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MOPH warns of leptospirosis amid raining season

BANGKOK, 30 July 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Public Health has warned the general public to be wary of leptospirosis, an infectious disease that often occurs during the rainy season.

Leptospirosis, also known as field fever, has infected more than 600 people and claimed 10 lives across 55 provinces since January. Provinces with a high incidence of leptospirosis include Ranong, Sisaket and Phang Nga. Sixty percent of patients were farmers between the ages of 44 and 64.

The fatal disease is caused by the Leptospira bacteria, which can be found in fresh water bodies tainted by animal urine. Its symptoms include dry cough, fever, headache, muscle pain, nausea and diarrhea. Those who have developed these symptoms after having come into contact with contaminated water must seek immediate medical attention.

People can prevent leptospirosis by avoiding stagnant water or wading through mud without rubber boots. Those who have come into contact with unsanitary water sources must wash their skin and any open wounds immediately.

Bueng Kan facing floods after incessant rains

BUENG KAN, 30 July 2015 (NNT) Continuous downpours have resulted in flooding in some areas of the northeastern province of Bueng Kan, prompting authorities to provide urgent help for local residents.

In the wake of torrential rains which have continued in Bueng Kan for three weeks, Ban Na Kham Village in So Phisai district has been flooded with 1.2 meters of water while Moo 1 and Moo 2 Villages in Mueang district are also affected by overflows from canals.

So far, 25 homes and three fish farms have been damaged by the floodwater. The road linking Ban Pong Pueai Village and Ban Na Waeng Village is now submerged under one-meter-deep water. Residents are unable to travel in small vehicles and have to rely on military trucks in their daily commute.

However, the overall damage is still considered minimal as Mueang District Chief Adithep Kamolvej previously instructed officials to help villagers move their belongings to safe places in anticipation of a flood disaster. A special task force set up by the local administrative organization is also providing assistance for flood victims in the area.

Workers from Myanmar, Laos & Cambodia allowed to be ship technicians

BANGKOK, 30 July 2015 (NNT) The Department of Employment (DOE) will allow foreign ship workers to apply as technicians, in a move to deal labor shortages in the fishing industry.

According to DOE Director-General Sumet Mahosot, the new policy applies to workers from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia who have already obtained work permits.

Employees who have acquired ship technician certificates issued by the government can apply for the position change via the Department Employment. The processing fee is 1,100 baht.

The processing fee is 3,100 baht for foreign workers who have completed their nationality verification or those contracted under a memorandum of understanding.

However, ship workers holding pink one-year work permits are still unable to upgrade their jobs, pending an executive order from the PM Office.

Deputy PRD Director-General among 162 Thai Idol awardees

BANGKOK, 30 July 2015 (NNT) The Deputy Director-General of the Public Relations Department (PRD) has been has won a Thai Idol award.

The Broadcaster and Journalist's Assembly of Thailand and other related agencies have conferred a Thai Idol Award on PRD Deputy Director-General Charoon Chaiyasorn. He is among 162 individuals across the country that were handpicked by the assembly’s committee. MR Somlabh Kitiyakara, Secretary to HRH Princess Soamsawali, presided over the award ceremony.

The Thai Idol Award, otherwise known as the Golden Swan, is an accolade aimed at recognizing individuals from different occupations whose achievements are both remarkable and inspirational. The award is part of the Goodness Idol Project meant to laud those who are determined to create a better society.

More Thai antiques to be sent back from the U.S.

BANGKOK, 30 July 2015 (NNT) Culture Minister Weera Rojpotchanarat has disclosed, following a courtesy call from the US charge d' affaires Patrick Murphy, that the U.S. is to return more Thai antiques located in the US.

Last year, the U.S. returned 554 Thai antique pieces to their homeland. Most of the ancient items were originally discovered at Ban Chiang Archaeological Site located in the northeastern province of Udon Thani.

The courtesy call was arranged for Thailand and the U.S. to discuss further cooperation in cultural exchanges. The Culture Ministry’s Weera also sought U.S. support for the creative industry, in particular films and animation production, as the Western country excels in the field and has advanced entertainment technology.

The Thai government wishes to enhance the friendship between the people of the two countries, said Mr.Weera. It plans to use Thai societies in the U.S. as a center for cultural promotion and exchange with Americans, and hopes the U.S. will support their activities.

Mr.Weera also expressed his thanks to the U.S., on behalf of the Thai government, for financial support for the reconstruction of Chaiwatthanaram Temple, an important ancient heritage site of Thailand, threatened by flooding in 2011.

Residents along Mekong River warned of bank erosion

MUKDAHAN, 30 July 2015 (NNT) The Governor of Mukdahan province has issued a warning to residents along the Mekong River to beware of bank erosion as a result of the rising water.

Run-off caused by continued cloudbursts has brought muddy water from local streams and wood scraps into the Mekong River. Passengers traveling between Thailand and Laos by boat are advised to exercise caution and wear life jackets at all times.

Meanwhile, residents and fishermen along the Mekong River were warned to be on the alert for soil collapse. The provincial Disaster Prevention and Mitigation office is prepared to deal with any emergency situation.

The Meteorological Department says the Northeastern region will continue to experience isolated thundershowers until next week.

Police to impose Article 44 on motorcycle gangs

BANGKOK, 30 July 2015 (NNT) Police are preparing to apply Article 44 to the campaign aimed at suppressing motorcycle gang activities and social vices.

Royal Thai Police Spokesperson, Pol Lt Gen Prawut Thavornsiri has disclosed that the ban on alcohol sales within a 300-meter radius of schools will come into effect within six months. Meanwhile, authorities will also keep a close watch on motorcycle outlets to curtail sales of certain bike accessories.

Pol Lt Gen Prawut explained the move was to prevent teenagers from consuming alcohol, which often leads to a drunken brawl and to stop motorcycle gangs from causing a public nuisance. The campaign came about after a recent meeting during which the Ministry of Justice asked related agencies to apply Article 44 to their efforts to curb trouble makers.

Article 44 empowers the National Council for Peace and Order's (NCPO) leader, to issue any order to deal with any act deemed harmful to social order or security.

The Royal Thai Police Spokesperson, however, told concerned business operators not to overly panic. He explained that the zoning of liquor shops has yet to begin. Meanwhile, the use of Article 44 will cover only bike shops that sell accessories intended for illegal street racing.

Government thanks retail stores for maintaining prices of goods

BANGKOK, 30 July 2015 (NNT) The Thai government has expressed its gratitude toward store owners for keeping prices of every item at an affordable level until November this year.

Deputy Spokesperson to the Prime Minister’s Office, Major General Sansern Keawkamnerd has revealed that the Ministry of Commerce has received cooperation from 205 retail stores across Thailand in not raising the prices of household goods and fresh food before November.

Many food vendors have also been asked to sell at least one ready to eat meal at a maximum price of 25 baht until September this year.

The Deputy Spokesperson said this is to help shoulder the cost of living for Thai people. He also added that stable fuel prices at present would continue to help keep commodity prices at a reasonable level.

Pathum Thani and Yasothon hold activities welcoming Buddhist Lentt

PATHUM THANI, 30 July 2015 (NNT) Pathum Thani and Yasothon are both holding their activities welcoming the Buddhist Lent and at the same time promoting the anti-drinking and gambling campaigns during the 3-month Lent period.

A parade promoting the anti-drinking campaign was held in Pathum Thani yesterday at the provincial hospital. Later in the day residents gathered to pledge an oath of not drinking alcohol and strictly maintaining the five precepts of Buddhism during the Buddhist Lent period.

The event also offered a free counseling service for those who wish to quit drinking, and many other entertainment activities.

Meanwhile, residents, government officials and private sector units in Yasothon yesterday held a mock ceremony incinerating a giant cigarette and a deck of playing cards, symbolically showing their determination to stop drinking and gambling during the period.

The event was a part of the province's anti-alcohol and gambling drive this year which also promotes the religious teaching and the sufficiency economy philosophy of His Majesty the King.

ASEAN, UK bolster cooperative relations

UK Prime Minister David Cameron visited the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, Indonesia on July 27, becoming the first acting British PM to visit the bloc’s headquarters to cement the economic relationship between the UK and the dynamic region.

Secretary General Le Luong Minh praised the visit as reflecting the UK’s commitment and political will to deepening its relationship with ASEAN.

He said the European country’s interest in strengthening economic relations with ASEAN is in line with the bloc’s growth trend of stronger economic integration.

He also highlighted achievements in forming the ASEAN Community in late 2015 while pointing to arising challenges.

Minh added with combined gross domestic product (GDP) reaching nearly 2.6 trillion USD in 2014, ASEAN is now the world’s seventh biggest economy and aims to become the fourth largest in 2050.

For his part, the British PM said the UK will intensify its collaboration with ASEAN in infrastructure development and electronic commerce. He will also appoint a special commerce envoy to boost trade relations and investment between ASEAN and the UK.

The two sides exchanged regional and international issues affecting world peace and stability such as nuclear weapons and the East Sea dispute.

On the occasion, the ASEAN Secretariat held an ASEAN-UK business forum to increase investment in ASEAN

US Ambassador hails Party leader US visit

The recent visit of Vietnam’s Party leader Nguyen Phu Trong to the United States marks a significant milestone in the growing relationship between the two nations, said US Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius.

At a press briefing on July 28 in Hanoi, the US Ambassador said during talks in the Oval Office, President Barack Obama and the Vietnamese Party chief reached agreement on a number of crucial matters.

He highlighted the Vietnam – US comprehensive partnership reached in the 2013 joint statement between the US President and Vietnamese State President Truong Tan Sang as a sign of the two sides’ respect for one another’s political systems.

It was also reiterated in the US – Vietnam Joint Vision Statement issued during the Party chief’s US visit, he said.

Ambassador Osius noted that US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh and attend a number of activities in Vietnam in August on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of establishing bilateral diplomatic ties between the two nations.

He also mentioned the upcoming first visit of a Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court to the country.

Osius hailed the importance of people-to-people diplomacy, adding that the overseas Vietnamese community in the US holds great potential to contribute to the relationship between Vietnam and the US. He said the two sides share a wish to promote people-to-people connections between the two countries.

The ambassador described the agreements signed by the US Trade and Development Agency and the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam as an important move.

Direct flight routes between the two nations are important to facilitate trade, investment and travel exchange, he underscored

Vietnam celebrates 20-year membership with ASEAN

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh chaired a ceremony to celebrate the 20 th anniversary of Vietnam’s entry into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on July 28, 1995, and the bloc’s formation 48 years ago on August 8, 1967.

The Deputy PM said the formation of the ASEAN Community at the end of 2015 will have a significant impact on all member states and the region.

He said that based on the pillars of politics, security, economy and culture, the ASEAN Community would improve the solidarity of the people, help reduce tension and disputes and build peace, cooperation and development in the region.

He continued to say that ASEAN, with a population of more than 600 million and the seventh largest GDP in the world, would continue to play an important part in maintaining peace, stability and prosperity in the Asian-Pacific region.

To achieve that goal, every ASEAN member state must strive to overcome obstacles, seize opportunities and unite.

In addition, ASEAN must take a proactive approach in safeguarding the region’s peace and security by leading efforts to build trust, share common standards and code of conduct to prevent conflicts and settle disputes through peaceful means and in accordance with international law, he suggested.

The Deputy PM emphasised that over the past two decades, ASEAN has always been a priority in Vietnam’s foreign policy and international integration.

As an active member, Vietnam has contributed to building an ASEAN of close connections, solidarity and unity, and making the group play a central role in the forming regional structure, he added.

He affirmed that the Vietnamese Government and people will continue their important contributions to the development of the association, for practical interests of ASEAN people at present and in the future.

Minh stated that he was grateful for the support and friendship of ASEAN member states and partners in the last 20 years.

At the event, Indonesian Ambassador Mayerfas congratulated Vietnam on its 20-year ASEAN membership.

Speaking of Vietnam’s friendship and cooperation spirit in ASEAN, the diplomat confirmed that Indonesia, together with other member states, will continually collaborate closely and stand side by side with Vietnam in the time to come.

On this occasion, a set of stamps welcoming the ASEAN Community was exhibited. This is the first time ASEAN countries issue joint stamps and postmark. The stamps will be issued on August 8 in Indonesia.

Chiang Mai Zoo congratulates Lin Ping on new born twin baby pandas

CHIANG MAI, 30 July 2015 (NNT) Chiang Mai Zoo is letting children write congratulatory messages for famous giant panda ‘Lin Ping’ for giving birth to twin baby pandas in China.

Lin Ping is the first panda in Thailand that was born in captivity. Zoo visitors, including children and tourists, are joining the celebration held at Chiang Mai Zoo to congratulate Lin Ping on her newborn cubs. Baskets of food and fruits have been brought for another giant panda ‘Lin Hui’, who is ‘Lin Ping’s mother.

Lin Ping has given birth to twin baby pandas at Ya’an Panda Conservation Center in China on July 27th. People are able to sign a well-wishing book, which will be later given to Lin Ping through the Chinese Consulate in Chiang Mai.

PM instructs officials to employ farmers affected from drought

BANGKOK, 30 July 2015 (NNT) Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has reaffirmed that the program to hire drought affected farmers to temporarily work with the government will soon kick off. He said low-interest loans will also be offered to agriculturalists who are interested in farming perennial vegetables or other less-water-consuming crops.

He said that the hiring program would financially help farmers who are forced to become indebted as their rice farms were hit by the drought. He added the employment campaign was being accelerated and expected to start next week.

General Prayut also stressed that several government's relief programs need inputs from all sides, while asking the public to believe in the administration's intention to build a strong future for Thailand.

Bike for Mom rehearsal in Bangkok on August 2 to start at 6 AM

BANGKOK, 30 July 2015 (NNT) The major rehearsal for the Bike for Mom 2015 event in Bangkok on August 2 will start at 6 AM instead of midday as earlier scheduled. The rehearsal will familiarize participants with the route before the actual event scheduled for August 16.

The rehearsal is expected to be 6-hour long and will finish at noon. At 7 O'clock, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha will conduct an inspection of the preparations at the Royal Plaza, before leading an approximately 1,000 cyclists from the Dusit Palace to the First Infantry Regiment of the Royal Guards on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road. The Prime Minister will then switch from the bicycle to an automobile before continuing his journey on the rest of the route.

Traffic closure around the Royal Plaza will last from 6 AM to 9 AM, while the Si Ayutthaya Road and the outbound lanes of Vibhavadi Rangsit Road will be closed from 8 AM to 12 noon. Tollway fee will be waived during the periods.

Meanwhile, those who plan to collect the royally bestowed commemorative pins for the Bike for Mom event in Bangkok can register their names at the 50 district offices in the capital from 8 AM to 4 PM from Monday to Friday or 9 AM to 12 noon during weekends and official holidays. The registration can also be done at the event's website, from now until August 5th.

The Assisted Reproduction Act goes into effect today

BANGKOK, 30 July 2015 (NNT) The Assisted Reproduction Act, which protects children born from the In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) program, goes into effect today.

Minister of Public Health Dr. Ratchata Ratchatanawin said that the act has been designed to help legally married couple, who are medically proven to have reproductive challenges, to undergo IVF program. The law provides clauses to fend off efforts by human trafficking ring or those intending to use the IVF technique for commercial purpose.

The regulation now clearly states that a conceived IVF baby is considered a legitimate child of the parents undergoing IVF operation. The Act also prevents parents who received the reproduction assistance from denying parental responsibilities of the conceived IVF baby, while imposing commercial ban on assisted reproductive operation.

Under the new law, sperm and egg donors must strictly follow the regulation. Violators will face a jail term of 1-10 years or a fine of no more than 200,000 baht or both.

Deputy PM urges Thais to use correct Thai language

BANGKOK, 29 July 2015 (NNT) Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Kreangam has suggested that Thai people should be aware of the correct and proper use of the Thai language during the 2015 National Thai Language Day event.

The deputy PM on Wednesday presided over a ceremony to grant awards to people who had used the Thai language exceptionally well at the National Cultural Center in Bangkok. He said many Thai people today unnecessarily used foreign words when speaking and writing Thai and made new words, especially in social media. He then suggested everyone speak and write grammatically correct Thai and help set an example for the proper use of the language.

Apart from the award presentation ceremony, the national Thai language day event this year featured traditional musical and performance competitions in honor of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

Vocational Market ends with overwhelming support

BANGKOK, 29 July 2015 (NNT) The Vocational Market along Phadung Krung Kasem Canal has concluded, with over 10,000 visitors and 2 million baht in sales throughout the three-day event.

After being launched on July 27 by the Office of the Vocational Education Commission (OVEC), the Vocational Market drew to a close today. Nonetheless, a steady flow of visitors was still seen at the event, lending moral support to the vocational students who were selling their products.

Mr Chaiyapruek Serirak, Secretary-General of OVEC, expressed satisfaction with the event, indicating that more than 10,000 people turned up at the market throughout the three-day period while the total income exceeded 2 million baht.

Products attracting much attention from the public included hammocks made from pieces of cloth and baskets for growing mushroom. There were also beauty services and spa treatments available for the fair-goers.

Another highlight was a special booth jointly set up by various vocational education institutes to sell products related to the Buddhist Lent, such as flower garlands, religious offerings and Lent candles. All of the products were made by students and sold at discounted prices.

Army Chief orders tighter security in Deep South during Buddhist Lent

PATTANI, 29 July 2015 (NNT) Deputy Defense Minister and Army Commander-in-Chief Gen Udomdej Sitabutr has paid a visit to the Deep South to observe security operations and has urged all units to be particularly vigilant during the Buddhist Lent period.

Spokesperson of the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) Col Banpot Poonpian stated that Gen Udomdej, in his capacity as Deputy Director of ISOC, traveled to Nong Chik district of Pattani province to have a meeting with all security units on duty in the three southernmost provinces and to follow up on their progress.

As the Buddhist Lent period is about to begin, the Army Chief instructed the ISOC Region 4 Forward Command to ensure safety for all local residents and monks who will be taking part in religious activities across the region. Security measures are to be imposed more stringently around important venues and areas prone to insurgent attacks.

Gen Udomdej also suggested authorities to closely oversee upcoming religious functions in order to make sure they do not incite conflicts among local people with different faiths and cultures. Moreover, he stressed that all security volunteers must be selected by trusted agencies through rigorous deliberation.

Meanwhile, the Southern Border Provinces Police Operation Center was urged to quickly proceed with all security cases in order to bring culprits to justice. As for the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center, Gen Udomdej asked the officials to help solve various problems of residents and ensure their well-being.

NRC hears report on consumer protection reform

BANGKOK, 29 July 2015 (NNT) The National Reform Council (NRC) committee on consumer protection reform has delivered its report on raising the standards of Thailand’s consumer protection policies.

The committee’s main topics included reforming consumer protection agencies, policies dealing with products deemed unsafe for consumers, policies dealing with accountability for faulty products, reforming consumer protection in the media and information consumption, and policies dealing with those who have been affected by public services.

To reform consumer protection agencies, the committee proposed legislation on independent organizations to ensure adequate consumer protection.

To reform the country’s consumer protection information system, the committee has proposed legislation that would warn the public of unsafe products or product handling.

To reform the country’s compensation system, the committee proposed legislation on responsibility and compensation for products damaged during a transaction.

To compensate those who have been negatively affected by public services, the committee proposed legislation on compensation for those affected, legislation on the national health insurance scheme and social security.

81% of water well-drilling projects nationwide completedd

BANGKOK, 29 July 2015 (NNT) The government has completed 81% of its urgent projects to drill and restore 891 groundwater wells nationwide. 721 wells are already in use, with 247,763 cubic meters of water being pumped up everyday for agricultural purposes, according to Deputy Director-General of the Groundwater Resources Department, Aranya Fuangswasdi.

Of the wells already in use, 511 are located in fifteen drought-hit provinces in the Chao Phraya River Basin covering the central region and the lower North of Thailand. The wells have helped revive rice plantations threatened by the dry spell, with 214,013 cubic meters of water being pumped up everyday. Ten more wells are still under construction and expected to be finished by the end of the month.

Apart from the new wells, 380 existing groundwater wells are being equipped with turbine pumping machines to improve their storage capacity. Out of that number, 225 already have the pumps installed and have been pumping up 33,750 cubic meters of water per day.

Aranya said the whole maintenance and drilling process is scheduled for completion at the end of July. By then, the water supply for agriculture will have increased to 350,000 cubic meters per day, helping restore 150,000 rai of farmland owned by 4,000 farmer families.

Saraburi locals snap up budget meals offered by cavalry mobile restaurant

SARABURI, 29 July 2015 (NNT) The budget mobile restaurant of the Fifth Cavalry Regiment, Kings Guard has become a must-visit destination for all groups of wage earners shortly after its launch.

Hundreds of people flock to the lunch truck to snap up economy dishes freshly cooked daily by the group of housewives and staff of the Fifth Cavalry Regiment. Various items are offered each day for under 20 baht per dish from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The budget meal project was introduced last week in response to the government and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)’s policy to lower consumers’ cost of living amidst the ongoing economic downturn. The project is expected to help reduce consumers’ food expenses by at least 50 percent.

Most customers have commented that the budget food program should continue as long as possible and should expand to other areas as well.

Uthai Thani shows sluggish consumer spending during Buddhist lent

UTHAI THANI, 29 July 2015 (NNT) Buddhists in Uthai Thani province have shown a preference for smaller candles during Buddhist lent, as well as neon lights due to lower prices.

The atmosphere has been quiet at various Buddhist shops around the province, showing a drop-off in the number of customers buying monk supplies.

A shop owner said as much, revealing that sales during this period have been quite low compared to previous years. People tended to buy only small-sized candles and neon lights, leading to a drop in retail revenue.

Therefore, shop owners have in turn decided not to procure additional stock and only order products in accordance with public demand. They also affirmed that there will be no price hike for candles and monk supplies. Consumers have said that they will buy only necessities for the Buddhist lent.

General Udomdej visits the South, voices opinion on the U.S. TIP report

BANGKOK, 29 July 2015, (NNT) Army Chief General Udomdej Sitabutr spoke to the media before visiting the troops in the South of Thailand this morning, saying that the Army and security related units would continue to follow the government's strict anti-human trafficking regulations. The commitment was made even as the U.S. decided to maintain Thailand on Tier 3 in its human trafficking report.

General Udomdej is confident that Thailand will improve its eradication of human trafficking rating in the next round of evaluations, as the responsible agencies are doing their best to address the issue.

The Army Chief is scheduled to inspect the troops' performance in today's visit to the southern region, providing them with moral support. He would then hand back schools damaged in violent incidents, subsequently repaired under the supervision of the military on behalf of the community.

According to General Udomdej, the number of incidents in July has decreased when compared to the same period last year.

Samut Sakhon fisheries defend industry after Thailand receives Tier 3

SAMUT SAKHON, 29 July 2015 (NNT) Fishing operators in the gulf province of Samut Sakhon have affirmed full cooperation with government regulations to tackle the industry's problems.

The statement was made by the Samut Sakhon Fishery Association, following the US decision to maintain Thailand's Tier 3 ranking on its human trafficking list. The Association claimed the sector would cooperate with government efforts to combat illegal fishing, as well as illegal labor and human trafficking endemic to the industry.

However, some operators continued fishing activities, despite a fishing ban in the upper Gulf of Thailand from June to July. The ban was put in place due to dwindling marine life from overfishing. The Gulf will be reopened to commercial fishing next month.

Thailand & Myanmar lift visa requirements for each other's visitors

BANGKOK, 29 July 2015 (NNT) In another step towards stronger ties, Thailand and Myanmar have agreed to exempt visitors to each other’s country from visa requirements.

According to the Royal Thai Embassy in Yangon, the governments of Thailand and Myanmar have recently signed an agreement aimed at facilitating visits by the nationals of the two countries in preparation for the emergence of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

Beginning from August 11, Thai and Burmese holders of ordinary passports will be allowed to enter and stay in each other’s country for up to 14 days without a visa. At this stage the deal applies only to those entering either country through an international airport.

Prior to the 11th August visa exemption, Thai people still need to apply for a visa at the Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Application fees vary, depending on the urgency of applicants' travel plans.

BMA proposes restoration plan for inner Bangkok

BANGKOK, 29 July 2015 (NNT) The Office of Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is proposing a restoration project for inner areas of Bangkok ahead of the 250th anniversary celebration of Bangkok as the capital city in 2032.

The Department of City Planning, and the Urban Design and Development Center (UddC) are currently hosting an exhibition that reveals details of the plan to the public.

People are invited to visit Kbank Siam Pic-Ganesha Theater until August 2nd to see the exhibition.

The project is aimed at improving the landscape of 17 districts and restoring riverside areas along the Chao Praya River from Kadeejeen and Khlongsan.

The UDDC Director, Dr. Niramon Kulasrisombut, says that visitors will learn more about the project and what will have been achieved after the project is completed.

Heavy rain brings down trees in North East of Thailand

BANGKOK, 29 July 2015 (NNT) Heavy rain in the Northeast has brought down trees and damaged a dyke.

In Yasothon province, vehicles have been damaged by large trees and billboards brought down by heavy rain and strong winds. Meanwhile, the large amount of water has caused a 10-meter long crack in the dyke in Nakhon Phanom following weeks of rainfall.

Repairs are now underway to restore the dyke. Ferry operators in Bungkan have been told to be extra cautious when traveling across the Mekhong River as the currents are still strong. Several embankment areas have reportedly been eroded by the river.

The higher amount of precipitation has, however, brought good news to Kalasin residents. Water in Lam Pao dam and 18 others in Kalasin have now been replenished, enabling the PROVINCIAL Irrigation Office to release 4 million cubic meters of water a day into the streams to help farmers, who have already begun to grow rice in more than 296,000 rais of rice fields.

High-speed train project made significant progress

BANGKOK, 29 July 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Transport has revealed that the construction project for a high-speed train between Bangkok and Chiang Mai province has made significant progress.

Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said the 672-km high-speed railway is a collaborative effort between Thailand and Japan.

The island country has hired a construction company to provide additional design advice to the existing blueprint made by the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning.

Mr. Arkhom said Japan is placing great emphasis on safety, as it will be the first time a railway system outside of the country is being modeled after the Shinkansen.

Japan is suggesting that it be built as an extension to the regular railway. The Transport Minister admitted that it would change plans for land expropriation.

Another meeting over the speed railway development will be held in Japan late next month. The complete construction plan is expected to be completed and ready for Cabinet approval in June next year. Construction will begin approximately in two years.

Sheikhul Islam Office holds seminar on minority Islamic groups in ASEAN

BANGKOK, 29 July 2015, (NNT) The Sheikhul Islam Office, Ramkhamhaeng University, and Islamic-related networks yesterday held a seminar on teaching His Majesty the King's Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy among minority Islamic groups in Thailand and other ASEAN member nations.

According to Sheikhul Islam of Thailand Aziz Phitakkumpon, the revered philosophy would reduce the number of violent incidents in the Deep South. He said that Islamic lifestyles may be foreign to the larger community, as Islam is a minority religion in Thailand. Mr. Aziz said that people must be well informed of Islamic beliefs, in order create a peaceful atmosphere for all.

Meanwhile, Ramkhamhaeng University Rector Wuttisak Lapcharoensap echoed the spiritual leader's opinion, saying the seminar paves the way for all to co-exist in the multifaith ASEAN community.

Thailand-Myanmar 8th JC meeting came to a close

CHIANG MAI, 29 July 2015 (NNT) The 8th Meeting of Thailand-Myanmar Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JC) in Chiang Mai has concluded satisfactorily.

Foreign Minister General Tanasak Patimapragorn and his Burmese counterpart Wunna Maung Lwin co-chaired the meeting that was aimed at strengthening bilateral relations in various areas.

At the meeting, Thailand and Myanmar reaffirmed their commitment to tighten bilateral cooperation in all aspects, particularly in driving the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by placing the peoples of ASEAN at the center.

U Wunna Maung Lwin also conveyed Myanmar people's wishes for good health and happiness for Their Majesties the King and Queen of Thailand.

The Minister indicated that Myanmar people were ready to welcome Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn who is scheduled to visit Myanmar this October.

RID Director-General observes canal dredg operations in Chai Nat

CHAI NAT, 29 July 2015 (NNT) Royal Irrigation Department Director-General Lertwiroj Gowattana visited Chai Nat, to inspect canal dredging operations aimed at opening more space for water storage in the province.

The dredging operations are being conducted at two swamps in Han Kha District. Officials are also digging small canals around the swamps to facilitate distribution of water to farmlands. Mr. Lertwiroj said the operation is part of the government's anti-drought policy providing urgent assistance to farmers affected by severe drought conditions. His visit to the province is expected to speed up the dredging process, and ensure a thorough access to water for drought victims.

The operations will increase the water-storing capacity of the two swamps in Han Kha District, in preparation for the rainy season which is expected to arrive next month.

NBTC: digital TV broadcasters will not need to close down

BANGKOK, 29 July 2015 (NNT) The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has expressed its belief that there is no need for digital TV broadcasters to close down, as their viewership continues to grow.

NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasit revealed on Tuesday that the number of viewers of digital TV channels has risen to 1.6 million per minute. Total income from advertisements on all 21 channels is expected to average 197 million baht per month this year, which would be a three-fold increase from last year's monthly average of 63 million baht.

Mr. Takorn noted that the income of each broadcaster depended on whether the content they provided was interesting and whether they were able to tailor their programming to target viewer groups. According to him, it would be easier for a channel to gain consumer recognition if these conditions were met.

Meanwhile, broadcasters have noted a change in consumer behavior, with the majority of viewers only listening to the TV program and no longer paying attention to the images on the TV screen. The broadcasters also noted that new players in the field would need time to build up their viewership and income base.

27 Chao Phraya water basins dredged to ease droughtt

BANGKOK, 28 July 2015 (NNT) Twenty-seven water detention basins are to be excavated in nine provinces along the Chao Phraya River to solve the prevailing drought problem. The project is expected to help reserve over 350 million cubic metres of water to be fetched from rainfalls expected in August.

According to the Royal Irrigation Department, the artificial swamps are located in nine provinces, namely Nakhon Sawan, Chainat, Sing Buri, Ang Thong, Uthai Thani, Lop Buri, Saraburi, Ayutthaya and Nonthaburi, in compliance with the Prime Minister's urgent policy to solve droughts. By far, 21% of the construction has already been completed.

Other ponds being dredged at eight tributaries are Nhong Ta Mek Swamp (หนองตาเมฆ), Nhong Bon Swamp (หนองบอน), Nhong Sarai Swamp (หนองสาหร่าย), Bueng Krajab Yai Pond (บึงกระจับใหญ่), Bueng Lahan Pond (บึงละหาน), Sra Khao Ka Basin (สระเขากา) , Sra Nhong Jok Basin (สระหนองจอก) and Kao Khwa Public Pond for Irrigation Purpose (สระสาธารณะคลองส่งน้ำเก้าขวา), expected to reserve 193,400 cubic metres of water when completed.

Lertviroj Kowattana, Director-General of the Royal Irrigation Department, says during his field trip to Bueng Lahan (บึงละหาน) Lake in Chainat Province that an extension is being held on the lake as the drought has made the lake shallow, causing difficulty to farmers to pump up the water.

When the excavation is finished, the pond will generate 60,000 cubic metres of water to 3,000 rai of paddy fields to help local farmers, he says.

Sa Khao Ka Basin (สระเขากา) in Nakhon Sawan Province is expected to be finished by August 12 to honor Her Majesty the Queen on her birthday.

NRC approves report on public healthcare reform

BANGKOK, 28 July 2015 (NNT) The National Reform Council (NRC) has approved its responsible committee's healthcare reform report.

The report, presented by the NRC committee on public health reform, touches on the topics of public health service, disease prevention and wellness promotion as well as healthcare fund management.

The core principle of the report emphasize empowering local communities to be self sufficient in providing comprehensive healthcare for residents. This also includes the use of traditional Thai medicine, alternative care and the strengthening of local communities in tackling local health problems.

The report proposes the setting up of a data center to better inform the public of healthcare costs and a committee for strengthening self sufficiency at the local level in providing healthcare services for its residents. These two proposals would reduce social inequality by making healthcare more accessible.

Cabinet extends free bus, train scheme for 3 more months

BANGKOK, 28 July 2015 (NNT) The Cabinet has resolved to maintain its free bus and train scheme for another three months as a way to help low-income commuters amid economic doldrums.

According to Transport Minister ACM Prajin Juntong, the fare exemption on public buses and third-class trains which was due to expire at the end of July has been given another three-month extension by the Cabinet. As a result, the long-standing measure will continue to be in effect from August 1 to October 31, 2015 as proposed by the Ministry of Transport.

Meanwhile, Deputy Government Spokesperson Maj Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd stated that the further continuation of free train services will cover a total of 172 trains per day and require a state budget of 252 million baht. At the same time, there will be 800 free buses operating on 73 routes each day under a budget of 871 million baht.

Maj Gen Sansern cited the Prime Minister as saying that the fare exemption measure is intended to serve certain groups of people who are truly in need of the government’s support, such as students and low-income earners. The unfavorable economic condition was raised as the main reason behind the Cabinet’s decision to keep the measure in place.

CDC agrees on reform mobilization committee to succeed NRC

BANGKOK, 28 July 2015 (NNT) The Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) says it has stipulated the creation of a reform mobilization committee to carry on reform work after the election.

CDC member Dr Jate Dhonavanik said the reform mobilization committee will replace the National Reform Council (NRC) in ensuring the implementation of the country’s reform agendas. He says the CDC is currently in discussion with the government as to the exact duration of its tenure. However, preliminary discussions have agreed that the committee should continue to exist until a committee on reform and reconciliation is established to carry on its work.

As for the progress of the new constitution, Dr Jate says the CDC has now reduced the new charter’s provisions from 315 to 285 sections. It is currently in the process of fine tuning the constitution’s main principles, reform structure and reconciliation efforts.

Chonburi province strengthens measures on illegal entertainment venues and street racing

CHONBURI, 28 July 2015 (NNT) Chonburi province has strengthened its measures on illegal entertainment venues and street racing in accordance with the government's policies designated by the National Council for Peace and Order's (NCPO) Chief.
Chonburi Governor Komsan Ekkachai, stated that the NCPO Chief's orders are on measures to bring an end to the problem of street racing by cars and motorcycles on city roads as well as measures to assert control over entertainment-like venues. The move is aimed at preventing inappropriate behavior by those under 20 years of age, in entering such venues, while also keeping an eye on alcohol sales in venues located near educational institutes or dorms.
Any venue found to have violated the regulations such as allowing those under 20 into inappropriate venues or selling them alcohol, beer or other means of intoxication, will face maximum punishment which is a 5-year closing of that particular venue. Further investigation will also check whether the venue is within the educational institute's 300-meter distance or not.
Moreover, the general public has complained about troubles caused by motorcycle racing on the roads, therefore measures have been implemented in order to prevent further societal problems and prevent possible group gatherings that could later cause damage to others in society

Anti-tobacco network supports Tobacco Control draft act

BANGKOK, 28 July 2015 (NNT) The Tobacco Control Research and Knowledge Management Center and partners show their support for the Tobacco Control draft act in the hope to reduce effects on the Thai economy in the long run.

Secretary-General of the Action on Smoking and Health Foundation M.D. Prakit Wathisathokkit expressed his belief that the draft act would help prevent cigarette addiction and new smokers. It would also save medical costs for first-hand and second-hand smokers, said the doctor.

Smoking-related illnesses and deaths cost the economy 74 billion baht or 0.78% of the GDP in 2009 while the tobacco excise tax revenue stood at 40 billion baht.

Cabinet agrees to develop Phuket port for handling cruise ships

BANGKOK, 28 July 2015 (NNT) The Cabinet has given the green light to the improvement of Phuket Deep Seaport in order to enable the facility to accommodate cruise ships while also considering the construction of a similar port either in Krabi or Samui.

Following the Cabinet meeting, Deputy Government Spokesperson Maj Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd disclosed that the ministers gave their approval to the plan to build more yacht and cruise ports in Thailand, with an aim of increasing connectivity with neighboring countries and promoting the Kingdom as a regional hub for yachting.

According to the Marine Department, Thailand currently has 11 yacht marinas, both in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, with a combined capacity of 2,000 boats. Nonetheless, most of them can only welcome small-sized yachts. The department also cited 33 additional areas as potential locations of yacht marinas and a survey is being conducted on the opinions of local residents in those areas.

As for cruise ships, Maj Gen Sansern noted that only the Bangkok Port, Laem Chabang Port and Phuket Deep Seaport have the capacity to handle such large vessels. However, all three have been mainly occupied by cargo ships.

Therefore, the Cabinet was supportive of the upgrade of Phuket Deep Seaport so as to attract more cruise ships and tourists, given the fact that Thailand is situated on the international cruise route.

In addition, the Deputy Government Spokesperson revealed that the government is considering setting up a new cruise port in Krabi province or Samui Island of Surat Thani province, depending on which location is more suitable. The Prime Minister emphasized that the decision will have to be made by the end of September.

RID is ready for the large scale water resource management project

BANGKOK, 28 July 2015, (NNT) The Royal Irrigation Department (RID) is ready to proceed with large-scale water management projects, once they obtain Cabinet approval.

RID Director-General Lertwiroj Kowattana made the announcement after a department official suggested the Prime Minister invoke Section 44 to expedite the RID's projects. Such projects include the construction of Mae Wong Dam, reservoirs along the Mekong, Loei, Chi, and Mun rivers, and a dam in Phitsanulok province.

The RID chief said the idea is merely a personal opinion and does not reflect the position of the organization as a whole. He added the department has clear and transparent steps when initiating such large-scale projects, which include conducting related studies and proposing the project to the Environment Council and the Cabinet for approval.

Mr. Lertwiroj stated his department would be ready to proceed with the aforementioned construction projects, once the Cabinet gives the green light.

Water shortages in Thailand less severe now due to rainfall

BANGKOK, 28 July 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Interior has said water shortages in Thailand have become less severe thanks to the recent rainfalls.

Interior Minister General Anupong Paojinda said water levels in various dams have gradually increased following weeks of precipitation.

He said the situation will gradually improve as more rain has been predicted for next month. More water will also be released to revive parched farmlands.

The minister added that the career program would remain in place for farmers, in line with the cabinet’s resolution.

He also cited the need for Thailand to have an additional dam, but more importantly, he claimed, the public need to understand how necessary it is now to build Mae Wong dam.

In the meantime, the Royal Irrigation Department is urging the government to wield its power through Article 44 of the interim constitution, authorizing the construction of the dam through section 44

Meanwhile, Advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Air Chief Marshal Boonrit Kerdsook paid a visit to Bungkan province to observe the water management project in Siwilai district and to boost morale of the soldiers helping to repair roads and improve waterways.

MOAC promoting multi-purpose farmland

BANGKOK, 28 July 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives is promoting the development of multi-purpose farmland to boost farm productivity.

Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives Chawalit Chukajorn revealed during a meeting on the multi-purpose farmland development that 263 plots of land have been chosen to undergo transformation.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperative is planning to produce 28 types of farm goods under this project. Livestock and crop farming as well as aquaculture are expected to be carried out within the same compound.

A seminar will be held in mid-August by the Office of Agricultural Economics to train 252 farmers, who will learn how to increase the productivity of their farm and to manage their farmland.

Thailand and Israel sign medical cooperation agreement

BANGKOK, 28 July 2015 (NNT) -The Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital and Israel's Hadassah Medical Organization have signed an agreement for academic cooperation on elderly diseases.

The signing ceremony was attended by Deputy Foreign Minister Don Poramudwinai, Thai ambassador in Tel Aviv Angsana Sihapitak and Israeli ambassador to Thailand Simon Roded.

Both nations have been exchanging medical knowledge since 2013. The Thai embassy in Tel Aviv, who initiated the cooperation, has invited medical personnel from the Hadassah Medical Organization to discuss and share their views on the subject at Ramathibodi Hospital today and tomorrow.

They will also observe medical services for the elderly and meet with hospital executives on the following day.

MOU signed with Singapore's SPI to develop specialists in qualifications reference

BANGKOK, 28 July 2015 (NNT) The Department of Skill Development has signed a memorandum of understanding with Singapore Polytechnic International Pte. Ltd. for a project to develop specialists in ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework (AQRF).

Nakorn Silpa-archa, permanent secretary to the Ministry of Labour, presided over the MOU signing, paving the way for the development of personnel of the Department of Skill Development, Thailand Professional Qualification Institute, Office of the Education Council, Office of the Vocational Education Commission and Office of the Higher Education Commission. Under the program the said personnel will be trained to become proficient in referencing workers' skills in accordance with Thailand's national qualifications framework as well as ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework.

According to Mr. Nakorn, this capability will contribute to the mobility of skilled workers after the ASEAN Economic Community comes into being at the end of the year. The collaboration between the Department of Skill Development and SPI will be undertaken during 2015 and 2018.

CP All announces results from 12th 'Seven Book Awards' contest for works of literature

BANGKOK, 28 July 2015 (NNT) CP All Plc. has announced the results of the 12th 'Seven Book Awards' contest for works of literature.

According to CP All chairman, Korsak Chairasmisak, the 'Seven Book Awards' provided a stage for the development of quality writers for the Thai literary circle. The contest also spurred readers' creativity and imagination by exposing them to new works of writing. This year's winning works of writing were fresh in ideas presented through intriguing viewpoints. Consequently, their readers will be drawn in and will want to finish the books.

For all seven the categories of awards, 348 works in total were submitted to the contest. The winning works of writing will receive plaques bestowed by Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

Those interested in reading the award-winning books can purchase them at leading bookstores and 7-11 convenience stores.

Talks holds seminar on development projects of Laem Chabang Fishing Pier

CHONBURI, 28 July 2015, (NNT) Laem Chabang Fishing Pier in Si Racha District of Chonburi Province yesterday held a seminar discussing the its future development projects.

According to the Port Managing Director, Lieutenant Sutthinan Hattawong, the volume of goods exported from Laem Chabang Fishing Pier has grown 7 percent in the first 9 month of this fiscal year, but the value has dropped thanks to the weaker baht.

He expected the port's growth to be in the range of 6-7 percent this year, generating 8 billion baht of revenue exclusive of ship docking fees.

The port is planning to expand the road leading to the pier from 4 lanes to 14 lanes. The project is expected to be completed at the end of next year.

His agency also plans to increase its rail logistics capacity from 500,000 to 1,000,000 containers a year. The project is estimated to cost 30 billion baht. Laem Chabang Fishing Pier also has a plan to significantly expand its auto export capacity, which is currently at 2 million units annually, the port Managing Director added.

Thai and Cambodian Buddhists offer alms to monks along Chanthaburi - Phratabong border

CHANTHABURI, 28 July 2015, (NNT) Thai and Cambodian Buddhists yesterday offered alms to 105 monks along the Chanthaburi - Phratabong border ahead of Asanha Bucha Day and Buddhist Lent Day at the end of this month. The event helps tightening the bonds between the people of both nations.

The 105 monks participating the event were from both Thailand and Cambodia. The event was organized at the permanent check point in Pong Nam Ron District.

The Thai - Cambodian annual alms-offering event, held right before the Buddhist Lent Day, gives an opportunity for the locals from both countries living along the border area to engage in religious activities together.

More importantly, the event forges stronger ties between the residents of the two nations, welcoming the arrival of ASEAN Economic Community at the end of this year.

PM Prayut reveales more about upcoming Cabinet reshuffle

BANGKOK, 28 July 2015 (NNT) The Prime Minister has affirmed that no politician will be asked to join his government in the upcoming Cabinet reshuffle.

According to Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the planned shake-up of the Cabinet is not being driven by social pressure. He said that such a change is needed because it will work.

The PM stated that he will personally make all the decisions in the reshuffle, which will take into consideration such factors as suitability, age and health condition.

He added that the actual reshuffle would likely take place when the government’s term hit the one-year mark.

When asked about rumours that Advisor to the PM, Somkid Jatusripitak, will joint the next Cabinet line-up, Gen Prayut said that remains just what people think while assuring that no politician will ever be joining his government.

He went on to say that all ministers have been working hard although he feels that economic ministers have been criticised only because economic problems still continue unresolved.

Government assures new copyright law aimed at protecting online media

BANGKOK, 28 July 2015 (NNT) The government has assured that the new copyright law has been designed to protect all online media beginning next week.

According to Deputy government spokesman Maj Gen Sunsern Kaewkumnerd, the activation of the amended Copyright Act B.E. 2558, which will take place on August 4, is aimed at protecting all who have created any work which is distributed online.

Maj Gen Sunsern said that such an intention is decided in order to go in line with the public behaviour that has centered around online media.

He added that the previous version of the law did not clearly specify the punishment clauses for those found guilty of violation of the code.

For instance, social network users who intentionally edit any photograph or video clip of other people and claim those works to be theirs for commercial purposes will be punished by the amended law.




Back to Main Page

MOPH warns of leptospirosis amid raining season

Bueng Kan facing floods after incessant rains

Workers from Myanmar, Laos & Cambodia allowed to be ship technicians

Deputy PRD Director-General among 162 Thai Idol awardees

More Thai antiques to be sent back from the U.S.

Residents along Mekong River warned of bank erosion

Police to impose Article 44 on motorcycle gangs

Government thanks retail stores for maintaining prices of goods

Pathum Thani and Yasothon hold activities welcoming Buddhist Lent

ASEAN, UK bolster cooperative relations

US Ambassador hails Party leader US visit

Vietnam celebrates 20-year membership with ASEAN

Chiang Mai Zoo congratulates Lin Ping on new born twin baby pandas

PM instructs officials to employ farmers affected from drought

Bike for Mom rehearsal in Bangkok on August 2 to start at 6 AM

The Assisted Reproduction Act goes into effect today

Deputy PM urges Thais to use correct Thai language

Vocational Market ends with overwhelming support

Army Chief orders tighter security in Deep South during Buddhist Lent

NRC hears report on consumer protection reform

81% of water well-drilling projects nationwide completed

Saraburi locals snap up budget meals offered by cavalry mobile restaurant

Uthai Thani shows sluggish consumer spending during Buddhist lent

General Udomdej visits the South, voices opinion on the U.S. TIP report

Samut Sakhon fisheries defend industry after Thailand receives Tier 3

Thailand & Myanmar lift visa requirements for each other's visitors

BMA proposes restoration plan for inner Bangkok

Heavy rain brings down trees in North East of Thailand

High-speed train project made significant progress

Sheikhul Islam Office holds seminar on minority Islamic groups in ASEAN

Thailand-Myanmar 8th JC meeting came to a close

RID Director-General observes canal dredg operations in Chai Nat

NBTC: digital TV broadcasters will not need to close down

27 Chao Phraya water basins dredged to ease drought

NRC approves report on public healthcare reform

Cabinet extends free bus, train scheme for 3 more months

CDC agrees on reform mobilization committee to succeed NRC

Chonburi province strengthens measures on illegal entertainment venues and street racing

Anti-tobacco network supports Tobacco Control draft act

Cabinet agrees to develop Phuket port for handling cruise ships

RID is ready for the large scale water resource management project

Water shortages in Thailand less severe now due to rainfall

MOAC promoting multi-purpose farmland

Thailand and Israel sign medical cooperation agreement

MOU signed with Singapore's SPI to develop specialists in qualifications reference

CP All announces results from 12th 'Seven Book Awards' contest for works of literature

Talks holds seminar on development projects of Laem Chabang Fishing Pier

Thai and Cambodian Buddhists offer alms to monks along Chanthaburi - Phratabong border

PM Prayut reveales more about upcoming Cabinet reshuffle

Government assures new copyright law aimed at protecting online media



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