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Update December 2017


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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
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Update December 11, 2017

Thailand’s Foreign Ministry expresses stance on Jerusalem

 

NNT

Bangkok - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a statement on the status of Jerusalem.

The Director-General of the Department of Information at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Busadee Santipitaks, has revealed that Thailand recognizes the sensitivity and the complexity of the status of Jerusalem and the situation existing between Israel and Palestine.

In the official statement, the ministry said that Thailand has agreed with the Statement of the United Nations Secretary-General that “Jerusalem is a final status issue that must be resolved through direct negotiations between the two parties on the basis of the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, taking into account the legitimate concerns of both the Palestinian and Israeli sides.”

“Thailand fully supports UNSG’s efforts to support Palestine and Israel returning to meaningful negotiations in order to realize the vision of a lasting peace for both peoples,” said the statement.


PM declares Government’s determination to suppress corruption

NNT

Bangkok - The Prime Minister has declared the government’s intention to efficiently suppress all forms of corruption, while working with related units in achieving the goal.

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha led government officials and representatives of various sectors to declare their determination to suppress corruption and wrongdoings, in marking this year’s International Anti-Corruption Day on December 9.

The participants vowed to remain honest, while upholding the principles of justice, benefit of the public, religion and the monarchy.

General Prayut then handed out awards recognizing individuals who had honored moral codes and transparency in government units in 2016-2017.

He stated that the corruption situation in Thailand has improved and stressed that counter corruption measures are part of the national strategy.


Rockstar’s charity run surpasses 700-million baht goal

NNT

Chainat – Rock star Artiwara Kongmalai, aka Toon Bodyslam, has achieved his dream and that of his admirers, securing his 700 million baht donation goal well ahead of schedule.

By Saturday, Toon and his fellow runners had surpassed his original goal for the endeavor, reaching 704 million baht by the time they arrived in Chai Nat province on the 39th day of their South-North marathon. The rock singer thanked the Thai people for their massive support, saying that the current level of donations was beyond his expectations.

Tens of thousands of people gathered along the route to welcome their hero. The chief of the Chai Nat capital district also joined the fundraising run Saturday.

Toon's plan is to run 2,191 kilometers from the Betong district of the southernmost province of Yala to Mae Sai district of the northernmost province of Chiang Rai, to raise funds for 11 hospitals within 55 days. Donations are certain to rise further, with 16 days remaining.


Govt, NCPO haven’t talked about lifting political ban

Deputy Prime Minister for Public Security and National Defense Minister, Gen Prawit Wongsuwan.

NNT

Bangkok - A deputy prime minister has stated that although unlocking certain restrictions on political activities is possible, the matter hasn’t been discussed by the government or the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) at this stage.

Deputy Prime Minister for Public Security, Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, said that he doesn’t know if Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, who is also head of the NCPO, will relax restrictions on political movements as a New Year gift to politicians, noting that there are several matters that must be factored in before any decisions can be made, including the two recent arms seizures in Chachoengsao province.

Gen Prawit confirmed that the government has measures prepared to make sure that political parties will be given enough time for their campaigns and other pre-election activities.

He also declined to talk about the possibility of extending the election timeline.


Update December 9 - 10, 2017

Bank of Ayudhya: Thai baht may reach 4-yr high in 2018

NNT

Bangkok - Bank of Ayudhya has forecast that the Thai currency in 2018 will reach a four-year high of 31.75 baht per US dollar, if the US Federal Reserve fails to raise interest rates as expected. It also believes the Bank of Thailand (BOT) will raise rates in the second half of 2018, should the Thai economy make a decisive recovery.

Tak Bunnang, Head of the Global Markets Group at Bank of Ayudhya, said the Thai currency in the first half of 2018 will appreciate to between 32.3 and 33.5 baht per US dollar, the strongest in four years. The likelihood of appreciation will increase if the Federal Reserve fails to raise interest rates in the second half of 2018. Investor money would flow to emerging markets, including Thailand.

Investors expect that the BOT's Monetary Policy Committee will raise interest rates in the second half of 2018 from 1.5%, should the Thai economy make a decisive recovery and the inflation rate grow to 1.7%.

Towards the end of the year, the Thai baht is expected to range between 32.5 and 33 baht per US dollar. Bank of Ayudhya will continue to follow the monetary policy of the Federal Reserve, which will decide whether to raise rates this month. The bank will also stay informed of the economic policies of US President Donald Trump, which could affect the economies of Europe, Asia, and Thailand.


2nd phase of social welfare program aims to promote career opportunities

 

Pornchai Thiraveja.

NNT

Bangkok - The Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) has revealed that the second phase of the social welfare program will encourage registered low-income earners to receive skills training in order to increase their employment opportunities.

Financial adviser to the FPO, Pornchai Thiraveja, said the government will survey the needs of registered low-income earners in order to provide them with the right support and help them develop professional skills that match available positions.

Low-income earners can ask the Ministry of Labor to find them a job or choose to start their own business.

If they wish to open a retail store, they can seek assistance from the Ministry of Commerce.

The adviser added that those with disabilities are also entitled to assistance under the social welfare program.


Chachoengsao mobilizing EEC development project

NNT

Chachoengsao - A joint public-private committee in Chachoengsao held a meeting this week to mobilize the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) development project in the province.

Chachoengsao Governor Suwit Khamdee said the meeting followed up on the construction of a water retention area and undertakings related to the EEC development project.

Those attending the joint meeting included local government officials and members of the Tourism Council of Thailand, the National Farmers Council and the Thai Chamber of Commerce.

Suwit cited the need to raise awareness about the EEC development project among local residents and gain their support.

Chachoengsao is known as a destination for industrial, organic farming and eco-tourism activities, he said, noting that workers needed to improve their skills for future growth.

Lastly, he stressed that all activities will be carried out based on His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s sustainability concept.


THAI awarded eighth Best Long-haul Airline by Telegraph travel website

NNT

Bangkok - Thai Airways International has won a Best Long-haul Airlines award from the website-based Telegraph poll conducted with readers.

Acting THAI President Usanee Sangsingkeo revealed the Thai flag carrier was named the eighth Best Long-haul Airline in the Telegraph Travel Awards 2017 following a survey conducted with some 90,000 website viewers during August - October 2017.

She said the award would generate pride to the airline as it indicated excellent services for its passengers, adding that THAI will continue to improve them to maximize passengers' comfort and satisfaction.

Telegraph is a UK-based travel website with 27 million viewers worldwide, and is the 10th most visited website in the world. The Telegraph Travel Awards 2017 was conferred on basis of surveys with UK viewers in search of the best travel experiences from hotels, airlines, tourist destinations, cruises, ferry boats, trains, and travel agencies.


Update December 8, 2017

Court postpones decision on academic's charges

 

Sulak Sivaraksa, center, receives flowers from a well-wisher outside a military court Thursday, Dec. 7, in Bangkok. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Kaweewit Kaewjinda

Bangkok (AP) — A military court on Thursday delayed a decision on whether to prosecute a prominent historian and social critic who suggested that a famed duel on elephant-back won by a Thai king against a Burmese prince 500 years ago may not actually have happened.

The 84-year-old Sulak Sivaraksa was charged by police last October under the country's lese majeste law that protects the monarchy from libel and defamation.

The military court on Thursday agreed with Sulak's request to hear views from experts and historians and set a new hearing for Jan. 17.

Sulak told reporters outside the court that "to live in this country you must have a sense of humor because my case is nonsensical." He said it would be impossible for Thais to learn history if commenting on King Naraesuan, who led the famous 1593 battle that is celebrated as a national holiday, is considered illegal.

The case stems from remarks Sulak made in 2014 when he urged a university seminar to think critically about Thai history.

British writer and historian Chris Baker said there are at least 10 different accounts of the elephant battle told in Thai, Burmese and French.

"There is no definitive account. There are various different accounts and historians accept that perhaps we don't actually know what happened," Baker said. "There are just many different stories told about an event that seems to have been very exciting."


Interior Ministry to enforce 7 road safety measures to curb road fatalities

NNT

Bangkok - The Ministry of Interior is planning to invest more to ensure the safety of motorists in Thailand.

Speaking at the 13th Thailand Road Safety Seminar this week, Deputy Interior Minister Suthee Makboon said 7 new measures will be enforced to lower the number of road fatalities in the country. These measures include a 50 km/hr speed limit in urban areas, a minimum age requirement for people to ride a big bike, and the installation of an anti-lock braking system for all motorcycles, to name a few.

Suthee added that every province must have safety zones for pedestrians and cyclists.

The seminar was organized by the Road Safety Group Thailand and Road Safety Center with the objective to promote road safety and awareness.

According to the organizer, 20,000 people on average are killed in road accidents every year. It is equivalent to a 500 billion baht GDP loss per annum.


Toon Bodyslam’s charity run close to 700-million-baht goal

NNT

Bangkok - Rock star, Athiwara Khongmalai, known among his fans as Toon Bodyslam, is close to achieving his 700-million baht fundraising goal as he heads towards the central province of Suphan Buri.

Toon and his like-minded friends were greeted by Vice Governor of Nonthaburi province, Cholatee Yangtrong, and many local people on Wednesday. The rocker also made a brief stop at Siriraj Hospital to pay homage to the statue of Somdet Phra Mahitalathibet Adunyadetwikrom Phra Borommaratchachanok, the Prince Father, and received a donation of around 818,000 baht from the hospital.

Toon aims to raise 700 million baht to help 11 hospitals by running 2,191 kilometers from the South to the North within 55 days. His charity run has reached the 37th day and has collected more than 600 million baht in donations. Despite the activity nearing its goal, the much-loved rock star insists on finishing his journey in the northernmost district of Mae Sai of Chiang Rai province as planned.


Flooding still wreaking havoc in south

 

NNT

Nakhon Si Thammarat - Many areas of the southern region are still coping with floods with Nakhon Si Thammarat reporting critical levels of water in several districts and its airport threatened with inundation.

Waters in Nakhon Si Thammarat have been rising rapidly and local officials have had to erect a sandbag barrier around the airport’s runway to ensure services can continue. Military personnel are now facilitating travel to and from the airport.

In the province’s Ta Sala district, waters have reached a depth of close to 1 meter and have rushed into Ta Sala Hospital’s first floor, prompting staff to move equipment and medicine to the building’s second floor. The facility is nonetheless still operating normally.

In Surat Thani, waters have severed roads and washed away the Wang Takian Bridge.

The situation has continued to worsen in Phattalung province with mountain runoff reported in almost every area of its Muang district. Waters have broken through a dyke and inundated three sub-districts.

Asia Road 41 in Chumporn province, which is the main roadway leading into the southern region, has been submerged in 20-30 centimeters of water in some stretches. Vehicles have had to slow down significantly to make their way through the province.

The Meteorological Department has forecast more rain in the southern region, affecting Chumporn, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phattalung and Songkhla. The situation overall is still a reason for extreme caution for both citizens on land and boats traveling out to sea.


Update December 7, 2017

Chiang Mai makes preparations for 2018's haze hazards

NNT

Chiang Mai - Chiang Mai province is making preparations to prevent and mitigate possible haze hazards during next year's dry season.

Provincial Governor of Chiang Mai, Pawin Chamniprasart, attended a meeting Wednesday on the natural disaster prevention and mitigation with officials of related government agencies, the military, and 22 other provinces.

According to the Ministry of Interior, 69 provinces have been declared as forest fire hazardous areas for which authorities are yet to prepare necessary measures, including carrying out necessary drills and preparations, and studying previous operations in order to improve the performances.

Provincial authorities have been instructed to adhere to the integrated protocols in different areas such as forest reserves, farmland, residential and urban areas, and roadside areas. Each province and district was instructed to set up a command center to manage response and inform the public about ways and means to reduce haze hazards.

They have also been instructed to promote the reduction in burning activities during dry season, work with villages on fire prevention measures and set up funding to support operations.


NBTC outlines procedures for cellphone registration

NNT

Bangkok –The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) now requires all cellphone operators to have their users register on personal identity basis, which may call for the verification of the user's face or the scanning of the user's fingerprints, starting from 15 December 2017.

Such measures are designed to prevent false claims or the forging of sim cards.  The measures will only apply to those who buy new sim cards, either on monthly post-pay or pre-pay basis, and include non-Thai individuals. All existing sim card systems are to be terminated as the country is moving toward a digital era.

In the initial stage, the NBTC has introduced the new procedures in the three southern border provinces plus four adjacent districts of Songkhla province. About 2,000 cellphone users have been legally obliged to register their sim cards at 25 service points throughout the southernmost region under an Emergency Decree. The measure was designed to prevent the use of cellphone sim cards in the possible provocation of unrest. Additionally, such registration has been provided to some 1,000 sim card numbers at five locations in Bangkok.

The main cellphone operators, namely AIS, DTAC, True, TOT and CAT, will provide the registration of sim cards with the pre-pay system at over 60,000 venues throughout the country from 15 December, while those using the monthly post-pay system will be provided for at a later date at various spots nationwide.

Thakorn Tanthasit, secretary general of the NBTC, insisted that individual users’ personal identity data will be safely stored and maintained, and will guarantee safe usage of sim cards.


Framework announced for Eastern Economic Corridor project

NNT

Bangkok - Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha chaired a meeting of the Policy Committee on the Eastern Economic Corridor project this week and announced that the national defense industry should be included as the 11th industrial group under the EEC project.

The country's Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Industry, Board of Investment and the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand were assigned to take this into account and have approved the development of major infrastructure for the project as follows:

-The high-speed rail project to link three airports. The private sector will be encouraged to co-invest in the project. The private firms to implement the project will be selected in February 2018, followed by negotiations in July 2018, and the service will be operational from 2023.

-The Eastern Aviation City project. The private sector will be encouraged to co-invest in May 2018 and the firms to implement the project will be selected and negotiations will be held in October 2018 and the service will be operational from 2023.

-The Aircraft Repair and Maintenance Center at U-Tapao to be jointly implemented by the Navy, the Thai Airways International and AirBus Co. Details of the planned joint venture will be compiled in March 2018 and an initial operation will commence in 2021.

-U-tapao Airport Development project to be implemented in line with the Eastern Aviation City project.

-The Dual-Track Rail project to link three ports. A feasibility study on the project will be finished in 2019 whereas the firms to implement it will be selected in 2020 and an initial operation will begin in 2023.

-Laem Chabang Deep-Sea Port project for which an environmental study is being conducted. The private sector will be encouraged to co-invest in June 2018 whereas the firms to implement the project will be selected and negotiations will be held in October 2018 and the service will be operational from 2025.

-Mab Taput Industrial Port project for which an approval on environmental aspects is currently underway. The private sector will be encouraged to co-invest in the project in June 2018 whereas the firms chosen to implement it will be selected and negotiations will be held in September 2018 and the service will be operational from 2024.

-Sattahip Commercial Port project for which the construction of a ferry-boat passenger terminal is underway. The service is expected to be operational in February 2019.

The PM suggested that the ferry-boat port in Pranburi district of Prachuap Khiri Khan province be developed to accommodate marine tourism in the Gulf of Thailand and that it be part of the EEC project. Additionally, he instructed the authorities to promote the use of rubber in every infrastructural construction plan in an effort to raise the demand and price of domestic rubber.

Khanit Saengsupan, secretary general of the Policy Committee on the Eastern Economic Corridor project, said the EEC Development Act, which is to be come into force in 2018, will raise the confidence of investors, including those who are awaiting the detailed clauses of the law.


Court finds man guilty in military hospital bombing

Wattana Pumret, 61, is escorted by officials as he arrives at police headquarters for a press conference in Bangkok, in this Tuesday, June 20, 2017 file photo. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Bangkok (AP) - A Bangkok court has sentenced a man to 27 years in prison for bombing a military hospital in what he said was an act of resistance to the country's government.

The Criminal Court on Wednesday found Wattana Pumret guilty of attempted premeditated murder, detonating a bomb and other charges linked to the blast that wounded 21 people at the Bangkok hospital. The attack took place on May 22, the third anniversary of the military coup that ousted the country's elected government.

Wattana pleaded guilty to the charges.

Wattana said at a police news conference in June that he bombed the hospital to defy military rule but didn't intend to harm anyone.

"I was inspired by my hatred for governments that come from military coups. Each coup has caused an economic disaster and restricted people's rights," he told reporters at the time.

Wattana has previously denied belonging to any specific political faction and insisting he acted alone.


Update December 6, 2017

New Cabinet assigned responsibilities and tasks at first meeting

NNT

Bangkok - The fifth iteration of the Cabinet in the administration of Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-ocha met for the first time on Monday with the premier assigning responsibilities and tasks to his new deputies and office ministers.

Assistant Spokesperson to the Prime Minister’s Office, Col Athisit Chainuwat later reported on the outcome of the first meeting, saying that Gen Prayut started by congratulating new members of the panel and calling on them to heed the royal wishes of His Majesty the King, while devoting themselves to honest and just work for the betterment of Thailand’s people. He emphasized that they must continue the work of their predecessors.

The PM asked all Cabinet members to look into ways of boosting public morale, noting that they should consider the promotion of farm products grown in Thailand while also stating that ministers should travel to meet with citizens face to face to ensure confidence.

The premier signed an order to assign tasks to his deputies and ministers of the Prime Minister’s Office. Gen Prawit Wongsuwan will continue to oversee the Ministry of Defense and will now also head the Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Labor and the Royal Thai Police. ACM Prajin Junthong has been tasked with the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, the Ministry of Justice and the Office of the Thailand Research Fund. Gen Chatchai Sariklaya will head the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, the Ministry of Public Health and the National Office of Buddhism. Suwaphan Tanyuwattana will watch over the Public Relations Department and the Consumer Protection Board while Kobsak Putrakul will handle the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board and the Board of Investment.


Flooding in some submerged areas of South subsides

NNT

Bangkok - Flood water has subsided in many areas of the South after a break in the inclement weather.  However, some of the submerged areas have continued to be affected due to high tides.

In Trang province, the flood levels in many areas have slightly increased after a high tide hit the province and flood barriers along the Trang River collapsed. The disaster prevention and mitigation center, region 18th in Phuket and the Trang provincial administration installed water pumps to remove water out of submerged temples and schools.

In Hat Yai district in Songkhla, the flood level decreased and the situation resumed its normal state. Mobile medical teams had traveled to the affected areas in the province to provide treatment and medical advice to people.

More than 20,000 rai of farmland in Yala has been affected by the flooding so far. The affected farmers are urged to contact local government units for financial assistance. The flood in Mueang district in Pattani has started to subside but some areas in the province are still submerged.

Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army Gen.Chalermchai Sitthisart said that the army had instructed the 4th Army Area Command to work with the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation and relevant units to facilitate and provide assistance to people in nine southern provinces hit by the floods. Shelters for the flood-affected have been set up in 14 areas.


KBank to open Chinese headquarters in Shenzhen

KBank CEO Banthoon Lamsamsaid.

NNT

Bangkok - Kasikornbank (KBank) has been approved to set up a Chinese headquarters in Shenzhen, opening trade opportunities for Thai businesses.

The bank branch was approved by the China Banking Regulatory Commission. KBank has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Commerce of Guangdong Province to facilitate Chinese businesses who wish to invest in Thailand and vice versa.

KBank CEO Banthoon Lamsamsaid said the Chinese branch will focus on promoting trade and facilitating business between the two countries. The branch will support the government's policy of promoting investment and will use digital technology to expand coverage to its Chinese customers, instead of opening additional brick-and-mortar branches.


Govt. holds event to educate public on mental illness

NNT

Bangkok - The Department of Mental Health has held an event to educate the general public on mental illnesses, as well as to hand out awards to exemplary fathers who dedicated themselves to caring for family members with the disease.

The event was organized by the Thai Family Link Association and the Caregivers Alliance of Thailand. The awards were handed out by Deputy Director-General of the Department of Mental Health Dr Pongkasem Khaimoo.

The event made known that mental illnesses can be dealt with if addressed at an early stage and treated with medication on a consistent basis. People with mental illnesses can integrate into society, but must be careful of the side effects of reducing or ceasing their medication, in addition to drug and alcohol abuse. At the same time, communities and families should consult a mental health physician if they notice a family member with abnormal behavior, such as insomnia, edginess, aggression, or fear.

Those wishing to consult a psychiatrist can call the 24-hour hotline 1323.


Update December 5, 2017

Govt invites all to celebrate National Day and Father's Day

NNT

Bangkok - His Majesty King Rama X has decreed His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej's birthday anniversary on Tuesday to be the National Day and Father’s Day. To mark the occasion, the government is inviting people nationwide to give alms and make merit.

Almsgiving and merit-making ceremonies have been taking place earlier this morning at the Royal Plaza and various temples across the Kingdom.  A total of 901 monks participated in the Bangkok ceremony, and the items presented to the monks will be distributed to flood victims in the South.

December 5 is also World Soil Day and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has resolved to recognize His Majesty the late King's significant contributions to soil development and environmental protection by naming the day on his birthday anniversary.


Super Full Moon draws spectators across the country

NNT

Bangkok - Citizens across the country reported witnessing the Super Full Moon on Sunday night as the moon was at its nearest point to the earth and appeared 6.3 percent larger than usual.

Media in Bangkok filmed the phenomena from Sanam Luang, the site of the ongoing Royal Crematorium Exhibition, as well as from Victory Monument. The moon was estimated at 357,973 kilometers from the earth and was visible in some places as early as 5:30PM. The phenomena is to repeat at an even greater extent on January 2 of next year.

Outside of Bangkok, citizens in Uthai Thani province setup telescopes to view the Super Full Moon with some of the apparatus provided by the municipal authority.

In Bueng Kan, residents gathered along the Mekong River to view the occurrence where they reported high visibility.


Internet users warned against falling victim to online traders

NNT

Bangkok - The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society has advised people to check the credibility of online traders, following a diamond-ring bidding scam on social media.

The Deputy Permanent Secretary for Digital Economy and Society, Somsak Khaosuwan, said a Facebook user was tricked into transferring 120,000 baht to a scammer's bank account, after winning a bid on a diamond ring on Facebook.

After an initial inspection, the ministry found out that the case was not an online transaction and authorities had yet to figure out whether the scam was committed by a group or an individual.

Somsak said this type of scam could be in violation of the Computer Act 2007. The victims may file a case against the offenders by submitting all relevant evidence and the bank account numbers to the police for further proceedings.


NBTC urges people to use 3Steps app to check SIM card registration

NNT

Bangkok - The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is inviting the public to download the application “3Steps” to prevent SIM card registration fraud.

Deputy Secretary-General of the NBTC Korkit Danchaiwijit on Monday participated in an event organized by True Move H Universal Communication to promote the 3Steps app developed to check the registration of mobile phone SIM cards. If users find that their names have been used by other people to register a SIM card, they can immediately alert their mobile network operator. The application users can also lock their SIM card registration to prevent other people from registering a SIM card with their citizen ID number.

Korkit expressed his confidence that the app will increase security for mobile phone users now and increasing online transactions in the future. This free app can be downloaded on both iOS and Android but users have to contact a mobile network service center first before starting to use the app.


Update December 4, 2017

Authorities make more arrests of violators of copyrights

NNT

Bangkok - Thai authorities have arrested more violators of copyrights and confiscated a variety of pirated products in a recent raid.

The Customs Department took the lead in the operation to search a warehouse suspected of involvement, in Bang Bua Thong District of Nonthaburi Province.

The operation was joined by officers of the Nonthaburi Police and the military following an earlier investigation, which identified the suspect location as the place where pirated products and items that violate copyrights were stored.

In the search, officers found around 15 types of pirated products, which range from brandname clothes, handbags and shoes, to cigarettes and Viagra pills.

While the authorities are yet to summon the person who allegedly rents the space, they have confiscated all items and made a detailed record to support the subsequent investigation.


Relief aid and assistance rushed to flood victims in Nakhon Si Thammarat

NNT

Bangkok - Relief aid and urgent assistance have been rushed to flood victims in southern Nakhon Si Thammarat.

Governor Chamroen Thippayapongtada led a team of local officials on Saturday to deliver 150 sets of essential items and offer moral support to 58 households of Lang Bueng Community in Mueang District, who were among those hit hard by recent flooding.

The flood affected families were forced to evacuate and stay near the airport belonging to Army Area Region 1 after their homes were swamped by water ranging between 50 centimeters and one meter deep.

An accompanying medical team has provided health checkups for all flood victims — most of whom have suffered from the cold conditions, with stomach pains and athlete’s foot infections.

After that, the governor and his team traveled to Wat Tho Eak in Phra Phrom District to deliver 175 sets of essential items and relief aid to flood victims, who have been hit by excess water overflowing from Phrom Lok Waterfall.

Chamroen said that the overall flood situation in the province has now eased and officials have installed 100 water pumps to push flood waters out into the sea.


Nakhon Pathom greets Toon Bodyslam’s charity marathon

NNT

Bangkok - The people of Nakhon Pathom welcomed Toon Bodyslam with more donations to the charity marathon project, which is raising funds to assist hospitals across the country.

Rock star Artiwara Kongmalai or "Toon Bodyslam” arrived in Nakhon Pathom on Sunday morning after setting off earlier in Photharam District of Ratchaburi Province.

On arrival he was greeted by the deputy governor Pinyo Prakobphon, health officials, civil servants and staff of the City Hall as well as a big crowd of local people.

During the stopover, donors poured their financial contributions into the good cause that Toon has initiated, which is to raise hundreds of millions of baht to finance the work and facilities of 11 hospitals nationwide.

After a brief break, Toon and his team set off on the second leg of the day’s run along a route that has seen many more local residents offer their enthusiastic support and make personal donations, before the runners arrived at the pitstop in Nakhon Chai Si District, where representatives of Chaokoh coconut milk company greeted their arrival with a donation of more than 10 million baht to the 2,191-kilometer charity marathon.


New Labor Minister makes migrant worker reform a priority

Labor Minister, Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew.

NNT

Bangkok - The new Labor Minister, Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew, has asked his ministry officials to make the issue of migrant workers their first priority.

Giving a set of work guidelines to Labor Minister officers, Pol Gen Adul stressed the importance of alien worker management reform, saying all migrant workers must have legal documents and work permits by March 31 next year.

Other issues he brought to his subordinates’ attention were illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, child labor, the protection of the rights of Thai workers overseas, employment scams, people’s accessibility to social welfare, and the empowerment of people with disabilities.

Pol Gen Adul was among the ministers who swore an oath before HM the King last Thursday.


Update December 2 - 3, 2017

HM the King chairs installation of Buddha image representing HM Queen Sirikit

His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn lights candles at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok, Thursday, Nov. 30.

The Buddha image in honor of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit is 99.99% pure gold and weighs 20 kilograms.

NNT

Bangkok - His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn has presided over a religious ceremony at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha to install a Buddha image especially made in honor of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of the Ninth Reign.

His Majesty officiated at the consecration ceremony held on Thursday, lit candles and incense sticks to pay respects to Buddha images as well as images of ancestral kings before attending a praying session to bless Her Majesty the Queen, conducted by a chapter of Buddhist monks. Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha and other government officials also participated in the ceremony.

The Buddha image in honor of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit was produced in the walking posture from 99.99 percent pure gold. The image is 38 centimeters tall and weighs 20 kilograms, standing on an octagonal base made of platinum. It is similar in appearance to the one made for His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej on his seventh cycle birthday, except that the Queen’s image holds up the right hand.


Government yet to decide on future of Tepha Coal Power Plant

NNT

Songkhla - The National Environment Board (NEB) says it is still working on the Environmental and Health Impact Assessment (EHIA) for the proposed Tepha Coal Power Plant, assuring no firm decision has been made by the government as to whether to proceed with the project or not and asking for members of the public to voice their opinions through the set channels.

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-ocha, in a Facebook post, has stated that his administration has yet to make any firm decision concerning the facility, which would produce 2,200 megawatts of power for the southern region.  He said the project is being thoroughly considered by the Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO) and assured that it is based on the best intentions for the nation. The PM said the government is open to hear all concerns from the public and asked them to relay any uncertainty through the proper channels, which include provincial Damrongtham Centers and state offices.

Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, who is chairman of the NEB, indicated the fourth meeting of the board this year discussed a range of issues with Permanent Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Vijarn Simachaiya elaborating that on top of discussing waste and water management, the board also talked about the Tepha Coal Power Plant and acknowledged that its EHIA has yet to be completed.

Secretary-General of the Environment Resource Planning and Policy Center Rawiwan Phuridech said an effort has been kicked off to make sure members of the public understand the facts concerning the power plant and to address concerns about its location and operation. All opinions collected are to be used in formulating the final plan for the project.


"777" road safety measure introduced for New Year

Sanit Phromwong, Director-General of the Department of Land Transport.

NNT

Bangkok - The Department of Land Transport has come up with a new road safety measure to be implemented during the New Year holidays.

The Director-General of the Department of Land Transport, Sanit Phromwong, said the Ministry of Transport has launched the "777" campaign to reduce road accidents and accommodate commuters during the upcoming New Year festivities. The term "777" is referred to seven days before the holidays (between December 21st and 27th), another seven days during the festival (between December 28th and January 3rd), and seven more days later (between January 4th and 10th).

Sanit said the measure is aimed at reducing road accidents, casualties and fatalities, while facilitating commuters so that they will arrive home safely.

The department has ordered all provincial offices of land transport to prepare enough buses in response to the needs of passengers and ensure that there will be no stranded passengers at bus terminals.


Ong Ang canal to become Bangkok tourist attraction

Ong Ang canal in Bangkok.

NNT

Bangkok - The Governor of Bangkok, Pol. Gen. Aswin Kwanmuang, said Friday that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is in the process of developing Ong Ang canal to become the center of a walking street and turn the site into a new tourist attraction. The project is expected to be completed in 2018.

The 700-meter walking street will run along both sides of the canal. The site has long been an important public space, and its history starts with the beginnings of Bangkok. The canal has also been registered as an ancient site in the Thai capital.

The Governor added that the BMA is emphasizing tourism promotion measures, such as regulating restaurants and food vendors along the canal banks to ensure quality, sanitary conditions, and reasonable pricing.


Update December 1, 2017

Former ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan dead at age 68

Thailand’s Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, a former Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), is shown in this Thursday, May 26, 2011, file photo. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)

Associated Press & NNT

Bangkok — Former Association of Southeast Asian Nations Secretary-General Dr. Surin Pitsuwan has died at age 68.  The Democrat Party said Surin died Thursday in Bangkok of a sudden heart attack.

Dr. Surin is a former lawmaker from the party who also served as Thailand's foreign minister in the late 1990s under a Democrat-led government. He is best known for his time at the head of the 10-member ASEAN from 2008 until 2012. His name was also mentioned as a possible candidate for United Nations secretary-general.

Surin remained active in regional diplomatic circles until his death.

Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Dr. Surin "contributed greatly to the advancement and interest of ASEAN, as well as the promotion of ASEAN on the international stage. His outstanding personality, knowledge and wisdom were truly recognized by global leaders."

Surin appeared to be in good health before he died. Posts on his official Facebook page show him visiting a Bangkok co-working space on Wednesday.

Two weeks ago, Surin spoke at a conference marking the 50th anniversary of ASEAN.  His remarks, punctuated with emphasis in his trademark deep voice, lauded cooperative organizations like ASEAN as a means of "creating a space for the region to talk to itself." He asked, "How can we unleash the energy, the creativity, the power of 640 million people onto the platform of ASEAN?"

He also suggested that a new era — possibly one of less cooperation — may be emerging.

"It has been an age of multilateralism, talking to each other in a big group," Surin said. But, he lamented, "the era of multilateralism is disappearing."

"Be ourselves," he said of ASEAN nations. "Be self-sufficient. Be helpful to each other before we wait for contributions from the outside."

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-ocha released a statement of condolence and lamentation over the passing of the noted political figure and diplomat. He wrote that Dr. Surin was a capable and principled member of the political community and long served his nation to the acknowledgement of both his countrymen and the international community. He called his passing a major loss to the Kingdom and urged citizens to follow in his good examples.

United States Ambassador to Thailand H.E. Glyn T. Davies said Surin was “a statesman, a scholar and a visionary who was integral in the prosperity and development of both his home country and the ASEAN region.”

Dr. Surin’s family will be performing funeral rites for him in accordance with the Islamic faith later today with top level officials traveling to his home in Nonthaburi province to express their condolences.

His sister, Huwaideeya Pitsuwan Useng, said her brother’s body will be buried at the Tha It Mosque.


Royal Crematorium exhibition still crowded after extension order

 

NNT

Bangkok –Devotees of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej are continuing to converge on Bangkok after the Royal Crematorium exhibition was extended for another month.

Citizens from every corner of Thailand have been arriving at Sanam Luang to see the exhibition dedicated to the late King, among them many students and civil servants who mostly come in large groups.

The director of Attawit School in the Bang Na area of Bangkok said she had brought her students to learn about the beautiful history and traditions of Thailand. She also expressed gratitude to His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn for kindly allowing the people to visit the exhibition for one more month.

As permitted by His Majesty, the Royal Crematorium exhibition will continue to be open to members of the public until December 31, from 7 am-8 pm daily.

Between November 2 and 29, the exhibition reportedly welcomed more than 2.5 million people.


'Distorted news' deemed health issue in Thailand

Bangkok (AP) — The government says it is fighting a new threat to public health: distorted news reports.

The country's health ministry announced earlier this week it is launching a new smartphone application that will allow users to flag media content they find "inappropriate" so it can be forwarded to government authorities.

"I believe that we can all help guard, observe, investigate and support the process of having safe and positive media to benefit our youth, families and society in general," Panpimol Wipulakorn, deputy director-general of the health ministry, said at a news conference.  The "Media Watch" app is an important tool to protect society from "unsafe" media, said Panpimol.

Wasant Paileeklee, manager of a government program that helped develop the app, said content flagged by users would be forwarded to media councils to consider or to government departments such as the broadcast regulator or ministry of culture for possible legal prosecution.

"In the past, when people reported something it would take a very long time and the issue might even fade away," Wasant said.

The application includes a function for users to track whether their report has been dealt with.

Thanicha Limpanich, manager of the Family Network Foundation under the Ministry of Public Health, said the application will go through a three-month trial period before launching to Android users.

The app's logo features a cartoon character with big blue eyes and long eyelashes staring out and pointing two fingers at viewers.


Free vehicle checkups for road users during New Year holidays

NNT

Bangkok – Motorists will be able to take advantage of free vehicle checkups in a plan to reduce road fatalities across Thailand during the New Year holidays.

The Director General of the Department of Skill Development, Suthi Sukosol, said many New Year revelers are expected to travel out of town from December 1, and the government and the Ministry of Labor are concerned about the safety of commuters during this time. The department will hold free vehicle checkups and maintenance from December 1-28 at the skill development offices or institutes nationwide.

At each checkpoint, road users can receive various kinds of services including car inspection, massage and food and beverage free of charge.

Road users are being encouraged to participate in the scheme. For more information, call 0 2245 3560 or 0 2245 4035.


Floods continue in southern region

NNT

Nakhon Si Thammarat - The South of Thailand has continued to experience heavy rain, which has triggered flash floods and rain water runoff in several areas. A number of provinces have declared disaster zones in various districts.

In Nakhon Si Thammarat, officials of Khao Luang National Park in Phrom Khiri district have temporarily closed access to Phrom Lok Waterfall, Ai Khiao Waterfall and three other waterfalls under their jurisdiction, following heavy runoff in the park. The officials urged nearby residents to beware of flash floods.

The province has declared disaster zones in seven districts: Cha-uat, Bang Khan, Chian Yai, Chulabhorn, Phipun, Thung Song and Pak Phanang. Officials have been dispatched to distribute animal feed to agriculturalists who are struggling to provide for their livestock.

The Nakhon Si Thammarat provincial administration has also set up an emergency flood response center to coordinate relief from various sectors. Local residents are urged to closely follow the latest information from the center.

Similarly in Songkhla, the province has established an emergency flood response center in Thepa district, after the Thepa Canal overflowed into the surrounding community. Officials have handed out food to residents of the hardest hit areas. Governor Doldej Pattanarat recently visited the district to give survival kits to flood victims, while instructing relevant authorities to monitor the situation around the clock.

The Meteorological Department has forecast that more rain is likely in the South. Low pressure cells from the Malaysian coast are moving into lower southern region and are expected to reach the Andaman Sea on December 1. Several areas in the South may experience more flooding, with rough seas and two- to three-meter waves expected in the Andaman Sea..
 


DAILY UPDATE

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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

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HM the King chairs installation of Buddha image representing HM Queen Sirikit

Government yet to decide on future of Tepha Coal Power Plant

"777" road safety measure introduced for New Year

Ong Ang canal to become Bangkok tourist attraction


Former ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan dead at age 68

Royal Crematorium exhibition still crowded after extension order

'Distorted news' deemed health issue in Thailand

Free vehicle checkups for road users during New Year holidays

Floods continue in southern region

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