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Update April - May, 2019


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Thailand News
 

Netflix announces deal for film about Thailand's cave boys

In this Sept. 6, 2018 file photo, members of the Wild Boars, the soccer team give thanks in front of an image of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn during an event titled "United as One" in Bangkok. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Associated Press

Bangkok (AP) — Netflix announced Tuesday it is joining with the production company for the movie "Crazy Rich Asians" to make a film about last July's dramatic rescue of 12 village boys in northern Thailand who were trapped with their soccer coach in a flooded cave for more than two weeks.

Netflix and SK Global Entertainment said in Bangkok they have acquired the rights to the story from 13 Thumluang Co. Ltd,, a company that Thailand's government helped establish to represent the interests of the boys and their coach, who attended the news conference for the announcement.

Thailand's Culture Ministry in March first unveiled the deal, announced as a mini-series. Deputy government spokesman Weerachon Sukoondhapatipakat was quoted then as saying that the families of the cave survivors would each be paid 3 million baht.

The boys of the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach became a center of world attention after they became trapped in the cave on June 23 last year, with doubts they were able to find shelter from rising flood waters that poured in after unexpected rain.  They were found by two British divers and brought out by an international crew of experienced cave divers who teamed up with Thai navy SEALs in a dangerously complicated mission that was successfully concluded on July 10.

"We are grateful for the opportunity to thank the people and organizations from Thailand and around the world who came together to perform a true miracle, by retelling our story," said Ekapol "Ake" Chanthawong, the boy's assistant coach who shared the ordeal with them. "We look forward to working with all involved parties to ensure our story is told accurately, so that the world can recognize, once again, the heroes that made the rescue operation a success."

Tuesday's announcement said 13 Thumluang "has committed to donating 15% of the revenues derived from bringing this story to global audiences to charity organizations that focus on disaster relief."

Jon M. Chu, who helmed "Crazy Rich Asians," and Nattawut "Baz" Poonpiriya, a Thai filmmaker, will be directors on the cave project.

"We are immensely proud to be able to support the retelling of the incredible story of the Tham Luang cave rescue," Erika North, director of International Originals at Netflix, said in a statement. "The story combines so many unique local and universal themes which connected people from all walks of life, from all around the world. Thailand is a very important country for Netflix and we are looking forward to bringing this inspiring local but globally resonant story of overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds to life, once again, for global audiences."

An independent film about the adventure, "The Cave," was shot soon after the rescue and is supposed to be released later this year.


Rehearsals take place on Suphannahong royal barge

NNT

Bangkok - A major rehearsal on the Suphannahong royal barge was conducted Tuesday to prepare for the upcoming coronation ceremonies.

Royal Household Bureau officials have installed five five-tier umbrellas, two seven-tier umbrellas and draperies aboard the royal barge, as well as a three-prong pennant at the stern.

The royal barge has also been decorated with garlands and festooned with artificial flowers made by Satri Wat Rakhang school. They were made of yellow and gold Tatar cloth, stuffed with kapok and embroidered with four dahlia flowers. Satri Wat Rakhang school teachers and students have carried out the distinctive ancient art of floral decoration since 1959.

Cdr. Natthawat Aramklua, head of the Navy’s Royal Barge Section, confirmed the decoration of the royal barge had been finished in traditionally magnificent fashion, while all rowing crewmembers have undergone physical and mental exercises and are proud to be taking part in the significant royal ceremonies.

A major rehearsal of the rowing of the royal barge by the 64 crewmembers is taking place over three days beginning on Tuesday, from Thonburi dockyard to Ratcha Voradit pier. The crew include 50 rowers, two helmsmen, two naval officers, a three-prong pennant holder, a signal man, a singer and seven umbrella holders.

Normal river traffic was temporarily closed from 9.30 a.m. to 12.00 p.m. and from 1.00 p.m. to 1.30 p.m. on Tuesday to make way for preparations of the Navy’s security measures during the rehearsal.


Tropical storms hit 24 provinces; aid measures taken promptly

NNT

Bangkok - Besides forest fires and the haze situation in the North, tropical storms have hit 24 provinces, prompting the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation to coordinate with provincial authorities to take measures immediately to help victims.

The thunderstorms and strong winds have hit the northern provinces from April 5 until Wednesday this week, causing injury to nine villagers and damage to 3,463 houses.

Provincial authorities, the military, local administrative organizations and other related agencies are providing basic assistance to the victims and assessing and evaluating the affected and damaged areas so that further aid measures can be provided in accordance with the regulations of the Ministry of Finance.

Members of the public are advised to follow weather forecasts and follow warnings strictly. Those in need of emergency aid may call Hotline 1784 at any time around the clock.


Royally-bestowed ‘Yellow Star’ tree planted at Government House

NNT

Bangkok - Prime Minister, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, led his cabinet ministers in planting a royally-bestowed "Yellow Star" tree at the Government House compound in Bangkok on Wednesday. The tree inaugurates the "One Province, One Road in Honor of His Majesty the King" project.

On Monday (Apr 15), His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn granted an audience in which Gen. Prayut and the governors of 76 provinces plus the Bangkok Governor received "Yellow Star" trees, which will be planted to mark the occasion of His Majesty the King’s coronation next month. The "Yellow Star" tree is the symbolic tree of His Majesty the King, and it is also a symbol of abundance.

The trees will be planted along one of the selected main roads in each province of Thailand to promote its identity.


5,000 vehicles seized from Songkran drivers

Bangkok - Measures to seize vehicles from persons found driving while under the influence of alcohol during the five days of the Songkran holidays resulted in some 5,000 cars and motorcycles being impounded by officials.

From 11th-15th April, officials seized 5,318 vehicles from drunk drivers, including 3,907 motorcycles and 1,411 cars, and have filed cases against the violators.

The general public started travelling back to Bangkok from their hometowns yesterday, with key Bangkok-bound roads from all regions being crowded with traffic.


Forest fire in Chiang Rai almost extinguished

NNT

Bangkok - Authorities have extinguished most of a forest fire along the border of Muang Chiang Rai and Mae Chan districts in the northern province of Chiang Rai. The firefighters are scrambling to put out the blaze in just one location as it is difficult for them to reach.

The District Chief of Mae Chan, Wandee Ratchomphu, said the fire situation has improved over the past few days, thanks to the cooperation of officials from all sides.

Wandee said the blaze at some spots, including Wat Pa Tung and Wat San Mongkol, has been almost extinguished, and there is only one area where the firefighters are having some difficulties to reach. She said this forest fire incident will be assessed for future improvements.

Meanwhile, at the haze and forest fire command center in Wat Pa Tung, the Govenor of Chiang Rai held a meeting with the Director-General of the Royal Forest Department, the Commander of the 3rd Army Region, and personnel from relevant agencies to follow up on the forest fire situation. Following the meeting, all sides have been instructed to set up volunteer groups in all 139 villages to monitor their forest areas with the support from the military and relevant agencies.

The District Chief of Mae Chan has thanked the people and the private sector for donating rice and other necessities to the firefighters. She said the haze and forest fire command center has continued to receive drinking water and other necessities from donors.


Thai minister says envoys breached diplomatic etiquette

In this Saturday, April 6, 2019, photo, Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit shakes hands with his supporters as he stands alongside the First Secretary of the French Embassy in Thailand Christophe Carlucci, left, and Counsellor of the German Embassy in Thailand Alexander Nowak, right, at a police station in Bangkok. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Associated Press

Bangkok (AP) — Thailand's foreign minister said he will summon representatives from the embassies of the European Union and the United States to discuss why he believes they breached diplomatic etiquette by observing a Thai politician being charged with sedition by police.

Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said that foreign countries are barred from closely observing internal procedures "not only by etiquette but also by rules and regulations that the whole world abides by."

His remarks come after several countries sent envoys to observe a police proceeding at a Bangkok police station last Saturday where Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, leader of the popular Future Forward Party that ran a strong third in the elections, was formally charged with sedition and other crimes following a complaint filed by a member of the country's ruling military government.

Don said that the foreign ministry is considering whether to verbally summon the embassy representatives or submit an invitation in writing.

Deputy Police Chief Srivara Ransibrahmanakul said he was responsible for briefing the foreign envoys at the police station who asked why the case had to be conducted by a military court and why it had stalled. He said the envoys were not part of the formal interrogation and reading of charges but were later informed of the legal proceedings. He said the envoys' involvement did not interfere with police work.

Foreign minister Don appeared to be more critical and said that the envoys had no business being inside the police station.

"There's no principle to gather information in meeting rooms, in discussion rooms, in interrogation rooms and so on," Don said, adding that it would be up to the military court's consideration over whether foreign representatives would be allowed to observe the trial.


All provinces ready for Songkran

NNT

Bangkok - For the approaching Songkran holidays, many provinces are eager to welcome a lively crowd of tourists, amidst strict enforcement of safety regulations and widespread tourist facilitation measures.

Authorities have set up blood/alcohol test desks to check drivers prior to using their vehicles, while some people have already started to travel back to their hometowns ahead of the holidays. Travel is expected to reach its peak at the end of this week.

In addition to Thai people, many migrant workers from neighboring counties have started travelling home for the holidays. Hundreds of Cambodian workers have passed through Ban Laem border crossing carrying items bought in Thailand as gifts for their relatives. Some of the workers are reported to have arrived at the border crossing at 3 a.m., while officials are opening immigration and customs control points from 6 a.m. to enable them to thoroughly inspect travelers’ documents and belongings.

Legal migrant workers, carrying valid passports, will be exempted from paying border related fees for their Songkran travel home. They will have to exit Thailand between 13th and 16th April, and return by 30th April to be eligible for the waiver. It is expected that over 100,000 migrant workers from Cambodia will be travelling through Ban Laem border crossing this Songkran holiday.


Police promote Songkran holiday house patrol program

NNT

Bangkok - During the Songkran holidays, travellers can still register their house with the police as part of the safety patrol campaign preventing thieves striking when owners are away. The deputy commissioner-general of the police force has urged all officers nationwide to give maximum facilitation to ensuring the confidence of the general public.

A parade promoting the Royal Thai Police’s Pracharat Songkran house safety program for 2019, or “Leave Houses with the Police” campaign, was arranged in Bangkok this week and led by Deputy Commissioner General Pol Gen Chaloemkiat Siworakhan, along with police officers from Thong Lor Police Station, who visited the house of actress Mai Charoenpura who herself registered her house in Soi Thonglor to ensure regular safety patrols by the police in this program, while actor Champ Chanatip also joined the rally promoting the campaign to the general public.

Pol Gen Chaloemkiat has urged officers at the Metropolitan Police and Provincial Police 1-9 to provide maximum security protection to enrolled house owners, and to work with neighbours to help inform the authorities of any suspicious activities in the neighbourhood. It is expected some 8,000 houses will be enrolled in this year’s campaign.

He said “There have been some 7-8,000 houses enrolled in the previous year’s campaign. We have urged officials to encourage house owners travelling to their hometowns or on a trip away, to join the campaign. We expect to protect the same number of houses this year, no fewer.”

The general public is encouraged to install the Police I Lert U mobile application which allows users to report emergency cases and request assistance immediately by sending personal information, photos, incident time, and location directly to the police’s 24-hour response team who will immediately dispatch responsible officers to the incident site. House owners interested in the patrol program can enroll at any police station nationwide.


Bangkok bus fares to increase on April 22

NNT

Bangkok - After the postponement of increases early this year in order to promote the use of public transport and reduce pollution from traffic, the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) will finally raise bus fares in Bangkok and deploy new NGV powered buses to serve passengers.

Fares on all types of public bus in Bangkok will increase effective from 22nd April, with the fares on ordinary red and cream colored buses rising to 8 baht per trip from 6.50 baht, and fares on air-conditioned buses colored blue and cream to increase to 12-20 baht based on distance, from the previous fares of between 10-18 baht.

Fares on orange Euro II air conditioned buses and the new NGV buses will be adjusted to 13-25 baht depending on distance from 11-23 baht previously, while blue coloured new generation buses will charge fares increased to 15-25 baht from 11-23 baht previously. Fares on bus lines operated by private companies will rise by 1 baht per trip on ordinary buses, and 1 baht per travel distance zone on air conditioned buses.

The Minister of Transport Arkhom Termpittayapaisith has announced that 489 new NGV buses will be deployed on city routes; they will be equipped with modern technology such as the E-Ticket system, GPS tracking, and will have Wi-Fi on board, while facilities such as bus stops will also be improved.


DAILY UPDATEE

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Netflix announces deal for film about Thailand's cave boys

Rehearsals take place on Suphannahong royal barge


Tropical storms hit 24 provinces; aid measures taken promptly

Royally-bestowed ‘Yellow Star’ tree planted at Government House

5,000 vehicles seized from Songkran drivers

Forest fire in Chiang Rai almost extinguished


Thai minister says envoys breached diplomatic etiquette

All provinces ready for Songkran

Police promote Songkran holiday house patrol program

Bangkok bus fares to increase on April 22