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Thailand News Today | Tham Luang cave rescue divers receive honours

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Thailand News Today | Tham Luang cave rescue divers receive honours
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The University of Bristol has awarded 2 British cave divers with honorary degrees after recognising their heroic efforts in rescuing 12 boys and a man from a flooded cave in Thailand.

The University hailedJohn Volanthen, Rick Stantonand the other rescue divers for performing an impossible task in rescuing 12 children and their football coach from theTham Luang Nang Noncave inChiang Rai Provincein northernThailand.

A statement read “By a combination of extraordinary courage and meticulous planning, they overcame all the odds and succeeded in one of the most extraordinary rescues that has ever been attempted, ultimately bringing out all 12 boys and their coach alive despite the most hazardous conditions imaginable.”

The Thai Government appealed to the men after heavy rain marooned 12 members of a junior football team and their coach from a cave complex in the north of the country.

The pair navigated 1.5 miles of constricted underwater passageways in near-zero visibility, against a fast-flowing, debris-strewn current, in a rescue that involved about 5,000 people

Against all the odds, 9 days after the rescue began, the 12 stranded boys, aged between 11-16, and their 25 year old coach were found on July 2, 2018. But that’s not half of it. The stranded team had little oxygen in their small air pocket, and with more monsoon rains predicted, time was running out.

Volanthen, who was 47 at the time, said he was confident of his own safety but confessed he was unsure he could save the boys and their coach.

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Fugitive former PM Thaksin Shinawatra says the opposition parties, or as he described them, the “pro-democracy” parties, will win the next election in a landslide.

Thaksin was speaking online from his house in Dubai in a Clubhouse meeting on Tuesday.

The discussion follows the current parliamentary debate over party list MPs. Party list MPs get their seats in parliament from a proportional system, not from winning the vote in their geographical province or seat.

Thaksin expected the pro-democracy parties to win 300 of the available 500 seats in the next parliament with the two main winners being his Pheu Thai Party and the progressive Move Forward Party.

Thaksin alluded to the lessons learned during the Bangkok governor election when Palang Pracharat only won 2 out of the available 50 district seats. The new Bangkok governor, Chadchart Sittipun, formerly a member of Pheu Thai who ran in the Bangkok election as an independent, won in a huge individual landslide.

The current party list calculation system left the current parliament with a lot of small parties winning a seat, leaving the larger parties having to form alliances with the individual seat MPs to form majorities. The current ruling Palang Pracharat-led coalition is made up of 17 different parties.

Thaksin believes that Prayut is now leveraging the smaller parties to create a more supportive base for a future coalition after the next election.

The next general election will be held later this year or before March in 2023. But observers say the electioneering has already started with the current PM stepping out more and appearing at events.

Every political poll has shown that both Prayut Chan-o-cha, and the current Palang Pracharat government, have lost a lot of support over the past 2 years, and would lose an election to the opposition parties, provided that the election was fair and square, of course.

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Business owners on Koh PhaNgan are demanding cheaper ferry charges after they increased by more than 40% since the start of July, impacting businesses and living expenses.

For the average car, the ferry service from Don Sak dock to Pha Ngan with the Raja Ferry increased from 620 baht to 900 baht as of July 1. The Raja Ferry company announced that they would be raising the rates due to the current high price of fuel and that it had been many years since there had been any increase in the fares. They also have ferries going to Koh Samui and Koh Tao where the fares have also risen by the same amount.

According to the president of the Koh Phangan Hotel and Tourism Association, จันตะนา Limsuwan, locals and businesses are feeling the pressure with higher prices, especially after Thailand is now trying to attract as many tourists as possible.

They say that, currently, transportation, building materials and supplies, and food ingredients have all gone up in price.

Later this month, the Koh Phangan Hotel and Tourism Association and other Koh Phangan organisations will go over the problems and file a petition to the governor of Surat Thani and the Transport Ministry.

Those affected would like the government to progressively raise the ferry price in order to help lessen the sudden impact.

They say the occupancy rate on Koh Pha Ngan this month could increase to 60%, surpassing levels during the New Year’s holiday. The island’s usual peak season spans from mid-July through to the end of August.

Some of the Haad Rin hotels are completely booked for the Full Moon Party on July 15. It is anticipated that hotels on the island will be between 70 and 80% full throughout the event.

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A Thai police officer caught on camera riding a motorcycle as if he was drunk in the Isaan province of Chaiyaphum, won’t be prosecuted.

The Chaiyaphum News Hunter Facebook page posted a video of the police with a caption saying, “Locals sent this to me. Is it too dangerous, boss? Is he drunk?”

The video shows the police officer riding slowly and unsteadily from the left to the right lane. The other cars look tentative of the policeman swaying from side to side. One pickup truck watched proceedings for a while, trying to stay away from the swaying officer, before quickly driving away. The policeman nodded at the pickup driver while parked at an intersection, waiting for the traffic light to change.

Thai netizens criticised the officer saying, “Police will never be wrong,” and “Police arrested others but never look at themselves,” while another said, “I experienced the same thing on the same road.”

The motorcycle’s number plate is registered at บ้านเขว้า Police Station in the province. The reporters visited the police station to ask for more details from the Superintendent.

He said he identified the officer accused of being drunk on the video and questioned him.

The superintendent added the officer had just finished his shift and was not drunk, just sleepy and there was no need for him to be prosecuted.

But according to the Land Traffic Transport Act, drivers who drive recklessly and dangerously without paying attention to the safety of others could face a penalty of up to 3 months in jail, a fine from 2,000 to 10,000 baht, or both. So based on his behaviour…should he walk away freely? Or should I say, stumble away?

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Bangkok’s Electrical Authority removed 2 network transformers belonging to the same lot that caused a fire in Chinatown last month that killed 2 people. The blaze was caused by a transformer exploding at a 3 storey shophouse, according to a preliminary inspection.

Now, officials from the metropolitan electricity authority plan to inspect the transformers to make sure they are safe for use. The MEA’s governor said that so far this year his office has inspected over 450 network transformers in inner Bangkok and Rattanakosin Island. The checks, he said, ensure that the surrounding communities are safe, and the power grid is stable.

Plans are in the works for a few different groups to do their parts in preventing fires in Bangkok, following the aftermath of the Chinatown fire. At ameeting last week, officials proposed that telecom service providers should tidy up the overhead cables around the city. Not a bad idea.

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