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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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,”
“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
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
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
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
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
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
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.