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Hat Yai airport steps up measures to prevent MERS

BANGKOK, 12 June 2015 (NNT) The Hat Yai airport has imposed measures to prevent the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) now spreading in South Korea. Passengers from the affected countries will be checked for flu-like symptoms.

The airport’s immigration checkpoint and an international communicable disease control checkpoint in Hat Yai check body temperature of every Hajj pilgrims who has returned from Saudi Arabia, one of the affected countries. The airport provides hand sanitizers, leaflets on the disease and advice for those who have traveled back from Mecca.

The Bureau of Epidemiology has confirmed there has been no MERS patient in Thailand since 2012.

Chulabhorn Dam might stop water supply to agricultural land if no rain comes by the end of June

CHAIYAPHUM, 12 June 2015 (NNT) Agriculturists in Chaiyaphum and Khon Kaen are facing a bleak future as Chulabhorn Dam which used to supply water for their plantations is now in danger of running out of water if no rain comes by the end of June, according to the Director of Electricity Plant Division at Chulabhorn Dam in Khon San District, Chaiyaphum.

The director said that the current water volume in the dam and also in its neighboring smaller "Huai Kum Dam” has hit the lowest level in ten years. According to him, water reserves in both dams dried up at the end of April this year, but some rainfalls in May led around ten million cubic meters of water to flow in. The new amount of water reserve will, however, be used up by the end of June.

The same official said if no rain comes in by the end of June, Chulabhorn and Huai Kum Dams would need to stop water release to farmers in order to reserve water for use during the no-rain interval period.

Chulabhorn Dam, which has the capacity of storing a total of 188 million cubic meters, has only 71.9 million cubic meters of water left in its reservoir. Of this amount, only 34.7 million cubic meters are being supplied to farmland.

Similarly, around 5.4 million cubic meters of water remain in Huai Kum Dam and 3.8 million of that amount is being released to farmers. Local farmers in the Districts of Kaset Sombun, Phu Khieo and Ban Thaen in Chaiyaphum as well as those in Chum Phae District, Khon Kaen, usually use irrigation water supplied from both dams to nurture their fields. However, the current water supply was quite low and insufficient, prompting them to request more water from Chulabhorn Dam authorities.

Thailand tourism affected from MERS-CoV epidemic

BANGKOK, 12 June 2015 (NNT) Thailand’s tourism sector remains unaffected from the spread of MERS-CoV virus in South Korea, while agencies are seeking to a issue notice to their members as a form of prevention measure, says the MOTS Minister.

The Minister of Tourism and Sports Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul has revealed that the MOTS has been closely monitoring the spread of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), and is confident in the Ministry of Public Health’s prevention methods.

She has said that the epidemic has not caused any negative effects to the tourism sector in Thailand, as the Ministry has been working with all agencies on disease prevention.

Thai Travel Agents Association (TTAA)’s Vice President Krichanat Meesamran has said that he will discuss with the TTAA President on notifying agency members on effective prevention methods of the MERS-CoV, including safety precautions, taking care of travelers’ sanitation, and advices on routes that should be avoided when travelling to South Korea.

About 166,000 travelers from Thailand had visited South Korea this year from January to April, which is a 6 percent growth from last year. 374,000 travellers from South Korea have visited Thailand from January to March this year, which is a 18.7 percent growth. South Korean travelers to Thailand is ranked at the 6th position after Chinese, Japanese, North American, Taiwanese, and Hong Kong tourists.

NLA agrees to consider amendments to administrative & family courts

BANGKOK, 12 June 2015 (NNT) The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) has agreed to consider proposed amendments for judicial procedures of administrative courts, as well as juvenile and family courts.

The proposals were accepted by the NLA with 167 votes in favor, none opposed, and four abstentions. Their details will be studied for 30 days with another seven days for revisions.

In the past, cases going to administrative courts required the authorization level of Attorney General before proceeding. However, the rapid increase in criminal cases at the administrative level and has resulted in numerous delays case hearings.

The proposed amendments would grant officials below the clearance level of Attorney General but no lower than Director General the authority to approve of case openings at the subdistrict level.

If passed, the NLA will introduce the amendments to the Act on the Establishment of Administrative Courts and Administrative Court Procedure (1999).

PWA to scrap water minimum usage tariff

BANGKOK, 12 June 2015 (NNT) The Provincial Waterworks Authority (PWA) has decided to scrap its minimum water tariff, starting next month.

The PWA said the move was meant to relieve the financial burden on households in the face of economic slowdown. The revocation applies to all provinces across the country.

Currently, residents are required to pay a minimum 50 baht per month. Government agencies and small businesses must pay a minimum 150 baht per month, and state enterprises and large businesses 300 baht per month.

Beginning July 1, residents will be charged only for the amount of water they use. Tariff payments will no longer be required.

PWA Governor Ratana Kitchawan said revoking the tariff reflected the agency's determination to fair public service. The PWA Governor also affirmed that all utility revenue was used to expand waterworks to cope surging demand.

OBEC to punish late school book distributors

BANGKOK, 12 June 2015 (NNT) The Office of Basic Education Commission (OBEC) has resolved to crack down on its schools, following parent complaints regarding incomplete or delayed textbook distribution.

The OBEC outlined new guidelines and allocated a clear budget for textbook procurement.

Schools under its supervision must submit purchasing orders in accordance with their OBEC funding by a required deadline to the Office of the Welfare Promotion Commission for Teachers and Educational Personnel (OTEP) and its distributors.

Any delay in textbook distribution caused by the school or distributor will be investigated and the person(s) responsible punished accordingly.

OBEC Secretary-General Kamol Rodklai has reiterated these orders to schools across the country. The office has dispatched inspectors to ensure schools are fully-stocked before the term begins.

NLA inquires in to government’s education assessment policy

BANGKOK, 12 June 2015 (NNT) The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) has inquired into the quality of the government's assessment of teachers and schools.

NLA member Wallop Tangkananurak inquired into the effectiveness of the government’s education assessment agency, the Office of Nation Education Standards and Quality Assessment (ONESQA). Mr Wallop expressed concern that the standardized system could impede lesson plans, due to the sheer amount of paperwork required. He also questioned whether the centralized assessment standards would be applicable to the diverse conditions of schools across the country.

Mr Wallop has asked what the current administration had in mind for the ONESQA. Deputy Prime Minister Yongyuth Yuthavong revealed that the government cannot abolish the ONESQA, a key component of the Education Act (1999), nor is there currently a suitable and unbiased agency to replace it. Regarding the paperwork burden on schools, Mr Yongyuth said the government has made the transition to online assessment methods. However, many schools are still having trouble acquiring the necessary technology.

Minister of Education Admiral Narong Pipatanasai admitted that the ONESQA assessment standards do not accommodate the diversity of schools across the country. Its implementation has underperformed, resulting in minimal feedback for improvement.

The ministry has stepped in to expedite the adoption of online assessment methods across the country and will work closely with ONESQA in data collection and analysis. It will also continue to send officials to remote areas that are beyond internet coverage.

Meanwhile, additional changes to education policy include a mandate to curb school activities to no more than ten percent of total school days and to rate teachers based on the academic performance of their pupils. Adm Narong assured the NLA that the ministry will report its progress at next year’s inquiry.

Dpt of Disease Control advises those going to S.Korea to follow medical advice

BANGKOK, 12 June 2015 (NNT) The Department of Disease Control Director-General, Dr. Sophon Mekthanon, is encouraging Thais traveling to South Korean to strictly follow medical advice.

According to Dr. Sophon, those traveling to countries with reports of Mers infection, particularly South Korean, should be extra cautious about their well-being. The number of patients with Corona virus and those killed by it has increased.

He is urging Thai travelers to avoid at all costs coming into contact with people displaying respiratory problems, and going to crowded places. They should also wash their hands with soap or alcohol gel frequently.

They must seek medical assistant if they start developing a fever, having a runny nose and a sore throat after returning from South Korea. They should wear a mask and get medical attention immediately.

Nong Khai applies MERSE-CoV surveillance to train stations & check points

NONG KHAI, 12 June 2015 (NNT) – In a bid to prevent the spread of Middle East respiratory syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), disease control and immigration officials in Nong Khai province are joining hands applying surveillance measures to incoming passengers from infection-prone countries.

Particular attention has been given to visitors from South Korea and the Middle East. Surveillance measures include health screening, and recording of passengers’ information. The fatal virus has reportedly sickened more than 120 people and killed 10 in South Korea. There have been no confirmed cases in Thailand so far.

The Disease Control Department has suggested that Thai people traveling to risk-prone countries should prepare themselves before the trip. Thai people in infection-prone countries have been advised to protect themselves against the virus by avoiding visiting busy areas and washing their hands often. Those exhibiting flu-like symptoms within 14 days after their return to the country must wear face masks and see a doctor immediately.

According to the World Health Organization, so far there have been no specific treatments for MERS-CoV patients. What doctors can do is to provide patients with supportive care to relieve their symptoms and prevent the virus from spreading.

Defense Minister: Thai students arrested in Pakistan not linked with southern unrest

BANGKOK, 12 June 2015 (NNT) Defense Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan has said Thai students arrested in Pakistan have no involvement in the Southern unrest or the Islamic State (IS).

Deputy Prime Minister for Security General Prawit said neither of them has any association with the IS nor the situation in the Deep South, after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had investigated.

Five Thai students were arrested at the airport in Pakistan on Monday after one of them was allegedly trying to conceal a firearm in his carry-on bag. Their families also have no connection to any violence in the restive south.

Defense Minister General Prawit said he held no grudges against reporters when asked questions, and was willing to answer every question.

According to the General, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) is only concerned about the media sensationalizing the issue, as it could mislead the public. He also insisted that the NCPO would not interfere with the draft charter.

Dept. of Disease Control monitors S. Koreans attending convention in Thailand

BANGKOK, 12 June 2015 (NNT) The Department of Disease Control has deployed a team of medical personnel to monitor South Korean participants attending the Asia Pacific Herbalife Extravaganza 2015, as a precautionary measure against the outbreak of MERS in Thailand.

Department Director-General Sophon Mekthanon, the organizer of this event, has previously consulted with his agency on how to prevent the outbreak of the deadly respiratory disease in Thailand.

The event is taking place today at Impact Muang Thong Thani Challenger Hall 1-2 until June 14. Around 20,000 people are expected to attend this event. 4,000 of them are said to come from South Korea.

As the precautionary measure, the department has installed thermo-scans inside the venue. Participants are encouraged to report to the health staff, if anyone is showing signs of flu-like symptoms.

The Director-General downplayed the risk of infection at the event and told the public that his department is only following routine safety procedures.

He pointed out that despite the increasing number of MERS patients, they have exclusively contracted in hospitals. So far, no Thais have reportedly been infected with MERS in Thailand.

NRC & NLA committees discuss strategic national development

BANGKOK, 12 June 2015 (NNT) The state affairs committees of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) and the National Reform Council (NRC) have convened to discuss introducing legislation that would facilitate national development.

The two committees agreed that the new constitution should stipulate a clear strategic roadmap for national development. They noted that Sections 179 and 284 of the first draft of the new charter touched upon strategic national development, but believed they needed to be expanded.

The two committees have discussed proposing a national development act, in order to lay the strategic framework for the direction of the country’s long-term development.

The law would establish a strategic development committee that would propose measures to Parliament that would facilitate development, according to the country’s strategic development plan. These measures would serve as guiding principles to policymaking in Parliament, executive agencies and various organizations.

The act would also stipulate that the national strategic plan must take public input into consideration, as well as the NRC’s reform agendas.

Pathum Thani initiates roadside landscaping project

PATHUM THANI, 12 June 2015 (NNT) Klongsam district, Pathum Thani province has initiated a roadside landscaping project, in honor of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

Dr. Veerasak Hadda, chief of Klongsam district office, explained that the local administration grew 20 breeds of lotus along 16-kilometers of road parallel the Klongsam canal.

While dedicated to Her Royal Highness's fifth cycle and 60th birthday anniversary, the project also aims to promote downtown Pathum Thani as 'the City of Lotuses,' as well as preserve local and exotic lotus species.

Aside from lotus flowers, the office has also planned to grow golden shower trees on both sides of Klongsam canal.

Distance learning system to be introduced to more schools in Thailand

BANGKOK, 12 June 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Education is planning to introduce the distance learning information technology (DLIT) to medium and large schools in an effort to close social gaps and raise the standards of Thai education.

Secretary General of the Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC) Kamol Rodklai said the plan follows a success in establishing the DLIT to 15,000 small schools in various parts of the country.

The DLIT system to be installed for larger schools will include remote-sensing classrooms, teaching materials, a digital library and other educational resources for both students and teachers via

The OBEC Secretary General added that the Education Super board, which is a committee set up to oversee the education reform, is aiming to improve the literacy rate among young children, promote vocational education and English language skills ahead of the AEC.

Mr. Kamol further said that the DLIT would be expanded for accessibility by everyone in the near future in order to achieve fast-track educational transformation of the country.

Transport Minister visits Pattaya - Huahin ferry pier construction site

BANGKOK, 12 June 2015, (NNT) Transport Minister Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong yesterday visited the construction site of the Pattaya - Huahin ferry pier.

He disclosed that the Marine Department has been given two months to conduct a feasibility study of the project to construct ferry piers in Chonburi province’s Pattaya municipality and Si Racha district, as well as a ferry garage in Samut Prakarn province.

The Ministry of Transport is planning to construct a railway connecting Bangkok, Nakhon Pathom, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Chumphon. The railway would connect with the new ferry piers, integrating different modes of transportation.

ACM Prajin said the auction for the 180 km Bangkok - Hua Hin high-speed railway project would be held at the end of this year. Initially, the auction would be available for Thai investors only. He speculated the project would begin construction in the second quarter of next year and be completed within 2-3 years.

The Transport Minister also unveiled a plan to develop Petchaburi province as a gateway city to the South, saying the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning and the Department of Highways have been assigned to construct more roads and motorways linking the area to other regions.

Board of Investment states that 06 projects have been approved over the past 5 months

BANGKOK, 12 June 2015, (NNT) The Board of Investment (BOI) told news media that it has approved 306 projects over the past five months, netting 48.25 billion baht in investments.

BOI Senior Executive Investment Advisor Hirunya Suchinai revealed that the figure is a decrease of 35 percent from the same period last year, which had 471 projects worth 297.9 billion baht.

However, 54 percent of this year’s projects are related to industries recommended by the board and the government. Ms. Hirunya explained that these industries use advanced technology and have potential to increase the Kingdom’s competitiveness in the manufacturing sector.

These industries include latex production, medical equipment production, Enterprise Software & Digital Content, and energy manufacturing business.

Numerous investors show interest in Songkhla SEZ

BANGKOK, 12 June 2015, (NNT) Commerce Minister General Chatchai Sarikalya yesterday stated numerous investors have shown interest in Songkhla province’s Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

The minister said the area has various attractive businesses, such as para rubber processing, logistics, and commercial storage.

The province has one of the highest trade values among border provinces. Songkhla last year saw an estimated 507.67 billion baht in border trade, a 1.25 percent increase from the previous year. During the first four months of this year, Thai-Malaysian border trade was valued at 154 billion baht.

However, General Chatchai believed that Thai-Malaysian border trade has been on the decline over the last couple years, due to a decrease in the price of latex.

Nonetheless, Thai-Malaysian border represents a key component in developing the Kingdom’s economy. General Chatchai said the area acts as a gateway to the North-South Economic Corridor, a trade route linking Malaysia and Singapore.

16th Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians begins in Bangkok

BANGKOK, 12 June 2015 (NNT) Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on Thursday (June 11) graciously opened the 16th Conference of the Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians, or CONSAL XVI, at the Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Center in Bang Na area.

CONSAL XVI is jointly organized by the National Library of Thailand, the Thai Library Association and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration from June 11-13, 2015, under the theme of “Asian Aspirations: Libraries for Sustainable Advancement”. It is aimed at strengthening cooperation among the 10 Southeast Asian countries in improving their libraries in terms of management, services and library-using techniques. Such improvements will in turn increase intellectual development of their people and bring good results to the development of the whole society.

The 3-day conference will include numerous paper presentations and lectures by leading academicians. The congress also dedicates part of its space to an exhibition in honor of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on the occasion of her fifth cycle birthday on April 2, this year. The Princess has been recognized for her outstanding support to development of libraries both in and out of the country and to the promotion of reading habit of Thai people. More than 600 representatives from local and foreign libraries are attending the congress.

Cross-Border Trade Fair in Songkhla to boost Thai-Malaysian tradee

SONGKHLA, 11 June 2015 (NNT) A cross-border trade fair is now held at the International Convention Center, Prince of Songkla University, from 10-14 June 2015, to boost Thai-Malaysian trade and publicize the development of Songkhla Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

According to Advisor to the Minister of Commerce Ditthaporn Sasasmit, the trade fair is jointly organized by the Provincial Chamber of Commerce and the Malaysian counterpart to stimulate import-export revenues. It provides a stage for the government and private sectors of both sides to discuss further cooperation scheduled for 12th June.

Moreover, business matching among 150 entrepreneurs from Thailand and Malaysia would contribute to the growing trade revenue, the adviser believed. The business matching involves nine categories of highly competitive products and services such as retails and wholesales, restaurants, food and processed foods, home decorative products, construction, hospitality and tourism.

Hundreds of booths have been set up to sell OTOP SME products, export products, franchise and service businesses, intellectual property-based products, innovative handicrafts, Blue Flag products and agricultural machinery.

Thailand and Malaysia have run a joint border trade fairs for several years. In 2014, the event generated over THB507.6 billion, accounting for 51 per cent of the total cross-border trade revenue of Thailand with neighboring countries.

In the first four months of 2015, bilateral trade totalled THB154 billion, divided into THB81 billion worth of Thai exports, and THB73billion imports.

Thai exports to Malaysia include, among others, rubber and processed products, computers, processed woods, and automobile and parts. Meanwhile, Thailand imports industrial machinery, computer parts, computer’s magnetic tape and magnetic disk from Malaysia.

MERS to soon be declared dangerous communicable disease

BANGKOK, 12 June 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Public Health will declare MERS as a dangerous communicable disease within 1-2 days.

According to Dr. Surachet Satitramai, acting permanent secretary of the ministry of public health, automatic body temperature sensors have been installed at all international airports to screen inbound passengers. Airlines are also providing MERS-related suggestions to passengers. Dr. Surachet said the measures currently employed to prevent an outbreak of MERS in Thailand were the same measures previously used to prevent Ebola outbreaks. People traveling into Thailand from 25 countries with MERS cases who find themselves coughing or with a fever while on the airplane should report their condition to the crew and request a face mask.

Dr. Surachet indicated that although no MERS cases have been found in Thailand, hospitals are setting up quarantine quarters for patients with fever and flu-like symptoms, as preparation toward limiting any outbreaks. 69 hospitals under the health ministry's jurisdiction have already prepared such quarantine quarters.

Muslims busy shopping for dates in Yala ahead of Ramadan

YALA, 12 June 2015 (NNT) Muslims in Yala province were seen busily shopping for dates ahead of the holy Ramadan month.

Merchants at the railway market in downtown Yala have prepared large quantities of dates to sell ahead of the Ramadan fasting period. The vendors said they were selling at last year's prices although the wholesale prices they paid had gone up slightly.

Dates are often the first thing Muslims reach for when breaking fast at sundown, before taking water or other food.

Aside from dates, coconut jelly and sweetened jujubes were also favored by locals in Yala Municipality who were stocking up for Ramadan.

This year, fasting will commence either on June 18 or 19 depending on when the moon is spotted.

Talks planned for additional alcohol control measures in areas near educational institutes

BANGKOK, 12 June 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Public Health will soon discuss additional alcohol control measures for areas in the vicinity of educational institutes with relevant authorities, after finding that alcohol continued to be sold to students despite current regulations.

Dr. Rajata Rajatanavin, the minister of public health, indicated on Thursday that although the alcohol control law bans the sale of liquor within a 500 meters radius of an educational institute, sellers continued to violate the law and sell alcohol to students.

Dr. Rajata noted that currently, mini-marts are allowed to sell liquor during certain hours. However, the question of whether mini-marts with liquor has to be located outside the 500 meters radius must to be discussed with the Office of the Alcohol Control Committee. A conclusion is expected to be reached within two weeks.

Poll shows peace is the most important thing in people’s minds

BANGKOK, 12 June 2015 (NNT) The latest poll conducted by a committee under the National Reform Council has found that the public would like to see peace in the country the most and that they want the next prime minister to enter office via a general election.

Chairman of the NRC’s special committee on public participation Pracha Taerat on Thursday chaired a news conference on the result of a survey on public opinions which has been completed through cooperation with 40 Rajabhat universities.

Based on 26,708 respondents from around the country, most of them agreed that the new charter’s focus on restoring peace is the most important aspect of all while 55% of them said that an election should be declared as the people’s rights and over 44% said it should be made a duty.

In addition, more than 77% stated that a prime minister must be an elected member of parliament but some 22% see otherwise.

Over 82% of the respondents believe Thailand should have a new council tasked with driving forward the national reform process and a new committee in charge of national strategies in order to help continue the reform efforts.

Government offers monthly allowance for children of the poor

BANGKOK, 11 June 2015 (NNT) The government is introducing a program to assist poor families with young children by providing them with a monthly allowance of 400 baht as a way to support child development in the long run.

Deputy Prime Minister Yongyut Yuttawong indicated that the first five years of life are the most crucial period for a child’s development, and it has been witnessed in many countries that the provision of proper care for the young ones from the very beginning can help them grow up to be quality citizens.

Therefore, he said the government has been studying measures adopted by other countries that are investing in child welfare and has come up with a program that targets low-income families in particular. Under the new program, every child in a poor family who is aged five or below will be entitled to an allowance of 400 baht per month.

According to Minister of Social Development and Human Security Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew, Thailand sees a total of 800,000 newborn babies every year. Out of the number, about 135,000 are born to impoverished families and they will be included in the financial aid program.

The program is expected to be piloted within this year and will be evaluated periodically. Teams of public health volunteers are being sent out across the country to identify the target group in each locality and they will also facilitate the registration process, which will take place at the local administrative office.

Defense Min says no violence to be used against political groups

BANGKOK, 11 June 2015 (NNT) Army Chief General Udomdej Sitabutr said the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) will not use violence against those with different political views.

Army Chief General Udomdej, in his capacity as Defense Minister, said he has not received reports of any political movements. He added that Thai people have a good understanding of the NCPO and its functions in government.

However, he admitted that there are several groups that disagree with the current government, particularly college students. General Udomdej said they have not been expressing their viewpoints creatively.

He has called on parents and teachers to remind them that their actions can damage the country's reputation. The Defense Minister insisted that the authorities do not wish to use violence to maintain law and order. They would rather make them understand the current situation.

Interior Minister, police & BMA governor discuss traffic & flood solutions

BANGKOK, 11 June 2015 (NNT) The Minister of Interior, the Royal Thai Police assistant commander and the Bangkok governor convened a special meeting yesterday to discuss traffic alleviation and flood prevention plans.

During the meeting, Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paochinda suggested that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) urgently eradicate trash problems, dispatch traffic police and military personnel to 300 junctions in the event of rain to facilitate traffic, and arrange mobile teams of technical students to deal with mechanical breakdowns.

Gen Anupong commented that special attention should be given to flood-prone areas. In the event that rain falls during the nighttime, Metropolitan police should be on standby at these areas to facilitate the drainage so as to prevent traffic congestion in the morning.

The discussion was held after the rainfall which caused heavy flooding earlier this week. Traffic in the capital city was brought to a standstill. Garbage problems were blamed for the inundation. The incident prompted the BMA to consider installing more CCTVs across Bangkok to enforce cleanliness laws more efficiently.

Gen Anupong however voiced his confidence that the flood and traffic problems would be under control when the BMA’s drainage system was completed. Bangkok governor MR Sukhumbhand Paripatra, meanwhile, confirmed that the BMA’s ongoing flood tunnel project was on the right track, adding that the BMA would seek a budget of 20 billion baht for its flood solution project for Bangkok and nearby provinces.

The Office of Policy and Security Strategy gears up for ASEAN

BANGKOK, 10 June 2015 (NNT) The Office of Policy and Security Strategy of the ISOC has arranged a seminar on the ISOC’s preparations for ASEAN. The seminar is expected to pave the way for the ISOC’s solutions to national security problems in the contexts of ASEAN and the ASEAN Political-Security Community.

Scheduled for 10-12 June 2015 in Chon Buri province, the seminar is attended by 110 executives and staff of the central and provincial ISOC as well as ISOC regions 1 - 4. Deputy Spokesperson of the ISOC Col. Raphatsakun Rodthip said the seminar would help educate ISOC officers about ASEAN and brainstorm a plan to address national security issues in the country within a framework of ASEAN policy.

The ISOC’s missions conform to the 7th strategy developed by the National Economic and Social Development Board to prepare Thailand for ASEAN.

NRC to summarize reform agenda for government

BANGKOK, 11 June 2015 (NNT) NRC Chairman Thienchay Kirananda has revealed that the NRC will on June 15 listen to its last report from the NRC committee on political reform, and will start summarizing the NRC’s reform agendas on June 16 before submitting it to the government.

The NRC will then convene on June 25 to hear proposals from its members on how to proceed in the event that the 2014 interim constitution is amended to allow for a public referendum on the new constitution.

If there indeed will be a referendum, the NRC will do its part in properly educating the public about the charter they will be voting whether to approve, Mr Thienchay affirmed.

However, if an amendment is passed to extend the reform roadmap by 2 years, effectively postponing general elections, he said a committee on the implementation of reform must be formed.

He added that the Constitution Drafting Committee is currently scheduled to submit the revised constitution to the NRC for consideration and approval on August 21.

Thailand, Indonesia and Myanmar join hands combating human trafficking in fishery industry

CHONBURI, 11 June 2015 (NNT) The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has recently held a meeting with representatives from Indonesia and Myanmar in an attempt to solve human trafficking crisis in the fishery industry.

The meeting was held at Dusit Thani Hotel in Chonbur. More than 30 participants and high ranking police officers from Indonesia and Myanmar attended this event.

Many Thai and migrant workers have fallen victim to human traffickers in their pursuit of jobs in the fishery industry on Ambon and Benjina islands in Indonesia.

The Thai government has reportedly had difficulties in taking legal action against the perpetrators as the crime took place overseas.

The DSI has also cooperated with those working in the Australia-Asia Program to Combat Trafficking In Persons (AAPTIP) in organizing this event, during which participants vowed to provide financial support and cooperation in order to crack down on human trafficking once and for all.

Ministry of Industry:Minimum wage hike will not occur in near-term

BANGKOK, 11 June 2015, (NNT) Industry Minister Jakkamon Phasukkhawanitch said that currently, a minimum wage hike from 300 baht per day is unlikely.

The minister added that the rate should be determined by each sector’s performance, rather than using the same minimum wage nationwide.

Mr. Jakkamon said using the same rate ignores the actual business climate in each sector, especially those that are underperforming. Uniform hikes can hurt small- and medium-sized enterprises and cause them to fold operations.

On the other hand, he said he believed the rate should not fall below the national 300 baht per day. Business operators can choose to pay more, but should proceed carefully before making the wage adjustment.

Japan interested in investing in airplane part manufacturing

BANGKOK, 11 June 2015 (NNT) Industry Minister Jakkamon Phasukkhawanitch revealed Japanese investors are interested in the aeroplane parts manufacturing industry, and their government is eyeing to establish a consulate in Thailand’s eastern industrial estate.

The comment was made after his meeting with Japanese Ambassador to Thailand Shiro Sadoshima. Minister Jakkamon said Japan considered Thailand as holding high potentials in airplane parts manufacturing which has similar aspects to the automotive parts industry that Thailand has the expertise.

Besides, Japan shows interest to invest in the production of medical equipment and the setting up of a consular office in an industrial estate in Chonburi Province. Mr. Jakkamon said as the estate has already been accommodating a lot of Japanese entrepreneurs, a consular office would facilitate its people.

He also told the media that the Office of Industrial Economics (OIE) has recently discussed with the Japanese commercial attache the iron import quota in line with the Japan–Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement (JTEPA).

The minister said the OIE would later determine whether Thailand would make an adjustment to the iron import quota, adding that there were certain terms of the JTEPA agreement that Japan needs to fulfill. He said Thailand had long completed her part of the deal.

Stock trading in May contracts by 0.1 percent

BANGKOK, 11 June 2015, (NNT) The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) Research Institute has stated that stock trading last month stood at 1.496.05 points, decreasing by 0.1 percent from the same period last year.

Director of the SET Research Institute Kiattipong Ariyapratya told news media that the figure also represents a 0.2 percent contraction from April. He attributed the drop to the lower-than-expected gross domestic product during the first three months, which was 3.4 percent lower than expected.

Mr. Kiattipong said although listed companies performed close to the SET Research Institute’s prediction, there are still many significant external factors, like the US Federal Reserve adjusting its benchmark rate and the Greece financial crisis.

The director pointed out that local stocks reflected trends in other stock markets in the region.

Prachuap Khiri Khan villagers urge ban on comb pen shell fishery

PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN, 10 June 2015 (NNT) Local fishermen and environmentalists gathered at the City Hall of Prachuap Khiri Khan Province to urge their governor to disallow the fishing of comb pen shells.

The villagers, armed with banners denouncing the fishing of comb pen shells, demanded that related agencies help solve their hardships by imposing a ban on comb pen shell hunt which is posing a threat to the environment and their livelihood.

They said hundreds of fishermen from nearby provinces did cause extensive damage to the marine conservation zone by digging up comb pen shells which live in sand. Hunters normally cut off the shells’ muscles which will be sold to markets. Their remaining parts will be dumped and left to decompose in the sea, leading to pollution. Their shell scraps are also said to have damaged locally-made fishing tools.

The villagers have called on authorities to announce provincial regulations to outlaw the fishing of comb pen shells in Prachuap Khiri Khan as the sustainable solution. The residents also appointed representatives from each village to discuss the matter with provincial body later on

Water shortage in Chaiyuphum’s 145 villages remains in crisis

CHAIYAPHUM, 10 June 2015 (NNT) About 145 villages in Chaiyaphum Province remain affected by droughts and need water support from provincial authorities despite periodical rains. Chaiyaphum has less accumulated rainfall by 40 per cent when compared to the same period of the previous year.

The Governor of Chaiyaphum Wichian Chanthanothai called a meeting of provincial authorities today to follow up on the water situation. He ordered them to give immedicate response to requests for water trucks to ensure local residents have enough water for consuming purposes.

Water-containing trucks had recently been sent to distribute water to two rural units of the Provincial Waterworks Authority including one in Nong Bua Daeng District where six groundwater wells were dug but raw water was still insufficient for producing potable water.

The provincial authorities were assigned to raise public awareness about economic use of water and to manage proper use of water reserved in various dams. The governor advised the release of some water from reservoirs in order to leave more space for new rainfalls in the next few months. The governor also stressed that budget allocations in the 2016 fiscal year would give priority to development of water sources, particularly in the 145 drought-hig villages

Thailand selects national representative to join 7th Japan Paper-folded Airplane Competition

BANGKOK, 10 June 2015 (NNT) The 12th Thailand Paper-folded Airplane Competition has started to select a winner to participate in the 7th Japan Paper-folded Airplane Competition organized in Hiroshima by Japan Origami Airplane Association (JOAA). The selection begins in various parts of Thailand to expand opportunities for all youths to take part.

The competition, organized by Thailand’s National Museum, aims at boosting invention skill and creativity in youth. The participants are divided into two groups which are those under 12 years old and a no-age-limit group. The first group requires 9 seconds of flying to win the title while the other group requires a flying time of at least 11 seconds.

This year, regional contests are also being organized to encourage all youths nationwide to participate in the qualification rounds, launched together with the NSM’s Science Parade throughout the country with on-site workshop on paper plane basic folding techniques for first-time participants.

The final round will take place in November this year at the National Science and Technology Fair held at Impact Arena Hall, Muang THong Thani to select the winner to join the Competition in Japan.

Government adjusts tourism strategy, gears up MERS prevention

BANGKOK, 10 June 2015 (NNT) The tourism strategy has been adjusted by the government to achieve a 2 trillion baht revenue in tourism, while a medical team is set to be deployed in South Korea to take care of Thai nationals at the risk from the MERS-CoV epidemic.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Gen Tanasak Patimapragorn has revealed that the National Tourism Policy Committee is satisfied with the short term 3-year sustainable tourism strategy that is currently being adjusted for the compatibility with all related agencies.

The adjusted tourism strategy will then be presented to the Cabinet to approve the necessary budget for operations, while the income from tourism products is expected to be above 2 trillion baht per year.

Regarding the MERS-CoV epidemic in South Korea, that the situation does not affect Thai tourism, the DPM has said that authorities are working to prevent an outbreak in Thailand throught the same equipments utilized during the Ebola outbreak, which is more severe than MERS-CoV.

He has said that the Thai Embassy in South Korea is now taking care of the Thai nationals in Korea, while a voluntary medical team has been deployed to South Korea to monitor the health conditions of Thai nationals as a preventative method.

The DPM asserts that there are no Thai nationals suspected of contracting the MERS-CoV infection.

EC to distribute 19 million copies of new charter

BANGKOK, 10 June 2015 (NNT) The Election Commission of Thailand (EC) has expressed its readiness to distribute copies of the new constitution for the public within the necessary timeframe.

The EC chairman revealed that in the event the National Reform Council (NRC) approves of the constitution at the beginning of September, the EC will be in charge of publishing 19 million copies to be distributed to the public by November 30. A public referendum will then be held on January 10, 2016.

The EC chairman stressed that the government must allocate the resources necessary for the commission to complete the referendum process. The cost of publishing and distributing the documents is approximately three billion baht.

CDC concludes input gathering from NRC and Cabinet

BANGKOK, 10 June 2-15 (NNT) The Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) has concluded the process of gathering amendment proposals from the National Reform Council and the Cabinet.

CDC member Kamnoon Sithisamarn revealed that the Cabinet has proposed that Chapter 4 regarding reform and reconciliation be omitted and that the committees on reconciliation and reform be merged. They argued that matters of reform and reconciliation can be introduced later in the form of organic laws.

Mr Kamnoon agreed that the two matters would still hold the same weight, even if they were introduced as organic laws, while the new constitution would still hold true to its core agendas with its provisions calling for committees on reform and reconciliation.

Lowest rainfall in 30 years prompts RID to tighten reins on rice cultivation

BANGKOK, 10 June 2015 (NNT) The Royal Department of Irrigation (RID) has revealed that the off-season farming has left only 3.8 billion cubic meters of water for agricultural purposes during the May - October period, while rainfall hits a 30-year low.

A meeting of the RID’s committee to monitor and analyze the nation’s water management revealed that despite government warnings, more than six million rai of land was farmed in the Chao Phraya and Mae Glong river basins. RID Director-General Lertwirot Kowattana said that agriculture activities during the drought crisis has consumed 1.2 billion cubic meters of water.

The four national reservoirs include the Bhumibol Dam, Sirikit Dam, Pa Sak Jolasid Dam, and the Khaew Noi Bamrung Dan Operation and Maintenance Project. They have a combined 3.8 billion cubic meters left for agricultural use, falling short of the department’s target of five billion cubic meters.

Reservoirs continue to sustain the off-season farmland. However, rainfall has been unable to replenish water levels. The RID recorded the lowest rainfall in 30 years.

The department has urged farmers of 4.2 million rai that have yet to begin planting rice to cease water consumption for agricultural use for 40 days, and wait for greater rainfall in mid-July.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has been instructed to inform farmers across 22 provinces in the Chao Phraya river basin of the government’s water policy.

US charge d'affaires pays courtesy visit to Surat Thani governor to reestablish bilateral ties

SURAT THANI, 10 June 2015 (NNT) The US charge d'affaires paid a courtesy visit to the Surat Thani Governor to reestablish economic, trade and tourism ties.

Surat Thani Governor Chatpong Chatphut, along with his deputy and related officials, welcomed Honorable Mr. W. Patrick Murphy, US charge d'affaires, during his visit to the Surat Thani city hall.

Discussions included the general outlook of the economy, trade investment, and tourism. The talks centered on high security for foreigners visiting island destinations such as Koh Samui, Koh Pangan, and Koh Tao, as well as various national parks.

The visit aimed to restore tourist confidence and a sense of security for their lives and property.

5 state agencies sign MOU to combat corruption

BANGKOK, 10 June 2015 (NNT) The Deputy Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office said the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the five government agencies will effectively combat corruption.

Deputy Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office Jamroen Yutithamsakul said the MOU between the Office of the Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office, the National Anti-Corruption Commission, the Office of the Auditor General, Office of Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission and the Department of Special Investigation will help promote transparency in Thailand.

They are expected to share information, as well as commit to their duties under the MOU to tackle corruption within their organizations.

The five organizations must also enforce the laws and assure anti-corruption efforts are being carried out in other state agencies regionally.

More CCTVs to be installed across Bangkok to catch litterbugs red-handed

BANGKOK, 10 June 2015 (NNT) The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) says more closed-circuit cameras will be installed across the capital city to hunt for litterbugs blamed for floods earlier this week.

According to the Director-General of the City Law Enforcement Office, Sopon Potisop, the installation of more CCTVs will enable BMA officials to enforce garbage-control laws more efficiently, adding that the recent flooding in the capital city was caused by tons of trash, which obstructed the city’s drainage system.

City inspectors in all 50 Bangkok districts have been instructed to closely monitor areas under their responsibilities so as to deter litter bugs from causing environmental problems. Anyone caught littering in any public area will face a fine of 2,000 baht. Those caught dropping trash or waste water on public roads or in waterways will face a stiff fine of up to 10,000 baht, said Sopon.

The City Law Enforcement Department Head added that the CCTVs would also be used to track down graffiti makers. Wrongdoers will be subject to a fine of no more than 5,000 baht in accordance with the Cleanliness Act of 2535 BE.

Government approves Nakhon Phanom border trade transportation center

NAKHON PHANOM, 10 June 2015 (NNT) The government has given the green light to establish a border trade transportation center in Nakhon Phanom province.

The approved 1.11-million-baht budget will be disbursed over four years. The center will be situated in the southern area next to the Thai-Lao border at the third bridge crossing over the Mekong River in the province.

Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-o-cha has planned to allow the private sector to invest alongside the government as a way of lowering construction costs.

The trade center will act as both a place of congregation and a distribution center that can handle distribution logistics between Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and China. It will be a one stop import-export center in preparation for future rail logistics services, as well as the development of the Nakhon Phanom Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

RID recommends delay to in-season rice farming due to lack of rain

BANGKOK, 10 June 2015 (NNT) The Royal Irrigation Department (RID) has advised farmers to put off their cultivation of in-season rice, owing to the persistence of drought and depleted water reserves.

Director-General of the RID Lertwiroj Kowattana revealed that an announcement has been issued to rice farmers in the Chao Phraya River Basin, requesting them to use water on their fields as economically as possible. He reasoned that precipitation this year has been lower than previously forecast, with the amount of rainfall recorded in May in the North and the Central Plains dropping further from the same period of last year.

Mr Lertwiroj explained that the decrease in water input at dams, coupled with the increase in output to offset the impact of drought on farmland, has caused the water reserves to run out quickly. Therefore, the department is urging rice farmers to postpone their planting of in-season crops in order to avert a severe shortage of water.

The Director-General cited late July as a more appropriate time to start growing rice as rain will be more abundant and water reserves will likely be sufficient for farmers’ use.

Min of Interior establishes investment info center to promote SEZs

BANGKOK, 10 June 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Interior is trying to establish a one stop service for investors at Dam Rong Tham Centers, in an effort to promote Special Economic Zones (SEZs).

Interior Minister General Anupong Paojinda said he wants Dam Rong Tham Centers nationwide to serve as a gateway to investment information.

The General added that the move is also aimed at promoting investments in the SEZs.

Relevant government units are expected to help establish this section of the center, which was originally opened to public complaints. The new service will come with a tagline that says ‘Fast service in 7 days’.

Private hospitals told to show medical fees on websites

BANGKOK, 10 June 2015 (NNT) In the latest bid to solve complaints about private hospitals’ unusually high medical fees, the Ministry of Public Health’s special committee has come up with new regulations to enable patients to pick hospitals and services they can afford.

According to Public Health Minister Ratchata Ratchatanawin, his ministry will instruct all private hospitals to allow the general public to enquire about treatment fees and drug prices without having to be their customers first.

All hospitals must sell medicines for no more than prices specified in their price tags. They must allow their patients to use prescriptions to buy drugs at general drugstores, if the patients find medicine offered by hospitals too expensive.

The Ministry of Public Health and the Pharmacy Council will jointly regulate the standards of all pharmacies nationwide while the Ministry of Commerce’s products and services committee will be requested to issue regulations to make sure that drug outlets adhere to fair pricing and services.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health Service Support has been assigned to build a website containing fees of 77 types of operations that require pre-admission appointments of private hospitals across the country.

The Ministry in addition opens two hot lines: 02 193 7999 and 1330 for consumers wanting to complain about overpriced medical services. They can also call the Consumers Protection hot line 1166.

Cabinet approves the bill cutting room fee for hoteliers to 40 baht per room per year

BANGKOK, 10 June 2015 (NNT) The Cabinet yesterday approved a bill that will reduce accommodation fees which hotel business owners have to pay to the Interior Ministry each year. Once sailing into law, the legislation will cut the fee to 40 baht per room per year, which is only half of the existing rate.

The announcement was made by Deputy Spokesperson of the Prime Minister’s Office, Major General Sansern Kaewkamnerd. At the press conference, he said the Cabinet deemed that the reduction would ease the financial burdens of all hotel operators.

The Cabinet this week also requested governmental units which planned to hold annual study trips for their staff in foreign countries to organize them locally, in order to promote domestic tourism. Major General Sansern also stressed that the selection of accommodations for such a trip must give priority to hotels that operate legally.




Back to Main Page

Hat Yai airport steps up measures to prevent MERS

Chulabhorn Dam might stop water supply to agricultural land if no rain comes by the end of June

Thailand tourism affected from MERS-CoV epidemic

NLA agrees to consider amendments to administrative & family courts

PWA to scrap water minimum usage tariff

OBEC to punish late school book distributors

NLA inquires in to government’s education assessment policy

Dpt of Disease Control advises those going to S.Korea to follow medical advice

Nong Khai applies MERSE-CoV surveillance to train stations & check points

Defense Minister: Thai students arrested in Pakistan not linked with southern unrest

Dept. of Disease Control monitors S. Koreans attending convention in Thailand

NRC & NLA committees discuss strategic national development

Pathum Thani initiates roadside landscaping project

Distance learning system to be introduced to more schools in Thailand

Transport Minister visits Pattaya - Huahin ferry pier construction site

Board of Investment states that 06 projects have been approved over the past 5 months

Numerous investors show interest in Songkhla SEZ

16th Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians begins in Bangkok

Cross-Border Trade Fair in Songkhla to boost Thai-Malaysian trade

MERS to soon be declared dangerous communicable disease

Muslims busy shopping for dates in Yala ahead of Ramadan

Talks planned for additional alcohol control measures in areas near educational institutes

Poll shows peace is the most important thing in people’s minds

Government offers monthly allowance for children of the poor

Defense Min says no violence to be used against political groups

Interior Minister, police & BMA governor discuss traffic & flood solutions

The Office of Policy and Security Strategy gears up for ASEAN

NRC to summarize reform agenda for government

Thailand, Indonesia and Myanmar join hands combating human trafficking in fishery industry

Ministry of Industry:Minimum wage hike will not occur in near-term

Japan interested in investing in airplane part manufacturing

Stock trading in May contracts by 0.1 percent

Prachuap Khiri Khan villagers urge ban on comb pen shell fishery

Water shortage in Chaiyuphum’s 145 villages remains in crisis

Thailand selects national representative to join 7th Japan Paper-folded Airplane Competition

Government adjusts tourism strategy, gears up MERS prevention

EC to distribute 19 million copies of new charter

CDC concludes input gathering from NRC and Cabinet

Lowest rainfall in 30 years prompts RID to tighten reins on rice cultivation

US charge d'affaires pays courtesy visit to Surat Thani governor to reestablish bilateral ties

5 state agencies sign MOU to combat corruption

More CCTVs to be installed across Bangkok to catch litterbugs red-handed

Government approves Nakhon Phanom border trade transportation center

RID recommends delay to in-season rice farming due to lack of rain

Min of Interior establishes investment info center to promote SEZs

Private hospitals told to show medical fees on websites

Cabinet approves the bill cutting room fee for hoteliers to 40 baht per room per year



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