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Thailand News Today | Tourism minister joins Full Moon Party on Koh PhaNgan

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Thailand News Today | Tourism minister joins Full Moon Party on Koh PhaNgan
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The Full Moon Party week is just wrapping on the island of Koh Phangan, and while attendance was down, there was at least one special attendee that could influence the future of the party. Minister of Tourism and Sports Pipat Ratchakitprakarn visited Haad Rin, home ofthe iconic partythat draws tens of thousands of tourists to the island each month.

The minister saw the huge boost to tourism that the party brings as young tourists from around the country flock to the south of the island each month and fill accommodations, restaurants, bars, and shops and vowed to support the Full Moon Party. He observed people arriving on the island all day and well into the night on speed boats operating from Koh Samui for hours after the normal ferries had finished for the day, and saw people disappointed at early closures of what used to be an all-night party before Covid.

He intends to request the Interior Ministry and Cabinet to make an exception to allow the Full Moon Party to run until 4am, though the last few months the party has unofficially run at least that late anyway. Before the pandemic, the event officially went from 8pm to 8am with afterparties launching at 7am.

Many partygoers found the visit from the Tourism Minister intimidating, as his entourage of police, army soldiers, and administrative officials including the deputy governor of Surat Thani was a frightening show of authority to travellers trying to drink and dance on the beach.

The Tourism Minister seemed inspired by the huge event, and the excited tourists enjoying it, as he called for locals to create a safe and welcoming environment to cultivate tourism.

“The visitors said they enjoyed travelling to Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan and experiencing the Full Moon Party or the Half Moon Party. I’ll ask the cabinet and the Interior Ministry to approve the extension [until 4am]. The Full Moon Party has a unique appeal to people.”

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To celebrate two royal birthdays, His Royal Majesty King Vajiralongkorn and Her Majesty Queen Mother Sirikit, over 100,000 people in Thai prison have received some level ofclemency. HM the King celebrated his 70thbirthdaythis year on July 28 and this past Friday the Queen Mother celebrated her 90th birthday.

In total 103,613 incarcerated people received a royal pardon, according to the Corrections Department. Of those to receive royal pardons, 80,791 inmates were granted a reduced sentence in their prison terms, while 22,822 were given an early release and were placed on parole.

The amnesty was extended to over 100,000 prisoners, but many noted that several high-profile inmates were passed over for royal clemency. Perhaps the most sensational, Pol. Col. Thitisan Uttanaphon, well-known as Joe Ferrari, was not granted any reduction or parole. He was sentenced to life in prison after horrific video footage was leaked showing him and six other police officers restraining a drug suspect with six plastic bags over his head in custody, who was tortured and suffocated to death.

Former Minister of Commerce Boonsong Teriyapirom was also passed over for any reduction or release. He was sentenced to 48 years in prison on corruption charges related to rice contracts between governments. And former Democrat MP Thep Thai Senpong, who is currently serving two years in prison due to a vote-buying scandal in a local election in 2014, was also denied a royal pardon.

According to the director-general of the Corrections Department, the three notorious inmates were not eligible for royal pardons. To receive a pardon, prisoners must serve at least one-third of their prison sentence or at least eight years before receiving royal amnesty. There is not even an exception granted for elderly inmates over 70.

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A new report reveals Thailand is the best country in the world for a wellness retreat.

Slingo experts, Using TripAdvisor, conducted research on which countries have the best resort hotels, wellness, and spa activities as well as the keywords in the reviews for each country.

Thailand came out on top as the ideal destination for a wellness retreat with a score of 9.5/10. Thailand is home to some of the most therapeutic and luxurious retreats in the world and is often referred to as the No.1 spa capital of Asia.

Indonesia recorded a wellness retreat score of 8.5 to take second place, and Maldives also recorded 8.5. 

The research also looked at countries with the highest-rated wellness activities.

Maldives has 29 total spa and wellness activities, with 88.73% of those rated four stars and higher.

Thailand came second in this category with 2,673 wellness and spa activities to choose from. When those are filtered to four-star ratings and higher, 73.03% of those activities remain. The top-rated activity was from Ocean Sound, offering professional yoga and pilates classes.

In other holiday news, the US was the most popular destination for standard holidays. With 390 resort hotels across the states, 389 of those are four stars and higher.

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A local chapter of the Anti-Corruption Network has complained of foul smelling wastewater released onto a beach in Thailand’s coastal province of Prachuap Khiri Khan, located near the Gulf of Thailand. 

The chapter says that six officials are overlooking the problems with a hotel dumping wastewater onto the beach near the town hall, in the main city district.

A recent test conducted by a regional environment office found that the wastewater had not been treated, and violated safety standards. The chapter is accusing Prachuap Khiri Khan’s provincial governor of dereliction of duty, along with five other officials who work in the environmental and wastewater management sectors.

Beach vendors had filed similar complaints back in May, saying that the smelly dark water was being released from a wastewater pipe near the breakwater. The vendors said the bad smell was damaging their businesses by driving away tourists.

Many parts of Thailand suffer problems with wastewater management. In one village in Thailand’s eastern city ofPattaya, locals have complained of officials’ minimal efforts to solve wastewater problems for over seven years.

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According to one of the country’s top virologists, by about the end of this year, nearly everyone in Thailand will have been infected with Covid-19. The chief of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at the Department of Paediatrics of Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Medicine Yong Poovorawan predicted this by extrapolating from current and past data.

He said, about the same as influenza, within three years, most people will get Covid at least once. 

Dr Yong says that advances in medicine have helped keep death tolls down, as medical treatment and vaccines bought time while the Coronavirus has mutated to be less deadly, but the pandemic was extended for much longer than pandemics in the past because of that too. Just before the third wave of Covid last year, he predicted another wave or two, and abouttwo yearsbefore the virus threat would be warded off by herd immunity.

“Whereas in previous times epidemics such as cholera or Spanish flu usually only needed a year to infect most people in the country, killing about 1% of the population, medical technology advances have extended this timeframe a lot.”

Now, with most new infections being fairly mild, experts believe that most cases go unreported. But with 20 to 30 deaths on average each day, the mortality rate has fallen much lower. 

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Courtesy ofThaiger News

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