Govt invites riverside people to put up altar tables in show of respect as HM takes boat trip to Nonthaburi
BANGKOK, 5 July 2012 (NNT) – When His Majesty the King
travels by the river from Siriraj Hospital’s pier to Nonthaburi Province on
Saturday, 7 July, people living on both banks of the Chao Phraya River are
expected to come out in full force to greet their beloved king.
Permanent Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office Tongthong Chandransu said His
Majesty the King is scheduled to travel on the Angsana royal boat on Saturday,
to officiate at the opening ceremony of five irrigation projects built under
royal initiatives. The boat ride will take about two hours starting from 4.30
p.m., during which His Majesty will take his time observing life of local people
while the boat cruises into short-cut as well as detour canals around Ko Kret
islet in Nonthaburi. The royal boat will then stop at a pier in front of the
Royal Irrigation Department in Tambon Samsen, Dusit District, Bangkok, at about
6.45 p.m., and His Majesty will perform the opening ceremony of the five
irrigation projects from the royal boat, by pressing an electric knob to unveil
Mr. Tongthong said the government deemed it appropriate to encourage people
living along the river to pay respect to HM the King on this occasion in a
traditional way by putting up altar tables on their riverfront balconies on
which pictures of His Majesty the King, flags depicting the royal initials and
floral offerings can be placed.
In the old days, Mr. Tongthong said it was a popular tradition for local
communities to arrange entertainment programs in honor of the king upon royal
visits as people who gathered around could also enjoy the shows. On Saturday, he
added, Buddhist monks at various monasteries along the river will gather in
front their respective monasteries to chant the holy stanzas to bless His
Majesty with happiness.
House Speaker’s spokesman shows no concern over charter revision hearing
BANGKOK, 5 July 2012 (NNT) - Spokesman of the House Speaker
Wattana Sengphairoh has expressed confidence that the Constitution Court will
judge the charter amendment case with fairness and shrugged off the plaintiff’s
use of a voice clip allegedly containing political remarks of the House Speaker
The first hearing of the case on revision of Section 291 of the Constitution
took place on Thursday at the Constitution Court. The plaintiff, consisting of
some Senate members and Opposition MPS, asked the court to rule whether the
government’s campaign to amend Section 91 is considered a threat to the
Mr.Wattana said the House Speaker cast doubt on the authenticity of the
15-minute voice clip and he viewed that the House Speaker only expressed his
political views in the clip.
Science Minister: Bangkok will not be flooded this year
BANGKOK, 5 July 2012 (NNT) - Science and Technology Minister
Plodprasop Suraswadi has assured that Bangkok and key economic zones will not be
flooded this year.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra today presided over the meeting of Water
Resources Management and Flood Control Committee, with Mr Plodprasop and other
flood-related agencies in attendance.
During the meeting, Ms Yingluck instructed the Hydrographic Department and
Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department to ensure effective management of
disaster alert systems. Mr Plodprasop also stressed at the meeting that a
community-level centralized health, evacuation, and disaster alert is needed so
accurate and timely warnings can be issued to affected areas.
The Science Minister expressed his belief that there is only a one-percent
chance of floods of last year’s magnitude taking place in Thailand this year.
River plains, banks and previously flooded areas across the country are more
likely to be flooded this year, but the degree of severity will be no match to
last year’s crisis.
He has reaffirmed that Bangkok and its vicinity will not be submerged in
floodwaters this year.
PM urges Energy Ministry to conclude Bangchak refinery fire probe
BANGKOK, 5 July 2012 (NNT) – The Prime Minister has urged the
Energy Ministry to speedily conclude an investigation into the fire accident at
the Bangchak refinery in Bangkok.
Government spokesperson Sansanee Nakpong said that Prime Minister Yingluck
Shinawatra has been informed about the fire accident at a refinery of Bangchak
Petroleum Public Company Limited, which took place at dawn on Wednesday.
Ms. Sansanee said that the Permanent Secretary for Energy was responsible for
updating the PM with the situation and the initial cause of the fire.
The report suggested that the fire broke out at a refinery tower, with the
production capacity of 80,000 barrels of oil per day, but spread to nowhere. No
casualties have been reported too.
As the investigation into the incident continues, the fire-stricken refinery
unit will be closed for 7 days.
Bangchak has assured that the temporary shutdown will not have any effect on
consumers while residents in nearby have also been notified about the latest
The government spokesperson said that the Prime Minister has urged the Energy
Ministry to conclude the probe into the incident and come up with a set of
measures to prevent the repeat of similar accidents in the future. The PM has
instructed that all reports should be submitted in as soon as possible.
At the same time, the Prime Minister has ordered all state agencies related in
economic affairs to collect all data to prepare preventive measures and to
update the public with all the solutions the government has been planning, in
order to help ease their anxiety.
Public Health Ministry reveals success of ‘old drugs for eggs’ campaign
BANGKOK, 5 July 2012 (NNT) - The Ministry of Public Health
yesterday announced that over 8.7 million tablets of expired drugs have been
acquired through the ‘old drugs for eggs’ campaign.
Deputy Public Health Minister Surawit Khonsomboon said
approximately 20 million old tablets are expected to be exchanged for eggs by
the end of this week. After the campaign, the ministry may consider extending
the scheme if members of the public express their wish to trade in more drugs.
According to the recently launched campaign, Mr Surawit said the expired drugs
can be exchanged for at least five eggs a household, adding 100,000 baht will be
allocated for each province participating in the project.
During the project, the ministry collects and retrieves unused old medicines in
order to create a nationwide inventory of old drugs in each household.
Mr Surawit revealed that the ministry is devising a measure to prevent the
overuse of drugs in the country, as Thailand’s total expenditure on drugs is
estimated at 100 billion baht each year.
PM instructs Mineral Resources Dept to probe sinkholes in Ang Thong
ANG THONG, 5 July 2012 (NNT) - Following reports of land
subsidence in Ang Thong province, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has
instructed Department of Mineral Resources to conduct further inspection to
determine the cause.
Land subsidence in Ang Thong's Pho Sa sub-district occurred over the past
weekend and continued to widen, damaging a total of 14 homes. Provincial
authorities officially declared the area a disaster zone.
Speaking on the sideline of the Water and Flood Management Committee’s meeting,
Ms Yingluck said the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation and the
Ministry of Interior have been assigned to oversee evacuations of affected
Related agencies in the province have been alerted and advised to keep a close
watch on the situation. Residents living on river banks nearby have been urged
to brace for possible subsidence in their areas.
Earlier this morning, another road sinkhole was located in Muang district of the
same province, causing the newly built dyke attached to the road to collapse.
The sinkhole is 1-meter deep and 100-meter wide.
Bangchak plans full reimbursements of explosion-related damages
BANGKOK, 5 July 2012 (NNT) - Bangchak Petroleum is
dispatching additional inspection units to examine the oil refinery’s blast
site, while insisting that damage to nearby property will be fully compensated
by the oil firm.
Following the suspension of the refinery’s operations, Bangchak’s inspection
officers found that the fire has torched over 80 percent of the gas separation
tower on the premises.
Bangchak Petroleum president Anusorn Sangnimnuan said repair works on the crude
distillation unit and the unit’s tower are expected to take 2-3 months to
complete. In a week, the company is planning to restart an equipment at the
refinery, with a crude-processing capacity of 40,000 barrels a day, as a test
Mr Anusorn assured that Bangchak’s personnel are currently inspecting damage on
the premises surrounding the plant. 14 construction contractors are being
assigned to carry out maintenance works on damage to property and belongings in
the area. The cost of explosion-related damage will be reimbursed by the firm.
Meanwhile, Phra Khanong district police said that following initial inspection,
their investigation teams said the refinery’s blast and subsequent fire are
either caused by accident, negligence, or arson.
Public Health Ministry revises drug registration policy according to AEC standard
BANGKOK, 3 July 2012 (NNT) – The Ministry of Public Health
has held a meeting on drug registration policy revision in preparation for the
Deputy Minister of Public Health Surawit Khonsomboon yesterday presided over the
“19th Quality & Standard of Modern Medicine” meeting, held in The Sukosol
Hotel(โรงแรมเดอะสุโกศล), Bangkok; the event was participated by all
medication-related agencies such as scholars, experts, pharmacists, and the
private sectors from Thailand and 9 other ASEAN countries. The main purpose of
the meeting was to revise the drug registration policy in line with the AEC
Mr. Surawit added that this implementation is an important step to take to be
prepared for the advent of the AEC, under which the 10 members including
Thailand are to encourage free movements of services, investments, capitals, and
labors. Modern drug-related agencies have continuously discussed over the issue
in order to reform and adjust rules and regulations concerning modern drug
registration according to international standard. Mr. Surawit also stated that
this cooperation would mutually facilitate commerce within the ASEAN region ,as
well as genuinely enhancing the quality of modern medicines. In addition, the
meeting will also cover the topic of making biological materials meet the Good
Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standard for the safety of consumers
Princess Chulabhorn impresses nation with her efforts to save people from cancer
BANGKOK, 4 July 2012 (NNT) - People recognize Her Royal
Highness Princess Chulabhorn as founder of Chulabhorn Hospital, but not many
know that the Princess also takes her roles in diagnosing illnesses at the
The Princess, as a qualified scientist, often joins a grand-round ward activity
to follow the progress of treatment in cancer patients, together with a
multidisciplinary team including pathologist, radiologist, oncologist, surgeon,
and pharmacist. HRH usually provides some advice and suggestions for better
treatment plans based on the gained knowledge and experiences from visiting and
participating in many conferences and meetings with top leading cancer
Chulabhorn Hospital has been established under the strong aspirations of
Prof.Dr. Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn to relieve the sufferings of
cancer patients through comprehensive patient-centered services, starting from
cancer screening at early stage, cancer prevention and treatment by up to date
and modernized technology along with cancer research for better quality of life
and improved survival. As a result, many cases of cancer have been transferred
from other hospitals in both Bangkok and provincial areas to receive therapy by
the most up to date and modernized “TrueBeam” accelerator machine at Chulabhorn
Apart from contributing her knowledge and attention to cancer treatment, HRH
always gives moral support to patients by giving artificial flowers produced at
the Bangsai Arts and Crafts Centre, to all patients at the IPD ward and
encouraged them to be filled with strong mind for better survival. She often
mentioned that her visits could be the most efficient method under “Friend to
Friend Assistance” to encourage and impress all patients at the ward.
Cancer is the number one killer in Thailand with about 120,000 patients, most of
which are men suffering from lung and colon cancer, and women who suffer from
cervical and breast cancer.
As Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn turns 55 today, the National News
Bureau of Thailand joins the Kingdom in humbly wishing HRH a happy birthday.
Officials find traces of toxic substances at oil refinery´s blast site
BANGKOK, 4 July 2012 (NNT) – The Department of Pollution
Control (DPC) revealed that initial tests conducted at the site of this
morning’s explosion found traces of toxic substances such as toluene, benzene
Following an explosion and subsequent fire at the Bangchak-owned oil refinery in
Bangkok’s Sukhumvit Soi 64, the DPC this morning dispatched mobile units to
gauge air quality risks and signs of carcinogens in affected areas. The units
detected less than 1 part per million (ppm) of toxic chemicals within the
premise, which is still considered a long-term safe level.
The DPC’s mobile units are also measuring the levels of carbon monoxide and
sulphur monoxide near the plant due to the high combustible nature of the
Residents in nearby areas are advised to wear masks, keep doors and windows
closed and switch off their air-conditioning units until further notice.
Bangkok governor, M.R.Sukhumbhand Paribatra, who visited the site today, has
instructed relevant district offices to closely monitor the health impacts from
the explosion as well as to oversee necessary evacuations, brought on by the
Special Report: Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn: Princess Scientist of Thailand
Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn has made great
contributions to the fields of chemistry and medicine in Thailand with her
strong dedication and determination to develop the country in the footsteps of
His Majesty the King.
HRH Princess Chulabhorn was born on 4 July 1957 as the third child of Their
Majesties King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit. After graduating with a
first-class honors degree in chemistry at Kasetsart University, the Princess has
pursued her education in chemistry and conducted extensive research in
chemistry-related fields and cancer. She has been a Professor of Chemistry at
Mahidol University since 1985. The Princess’ scientific accomplishments have
earned her UNESCO’s Einstein Medal for her continuous effort in promoting
scientific collaboration in Asia and the Pacific.
Realizing the problem of shortage of medical and public health personnel in
Thailand, HRH Princess Chulabhorn founded Chulabhorn Research Institute in 1987.
She’s the incumbent President of the institute whose ultimate goal is to utilize
science and technology to prove the quality of life. Apart from conducting
research and supporting studies on medical science, the prolific Chualbhorn
Research Institute also acts as a center for education and human resources
development in the field of science and technology with cooperation from
HRH Princess Chulabhorn is also renowned for her contributions to cancer
research and treatments. She established a cancer center which strives for
academic excellence and development of cancer treatments with the most advanced
technology in the region and international standard methods.
In terms of the environmental, HRH Princess Chulabhorn plays an important role
in supporting the use of scientific knowledge to conserve the environment and
the use technology for agricultural and forestry management. Similarly to the
other members of the Royal Family, HRH Princess Chulabhorn is the royal patron
of many foundations and projects such as the Light for Life Foundation for
Epilepsy, Thapthim Siam School 04 in Surin province as well as a Dharma radio
station in Udon Thani province.
HRH Princess Chulabhorn has been following the footsteps of Their Majesties the
King and Queen by working for the betterment of all Thais. Her great
achievements and dedication for the country are the key to her status as
“Princess Scientist” who is the light of Thailand.
Temporary Bangchak refinery shutdown will not disrupt oil production: Energy Minister
BANGKOK, July 4 -- Energy Minister Arak Chonlatanon assured
the public that the forced closure of Bangchak refinery for 30 days after fire
early Wednesday won't disrupt domestic oil production, affirming that there
would be no fuel shortage.
Fire broke out at the Bangchak Petroleum refinery and oil distribution centre in
Bangkok’s Phra Khanong district, but the blaze was brought under control in a
short time. The authorities are investigating to determine the cause of the
Industry Minister Pongsvas Svasti has ordered a 30-day closure of refinery to
allow a thorough investigation of the cause of the fire.
Mr Arak said that after the closure, the 80,000 barrels of oil per day would
disappear from the system but the ministry said that volume of oil would not
affect domestic oil supply.
There is sufficient oil supply to meet normal demand of the public, he said.
There would be no shortage of fuel because of the refinery closure.
Thailand produces about one million barrels of oil products per day at six
refineries. Among this, Bangchak produces 99,000 barrels daily or 9.9 per cent
of total oil production.
Thailand also has enough reserve oil to absorb the loss of production from
He added that the ministry may ask for cooperation from Thaioil and IRPC to
delay their plans to repair their refineries. Thaioil plans to partially close
its refinery for repairs Aug 1- Sept 7 while IRPC's plan was for July 20-Aug 7.
Meanwhile, Bangchak President Anusorn Sangnimnuan said that the company was
expected to lose some Bt500-600 million income because of the fire while
earnings before interest, depreciation and amortisation (EBIDA) would be reduced
by Bt300-400 million from the target of Bt7 billion this year.
He said that Bangchak has imported gasoline base (G-base) to prevent a shortage
of gasohol. G-base becomes gasohol when combined with ethanol.
Mr Anusorn said that Bangchak has capacity of producing 80 million litres per
month, and the incident would force 40-50 million litres of fuel per month to
disappear from the system. (MCOT online news)
Transport Ministry to resume Bangsue-Rangsit Red Line electric train construction
BANGKOK, 4 July 2012 (NNT) – The Transport Ministry is set to
resume the construction of the suburban section of the Red Line electric train
line, after almost 2 years of suspension.
Transport Minister Charupong Ruangsuwan said on Tuesday that the weekly Cabinet
meeting has approved a budget of 29.82 billion baht for the construction of the
Bangsue-Rangsit Red Line railway line.
Mr. Charupong said that the construction bidding of the suburban section of the
electric train system has been opened since last December and the lowest bidder
was the SU Joint Venture, which comprises Sino-Thai Engineering & Construction
and Unique Engineering and Construction.
From the proposed cost of 34.65 billion baht, the State Railway of Thailand
(SRT) has successfully negotiated it down to the final price, which the Cabinet
has approved the budget for on Tuesday.
The Transport Minister stated that the completion of the pending electric train
system will see a modern railway station with 22 tracks, which will help ease
traffic congestion at 21 critical points and the crowdedness at the Hua Lamphong
train station in Bangkok.
The Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning Director-General Soithip
Trisuddhi added that the SRT will notify Japan International Cooperation Agency
(JICA), which is the financial supporter of the project, about the latest
Mrs. Soithip expects the first construction contract to be signed within 2
weeks. She added that only after JICA has approved the content in the first
contract will the SRT be able to sign the second contract.
Public Health ministry ramps up bird flu precautions
BANGKOK, 4 July 2012 (NNT) - Following a recent outbreak of
bird flu in China, the Ministry of Public Health is today ramping up further
precautions amongst the nation's poultry farmers.
Officials in China's remote northwestern region of Xinjiang have culled more
than 150,000 chickens, after detecting an outbreak of bird flu in the area on
Public Health Minister Wittaya Buranasiri said he has instructed provincial
health offices across the country to closely monitor signs of bird flu as damp
conditions during the rainy reason are conducive to the spread of the deadly
As a pre-emptive measure, the Ministry is urging poultry farm workers to
immediately notify local livestock services if any chickens in their care died
an unnatural death and to avoid cooking the chickens at all costs.
The last outbreak of bird flu in Thailand was reported over 5 years ago.
ICT Minister attends disaster reduction conference in Japan
BANGKOK, 4 July 2012 (NNT) - Information and Communication
Technology (ICT) Minister Group Captain Anudith Nakornthap has attended a
ministerial conference in Japan to exchange ideas on how to reduce impacts from
The World Ministerial Conference on Disaster Reduction in Tohoku, Japan, began
yesterday and has concluded today. The main objective was to allow participants
to share their experience with natural disasters and exchange views on how to
restore disaster-stricken areas and mitigate risks that could occur during
On this occasion, Gp Capt Anudith had a chance to inform the world community how
important the risk assessment for all levels of disasters is to Thailand while
also stressing the need to develop and improve the ICT system to reduce the
In addition to his participation in the conference, the Thai ICT Minister also
visited disaster-hit areas in Japan.
Cabinet gives nod to project similar to NASA’s
BANGKOK, 4 July 2012 (NNT) - The Cabinet has approved a
primary study of cloud formation that affects the weather in Thailand after it
rejected NASA’s request to use U-Tapao Airport for a similar study.
Minister of Science and Technology Plodprasop Suraswadi said
after the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday that the cloud formation project was the
collaboration between the Ministry of Science and Technology, universities and
research institutes in Thailand. Details of the project will be submitted to the
Mr. Plodprasop said the project was approved since the Cabinet saw that Thailand
needed to urgently have basic data about clouds and nano particles in the high
atmosphere for more precise weather forecasts. The project is hoped to benefit
Thailand’s flood prevention as well.
The project will use the government’s existing equipment and tools. It has been
set to expand over a period of ten months, starting from August 2012.
According to the minister, this primary study on clouds and nano particles will
also benefit the evaluation of air pollution, especially in industrial zones,
and the adjustment to global warming as well as pave the way for more advanced
studies in the future.
No evacuation order after Bangkok refinery fire
BANGKOK, July 4 – No evacuation order has been issued after
the fire at the Bangchak refinery on Wednesday morning, but nearby schools have
been closed and officials are examining the air quality.
Local authorities have alerted about 100 families in five
nearby communities around the oil refinery about the situation. Residents have
been told to be prepared for evacuation if needed, said Silapasuay
Raweesangsoon, director of the Phra Khanong district office.
Emergency workers brought the fire under control, but smoke and fumes still
envelop the area. The district sent rescue workers and four more fire engines to
the site, but no casualties have been reported. Smoke has lessened but
firefighters keep hosing water on the overheated complex of piping.
A school less than one kilometre from the refinery closed, sending its 2,600
students home, said Thawin Srijaingam, director of Phra Khanong Phitthayalai
Regarding air quality around the area, Dr Pornthep Siriwanarangsan, director of
the Department of the Disease Control said that officials are inspecting the air
quality and if it is found to be hazardous and local residents will be told to
evacuate. So far, there has been no report of any death in the incident.
Dr Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoenchai, deputy director of the department of the
disease control, asked the public not to panic but to follow the advice of the
Burning oil caused carbon dioxide CO2 to spread in the air, he said. People who
suffered eye and nose irritation are advised to cover their noses with wet
cloths and leave the area and wash their eyes with clean water and wear
Industry Minister Pongsvas Svasti said that he has ordered a 30-day closure of
Bangchak Petroleum refinery to investigate the cause of the fire. (MCOT online
DDPM issues flash flood alerts in 16 provinces
BANGKOK, 3 July 2012 (NNT) -The Department of Disaster
Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) has issued a warning for residents in 16
provinces nationwide to brace for heavy rains and flash floods today and
DDPM’s Director-General, Wiboon Sanguanpong, has said a strong monsoon trough
prevailing over the Northern and upper Northeastern part of Thailand has caused
torrential rainfall and severe storms, which could later trigger flash-flooding
in flood-prone areas.
Residents living near hillsides and waterways in Chiang Rai, Phayao, Nan, Phrae,
Sukhothai, Uttaradit, Phitsanulok, Loei, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Udon Thani, Nong
Khai, Bueng Kan, Sakon Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan and Ubon Ratchathani have
been urged to be prepared for widespread scattered heavy rain and flash floods
on July 3-4.
Affected residents have been advised to closely follow the weather updates and
to keep alert for natural warning signs of flash flooding.
Mr Wiboon said the department has instructed provincial authorities and local
DDPM offices in 16 affected provinces to closely monitor the situation.
Flood victims are urged to contact their local DDPM office or to call their 1784
hotline for further assistance.
Local official killed in Yala bombing
YALA, July 3 - An assistant village head was killed as bomb
exploded when his car passed over a buried bomb in this restive southern
province on Tuesday afternoon.
The victim was identified as Marammuelee Eyuno, 49, assistant
head of Buemang village. He was returning home after a meeting at the Raman
His pick-up truck was demolished by a homemade bomb estimated to contain 10 kg
of explosives in a gas cylinder buried under the road surface.
Police rushed to the scene to collect evidence for further investigation.
Since the unrest erupted in the southern provinces of Yala, Pattani and
Narathiwat over eight years ago, over 5,000 people, including civilians,
soldiers, government officials and insurgents have died in the ongoing violence.
(MCOT online news)
Five soldiers wounded in Yala bicycle bomb, drive-by shooting attack
YALA, July 3 -- Five Thai army soldiers in a military
transport vehicle were wounded by a bicycle bomb in the southern province of
Yala on Tuesday.
The violence occurred as the soldiers were leaving their base
at Wat Lam Mai in Lam Mai sub-district for their daily duties.
After the explosion, a white pick up truck has passed by and 3-4 men on the
truck have sprayed bullets to soldiers before fleeing the scene.
Five soldiers were wounded, two seriously. All were sent to hospital for
treatment in Yala.
The six-wheel M35 military truck was targeted on Ban Niang-Pi
Sad road in the Yala provincial seat’s Lam Mai sub-district. The vehicle was
seriously damaged on the road side.
Fragments of a homemade bomb estimated to have carried 3-5 kilogrammes of
explosive material were scattered in the area.
The authorities believed the bomb was built into a bicycle and triggered by
radio signal or mobile phone. The twisted remains of a bicycle was found nearby.
(MCOT online news)
Trang monitors smog from Indonesian forest fires
TRANG, July 3 – Thai authorities in the southern province of
Trang are closely monitoring the impact of smog from Indonesian forest fires
which is again blanketing the region, a seasonal occurrence.
Provincial disaster response chief Amnuay Jantararat said
that the haze from Indonesian Sumatra this morning covers all of Trang’s 10
districts and seems thicker than in previous days.
Mr Amnuay said it is the second wave of smog blanketing the province this
season, obstructing vision on the Trang-Sikao road and in the municipality
The situation is not considered serious and public can continue to carry out
their normal activities. Small trawlers in the local fishing fleet are able to
operate normally but must take precautions due to poor visibility.
Trang Governor Theerayuth Iemtrakul, meanwhile, instructed all districts to
closely monitor the situation. If it worsens, health authorities must distribute
masks to the public, especially to protect children and elders who are
especially at risk.
The rain in the province may ease the smog, wiping it out of the skies, and it
was expected that the situation would return to normal within 1-2 days. (MCOT
Bt300 billion budget approved to hire water management consortium
BANGKOK, July 3 -- The Cabinet on Tuesday approved a Bt300
billion budget to hire a consortium to manage Thailand’s overall water
management and flood prevention projects, and the terms of reference (ToR) for
hiring Thai and foreign consultants was also approved, Science and Technology
Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi said.
Mr Plodprasop, who also chairs the Water Resources Management
and Flood Control Committee (WRMFCC), told a news conference after the weekly
Cabinet meeting that after the approval, the government will publicise the
details through varied media to invite Thai and foreign companies to join the
The Foreign Ministry will be assigned to invite foreign firms, he said, adding
that the ambassadors of foreign missions in Thailand will be invited to be
briefed on the matter this week.
The government will use Bt300billlion to finance the flood and drought
prevention and water resource management projects, the minister said.
The projects will be divided into14 major projects - eight located in the Chao
Phraya River Basin and six projects are situated in six other river basins, he
Under the ToR, a qualified consultant should have worked on a project valued at
more than Bt30billion with any government. The interested companies may collect
documents which will be available at the Science and Technology Ministry next
The minister said that the government will work over the projects transparently
and foreign firm would be invited because the government needs advanced
technology for water management.
Every country will have equal opportunity to be selected as the consortium for
the projects, he said.
After the selection, consultants will have to put forward their plans in three
months. After the plan selection, project designs will take four to five months,
followed by cost appraisals. Construction is expected to start next year.
The projects would cover rehabilitation plan for reservoirs, canals, water
sluice gates, emergency response plans, water retention areas, water diversion,
town planning, and the establishment of new organisations such as a water
ministry. (MCOT online news)
Cabinet approves atmospheric study by Thai scientists
BANGKOK, July 3 - The Thai cabinet on Tuesday approved in
principal an atmospheric study by Thai scientists in the aftermath of the
cancellation of the US space agency's climate research plan.
Speaking to reporters after today’s Cabinet meeting, Science
and Technology Minister Plodprasop Surasawadi said that the Thai government sees
that the atmospheric study is beneficial and crucial for the country.
Local academics and scientists also agreed that the project should continue to
observe the cloud, air pollution, forest fire pollution and industrial
pollution, according to the minister.
Mr Plodprasob said the atmospheric study will help develop the skills of Thai
scientists and will be preparations for the future international cooperation.
The minister added the study will start next year and the proposed Bt200 million
budget is not finalised yet.
He said concerned agencies will be invited to further discuss the exact budget
within this week before proposing the figure for Cabinet consideration.
The science ministry's move came as the United States National Aeronautics and
Space Administration (NASA) called off its airborne science mission planned for
Southeast Asia this year citing an "absence of necessary approvals by regional
authorities in the timeframe necessary to support the mission."
The US space agency earlier set a deadline for the Thai Cabinet to decide
whether to grant permission to use U-Tapao naval base to conduct the atmospheric
study by June 26, but the cabinet referred the matter to parliament when it
reconvenes in ordinary session in August following criticism from the opposition
Democrat party and others. (MCOT online news)
Culture ministry to nominate a Southern Buddhist Shrine as a World Heritage site
BANGKOK, 3 July 2012 (NNT) - The Ministry of Culture is
planning to submit a nomination proposal requesting UNESCO to consider including
Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan in Nakhon Si Thammarat in its World Heritage
During today’s cabinet meeting, the National Committee on the Convention for the
Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage proposed that the Buddhist
shrine be nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List. The cabinet
agreed to approve the agency’s planned nomination.
The Ministry is currently making an inventory of the temple’s important natural
and cultural heritage sites to be submitted to the UNESCO’s World Heritage
center for further consideration.
Culture Minister Sukumol Khunploem said the 700-year-old Wat Phra Mahathat
Woramahawihan is a masterpiece of human ingenuity befitting the selection
criteria; it is directly associated with local beliefs and of outstanding
architectural and historical value.
PM confident anti-flood projects will finish on time
BANGKOK, 3 July 2012 (NNT) – Prime Minister Yingluck
Shinawatra has been briefed by the National Water Resources and Flood Policy
Committee on the progress in various flood prevention projects while assuring
that the deadlines will be met.
Prime Minister Yingluck said her recent meeting with the National Water
Resources and Flood Policy Committee was for her to be reported on flood
prevention progress and to discuss with relevant agencies about the details.
Although the implementation of flood prevention measures in a few areas upstream
is undergoing a slight delay, she insisted that the officials are accelerating
the works and all of the projects will be completed on time.
The Prime Minister added that she is satisfied with the progress made so far,
given the water levels in major dams have been lowered. She also expressed her
belief that even though the dredging of some canals is yet to be finished, the
achievement at other canals will be enough to protect the city from flooding
this rainy season.
RDPB promoting royally-initiated projects in Thai Northeast and Laos
BANGKOK, 3 July 2012 (NNT) - The Office of the Royal
Development Projects Board (RDPB) will arrange a project to promote
royally-initiated projects on 4-6 July 2012 with the main objective to
strengthen the Thai-Lao ties.
Deputy Secretary-General of the RDPB Suwat Thep-arak said the project would take
place in Thailand’s northeastern provinces and Laos’ Pakse City. Apart from
commemorating the birthday anniversaries of Their Majesties the King and Queen
and HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn this year, the project will also aim to
publicize the many royally-initiated projects which have benefitted Thai people
in the country and overseas.
The project participants will visit the royally-initiated projects in the
northeastern region, such as the Nong Ung development project in Yasothon
province and the Phu Sing agricultural development center in Si Sa Ket. They
will also travel to Laos to learn about the integrated farming project in Pakse,
which has benefitted both countries by increasing Lao farmers’ income and
strengthening the Thai-Lao relations.
PM: government and army are on good terms
BANGKOK, 3 July 2012 (NNT)-Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra
said in her statement that her luncheon with Army Commanders was not for a
special occassion, citing that the relationship between the government and the
Amry remains good.
Ms. Yingluck said that the lunchoen with the Army top brass was held in a
regular meeting format. Among the topics discussed was the U-tapoa airbase
issue, over which she said the government needed to seek an opinion from the
Army whether to allow NASA to use the airport to study the weather in this
She added, however, that the issue does not affect the relationship between the
Thai and the US Armies, given that the request to use U-tapoa was for
scientifice reasons and the recent Thai Army's visit to the US Army and vice
versa. She reiterated that the Thai government has always maintained a strong
relationship with the US.
Meanwhile, she said she might be traveling to attend the UN conference in
September if her schedule allowed. She said it would be a good opportunity to
strengthen relationships between Thailand and other countries. In addition, Ms.
Yingluck said the government and the Army have always been on good terms despite
a few differences in opinions; most importantly, both parties are working for
the better of the country.
Cabinet approves local climate study project
BANGKOK, 3 July 2012 (NNT) - The Cabinet today approved a
climate study project, proposed by Science and Technology Minister Plodprasop
Following NASA’s cancellation of an atmospheric study project
in August-September, Mr Plodprasop has held a meeting with a group of scientists
and professors from five universities and the Geo-Informatics and Space
Development Agency (Gitsda), with a goal to conduct a local climate study.
The project, set to be launched next year, will emphasize on weather patterns as
well as on forest fires and regional haze. Mr Plodprasop added that the climate
study will add to existing studies on climate change and weather conditions.
The Ministry of Science and Technology and other relevant agencies will hold
another meeting to discuss details of the project and prepare the budget
proposals to be submitted to the cabinet meeting next week.
Next mobile cabinet meeting to be held in Surin at the end of july
BANGKOK, 3 July 2012 (NNT) - The 6th mobile cabinet meeting
is scheduled to take place in Surin province, during July 30-31.
Government spokesman, Anusorn Iam-sa-ard, said that, in line with the Cabinet’s
resolution to organize a mobile meeting once a month in different parts of
Thailand, members of Parliament today agreed that the July meeting will take
place in the northeastern province of Surin at Surin Rajabhat University.
Mr Anusorn elaborated that Prime minister’s Deputy Secretary-General and he
himself have been assigned to conduct inspection trips in the area, prior to the
According to Surin governor Niran Kalayanamit, a number of working committees
have been set up to prepare for the upcoming meeting. Security officers will be
deployed to patrol the premises before and during the meeting.
He added that the provincial authority is gearing up to present budget proposals
for strategic projects to the cabinet in July.
Dengue fever on a rise in Thai adults
BANGKOK, 3 July 2012 (NNT) - The Ministry of Public Health
has reported over 17,000 cases of dengue fever in Thailand this year, resulting
in 18 deaths from the illness.
Deputy Director-General of Disease Control Department, Dr Suwanchai
Wattanayingcharoenchai, said this year dengue fever affected more adults than
In Amnaj Charoen province, a 48-year-old woman recently died from dengue fever
after visiting three hospitals in the area. Initial investigations indicated
that she had experienced flu-like symptoms for three days before going to
Dr Suwanchai urged members of the public to consult a doctor if flu-like
symptoms persist beyond 48 hours and to avoid taking aspirin tablets.
He added that sudden deaths often occur in second infections with dengue virus.
1.5 million of ASEAN population have AIDS
BANGKOK, 3 July 2012 (NNT)-Deputy Permanent Secretary of the
Department of Disease Control Dr. Sirisak Warintrawat has disclosed that
approximately 1.58 million people in ASEAN countries are HIV positive.
In his statement during the conference of Public Health Ministers from ASEAN
nations, Dr. Sirisak said that the committee overseeing HIV patients in this
region has since 17 November 2011 launched a campaign, which is in line with the
United Nations Protocol and the ASEAN agreement, to prevent new infections,
promote equal medical treatments and prevent deaths.
Dr. Sirisak said Thailand has proposed that this campaign be implemented in
Bangkok and Payao first, hoping that the two provinces would eventually become
the centers of AIDS prevention by 2015.
Meanwhile, Dr. Sirisak has reported that more than 1 million people in Thailand
have HIV/AIDS; 480,000 of them are still alive. 84% of those who have the
disease contracted it via unprotected sex, between gay men in particular, which,
from 2007-2010, account for 10.5 percent of all the patients.
BoT to adjust interest rate appropriately based on the economy
BANGKOK, 3 July 2012 (NNT) - Bank of Thailand (BoT) Governor
Prasarn Trairatvorakul is set to hold a discussion concerning the policy
interest rate in 3 weeks and has assured that any adjustment will be based on
the economic condition.
Prior to a meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee on July 25, 2012, Mr.
Prasarn insisted that if the policy interest rate is adjusted during the
meeting, the new rate will correspond to the economic climate at that time. The
main focus of the discussion will cover the economic impact from the United
States and Europe.
According to the BoT Governor, the interest rate is currently at 3%, which, he
claimed, is in favor of the Thai economy, loan growth and consumer demands. This
is expected to help lower this year’s headline inflation from an initial
forecast of 3.5% to 3.3%. The reduction could also be attributed to the world
economic downturn, which has brought down the demands and prices of consumer
products, energy and oil.
Mr. Prasarn pointed out that although the inflation rate varies from one country
to another, the Thai figure is considered similar to those of other countries in
this region. He explained that the slight difference is due to each nation’s
policy to keep the inflation low as a way to prevent an impact on their trading
FTI prepares Thai entrepreneurs for AEC
BANGKOK, 3 July 2012 (NNT) – The Federation of Thai
Industries (FTI), Trang Chapter, has discussed with Thai industrial
entrepreneurs concerning their readiness for the economic integration in ASEAN.
Chairman of the FTI, Trang Chapter, Withee Supithak said a discussion has been
arranged with Thai entrepreneurs regarding the preparation for the ASEAN
Economic Community (AEC) formation in 2015, adding that most of the industrial
operators were found to be in the process of gearing up for the occasion.
The Chairman believed the emergence of the AEC will benefit the industrial
sector despite the more intense competition in the region. He assured that Thai
products are in demand and the quality is also at a high level, so there will be
no need to worry about Thailand’s export when the AEC comes into being.
However, one of the issues Thailand will encounter when the integration takes
place is that there will be a lot of alien labors leaving Thailand to return to
their home countries, especially the Burmese who have played a major role in
Mr. Withee also mentioned that in this time of global economic downturn, there
has not been much impact on Thailand’s industrial sector, except for Trang’s
processed rubber wood business which has been suffering from a decrease of
orders from China.
EGAT: Dams have capacity to handle water in monsoon season
BANGKOK, 3 July 2012 (NNT) – Electricity Generating Authority
of Thailand (EGAT) said it has reserved space in dams for the water expected in
the monsoon season, and will be monitoring the situation at all times.
Assistant Governor of EGAT's Hydro Power Plant Kitti Tancharoen(กิตติ ตันเจริญ)
revealed that the levels of water in the dams are lower than those of the same
period last year. Since last month, the Bhumiphol and the Sirikit Dams have not
had a lot of water entering the reservoirs; however, the Sirikit Dam could be at
risk if the amount of water is as much this year as it was in 2011, 1995, and
1975, the years the country saw the three worst floods in its history.
In order to reduce the risk of having to release an enormous amount of water
during the months of August to October, the EGAT has drawn up a plan for the
water level management at the Sirikit Dam, under which 28 million cubic meters
of water was released per day in June; the amount discharged will be down to 22
million cubic meters per day from 1-7 July 2012
As for the Bhumiphol Dam, the water level is considered safe, so the Egat is
continuing with its discharging of 8-12 million cubic meters per day until
Transport ministry reports on progress of the Red and the Green railway line
BANGKOK, 2 July 2012 (NNT) - The Transport Ministry is set to
propose the Red Line electric railway project to the cabinet for approval on
July 3, after the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has agreed on a reasonable
price quoted for the construction project by the contractors.
Contractors for the project comprising Sino-Thai Engineering & Construction Plc
and Unique Engineering and Construction Plc had initially bid 3.1 billion baht
for the construction of Bang Sue station and maintenance centers. Following
negotiations, the consortium lowered the price to 2.9 billion baht, which was
given a nod by the SRT.
Meanwhile, the design of the construction of the Green Line electric railway
section from Mo Chit to Saphan Mai is now undergoing minor changes, at the cost
of 8 million baht, after the National Environment Board rejected the
environmental impact assessment (EIA) report on the building of a station at
Bangkhen Roundabout. According to the Ministry, the construction will soon begin
pending the NEA approval.
A total budget of over 69 billion baht will be earmarked for the building of the
26km section of the Red Line electric railway, while 36 billion baht will be
spent on the 12km section of the Green Line.
Wildfire haze from Sumatra obstructs sea traffic in Southern Thailand
SONGKHLA, 2 July 2012 (NNT) - Smoke plumes caused by seasonal
wildfires burning across Sumatra Island are now covering several southern
provinces of Thailand, including Songkhla, Satun, Yala and Narathiwat.
The thick haze shrouding parts of Thailand’s southern region has caused poor
visibility, leading to disruption to sea traffic in Songkhla province. Fishermen
in the province are advised to dock or to keep their boats ashore for the next
The Songkhla Fishery Association, however, confirmed that the disruption has not
affected the amount of seafood supplied to local markets and processing plants.
According to satellite images, 107 forest fire hotspots are recorded on
Indonesia’s Sumatra Island today, decreasing from 202 previously. The southwest
monsoon covering the Andaman Sea, the Gulf of Thailand and the southern region
is expected to continue carrying more haze and dust particles into the Lower
South of Thailand.
Reports suggest that the air quality in the affected areas is still at the
acceptable level while the pollution so far has not impacted the health of local
MCAT organizes “English Camp to AEC” for Thai students
BANGKOK, 2 July 2012 (NNT) – Mahasarakham College of
Agriculture and Technology has organized an “English Camp” for Thai students in
the North and Northeast to prepare them for the advent of the AEC.
Vice-President of Mahasarakham College of Agriculture and Technology Apimook
Supavibool(อภิมุข ศุภวิบูลย์) said that since the aggregation of southeast Asian
countries is just around the corner, every country member has been preparing
themselves especially in the language area. Due to the fact that English is the
universal language, the lingua franca, and is so important in communication,
Mahasarakham College is eager to organize an “English Camp toward the AEC” for
Thai students and Presidents of each Department of Vocational Education
Commission Office. Approximately 415 persons are to join the program. The
learning program is divided into 2 sessions: student session and president
session, the first of which is to be held from 1-6 July 2012 for 200 students
from the North and Northeast.
The main purpose of the English language training is to enable the students to
learn, understand and develop a positive attitude in language learning. The
students will undergo a hands-on training, using English on a daily basis as a
means of communication, which in turn will enhance their perception of the ASEAN
economic community integration.
The opening ceremony was presided over by Jariya Sutthichaiya, Director Centre
for Project and Programme Evaluation.
60,000 health masks sent to smog-affected southern residents
BANGKOK, July 2 – Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health has
distributed some 60,000 health masks to local residents in five southern
provinces as smog from Indonesian forest fires has blanketed the region.
Public Health Minister Witthaya Buranasiri said that smog, an
annual occurrence from forest fire on Indonesia’s Sumatra has covered five
provinces in southern Thailand – Satun, Songkhla, Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat
-- posing a health threat to local residents.
The public health ministry ordered local health centres and hospitals to be
prepared to treat patients with respiratory problems, particularly those with
heart diseases, allergy, asthma, the elderly and children.
The disease prevention and control office in Songkhla was instructed to dispatch
12,000 health masks to local people in each of the five provinces and to
stockpile another 50,000 masks as the smog situation is unlikely to ease soon.
People are advised to refrain from outdoor activities and wear masks or cover
their noses with wet cloths. (MCOT online news)
Court rejects allegations of fixed judgement
BANGKOK, July 2 – The chief spokesperson of Thailand's
Constitution Court on Monday rejected allegations that the court's decision on
the legality of the charter amendment bill may be predetermined.
The denial of any interference in the case came as the
court’s justices prepare to hear witness testimony from both opponents and
supporters of the government's constitution amendment attempt. The court is
scheduled to discuss whether the charter amendment bill breaches Section 68 of
Court chief spokesperson Pimol Thammapithakpong said today is the last day that
the court allows both plaintiffs and defendants to submit their written
statements to the court. If witnesses are unable to give testimony by today, the
judges will meet Wednesday to consider whether to extend the timeframe or not
and proceed with considering existing evidence.
The spokesperson said four persons confirmed they would testify as witnesses for
the defense, including former House Speaker Phokin Polakul, House Sec-Gen
Pithoon Poomhirun, Interior Minister/Pheu Thai Party leader Yongyuth Vichaidit
and Pheu Thai Party secretary-general Jarupong Ruangsuwan.
For the plaintiff, 16 witnesses will testify, most being former members of the
Constitution Drafting Assembly and senators, as well as opposition Democrat
Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, former prime minister.
Mr Pimol added Anand Panyarachun, also a former prime minister and former
president of the 1998 Constitution Drafting Assembly, has not yet withdrawn from
the plaintiff's witness list.
The court spokesman denied that the ruling had been written in advance as
alleged, while the court has not yet set the date for the verdict, and this
Thursday and Friday will only be the witness hearing.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said she believes the judges will
rule on the case fairly and based on facts concerning the legality of the draft
constitution amendment as petitioned by a group of Senators and Democrat MPs.
Ms Yingluck reaffirmed that the government's move to amend the charter is a part
of its policy already delivered to Parliament.
The prime minister urged all parties to express their differing views within the
legal limits as Thailand not only faces internal problems but international
concerns as well, such as European debt crisis, in which she said cooperation of
all Thais is needed to move the country forward. (MCOT online news)
Thai researcher creates cross-pollinated purple white lotus named after Queen Sirikit
BANGKOK, June 2 – A Thai horticultural researcher has
developed a purple-hued water lily named after Her Majesty Queen Sirikit.
Pairat Songpanit, an academic in the Department of Agriculture, a renowned lotus
breeder, spent five years from 2003-2007 to hybridise the Nymphaea 'Perry's Fire
Opal' and Brachyceras Nang Kwak Blue.
The new hybrid lotus has petals which are coloured purple at their tips while
the base is white. The sepals are in hues of white mixed with green. This
cross-pollinated water lily can breed naturally.
To date 20 plants have been grown and will be presented to Queen Sirikit during
the celebration of her 80th birthday on Aug 12.
More plants are being grown for distribution to other agencies.
Mr Pairat has previously won awards in water lily contests domestically and
He earlier created Nymphaea ‘Siam Blue Hardy’, the world’s first Blue Hardy
water lily. (MCOT online news)
Photo Credit: www.banmuang.co.th
Land subsidence in Ang Thong widens; province to announce disaster zone
ANG THONG, July 2 -- Land subsidence in Ang Thong's Pho Sa
sub-district widened overnight, damaging 13 homes. Provincial authorities are
about to announce the area a disaster zone.
Ang Thong Governor Visava Sasisamit and Ang Thong’s
provincial seat district chief Somchai Anawatchakul inspected Pho Sa
sub-district this morning, where subsidence occurred over the weekend.
Sinkholes had widened and 13 homes now have been damaged, as compared to nine
structures yesterday. The cause of the sinkholes is being investigated.
The authorities initially believed that it may be the result of last year’s
massive flood that may have eroded and carried away subsoil to the Chao Phraya
Gov Visava was considering proclaiming Pho Sa as a disaster zone and urged
affected residents to move to stay with relatives for their safety.
He said that the authorities from agencies concerned would find the cause of the
land subsidence. (MCOT online news)
Map Ta Phut residents petition against delayed compensation payment
RAYONG, July 1 - Residents near Thailand's Map Ta Phut
Industrial Estate on Sunday submitted a complaint letter to Rayong governor
calling for speeding up of compensation payments from an explosion at a
petrochemical factory in May.
Rayong deputy governor Warawut Pin-ngern received the letter
as some one hundred local residents of Map Ta Phut municipality gathered at the
provincial government complex in the eastern province of Rayong.
The residents urged for a change of the committee in charge of considering
compensation payment to those affected by the explosion at a unit of Bangkok
Synthetics Co (BST) as they have not yet received any compensation since the
accident occurred on May 5.
The deputy governor said he would forward the letter to the governor to find
ways to help them.
The crowd then dispersed as they were satisfied with the deputy governor's
Twelve people were killed in the BST explosion on May 5 while residents living
around the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate were ordered to evacuate to safer
areas, as a chemical leak from the plant was confirmed. (MCOT online news)