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NEWS 
 

Hajj pilgrims will be monitored for MERS

BANGKOK, 12 September 2015 (NNT) - Permanent Secretary for Public Health Dr. Narong Sahamethaphat (ณรงค์ สหเมธาพัฒน์) has instructed provincial public health offices to be on the lookout for a possible outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), as more than 10-thousand hajj pilgrims will start returning from Saudi Arabia in a couple of weeks.

Dr. Narong held a video conference with heads of provincial public health units on Friday. He stressed that the public health offices in the 14 provinces that would see the return of hajj pilgrims must prepare appropriate MERS prevention measures.

He underlined the importance of having isolation rooms, and protective gears for both the general public and medical personnel.

The Permanent Secretary also urged the 4 international airports in the country - Suvarnnabhumi, Phuket, Hat Yai and Narathiwat to be extra vigilant in scanning for the disease.

The hajj pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia will be put under close watch for the next 14 days. There has been no report of Thais suffering from MERS so far.


Low rainfall threatens crops in Nakhon Ratchasima & Nakhon Sawan

NAKHON RATCHASIMA – Several regions in Thailand continue to suffer drought, with water levels reaching critical lows at Lam Takhong Dam in Nakhon Ratchasima province.

Water levels at Lam Takhong Dam have fallen to 15% capacity. Suttiroj Kongkaew, Director of the Lam Takhong Operation and Maintenance Project, ordered constant monitoring of the dam’s water levels, after less-than-expected rainfall in nearby Khao Yai National Park.

He also told officials charged with the local water supply to store rainwater for tap water production. Meteorologists have forecast a rainstorm in October, just north of the dam. However, if low rainfall persists, the region will likely suffer a dire drought situation next year.

Irrigation officials have also reported lower levels in the Chao Phraya River. They urged farmers that have finished harvesting to suspend operations for the rest of the year. For those who are still in the process of cultivating crops, officials have asked that farmers irrigate with rainwater and maintain water reserves to last until harvesting. Farmers without access to natural water resources were told that any cultivation runs a high risk of crop failure.

Meanwhile in Nakhon Sawan province, the recent lack of precipitation has forced farmers to pump water from nearby canals to irrigate their rice paddies, which were sown during a period of constant rain. Provincial irrigation officials have also asked that farmers cease further crop cultivation for the rest of the year.

However, Nan province has received constant rainfall, causing slippery roads and car accidents in several areas. Local authorities have urged caution when driving, especially for tourists unfamiliar with local roads.


Consumer confidence increased in November

BANGKOK, (NNT) - A recent poll conducted by the National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA Poll) has pointed to an increase in consumer confidence in the next couple of months.

The poll which surveyed four investment groups listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand indicated that consumer confidence index for November would reach 59.57 percent, an increase of 4.02 percent from last month's.

The investment groups cited the government’s economic policy as the reason for the positive outlook; however, security concerns in the month of August caused foreign investment confidence to plunge to a 15 month low of merely 40 percent .

According to the survey, individual investors were most optimistic about the economy, citing a consumer confidence index of 63.6 percent. Industries that received the most attention are communication technologies, whereas the steel industry is the industry least interested in.


National Council for Peace and Order says tourism sector is improving

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) announced that investigators are hard at work to solve the bombings of Ratchaprasong Intersection and Sathorn Pier, which have since been completely restored.

According to the Tourism Council of Thailand, overall tourism has improved. The amount of tourists visiting Thailand in 2015 has risen to 30.45 million, a 22% growth from last year. Thailand's projected revenue for 2015 is 2.3 trillion baht, which exceeds the target set by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

However, in order to help authorities provide a safe environment, entrepreneurs and business owners, especially those renting accommodations, have been advised to strictly follow all relevant legislation. The NCPO emphasized the record-keeping of basic information and documents of tenants and customers.

These include passports, national IDs and lengths of stay. This regulation will also help landlords and businesses build confidence among tourists and visitors with regards to government safety measures.

Security agencies have collaborated with all sectors to hold activities to inform the public on spotting suspicious activity and staying safe, without disrupting their profession or daily lives.


City veggie garden festival kicks off in Bangkok

BANGKOK, 12 September 2015 (NNT) – Thai Health Promotion Foundation and Sustainable Agriculture Foundation are jointly holding a city veggie garden festival in Bangkok.

The organizers hope to educate city people and their children to be environmentally-conscious with various activities such as a seminar focusing on the importance of agricultural cultivation in the child learning process, and demonstrations on the making of a vegetable garden, organic fertilizers, homemade soap and vegetable desserts.

It is expected that the activities would spark the urge to be close to nature among city dwellers and inspire them to a more simple and healthy lifestyle. The city veggie garden festival is taking place at Vachirabenjatas Park on Kamphaeng Phet 3 Road, Chatuchak District in Bangkok.


New Airbus in commission at Royal Thai Air Force

BANGKOK, 12 September 2015 (NNT) – The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) has held a delivery ceremony of a new military aircraft which will be used for non-war missions.

The delivery of Airbus ACJ 320 took place at Military Terminal 2 in Bangkok. Deputy PM and Defense Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan presided over the ceremony. The aircraft was purchased under the RTAF procurement project of a passenger plane for high-ranking and prominent persons.

Aside from transporting important persons, the airbus will be used for humanitarian missions such as evacuation of disaster-affected Thais living overseas and peace-keeping operations.

The ACJ320 boasts the most spacious cabin in the corporate jet market. The double engine airplane can seat up to 75 passengers and fly at a maximum distance of 5,900 kilometers or around seven hours when filled up.

The airbus is based at Royal Flight Squadron 602, Wing 6 in Bangkok.


Department of Disease Control warns people of flu as variable weather continues

BANGKOK, 11 September 2015 (NNT) - The Department of Disease Control (DDC) has warned people in Thailand of flu due to variable weather conditions during the transition period from rainy season to winter.

Deputy Director General Dr.Opart Karnkawinpong said that the current weather is mixed with rain and hot air coming intermittently, possibly causing respiratory tract disorders among 45,000 people. Children, elders, pregnant women and persons with congenital diseases are at the highest risk of such illnesses which may cause mortality.

According to a report by the Bureau of Epidemiology, a total of 44,719 people suffered from flu during 1 Jan - 6 Sep 2015. Twenty four of them died.

Dr.Opart noted however that flu is a preventable disease. People can protect themselves by regularly washing their hands and avoiding sharing personal stuff with others. They shall stay away from persons getting a cold, trying not to go to crowded areas with lack of good air flow.

He advised the public to do regular exercise, take enough rest, not going under raining or staying in a very cold or hot place. Wearing face mask is also necessary for persons with respiratory tract disorders to prevent the disease spread.

In case of worse symptoms such as pants and the symptoms are not better within 48 hours, the person is strongly suggested to consult doctor immediately. Please call Hotline 1422 for more information.


Foreign embassies have expressed concerns and condolences over Ratchaprasong bomb blast

 

BANGKOK, 12 September 2015 (NNT) - Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand stated that many foreign embassies have expressed their concern and condolences over the Ratchaprasong bomb blast rather than criticize the work of related officials for being slow in finding a conclusion to the case.

The Minister said that his Ministry and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports are doing their best to bring back confidence. As for the case of protests in Turkey, Don said it is considered an internal affair; however, the Thai embassy has already warned Thai citizens living in Turkey to avoid risky areas for their own safety.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence General Prawit Wongsuwon mentioned that immigration procedures will be stepped up which include face-scanning and fingerprint checking of people entering and leaving the country. To ensure the result, budgets will be provided for purchasing state-of-the-art equipment or technology to screen travelers. He added that there was no need for additional personnel in the immigration work since the current number of officials is both sufficient and efficient. However, if any officials are found to be negligent of their duties, they would be transferred from their post immediately.


No Thais killed or injured in Mecca crane incident

BANGKOK, 12 September 2015 (NNT) - At least 107 people were killed and 238 were wounded when a crane toppled over a mosque in Mecca filled with haj pilgrims. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand confirmed that no Thai nationals were among the dead, however, said two of them were injured.

The incident took place on Friday when a crane smashed into the part of the Grand Mosque where worshippers circle the Kaaba - the black-clad cube towards which the world's 1.6 billion Muslims face to pray.

It was fortunate enough that no Thai nationals were killed, but two Thais were taken to a hospital with no serious injuries.

According to local sources, the crane was brought down by strong winds and storm.

There have been a number of construction projects in the holy city of Mecca over the past few years. They are aimed at enlarging the Grand Mosque and its surrounding courtyards.

Mecca is Islam's holiest site. Pilgrims from around the world have been converging on the city and the mosque for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which starts on September 21.


Higher interest rates in US will not impact domestic stock market, say analysts

BANGKOK, 12 September 2015 (NNT) - Financial analysts believe Thailand’s stock market will be unscathed from the upcoming decision of the Fed to raise interest rates.

Following the possibility of a Fed rate increase by the U.S. Federal Reserve, there have been a lot of comments as to how this will affect the stock market in Thailand.

Prinn Panitchpakdi, managing director of CLSA Securities (Thailand), believes investors in the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) will be worried about external risk factors. In the short term, Thailand could see capital outflows, but long-term investors are still very much confident in the Thai economy, thanks to strong fundamentals and the government’s economic measures.

Peerapong Jirasevijinda, who is the managing director of Fund Management Group and Fund Manager at BBL Asset Management Company Limited, said he expects the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates by 0.25% next week while expressing that it will only have a minor impact on the SET market.

Sukit Udomsirikul, who serves as Head of Retail Research, Thailand and Managing Director at Maybank Kim Eng Holdings Limited, said regardless of the Fed’s decision, the Thai stock market will and has performed better, with the key contributor being the government’s economic policy which aims to regain investors’ confidence.

In reference to the depreciation of Thai baht, he said Thai exports as well as construction businesses have been benefiting from the weakening of the Thai currency.


Prime Minister asks farmers to delay off-season cultivation amid drought

BANGKOK, 11 September 2015 (NNT) – Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has requested cooperation from rice farmers in postponing their cultivation of off-season crops as the drought crisis continues.

In his televised address, Prime Minister Prayut informed the public of the water situation at 17 major dams, saying they are currently holding water at only 30 percent of the total capacity. In order to avoid damage from the shortage of water, he encouraged rice growers to defer their planting of off-season crops and turn to drought-resistant plants instead. Should any of them need help, the premier suggested them to contact the government, the provincial administrative offices or any related agencies.

Gen Prayut made known that a database of farmers will be set up while occupational support will be provided for them. The government will also ensure the highest efficiency of responsible state officials through close supervision and evaluation.

In the meantime, the premier revealed that additional reservoirs are being built throughout the country, starting in areas troubled by repeated drought. He has also instructed concerned ministries to jointly oversee the promotion of agricultural zoning and offer any necessary support to farmers.


Full-scale emergency response exercise held at Phuket Airport

PHUKET, 11 September 2015 (NNT) - Phuket International Airport conducted its 2015 annual full-scale emergency response training exercise with a simulated situation of a plane skidding off runway during the night.

Monrudee Gettuphan, General Manager of Phuket International Airport, said that the airport realized the importance of its readiness to deal with an aviation crisis at any time. It therefore holds an exercise annually with the theme of each exercise changing year by year.

The exercise allows the airport to train its crisis officials and rescuers to achieve greater understanding of their roles in a crisis and how to best deliver assistance timely and appropriately to a particular situation.

She said staff readiness can reduce loss caused by aviation accidents and ensure safety standard for all passengers. She also confirmed that Phuket International Airport has an efficient aviation system and regulations preventing accidents caused unintentionally by the airport staff.


Witness casts doubt on evidence at Thai tourist murder trial

BANGKOK (AP) — An expert witness at the trial of two Burmese workers accused of killing two British tourists in Thailand has testified that DNA found on what police say was the murder weapon does not belong to the defendants.

Autopsies showed that 24-year-old David Miller and 23-year-old Hannah Witheridge suffered severe head wounds and that Witheridge was raped in September last year. The prosecution says DNA found in semen links the two accused migrant workers to the crime.

The testimony Friday by head of Thailand's Central Institute for Forensic Science Porntip Rojanasunand seconded criticism that police mishandled evidence, including the hoe the authorities say was the murder weapon.

The defendants say they were tortured into making false confessions.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Metropolitan Waterworks Authority to reward water-conserving consumers

BANGKOK, 10 September 2015 (NNT) – The Metropolitan Waterworks Authority (MWA) is preparing to reward consumers who significantly cut water usage during the dry season as a gesture of gratitude for their cooperation.

The MWA has prepared a budget of 50 million for residents in Bangkok, Samut Prakan and Nonthaburi who had successfully reduced their water consumption by more than 10 percent during the recent drought crisis.

In October, a sum of up to 200 baht will be refunded to each household fitting the afore-said criteria. Meanwhile, certificates of honor will be conferred on the best-performing public and private agencies which could conserve at least five cubic meters of water in the past drought.

In addition to the offer of reward, Governor Thanasak Watanathana disclosed that the MWA had expanded its service to more than 12 million people in Bangkok, Samut Prakan and Nonthaburi, or about 99 percent of its target. A budget of 46 million baht has been approved for the improvement of water infrastructure to extend the service to about 10,000 households in marginal areas in the outskirts of Samut Prakan and Nonthaburi which still live without tap water.


Bangkok Car Free Day 2015 to be held on Sept 20

BANGKOK, 10 September 2015 (NNT) - The Traffic and Transportation Department, Bangkok will hold the Bangkok Car Free Day 2015 event on September 20 to encourage people not to use their private cars.

Department Director Taweesak Lertprapan said the event will encourage the public to use bicycles in their daily lives and reduce traffic congestion.

The event will be held at Sanam Luang in Bangkok, where cyclists will travel along Rattanakosin Island, passing notable landmarks such as Wat Mahathat, Bangkok National Museum, Democracy Monument, Grand Palace and circle back to Sanam Luang.

The event will also include a walking street exhibiting products and consumables from related agencies as well as an exhibition of the history, architecture and way of life around Rattanakosin Island.


Thai-British cooperation under Newton Fund is successful in its first year

BANGKOK, 10 September 2015 (NNT) - British Ambassador to Thailand Mark Kent and Minister of Science and Technology Pichet Durongkaveroj jointly announced the success of Newton UK-Thailand Research and Innovation Partnership Fund (Newton Fund) on the occasion of the first anniversary of this British-Thai cooperation.

During the first year of the fund, there are five hundred personnel in the scientific and technological sectors trained under four programs namely the joint research for national strategic planning in healthcare, Leaders in Innovation Fellowships (LIF), PhD and Students Exchange Programs as well as Researching and Innovation Management.

Minister Pichet said that the cooperation has greatly developed personnel working in science and technology. Around seven percent of the PhD graduates nationwide are currently working in the private sector.

Both sides have agreed to increase fund allowances from 82.5 million baht in the first year to 422.5 million baht in the second year. The money will be spent on ten projects involving enhancement of personnel efficiency, research development and practical application of research outcomes. The personnel and research to be developed will be mainly in the fields of healthcare, agriculture, energy, environment and natural resources, which are the sectors most plaqued by shortages of personnel in Thailand.

The Minister added Thailand would improve the system of cooperation with foreign countries in hope of increasing the proportion of capital investment in research, scientific and technological development to 1% of the country’s GDP.


Deputy Interior Minister calls for ASEAN-wide plan to cope with natural disasters

BANGKOK, 10 September 2015 (NNT) - The Deputy Minister of Interior has called for unity among ASEAN nations in coping with natural disasters.

Deputy Interior Minister Suthi Makboon spoke at a seminar on disaster prevention and mitigation, saying the recent climate change has caused several natural disasters that have cost the ASEAN region considerable lives and infrastructural damage.

He said ASEAN members should therefore create an effective mechanism of resource management aimed at disaster risk reduction. The mechanism should aim to educate the public on survival tactics during disasters and task agencies with creating swift and effective rescue and assistance plans in accordance with the ASEAN strategic agenda on coping with natural disasters.


Police preparing to issue arrest warrant for bomb mastermind

BANGKOK, 10 September 2015 (NNT) – The Royal Thai Police are gathering evidence before seeking an arrest warrant for a prime bomb suspect known as Isan, who is allegedly behind the Ratchaprasong explosion.

Based on initial investigations, National Police Spokesperson Pol Lt Gen Prawut Thavornsiri disclosed that Mr Abudusataer Abudureheman, alias Isan, who is suspected of masterminding the deadly explosion at Ratchaprasong intersection, had already left the Kingdom on August 16th, before the incident. He reportedly boarded flight BG 0089 from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Bangladesh where he is currently hiding.

However, Pol Lt Gen Prawut said investigators have not accepted this piece of information as true, citing that Bangladesh might have served as only his transit point to another destination. Therefore, the authorities are coordinating with other countries as well as the international police for any useful information.

In the meantime, the National Police Spokesperson said all evidence suggesting Isan’s involvement in the blast is being compiled in order for police to ask the court to issue an arrest warrant.

Police are also trying to determine the escape routes used by other bomb suspects, believing the fugitives might have received help from Thai nationals.


Ministry of Foreign Affairs says Thai nationals not targets in unrest in Turkey

BANGKOK, 10 September 2015 (NNT)-The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has stated that the unrest in Turkey was triggered by political conflicts within the country , and that no Thai nationals have been targeted or hurt in the violence.

According to the MFA, Thai nationals are not the targets of the ongoing protest in Turkey. Only minor damage on homes in Alanya where most Thai citizens are staying has been reported.

The Thai embassy in Turkey has, however, advised all Thai nationals against going near protest sites for their own safety. They have also been advised to keep themselves updated on the situation or contact the Thai embassy for assistance.


Bangkok Metropolitan Administration holds an exhibition of bridge sculptures

BANGKOK, 10 September 2015, (NNT) - The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is holding an exhibition of decorative sculptures of bridges, as a way of raising arts and cultural preservation awareness, among the public.

The exhibition is being held at the Bangkok Art & Culture Center in Pathum Wan from now until Sunday, September 13th. The show features sculptures of Rama V Bridge, which have historic links. The sculptor was reportedly the same person who sculpted decorative sculptures in Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall.

Rama V Bridge has been included in a project to preserve decorative sculptures on the bridges of the capital. The project is a joint effort by the BMA, Silpakorn University's Painting Sculpture and Graphic Arts Faculty, Kasetsart University's Engineering Faculty and members of the private sector.

The project first traced the origins of these sculptures, collected information in the form of digital data, and performed maintenance on the bridge sculptures, before holding the exhibition.


1,000 children in Chiang Rai infected with hand, foot and mouth disease

CHIANG RAI, 10 September 2015 (NNT)-Nearly a thousand grade school students in Chaing Rai have reportedly come down with hand-foot and mouth-disease.

Chiang Rai Provincial Public Health Office has advised schools to keep their students under surveillance after an outbreak has been reported. The type of virus that has killed some children is believed to be the deadliest strain called enterovirus 71, although other strains are less potent.

Children will become weak quickly after contracting the disease. It could be deadly, if they didn’t receive medical treatment soon enough. Schools and childcare centers have been instructed to keep their places clean. Toys and teaching materials must be disinfected frequently.

Around 500 young children at Mareerak School have had their mouths, hands and feet checked by their teachers in an effort to stop the spread. Those sent home were said to have a fever. Parents have been advised to take their children to hospital for treatment.


Criteria for raising loans from village fund laid down

BANGKOK, 10 September 2015, (NNT) - The committee in charge of the National Village and Urban Community Fund is urgently laying down loan-raising criteria for a new batch of village fund worth 60 billion baht, just injected by the government. [along with inspection and evaluation guidelines.

Minister attached to the Prime Minister's Office Suwapan Tanyuwattana on Wednesday attended a meeting of the committee to consider the fund’s criteria to be provided through the Government Savings Bank and the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives.

Under the criteria, each Village Fund would act as the borrower and set the loan criteria for the fund's recipients. For instance, money lent to target customers, both individuals and group of villagers, must be spent on boosting occupation conditions and generating income to the recipients. The amount of money to be borrowed can be between 30,000 baht and 100,000 baht. The minister underlined that inspection and evaluation guidelines are being drafted by a committee involved.


2,000 farmers in Pichit affected by drought

PICHIT, 10 September 2015 (NNT)- Pichit farmers have been struggling to make a living as more than 30,000 rais of farmlands have gone without water for some time now.

More farmers have been forced to encroach on the area surrounding See Fai Lake as it is the only source of water they can use to grow their crops, even though the water level in the 5,300 rai lake has not increased due to the lack of rain.

The impact on the entire eco system of the lake has been significant. The provincial authority is asking farmers and residents to use water wisely.

Around 2,000 farmers in Dong Charoen, Thap Klor, Wang Sai Poon, Bang Moon Nak, Pho Thap Chang and Sam Ngam districts have been affected by water shortages.


Their Majesties congratulated Queen Elizabeth II on her becoming longest reigning monarch of UK

BANGKOK, 10 September 2015 (NNT) - Their Majesties the King and Queen on September 9 sent a congratulatory message to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of the latter’s becoming the longest reigning monarch of the United Kingdom.

In the royal message, Their Majesties the King and Queen extended their sincerest congratulations and best wishes for the health and happiness of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh and all the Members of the Royal Family as well as for the greater progress and prosperity of the United Kingdom and her people.

His Majesty wrote in the message he was confident that the long-standing amicable ties of friendship and cooperation between the two countries and peoples would be also strengthened and flourish even further.


Police reveal identity of bomb mastermind; pursuit underway

BBANGKOK, 9 September 2015 (NNT) – The Royal Thai Police have been able to identify the individual who orchestrated the twin bombings in Bangkok and are urgently tracking him down.

In his capacity as chief of the investigative team probing the explosions at Ratchaprasong Intersection and Sathorn Pier, Deputy National Police Chief Police General Jakthip Chaijinda announced that the suspect known as Isan has been officially identified as Abudusataer Abudureheman. He is believed to be a leading member of the network responsible for the bomb attacks.

According to intelligence reports, Isan has already fled to Bangladesh. Pol Gen Jakthip said the Thai police are attempting to pursue the fugitive and pinpoint his whereabouts through coordination with international counterparts and the Bangladeshi government.

As for the man in a yellow shirt who was seen on CCTV placing a bomb at the Erawan Shrine, Pol Gen Jakthip expressed confidence that ongoing investigations will lead to his arrest eventually.

Meanwhile, the Min Buri Provincial Court has approved the detention of Mr Yusufu Mieraili, the second bomb suspect arrested by police. Bail was not granted to the suspect as he has a known tendency to jump bail. Further interrogation is pending.


PM awards 34 government organizations for excellence in financial management

BANGKOK, 9 September 2015 (NNT) - Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha presided over the presentation ceremony of the 2nd excellence in financial management award for fiscal year 2015 held at Santi Maitree Building, the Government House, on Wednesday at 11 a.m.

The ceremony was organized by the Comptroller General's Department, Ministry of Finance and witnessed by the Deputy Minister of Finance, the Permanent Secretary for Finance, the Director-General of the Department, as well as relevant government authorities, universities and press members.

Gen Prayut gave plaques to thirty four government organizations whose performance in financial management in this fiscal year were evaluated as “excellent”. At the ceremony, the Prime Minister congratulated all the recipients, saying that their performance had reflected the efficiency in the country’s budget management and led to a higher level of public confidence in the government.

He added that the enhancement of Thailand’s economic potentials has been a major and urgent policy of the government, which has been rushing budget disbursement through state investment projects. However, the disbursement is still disrupted by numerous legal procedures and bureaucratic regulations.

He therefore called on all sectors for their cooperation in accelerating the disbursement and helping ensure that no corruption would arise in the process.

Currently, the government has adjusted the national administrative role by serving as “facilitator" to expedite businesses and private investments. He requested both government and private sectors to work in parallel for better achievements.


Turkish man arrested for using fake passport

CHONBURI, 10 September 2015 (NNT) - Immigration Office in Pattaya, Chonburi province, arrested a Turkish man for using a counterfeit passport.

The Turkish offender, 40-year-old Khatami Shahram, was charged with forging official document and using counterfeit passport.

The arrest came after Mr. Shahram visited the immigration office to renew his visa. Officials detected several irregularities on the passport, and thus conducted further investigation before concluding that it was a forged document.

According to the authorities, the passport belonged to someone else, and was altered using Mr. Shahram's photo and information.

The Turkish man said he had been doing business in Thailand for over a decade, using tourist visa. The Turk admitted to have hired an individual for 70,000 baht to forge the document, after misplacing his own passport. Mr. Shahram is now under police custody, awaiting further legal proceeding.


National Legislative Assembly acknowledges report on setting up of national forest policy committee

BANGKOK, 9 September 2015 (NNT) – The National Legislative Assembly has acknowledged receipt of a report suggesting the setting up of a new committee in charge of the country’s forest policy, which is aimed at finding sustainable solutions to forestland problems.

The NLA sitting on Tuesday, which was chaired by Vice President Surachai Liengboonlertchai, discussed possible solutions for the country’s forestland issues, proposed by the committee overseeing national resources and the environment.

Committee Chairman, Admiral Wallop Kerdphol told the assembly that due to a high rate of deforestation as a result of land encroachment in various national forest reserves, more measures will have to be introduced to control such intrusions and to mitigate any risk to the country’s forest resources in a sustainable manner.

Therefore, the committee has proposed the setting up of a national forest policy committee to work on the improvement of all related policies and to write a national master plan on the development of Thai forests.

Most NLA members gave support to the calls for more active solutions and the proposed setting up of the new committee, before the session ended with a resolution to accept the committee’s report which will now be passed on to the government for consideration.


Private sector gives nod to recently announced economic stimulus measures

BANGKOK, 9 September 2015 (NNT) – The government's recently-declared measures to stimulate the economy and assist small and medium enterprises, are intended to spur spending and allow businesses to make the adjustments needed in order for them to remain in operation, according to Bangkok Bank's Senior Executive Vice President Charnsak Fuangfu.

Mr. Charnsak on Tuesday expressed the belief that the economic stimulus measures announced by the government were appropriate in the current circumstances. He claimed that the assistance being offered to low-income earners and SMEs will result in greater spending.

Commenting on private sector investment, Mr. Charnsak disclosed that loans issued by Bangkok Bank to large businesses over the past 6 months were being used primarily as working capital, not for investment. This was because the private sector was still awaiting clarity on large-scale public investment projects, 17 of which are expected to reach the bidding phase at the end of the year. Mr. Charnsak said concrete progress made in these projects would spur an increase in investment.


Royal thank-you card granted to organizing committee of "Bike For Mom” event

BANGKOK, 8 September 2015 (NNT) – His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn has graciously granted a card expressing his appreciation for the directing and protocol committees of the Bike For Mom event for their dedication to the successful event.

ML Panadda Diskul, Prime Minister's Office Minister and Permanent Secretary of the PM’s Office, yesterday represented the organizing committee to receive the royal card, in a ceremony on Tuesday, September 8 held at the Government Public Relations Department auditorium.

The card, designed by HRH the Crown Prince, bears the picture of the Crown Prince sitting side by side HM Queen Sirikit. A paragraph of royally handwritten message was put at the center of a white heart-shape space beside the picture. The paragraph reads “Thanking all of you for your kindness and unity in supporting the Bike For Mom event until it was successfully and smoothly carried out. I wish to take this opportunity to thank you and bless all of you to be happy and prosperous, in good physical and emotional health in order to continue to be the driving force of the nation."

After the ceremony, ML Panadda, chairperson of the Bike For Mom organizing committee, expressed his thanks to all officials who made the event complete successfully and smoothly to honor Her Majesty the Queen. He hoped to see everyone turn up in full force again to contribute to the birthday celebrations for His Majesty the King in December this year.


Thailand ranks among countries with highest road deaths

BANGKOK, 9 September 2015 (NNT) – The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Thailand one of the top five countries with the highest road fatalities in the world.

A survey has been conducted by the WHO on countries around the world in regard to the rate of traffic-related deaths. As a result, the country found to have the highest death rate was Libya, with a record of 48.4 per 100,000 people, followed by Iraq at 40.5. Thailand was placed at number three, with a fatality rate of 38.1 per 100,000 people. The fourth and fifth rankings went to South Africa and the United Kingdom, respectively.

On the other hand, the WHO also compiled a list of countries with the highest road safety. Topping the list was the Maldives, with a road fatality rate of only 1.9 per 100,000 people, followed by Norway at the second place, Denmark and Sweden at the third, and Switzerland at the fifth.


Herb Expo sees good feedback on first day

NONTHABURI, 3 September 2015 (NNT) – The Thai National Herb Expo has received good public feedback, while the event aims to push forward Thai medicine’s popularity in the region and to the global market, says DTAM.

The Thai National Herb Expo, organized by the Department for Development of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine (DTAM), begun its 5 day exhibition on Wednesday 2 September at IMPACT Muang Thong Thani.

The Director-General of the DTAM Thavatchai Kamoltham, stated that the event received good reception from the public, welcoming about 30,000 visitors in the first day.

He said that money circulation from product sales from the 600 booths at the event on Wednesday exceeded 10 million baht. He expects that the total revenue from the five day period will be no less than 100 million baht.

The DTAM Director-General has said that the event will be the stage to broaden the usage of Thai herbs and alternative medicine both in the domestic and international market.

The 12th Thai National Herb Expo features anti-aging, disease preventing herbal products and medicinal services from herbs that are well known in Thailand.

The five day expo will conclude on 6 September 2015.


Police indicate progress in fight against illegal fishing

PHUKET, 3 September 2015 (NNT) – The Royal Thai Police has reported that the country’s effort to clamp down on illegal fishing is progressing well while the Deputy Prime Minister has called on all related agencies to work in an integrated manner.

Deputy National Police Chief Pol Gen Ek Angsananont paid a visit to the southern province of Phuket in order to inspect local officials’ operations to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing as well as human trafficking. He also met with fishery operators to listen to their obstacles.

Based on his inquiry, Pol Gen Ek affirmed that there have been no reports of IUU fishing or employment of illegal migrants by operators in the area. Since the Port-in Port-out Controlling Center was set up, he said tight cooperation has been established with relevant agencies and working units. Fishing vessels are properly declaring their arrival and departure while the types of boats and fishing equipment also comply with the regulations.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan encouraged all officials to integrate their operations with one another for higher efficiency. With Thailand’s determination to solve the IUU fishing problem, he expressed hope that the European Union will eventually agree to revoke its yellow card against the country.


Public and private sectors meet to push realization of 17 transportation projects

BANGKOK, 3 September 2015 (NNT) - Minister of Transport Arkhom Termpittayapaisith revealed after charing a meeting of the Joint Public-Private Sector Standing Committee on Thursday that the meeting was informed of the 17 transportation projects that the government wanted to put to implementation during 2015-2016.

He said the committee agreed to meet every two months to accelerate the realization of the prioritized projects. They also agreed to separate the meetings for fast and concentrated consideration for each transport sector, namely rail, land, marine and air transport.

In today’s meeting, the private-sector committee asked the Transport Minister for a clarification about the government’s policy to upgrade provincial airports to international ones which would allow the airports to accommodate more passengers.

Mr. Arkhom explained that the policy is being expedited, and improvement has already been made to several airports such as those in Lampang, Udon Thani, and Ubon Ratchathani. The Department of Civil Aviation is conducting a feasibility study to upgrade Mukdahan Airport and Yasothon Airport. Meanwhile, runways of Narathiwat and Betong Airports are under renovation for southern passengers.

The meeting also discussed the Thai-Malaysian land transport links. The two countries will hold a meeting with stakeholders to draw up criteria for Thai and Malaysian truck operators to do business in each other’s countries.

Moreover, the Transport Ministry would coordinate with authorities concerned to provide leniency to truck operators concerning weight and height limits of their vehicles. The Minister said an amendment to the rules might be proposed to the Commission for the Management of Road Traffic (OCMLT) for consideration.


Sukhothai Historical Park to become Thailand’s first ‘low-carbon’ park

SUKHOTHAI, 3 September 2015 (NNT) - Sukhothai Historical Park has been set to be the first cultural heritage with low carbon dioxide in Thailand. The project is being expedited for completion this December before it is officially open as pilot park in January 2016.

The low-carbon park project was conceived by the Cultural Ministry under its strategy to make historical parks nationwide an environmentally-firendly heritage.

Under the plan, Si Satchanalai Historical Park, Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park and Sukhothai Historical Park are the first three targets to be made low-carbon parks.

To fulfil the project, the 5 km-inner road of Sukhothai Historical Park is being renovated. The park will have only one gate to be used as both entrance and exit, and no oil-engined vehicles will be allowed on its territory. The changes will force visitors to use electric trams stationed at ten points across the park or alternatively use bicycles.

A bunch of local product shops will be located by the sole gate where local residents can earn more income, selling souvenirs and native products to tourists.


Erawan Shrine given final touches

BANGKOK, 3 September 2015 (NNT) – The Fine Arts Department is putting final touches to Erawan Shrine following the deadly bomb attack on August 17th, which partially damaged Bangkok’s famous religious spot.

According to Fine Arts Department deputy Director–General Sahaphum Phumtharitirat, experts from the department will, as the final process of the renovation, be inspecting the newly-gilded Hindu god Brahma.

The Hindu shrine was partly damaged by the explosion at the Ratchaprasong intersection in mid-August, which killed 22 people and injured scores of others. Tourists and Thais resumed their worship of the Hindu deity soon after the shrine reopened.

The Fine Arts Department is due to conduct a religious ceremony on August 4th to celebrate the Shrine’s renovation.


Commerce Ministry to adjust price of raw palm oil

BANGKOK, 3 September 2015 (NNT)-The Ministry of Commerce has said the buying price of raw palm fruits may have to be revised down as global prices of palm oil have decreased.

According to the Commerce Minister, Apiradee Tantraporn, a meeting has recently been held among farmers, palm oil manufacturers and Commerce Industry officials to determine the new buying price per kilogram of palm kernels containing at least 17% of oil, which currently fetches 4.20 baht.

The decision came after the global prices of palm oil have declined significantly. The price of raw palm oil in Malaysia has also dropped from 22 baht to 15 baht per kilogram.The officials are expected to propose the new price to the relevant committee on September 7th after reaching a conclusion.


Prime Minister observes special economic zone in Tak

TAK, 2 September 2015 (NNT) - Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has inspected the progress of a special economic zone in Tak province. He instructed the local authorities to implement laws most efficiently while making the public understand the government's work.

The PM also asked the provincial governor and business sector in Tak to help reduce social inequality so that people have equal opportunity to access resources. As for Thailand's trade with the neighboring countries, Gen. Prayut said the government had a target to increase their annual trade volume from 100 billion baht to 200 billion baht.

The prime minister added that the establishment of special economic zones should be completed in 2015 or 2016.

Gen. Prayut then traveled to a customs check point at the 1st Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge in Mae Sot district to observe its operations.


Those affected by fire at plastic beads warehouses in Chachoengsao receive assistance

CHACHOENGSAO, 03 September 2015, (NNT) - after lodging complaints on September 1st, owners of over 2,200 homes affected by fire at plastic beads warehouses in Chachoengsao Province have received officials' assistance.

Health officials were dispatched to the areas near the fire at a plastic beads warehouse owned by PVJ Plastic Co., Ltd. in Ban Pho District. The team consisted of officials from the provincial public health office, district administrative office, and Ban Pho Sub-district's health promotion agency. They performed physical health inspection and handed gas mask to the affected residents.

The health inspection was swiftly organized shortly after the locals requested it on Tuesday. The fire was reported early on the morning of August 31st. Although the flames have been put out, toxic fumes are still lingering in nearby areas, posing threats on locals' health.

The warehouse is part of the plastic recycling plant of PVJ Plastic Co., Ltd. It is situated on a 20-rai piece of land in Ban Pho District. The factory has had 2 fire incidents prior to this one.


Private sector confident government's injection of 130 billion baht will boost public spending

BANGKOK, 03 September 2015, (NNT) - The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry, and Banking (JSCCIB) is confident that the government's plan to inject 130 billion baht into the local economy will help stimulating spending within 3 months.

The committee's comment came during the JSCCIB's meeting on Wednesday, where it suggested to the government that the latter come up with more short-term economic stimulus packages. It also offered several ideas of its own, such as lowering tax for Small- and Medium- Enterprises (SME) to between 5-10 percent depending on the sizes of the business. Currently, SME operators are subject to paying 20 percent tax regardless of the sizes. Lower tax would attract more entrepreneurs to get into more business, while making it easier for them to get the capital necessary for their operation.

Other suggestions includes measures to increase border trade value to offset the contracting export, provide assistance to various export promotion units, and an inclusion of consultants from the JSCCIB in each provincial economic team.

The JSCCIB also advised the government to strengthen various cooperatives across the nation, while joining hands with the private sector searching for representatives for Thai traders to compete in the global arena.


Training launched for anti-ivory trade officials in Chiang Mai

CHIANG MAI, 2 September 2015 (NNT) – The Royal Thai Police and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment have jointly launched training for anti-ivory trade officials on duty in the northern border areas.

The training course, conducted in Chiang Mai Province, is aimed at educating officers from both units on new anti-ivory trade and wildlife protection laws, which have already listed African elephants as protected species and empowered authorities to search suspicious goods without search warrants.

It is expected that the program would equip the officials in border areas with better legal knowledge of their authority, thus boosting the efficiency of their operation against ivory trade.

Police and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment have focused their attention on the suppression of illegal ivory trade in border provinces, particularly Chiang Mai, where the killing of wild elephants for their ivories and the smuggling of ivories are quite rampant.


Thai vocational student wins bronze medal in metal-welding at World Skills 2015

NAKHON NAYOK, 2 September 2015 (NNT) – The provincial administration of Nakhon Nayok and Nakhonnayok Technical College jointly arranged a motorcade around the city, to welcome a vocational student who returned from World Skills 2015 in Sao Paolo with a bronze medal.

Before joining the competition in Brazil, Mr.Suparat Rattanaphan, a third-year student at Nakhonnayok Technical College, was Thailand’s candidate at the 10th ASEAN Skill Competition 2014 in Hanoi, Vietnam, where he won a gold medal in metal welding and also achieved the best summed scores of all skills.

That championship had made him Thailand's representative at the World Skills 2015 held in Sao Paulo, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, during 11-16 August, and again he proved to be superior than most competitors from thirty-nine other countries.

Mr.Suparat gave his opinion on choices of education that both general and vocational fields have their own advantages and disadvantages. While general education may give students wider career paths, vocational students gain more benefits from practical learning outside classroom and may excel in the field of their study. He summarized that the success a student will gain in education depends on the extent of their contribution and behavior.


Floods reported in Nakhon Phanom, water level in Mekon River rises

NAKHON PHANOM, 03 September 2015, (NNT) - The northeastern province of Nakhon Phanom is facing a series of flash floods, after heavy rains continue to hammer the area.

Flash floods have reportedly hit Baan Pang District, damaging about 30 homes and 500 rai of rice field. Schools in the district have to temporarily shutdown. Officials have initially been dispatched to help the locals.

Phu Lang Ka National Park has closed its waterfalls to prevent accident.

Meanwhile, in Nong Khai, the level of water in the Mekong River has risen to 6.64 meters, an increase of 42 cm in a short period thanks to the continuous raining; damaging areas on the river banks in Muang Nong Khai District.

As part of flood preventive measures, the Irrigation Office in Udon Thani has dispatched officials to dredge canals in Muang Udon Thani District. However, the amount of rainfall in the province is reportedly 20 percent lower year-on-year. Officials expect the amount of water would only be enough for public consumption after the rainy season is over. They strongly suggested that farmers in the province refrain from doing off-season farming.


U.S. Charge d’affaires pledges to offer post-Bangkok blast assistance

BANGKOK, 3 September 2015 (NNT) - The U.S. Charge d’affaires has pledged to offer any assistance Thailand may need to cope with the fallout of the deadly blast in Bangkok.

During his visit to Nakhon Ratchasima on Wednesday, U.S. Charge d’affaires W. Patrick Murphy said that there has been a long-running collaboration between the U.S. and this northeastern province of Thailand in such areas as security and education.

Mr. Murphy also held a meeting with the Governor of Nakhon Ratchasima, during which they discussed the economic conditions, the tourism industry and the livelihood of the people, both locals and the Americans, in the province.

At one point, the U.S. Charge d’affaires said that the U.S has been saddened by the deadly explosion in front of the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok on August 17 and is condemning the people responsible for the deadly attack.

When asked to comment on the arrests of some suspects, Mr. Murphy said that the investigation is an internal affair of Thailand, but noted that the U.S. government always wishes to offer any assistance to Thailand — the U.S.’s close ally.


Prime Minister stresses his new curriculum idea does not mean reduced learning time

BANGKOK, 01 September 2015, (NNT) - Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has explained that his idea of reducing the duration of class periods in school, does not mean a shorter learning time, nor does it permit students to go home earlier, but rather it makes time to learn new skills and engage in creative activities.

Gen. Prayut yesterday issued a clarification about his suggestion that the class period for pre-college students should end at 2 PM. He said the new shorter core academic period is meant to make room for other activities that would benefit students at school and at work in the future. The Prime Minister stated that doing so would encourage students to have atttained more than a diploma at the time of their high school graduation.

According to a survey conducted by Dhurakij Pundit University, students from the capital and its vicinity agree with General Prayut's idea, saying the move will reduce their stress. A poll also indicated sports activities, studying a new language and learning to play musical instruments are the most popular extra-curricular activities among the poll responders.


Health Ministry develops single database for more effective health service

BANGKOK, 1 September 2015 (NNT) - The Ministry of Public Health is planning to set up a single public health information database to streamline services.

Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsattayathorn said the Consortium of Thai Medical School and the National Health Security Office have concluded that redundant health insurance records could be avoided with a single database.

Dr. Piyasakol said other public health organizations would be able to use the database to access the personal information of those covered by the schemes. A team of officials will be appointed to oversee the development of the database to assure transparency.

Current health care schemes, including the universal health care coverage, social security and Thai civil servant medical benefits, are managed by three different databases.


Health officials recommend use of face mask in haze-covered Deep South

PATTANI, 2 September 2015 (NNT) – Public health offices in the southern border provinces are urging locals to prepare face masks, as the blanket of haze from wildfires in Indonesia lingers over the Deep South.

In Pattani, the effect of the haze, which originated from wildfires on Indonesia's Sumatra Island, can readily be observed. In Pattani City, road visibility has been reduced. The haze situation reportedly improved over the weekend, but has again deteriorated. The provincial public health office is urging locals to wear face masks, and suggests that people with respiratory tract illness and the elderly avoid exercising in the open.

In Yala, public health officials said the air quality has not deteriorated to the point that the general public's health is threatened. However, irritation may be experienced by those with respiratory tract illness and allergy. The use of face mask is, therefore, recommended by the health officials.


Switching to new model of school time utilization 70-80% complete

BANGKOK, 2 September 2015 (NNT) – Switching to the new model of classes scheduling is 70-80% complete, according to the Office of the Basic Education Commission.

OBEC Secretary-General Kamol Rodklai, speaking on Tuesday of the government policy to reduce class hours at schools, said the new scheduling will place the major subjects of Thai, English, social science, science and mathematics in the morning classes. Afternoon classes will be devoted to activities such as practical classes in health education, physical education, work skills training, free electives, clubs and supplementary teaching. School will start and end at the same times as previously.

Mr. Kamol indicated that 70-80% progress has been made in switching to the new model of school hours utilization. Representatives from private schools, demonstration schools and international schools will work with OBEC personnel this week to finish drafting a guideline for the change by Friday. Students and the public will then be able to give their feedback on the draft guideline through the OBEC's website.

Mr. Kamol expects the entire process to be completed by October 10, and the new model to be put to use in the second semester of the current school year.


Fire at plastic beads warehouses in Chachoengsao affects residents

CHACHOENGSAO, 02 September 2015, (NNT) - Residents living near the plastic beads warehouse that caught fire in Chachoengsao Province this week, have complained of a stench emanating from the scene of the blaze. They have also implored provincial public health officials to check their physical condition.

The fire was reported early on the morning of August 31st at the plastic beads warehouses of PVJ Plastic Co., Ltd. in Ban Pho District. Although the flames have been put out, the presence of toxic smog can still be felt in the nearby area. The fumes have started having a negative effect on the local people's health. Several have suffered from severed cases of vomiting and skin rashes. The residents are requesting assistance from the local health officials.

Meanwhile, a school located within a kilometer of the fire scene has temporarily shutdown after the smog reached its perimeter and caused illnesses among the staff and students.

Officials are still investigating the cause of the blaze.


Government presses on with investigation into deadly Bangkok blast

BANGKOK, 2 September 2015 (NNT) - The government is continuing with the detailed investigation into the deadly explosion in Bangkok after two suspects were arrested.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Tuesday confirmed that a foreign man is another suspect in the bombing attack and is believed to be instrumental in assisting police to resolve the case.

Gen. Prayuth also asked the news media to be more cautious in reporting the case and the investigation into it, in order not to hurt international relations.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, who oversees national security, said that he believes the latest suspect could be in the same network as the first man arrested last weekend. He added that the investigators have not eliminated any possibility related to the blasts.

The DPM said that an arrest warrant has been issued against Wanna Suansan, a Thai woman who is reported be in Turkey now, because investigators have found some connections between her and the bombing.

Meanwhile, deputy police chief Pol. Gen. Ruangsak Jritake has visited the checkpoint at the Ratchaprasong intersection to reassure people in the area of the safety of workers and tourists there. Overall, he visited security forces on an inspection tour of three main areas of Bangkok, including the Erawan Shrine, Asiatique and the Emerald Buddha Temple.


Cabinet increases healthcare benefits for national artists

BANGKOK, 1 September 2015 (NNT) – The Cabinet has agreed to a proposal to provide national artists with additional healthcare benefits, with a retroactive effect to 2012.

Following the Cabinet meeting, Culture Minister Weera Rojpotchanarat revealed that approval was granted to the proposed amendment of the ministerial regulation concerning qualifications and benefit entitlement of national artists. The amendment is intended to give national artists an equal subsidy for medical expenses to that of civil servants.

The revised ministerial regulation stipulates that, if a national artist is already eligible to receive a medical subsidy from any agency, he or she must request the subsidy from that agency first. If the initial amount does not cover the entire medical cost, the Office of Cultural Promotion under the Culture Ministry will provide him or her with an additional amount up to a limit of 100,000 baht.

The new regulation is set to take effect from May 30th, 2012. The Cabinet will now forward it to the Office of the Council of State for review and implementation accordingly.


Officials keep on enforcing tight security measures in key areas

BANGKOK, 31 August 2015 (NNT) – Security units are still maintaining tight measures at important areas, while the investigation of the bombing incident is showing constant progress, says the NCPO Spokesman.

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)’s Spokesman Col Winthai Suwaree has announced the progress report on the investigation of the bombing incident at Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, revealing that the case has shown constant progress, and the entire procedure must require adequate time in order to extract accurate and inclusive information.

On the security maintenance operations, security units are now working with the police to place security checkpoints to suppress unlawful activities and provide security protection to the general public at important areas, such as community areas, markets, tourism attractions, shopping malls, and border areas where stringent immigration screening procedures are now being implemented.

The NCPO Spokesman has also asked the public to have confidence in officials' operation on this matter, and to help survey the situation. The public are asked to immediately inform the police or military officers on any suspicious persons or activity, for their own private safety and the public.


More rain in Sakon Nakhon; floods close schools in Bueng Kan

BUENG KAN, 1 September 2015, (NNT) -The local weather agency has predicted more rain in Sakon Nakhon, that's likely to fill the province's reservoirs. Meanwhile, schools in Bueng Kan have temporarily shutdown due to floods.

Continuous rain has flooded several areas of Bueng Kan Province especially the vicinity of the provincial high school where the flood water level has exceeded 50 cm. The floods damaged school buildings, the teachers' lounge, and the library and computer center, leaving the school's management with no choice but to close the school until further notice.

Meanwhile in Sakon Nakhon, previous rain has filled dams in the province, and raised the water level of the Nong Han Lake. However, officials at the lake say the rising water level is still insufficient to allow for agricultural use and they will save it for community consumption.

Agriculturalists are now concerned about their growing crops, saying their produce may be damaged if the rain ceases in October.


Songkhla fishermen demand more time before removing illegal fishing nets

SONGKHLA, 1 September 2015, (NNT) - Hundreds of fishermen from Songkhla have submitted an open letter asking the government to extend the September 10th deadline for the removal of illegal fishing traps from Songkhla Lake.

About 500 local fishermen from the province gathered yesterday at the area's Damrongtham Center to hand a letter to the government representative. They were protesting against Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha's invocation of Section 44 regarding the suppression of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The order is for various illegal fishing tools including " Pong Pang (โพงพาง)"---fish traps widely used by the locals--- to be removed on or before September 10th. The tools will be removed by officials unless fishermen remove them by that date.

The fishermen asked the officials to review the order, claiming that the move would gravely affect them, while urging authorities to find a better solution.

Vice Songkhla Governor Precha Damkengkiat accepted the letter before forwarding it to the provincial Damrongtham Center, which will file the complaint and eventually forward it to the Prime Minister.


Confidence in Thailand’s economic fundamentals

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has urged the people to be confident about Thailand’s potential, as the country’s economic fundamentals remain strong.

In his televised national address on the program "Return Happiness to the People,” the Prime Minister cited the economic issue as a matter of concern for many people, because the Thai economy has been affected by several external factors.

He explained that China, the United States, and countries in Europe have been facing an economic slowdown. As for internal factors, Thai farmers have suffered from the falling prices of agricultural products. The current sluggish economy might have a negative impact on the investment situation.

The Prime Minister reiterated that Thailand’s overall economy remains stable. The Government is rectifying many weaknesses, so that the country will be able come through the crisis. It is also laying down strong foundations for the future of Thailand, to ensure that it will move forward with greater stability.

He said that, in handling economic problems, the Government is mobilizing efforts to implement five major tasks. The first task seeks to urgently ease the hardships of farmers and low-income earners.

In the second task, the Government will ensure that the local economy in the regional areas of the country will be strengthened. Since the Thai economy heavily depends on exports, it needs adjustments to create a balance. For this reason, emphasis will be placed on promoting local economic development for steady growth. Income and employment generation in all provinces nationwide will get a boost through tourism promotion, the "One Tambon, One Product” program, community enterprises, and community markets.

The third task seeks to improve the quality of local products and promote processing, packaging, and research and development in order to add value to various products. Moreover, innovations should also be promoted to help enhance the competitiveness of Thai products. Local personnel will also be developed in order to broaden their knowledge and increase their capabilities.

In the fourth task, the Government will promote large investment projects for the future of the country. It is now in the process of setting up special economic zones and investing in major infrastructure development projects to link various regional areas together. This effort will help accelerate the distribution of wealth to the regional areas of the country.

The fifth task involves the promotion of international relations, especially trade and investment promotion. This task will play an important role in contributing to Thailand’s economic growth.


 

DAILY UPDATE

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Hajj pilgrims will be monitored for MERS

Low rainfall threatens crops in Nakhon Ratchasima & Nakhon Sawan

Consumer confidence increased in November

National Council for Peace and Order says tourism sector is improving

City veggie garden festival kicks off in Bangkok

New Airbus in commission at Royal Thai Air Force


Department of Disease Control warns people of flu as variable weather continues

Foreign embassies have expressed concerns and condolences over Ratchaprasong bomb blast

No Thais killed or injured in Mecca crane incident

Higher interest rates in US will not impact domestic stock market, say analysts

Prime Minister asks farmers to delay off-season cultivation amid drought

Full-scale emergency response exercise held at Phuket Airport


Witness casts doubt on evidence at Thai tourist murder trial

Metropolitan Waterworks Authority to reward water-conserving consumers

Bangkok Car Free Day 2015 to be held on Sept 20

Thai-British cooperation under Newton Fund is successful in its first year

Deputy Interior Minister calls for ASEAN-wide plan to cope with natural disasters


Police preparing to issue arrest warrant for bomb mastermind

Ministry of Foreign Affairs says Thai nationals not targets in unrest in Turkey

Bangkok Metropolitan Administration holds an exhibition of bridge sculptures

1,000 children in Chiang Rai infected with hand, foot and mouth disease

Criteria for raising loans from village fund laid down

2,000 farmers in Pichit affected by drought

Their Majesties congratulated Queen Elizabeth II on her becoming longest reigning monarch of UK

Police reveal identity of bomb mastermind; pursuit underway

PM awards 34 government organizations for excellence in financial management

Turkish man arrested for using fake passport


National Legislative Assembly acknowledges report on setting up of national forest policy committee

Private sector gives nod to recently announced economic stimulus measures

Royal thank-you card granted to organizing committee of "Bike For Mom” event

Thailand ranks among countries with highest road deaths


Herb Expo sees good feedback on first day

Police indicate progress in fight against illegal fishing

Public and private sectors meet to push realization of 17 transportation projects

Sukhothai Historical Park to become Thailand’s first ‘low-carbon’ park


Erawan Shrine given final touches

Commerce Ministry to adjust price of raw palm oil

Prime Minister observes special economic zone in Tak

Those affected by fire at plastic beads warehouses in Chachoengsao receive assistance

Private sector confident government's injection of 130 billion baht will boost public spending

Training launched for anti-ivory trade officials in Chiang Mai

Thai vocational student wins bronze medal in metal-welding at World Skills 2015

Floods reported in Nakhon Phanom, water level in Mekon River rises

U.S. Charge d’affaires pledges to offer post-Bangkok blast assistance


Prime Minister stresses his new curriculum idea does not mean reduced learning time

Health Ministry develops single database for more effective health service

Health officials recommend use of face mask in haze-covered Deep South

Switching to new model of school time utilization 70-80% complete

Fire at plastic beads warehouses in Chachoengsao affects residents

Government presses on with investigation into deadly Bangkok blast

Cabinet increases healthcare benefits for national artists


Officials keep on enforcing tight security measures in key areas

More rain in Sakon Nakhon; floods close schools in Bueng Kan

Songkhla fishermen demand more time before removing illegal fishing nets

Confidence in Thailand’s economic fundamentals

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