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  • Monday’s helicopter activity related to Royal motorcade security – Army Chief

    The increased helicopter activity, heard over several areas of Bangkok on Monday night, was part of security arrangements for the motorcade of Their Majesties the King and Queen, said Army...

    The post Monday’s helicopter activity related to Royal motorcade security – Army Chief first appeared on Thai PBS World : The latest Thai news in English, News Headlines, World News and News Broadcasts in both Thai and English. We bring Thailand to the world.

    The increased helicopter activity, heard over several areas of Bangkok on Monday night, was part of security arrangements for the motorcade of Their Majesties the King and Queen, said Army Commander-in-Chief General Narongphan Chitkaewtae today.

    The helicopter traffic, which went on for hours in the skies over central Bangkok, sparked rumours of an imminent coup on social media.

    The army chief dismissed such rumours as “pure fantasy” as he advised reporters to get a lot of rest and not fall victim to fake news, or they could be “held accountable” for the consequences of such speculation.

    He said that he is not in a position to advise any protest leader, who may spread fake news about a coup, but that he would like the media to be more cautious and to drop the word “coup” from their reports.

    Commenting on the protest tomorrow at the Crown Property Bureau, the army chief said that it is the police’s responsibility to deal with the rally, and the army would only help only if there is a request from the police.

    The post Monday’s helicopter activity related to Royal motorcade security – Army Chief first appeared on Thai PBS World : The latest Thai news in English, News Headlines, World News and News Broadcasts in both Thai and English. We bring Thailand to the world.

    24 November 2020
    Highlight
    https://www.thaipbsworld.com/?p=257096
  • Minister Thavorn urges Thai police to get tough with Progressive Movement leaders

    Deputy Transport Minister Thavorn Senneam is urging the police and security officials to take legal action against Progressive Movement leaders Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and Dr. Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, accusing both of them...

    The post Minister Thavorn urges Thai police to get tough with Progressive Movement leaders first appeared on Thai PBS World : The latest Thai news in English, News Headlines, World News and News Broadcasts in both Thai and English. We bring Thailand to the world.

    Deputy Transport Minister Thavorn Senneam is urging the police and security officials to take legal action against Progressive Movement leaders Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and Dr. Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, accusing both of them of pulling the strings behind the current anti-establishment protests and seeking sweeping reforms of the Monarchy.

    Mr. Thavorn, who is also the Democrat Party’s MP for Songkhla province, showed the media today a video clip of Piyabutr giving a speech at the University of London, on the topic of “Is Thailand in a Deeper State of Crisis?” on June 11th, 2016.

    In the speech, Piyabutr allegedly accused the late King Bhumibol of exercising influence over judges which, according to Thavorn, is a distortion of fact, adding that the late King, in his address to judges on April 24th, 2006, did not give them any instructions.

    The Democrat MP said that Thanathorn, in several speeches, has stressed the need for reform of the Thai Monarchy, adding that the founding of the Future Forward Party, which was dissolved by the Constitutional Court, was intended to achieve that goal.

    He accused Thanathorn and Piyabutr of spending more than eight months brainwashing and inciting hatred of the Monarchy among Thai youth, with the intention of turning the protests into riots and, eventually, civil war.

    To prevent this, the deputy transport minister urged the authorities to get tough with the people pulling the strings behind the current protests.

    “As a Thai citizen and a Democrat MP, I will perform my duty to protect the Nation, the Religion, the Monarchy and the democratic system with the King as the head of state,” said Thavorn, claiming that 90 percent of the Thai population agree with him.

    The post Minister Thavorn urges Thai police to get tough with Progressive Movement leaders first appeared on Thai PBS World : The latest Thai news in English, News Headlines, World News and News Broadcasts in both Thai and English. We bring Thailand to the world.

    24 November 2020
    News
    https://www.thaipbsworld.com/?p=257097
  • If future generations feel no obligation to respect, “it’s just a question of when”

    The American online magazine “The Diplomat” said the most striking thing about the current anti-government movement has been its willingness to identify the monarchy as the central question in Thai...

    The post If future generations feel no obligation to respect, “it’s just a question of when” first appeared on Thai PBS World : The latest Thai news in English, News Headlines, World News and News Broadcasts in both Thai and English. We bring Thailand to the world.

    The American online magazine “The Diplomat” said the most striking thing about the current anti-government movement has been its willingness to identify the monarchy as the central question in Thai politics, and demand that it be placed under constitutional control.

    The Diplomat is an international online news agency based in Washington D.C., covering politics, society and culture in the Asia-Pacific region.

    The article based on an interview with the director of the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies and professor of political science at the University of Copenhagen, Duncan McCargo, who is a longtime observer of Thai politics.

    McCargo said the 2016 royal transition opened up the monarchical institution to much greater scrutiny than before, yet the recent critical turn of the student movement concerning the monarchy has taken most of the people by surprise.

    The student protests were not initially focused on the royal institution, but on calls for constitutional change. The royal reform theme began only with the 10 demands announced on 10 August at Thammasat University, by what was then a radical element of the student movement.

    McCargo said that the issue made popular by the way young people under 25 – Generation Z, or digital natives – can access information online from sources all over the world.

    “They can easily find out about previously taboo subjects such as the October 6, 1976 massacre or the extent of kingly wealth. Simply put, the new generation of Thais does not feel bound by older notions of deference or hierarchy, and are bold enough to say whatever is on their minds,” Said McCargo.

    McCargo analyzed that the problem with the ongoing protests is that there is an absence of a clear sense of what might replace the current Thai political order, and it is hard to see how the students can achieve their goals. “Everyone can agree on what they don’t like – but what do they want instead? And how can a “leaderless” movement negotiate with those in power?”

    However, McCargo think these young protesters have time on their side. He said they might face some setbacks in the short term.

    “…but if future generations of Thais feel no obligation to respect kings, generals and other elderly men, it’s not a matter of whether or not the existing power structures start to give way: it’s just a question of when.”

    The post If future generations feel no obligation to respect, “it’s just a question of when” first appeared on Thai PBS World : The latest Thai news in English, News Headlines, World News and News Broadcasts in both Thai and English. We bring Thailand to the world.

    24 November 2020
    Highlight
    https://www.thaipbsworld.com/?p=257092
  • Transformed Klong Ong Ang is a hit with urbanites

    On a Friday evening, walking down from Damrong Sathit Bridge (Saphan Lek) on a newly constructed walkway lining the Ong Ang Canal, it’s hard to imagine that this used to be a smelly drain-cum-sewer avoided by the residents.    Once Bangkok’s dirtiest...

    The post Transformed Klong Ong Ang is a hit with urbanites first appeared on Thai PBS World : The latest Thai news in English, News Headlines, World News and News Broadcasts in both Thai and English. We bring Thailand to the world.

    On a Friday evening, walking down from Damrong Sathit Bridge (Saphan Lek) on a newly constructed walkway lining the Ong Ang Canal, it’s hard to imagine that this used to be a smelly drain-cum-sewer avoided by the residents. 

     

    Once Bangkok’s dirtiest canal and a haven for pirate game CDs and porn movie enthusiasts, the Ong Ang Canal is now a new recreational oasis – a far cry from its dirty past.

     

    The beautiful Ong Ang Canal shows just how successful the city fathers and waterfront communities have been in reclaiming a historic waterway from illegal merchants and squatters and transforming it into a new city landmark.

     

    “I was born and bred here along the waterfront of the Ong Ang Canal, but I had never seen the water in Ong Ang Canal,” says 50-something Charoen Saetang, who owns a kitchenware store alongside the canal. “Looking out from the second floor of my store, there was never a day when I could see a water body. All I could make out were the endless rusty tin roofs covering the waterway.”

     

    The Ong Ang resident hangs red lanterns to celebrate a new waterfront, bringing bustle and more excitement to the neighbourhoods./ Photos by Phoowadon Duangmee

     

    A town within a town

     

    Part of the secondary city moat, the Ong Ang Canal is as old as Bangkok itself. Constructed in 1783 at the order of King Rama I, the Ong Ang Canal runs North-South for a little less than two kilometres from the Phan Fa Lilat Bridge (next to the Temple of the Golden Mount), and sweeps its way through the bustling Chinese and Indian neighbourhoods of Yaowarat and Phahurat. 

    The historic waterway then flows into the Chao Phraya River at the Chao Phraya Sky Park – another new pedestrian walkway and landmark bridging both sides of the Chao Phraya River. 

     

    In the early days, the Ong Ang Canal was a lifeline of trade and travel  a place where boats offloaded goods brought in from the countryside. The canal was also noted for a pottery market, and was in fact named for it – 

    “Ong Ang” meaning pottery. Like many urban canals, the Ong Ang suffered devastating pollution, as the neighbourhoods dumped raw sewage and trash into it. 

     

    For the past 30 years, the very last section of the canal (little less than one kilometre from the Saphan Lek to Saphan Han bridges) was completely occupied by illegal hawkers – who put up small stores all over the waterbody. Their presence made the Ong Ang Canal seem like a long, ramshackle shantytown in between the bustling Chinese and Indian neighbourhoods.

     

     

    Reclaiming the waterfront

     

    In 2014, under the National Council for Peace and Order led by Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Ong Ang Canal revitalization project was initiated. Hundreds of illegal hawkers were asked to leave the canal. In 2018, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) stepped in to clean up the water before making the surrounding neighbourhoods more accessible. The project took more than two years to complete and cost 275 million baht.

     

    The work included dredging the canal, cleaning the water, paving the canal banks with concrete, landscaping the waterfronts and renovating the historical bridges. The key enhancement is the urban walkways  which run on both sides of the waterfront from the Damrong Sathit Bridge (Saphan Lek) to the Osathanon Bridge – and which bring a bustling excitement to the neighbourhood.

     

    “I now make it a point to stroll along the beautiful canal every day,” adds Ong Ang Canal resident Charoen.

     

    A man takes a long, hard look at the Ong Ang Canal./ Photos by Phoowadon Duangmee

     

    Getting close to the water

     

    The congestion on the streets of Bangkok makes many people want to escape and be near the water too. 

     

    On the weekend, the waterfront transforms into a walking street from 4pm to midnight, and draws urbanites for the cooling river breeze and a range of activities. This is the first time in 30 years that people can get close to the water and they celebrate in different ways. The brass band blasts out tunes on the walkway, while a lone saxophonist busk against the backdrop of the graffitied wall. Many young urbanites take photos with their smartphones. Some old folk take a long, hard look at the waterbody. The clean canal seems shocking to Bangkok’s urbanites, especially those who grew up seeing and smelling everything from raw sewage to trash in the waterway 

     

    “If you visit the canal in the morning, you will see a lot fish swimming in the water. The fish  which haven’t been seen in the Ong Ang Canal for many years – are now visible,” says Bandit, another Ong Ang Canal resident.

     

    Apparently, it’s not just the fish that are enjoying new, clean water. Some kayak and stand up paddleboarding (SUP) enthusiasts have made the canal their own. 

     

    The lone saxophonist entertains the weekenders at the Ong Ang Canal waterfront in Bangkok, Thailand./ Photos by Phoowadon Duangmee

     

    How to get there

    Take the MRT Blue Line to the Sam Yot Station. The Ong Ang Canal waterfront is a short walk from Exit 1.

    The post Transformed Klong Ong Ang is a hit with urbanites first appeared on Thai PBS World : The latest Thai news in English, News Headlines, World News and News Broadcasts in both Thai and English. We bring Thailand to the world.

    24 November 2020
    Food, Travel and Lifestyle
    https://www.thaipbsworld.com/?p=257082
  • About 900,000 university graduates are likely to be jobless

    Almost a million Thai university graduates, including about 500,000 who are due to graduate next year, are likely to be unemployed, due to economic contraction as a direct result of...

    The post About 900,000 university graduates are likely to be jobless first appeared on Thai PBS World : The latest Thai news in English, News Headlines, World News and News Broadcasts in both Thai and English. We bring Thailand to the world.

    Almost a million Thai university graduates, including about 500,000 who are due to graduate next year, are likely to be unemployed, due to economic contraction as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Thanit Sorat, vice president of the Council of Thai Trade and Industrial Employers and Operators.

    He predicts that the Thai labour market next year will remain fragile, due to high economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic, which will impact three groups of Thai labour, namely those already employed, those already jobless and those about to enter the job market.

    Most vulnerable among those already employed are the 45-50 age group, who are likely to face early retirement, said Thanit, as he recommended that they learn new skills and look for alternative careers, in case they are laid off or forced to accept early retirement.

    Another group of great concern, said Thanit, is about 500,000 students, who are due to graduate next year. They are at risk of not being able to find jobs, like about 400,000 graduates this year who mostly remain unemployed to this day.

    He anticipates increased jobs in new technology industries in the next two years, but the jobs available are much fewer than the number of graduates seeking them.

    He noted, however, that most employers are looking for graduates who have multiple skills, have been through job training or who strive to develop themselves, rather than students who have high grades.

    He also said that employers prefer graduates who have good attitude, who are good at adjusting to changing circumstances and who can work under abnormal conditions.

    Related story: Beat the COVID crisis and get hired – Advice for new graduates

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The post About 900,000 university graduates are likely to be jobless first appeared on Thai PBS World : The latest Thai news in English, News Headlines, World News and News Broadcasts in both Thai and English. We bring Thailand to the world.

    24 November 2020
    General
    https://www.thaipbsworld.com/?p=257077
  • Justice Minister admits substance seized in Chachoengsao is not Ketamine

    Thailand’s Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin admitted today that authorities have not found any Ketamine in the approximately 11.5 tonnes of materials seized from a warehouse in Chachoengsao province on November...

    The post Justice Minister admits substance seized in Chachoengsao is not Ketamine first appeared on Thai PBS World : The latest Thai news in English, News Headlines, World News and News Broadcasts in both Thai and English. We bring Thailand to the world.

    Thailand’s Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin admitted today that authorities have not found any Ketamine in the approximately 11.5 tonnes of materials seized from a warehouse in Chachoengsao province on November 12th.

    Scientists from the Justice Ministry and forensic experts tested samples, taken from 50 of the 457 sacks, and quickly concluded that they contained Ketamine, because the samples turned purple after they came into contact with the reagent.  Further tests confirmed that the substance is actually trisodium phosphate, which also turns the drug test chemical purple.

    Somsak said that officials had erred in jumping to the conclusion that all 11.5 tonnes of the substance was Ketamine.

    He said that samples have been proven to be trisodium phosphate (TSP) and that the remaining 406 sacks are yet to be tested by officials from the Office of Narcotics Control Board, the Medical Science Department and the Central Institute of Forensic Science.

    He explained that officials have never found such a large amount of TSP in Thailand, adding that the Thai anti-narcotic officials had been told, by their counterparts in Taiwan, that the 300kgs of Ketamine they had seized originated in Thailand.

    The minister said he regrets the mistake and the subsequent confusion.

    On Monday, Acharya Ruangrattanapong, a self-styled activist who helps victims of crime, filed a complaint with the Anti-Corruption Division police, accusing Justice Minister Somsak, ONCB Secretary-General Vichai Chaimongkol and other officials of malfeasance in office for allegedly giving false statements about the drug seizure.

    It is reported that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has shown interest in the case and instructed Somsak to make a public clarification on the matter.

     

     

    The post Justice Minister admits substance seized in Chachoengsao is not Ketamine first appeared on Thai PBS World : The latest Thai news in English, News Headlines, World News and News Broadcasts in both Thai and English. We bring Thailand to the world.

    24 November 2020
    Around Thailand
    https://www.thaipbsworld.com/?p=257073
  • Police brace for mass protest at Crown Property Bureau tomorrow

    Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan has repeated his warning to anti-establishment protesters not to venture within 150 metres of the office of the Crown Property Bureau, which is regarded...

    The post Police brace for mass protest at Crown Property Bureau tomorrow first appeared on Thai PBS World : The latest Thai news in English, News Headlines, World News and News Broadcasts in both Thai and English. We bring Thailand to the world.

    Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan has repeated his warning to anti-establishment protesters not to venture within 150 metres of the office of the Crown Property Bureau, which is regarded as a palace.

    He reiterated, however, that police will not use force to disperse the protesters, as he assured that there will be no confrontation between anti-establishment and royalist groups.

    Meanwhile, Dr. Warong Dechgitvigrom, leader of the Thai Pakdee royalist group, urged his followers not to rally at the Crown Property Bureau.

    If they really want to demonstrate, he suggested, in his Facebook post today, that they choose other locations.

    Police have placed razor wire along the walls of the Crown Property Bureau compound, on Phitsanuloke road, and erected a sign declaring it to be a “palace zone”.

    Police reinforcements from other provinces have arrived at the location in police vans, to support police from the Metropolitan Police Bureau. Many of them have already been deployed around the office.

    The bureau’s office used to be a palace, called Wang Daeng, or Red Palace, which was built in 1906 during the reign of King Rama V as the residence of Prince Yugala Thikamporn.

    In 1945, the Crown Property Bureau bought the property, to prevent it from falling into the hands of foreigners after the Second World War.

     

    The post Police brace for mass protest at Crown Property Bureau tomorrow first appeared on Thai PBS World : The latest Thai news in English, News Headlines, World News and News Broadcasts in both Thai and English. We bring Thailand to the world.

    24 November 2020
    News
    https://www.thaipbsworld.com/?p=257068
  • Why is the Crown Property Bureau a target for protesters?

    Anti-establishment protesters have intensified their push for change at the top of Thai society with a plan to gather at the Crown Property Bureau on Wednesday (November 25). The protesters, who...

    The post Why is the Crown Property Bureau a target for protesters? first appeared on Thai PBS World : The latest Thai news in English, News Headlines, World News and News Broadcasts in both Thai and English. We bring Thailand to the world.

    Anti-establishment protesters have intensified their push for change at the top of Thai society with a plan to gather at the Crown Property Bureau on Wednesday (November 25).

    The protesters, who have been calling for reform of the monarchy since August, promised to spring “a big surprise” at the rally.

    Panupong “Mike” Jadnok, a key figure of the student-led Ratsadon (People’s Group) movement, said last week that they would “demand the return of taxpayers’ money”.

    Protest leader Arnon Nampa included the hashtag “#Nov25ProtestForReturnOfNationalAssets” in his recent Facebook post about the upcoming protest.

    The Free Youth group, organiser of recent anti-establishment protests, offered a Facebook rallying cry: “See you at the Crown Property Bureau on November 25! There will be no compromise.”

    Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, meanwhile, responded on Monday by questioning the protest leaders’ plan.

    “Why they want to get close to the Crown Property Bureau? I think you know their purpose, so there’s no use asking me,” he told reporters at Government House.

    The Metropolitan Police have warned that the Crown Property Bureau is “royal ground” and considered off-limits for protest according to the Public Assembly Act. The law prohibits public assembly within a 150-metre radius of royal buildings.

    The protest also comes less than a week after the prime minister vowed to enforce “all laws” against protesters, raising concern that the lèse majesté law (Article 112 of the penal code), will be used to quell the political turmoil.

    Article 112 carries severe prison terms for criticism of the monarchy but has not been enforced for more than two years. General Prayut disclosed in June that its use had been suspended at royal request “due to the kindness of His Majesty the King”.

     

    Over the past few months, anti-establishment protesters have been demanding reform of the monarchy along with a new Constitution and the PM’s resignation.

    The protesters’ controversial 10-point manifesto for monarchy reform, launched in August, also included the issue of royal assets. The manifesto called for the annulment of the 2018 Royal Assets Structuring Act passed by the post-coup regime. The act combines His Majesty the King’s personal assets and the crown’s wealth managed by the Crown Property Bureau.

    To prevent conflicts over the issue, some observers suggested reviving the practice on royal assets observed during the reign of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

    Among them is Kiatnakin Bank chairman Banyong Pongpanich, who called on the people in power to “help defuse the main conflict point peacefully”.

    On November 18, shortly after the protesters announced their plan for Wednesday, former Army chief General Apirat Kongsompong was appointed Crown Property Bureau deputy director by royal command.

    The appointment came two months after Apirat – a staunch critic of the anti-establishment protesters while he was Army chief – was appointed by royal command as deputy secretary-general of the Royal Household Bureau. He retired from the Army at the end of September.

     

    The Crown Property Bureau was established under the Royal Assets Structuring Act of 1936 and became a legal entity in 1948. It replaced the Royal Treasury that existed up until the 1932 Siamese Revolution, which brought an end to absolute monarchy.

    In the early 1900s, the Royal Treasury owned as much as one-fifth of the land in Bangkok, including the key business districts of Si Phraya, Bang Rak and Sampheng, according to a 2006 research paper published by Porphant Ouyyanont of Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University’s School of Economics.

    The Royal Treasury invested in real estate and joint ventures with foreigners, including ferry and tram services, beer production and mining, the research paper said.

    It also set up Siam Commercial Bank and Siam Cement, which have grown to become large companies today.

    In 1960, the Crown Property Bureau began investing in hotels, such as the Dusit Thani, Royal Orchid and Siam InterContinental, BBC Thai reported, citing Porphant’s study.

    The Crown Property Bureau invested directly in at least 10 companies, and invested in at least 21 other firms via affiliates.

    According to the 2017 BBC Thai report, it also has 1,400 hectares  of land in Bangkok and another 4,800 hectares in the provinces.

     

    By Thai PBS World’s Political Desk

    The post Why is the Crown Property Bureau a target for protesters? first appeared on Thai PBS World : The latest Thai news in English, News Headlines, World News and News Broadcasts in both Thai and English. We bring Thailand to the world.

    24 November 2020
    Highlight
    https://www.thaipbsworld.com/?p=257065
  • Trump finally agrees to Biden transition – but still not conceding

    President Donald Trump came his closest yet to admitting election defeat Monday after the government agency meant to ease Joe Biden’s transition into the White House said it was finally...

    The post Trump finally agrees to Biden transition - but still not conceding first appeared on Thai PBS World : The latest Thai news in English, News Headlines, World News and News Broadcasts in both Thai and English. We bring Thailand to the world.

    President Donald Trump came his closest yet to admitting election defeat Monday after the government agency meant to ease Joe Biden’s transition into the White House said it was finally lifting its unprecedented block on assistance.

    Trump acknowledged it was time for the General Services Administration to “do what needs to be done.”

    In the same tweet he insisted that he was still refusing to concede, saying: “Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good fight, and I believe we will prevail!”

    But for the Republican to sign off on the GSA’s decision to work with the Biden transition team signaled that even he sees the writing on the wall after three weeks of evidence-free claims that the November 3 election was stolen from him.

    This means that Biden’s team will now have access to funds, office space and the ability to meet with federal officials.

    Biden’s office, which hours earlier announced a highly experienced group to be nominated for top US foreign policy and security posts, said the GSA would now allow “support necessary to carry out a smooth and peaceful transfer of power.”

    “In the days ahead, transition officials will begin meeting with federal officials to discuss the pandemic response, have a full accounting of our national security interests, and gain complete understanding of the Trump administration’s efforts to hollow out government agencies,” Biden’s transition director Yohannes Abraham said in a statement.

    The sudden break in Trump’s dogged attempt to deny Biden’s win came after Michigan became the latest state to certify its results and more powerful Trump supporters came out demanding that the impasse end.

     

    – Biden to shift diplomacy –

    Earlier, Biden announced a foreign policy and national security team crammed with veterans from the Barack Obama years, teeing up an end to the upheaval under Trump and a return to traditional US diplomacy.

    Top of the list was former State Department number two Antony Blinken, tapped for secretary of state.

    Biden also named the first female head of intelligence, the first Latino chief of Homeland Security, the first woman as treasury secretary, and a heavyweight pointman on climate issues — Obama-era top diplomat John Kerry.

    The list put out by Biden’s team ahead of a formal announcement Tuesday demonstrated a push to bring back the US role of leader in multilateral alliances, in contrast to Trump’s “America first” regime.

    “They will rally the world to take on our challenges like no other — challenges that no one nation can face alone,” Biden tweeted. “It’s time to restore American leadership.”

    Blinken, a longtime advisor to Biden, will spearhead a fast-paced dismantling of Trump’s go-it-alone policies, including rejoining the Paris climate agreement and the World Health Organization and resurrecting the Obama-crafted Iran nuclear deal.

    Biden named the first woman, Avril Haines, as director of national intelligence, and Cuban-born Alejandro Mayorkas to head the Department of Homeland Security, the agency whose policing of tough immigration restrictions under Trump was a frequent source of controversy.

    Signaling the Democratic president-elect’s campaign promise to raise the profile of global warming threats, he named Kerry as a new special envoy on climate issues.

    And in a further message of US reengagement with the international community, Biden named career diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador.

    Jake Sullivan, who also advised Biden when he was vice president under Obama, was named national security advisor.

    Picked to manage the world’s biggest economy as Treasury secretary was Janet Yellen, who will make history as the first woman in the job if confirmed. The 74-year-old was confirmed as Federal Reserve chairwoman under Obama in 2014 and replaced by Trump four years later.

    The picks underline an emphasis on professionals whom Biden already knows well, in contrast to the Trump White House where officials were often picked without having traditional background for the job or proved incompatible and departed in acrimony.

     

    – Dwindling options –

    The president, meanwhile, has largely halted at least his public work duties, while heading out to a golf course he owns in Virginia half a dozen times since the election.

    He has also not taken questions from reporters since the election — a previously unimaginable silence from a president who for most of his time in office sparred near daily with the press.

    His options for overturning the election, however, are dwindling rapidly in the face of repeated court defeats.

    With Biden having won a comfortable victory, Trump’s last card is to disrupt the normally routine process of state-by-state certification of results, followed by the formal December 14 vote by the Electoral College. However, that too is bearing little fruit.

    More cracks appeared in the facade of Republican unity on Monday when Senator Rob Portman said it was “time to expeditiously resolve any outstanding questions and move forward.”

    Senator Lamar Alexander, a senior Republican and close ally of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said “it seems apparent that Joe Biden will be the president-elect.”

    “My hope is that President Trump will take pride in his considerable accomplishments, put the country first and have a prompt and orderly transition to help the new administration succeed,” he said after having issued a similar if less forthright statement a few days earlier.

    There was also a push from Trump’s highest profile Wall Street backer, Stephen Schwarzman, head of the Blackstone private equity group, who told Axios “the country should move on.”

     

    The post Trump finally agrees to Biden transition - but still not conceding first appeared on Thai PBS World : The latest Thai news in English, News Headlines, World News and News Broadcasts in both Thai and English. We bring Thailand to the world.

    24 November 2020
    International
    https://www.thaipbsworld.com/?p=257061
  • Chulalongkorn U to start COVID-19 vaccine trial on humans in April next year

    The Faculty of Medicine of Chulalongkorn University is expected to begin the first phase of candidate COVID-19 vaccine trials in humans next April, said Professor Dr. Kiat Raxrungtham, director of...

    The post Chulalongkorn U to start COVID-19 vaccine trial on humans in April next year first appeared on Thai PBS World : The latest Thai news in English, News Headlines, World News and News Broadcasts in both Thai and English. We bring Thailand to the world.

    The Faculty of Medicine of Chulalongkorn University is expected to begin the first phase of candidate COVID-19 vaccine trials in humans next April, said Professor Dr. Kiat Raxrungtham, director of the COVID-19 vaccine development project of the Vaccine Development Research Centre, today.

    The BioNet-Asia Company, a partner in the vaccine trials, has procured raw materials needed for vaccine development, but it is concerned that there may not be a sufficient supply of such materials because some large corporations have already secured most of them.

    Dr. Kiat also said that the 300-million baht budget for vaccine development, allocated in 42 million baht installments by the government, may not be enough, adding that at least one billion baht will be needed. He revealed that public donations may have to be solicited for the vaccine trials because, although the project is being supported by the National Vaccine Institute of Thailand, the funding might not be received in time.

    If the first phase of vaccine trials is a success, he said that the second phase will be carried out in June, to be followed by an assessment of the efficacy and safety of the candidate vaccine, but that there will not be the third phase, since the manufacturing technology has been developed and proved abroad.

    Due to the different genetic makeup of Thais, when compared to non-Thais, however, Dr. Kiat said that the dosage of vaccine to be used for Thais during the trial phase will be different to that used for non-Thais.

    Should the vaccine candidate pass phase 1 and 2 trials, and the efficacy and safety assessments, Dr. Kiat indicated that large scale production could begin in late 2021.

    The post Chulalongkorn U to start COVID-19 vaccine trial on humans in April next year first appeared on Thai PBS World : The latest Thai news in English, News Headlines, World News and News Broadcasts in both Thai and English. We bring Thailand to the world.

    23 November 2020
    Coronavirus Outbreak Update
    https://www.thaipbsworld.com/?p=257058