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Update September 08 - 09, 2018

Thai cave boys and rescuers feted by prime minister at gala reception

 

Members of the Wild Boars soccer team give their thanks during and event in front of the image of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun during the event titled "United as One" Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. Lalit)

From left, Japanese cave diver Shigeki Miyake, Belgian cave diver Ben Reymenants, American cave diver Joshua David Morris, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, Finnish cave diver Mikko Paasi, American cave diver Bruce Konefe and Japanese cave diver Shigeki Miyake pose in front of an image of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn at the Royal Decoration Ceremony for aiding the rescue of the Wild Boars soccer team trapped for almost three weeks in a flooded cave, at the Royal Thai Government House in Bangkok Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (Lillian Suwanrumpha/Pool Photo via AP)

U.S. Air Force Cpt. Jessica Tait, the spokesperson for the U.S. military team that assisted in the cave rescue operation, smiles during the event titled the "United as One" in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

British cave expert Vernon Unsworth, right, and his wife Woranan Ratrawiphukkun pose for a photo during the "United as One" Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Members of the Wild Boars soccer team attend a public discussion in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. They spoke Thursday at an exhibition about their ordeal of being trapped for almost three weeks in a flooded cave, at one of Bangkok's largest shopping malls. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

By Kaweewit Kaewjinda, Associated Press

Bangkok (AP) — It was show time Thursday for the 12 boys and their 25-year-old soccer coach who were trapped for almost three weeks in a flooded cave in northern Thailand as they spoke at a public exhibition in one of Bangkok's largest malls.

That was just the start of the day for the small-town kids in the big-city capital. Later they were guests of honor at a gala outdoor reception hosted by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and his wife that honored those involved in the dangerous and dramatic rescue of the members of the Wild Boars soccer team.

The exhibition, where the boys spoke to the public and reporters, features a reproduction of the cave with simulated sounds of water dripping. Equipment used by rescuers and other items are on display.

Psychologists had recommended that the boys be given a six-month respite after their rescue in July for the sake of their mental health. But Thailand's military government, eager to share the glory of the good-news story, has trotted them out for public appearances and interviews.

Other efforts to promote their story have included construction of a museum and the anointing as a national hero, Sergeant Major Saman Gunan, the former Thai navy SEAL who died while diving in the cave delivering oxygen tanks.

At least five of them said in more or less the same words at Thursday's mall forum that "my life is the same, but more people are approaching me."

The boys earlier detailed much of their experience at a news conference after they were released from hospital observation following their rescue, and in interviews with the U.S. television network ABC.

In their talk moderated by Weerachon in the Siam Paragon mall on Thursday, they gave mostly terse replies. Adul Sam-on acknowledged that the area where they were staying in the cave stank of urine — the matter of body excretions had been a subject of much chatter on social media.

The boys appeared to have been unaware of the government's initial advice to not pester them about their ordeal.

Adul said he was surprised when he met officials such as American diplomats who did not ask what happened in the cave. He said it was only later that someone told him there was a ban on asking them questions about it. His teammate Ekarat Wongsukchan said he also was surprised that he had received no such questions.

The government-organized "United as One" event saw the boys change from fashionable yellow polo shirts over long pants to standard Thai school uniforms consisting of button-down white shirts on top of knee-length shorts. They took to the stage to express their gratitude to King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun and all who helped in their rescue.

A university band played popular tunes including "You'll Never Walk Alone" and "We Are the World" to a crowd that included U.S. and Australian service members in uniform who assisted in the rescue mission

On Friday the boys are scheduled to tour Bangkok's Grand Palace, a major destination for Thai and foreign tourists.


PM says there will be no cabinet reshuffle

Bangkok, 6th August 2018 (NNT) - Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha and other members of the cabinet have insisted there will be no cabinet reshuffle as rumored.

Gen Prayut said the Cabinet would not be reshuffled while Deputy Prime Minister Gen Chatchai Sarikulya claimed the premier himself had never discussed the matter with him.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam also denied the cabinet reshuffle rumor and other rumors that claim cabinet members are planning to enter politics.

Despite a possibility that the organic laws on the election of MPs and Senators will be published in the Royal Gazette next week, Wissanu urged political parties to wait until the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) withdraws its ban on political activities.

The Deputy Prime Minister also urged the Election Commission of Thailand (EC) to consider scheduling local elections 90 days after the general election.

Meanwhile, the first vice president of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), Surachai Liengboonlertchai, said today that if the government whip submitted a draft law on local elections to the NLA by next week, it would be deliberated and approved no later than December this year.


Thailand prepares for ASEAN Summit 2019

Bangkok, 6th September 2018 (NNT) – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced that Thailand is ready to assume the ASEAN chairmanship next year.

At a press conference today, Director-General of the Department of Information and Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ms. Busadee Santipitak indicated that the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Don Pramudwinai and other senior officials will follow the order of Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha to consider measures to support member states in creating an ASEAN brand that reflects the regions fundamental values. The representative noted that Thailand has played important roles in ASEAN. However, the region is facing new challenges, so it should step up its efforts to strengthen and unite the bloc.

Ms. Busadee then stated that Minister attached to the Prime Minister’s Office Dr. Kobsak Pootrakul, has discussed ways to publicize the ASEAN Summit next year. The committee has set out its plans to launch an official website and a debut video that will be shown in the handover ceremony of the ASEAN chairmanship in November. They have agreed to work on raising public awareness of ASEAN and the upcoming summit in 2019 through all channels.

The spokesperson explained that the outcomes of the two meetings will be reported to the premier soon, as Thailand will officially assume the chairmanship on January 1st, 2019.


PM tells youths southern unrest cannot be resolved through politics alone

 

Bangkok, 7 September 2018 (NNT) – Thailand's Prime Minister has remarked to youths from the nation’s far south that his government has no intention of using violence to quell the region’s unrest, noting politics are, however, not the entire solution to the issue but rather development and a peaceful mindset.

Executives of the Office of the Court of Justice led youths from the three southernmost provinces and four districts of Songkla to meet Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-ocha at Government House yesterday as part of the sixth iteration of the “Young Thais of a Single Heart” program.

The PM told the youths that the conflict in Thailand's south has been a personal concern of his for the past four years and that he has worked to remedy the situation. He urged the students to adhere to the moral teachings of their religions, saying all religions preach peaceful coexistence and that they should not fall victim to those who would use differences in faith to foment conflict.

The premier assured the youths that his government does not have a policy of violence in the south and remarked that the unrest cannot be resolved through political means alone, rather it requires development and an adherence to peace as well.

During a question and answer session, one of the youths asked the PM if he was tired and received the response that, while he was sometimes fatigued by his work, he wished only for encouragement.


GMS 6 discusses reducing trade barriers

Bangkok, 6th September 2018 (NNT) – A meeting on trade value within Greater Mekong Sub region (GMS) 6, has acknowledged the need to reduce barriers to cross-border trade to pave the way for regional connections.

The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) and the GMS Freight Transport Association organized an international seminar on logistics in the GMS and the reduction of trade obstacles in the sub region, which includes Thailand, China, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Former World Trade Organization Director, Supachai Panichapak remarked in an address to the seminar that cooperation with the GMS has developed steadily over the years with the GDP of all six GMS countries combined likely to expand 15 percent. He pointed out that logistics and travel connections between the countries are crucial to it playing a more important role in Asia, noting that cross-border transport continues to be a key challenge. To overcome trade obstacles, Supachai recommended a central agency be established to do away with economic barriers.

Between 2013 and 2022, an estimated 70 billion USD is expected to be invested in transport infrastructure in the GMS. The culmination of the better connections will be the GMS Economic Corridor.


Update September 06, 2018

Celebrities joining Gen Prayut to launch new public campaign

Bangkok, 5 August 2018 (NNT) - Famous actors and singers joined Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha at the Government House on Tuesday to promote a nation building campaign ‘Sang Thai Pai Duay Kan’.

Minister Attached to the Prime Minister’s Office Kobsak Phutrakul led a group of celebrities including some members of BNK48, an up-and-coming male actor Thanapat Kawila and Namthip ‘Bee’ Jongratchatawiboon, a famous female model, to join Gen Prayut in the launch of the campaign.

The Sang Thai Pai Duay Kan campaign, which translates to ‘Building Thailand Together,' was designed to encourage public involvement in national development.

These celebrities will also appear on the weekly television program ‘Thailand Moves Forward’ every Saturday to cultivate public awareness about past achievements and future plans of the government.

Prime Minister Gen Prayut also introduced Thai people to a book about the government’s achievements and a campaign song for the first time. The premier said he hoped everyone would help move the country forward and achieve reform in 20 years.


Heavy rains forecast in most areas of Thailand until the weekend

Bangkok, 5th August 2018 (NNT) - Heavy rain has been forecast in most parts of the country until this weekend. People have been told to brace themselves for possible flash floods in many areas.

The Meteorological Department has warned people in all regions of possible flooding due to rain throughout this week. Fishermen in the southern region should proceed with caution as waves could reach two meters high in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand.

According to the Crisis Center, provinces likely to be affected by heavy rain include Chiang Rai, Phayao, Nan, Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son, Lamphun, Lampang, Phrae, Uttaradit, Sukhothai, Tak, Loei, Chaiyaphum, Nakhon Ratchasima, Buriram, Surin, Si Sa Ket, and Ubon Ratchathani.

Eight more provinces including Nakhon Sawan, U-Thai Thani, Chainat, Lopburi, Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi, Bangkok and Samut Prakarn as well as the entire east coast and southern provinces will be affected by thundershowers.

The quantity of water released from major dams across the country however, is likely to be reduced as precipitation is expected to decline later this month. Despite the decrease, water levels in the reservoir of each dam must be maintained at a level deemed sufficient for farming activities during next year's dry season.


Religious Affairs Dept discusses role of meditation in survival of Moo Pa soccer players

Bangkok, 5 September 2018 (NNT) - The Department of Religious Affairs has held a seminar on the benefits of meditation and its role in the success of the Moo Pa Academy rescue operation.

The seminar discussed how football coach Ekapol Chantawong had taught his students to practice meditation during the more than 10 days they were trapped in the cave. The seminar concluded that the practice had helped the team stay strong mentally, allowing them to properly communicate with the rescue team once they were found.

Coach Ekapol, who is currently an ordained monk, said that upon realizing that the team was trapped, he gathered his wits and sought out a resting place that had dripping water to make sure that the team had access to clean drinking water. He then called on his experience, having been a junior monk, to teach the students how to pray and meditate in order to calm their spirits during the long wait.

Lt Col Dr Pak Lohanchun, who was part of the medical rescue team, added that he had been taught how to meditate and pray at an early age and was able to draw upon his experience during times of crisis, such as in the rescue operation.


Water level in Mekong River declines slightly

Nong Khai, 5th August 2018 (NNT) - Overflow from the Mekong River in Nong Khai province continues to flood nearby farmlands, forcing farmers to move their equipment and tools to higher ground.

More than 3,000 rai of farmland used by 400 farming families still remains inundated in three meter-deep flood waters in Ponsipai district. Despite the declining level of water in the Mekong River in Nong Khai at present, heavy rain and the arrival of a water mass from Loei province could raise the water level again.

Water pumps are being used to lessen the inundation in the municipality around the clock, and to prevent further flooding while the Mekong River continues to overflow its embankments.

In Khon Khaen province, local residents have been warned of further heavy rain due to the impact of a low pressure trough in Laos and a south westerly wind in the South of Thailand. People living near the Mekong River are urged to stay updated on the flood situation for their own safety.

In Petchaburi province, Ban Laem District Chief Sritham Ratchakaew, has accompanied a group of local civil servants to Tha Raeng sub-district to use effective micro-organisms (EM) to treat waste water in water-logged farmland, after the flood waters could not be directed into waterways fast enough.


Government to prosecute Loei resort for illegal use of land

Loei, 5th September 2018 (NNT) - Officials in Loei province have seized 19 rai from Rungyen Resort over illegal land ownership and is preparing a 600-million-baht lawsuit.

Director of the Forest Protection and Fire Control Bureau Cheewapap Cheewatam, has led officials from the Royal Forest Department and related agencies on an inspection of Rungyen Resort in Phu Ruea district, following complaints that the title deed for the land in question had been illegally obtained.

Officials found that the resort had gained ownership rights over national park land through illegal means and had built a private reservoir that has prevented the public from using the nearby stream.

The Royal Forest Department is now in the process of assessing the environmental damage to the surrounding area, in order to build a civil and criminal case against the resort. Preliminary surveys have estimated a claim of at least 600 million baht in damages.


Update September 05, 2018

Stateless paper plane champion applies for Thai citizenship

Deputy District Chief of Muang Chiang Mai District accepted the petition and personally processed Mr. Mong’s document.

Mong Thongdee demonstrates his extraordinary talents in making paper planes.

Chiang Mai, 4th September 2018, (NNT) - The stateless paper plane competition champion has applied for Thai nationality. The process is expected to take three weeks.

The 21-year old stateless man, Mong Thongdee, who rose to fame as the local and international paper plane champion, this week applied for Thai nationality at the government complex in Chiang Mai Province. The Deputy District Chief of Muang Chiang Mai District accepted the petition and personally processed Mr. Mong’s document.

According to government procedures when accepting requests for Thai nationality, the responsible unit will perform a criminal record check on the applicant, interview two witnesses, and review other relevant documents, before going through the legal proceedings. Consideration takes roughly 90 days to complete, with another 30 extra days for additional scrutiny, if needed.

However, in the case of Mr. Mong, it is speculated that the Chiang Mai Governor may shorten the procedure to a week. After the examination process is done, the governor will ask the Department of Provincial Administration to assign a 13-digit ID for Mr. Mong. The paper plane champion can then file a petition with the Office of the Registrar Suthep Sub-District Municipal Office, before heading back to Chiang Mai’s capital district office for the issuance of a citizen ID card.

Mr. Mong hopes to receive his first ID Card within five months, while saying he hopes to purchase a piece of land, so he can build a house on Thai soil. He is planning to study for a bachelor's degree in civil engineering, in order to stay in the construction field like his father before him.


Tham Luang Cave survivors and rescuers to attend banquet

Chiang Rai, 4th September 2018 (NNT) – The Governor of Chiang Rai province has met with the guardians and parents of Moo Pa Academy football team members who were stranded in Tham Luang Cave earlier this year, to prepare them for a thank you banquet being organized by the government this September 6th, to celebrate the united effort of rescuers from Thailand and across the globe, that succeeded in returning the youths to safety.

Chiang Rai Governor Prajon Prachsakul and Mae Sai District Chief Somsak Kanakam had a meeting with Phra Khru Prayutjetiyanukarn, the acting Abbot of Wat Doi Wao, who is now caring for the coach of the Moo Pa Academy football team as well as the parents of the 12 boys who survived being marooned in flooded Tham Luang Cave for 17 days. The meeting at Wat Doi Wao was to prepare them all to attend a banquet being staged by the government at Dusit Palace in Bangkok on September 6th to thank the rescuers.

Over 3,000 people involved in the rescue operation, including the team and their guardians, will attend the banquet. They are to travel from Chiang Rai on 72 buses departing on September 5th.

As for members of the media still trying to interview the boys, the governor reminded them that the lads are still in state care and have not been permitted to speak with the media for fear of causing trauma. Journalists have been asked to formally request meetings with the young footballers through the Ministry of the Interior.

At Government House, Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office Suwaphan Tanyuwattana, disclosed Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-ocha will speak at the banquet, about His Majesty the King’s gracious provision of aid for the 13.

The intent of the event is to celebrate the unity and collaboration of the rescuers, as many were from different nations and belonged to different faiths, but put aside their differences to bring success to the difficult operation. The event will not be broadcast but those in attendance will be allowed to film proceedings and share their own footage.


Ministry of the Interior's thank you event for Tham Luang Cave rescuers

Bangkok, 4th September 2018 (NNT) – The Ministry of the Interior says all preparations have been made for the thank you banquet being staged on Thursday (September 6) for the rescuers of the Moo Pa Academy youth football team, with up to 7,000 people expected to attend.

Minister of the Interior Gen Anupong Paojinda said today that all preparations have been made for the “United as One”, thank you event being held for all those involved in the rescue of the Moo Pa Academy youth football team, whose 13 members were trapped in Tham Luang Cave in Chiang Rai province for 17 days. The event is being held this week on September 6, from 6pm to 9pm at Dusit Palace, Bangkok.

An estimated 7,000 people are set to attend the banquet and the Ministry of the Interior is working with other agencies to provide full service to all, including shuttle bus pick-up and drop-off services. The ministry itself is taking care of 2-3,000 people being transported from Chiang Rai to attend the event. Government officials have been authorized to use their official vehicles to participate in the thank you party.


Agriculture Ministry to propose new measures to help ease farmers’ debt problems

Bangkok, 3rd September 2018 (NNT) — The Ministry of Agriculture is planning to seek the government’s approval for a new set of measures to help ease farmers’ debt problems.

Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Grisada Boonrach said on Monday that the planned solution, which will soon be presented to the Cabinet for consideration, comprises the extension of the deadline for the repayment of non-performing loans or NPLs from the original date of December 31, 2009 to December 31, 2017.

Mr. Grisada added that the Ministry will also ask for a compensatory budget for the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives to help settle 50 percent of loans of 239 borrowers, and a special budget to compensate the bank on behalf of 36,366 farmers who are considered qualified to receive assistance, for instance.

He added that the Ministry will welcome indebted farmers with certain qualifications to join a debt-restructuring program and the registration will be open until October 13.


All invited to song writing competition on royal volunteer work

Bangkok, 4th September 2018 (NNT) – Students, civil servants, members of the private sector and the general public have all been invited to join in a song writing competition on the topic of “royal volunteer work” offering the chance to win a Royal Cup bestowed by His Majesty the King.

Royal agencies are jointly holding the competition to promote good deeds and volunteerism. The winning composition is to be become the official song of volunteer work done in the name of His Majesty the King.

Entries must be contemporary Thai compositions with clear and concise lyrics about volunteer work done in tribute to the royal institution. The songs are to be easily sung and should be inspiring.

Applications can be downloaded from www.prd.go.th with entries to be accepted until October 20, 2018. More information can be found by calling 02-356-0977.


Update September 04, 2018

2.1 Million Counterfeit and Pirated Goods Destroyed by Thai Government

Bangkok, 3rd Sept., 2018 (NNT) - Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan has presided over a ceremony to dispose of 1.3 billion baht's worth of counterfeit and pirated goods.

About 2.1 million counterfeit items from resolved intellectual property infringement cases were disposed of at the event, which was organized by several units of the sub-committee on IP infringement crime suppression.

About 187,000 items were seized by the Royal Thai Police, with another 1.7 million items identified by the Customs Department, and 181,000 items by the Department of Special Investigation. The contraband included luxury apparel, bags, belts, shoes, watches, mobile phones, CDs, DVDs, eyewear, and cosmetics.

The disposal of these items is necessary to ensure the goods do not re-enter circulation. Furthermore, the quality of some of these items was subpar and posed public health risks. The process was organized transparently, and in line with the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.

The move is also meant to reassure investors of Thailand's stance on protecting IP rights.


Tobacco Authority defends relocation plan

Bangkok, 2nd September 2018 (NNT) - The Tobacco Authority of Thailand (TAOT) has denied planning to promote the consumption of demerit goods, saying its plan to build a new factory in Ayutthaya province, is in fact to relocate its facilities from Bangkok.

TAOT Managing Director Daonoi Suttiniphapunt, explained that the newly-opened facility, called Tobacco Factory No.6 in Rojana Industrial Park in Ayutthaya’s U-Thai district, is intended to replace the three factories in Khlong Toey district of Bangkok.

The old factory compound in Bangkok, which covers an area of nearly 200 acres, will be offered to HM the Queen. A forest park will be built there as a recreational spot for city people. All machinery and staff are expected to have been moved to Ayutthaya by 2020.

Ms. Daonoi also disclosed that the consumption of cigarettes in global markets lowers by four percent on average each year. In Thailand, the demand for cigarettes has dropped by more than 10 per cent over the past three years, with the number of cigarettes smoked legally shrinking to fewer than 30 billion.

She added that the four-billion-baht construction budget of the new tobacco factory had been taken from the profits of TAOT and had been approved by the former cabinet.


Four nabbed in major drugs bust in Samut Sakhon

Samut Sakhon, 2nd September 2018 (NNT) - Four people have been arrested along with 130,000 methamphetamine pills and three kilograms of crystal meth or “ice”, worth 15 million baht in total, in Muang Samut Sakhon district.

The four suspects, charged with possession of illegal drugs for sales, have been detained at the province’s prison. They are identified as Nopphadol Khamanee, 31, Kathariya Soros, 27, Weerachai Rungrojnetikul, 36, and Thanathepchai Hunlamphoo, 36 years of age.

The Provincial Police Region 7 Chief, Pol Maj Gen Suraphong Chaijan, said the suspects, whose arrest stemmed from police’s previous capture of drug addicts, were part of a drug ring led by a major drug dealer in a neighboring country known only as “Xang”.

He added that police would continue to look for more accomplices.


PRD officials asked to disseminate correct information among public

Bangkok, 2nd September 2018 (NNT) – The Government Public Relations Department (PRD) has been asked to ensure that the general public learns the details of government policies and projects accurately.

Government Spokesperson Lt Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd, in his capacity as PRD Director-General, led PRD executives in a meeting to discuss the work of the department.,

He said the department’s main focus should be on educating the public about state services, policies, and projects so that people can take part in country building and national development.

He added that the PRD must be a provider of accurate and reliable information while at the same time making sure that the content is creative, attractive and relatable, all of which are keys to effectively making the message heard.


Update September 03, 2018

Transport Minister on inspection tour of Loei Airport

Loei, 2nd September 2018 (NNT) — The Minister of Transport has inspected the progress of the expansion of Loei Airport.

Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith visited Loei Airport on Saturday, where deputy provincial governor Pornchai Thomkrajang and Airport Director Weerawat Thakong as well as related personnel waited to welcome him.

Mr. Arkhom was then updated on the planned renovation of the airport and the planned construction of a new passenger terminal.

? The Transport Minister said later that his inspection was aimed at gauging the progress of the expansion of the airport, which is occurring in two phases, including the doubling of its capacity at the existing terminal to accommodate 300 passengers, along with an upgrade of all security systems.

He added that the second phase is the construction of a second passenger terminal, which will start in 2020 and be completed around the end of 2021.

Mr. Arkhom went on to say that the entire project, which has been allocated a budget of 600 million baht, will help Loei Airport accommodate up to two million passengers each year and become an aviation hub for flights from airports in Luang Prabang in Laos, Hanoi in Vietnam and provinces in China.


Commerce Minister checks Blue Flag operations in Nakhon Si Thammarat

Nakhon Si Thammarat, 2nd September 2018 (NNT) — The Minister of Commerce has visited the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat to follow up on the progress of the Blue Flag shop project.

Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong, led a team to Nakhon Si Thammarat on Saturday, and made a stop at Srinya Karn Kha shop in Tambon Chaimontri in Muang District, where officials from the Nakhon Si Thammarat City Hall and related provincial offices as well as the owners of the shop waited to welcome him on the visit.

Mr. Sontirat then inspected displays of around 1,000 types of goods, which had been supplied by local farmers and producers.

Ms. Sirinya Pleojit, an owner of the shop, said that her husband and she jointly opened the business over seven years ago as a two-unit shop before the size doubled.

She added that her participation in the Blue Flag project and the installation of the government-owned EDC machine have boosted sales to between 250,000 and 300,000 baht per month.


Institute of Security Psychology presents approach towards tourism policy

Bangkok, 30th August 2018 (NNT) - Students at the Institute of Security Psychology of the National Defense Studies Institute, have presented their approach to tourism policy to mobilize the Thailand 4.0 agenda.

ACM Chatchai Boonyaprapatsara, Advisor at the National Defense Studies Institute, unveiled the research findings on promoting security, prosperity, and sustainability in the tourism sector.

Tourism and Sports Minister Wirasak Kowsoorad, said today the country’s tourism policy must focus on generating income for grassroots economies to reduce social inequality. Its policies must therefore focus on drawing tourists to locations throughout the country, creating appeal for lesser-known attractions.

Last year, over 35 million people visited Thailand, and the country posted 7-9% annual growth in the tourism sector. This year, the country expects to welcome up to 37 million tourists.


Flood monitoring ad hoc center to adjust water release plan of major dams

Thailand, 31st August 2018, (NNT) - The flood monitoring ad hoc center has announced that it will adjust the water release plans of both Vajiralongkorn and Srinagarind dams on September 4th.

Samrueng Saengphuwong, the deputy secretary-general of the Office of National Water Resources and director of the ad hoc center has reported that currently there are several major dams that have exceeded 80% of their capacity and are now in the ‘Upper Rule Curve’.

He elaborated that the water level in Nam Oun Dam is now at 110% with an outflow rate of 8.69 million cubic meters per day. The rate of water release is to be reduced due to the prediction that the downpours in September and October will lessen.

The director of the ad hoc center said today that the water storage level of the dam in Phetchaburi Province is at 106% and it's 102 centimeters above the spillway. Water being released from the dam is 15.31 million cubic meters daily and is being directed into the local Phetchaburi River.

The director said Phetchaburi dam will increase the outflow rate to 11.23 million cubic meters per day.

Director Samrueng said the Vajiralongkorn dam in Kanchanaburi is currently releasing 52.31 million cubic meters of water each day. However, the officials will increase the rate by five million cubic meter each day from September 4th - 10th. At the moment, the dam’s water level is at 94%

He then gave details of the water release schedule for Srinagarind, saying the authority will increase the rate from 22 million cubic meters per day to 28 million from September 7th - 13th. The dam’s water level is at 91 percent at the time of this report.

The volume of water being released daily from Khun Dan Prakan Chon and Pranburi dams is 7.8 million cubic meters per day and 11.08 million cubic meter per day respectively. The water content of the former is 86% and the latter 81%.


Water Bank project 60% complete

Bangkok, 1st September 2018 (NNT) – The construction of a water bank or an underground reservoir in Lak Si district will be finished this month.

On Friday, Bangkok Governor Asawin Kwanmuang, inspected the Water Bank project which is now 60% complete. The underground reservoir is connected to two canals namely Rang Au-Rang Kaew Canal and Bang Bua Canal. The water bank will be fully operational before the end of September. Its storage capacity is 1,000 cubic meters of water.

In the meantime, the Department of Highways is building pumping stations in front of Phahon Yothin Police Station and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. These stations will divert floodwaters into Bang Bua Canal.

There are four water bank projects in Bang Khen, Bang Khae, Ding Daeng, and Bang Kapi districts currently underway.


Update September 01, 2018

U-tapao airport renovation project to be completed on schedule: PMO minister

Chonburi, 31 August 2018 (NNT) – The renovation project of U-tapao airport will be proceeded and completed according to plan to accommodate the growth of visitors to Thailand, said Prime Minister's Office Minister Kobsak Pootrakool.

He made comments on the U-tapao renovation project in Chonburi during a seminar organized for investors and private firms on the Eastern Economic Corridor and Eastern Aviation City projects.

He said the government has had a vision to turn the EEC into Thailand's second megapolis and gateway to the ASEAN region, thus requiring the air transport facility to be upgraded.

The government has planned to upgrade U-tapao airport into Thailand's third key international airport in addition to Don Muang and Suvarnabhumi airports which are already providing connectivity between this country and many world destinations.

The PMO minister reassured that the renovation and expansion plan of U-tapao airport will be completed by schedule, with future plans to build an advanced aviation maintenance center.

The government also intended to open training centers for aviation professionals and mechanics, while the Board of Investment of Thailand is attracting firms from around the world to open their office under the Aviation City project.

U-tapao airport is expected to see a jump in the number of passengers in the future as the airport is serving Pattaya, a world-famous beach city which attracts many visitors each year.


Traditional Akha swing pushing ceremony held in Chiang Rai

 

Chiang Rai, 30th August 2018 (NNT) - A traditional swing pushing ceremony of the Akha ethnic group has been held in Mae Fah Luang district of Chiang Rai province with the aim of preserving and cultivating awareness of this ancient tradition.

The ceremony, which was held at Doi San Jai School, was presided over by the Mae Fah Luang District Chief. The event was also aimed at promoting cultural tourism and raising awareness about the lifestyle of the Akha ethnic minority.

There are several Akha communities on Mae Salong Mountain. Visitors also had an opportunity to observe other traditional activities like a bamboo dance and the making of Khao Pook rice flour that are unique to the Akha community.

Twenty-two Akhaa communities participating in the event also offered their home-cooked dishes to Thai and foreign visitors, showcased their beautiful clothes and demonstrated a few other traditional activities popular among Akha children and adults.


BOT: Aging workforce to decrease GDP by 1.5%

Bangkok, 28th August 2018 (NNT) - The Bank of Thailand (BOT) has forecast that Thailand will become an aged society in 2025, when 14 percent of the country's population are over 65 years old.

An economist at the BOT, Nakanang Kulnartsiri, said on Tuesday (Aug 28th) that the central bank has predicted that Thailand's aging demography will dampen the country's annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth by 1.5 percent over the next 10 years.

She said countries entering into a hyper-aged society are mostly identified as developed economies with higher income per capita at above 12,500 US dollars per year. Meanwhile, Thailand's per capita income stands at 5,720 US dollars a year, meaning Thai people are aging faster than they build wealth.

She said Thai people are highly adaptable and their experience would allow them to capitalize on the elderly market and steer the country's economy forward.


Ministry praises VAT refund service at Suvarnabhumi Airport

Bangkok, 28th August 2018 (NNT) - The Ministry of Tourism and Sports has commended the Customs and Revenue departments for fully assisting foreign tourists in receiving VAT refunds.

Permanent Secretary for Tourism and Sports Pongpanu Svetarundra, made an unannounced visit to the VAT refund counters at Suvarnabhumi International Airport on August 27th to lend his support to officials and interview tourists about their level of customer satisfaction.

He praised the performance of the VAT refund staff for providing tourists with an orderly and pleasant experience, which has led to repeat visitors. He said VAT refunds are a major part of supporting commerce in the country.

Tourists can apply for a refund through the VAT refund office at the departure area just past the immigration checkpoint, at the petitions box at the airport VAT refund office, or through registered mail posted to the Revenue Department.


Nakhon Si Thammarat unveils scenic coastline route

Nakhon Si Thammarat, - Nakhon Si Thammarat has unveiled a sightseeing route along the coast of the Gulf of Thailand, as part of the ‘Riviera Thailand’ campaign.

Provincial officers, tourism authorities, and entrepreneurs have jointly attended the launch of an 8-kilometer route linking Khao Phlai Dam and Ao Tong Yee.

The route shortens the distance between Sichon and Khanom Districts by 30 kilometers, while highlighting beautiful cinematic-like views of the Gulf of Thailand with Ko Samui and Ko Pha Ngan being part of the magnificent backdrop. Wild stags can also be found roaming the area.

Meanwhile, Khanom Tourism Business Association representative Alongkot Watcharasin, has expressed optimism that once the route from Khao Phlai Dam to Ao Tong Yee officially opens to the public, it will help develop the local economy, by expanding the tourism zones of Nakhon Si Thammarat and Surat Thani provinces. He is confident that the new tourist road will contribute at least 5 percent of the GDP of the provinces in 2019.

The Tourism and Sports Ministry unveiled the "Riviera Thailand" campaign earlier this year. The project, which covers the west coast from Phetchaburi to Songkhla, highlights the beauty and luxury of the tourist attractions in the areas. The campaign is in line with the government policy of using tourism to distribute income to the locals and tackle social inequality.

According to officials, the construction of routes in the Riviera Thailand project is now at the 80 percent point, while speculating the it would be completed this year and officially opened for public usage at the beginning of 2019.


DAILY UPDATE

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