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Nong Khai border post steps up measures against MERS-CoV spread

NONG KHAI, 5 June 2015 (NNT) The Thailand-Laos Friendship Bridge Border Crossing is now screening Korean nationals passing through the border in an effort to prevent the spread of MERS-CoV virus in Thailand.

Officials at the Thailand-Laos Friendship Bridge Border Crossing and the Health Control officials in Nong Khai province has tightened screaming measures for people crossing the Thailand-Laos border, especially for Korean nationals who work or have families in Laos.

Nong Khai Health Control official Somchit Phanthupho has said that the health control office is now working with immigration officials at the Thailand-Laos Friendship Bridge border post to retain all travelers from countries where MERS CoV virus have been reported, including South Korea, to receive medical screenings for any suspicious symptoms and to register for their contact information during their stay in Thailand for a 14 day precautionary period.

He has said that there are about 50-80 Korean nationals passing through the Thailand-Laos Friendship Bridge border post daily, while the only Korean living in Laos, who had been identified as a potential risk has already returned to Laos. Authority will continue to monitor all individuals at risk in Thailand.

Flyers and PR signs has been put up and distributed to those who have the potential to contract the virus to monitor their own symptoms including fever, coughing, asthma, or diarrhea. If any signs exhibit, the individuals are required to seek immediate medical attention.

Nong Khai Immigration Police Inspector Pol Lt Col Kantapoj Chaemprangthong has said that the Nong Khai Immigration Police Commander has appointed immigration officials to inspect all persons and vehicles passing through the border post as a precautionary measure.

He has said that all Korean nationals passing through the border post into Thailand will be referred to the Nong Khai Health Control office for further inspection, while no suspects of MERS CoV patients have been found, and officials have received good cooperation from the travelers.

Most Koreans passing through the Thailand-Laos Friendship Bridge border post are here to do business or have families in Laos PDR. However, no travelers who came directly from Korea has been inspected during this time.


Three southern provinces gear up for crisis management exercise

Nakhon Si Thammarat, 5 June 2015 (NNT) Southern provinces of Nakhon Si Thammarat, Surat Thani and Songkhla are gearing up for the upcoming crisis management exercise set for next month.

Naknon Si Thammarat Provincial Governor Peerasak Hinmuangkao said the annual exercise codenamed ‘C-MEX 15’ was a necessary practice for policy-making agencies in seaside provinces as natural disasters were growing intense and unpredictable.

The activity, which is conducted in the form of Table Top Exercise, comprises a series of scenarios including a hijack of an oil ship, rescue of passengers in sinking boats and evacuation of people stranded on an island to a shore.

The objective of the project is to test and improve policy-makers’ abilities to coordinate with different agencies under various circumstances, and to command different life-saving operations. Results of the exercise will be incorporated into the production of rescue manuals.

The national crisis management exercise will take place between July 19 and 25.


PM invites Thais to opt for eco-friendly products

BANGKOK, 5 June 2015 (NNT) Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has marked the occasion of World Environment Day day by encouraging Thai people to use more environmentally-friendly products and less plastic bags.

During his weekly televised address to the nation, Prime Minister Prayut stated that the United Nations is placing an emphasis on eco-friendly production and consumption on World Environment Day this year which comes under the theme “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care.” The premier affirmed that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has been conducting a number of projects and activities to raise awareness of environmental conservation among the people, especially youth.

One of them is the newly-launched Green Card project, in which shoppers can collect points and receive special privileges from their purchase of green products from participating department stores. It is aimed to instill in the people the habit of choosing items that are safe for the environment and can help reduce garbage and greenhouse gas emissions.

According to Gen Prayut, another campaign is also underway to discourage the use of plastic bags, which can take a long time to decompose. As part of the pilot project which will be introduced in shopping malls and convenience stores, plastic bags will not be available for shoppers on the 15th of every month as a way to promote the use of cloth bags.


MOPH ensures strict MERS-CoV infection surveillance

BANGKOK, 5 May 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Public Health has ensured a strict surveillance policy to prevent the outbreak of the MERS-CoV virus in Thailand, providing precautions care for Muslims traveling during their Hajj pilgrimage.

The Minister of Public Health Rajata Rajatanavin said at the National Reform Council assembly today regarding the precautionary measures against the spread of the MERS-CoV virus, that the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) has taken this matter very seriously, comparable to the efforts in place during the Ebola virus outbreak.

He has said that the MOPH has implemented surveillance measures for people traveling to and from countries where this virus is reported, including the Muslim pilgrims to Mecca for Hajj. The Ministry is now working with hospitals in provinces where airports are located to develop fast diagnosis procedures to cope with the potential outbreaks.

On this occasion, the Minister of Public Health also addressed the pricing issue of public hospitals, where many complaints have been made regarding the high price, saying that the ministry is now asking for all private hospitals to clearly report all the costs and fees to their patients before beginning treatment. This will allow the patient to be aware of the price beforehand.


Ministry of Public Health issues solutions to costly private medical services

BANGKOK, 5 June 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Public Health has mapped out solutions to the costly medical services of private hospitals following the public outcry.

During a meeting of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), Public Health Minister Ratchata Ratchatanawin disclosed that the Ministry of Public Health and related agencies had set up a special committee to follow up on complaints about overcharging medical bills imposed by private hospitals.

Dr. Ratchata said the Ministry of Public Health has already ordered private hospitals to proportion their profits and drug pricing to the actual costs, adding that private hospitals must also keep the public updated on drug prices based on the market mechanism.

The Ministry has also planned to issue rules to enable patients to use doctors’ prescriptions to buy medicine at drug stores if they consider medications sold by private hospitals too expensive. All private hospitals were in addition ordered to make their own websites to post their treatment fee rate so that consumers can choose hospitals that suit their budgets.

Dr. Ratchata also revealed initial findings attributing the jump in medical service fees to several factors, including investment in property, purchase of newly-develop drugs and equipment as well as adoption of advanced treatment technologies.


Seminar on the charter draft to be held in Bangkok this weekend

BANGKOK, 5 June 2015 (NNT) The Constitutional Drafting Committee (CDC) has cooperated with King Prajadhipok's Institute and the Community Organizations Development Institute (CODI) to hold a seminar on Constitution Draft Explanation in Bangkok at Centra Government Complex Hotel & Convention Centre Chaengwattana on 6-7 June 2015.

The main objective of the seminar is to make the public understand important points of the charther draft while they can also propose opinion for its amendments.

At the seminar, CDC chairman Borwornsak Uwanno will give a special talk about the charter, followed by CDC members presenting gists of the new charter.

The participants will have a chance to present their views on various topics such as citizenship, rights, duty, freedom, liberty, public participation, politicians, political institutes, election, justice system, national reform as well as reconciliation in Thailand.


Thailand actively deals with irregular migration

BANGKOK, 5 June 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Defense has reported the progress of Operation Center for Patrol and Humanitarian Assistance to Irregular Migrants in the Indian Ocean. The center's sea and land patrols in the Andaman Sea found no group of illegal migrants.

Spokesman of the Ministry of Defense Maj.Gen. Khongchip Tantrawanit on Friday said seven patrol ships, led by Ang Thong and Sai Buri capital ships, were deployed by the center. The air force also patroled the sky over Phang Nga, Krabi and Satun for longer than 10 hours a day.

The Thai army is responsible for land operations to identify and check the areas where illegal migrants are staying. The Thai navy is responsible for sea operations.

The spokesman added that Thailand’s joint air patrol with the U.S. went on smoothly and efficiently. An air base was set up in Malaysia with the Thai Ministry of Defense assigning tasks and identifying target areas. The operation was scheduled to end on 11 June 2015, he said.


Laos’ development benefits Thai-Lao border trade

BANGKOK, 5 June 2015 (NNT) The Thai-Lao border trade has reportedly expanded due to Laos’ infrastructure construction, a customs officer in Nong Khai said.

Chief of the Nong Khai Customs House Atsani Ruengbun on Friday said the Thai-Lao border trade from October 2014 to April 2015 stood at more than 34 billion baht, 1.66 billion baht was from imports and 32 billion baht exports. The value of goods in transit was 27 billion baht.

Mr. Atsani forecast that the Thai-Lao border trade had a tendency to continuously increase since Laos had many infrastructure construction projects, especially the Bueng That Luang special economic zone project. Laos was also in the process of developing the country, resulting in increasing trade and investment in various fields and higher values of imports, exports and goods in transits, he added.


Thailand and the U.S. have entered joint research to reduce HIV transmission among MSM & TG population

BANGKOK, 5 June 2015 (NNT) The Public Health Ministry and several U.S. agencies in Thailand have launched a joint research project with HIV - positive men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender (TG) after efforts to reduce the number of new infected patients were not so successful.

The cooperation began in 2014 involving such agencies as USAID and U.S. CDC with support from the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The research will be conducted in seven Thai provinces in risk of AIDS transmission among the two target groups.

The research project is aimed at reducing the spreading of the disease among MSM and TG members by encouraging them to attend HIV testing and receive antiretroviral therapy immediately in line with the Thai government’s policy.

As a result of the cooperation, Thailand is the first country in Asia which implements the policy of giving free antiretroviral therapy to HIV-positive patients immediately after positive result. The therapy can be reachable at state medical centers in all communities.

The US charge d'affairs in Bangkok, Mr. Patrick Murphy said that the U.S. government was pleased to work with the Thai Public Health Ministry in this regard as the project benefits the society as a whole.

"HIV test and antiretroviral therapy can save patient's life and prevent new infection. We can reduce HIV transmission if more people attend the test and instantly receive the therapy," said Mr. Patrick Murphy.

"The sooner they have HIV test, the earlier they can be healed and live normal life," he continued, stressing that AIDS is like other chronic diseases which patients can have healthy life by taking medicine daily.

HIV experts believed that in 2015, around 43 per cent of new infected patients were members of MSM and TG. Without effective prevention, the figure is likely to rise. Only 31 per cent of them attended HIV test and even fewer than half of the tested patients received antiretroviral therapy.


DPM pays official visit to Singapore

SINGAPORE, 5 June 2015 (NNT) The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs are now calling to Singapore on the occasion of the 50th year anniversary celebration of Thailand-Singapore relations.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Gen Tanasak Patimapragorn is now at Singapore during his official visit from 4-6 June 2015, as invited by the Singaporean Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Law K. Shanmugam. This visit also serves as preparations for the official visit of the Thai Prime Minister during 11-12 June 2015.

The Thai DPM is scheduled to make an official call to the Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, join the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Law in discussions, attend a dinner hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Law, and finally attend the opening ceremony of the 28th SEA Games as the delegate of the Thai government.

Both sides have agreed on high level information exchange, and discussed the organisation of the 50th year anniversary celebration of Thailand-Singapore relations, where His Majesty the King of Thailand has appointed the Thai Prime Minister as the royal representative to attend the 50th anniversary celebration of Singaporean independence on the Singaporean National Day 9 August 2015.

The Thai Prime Minister will be visiting Singapore on 11-12 June 2015, while the Thai DPM has invited the Singaporean Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Law to visit Thailand on an official visit for the 12th meeting of the Thailand-Singapore Civil Service Exchange Program (CSEP) that is scheduled to take place in the late half of 2015.

Both sides are reported to be willing to extend cooperations in trade, investment, tourism, security, and military. The Thai DPM has said that he is delighted to see that Singapore has confidence in Thailand's economic capability, and has invited Singapore to invest in the Special Economic Zones and infrastructure development projects to support more connections in the economy and in transportation.

The Thai DPM has also expressed his gratitude towards the increasing amount of Singaporean tourists to Thailand.

Both sides have agreed to encourage the exchange of information to prevent dangers from extremism and international terrorism. They also exchanged their opinions on regional issues.

Thailand thanked Singapore for supporting Thailand’s role as the ASEAN-China coordinating country, while Thailand is willing to support Singapore's take over of this role in July. Singapore praised Thailand’s role in hosting the Special Meeting on the Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean on 29 May 2015, and voiced that ASEAN can play a major role to solve this issue.

Singapore has made up to 200,000 US dollars in donation via the ASEAN framework in support of refugees operations in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.


NLA inquires into Minintry of Justice policy on ex-convicts

BANGKOK, 5 June 2015 (NNT) The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) has inquired into the Ministry of Justice’s policy for ex-convicts on probation.

NLA member Wallop Tungkananurak has questioned the ministry’s high rate of early parole, despite some convicts having committed serious crimes.

He suggested that the ministry inform the public of the reasons for releasing prisoners each year. The NLA member also called for the ministry to make their case considerations transparent and accountable in order to gain the public’s confidence.

Justice Minister General Paibul Khumchaya informed Mr Wallop of the standards for early parole on good behavior. The ministry also collaborates with the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security and the Ministry of Interior to monitor and aid parolees.

Gen Paibul also detailed the ministry’s plan to revamp the department tasked with monitoring the behavior of ex-convicts, as well as amend old laws to reflect modern society. He assured that the ex-convicts are well documented and will be supported in finding new occupations and maintaining good behavior in society.


‘Know Global-Build Local’ fair helps OTOP entrepreneurs reach the global market

CHIANG MAI, 5 June 2015 (NNT) A ‘Know Global-Build Local" exhibition and an accompanying workshop about export marketing has kicked off at Chiang Mai International Convention Center, organized by the Office of Knowledge Management and Development (OKMD) and will continue through 9 June.

The event brings in major product distributors, fashion industry gurus and supporting agencies to share experiences and point out the vast opportunities that exist for Thai entrepreneurs to grow in the global market. The aim is to further develop Thai OTOP producers to better adjust themselves to the domestic and international demand and expanding their customer base to prepare themselves for the ASEAN integration.

OKMD also sees an opportunity for the Thai OTOP export product value to reach the hundred billion baht mark this year, and hopefully spur a greater increase beyond the constant 13 percent OTOP export value growth year-on-year.

Dr. Apichart Prasert, OKMD Director addressed the conference and said that entrepreneurs wanting to further expand their customers’ base need to know more about the market they wish to go into, along with consumer behavior, the economy, what consumers are willing to pay, and what kind of functions and product features the consumer expects.

Besides learning about the external environment, Dr. Apichart stressed that producers must look back to themselves and think of ways they can improve their product quality and business practices to match the design and the demand of consumers.

“There are still demand for Thai products in the European, US, Japan, and ASEAN markets despite the economic slow down,” Dr. Apichart pointed out that there are still opportunities in the market and the challenges we are facing are not about the economic slow down but how to develop the products and services to meet the market demand.

Lastly, for those who either can or cannot cope with the rapid development to comply with the demand should seek help and there are many governmental organizations and associations that entrepreneurs can go to for guidance and support such as the Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) Ministry of Commerce. Dr. Apichart suggested that business people should not work by themselves but accept outside help as well.


GPO to produce nicotine withdrawal herbal lozenge

BANGKOK, 5 June 2015 (NNT) The Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) has joined hands with health agencies to produce an herbal lozenge for those wanting to quit smoking.

GPO Director Nopporn Chuenklin said the organization had been developing an herbal lozenge made from little ironweed extract, as well as Cytisine pills.

A recent study has suggested that oral ingestion of little ironweed helps reduce nicotine cravings. Meanwhile, Cytisine is derived from an alkaloid of golden rain tree and has been used to treat tobacco addiction in Europe for more than 50 years. The GPO is preparing to conduct a clinical study of both treatments to substantiate their safety and efficacy.

The project will offer smokers access to a cheap cigarette withdrawal treatment. The herbal lozenge and Cytisine pills should be ready for registration within two years. The Thai Health Profession Alliance against Tobacco and Thai Health Promotion Foundation have also contributed to the project.


Government achieves 5% growth

BANGKOK, 5 June 2015 (NNT) Deputy Prime Minister for economic affairs M.R. Pridiyathorn Devakula has claimed that the present administration had made the economy expand by 5% while pledging to prevent energy shortage in Thailand.

The deputy premier on Thursday said the Thai economic growth in the first quarter 2014 was -0.4%, the second quarter 0.9% and the third quarter 1%. After the Prayut Chan-o-ocha took office, the fourth quarter growth increased to 2.1% and the first quarter this year 3%. The economy had been continuously recovering despite exports’ 2.5% negative growth rate, the deputy PM said.

M.R. Pridiyathorn emphasized that the government sought to improve three foundations of the Thai economy, including the industrial sector, tax structure and digital economy. Once the three foundations were more solid, the Thai economic growth rate would like stand at 5%, he said.

As for concerns over energy shortage, the deputy PM said it was necessary for the government to find new energy sources, confirming he would make sure that the best options would be selected.


Min of Energy to devise nation's first comprehensive energy blueprint

BANGKOK, 5 June 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Energy has held an energy seminar titled ‘Thailand Integrated Energy Blueprint’ (TIEB) for sustainable energy consumption in Thailand.

Representatives from more than 40 countries and 100 energy companies around the world have attended the seminar to share their perspective on energy consumption.

Permanent Secretary of Energy Thawarat Sutabutr revealed that the TIEB is aimed at developing a single energy blueprint, which incorporates all existing energy plans. These plans include those for capacity development, alternative energy, energy efficiency, and gas and oil projects.

Mr. Thawarat added that this is the first time Thailand has initiated a national energy strategy of this nature. The seminar is being held at the ‘Renewable Energy 2015’energy exhibition at BITEC Bangna. He believed the seminar will lead to energy security and sustainable energy consumption.


German demand rises for Thai pomelos

BANGKOK, 5 June 2015 (NNT) The Department of Agriculture (DOA) has been trying to improve the quality of Kao Nam Pueng pomelos, due to an increase in German demand.

Kao Nam Pueng pomelos have grown in popularity in Germany, which imports a large amount from China each year.

The fruit has a color similar to honey, while having a sweeter and crunchier consistency compared to other varieties. Kao Nam Pueng pomelos from Thailand have earned a reputation for having superior quality to those from China.

The DOA has been working with the Association of Fruit and Vegetable Importers in Germany to ensure that Thai pomelos meet standards required by the European Union (EU) and Germany.

According to DOA Director General Anan Suwannarat, more than 176,000 rai of land have been allocated to pomelo cultivation in Thailand. An estimated 15,000 rai have been certified by the DOA.

The DOA will submit a petition to Germany for the export of Kao Nam Pueng pomelos from Thailand, after they undergo pesticide residue analysis.

Thailand mainly exports two varieties of pomelos, namely Thong Dee and Kao Nam Pueng. They are shipped to China, Hong Kong and Cambodia, generating 130 million baht per year.


PM eyes Chiang Mai as mobile cabinet meeting venue

BANGKOK, 4 June 2015 (NNT) – Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha and his cabinet members are eyeing Chiang Mai as the venue for an upcoming mobile cabinet meeting set for late this month.

According to PM Prayut, the main objectives of his visit to the northern province are to meet local people to listen to their problems and needs and observe the progress of development programs. Asked why Chiang Mai was chosen, Gen Prayut explained that his cabinet members focused their visit on major cities, as they were the centers of economic activities, such as trade, tourism and agriculture.

In March, the premier and his cabinet members called a mobile meeting in the seaside province Prachuap Khiri Khan where he was updated on the city clean-up project by the provincial governor. He also took the opportunity to meet local vendors at a community market to collect their suggestions.

The upcoming trip to Chiang Mai will be the third one for Gen Prayut as the leader of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). The Prime Minister added that he would try to travel more to different parts of the country to observe the living condition of residents and discuss development plans with local officials.


Thailand to host SEA Librarians meeting

BANGKOK, 4 June 2015 (NNT) – Thailand will be hosting the 16th Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians (CONSAL XVI) to ensure the sustainable development of libraries within the region, says Culture Minister.

The Minister of Culture Vira Rojpojchanarat has revealed that the Department of Fine Arts will be hosting the CONSAL XVI meeting on 11-13 June 2015 at BITEC Bangna Exhibition Center. The event will also be hosted in honor of the auspicious occasion of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s fifth cycle birthday.

This year’s meeting will be held under the topic ‘ASEAN Aspirations: Libraries for Sustainable Advancement’ with about 800 participants including executives, librarians, information workers, and staffs from education institutes from the ASEAN Countries and Timor Leste.

HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will be presiding over the opening ceremony of CONSAL XVI on 11 June 2015.

The Culture Minister has said that Thailand and other countries are facing a shortage of librarians as the profession is considered old-fashioned. The creation of library staff, and the modernization libraries and archive systems are required. Online searching system and electric books and documents storage will be incorporated to the modernization plans of libraries in the region.

He has said that a model promoting reading and learning is now being developed, which includes collecting books' information and learning sources worldwide to encourage people to read more. Once the model outline plan has been completed, it will then be submitted for the Cabinet’s approval.


PM Prayut: Reform is the heart of the country’s administration

BANGKOK, 5 June 2015 (NNT) – The Prime Minister has stated that the reform process is the heart of the administration of Thailand.

Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha on Thursday delivered a summary on the government’s performances during its first year in office as he attended the meeting with the National Legislative Assembly and the National Reform Council.

Gen. Prayut said that the current government has been trying hard to solve all problems Thailand has faced before he came to office, through the effect of the interim Constitution and its Article 44.

He stated that the special power under Article 44, which replaced Martial Law in April, was not put to use to solve all problems but to tackle certain issues in a more timely and, yet, impartial manner.

The PM said that while the government could not do everything in one year, it has been planning every policy to help take the country through the reform process, which is the key to the administration of Thailand.

He added that all policies and plans will be handed over to the next government although all the successes will require cooperation from all sides.


CDC Spokesman believes charter drafting to finish on time

BANGKOK, 4 June 2015 (NNT) – Spokesperson for the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) Kamnoon Sitthisamarn is adamant that the draft charter will be completed as scheduled despite the holding of a public referendum.

Mr Kamnoon revealed there have been speculations that the amendment of the 2014 interim charter to pave the way for a public referendum would cause a 30-day delay in the CDC’s work. In response, he expressed hope that such a delay would not occur, assuring that the new permanent constitution could be finished within the original timeframe specified by the roadmap.

As for the proposed incorporation of details pertaining to national reform into organic laws instead, Mr Kamnoon admitted no consensus has been reached on the matter as some of the members still view reform as an integral part of the new constitution.

The spokesperson also commented on the CDC’s retreat during June 22-July 3 in Prachuap Khiri Khan province, saying the event might need to be rescheduled to mid-July and the number of days to be spent on holding seminars might be cut down. Nonetheless, he affirmed CDC members are not feeling pressured by the responsibility at hand and will continue to put in their best efforts.


Agriculture Min admits inability to end IUU fishing by deadline

BANGKOK, 4 June 2015 (NNT) – Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Petipong Pungbun Na Ayudhya has indicated a possibility that Thailand’s effort to eradicate illegal fishing will not yet be successful within the six-month deadline given by the European Union.

After Thailand was given a yellow card by the EU due to its failure to comply with the Regulation on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing, Mr Petipong affirmed the government has clearly demonstrated its determination to address the issue. Personally, he believes it is unlikely for Thailand to become completely free from the problem of IUU fishing in a matter of only six months as demanded by the EU. However, he insisted that the goal will eventually be achieved with the cooperation from all sectors.

At present, the minister sees the need for the government to beef up its control of fishing methods that can be harmful to the environment and make amendments to the existing fishery laws for higher effectiveness. He said the overall operational plan will also have to be improved in order to restore the EU’s confidence while anticipating more clarity on the plan within this month.

Regarding the management of fishery workers to prevent human trafficking, Mr Petipong conceded it is a difficult task despite the ministry’s cooperation with the Royal Thai Navy and the Immigration Bureau. According to him, the inspection of fishing vessels departing and arriving at the port is especially hard to manage while the shortage of workers on board experienced by some operators is another issue to be addressed.


All fuel prices save diesel increased by 0.40 baht

BANGKOK, 5 June 2015, (NNT) - PTT and Bangchak have announced a 40 satng per liter fuel price hike for Benzene and Gasohol. The changes take effect this morning.

The new pump prices in Bangkok and its vicinity are as follows: Benzene 95 is now 35.16 baht per liter, gasohol 95 and 91 cost 29.40 baht and 28.58 baht a liter, respectively. E20 and E85 gasohol are going for 27.18 baht and 23.28 baht per liter, respectively.

Diesel price, however, remains unchanged, at 25.99 baht a liter.

The new prices already took effect this morning.


PM denies he will postpone general elections another 2 years

BANGKOK, 4 June 2015 (NNT) Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha denied rumors that he was considering postponing general elections another two years.

General Prayut stated that his government would prefer not to amend the constitution in order to put off general elections. He added that it is the public’s decision whether he should remain as the Prime Minister of Thailand.

He said that unless it was being proposed to the Cabinet, the matter would have to be considered by the same procedure used by other administrative changes in the past.

Regarding his previous comment expressing concern for the new administration, the Premier said it was intended to encourage all parties to support national stability and move the country forward.

He said that if people want him to stay in power, then they must do so by exercising their voting rights.


Army officer suspected of human trafficking denies charges

SONGKHLA, 4 June 2015 (NNT) A high-ranking army officer allegedly involved in Rohingya human trafficking has denied all charges, following eight hours of interrogation.

Maj Gen Manat Kongpan, who turned himself in to police yesterday, faces 13 charges, including conspiracy to traffick minors below the age of 15, aiding the entry of illegal migrants into the Kingdom, helping to hide corpses, and trans-national crime. Maj Gen Manat denied all charges and authorities have refused to post bail.

Maj Gen Manat will be in custody at the Nathawee provincial court today. He has become the most senior official suspected of involvement with human trafficking in the South. Courts have issued arrest warrants for 84 suspects, 52 of whom were arrested. The remaining 32 suspects are still at large.


PTT to construct floating LNG storage

BANGKOK, 4 June 2015 (NNT) PTT Plc is set for the construction of the natural gas floating storage unit to strengthen the stability of the natural gas system, according to the PTT CEO.

The President and CEO of PTT Plc Pailin Chuchottaworn has revealed that the company is planning to construct two Floating Storage and Regasification Units (FSRU) under a 200 billion baht budget. The FSRU's LNG storage capacity is 3 million tons per unit.

The FSRU will be constructed at two locations, at Chana Distirct in Songkhla Province, and at another location which could be at the Dawei District in Thailand or the Pilok town in Myanmar, to reduce the effects from the annual natural gas source maintenance and to stabilize the natural gas system in Thailand.

PTT Plc CEO added that the construction would take 3 years, while the unit which is pending for construction in Myanmar is awaiting approval from Myanmar authorities. The Myanmar government has agreed with the development of project, as Myanmar will be able to utilize the LNG for electricity generation in the country. The PTT Plc CEO assured that the majority of the LNG stored in Myanmar will be utilized for the energy consumption in Thailand.

PTT Plc is now considering a construction project of a second land LNG storage in Map Ta Phut, Rayong Province, and is currently surveying potential locations for a third LNG storage. The PTT Plc CEO has also stressed that Thailand needs both land and floating LNG storage units to maximize the nation’s energy security.


Five million digital coupons used nationwide for set-top-box purchase

BANGKOK, 4 June 2015 (NNT) Over five million digital coupons have been used nationwide to purchase normal set-top-boxes or as discount for hybrid set-top-boxes, Secretary General of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) Takorn Tantasith revealed today.

Mr.Takorn said that the NBTC has distributed a total of fourteen million coupons, worth 690 baht each, to households in the first phase of digital coupon distribution. Households which have not yet received the coupons are advised to consult nearby post offices in order to use the coupons before the expiry date.

For those who have lost their coupons can claim a new one by notifing the loss to the police from which they will be given a notification paper. Then the householder should bring the police document together with a copy of ID card and house registration document to the NBTC office. After investigation, the NBTC will send new claim document by post which householders can use to purchase set-top-box.


Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn inaugurates Thailand’s first interdisciplinary congress

BANGKOK, 4 June 2015 (NNT) Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn has inaugurated the first International Congress in Interdisciplinary Approach in Thailand, addressing sustainable research & development (R&D).

The Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Congress was hosted by the Interdisciplinary Committee for Research and Development of the Royal Society of Thailand from June 3 - 4 at the IMPACT Forum, Muang Thong Thani in Nonthaburi province.

In her inaugural speech, the Princess stressed the importance of the interdisciplinary approach in developing Thailand’s youths. In order to become a contributing member of society, a person must be well-versed in various fields of knowledge, as well as be virtuous in his or her conduct.

After the opening ceremony, Her Royal Highness proceeded to the main exhibition room to admire the various R&D booths under her patronage before returning to the Chitralada Palace.

The Congress featured lectures from numerous academics and experts on various fields on how an interdisciplinary approach can be utilized in addressing various societal concerns.

Academic papers were submitted to the Congress on interdisciplinary approaches towards meeting global challenges and development. Selected articles will be published by Interdisciplinary Network of the Royal Society of Thailand, while the best articles were given prizes at the end of the Congress.

The event celebrated the Auspicious Occasion of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s 5th Cycle Birthday Anniversary and paid tribute to the Princess’ lifelong achievements in the various fields of academia and R&D.

It was also held to promote public awareness on the interdisciplinary approach and to establish a network among local and international academics and researchers.

Interdisciplinary activities are defined as involving interaction between two or more disciplines to address various challenges and development agendas.


Para rubber to be used in railway tracks

BANGKOK, 4 June 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Science and Technology has successfully improved the durability of para rubber such that it can replace wooden planks used underneath train tracks.

The ministry and the Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research (TISTR) have been working with IRC (ASIA) Research Ltd. under an agreement to raise the market value of para rubber through research and development.

Science and Technology Minister Dr. Pichet Durongkaveroj said the new development helps maintain rubber prices and curb expensive imports of track parts.

The increased number of railway construction projects by the State Railway of Thailand will require as many as 25 million rubber planks, worth a total of 1.5 billion baht.

The quality of rubber used in plank production will be further tested to assure its durability in accordance with ISO/IEC 17025 standards.


Lotto retailers abide by 80-baht pricing rule

TRAT, 4 June 2015 (NNT) Lottery retailers across the country obediently abide by the government’s 80-baht pricing rule, which kicks off today.

In the eastern province of Trat, lotto buyers have reacted warmly to the June 16 drawing by snapping up lottery tickets with their favorite numbers. In Chonburi province, lottery buyers' reception of the 80-baht lottery tickets is similar to their like-minded fellows' in other parts of the country.

Down South, the newly-announced lotto pricing has led to some retailers running out of lotto tickets. The high demand drove some sellers to resort to buying lotto from their fellow vendors, resulting in calls for the government to increase their quota on lottery tickets.

The issuance of 80-baht lottery tickets came after the government’s announcement of tough measures, which included assets scrutiny and prosecution, against uncooperative sellers.


Min of Labor hopes Maritime Labor Act will improve conditions of workers at sea

BANGKOK, 4 June 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Labor is determined to improve working conditions for maritime laborers in Thailand.

According to Labor Minister General Surasak Kanjanarat, a meeting was recently held to follow up on the drafting of the 2015 Maritime Labor Act. The meeting was attended by private sector representatives and government officials from the Ministries of Public Health, Foreign Affairs and Transport.

The bill is expected to be enforced in February next year.

Each ministry is responsible for drafting 65 articles relevant to their line of work. The law will reflect international standards stipulated under Maritime Labor Convention 2006.

General Surasak said he hopes the Act will eventually standardize the maritime industry and promote economic security for Thailand. Workers can expect to receive fair employment and work in a safe and clean environment under the new law.


CP ALL presents to government 14 million baht in donation for Nepal quake victims

BANGKOK, 4 June 2015 (NNT) Thailand’s leading convenient store operator, CP ALL, has presented its cash donation to the government who will deliver the sum to Nepal for victims of the recent deadly earthquake.

Minister of Prime Minister’s Office M.L. Panadda Diskul welcomed Mr. Korsak Chairasmisak, Chairman of Executive Committee of CP All Public Company Limited, and other company executives who visited the Parliament to meet Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha.

The CP All management’s visit was intended to present the money which members of the public have donated through all 7-Eleven stores and Counter Service units operated by the company across the country.

A total amount of 14 million baht has been collected under the government’s initiated campaign “Hua Jai Thai - Song Pai Nepal”, which literally translates into “the Hearts of Thailand - Delivered to Nepal”.

Along with donations through other state and private agencies, the Prime Minister will deliver a total of 4 million dollars to Nepal on Thursday to help the people of Nepal who have been hit by the deadly quake.


The Prime Minister assures government to do everything the people wish for

BANGKOK, 4 June 2015 (NNT) The Prime Minister has assured that the government will be doing everything that the people should wish for.

Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Prime Minister and the chief of the National Council for Peace and Order, told the meeting he had with heads of all ministerial offices on Wednesday that the current government has always been doing its jobs in such a way that the public would have wanted.

Among some of the policies the government has implemented are the control of goods prices through the reduction of manufacturing costs of general businesses, Gen. Prayut said.

For large-sized businesses, the PM said that there have been pushes of measures which are in line with the special economic zone policy and the plan to help Thailand get ready for the ASEAN Economic Community integration and for fierce competition in the world market.

The Premier also instructed all ministries to strategize more plans to accelerate the implementation of future policies while solving all problems Thailand had experienced before May 22 of last year.


Energy reform watch group wants govt. to use Section 44 with Thai energy crisis

BANGKOK, 3 June 2015 (NNT) The Thai Energy Reform Watch Group has called on the government to enforce Section 44 of the temporary charter to tackle the energy crisis in Thailand and proposed a draft of the Petroleum Act.

70 representatives of the group on Wednesday announced the group’s proposed solutions to the Thai energy crisis. The solutions address national energy issues including the soon-to-expire petroleum concession, the petroleum potential of the Gulf of Thailand and the Petroleum Act. The group suggested that Section 44 of the temporary constitution be enforced to help prevent energy shortage when the concession expired.

The group also made suggestions on the government’s adjustment to the national energy price structure as well as an increase in LPG price in the transport sector.

The representatives said the group would submit their petroleum proposal to the prime minister on Thursday at Government House.


Lottery Office poised to campaign against uncooperative lottery ticket sellers

BANGKOK, 3 June 2015 (NNT) Different agencies are mobilizing their efforts to strictly enforce laws and rules in a latest bid to regulate the lottery ticket price.

Starting from June 3 onwards, the Government Lottery Office (GLO) will dispatch its data-collection teams comprising peace-keeping authorities from the Army Region 1 to gather information on lottery ticket retailers as well as on foundations and organizations engaged in the lottery distribution.

Meanwhile, Metropolitan police has set up 10 ad hoc teams of military officials and police tasked with following up on complaints of overpriced lottery tickets. Operators are now required to sell lotto at 80 baht per pair, starting from June 1.

The GLO will also cooperate with different agencies such as the Revenue Department, the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and the Ministry of Interior to carry out a campaign against overcharging sellers.

The GLO board will this month hold a press conference with the Revenue Department’s director-general and the representative of the Ministry of Justice to announce their joint crackdown on uncooperative distributers of all levels. The move also involves assets scrutiny.


Army officer suspected of human trafficking turns himself in to police custody

BANGKOK, 3 May 2015 (NNT) A high-ranking army officer allegedly involved in human trafficking in the South has turned himself in to the police today.

Maj Gen Manat Kongpan gave himself up to National Police Chief Pol Gen Somyot Pumpanmuang and his deputy Pol Gen Ake Angsananont.

The Deputy National Police Chief said Maj Gen Manat had yet to express his intention to post bail, adding that any bail request must be considered by police and prosecutors. Maj Gen Manat’s supervisor was informed of his arrest.

The suspect will be transferred to Songkhla Province, where he will be informed of his charges and face an interrogation by Provincial Police Region 9 and Songkhla police. The staff judge advocate and his lawyer are allowed to observe the interrogation.

Maj Gen Manat has become the most senior official accused of involvement with Rohingya migrant trafficking. The Nathawee provincial court earlier this week approved an arrest warrant for him.


BMA donates 2.1m baht relief fund to Nepal

BANGKOK, 3 June 2015 (NNT) The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has handed over a 2.1 million baht donation to those affected from the earthquake in Nepal.

The Governor of Bangkok Sukhumbhand Paribatra, along with the BMA executives, handed over the 2,108,981.41 baht donation as part of the Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund to the Nepali Ambassador to Thailand Khaga Nath Abhikari at the Bangkok City Hall.

The Bangkok Governor has said that the BMA Permanent-Secretary initiated the donation account in wake of the earthquake incident in Nepal on 25 April 2015 as the main account for the BMA employees along with the general public to donate.

He has said that although the earthquake disaster has already subsided, but restoration operations and the mental rehabilitation of the victims will require time. Therefore, Bangkok is willing to provide assistance and this will help strengthen the relationship between Thailand and Nepal more in the future.


3 Rivers meeting to focus on government’s work, not constitution

BANGKOK, 3 June 2015 (NNT) The meeting between the three main reform bodies will focus on the progress of the government’s work, not the constitution drafting process.

National Legislative Assembly (NLA) First Vice President Surachai Liengboonlertchai has revealed that the meeting between the NLA, the National Reform Council (NRC) and the Cabinet is meant to create mutual understanding in each body’s role in the country’s reform process.

The press has also been invited to observe in the meeting, while the format is in the form of a seminar discussing the government’s achievements since assuming power a year ago. The meeting will not discuss the constitution drafting process.

Mr Surachai also revealed that the Cabinet has yet to send an amendment proposal to extend the amendment period of the second draft of the constitution from 60 days to 90 days. However, once the proposals has been submitted, the NLA will be able to pass the amendment within 15 days.


NRC committee on energy reform delivers amendment proposals

BANGKOK, 3 June 2015 (NNT) The Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) has heard a charter amendment proposal from the National Reform Council (NRC) committee on energy reform.

The proposal was presented by committee chairman Manoon Siriwan, who proposed that the constitution clearly define the agency tasked with studying environmental impact and to define the extent to which the public is allowed to participate in the country’s energy production management. This clear definition of roles is meant to enhance management efficiency in the event of large-scale projects in the future.

Furthermore, Mr Manoon proposed that the Senate be reduced from 200 members to 150 and include a Senator from every province. He added that provincial Senators should not have to undergo a committee selection process, but rather be elected by the people in their respective provinces.


Rare fish go on display in Yala

YALA, 3 June 2015 (NNT) Yala Provincial Fisheries Office is putting rare and beautiful fish on display, as part of the anniversary celebration of the city pillar shrine.

More than 40 species of rare and exotic fish are currently showcased at Yala City Hall, where the city pillar shrine celebration and Yala Red Cross fair are taking place. The exhibition has captured the interest of a large number of event-goers daily.

Yala Provincial Fisheries Office intends to use the fish exhibition to raise awareness for the marine environment and spark interest in commercial aquaculture.

Highlights include the fish spa and the display of river carps, Yala’s local fish. Known locally as Kelah, the fish is an endangered species. Experts are attempting save the species and advocate their consumption due to their high market value.


Over 12,000 trademark and IP registration requests made in Q1

BANGKOK, 3 June 2015, (NNT) Department of Intellectual Property Director-General Malee Choklamlert has reported that 12,198 trademark and Intellectual Property (IP) registration requests were made during the first quarter of 2015, an increase of 35.9 percent from the same period last year.

She attributed the jump to the government’s policies to promote brand name development and product differentiation, which benefit value-added products.

The Department Director-General indicated the majority of the registered trademarks were related to laundry products, cosmetics, aroma products, leatherware, shoes, rice, tea, coffee, sugar powder, snacks, electrical appliances & tools, veterinary tools, and healthcare products.

Ms. Malee said her department would promote agricultural goods registered as Geographical Indication (GI) products abroad. She said GI goods are unique value-added items that can only be produced locally.

Thailand is poised to penetrate GI product markets in China and ASEAN nations. Currently, these GI goods include Hommali Jasmine Rice from Pattalung, Saraburi rice, sticky rice from Kalasin, pomelo from Chainat & Nakhon Pathom, and tamarind from Petchabun.


Rural road networks improved for Border SEZs

BANGKOK, 3 June 2015 (NNT) The Department of Rural Roads takes the initiative to support investment atmosphere in the special economic zones (SEZ) by developing rural road networks nationwide.

Director-General Daroon Saengchai said the department has drawn up 17 projects with a total investment of 8.68 billion baht to facilitate easier access to the special economic zones. The projects can be divided into road construction that is directly connected with the zones and the ones that support future trade and investment expansion of the SEZ.

The Department also unveiled projects to renovate 25 roads leading to various special economic zones.

So far the government has designated special economic zones in 10 border provinces of Tak, Sakaeo, Trat, Mukdahan, Nong Khai, Songkhla, Kanjanaburi, Chiang Rai, Nakhon Phanom and Narathiwat.


General Chatchai selected as Chairman of the SEZ PR Subcommittee

BANGKOK, 3 June 2015 (NNT) The Committee on Special Economic Zone (SEZ) has appointed Commerce Minister General Chatchai Sarikalya as the chairman of the SEZ Public Relations Subcommittee.

The announcement was made by Deputy Commerce Minister Apiradee Tantraporn, who clarified that the new panel is responsible for giving suggestions on marketing and handling of public relations affairs. She said the PR Subcommittee would promote investment in various special economic zones among local and international investors.

Ms. Apiradee said several road shows encouraging foreign investors to explore opportunities in the special economic zones will be held in various nations. At the same time, a series of seminars will be arranged in the Kingdom to attract local entrepreneurs.

Ms. Apiradee added that various media outlets, social media and billboard signs will be used to advertise SEZ investments.


Flood wall around Siriraj Hospital inspected in preparation for rainy season

BANGKOK, 3 June 2015 (NNT) Bangkok City Hall is carrying out an inspection of the flood wall around Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok in preparation for influxes of rainwater during the rainy season.

Bangkok Governor M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra personally inspected the recently completed flood wall in the vicinity of Siriraj Hospital. The top of the flood wall stood three meters above mean sea level. Although City Hall officials believe the height of the flood wall would be adequate for keeping out floodwater, they were concerned with the low water level in the Chao Phraya River at present. To prevent a weakening of the flood wall due to the low water level, officials were reinforcing the bases of the flood wall with large stones.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has also readied flood response teams that can be dispatched to problem areas around the clock


 

DAILY UPDATE

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Nong Khai border post steps up measures against MERS-CoV spread

Three southern provinces gear up for crisis management exercise

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MOPH ensures strict MERS-CoV infection surveillance

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DPM pays official visit to Singapore

NLA inquires into Minintry of Justice policy on ex-convicts

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Min of Energy to devise nation's first comprehensive energy blueprint

German demand rises for Thai pomelos

PM eyes Chiang Mai as mobile cabinet meeting venue

Thailand to host SEA Librarians meeting

PM Prayut: Reform is the heart of the country’s administration

CDC Spokesman believes charter drafting to finish on time

Agriculture Min admits inability to end IUU fishing by deadline

All fuel prices save diesel increased by 0.40 baht

PM denies he will postpone general elections another 2 years

Army officer suspected of human trafficking denies charges

PTT to construct floating LNG storage

Five million digital coupons used nationwide for set-top-box purchase

Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn inaugurates Thailand’s first interdisciplinary congress

Para rubber to be used in railway tracks

Lotto retailers abide by 80-baht pricing rule

Min of Labor hopes Maritime Labor Act will improve conditions of workers at sea

CP ALL presents to government 14 million baht in donation for Nepal quake victims

The Prime Minister assures government to do everything the people wish for

Energy reform watch group wants govt. to use Section 44 with Thai energy crisis

Lottery Office poised to campaign against uncooperative lottery ticket sellers

Army officer suspected of human trafficking turns himself in to police custody

BMA donates 2.1m baht relief fund to Nepal

3 Rivers meeting to focus on government’s work, not constitution

NRC committee on energy reform delivers amendment proposals

Rare fish go on display in Yala

Over 12,000 trademark and IP registration requests made in Q1

Rural road networks improved for Border SEZs

General Chatchai selected as Chairman of the SEZ PR Subcommittee

Flood wall around Siriraj Hospital inspected in preparation for rainy season

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