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Rainmaking operation continues despite the rainy season

BANGKOK, 5 May 2015 (NNT) – The Department of Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation continues its rainmaking operations although Thailand nearly enters the rainy season to ensure enough water for agricultural purposes, confirmed Deputy Director-General Surasri Kidtimonton.

Mr.Surasri said that this year Thailand is predicted to be drier than previous years and many parts of the country are still under effect of the drought. In some areas, shortfall of rain is possible. Therefore, the rainmakers must be always alert and ready for the rainmaking operation.

People who want more water can request rainmaking operations through local authorities such as Provincial Agricultural Extension Offices, Regional Royal Rainmaking Centers, and Subdistrict Administration. Either they can drop request on Facebook and the website of the department.


Sobriety checkpoint time extended beyond 3 a.m. to intercept more drunk drivers

BANGKOK, 5 May 2015 (NNT) – The Royal Thai Police has ordered longer hours of sobriety checkpoints to beyond 3 a.m. in order to intercept more drunk drivers after three bikers were killed by a drunk driver in Chiang Mai, Police spokesman Pol Lt Gen Prawut Thawornsiri revealed on Tuesday.

He said the recent car crash, leading to the deaths of cyclists, has prompted the National Police Chief to adjust the operation of sobriety checkpoints nationwide. Normally, the checkpoints operate no later than 3 a.m., allowing some drunk drivers to get unchecked with alcohol test. The period of sobriety checkpoint’s operation was then extended.

Pol Lt Gen Prawut confirmed the police have implemented stringently all measures which the Prime Minister has ordered. It will step up more measures including suspension of driving license on reckless drivers.

Besides, cooperation will be made with other units related to safety of bikers, both in group trips and individual cyclists in every day life. Pol Lt Gen Prawut however warned both car drivers and bikers to be more careful when sharing roads.


NRC to start writing proposed changes to draft charter

BANGKOK, 5 May 2015 (NNT) - The National Reform Council will start listing proposed changes to the draft Constitution, on Wednesday.

NRC whip Secretary-General Alongkorn Ponlaboot says that the reform council will this week consider all proposed changes, before they are digested and put into a formal proposition for the Constitution Drafting Committee.

Mr. Alongkorn conceded that those parts of the draft charter which are related to political affairs have received the most attention because they indicate the progressive development of Thailand’s democracy.

He also noted that the new Constitution offers many new and interesting developments for Thailand, particularly citizenship rights which have been improved much more than in previous charters.

The NRC whip also criticized political groups that have attacked the new charter without recognizing the many good elements intended to benefit the country.


World's top aluminium company will expand production in Thailand

BANGKOK, 5 May 2015 (NNT) - Industry Minister Chakkamon Phasukwanit has said after meeting with the president of Diaki Aluminium Industry (Thailand) Co., Ltd. that the company promised to maintain and expand its production site in Thailand to accommodate future growth of the Thai automotive industry.

Diaki Aluminium Industry (Thailand) Co., Ltd. is one of the world’s top five biggest aluminium manufacturers. Its factory at the Amata Nakhon Industrial Estate has received permission from the Department of Industrial Works to recycle aluminium dross as raw material for the green steel industry.

The Office of Industrial Economics has forecast that the Thai industrial GDP in 2015 would expand by 2-3% and the manufacturing production index 3-4%. The automotive industry’s production was expected to grow by 10% or 2.15 million cars due to an economic recovery in Thailand and its major export markets.


Pawnshop rates remained low to help cash-strapped parents

BANGKOK, 5 May 2015 (NNT) - The government has instructed all 34 pawnshops under the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security to maintain interest rates as part of the efforts to help parents before school opens.

Government Spokesman Yongyuth Mayalarp said the interest rates, lower than those set by the Pawnshop Act, would be effective from now until June 2015. The interest rates range from 50 Satang/month to 1.25 baht/month depending on the principal.

Director of the Office of the Government Pawnshop Mana Kliangthong said the office had asked the pawnshops to preserve 500 million baht more in liquidity to keep up with the demands of customers during this period.


NRC dissatisfied with new Senate composition, more open to non-MP premier

BANGKOK, 5 May 2015 (NNT) - The National Reform Council (NRC) has agreed that the composition of the Senate as stipulated in the new constitution should be changed, but it is now more accepting of the provision allowing for the appointment of a non-MP Prime Minister.

NRC Whip Alongkorn Polabutr said provisional discussions with NRC members revealed a unanimous desire to revise the new composition of the Senate. Members have agreed that Senators should be drawn from a wider range of professions. In addition those who would be derived from the provincial level should be directly elected by their constituents, doing away with the committee that would select provincial Senators. Furthermore, they agreed that provincial Senators need not be members of a political party.

Mr Alongkorn revealed that after the Constitution Drafting Committee agreed to tighten restrictions on the circumstances allowing for a non-MP Prime Minister, NRC members have become more open to such a provision. They said such a scenario should however be kept for times of political crisis when a person outside the Parliamentary sphere could help diffuse a political deadlock.

The NRC Whip further disclosed that NRC members hold differing opinions regarding the system of electing Members of the House of Representatives. He said many have expressed doubt that the new system would achieve its goal of preventing vote buying.

Moreover, members are also divided on whether the new Reform Mobilization Committee should consist of members of the NRC and the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), as many fear the committee would be criticized as being a vehicle designed to extend the power of the NRC and the NLA into the new government.


NLA says new Senate composition overly complicated

BANGKOK, 5 May 2015 (NNT) - The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) has disagreed with the new system of appointing members of the Senate as it is overly complicated and confusing.

NLA Second Vice President Peerasak Porchit has revealed that most members are concerned with the proposed composition of the Senate as stipulated in the draft constitution. They’ve proposed that the ratio between provincial and appointed Senators be equal and that the provincial Senators be directly elected by their constituents instead of going through a selection process at the provincial level.

In regard to the provision allowing for the appointment of a non-MP Prime Minister, NLA members said they would agree to such an arrangement if the constitution clearly stated that this scenario be used only in times of political crisis.

Mr Peerasak added that NLA members currently hold differing opinions on the mixed member proportional system of electing Members of the House of Representatives. He said he personally feels the system is overly complicated and that the reduced number of constitutional MP’s from 400 to 250 would further distance the relationship between the House and the people. He said MP’s serve as a link between the people’s needs and the legislature, and therefore insisted that their numbers be increased in Parliament.

Furthermore, the vice president said the NLA unanimously agreed that a public referendum on the new constitution is necessary. However, the country should not resort to past charters in the event that the new constitution is voted down, as the previous charters have their flaws. In addition, he revealed that many NLA members have suggested the possibility of holding a referendum only on the more contentious provisions of the new constitution such as the system of electing representatives in Parliament.


GLO Labor Union proposes lottery ticket sales at 100 baht apiece

BANGKOK, 5 May 2015, (NNT) -The Chairman of the Government Lottery Office (GLO) Labor Union, Amnuayporn Kerdpoom has proposed a lottery ticket price increase from 80 baht apiece to 100 baht.

Mr. Amnuayporn claimed that the request was reasonable, as the ticket price has remained at 80 baht apiece for over 30 years. He suggested that the GLO add the income from the hike to the existing prizes or to pay distributors.

The GLO Labor Union Chairman said that since the tickets are being sold at 120-130 baht apiece anyway, the general public should accept the suggested new price with ease.

Mr. Amnuayporn also mentioned the weekly wholesale lottery market at Wang Saphung district in Loei Province, saying that the atmosphere there is less than lively. He explained that vendors complain that it is impossible to sell tickets at 80 baht apiece when the cost to them was already 85 baht.

He concluded that the implementation of Section 44 of the interim constitution to enforce the regulation does not address the problem at its root.

In reply, the new GLO board said it would take the matter to this week’s meeting and would announce its decision on ticket prices next week.


Walking rally held to celebrate HM the King's 69th accession anniverary

BANGKOK, 5 May 2015 (NNT)-A walking rally was held earlier today to celebrated the 69th anniversary of His Majesty the King’s accession to the throne.

Defense Minister and Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan presided over the opening ceremony of the walking rally at Rajpruek Club.

People from all walks of life and government officials participated in the 5 kilometer walk. The first 5 individuals who crossed the finish line have received a commemorative trophy from the club. The event celebrated the anniversary of His Majesty's accession to the throne 69 years ago.


Ministry of Culture encouraging traditional attire

BANGKOK, 5 May 2015 (NNT)-The Ministry of Culture is to launch a campaign to encourage Thais to wear traditional Thai clothes more often.

Culture Minister Weera Rojpojanarat said the Department of Cultural Promotion will ask universities in Bangkok and other provinces to promote locally made textiles by encouraging their staff to wear them.

The Ministry of Education will be asked for its cooperation to do the same with school students.

The Ministry of Culture will also be making awards to individuals who wear traditional Thai clothes during the campaign.

The campaign is expected to be launched in August, as soon as the cabinet gives it a green light. A survey will also be conducted to collect historic information on Thai traditional textiles.

People from various social groups will be invited to join a network set up specifically to promote the wearing of traditional Thai clothes.


3 more Thais in Nepal to return to Thailand

BANGKOK, 5 May 2015 (NNT) - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) revealed that three more Thai nationals in Nepal have requested evacuation back to Thailand.

According to the MFA, a parent of three children has sought assistance from the ministry for their return to Thailand on C-130 aircraft.

The aircraft arrived in Nepal yesterday to deliver emergency supplies from Thailand and other items given by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

With the three children expected to return soon, there will only be three more Thai citizens remaining at the Thai embassy in Kathmandu.

The rescue teams from the Royal Thai Armed Forces, combat medics and those from the Ministry of Public Health have been providing relief efforts to the quake survivors, as well as those affected by it.

Aid teams have found that quake victims are suffering from respiratory illnesses. The World Health Organization has praised the Thai government and their medical teams for helping people in the aftermath of the devastating quake.


Second Thai medical team to join relief efforts in Nepal

BANGKOK, 5 May 2015 (NNT) - The Ministry of Public Health will send a second medical team to help people affected by the devastating quake in Nepal on Thursday.

Acting Permanent Secretary of Public Health Surachet Sathitniramai said the second team will consist of 40 medical personnel. They will be divided into two groups in order to cover more ground.

The first team is scheduled to return to Thailand this Friday. The two groups will travel to Sipaghat and Pascal to ensure the survivors’ hygiene, their physical health and mental well-being.

They are also expected to help restore the health care system in Nepal with other teams from foreign nations.


Tak and Sa Kaeo to become first fully-equipped SEZ provinces

BANGKOK, 5 May 2015 (NNT) - Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister General Prawit Wongsunwan said he believes the special economic zones (SEZs) will begin to attract investments in September.

The Defense Minister revealed after attending the SEZ meeting that investors would pay more attention to SEZs, once investment incentives and land allotment have been announced.

Relevant agencies have been instructed to determine the terms and conditions regarding the incentives and lands by the end of September.

Tak and Sa Kaeo will be the first two SEZ provinces in Thailand to be fully equipped and ready for investment.

The government will continue to improve basic infrastructure and promote local products to make the two provinces more attractive to future investments.


Food-deprived wild elephants trash mango plantation in Buriram

BURIRAM, 5 May 2015 (NNT) – A mango plantation in Buriram province has been ravaged by wild elephants that have wandered away from the local forest reserve foraging for food during the dry season.

According to the owner of the mango plantation in Non Din Daeng district, Buriram, wild elephants came into his plantation three nights in a row foraging for food. In the process, the elephants tore down about 30 mango trees. The owner said he had the same problem in 2014 when wild elephants damaged some 100 mango trees in all.

Local authorities said the wild elephants had left the forest because of the reduced amount of food in their usual feeding grounds, as this was the dry season. Forest rangers are now patrolling the perimeters of the local forest reserve to keep the elephants inside the forest. The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation will be notified of the damage to the mango plantation in order for assistance to be given out.


Six police officers transferred pending investigation into hidden Rohingya graves

BANGKOK, 5 May 2015 (NNT) – Royal Thai Police Commissioner Somyot Pumpanmuang would reportedly transfer the commander of Satun Provincial Police and five other policemen at Padang Besa sub-district in Sadao district of Songkhla in connection with the discovery of 26 graves of Rohingya migrants.

Police General Somyot met with authorities in Songkhla on Monday over the hidden shelters and graves of Rohingya migrants discovered in the woods in Padang Besa sub-district. After his meeting, the police chief told reporters that warrants had been issued for eight people, four of whom had been arrested. The arrested men were Myanmar nationals between 40-48 years of age. Police believe state officials have been involved in running the hidden shelters.

Pol. Gen. Somyot said he was transferring the head of Satun Provincial Police, Police Majpr General Soontorn Chalermkiat, because of the latter's close ties to the masterminds of the Rohingya trafficking ring, who were residing in Satun.

The police chief said more time was needed to collect evidence relating to the causes of death of the 26 Rohingyas.


Bangkok keeps on improving its cycling lane around Rattanakosin Island

BANGKOK, 4 May 2015 (NNT) - The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has regularly undertaken development of the eight-kilometer bicycle lane around Rattanakosin Island – the old quarter of the capital, Government spokesman Yongyuth Mayalarp revealed.

Since the opening of the lane on 28 December 2014, Yongyuth said the BMA has kept improving the lane to make it truly practical for users. Improvements include upgrading road surface and leveling the lids of drainage pipes to road surface, clearer marking the lane and setting up warning symbols and plastic bollards to protect cyclists from traffic and accidents. Sidewalk ramps have been improved to better facilitate cyclists and disabled persons while bike parking zones have been arranged at popular tourist spots.

However, cycle lanes still have problems. The bollards are worn-out whereas cars are often found parking on the bike lane. BMA officials were sent out to inspect the problems and at the same time inform people about the proper use of the lane.

By the end of May, Bangkok officials will conduct more inspections of the cycle lane in order to improve the existing routes and plan an extension of the project to other parts of Bangkok, Yongyuth said.

The cycle lane is part of the government’s policy to improve traffic flow, public safety and convenience on roads around the old quarter of the city of Bangkok. The 8-kilometer cycle lane goes along twelve following routes: Mahachai, Kalayana Maitri, Thai Wang, Maha Rat, Na Phra Lan, Na Phra That,Rachini, Phra Sumane, Bowon Niwet, Sanam Chai, Tanao and Phra Athit.


Government hosts a festival of quality fruit and vegetables

BANGKOK, 4 May 2015 (NNT) - The government plans to host a festival to showcase the quality fruit and vegetables of Thailand this week.

Government spokesman Yongyuth Mayalarp said that Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, on 6th May, will chair the official opening of the festival, which will take place at the Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem market in Bangkok.

According to Mr. Yongyuth, the festival is intended to allow farmers and retailers to present their products at fair prices.

He added that all who participate in the project will be able to sell their fresh produce directly to consumers as they will not have to work through middlemen, while taking the opportunity to build their own business network and promoting local culture and the nature of Thainess.

Mr. Yongyuth went on to say that the Agriculture Ministry’s Department of Agricultural Extension will be the key agency in organizing this event, which is scheduled to run from May 6th to 31st and will be joined by the operators of 70 booths.


Tropical storms and intense heat cause problems in several provinces

BANGKOK, 5 May 2015 (NNT) – The current bout of intense heat is causing problems for chicken farm owners in Uthai Thani and vegetable growers in Nakhon Sawan; meanwhile, tropical storms triggered landslides in Yala and damaged homes in Nakhon Ratchasima and Sisaket.

In Yala province, two hours of incessant rainfall triggered landslides in Betong sub-district, rendering some roads impassable to traffic. One part of a road in the sub-district that was under construction reportedly collapsed.

In Nakhon Ratchasima, a tropical storm damaged as many as 100 homes in Phimai district in addition to numerous temples, grain silos and crop fields.

In Sisaket, the provincial governor handed out relief packages to flood-stricken locals in Wang Hin district, in the aftermath of Sunday's tropical storm, which damaged 47 homes and a school.

In Uthai Thani, chickens have been put under stress by the intense heat. Farm owners are hard-pressed to keep the temperature in the farm between 28-32 degrees Celsius, and this has resulted in rising electricity costs.


Steel entrepreneur ensures no production relocation out of Thailand, says Ministry of Industry

BANGKOK, 5 May 2015 (NNT) – The Minister of Industry is optimistic that Thailand's steel industry will be prosperous after Japanese entrepreneurs have ensured that there will be no relocation of their steel production from Thailand and will even gear up further investment.

The Minister of Industry Chakramon Phasukavanich has revealed after holding a discussion with the committee chairman of the Daiki Aluminium Industry (Thailand) Takaaki Yamamoto, which is one of the biggest aluminum manufacturers of the world, that the company has assured to retain their production base in Thailand, adding that they will even be expanding the production capacity.

The Daiki Aluminium Industry has two factories in Thailand. The first is located in the Amata Nakorn Industrial Park in Chonburi, and the second factory in Amata City Industrial Park in Rayong. Both factories are responsible for aluminum recycling and melting.

The company is now increasing the production capacity at Rayong province to reach 200 tons per month from the existing 48 tons per month capacity within 2016, to support the growth of the automobile industry in Thailand.

The Daiki Aluminium Industry’s factory in Rayong has also been permitted by the Department of Industrial Works to perform the pilot projects on the use of leftover dregs from the aluminum melting process as an ingredient for the iron smelting process. This would help reduce the iron smelting factories' energy consumption by 8 percent while increasing productions by 1.5 percent.

This new method is also expected to reduce harmful waste and increase competitiveness, as well as proceeding in keep with the government’s industrial waste management strategy.


Thai researchers successful in producing aromatic popped rice

BANGKOK, 5 May 2015 (NNT) - Success of Thai researchers in improving popped rice as container of essential oil could add high value to the normal rice karnels, Asst.Prof.Sanong Ekgasit, a researcher from Chulalongkorn University revealed.

Asst.Prof.Sanong said the internal porous structure of the rice kernels provides higher capacity to keep essential oils inside and gradually release their aromas for three months. When the oils run out, the popped rice can naturally biodegradable with no harms to the environment.

The aromatic popped rice is now sold in ready-to-use packets which can be placed at different places such as wardrobes and cars. Researchers have plans to add a wider range of essential oils into the popped rice, hoping to meet different tastes of customers.

The innovation and development of the aromatic popped rice are supported by the Office of the National Research Council of Thailand. It is selected to be one of Thai innovations to be displayed at the 26th International Invention and innovation Exhibition 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during 21-23 May.


HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn donates relief supplies for quake survivors in Nepal

BANGKOK, 4 May 2015 (NNT) - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has disclosed that the new round of relief supplies given by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will be delivered to Nepal today.

According to the MFA, the Royal Thai Air Force will send another shipment of necessities by two ‘C-130 Hercules’ military air transports to help people affected by the earthquake in Nepal.

The emergency supplies include drinking water, tents, large plastic sheets and more items donated by Her Royal Highness.

The MFA added that no further assistance has been requested from Thai nationals in Nepal at this time.

There are currently 19 Thai citizens taking refuge at the Thai embassy in Kathmandu, 11 of which are families of embassy officials.

The aid team organized by the Royal Thai Armed Forces will continue to help people in Nepal, alongside a local team and others from Japan and Mexico.

Medical personnel from the Ministry of Public Health and those working under the Royal Thai Army have also been providing medical attention in the aftermath of the devastating quake.


Ministry of Public Health to send another medical team to Nepal

NONTHABURI, 4 May 3015 (NNT) – The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) is set to send the second medical team to aid in helping rescue and relief operations for the public of Nepal affected by the earthquake disaster, says the DMS Deputy Director General.

The Deputy Director-General of the Department of Medical Services (DMS) Narong Aphikulvanich has revealed that the MOPH is preparing to send in the second medical team from Thailand to Nepal, to replace the first Thai medical team currently working in Nepal. The first team is scheduled to return to Thailand on 8 May 2015.

The main objective for the second medical team will be to provide medical services, diagnosis, disease control, psychotherapy, health and sanitation control, and to help restore the public health system in Nepal.

The Thai government has dispatched the first medical team to Sindhupalchowk district in Nepal in coordination with the Ministry of Health and Population of Nepal and the World Health Organization.

The team has established a field hospital to serve the people in the area, a the Mobile Unit to provide medical services to the people in communities, and the team has provided sanitary and environmental care to prevent an outbreak of potential diseases. Throughout the operations, the main obstacles are road connectivity, language barrier, and the lack of basic infrastructure of Nepal.


Police run inspection on fishing boats in Samut Sakhon

SAMUT SAKHON, 4 May 2015 (NNT) – A random inspection by police has been carried out on fishing vessels in Samut Sakhon province in an attempt to prevent human trafficking and ensure operators’ compliance with the law.

Assistant National Police Chief Pol Lt Gen Prawut Thavornsiri traveled to Marine Police Station 4 located in Mueang district of Samut Sakhon in order to convene with representatives from agencies involved in anti-human trafficking efforts, such as the Marine Police Division, Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division, Immigration Bureau, Department of Employment and Marine Department.

During the meeting, Pol Lt Gen Prawut said he was assigned by the National Police Commissioner-General to follow up on the enforcement of various measures against human trafficking in Samut Sakhon, which is one of Thailand’s major port provinces. Such measures include the registration of fishing boats and crew members, setting up of marine checkpoints to screen all incoming and outgoing vessels and installation of vessel monitoring systems on boats of 30 gross tonnage or over.

The progress of these measures is set to be presented to EU officials who will be visiting Thailand next week to observe Thai fishery operations following the recent issuance of a yellow card.

On this occasion, Pol Lt Gen Prawut also led his entourage on a random inspection of local fishing boats. Most of them were found to be employing workers from Myanmar, with Thai supervisors. All the workers were able to present proper work permits. Nonetheless, some of the boats were missing certain documents, a problem that will need to be addressed.


NRC, Cabinet, NCPO expected to formally propose changes in draft charter May 25

BANGKOK, 4 May 2015 (NNT) - The National Reform Council, the Cabinet and the National Council for Peace and Order are expected to formally propose their suggested changes in the draft charter later this month.

Spokesman of the Constitution Drafting Committee Kamnoon Sidhisamarn said that the NRC, the NCPO and the Cabinet have not submitted their proposed changes to the charter drafters but they are expected to do so on May 25.

Mr. Kamnoon said that the expected date of submission is the last day of the 30-day period for all bodies to propose their charter change suggestions, which the CDC will review and invite those who make the proposals to clarify and provide additional information.

He added that political parties will also be invited to the meeting with the CDC to discuss all propose changes although they are not among those allowed to suggest any.

Concerning the debate over a public referendum on the new charter, Mr. Kamnoon said that the CDC has not discussed the issue while affirming that the interim Constitution does not stipulate anything about such a process.

Therefore, if a public referendum is to be held, the NCPO and the Cabinet will have to amend the provisional charter first, the CDC spokesman said.


CDC to send second draft of constitution to NRC by Jul 23

BANGKOK, 4 April 2015 (NNT) - The Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) will continue to receive input on the new charter and will submit the second draft of the charter to the National Reform Council (NRC) on or before July 23.

A CDC member, Pakorn Priyakorn, said the charter drafters have already held public input forums in thirteen provinces, with an additional seven destinations to be held soon.

In addition, the cabinet and the National Council for Peace and Order will submit its input by May 16, whereas the NRC will submit additional proposals by May 25.

After receiving the input the CDC will hold amendment discussions from June 8 to Jul 16, and submit the second draft of the constitution back to the NRC on or before July 23.


Public referendum only possible via constitutional amendment, not Section 44

BANGKOK, 4 April 2015 (NNT) - The Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) has revealed that in order for a public referendum to be held in relation to the new constitution, an amendment must be made to the current interim constitution.

According to one of the CDC members, Pakorn Preeyakorn, if all reform bodies agree to a referendum, the cabinet and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) must submit an amendment proposal to the National Legislative Assembly, which must be vetted and voted on like any other constitution amendment.

He also noted that Section 44 of the interim constitution, which grants the head of the NCPO overriding power over national security issues, cannot be used to initiate a public referendum. The interim constitution does not give the government and the NCPO the authority to make changes to the charter; therefore, a referendum cannot be initiated solely by the Prime Minister.


Army Chief checks investigation of Rohingya death case

SONGKHLA, 4 May 2015 (NNT) – The Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Army today went to investigate the death case of about 30 Rohingya people on location, while urging a solution to eradicate human trafficking in Thailand.

The Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Army Gen Udomdej Sitabutr said that he had visited Songkhla province today to continue the investigation on searching for more Rohingya bodies buried at the border area. He has urged all agencies to carry out their operations and intelligence work to eradicate the human trafficking issue from Thailand.

About 30 graves of Rohingya people were discovered by the police on 1 May 2015 on the Look Chang mountain in the Padang Besar subdistrict in Songkhla province. The site is believed to be the temporary camp for Rohingya people before being transported out of Thailand.

The Army Chief further said that this matter has been expedited by the Prime Minister in finding the perpetrators and to bring them to face legal punishment, as the Prime Minister is concerned that some government officials might involved.

He said that the matter has to be coordinated between Thailand and Malaysia, as it is believed that this particular human trafficking gang has connections in both countries. This case must be urgently solved as Thailand is now being watched by many countries regarding the issue of human trafficking. However, the name of the suspects cannot be disclosed currently, as the case is still under police investigation.

The Army Chief also mentioned that he had visited Ranong province today, as it is the location that is used to transport Rohingya people by boat to the western seashore of Thailand, in an attempt to eradicate the human trafficking activities through the cooperation between the military, police, and the civilian.


Labour ministry to make labour protection more inclusive

BANGKOK, 4 May 2015 (NNT) – The Ministry of Labour is set to extend labour protection coverage to all groups of informal workers, according to a ministry official.

The Deputy Permanent-Secretary of the Labour Ministry Arrug Phrommanee has said regarding the management of the informal workers, that authorities must consider providing labour protection to diverse groups of informal workers that current work in the country.

He has said that the previously established ministerial regulations on labour protection to agricultural labourers, housewives, workers working at home, and fisheries workers are still insufficient in covering all categories of informal workers. Therefore the ministry needs to consider issuing additional laws to cover all the groups, such as contract farmers.

The ministry also needs to consider providing access to capital for informal workers as well, as currently the only foundation that provides capital to informal workers is only for workers working at home.

The Labour Ministry Deputy Permanent-Secretary has further said that coordination centers for informal workers in each province will have to provide service to the informal workers while coordinating with the provincial labour networks, as well as collecting the information of informal workers in each area such as the type of occupation, quantity, and contact information, in order to provide a wider coverage of services for the management of informal workers in the future.


NIDA polls shows majority support for PM as an elected official

BANGKOK, 4 April 2015 (NNT) A poll has revealed that 59.4 percent of respondents favor a Prime Minister who is an elected member of Parliament as he or she would be a representative of the people.

The National Institute of Development Administration, a body that conducts various high-profile polls also known as “NIDA Polls,” deduced from its latest sampling of 1,261 respondents that 59.4 percent place their confidence in an elected representative to assume the premiership, as the member chosen would have been elected by the populace.

However, 36.64 percent were of the opinion that the public should directly elect the Prime Minister as political parties can influence votes within Parliament.

When asked if respondents agree to a non-MP as Prime Minister, provided that he or she obtains the approval of two-thirds of the parliament, 47.98 percent disapproved of this scenario, saying an outsider Prime Minister would lack the experience necessary in managing the affairs of the country. On the other hand, 45.76 percent have expressed agreement, saying it is a viable option in finding a suitable leader of the country.


NLA members say new electoral system won’t solve vote buying

BANGKOK, 4 April 2015 (NNT) - The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) says it does not think the new electoral system under the draft constitution would solve the problem of vote buying, saying the charter drafters should instead focus on the strengthening of electoral monitoring bodies.

According to Taweesak Sutkwatin, an NLA member, the NLA members have concluded that vote buying will go on regardless of how good the new electoral system is. Efforts should be redirected to increasing the monitoring power of organizations, such as the Election Commission to better conduct investigations.

Mr Taweesak further revealed that most NLA members agreed that a public referendum should be held and that all proposals were being gathered and would be submitted to the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC). The NLA would hold a final brainstorming seminar between May to Jun in order to compile all input on the new constitution to be submitted to the charter drafters, he said.

Most NLA members are of the opinion that the power of the new Senate under the new constitution is excessive, adding that the members feel that a body that is not entirely elected by the public should have its powers limited, added Mr.Taweesak.


NRC rescheduled meeting to Wednesday

BANGKOK, 4 May 2015 (NNT) - The National Reform Council (NRC) has rescheduled its meeting to Wednesday, where it is expected to deliberate on the powers of the local administrations and other important issues.

According to NRC President Thienchay Keeranan, the reform panel will also consider dismantling certain government units to make public services more accessible, less complicated, and reduce government spending.

There are over 10,000 government units nationwide and at least 100 others belonging to state enterprises and public organizations. The NRC claimed the high level of bureaucracy would allow for corruption and unnecessary errors.

In addition, the panel will decide whether a committee should be set up specifically to recruit qualified individuals to the permanent secretary positions, instead of allowing anyone to be easily appointed to the position.

The NRC will later deliberate on another proposal recommending several changes to the draft constitution.

They include setting up impartial committees to appoint high-profile officials, adding a clause to prevent political power from influencing the government programs, and clearly outlining the powers of soldiers, policemen and government employees.


American tobacco company moves to block new tobacco law in Thailand

BANGKOK, 4 May 2015 (NNT)-The Action on Smoking and Health Foundation Thailand (ASH Thailand) has claimed that a giant American tobacco company is trying to prevent Thailand from passing a law on tobacco control.

According to ASH Thailand Secretary General Professor Dr. Prakit Watheesathokkij, Philip Morris International submitted a letter to the Ministry of Public Health discouraging the new legislation.

The company indicated that Thailand only needed to educate its citizens more about the harmful effects of smoking and use the existing laws to prevent new smokers.

Philip Morris International earns as much as three billion baht a year from selling tobacco products in Thailand.

Prof Dr. Prakit added that the company also tried to prevent the US Food and Drug Administration from enforcing the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act 2009.

He said it is important for Thailand to pass the law to prevent younger people from becoming addicted to smoking and the overall well-being of Thai people.


The Thai National Shippers’ Council to propose expansion of service businesses abroad

BANGKOK, 4 May 2015, (NNT) - The Thai National Shippers’ Council (TNSC) has been planning to petition the government to boost the service industry by expanding the sector overseas.

TNSC Executive Director Kongrit Chantrik said the move would reduce the emphasis on exporting physical products, adding that the service industry has more market value and would ultimately contribute more to the export sector.

He voiced his opinions on the matter to the press, saying the nation should not focus only on conventional export items. Mr. Kongrit reasoned that these products are often being challenged by rival exporting nations.

The Executive Director said the export sector is being negatively affected by Thailand’s inferior competitiveness, as well as higher labor and production costs than that of rival countries.

He advised the administration to develop a concrete overseas strategy for service businesses. Mr. Kongrit revealed that recent data indicates that the service industry accounted for 34.8 percent of the gross domestic product, while physical products only constituted 29.6 percent.


Thai government promises to bring justice to Rohingya mass grave

BANGKOK, 4 May 2015 (NNT) - The Royal Thai Police has not ruled out whether the deaths of 26 Rohingyas found in Songkhla province were the result of a violent assault.

Royal Thai Police Spokesperson Police Lieutenant Colonel Prawut Thavornsiri said the recently discovered bodies of 26 Rohingyas have been identified as 25 males and one female. Three of them are believed to be younger than 20 years old.

The preliminary autopsy has not ruled out murder. However, it has been indicated that not all of them died at the same time. The time of death could have been one week or up to one year ago. Some may have died from starvation or the result of a fatal assault.

The spokesperson said that Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha and the Thai government will take impartial legal action against those involved in their deaths.


Low pressure system likely to increase temperature in Thailand

BANGKOK, 5 May 2015 (NNT)- The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) has warned people in the upper part of the country of possible dangers from tropical storms during this time of year.

According to the DDPM Deputy Director-General, Anusorn Keawkangwan, temperatures will increase in the North and Northeast due to the low pressure system.

It will also be extremely hot in some areas. The southeasterly wind will bring thundershowers from the Gulf of Thailand to the eastern, central and lower northeastern provinces

People have been warned against the possibility of strong gales and hail storms during this time of year. In case they need assistance, they are advised to call the DDPM’s hotline 1784 or contact the provincial authority in their respective provinces.


BMTA to finalize the 489 NGV purchasing deal this week

BANGKOK, 4 May 2015, (NNT) - The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) stated that it would finalize the purchase of 489 Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV) buses.

BMTA Acting Director Pranee Sukasorn said the state enterprise this week is negotiating the price for each vehicle and the maintenance fee for an entire year. She assured the public that the agency would secure an optimum contract.

The BMTA has held three auctions for the new NGV buses with about ten firms. The auctions have narrowed tenders to only a couple companies.

Ms. Pranee speculated that the firms which withdrew from the auctions could not justify the contract’s cost-benefit ratio and chose to step aside.


CIMB's concerns on the new interest rate

BANGKOK, 4 May 2015, (NNT) - CIMB Bank’s research office has expressed concern that the reduced interest rate may create more household debt and a financial bubble.

Mr. Amonthep Jawala, the office chief, had been referring to the Monetary Policy Committee’s move decreasing the benchmark rate by 0.25 percent to 1.5 percent last week.

He explained the event would likely force some investors to move their savings to more lucrative investments, such as Long Term Equity Funds in the real estate sector. Mr. Amonthep is concerned that doing so would create a financial bubble later on.

Furthermore, commercial banks are likely to be more careful when approving loans to prevent Non-Performing Loans, given the high rate of household debt.

Mr. Amonthep stated that reducing the benchmark interest rate to stimulate economy may work in a short term, but in a long run he suggests using various financial policies, ramping up infrastructure investment, and improving private investor confidence.

He also advised exporters to spread the risk by expanding their markets to neighboring countries.


Warning of thunderstorm and hails in various parts of Thailand, DDPM says

BANGKOK, 4 May 2015 (NNT) - The Meteorological Department has warned of a new round of summer thunderstorm with hails in the East, the lower Northeast and the central region soon, Anusorn Kaewkangwan, deputy director-general of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department (DDPM) said on Monday.

The weather bureau predicted that a low pressure system would cover the upper part of Thailand causing the temperature to rise during the day and even higher at night in some areas. The southeasterly winds would bring humidity from the South China Sea and the Gulf of Thailand to the lower Northeast, the East and the central region, causing isolated thundershowers in those areas.

People who are affected by the extreme weather and other natural disasters should contact local DDPM offices which will forward their request for assistance to governors or provincial authorities in their respective areas. Also, they may call hotline 1784 around the clock.


Thailand signs joint declaration with GMS countries in fighting human trafficking

BANGKOK, 4 May 2015 (NNT) – Thailand has joined five other Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) countries in signing a joint declaration reiterating their commitment to ending all forms of human trafficking in the region.

Signing the declaration on behalf of the Thai government on April 30 was Mr. Wichian Chavalit, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, who represented the Thai Minister of Social Development and Human Security at the 4th Inter-Ministerial Meeting of the Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative against Trafficking (COMMIT), in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Mr. Wichian said that apart from the joint declaration, COMMIT also endorsed the 4th Sub-Regional Plan of Action for the period 2015 to 2018 that charts the course of cooperation among the six GMS countries on counter-trafficking over the next four years. The GMS countries are Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.


Government thanks Thais for extending help to Nepal

BANGKOK, 4 May 2015 (NNT) – The government has praised the Thai people for their generosity towards earthquake victims in Nepal as donations, both in cash and kind, have continuously been sent in.

According to Deputy Government Spokesperson Maj Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd, seven days have passed since the government launched the “Send Thai Hearts to Nepal” account at Krungthai Bank, Government House branch, on April 28 as an official channel for the public to donate their money for people affected by the powerful earthquake in Nepal. Over the period, the account has attracted more than 111 million baht.

Meanwhile, a large number of necessary items have been donated through the First Infantry Regiment, King’s Guard on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road and the Eleventh Infantry Regiment, King’s Guard in Bang Khen district. The donations received range from clothing, food, drinking water and medicine to appliances like power generators, rice cookers and tents.

Maj Gen Sansern said, on behalf of Nepal, the government would like to thank the Thai people for all the contributions made so far and that their kindness is deeply appreciated.

The Deputy Government Spokesperson also admitted that the transport of donated items to the troubled areas in Nepal is a difficult task. He, however, affirmed that the Royal Thai Armed Forces are doing all they can to ensure that the donations reach the hands of the quake survivors as soon as possible.


 

DAILY UPDATE

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Rainmaking operation continues despite the rainy season

Sobriety checkpoint time extended beyond 3 a.m. to intercept more drunk drivers

NRC to start writing proposed changes to draft charter

World's top aluminium company will expand production in Thailand

Pawnshop rates remained low to help cash-strapped parents

NRC dissatisfied with new Senate composition, more open to non-MP premier

NLA says new Senate composition overly complicated

GLO Labor Union proposes lottery ticket sales at 100 baht apiece

Walking rally held to celebrate HM the King's 69th accession anniverary

Ministry of Culture encouraging traditional attire

3 more Thais in Nepal to return to Thailand

Second Thai medical team to join relief efforts in Nepal

Tak and Sa Kaeo to become first fully-equipped SEZ provinces

Food-deprived wild elephants trash mango plantation in Buriram

Six police officers transferred pending investigation into hidden Rohingya graves

Bangkok keeps on improving its cycling lane around Rattanakosin Island

Government hosts a festival of quality fruit and vegetables

Tropical storms and intense heat cause problems in several provinces

Steel entrepreneur ensures no production relocation out of Thailand, says Ministry of Industry

Thai researchers successful in producing aromatic popped rice

HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn donates relief supplies for quake survivors in Nepal

Ministry of Public Health to send another medical team to Nepal

Police run inspection on fishing boats in Samut Sakhon

NRC, Cabinet, NCPO expected to formally propose changes in draft charter May 25

CDC to send second draft of constitution to NRC by Jul 23

Public referendum only possible via constitutional amendment, not Section 44

Army Chief checks investigation of Rohingya death case

Labour ministry to make labour protection more inclusive

NIDA polls shows majority support for PM as an elected official

NLA members say new electoral system won’t solve vote buying

NRC rescheduled meeting to Wednesday

American tobacco company moves to block new tobacco law in Thailand

The Thai National Shippers’ Council to propose expansion of service businesses abroad

Thai government promises to bring justice to Rohingya mass grave

Low pressure system likely to increase temperature in Thailand

BMTA to finalize the 489 NGV purchasing deal this week

CIMB's concerns on the new interest rate

Warning of thunderstorm and hails in various parts of Thailand, DDPM says

Thailand signs joint declaration with GMS countries in fighting human trafficking

Government thanks Thais for extending help to Nepal

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