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Two more Rohingyas dead in Nakhon Si Thammarat

NAKHON SI THAMMARAT, Jan 13 -- Police are looking into a human trafficking cartel sending Rohingya migrants through Thailand to Malaysia as two more Rohingyas died in Nakhon Si Thammarat province last night.

Police from Hua Sai station in Nakhon Si Thammarat and social development and human security officials are collecting the profiles of nearly 100 Rohingyas rounded up on Sunday and are providing them with accommodations.

Interpreters from an association of Rohingya people in Thailand are assisting in the task.

Police said they have found that the migrants paid traffickers for their trip to Malaysia where their family members had already arrived.

The death toll among the latest lot of 98 Rohingyas found in Nakhon Si Thammarat rose to three as two persons died last night, one at hospital due to diarrhea and the other died of a blood infection ohe way to hospital.

Sawat Phadungchart and Sutthipong Chuaipat, arrested for driving vehicles carrying the Rohingyas here on Sunday were initially charged with human trafficking.

Police are trying to find the head of the network, a cartel transportingd 400 Rohingyas per trip. While 98 of them were arrested in Hua Sai district on Sunday, the rest reached Sadao district of Songkhla. (MCOT online news)

China to push for "comprehensive" real identities on the Internet

BEIJING, Jan 14 (Xinhua-MCOT online news) Chinese people's activities online will be subject to reinforced scrutiny as authorities expand the real-name registration system across more social networks and websites.

China's Cyberspace Administration (CCA) will "comprehensively" promote the management of real identities online, with social networks -- including microblogging platforms, forums and instant messaging services -- all having to enforce a real-name registration system, CAA official Xu Feng said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Real names will only be seen by backend administrators and users may still choose a screen name.

Chinese Internet authorities have been pressing for a real identity system since 2011, and new users of WeChat and other instant messaging apps have, since August, been required to provide their real names.

Xu was quoted as saying in a China News Service report that his administration checked instant messaging services at the end of last year, and found more than 80 percent of the WeChat users had already registered with their genuine identities.

China has more than 275 million users on microblogs with Sina Weibo leading the pack, and 459 million users of mobile instant messaging apps, led by WeChat.

The CCA also announced on Tuesday that over the last two months it had shut down 17 public WeChat accounts that masqueraded as government organs or media, and 33 websites involved in the circulation of pornography. (Xinhua-MCOT online news)

Boeing delivered 723 commercial airplanes in 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 - Boeing set a global industry record for the most commercial airplanes delivered in a single year at 723 in 2014, maintaining its position as the world's largest airplane manufacturer for the third consecutive year.

Last year, Boeing booked 1,432 net orders, valued at US$232.7 billion at list prices.

The company also grew its backlog of unfilled commercial orders to a historic high of 5,789 airplanes.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and Chief Executive Officer Ray Conner said what the Boeing team achieved in 2014 was truly unprecedented, especially in the face of fierce competition.

"Boeing's achievements are based on the dedication of our talented employees, the trust that our customers place in our products and the partnership with our suppliers," he said in a statement today.

Boeing's widebody family of airplanes -- the 747-8, 767, 777 and 787 Dreamliner -- accounted for more than 60 per cent of all twin-aisle deliveries last year, further strengthening the company's position as the industry leader in widebody airplanes.

The Next-Generation 737 programme delivered more of the single-aisle airplanes than ever before with 485 deliveries in 2014. (BERNAMA-MCOT online news)

Chiang Mai Zoo braces for cold

CHIANG MAI, 14 Jan 2015 (NNT) Chiang Mai Zoo deploys various methods to keep its animals warm, as the cold is relentlessly sweeping through the northern region of Thailand.

According to Chiang Mai Zoo Director Niphon Wichairat, the recent drop in temperature has affected several animals especially during the night time, leaving tropical animals in a most difficult time adjusting themselves to the unusually cold ‘winter’ in Thailand.

He said these animals include giraffes, zebra, elephants, and various reptiles such as snakes and turtles.

Director Niphon said that measures to fend off the cold the zoo is currently deploying is using spotlights, haystacks, and dried leaves, while giving vitamins to warm up the animals.

The supervisor also instructed all zookeepers to keep their eyes on the animals under their responsibilities. He however assured the public of his staff’s experience in dealing with the situation, saying that none of the animals at Chiang Mai Zoo would pass away from the harsh winter conditions.

King visits park and the Chao Phraya

BANGKOK, 14 January 2015 (NNT) His Majesty the King on Tuesday (Jan 13) left Siriraj Hospital on a private visit to a nearby park and to observe the Chao Phraya River.

His Majesty the King left Chalerm Prakiat Building, Siriraj Hospital, at 5.29 p.m. to visit a little park built in his honor on his 72nd birthday anniversary. The park is located next to Siriraj Piyamaharajkarun Hospital by the Chao Phraya River.

His Majesty paid homage to the statue of King Rama V and his 18-month-old son, Prince Siriraj Kakuttapan, located in the park. The hospital built the statue in 2011in honor of King Rama V who founded the hospital in 1888 and named it after the little prince who died at a very young age.

The park was developed from a 12 rai piece of land owned by the State Railway of Thailand. It is covered with a wide variety of herbal plants and is intended to be a learning center for interested people. His Majesty the King later stopped by the Chao Phraya to take a look at the scenery of the river as well as the life of people on both of its banks and the traffic on Phra Pin Klao Bridge.

He returned to Siriraj Hospital at about 6 p.m. His appearance brought jubilation to many people who visited the hospital on the day as their king appeared in good health.

Labor minister vows firmer “Safety at Work" policies


BANGKOK, 13 January 2015 (NNT) Labor Minister Gen Surasak Karnjanarat has vowed to tighten policies related to safety at work in order to promote a healthy work force and keep occupational workplace accidents to a minimum.

His pledge was made today while he was making a special statement on “Driving Policy for a Safer Workplace” to over 3,000 entrepreneurs at SD Avenue Hotel in Bangkok.

He said that the Department of Labor Protection and Welfare will take an proactive role in providing knowledge and understanding on the importance of occupational safety. An essential awareness should be raised among personnel at all levels ranging from the commited work force to the business owners.

Moreover, personnel will be taken to visit industrial rehabilitation centers so that they can see what physical loss and damage they might suffer if they fail to wear their personal protective equipment while working, he emphasized.

He suspected that many believed that protective equipment was provided just for showing inspectors that they have a high standard of safety in the workplace. Therefore such attitudes towards safety must be changed, along with the stricter enforcement of related laws.

He added that he has already signed a proposal to set up a Safety Department; however, consideration of the proposal will take time before it can be officially launched.

The initiative to enhance safety at work is part of the ministry’s policy to make 2015 the Safety Year, in order to pay tribute to Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn for her great contribution to, and care for worker welfare in Thailand.

Defence Minister to visit Vietnam to boost military cooperation

BANGKOK, 13 January 2015 (NNT) Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, accompanied by the Permanent Secretary for Defence, is scheduled to visit the Socialist Republic of Vietnam from 13-15 January 2015, following an invitation by his Vietnamese counterpart.

The three-day official visit is aimed at tightening the good relationship between Thailand and Vietnam, and also to continue cooperation projects that Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha had laid down during his recent official visit to that country.

During the visit, the Thai delegation will make a courtesy call on Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Vietnamese Defence Minister Gen Phung Quang Thanh.

They will discuss the development of military cooperation conducted under the Memorandum of Understanding signed by both countries in 2012. The MoU stipulates collaboration in national defense, intelligence, military exercises, among others.

Moreover, they will use this chance to discuss the construction of transport routes across the Mekong sub-region, the establishment of special economic zones along their borders, the supra-national joint security in order to ensure regional security and improve the quality of life of people living along respective borders.

PM emphasizes economic acceleration through trade and investment

BANGKOK, 13 January 2015 (NNT) Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has reaffirmed that the government is pushing forward an economic growth through trade and investment policy, especially through the opening of five special economic zones which will enhance connectivity within ASEAN.

Speaking after the weekly Cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister said the obstacles to the opening of special economic zones such as laws related to town and country planning were discussed in today’s meeting in order to ward them off and ensure that the policy will be implemented in consistency with the national strategic plan.

As for the proposed impeachment of several former politicians, the Prime Minister said the government allows the proposal to follow the legal procedure without the government’s interference in order to keep political conflicts in the country to a minimum. He confirmed that the government is ready to listen to different opinions from all sectors and take their suggestions into account so that systematic solutions will be given to the conflicts.

He also assigned the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to find the best solution for controlling elephant attacks in Khao Yai National Park and study a possibility for tourists to use alternative roads in order to bypass the elephant’s way. This is believed to make humans and elephants live together peacefully, the Prime Minister said.

Deputy Foreign Minister: Thailand makes anti-human trafficking progress

BANGKOK, Jan 12 -- The Thai government has tackled human trafficking well in the past six months and did it better than other countries in the same Tier 3 watch list of the United States, according to Deputy Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai.

Solutions to human trafficking in the past six months were comprehensive, including legal efforts, and were made as a national agenda priority which led to improvements in many areas, Mr Don said.

"Regarding legal efforts, there is progress on three issues. A ministerial regulation was introduced to protect fishery workers. An anti-human trafficking law was passed to protect informants and authorities taking action. The National Legislative Assembly endorsed the fishery act to offer clearer protection to fishery workers and the fine ceiling is set at Bt30 million," the deputy foreign minister said.

Besides, 130 cases of human trafficking were handled and 104 people were punished in the past year and the national verification of 1.6 million illegal alien workers recently registered would finish within March, he said.

"Solutions to human trafficking must take time but I would like to assure that the government is determined to solve the problem and hopes it will be eliminated in the country as soon as possible. The human trafficking situation in the country is positive because the government is doing its best. Thailand is considered as performing better than other countries in the same tier," Mr Don said.

He also said past communications improved the United States' understanding and impression regarding the human trafficking situation in Thailand. (MCOT online news)

China to reduce HIV infections through blood transfusions with better testing

BEIJING, Jan 13 - China will ask the nation's blood stations to employ more accurate testing methods to detect viruses this year, a health official said on Monday, following reports that a girl contracted HIV through a blood transfusion.

It has been confirmed that a five-year-old girl in Fujian Province contracted HIV through a blood transfusion during an operation four years ago.

"It is a heart-wrenching case," said Mao Qun'an, spokesman for the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC), adding that China will lower such risks in the future through nationwide adoption of the Nucleic Acid Test (NAT) by the end of 2015.

The NAT, a technique used to detect viruses or bacteria, can shorten the "window period" when viruses or bacteria go largely unnoticed by blood tests.

Using traditional testing methods, it takes about 20 days for HIV antigens to be detected after the virus enters the human body.

HIV-positive blood donors unaware of their status may pass the virus to others if donations happen during that 20-day window period, as the virus cannot be detected by tests.

Mao said the NAT can shorten the window period for HIV to 10 days, reducing risks in blood transfusions.

The NAT can also be used to control risk for other blood-borne diseases, such as hepatitis, Mao added. The method has been used in trial runs in recent years.

The young girl was just eight months old when she underwent heart surgery for congenital heart disease in May 2010 and became infected.

She tested positive for the virus during a physical examination in September 2014. (Xinhua-MCOT online news)

S. Korea's import prices fall in Dec

SEOUL, Jan 13 - South Korea's import prices again fell in December from a year ago as global oil prices continued to slide, central bank data showed Tuesday.

In local currency terms, import prices tumbled 13 percent on-year last month, quickening from a revised 8 percent fall in November, according to the preliminary data from the Bank of Korea. It marks 28 straight months of an on-year fall in import prices.

From a month earlier, import prices fell 5.1 percent in the cited period, also picking up from a 0.9 percent dip in the previous month.

The fall was blamed on weakening oil prices. The price of Dubai crude oil, South Korea's benchmark, plunged 21.9 percent on-month in December.

Export prices fell 4.3 percent on-year, accelerating from a 2.2 percent fall in November. On a monthly basis, they declined 2.4 percent, turning around from a 1.2 percent rise in the previous month.

The central bank explained export prices fell as a drop in the price of oil products outweighed a strengthening U.S. dollar.

The average won-dollar exchange rate reached 1,104.33 won against the greenback in December, rising 0.8 percent from 1,095.1 won the previous month. (Yonhap-MCOT online news)

Airport passenger movements up 4.7 pct in 2014, says MAHB

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 13 - Airports operated by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) recorded 83.3 million passenger movements in 2014, a growth of 4.7 per cent over 2013, despite the unprecedented Malaysia Airlines' aircraft incidents.

In a filing to Bursa Malaysia, the airport operator said this was the first time that passenger movements exceeded the 80 million mark.

"Despite the unprecedented incidents that affected sentiment and traffic performance from May 2014, there was a progressive recovery in the air travel market towards the end of the year," it said.

For the whole of last year, international passenger traffic increased by 4.9 per cent, while domestic movements rose by 4.5 per cent.

"Aircraft movements recorded a growth of 7.3 per cent while cargo movements grew by 8.0 per cent, registering a volume of 1,011,904 metric tonnes, which is the highest cargo volume handled by MAHB since 2006," it said.

Of the 83.3 million passengers, AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines accounted for nearly 80 per cent while foreign carriers accounted for just below 15 per cent.

However, in terms of growth, the largest contributor for 2014 was Malindo Air, followed by AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines while foreign carriers as a whole registered a decline, partly due to the MH370 incident, which affected the China sector traffic and the MH17 incident, which caused a dent in the Europe sector.

Passenger movement in December 2014 was better-than-expected at 8.2 million, up 0.3 per cent over December 2013 while average load factor at 76.5 per cent was the highest in 2014, potentially portends to recovering industry demand in 2015.

MAHB expects 2015 passenger traffic to increase by 3.0 per cent year-on-year to 85.8 million, assuming Malaysia's economic growth remained between 5.0 per cent and 6.0 per cent, as well as stable fuel prices.

"There is room for further optimism in 2015 with the opening of Southeast Asia's largest modern outlet mall at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in the middle of the year as well as the return of British Airways to Malaysia.

"We also foresee another major carrier returning to Malaysia this year," it added.

Women’s rights group calls for gender equality in new constitution

BANGKOK, 13 January 2015 (NNT) A women’s rights advocate group has urged the Constitution Drafting Committee to include provisions in the new constitution that ensures gender equality and to encourage women to participate in the reform process.

Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) Bawornsak Uwanno received the petition from the Women Lawyers Association of Thailand under the Patronage of Her Majesty the Queen.

Mrs. Suthini Methiprapha, President of Women Lawyers Association who delivered the petition said the prevalence of women-related issues in the country ranging from domestic violence to teen pregnancy meant that the new constitution needed to include provisions that address women’s issues based on the principles of ensuring gender equality and female participation in all sectors of society.

According to Mrs. Suthini, the constitution should encourage women to have a say in matters of economic, social and political matters by ensuring women’s representation in policy- making positions. She proposed, for example, that electoral ballots for continual and proportional representatives should include no less than one-third the ratio of female to male candidates.

More commodities will become cheaper this week

BANGKOK, 13 January 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Commerce is expecting more commodities to become cheaper this week.

According to Commerce Minister General Chatchai Sarikalaya, prices of products are not always solely determined by the fluctuation of oil prices. He said product price structures would be revealed later this week following an investigation.

However, he assured that some of the items would definitely become cheaper especially motor oil and those that are driven by gas prices.

President of the Thai Chamber of Commerce Issara Wongkusolakit, meanwhile, said the private sector is willing to lower the prices of commodities in line with the market trend.

He also said that the move by the government to increase value added tax (VAT) to 8-10%, up from the present 7%) would only deter consumer spending, citing the slow economy as a reason for the government not to raise the tax at this time.

Army Region 4 Commander: Civil Society is key to peace solution in the South

BANGKOK, 13 Jan 2015 (NNT) Region 4 Army Commander Lt. Gen. Prakan Chonlayuth has indicated that the civil society plays a key role in motivating the public to participate in official efforts to establish peace in the southern region.

Lt. Gen. Prakan said that the Army has held more discussions with the civil sector as part of its strategies to create understanding with locals about the situation in the area.

He explained that civil society agencies have close ties with locals and thus serve as excellent media to convey government messages to them. Realizing this, the Army has opened a stage at all levels to discuss the situation with private sector units, merchants, NGOs, even those who hold opposite ideas.

The commander said the move would bring those organizations closer to the Government and that they would understand the officials’ plans, budgeting, and strategies. He hoped that these units would later spread their understanding to local residents.

Tutoring for southern children will give them equal footing in the entrance examination

BANGKOK, 13 Jan 2015 (NNT) Deputy Education Minister General Surachet Chaiyawong has expressed his hope that the campaign in sending tutors to give additional lessons to southern students will give them equal footing to their urban counterparts in taking entrance examination.

The campaign, which kicked off recently, gives tuition to grade 12 students in schools located in areas under the supervision of the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre and the Region 4 Internal Security Operations Command. It also provides tuition through VIDEO Teleconferencing to students in region.

These students are mostly living in Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and 5 districts of Songkhla Province which are Na Thawee, Sadao, Chana, Thepa and Sabayoi

The Deputy Minister said the campaign would give the participating students an edge in their journey to higher education. He said a recent survey showed that the campaign had proven helpful to students in taking the university entrance examination, giving them a better chance to gain admittance to their preferred institutes.

Road link between Thailand and Cambodia will open in Si Sa Ket at the end of 2015

SI SA KET, 12 January 2014 (NNT) The construction of a road linking Thailand and Cambodia in Si Sa Ket province is expected to be finished in November and ready for tourism in the AEC era.

According to Deputy Minister of Transport Akom Termpittayapaisit, the 7.5 kilometer road, which is located in Phusing district, will connect the northeastern province of Si Sa Ket with Siem Reap of Cambodia.

Its main purpose is to promote tourism between the two nations once ASEAN nations are integrated into a single market late this year. The construction has begun since June 10th last year and is scheduled for completion by November 1st, 2015.

The Ministry of Transport is also planning to open a bus service on the Bangkok-Si Sa Ket-Siem Reap route to facilitate visits between the two peoples.

Princess Chulabhorn pays a 2-week visit to the US

BANGKOK, 12 January 2015 (NNT) Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn leaves for the United States this morning on a fortnight visit to observe medical research and development in that country.

The Bureau of the Royal Household announced last night that Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn would board a Japanese airline flight no. JL 708 at Suvarnabhumi Airport at 8.15 am this morning (Monday) to fly to the United States for a visit from 12th-26th January.

While in the United States, Her Royal Highness will observe research and development on artificial medicine at the Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado State. Her Royal Highness will return to Thailand on 26th January, arriving at Suvarnbhumi Airport at 11.15 p.m.

OBEC to draft education system reform details

BANGKOK, 12 Jan 2015. (NNT) The Office Of Basic Education Commission (OBEC) is working on the details of the Education System reform planning for 2015 - 2021, in the hope of raising the quality of Thai education to the international standards.

OBEC Secretary-General Kamol Rodklai ( กมล รอดคล้าย ) disclosed during a meeting yesterday that Thailand’s education system ranks 78th in the world and 8th in ASEAN.

According to him, the overall rankings of other Asean member nations such as Cambodia, Indonesia, and the Philippines have been steadily rising over the past eight years, expressing his concerns that Thailand's education will soon lag far behind those nations' unless action is taken to raise her standard.

The reform would focus on 4 areas, including curriculum revision, giving all children equal access to education, and improving education quality in accordance with the Education Ministry’s policies, Besides, the nation must also develop the quality of teachers, and the administration's power over education institutes must be decentralized further, said Mr. Kamol.

The details of the proposed reform will be submitted to the Education Minister, Admiral Narong Pipattanasai, before being forwarded to the National Reform Council

Winter clothes in high demand in Khon Kean

KHON KEAN, 12 Jan 2015, (NNT) Winter clothes, particularly sweaters and jackets, have been in high demand in Khon Kean Province, as cold weather persists.

The lowest temperature was recorded at 17 degrees Celsius yesterday, according to the media.

A large number of residents yesterday flocked to Banglamphu Market in the municipality of Muang Khon Kean to purchase sweaters and other winter clothing offered at affordable prices.

According to one of the vendors, she buys those winter clothes direct from a factory, and sell them at an average price of 80 baht apiece, adding that she can not sell them at a higher price given the local economy. She also said most of the sweaters are made from quality yarn, which can be worn year round.

Over 2,000 runners join Mukdahan’s international marathon event

MUKDAHAN, 12 Jan 2015, (NNT) More than 2,000 Thai and Laotian runners yesterday attended an international marathon in Mukdahan, which was held to promote the province's local tourism.

Mukdahan Governor Thawatchai Thamarux yesterday presided over the marathon, which started from Mukdahan Wittayanukul School in Muang District.

According to the organizer, the province is using the international running event as a means to promote Mukdahan’s highlights, while encouraging youths, the general public and foreign visitors to exercise more.

Participants were to compete in 4 different races, which are the 42.16 km marathon, the 10.5 mini-marathon, the 5km fun-run, and fancy-walk-and-run rally.

The organizer said the marathon drew approximately 2,000 runners, creating a friendly and lively atmosphere at the organizing venue.

The race saw all participants crossing the Second Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge, watching the sun rising over the horizon amid the refreshing early morning weather.

Singburi investigates the unnaturally low water level in Noi River

SINGBURI, 12 Jan 2015 (NNT) Officials in Singburi’s Thon Samor Sub-district have been noticing that the unnaturally low level of water in Noi River has caused land subsidence in the area.

The officials said that collapses were reported along a riverside road on January 9th and 10th, and they have initially deployed heavy machinery to patch the rifts on the road. They indicated such an incidence had occurred around 10 times since the end of 2012 causing damages at different degrees, and foundation piles were installed as a temporary solution to prevent further soil erosion.

According to the officials, the water level in the Noi River has dangerously lowered during the past 2 days, damaging a house in Wihan Khao Sub-district and other structures next to the river banks.

Singburi Governor Chalothorn Phakhoat has recently visited the area and the affected residents, vowing to find measures to help them as soon as possible.

Mukdahan invites all to visit its annual Red Cross Fair

MUKDAHAN, 12 Jan 2015, (NNT) The Northeastern Province of Mukdahan is inviting all to visit its annual Red Cross Fair now underway till January 16th, highlighting beauty pageant and locally renowned goods.

Mukdahan Provincial Administration and Red Cross are organizing the event at the lawn in front of the City Hall. The goals of this year’s fair are to promote the area's tourism attractions and conserve local cultural values and practices at the same time.

According to Red Cross officials, the Fair would help the agency fund itself for its future charity events.

This year's ‘Miss Red Cross, an annual beauty pageant, will be held tomorrow, the last day of the fair; in which 51 contestants will be vying for a cash prize of 50,000 baht, said the organizers.

Yingluck says impeachment process against law

BANGKOK, Jan 9 -- Ex-prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Friday criticised the impeachment process brought against her by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) over her role in the massively corrupt rice-pledging scheme that it would be unlawful to impeach her because she is no longer prime minister of Thailand.

Defending herself at Parliament, Miss Yingluck said what the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) members are considering is significant and would impact the country’s administration and economy in large-scale because she is no longer prime minister and that she had been impeached three times before.

The first time was when Parliament was dissolved, the second was from the ruling of the Constitution Court and the third by the announcement of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), she said.

The NCPO ousted her government on May 22 and scrapped the 2007 Constitution.

Miss Yingluck also chaired the National Rice Policy Committee when she was prime minister.

Her government-sponsored rice-pledging programme was accused by NACC of massive corruption, causing losses of about Bt680 billion to the country.

Ms Yingluck said she no longer held any political position and if the process continues it would be like a duplication of impeachment. She said it is against the law and creating an injustice for the future.

“NLA findings will not only affect me but every Thai agriculturist as well, especially farmers who are the majority of the people. Therefore, today’s impeachment process will impact mapping policy to assist farmers in future and it could be interpreted as breaking Thai farmers’ hope and future for a long time to come,” Ms Yingluck told the legislators.

Emphasising her innocence, Ms Yingluck asked 'What is the use of attempts to achieve national reform as the current government and NLA wants to achieve when society feels that the ongoing process violates legal procedures." (MCOT online news)

Vietnamese worker registration starts in March

BANGKOK, Jan 9 -- As the deadline for migrant workers to undertake nationality verification identification draws near, Labour Minister Gen Surasak Karnjanarat said employers are expected to register Vietnamese employees in March.

Admitting that the number of illegal Vietnamese workers currently working in Thailand is unknown, Gen Surasak said he would ask cabinet approval mployees in March.

He said earlier that the deadline for migrant workers to undertake nationality verification is March 31.

Senior Labour Ministry and related agencies officers met recently to discuss progress in registering Myanmar, Cambodian and Lao workers in Thailand--but only 36,000 persons out of 1.6 million were registered, said Gen Surasak.

Officials from Vientiane arrived in Thailand yesterday to help process Lao workers in Thailand, he said, adding that progress must be assessed to determine the need to extend the nationality verification identification process.

Regarding the lack of workers in industries such as fishery and construction, Gen Surasak said entrepreneurs may be allowed to hire semi-skilled migrant workers, but not skilled ones as they could create jobless for Thais.

The country of origin of the workers must also accept the Thai government’s rules and conditions so that a memorandum of understanding could first be prepared. (MCOT online news)

Thai student wins Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival contest 2015

BANGKOK, Jan 9 -- A Thai vocational student won first prize at the the Harbin Ice and Sculpture competition held in Harbin, China, the sixth consecutive year that Thailand has won first prize.

Vocational Education Commission Deputy Secretary-General Aganit Klungsang reported that 69 teams participated in the Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival 2015 in Harbin.

Each team was tasked to create an ice sculpture within four days in temperatures as low as -27 to no more than -21 degrees Celsius said the official, adding that Thailand's team of students from the Saraburi Vocational College seized first prize for their masterpiece called "High Speed Train Building Stronger Relationship toward the Future", which represented Thai-Chinese diplomatic relations for the past four decades.

Two other ice sculptures from the Surat Thani and Saowapa vocational college student teams netted second prizes for their works.

Thailand has sent teams to the festival since 2010, making this the sixth year in a row that the nation has won first prize. (MCOT online news)

Children's rights and protection given first priority in constitution drafting

BANGKOK, 9 January 2015 (NNT) The Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) has given a special gift to children on the National Children’s Day by putting the Protection of Rights of Children and Youths as the first article in the new constitution they are drafting.

CDC president Bawornsak Uwanno said that the first article prescribes that each family has rights to receive state facilitation to live with normal standard of quality of life, rights to survive and get developed in a way that is appropriate to their surrounding, and rights to be protected by the government from being exploited or interfered for economic and social purposes which may harm their physical and mental health.

Moreover, children and youths under 16 who are unable to earn enough income for themselves must receive financial subsidy from the government.

Under this article, the government must take roles in protecting and developing young persons to have good physical health and mental heath embedded with generosity, intellectual, morality, and good education. These qualities are necessary to the national development.

Bawornsak said comments or suggestions regarding the topic can be made to the CDC.

NLA accepted draft amendment of the law on the organization of the military court

BANGKOK, 8 January 2015 (NNT) The National Legislative Assembly has resolved to accept the draft amendment of the law on the organization of the military court.

On Thursday, the NLA meeting chaired by Mr. Pornpetch Wichitcholchai reviewed the draft amendment of the Act for the Organization of the Military Court, which was presented by Deputy Defense Minister Gen. Udomdej Sitabutr.staff

According to Gen. Udomdej, the amendment is needed because the original law, the Act for the Organization of the Military Court B.E. 2498, has been in effect for a long time and become outdated due to the change in the structure and the current operations of the military.

In the proposed amendment, the staff judge advocates and the military prosecutors will receive a more acceptable amount of remuneration, appropriate for their roles and duties.

The NLA members voted 189 to one, with two abstentions, to accept the draft and agreed to set up a 15-member special committee to review it

NLA meeting resolved to accept draft Freeman Safeguarding Medal Act

BANGKOK, 8 January 2015 (NNT) - The National Legislative Assembly has resolved to accept the draft Freeman Safeguarding Medal law.

The NLA meeting on Thursday deliberated the draft Freeman Safeguarding Medal Act, which the Cabinet has presented for debate.

Deputy Defense Minister Gen. Udomdej Sitabutr informed the NLA that the proposed law has been drafted in such a way to offer moral support and recognize all individuals who have performed the duties of national defense, internal security and related affairs on the government’s order.

NLA members expressed concerns over the process to consider the recipients of the medal as they are worried the awarding could be exploited for personal gains — the move that can eventually devalue the decoration.

The meeting has suggested that criteria and procedures must be set to determine who will be eligible to be presented with the medal before votes have been cast. The NLA voted 176 to six, with 20 abstentions, to accept the draft and to appoint a 21-member special committee to review the law.

National reconciliation expected in maximum four years

BANGKOK, Jan 8 -- Key figures in the National Reform Council (NRC) expect to complete national reconciliation and national reform in no more than four years.

NRC Chairman Thienchay Kiranandana, Constitution Drafting Committee Chairman Borwornsak Uwanno and Political Reform Committee Chairman Sombat Thamrongthanyawong held a press conference on the formation of a 20-member reconciliation-planning committee.

The panel comprises representatives of the NRC, conflict resolution experts and people affected by political conflicts. Anek Laothamatas heads the new committee.

The panel will promote national reconciliation and national reform.

It will campaign for public understanding on the causes and impacts of conflicts, create atmosphere and participation that will facilitate reconciliation, prevent the repetition of conflicts and reduce prejudices among groups of people.

Mr Thienchay said that the affected people would have opportunities to tell their stories and that lessons would be drawn from past incidents. He asked the mass media to help gather public opinion on the methods of reconciliation and said he expected reconciliation to be achieved in the near future.

Dr Borwornsak said reconciliation, reform to reduce inequality and solutions to political problems were the three main objectives of the new constitution and that society should be able to achieve reconciliation in four years.

"The process must be short and fast but it must not be immediate amnesty. There will be a process to create reconciliation that will include the acceptance of wrongdoing, rehabilitation for victims and promises to prevent the recurrence of past incidents," Dr Borwornsak said. (MCOT online news)

Government clarifying Thai human trafficking situation to international community

BANGKOK, Jan 8 -- Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister/Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said that his government should be able to convince the international community of its efforts against human trafficking because it had done well on the issue and did straightforward reports on its attempts.

"In January there is a report on what have been done including responses to their concerns. We answer all questions as we are not protecting anyone. The government is addressing all issues," Gen Prawit said.

He admitted that some government officials were involved in human trafficking and said that there were normally the good and the bad everywhere.

Thai police in Provincial Police Region 5 and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents arrested Ayo Ajor, 23, for allegedly procuring at least 100 teenage boys aged 18 and under for foreigners at guesthouses in Chiang Mai province in the past three years.

The suspect was quoted as saying that he had lured boys from local public parks and game shops. (MCOT online news)

Kasikorn Think Tank: Negative factors impacting Thai exports to EU this year

BANGKOK, Jan 8 -- The Kasikorn Research Centre warns of many negative factors impacting Thai exports to the European Union (EU) this year, especially being excluded from the EU's Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), ending Thailand's tariff privileges worth US$252 million.

The think tank warned that the economic recovery of the EU remained uncertain, and the baht is stronger against the euro, especially when being compared with Vietnam's dong and the Indonesian rupiah on top of the GSP exclusion.

The growth rate of Thai exports to the EU may fall to between 0.5 to 3.5 per cent this year instead of last year's 4.6 per cent, if the EU economy expands by 1.1 per cent this year.

If the expansion rate is lower, Thai exports to Europe may shrink, the Kasikorn Research Centre stated.

The centre advises Thai operators to maintain product quality to retain their EU markets.

It warns that the EU may order basic raw materials from Thailand's neighbors.

Such products include natural rubber, rubber products, processed chicken, gems, jewelry, chemical products and seafood.

Exporters with large-scale production should better cope as they have flexibility in cost management.

The Kasikorn study also considers manufacturers of computers, computer parts, automobiles, air-conditioners and electrical appliances. (MCOT online news)

Royal Thai Army vows to end Siamese Rosewood smuggling

BANGKOK, Jan 8 -- The Royal Thai Army affirmed that its 2nd Army Region Command and local administrative offices would work to their best ability to prevent the trafficking of Siamese Rosewood, after a complaint suggested that officials have neglected their duties.

Army spokesman Col Winthai Suwaree confirmed, after a complaint to the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to investigate the actions of army officers and local government officials at the 2nd Army Area, that they have neglected their duties in preventing the trafficking of Siamese Rosewood in the northeastern region.

The army spokesperson said officials in the area have acted to the best of their abilities continuously to end to the rare woods smuggling and have reporting the results of each operation back to the Army chief.

Statistics show arrests made, while the Border Protection Task Force has done its best to prevent illegal activities along the borders, all of which has been closely monitored by the army chief, said the military spokesman. The results of all operations have proven to be efficient and are on target, he said.

The army spokesman said the complaint could be a misunderstanding or could lack vital information and data. The 2nd Army Region Command, meanwhile, stressed that it would further coordinate regarding the matter to ensure that all data is correct. (MCOT online news)

China kicks off Silk Road Tourism Year

XI'AN, Jan 9 - China on Thursday kicked off the Silk Road tourism year in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, to attract more visitors on the ancient Silk Road which linked China with central Asian nations.

Every year China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) sets a theme for tourism promotion. Inspired by the Silk Road, China will promote western provinces for their rich culture and tourist appeal.

The Silk Road tourism year will facilitate regional cooperation, deepen mutual understanding and establish mutually beneficiary ties for all related nations, said Du Jiang, deputy director of the CNTA.

Shaanxi Province is investing more in tourism and cementing its position as the starting point of the Silk Road, said Bai Aying, deputy governor of Shaanxi Province. (Xinhua-MCOT online news)

Quantum dot TV sales to top 18 mln units in 2018: report

SEOUL, Jan 9 - Global sales of quantum dot TVs, one of the most-watched sectors at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), are expected to exceed 18 million units in 2018, a report showed Friday, emerging as the key area in the world's display industry.

The combined shipment of quantum dot TVs is predicted to hit 1.3 million units this year, and gradually expand to reach 5 million units in 2016, the report released by DisplaySearch showed. The market tracker expected the number will jump to 12 million units in 2017.

Quantum dot refers to a semiconductor nanostructure that improves brightness, visibility and power efficiency of displays. Tech players say TVs using the technology can display over 1 billion colors, 64 times more than other models currently being sold on the market.

By region, the sales growth in China is expected to outpace those of other areas, followed by North America, Western Europe and Asia-Pacific markets.

The world's top TV maker, Samsung Electronics Co., introduced its first mass-produced quantum dot TVs at this year's CES, showing off 65-, 78- and 88-inch screens. The company said the models are ready to go on sale next month.

Samsung's smaller rival LG Electronics Inc. also showcased 55-inch and 65-inch UHD TVs that have applied the quantum dot technology, along with other major players from Japan and China.

The market for TVs with curved displays, which came under the spotlight at last year's CES, on the other hand, is expected to lose grounds amid the rise of the new challenger.

The combined global shipment of curved TVs, which is anticipated to hover around 8.2 million units annually over the 2016-2017 period, is estimated to fall below the 8-million mark in 2018, the researcher added. (Yonhap-MCOT online news)

PM wants universities to carry out in depth study on flood issues

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 9 - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today called on all universities to carry out in-depth study to find best solutions to massive floods which recently hit several states in the country.

He said among the matters that were discussed during the recent Cabinet meeting were flood issues and the need to seek ideas and input from the experts in irrigation management, environment and other relevant aspects.

"I want all local universities to give their input to the government in formulating and finding the best suitable method to solve the current flood issues and to make early preparation for the future."

Najib said this when launching Universiti Teknologi Malaysia's (UTM) Menara Razak building and the book on UTM's development under the 9th Malaysia Plan (9MP) here Thursday.

Also present were Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, Education Ministry's secretary-general II Prof Datuk Dr Zaini Ujang and UTM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Wahid Omar.

Najib said controlled and sustainable development should be implemented, cutting of trees, as well as clearing of forests for agriculture purposes should be closely monitored, while firm enforcement should be carried out, in a bid to preserve the environment.

He said this was because environmental destruction was among the factors that contributed to flooding and enforcement authorities should take stern action against those destructors to ensure that floods and landslides would not recur.

"For example, we can control floods by building dams to control the irrigation system, while generating electricity," he said.

Meanwhile, Najib also expressed gratitude to UTM for naming the building after his late father, Tun Abdul Razak, who was the second Prime Minister of Malaysia and who had also served as Education Minister.

The construction of the RM91 million building began on March 3, 2009 and was fully completed in September 2012. The 17-storey building was part of UTM's development under the 9MP.

"The late Tun Razak had known the first UTM vice-chancellor, the late Tan Sri Ainuddin Wahid, ever since the latter came to welcome the return of Tun Razak and the rest of the first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman's independence mission team from London, United Kingdom in 1950s," he said.

UTM had been developing well and succeeded in meeting the objectives and aspirations of its establishment, besides being the proud of the nation and one of the world's best universities, he added. (BERNAMA-MCOT online news)

Disabled boy gets his wish for a new wheelchair

YALA, 9 Jan 2015 - A boy, who has been paralyzed from waist down by an insurgent attack, got his wish for a new wheelchair as a gift on the Children’s Day.

Handing out the wheelchair to the boy was Yala Governor Samart Waradisai, his spouse, Red Cross President Jutamat Waradisai, Special Education Center Director Kasemsuk Pasuntaratham at the paralyzed boy’s school in Bannangsta District.

11-year old Imran Surapong lost his father and the use of his legs by perpetrators of violence a few years ago. He underwent a 3-year treatment and rehabilitation before returning to class.

The wheelchair has been provided by the Region 2 Special Education Center in Yala.

Imran expressed his profound gladness for receiving the new wheelchair. He earlier told the media that he had 2 wheelchairs; an old one for home use and a-year-old one for school use. He said the newly received wheelchair would replace his old one, as the aging chariot has weathered and is now less functional.

Yala Red Cross also gave out eggs to the school for making lunches.

Yala seeks religious leaders’ cooperation to address the issue of violence

YALA, 9 Jan 2015 - Yala Province yesterday held an activity that brought together local Islamic and Buddhist leaders, in its bids to achieve peace.

The meeting, which was being held at the Office of Local Administration in Na-tham Sub-district in Muang Yala, was also attended by government employees, military & police officers, community leaders and locals.

Peace building dominated the discussion yesterday. Muslims and Buddhists brainstormed ideas together to seek ways to ease the tension in the area without discrimination against one another, paving ways to peace talks and ultimately eliminate the southern violence.

The talks are one of the many efforts of the Government to address the ongoing violence in the South.

Thailand International Ornamental Fish Expo 2015 scheduled for 2-5 Jun

BANGKOK, 8 January 2015 - The Department of Fisheries is scheduled to host Thailand International Ornamental Fish Expo 2015 (TIOFE 2015) during 2-5 June 2015 at Building B, of the Government Complex on Chaeng Watthana Road in Bangkok.

Over two hundred species of ornamental fishes for export will be displayed such as fighting fish, goldfish, guppy and cichlidae. The highlight of the event will be the world's biggest ornamental fighting fish contest, which sees the highest number of contestants compared to all other competitions of the kind. Several million baht is expected to be circulated in the event.

The expo will also include an exhibition to celebrate Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn's 5th Cycle (60th) Birthday Anniversary, 2nd April 2015.

TIOFE 2015 is to be held in line with the ornamental fish strategic plan for 2013-2016 which eyes to make Thailand the hub of breeding and trade of high-quality fishes in the world's market by 2016.

Police: Orderly overall situation on New Year

BANGKOK, 8 January 2015 (NNT) The overall traffic situation during the New Year’s holidays was orderly as a result of the strict measures enforced that helped reduce the number of accidents and fatalities, said the police spokesman.

The Spokesman of the Royal Thai Police Pol.Lt.Gen. Prawut Thawornsiri reported that the overall situation during this New Year’s holiday was considered orderly as many organizations had taken care to improve the conditions of the roads in advance.

He said that another factor that had relieved traffic congestion is the fact that there were more holidays in this New Year's season, allowing the public more time to travel. However, congestion issues were still found on the Mitraparb Road in the day when people were traveling back to Bangkok. The police had to open an additional lane to help ease the inbound congestion.

Meanwhile, the police had strictly suppressed the selling of alcoholic beverages, effectively decreasing the number fatalities this year by 6-7 percent.

The police spokesman has also said that the police are now prepared to provide security on the Children’s Day with police officers stationed at many locations set to host the Children’s Day event.

Ex-PM Yingluck to speak for herself in opening impeachment statement

BANGKOK, Jan 6 -- Former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra will deliver her opening defense statement in her impeachment proceedings before the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) by herself when the case opens Friday and it should conclude within this month, according to Assembly Vice President Surachai Liangboonlertchai.

Mr Surachai said that the NLA would let Ms Yingluck and the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) deliver their statements and answer questions without a time limit. He also said that with her presence, Ms Yingluck could answer assemblymen’s questions right away.

Mr Surachai said that the NLA would form two committees to pose questions on two impeachment cases.

One case concerns Ms Yingluck and the other concerns former Senate speaker Nikom Wairatpanij and former House speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont and the questions will come from NLA members.

Each inquiry committee will consist of up to 21 members who will represent the NLA and its committees, including the whip committee. Mr Surachai insisted that the inquiry committees would be neutral.

He said that the impeachment process against holders of political positions would take 23 days; therefore, conclusions on both cases were expected by the end of this month, except in the possibility that any party in the impeachment cases seeks a postponement.

Mr Surachai said that under the current circumstances, a postponement was unnecessary. (MCOT online news)

China stands by Malaysia to overcome flood disaster

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan. 7 -- Malaysia has suffered its worst flood disaster in past 45 years due to sustained rainfall since the end of 2014, with 23 people killed and over 200,000 people evacuated from their homes. As Malaysian people's good friend, China has attached great concerns to the flood situation in Malaysia.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi sent a letter to his Malaysian counterpart Anifah Aman on Dec. 27, expressing sympathy for the victims and property loss caused by the floods.

In Kuala Lumpur, on the same day, Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang on behalf of the Red Cross Society of China handed over a check of 100,000 U.S. dollars to the Malaysian Red Crescent to help the Malaysian people who suffer from the recent flood. The Chinese Embassy in Malaysia recently also donated RM50, 000 (about 14,000 dollars) worth goods and materials to three states of Malaysia, of which, RM30,000 (8,400 dollars) went to the worst-hit Terengganu, and RM10,000 (2,800 dollars) to Kelantan and Pahang, respectively.

During the donation ceremony, Ambassador Huang said the Chinese people are concerned about the serious flood in Malaysia as the country has a long friendship with China. If it is needed, China is willing to provide further assistance to the distress area in Malaysia, he added.

Meanwhile, RM34,000 (9,500 dollars), a portion from the ticket sales of the world-renowned Chinese musical "Dynamic Yunnan," was forwarded to the Crisis Relief Squad of Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) East Coast Flood Relief Fund, in a bid to support Malaysia's efforts to overcome the flood disaster.

At the same time, many Chinese companies also volunteered to make donations to help the Malaysian side. China's CSR Corp, China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC), and Beijing Urban Construction Group (BUCG) on Dec. 31 donated RM900,000 (about 253, 000 dollars) and 10,000 candles to the flood-stricken regions in Malaysia.

Liow Tiong Lai, MCA president and Malaysian transport minister, expressed his appreciation to the Chinese companies, saying that the donation will greatly enhance their capacity to cope with the floods. Their assistance also reflected the deep friendship between China and Malaysia, he added.

On the same day, China Enterprises Association in Malaysia and the Malay Businessmen & Industrialists Association of Malaysia also donated RM50,000 (about 1,4000 dollars) respectively to help Malaysia handle the flood disaster. (Xinhua_ MCOT online news)

South Korea's imported car sales jump 25.5 percent last year

SEOUL, Jan 7 - Imported car sales in South Korea jumped 25.5 percent in 2014 from a year earlier as European automakers continued to expand their presence here amid growing demand for diesel and hybrid models, industry data showed Wednesday.

According to the data compiled by the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association (KAIDA), a total of 196,359 foreign-branded vehicles were registered last year, up from 156,497 units tallied a year earlier. The figure was more than twice as many as what was registered back in 2010.

In December alone, 17,120 foreign vehicles were sold, up 38 percent from the same period a year earlier.

The spike was driven by a marked growth in demand for diesel-engine and hybrid electric vehicles, which jumped 36.9 percent and 32.6 percent to 133,054 units and 7,736 units, respectively. Sales of gasoline-engine vehicles also grew 3.6 percent on-year to 55,383.

German automakers expanded their presence in Korea last year, while Japanese companies saw their market share decline.

The data showed that German cars accounted for 69.4 percent of the annual sales, an increase from the previous year's 67.5 percent. Japanese brands came next with a market share of 12.3 percent, but the share declined from the previous year's 14.1 percent.

By brand, BMW ranked first by selling 40,174 vehicles last year, followed by Mercedes-Benz with 35,213 and Volkswagen with 30,719.

Vehicles produced by European countries took up a combined 80.4 percent of the total, up from the previous year's 78.5 percent, the data showed.

Volkswagen's Tiguan 2.0 TDI BlueMotion sold 8,106 units last year, retaining its best-seller status among foreign brands. BMW 520D came next with 6,546 units, according to the data. (Yonhap-MCOT online news)

Three countries to send humanitarian aid - Hishammuddin

PETALING JAYA, Jan 7 - Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein has stated that three countries have agreed to send humanitarian aid to help Malaysia following the devastating floods which hit several states recently.

He said China, Singapore and the United States, had expressed their intention thereby strengthening the good relations that had been established so far.

He said Singapore had supplied water purifying machines to be used in flood hit states while China would be sending tents for flood victims to use.

"The United States has contacted Malaysia to find out the requirements needed to help the flood victims.

"This is an advantage to us but we cannot depend entirely on outside aid and these are merely additional assistance besides the contribution received from the rakyat," he told reporters here Tuesday.

He was speaking to reporters after witnessing the handing over of flood relief contributions from the Malaysian Armed Forces Family Welfare Association (Bakat) by his wife, Datin Seri Tengku Marsilla Tengku Abdullah to Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim.

He said a total of 312 flights made possible with Malaysian Armed Forces assets under 'Ops Murni' had helped transport 748.6 tonnes of relief supplies for distribution to victims in flood-affected states.

Hishammuddin said the Flood Relief Supplies Collection Centre at the Subang Air Base had received about 3,256 tonnes of relief supplies from various parties.

"Of the total, 2,999 tonnes had been distributed by road while the rest have yet to be distributed, as of yesterday," he said.

Hishammuddin said, apart from delivery of necessities to flood victims, post-flood process must also be focused upon, adding that various authorities were in the midst of cleaning up badly-affected areas. (BERNAMA-MCOT online news)

Rajaprajanugroh Foundation donates blankets and uniforms to Phayao students

PHAYAO, 7 Jan 2015 (NNT) The Rajaprajanugroh Foundation under the Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King yesterday delivered blankets and school uniforms to students of the Rajaprajanugroh 24 School in Jun District, Phayao Province.

The presenting ceremony was presided over by chairman of the provincial committee of the Rajaprajanugroh Foundation, Chuchart Kilapaeng. Taking part in the ceremony were also chief of Phayao’s Red Cross chapter Waraporn Kilapaeng, and other governmental unit chiefs.

Rajaprajanugroh 24 School has been established by the Rajaprajanugroh foundation and the Ministry of Education at the instruction of His Majesty the King. It is a co-education school offering classes from grade 1 to 12 under the supervision of the Department of General Education, Ministry of Education.

The school offers satellite online teaching sessions, along with optional occupational courses in agriculture, industry, and home economics. It currently has about 900 students and 90-strong staff including teachers, educational personnel and other employees.

Police to probe contracts for advertisement boards at police kiosks

BANGKOK, 7 January 2015 (NNT) Royal Thai Police Deputy Commissioner Pongsapat Pongcharoen on Tuesday chaired a meeting of police officials and representatives from the Treasury Department over the issue of the allegedly unauthorized advertisement boards on top of police kiosks.

According to Police General Pongsapat, there are around 6,000 police kiosks nationwide and 805 of these have been fitted with advertisement boards. 173 of the advertisement boards have been installed at police kiosks under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Police. The Treasury Department has concluded that all of the pieces of land the police kiosks are situated on belong to the department, and the decision of whether to continue allowing the advertisement boards will rest solely on the department.

Pol. Gen. Pongsapat said a probe would be launched into the contracts made between businesses and the Metropolitan Police and between businesses and the regions 1-9 police, to ensure that everything was in accord with the regulations of the Royal Thai Police. After the probe, the decision of whether to allow the advertisement boards to stay until the expiry of the contracts will be made.

NRC urged to enact law on distribution of power to people

BANGKOK, 6 January 2015 (NNT) Representatives from nationwide political activists have petitioned the National Reform Council (NRC) to pass a law that promotes the distribution of the government’s administrative power to the people of Thailand.

NRC President Tienchai Kirananda on Tuesday met with representatives from the networks of people for a self-governing administration from across the country, who submitted a letter asking for the passing of an organic law on the self-administration of a province to go along with the completion of the charter drafting.

The group said they have been educating locals across the country on the issue for some time as they believe the centralization of power is the cause of political conflicts and social inequality in Thailand.

The petitioners also asked the NRC to work with the National Legislative Assembly and the Constitutional Drafting Committee to resolve this issue and promote the true distribution of administrative power to the people.

Mr. Tienchai promised the activists that he would present the matter to related parties for consideration and implementation.

PDRC wants prime minister to be elected MP

BANGKOK, Jan 5 -- The People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) on Sunday proposed that any prime minister after the national reform is completed must be an elected member of parliament, saying it opposes a proposal by some members of the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) favouring a non-partisan candidate to become prime minister in case of a political deadlock after a future general election.

PDRC spokesman Akanat Promphan said his group come to its decision before the May 22 coup and sent its proposal on the distribution of political power, how to tackle Thailand's corruption, reforming the Royal Thai Police and to solve social disparity.

But the PDRC had never demanded or proposed that a prime minister must be a neutral person or not a member of the Lower House, he said.

During the previous government of Yingluck Shinawatra the committee requested that an outsider be invited to administer the country during the political turmoil, he said.

Therefore, the CDC should not tell the public that the idea of having a non-MP become prime minister is made by the PDRC grouping earlier, he said, adding that the country could face more danger if an outsider is allowed to become a prime minister.

“It would only give an opportunity to capitalists to administer the country through paying money to elected MPs and senators. This could cause more problems with corruption,” Mr Akanat said.

The PDRC is prepared to send its opinions to the Constitution Drafting Commoittee for consideration as he believed political problems in Thailand were “not caused by the system but rather from an individual.”

Therefore, a solution must be made regarding the individual while the political party system must be helped to become stronger so the public could depend on it, Mr Akanat added. (MCOT online news)

Gov't opening more public complaints outlets

BANGKOK, Jan 5 -- The government of Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha will open more channels--including counter services at shopping malls--for accepting complaints from the Thai public following its success in resolving peoples' problems in the past six months, said Minister attached to the Prime Minister’s Office Panadda Diskul.

He said the government plans to open more channels for complaints from the public this year including a cellphone application, opening centres in community areas and opening counter services at shopping malls so that people could file complaints easily.

Mr Panadda said the government has opened five different channels for the people to lodge complaints and seek assistance from authorities in the past six months.

The National Council for Peace and Order has received altogether 111,399 complaints and helped solved 90.2 per cent of them, he said.

The rest of the complaints needing help were mostly involved with debts outside the legal institutions and narcotics.

Mr Panadda said the government is satisfied with its performances in helping solve problems for the people in the past as personnel from 20 ministries are posted at centres accepting public complaints.

Problems already solved were 3.2 times more than during the corresponding period of last year, he said. (MCOT online news)

5 persons remain under Ebola surveillance in Thailand

BANGKOK, Jan 5 - In an attempt to ease public worries over the deadly Ebola disease in Thailand, the Public Health Ministry said that only five persons remain under close surveillance in the kingdom at present.

Dr Wachira Pengjuntr, Deputy Permanent Secretary for Public Health, said two European engineers who travelled from Liberia and arrived in Thailand on December 24 were earlier suspected of carrying the disease as they had high fevers for two days after their arrival but said they were actually suffering severe malaria.

Both men are recovering now, said Dr Wachira, adding that so far only five persons remained under close surveillance in the country.

Ebola was spreading in three countries including Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Official statistics issued by the World Health Organisation says that some 20,000 patients worldwide suffered from Ebola at the end of 2014.

Approximately 8,000 persons have died of the disease.

It is believed that more newly recruited volunteers recently sent to areas where the disease is widespread are suffering from Ebola. (MCOT online news)

Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City Press Association visits Udon Thani

UDON THANI, 6 Jan 2015 (NNT) Representatives from the Ho Chi Minh City Press Association yesterday visited the northeastern Province of Udon Thani, as part of the Thai-Vietnamese press exchange program.

The Udon Thani Provincial Administration gave a briefing on overall situation of the province to the 21-member delegation led by Vice President of the Association Ma Dieu Cuong. The delegation includes members of the Vietnamese press such as newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, and online media.

According to the Provincial Press Association of Thailand, the exchange program aims at tightening the ties between the two nations’ members of the press. He added that the 21 representatives, who have been selected from 17 Vietnamese governmental media units in Ho Chi Minh City, are visiting Thailand from 5-10 January.

Their schedule includes a visit to Udon Thani’s famous Uncle Ho’s House, Red Lotus Sea, and the Nakha textile market.

Chiang Mai authorities to curb sky lantern release after airliner grounded

CHIANG MAI, 6 January 2015 (NNT) Authorities in Chiang Mai are set to meet on Friday to deliberate measures to curb the release of sky lanterns after as many as 206 landed inside Chiang Mai Airport during the night of New Year's Eve and the following morning. Some of the lanterns were also found inside the jet engine of an airliner at the airport.

Provincial Governor Suriya Prasatbandit said on Monday the release of sky lanterns has become a tourism selling point of Chiang Mai Province. Previously, the sky lanterns were released only during the Loy Krathong (Yipeng) Festival. At present the lanterns are released almost on every occasion, resulting in several fires and disruptions to air traffic. Mr. Suriya said all relevant local agencies will meet on Friday to discuss measures and laws currently available for use in curbing the release of the sky lanterns. The meeting will also deliberate curfew periods for the release of sky lanterns, and areas where releases are banned.

Governor Suriya added that authorities will also devise measures to ensure that sellers of sky lanterns only make available products that fall in accord with the established standard.

Group Captain Wisut Chanthana, director of Chiang Mai Airport, told media that sky lanterns that fall in accordance with the law should not cause damage to aircraft engines. However, there currently are illegal varieties that are fitted with gas canisters or other modifications that can harm aircraft. He noted that nonetheless, it is preferable that no foreign objects enter the engine as there is always a risk of causing harm.

Firefighters at Chiang Mai Airport told the media that 206 sky lanterns were collected from airport grounds during the night of New Year's Eve and the following morning. In comparison, 30-40 were collected each night during the Loy Krathong Festival. The shocking number of sky lanterns that made their way into the airport was attributed to the wind direction on the night of New Year's Eve, which blew the lanterns into the airport from the main release sites in downtown Chiang Mai.

Severe drought looms ahead; waterways already dried up in some provinces

NAKHON SAWAN, 6 January 2015 (NNT) The anticipated severity of the looming dry season is becoming more imminent, with water in reservoirs and waterways in some provinces having already dried up.

In Nakhon Sawan, rivers were drying up and some waterways have been reduced to small streams. Officials from the local office of the Irrigation Department expect the drought season to fully hit provinces that line the Chao Phraya River in one to two months.

In Phichit, a 120-km stretch of Yom River has dried up to expose parts of the riverbed. Some areas within the stretch have dried up enough for people to cross the river on foot.

In Bangkok, governor M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra asserted that drought prevention and relief plans have been prepared, especially for the eastern part of city where there is as much as 170,000 rai of farmlands. City Hall officials have also been told to be on alert for bushfires and to deploy fire engines at secluded spots at risk of bushfires.

The government has been warning of the anticipated severity of the drought season in 2015 ever since it discovered during the rainy season that reservoirs around the country have not been receiving the expected amount of rain.

"Science Road" event to be held on Children's Day

BANGKOK, 5 January 2014 (NNT) The Ministry of Science and Technology is joining hands with three other related units to organize a “Science Road” fair in conjunction with Children’s Day, at its headquarters on Rama VI road, Bangkok. “Science Road” is organized annually to celebrate the National Children’s Day on the second Saturday of January.

This year’s event also celebrates the event’s 9th anniversary. Taking place from 8th-10th January, the event will include more than 100 activities to be featured at 47 experiment stations in different fields. It provides an opportunity for children to gain scientific knowledge in the form of edutainment.

The activities will be conducted on the theme of light and soil to celebrate the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015 developed by the United Nations in line with its International Year of Soils. Among them will be such topics as Nuclear for the Future, A World of Colorful Lights, Playing With Soil, Plant Growing, Genetics Decoding and the grand opening of a science exhibition on “Traditional Thai Wisdom Toys” by Thailand’s National Science Museum.

Similar events will also be held at the National Science Museum, in Klong Ha Area, Pathum Thani and at the National Science Museum’s Square at Jamjuri Square near MRT Samyan Station in Bangkok from 8th-10th January 2015 from 9am-5 pm.
Free shuttle buses to the Ministry are provided at the BTS Victory Monument station.




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More commodities will become cheaper this week

Army Region 4 Commander: Civil Society is key to peace solution in the South

Tutoring for southern children will give them equal footing in the entrance examination

Road link between Thailand and Cambodia will open in Si Sa Ket at the end of 2015

Princess Chulabhorn pays a 2-week visit to the US

OBEC to draft education system reform details

Winter clothes in high demand in Khon Kean

Over 2,000 runners join Mukdahan’s international marathon event

Singburi investigates the unnaturally low water level in Noi River

Mukdahan invites all to visit its annual Red Cross Fair

Yingluck says impeachment process against law

Vietnamese worker registration starts in March

Thai student wins Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival contest 2015

Children's rights and protection given first priority in constitution drafting

NLA accepted draft amendment of the law on the organization of the military court

NLA meeting resolved to accept draft Freeman Safeguarding Medal Act

National reconciliation expected in maximum four years

Government clarifying Thai human trafficking situation to international community

Kasikorn Think Tank: Negative factors impacting Thai exports to EU this year

Royal Thai Army vows to end Siamese Rosewood smuggling

China kicks off Silk Road Tourism Year

Quantum dot TV sales to top 18 mln units in 2018: report

PM wants universities to carry out in depth study on flood issues

Disabled boy gets his wish for a new wheelchair

Yala seeks religious leaders’ cooperation to address the issue of violence

Thailand International Ornamental Fish Expo 2015 scheduled for 2-5 Jun

Police: Orderly overall situation on New Year

Ex-PM Yingluck to speak for herself in opening impeachment statement

China stands by Malaysia to overcome flood disaster

South Korea's imported car sales jump 25.5 percent last year

Three countries to send humanitarian aid - Hishammuddin

Rajaprajanugroh Foundation donates blankets and uniforms to Phayao students

Police to probe contracts for advertisement boards at police kiosks

NRC urged to enact law on distribution of power to people

PDRC wants prime minister to be elected MP

Gov't opening more public complaints outlets

5 persons remain under Ebola surveillance in Thailand

Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City Press Association visits Udon Thani

Chiang Mai authorities to curb sky lantern release after airliner grounded

Severe drought looms ahead; waterways already dried up in some provinces

"Science Road" event to be held on Children's Day



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