HM The King changes Emerald Buddha’s attire for rainy season
Bangkok - His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn
Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua has changed the Emerald Buddha’s summer season
attire to mark the beginning of the rainy season.
His Majesty and Queen Suthida proceeded to the Temple
of the Emerald Buddha within the precincts of the Grand Palace in Bangkok on
Wednesday to perform the ceremony and were accompanied by Her Royal Highness
Princess Bajrakitiyabha Narendiradebyavati.
The King removed the crown from the Emerald Buddha and
cleaned the image with holy water from a royal conch shell. His Majesty then
dabbed the Emerald Buddha with a clean white cloth and placed a headpiece on
Phra Phuttha Maha Mani Rattana Patimakon, or the
Emerald Buddha, is considered the palladium of the Kingdom of Thailand. The
holy image is dressed in seasonal costumes. In this sacred and auspicious
ritual that has been practiced by the monarchs of the Chakri dynasty, the
attire of the Emerald Buddha is changed three times annually to correspond
to the summer, rainy and winter seasons of Thailand. The ceremony falls on
the first day of the fourth, eighth and twelfth lunar months.
For the rainy season, the Emerald Buddha wears a
gold-plated monk’s robe with a pointed-headpiece of enameled gold studded
Lent Day is an important date in the Buddhist calendar,
which begins from the first day of the waning moon of the eighth lunar month
to the 15th day of the waxing moon of the 11th lunar month. Buddhist monks
will remain in their temples to learn and practice Dhamma during the
three-month period and many people will make merit during this time of the
Happy Birthday HRH Princess Chulabhorn Walailak
Chiangmai Mail on July 4 joined the Kingdom in humbly wishing a Happy Birthday
to a most remarkable person, Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn, the
youngest sister of His Majesty King Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun.
For more interesting reading about the life of HRH Princess Chulabhorn. (Photo courtesy Bureau of the Royal Household)
Born on July 4, 1957,
Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn Walailak is the youngest sister of
His Majesty King Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun. She has two
daughters, HRH Princess Siribhachudhabhorn and HRH Princess
graduated from the Faculty of Science and Arts at Kasetsart University with
a Bachelor of Science Degree in Organic Chemistry, First Class Honors, in
1979, following with a doctorate in 1985, being awarded a Doctor of
Philosophy Degree in Organic Chemistry from Mahidol University in July of
that year, capping off a record of excellent academic achievement.
(Photo courtesy of the Bureau of the Royal Household)
In 1986, she was
appointed as an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in London
and was awarded the Einstein Gold Medal by the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The following year, she
undertook post-doctoral studies in Germany, and has since been a visiting
professor at universities in Japan, Germany, and the United States, as well
as holding Honorary Doctorates from many universities around the world.
Her Royal Highness is
chairperson of the Working Group on the Chemistry of Natural Products, a
collaborative program between the Japanese Society for the Promotion of
Science and the National Research Council of Thailand.
HRH the Princess has
received international recognition for her scientific accomplishments,
resulting in her appointment to various United Nations posts, namely special
advisor to the United Nations Environment Program and member of the Special
High-Level Council for the International Decade for Natural Disaster
Reduction of the United Nations.
As a result of her
experience as a scientist, HRH the Princess became aware of the difficulties
Thai researchers have in obtaining the necessary funding for their research
and so, in 1987, she established the Chulabhorn Research Institute to
provide a new fund-raising agency for such research.
This institute now acts
as a focal point for the exchange of intellectual and other resources in
Thailand, for the purpose of solving urgent problems confronting the country
in areas of health, environment, and agriculture.
As president of the
Chulabhorn Research Institute, HRH the Princess currently directs many
special research projects, including the AIDS program; a program on
restoration and integrated development of the flood-affected areas in
Southern Thailand; seawater irrigation for cultivation of economic marine
species and preservation of the mangrove forests; a rabies eradication
program, with a special project for accelerated immunization in five
southern provinces in Thailand; the Light for Life Foundation for Epilepsy,
Chulalongkorn Comprehensive Epilepsy Program; Tabtim Siam Secondary School
in Surin province; and the ‘Voice of Dharma for the Public’ Radio Station in
Udon Thani province.
Through these programs
HRH the Princess plays an auspicious role in improving the environment and
living standards of the villagers in a number of Thai provinces.
Thank you HRH Princess
Chulabhorn for your lifetime of dedication.
All of us at the
Chiangmai Mail join the entire Kingdom in wishing Her Royal
Highness Princess Chulabhorn a Most Happy Birthday on the fourth of July
Happy Birthday Her Royal Highness Princess Soamsawali
Krom Muen Suddhanarinatha
Chiangmai Mail joins the people of Thailand to humbly
wish Her Royal Highness Princess Soamsawali Krom Muen Suddhanarinatha a very
Happy Birthday Saturday, July 13. (Photo courtesy of the Bureau of the Royal
Her Royal Highness
Princess Soamsawali Krom Muen Suddhanarinatha was born on July 13, 1957 at
Guy’s Hospital in London, England. She is the eldest child of Mom Rajawongse
Adulyakit Kitiyakara (her father was an elder brother of Queen Sirikit of
Thailand) and Thanpuying Bandhu Savali Kitiyakara (Princess Bandhu Savali
Yugala). She has one younger sister, Mom Luang Sarali Kitiyakara, born April
Her father was the
second child of Prince Nakkhatra Mangkala Kitiyakara, the Prince of
Chantaburi II and Mom Luang Bua Sanidvongs. Her mother was daughter of
Prince Bhanubandhu Yugala and Mom Luang Soiraya Sanidvongs.
She first attended the
primary level at Chitralada School, then moved to Chiang Mai with her father
when he was a judge at the Chiang Mai Court. She moved to study at Regina
Coeli College, the all-girls academy in Chiang Mai in 1967.
Her Royal Highness
Princess Soamsawali Krom Muen Suddhanarinatha has shown keen interests in
public health and social welfare. The following Thai Red Cross Society
programs are officially under her patronage: The Reducing AIDS Infection
from Mother to New-Born Baby Program; Medical Funding for AIDS patients;
Funding for Reducing AIDS infection from Mother to the New-Born Baby; Milk
funds for infants under the “Reduce AIDS effects from Mother to the New-Born
Baby” Program; The Foundation of Professor Dr. Mom Rajawongse Galyanakit
Kitiyakara; The Program of Life Giving to the Parents of AIDS-infected
Babies; Funds for Cancer Treatment in Children; and The Princess Pa
Her Royal Highness
Princess Soamsawali Krom Muen Suddhanarinatha, through her office, is very
active in relief efforts throughout Thailand.
Premier orders armed forces to help with rainmaking operations
Bangkok - Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha
is concerned over the current drought in the provinces and has urgently
ordered the armed forces to support royal rainmaking operations.
The premier has ordered the armed forces to provide
aircraft and personnel for the operations to increase the volume of water
flowing into major dams, and help civilian authorities cope with the present
lack of water. Due to the lack of rain, the volume of water in the dams has
dropped by 40% while neighboring countries have reduced the volume of water
flowing into Mekong River.
The government has continually followed and assessed
the water situation and declared drought disaster zones in many provinces.
Measures have been taken such as the distribution of water by water trucks,
along with royal rainmaking operations and the excavation of artesian wells.
Minister visits area affected by wild elephants
Kanchanaburi - Natural Resources and Environment
Minister Warawut Silpa-archa visited Salak Phra wildlife sanctuary in the
district of Kanchanaburi province over the weekend and met with local
villagers who have been affected by wild elephants eating their farm crops.
Warawut talked with the villagers for nearly an hour,
accepted their complaints and listened to their demands that the minister
provide a budget for the creation of food and water sources for the wild
elephants in the inner part of the wildlife sanctuary. The existing electric
fences also need upgrading as they cannot keep the elephants from
encroaching upon the farmland.
Warawut also met with high-ranking government officials
at the operation center of Salak Phra wildlife sanctuary for about two
BMA finalizes Khao San Road renovation model
Bangkok - The Bangkok Metropolitan
Administration is set to proceed with the Khao San Road renovations,
expecting street food vendors to return in a new format in February next
The renovation model includes the resurfacing of the
road and walkways to be at the same level, paving the road with flamed
stone, and arranging areas for some 240 street vendors which will be zoned
according to category, namely food, clothing, and souvenirs.
Rising stainless-steel bollards will be installed to
separate street food areas and vehicular traffic, and to arrange one-way
road traffic. Street vendors will be allowed to sell from 9 am to 9 pm
daily, with permits to be randomly drawn to admit newer vendors every 1-2
The BMA is studying the feasibility of rejuvenating
nearby roadways, such as Ram Buttri road in the tourist quarter of Bangkok,
following the same renovation model as Khao San road.
TAT, Vogue Thailand launch ‘Lost in Thailand’ campaign
Bangkok - The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s
(TAT) Deputy Governor for Domestic Marketing Noppadon Pakprot says TAT has
been promoting domestic travel among high-end Thai travelers with high
purchasing power through its Amazing Thailand Premium campaign.
In the latest move, the TAT has joined hands with
Serendipity Media Company Limited, the publisher of Vogue Thailand magazine,
to launch the Lost in Thailand campaign presenting tourism, cultural and
gastronomic attractions in five regions of Thailand which deliver the most
refined services and experiences.
The campaign features advertisement films and short
video clips starring elite Thai travelers sharing their experiences.
TAT and Vogue Thailand expect the campaign will help
encourage highly capable Thai travelers to make more domestic trips.
Campaign materials and activities can be found on Vogue Thailand’s Facebook
page, website, and YouTube channel.
PM expresses tourism concerns following Phuket taxi scam
Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Bangkok – The Prime Minister has reiterated his
concerns about scams hurting the tourism industry after two Australian
tourists were reportedly overcharged 3,000 baht for a van ride from Phuket
airport to their hotel.
The Prime Minister stressed that the government is
trying to implement all measures to promote tourism, making Thailand, and
especially Phuket province, one of the world’s top tourism destinations.
He warned that unscrupulous vendors and businesses that
seek to take advantage of tourists will not only affect Phuket’s tourism
industry, but will also create a negative impression of the country and of
the Thai people.
The Prime Minister said Thailand is not only home to
beautiful tourism attractions but that the hospitality of the Thai people is
also known across the world. He has asked all concerned to be good hosts to
visitors and for officials to be on alert to prevent similar incidents in
UN finds organized crime expanding in Southeast Asia
In this July 15, 2019, photo, reporters view
packages of seized crystal methamphetamine on a table during a press
conference at the Narcotics Suppression Bureau in Bangkok. (AP Photo)
Pitcha Dangprasith and Kaweewit Kaewjinda
Bangkok (AP) — Organized crime syndicates in
Southeast Asia are flourishing in the illegal trafficking of drugs,
wildlife, counterfeit goods and people, a U.N. report said Thursday.
The 179-page report from the United Nation's Office on
Drugs and Crime said that corruption and freer movement of people and goods
have facilitated the trafficking, adding that organized crime groups in the
region are becoming more mobile as they exploit areas with weak border
control and use advanced logistics to move products.
"Southeast Asia has an organized crime problem, and it
is time to coalesce around solutions to address the conditions that have
allowed illicit businesses to grow, and to secure and cooperate along
borders," said Jeremy Douglas, a regional representative of the UNODC.
Douglas said cumulative value of the methamphetamine
market is more than $60 billion this year. Facilitated by organized crime,
the market has expanded since a 2013 study found the accumulated value was
He said accessibility and the price of methamphetamine
enables the market to thrive.
"The groups that are manufacturing methamphetamine are
literally flooding the region for the purpose of building demand, and
they're making it accessible at any price points," Douglas said. "So you can
buy methamphetamine in Bangkok for $2 a pill. It's basically a price of a
quart of milk."
To tackle the growing drug problem, the report said law
enforcement and forensic drug laboratories should be supported to identify
shifts in the illicit drug market as organized crime groups diversify
chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine.
It says the region should also adopt measures to
prevent trafficking of equipment used in manufacturing illicit drugs.
Human trafficking is another major issue for Southeast
Asia and the report said it largely stems from differences in economic
development and demand for cheap labor.
The report said "migrants are often subjected to debt
bondage, physical violence, and other forms of exploitation" and it noted
that there are "gaps in the official data."
Douglas said governments in Southeast Asia should
implement more effective recruitment and migration management systems.
"Governments of the region haven't properly developed
the system to gather the data of the victims of human trafficking, and that
needs to be changed," he said and added that governments should also raise
awareness of vulnerable populations at risk of becoming victims of human
On the illegal wildlife trade, the report mentions that
Laos has become "a major global hub for the trafficking of high value and
highly threatened species into other Asian markets, and the country has been
identified as the world's fastest growing ivory market."
"Governments in Southeast Asia should review their
criminal legislation to ensure that law enforcement agencies are fully
authorized to follow the financial flows related to wildlife crime and to
prosecute money laundering offences," the report said.
Another thriving trade among crime groups which the
report identified as counterfeit goods — including apparel, watches,
perfumes, alcohol, electronics and pirated movies and software — makes up a
$33.8 to $35.9 billion market. It urged authorities to seize illicit gains
from offenders and said internet platforms such as search engines, online
market places, trading platforms and payment service providers should
cooperate, and take responsibility for the illicit activities that take
place on them.
Customs Department clarifies tax procedures for air passengers
Bangkok - The Customs Department has issued a
new document clarifying which personal items belonging to air passenger are
exempted from duty when arriving in Thailand.
If a passenger’s belongings exceed 20,000 baht they are
liable for duty and taxes, however if the items are for commercial purposes,
even if they are valued at less than 20,000 baht, they remain liable for
duty and taxes.
Passengers can declare their belongings at the Goods to
Declare channel, also known as the Red channel. A permit is required for
restricted goods. Customs officers at the Goods to Declare channel will then
determine duties and taxes of different items. For instance, handbags are
subject to a 20% rate, watches 5%, and cosmetics and belts 30%, together
with the 7% value-added tax (VAT).
If passengers are not treated fairly by customs
officers or witness irregularities during the customs procedure, they can
call the Customs Hotline at 1332.
Thailand replaces junta with new Cabinet
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha attends a group
photo with his cabinet members at the Government House in Bangkok Tuesday,
July 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Kaweewit Kaewjinda and Grant Peck
Bangkok (AP) — Thailand's new Cabinet was sworn
in Tuesday, creating a nominally elected government after five years of
military rule but keeping power in the hands of the same allies of the army.
HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn presided over the
swearing-in of the Cabinet, whose 36 members pledged their loyalty to the
constitutional monarch. The Cabinet's inauguration dissolved the junta that
had governed since 2014.
"Every task has obstacles. Every mission faces
problems," the king told the Cabinet members. "It is normal to take on work
and solve problems so that the country can be run smoothly according to
circumstances." The Cabinet then held its first meeting at Government House.
"This Cabinet either represents old wine in a new
bottle," said Paul Chambers, a political scientist at Naraesuan University
in northern Thailand, referring to major posts held by members of the
previous military government, "or a product of a multiparty and
multi-factional balance of power."
Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a professor of political science
at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University, described the Cabinet as "dominated
by patronage politics and paybacks," including at least two members with
questionable reputations who were recruited for their abilities to turn out
"The unsavory few who have had a shady and criminalized
past are surprising because they will be a lightning rod on the Prayuth
government's credibility," he said in an email interview.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, in a Monday night
speech marking the political transition, said "Thailand is now fully
governed as a democratic country with a constitutional monarch, possessing a
parliament that is elected and a government endorsed by the parliament.
Several rights and liberties are safeguarded by the constitution in line
with the highest international norms. Pending problems will be solved
through democratic processes without the application of any special powers."
Commerce Ministry launching private hospital complaints center
Bangkok - As part of the effort to regulate
medical fees charged by private hospitals, the Ministry of Internal Trade is
to disclose fee lists from hospitals online for customer’s information and
discretion. The practice is expected to start on 31st July and the pricing
lists will be published on www.dit.go.th website. The Ministry will also be
opening a complaints center specifically for hospital-related comments.
The Department of Internal Trade’s Deputy Director,
General Prayoth Benyasut, said the new complaints center is expected to
begin operations from mid-August and will be situated on the 3rd floor of
the Department of the Internal Trade office in Bangkok. Customers outside
Bangkok can also file complaints at any provincial commercial affairs
The department has so far prosecuted one private
hospital as a result of complaints made via the 1569 hotline for
overpricing. The department is working on processing other complaints made.
The deadline for pricing list disclosure by hospitals
has been extended from 12th July to 30th July. Some 60-70 hospitals have
already submitted their lists. The department is positive all 353 private
hospitals will submit their information as requested by the new deadline.
MOAC accelerates research on alternatives to pesticides
Bangkok - As a result of conflict over the use
of agricultural chemicals including glyphosate, paraquat, and chlophyriphos,
the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC) has accelerated research
on alternatives to these three types of chemical substances.
Anan Suwannarat, MOAC Permanent Secretary, disclosed
this week that the Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives had instructed
the MOAC’s Permanent Secretary, the Director-General of the Department of
Agriculture and those concerned to consider legal issues and facts regarding
the search for alternatives. The Department of Agriculture is currently
accelerating research to find an integrated means to replace the three
substances and it is expected to take about two years to reach a clear
conclusion. Even if new information says that glufosinate ammonium can
replace them, the cost of using the substance is three times higher per rai
than the cost of paraquat and glyphosate. It can also not control as many
types of weeds as well as paraquat and glyphosate do.
Before having the power to revoke or prohibit the use
of all three types of chemicals, in accordance with Section 25 of the
Hazardous Substance Act, the Department of Agriculture must collect
information from farmers, other users or related authorities to find solid
evidence of the danger of using such substances.
Boeing 747-400’s farewell ceremony
Bangkok - A farewell ceremony has been held for
the legendary Boeing 747-400 aircraft named "City of Bangkok" of KLM
Airlines, the Dutch national airline. In 1989, Thai monks performed its
naming ceremony in the Netherlands. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration
(BMA) received its name plate at a farewell ceremony this week and
celebrated the 90th anniversary of the Bangkok-Amsterdam flight route.
Over the past 29 years, over six million passengers
were carried by the aircraft with more than 130,000 hours of flights before
it was decommissioned in November 2018.
The aircraft’s "City of Bangkok" name plate will be
preserved at the museum of Bangkok City Hall to provide historical evidence
of the warm relationship between Thailand and the Netherlands.
ONCB warns of packages containing illicit drugs
Bangkok - Niyom Termsrisuk, Secretary-General of
the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), has warned the public that
illegal drugs are currently being solicited and sold on social media and the
postal service is being used as a means of delivery.
The drugs that have been discovered include
amphetamines, crystal meth, mitragyna speciosa leaf, marijuana, ecstasy, and
The extremely dangerous and risky method these drug
dealers are using is to list your address as the receiver. People have to be
careful of their name being wrongly used as the sender or recipient of a
package, by avoiding lending other people their ID cards or any
identification documents. Citizens are asked to alert officers at the
nearest police station if they notice anything out of the ordinary.
Niyom emphasized that a drug delivery to domestic
buyers will bring a charge of drug distribution with the highest penalty
being imprisonment for life and a fine of 1-5 million baht.
A drug delivery to a buyer abroad will face a charge of
drug exporting while the drug recipient is guilty of drug possession.
People who notice any drug-related offense or a
business operator who delivers items that are not allowed to be mailed can
notify the ONCB by calling its 1386 Hotline, at any time around the clock.
New dinosaur species discovered in Thailand
Khon Kaen - The Department of Mineral Resources
has announced the discovery of a new dinosaur species, the 10th to be found
in Thailand, at Phu Wiang National Park in Khon Kaen, set to be nominated as
a World Geopark by UNESCO. The medium-sized Theropods dinosaur is the
largest fossil ever found in Thailand.
Department of Mineral Resources Director General,
Sommai Techawan said the dinosaur has a 5-6 meter body length and belongs in
the Megaraptora period. It is expected to share characteristics with
dinosaurs found in Japan, such as long front and rear legs indicating fast
running, along with big claws, and a narrower skeleton compared to other
The fossil found was the 5th ever located in Khon Kaen.
The department and Khon Kaen province is planning to nominate Phu Wiang
National Park for endorsement by UNESCO as a world geopark over the next
four years, which would add another world-class tourism and
ancient-knowledge attraction to the country.
BTS safety systems inspected following wall collapse
Bangkok - The Bangkok Metropolitan
Administration is inspecting the safety system at BTS stations following an
accident in which a concrete slab at Ari station fell onto the ground. The
BMA engineers hope to complete the inspection at BTS Ari stations and 23
others within the next three-days.
Officials said the concrete slab which fell from BTS
Ari station was part of a dilapidated wall which keeps objects from falling
onto the ground below. Water had seeped into the concrete and damaged the
steel rods inside it. The concrete wall might have to be replaced with a
lighter, more durable one.
Meanwhile, the BMA has begun the installation of an
elevator for persons with disabilities and a barrier at each BTS station.
Elevators and barriers have already been installed at many BTS stations.
Officials close monk offerings packing factory
Bangkok - Officials in Samut Sakhon closed a
large factory preparing monk offering packages after in it was discovered it
was using substandard products and false labeling expired FDA numbers.
At the factory, some 20 migrant workers were found
putting items into the packages, and offering baskets ready to be sent to
other provinces. Products found included powdered drinks, drinking water,
painkillers, cough medicines, and soaps.
Some of the items at the factory were found to bear
expired product registration numbers from the Food and Drugs Administration,
which may indicate these are fake products, while the redistribution of tea
from big to small bags is considered product manufacturing without a permit.
Some of the items were found in larger than usual packages, and were of poor
Officials have collected documents and evidence for
legal prosecution of the factory.
ASEAN defense ministers discuss security proposals
defense ministers shake hands for a group photo ahead of the ASEAN Defense
Ministers' Meeting Thursday, July 11, 2019, in Bangkok. (AP Photo/Sakchai
Bangkok (AP) — Defense ministers from the
10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations met Thursday in the Thai
capital to discuss issues including border controls, terrorism and illegal
Thai Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, said the annual
get-together of the ministers "guarantees the friendship, security and
cooperation between our ASEAN members, which in turn reinforces liberty and
stability in our region."
However, ASEAN members have varying priorities, so the
ministers focus on approaches to problem solving rather than tackling
potentially divisive substantive issues. Their agreements touched only
indirectly on such critical issues as territorial disputes in the South
China Sea, where Vietnam and the Philippines face aggressive claims by
The attendees agreed to study a Philippine proposal for
guidelines on maritime conflict management "based on confidence building,
preventive diplomacy, and peaceful tension management," said Prawit.
"We are stressing the importance of safeguarding peace,
security and the freedom of sea and air navigation in the South China Sea,"
he said. "We also see the importance of building trust, and refraining from
acts that could further complicate the situation."
The participants also agreed to study proposals for
expanding a hotline to other regional powers in times of crisis; boosting
the military role in border management and security; fighting terrorism
through the timely exchange of strategic information; and raising awareness
on the security implications of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
They agreed as well to strengthen cooperation in the
field of military medicine.
Medical marijuana awaits proper studies: PM
Bangkok - The Prime Minister has confirmed the
introduction of marijuana for medical purposes will proceed, but only after
proper studies have been concluded. Related agencies are now working on
appropriate scientific means of certifying medical marijuana usage.
Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has reassured the
public that the government doesn’t have any objection to medical marijuana,
but medical studies are required to ensure correct usage to maximize the
benefit to those receiving treatment. He said this requirement is not
intended to cause any conflict with any side, but a study committee will
need to be set up to clarify the issue. He then added that the medicinal
properties of medical marijuana products must have been properly certified,
and that related agencies are now working on a recipe for Thai medical
marijuana products in order to certify the manufacturing and recommended
The Thai premier has discouraged the general public
from using marijuana products which have not been certified, and are not in
compliance with modern medicine, saying that the government must regulate
the use of marijuana by following lawful steps, ensuring the best results,
and allowing the application accordingly to suitable illnesses.
Ministry of the Interior orders prevention of graft in School Lunch Project
Bangkok - The Ministry of the Interior has
instructed all provincial governors to see to it that corruption in the
school lunch project doesn’t occur at any of over 20,000 public schools
nationwide. The authorities are yet to investigate if any irregularities
might have taken place in the project.
The Interior Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Chatchai
Phromlert, said that Local Administration Department Director General
Sutthipong Chulcharoen had sent an urgent letter to provincial governors
throughout the country to take strict measures to prevent corruption in the
important school lunch project.
The Department of Local Administration has taken
several measures against possible corruption but officials and inspectors at
many local units have failed to take strict measures, thus allowing some
wrong doers to take funds from the project.
The department’s measures include an examination of
financial and accounting activity of schools in the care of local
administrative organizations; notification of the categories and amounts of
food or food ingredients consumed on a daily basis; the periodical
inspection of the local operation by a working group of local administrative
officials involved in the procurement of school lunches, and the setting up
of committees to oversee the reception of ingredients used in the project,
members of which are to be rotated.
2020 tourism marketing plan aimed at generating 10 % more revenue
Bangkok - The Tourism Authority
of Thailand (TAT) has revised the tourism marketing promotional plan for
2020 which is focused on foreign tourists with high purchasing power and
aims to generate 10 percent more revenue. The TAT will also propose that the
government extend the visa fee waiver to attract more tourists to Thailand.
Yutthasak Suphasorn, TAT Governor, said
that the TAT has clearly determined the guidelines for promoting the tourism
market in 2020, in order for Thailand to remain among the top six countries
that generate most income from tourism, and increase revenue by about 371
billion baht. It also wishes to create tourism sustainability by focusing on
tourists with high purchasing power who give priority to quality rather than
Tourists to Thailand will also see the
introduction of a new concept "60 Happy Trails @ Muang Thai, The Series", a
project to stimulate tourism throughout the year in three different seasons.
Destinations will link major and minor tourism cities and communities that
are keen to welcome and accommodate tourists.
Activist rejects police offer of conditional protection
Tuesday, May 22, 2018, file photo, pro-democracy leader Sirawith Seritiwat
speaks during a gathering in Bangkok. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Bangkok (AP) — A pro-democracy activist who was
attacked and left unconscious on a Bangkok sidewalk said Tuesday he will
refuse an offer of police protection that would require him to stop
Sirawith Seritiwat, widely known as Ja New, was
severely beaten by four assailants near his home on June 28. He received
head injuries and a fractured eye socket.
"Apart from prohibiting me to not get involved with
anything political, I must also report to police my plans and whereabouts at
all times," Sirawith said by phone from his home, where he is recuperating
after being released from a hospital on Sunday.
Sirawith was also attacked in a separate incident on
June 3 by at least five men after he worked on a campaign to petition
members of the Senate not to vote for Prayuth Chan-ocha to become prime
Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said Monday that
police had offered to guarantee Sirawith's safety if he distances himself
"It's up to the police. Let the police deal with it,"
Prawit told reporters. "They meant that Ja New is not allowed to be involved
Sirawith said he will not let police ensure his safety
because he suspects the government was behind the attacks.
"I won't take the deal," Sirawith said. "And if I don't
take the deal and these types of things happen to me again, it must mean
that the government was behind the first two attacks, right?"
Authorities have not arrested any suspects in either
attack on Sirawith, or in attacks on other anti-military activists.
One activist, Anurak Jeantawanich, said he was attacked
in May by six to eight men, some wearing motorcycle helmets, who hit his
head with metal bars after he announced a plan to protest the election of
the pro-army speaker of the lower house of Parliament.
Another activist, Ekachai Hongkangwan, has faced
physical abuse on multiple occasions in addition to having his car set on
fire twice this year. He was subjected to at least four attacks in 2018 as
he engaged in peaceful protests over official misconduct.
PM visits baby dugong Yamil
Phuket - Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha
has visited and fed the baby dugong "Yamil", which was recently found
stranded on an Andaman beach in southern Thailand. The young orphan is in
the care of the Marine Resources Research and Development Center in its
nursing and rehabilitative area under the supervision of the Department of
Marine and Coastal Resources.
The Prime Minister fed the dugong with milk and
inquired about its ongoing care. He also thanked and provided moral support
to a team of officials and veterinarians, who are taking such good care of
Thailand’s native dugongs that their numbers have increased in the area.
A veterinarian who takes care of Yamil disclosed that
the dugong is about 3-4 months old and has become stronger after being
closely nursed and cared for, after being located lost and wounded
Meanwhile, Her Royal Highness Princess Sirivannavari
Nariratana Rajakanya, who named the dugong "Yamil", a name which means a
handsome man of the sea, has placed the dugong under royal patronage and
Government orders inspection of school lunches
Government Spokesman, Lt. Gen. Werachon Sukondhapatipak.
Bangkok –Deputy Government Spokesman Lt. Gen.
Werachon Sukondhapatipak says Prime Minister Prayut has received a report
about some schools in the province of Nakhon Ratchasima serving elementary
students with substandard lunches
He said the government is ready to work with all
agencies to fight corruption without any exception and the PM has instructed
the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of the Interior to closely
oversee irregularities in all schools nationwide.
According to the investigation, both large and small
schools are given a budget of 10,000 baht to prepare lunch meals for their
students. However, some schools haven’t been spending all the money and
school directors have failed to clarify where the remaining funding is
located. In addition, the government’s school lunch project is exclusively
for elementary students, but some schools have used the budget to buy lunch
meals for high school students as well as teachers.
Trial run conducted on BTS Green Line to Lad Phrao
Bangkok - A BTS Green Line trial run on Mor
Chit-Saphan Mai-Khu Khot route in Bangkok’s northern suburbs was conducted
Tuesday from Mor Chit station to Lad Phrao intersection station. The new
service starts on August 11.
Deputy MRTA Governor Surachet Laophulsuk said the trial
run went very smoothly and similar test runs will be conducted daily for a
month. The northern Green Line is designed to transport a growing number of
passengers between Bangkok’s northern suburbs and inner areas on the BTS
Lad Phrao intersection is a major spot where many
commuters converge to Take BTS trips daily. About 80,000 BTS passengers are
expected each day. Four more stations will open along the route from Mor
Chit station to Kaset intersection by the end of this year. The northern
route will be extended to Khu Khot station by the end of next year.
Dengue controls implemented in Yala
Bangkok - Dengue fever commonly spreads every
rainy season. This year, Yala Provincial Public Health Office has
implemented an active disease control measure at hospitals and homes after
some 500 dengue patients were diagnosed since January.
According to a recent national data release, the
overall number of dengue patients in Thailand is about 40,000 persons, with
58 fatalities to date. Among seven provinces in the lower southern region,
Yala province is ranked as having the highest number of patients, 7th in the
country, yet without any fatalities. Most dengue patients in Yala are young
children. The virus can be contracted by both children and adults through
mosquito bites, and can occur all year. Infections are often concentrated in
the rainy season as it is the reproductive season of mosquitoes.
This year, 523 patients with dengue fever have been
found in Yala since 1st January, which is three times the number in the same
period last year.
Yala Emergency Dengue Fever Response Center is now on
high alert to control the spread of the disease, calling meetings with
healthcare professionals in the district and at provincial level to ensure
integrated work. It has launched a 1 Search 3 Knocks campaign to search for
suspect patients, knocking on people’s doors to arrange to destroy
mosquitoes and their larva, and visiting schools to destroy the breeding
grounds of mosquitoes.
MRT Blue Line extension passenger test runs to start late July
Bangkok - The Mass Rapid Transit Authority is
set to open the MRT Blue Line Thaphra extension for passenger test runs in
Once the new tracks and trains have passed the initial
testing stage, the MRTA is expected to allow passengers to travel between
Hua Lamphong and Thaphra station free of charge as part of the test runs
later this month. More stations will incrementally be opened for free
introductory trips, before the scheduled launching of the service in
During the trial, trains will run back and forth only
on the new extension tracks, requiring passengers to change to another train
at Hua Lamphong to travel to other stations on the current Blue Line
Network. The extension will be linked to the original section, allowing for
through operations, once signalling tests on the extension are completed.
Earthen weir quickly fixed to contain tides off Samut Prakarn
Samut Prakarn - Officials scrambled to fix a
damaged weir and laid a barrier of huge sandbags to contain tides off Samut
The earthen weir at Cholaharn Phichit water pump
station partly collapsed last week due to the force of the high tides in the
sea off Bang Bor district of Samut Prakarn province, flooding houses of the
Royal Irrigation Department’s personnel.
Officials opened water pumps to drain the floodwater
and quickly fix the weir. Huge sandbags and steel plates have been used to
obstruct the flow of floodwater and four water pumps at Charoenrat water
pump station have been quickly put to work.
Deputy Royal Irrigation Department Director General,
Praphit Chanma visited the project site at the weekend to assess the latest
situation, which has largely improved with the water pumps continually at
work. Two backhoe loaders have also been used to build two more earthen
weirs about 100 meters from the damaged one.
Southern fishermen call for ban on young aquatic catches
Bangkok - The Federation of Southern Fishermen
has issued a statement calling for the government to prohibit the catching
of young aquatic creatures in the sea, beginning with infant mackerel and
blue crabs. The ban is apparently designed to counter a situation in which
marine life among certain species is declining.
Mackerel are reported to be currently on the verge of
extinction, according to the federation, which has already proposed several
times that some destructive fishing equipment be banned in an effort to
protect and sustain sea life.
The southern fishermen’s calls were not met by the
government however, which failed to respond to the federation’s appeal
despite the existence of Article 57 of the Fishing Executive Decree, which
is aimed to protect young aquatic creatures.
S.Korea actress charged in Thailand for catching giant clams
In this Feb.
24, 2007, file photo, a diver holds a giant clam. A South Korean actress has
been charged in Thailand with catching endangered giant clams while
participating in a reality TV show. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Bangkok (AP) — A South Korean
actress has been charged with catching endangered giant clams while
participating in a reality TV show and could face up to four years in prison
if found guilty, a Thai official said Friday.
Actress Lee Yeol-eum cheered as she
caught the three giant shellfish in a national marine park in March on the
survival TV show "The Law of the Jungle." Participants in the show then ate
the clams in an episode that aired on June 30.
Narong Kongeiad, chief of Hat Chao Mai
National Park, said he filed police charges against Lee on Wednesday for
violating wildlife laws by hunting the giant clams. The charge carries a
maximum penalty of four years in prison and a fine of up to 40,000 baht.
"The one who must be responsible is the
actress who caught the shellfish because she directly violated the law," he
said. "Others who were involved with the incident could also be charged as
"The Law of the Jungle" has aired since
2011 and places South Korean celebrities in groups that are sent out to test
their survival skills in remote locations.
Seoul Broadcasting System, the show's
producer, issued a statement Friday saying it "deeply apologizes" for
filming the episode without a thorough understanding of local regulations,
and said it would be more careful in the future.
However, Narong said the producers had
been informed of the regulations.
"Sea resources in Hat Chao Mai cannot
be caught, hunted or cooked, and the cast and crew were fully aware of that
because the park firmly informed them of the park's restrictions before they
began filming," Narong said.
The incident has triggered an angry
reaction among internet users, especially among South Koreans, who have
called for the show to be canceled.
The marine park is in the southern Thai
province of Trang, 670 kilometers south of Bangkok.
PM concerned about heavy rain; directs all provinces to assist villagers
Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Bangkok - The Prime Minister has expressed his
concerns about expected thunderstorms and extensive rainfall in Thailand,
and has ordered all provinces to provide immediate assistance to villagers
Mudslides, collapsing utility poles and road accidents
have been reported nationwide due to recent poor weather. The general public
is advised to exercise caution and closely follow weather forecasts and
alerts from the Meteorological Department.
The Prime Minister has urged all provinces affected by
tropical storm Mun, which is causing continuous heavy rain in places, to
monitor the situation, issue alerts to residents when necessary, and provide
assistance to all people affected by the downpours.
Thailand to nominate southern treasures as ASEAN Heritage Parks
Bangkok - Thailand is to nominate Hat Chao Mai
National Park, Ko Libong Wildlife Sanctuary, and Mu Koh Angthong National
Marine Park as ASEAN Heritage Parks at the 30th Meeting of ASEAN Senior
Officials on the Environment (ASOEN) on 8th-12th July.
Thailand is to host the meeting to discuss regional
cooperation in solving global environmental issues, such as cross-national
environmental problems affecting the economy, society, and national
development. The officials will be discussing the conservation of nature and
biodiversity, the marine and coastal environment, water resources
management, a sustainable urban environment, climate change, chemicals and
waste management, and environmental studies on sustainable manufacturing and
Sub-meetings will also be held to discuss environmental
issues, including the ASEAN+Japan meeting, ASEAN+3 meeting, and ASEAN+8
meeting, in which Thailand is set to nominate Hat Chao Mai National Park, Ko
Libong Wildlife Sanctuary, and Mu Koh Angthong National Marine Park as ASEAN
Heritage Parks in an attempt to promote tourism, and receive academic
support on efficient area management in the future.
The 30th Meeting of ASEAN Senior Officials on the
Environment will be taking place at the Sukosol Bangkok hotel. It is
expected some 200 delegates from ASEAN countries and their partners will be
attending the event.
SCB Securities: SET index could reach 1,750 points
Udomsirikun, Managing Director of the Research Division, SCB Securities.
Bangkok - Sukit Udomsirikun, Managing Director
of the Research Division, SCB Securities, says the Thai stock market in the
third quarter is in its best situation this year and the index has an
opportunity to reach 1,750 points. However, investors must beware of
profit-taking because the stock index has risen a lot. It is also necessary
to follow the Federal Reserve’s meeting and developments in the trade war
between the United States and China.
The SCB has expressed its belief that the Federal
Reserve will not reduce the interest rate at its meeting in July after
seeing that the United States is not raising import tariffs on China at this
stage. If the import tariffs on Chinese goods are raised by another 300
billion US dollars, the United States and Chinese stock markets could fall
by another 15-20 percent, while the Thai stock market could drop by 7-10
percent from the current level.
As for the overall picture, the Thai economy is likely
to slow again from a growth rate of 3.3 percent due to the slowdown in
exports. Therefore, it is necessary to rely mainly on consumption,
investment and tourism and follow up on the constant high value of the baht,
which could reach 30 baht per USD in this period.
Police hunt for assailants of Ja New
Bangkok - National Police Commissioner General,
Chakthip Chaijinda, confirmed Monday that his officers are searching for the
men who seriously assaulted political activist Sirawith ’’Ja New’’ Seritiwat
The police chief and Metropolitan Police Commissioner
Pol Lt Gen Sutthiphong Wongpin held a meeting on the weekend with senior
police officers to discuss progress in the investigation and ongoing hunt
for the four assailants.
The police chief said the officers were collecting
witness statements in their effort to track down the suspects. The police
probe is believed to have made some progress but no information can be
divulged for the time being.
Pol Gen Chakthip meanwhile, advised those who may be
planning to make political statements in public to call on police or
officials of the Department of Rights and Liberties Protection to provide
them with security measures. He said the possibility of men in uniform being
responsible for the assault on ’’Ja New’’ had not been raised in discussions
as yet but confirmed that the police will immediately arrest any suspects
regardless of their position.
More rain, high waves expected this month
Bangkok - The early period of July will see
increased precipitation in the northern and northeastern regions plus high
waves in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. Captains of all boats
should exercise caution, with small boats in particular advised to remain in
port for safety, according to the Meteorological Department’s guidelines.
The Met Dept’s Director General, Phuwieng
Prakhammintara, said a build-up of a low pressure system over the South
China Sea is affecting weather systems in Thailand and intensifying the
Bangkok residents will see increased precipitation
affecting over 40-60 percent of the area, usually in the afternoon and at
night. The Andaman Sea will have 2-3 meters high waves, while in the Gulf of
Thailand - off the coast of Rayong, Chanthaburi, and Trat - 2 meter high
waves are anticipated. Sailors are advised to exercise extra caution while
navigating passage at sea.
The TMD chief said that average temperatures in this
period will be 33 degree Celsius while some parts of the northern and
northeastern regions can anticipate very hot conditions during the day,
peaking at around 37 degrees Celsius.
SRT begins train service to Cambodian border
Bangkok - The State Railway of Thailand (SRT)
has launched a new daily train service between Bangkok and Ban Klong Luek
border station for the convenience of people travelling to Rong Kleua
Market. The first train of the new service began operating Monday, July 1.
There will be four trips a day, two in each direction.
The new service will facilitate the travels of Thai and foreign tourists
wanting to cross the border between Thailand and Cambodia.
The route extension is expected to greatly promote
border trade between Thailand and Cambodia and once the new service route is
established, it is believed the number of train passengers will increase
Premier chairs EEC meeting
Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Bangkok - Prime Minister Gen Prayut
Chan-o-cha chaired a meeting of the Eastern Economic Corridor Policy
Committee on Monday, remarking that while the transition of government
is currently underway, varied problems remain unsolved and projects are
The meeting acknowledged progress in the project to
build a high speed railway to link three airports and the project to
build Map Ta Phut industrial port’s Phase 3. The meeting also considered
an appeal for an administrative ruling on the U-tapao airport
development and eastern aviation hub projects. The meeting considered
the setting up of a subcommittee for the evaluation of operations
carried out by the Secretary of the Eastern Economic Corridor Policy