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Thailand News Today | Bangkok unanimously elected civilian governor

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Thailand News Today | Bangkok unanimously elected civilian governor
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In Bangkok’s first governor election in eight years, independent candidate Chatchat won the vote by a landslide and broke the record for the highest number of votes ever in a Bangkok gubernatorial election, much to the dismay of the incumbent military government.

Of the 4.3 million people eligible to vote, a total of 2.6 million people voted yesterday.
Over 50% of all voters voted for 55-year-old Chadchart, who won a total of 1.38 million votes. Runners up were miles behind, with Suchatvee Suwansawat from the Democratic Party coming in second place with around 254,000. The former Governor Police General Aswin Kwanmuang who is a puppet governor put in by the military coup eight years ago, came fifth with 215,000 votes. Who would have thought that civilians would prefer fellow civilian candidates?
Some will be very unhappy about the former Pheu Thai transport minister’s win, most notably the incumbent coalition government led by the Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. Candidates representing the conservative side of Thai politics were decimated, that includes candidates representing Prayut’s Palang Pracharat Party, the Democrats, and the royalist parties.
Chadchart Sittipunt was the transport minister for the opposition Pheu Thai party when on May 22, 2014, there was a military coup, exactly 8 years from the day the Bangkok Governor election was held. On the day of the coup in 2014, Chadchart was taken away to a secret location, against his will, with a bag over his head by Thai soldiers.
So his landslide wins exactly 8 years later is doused in the sweet smell of retribution.
Chadchart proposed a total of 214 policies and projects which he believes will play a part in improving Bangkok’s environment, public safety, economy, health, travel, education, planning, and administration.
Chadchart studied civil engineering at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok and went on to receive an MA in engineering from MIT and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.
He said the next four years will be a hopeful time in which people will make positive changes together. The election was fair and transparent, he added.

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From next month, a number of Covid restrictions will be eased in Thailand, although in the case of some rules, it will vary by province.

Nation Thailand reports that at the latest meeting of the CCSA, it was agreed to categorise all provinces as either yellow ( for highest surveillance), blue ( for tourist zones), and green ( for low surveillance).
There are now 46 yellow provinces, 17 blue, and 14 green. Nightlife is being permitted to resume in green and blue provinces, with the sale of alcohol allowed until midnight. However, there is a ban on alcohol promotions and the sharing of drinks – whatever the heck that means, and staff at bars and other nightlife venues must wear face masks.
And for bars and nightspots in the green and blue zones, it’s not just a simple case of re-opening either. Business operators have to apply for permission to do so, through the provincial communicable disease committee. Employees need to be checked for Covid symptoms and will have to take an antigen test every 7 days. Customers will need to show proof of vaccination and follow disease prevention measures.
Meanwhile, there has been a further easing of Thailand’s entry restrictions, with the Thailand Pass cancelled for returning Thais from June 1. However, the much-criticised process remains in place for foreign arrivals.
And Thailand’s emergency decree has been extended yet again, this time until July 31. And yes, the land of smiles will still be smiling behind a mask.

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Thailand’s education minister has confirmed that teachers are not entitled to cut students’ hair as a form of punishment.

Trinuch Thienthong says her ministry has no such regulation and that teachers have no right to cut students’ hair in a manner that leaves them humiliated.
She goes on to say there are ministerial regulations that allow students of certain disciplines to wear a hairstyle that conforms to course requirements, such as in the case of the dramatic arts or dancing.
According to a Bangkok Post report, the minister says the types of punishment that are permissible include verbal warnings, issuing demerit points, and getting students to take part in activities aimed at correcting their behaviour. However, cutting their hair is out.
“Nowhere in the rule book is there a stipulation that lets teachers take the matter into their own hands and cut the student’s hair as a form of punishment.”
Trinuch says trimming or cutting a student’s hair in order to punish them could be considered excessively severe and a possibly intimidating act to force a change in behaviour. She admits that discipline is an essential part of the education system, but says forced haircuts have no place in the school environment and do nothing to teach students about their roles and responsibilities.

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With no end in sight in regards to China’s stubborn lockdown in pursuit of zero Covid cases, Thailand has been told it must source raw materials from other countries if its farming industry wishes to survive.China is the nation’s largest supplier of raw materials and the spread of the ongoing Covid-19 Omicron wave has shut down the major shipping hubs on the mainland and paralyzed the industry. Thailand’s manufacturing industry and supply chains continue to bear the brunt of lockdowns in China’s major cities.
Shanghai, Guangdong, Fujian, Shandong, Zhejiang, and Jiangsu are responsible for 72.6% of all the mainland’s exports to Thailand, six cities with extraordinarily high infection rates.
Thailand is highly dependent on China for the exports of chemical products, electrical appliances, rubber, paper, wood, and especially fertiliser.
China’s fertiliser exports to Thailand expanded by 34%, 1,275%, and 68% in the first three months of this year, compared with the same periods of 2021, while organic chemical shipments saw year-on-year declines of 44%, 31%, and 43% for January, February, and March.
Fertiliser companies are suffering because of the increasing rise in production costs. In Q1, the global price of finished nitrogen averaged 833 us dollars per tonne, up 162% year-on-year, which caused the wholesale price of fertiliser in Bangkok to increase to over 20,000 baht per tonne, a year-on-year rise of 149%.
The decline in fertilizer exports and its increasing costs has hit the farming industry hard. And a study by the National Economic and Social Development Council reveals a disruption to exports is set to continue.
“Thai manufacturers in those categories may have to speed up sourcing raw materials from other countries,”

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The flooding situation is easing in the northern province of Chiang Mai, but getting worse in neighbouring Chiang Rai. That’s according to a Thai PBS World report, which says the levels in several Chiang Rai waterways have been rising steadily since yesterday, as a result of heavy rain on Saturday.

The จันทร์ River has burst its banks in Chiang Rai’s Mae Chan district, with markets and riverside communities flooded. Local officials and workers have built a temporary flood wall to protect the area. Meanwhile, the mayor of Chiang Rai’s Muang district, Wanchai Chongsutthamani, has ordered that the sluice gate be opened, allowing more water to flow into the Kok River, while water pumps are operating around the clock. Officials across 65 communities are currently helping affected residents.

Things are a bit better in Chiang Mai, where the floods have eased. However, some roads remain closed as flooding has made them impassable for vehicles.
The rainfall is not over yet, as Thailand’s Meteorological Department warns of more heavy to very heavy rain today, for both the north and south of the country. The wet weather is the result of a low-pressure cell and monsoon trough over the north and northeast of the country.
Meanwhile, the strong southwestern monsoon is affecting other parts of Thailand, including the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. Rainstorms and heavy winds can be expected, with the north, north-east, central, and eastern regions, along with the upper south, in for some heavy to very heavy rainfall today.

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