Showing posts with label Thai. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thai. Show all posts

July 7, 2018

Alternative Efforts to Rescue the Boys Ramps Up and The First Casualty

CHIANG RAI, Thailand (Reuters) - Rescue teams thrashed through dense forest hundreds of meters above a cave complex on Friday, searching for an alternative way to extract 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped inside for nearly two weeks.  
BREAKING Navy SEAL diver rescuing Thai boys trapped in cave dies from lack of oxygen
 Their work above the Tham Luang cave near Thailand’s northern border with Myanmar took on added urgency as forecasts for rain threatened a plan to bring the boys back through cramped, water-logged passageways to the cave entrance. 
     Military personnel gathers near oxygen tanks near the Tham Luang cave complex, where 12 boys and their soccer coach are trapped, in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand, July 6, 2018.  
 “We want to find the way down. I believe we are close,” Thanes Weerasiri, president of the Engineering Institute of Thailand, told Reuters at a makeshift camp for volunteers and media near the cave. 
Helicopters buzzed overhead before flying to the dense blanket of green hills above the cave to help look for an alternate extraction route. 
Rescue efforts since British divers found the team on Monday have focused on draining the flooded cave and teaching the boys – some of whom are as young as 11 and not competent swimmers – to attempt dives that would challenge expert cavers.  
The death of a former Thai Navy SEAL working in the flooded cave on Friday has shaken the rescue mission, and forecasts for more rain could undermine the draining of the cave, forcing officials to consider other options. 
Thanes’ engineers are working with the army to explore an area they believe to be the back end of the cave, chiseling away fragile limestone rocks that he said could be just hundreds of meters from where the boys are trapped. 
“Originally we were exploring it as a way to bring supplies to the children from the back end of the cave, but now it could become more,” said Thanes. 
Military personnel walks in line as they prepare to enter the Tham Luang cave complex, where 12 boys and their soccer coach are trapped, in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand, July 6, 2018. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
Chalongchai Chaiyakum, a senior Thai army officer, said that one team traveled some 300 meters down a shaft on the hill on Thursday until they reached a dead end. 
He said that up to 200 people are exploring the hill to try to find a workable shaft.  The muddy bank where the boys are stranded is some 4 km (2.5 miles) from the front entrance of the cave, with sections of the final 1.7-km stretch completely underwater. 
Drilling down raises concerns that parts of the cave could collapse on the boys. Efforts to widen diving channels have raised similar fears about blocking narrow passageways and hemming the team in. 
Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk tweeted on Friday that engineers from his firms - SpaceX and The Boring Company - were heading to Thailand to see if they could assist the rescue.   The firms have “advance ground penetrating radar” that is “pretty good at digging holes” or technology that could “create an air tunnel underwater” for the children to traverse, Musk said earlier. 
The Thai government said Musk’s team could help the rescue operation with location tracking, water pumping or battery power. 
Relatives of the boys, some of whom have camped at the site for weeks, say all they want is the safest exit for their children. 
“I’m worried...he has never dived,” said Somboon Kaewwongwan, the father of a 16-year-old boy trapped in the cave. 
Additional reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Writing by John Geddie; Editing by Darren Schuettler

January 16, 2015

The New Thai Contitution on draft contains Protections for LGBT



Gay rights activists are welcoming a clause in a draft of Thailand's new constitution that is aimed at protecting the rights of gay and transgender people.
The Constitution Drafting Committee, a group hand-picked by the military junta to draft a new charter after last year's coup, this week added the wording that will make it illegal to discriminate against gay and transgender people.
"The committee added the wording because we want the new constitution to be inclusive," Kamnoon Sidhisamarn, the committee's spokesman, told The Associated Press. "No one should be discriminated because of they are gay, lesbians, transvestites or transsexuals."
Thailand is known for its tolerance of transgender people, such as "katoeys" or "ladyboys" who are a regular presence in the entertainment business. An international transgender beauty pageant is held annually and sometimes broadcast on national television.
However, formal and legal acceptance for gay and transgender people is still limited. In 2011, a court ordered the military to stop labeling transgender people as "having a permanent mental disorder" and disqualifying them from joining the military.
Gender rights activist Natee Teerarojjanapongs on Friday called the constitutional clause "praiseworthy" and said it could lead to other breakthroughs for gay rights.
"Thai people respect the law. It's good to have the law say gay people are protected because it will make more people realize that gay people also have equal rights like others," he said. "And the more people are familiar with the idea, the more accepting they will become."
"I hope that one day we can see ladyboys who can become doctors or judges openly, or that we will see gay marriage happening in Thailand before long," Natee said.
Critics, however, say the inclusion in the charter does not necessarily translate into reality.
"While the charter will become a tool people can use to fight for their rights, it doesn't mean that the problems of gender biases, discrimination or harassment will go away," said Chalidaporn Songsamphan, a political scientist and gender studies expert at Bangkok's Thammasat University.
The constitution draft is subject to further consideration of an unelected national reform council before it could be formally endorsed by the Thai king and take effect.    (AP)


Background on the Government of Thailand a Kingdom with no King


Thai army chief General Prayut Chan-Ocha
Thai army chief General Prayut Chan-ocha Photo: PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP  

Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, who seized control of Thailand in a coup last month proposes installing interim constitution next month with elections due late next year


In a coup last month, said the temporary constitution will allow an interim legislature and Cabinet to begin governing the country in September. He said an appointed reform council and constitution drafting committee will then work on a long-term charter to take effect July 2015.
Prayuth said in televised speech that a general election would be held around three months after the adoption of the constitution. He made no mention of a public referendum on the new charter, as was held in 2007 after an earlier coup against an elected government.
The army seized power May 22 in a bloodless coup, overthrowing a government elected by a majority of voters three years ago. Prayuth has said the coup was necessary to restore order after half a year of anti-government protests and political turmoil that left at least 28 people dead and the government paralysed.
But since taking power, the army appears to be carrying on the fight of the anti-government protesters by mapping out a similar agenda to rewrite the constitution and institute political reforms before elections. It has quashed most dissent, threatening or arresting critics of the coup. Prayuth said the national reform council will consider political, economic, social, environmental, judicial and other matters and give its recommendations to the constitution drafting committee.
He said the ruling junta "wants to see an election that will take place under the new constitution ... that will be free and fair, so that it can become a solid foundation for a complete Thai democracy." It wants a political system that will bring development to the country, and not conflicts as in the past, he said.
Critics charge that the army plans to make the constitution less democratic by reducing the power of elected politicians and increasing the number of appointed legislators, with the goal of allowing the traditional, conservative royalist ruling elite to retain power.
Prayuth also spoke about international criticism of the coup, particularly from the European Union and the United States, which have cut back on aid and political cooperation and called for early elections.
"Today, if we go ahead and hold a general election, it will lead to a situation that creates conflict and the country will return to the old cycle of conflict, violence, corruption by influential groups in politics, terrorism and the use of war weapons. We cannot let that happen," Gen. Prayuth said.
"I truly hope that the EU and the US will understand the situation the same way the majority of Thais do and I hope they will be satisfied with our solutions right now," he said.
Thailand has been deeply divided since 2006, when former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was toppled by a military coup after being accused of corruption, abuse of power and disrespect for King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Thaksin, a former telecommunications billionaire, remains highly popular among the poor in Thailand's north and northeast, and parties controlled by him have won every national election since 2001. The anti-government protesters, backed by the country's traditional elites, bitterly opposed him and sought to remove all traces of his political machine from politics.
Edited by Steve Wilson

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