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PM adheres to peaceful solutions for far South

BANGKOK, Jan 28 - Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha said he has adhered to peaceful solutions for the far South and has not set any timeframe limitation for its peace restoration process.

After chairing a meeting of the National Security Council at Government House today, Gen Prayut said the council resolved that southern solutions would adhere to peace-promoting strategies and refrain from suppressive military operations.

He said three committees were handling southern solutions at three levels. He referred to his policy-making committee, an implementation committee headed by army adviser and southern peace negotiation leader Gen Aksara Kerdpol, and a local committee headed by the 4th Army Area commander.

Problems in the far South would be solved in three stages, Gen Prayut said.

The first stage concerns the creation of understanding. Malaysia facilitates it by inviting concerned groups for discussions.

The second stage deals with creating trust. At this stage, there will be discussions with groups with different political stances and the ratification of a peace agreement. The third stage will be the implementation of an agreed peace restoration roadmap
Gen Prayut said that the international community would be informed that situations in the far South were internal issues and sensitive matters of the followers of two religions.

"There cannot be a timeframe for the negotiation. It depends on when Malaysia can gather groups and make them ready for discussions. However, overall signs show improvement... Groups with different stances should come to the negotiating table rather than argue in the media. The issue will also be raised for discussion with the Malaysian defence minister who will visit Thailand tomorrow," Gen Prayut said. (MCOT online news)

International buyers respond positively to Made in Thailand Fair


BANGKOK, Jan 28 - The Ministry of Commerce is sponsoring a Made in Thailand in Focus Fair to bring international buyers to seal business deals with Thai manufacturers.

It hopes the fair will help promote Thai products and that sales at the event should amount to at least Bt300 million.

After opening the fair at the Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre (BITEC) today, Deputy Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said international participants expected to discuss deals at the event. Coming from Southeast Asia -- including Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia -- and further afield including China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the United States, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The positive responses showed the success of the Department of International Trade Promotion in actively promoting Thai products in Southeast Asia which will form a single market and production base after the establishment of the ASEAN Community this year, Ms Apiradi said.

The Thai exports exceeded US$200 billion last year, with one-quarter of that representing export to ASEAN nations.

She hopes the Made in Thailand in Focus fair can significantly help the country raise the value of its export by 4 per cent this year as the Ministry of Commerce has forecast.

The fair should attract at least 20,000 visitors, she said. and sales should reach at least Bt300 million. (MCOT online news)

ASEAN to continue discussion for ASEAN common time zone

KOTA KINABALU, Jan 28 - ASEAN will continue to consider a common time zone for ASEAN capitals, says Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman.

Speaking to reporters after chairing the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Retreat here Wednesday, he said the matter was discussed during today's meeting as "there were many strong reasons to have a common time zone".

"This is not a new idea. This was brought up by our leaders, as early as 1995, and they discussed it again around 2004.

"With ASEAN forming an intergrated and cohesive community by the end of this year, we believe a common time zone for ASEAN capitals is an idea worth considering," he said.

Among the benefits of a common time zone for the region involve strengthening business links and inter-governmental cooperation among ASEAN and Asian countries.

Besides that, a common time zone will allow more time for communication purposes, tally the stock market activities, enhance airlines operational system and upgrade the business and banking linkages around the Asian region.

Malaysia has taken over the ASEAN chairmanship for 2015, from Myamnar.

The two-day retreat which ended today, is the curtain-raiser for a series of ministerial and related meetings under Malaysia's ASEAN chairmanship this year.

Malaysia has mentioned the idea of a common time zone for ASEAN during a panel session at the World Economic Forum Summit in Davos on Jan 24.

In that session, Malaysia said a common time zone was important towards realising the ASEAN Economic Community. (MCOT BERNAMA)

S. Korea to review all rules for better safety aboard ships

SEJONG, Jan 29 - South Korea will review some 300 rules governing maritime safety from scratch this year to make it safer for people to travel on ships, the government said Thursday.

The policy goal set by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries comes after 295 people, mostly high school students, died in the Sewol ferry sinking in April last year. Nine are still missing. The sinking of the 6,825-ton ferry is one of the deadliest maritime disasters in the country's history, and it triggered widespread calls for an overhaul of the country's maritime safety regulations.

Those implicated in the tragedy have been arrested and are on trial, with state prosecutors claiming a combination of ship cargo overloading, poor steering and remodeling of the vessel as the cause of the disaster.

Criticism of the government's poor initial response and confusion led to the dismantlement of the Coast Guard.

The ministry said that 800 million won (US$742,000) will be used next month to conduct detailed evaluations on the main sea routes around the country, with another 4 billion won to be spent on establishing new safe operational guidelines around the major ports of Ulsan, Gwangyang and Incheon that are used frequently by oil tankers and other large ships.

The Sewol ferry had left from Incheon on its ill-fated voyage, with port authorities being blamed for failing to check whether the ship was overloaded.

In addition, the maritime ministry said it will follow through on reform measures announced in September that call for the government to directly regulate safety, increase the amount of fines for rule violations from 30 million won to 1 billion won, and reduce the age of vessels that can be used as car ferries from 30 to 25 years.

All crew members will be obliged to wear uniforms, and barriers restricting companies from entering the shipping line business will be lifted in June.

To ensure that companies make a profit, which is critical for upgrading safety rules and crew training, the government will allow fuel surcharges and flexible fare rates for weekend operations.

In addition, the ministry said it will take steps to reduce the number of accidents involving fishing boats, which made up 76.7 percent of all maritime accidents in the past five years.

These steps include automatic location tracking systems, compelling crew members to wear life jackets and implementing mandatory safety instruction for people on fishing boats.

On the peaceful use of waters surrounding the Korean Peninsula, systematic measures will be taken to better manage the country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and its continental shelf regions, the ministry said. (MCOT Yonhap)

Ministries to promote school football

BEIJING, Jan 28 - China's Ministry of Education (MOE), together with five other government departments, established a "school football leading group" to ensure football thrives in the country's schools, according to an MOE circular released late Tuesday.

The leading group is tasked with implementing laws and policies on campus football development, outlining annual plans as well as reviewing rules and budgets for promoting the sport among the nation's students and youth.

The other five departments participating in the leading groups are the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the Ministry of Finance, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, the General Administration of Sports (GAS) and the Communist Youth League Central Committee.

The MOE on Jan. 16 announced that it plans to select 20,000 primary or middle schools in which to promote football by 2017. It will also choose 30 counties to serve as trial areas for the development of school football in order to increase the popularity of the sport in Chinese schools and lay a foundation for more talented players.

The move came in response to the poor performance by China's national football team in recent years. The Chinese team has failed to qualify for the World Cup for the past 12 years. (MCOT Xinhua)

National Science Museum to spend 1.8 billion on a new water and soil museum

BANGKOK, 29 January 2015 (NNT) The National Science Museum (NSM) will spend 1.8 billion baht on creating ASEAN’s largest soil and water development exhibition.

NSM Acting Director Sakorn Chanapaitoon said 3 projects will be implemented on the occasion of the NSM’s 20th anniversary tomorrow,

A new museum, to be named Rama 9 museum, will be built in Pathumthani province in honor of His Majesty the King. It is also billed as ASEAN’s largest exhibition on soil and water development.

Two other projects, which include the constructions of science and toy exhibitions, are expected to encourage Thai children to make more trips to the museum.

Mr. Sakorn said it is NSM’s goal to attract more kids to the museum, as they are presently ranked 40th in the world in terms of museum attendance, according to a global survey.

Intelligence tip-off prompts security alert in Yala

YALA, 29 January 2015 (NNT) Yala police have tightened security in the province following a series of recent attacks on civilians and law enforcement officers in the Deep South.

Police have been checking and examining individuals and vehicles entering Yala at various points to prevent attacks in the populated area of Muang district.

Vehicles are being searched for any hidden explosives. Those wearing a mask or a helmet are asked to reveal their faces before they are allowed to pass through the checkpoint.

Security alert levels have been raised following an intelligence tip-off suggesting more attacks are possible this month and next.

Prachuabkirikhan officials raid construction site, nab illegal alien workers

PRACHUABKIRIKHAN, 29 Jan 2015, (NNT) Prachuabkirikhan officials yesterday searched a construction site in the province’s Pranburi District and took into custody foreign labors found working without permits.

The construction site, ‘Bella Costa', is a residential project in Pranburi District, consisting of 2 seven-storey buildings, and 4 four-storey buildings. According to officials, a number of workers, both Thai and foreign, were working at the site at the time of the search.

Upon inspection, officials found 14 alien workers working with no work permits or had permits for a different line of work.

The officials said the company would be fined and instructed to strictly abide by labor law.

NSC chief admits to slow progress in peace dialogue with insurgents

BANGKOK, Jan 27 - Thailand's National Security Council (NSC) Secretary General Anusit Kunakrn admitted that not much progress has been made regarding the next round of peace talks aimed at bringing peace to the restive southern Thai provinces.

He said Malaysia is working to arrange which group of insurgents should join in the next round of peace dialogue with Thai security authorities.

Malaysia has been facilitator of peace talks between Thai security authorities and insurgents since February 2013, when the NSC signed a historic dialogue with the Barisan Revolusi Nasional insurgent movement (BRN).

Mr Anusit said the Thai side led by Gen Aksara Kerdphol, chief negotiator for the talks, is working with Malaysia.

The Thai side is open for talks with any group so it now depends on the facilitator Malaysia as to whether to bring other group to join the peace dialogue.

More than 5,000 people have been killed since insurgency reignited in the region in 2004.

Three rounds of Malaysia-brokered peace talks have taken place since 2013 but talks were stalled in July. (MCOT online news)

Facebook, Instagram down one hour worldwide

BANGKOK, Jan 27 - Facebook and the Instagram social networks broke down in many countries for about one hour from 1.10pm to 2.10pm Thai time.

The hacker group Lizard Sqad announced via Twitter @LizardMafia, implying it was responsible for the incident.

Users in many areas around the world could not access Facebook and Instagram through computers and handheld devices at that time.

The problem did not happen to those using WhatsApp application under the Facebook umbrella.

Facebook and Instagram users in many countries including Thailand posted access problem messages on other online channels including Twitter.

The incident coincided with warnings of a big snowstorm hitting New York and many areas in the northeastern part of the United States.

No one confirmed if the incidents were related, but at that time people facing the snowstorm could not communicate.

Lizard Squad hacked into the Malaysia Airlines website yesterday announcing on Twitter @LizardMafia to imply that it caused the outage of popular social networks.

More than 1.35 billion people use Facebook and more than 300 million use Instagram, including 32 million Thais and 2 million Thai users respectively. (MCOT online news)

Chronic disease could be cause of British tourist death: Forensics Test

BANGKOK, Jan 27 -- The commander of the Institute of Forensic Medicine (IFM) said its autopsy found no narcotic substance in the body of the British tourist found dead on Surat Thani's Ko Tao island.

She might have died because of her chronic disease and a medicine she took.

IFM commander Pol Maj Gen Pornchai Suteerakune said officials who conducted the autopsy did not find any narcotics in the body of Christina Annesley and her cause of death might have been chronic disease and her medication.

The 23-year-old tourist was found dead in her hotel room on Ko Tao on Jan 20.

Officials will take some time to check medicines in her body. The examination would be complicated and time-consuming, Maj Gen Pornchai said. (MCOT online news)

Car ownership tops 154 million in China in 2014

BEIJING, Jan. 27 - China added a record 17 million new cars on the road in 2014 as car ownership reaches 154 million, said the Ministry of Public Security on Tuesday.

Strong demand for cars has helped the automobile replace the motorcycle as the main method of transportation. Cars made up 58.6 percent of total motor vehicles, a sharp rise from 43.9 percent five years ago.

The number of people obtaining driving licenses also ballooned from 219 million in 2013 to 247 million as of the end of 2014, said the ministry, adding 29.7 million drivers have fewer than one year's driving experience.

Of the 35 cities which have more than one million cars each, ten have more than two million cars, including Beijing, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing.

The ministry said the number of passenger cars has reached 117 million, 90 percent of which are private cars. Beijing has the highest private car penetration, with 63 private cars for every 100 households, while the average is 25 private cars for every 100 households.

Carmakers have enjoyed strong sales over the years, with more middle-class customers placing orders for their first cars. But with frequent traffic jams, it is yet to be seen whether cars can still ride the booming tide in the years to come. More local governments have begun to limit car use, among them eight cities have quotas for new car plates. (Xinhua)

Property sector to rebound 10% this year

BANGKOK, Jan 26 MCOT Thailand’s property sector which experienced a bleak performance last year due to domestic political turbulence is expected to rebound and grow approximately 10 per cent this year, according toThongma Vijitpongpun, CEO of Pruksa Real Estate.

The property business in Bangkok and surrounding areas is projected to recover this year with a total value of Bt322.8 billion, up some 10 per cent from last year.

Positive factors projected to help boost property sector this year are the increasing confidence of the public in the current caretaker government, especially on extension of electric mass transit rail service throughout the metropolitan Bangkok, a plan to construct a dual-track rail line with China with another agreement to be made soon with Japan, a development plan to establish special economic border areas and implementing the ASEAN Community, scheduled at year-end, which could help boost the homebuyers market.

Lersak Chuladesa, Pruksa vice chairman and executive director, said that the property sector business should grow well this year with the improvement of the country's general economy.

Ongoing low-interest rates would help persuade people to buy homes although their prices are expected to rise 2-5 per cent, said Mr Lersak. (MCOT online news)

ASEAN promoting collaborative, sustainable tourism

BANGKOK, Jan 26 - ASEAN has announced joint tourism promotional campaigns to also emphasise sustainability. Nearly 100 million tourists visited the region last year.

Following the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2015, Thailand's Tourism & Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said that as the ASEAN Community would take effect late this year, ASEAN worked out a 10-year tourism plan to be implemented from 2016 to 2025.

The plan will promote inclusive tourism, with all parties receiving good care.

Incomes will be distributed and sustainable tourism will be guaranteed, according to the ASEAN plan

Myanmar, forum host, has recently opened to tourists and wants knowhow on environmental conservation and ecotourism, Ms Kobkarn said.

The minister also said that ASEAN member states welcomed 97 million tourists last year.

The number grows by 3 per cent annually, and 53 per cent of tourists are ASEAN citizens.

She said that Thailand is attracting quality intra-ASEAN tourists and would use online media to reach young travelers.

Suwat Sidthilaw, permanent secretary for tourism and sports, said a secretariat will be established in Indonesia to coordinate ASEAN tourism promotion and its establishment should be sealed in the next meeting this April.

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) reported that ASEAN teenagers liked to visit communities and share local activities rather than going to luxury destinations. (MCOT online news)

Women-only carriages advised in Beijing subway

BEIJING, Jan 27 Political advisors have proposed setting up women-only carriages on the Beijing subway during rush hour, though transport authorities say there is no specific plan.

The proposal was put forth by two members of the Beijing Municipal Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the annual session of the political advisory body, which concluded on Monday.

"By setting up special carriages, women will be better respected and protected," said Xiao Mingzheng, a member with the CPPCC Beijing Municipal Committee.

He said the move will also help reduce sexual harassment to women in subway.

Zhou Zhengyu, director with the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport, said there has not been further information about setting up the women-only carriages, but he said such move will be a "trend" for public transport development.

"Urban transport should provide diversified services and meet the differentiated demands of passengers," Zhou said.

Figures show the annual number of subway passengers rocketed by six times to 3.2 billion from 2003 to 2013 in Beijing. (MCOT  Xinhua)

NRC addressing social gaps today

BANGKOK, 27 January 2015 (NNT) Another National Reform Council (NRC) meeting will be held today to discuss the restoration of social equality and justice.

The NRC will at the beginning acknowledge the progress made by the draft charter committee before the members discuss the issues of unfair treatments in the society and economy as well as long-term solutions to the problems.

The draft charter committee will also review sections of the constitution regarding the power of the government, the impeachment of political figures, and whether certain organizations should retain its enormous power to probe the government.

Phu Phabhat Historical Park to be proposed as next world's cultural heritage site.

BANGKOK, 27 January 2015 (NNT) The National Committee on the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage of Thailand is proposing that Phu Phabhat Historical Park be listed as one of the world’s cultural heritage sites.

According to Culture Minister Veera Rojpotjanarat, the committee has unanimously agreed that Phu Phabhat Historical Park, located in Udonthani, should be recognized as a world cultural site.

The committee will submit its proposal to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on February 20th. The result will be revealed in June next year.

Another potential site, located in Chiang Mai, will also be submitted to the World Heritage Center for consideration. However, while the country is proposing a new site to be registered by the UNESCO, one of its registered sites--Dong Phayayen-- is at risks of losing its world heritage title thanks to the ongoing illegal logging of Rosewood trees and massive constructions of a dam and Highway 304 in the forest reserve.

According to National Resource and Environment Minister General Daopong Rattanasuwan, measures have been taken to prevent forest encroachment.

Thailand is required to report to the UNESCO its progress following reports of illegal logging and a dam construction in the mountainous region of Dong Phayayen, said the Minister. He, however, said that he did not believe it would lose its title.

822 children caught hand-foot-and-mouth disease in just 19 days since start of year

BANGKOK, 27 Jan 2015, (NNT) 822 children have fallen ill with hand-foot-and-mouth disease in just 19 days since the beginning of the year, says the Ministry of Public Health.

According to health officials, the figure was not out of the norm for the cold season, when the disease is easily spread, although it was significant enough to prompt the Public Health Ministry to warn the public to exercise caution.

People are urged to wash their hands often and to keep children's toys and bedrooms clean. Infected children must take leave from school to avoid spreading the disease. Schools are being asked to send children with symptoms home.

Health officials said that although easily transmitted, hand-foot-and-mouth disease generally does not cause severe symptoms in those infected; patients usually have a hard time eating and swallowing.

Chinese economy not to suffer hard landing: premier

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 22 - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said here Wednesday that the world's second largest economy is not heading for a hard landing.

As the Chinese economy has entered a state of new normal, the shift of growth gear from high speed to medium-to-high speed reflects the profound adjustment of the world economy, and is consistent with the law of economics, Li said in a keynote speech at the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting.

In 2015, China plans to withstand downward pressure and continue with its strategic focus, added the premier.

"We will continue to pursue a proactive fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy," Li said. "We will step up anticipatory adjustment and fine-tuning as well as targeted macro-regulation, in order to stabilize economic growth, upgrade its structure and achieve better quality and performance."

For the Chinese economy to maintain medium-to-high speed of growth and achieve medium-to-high level of development, Li said, China must properly use the hand of the government and the hand of the market, and give full scope to both the traditional and new engines of growth.

"To foster a new engine of growth," Li said, "we need to encourage mass entrepreneurship and innovation, and mobilize the wisdom and power of the people."

"To transform the traditional engine of growth, we need to focus on increasing the supply of public goods and services, and strengthening the weak link of the economy," the premier said.

China, he added, will continue to promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and open up its service sector, central and western regions as well as the capital market wider to the outside world.

"China will encourage its companies to explore the international market, and work for common development with other countries through greater openness towards each other," Li said.

Li arrived here Tuesday for the WEF gathering in this ski resort and a working visit to Switzerland.

This year's WEF winter meeting, which opened Wednesday, will run till Saturday under the overarching theme "The New Global Context."

Over 2,500 participants from across the world are expected to attend the event and exchange views on a wide range of issues, including global economy, environmental protection and non-conventional security. (Xinhua)

S. Korea says no decision yet on Park's visit to Russia in May

SEOUL, Jan. 22 - South Korea's presidential office said Thursday no decision has been made yet about whether President Park Geun-hye will visit Moscow in May for a key Russian anniversary.

Park's schedules for May have not been fixed and she has competing schedules, presidential spokesman Min Kyung-wook told reporters.

His comments came a day after Russia's state-run Itar-Tass news agency reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has accepted an invitation to visit Moscow to attend a May 9 ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the former Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, citing Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

"A positive signal has been given," Itar-Tass quoted Lavrov as saying in a news conference in Moscow on Wednesday. "We have sent several dozen invitations. About 20 guests have already confirmed their presence, and we continue to receive responses from other countries."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has also invited Park for the annual celebration, a move that could set the stage for her possible meeting with Kim in case the North Korean leader visits Moscow.

Kim has not visited a foreign country since he inherited power upon the death of his father and long-time leader Kim Jong-il in 2011. (MCOT Yonhap)

Najib arrives in Zurich to attend 45th World Economic Forum

ZURICH (Switzerland) Jan 22 MCOT Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak and his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, arrived here late Wednesday to attend the 45th World Economic Forum (WEF) which begins today until Jan 24.

Najib, who arrived at 10.10 pm (local time) was received at the Zurich ExecuJet Terminal of the Zurich International Airport by Malaysian Ambassador to Switzerland Datuk Mohd Zulkephli Mohd Noor and his wife Datin Anna Amalina Imam Baweh.

Making his second appearance at the WEF as Prime Minister, Najib is leading the Malaysian delegation to this year's forum, themed "The New Global Context".

Najib, is expected to deliver a strong message, as well as, lay the right foundation towards the realisation of the Asean Economic Community in line with Malaysia's chairmanship of the regional grouping this year.

Encompassing 10 diverse countries, Asean today is home to more than 600 million people with a combined Gross Domestic Product of US$2.4 trillion, making it the seventh largest grouping in the world.

Besides Najib, other head of states or government that have confirmed their participation include King Abdullah II of Jordan and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

The annual forum will be held in Davos, a mountain resort in Graubunden, the eastern Alps region of Switzerland, located about two hours drive from Zurich.

It will see the congregation of more than 40 world leaders, as well as, more than 2,500 participants comprising chief executive officers, academic scholars, regional experts, policy makers and business leaders from 140 countries.

Najib is also scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with his Kazakhstan counterpart Karim Massimov, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

He will also hold talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

The WEF, which is a Swiss non-profit foundation based in Cologny, Geneva, is an independent international organisation committed in bringing business, political, academic and other leaders to improve the state of the world. (BERNAMA)

NBTC: All prepaid number users must register their SIM cards before August

BANGKOK, 22 Jan 2015, (NNT) The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) yesterday announced that all prepaid Subscriber Identity Module or SIM cards must be registered by July 31st. Failure to do so will result in the termination of services.

The announcement was made after a meeting held yesterday between the NBTC and the country's 5 mobile phone service providers: Advanced Info Service, DTAC, True Move, TOT and CAT Telecom.

According to the NBTC, a public hearing will be organized to gauge the people’s reaction; however, the agency expects the regulation to take effect within 6 months.

According to NBTC Secretary-General, Thakorn Tantasit, the objective is to protect the public from various scams given swindlers using unregistered SIM cards are virtually impossible to be tracked down. Another major reason is national security, referring to the cases of perpetrators of violence using unregistered SIM cards for illegal purposes.

To register their SIM cards, the owners must bring their identification cards to their respective service providers, the Secretary-General said, adding that the NBTC would later add Krung Thai Bank and the outlets of giant convenient store chain 7-Eleven to the list of registration venues.

Unregistered SIM cards will no longer function after July 31st.

Currently, there are 90 million active SIM cards in use, with only a fraction of them-- 1.6 million-- registered.

Water management plan to be proposed to Cabinet next month

BANGKOK, 22 January 2015 (NNT) The water management policy committee is planning to propose to the cabinet its comprehensive water management blueprint in February.

Commerce Minister General Chatchai Sarikalya, who chairs the committee, said his team is still reviewing the strategy to assure its efficiency.

The 10 year management plan is expected to cost the government 1 trillion baht. It will be implemented in 3 different stages.

Under the first urgent phase, from 2015-2016, measures will be taken to maintain water supplies throughout the country and prevent repetitions of flooding disasters.

Around 240 billion baht would be needed to achieve these goals. Laws regarding water resources will also be legislated during the same period.

In the second and third phases, the committee will proceed with the construction of medium and large-scale reservoirs. The projects will be preceded by public hearings and studies on environment impacts.

Govt. set to move beggars from streets on sustainable basis

BANGKOK, 22 Jan 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security (MSDHS) will lead a campaign to address the ongoing beggar issue on a sustainable basis, with a major clean-up operation to be organized from January 26th -30th.

Minister of Social Development and Human Security Police General Adul Sangsingkeaw said that the beggar issue has been deep-rooted in the Thai society and fallen prey to the human trafficking ring. He said one particular method favored by the traffickers is to use children to reel in crowds, living off of human kindness.

He said 3 major policies will be implemented nationwide -- law enforcement, protection to victims of human trafficking, and to develop a network against human trafficking.

The Police General clarified that the law enforcement involves amending the beggar related laws, handing out punishments to human traffickers and professional beggars and drawing up an official record of beggars.

He said the truly destitute would receive assistance in the form of general welfare, rehabilitation and occupational training.

Severe drought in Khon Kean forces locals to buy water for consumption

KHON KEAN, 22 Jan 2015, (NNT) The locals of Khon Kean’s Nongrua District have been suffering from severe drought conditions, forcing them to purchase water for consumption

The 70-rai Nongsala reservoir in Yangkham Sub-district has dried up and the little water remaining is murky and unsuitable for drinking. According to the local residents, it has not rained since the beginning of 2015, resulting in the rapid decline in the water level.

One of the locals said his family has resorted to buying water for daily use and consumption, as they can no longer rely on the dried-up reservoir.

The locals urged the Government to help dredging the reservoir, enabling it to hold enough water for the consumption of 500 households that in the area.

PM opens 14th TELMIN conference this morning

BANGKOK, 22 January 2015 (NNT) Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha officially opened the 14th Meeting of the ASEAN Telecommunications and IT Ministers (TELMIN) at Shangri La Hotel this morning.

Prior to the conference, the Prime Minister received ASEAN IT ministers at the reception room of the hotel where they greeted each other. General Prayut was also scheduled to deliver a keynote speech at the TELMIN opening ceremony.

The 14th TELMIN conference sees ASEAN governments and private sectors working together to improve regional information technology and communication as one community.

Thailand launches Smart Job Centre

BANGKOK, Jan 19 - Thailand has officially launched its first "Smart Job Centre", aiming at providing better access to jobs for Thais at home and abroad via up-to-date technology, while targeting to provide no less than 50,000 jobs to Thai nationals within a year.

The opening ceremony of the Smart Job Centre took place at the Labour Ministry this morning, and was presided over by Deputy Prime Minister/Defense Minister General Prawit Wongsuwon.

The objective of the centre is to mainly provide occupations for unemployed Thais who are physically disabled or for those looking for a new career.

The centre is specially designed to search for both domestic and international jobs for Thai citizens using modern technology. The Ministry of Labour has targeted the establishments of more smart job centres nationwide. It also believes that such centres would help to lower the number of unemployed persons within the country.

Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary of Labour Nakorn Silpa-archa said the ministry has targeted that within a year, the centre must be able to find at least 50,000 jobs for Thais, and that such centres would be constructed in other large provinces needing large scale labours, such as Phuket, Khon Kaen, Chaing Mai and Nakhon Ratchasima.

He advised workers to constantly develop their skills, noting that if anyone is in need of a new job, the centre would be able to provide assistance. (MCOT online news)

UNHCR urged to help Rohingyas in South of Thailand

NAKHON SI THAMMARAT, 20 January 2015 (NNT) The Muslims for Peace Foundation is planning to ask the UN Refugee Agency to help Rohingyas falling prey to human traffickers.

Nakhon Si Thammarat residents in Hua Sai district have donated their money to help Rohingyas. The proceeds collected at a Muslim mosque will be given to a human rights center.

95 Rohingya refugees were intercepted on January 11th in Hua Sai district. They were reportedly crammed in trucks when they were found. Two drivers were charged with human trafficking.

The Foundation will be submitting a letter to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees asking for international assistance.

Hua Sai Police Chief Police Colonel Prawit Chantabut said the investigation would be concluded quickly before they are sent to the care of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security.

No American apples with deadly bacteria found in Bangkok

BANGKOK, 20 January 2015 (NNT) The National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards (ACFS) says no imported apples distributed by American companies are found contaminated in Thailand.

The ACFS has taken samples of American apples, especially the suspected Gala and Granny Smith varieties from stores in Bangkok and its vicinity. Results show no Bidart Bros apples have been imported into Thailand. The ACFS affirms that imported apples are usually tested for Listeria to assure safety for consumers before they are delivered to supermarkets.

Moreover, the ACFS has instructed Modern Trade Supermarket to examine its apple stock and immediately return them if any of them belong to Bidart Bros.

The action followed reports of bacteria outbreak in caramel apples distributed by Bidart Bros in the U.S. two weeks ago. The bacteria, known as Listeria, can cause life threatening illness.

The U.S. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention claimed at least 7 people killed by Listeria. The bacteria were reportedly found at the company’s facility in California. America is recalling Granny Smith and Gala apples following the discovery.

Lamphun sets up learning center discouraging the ‘slash and burn’ practice

LAMPHUN, 20 Jan 2015, (NNT) The Department of Environmental Quality Promotion (DEQP) has established a learning center in Baanpuang Sub-district of Tunghuachang District in Lamphun Province, aimed at discouraging the ‘slash and burn’ agricultural technique.

Deputy Director General of the Department, Sakol Thinakul, presided over the opening ceremony of the center, handing out an education fund of 20,000 baht on behalf of the center to the locals.

According to DEQP officials, the slash and burn practice triggers smog and bush fires, which are persistent issues every season in the North. The practice produces dust smaller than 10 micron, which is harmful to those inhaling it, adding that the issue has greatly affected the local tourism industry.

The department and related agencies thus decided to establish learning centers in 5 different locations in the North, with an aim to inform the residents of the adverse effect of the slash and burn technique, and to teach them a better method to prepare their farmland for the next planting season. These centers are located in Lamphun, Lampang, Phayao and Maehongson.

Malaysia set to offer more opportunities at 45th World Economic Forum

DAVOS (Switzerland), Jan 20 "More Opportunities". That is what Malaysia is set to offer at the upcoming World Economic Forum (WEF), which starts tomorrow until Jan 24.

Whether it is business opportunities or ease of doing business in Malaysia, there are plenty to offer on the table amid concerns by economists around the world of a very challenging first half, this year.

All preparations to hold the 45th annual forum at the world's famous ski resort of Davos-Klosters in Switzerland are in place despite the shivering cold weather.

With this year's forum themed, "The New Global Context", more than 40 head of states and government, together with 2,500 business leaders, will convene for five days here to discuss current global economic landscapes and strategies, moving forward.

Eye-catching banners reading "Malaysia Doing Business. Building Friendships" and "More Opportunities", placed at strategic locations around the Panorama Hotel, can be spotted from afar together with banners of other delegations, welcoming participants to the WEF who have started to swarm the "little town" of Davos for several days now.

Among world leaders who are expected to attend the forum include Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, French President Francois Hollande, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and South African President Jacob Zuma.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will lead the Malaysian delegation accompanied by the Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Wahid Omar.

Najib, who is also Finance Minister, is expected to arrive here on Wednesday (Jan 21).

The annual WEF, which also serves as a platform in promoting public-private cooperation, will, this year, look at ten specific global challenges that is affecting the economy across the globe and ways to overcome the adverse impact and risks to the local economy, as a whole. (BERNAMA)

Bangkok Express Service open for busy people in need of civil registration

BANGKOK, 19 January 2015 (NNT) - The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has opened a Bangkok Express Service office as an alternative for busy people who need civil registration service.

According to the BMA, the new service has recently been opened at Seacon Bang Khae in an effort to provide easier access to various registration services.

The BMA also plans to open 5 more places to cater to the city lifestyles. Many Bangkok residents are either often caught up at work or live too far from the district office to bother.

Bangkok Governor M.R. Sukhumband Paribatra said the service expansion is among many goals that the BMA wants to achieve for Bangkok residents.

Five other places will be located at Fashion Island, Tang Hua Seng department store, The Mall Bangkhae and Udonsuk BTS station. The Bangkok Express Service offices are open every day from 10.00 hrs – 19.00 hrs.

Colder weather forecast in upper Thailand

BANGKOK, 19 January 2015 (NNT)-The Meteorological Department has said the temperature will drop 1-2 degree Celsius further in upper Thailand as the high pressure system from China is spreading across the region.

People in the North and North East are told to brace for strong winds during this time. The temperature could plunge to 5-7 degree Celsius on the mountain tops in these regions.

It will remain cold in the Central Plain and the East tomorrow as the temperature has been forecast to drop to as low as 15 degree Celsius in the morning. In Bangkok, the morning temperature range will be 18-21 degree Celsius.

The monsoon remains strong in the Gulf of Thailand and sea conditions are not ideal for fishing. Scattered showers are expected in Nakhon Sri Thammarat and provinces below.

The tropical storm Mekhala, which has already weakened into a tropical depression, is posing no threat to Thailand. Those traveling to the Philippines are advised to consult the weather forecast first.

CDC: charter drafting is going in right direction

SUPHANBURI, 19 Jan 2015, (NNT) - The ongoing constitution-drafting process is going in the right direction, says Constitution Drafting Committee’s Sub-committee on the Public Hearing Chief, Tawilwadee Burikun.

The comment came after a public hearing on the constitution drafting, held in Suphanburi Province at Songphanburi Hotel.

According to her, all suggestions made during the hearing have been recorded and will be forwarded to the Constitution Drafting Committee later on.

She also said this seminar has made her realize that the charter-drafting process is going in the right direction, as it coincides with the residents’ suggestions.

During the meeting, residents suggested that the new charter include the vetting of MP candidate qualifications in order to prevent them from lining their pockets through political means. They also suggested that information pertaining to all and any procurement be opened for public scrutiny. Other opinions included instilling the sense of moral values into people, and actually punishing all wrongdoers.

Easier access to Watch Dog Organizations requested in new constitution

TRAT, 18 January 2015 (NNT) - "The new constitution should make it easier for the public to access the five "Watch Dog Organizations" in order to enhance their participation in Thailand's system of checks and balances", several officials related to the constitutional drafting process said.

The consensus was reached at an academic seminar on “The Roles of Watch Dog Organizations in the New Constitution” which was participated by previous and current members of the Office of Ombudsman Thailand, as well as members of the National Legislative Assembly.

Surachai Liengboonlertchai, First Vice-President of the National Legislative Assembly, said that the watch dog organizations should play both active and passive roles. While they are waiting for any complaints to come up, they should take progressive action by studying public complaints made through the media. Working in such a parallel manner, he said the control of malpractice in the government sector would be curbed.

The Office of the Ombudsman Thailand is one of the five watch dogs under the constitution. Prof. Siracha Vongs-arayankura, as an ombudsman, stressed that even though members of the watch dogs are selected with a very high standard of ethics, they should be subjected to impeachment by the new constitution.

Meanwhile, Pichet Sunthornpipit, a former Ombudsman, said that the ombudsman should have more power to prosecute government agencies if they fail to follow the ombudsman’s suggestions within designated timeframe. The new constitution is expected to change the ombudsman from being just a paper tiger to a powerful mechanism with a tight grip on malpractice.

China launches tourist tax refund scheme

BEIJING, Jan 17 - Overseas visitors can now claim tax refunds on purchases across China, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) announced on Friday, to boost inbound trips and domestic consumption.

According to the plan, foreign tourist and those from China's Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan who have lived in the Chinese mainland for no more than 183 days -- can receive a rebate of 11 percent on consumer goods purchased at designated department stores.

The minimum purchase for a tax refund is 500 yuan (about 82 U.S. dollars) at any one store in one day.

The rebate covers everything apart from items prohibited from taking overseas in accordance with law.

The refund will be paid in renminbi in cash or transferred to the buyer's bank account.

The State Administration of Taxation and the General Administration of Customs will release detailed measures to regulate the scheme.

China started a pilot tax refund program in south island province of Hainan on Jan.1, 2011. The minimum purchase was 800 yuan and the program covered only 324 items.

"The expansion of the program will spur inbound trips and boost the export of China-made commodities," said Liu Shangxi, a senior researcher with the MOF.

The increasingly well-off Chinese like to spend big on shopping when traveling overseas. But foreign visitors appear to have less appetite for Chinese products.

The National Tourism Administration predicted that some 128 million trips will be made to China in 2015.

"The rebate scheme will encourage shopping, especially for expensive items," said Yang Zhiyong, a finance researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Korean Air suffers drop in domestic passengers following nut rage incident

SEOUL, Jan 17 - The number of passengers using Korean Air Line Co., South Korea's top flag carrier, dropped in December apparently affected by the so-called "nut rage" that has tarnished its image among travelers, industry data showed Saturday.

Cho Hyun-ah, the eldest daughter of Korean Air chairman Cho Yang-ho, resigned as a vice president for cabin service four days after a national uproar over her conduct aboard a Seoul-bound Korean Air flight from New York on Dec. 5.

The plane had already been taxiing when she ordered the chief flight attendant to deplane over the way she was served macadamia nuts -- in an unopened pack instead of on a plate. She was indicted for jeopardizing flight safety and the incident has tarnished the airline company's brand image significantly, with some customers boycotting its service.

According to the data provided by Incheon International Airport Corp. and Korea Airports Corp., Korean Air transported a total of 482,000 passengers through its domestic lines last month, down 6.6 percent from a year earlier.

The decline contrasted with a 13.2 percent hike for its smaller rival Asiana Airlines Inc., which flew 358,000 customers last month. The gap between the two largest airlines in terms of passengers narrowed from 158,000 to 76,000 over the past one year.

This also comes despite an 11.5 percent on-year increase in the total number of passengers using domestic flights provided by seven carriers.

Industry experts attribute the lackluster results of Korean Air to customers' avoidance of its service in the wake of the incident.

"It seems that there are not a few passengers opting for other airline services following the incident, given that there are many options available when it comes to domestic flights," an industry expert said.

Korean Air also underperformed next to other airliners on international lines.

The company transported a total of 1.38 million passengers through its international flight services last month, up 2.5 percent from a year earlier. This is lower than the industry-wide 9.2 percent hike in the number of passengers traveling overseas, the data showed.

In particular, Asiana Airlines seems to be basking in its rival's setback with the number of international passengers using its flights growing 9 percent. Low-cost carriers also saw their international passengers jump across the board.

Korean Air said that there is no marked change in its booking ratio and that there is no relations between the number of passengers and the incident since most of tickets were booked months earlier. It expects that bookings for February and March are about 5 percent higher than last year.

Number of flood victims in Perak rises, Kelantan remains unchanged

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 17 MCOT The number of flood victims in Perak as at 8 am today showed a slight increase from last night while in Kelantan it remained the same as reported last night.

The number of evacuees in Perak rose to 867 compared to 817 last night while there are 520 in Kelantan.

Overall the number has increased to 1,387 flood victims from 1,337 last night.

In PERAK, state National Security Council (MKN) chairman said Perak Tengah recorded 689 evacuees, Hilir Perak (144) and Hulu Perak (34).

Eight relief centres are opened in the three districts to house 238 affected families.

In KELANTAN, a spokesman from the Kelantan MKN said as at 8 am, 490 victims involving 109 families were still placed at 12 relief centres in Kuala Krai.

In Machang, 30 individuals from eight families are still at the relief centre in Sekolah Kebangsaan Temangan.

Although the flood waters have receded, the victims still remained in the releif centre as they had lost their homes due floods last month.

The government is the midst of building temporary dwellings for them.

Meanwhile sunny weather in Kelantan is reported this morning.

Uthai Thani declares winter-stricken Ban Rai district disaster area

UTHAI THANI, 17 Jan 2015 (NNT) Uthai Thani province has declared winter-stricken Ban Rai district a disaster zone after the temperature there has dropped below 15 degrees Celsius for more than three consecutive days.

The chilly weather in Ban Rai district has reportedly affected more than 63,000 people in 136 villages. The province is paying special attention to children, the handicapped, the elderly and the underprivileged.

According to Deputy Governor of Uthai Thani Wisit Kuratanavej, the private sector earlier donated winter garments to affected people in Ban Rai district. Despite the donations, there are still a large number of people who are in need of help.

Ban Rai district is prone to chilly weather due to its mountainous terrain.

Thailand and Laos conduct Special Meeting on Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation in Bangkok

BANGKOK, 15 January 2015 (NNT) Delegations from the Lao People's Democratic Republic and from the Ministry of Science and Technology of Thailand today conducted a Special Meeting on Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation, at Pathumwan Princess Hotel, Bangkok

The meeting was held to continue discussing the status and progress of bilateral cooperation on Science, Technology and Innovation in 14 fields, which are Biotechnology and Biodiversity, Renewable Energy, Electronics and Computer Technology, Astronomy, Synchrotron Technology, Space Technology, Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems, Meteorology and Standardization, Raising Awareness about Science, Innovation Promotion for SMEs, Science Parks, Water Resources Management, Nuclear and Radiation Safety, Botanical Gardens Development and Technology for the Community.

These are ongoing topics from the Meeting of Thai and Laos Seniors Officers held on 27th September 2014.
Besides the discussion on the appointment of a Joint Committee, as suggested by the Lao counterpart, to follow the progress of issues continued from the 6th Ministerial Conference on Cooperation in Science and Technology between Thailand and the LPDR, which was held in Vientiane in Laos.

The two parties also discussed holding meetings of the Joint Committee annually, while the Ministerial Conference might be conducted every two years to acknowledge the progress of the scheme and to exchange policy matters.

CDC: Press media have freedom of information distribution

BANGKOK, 15 January 2015 (NNT) The Constitutional Drafting Committee has agreed that the media should have freedom to share and distribute information under the new charter.

CDC spokesman Gen. Lertrat Ratanavanich said that the charter drafters on Thursday discussed the part of the draft charter related to the rights and liberty of the people.

He said that details discussed were the rights of the people to equally have convenient access to the justice system and the rights of each family to receive protection and assistance from the government.

Concerning freedom of the press, Gen. Lertrat said that the CDC agreed to add a clause that enables members of the press to have more freedom in order to allow the public to receive more correct information and news.

He added that the draft Constitution also forbids any attempt to shut down or gag any media unless it is the matter of national security or a required attempt to keep order or prevent hatred, which may lead to conflict and hostility in the country.

Government plans merit agreements to tackle corruption in its procurement projects

BANGKOK, Jan 14-  The government initiates "honesty pledges" in an attempt to stop corruption in government procurement projects and will start implementing them in the large scale bus and mass transit train projects.

Deputy Prime Minister Wisanu Krea-ngam said the government committee monitoring corruption suppression chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha resolved today that the so-called honesty, merit or virtue agreements would be attached to major government procurement contracts.

Under such agreements, government representatives, operators and outsiders certified by the committee will monitor project implementation and stop it when seeing any corruption.

The committee resolved to initially apply this to the procurement of natural gas-fueled buses and the Blue Line electrified railway that are major government projects. A number of persons have been selected to monitor the implementation. The result and the resolution will be proposed to the cabinet next week, he said.

If the monitoring committee finds corruption, it must report that to the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission, the National Anti-Corruption Commission, the Ministry of Justice and the Royal Thai Police Office for further investigation and prosecution. The accused can defend themselves with information during the process as the prime minister stressed that investigation into corruption must be done by law and with transparency and fairness, Mr Wisanu said.

He added that the committee monitoring corruption suppression would have the Damrongtham centres open special channels to receive corruption complaints in particular and they were ready to receive complaints from any foreigners who consider themselves as being unfairly treated or extorted. (MCOT online news)

Korean alleged kidnapper arrested for preying on compatriots

BANGKOK, Jan 14 - Police arrested a suspected Korean kidnapper who made compatriots his victims and sought a warrant for the arrest of another suspect while the man being held denied charges.

Assistant police chief Pol Lt Gen Prawuth Thawornsiri said police arrested Kim Seung-cheul, 44, allegedly for extortion, detention and theft, together with Zhou Chung-chul and about 10 other men claiming to be police officers.

They are suspected of abducting three Koreans for a ransom.

At first the group led by Zhou broke into a room of the victims on Pridi Phanomyong 14 Road, claiming victims had done wrong and brought them to a place that looked like a police office.

Then Kim told the victims to give Bt2 milloin in exchange for their freedom and escape from prosecution. Afterwards the victims were kept in a room. They transferred Bt210,000 to the kidnappers who also took Bt500,000 from their room.

Mr Kim denied the charges. He said he knew Zhou and was only asked to assist in a process to bail out Koreans at a police station.

He said he knew nothing about any abduction for a ransom.

Police sought a warrant for the arrest of Mr Zhou but found no evidence that the suspect had left the country.

Pol Lt Gen Prawuth said some police inspectors of Metropolitan Police Division 5 were involved by arresting three Koreans but Mr Kim later showed up to extort money. (MCOT online news)

Modernine TV receives Forest Protection Award

BANGKOK, Jan 14 -Modernine TV, a major arm of MCOT Public Company Limited (MCOT), an established Thai media firm running Thai News Agency (TNA) and Modern Radio Networks as well, has received the Forest Protection Award from the Thai Ministry of National Resources and Environment for its continuing news presentations on the conservation of forests and related issues.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Gen Dapong Ratanasuwan presented the award to Modernine TV on January 14 to mark National Forest Protection Day 2015.

Gen Dapong said at the presentation ceremony that a close watch is needed for Thailand's forest situation, as illegal logging has been reported from time to time.

Gen Dapong urged all parties, including concerned agencies and local residents, to join together to address the problem and to protect the remaining Thai forest areas of over 102 million rais (2.5 rais=1 acre), accounting for about 32 per cent of the country's overall area, and to even increase the national forest areas in the future. (MCOT online news)

750 websites shut down amid piracy crackdown

BEIJING, Jan 15 - China's copyright and Internet watchdogs have shut down 750 websites for rights infringement in a campaign launched in June 2014, the National Copyright Administration revealed Wednesday.

Authorities uncovered 440 violation cases, of which 66 have been sent to courts. Violators were fined 3.52 million yuan (about 575,000 U.S. dollars) in total.

The administration also strengthened supervision over the country's 20 major video websites regarding their obtaining and use of copyright, it said. Local authorities are responsible for the copyright management of another 1,826 websites.

AirAsia lauds Basarnas' performance for retrieving cockpit voice recorder

Surabaya, E Java, Jan 15- AirAsia Indonesia has commended the performance of the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) of the Republic of Indonesia for successfully locating and retrieving AirAsia flight QZ8501s cockpit voice recorder (CVR).

"The CVR was located at a distance of approximately 20 meters from the point where the flight data recorder (FDR) was discovered," President Director of AirAsia Indonesia Sunu Widyatmoko stated here on Wednesday.

Sunu remarked that based on the results of Basarnas operations, the FDR and CVR have been successfully recovered. Both black boxes have been sent to Jakarta for being analyzed by the National Transportation Safety Commission (KNKT).

"In the meantime, yesterday (January 13), Basarnas Chief Bambang Soelistyo visited the crisis center at the East Java Police Headquarters," he stated.

Sunu explained that the Basarnas chief had discussed about these activities with the families of QZ8501s passengers and employees. The Basarnas chief assured that rescue operations will be continued.

On the other hand, he added that Basarnas has retrieved as many as 48 bodies of the passengers. Around 36 bodies have been identified by the Disaster Victim Identification (DVI).

"In addition, 12 other bodies are in the process of identification," he stated.

"Through this opportunity, we also advise people to refer to the information provided officially by the Basarnas and DVI police about the progress of the search, evacuation, and passenger identification," he noted.

Earlier, on Tuesday, the DVI team of the East Java Police identified two more bodies of the passengers of AirAsia flight QZ8501 that crashed near Pangkalan Bun waters, Central Kalimantan province, seventeen days ago.

The bodies have been identified as Oscar Desano (27), a male resident of Jakarta, and Yuni Astutik (40), a woman from Blitar District of East Java province.

"The body labeled B024 has been identified as that of Oscar Desano with the help of the primary identification data that matched his DNA with those of his parents," Head of the East Java Police DVI Team Senior Commissioner Budiyono noted here at the crisis center of the Police Headquarters on Ahmad Yani Street, on Tuesday.

The identification team also used evidence such as teeth to identify Oscar, who was one of the crew members aboard the ill-fated aircraft.

The second body, labeled "B039", has been identified as Yuni Astutik using primary data such as matching her DNA with that of her children.

"Her identification has been confirmed with the help of secondary data such as gender, age, and height," Budiyono noted, adding that CCTV footage and a description of her attire also proved helpful.

On the seventeenth day since the aircrafts crash, 36 bodies have been identified, while 12 are being examined by the DVI team.

Teachers in Thailand’s South demand educational reform

BANGKOK, 15 January 2015 (NNT) Teachers in the restive South are calling for an educational reform, which is hoped to help restore peace and prevent violence in the 3 southern border provinces.

Mr Boonsom Tongsriprai, Chairman of the Southern Teachers Federation, yesterday handed a petition to the second vice president of the National Reform Council (NRC), Dr Tassana Boonton, requesting that the NRC promptly push for educational reform in southern provinces, given that better education would help bring peace and unity among the residents, and is believed to help resolve and prevent violent acts taking place in the area.

According to Mr Boonsom, a large number of people have been affected by the unrest during the past decade, with educators being the group targeted the most, adding that many teachers have lost their lives while those still alive have to live in fear.

The federation has also called for educational equality, saying every individual must have equal access to education and that the curriculum offered in the Deep South must meet the same requirements as those offered in other areas.

Furthermore, teachers in the South should also be entitled to welfare, benefits, and other privileges, all of which can encourage them to carry on their daily routines educating and fostering the youngsters, he said.

In reply, the second NRC vice president said the reform body emphasizes the significance of welfare and more importantly the safety of the teachers working in the South, promising the teachers that the petition will be forwarded to the NRC meeting for consideration as soon as possible.

Disease Control Department: It is safe to eat cooked chicken, after bacteria found in blood

BANGKOK, 15 January 2015 (NNT) The Department of Disease Control has assured that people can still eat Kao Man Kai, following reports of bacteria found in chicken blood.

According to the Department, the bacteria, known to scientists as Vibrio Parahaemolyticus, can be killed at high temperatures.

The bacteria were found last week in chicken blood used in making blood jelly. The jelly is often served with rice and boiled chicken meat. Known as 'Kao Man Kai' the dish is one of the most popular dishes in Thailand.

The Department has reiterated that it is perfectly safe to eat the dish as long as the chicken is well cooked. The bacteria are only found in the bird’s blood. However, consumers are advised not to eat the blood jelly that has not been cooked properly.

The blood should be cooked at 75 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes. Butchers must also follow the hygiene standards of practice when butchering chickens. The meat should be prepared on a clean surface where there is no blood.

The bacteria are usually found in half-cooked seafood. It is the first time in the world that they have been discovered in chicken.

Pattaya beach on the first day of the no bed beach program

PATTAYA, 14 January 2015 (NNT) The beach resort town of Pattaya implemented its clean beach day program on January 14.

Previously, Chonburi Governor Komson Akachai had ordered a reorganization of beach vendor operations on the the umbrella-dotted Pattaya and Jomtien beaches, following the initiative of the National Council for Peace and Order to clean up famous beaches across the country to attract tourists.

Governor Komsan also launched a permanent policy that now bans beach bed vendors on Pattaya beach every Wednesday. The program started on January 14 and the deputy governor Chavalit Saeng-uthai led the local media to observe the change.

A large number of local residents and foreign tourists expressed their satisfaction with the policy because the beach again looked clean and beautiful, just as it was before the beach bed sections began to flourish decades ago.

Phuket steps up human trafficking eradication measures

PHUKET, 15 Jan 2015, (NNT) The Province of Phuket has vowed to step up its human trafficking prevention measures in the local fishery industry.

The resolution came during the meeting of the provincial administration, the labor office, and the marine office, as well as other related units.

According to Phuket Governor Nisit Jansomwong, since the province hosts a large number of foreign labors, it has to regulate its labor hiring process in compliance with the law, adding that human trafficking may stem from the high demand of workers in the fishery industry.

The Governor has called for the setting up of a committee to be tasked inspecting businesses that harbor illegal foreign labors in order to eliminate the province's notorious human trafficking and drugs activities. The committee is also to keep track of foreign labors and monitor their population.

The committee will work closely with other related government agencies; businesses in each districts that employ foreign workers will be subjected to a monthly inspection, concluded the Governor.




Back to Main Page

PM adheres to peaceful solutions for far South

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NRC addressing social gaps today

Phu Phabhat Historical Park to be proposed as next world's cultural heritage site.

822 children caught hand-foot-and-mouth disease in just 19 days since start of year

Chinese economy not to suffer hard landing: premier

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Najib arrives in Zurich to attend 45th World Economic Forum

NBTC: All prepaid number users must register their SIM cards before August

Water management plan to be proposed to Cabinet next month

Govt. set to move beggars from streets on sustainable basis

Severe drought in Khon Kean forces locals to buy water for consumption

PM opens 14th TELMIN conference this morning

Thailand launches Smart Job Centre

UNHCR urged to help Rohingyas in South of Thailand

No American apples with deadly bacteria found in Bangkok

Lamphun sets up learning center discouraging the ‘slash and burn’ practice

Malaysia set to offer more opportunities at 45th World Economic Forum

Bangkok Express Service open for busy people in need of civil registration

Colder weather forecast in upper Thailand

CDC: charter drafting is going in right direction

Easier access to Watch Dog Organizations requested in new constitution

China launches tourist tax refund scheme

Korean Air suffers drop in domestic passengers following nut rage incident

Number of flood victims in Perak rises, Kelantan remains unchanged

Uthai Thani declares winter-stricken Ban Rai district disaster area

Thailand and Laos conduct Special Meeting on Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation in Bangkok

CDC: Press media have freedom of information distribution

Government plans merit agreements to tackle corruption in its procurement projects

Korean alleged kidnapper arrested for preying on compatriots

Modernine TV receives Forest Protection Award

750 websites shut down amid piracy crackdown

AirAsia lauds Basarnas' performance for retrieving cockpit voice recorder

Teachers in Thailand’s South demand educational reform

Disease Control Department: It is safe to eat cooked chicken, after bacteria found in blood

Pattaya beach on the first day of the no bed beach program

Phuket steps up human trafficking eradication measures



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