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PM assigns security agencies to consider pros & cons of limited far South curfew

BANGKOK, Feb 7 -- Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Thursday assigned the country’s security agencies to consider the pros and cons of imposing a curfew in the most-troubled areas of the southern border region.

Ms Yingluck said today she had asked the agencies and the authorities at work in the areas to evaluate such a possibility, the advantages and disadvantages of a curfew, to respond to Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubumrung’s idea he floated yesterday.

The premier said that she wanted the agencies concerned to work in unison and the government planned to hold a cabinet meeting in the region.

Mr Chalerm said on Wednesday that curfews might be imposed at dusk in some areas in the deep South which have been repeated targets of militant attacks.

The deputy premier said a decision on the limited curfew was not concluded as it needed discussion among agencies concerned, including the National Security Council (NSC), the military, police and local residents.

He stated his belief that the curfew would not be an imposition on local residents, and that it would be decided at a security meeting on Friday.

Mr Chalerm added that if the curfew did not work, he would revoke the measure.

Meanwhile, Fourth Army Region Commander Lt-Gen Udomchai Thamsarorach declined to comment a possible curfew, saying that his command has done its best to provide security in the insurgency-torn region, and that it was not necessary to revise the security plan.

Boonsom Thongsriprai, chairman of the Federation of Teachers in Three Southern Border Provinces declined to comment on the curfew, saying the issue was sensitive, with varied pros and cons. The most important thing, he said, was the local residents' views and their demands should be taken into consideration.

The issue should be considered carefully and be suitable for each area, he said.

Once a curfew is decided and implemented, Mr Boonsom said, the teachers’ federation would discuss how to react to the measure. (MCOT online news)


Thai PM complimented for strengthening Thai-Chinese ties

BANGKOK, Feb 7 – Chinese Culture Minister Cai Wu today praised Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for her outstanding role in fostering stronger relations between Thailand and China.

Mr Cai is visiting Thailand to participate in the Chinese New Year celebrations which will be officially kicked off at Bangkok’s Chinatown on Yaowarat Road on Saturday and carry on until late next week.

During a courtesy call on Ms Yingluck at Government House today, he reaffirmed China’s willingness to collaborate with Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries in development for regional growth.

Ms Yingluck expressed appreciation to the Chinese Ministry of Culture for sending cultural troupes from seven provinces in China to perform in Thailand as part of the lunar new year celebrations.

She said she was delighted to learn that the opening of the Chinese Cultural Centre in Thailand went smoothly and hoped that the centre will help create better understanding of Chinese culture among Thai youth and the wider public.

Thailand hopes to have a cultural centre in China in the future, she said. (MCOT online news)


Election Commission petitioned on 'indicative element' in pre-balloting survey

BANGKOK, Feb 7 – A Bangkok gubernational candidate said he would petition Thailand's watchdog Election Commission (EC) today, asking it to ban further pre-election surveys on voter preferences for the upcoming March 3 election.

Seripisut Temiyavet, who ranked third in all surveys, said he would represent the public in petitioning the EC which claimed earlier that it could not take any action against pollsters for lack of a complainant.

Observers in some quarters of Thai society said pre-election survey results could influence eligible voters, and called for a ban on such polls.

Meanwhile, the two latest academic surveys gave Pheu Thai candidate Pongsapat Pongcharoen an edge over his closest rival, former Bangkok governor, Democrat candidate Sukhumbhand Paribatra.

The ABAC Poll, the research arm of Assumption University, said 42 per cent of voters favoured Mr Pongsapat against 33.5 per cent for Mr Sukhumbhand. Suan Dusit Rajabhat University's Suan Dusit Poll, which conducted the latest survey Feb 2-6 found that 42.59 per cent of voters said they would vote for Mr Pongsapat and 34.31 per cent for Mr Sukhumbhand. Mr Seripisut placed third with 8.6 per cent in the ABAC Poll and 6.38 per cent in the Suan Dusit Poll.

According to the ABAC Poll, conducted on Jan 31-Feb 6, 63.5 per cent of eligible voters said they would actually vote while 36.5 per cent said they would not. (MCOT online news)


Thai team wins Sapporo snow sculpture competition

BANGKOK, Feb 8 -- Thailand’s ice sculpture team has won the 40th International Snow Sculpture Contest at the 64th Sapporo Snow Festival at Odori Park, northern Japan, February 5-11.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), which sponsored the team, said that the Thai team won first prize, followed by Finland, Indonesia, Sweden and Singapore respectively.

Eleven teams from across the globe participated in this year’s contest which was Thailand's 17th year in the competition.

Thailand was represented by representatives from two leading hotels: Kusol Boonkobsongserm of The Shangri-la Hotel, Bangkok, Amnuaysak Srisuk from the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel and Kritsana Wongtes, an independent ice sculpture artist.

The theme of their work was “The Artist From The Wild" which depicts a group of elephants. The elephant is Thailand's symbol of the nation. They are also noted for their intelligence and memory.

Thai elephants can be taught various skills, including painting, which was unique and seen only in Thailand. (MCOT online news)


DSI chief not worried about Suthep's counter lawsuit

BANGKOK, 8 February 2013 (NNT) - Department of Special Investigation (DSI) Director-General Tarit Pengdith said he is not worried about the libel suit Former Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban filed against him.

Mr Suthep on Wednesday filed a libel suit against Mr Tarit for trying to implicate him in a corruption in the police station construction project. In response, the DSI chief said he was just doing his job and made judgement based on evidence and witnesses. He insisted there is no intention to slander the former deputy PM.

In a bid to defend himself, Mr Suthep showed the 396 police stations' construction contract to the media, citing the project went through a transparent auction. He insisted that he did not know the executives of PCC Development and Construction Co, the bid winner.

The court set a trial date for the libel suit against Mr Tarit on May 20th.


Ratree said she was threatened not to criticize Democrat-led government

Thai Patriots Network activist Ratree Pipattanapaiboon said in a Senate committee meeting that she has been theatened not to criticize the government led by Abhisit Vejjajiva. Ms Ratree was being inquired by the Senate Committee on Human Rights, Freedom and Consumer Protection, about the conditions in the Cambodian prison where she had been detained for over two years on a convicted charge of espionage. She said that the Democrat-led government did not offer her proper political assistance, and failed to do enough to counter Cambodian authorities' claims that she was a spy. But she added that she was intimidated by the party not to criticize them publicly. Ms Ratree complained that she was a victim of a political game, citing her belief that her early release was politically motivated. She admitted, however, that she did not know of specific political negotiations that might have led to her early release, and that it could have been a result of improved relations between Cambodia and Thailand. Ms Ratree was arrested together with her Thai Patriots Network colleague Veera Somkwankid and Democrat MP Panich Vikitsreth when they entered Cambodian territories in December 2010. Mr Panich was freed in January 2011. Mr Ratree was sentenced to six years in prison but was released early on the occasion of former king Norodom Sihanouk's cremation. Mr Veera is still in jail in Cambodia.
 


Public Health promotes awareness on Alzheimer’s disease

BANGKOK, 8 February 2013 (NNT) – The Public Health Ministry is promoting the awareness about Alzheimer’s disease by giving knowledge about the disease to the public. An application to check if a person has the Alzheimer’s condition will be launched in the middle of February.

Deputy Public Health Minister Chonlanan Srikaew announced that the ministry, the Alzheimer Foundation of Thailand, and Thailand Center of Excellence for Life Sciences (TCELS) will hold an Alzheimer’s awareness event at the park in the Public Health Ministry on February 15th.

Mr. Chonlanan said at least 25 million people in this world are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and the number is increasing by 5 million each year. Thailand currently has around 1 million Alzheimer’s patients

According the Alzheimer Foundation of Thailand, Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.

The deputy minister said a person who uses technological assistance, such as calculator, reminder, and smart phone, since young age risks having the disease as the brain does not work fully. He advised children to read books, do math recitation, or sing from memory. Meanwhile, the elderly are urged to do math problems.

Alzheimer Foundation of Thailand President Yuth Bodharamik cited that sexual intercourse releases endorphin, which helps prevent dementia; while doing math problems and playing card games also get the brain working. Exercise and eating healthy food are also good practices to prevent the disease.

The foundation and TCELS announced that an application on Alzheimer’s test will be launched for iPad and android users. People can assess their own conditions and get information about the disease. The program will be launched on February 15th. People could get more information and download it for free from www.alz.or.th or www.tcels.or.th.
 


Thais urged not to panic over upcoming solar storms

BANGKOK, 8 February 2013 (NNT) - The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) held a seminar on the impact of solar storms that the US space agency predicted would hit the earth by May of this year.

DDPM chief Chatchai Promlert said the seminar is organized to provide accurate information on threats from the solar flares and to minimize panic among members of the public. Disaster management experts, DDPM officials and volunteers have been invited to join the discussion panel on the unusual solar activity.

Mr Chatchai elaborated that information gathered from the seminar is set to be incorporated into the department’s contingency plans. The department assured that back-up power generators and alternative power sources have been prepared for the fallout of solar storms.

By May of this year, the sun will reach the peak of its 11-year activity cycle, which puts the planet at greater risk of solar storms. The radiation from the storms that may shower the Earth could wreak havoc on satellite communications, radio waves and the electricity grid.


Poll: Pongsapat favored by apartment residents, Sukhumbhand by townhouse dwellers

BANGKOK, 8 February 2013 (NNT) -- Director of ABAC Poll Research Center Noppadol Kannika reveals that Puea Thai party's Bangkok Governor hopeful Pongsapat Pongcharoen is most popular among residents of apartments, detached houses and slums, while Democrat candidate Sukhumbhand Paribatra draws as much popularity as Mr Pongsapat among residents of townhouses.

The survey by ABAC Poll indicates that 43 percent of residents of apartments and condominiums favor Mr Pongsapat, in comparison to 32.3 percent who favor Mr Sukhumband.

Similarly, residents of detached houses and slums prefer Mr Pongsapat to Mr Sukhumbhand as Bangkok Governor, according to the survey. About 40 percent of residents of detached houses and 43 percent of slum dwellers said they would vote for Mr Pongsapat. This is in contrast to 32 percent of detached house residents and 31 percent of inner-city residents who said they would vote for Mr Sukhumbhand.

However, Mr Sukhumbhand and Mr Pongsapat draw equal popularity among townhouse residents. The survey shows that 40.1 percent of townhouse residents favor Mr Sukhumbhand, while 39.9 percent go for Mr Pongsapat.

Independent candidate Sereepisuth comes third in all categories. He is the favorite among 13 percent of apartment dwellers, 11 percent of townhouse residents, 10 percent of residents of detached houses, and 6 percent among slum residents.


Consumer confidence index in January hits record high in 16 months

BANGKOK, 8 February 2013 (NNT) – The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) has revealed that the Nation's consumer confidence index in January hit record high in 16 months.

According to UTCC Economic and Business Forecasting Center Director Thanawat Polvichai, Thailand’s consumer confidence index(CCI) in overall economy was recorded at 72.1 in January, the highest point in a 16-month-run. However, he was still worried that the global economic situation, especially the European-debt crisis, and Thailand's domestic political situation, such as the upcoming gubernatorial election, the constitutional amendment, and the Phra Viharn case, could have a huge effect on Thailand’s current and future economy

The director also revealed that the CCI for the next six months rose for the fourth executive month to 81.7. However, the number was still below 100, indicating that people were still concerned with Thailand’s and world economic situations.

He further disclosed that consumer happiness index was as high as 92, while expressing confidence that the number would increase to 99.3 in the next 3 months.


PM Yinguck: Thailand-France to enhance economic and trade strategic connections

BANGKOK, 6 February 2013 (NNT) – Thailand and France are set to enhance bilateral economic and trade strategic connections, according to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

PM Yingluck, on Tuesday, welcomed French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and his spouse, who have been on the official visit to Thailand, as guests of the government during 4-5 February.

Both leaders inspected the Guard of Honor before joining a meeting to discuss Thai-French relations, which a continuation from PM Yingluck’s previous trip to France.

The two later witnessed the signing of 5 agreements, covering such areas as national defense, education, joint production of Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis and Hepatitis vaccines, an MOU on Cooperation on International Research Network and a joint curriculum development between Thailand’s Rajamangala University of Technology and France’s University Institutes of Technology (IUT).

After the meeting, Ms. Yingluck and her French counterpart held a press conference, which shed light on their discussion related to the two nations’ collaboration on transport, high-speed train development and aviation industry.

Concerning the pending Thai-French Free Trade Area, the two PMs agreed that a conclusion on this agreement should be reached within this year, after the details of the Framework Agreement have been discussed.

Mr. Ayrault added that France is also paying attention to the expansion of trade and investment in Thailand’s basic infrastructure development projects, with several French companies already poured a total of approximately 87 million euros into these projects.

At the same time, PM Yingluck expressed confidence that the two nations will collaborate more in the development of economic and trade strategic connections as well as in bringing ASEAN closer to Europe in many ways. She also noted the French PM’s visit to Thailand as a success for both countries.

After the press conference, the Thai Premier hosted a dinner reception for the French Prime Minister and his spouse as well as the French delegation at the Santi Maitree Building, Government House.


Gov't mulls curfew in at-risk southern areas

BANGKOK, Feb 6 – Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubumrung said today that curfews will possibly be imposed at dusk in some areas in Thailand’s deep South which have been repeated targets of militant attacks.

He cited Krong Pinang and Yaring in the southernmost province of Yala as two districts where curfews will be necessary as part of security measures to protect the public.

Mr Chalerm was referring to the murder of four fruit vendors in Krong Pinang district by a group of gunmen on Tuesday.

The assailants stormed into a hut in the district and killed the four natives of Rayong province who travelled South to buy fruit for resale in Rayong.

Mr Chalerm said the attackers meant to instigate unrest in the South.

He said the authorities in charge of southern security will meet Friday to map clear-cut measures to deal with the southern insurgency. (MCOT online news)
 


Thai team in UK to prepare temple dispute defence

BANGKOK, Feb 6 – Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister Phongthep Thepkanjana left for London today to meet with legal consultants for preparations for the country's oral statement before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in April in the Thai defence of the Preah Vihear temple dispute between Thailand and Cambodia.

He ruled out negotiation with Cambodian to settle the case, saying a final ruling rests with the ICJ while both conflicting parties will have to do their best.

Thailand and Cambodia are required to present their oral statements to the court in April in defence of ownership of a 4.6 km tract of land surrounding Preah Vihear temple. An ICJ verdict is scheduled for October.

Mr Phongthep said Thailand has already submitted written documents to the court while further explanations of each point in the documents will be made during the oral presentation.

The deputy prime minister was accompanied by the Foreign Ministry’s legal team and representatives of the Office of the Attorney General and the Council of State. (MCOT online news)


Military to provide security for 'outsiders' in far South: Defence Minister

BANGKOK, Feb 6 -- Thailand's military are ready to provide security protection for people from other provinces working in the three southernmost provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, if requested, according to Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat.

The minister's comments came after four fruit traders from the eastern province of Rayong were killed in Yala on Tuesday.

Their murders followed the killing of two farmers from Sing Buri province in Pattani last Friday.

Last week's victims were among 20 farmers from Suphan Buri and Sing Buri were in Pattani to teach farmers how to revive their abandoned rice fields.

Air Chief Marshal Sukumpol assured the public that security in the areas under military protection is guaranteed. Anyone or any group wanted to enter the areas for any purposes and need security protection could request assistance from the military which is pleased to help.

The minister also asserted the security plan in place is considered effective and he could see no need for changes, including the safety plan for this weekend's Chinese New Year celebration.

Air Chief Marshal Sukumpol said that the security measures in the southern border provinces were strict enough and no other regulations, including curfew, would be implemented in the region.

He explained that stringent security measures in the region could not be strictly enforced as that would go against the people's will to travel freely. However, the public also realised that they are at higher risk of being attacked.

Local residents should be more attentive and be better prepared to protect themselves, he said. (MCOT online news)


Rohingya, Myanmar migrants rescued in Narathiwat

NARATHIWAT, Feb 6 -- Six Rohingya and Myanmar migrants were rescued in the southern border province of Narathiwat in a joint military and police operation.

Fifty personnel from the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC)’s Region 4, military and the Thai Police Immigration Bureau raided six targets in Narathiwat's Su-ngai Kolok municipality after being informed that major transnational human trafficking agents used these locations to cover themselves.

The ringleader has reportedly foresaw what was happening and escaped from the authorities before the raid.

One suspect was arrested, identified only as Mr Nurusalam, 55. He owns the house which is also a roti shop on Chuen Makka Road where six Rohingya and Myanmar illegal migrant workers were found. The six had worked at the roti shop.

Behind the shop was a row of rooms where clothes were still hanging but the authorities found no one inside.

The suspects were taken for investigation as Mr Narusalam was seen to be involved in a transnational human trafficking operation.

Police said further investigation will lead to more clues about the whereabouts of hundreds of Rohingya migrants awaiting transfer to Malaysia. (MCOT online news)


State Railway of Thailand launches pilot services for people with disabilities

CHACHENGSAO, Feb 6 - The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) on Wednesday launched its pilot services for the physically impaired.

Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt said after presiding over the opening ceremony that the SRT had improved facilities for persons with disabilities at Bangkok's Hua Lamphong Railway Station.

At the ceremonial launch, four special train carriages were provided as a test run for invited representatives from the Redemptorist Foundation for People with Disabilities and other foundations for the handicapped. The special route was from Bangkok-Chachengsao-Bangkok.

The transport minister said a budget of Bt5.1 million was allocated by the government. (MCOT online news) .


NBTC to penalize satellite TVs with false ads

BANGKOK, 5 February 2013 (NNT) - The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) will summon satellite TV stations that disseminate misleading commercials of supplementary food and drugs. If proven guilty, the stations’ licenses will be revoked.

NBTC Commissioner Supinya Klangnarong said the NBTC had received information that a total of 301 satellite TV stations were airing false advertisements of health products, cosmetics, food supplements, weight loss coffee and medical equipment. Some of the products have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

According to Ms Supinya, only 8 of the alleged satellite TV operators have received broadcast licenses, whereas the other 293 have not.

All of them will be officially asked to appear before the NBTC to testify on their allegations. They are subject to three measures, including warning, fine and license revocation. If the court rules that the eight authorized stations have violated the Food and Drug Act, their licenses will be cancelled. As for the rest with no licenses, the NBTC will ask their network operator Thaicom to issue an official warning to them of broadcast termination.
 


Health Ministry suggests Lingzhi mushroom juice for cancer patients

BANGKOK, 6 February 2013 (NNT) – The Health Ministry is suggesting cancer patients to try drinking Lingzhi mushroom juice to boost their immune and battle cancer cells.

Director-General of the Department for Development of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine Dr. Somchai Nichpanit said that the latest research on Lingzhi mushroom or Reishi mushroom and its use for cancer treatment found that it has such major compounds as polysaccharides, which can boost body immune and induce soothing feeling while acting as a mild type of laxative.

This mushroom is also found to have triterpene compounds, which can suppress cancer cells, while the mushroom extract and its spore extracts can enhance immune and are non-toxic for normal cells.

Dr. Somchai said that the result of the clinical research on the effectiveness of Lingzhi mushroom in killing cancer cells from Chiang Mai University is expected to be released soon.

He stated that relevant studies on the benefits of Lingzhi mushroom from China show that this mushroom can also help control the spread of cancer cells for lung cancer and colon cancer patients and is safe for long-term use.

He went on to urge cancer patients in Thailand to try Lingzhi mushroom, which can be made at home or purchased, to improve their health conditions.

However, Dr. Somchai noted that attention must be given to the credibility of Lingzhi mushroom juice available in the market, as clear labeling and product details should be stated on the package while the FDA approval must also be explicitly shown to assure safety for consumption.

More information on Lingzhi mushroom and its spores can be found on the department’s website www.fda.moph.go.th or its call center number 02-9510777.


Transport Ministry to set up 60 more CCTVs to better catch traffic law violators

BANGKOK, 6 February 2013 (NNT) – The Transport Ministry is aiming to set up 60 more closed-circuit television cameras (CCTVs) on the road to effectively tackle traffic law violators.

The Transport Ministry has held a meeting to discuss ways to solve traffic problems in Bangkok and its vicinities with the help of technology. Deputy Permanent Secretary for Transport Teerapong Rodprasert said after the meeting that he is looking to propose to Transport Minister Chatchat Sitthipan two solutions to the traffic problem.

They include increasing the potential of traffic police and using more technologies such as CCTVs so that traffic police can see the traffic in a broader picture. He said 60-70 CCTVs and speed cameras should be added to the system to ensure a 100-percent coverage.

Additionally, Mr Teerapong said the database on traffic violations should be shared among the Land Transport Department, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, and the Royal Thai Police; therefore, those who repeat the same violation will not be able to renew their car registration. In the future, repeated violators may get a double fine. The ministry is studying the possibility.


Police to watch out for luring cases during Valentine’s Day

BANGKOK, 6 February 2013 (NNT) – The police across the nation have been urged to watch out for people, especially youth, being lured for sex during February 11-16 or in the Valentine’s Week.

National Police Chief Police General Adul Sangsingkaew has issued a document commanding police across the country to be aware of crimes related to sex during the Valentine season. Risk areas such as entertainment venues, motels, public parks, and local communities will be thoroughly inspected. Information and recommendation leaflets will be distributed to youths, who are most likely to be the victims of the crimes, as well as teachers.

Police General Adul said teenagers may not only become victims of sex crimes, but also drug abuse and human trafficking.

Every year during Valentine’s Day, many youths, particularly girls, are lured into having unlawful sexual relations as the day signifies love.
 


Mor E-dang Cliff reopens to tourists after Dhamma Yatra stops protesting

SI SA KET, 6 February 2013 (NNT) - Mor E-dang Cliff, which is situated in the Khao Phra Viharn National Park near the Thai-Cambodian border is now open to visitors after the DhammaYatra protesters gave up their sitting protest at the entrance to the hill-top Khao Phra Viharn Temple to claim for Thailand’s ownership of the ancient shrine.

Dhamma Yatra members had been sitting in meditation in front of the entrance to the temple since 2 p.m. on February 4 as a gesture of protesting against Cambodian possession of the temple.

After the entrance is clear of the protesters, visitors, both Thais and foreigners, poured into the park to visit the Mor E-dang Cliff, which provides one of the best bird’s eye views of the Northeast. The cliff is located near the Thai-Cambodian border in Si Sa Ket province.

Chief of the Khao Phra Viharn National Park Saksit Polsapsiri said the atmosphere around the site has been normal, and Pha Mor E-dang still proves popular with over 200 tourists on the reopening day today.


Pongsapat unveils new safety policies for Bangkok

BANGKOK, 6 February 2013 (NNT) - Pheu Thai gubernatorial candidate Police General Pongsapat Pongcharoen has unveiled a new plan to implement changes in order to boost safety in Bangkok.

As part of his campaign, Pol Gen Pongsapat made known that he plans to set up crime watch centers across the capital. He stated that studies show over 160,000 crime cases took place in 2012, with the majority of them found in connection with drug cases.

A Bangkok Crime Map is set to be drafted in a bid to tackle crimes in crime-prone areas. Information on the map will be supplied by crime statistics compiled over the past ten years.

The Pheu Thai contender also vowed to eradicate drug problems in Bangkok communities. He pledged to launch anti-drug campaigns in all schools under the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s supervision.

Recently, Bangkok Poll indicated that Pol Gen Pongsapat was holding a close lead in the election, garnering support from 36.3 percent of respondents, while Democrat candidate MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra followed closely behind with support from 27.1 percent of those surveyed.


Transport Min: Switching lanes and disrespecting traffic rules cause traffic jam

BANGKOK, 6 February 2013 (NNT) - The Transport Ministry has found that main factors contributing to traffic congestion in many areas are commuters’ failure to follow traffic rules and public vehicle operators changing lanes on busy roads.

Transport Minister Chatchart Sitthiphan recently carried out an inspection of traffic in the Rama IV area in a bid to tackle the worsening traffic congestion in Bangkok. He revealed that drivers, especially those operating public vehicles, weaving in and out of lanes not only obstruct other motorists on the road but also lead to critical stop-start traffic jam. Violators of traffic rules were also found to have contributed greatly to the congestion problem.

In addition to deploying more traffic police on the scene, the minister will carry out additional inspections on Ratchadamri and Ratchaprarop Roads as well as Din Daeng Intersection.

New installations of closed-circuit cameras and more appropriate timing of traffic lights will be part of new measures implemented by the Ministry. Traffic police are also urged to tighten the rules and crack down on rule violators.


Thai PM Yingluck attends former Cambodian king's cremation

BANGKOK, Feb 4 - Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Monday went to Phnom Penh to attend the cremation of Cambodia's former king Norodom Sihanouk.

The Thai premier, accompanied by Deputy Premier/Education Minister Phongthep Thepkanchana, Deputy Premier/Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat and Minister Attached to the Prime Minister's Office Sansanee Nakpong, left Bangkok early Monday morning for Phnom Penh.

The former Cambodian monarch died at age 89 of a heart attack in Beijing on October 15 last year.

Leaders of the ten-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations attended the ceremony today in the Cambodian capital, along with Chinese, Vietnamese and French leaders.

Speaking to reporters before his departure, Mr Phongthep said the Thai leader is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The deputy premier said the Preah Vihear dispute will not be discussed during the talks as the issue is now being considered by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Mr Phongthep pledged that the Thai delegation will do their best to defend the case at the ICJ. He will go to the United Kingdom this Wednesday with the Thai legal team, to meet with foreign lawyers in preparation for the case as Thailand must make a closing statement at the ICJ in April.

Ms Yingluck said before leaving Bangkok that she is not certain as to whether the bilateral talks could take place with her Cambodian counterpart as the main purpose of the visit is to attend the cremation of the late King Father. (MCOT online news)
 


Thai, Cambodian leaders agree to foster ties, jointly develop border areas

PHNOM PENH, Feb 4 -- Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen on Monday agreed to strengthen bilateral relations between the two neighbouring countries and jointly develop border areas.

Ms Yingluck was in Phnom Penh to attend the royal cremation of Cambodia's former king Norodom Sihanouk.

The Thai premier met Mr Hun Sen and held bilateral talks at the Cambodian Prime Minister's Office.

The two leaders hailed the good and strong relations between the two countries which has led to the progress of their bilateral cooperation in various fields, which would eventually benefit both mutually.

The Thai leader also said Thailand wanted to cooperate with Cambodia to develop the border areas for prosperity and peace.

Ms Yingluck took the opportunity to thank the Cambodian government in granting a royal pardon and prison term reduction for two Thai activists, saying that the move was considered a goodwill gesture from Cambodia.

Veera Somkwamkid, coordinator of Thailand's Patriots Network, and his secretary Ratree Pipattanapaiboon were arrested on Dec 29, 2010 by Cambodian authorities while inspecting a disputed area claimed by both countries. Both were accused of spying on Cambodia military facilities in Banteay Meanchey province.

Mr Veera received an eight year prison sentence, while his secretary was handed six years jail for espionage and illegal entry.

In accordance with the royal pardon, Ms Ratree was released last Friday (Feb 1) while Mr Veera's prison term is to be reduced by six months, leaving him to remain in jail for another five years.

Ms Yingluck also thanked Phnom Penh for taking good care of 51 Thai prisoners in Cambodia.

The Thai premier later had an audience with King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia and Queen Mother Monique Norodom Monineath to affirm the strong relations and cooperation between the two countries.

Ms Yingluck also extended the gratitude to the King of Cambodia who granted pardon and prison term reductions to the two Thai activists. (MCOT online news)
 


Cancer is top killer of Thais among all diseases

BANGKOK, Feb 4 – Cancer kills an average of seven Thai people every hour--and the number of new cancer patients has surged to over 100,000 people each year, according to the minister of public health.

Dr Pradit Sintavanarong said cancer has become the world’s top killer and that Thailand's follows that trend. He said the number of cancer patients worldwide is expected to increase sharply from 12.7 million in 2008 to 21.3 million in 2030.

Today marks World Cancer Day as announced by the World Health Organisation and the International Union Against Cancer. This year’s cancer prevention campaign, under the theme “Cancer – Did you know?”, is aimed at educating people about cancer and prevention measures.

Dr Pradit said among the 61,082 victims of cancer in Thailand in 2011, 35,437 were male and 25,645 female and there is an increasing trend of patients with colon and rectal cancer.

The urban lifestyle, the consumption of meat rather than vegetables and a lack of physical exercise are some of the major causes of colon and rectal cancer, he said.


Faulty measures blamed for death of farmers in South

BANGKOK, Feb 4 – Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha admitted today there were flaws in the security measures for farmers under the state’s rice planting revival scheme in the far South which resulted in the fatal shootings of two trainer farmers from the central plains and the wounding of 10 others in Pattani province last Friday.

Most of the surviving farmer trainers expressed their desire to return to their home provinces of Sing Buri and Suphan Buri. The farmers from the central region participated in a rehabilitation project for abandoned rice fields in the South under the sponsorship of the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre (SBPAC).

Gen Prayuth said some agencies had assigned “outsiders” to work in the field without informing the authorities, leading to loopholes in the security system.

He expressed his appreciation to farmers from the central provinces who travelled South to help train farmers there plant rice.

Most southern farmers who switched from growing rice in their fields to rubber wanted to return to rice farming.

SBPAC funded the programme to revive rice farming – a scheme fully welcomed by many farmers some of whom rallied their support to the project over the weekend following the attack on trainer farmers.

The army chief said a new batch of 4,000 police officers will be dispatched to the far South in the next few months to help army and civil authorities provide safety to local residents.


Thailand foots US$40 million in medical bills for migrants

BANGKOK, Feb 4 – Thailand has spent over Bt1 billion giving medical treatment to migrant workers from neighbouring countries in the last three years, the deputy public health minister said today.

Cholanan Srikaew said figures compiled from state hospitals in 57 provinces in 2010-2012 showed the Public Health Ministry as bearing a cost of Bt1.19 billion (about US$40 million) for medical treatment to migrants from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.

Many very low income migrants could not afford the medical expenses while some left hospitals without paying after being treated, he said.

Health checkups for more than 8.5 million migrant workers who registered for employment in Thailand in 2011 found that they mainly suffered from tuberculosis, malaria, elephantiasis, leprosy, syphilis and drug addiction.

The minister said the Public Health Ministry has set up two committees to work out measures for health and medical treatment for migrant workers in Thailand. (MCOT online news)


Authorities control forest fire in northern provinces

LAMPANG, Feb 3 – Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi ordered northern provinces to take smog and forest fire problems seriously over a 80-day period when the problem could worsen.

The deputy prime minister met local authorities in Lampang and Tak on Sunday to discuss the smog and forest fire problems at the Lampang government centre.

He ordered close monitoring to prevent forest fires from January 21 to April 30, the peak period when forest fires normally occur.

He said man-made burning must be banned. Lampang has 2.2 million acres forest. Among 1,027 fire spots, 85 percent occurred in the forest and the remaining 15 percent in residential zones.

Legal action will be taken against proprietors who set fires in the forest. If a preliminary warning does not work to control a fire, all provinces have to check hotspots via satellite images everyday to monitor fire in community areas, farmlands, and in the forest.

Meanwhile, Suwat Promsuwan, Tak deputy governor, said smog is mainly caused by forest fire, which accounts for 60 percent. Tak has 3.8 million acre of forest. However, rainfalls last week has alleviated the problem. (MCOT online news)


Dwindling natural food sources threaten macaque survival

BNative to areas in South, Central and Southeast Asia, troops of Macaca Mulatta otherwise known as the Rhesus Macaque inhabit a variety of habitats from grasslands to arid and forested areas. Occupying areas that are very close to human settlements, a troop of over one thousand Rhesus Macaques currently live on the hillsides of Loei’s Wang-Sapoong district.

With the growing population of these monkeys, beginning from an estimated 142 to over one thousand today, they are struggling to find an adequate supply of food to eat. Depending increasingly on treats such as corn chunks, nuts, or bananas given by tourists, these animals are facing an extremely challenging task to maintain a natural lifestyle of their own.

Regarded by locals as the only standing troop of the Macaca Mulatta breeding in Thailand, the infants are mixtures of Rhesus Macaques and the Pig-tailed Macaques – which exhibit slightly different skin and hair attributes.

“It’s very strange because the troop of Rhesus Macaques rarely come down to find food on Buddhist days… Actually they don’t come at all, even if we call them. So we call them “Ling Jum Sin”, a term which is used to describe when monks do not leave temple premises,” said Sathien Sooksomboon, a local villager.

“The rhesus macaque mainly eat fruits, but there is not so great a selection left in the wild… some trees are destroyed… so there’s about 3-4 main trees on the mountain where they stay. They will find it particularly hard during the dry season, when there will be hardly any food at all. If they go down to find food in the farmer’s plantations, they may get shot,” said Phra Kasem Thituthitano, acting abbot of Tam Phra Mak Hor Temple.

Besides efforts to plant trees and to ensure that the environment becomes healthier, the troops of macaques still rely primarily on the fruits and foods fed by the tourists. The area is also located near a limestone cave; however, there has been very little maintenance.

 So with just about 20 to 30 tourists visiting the area on a daily basis, many stomachs will have to go to bed feeling rather peckish! (MCOT online news)


Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai see rare hail storms

BANGKOK, 4 February 2013 (NNT) - Several areas in the provinces of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai experienced hail storms following heavy rains Sunday evening.

Hail storm was reported in the district of Wieng Haeng and Doi Saket in Chiang Mai province yesterday. According to Chiang Mai's Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Director Komsan Suwan-ampha, some of the hailstones in Wieng Haeng were about the size of chicken eggs. Houses, farms, and garlic farms in particular have been reported to be damaged by the hail. The areas had never seen a hail for over 40 years. In Doi Saket, roads were reportedly covered with white ice pellets.

Heavy rains also hit the districts of Muang, Mae Chan, Mae Sai, Phan and Mae Fah Luang, Chiang Rai Province. Some of these areas also saw hail storms, of which the largest was in Mae Fah Luang. Chiang Rai Governor Pongsak Wangsamur said he had ordered disaster relief personnel to survey the damage and offer aide to people in need.
 


DPM Plodprasop follows up northern haze problem

CHIANG RAI, 3 FEBRUARY 2013 (NNT) – Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi has been following up on the efforts to control and prevent the haze problem in Thailand’s northern region.

DPM Plodprasop, on Sunday, chaired a meeting in Chiang Rai Province with local officials related to the prevention and the solution for the haze problem in the North.

The meeting was called for to get the latest update on the government’s 100-day ban on all burning activities in the North, put into effect during the months of February and April.

Chiang Rai Governor Pongsak Wangsamer reported to the DPM that there has not been any report on particle dust exceeding the accepted safety level of 120 micrograms per cubic meter in the region yet.

Mr. Pongsak stated that now should be an opportune time for the preparation as the haze problem, likely to occur during this time of the year, has continued to hurt the region’s economy and tourism as well as the health of northern residents.

He added that Thailand is also to collaborate with its neighbors to step up the control of all burning activities in their countries while pressuring related businesses to help dissuade local residents from burning anything when the 100-day ban is in effect.

The Deputy Prime Minister later attended another meeting in Phrae Province to deliver policies and guidelines concerning the prevention of forest fire and haze to related state officials.


Foreign Minister thanks Cambodia for Ratree’s pardon

BANGKOK, February 4 2013 (NNT) – Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul has expressed his appreciation on behalf of the Thai government to Cambodia regarding the pardon of Ratree Pipattanapaiboon.

Ratree Pipattanapaiboon was released last Friday after spending 2 years in Cambodian prison. According to the Foreign Minister, the release came after the talks between Thai Premier and Prime Minister Hun Sen, during which the Cambodian Premier had promised to help out.

In the case of Veera Somkwamkid who is still behind bars in the Cambodian jail, the prison term has been reduced by 6 months. Although the Cambodian law requires that Mr Veera serve at least one-third of the sentence before being eligible for pardon, the foreign minister said the Thai government would do its utmost to help Mr Veera nevertheless, said Surapong.

Prime Minister Yingluck, meanwhile said during her campaign in Lopburi Province that she would travel to Cambodia on February 4th to attend the cremation of King Sihanouk, after which she would discuss various issues with Cambodian Premier Hun Sen.


EC bans releasing poll results 7 days before election

BANGKOK, 4 February 2013 (NNT) - The Election Commission (EC), Bangkok Office, is banning the release of opinion polls during the seven days leading up to the March 3 gubernatorial election.

Bangkok EC Chairman Thaweesak Tuchinda explained that opinion polls can influence the voting behavior of Bangkok residents in the upcoming governor election as voters tend to factor polling results as part of their decision-making. Therefore, any survey must be conducted and results publicized at least seven days prior to the election. Violators will be considered in breach of the 2002 Local Election Act for exerting misleading or unfair influence on voters.

He also elaborated that exit polls can be conducted only after the voting process has ended and only outside polling stations.

Mr Thaweesak warned that polling companies found to have violated the seven-day ban will receive a prison term of no more than 10 years and a fine of up to 200,000 baht.
 


Yingluck stresses she’s real prime minister

BANGKOK, Jan 31 – Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra today categorically denied an international news report that her elder brother, ousted premier Thaksin, controls the cabinet remotely from abroad via various telecommunications channels.

The New York Times said Mr Thaksin, in self exile since 2008 and residing mostly in Dubai and London, has made important political decisions for the government via mobile phone and social media applications such as Skype, LINE and Whatsapp.

Ms Yingluck stood firm that she is the genuine prime minister of Thailand and that she and her cabinet jointly and clearly run the country.

“Opinion polls show that my leadership and recognition among the people has increased. I have successively proved myself in the past year. I’d rather have people judge me from my performance,” she said.

“I can’t stop people’s thinking but I believe lots of people are fair to me. What a working person wants is moral support.”

She described as groundless the report which said Mr Thaksin participated in some cabinet meetings and ordered ministers through Skype, saying the cabinet conferences are off limits to telephones. (MCOT online news)


Foreigners commend Thailand’s stability, hospitality

BANGKOK, Jan 31 – Almost all foreign visitors to Thailand say they will revisit the country and the majority are impressed with the Thai people’s hospitality and helpfulness, according to a university survey.


The ABAC poll, conducted by a research centre at Assumption University, surveyed 969 foreigners in Thailand between Jan 15-30. Among them, 56.2 per cent were tourists, 32.3 per cent business people and 21.7 per cent investors.

The respondents said they appreciated Thai people’s hospitality and helpfulness (7.11 points), followed by Thai culture (6.99 points), tourist attractions (6.89 points), environment (6.76 points) and labour accessibility (6.47 points).

Asked if they will revisit Thailand, 97.1 per cent said they will and will recommend that others from their countries visit the kingdom.

Regarding Thailand’s political situation and the resolutions of political conflict, one-third (37.4 per cent) of the respondents said the principle of democracy should be respected while 28.6 per cent suggested that harmony will contribute to political resolutions, 17.6 per cent called for transparency and a crackdown on corruption, 8.8 per cent recommended a change of government and 7.6 per cent advocated amending the constitution.

Noppadol Kannika, ABAC Poll director, said the survey results are a positive signal for Thailand which received poor feedback from both the Thai public and foreign visitors in several previous polls. (MCOT online news)


Half million people affected by drought in Northeast

NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Jan 31 – More than 500,000 residents of this northeastern province have been affected by drought as in some areas, water supply is sufficient for only the next two weeks.

Winai Buapradit, Nakhon Ratchasima governor said he declared the province’s 29 districts disaster zones due to the drought, which has left many areas parched.

Nearly 350,000 acres of farmland have been impacted. Anumas Thongtaem, provincial irrigation director reported that water reserves are dropping rapidly. Current supplies are used only for drinking water demand.

Some farmlands depending on water from Lamtakong Dam, have been impacted. Low water levels in the Moon Bon Dam is insufficient for tap water use in Non Sung district.

Suchartkit Sutthikatsaneethorn, Non Sung district chief, said the irrigation office informed him that water reserve for tap water production is sufficient for only two weeks and the province must find water resource to ease water shortage. So far, water supplies have stopped altogether in some areas in Non Sung district.

Drought has affected more than 50,000 people and roughly 12,500 acres of farmland in the district. (MCOT online news)


NECTEC to organize Thailand ICT Contest Festival 2013 during Feb 12-14

BANGKOK, 31 January 2013 (NNT) – National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC) is set to organize Thailand ICT Contest Festival 2013 during February 12-14.

The NECTEC is cooperating with the Ministry of Science and Technology in hosting a contest, aiming to encourage the use of communication technology among Thai youngsters.

According to NECTEC, the contest will provide an opportunity for the new generation to exhibit their inventions as well as to uplift Thai's knowledge of science. In the event, audience will get to see 10 outstanding ICT projects which have been supported by both the government and the private sectors.

The main purpose of the contest is to develop the country’s technology to be in line with the international standard, and also to help educate Thai youngsters regarding the ICT technology.

The Thailand ICT Contest Festival 2013 will be held at Mahisorn Hall, on February 12-14.


Peace-keeping in far South remains ISOC’s top priority this year

BANGKOK, 31 January 2013 (NNT) - Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has pledged that the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) will continue solving problems in the southern border provinces including drug abuse and environmental harm.

In her capacity as the ISOC director, the PM on Thursday delivered national security policy to relevant units of the government and announced ISOC’s 2012 performance as well as its operational plan next year. Ms Yingluck said ISOC last year set up more than 1,000 anti-drug villages in 30 provinces under the campaign “Strong Community against Drugs along the Border.” 70% of the villages have passed the criteria to claim a victory over drug problems.

The Prime Minister also confirmed the situation in the deep South had a tendency to improve with decreasing violent incidents and number of lives lost. In 2011, 1,442 villages reported no violent incidents. As for ISOC’s 2013 operational plan, the PM said the unit would keep on preventing narcotic drugs, forest encroachment and environmental damage.
 


OIC urges for peace talks in Thailand’s restive South

BANGKOK, 31 January 2013 (NNT) - The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has suggested that Thailand should depend on the justice system and peace talks in dealing with the southern unrest.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said on Thursday after his meeting with OIC representatives that Thailand had already been using talks to find solutions to the unrest problem and providing justice to all sides as suggested by the organization. He also confirmed that, with the cooperation from all sides, the Thai government would be ready to enter further talks.

The Deputy PM encouraged instigators of violence in the Deep South to step out and join peace talks with the government, promising that the government would ensure safety for them.


Special Report: Future of Rohingyas uncertain as Thailand allows stay of 6 more months

Another boatload containing over 100 Rohingya refugees recently arrived in Phang Nga province as authorities struggle to ease overcrowding in detention facilities in the South.

According to reports, more than 500 Rohingyas made landfall in the southern province of Phang Nga in the past month. Many of them have been transferred to other shelters and camps, which include the Khura Buri Shelter and the Surat Thani Immigration Center.

With the latest arrivals of thousands of Rohingyas, the Thai government has been consulting with international agencies and third countries on long-term solutions to the crisis. Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul announced on January 25 that the migrants are allowed to stay in the country for another six months, during which authorities will try to find a more viable solution including a third country resettlement. The National Security Council has also insisted that Thailand will not set up a refugee camp for Rohingyas.

As critics have alleged that the influx of Rohingya migrants via Thai borders is part of large-scale human trafficking, the government is working to avoid incidents that will further tarnish the country’s image. Thailand is now on the US human-trafficking report’s Tier 2 Watch List.

Tens of thousands of Rohingyas have fled persecution in Myanmar’s Rakhine State over the last few decades, with the majority of them travelling to Bangladesh and Malaysia. Dozens are feared to have perished on their boat journeys in the past year as boats carrying hundreds of Rohingyas capsized before reaching their destinations.

According to the UN, some 115,000 people are displaced in Myanmar’s Rakhine State following inter-communal violence in 2012 as the Myanmar government considers them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

As some of the most persecuted minorities in the world, large numbers of boats containing stateless Rohingyas are expected to continue to sail from Myanmar towards Thailand and Malaysia.


 

DAILY UPDATE

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Back to Main Page

PM assigns security agencies to consider pros & cons of limited far South curfew

Thai PM complimented for strengthening Thai-Chinese ties

Election Commission petitioned on 'indicative element' in pre-balloting survey

Thai team wins Sapporo snow sculpture competition

DSI chief not worried about Suthep's counter lawsuit

Ratree said she was threatened not to criticize Democrat-led government

Public Health promotes awareness on Alzheimer’s disease

Thais urged not to panic over upcoming solar storms

Poll: Pongsapat favored by apartment residents, Sukhumbhand by townhouse dwellers

Consumer confidence index in January hits record high in 16 months

PM Yinguck: Thailand-France to enhance economic and trade strategic connections

Gov't mulls curfew in at-risk southern areas

Thai team in UK to prepare temple dispute defence

Military to provide security for 'outsiders' in far South: Defence Minister

Rohingya, Myanmar migrants rescued in Narathiwat

State Railway of Thailand launches pilot services for people with disabilities

NBTC to penalize satellite TVs with false ads

Health Ministry suggests Lingzhi mushroom juice for cancer patients

Transport Ministry to set up 60 more CCTVs to better catch traffic law violators

Police to watch out for luring cases during Valentine’s Day

Mor E-dang Cliff reopens to tourists after Dhamma Yatra stops protesting

Pongsapat unveils new safety policies for Bangkok

Transport Min: Switching lanes and disrespecting traffic rules cause traffic jam

Thai PM Yingluck attends former Cambodian king's cremation

Thai, Cambodian leaders agree to foster ties, jointly develop border areas

Cancer is top killer of Thais among all diseases

Faulty measures blamed for death of farmers in South

Thailand foots US$40 million in medical bills for migrants

Authorities control forest fire in northern provinces

Dwindling natural food sources threaten macaque survival

Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai see rare hail storms

DPM Plodprasop follows up northern haze problem

Foreign Minister thanks Cambodia for Ratree’s pardon

EC bans releasing poll results 7 days before election

Yingluck stresses she’s real prime minister

Foreigners commend Thailand’s stability, hospitality

Half million people affected by drought in Northeast

NECTEC to organize Thailand ICT Contest Festival 2013 during Feb 12-14

Peace-keeping in far South remains ISOC’s top priority this year

OIC urges for peace talks in Thailand’s restive South

Special Report: Future of Rohingyas uncertain as Thailand allows stay of 6 more months

 

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