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Prime minister satisfied with results of 26th ASEAN Summit and 9th IMT-GT leaders' meeting

BANGKOK, 29 April 2015 (NNT) – Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has expressed satisfaction with the results of the 26th ASEAN Summit and the 9th leaders-level meeting over the Indonesia - Malaysia - Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT).

Gen. Prayut elaborated that at the summit, Thailand appealed for a people-centered approach to the integration of the ASEAN Community, and for more comprehensive links in regard to the economy, security and agriculture. He added that Thailand also appealed for greater empowerment of the agriculture sector, so that South East Asia might become a global food producer and be able to negotiate from that position when implementing deals with external communities.

The prime minister said the ASEAN leaders stressed the benefits of unification of the region on the basis of mutual gains and the promotion of networking among the new generation of ASEAN citizens and young entrepreneurs. The leaders endorsed three declarations: the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on a People-Oriented, People-Centred ASEAN; the Langkawi Declaration on the Global Movement of Moderates; and the Declaration on Institutionalizing the Resilience of ASEAN and its Communities and People to Disasters and Climate Change.

Gen. Prayut explained that leaders of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia at the 9th IMT-GT meeting agreed to expedite the development of transportation links along economic corridors, as well as an expansion of cooperation in land, sea and air transport. The leaders also agreed to promote collaboration related to Halal food manufacturing and other aspects of trilateral cooperation.


ONESQA acknowledges 10 provinces with most outstanding schools

BANGKOK, 29 April 2015 (NNT) – The Office for National Education Standards and Quality Assessment of Thailand (ONESQA) today announced the 10 provinces with the highest number of schools that have held a position of educational excellence as determined by ONESQA, for 15 years in a row.

From a total 31,797 schools assessed by ONESQA, only 354 schools or 1.11% received a mark of educational excellence. The ten provinces with the greatest number of high quality schools are:
1. Bangkok (8.8%) 80/909 schools
2. Nonthaburi (7.39%) 15/203 schools
3. Phuket (4.48%) 3/67 schools
4. Samut Prakan (4.39%) 10/228 schools
5. Nakhon Phanom (4.19%) 13/310 schools
6. Pathum Thani (3.6%) 8/222 schools
7. Roi Et (3.07%) 26/848 schools
8. Prachuab Kiri Khan (2.69%) 7/260 schools
9. Maha Sarakham (2.48%) 12/483 schools
10. Yasothon (2.45%) 4/163 schools

The provinces rankings came from assessments of all factors; in Bangkok the number of teachers available is 38,483 teachers or 9.51 percent of the overall number, and it also has the most schools students. Most of the students entering schools in Bangkok must first be assessed and this leads to the high quality of education.

Prof. Dr. Channarong Pornrungroj, the ONESQA Director mentioned that the outcomes announced, used the new area-based assessment (ABA) measurement, which is a new assessment system, whereas previously assessment statistics were announced to the public once every 5 years. Accepting that this long gap between assessments of a school’s performance, was not beneficial to the country, the system has now be changed.

Every year, each province is being focused on, and individual reports will be issued to each province. Therefore the data and the statistics, will be useful for each province, and the government can use the data to formulate future policies.


Thai Fisheries Act to rectify nation's fishing violations

BANGKOK, 29 April 2015 (NNT) - The Royal Thai Government Gazette has published the new Fisheries Act 2015, in the latest effort by the government to revoke the European Union’s yellow card on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The legislation process was streamlined in order to swiftly tackle the issue of IUU fishing in Thai waters within the six-month timeframe set by the European Union.

If the EU is still unsatisfied with the Kingdom’s efforts to curb IUU fishing, it could eventually issue a red card to Thailand.

The move would cost the country an estimated 20 billion baht in revenue from the fisheries industry.


ITALTHAI reveals five-year business strategy

BANGKOK, 29 April 2015, (NNT) - Construction and industrial equipment distributor Italthai Industrial Company Limited (ITALTHAI) has been preparing to invest 30 billion baht over the next five years in the industries of machinery, construction tenders, and service & lifestyle.

The company is on course to achieving its investment target of 12.9 billion baht this year. The conglomerate would have to increase its investment by 25.8 billion baht to reach the five-year goal.

ITALTHAI’s latest investment is the 140 million baht project to establish a one-stop-service firm for heavy-duty backhoe rentals. The company also signed a 49-billion-baht contract to build a 177 MW alternative energy power plant. The latter project is expected to begin construction soon.

Meanwhile, ITALTHAI is also expected to established at least ten new factories in India, Srilanka and the Maldives by 2022.


More parents visit pawnshop for financial assistance

BANGKOK, 29 April 2015, (NNT) - The University of Thai Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Economic and Business Forecasting (CEBF) has stated that parents are increasingly relying on financial assistance from pawnshops.

CEBF Director Thanawat Polwichai said the center projected that 50 billion baht will be spent on education-related expenses during the primary school term this year.

Parents looking to fund their children’s education have resorted to formal and informal financial institutes, borrowing from relatives, and pawnshops.

Ministry of Commerce officials previously met with school uniform manufacturers to discuss freezing prices this year.

According to CEBF figures, an average university course is 10,000 baht per unit each term, with additional upkeep between 1,400 and 1,500 baht. Textbooks cost about 1,300 baht, stationery about 1,000 baht and shoes about 1,700 baht.


First emergency response team has left for Nepal this morning

SAMUT PRAKAN, 29 April 2015 (NNT) - The first Mobile Emergency Response Team or MERT which has been set up by the Public Health Ministry left Suvarnabhumi Airport for Nepel this morning amidst witnesses led by Surachet Satitramai, acting permanent secretary for Public Health.

The first batch of 19 MERT paramedics took a Thai Airways International flight TG 319 departing Thailand at 10.15 a.m. In Nepal they will support the international relief efforts for survivors of the earthquake that hit the country on Saturday.

The team comprises four emergency physicians, one surgeon, four nurses, six emergency medical technicians, two communication officers, one psychiatrist, and one expert in disease control.

They are from the Department of Medical Services, Rajavithi Hospital, Lerdsin Hospital, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Hospital, Chaophraya Aphai Phu Bet Hospital in Prachin Buri, Surin Hospital, Khonkaen Hospital, and Su-ngaikolok Hospital in Narathiwat.


Royal Thai Air Force to deliver the second round of necessities to Nepal

BANGKOK, 29 April 2015 (NNT)-The Royal Thai Air Force will be delivering the second round of necessities to help the quake survivors in Nepal and bringing Thais people back home.

According to Royal Thai Air Force Air Chief Marshal Monton Satchasukorn, an additional 11 tons of items necessary for survival will be flown to Nepal by two turbo props 8 C-130 H belonging to the Air Force.

The items to be delivered included those donated by Her Royal Highness Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi and several government agencies. The aircraft were originally scheduled to leave Don Muang airbase earlier this morning, but were later rescheduled as the airport in Kathmandu was too crowded.

The two aircraft will take off as soon as they are given permission from the airport in Nepal. Thai nationals who wish to return to the Kingdom are advised to inform the Thai officials at the Thai embassy in Kathmandu. The Royal Thai Air Force will accommodate them with a flight back to Thailand.


Air Force brings 64 Thais in Nepal back home

BANGKOK, 29 April 2015 (NNT) – Royal Thai Air Force earlier today has brought the second batch of Thai nationals trapped in Nepal back home.

The second groups of 64 Thais, consisting of tourists, monks and nuns, arrived in their home country early this morning on board C-130. The passengers had to wait for three hours on the plane pending a clearance. The trip took about five hours. The first group of the Thai tourists arrived home two day ago.

Upon their arrival in Bangkok, the quake victims admitted to having experienced the toughest time of their lives, having to survive by extremely scarce necessities and dealing with panic over a series of aftershocks. They also thanked the government for what it had done for them.

They were then transported by bus to their individual neighborhoods. the Royal Thai Air Force is scheduled to send two C-130 aircraft loaded with consumption items and other necessities to Nepal today.


Donated items should not infringe religious principles in Nepal, Interior Minister warns

BANGKOK, 29 April 2015 (NNT) - Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paochinda has suggested donors take into account religious practices and the environment in Nepal when making a donation.

He said that items to be donated should be practical for life under difficult circumstances. Useful items must be new, contained in clean packaging and ready to be sent by air. Dried food should not have any beef ingredients as most Nepalese are Hindu and they do not eat beef.

Donors are strongly advised to check the authenticity of bank accounts opened to accept donations for Nepal before making money transfers, as scammers may exploit public sympathy to steal money.

The Interior Ministry has invited people to make donations in cash or in kind at any Dhamrongdham Center which will compile all of the donated items to be transferred to Nepal.


Deputy PM discusses factors stimulating the economy

BANGKOK, 29 April 2015 (NNT) - The Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs has spoken on factors that would stimulate the economy, as the country’s export sector continues to underperform.

Deputy Prime Minister MR Pridiyathorn Devakula revealed that national growth in last year’s third quarter was at 0.6 percent, followed by a 2.3 percent growth in the fourth quarter.

Economic growth in the first quarter of this year has increased slightly to 3 percent. The Deputy PM attributed the improved growth to the current administration, an increase in private sector investments and the reviving tourism sector.

MR Pridiyathorn said that despite a 4.2 percent decrease in exports, private sector investment and tourism would greatly benefit the country's overall growth in the following quarter.


Defense Minister considers sending donations to Nepal by sea

BANGKOK, 29 April 2015 (NNT) - Defense Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan has instructed the armed forces to increase their relief efforts for quake survivors in Nepal.

General Prawit said the Royal Thai Armed Forces are currently in the process prioritizing donations. Donations are expected to transit through India before being transported to Nepal.

He said that a large amount of donated items have prompted the authorities to consider sea transport, due to the logistics cost of airlifting them.

The Royal Thai Navy has been instructed to decide whether a commercial ship should be contracted to deliver the donations.


Bangkok Planetarium to be temporarily closed from May 2

BANGKOK, 29 April 2015 (NNT) – The National Center for Education is going to close its planetarium for a major facelift.

According to the center chief, the planetarium will be under renovation beginning on May 2, as a number of equipment has to be replaced and more modern tools need to be installed. The temporary closure is to ensure safety for visitors and staff. Exhibition and edutainment sections will remain open, however.

Once the renovation has been completed, the National Center for Education will inform the public of its planetarium’s reopening date as soon as possible. Those interested in touring the center or seeking an update on the planetarium as well as other activities may call 0-2392-1773 and 0-2392 0508 or log on to www.sciplanet.org.

Run by the Department of Non-Formal Education, under the Ministry of Education, Bangkok Planetarium is the oldest planetarium in Thailand.


NLA to hold hearing on ex-Commerce Minister impeachment case on April 30

BANGKOK, 29 April 2015 (NNT) - The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) has compiled a total of 19 questions to be asked during impeachment hearing against Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom and his associates, regarding the failed government-to-government (G2G) rice program under his administration.

NLA Whip Jed Siratharanond revealed that the assembly will hold an impeachment hearing on April 30 to question Mr Boonsong along with former Deputy Commerce Minister Poom Sarapol and former Department of Foreign Trade Director-General Manas Soiploy.

Mr. Poom has declined to attend the hearing, saying that it would compromise the integrity of the case currently being deliberated by the Supreme Court.

The 19 questions were submitted by NLA members to the hearing committee, consisting of two questions for the National Anti-Corruption Commission and 18 questions for the defendants.

The NLA Whip revealed that most of the questions were regarding the authenticity of the G2G agreements between Thailand and two Chinese state enterprises.

The NLA will vote on May 8 whether to impeach the former Commerce Minister and his associates.


THAICOM specialists to facilitate satellite communications in Nepal

BANGKOK, 29 April 2015 (NNT) – THAICOM has prepared to send a team of specialists and satellite equipment to Nepal to help rescue workers in the rescue operations.

THAICOM’s technicians and engineers will be flying to Nepal today, where they will apply satellite technologies in search and rescue missions in affected areas. Aside from emergency operations, the specialists have been tasked with facilitating telecommunications.

The disaster relief is part of the firm's policy of corporate social responsibility in both everyday and critical situations.

The satellite operator previously applied IPSTAR satellite system to recover communications during crises in several countries, such as Japan, China, New Zealand and the Philippines.


Govt opens more channels for Nepal quake donations

BANGKOK, 29 April 2015 (NNT) – Donations for victims of the massive earthquake in Nepal can now be delivered directly to Government House while army compounds are also used to accommodate donated necessities.

Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office ML Panadda Diskul today represented the Royal Thai Government in accepting donations from charitable parties at Naree Samosorn Building within Government House. It was the first day for the compound to serve as a donation collection point. Over 13 million baht worth of cash and goods were received on the day from many public and private agencies.

As for other new channels, ML Panadda also announced that people who wish to donate in person can now do so at the First Infantry Regiment King’s Guard on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road and the Eleventh Infantry Regiment King’s Guard in Bang Khen district.

The minister revealed that, as of 12 pm today, approximately 56 million baht has already been deposited into the government’s account under the name “Sending Thai Hearts to Nepal”. He said the government will divide the fund into two parts, one to be handed to Nepal by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the other to be used to procure necessary items for quake victims.

For any private organizations planning to set up their own donation boxes to contribute to the “Sending Thai Hearts to Nepal” account, ML Panadda encouraged them to notify the Prime Minister’s Office in order to receive a certification letter that will guarantee their credibility and help prevent fraud.


Govt grants THB4mn for Labor Day event at Sanam Luang

BANGKOK, 29 April 2015 (NNT) – A 4-million-baht budget has been allocated by the government to the organizers of an upcoming Labor Day event at Sanam Luang ceremonial ground.

On the occasion of the annual National Labor Day on May 1, the Automobile Labor Congress of Thailand will be hosting a commemorative event at Sanam Luang under the collaboration with 13 other labor associations as well as state enterprises, the Informal Worker Network and the Ministry of Labor. The government is supporting the event with a 4-million-baht fund while Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is scheduled to preside over its opening ceremony.

This year’s event will mainly aim to strengthen Thai labor and prepare the country for the realization of the ASEAN Community while activities in honor of His Majesty the King and Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will also be featured.

The participating labor associations are expected to use this opportunity to submit various requests to the government. Among the possible requests are a hike in minimum wage, setting up of a workers’ insurance fund, exemption of personal income tax in some cases and expansion of healthcare coverage.

On the same day, the Thai Labor Solidarity Committee is set to hold a separate activity at the Democracy Monument to mark May Day. It is expected to demand the National Wage Committee to approve the increase of minimum wage to 360 baht per day by the end of October in order for the new rate to take effect at the beginning of next year.


Thailand gives financial assistance to Nepal

BANGKOK, 29 April 2015 (NNT) - Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has given 10 million baht in assistance to the Nepalese Ambassador to Thailand for people who have been affected by the powerful quake in the country on 25 April 2015.

The premier on Wednesday said Their Majesties the King and Queen had instructed the Rajaprajanogroh Foundation Under the Royal Patronage to help the earthquake-affected people in Nepal and gave the 10 million baht in assistance to them.

In today’s meeting between ambassadors and consuls-general in Thailand, The PM represented the Thai government in giving the money to Nepalese Ambassador to Thailand Khaga Nath Adhikari to help the affected people.

Gen. Prayuth confirmed the Thai government was ready to provide assistance for Nepal in terms of emergency medical service, rescue service and satellite communication that the country needed.


Monetary Policy Committee announces 0.25% interest cut

BANGKOK, 29 April 2015 (NNT) – The Monetary Policy Committee has decided to lower the policy interest rate by a quarter percent, effective from today.

The Monetary Policy Committee members voted five to two in favor of the interest rate cut.

The committee members who backed the reduction ascribed their decision to the country’s downward economic trend, the economic slowdown in China, reduced reliance on imports among the country’s customers and the strengthening of the baht.

Despite the government’s increased budget disbursement and a pickup in tourism, these positive factors are unable to make up for the decline in exports and reduced consumption in the private sector, which could affect private investment and household consumption. These challenges have prompted the majority of the committee members to consider slackening the monetary policy by slashing the policy interest rate.

Those objecting to the interest rate cut reasoned that the existing financial policy had already helped improve the financial situation, adding that stronger financial forces also propped up the economy.

The Monetary Policy Committee will continue to monitor the country’s financial development closely, so as to introduce suitable measures intended to aid economic recovery.


Fifteen Thai ICT providers to join CommunicAsia 2015 in June in Singapore

BANGKOK, 29 April 2015 (NNT) - Software Park under the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) has planned to bring 15 Thai ICT companies to join CommunicAsia 2015 in June, said Software Prak Director Chalermpol Tuchinda.

Software Park is cooperating with the Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP), in offering chances to Thai ICT providers to showcase their latest innovative technologies in areas of ICT, applications, mobile app prototypes and Thai-made softwares.

The fifteen ICT companies to join the grand exhibition are for example Aisoft Online Travel Solutions, Innova Telecommunication, and Sun Systems Corporation. Software Park expected that the Thai participants would win business deals at both regional and international levels in the exhibition, worth around twenty five million baht.

It will be the fourth time for Thailand to take part in the CommunicAsia which is the largest trade show providing participants with an opportunity to network, create new business opportunities and help shape industry trends.

CommunicAsia 2015 will take place at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore during 2-5 June 2015 with participation of leading IT and technology providers worldwide.


Cabinet gives THB100mn to fund relief efforts for Nepal

BANGKOK, 28 April 2015 (NNT) – The Cabinet has approved a budget of 100 million baht to be used in the rehabilitation program for victims of the devastating earthquake in Nepal.

According to Deputy Government Spokesperson Maj Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd, Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, who chaired the weekly Cabinet meeting on behalf of the Prime Minister, expressed thanks to every state official and public member who has contributed to relief efforts in Nepal in the wake of the deadly quake on April 25.

The deputy premier stated that, from the beginning, the government has offered an initial assistance fund worth 6 million baht to Nepal while food and medicine have also been delivered by the Royal Thai Air Force and 67 officials deployed to the quake-hit country.

As additional help, the Cabinet has made its latest resolution to set aside another 100 million baht that will go towards the rehabilitation program.

On this occasion, Gen Prawit commended the Thai people for their generosity after a televised fundraising event for quake victims on Monday night generated a total of 56 million baht worth of donation.


Thailand to give "Before-After Earthquake" satellite images to UN for damage assessment

BANGKOK, 28 April 2015 (NNT) – The Ministry of Science and Technology is to give to the United Nations sets of satellite images captured by Thaichote (THEOS) showing the landscape of Nepal before and after the powerful earthquake for use in the assessment of changes and damages of the area, Minister of Science and Technology Pichet Durongkaveroj said on Tuesday.

The images were captured on 27 April 2015 at 12.10 p.m. local time in Thailand, for comparison to those captured on 8 April 2015, nineteen days before the earthquake.

They were recorded by the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA) at the order of the Science and Technology Minister.

GISTDA represents Thailand in the "Space applications for sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific" program. Members of the program are designated to support information to member states in case a disaster happens. Nepal is a member of the program.


Government approves 460 million rice protection program

BANGKOK, 28 April 2015 (NNT) - The Cabinet has approved a 460 million baht rice protection program for the 2015 production season.

Finance Minister Sommai Phasee announced the program’s approval after today’s cabinet meeting. He said he expected participating farmers would increase to 1.5 million from last year’s 800,000.

Furthermore the Finance Ministry is planning to issue 10 and 20 year bond notes totaling 300 billion Baht. Funds received from the issuance would be used to repay the debt obligations of the State Railway of Thailand, the rice pledging scheme and the social security fund.


NRC agree to support Thai operators to enhance trade value

BANGKOK, 28 April 2015 (NNT) - The National Reform Council (NRC) committee on agriculture, industry, commerce, tourism and services has published a report on methods to expand market opportunities and increase trade value for Thai operators.

The committee reported that Thailand has historically relied on foreign investments and imported raw materials to drive its manufacturing sector. Most of the export profits therefore belong to foreign operators.

Meanwhile, the agriculture and tourism sectors not only produce low-value products, but are also subject instability due to climate change and political unrest. These factors have resulted in stagnant national development.

The committee has proposed that small and medium-sized enterprises across all sectors be strengthened in terms of innovation and diversity. The reform panel added that businesses should be encouraged to expand into new markets through a national strategic plan.

Most NRC members agreed to draft policies that would mobilize business operators in agriculture, industry and service sectors to improve human resources, management and investments.

Furthermore, the committee claimed that indigenous practices should be incorporated into appropriate services and products in order to enhance customer value added.


Public referendum on charter would extend NCPO tenure

BANGKOK, 28 April 2015 (NNT) - The Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) has affirmed that the National Reform Council (NRC) will vote to approve of the draft charter on August 6. However, the current military regime may need to extend its tenure in the event of a public referendum.

CDC Chairman Prof. Borwornsak Uwanno revealed that the committee will submit the revised draft charter to the NRC by July 23. The reform body is scheduled to vote on August 6 whether it approves of the new constitution.

If the new constitution is approved, then it will be submitted for royal approval by September 4. An election would be held between February and March the following year.

If the new constitution is rejected, the whole drafting process must be restarted, extending the tenure of the current administration and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

In order to hold a public referendum, the Cabinet and NCPO must give the National Legislative Assembly permission to amend the current interim constitution to include a public referendum on the draft charter.

This move would result in the election being postponed until May the following year, thereby also extending the regime's tenure.


Dhamrongdham Centers nationwide accept donations for Nepalese survivors

BANGKOK, 28 April 2015 (NNT) – The Interior Ministry has designated Dhamrongdham Centers nationwide to receive donations in cash and kind for people affected by the earthquake in Nepal, according to Wiboon Sanguanphong, Permanent Secretary for Interior.

The Interior Ministry’s top official said donations can be in the forms of money and necessities for life especially instant food and warm clothes to protect survivors from cold weather in Nepal.

“Dhamrongdham Center is a mechanism of the Interior Ministry to ensure smooth and swift procession in compiling donations to earthquake victims in response to the government’s policy and the Prime Minister’s order”, said Mr.Wiboon.

He has also ordered the Offices of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation in all provinces to deploy their staff at the Dhamrongdham Centers and promote the charity campaign through all channels in order to ensure Thais know where they can donate and ask for the progress of the situation in Nepal.

Result of the donation at all Dhamrongdham Centers must be reported to the Interior Ministry on a daily basis until the government order to stop the help mobilization.

The Interior Ministry invites people in Thailand to show sympathy to the Nepalese by donating money and necessary items at nearby Dhamrongdham Centers. More information is provided at Hotline 1567 around the clock.


Special report: Wang Phaya – Tha Thong Model Farm in Yala Province

Bangkok, 28 April 2015 (NNT)- Concerned about food security, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit has initiated model farms in many areas of the country to teach local villagers how to be self-sufficient with their food supply. Many model farms have been established in the southern border provinces, and they have greatly benefited victims of violence.

One example can be found in Wang Phaya subdistrict, Raman district, Yala province, where almost 200 families used to feel hopeless. But their lives have been transformed because of the benevolence of Her Majesty the Queen, who helped establish the Wang Phaya – Tha Thong model farm.

Her Majesty was concerned over the villagers affected by unrest in the deep South. Many of them have lost their family members in the unrest and found it difficult to earn a living for themselves and their dependents. She asked General Naphon Buntup, Deputy Chief Aide-de-Camp General to Her Majesty, to find a plot of land to set up a model farm in Yala in order to create a source of employment and income generation for local residents, especially those affected by the unrest.

In response to the wishes of Her Majesty, General Naphon selected an area in Raman district to establish the Wang Phaya – Tha Thong model farm. This royally sponsored project was launched in 2006. Like other model farms, it serves as a center for transferring knowledge on agriculture to local villagers, based on the principle of self-reliance and with an emphasis on the use of local materials.

The Wang Phaya – Tha Thong model farm covers an area of 98 acres, where villagers plant many kinds of vegetables and raise such animals as fish, ducks, chickens, and goats. Five mushroom farms and a goat milk processing plant were also built.

About 150 farmers living around the area take turn working in the model farm, where agriculture officials provide them with efficient techniques for crop cultivation, animal husbandry, aquatic animal farming, and forest conservation. They are paid for working and being trained at the farm, as well.

The model farm has developed so well that local villagers can produce crops for sale in the market and have enough food for consumption. Its operations are based on His Majesty the King’s Sufficiency Economy philosophy, which emphasizes sufficiency, self-reliance, and moderation.

In this model farm, people learn about making a living in a sustainable way. The project has also brought officials and local people closer together for better understanding.


Thailand is hosting APO aiming to increase economic productivity

BANGKOK, 28 April 2015 (NNT)-The Thailand Productivity Institute (TPI) is hosting the 57th Asian Productivity Organization (APO) meeting with the aim of promoting cooperation among member nations.

Industry Minister Chakramol Pasukvanich said the conference will encourage members to achieve their goals by 2020. Around 100 delegates attending the event include high ranking officials from 20 countries in Asia.

They include India, Japan, South Korea, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Iran, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Fiji, Mongolia, Laos, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Thailand.

The APO was established in 1961 to increase economic productivity in the Asia-Pacific region with regional cooperation. The three day event being held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, will come to an end tomorrow.


Special report: Mobile Doctors Coming on Foot to Provide Medical Services for Residents in the Deep South

Bangkok, 28 April 2015 (NNT)- In remote areas in the southern border provinces, many local people still find it difficult to have access to modern medical services. Because of some conceptions, a number of them do not want to seek medical treatment in hospitals or clinics. Aware of the importance of medical care to improve local people’s living conditions, the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) Region 4 Forward has launched a project, known as Mo Doen Thao, or "Traveling Doctor.”

Under this project, military doctors and health personnel travel on foot without weapons to visit local people in various areas. They provide them with free medical check-ups and primary health care, based on humanitarian principles and medical ethics. If any sick people need further treatment, they will be sent to the hospital.

The project began in 2008 in the three southern border provinces of Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat, and it has proven very successful in promoting better understanding between local people and officials, in addition to easing a shortage of doctors.

Before traveling to a village, the mobile unit will coordinate with the village head, or community leader, to get information about the number of sick people and the security situation. The mobile medical team will work with local leaders to survey the sickness situation in each locality.

The mobile doctors sometimes meet injured persons, who have created unrest in the southern border provinces. They provide them with treatment and never refuse to accept them as patients. Apart from providing health care, mobile doctors also arrange training on health care for young people in various local schools. The project has received a positive response from local residents. It has also reduced suspicion between officials and people.

Mobile doctors are found to have played a significant role in winning the hearts of local people in the deep South. They knock at the doors of various houses to ask about the welfare of each family. A team of security guards will provide protection for both local people and officials, as well, during the operations of the mobile medical units.

The operations of traveling doctors are in response to His Majesty the King’s royal advice to “understand, reach out, and develop.” The royal advice is based on loving-kindness extended to all people wherever they live and regardless of their faiths.

This mobile unit project is seen as a way to tackle southern problems in a holistic manner. It is also an effective strategy to heal the wounds and dispel mistrust in the deep south of Thailand.


Department of Mineral Fuels hold seminar onhow to handle tar balls

BANGKOK, 28 April 2015 (NNT)-The Department of Mineral Fuels is holding a seminar to educate the Thai public on the tar balls phenomenon and how to handle them.

According to the Songkhla Governor, Thamring Charoenkul, SGS Thailand Limited, an independent testing and analyzing company, will run the seminar for Songklha residents and related agencies.

Tar balls are aquatic pollutant caused either by oil spills or natural factors. Participants will learn how to collect these balls from the beach through simple scientific methods.

The seminar will also enable them to help identify what type of oil these balls contain. The seminar will take place at B.P. Samila Hotel in Songkhla tomorrow, from 9.00 am – 1pm.


PM: Thailand determined to continue to help Nepal

BANGKOK, 28 April 2015 (NNT)-Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has said the Thai government is determined to continue assisting quake survivors in Nepal.

According to the Prime Minister, the Thai government has donated 200,000 US dollars and necessities to help Nepal cope with the aftermath of the devastating quake.

The Royal Thai Air Force has also sent a large turboprop military aircraft ‘C-130 Hercules’ and 7 doctors to Nepal. They will help medical personnel there to set up a makeshift hospital to care for the victims.

A group of forensic scientists from Thailand will also join the rescue mission to help identify the dead.

The amount of money donated by Thais via government agencies is estimated at least 127 million baht. People are encouraged to continue to help Nepal by making donations through TV stations, local administration offices, and Dam Rong Tham centers nationwide.


Shortage of labour in Thailand likely to reach 300,000-600,000 in next 3-5 years

BANGKOK, 28 April 2015 (NNT) - Labour shortage in the Thai industrial sector looms large in the next 3-5 years with as many as 300,000-600,000 workers in need, Labour Minister Gen Surasak Karnjanarat revealed on Tuesday.

Speaking after a meeting of the government Committee on Labour Solutions, Gen Surasak said the meeting saw it necessary for the government to update the database of the National Labour Information Center (NLIC) for use in the planning of labour production among ministries involved such as Industry, Education and Industry.

The meeting also emphasized the importance to improve labor skills and the production of workers. It suggested the use of technology in workplace and tax privileges to be offered to industrial entrepreneurs who provide internship for vocational students.

The meeting acknowledged that it was necessary to recruit more foreign workers if domestic workforce was insufficient. The Board of Investment reported to the meeting Thailand would need more than 165,000 workers to fill in jobs in new factories in the next 3-5 years.

At the meeting, the committee also discussed the necessity of improving the qualityof migrant workers in special economic zones in Thailand and those working in Thai factories in neighboring countries.

The Labour Ministry would use results of the meeting in drafting an action plan involving both short- and long-term approaches during the next 3-5 years. The final draft of the plan will be considered again in the next meeting of the committee.


Government: Fisheries Act soon to take effect

BANGKOK, 28 April 2015 (NNT) – The government has reported that the new Fisheries Act has been royally endorsed and will come into force soon, pending an official announcement by the Council of State.

Deputy Government Spokesperson Maj Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd disclosed that one of the topics discussed at the Cabinet meeting this week was the eradication of illegal fishing in Thailand. The meeting was informed by Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan that the Fisheries Act 2015, which had earlier passed the consideration of the National Legislative Assembly, has received endorsement from His Majesty the King and announced in the Royal Gazette.

Maj Gen Sansern said the Council of State has therefore been assigned to draft an official directive authorizing the Royal Thai Navy to integrate efforts with other relevant agencies, including the Royal Thai Police, Ministry of Labor, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, in order to combat illegal fishing more effectively.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has also been tasked with drafting organic laws, which will become effective within 60 days after the Fisheries Act was published in the Royal Gazette.

As a way to fix loopholes still left open by the new Fisheries Act, the Deputy Government Spokesperson said a royal decree will be devised separately to fulfill all requirements of the European Union’s Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing Regulation.


Thai ambassadors and consuls-general are gathering in Bangkok for policy briefing

BANGKOK, 28 April 2015 (NNT) – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs holds the “Annual Conference of Thai Ambassadors and Consuls-General 2015" between 28 April and 1 May in Bangkok under the theme "Driving Thailand Towards Stability, Prosperity and Sustainability".

The conference is attended by 69 ambassadors and 29 consuls-general from worldwide. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the conference is held after an absence of three years. It will keep the Thai diplomatic corps informed of the changing global landscape in various aspects and the new foreign affairs policy to deal with new chances and challenges on a long-term basis.

The conference will lay emphasis on the enhancement of good image and international confidence in Thailand, and the promotion of economic diplomacy to increase Thailand’s competitiveness. It will also cover the development of special economic zones, the use of science, technology and innovations to support digital economy as well as tourism promotion.

The Prime Minister is scheduled to inaugurate the conference and give his policy to the participants on 29 April at 10.30 a.m. at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The ministers of Tourism and Sports, Transport, Energy, Commerce, Science and Technology as well as representatives from the government and private sectors are also invited to the conference to share their opinions.


 

DAILY UPDATE

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