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Update September, 2019


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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
Thailand News
 

Poor weather may have caused crash of cloud seeding aircraft

NNT

Bangkok - Following a plane crash in Kanchanaburi on September 24 in which two pilots were killed, the Department of Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation (DRRAA) has released a statement saying that sudden changes in weather conditions may have been the cause of the accident, stressing that the aircraft had been regularly maintained.

DRRAA Director General Surasi Kittimonthon made the announcement on the progress of investigations into the crash in Sai Yok district of Kanchanaburi province. The flight crew who lost their lives were instructor Trin Amranand and trainee pilot Suksan Sathientham.

The investigative team, comprised of pilots, aircraft technicians and aviation medical examiners, found that the aircraft on the day of the accident was engaged in routine training, involving taking off and landing practice, as well as in-flight manoeuvres in a normal flight pattern. The team is in the process of looking for evidence of any technical failure which may have contributed to the accident by analyzing aircraft debris, flight paths and pilot operations, which is expected to take 45 days. The investigative team may invite experts from the aircraft’s manufacturer to join the investigation.

A flight unit controller, who is a member of the investigative team, said pilots are required to inspect their aircraft and check weather conditions prior to a flight, adding that there is always a possibility that weather conditions may suddenly change, with fog and clouds obstructing visibility causing difficulties in navigating the aircraft. The accident happened an hour after take-off. However further investigation is still required to reach any conclusion.

The DRRAA has confirmed the accident wasn’t caused by a miscalculation of the weather conditions or the number of new pilots in training, stressing that training protocols follow standard practice, and that the department’s aircraft receive maintenance after every 100 hours of flight.

The department’s officials will continue to fulfill their rainmaking duties to help the general public despite this accident.
 


Thais celebrate vegetarian festival nationwide

NNT

Bangkok - The annual vegetarian festival is being celebrated in many provinces across Thailand.

Highlights of the opening ceremony on Phuket were dragon and lion dances, a cultural performance by the Confucius Institute and a show entitled “Beautiful China” presented by students from Kathu Witthaya School. There were also booths selling vegetarian food.

At the Hock Sieng Tung Vegetarian House in Khon Kaen province, many Thai-Chinese descendants dressed in white participated in a religious ceremony to welcome the Nine Emperor Gods. The Hock Sieng Tung Vegetarian House has prepared ingredients for making vegetarian food from September 28 to October 8 this year. Signs were put up in front of the building to invite people to join the celebration.

In Phichit province, the Phichit Harmony Merit Welfare Foundation, and people who practice Chinese-style vegetarianism, wore white outfits and took part in a religious activity to celebrate the occasion. Free vegan food and desserts are being offered for 10 days. Many people made merit and enjoyed a variety of vegan meals on the opening day. People can bring food containers to take extra food home, but they are not allowed to use plastic bags.

The Department of Internal Trade, under the Ministry of Commerce, has organised a campaign to encourage people to consume more fruit and vegetables, with cooperation from Thai Agro Exchange Company Limited and retailers who purchase their goods directly from farmers. The campaign aims to improve supply chain management for fruit and vegetables.


Ancient human skeletons discovered in Chiang Mai

NNT

Chiang Mai - As many as 23 ancient human skeletons and the skeleton of a horse have been discovered by officials from the Fine Arts Office in Chiang Mai. The remains are thought to be at least a thousand years old.

The skeletons were found behind a Chedi at Tha Kan Temple, San Pa Tong district of Chiang Mai province. The ancient Wiang Tha Kan city was a fortress of the Hariphunchai kingdom dating back more than 1,400 years. The human remains were found two meters below the surface and all skeletons lay pointing to the West and Northwest. They were laid on their backs with knees bent.

Nongchanai Tharaksa, operational archaeologist from Fine Arts Office 7, Chiang Mai, who was a member of the excavation team, said the skeletons will undergo DNA testing in order to determine their age range. The area they were found could have been a cemetery but officials can’t tell if they died as a result of old age, war or an outbreak of disease.


Nong Nooch Garden improves landscape of Cambodian Embassy

NNT

Bangkok - Nong Nooch Tropical Garden has improved the landscape of the Royal Embassy of Cambodia under the theme of a “Friendship Garden” to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.

The Director of Nong Nooch Tropical Garden, Kampon Tansacha, brought in a group of 100 gardeners and 1,000 trees and flowers to improve the landscape of the embassy grounds which cover more than 100 square meters of land on Ramkhamhaeng Road in Wang Thong Lang district of Bangkok.

Some of the beautiful trees and flowers include seal-wax palm, pigeon wood and Chinese bangan, as they are suitable for growing in tropical climates. The landscaping services were provided free of charge.

The Cambodian Ambassador to Thailand presented a certificate of honor to the Director of Nong Nooch Tropical Garden for beautifying the embassy’s landscape. The ambassador also expressed his gratitude to the Thai government for allowing more than one million Cambodian people to work in Thailand.



Air quality improving in southern Thailand

 

NNT

Yala – Air quality in the southern regions of Thailand has risen into the range of ‘moderate’ to ’very good’ over the last two days, with Yala province seeing a continual drop in levels of particulate matter of 2.5 (PM 2.5).

The haze previously shrouding Yala has lifted following rain and a shift in wind direction. Latest checks of the air quality found the PM 2.5 saturation level at 42 micrograms per cubic meter, considered mild. The level is a significant drop from a previously reported 85 micrograms per cubic meter.

Due to erratic weather and more smog approaching the province, citizens have been urged to remain cautious and to follow the Ministry of Public Health’s guidelines. While members of the public may return to outdoor activities, the elderly, infirm and pregnant women along with those with respiratory or heart conditions are advised to stay indoors.


PM underlines Thailand’s healthcare success

Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha.

NNT

New York – Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha attended the opening ceremony of the High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Care this week, one of the conferences of the 74th United Nations (UN) Summit currently taking place in New York. At the proceedings, Gen. Prayut outlined Thailand’s public health successes, including the provision of universal health insurance.

The prime minister said that from October 1 onwards, the country will provide HIV vaccinations to all risk groups in a continuation of the work of Her Royal Highness Princess Soamsawali Krom Muen Suddhanarinatha, in turn it represents an extension of the UN’s work against AIDS in the Asia Pacific region.

The Thai premier also highlighted the government’s provision of funding to health coverage. The administration is currently working to more efficiently utilize the 15 percent of the National Health Insurance Fund set aside for the promotion of health and establishing local health funds. It is looking to create a model for public health on a global scale but will first extend better care to sensitive and fringe groups, incorporating the use of innovations and technology.

Gen. Prayut also spoke at the High-Level Meeting on Climate, saying the ASEAN region has been just as affected by climate change as other areas. He pointed out that the bloc has targeted a 30% reduction in power usage and to have 23% of its power come from renewable sources. The region is to base its fiscal policies on energy usage and carbon emissions and in the long term will build cooperation toward environmental goals.

He asserted that climate change cannot be fought by any one country alone and proclaimed that ASEAN is ready to be a partner with the global community in the establishment of sustainability.


Mitsubishi Motors to expand investment in Thailand

NNT

Tokyo - The government’s investment roadshow in Japan this week went well on the first day, with Mitsubishi Motors Corporation affirming its intention to expand its investment in Thailand.

Thai Industry Minister, Suriya Juangroongruangkit, had a discussion with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Mitsubishi Motors, Osamu Masuko, on investment opportunities in Thailand. Suriya said the CEO had confirmed that Mitsubishi Motors will expand its investment in Thailand due to the country’s low operating costs and its status as the regional transportation hub.

Mitsubishi Motors plans to invest in electric vehicle (EV) production in Thailand and aims to make the country the EV production center of the region. With an investment budget of 20 billion baht, seven billion baht will be invested in improving manufacturing plants and production lines. The remaining 13 billion baht will be invested in producing plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs). The 3.13-billion-baht PHEV project has been endorsed by the Board of Investment (BOI), and production will start in 2021. The HEV and BEV projects will commence in 2024.

The Industry Minister and his officials also visited Mitsubishi Motors’ technology exhibition, featuring future EVs. The exhibition officially opened in July this year. Innovative vehicles designed by the company are on display at the exhibition.


Border trade slows down due to global economic woes

Adul Chotinisakorn, Director-General of the Department of Foreign Trade.

NNT

Bangkok - Trade growth in Thailand’s border areas has slowed down due to the struggling global economy and the ongoing trade war between China and the United States of America. In the first eight months of this year, Thailand’s border trade was valued at 915 billion baht, up by only 0.07%.

The Director-General of the Department of Foreign Trade, Adul Chotinisakorn, said Thailand’s border trade with four neighboring countries accounted for 720 billion baht, down by 1.16%. Malaysia, one of Thailand’s top trading partners, saw its trade value drop by 4.78%. Thailand’s exports of para rubber, rubber products and combustion engines to Malaysia continued to contract. The bilateral trade value between Thailand and Laos also contracted. However, Thailand’s trade figures with Myanmar and Cambodia still experienced growth.

Thailand’s cross-border trade with the three countries tallied 180 billion baht, up by 5.24%.

The bilateral trade with southern China was valued at 88 billion baht, up by 37.83%. However, Thailand’s trade with Vietnam and Singapore experienced a slowdown.

Key factors contributing to the Thai economy included the global economic slowdown and the baht’s appreciation. Weakening currencies of neighboring countries had also dampened Thailand’s competitiveness. As a result, the government’s projected border and transit trade of 1.6 trillion baht this year might not be achieved, but the amount should not be lower than 1.4 trillion baht, thanks to the government’s efforts to reduce obstacles to border trade.



Male model arrested in widely publicized sex case

In this Sept. 18, 2019, photo, Ratchadech Wongtabut talks to reporters at the Bukkhalo Police Station in Bangkok. (AP Photo)

Busaba Sivasomboon

Bangkok (AP) — Police on Wednesday arrested a male model accused of taking an unconscious woman home, boasting online about his sexual exploits, and leaving her lifeless body in the lobby of his building.

Police brought charges of illegal detention leading to death, abduction with intent of committing an indecent act and molestation against 24-year-old Ratchadech Wongtabut in a case that has riveted the attention of the public and press.

The victim, Thitima Noraphanpiphat, 25, made a living as a "pretty," the term for young women normally hired for events such as auto shows to pose seductively with products they are promoting.

Thitima, who used Lunlabelle as her professional name, was hired to attend a party from which Ratchadech left with her on the night of Sept. 16.

A media frenzy over the case has been fueled by the suspect's provocative online posts boasting of past sexual conquests, plus surveillance video showing him carrying the apparently unconscious victim.

Thitima's family and boyfriend went to the media to press their case that her death involved wrongdoing and that the perpetrator be held to account. They acted as Ratchadech's involvement was made public, and he initially had been questioned by police and released without charge after denying any criminal actions.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lt. Gen. Sutthipong Wongpin said at a news conference on Wednesday that Ratchadech acknowledged bringing Thitima to his apartment but said he had no intention to do her harm and did not realize that she was dead while she was with him.

Police announced Tuesday that Thitima may have already been dead by the time Ratchadech brought her back to his apartment.

The police said Wednesday that an autopsy found that Thitima had died from extreme alcohol intoxication, citing a blood alcohol concentration of 418 milligrams per 100 milliliters.

There had been speculation that Thitima was given a date rape drug such as GHB. But the drug rapidly disappears from the blood stream, making its presence difficult to confirm. Thai media cited police as saying none had been found in Ratchadech's apartment.

Police are investigating others who may be involved in the affair, especially the owner and guests at the house where Thitima attended the party before she died.

Her death has raised interest in the dark side of the life of a pretty, when they can get into situations they cannot control.

Jaded Chouwilai, director of the Women and Men Progressive Movement Foundation, said the case reflects the high risks of abuse, both sexual and nonsexual, toward women in that specialized service sector.

The foundation has studied the cases of young women working as sales promoters at beer drinking outlets nationwide, including pop-up booths.

It found that all suffered some manner of abuse: being forced to drink large amounts of alcoholic beverages, molestation, and other physical and verbal attacks.

"In the case of Lunlabelle, it happened in a private place and she was there all by herself and heavily drunk. Therefore, her risk of being attacked was much higher," Jaded said.

Jaded said that stereotyping and discrimination against this group of workers meant they drew little sympathy from the government and society at large.

"They need protection from being abused, just like other workers," he said.


Chim Shop Chai registration campaign goes viral

NNT

Bangkok - The third day of registration for allowances in the Chim Shop Chai campaign on Wednesday saw the 1 million daily quota filled by 6am in the morning.

10 million persons will be able to register themselves to receive a 1,000 baht allowance each in the government’s electronic money mobile application. The allowance can be used for eligible purchases from Thursday 26th September following an application update. The registration quota is limited to a million persons daily. Once registered, an SMS is sent to applicants who are required to confirm their identity within three days.

An eligible person in this campaign must be a Thai citizen holding a valid ID card, be 18 years old or more, and have an eligible smartphone able to install the app. The registration period will end on 15th November 2019, or when the 10 million total quota is reached.


Flow accelerators aid draining water in Ubon Ratchathani

NNT

Ubon Ratchathani  - The Royal Irrigation Department has installed more high pressure water flow accelerators at Kaeng Saphue to increase drainage capacity, leading to a continuous reduction in flood waters in many areas.

The Chi-Mun Rivers Flood Management Center in Ubon Ratchathani has reported water level readings at M.179A (Se Bai) which show 402 cubic meters of water passing through each second, with the water level 2.33 meters higher than the banks, but with a continuous reduction. The flooded area has been reduced to some 326.4 square kilometers and some disaster victims can now return to their homes, while all those evacuated earlier are expected to be able to return by the end of this month.

Royal Irrigation Department Director General Thongplew Kongjun said the department is installing 15 Hydro Flow pumps at Kaeng Saphue in Phibun Mangsahan district to help push the water into the Mekong River. Two pumps are now operational while another 13 will be installed as soon as possible.

Some obstacles have been found along with the implementation of these pumps, one being that some of the water discharged was flowing into rocks, reversing its direction. A pipe extension is being installed to push the water out further downstream in order to improve the flow capacity.


Equipment for persons with disabilities put on display

 

NNT

Bangkok - The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities is exhibiting a lightweight cardboard chair which can be made at home for just 400 baht as an innovation for young persons with disabilities.

The cardboard chair was initiated by Baan Fueng Fa Home for Protection and Development of Persons with Disabilities in Nonthaburi, to assist children with multiple disabilities or bed-ridden children who can’t move by themselves. The chair can be designed to suit the physical conditions of an individual child needing to sit up comfortably. Construction advice to those who may be interested in making the cardboard chair will be available soon.

Anira Thinon, a deputy director general of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, said the cardboard chair won an award for outstanding innovation in government service from the Office of the Public Sector Development Commission. The department will gladly transfer the instructions on how to make the cardboard chair to those who may be interested or parents of children with disabilities, to save on the purchase cost of one, and promote the re-use of cardboard boxes.

The manufacturing cost for the cardboard chair is only a few hundred baht per unit. The chair weighs only a few kilograms, has a belt attached to it and can help with the physical development of the child.


Thailand becomes first ASEAN nation to grow industrial-scale medical cannabis

Anutin Charnvirakul, Minister of Public Health, talks to the media at Maejo University in Chiang Mai.

NNT

Chiang Mai - Thailand’s largest batch of 12,000 cannabis sprouts has been planted at Maejo University in Chiang Mai. It is the first-ever industrial-scale medical cannabis manufacturing facility in the ASEAN region. The produce is expected to be harvested in early 2020 for use in treatment and research.

Anutin Charnvirakul, Minister of Public Health, said a total of 12,000 cannabis sprouts had been planted in the program. It is expected that 2.4 tons of dried cannabis will be delivered to the Pharmaceutical Government Organization (GPO) and its network partners by February 2020, in order to produce cannabis-based drugs to be available through licensed medical institutions including public and private hospitals as well as clinics.

The minister expressed his confidence that the cooperation will yield hemp oil of medical grade that meets the quality standard. The Department of Medical Services (DMS) will use it in treating patients along with research.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has used the first batch of hemp oil for research in test tubes, in order to study the effects of inhibiting the proliferation of cancer cells. The NCI is currently waiting for the experimental results.


Thai universities in World University Rankings 2020

NNT

Bangkok –Thai universities have been included in World University Rankings 2020 by The Times Higher Education.

According to the Times website, the rankings are based on 13 criteria which measure teaching, research, knowledge transfer and the international outlook of each educational institution.

Among all Thai universities, Mae Fah Luang University leads in the rankings. It received its highest scores in citations and international outlook while Mahidol University received its highest scores in industry, income and international outlook. Both were ranked in the ‘six to eight-hundred’ category out of 1,400 universities across 92 countries.

In ASEAN, Singapore provided two universities of the highest rank: the National University of Singapore, in 25th place and Nanyang Technological University, 48th.

As for no.1, the University of Oxford in the UK leads the rankings, as it has for 4 consecutive years, followed by the California Institute of Technology and the University of Cambridge.


Companies back circular economy at eco innovation forum

NNT

Bangkok - The Ministry of Industry, the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand, the Water and Environment Institute for Sustainability, and the Federation of Thai Industries have held the Eco Innovation Forum 2019 on the theme ‘The Economy: Way to a Smart and Sustainable Eco Industrial Town’.

Exhibitions on eco industrial town development were held in the forum by government agencies, entrepreneurs, and educational institutions. Some 200 Eco Factory awards were given to winning industrial estates and factories.

An Advisor to the Minister of Industry, Theerayut Wanitchang said the Ministry of Industry has clear goals to encourage OTOP entrepreneurs and SMEs to adopt the Bio Economy, Circular Economy, and Green Economy or BCG Model in their operations.

The Ministry of Industry and the Federation of Thai Industries have signed an agreement on the Factory 4.0 industry development model through the BLISS Project, aimed at maximizing added value from limited resources, by designing products that encourage recycling, promote innovations and help efficiently reduce resource and energy consumption in an environmentally friendly manner.

The eco industrial city project was piloted in Ban Chang, Rayong, to support future industrial development in the Eastern Economic Corridor, and to promote proper electronic waste processing.

The Ministry of Industry is expected to turn all industrial estates in Thailand into eco industrial cities fully engaged in the Circular Economy by 2021.


EEF and UNESCO Bangkok vow to push for equitable education

NNT

Bangkok – The Equitable Education Fund (EEF) of Thailand and UNESCO Bangkok have signed a memorandum of understanding on equitable education for out-of-school children. The MoU signing ceremony took place in Bangkok on Monday.

EEF, supervised by the prime minister of Thailand and run by a board comprising independent experts and representatives of relevant state agencies, will work with UNESCO on academic projects, strengthening networks throughout the Asia-Pacific to tackle education inequality.

In Thailand, area-based education reform has been implemented in 20 provinces across the country. Conditional cash transfers and vocational scholarships are available for students in need, while mechanisms have been set up to return out-of-school children to education, or to provide them with appropriate training.

According to UNESCO Institute for Statistics data, the number of out-of-school children around the world has continuously declined, from more than 100 million in 1990 to 63 million in 2017. However, progress has been slow in the past decade.

EEF Managing Director Supakorn Buasai said that government mechanisms alone could not eliminate education inequality, and cooperation by all parties is needed to find sustainable solutions to the problem.

Meanwhile, UNESCO Bangkok Director Shigeru Aoyagi says that UNESCO highly appreciates Thailand’s continuous commitment to equitable education and wishes many other countries in Asia and other regions of the world would follow the same path.


Vichai’s estate sued over fatal helicopter crash

 

Nusara Suknamai, an employee of billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and a runner-up in Miss Thailand Universe 2005, died in the fatal helicopter crash on Oct. 27, 2018. (Photo/Instagram)

Busaba Sivasomboon

Bangkok (AP) — The family of an employee of the Thai owner of England's Leicester City soccer team who died in a helicopter crash that also took her boss's life sued his estate and his family's duty-free business on Monday for 300 million baht.

Former beauty queen Nusara Suknamai, 33, was one of five people killed when team owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha's helicopter crashed and burst into flames shortly after takeoff from the soccer field following an Oct. 27, 2018, Premier League match.

Vichai was one of Thailand's wealthiest businessmen, who prospered through his family's ownership of the King Power duty-free chain, which holds monopolies at most of the country's international airports. Before his death at age 63, Forbes magazine estimated his business empire to be worth US$4.88 billion, making him the fifth-richest person in Thailand at the time.

He oversaw one of the greatest underdog successes in sports when his 5,000-1 outsider won the English Premier League title in 2016.

Nusara was a runner-up in the 2005 Thailand's Miss Universe competition before entering Vichai's employ.

Pinit Laksanavisit, a lawyer for Nusara's family, said the suit was filed in Bangkok Civil Court because Thai law holds the aircraft's owner responsible for any harm to passengers.

"Mr. Vichai was the owner of that helicopter and also there was the name of King Power on it," he told The Associated Press.

Aviation accident investigators determined that the crash occurred when the pilot lost control of the aircraft because of a mechanical fault.

Britain's Air Accidents Investigation Branch said last December that the mechanism linking the pilot's pedals with the tail rotor blades became disconnected, resulting in the helicopter making an uncontrollable right turn before it spun and crashed.

Pinit said Nussara's family had been in talks for more than 10 months with representatives of the Sriwatanaprapa family and King Power.

"It seems they are trying to get away from their responsibility," Pinit said.

Representatives for King Power declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Pinit said an initial court hearing is scheduled for Nov. 26, but his clients remain open to negotiating a settlement.


Ministers meet and assist flood victims

Ubon Ratchathani (NNT) - Various ministers on Monday visited Ubon Ratchathani and nearby provinces to meet with disaster victims and assess the current flood situation.

The Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Chalermchai Sreeon conducted aerial observation of waterways and drainage over installation sites of 271 flow accelerators, along with the Royal Irrigation Department director general and the governor of Ubon Ratchathani. The drainage is reported to be performing well, while the current capacity, when combined with another 100 flow accelerators in Phibun Mangsahan district, can help raise drainage capacity into the Mekong River by additional 30 percent.

Deputy Ministers of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Capt Thamanat Prompow and Mananya Thaiset, led teams of officials to meet flood victims, delivering survival bags and consumable items to villagers in Ban Kud Rangom, Ban Pak Kuk Wai, Ban Kuk Chum, Ban Khu Sawang and Ban Kwa Mai Kan villagers in Warin Chamrap district, reassuring them that government is concerned about disaster victims and is willing to help.

The Minister of Energy, Sontirat Sontijirawong, has visited a disaster shelter in Warin Chamrap district, Ubon Ratchathani, and boarded a flat-bottomed boat to deliver survival bags to monks and villagers in the Don Ngiew community where the flood level remains high, and villagers have to stay on the upper floor of their houses.

Flood levels in many areas of Ubon Ratchathani have started to recede, allowing some villagers to return and clean up their houses. Disaster victim assistance operations in lower northeastern provinces have been raised to level three, which focuses on integrated work between affected provinces.

In Roi Et, a Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Prapat Potasuthon, met with villagers and distributed survival bags and animal feed to affected farmers and villagers at Selaphum Pittayakom School in Selaphum district, and Thung Khao Luang District Office. After the flood, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives will encourage farmers to grow mung beans, which only require 100 days from planting to harvesting. The government will be providing free seedlings and a guaranteed selling price for this short-term measure. Farmers will then be supported for beef cattle farming through special loans via the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, which will help farmers earn a stable income.


Prime minister meets with Thai group in United States

Prime Minister Gen Prayut meets Thai nationals in New York.

NNT

New York - Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, his wife Naraporn and officials have attended the 74th United Nations General Assembly in New York where the PM was welcomed by Thai nationals. He met with the Thai group at a hotel where he is staying during which he explained Thailand’s internal situation and government policies. He said he was scheduled to attend leader-level meetings on universal health care coverage, climate change and sustainable development goals.

The Thai premier is also scheduled to deliver a statement as chair of ASEAN and to meet with executive officials of the Asia Society and the United States Business Council to raise the confidence of prospective investors, looking to invest in Thailand.

The prime minister talked about flooding in the northeastern region and confirmed that the government will grant compensation payments for damage and carry out post-flooding restoration plans, adding that official inspections need to be done strictly because the compensation will be using taxpayers’ money. A total of 32 provinces have been affected by flooding for which 20-30 billion baht in budget will be used in remediation, while flood victims nationwide will be treated equally.

However, some Thai students in the United States asked the prime minister how he is taking care of his own health. He responded that he works hard and sometimes felt stressed but could always eat well. When he returned home, he liked to watch films about investigations, like his wife does. Sometimes he reads books which help him relax. He said if he had time on Saturdays and Sundays, he would take the opportunity to exercise.


Upper part of Thailand warned of cooler weather

 

NNT

Bangkok - The upper part of Thailand has been warned of volatile weather and temperatures dropping 3-5 degrees Celsius from now until September 26.

A strong high pressure system from China is prevailing over the northern, northeastern and upper central regions, causing a monsoon trough to pass over the lower part of the country and bringing heavy rain to those areas.

In Bueng Kan province near the Mekong River, the high pressure system has brought fog and cool breezes and a temperature of 22 degrees Celsius on Monday. Many residents along the banks of the Mekong River were seen wrapping up in thicker clothing or out exercising to keep warm.


Disaster management raised to level 3

Interior Minister Gen Anuphong Phaochinda.

NNT

Bangkok - The National Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Command, with Interior Minister Gen Anuphong Phaochinda as the commander, has announced an upgrade of disaster management from level 2 to level 3 after assessing the influence of a monsoon trough in upper Thailand, and heavy rain in the Northeast.

According to information from the Office of the National Water Resources and the Royal Irrigation Department, the water levels of the Chi and Mun rivers have subsided but water is still overflowing the river banks and there are floods in many areas.

The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) has been instructed to follow, analyze and assess the situation and report on it to the Commander of National Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Command to consider issuing policies. The DDPM has also been assigned to establish a disaster command center in Ubon Ratchathani, to supervise and control four provinces, namely Ubon Ratchathani, Yasothon, Si Sa Ket and Roi Et and coordinate assistance for people in flood-affected areas. When the flood situation has improved, a damage survey will be expedited for rapid rehabilitation of the region.


Spotted hyena fossil found in Thailand

NNT

Bangkok - After discovering the fossilized remains of four species of large mammal, especially a dotted hyena at Yai Ruak Cave in Krabi, the Department of Mineral Resources will develop the location as a source of knowledge and a tourist attraction.

The four species discovered are a Malayan porcupine, sambar deer, Javan rhinoceros and spotted hyena. Sommai Techawal, Director-General of the Department of Mineral Resources, says the animals were initially estimated to have lived 80,000 to 200,000 years ago, in a period that is known as the early part of the late Pleistocene. It is considered important evidence of the farthest dispersion of hyenas found in Southeast Asia.

Kantaphon Suraprasit, a lecturer at the Department of Geology, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, said a research team had studied the dental enamel of the fossils. The analysis has confirmed that in the Pleistocene period, Krabi was dominated by savannah vegetation alternating with dense forest patches. This was a suitable path for the migration of mammals. There is also an assumption that the dispersion of hyenas into the region of what is now Krabi, was due to discontinuity of the Savannah route that was separated by rainforests in Sundaland throughout the Thai-Malaysian peninsula during the ice age in the Pleistocene period.


MOAC to lead volunteer team to rehabilitate flooded areas

 

NNT

Bangkok - The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC) will lead a team of volunteers to rehabilitate the extensive flooded areas of Ubon Ratchathani this week. It has also prepared an urgent plan to help flood-affected farmers by providing them with seeds and production aids, organizing a team to repair agricultural tools and listening to their problems immediately after the flood water has subsided.

Chalermchai Sri-orn, Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, disclosed that there are still flooded regions in many parts of Ubon Ratchathani city and its surroundings. The MOAC has instructed all agencies to accelerate rehabilitation of flood-affected areas after the flood water has subsided to help people and farmers.

The eight main activities include surveying the damaged area, dispatching mobile units to rehabilitate fish farms, crops and the water supply in each province, accelerating floodwater drainage in the community and agricultural areas by the Royal Irrigation Department, improving soil by the Department of Land Development, distributing seeds by the Department of Agricultural Extension, releasing fish into natural water sources by the Department of Fisheries, repairing agricultural machinery and organizing volunteer teams to help farmers at their request.

The MOAC is to lead its officials on a visit to Ubon Ratchathani on Monday, September 23, to help rehabilitation in flood affected areas so that people are able to return to their normal lives as soon as possible.


Thai entrepreneurs join 16th China-ASEAN Expo

Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit.

NNT

Nanning - Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit has led a group of government officials and entrepreneurs to Nanning, the capital of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, to attend the 16th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO).

Over the weekend, Thai officials and entrepreneurs met with Chinese Vice-Premier Han Zheng, who oversees China’s economy, to strengthen economic ties and promote bilateral trade and investment.

Thailand is promoting the export of rice, para rubber, cassava, fruit and poultry, as China has been importing more Thai products every year. As a result, ASEAN and China have agreed to set China’s tariffs at zero for more than 90% of ASEAN’s exports.

The Ministry of Commerce has continually organized events to boost trade and investment between Thailand, China and the member states of ASEAN. Last year, exports of Thai fruit reported growth of US$1 billion. Over the past seven months, the export value of fruit shipped to China was US$1.1 billion. The total value of trade between the two countries is US$44.9 billion.


BMA cleans Chao Phraya riverside ahead of royal barge procession

NNT

Bangkok - The royal barge procession will take place on 24 October this year. In addition to the preparation of the royal barges, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has been busy working to improve the landscape along both sides of the Chao Phraya River to accommodate spectators.

The Governor of Bangkok, Pol Gen Aswin Kwanmuang, led 3,105 officials and volunteers from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), royal volunteers, and volunteers in the Altruistic Heart campaign to clean up the riverside landscape and facilities on the Thomburi side of the river this week/

The volunteers helped clean up public squares, roads, the embankment under the Rama VIII bridge, remove debris and water hyacinths from the Chao Phraya River, and renovate Suan Luang Phraram 8 Park to honor His Majesty the King.


Thailand, China affirm strong ties

NNT

Bangkok - Thailand and China have affirmed their strong relationship following a meeting between the Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, and the Chinese Communist Party’s Minister of the International Department, Song Tao.

Gen. Prayut welcomed the Chinese minister along with his delegation to Government House in Bangkok this week. The Prime Minister took the opportunity to thank China for devoting importance to relations with Thailand and congratulated the diplomat on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The Prime Minister also acknowledged that Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will be bestowing the Order of Rajamitrabhorn upon the President of China, Xi Jinping, to mark the long standing ties between the two countries.

The two confirmed continued cooperation in the political, economic and tourism realms and readiness to continue exchanges in the areas of education, technology and science.

The Chinese delegation commended Thailand on its chairing of ASEAN this year, and stated its support for the kingdom at every level.

The Thai leader asked that China give its support to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations, aimed at being finalized this year.


Government sets up war room to administer flood relief

NNT

Bangkok - The government is to set up a war room for assistance to flood victims. The service is to be provided in a systematic and consistent manner able to keep the people continually informed with information from all relevant agencies.

Thiraphat Prayoonsit, the permanent secretary-designate of the Prime Minister’s Office, chaired a meeting to initiate the setting up of the war room which is scheduled to officially open on September 23.

The war room will monitor the delivery of all financial donations and follow up on the repair of houses and restoration of farmland damaged by recent floods. Money donated by the private sector and individuals has so far totaled over one billion baht.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said the money donated for victims of natural disasters has strict protocols to follow and cannot be handed out without prior examination. He admitted the government’s assistance measures are slow due to such mechanisms but officials are working to improve the situation and ensure that relief is administered in a timely and efficient manner.


Patients can receive prescribed medicine at 500 drugstores from October 1

NNT

Bangkok - The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) will allow certified modern pharmacies to provide prescribed medicine to patients who live nearby, to reduce congestion at hospitals.

Dr. Praphon Tangsrikiatkun, MOPH Deputy Permanent Secretary, opened a meeting to explain the guidelines for reducing congestion at hospitals using the services of modern pharmacies. Patients can bring prescriptions from doctors at 50 central hospitals and general hospitals nationwide to pick up medicine at a modern pharmacy that meets the GPP standard of the Food and Drug Administration. Currently, 500 eligible pharmacies are participating in the project.

The four groups of patients who may receive prescribed medicine free of charge at drugstores instead of hospitals are those with diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma or mental illnesses. The medicine collected at drugstores is the same as that they would receive from the hospital. Patients can choose whether or not to receive the prescribed medicine from a certified pharmacy.

The MOPH aims to establish a network of 5,000 modern pharmacies by 2023. Currently, there are 17,000 registered modern pharmacies under the GPP standards guide and 250 hospitals nationwide in the project.


Worst haze crisis in Songkhla for 3 years

Thai students wear protective masks at Boonlert Anusorn school in Songkhla province, southern Thailand, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Sumeth Panpetch)

NNT

Songkhla - Forest fire haze from Indonesia is currently blanketing the southern provinces of Thailand, leading officials to issue health alerts for those venturing outside.

In Songkhla on Wednesday, the PM 2.5 (particulate matter) value measured at 230 micrograms per cubic meter, which is beyond what is considered a safe limit by health professionals. People in the area are being advised to refrain from outdoor activities and wear the N95 masks when they are outdoors.

The current haze situation is considered the worst for the past three years. Members of the public who experience health symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, conjunctivitis, chest pain, headache, irregular heartbeat, nausea or fatigue should consult a doctor immediately.

Yala Governor Anuchit Trakoolmuthuta has sent urgent letters to district chief officers, instructing them to take appropriate action and issue air quality warnings to safeguard citizens’ wellbeing at this time.


Government invites public to observe Royal Barge Procession

NNT

Bangkok - The government is making preparations for members of the public to witness the Royal Barge Procession on October 24, 2019. The procession is part of nationwide celebrations of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua’s coronation earlier this year.

A meeting of the committee in charge of security and traffic management took place this week and instructed related units to ensure public safety and provide adequate parking spaces and buses to serve commuters.

People living outside Bangkok can travel via public vans or park their vehicles at many locations in the city, including Muang Thong Thani, Chaeng Watthana Government Complex, Thupatemi Stadium, Ikea department stores, the Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Center (BITEC) in Bang Na district, Central department stores and Bang Rak Noi Tha It MRT Station. More than 30,000 parking spaces will be available. The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) will also provide free transport services on this occasion.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has set up royally-bestowed mobile kitchens and is cooperating with medical personnel from the Ministry of Public Health to provide medical check-ups for the general public along the procession route. The BMA has also cooperated with the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security to provide wheelchairs and volunteers to assist the elderly. The administration has set up 16 screening locations along the procession route.


Chicken exports to China increase 700% amid swine fever outbreak

NNT

Bangkok - Soaring pork prices due to the swine fever outbreak in China have led to a 700% increase in Thailand’s chicken exports between January and July this year

Kukrit Arepagorn, Manager of the Thai Broiler Processing Exporters Association, revealed that, due to the highly increased price of pork, Chinese consumers have increased their demand for chicken and the nation has imported over thirty-three thousand tonnes of chicken meat and products from Thailand since the start of the year. This figure has made China the third largest export market for chicken meat and products from Thailand, after Europe and Japan.

Recently, officials from General Administration of Customs of China came to Thailand for a safety inspection of 10 poultry factories. The results are expected to be announced soon.

Currently, there are 7 chicken factories in Thailand which are certified by the Government of China and which can export frozen chicken meat and products to the country.


PM confers outstanding industry awards

NNT

Bangkok - Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha presided over a ceremony for the presentation of The Prime Minister’s Industry Award 2019, organized by the Ministry of Industry for the 27th year and attended by executive officials of the ministry and industrial entrepreneurs.

A total of 68 awards were conferred, including one Excellent Industry Award, 46 Outstanding Industry awards and 21 Outstanding Small and Medium-sized Industry awards, plus 12 honorable awards.

The prime minister congratulated the award winning entrepreneurs on their quality, and creative industries which take care of the environment and employees, and are viewed as good examples for other workplaces. The government confirmed plans to promote small and medium-sized industries to be more competitive, use modern technology and develop businesses in accordance with international standards. The entrepreneurs should also take care of society, given accommodations provided by the government.

Many industrial structures have been adjusted while targeted industries have been promoted to the extent that they have enhanced manufacturing capacity, enabling reduced operating costs in the future. What has already been started may be strengthened with the participation of all sectors regarding quality development and the environment.

The prime minister said that entrepreneurs shouldn’t focus on low investment capital and high profits. He encouraged the private sector to donate money or useful items to flood victims, through the Prime Minister’s Office’s Permanent Secretary Office which has opened a donation center.


PM dodges opposition questions over flawed oath

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha smiles before answering a question at parliament in Bangkok, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Busaba Sivasomboon and Tassanee Vejpongsa

Bangkok (AP) —Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha came under fire Wednesday in parliamentary debate for having omitted a key phrase when taking his oath of office in July, but dodged opposition demands that he explain why he left it out.

Prayuth's failure to include a sentence swearing allegiance to the constitution when he led his Cabinet in taking the oath of office in front of HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn has raised questions about the legitimacy of his government.

The opposition demanded that Prayuth resign in addition to explaining why he did not recite the full oath.

The PM attended much of Wednesday's debate, but when he spoke, he addressed only budget matters and not the oath-taking.

He told reporters afterward that it was his right not to respond to the oath question.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, the government's chief legal expert, responded to the opposition by saying HM the King had acknowledged the oath, which indicated it was valid because the matter was between the Cabinet and the monarch.

He mentioned a royal message, released in late August but dated the day of the oath-taking, encouraging the Cabinet ministers to perform their duties according to the oath they swore. The message, he indicated, was a sign of royal approval.

His statement closely echoed a statement from the Constitutional Court, which earlier this month was asked to rule on complaints forwarded by the state ombudsman from two citizens who charged that Prayuth's failure to pledge allegiance to the constitution was a breach of the charter, which requires the full oath.

The court, however, said it lacked jurisdiction because the oath was a matter between the executive branch and the King, and also mentioned the royal message of encouragement.

The opposition nevertheless tried to press its contention that Prayuth had failed to carry out his duty properly.

Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, a prominent member of the opposition Future Forward Party, said Prayuth should resign "to show political responsibility for the matter of incomplete oath recitation, to uphold the constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand, to uphold the democratic system under the King, and to allow the Kingdom of Thailand to have a leader with dignity who is an honor to the country, to the head of the state, and to its people."

The PM won another challenge Wednesday when the Constitutional Court ruled that he was not a state official when he took office as prime minister following the military coup that overthrew the elected government in 2014.


Bank of Thailand advises customers to use new chip cards

NNT

Bangkok - The Bank of Thailand is advising holders of debit and ATM cards with magnetic stripes to use chip cards instead.

Sirithida Phanomwan na Ayutthaya, an assistant governor of the Bank of Thailand in the payment policy and financial technology section, said the use of chip cards provides more safety than debit or ATM cards and prevents the use of fake cards which might contain data from stolen debit or ATM cards via ATMs.

Since 2016, the Bank of Thailand has cooperated with the Thai Bankers Association and other financial institutions to encourage the use of chip cards. All debit cards and ATM cards are expected to be replaced by the end of this year since they will no longer be usable at ATMs or card swiping machines after January 15, 2020.

According to financial institutions, about 47 million chip cards are currently in use, while about 20 million magnetic-striped cards are currently used nationwide. The Bank of Thailand has called on the holders of magnetic stripes cards to contact any branch of their bank and change their cards by producing their ID card, debit or ATM card and bank account book. No service fee is charged.

Those who don’t change their magnetic-striped cards to chip cards may still withdraw or transfer money at a bank or transfer money using mobile or internet banking.


12 western, southern districts on flood alert this week

NNT

Bangkok - More heavy rain is expected in the northern and central regions this week, while 12 districts in the western and southern region’s west coast are on alert for possible flooding from September 19-21.

The Office of National Water Resources (ONWR) has announced that a monsoonal trench will prevail over the lower parts of the northern and northeastern regions, transforming into a low pressure system over Cambodia. This situation will increase precipitation and cause heavy rain in some parts, which will help fill dams currently at a low level such as Pa Sak Jolasid, Kraseaw, and Thap Salao.

The forecast doesn’t pose any concerns for dams in the Chao Phraya River Basin, namely Bhumibol, Sirikit, Kwai Noi Bamrung Dan, and Pa Sak Jolasid, which have the capacity to hold much more water, while retention areas have been prepared for rainwater downstream from those locations. The reservoir of the Chao Phraya Dam has reduced its discharge rate to 750 cubic meters per second.

There are however concerns about monsoonal effects in the western, upper southern, and eastern regions which may see more heavy rain. The ONWR has ordered officials at Kaeng Krachan Dam and Pranburi Dam to ensure all water management protocols are strictly followed. Heavy rains are expected from the end of this week, resulting in a rapid flow of water into the dams’ reservoirs.

The situation also poses flood risks over the next three days in 12 districts of six provinces, namely Khlung district in Chanthaburi; Khlong Yai, Bo Rai, and Ko Chang districts in Trat; Muang and Kraburi districts in Ranong; Tha Yang, Muang, and Ban Laem districts in Phetchaburi; Bang Saphan and Bang Saphan Noi districts in Prachuap Khiri Khan; and Tha Sae district in Chumphon. Local authorities have been instructed to prepare for possible flooding and to notify villagers.


Government reviews solutions to southern border problems

NNT

Pattani - The government has been reviewing potential solutions to southern border provinces’ problems, emphasizing that policies must adhere to lawful actions based on equality and observing human rights principles.

A group of special representatives of the government, led by Gen Chaichan Changmongkhol, Deputy Minister of Defense, visited the headquarters of the 15th Infantry Division in Pattani province to gain a first-hand understanding of the operations of various agencies dedicated to solving insurgency problems in the south.

The general called on all in attendance to adhere to the government’s policy of solving problems by peaceful means, enforcing the law fairly and avoiding discrimination. He said that to ensure the safety of the lives and property of the people, it is necessary to solve the problems of influential figures, drugs, human trafficking and the trafficking of illegal items in the area by focusing on the participation of all communities, especially religious leaders and other local figures. He asked for an enhancement of surveillance by using technology and CCTV networks more widely.

In steering the peace dialogue process, Gen Chaichan commented it is necessary to create understanding and gain the participation of the local people, while continuing to improve their quality of life and well-being in all areas.


DLT to inspect public transport every 90km

NNT

Bangkok - Pheeraphol Thawornsuphacharoen, Director-General of the Department of Land Transport (DLT), has disclosed that the DLT will be conducting safety inspections on all forms of public transport to ensure that the drivers and vehicles meet the required safety standard, at checking points every 90 kilometers across the country.

The DLT is cooperating with the Highways Police Division and Transport Company Limited in the inspection of public transport around the clock every day. Public transport operators who try to skip the safety checks are punishable under the Land Transport Act B.E. 2522 Section 31 (10) or Section 32 (6).

Inspections will check the vehicles’ condition, and its documentation, as well as signs of alcohol or drug use in the drivers.


Digital Ministry, LINE launches Stop Fake News seminar

NNT

Bangkok - The Minister of a Digital Economy and Society, Puttipong Punnakanta, presided this week over the opening ceremony of a Stop Fake News seminar in Bangkok, aimed at promoting online media literacy and discretion to prevent the spread of misinformation.

The seminar was organized by social media platform LINE Thailand, with communication arts and journalism students participating. LINE Thailand CEO Phichet Rerkpreecha said the company has been cooperating with the Ministry of a Digital Economy and Society to set up an anti- Fake News Center, operating to prevent the spread of fake news.

The ministry’s Fake News Center is being set up by a team working to verify the correctness and accuracy of information, using specific technologies in keeping with international standards. LINE will be visiting the center to follow up on its establishment and operations.

Phichet said that LINE currently has 44 million users, while its LINE TODAY news service now has more than 1 trillion hits per month. He said the seminar marks a good start to creating an understanding among the news audience and their ability to discern fake news and misinformation.

A further seminar will also be held in Khon Kaen where some 400 communication arts and journalism students and teachers will be participating.


Popular panda on loan from China dies in Thai zoo

In this April 4, 2007, file photo, a male panda named Chuang Chuang chews bamboo leaves inside its cage at the Chiang Mai zoo. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)

Associated Press

Bangkok (AP) — Zoo staff in northern Thailand donned black and white clothing and observed a minute of silence to mourn the sudden death of their popular male giant panda, which was on a long-term loan from China.

Officials said Chuang Chuang collapsed Monday in his enclosure at the Chiang Mai Zoo shortly after standing up following a meal of bamboo leaves.

Staff said Tuesday they found no sign of illness or injury on the 19-year-old panda's body, and that he had recently passed a health checkup.

A zoo veterinarian said pandas have a life expectancy of 14-20 years.

Chuang Chuang and his female mate arrived in Chiang Mai in 2003 on a 10-year loan that was later extended for another 10 years.


Bangkok City Hall urges public not to litter Chao Phraya River

NNT

Bangkok - The Bangkok Metropolis Assembly (BMA) has launched a campaign urging residents along the Chao Phraya River not to litter or discharge waste matter into the river.

Officials from the BMA have also taken to boats to remove pests along the river as part of a landscaping renovation project prior to the nomination of the Chao Phraya River as one of 28 sites on the World Monuments Fund’s 2018 World Monuments Watch. The campaigners delivered campaign stickers to members of the general public and merchants in Wang Lang market and Wang Lang community in Bangkok Noi district.

"As a first step, we will pilot the project on the section between Phra Pinklao Bridge and Memorial Bridge. This pilot area is currently a special area free of water hyacinth, litter, and unwanted waste in the river. We will have to talk to villagers regarding wastewater. The problem is we currently have no treatment facilities, and all wastewater is discharged into the river,” said BMA official Paitoon Khumpharat.

The Assembly is planning to construct a waste water treatment facility in Thonburi to help overcome water pollution issues in the Chao Phraya River and adjoining canals. The facility will serve an area of 36.44 square kilometers, which will be used as a park to help improve the city environment."


Half of the 147 tigers rescued from Thai temple have died

In this Monday, May 30, 2016, file photo, wildlife officials begin removing some of the 147 tigers held at a "Tiger Temple" in Saiyok district of Kanchanaburi province. (AP Photo)

Tassanee Vejpongsa

Bangkok (AP) — More than half the tigers rescued three years ago from a Buddhist temple in Thailand where they served as a popular tourist attraction have died of disease, wildlife officials said Monday.

The tigers were vulnerable to illness because of inbreeding, leading to laryngeal paralysis causing respiratory failure, said national parks official Patarapol Maneeorn. Eighty-six of 147 rescued tigers kept at government-run wildlife sanctuaries have died.

The DNA of all 147 confiscated tigers could be traced to six tigers who were the original breeding stock, said Patarapol, head of the department's Wildlife Health Management Division.

Such inbreeding "affects their well-being, resulting in disabilities and weakened health condition," he said at a news conference. "And when they have weakened genetic traits, they also have problems with their immune system as well."

The temple in the western province of Kanchanaburi served for more than a decade as a de facto zoo where tourists could feed tigers and pose for photos with them, despite concerns about possible mistreatment and suspicions of wildlife trafficking.

Police found tiger skins and teeth and at least 1,500 amulets made from tiger bones when they raided the temple, as well as 60 cub carcasses stuffed in freezers and in formaldehyde in jars.

Tiger parts, such as ground bones, are popular as traditional medicine in Asia. Tiger hides can sell for tens of thousands of dollars in China.

There are estimated to be more than 1,000 tigers in captivity in Thailand, but only about 200 in the wild out of a global wild population of about 4,000.

Patarapol said Thai authorities would do their best to care for the surviving rescued tigers.

"We are mobilizing team members, increasing our readiness and adjusting our plan," he said. "We will provide the best care possible."


Government says flood victims have not been abandoned

NNT

Bangkok - Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha said the government is racing to provide relief for flood victims and has been setting up of temporary shelters along with providing food, water and medical services. Once the situation improves, authorities will assess the damage and start restoration work.

The government also plans to provide prompt relief payments for flood victims under official protocols, such as a payment for living expense, a payment for damaged tools, machinery, farmland and fisheries or livestock. In the case of a totally destroyed house, the owner is entitled to 200,000 baht for the procurement of construction materials.

Every affected province will set up a committee to look after the donated money and items so that they will reach flood victims. The prime minister has instructed all government agencies to work scrupulously and to see to it that no complaints of corruption are filed.


Energy minister stays calm on Saudi refinery attacks

Energy Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong.

NNT

Bangkok – Thailand’s Energy Minister, Sontirat Sontijirawong, said Saturday’s drone attacks on two major oil refinery plants in Saudi Arabia, which is the world’s largest oil exporting country, have not affected Thailand as an oil importing country.

Sontirat said the Ministry of Energy has received reports that there has been no immediate effect on the exports of Saudi oil, since the attacks did not affect Aramco’s oil tank farm from which oil is exported to the Petroleum Authority of Thailand. However, the ministry has laid out plans to cope with emergency situations, similar to those applied during the earlier Hormuz Strait incident.

Sontirat said Thailand has an adequate volume of crude oil in reserve and sufficient refined oil and would have no shortage problem if Saudi oil exports were in trouble on a short-term basis.


Terracotta Warriors exhibition opens in Bangkok

NNT

Bangkok - The Minister of Culture, Itthiphol Khunpluem, attended the premiere of the “Qin Shi Huang: The First Emperor of China and the Terracotta Warriors" exhibition on Monday in Bangkok.

The exhibition features 133 historic relics, many of which are over 2,200 years old. They are from 14 leading museums in the People’s Republic of China and are on display at the Sivamok Phiman Throne Hall at the Bangkok National Museum in Phra Nakhon district.

Thai citizens and foreign tourists are invited to visit the special exhibition, which is open to the public from Wednesday to Sunday until December 15, 2019, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Every Sunday, people can visit the exhibition as a family, free of charge.


Police receive 1,000 tips about illegal road races over 3 months

Assistant Police Commissioner General Pol Lt Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas.

 NNT

Bangkok - Police have revealed the number of tips reporting illegal road racing reached about 1,000 over three months, with rewards already given to some informers.

Assistant Police Commissioner General Pol Lt Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas has announced the outcome from the illegal road race suppression campaign from 3-10 September 2019, where 188 persons submitted information about illegal races via the 191 emergency hotline, 1599 complaint center, and the national police’s social media center. Rewards have been given to three persons so far at 3,000 baht each.

From 27 June to 8 September, police prosecuted 986 persons for illegal and unsafe racing and driving, and supporting unsafe racing or driving. For cases involving minors, the parents are held responsible according to the Child Protection Act.

In addition to racing cases, the police seized some 57,000 motorcycles from those violating the traffic law, and prosecuted some 200 shops for selling illegal automobile modification accessories.

The police’s intensified operations have led to a decrease in violations of about 80 percent. Persons submitting information related to illegal racing may be able to get a cash reward if they are able to provide concrete evidence, such as video clips, exact location and time of the violation. Most of the information being received by the police, however, cannot be clearly verified.


Nong Nooch elephant gets new home

NNT

Lampang – Nong Nooch Garden in Pattaya has transferred baby elephant “Phang Fah Jaem” to his new home at the Thailand Elephant Conservation Center in Lampang. The infant pachyderm, then aged just 3 months, was adopted by the garden in 2016 to treat his wounds after he was severely injured by a vicious animal trap in Kaeng Hangmaew district of Chanthaburi province.

Kamphol Tansajja, Director of Nong Nooch Garden, said the staff at the garden considered “Phang Fah Jaem” as a family member. Veterinarians and mahouts took care of him for the past 3 years and an adult female elephant fed him milk until he was fully recovered. Kamphol said the baby elephant would remain in the memory of the Nong Nooch Garden family forever but it was considered the Thailand Elephant Conservation Center was the most suitable place for him now.


Ministry presents Environmentally Sustainable City Awards

NNT

Bangkok - The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment has presented the annual Environmentally Sustainable City Awards to 107 provincial, district and sub-district municipalities nationwide at the Environmentally Sustainable City workshop.

The 107 qualified municipalities have all met four essential requirements and 34 indicators, such as the people’s well-being and happiness, sustainable environment, learning activities and the quality of management, with the objective of being on par with ASEAN and the international community.

 The environmental impact has become more concerning due to urbanization and climate change. Exceptional awards were given to 52 municipalities, outstanding awards to 40 municipalities and respectable awards to 15 municipalities. In addition, nine cities received awards under the Green City project.

All 107 municipalities will jointly step up their environmental conservation efforts, encourage children to help protect the nation’s natural resources and environment, and deal with situations, such as flooding and threats to marine biodiversity.


Thailand becomes world’s biggest rubber exporter

Auramon Sapthaweetham, DTN Director General.

NNT

Bangkok - The Department of Trade Negotiations (DTN) has disclosed that Thailand is the world’s largest rubber exporter, in part thanks to its free trade agreements with many countries.

Auramon Sapthaweetham, DTN Director General, disclosed that she had followed up on the situation of Thai rubber exports. In 2018, Thailand exported rubber worth over 4.6 billion US dollars, which accounted for 1.82 percent of total Thai exports. China was the biggest market, importing Thai rubber worth 1.96 billion US dollars, 43 percent of total Thai rubber exports. Other major markets were Southeast Asian nations, the United States, Japan and South Korea.

The rubber export leadership resulted in part from Thailand’s 13 free trade agreements with 18 countries, providing trade opportunities which help boost the export of Thai rubber products.

 


DAILY UPDATE

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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Poor weather may have caused crash of cloud seeding aircraft

Thais celebrate vegetarian festival nationwide

Ancient human skeletons discovered in Chiang Mai

Nong Nooch Garden improves landscape of Cambodian Embassy


Air quality improving in southern Thailand

PM underlines Thailand’s healthcare success

Mitsubishi Motors to expand investment in Thailand

Border trade slows down due to global economic woes


Male model arrested in widely publicized sex case

Chim Shop Chai registration campaign goes viral

Flow accelerators aid draining water in Ubon Ratchathani

Equipment for persons with disabilities put on display


Thailand becomes first ASEAN nation to grow industrial-scale medical cannabis

Thai universities in World University Rankings 2020

Companies back circular economy at eco innovation forum

EEF and UNESCO Bangkok vow to push for equitable education


Vichai’s estate sued over fatal helicopter crash

Ministers meet and assist flood victims

Prime minister meets with Thai group in United States

Upper part of Thailand warned of cooler weather


Disaster management raised to level 3

Spotted hyena fossil found in Thailand

MOAC to lead volunteer team to rehabilitate flooded areas

Thai entrepreneurs join 16th China-ASEAN Expo


BMA cleans Chao Phraya riverside ahead of royal barge procession

Thailand, China affirm strong ties

Government sets up war room to administer flood relief

Patients can receive prescribed medicine at 500 drugstores from October 1


Worst haze crisis in Songkhla for 3 years

Government invites public to observe Royal Barge Procession

Chicken exports to China increase 700% amid swine fever outbreak

PM confers outstanding industry awards


PM dodges opposition questions over flawed oath

Bank of Thailand advises customers to use new chip cards

12 western, southern districts on flood alert this week

Government reviews solutions to southern border problems


DLT to inspect public transport every 90km

Digital Ministry, LINE launches Stop Fake News seminar

Popular panda on loan from China dies in Thai zoo

Bangkok City Hall urges public not to litter Chao Phraya River


Half of the 147 tigers rescued from Thai temple have died

Government says flood victims have not been abandoned

Energy minister stays calm on Saudi refinery attacks

Terracotta Warriors exhibition opens in Bangkok


Police receive 1,000 tips about illegal road races over 3 months

Nong Nooch elephant gets new home

Ministry presents Environmentally Sustainable City Awards

Thailand becomes world’s biggest rubber exporter