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Trang steps up measures against IUU fishing

BANGKOK, 15 June 2015 (NNT) Trang is urgently registering migrant workers in the fishery sector before the registration closes on 30 June 2015.

Governor of Trang province Somsak Parisutho Hemthanon said Trang was ready to cooperate with all units in the province in tackling the illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and human trafficking after the government included the issues in the national agenda.

The government has instructed all relevant government units and provincial governors to join hands in solving the problem.

The governor added that the province was closely monitoring the human trafficking and IUU fishing situations. It was trying to make entrepreneurs in Trang, especially those in the fishery sector, understand the government’s fight against human trafficking and IUU fishing, Mr. Somsak said.


Krabi to increase value of Batik products

KRABI, 15 June 2015 (NNT) Krabi province is set to implement measures that will improve Batik products in an attempt to increase souvenir products' values and to support the Krabi Quality Tourism City campaign.

The Governor of Krabi Songpon Sawattham has revealed that all related agencies are now working to improve and add value to the quality of Batik products, as these products have received much attention from tourists.

He affirmed that this project is in line with the Krabi Quality Tourism City campaign that aims to disperse income from tourism to all sectors in the province through an enhancement of the community's products and souvenirs.

The Batik products improvement plan will include an establishment of a provincial Batik network that will incorporate Batik manufacturers and sellers as members that will determine the development plan to improve the product's quality, variations and modernization to meet the demand of consumers.

In addition, members will be trained by experts from the Department of Industrial Promotion and the private sector in July.


NRC member speaks out against local administrative cuts for 2016

BANGKOK, 15 June 2015 (NNT) The National Reform Council (NRC) committee on local administrative reform has spoken out against the budget cuts at the local level for the 2016 fiscal year.

Kriangkrai Phoomaochaeng, an NRC member, spoke regarding the 2016 fiscal budget, urging Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha to reconsider this year’s budget allocated to the local administration.

According to current plans, 47 billion Baht has been allocated to the salaries of local administrative staff including the costs of operating local bureaucracies. This amount is a far cry from the 61.38 billion Baht allocated for the same purpose in the 2014 fiscal year, he noted.

The cuts have been done against the backdrop of salary hikes for civil servants and increased welfare assistance for the disabled, Mr. Kriangkrai said, adding that much less money has been earmarked for local projects.
The NRC member also questioned the benefit of this budget cut, and called on the Bureau of the Budget and the Ministry of Interior to carefully consider the implications of the decision.


No Thai casualties from Indonesia's volcano eruption

BANGKOK, 15 June 2015 (NNT) According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, no Thai national has been injured or killed by a massive volcano eruption in Western Indonesia.

Mount Sinabung on Sumatra, one of Indonesia's main islands unleashed a new powerful burst high into the sky on Saturday, sending hot ash far down the mountain's slopes. 11 avalanches of hot ash have been recorded so far; however, no injuries have been reported from the latest eruption.

According to the ministry, the Thai embassy in Jakarta has confirmed no Thai national has been affected by the natural disaster. Thai residents in Indonesia have also been alerted after the latest burst of hot ash has been reported.

Indonesia has raised its emergency status to the highest alert level due to the growing size of its lava dome. More than 2700 people from villages within the danger zone of 7km from the crater have been evacuated to temporary shelters.

Mt Sinabung is among about 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.


Vegetable prices increase in Yala ahead of Ramadan period

YALA, 15 June 2015 (NNT) Fresh produce prices in Muang district of Yala province have increased slightly ahead of the Ramadan period.

Muslims in Yala have begun stocking up on fresh food, after the Sheikhul Islam Office determined the first day of Sha’aban month to fall on either June 18th or June 19th, depending on lunar visibility at night.

Muslims are preparing for the fasting period for Islamic year 1436. The prices of vegetables and meat sold at the market in Yala city have adjusted higher.

Chicken has increased 5 baht to 80 baht per kilogram. Vegetable prices have risen by around 3-5 baht per kilogram. However, the price of beef is expected to remain unchanged throughout the religious period.

Yala security units will set up check points scattered throughout the province to keep the peace.


Government asks public to use water wisely

BANGKOK, 15 June 2015 (NNT) The government has come out to ask the public to use water wisely.

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has expressed deep concern for the country's water situation and has asked for people's cooperation in conserving water. There has been unusually low rainfall recently, causing water levels at reservoirs nationwide to decrease to only 30 percent of capacity.

The central region water basin could use only 9 percent of capacity for agriculture, basic public necessity, to prevent salination, as well as produce tap water.

People living in the city have therefore been asked to cooperate in conserving water. As for farmers, they have been advised to plant crops that require little irrigation and rely more on rainfall or local water resources.


NRC ready to reject new charter if it disagrees with provisions

BANGKOK, 15 June 2015 (NNT) The National Reform Council (NRC) says it can and will vote down the new constitution if the new charter does not sufficiently incorporate proposals from the reform body.

NRC member Wanchai Sonsiri confirmed that members have full autonomy over their vote on the new constitution. He said various committees have done their part in delivering amendment proposals to the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) and hopes the charter drafters will heed their suggestions.

He indicated that the NRC would be dissolved after the vote, regardless of the verdict. On the other hand, the current CDC will be dissolved in the event that the constitution is rejected and a new CDC established in its place to restart the drafting process.


Chumphon Technical College expands Fix It Center program

CHUMPHON, 15 June 2015 (NNT) The Chumphon Technical College has expanded the "Fix It Center" program for its communities.

College Director Amnuay Nuanchan, as well as the Tha Sae district chief, executive committees, teachers, students and locals, have shown high interest in joining the program.

The program follows government policy to fix and maintain equipment for public use and for vocational job creation. It also aims to improve machine quality inspections at the community level.

The program can be divided into four objectives. These consist of Fixing, by setting up a center to repair machinery used in business and household appliances; Teaching, by establishing vocational training courses in mechanic professions; Creating, by innovating technology to boost product value and quality guarantee standards; and Encouraging basic sanitary and safety practices in both the work environment and consumers.

Activities in the program include donating repair tools to the center; establishing electrical appliance and agricultural equipment repair centers; automobile and motorcycle fixing centers; bakery and food demonstrations; and key chain-making demonstrations.

Mr. Amnuay explained that the program hopes to see locals apply knowledge gained from the program and the philosophy of Sufficiency Economy towards becoming self-sufficient, helping their neighbors, and building a stronger community. The program also provides first-hand experience for technical students.

The Fix It Center is providing services at the Tha Sae district office every weekend throughout the month of June.


Public urged to destroy mosquito breeding grounds to prevent dengue fever

BANGKOK, 15 June 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Public Health is urging families to destroy mosquito breeding grounds every 7 days in an attempt to keep dengue fever at bay during the rainy season.

The Public Health Minister, Dr. Ratchata Ratchatanawin, said the ASEAN community has announced June 15th each year as 'ASEAN Dengue Day' in order to raise awareness about the seriousness of the disease. More than 200,000 people in ASEAN reportedly come down with the fever each year.

According to the Department of Disease Control, 17,000 people in Thailand have contracted the disease from January until June 9th this year. 11 people have succumbed to the fever. The Public Health Minister claimed the number of patients could rise to as many as 70,000 people in Thailand if there were no public involvement in preventing the disease.

People have been urged to destroy mosquito larvae every 7 days and keep themselves healthy during the rainy season. Regional public health offices have also been instructed to educate and inform people of the cause of dengue fever, and what they can do to protect themselves.

The Ministry will dispatch a mobile unit to an infected area within 24 hours of the report, to assist those infected and make sure the potential breeding grounds for the insects are destroyed. Dengue fever symptoms include high fever, headache, eye sore, muscle pains, nausea and red rashes.


Cultural Capital developed as strategic tool for peace in Southh

BANGKOK, 15 June 2015 (NNT) A sustainable development strategy for the five southernmost border provinces of Thailand is pushed forward by a new tool dubbed “Cultural Capital” with the hope of create long-lasting peace in the region, says Permanent-Secretary of Culture Ministry Apinan Poshynanda.

According to him, the so-called cultural capital is precisely what is needed to solve the problems in the region and effectively respond to the arrival of ASEAN Community Integration.

“Understanding, Reaching Out, and Development” strategy has been implemented in the region by the Army and Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) Region 4 commander, in parallel with His Majesty the King's sufficiency Economy Policy.

The Culture Ministry believes such a sustainable thinking will turn the provinces into the multicultural hub of ASEAN, where people can jointly contribute to the development of their regions and boost confidence of neighboring countries toward Thailand, said Mr.Apinan.

In the short-term period, the cultural capital has been developed progressively under the cooperation of the Army and Isoc. Numerous activities have been held around Pattani Bay for the purpose.


Border checkpoints reinforced to prevent MERS outbreak

UBON RATCHATHANI, 15 June 2015 (NNT) Public Health Minister Dr. Ratchata Ratchatanawin has instructed public health officials at the Thai-Laotian border to conduct rigorous health checks to prevent the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in Thailand.

According to Dr. Ratchata, the health officials at Chong Mek border crossing in Ubon Ratchathani province are expected to be extremely thorough when asking anyone entering Thai territory from Laos whether they exhibit flu-like symptoms.

Both the Public Health Minister and his deputy Dr. Somsak Chunharas visited the regional health control unit at Chong Mek to observe checkpoint operations. The minister said thermal scanners have been implemented at various points of entry to detect infected passengers.

If anyone is found to have come down with similar symptoms, they would be taken to the hospital immediately. Medical staff will strictly adhere to safety protocol to prevent an outbreak within the hospital.

Dr. Ratchata said the health control unit at Chong Mek is fully equipped to conduct preliminary health screenings over the Thai-Laotian border.

Any individuals entering Thailand will be asked to disclose their travel history, particularly if they were previously in South Korea, by showing their passports. More than 1,000 Thais and tourists cross Chong Mek daily.


Water levels in 4 major dams remain critical

BANGKOK, 15 June 2015 (NNT) The Royal Irrigation Department (RID) has disclosed that the water levels in 4 major dams remain critical. The amount of water released will be lowered by half to assure sufficient supply of water for domestic consumption.

RID Deputy Director General Suthep Noipiroj said the water levels in Bhumipol, Sirikit, Kwae Noi, Bamrungdan and Pasakcholasit dams are critically low, declining by 30 million cubic meters altogether since yesterday.

The rapid decline has prompted the RID to decide to cut the amount of water released into the rivers from 60 million cubic meters daily to 30 million cubic meters today. According to Mr. Suthep, there would be enough water for consumption for 40 more days following the move.

However, more rain is expected at the end of July, said Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives Chawait Chukhajorn. He also urged farmers in Chaitnat and Ayutthaya to put off their crop growing until there is enough rain to sustain farming activities.


Bueng Kan joins World Blood Donor Day 2015

BUENG KAN, 15 June 2015, (NNT) Bueng Kan province held a major blood drive in Seka District Hospital, on Sunday the 14th marking World Blood Donor Day 2015.

The event replenished stores for cases of emergency and commemorated Dr. Karl Landsteiner, the Austrian biologist and physician who pioneered blood transfusions.

The provincial Red Cross office organized the blood drive in response to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s policy to express gratitude to blood donors. The organization is currently promoting its campaign to encourage people to donate blood every three months.

The fair is the 12th of its kind in Thailand. Organizers said 60 percent of donors give blood once a year and only 7 percent of blood donors donate four times per year.

The Red Cross has encouraged blood donations every three months, claiming that giving blood promotes better health for donors and ensures a sufficient supply of blood for patients.


Petchaburi holds an annual civil servant seminar

PETCHABURI, 15 June 2015, (NNT) The Petchaburi Provincial Administration office held an annual seminar on Sundy the 14th educating its officials.

Organizers explained that the event is in accordance with the 2007 law, which states that each province must be able to draft its own budget without help from the central government.

The law was implemented in 2009. Budget and operation plans are crucial tools for local administrations to govern their provinces and connect with communities.

During the event, several senior civil servants took the stage to give lectures on their experiences to attendees.


Healthcare 2015 festival wraps up over the weekend

BANGKOK, 15 June 2015, (NNT) The Healthcare 2015 festival concluded on Sunday, with a large number of health enthusiasts in attendance on the last day.

The fair started June 11 and has been well-received by the public. Twelve medical institutes offered physical examinations to attendees, along with free flu shots and Diphtheria vaccinations.

Several workshops were held on various topics during the event. Subjects included ‘cancer prevention and treatment by SKT meditation’ and ‘music therapy’. The fair also featured Thai herbs and traditional Thai treatments.

More than 300 vendors have participated in the event, offering health-related products such as traditional Thai herbal medicine, supplements, and cosmetics.


Deliberation of fiscal 2016 budget bill completes review of allocations for 3 ministries

BANGKOK, 14 June 2015 (NNT) The special committee in charge of the fiscal 2016 budget bill has completed the deliberation of the budget allocation for three ministries.

Lt. Gen. Chartudom Titthasiri, spokesman of the special committee, said that the deliberation of the next fiscal year’s budget has been planned to be completed within 48 days, starting from May 26.

Mr. Chartudom said that the review of the budget allocation has already been finished for the Finance Ministry, the ICT Ministry and the Natural Resources Ministry. no cut has been made in the budget allocation, he said.

He added that the committee is currently deliberating the budget allocated for the Commerce Ministry.

Mr. Chartudom, however, stated that the debilitation will be in accordance with the policies of the government and the National Economic and Social Plan which call for the efficient use of the budget while minimizing the inequality in the society and maximizing the use of the budget for the interest of the public.


New machines to replace use of methyl bromide in rice fumigation

BANGKOK, 14 June 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives will be supplied with machines for the disinfestation of weevil's eggs through the dielectric method, under a collaboration between the Agricultural Research Development Agency (ARDA) and Eureka Design Public Company Limited.

Chavalit Chookajorn, Permanent Secretary for Agriculture and Cooperatives, chaired the signing of an agreement over technology licensing right between the ARDA and Eureka Design Plc. At the event, he said the dielectric disinfestation machine would replace the more costly fumigation method via methyl bromide. Methyl bromide is also being banned by several countries starting this year.

According to Mr. Chavalit, the dielectric heating machine would destroy all weevils and eggs in rice without leaving behind any contaminants. He said the new technology would create an advantage for Thai rice in the global market, and allow Thai rice to be exported as a chemicals-free product.


Buriram hit by worst drought in 50 years

BURIRAM, 14 June 2015 (NNT) Farmers in the northeastern province of Buriram are pleading for government help as more than half of their farming areas are being hit by the worst drought in 50 years.

The prolonged dry season has brought on damage to more than 700 rai out of the 1,100 rai of farming areas in Ban Sokklong Village. Villagers fear the rest of their rice paddies will die off if no rains come within a week. Cultivation in this community relies mainly on rainfalls.

Their most-needed aid includes rain-making operations, government compensation for the damaged crops and distribution of seeds to relieve their financial trouble caused by their failed investment.

The lengthy drought reportedly caused water levels at major dams to fall to a new low over the past 51 years. The Royal Irrigation Department called on farmers to refrain from the annual rice cultivation during this period as part of its water management scheme.


Bangkok Governor checks drainage systems in Lat Phrao

BANGKOK, 14 June 2015 (NNT) Bangkok Governor M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra has inspected the efficiency of drainage systems in Wang Thong Lang and Lat Prao districts ahead of the rainy season.

The governor, along with the Bangkok permanent-secretary and executives of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, on Sunday traveled to the Khlong Song Krathiem pumping station in Wang Thong Lang district to check if it operated efficiently. The pumping station installed a reinforced concrete dam in December 2014 in order to facilitate the pumping of water at seven and nine cubic meters/second through Lat Phrao and Chan canals respectively.

The Khlong Song Krathiem pumping station helps with the drainage in Lat Phrao and Wang Thong Lang districts, including Lat Phrao road and Soi Choke Chai 4.

The Department of Drainage and Sewerage has implemented 15 projects to improve drainage efficiency in all canals across Bangkok. The Khlong Song Krathiem pumping station is one of the completed projects.


BMTA buying first lot of NGV buses

BANGKOK, 14 June 2015 (NNT)The BMTA board has given the green light to the purchase of 489 NGV buses. The price of the buses is around one million baht lower than the price previously price set by the BMTA.

Chairman of the Board of the Bangkok Mass Transport Authority (BMTA) Pol.Gen. Ek Angsananont said the board had approved the purchase of 489 NGV buses, the first lot of buses from a total of 3,183. The BMTA will sign a purchase contract with the winning bidder.

The chairman said the BMTA bought the buses at a much lower price than the standard one. He also confirmed the board considered the procurement in line with the BMA’s procurement procedure and ensured transparency in the purchase.


Severe drought persists throughout Thailand

BANGKOK, 14 June 2015 (NNT) Drought continues to wreak havoc on many areas across the country, damaging farmland and depleting water for consumption and agriculture.

Local farmers in Kamphaengphet province said this year’s drought in the province was severer than the previous years and water levels in canals quickly decreased. There was not sufficient water for consumption and agriculture although farmers here switched to plant drought-resistant crops instead of rice, they said.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment is closely monitoring water levels of the Chao Phraya river. The river’s water level in front of the Ang Thong city hall was last measured at 46 centimeters which was deemed very low.


Political reform committee:People can reject unacceptable draft charter

BANGKOK, 14 June 2015 (NNT) The chairman of a committee under the National Reform Council believes that the public can always reject the draft charter that is considered unacceptable.

Chairman of the NRC’s committee on political reform Sombat Thamrongthanyawong said that he believes the adoption of the mixed-member proportional representation electoral system is what can weaken the future coalition government.

Mr. Sombat’s commment was heard following reports that the Constitution Drafting Committee’s resolution to change part of the draft charter which involves the composition of the constituency and the party-list members of parliament at the next election.

The CDC reportedly made a change that resulted in the stipulation that calls for 300 constituency MPs and 150 MPs under the mixed-member proportional representation system.

Mr. Sombat said that, if such a system is put to use, Thailand may experience more administrative problems in the future.

He added that no one should worry about rumors that the NRC will vote down the draft charter as the CDC is still to work on many proposed changes, while stating that an unacceptable draft of the Constitution can always be rejected by the people during the public referendum.


Anti-Corruption Commissionto organize annual award for anti-graft achievements

BANGKOK, 14 June 2015 (NNT) The National Anti-Corruption Commission is ready to organise an annual event to present awards to organizations that have been active in fighting corruption.

The NACC is ready to host the 5th Chor Sa-ad Award, a project aimed at recognizing organizations which have introduced creative media to promote the fight against corruption.

NACC chairman Panthep Klanarongran said that corruption continues to be major problem that has serious impact on Thailand and that an anti-corruption effort requires cooperation from everyone.

The anti-graft award, which is to be held for the fifth time, is intended to recognize such an endeavor by members of the media as they are the agencies which can deliver all messages more directly to the public, Mr. Panthep said.

For this year, the NACC has also invited members of the public to take part in the program by submitting their anti-graft work or projects for consideration.

Accordingly, a contest for the best short-films or animated films will be opened for interested candidates of three categories, including the middle school level, the high school level and the general public.

The NACC will be welcoming all entries until June 30 while more information can be found on www.nacc.go.th.


Public Health Ministry poised to launch dengue fever prevention campaign

BANGKOK, 14 June 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Public Health has planned to seek cooperation from different agencies in the elimination of mosquito as part of the dengue fever prevention campaign.

The Ministry of Public Health is scheduled to sign on Monday (Jun 15) cooperation agreements with seven other ministries namely Interior, Education, Natural Resources and Environment, Tourism and Sports, Industry, Culture and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to ensure effective malaria prevention such as constant spraying of pesticides on mosquito breeding ground. The Southeast Asian nations have designated June 15 as ASEAN Dengue Day to raise awareness of the viral disease.

The program is intended to stem the spread of the mosquito-borne disease. Infection cases are particularly high during the rainy season as the weather condition is conducive to reproduction of mosquitoes. Since January, the dengue virus has sickened over 12,000 people, 11 of whom died. Without proper prevention, infection cases could exceed 70,000 this year.

Infected people usually exhibit such symptoms as sudden fever, headaches, nausea, vomiting, skin rash and easy bruising. There has been no specific medicine for the treatment of dengue fever. Aside from supportive medical care, effective ways to regain immunity included enough rest and drinking much water. In case of fever, patients may take paracetamol. Aspirin may worsen bleeding.


Public asked to help prevent denguee

NONTHABURI, 14 June 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) is urging the public to help in the prevention of dengue fever by getting rid of mosquito larva, as the number of dengue patients could rise to 70,000.

The Minister of Public Health Rajata Rajatanavin cited a report from the Department of Disease Control (DDC) showing the number of accumulated dengue patients in Thailand from January to 9 June 2015 was at 17,242 persons. There were 11 fatalities.

Dengue fever patients are most commonly found in the central region of Thailand, followed by the northeastern region, the southern region and the northern region. The total number of patients for the entire year has a possibility of reaching as high as 70,000 if prevention measures are not strictly enforced.

The MOPH Minister said that the public should eliminate the conditions of breeding spots of mosquitos and larva as the rainy season is the period where dengue spreads the most. Provincial public health offices have been appointed to provide knowledge to the public on the symptoms and characteristics of dengue fever, as well as the prevention measures in an attempt to minimize the fatalities of this disease.

Doctors have been urged to provide careful diagnosis to all patients, as there are currently no specific medicine to cure dengue.

The MOPH Minister also mentioned that 15 June of every year is the ASEAN Dengue Day to raise awareness among the public in the prevention measures of dengue, which is considered a big common health issue in ASEAN that affects 200,000 people annually.


Report about fire accident at Singapore's oil platform is fictitious, Thai authorities confirm

BANGKOK, 14 June 2015 (NNT) Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sek Wannamethee has reaffirmed that a piece of news about fire accident at an oil rig in Singapore and injuries of Thai workers was merely a rumor that went viral online.

The Thai Embassy in Singapore contacted Singaporean authorities and Thai workers at the site mentioned to check the validity of the photos posted online, showing the oil platform being burned and Thai workers were injured.

"The photos were just fictitious as Singaporean has no offshore oil platforms but only two onshore oil refineries located on Jurong Island and Bukom Island,” Mr. Sek said. All Thai workers at both oil refineries are still working normally,” he added.


Nearly 7,000-kg rice from "Thung Makham Yong” royal lands to be presented to the palace

AYUTTHAYA, 14 June 2015 (NNT) Ten farmers in Ayutthaya Province will present 6,990 kgs of rice crops harvested from the King’s piece of land to the Palace at the end of this month as a show of their gratitude to the royal benevolence and advice.

Chief of Ayutthaya Agricultural Extension Office Paisarn Sungmongkol said the 10 farmers will be received in audience with Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn who will represent His Majesty the King, at Chitralada Palace on 30 June. They will report the progress of their use of the land and seek royal advice on paddy farming.

Mr.Paisarn said that previously His Majesty the King granted permission to the 10 farmers to use a seven-rai plot of royal land in Thung Makham Yong area for growing Pathumthani 1 Rice. “A total of 6,990 kilograms of rice were harvested last September from the royal lands, and the farmers wished to dedicate the rice to the palace,” said Mr.Paisarn.

He added that His Majesty the King has permitted the group of farmers to continue rice planting on his lands every year. For the 2015 planting season, the farmers used the direct paddy seeder planting technique which allowed them to gain higher productivity using less seeds. This technique also consumed less fertilizer and less efforts in pest control, but give ouputs of higher quality.


Internal Security tightens relations with Ayutthaya Islamic Committee

AYUTTHAYA, 14 June 2015 (NNT)The Internal Security Operations Command has joined hands with the Ayutthaya Islamic Committee to help facilitate the province towards reconciliation.

The Deputy Director of the Ayutthaya office of the Internal Security Operations Command Colonel Ronnawut Ruangsawat has said that Islam is now the second most practiced religion in Ayutthaya province with 65 mosques in the area.

He has said that reconciliation projects with the Islamic leaders in the province have been successful as the leaders are willing to lead the community towards a common understanding and unity.

The reconciliation campaign's activities will take place on 15 June 2015 for the second year of this project at the Ayutthaya Islamic Committee office. There will also be an opinion survey for the leaders and provincial administrative agencies to observe their understanding of the agencies’ work.

The Ayutthaya ISOC Deputy Director has said that this project is expected to further tighten the relations between people with different religions, especially through the 'governor meets religious leaders' activity, which will be held during the Ramadan period.


Cultural Ministry to introduce helping measures for traditional artists

BANGKOK, 14 June 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Culture is set to present the measures designed to help traditional artists pass on their traditional knowledge to the Cabinet.

The Minister of Culture Vira Rojpojchanarat has revealed that the meeting of traditional and national artists to take care of the artists in keeping with the Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha’s initiative to raise the income of the artists to proper rate.

The meeting has considered the raise of monthly payment for national artists from the previous rate at 20,000 baht per month which hasn’t been changed since the last six years, as well as raising the medical allowance for treatment in private hospitals from not exceeding 40,000 baht annually to not exceeding 100,000 baht.

The Culture Minister has said that the increase of hospital allowance is now being presented to the Cabinet’s approval. The new allowance rate will take effect from 2012 if it were to be approved.

He has mentioned that the ministry will use the 9 million baht contemporary artists care fund to support the income of artists and provide space for performance and exhibition, initially to take place at Ratchadamnoen Contemporary Art Center and Thailand Cultural Center.

Traditional artists performing Likay, Manora, Mor lam and fiddle playing will receive relief measures from the ministry. Performers on a directory list will receive jobs easier through direct hiring, while the ministry will also present additional aid measures for traditional artists to the Cabinet such as the establishment of an association in each art form category.

Provincial governors and the local administrative body have also been urged to provide tax reduction measures for employers of traditional artists, while a traditional artist management organization tasked with managing the artists was also discussed.


DPM Wissanu discusses expected end of terms of Five Rivers

BANGKOK, 15 June 2015 (NNT) The deputy prime minister in charge of legal affairs has discussed the expected end of term of all “Fiver Rivers”.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-Ngam said that the terms of all the Five Rivers, including the National Council for Peace and Order, the National Legislative Assembly, the National Reform Council, the Cabinet and the Constitution Drafting Committee will come or near to an end after the draft charter gets an approval from the NRC and the public referendum.

According to Mr. Wissanu, if the draft of the new Constitution is put to use and the next election is scheduled, it means Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, who is also the chief of the NCPO, will remain in office only until the new Cabinet is set up and completes the swearing-in process.

For the NRC, its term will end when all reform council members vote to accept or reject the draft charter, after which a new council tasked with the driving forward of the national reform process will be set up and work until the first session of the new Parliament takes place Mr. Wissanu said.

He added that the NLA will remain in office to perform the duties of the Upper House until the senate election is completed, while the CDC will also be working until the first day of a new parliamentary session.


Government hopes new courts to help rid Thailand of criminals

BANGKOK, 15 June 2015 (NNT) The government hopes that a number of new departments under the Criminal Court will effectively help rid Thailand of miscreants.

Deputy government spokesman Maj Gen Sunsern Kaewkumnerd said that the government is pleased to learn that the Supreme Court has set up new departments to deal with cases of human-trafficking, drug-related crimes and corruption as well as unscrupulous activities of state officials.

These departments have been officially opened since June 13 due to the continued rise in these types of cases. They will be working independently, said the spokesman.

According to Maj Gen Sunsern, these departments will help accelerate the proceedings against all related cases, while their introduction shows how much all three branches of Thailand’s government, including the executive branch, the legislative branch and the judicial branch, are related.

He added that these departments also reflect Thailand’s recognition of the importance of the fight against human-trafficking, narcotics and corruption.


Govt set to match education reform with students’ needss

BANGKOK, 13 June 2015 (NNT) Prime Minister Prayut Cha-ocha has unveiled a number of educational plans which he claims would serve the needs of students and society.

During his weekly TV talk program, PM Prayut spoke about the 2015-2020 education reform strategies which cover three major areas namely teaching, vocational skill development and education management.

According to Gen Prayut, the most urgent mission for the government is to raise the literacy rate in primary schools. The government is urging schools to revive the spelling system in the teaching of grade 1 pupils. The campaign will continue until Mar 2016 after which time its achievement will be assessed.

Regarding the vocational skill development, new courses will be introduced at educational opportunity expansion schools and those in the five special economic zones to boost vocational skills of learners. English teaching at basic education level will be adjusted to serve the needs of students and society. At the same time, distance learning will be upgraded to boost the quality of learners.

As for personnel development, the government will launch more training for school directors, educators and educational supervisors to enhance their abilities.


Suphanburi holds a hearing forum on national reform

SUPHANBURI, 13 June 2015, (NNT) Suphanburi Province yesterday held a public hearing forum on the national reform during which locals suggested that schools reintroduce caning to discipline students.

The event was attended by more than 80 representatives from local administration offices, community council members, and various organizations.

According to the Election Commission office in the province, a suggestion has been made to leave education institutes free from political influences. In the past, politicians and government units often disturb school activities in order to introduce themselves or some kinds of campaigns. The EC office pointed out that such activities should be eliminated or minimized.

Those taking part in the hearing also suggested that schools reintroduce caning as a way to discipline students. Other interesting points of advice include the measures preventing nepotism by politicians and strengthening of the current election regulation.


Preventive measures against MERS stepped up for Hajj pilgrims

BANGKOK, 13 June 2015 (NNT) The Department of Disease Control has increased preventive measures against the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) for Thai Muslims leaving for Saudi Arabia on Hajj pilgrimage.

The announcement came after the Ministry of Public Health recently declared the disease as a dangerous communicable disease, in accordance with the 1980 Communicable Disease Act. The law dictates those who are suspicious of contracting the disease to immediately contact public health officials for assistance.

The Director-General of the Department of Disease Control, Dr. Sophon Mekthon, revealed his agency is extremely concerned about the health of Thai Hajj pilgrims leaving for Saudi Arabia. About 10,000 Thai Muslims go on the pilgrimage every year.

Dr. Sophon added that 40 medical officers have been dispatched to Saudi Arabia to look after Thai pilgrims. The officials are opening a field hospital with 20 beds near the site of pilgrimage for emergency assistance. Those having suspicious symptoms will be put under the officials’ surveillance program for 30 days.


Buddhists and Muslims visit 4th Annual Yala Fair

YALA, 13 June 2015 (NNT) Yala Chamber of Commerce kicked off the 4th annual Yala Fair with goals of stimulating the local economy and regaining the public confidence.

The event, which would last until tomorrow, offers a wide range of products and foods from both Thai Buddhists and Thai Muslims who have been affected by the southern violence in the province.

The fair’s main objectives are to boost the province’s economy, gaining the public confidence, generating income, relieving stress from the southern violence, and preparing the area for the approaching ASEAN Economic Community.

The provincial chamber of commerce hoped that the fair would bring back the economic momentum affected by the violent incidents in the region. The office also deemed that the event would boost morale for the locals who are constantly facing dangers in their daily lives.


PM urges Thais to be health conscious amidst MERS outbreak

BANGKOK, 12 June 2015 (NNT) Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has suggested the Thai people to be mindful of their health following the emergence of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in South Korea while affirming the government is strictly on guard against the disease.

Speaking on his television program “Returning Happiness to the People”, Prime Minister Prayut encouraged the general public to lead a healthy lifestyle and follow sanitary practices in a bid to reduce the risk of being infected with the MERS virus, which has spread from the Middle East to South Korea. He also cited the approaching rainy season in Thailand as a factor conducive to the growth of germs and the spread of diseases.

However, as of now, no confirmed cases of MERS have been reported in Thailand. Regarding the implementation of precautionary measures, the premier said he has assigned the Ministry of Public Health to place the same level of importance on the disease as it previously did on SARS, bird flu and Ebola.

The Prime Minister elaborated that the Department of Disease Control is currently conducting preventative work, providing advice to risk groups, monitoring infection-prone places and taking care of people arriving from infected countries. He also urged the public to contact the department at hotline number 1422 should they wish to learn more about the MERS virus or report suspicious cases.


Officials and traders in Suvarnabhumi Airport meet to ensure synchronized action against MERS

SAMUT PRAKAN, 12 June 2015 (NNT) The Airports of Thailand Plc called a meeting of authorities and entrepreneurs operating at Suvarnabhumi Airport to keep them on the same track of prevention against MERS-CoV, Deputy General Manager of Suvarnbhumi Airport Phet Chan-charoen said.

Attending the meeting today were, among others, representatives of the Bangkok Airways Board, airlines operators, Immigration Division, Customs Department, as well as the Communicable Disease Control Office, Ministry of Public Health.

Though MERS surveillance has not been upgraded inside the airport, Mr.Phet emphasized that close observation is vital. All passengers are suggested to avoid going to countries in risk of the virus outbreak. In case they need to do so, they should follow official instructions and perform proper self-protection.

Thai authorities confirmed the virus outbreak has not affected flight schedules between Thailand and South Korea or between the Middle East and South Korea.

At the initial stage, thermoscan infrared cameras have been installed in the airport at three points. Two points are at Zone 2 and 3 of the Immigration Office and another one is at Concourse E.

A senior official of the Communicable Disease Control Office revealed that main target passengers are those returning from countries in risk of the deadly virus outbreak. Passengers of such flights will receive on-board self care guidance. On their arrival at Suvarnabhumi, each of them is provided with a personal self-protection set which comprises hand washing gel and face mask.


MFA continues monitoring MERS epidemic in Korea

BANGKOK, 12 June 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has announced that it will continue to monitor the MERS-CoV pandemic in South Korea and warned Thai nationals be cautious regarding infection.

The MFA Spokesman Sek Wannamethee revealed that the MFA held a meeting with related agencies such as the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Labour, and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports regarding the spread of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in South Korea.

He said that most cases were found in Daejong City in the northwestern region of South Korea, while only 19 percent of the total 90,000 Thai nationals in Korea live in risk areas, and there are currently no reports that any Thai nationals have been infected.

The World Health Organization still has not imposed travel restrictions to South Korea, retaining actions only on the monitoring level.

The MFA Spokesman also warned Thai nationals who reside in or are traveling to South Korea in taking extra precautions by taking care of their health, wearing sanitary masks over their nose and mouth, washing their hands frequently, avoid being in public places and avoid those with suspected symptoms.

Thai nationals in South Korea who exhibit any symptoms of MERS, such as a fever, should immediately seek medical attention and inform the Royal Thai Embassy in Seoul tel. 824 371 9777 to receive intensive care.


PPP Committee approves green energy plants projects

BANGKOK, 12 June 2015 (NNT) The Public-Private Partnership Policy Committee (PPP Committee) has approved two co-investment projects with a total budget of 6.6 billion baht, says the Deputy Prime Minister.

Deputy Prime Minister M.R.Pridiyathorn Devakula has revealed the outcome of the 4/2015 PPP Committee meeting, that the meeting assessed big investment projects with values over 5 billion baht in accordance to the national development plan, and appointed the private sector to further analyze the potential side-effects of these investments in the future.

At this meeting, 2 out of 65 projects were approved by the committee, including the construction of waste-to-energy power plants in Nonthaburi and Nakhon Ratchasima province, with a cost of 4.4 and 2.2 billion baht respectively.

The DPM has said that investments in infrastructure such as metro rail-lines, motorways, highways, and cargo ports are set to commence next year in keep with the designated plan. The Ministry of Transport is currently now conducting the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the projects, which will be presented to the PPP Committee.


Drought situation doesn’t increase products prices

NONTHABURI, 12 June 2015 (NNT) The current drought situation has not caused the price of products to change, while prices increase seasonally at a rate of 3-5 percent, says the DIT Deputy Director-General.

Mr. Suchart Sinrat, the Deputy Director-General of the Department of Internal Trade (DIT) has revealed that the Ministry of Commerce has not received any reports regarding any unusual price adjustments, adding that the current drought situation poses no significant threats that could affect market prices.

The DIT's daily inspection on prices has seen a 3-5 percent increase to consumption products such as vegetables, pork, and chicken due to the season's low production rate.

From the beginning of this year, about 1,000 complaints have been filed to the 1569 hotline. Most complaints are about the price of the cooking gas, which the DIT has already solved the problem, according to the Deputy Director-General.

The DIT will be holding the ‘Campaign Award’ calling to students to submit their creative videos that will help raise public awareness on intelligent spending through various media channels. Interested candidates can visit the www.dit.go.th website for more details on the campaign.


Loei gears up for ghost festival

LOEI, June 2015 (NNT) The northeastern province of Loei is gearing up for the world-renown ghost festival, which will take place in late June.

The ghost festival, locally known as Phi Ta Khon, was a unique celebration of Dan Sai district. It is believed that the festival was influenced by the story of Prince Vessantara, the Buddha-to-be. Loei Governor Wirote Jiwarangsan announced the festivities in a press conference.

The festival consists of three days of activities, including a parade of ghosts, games, the firing of rockets, costume and dance contests as well as religious and merit-making rites. The exotic Phi Ta Khon ghost procession makes the annual event a must-see for both Thai and foreign visitors. The local ghost is also the symbol of the Loei City Football Club.

The ghost festival will be held between June 26 and 28 in front of Dan Sai District Office.


Leatherware sales event on June 19-28 in BKK

BANGKOK, 9 June 2015, (NNT) The Ministry of Commerce and the private sector are planning to organize a leatherware sale event from June 19 - 28 at Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP)’s convention hall 1 & 2 in Bangkok.

The event is a joint effort between the DITP and the Thai Leathergoods Association, according to the Association Vice-President Veera Lertruang Punyavut.

He said that continued demand for the Kingdom’s leatherware has cushioned the industry from the underperforming export sector. Popular items include handbags, shoes, and phone cases.

Mr. Veera said the leatherware industry grew 4 percent in first four months of the year, and expected exports to reach 2 billion dollars or 67.4 billion baht in 2015.

The Association VP expected more than 200 companies to participate in the sales event, which targets 20 million baht in revenue and 25,000 attendees. He believes the fair will spark public interest in leatherware.


Thailand showcases agricultural potential at Expo Milano 2015

BANGKOK, 8 June 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has been tasked with representing Thailand in the Expo Milano 2015 in Milan, Italy, from May 1 to October 31.

The Expo Milano is held once every five years to showcase each member country’s social and economic development. This year's event is held under the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.” Participants will come from 144 countries, and Italy targets 20 million people in attendance.

Thailand’s delegates held their exhibition under the theme “Nourishing and Delighting the World,” with an emphasis on showcasing Thailand as the world’s kitchen.

The goal is to create confidence in Thai food products and materials, emphasizing the diversity of produce and its many flavors. The exhibition promotes Thai produce as having the highest food safety standards in the region, with rigorous security policies and state-of-the-art food processing.

Other exhibitions by Thailand showcase Thailand’s agricultural history, its abundance of natural resources, branding, as well as the achievements of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej in the field of agricultural development.


 

DAILY UPDATE

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Government hopes new courts to help rid Thailand of criminals

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Suphanburi holds a hearing forum on national reform

Preventive measures against MERS stepped up for Hajj pilgrims

Buddhists and Muslims visit 4th Annual Yala Fair

PM urges Thais to be health conscious amidst MERS outbreak

Officials and traders in Suvarnabhumi Airport meet to ensure synchronized action against MERS

MFA continues monitoring MERS epidemic in Korea

PPP Committee approves green energy plants projects

Drought situation doesn’t increase products prices

Loei gears up for ghost festival

Leatherware sales event on June 19-28 in BKK

Thailand showcases agricultural potential at Expo Milano 2015

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