethora of activities on offer for lawmakers at Parliament

Sathavorn Chanpongsri, a former national athlete who won a bronze medal for marathon at the Sea Games 1985, will be responsible for training in the gymnasium and treadmills, he added

Published : May 23, 2022

By : THE NATION

US urges ‘Team Thailand’ to help trafficking victims systematically

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The United States wants Thai state agencies to cooperate in helping human-trafficking victims more systematically and effectively, a senior police officer who visited Washington to defend Thailand said.

US urges ‘Team Thailand’ to help trafficking victims systematically

Assistant police chief Pol Lt-General Surachate Hakpal, who led a police team that was part of the Thai delegation, said the US State Department wanted the help offered to human-trafficking victims to have tangible results.

Surachate told the press on Monday that the US wants Thai government agencies to work together as “Team Thailand” to efficiently tackle human-trafficking issues.

The delegation, led by Chettaphan Maksamphan, director-general of the Department of American and South Pacific Affairs, also included representatives from the Labour Ministry, Social Development and Human Security Ministry, Foreign Ministry and some private organisations.

The team was in Washington from May 15 to 18 to defend Thailand’s efforts to fight human trafficking and forced labour after the US downgraded the Kingdom from Tier 2 to Tier 2 Watchlist in July last year.

Tier 2 Watchlist refers to countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards of the US Trafficking Victims Protection Act but are making significant efforts to comply with the standards. In February, Deputy PM General Prawit Wongsuwan expressed hope that Thailand would soon be upgraded.

US urges ‘Team Thailand’ to help trafficking victims systematicallyMeanwhile, Surachate said the Thai delegation told their US counterparts that the Thai government is committed to tackling the issue of human trafficking.

It also reported the progress made in tackling trafficking crimes and efforts to help victims, as well as the progress in legal action against traffickers, Surachate said.

He said US State Department officials expressed interest in the progress report and asked questions about several details, especially about the human-trafficking victims who were rescued in Cambodia and the United Arab Emirates.

The Thai delegation informed US officials that the number of cases against human traffickers has risen exponentially. The number of cases rejected by the court has also significantly dropped thanks to cooperation with public prosecutors. He said data on legal proceedings against traffickers pleased the US officials, adding that the delegation also proposed that the human-trafficking problem be considered a regional issue.

The delegation explained that Thailand is just a transit point, not the origin or destination of trafficked persons.

Surachate added that the trip was successful because the exchange of information and opinions helped the US side understand Thailand’s determination in fighting human trafficking.

He said the US State Department learned that Thailand has made progress in integrating government agencies to fight crimes and help trafficking victims.

He believes the trip has helped improve Thailand’s image and now it can be seen as a country trying to solve this trafficking issue.

Published : May 23, 2022

By : THE NATION

Thailand’s monkeypox emergency centre monitoring arrivals

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Thailand’s Department of Disease Control (DDC) has set up a Public Health Emergency Centre to monitor the global spread of monkeypox and tighten monitoring at its border. The disease has so far spread to 15 countries, with more than 100 confirmed cases.

Thailand's monkeypox emergency centre monitoring arrivals

The Department of Disease Control (DDC) says no cases of monkeypox have been detected in Thailand so far.

“However, easing of travel restrictions has brought increasing numbers of foreign visitors, which could bring the disease to Thailand,” DDC chief Dr Opas Karnkawinpong said on Sunday.

“The centre will therefore focus on keeping a close eye on foreign arrivals, especially those from high-risk countries.”

The 15 countries that have reported monkeypox cases are Britain, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, France, Germany, Sweden, United States, Canada, Australia, Israel, Netherlands, Switzerland and Greece.

From May 1-22, Thailand received 13,142 visitors from the UK, 1,352 from Spain and 268 from Portugal, Opas said. He added that the Thai public would be informed immediately if any cases of monkeypox are found.

Monkeypox spreads through close contact with infected people or animals.

Opas advised people planning to travel to at-risk countries to avoid eating uncooked meat or touching rodents such as rats and squirrels, and primates such as monkeys. Those who come into contact with such animals should immediately wash their hands with soap and water. Monkeypox symptoms to look out for include fever and a rash on the face, arms and/or legs. Any traveller with these symptoms should see a doctor immediately and notify authorities of their travel history, Opas said.

The DDC hotline is at 1422.

Published : May 23, 2022

By : THE NATION

Flash floods cut road link between Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai

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Flash flooding inundated homes, major roads and farms in Chiang Rai on Sunday.

Flash floods cut road link between Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai

Swelled by two days of heavy rain, the Mae Lao River overflowed into Wiang Pa Pao district, cutting its road link between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.

Flash floods cut road link between Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai

Highway 118 running south from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai was also reduced to one lane by flooding.

Homes and farms in Wiang Pa Pao’s Ban Hong were inundated by the river runoff.

Flash floods cut road link between Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai

Wiang Pa Pao district chief Banchong Khunphet said 40 communities were hit by the flash floods, though there were no reports of injuries or deaths so far.

The local administrative organisation was assisting flood victims and cooperating with police to facilitate traffic, he said.

Flash floods cut road link between Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai

Elsewhere, the Chan River burst its banks and flooded markets and communities in Chiang Rai’s Mae Chan district. More than 300 homes were flooded, with retailers and residents forced to move their belongings to higher ground.

Flash floods cut road link between Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai

Pheu Thai MP Laong Tiyapairat led a team to survey the flood damage and assist victims, while locals reinforced the riverbank in a bid to prevent more overflows. The police have closed the area to traffic until the rain eases and water levels recede.

Flash floods cut road link between Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai

Heavy rain also caused a landslide in Chiang Rai’s Mae Saruay district, burying a home in Ban Huai Nam Khun village. Many roads in the area have also been cut. Heavy equipment is being deployed to clear traffic and assist victims.

Published : May 23, 2022

By : THE NATION

120,000 children missing from class after Covid: Education Ministry

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The Education Ministry is scrambling to reach more than 100,000 students who have dropped out of school during the Covid-19 crisis.

120,000 children missing from class after Covid: Education Ministry

The reopening of schools in Thailand last week revealed a huge number of children missing from class.

“We estimate that up to 120,000 children have left school during Covid-19 and are unable to continue their education after lockdowns were lifted due to family problems and other factors,” said Education Minister Trinuch Thienthong on Saturday.

She said her ministry is working with related agencies including the police to get as many dropouts back to school as possible.

“So far, we have reached out to about 95,000 children and expect to convince them to come back to schools by June to continue their education,” she added.

The ministry is also collaborating with the Vocational Education Commission to provide free boarding and tuition for rural students at 88 vocational schools nationwide. The programme, which is aimed at cutting the dropout rate, serves 5,000 students per year.

Meanwhile, to prevent dropouts due to problems in school, the ministry has established the MOE Safety Centre helpline contactable by phone and social media apps like Line.

“Parents and students can use these channels to directly alert the ministry of problems at schools such as bullying, harassment, or other safety issues, and officials will investigate promptly,” Trinuch said.

Published : May 23, 2022

By : THE NATION