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Update August 2017


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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
Thailand News
 

Update August 16, 2017

Funding approved for land compensation payments under dual-track rail project

 

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The cabinet has approved funding for compensation payments for land purchases under the Eastern Line dual-track railway project.

Government Spokesman Lt Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd said today the cabinet had approved compensation payments for the purchase of land under the State Railway of Thailand's construction of the Eastern Line dual-track railway along the Chachoengsao - Khlong Sib Kao - Kaeng Khoi route.

A sum of 128 million baht in funding was originally earmarked for the payment of land costs and the relocation of buildings as part of the 11.35 billion baht budget for the entire project. However, the amount has been increased to 372 million baht, according to a new calculation, for use during 2016-2019.

The increase in the compensation payments will not affect the overall project as the money allocated for the hiring of a consultant firm has decreased to 414 million baht with the difference being reallocated for land resumption financial compensation.


Security guards join in workshop aimed to boost tourist safety

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Tourist Police Division has provided one-day training for security guards, hoping to enable them to better prevent crimes and ensure higher safety for tourists.

Tourist Police Commander Pol Maj Gen Prasert Ngernyuang presided over the launch of the security workshop, which was held particularly for security guards employed by private businesses. With a goal of increasing foreign visitors’ confidence in their safety, the workshop involved more than 200 security guards from leading tourist attractions, such as Asiatique The Riverfront, Siam Square and MBK Shopping Center, as well as BTS and MRT stations.

Pol Maj Gen Prasert pointed out that the workshop underscored the importance of observation and memorization skills, which could allow the trainees to identify suspected criminals, issue warnings to public members and conduct searches on the suspects in a timely fashion. The participating security guards were also informed of common ploys used by criminals to defraud tourists.

The training, which took place for one day, is expected to help maintain a good image for Thai tourism in line with the government’s tourism promotion policy.


Customs Department to amend regulations on imported super cars

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Customs Department has stepped up its effort to amend laws pertaining to the import of high end automobiles as well as the submission of information on 200 cars found to have evaded taxes to the Department of Special Investigation (DSI).

The Customs Department is assembling information on 200 cars found to have either circumvented import duties or paid an insufficient amount for submission to the DSI so that it can press them to pay off the owed sums.

Director-General of the Customs Department Kulis Sombatsiri said evidence is available to affirm that almost all of the 200 cars avoided taxes when being brought into Thailand.

He also let on that the department is drafting new regulations on high end cars with the intent to bring laws more in line with present circumstances. One of the changes to be implemented is the requirement of a certified price evaluation to protect against importers paying too low a tax.


Update August 15, 2017

Preparations under way for rainstorms in monsoon season

BANGKOK,(NNT) – Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered authorities to closely monitor for rainstorms in the upcoming monsoon season and to get prepared in advance in bid to mitigate impacts.

Government Spokesman Lt Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the premier had been reported of the latest flood situation which still persists in eight provinces, namely Sakon Nakhon, Kalasin, Nakhon Panom, Roi-et, Yasothorn, Ubon Ratchathani, Nong Khai, and Ayutthaya. The situation in these provinces is expected to return to normal in a week, should there be no additional rainfalls.

"The Prime Minister has given high priority on the prevention and mitigation of damages caused by flooding, especially during monsoon season where preparations have to be made. Even though the situation will not become as severe as the major flooding in 2011, but the overall situation should not be ignored, especially in areas where flooding has recurred. Related agencies are instructed to closely monitor the situation and take preparations during September-October 2017."

The premier urged the related agencies to timely notify the general public and efficiently communicate with them, as well as to come up with mitigation plans for important locations such as hospitals, airports, and economic areas.

The government previously exercised Article 44 to get the National Water Resources Bureau under the supervision of the Prime Minister to improve the efficiency of water management.


No-interest loan offered to flood-affected SMEs

BANGKOK, (NNT) - The Office of SME Promotion will assist the flood-affected SMEs by providing 200,000- to one-million-baht loans to each of them. The office’s staff will travel to Sakon Nakhon to receive loan requests from 15-19 August 2017.

Office of SME Promotion Director Salinee Wangtan said small entrepreneurs and community enterprises affected by the floods will be entitled to loans of up to 200,000 baht each without interest and collateral. SMEs affected by the floods will be entitled to loans of up to one million baht without interest so that they will use the loans as revolving funds and to repair their offices.

Apart from the loans, the Office of SME Promotion will contact SMEs in the provinces outside of the flooded areas to sell their products, particularly household goods, at special prices in order to help the flood-affected people.


Holiday-makers flocking back to Bangkok after long weekend

BANGKOK,(NNT) - Holiday-makers have been making their way back to Bangkok as the long weekend comes to an end.

The Mochit bus terminal was particularly crowded throughout Monday after those who earlier left the city for a short vacation started coming back to Bangkok.

Reporters said that buses have been more popular than usual during this past long weekend but the operators of the terminal remain confident that services provided by both The Transport Company and other operators would be sufficient to bring everyone back in time.

They added that extra buses have also been prepared just in case there's more demand than expected, while more staff members have been directed to make sure all drivers are in good physical condition to do their job.

Meanwhile, at Hua Lamphong Train Station, travelers have continued to arrive in Bangkok as officers stood by ready to make sure their journeys are smooth amidst tight security inside the station.


Update August 14, 2017

Jet crash in Rayong leaves 2 injured

RAYONG,(NNT) - A jet plane has crashed during a test flight in Rayong, leaving two people injured.

The two-seater aircraft, which had recently undergone maintenance, collided with a tree in a rubber plantation near the airport as its pilot was preparing to land.

A flight instructor and a mechanic were seriously injured. Both have been hospitalized. Officials are carrying out a probe into the cause of the accident.


GHB tests new hardware system

 

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Government Housing Bank (GHB) is testing a new hardware system to increase the efficiency of its services. The system will be used with its braches in department stores for the first time starting today.

GHB Managing Director Chatchai Sirilai on Sunday tried the bank's over-the-counter transaction service at the GHB's head office.

The bank said the new hardware system will link the customers' data from each GHB branch nationwide with more stability and speed. The system can shorten the bank's service time by five times.

Apart from the branches at department stores, other GHB branches and ATMs will start to use the new system on 15 August.

The managing director added that in the future the new hardware system will connect with an electronic banking system that the bank is urgently developing.


MSDHS stresses anti human trafficking commitments

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security (MSDHS) has elaborated the government's plan on eliminating human trafficking activities, reassuring the government's commitment to comply with suggestions made in the latest TIP report from the United States (US).

MSDHS Spokesman Narong Kongkam has made a statement stressing the government's commitment to tackling human trafficking issues, stating that the Prime Minister has urged all related agencies to step up operations in order to yield a concrete outcome and to address the 11 points suggested in the the US Department of State's Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report this year.

All related agencies are instructed to pursue their operations and to conclude all remaining tasks by the end of this year.

The MSDHS spokesman has emphasized the issue of migrant workers from neighboring countries flowing into Thailand, as this group is at risk of becoming victims to human trafficking. Thailand has endorsed the conventions to eliminate human trafficking with countries in the Mekong region, and ratified the ASEAN convention on the suppression of human trafficking, particularly among children and women, which have led to actual operations to suppress human trafficking and protect the victims according to human rights principles.

Eight shelters have been established in Thailand to take care of trafficking victims. The MSDHS is also working to produce an in-flight video promoting cultural tourism among tourists to reduce the number of people visiting Thailand with the purpose of sex tourism.

Thailand is working with Laos and Cambodia to establish helping centers for trafficking victims and risk groups, which will provide occupational training so that migrant workers will have opportunities to develop themselves.

Thai authorities and the MSDHS are working to protect children from crimes which include cyber-crimes. The government has established the Thailand Internet Crimes Against Children (TICAC) center in cooperation with the US FBI and Homeland Security Institute (HSI) to address crimes involving children. The TICAC has so far processed 25 cases, most of which are child pornography, followed by sexual exploitation of children, and human trafficking cases.

Three Child Advocacy Center (ACT) have been established in Chiang Mai, Chonburi, and Phuket to provide shelter and help child victims. The ACT and TICAC will also work closely with the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to investigate cases involving children and provide help to the victims.


Update August 11 - 13, 2017

Khao Kheow Open Zoo unveils Forest of Asia

CHONBURI,(NNT) - Khao Kheow Open Zoo has unveiled a new display zone called Forest of Asia.

In his opening speech, Director of the Thailand Zoological Park Organization Benchapol Nakprasert, mentioned the role of Khao Kheow Open Zoo as a model of zoological management and said that Forest of Asia was expected to raise public awareness of the importance of wildlife and forest conservation.

The new display zone offers visitors the opportunity to get a close look at rare wild animals such as Himalayan marten, black giant squirrel, grey-shanked douc, Siamese fireback and false gharial.

Forest of Asia also boasts an exhibition area educating the general public on the wildlife and forests of Thailand and Asia.


Aid continues for flood hit citizens

UBON RATCHATHANI,(NNT) – Various agencies have continued to collect and hand out aid for flood victims in the northeast.

Ubon Ratchathani Governor Somsak Jungtrakul received a donation of drinking water from private companies to be passed on to those in need in both the province’s Muang district and Warinchamrap district.

Muang Khon Kaen District Chief Chatchai Uncharoen led his agents in distributing 100 survival bags to flood sufferers in tree sub-districts.

At Wat Sonthikornpracharam of Petchabun province, a caravan of aid items was launched to assist those contending with high waters in Sakon Nakhon province. The caravan of vehicles is carrying up to 18 tons of sticky rice, eggs, canned fish and instant noodles as well as drinking water.

Prime Minister’s Office Minister Omsin Chivapruek has continued to represent the government in receiving donations for flood victims, most recently accepting 51,900 baht collected by students of Hua Hin School who held a music charity activity to raise funds.

Minister of the Interior Gen Anupong Paojinda explained that as flooding has yet to subside in all areas, relief efforts have been impeded, and that some families that have requested reparational aid must wait for evaluations to be concluded.


US Embassy releases statement of condolence over 2 Thai students who perished in California

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Embassy of the United States of America in Thailand has issued a statement of condolence over 2 Thai students who perished in a road accident and made known visas have been issued to their families so that they may travel to California.

On a statement posted to its website, the US Embassy assured it is closely following the situation involving the 2 students and was deeply sorrowed over their tragic accident. The office has issued visas to family members of both the students so that they may observe salvage efforts first hand in California.

Ekachai Taidecha, uncle to Phakaphol Chairattanasongporn, one of the two casualties, has submitted requests for additional visas for Thai rescuers who the families have hope will help with the salvaging of their vehicle.

Ekachai said he has confidence in Thai rescuers, adding that a Thai rescue team was able to retrieve a bus which plunged off a cliff in Uttaradit province in 6 hours. He said he wants to see the bodies of the two students retrieved as soon as possible.

The two students drove off a cliff in Keys Canyon in the US state of California on July 26. The recovery has been delayed due to the inaccessible geography and the weather conditions.


Reformed Bangkok bus lines to be trialed starting August 15th

BANGKOK,(NNT) – Bangkok buses will be trialing 8 new routes under a new zoning system starting this August 15.

Department of Land Transport (DLT) Director-General Sanit Phromwong said that to reform bus lines of the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) for greater efficiency and service, the capital’s 8 zones are being collapsed into 4 zones divided by color and signified by an English letter. The zones are G for Green, R for Red, Y for Yellow and B for Blue.

Eight of the routes in the new zones will be trialed starting August 15; they include G21 from Rangsit to Rama 5 Pier and R41 from Thanon Tok to Happy Land.

Buses running the routes will be subject to the same fares currently used across Bangkok but will feature clear signs to indicate they are running the new lines. An evaluation including a collection of feedback from the public will be carried out during the trial with improvements to be implemented within the next 2 years.

DLT is also looking to reform 2 more lines.


10th Ganesha Festival to be held in Bangkok

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Vishwa Hindu Parishad or VHP Association and its partners will be hosting the 10th Ganesha Chaturthi Festival from 2-3 September 2017 at Pathumwan National Stadium (BTS Station) to commemorate the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the deity widely revered as the remover of obstacles and the god of beginnings.

The event will celebrate the annual Ganesha Chaturthi festival and promote the 70th anniversary of historical, social and cultural relations between India and Thailand. The event this year will be organized as a tribute to His late Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and in honor of His Majesty the King.

The VHP Association has also cooperated with its partners to organize eight parallel events at other locations. The 10th Ganesha Chaturthi Festival will be sponsored by the VHP Association and both Indian and Thai communities. It is estimated that there will be about 5,000 people attending the event in the heart of Bangkok.

The Ganesha Chaturthi Festival is also celebrated in Nepal and countries with a Hindu population including Trinidad, Suriname, Fiji, Mauritius, United States, and European countries.


Thais urged to maintain late King’s legacy of natural resource preservation

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Secretary-General of the Chaipattana Foundation has called on Thai people to help preserve the country’s natural resources in line with the royal initiative of His Majesty the late King Rama IX.

During the 15th annual conference of the Medical Service Department of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, Secretary-General of the Chaipattana Foundation Dr Sumet Tantivejkul gave a keynote address under the title “The Future of Thailand through the Eyes of King Rama IX”.

Dr Sumet pointed out that His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej observed and studied nature by himself and kindly passed on what he learnt to his subordinates. He would always make sure that his people were informed of and understood all his royal initiatives and undertakings, especially those concerning environmental conservation, hoping they would be able to carry on his works through future generations for national benefits.

According to the Chaipattana Foundation Secretary-General, the world population is on a rapid increase, whereas habitable areas are on the decline due to natural disasters and human destruction. Should natural resources run out, he said the world would come to an end. In this regard, he encouraged the Thai people to continue to uphold the late King’s legacy of sustaining natural resources and the environment for their survival.


Celebration of HM Queen Sirikit's 85th birthday anniversary on 12 August 2017

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The government has planned ceremonial proceedings and celebrations to mark Her Majesty Queen Sirikit's 85th birthday anniversary on 12 August 2017.

The government, government and private agencies and royal units will organize three major activities to honor and bless Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, on the occasion of Her Majesty's birthday anniversary on 12 August 2017. The ceremonies and celebrations are as follows:

1. The alms-offering ceremony in tribute to His late Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and to Her Majesty Queen Sirikit on the occasion of her 85th birthday anniversary on 12 August 2017. A total of 851 monks and novices will receive alms at 7.00 a.m. at Dusit Palace Royal Plaza. The schedule is summarized as follows:

2. The ceremony for offering the royal offerings to Her Majesty Queen Sirikit after the alms-offering ceremony at the central stage, Dusit Palace Royal Plaza. The government and private agencies and the general public are invited to attend the ceremony.

3. The candle-lighting ceremony to bless Her Majesty Queen Sirikit on the occasion of her birthday anniversary, concerts and Thai traditional royal costume fashion show in honor of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit on Saturday, 12 August 2017 at 19.29 a.m., central stage, Dusit Palace Royal Plaza.

The Prime Minister will participate in the candle-lighting ceremony to bless Her Majesty the Queen, deliver a message of blessing for Her Majesty Queen Sirikit on behalf of all Thai people. The premier will then watch the concerts and the Thai traditional royal costume fashion show performances.

The National Broadcasting Services of Thailand, THAI GLOBAL NETWORK TV, NBT WORLD and Radio Thailand will be broadcasting the candle-lighting ceremony from 7.00 p.m. onwards.

To participate in the aforementioned activities on the occasion of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit's birthday anniversary, the government advises the general public to wear Thai cloth or Thai silk and to dress in light-colored clothes.

The Government has encouraged members of the public and private agencies to decorate their houses and offices with royal flags and Her Majesty the Queen’s images during 7-14 August 2017.


New campaign to regain passenger confidence in taxis

BANGKOK, (NNT) - Prawet Police Station in Bangkok has organized a campaign to boost passenger confidence in public taxis.

The campaign provided training to taxi drivers and installed CCTV cameras in their vehicles.

Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau Pol. Lt. Gen. Sanit Mahathavorn chaired the opening ceremony of the campaign, which is being sponsored by various governmental units, Seacon Square shopping center, and Bangkok Taxi Co-operatives.

The officials handed out certificates to about 100 participants in the program. The certificate recipients are expected to use their training to serve as the extra eyes and ears of the police and provide additional aids in preventing crime on the road.

The campaign, the third of its kind, has installed CCTV cameras on 450 taxis so far, including 100 cabs this year.

The metropolitan police chief urged all taxi drivers to follow the code of conduct for public transportation, such as refraining from abandoning passengers, from using coarse language, and from refusing passengers.


Private sector believes China's One Belt One Road will benefit Thailand

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Thailand-China Business Council has expressed confidence that the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) and China's One Belt One Road strategy will contribute to no less than 0.5% economic growth in Thailand.

Chairman of the Thailand-China Business Council Wikrom Kromdit said China's One Belt One Road, which starts from the souther part of China to Vietnam, Lao and Thailand, will be an important route used by Chuna to the Indian Ocean. Thailand will be directly benefited from the route by connecting with China whose 4-trillion-USD trade value is currently the highest in the world, said Mr. Wikrom.

One Belt One Road will also benefit Thailand's investment and tourism, said the chairman. He was therefore confident that when One Belt One Road is connected with the EEC, the Thai economy will expand by more than 0.5%

Meanwhile, Honorary Chairman of the Thailand-China Business Council Thanakorn Seraburi said he believe that Thailand is a focus of One Belt One Road due to the country's location in the middle of the region and its long ties with China. He suggested that Thai business people should pay attention to One Belt One Road since China will likely use Thailand as a center for the manufacturing of processed products which will be exported back to China.


Update August 10, 2017

Thailand and China meet on media cooperation

 

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Public Relations Department (PRD) has continued its collaboration with the Yunnan State Administration of Radio, Film and Television on the production of programs in China and Thailand.

Deputy Director-General of the PRD Dr. Charoon Chaisorn on Wednesday welcomed an executive and representatives of the Yunnan State Administration of Radio, Film and Television at the 2nd meeting of the Thai-Chinese joint technical committee. The meeting discussed the two parties’ cooperation on television, radio and news and revived their previous cooperation on offsite TV production.

As for radio, documentaries in Chinese will be produced to be aired in China. The meeting proposed that Yunnan produces documentaries in Thai and sends them to be aired in Thailand.

The PRD and the Yunnan have also cooperated to send teams to cover news stories.

The deputy director of the Yunnan State Administration of Radio, Film and Television said the organization is glad to enhance ties with the PRD in all dimensions and invited the department to visit a new television station in Yunnan.


Industrial estate to be developed in Songkhla

SONGKHLA,(NNT) - The Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) has signed an agreement to lease a 629-rai plot belonging to the Treasury Department to set up an industrial estate.

IEAT Governor Verapong Chaiperm signed the agreement with Director-General of the Treasury Department Patchara Anuntasilpa to lease land located in Sadao district of Songkhla province. It will be the first plot where the industrial estate will be set up as part of the province's special economic zone.

The rent will be 50 years long and cost the IEAT 17 million baht a year. The rental fee will increase by 15% every five year. The development plan for the industrial estate is now being evaluated by the Office of National Environment Board for environmental impact.

The basic infrastructure of the one-billion-baht project will be completed in 2019. It will attract investments worth more than 13 billion baht, create 3,000 local jobs and increase border trade in the southern border.


Money and survival items arrive for flood victims

BANGKOK,(NNT) - Various organizations have made donations to help people affected by a flood disaster in the northeast.

In Bangkok, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division and a local band organized a mini concert on Silom Road to raise public awareness about the plight of flood victims as well as collecting donation items.

In Si Sa Ket, the provincial governor, Thawat Suraban, presented 25,000 baht to the family of Auncha Rongsuphan, who was killed in the deluge on August 1st. The Red Cross Society of Si Sa ket and the provincial office of Social Development and Human Security also gave his family financial support.

In Mukdahan, the 3rd Infantry Division collected donation items from local residents and businesses and delivered them to Sakon Nakhon and other inundated areas where potable water, food, clothes and other essential items are needed.

In Surin, Governor Attaporn Singhawichai and local government officials joined a ceremony to deploy trucks delivering essential items to flood victims in Sakon Nakhon.

In Kanchanaburi, deputy provincial governor Ronnachai Jitwiset received donations from the Phanom Tuan District Chief. They will be transported to flood affected provinces.


Update August 9, 2017

Cabinet grants 3,000-baht aid to flood-hit farmers

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Cabinet has approved the payment of compensation worth 3,000 baht to each flood-affected farmer in 36 provinces.

In the wake of severe flooding in the country, Advisor to the Prime Minister’s Office Minister Nattaporn Jatusripitak made known that the Cabinet has given a green light to the disbursement of 1.68 billion baht from the 2017 central budget for the rehabilitation of agriculturists recently affected by Tropical Storms Talas and Sonca.

There are 561,520 farming households in 36 flood-ravaged provinces in the North, Northeast and Central Plains eligible for the compensation. Each household will be given 3,000 baht as proposed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. The disbursement process is expected to take 30 days from now to complete.

According to surveys, over 4 million rai of farmland, 27,000 rai of aquaculture farms and over one million farm animals have been impacted by floods.


TAT optimistic over thriving ASEAN tourism

BANGKOK (nnt) – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) was confident that tourism campaigns in the ASEAN region will enhance its tourist industry in all aspects.

TAT Executive Director for Asia and South Pacific Division Srisuda Wanapinyosak said that the ASEAN countries have been running several campaigns to promote tourism in the region on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

TAT officials were present at ITB Berlin 2016 to promote tourism in ASEAN and the authority has developed websites, including www.VisitASEAN50.com, to promote special offers on tourism packages in the 10 member countries. Other websites are being translated into Mandarin to attract Chinese travelers.

Other events and activities to mark the semicentennial include an essay and video competition on the topic "[email protected]” and the the ASEAN Blogger FAM Trip. The latter invites international journalists and bloggers to visit key attractions in the region.

According to Srisuda, the TAT is confident that the AEC Blueprint 2025 for tourism will improve the competitiveness of each ASEAN country in the same direction, as well as the overall tourism scene for sustainability.


Consumer confidence index reaches yearly low

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce has reported that Thailand's consumer confidence index (CCI) has dropped to an annual low due to the effects of the royal decree on foreign labor management, as well as severe flooding.

The university's Center for Economic and Business Forecasting revealed that the country's consumer confidence index in July plunged for the third consecutive month to 73.9 from 74.9 in June, its lowest point this year.

The decline was attributed to severe, widespread flooding, the enforcement of the new royal decree on foreign labor management, and low agricultural commodity prices. The combination of these negative factors have caused the public to perceive that the economy has not made great strides towards recovery.

The center's director, Dr. Thanawat Polwichai, revealed that the CCI fell, even in areas unaffected by flooding, as businesses experienced a drop in sales and were uncertain about the government's handling of its new decree on foreign labor.

He therefore advised the government to accelerate its disbursement of economic stimulus in the hopes of enhancing the public's purchasing power.


Update August 8, 2017

Thailand-Malaysia collaboration against bird flu tightened

BANGKOK,(NNT) - Thailand and Malaysia have strengthened their cooperation in fighting potential outbreaks of bird flu along the border between the two countries.

More than 60 officials from Thailand and Malaysia’s Perlis State on Monday recently joined a workshop designed to prepare the Thailand-Malaysia border region for any emergency related to the spread of bird flu.

Chief of the Satun Public Health Office, Dr. Banjerd Sukpipatpanon, said on Monday that to date there has been no case of bird flu in Satun Province nor along the Thailand-Malaysia border area.

However, Dr. Banjerd said that health officials don't want to be unprepared and are always on standby to prevent any spread of the disease.

He stated that there must be an integration of efforts by all relevant units to understand the virus while they must acquire needed skills to be used when the situation calls for it.

As part of the workshop, participants attended a three-day field practice, which focused on the transportation of bird flu patients through the Wang Prachan Border Crossing, the disease control program in all communities, and an assessment and review of the lessons learnt during the first two days.


Saudi Arabia admires Thai govt for rapid development in Hajj affairs

MECCA,(NNT) - Saudi authorities have expressed admiration for the Royal Thai Government for its rapid progress in the development of Hajj affairs.

Banyat Yumyuang, Head of the Hajj Affairs Promotion Office of Thailand in Mecca, led a team to meet with the manager of Thai Hajj accommodations at Mina to discuss cooperation and foster familiarity between the two parties.

The Thai working group was warmly welcomed and the meeting was productive for Thai authorities and pilgrims. Banyat let on that the Saudi authorities had praised the Thai government and its officials at all administrative levels for expanding conveniences to Thai Hajj pilgrims this year and reducing the number of people treated for exhaustion.

The positive exchange was considered a new development in the Hajj affairs of Thailand. The office will continue to provide services and conveniences to the Thai pilgrims throughout their journey and further develop Hajj affairs with Saudi Arabia.


Direct MRT transfers between Blue Line and Purple Line start on 11 August

BANGKOK,(NNT) – MRT passengers will be able to transfer directly between the Blue Line and Purple Line at Tao Poon station from 11 August, 2017.

Bangkok Expressway and Metro PLC, the operator of the MRT Purple Line and MRT Blue Line, will start extending the service on the Blue Line to terminate at Tao Poon station from noon of 11 August.

The extension will allow passengers to make direct transfers at Tao Poon station between MRT Blue Line and MRT Purple Line. Passengers who hold any regular MRT stored value card or MRT Plus card will be able to travel on the two lines using just one ticket.

The existing feeder buses between Tao Poon and Bang Sue stations will cease operation from 12 August.


Update August 7, 2017

Prime Minister orders strict regulation on alcohol ban near schools

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Prime Minister has ordered a strict regulation on the ban of alcohol sale near education institutes, encouraging the public to inform officials if they find any violation.

The Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has received the latest report regarding the suppression of illegal street racing and the sales of alcoholic beverages near education institutes, stating that actions have been taken against people who have violated the ban, including parents of persons involved in the illegal street race circuit.

However, the government has received continuous complains regarding the violation to the alcohol sale ban near education institutes, which led to a recent raid at a club near Kasetsat University Kampaengsan Campus, where alcoholic drinks were illegally sold with special promotions to attract new drinkers.

Most people in the club during the raid were identified as students, while some failed to carry identification cards with them, and some are under the influence of narcotics. The owner of the club was charged with illegal operation of entertainment venue, along with illegal alcohol sales and advertisement. The club will be closed for at least 30 days.

The Prime Minister has urged all related agencies to prevent any violations to this ban and to press legal actions towards the violators. The general public are also encouraged to play an active role by informing officials on any clues of violation by calling 0 2141 3623, or by directly inform any policeman, soldiers, or government official in any area.


Thai police promoting ‘Safety Taxi’ campaign

BANGKOK, (NNT) – The Royal Thai Police is promoting its ‘Safety Taxi’ campaign to boost passengers’ confidence and improve taxi services.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Pol Lt-General Sanit Mahathaworn has presented vehicle certificates and ‘Safety Taxi’ stickers to taxi drivers who passed their training as part of their participation in the Safety Taxi campaign.

The campaign strives to raise the standards and services of Thai taxis as well as regain the passengers’ trust and confidence.

Pol Lt-General Sanit took the opportunity to thank all participants for their cooperation and understanding, noting that taxi drivers are the face of the tourism industry. Good services equal good image and perception, he added.

After the award presentation, the police commissioner released a caravan of safe taxis to raise people’s awareness of the campaign.


Transport Ministry inspects Chachoengsao port

CHACHOENGSAO,(NNT) – The Ministry of Transport has paid an inspection visit to a sea port in Chachoengsao province.

Deputy Minister of Transport Pichit Akrathit, along with departmental officials, traveled to Bang Pakong district to inspect Bang Pakong Port and its cargo management facilities. Pichit and his team were greeted by Chachoengsao Governor Anukul Tangkananukulchai.

During his visit, the deputy minister attended a meeting where he was informed of the obstacles and challenges in transporting cargo. He also met with local operators and inspected cargo routes from Tha Kham sub-district to Bang Pakong District Office.

Pichit said there are certain areas in the Bang Pakong River that may be too shallow for large vessels to pass through and instructed the Marine Department to undertake an excavation to increase the depth in those areas. He also asked the department to remove abandoned fish farming floating cages from the river.


Update August 5 - 6, 2017

Money counterfeiters nabbed in Chonburi

CHONBURI - Chonburi police have arrested a counterfeiting ring reportedly active in several cities.

Provincial Police Region 2 and Chonburi Provincial Police held a press conference on the arrest. The gang of nine consisted of one Chinese and eight Thai nationals. Authorities have confiscated more than 12,000 fake US banknotes, a skimmer, nine fake credit cards, an electronic data capture, six banknote counters and detectors, and nine mobile phones. The counterfeit money could have cost the country 42 million baht if put into circulation.

Commissioner of Provincial Police Region 2 Pol Lt Gen Chitti Rodbangyang disclosed that the arrest followed capture of a Chinese suspect for credit card fraud, which led to the discovery of other gang members in Pattaya City and the provinces of Chachoengsao and Pathum Thani. The offenders sold fake 100-dollar banknotes for 1,200 to 1,400 baht apiece on the black market.

The United States Secret Service cautions people to study the watermarks and other features of authentic greenbacks carefully. Fake banknotes are mainly made of smooth paper, while the genuine article has a coarser feel. Those interested in further details can contact the US Embassy in Bangkok.


Northeastern provinces struggles with flood situation

SAKON NAKHON,(NNT) - Several provinces in the Northeast of Thailand continue to struggle with flooding, especially those in the Mekong River Basin.

In Sakon Nakhon province, the Governor of the Provincial Electricity Authority inspected power distribution in severely flooded areas, before helping to distribute 1,000 relief bags to disaster victims.

Water released from Nam Un Dam in Sakon Nakhon province has overflowed the Lam Huai Kham Mid waterway in Nong Khai province, inundating nearby roads, homes, and farmland across two subdistricts. Local administrative officials and soldiers have been dispatched in trucks and flat-bottomed boats to provide relief.

Meanwhile in Kalasin province, Lam Pao Dam continues to release an average of 30 million cubic meters per day, due to the amount of water flowing into the reservoir. Officials have assured that the dam remains structurally sound, and that they continue to monitor the situation around the clock.

The continuous release of water from Lam Pao Dam has inundated five districts in the province, as well as areas in Roi Et, Yasothon, and Ubon Ratchathani. The three provinces are situated in the Mekong River Basin.


Disciplinary & legal action against any officers involved in alleged Dhammachayo escape

BANGKOK, (NNT) - The national police chief has ordered disciplinary and legal action be taken against any police officer found to have aided in the Phra Dhammachayo’s suspected escape to Europe.

Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda has ordered that all officers found involved with the escape of the fugitive monk undergo both disciplinary action and criminal investigation, without exception. He affirmed that any suspect in the case, whether they be a private citizen or a public official, would be brought up on charges of aiding and abetting a wanted suspect in leaving the country.

Director-General of the Department of Special Investigation Pol Col Paisit Wongmuang said authorities are pursuing two lines of investigation: the former abbot in hiding in Thailand and the former abbot has escaped the country, possibly to Europe.


Update August 4, 2017

Eastern region to be rebranded as a venue for sports and tourism

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Ministry of Tourism and Sports (MOTS) has introduced the rebranding of the eastern region as a venue for sports and tourism to help raise incomes in local areas.

Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said the MOTS plans to promote the new concept of tourism in the eastern region to combine sports and tourism, which will contribute to the development of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) project.

Sports and tourism activities will be held during 15-19 November 2017, while the Air Race 1 World Cup 2017 will take place sometime this year at U-tapao airport, which will be the first time in Asia.

The air race would promote aviation and engineering industry in Thailand and distribute income to the country, she said.

She said the eastern seashore cluster receives the most income from tourism-related activities by 43.4 billion baht in the first half of 2017, mostly from Thai tourists' spendings attending activities and fairs such as food and fruits fairs which helped distribute incomes to farmers and local villagers.

Thai tourism scene in the first half of 2017 has seen an increase in the number of visitors and revenue. The country has welcomed 20.44 million visitors who generated 1.03 trillion baht in tourism-related incomes. Those figures represented a 4.62 percent and 6.10 percent growth from the same period last year respectively.


Australian Foreign Minister on official visit to Thailand

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Thai government has welcomed Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia Julie Bishop, who is paying a visit to Thailand to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.

Following her arrival in Thailand, Mrs Bishop gave a keynote address on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of ASEAN, during which she commended Thailand for its role as one of the regional bloc’s founding members. The minister also attended a bilateral meeting with her Thai counterpart, Mr Don Pramudwinai, to discuss further development of relations and cooperation between Australia and ASEAN.

Later during her visit, Mrs Bishop is scheduled to pay a courtesy call on Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha and his deputies, with an aim to enhance cooperation in security, trade and investment and education, both at the bilateral and multilateral levels.

Meanwhile, HE Mr Jesus Miguel Sanz Escorihuela, Ambassador and Head of the EU Delegation to Thailand, paid a courtesy visit to Gen Prayut in order to bid farewell upon the completion of his term. Through the outgoing ambassador, the Thai premier expressed thanks to the EU for support in the development of Thai fishery and aviation standards, affirming the country’s determination to solve all existing problems.

Chinese Ambassador to Thailand HE Mr Ning Fukui, whose term in office will expire this month, also bid farewell to Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon. On this occasion, Gen Prawit praised the ambassador for contributing to the enhancement of friendship and cooperation between Thailand and China.


Update August 3, 2017

Government to establish two broadband internet providers

BANGKOK, (NNT) - The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society and related units are planning to establish two companies to provide additional broadband internet services to the public and governmental units, in accordance with the Cabinet’s resolution on June 13th.

The announcement was made by Deputy Minister for Digital Economy and Society Pansak Siriratchatapong, together with representatives of CAT Telecom Public Company Limited and TOT Public Company Limited.

The name of the two state enterprises will be National Broadband Network Company Limited (NBN) and Neutral Gateway and Data Center Company Limited (NGDC). Both companies will provide and manage cable internet access and related equipment to satisfy the nation’s growing demand.

Deputy Minister Pansak stressed that the two companies will follow the ministry’s rules and regulations in order to maintain competitiveness against private companies. Governmental units that plan to invest in data or cloud computing services will be introduced to the NGDC.

The two state enterprises will be registered within this month, and are expected to be operational by November.


Prime Minister orders for post-flooding recovery plans

SAKON NAKHON, (NNT) – The Prime Minister has ordered the authorities to conduct a damage survey and commissioned prompt recovery operations to ensure all water reservoirs will be capable of storing more water during dry season.

The premier said during his visit to Sakon Nakhon that His Majesty the King has been following the flood situation, instructed the government to quickly solve the flooding and uphold the teachings of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej on the sustainability of water management.

He has ordered the related agencies to quickly commission appropriate assistance to the flood victims and survey the damage, as well as raise public participation in bid to solve the problem. The authorities were instructed to survey and restore the conditions of the water reservoirs and see to it that each reservoir will have sufficient water for dry season.

He told them to communicate with the affected villagers and get prepared for the construction of large-scale water reservoirs to preclude flooding in the future.


Cabinet approves 2% VAT increase on liqueurs, tobacco

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The cabinet approved an increase in the value-added tax for liqueurs and tobacco by two percent to contribute to a fund for elders.

Prime Minister's Office Vice Minister Kobsak Pootrakool said the cabinet approved in principle the contribution to the elders fund through the two-percent increase in the value-added tax for liqueurs, tobacco, and beers in bid to allocate four billion baht to the fund yearly.

The Ministry of Finance has considered the scheme to allocate four billion baht to the fund for each elder to have 900 - 1,300 baht in monthly allowance.

The new tax measure will not take immediate effect and is pending consideration by the Council of State, which would take a few months, followed by approval from the National Legislative Assembly which would take two more months. The new law is expected to be effective in early 2018.


Update August 2, 2017

Cabinet sets aside over THB5bn for 2 motorway projects

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Cabinet has approved the disbursement of over 5 billion baht for two new interprovincial expressway projects.

According to Minister of Transport Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, the Cabinet has agreed to a proposal by the Department of Highways for a budget of 5.11 billion baht to fund the construction of two intercity highways, namely the Bang Pa-in – Sara Buri – Nakhon Ratchasima Motorway and the Bang Yai – Kanchanaburi Motorway. The budget is to be disbursed from the 2017 emergency reserve fund.

Of the requested amount, 500 million baht will be spent on land acquisition in the Bang Pa-in – Sara Buri – Nakhon Ratchasima Motorway project. The other 4.61 billion baht will go to the Bang Yai – Kanchanaburi Motorway project, divided into 1.84 billion for land acquisition and 2.77 billion for construction.

Previously, the Cabinet issued resolutions authorizing the Department of Highways to execute the Bang Pa-in – Sara Buri – Nakhon Ratchasima Motorway project under a total budget of 76.6 billion baht and the Bang Yai – Kanchanaburi Motorway project under a total budget of 49.12 billion baht from the 2016-2020 fiscal years.


KTB offers special credit programs to flood victims

BANGKOK,(NNT) - Krung Thai Bank (KTB) is offering assistance to customers and SMEs affected by the recent flooding through interest rate cuts, loan extensions, and exemptions.

KTB Senior Executive President Paying Srivanich revealed that customers under the Home for Cash program will be exempt from payments for three months, while interest rates from months 4 - 12 will be slashed by 0.25 percent per year.

Individual customers can receive a three-month exemption from payments, followed by a three-month exemption from interest payments, along with extensions to payments up to five years.

SME customers could be eligible for a minimum interest rate cut to 1 percent per year, a one-year exemption on principal payments, and a one-year extension on loan payments. Revolving loans can receive an interest-free extension up to six months, as well as a 30-day grace period for missed payments.

In addition, KTB will offer a special loan for restoring businesses with a 3.75 percent annual interest rate, payable in five years with an extension up to one year.


Vietnam, Thailand step up political-security cooperation

 

HANOI,(VOV) - The ninth meeting of the Vietnam-Thailand Joint Working Group on Political-Security Cooperation is getting underway in Bangkok from July 16-19.

The meeting takes place when both nations held a broad range of activities to mark the 40th anniversary of their diplomatic relations (1976-2016) and have sped up the action programme on bilateral strategic partnership for 2014-2018.

It is part of activities to prepare for the upcoming visit to Thailand by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in August. At the meeting, the two sides compared notes on regional and international issues that impact security in each country, while evaluating their cooperation in politics and security.

They affirmed their commitments to not allowing any individuals and organisations to make use of territory of one country to harm the other.

They reviewed the implementation of the joint working group’s working programme for the 2016-2018 period in combating transnational crimes such as illegal immigration, human trafficking, terrorism, money laundering, cyber crime and international economic crime, as well as cooperation in defence, law enforcement and justice, and other related matters.

A host of measures were proposed to deal with problems related to fishermen, fishing boats and other violations at sea in the spirit of humanity and the strategic partnership.

They also consented to organise the 10th meeting of the Vietnam-Thailand Joint Working Group on Political-Security Cooperation in Vietnam in 2018.


Update August 1, 2017

Thailand and Turkey move ahead with FTA negotiation

BANGKOK,(NNT) - Thailand and Turkey are moving ahead with Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations to expand the trade volume between both countries, with the goal of doubling the trade value during the next five years.

Trade Negotiation Department Director General Boonyarit Kallayanamit said that the Thai Minister of Commerce and the Turkish Minister of Economy discussed on preparations to the FTA last week.

They also agreed that FTA negotiations should be completed by late 2018, when both countries celebrate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations. The initial goal is to double the trade volume between Thailand and Turkey within the next five years.

It is believed that if if the Thai-Turkish FTA is prepared successful, both countries would benefit immensely from the landmark agreement.


Government announces seizure of fishing boat without nationality

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Command Center for Combating Illegal Fishing (CCCIF) has revealed that a foreign boat was recently impounded in Thai waters after it was found to be in violation of fishery laws.

Vice Admiral Prayuth Phuthian, representative of the CCCIF commander, issued details concerning the seizure of a foreign fishing vessel that was docked in Samut Sakhon province on May 2 this year. He said the boat initially claimed it was holding the nationality of Djibouti and had received permission from the Puntland State of Somalia to conduct fishing operations.

However, after its docking request was approved, investigators of the CCCIF was informed by Somalia that the boat had committed three offenses under the Somali fishery law and was containing more marine catch than allowed. Moreover, Djibouti confirmed that the nationality of the boat had previously been revoked, making its operations at sea illegal.

Therefore, an order has been issued by the Department of Fisheries to arrest crew members and confiscate the boat and all assets on board in accordance with the Port State Measure Agreement and the Royal Ordnance on Fisheries 2015.


NBTC raises cyber security awareness on occasion of National Communications Day

BANGKOK, (NNT) – The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is promoting cyber security awareness, as the number of internet users in Thailand has increased.

The telecommunications regulator is scheduled to hold NBTC Expo Thailand on August 4th, which marks the National Communications Day. Seminars and lectures on cyber security will be featured in this event.

NBTC Chairman ACM Thares Punsri said the government is currently promoting the use of digital technology along with cyber security protection, pushing the country towards a full-scale digital economy and society.

According to ACM Thares, the number of mobile broadband users has increased by almost 94% in 2017, or 63.24 million phone numbers with data service.

The greater number of internet users has created a greater risk of cyber crimes and attacks on essential facilities, such as financial institutes, telecommunication hubs, mass transit systems, and utility companies. Therefore, it is necessary to prepare for such threats to national security..
 


DAILY UPDATE

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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Funding approved for land compensation payments under dual-track rail project

Security guards join in workshop aimed to boost tourist safety

Customs Department to amend regulations on imported super cars


Preparations under way for rainstorms in monsoon season

No-interest loan offered to flood-affected SMEs

Holiday-makers flocking back to Bangkok after long weekend


Jet crash in Rayong leaves 2 injured

GHB tests new hardware system

MSDHS stresses anti human trafficking commitments


Khao Kheow Open Zoo unveils Forest of Asia

Aid continues for flood hit citizens

US Embassy releases statement of condolence over 2 Thai students who perished in California


Reformed Bangkok bus lines to be trialed starting August 15th

10th Ganesha Festival to be held in Bangkok

Thais urged to maintain late King’s legacy of natural resource preservation


Celebration of HM Queen Sirikit's 85th birthday anniversary on 12 August 2017

New campaign to regain passenger confidence in taxis

Private sector believes China's One Belt One Road will benefit Thailand


Thailand and China meet on media cooperation

Industrial estate to be developed in Songkhla

Money and survival items arrive for flood victims


Cabinet grants 3,000-baht aid to flood-hit farmers

TAT optimistic over thriving ASEAN tourism

Consumer confidence index reaches yearly low


Thailand-Malaysia collaboration against bird flu tightened

Saudi Arabia admires Thai govt for rapid development in Hajj affairs

Direct MRT transfers between Blue Line and Purple Line start on 11 August


Prime Minister orders strict regulation on alcohol ban near schools

Thai police promoting ‘Safety Taxi’ campaign

Transport Ministry inspects Chachoengsao port


Money counterfeiters nabbed in Chonburi

Northeastern provinces struggles with flood situation

Disciplinary & legal action against any officers involved in alleged Dhammachayo escape


Eastern region to be rebranded as a venue for sports and tourism

Australian Foreign Minister on official visit to Thailand


Government to establish two broadband internet providers

Prime Minister orders for post-flooding recovery plans

Cabinet approves 2% VAT increase on liqueurs, tobacco


Cabinet sets aside over THB5bn for 2 motorway projects

KTB offers special credit programs to flood victims

Vietnam, Thailand step up political-security cooperation


Thailand and Turkey move ahead with FTA negotiation

Government announces seizure of fishing boat without nationality

NBTC raises cyber security awareness on occasion of National Communications Day

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