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Region 6 Public Relations Office holds campaign promoting youths against drugs

YALA, 5 Feb 2015, (NNT) The Region 6 Public Relations Office in Yala has organized a project to promote youth’s participation in a campaign against narcotics in the Southern Region.

The meeting which was held yesterday was attended by students and teachers from 5 provinces of the South.

The campaign focuses on creating media content discouraging the use of narcotic substances among youths and promoting their participation in the cause. The project aims to strengthen the youngsters’ mind, encouraging them to say no to drugs, and to become a mouthpiece for the authorities in spreading the words to their peers.

The event featured speeches from fellow students from the youth council of the 5 provinces in the South.

According to the organizer, the yesterday's event was the first of 4 planned for this year. The Office expected the campaign to be well-received by southern students, leading to their staying away from drugs in future.

Nongkhai holding international academic fair, promoting ASEAN

NONGKHAI, 5 Feb 2015, (NNT) The Northeastern Province of Nongkhai is holding the 24th international academic fair, promoting the upcoming ASEAN Economic Community.

The fair officially kicked off yesterday at Nongkhai Technical College.

The academic fair, held from February 2nd through Feb.6th, is held under the theme‘Vocational Education Builds the Nation, Creating Global Standard, Developing Manpower in the ASEAN Era.’

According to the organizer, the fair provides a chance for the participants to exercise their leadership skills and apply their knowledge in the real world situation.

The event features various education seminars, exhibitions, academic and career skills competition, teaching demonstration in 108 subjects. About 1,200 students are expected to join the competitions.

These academic and career tests focus on industry, commerce, business management, home economics, arts, tourism industry, IT & communication, and other occupation skills.

Contestants include 58 students from Laos PDR, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Malaysia.

ETDA Director stressed privacy protection in cyber security act

BANGKOK, 4 February 2015 (NNT) The Office of the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) Director-General has put an emphasis on privacy protection in the cyber security act and advocates for an inclusive internet coverage of the countryside.

The ETDA Director-General Surangkana Wayuparb stated in a nationally televised broadcast regarding the cyber security act, that the ETDA stresses on the importance of judicial standards regarding the privacy protection and the security of electronic transactions and e-commerce.

She stated that business sector and the public must trust the authorities on the issue of privacy protection through the process of adjusting officials rights to allow information inspection in important investigative cases.

The ETDA Director-General insists that the legislation respects and stands to protect the privacy of the personal information, but government officials must be able access the information under special circumstances.

She said the cyber security act will ensure that online criminals will be identified. She also mentioned that the authority should work to extend internet services' coverage to the countryside.

Working to improve Thai Documentaries

BANGKOK, 4 February 2014 (NNT) In order to reduce a reliance on the large number of documentaries imported into Thailand and to improve and develop the country’s overall documentary production qualities and quantity, support is being given to the film and video industry in the region.

Three major organizations namely the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC), Broadcasting and Telecommunications Research and Development Fund for the Public Interest (BTFP) and the Foundation for World Exploration joined hands to organize a seminar and have now selected for promotion, seven outstanding documentaries from a total of over 50 documentary works produced and submitted by participants in the program.

NBTC and BTFP Chairman, Air Chief Marshal Thares Punsri said that with the expansion of both Thai television channels and content providers, one of NBTC’s and BTFP’s main roles is to support, promote and propel development and competition in the industry resulting in the consumer getting the benefit, from this Local and Regional Documentary Producers’ development project. The Foundation for World Exploration is one of many projects supported by NBTC and BTFP and since the funding of the program was issued in 2013, today we benefit from many highly creative, quality works produced for the public.

The program was initiated to develop documentary makers in Thailand equivalent to the international level. However most documentaries made in Thailand are being produced by a central production team located in Bangkok. This means not enough local stories are being told by the local people, for their own benefit and the interest of viewers everywhere, who want to see and hear the point of view of people in many situations. Their personal views bring to the story a greater depth of meaning.

This human element is an important area to focus on, in creating documentaries of quantity and interest. The quantity of well-made documentaries is also a major issue due to the increase in the number of TV channels in Thailand causing an upsurge in demand for quality content.

MOL gathers informal workers information to improve livelihood

BANGKOK, 5 February 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Labour (MOL) is gathering the information on the informal workers from related agencies in an attempt to improve the livelihood of the workers in compliance with the government’s policy, said an official.

The MOL Permanent-Secretary Nakorn Silpa-archa revealed the ministry’s plan in improving the livelihoods of informal workers during his opening speech of the 2012-2016 Informal Workers Management Strategy Pushing Seminar.

He has said that the MOL and the government perceives the importance of informal workers, who make up 62 percent of the entire country's workerforce. Informal workers will require skill development the same way that formal workers do in order to improve their livelihoods.

The MOL Permanent-Secretary also initiated a brainstorming session with the seminar participants in order to discuss and present ideas for implementation in tackling other issues such as informal loans, and to promote the developmental policies to the government’s project.

He has said that the government has noted how the Social Security Office can provide the money from their funding to help informal workers, especially through a financial aid package of low-interest investment fund sources. However this requires the setting up of a strong group or network of occupations.

The 2012-2016 Informal Workers Management Strategy Pushing Seminar will commence during 5-6 February 2015 at the Princeton Park Suites Hotel, Bangkok with about 170 participants from government agencies and the informal workers delegates attending this seminar.

The MOL currently has coordinated with related agencies from for informal workers from 30 provinces such as Chiang Rai, Nan, Phrae, Ubon Ratchathani, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Pathom, Ratchaburi, Chonburi, Phatthalung, and Phuket.

Labour Minister launches Smart Job Center in Hat Yai

SONGKHLA, 5 February 2015 (NNT) The Minister of Labour today visited Hat Yai City to chair the provincial meeting on working difficulties and opened the Smart Job Center.

The Minister of Labour Gen. Surasak Karnjanarat has presided over a meeting of the head of provincial government agencies in Hat Yai City, Songkhla province. The meeting deliberated on specific work complications and the difficulties that labour agencies in Songkhla and Phatthalung province face.

The Minister of Labour then officiated the opening of the Smart Job Center at the PSU International Convention Center. This center will facilitate the employment of Thai people in the southern border provinces under the concept ‘Service from the heart for all Thais to be employed’

The Smart Job Center in Hat Yai, Songkhla province features cutting edge employment services and news and information on employment. Services include job interviews via Skype, self-introduction video shooting, unemployment registration, overseas employment, job guidance, employment preparedness test, independent job demonstration, and career simulation classroom.

The Minister of Labour said that the Smart Job Center has been initiated according to the current government’s policy to decrease social inequalities and to increase the opportunity and income for those entering the labour market by providing access to learning source and skills development.

He said that the Ministry of Labour has integrated the labour-related services thoroughly into the Smart Job Center to provide the public with good employment opportunities.

In addition to the people in Songkhla, this Smart Job Center will also provide the unemployed in the southern border provinces with new job opportunities and a secure income in line with the ministry’s policy to encourage employment to everyone, said the Labour Minister. 

Public forum to be held in Songkhla before PTT offshore drilling begins

SONGKHLA, 5 February 2015 (NNT) A public forum will be held in Songkhla province before the second phase of PTT’s offshore drilling begins.

Deputy Songkhla Governor Chaiwat Sirinupong said the objective of the forum is to inform stakeholders of the project and the extent of its environmental impact. People will also get to participate and voice their concerns.

The plan has been described in the meeting attended by government officials from the provincial energy, fishery and disaster prevention sectors as well as those from the broadcasting and public health units.

The project, dubbed ‘Bong Kot under Thai Gulf’, is located 183 kilometers off the shore of Songkhla. The drilling is expected to begin in the 4th quarter of next year. The natural gas produced in this area could also help maintain the amount of natural gas reserve.

Udon Thani to hold mass wedding at Red Lotus Sea

UDON THANI, 5 Jan 2015 (NNT) Udon Thani is inviting the public to celebrate Valentine’s Day at a mass wedding ceremony at the province’s romantic Red Lotus Sea.

The mass wedding is cooperative efforts by the Udon Thani Chamber of Commerce, Udon Thani provincial Tourism Authority of Thailand office, Udon Thani Tourism and Sports organization, Udon Thani provincial administrative organization, and Nok Air. Presiding over the ceremony will be Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanawarangkul.

According to Udon Thani provincial governor Noppawat Singsakda, the objective of the event is to make the province’s charming Red Lotus Sea a new must-visit destination for the general public especially lovers.

So far, 17 couples have expressed their intention to participate in the mass wedding ceremony. The event will be held between February 14 and 15.

Located in Kum Pavapi district, the Red Lotus Sea is home to thousands of pink and red lotus flowers and a variety of aquatic plants and animals. The best period to enjoy the lotus flowers in full bloom is from November to February.

Public Health to train 350 epidemiologists in 10 years' time

BANGKOK, 5 February 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Public Health has set a target to train 350 epidemiologists within 10 years' time in order to effectively deal with emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases in the future.

According to Public Health Minister, Pro. Dr. Ratchata Ratchatanavin, Thailand currently has only 128 epidemiologists, far less than the world standard. The ministry aims to train medical doctors, veterinarians and experts in wild and domestic animals to be able to trace the patterns, causes, and effects of diseases on human health. He expressed hope that Thailand could be a hub in the field of epidemiology by 2020.

The Department of Disease Control organized the 22nd national seminar on epidemiology in Bangkok on Thursday, aimed at enhancing the nation's capability in the field and setting up a stage to exchange knowledge and methodology with other ASEAN member countries.

In recent years, the world has witnessed emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases such as bird flu, severe acute respiratory syndromes or SARS, H1N1 influenza virus and Ebola.Thailand must, therefore, be prepared to deal with possible outbreaks of these or new diseases in the future, said the Minister.

Govt to enact new law preventing civil servants from taking bribes

BANGKOK, 5 February 2015 (NNT) The government will be enforcing a new law aimed at preventing civil servants taking bribes and increasing public service accessibility.

According to the Office of the Public Sector Development Commission, the law has been drafted to accommodate people and businessmen when they visit public organizations.

The law is expected to speed up the entire process. The decision to come up with the law was attributed to the intricate nature of the civil servant service system which often leads to bribery.

According to the law, a handbook must be provided to the public, indicating what they are required to do when seeking services from public organizations.

After studying the handbook, people should be well-informed what they are supposed to do before visiting the public service office. No civil servant staff would be allowed to demand from visitors any amount of money more than what is stated in the handbook.

The officials are obligated to provide explanation to the public should the paperwork take longer than 7 days to complete. The law will take effect on July 27th.

Samsung to showcase next Galaxy flagship on March 1

SEOUL, Feb. 3 Samsung Electronics Co. sent out invitations Tuesday for what is expected to be an unveiling event of its next flagship smartphone, presumably the Galaxy S6, on March 1 in Spain.

The invitation from the South Korea-based top smartphone maker is for the "Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2015" in Barcelona and shows the silhouette of a curved line and the phrase, "What's Next." Samsung had showcased the previous Galaxy S5 in the Spanish city, the host of the annual Mobile World Congress (MWC), last year.

This year's event has added "Galaxy" to the name of event, a change some industry watchers say reflects the tech firm's attempt to solidify the name of its flagship brand. Previous invitations were for "Samsung Unpacked (Year) Episode 1."

The new Galaxy smartphone is expected to run on Samsung's own chips instead of U.S. chip giant Qualcomm Inc.'s latest application processor, the Snapdragon 810, said to have overheating problems.

Snippets from Samsung officials suggest that the company will change the body design to a metal frame.

Industry analysts view Samsung's next flagship as the determinant in whether the South Korean company will be able to maintain its market lead, overcoming the competition from both long-running and new rivals.

Chinese firms like Xiaomi have fast caught up to Samsung with their cost-competitive models while Apple Inc. reclaimed its status with its new, bigger-screen iPhone6 models in the premium segment.

Latest data from market tracker Strategy Analytics (SA) said Samsung and Apple sold the same amount of smartphones in the fourth quarter last year, which would mean a staggering sales increase by the U.S. firm. SA's data also said Samsung had lost to Apple in China's smartphone market share in the fourth quarter, after giving up its No. 1 ranking to Xiaomi in the third quarter.

This year's MWC will run from March 2 through 5. (Yonhap)

Cabinet approves visa exemption for Bruneian diplomats, officials

BANGKOK, Feb 3 MCOT The Thai Cabinet on Tuesday approved visa exemptions for Bruneian and Thai diplomats and officials for periods of no more than 30 days.

Government Spokesman Yongyuth Mayalarp informed the press that the Cabinet agreed during its weekly meeting today, of a visa exemption between Thailand and Brunei Darussalam for diplomats and officials of both countries.

The agreement was signed by Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Foreign Affairs Gen Tanasak Patimapragorn.

The visa exemption is aimed at strengthening ties between the two countries and to provide convenience to both parties to travel between each other's country with a duration of no longer than 30 days, along with the terms for arrival and departure under the basis of mutual benefit.

The government spokesman, however, noted that both sides could also deny any entry or could shorten the length of any stay they saw as appropriate under the new agreement, to protect the peace, people, and public health of both countries. (MCOT online news)

Most Chinese cities below air quality standard

BEIJING, Feb 2 (MCOT) Only eight of the 74 major Chinese cities subject to air quality monitoring met the national standard for clear air in 2014, official figures showed on Monday.

Six of the eight cities are on the eastern or eastern coast. Haikou, Zhoushan, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Huizhou and Fuzhou are joined by Lhasa and Kunming elsewhere in the country, according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

China began to include an index of PM2.5, a key indicator of air pollution, and ozone in a new air quality standard at the beginning of 2013. The 74 cities have been chosen as pilots for the new standard.

In 2013, only three of the 74 met the standard.

The ministry said the general condition of serious pollution has changed little, though the average number of days with heavy smog in the 74 cities decreased by about 11 days from the 32 days in 2013.

The metropolitan area centered on Beijing and Tianjin was the most seriously polluted, with eight of the 13 cities in the area featuring on a list of the 10 smoggiest cities.

The average number of days with standard air quality in the area in 2014 was 156, 85 days fewer than the national average. The annual average intensity of PM2.5 in the area was more than 1.6 times stronger than the standard figure, according to the statistics. (Xinhua)

Boeing delivers Scoot's first 787 Dreamliner

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 2 (MCOT) Boeing and Scoot Pte Ltd has announced the delivery of the Singapore-based airline's first 787 Dreamliner.

The plane will play a key role in the low-cost carrier's strategic plan to expand its long-haul fleet.

"We are excited to be taking delivery of our very first 787 Dreamliner," Scoot chief executive officer Campbell Wilson said in a statement issued from Everett, Washington today.

"The Dreamliner represents a step-change for Scoot, allowing us to take our onboard customer experience to a new level and to greatly expand our network.

"The 787's significant advances in efficiency will enable Scoot to continue offering safe and reliable service, with increased comfort and even greater value airfares," Wilson said.

The 787 is a family of technologically advanced, super-efficient aircraft with new passenger-pleasing features.

In addition to bringing big-jet ranges to midsize airplanes, the 787 will provide Scoot with unrivaled fuel efficiency and environmental performance, using 20 percent less fuel and with 20 percent fewer emissions than the planes it replaces.

"We are proud to deliver the first 787 to Scoot and have them join the growing family of 787 operators," Boeing Commercial Airplanes senior vice-president, Asia Pacific and India Sales, Dinesh Keskar said.

"The new Dreamliner will bring great value to Scoot's operations and provide an exceptional experience for Scoot's passengers."

Customers traveling on Scoot's new 787 will experience the passenger-pleasing features of the Dreamliner such as larger, electronically dimmable windows and larger overhead luggage bins.

The lower cabin altitude, higher humidity levels, advanced air filtration and smoother-ride technology, help make the flying experience more comfortable and allow passengers to arrive at their destination more refreshed.

The airline will take delivery of an additional 19 787 Dreamliners.

The planes were originally ordered by Scoot's parent company, Singapore Airlines, which included ten 787-9 and ten 787-8s. (BERNAMA)

Chaiyaphum drought worsens

CHAIYAPHUM, 4 February 2015 (NNT) The drought situation in the northeastern province of Chaiyaphum has not improved, as 10 districts in the northeastern province have been declared as disaster zones, provincial governor Vichein Chantaranotai.

The ten disaster-hit districts are Muang, Nong Bua Daeng, Khon Sawan, Bua Khao, Noen Sa-nga, Chatturat, Sap Yai, Nong Bua Rawe, Phakdi Chumphon and Kaeng Khro. Nine of these districts do not have sufficient water for agriculture but still have enough water for consumption.

However, people in Kaeng Khro are experiencing a shortage of drinking water as water from Lam Takhong Dam has yet to reach the district. As a result, tambon Tha Kham and tambon Na Nong Thung have shared their water supplies to mitigate the situation.

The provincial authority has sent water trucks and drinking water to people in drought-affected areas, as more groundwater is being pumped.

The Chaiyaphum governor insisted that off-season farming in the province is prohibited at this time because the amount of water is not sufficient.

Ministry of Energy: NGV price rise in line with actual cost

BANGKOK, 4 February 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Energy has insisted that it will gradually raise the price of NGV to reflect its true cost of production.

Following the public transport sector's’ call for higher fares after the price of NGV has increased, Deputy Energy Minister Praipol Kumsap, said the hike is in line with the NGV's actual cost of production.

The price of NGV has increased by another 50 satang, to 10 baht per kilogram. The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority is also asking for permission to raise its fare from 8 to 11 baht. The higher gas price has also prompted taxi drivers to follow suit.

According to the Ministry, it costs as much as 14-15 baht to produce a kilogram of NGV. Even though its price is expected to rise further, it will still be cheaper than most other types of fuel.

The excise tax will not be imposed at this timer in order to keep the cost of living affordable for Thais. The Ministry of Transport will look into the requests whether public transportation fares should be increased.

Deputy Energy Minister Praipol Kumsap has assured that the government will help those with lower income cope with the higher traveling costs.

Police: Two people behind bombings at BTS Siam

BANGKOK, 4 February 2015 (NNT) The Court has issued arrest warrants for two BTS Siam bomber suspects seen on CCTV camera footage.

Deputy Police Chief Police General Jaktip Chaiyajinda said there could have been more than two people involved in the explosions last Sunday at BTS Siam and the investigation has been expanded.

Both of the suspects reportedly traveled to Siam Paragon by taxis. The incident resembled the bomb attack in Minburi district last year.

Police General Jaktip said the perpetrators could be professional bombers who must have done the same thing before as they appeared to be calm.

Police for the time being believe politics is the reason for the attack as a number of explosions in the past often involved political conflicts.

Thailand ranks no.1 rice exporter in 2014

BANGKOK, 4 Jan 2015 (NNT) Thailand has reclaimed its rank as no.1 rice exporter in 2014 thanks to her adjustment of marketing strategies, which prompted the demand in foreign markets to jump.

The Thai Rice Exporters Association attributed the achievement to the country’s decision to lower rice prices in line with those of other exporting countries, leading to a boost in the country's competitiveness. Thailand’s rice export volume in 2014 rose by 66 percent to 10.9 million tons.

As for jasmine rice export, the country was however unable to outperform Cambodia and Vietnam, which last year produced higher outputs at a lower price. The release of Thai jasmine rice, which had been pledged at high prices under the rice pledging scheme, prompted the Thai jasmine rice to be more expensive than that of other countries.

The Thai Rice Exporters Association has estimated this year’s rice export volume at 10 million tons, as the situation in the country’s market has returned to normal. It has also predicted that the drought crisis and the less tempting price would cause the off-season yields to drop by 30 percent--to six to seven million tons this year. In addition, the production costs of the off-season rice are unusually high given it has to be cultivated in the dry season, the release of the government's stockpiled rice must, therefore, be well-timed.

Ning Zetao, Li Na named China's CCTV Sports Personality of Year 2014

BEIJING, Feb 1 Swimmer Ning Zetao and tennis superstar Li Na won the Best Male and Female Athletes of the Year resepectively at the prestigious China's Central Television (CCTV) Sports Awards here on Sunday.

The annual CCTV Sports Awards, recognized as the Chinese version of the Laureus World Sports Awards, is taken as the premier honors on the Chinese sporting calendar.

Ning beat out other four nominees, including badminton superstar Lin Dan and 2014 Table Tennis Men's World Cup winner Zhang Jike, to claim the honor.

The 21-year-old Ning claimed four gold medals at the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea and also broke men's 100m freestyle Asian record.

Li claimed both the Best Female Athlete of the Year and the Sports Special Contribution, for serving as a great milestone for the development of Chinese tennis.

Li Na won her second Grand Slam title at the Australian Open earlier in 2014 and ranked world No. 2, the highest ranking that an Asian player, male or female, has ever achieved, but she retired from tennis at the age of 32, citing injuries as reasons to force her out.

Female skater Zhang Hong, who claimed China's first ever Olympic speed skating gold after winning the women's 1000m title with a large margin at the Sochi Winter Olympics, won the honor of Best Breakthrough of the Year, while the quartet of Chen Shiwei, Xie Zhenye, Su Bingtian and Zhang Peimeng, who broke the Asian record and won the men's 4x100m relay at the Asian Games, won the Best Relay/Pair of the Year.

The volleyball legend Jenny Lang Ping and her Chinese national women's volleyball team became the biggest winners here for the silver medal at the FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championship in 2014. Jenny claimed the Best Coach of the Year, the women's volleyball team won the Best Team of the Year, and the 18-year-old young star Yuan Xinyue received the Best Rookie as well.

Chen Penbin, who became the first Chinese to claim an international ultra-marathon title and also the first runner to compete in all seven continents, claimed the Non-Olympic Athlete of the Year. (MCOT Xinhua)

S. Korea faces possible oversupply of rice on record output, imports

SEJONG, Feb 2 South Korea may face an oversupply of rice this year as its output reached a five-year high while rice consumption continues to shrink, government officials said Monday.

According to the officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the country's self-sufficiency rate for rice is expected to reach 97 percent in 2015.

The country's overall output of rice inched up 0.3 percent on-year to some 4.24 million tons in 2014.

South Korea is also required to import at least 408,700 tons of rice every year under a special agreement with the World Trade Organization (WTO), which had allowed the country to postpone opening its rice market over the past 20 years.

South Korea liberalized its rice market through tarrification at the start of this year.

The oversupply problem will likely be further accelerated by a drop in the country's rice consumption, the ministry officials noted.

In 2014, the country's annual intake of rice per person dipped 3.1 percent on-year to a record low of 65.1 kilograms.

The per capita consumption is again expected to shrink this year, continuing its steady decline over the past 40 odd years since 1970 when it hit a record high of 136.4 kg, officials said. (MCOT Yonhap)

MH370: Next-of-kins to receive compensation three weeks after documents are processed

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 1 Compensation will be paid to next-of-kins of MH370 victims about three weeks after the documentation process and paper work have been completed, said MH370/MH17 crisis director Fuad Sharuji.

"We are ready to pay compensation but the next-of-kins (NOK) must show proof of their relationship, such as birth and marriage certificates, and these must be verified by a commissioner of oath.

"After the documents have been verified, payment can be made direct into their accounts in less than three weeks. Our lawyers will call and help the NOK with the documentation," he said.

He was speaking in the programme 'Landskap' shown on RTM1, hosted by Sayed Munawar Sayed Mustar and Shuhaimi Mohamed on Sunday night.

Also on the programme were MAS Group Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya and MAS Senior Vice-President and Corporate Communication head, Datuk Najmuddin Abdullah.

Fuad said the compensation to be paid was more than what has been set by the Montreal Convention 1999 but he did not disclose the amount.

"Our compensation is more than the minimum scheme (Montreal Convention). We are giving a certain amount (compensation). There may be some adjustment if the NOK can prove that the passenger should get more.

"For instance, if the victim was earning a high income, still young and should get more. We will consider."

Fuad was asked if the Life Insurance Association of Malaysia (LIAM) had settled almost all the claims worth RM16.875 million by the NOK.

He said that was the life insurance which the passengers themselves had taken out and thus did not need a declaration for claims and payment.

This was different from MAS which was paying compensation for passengers who used its airline service.

Clarifying the need for a declaration of death for MH370 passengers, Fuad said the government had decided on the declaration to facilitate compensation payment to the NOK.

He said without the declaration, the NOK would have to wait for seven years (for a person who was lost to be declared dead) in order to proceed with the claim for compensation.

"You can give the compensation without a declaration but it is important for the next-of-kins to get certification.

"Under the law, you must wait for seven years. But do we want to wait? So the government decided to make a declaration and we can take advantage of this to continue with the compensation claim," he said.

On Jan 29, Malaysian government declared that MH370 was an accident under international aviation regulations and all 239 passengers were presumed dead.

However, the Malaysia government stressed that the mission to search for the Boeing 777 was still a priority.

Flight MH370, with 227 passengers and 12 crew, departed KL International Airport at 12.41 am on March 8 last year and was missing from the radar screen one hour later as it was over the South China Sea.

It was scheduled to arrive in Beijing at 6.30 am on the same day. (MCOT BERNAMA)

Royal Thai Police put bounties on 4 insurgent suspects in Deep South

BANGKOK, 2 February 2015 (NNT) The Royal Thai Police Office has put bounties worth millions of baht on 4 suspects believed to have triggered violence in the Deep South.

According to the Thai police, the 4 bounties are worth more than 13 million baht altogether, with the highest one being 10 million baht. The others are 2 million, 1 million and 500,000 baht, respectively.

Mr. Sapa-ing Bazor and Mr. Mazae Useng are the most wanted on the list for their roles as leaders of the insurgent groups.

Two other key suspects wanted by the police are Mr. Adul Munee and Mr. Kareema Yalapae. All the four men have been charged with terrorism and treason.

People who are aware of their whereabouts are encouraged to report to the police at 1340, 073-340447 and 191. They can also contact the military unit near their homes.

The caller’s identity and personal details will be withheld, said the police.

Temperatures drop again in Thailand today

BANGKOK, 2 February 2015 (NNT) The temperature has dropped a few more degrees today as the high pressure system is extending across the upper part of Thailand.

The lowest temperature recorded in low lying areas of the North varies between 13-20 degrees Celsius, with the mercury on the mountaintop reported to be around 6-10 degrees Celsius.

It is windy in the Northeast, where the mountaintop temperature dropped below 12 degrees Celsius this morning, and 16-18 degrees Celsius elsewhere in the region.

Meanwhile, colder temperatures with visible morning fog have been predicted for the Central and the East of the country for today and tomorrow, with the lowest temperature of 21 degree Celsius.

In the South of Thailand, scattered precipitation is forecast for today, with waves reaching 2 meter height in the gulf of Thailand, from Surat Thani province and below.

Interior Ministry wants anti-corruption approach installed in one year

BANGKOK, 2 February 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Interior is taking serious action against corruption, in its nationwide approach.

Interior Ministry Permanent Secretary Wiboon Sanguanpong said all provincial agencies must formulate a plan to tackle corruption in their respective areas.

According to him, they are to follow the Ministry’s policy, which is focused on providing greater and quicker public access to public services, instilling in civil servants moral values, and curbing graft in a proactive manner.

Mr. Wiboon added that legal action will be taken against anyone found to have committed a crime, without exception. He hoped all the efforts would help improve the image of Thailand and pave the way for the country to be part of ASEAN Economic Community without any obstacles.

The efforts will also raise the confidence of the international community in Thailand, concluded the permanent secretary.

NE Region universities sign an MoU with THPF on alcohol in campus issues

SURIN, 2 Feb 2015, (NNT) Thai Health Promotion Foundation (THPF) yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with 8 universities in the lower Northeastern region on a project to create a network of education institutes against the spreading use of alcohol among university students.

These 8 universities included Vongchavalitkul University, Rajamangala University of Technology Isan Surin Campus, Burirum Rajabhat University, Roi Et Rajabhat University, Surin Rajabhat University, Srisaket Rajabhat University, Ubonratchathani Rajabhat University, and Ubonratchathani University.

Under the MoU, the member universities are to exchange knowledge, ideas, researches, and promotion drives on public level alcohol prevention projects and activities.

The cooperation mainly aims at addressing the problem of restaurants providing easy access to alcoholic beverages to students. The issue is becoming more and more difficult to control as the existing law on the matter is not sufficient to keep alcohol out of the youngsters’ reach. What is more serious is that the number of students lacking conscience against drinking alcoholic beverages is growing, said the THPF.

Alcohol is the leading cause of accidents, brawling, teenage pregnancy, and many others.

Chiang Mai public hearing wants the Government to decentralize power

CHIANG MAI, 2 Feb 2015, (NNT) Locals of the Northern Province of Chiang Mai have expressed their hopes for the Government to decentralize administrative power to the provincial and local administrations.

The suggestion was made during yesterday’s 2 separate public hearings on the new Charter Drafting, during which the locals of Chiang Mai and Prae met with the members of Provincial National Reform Council (NRC). Such hearings have so far been conducted 70 times out of the 211 planned nationwide.

According to Ms. Julairat Jullajakkrawat, Chiang Mai member of the NRC, a large crowd of people attended yesterday’s event, adding that the most popular suggestion was the demand for decentralization of the government to lower administrative levels such as provincial and local administrations.

She said the move would allow the people to manage their own territory, adding that the suggestion was neutral and not fabricated.

Meanwhile, most of the 600 residents of Prae attending the public hearing yesterday voiced their opinions on the new Charter Drafting, particularly on the management of land in the national reserve areas. Prae NRC members said they would compile these suggestions into a comprehensive report and send it to the Constitution Drafting Committee before the end of April for consideration.

Private sector wants to push export promotion as national agenda

BANGKOK, 2 Feb 2015, (NNT) The private sector has proposed that the government make export promotion a national agenda, in order to better cope with the global financial crisis.

President of Thai National Shippers (TNS), Nopporn Thepsittha, said the TNS had submitted its suggestions on the issue to Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha. According to the association, Thailand needs to revamp her export strategies, saying the Herculean's task should be the entire administration’s responsibility not just the Commerce Ministry’s.

Due to the global economic crisis, the TNS said this year’s export will be sluggish, revising its growth to 1.5 %, down from 2.5 % predicted earlier.

He said the 40% drop in global oil prices, which lowered oil exporting nations' spending power, has caused Thailand as much as 6 billion dollars in terms of export value. The expiration of the nation’s Generalized system of Preferences ( GSP) granted by the EU and the currency fluctuation will also likely have adverse effect on Thailand’s export performance.

NLA’s committee on energy to propose way to identify legal limitations in petroleum business

BANGKOK, 29 January 2015 (NNT) A committee under the National Legislative Assembly is preparing to propose the setting up of special team to study the problems related to all laws on petroleum business.

According to Chairman of the NLA’s energy committee Gen. Sakon Satjanit, the government has explained to the legislature that the 21st auction of petroleum concession needs to be opened in order to prepare the country for an expected decline in energy production in the next 5-6 years which can affect Thailand’s energy security.

Gen. Sakon pointed out that, with various legal limitations, such a situation can also have a broader impact on the confidence in the operations of related state-run businesses, the government budget disbursement and many other things.

Therefore, the NLA’s energy committee is asking the government to launch a study to identify other alternatives to manage the country’s petroleum business and supply, other than the concession system, such as output sharing, he added.

In doing so, Gen. Sakon said that a special committee should also be set up to conduct the study of the Petroleum Act, B.E. 2514 and the Petroleum Income Tax, B.E. 2514 along with representatives from the government, the private sector and the public to find the best and fairest solution for everyone.

CDC discusses conditions of future government’s borrowing plans

BANGKOK, 29 January 2015 (NNT) The Constitutional Drafting Committee has discussed a new approach to managing the government budget under the effect of the new charter.

CDC spokesman Kamnoon Sidhisamarn said that the charter drafters already reviewed the section of the draft Constitution related to the country’s finance and budgeting.

Mr. Kamnoon said that the CDC agreed to propose more suggestions on the issue including the redefinition of the government budget to include state revenue and loans acquired by the government. The drafting committee also added a provision that forbids the government from making any borrowing if such an action has not been included in the annual budget law.

In addition, the CDC has set new principles related to the enactment of the Budget Act in such a way that the future government will have to put, in detail, both annual expenses and revenue, while allocating the budget to not only state agencies but all local areas in a transparent and disciplined way.

Bhutan to send 12,000 workers to Thailand

BANGKOK, 30 January 2015 (NNT) The Kingdom of Bhutan is seeking to establish a Memorandum of Understanding with Thailand on the employment of 12,000 Bhutanese workers in Thailand.

The Thai Minister of Labour Gen. Surasak Karnjanarat welcomed the Bhutan Minister for Labour and Human Resources Ngeema Sangay Chenpo. They both discussed the employment of Bhutanese workers in Thailand.

Both sides have agreed to establish the joint committee on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing between the Thai Ministry of Labour and Bhutan Ministry of Labour and Human Resources on the legal employment of 12,000 Bhutanese workers in Thailand.

The Ministry of Labour’s Bureau of Coordination For International Cooperation will be Thailand's representing agency on this matter. The details for the MOU is expected to be visible by March.

The Bhutan Minister for Labour and Human Resources said that Bhutanese workers are capable of communicating in foreign languages. The minister also assured that there will be no complications from illegal Bhutanese workers going into Thailand, due to the fact that both countries do not share a border.

Bhutanese workers will be clear through immigration only at the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok.

Kelantan thanks Narathiwat for helping flood-torn Malaysians

NARATHIWAT, 30 January 2015 (NNT) The Kelantan State MP and delegates have paid a visit to Narathiwat province to thank Thai people for helping their Malaysian neighbors during the recent flood disaster.

Kelantan MP Ms. Siti Zailah binti Mohammad Yusoff and her group were greeted by Su-ngai Kolok District Chief Worachet Promopart, Su-ngai Kolok Mayor Suchada Pannara, Superintendent of Su-ngai Kolok Police Station Pol Col Kong-at Suwannakam, Narathiwat36 ad hoc unit commander Lieutenant Colonel Pongpat Hongsinlak and Acting Director of the Su-ngai Kolok Office of National Broadcasting Services of Thailand Kusalin Suwanno.

The Kelantan State MP and the delegates, including a Kelantan Provincial Council member, the Kelantan youth association president and the Kelantan women association president, expressed appreciation towards the generosity of Thai people and officials who provided flood-affected Malaysians with basic necessities, medical services and house repair.

The Thai officials, meanwhile, confirmed that Thailand would continue to strengthen the friendship between the two countries. Both parties also expressed willingness to take care of each other during difficult times. Aside from the meeting with Thai officials, Malaysian officials also had a plan to visit the highly-revered 300-year-old mosque of Narathiwat during their visit.

Kelantan State early this year experienced the worst flood in its history which led to losses of up to 200 million Malaysian ringgits.

PM vows intensified martial law

BANGKOK, Jan 29 -- Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the government would strictly enforce martial law measures, ban overseas trips and check the financial transactions of inciters unless they stopped their movement.

He expressed his stance as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) summoned key Pheu Thai Party member Surapong Tovichakchaikul to create better understanding.

The prime minister said he did not know whether security authorities would detail Mr Surapong overnight.

Mr Surapong was summoned because he shared improper opinions and challenged the government and the martial law and the government needed to take legal action to prevent disorder, Gen Prayut said.

The prime minister said former Pheu Thai energy minister Pichai Naripthaphan would also be summoned for mutual understanding for criticizing the energy policies of the government although he had done nothing during his past tenure as the energy minister.

"If their movements continue, they will be prohibited from leaving the country, have their finances examined and be banned from conducting financial transactions. The imposition of martial law has been relaxed [until now] but from now on it will be intensified to cope with national situations," the prime minister said.

He also said that authorities were monitoring the red-shirt people's campaign to wear red on Sundays and that present political situations were annoying. (MCOT online news)

Korean Air chief to take stand at 'nut rage' trial

SEOUL, Jan. 30 MCOT The chairman of Korean Air Lines Co. was to take the stand Friday for his eldest daughter who is on trial for alleged obstruction of aviation safety for forcing a chief steward off a taxiing plane last month, court officials said.

Cho Yang-ho will testify on whether the senior crew member, who was allegedly assaulted by his daughter and forced off the Seoul-bound Korean Air flight from New York last month, will be able to keep his job, the Seoul Western District Court said.

His testimony will likely bear a significant influence over his daughter's sentence, experts say.

The second hearing on the so-called "nut rage" incident is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

The incident was given the nickname, as Cho Hyun-ah, former vice president of South Korea's largest full-service carrier, allegedly caused a scene after she was served her macadamia nuts in a bag instead of on a plate. She had claimed the service was in violation of the proper nut-serving protocol.

Another witness to appear at Friday's hearing is the female flight attendant who had served the nuts to Cho.

It would mark the first time the woman, identified only by her surname Kim, made a public appearance.

Court officials said she will be escorted into the court room through a private hallway.

It is unclear whether the chief of the cabin crew will take the witness stand this day.

Najib expresses sympathy for MH370 family members

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29 MCOT Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak expressed his sympathy for the families of passengers and crew of the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, following the announcement by the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) that it was an accident.

He said search for the aircraft will however, continue.

"Today my thoughts are with the families of those on MH370. The search will continue. Malaysia, Australia and China remain committed to finding the plane," he said in his latest tweet.

Earlier this evening, DCA director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman through a televised broadcast announcement said that the missing MH370 was deemed an accident with all its 239 passengers on board presumed dead.

Flight MH370 which was bound for Beijing, China, disappeared from the radar an hour after it took off from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 12.41am on March 8, 2014.

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai in his latest tweet also said: "My thoughts and prayers goes out to family members of those onboard MH370. It has been and continues to be difficult times for them and the nation," he said. (BERNAMA)

Princess Maha Chakri opens sporting field for crowded community

BANGKOK, 30 January 2015 (NNT) Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn yesterday afternoon inaugurated a sporting playground at Klongchan Housing Community in Bangkapi District, Bangkok.

The field was built by the Office of His Majesty’s Principal Private Secretary in cooperation with several public and private sector units, in response to His Majesty the King’s advice to use sporting playgrounds as a medium to promote physical and mental health of people in communities as well as their friendly relationship. It also provides a multi-purpose space for community members to organize recreational activities beneficial to the development of their quality of life.

The playground has been named as Lankila Phat (ลานกีฬาพัฒน์), literally meaning a sporting field for growth. Another playground of the same kind is being built at a space under the Urupong expressway to benefit Baan Khrua and Som Poy communities. The first Lankila Phat in Klongchan comprises a children’s playground, fields for both indoor and outdoor sports such as basketball, badminton, table tennis, petong and folk games. The ground also includes health park and herbal gardens.

Military weapon warehouses under close surveillance

PATTANI, 30 January 2015 (NNT) The Internal Security Operation Commands (ISOC) 4th Region has tightened security around the military weapon warehouse following insurgent reports.

ISOC 4th Region Deputy Commander Major General Noppawong Surawichai has instructed military units in the South of Thailand to raise security levels and be prepared for emergency situations as southern insurgency has intensified.

The Major General said militants also took the weapons in the recent attack on law enforcement officers. They would be given to the new generation of militants.

The Military and other security units have been told to reinforce security around weapon warehouses to prevent raids by insurgent groups.

Drought hits hard in Isaan while several provinces remain chilly

BANGKOK, 30 January 2015 (NNT) Several provinces in Thailand have begun to experience declining water levels as the temperature begins to rise.

In Chiang Rai, the rapid decrease in the level of water in the Lao River allows people to walk out as far as the middle of the river. The shallow water also makes it difficult for them to catch any fish. The water level is expected to go even lower in February and beyond.

A water shortage in 13 districts of Khon Kaen is affecting more than 300,000 rai of rice fields. According to provincial Governor Kumthorn Thawornsathit, the total damage is estimated to be at least 398 million baht. Financial assistance has been sought from the government to help farmers.

Food scarcity for wild monkeys in Ubon Ratchathani has prompted them to leave the forest and look for food in human habitats. They have reportedly raided nearby temples and homes.

Meanwhile, it remains quite cold in Chai Nat where the lowest temperature recorded was 17.5 degrees Celsius. A large amount of winter fog can be seen over the Chao Praya River. Furthermore in Sisaket, the army has been distributing blankets to Prangku residents to help them cope with the winter weather conditions.

Thailand MICE Venue Standard symbols given to qualified MICE businesses

BANGKOK, 30 January 2015 (NNT) More businesses in the field of Meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) that met the criteria were awarded the Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau's (TCEB) symbol of approval on Thursday.

Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya ( จิรุตถ์ อิศรางกูร ณ อยุธยา) , TCEB's vice president for administration and strategic support, said at the presentation ceremony of the "Thailand MICE Venue Standard" symbols that TCEB has been well aware that the quality of the product and service are key in marketing Thailand's MICE industry. With the ASEAN Economic Community integration taking shape, and with the MICE industry seeing a rapid expansion in both quantity and revenue, the MICE businesses will be an important driver of Thailand's and ASEAN's economies.

According to Mr. Chiruit, for MICE venues, there needs to be a quality measuring tool for the businesses that is acceptable at the global level. MICE businesses will be able to use the tool as basis for decision making related to investment, management and marketing. The TCEB has been pushing for adoption of Thailand's MICE venue standard among ASEAN members, which has been well received, and countries have indicated willingness to use Thailand's standard as the model for their own, said Mr. Chiruit.

Bangkok hosts 52nd Thai-Malaysian GBC meeting

BGBC meeting was in Bangkok on Thursday, where the military of both countries discussed expanding collaboration in various affairs along the shared border.

General Prawit Wongsuwon, the deputy prime minister and minister of defense, and Dato' Seri Hishammuddin bin Tun Hussein, Malaysia's minister of defense, jointly presided over the meeting at the Army Club in Bangkok.

Officials at the meeting acknowledged the work results for joint initiatives set by the high-level committee manned by the supreme commanders of both countries. Those at the meeting also acknowledged results of regional border committee meetings and joint security operations, and discussed economic collaboration along the shared border. Other topics discussed included suppression of narcotics, human trafficking, contraband, transnational crime and terrorism. Signing of a cooperation agreement also took place.

Officials said after the meeting that results from the meeting will foster good understanding between both countries' armed forces and contribute to sustainable expansion of bilateral cooperation.

Russian culture theme park to be built in NE China

HARBIN, Jan 29 MCOT A large Russian culture theme park is expected to be built in Harbin, capital of China's border province of Heilongjiang.

Construction of the Sino-Russia Friendship Park will start this year, said Wei Minfang, general manager with the Harbin Volga Manor Cultural Tourism Co., Ltd.

The 5-square-kilometer park will take six years to complete with the first stage expected to be completed and open to the public by 2017, Wei said.

"The park, based on the history of Harbin City with the theme of Russia culture, will become a new landmark for Sino-Russia cultural tourism," she said.

Total investment is estimated at 5 billion yuan (800 million U.S. dollars).

The company now runs a 600,000-square-meter park called Volga Manor, which has become a major resort for the ice and snow festivals in Harbin. Famous sites include a church, a Russian-style castle and a Russian restaurant. The new theme park will surround the current one with the current park at its center, according to Wei.

Dubbed "Oriental Moscow", Harbin originated in 1898 from the construction of the Chinese Eastern Railway financed by then Russia Empire. Apart from its unique combination of oriental and European architecture styles, the city is also known for its ice and snow festivals in winter. (Xinhua)




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Thailand ranks no.1 rice exporter in 2014

Ning Zetao, Li Na named China's CCTV Sports Personality of Year 2014

S. Korea faces possible oversupply of rice on record output, imports

MH370: Next-of-kins to receive compensation three weeks after documents are processed

Royal Thai Police put bounties on 4 insurgent suspects in Deep South

Temperatures drop again in Thailand today

Interior Ministry wants anti-corruption approach installed in one year

NE Region universities sign an MoU with THPF on alcohol in campus issues

Chiang Mai public hearing wants the Government to decentralize power

Private sector wants to push export promotion as national agenda

NLA’s committee on energy to propose way to identify legal limitations in petroleum business

CDC discusses conditions of future government’s borrowing plans

Bhutan to send 12,000 workers to Thailand

Kelantan thanks Narathiwat for helping flood-torn Malaysians

PM vows intensified martial law

Korean Air chief to take stand at 'nut rage' trial

Najib expresses sympathy for MH370 family members

Princess Maha Chakri opens sporting field for crowded community

Military weapon warehouses under close surveillance

Drought hits hard in Isaan while several provinces remain chilly

Thailand MICE Venue Standard symbols given to qualified MICE businesses

Bangkok hosts 52nd Thai-Malaysian GBC meeting

Russian culture theme park to be built in NE China



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