DDPM issues flood alerts in 10 provinces
BANGKOK, 8 May 2012 (NNT) - Residents in 10 provinces have
been urged to brace for flash floods and mudslides today and tomorrow, as the
Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) is keeping a close eye
on the weather condition.
DDPM Director-General Wiboon Sanguanpong revealed that scattered thunderstorms
can be expected in several provinces nationwide, possibly triggering flash
floods, forest runoff and mudslides. Those residing in flood-prone areas down
the hill slope or near waterways in Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nan,
Lamphun, Lampang, Phrae, Uttaradit, Ranong and Phang Nga are advised to prepare
for heavy rains in the next 2 days.
Mr Wiboon urged these residents to closely monitor the situation and to follow
weather forecasts for any changes in weather conditions.
The department has also instructed provincial DDPM offices in the 10 risky
provinces to be well-equipped to aid those in need. Those affected by floods can
contact their local DDPM offices for assistance or call the DDPM hotline at 1784
around the clock.
Baiyoke Tower II's parted platform caused by excess weight: Police
BANGKOK, May 8 - The failure of the steel cable or wire rope
supporting the platform carrying workers installing advertising banner on the
exterior of Thailand's tallest building, Baiyoke Tower II, killing three men,
was caused by being overloaded, according to the initial investigation.
Pol Maj-Gen Anuchai Lekbamrung, deputy metropolitan police
chief, released the information in response to the deaths of the three workers
who fell to their deaths from the 68th floor of the Baiyoke Tower II Monday
afternoon. He said the cable supporting the platform parted.
Gen Anuchai said the platform was broken due to carrying five persons, exceeding
its weight capacity.
The officer said, however, that more investigation is needed before any charges
are filed against anyone. The advertising company and the two survivors will
also be questioned.
The men reportedly worked for Q Advertising Co, Ltd.
Gen Anuchai said the owner of the advertising installation company will give a
statement and be questioned by the police today.
Surviivor Ploenjit Kongudom earlier said he and another man survived as they
grasped a handrail of the platform and called for help from persons inside the
The three men who stood in the middle of the platform plunged to their deaths
when the accident occurred.
Mr Ploenjit said that none of them wore any protective sling or safety
apparatus, and did not inspect the condition of the platform to see whether it
was in good condition or not before using it.
Baiyoke Tower II is the tallest building in Thailand, located on Rathaprarob
Road in Bangkok. It has 88 floors and reaches with a height of 304 metres. (MCOT
Foreign Minister confident Islamic delegation will better understand South
BANGKOK, May 8 - Thai Foreign Minister Surapong
Tovichakchaikul said Tuesday that the visit to Thailand's southernmost provinces
by high-level representatives of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)
will help it better understand Thailand's stance and policy in dealing with
problems in its southern border region.
High-level representatives of the OIC led by Ambassador Sayed
Kassem El-Masry, the OIC secretary general’s adviser, are officially visiting
Thailand May 7-13 for current information on the country's Muslim majority
southern border region as well as the government's efforts and policy to develop
Mr Surapong told reporters after meeting with the OIC delegation that he
explained Thailand's approach in solving problems in the southern border
provinces according to His Majesty King Bhumibol's “Understanding, Access and
The government approved a budget of more than US$70 million to compensate
victims affected by the southern violence, he said.
The minister said that Mr El-Masry visited Thailand in 2005 and believed the OIC
delegation leader will understand that the problems in the South did not
originate from religious conflict.
After this visit for firsthand information, the upcoming OIC meeting is expected
to view Thailand in a more positive light, he said.
The visit will provide the OIC delegation with the opportunity to be updated on
the efforts of the Thai government to address the root causes of the situation
through promotion of economic and social development.
Mr Surapong said the OIC delegates expressed interest in the Emergency Decree
enforcement in the southern provinces and that he told them the government
gradually revoked the special law in some areas and replaced it with the
Internal Security Act.
The government could not specify when the emergency decree would be totally
revoked as it depends on the security situation in each area.
The OIC representatives and Thailand's foreign ministry are scheduled to issue a
joint statement at 5pm on Thursday on the result of the visit, Mr Surapong said.
The delegation is scheduled to meet with the Secretary-General of the National
Security Council Pol Gen Wichean Potephosree before travelling to Songkhla's Hat
Yai and then the three southern border provinces of Pattani, Yala and
They will meet the secretary-general of the Southern Border Provinces
Administrative Centre (SBPAC) and the Region 4 army commander and exchange views
with local authorities to gain a better understanding of the situation. The
delegation will also consult with the Thai Muslim community and academics. (MCOT
Chalerm prepared to visit Myanmar to seek Karen rebel leader’s extradition
BANGKOK, May 8 - Thai Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubumrung
said today that he is prepared to travel to Myanmar to seek the extradition of
an ethnic Karen rebel leader, Na Kham Mwe, listed by Thailand as one of the 25
most-wanted suspected drug dealers, if talks between Thai narcotics officials
and Myanmar authorities fail.
Mr Chalerm disclosed that Pol Gen Adul Sangsingkeo,
secretary-general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, had submitted a
letter to Myanmar’s police chief, asking for cooperation in arresting arrest and
extraditing Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) Commander-in-Chief Gen Saw Ler
Pwe, also known as Na Kham Mwe, to Thailand.
The deputy premier said if the request fails, he will travel to the neighbouring
country to discuss with Myanmar authorities himself.
"Without prompt and serious action, [Thailand’s] effort to eradicate the drug
problem will never be successful," Mr Chalerm said.
The process to bring Gen Saw Ler Pwe to face drug charges in Thailand does not
need coordination via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the suspected drug
dealer was under an outstanding arrest warrant issued in 2003 by the Thai
criminal court, he explained.
Meanwhile, Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said the foreign
ministry has so far not yet submitted the letter requesting the arrest and
extradition of the ethnic rebel leader to the Myanmar authorities, clarifying
that the ethnic leader was not on Thailand’s blacklist.
Mr Surapong, however, said that the ministry can conduct the relevant process if
requested and it is coordinated by Deputy Premier Chalerm.
Regarding the border situation, the minister said that Myanmar and Thai
nationals still commute across the border in Thailand's Tak province at Mae Sot
Maj-Gen Na Kham Mwe recently threatened to bar Thai nationals and traders from
entering his areas on the Thai-Myanmar border, saying their safety could not be
guaranteed, after he was listed by the Thai Narcotics Control Board as one of
its 25 most-wanted drug trafficking suspects. (MCOT online news)
PM orders review of safety measures at all industrial estates
BANGKOK, May 8 – Following three major industrial safety and
workplace accidents in the past week, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra ordered
the Ministry of Industry to review safety measures at all industrial estates in
the eastern province of Rayong.
Saturday’s explosion and fire at the Bangkok Synthetics Co
(BST) petrochemical factory at the Map Ta Phut industrial estate killed 12
people, while over 100 were affected and remain hospitalised. Sunday's chemical
leak at the Aditya Birla Chemicals (Thailand) factory in the Hemaraj Eastern
Seaboard Industrial Estate affected at least 40 workers and others with
Industry Minister Pongsvas Svasti said the review is to prevent problems related
to the handling of toxic substances, chemicals, flammable materials, which will
harm the public. Safety plans and emergency responses are to be reviewed with
the Labour and Public Health ministries and local communities for further public
Maintenance systems must be rechecked every three months, while risk prevention
plans are required for further renewal of permission certificates for factories.
The prime minister also assigned each province to collaborate with local
industrial estates and entrepreneurs to set up an information centre to spread
out news to nearby communities, with assigned responsibility to link related
updates to the Office of the Prime Minister.
The Social Security Office has prepared a budget of more than Bt18 million to
compensate families of those who died in the incident and those who are injured,
said Acting Government Spokesman Anusorn Iamsa-ard.
On a related matter, Labour Protection and Welfare Department Director-General
Arthit Ismo ordered labour inspection officials to monitor labourers in
factories nationwide for their health and safety for fear of a repeat of any
incident such as at the Bangkok Synthetics Co (BST) petrochemical factory at the
Map Ta Phut industrial estate.
Meanwhile, the Stop Global Warming Association will petition the Supreme
Administrative Court on Thursday, following the accidents in the two plants on
the weekend, asking it to order the Industry Ministry and the IEAT to revoke the
permission certificates of Bangkok Synthetics and Aditya Birla Chemicals.
Chairman Srisuwan Janya said the association had previously identified the two
plants as among the 76 factories which his organisation and the public had
previously petitioned the court to consider.
It will also ask the court to order Office of Natural Resources and
Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP) to revoke the two plants' reports on
their impacts on health and environment. (MCOT online news)
Culture Ministry insists Ayutthaya ruins to remain world heritage
BANGKOK, 8 May 2012 (NNT) – Culture Minister Sukumol
Khunploem has played down a report about the Ayutthaya ruins topping the list of
the 10 most endangered heritage sites in Asia, noting that the report was not
prepared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Mrs Sukumol insisted that Thailand’s Ayutthaya Historical Park will continue to
be listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO as it has been since 1991.
According to the minister, UNESCO officials have confirmed that they have no
plan to remove the ancient ruins from the world heritage site list.
Mrs Sukumol also questioned the credibility of the report, adding that UNESCO
experts have been visiting and inspecting the site with Thai officials on a
regularly basis and have not found it to be under any threat of deterioration.
The Culture Ministry is in the process of requesting further clarification from
the Global Heritage Fund (GHF), which published the top-ten list of most
According to the GHF, the Ayutthaya Historical Park sustained major damages
during last year's flood crisis. Its report also claimed that the site is being
threatened by mismanagement and lack of restoration budget.
Earthquake detected in Myanmar
BANGKOK, 8 May 2012 (NNT) - A 4.1-magnitude earthquake has
been reported in Myanmar. Initially, there is no report of any damage.
The earthquake with the epicenter in Myanmar occurred at 4.12 a.m. on Tuesday.
The epicenter is located at latitude: 20° 46' 48'' north and longitude: 100° 10'
48'' east, which is close to Thailand’s northern region.
Previously, a 2.3 on the richter scale earthquake was detected in Chiang Mai
province on Monday at 8.14 p.m. Both small quakes have not triggered any warning
or caused any damage.
Thailand hosts 2012 Rotary International Convention
BANGKOK, 8 May 2012 (NNT) - Thailand is hosting the 2012
Rotary International Convention, with than 38,000 guests from 160 countries
worldwide attending the event to exchange ideas on humanitarian and social
Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn Thailand presided over the opening of the
grand convention, which is jointly organized by Convention & Exhibition Bureau
(TCEB) and Rotary Center in Thailand. This is the 103th time the event has been
held, and the first time Thailand has been given an honor to play host.
According to the organizers, the event would help generate over 3 billion baht
worth of income and help improve the Thai economy. Several Noble Laureates
participate in the conference to talk about topics such as banks for the poor
and polio eradication project.
The polio eradication project has been on-going for over 20 years with the
supports of the World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, and various governments from different nations. Currently, polio
still reportedly exists in only three countries.
The 2012 Rotary International Convention is being held at IMPACT, Muang Thong
Thani; starting on May 6 and running to May 9.
UNICEF: Only 5% of Thai mothers breast feed their babies
BANGKOK, 8 May 2012 (NNT) – The United Nations Children's
Fund (UNICEF) has warned powdered milk producers to change their marketing
strategies as fewer mothers are now breast feeding their babies.
According to the UNICEF, breast feeding among East Asian, including Thai,
mothers has dropped dramatically. It said only 5% of Thai mothers breast feed
The organization explained that as the majority of today's women have to work,
milk manufacturers have come up with several marketing strategies to lure
mothers to use their products for convenience; making most mothers stop feeding
their babies naturally.
The UNICEF has urged the private sector in East Asian countries to allow mothers
to take a long maternity leave. It has also told milk producers to adhere to the
fact when doing marketing that powdered milk is just a supplementary food, not
mother’s milk replacement.
Private sector urged to conserve energy
BANGKOK, 8 May 2012 (NNT) – The Department of Alternative
Energy Development and Efficiency (DEDE) is determined to attract 1,000
businesses to join its energy conservation project, aimed at reducing energy
cost and the nation’s budget in the long run.
DEDE Deputy Director-General Twarath Sutabutr has revealed that the department
is set to propose the VA Energy Beyond Standards project to the Joint-Standing
Committee on Trade, Industries and Banking; with the objective of encouraging
the three sectors to join hands in energy conservation. The participation of the
private sector will contribute to the country's success in conserving energy,
cutting down energy cost, lowering electricity peak demand during Summer, and
reducing the nation’s budget in the long run.
Based on a Voluntary Agreement (VA) system, the DEDE is set to invite 1,000
businesses to join the project. Additionally, participating businesses will
enjoy tax privileges and a 20% grant from the Energy conservation equipment
promotion project to encourage investment.
Mr. Twarath said that energy conservation should begin with the industrial and
service sectors as they account for 44% of the country’s overall energy
For more information on the project, interested parties are welcomed to visit
the VA Energy beyond standards facebook fanpage. Applications are accepted until
Authorities arrest illegal migrant labourers; 35 Laos, 39 Cambodians detained
BANGKOK, May 7 - Thirty-five Laotian workers and a Thai
national were arrested in Nakhon Nayok Monday while the workers hid in two
pickup trucks trying to return to their home country, and 39 Cambodian workers
were intercepted at Aranyaprathet while trying to enter Thailand under false
In Nakhon Nayok, Uthai Saengchompou was apprehended with 15
Lao men and 20 Lao women -- including four under 18 years old, according to the
Thai Police Department’s Anti-Human Trafficking Division (AHTD).
The Thai man is suspected of involvement with an organised human trafficking
Investigators said Mr Uthai confessed that the vehicles, stopped by police in
the central province of Nakhon Nayok, were carrying the foreign workers to a
Mekong River port in the northeast's Ubon Ratchathani province. The labourers
had entered Thailand illegally, Mr Uthai said, and some had worked here for more
than three years in factories, construction sites and restaurants.
Meanwhile, in Sa Kaeo province, 39 Cambodians were arrested at the Poi
Pet-Aranyaprathet checkpoint for entering Thailand illegally to find jobs.
Local authorities said the Cambodians were holding one-day passes to visit
Thailand's Rong Kluea Market from 7am-8pm, but their names and photos on passes
did not match.
Investigators found that the Cambodians pay Bt300 to a trafficker for each
one-day pass to cross the border, intending to illegally move on to work in
Bangkok and the eastern province of Chonburi.
The Thai authorities charged the Cambodian nationals with illegal entry and said
they will cooperate with Cambodia's authorities to press charges against the
real ticket holders. (MCOT online news)
Three killed falling from Thailand's highest building during billboard installation
BANGKOK, May 7 - Three men were killed as they fell from the
68th floor of Thailand's tallest building, Baiyoke Tower II, as a cable
supporting the platform carrying the workers installing the billboards parted.
The accident occurred when five billboard installation
workers were on their platform alongside the exterior of the building. Three men
dropped immediately after the cable supporting the platform tore apart.
The other two who grasped a handhold of the platform survived, but were
The three victims crashed to their deaths at different levels of the building:
the first to the 36th floor, the second to the 20th floor and the third to the
Ploenjit Kongudom, 30, one of the survivors, said he and his colleagues started
installing the new printed advertising in the morning and took a lunch break.
Mr Ploenjit said the five workers then resumed their work in the afternoon from
floor 81 to floor 68 when the platform broke. The three men standing in the
middle of the platform plunged to their death.
He and his friend were able to reach out and grab the handhold in time and
called for help from persons inside the building.
Mr Ploenjit admitted that none of them wore any protective sling or belt for
their safety, although they did every time before working and did not inspect
before the operation whether the platform was in good condition or not.
Baiyoke Tower II is the tallest building in Thailand, located on Rathaprarob
Road in Bangkok. It has 88 floors and rises to a height of 304 metres. (MCOT
PM orders assessment of all factories every 3 months
NONTHABURI, May 7 - Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra
said on Monday she has instructed the industry ministry to step up safety
measures by inspecting all factories every three months in the aftermath of
serious accidents in two plants in industrial estates in the eastern province of
Rayong over the weekend.
The premier said the industry ministry has also been assigned
to assess the risk of the chemical leak at the Aditya Birla Chemicals (Thailand)
factory in the Hemaraj Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate.
She said that industry officials will have to visit all factories for every
three months to inspect the chemicals used in the plants. The assessment result
will have impact on the extension of the permit of factory operations.
The premier noted that safety measures need to be reviewed and tightened
although the current ones already meet international standards.
Saturday’s explosion and fire at the Bangkok Synthetics Co (BST) petrochemical
factory at the Map Ta Phut industrial estate killed 12 people, while 24 of the
142 injured remain hospitalised.
The Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) ordered the company to stop
butadiene rubber production in order to find the cause of the explosion and to
assess the damage from the incident as well as to equipment in nearby areas.
Just one day later, chlorine leaked from the Aditya Birla Chemicals (Thailand)
factory in the nearby Hemaraj industrial estate after an emergency shutdown of
the plant's operations.
The gas reportedly spread through surrounding areas for a short time, dizzying
at least 131 people, while 12 still hospitalised.
The industrial estate agency on Monday suspended the plant's operations until
the investigation of the accident is complete.
Industry Minister Pongsawat Svastiwat on Monday instructed concerned agencies to
tighten safety measures in the industrial sector.
The minister made his remarks as he met with the governor of Industrial Estate
Authority of Thailand (IEAT), as well as concerned officials and entrepreneurs
in the Map Ta Phut complex.
Mr Pongsawat emphasised that such accidents must not reoccur and that the IEAT
will meet with factories using chemical or hazardous substances in their
operations to lay out stricter measures.
The Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC) on Monday issued a statement
regarding the two accidents, urging the government to make the clearer policies
to protect workers, rather than focusing only on the rising export figures.
TLSC chairman Chalee Loysoong said the group will submit a letter of complaint
to Labour Minister Padermchai Sasomsap on Thursday. (MCOT online news)
Body of 3rd family member recovered after drowning in Nakhon Si Thammarat flash flood
NAKHON SI THAMMARAT, May 7 - The body of a four-year-old boy
was found in this southern province after he was carried away and drowned in a
flash flood while swimming Sunday with his father and brother at a Tha Sala
The family of four—the parents and their two sons—were
visiting relatives Friday. Thirty-five year-old Damrong Kaewpradab and four and
six year old sons, Kittikorn and Kittiwin, were swept away and lost in the
raging floodwaters. Kittikorn's body was discovered today about 400 metres from
where the bodies of his father and brother were found Sunday night. The mother
Meanwhile, in Thailand's northeast, thunderstorms have hit in many provinces,
particularly Si Sa Ket and Maha Sarakham.
In Si Sa Ket's Kantaralak district, 10 homes lost their roofs, carried away by
strong winds, and 100 rubber trees were destroyed. Local officials inspected the
damaged areas and will provide assistance to residents.
In Maha Sarakham province, over 500 homes and a number of
university buildings were affected by rainstorms in Kantharawichai, Wapi Pathum,
Borabue, Kosum Phisai, and Na Chueak districts. The local disaster response
service provided aid to 60 households in Kantharawichai district, and those
affected in four other districts are also being helped.
Meanwhile, three days of continued heavy rainfall hit Lampang province in the
north, flooding several main roads in the provincial seat and some homes near
Flash floods emerged from the forest near the local tourist attraction of Doi
Phra Bat is located, flooding roads as deep as 40cm, impassable for small
vehicles should there be continuous rainfalls. The local municipality is
installing pumps to move water to the Wang River.
The Meteorological Department on Monday warned residents in
at risk areas of Mae Hong Son, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang, Phare,
Uttraradit, Sukhothai, Tak, Phitsanulok, Kamphang Phet, Phichit and Phetchabun
to beware of flooding conditions today and tomorrow.
Southwesterly winds prevail over Thailand and a low pressure cell covers the
lower north. Torrential rainfall is expected over western and eastern parts of
the country, while the North faces isolated heavy to very heavy rain. (MCOT
Cargo train derails in Nakhon Si Thammarat
NAKHON SI THAMMARAT, May 5 -- A cargo train derailed in
Nakhon Si Thammarat while heading from Bangkok to Songkhla's Hat Yai, paralysing
southern bound train services while two people were wounded.
Nakhon Si Thammarat's Ron Phibun district police station
superintendent Pol Col Prawit Janthabat and the State Railway of Thailand (SRT)
staff has inspected the scene at Ron Phibum district where the cargo train
derailed at around 1pm.
The train number 721 originated from Bangkok's Bang Sue station en route to Hat
Yai. There was a total of 19 carriages - 17 containers, one locomotive and one
passenger carriage which carried SRT staff.
All carriages derailed and were inclined on the right side of the track. The
track and sleepers have damage around 100 metres in length.
There were two people injured from the accident, Mr Waedaoh Tehyor who was a
driver and another one identified as Mr Kamron Kaewsasen. Both were sent to
hospital but doctors said they were only slightly injured.
Chong Khao Rail Station chief Surapong Suthipan said the train has just left the
station and was heading to Ron Phibun Station. The train entered tunnel for 300
metres and then derailed.
The SRT authorities went to investigate the cause of the accident but it was
believed that an old track was possibly the cause of the derailing.
An engineer at Ron Phibun Station was waiting for the SRT's Mechanical
Engineering Department to inspect the scene and plan restorations before the
maintenance work could begin.
The southbound route was disrupted and the restoration work would need at least
one week to finish and resume services.
Col Prawit said he estimated the accident has caused more than Bt100 million in
damages. (MCOT online news)
PM sets up tripartite committee to watch over air quality in Map Ta Phut
RAYONG, May 6 – Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra sets up a
tripartite committee to monitor air quality around the Map Ta Phut Industrial
Estate following a fire and explosion at a petrochemical factory on Saturday.
The incident, which occurred at a unit of Bangkok Synthetics
Co (BST) in the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate in Rayong on Saturday, has killed
12 people and injured about 130 others.
The tripartite committee consists of officials from the Natural Resources and
Environment Minister, the Pollution Control Department, and the industrial
estate and private sector to check on air quality and assess the information
every three months.
The prime minister said that the situation has returned to normal and the
industrial estate will be responsible for the damages and loss of lives.
She instructed for emergency response drills to be conducted and ordered the
Interior and Industrial ministries to improve information dissemination to
create confidence among local residents returning to their normal lives.
The chemical leak threat from the explosion and fire at the factory prompted
local residents around the industrial estate to evacuate their homes on
Ms Yingluck also had the public health ministry set up emergency medical units
to take measurements around communities in the vicinity of the industrial estate
to ensure no toxic residues persisted in the air.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, accompanied by Interior Minister Yongyuth
Wichaidit and Industry Minister Pongsvas Svasti, on Sunday visited the injured
at the Map Ta Phut hospital to give them moral support and disburse some
The prime minister met governors, executives of the industrial estate and public
health officials to discuss measures to prevent impacts from the explosion.
(MCOT online news)
Death toll in Map Ta Phut factory fire rises to 12
BANGKOK, May 6 – The death toll from a fire at a factory in
the Map Ta Phut industrial estate has risen to 12, while 24 out of 142 injured
people remain hospitalised, according to the Public Health Ministry on Sunday.
Dr Surawit Khonsomboon, deputy public health minister, said
that the explosion and fire at a unit of Bangkok Synthetics Co (BST), a
petrochemical factory in this industrial estate in the eastern province of
Rayong killed 12 people including nine on-site and three at the hospital later.
Two bodies remain unidentified while 24 out of 142 injured victims remain
Two patients are in critical condition and the province’s emergency plan is
still in place. Residents in ten communities around the industrial estate have
evacuated to the Pattaya side.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Sunday travelled by a helicopter to visit
the injured and will convene a meeting with local officials to discuss measures
mitigating any impact from the explosion and chemical leakage.
Industry Minister Pongsvas Svasti said the factory was ordered to close and
residents will be able to return by Sunday.
The Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) Governor Veerapong Chaiperm
and Dr. Wijarn Simachaya, Director-General of the Pollution Control Department,
met leaders of local communities around the industrial estate for discussions
about the aftermath of the explosion and possible environmental impacts.
Residents asked officials to step up surveillance and prevention measures.
According to the officials, air quality inspection found the level of air
pollution is still at normal and safe levels.
Air quality monitoring equipment will be installed at the site and mobile units
will be dispatched to patrol nearby areas. (MCOT online news)
Thai PM affirms govt’s policy to support tourism industry
BANGKOK, May 3 -- Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on
Wednesday reaffirmed Thailand's policy to support the tourism industry as its
development was one of the urgent policy concerns the government announced to
implement during its first year in office.
Ms Yingluck spoke on the subject to visiting United Nations
World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Secretary-General Taleb Rifai who paid a
courtesy call on her at Government House.
Mr Rifai is in Thailand to attend the 24th Joint Meeting of the UNWTO’s
Commission for East Asia and the Pacific, its Commission for South Asia and its
High-level Regional Conference on Green Tourism in the northern province of
UNWTO is a specialised agency of the United Nations and the leading
international organisation in the field of tourism. It serves as a global forum
for tourism policy issues and is a practical source of tourism know-how.
The secretary general stressed the importance of the tourism
as it is a major industry able to mobilise economic growth, as well as to
support employment and development.
Ms Yingluck said that the tourism business was a crucial industry with strategic
importance because it can generate income for the kingdom.
She said her government has launched a new tourism promotion campaign, "Miracle
Year of Amazing Thailand 2012-2013," and will further develop facilities to
support the tourism business, particularly world standards of security to
protect tourist lives and property.
The Miracle Year of Amazing Thailand is a year long tourism campaign focusing on
the tradition, culture and unique aspects of Thailand and ‘Thainess'.
She earlier said that her government has targeted generating tourism industry
revenues of two trillion baht within the next five years.
Today Mr Rifai gave Ms Yingluck an open letter for the Global Leaders for
Tourism Campaign prepared by UNWTO and the World Travel & Tourism Council
(WTTC), calling on countries not yet involved to join the campaign.
Twenty-six national leaders have received the open letter from the UNWTO and
WTTC emphasising that tourism is a vital part of the global economy, driving not
only employment opportunities but also the push towards a Green Economy. (MCOT
Weapons seized in Narathiwat raid, suspect surrenders
NARATHIWAT, May 3 – Police raided more than 100 houses here
Thursday morning searching for the killers of two defence volunteers on Tuesday.
More than 100 paramilitary rangers and police officers
descended on many sites in Chanae district at dawn on Thursday to look for
suspects in the shooting at a checkpoint here which left two men dead.
The authorities searched 150 houses, seizing two rifles and three boxes of M16
and .22 caliber ammunition.
Meanwhile, a 27-year-old man surrendered to police under a government project
allowing suspects to turn themselves in and join the army’s training programme
to adjust their attitude.
However, the suspect denied any involvement in insurgent activities but he
confessed that he was connected with illegal oil trading. (MCOT online news)
Drought crisis elevated, with northeastern Thailand the hardest-hit region
BANGKOK, 3 May 2012 (NNT) – Continued drought crisis has
worsened in several areas across the country, while more provinces have fallen
prey to the severe dry spell.
The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) reported that, as of
May 3, 50 provinces throughout the country have been declared drought disaster
It said that since February 2nd, more than 36,300 villages in 497 districts have
fallen prey to this year’s drought.
Out of 50 drought-hit provinces, 17 are in the North, 19 in the Northeast, 6 in
the central region, 7 in the East and one in the South.
Meanwhile, the DDPM reported that water supply stored at all major reservoirs
across the country stood at 39.43 billion cubic meters or 56 percent of total
capacity, which is higher than in 2011.
In addition, it stated that, currently, Bhumibol Dam and Sirikit Dam are holding
water at 50 and 52 percent of their capacity.
Food vendors urged to use new cooking oil
BANGKOK, 3 May 2012 (NNT) - The Public Health Ministry is
campaigning for food sellers to change cooking oil more frequently for better
health of the consumers.
Deputy Public Health Minister Surawit Khonsomboon has cooperated with major
health agencies in solving repeated use of cooking oil by street vendors selling
deep fried food.
According to Mr Surawit, Thai people continue to consume more fried food and
800,000 tons of oil is used for this purpose each year. He indicated that reused
oil is the cause of cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure. He added
that the street vendors who inhale oil vapors are also risking themselves of
The Public Health Ministry has therefore stepped up measures to encourage people
not to reuse the oil. The deputy minister explained that consumers should avoid
the food if the smoke coming out of the oil is black and has bad smell or if the
oil looks thickened, darkened, or has bubbles.
Children encouraged to learn to live with nature
BANGKOK, 3 May 2012 (NNT) – A science and technology academic
seminar has been held to encourage children to learn to live with nature.
Pornpun Waitayangkoon, President of the Institution for the Promotion of
Teaching Science and Technology (IPST), said in this technological world,
knowledge in science and mathematics is fundamental to the country’s
She said although the Institution has been granting science and research
scholarships, the number of Thai scientists remains low. She expected that by
2017, there will be 15 scientists per 10,000 populations. Now there are only 6.7
scientists per 10,000 people in Thailand.
The seminar, activities, and exhibitions are parts of the event, which is held
at BITEC in Bangkok during May 2-4 to encourage children to think and learn from
nature. Ms Pornpun indicated that science is linked to nature. She explained
that curiosity is the learning fundamental; adding that children should collect
data, think, and analyze with reasons and connect the reasons with the
Seniors to receive healthcare without waiting in long queue
BANGKOK, 3 May 2012 (NNT) – The Public Health Ministry is
prepared to set up new service for seniors over 70 years old to receive medical
care without having to wait in long queue.
Public Health Minister Witthaya Buranasiri has discussed with related
departments on improving the nation’s public health system to provide the most
efficient healthcare service to all Thais.
As for the elderly over 70 years of age, he has instructed all hospitals under
the ministry to accord them a special privilege of not having to wait in long
queue for medical services.
Newborn to five years old babies are also in the top priority group. According
to Mr Witthaya, he has assigned the Departments of Health and Mental Health to
ensure that practices in community centers for children are of high standards.
He also urged all provinces to check food sources to make sure that food
provided to patients are clean and suitable for them.
Tropical storm damages houses in several provinces
PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN, 3 May 2012 (NNT) – A tropical storm has
battered Prachuap Khiri Khan and Ratchaburi provinces, damaging several houses
and buildings in the two provinces.
The storm hit Hua Hin in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province on Wednesday evening,
battering it with strong winds for over an hour. Over 60 houses have been
damaged, power lines blown down and there was a blackout in several villages.
The Hua Hin authorities have inspected the damage and given necessities to the
Meanwhile, in Ratchaburi, more than 10 houses have been damaged by the storm;
most of them are in ruins. Authorities have to cut off electricity as big tree
limbs fell over electrical wires; but after removing the limbs, they have
switched the power back on.
In Petchburi Province, a temple pavilion under construction tumbled down
injuring three monks.
Thailand, EU affirm fostering strong bilateral ties
BANGKOK, May 2 - Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck
Shinawatra on Tuesday met the European Union (EU) High Representative for
Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the European Commission
Catherine Ashton and affirmed her intention to foster strong bilateral economic
and political relations between Thailand and Europe.
Ms Yingluck welcomed Ms Ashton at Government House and hailed the success of the
19th ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting in Brunei April 26-27 which also marked the
35th anniversary of ASEAN-EU relations.
Ms Ashton told the premier that she intended to visit Thailand after the Brunei
meeting because the EU considers friendship with Thailand as important and wants
to see stronger relations in the future.
Ms Yingluck said that Thailand also wanted to expand
cooperation with EU in all dimensions, particularly regarding the economy and
trade and wants to upgrade bilateral political relations as strategic partners.
Both sides also agreed to move forward talks to achieve a Thai-EU free trade
The Thai premier assured the EU representative about the strong growth of the
Thai economy, which is expected to expand at 5.5-6.5 per cent in 2012.
After that, Ms Yingluck has welcomed Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi
during his visit to Thailand as a guest of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Ms Yingluck praised the warm diplomatic ties between Thailand and Hungary, and
beyond trade and investment, the two sides have developed cooperation in the
fields of tourism, education and culture.
She said Hungary was acknowledged for its expertise in water management which
could benefit Thailand if both countries exchange knowledge and experience in
water resource management. (MCOT online news)
India eyes Thailand as gateway to ASEAN market
BANGKOK, 2 May 2012 (NNT) – The BOI is set to open an
investment promotion office in Mumbai, India, to attract Indian investment to
Thailand and vice versa. Meanwhile, the South Asian country has expressed
interest to use Thailand as an access route into the ASEAN market.
The Board of Investment of Thailand (BOI) has revealed that more Indian
investors are keen to invest in Thailand. Their scope of interest has now
expanded from textile and petrochemical into the chemical and machinery
industries as well. Although the current investment value from India is still
quite low, a positive expansion can be expected.
With aims to boost Indian investment in Thailand as well as to encourage Thai
entrepreneurs to invest in India, the BOI is set to launch an investment
promotion office in Mumbai, India, in July. Mumbai has been picked for its
strategic location connecting the whole Indian country and for its status as an
industrial city with potential for international business.
Additionally, India has expressed its intention to use Thailand and Myanmar as
production bases and the gateway into the ASEAN market. Targeting to invest in
petrochemical and energy in Myanmar's Dawei, India has urged Thailand to
accelerate its development of the logistic system in Dawei for a better
connection between Dawei Port and the Phu Nam Ron Industrial Estate in
Kanchanaburi province, given that the transportation route through Dawei proves
to be shorter and more convenient than that running from India to ASEAN via the
Strait of Malacca.
During the first quarter of 2012, four Indian projects, worth 766 million baht,
have requested for investment promotion from the BOI. In comparison with the
previous year, the number of investment projects is slightly lower; however, the
investment value has shot up by approximately 500 million baht. In 2011, 13
projects, worth 3.18 billion baht, filed their requests for investment
Thais warned against crossing Myanmar border at Phop Phra
TAK, May 2 – Thai nationals are advised against crossing the
Myanmar border at Tak's Phop Phra district as their safety is uncertain after
the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) threatened to retaliate unless the
Thai authorities removes its leader's name from Thailand's list of drug
traffickers, the Tak governor said on Wednesday.
Governor Suriya Prasartbundit made his warning after the DKBA
earlier issued a statement defending its commander-in-chief General Saw Ler Pwe,
commonly known as Na Khan Mwe, who was listed by the Thai Narcotics Control
Board on its list of 25 most-wanted drug traffickers.
In response to the latest DKBA move, Gov Suriya said he instructed authorities
in Phop Phra district to warn residents on the Thai-Myanmar border--especially
in four villages located just opposite DKBA-influenced areas--not to cross the
The governor said the warning came as Gen Saw Ler Pwe barred Thai residents and
traders from entering its areas and that their safety could not be guaranteed.
A Thai News Agency reporter said that situation along the
Thai-Myanmar border was normal this morning with some Karen and Myanmar
residents continuing to cross the border to buy some goods in Thai territory
amid tight security provided by Thai troops.
Karen News earlier quoted DKBA spokesman Capt Saw Ko Myo as saying that General
Saw Ler Pwe was furious with the allegations of the Thai government.
He said the "accusations hurt not only the personal image of DKBA leader, but
also smeared the DKBA and Burma."
Thai Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubumrung is invited to investigate at any of
the DKBA bases and they are willing to go to any court or stand trial if they
are found guilty, the DKBA statement said.
"If the Thai government does not solve the problem to our satisfaction, we will
sue it according to international law," the statement said. (MCOT online news)
Police arrest two drug traffickers; seize one million methamphetamine pills
BANGKOK, May 2 – The police arrested two suspected drug
traffickers, members of a major drug syndicate in the North, Pol Gen Priewpan
Damapong told a news conference on Wednesday.
In an operation to suppress illegal drugs, the police
detained two suspects, Charnnarong Chombunrueng and Kritsanatorn
Pataranonwongsa, and seized 1,020,000 methamphetamine pills.
Mr Charnnarong was arrested as he was about to deliver the illicit drug to a
customer. Police confiscated 100,000 meth pills found in his car.
Afterward, police found nearly a million more pills -- 920,000 pills -- and
arrested Mr Kritsathorn in a raid at a house in Bangkok’s Bueng Kum district,
confiscating 17 account books and a vehicle.
He confessed belonging to a drug syndicate in the North, saying he obtained the
drug at Talaad Thai market in Pathum Thani, near Bangkok and was paid 100,000
baht (about US$3,300) per month.
Mr Krisathorn told police that he used the residence as a drug warehouse, having
about Bt100 million (US$3.3 million) in drug funds in circulation. (MCOT online
Workers gather to mark Labour Day, submit 9-point petition to PM
BANGKOK, May 1 – Hundreds of Thai workers gathered at Royal
Plaza in Bangkok this morning to mark Labour Day before proceeding to Sanam
Luang for the annual rally, when plan to submit a nine-point petition to Prime
Minister Yingluck Shinawatra demanding an improved standard of living.
Workers from 13 labour organisation members in the Employees
Council of Thailand and two state enterprise labour unions attended a religious
ceremony held at the Royal Plaza, chaired by Minister of Labour Phadermchai
After the ceremony, the group is to march to Sanam Luang where the main event
will be held to mark both the international and Thai national Labour Day.
Jaiyaporn Chantana, chairman of Labour Congress Freedom of Thailand (LCFT), who
also chairs the organising committee for the Labour Day celebrations, said that
the labour group would this year submit a nine-point petition to Prime Minister
Yingluck Shinawatra who is scheduled to preside at the opening ceremony at noon.
The petition includes a demand that the government speed up Thailand’s process
of adopting the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention on Freedom of
Association and Protection of the Right to Organise; to establish an
unemployment insurance fund, and to set up an institute to ensure safety,
occupational health and environment in the workplace.
Meanwhile, another group of workers called the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee
and State Enterprise Labour Relations gathered outside Parliament before
marching to the Democracy Monument and to hold activities at the 14 October 1973
Memorial on Rajdamnoen Road. (MCOT online news)
Special Report: Unions calls for more worker justice on labour day
number of labour unions are planning to submit petitions proposing amendments to
the current Labour Law on National Labour Day, taking place every year on May 1.
Having long been a focal point for demonstrations by various socialist groups,
International Workers’ Day or Labour Day is a national holiday for workers in
many countries around the world. Labour Day has its origins in the labour union
movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours
for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.
In 1904, the International Socialist Conference meeting in Amsterdam called on
all social democratic party organizations and trade unions of all countries to
demonstrate on May First for the legal establishment of the 8-hour working day.
The congress made it mandatory upon the proletarian organizations to stop work
on May 1.
In Thailand, Labour Day is observed as a holiday by most of the private sector
as a way to honor the economic and social achievements of Thai workers. The
National Labour Day in Thailand was first held in 1947 and was recognized by the
Prime Minister’s office as a holiday for workers in 1956.
The history of the Thai labour movement evolved from the apparent lack of
government policy on labour in the early 1920’s to the formation of the first
labour union, The Thai Tram Workers Association. Since then, the country’s
economic policy has included registration of the unemployed and recognition of
Thai workers' rights.
Thai labour today are still facing a host of issues such as a fair enforcement
of the new daily minimum wage, the privatization of state enterprises and the
On Labour Day this year, the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC) will hold a
demonstration to declare its nine-point objectives which will include the social
security reform, revision of employees’ provident fund, and severance packages
and amendments to the 1999 Corporatisation Act.
Wilaiwan Saetia, vice president of the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee, said
that in addition to engaging pro-active measures to curb inflation and the
rising cost of living, the government needs to implement changes to modernize
and reform the Social Security system in the kingdom.
Meanwhile, Chaiyaporn Chantana, chairman of the Labor Congress Freedom of
Thailand, or LCFT, who is this year in charge of an organizing committee for the
Labor Day celebration, said the Labor Ministry approved a budget of 5.1 million
baht to organize the event. Accompanied by 9 elephants, workers from 13 unions
and 2 state-enterprises will form a procession marching down Ratcha Damnoen
Avenue to the main stage at Sanam Luang at 9 AM, where Prime Minister Yingluck
Shinawatra will preside over the opening ceremony.
Shan drug kingpin suspect may not be extradited to Thailand: ONCB
BANGKOK, April 29--- Jai Norkham, a suspected ethnic Shan drug kingpin with
alleged involvement in the killing of 13 Chinese shipping crewmen last year on
the Mekong River in Chiang Rai, was arrested in the Lao PDR last week but may
not be extradited to face drug charges in Thailand, according to Thailand’s
Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB).
After confirmation by Lao PDR authorities about the arrest of Mr Norkham,
believed to be an aide of the late so-called ‘Opium King’ Khun Sa, the deputy
secretary-general of the ONCB, Sukhum Opasniputh, disclosed on Sunday that the
drug suspect was in detention in the Lao capital of Vientiane.
Mr Sukhum believed that Mr Norkham, who was also on China’s most wanted list,
would soon be extradited to China to face prosecution for involvement in the
killing of 13 Chinese boat crewmembers on 5 Oct 2011 on the Mekong River in
Chiang Rai’s Chiang Saen district, as well as for other cases related to
robberies of shipping boats and the murder of boat crewmen along the Mekong
River connecting China, Myanmar, the Lao PDR and Thailand.
As a consequence, the deputy secretary-general admitted that eventually the Shan
drug suspect might not be taken to face drug charges in Thailand.
Mr Norkham was suspected by Thai authorities after being implicated by detained
drug ring members that he was involved with other drug cases.
The arrest of Mr Norkham would benefit cargo transportation routes along the
Mekong River and be a significant blow to a major drug syndicate.
Currently, some of Norkham’s aides have begun turning themselves in to the
police, according to Mr Sukhum. (MCOT online news)
Thai Air Force plane skids off Bangladesh runway
DHAKA, April 30 – A
Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) transport aircraft carrying 15 people skidded off
airport runway in Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka on Monday while it was landing,
with two passengers reportedly suffering minor injuries, according to an RTAF
Thai Air Vice Marshal Monthon Satchukorn told Thai News Agency in an telephone
interview from Dhaka that the RTAF ART72-500 was commissioned at Wing 6 at Don
Mueang Air Force Base and was on a regular drill mission aboard.
He said the aircraft skidded off the runway while landing in Dhaka. It slipped
to hit the concrete wall and the right wing was damaged.
Two pilots on a flight
training mission were slightly injured, he said, adding that there were 15
pilots and engineers on the plane.
Marshal Monthon said the cause of the accident was not yet known, but that RTAF
is sending a team of investigators to probe the incident as soon as possible.
The aircraft departed Don Mueang at 6am this morning on a training mission
beginning today and ending Friday (April 30-May 4) and touched down at Dhaka at
9am and was to continue on leave to New Delhi, India.
Wing Commander Surasak Sukbang, Squadron 603 commander, led the training, he
The ATR72-500 aircraft is a twin-engine turboprop short-haul regional airliner
built by the French-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR. The RTAF has commissioned
four ATR72-500 aircraft since 2009, each having a 30 passengers capacity. (MCOT
Asia Pacific Military Medicine Conference held in Thailand
BANGKOK, 1 May 2012 (NNT) - The 22nd Asia Pacific Military
Medicine Conference kicks off in Thailand with the focus on cooperation to
prevent diseases and assistance to disaster victims.
Deputy Prime Minister Yutthasak Sasiprapa presided over the opening ceremony of
the 22nd Asia Pacific Military Medicine Conference (APMMC), which is held at
Amari Watergate Hotel in Bangkok from April 30th – May 4th.
United States Army and the Royal Thai Army are co-hosting the event, which is
attended by Delegate from 46 countries, mostly in Asia-Pacific and the Indian
Royal Thai Army Medical Department chief Thawatchai Sasiprapa has revealed that
both Thai and US committees have been working together in disease prevention. He
added that this meeting is set as a forum to exchange knowledge on contagious
disease and pandemic control, as well as medical assistance to disaster victims.
Commander of the Pacific Regional Medical Command, Brigadier General Keith W.
Gallagher, said the event brings professionals from around the world to discuss
strengths and challenges each nation is facing to gain greater understanding in
military medical issues.
The theme of the 22nd APMMC is "Diversity is Our Strength: Regional Security
through Collaboration.” Topics have been conducted in lecture forum, small group
sessions, and poster-board presentations.
PM urges all agencies to integrate their works in water management
BANGKOK, 1 May 2012
(NNT) – Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has told all agencies to integrate
their works in water management for an effective flood prevention plan.
During the meeting to follow up on national water management plan, the premier
urged all agencies to work in unison and utilize the same strategy and
Science and Technology Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi said the Prime Minister has
designated three stages for water management. The first stage is at the water
source. Dykes' construction and repair works are underway and expected to be
finished by June, in time for the arrival of the rainy season.
The middle stream is the second stage, where authorities dredge canals, fix
water sluice gates, and make Monkey Cheek water retention systems.
As for the final stage, or downstream area, where Bangkok and other provinces in
lower central region lie, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and
provincials authorities are dredging canals and making sure of effective