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Thailand & Laos discuss anti-human trafficking campaign

UBON RATCHATHANI, 9 July 2015 (NNT) Thai and international anti-human trafficking agencies have convened a meeting to discuss ways to bolster efforts against human trade along the border.

The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security’s Anti-Human Trafficking Division, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Alliance Anti-Trafic non-governmental organization met to discuss the progress of and obstacles to the anti-human trade campaign in Thailand’s Ubon Ratchathani province and Laos’ Champasak province.

According to the ministry, the trafficking of women and children usually involves some form of exploitation, while the trafficking of men generally results in forced labor in the fishing industry. Thai and Laotian authorities have continued to cooperate in solving these problems.

Aside from briefing these agencies on the progress of the anti-human trafficking campaign, the meeting is expected to expand the scope of collaboration between Thai and Laotian enforcement units, thereby boosting the efficiency of their operations.


Schools, private and public sectors collaborating to reduce use of plastic bags

CP All Plc. is collaborating with the Department of Environmental Quality Promotion (DEQP) and the Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC) to pilot a program promoting reducing the use of plastic bags.

According to Sakol Tinagul, deputy director-general of the Department of Environmental Quality Promotion, the use of plastic bags has a severe impact on the environment due to the bags being very difficult to degrade in nature. He said the problem with plastic bag stemmed from overuse and inappropriate disposal, and litter made up of plastic bags can now be seen everywhere. A sizable amount of trash can be avoided by reusing plastic bags, as well as reducing and refusing their use.

CP All and OBEC have shifted their focus onto the younger generation, instilling a new value on plastic bags and trash reduction.

Banyat Kamnoonwatana, an assistant vice president at CP All, indicated that the company has been cooperating with the DEQP to encourage people to use fewer plastic bags. The campaign was first attempted in its own convenience stores where customers were encouraged to turn down plastic bags for small items as well as cut back on the number of bags used to carry items from the store. The effort was then expanded in the form of a youth-centered project that promoted the reduction of plastic the use of bags at various schools. Most recently, the company has entered into collaboration with Yupparaj Wittayalai School in Chiang Mai. The company aims to forge more collaborations with schools nationwide in support of this worthy cause.

Voravat Tantranont, executive director of CHOICE Mini Store, said Chiang Mai is an important tourism destination and the province accommodates a large number of tourists. In order to keep the province clean and beautiful, he urges vendors, tourists and locals to refuse plastic bags if possible.

Meanwhile Phanida Wichaidit, director of the OBEC's work group on special projects, explained that the OBEC has a policy to encourage Thai youths to reduce plastic bag usage. The agency has until today continued to support this endeavor amid efforts to reform education. Emphasis has been placed on the improvement of students' quality of education and environment.

CP All's volunteer club has also been collaborating with Chiang Mai City Hall to encourage merchants, locals and tourists in the vicinity of Warorot Market and elsewhere in the province to reduce the use of plastic bags.


Chiang Mai experiences worst drought crisis in 20 years

CHIANG MAI, 8 July 2015 (NNT) Chiang Mai is experiencing the worst drought crisis in two decades, with dams expected to last until August.

According to the report, there is only 12 percent of water left at Mae Kuang Udom Thara Dam or 31.9 million cubic meters. The second major dam, Mae Ngat Somboon Chon Dam, has only 57 million cubic meters of water left. Most of the remaining water will be used to produce tap water for the entire province.

Around 38,000 cubic meters is used daily to produce tap water for public consumption. Chiang Mai needs about 15 million cubic meters of water monthly. Only 47 million cubic meters can be released into the streams or for other public purposes.

The Royal Irrigation Department said the water levels in these two dams would be enough to sustain daily consumption in the province until August, if there were no more rain.

The water levels in the Ping River have declined by as much as 75 percent. The water situation has prompted authorities to call it the worst drought crisis the province has seen in two decades.


Pathum Thani holds a practice race for the Bike for Mom event

PATHUM THANI, July 2015, (NNT) Pathum Thani Deputy Governor Piboon Hattakitkosol yesterday led 200 cyclists in a race preparing for the upcoming Bike for Mom 2015 event, which is scheduled on August 16 nationwide.

The Deputy Governor said the biking campaign provides residents a chance to express their love for their mother and Her Majesty the Queen.

The race will start at City Hall, passing the province's various historic sites. The route has a total distance of 38 kilometers. Mr. Piboon said during the race, the province would also hold a ceremony to release 830,000 fish into the wild and a tree-planting activity.

Mr. Piboon said that preparations for the actual race are almost complete. 4,000 cyclists have already registered for the event. Those interested can still register from now until July 24 at the province's City Hall.


Uttaradit fully ready for "Bike for Mom”, 500 applicants in first 3 days

UTTARADIT, July 2015 (NNT) Uttaradit Province is fully ready for the “Bike for Mom” rally which will take place across the country on August 16 from 3 p.m. onwards, according to Uttaradit Deputy Governor Suchart Teerawongpitak.

The cycling event is to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s 83rd birthday anniversary on Aug 12th this year. It has gained high attention from local bikers with more than 500 people already applying in the first three days of registration in the province.

Mr.Suchart said he expected more than ten thousand participants by the end of the registration.

For security and safety of participating bikers, the province has cooperated with local police and the military to take care of the issues including traffic flows during the rally.

The rally starts from the Phraya Phichai Dab Hak Monument located by the Provincial Hall and then heads to Lab Lae District before returning to the finish line at the Hall. On the way, participants will pass Mueang Laplae Museum, and Phra Thaen Sila Ard Temple, making a distance of 35 kilometers in total. Apart from the cycling event, the province has also planned many activities around the provincial hall in honor of Her Majesty the Queen.


OCAC selects Krabi and Ratchaburi as Contemporary Art Cities

BANGKOK, July 2015 (NNT) The Office of Contemporary Art And Culture (OCAC) is set to promote the Krabi and Ratchaburi provinces as Contemporary Art Cities, to establish a new tourist attraction with the hopes to draw more income to the local people.

The OCAC Director-General Chai Nakhonchai has revealed that the OCAC has chosen Krabi and Ratchaburi to be established as Contemporary Art Cities, according to the strategic plan to establish Contemporary Art City in Thailand in the 2016 fiscal year, in line with the government’s policy to create the new category of tourist destinations.

He has said that the OCAC will be using Kangawa Prefecture in Japan as the model city for the Contemporary Art City development, and will be inviting tourism officials from Kagawa to discuss development guidelines in developing the Contemporary Art City cooperation plan. Krabi and Ratchaburi were selected due to both provinces' great potential in their strong local identities.

To achieve this plan, the OCAC will have to conduct an in depth analysis for each community's potential areas that can be developed using art. The OCAC will also create a database of artists and local leaders who can contribute to the development and hold discussions with the provincial entrepreneurs, shop and restaurant owners, and all tourist attraction owners.

The plan will also involves the creation of artworks and statues at key locations with focus on more than just creating landmarks to attract tourists, but to provide support to the local public's opportunity to study, appreciate, and to create their own artwork.

Community products will also require upgrades to enhance their uniqueness. A tourism route connecting the Contemporary Art Cities and their nearby cities would support the communities' economy, while a cooperative government and private agencies network will also be created, the OCAC Director-General has said.


MOPH launches farmer health clinics, as chemical-induced illnesses jump

BANGKOK, July 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) is pushing ahead with its plan to set up farmer health clinics in all district health promotion centers across the country to cope with the rapid jump of chemical-induced illnesses in farmers.

Public Health Minister Ratchata Ratchatanawin said the setting up of farmer health clinics countrywide was aimed at reducing health risks of agriculturists caused by chemical exposure and helping the sick ones. The clinics have been opened in nearly 20 percent of the district health centers.

Between 2010 and 2012, the number of farmers sickened by pest-control substances jumped by more than four times or from 1,800 to 8,000. Health effects of chemical exposure include eye and skin irritation, headaches, muscle pain, nausea and shortness of breath. Long-term exposure could lead to cancer, impotence and paralysis.

Meanwhile, the Disease Control Department has distributed handbooks giving farmers safety guidelines on use of pest-control substances.


Marine Department eyes new port in Chumphon

CHUMPHON, July 2015 (NNT) The Marine Department has voiced its interest in building a new port in the southern province of Chumphon to boost the transport system.

Director-General of the Marine Department Chula Sukmanop explained a new port in Chumphon province would shorten the sea route between the East and the South. While the distance from Chumphon to Laem Chabang Port in the eastern province of Chonburi is about 700 kilometers by car, the sea route between the two cities is much shorter. Thus marine transport should be further promoted due to its cost-saving aspect.

According to Dr. Chula, if Chumphon has its own port, goods from India, the Middle East or Europe which are destined for Laem Chabang Port in the East can be shipped to Ranong Port on the Andaman Sea and then be transferred to the port in Chumphon on the Gulf of Thailand where the goods can be sent to Laem Chabang port far more easily. Transport of South-bound shipments from the eastern port will be much more convenient accordingly.

The idea came as the Marine Department chief and the National Legislative Assembly’s committee in charge of transport paid a visit to the southern provinces of Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon and Ranong during July 4-5 to study the possibility of marine transport development there.


26th Skilled Labor Regionals being held nationwide

SUPHANBURI, 9 July 2015, (NNT) The 26th Regional Skilled Labor Competitions are currently being held across the Kingdom.

Suphanburi Skilled Labor Development Institute Region 2 and Songkhla Skilled Labor Development Institute Region 12 announced the event, which started yesterday and will conclude tomorrow.

The competitions promotes national industrial development, which demand a large number of skilled workers that are up to international standards. It is also expected to spark interest in vocational study among the younger generation, and demonstrate the importance of skilled labor occupations. The event is meant to pave the way for industrial development during the ASEAN Economic Community era.

Winners of the regionals will move on to compete in the national tournament. Both regional and national events are held once every two years.


Nong Bua Daeng, Chaiyaphum faces water shortage

CHAIYAPHUM, 9 July 2015, (NNT) The Chaiyaphum provincial administration office has been providing disaster relief to Nong Bua Daeng district, which is suffering from the ongoing drought crisis.

Officials have been drilling for more groundwater and transporting water to replenish dried-up wells to help locals cope with the water shortage.

The extended dry season has diminished resources for tap water production in Nong Bua Daeng over the past two months. The lack of rain has also intensified the damage, underlining the need for more wells.

The new wells and replenished water storage should be enough for tap water production until the rainy season arrives.

The province reported that six wells were recently dug, and has asked the public to use water sparingly.


More fishing boats are returning to the sea

BANGKOK, 9 July 2015 (NNT) Fish Marketing Organization Director Associate Professor Manop Kanjanaburangkoon said his organization has only been slightly affected by the stoppage of fishing vessels.

According to the Director, the Fish Marketing Organization has lost around 20% of its income since large fishing boats refused to go to work. Those directly hit, he added, are privately owned aqua businesses.

He stated that more fishing boats have now returned to the sea after an intervention by the Thai Overseas Fisheries Association and the National Fisheries Association of Thailand which successfully sought discussion with the government asking for relaxation of certain restrictions such as registration of steermen.

However, only fishing vessels considered to be entirely illegal are forbidden from joining commercial fishing at this time. Boat owners must quickly complete their registration so they can leave the shore again.


Central mosque in Yala holds a fair offering discounted goods welcoming the last 10 days of Ramadan

YALA, 9 July 2015 (NNT) The central mosque in Yala Province yesterday held a fair offering discounted religious garments for Muslims now in fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, which is coming to an end in 10 days.

The event was being organized by the mosque, local communities and business operators in the area. About 275 vendors offered various Islamic garments for men and women such as abaya, kapiyoh hat, muslimin and muslimah, to name a few. The fair was well-received by the public.

The organizers said the 5th annual event aims at boosting morale of the Muslims in fasting during the holy month as Ramadan which is coming to an end on July 15. Not only that the items being offered at the fair are crucial to the approaching Hari Raya Aidilfitri Day, these items can be donated to Muslims living in destitution as well.


PRD to provide live broadcast of Bike for Mom activity on August 16

BANGKOK, 9 July 2015 (NNT) The Public Relations Department is inviting all to take part in the 'Bike for Mom' nationwide activity on August 16 and is preparing to broadcast the event live.

According to the Department director-general, Apinan Juntarungsri, the Bike for Mom activity will be held in commemoration of Her Majesty the Queen's 83rd birthday anniversary. So far, 253,809 persons have registered online to participate in the activity. Of this number, 40,000 persons live in Bangkok and 213,809 persons will be partaking in the activity in their own provinces. Mr. Apinan revealed that a live televised broadcast will be provided starting at 3 pm on August 16.

Those interested may register at www.bikeformom2015.com until August 9. More information can also be acquired by dialing 1122, the hotline number.


PRD collaborating with UNESCO in planning workshop to promote constructive use of internet

BANGKOK, 9 July 2015 (NNT) The Public Relations Department is collaborating with UNESCO in planning a workshop that will promote constructive use of the internet.

According to PRD director-general Apinan Juntarungsri, that mass media-related collaboration with UNESCO is of paramount importance to the development of personnel and the country. Over the past year, the PRD has worked with UNESCO on two fronts, namely following up on relevant activities in Thailand and abroad, and publicizing articles related to UNESCO and activities of the various committees under UNESCO. Gender equality, World Radio Day and Press Freedom Day are some of the topics publicized.

The PRD has also been working with UNESCO to support media personnel development projects by mass media organizations. Especially of note is the support provided to the development of community-level media that service some 4,000 locales throughout the country, with the aim of promoting the roles of women and children in community radio operations.


Banana theft rampant in Phichit

PHICHIT, 9 July 2015 (NNT) More than 100 farmers in Phichit's Bung Na Rang District have fallen victim to banana thieves in just one month, in a development that puts more strain on the paddy farmers turned banana growers.

Police from Bung Na Rang Police Station yesterday inspected the many sites of banana theft in Laem Rang sub-district in response to multiple complaints recently lodged by locals that a large quantity of their bananas have been stolen. Some farmers have had their bananas stolen as many as 6-7 times this year. Locals said the thieves have been taking ripe bananas as well as banana blossoms and the leaves of banana trees.

According to Suan Sukyam, sub-district chief for Laem Rang Sub-district, banana theft has become a serious issue because bananas provide local farmers with their only source of income during the dry season. Recently, 7-8 farmers have been reporting banana theft per day on average, and the amount of unreported theft was also significant. In the past one month, some 100 banana growers have reported theft.

The police, banana growers, village headmen, sub-district administrations and volunteers from the villages are now holding joint patrols of banana plantations at night. Road checkpoints have also been set up to prevent theft of bananas and farming equipment. The checkpoints also serve another function as ones for officials conducting drug searches as well.


Former Education Min urges education reform

BANGKOK, 9 July 2015 (NNT) Thailand needs critical thinking rather than rote lessons in order to produce new graduates with skills, according to former Education Minister Jaturon Chaisaeng.

Former Education Minister Jaturon Chaisaeng said the eight subject groups currently taught in Thai schools should be overhauled. He also proposed a course elective system to allow students to focus more on subjects of their particular interest.

Mr. Jaturon added that more teachers in the fields of mathematics and science were needed to meet the demand for qualified practitioners. He urged the Ministry of Education to ensure the quality of universities that produce new teacher graduates.

In addition, Thailand also needs to have assessments in place to determine whether the universities in the country meet international educational standards.


Royal Thai Police investigating if a third party is trying to stop legal fishing boats from fishing

BANGKOK, 9 July 2015 (NNT) The Royal Thai Police Chief has launched an investigation into claims that an unnamed group is trying to prevent legal fishing boats from doing their job.

Royal Thai Police Chief Police General Somyos Poompanmuang said legal action would be taken if anyone was found to have cooked up a plan to interrupt commercial fishing as it would have a significant impact on the seafood industry.

In Chantaburi, fishermen are now able to return to the sea after remaining ashore for many days due to the monsoon. They said there will be more fish and crustaceans to catch at sea as there are currently fewer fishing boats out there.

They believe that the government’s efforts in promoting legal fishing will prevent unregistered fishing boats from intruding into others’ fishing territory.

In Chonburi, local fishermen have been made aware of the need to have their boats registered as part of the government’s campaign to crack down on illegal unreported and unregulated fishing. They are urged to visit Chonburi Provincial Fisheries Office for more information.


PM greets Thai students from the United States

BANGKOK, 8 July 2015 (NNT) Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha has urged Thai students studying in the United States to consider the country’s political reform situation in a positive light.

The Prime Minister greeted a group of Thai youths studying in the United States who are visiting Thailand and thanked their parents for promoting their ties with their home country.

He explained to the students that his government is striving to construct solid foundations for the country’s development by solving the country’s longstanding political, social and economic problems. He said the process will be in accordance to the reform roadmap and will result in a more transparent and democratic society.


Government satisfied with satellite learning programm

BANGKOK, 8 July 2015 (NNT) The Deputy Spokesperson of the Prime Minister’s office revealed that the long-distance learning program using DCTV satellites to reach classes in remote areas has been a success, citing an additional 15,369 schools have been reached in the past year.

Maj Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd revealed that the program in the past year has been able to reach over one million students, providing them with full class material. The number of schools reached has more than doubled since 2014, increasing from 6,628 to 15,369 schools nationwide.

He also revealed that the average National Test scores of Grade 3 students has increased by 3.12 percent, with math scores rising by 6.01 percent. Meanwhile the average scores of Grade 6 students has increased by 2.98 percent, with the highest increase being in social sciences at 11.66 percent.

Gen Sansern said the government considers the program a success based on the figures, crediting the higher average scores to the increased number of schools that provide distance learning.


Muslim leader in Yala admires Gov’t newsletter campaign

YALA, 8 July 2015 (NNT) An Islamic religious leader in Yala has expressed his satisfaction over the government’s recent initiative to issue newsletters for the public, while suggesting that the papers should include more public opinions to enhance its worthiness.

Former Vice President of the Islamic Committee of Yala Nimu Makaje has said that he has read the so-called ‘government newsletters’ issued every fortnight and would like to admire the government’s effort in this project.

He said the content in the newsletter is something that the public should be aware of, as they might be unable to catch important points that the prime minister tried to convey to the public in his televised broadcast every Friday. He said the newsletter would help readers revise the issues related to them. They might even seek clarifications on uncleared topics from government officials in their localities, leading to better relationship between them, the former Yala Islamic Committee Vice President said.

He advised that all content in the government newsletters should be based on the public’s agenda and help the public understand all the things the government is implementing. He asked that the newspaper print in bold letters the issues that would benefit the public directly.

He continued to say that the newsletters could prove truly beneficial if they allow readers to make feedback to the government, in a two-way communication style.

The religious leader also suggested the government to feature a Malay language section in the newspaper to cater for the people in the southern border provinces. The addition would help raise public understanding and cooperation in the southern border area, said Nimu Makaje.


Workability Asia Conference 2015 held in Pattaya

CHONBURI, 8 July 2015 (NNT) The Workability Asia Conference 2015 has taken place in Pattaya city in the eastern province of Chon Buri.

The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security and the network of disability organizations have jointly organized the “Workability Asia Conference 2015” to raise awareness in promoting work and employment opportunities in the society for persons with disabilities.

Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security Mr. Vichien Chavalit chaired the opening of the conference under the theme "Together We Can Make the Difference” which focused on improving disabled persons skills and working capabilities in line with the demand of the labor market. The conference also aimed to raise disabled person’s employment rate in the market on national, regional and international levels through an effective management system for human resources and employment of people with disabilities.

The Permanent Secretary revealed that this conference was possible thanks to strong cooperation from all related sectors that share the same goal in empowering persons with disabilities on various levels which is in line with the vision of improving disabled persons in Thailand following the 4th National Commission on the Promotion and Development of Life Quality of Disabled Persons 2012-2016. The move would allow social equality in rights and employment opportunities for the disabled while also working on their skills and ability to gain acceptance in the labor market.

Activities in the conference included a regional academic forum, lectures from professionals in the field of improving disabled persons' capabilities, research presentations, exhibitions in promotion of disabled person employment and performances, an exhibition featuring Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s contribution to promoting the empowerment of persons with disabilities in Thailand through the “Welcome Disability Campaign or WELL-D” in honor of her 60th birthday anniversary.


Lopburi wear traditional Thai attire on Uposatha Day

People in Lopburi province have donned traditional Thai attire, as they participate in merit-making activities on Uposatha Day.

The Lopburi Deputy Governor, district chief and local residents took part in merit-making activities at the Sab Sai Temple in observance of the weekly Buddhist holy day. The event was held under the slogan "United in donning Thai traditional attire and making merit on Uposatha."

The program provided an opportunity for civil servants from all sectors and local residents in the area a chance to make merit together, while simultaneously promoting Thai traditional clothing.

The clothing hearkens back to the reign of His Majesty King Ramathibodi III, who ruled over Siam in the mid-17th century.


Security tightens before end of Ramadan

YALA, 8 July 2015 (NNT) Security units in Yala are on high alert towards the end of the Ramadan as intelligence reports suggest attacks could be imminent.

Special checkpoints have been set up in the Yala municipality to screen vehicles and persons entering the area. Officials are on the lookout for concealed explosive material that can be used to stage attacks in the province.

Security officials are paying special attention to trucks and motorcycles that have been stolen presumably to make car bombs.

Local authorities believe that more attacks are likely during the last 10 days of Ramadan. The fasting is set to end on the third week of this month.


Fisheries Dept confirms seafood supply ample

BANGKOK, 8 July 2015 (NNT) The Fisheries Department has confirmed the government’s crackdown on illegal fishing has yet to affect domestic supplies and the import sector; meanwhile, its attempt to register all fishing operators continues.

Attempting to calm down consumers about seafood shortages, Deputy Director-General of the Fisheries Department Waraporn Prompoj affirmed that the remaining seafood stocks were ample to meet the demand for domestic consumption and export.

According to her, the temporary stoppage of unlicensed fishing boats has given operators of frozen seafood businesses the opportunity to distribute more of their goods to the market, adding that local fishermen can catch more fish now.

The Fisheries Department has instructed its provincial offices in all 22 seaside provinces to launch mobile units to facilitate the registration of unlicensed or wrongly-licensed fishing operators.

The deputy chief believes the ongoing campaign will enable the country to achieve sustainable fishing industry and save the country from being red carded by the European Union. The EU is expected to rule on the Thai performance in October.


MWA brushes aside rumors of water shortages in residential Bangkok

BANGKOK, 8 July 2015, (NNT) The Metropolitan Waterworks Authority (MWA) today brushed aside rumors on social media that Bangkok has only one month's worth of water for consumption.

MWA Governor Thanasak Watanathana explained that water shortages may occurred to some agricultural areas near the capital, but absolutely not in its residential areas. He claimed the combined water levels from Bhumibol, Sirikit and Chao Phraya Dams are sufficient for household usage.

The comment was made during his interview with National Broadcasting Services of Thailand (NBT) on Channel 11. The MWA Governor also revealed that Interior Minister General Anupong Paochinda had instructed his agency to store rainwater since last year in October. Rainwater stores will be used to supply tap water, in the event that the seawater-freshwater mix produces tap water that is too saline.

He added that water shortages are unlikely, as rain showers have started in Bangkok and its vicinity, as well as remote provinces. Governor Thanasak urged all Thais to conserve water, regardless of the prospect of water shortages.


Justice Minister asks activist group not to cross line

BANGKOK, 8 July 2015 (NNT) Minister of Justice Gen Paiboon Khumchaya has urged the student activist network Dao Din Group to refrain from breaking the law, affirming that the government would allow political movements if conducted in an appropriate manner.

Following the court’s release of 14 student members of the Dao Din Group, Gen Paiboon said he would like the students to seek alternative approaches to expressing their political viewpoint that are in compliance with the law. Should there be illegal activities or disturbances to the government’s work, he insisted that the law would have to be enforced against them.

The minister explained that, although the current government did not come from a democratic origin, it is not in any way inclined towards dictatorship and is always open to people’s political expressions within the legal framework. He thus called on the group to resort to negotiations and to not step out of line as it would fuel a recurrence of conflict.

Regarding concerns over the government’s handling of the student activists, Gen Paiboon pledged that the best care was provided for them during their custody. He also invited the group to request special protection after their release should they deem it necessary.


DPM Pridiyathorn to lead household debt relief mission

BANGKOK, 8 July 2015 (NNT) Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha has assigned Deputy Prime Minister MR Pridiyathorn Devakula to supervise agencies tasked with solving debt problems of low-income earners and farmers in the wake of an alarming surge in household debts.

According to the PM Office Deputy Spokesperson, Col. Sansern Kaewkamnerd, agencies in charge of solving the problem, such as Ministries of Justice, Finance and Agriculture and Cooperatives have been told to focus their efforts on heavily-indebted farmers who are being sued by their creditors and risk losing their property as a result of the legal proceedings.

PM Prayut has voiced his concern for this group of debtors. One of his suggestions is to conduct a feasibility study on a possible bailout for farmers. A survey by the Ministry of Interior has found that 140,000 farmers owed state financial institutions to the tune of 3.6 billion baht, while another 149,000 incurred 2.1 billion baht in debt with non-formal lenders.

Meanwhile, a recent report by the Bank of Thailand (BOT) indicated that household debts in the fourth quarter of the year 2014 represented 85.9 percent of the gross domestic products, a sharp rise from 54.6 percent in 2007. Most of the problems were attributed to the previous government’s economy-boosting plans, including the first house and the first car projects, and the special loans for the 2012 flood-victims.


Energy Ministry elaborates on energy plan during gas pipeline maintenance

SONGKHLA, 8 July 2015 (NNT) Officials of the Ministry of Energy have visited Songkhla Province to outline the importance of energy conservation practices by the public to reduce energy usage during the closure of a major gas pipeline for maintenance, in order to prevent power outages.

An Inspector of the Ministry of Energy, Suchalee Sumamal, and the Songkhla Provincial Energy Official Suthichai Sukseesen, along with delegates from related agencies today visited Hat Yai Province to encourage the public to be sparing in energy consumption during the closure of the gas line for maintenance between 19th-23rd July 2015.

The Ministry Inspector said that the closure of the JDA-A18 gas pipeline that delivers natural gas from the co-development source between Thailand and Malaysia, will curtail the supply of 420 million cubic feet of natural gas each day. An immediate result of this is that the second Chana power plant will have to suspend its generation of 800 megawatt of electricity as the plant uses only natural gas as fuel.

He said that the Ministry of Energy is now preparing to prevent this situation causing a power shortage in the southern region by adopting the same plan as in previous years. Therefore many agencies already have a thorough understanding of the necessary procedures, and are experienced in avoiding a crisis situation.

In preparation, the first Chana power plant has been modified to be able to function on diesel in addition to natural gas, and the PTT has allocated reserve diesel and bunker oil to be used by the power plant, while the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) has adapted the electricity supply system to provide maximum preparedness.

On this matter, the PEA Area 3 Governor Amphon Fugthong disclosed that the electricity generation capacity of the southern region, linked with input from the central region will be maintained at 2,828 megawatt, which is expected to be sufficient for peak period usage in the area, between 6:30pm-10:30pm each day, when power use reaches approximately 2.350 megawatt.

He said that the PEA has established a support center to assist operations during the abnormal period of supply, to coordinate with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) which will be monitoring usage and controlling distribution in the southern region to accord with the designated plan. Meanwhile the public can call the 24-hour PEA Call Center 1129 for further information.

The Songkhla Provincial Energy Official, Suthichai Sukseesen said that the government and private agencies in the province have acknowledged the detailed plan of the Energy Ministry and believe that it will help reassure the public and entrepreneurs of the reliability of the electricity supply during the five day maintenance period, and not cause any disruption to daily domestic use or to the economy of the region.

He said however that the general public should also help conserve electricity by turning off lights, increasing air conditioner temperature, and unplugging power cables, while the industrial and business sector are asked to reduce their energy usage during the period 6:30pm-10:30pm.

Decreasing power usage over a period like this also reduces the cost of accessing electricity, making the monthly bills a little less, meaning such customers will have more money to spend in other ways, the Songkhla energy official said.


Thailand develops single database on child protection

BANGKOK, 8 July 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security and Mahidol University have jointly developed a single database on child protection in Thailand.

Speaking at a press conference, chairman of the Child Protection System Development Committee Sappasit Kumpapan said the Department of Children and Youth Affairs is collaborating with eight other ministries and Mahidol University in drafting a prototype plan of the country’s data base management on child protection. The draft will compile all children-related information and incorporate a standardized child protection registration system.

The information collected will be used in policy making and budgeting for child development projects and in dealing with child problems and situations both in Thailand and the ASEAN region.

According to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, the establishment of a single data system containing all aspects of child protection information will enable the government to understand the strategic situation about children in Thailand and have a clearer picture to deal with children and youth situation at a national level.


Farmer credit card members to get discount on Bangchak oil

BANGKOK, 8 July 2015 (NNT) The Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) is joining hands with Bangchak Petroleum Plc. to launch a campaign aimed at helping lesson farmers’ financial burden.

Bangchak Petroleum Plc is offering holders of BAAC farmer credit cards a discount of 30 satang per liter on its petrol at all 540 Bangchak stations across the country. A limit of 100,000 baht is allowed for each card owner.

According to BAAC President Luck Wajananawat, the project is aimed at giving farmers access to quality and affordable farming materials to cut production costs. The campaign is expected to raise farmers’ consumption of Bangchak petrol from five million liters to seven million liters in the next six months.

The BAAC started the farmer credit card project in 2012 to enable farmers to purchase fertilizers, seeds and fuel on credit. Around 4.2 million agriculturists have taken part in the project so far. Bangchak’s discount campaign will run from today until December 31, 2015.


More rain forecast in the North and Northeast

BANGKOK, 8 July 2015 (NNT) Northern and northeastern residents can expect more precipitation during the second half of this week.

The Meteorological Department has issued strong gale warnings in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand for the rest of the week. Waves could reach heights of 2-4 meters.

Large fishing vessels should proceed with caution when leaving the shore, while smaller boats have been advised to stay ashore until July 13. The monsoon trough, which is moving across the North and Northeast of the country, will bring more rain to the areas.

Heavy rain has been forecast in some areas of the South and the East, especially in the provinces of Chanthaburi, Trat, Ranong and Phang Nga.


EC schedules public forum on draft charter on Jan 10th, 2016

BANGKOK, 8 July 2015 (NNT) The Election Commission of Thailand (EC) has disclosed that a public forum on the draft charter will be held at the beginning of next year on January 10.

EC Chairman Suphachai Somcharoen said the forum is a key mechanism for Thais to share their point of view regarding the content of the draft charter.

The EC has already scheduled the forum and preparations are now underway. The forum will be held for only one day, and there will be no similar forums for Thai citizens living overseas.

Participants will be asked a series of questions from the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) and the National Reform Council (NRC). The number of questions will also depend on the Cabinet’s decision.

The questions will be easy to understand and impartial. The Cabinet is expected to submit the draft charter to the EC only when the NRC has endorsed it on September 4.

If the forum is to take place on January 10, then the EC is required to publish the draft constitution in October and complete the delivery of its copies to homes before December.


Sa Kaeo’s BAAC is satisfied with its 2015 performance so far

SA KAEO, 8 July 2015, (NNT) Sa Kaeo Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) has said in its mid-year financial report that its performance during the first half of the year is satisfactory, with many governmental schemes fulfilled and farmers reportedly living in a better condition.

According to the bank, it has focused on 6 policies, which include low income earners' informal debt management, the development of community financial institutes, and the development of new business operators. The Bank also highlights its capital strengthening project, the scheme to increase the bank’s income through transaction and service charges, and its program to promote good governance in the organization.

The bank has granted 10.074 billion baht worth of loan, adding that its net deposit amounted to 7.3 billion baht. It has handed out 10.26 million baht to 842 para rubber growers, as part of the government’s compensation scheme to help growers who were affected by plunging rubber prices at the beginning of 2015.


DMR hosts the 3rd Thai - Lao Technical conference on Geology and Mineral Resources from July 7th - 11th

BANGKOK, 8 July 2015, (NNT) Thailand is hosting the 3rd Thai - Lao Technical conference on Geology and Mineral Resources, which is being held at the Golden Tulip Sovereign Hotel, Bangkok.

The event kicked off yesterday and will be concluded on Saturday. Minister of Natural Resources and Environment General Dapong Ratanasuwan chaired the opening ceremony, which was attended by officials from Department of Mineral Resources from both nations and officers from Thailand’s Department of Primary Industries and Mines as well as representatives from Lao’s Department of Mines.

Thailand and Lao PDR have been working together on geology and mineral resources study for over 12 years. Both countries have been exchanging information among their related units, helping each other in human resources development and geological researches.

The academic meeting, which kicked off yesterday at the Golden Tulip Sovereign Hotel in Bangkok, will be concluded today. Participants are also scheduled to visit the geological tourism and study sites in Nakhon Nayok, Sa Kaeo and Chanthaburi Provinces on July 9-11..


Pathum Thani to join China Changchun International Agriculture & Food Expo and Trade Fair

PATHUM THANI, 8 July 2015, (NNT) The province of Pathum Thani is sending entrepreneurs to participate in the China Changchun International Agriculture & Food Expo and Trade Fair, which will be held in Changchun, China from August 14 - 23.

The expo is aimed at promoting bilateral ties between Thailand and China, which dates back several decades.

The province’s public relation office has reported that General Manager of Baili Enterprise Co.Ltd, Wang Zheng, has been appointed as the Chinese coordinator by the Changchun municipality office. Zheng will also be responsible for promoting ties with other cities from China’s neighboring countries.

Related agencies are prepared to showcase their top products in the event. Pathum Thani is also planning to declare itself as Changchun's unofficial sister city.


PRD officials in Satun give moral support to Thai Muslims during Ramadan fasting

SATUN, 7 July 2015 (NNT) Local officials of the Government Public Relations Department (PRD) in Satun Province made a visit to Imam of Ban Ko Ta Mosque in La-ngu District to give moral support to Thai Muslims in the province, on the occasion of Ramadan fasting in July.

The visit by the PRD staff was in line with Satun’s provincial policy for officials to make regular visits to Islamic leaders, community leaders and Thai Muslims in the province. The officials also gave dates and sugar to the mosque in order to support Muslims who are joining the fasting.

On their visit, the PRD officials the Satun Governor’s good wish for Thai Muslims nationwide. He blessed them to be patient and cheerful during the Ramadan month so that they could succeed in being a complete Muslim.

The Imam of Ban Ko Ta Mosque said that he was impressed with the officials’ attention and their help to bring problems of local residents to high-ranking officials of the province.

He described Ban Ko Ta as an area with peace and order where local people have unity and integrity and children are obedient to parents. They regularly attend activities held in their area in unison.


Cabinet approves state procurement bill

BANGKOK, 7 July 2015 (NNT) The Cabinet has given the green light to the draft law on procurement and management of state property and is forwarding it to the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) for deliberation before its enactment.

Following the weekly Cabinet meeting, Deputy Government Spokesperson Maj Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd stated that the procurement and state property management bill proposed by the Ministry of Finance has been given approval in principle.

The new law is intended to be enforced on the procurement process within government agencies and state enterprises, concentrating on transparency, cost-worthiness, effectiveness and examinability. It also stipulates the drawing up of integrity pacts while giving the public a chance to participate in the inspection of government projects. If enacted, five committees will be established to take charge of related procedures.

The bill is now slated to be reviewed by the Office of the Council of State before being forwarded to the NLA for final consideration. It is expected to be approved and enacted into law at the beginning of the next fiscal year or around October.


Udon Thani almost completes workers from neighbouring countries regulation

UDON THANI, 7 July 2015 (NNT) The regulation process of foreign workers from neighbouring countries in Udon Thani has now reached 94 percent completion, according to the province's Vice Governor.

The Vice Governor of Udon Thani Chaichan Chaichan Eium-charoen today revealed the outcome of the One Stop Service Immigrant Workers Registration Center, operating from 1 April to 30 June 2015, saying that the center successfully provided permit card renewals and issued working permits to 1,506 foreign workers. This is considered a 94 percent completion for the entire immigrant workers residing in the province.

Officials tallied out the nationalities of the workers receiving services. 96 had been categorized as Burmese, 1,219 have been identified as Laotian while another 191 were Cambodian.

The Udon Thani Vice Governor said that all employers are required to proceed through all the required procedures when employing immigrants. Any employment without work permits will result in a 10,000 - 100,000 baht fine, while employers can also be subject to a 10,000 baht fine if their employee’s work permit employment details does not contain matching information with the officials'.

Employers are able to seek advice or address any of their concerns regarding the employment of migrant workers at the Udon Thani Provincial Employment Office


SRT hears public opinion for northeastern line double track railway project

KHON KAEN, 7 July 2015 (NNT) The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) hosts first public participation forum on the Khon Kaen - Nong Khai double track railway project in Khon Kaen Province.

The Vice Governor of Khon Kaen Prasert Luechathananon presided over the public participation forum on the survey and design phase of the Khon Kaen - Nong Khai double track railway project. The forum was held on the 7 July 2015 at the Kosa Hotel in Khon Kaen Province.

The SRT’s Deputy Chief of Civil Engineer Wannop Paisalpong said the forum will serve to publicize the project’s details to the public and to encourage public participation on this project right from the beginning.

Participants were informed on the rationale and objectives of this project, its concept plan, and the management procedures. Participants were also allowed to suggest, comment and express their opinions on this project.

The Khon Kaen - Nong Khai double track railway project is an infrastructure development project that involves the construction of a 174-kilometer long meter gauge railway track, in parallel with the existing track from Khon Kaen to Nong Khai, passing through a total of 15 stations. Construction that overpass, underpass, or those that will replace the existing level crossings will also be included in the project.

Trains will be able to reach speeds up to 120-160 kilometers per hour once the construction is completed, providing the public with less traveling time due to higher track capacity, an increased efficiency of public transit, a reduction in energy consumption and emissions, and an improvement in road safety. It is expected that the project will attract more passengers to utilize the nation's rail services.


Prachuap Khiri Khan hastens vessels registration and certificates issuance

PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN, 7 July 2015 (NNT) Prachuap Khiri Khan province is now speeding up the registration of unregistered vessels and the issuance of certificates for steersmen and mechanics, hoping to finish the procedure within this month.

Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Marine Office Chief Suriya Kopatta has revealed that it is now providing the registration service for 1,095 unregistered vessels so that they will legally operate according to the fishery law. The office also dispatches a mobile unit to facilitate fishing operators in faraway districts in order to complete the registration process by the deadline.

Suriya said that the Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Marine Office is also holding quality tests for steersmen and mechanics, of whom about 1,000 persons have passed this process.

The Prachuap Khiri Khan Marine Office Chief has mentioned that workers from neighbouring countries with valid passports and certifications from the embassy of their countries can also apply for the tests to receive certificates for the positions.

He added that the actual obstacle for most fishing operators is that they cannot find Thai nationals to fill in the positions of steersmen and mechanics as the law requires 12 important documents from the workers, prompting them to suspend the fishing operation.


Phuket declares safety measures to safeguard against strong waves

PHUKET, 7 July 2015 (NNT) The Marine Office Branch in Phuket will be enforcing safety measures after the Meteorological Department has announced caution to strong winds and high waves, while small vessels are prohibited from leaving shore.

Chief of the Marine Office Branch in Phuket, Phuriphat Teerakulpisut has said that the office is now enforcing safety measures to prevent accidents from the expected strong winds and high waves, announcing that vessels are not allowed to leave shore for this period and the closure of some beach areas.

According to the weather advisory from the Meteorological Department, strong wind and waves as high as 4 meters are expected in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand during 6-13 July 2015, due to the strong southwest monsoon. Heavy rains are also expected in the eastern and the southern regions of Thailand.

Vessels in Phuket with lengths no longer than 9 meters are now prohibited from leaving shore. Some beach areas in the province, such as the entire area of the Kata beach, has been labeled as a ‘red-flag’ area, prohibiting the public and tourists from swimming.

Tourists are urged to be cautious of the ‘yellow-flag’ warning flag and ‘red-flag’ swimming prohibition flag at beaches and to comply strictly with official announcements for their own safeties, as waves in some areas may be as high as 2-4 meters.

The Phuket Marine Office Chief also stated that beach guards are now being deployed to provide additional safety protection for tourists at Kata Beach from 8:30am to 6:30pm. These guards will remain on patrol everyday until the risks have subsided.


 

DAILY UPDATE

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Thailand & Laos discuss anti-human trafficking campaign

Schools, private and public sectors collaborating to reduce use of plastic bags

Chiang Mai experiences worst drought crisis in 20 years

Pathum Thani holds a practice race for the Bike for Mom event

Uttaradit fully ready for "Bike for Mom”, 500 applicants in first 3 days

OCAC selects Krabi and Ratchaburi as Contemporary Art Cities

MOPH launches farmer health clinics, as chemical-induced illnesses jump

Marine Department eyes new port in Chumphon

26th Skilled Labor Regionals being held nationwide

Nong Bua Daeng, Chaiyaphum faces water shortage

More fishing boats are returning to the sea

Central mosque in Yala holds a fair offering discounted goods welcoming the last 10 days of Ramadan

PRD to provide live broadcast of Bike for Mom activity on August 16

PRD collaborating with UNESCO in planning workshop to promote constructive use of internet

Banana theft rampant in Phichit

Former Education Min urges education reform

Royal Thai Police investigating if a third party is trying to stop legal fishing boats from fishing

PM greets Thai students from the United States

Government satisfied with satellite learning program

Muslim leader in Yala admires Gov’t newsletter campaign

Workability Asia Conference 2015 held in Pattaya

Lopburi wear traditional Thai attire on Uposatha Day

Security tightens before end of Ramadan

Fisheries Dept confirms seafood supply ample

MWA brushes aside rumors of water shortages in residential Bangkok

Justice Minister asks activist group not to cross line

DPM Pridiyathorn to lead household debt relief mission

Energy Ministry elaborates on energy plan during gas pipeline maintenance

Thailand develops single database on child protection

Farmer credit card members to get discount on Bangchak oil

More rain forecast in the North and Northeast

EC schedules public forum on draft charter on Jan 10th, 2016

Sa Kaeo’s BAAC is satisfied with its 2015 performance so far

DMR hosts the 3rd Thai - Lao Technical conference on Geology and Mineral Resources from July 7th - 11th

Pathum Thani to join China Changchun International Agriculture & Food Expo and Trade Fair

PRD officials in Satun give moral support to Thai Muslims during Ramadan fasting

Cabinet approves state procurement bill

Udon Thani almost completes workers from neighbouring countries regulation

SRT hears public opinion for northeastern line double track railway project

Prachuap Khiri Khan hastens vessels registration and certificates issuance

Phuket declares safety measures to safeguard against strong waves

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