CrazyExpat

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CrazyExpat last won the day on July 17 2015

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  1. Thailand's parliament on Tuesday named Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn as the new king, completing a formal step for the heir to take the throne following the death of his father last month. The Cabinet, following a 1924 law on succession, submitted Vajiralongkorn's name to the National Assembly after a brief meeting, where members formally acknowledged him as the new monarch. "I would like everyone to stand up and give their blessings to the new king," said National Assembly president Pornpetch Wichitcholchai. His statement was followed by a cheer of "Long live the king" by all assembly members. Pornpetch said he would invite Vajiralongkorn to take the throne, the 10th in the Chakri dynasty, which was founded in 1782. He did not say when Vajiralongkorn would formally accept, but Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan told reporters earlier that the royal audience would be in the next few days. Vajiralongkorn was originally supposed to assume the throne the day his father died, but in a surprise announcement, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said the prince asked for the ascension to be put off so he had time to mourn. http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2016/11/28/world/asia/ap-as-thailand-king.html?_r=0
  2. According to Khaosod English, the Thai government has approved 10 year visas for foreigners. Affluent foreign residents over 50 will soon be able to apply for 10-year visas, a government spokesman said Tuesday. Intended to promote Thailand as a hub for medical services, the policy was approved by the interim cabinet on Tuesday, according to spokesman Athisit Chainuwat. It would replace one-year renewable visas and come in two installments of five years each, Athisit said. It was not immediately clear when the plan would be implemented. Applicants must either earn a monthly salary of at least 100,000 baht or have more than 3 million baht in their bank account, which cannot be withdrawn within the first year after receiving the visa. They must also have health insurance that covers hospital stays and provides at least USD$10,000 in annual coverage. http://www.khaosodenglish.com/news/business/2016/11/22/govt-approves-10-year-visas-foreigners-50/
  3. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like to advise the following during this time of sadness for the Thai people: Most mourners in the country will be dressed in black or white clothing as a display of the reverence to our Beloved King and as part of Thai culture, but this is not mandatory, especially for visitors. Tourists should kindly wear appropriate and respectable attire in public. Visitors should refrain from conducting any inappropriate or disrespectful behavior. The Government has asked for the cooperation from entertainment venues to refrain from conducting any boisterous performances. Most of the traditional, religious and cultural events including MICE and weddings will be taking place as usual, although the celebrations may be changed for appropriateness as a mark of respect, or the events may be dedicated to the memory of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Meetings, receptions, and other related occasions that are held in indoor premises can be held as usual. Tourist attractions will be open as usual with the exception of Wat Phra Kaeo (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) and the Grand Palace, as they will be the venue of the Royal Funeral Rites. All transport, banks, shopping areas, hospitals and other public services will be operating as usual. We would like to recommend that any visitors with travel or tourism plans reconfirm with agents and check local media regularly as well as follow the advice of the local authorities for announcements and updates. Many people will be travelling from the provinces to Bangkok during the mourning period to pay their respects to the King. This may cause some congestion in certain parts of the city as well as to commuters. Visitors planning travel and trips should stay updated via the local media about road closures or delays. Due to the commuting of the people during this time, the safety and security measures for all Thais and visitors is a major priority of the related authorities. For any enquiries, please contact our TAT domestic and overseas offices or the TAT Call Centre Tel.: 1672. http://www.tatnews.org/updated-visitor-information-during-the-mourning-period-for-his-majesty-king-bhumibol-adulyadej/
  4. "The government will proceed with the succession. The government will inform the National Legislative Assembly that His Majesty the King appointed his heir on Dec 28, 1972," Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said in a statement broadcast on all television channels. His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn was appointed the Crown Prince.
  5. The entire country mourns the passing of His Majesty the King.
  6. The normally quite and peaceful country of Thailand had 11 bombs go on in the past 24 hours. As of this post, there are 4 dead and over 30 injured. The US Embassy has issued a travel advisory for the country. This is an update to the Security Message sent to U.S. citizens on the morning of August 12, 2016. Since late on August 11, multiple bombing incidents have occurred in parts of Thailand, including in Hua Hin, Phang Nga, Trang, Surat Thani, and Phuket. The latest incident occurred at approximately 10:30 a.m. today, August 12. Thai local law enforcement and media are reporting at least four deaths and 37 injuries. No U.S. citizens have been identified among the victims. Royal Thai Police have indicated that the immediate areas near the incidents will remain closed for investigation. Law enforcement presence throughout Thailand is expected to be enhanced until further notice. U.S. citizens should avoid affected areas; remain aware of surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance, take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security, and follow instructions of local authorities. We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Thailand enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at www.Travel.State.Gov. STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Regularly monitor the State Department’s website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Thailand. For additional information, refer to “A Safe Trip Abroad” on the State Department’s website. Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App to have travel information at your fingertips. The American Citizen Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy is located at 95 Wireless Road in Bangkok, and can be reached by calling +66-2-205-4049, or by e-mailing acsbkk@state.gov. The Embassy’s after-hours emergency telephone number is +66-2-205-4000. You can also follow us on Twitter @acsbkk. The U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai is located at 387 Wichayanond Road in Chiang Mai. The American Citizen Services Unit of the Consulate General can be reached by calling +66-53-107-777 and by e-mail at acschn@state.gov. The after-hours emergency telephone number is +66-81-881-1878.
  7. Rabbit Card on Bangkok BTS

    Wanting to get a BTS card that would last a while, I bought the Rabbit Card. It is a refillable card that you can put baht on and use that for future rides. The card costs 80 baht and you have to put 100 baht on the card the first time. So, the total for the first trip is 180 baht. After that, you can just go into the BTS office and add more money. I found this much easier than just getting a different card each time. To use the card, instead of inserting it into the turnkey, you just put it on top and it reads it. When you exit, you do the same. It is that easy!
  8. Thailand's infamous sex industry is under fire, with the tourism minister pushing to rid the country of its ubiquitous brothels and a spate of police raids in recent weeks on some of the largest establishments providing sex services in Bangkok. Those who work in the industry say curbs on commercial sex services would hurt a flagging economy that has struggled to recover after political turmoil took the country to the brink of recession in 2014. Thailand is predominantly Buddhist and deeply conservative, but is home to an extensive sex industry, largely catering to Thai men. Hordes of tourists also flock to the bright lights of go-go bars and massage parlours in Bangkok and main tourist towns. Thailand's beaches and temples have been the poster child for Asian tourism for decades and the country expects a record number of arrivals in 2016. Tourism Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul played down the role of the sex industry in drawing visitors. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-thailand-vice-idUSKCN0ZW16A
  9. Somsak Sreesomsong was 18 when he was jailed for selling illegal drugs. Now, turning 30, he is not yet half way through his 33-year sentence at Bangkok’s high-security Klong Prem prison. Somsak was “just a kid, not a big-time dealer”, his older brother Panit told Reuters after a visit to the jail. “We’re also serving time, waiting for him to get out so he can help the family.” More than a decade after Thailand declared a “war on drugs”, the country is admitting defeat. As the prison population soars, Justice Minister Paiboon Koomchaya told Reuters he was looking at changes to the country’s draconian drug laws. “I want to de-classify methamphetamine but Thailand is not ready yet,” said Paiboon, meaning downgrading the drug, popularly known as “meth”, from a Category 1 substance, which would reduce jail time for possession or dealing. Use of methamphetamine is spiralling across Southeast Asia, and authorities are struggling to respond. http://www.euronews.com/newswires/3221404-soaring-prison-population-prompts-thailand-to-re-think-lost-drug-war/
  10. The new draft constitution has been written and distributed and it gives the military ultimate power in the country. While the Thaskin supporters still hold the majority of votes, the military will not let go of the ability to control the elections and the power base of the country. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in August.
  11. Chin Chinawut, famous singer and actor, cried on national television yesterday after he was drawn to serve in the military for two years. After being exempt for six years, the 27-year-old superstar was surprised with a military duty call yesterday after his exemption plea was rejected, causing Chin to abruptly withdraw from two upcoming television dramas and a movie. Chin has been exempt due to an injury from a bicycle accident nine years ago which left his wrist broken. The actor still has a metal plate in his arm. However, yesterday, the military decided Chin was healthy and eligible to serve in the military. Since he failed to attend his mandatory conscription two years ago, Chin was automatically recruited without getting a chance to draw a card. Photo Morning News! Article: Coconuts Bangkok full article
  12. A Thai gardener behind a $20 million gem heist from a Saudi palace that has long soured relations between the two countries became a monk Thursday in hope of redeeming his karma. Kriangkrai Techamong stole the precious gems from the palace of a Saudi prince where he worked in 1989, triggering a feud between Thailand and Saudi Arabia dubbed the "Blue Diamond Affair" that has yet to be resolved. Thai police later returned some of the jewels but Saudi officials claimed most were counterfeits while the whereabouts of the most precious gem -- a rare 50-carat blue diamond -- remains unknown. Today, Kriangkrai told local media his life has been haunted by the theft that unleashed an "avalanche" of suffering on his family. "I am confident that all my misfortunes are the result of a curse from the (blue) Saudi diamond I stole, so I've decided to enter the monkhood for the rest of my life to redeem my bad karma," he told Thai Rath newspaper. http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/the-gardener-behind-20-million-saudi-gem-heist-becomes-monk-in-thailand-1288263
  13. Time Magazine had a good article today on the Thai Generals wanting to reserve their seats in the future Senate. With the upper chamber being appointed and including these Generals, it does not see like the new Constitution truly has a democratic tone. http://time.com/4260755/thailand-generals-junta-senate/
  14. The quality of Thailand's education remains unsatisfactory, Deputy Prime Minister Prajin Juntong admits. Speaking at the presentation of the government's one-year achievements Wednesday, ACM Prajin said the standard of education remains low, as reflected by the 46th ranking worldwide which it received from the World Economic Forum (WEF). Thailand's university education was also ranked 8th among the 10 Asean member countries, added ACM Prajin. http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/politics/804592/education-still-limping-says-prajin
  15. A Thai court sentenced two Myanmar migrant workers to death on Thursday after convicting them of the 2014 murders of two British tourists on a holiday island in a case mired in controversy and a dispute over DNA samples. The battered bodies of backpackers Hannah Witheridge and David Miller were found on a beach on the island of Koh Tao in September 2014. Police said Witheridge had been raped and bludgeoned to death. Miller also suffered blows to his head. Following weeks of pressure to solve the case, police arrested Myanmar migrant workers Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Tun and later said the two had confessed to the crimes. The brutality of the murders dented Thailand's image as a happy-go-lucky holiday paradise and raised serious questions about its treatment of migrant workers. The verdict and sentence follow an investigation and trial that triggered allegations of police incompetence, mishandling of evidence and DNA tests and torture of the suspects. Both later retracted their confessions saying they had been made under duress. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-thailand-britain-murder-idUSKBN0U708C20151224