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Chartered flights to be allowed re-entry only after being inspected by destination countries

BANGKOK, 1 April 2015 (NNT) The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) has pointed out that the ICAO ban imposed on chartered airplanes from Thailand is due to an unqualified supervising system in the country, not the standard of operation of aircraft.

DCA Director General Somchai Piputwat said the ICAO judgment has prompted Japan, South Korea and China to ban chartered flights from Thailand. Re-entry will only be permitted after Thai aircraft has passed safety tests in countries of destination.

The Director General affirmed that all Thai chartered flights are operating with high safety standard compatible to international airlines. He said operators of Thai private airlines are willing to have their aircraft inspected and cooperate with the DCA in restoring the credibility of the Thai aviation industry.

The meeting between stakeholders will be held in the afternoon today to find solutions to the problem.


NRC’s public health committee: Traditional Thai medicine is important for modern medicine and society

BANGKOK, 1 April 2015 (NNT) The National Reform Council’s committee on public health reform has stated that the traditional Thai medicine has been playing an important role for both the modern medicine and the local society.

Chairperson of the committee Porapan Punyaratabandhu and chairman of the NRC’s subcommittee on the reform of Thai traditional medicine Admiral Chanchai Charoensuwan on Tuesday held a news conference on the overhaul of the country’s traditional medicine.

Mrs. Porapan said that Thailand’s traditional medicine is an invaluable asset of Thailand and its complete reform will help improve the efficiency of the modern medicine and the healthcare system of the country.

Admiral Chanchai added that while traditional medicine has been downplayed greatly in the society, hospitals have been increasingly incapable of meeting the demand of all patients.

Therefore, he stated that a serious reform for this branch of medicine, along with the practice of the modern medicine, will not only help secure, but also strengthen the quality and the efficiency of Thailand’s public health system.


CDC meeting agrees to set up quota for female participation in politics.

BANGKOK, 1 April 2015 (NNT) The Constitution Drafting Committee meeting has resolved to approve the proposal to set up a quota for female participation in politics.

The CDC meeting on Tuesday held an internal discussion to review pending matters, which amounted to 23 issues.

According to CDC spokesman Gen. Lertrat Ratanavanich, the meeting has approved that female candidates must account for at least one-third of the total candidates in the party-list proportional representation system.

However, the CDC meeting decided not to change the condition of gender proportion for the election of local administration councilors as it is different in nature when compared with the election of MPs or senators, Gen. Lertrat added.

Concerning the no-confidence debate, the CDC resolved to put in the draft charter that the prime minister who loses in the no-confidence vote will be the only person removed from office but the House of Representatives and MPs will continue their duties.


NLA whip expects to set date for opening statements in impeachment case against former Commerce Minister by end of April

BANGKOK, 1 April 2015 (NNT) The National Legislative Assembly whip expects the opening statements to take place by the end of this month, in the impeachment of former ministers and civil servant for their alleged involvement in the controversial rice subsidy program.

NLA whip spokesman Jate Sirathranont said that after discussing the impeachment of former Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom, former Deputy Commerce Minister Poom Sarapol and former Director General of the Foreign Trade Department Manas Sroyploy, the NLA whip is set to meet again on April 2 to decide when the opening statement in the case will take place.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission has found all three men guilty of causing heavy financial losses to the government and abuse of power in relation to the implementation of the rice subsidy program.

At the next meeting, the NLA whip will also consider whether it will approve the requests for additional evidence.

Mr. Jate added that the opening statements by all involved in the case will likely take place around the end of April.


Thailand’s House Secretary-General discusses parliamentary issues at IPU in Hanoi

BANGKOK, 1 April 2015 (NNT) The Secretary-General of Thailand’s House of Representatives has discussed various parliamentary issues with participants of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Secretary-General of the House of Representatives Charae Panpruang, along with a Thai delegation to the 132nd IPU Assembly, yesterday joined in several discussions presented by participating parliamentary representatives.

One of the topics brought up was the relationship between the Parliament and members of the press from Turkey, which shed light on the efforts by the Secretariat of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey to provide accurate information, in a transparent manner, to journalists via modern information technology.

Another topic of discussion was on the use of transparent and timely-employed measures related to the rights to access public information by the people, which was presented by the Senate of Spain.


Department of Fisheries to pilot Port in - Port out system from April

BANGKOK, 30 March 2015 (NNT) – The Department of Fisheries (DOF) will be implementing the Port in - Port out system in the 4 piloted provinces in April 2015 to suppress illegal fishing, says DOF Director-General.

The DOF Director-General Joompol Sanguansin has revealed the suppression and monitoring progress of Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) in Thailand, that the department will begin testing the "Port in - Port out" calling system for vessels over 30 gross ton, from 1 April 2015 in the four piloted provinces. The four pilot provinces are Chumphon, Ranong, Songkhla, and Phuket.

The Port in - Port out system will record information of each vessel including the types of equipment, types of caught fish, name of vessel, vessel registration, fishery permit, and crew-members including immigrant workers. Vessels are required to report these selected information to officials within 24 hours prior to sailing in and out of the port.

The system is expected to help prevent human trafficking due to the inspection of the crew, both before the departure and after the arrival of the vessel at the port.

The DOF has upgraded 26 fishery coast radio stations into departure and arrival reporting centers for vessels sailing near 297 ports in the coverage area. The results of this pilot project will also be used to improve the entire system as a guideline to the new Fishery Act, which is expected to be implemented in July 2015.

The DOF is also developing a fishery vessel tracking system, operating through the VMS satellite. This project is expected to be completed in May 2015.


NLA President confident NCPO leader’s adoption of Section 44 will be good for Thailand

BANGKOK, 31 March 2015 (NNT) – The President of the National Legislative Assembly is confident that the leader of the National Council for Peace and Order will exercise his power granted by Section 44 of the interim Constitution for the good of Thailand.

NLA President Pornpetch Wichitcholchai, who helped draft the interim charter, said that even when Thailand is under martial law, the power of Article 44 of the 2014 provisional Constitution is still in effect and can be referred to by the NCPO leader anyhow.

Mr. Pornpetch’s comment was heard after it had been reported that the government would revoke martial law, which has been imposed across the country since last May, and replace it with Article 44 instead.

He said that Article 44 is not a special law that will interfere in the work of the executive branch, the legislative branch and the judicial branch.

Mr. Pornpetch believes Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, the NCPO leader, will wield his power in a good way and for the interest of Thailand.


Industrial production, car exports see growth in Feb

BANGKOK, 30 March 2015 (NNT) – The Office of Industrial Economics (OIE) has reported 3.6 percent growth in the Thai manufacturing production index (MPI) of February, along with an 11.32 percent jump in the export of automobiles.

According to OIE Deputy Director Somsak Jantararoungtong, the February MPI edged up for the first time in 23 months by 3.6 percent. The positive growth figure is attributable to the expansion of many important industries, such as automobile, electronic component, sugar and textile. For the entire year, the MPI is expected to increase by an average of 3-4 percent.

Nonetheless, Mr Somsak noted that negative factors at the moment include lingering worries over the continuous decline in oil prices and the contraction of Thai export values in nearly all markets. The United States was the only market with an increasing value, whereas the Japanese market posted the largest shrinkage of 9 percent.

Meanwhile, more than 108,000 cars were exported in February, a rise of 11.32 percent, with major markets being countries in Asia, the Middle East and Oceania. The annual production of cars is projected to reach 2.13 million units, 1.2 million of which will be for export, increasing 6.37 percent compared to last year.


Transport Min sets up 2 panels to fix aviation glitches in 6-8 months

BANGKOK, 30 March 2015 (NNT) – The Ministry of Transport has decided to establish two committees to solve problems in the Department of Civil Aviation and to handle impacts from the international aviation regulator’s concerns over Thailand’s safety standards.

Following the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)’s voicing of concerns over the safety standards of the Thai aviation industry based on its previous examinations, Transport Minister ACM Prajin Juntong stated that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has designated the matter as a national issue. He pointed out that appropriate actions need to be taken in a timely manner otherwise the nation’s economy and tourism could be damaged.

Therefore, the Transport Ministry has resolved to set up two working committees, one of which is to oversee the tackling of the problem at its root cause, particularly the restructuring of the Department of Civil Aviation, employment of more qualified specialists, increasing of budgets and amendment of laws. Chaired by Minister Prajin, the committee will convene on a weekly basis to follow up on the progress made and will submit a report to the ICAO every two weeks.

The other committee will be responsible for mitigating the effects of the ICAO’s downgrade of Thailand’s safety rating. It will coordinate with all sectors in creating an understanding with the international community concerning Thailand’s commitment to improving its air safety standards.

The setting up of the two committees is due to be proposed to the Prime Minister for approval within 45-60 days. The Ministry of Transport has expressed confidence that the issue surrounding aviation safety will be resolved within 6-8 months.

The ICAO’s safety concerns have prompted Japan as well as China and South Korea to issue a ban on all charter flights from Thailand. Last week, the Transport Ministry already dispatched officials to clarify the situation to the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau. More clarifications are to be made to other countries, including China, South Korea, Australia and Germany.


Government to declare anti-human trafficking a national agenda

BANGKOK, 31 March 2015 (NNT) – The government is planning to declare its campaign to fight human trafficking a national agenda.

Deputy Prime Minister in charge of security Gen. Prawit Wongsuwon said that the current government is not blaming the previous administration for the problems of human trafficking.

Gen. Prawit stated that he only feels the past government has not scratched the right itch and did not do anything to change the laws in line with international practice.

He added that the present government will declare on April 3 that the anti-human trafficking effort is a national agenda.

The DPM also conceded that the fact that state officials' being allegedly involved in human trafficking is a big issue that the international community has been looking at.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha has declined to respond to a statement of former PM Yingluck Shinawatra related to the problem of human trafficking, saying it is worth taking into consideration all issues that have been accumulated and remained unresolved.


NRC members agree with calls for tax restructuring proposal

BANGKOK, 31 March 2015 (NNT) – The National Reform Council has heard the details of a report from the committee in charge of economic reforms and agreed with proposals included in it.

The NRC meeting on Monday was presented with a report from the economic and financial reform committee, chaired by Somchai Richupan, which focused on the overhaul of the tax structure, the financial foundation and the co-op system.

The proposed tax structural change includes such elements as the separation of tax structures for national and local references, the passing of inheritance and property taxes, and the setting up of a national tax committee.

In its proposed restructuring of the financial foundation and the co-op system, the committee emphasises the need of savings through collaboration with Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives and the Government Savings Bank, as well as the elevation of the village funds into a community bank in 5-10 years.

Most NRC members agreed with the committee’s proposals as they are believed to be beneficial for the country.


Thailand to commemorate Days of Civil Servants

BANGKOK, 31 March 2015 (NNT) – The Prime Minister’s Office Minister is working on the plan to organise the 2015 Cilvil Servants’ Day — set for this week.

According to Minister attached to PM’s Office M.L. Panadda Diskul, the celebration of the Civil Servants’ Day 2015 is planned for Tuesday and Wednesday.

The first day of celebration, to be held under the theme of “Being Service-Minded and Professionalism,” will be held at the Government Complex Commemorating His Majesty the King's 80th Birthday Anniversary.

M.L. Panadda said that an exhibition on the history of civil servants, seminars and booths selling merchandises and offering various services by all ministries will be ready for event-goers.

For the second day of the event, the venue will be at Government House. Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha will deliver a speech to all civil servants before Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam presents certificates and honorary pins to 624 government officials with outstanding performances.


Finance Ministry to propose law amendment, inject more money to boost economy

BANGKOK, 31 March 2015 (NNT) – The Finance Ministry will propose law amendment and inject more money in to the local system to boost economy.

Finance Minister Sommai Phasee said that the ministry will propose to the Prime Minister’s Office a plan to amend the law governing the administration of the national village and urban community fund.

Mr. Sommai said that the PM’s Office will be asked to add another 40 billion baht to the village fund after 200 billion baht has already been poured into it, with an aim to help boost the economy and consumption of the grassroots.

He stated that both proposals are considered a kind of government investments when the economic condition remains sluggish.

However, the Finance Minister insisted that the government will not be introducing any direct stimulus measures as the country’s household debt level is very high .

While assuring that the government will speed up the budget disbursement to help the economy grow, Mr. Sommai said that a growth rate of 2%-3% will be acceptable for Thailand when the global economic slowdown still continues.


13 Entrepreneurs interested in 3rd round of auction for NGV bus procurement deal

BANGKOK, 31 Mar 2015, (NNT) - 13 entrepreneurs participated in the 3rd round of auction for the 489 Natural Gas for Vehicle (NGV) bus procurement deal on March 26th.

According to Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) Acting Director Pranee SukrasornMs, out of the 13 contenders, only 2 were from the previous round. She is confident that this would be the last round and the name of the winner will be announced on April 20th. The deal winner will be responsible for the procurement of the buses and start delivering them between May to July this year. The medium price for each vehicle is set at 3.65 million baht, netting an entire deal for 1.78 billion baht.

The acting BMTA director added that her agency plans to decommission 100 buses after receiving all of the new NGV vehicles. As for another plan involving periodic maintenance of the existing 2,600 buses, the Ministry of Finance would guarantee for the loan the BMTA may make regarding the maintenance.

Ms. Pranee said the procurement for the rest of the BMTA’s fleet would have to come after it can determine the new vehicle’s longevity. She added her agency is considering procuring electric buses, given the rising prices of the natural gas for vehicle. However, the choice may not be viable due to the steep price tag of up to ten million baht apiece.


Vietnamese Ambassador to Thailand visit Mukdahan Governor

MUKDAHAN, 31 Mar 2015, (NNT) - Vietnamese Ambassador to Thailand, H.E.Mr.Nguyen Tat Thanh ( เหวียน ตัน ถั่น) yesterday visited Mukdahan Governor Sakolkrit Boonpradit and Thais of Vietnamese descent in the province.

During the meeting with the governor, the ambassador said that Thailand and Vietnam formed a close bound via several cooperation especially in trade, transportation, and labor market.

Ambassador Nguy?n T?t Th?nh highlighted the sister city campaign between Thailand’s Mukdahan and Vietnam’s Kwang Tree, praising one particular program that teaches the native language of the nations to their visiting exchange students.

He also expressed his gratitude toward the province for forging ties in economy, culture, tourism and sports, while adding that Vietnam is ready to support future cooperation, such as investment and trades.

Meanwhile, Governor Sakolkrit echoed Mr.H.E. Nguy?n T?t Th?nh's opinion on the outstanding relations between Mukdahan locals and Vietnamese. He also said that he is looking forward to future endeavors with the nation. Mr. Sakolkrit stated that Mukdahan and Kwan Tree had already signed a Memorandum of Understanding on trade and investment.


Earth Hour 2015 saves 7.5m electricity cost in Thailand

BANGKOK, 29 March 2015 (NNT) The lights off activity during Earth Hour 2015 yesterday helped reduce 7.5 million baht in electricity costs and reduced tons of carbon dioxide emission, claims WWF Thailand.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Thailand, and the Foundation for Environmental Education for Sustainable Development (FEED) Thailand had joined hands with partner organizations to hold the 60 Earth Hour 2015 event under the theme ‘Change Climate Change’ in Bangkok yesterday.

The 60 Earth Hour 2015's main event in Bangkok was situated at Central World shopping center, and important landmarks, offices, shopping malls, and houses around the world participated by turning their lights off.

Important public locations in Bangkok which participated included the Grand Palace, the Temple of Dawn, Rama IX Bridge, Central World shopping center, MBK shopping center, and the Bangkok Arts and Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. Global landmarks that also participated in the lights off activity were the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Acropolis in Athens, and Edinburgh Castle in Scotland.

The lights-off activity this year has helped reduce electricity consumption by 1,940 megawatts, saved 7,499,068 baht in electricity cost, and helped reduce the carbon dioxide emissions by 1,127 tons. This year's event recorded in a higher saving rate than last year in all categories.

The WWF Thailand Country Director Yowalak Thiarachow said that climate change is not just a problem for this hour, but it is an important issue for our children in the future. All contributions to save the energy from all sectors throughout the year will inspire the solution of this issue, while the efforts for climate change during the last 1-2 years is said to be at its highest.

The Earth Hour project originated in Sydney, Australia in 2007, and has become a global activity where people in different regions can show their efforts to raise awareness on climate change, which will lead to the mutual solution for the issue.

WWF Thailand has also organised the We Love Cities activity under the 2015 Earth Hour City Challenge campaign to promote the sustainable municipality in Thailand. Three municipalities in Thailand, namely Hat Yai City in Songkhla province, Khon Kaen City in Khon Kaen province, and Map Ammarit Subdistrict in Chumphon province have passed this year’s campaign.

The three municipality will have to compete on the global stage, while the results for the Global Earth Hour Capital will be announced in the ICLEI World Congress 2015 on 9 April 2015 in Seoul, South Korea.


More Chinese speaking tour guides needed

BANGKOK, 30 Mar 2015, (NNT) The Thai-Chinese Tourism Alliance Association (TCTA) has urged the government, particularly local administration offices, to recruit more tour guides who can speak Chinese, in order to facilitate the increasing number of Chinese tourists who travel by themselves.

According to President of the TCTA Kasian Wattanachawpisut, the move would increase the number of Chinese travelers visiting Thailand and advise them how to conduct themselves according to Thai tradition.

The TCTA earlier discussed the matter of ill-mannered Chinese tourists in Thailand with the Chinese Embassy in Thailand. The latter indicated that Thai officials could punish those visitors the way they normally do other rule breakers. However, the embassy asked the public for an understanding when it comes to general etiquette, which seems to be a common problem among these tourists.


KBank’s this week’s economic outlook

BANGKOK, 30 Mar 2015, (NNT) Kasikorn Research Centerhas said the key factor affecting local stock this week is the prospect of the government lifting martial law and replacing it with Section 44 of the interim constitution.

The center said other domestic factors included this month's inflation rate, and other economic figures from February.

On the other hand, international key driving factors for this week’s stock market are the Greek debt restructure plans, the US' real estate and agricultural sector indexes, and American employment rate outside of the agricultural sector. The US’s labor market data, production index, March Consumer Confidence Index, and factory’s order figures are also to be monitored.

The center has predicted this week's stock’s resistance to be between the range of 1,510 and 1,524 points, and support level at between 1,474 points to 1,482 points.

Meanwhile, the baht is predicted to move within in the range of 32.50 - 32.70 baht against the greenback.


Foreign Affairs Ministry launches working group to help Thais in Yemen

BANGKOK, 29 March 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs have launched hot lines to provide assistance to Thai people in Yemen.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has set up a special working group at the Department of Consular Affairs to act as a coordinator between Thai people in Yemen and their families in Thailand. The contact number is 02 575 1047-8. The ad hoc body operates between 8:30 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.

The Ministry has also instructed the Thai embassy in Muscat, Oman to follow the situation Yemen and prepare to evacuate Thai people wishing to leave Yemen. The Thai embassy in Oman meanwhile has set up special hot lines (+968) 9649 4733 and (+968) 9927 3440 for those seeking help.

The ongoing clashes between Houthi rebels and rival militia in Yemen’s southern city of Aden prompted Saudi Arabia’ navy to evacuate dozens of foreign diplomats and Saudi nationals from Aden, and the United Nations to pull out over 100 international staff from the capital Sanaa.

There are 250 Thai people living in Yemen, three in Aden and two in Sanaa. Most of the Thai nationals are in Tarim which is 800 kilometers from Aden.


Bus commuters to Chiang Mai urged to buy advance ticket ahead of Songkran holidays

CHIANG MAI, 29 March 2015 (NNT) Regular scheduled buses to Chiang Mai during the Songkran holidays are now sold out, while passengers are advised to book advance tickets for the added bus services, recommends the Chiang Mai Transport Office.

According to the official off the Chiang Mai Provincial Land Transport Office Chanchai Keelapang, bus operators to Chiang Mai have started to provide advance booking services for the some 200 trips of added bus services, to and from Chiang Mai, during the Songkran holidays. All regular seats have been sold out.

He said that the public should plan their trip ahead and book for their tickets in advance, on the bus operators' website or at the bus station to ensure they will be able to travel during the long holiday period, and to avoid a long wait to purchase the tickets on traveling date.

Bus operators have been called for a briefing on issues regarding the services during the holidays, added bus schedules, and for vehicle inspections. These measures have been designed to aid passengers in arriving at their destination safely with good service, and to assure that no passenger will be left behind, says the Chiang Mai Transport Office official.


PM speaks to Prajuab Khiri Khan residents before attending Cabinet meeting

PRAJUAB KHIRI KHAN, 27 March 2015 (NNT) Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has visited the province of Prajuab Khiri Khan and spoken with the people on government policy this morning before attending the Cabinet meeting.

The meeting will be General Prayut’s first official mobile Cabinet since he became the prime minister. The meeting is scheduled for the Army Rehabilitation and Recreation Center in Hua Hin district.

General Prayut had the opportunity to speak with local residents, business owners, fishermen and hoteliers during his visit.

The Prime Minister has also presided over the opening ceremony of the farmer’s and small- and medium-sized enterprises’ exhibition, that showcases progress made on transportation development, water management project, artificial rainmaking, farming and medical technology.


Foreign Affairs Ministry to greet freed fishermen

BANGKOK, 27 March 2015 (NNT) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and related agencies will be holding a welcome home activity at Donmueang International Airport for Thai fishermen who have just been released from Ambon Island in Indonesia.

The 21 freed fishermen are scheduled to arrive in the country at 8.15 p.m. today on Air Asia flight QZ252. The rescue of Thai people lured into becoming labors overseas is one of the main missions the Thai government has tasked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with.

Since October 2014, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has secured the release of 146 Thai workers from Indonesia, 70 of whom were fishermen stranded on Ambon Island.

The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security is in charge of assisting those workers.


Chiang Mai to toughen up road safety measures during Songkran festival

CHIANG MAI, 27 March 2015 (NNT) The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) Chiang Mai Office is expected to take serious action against drunk drivers during Songkran Festival this year.

According to the DDPM, the ‘Drink, Drive and get Arrested' campaign has been organized with an aim to reduce road fatalities in Chiang Mai.

The measure comes on the heels of the province recording the highest road death toll in the country during the recent New Year celebration period. The campaign, which begins from April 1st, will be enforced more stringently from April 9th until April 15th, the last day of the festive season.


Train crash in Ayutthaya leaves over 40 injured

AYUTTHAYA, 27 March 2015 (NNT) More than 40 people were injured when two trains collided in Ayutthaya province last night.

The accident occurred at 10.30 p.m. when a Nongkhai-Bangkok train was rear-ended by a Denchai-Bangkok train. The collision caused three carriages of the Nongkhai-Bangkok train to derail, and left more than 40 people injured.

According to police, the Nongkhai-Bangkok train was preparing to stop at Phra Kaew Train Station before it was hit by the Denchai-Bangkok train. They assumed the traffic control official might have allowed the Denchai-Bangkok train to enter the train station as he thought the Nongkhai-Bangkok train had already entered the platform.

The injured passengers were transported to local hospitals by the military and disaster prevention and mitigation officials. All of them have been discharged except the Denchai-Bangkok train driver and the technician who are still in critical condition.

The military and local administrative officials have now transferred all passengers to Pachi Train Station so they can go on with their trip. The State Railway of Thailand has recorded their data for compensation claims. Train services continue as normal.


Japan is likely to undertake Kanjanaburi route railway project

BANGKOK, 27 Mar 2015, (NNT) Thailand is prepared to discuss a joint railway project with Japan on March 31st, said Transport Minister Air Chief Marshal Prajin Janthong.

According to the minister, the details of the project will be concluded in May, which include the designation of the route that Japan will undertake and other investment specifics, before the two sides establish a joint committee to study further details.

Japan is currently deciding which route to take, said the Minister, speculating that the nation would probably be most interested in the Kanjanaburi-Bangkok-Aranyaprathet-Laem Chabang (กาญจนบุรี-กรุงเทพ -อรัญประเทศ -แหลมฉบัง), as it connects the railway directly to the soon-to-be-established Dawei and the Leam Chabang seaports.

Unless Japan decides to undertake the route,the Minister said he would discuss with Germany and South Korea instead. The decision will be known in two months' time.

As for the Tak - Phitsanulok - Petchaboon - Khon Kean - Roi Et - Mukdahan route and the route linking Bangkok with Phitsanulok and Chiang Mai, he said he would have to study the details before making any decision.

The Air Chief Marshal said the government is ready to kick off the project by the end of this year, saying a further delay would make it difficult for these projects to be realized, as it will have to be handled by the next government.


Issara re-elected as the TCC President position for another term

BANGKOK, 27 Mar 2015, (NNT) Thailand Chamber of Commerce (TCC) has re-elected Issara Wongkusonkit as its president for another term.

The decision was made yesterday during the Chamber's 49th annual meeting, during which the new committee was selected to replace the present one, of which the term has expired. The new committee elected Mr. Issara to remain in the position for another term, while assigning Managing Director of Bangkok Business Equipment Automation Co., Ltd., Dej Cherdsuwannarak, as the TCC’s Secretary-General, and promoting Kalin Sarasin to the position of Vice President.

According to Mr. Issara, the new TCC committee will continue the works of the previous committee with an emphases on 3 particular areas as follows: Increasing competitiveness of the private sector and enhancing the knowledge of entrepreneurs, connecting members in Thailand with those overseas, and maintaining good governance as well as reducing social gaps.

He said the new committee would also focus on minimizing trade obstacles, and facilitating the overall business operations.


PM backs the production of electric cars

BANGKOK, 27 Mar 2015 (NNT) Energy Minister Narongchai Akrasanee revealed that he has assigned related agencies to study possible approaches to promote the production of electric cars in Thailand within the next 3-5 years.

Mr. Narongchai said his ministry would look into the establishment of charging stations and battery replacement service, or specifically speaking, the strategic location of these stations. He stated that initially PTT Public Co. Ltd has expressed interest in providing the service. However, the process is possible only after laws are amended to allow oil service stations to legally offer battery charging service.

According to the minister, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha showed support for the production of the electric vehicles, following the global trend. The Prime Minister said Thailand must look into the future and provide necessary means that would enable electric cars to run in both city and in the remote areas.

General Prayut sets to lay down the required infrastructure within the next 3-5 years. He said the government would help pave ways for gas stations to offer the charging service by amending related laws.


Thais invited to exhibition marking Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s birthday

BANGKOK, 26 March 2015 (NNT) Permanent Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office ML Panadda Diskul has encouraged all Thai people to visit a traveling exhibition in commemoration of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s fifth cycle birthday anniversary.

According to ML Panadda, the Office of Identity Promotion under the Office of the Permanent Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office is ready to organize a special exhibition under the title “Phra Phu Sang Roi Yim” or literally “The Princess Who Brings Smiles to the People” in honor of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn as she turns 60 on April 2 this year.

In cooperation with the Provincial Administration Organization Council of Thailand and Siam Paragon Development Company Limited, the event will take place during April 1-8 at Siam Paragon Shopping Center in Bangkok. ML Panadda said all Thais are invited to observe the exhibition as a show of loyalty to the beloved Princess.

The exhibition will be divided into three different zones. The first will showcase Her Royal Highness’s artistic works and talents while offering visitors a chance to sign well-wishing books for the Princess and purchase quality products at the Phu Fah Shop. The second zone will feature a photographic display, demonstrating Her Royal Highness’s gentle and friendly nature, and the third zone will revolve around royal activities and benevolence for the Thai subjects.

After Bangkok, the exhibition will continue in other regions of the country. It will be held in Chiang Mai province in the North during April 23-26, Sakon Nakhon province in the Northeast during May 7-10, Samut Songkhram province in the Central Plains during May 21-24 and Krabi province in the South during June 4-7.


28 provinces still affected by drought crisis

BANGKOK, 26 March 2015 (NNT) The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) has revealed that 28 provinces are currently affected by the drought crisis.

According to DDOM Director General Chatchai Promlert, more than 7,000 villages in 28 provinces across Thailand have been facing water shortage problems since October last year.

The DDPM has sought relief efforts from the army and related agencies. Water trucks have been delivering water for consumption and farming to affected communities, and machinery has also been provided to help ease the drought crisis.

A plane has been sent to spray water in the forest areas in Chiang Mai and its surrounding provinces to improve the visibility in the sky. The operation is expected to continue until the end of this month.

Mr. Chatchai has advised farmers to grow drought-tolerant crops instead of rice. The DDPM is also seeking new sources of ground water to assure the sustainability of water supply for household consumption for locals.


Hat Yai seeks popular votes as the world's most lovable and sustainable city

HATYAI, 26 March 2015 (NNT) Songkhla's Hat Yai Municipality, a big southern city of Thailand, is inviting people to vote for it as the most lovable and sustainable city in the world, by Friday 27th March 2015.

The "We Love Hatyai” campaign is seeking votes to help the city win the People’s Choice Award which is part of the event "Earth Hour City: a Wake Up Call for Cities” organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) - the leading organization in wildlife conservation and protecting endangered species.

Songkhla’s Hat Yai Municipality is one of three cities in Thailand - along with Khon Kaen Municipality and Chumphon’s Mab-ammarit Municipality - which have been selected by the WWF as one of 47 environment-friendly cities in 17 countries around the world.

People can vote for Hat Yai through the following channels: tweet or instagram your post with #welovehatyai, press the button on the top of the page http://www.welovecities.org/hatyai/#vote or visit www.welovecity.org.

A vote for Hat Yai is also a vote for a sustainable future powered by renewable energy.


Poll: Bangkok governor still popular among Bangkokians

BANGKOK, 26 March 2015 (NNT) Bangkok Governor Mom Rajawongse Sukhumbhand Paripatra remains popular among Bangkok residents during the past two years, according to a recent survey by Bangkok University Research Center.

Based on the 10-point evaluation system, the performance of Bangkok Metropolitan Administration with M.R. Sukhumband at the helm has risen to 6.22 points, up from 5.65 points last year.

The most impressive job is the ambition to make the capital city an economic and learning metropolis. The least impressive one is the plan to develop Bangkok into a democratic metropolis.

In terms of his performance, the governor this time has gained 0.62 point to 6.08 points due primarily to his dedication and hard-working personality. The respondents, however, are least happy with his response to problems.

When asked about the governor’s most outstanding job over the past two years, roughly 73 percent of the respondents are of the opinion that he has yet to come up with exceptional performance so far.

Nevertheless, as high as 63 percent admire the BMA for the city cleanup, particularly the removal of roadside stalls from Silom and Khlong Thom areas. Around 43 percent said they would still elect M.R. Sukhumband as the Bangkok governor again if an election were held today.

The results of the survey were compiled from the answers of 1,215 Bangkok residents aged above 18 during March 20-23.


NLA reviewing several key draft laws and reports today

BANGKOK, 26 March 2015 (NNT) The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) will be considering several key draft laws in today’s meeting.

The Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) will report to the legislative panel on the draft charter when the session begins at 10.00 hrs.

Later, the NLA will be briefed on other various draft laws and reports that were reviewed and approved by the Cabinet.

The bills include legislation on disaster insurance, communicable diseases, warehouses, universities and reports on violence against women and children compiled over the past two years.

NLA members will also examine a list of qualified candidates for the position of Ombudsman.


BMA to ban alcohol and powder in Silom during Songkran

BANGKOK, 26 March 2015 (NNT) The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will be keeping illegal street vendors off Silom road during Songkran Festival this year.

Accompanied by police officers, city rangers, Bangrak district officials and officers from the 3rd cavalry squadron, Dr. Wallop Suwandee, an advisor to Bangkok Governor, yesterday traveled to Silom road to promote the legal use of public space.

According to Dr. Wallop, street hawkers have in the past breached the law by selling alcoholic drinks and festival items on the footpath of Silom Road during the Songkran festival without permission. The widespread sales of alcohol on the road last year also led to brawls and other forms of violence.

Some public spaces were also illegally rented out to small vendors during the festival without them knowing who the area really belonged to. The road was so littered with so much trash after the festival ended that the BMA had to employ a large number of people to clean up the road, the advisor said.

Police officers will be deployed to maintain law and order during this year's festival, held between April 12 to 14. Vendors who wish to use the space for commercial purposes are required to register, at no charge whatsoever, at Bangrak District Office.

Under the regulations, the sales of alcoholic beverages and powder will be banned during the festival period. Vendors will only be allowed to sell their goods from 1 pm to 9 pm.


 

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