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Foreign Affairs Min asks embassies & consulates to update world on Thai MERS-CoV prevention

BANGKOK, 21 June 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has requested all Thai embassies and consulates to assure foreign countries of Thailand’s tight MERS-CoV prevention measures.

Thai embassies and consulates were urged to use their available channels to explain the Ministry of Public Health’s strict disease-control and prevention, such as the execution of surveillance measures at airports and hospitals, installation of body temperature measurement equipment at all airports, circulation of anti-MERS-CoV guidelines among all airlines operating in risk-prone countries, and distribution of face masks.

The move is expected to convince foreign visitors of the country’s efforts to deal with the situation. The country has so far reported one confirmed case of MERS-CoV. Those in close contact with the patient are immediately quarantined for close monitoring in line with international standards. World Health Organisation also hailed the country for its swift response to the infection.


DDC advises public not to panic on MERS disease

NONTHABURI, 21 June 2015 (NNT) The Department of Disease Control (DDC) has released its weekly publication, warning the public not to believe in rumors about the MERS disease and urged the people to call the 1422 hotline for factual information.

DDC’s Bureau of Risk Communication and Behaviour Development has issued the weekly publication that contains information on the measures employed to monitor and prevent the spread of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) disease in Thailand.

According to the publication from 1 January - 19 June 2015, 38 potential risk individuals had been identified. The individuals had traveled from the Middle East and South Korea but all lab rests have shown negative results. The only confirmed MERS patient, a middle-eastern man, was discovered on 20 June 2015. Three of his relatives and 175 persons who had come in contact with the patient have been isolated to monitor for the MERS infection.

Lab tests have proven that the relatives of the patient and those in contact are not infected with MERS. However, they will continue to be monitored in a continuously and serious manner.

The public are advised against believing any rumors regarding the disease, while the Ministry of Public Health will continue to provide certified information to the public. The public are advised to continue their lives as normal, and to trust in the nation's disease prevention system.

The publication claimed that Thai people in general are not at risk of being infected with MERS unless they have been traveling to countries where the MERS epidemic has been confirmed. Travelers from these risk countries should wear masks and immediately seek medical attention if any signs of fever, cough, sore throat, and runny nose occurs within 14 days after returning to Thailand.

The public are also urged to practice a healthy lifestyle by eating warm and cooked food, using serving spoons when handling food, washing their hands frequently, and to avoid contact with unwell patients. The public can call the DDC’s 1422 hotline for information should they have any questions on this matter.


NLA’s Jate calls for more open-mindedness about casino legalization

BANGKOK, 21 June 2015 (NNT) A member of the National Legislative Assembly has called on the public to be more open-minded about a proposal to legalize a casino operation in Thailand.

NLA whip spokesman Jate Sirataranont said that he neither opposes nor supports a proposal by his fellow NLA members to enable casino legalization with the aim being to bring in revenue to boost the economy.

Mr. Jate said that both the people who made the proposal and those who oppose it, have good reasons to support their views.

However, he acknowledges that the idea is controversial and would not likely survive an anti-gambling campaign just as in the past when such a proposal was rejected by society.

Mr. Jate also suggested that there remain several steps for the proposal to go through and even if the National Reform Council were ever to agree to it, implementation would still not be easy.


NRC’s anti-corruption committee denies rumors of a plan to reject draft charter

BANGKOK, 21 June 2015 (NNT) The chairman of a committee under the National Reform Council has denied rumors that the reform council is planning to reject the draft Constitution.

The Chairman of the NRC’s committee on anti-corruption Pramon Sutivong said that the National Legislative Assembly’s unanimous vote to amend the Provisional Constitution was an acceptable decision.

Such a development has effectively shortened the term of the NRC, which will now end within two months.

Mr. Pramon said that, despite a shorter term in office, members of the reform council will still be able to complete their tasks before handing over any unfinished missions to the next legislative body that will carry on with the reform efforts.

He also stated that rumors of an NRC plan to reject the draft charter is groundless, adding that the reform council will decide what it thinks of the draft Constitution only after reviewing its content.


NLA to deliberate impeachment of 248 former MPs on June 25-26

BANGKOK, 22 June 2015 (NNT) Members of the National Legislative Assembly are scheduled to meet before the end of the month to deliberate the impeachment of hundreds of former members of parliament.

NLA President Pornpetch Pornpetch Wichitcholchai has issued an invitation to all members of the legislature to a sitting on June 25 and 26 to discuss an urgent agenda.

One area of discussion is the deliberation of the draft Kalasin University Act which has been vetted by the special committee tasked with the process.

On June 26, the NLA is scheduled to hold an open debate on the regulations and a request for a permit to open a new sugar plant or to relocate the existing one.

The legislature will also review the operations of the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives.

Last on its agenda is the debilitation of an impeachment motion against 248 former MPs for their involvement in the illegal amendment of the previous Constitution.


Bangkok invites people to get HIV tests twice a year for free

BANGKOK, 21 June 2015 (NNT) The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration is launching a campaign on “Voluntary Counselling and Testing Day (VCT Day) for HIV 2015” at the Bangkok Railway Station (Hua Lampong), hoping to encourage Bangkokians to get free HIV tests twice a year at any BMA Health Centers.

Deputy Governor of Bangkok Pusadee Tamthai who presided over the launching ceremony said the BMA aims to raise public awareness of the need to get HIV inspections on a constant basis. Men who have Sex with Men (MSM), prostitutes, and injecting drug users are the main target groups of the campaign as they are in highest risk of HIV infection and transmission.

According to Mrs.Pusadee, there are over 61,600 people infected with HIV/AIDS, but only 49,000 of them realized their infections and received proper medical treatment. The rest of the victims do not know the infection as they avoided HIV testing. Some of the tested persons ignored the testing result. This delays their opportunity to have good treatment and these persons possibly become the virus transmitters.

At the site of the campaign, HIV/AIDS networks and related societies jointly set up exhibition booths to educate people about prevention of HIV/AIDS and other sexual transmitted diseases. Free consultancy and HIV testing are also available there. A fashion show of clothes using condoms as raw materials was the highlight of the event.


Ombudsman to suggest drought solutions to Government

BANGKOK, 21 June 2015 (NNT) The ombudsman will be suggesting the procedures on sustainable drought management to the government, and will meet with the public to help resolve inequalities issues and ensure that the public has access to governmental services.

Chief Ombudsman Siracha Vongsarayankura has said that the Office of the Ombudsman is currently gathering suggestions on drought management to be submitted to the government and related agencies, in the wake of widespread complaints made regarding water shortage and the numerous requests for compensation.

The office has also received complaints that some people were missing from the list naming those affected by the drought. This has diminished equality in aid provisions. There were also reports of sluggish aiding processes of the agencies, suspicious processing, and problems regarding impractical aid projects.

Suggestions to the government will be made from the information gathered by related agencies such as the Royal Irrigation Department, the Department of Water Resources, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, and the Department of Groundwater Resources on their policies and obstacles to performance on drought-related operations.

The survey will include findings from the affected public's request for help, participation, and other needs. This survey will be compiled into a research that will enhance the government’s operations.

The Chief Ombudsman has added that the office is willing to support the government’s policies in may areas such as resolving social inequalities, ensuring public to access governmental services, and to maximize good governance in all areas of the country.

He has said that the public should be more aware to the role of the ombudsman in promoting morals and encouraging good governance in public agencies. Once the people’s rights to file complaints are ensured, a quick solution will return the happiness to the people.


Officials must quickly respond to both drought and floods, PM reiterates

BANGKOK, 21 June 2015 (NNT) Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered local authorities and Provincial Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Centers to be ready in responding to both the drought and floods happening in different parts of Thailand, revealed Deputy Government Spokesperson Sansern Kaewkamnerd.

Sansern said natural disasters in the country are now more complexed. While the Central and the North are under the effect of the drought, another part of Thailand like Phetchabun Province is facing flooding, storms and run-off due to Southwest Monsoon.

“Officials should be able to adjust their operations to changing situation. In flooded area, they must quickly divert water to Kaem Ling water detention zones and local reservoirs. This would relieve the flooding impacts on local communities whereas the diverted water are reserved for agricultural and consuming purposes,” added Sansern.

Gen Prayut expressed his thank through him to rainmaker teams flying from the South to conduct rainmaking operations in the central region and the North. He was quoted as saying that though rainmaking operations could not completely stop the water crisis, the water situation was on an improving trend.

Since 1 March, 2,728 rainmaking flights have been conducted, and 92.1 per cent of the flights were successful.


Flowers, Ornamental Plants and Fish Festival earns over THB20m in 16 days

BANGKOK, 21 June 2015 (NNT) The Flowers, Ornamental Plants and Fish Festival at Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem canal near the Government House has received enthusiastic response from the public particularly during the “Golden Minute” and the “Cactus Gardening Show” which have become daily highlights.

The Golden Minute from 3 p.m. - 3.30 p.m. offers buyers ornamental plants at big discounts like Pemphis Acidula Bonsai being sold at THB100,000 from its normal price of THB150,000. An ornamental fish auction which is held an hour afterwards also proves a great attraction everyday. The event also features a series of discussions on a wide range of topics such as Thai Flowerhorn Crossbreed Fishes.

One of the visitors at the festival said she was a plant lover and felt satisfied with all aspects of the event be it location, easy access, reasonable prices, interesting activities and definitely the quality of products sold there.

During 5-20 June 2015, more than 83,400 visitors had attended the festival, generating around 21 million baht worth of income to traders. The event is still open to the public until 28 June 2015 from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.


Main agendas of draft permanent constitution unchanged amid revisions

BANGKOK, 22 June 2015 (NNT) The main intentions behind the original draft of the permanent charter will remain unaltered although revisions will be made to the draft, according to Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) spokesman General Lertrat Rattanawanit.

According to Gen. Lertrat, the 30 extra days for the CDC to work on the revisions to the draft charter, made possible by the stipulations within the interim constitution, will be used by the CDC in making sure that revisions are more carefully made. A timeframe has already been established in which CDC members will take until Tuesday to go over the main contents of the revision. From Wednesday onward, the CDC members will deliberate the revisions section by section.

Gen. Lertrat said the revisions were not being made solely based on proposals from the 8 NRC committees, but also based on the proposals of the Cabinet, the civic sector, political parties and other establishments. He noted, however, that the original agendas of the draft permanent constitution would remain intact.

The CDC is expected to meet all 8 NRC committees in the first week of August for additional discussions on the revisions. The revised draft will be sent to the NRC on August 12, Gen. Lertrat added.


Village headmen association opposed to termination of power of local governance

BANGKOK, 22 June 2015 (NNT) Representatives of the association of village headmen of Thailand have called on the National Reform Council and the Constitution Drafting Committee to retain within the draft charter the power of local administrations.

Yongyot Kaewkhiao (ยงยศ แก้วเขียว) , president of the village headmen association, yesterday submitted a letter to the NRC to express the association’s objection to the termination of local administrative powers as stipulated by the draft charter. He argued that the system of local governance played a key role in ensuring the well-being of people and in reinforcing security and orderliness in the country.

Mr. Yongyot added that local governing bodies were able to gain access to the populace quickly and optimally, and the termination of the existing system could have detrimental results on the central government’s planning, use of resources and maintenance of internal security. He indicated that the retention of existing powers of local governance would benefit check-and-balance processes and would be appropriate for the current condition of Thai society.


NLA passes new buildings regulation law into use

BANGKOK, 22 June 2015 (NNT) The National Legislative Assembly has passed the draft bill on importation and exportation in its first reading, and has put the bill on buildings regulation into use.

In its first reading, NLA members voted 175 in favor of the bill on exportation and importation of good, which was proposed to the NLA by the Cabinet. The draft bill will replace the current Act that has been in effect for 36 years. Lawmakers indicated the new bill would be more appropriate to handle the ever-increasing volume of transnational transport of goods by providing better measures against goods smuggling and measures to protect the benefit of the state.

The NLA also passed the draft bill on buildings regulation in its third reading, making it into law. The bill was passed with the vote of 176 to nil in favor.

The new law is aimed at keeping with modern construction techniques. It also requires construction company to purchase insurance coverage for third parties in cases of losses related to certain types of buildings.


Chainat and Thammasat University join hands giving English lessons to locals

CHAINAT, 22 June 2015, (NNT) The province of Chainat and Thammasat University Language Institute are joining hands giving English lessons to the locals, from June 21 - 25. The program is to to prepare residents, civil servants, and the private sector in the area for the advent of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

According to organizers, English is a universal language and widely used in the ASEAN region. Those who can use the language proficiently stand to gain tremendous advantages over those who can not.

Realizing the importance of the English language and the AEC, the province of Chainat and Thammasat University are holding a program for 60 selected individuals from the government and the private as well as the public sectors from 8 districts of the province to hone up on their language skills.

The participants are expected to be able to communicate better in English after attending the program, while having a better understanding of the ASEAN cultural, and economic as well as social backgrounds.


TLSC says minimum wage rise should be 360 baht in every province next year

BANGKOK, 22 June 2015 (NNT) The Thai Labor Solidarity Committee (TLSC) and members of the labor networks nationwide will be in Bangkok to urge the Prime Minister to enforce the same minimum wage rise across the country.

According to the TLSC President, Wilaiwan Sae-tia, the TLSC has recently submitted a petition to to Labor Minister General Surasak Kanjanarat and the Ministry of Labor Permanent Secretary, who is also a chairman of the Central Wage Committee (CWC), to consider applying the same wage of 360 baht to every province next year.

The Central Wage Committee previously said it would maintain the 300 baht minimum wage until 2015 before increasing it in the following year. The TLSC has claimed the rate should be the same throughout the country as more workers are struggling to cope with higher daily expenses.

However, the CWC said the new rate would vary regionally depending on the local economy. The TLSC, meanwhile, revealed in its recent survey that workers needed an average of 360 baht per day simply to survive.

The TLSC President further added that the TLSC would join other labor networks this Thursday at the Equestrian Statue of King Rama the 5th, before walking to the Government House to submit the petition to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.


Tap water is not salty despite water crisis in the Chao Phraya, MWA confirms

BANGKOK, June 2015 (NNT) The quality and taste of tap water in the metropolitan area still meet the standards despite a water shortage in Chao Phraya River, confirmed Director of the Corporate Communication Department of the Metropolitan Waterworks Authority (MWA) Jutharat Somjitranukit on Friday.

The Director explained that technically the water will turn salty only when Electrical Conductivity (EC) in water supply reaches 1,200 units. However, current EC in the water is approximately at 160-550 units. The public therefore should not be worried.

The MWA will inform changes in the EC to the public periodically. For those who are still concerned over the water quality can check the EC figure online by themselves by visiting http://twqonline.mwa.co.th.

About the MWA’s suggestion for each household to reserve 60 liters of water supply, Mrs. Jutharat said that it was only a preparatory measure in case the EC value keeps going beyond 700 units and climbing up to 1,200, the level which can turn the water salty. The situation mostly occurs during spring tidal period on a Buddhist Holy Day. Above all, she stressed that people should use water wisely.


Khon Kaen to celebrate 40 years Thailand - China relations

KHON KAEN, June 2015 (NNT) Khon Kaen province and China have joined hands in holding cultural performances that will celebrate the 40 years of diplomatic relations between Thailand and China.

The Governor of Khon Kaen Kamthorn Thavonsatit and the Consul-General of China to Thailand at Khon Kaen Li Minggang held a press conference regarding the upcoming celebrations of the 40th anniversary of Thailand and China's diplomatic relations.

The Governor of Khon Kaen said that provinces in the northeastern region of Thailand possess a cultural identity that is relatable to several Chinese sister cities. He added that the province of Khon Kaen has been working with the Consulate General of China on the exchange of famous Chinese arts and cultural performances that will commence on 22 June 2015 at the Khon Kaen University's Convention Center.

Performing for the Thai audience in Khon Kaen at this cultural showcase, China has selected Sichuan Province to represent the country through various cultural performances that will include dancing, singing, acrobatics, opera, and tea ceremony. Khon Kaen University will present the University's own northeastern Thai cultural performances at the event.

The event will be attended by the ambassadors to Thailand from many countries, along with the Consul-General of China and ASEAN countries that currently reside in Khon Kaen Province, and governors of the 20 northeastern provinces in Thailand.

The event will mark the grand opening of the Consulate General of China in Khon Kaen province, which will provide consulate services to 20 Thai northeastern provinces.

On this occasion, the Chinese Consul-General has said that the Consulate General of China in Khon Kaen has been established from both countries' agreement on the three-year operation plan.

The Consulate General officially opens on 22 June 2015, and will be providing services to the public living in the northeastern region of Thailand in services such as visa issuance, customs services, and investment information from 29 June 2015 onwards.

China's Sichuan Province will also bring with them Chinese entrepreneurs who will present their promotions in a roadshow at the event as well.


Princess Soamsawali opens ‘Puen Pueng Pa Kaset Fair 2015’

BANGKOK, 20 June 2015 (NNT) Her Royal Highness Princess Soamsawali yesterday presided over the opening of the annual Puen Pueng Pa Kaset Fair 2015 at Kasetsart University Bangkhen Campus.

The fair is jointly organized by the Friends in Need (of “Pa”) Volunteer Foundation of the Thai Red Cross and Kasetsart University to honor Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on the occasion of her fifth cycle birthday anniversary, April 2, 2015.

This year’s fair is held under the theme of “Organic Agriculture, Way of Sufficiency Nuturing Thai Farms”, to demonstrate how organic farming in line with His Majesty the King’s Sufficiency Economy brings sustainable growth and living. The event is also intended to publicize research work, organic farm products and other agricultural innovations that Kasetsart University has successfully developed to the commercial scale such as processed food and desserts from the new riceberry rice variety, and the production of biogas from water hyacinth using natural microbe. The biogas gained through the technique has proven beneficial to the production of alternative energy for household use on a sustainable basis.

“Puen Pueng Pa Kaset Fair 2015” also offers a wide selection of gardening and kitchen plants, pet animals, One Tambon One Product goods, and mouth-watering dishes including seafood offered in the floating-market style. The fair will continue until June 28, with proceeds going to support activities of the Friends in Need (of “Pa”) Volunteer Foundation.


Thai entrepreneurs to strike deals with Cambodian counterparts

SURIN, June 2015 (NNT) Entrepreneurs from the northeastern provinces of Thailand are set to establish a cooperation in agricultural products and business matching, at a meeting in Cambodia later this month.

The Vice Governor of Surin Winai Torgchitpitak today chaired the preparatory meeting for Thai entrepreneurs prior to attending the meeting that will establish Contract Farming deals and Business Matching negotiations with Cambodia.

The Thailand - Cambodia meeting, this year entering the third year, will be held at Ankor Era Hotel in Siem Reap, Cambodia, on 14-16 June 2015. The meeting will be attended by delegates from 5 Cambodian provinces namely Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear, Kampong Thom, Stung Treng, and Siem Reap. These delegates are expected to sign agreements with the Thai entrepreneurs from the provinces of Nakhon Ratchasima, Buriram, Surin, Chaiyaphum, Ubon Ratchathani, and Sisaket.

The establishment of contract farming and business matching deals are expected to yield concrete outcomes and promote confidence among both nations' entrepreneurs.

Both countries will co-develop various products for benefits in agriculture, consumer products and tourism. Products and packages on the list include tapioca, soy, pepper, input factors for agricultural goods, vehicles and parts, and tourism packages.

During the preparatory meeting, the main obstacles in previous proceedings of this campaign have been identified as language barrier, a minimized entrepreneurial diversity, and the limited flexibility of border crossings.


Operation COBRA III achieves huge success in seizing wildlife contraband

BANGKOK, June 2015 (NNT) Royal Thai Police have announced the success of a month-long international global wildlife enforcement operation, code named "COBRA III" in tackling transnational environmental crime, especially wildlife and forest crime and involved taking action against crime syndicates engaged in poaching wildlife.
The Operation, coordinated by the Bangkok-based International Coordination Team (ICT), was carried out from 4th-27th May this year with the participation of officers drawn from wildlife protection, Customs, Police, Forestry, and other law enforcement and inter-governmental agencies from 62 countries all over the globe.
Armed with information and intelligence on wildlife and forest crime at an international level, authorities assembled a multi-agency team to seek and capture the perpetrators, at a national level.
The Operation was conducted across source, transit and destination countries where gangs engage in wildlife contraband, encompassing Africa, Asia, America and Europe. In Thailand, it led to more than 300 arrests of suspects including kingpins, and over 600 seizures of various wildlife contraband, including 12 metric tons of elephant ivory, 119 rhino horns, 10 metric tons of rosewood and 344 black terrapin turtles, as well as firearms and ammunition.
The outstanding result of the Operation in Thailand included seizure of over 4.3 tons in ivory, which is one of the largest elephant ivory hauls ever.
The shipment was on its way from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Lao PDR, as well as the seizure of 3.1 tons of ivory from Kenya.
The Operation was conducted under the Chairmanship of the Association of South East Asian Nations Wildlife Enforcement Network, Law Enforcement Extension Office (ASEAN-WEN LEEO)


Uttaradit to host Thailand - Laos - Myanmar conference

UTTARADIT, June 2015 (NNT) Uttaradit province is set to host the ‘Phu Doo’ international conference between Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar in August covering economic, cultural, and world heritage matters, says the Vice Governor.

The Vice Governor of Uttaradit Veerachai Phuphiengjai has said that the province, in cooperation with the related agencies and the lower northern region provinces group 1, will host the Phu Doo international conference on 16-20 August 2015.

The meeting will be held for the purpose of studying the mutual economic and social development guidelines between the government, private, and business sectors of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar at the Phu Doo border crossing area as part of the economic, historical, cultural, and world heritage corridor development.

Attendees at this conference will include 300 delegates from the each countries' administrative agency, government agency, industrial federation, chamber of commerce, tourism association, banking association, business sector, and investors.

The president of the joint committee of the lower northern region provinces group 1 Thiti Wisawachaiwat has said that this meeting will bring the three countries together towards a better understanding that will help tighten their relations. He added that the common goal of the conference was to improve the people's quality of life through cooperation, which is an important principle for the realization of the ASEAN Community.

He said that that main agenda for this meeting will cover the economic opportunities, tourism integration, public health, logistics, and education.

A Memorandum of Understanding and a Memorandum of Agreement will also be signed in this event to establish concrete cooperative guidelines between the three countries.

Phu Doo is the third border crossing between Thailand and Laos located in Ban Khok Distirct in Uttaradit Province, which connects to the Sainyabuli Province of Laos PDR. This border crossing is a potential gateway for growth in business, trading, investment, and tourism.

Provincial members of the lower northern region provinces group 1 are Sukhothai, Tak, Phetchabun, and Phitsanulok.


UNICEF gives 3 mobile libraries to Mae Hong Son schools

MAE HONG SON, June 2015 (NNT) UNICEF has handed over three mobile libraries to the Mae Hong Son Primary Educational Service Area Office to foster learning for students in remote areas.

The handing-over ceremony of the three mobile libraries was chaired by Mae Hong Son governor Surapol Panas-amphon. Also witnessing the ceremony were teachers, students and educational personnel of the Mae Hong Son Primary Educational Service Area Office 1.

One of the donated library vans is for the Mae Hong Son Primary Educational Service Area Office 1 while the other two are given to the Primary Educational Service Area Office 2. The library vans will be sent out to different communities and schools to facilitate the learning of children in distant areas.

Mae Hong Son’s mountainous terrain was found to have limited access to basic education among children in faraway villages. A joint survey between UNICEF and Mae Hong Son Primary Educational Service Area Office found that as many as 1,250 children have yet to go to schools.

The mobile library project is part of the mission to extend educational opportunities to children throughout the province.


ICT sets 6 months to self-transform to Digital Ministry

BANGKOK, June 2015 (NNT) Minister of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Pornchai Rujiprapa revealed that the ICT Ministry has set a six-month timeframe for transforming itself to the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society.

For the next six months starting July 2015, the ICT ministry will lay down new administrative structure, regulatory changes and staff rearrangement in order to make the ministry a core unit to support the digital technology-based economy and industries. As a result, the Software Industry Promotion Agency (SIPA) under the ministry will be changed to the "Office of Digital Economy Promotion”.

The ICT Mministry has set five strategies in working with other units namely the development of physical infrastructure, the setting up of e-transaction security and confidence, creating infrastructure for digital services, the economic stimulation using digital technologies and the establishment of quality digital society.

The new Ministry of Digital Economy and Society and its affiliate -- the Office of Digital Economy Promotion, will be the main bodies to push forward the Thai economic growth. In a short-term goal, the government has aimed to upgrade competitiveness of the Thai business sector. Sustainable development of the Thai economy is the higher goal which is set to be achieved in a longer period.


Land Transport Dept upgrading toilet services at all bus terminals

SURAT THANI, June 2015 (NNT) The Land Transport Department is expediting the standardization of toilet services at all bus terminals in Thailand as a step to raise the country’s competitiveness ahead of the ASEAN Economic Community.

The provincial Public Relations officer of Surat Thani said the effort came as most toilets at bus terminals are found to be below international standard, having worn-out facilities and unhygienic conditions.

The Land Transport Department thus designed a model toilet and run it on a trial basis in order to use the information gained for renovation of other toilets across Thailand. The design is consistent with the Healthy Accessibility Safety (HAS) standard of the Department of Health.

The HAS standard requires that each bus terminal must have enough toilets for passengers with special facilities for wheelchair users. All toilets services should be free of charge.

The Land Transport Department is confident that the toilet improvement plan at all of its 60 bus terminals and nine others under the responsibilities of the Transport Co., Ltd., and the private sector will be completed by 30 September this year.

As for public toilets at 48 other bus terminals taken care by local administrative organizations, their renovation is pending budget allocations, the officer added.


Kamphaeng Phet schools & authorities co-launch anti-drug campaign

KAMPHAENG PHET, 19 June 2015 (NNT) The governor of Kamphaeng Phet province has signed an memorandum of understanding with school directors and the provincial police commander to launch an anti-drug campaign aimed at students.

The ‘One Police, One School’ campaign is aimed at preventing and solving drug problems, as well as other forms of vice in educational institutions. The campaign was prompted by a rash of youth drug abuse.

Under the program, police will be stationed at participating schools to screen students for drug addiction. Authorities will then arrange for them to enter rehabilitation facilities. Those who relapse will be subject to legal action.

Authorities and schools expect the campaign will help curb youth narcotics and will facilitate similar projects, such as the White Classroom Project and To Be Number One.


Kalasin villagers handle drought with govt aid projects

KALASIN, 19 June 2015 (NNT) Villagers in Phon Ngam district of the northeastern province of Kalasin have tapped into the government’s income creation program and used the funds to solve drought problems.

Residents of Phon Ngam spent part of the budgets from the employment program and the One Tambon One Million Baht project to build solar-powered water pumps. The renewable energy system led to employment opportunities in the community and alleviated the effects of the prolonged dry season.

Local people say the solar pumps help supply water to more than 400 rai of farmland in two villages, enabling their rice paddies to survive the crisis. They added that farmers switched to water-saving agriculture during the summer to ensure sufficient water supplies for consumption and farming.

The villagers commented that the government should continue to set aside budgets for the two aid projects, so that they can expand their water management system to all parts of the district.


Dao Din members face arrest for failing to report illegal gatherings

KHON KAEN, 19 June 2015 (NNT) Seven Khon Kaen university students who belong to the Dao Din group could be arrested for failing to report themselves to the police.

If the students fail to make an appearance on Thursday, the 7,500 baht bail put up for each student will be seized and the matter forwarded to military court. All suspects could be arrested once warrants are issued.

Armed forces and police have been stationed in Khon Kaen municipality to prevent activities by the group, which were deemed to incite public unrest.

Authorities had previously barred the activist group from holding a rally on June 24 in in the province to commemorate the 1932 Siamese Revolution. The students planned a rally to mark the revolution engineered by a military and civilian group.


Korat holds The National Conference & Research Presentation 2015

NAKHON RATCHASIMA, 19 June 2015 (NNT) Nakhon Ratchasima province held the National Conference & Research Presentation 2015 entitled “Create and Development to Approach ASEAN Community II.”

At Nakhon Ratchasima College, Deputy Governor Winai Wittayanukul presided over the second academic conference organized on June 18-19. The conference was meant to apply academic research to the benefit of society and subsequently, the ASEAN community.

The event also served as a stage to present academic research and innovations to the public, while also networking partnerships and collaborations with various organizations.

The event included a special lecture on Thai education in the ASEAN community, as well as presentations of 150 research papers across four academic fields. These include Education, Health Science, Science and Technology, and Social Science and Business Administration.


Chiang Mai officials meet to discuss smog prevention along Thailand - Myanmar border

CHIANG MAI, 19 June 2015, (NNT) A meeting on smog prevention along the Thailand - Myanmar border was held yesterday with Chiang Mai government and military units.

The meeting resolved to integrate work by regional units and expand the wildfire barrier along the national border from Ban Khop Dong to Ban Nor Lae. Local public relations offices have also resolved to share information on the smog situation in the region.

Over the past three years, the Mon Pin sub-district office and nearby Myanmar counterparts have been dealing with the same issues of smog issues. Officials from both nations have also attended sporting events and other cultural activities, as part of a bilateral relations program.

Smog in the region is usually triggered by locals in both countries, who burn forest areas looking for game and vegetation that thrives after wildfires


Nong Khai is building 20 permanent check dams to protect forests

NONG KHAI, 19 June 2015 (NNT) The northeastern province of Nong Khai has recently begun building 20 permanent check dams in Sangkhom District's Phu Nok Kraba forest area as part of its forest conservation program in 2015.

The program aims to make Phu Nok Kraba forest area a learning center on forest conservation and rehabilitation. Towards that goal, the province concurrently launches five other activities namely construction of an 8-km walkway for trekking and 30-km bushfire barrier, rehabilitation of 200 rai of deteriorated forest, reforestation of watershed areas covering 1,000 rai and erecting 944 integrated-system dams.

These programs aim at creating a network for environmental management cooperation, improving Nong Khai's eco-tourism scenes, while instilling the awareness of natural conservation into locals. The campaigns would also complement the province’s economic development when the ASEAN Economic Community comes into being very soon.


Agriculture Ministry yet to okay drought-hit farmers’ compensation plea

BANGKOK, 19 June 2015 (NNT) The Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives says the government has yet to consider approving an assistance package for drought-hit farmers, pending an initial survey of affected-farming areas the country.

In response to some farmers’ pleas for compensation of 3,000 baht per rai, Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Pitipong Pungbun na Ayutthaya said the government saw no need to issue measures to help farmers at the moment, following the ministry’s call for a delay in the annual rice farming until late July.

The call for the postponement of seasonal rice farming applies to 22 provinces along the Chao Phraya River as part of the government’s water management plan in face of the drought crisis.

Mr. Pitipong explained the ministry had yet to receive a report on farmers who were truly affected by the postponement of seasonal farming, adding that late July was still within the farming season. However, the minister disclosed that he had ordered officials to survey seasonal rice farming areas across the country to assess the severity of the drought crisis.


MSDHS visits youths, senior citizens and the disabled in Chonburi

CHONBURI, 19 June 2015, (NNT) Social Development and Human Security Minister Police General Adul Saengsingkaew yesterday visited youths, senior citizens and the disabled in Bang Lamung district, Chonburi province.

The ministry highlighted its policies for the three groups, saying it has established various supporting centers throughout the nation to achieve human rights equality.

The minister took the opportunity to instruct local officials and praised those who have adopted disabled youths from the centers. Pol. Gen. Adul said it is his ministry's policy to provide care, a chance to live a normal life, and a public service for these individuals.

His visit greatly boosted morale among related officials. The minister also donated daily provisions for 100 youths, senior citizens and the disabled in the province.


Mosque in Yala became lively on the first night of the Ramada month

YALA, 19 June 2015 (NNT) Many Thai Muslims in Yala province participated in a religious ceremony on the first night of the holy month of Ramadan yesterday after an entire day of fasting.

A large number of Thai Muslisms in Yala congregated at Hua Saphan Daeng Mosque last night to participate in the Lamad ceremony, known as the worship of the God’s kindness.

The holy month of Ramadan is a period during which Muslims worldwide commit to doing good deeds and refraining from all vices. According to Hua Saphan Daeng Mosque Committee member Adisorn Tapohtoh, Allah has chosen the holy month of Ramadan as the holiest one out of 12 months in a year.

Every Muslim is expected to participate in the Lamad ceremony. Some mosques require Muslims to do 8 rakaats, while others may require up to 20 rakaat in one session.

Rakaat is a collection of movements and words followed by Muslims while offering prayers to God. The higher the number of rakaat in the session, the closer it would bring the prayers to Allah and his principles.


Newin arrested and fined for violating traffic code

PATHUM THANI, 19 June 2015 (NNT) Buriram United Club President Newin Chidchob was yesterday arrested and fined for violating traffic code while returning from Bangkok to Buriram on his bike.

The Club President found riding on a cars-only lane on Pathum Thani road while leading a team of big bike riders from the capital. Traffic police pulled them over and informed them of the charge. Images of the episode shortly captured and quickly spread through the social media.

Newin and his entourage paid a fine of 400 baht each. He admired the official making the arrest, saying that all motorists must follow the traffic rules and violators should be punished without exception.

The Club President said when all conform to the regulations and officials strictly perform their duty, Thailand's road would become more secured for everyone.


Suphan Buri holds a vowing ceremony for former drug addicts leaving rehab

SUPHAN BURI, 19 June 2015 (NNT) The Governor of Suphan Buri yesterday presided over a vowing ceremony for former drug addicts leaving a rehabilitation program organized by the province.

The program is in line with this year’s government policy to reduce the number of drug-related offences and addicts through rehabilitation methods.

About 650 drug addicts had undergone Suphan Buri's rehabilitation program. They went through numerous activities and lectures designed to change their habit and give them a guideline to a drug-free life so that they could reintegrate back into the society. The oath-taking ceremony marked the closure of the program in the current fiscal year and was witnessed by chiefs of several government units in the province.


Hospitals urged to allow patients to buy their own medicines

BANGKOK, 19 June 2015 (NNT) The Department of Internal Trade (DIT) has instructed hospitals to allow patients to buy their own medicines in a bid to solve overpriced drugs sold in the hospitals.

DIT Director General Boonyarit Kalayanamit said it was difficult for the DIT to keep prices of medicinal drugs under control because of the enormous number of types and brands of medicines sold in Thailand.

He elaborated that the DIT committee on solutions to overpriced drugs had resolved to require drug manufacturers and distributors to display prices on the packages and that all hospitals must sold drugs at the indicated prices. Hospitals must also allow patients to buy prescribed medicines at a pharmacy. The DIT Director General added that the Ministry of Public Health would later explain the new measures to those involved in an attempt to keep drugs at affordable prices.

The Central Committee on Goods and Services, which has the DIT as its secretary, will issue an official announcement on the measures before they can be enforced. Those violating this law will receive a maximum fine of 100,000 baht or a jail term of not more than 5 years or face both.


Royal Thai Army showing support to Muslim community in the holy month of Ramadan

BANGKOK, 19 June 2015 (NNT) To show his support to Thai Muslims during the fasting period, Army Commander General Udomdej Sitabutr is visiting Thailand’s restive south to provide healthy food and other necessities to the Thai Muslim community during the holy month of Ramadan.

According to International Security Command Operation (ISOC) Spokesperson Colonel Banpot Poonpian, the Army Chief will also visit the army units in the Deep South during his trip to show moral support to the Thai Muslims.

The Thai authorities in the areas have also organized a Lamad Sunat ceremony, and vowed to refrain from all vices alongside the Thai Muslim community.

Meanwhile, Fourth Region Army Commander Lieutenant Prakarn Cholayut has also visited the Central Islamic Council of Thailand, Yala’s Office, and presented palm dates, rice and beverages to the council officials, to show his support to the Thai Muslims during the fasting period.


NRC opposed to legalizing casinos in Thailand

BANGKOK, 19 June 2015 (NNT) A National Reform Council (NRC) member opposes the idea that Thailand should open a casino to stimulate economic growth.

An NRC member, Sira Jane-ja-kha said on Thursday he strongly objected to the idea of legalizing casinos in Thailand, saying it would have a negative impact on the country. His comment came after the Royal Thai Police Chief had expressed his support for the idea.

According to Mr. Sira, legalizing casinos isn’t the only way to bring about economic prosperity, explaining further that the government should instead promote the economy through tourism and sports campaign rather than spurring it by means of gambling.

Interior Minister General Anupong Paojinda, meanwhile, said this was a sensitive issue and all factors involved should be taken into consideration. He urged the public to think twice about the pros and cons before voting whether Thailand should legalize gambling.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said people could express their support or opposition under the democratic principles, and that he was willing to listen to all opinions. However, there is no need to organize a public forum over this, neither for the government to consider the issue at this time, he said.


NRC’s public participation committee determined to rid Thailand of corruption

BANGKOK, 19 June 2015 (NNT) A committee under the National Reform Council has restated its determination to rid Thailand of corruption.

According to Dr. Poldej Pinprateep, the deputy chairman of the NRC’s special committee on public participation, during his visits to many provinces to collect their opinions about the draft charter, he found that Thai people, in general, were in favor of the four intents of the new Constitution, including the empowerment of the people, the achievement of clean politics, the promotion of social justice and the restoration of peace in the country.

In brief, Dr. Poldej said that the people wish to see a better Thailand through the effective clampdown on corruption at all levels.

People have also been keen to see the introduction of concrete mechanisms to help realize their dreams, which include the setting up of a people’s assembly and a people’s council responsible for the investigation of political office holders in every province, for instance, said Dr. Poldej.


CDC’s Borwornsak: New charter is not being drafted according to blueprint

BANGKOK, 19 June 2015 (NNT) The Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee has again rejected claims that the new charter is being drafted in accordance with a blueprint.

CDC Chairman Borwornsak Uwanno said on Thursday that the charter drafters are currently reviewing all proposals on changes to the draft of the new Constitution, presented by all related parties and bodies.

Those who have made such proposals include the Cabinet, the National Reform Council, political parties, independent organizations and various civic groups.

Mr. Borwornsak conceded that the draft charter is not what he has been dreaming of because, if it is, the new Constitution will absolutely have to truly empower the people, clean politics, promote social justice and help bring peace back to Thailand.

He added that, if the new charter is being drafted according to a blueprint, there will not be so many changes to be made to it.

The CDC Chairman added that the charter drafters are likely going to change the numbers of members of parliament under the new Constitution to be 450, including 150 party-list MPs and 300 constituency MPs.


Sukhothai sugarcane farmers ask for help from NLA

BANGKOK, 19 June 2015 (NNT) Sugarcane farmers in Sukhothai Province have been asking the National Legislative Assembly to help them tackle a problem that has been left unresolved for over a decade.

Gen. Singsuk Singprai, chairman of the NLA’s committee on commerce, industry and labor on Thursday met with chairman of the Look-Phayapichai Association of Cane Grower Suchai Limsommut, who travelled to the Parliament with a group of members of the association.

Mr. Suchai presented to Gen. Singsuk a letter asking for help to solve the problem faced by sugarcane farmers in Sukhothai.

According to the group, growers there have had to transfer all crops to the “Thai Identity Sugar plant in Udon Thani for processing for more than 10 years.

The problems caused by such a distant transportation has already led the plant to ask the authority to allow it to relocate to Sukhothai in 2007, but the request has never been answered.

Mr. Suchai said that all sugarcane growers are hoping the NLA and the current government will be able to help put an end to their problems without further delay.


 

DAILY UPDATE

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Nong Khai is building 20 permanent check dams to protect forests

Agriculture Ministry yet to okay drought-hit farmers’ compensation plea

MSDHS visits youths, senior citizens and the disabled in Chonburi

Mosque in Yala became lively on the first night of the Ramada month

Newin arrested and fined for violating traffic code

Suphan Buri holds a vowing ceremony for former drug addicts leaving rehab

Hospitals urged to allow patients to buy their own medicines

Royal Thai Army showing support to Muslim community in the holy month of Ramadan

NRC opposed to legalizing casinos in Thailand

NRC’s public participation committee determined to rid Thailand of corruption

CDC’s Borwornsak: New charter is not being drafted according to blueprint

Sukhothai sugarcane farmers ask for help from NLA

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