Here is a look at the top NATIONAL stories, chosen by our Pattaya News/TPN National team, from last week, November 30th to December 6th, with some commentary. They are not in any particular level of importance but are listed in order of date of publication.
1. Students across Thailand wear casual outfits to schools in protest against uniform regulations as a part of the pro-democracy movement
Some groups of Thai high-school students began their first day of the semester at school by challenging authorities with casual outfits as a new uniform. Encouraged by pro-democracy groups ‘Bad Student’ and the KKC student partners, the students were dressing casually to question the importance of school uniforms in general. However, this experiment resulted in two opposite backlashes; while some schools in Bangkok strongly discouraged and even prohibited their students in casual clothes to enter classrooms, some other private and selective schools warmly welcomed their students and did not take any disciplinary action against students wearing casual outfits as well.
2. Thai cabinet approves raising vehicle speed limits on highways nationwide to increase traffic flow
A higher speed limit of up to 120 kilometers per hour for cars is now implemented nationwide on national and rural highways despite the fact that this speed limit has been unofficially allowed by expressway and motorway Royal Traffic Police for quite a while. The proper limits for other types of vehicles have also been re-adjusted as proposed by the Ministry of Transport and are expected to improve traffic flow and to potentially solve traffic jams in particular areas on the highways.
3. Prime Minister of Thailand found not guilty in case involving alleged misuse of military housing
The Constitutional Court deemed Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O’Cha not guilty over alleged abuse of power by staying in military housing past his retirement in 2014 for many possible reasons. One includes that he was entitled to housing benefits and served the nation significantly as a former Chief of the Army and the house was flagged as a guesthouse and not a “Welfare House” which is a state benefit. The judicial verdict triggered anger among pro-democracy protesters who portrayed many symbolic and satirical performances of the court at Wednesday’s protest as they believed that the court acted in favor of the Prime Minister and his military-based government.
4. At least 5 people killed, thousands of households suffering as heavy flash flood batters Nakhon Si Thammarat
A flooding catastrophe battered 19 large sub-districts in Nakhon Si Thammarat since last week, affecting hundreds of local communities and inundating large areas of farmland. As of today, more than 184,000 households or about 525,000 people are affected while a total of 19 deaths has been reported so far. Although the floodwater level is gradually decreasing, many flood victims claimed to have lost their accommodation and agricultural lands.
5. Four new cases of Covid-19 coronavirus in Bangkok and Tak province confirmed by Thai Health authorities this morning, connected to illegal crossing from Myanmar
Cases of Covid-19 Coronavirus infection has continued to rise domestically (although the vast majority not locally spread) after several illegal returnees who carried the virus from an entertainment venue in the Tachileik district of Myanmar arrived at the Thailand border and skipped quarantine last week. A total of 23 confirmed patients, including local-transmitted cases, were found across the country, particularly in northern and central Thailand. The Public Health Ministry, however, reassured the public during the conference yesterday that Thailand did not have a widespread infection, the situation was under control and domestic tourists are still able to travel in particular provinces without performing local state quarantines safely.
And that is all for this week. Thank you as always for reading the Pattaya News/TPN News!