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PM presides over candle lighting ceremony for HM Queen's birthday at Sanam Luang

BANGKOK, 12 August 2015 (NNT) Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha led representatives of all sectors in a candle lighting ceremony at Sanam Luang in celebration of the 83rd birthday anniversary of Her Majesty the Queen on 12 August 2015.

The PM paid homage in front of Her Majesty's image and expressed loyalty to the Queen. Gen. Prayut and the ceremony participants then sang the Royal Anthem and lit candles to bless Her Majesty on her birthday.

The candle lighting ceremony took place in all provinces across Thailand similtaneously.

More than 30 sets of fireworks were lit, including fireworks in the shape of jasmine--the symbol of Mother's Day in Thailand--amid cheers of long live the queen.


John Kerry sends letter of felicitation to HM Queen on her birthday

WASHINGTON, D.C., 12 August 2015 (NNT) U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry sent a letter of felicitation to Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of Thailand on the auspicious occasion of her 83rd birthday on 12 August 2015.

In his letter, the U.S. Secretary of State extended his warmest congratulations to the Queen and honored her deep compassion for the Thai people and unflagging commitment to the development of Thailand.

"Your work has improved the livelihoods of numerous Thai people and inspired others in Thailand and beyond,” Mr. Kerry wrote in the letter. "I wish you and the Royal Family continued health and happiness on this joyous occasion."

Thailand and the United States have enjoyed a close friendship for 182 years, working together to promote prosperity and security in Southeast Asia and the world.

The letter of John Kerry reflects his confidence that the partnership of both countries will continue to grow stronger in the years ahead.


Chiang Rai celebrates Mother’s Day, gives Bike for Mom giftss

CHIANG RAI, 12 August 2015 (NNT) Chiang Rai province has celebrated Her Majesty the Queen’s birthday anniversary this year and arranged a ceremony to give gifts for “Bike for Mom” cyclists.

In the morning of 12 August 2015, Chiang Rai Governor Phongsak Wangsamer, executives of provincial organizations and members of the general public gave alms to Buddhist monks on the occasion of the 83rd birthday of HM the Queen. After the religious ceremony, the governor led a group of provincial civil servants to take an oath of allegiance to be a good civil servant and fight against corruption.

The governor also presided over a ceremony to give funds to the Mother of the Land Fund and presented certificates to outstanding mothers in Chiang Rai. After that, Mr. Phongsak and high-ranking officers in the province gave T-shirts and pins to the first 100 cyclists in the nationwide bike ride “Bike for Mom”—this year’s biggest event in honor of the Queen.


Merit-making ceremonies held across Thailand to mark HM Queen's birthday

BANGKOK, 12 August 2015 (NNT) Members of the public across Thailand have participated in mass alms-making ceremonies in honor of Her Majesty the Queen’s birthday anniversary.

In the North, provincial governors in Nongbua Lamphu, Surin and Lamphun led local people in an alms-giving ceremony and a ceremony to release fish back into their natural habitat. The ceremony was also attended by civil servants, police officers and members of the private sector.

Nakhon Si Thammarat residents also joined in a merit-making ceremony, held in the province’s major park. Well-wishers in Narathiwat meanwhile gathered at the city hall to honor the occasion. Many have also donated blood to mark Mother’s Day this year.

In the capital, Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra led city officials in an alms-giving ceremony in the morning before making preparations for a candle-lighting ceremony held in the evening.


Rise for university-level state teachers being considered

BANGKOK, 12 August 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Education is planning to propose to cabinet, a salary increase for civil servants who work as educators in universities.

The ministry recently held talks with relevant agencies on setting aside budget to raise salaries for government officials in higher-level educational institutes.

In 2011, the cabinet approved a proposal to give an 8-percent rise to state educators who teach basic education. Civil servants in educational institutions were not part of the group eligible for the salary increase. Of all the civil servants missing out on the rise, around 20,000 teach at the university level.

The total budget for the proposed increase in salaries is estimated at 2.33 billion baht. The proposal has been pending for four years.

The ministry has made known that once other details including pensions and benefits of civil servants are finalized, the matter will be discussed again at the end of August before being forwarded to the cabinet for consideration.


Labour Minister visits Thai students in WorldSkills Competition in Brazil

BANGKOK, 13 August 2015 (NNT) Labour Minister General Surasak Kanjanarat said Thailand should be more enthusiastic about improving vocational skills following his visit to the 43rd WorldSkills Competition in Brazil.

The Labour Minister, Director General of the Department of Skill Development M.L. Boondarik Smithi, and Thai ambassador to Brazil Pitchayaphant Charnbhumidol have traveled to the competition venue and met with the Thai contestants.

It is the 23rd time Thailand has joined WorldSkills. According to the Labour Minsiter, Thailand has shown the world how skillful her students are by joining the competition. He is hopeful they will win the medals again this year.

He added that Thai students should continue to improve their vocational skills as many nations have stepped up their games. The Thai ambassador has complimented the Thai students on how well they are prepared for the event.

The students have reportedly done well on the first day of the competition, and promised to continue to do their best in the next round.


Revocation of former PM Thaksin's police rank receives green light

BANGKOK, 13 August 2015, (NNT) Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has indicated that the Ministry of Justice has decided to revoke the Police Lieutenant Colonel rank held by ex-Premier Thaksin Shinawatra, deeming that Mr. Thaksin had violated the 2004 Royal Thai Police's revocation bill.

He stated the Royal Thai Police would soon forward the revocation proposal to the Royal Household for approval, in order to officially strip Mr. Thaksin of his police rank.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan stressed that the process is being done in accordance with the rule of law. He added that the move wasn't aimed at bullying the former Prime Minister or creating conflict in society.

Deputy Prime Minister Wisanu Krue-Ngam pointed out that Mr. Thaksin couldn't take legal action against the Council of State for giving advice to the government about his rank revocation, as the council is not the one executing the order.


PRD welcomes Chinese performers for the Friendship Concert 2015

BANGKOK, 13 August 2015, (NNT) The Public Relations Department Deputy Director-General Dr. Charoon Chaisorn yesterday hosted a welcoming party for Chinese performers who will take part in the "China - Thailand Friendship Concert 2015”.

Dr. Charoon indicated that the concert would further strengthen ties between the two nations, adding it is also part of the MOU on IT and Broadcasting Cooperation between Thailand’s PRD and the Guangxi Administration of Radio, Film and TV of The People's Republic of China.

The "China - Thailand Friendship Concert 2015” is scheduled for this Saturday, August 15th, from 4 PM - 6 PM at the PRD Convention Hall in Bangkok's Phayathai Distric


Royal Household Bureau: HM the King’s condition improves

BANGKOK, 11 August 2015 (NNT) According to the Bureau of the Royal Household, His Majesty the King is recuperating at Siriraj Hospital as the level of cerebrospinal fluid has decreased and lung inflammation is no longer found.

Royal physicians reported that they previously conducted a thorough examination of the health of His Majesty the King at Siriraj Hospital and discovered an increased level of cerebrospinal fluid in his brain. As a solution, they requested royal permission to adjust the discharge of the fluid and a CT scan performed in July indicated that the fluid was reducing gradually.

During his stay at the hospital, His Majesty has also periodically developed high fever, with increased phlegm and faster breathing and heartbeat. Such conditions are believed to have resulted from lung inflammation found earlier. The royal doctors have thus provided His Majesty with chest physical therapy, along with oxygen and mucolytics to help dissolve the mucus.

The latest investigations show no inflammation in the lungs, normal heart rate and blood pressure, and decreased cerebrospinal fluid. The royal physicians will continue to give chest physical therapy to His Majesty until the level of phlegm returns to normal.


New US Ambassador to Thailand to be stationed here next month

BANGKOK, 11 August 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that former US envoy for North Korean policy Glyn Davies will be stationed in the Kingdom as the US Ambassador to Thailand in a month’s time.

Foreign Minister Thanasak Patimaprakorn said US President Barack Obama will sign the official document designating him as the Ambassador to Thailand and Mr. Davies will undergo a swearing-in ceremony in the next month.

Secretary of State John Kerry assured the minister that Mr Davies is a skilled diplomat and is suitable for the role. Mr Davies earlier posted a tweet saying he is looking forward to his role as ambassador and joining the US embassy in Thailand.

Mr Davies was nominated for the position by President Barack Obama in mid-April. The US Senate has confirmed the appointment of Mr Davies earlier this month.


PM Office Minister gives lectures on good governance to Nonthaburi students

NONTHABURI, 11 August 2015, (NNT) The Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister's Office M.L. Panadda Diskul yesterday gave lectures on good governance to 300 high school students of Rattanathibate School in Nonthaburi province.

The lecture, 'Youths and Their Role In Creating Unity In Thai Society', was given after he unveiled the 'Thailand Moves Forward' campaign promoting unity and national reform at the school.

M.L. Panadda explained the duties of the National Legislative Assembly and the Constitution Drafting Committee to the students. He then urged them to be outstanding citizens in accordance with parliamentary democracy under the constitutional monarchy.


People encouraged to refrain from using plastic bags

BANGKOK, 11 August 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is encouraging people to refrain from using plastic bags and foam containers one day every month.

According to Natural Resources and Environment Minister General Daopong Rattanasuwan, the Department of Environmental Quality Promotion and 16 private companies have launched a campaign urging people to stop using plastic bags and foam boxes.

People are encouraged to follow the advice, which is aimed at promoting the use of cloth bags, one day a month beginning on August 15th and on the 15th day of every month thereafter. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment will monitor the use of plastic bags every two months in the beginning and assess the success of the scheme every 4 months.

The campaign will be introduced 2-3 days a week instead of once a month if public responses are positive. The Natural Resources and Environment Minister said plastic bags are very popular items among cities and large communities as they are easy to use.

As the bags are discarded shortly after use, Thai people need to be aware of their impact on the environment. Thailand could lower the use of plastic bags by as many as 1 million a day if everyone use of just one fewer plastic bag a day.


DWR to aid inundated areas in Phuket and Nakhon Ratchasima

BANGKOK, 11 August 2015 (NNT) Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has instructed related agencies to quickly assist those in the flooded areas in Phuket and Nakhon Ratchasima provinces.

According to the Director General of the Department of Water Resources, Jatuporn Buruspat, residents in the two provinces have complained about the inundation and claimed that the flood water will be contaminated if not drained soon.

His department is looking into the problems in both provinces as ordered by the Prime Minister. As for the artesian well digging project, the agency has already made more than 70% progress.

The project was launched earlier following the government’s instruction to relieve drought stricken areas and increase the amount of water in the country’s reserves


Ranong transports donations for flood victims to Koh Song, Myanmar

RANONG, 11 August 2015 (NNT) Charity organizations and the business sector in Ranong province have presented donations to the Myanmar government to help those affected by the floods.

Rice, dried food and other daily necessities have been given to the Governor of Kawthaung town, located in the South of Myanmar near the border with Thailand.

All items were loaded onto trucks in Koh Song for delivery to the Yangon command center in charge of relief operations. They are expected to be distributed to areas severely inundated in Myanmar soon.

Myanmar has expressed gratitude towards the Thai people for reaching out to Burmese people and promised to reciprocate if Thailand ever needs help in the future.


Water levels decline in Mekong River

NONG KHAI, 11 August 2015 (NNT) Flood levels in the northeastern province of Nong Khai have begun to recede, as water levels in the Mekong River continue to decline.

The water levels in the Mekong River have been decreasing for a third consecutive day. The Department of Water Resources recorded current levels at 10.23 m from the embankment.

The river has receded by 50 cm compared to yesterday’s figures. Water levels are expected to decline further, as indicated by other provinces along the Mekong River such as Chiang Rai and Loei. Sluice gates have been raised to release water from flooded communities.


China agrees to buy 2 million tons of rice from Thailand

BANGKOK, 11 August 2015 (NNT) The Chinese government has agreed to purchase two million tons of rice from Thailand through a government-to-government (G2G) deal.

Commerce Minister General Chatchai Sarikalaya said after visiting China that Thailand will deliver two million tons of rice over two years. The first million tons, which include Jasmine rice and other refined grains, will be sold at market price before the end of December.

The remaining rice will be put up for another round of G2G discussions around mid-September, when Chinese representatives visit Thailand.


The National Reform Council endorses agendas for digital economy development.

BANGKOK, 11 August 2015 (NNT) The National Reform Council has endorsed a report entailing proposals for the development of digital economy, and for the improvement of Thailand's standing as a center of commerce and services.

NRC members convened on Monday to deliberate the agendas of digital economy development, for which the members unanimously voted in favor, and development of the country into the hub of ASEAN, for which 192 of the members voted 192 in favor.

Kroekkrai Chiraphaet, the head of the committee proposing the digital economy agenda, explained that the existing economy will be remodeled to rely on digital connectivity wherein every sector of the population makes use of the internet. To achieve this goal, a five-point strategy has been designated which is related to the development of the digital infrastructure, development of supporting infrastructures, development of an infrastructure of services, the promotion of digital economy and the promotion of a digital society. Mr. Kroekkrai also noted that another long-term objective of the strategy would be to reduce disparity.

For the ASEAN hub agenda, Monday's report proposed the setting up of a committee to oversee ASEAN-related economic affairs comprising representatives from the public and the private sectors and from the civic sector as well as from think tanks.


Lottery Office to propose 5 approaches to ticket distribution

BANGKOK, 11 August 2015, (NNT) The Government Lottery Office (GLO) is preparing to propose five approaches to ticket distribution before it renews its contract for 70 million new tickets in December, as the office prepares for its second phase of management reform.

GLO board member Lieutenant Colonel Noon Sansanakom said the five approaches will be considered at the GLO board meeting next month. The proposals consist of suggestions collected from the general public and vendors nationwide.

The first four approaches deal with ticket quotas for minor retailers, namely to expand ticket quotas by five books, cap quotas at 10 books, cap quotas at 50 books, or remove quotas entirely and allow for unlimited books. The final approach would be to sell government lottery tickets online.

Lt. Col. Noon assured the public that the office would consider these options for the benefit of the people, as well as the minor retailers.

The GLO board member said the office has also decided to reschedule its lottery drawing for this cycle from August 16 at 11:30 hrs to August 17 at 13:00 hrs. The new date would make way for the Bike For Mom event, which conflicted with the previous schedule on Sunday. The office also moved the drawing date for the January cycle from January 16, 2016 to January 17 instead, as the previous date falls on next year's national Teacher's Day.


Signing of MOU vows transparency in transition to digital TV

BANGKOK, 11 August 2015, (NNT) Public Relations Department (PRD) Director-General Apinan Juntarungsri yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Comptroller General's Department (CGD), which calls for transparency during the second phase of the PRD's project to convert from analog to digital TV.

The MOU is part of the government's campaign to prevent corruption related to its procurement. The second phase of the PRD's transition from analog to digital TV is projected to cost approximately one billion baht. If the transition goes smoothly, the PRD would set an example for other government units not to commit graft.

CGD Director General Manus Jamveha said that inspectors have been deployed to monitor the transition. They have examined contract signings and project management, ensuring every step of the process follows government procurement regulations.

Director-General Apinan praised the campaign to discourage government units from engaging in corruption, saying it helps to ensure government procurement projects are seamless and transparent.


Investor Confidence Index for the next 3 months to hit 14-month low

BANGKOK, 11 August 2015, (NNT) The Federation of Thai Capital Market Organization (FETCO) has reported Investor Confidence Index over the next three months has hit a 14-month low, due to the global economic slowdown and diminishing exports.

FETCO President Worawan Tharapoom said the index for the next three months has decreased from 98.28 the previous month to 57.27, the lowest in 14 months. Investors suspect that the drop was caused by stagnant stock market performance, due to the economic slowdown, declining exports, the drought crisis and delays in government disbursement for public utility projects.

President Worawan believed that currently, profitable stock includes those in the construction sector, but cautioned investors to avoid steel-related stock.

Meanwhile, CIMB indicated the bank is revising down its GDP projection this year from 3.3 percent to about 2-3 percent. It blamed a slowdown in private and government investments, domestic spending, the ailing Chinese economy and uncertainty in the U.S. economy.


Supreme Court opens 3 new divisions to deal with national security issues

BANGKOK, 10 August 2015 (NNT) The Supreme Court has introduced three new divisions set up specifically to deal with issues affecting the nation's security and economy.

According to the Supreme Court President, Direk Ingkaninanthe (ดิเรก อิงคนินันท์), the three newly opened divisions include those dealing with human trafficking, illegal drug, and government official’s misconduct cases.

The three divisions will be jointly operated by prosecutors, the Royal Thai Police, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, and the Thai courts.

They will also form a comprehensive network of human trafficking prevention, and raise the standards of legal processes to meet the international criteria.

These issues have taken a heavy toll on Thailand’s reputation globally and compromised the nation's security. Serious actions should be taken to eliminate these problems, Mr. Direck said.


Government pushes for village fund to stimulate local economy

BANGKOK, 10 August 2015, (NNT) The government is reportedly pushing for village funding to stimulate local economy, after Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha instructed officials to facilitate various funds whose management has proven problematic.

The comment was made by Deputy Spokesperson of the Prime Minister's Office Major General Sansern Kaewkamnerd. He talked about the administration's campaign to increase the existing village fund by one million baht. Currently, there are 18,566 funds awaiting public subsidy.

General Prayut asked authorities to increase village funding within a few months. The move is meant to help stimulate local economy across the nationwide, provide another channel for financial aid and promote money-saving among locals.

However, the PM spokesman said that some of these programs reported sufficient resources to cover their operations and have declined to apply for additional funds. Other funds are facing management problems and cannot handle the increasing budget.

In order to help village funds that face management difficulty, the Prime Minister has instructed officials to give advice on various aspects, such bookkeeping, debtor eligibility, and maintain savings at the local level.


Constitution Drafting Committee to submit completed charter to NRC on August 222

BANGKOK, 10 July 2015 (NNT) The Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) has affirmed that the CDC will be ready to submit the completed version of the new constitution to the National Reform Council (NRC) on August 22.

According to CDC Chairman and NRC member Borwonsak Uwanno, the NRC will then have 15 days after receiving the new charter to scrutinize its details and the vote whether to approve of the document will commence between September 5-7.

Mr Borwonsak revealed further that the new constitution consisted of 4 sections regarding reform, and 29 organic laws on reform are being drafted by a joint committee of the NRC and the CDC.


Over 60% of stray dogs in Thailand have rabies

BANGKOK, 10 August 2015 (NNT) The Department of Livestock has disclosed that up to 60 percent of stray dogs in Thailand live with rabies.

The department said the growing population of stray dogs has caused a number of issues including waste, noise pollution, traffic accidents and diseases. Over 90 percent of dogs in Thailand have rabies, 60 percent of which are stray dogs.

According to the latest survey, Thailand has around 8.5 million dogs, seven million of which are stray dogs. Around 3.4 million stray dogs are born each year.

The department stressed the difficulty of vaccinating stray dogs against rabies and the ineffectiveness of temporary solutions which include sterilization and dog shelters.

Members of the public are urged to exercise caution when they are around stray dogs as currently there is still no cure for rabies and the mortality rate is almost 100%. Rabies is a deadly virus that attacks the nervous system in both humans and animals and can spread very rapidly, resulting in death.


Indigenous groups call on government to respect rights, reduce inequality

BANGKOK, 10 July 2015 (NNT) Representatives from indigenous groups in Thailand have called on the National Reform Council (NRC) to protect the rights of the indigenous people and reduce social inequality.

The group submitted their petition to NRC member Vithaya Kulsomboon, asking the NRC and the government to push for legislation on a civic group for indigenous persons in Thailand. The petition also called for the nationalization of all children born in Thailand and the reduction of the Thai national verification process.

The group also asked the government to adhere to international standards of recognizing and respecting the rights of indigenous peoples in order to protect the rights of the indigenous in Thailand and reduce social inequality.

Mr Vithaya said he would forward the petition to the NRC committee on reform relating to society, communities, children, adolescents, women, the elderly, the disabled and the underprivileged.


Chiang Mai locals warned against consuming toxic mushroom

CHIANG MAI, 10 August 2015 (NNT) Chiang Mai public health units have warned locals to refrain from collecting wild mushrooms as some varieties of the fungus can be fatally poisonous.

During the rainy season, different types of mushrooms flourish and grow in the forest. Mushroom gathering has become a part-time occupation for many northern residents. However, toxic mushrooms can have similar appearances to edible mushrooms and have killed hundreds in the past years.

Last week, four Chiang Mai residents had ingested poisonous mushrooms and were rushed to the hospital where doctors were able to treat them in time. In 2014, three members of a family consumed a deadly variety of mushroom called hed rangok or death cap. The mother and daughter died while the father went into a coma.

The local health office has warned the public against consuming unknown mushrooms during this season. In the event that a wild mushroom has been ingested, the consumer is advised to induce vomiting as quickly as they can before seeking medical help.


Thailand to start sending relief aid to Myanmar in 2-3 days

BANGKOK, 10 August 2015 (NNT) The Royal Thai Army is set to send its initial set of relief aid and personnel to Myanmar to help with the flood disaster, in the next 2-3 days, Army Chief says.

According to the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army, Gen Udomdej Sitabutr, the Royal Thai Army has readied its troops and collected consumable products to be sent to Myanmar to help flood disaster victims
The relief aid and personnel are expected to be sent to Myanmar in the next 2-3 days following the preparation process and the approval from the Ministry of Defense and the Cabinet, the Commander-in-Chief has said.

He has also said that the army will donate more money to Myanmar as a gesture of the Thai Army's thoughtfulness prior to an official visit of Myanmar’s Commander-in-Chief to Thailand on August 24-25, 2015.


170 billion baht budget to deal with waste management

BANGKOK, 10 August 2015 (NNT) The Pollution Control Department (PCD) will adjust the national waste management strategy with a budget of 170 billion baht, while looking to push forward new legislations, according to a PCD official.

The PCD’s Acting Director-General Wijarn Simachaya has revealed that opinions regarding the national waste management strategy for 2016-2021 has been gathered from all sides, for the ministry re-strategize into a more inclusive program under a 6 year period. The strategy will have a budget of 178.6 billion baht, 94.6 billion coming from the government budget, while another 64.9 billion will come from the private sector’s investment.

The strategy, under a long-term execution framework, has been submitted for the Cabinet’s approval, while the PCD is now gearing up the legislation of a national garbage law.

The PCD Acting Director-General said that last year’s garbage model scheme successfully reduced the amount of garbage by 50 percent, in crisis areas including Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan, Lopburi, Nakhon Pathom, and Ayutthaya province. However, regarding the construction of waste energy power plants, the Director-General said that the project can only go ahead authorities create an understanding among the public residing in the areas.

The PCD, the Ministry of Interior, and the Ministry of Energy are set to pilot the waste energy production plan in 14 provinces, including Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Pathum Thani, and Chiang Mai. The project aims to produce fuel from waste, while the construction of the waste treatment plant must be approved by the local public.

An individual Thai national produces 1.11 kilogram of garbage per day on average. Electronic appliances, such as televisions and tablets, are a concerning category of garbage. Out of 4.23 million devices, 580,000 tons of electronic garbage will require disposal after usage.


Forum being held at IMPACT to curb non-communicable diseases

NONTHABURI, 10 August 2015 (NNT) The Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) is holding the “NCD Forum 2015” at IMPACT Forum, Muang Thong Thani, to underline the control of non-communicable diseases, with a new goal to decrease the number of patients by 25% within a decade.

MOPH minister Rachata Rachatanavin who presided over the event said that it is a forum to exchange ideas and experience on the development of non-communicable disease control, and also exhibits advanced medical technology in the field. The NCD Forum 2015 is taking place until tomorrow.

According to him, NCDs like Ischemic heart disease, Ischemic stroke disease, cancers, diabetes and Chronic respiratory diseases have sharply increased worldwide. NCDs make the largest contribution to mortality globally, with 36 million deaths each year.

The diseases also become the top cause of deaths among Thai population, killing an average of 300,000 people each year. The majority of the cases were related to heart and blood vessel diseases, followed by cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes respectively.

As NCDs are preventable, the MOPH has cooperated with its networks to reduce the mortality rate. They have set a goal to lower the number of patients by 25% within the next ten years. To achieve the goal, they will carry out a series of health campaigns discouraging people from salty food diet, smoking and binge drinking, and also against obesity and diabetes. The officials have set a target that 80% of those in risk of NCDs must have access to behavior modification consultancy by family care teams.


Minister of Justice urges public to report addictive entertainment venues

BANGKOK, 10 August 2015 (NNT) The Minister of Justice has urged public to help report entertainment venues that leads youth astray, while authorities will enforce more stringent regulations on these venues.

The Minister of Justice Gen Paiboon Koomchaya has said regarding the regulation of entertainment and game venues, where the services to youth customers may be too addictive, that the general public can help report such venues to the authorities so that the venues’ services can be regulated.

He has said that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) is more focused on game venues than gambling, as these venues provide obvious services that exceed the time limit, becoming a destination where youths gather in unlawful ways. The problem of gambling venues, on the other hand, is the operation under the disguise of another service venue.

The Justice Minister has further said that officials must not overlook this issue, while the ministry has already coordinated with the administrative sector and the armed forces to provide joint forces with the police to regulate the venues.


Songkhla vendors report seafood shortages

SONGKHLA, 10 August 2015, (NNT) Seafood vendors in Songkhla province have reported a shortage of fresh seafood, as fishing vessels have yet to return from offshore trips.

The shortage became more apparent yesterday when only one fishing ship arrived ashore. Vendors said the landings do not satisfy local demand and the shortage has persisted over the past couple of days.

More than 100 vessels, including large trawlers, are still at sea. Only a few smaller ships have returned to harbor at the moment.

The predicament has deprived the market of fresh seafood stock. Vendors said their supplies are merely enough to break even on expenses.


New police chief has yet to be chosen

BANGKOK, 10 August 2015 (NNT) The Royal Thai Police Chief has indicated that no new police chief has been selected so far.

According to the Police Chief, Police General Somyos Poompanmuang, the meeting of the Office of National Police Policy Board will not consider the issue of the new police chief selection this Friday.

Personally, he has no one in his mind at this point, Police General Somyos said, adding that he is not aware of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s preference either.

However, he believes his selection of the next Police Chief would satisfy the Prime Minister. The Police Chief is expected to meet with the Prime Minister to discuss the qualifications of those who have potential to be the next police chief.


Warning against Dengue fever issued nationwide

BANGKOK, 10 August 2015 (NNT) The Department of Disease Control has issued a series of warning against the spread of Dengue fever during the rainy season.
According to the Department's weekly disease monitoring report, an outbreak tends to rise steadily thanks to the frequent rainfall all over the country, causing water-logging where Aedes mosquitoes, carriers of Dengue fever, lay their eggs.
Last week, 3,303 people were reportedly infected by the virus, three of whom died, one each from Pathum Thani, Ratchaburi and Petchaburi provinces; which brings this year's total number of infections to 42,900 and 35 deaths. The disease mostly spreads especially among children between 15-24 and 10-14 years of age. Parents have been informed of strict disease monitoring.
Five provinces: Rayong, Trad, Petchaburi, Tak and Ang Thong, are the areas where the disease mostly reportedly spread, said the Department.
Dengue Fever is a disease, transmitted by the bite of an Aedes mosquito infected with a dengue virus. The symptoms include severe joint and muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes, headache, fever, exhaustion, and rash, which can develop into an acute phase of illness leading to severe complications or even death.


EC wants more power to deal with election irregularities

BANGKOK, 10 August 2015 (NNT) The Election Commission of Thailand (EC) has said it needs absolute power if Thailand is to have transparent elections in order to deal with vote buying and other election irregularities.

Following a comment by former People’s Democratic Reform Committee Suthep Thaugsuban, who lambasted the EC for failing to prevent corruption, EC member Prawit Rattanapean admitted that the current EC was unable to hold the last general elections as political conflicts intensified even though it, like everyone else, wanted to hold a free, fair and corruption-free election but could not do so as it had no power required.

The present Constitution Drafting Committee has also refused to hand the EC more power which Mr. Pawit claimed would authorize the EC more to keep elections transparent.

He has expressed his support for national reform particularly in relation to elections in order to stop Thailand from making the same political mistakes all over again. He is also urging critics of the EC to make use of their ability to help pulling the country out of the political abyss instead of making comments.


NARIT invites the public to take their mothers to see meteor shower on Mother's Day

BANGKOK (NNT) The National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (Public Organization) (NARIT) is inviting Thai nationals to bring their mothers to observe the Perseid meteor shower from midnight onwards on Mother's Day.

NARIT said that the new moon on August 13 will create perfect conditions to observe the meteor shower, as the new moon will create the effect of a dimmer night sky, and there could be as many as 100 meteors per hour during the meteor shower's peak.

The Meteor shower should be visible throughout the skies in areas where there are no storm clouds.

The Perseid meteor shower occurs annually between mid-July to August, but the intensity usually peaks in August.


Thailand & Laos to strengthen joint drug crackdown

NAKHON RATCHASIMA (NNT) Thai and Lao governments have agreed to strengthen their cooperative drug crackdown during the 15th bilateral meeting of Thai and Lao delegates on the joint effort to prevent and combat drug trafficking.

The Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) disclosed that both sides agreed to beef up inspection of boats along the Mekong River, starting in August. The meeting was co-chaired by Justice Minister Gen Paiboon Koomchaya and the Chairman of Lao National Commission for Drug Control and Supervision, Mr. Kou Chansina.

Apart from the stricter joint surveillance, the Thai government has requested the Lao counterpart to help monitor transport of drug precursors and related chemicals from Thailand to prevent and stem narcotics production in Golden Triangle. Meanwhile, Laos suggested that Thai authorities identify suspicious boats in advance.

The ONCB has also offered to train Lao officials to deal with detection of active narcotic ingredients and drug testing in laboratories.


Army tackling flood problems amid concerns by PM

BANGKOK, 9 August 2015 (NNT) The Royal Thai Army is providing urgent help to flood-affected people in many regions while Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has voiced concerns for residents of the Northeast and the South, where heavy rains are occurring.

Deputy Government Spokesperson Maj Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd revealed that Prime Minister Prayut is currently worried about the weather conditions in the northeastern and southern regions of Thailand. He said incessant rains have raised the water level in the Mekong River and resulted in strong currents while scattered thunderstorms are also hammering the South.

The premier reportedly encouraged local residents to stay constantly updated with weather forecasts and disaster warnings. Related authorities have also been instructed to take care of the people and issue warnings well in advance so as to allow the locals enough time to make preparations or evacuate if necessary.

Meanwhile, Army Commander-in-Chief Gen Udomdej Sitabutr affirmed that the Army already has contingency plans in place for all regions. Last week, he said assistance was given to flood victims in Mae Hong Son while units in Bangkok were put on standby in case of flooding.

As for flood relief for Myanmar, the government has prepared donations, both in cash and kind, for the neighboring country while the Army is ready to deliver them, awaiting only coordination with the Myanmar government.


New inheritance tax law set to take effect early 2016

BANGKOK, 9 August 2015 (NNT) The government has affirmed that the new inheritance tax law, which will become effective next year, is aimed to do away with social inequality.

According to Deputy Government Spokesperson Maj Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd, the Inheritance Tax Act 2015 and the Revenue Code Amendment Act 2015 concerning the transfer of premortem inheritance have already been published in the Royal Gazette this August 5. The two newly-approved legislations are scheduled to come into effect in 180 days following their publication or around January 2016.

Once imposed, the inheritance tax law will subject inheritors to 10 percent tax on the excess of their received asset’s value over 100 million baht. Nonetheless, if the asset is obtained from blood relatives, the tax will be reduced to 5 percent.

Maj Gen Sansern is confident the collection of inheritance tax will encourage the wealthy to donate their properties to charity organizations for the benefit of the public. Eventually, it is expected to help narrow economic gaps in the Thai society while concurrently boosting state revenue and supporting national development.


Fishing vessels in Samut Sakhon randomly inspected

SAMUT SAKHON, 9 August 2015 (NNT) The Command Center for Combating Illegal Fishing (CCCIF) has continued to inspect fishing vessels in terms of license, use of alien workers and installation of tracking device. The center's latest inspection took place in Samut Sakhon province.

The CCCIF, the Fishery Department and the Samut Sakhon provincial fishery office on Sunday conducted a random inspection of fishing vessels in the province. The fishing vessels were checked to see if they had licenses to operate and if they were fitted with the vessel monitoring system. The officers also checked if they legally hired migrant workers.

The inspection was part of the government’s policy to prevent, restrain and eradicate illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in Thailand.


Energy Minister content with output of Dong Mun gas field

KALASIN, 9 August 2015 (NNT) Minister of Energy Narongchai Akrasanee has paid a visit to Dong Mun gas field in Kalasin province while voicing satisfaction over the amount of gas supply from the site.

Mr Narongchai observed the petroleum exploration project at Block 3 and 5 of Dong Mun gas field, which is located in Tha Khan Tho district of Kalasin. The minister was briefed on the results of various operations as well as problems facing the project and their solutions.

Mr Narongchai said he was informed that, since Apico (Khorat) Company Limited was granted the concession to conduct gas exploration in the area in 2005, the production capacity has been recorded at up to 20 million cubic feet or 640 tons per day. He expressed satisfaction over the figure, deeming it as an indication of the project’s cost-effectiveness.

Dong Mun gas field is expected to emerge as a crucial facility to fulfill the energy demand in the Northeast. At present, pipelines are being installed for the delivery of the gas from the field to a refinery plant in Nong Kung Si district, 5 kilometers away from the site, and to a CNG and LNG production plant in Kranuan district of nearby Khon Kaen province which will be operational in 2017.


New budget transfer act pending NLA approval

BANGKOK, 9 August 2015 (NNT) A new Budget Transfer Act for unspent budget is now being presented to the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), while the law's imposition should begin next year, a Finance Ministry official has said.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance Rungson Sriworasat has revealed that the Budget Transfer Act has received approval from the Cabinet, and is now being considered by the NLA, while the law is expected to be officially imposed next year.

This new law will allow government agencies to transfer back the leftover disbursed capital in projects that have not proceeded according to plan, for reallocation into other projects.

The Finance Ministry Permanent Secretary has mentioned that the government’s levy by the Excise Department, the Revenue Department, and the Customs Department is likely to miss the 160 billion baht target, but the Ministry of Finance will find other sources of income to compensate the deficit. The ministry's alternate sources of income may come from state enterprises and income from savings accounts and other funds.


Free Wifi now available on some BMTA buses

BANGKOK, 9 August 2015 (NNT) Passengers will be able to use free Wifi services on some BMTA buses in Bangkok, while the service coverage in being extended to more buses.

The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) is now providing free wireless internet services on its Euro II air conditioned buses to those using the 3G mobile network.

The service was piloted on 140 Euro II buses since late 2014 and demonstrated good results. The BMTA is currently expanding the service to 550 Euro II buses, from the entire fleet of 1,500 buses, to improve the service quality to passengers.

The installation of Wifi services to new buses is expected to be completed in December, while the equipment will be re-installed in new buses entering the service instead of the existing buses in use.


Public warned for heavy rains and flash floods in risk areass

BANGKOK, 9 August 2015 (NNT) The Thai Meteorological Department (TMD) warns the public in risk areas of potential heavy rains and flash floods due to the influence of monsoons in the northeastern, western, and southern regions.

TMD’s Director-General Wanchai Sakudomchai has revealed that heavy rainfalls are expected in the northeastern, western, and southern regions due to the influence of monsoons in Thailand.

The country is now under the influence of heavy rainfall prevailing over the lower parts of the northern region and the northeastern region, together with strong southwest monsoon winds over the Andaman Sea and the southern region.

TMD’s Director-General has said that the public in risk areas, especially in Krabi, Phang Nga, Phuket, Ranong, Trat, Trang, Satun, and Nakhon Ratchasima, are advised to be wary of potential flash floods due to the continuous rainfall, and are advised to closely monitor the situation.

Fishing boats are advised not to sail out into the Andaman Sea where waves with a height of 2-3 meters are expected, but boats in the Gulf of Thailand can sail out as normal.

Meanwhile, the Soudelor tropical storm is now heading towards Zhejiang Province of China and will continue to weaken. The storm causes no direct effect to Thailand.


Highway Dept opens bicycle lane in Chiang Mai

CHIANG MAI, 9 August 2015 (NNT) Chiang Mai has officially opened a bicycle lane on the 121 Highway with many cyclists in the province participating in the opening ceremony and testing the lane.

Deputy Minister of Transport Arkhom Termphithayaphaisit on Sunday presided over the opening ceremony of the bicycle lane. The deputy minister was also briefed on the progress of the current construction projects and budget disbursement of the provincial highway department before traveling to inspect highway construction.

The 4.56-kilometer bicycle lane starts from the entrance of Huay Mae Tueng in Mae Rim district to the province's main international convention and trade exhibition center. The bicycle lane is parallel to the irrigation canal road.

The bicycle lane is part of the Highway Department's project to facilitate and increase safety for cyclists and users of other vehicles. The project has campaigned for bicycle transportation for health benefits and energy conservation. It is also considered as another way to promote Thai tourism


Transport Ministry suggests BMTA cancel orders of remaining NGV buses

BANGKOK, 10 August 2015, (NNT) The Ministry of Transport has strongly suggested that the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) consider cancelling its planned purchase of the 2nd batch of 2,694 buses running on natural gas (NGV).

The ministry's Permanent Secretary Soithip Traisut made the suggestion during a meeting with the BMTA, the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning and the Department of Land Transport. The ministry made the recommendation after it had forwarded to the BMA last week the feasibility study of the viability of electric buses for public transportation. According to the study, natural gas is not suitable for public transportation purposes in the long run due to price and availability.

Yesterday's meeting concluded that BMTA should either purchase electric buses or maintain the existing 2,860 buses scheduled for decommission until further notice.

The meeting however agreed with the BMTA's plan to sell a batch of its 628 older buses, asking the agency to provide the ministry with the details of the plan to sell those buses as soon as possible.


 

DAILY UPDATE

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NARIT invites the public to take their mothers to see meteor shower on Mother's Day

Thailand & Laos to strengthen joint drug crackdown

Army tackling flood problems amid concerns by PM

New inheritance tax law set to take effect early 2016

Fishing vessels in Samut Sakhon randomly inspected

Energy Minister content with output of Dong Mun gas field

New budget transfer act pending NLA approval

Free Wifi now available on some BMTA buses

Public warned for heavy rains and flash floods in risk areas

Highway Dept opens bicycle lane in Chiang Mai

Transport Ministry suggests BMTA cancel orders of remaining NGV buses

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