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Thailand needs stricter law to keep illegal fishing under control

BANGKOK, 7 July 2015 (NNT) The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has suggested that the Thai government undergo a legal reform in order to raise the standards of the fishing industry.

FAO Senior Fishery Officer Simon Funge-Smith said in a seminar on the future of the fishing industry in Thailand that similar issues occurring around the world are due to the lack of legal punishments and attention to illegal unreported and unregulated fishing.

Mr. Smith cited the need to legislate a law to specifically deal with fisheries-related issues. He added, however, that the drafting process of the law can’t be rushed in order to ensure there is no room for mistakes.

The government should also pay attention to improving human resources in the fisheries industry and be determined to solve the ongoing problems. It also needs to have a good policy in order to mirror the positive image of the Thai fishing industry to the global community.


PM mourns loss of 5 military officers in Surat Thani

BANGKOK, 7 July 2015 (NNT) Prime Minister Prayut Chan-Ocha expressed condolences to the families of five on-duty military officers, who were killed in a traffic accident on Monday.

The five officers lost their lives when their van collided with a pickup truck in Surat Thani’s Khiri Ratthanikhom district. They were escorting another officer’s vehicle after their visit to the joint Mobile Development Unit 46 of the Armed Forces Development Command in the province.

The driver of the pickup truck lost control of his vehicle while making a turn on the Surat Thani-Takhua Pa Road and struck the military van in a head-on collision.

The premier expressed sadness that the military officers were killed while on duty and their service to the country will be remembered.


NSM holds ASEAN high school science fair

PATHUM THANI, 7 July 2015, (NNT) The National Science Museum (NSM) and Ministry of Science and Technology are co-organizing the first ASEAN high school science fair, promoting Thailand as an international stage for academic science.

The contest pits high school students from seven ASEAN member countries against each other for the best science fair project. The event, which is being held at the NSM building in Pathum Thani province, kicked off yesterday and will go on until Friday.

NSM Vice President Aphiya Hathayatham said the contest would strengthen and spark interest in science among high school students in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, and Laos.

During the five-day event, 110 students and teachers from the seven nations will spend time together, participating in scientific activities and competing against one another.

The contest will determine the best projects in the categories of Physical Science, Biological Science, and Innovation. Winners will be given cash prizes and certificates from the organizers.


BAAC to give 60 billion baht loan to farmers

BANGKOK, 7 July 2015 (NNT) The Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC)has prepared 60 billion baht to give out as loans to farmers to boost farm productivity.

According to Finance Minister Sommai Phasi,the 60 billion baht loan program is meant to help farmers affected by water shortages. The first 30 billion baht will be given to the farmers as a one-year loan.

The interest rate of 4% will be applied for the first 9 months. However, no interest will be incurred on for the remaining 3 months.

The Finance Minister added later that the second portion would be given out on a three-year basis with an interest rate of 7%. The BAAC is expected to seek approval for the program from its board of executives on July 13th.


NBTC warns of bogus NBTC staff trying collect personal documents

BANGKOK, 7 July 2015 (NNT) TV viewers are being warned against a bogus distribution of digital TV coupons, as the next round has yet to be approved by the National Broadcasting Telecommunication Commission (NBTC).

The NBTC has received reports of a third party claiming to represent the organization. They have allegedly been telling people they would bring a digital TV set top box to the latters' homes in exchange for a copy of homeowners' ID cards and house registrations.

According to the NBTC, no coupon has so far been given out to anyone, as the agency is still trying to collect public opinions through regional surveys at present.

People are encouraged to report to the NBTC immediately by calling 1200, its hotline number, if they come across anyone posing as its staff and asking for their personal documents.


Military court agrees to free 14 student activists

BANGKOK, 7 July 2015 (NNT) Bangkok’s military court has agreed to free all 14 student activists, who have been detained since their arrest on June 26.

The students were court-martialed and will remain in detainment at Bangkok Remand Prison until the court specifies the time of their release on Tuesday.

The university students were arrested on the charges of sedition and violating the government's ban on political gatherings for holding a rally in Bangkok.

International organizations including the UN and EU, as well as local activist groups, had previously called the government to release the students and drop the charges filed against them for holding a peaceful rally.


Police arrest 17 more suspects connected to human trafficking

BANGKOK, 7 July 2015, (NNT) Deputy Chief of Royal Thai Police Police General Aek Angsananont has reported that another 17 suspects were arrested in connection with Rohingya human trafficking.

Pol. Gen. Aek said currently, 72 human trafficking suspects are being prosecuted, with another 46 still at large. Police collected a testimony from one of the ten eyewitnesses in the Rohingya human trafficking cases. The Deputy Police Chief added that officers recently seized 72 million baht in assets belonging to human traffickers.

Meanwhile, Minister of Justice General Paiboon Koomchaya has assigned the Department of Special Investigation and the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security as the main agencies handling human trafficking-related cases. Several related units will assist with the investigations, and the court is expected to establish a new division dedicated to human trafficking trials.

Charge d'affaires ad interim at U.S. Mission Thailand W. Patrick Murphy yesterday met Industry Minister Chakkamon Phasukwanit to discuss the current human trafficking situation in Thailand. Minister Chakkamon reassured the American diplomat that the government has put in place a strict policy to deal with the issue, especially in regards to both Rohingya human trafficking and illegal fishing labor.


Authorities to maintain current measures for contagious diseases

BANGKOK, 7 July 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Public Health is maintaining current measures put in place to limit any spread of communicable diseases, despite Thailand no longer having any MERS patient.

Minister of Public Health Rajata Rajatanavin visited Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok on Monday to inspect the anti-MERS and anti-Ebola measures in place at the hospital, which recently cared for Thailand's only MERS patient until his recovery. The minister found that measures to prevent communicable diseases had been systematically implemented, and hospital personnel were following precautions against communicable diseases.

According to Dr. Rajata, the Ministry of Public Health is expanding its cooperation with private hospitals nationwide to increase the efficiency in preventing communicable diseases at tourism hot spots. Every hospital will need to prepare an isolation room to prevent the spread of contagious diseases. He said the measures in place will be continuously maintained, and awareness of diseases will continue to be raised among the public. Screening of persons traveling from countries of outbreak will also be carried out.


Army chief admits current round of drought difficult to keep at bay

BANGKOK, 7 July 2015 (NNT) The government has been relentlessly working to curb the effects of the drought and provide assistance to afflicted people, but the current round of drought is too difficult to keep at bay, according to Deputy Minister of Public Health Udomdej Sitabutr.

According to General Udomdej, who is also commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Army, Army personnel have been constantly sent to areas afflicted by drought, mainly to dig artesian wells, dredge waterways and to make improvement to various water sources. Ang Thong province is a focal point where the military is primarily occupied with digging groundwater wells.

Gen. Udomdej said the army was also liaising with the government's Damrong Tham centers over the drought mitigation measures. He admitted, however, that it was difficult to curb the current round of drought.


Two of nine authorized nano-finance lenders have started issuing loans

BANGKOK, 7 July 2015 (NNT) Government Spokesperson Major General Sansern Kaewkamnerd has said two of the nine entities authorized by the government to provide nano-finance loans have already started issuing the loans to members of the public,

According Maj. Gen. Sansern, the two lenders comprise a daughter company of Srisawad Power 1979 Plc. and non-bank lender ThaiAce Capital Co. Ltd. The former has so far issued nano-finance loans worth 250,000 baht to 32 borrowers whereas the latter has issued 370,000 baht of loans to 18 borrowers. The amount of loans is expected to grow as soon as the rest of the authorized lenders finish setting up their systems and more businesses become licensed to provide the nano-finance loans. There are around nine more businesses waiting to be issued their license.

The nano-finance loans is a government initiative to improve low-income individuals' access to funds. Under the scheme, non-bank companies authorized by the Ministry of Finance may provide loans up to 100,000 baht each to individuals who could not borrow from banks due to their lack of collateral. The interest charged by these firms, inclusive of fees, must not exceed 36% per year.


Increase in taxi fares postponed

BANGKOK, 6 July 2015 (NNT) A plan to raise taxi fares has been postponed.
The Transport Ministry will delay the planned second phase adjustment of taxi fares.
Transport Minister, Air Chief Marshal Prajin Jantong announced that in an effort not to burden the general public, previous plans to raise taxi fare rates by 5% in the second phase in July, are being postponed for now.
On July 13th, ACM Prajin will present to cabinet, a plan to extend the period of free bus services and a similar train program due to end on July 31st, to continue them instead for another 3-6 months, to help lighten people's living expenses burden.


Monsoon influence expected to cause heavy rain from late July

CHIANG MAI, 6 July 2015 (NNT) The Northern Meteorological Center is expecting a dry spell during early July, while monsoon winds could cause heavy rains from late July until December, with the potential of floods.

The Northern Meteorological Center has issued a weather forecast for the rainy season, saying due to the weak southwestern monsoon wind across the Andaman Sea that may pass into southern China. This has caused the Meteorological Center to predict continued low precipitation in Thailand, which is already suffering from the lack of water for cultivation.

The monsoon is expected to grow stronger during late July to September. As the monsoon travels through the northern part of Thailand, heavy rains will be expected in most parts of the country and may even lead to flash floods and landslides in some areas.

The high pressure winds from China will expand periodically to eventually cover the upper part of the north and the northeastern region of Thailand. The monsoon will move down to the upper southern region and change to the northwest monsoon wind covering the Gulf of Thailand and the southern region. These conditions will cause lower precipitation and lower temperature in the upper part of Thailand, while the southern region will still be seeing heavy rains, especially on the eastern side.

It is expected that the rainy season will end by mid October for the upper region of Thailand, while the south will continue to experience rainfalls until late January, and especially during November to December.

The public should closely monitor weather conditions and authorities' forecasts, especially from August to September when it is flood prone. Tropical cyclones could form and move near or through Thailand, with accompanying effects such as strong winds, downpours, and heavy rains in some areas.


Greek referendum result has no impact on Thai economy, Finance Minister confirms

BANGKOK, 6 July 2015 (NNT) Finance Minister Sommai Phasi confirmed the outcome of the Greek referendum to reject the terms of an international bailout had no impacts on Thai economy.

His confirmation came after he presided over the launching of the THB500m SMEs Private Equity Trust Fund on Monday.

He explained that 76 per cent of Greece's debts were held by Eurozone, the European Central Bank and the IMF. Another 24 per cent were held by commercial banks.

The first portion of Greece’s debts, worth US$1,700m., was equal to 1 per cent of Thailand's foreign exchange reserves, he added.

He said the estimated 7 per cent economic growth of China was more important for Thailand as the country's economy has more influence on Thai economy than the Greek one.

He advised Thai people consume news and information from social media in a mindful manner.

According to him, despite less export revenue, Thai economy is not in recession as its imports have also lowered and helped the country keep its positive balance of trade.

The government, he reiterated, has provided assistance measures for sectors affected by the drought disaster.

He also revealed that the Finance Ministry has already nominated a new governor of the Bank of Thailand and the name is possibly proposed to the cabinet meeting tomorrow or later in the next meeting.


PM satisfied with operations to regulate ent. venues

BANGKOK, 6 July 2015 (NNT) Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has commended administrative and national security officers for taking actions against illegal entertainment venues. Gen. Prayut called on all sides to help reduce vices in the society.

Deputy Government Spokesman Sansern Kaeokamnerd on Monday said the premier was satisfied with the national police bureau’s policy to regulate the entertainment venues operating beyond legal operating hours. Gen. Prayut however expressed concerns over entertainment venues near academic institutions since they might be the locations where young people used drugs, Maj.Gen. Sansern said.

The PM also praised the Sara Buri provincial governor who worked with administrative and national security officers in tackling the entertainment venues which allowed young people under 20 years of age to enter. He urged other provincial administrations to apply the governor’s guidelines in protecting the nation’s adolescents.


LPG price pegged at 23.96 baht/kg in July

BANGKOK, 6 July 2015 (NNT) The Committee on Energy Policy Administration (CEPA) has decided to keep the retail price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) unchanged for this month at 23.96 baht per kilogram.

Following the latest meeting of CEPA, Minister of Energy Narongchai Akrasanee revealed that the meeting acknowledged a decline in the LPG price in the world market from 419 US dollars per ton in June to 407 dollars this month. Nonetheless, he said a resolution was passed to not reduce the domestic retail price in line with the global rate but to maintain it at 23.96 baht per kilogram. The move was aimed to allow for the payment of the price difference to the State Oil Fund.

As a result, the contribution to the Oil Fund from LPG sales will increase 12 satang to 1.07 baht per kilogram, equivalent to about 314 million baht each month. The fund is currently running a surplus of 7.39 billion baht.

Mr Narongchai added that the LPG price restructuring policy, which has been effective since February this year, has helped the country cut LPG imports to only 93,300 tons a month in May, almost half the amount imported in December last year. He also affirmed that the price restructuring will be completed within this year.


Turbulent seas keep fishermen ashore in Krabi

KRABI, 6 July 2015 (NNT) Fishery operators in the southern province of Krabi have been forced to dock their boats by strong waves as the weather bureau has warned the South and the East of stormy conditions until next week.

Authorities from Nopparat Thara Beach-Phi Phi Islands National Park in Krabi have put up red flags along the famous Ao Nang Beach and Nopparat Thara Beach in an attempt to caution locals and tourists against playing in the water during this period due to potential dangers from gusty winds and strong currents.

According to reports, a number of fishing boats in the area have been brought back to the shore after being faced with the unfavorable weather condition.

The Meteorological Department indicated that the southwest monsoon prevailing over the Andaman Sea, the South and the Gulf of Thailand will continue to gain strength from now until July 13. Such a condition is expected to cause an increase in rainfall or even thundershowers in many provinces in the South and the East, especially Chanthaburi, Trat, Ranong and Phang Nga.

With waves as high as 2-4 meters in both the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, the department encouraged public members to take extra precautions on the beach. Operators of small boats are also suggested to remain ashore for safety reasons.


Udomdej visits troops in Si Sa Ket and Surin to boost morale

BANGKOK, 6 July 2015 (NNT) Deputy Defence Minister Udomdej Sitabutr has paid a visit to troops operating along the Thai - Cambodian border.

It was the first visit by Gen Udomdej as the army chief to the border area under the jurisdiction of the Suranaree Force of the 2nd Army.

According to him, the visit is aimed providing moral support to soldiers stationed in Si Sa Ket and Surin, adding the Thai-Cambodian relations are well-maintained. Both countries have been cooperating to tackle the issues of illegal logging and drug-smuggling along the border.

Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong is also slated to pay an official visit to Thailand from July 10 to 12 in order to further deepen the relations between the two neighbouring countries. He is expected to attend the signing of the Amendment of Agreement on Border Crossing and the announcement on the opening of bilateral checkpoint An She as an international checkpoint.


PM congratulates winners of 2015 UNSPA award

BANGKOK, 6 July 2015 (NNT) Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha has offered his congratulations to the Thai agencies that received this year’s United Nations Public Service Awards (UNPSA).

The laureates included the Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health for its excellence in state project development through data dissemination, and Khonkaen Hospital for its support for gender equality.

The UN Public Service Awards has been held annually since 2008 to commemorate state agencies that have delivered quality service to the public throughout the year.


Community forest bill criticized by local communities

BANGKOK, 6 July 2015 (NNT) Representatives from Phang Nga province have delivered a letter to the National Reform Council (NRC) committee on natural resources and environmental reform, conveying their disapproval of the community forest bill.

The group argued that the current version of the bill hinders the management of community forests by local communities. They cited a stipulation in the bill that prohibits the establishment of community forests in protected zones, effectively negating the rights of communities that have long resided in the area for generations.

The group therefore called for the bill to be revised to truly reflect the country’s reform principles of facilitating citizen participation. They also asked that community forests laws remain separate from laws regarding protected forests and endangered species in order to prevent difficulties in legal interpretation.

The petition by the group is the most recent addition to the movement against the act. The bill has received criticism by community networks for stripping local communities the right to participate in the management of community forests.


Road collapses reported in many drought-hit provinces

BANGKOK, 6 July 2015 (NNT) The drought crisis has been blamed for major road collapses in Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani and other provinces. No one was killed or injured by the incidents.

Sections of up to 88 roads in Pathum Thani collapsed after canals in many areas dried up. Roads in Nong Suer and Klong Luang districts sustained the most damage, as canals run alongside most roads. Motorists are urged to avoid these roads and exercise caution while driving. The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation unit has carried out repair work on 27 roads, and additional funds are being approved to re-open more roads for traffic.

In Ayutthaya, the drought caused water levels in canals around the province to hit record lows, resulting in road collapses. Late on Monday night, the road built along Praya Bunlue Canal collapsed further. The subsidence is over two meters deep and 100 meters long, rendering the road inaccessible for motor vehicles. The collapse followed another major road subsidence nearby, where the crack is almost three meters deep. The cracks are expected to grow without immediate repair.

The sharp drop of the water level in Rapeepat canal in Saraburi’s Nong Sua district has also caused heavy subsidence of a section of road beside the canal, resulting in the closure of the road to traffic.


Army Chief says arrest of 14 college students could prevent political violence

BANGKOK, 6 July 2015 (NNT) The Deputy Defense Minister has insisted that the government is nobody's enemy and everyone can express their political views as long as they do not break the law.

Army Chief and Deputy Defense Minister General Udomdej Sitabutr said the government had been gentle with 14 college students who have been detained after breaking the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)’s rules.

According to Gen. Udomdej, the government is not against anybody, and that the students are like children to them. He further added that it was important for the authorities to resort to using the law as these students had been told many times not to stage any protest.

He expounded that they had to be detained because their gathering would attract more protesters, which could lead to a massive demonstration and political violence.


Dept of Highways to make sure roads don't collapse

BANGKOK, 6 July 2015 (NNT) The Department of Highways is trying to restore within a week the road along Raphephat Canal that collapsed four meters deep on Saturday.

Transport Minister Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntonghas has instructed the Department of Highways to inspect the damage and have the road repaired and open to traffic in one week.

Regional units of the Department of Highways have also been told to survey the roads in their jurisdiction and make sure they are not prone to erosion, which is said to have caused the recent road collapse.

The Ministry of Transport will finance their mission to assure road security. Deputy Director of the Department of Rural Roads Manop Susing has revealed that roads in Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani and Saraburi that had collapsed have already been fixed and open to traffic.


RID holds interdepartmental meeting to assess water situation

BANGKOK, 6 July 2015 (NNT) The Royal Irrigation Department (RID) will convene a meeting today with ten agencies to assess the water shortage situation in the country.

According to RID Deputy Director General Suthep Noipiroj, the levels of rainfall as well as the amount of water expected to go to the reservoirs are two indicators these agencies will rely on to keep the water consumption under control.

If there is not enough precipitation to replenish water levels in the reservoirs, water released into the streams will be lowered to 28 million cubic meters until August.

Mr. Suthep added that, given the current situation, an estimated 850,000 rai of farmland would eventually be damaged due to the lack of water.

He expressed optimism that the extent of the damage would be limited, as more water supplies are expected to be transported to rice paddies that have already begun cultivation.


Seafood supplies in Yala not affected by fishing protest

YALA, 6 July 2015 (NNT) The amount of seafood for sale in Yala province has not been affected by an organized work stoppage of local fishing operators.

Shoppers continue to buy fresh seafood at markets in Mueang Yala district, while the prices have increased slightly. Seafood vendors said the work stoppage by fishermen had minimal impact to the supply of seafood in the province.

They said small boats did not join bigger fishing vessels, which were protesting against the government for not granting them a grace period, and have been leaving the shore to catch fish and crustaceans as usual.

However, seafood vendors reported that fish and crustaceans available in the market have been smaller since the protest. Only a few large ones were available in the market.


Songkhla lottery vendors continue to sell tickets at 80 baht apiece

SONGKHLA, 6 July 2015, (NNT) Government Lottery Office Chief Thanawat Polwichai and Songkhla administration officials yesterday held a random inspection on lottery vendors in the province. The inspection did not discover any lottery vendor selling tickets exceeding the mandated price of 80 baht apiece.

Each vendors bought tickets from the Songkhla administration office at 70.40 baht apiece. The office has prepared 3,220 stacks of tickets for its contract vendors, another 100 stacks for disabled vendors and 460 stacks for the provincial association of the blind.

Mr. Thanawat Polwichai stresses that vendors who sell tickets exceeding the regulated price would face punishment, which includes a fine of up to 10,000 baht.

The majority of the vendors are satisfied with the new policy, saying they still make income, but have asked for larger ticket quotas from the officials. Currently, each vendor only receives 5 - 10 stacks of tickets. Those who need more resort to purchasing stacks from other vendors.


Sisaket releases water to the drought affected farmlands

SISAKET, 6 July 2015, (NNT) The northeastern province of Sisaket released water for agricultural purposes to 3,000 rai of drought-affected farmland, after several water pumps were restored.

Sisaket Governor Yutthana Wiriyakitti, along with his entourage, yesterday visited the water distributing station in Rasi Salai district. The water pumps in the station were reportedly in a state of disrepair.

According to the officials, aside from the restoration, the province also install five new water pumps in the station to prevent rice that had already been planted in the drought-affected farmlands from withering.

The governor said the station uses an electric water pump that is now fully operational after his office dispatched a team of technicians to take care of the issue. He assured the public that the province would do all it can to help agriculturalists in their operation.


Prime minister urges fishing vessel operators to heed relevant laws

BANGKOK, 6 July 2015 (NNT) Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has urged fishing vessel operators to observe all relevant laws, in order to avoid negative consequences to consumers and exports of fishery products.

General Prayut indicated that any halting of fishing activity would have drastic effects on workers in the fishery sector, and thus he would like vessel operators to collaborate with all sectors to avoid impacting domestic consumption and exports. He also suggested that fishery associations merge into larger groups to make it easier for assistance measures to be provided and in order to allow workers of docked vessels to remain employed.

At the Bang Nak Market in Narathiwat City, seafood sellers said catch has dwindled after some fishermen in Pattani stopped going to sea and local fishermen were bringing in less fish than before.

At Khok Matum Market in Phitsanulok City, prices of seafood have gone up slightly correlating with the lowered amount of available catch, while marine fish has disappeared completely from the market. Consumers have also expressed their intention to forgo seafood consumption if prices continue to increase.


NRC’s Direk declined to comment on draft charter

BANGKOK, 5 July 2015 (NNT) A vice chairman of the National Reform Council’s committee in charge of the reform of politics has declined to comment on the details of the draft charter.

According to the NRC’s political reform committee vice chairman, Direk Teungfung, the adjustment of the draft Constitution has been going on smoothly, after he has been following up on the process carried out by the Constitution Drafting Committee.

Mr. Direk said that many issues have been adjusted although he still has some concerns because he has not seen all the details of the draft charter.

He added that the CDC has not made any statement about all the changes and that his knowledge on the changes was derived from news reports only.

Accordingly, he is unable to make any further comment on the charter changes.

’Nevertheless, Mr. Direck noted that the CDC should soon explain to the NRC all the changes it has made so that both will share common understandings about the progress.


Yala residents ready for the Feast of Breaking the Fast

BANGKOK, 5 July 2015 (NNT) Residents of southern Yala province are getting ready to celebrate Hari Raya, the Feast of Breaking the Fast.

Thai Muslim have been seen flocking to the trade district in the center of Yala province where families have been busy shopping for new clothes and accessories for the upcoming of the Hari Raya festival or Eid al-Fitr.

The festival, which celebrates the end of fasting, is scheduled to take place in fewer than 10 days.

Local merchants said that shopping has become lively since last Friday, when residents of several districts in the province traveled to select new personal belongings.

The Sheikhul Islam Office of Thailand has informed all Muslim to observe the moon on Thursday, July 16 after the sunset.

If the moon can be observed, the following day, which is July 17 will be the Eid al-Fitr day. But if the moon cannot be observed, the Eid al-Fitr day will instead be on July 18.


Provincial labour offices ordered to monitor fishing operators’ strike to prevent impacts on workers

BANGKOK, 5 July 2015 (NNT) The Department of Labour Protection and Welfare has instructed its branches in twenty-two coastal provinces to closely observe impacts on fish workers as a result of the strike by fishing operators.

Director-General Peeraphat Pornsirilertkit said the department has so far found no negative impacts on fishery workers. Trawler owners who are unable to take their boats out to the sea still pay their workers and provide other benefits on a usual basis.

Mr.Peeraphat said surveys on the welfare of affected workers will be conducted constantly to ensure that government assistance will reach all of them thoroughly.

For unregistered boats, Mr.Peeraphat stressed, fishing operators should register their vessels and equipment within the extended deadline of July 15 to meet the government’s new requirements being enforced. Only after the registration that their boats would be able to set sail again, the director-general said.


Lively crowd at last day Thai Teaw Thai event

BANGKOK, 5 July 2015 (NNT) The final day of the Thai Teaw Thai tourism event featured discounts on many tourism packages and services, attracting a large attendance the entire day.

Many people attended the last day of the 35th Thai Teaw Thai and the 2015 Thai Teaw Nok tourism expo at BITEC Bang Na exhibition center in Bangkok, to book and purchase tourism packages at exclusive discounted prices.

The event features more than 600 booths selling tourism packages and services from both Thai and international companies on hotel and resort reservations, tour packages, air tickets, traveling gear. Tourism services are on a special Green Season Sales discount period.

Most of the visitors were enthusiastic about booking packages for their holidays, and were attracted by the special packages that combined accommodation and tour activities in an attractive price range. Premium gift sets were provided to those purchasing the packages at a certain price as well.

Entrepreneurs at this event mentioned that the crowd in this year's event were spending more on weekend and national holiday bookings, when compared to previous years.

Tourism Police and officials have also set up their booths in this event to provide license verification to all tourism companies participating in this event, as well as answering all questions from the visitors.


MWA confirms raw water condition suitable for tap water production

BANGKOK, 5 July 2015 (NNT) The Metropolitan Waterworks Authority (MWA) Governor has confirmed the overall water condition still falls within the standard suitable for the production of tap water. The state enterprise is considering reducing water rates to help farmers who have been affected by sea water intrusion.

MWA Governor Thanasak Watanathana noted that currently the saltwater has moved deeper inland, and have at some point intruded into the Chao Phraya River to the Sum Lae pumping station in Pathum Thani province where raw water is distributed to the MWA for tap water production.

He said that despite the higher sea water level, the overall water quality is still acceptable for use in tap water production. Moreover, the Chao Phraya River is now receiving fresh water from the Bhumibol, Sirikit, and Pasak dams at the combined amount of more than 700 million cubic meters per day.

He stated that there were no prospects for the water to turn brackish for the next 30 days. And after that period, more rain is expected from the royal rainmaking operations.

For farmers in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, and Samut Prakan who have been affected by sea water intrusion which prevents them from using the water from Chao Phraya River for cultivation due to the unusual level of salinity, the MWA Governor said that the MWA would offer them a discount in water fee at 8.50 baht per liter for the first 50 liters, and 10.50 baht for every liter exceeding that volume. So far 570 farmers have registered for the discount.

The MWA Governor also thanked the government and related sectors which have campaigned for the reduction of rice farming this year, and the farmers who have cooperated in water conservation.


Prachinburi holds 9th annual fruit fair

PRACHINBURI, 5 July 2015, (NNT) The central province of Prachinburi is currently holding its 9th annual fruit fair at the OTOP center in Muang District, featuring santol, rambutan, durian, and ornamental plants as well other OTOP items.

The event is being organized by the provincial administration office and the local administration office of Ban Phra Sub-district. Deputy Prachinburi Governor Somrirk Buayai, presided over the opening ceremony of the event, which attracted a large number of the locals.

The event is aimed at introducing an additional distribution channel for local fruit growers, OTOP manufacturers, while promoting the province’s famous santol to the public at the same time. The fair, which kicked off on Friday, will run until July 12.


Drought crisis abates in 27 provinces

BANGKOK, 5 July 2015 (NNT) The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation says drought problems in 27 out of 40 affected provinces have abated thanks to the efforts of different agencies.

According to Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Director-General Chatchai Promlert, 13 provinces across the country remain heavily affected by the prolonged dry season.

The situation in many provinces has eased as provincial interior offices, the military and related agencies mobilized their resources to come up with emergency measures, including the dispatch of water trucks to severely-affected communities, the survey of new water sources, the rain enhancement operations and the launch of discount product fairs, said Mr. Chatchai.

A low pressure trough which has reached The Gulf of Tonkin will cause rainfalls in the upper North and upper Northeast, while a southwestern monsoon will bring thundershowers to the western part of the North, the South and the central region during this period, the Department Chief added.

It is expected that the forthcoming cloudbursts will help alleviate the impact of the dry season.


Mobile Blue Flag Campaign organized in Trat Province

TRAT, 5 July 2015, (NNT) A mobile blue flag fair was held in Muang District of Trat Province yesterday, in which locals can purchase a number of essential items at discounted prices.

The campaign in Trat was jointly launched by the provincial administration office, the internal trade office, and the Trat Royal Thai Marine Corps.

Eggs, cooking oil, sugar and 5-kg bagged rice were on offer at 50 percent discount, whereas detergent, soap, toothpaste, shampoo, fish sauce, canned fish and instant noodle were available at 30 percent off the market price. A large number of the locals availed themselves of the offers.

According to officials, the campaign is part of the government’s efforts in assisting drought affected locals, adding that the mobile blue flag unit will also be held in 21 other sub-districts of Trat before July 23.


Thailand to host Workability Asia Conference 2015

BANGKOK, 5 July 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Social Development and Human Resources (MSDHS) and related agencies will be hosting the Workability Asia Conference 2015, focusing on the employment promotion for persons with disabilities.

Workability Thailand's Director Suporntum Mongkolsawadi has said that the Workability Asia Conference 2015 will be held in Pattaya, Chonburi on 8-10 July 2015 at Hilton Pattaya hotel. The conference will be organized by the MSDHS, the Ministry of Labour, the Public Relations Department (PRD), leading business groups, and other related agencies.

He has said that this conference will be attended by 350 academics and delegates from groups that represent persons with disabilities from all over Asia, to enhance business capabilities through the efficient management of human resources, which includes persons with disabilities. The cooperation would be extended to the ASEAN Community, where persons with disabilities' would be included into the regional workforce.

He has stressed however that this matter should not be regarded as the way to provide help to persons with disabilities, as they have equal rights to work and to contribute in businesses from the beginning, but the maximum utilization of human resources will in turn help improve the economy.

An exhibition showing HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s many contributions for persons with disabilities will also take place at this event, allowing attendees to learn from the model on how to promote the employment of persons with disabilities, providing them with more job opportunities.


Uthai Thani to drill more artesian wells in 8 districts

UTHAI THANI, 05 July 2015, (NNT) The province of Uthai Thani is planning to drill 17 artesian wells in all of the area’s 8 drought affected districts, according to Uthai Thani Governor, Somchai Lertpongpakorn.

The drilling, which is to kick off soon, is a joint operation between the provincial administration office and the Department of Groundwater.

The groundwater will be used for both consumption and other general purposes. Aside from the drilling, the governor said his office was planning to dredge the existing wells around the province which have been clogged up or damaged.

Two wells in Thap Than District will be dredged beginning in July, with 10 in more scheduled for Nong Sa Sub-district, said the governor, adding that the operation will be carried out in the area hardest hit first. He assured the residents that all of the 200 clogged wells will be up and running soon


Traffic closure expected for Red Line train construction

BANGKOK, 3 July 2015 (NNT) – The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has announced the permanent closure of the Kamphaeng Phet 6 Road section in Bangkok, in order to accommodate the construction of the SRT's Red Line railway.

The SRT declared the closure of a section of the Kamphaeng Phet 6 Road from under the Srirut Expressway underpass to the 11th kilometre post, to accommodate the construction of the foundation pile and the rail of the Red Line Bang Sue - Rangsit commuter train project from 6 July 2015.

700 meters of the road will be closed permanently from 6am as of 6 July 2015. The SRT is constructing a two-lane bypass road to link together the Kamphaeng Phet 2 and Kamphaeng Phet 6 road alleviate the congestion of daily traffic during construction.


Thai Parliament Museum holds a ‘Journey on the road to Thai democracy’ tour

BANGKOK, 3 July 2015 (NNT) - Thailand’s Parliament Museum is holding an educational tour to the various landmarks in Bangkok that are parts of the kingdom’s history on its journey towards democracy.

The program was conceived by the Office of the Secretariat of the House of Representatives. It is aimed at educating students and members of the civil service sector on how the country’s democracy formed shape through a visit to related museums.

The route takes visitors to the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall, Parliament House, King Prajadhipok Museum, the Thai Parliament Museum, the Thai Cabinet Museum, the Royal Thai Orders and Decorations Museum, Thailand’s Victory Monument, the October 14 Memorial Site, Thammasat University and the Bangkok National Museum.


Min of Interior urges integrated solutions for drought

BANGKOK, 3 July 2015 (NNT) – The Minister of Interior has urged all related agencies to join forces in solving the drought disaster with a focus on finding more water sources for consumption.

The Minister of Interior Gen Anupong Paojinda has revealed latest developments on the current drought situation in Thailand, stating that many provinces are still suffering from the drought, especially the 22 provinces in the Chao Phraya River Basin. The Prime Minister is especially concerned about the public affected by the drought.

He has said the Ministry of Interior and the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) have been appointed to assemble all related agencies' efforts to help farmers through the fair and inclusive water management at irrigation canals.

More groundwater wells will be drilled in flood affected areas as an initial response to provide more consumption water. Provincial governors have been urged to utilize their local mechanisms to create an understanding on the current water situation and the management plan among farmers, as well as to encourage them to adjust their farming plans in relation to the current water situation in their respective areas.

The DDPM Director-General Chatchai Promlert has said that the drought situation in 27 out of 40 provinces have improved. However, 5,366 villages in 13 provinces still suffer from the drought.

He ordered the related agencies to provide public relief through water by distributing for consumption and cultivation, while raw water will be supplied to the drought affected areas and machines will be mobilized to support disaster relief efforts. The construction of ponds, waterways, and the renovating the existing wells will also serve as a supporting mechanism to relay water to the areas that suffer from repeated droughts in 76 provinces.


NRC to conclude 37 aspects of reform by Aug 19

BANGKOK, 3 July 2015 (NNT) - The National Reform Council (NRC) Whip has indicated that all the 37 aspects of national reform will be completed by August 19 of this year, while the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) has invited all 18 NRC committees to participate in the drafting of organic laws.

According to NRC Whip Wanchai Sonsiri, the NRC has agreed to the establishment of a committee to formulate a 20-year national development plan, which incorporates reform agendas from both the National Council for Peace and Order and the NRC.

He also revealed that the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) was scheduled to present its progress on the second draft of the constitution to the NRC between August 3-7,and forward the completed version to the NRC on August 22. The NRC would then vote on September 7 whether to approve of the nation’s new constitution.

As for the drafting of organic laws that will accompany the new charter, the CDC has invited representatives from all 18 NRC committees to take part in the process in order for the organic laws to be completed at the same time as the new constitution.


Citizen’s group calls for revision of community forest bill

BANGKOK, 3 July 2015 (NNT) - A citizen’s group has submitted a petition to the National Reform Council (NRC) to revise the community forest bill to include local participation and ensure equal rights.

The citizen’s group for social justice argued that the bill would strip public participation from the management of community resources forests. The group asked that the draft community forest act be revised to promote local participation in the management of community forests under the principle of equal rights.

The group cautioned that if the reform body decides to proceed with the current version, then the group would be fully committed to opposing the legislation.


Thailand officially Mers-free after only patient declared cured

BANGKOK, 3 July 2015 (NNT) - Thailand is officially free of Mers as the country’s only patient has made a full recovery and is cured of the deadly virus.

Public Health Minister, Professor Dr. Rachata Rachatanavin said the 75-year-old Omani man who is the first confirmed case of Mers is fully cured and 176 people who have been in contact with him have also been cleared of the virus.

He elaborated that the patient has tested negative for the virus during the last 5 medical checks.

Dr Ratchata noted that Thailand and other countries are still at risk of a Mers outbreak due to a large number of tourist arrivals in the country and due to the kingdom’s position as a regional medical hub. Screening measures will continue to be implemented to prevent a possible spread.

In South Korea, the virus had killed 33 people so far and a total of 184 cases had been confirmed. Forty-two of those remain hospitalised with 12 in critical condition.


Rajabhat University network reverses decision to cut ties with SCBB

BANGKOK, 3 July 2015 (NNT) - The Rajabhat University network has reversed its decision to terminate financial dealings with Siam Commercial Bank following an urgent meeting with the bank’s executives.

The network had earlier announced that it would cut ties with the bank after a controversial online job ad specified that the bank would only recruit applicants from 14 leading universities on a given name list. The job ad drew criticism from the public and from universities whose names were not on the online list.

SCB executives held a meeting with the university network on Friday morning to clarify errors made in the job ad for the position of a financial advisor trainee and to apologize for any ill-will the ad has caused. They insisted a full-scale investigation into the incident had been launched.
Following the meeting, Rajabhat University has resolved to continue financial transactions with the bank and to establish future collaborations with the bank in a bid to produce graduates who meet the need of the job market.

SCB has insisted that all its branches are open for new graduates from all universities, and that the bank annually recruits around 2,000-3,000 new employees, several hundred of whom were graduates from Rajabhat University of different campuses.


Sukhumbhand: 'be glad for rain, water shortage much scarier'

BANGKOK, 3 July 2015 (NNT) – The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration is prepared to deal with the floods during this rainy season, addressing that the possible shortage of water is more concerning, says the Bangkok Governor.

M.R. Sukhumbhand stressed at a press conference that Thailand is currently faces prolong drought amidst lower than expected rainfall figures. The water levels in Bangkok's canals are considered very low, which might lead to the collapse of the shores along the canal and even roads, especially unofficial unpaved roads. M.R. Sukhumbhand reassured that responsible sectors had already been ordered to monitor the situation since the beginning of the year.

However, what’s more is concerning is that the low level of water also leads to the rise water saltiness, along with the low volume of water released from the dams' effects on farmers, especially in the Western side of the city or Krung Thon Buri. He said the BMA has prepared filtered water to be allocated to farmers in drought hit areas, so that they can water their plants.

M.R. Sukhumbhand added that he truly understands how the citizens of Bangkok feel during a heavy downpour and promised to drain the water as fast and as much as possible.

“We are facing drought situation, please be happy for the rain, because water shortage is much scarier” M.R. Sukhumbhand concluded.


MERS-CoV patient fully recovers, ready to go home

NONTHABURI, 3 July 2015 (NNT) – The Omani patient, the country’s first confirmed case of MERS-CoV, has made a full recovery and will be discharged from the hospital today.

Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute has allowed the patient and his three relatives go home, after lab tests confirmed his full recovery. Doctors also revealed the man’s heart problem had improved. They declared the patient is self sufficient and can now walk short distances.

Representatives from the Embassy of Oman will be visiting the institute to accompany the man and his relatives for departure back to their home country late this evening. So far, the number of confirmed MERS-CoV cases in the country remains at one.

Meanwhile, Advisor to the Disease-Control Department Professor Emeritus Dr. Prasert Thongcharoen said the country must maintain strong MERS-CoV prevention and control measures, despite the patient’s recovery.


Meningococcal disease outbreak kills 1 in Satun

SATUN, 3 July 2015 (NNT) - An outbreak of meningococcal disease has killed one patient in Satun province, prompting local health officials to remain on high alert.

22 locals who recently developed a fever are being monitored by provincial health units for a period of 20 days. Health officials who came in contact with those under surveillance have also been given medication to curb the spread.

A local school, where a student has been diagnosed with meningococcal disease, announced that the school will remain temporarily closed until further measures are implemented. The school is undergoing a thorough cleaning to prevent the contraction of the disease.

Meningococcal disease describes infections caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis. The bacteria spreads through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions. Symptoms can include sudden high fever, severe headache, nausea and drowsiness. The disease carries a high mortality rate if untreated, but can be prevented via vaccination.


 

DAILY UPDATE

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Thailand needs stricter law to keep illegal fishing under control

PM mourns loss of 5 military officers in Surat Thani

NSM holds ASEAN high school science fair

BAAC to give 60 billion baht loan to farmers

NBTC warns of bogus NBTC staff trying collect personal documents

Military court agrees to free 14 student activists

Police arrest 17 more suspects connected to human trafficking

Authorities to maintain current measures for contagious diseases

Army chief admits current round of drought difficult to keep at bay

Two of nine authorized nano-finance lenders have started issuing loans

Increase in taxi fares postponed

Monsoon influence expected to cause heavy rain from late July

Greek referendum result has no impact on Thai economy, Finance Minister confirms

PM satisfied with operations to regulate ent. venues

LPG price pegged at 23.96 baht/kg in July

Turbulent seas keep fishermen ashore in Krabi

Udomdej visits troops in Si Sa Ket and Surin to boost morale

PM congratulates winners of 2015 UNSPA award

Community forest bill criticized by local communities

Road collapses reported in many drought-hit provinces

Army Chief says arrest of 14 college students could prevent political violence

Dept of Highways to make sure roads don't collapse

RID holds interdepartmental meeting to assess water situation

Seafood supplies in Yala not affected by fishing protest

Songkhla lottery vendors continue to sell tickets at 80 baht apiece

Sisaket releases water to the drought affected farmlands

Prime minister urges fishing vessel operators to heed relevant laws

NRC’s Direk declined to comment on draft charter

Yala residents ready for the Feast of Breaking the Fast

Provincial labour offices ordered to monitor fishing operators’ strike to prevent impacts on workers

Lively crowd at last day Thai Teaw Thai event

MWA confirms raw water condition suitable for tap water production

Prachinburi holds 9th annual fruit fair

Drought crisis abates in 27 provinces

Mobile Blue Flag Campaign organized in Trat Province

Thailand to host Workability Asia Conference 2015

Uthai Thani to drill more artesian wells in 8 districts

Traffic closure expected for Red Line train construction

Thai Parliament Museum holds a ‘Journey on the road to Thai democracy’ tour

Min of Interior urges integrated solutions for drought

NRC to conclude 37 aspects of reform by Aug 19

Citizen’s group calls for revision of community forest bill

Thailand officially Mers-free after only patient declared cured

Rajabhat University network reverses decision to cut ties with SCB

Sukhumbhand: 'be glad for rain, water shortage much scarier'

MERS-CoV patient fully recovers, ready to go home

Meningococcal disease outbreak kills 1 in Satun

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