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Update November 2017


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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
Thailand News
 

Update November 13, 2017

Possible extension of royal crematorium exhibition to be discussed on Wednesday

 

Deputy Prime Minister Gen Tanasak Patimapragorn talks to the media.

NNT

Bangkok - Related agencies will decide on November 15 whether to extend the period allowing members of the public to visit the royal crematorium at Sanam Luang.

Deputy Prime Minister Gen Tanasak Patimapragorn says responsible committees will meet this Wednesday to evaluate the overall situation at Sanam Luang where an exhibition on the royal cremation ceremony is taking place. He said the meeting will discuss whether there is a need to extend the duration of the exhibition. For now, the final day is November 30.

Gen Tanasak added that an extension would have to be endorsed by His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun.

Thais and foreigners have been visiting Sanam Luang on a daily basis. Open every day from 7am to 10 pm, the exhibition can accommodate 6,000 people at a time. Each group has around 45-60 minutes inside the ceremonial grounds.

The Deputy Prime Minister thanked security officers and volunteers for ensuring the safety of all visitors.


MOPH appoints officials to enforce new tobacco law

NNT

Bangkok - The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) has appointed officials to enforce the new Tobacco Product Control Act and prepared a long-term measure to prevent new smokers.

Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsattayathorn chaired the National Tobacco Control Board’s meeting last week which approved the draft regulations under the Tobacco Products Control Act 2017 and officials will be appointed to enforce the new law.

MOPH Permanent Secretary Jessada Chokdamrongsuk said that the officials’ cards under the Tobacco Products Control Act 2017 are of great important to them while working to enforce the new law.

The MOPH will discuss with the Ministry of Education ways and means to raise the awareness among Thai children of the harmful effects of smoking cigarettes to discourage new smokers.


PM Prayut asks for public confidence in government

Lt. Gen. Sunsern Kaewkumnerd.

NNT

Bangkok - The Prime Minister has asked the public to have more faith in the government and all it is doing for the country.

The spokesman of the Prime Minister’s Office, Lt. Gen. Sunsern Kaewkumnerd, said that the government has been informed of a continued improvement in the economic situation, revealed in research by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce showing the Thai consumer confidence index has risen for the sixth consecutive month in October to 65.1.

The UTCC report also shows that the future Thai consumer confidence index, which gauges sentiment over the next three months, also rose to 80.8 in October, he said.

Lt. Gen. Sunsern stated that improving indices have indicated that recovery is underway in consumer spending, job opportunities, tourism spending and investment, partly due to ongoing export growth, the government’s public welfare card project, and falling retail fuel prices

He added that Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha has passed along his message to the people of Thailand, in which he promised that the government will do everything possible to improve the economy of Thailand and to tackle economic problems of Thais in general.

According to the PM’s message, the local economy has been improving constantly, from a growth rate of 0.8% in 2014 to 3.2% in 2016 and 3.7% in the second quarter of 2017 while the government hopes this year’s growth rate will end at 3.8%.

Gen. Prayut has also confirmed that the government’s economic policies won't change despite the Cabinet reshuffle, while asking the public to have confidence in the current administration, said Lt. Gen. Sunsern.


Tourism & Sports Minister visits vehicle museum in Nakhon Pathom

NNT

Nakhon Pathom - Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul visited Jesada Technik Museum on Sunday as part of a trip to observe tourism attractions in Nakhon Pathom province.

Located in Nakhon Chai Si district, the museum belonging to Jesada Dejsakulrit, boasts a vast array of vintage vehicles from around the world. Jesada developed a passion for cars during his childhood and decided to open the museum in 2006 to allow the public to view his wheeled antiques free of charge and to draw tourists to Nakhon Pathom province. He plans to enlarge the museum to keep pace with the growing number of visitors.

Mrs. Kobkarn reiterated the Ministry of Tourism and Sports’ policy towards sustainable tourism and acknowledged the growing popularity of Nakhon Pathom. She said more than four million tourists visited the region last year thanks to the province’ numerous intriguing tourist spots.

She suggested that the Jesada Technik Museum adjust to the Thailand 4.0 era by making an application to enable the general public to easily learn more about the museum.


Update November 11 - 12, 2017

PM to attend APEC meeting this weekend

NNT

Bangkok - The Prime Minister is attending an APEC meeting in Vietnam this weekend, where he will affirm Thailand’s vision for a Green Economy and Sustainable Innovation in accordance with APEC agreements.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, being held today and tomorrow in Danang, is set to focus on four shared development aspirations; namely; inclusiveness, creativity and sustainable economic support, competitive enhancement and innovations for small and medium sized enterprises, food stability and readiness for climate change.

The PM intends to outline Thailand’s vision on the issues, especially concerning the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), which he will highlight as an avenue towards a Green Economy.

The gathering will also see four agreements signed by APEC leaders to create new economic, financial, social and human resource opportunities.

Gen Prayut will also take the opportunity to meet with the economic leaders of countries such as Australia, and Papua New Guinea, the latter being a country that has adopted His Majesty the late King’s Sufficiency Economy Philosophy. He will discuss cooperation with the nations' representatives and exchanges of experience in national development.


Flooding situation normalizes in the North

NNT

Bangkok - As flooding in the northern part of Thailand begins to abate, meteorologists are forecasting scattered rain showers and forest runoff in the South.

Governor of Uthai Thani province, Manrat Ratanasukhon, has visited flood-hit residents in his district to offer moral support. The Chao Phraya River overflowed into six villages, damaging over three million hectares of farmland. The governor led public officials in distributing 583 survival bags and medicines to flood victims.

Floodwaters are currently receding from Had Thanong subdistrict, with only pockets of low-lying areas still inundated. Authorities rushed to deploy water pumps to drain the area, so that commercial activities may resume.

The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation reported that 12 provinces were hit by flooding, including Phichit, Nakhon Sawan, Singburi, Ang Thong, Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani, Suphanburi, Nong Bua Lamphu, Khon Kaen, Maha Sarakham, Kalasin, Roi Et and Prachuap Khiri Khan. The department has coordinated disaster relief efforts with local officials and meteorologists, especially in the South, where rain has persisted.

The Meteorological Department reported that the South will see continuous rainfall as well as heavy rain in some areas. It advised southern residents to beware of flash flooding and waves of up to two meters in the Gulf of Thailand.


Welfare payments to families with newborns now expanded

NNT

Bangkok - Families with newborn babies will now be able to receive financial support from the government via the social security welfare program.

The welfare program for families with newborns was introduced in 2015 by the Ministry of Social Security and Human Development to help parents outside the social security system who had a combined monthly income of 3,000 baht or less. More than 154,000 people registered with the program, which disbursed a 400-baht monthly stipend to each family until October 2016.

The Cabinet has now approved a two-year extension and has increased the monthly stipend to 600 baht. More than 376,600 people registered for the second round of the program, exceeding the government’s target of 200,000.

To promote social equality, the Cabinet decided last week to expand the welfare program to all those accessing social security. All Thai families with newborn babies now have an entitlement to the help they need for sustainable early development of their children.


Public Health Min: Alcohol doesn't keep body warm

 

NNT

Bangkok - Thailand's Ministry of Public Health has warned the public that drinking alcohol to keep warm could be life-threatening.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Jetsada Chokedamrongsuk, has asked people in northern parts of the country to exercise regularly and consume food rich in vitamin C to stay fit and healthy during the cold season.

The elderly and young children must stay warm because they are more vulnerable to respiratory diseases.

He also told people not to drink alcohol as a means to keep themselves warm, because alcohol causes heat to exit the body, resulting in a sudden drop in body temperature. A worst case scenario could be cardiac arrest.


Update November 10, 2017

Thai Viet Jet becomes 12th airline to regain license certification

NNT

Bangkok – Thailand's Ministry of Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has approved an operational license for Thai Viet Jet, making it the twelfth airline to receive approval since the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) removed the red flag it placed on Thailand.

Minister of Transport, Akom Termpittayapaisit, presided over the handing over of the license to Thai Viet Jet accompanied by CAA Director Chula Sukmanop and Thai Viet Jet CEO Nguyen Thi Thuy Binh accepting the approval.

Chula pointed out that 8 more airlines are waiting for approval and they will likely receive it by January 8, 2018.

The Thai Viet Jet CEO said the airline will first launch a route from Bangkok to Da Lat, Vietnam as it is a popular tourist destination. The flights will commence on December 18, operate 4 times a week and start at 99 Baht per flight.


Chiang Rai prepares to retake defunct mine

NNT

Chiang Rai - Thailand's Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation and relevant agencies have banded together to seize a defunct scheelite mine in Chiang Rai province.

Director of Protected Area Regional Office 15, Kamolchai Kotcha, army officers and administrative officials have jointly inspected four plots of land covering 151.68 hectares in Wiang Pa Pao district where the mine is located.

The operation also discovered that another 4.48 hectares of land had been used to keep vehicles and machinery. The task force seized the land plots, 63 vehicles and equipment and 18 on-site buildings and has prepared a report detailing the list of impounded items.

In 1973, more than 300 people were killed by a landslide at the site while searching for the ore. The Thai-Swedish Mining Company Limited, which later won the concession, undertook the mining and the evacuation of the remaining villagers. The concession expired in 2008.

Authorities are requesting Wiang Pa Pao Police Station to press charges against the company for occupying forest areas without permission, disobeying legal orders and causing environmental damage. Sansalee Subdistrict Administrative Organization plans to turn the mine into a historical site.


Prachuap Khiri Khan hard hit as rains continue over south

NNT

Prachuap Khiri Khan - Continued heavy rains have caused flooding in several areas of the southern region with Prachuap Khiri Khan the hardest hit so far.

A strong low pressure system moving over the area of Prachuap Khiri Khan province has dumped rain on its Tap Sakae and Bang Saphan districts and resulted in sporadic flooding. The command center addressing the flood has ordered full assistance for those affected and volunteers have begun facilitating traffic flow on roads connecting the province to the rest of the south. Residents have been told to move their belongings to higher ground to protect against damage as flood waters are forecast to rise and spread.

The Royal Irrigation Office 14 is using water thrusters in Bang Saphan to speed up drainage and Bang Saphan Hospital has had to move seven of its patients for safety.

Meanwhile, in the Hat Yai district of Songkhla province, a new Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office has been opened, fully equipped to deal with flooding. The center is passing out drinking water to flood victims and is also managing the use of equipment to push water out of problem areas towards the sea.


Elephant fest underway in Surin

NNT

Surin - The northeastern province of Surin has declared open the 57th Elephant Festival in Sikhoraphum district.

Governor Adthaporn Singhawichai presided over the opening ceremony at Sri Narong Stadium on Thursday. The world’s first twin male elephants, Thong Kham and Thong Thaeng were at the venue to greet visitors.

Event-goers will be able to shop for selected products of different provinces and enjoy a fruit parade, the annual elephant banquet and shows featuring hundreds of smart and adorable jumbos.

The elephant banquet will take place on 17th November at Phraya Surin Phakdi Si Narong Chang Wang Monument. The shows will be held at Sikhoraphum temple and Elephant Round-Up Field from 17th to 19th November.

The popular festival continues until 19th November.


Update November 9, 2017

Military to assist southern residents during storms

 NNT

Surat Thani - The 2nd Naval Area Command has set up a disaster relief center in the south to help local residents affected by recent storms.

The 2nd Naval Area Command is ready to provide assistance to residents of southern provinces through its relief center which will work closely with provincial authorities, the public and private agencies.

The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation has sought cooperation from 14 southern provinces to cope with heavy rains and possible flash floods at this time.

Rescue units will be set up in each province in response to emergency situations. Local residents are urged to call 1784 for emergency assistance.

Fishermen in Songkhla have been asked to remain ashore until next week.

According to meteorologists, the low air pressure which is currently moving across Chumphon province is causing heavy rains and gusty winds in the southern region.


9 Africans arrested in Bangkok for overstaying their visas

NNT

Bangkok - Nine African citizens were found to have stayed on in Thailand illegally after tourist police launched an operation to arrest foreign criminals in Bangkok.

Acting Deputy Tourist Police Bureau Pol Maj Gen Surachet Hakphan said Wednesday that tourist police and immigration officials searched 33 places where they found nine Africans, three of whom had overstayed their visas while the rest had entered Thailand illegally.

The arrested individuals were from Guinea, Gambia, Tanzania, Somalia, Cameroon and Nigeria. They have already been sent to the Immigration Bureau for further investigation.

Pol Maj Gen Surachet said anyone allowing foreign nationals living in Thailand illegally to stay in their homes will receive a maximum fine of 2,000 baht under the Immigration Act. If found hiding in a hotel, the hotel manager will receive a maximum fine of 10,000 baht.


Former National Parks director charged with encroachment

NNT

Tak - The Natural Parks and Wildlife Protection Unit has confirmed it will be taking legal action against a former director of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation for encroaching on land in Tak province.

The Department has indicated it is in the process of reclaiming land encroached upon by its own former director, Samak Donnapee on Mee Skok Mountain in Tak province. The official illegally built a holiday home on the land.

Chaiwat Limlikitaksorn, the head of a Natural Parks and Wildlife Protection Unit, explained that investigations have confirmed the home belongs to Samak despite being transferred into the ownership of a Saowanee Piyavee. Charges have been filed based on violation of Articles 54 and 72 of the Forest Act, and authorities are looking into further encroachment beyond the building.

It is expected to take a month for all charges to be filed against Samak, who has been called in to meet with the authorities.


Two new plans to protect against human trafficking to be proposed

 

Permanent Secretary for Labor, Jarin Jakkapak.

NNT

Bangkok - The Ministry of Labor has prepared two plans to strengthen protection against human trafficking with a focus on protecting employees and matching international practices.

Permanent Secretary for Labor, Jarin Jakkapak said the committee formed for remedying human trafficking and illegal labor has given its stamp of approval to the two plans. The two are a legal reform and prosecution plan that includes protection and reparations for human trafficking victims, and one derived from conferences with the European Union’s labor body. Both are to be put to the National Reform Steering Assembly on November 13.

The permanent secretary also indicated that a program to scan and document the retinas of some 90,000 foreign laborers operating in 22 coastal provinces has so far succeeded in processing 28,347 individuals and is likely to be completed on schedule by March 21, 2018.


Update November 8, 2017

SIM card users required to register with fingerprints, face from 15 Dec

NNT

Bangkok - SIM card users in Thailand will be required to register with a new digital identity platform from 15th December this year in the government’s effort to increase mobile phone safety.

Secretary-General of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission, Thakorn Tanthasit, said this week that the NBTC has asked all mobile phone operators to collect the information of phone users on the new digital identity platform for both post-paid and pre-paid users effective from 15th December nationwide. Some 55,000 locations have been prepared for the registration process.

SIM card buyers are required to show their citizen ID card at a service point. The system will verify their fingerprints and facial features so that they can buy a SIM card. If the two biometrics match, they can then use the SIM card. This is a government measure to prevent SIM card registration fraud.

The NBTC secretary-general assured SIM card users that their personal information will be stored confidentially.

There are over four million new mobile phone numbers in use through Thailand's various operators each month. People already using SIM cards will be able to register with the new system for their own safety.


Citizens across nation coping with cooling temperatures

NNT

Bueng Kan – Residents in several provinces of Thailand have taken to lighting camp fires and purchasing winter clothing as temperatures have dropped significantly.

People in Bueng Kan province in Thailand’s far north-east have been seen buying up second hand cold weather clothing in response to a drop in temperature, with most choosing Rong Kluea Market where vendors are recommending that they clean the clothing thoroughly before use.

Similarly, in Nong Khai province, locals have chosen to shop along the Thai-Lao border, where Laotian people have also been picking up clothing to stave off the cold. Many in the area say they fear prices will soon rise and that they are looking to stock up while prices remain normal.

In Ang Thong, the rapidly falling temperature and continued rains have forced many locals to light camp fires, especially to keep cattle warm after they were evacuated from flooded barns. The cows are under threat of foot and mouth disease, which spreads easily during the cool season.

Buriram province has also seen an increase in the number of camp fires. The local public health office is reminding people that alcohol consumption does not help in coping with cold temperatures and can be harmful, especially for the elderly who could experience rapid health deterioration. It has recommended that residents keep warm by exercising and consuming nutritious foods instead.

The Northeast Meteorological Center says a low pressure cell moving across the upper northeast is dissipating and will allow temperatures to increase 1-2 degrees Celsius over the coming days, but the temperatures will fall again after November 19 to between 12 and 18 degrees. Citizens are being urged to take care of their health.


Yala residents warned of possible dengue fever outbreak

 

NNT

Yala - Yala Provincial Public Health Office has warned local people of the risk of contracting dengue fever amid recent rainfall.

Dr. Songkran Maichum said the rain may have contributed to creating more breeding grounds for Aedes mosquitoes. He said people will become infected if they do not take precautions.

He has advised residents in the province to make sure that their homes are dry and that no water containers are left open. Mosquito nets are highly recommended for homes to protect against the insects at night.

Aedes mosquitos can transmit the viruses that cause dengue, chikungunya and zika fevers. Anyone experiencing muscle pains and a high fever should seek medical attention immediately. At least 242 people in Yala have come down with dengue fever since the beginning of this year. Three patients have died from the disease.


Mae Hong Son celebrates Bua Tong Blossom Festival this November

TAT

Mae Hong Son - One of Thailand’s most amazing natural sights, the Dok Bua Tong – or wild sunflower – in bloom, has returned to the hills and valleys of Mae Hong Son in Northern Thailand. This annual event is celebrated in a lovely Bua Tong Blossom Festival, which this year takes place from 1 November to 10 December.

The Bua Tong flowers are yellow to orange in colour and have smaller size than the typical sunflower. Originating in Central America and the Caribbean, Dok Bua Tong is said to have been brought into Thailand by Christian missionaries and was previously called Bung Tong or Mexican Sunflower.

The Bua Tong flower only blooms from November to December. During this period, the hills and valleys of Mae Hong Son turn to bright gold when these wild sunflowers come into full bloom.

The Doi Mae U-Kor mountain peak in Khun Yuam district is considered the largest and the most beautiful location to enjoy the spectacular bright yellow Bua Tong hills and valleys.

During the festival, there is also a local fair selling arts and crafts as well as farm fresh products along the route of the Bua Tong fields.


Update November 7, 2017

PM orders urgent survey of damage to help flood-stricken people

NNT

Bangkok - Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has instructed all provinces to ensure that flood-affected people receive assistance from the government and also provide aid after the floods subside.

Government Spokesman Lt.Gen.Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the PM has acknowledged the latest water situation report which said that the Royal Irrigation Department lowered a water discharge rate of Chao Phraya Dam. As a result, the water levels in Chai Nat, Sing Buri, Ang Thong and Ayutthaya provinces started to decrease. The department installed water jets at the Tha Chin and Chao Phraya estuaries and pumped water out of the fields into irrigation areas, he said.

The spokesman stated further that the PM expressed his concerns for people affected by the current widespread flooding. He instructed the Ministry of Interior to ask each of the affected provinces to thoroughly survey the damage and reassure people that the government will not abandon them.


Don Muang Airport ramp closed to traffic

NNT

Bangkok - The Department of Highways has begun its closure of an outbound traffic lane on Vipavadee Road in the area of Don Muang Airport’s entry bridge, to facilitate its expansion to three lanes in anticipation of increased traffic in the near future.

The closure officially begin at 10 p.m. Monday, after which commuters will be required to divert left into another two lanes or go right, where only one lane will be available. More police have been sent to the area and have been stationed at intervals to facilitate the flow of traffic. The Department of Highways, Traffic Police, Don Muang Airport and local police will all work together to make sure the closure does not cause traffic jams.

An alternate entry way to Don Muang Airport has been established at its cargo building and from Don Muang Tollway. Citizens can also drive past the closed ramp and make a U-turn at Don Muang Air Force Base to enter the airport through its Gate 3.

People headed to the area can call 1586 or 02-552-0409 for more information and guidance.


10,000 people flock to skywalk in Nong Khai

NNT

Nong Khai – Crowds of sightseers flocked to the famous sky walk at Pha Tak Sua Temple in Nong Khai province over the weekend.

More than 10,000 Thais and foreigners visited the temple to enjoy the spectacular views of surrounding mountains and forests of Thailand and Laos as the weather starts to become milder.

Only groups of 25 people are allowed on the sky walk at any one time. The walkway officials accept visitors from 9:30am - 4:30pm. At least 800,000 people have visited the feature since it opened in April last year.

Meanwhile, in Chiang Rai province, Governor Narongsak Osotthanakon urged people to donate their winter clothing to help people in need. Jackets can be donated at Inn Come Hotel.

A cycling activity has also been launched in Chiang Rai to help local residents stay warm. People interested in joining the bike ride must donate winter jackets to the hotel, where they will be delivered to children living in impoverished communities.


Welfare card scheme brings estimated 2 billion baht into circulation

NNT

Bangkok - The Ministry of Commerce estimates that the government welfare card scheme has brought an extra 2 billion baht into circulation over the past two months but has ordered the ejection of several participating shops due to violation of participation conditions.

Deputy Minister for Commerce, Sonthirat Sonthijirawong has responded to reports of Pracharat stores packaging goods in packs of 200-300 baht for welfare card holders and not clearly displaying prices, by saying that agents have been dispatched to remind them of the conditions of their participation in the welfare scheme and that such practices undermine the project’s intention to allow low-income earners to freely choose their purchases. He asserted that some violators of the scheme’s conditions have had their participation revoked but noted that there have only been a handful of instances.

The deputy minister indicated that he expects the amount of money added to circulation will exceed 5 billion baht as soon as another 18,000 Electronic Data Capture (EDC) machines are installed.


Update November 6, 2017

Visitors flock to royal crematorium in Bangkok

NNT

Bangkok - Throngs of Thais and foreigners are making their way to Sanam Luang to take pictures of the royal crematorium of HM the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

People from all walks of life are visiting the ceremonial grounds that now host an exhibition of the late King's many projects undertaken to benefit the Thai nation.

Around 3,000 people at a time are allowed inside Sanam Luang and each batch has approximately 45 minutes viewing time. Visitors can take pictures of the crematorium, statues, and other components of the recent cremation ceremony. Selfies however are prohibited.

All visitors have been asked to conduct themselves in the most respectful manner and to follow instructions at all times during their visit.

The crematorium is open from 7 am to 10 pm every day until November 30. The government is currently mulling the possibility of extending the visiting periods in order to allow as many people as possible a chance to learn about HM the late King’s numerous royal projects and initiatives, Thailand’s traditions and culture and also appreciate the historical value of the structure.


Govt has no plans to allow political movements

Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister, Gen Prawit Wongsuwan.

NNT

Bangkok - The government says it has no plans to lift the present ban on political movements.

Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister, Gen Prawit Wongsuwan said the government and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) haven’t yet discussed the possibility of revoking the NCPO’s order that outlaws political gatherings and movements in Thailand, adding that there will be enough time for political parties to prepare for the next general election which can be expected in late 2018.

He noted that there remain ill-intentioned people who are trying to distort facts by criticizing the government and the NCPO based on false information.

He then reiterated that the ban on political movements will be lifted once the atmosphere is more calm and peaceful.


Heavy rain continues to hit South

NNT

Songkhla - The Southern Meteorological Center (East Coast) has issued a new warning for people in the east coast of the southern region to brace for heavy rain and high waves in the Gulf of Thailand due to a low pressure area and a strong northeast monsoon wind, which have covered the area.

The weather conditions are expected to bring about heavy rains in Nakhon Si Thammrat, Phatthalung, Songkhla, Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon, Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat on November 6 to 8.

Persons in affected areas are advised to be cautious regarding the potential harm from heavy rain and flash floods. Rough sea is also expected in the Gulf of Thailand with the wave height at two to three meters.

Residents along the shoreline are advised to be mindful of potential danger from strong waves, while small boats should stay ashore.

People are also encouraged to closely follow official information from the Southern Meteorological Center (East Coast) during this period.

Meanwhile, temperatures in the northeastern region have dropped to an average 20 degrees Celsius. The cold front was brought to the area by a high air pressure system. Bueng Kan province is said to be the area feeling the biggest impact. Local people are sometimes seen gathering at various places for group exercise to keep warm.


1.5 million Thais suffering from depression

NNT

Bangkok - The Department of Mental Health has disclosed that up to 1.5 million people in Thailand are suffering from the major depressive disorder (MDD).

Director-General of the Department of Mental Health Dr. Boonruang Triruangworawat chaired the opening of the “National Mental Health Week” event which is taking place at Central Plaza Chaengwattana until November 7. Held on the theme “Depressed?… Let’s Talk,” the event aims to raise public awareness of depressive disorders, signs of depression, and treatments.

According to the director-general, 1.5 million people in the country are suffering from such mental illness, but only half of them seek help.  He cited a lack of awareness and knowledge as one of the main reasons depressed persons are not getting treatment.

He added that depression is a serious but treatable illness. Depending on the severity of symptoms, patients may receive treatment with an antidepressant medication or in communicative therapy with a psychiatrist.

Those concerned about depression and mental illnesses are advised to call Hotline 1323.


Update November 4 - 5, 2017

PM, Deputy PM chair Royal Kathin ceremonies

NNT

Bangkok - The Prime Minister and his deputy presided Friday over separate merit-making ceremonies to offer royal Kathin robes to two royal monasteries in Bangkok.

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha traveled to Wat Nuan Noradit Worawihan in Phasi Charoen district to chair the annual Royal Kathin ceremony organized by the Office of the Prime Minister. The ceremony was attended by Cabinet members, the Governor of Bangkok, civil servants of the Prime Minister’s Office, administrators, teachers and students from Wat Nuan Noradit School, and members of the general public. Donations made by charitable people totaled over 5 million baht.

On this occasion, the Prime Minister planted a yellow star tree, the symbolic tree of the Tenth Reign, and an ironwood tree, which is the symbol of Wat Nuan Noradit Worawihan.

Meanwhile, at Wat Awut Wikasitaram in Bang Phlat district, Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon hosted the Defense Ministry’s Royal Kathin ceremony of the year 2017.

Wat Awut Wikasitaram is an ancient temple, established about 247 years ago under the name Wat Pak Khlong Bang Phlat. It was later classified as a third-class royal monastery. In 1989, the Royal Thai Army received permission to set up a crematorium in the temple to serve deceased officials of the military as well as public members.


Teen pregnancies on the rise

NNT

Bangkok - The 1663 Hotline has disclosed that teen pregnancies are now on the rise, while also urging the Ministry of Education to change its approach to dealing with the issue.

According to the 1663 Hotline operation, out of 10,870 people calling the center regarding unwanted pregnancies so far this year, 17.4% of them were females under 20 years of age.

A hotline analyst, Thitiporn Dontreepong, said the number is likely to increase further due to the lack of safe-sex education and access to proper protection.

The 1663 Hotline Chief Somwong Uraiwattana said Friday that schools are sometimes a problem. Some places have failed to keep the pregnancy under wraps while some simply expelled the pregnant student.

He wanted the Ministry of Education to develop a specific course of action to deal with teen pregnancies more effectively. Somwong added that it should be mandated that pregnant students can’t be expelled from school and that assistance be given to help them cope with the situation.

Suggestions and opinions on the matter will be collected and compiled into a report for the Ministry of Education for consideration.


Mobike debuts at Kasetsart Univ

NNT

Bangkok - Mobike, a station-less bike sharing system from China has made its debut in Thailand at Kasetsart University.

The inauguration, called Mobike First Ride in KU, is a collaborative project between Advanced Info Service (AIS) and Kasetsart University in Bangkok. The Mobike system allows users to rent bicycles through the Mobike application. Each bike is equipped with GPS to prevent theft and to enable users to access the nearest available one.

Acting Kasetsart University president, Chongrak Wachrinrat said the introduction of Mobike bicycles to the campus was to raise awareness of the need to conserve energy and lessen traffic congestion and urge the public to improve their wellbeing.

The first batch of 360 Mobike bicycles are now in service. During a three-month trial period, users are required to pay a deposit of 99 baht. After that, they will be charged 10 baht for a 30 minute ride. Service fees are payable via the Mobike application’s QR code.


NLA approves anti-corruption bill

NNT

Bangkok - The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) has approved in principle the draft organic law on corruption prevention and suppression.

In a meeting with members of the NLA, Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) Meechai Ruchupan explained that the bill aims to enhance the credibility and efficiency of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

The draft law allows the NACC and its regional bodies to investigate graft allegations independently. The investigation process should take no more than two years, but may be extended on a case-by-case basis.

The NACC’s provincial bodies will also be in charge of public relations campaigns for graft prevention and suppression. The CDC also proposed allowing the Auditor General to examine the NACC’s activities. The NLA voted unanimously to approve the draft law in principle.


Update November 3, 2017

HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn opens royal crematorium exhibition

NNT

Bangkok - Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn officially opened the exhibition of the Royal Crematorium Thursday, the ornate site used in the Royal Funeral of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The exhibition encompasses all structures surrounding the Royal Crematorium, which were purposely decorated and designed to accord with the glory of His Majesty the late King. It also hosts a replica crematorium that can be appreciated by the blind via audio CDs and volunteers will aid the hearing-impaired alongside volunteer sign language translators.

Groups of 5,500 people at a time will be able to enter the complex during the exhibition, which opens at 7:22AM each day from now until November 30. The groups will be given 45 minutes to an hour to view the exhibition and can enter the grounds through five checkpoints. Three million pamphlets have been printed for distribution to visitors.

Performances will continue twice a day in the northern area of Sanam Luang throughout the display period, they will include traditional plays as well as the story of Mahajanaka, which was favored by His Majesty. Musical performances will also continue from 8a.m. to 5p.m. daily at the government officials’ pavilion.

The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority has arranged free shuttle buses to the event from Victory Monument, Hua Lumphong Train Station, the outer ringroad of Rattanakosin Island, Ekkamai Bus Terminal, the New Southern Bus Terminal and Mo Chit Bus Terminal. The Royal Thai Navy is also operating ferry boats from Nivesworadit and the Royal Thai Navy Institute piers.


Oct inflation at 0.86% due to high demand for vegetables

NNT

Bangkok - The recent price hike in vegetables during the Vegan Festival, as well as rising oil prices, contributed to higher inflation in October of 0.86 percent. The figure falls within the expected range of 0.4 - 1.0 percent.

Among the 420 products surveyed, 137 items were marked up, including fruits and vegetables, milk, food, and residential rental rates. The price of 200 items remained stable, while 85 items fell, including pork, chicken, and chicken eggs, due to less demand during school holidays. The inflation rate during the first 10 months of the year expanded 0.62 percent.

The Ministry of Commerce expects inflation to rise to 1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017 but still fall within the expected percentage range for the entire year.  Meanwhile, economic expansion is forecast at between 3 and 4 percent while the Thai baht is valued at around 34 baht per US dollar.


Min of Tourism to focus on unique Thai identity in 2018 campaign

NNT

Bangkok - The Ministry of Tourism and Sports will focus on promoting the Thai identity in its 2018 tourism campaign and has launched the "Amazing Thailand Tourism 2018 Take-Off" campaign through VietJet Air's fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft.

Tourism and Sports Minister, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul disclosed that from now until the end of 2018, the ministry will focus on enhancing Thailand's existing attractions, given that up to 70 percent of tourists to the country are recurring visitors. It will also focus on income distribution to minor cities and communities by promoting the uniqueness of local attractions.

Meanwhile, VietJet Air is preparing to accommodate tourists during the high season by launching two new flights in December from Ho Chi Minh City to Phuket and Ho Chi Minh City to Chiang Mai.


AirAsia looks to boost Phuket tourism with new Khon Kaen connection

NNT

Phuket - AirAsia held a press conference Thursday to announce its latest regional connection, Phuket-Khon Kaen. The event was overseen by Phuket Airport Director, Petch Chancharoen and AirAsia Manager for Phuket Airport, Arun Lilapantisiti, who explained that Phuket is one of AirAsia’s main flight hubs and has seen robust growth across the first three quarters of this year with all routes maintaining a load factor average of 86 percent. The airline previously increased to 18 flights daily its Bangkok-Phuket connection, adding an early morning flight to the schedule.

To make the most of the tourism season AirAsia is launching two new routes, the first is Phuket-Macau, which will begin flights on January 8, 2018 and Phuket-Khon Kaen, which the airline expects will benefit northeasterners looking to travel from the resort hub back home for the holidays.

The Phuket-Khon Kaen connection will operate four times weekly and is already available for bookings.

Lilapantisiti said AirAsia’s plan for Phuket Airport will continue to focus on offering self-service systems with additional check-in kiosks and baggage loading machines to be installed in both its domestic and international terminals.


Update November 2, 2017

People pay homage to late King's ashes at Wat Bowonniwet Vihara temple

NNT

Bangkok - Members of the public have been traveling to Wat Bowonniwet Vihara temple in Bangkok to pay homage to the ashes of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, enshrined inside a Buddha statue in the temple's ordination hall.

Deputy abbot Phra Soponkanaporn revealed many people have been arriving at the temple since the ashes of the late King were enshrined last weekend during a ceremony performed by His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun.

The late King's ashes were put inside the principle Buddha statue located in the temple's main ordination hall.

Wat Bowonniwet Vihara temple will open its doors to the general public throughout November. Visitors can attend from 7.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m., except at times when religious ceremonies are taking place.

Each visitor will be given a copy of a portrait of the late Supreme Patriarch drawn by the late King as a token of remembrance.


PM encourages appropriateness as nation prepares for Loy Krathong

NNT

Bangkok - Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has asked that Loy Krathong this year, which is taking place on November 3, be observed with appropriate behavior and care, urging citizens to make make sure no damage or danger takes place and for all participants to uphold the traditions of the celebration. He reminded the public that floating lanterns require permission before being sent aloft.

Provinces across the country are ready for the holiday, such as in Chachoengsao, which has dispatched security personnel to conduct a crime sweep and to watch over all centers of merriment. They are on the lookout for weapons, drugs and wanted individuals. The province is celebrating the holiday until November 10.

Deputy Commander of the Royal Thai Police, Pol Gen Chalermkiat Sriworakan and Acting Commander of the Metropolitan Police, Pol Lt Gen Chanthep Sesavej have set up a joint force of police and soldiers as well as police canines to suppress any criminal activities during the festival in Bangkok. They reiterated that fireworks are not permitted and that any use will incur punishment.


DSI makes largest counterfeit goods bust ever

NNT

Bangkok - The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has seized over 40 million baht's worth of smuggled or counterfeit goods in Bangkok’s Khlong Tom and Khlong San areas.

The haul included counterfeit glasses falsely branded with names such as Ray Ban, Gucci and Oakley as well as clothing and accessories branded Chanel, Hermes, Levis and Lacoste. The more than 210,000 items have been valued in excess of 40 million baht and were found in three storage warehouse facilities in Khlong Tom and Khlong San. Chinese national Ling Ju Zhu was apprehended along with the products.

DSI Director Pol Col Paisit Wongmuang and Director of the DSI’s Bureau of Intellectual Property Crime, Col Pinij Tangsakul said Wednesday that the seizures were the largest yet and followed an investigation into smuggled eye glasses and IP violations.

The apprehended suspect has been charged with violation of the Brands Act and the Customs Act and his case is to be forwarded to the Anti-Money Laundering Office. It has yet to be clarified whether or not the suspect entered the country legally.


Bodyslam singer kicks off charity run for 11 hospitals

NNT

Yala - Rock star Artiwara ''Toon'' Kongmalai of the band Bodyslam started his much publicized charity run yesterday from Betong district of Yala province to raise funds for 11 hospitals across Thailand,

A large number of well-wishers and supporters were present as the Bodyslam vocalist set off on the first 51km leg of his ultra-marathon jog up the length of the nation, his ultimate destination being Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province in the North.

Kongmalai hopes to raise 700 million baht from his 55-day run to provide funds for 11 hospitals in the country. So far, he has already raised about 40 million baht.

For those wishing to support his venture, donations can be made to the Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) account No. 111-393-5263 or by sending an SMS, 10 baht each, with an initial T to 4545099 via AIS, DTAC and True Move H.


Update November 1, 2017

Government signs off on smoke-free beaches

 

Bangkok (AP) - As Pattaya readies to introduce its own beach smoking ban, government officials signed an MOU this week with other public and private sector members to solve the problem of cigarette butts littering many of the country’s coastlines.

The minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Surasak Kanjanarat, together with representatives from the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Tourism and Sport, came to witness the signing of the agreement on Tuesday in Bangkok.

Surasak said that waste has become one of the biggest problems in Thailand and that every sector must pay attention to solving this problem together, by being conscious of the environment at all times.

Reducing the number of cigarette butts along the coast is a pilot ‘zero waste’ project on the beaches. Cigarette filters contain various toxins, nicotine and other dangerous substances, which are harmful to marine life, people and the environment.

There are 24 beaches in 15 provinces engaged in this project, including Bangsaen in Chonburi and Pa-Tong on Phuket Island. The authorities will work to increase tourist awareness of this new regulation, but the Minister expressed confidence that the measure will not negatively affect tourism.

While smoking is not totally banned on beaches, tourists must now only smoke in designated areas. Officials at the meeting said these new regulations will come into effect on February 1, 2018, whereas previous information indicated the smoking ban would be implemented from November 1 this year.


Passports of former PM Yingluck cancelled

Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

NNT

Bangkok - Police officials have confirmed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has cancelled all four of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s passports and that attempts to locate her are continuing.

Deputy Commander of the Royal Thai Police, Pol Gen Sriwara Rangsiphramnakul, said authorities are continuing to track ex-premier Yingluck, who was found guilty by the Supreme Court of dereliction of duty relating to her government’s damaging rice pledging scheme. He confirmed that police are coordinating with Interpol and receive a weekly report, but so far no new leads have been uncovered as to the whereabouts of the former PM and no countries have responded to queries regarding her presence. To date there have been no indications she has requested asylum anywhere.

Pol Gen Sriwara, nonetheless, confirmed that, after coordinating with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, all four passports used by Yingluck have been cancelled. They include her civilian passports as well as any diplomatic documents.


Fireworks, sky lanterns banned on Loy Krathong Day

NNT

Bangkok - The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is to open 30 parks where the public can celebrate this year's Loy Krathong Day. However, fireworks and sky lanterns will be strictly prohibited during the festival.

Bangkok Governor Pol.Gen.Atsawin Kwanmuang said this week that the BMA's Loy Krathong event is scheduled for 3rd November 2017 from 5 PM - 12 AM at Rama VIII Bridge on the Thon Buri side of Bangkok, while 30 public parks in Bangkok will be open for people to float their Krathong baskets in the waterways there.

The governor called on people to organize polite celebrations since the mourning period for His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej has just ended. People who use fireworks and release sky lanterns are subject to imprisonment of up to three years and/or fine of up to 60,000 baht.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Thanasak Patimapragorn says every province can celebrate the Loy Krathong festival but encouraged polite celebrations. Fireworks will be banned on Loy Krathong Day, he added.

Deputy Director-General of the Public Relations Department, (PRD) Dr.Charoon Chaiyasorn said this year's Loy Krathong event scheduled to take place for on 1st - 3rd November at the PRD head office will feature many activities such as a Krathong procession, a Noppamat beauty pageant, a singing contest and more than 150 booths selling low-priced products.


Welfare card misuse being probed and regulations may be tightened

FPO Director Suwich Rojanawanich.

NNT

Bangkok - Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) Director Suwich Rojanawanich has addressed the online posting of a photo of a welfare card holder wearing a designer watch and holding a high end smartphone by saying that authorities are looking into the facts behind the posting and giving an assurance that criminal charges will be lodged if the poster is guilty of defrauding the state, noting that the court has the authority to demand repayment of any money used under false pretenses by a card holder.  Welfare cards by regulation are only to be issued to low-income earners who made less than 100,000 baht in 2016.

The director pointed out that while the investigation is ongoing, the office may tighten its regulations for issuing cards. He explained that when registrations take place again in 2019, current card holders will have to re-register and be evaluated for eligibility once again.

The FPO has received 258,067 appeals for re-evaluation of eligibility for the welfare cards and has given approval to 9,300 individuals so far.
 


DAILY UPDATE

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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Possible extension of royal crematorium exhibition to be discussed on Wednesday

MOPH appoints officials to enforce new tobacco law

PM Prayut asks for public confidence in government

Tourism & Sports Minister visits vehicle museum in Nakhon Pathom


PM to attend APEC meeting this weekend

Flooding situation normalizes in the North

Welfare payments to families with newborns now expanded

Public Health Min: Alcohol doesn't keep body warm


Thai Viet Jet becomes 12th airline to regain license certification

Chiang Rai prepares to retake defunct mine

Prachuap Khiri Khan hard hit as rains continue over south

Elephant fest underway in Surin


Military to assist southern residents during storms

9 Africans arrested in Bangkok for overstaying their visas

Former National Parks director charged with encroachment

Two new plans to protect against human trafficking to be proposed


SIM card users required to register with fingerprints, face from 15 Dec

Citizens across nation coping with cooling temperatures

Yala residents warned of possible dengue fever outbreak

Mae Hong Son celebrates Bua Tong Blossom Festival this November


PM orders urgent survey of damage to help flood-stricken people

Don Muang Airport ramp closed to traffic

10,000 people flock to skywalk in Nong Khai

Welfare card scheme brings estimated 2 billion baht into circulation


Visitors flock to royal crematorium in Bangkok

Govt has no plans to allow political movements

Heavy rain continues to hit South

1.5 million Thais suffering from depression


PM, Deputy PM chair Royal Kathin ceremonies

Teen pregnancies on the rise

Mobike debuts at Kasetsart Univ

NLA approves anti-corruption bill


HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn opens royal crematorium exhibition

Oct inflation at 0.86% due to high demand for vegetables

Min of Tourism to focus on unique Thai identity in 2018 campaign

AirAsia looks to boost Phuket tourism with new Khon Kaen connection


People pay homage to late King's ashes at Wat Bowonniwet Vihara temple

PM encourages appropriateness as nation prepares for Loy Krathong

DSI makes largest counterfeit goods bust ever

Bodyslam singer kicks off charity run for 11 hospitals


Government signs off on smoke-free beaches

Passports of former PM Yingluck cancelled

Fireworks, sky lanterns banned on Loy Krathong Day

Welfare card misuse being probed and regulations may be tightened

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