Thailand still on the hook over intellectual property
AFTER 11 consecutive years, Thailand still cannot get itself off the US Priority Watch List (PWL) because it hasn’t done enough to protect intellectual property rights, according to Washington.
The US Trade Representative (USTR) published a “Special 301” annual report past Friday to comfort us that Thailand is not alone, 10 other countries sat with it at the bottom tier and they are: Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Russia, Ukraine and Venezuela.
The agency said “These countries will be the subject of intense bilateral engagement during the coming year.” In theory, this could leave the country open to special duties and other sanctions but it had never happened.
“US concerns remain regarding the widespread availability of counterfeit and pirated goods, both in physical markets and online, as well as the lack of effective and deterrent enforcement measures,” it said.
Besides piracy of entertainment products, software in general and consumer goods, the powerful US pharmaceutical industry has never been too happy with Thailand’s application of “compulsory licensing,” the WTO’s permitted practice that allows countries to make available the cheaper generic version of certain essential drugs.
The Special 301 report said “In addition, the United States urges Thailand to engage in a meaningful and transparent manner with all relevant stakeholders, including IP owners, as it considers ways to address the country’s public health challenges while maintaining a patent system that promotes innovation.”
However, Thailand’s Commerce Minister Apiradee Tantraporn was looking on the bright side saying it reflected US recognition of government attempts to provide better protection for intellectual property.
Top: “OK, this is a copy, not real, but no problem,” a cheerful Thai woman says, pointing to a black knit polo shirt emblazoned with a Ferrari logo in Bangkok’s wholesale and retail Pratunam Market. Photo: CNN
3 Thais among 27 hurt during turbulent flight
MONDAY May 1, an Aeroflot’s Boeing 777 Flight SU270 travelling from Moscow to Bangkok encountered a severe turbulence close to landing at Suvarnabhumi airport resulting in 24 Russian and 3 Thai passengers injured.
The injuries included various fractures and bruises particularly by some passengers who were not wearing seat belts. The more seriously injured ones were taken to Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital.
The Russian airline said in a statement that several passengers had been injured during “severe turbulence” 40 minutes before landing at Suvarnabhumi and the flight crew had no way to warn passengers as the turbulence occurred in a clear sky.
Footage of post-turbulence is available here as well as via other search engines.
First inset: An Aeroflot Boeing 777-300ER aircraft lands at Sheremetyevo International Airport outside Moscow on July 7, 2015. Photo: Reuters
Famous Maya Bay to close for rehabilitation
DEPARTMENT of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation chief Thanya Nethithammakul said his agency has considered closing the beach at the Noppharat Thara Beach-Phi Phi Islands National Park for some time to restore the marine ecological system that fell prey to large-scale tourism.
He said that he had seen recovery in other tourist spots such as Yung Island at the same park which recovered dramatically after 2 years of closing. He believed it should work the same with Maya Bay hence was looking into the possibility and the duration of the closing.
Chief of the Noppharat Thara Beach-Phi Phi Islands National Park Sarayuth Tanthien said that possible closing time could be the monsoon season (July to September) when fewer tourists could be expected. New mooring area for boats could be built to stop further coral reef destruction by randomly-dropped anchors.
The bay could easily see daily 5,000 visitors during the high-season, doubling its capacity.
Second inset: Tourists enjoying themselves at Noppharat Thara Beach-Phi Phi Islands National Park’s beach on a sunny day. Photo: Bangkokpost.com
20 Pattaya taxis chase false Uber taxi
WEDNEDAY May 3, 20 Pattaya taxis chased Supannee Thampitak, a 31-year-old Thai saleswoman who picked up a foreign customer for her boss in front of Central Marina mall.
With threatening behavior, they followed, surrounded and eventually blocked her way on public road, causing traffic jams, and wanted to confront her, mistaking her for an Uber driver. It was revealed after she had called and the police arrived to rescue her that she was a real estate agent who was picking up Chinese clients to show them condominium units in Pattaya.
Muang Pattaya superintendent Pol Colonel Apichai Krobphetch said on Thursday that the taxi drivers could be punished for illegal detention if the plaintiff pressed charges, so people should be calm and alert police about Uber drivers instead.
However, despite being warned not to take the law into their own hands, no taxi drivers from the incident were charged.
Third inset: Pattaya taxis surround a real estate agent’s car which they thought was an Uber taxi. Photo: Sanook.com
By Piboon Awasdaruharote