Thailand week in review: The top five national news stories in Thailand for the last week, January 18th to the 24th

Here is a look at the top NATIONAL stories, chosen by our Pattaya News/TPN National team, from last week, January 18th to the 24th, with some commentary. They are not in any particular level of importance but are listed in order of date of publication.

1. Thai Cabinet officially approves “Rao Chana” cash handout program and another round of “Half-Half” co-payment registration

It is now official that the amount of 7,000 baht will be distributed individually to those who are qualified and register in the “Rao Chana” campaign as financial aid to solve economic problems during the global pandemic. The registration will be open next month while the third round of the ‘Half-Half’ co-payment scheme, which was also already approved by the government to boost the domestic economy, was already closed within half an hour on the first day of the registration last Wednesday.

Thai Cabinet officially approves “Rao Chana” cash handout program and another round of “Half-Half” co-payment registration

2. Digital Economy and Society Ministry files lésé majéste charges against former opposition politician Thanathorn

Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit is facing Thailand’s harshest law of royal defamation after reportedly mentioning and questioning Thai medicine-produced company ‘Siam Bioscience’ which is owned by the Crown Property Bureau. According to a DES Deputy, Thanathorn had conveyed about 11 false and misleading statements that have crucially ruined the reputation of the government and monarchy institution. A day later, a former politician claimed during a press conference that the government used Section 112 of the Criminal Code to silence him.

Digital Economy and Society Ministry files lésé majéste charges against former opposition politician Thanathorn

3. Thai government to introduce marijuana meals and travel products to attract Thai and foreign tourists

After the revocation of some parts of cannabis from the narcotic drugs list, the Public Health Ministry then proposed to introduce marijuana meals to improve local community businesses and boost domestic tourism. Parts of cannabis will be used in food, cosmetics, spa, and travel products under approved and legalized recipes. Some recipes are now being taught in a training curriculum for local communities, where they are also allowed to grow cannabis legally under the supervision of the Ministry.

Thai government to introduce marijuana meals and travel products to attract Thai and foreign tourists

4. Bangkok reopens thirteen establishments under strict Covid-19 prevention measures, effective last Friday

BMA officially allowed 13 temporarily-closed businesses to operate again after Bangkok found no more than 10 cases a day of Covid-19 last week. Some of the businesses are fitness, gym, boxing stadiums, and massage shops. However, bars and nightlife are still not allowed to be open. Alcohol selling at restaurants is also not permitted and patrons may only dine-in until 9:00 PM. Potential further easing will be discussed this week at a Thai cabinet meeting.

Bangkok reopens thirteen establishments under strict Covid-19 prevention measures, effective this Friday

5. AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine officially approved by Thai FDA, first 50,000 shots to arrive next month

The AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccination became the first company that has been approved by Thailand’s FDA for emergency use. The approval also allows domestic vaccine manufacturing to be produced by Siam Bioscience. The first batch of 50,000 doses will be randomly tested before being distributed to the public. The first group to receive the vaccination are, according to the government, the elderly and medical front-liners who performed their duties at ASQ/LASQ and quarantine and field hospitals nationwide.

AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine officially approved by Thai FDA, first 50,000 shots to arrive next month

And, that is all for this week. Thank you as always for reading the Pattaya News/TPN News!

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