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Surin NRC hosts public forum to hear opinions on charter drafting and reform

BANGKOK, 7 May 2015 (NNT) – The National Reform Council has held another public forum in northeastern Surin to hear more opinions related to the charter drafting and the reform process.

The latest public forum by the NRC took place on Tuesday in Tha Tum district of Surin province. The event was also joined by residents from Sanom and Champion Buri district.

Under the plan of the NRC’s committee on public participation, a sub-committee for Surin has been set up to organize one provincial-level public forum and 10 similar sessions at the district level to collect as much opinions from the people as possible.

As the session proceeded, participants were divided into three groups to voice out their opinion while the whole event was broadcast live on the NBT’s Surin radio network.

The next session will be held to hear the voices of residents of Khwao Sinarin and Chom Phra on May 20.


Ministry of Transport vows to create maritime logistics hub in a decade

BANGKOK, 7 May 2015, (NNT) - The Ministry of Transport is poised to make Thailand a maritime logistics hub in a decade, developing a railway line connecting Laem Chabang Port to the capital.

According to Transport Minister ACM Prajin Janthong, the maritime logistics hub plan would need a budget of 2.5 billion baht and would be completed within two years. He said the Laem Chabang plan must be finished before the ministry greenlights the Chiang Saen, Chiang Kong and Ranong pier projects.

Meanwhile, the Port Authority of Thailand (PAT) will accelerate the third phase of construction at Laem Chabang Port, which would increase its capacity by 8-10 million cargo containers. Currently, the port can handle about 11 million containers. This construction project has a budget of 35 billion baht.

The PAT also indicated that it has another 50 billion baht project to overhaul port management. The scheme will be proposed to state enterprise policy board next month for approval.


Ministry of Commerce urges police to expedite rice fraud investigation

BANGKOK, 7 May 2015, (NNT) - The Ministry of Commerce has urged the Royal Thai Police to expedite its investigation into the rice deal fraud case, saying a prolonged trial would affect its plan to sell stockpiled rice in July.

President of the Board of the Public Warehouse Organization (PWO) Jintana Chaiyawannakan said the case involves poor quality rice being stored in the PWO warehouses.

The inferior rice accounts for 20 percent of all its stockpiled rice, or 1.75 million tons.

Ms. Jintana said that once the police investigation is concluded, the PWO would file a lawsuit against the suspects of the case.


38 police officers accused of Rohingya trafficking transferred to idle posts

BANGKOK, 7 May 2015 (NNT) - 38 police officers believed to have been involved in the trafficking of Rohingyas have been transferred to the Royal Thai Police Operations Center, while the investigation is still underway.

According to Royal Thai Police Chief Police General Somyos Pumpanmuang, new police officers will be appointed to fill those vacancies, while the 38 officers in question will remain at the Police Operations Center for the duration of the investigation.

Some of those suspected of accommodating human trafficking included high-ranking police officers, such as superintendents and sub-inspectors.

Other officers held positions in immigration, anti-human trafficking and marine police divisions.


Japan relaxes regulation on labels of health-related products

BANGKOK, 7 May 2015, (NNT) - The Ministry of Commerce revealed that Japan has imposed a new regulation on labeling health-related products, which might benefit local exporters.

Department of International Trade Promotion Director-General Nantawan Sakuntanaga stated that the code is more lenient than before, enabling Thai exporters to advertise their products’ quality more easily.

She also expressed her optimism that the new code would help health food exports to grow 17 percent in 2017 from 2013.

According to the department’s Japanese counterpart in Osaka, the new regulation has been in effect since April.


PM introduces subsidy on agricultural equipment

BANGKOK, 7 May 2015, (NNT) - Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has instructed officials to expedite assistance to drought-affected farmers, while introducing a subsidy on agricultural equipment.

According to government spokesperson Yongyuth Mayalarp, the campaign would issue coupons for farmers to buy discounted seeds, fertilizer and equipment. The program is expected to be implemented soon, he said, adding it would significantly lower expenses for farmers.

Dr. Yongyuth also revealed that the Prime Minister has instructed the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives to educate agricultural operators on various anti-drought measures, reducing overhead expenses and planting alternative crops.

The ministry was also tasked with preventing the low market price of rice in during the next harvest season.

Meanwhile, the government has approved the budget of the One Tambon One Million Baht scheme for 3,051 sub-districts suffering from recurring drought.


Digital TV urging NBTC to postpone license fee payment

BANGKOK, 7 May 2015 (NNT)- Digital TV operators have agreed with The National Broadcasting Telecommunication and Commission (NBTC) that the payment for digital TV broadcasting fee should be put off until next year.

According to the NBTC, the recent forum held among 24 digital TV channels indicated that they all concurred with the NBTC’s decision to postpone the second license fee payment for another year.

They claimed that the slow economy had delayed the implementation of the digital TV system. While the system was not fully functional and their viewership remained so low, they were already required to make the second fee payment.

They would be obligated to pay a charge of 7.5% interest per year to the NBTC if they failed to make payment before the deadline. They also urged the broadcasting authority to extend future due dates for other payments by another year.


Tak governor calls to Myawaddy on Sister Cities activities

MYAWADDY, 7 May 2015 (NNT) – The governor of Tak yesterday met with his counterpart from Myawaddy to discuss on possible activities that would tighten the Sister Cities' relations.

The governor of Tak Somchai Hatayatanti, along with provincial officials yesterday made a call to the governor of Myawaddy of Myanmar, Lui Go U, to discuss the guidelines for activities that would be held to tighten the relations of both ‘Sister Cities’.

On this occasion, the governor of Tak thanked the Myawaddy governor who helped dispatch troops tasked with solving the ‘No Man Land’ island issue, which is located in the middle of the Moei River. He also asked for Myanmar's cooperation on the suppression of human trafficking and narcotics smuggling along the border area.

Both governors discussed the progress of the Ban Valley Mai - Nong Luang - Umphang road renovations at the Ban Valley border crossing, while the Ban Valley Mai Distirct Chief has requested assistance in providing electricity to the governor of Tak, who has already forwarded this matter to the Mae Sod Provincial Electrical Authority.

The Tak governor also invited the Myawaddy governor and other officials to attend the seminar on investment promotion in the Special Economic Zones in Tak province on 8 May 2015. The seminar will feature an exhibition and a lecture co-organized by the Myawaddy counterpart. The Myawaddy governor accepted this invitation and has forwarded the invitation to all interested entrepreneurs in Myawaddy.

Regarding the Mae Sod - Myawaddy cycling event set to take place on 30 May 2015, the Tak governor asked for cooperation from the Myawaddy authorities to provide staff to help facilitate the event as well.

The Myawaddy governor also invited the Tak governor to visit and pay respect to the construction of a new Buddhist pagoda, replicating the globally renowned one in Yangon, Myanmar. The pagoda has been under construction for 4 years, and the opening date for the Myawaddy public will be during 16-30 May 2015.


NRC members keen on revising political section of new charter

BANGKOK, 7 May 2015 (NNT) - The National Reform Council (NRC) has been compiling amendment proposals on the draft constitution, focusing on provisions for political bodies.

According to the Chairman of the NRC’s law and justice system reform committee Seree Suwanpanont, most NRC members have strong opinions towards revising the electoral system and the composition of Parliament.

He believed that members of the House of Representatives should be fully elected, tying the Lower House to the will of the people.

In the event that the constitution retains parallel electoral systems, Mr. Seree said the ratio of directly-elected MP’s should be significantly higher than party-listed MP’s.

The NRC member also disagreed on the composition of the new reform committee, which would include 60 NRC members. He reasoned that the NRC’s influence would spill into post-election politics.

Amendment proposals from the NRC’s justice committee take into consideration the opinions of law academics across the country.


NRC’s amendment proposals to be divided into eight major topics

BANGKOK, 7 May 2015 (NNT) - The National Reform Council (NRC) has divided its members into eight groups to compose amendment proposals in each area while the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) has expressed readiness to consider all amendment proposals in a constructive matter.

According to NRC member Bhairote Brohmsarn, the proposals have been divided into eight main topics with NRC members assigned to each topic based on their expertise. Main topics include the political system, state administration and local administration. He was confident that the members would be able to compile the proposals within the specified time frame.

On the other hand, CDC Spokesperson Assoc Prof Woothisarn Tanchai said the CDC is not troubled by the potentially large amount of amendment proposals by the NRC, as the two bodies have been in close contact throughout the entire drafting process. He said the CDC is well aware that most of the proposals will be in relation to the composition of political bodies, adding that the CDC welcomes any constructive discussion on the matter.

Once the proposals have been received, the CDC will hold discussions to consider the proposals accordingly, Prof Woothisarn said.


Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Discovery of Rohingya corpses will not affect Thailand on U.S. human trafficking watch list

BANGKOK, 7 May 2015 (NNT)-The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) does not believe the discovery of Rohingya corpses in Songklha will affect Thailand’s ranking on the U.S. human trafficking watch list.

MFA Spokesperson Sek Wannamethee has stated that the incident is unlikely to further demote Thailand in the Trafficking In Persons Report (TIP) as many have anticipated.

According to the spokesperson, the U.S. has already reviewed its report on the Thai efforts in eradicating human trafficking on March 31st. The U.S. is not expected to consider revising the ranking anytime soon.


Ex-Commerce Minister’s impeachment to be decided today

BANGKOK (NNT) - The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) will vote today whether to impeach the former Commerce Minister and his associates on grounds of corruption in the previous government-to-government (G2G) rice program.

Former Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom, former Deputy Commerce Minister Poom Sarapol, and former Department of Foreign Trade Director-General Manas Soiploy are facing impeachment on grounds of malfeasance and corruption, which led to the failure of the previous government's G2G rice program.

The NLA gave the floor to the plaintiff-- the National Anti-Corruption Commission-- to deliver its closing statement affirming its conviction that the defendants are indeed guilty as accused.

Mr Boonsong and Mr Poom delivered their closing defense statements in person while Mr Manas submitted his in writing.

After the closing statements, NLA President Pornpetch Wichitcholchai scheduled May 8 as the day for the NLA to decide whether to impeach the three defendants. Members will vote in a closed ballot.

All the three officials previously declined to attend the hearing session on Apr 30, claiming their statements might jeopardize their case, which is also being deliberated by the Supreme court's division for political office holders.


Weather building launches on southeastern coast of Songkhla

SONGKHLA,7 May 2015 (NNT) - The chief of the Meteorological Department has launched a weather center on the southeastern coast of Songkhla province.

Meteorological Department Chief Wanchai Sakudomchai, presided over the opening of the new meteorological center launched in the southeastern region of Songkhla.

The director of the new center revealed that meteorological officials had been operating out of a small two-storey facility that was almost 40 years old. The old building suffered from limited capacity and poor structural integrity, coupled with outdated equipment and technology. It could no longer meet modern-day needs for precise, accurate weather forecasting and disaster prevention.

A 44.8-million-baht budget was requested for a new building in 2014 and construction was completed in January 22, 2015. The new building received assistance and support from Hat Yai municipality in terms of the building's design.

The new weather center is located on Saiburi road, Bho Yang sub-district, Muang district, Songkhla province. Weather forecasts from the center are available everyday at Tel. 074-311-760.


Northeast economy shows slight recovery in Q1 of FY2015

BANGKOK, 7 May 2015 (NNT) - The Northeast economy has been showing positive trends in first quarter of fiscal 2015, thanks to increased disbursement of government funds.

According to the Bank of Thailand's Director for its Northeast office Thanedchai Angwarawong, the overall economic situation in the region from January - March 2015 has increased slightly from the fourth quarter of last year, due to greater public spending that could continue until the second quarter.

However, the high rate of household debt has dampened consumer confidence, and private construction showed contraction, due to investors holding out for clearer signs of economic recovery.

Less contraction was seen in the agriculture sector, thanks to stabilizing prices of agricultural products. Meanwhile, commercial banks recorded a growth in saving deposits from the previous quarter, mirroring government statistics.

In addition to public spending, the government has also approved four businesses for nano-financing solutions, as part of its policy to expand sources of capital for the general public.

Nano-financing licenses fall under a loan bracket of no more than 100,000 baht per person, charging 3 percent per month. This service is provided under the supervision of the central bank, in a move aimed at encouraging general spending.


Security-human rights balance needed in ending Rohingya illegal migration, NSC chief says

BANGKOK, 7 May 2015 (NNT) -The Secretary-General of the National Security Council Anusit Khunakorn said ending illegal migration of Rohingya to Thailand must be done with a balance of national security and human rights as illegal migrants fleeing to the country were not only the Rohingya people. Meanwhile, the investigation of a Rohingya graveyard in Padang Besar of Sadao district, Songkhla has been pursued in earnest as ordered by the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister expedited the investigation as he wants to make everything clear, transparent and stringent, Mr. Anusit continued.

"The investigation process is in progress and is focusing on the culprits involved. Thailand has called for support from its neighboring countries; meanwhile all sectors must join hands to make an effort to end the human trafficking network, with clear and transparent results.” Mr. Anusit emphasized.

He said that security authorities also benefited from stricter measures following the Rohingya case, as they assist in suppression of weapon smuggling and other violations of law.

“I believe the Army is giving close consideration to whether there should be a further reshuffle in local army posts and it is now under the supervision of Gen Udomdej Sitabutr, Deputy Minister of Defence and Army Chief.” Mr.Anusit said.

According to Mr.Anusit, national reforms in future must make transparent and accountable administration a priority. People should be part of reform efforts, rather than just concentrating on reform or the constitutional drafting.

Spokesman for the Foreign Ministry Sek Wannamethee was positive that the Rohingya graveyard case would not have negative impact on the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report of Thailand, as the report was submitted to the US Foreign Ministry on 31st March, a month before the case was exposed.


Government pawnshops cut rates to help parents before new school semester

BANGKOK, 7 May 2015 (NNT) - According to the government's "Returning Happiness to Thai People" policy, 34 government pawnshops nationwide under the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, are charging a lower interest rate until June to lighten the financial load on parents as a new school semester approaches.

The rates are reduced by 25 satang per month on a sum not exceeding 5,000 baht, 75 satang per month for principal amounts between 5,000-10,000 baht, 1 baht per month on 10,001-20,000 baht principal and 1.25 baht per month for higher than 20,000 baht principal.

The rates outlined are lower than the rates indicated in the Pawnshop Act B.E. 2505


Nakhon Phanom ISOC steps up measures against illegal migration of North Koreans

NAKHON PHANOM, 7 May 2015 (NNT) – The Internal Security Operation Command (ISOC) of Nakhon Phanom province is now pushing forward new measures against the illegal migration of refugees, which uses Thailand as transit before fleeing to other countries.

The vice governor of Nakhon Phanom Somchai Witdamrong chaired the subcommittee meeting today, at the Nakhon Phanom Anti Human Trafficking Center in the Nakhon Phanom Provincial Hall.

The Nakhon Phanom ISOC Deputy Director Col Adul Wachiraphetpranee reported in this meeting that current, the number of illegal migrant refugees from North Korea are at about 1,000. They remain in wait at the Thailand-Laos border crossing, before crossing into Nakhon Phanom province.

The group of refugees are reported to be assisted by a middleman. The group is believed to take Thailand as the transit country before moving to other countries. The group of North Koreas are reported to have escaped North Korea to China, Vietnam, and Laos, before attempting to enter Thailand at the Ban Klang subdistrict in Nakhon Phanom province.

In response, the Nakhon Phanom ISOC Deputy Director said that the ISOC has coordinated with all their security agencies and volunteers will be stepping up their measures to prevent the illegal migration issues.

The Nakhon Phanom vice governor reaffirmed that no immigrant will be allowed to take refuge Thailand or to use Thailand as a middle ground before traveling to their target destination to the third country.

He then said that he has urged all security agencies in all districts connected to the Mekong River, namely the Mueang Nakhon Phanom, Tha Uthen, That Phanom, and Ban Paeng district, to be more rigorous at all border crossings and to prevent any potential issues.


PM: Decision on charter referendum rests with Five Rivers

BANGKOK, 7 May 2015 (NNT) – Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has indicated that the decision whether or not a public referendum will be conducted on the draft charter will be made in a Five Rivers meeting.

Prime Minister Prayut revealed that the topics of democracy and constitution drafting were brought up for discussion during this week’s Cabinet meeting. The premier said he proposed that the charter drafting be allowed to proceed in accordance with the mechanism, noting that the government and the National Council for Peace and Order can only make suggestions as they do not have the power under Section 44 to meddle with the process.

The Prime Minister pointed out that should the Five Rivers agree to organize a public referendum, it would require another three months and a budget of 3 billion baht before the next general election could come about.

Personally, Gen Prayut viewed past constitutions of Thailand as containing too much content which often prompted the need for amendment. He thus opined that the new charter should contain specific details in the form of organic laws in order to avoid problems in the enforcement stage.


Second batch of Thai medical team and more necessities scheduled to leave for Nepal

BANGKOK, 6 May 2015 (NNT) – The Royal Thai Air Force is to send two tonnes of necessities for survivors of the earthquake in Nepal while the Ministry of Public Health will send another medical team to replace the first batch on Thursday 7 May, according to the Department of Information, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The new medical team will be sent to the Field Hospital set up in Sipaghat Subdistrict. The Ministry of Public Health said the team would work to encourage local residents to take part in the promotion of environmental health and sanitation, disease control, mental health cares and the restoration of fundamental infrastructure of health service in that country.

The Department of Information also said the medical team and necessities will be flown in two C-130 RTAF aircraft. It added that no additional request for assistance has been made by Thai tourists and expats at the Thai Embassy in Kathmandu so far.


PM assigns local administrators to screen for illicit activities in 10 days

BANGKOK, 6 May 2015 (NNT) – Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has tasked local administrative organizations across the country with conducting an urgent inspection of local communities for any illegal practices.

Prime Minister Prayut issued an order for all local administrative organizations to examine areas under their jurisdiction with a fine-tooth comb, looking out for such activities as human trafficking, abuse of Rohingya migrants, illegal fishing, forest encroachment and drug trafficking. The local authorities were given a ten-day deadline to finish their inspection and report their initial findings.

At the same time, the premier instructed each province to create an understanding with local state officials regarding work ethics. He stressed that should any state officials get involved in wrongful conducts, provincial authorities are authorized to take action against them immediately.

However, if such wrongdoers are influential figures who are difficult to handle, Gen Prayut said the province could report the matter to the Department of Public Administration under the Ministry of Interior or directly to the National Council for Peace and Order in order to ensure they will be brought to justice.


Govt soothes quake fears among public

BANGKOK, 6 May 2015 (NNT) – The government has calmed public worries about a possible powerful earthquake in Thailand, saying that existing fault lines in the country are not large enough to cause a destructive quake.

In the wake of a medium earthquake on Ko Yao in Phang Nga province earlier in the morning, the PM's Office Spokesperson Capt. Dr. Yongyuth Mayalarp said the chance that a tremor measuring over 7 on the Richter scale would occur in the country was rare, since all 14 active fault lines are relatively small.

According to Capt. Dr. Yongyuth, the Department of Mineral Resources has published a map of quake-prone areas and has educated residents in the areas on how to protect themselves. The Tsunami warning equipment which was installed in provinces along the Andaman Sea, can send out a warning an hour before the arrival of a Tsunami, so that people can escape to a safe place in time.

The Department of Mineral Resources pointed out that the 4.6 magnitude in Phang Nga was triggered by the Khlong Marui Fault, which extends from Surath Thani, Phang Nga and Phuket. The fault line has caused three small quakes since January. However, local people could hardly feel them.

The Meteorological Department meanwhile detected a 3.2 magnitude aftershock at an epicenter depth of one kilometer on Ko Yao in Phangnga in the afternoon. There has been no report of damage.


Economic cabinet expedites plans to address illegal fishing

BANGKOK, 6 May 2015 (NNT) - The government is urgently solving the problem of IUU fishing to beat the 180-day timeframe set by the EU. It is also preparing for the EU observation teams to visit Thailand during 10-22 May, Government Spokesman Yongyuth Mayalarp revealed after a weekly economic cabinet meeting.

The meeting chaired by Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, heard reports on the progress of IUU fishing suppression by all related authorities. Gen Prayut assigned them to submit the report on a monthly basis and finish all the measures within the EU’s timeframe.

Among the measures already done were the registration of fishing vessels, the installation of Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) on all fishing trawlers with over 60 Gross Tonnage, the amendment of the Fisheries Act which is to be in effect in the next two months as well as the traceability of fishery products. In parallel, the Thai Navy has expedited the drafting of action and budgetary plans which are to be proposed to the cabinet.

The meeting also discussed assistance to farmers for the next planting season. Gen Prayut has ordered the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives to explain farmers about urgent and long-term measures to promote agricultural zoning, reduce production cost and prevent the repetition of the falling prices of agricultural products.

As for the accumulated drought in 3,051 subdistricts, the government has approved a one-million-baht financial support for each subdistrict to help farmers reduce production costs in the next planting season. They will receive cash cards for buying seeds and fertilizers with lower prices.


Thailand assures U.S. of serious efforts in combating human trafficking

BANGKOK, 6 May 2015 (NNT) –The Thai Justice Minister Gen. Phaitun Khumchaya and a U.S. charge d'affaires have met to discuss many issues including Thailand’s crack-down on human trafficking.

The Deputy Permanent Secretary for Justice Chanchai Chaiyanukit said the U.S. Charge d'Affaires Patrick Murphy and his entourage met on Wednesday with the Thai Justice Minister Gen. Phaitun Khumchaya and the ministry’s executives to discuss cooperation in various fields. The Minister asked the charge d’affaires to support Thailand’s operations to combat the narcotic drugs trade in the Golden Triangle. He also reported the measures the country is taking against human trafficking to the U.S. envoy, saying the Thai government was taking the problem very seriously, the deputy permanent secretary said.

The minister told the U.S. envoy that Thailand was amending many laws to come into line with international standards in respect to human rights, Mr. Chanchai added.

The U.S. envoy accepted that Thailand was in a transition period and on the way to a general election, the deputy permanent secretary said.


Biggest Industrial Subcontracting Exhibition in ASEAN to be held in May

BANGKOK, 6 May 2015 (NNT) – Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) is set to hold the Subcon Thailand 2015 exhibition on 13-16 May, featuring thousands of companies worldwide that specialize on industrial technology.

BOI’s Acting Secretary-General Hiranya Sujinai has reveled that the BOI is set to hold the Subcon Thailand 2015 exhibition, the biggest Industrial Subcontracting Exhibition of its kind in the ASEAN region. The exhibition is set to take place during 13-16 May 2015.

She has said that up to 1,200 companies from 40 countries around the world will be participating at this exhibition on industrial machinery. The event will also showcase manufacturing potential of 300 different industrial parts manufacturers from 15 countries in the automobile, electric appliances, electronics, and the heavy machines sector.

The event will also joined by leading global manufacturers in the automobile, electric appliances, and electronics devices, whom possess purchasing demands of industrial parts. More than 100 topics of seminars will also be held throughout the event.

The BOI expects the Subcon Thailand 2015 exhibition to also be the stage for business matching. This year, the BOI hopes to reach 4,000 business matching pairs at the exhibition. This figure is the highest among the previous 8 events, which recorded the highest business match pairing at 3,000 pairs.


Cabinet to consider Chao Phraya riverbank development project next week

BANGKOK, 6 May 2015 (NNT) –The committee of the project to develop Chao Phraya riverbanks, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, on Wednesday approved details of the 14-billion-baht project. The project’s procurement contract will be signed in December 2015 and the construction will likely take place from January 2016 – July 2017.

The committee will submit the project to the Cabinet meeting next week for approval, said the committee’s secretary-general, who is also permanent secretary for the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.

The committee is surveying the places and people who will be affected by the project, including eight Buddhist temples, 36 piers, six schools and restaurants, 19 important places and 268 households. Public hearings and Environmental Impact Assessment will be arranged.


Government to hold Nepal aid meeting this Friday, PM urges more probe of Rohingya camp

BANGKOK, 6 May 2015 (NNT) – The government will hold a meeting regarding Nepal earthquake aid and relief operations this Friday, while the Prime Minister has urged further inspections to locate any undiscovered Rohingya camps, according a spokesman.

The Deputy Spokesman of the Prime Minister’s Office Maj Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd has announced the outcome of the teleconference meeting from the Prime Minister’s Operation Center to Nepal regarding aid and relief operations.

He has said that the Thailand’s team of military and medical personnel will continue their services in Nepal until 10 May 2015, while the government has requested officials in Nepal to detail the items and methods of aid in need, ranked in necessity.

He also mentioned that the Thai government is ready to support the establishment of the country's center for restoration efforts through funding and other forms of support, based on the Thai team's report from Nepal. The government will hold a meeting regarding this matter this Friday (8 May 2015).

On the issue of Rohingya refugees, the Deputy Spokesman has reported that the Prime Minister has already urged all local level officials to check for any signs of Rohingya detention camps in their areas, and to be vigilant to respond should another camp be discovered.

The Prime Minister has also assigned local administrative bodies to inspect for any unlawful items in the area within 10 days, while the Department of Provincial Administration will be the spearhead responsible for this operation. A conference with all related agencies will be held to notify the government’s policy regarding this issue.

The Prime Minister has also mentioned that he could be enforcing his authority under Article 44 to solve this issue, should any interference from government officials surface.


Bangkok hosts Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) Meeting in Asia-Pacific

BANGKOK, 6 May 2015 (NNT) – The Thai government is hosting the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) Meeting on "Steps towards Regional Strategic Collaboration in Asia-Pacific on Workforce Development, National Laboratory System Strengthening & Antimicrobial Resistance Prevention to Respond Global Challenges” during 6-8 May 2015 in Bangkok.

The meeting was opened today by Public Health Minister Rajata Rajatanavin with over 200 participants from 24 Asia-Pacific member countries and various international organizations including WHO, US CDC, USAID, FAO and OIE.

Hosting the event are five Thai ministries namely Public Health, Interior, Foreign Affairs, Defense and Agriculture and Cooperatives.

Mr.Rajata said that health problems are threats to social and economic development in every country. Ebola is the best example of such a threat. This has prompted WHO and all of its member countries to jointly push forward a safe world and global health security.

He told the meeting that Thailand would work alongside all members to extend cooperation in Asia and the Pacific as well as push forward a better regional plan. According to him, the Asia-Pacific countries have shaped the Agreement on Initial Roadmap of Regional Collaboration focusing on three aspects, namely the development of national laboratory system, workforce development, and antimicrobial resistance. Thailand will actively coordinate for the success of those action packages.

Sopon Mekthon, Director-General of the Disease Control Department, added that Thailand has set up the World Health Security Committee with cooperation from the five mentioned ministries and two other units namely the Ministry of Sceince and Technology and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. In that endeavour, the committee has outlined assistance framework including provision of scholarships and training, and laboratory diagnosis support for its neighbouring countries such as Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.


Bangkok to provide living skills training for students

BANGKOK, 6 May 2015 (NNT) – The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is gearing up its integration of living skills training and teaching in schools, under the supervision of the BMA to increase student's skills.

The BMA Deputy Permanent-Secretary Attaporn Suwattanadeja presided over the opening ceremony of the second Education Institutes Development Project. The project will provide guidelines on to how to train and come up with activities that improves the living skills of students to staff.

The Deputy Permanent-Secretary has said that Thai society is now facing rapid changes in the technological advancement through the abundance of information, which might harm some youths who are not well prepared to adapt to the changes. The BMA is now encouraging the training of living skills to students in BMA-run schools, through idea suggested from the participants in this event.

He has also said that the outcome of this project will be used by schools to carry out proper and effective living skills training activities for their students, based on the conditions of each school.

The Education Institutes Development Project on the guidelines to hold living skills training activities for students commences from today until 8 May 2015. Education institutes executives, teachers, and educational staff will be participating in this seminar. The event features workshops and lectures that serves to brainstorm the practical guidelines of training activities that will be implemented in the future at BMA schools.


April vacationers push revenue up to over 100 billion baht

BANGKOK, 6 May 2015 (NNT) – The Prime Minister's Office has shown the government’s success in bringing more money into circulation in the country through special holidays, citing the Ministry of Tourism and Sports’ report on a noticeable jump in tourist numbers and revenue in April.

PM Office Spokesperson Capt. Dr. Yongyuth Mayalarp announced that the number of holidaymakers during April rose 18 percent to 2.2 million compared with the same period last year. Tourism revenue was also up by nearly 22 percent to 104 billion baht. Chinese and Malaysian people made up the largest percentage of foreign tourists.

With a view to boosting people’s spending, the government approved special long holidays in April for the Chakri Dynasty Day and the Songkran festival. Critics expressed concern that extended holidays may encourage Thai people to go abroad instead of spending their holidays within the country.

As for the May 1-5 Labor and Coronation Day holiday, Capt. Dr. Yongyuth disclosed that the number of Thai holidaymakers taking overseas trips during May 1-4 jumped by three percent to 94,000 year-on-year. This group of people was found to have spent 2.3 billion baht on their holiday activities. Meanwhile, numbers of foreign tourists increased by 12 percent to 308,000, generating revenue of 14 billion baht.

At the same time, hotel bookings in popular tourist destinations went up by seven percent. Bookings in cities highly publicized by the Tourism Authority of Thailand were also popular, surging 11 percent.


Prospects of public referendum will be clear after meeting of 5 reform bodies

BANGKOK, 6 May 2015 (NNT) - The Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) says it believes the prospects of holding a public referendum on the new constitution will be clear after the meeting between the country’s five reform bodies. However, in order to do so, the current interim constitution must be amended.

CDC member Buntoon Srethasirote has disclosed that a meeting will be held between the country’s five reform bodies, which are the CDC, the NCPO, the government, the National Legislative Assembly, and the National Reform Council. It will be clear after this meeting whether they will support a public referendum.

According to Mr Buntoon, the current interim charter must be amended to stipulate that a public referendum must be held to approve of the new constitution, adding that the amendment must be proposed under the normal legislative process in Parliament.

In addition, if the public referendum is agreed upon, further discussions will be held on what the public referendum will be about, whether it is the approval of the new charter as a whole or only of certain contentious provisions. The public must then be given a certain amount of time to study the charter, which Mr Buntoon speculates to be 90 days. An organization must also be tasked with educating the public about the new charter.

Nevertheless, Mr Buntoon noted that the new charter must also be approved by the National Reform Council.


Phuket opens Port In - Port Out Controlling Center to fight illegal fishing

PHUKET, 6 May 2015 (NNT) – Phuket province has opened the Port In - Port Out Controlling Center as part of the measures against the Illegal Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IUU Fishing), according to the navy and provincial officers.

Royal Thai Navy’s Third Naval Area Command Chief of Staff Rear Admiral Somchai Na Bangchang, along with the governor of Phuket Nisit Chansomwong have presided over the opening ceremony of the port in and out report control center for fishing vessels at the Phuket Fisheries Seashore Radio Station.

The Third Naval Area Command Chief of Staff has said that the Command Center for Combating Illegal Fishing will be coordinating with all sectors to solve the illegal fishing activities in all aspects, after the country has been alarmed by the European Union to step up its measures to eradicate IUU fishing.

He has said the Third Naval Area Command has been appointed by the Royal Thai Navy on the law enforcement, and has established 26 Port In - Port Out Controlling Centers nationwide for this operation.

The Port In - Port Out Controlling Center will be informing all agencies to maximize inclusiveness, as well as publicizing the information and raising awareness among the fisheries entrepreneurs. The private sector will then cooperate by disclosing their information as well.

All fishery vessels weighing at 30 ton gross or over are required to report their port-in and port-out activities to the controlling center for 24 hours. The current service covers up to 148 fishery vessels in Phuket province.


MR Pridiyahorn: Thailand not in period of deflation

BANGKOK, 6 May 2015 (NNT) - Deputy Prime Minister MR Pridiyathorn Devakula has affirmed that the country has not entered a period of deflation.

The Deputy PM revealed that he has closely monitored the negative inflation rate, along with officials from the Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Thailand and the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board.

He blamed the negative figure on the fall in global oil prices, which has also affected the value of precious metals. The Deputy PM also attributed baht's appreciation to the global economic slowdown, coupled with a drop in the prices of agricultural products.

However, MR Pridiyathorn did not conclude that the country has officially entered a period of deflation. He claimed that the deflation would have to continue for another 5-6 months in order to establish a trend.

The Deputy PM was also unconcerned about the rise in household debt to 87 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, as the proportion of non-performing loans has not risen.


IMF praises Thailand for economic preparedness

BANGKOK, 6 May 2015 (NNT) - The Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has admired Thailand for its economic preparedness.

During a meeting with Deputy PM for economy M.R. Pridiyathorn Devakula, IMF Deputy Managing Director Mitsuhiro Furusawa voiced his satisfaction with the government’s economic policy and schemes.

M.R. Pridiyathorn disclosed that the IMF Deputy Managing Director had suggested that the country speed up reforms in five areas including oil, tax, digital economy, modern industrial development and incentives for foreign investors.

The Deputy PM said that the government was working on new inheritance taxation but had suspended property taxation pending a thorough study. M.R. Pridiyathorn also denied that the economic slowdown was attributed to inflation.

He further explained that the country’s economy was in fact affected by the lackluster global economy caused by the dramatic oil price drop. Hence, there is no need for the government to issue an economic stimulus package to solve uncontrollable factors.


Worst cyclone in 60 years strikes two districts in Chiang Mai

CHIANGMAI, 6 May 2015 (NNT) – Chiang Mai Province has experienced its worst tropical storm in 60 years, which last night wrought extensive damage in two districts.

The storm last night caused large trees to fall on electricity poles, leading to an overnight blackout in many areas in the districts of Sansai and Doi Saket. Local authorities had to spend the whole night removing the fallen trees which not only disrupted the power supply but also blocked a road.

The cyclone also blew the roofs off more than 100 houses. Affected locals said the storm was the heaviest in the past 60 years, adding that their possessions were blown skywards and fell violently to the ground as they watched unable to intervene. A number of shops and advertising signs were also badly damaged.

The Chiang Mai provincial governor has instructed agencies in charge to assess the damage and provide immediate help to the villagers.


Royal Thai Police warns computer users of ransomware virus

BANGKOK, 6 May 2015 (NNT) - The Royal Thai Police has advised the public not to download programs from unreliable sources, after a large number of computers were reportedly infected by ransomware.

Communication Police Chief Police Lieutenant Wissanu Prasartthong-osot said that this type of malware could infect a computer system when the user is tricked into opening a suspicious file contained in an email. Most of those affected by the virus did not realize the email was sent by a third party impersonating someone they know.

The virus prevents the users from accessing their own computers. Victims of ransomware will then be required to pay by means of digital currency or ‘BitCoin’ to the third party if they wish to use their machine again.

The Communication Police Chief has told computer users to download a specific disinfection program at the following website:

http://support.kaspersky.com/viruses/disinfection/11718#block1

They have also been told to install an antivirus program in their computer and to not download anything from suspicious sites.


Newer and tighter regulations on lottery price are to be implemented next month

BANGKOK, 6 May 2015, (NNT) - The National Council for Peace and Order and the government will start implementing new measures against overpriced lottery tickets next month, right after the previous lottery quota expires.

The Deputy Spokesperson of the Prime Minister’s Office, Major General Sansern Keawkamnerd, has said the new measures are aimed at reorganizing the entire lottery distribution system. According to him, those who have in the past allocated tickets have been selling the tickets to third parties, making the tickets more expensive as they move from one seller to another. The move creates burden to the consumers while allowing those involved in the scheme to make the so-called grey money.

The spokesperson said the new quota system would distribute lottery tickets to seller both in and outside of the capital, he said, adding that these tickets would be sold at lower price and that the government would initiate a buy-back program to deal with unsold tickets.


Phang Nga quake causes no damage

PHANG NGA, 6 May 2015 (NNT) – Phang Nga Provincial Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) has allayed public fears of heavy damage after a 4.6-magnitude earthquake early this morning shook Ko Yao in Phang Nga province.

Phang Nga DDPM reported that so far, there had been no confirmed reports of damages to property or lives as a result of the tremor. However, authorities have remained vigilant and continued to monitor tsunami warning systems.

The quake shook the island of Ko Yao at 04:18 hrs today, with an epicenter depth of four kilometers. The island is located 18 kilometers southeast of Phuket’s Muang District. The quake was reportedly felt in many areas of Phang Nga, Phuket and Krabi.

Phang Nga is one the provinces that lies on the Khlong Marui Fault, one of the active fault lines in southern Thailand. The fault line also runs through Surat Thani, Krabi and Phuket.


NRC to hold seminar with political parties and academics on new charter

BANGKOK, 6 May 2015 (NNT) - The National Reform Council will invite 74 political parties as well as academics and professors to a seminar on May 15 to discuss revisions to the draft constitution as well as various opinions on holding a public referendum.

Chairman of the NRC’s political reform committee Prof. Sombat Thamrongthanyawong said the seminar is aimed at receiving well-rounded input from a variety of sources. It is also aimed at demonstrating that the proposals the NRC will submit to the charter drafters have been vetted by the professionals attending the seminar.

Prof. Sombat also supports a public referendum on the new charter as it would help legitimize the new charter and help foster national unity.


Public Health Ministry to compile rescue lessons in Nepal as guideline for future disaster in Thailand

BANGKOK, 6 May 2015 (NNT) – The Public Health Ministry has planned to compile lessons from its sending of medical teams to Nepal, hoping to use them in developing an emergency response guidebook for similar efforts in Thailand, Dr.Surachet Satitniramai, acting Permanent Secretary for Public Health revealed.

Dr.Surachet said that the guidebook should contain lessons and experiences the Thai medical teams have gained while working with international relief teams in Nepal. The lessons will be useful to both medical staff and people in Thailand if they need to face similar disasters.

After nearly two weeks since the quake, the Nepalese government has decided to end its rescue mission and concentrate on the country’s restoration. The Thai rescue team also adjusted its mission in line with the Nepalese plan.

The second Thai medical team is to be sent to replace the MERT team which is working at the Field Hospital in Sipaghat Subdistrict and about to end their mission on 7 May. The new team will focus on mobile service in which they will walk into affected villages in mountainous terrain to advice local residents on environmental health and sanitation, disease control, mental health, food and toilet hygiene.

The team will comprise twenty four members and is scheduled to leave for Nepal on 7 May. They will also take 120,000 packets of drinking water powder donated by Her Royal Highness Princess Soamsawali for distribution to villagers in remote mountainous areas in order to prevent them from digestive diseases.


Pattani launches fishing boat controling center

PATTANI, 6 May 2015 (NNT) - Pattani province has launched a 24-hour port in-port out controlling center in the hope to prevent illegal fishing and human trafficking in the fishing industry.

Pattani Governor Wiraphong Kaeosuwan on Wednesday presided over the opening ceremony of the center. It is a collaboration between the navy, the Department of Fisheries, the Marine Department, the Department of Labor Protection and Welfare, the police, the Department of Local Administration and local fishery groups.

The center is part of the Thai government's urgent work after the EU threatened to ban Thai seafood exports if the problem of IUU fishing is not tackled efficiently within six months.

The governor asked all relevant units in the province to encourage entrepreneurs in the fishing industry and fishing boats to register with the authorities.


SBPAC issues 6-month performance report

YALA, 6 May 2015 (NNT) – The Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center (SBPAC) has presented its achievements over the past six months, saying improvements in local economy and quality of life in the Deep South have led to a more peaceful situation.

SBPAC Secretary-General Phanu Uthairat chaired a press conference to announce results from the agency’s six-month operations, with the participation of related officials and media members. He said SBPAC has been working closely with the Internal Security Operations Command Region 4 and the Southern Border Provinces Police Operation Center to solve problems and foster peace and development in the Deep South in line with policy of the government and the National Council for Peace and Order.

The Secretary-General reported that the overall situation in the region has turned for the better, affirming the agency will ensure more improvements will be continuously seen. He also cited a recent survey as indicating that insurgent activities have diminished by 60 percent, thanks to a stronger economy and better living conditions of local residents.

According to Mr Phanu, the main accomplishments during the six-month period include uplifting the people’s life quality, increasing career opportunities in the region, stimulating the local economy and fostering sustainability through educational promotion and collaboration with other security agencies.


Herbal Products Association and allies propose ideas for reform of traditional Thai medicine

BANGKOK, 6 May 2015 (NNT) – Groups of traditional medicine advocates have proposed to the National Reform Council their ideas on the reform of the practice of alternative medicine in Thailand.

Chairman of the NRC’s sub-committee on traditional Thai medicine reform Admiral Chanchai Charoensuwan on Wednesday met with representatives from the Herbal Products Association and the Herbal Industry Club under the Federation of Thai Industries who submitted a proposal on the reform process.

Chairman of the Herbal Products Association Metha Simavara told Admiral Chanchai that the proposal includes calls for the enactment of the Herbal Medicines Act in order to allow for the independence of the traditional medicine practice as well as its development.

He added that the groups would also like the government to consider authorizing the Department for Development of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine to be in charge of the registration of ancient drugs, which is currently the responsibility of the Food and Drug Administration.

In his response, Admiral Chanchai said that he will look at both and other suggestions included in the proposal and consider them when the committee plans the reform process.


 

DAILY UPDATE

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PM assigns local administrators to screen for illicit activities in 10 days

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Economic cabinet expedites plans to address illegal fishing

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April vacationers push revenue up to over 100 billion baht

Prospects of public referendum will be clear after meeting of 5 reform bodies

Phuket opens Port In - Port Out Controlling Center to fight illegal fishing

MR Pridiyahorn: Thailand not in period of deflation

IMF praises Thailand for economic preparedness

Worst cyclone in 60 years strikes two districts in Chiang Mai

Royal Thai Police warns computer users of ransomware virus

Newer and tighter regulations on lottery price are to be implemented next month

Phang Nga quake causes no damage

NRC to hold seminar with political parties and academics on new charter

Public Health Ministry to compile rescue lessons in Nepal as guideline for future disaster in Thailand

Pattani launches fishing boat controling center

SBPAC issues 6-month performance report

Herbal Products Association and allies propose ideas for reform of traditional Thai medicine

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