Tag Archives: Thailand

Thai pro-democracy protesters return to street.


The pro-democracy movement, which kicked off last July, is calling for reforms to the unassailable monarchy, and the abolition of the royal defamation law is one of its key demands.

Thai pro-democracy protesters scaled a massive Bangkok monument Saturday, draping it in a crimson cloth and calling for the kingdom to abolish its draconian royal defamation laws.

Momentum for the youth-led movement calling for an overhaul to Premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha’s government has slowed in recent months, due to a fresh wave of coronavirus infections in Thailand.


But the recent detention of four prominent leaders has spurred protesters into action, bringing hundreds back to the Democracy Monument intersection in Bangkok’s historic quarter — under the close watch of scores of riot police.

The leaders were charged under the lese majeste law, which carries penalties of up to 15 years per charge if found guilty of insulting the monarchy.


“I want to stress the purpose of today’s rally is to call for 112 to be abolished,” said Panupong “Mike” Jadnok, referring to the law by its penal code section.

A pro-democracy protester holding a shield stands next to a formation of riot police during an anti-government demonstration by the Grand Palace in Bangkok on February 13, 2021. (Photo by Jack TAYLOR / AFP)

After rearranging flower pots around the monument to say “112”, activists draped a massive red cloth over Democracy Monument in an act of defiance.

“If the police don’t release our friends within seven days, we will stage a big protest here at the monument,” shouted rally leader Attapon Buapat.


As night fell, they marched to the Royal Palace but were stopped by barricades and barbed wire surrounding the area.

Scores of police in full riot gear faced off with the protesters, some of whom were wielding white shields, gas masks and helmets.

The pro-democracy movement, which kicked off last July, is calling for reforms to the unassailable monarchy, and the abolition of the royal defamation law is one of its key demands.

Their grievances with the monarchy has electrified Thai society, where frank discussion about the royals is taboo.


At its peak, the rallies drew tens of thousands, with demonstrators drawing inspiration from Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.

In November, police deployed tear gas and water cannon against protesters, using liquid laced with an irritant, and clashes left more than 40 people injured.



Thai PM, Chan-o-cha orders Police crackdown over democracy protest.


Lawmakers have this week been discussing various proposals for constitutional change, which mostly exclude any reform to the monarchy.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha ordered security agencies on Thursday to crack down on pro-democracy protesters, days after police used tear gas and water cannon at a Bangkok rally.

The country has been rocked since July by youth-led protests demanding a new constitution, unprecedented calls to reform the untouchable monarchy, and for Prayut to resign.


Clashes outside parliament Tuesday between pro-democracy protesters and hardline royalists marked a steep rise in violence, with six people shot.

A day later, some 20,000 people massed in Bangkok’s main shopping district, and protesters daubed anti-royal graffiti outside the Thai National Police headquarters.

Prayut, who seized power in a 2014 coup, issued a statement Thursday warning protesters will be hit with the full force of the law.

“The situation is still not resolved in any good direction and is likely to develop into more conflict leading to more violence,” he said.


“If this is left… it may damage the nation and the most beloved institution,” he added, referring to the monarchy.

He said the government and security agencies need to “intensify their practices”, and enforce all sections of all laws.

This could mean more charges under the country’s harsh royal defamation laws, which are routinely interpreted to include any criticism of any aspect of the monarchy — including content posted or shared on social media.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn asked the Thai government in June to suspend using the lese majeste laws, but human rights critics say there is a host of other legislation that authorities can use to target democracy activists.


Asked if the government was giving the nod to police to pursue lese majeste charges, spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri did not rule it out.

“The protesters should respect all laws in general. We don’t specify whether we would be enacting any laws specifically,” he told AFP.

The king sits at the apex of Thai power, supported by the military and the kingdom’s billionaire clans, and the royal family enjoys support from mostly older conservatives.

On Wednesday they agreed to look at two proposals for a “constitutional drafting assembly”, while rejecting more far-reaching bills to revise the role of the royals and change the makeup of the senate.


Storyline: Jewelry thief arrested in Thailand.


The shop notified Khlong Tan police. They found an ID card on the ground and soon tracked the person named on it to his residence.

Noble Reporters Media gathered that A thief who stole two necklaces from a gold shop in Bangkok, Thailand was arrested after he accidentally dropped his ID card while fleeing.

The suspect, Pathompong Sukane, 34, was arrested two hours later at his house on Soi Phattanakan 38 in Suan Luang district on Thursday, November 5.

Pathmong, a food delivery man, was charged with stealing the necklaces from Pornsuphan gold shop, in the Phattanakan branch of Tesco Lotus store.

Jewelry thief arrested after he accidentally dropped his ID card in gold shop

According to the employees, the suspect walked into the gold shop and asked to see necklaces. One staffer showed him two gold necklaces weighing 2 baht.


He asked the cost but as the employee was calculating the price, he grabbed both necklaces and ran from the store. He fled on a motorcycle parked outside, evading the security guards who tried to stop him.

Jewelry thief arrested after he accidentally dropped his ID card in gold shop

They found Mr. Pathompong, the two necklaces, and the motorcycle he used to make his escape.

He told police he delivered food for a living but was not making enough money to make ends meet so he decided to rob the gold shop.


Thai King, Maha gets massive support from thousands.


So far, pro-democracy protests have remained peaceful, but scores of students and activists have been arrested and charged — some with the serious crime of sedition.

Thousands of royalists thronged to Bangkok’s Grand Palace Sunday for a glimpse of the Thai king, a massive show of support after months of protests calling for an overhaul of the government and reform of the monarchy.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn sits at the apex of Thai power, his influence permeating every aspect of society.

But the once-unassailable institution faces unprecedented challenges from a growing pro-democracy movement, some of whose leaders call for reforms including an end to draconian royal defamation laws.

On Sunday, royal devotion was on display as thousands wearing yellow shirts the royal colour waited near the Grand Palace clutching portraits of King Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida.

“We will live loyally, die faithfully,” chanted the crowd as he emerged from the palace to greet them. “Long live the King!”


Zigzagging through the crowd, the inscrutable monarch received flowers from his supporters, at one point saying “thank you” and signing his portrait, according to footage from local media.

The king — who spends long periods of time in Germany — has been in the kingdom in recent weeks to mark a Buddhist holiday and the anniversary of his father’s death.

The visit has coincided with non-stop demonstrations from mostly young activists, who have staged guerilla rallies drawing thousands to Bangkok’s most traffic-clogged intersections as a show of defiance.

While the movement is leaderless, they are united in their demand for the removal of Premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha, a former military chief who came to power after staging a coup in 2014.


But calls for reform of the monarchy have drawn a backlash from Thailand’s conservative bloc, rousing royalist groups to stage their own rallies.

“We came here to show our loyalty to the king,” said Bin Bunleurit, a Thai former actor who decried the students’ demands.

Controversially, the students have also called for a clear accounting of the palace’s finances — which the extremely wealthy king took control of in 2018 — and for the monarch to “stay out” of politics.

“It is not reform, it is about overthrowing the monarchy,” Bin insisted to reporters outside the palace.


Over the weekend three high-profile student leaders were released on bail, only to be swiftly accosted as authorities attempted to re-arrest them on another charge.

A scuffle with plainclothes police landed them in hospital.

On Sunday night one of the trio, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, pledged in a Facebook post that they would keep pushing for their goals.

“If the people do not step back, we will not step back,” he wrote.


Thai’s premier call parliament again as protesters hit up pressure.


The movement appeared to be gaining traction across the country with smaller protests taking place Sunday from Phuket in the south to Khon Kaen in the northeast.

Thailand’s embattled premier called Monday for a special session of parliament as protesters planned more rallies to demand his resignation, the release of jailed activists, and reforms to the monarchy.

Tens of thousands of mostly young protesters have taken to the streets in the past week in defiance of an emergency decree banning gatherings of more than four people.

Police said around 20,000 people protested across the capital Sunday, although activists and local media estimated much bigger crowds.

As they prepared to rally again Monday, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha said parliament — currently in recess — would be recalled to discuss how to reduce tensions.

“We support opening an extraordinary session to solve this conflict,” he told reporters, warning protesters not to break the law.


“I request protesters rally peacefully. The government has already compromised to some degree,” he said.

The largely leaderless movement is calling for the resignation of Prayut — a former army chief and mastermind of a 2014 coup — as well as the re-writing of the military-drafted constitution they say rigged last year’s election in his favour.

Most controversially, protesters are also making unprecedented demands to reform the powerful and ultra-wealthy monarchy.

They want the abolition of a draconian defamation law that shields King Maha Vajiralongkorn from criticism, greater transparency of royal finances, and for the monarch to stay out of politics.


‘Protect the monarchy’
It has gained momentum since July, but sharply escalated last week after a group of protesters surrounded a royal motorcade and flashed three-fingered “democracy salutes” — borrowed from the “Hunger Games” movies — at Queen Suthida.

Two activists now face charges under a rarely used law banning “violence against the queen” and face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.

Confrontations escalated further on Friday when riot police used water cannon and other strong-arm tactics, provoking widespread outrage.

Prayut warned Monday the government needed to protect the monarchy.


“This is the duty of all Thais,” he told reporters.

Apart from arrests by police, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society said it had flagged more than 325,000 messages on social media platforms that violated the Computer Crimes Act, which critics say is used to muzzle dissent.

Police also warned local media outlets that their coverage of the protests would be examined for possible illegal content.

By midday, #SaveFreePress was the latest hashtag trending on Thai Twitter, one of several platforms being used by tech-savvy protesters to coordinate their activity.

They have also copied many tactics employed by Hong Kong protesters during months of frequently violent clashes there last year, including using improvised protective clothing in case of confrontations with riot police.


Top Story: Anti Gov’t Protesters in Thailand back on street.


Anti-gov’t protesters renew calls for parliament’s dissolution, rewriting of constitution and protection of dissidents.

Pro-democracy protesters are gathering in Thailand’s capital, in what is expected to be the largest rally in weeks of anti-government demonstrations and the biggest since a military coup in 2014 that brought Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha to power.

Thousands of protesters on Saturday forced their way onto the campus of Bangkok’s Thammasat University, an institution that has long symbolised democracy in the country’s shaky political history. Later, they made their way into the adjacent Sanam Luang field near the royal palace.

The rally is expected to draw tens of thousands of people, with protesters planning to stay out until Sunday. Police said they would deploy thousands of officers.

“Today, we will continue to push for our demands,” said Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak. “As citizens, we should be able to fight for our rights. You cannot stop us. We have now broken through these first gates and we will continue to break through until we have democracy,” added the student activist as he mobilised a large group of protesters on the outer limits of the university.

Moments earlier, tensions had risen as a scuffle broke out between an anti-government protester and a security guard.

Democratic reforms
The student-led, anti-government movement has been calling for three significant changes to Thailand’s power structure: the dissolution of parliament, the rewriting of the military-drafted constitution and an end to the intimidation of dissidents.


Protesters believe that their votes in last year’s long-delayed general election have been disregarded after Prayuth, a former army general, stayed on as prime minister with the backing of an unelected Senate and smaller parties, despite the pro-military Palang Pracharat party finishing second.

Following the 2014 coup, Prayuth scrapped the country’s constitution and had the military write a new charter that increased the king’s powers and allowed the military to appoint the 250-member Senate that was to have a say in selecting the new prime minister.

Protesters have also been openly discussing Thailand’s powerful monarchy in public, with some calling for it to be reformed and have its political power reduced. This level of public criticism and debate is unprecedented in modern times, as the kingdom’s royal institution is protected by strict lese majeste laws that can carry prison sentences of up to 15 years.

The anti-government movement has been brewing since mid-July, but its origins began when Thailand’s top court in February moved to dissolve the popular Future Forward Party (FFP). Led by charismatic billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, the FFP won the third-highest number of parliamentary seats in the March 2019 election and was seen as a threat to the political establishment.


The coronavirus pandemic momentarily halted the movement in March but protests resumed as cases started to fall. And in June, the disappearance of Wanchalerm Satsakit, a well-known activist who was abducted in plain sight outside of his apartment in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, was the spark that pushed people to take to the streets.

The initially youth-led demonstrations have since grown consistently larger, drawing citizens from all age groups and walks of life amid rising discontent over Thailand’s widening economic inequality.

Mook, 21, a recent university graduate, said she was participating in the protest to fight for “a better future”.

“We’re unhappy with the government, it’s very simple,” she told Noble Reporters Media‘s known Media. “Last year, when I was in university, it became obvious to us [other students] how difficult our future will be if we don’t ask for this [three demands],” she said.

“So today, I’m joining this activity because I think Thailand desperately needs democracy.”


Police estimate up to 50,000 people could show up at Saturday’s protest, but student leaders believe there could be up to 100,000. Some are worried of an impending crackdown as Prayuth recently warned protesters to not “violate the palace”.

“I’m coming here to help the young people,” said Peeja Plahn, 53. “Many of them have not seen political rallies like this and they won’t know what to do if things get bad. We’re here to support their cause, but we’re also here because this government doesn’t work,” he added.

“Thailand needs to move on.”

At least 28 activists have been arrested on various charges, including sedition, since the protests began months ago.


Thai King, Maha reinstates ex consort after 10 months of stripping her of all titles


Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn has reinstated 35-year-old Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi as his royal consort on Aug 28, the Royal Palace announced in the Royal Gazette.

“Since Ms Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi is flawless, a Royal Command was given to Ms Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi to hold the noble title of Royal Noble Consort Sineenat Bilaskalayani, along with ranks in the Royal Office and the military, and receive royal decorations of all classes,” the palace said in a Royal Gazette dated Aug 29.

According to the announcement, it is to be regarded that the royal noble consort has never previously been stripped of her noble titles, military ranks or royal decorations.

The reinstatement took place after King Vajiralongkorn stripped her of all military ranks, decorations and royal titles in October last year for being “ungrateful” and behaving “in ways unbecoming of her title”.

Her downfall came less than three months after King Vajiralongkorn granted her the title of Chao Khun Phra or royal noble consort – the first such appointment in nearly a century.


According to the Palace’s statement on Oct 21, 2019, Sineenat had shown her objection and exerted pressure against Queen Suthida’s installation. She wished to be installed as the queen instead.

“She is also not content with the title bestowed upon her, doing everything to rise to the level of the queen. She lacks the understanding of the good traditions of the royal court. She displays disobedience against the king and the queen,” the statement said then.

Sineenat was born in the northern province of Nan on Jan 26, 1985. She graduated from the Royal Thai Army Nursing College and trained as a pilot in Thailand and abroad.

She was first bestowed the title of royal noble consort on King Vajiralongkorn’s 67th birthday in July last year.



Fresh Thailand Pro-democracy protest drives near 10,000.


An anti-government protest in Thailand drew at least 10,000 people on Sunday, police said, the largest political demonstration the kingdom has seen in years as a pro-democracy movement gathers steam.

Student-led groups have held near-daily protests across the country for the past month to denounce Premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha — a former army chief who led a 2014 coup — and his military-aligned administration.

By Sunday evening the protesters — who are demanding major democratic reforms — had taken over the busy intersection around Bangkok’s Democracy Monument, which was built to mark the 1932 revolution that ended royal absolutism.

Police closed off surrounding main roads to stop incoming traffic, and an official at Bangkok’s Metropolitan Police Bureau told AFP the crowd size had grown to 10,000 by 6 pm (1100 GMT).


“Down with the dictatorship,” the students chanted, many holding signs critical of the administration. Others held pigeon-shaped cutouts representing peace.

The gathering at Democracy Monument is the largest the kingdom has seen since Prayut staged a putsch in 2014.

Tensions have risen over the last two weeks with authorities arresting three activists. They were released on bail after being charged with sedition and violating coronavirus rules.

They were told not to repeat the alleged offences, but one of them — prominent student leader Parit Chiwarak — arrived at the protest venue on Sunday flanked by cheering supporters.


Partly inspired by the Hong Kong democracy movement, the protesters claim to be leaderless and have relied mostly on social media campaigns to draw support across the country.

“Give a deadline to dictatorship” and “let it end at our generation” were the top Twitter hashtags in Thailand on Sunday.

The protesters are demanding an overhaul of the government and a rewriting of the 2017 military-scripted constitution, which they believe skewed last year’s election in favour of Prayut’s military-aligned party.

A rally last week by around 4,000 demonstrators also called for the abolition of a law protecting Thailand’s unassailable monarchy, and for a frank discussion about its role in Thailand.


King Maha Vajiralongkorn sits at the apex of Thai power, flanked by the military and the country’s billionaire business elite.

Anti-government protesters take part in a rally by the Democracy Monument in Bangkok on August 16, 2020. – Protesters gathered for a rally in Bangkok on August 16 against the government as tensions rose in the kingdom after the arrest of three activists leading the pro-democracy movement. Mladen ANTONOV / AFP.

A draconian “112” law can see those convicted sentenced to up to 15 years in jail per charge.

During Sunday’s demonstration, which drew a diverse crowd of all ages, many said they agreed with the student demands.

“We can’t let the students walk on this difficult path alone,” a 68-year-old woman told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media), declining to provide her name.


– Growing discontent –

But the increasingly bold pro-democracy movement also has its detractors.

Standing at one corner of the monument’s intersection were dozens of royalist protesters carrying portraits of the king and queen.

“Long live the king,” shouted the royalists dressed in yellow shirts — the king’s colours.

Prayut last week described the protesters’ demands as “unacceptable” for Thailand’s majority, calling the pro-democracy movement “risky”.


He struck a more conciliatory tone in a televised speech later, appealing for unity and saying the “future belongs to the young”.

Thailand has long seen a cycle of violent protests and coups, with the arch-royalist army staging more than a dozen putsches since 1932.

The growing discontent also comes as the kingdom goes through one of its worst economic periods since 1997 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Millions have been left jobless, and the crisis has exposed the inequalities in the Thai economy, which is perceived to benefit the elite, pro-military establishment.

Rising pro democracy protest in Thailand grows tension.


Protesters were set to rally in Bangkok Sunday against the government as tensions rose in the kingdom after the arrest of three activists leading the pro-democracy movement.

Thailand has seen near-daily demonstrations for the past month by student-led groups denouncing Premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha — a former military chief who led the 2014 coup — and his pro-establishment administration.

Prominent student leader Parit Chiwarak, bailed a day after his arrest Friday night, vowed to attend Sunday’s rally at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument.


“We will not disappoint you,” he told a crowd of supporters outside the police station after he was released.

Organisers expect thousands to participate. Hundreds of police personnel were seen at the venue before the scheduled start of the protest.

The protesters, partly inspired by the Hong Kong democracy movement, claim to be leaderless, and have relied mostly on social media campaigns to draw support across the country.

The hashtag “Give a deadline to dictatorship” and “Tag your friends to protest” started trending early Sunday on Twitter in Thailand.


The protesters are demanding an overhaul of the government and a rewrite of the 2017 military-scripted constitution, which demonstrators believe skewed last year’s poll in the favour of Prayut’s military-aligned party.

A rally last week — attended by some 4,000 demonstrators — also called for the abolition of a law protecting Thailand’s unassailable monarchy, and for a frank discussion about the royal institution’s role in Thailand.

Anti-government protesters hold up a three-finger salute as they occupy the road around Democracy Monument during a rally in Bangkok on August 16, 2020. – Protesters gathered for a rally in Bangkok on August 16 against the government as tensions rose in the kingdom after the arrest of three activists leading the pro-democracy movement. Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP.

Super-rich King Maha Vajiralongkorn sits at the apex of Thai power, flanked by the military and the kingdom’s billionaire business elite.

The draconian “112” law can see those convicted sentenced to up to 15 years in jail for each charge.


– Growing discontent –

The growing boldness of the pro-democracy movement has angered the pro-royalist camp.

On Sunday, some 50 royalist protesters carrying portraits of the king gathered at the Democracy Monument — the same venue where the anti-government rally will take place later in the day.

“Long live the king,” shouted the royalists, dressed in yellow shirts — the king’s colours.

The day before student leader Parit’s arrest, Prayut said the protesters’ demands were “unacceptable” for the country’s majority, calling the pro-democracy movement “risky”.


He struck a more conciliatory tone in a televised speech later in the day, appealing for unity and saying the “future belongs to the young”.

Thailand has long seen a cycle of violent protests and coups, with the arch-royalist army staging more than a dozen putsches since the end of absolutism in 1932.

The growing discontent also comes as the kingdom goes through one of its worst economic periods since 1997 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Millions have been left jobless, and the crisis has exposed the inequalities in the Thai economy, which is perceived to benefit the elite, pro-military establishment.


Malaysian Coast: 24 Rohingya migrant feared ‘drowned’


A Rohingya migrant is feared to be the only survivor from a boat carrying at least two dozen asylum seekers that are believed to have run into difficulty off the Malaysian coast near Thailand, a coastguard official said Sunday.

Mohamad Zawawi Abdullah, coastguard chief for the northern states of Kedah and Perlis, said the 27-year-old named Nor Hossain was detained by police after he swam to shore on the resort island of Langkawi.

“Based on the information from the police, the illegal Rohingya migrant had jumped off the boat that had 24 other people and that he was the only one who managed to swim to the shore safely,” Zawawi said.


A search and rescue operation had been launched, but another official told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media) that no bodies or survivors have been found.

It is not clear what happened to the boat.

Muslim-majority Malaysia is a favoured destination for Rohingya, who face persecution in their mostly Buddhist homeland of Myanmar, but authorities have in recent months been trying to stop them entering over coronavirus fears.

Many of the 700,000-plus Rohingya Muslims who fled a military crackdown in Myanmar three years ago have attempted to leave overcrowded refugee camps in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district on boats headed for Malaysia and neighbouring Indonesia.


Zawawi said two coastguard aircraft and two boats have been deployed to search the suspected area.

Malaysia has stepped up maritime patrols since the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic in a bid to stop Rohingya boats from landing.

Although some have made it ashore many boats have been turned back, sparking anger from rights groups.


Stranded Nigerians evacuated from Malaysia, Thailand


An Air Peace aircraft is in the process of evacuating stranded Nigerians in Malaysia and Thailand, the Nigerians In Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) has said.

The Commission revealed this in a tweet on Saturday.

“Chartered @airpeace flight APK-7813 conveying Stranded Nigerians from Malaysia and Thailand departing Kaula Lumpur to Abuja and Lagos today with Evacuees from Malaysia and Thailand onboard,” the tweet said.


This is the first evacuation from both countries since the coronavirus pandemic instigated lockdowns across the world, according to NIDCOM.

A combination of photos showing Nigerians leaving Malaysia provided by the Nigerians In Diaspora Commission on July 11, 2020.

The flight is expected to depart at 7am and first arrive at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, before proceeding to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.

According to NIDCOM, all evacuees have tested negative to COVID-19 and will proceed on a 14-day self-isolation on arrival.


Thousands of Nigerians have been evacuated back home from across the world since the pandemic disrupted world travel.

In early June, the federal government said it has spent N169 million on the evacuation of Nigerians returning from overseas.

Since then, hundreds more have been returned to the country.

On July 4, at least 109 Nigerians stranded in India were welcomed back into the country.



Fresh African originated virus that could kill Humans already killing horses in Thailand. (Details)

When horses suddenly started dying in Thailand as the nation locked down to stem the spread of Covid-19, researchers feared the cause was another deadly bat-borne virus that could kill humans.

“We had no idea what was causing it,” said Nopadol Saropala, owner of a horse farm about 100 miles from the Thai capital, who lost 18 horses in nine days. “We found out later that it came from zebras that were apparently in transit to China.”

More than 500 horses have died since the outbreak appeared in late February. Blood samples analyzed in England in March confirmed it was African horse sickness, a viral disease not known to harm humans but which is widespread among equines, including zebras, in Africa. The illness, spread by biting midges, hadn’t broken out in Asia in more than 50 years.


The disease has devastated horse owners in Thailand and sent another signal to the global health community about the potential dangers of the wildlife trade. About 70% of emerging infectious diseases in humans are zoonotic — transmitted from animals to people.

The severity of the Covid-19 outbreak, thought to have originated in bats, has prompted governments from the U.S. to Australia to increase funding for studies of relationships between animals, humans and the environment to detect potential contagions before they jump species.

“Global biosecurity is pivotal,” said Mark Schipp, Australia’s chief veterinarian and president of the World Organisation for Animal Health. “Once established, diseases can be very costly, difficult to eradicate and can spread to other countries.”


Climate Change
Climate change, growing populations, consumerism, poverty, conflict, and migration are all factors in the spread of modern global health problems, a group of specialists wrote in the Lancet medical journal on May 16, calling for a multidisciplinary coalition to look into Covid-19.

Since 1980, four pandemics or international outbreaks — SARS, Ebola, AIDS and Covid-19 — have been tied to the wildlife trade. Other animal-bound pestilence, such as bluetongue, avian influenza, and African swine fever have added to the mounting costs of disease.

Toll of Asia’s Viruses
The most deadly viruses emerged from human contact with live animals


“A stronger surveillance system into parts of wildlife, in particular the ones that are the source of many of these viruses and which we may come into contact with, would be very helpful,” said Peter Ben Embarek, a food safety and animal disease scientist with the World Health Organization in Geneva.

While a Thai government investigation continues into the origins of the horse disease, evidence points to zebras — asymptomatic carriers — that were legally imported without needing blood samples or quarantine. That biosecurity gap was closed last month.

One locally registered firm involved in importing the animals since September 2018 had also been exporting them, especially to China, according to an April 7 statement by Thailand’s Department of National Parks.


“No one was thinking of a disease from Africa,” said Siraya Chunekamrai, a Bangkok-based veterinarian involved in efforts to contain the outbreak. “The first thought is to expect something local.”

Fruit Bats
Fruit bats present in Thailand are known to carry Nipah virus that can infect and kill humans. Hendra, a related virus, is also known to kill horses. Unlike Covid-19, there are vaccines to protect horses against both African horse sickness and Hendra.

A mass death if horses amid new breaking virus begun in Thailand, while neighboring Cambodia is installing finely woven nets to protect stables from the tiny blood-sucking midges that spread the virus in a similar way that mosquitoes transmit diseases such as dengue and malaria.


“We’re collaborating with medical specialists in dengue who have an understanding of insect movement,” said Siraya, who is also president-elect of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association.

For many, the death of their equines means the loss of livelihoods. The disease has killed everything from Thoroughbred stallions and racehorses to pets and ponies used in tourism.

A 2012 study predicted a hypothetical introduction of African horse sickness in the Netherlands would result in as much as 232 million euros ($254 million) in direct costs and consequential losses of up to 284 million euros. Stables keeping horses for racing and other sports would be worst affected. In Thailand, one Thoroughbred breeder is reported to have lost more than 60 horses worth about 100 million baht ($3.1 million).


Horse Freeze
It’s also crucial to owners that Thailand identifies the source of the sickness and stops the spread as quickly as possible. Horses cannot be imported or exported from the country for at least two years from the date of the last infection or vaccination.

While the zebras were imported legally because of a loophole in the rules, many countries face an increased risk of outbreaks because of the growing black market for illegal wildlife products, which Interpol estimates is worth as much as $20 billion annually.

In Myanmar, which shares a border with Thailand, weak enforcement of wildlife protection laws means a steady stream of pangolins, turtles, snakes, bear parts, birds and ivory is smuggled into China, said Nay Myo Shwe, an expert on the illegal trade based at Chattin Wildlife Sanctuary, north of Mandalay in central Myanmar.


“That puts us at high risk for emerging infectious zoonotic diseases,” said Nay Myo Shwe. He said wildlife traders, disease trackers, regulatory agencies, and medical and veterinary aid groups need to work together to reduce the danger.

Identifying how the deadly horse disease leaped from Africa to Thailand is key to ensuring “lessons are learned,” said Schipp at the World Organisation for Animal Health. Without a profound change in wildlife trading, “a future pandemic would be probable.”



Thailand shooting: Survivors recall ordeal of gun rampage

Terrified residents of the Thai city of Nakhon Ratchasima have been reliving their ordeal after a gunman roamed around a shopping centre on a shooting spree that killed 29 people.

Some barricaded themselves in toilets or hid under tables, frantically searching for information on mobiles.

Jakraphanth Thomma began his rampage on Saturday afternoon, but it only ended with his death 16 hours later.

Continue reading Thailand shooting: Survivors recall ordeal of gun rampage

Mother, Katie kissed her 17 years old Harvey in Thailand holiday

Katie Price was pictured kissing her son Harvey on the lips as they enjoyed a luxury holiday in Thailand.

The 41-year-old former glamour model and her 17-year-old son were dressed for a dip in the pool when she put one hand around the teenager’s neck as she planted a kiss on his lips.

Katie Price kisses her 17-year-old son Harvey on the lips as they enjoy holiday in Thailand

Katie Price recently insisted she’s having the time of her life with her eldest son.

“Harvey so happy on this holiday with just his mom,” she captioned a clip of her son in the pool.

Katie Price kisses her 17-year-old son Harvey on the lips as they enjoy holiday in Thailand

The pair also played games outside their room. Katie and Harvey are seen clapping during a game of pat-a-cake before the mum-of-five gives him a kiss on the lips.


50 year old died after the fireworks he light exploded his face.

... finance mourns

A British man was killed while ringing in the New Year in Thailand after a firework exploded in his face.

50-year-old Gary McLaren was ringing in the New Year with his Thai fiancee and friends at the party resort of Pattaya, eastern Thailand, on December 31 when the incident occurred.

Mr. McLaren from Corby, Northamptonshire was said to have been partying at the Miami A Go-Go bar before stepping outside and trying to light a 50cm cardboard tube packed with fireworks.

Eyewitnesses said he failed in his initial attempts to light the fireworks, but succeeded on a second attempt, causing smoke to pour out of the tube before fireworks then exploded in his face, knocking him to the ground.

 British man, 50, is killed in front of his fiancee as firework he was trying to light explodes in his face (Photos/Video)

When police and medics got to the scene they found him laying on the ground with bloody wounds on his face. The man was later pronounced dead at the scene after chest compressions were performed on him.

In one photo from the scene, Mr. McLaren’s partner, Jasmine was pictured weeping and hugging his lifeless body.

 British man, 50, is killed in front of his fiancee as firework he was trying to light explodes in his face (Photos/Video)

She later took to Facebook to mourn his death, saying: ‘This is [our] last picture honey, you will be in my heart forever babe. RIP Gary McLaren.’

Rod Parsons added: ‘RIP my brother Gary McLaren

 British man, 50, is killed in front of his fiancee as firework he was trying to light explodes in his face (Photos/Video)

‘You were like a brother to me & I’ll always be forever grateful plus in your debt for everything you’ve done for me and my son Corey Parsons.

‘Rest in total peace my bro but you’ve been taken from us way way too early. Love ya buddy.’

Police Captain Nakhonrat Nontseelard said the British Embassy in Bangkok has been informed of the death.