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Update May, 2019


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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
Thailand News
 

Statistics reveal 5 children left in cars found dead in past 5 years

NNT

Bangkok – With many schools across the country starting their new semesters this month, the Department of Disease Control has revealed there have been 106 cases of children being left in vehicles over 5 years from 2014 to 2018, with five fatalities to three female and two male children aged between 3-6 years. The fatal accidents happened 4 times in school vans, and once in a personal car. All deceased children were left more than 6 hours in the vehicles.

The department’s tests show vehicles parked under the sun for 10 minutes will have internal temperatures raised to unbearable levels, while 30 minutes of exposure can cause the temperature to raise to the point where any children left inside will develop acidosis and symptoms such as shock, loss of consciousness, and brain edema.

Parents, school bus drivers and teachers are advised to always count the number of children boarding and leaving vehicles every time and check that there is no one inside the vehicle before locking it. Young children should never be left alone in vehicles parked in the sun, even for a short period of time.


Mahout shares story of viral clip of his elephant clearing road block

NNT

Bangkok - A 53-year-old male Si Dor elephant named "Charuek" is now famous on social media following pictures of him helping remove a fallen tree obstructing road traffic going viral.

His mahout, Lamead Tolo, revealed on the day of incident, he was taking the elephant back from an ordination parade at Pak Nam Pho in Nakhon Sawan province when he noticed unusual traffic congestion and suspected there might be an accident, which turned out to be a fallen tree blocking the road. With the congestion getting worse in both directions, Lamead ordered Charuek to help, without knowing that this action would become an internet sensation afterwards.

The elephant owner, Pratuan Piluek, said his father once told him Charuek is a sacred elephant who must not be sold. The elephant was usually hired for events, and once performed in Hong Kong. Charuek now no longer goes to performance events due to his age but still attends ordination and merit making events, for which he constantly receives bookings.


GPO starts planting first batch of marijuana for medical use

NNT

Bangkok - Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) President, Dr. Sopon Mekthon, said 140 marijuana saplings planted as part of the first phase of the organization’s testing have begun to flower and should fully bloom in eight to 10 weeks. Once bloomed, scientists will be able to extract oils from the plants to create a total 2,500 bottles for clinical tests, set to take place in July this year.

Research is to be conducted on four groups, namely; those with epilepsy, those with peripheral neuropathy, those with cancer and those with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Pricing is still being considered and will depend on doses needed by each group.

Officials in Bueng Kan province reported that 14 people have so far registered with the Provincial Public Health Office to legally possess marijuana, and all medical patients are in need of the plant for treatment. The 90-day registration period is open until May 21 with authorities fielding registry daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


IP Fair 2019 to take place 30-31 May

NNT

Bangkok - The Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) will be holding the IP Fair 2019, promoting academic knowledge and showcasing innovations implemented for commercial purposes.

The healthy carbonated cascara drink made from used ground coffee beans, and the operating room bleeding stopper-sponge made from white rice starch, are some of the products featured at the IP Fair 2019, which include products in the food and drinks category, medicine and beauty, alternative energy, fashion, pets, software and the digital process. The event is organized by the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP).

DIP Director General Thosapone Dansuputra said the event this year will focus on academic knowledge in six areas covering all aspects of intellectual property, including the evaluation of intellectual property to maximize benefits in commercial applications, business developments using intellectual property, website naming, copyright creation in the 4.0 age, Thai intellectual property advancement with PCT, and the registration of Thai brands in foreign countries by SMEs.

The event will also include consultation on patent registration and business matching sessions to expand marketing opportunities.

The IP Fair 2019 event will be taking place on 30th-31st May 2019 at Centara Grand and Central Plaza Lad Phrao Hotel, Bangkok.


Thailand's oldest political party chooses new leader

New Democrat Party leader Jurin Laksanavisit, second right, sits with party colleagues, from left, Peerapan Saleerattavipak, Korn Chatikavanij and Apirak Kosayodhin during a Democrat Party meeting in Bangkok, Wednesday, May 15.

Associated Press

Bangkok (AP) — Thailand's oldest political party chose an experienced insider as its new leader Wednesday following an abysmal performance in recent elections that led to the resignation of its previous chief.

The Democrat Party voted for Jurin Laksanawisit to succeed former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who resigned after the March 24 general election. Jurin has served in the Cabinets of two Democrat-led governments, most notably as education minister and public health minister, and has been elected to Parliament 11 times.

More a party insider than a charismatic politician, he is not associated with the group of radicals who broke with the party in late 2013 to stage militant anti-government street demonstrations that eventually triggered the military coup in May 2014. Whether he will try to reconcile with the breakaway faction is unclear.

Jurin, 63, has been acting leader since Abhisit's resignation. He comes from Phang-nga province in the south, where the Democrats traditionally do best.

His southern connection, along with his long experience in the party and in Parliament and government, won him support from senior colleagues including three previous party leaders: former prime minister Chuan Leekpai, Abhisit and Banyat Bantadtan. Their backing helped him win 160 out of 291 votes cast in the leadership vote, in which he faced three challengers.

The party, founded in 1946, has generally espoused a liberal form of royalism. It finished fourth in the election as voters in its Bangkok and southern strongholds deserted it.

Jurin said he would maintain some core aspects of the Democrat Party, such as its commitment to Thailand's constitutional monarchy, while other features such as the party's administrative functions and personnel should be modernized.


Meteorological Dept warns of heavy rain May 17-19

NNT

Bangkok - The Meteorological Department has reported that all regions of Thailand can expect thunderstorms, gusty winds and heavy rain from May 17-19, especially the northeastern region where rain storms are expected in 70 percent of the area. By the beginning of next week the volume of rainfall should decrease in the upper part of Thailand but the South will continue to encounter heavy rains in some areas and waves of about two meters at sea. Seafarers have been advised to proceed with caution.


DNP announces temporary closure of national parks

NNT

Bangkok - The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has declared temporary closures to certain national parks nationwide to allow for the restoration of nature and tourist safety in the wake of torrential rains and volatile weather conditions in May.

In the North, Doi Wiang Pha national park, Doi Suthep - Pui national park’s Doi Pui camping area, Sri Nan national park’s Kaeng Luang Nan River area and Huay Nam Dang national park’s camping area have been closed from May 1 to September 30.

In the Northeast, Kaeng Tana national park’s Tad Toan waterfall and Khae Huay Mark area has been closed from May 1 to July 31 and Phu Lanka national park’s Phra That Jedi area, Khong Khao Sri Boon Nao area and Phra That Jedi Luang Pu Wang western area have been closed from May 1 to October 31.

In the East, Khao Laem Ya - Koh Samet national park’s Koh Kuti, Koh Thalu areas have been closed from May 1 to September 30.

In the West, Lam Khlong Ngu national park’s Sao Hin, Nok Nang Aen caves have been closed from May 1 to February 28, 2020.

In the South, Tarutao national park’s Koh Ardang-Ravi, Koh Phetra national park’s Koh Buloan, Koh Lao Liang islands, Ranong islands national park’s Khai Tao Bay, Koh Chang islands, Koh Lanta national park’s Koh Rok Nai-Rok Nok, Koh Ngai, Koh Similan national park, Koh Surin national park and Laem Son national park have been closed from May 16 to October 14.


SCB introduces prepaid card for tourists

NNT

Bangkok - Siam Commercial Bank has joined hands with The Mall Group and VISA to introduce the SCB M VISA PREPAID TOURIST card, a reloadable debit card product offering greater convenience to foreign visitors to Thailand.

The card can be issued after an easy application process which only requires the applicant’s passport at the Emporium, the EmQuartier shopping malls, Paragon Department Store, or at SCB’s currency exchange kiosks at Don Muang Airport.

The debit card will be valid for five years after issuance, allowing cardholders to use the card every time they return to Thailand. The card has no fees, and can be topped up at any service center inside any of the Mall Group’s shopping malls, with the minimum top up amount being 100 baht. Cardholders won’t have to worry about currency exchange rates as the top up and all spending will be done in the Thai baht, and will receive points and discounts provided by the Mall Group and other privileges from VISA in 200 countries worldwide.

The SCB aims to issue 50,000 cards and have 600 million baht in total spending by visitors using this card in one year.


Thai exile's parents seek information on his disappearance

Kanya Theerawut, mother of Siam Theerawut, talks to reporters outside Vietnam Embassy in Bangkok, Monday, May 13, 2019. (AP photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Preeyapa T. Khunsong and Kaweewit Kaewjinda

Bangkok (AP) — The parents of a self-exiled Thai activist who disappeared after reportedly being extradited from Vietnam visited government offices and diplomatic missions in Bangkok on Monday to seek information about his fate.

Siam Theerawut is one of three exiles about whom human rights groups have expressed concern about because neither Thai nor Vietnamese authorities acknowledge holding them.

Siam, Chucheep Chivasut and Kritsana Thapthai fled Thailand after the May 2014 military coup to neighboring Laos, where they continued political activities. Thai authorities have been seeking their return on charges of insulting the monarchy, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

There is increased fear for the safety of Thai dissidents after three others disappeared from Laos last year, and the eviscerated bodies of two of them were found later in the Mekong River.

Siam's parents, accompanied by sympathizers, presented letters Monday to Thailand's National Human Rights Commission, the Vietnamese Embassy and the European Union's office.

Theerawut's mother, Kanya Theerawut, told reporters that Thailand's Crime Suppression Division police said they have no information about his case.

"I want information from Vietnam's embassy on whether Siam was deported to Thailand or not. I'm most worried for his life," she said.

In a letter addressed to Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Hai Bang, she said she hoped the ambassador would look after the rights of the Thai people and not extradite refugees who risk harassment.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said the three were handed over to Thai authorities on May 8, though Thai officials have denied any knowledge of such a transfer.

"Only by publicly affirming that these three activists are in detention and in contact with their relatives and legal counsel will the authorities put to rest the fear that these men have been forcibly disappeared, " Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said at the time.

Many of those who fled to Laos after the 2014 coup are associated with the anti-military Red Shirt movement, which staged aggressive street protests in Bangkok in 2010 that were violently crushed by the military.

Siam, Chucheep and Kritsana are believed to have moved to Vietnam after their fellow Thai activists in Laos were killed. Their deaths raised concern among fellow activists that they were kidnapped by a death squad, either vigilante or officially sanctioned.

Last September, Thailand's government linked activists in Laos to a tiny political movement advocating the abolishment of the constitutional monarchy. They arrested several of the group's sympathizers inside Thailand on charges of sedition, seizing as evidence T-shirts bearing the group's logo of a red and white flag.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan commented at the time that those detained were part of a network of outlaws that had fled to Laos to evade charges of sedition and insulting the monarchy. He called them "traitors" and said they would all be arrested.


New species of Dinosaur found in Sa Kaeo

NNT

Bangkok - The Department of Mineral Resources says dinosaur fossils have been discovered at Phra Prong water reservoir in Tambon Chong Kum in Wattana Nakhon district of Sa Kaeo province.

Titannosaurid fossils have been discovered and are believed to date back to the early Cretaceous period. Fossils of pelvises of large-sized carnivorous dinosaurs have been found as well as those of other creatures in the same period such as two kinds of crocodile’s teeth, three kinds of turtle, two kinds of fish scales and three kinds of shark’s teeth. Since 2002, a total of 62 bones of dinosaurs have been discovered in the compound of Pang Sida national park and found to have belonged to long-necked, long-tailed sauropod dinosaurs which might have been a new species of dinosaur. The department has planned to manage the area where the fossils have been found as a learning center and tourist attraction for Sa Kaeo province.


DNP announces closure of southern islands during rainy season

NNT

Bangkok - The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has announced the temporary closure of attractions in a number of national parks in the region during the rainy season.

The Adang – Rawi archipelago will be closed from May 16 to October 14 due to strong winds and high waves. Meanwhile, Lipe and Tarutao islands are open for tourism throughout the year.

Tarutao National Park consists of 51 large and small islands, covering a total area of 1,490 square kilometers. The national park has seven large islands, including Tarutao, Adang, Rawi, Lipe, Klang, Butang and Bitsi. They are divided into two archipelagos, namely Tarutao and Adang - Rawi.

Tourists who plan to visit the coastal province of Satun during this time of the year can contact Tarutao National Park at 0-7478-3485 for further information.


Songkhla Special Task Force seizes 50 rai of forest area

NNT

Bangkok - The Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) Region 4 led authorities to seize 10 forest areas in the National Forest Reserve of the San Kalakiri mountain range after it was earlier found that almost 50 rai of forest area had been destroyed.

Songkhla Special Task Force cooperated with a special working group of the ISOC to inspect the virgin forests adjacent to San Kalakiri National Park on the Thai-Malaysian border. The operation was launched after the Anothai Adhoc Unit conducted an aerial survey and found deforestation in many areas of Songkhla province.

In some areas, valuable woods were found to have been felled by a chain saw. Newly grown durians were also found in some areas but the offenders were not found. Authorities have seized the forest area and will track down the offenders in order to prosecute them.


Thailand’s Buddhism Promotion Week begins

NNT

Bangkok - The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is cooperating with the Center for Promotion of Buddhism, the Department of Religious Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior, and the National Office of Buddhism to hold "Buddhism Promotion Week" from May 12 to 18.

The opening ceremony of the event at Lan Khon Muang in front of Bangkok City Hall in Phra Nakhon district was presided over by the Vice President of Mahamakut Buddhist University, Phra Methavinairos. "Buddhism Promotion Week" is being held to promote the teachings of Buddhism and celebrate His Majesty the King’s Coronation.

During the event, many activities will be held to provide knowledge and understanding of Buddhism, such as religious seminars and an exhibition of Phra Vessantara, the Lord Buddha’s previous life.

On May 18, which coincides with Visakha Bucha Day, a merit-making and alms-giving ceremony will be organized at Lan Khon Muang for the general public, government officials, and representatives of the public and private sectors.

Visakha Bucha Day is an important religious holiday for Buddhists worldwide. On December 13, 1999, the United Nations (UN) recognized that Vesak is an important international day.

Thailand introduced "Buddhism Promotion Week" in 1984, with the support of the Center for Promotion of Buddhism under the Supreme Patriarch’s Patronage, Buddhist organizations, and the public and private sectors.


Government urged to implement new economic stimulus measures

Thanavath Phonvichai - Director of the UTCC’s Economic and Business Forecasting Center.

NNT

Bangkok - The Director of the UTCC’s Economic and Business Forecasting Center, Thanavath Phonvichai, says that the 25% tariff imposed by the US on Chinese goods could have an adverse impact on the global economy already facing a slowdown. The UTCC projected that Thai exports will grow by only 1%, from the previous forecast of 3% growth.

The trade war between two of the biggest world economies will dampen Thailand’s tourism sector, as the number of Chinese arrivals in Thailand would drop, due to economic issues in China. The university earlier predicted that Thailand would welcome at least 40 million foreign tourists this year, but that figure is now expected to drop.

It is now expected that the Thai economy will expand less than 3.5% and the next government should introduce new measures to support exports, foreign exchange, tourism, investment, and the prices of agricultural products.

The Government Savings Bank’s (GSB) grassroots economics and business research center, has reported that the confidence index of 500 local startup businesses for the first quarter of this year stood at 58.80 points, which indicates that investors are still confident in the country’s economic situation. However, overseas orders have started to slow down due to the US - China trade war, while the Thai tourism industry is facing growing competition from other countries in the region. As a result, sales and orders have contracted in Thailand.

According to the GSB, the startups’ confidence index for the next three months stands at 67.52 points, as they anticipate that the new government will be formed successfully, causing the domestic economy to improve. Even if the trade negotiations between China and the US aren’t fruitful, some Thai products may receive bigger orders from the US to replace Chinese goods. In addition, manufacturers from China and the US may relocate their manufacturing plants to Thailand. The tourism sector has also been boosted by the increased number of public holidays in the second quarter of this year.


Govt issues tax deduction measure for educational, sports spending

NNT

Bangkok - The government has issued a tax deduction measure for people who buy products for education and sports, including books and eBooks.

Taxpayers who spend up to 15,000 baht on uniforms, sports equipment and textbooks for students can deduct such spending on one product group from personal income for the 2019 tax year.

The educational equipment includes stationery, clothes, school uniforms, shoes, and socks, but does not include electronic products. The products can be purchased from April 30 – June 30, 2019. Taxpayers must submit a personal income tax deduction form for 2019 to get a tax rebate according to the actual payment.

For the tax deduction on the purchase of books and eBooks, the key evidence is receipts or tax invoices. Should the bookstores have VAT registration for other businesses, the receipts or the invoices have to contain complete details of buyer and seller. The maximum outlay of 15,000 baht on books and eBooks also includes the purchase of books under the shopping tax break campaign launched earlier this year.

Taxpayers can exercise their right to a tax break until December 31, 2019.

The measures are aimed at reducing the financial burden on families. The amount of the tax refund depends on the income level and tax rates applying to the parents.

In cases where the parents’ monthly income is no more than 24,833 baht, it isn’t necessary to exercise the tax deduction rights because they are already at a tax-exempt threshold.

However, the tax deduction rights are considered a tax benefit that not only allows taxpayers to pay less tax but might even allow them to be entitled to a higher level of tax refund.


Kenyan government observes housing estate project in Bangkok

NNT

Bangkok - High ranking executives from the Kenyan government have been in Bangkok to observe the development of the Baan Pracharat housing project beside Khlong Lat Phrao canal in the capital, to gather practical information to benefit housing development projects in 18 cities in Kenya.

Thanat Nareupornpong, Assistant Director of the Community Organizations Development Institute (CODI), brought the executives and officials from Kenya’s parliament and the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development to observe the development of the housing estate project, starting with a boat trip along an 8-kilometer section of Khlong Lat Phrao canal to the community behind Rajabhat Chankasem University.

The housing development now has 2,083 occupied residences, with 747 households waiting for the construction of their houses to be completed, and 306 families waiting for the construction of their new homes to begin. The project currently has 3,136 housing units either occupied or nearing completion, with an ultimate goal of 7,069 domestic units.


His Majesty King Vajiralongkorn crowned in elaborate ancient royal tradition

A joyous new era begins with elaborate coronation

His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn sits on the throne as he is officially crowned king at the Grand Palace, Saturday, May 4, 2019, in Bangkok. The world watched on as His Majesty the King took the throne in an elaborate centuries-old royal tradition that last happened seven decades ago. After completing the rites, His Majesty issued his post-coronation royal command, “I shall continue to preserve, and build upon the royal legacy and shall reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the people forever,” the King said. Long live the King! (Photo courtesy of the Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)
 

Bangkok (AP) — His Majesty King Maha Vajira­longkorn was officially crowned Saturday, May 4, in an elaborate centuries-old royal tradition that last happened seven decades ago.

His Majesty has served as king for more than two years since he assumed the throne after the October 2016 death of his revered father, HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Earlier, the king wore a simple white robe as he entered a small pavilion where he was bathed with sacred water from several holy rivers and ponds and other water sources in the country. Other water was poured on him from old royal water vessels. The rite, known as the Royal Ablution and Anointment ceremonies, took place amid music from drums, conch shells and other traditional Thai instruments. Outside the palace, artillery was fired in a salute to the monarch.

His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn sits on the throne in front of an audience of diplomats and dignitaries after being officially crowned king at the Grand Palace, Saturday, May 4, 2019, in Bangkok. (Photo courtesy of the Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)

The Royal Anointment Ceremony completed the consecration rites of his coronation, vesting him as a fully sovereign king.

HM the King changed into gold-embroidered royal vestments, seated on an octagonal throne, with the sides representing the cardinal points of the compass, and a dignitary seated at each point. Each poured holy water over the king’s hand, along with a ninth representing the heavens.

The ceremony ended with the monarch being presented with a nine-tiered white umbrella of state, symbolizing his full consecration.

His Majesty the King anoints Queen Suthida towards the end of the ceremony proclaiming her as Her Majesty the Queen. (Photo courtesy of the Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)

When the auspicious time arrived, the royal astrologer hit the Gong of Victory, the scribe and the royal augur began inscribing on the Royal Golden Plaques the official title of the King and the King’s Horoscope. At the same moment, the artisan also began to engrave the Royal Seal of State. During the whole period, monks were chanting auspicious prayers, Brahmins were blowing conch shells, while the royal officers of the Thai musical ensemble played their instruments.

In the third, more secular rite, the 200-year-old, 7.3-kilogram (16-pound) heavy crown was handed to the king, known as Rama X, by the chief Brahmin, a Hindu priest who has played a guiding part in the mixed Buddhist-Hindu ceremony as part of the third and final rite of the coronation ceremony, the presentation of royal regalia.

His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn is transported on the royal palanquin by royal bearers during his visit to the Temple of the Emerald Buddhism, Saturday, May 4, 2019, in Bangkok. (Photo courtesy of the Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)

As one of his first acts His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn proclaimed Queen Suthida as Her Majesty the Queen and presented her with the traditional royal regalia.

After the coronation, the king received members of the royal family, the Privy Council and Cabinet, among other senior officials, who will pay their respects.

Later that afternoon he visited the Temple of the Emerald Buddha to announce he is the royal defender of Buddhism.

The day’s events ended with a ceremony of the Assumption of the Royal Residence, a symbolic palace housewarming.

His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn is bathed with sacred water from several holy rivers and ponds and other water sources in the country in a rite known as the Royal Ablution and Anointment ceremonies. (Photo courtesy of the Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)

His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn sits on the throne in front of an audience of diplomats and dignitaries after being officially crowned king at the Grand Palace in Bangkok. (Source: Thai TV Pool via AP)

His Majesty the King anoints Queen Suthida towards the end of the ceremony proclaiming her as Her Majesty the Queen. (Photo courtesy of the Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)
 

His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn is transported on the royal palanquin by royal bearers during his visit to the Temple of the Emerald Buddhism, Saturday, May 4, 2019, in Bangkok. (Thailand’s Royal Public Relation Department via AP)

The chief Brahmin priest presents His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn with one of the many items of investiture including the royal golden plaque upon which is inscribed his royal official title, together with the royal seal of state, the royal regalia, the royal utensils, and the weapons of sovereignty. (Photo courtesy of the Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)

(Above) His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn is carried on a palanquin through the streets outside the Grand Palace for the public to pay homage to him on the second day of his coronation ceremony in Bangkok, Sunday, May 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

In this image made from video, His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn sits on the throne as he is officially crowned king at the Grand Palace, Saturday, May 4, 2019, in Bangkok. (Thai TV Pool via AP)

His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn sits on the throne as he is officially crowned King at the Grand Palace, in Bangkok, May 4, 2019. (Photo courtesy Royal Household Bureau)

His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn greets an audience from the balcony of Suddhaisavarya Prasad Hall in the Grand Palace Monday, May 6, 2019, in Bangkok. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida greet an audience from the balcony of the Suddhaisavarya Prasad Hall in the Grand Palace during the King’s coronation ceremony Monday, May 6, 2019, in Bangkok. (AP Photo/Rapeephat Sitichailapa)

His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida sit inside the royal car driven past large crowds of people shouting “Long live the King” Saturday, May 4, 2019, in Bangkok, Thailand. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn receives anointment water from Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. (Thai TV Pool via AP)

The royal guard marches as King Maha Vajiralongkorn is transported on the royal palanquin by royal bearers during the Royal Procession on Land to encircle the city for the king’s coronation ceremonies Sunday, May 5, 2019, in Bangkok. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Royal Guards fire cannons in honor of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Saturday, May 4, 2019, in Bangkok. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Officers stand guard outside the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Saturday, May 4, 2019. (AP photo/Sakchai Lalit)

A full moon rises behind the Grand Palace in Bangkok. The official coronation of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who is also known as
Rama X, involved months of rituals that culminated in three days of elaborate pageantry. The final event will be a royal barge procession in October 2019. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File)

Important bridges in Bangkok were decorated with lights at night in honor of His Majesty the King on the occasion of his coronation.

People watch His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn as he passes through the streets outsiade the Grand Palace on the second day of his coronation ceremony in Bangkok, Sunday, May 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

People gather to watch a procession with His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn during his coronation ceremony Sunday, May 5, 2019, in Bangkok. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)


Elephants kneel in ritual tribute to Thailand's new king

 

Elephants are paraded outside the Grand Palace in honor of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn following his coronation ceremony in Bangkok, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Rapeephat Sitichailapa)

Associated Press

Bangkok (AP) — Eleven white-painted elephants, their tusks garlanded, gathered with their handlers before Bangkok's Grand Palace on Tuesday to pay respects to Thailand's newly crowned monarch.

Hundreds of mahouts, or handlers, dressed in royal yellow sang the royal anthem and kneeled with their elephants before a portrait of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn. The ceremony followed a celebration a day earlier in which thousands of watched and cheered as the King and his family waved from a palace balcony.

The elephants, which came from across the country, trumpeted at the end of the ceremony. They also posed for group photos.

"I am delighted for His Majesty that everyone shows their respect to him, even the elephants showed their respect for him. And they did it so well," said Phuraporn Gorgerd, one of those attending the event.

Thais consider white elephants a sacred symbol of royal power, and an elephant adorned the national flag until 1917. The elephants are not entirely white, and are sometimes painted to look lighter colored than their natural patchy color.


Official election results favor Pheu Thai party

In this Sunday, March 24, 2019, file photo, an election officer counts votes at a polling station in Bangkok. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Associated Press

Bangkok (AP) — The Election Commission on Tuesday officially endorsed results from the country's March 24 general election, declaring that the Pheu Thai party topped the field by winning 136 constituencies.

The commission said the rival military-backed Palang Pracharath party ran second with 97 seats.

It is still unclear who will form the next government, as both of the top two competitors are seeking partners to achieve a parliamentary majority.

The Election Commission came under heavy criticism for releasing delayed and confusing preliminary vote totals, and has been accused of tilting in favor of the military.

There are 500 seats in the House of Representatives, and the committee endorsed 349 of the 350 won by direct vote. The remaining 150 so-called party list seats will be awarded based on a proportion of the overall nationwide vote derived from a complicated formula, and the commission must allocate them by Thursday. It has hedged on exactly how the formula will be applied, making it difficult to project the total allocation of seats in the lower house.

One constituency seat was left unendorsed after the Pheu Thai candidate who topped the vote was disqualified for breaking an election rule by donating money to a Buddhist monk during the campaign.

Deputy Election Commission Secretary-General Sawang Boonmee cautioned that the endorsements announced Tuesday could be withdrawn after investigations into more than 400 complaints are resolved.

When asked when the commission will finish investigating all cases, he said "we will try to investigate as fast as possible." He said the commission has up to a year after election day to order new votes where candidates are disqualified. The commission's critics fear it will disqualify mainly members of the Pheu Thai party and its would-be allies.


Thai embassies worldwide conduct activities to honor HM King Rama X

NNT

Bangkok - Thai embassies worldwide have celebrated the coronation of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

The Thai embassy in Lisbon, Portugal, conducted a merit-making and clean-up activity at Sumetharam temple in Ericeira, in honor of His Majesty the King.

The embassy in Washington D.C., the United States, also conducted a merit-making and clean-up activity, which took place at a Thai Washington D.C. temple, and was attended by government personnel and hundreds of Thai expats from nearby areas.

The Thai Consular Office in Munich, Germany, organized a merit-making activity co-presided over by Phinthep Devakul na Ayutthaya, the Thai consul general to Munich, and Phra Khru Phaovana Thammanithet, the abbot of Thai Buddhist Nurnberg temple.

Meanwhile, the Thai embassy in Rabat, Morocco, organized a merit-making activity presided over by Phra Khru Phairot Phaovanavithet, the abbot of Buddha Bucha temple in France.


Summer storms hits several provinces

NNT

Bangkok - Nong Khai province was hit Monday night by summer thunderstorms that caused damage to houses in many areas. Volunteers and military officials are now assisting victims.

Three districts in Nong Khai were particularly affected by the storms, they being Si Chiang Mai, Tha Bo, and Pho Tak districts where 66 houses in total were reported damaged. The storms also damaged farmland in the area.

Meanwhile in Sisaket province, officials from related agencies have visited farmers whose durian farms were affected by storms on 26 April, bringing down durian trees. The province’s Ministry Of Interior’s Ladies Association President, Chutiporn Wichitsaengsri, has delivered cash to the farmers to help cover their losses.


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