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  1. From apattaya News Airports of Thailand Addresses Suvarnabhumi Queues with Upgrades Airports of Thailand (AOT) and immigration authorities are taking steps to address the issue of long passenger queues at Suvarnabhumi Airport, following complaints by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin about the slow processing times. During a follow-up inspection jointly conducted by AOT President Kerati Kijmanawat and Pol Maj Gen Choengron Rimpadee of Immigration Division 2, it was discovered that passengers spend up to 1 hour and 30 minutes on immigration procedures during peak times with the airport handling 5,000-6,000 passengers per hour. To reduce waiting times to their 30-minute target, AOT plans to add 800 staff members by March 30 to assist with searches and guide passengers. Additionally, immigration is to fully staff all booths during busy periods. Starting March 1, 200 new immigration officers will be stationed at the airport, with a total of 400 expected by year-end. To further streamline the process, 80 additional automatic channels equipped with enhanced passport-checking software will be operational by July 15, and 20 new gates will be installed by June 15. These updates will include advanced technology for examining power banks without requiring passengers to remove their shoes. A Common Use Passenger Processing System has been implemented for self check-in and baggage loading, and AoT is encouraging airlines to open check-in counters four hours prior to departure. AOT also plans to expand the airport’s eastern terminal by 2027 to effectively manage growing passenger numbers and enhance the overall efficiency of the passenger processing system.
  2. From Thai PBS World The tri-partite Wage Committee has approved, by a vote of 7:5, a new formula for the calculation of minimum wages, which is tentatively expected to come into force in April, initially in Bangkok and nine other provinces. The new formula will factor in labour productivity, labour’s contribution to production, the inflation rate, the number of months since the last wage adjustment and the economic situation in each area. Labour Permanent Secretary Pairoj Chotikasathien said yesterday that the new formula will be sent to all provinces, so they can gauge the opinions of entrepreneurs and labour representatives. The ten places where the new minimum wages will come into effect first are Bangkok, Phuket, Chon Buri, Chiang Mai, Surat Thani, Krabi, Songkhla, Phang-nga, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Rayong. Pairoj said that the wage committees in those locations must submit their proposed minimum wage rates to the Wage Committee, which is due to meet on March 24th, so that theycan become enforceable in April. He declined, however, to commit as to whether the new wage will be a minimum of 400 baht, noting that the wages in each province depend on their economic situation and on the types of jobs.
  3. I recall following you inside Tawan one night after we left the New Twilight bar. When I saw you immediately sandwiched between two bodybuilders I politely took my leave in quick order and headed for the familiar environs of Screw Boy. 🙂
  4. Very likely, or just gets transferred to a less attractive position—temporarily of course.
  5. Some influential high roller must want that Ekkamai parcel for development—and no shortage of folks in right places willing to grease the wheels. 🤫
  6. From The Thaiger Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit announced plans yesterday to move the Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekkamai) and the Bangkok Bus Terminal (Mo Chit 2) to the Krung Thep Abhiwat Central Terminal. The intention behind the move is to offer more convenience to travellers as the Central Terminal can be easily reached using the MRT electronic rail system. In the proposed new location, both stations will be housed within a multi-storey building, where different routes are catered for on each floor. An air-conditioned food centre will also be situated in the main hall. The timeline for the planned relocation has not yet been confirmed, reported Bangkok Post. Contrarily, the Mo Chit 2 Terminal in Chatuchak is currently under renovation, with some sections closed off. The upgrade, encompassing safety measures and a security system, is anticipated to be finished within one and a half years. However, the terminal is expected to be operational for Songkran travellers by April. Suriya also addressed delays in Rama II Road construction in Hua Hin. He has instructed the Department of Rural Roads to implement a scorebook system with contractors to better manage construction deadlines. Contractors who consistently underperform will be barred from further collaboration with the ministry and the Department of Rural Roads.
  7. Why couldn’t they have managed to charge the real perp. From Thai PBS World The Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) has agreed to indict former police chief, Pol Gen Somyot Poompanmuang, former deputy attorney-general, Nate Naksuk, and six other individuals with malfeasance in office for allegedly helping Red Bull heir Vorayuth Yoovidhya to evade prosecution following a fatal hit-and-run incident in 2012. The six other individuals are Pol Maj-Gen Thawatchai Mekprasetsook, a former divisional commander, Pol Col Veeradol Thaptimdee, a former enquiry officer at Thonglor police station, public prosecutor Chainarong Sangthongaram,Deputy Professor Dr. Saiprasit Kerdniyom, Thanit Buakhiewand Chuchai Lertpongadisorn. OAG spokesman Prayut Bejraguna said that they also decided to retain four other suspects as prosecution witnesses. They are Pol Col Vivat Sitthisoradej, Air Marshal Chakkrit Thanomkulavutr, Pol Lt-Col Pannaphon Namuang and Air Marshal Surachate Thongsaluay. Five other suspects were cleared of any wrongdoing by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), which investigated the case. They are Pol Lt-Col Songvuth Charoenvichayadej, Voraphol Soktiyanurak, Usa Chusin and Natnjcha Thongchuen.
  8. From Thai PBS World The number of babies born in Japan fell for an eighth straight year to a fresh record low in 2023, preliminary government data showed on Tuesday, underscoring the daunting task the country faces in trying to stem depopulation. The number of births fell 5.1% from a year earlier to 758,631, while the number of marriages slid 5.9% to 489,281 — the first time in 90 years the number fell below 500,000 — foreboding a further decline in the population as out-of-wedlock births are rare in Japan. Asked about the latest data, Japan’s top government spokesperson said the government will take “unprecedented steps” to cope with the declining birthrate, such as expanding childcare and promoting wage hikes for younger workers. “The declining birthrate is in a critical situation,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters. “The next six years or so until 2030, when the number of young people will rapidly decline, will be the last chance to reverse the trend.” Mindful of the potential social and economic impact, and the strains on public finances, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has called the trend the “gravest crisis our country faces”, and unveiled a range of steps to support child-bearing households late last year. Japan’s population will likely decline by about 30% to 87 million by 2070, with four out of every 10 people aged 65 or older, according to estimates by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research.
  9. From Pattaya News Pattaya is set to pulsate with rhythm and melody as it gears up to host the ‘Pattaya Music Festival 2024,’ a month-long celebration featuring Thailand’s top musical acts. Kicking off on March 8th, 2024, and running every Friday and Saturday throughout the month, the festival promises a diverse lineup of performances across multiple stages. Admission is free, inviting music enthusiasts of all ages to join the party. For complete list of events and venues: https://thepattayanews.com/2024/02/19/pattaya-gears-up-for-month-long-pattaya-music-festival-2024-announces-lineup/
  10. From Thai PBS World The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has agreed to adjust the design of a section of the Thai-Chinese high-speed train project, in response to complaints from people in Nakhon Ratchasima province. The changes will result in additional construction costs and further delays in the project of at least two years. According to SET Governor Nirut Maneephan, the section in question is in Ban Mai sub-district, originally planned as a ground-level track, which will now be changed to a 7.85km elevated section. It is part of the Kok Kruad-Nakhon Ratchasima link, under Contracts 3 to 5. He said that the design change will cost an extra 4.7 billion baht and result in 28 months of delay. Currently, Phase 1 of the project, from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima, covering a distance of 250.77km, is under construction. The route comprises 188.68km of elevated track, 54.09km of ground-level track and 8km of tunnels. Investment is estimated at 170 billion baht. The construction work on Phase 1 is divided into 14 contracts,12 of which have been signed between SET and contractors. Construction for one contract has been completed and the rest, for which contracts are signed, are still under construction. Phase 1, which is part of the entire project from Bangkok to Nong Khai province in the Northeast, includes stations at Bang Sue, Don Mueang, Ayutthaya, Saraburi, Pak Chong and Nakhon Ratchasima. The situation of the Ayutthaya station remains unresolved, due to reservations from the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONREPP) regarding the Heritage impact assessment (HIA). The SRT’s governor said that they will not conduct another HIA, as this would further delay the project and increase expense. He also said, however, that SRT will try to explain the situation to the ONREPP, based on its previous HIA report. The Thai and Chinese governments signed an MoU on December 19th, 2014 for the construction of the high-speed train project, covering a total distance of 609km. The project has, however, hit several snags, causing significant delays.
  11. Understand. I was commenting on Macaroni’s excellent photos and narrative. And the fact that his experience in many ways to my visit.
  12. From Pattaya Mail By Barry Kenyon Thailand-based British pensioners could have their British bank accounts inspected by the government under new powers being considered to thwart benefit irregularities. The plans, part of the data protection and digital information bill now being discussed by the House of Lords, could involve UK-based banks handing over customer data to the Department for Work and Pensions if it signals that a claimant may not meet the eligibility for a particular benefit. The DWP claims that eight billion pounds annually are lost to benefit fraud of all types including means-tested Universal Credit. But millions of people, at home and abroad, receiving the state pension risk being swept up in the move. Around 500,000 British pensioners live abroad with frozen state pensions, but the DWP believes that overpayment to this group, which includes British pensioners living in Thailand, amounts to 100 million pounds. The government notes that annually uprated state pensions are paid only to pensioners living in the European Economic Area, Gibraltar, Switzerland and countries with a social security agreement with Britain. In reality, most British expat pensioners – for example living in the United States and Australia – are denied annual increments. The claim of benefit abuse arises because some expats have not notified the government of their overseas abode or because of mixups at the DWP or the Inland Revenue. Pensioner pressure groups have reacted angrily to the news of possible intervention by the government in personal bank account details. In Thailand, the Campaign to End Frozen UK Pensions, stresses that the common-sense and honest solution is to pay all pensioners overseas the annual increases no matter where they happen to live. Activists in many countries have lobbied the UK government to end financial discrimination against the majority of elderly expats and have won some parliamentary support. But the government says it has no intention of ending the cash discrimination and will pay the annual increments only when required by law to do so. Tax accountants based in Thailand told Pattaya Mail that the British government’s proposed policy was unclear in detail and still under parliamentary debate. However, they noted that most British expats now had their bank accounts in the Isle of Man or the Channel Isles which, technically, are not part of the UK. Therefore, the DWP would not be able to access those offshore accounts in any case. In recent years, UK banks have been closing the mainland accounts of Brits who were no longer resident in Britain whilst offering them the chance to open new accounts offshore.
  13. What is it about Pattaya that causes so many to kill themselves or be killed within its borders. From Pattaya News Japanese National Found Dead After Fall from Sri Racha Condominium A naked Japanese man was discovered deceased on Monday, February 26th, following a fall from a condominium building in Sri Racha, Chonburi. Authorities responded to a report of the individual falling from a condominium building early this morning. The incident occurred at a prominent high-rise condominium, whose name was withheld pending an ongoing investigation in the Sri Racha district. Authorities arrived at the scene and located the body of a deceased person on the 6th floor by the swimming pool. The victim was identified by Sri Racha police as Mr. Yuya Fujiwara, a 41-year-old Japanese national. The police disclosed the victim’s identity after reportedly contacting his family and embassy. The victim was found lying face up on the ground, with a broken right arm and a severely injured leg. Rescue personnel covered the body before transporting him to a nearby hospital. An initial investigation revealed that Mr. Fujiwara resided in a rented unit on the 26th floor of the condominium building. No signs of forced entry, disturbances, or suicide notes were found within the room.
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