Here is a look at the top NATIONAL stories, chosen by our Pattaya News/TPN National team, from last week, December 14th to the 20th, with some commentary. They are not in any particular level of importance but are listed in order of date of publication.
1. Thailand to build its own spacecraft to orbit the moon within 7 years starting this January, says MHESI Minister
The surprising announcement was made by the Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI), claiming that Thailand is ready to build its own spaceship and sent it to the moon within 7 years from now. Since the minister did not mention the reason for establishing the project or how they are going to do it, several questions have been raised among Thai people regarding if it is necessary and whether it is the moment to do so as there have been many internal issues in the country, such as the Covid-19 global pandemic, economic problems, and political instability.
2. Bangkok authorities say they are taking decisive actions to tackle PM2.5 air pollutants in the long term
It’s the time of the year for a thick smog of PM2.5 dust particles to arrive annually, particularly in Bangkok and surrounding provinces. The Prime Minister urged the public to use more public transportation and ordered related agencies to take legal action against vehicles with black smoke. Spraying water to clean roads and public property in the city is also being conducted to reduce the amount of the dust particles. Though the smog situation is slightly better this week, many locals are still concerned about the reoccurrence of air pollution that might possibly happen at the beginning of next year.
3. Cannabis and hemp extracts officially delisted from Category 5 Narcotics for medical purposes
Unsurprisingly, the notification of the Public Health Ministry was announced in line with the government experiment of cannabis oil for medical treatment. Only some parts of cannabis and hemp indicated in the Royal Gazette, such as stalks, stem cores, fibers, and roots, are not considered narcotics, according to the notification. Imported seed, plants, products are still very much illegal and remain in Category 5 Narcotics.
4. Thai Public Health Ministry updates total number of cases of Covid-19 linked to Samut Sakhon market at 689
The number of locally transmitted cases of Covid-19 Coronavirus has been rocketing to 689 last week after a female shrimp farmer was found positive for the virus while working at a local market in Samut Sakhon with local vendors and migrant workers from Myanmar. The cases also quickly spread to nearby provinces in Suphanburi, Nakhon Pathom, Ratchaburi, Bangkok, and Samut Prakan within three days and continue rising. Despite the announcement of an emergency lockdown in Samut Sakhon, the Department of Disease Control ensures the public that the situation is under control and urges the public to abide by health measures, including wearing face masks and social distancing.
5. Bangkok Metropolitan Administration asks for New Year’s countdown events to be cancelled, asks people to work from home for 14 days
The announcement follows a major Covid-19 cluster discovered in the Samut Sakhon market. The BMA has urged for all organizers of New Year Countdown events and huge public gatherings to be canceled. Bars and restaurants may remain open but customers must not be dancing and should be socially distancing. Although this applies to the capital, many Christmas and New Year festivals in some areas, including Bangsaen, are also suspended by their organizers due to the concerns of the possible transmission of the virus.
And that is all for this week. Thank you as always for reading the Pattaya News/TPN News!