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  • Thai massage recognized by UNESCO
    Thai massage or “nuad Thai”, which has already gained global recognition, has now been added to UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list at their meeting, currently being held in Bogota, the...

    Thai massage or “nuad Thai”, which has already gained global recognition, has now been added to UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list at their meeting, currently being held in Bogota, the capital of Columbia.

     

    A Thai delegate at the UNESCO meeting said that the addition of Thai traditional massage to the list practices is historic.

    It is the second Thai intangible cultural heritage practice to be recognized by UNESCO after khon classical masked dance, which was listed last year.

    Tags:  Thai massage, UNESCO

    13 December 2019
    General
    https://www.thaipbsworld.com/?p=242481
  • Scotland must be given new independence vote: Sturgeon
    LONDON (Reuters) – Scotland must be allowed to hold another referendum on its place inside the United Kingdom following the crushing victory of the nationalists in the election, leader Nicola...

    LONDON (Reuters) – Scotland must be allowed to hold another referendum on its place inside the United Kingdom following the crushing victory of the nationalists in the election, leader Nicola Sturgeon said on Friday.

     

    The exit poll predicted that the Scottish National Party would win 55 of the 59 seats in Scotland.

    “There is a mandate now to offer the people of Scotland the choice over our own future,” Sturgeon told Sky News.

    “There is a clear desire and endorsement for the notion that Scotland should not be landed with a Boris Johnson government and ripped out of Europe against our own will.

    “Boris Johnson may have a mandate to take England out of the European Union. He emphatically does not have a mandate to take Scotland out of the European Union. Scotland must have a choice over our own future.”

    13 December 2019
    News
    https://www.thaipbsworld.com/?p=242477
  • Samut Sakhon sprays water to control PM2.5 airborne dust
    The Samut Sakhon provincial administration started using four water spraying machines to reduce PM2.5 dust particles in the air along Rama II Road Thursday night, while water trucks wash dust...

    The Samut Sakhon provincial administration started using four water spraying machines to reduce PM2.5 dust particles in the air along Rama II Road Thursday night, while water trucks wash dust off the roads in the province.

     

    The provincial governor, Mr. Veerasak Vichitsaengsri, said Thursday night that the Department of Public Disaster Prevention and Mitigation had leant four dust control water spraying machines to the province to be used to clean the air, especially along the Rama II Road, where the amount of PM2.5 dust particles has been exceeding standard safety levels on daily basis.

    The spraying systems are located in front of the provincial administration centre, at the construction site on Rama II road, in Om-noi municipality in Krathumban district and in the Tha Chine Tambon Administration Organization area along the Rama II road.

     

    The sprays will operate during rush hours, from 6am to 8am and from 5pm to 7pm.

    Governor Veetasak said that the dust control measures will continue until the air quality improves to a satisfactory level.

     

    The provincial administration has also issued an announcement restricting the burning of trash or other materials in the open and to control emissions from factories and vehicles.

    Governor Veerasak said officials will monitor the dust situation around the clock and make assessments on daily basis.

     

    13 December 2019
    General
    https://www.thaipbsworld.com/?p=242473
  • Beijing’s legal influence triggers disquiet in Hong Kong financial sector
    HONG KONG (Reuters) – When China’s top legislature criticized a Hong Kong court’s rejection of a face mask ban there, some global firms began to fear the potential for mainland...

    HONG KONG (Reuters) – When China’s top legislature criticized a Hong Kong court’s rejection of a face mask ban there, some global firms began to fear the potential for mainland interference in commercial contracts, lawyers and finance executives said.

    Hong Kong’s vaunted rule of law is widely seen as a major factor for global financial institutions who make the former British colony their regional home and using it as their main trade and other dispute resolution center.

    “Against the backdrop of what’s happening in Hong Kong, this development doesn’t really give us any comfort about the future of high-value commercial contracts,” said a Hong Kong-based executive at a leading global auditing and consultancy firm, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

    “Many of our clients, who have been in Hong Kong for many decades, have started to have that angst now,” the executive added. “They are internally discussing what does this mean and whether it would make sense to have a plan B in place for critical contracts.”

    The concerns stem from a statement last month from the legislative affairs commission of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress questioning the power of Hong Kong’s High Court, which had overturned a ban on face masks.

    The ban was part of a government effort to rein in pro-democracy unrest that started in June.

    The committee’s statement said Hong Kong courts had no power to rule on the constitutionality of the city’s laws, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

    In response, the Hong Kong Bar Association said the statement was “legally incorrect” and undermined the “the high degree of autonomy granted to under the Basic Law”, the document that outlines the extent of Hong Kong’s freedoms and autonomy.

    Hong Kong’s government has appealed the court ruling. The next hearings are on Jan 9-10, a spokesman for the Department of Justice said in a statement to Reuters on Tuesday.

    “Under ‘One Country, Two Systems’, Hong Kong is part of China but retains our own systems and way of life,” it said.

    “The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government is not only fully committed to providing a level-playing field for business to thrive, but also safeguarding our rule of law and protecting the freedom and rights of all people living and conducting business, working or just visiting Hong Kong.”

    CHINA’S INFLUENCE

    Global banks, wealth and asset managers, and insurers book billions of dollars in revenue every year in Hong Kong, the bulk of it flowing from China.

    Senior executives at global financial firms have privately mentioned greater legal and social freedoms in Hong Kong compared with mainland China as one of the reasons behind making the city their main regional centers.

    Rating agency Fitch said on Thursday Hong Kong’s role in global finance was intact despite the protests and social unrest.

    But that may change if “political uncertainty continues, a factor underscored by an ongoing debate regarding the Hong Kong courts’ authority to conduct constitutional review of the Basic Law,” it said, referring to the face mask decision.

    A group of treasurers from about a half-dozen global companies with Hong Kong operations met this month and discussed booking high-value transactions in Singapore or elsewhere, said a senior banker who facilitated the meeting.

    The banker, like the other financial industry and legal sources in this article, declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.

    The concerns at the routine half-yearly gathering were fueled by more than six months of protests, as well as worries about Beijing’s influence over the local judicial system, said the banker, who works at a global lender.

    A senior official at a Hong Kong government-backed financial body told Reuters that some global firms had expressed concern to the agency about Beijing’s influence after the National People’s Congress (NPC) committee statement.

    “Our attitude in the past has been – oh well, these things (the NPC remarks) come along periodically and muddy the waters, but they don’t come along that often,” said a corporate lawyer with an global law firm in Hong Kong.

    “The thing about the NPC is that their interpretations are so cack-handed – just zero appreciation for the legal issues – you can tell the whole thing is being driven by a political imperative.”

    13 December 2019
    International
    https://www.thaipbsworld.com/?p=242468
  • UK’s Johnson looks set for big win in ‘Brexit election’
    Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ruling party appeared on course for a sweeping victory in Thursday’s snap election, an exit poll showed, paving the way for Britain to leave the EU...

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ruling party appeared on course for a sweeping victory in Thursday’s snap election, an exit poll showed, paving the way for Britain to leave the EU next month after years of political deadlock.

    The Conservatives were forecast to win a thumping 368 out of 650 seats in parliament — which if confirmed would be the party’s biggest majority in three decades — according to the survey published as polls closed.

    The pound jumped by about two percent against the dollar on the projected results of what all sides had painted as the most momentous election in Britain in a generation.

    Johnson had campaigned relentlessly on the promise to “Get Brexit Done”, vowing to end years of political turmoil over Britain’s future that has weighed on the economy and sharply divided the nation.

    With a large majority of MPs, he will be able to get the divorce deal he struck with Brussels through parliament in time to meet the next Brexit deadline of January 31.

    Ratifying the Brexit deal would formalise the end of almost five decades of EU-UK integration, although both sides still need to thrash out a new trade and security agreement.

    EU leaders meeting in Brussels for a summit were watching the result closely, where France’s European affairs minister, Amelie de Montchalin, was first to welcome the result.

    “If the exit poll results are confirmed it should allow for a clear majority, something that has been missing in the United Kingdom for several years,” she said.

    – Labour collapse –

    Britons had braved winter storms and howling winds as they lined up to cast ballots in Britain’s third election in nearly five years.

    Johnson’s victory, if confirmed by official results, would be the best result for the Conservatives since 1987, when Margaret Thatcher was in Downing Street.

    He tweeted his thanks to everyone who voted and supported his party, adding: “We live in the greatest democracy in the world.”

    By contrast, the exit poll spells disaster for the main opposition Labour party which was projected to win just 191 seats — its worst result since 1935.

    Left-wing leader Jeremy Corbyn had promised a second referendum on Brexit, in a bid to appeal to half of British voters who still want to stay in the EU.

    But he had focused Labour’s campaign on a radical programme of economic change, including nationalising key industries, which failed to woo traditional voters.

    “It looks as if Brexit dominated. A lot of this was Brexit fatigue. People just wanted it over and done with,” conceded his close aide, John McDonnell.

    Corbyn was also personally deeply unpopular and dogged by accusations of sympathising with proscribed terror groups and failing to tackle anti-Semitism within the Labour party.

    “We knew he was incapable of leading. He’s worse than useless,” said former Labour interior minister Alan Johnson.

    If confirmed, it will be Labour’s fourth successive electoral defeat — and the second under Corbyn — which could see the party out of power until 2024.

    – Whither Remain?

    The anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats were also heading for a disappointing night, forecast to win just 13 seats, one more than they won in the election two years ago.

    They performed well in European Parliament elections earlier this year, but new leader Jo Swinson failed to make an impact and experts suggest her promise to reverse Brexit without even a new referendum was unpopular.

    Hopes also appeared to be dashed that “Remainers” would vote tactically to secure a second referendum.

    By contrast the Scottish National Party (SNP), which wants to stop Brexit and deliver an independent Scotland, was forecast to win 55 of 59 seats available.

    Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson had pledged to swim naked in Loch Ness on New Year’s Eve if the nationalists won 50 seats.

    – ‘Softer Brexit?’ –

    Johnson remains a polarising figure in Britain thanks to his leading role in the 2016 EU referendum vote for Brexit, which was marked by anti-immigration, populist rhetoric.

    But he has again proved his ability to appeal across political lines, as he did when he was mayor of London — aided by a simple message on Brexit.

    Eurosceptic leader Nigel Farage also claimed to have boosted the prime minister’s chances by declining to stand candidates for his Brexit Party in Tory-held seats.

    The Brexit Party, like its former incarnation UKIP, is not predicted to win any seats.

    Johnson has promised to put his Brexit plan to parliament before the Christmas break, although it will not likely be ratified until January.

    He has then just 11 months to agree a new partnership with the EU before a post-Brexit transition period ends in December 2020.

    But with a comfortable majority in parliament, analysts note he could choose to extend that time and negotiate a closer trade deal than previously envisaged.

    “Ironically, this is a freer hand for Johnson to negotiate a softer version of Brexit,” said Simon Hix of the London School of Economics.

     

    13 December 2019
    Highlight
    https://www.thaipbsworld.com/?p=242465
  • Premchai detained while waiting for a bail ruling from the Supreme Court
    Italian-Thai Development’s Premchai Karnasuta has been detained at Thong Pha Phum district prison, together with two of his fellow accused, while awaiting a ruling by the Supreme Court on their...

    Italian-Thai Development’s Premchai Karnasuta has been detained at Thong Pha Phum district prison, together with two of his fellow accused, while awaiting a ruling by the Supreme Court on their bail application after being sentenced for illegal poaching of protected wildlife in the Thung Yai Narusuan wildlife sanctuary.

    The Appeals Court today upheld the lower court’s guilty verdict on Premchai, Yong Dodkrua, Thanee Thummat and Mrs. Nathee Riamsaeng, but increased their prison terms.

    Premchai’s prison term was increased from 16 months to two years and 17 months, Yong received 2 years and 17 months instead of 13 months, Thanee received 2 years and 21 months instead of 2 years and 17 months while Mrs Nathee was given a 1 year and 8 month suspended jail term.

    Lawyers for Premchai, Yong Dodkrua and Thanee Thummat requested bail and waited at the court until after office hours for a response from the Supreme Court.

    Corrections officials then escorted the three convicts to the district prison, where they were are spend the night. Tomorrow (Friday) they are due to appear before the Thong Pha Phum provincial court again to hear the ruling from the Supreme Court on their bail application.

    Premchai’s lawyer, Mr. Withoon Yamplai, told reporters that his boss did not show any sign of anxiety as he was escorted to the prison.

    12 December 2019
    General
    https://www.thaipbsworld.com/?p=242462
  • PHOTOS OF THE DAY
    12 December 2019
    Photo of the Day
    https://www.thaipbsworld.com/?p=242459
  • PHOTOS OF THE DAY
    12 December 2019
    Photo of the Day
    https://www.thaipbsworld.com/?p=242456
  • PHOTOS OF THE DAY
    12 December 2019
    Photo of the Day
    https://www.thaipbsworld.com/?p=242453
  • Crowning glory for His Majesty the King
    The glory of the Thai Monarchy was in full display today when Their Majesties the King and Queen travelled along the Chao Phya River in a spectacular flotilla of ceremonial...

    The glory of the Thai Monarchy was in full display today when Their Majesties the King and Queen travelled along the Chao Phya River in a spectacular flotilla of ceremonial barges and boats to the shouts of “Long Live Their Majesties” from tens of thousands of people who lined up along both banks of the river to witness the historical event.

    Their Majesties, dressed in magnificent traditional royal costumes, embarked on the royal barge Suphannahong at Wasukri Pier in Dusit District to travel a distance of 3.4 kilometres in a majestic procession that consisted of 52 ceremonial barges.

    As the procession proceeded under a clear blue sky, Buddhist chanting was  held at six temples along both sides of the river in their Majesties’ honor.  Ceremonial songs for barge-rowing also echoed throughout the route of the procession.

    People, most dressed in yellow,  began filling up the banks of Chao Phya River since morning to have a glimpse of their once-in-a-lifetime event.    They shouted “Long Live Their Majesties” as the procession passed by.

    More than 2,200 oarsmen provided by the Royal Thai Navy, and all dressed in colourful ancient ceremonial military uniforms, took part in the procession which was also broadcast live.

    The trip took about 45 minutes, after which Their Majesties disembarked at Ratchaworadit Pier.   The royal barge procession, a tradition dating back to the Sukhothai era, was held to mark the conclusion to the Royal Coronation of His Majesty the King who ascended to the throne in May this year.

    12 December 2019
    Highlight
    https://www.thaipbsworld.com/?p=242450