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Thailand to send expert team to observe the damage of sites in Nepal

BANGKOK, 2 May 2015 (NNT) – The Ministry of Culture is set to dispatch a team of experts to help determine the damage to the historical and world heritage sites affected by the earthquake in Nepal.

The Minister of Culture Vira Rojpojchanarat has revealed that the Department of Fine Arts has been appointed to set up a ‘Thailand Team’ that is comprised of archeology experts, architects, engineers, conservation scientists, and art historians to help the Nepali authority determine the damage that historical and world heritage sites have sustained from the earthquake.

Team Thailand will operate in support of the planning of the conservation and restoration plan, set to take place after the urban restoration and the recovery of the victims.

The team will initially gather information through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, before being the Cabinet will consider their next move.

The damaged sites includes the Durbar Square, Boudhanath Stupa, and Dharahara Tower in Kathmandu, as well as ancient Hindi religious places in Bhaktapur and Patan, which are considered important tourism attractions of Nepal that has generated a large portion of the national income.


Thailand keeps sending relief to Nepal, MFA spokesman says

BANGKOK, 2 May 2015 (NNT) - Thailand is continuously sending relief support to Nepal while the rest of Thai nationals in that country have showed no wish to return home, according to Sek Wannamethee, Director-General of the Department of Information, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He revealed that eighty one rescuers from Thailand are currently working in different locations to deliver assistance to Nepalese survivors. On Sunday 3 May, another emergency team of the Thai Red Cross is scheduled to leave for Nepal to join international relief operation.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman said the earthquake has paralyzed just part of the communication system in the country with periodic disturbance during aftershocks. The Thai Army has, however, provided satellite phones, the internet and SIM cards with roaming services as alternative ways of communication in the disaster-hit nation.

All the donated items will be sent to Nepal by Thai Airways flights which can carry five tonnes each. However, the Thai government is also looking into ways to ship part of the relief packages by sea, via Kolkata, India.


Department of Intellectual Property stresses Thailand’s attempt to solve intellectual property infringement

BANGKOK, 2 May 2015 (NNT) – The Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) has stressed Thailand’s continuous attempt in eradicating intellectual property infringement, and expressed disappointment to the verdict of the US PWL.

The DIP Director-General Malee Choklumlerd has said regarding the United States’ Priority Watch List (PWL) report that has kept Thailand on this list for the eighth year, that the DIP has been working closely with the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to provide knowledge for license inspectors and the inquiry for infringement on the internet. The DIP had also held a campaign that encouraged entrepreneurs to use genuine software.

She has said that the current government's amendment of intellectual property laws are committed to the cause. However, the Unites Sates has not classified the current laws as imposed, due to the pending status, prior to the official announcement in the government gazette.

The DIP Director-General has mentioned that the United States wanted to participate and comment on Thailand’s intellectual property laws as the US sees them as insufficient, such as the punishment for venue owners who allow copyright infringed products to be put on sale, which is already a criminal offense under the Thai civil law. The punishment was not mentioned in the intellectual property law, in order to avoid redundancy in legal documents.

The DIP Director-General has said that suppression operations has been buffered in a more serious manner and has seen much progress during the past 7 years. She concluded that the decision to retain Thailand on the PWL is disappointing, and hopes that the country will be off the list soon.

The inclusion of Thailand on the list does not currently affect foreign investment, but might influence national image, said the DIP Director-General.

She has said that the DIP will discuss this matter with the Minister of Commerce to come up with guidelines on bringing Thailand out of the PWL in next year’s ranking.

13 countries have been listed on the PWL in 2015 including Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine, and Venezuela. Ecuador, Kuwait, and Ukraine have been moved from the Watch List (WL) to the Priority Watch List (PWL).


Narathiwat holds shooting competition

NARATHIWAT, 3 May 2015 (NNT) – Narathiwat province is holding a shooting competition as part of the celebration of the province’s 100th anniversary.

The competition is co-organized by Narathiwat Provincial Tourism and Sports Office and Narathiwat Provincial Internal Security Operations Command. Its objectives are to offer shooting enthusiasts the opportunity to show their skills, and spark interest in the sports among the public. The event is being held at Chulabhorn Camp in Muang district between May 2-3.

The activity attracts a large number of local and foreign athletes from different provinces and neighboring countries. Among the participants is the Crown Prince of Terengganu State of Malaysia. Part of the proceeds will go to charity.

King Rama VI in 1915 conferred the title Narathiwat on the southernmost province, which had previously been called Nara. A series of activities are being launched to celebrate the province’s 100th anniversary.


EU ambassador commends Thailand for efforts to curb IUU fishing

BANGKOK, 3 May 2015 (NNT) - The Deputy Prime Minister, Prawit Wongsuwan has invited the EU ambassador to Thailand to listen to progress of the government’s solutions to IUU fishing and direction in dealing with the problem. The ambassador commended Thailand for its efforts and stressed that the country was on the right track.

Deputy Government Spokesman Sansern Kaeokamnerd on Sunday said the deputy PM told the ambassador that Thailand was amending outdated laws and working more closely with international organizations as well as NGOs in the fishery sector. He also promised full cooperation with two teams of EU delegations who would travel to Thailand to monitor solutions to IUU fishing this month.

The ambassador said he would urgently inform the EU headquarters as well as governments of EU countries of Thailand’s anti-IUU fishing operations.

The EU ambassador assured the deputy premier that the EU would work with Thailand closely in a cordial and constructive manner with respect to Thailand’s sovereignty, Maj.Gen. Sansern added.


PM appoints Apirat Kongsompong as the new GLO chief

BANGKOK, 3 May 2015, (NNT) - Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday appointed Major General Apirat Kongsompong as the new Chairman of the Government Lottery Office.

Maj. Gen. Apirat currently serves as Deputy Commander of Region 1 Army and is also a member of the National Legislative Assembly.

The Prime Minister also appointed to the Lottery Office Metropolitan Police Bureau Deputy Commander Police Major General Suwat Jeangyodsuk, Chief of the 2nd Infantry Battalion's 11th Infantry Regiment Lieutenant Colonel Noon Sansanakhom, and Economic and Business Forecast Center Director at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce Thanawat Polwichai.

The main objective of the new Government Lottery Office board is to address the long-drawn issue of overpriced lottery tickets.

The government has in the past enforced to no avail several measures to control to price of lottery ticket at 80 baht each. The new board is expected to impose harsher punishment on offenders and enforce more stringent regulations to prevent lottery ticket price gouging.


Worst storm in 20 years hit Nakhon Phanom

NAKHON PHANOM, 3 May 2015 (NNT) – Nakhom Phanom province has witnessed the worst tropical storm in 20 years causing damages to nearly 200 houses in the central district in just one hour.

The storm has damaged more than 2,000 houses since its arrival last month. The government has forked out over 50 million baht on the repair of damaged property. The budget is exclusive of financial aid of up to 30,000 baht which it approved for each of affected families.

Authorities reported the storm last night struck nearly 200 houses in three sub-districts. Administrative officials and the military are combining forces to help assess the damage before starting the repair and other assistance schemes.

Nakhon Phanom Provincial Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office said the volatile weather had intensified the frequency and strength of the storm, adding that this year’s damage to property was the heaviest in 20 years.

Authorities have warned local people to remain on the alert for a possible comeback of a thunderstorm.


NRC to review proposed changes for draft charter May 6

BANGKOK, 3 May 2015 (NNT) - The National Reform Council hopes it will reach a conclusion on the suggested changes to the draft Constitution before the end of this month.

NRC member Direk Teungfung, who is also chairman of the sub-committee on the review of changes of the draft charter, said that a meeting to review all proposed changes by NRC members will be held on May 6.

Mr. Direk said that the upcoming review should help achieve more clarity on the changes the reform council are looking for, particularly in the sections related to the origins of the members of parliament, the senators and theorem minister.

He stated that the conclusion on all the proposed changes should be derived within the following two weeks so that the NRC will be able to draft and present an official proposal on draft charter changes to the Constitution Drafting Committee.


NRC’s mass communications reform committee to prepare latest report for main council meeting

BANGKOK, 3 May 2015 (NNT) - The National Reform Council’s committee on mass communications reform is preparing to present its latest on report on media reform to the main council meeting.

NRC’s member Jumpol Rodkhamdee, who is also the chairman of the committee on media and information technology reform, has recently chaired a meeting to review a report on media reform, in which the committee has set up mechanisms to develop Thailand’s mass media sector.

In the report, the committee has proposed reform ideas to promote equal access to information by Thai people as well as to prevent any media interference while enabling the public to have more say in supervising the work of the media and enhancing media freedom and social responsibility.

To be specific, three strategies have been included in the media and information technology reform committee’s latest report, including the strategy to promote freedom alongside accountability.

Two other strategies are about the reform of media supervision through the setting up of an independent body to watch over the work of all types of media and about the prevention of media interference with the help of new laws.


New generals take oath before the Crown Prince

BANGKOK, 3 May 2015 (NNT) - His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn yesterday (May 2) granted an audience to 1,168 military and police officers who have been promoted to the rank of general in 2014 and 2015, to witness their taking oath of allegiance at the New Building in Amporn Garden, Bangkok.

The new generals include 1,043 officers from the three armed forces and 125 Police officers. His Royal Highness on this occasion reminded them of the significance of the ceremony and their duties which would have direct results to the stability of the country. The Crown Prince also cited His Majesty the King’s speech once given to new generals that their promotion to the rank signified higher responsibilities. If they did well in their duties, the good results yielded would have higher impact than those of their subordinates. But if they didn’t, the bad results would also impact a wider scale of the society.

His Royal Highness urged the new generals to think over the royal advice and commit their duties with energy and honesty as they had already pledged so that prosperity, stability and happiness would truly come to the nation and the people.


Trang begins sea revival program

TRANG, 2 May 2015 (NNT) – Administrative personnel and conservationists in Trang province have jointly surveyed coral reefs on Koh Mook in Kantang as part of a sea revival program.

The survey is intended to locate damaged coral reefs around the island. Conservationists will later place decommissioned rail carriages in affected areas of the sea in order for marine life to reproduce in protected spaces.

The project is a collaborative effort by many organizations such as the provincial administrative body, the Hat Chao Mai National Park, the Hydrographic Department, the Trang provincial marine office and the State Railway of Thailand.

Local people will also be encouraged to take part in the program to enhance their awareness of the importance of the environment.


Ministry of Public Health to conduct assessment of Thai rescue mission in Nepal on 5 May

BANGKOK, 2 May 2015 (NNT) – The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) is to conduct assessment of the Tha rescue mission in Nepal on next Tuesday 5 May while preparing a new team for its turn, Deputy Permanent Secretary for Public Health Suriya Wongkongkathep said on Saturday.

The MOPH assessment will be made on four aspects, two of which will be to look into the number of injuries and hygienic conditions covering their health, drinking water and toilets. Mr. Suriya said the number of patients is expected to rise on 4 May when victims in remote areas have been rescued and transferred to international relief centers.

The third evaluation will find out whether more rescue teams are necessary. And the final aspect involves the quality of life of Thai rescue and medical team. Possibly, electricity generators and camp kitchens will be sent to make their life easier to reduce their stress.

Mr.Suriya said the MOPH also planned to send the second and third emergency medical teams to Nepal on a rotating basis. Each team will work in the country for two weeks.


Navy admits shipping relief items to Nepal a difficult task

BANGKOK, 2 May 2015 (NNT) –The Royal Thai Navy has pointed out that the transportation of relief items to Nepal by boat as suggested by the Ministry of the Interior could be laborious due to the landlocked country’s distance from a sea port

Thai Navy commander-in-chief Admiral Kraisorn Chansuwanich said sending supplies to the region by boat would take a much longer time than an airlift since the South Asian country has no marine transport route. The nearest seaport to Nepal is in India and is around 1,000 kilometers from the quake-hit country.

The Ministry of the Interior earlier suggested transporting relief items by boat as C-130 aircraft could deliver only a limited amount of supplies. In response to the suggestion of the Interior Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, Admiral Kraisorn said the Royal Thai Navy would be ready to carry out the humanitarian mission. He nevertheless highlighted the difficulty of finding vehicles to transport supplies from the Indian seaport to affected areas in Nepal where gasoline is reportedly scarce.

Admiral Kraisorn disclosed that the Royal Thai Navy was contacting its Indian counterpart to seek India’s help regarding land transport to Nepal.


Gen Prawit to propose new palm oil purchasing regulation

BANGKOK, 2 May 2015 (NNT) - The government is expected to approve a new palm oil purchasing regulation at the next meeting of the Oil Palm Policy Committee, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan.

The new rule would pay growers based on the percentage of oil that can be extracted from oil palm; the agreed rate is at 4 baht a kilogram for palm nuts with 17% oil content.

The minister said the ministries of Commerce and Agriculture as well as growers, conceded that the new rate would ensure fairness to growers. Currently oil palm produce diminished significantly due to drought. The palm oil extracted has reduced from the usual 17 percent to 15-16 percent.


PM applies section 44 to overpriced lottery ticket issue

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has invoked Section 44 of the interim constitution, terminating the duties of the board of the Government Lottery Office for failure to resolve the issue of overpriced lottery tickets. The punishment of vendors violating pricing regulations has also been made harsher.

Those found guilty of selling overpriced lottery tickets may be jailed for up to a month or fined as much as 10-thousand baht, or both.

The Prime Minister signed the National Council for Peace and Order's 11th order on measures preventing the sale of overpriced lottery tickets. The measures implemented seek to effectively and strictly enforce the rules on lottery ticket vending.

The board of the Government Lottery Office was removed henceforth for failing to address the issue. The instruction specifically prohibits the appointment of a new board until further notice.


Culture Ministry succeeds in raising museum’s visitors by using new technology

BANGKOK, 2 May 2015 (NNT) - The introduction of technology to enhance visitors’ experiences at the Learning Center of the National Museum and at various National Historical Parks has successfully raised the number of visitors by 50%, Minister of Culture Weera Rotephotchanarat said.

Speaking in a television program “Returning Happiness to the People” this week, the minister said the development of museums and historical parks was one of the activities the ministry had promoted in April, to commemorate the 5th cycle birthday anniversary of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. Other activities included holding of Khon mask dances and musical and dramatic art performances in Beijing, China.

In Bangkok, the ministry sponsored “The Lights of Suvarnabhumi Art Exhibition” which is featuring the paintings of National Reform Council vice president and national artist Preecha Thaothong at the Contemporary Art Centre on Ratchadamnoen Road, in Bangkok. It is open until 31 May.

At the National Museum, an exhibition on Thai folk beliefs in relation to Buddhism and Brahmin faith, and female deities is open to the public until 26 July.

Songkran Festival, the Thai traditional New Year celebration, was also one of the biggest activities of the month, followed by the commemoration of the 233rd Anniversary of the Rattanakosin Era on 17-21 April. Over 450,000 visitors were provided with the history of the Rattanakosin era in order for them to exalt the great contributions of Rattanakosin kings.

At the end of May, the Ministry of Culture will hold a “Four-Region Folk Festival".


Over 500 Thai & foreign cyclists to join Ayutthaya rally

AYUTTHAYA, 2 May 2015 (NNT) – Hundreds of local and foreign cyclists will be joining an upcoming international rally in Ayutthaya province.

Ayutthaya provincial tourism and sports office disclosed that over 500 cyclists from 42 countries had accepted the province’s invitation to partake in the activity which is scheduled to take place during May 2-4.

The bikers will tomorrow be riding on a 100-kilometer route around Ayutthaya Island, passing ancient sites and well-known tourist spots. They will also be warmly greeted by elephants from Ayutthaya Elephant Camp.

The cycling rally is one of tourism activities which Ayutthaya provincial tourism and sports office expects to help push up the province’s visitor number by at least 10 percent. The number of tourists last year was recorded at 6.2 million. A budget of more than 100 million baht has recently been approved for the construction of four bicycle lanes.


Thai youth’s network shares opinion on national reform with NRC

BANGKOK, 1 May 2015 (NNT) - Representatives of a network of Thai youth have met with the President of the National Reform Council to share their ideas on the country’s future.

NRC President Thienchay Kiranant on Thursday met with 82 young representatives from the Youth’s Network, who paid a visit to offer their opinions about Thailand’s reform.

Mr. Thienchay said that the participation of Thai youth in the process is a good omen for the country, as the drafting process of the new Constitution is still continuing.

The NRC President stressed that the charter drafting and the national reform are two tasks that should be in tandem, while conceding that because the time allocated for the reform process is limited, some reform plans will not be completed within one year as hoped.

Mr. Thienchay told his young visitors that the new charter has included the issue of reform for continuation, as such a process is really time-consuming given governments in the past barely solved any problems at the root cause.


House of Representatives’ inspector-general calls for Thai youth to help disseminate knowledge of democracy

BANGKOK, 1 May 2015 (NNT) – The inspector-general of the Secretariat of the House of Representatives has called on Thai youth to help disseminate knowledge of democracy to people across the country.

Inspector-general of the Secretariat of the House of Representatives Kallayarat Kao-sam-ang on Thursday delivered a speech and presented certificates to participants of the youth reconciliation and participation promotion project.

The project was part of the plan to help strengthen democracy in Thailand through the democratic youth workshop.

Ms. Kallayarat said that the project has been a success thanks to cooperation from all involved and is now believed to be helpful in educating young citizens so that they will be able to contribute to the development of Thailand and the democratic rule.

Young participants of the project have demonstrated their determination to improve their potential and to learn about all aspects of the country, from politics to economy, social affairs, environment and technological invention.

Ms. Kallayarat said she hoped that all youth would embrace everything they have learnt and accordingly share it all with people around them.


Office of Industrial Economics: MPI recovered in the first quarter

BANGKOK, 1 May 2015, (NNT) - The Office of Industrial Economics (OIE) has indicated that the Manufacturing Production Index (MPI) during the first quarter has recovered to 0.1 percent growth, a sharp increase from the -7.0 percent of last year.

OIE Deputy Director Somsak Jantararoungtong revealed that the key industry driving production during the first quarter was textiles, with sales of ready-to-wear clothes expanding 2.73 percent.

He said that the textiles industry performed better in the first quarter, thanks to the government’s promotion of wearing purple shirts and traditional Thai apparel to commemorate the fifth cycle of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

Mr. Somsak indicated that auto exports also expanded 1.36 percent in this period, producing 524,540 cars. He said the food industry grew 3.7 percent. Fisheries, sugar and poultry industries grew 14.7, 3.8 and 3.4 percent respectively.

The OIE Deputy Director said the recovery of the auto, textile, and food industries led to the office maintaining its 2015 MPI forecast at 3-4 percent. The industrial gross domestic product forecast is at 2-3 percent.


KResearch: new school term to circulate 25 billion baht in Bangkok

BANGKOK, 1 May 2015, (NNT) - A recent survey by the Kasikorn Research Center (KResearch) has revealed that tuition and cram school fees during the upcoming school term are likely to circulate 25 billion baht in Bangkok, an increase of 4.6 percent from the same period last year.

KResearch said that these tuition fees accounted for 70 percent of all school-related expenses.

The survey revealed that parents in the capital spend 30 percent of their income on food and transportation and 17 percent on their children’s tuition fee, while saving 15 percent. Parents also allocated 10 percent each to entertainment, debt, and utilities, with the remaining 9 percent on medical expenses.

The poll also showed that 12 percent of Bangkok parents relied on pawnshops and 11 percent on various financial institutes.

KResearch claimed that the political stability had a positive effect on parents, leading to the increase in education-related spending.


Finance Ministry: Policy rate cut not helping exports

BANGKOK, 1 May 2015 (NNT) - Finance Minister Sommai Phasee told the media that a decrease in benchmark interest rate would not help stimulate Thai exports though it could weaken the baht.

The comment was made after the Monetary Policy Committee decided to decrease the national benchmark rate by 0.25%. Mr. Sommai disclosed that the move may have helped depreciate the baht value, but it remains unclear if it would improve the export sector.

The minister explained that currently the global market is being flooded with supplies, resulting in cheaper goods and services worldwide, while negatively affecting the export sector.

In order to boost Thai exports, Minister Sommai suggested entrepreneurs improve their product quality, adding their value, and trying to match with the market demand. Furthermore, he said the government can provide assistance by offering loans, improving logistics sector, and promoting cost efficient methods.


Thailand is likely to remain on the U.S. Priority Watch List

BANGKOK, 1 May 2015, (NNT) - The Ministry of Commerce has revealed that the United States Trade Representative (USTR) will soon release its updated Special 301 Report, which includes a watch list of nations with high levels of copyright infringement activities.

The ministry expected Thailand to remain in the Priority Watch List (PWL) for the eighth year in a row. The ministry claimed that the U.S. considered Thailand’s efforts to combat copyright infringement to be insufficient. The judgment was based on the Kingdom’s relaxed punishment for Intellectual Property offenders and the number of counterfeit goods still on the market.

Deputy Commerce Minister Apiradee Tantraporn said that since the U.S. placed the Kingdom in its watch list in 2007, Thailand had been working to address the issue. She cited two regulations related to copyright infringement that have been amended and enforced.

Ms. Apiradee said that officials have pushed forward in eradicating copyright infringement goods in high-risk areas, such as Khlong Thom Market in Bangkok. She added that authorities recently incinerated 1,300 tons of contraband.

The Deputy Commerce Minister revealed that another measure the Kingdom has taken to crack down on copyright infringement is the reduced turnover to register intellectual property from 24 months to 12 months. More than 4,000 cases of copyright infringement have been legally processed in 2014.

Ms. Apiradee expressed her hope that the U.S. would acknowledge the improvements made by the Kingdom and remove the nation from the PWL soon.


Ministry of Labour to establish worker safety department

BANGKOK, 1 May 2015 (NNT) - The Ministry of Labour has been planning to draft another master plan on occupational safety, health and environmental conservation, in an attempt to raise safety standards for workers in Thailand.

The second master plan will be submitted for Cabinet approval before being implemented for a period of ten years from 2018 - 2027.

Labour Minister General Surasak Kanjanarat said that workplace safety will become one of the government’s top priorities this year.

In addition, the ministry is expected to sign the 187th International Labour Organization Convention agreement on occupational safety and health policy, and establish a new department to oversee labor safety.

The Labour Minister said his ministry will raise safety standards in the workplace by fostering a safety-conscious mindset among employers and employees alike, as well as educating them about safety procedures and enforcing the laws.

General Surasak added that the safety standards in Thailand are mediocre compared to the rest of the ASEAN nations.


NLA considers key draft bills

BANGKOK, 1 May 2015 (NNT) - The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) is considering many key bills, as well as questions for the Prime Minister in its meeting today.

Draft laws tabled for NLA consideration today include those dealing with maritime labour, working capital, city planning, anti-corruption and public gatherings.

The NLA will also consider asking Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha regarding how members of the Klong Chan Credit Union Cooperative have been compensated following the embezzlement case involving Dhammakaya Temple.

Finally, the legislative body will ask the Social Development and Human Security Minister about the rehabilitation program for communities in Din Daeng district.


PM presides over May Day ceremony

BANGKOK, 1 May 2015 (NNT) – Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha is scheduled to preside over the opening ceremony of May Day at Sanam Luang, where members of various labor networks will participate in a number of activities.

Participating laborers have planned to gather at Makkhawan Rangsan Bridge to parade along Ratchadamnoen Avenue to Sanam Luang. The government has approved a budget of four million baht for May Day activities.

This year, the Labor Congress of Thailand has planned to submit 11 requests to the premier. The demands include wage hikes, a cap on food product prices, legislation on risk insurance funds, and the ability to use Social Security cards at all hospitals.

Meanwhile, the Thai Labor Solidarity Committee (TLSC) has held a separate May Day event at Democracy Monument. The activity is intended to highlight workers’ needs, particularly a new minimum wage by next year of 360 baht per day and the adjustment of salaries according to skill level and cost of living.


The government claims success in new rice production policy

BANGKOK, 1 May 2015 (NNT)-The Thai government has successfully helped rice farmers produce more grains at a lower cost via a new program designed to improve rice growing efficiency.

The government has claimed its new program provides full-cycle supervision to every stage of rice farming starting from production to grain quality control and market opportunities.

Under the program, white rice farmers are able to increase the productivity per rai from 729 kilograms previously to 870 kilograms nowadays. Their production costs have declined by around 3,000 baht per ton since the program was introduced.

Jasmine rice growers have also seen their productivity increase with around 100 kilograms more of rice produced per rai and were able to save as much as 3,000 baht per ton in production capital.

Farmers participating in the program have found that they can sell their grains at 30% higher than the market prices as many silo owners and buyers are joining in the program.


Labor group demands 360 Baht per day minimum wage

BANGKOK, 1 May 2015 (NNT) - The State Enterprises Workers’ Relation Confederation (SERC) has called on the government to increase the minimum wage to 360 Baht per day.

The group argued that the current minimum wage of 300 Baht per day is not enough to sustain today’s increased cost of living. They gathered in front of Parliament on the occasion of the Labor Day before proceeding to the Victory Monument.

The group’s leaders also called on Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha to use his overriding power granted by section 44 of the interim constitution towards reducing social inequality. The group assured that today’s rally is not an anti-government demonstration, but rather a movement in support of using governmental power for the benefit of laborers.

Other demands made by the group included labor laws that combat human-trafficking, the reform of worker rights and the objection to the restructuring of state enterprises.


BMA prepared to handle natural disasters

BANGKOK, 1 May 2015 (NNT)-The Office of Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has instructed its units to be prepared for future natural disasters due to extreme weather conditions.

BMA Permanent Secretary Sanya Cheenimit said many units including the Department of Drainage and Sewerage, the Public Works Department, the Department of the Environment, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation and the Traffic and Transportation Department have been instructed to devise a plan to handle various types of natural disaster that could occur in Bangkok.

The Permanent Secretary has indicated that the BMA’s response to an emergency situation is fast and effective, given how quickly its team removed fallen electricity poles, which were knocked down by the wind, from a street in Bangkok earlier this week.

He is also encouraging people to share information that can be helpful to other Bangkokians via Facebook, at facebook.com/bkk.best and twitter at BKK_best. They can also report any emergency situation by calling 1555.

As for earthquakes, the BMA will inspect buildings and make sure they are strong enough to withstand tremors. Their owners are encouraged to coordinate with BMA units in conducting an evacuation drill frequently.


Thailand - Japan join hands on ICT development

BANGKOK, 1 May 2015 (NNT) – Thailand MICT and Japan MIC has signed an agreement on joint ICT development under the Thailand - Japan Summit framework, according to a Thai official.

The Minister of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) Pornchai Rujiprapa has revealed the outcome of the bilateral discussion with Japan’s Minister of International Affairs and Communications (MIC) Sanae Takaichi on 30 April 2015 at the government house regarding both countries' cooperation on the information and communication technology (ICT) area.

At the meeting, both countries have discussed cooperation in utilizing ICT for disaster prevention, cyber security, postal service, public and private collaboration, and as well as cooperation within the ASEAN framework.

Thailand and Japan have also signed a joint communique on ICT cooperation between both states, while this agreement is a result of the previous meeting between the Prime Ministers of Thailand and Japan, at the Thailand - Japan Summit on 9 February 2015 in Tokyo.

Thailand MICT and Japan MIC have also held a joint discussion on ‘Thailand - Japan Public and Private sector ICT Joint Business Dialogue’ at the Conrad Hotel, Bangkok, to encourage cooperation between the government and private sector. They also exchanged expertise and opinions on ICT subjects, including Cyber Security, ICT for disaster management, Postal service, and Cooperation of ICT utilization.


Fisheries Department will pilot the port-in port-out system in May

SURAT THANI, 1 May 2015 (NNT)-The Department of Fisheries will introduce the port-in port-out system on May 6th in its attempt to resolve illegal unregulated and unreported fishing (IUU) in Thailand.

Department of Fisheries Director General Jumpol Sanguansin said the system will first be piloted on fishing vessels of 30 tons gross or more.

They will be required to notify authorities both before leaving and when returning from the sea voyages within 24 hours. They are to reveal the number of people working on board, the type of equipment they use and the species of their catch.

Mr. Jumpol said he is confident that the system will soon have the fishing industry under control as fishing vessels, their operators, and workers are obligated to obtain a license and work permits before they are allowed to leave the shore.


Fisheries Department to introduce Port in – Port out system to 22 seaside provinces

BANGKOK, 1 May 2015 (NNT) – The Department of Fisheries is set to introduce its Port in – Port out system to all 22 seaside provinces on May 6 in a latest bid to crack down on illegal, unreported and unregistered (IUU) fishing.

Starting from May 6 onwards, operators of fishing boats of 30 gross tonnage or over will be required to give Port in – Port out centers necessary details of their boats, such as vessels’ license code, fishing equipment and identities of crew members within 24 hours before departure and entry. The procedure applies to all outgoing to incoming boats.

The scheme was earlier piloted in the southern provinces of Chumphon, Ranong, Songkhla and Phuket during April. The results were proven satisfactory. The Department of Fisheries has already instructed its provincial agencies to boost their PR campaigns to prepare the fishing industry for upcoming fishery laws which will come into effect in June.

The Department of Fisheries expects that the Port in – Port out system coupled with intense efforts of related agencies will enable the country to solve IUU fishing and human trafficking within the six-month deadline stipulated by the European Union, leading to the EU withdrawing its yellow card issued to the country.


NLA President: Public referendum requires revision of interim charter

BANGKOK, 1 May 2015 (NNT) - The president of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) says a revision of the 2014 interim Constitution is needed if a public referendum were to be staged.

NLA President Pornpetch Wichitcholchai said the interim Constitution has not authorized the NCPO Chief to hold a public referendum for the draft constitution, but gives the NCPO and the Cabinet the power under Article 46 to propose charter amendments to the NLA for approval. So the decision to make changes to the new Constitution solely rests on the law makers.

He concluded that if a referendum were to take place, the provisional charter must be amended first, through the utilization of Article 46. He added that Article 44 of the interim charter has been designed as a tool for the NCPO to carry out the 3-step roadmap to its goals, not for the NCPO chief to use power more than that invested upon him by the constitution.

Mr Pornpetch also seconded PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s comment that the issue concerning referendums should not be raised at the moment and will not be discussed at the next “Five Rivers” meeting.


Police launches "Empowerment" strategy to raise public participation in crime suppression and traffic solutions

BANGKOK, 1 May 2015 (NNT) – The Royal Thai Police has launched the "Empowerment" strategic center, aiming to raise public participation in crime suppression and traffic solutions.

Speaking at the opening of the center on Friday, Pol Gen Chalermkiat Srivorakan, Deputy Police Commissioner-General said the project would draw public cooperation in combating crimes and traffic problems in their own community. They will be asked to keep a watchful eye on the situation in their neighborhood and inform the police of any suspicious movement. The information is expected to help the police tackle crimes faster.

Bangkok has been picked as the pilot site of the project which will be assessed every three months before more centers are considered in other provinces.


Labor Protection & Welfare Dept urges employees to improve language skills

UTTARADIT, 1 May 2015 (NNT) – The chief of Uttaradit provincial labor protection and welfare office has urged employees to keep improving their vocational and language skills in preparation for ASEAN Economic Community.

Speaking on the occasion of May Day, chief of Uttaradit provincial labor protection and welfare office Suchart Panngern has warned workers to arm themselves with vocational and language abilities in order to cope with changes to be brought about by the emergence of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

According to Mr. Suchart, the number of factories and companies in the province is relatively low. Employees of all sectors number around 12,000. Most employers are found to take care of their workers in compliance with laws, treating their employees fairly well. Nevertheless, he cautioned workers not to be too complacent to adjust themselves to upcoming challenges.

The May Day event in Uttaradit provinces were joined by more than 500 workers. The activities include a merit-making rite, a parade and friendship sports competitions among workers from different organizations.


Office of Industrial Economics: March MPI shrinks by 1.8% mainly in export industry

BANGKOK, 1 May 2015 (NNT) – The Manufacturing Product Index (MPI) of March 2015 was down by 1.8 percent mainly in the export industry, while industry manufacturing during the first quarter of 2015 has expanded by merely 0.1 percent, reported the OIE.

The Deputy Director of the Office of Industrial Economics (OIE) Somsak Jantararoungtong has revealed that March's MPI contracted by 1.8 percent, mainly in the export industry such as the manufacture of Hard Disk Drive (HDD), television, and electronic appliances, due to the sluggish recovery of the global economy, and the suspended production of HDD manufacturers due to machinery maintenance.

He has said that the export volume of industrial goods in March, excluding gold, shrunk by 2.5 percent as the value of goods dropped along with the lower petroleum price. The declining exports of garments, computers, instruments and related parts, electricity circuits, and air conditioners and related parts during the first quarter of 2015 has also resulted in a 1.4 percent contraction of industrial goods excluding gold.

The import of capital goods also experienced a 9.1 percent contraction, while the import of raw materials excluding gold shrunk by 1 percent.

During March 2015 the automotive industries produced 1.72 percent less cars, the domestic sales of cars dropped by 11.75 percent, while the export of cars has increased by 12.63 percent when compared to the same period of last year.

For the electrical and electronics industry, electronic appliance manufacturing dropped by 9.56 percent when compared to the same period of last year, due to the 9.5 percent shrinkage of the electronics industry scene. The manufacturing capacity of electronics goods have been reduced, including HDD manufacturing at 13.01 percent due to the machine maintenance of some manufacturers and the drop of the global demands for computers and laptops. The Monolithic IC and semiconductor productions increased by 23.62 and 2.50 percent due to the increased demand of communications devices.

The electrical industry has also shrunk by 9.77 percent with a drop in electrical appliances such as compressors, refrigerators, electric kettles, rice cookers, and televisions at 11.59, 2.81, 10.82, 23.45, and 56.44 percent respectively. The production of air conditioning parts, such as condensing units, fan coil units, and fans increased at 7.37, 4.02 and 19.64 percent when compared to the same period of last year.

The consumption of iron and steel in March 2015 is reported at 1.32 million tons, marking a 7.32 percent increase from the same period of last year, while the manufacturing amount is at 0.44 million tons which is 8.33 percent less due to annual machine maintenance of a major manufacturer.

Production for textiles and garments dropped by 0.93 percent for fabrics and 11.63 percent for textiles. This is due to the fact that manufacturers still have these items in stock, and ASEAN markets have decreased their orders. The production of ready-to-wear clothes dropped by 1.8 percent, reflecting domestic demands. The export value of March 2015 for fabrics decreased by 1.9 percent due to the termination of the GSP since 1 January 2015.

For foods industry, the production has increased by 3.5 percent, and food exports increased by 0.5 percent due to the recovery of the economy of import countries such as the United States and the lower petroleum price. However, the uncertainty of the Ukraine crisis has prohibited the industry to expand more, and the domestic spending value still at the same rate in relation to the domestic economy that is yet to see full recovery.


2015 Labour Day Celebration in Ranong was livelier than ever

RANONG, 1 May 2015 (NNT) - The Celebration of Labour Day in Ranong Province was filled with more fun this year than ever as employers gave good cooperation to provincial authorities and participated in the celebration.

Chief Labour Officer of Ranong said that this year the celebration came under the theme “International Labour Day” which well reflected the signature of labour situation in the province. Rayong’s large fishing industry has attracted a lot of migrant workers from neighboring countries especially those from Myanmar.

The celebration started at 8 a.m. in the morning with grand parades and floats sent by local entrepreneurs. Workers, both Thai and Myanmar, in national costume outfits as well as fancy dress, waved national flags of ASEAN states.

Participants also enjoyed a variety of activities in the celebration including football competition and Thai traditional games. Government units set up exhibition booths to publicize their projects to promote labour welfare and job opportunities in Ranong and nearby provinces.

The Chief Labour Officer of Ranong on this occasion requested all employers to hire only legal labor force and make sure that no child labour under 15 is hired in inland jobs and nobody under 18 hired on offshore jobs.


Department of Internal Trade checks back-to-school sales campaign

NONTHABURI, 1 May 2015 (NNT) – The Department of Internal Trade (DIT) has check the retail of school equipments ahead of the "back to school" campaign, taking place until 10 May 2015, while stressing vendors to clearly put up price tags and signs on all items.

After checking the sales of school items in the government run "back to school" campaign at Tesco Lotus Khae Rai shopping center in Nonthaburi, the DIT Director-General Boonyarit Kalayanamit has said that many people are interested in purchasing school uniforms, stationary, and consumable items at this event.

The campaign, running at many department stores across Thailand from 30 April to 10 May 2015, features up to 70 percent discount on school uniforms, stationary, and electronic appliances. The campaign has been initiated due to the government’s request that manufacturers must sell their products at a special price to welcome the new academic semester.

The price for student uniforms are still reported at normal rates, while the Ministry of Commerce is monitoring the price movement of consumable products such as vegetable oil, eggs, and cooking gas.

Sellers have also been asked to place price labels for the items on sale to give buyers clear information, while unfair price hikes and neglect of price labels are punishable by law.


Thailand to host the 48th SEAMEC Conference in Pattaya during 6-9 May

BANGKOK, 1 May 2015 (NNT) - Thailand is to host the 48th Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Council Conference (SEAMEC) at the Royal Cliff Grand Hotel in Pattaya, Chonburi during 6-9 May 2015.

SEAMEC is held biennially by the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization or SEAMEO. With a total of 19 member countries and 3 member institutions, the conference is expected to be participated by 200 delegates from the 10 ASEAN nations, Timor-Leste, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and the UK.

The three affiliate member institutions -- the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE), the University of Tsukuba and the British Council -- will also send in their delegates.

SEAMEO has established 21 specialist institutions that undertake training and research programs in various fields of education, science, and culture, three in Malaysia, six in Indonesia, three in Philippines, one in Brunei, one in Singapore, one in Myanmar, three in Thailand and two in Vietnam.

On 6 May at noon, ministers of education and permanent-secretaries from all member states will join a plenary meeting. Prof. Dr. Pham Vu Luan, Vietnamese Minister of Education and Training is scheduled to hand over his chairmanship to his Thai counterpart, who will sit in the position for two years.

On 7 May in the mooring, there will be an opening ceremony, to be followed in the afternoon by a policy meeting on "Digital Learning for Creating Future Global Citizens” in which Dr.Teerakiat Jareonsettasin, Thai Deputy Minister of Education will give a speech.

During the 4-day conference, there will be many bilateral meetings between education ministers. Thailand will meet with Malaysia and Indonesia on 6 May and Singapore and Lao PDR on 7 May.

On the last day of the conference, a ministerial round-table meeting will be held on the issue of “SEAMEO in the Next Decade” in order to outline plan for educational development for the next ten years.


Ministry of Transport official observes Thailand - Cambodia connectivity in Sa Keao

SA KAEO, 1 May 2015 (NNT) – The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport (MOT) has observed the connectivity development projects along the southern economic corridor in Aranyaprathet district to facilitate the Special Economic Zones and the ASEAN Community.

The MOT Permeant Secretary Soithip Trisuddhi paid the Aranyaprathet district in Sa Kaeo province a visit to observe the connectivity development projects in the area.

On this occasion, the MOT Permeant Secretary attended a lecture that informed the latest trading situation between Thailand and Cambodia from the Sa Keao Chamber of Commerce, and observed the connectivity development projects for the Special Economic Zones and border trade overseen by the Department of Highways and the Department of Rural Roads.

Meanwhile, the Department of Land Transport has concluded its calculations for the demand for passenger bus and cargo truck services running between Thailand and Cambodia, in order to accommodate the increasing amount of passengers and cargo.

The MOT Permanent Secretary then observed the construction site of the Ban Pa Rai - O’Neang border post. This site will connect the Special Economic Zones to the border trade. The construction project is now under consideration to be upgraded into a new permanent border crossing facility.

The Permeant Secretary has also observed the progress of the railroad construction and rehabilitation project between Kaeng Khoi and Aranyaprathet station which connects to Cambodia, and the construction of the Khlong Luek - Poi Pet railroad bridge that will connect neighbouring countries from the east to the west, along the southern economic corridor.


Cabinet gave green light to Singkhon special border checkpoint

BANGKOK, 1 May 2015 (NNT) - The Cabinet has approved the opening of the Singkhon special border checkpoint in Prachuap Khiri Khan province in the hope to stimulate the economy in the border area.

Deputy Government Spokesman Maj.Gen. Sansern Kaeokamnerd said the Cabinet instructed the Ministry of Interior to issue a ministerial announcement detailing clear operational guidelines for people, vehicles and goods passing the border checkpoint. The announcement was expected to also provide guidelines for prevention of problems that might occur, the deputy spokesman said.

Prachuap Khiri Khan province was instructed to develop a mechanism to control and tackle possible effects on national security after the border checkpoint was opened. If the province needed to construct anything or arrange activities at the border zone, it should ask the Royal Thai Survey Department and the Royal Thai Armed Forces to check information before proceeding, Maj.Gen. Sansern said.

The Cabinet approved the establishment of the special border checkpoint despite the problem of demarcation at the border zone. The prime minister did not want such problem to be obstruction of trade and investment promotion in the area, said the deputy spokesman.

The government believed that the checkpoint would make the area’s border trade value leap and facilitate both Thai and Myanmar businesses more efficiently, the deputy spokesman added.

After the border checkpoint is opened, Myanmar people can travel to Prachuap Khiri Khan province and stay in Thailand for one night by using only their passport and temporary border pass.


"Thai Hearts to Nepal" donation center set up in the Government House

BANGKOK, 1 May 2015 (NNT) – The Thai government has set up the Donations Coordinating Center at the Government House to mobilize money for survivors of the earthquake in Nepal on Saturday.

The opening ceremony of the center today was presided by ML Panadda Diskul, Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The center is located at the Meeting Room 101 of the Permanent Secretary Office in the compound of the Government House.

As the coordination center for the "Thai Hearts to Nepal" Campaign, it acts as the main channel to provide information and proofs of monetary donations for donors who wish to get tax refund.

People wishing to make a donation can call the center at 022820398-99, 022820418, 022820422, and 0228 20436.


Mercury to remain high until rains come in late May

BANGKOK, 1 May 2015 (NNT) – The Meteorological Department has forecast that the summer heat in Thailand will continue through early May while the rainy season will kick in later in the month.

Director-General of the Meteorological Department Wanchai Sakudomchai indicated that temperatures around Thailand are expected to hover at high levels as summer is still in full swing. During the long weekend between Labor Day and Coronation Day, the mercury is likely to peak. Scattered thunderstorms may also occur in many areas; therefore, holidaymakers traveling on the road are advised to be extra cautious.

Mr Wanchai said the hot weather will begin to taper off towards mid-May before the expected arrival of the rainy season in the third week of the month. Similar to last year, this year’s precipitation is forecast to be below the norm. Agriculturists and consumers are thus encouraged to use water sparingly.


Labor Protection & Welfare Dept urges employees to improve language skills

UTTARADIT, 1 May 2015 (NNT) – The chief of Uttaradit provincial labor protection and welfare office has urged employees to keep improving their vocational and language skills in preparation for ASEAN Economic Community.

Speaking on the occasion of May Day, chief of Uttaradit provincial labor protection and welfare office Suchart Panngern has warned workers to arm themselves with vocational and language abilities in order to cope with changes to be brought about by the emergence of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

According to Mr. Suchart, the number of factories and companies in the province is relatively low. Employees of all sectors number around 12,000. Most employers are found to take care of their workers in compliance with laws, treating their employees fairly well. Nevertheless, he cautioned workers not to be too complacent to adjust themselves to upcoming challenges.

The May Day event in Uttaradit provinces were joined by more than 500 workers. The activities include a merit-making rite, a parade and friendship sports competitions among workers from different organizations.


Army Chief affirms freedom of the press within limits of the law

BANGKOK, 30 April 2015 (NNT)-The Army Commander has insisted that the government will not intervene in any media outlet, provided no laws were broken.

Regarding a visit by police officers and soldiers to the Peace TV station, Army Chief General Udomdej Sitabutr claimed it was to ensure the station's compliance with the law, after an interview with former Premier General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh went on the air.

General Udomdej said that any TV station found to be in violation of related broadcasting laws would be investigated further as necessary. He claimed that no media rights would be infringed upon, if the press abides by the law.

He also believed that there would be no misunderstandings with the former premier, with whom he has already spoken. The Army Chief has urged the media in Thailand to present news that promote peace and do not incite unrest.


Ministry of Energy reports six-month performance, future of alternative energy

BANGKOK, 30 April 2015 (NNT) - The Ministry of Energy has presented a performance report for the past six months, during which the ministry sought to normalize fuel prices, eliminate debt from the Oil Fund, and initiate over 160 alternative energy programs.

In terms of energy security, the ministry has expanded imports of liquid natural gas (LNG) from neighboring countries, while organizing the 21st Round of Bidding for Concessions for Oil and Gas Exploration. Meanwhile, imports of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) were decreased to save the country almost one billion baht per month.

Previously a source of national debt, the Oil Fund has been replenished with nearly 40 billion baht. The excise tax has also generated 80 billion baht in state revenue.

In terms of energy sustainability, the ministry has established rates for feed-in tariffs (FiT) to incentivize alternative energy investments.

Alternative energy projects sponsored by the ministry are expected to produce a combined 918.33 MW. The agency dealt with several administrative barriers to promoting renewable energy, in accordance with government policy to foster the nation’s first integrated energy plan.


PM briefed on rescue efforts in Nepal

BANGKOK, 30 April 2015 (NNT)-Prime Minister Prayuht Chan-o-cha has been briefed on the rescue efforts for quake survivors in Nepal, via a satellite conference with the Thai embassy in Nepal earlier today.

Participating in the satellite conference included Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office M.L. Panadda Disakul, the Royal Thai Armed Forces and the Thai embassy in Kathmandu.

Prime Minister Prayut expressed his gratitude to the government officials at the Thai embassy in Nepal for assisting Thai people in the quake-hit country and their families in Thailand in the aftermath of the devastating quake.

The Prime Minister also offered condolences to the family of one of the dead who is a Thai, Dr. Marisa Eve Girawong, who was killed during the quake. The Thai government would continue to deliver help and necessities to Nepal.

The Thai officials in Nepal have also reported to the Prime Minister that medical supplies and personnel have already arrived in Nepal via a turbo prop Hercules C 130.


Ang Thong Radio Broadcasting Association makes donations to earthquake victims in Nepal

ANG THONG, 29 April 2015 (NNT) - The Ang Thong Radio Broadcasting Association has made a financial donation to assist earthquake victims in Nepal.
The earthquake that hit Nepal on April 25th measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale at a depth of 18 kilometers, also had an impact in India, China, Tibet, and Bangladesh. The quake caused buildings to collapse in the capital Kathmandu.
Nearby cities were damaged and many people lost their lives. Therefore, in order to assist earthquake victims in Nepal, Ang Thong province has established a center to assist victims of the earthquake in Nepal. It's in the provincial Damrongtham center, in Ang Thong City Hall (old building).
Meanwhile the president of the Ang Thong Radio Broadcasting Association Chokchai Tongsak, together with fellow association members, donated 10,000 baht to the Governor of Ang Thong, Pavin Chamniprasart, to be of assistance to the earthquake victims in Nepal.


ICAO satisfied with Thailand’s aviation safety improvement

BANGKOK, 30 April 2015 (NNT) –The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has expressed satisfaction with the solutions to Significant Safety Concerns (SSC) by the Department of Civil Aviation, says Transport Minister Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong.

Speaking after a meeting with Mr.Arun Mishra, Regional director, ICAO Asia and Pacific Office, ACM Prajin said the ICAO was particularly pleased with the country’s newly-improved regulations regarding transport of hazardous material, which has been improved in line with the ICAO’s requirements.

Regarding the issuance of Air Operator Certificate (AOC), the Minister advised the ICAO that the country was in the process of producing manuals of training and inspection, upon which the issuance of AOC would be based. The ICAO, meanwhile, suggested that airlines’ representatives be included in the training.

According to ACM Prajin, the ICAO will continue to support the country’s aviation safety improvement until June 15, when Deputy Transport Minister Akom Termpitayapaisit leaves for Canada to report to the agency on the progress of the air safety revamp.

The ICAO will next year send its experts to Thailand under Universal Security Audit Program to observe security in all areas of aviation including airplanes’ entry into and departure from territorial sky, authentication of passengers and airport security.

The Airports of Thailand (AOT) has planned to set up a working group to address concerns raised by the ICAO after the inspection.


Section 44 cannot be used to call for public referendum

BANGKOK, 30 April 2015 (NNT) - The President of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) has stated the government cannot call for a public referendum through the use of Section 44 of the 2014 interim constitution.

NLA President Pornpetch Wichitcholchai explained that the government would need to submit a proposal through the current legislative process.

Section 44 gives the head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) absolute authority over matters of national security.

However, Prof Pornpetch said the interim constitution does not give the government and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) the authority to make amendments to the charter. Therefore, Section 44 cannot be used to amend the interim charter in order for it to stipulate a public referendum on the draft constitution.

The NLA President said the government must instead resort to Section 46 of the interim constitution, which gives the government and the NCPO the authority to submit amendment proposals to the NLA. The proposals must go through the usual legislative process of approving a constitutional amendment.


Ministry of Foreign Affairs's achievements in the past 6 months

BANGKOK, 30 April 2015 (NNT)-The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) today made known its key achievements of the past 6 months.

According to the MFA, it has held various events to promote and honor the royal family, which included His Majesty the King’s Birthday celebrations held at Thai embassies worldwide on December 5th last year.

The MFA also organized a traditional Thai dance in Beijing to celebrate Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s 60th Birthday Anniversary during the princesses' visit to China

In addition, Thai ambassadors worldwide have been encouraged to promote correct understanding of the Thai royal family to the global community.

In terms of political situations in Thailand, the MFA has raised awareness among foreign countries on the Thai government’s road map, resulting in a number of leaders of various nations visiting Thailand in the past 6 months.

Those international community leaders have shown more confidence in Thailand; some countries have even lowered travel advisories against traveling to the Kingdom.

The MFA has also taken a proactive approach in strengthening bilateral relationships with other nations through visits and participation in various international summits and conferences, added the Ministry spokesperson.


Their Majesties donate 10 million baht in assistance to Nepalese quake victims

BANGKOK, 30 April 2015 (NNT) - Their Majesties the King and Queen has donated 10 million baht through the Rajaprajanugroh Foundation under the Royal Patronage to help victims of the devastating earthquake in Nepal.

Executive Chairman of the Rajaprajanugroh Foundation Distorn Vajarodaya yesterday (April 29) informed Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in a letter of the royal command that designated the latter to undertake the cash donation of 10 million baht to the people of Nepal.


Money Expo to circulate 93 billion baht

BANGKOK, 30 April 2015, (NNT) - Chairman of the 15th Money Expo Santi Viriyarungsarit has expected the exhibition to circulate 93 billion baht.

Mr. Santi, who is also Group Editor of Money & Banking Magazine, said the fair will be held in Challenger Hall 2-3 of Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani from May 7 - 10. He added that this year’s theme is ‘Beautiful ASEAN’, in recognition of the ASEAN Economic Community integration at the end of the year.

Attendees can expect to find attractive deals for private loans, credit cards, auto credit schemes, loans for small and medium-sized enterprises, and government & savings bonds.

Furthermore, the event chairman said several insurance companies will be offering insurance policies with both security and savings coverage.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Thailand will showcase its 500,000 baht banknote commemorating His Majesty the King's 50th anniversary on the throne. The central bank also minted 100 baht collectible banknotes commemorating Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn's 5th cycle.


Hotter temperatures forecast at the beginning of May

BANGKOK, 30 April 2015 (NNT) - Thais can expect more precipitation before another heat wave grips the country at the end of this week.

Meteorologists have forecast that the upper part of Thailand will continue to experience thundershowers and gale winds until the beginning of May.

Winds are expected to move across the Northeast of Thailand from Laos, while the southeasterly wind from the Gulf of Thailand will bring high levels of humidity.

A low pressure system will begin to extend across the upper part of the country from May 1 – 4. Temperatures will rise significantly in this region.

Despite the weakening southeasterly wind from the Gulf of Thailand, most parts of Thailand will continue to have rains.


Thailand and Japan to sign MOU on railway project

BANGKOK, 30 April 2015 (NNT) – Thailand and Japan have decided to sign an MOU for the construction of double- track rail routes linking the West to the East.

Transport deputy Minister Akom Termpitayapaisit has disclosed that Japan will undertake the construction of one-meter wide dual tracks for two routes. The signing of the MOU should take place within May.

The first route, which covers a distance of 574 kilometers, starts from the western province of Kanchanaburi and ends at Aranyaprathet District, in the eastern province of Sakaeo, via Bangkok. The second route starts from the capital city to Chiang Mai, covering a distance of 670 kilomters.

The Ministry of Transport has deemed the project economically feasible, as it can boost connectivity between the East and the Lower West, adding that transport of goods from Laem Chabang Seaport to Dawei Deep Sea Port in Myanmar would be made much easier. The project can also facilitate Japan’s expansion of investments to Myanmar and Vietnam.

The Ministry of Transport has in addition planned to ask Japan to help carry out a feasibility study of the Tak-Mukdaharn railway project, and to send its experts to assist Thailand work out a railway network for the eastern region.


Measures for aviation safety in force for Surin Rocket Festival

SURIN, 30 April 2015 (NNT) - Participants in the Rocket Festival in Surin are required to report the timing and location of their rocket launching events to authorities in order to reduce the potential danger to aviation, the provincial governor has announced.

According to the Governor of Surin Niran Kalayanamitr, the rockets expected to be used in the rocket festival or ‘Bun Bang Fai’ have been developed to reach even higher altitudes, highlighting a possible risk to aviation. The Bun Bang Fai rocket festival is set to take place in Surin and other provinces in the northeastern region during May and June.

The governor has said that all villages participating in this festival are required to report precise information on time and place of each launch to the district office in advance. The information from this precautionary measure will then be forwarded to aviation authorities to design the safest air navigation route in the area.

The governor of Surin has also stressed that gambling activities are forbidden in all areas during the festival, and violators will be prosecuted in accordance with the law.


Department of Mental Health: One third of working-age faces depression

BANGKOK, 30 April 2015 (NNT) - One third of working-age population is now facing depression, while stress management shows signs in help reducing the stress and increasing happiness, says the DMH Director-General.

The Director-General of the Department of Mental Health (DMH) Jedsada Chokdamrongsuk has revealed the findings in the World Health Organization’s survey on the working-age population globally, that shows 1.9 billion people are at risk of facing mental complications from work, 8 percent of which are facing stress from their jobs.

The information corresponds with the DMH Hotline 1323's statistics that showed that 32.24 percent of the 47,780 total hotline users face stress and depression, with most of those at the working-age at risk. 24.02 percent of the working-age population have also faced mental illness risks.

The DMH Director-General has said that stress from work is a big factor that affects productivity, life quality, and workplace environment. It can also lead to symptoms of mental illness.

He advised people to find proper methods to manage their stress. He suggested finding balance, focusing, communicating, and being honest and kind in order to create a healthy workplace environment and a relationship with their coworkers.

These methods are from Buddhism and can easily be adapted to the Thai social context, and can help lead to happiness in the society, says the DMH Director-General.


Lampang closes smog operation center

LAMPANG, 30 April 2015 (NNT) –Lampang province has closed the ad hoc wildfire prevention and control center, as the smog level in the region has returned to normal.

Lampang Provincial Governor Thanin Supasan, presided over the closing ceremony of the center during which an update on the wildfire and smog situation, as well as the operation center’s achievements, were announced.

According to the latest report, the number of hotspots in all 13 districts of the province was recorded at 799. Areas with the highest number of hotspots were Ngao district and Muang district. Detected hotspots this year were fewer than the 955 detected last year. Nevertheless, wildfires damaged an area of 1,812 rai.

The PM10 level reached a peak of 260 micrograms per cubic meter on March 2nd. This year, authorities arrested four wrongdoers found to have set fire to forest areas in the districts of Mae Moh, Thoen and Muang.

The PM10 level is now considered normal.


Ministry of Public Health reports six-month performance, promotes home doctor services

BANGKOK, April 30 2015 (NNT) - The Ministry of Public Health has submitted its six-month performance report, responding to the need for home treatment in rural areas and of chronic conditions.

The performance report was presented by Public Health Minister Rajata Rajatanavin, Deputy Public Health Minister Somsak Chunharas, and Deputy Permanent Secretary of Public Health Surachet Satitramai. The report covers a six-month period from September 12 2014 - March 12 2015.

Prof. Dr. Rajata spoke on the ministry's efforts to develop teams of doctors that provide hospital care directly to families at home.

In the initiative’s first year, medical teams prioritized persons with disabilities, the elderly, and bed-ridden patients. These groups total two million patients combined. The ministry currently has 50,000 medical teams.

The ministry has also emphasized the production of certain drugs to combat high blood pressure, obesity, and mental disorders. Recent studies showing that Thai traditional medicine has anti-cancer properties has prompted the ministry to research and develop an herbal cancer treatment. Meanwhile, drugs to counteract hair loss will be available within six months.


NBTC discusses mobile roaming fare reduction with Japan

BANGKOK, 30 April 2015 (NNT) - The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Committee (NBTC) has agreed on a mobile roaming service fare reduction plan with Japanese authorities, to further facilitate the growing tourism scene between the two nations.

The NBTC Secretary-General Takorn Tantasith revealed the outcome of his meeting with the Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan (MIC) today, saying that both sides have agreed to reduce the mobile roaming service fares between the two countries. This is expected to be beneficial to the mutual growing tourism scene as well.

Mobile carriers have replied positively, saying that they will gladly cooperate on this matter.

The exact amount of cost reductions will be finalized in the next 2-3 months.

On this occasion, Japanese authorities also brought the Japanese television entrepreneurs to explore possible programs for exchange and trading, as well as setting up a joint business venture initiative between Thailand and Japan.

Japan also proposed cooperating in broadcasting technology developments in the 4K and 8K systems. These systems allow the Thai broadcasting industry to broadcast at an even higher resolution than the current ‘High-Definition’ standard.


Ministry of Science & Technology reports six-month performance, promotes synergy of business and innovation

BANGKOK, 30 April 2015 (NNT) - The Ministry of Science and Technology has reported on its performance over the past six months, during which it increased tax breaks to 300 percent for students on scholarship and academics working with the private sector.

The ministry has increased income tax breaks from 200 percent of normal to 300 percent. The tax breaks also apply to private companies sponsoring academic research, as opposed to merely those involved in individual projects. Additionally, funds donated to academic research are eligible for doubled tax breaks.

Science and Technology Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj reported that the ministry over the past six months has been operating in accordance with government reform policies. The ministry has been promoting business applications of academic research and development (R&D).

Dr. Pichet spoke of collaborations with other ministries and the private sector to develop the nation’s economy and society, as well as conserve the environment. The ministry is aimed at academic research attracting 1 percent of gross domestic product and attaining a 30:70 proportion of public to private research.


"Cluster of electronic industry suppliers” is key to stronger bargaining power, DITP suggests

BANGKOK, 30 April 2015 (NNT) - Director-General of the International Trade Promotion Department (DITP) Nuntawan Sakuntanaga suggested Thai suppliers of electronic products to strengthen their bargaining power by building trading network in a form of cluster and work collectively.

Her suggestion came in the wake of an increasing number of Thai suppliers in the global electronic market. Last year, Thai exports of electronic goods brought in US$33,000 million to the country. Major markets were the United States, Hong Kong and China while their stakes in the secondary markets like Taiwan, Myanmar and South Korea were also expanding.

Mrs.Nuntawan noted that the exports of Thai electronic products have a tendency to grow well particularly Hards Disk Drive and Integrated Circuit (IC) boards which are in great demand in various industries including car production.

Mrs. Nuntawan said the DITP has plans to develop research work and production technology in order to support Thai suppliers to meet the market demand.


RTAF aircraft retrieves 7 Thais from Nepal

BANGKOK, 30 April 2015 (NNT) - 7 Thai nationals have been retrieved from Nepal through the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF)’s return flight of donations delivery operations today, says RTAF spokesman.

The RTAF spokesman Monthon Satchukorn revealed today that the RTAF has completed its delivery operations for 16 tons of aid items from Thailand to Nepal, as assigned by the Government through the Ministry of Defence. The mission was carried out using two C-130H aircrafts.

The flights took off today at 2:00am and 2:30am, and arrived at Kathmandu airport on 9:00am and 9:10am (Thailand local time).

The donation items will be delivered to those affected from the earthquake disaster, through the coordination of the rescue and coordination team of the Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters. The team had arrived in Nepal earlier, on 28 April 2015.

The two aircrafts then departed Kathmandu airport on 3:00pm and 3:10pm, while one of the aircrafts also brought 7 Thai nationals back to Thailand. The aircrafts are expected to land at Don Mueang Air Force Base in Bangkok at 7:30pm today.


Chiang Mai steps up security during long holidays

CHIANG MAI, 30 April 2015 (NNT) - Chiang Mai Province has stepped up security measures to ensure public safety during the upcoming official long holidays from 2-5 May, according to the director of Chiang Mai Provincial Administration.

Tightened security was instructed after the cabinet approved Monday 4 May 2015 as an extra public holiday which will make a four- consecutive-day holiday, from Saturday 2 May to the Coronation Day on 5 May.

The official said that ill-intentioned people might exploit the temporary closure of important places to commit crimes which affect peace and order in the province.

To prevent such incidents, the Interior Ministry has ordered provincial authorities in Chiang Mai to keep watching out for dangers. Security guards at official buildings have been assigned to be on alert throughout the holiday period.

In case of any suspicious movement, person or other abnormalities, the guards must report to local police or their chiefs immediately.

Famous tourist attractions, bus terminals, airports, hotels and places with crowds of local and foreign tourists are also kept under watchful eyes.


Bangkokians invited to join "Safe Cycling" campaign throughout 2015

BANGKOK, 30 April 2015 (NNT) – The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has invited Bangkok residents to join the “Cycling Safely and Solve Traffic Congestion” campaign, hoping to encourage residents to use cycling in everyday life as an alternative transport, Deputy Governor of Bangkok Amorn Kitchawengkul said.

The campaign is part of the Bangkok Car Free Day 2015 aimed at promoting cycling throughout the year. The Safe Cycling campaign will continuously take place on nine biking routes during mid-May and November.

The Bangkok Car Free Day has been celebrated annually for several years. This year it is scheduled for 20 September at Ratchaprasong Intersection. For more information, please visit www.bangkokcarfree.com.

The cycling promotion and the Bangkok Car Free Day constitute a “Sustainable Transport Project” of Bangkok. Their main aims are to promote Bangkokians to use bicycles, walking as well as public transport on a daily basis. This is expected to reduce the severe traffic congestion in the capital city, curb road accidents, save energy and protect the environment.

Currently, the BMA’s Traffic and Transportation Department is improving thirty one cycling routes across the metropolis, with 232 km. in combined length and also bicycle parking zones. In parallel, the public transport infrastructure is now under construction for better links between bicycle routes and the mass transport system.


Transport Company adds bus trips for holiday travelers

BANGKOK, 30 April 2015 (NNT) – The Transport Company is facilitating people’s commute during the long weekend between the 1st and the 5th of May by deploying 300 extra buses per day.

Vice President of the Transport Company Nopparat Karoonyavanich projected that, during the five-day holiday period from Labor Day to Coronation Day, there will be over 400,000 people traveling out of Bangkok, either for a family visit or for traveling. To accommodate the massive departures expected to continue through May 2, he said the company has increased the number of bus trips on outbound routes from the usual 6,000 to 6,300. With the extra services, the company will be able to accommodate up to 140,000 passengers each day.

The same measure will be implemented on inbound services when the vacationers begin to return to the capital on May 4. Mr Nopparat thus assured that all passengers will receive the utmost convenience and no one will be left stranded.

For passengers who need to catch a ride from the Mo Chit Bus Terminal, the Vice President of the Transport Company advised them to arrive at least two hours prior to departure time due to the heavy traffic in front of the terminal caused by the construction of an electric train system.


Transport Ministry on course to upgrade U-Tapao Airport

BANGKOK, 30 April 2015 (NNT) – The Ministry of Transport, in cooperation with the Royal Thai Navy, has laid down a long-term development plan for U-Tapao International Airport, targeting to raise its annual capacity to 5 million passengers by the year 2020.

Transport Minister ACM Prajin Juntong has met with officials from the Royal Thai Navy on the plan to develop U-Tapao Airport into a fully commercial airport. Following the discussion, the minister revealed that a consensus was reached to execute the development plan in three different phases.

The first phase, which will run from 2015 to 2017, will aim to boost the airport’s capacity from 800,000 passengers per year currently to 3 million while improving its facilities and management system in compliance with the international standards.

In the second phase, set for 2018-2020, capacity will be increased further to 5 million passengers per year as air traffic is expected to grow 7 percent. The third phase will be effective after 2020 when new additions will be constructed, including a second runway with a length of 2.7 kilometers.


PM urges Thais to love nation, avert conflicts

BANGKOK, 30 April 2015 (NNT) – Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has pleaded with the Thai people to have love for their own nation and help ease the ongoing conflicts. The premier also vowed to do his part to the best of his ability.

While presiding over an environmental conservation event in commemoration of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s fifth cycle birthday anniversary this year, Prime Minister Prayut called on the people to contribute to the effort to establish a sustainable garbage management system in Thailand. He pointed out that concrete action is necessary as the garbage problem has long been left unsolved and has created a negative impression on foreign visitors.

On this occasion, the premier also encouraged Thai citizens to cherish their motherland and to work together to mitigate social conflicts. He stressed that, although democracy must be upheld, the law must also be abided by and the people must be able to live happily. Citing now as the perfect time for national reform, he promised to perform the task to the best he can.

Gen Prayut added that he will not react to recent criticism by former state officials and politicians but will leave the judgment to the general public.


 

DAILY UPDATE

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Thailand to send expert team to observe the damage of sites in Nepal

Thailand keeps sending relief to Nepal, MFA spokesman says

Department of Intellectual Property stresses Thailand’s attempt to solve intellectual property infringement

Narathiwat holds shooting competition

EU ambassador commends Thailand for efforts to curb IUU fishing

PM appoints Apirat Kongsompong as the new GLO chief

Worst storm in 20 years hit Nakhon Phanom

NRC to review proposed changes for draft charter May 6

NRC’s mass communications reform committee to prepare latest report for main council meeting

New generals take oath before the Crown Prince

Trang begins sea revival program

Ministry of Public Health to conduct assessment of Thai rescue mission in Nepal on 5 May

Navy admits shipping relief items to Nepal a difficult task

Gen Prawit to propose new palm oil purchasing regulation

PM applies section 44 to overpriced lottery ticket issue

Culture Ministry succeeds in raising museum’s visitors by using new technology

Over 500 Thai & foreign cyclists to join Ayutthaya rally


Thai youth’s network shares opinion on national reform with NRC

House of Representatives’ inspector-general calls for Thai youth to help disseminate knowledge of democracy

Office of Industrial Economics: MPI recovered in the first quarter

KResearch: new school term to circulate 25 billion baht in Bangkok

Finance Ministry: Policy rate cut not helping exports

Thailand is likely to remain on the U.S. Priority Watch List

Ministry of Labour to establish worker safety department

NLA considers key draft bills

PM presides over May Day ceremony

The government claims success in new rice production policy

Labor group demands 360 Baht per day minimum wage

BMA prepared to handle natural disasters

Thailand - Japan join hands on ICT development

Fisheries Department will pilot the port-in port-out system in May

Fisheries Department to introduce Port in – Port out system to 22 seaside provinces

NLA President: Public referendum requires revision of interim charter

Police launches "Empowerment" strategy to raise public participation in crime suppression and traffic solutions

Labor Protection & Welfare Dept urges employees to improve language skills

Office of Industrial Economics: March MPI shrinks by 1.8% mainly in export industry

2015 Labour Day Celebration in Ranong was livelier than ever

Department of Internal Trade checks back-to-school sales campaign

Thailand to host the 48th SEAMEC Conference in Pattaya during 6-9 May

Ministry of Transport official observes Thailand - Cambodia connectivity in Sa Keao

Cabinet gave green light to Singkhon special border checkpoint

"Thai Hearts to Nepal" donation center set up in the Government House

Mercury to remain high until rains come in late May

Labor Protection & Welfare Dept urges employees to improve language skills

Army Chief affirms freedom of the press within limits of the law

Ministry of Energy reports six-month performance, future of alternative energy

PM briefed on rescue efforts in Nepal

Ang Thong Radio Broadcasting Association makes donations to earthquake victims in Nepal

ICAO satisfied with Thailand’s aviation safety improvement

Section 44 cannot be used to call for public referendum

Ministry of Foreign Affairs's achievements in the past 6 months

Their Majesties donate 10 million baht in assistance to Nepalese quake victims

Money Expo to circulate 93 billion baht

Hotter temperatures forecast at the beginning of May

Thailand and Japan to sign MOU on railway project

Measures for aviation safety in force for Surin Rocket Festival

Department of Mental Health: One third of working-age faces depression

Lampang closes smog operation center

Ministry of Public Health reports six-month performance, promotes home doctor services

NBTC discusses mobile roaming fare reduction with Japan

Ministry of Science & Technology reports six-month performance, promotes synergy of business and innovation

"Cluster of electronic industry suppliers” is key to stronger bargaining power, DITP suggests

RTAF aircraft retrieves 7 Thais from Nepal

Chiang Mai steps up security during long holidays

Bangkokians invited to join "Safe Cycling" campaign throughout 2015

Transport Company adds bus trips for holiday travelers

Transport Ministry on course to upgrade U-Tapao Airport

PM urges Thais to love nation, avert conflicts

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