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Army launches budget fast food project

BANGKOK, July 2015 (NNT) The Royal Thai Army has launched a budget food project in a bid to help low-income earners through the economic difficulty.

Deputy army spokesperson Col Sirichan Ngathong said Royal Thai Army Commander Gen Udomdej Sitabutr had instructed different divisions to set up budget meal outlets in their army camps or nearby communities to offer affordable choices to the general public.

The outlets will sell various freshly-cooked dishes, such as fried rice, curry, scrambled eggs and noodles. Each item will be sold for no more than 20 baht.

Aside from the budget food project, the Army has planned to run Blue Flag mobile discount markets in different communities. The budget food outlets and Blue Flag markets will be held together in locations that are conducive to the two activities.


PM rolls out measures to boost investments in Deep South

BANGKOK, July 2015 (NNT) Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-cha has instructed relevant agencies to boost trade and investment in the Deep South, following years of turmoil in the region.

A Prime Minister’s Office spokesman has revealed measures to increase trade in the region which include setting-up of factories and businesses in areas in close proximity to army bases and security headquarters. The move is set to ensure investors’ safety and confidence in southern border provinces.

Security in the region will also be beefed up to bolster investor confidence. The premier hoped more investments in the area will improve the livelihood and quality of life of southern communities.

Deputy spokesman to the Office Sansern Kaewkamnerd said that during a meeting on July 10, Prime Minister Prayut agreed to offer investment incentives and relaxed trade terms for small and medium-sized businesses interested in investments in the border provinces and special economic zones. The incentives include the permission to use foreign migrants and other tax exemptions.


DSI to hold anti trafficking conference with Myanmar

BANGKOK, July 2015 (NNT) The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) is set to co-host the meeting on human trafficking prevention and suppression with the Myanmar Police Force in Kanchanaburi province, to integrate anti-trafficking operations.

DSI’s Bureau of Central Administration Director Peerapat Engpongpan has revealed that the DSI and the Myanmar Police Force will be holding the 12th meeting on the bilateral cooperation on human trafficking prevention and mitigation during 21 July 2015, at Dheva Mantra Resort and Spa in Kanchanaburi, Thailand.

The meeting aims to increase the coordination and integration of relevant information regarding human trafficking suppression, and agree on a joint strategy to suppress international trafficking activities which will lead to more efficient prevention measures and a stricter prosecution to human trafficking offenders.


Ministries join forces to handle aging society in Thailand

BANGKOK, July 2015 (NNT) Cooperation has been established among relevant ministries to prepare the country for its upcoming status as an aging society.

Minister of Science and Technology Pichet Durongkaveroj disclosed that his ministry has been assigned by the Prime Minister to coordinate with other responsible agencies in drawing up preparatory measures for Thailand’s transformation into an aging society. Those agencies consist of the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, and the Ministry of Culture.

Some of the measures will focus on the search for new methods and technologies that will enable the elderly to continue working after retirement, have a better living condition and enjoy a stronger bond with the rest of the family. Other issues to be addressed include shrinkage of the working-age population, a decrease in workers’ productivity and a need to import foreign workers into the Kingdom.

The Science and Technology Minister said the measures will be incorporated into a 20-year national policy aimed at providing the best care for senior citizens in a sustainable manner.


More cracks reported on roads in Ayutthaya due to drought

AYUTTHAYA, July 2015 (NNT) A canal-side road in Ayutthaya suffered another major crack as the drought crisis in the central province has continually worsened.

The Lad Bua Luang-Sam Muang road which runs alongside Praya Bunlue canal developed an 80-meter-long and 3-meter-wide crack. Both lanes of the road collapsed, rendering the road inaccessible to vehicles.

More and more collapses have been reported on the road since July 5, which severely impacted the traffic in the area. Relevant agencies have been carrying out temporary repair work to open up traffic again.

Some roads in Ayutthaya, Saraburi and other provinces have sealed off this month after they developed large cracks, a result of fast-receding water which caused the soil underneath the roads to subside.


Rainmaking operations under way to relieve drought in North

BANGKOK, 17 July 2015 (NNT) The Royal Rainmaking unit in the North is urgently conducting cloud-seeding operations to replenish water in Bhumibol and Sirikit dams.

The unit said operations are being conducted as a monsoon trough is prevailing through the North, increasing the chance of heavy rains in drought-hit areas. Water levels in major dams including Bhumibol and Sirikit are dipping low and relevant units are devising ways to tackle the issue.

The unit added that around 2-3 million cubic meters of water flow into Sirikit dam daily. Concerns have been expressed over the increasingly low amount of water flowing into Bhumibol Dam. Over 800 rainmaking operations have been launched to generate rains in the region.


Princess Maha Chakri introduces her new book to celebrate 40th anniversary of Thai-Chinese diplomatic relations

BANGKOK, 18 July 2015 (NNT) Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn yesterday presided over the opening of a fair “Tea House of Life” at Siam Paragon Shopping Center in Pathumwan District, Bangkok.

The fair was organized by Siam Piwat Company Limited and Nanmeebooks Publisher, to introduce a book translated by the Princess Maha Chakri and released to celebrate the auspicious occasion of her fifth-cycle birthday anniversary on April 2, 2015.

Her Royal Highness on this occasion gave a talk on her book entitled “Tea House: A Play in Three Acts” which she translated from a contemporary Chinese play by noted novelist Lao She. The book portrays life of people in the Chinese society during five decades from 1898 until post World War II, using an old big tea house in Beijing as the setting. The play contains interesting conversations in a social satirical style. It is considered a valuable Chinese literature and also holds historical value.

The royal publication made its debut to mark the 40th anniversary of the Thai-Chinese diplomatic relations.


PM calls for public support for infrastructure projects

BANGKOK, 17 July 2015 (NNT) Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has insisted that all infrastructure projects require support from the people in order to be able to move forward.

Speaking on his weekly TV program “Returning Happiness to the People”, Prime Minister Prayut said the government is proceeding with its planned infrastructure projects, such as the development of energy and garbage management systems and the construction of power plants and seaports. He added that responsible agencies are making sure the projects do not have adverse effects on the environment or the livelihood of the locals.

However, the premier admitted some projects could have a slight impact on residents, in which case compensation would certainly be provided for all affected individuals. According to him, a problem that is more of a cause for concern at present is the people’s voicing of opposition to the projects during public forums.

Prime Minister Prayut has instructed his deputies and related ministers to compile problems from all projects in a bid to find effective solutions to them. He, therefore, called on the public to be open-minded and allow the projects to be realized for their own benefit, saying their support is vital.


Royal Thai Airforce to hold Mother's Day merit making ceremonies

BANGKOK, July 2015, (NNT) The Royal Thai Air Force is holding a merit making ceremony, celebrating this year's Mother' Day, which falls on August 12th, 2015.

Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Air Force Air Chief Marshal Treetod Sonjance chaired the event at the Air Force's command center in Don Mueang District, Bangkok.

The event provides a chance for troops, employees, civil servants at the Air Force to express their loyalty and to give well wishes to Her Majesty Queen Sirikit. Organizers said the ceremony would also instill moral values into participants in accordance with the teaching of the lord Buddha.

The campaign will be held every Thursday in various squadrons of the Air Force over the next 3 months.


Those living near waterways urged to survey embankments and report any damage

BANGKOK, July 2015 (NNT) The Department of Public Works and Town & Country Planning is asking members of the public who live near riverbanks to report any sighting of cracks on river embankments.

Director-General Monton Sudprasert indicated that a handbook providing the procedure for inspecting the condition of embankments was being published and would be handed out to those living near riverbanks so they could survey their areas and avert disasters. The handbooks will be circulated in risk areas starting next week.

Mr. Monton said the ongoing drought crisis has resulted in numerous cases of subsided river embankments. He would like to urge the public to take care to survey embankments in their own localities for any cracks or subsided land or embankment and to quickly report any such finding to the provincial office of the Department of Public Works and Town & Country Planning.


Government launches new aid campaign for impoverished mothers

BANGKOK, July 2015 (NNT) The government has unveiled a new campaign offering child support for low-income mothers.

Deputy PM Office Spokesperson Maj Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd revealed that the government planned to provide a monthly stipend of 400 baht to low-income mothers. Relevant agencies have been instructed to publicize the campaign.

The offer applies to pregnant women from families earning less than 3,000 baht per month or from families without a de facto breadwinner. Those eligible must be expected to give birth between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016.

Bangkok applicants can register at their district offices according to house registration. Non-Bangkok residents can register at municipal offices or district administrative organizations. Required documents include copies of house registration, ID cards and birth certificates.

In addition to the monthly allowance, the government will provide children of participating mothers free medical checkups and vaccinations to promote quality child rearing. Over 130,000 people are expected to register for the aid program. The project will undergo assessment after one year of implementation.


4G auction to take place on November 11th

BANGKOK (NNT) The National Broadcasting Telecommunication Commission (NBTC) will be accepting bids for 4G spectrum licenses on November 11.

NBTC Secretary General Thakorn Tantasit said the auction criteria has already been approved by the broadcasting panel. Only two 12.5 MHz licenses are available for the 1,800 MHz spectrum.

The minimum bid is 11.6 billion baht per license and will increase to 16.5 billion baht with two or more bidders. A public forum will be held on July 18, before announcing the auction in the Royal Gazette by August 26.

Invitations to the bidding process will be announced from August 28 – September 28. The auction is expected to take place on November 11. The results will be revealed in December as scheduled. The general public will have full access to the 4G network at the beginning of next year.


Thai Police to rehearse steps to facilitate "Bike for Mom" rally on Sun 2 Aug

BANGKOK, 14 July 2015 (NNT) Thai Police Spokesman Pol Lt-Gen Prawut Thawornsiri has revealed the preparations to ensure safety and smooth traffic during the “Bike for Mom” Mother’s Day Ride on Sunday 16 August are nearly completed, and a rehearsal in Bangkok is scheduled two weeks ahead the event.

The preparations include adjustment of road surface along the routes used in the cycling, installation of lights and closed-circuit cameras as well as security and first aid plans.

Pol Lt-Gen Prawut added that the rally’s organizer will provide maps and video clips to inform general motorists of the roads to be closed on the day and the timetable of the event so that they can prepare alternative routes for their journey.

The 2 August rehearsal will include traffic closures to be applied on the day of the rally on August 16. Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, both main and frontage roads, will be closed during the event to handle the great number of bikers. Normal road users are suggested to use Don Muang tollway which will be open free of charge during the event.


Souvenir shirts and pins for Bike for Mom to be given out on Jul 25-26

BANGKOK, 13 July 2015 (NNT) People participating in the Bike for Mom activity in Bangkok are invited to claim their commemorative T-shirts and pins during July 25-26 at the Royal Thai Army Club.

Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office ML Panadda Diskul revealed that he has recently met with the committee responsible for organizing the Bike for Mom campaign on August 16 in honor of Her Majesty the Queen on the occasion of her 83rd birthday anniversary. During the meeting, he said preparations were made for the upcoming distribution of royally-granted blue T-shirts and pins to all individuals who have signed up for the biking activity.

ML Panadda indicated that participants in Bangkok will be able to receive their shirts and pins at the Royal Thai Army Club on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road this July 25 and 26, from 9 am to 8 pm daily.

The minister confirmed that all involved agencies are now fully gearing up for the Bike for Mom activity, making sure the cyclists will receive the utmost convenience and safety. He anticipated swarms of people to turn up at the event with their bicycles on the day in their show of loyalty and gratitude to Her Majesty the Queen.


Over a hundred businesses to attend Southern International Trade Expo, Jul 23-26

SURAT THANI, 13 July 2015 (NNT) Surat Thani Province is hosting the Southern 'International Trade Expo' at Central Plaza Surat Thani between July 23 and 26, during which over a hundred business operators from Thailand’s fourteen southern provinces, India’s port city of Surat, and Malaysia will meet to seek further business opportunities.

Highlights of the expo include product exhibitions and business matching. For the former, the fourteen provinces of Thailand will set up 163 booths, whereas India’s Surat will feature 30 booths; Malaysian operators will also actively participate.

The latter is business matching among developers of rubber-related products and in the tourism industries of the three countries. The matching session will take place at Diamond Plaza Hotel on the first day of the expo. Over seventy companies have confirmed they will attend the event.

The Southern International Trade Expo is organized by the International Trade Promotion Department, Ministry of Commerce, as a stage for businesses in the South to spur their export growth of rubber-related products, as well as for investment and tourism.

Meanwhile, the event is also seen as the great beginning of substantial cooperation between Thailand’s Surat Thani and India’s port city of Surat to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the province’s royally granted name.


Police promote helmet wearing among children on motorcycles

BANGKOK, July 2015 (NNT) The Metropolitan Police is now campaigning for the wearing of helmets among young motorcycle passengers for their own safety. They have now distributed over 8,000 helmets to children at about 40 schools.

The Commander of the Metropolitan Police Division 8 Pol Maj Gen Ruechakorn Chornjewut recently presided over the launching ceremony of the ‘My Helmets’ campaign to encourage children to wear helmets while riding on motorcycles as passengers, for their own safety. The launch event was held at the King Taksin Monument, Thonburi District, Bangkok.

At the event, 8,100 helmets were distributed to students from about 40 schools in the area, supervised by the Metropolitan Police Division 8.

The Metropolitan Police Division 8 Commander, said that the campaign was initiated by traffic police who fear for the safety of children who have to ride on motorcycles as passengers, as some parents do not provide helmets for their children to wear.

He added that he hoped that this campaign would also encourage children to be disciplined and obey traffic regulations.


Chiang Rai hopeful with rehabilitated former drugs offenders

Chiang Rai, 17 July 2015 (NNT) Chiang Rai province is hopeful on its narcotic offenders successfully completing the new voluntary rehabilitation program.

The Vice Governor of Chiang Rai Prachon Prachsakul today presided over the closing ceremony of the 2015 rehabilitation and training program for drug offenders in Chiang Rai. The rehabilitation camp was organized at the province’s Kwan Pandin Center.

Participants in this program comprised 60 volunteers from 9 districts who had attended this 15-day rehabilitation camp on 2-16 July 2015. The participants are reported to have expressed satisfying results during the campaign, and have taken an oath to refrain any narcotics involvement in the future.

Chiang Rai Vice Governor said that this project has succeeded its goals, while all participants will still receive assistance and evaluation from authorities. These rehabilitated individuals must return the favor by becoming leaders of an anti-narcotics movement at the local levels.

He also asked the participants not to return to drugs abuse behaviours, which would diminish all efforts involved during the rehabilitation program.

During the occasion, the Chiang Rai Provincial Narcotics Control Official Nattapong Takaeng said that this rehabilitation program was held under the new voluntary system that urges ex-offenders to become local anti-drug campaigners.

He added that this program also provided 30 hours of vocational training on electronic appliance maintenance, on handicrafts, on communal activities and on sports. These new skills would be the new recreational activities for these rehabilitated individuals.


Phuket fishing resumes as monsoon subsides

PHUKET, 17 July 2015 (NNT) Fishermen in Phuket have begun to leave shore today after the stormy weather has subsided.

Most of the fishing boats are small ones as many of large boats are still anchored while applying for a correct type of license. Fishing boats in Phuket which have yet to complete registration account for 10 percent of all boats in the province.

Boats were forced to stay ashore earlier this week due to the arrival of a monsoon. A boat operator said the brief hiatus in fishing led by the storm pushed up seafood prices dramatically thanks for the lack of supply. However, the demand from Malaysia has dropped as the neighboring country suspends the purchase during Hari Raya.

Meanwhile, Phuket Port In and Port Out center reported that at least 40 fishing boats informed authorities of their departure and arrival daily during the past few days. Boats that have yet to obtain the correct type of license or a proof of registration will not be allowed offshore.


TISTR to pass on longan shelf life prolonging technology to framers

BANGKOK, 17 July 2015 (NNT) TISTR has signed an agreement to transfer the 'longan shelf life prolonging technology for export' to the College of Agriculture and Technology in Chiang Mai and Lamphun.

The Vice Minister of Science and Technology Saowanee Musidang, the Governor of Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research (TISTR) Yongvun Saovapruk, and the Vice Governor of Chiang Mai Nawin Sinthusa-ard signed an agreement to pass on the longan shelf life prolonging technology.

The agreement focuses on the use of Sulfur dioxide gas to smoke longan produces after harvest to prolong its shelf life. This method is considered a form of knowledge that is suitable to be passed on to the farmers and communities.

The agreement will also seek to establish a learning center for this technology and will work as the coordination center of this program. The learning center's construction is expected to be completed in October 2015.

TISTR’s Agricultural Technology Department Director Sayan Tanpanich has said that the longan shelf life prolonging technology learning center will feature Thailand’s first model smoke chamber. The chamber will employ efficient Sulfur dioxide control technology that helps control Sulfur dioxide residue in produces. At the center, emissions of Sulfur dioxide to the atmosphere will be reduced, to ensure zero impact to the surrounding community. The learning center will also promote an increased acceptance of the produce in the global market.


Government hopes several months of hard work to tackle IUU fishing would satisfy EU

BANGKOK, 17 July 2015 (NNT) Deputy Prime Minister for national security Gen Prawit Wongsuwan was confident that four months of hard work by Thai authorities to combat IUU fishing would satisfy the European Commission (EU), and possibly rid Thailand of the yellow-card warning.

His optimism came after a meeting on IUU Fishing Suppression that he chaired on Friday. He said during the past four months, Thai authorities have worked so hard to meet the EU’s six-month deadline to shut down illegal fishing practices.

Legal amendment is a big part left incomplete so far, he added, saying that the government would set up a consultant team to proof words and their usage in the revised law. This will be done in parallel with raising understanding of NGOs and foreign countries towards the progress of the measures Thailand has taken.

Gen Prawit highlighted that a progress in the government’s efforts was a reduction in the number of illegal fishing vessels from 7,000 previously to 3,000. As for unlicensed ships which are unable to bring the boat out to the sea, the government has assigned the Royal Thai Navy to discuss possible solutions with them.

Also attending the Friday’s meeting, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Amnuay Patise revealed the progress of solutions made by each unit was closely monitored to make sure the measures strictly follow the roadmap. He said the meeting was satisfied with the progress, and he believed that the EU would give higher scores to the Thai efforts.

The EU will review Thailand’s ranking after it has received a new report from the Thai government in September and is expected to spend a month before giving a new scoring.

The Deputy Minister noted that other countries that used to face the same problems as Thailand spent at least a year to clean up all the problems. Solutions that involve a structural change in the fishery sector would therefore be forwarded to next government for solving, he emphasized.


Government asks all sides to help solve IUU prior to next evaluation in Oct

BANGKOK, 17 July 2015 (NNT) The Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives has affirmed all legal fishing vessels can continue their operations as usual, stressing that all sides must help solve all IUU issues before the EU’s next evaluation in October.

The Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Petipong Pungbun Na Ayudhya, has revealed the eradication progress of the Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing by the Thai authorities, stating that positive progress has resulted from the many measures utilized, such as the establishment of new laws and the national plan to eradicate IUU fishing. The government will be discussing with representatives of the European Union further on any extra measures required to lift the country’s status.

He has said that Thailand now needs to focus on the suppression of illegal fishing practices to demonstrate the nation’s sincerity in its fight against IUU fishing. The EU is expected to start sending its officials to gather relevant data on August 2015, prior to the official evaluation in October.

The minister has requested a cooperative effort from fisheries entrepreneurs to register their vessels and obtain legal fishing permits, which requires all fishing instruments to comply with the regulations. Furthermore, all workers involved must be employed legally.

Registered vessels that meet the regulations will be allowed to operate as normal, while unregistered vessels can still obtain their status by registering with the Marine Department or the Department of Fisheries until 31 July 2015.

The government would like to take this occasion to overhaul the fishery practices in the country to strike a balance between catch and natural resources available, while the number of legal and illegal vessels must be sorted as this issue is the key to the solution of the IUU practices. Further aid measures will be enacted to help mitigate this problem, the Minister says.

He has added that the ministry will monitor and even evaluation the effects caused by the embargo of illegal vessels, but findings shows no change to seafood products such as prawn, crab, and the Asian sea bass, as they are mostly farm raised. Affected businesses such as fish markets, ice factories, and animal feed factories are those that rely on small catches as ingredient. They are now trying to differentiate to imports from other sources, as a substitute for the decreased supply.


ICT Minister joins Thailand Competitiveness Conference 2015 opening

BANGKOK, 17 July 2015 (NNT) The Minister of Information and Communication Technology has joined the opening of the Thailand Competitiveness Conference 2015, held to promote sustainable development and increase economic competitiveness.

The Minister of Information and Communication Technology Pornchai Rujiprapa has attended the opening ceremony of the Thailand Competitiveness Conference 2015 seminar, which was presided over by Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha.

The seminar addresses the topic of ‘Building Competitive Thailand for Sustainability and Inclusiveness’, and is being held at Plaza Athenee Hotel on Wireless Road in Bangkok during 15-17 July 2015, with support from the Office of the National Economics and Social Development Board.

This seminar aims to be a platform to promote sustainable development guidelines, and to allow related agencies from the government and private sectors to be knowledgeable on the proper ways to increase competitiveness. Guidelines on cooperation will be enacted by the government and private agencies to enhance national stability, and then be used as a development model for other industries.


Phang Nga tourists opt for inland attractions amid storm scare

PHANG NGA, 17 July 2015 (NNT) Tourists in the southern province of Phang Nga have opted for inland attractions, due to storms gripping the Andaman Sea.

Thai and foreign tourists have been traveling to waterfalls and other inshore attractions instead of island destinations, following the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department’s warning about stormy weather and flash floods.

Meanwhile, local officials and natural park personnel have stepped up safety measures for locals and tourists. Regular inspections have been scheduled for waterfront areas. If the wave climate becomes too dangerous, then officials will install safety warnings or issue bans on swimming.

The southwestern monsoon over the Andaman Sea is expected to bring scattered thundershowers across the southern region from now until July 20. Waves will be particularly strong during this period and flash floods are likely in some areas.


Farmers at Pasak Jolasid Dam agree to suspend farming

LOPBURI, 17 July 2015 (NNT) Farmers living at the tip of Pasak Jonlasid Dam have agreed to suspend their rice farming after the cabinet announced the planned reduction of water supplies from four main dams yesterday.

The water supply from Pasak Jonlasit Dam will be lowered to one million cubic meters per day. The remaining water amounts to 43 million cubic meters or about 4.5 percent of the dam’s capacity. Farmers in nearby areas have decided to postpone their rice farming until the middle of August when the rainy season is expected to arrive.

In Nakhon Nayok province, the current water level of Khun Dan Prakarnchon Dam has dropped to 10.7 million cubic meters or about 4.8 percent of its 224-million cubic meter capacity. The director of Khun Dan Prakarnchon Dam said the newly-adjusted water management should tide people over for another three months, adding that the upcoming rainy season would help people pull through the drought crisis.

Water supplies in the country are mainly derived from four sources: Bhumibol Dam, Sirikit Dam, Pasak Jonlasid Dam and Kwaew Noi Bamrung Dan Dam.


Department of Health to reduce rate of obesity among children

BANGKOK, 17 July 2015 (NNT) The Department of Health is determined to lower the rate of obesity among Thai children by 0.5 percent.

The department has recently held a conference attended by representatives from educational institutions, a child development center, and academics and nutritionists.

The department is aiming to reduce child obesity by 0.5 percent over the next ten years. It also aims to maintain the obesity rate among young children at no more than 9.9 percent per year. Besides obesity, the department has set other youth-oriented goals, such as increasing the average height of female and male students to 165 cm and 175 cm, and their average IQ to above 100.

According to Deputy Director General of the Department of Health Dr. Narong Saiwong, children must receive proper parental care during early development.

His department has funded child care centers nationwide to provide nutritious and healthy lunch menus. Each center has been told to hire a nutritionist and set up a committee to oversee food preparation.


Ministry of Interior allays public concern over drought crisis

BANGKOK, 17 July 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Interior is urging the Thai public to stay calm, saying that the Thai government has measures in place to cope with the drought crisis.

Interior Minister General Anupong Paochinda said Thailand will experience the worst of the drought crisis at the end of this month. He called for the country to develop a good water management system.

The minister added that wells have been drilled in drought-hit areas and the provincial waterworks authority has been instructed to increase its freshwater reserves. Water supplies will also be distributed to people living in remote areas, if there is no rainfall in the near future.

The Royal Irrigation Department has lowered the amount of water being released back into the rivers to 18 million cubic meters per day.

The minister claimed these measures should be able to sustain domestic water consumption until next month. He has told the public to remain calm, as the government has the situation under control.


Education Ministry backs improvement of border schools in SEZ provinces

BANGKOK, 17 July 2015 (NNT) The Education Ministry has showed support to the development of border schools located in the Special Economic Zones, to prepare Thai children for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) which will come into force at the end of this year.

Deputy Education Minister General Surachet Chaiwong said during his visit to schools in Mae Sai District, Chiang Rai Province yesterday that the content of their curriculums should concentrate on equipping children with knowledge to compete in the AEC.

One of the schools General Surachet visited was Baan Wiang Phang School, which is located one kilometer away from the Thai - Myanmar border. It has 956 students belonging to various northern tribal groups. The school emphasizes the teaching of prominent languages in ASEAN, such as English, Chinese, and Burmese.

The Minister also visited Rajaprajanugroh 15 School in Chiang Saen District. The school highlights classes for regular, disabled and less fortunate students.

General Surachet expressed satisfaction with the two schools, saying both institutions were able to provide practical language studies that students could use when entering the job market.


Pathumthani Waterworks ensures low salinity level in tap water

PATHUMTHANI, 17 July 2015 (NNT) Pathumtahni Waterworks Branch Office reports it is using water from the Chao Phraya River only when the tides are low in order to prevent salt water from affecting the production of tap water.

According to Pathumtahni Waterworks Branch Office Manager, Kwanchai Kijkobchai, his office has been monitoring the salinity levels in the river given that ocean tides are usually high during this time of year.

The Royal Irrigation Department has also been releasing water into streams in an attempt to keep the salt water at bay. Mr. Kwanchai, however, admitted that the salinity level of the tap water has not been stable but assured the public that there is enough fresh water in storage to dilute the saltiness.


Prime Minister states that no adjustments will be made to the government's economic team

BANGKOK, 17 July 2015 (NNT) Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has denied a rumor that the Cabinet would consider a change to its economic team.

Gen Prayut has indicated there is no need for a Cabinet reshuffle at the moment. He said the rumors were nothing but false interpretations made by members of the media while reiterating that all ministers were working to the best of their ability. He added that unless thing goes horribly wrong, a Cabinet reshuffle is unlikely.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan indicated that the Prime Minister would determine whether or not a Cabinet shake-up is necessary. However, the Defence Minister has shown confidence in the ability and determination of the current economic team. He urged all to understand that it was a difficult task for the team to revive the domestic economy given the sagging global economy.


Water to be irrigated to farmlands once there is enough supply for consumption

BANGKOK, 17 July 2015 (NNT) Farmers have been assured that water will be irrigated to their farmlands, once there is enough supply for household consumption.

Interior Minister General Anupong Paojinda has urged farmers to wait until the government is certain there is sufficient amount of water to meet domestic demands, before they can pump it from rivers.

Struggling farmers will receive government’s assistance, according to Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Amnuay Patise; however, it is not known at this point how much they are supposed to get to help them cope with the drought crisis.

Indebted farmers are likely to be given a grace period by the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives. Provincial governors are to determine whether their respective provinces should be declared natural disaster zones.

In terms of economic growth, Deputy Prime Minister M.R. Pridiyadhorn Devakula said the drought crisis had only a minor impact on the Thai economy.

The government has also given 1 million baht to each of the districts affected by water shortages, which is to be spent on the drilling of water wells in rice fields. At least 30,000 wells have been drilled so far.


CCCIF holds a meeting on IUU Fishing

BANGKOK, 17 July 2015, (NNT) The Command Center for Combating Illegal Fishing (CCCIF) has extended the operating period of the mobile fishing vessel registration units to the end of this month.

Admiral Kraison Chansuwanit made the announcement during the CCCIF's meeting yesterday. The mobile registration campaign is a joint effort among the Marine Department, the Fisheries Department and the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission.

The meeting has resolved to ban the use of push nets, net traps, lighted fishing nets and stow nets by all types of fishing boats. Fishing perimeters for local and commercial fishing operations have also been established. The specifics of the fisheries regulations, policies and discussion on related topics will be included in the next meeting, Admiral Kraison said.


Rouge beauty clinic in Huai Khwang shutdown

BANGKOK, 17 July 2015, (NNT) Officials from the Department of Health Service Support have raided the Rouge beauty clinic at the Mengjai Intersection in Huai Khwang District of Bangkok.

The beauty clinic has been illegally providing services such as Botox and filler injections as well as face lifts .

The inspection came after one of the customers developed a severe reaction to her nose filler injection, and filed a complaint against the clinic with the authorities.

Initially, the clinic owner was charged with practicing medicine, operating a clinic and selling medicine without a license as well as selling unregistered medicines.


NRC calls for faster processes to help troubled rice farmers

BANGKOK, 17 July 2015 (NNT) The National Reform Council has proposed a quickening of the process to help troubled rice farmers in the country.

The Chairman of the NRC’s Committee on Agricultural Reform, Uthai Sonluksub, says he has prepared a proposal that focuses on the faster implementation of measures to help rice farmers.

Mr. Uthai said that his proposal is about the setting up of a Federation of Rice and Rice Farmers of Thailand, which it's hoped will help the government solve problems faced by rice farmers.

He added that he will submit the proposal to the Prime Minister for consideration, and that all related agencies and representatives of the farmers will be invited to a meeting on the idea.

Around 56.69 million rai of rice farms are available for this year’s rice growing and 24.14 million tons of rice are expected to be harvested.

Although there are as many as 14.8 million rice growers in the country, most of them are now battling drought as well as rising costs, falling rice prices and growing debt, he said.


Charter drafters to meet 21 July to vote on drafting deadline extension

BANGKOK, 17 July 2015 (NNT) The Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Council has scheduled a date for all charter drafters to cast their votes on the extension of the deadline for the drafting process.

CDC Chairman Borwornsak Uwanno said that the charter drafters will continue making all suggested adjustments to the draft of the new Constitution, which was originally set to be completed within 60 days, or July 23.

However, as it remains uncertain if the process will be wrapped up in time, the CDD will convene a session on July 21 for all members to deliberate and cast their votes on the suggested extension of the deadline by 30 days, Mr. Borwornsak said.

He insisted that such a decision would be based on all reasons which would be heard on that day.

Concerning one of the orders issued by the National Council for Peace and Order, which cancelled the selection of members of the Law Reform Commission of Thailand, Mr. Borwornsak said that the CDC has not discussed or initiated the issue while stating that a defamation lawsuit will be filed against anyone who has been or is spreading such a false report on social media.


HM King helps drought-affected people in 53 provinces

BANGKOK, 16 July 2015 (NNT) His Majesty the King has ordered water supply centers set up in 53 provinces to help the drought-affected people.

The water supply centers are collaboration between the Rajaprajanogroh Foundation under the Royal Patronage, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation and the Ministry of Education. The centers are located in Rajaprajanogroh Schools and schools under the Bureau of Special Education in 53 provinces. The centers have been operating since 17 July 2015.

The public can receive water supply at a nearby center during its operating hours until the drought situation ends.


Vietnam’s shrimp exports to UK rise sharply

Vietnamese shrimp exports to the United Kingdom have registered a strong growth even as shrimp exports to the European Union have been registering a declining trend since early this year.

Shrimp import volumes in the United Kingdom have declined, but Vietnamese exporters have done well in that market, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

Statistics from Vietnam's General Department of Customs show that shrimp exports to the United Kingdom reached 9.4 million USD in May, double the figure for the previous month.

In the first five months of this year, shrimp exports to the United Kingdom reached 36.2 million USD, up 50.9 percent year-on-year.

VASEP General Secretary Nguyen Hoai Nam said shrimp exports to Britain had increased due to a larger supply of shrimp and a lower price for the seafood on the world market.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese shrimp exports to the two key markets of Germany and the Netherlands fell 13 percent and 9 percent, respectively, in the first five months this year.

Britons' seafood consumption is on the rise, thanks to health concerns. Consequently, warm-water shrimp and other new types of seafood are on offer in stores, together with traditional seafood such as cod, salmon, tuna and cold-water shrimp.

The association expects shrimp exports to the UK and other European markets to increase. However, the rate of increase is low due to the debt crisis in Greece


Remains of 18 volunteer soldiers returned to Vietnam

The remains of 18 Vietnamese military volunteers who lost their lives in Cambodia during the war were repatriated to Vietnam in a ceremony held in Kiri Vong district, Takeo province, Cambodia on July 15.

The ceremony was attended by officials of Vietnam’s southern An Giang province and Takeo province.

The remains were found by the Remains Collection Team K93 under the An Giang Military Command during their excavations in five communes in Takeo province between March and July this year. Seven out of the 18 soldiers were identified.

It is estimated that the remains of approximately 4,000 Vietnamese soldiers are buried in Cambodia, Vice Chairman of the An Giang People’s Committee Ho Viet Hiep said, expressing his hope that Takeo province will continue to support Vietnam in its search and repatriation efforts.

He urged the Cambodian locality to inform residents on the agreement between Vietnam and Cambodia in this regard and encourage them to help with the search.

For his part, Vice Governor of Takeo province Uon Van Na pledged to facilitate the search and thanked An Giang authorities for providing rice, books and medical check-ups for disadvantaged families and building infrastructure throughout the locality.

On the occasion, An Giang province presented local students with 1,000 notebooks


Highway Dept to repair 3 main highways in Nakhon Pathom

NAKHON PATHOM, 16 July 2015 (NNT) The Department of Highways has announced plans to repair three major highways to ensure road safety and smooth travel.

The department has made known that repair work is being carried out on Phetkasem Road, which is considered the gateway to the South. The road has been in use for a long period of time and damage to its surface has been reported.

The project is set to ensure motorists are able to travel safely and quickly to their destinations. The three projects involve work on Highway No. 4 in Nakhon Chaisri, Phra Patone and Srakatiam.

All three projects were begun on July 11 and will continue for around 150 days. The department will coordinate with local police to facilitate the safe access of motorists during the reconstruction. Members of the public are advised to plan their travel ahead and exercise extra caution while driving.


NLA members given until July 20 to submit questions for impeachment case

BANGKOK, 16 July 2015 (NNT) Members of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) will be given until July 20 to submit questions regarding the impeachment case of 248 former MPs.

NLA Second Vice President Peerasak Porchit revealed that the legislative body has established a seven-member committee to hold the case hearing sessions and conduct examinations of both the plaintiff and the defendants using questions submitted by NLA members.

Mr Peerasak said NLA members will be given until July 20 to submit questions. The hearing session will then commence August 6 with, and the entire case should be concluded by the end of the month.


Phichit organizes energy-saving campaign for provincial governmental sector

PHICHIT, 16 July 2015 (NNT) Phichit is organizing an energy-saving campaign for its provincial governmental sector.

Phichit Provincial Energy Office today held a meeting to inform officials of various government units on methods to lower energy usage and make the most use of it, as a means to save the government's energy budget.

Deputy Phichit Governor, Mr.Nopparat Tungkittithavorn, presided over the opening of the meeting joined by officials from provincial units who will later pass on the knowledge to their respective organizations. The Deputy Governor had asked for cooperation from officials of all units in helping conserve energy and to switch off electrical appliances once they are not in use, or to use energy only when necessary.

According to statistics on energy-savings in the governmental sector, 7,886 organizations had cooperated in the campaign in the 2014 fiscal year, helping save almost 9,400 units of electricity, worth up to 6.2 billion baht. The campaign calls for a reduction in energy usage of each unit by 10 percent in accordance with the cabinet's resolution aiming to set an example for the private sector to follow suit while also reducing the dependence on oil imports.


Public gatherings legislation necessary to ensure peace and order

BANGKOK, 16 July 2015 (NNT) The Royal Thai Police has insisted that the Public Gatherings Act which will be effective soon, is a crucial tool for officers to ensure peace and order in the kingdom.

The Police echoed the Prime Minister’s sentiment that the new legislation will facilitate the work of security officers. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-Ocha earlier asserted that the Public Gatherings Act which has been published in the Royal Gazette will be applied to all groups of people, not only student activist groups.

He said that protesters could peacefully voice their views within the democratic framework and without firearms.

The National Legislative Assembly had passed the public gatherings bill earlier this year. Among the restrictions introduced by the new legislation are advance notice that organisers of public gatherings must submit to the chief of the police station in the locality where the protest will be staged, a ban on protests to be held within a 150-metre radius from certain places such as the Grand Palace and the parliament, and prohibition of blockade of the entrance and exit of government buildings, airports and offices of international organisations.


Thai and Peruvian Culture Ministers meet to lay down cultural cooperation framework

PERU, 16 July 2015 (NNT) Culture Minister Weera Rojpotchanarat is leading a delegation to attend a bilateral meeting with his Peruvian counterpart to map out a cultural cooperation framework and activities between Thailand and Peru.

The minister is accompanied on this trip by a Thai cultural troupe which will give a special performance to celebrate the 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The performance is scheduled to follow the bilateral discussion between the two ministers. Last night, the Thai delegation attended a welcoming party hosted the by Thai Ambassador to Peru Ruengdej Mahasaranond and the Deputy Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Suwat Jiraphan.

The Ambassador reiterated to enhance the Thai-Peruvian relations through the cultural dimension. Thailand and Peru, he said, have signed their first agreement on the conservation of museums and cooperation to bring back stolen ancient objects of both countries


Bangkok City water saline but safe for consumption

BANGKOK, 16 July 2015 (NNT) The Metropolitan Waterworks Authority (MWA) has downplayed concerns over the capital's tap water, following reports of increased salinity due to seawater invasion.

The MWA explained that seawater invasion, which has been occurring since Saturday, raised the salinity of the Chao Phraya River to more than 0.5 grams per liter. Tap water during this period can taste more saline than usual, but is still drinkable, as it falls within the World Health Organization’s standards.

Water salinity is noticeable in areas on the eastern side of the Chao Phraya River, including Phra Khanong, Lat Phrao, Min Buri, Bang Khen and Samut Prakan. Residents can check the quality of water in their neighborhood via http://twqonline.mwa.co.th or call its hotline 1125.

The MWA has urged the public to conserve water during the ongoing drought crisis.


BAAC and PTT offering discount on gas for farmers

BANGKOK, 16 July 2015 (NNT) Farmers joining the credit card-for-farmer project are to receive a 50-satang discount for every liter of gas they purchase under a new campaign to help reduce their expenses.

The Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) and PTT Public Company Limited have signed a memorandum of understanding to sell cheaper fuel to farmers who are credit card holders.

The MOU is meant to help shoulder the cost of production for farmers, who will be entitled to a 50 satang discount on every type of fuel purchased at 370 PTT gas stations nationwide.

They will also receive a 10% discount on the retail prices of lubricants.The BAAC is hoping the MOU will help farmers save as much as 80 million baht this year.


Artificial insemination on Panda 'Lin Hiu' successful

CHIANG MAI, 16 July 2015 (NNT) Chiang Mai Zoo has successfully carried out an artificial insemination on female Giant Panda ‘Lin Hui’.

Zoological Organization of Thailand Director Benjapol Nakprasert, Acting Chiang Mai Zoo Director Nipon Wichairat and Chief Research of the Panda Project Dr. Baripat Siriarunrat have joined a press conference to announce that Lin Hiu could be expecting a baby in 100 days.

According to them, the female panda, Lin Hui, was showing a series of behaviors that only occur in pandas that are ready to mate. They added the high level of estrogen found in Lin Hui means that the panda has already ovulated.

They suspected that the ovulation could have taken place on June 21st. The team will continue to monitor the giant panda to confirm her pregnancy within 60 days after the ovulation.

They have promised to take good care of Lin Hui to reduce her stress. Ultrasound scans will also be carried out intermittently to see if there is an embryo developing in her womb.


Fishing vessels must report to officials before end of July

BANGKOK, 16 July 2015, (NNT) The Ministry of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives has said that all registered fishing boats must report to the Fisheries Department before the end of July.

According to the Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Pitipong Pungboon Na Ayudhya, the Cabinet has tasked the Fisheries Department with looking into approaches to allowing a single fishing license to cover multiple fishing methods and lowering the license fee for small fishing vessels.

He reiterated that fishing vessels can still register at the provincial Marine Office and Fisheries Office.

Fishing vessels that have already registered must also report to Department officials before the end of July, the Minister said, adding that a discussion with the Labor Ministry about amending the law to allow foreigners to work as boat mechanics is going on right now. However, ship captain and first mate must be of Thai nationality, he stressed. Minister Pitipong also said fishing boats under 10 tons gross will be allowed to have the same person as the first mate and mechanic.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan said the Thai government has spared no effort in eradicating the IUU Fishing issues. He said several related laws will be amended for better clarity, and will soon be forwarded to the National Legislative Assembly for approval. He is confident that Thailand will not be red-carded by the European Union, as the nation has demonstrated its determination to address the issues.


Government is pushing to complete the national digital economy plan

BANGKOK, 16 July 2015 (NNT) The government is urgently drafting the national policy and planning strategy on the use of digital technologies to expedite economic development to be implemented by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology.

ICT Minister Pornchai Rujiprapa said the administration expected to see a complete draft before the end of this year. He said the plan would generally benefit the public and boost the local economy through promotion of private businesses. Initially it seeks to manage and maximize the fourth generation (4G) frequency allocations, the concession of which will be soon opened for auction.

A committee will also be set up to oversee the process of moving electrical and telephone lines in Bangkok underground. The Metropolitan Electricity Authority is currently responsible for project.

On the establishment of the national data center, the minister said 80 percent of the work has been completed, with participation of 20 private companies. The center aims at integrating information about all governmental units, in order to facilitate co-investment between the government and private sectors.


Coverage of inexpensive meals program expanded into Buriram

BANGKOK, 16 July 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Commerce is pushing ahead with expanding the coverage of its "Nu Nit Pha Chim" project into the various regions of Thailand, with Buriram chosen as a pilot province.

Minister of Commerce Chatchai Sarikulya revealed that he will be attending the launch of the 'Nu Ni Pha Chim' program in Buriram on Friday (July 17). The program is a collaboration between the provincial chamber of commerce, the local Ministry of Commerce office and major goods manufacturers. The objective of the program is to provide the public with an opportunity to buy ready-made food at fair prices, while avoiding drawing from public funds. 92 food vendors in the province have already joined the program.

The Department of Internal Trade has been assigned to consult with the Board of Trade on using the network provided by the provincial chambers of commerce in persuading at least 100 food vendors in each province to join the program.


Underground water sought to relieve farmlands of water shortages

BANGKOK, 16 July 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is planning to supply 150,000 cubic meters of underground water to parched areas along the Chao Phraya River daily.

According to Natural Resources and Environment Minister General Dapong Rattanasuwan, more underground water will be sought to help sustain rice fields in the low lying areas of the Chao Phraya River and the lower part of the North.

Farmers' crops in the areas could be at risk as the amount of water supplied from the irrigation system has been temporarily lowered. Around 511 spots have been identified as sources of the underground water.

Water has so far been pumped from 402 of artesian wells to help prevent over 60,000 rais of rice fields from drying up. The amount of water supply could reach as much as 150,000 daily by the end of July and 133,650 more rais will be spared from the drought crisis.


Government focus on tap water rather than irrigation

BANGKOK, 16 July 2015 (NNT) Water discharge from the four major reservoirs feeding the Chao Phaya plains will be reduced beginning today, whereas no water will be provided to irrigation networks, in an effort to ensure that the supply for tap water lasts until the rainy season is in full swing.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Wednesday the government needed to give priority to supplying water for consumption, at the expense of water for irrigation. He said he sympathized with farmers who were facing water shortages and that the government was seeking ways to assist them.

Petipong Pungbun Na Ayudhya, the minister of agriculture and cooperatives, disclosed that water feed to the Chao Phraya plains from the four major dams will be reduced by 2 million cubic meters per day beginning today (July 16). The daily discharge will be scaled back from 28 million cubic meters per day, until it reaches 18 million cubic meters a day.

Water pumping stations are now banned from diverting water into the irrigation network. However, permission may be sought to channel water into the irrigation network for purposes of feeding tap water production or other purposes save for agriculture.

Tak provincial governor Somchai Hatthayatanti also revealed on Wednesday there was only 143 million cubic meters of water available for discharge from Bhumibol Dam, one of the four major dams feeding the country's central plains.


 

DAILY UPDATE

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Army launches budget fast food project

PM rolls out measures to boost investments in Deep South

DSI to hold anti trafficking conference with Myanmar

Ministries join forces to handle aging society in Thailand

More cracks reported on roads in Ayutthaya due to drought

Rainmaking operations under way to relieve drought in North

Princess Maha Chakri introduces her new book to celebrate 40th anniversary of Thai-Chinese diplomatic relations

PM calls for public support for infrastructure projects

Royal Thai Airforce to hold Mother's Day merit making ceremonies

Those living near waterways urged to survey embankments and report any damage

Government launches new aid campaign for impoverished mothers

4G auction to take place on November 11th

Thai Police to rehearse steps to facilitate "Bike for Mom" rally on Sun 2 Aug

Souvenir shirts and pins for Bike for Mom to be given out on Jul 25-26

Over a hundred businesses to attend Southern International Trade Expo, Jul 23-26

Police promote helmet wearing among children on motorcycles

Chiang Rai hopeful with rehabilitated former drugs offenders

Phuket fishing resumes as monsoon subsides

TISTR to pass on longan shelf life prolonging technology to framers

Government hopes several months of hard work to tackle IUU fishing would satisfy EU

Government asks all sides to help solve IUU prior to next evaluation in Oct

ICT Minister joins Thailand Competitiveness Conference 2015 opening

Phang Nga tourists opt for inland attractions amid storm scare

Farmers at Pasak Jolasid Dam agree to suspend farming

Department of Health to reduce rate of obesity among children

Ministry of Interior allays public concern over drought crisis

Education Ministry backs improvement of border schools in SEZ provinces

Pathumthani Waterworks ensures low salinity level in tap water

Prime Minister states that no adjustments will be made to the government's economic team

Water to be irrigated to farmlands once there is enough supply for consumption

CCCIF holds a meeting on IUU Fishing

Rouge beauty clinic in Huai Khwang shutdown

NRC calls for faster processes to help troubled rice farmers

Charter drafters to meet 21 July to vote on drafting deadline extension

HM King helps drought-affected people in 53 provinces

Vietnam’s shrimp exports to UK rise sharply

Remains of 18 volunteer soldiers returned to Vietnam

Highway Dept to repair 3 main highways in Nakhon Pathom

NLA members given until July 20 to submit questions for impeachment case

Phichit organizes energy-saving campaign for provincial governmental sector

Public gatherings legislation necessary to ensure peace and order

Thai and Peruvian Culture Ministers meet to lay down cultural cooperation framework

Bangkok City water saline but safe for consumption

BAAC and PTT offering discount on gas for farmers

Artificial insemination on Panda 'Lin Hiu' successful

Fishing vessels must report to officials before end of July

Government is pushing to complete the national digital economy plan

Coverage of inexpensive meals program expanded into Buriram

Underground water sought to relieve farmlands of water shortages

Government focus on tap water rather than irrigation

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