Update February 24 - 25, 2018
Authentic Ayutthaya revived at Japanese Village’s Virtual Reality Street Museum
Ayutthaya, 22nd February 2018 (NNT) - Thailand
and Japan are jointly celebrating the 130th anniversary of diplomatic
relations with a Virtual Reality Street Museum at the Japanese Village
in Ayutthaya province.
Created as an integral part of a
permanent exhibition and multimedia of “Yamada Nagamasa (Okya
Senabhimuk) and Thaothongkeepma” in the exhibition hall next to Chao
Phraya River, the Virtual Reality Street Museum features an innovative
experiential showcase and was complemented by historic information about
the former capital of Ayutthaya, the roles of the Japanese Village, and
international fabric of society at the height of the Ayutthaya era.
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of
the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), said: “TAT joined the
Thai-Japan Association, Japan Chamber of Commerce Bangkok, and 20
leading Thai and Japanese organisations to deepen the meaningful
relationship between the two countries.
“Ayutthaya is one of Thailand’s
most visited destinations, with both Thais and international guests
appreciating the rich tapestry of Thai heritage that is brought to life
in the area. The Virtual Reality Street Museum at the Japanese Village
will be a valuable addition to this, by bringing history into the 21st
The newly-opened Virtual Reality
Street Museum provides visitors with an immersive VR Theatre equipped
with the latest VR Scope Technology, offering a spectacular 360-degree
view of historic Ayutthaya, which was considered one of the most
important trading posts (or ports) connecting the East and the West by
facilitating the exchange of trade, culture, politics and diplomacy.
With Ayutthaya and the Japanese
Village at the heart of the exhibition showcase, the advanced technology
portrays an engaging story through 96 million pixel resolution computer
graphics, which depicts the naval trade journey of Yamada Nagamasa that
established the relationship with the 17th century Siamese Kingdom, and
set the foundations for the flourishing relationship today.
Through the Street Museum’s
technology, visitors can scan a QR code with their handheld devices;
such as smartphones and tablets to enjoy the vast landscape of the
Japanese Village today and from the 17th century through virtual reality
on their screens, with audio guides also available in three languages:
Thai, Japanese and English.
TAT is also supporting the VR
Street Museum by providing a glimpse into the Ayutthaya way of life.
Experiential market life is on display inviting visitors to enjoy an
Ayutthaya culinary experience inspired by recipes of the renowned
Thaothongkeepma (Marie Guimar) – who was a cook in the court of King
Narai the Great; such as, Thong Yip, Thong Yot, and Foi Thong.
With the Virtual Reality Street
Museum now open, tourists can easily add this immersive technological
experience to their historic Ayutthaya itinerary.
Community Enterprise Fair 2018 underway at Queen Sirikit Convention Center
Bangkok (NNT) - The Department of Agricultural Extension is hosting
the Community Enterprise Fair 2018 at Bangkok's Queen Sirikit Convention
Center to allow local manufacturers to meet their consumer market.
At the fair, visitors can find farm and
handmade goods from 270 community enterprises across the nation. In addition
to quality products, the event features an exhibition of outstanding farm
produce, a discussion forum, and career training.
Thailand's Permanent Secretary to the
Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Lertviroj Kowattana said today
community enterprises play an important role in promoting economic growth
and creating jobs for the locals.
There are currently more than 85,000
community enterprises and 1.4 million members nationwide. Last year, they
generated 25 billion baht in revenue.
Lertviroj said the fair would make
community products more popular among consumers.
Total revenue earnt by community
enterprises is expected to increase by 5% this year, according to Lertviroj.
The Community Enterprise Fair continues
until this Sunday.
Thailand to host 8th ACMECS
presided over the meeting, which aimed to ensure Thailand’s readiness to
host the eighth ACMECS. The summit will be held from June 15th – 16th at the
Shangri La Hotel, in Bangkok.
Bangkok (NNT) - Prime Minister
Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has attended a meeting to prepare Thailand to host the
eighth Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS)
Meeting in June.
Gen Prayut presided over the meeting,
which aimed to ensure Thailand’s readiness to host the eighth ACMECS. The
summit will be held from June 15th – 16th at the Shangri La Hotel, in
The premier said during the meeting
that he wants the eighth ACMECS to be more international in terms of the
meeting's format and topics of discussion. The eighth ACMECS aims to reduce
economic inequality between Thailand and its neighboring countries by
promoting border development and production connectivity.
He also expects there to be sideline
meetings held in parallel to the main event for the benefit of all
participating nations, as it is not often that leaders in this region come
together to discuss economic matters.
Over 100 million baht worth of unlicensed cosmetics and food supplements seized in Korat
Nakhon Ratchasima, (NNT) –
Officials of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Crime Suppression
Division seized over 100 million baht worth of unlicensed food supplements
and cosmetics in a raid on two warehouses in Nakhon Ratchasima.
Deputy FDA secretary-general Somchai
Preechathaweekit said that the FDA had received numerous complaints from
consumers who had bought cosmetics and food supplements online from a
Facebook page under the name of Wannapa Pongson and Magic Skin Company.
They complained that they used the
products and found them ineffective as advertised with several complaining
of shaking hands, breathing problem or sleep deprivation.
The authorities launched an
investigation, sought permission for a search warrant from the court and
raided the company’s warehouses in Nakhon Ratchasima and seized a large
amount of drinks, vitamins, and food supplements.
The seized items included 3,258 boxes
of Linda Drink, 52,000 packages of Linda Drink, 20,160 boxes of Chlorophyl
Detox Fiber, 137,500 packages of Apple Slim, 45 boxes of Shi-No-Bi, 600,000
capsules of Fern Vitamin, 1,368 boxes of Treechada under-arm serum and 10
The owner of the unlicensed or fake
products would face charges of producing and selling fake products,
overstating their qualities and selling them under improper labels, he said.
He warned consumers not to be easily
duped by overstated advertisements and to exercise caution in purchasing
food supplements and cosmetics online.
Thailand hosts ‘Amour Asia Pacific 2018’
Srisuda Wananpinyosak, TAT Deputy Governor for
International Marketing (Europe, Africa, Middle East and Americas), said the
hosting of the Amour Asia Pacific 2018 confirmed that the quality of Thai
wedding suppliers and organizers is second to none.
Bangkok (NNT) – The Tourism
Authority of Thailand (TAT) recently hosted Amour Asia Pacific 2018, a
luxury travel trade catering to the booming weddings and honeymoons market,
confirming its status as a global leader in these lucrative niche markets.
The event took place during 14-17 February, 2018, at Marriott Marquis
Queen’s Park Bangkok
Bespoke weddings in Thailand created
once-in-a-lifetime memories for couples, showcasing an impressive choice of
popular themes including romantic beach weddings, superyacht weddings,
Lanna-style weddings, or traditional Thai weddings to name just a few.
Srisuda Wananpinyosak, TAT Deputy
Governor for International Marketing (Europe, Africa, Middle East and
Americas), said the hosting of the Amour Asia Pacific 2018 confirmed that
the quality of Thai wedding suppliers and organizers is second to none.
Amour Asia Pacific 2018 strengthened
Thailand’s image as a wedding and honeymoon destination on the global stage
following the successful Destination Wedding Planner Congress 2017.
“Thailand was unanimously voted as the
preferred destination by luxury buyers from the Amour 2017 event. This
year’s rendition is a testament to Thailand’s rising world-class status in
the romance segment. It enhances awareness of the country as the region’s
leading leisure destination that offerings the highest quality wedding
products and services.’
Mrs. Srisuda noted the country’s broad
choices of destinations from the green mountains in the North to the
crystal-clear seas of Southern Thailand, to Bangkok’s vibrant night life.
Amour Asia Pacific 2018 organizer, Mr.
Richard Barns, CEO of Worldwide Events, said: “We always wanted to hold this
event in the Asia Pacific, bringing in buyers from Europe and North America.
Thailand stands out as an incredible choice for romance travel experiences
and, TAT is an excellent host of the event.”
The event brought 58 romance and luxury
travel agents and wedding planners from worldwide to discuss business
face-to-face with 60 suppliers from the Asia-Pacific region, including 16
Thai hotels and destination management companies. Apart from the business
meetings, delegates also had the chance to indulge themselves in luxury Thai
local experiences, including a cooking class, Thai boxing class, private
food and sightseeing tours.
UK-based LuxePrive founder Ms. Namai
Bishop agreed, noting that Thailand offers remarkable diversity for the
high-end market. “Our clients are always happy coming to Thailand because of
its reputation as a luxury and romantic holiday destination. My clients need
personal one-on-one care and Thailand offers it like no other.”
Destination Asia Managing Director Ms.
Pornthip Hirunkate, whose company was the official event ground handler,
believes the Amour Asia Pacific 2018 lifts Thailand’s image as the region’s
marquee destination for weddings and honeymoons.
“Amour Asia Pacific 2018 showcased
Thailand’s abilities in different sectors, from bespoke services to
multi-destination interiors combining diverse accommodation options with a
variety of culinary experiences at quality restaurants. Clients in the
luxury segment prefer a four- and five-star villa or suite accommodation
with a tailor-made itinerary exclusively for them. They normally travel with
family staying for at least two weeks while spending over 10,000 baht (US$
318) per day,” Ms. Pornthip, concluded.
Thailand welcomed about 1.1 million
visitors for weddings and honeymoons in 2016, generating US$1.77 billion for
the Thai economy. The number represented 104,090 people who tied the knot,
generating US$154 million, and 988,900 honeymooners contributing US$1.47
billion. Top markets included Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Oceania.
Former Social Development Minister denies neglect of duty
Bangkok – (NNT) Pol. Gen Adul Saengsinghkaew has assured the
public that he did not neglect allegations of malfeasance within the
Ministry of Social Development and Human Security pertaining to its welfare
program, during his time as minister.
Current Minister of Labor, Pol Gen Adul
Saengsinghkaew has responded to claims that during his time as Minister of
Social Development and Human Security he failed to act on a report by the
Office of the Ombudsman indicating irregularities in payments made through
the office’s welfare scheme.
Pol Gen Adul acknowledged that the
report was forwarded to him twice, in early and late August 2017, but
explained that the one page document only outlined suspicions of minor graft
with no further details or identification of suspects. He said the document
resembled frequently received complaints and said that he forwarded it to
his Permanent Secretary at the time, Maitree Intusut, who carried out a
seven day fact-finding mission, which uncovered corrupt officials and
resulted in punishments being meted out in October 2017.
On Director of the Social Development
and Welfare Department Putipat Lertchaosit, being implicated in the matter
but still being made a Permanent Secretary, Pol Gen Adul explained that the
promotion took place in July, well before any reports of misconduct were
made and that the decision was appropriate at the time. The minister stated
he is confident that he worked with transparency and without neglect.
Premchai postpones hearing charges for a second time
Bangkok, 23rd February 2018
(NNT) – Italian Thai Co Ltd CEO Premchai Karnasutra, who is suspected of
illegally hunting animals in a national sanctuary, has asked for a second
postponement of a scheduled appearance before authorities.
Investigators initially scheduled
Premchai to appear to hear charges of animal abuse on February 15 but his
lawyer appeared on the date to ask for a postponement due to his client’s
inability to appear. A second meeting was scheduled for February 22 in
Deputy Commander of Provincial Police
Region 7 Pol Maj Gen Krisana Supdech disclosed however, that Premchai’s
lawyer had once again contacted authorities to delay his appearance,
requesting that it take place on March 5 instead, due to Premchai being tied
up in engagements.
Police recorded the postponement but
agreed to the new date, indicating that failure to appear for a third time
and loss of contact on the day will result in a warrant being issued for
Police considering bribery charges against Italian Thai CEO
Bangkok, 22nd February 2018 (NNT) – Counter Corruption Division
Police (CCD) have held a meeting concerning allegations of attempted bribery
by Italian Thai Co Ltd CEO Premchai Karnasutra, with expectations of
wrapping up the case in March.
CCD held the meeting with authorities
from the Natural Resource and Environment Police and other relevant
agencies, to decide on the approach to investigating Premchai’s alleged
attempted bribery of Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary head Wichien
Chinnawong when the latter led a search of a camp used by Premchai and three
others and found evidence of illegal wildlife hunting.
CCD Commander Pol Maj Gen Kamol
Rienracha disclosed after the meeting that all officers working on the case
are proceeding in the same direction according to their individual
responsibilities. He indicated that the Technological Crimes Division has
been given audio clips of Premchai’s exchanges with authorities to analyze;
Natural Resource and Environment Police are looking over case files and
Economic Crimes Police are establishing whether the alleged attempted
bribery can be considered a crime.
Meanwhile, Wichien and three other
sanctuary authorities have asked that a questioning session scheduled for
February 22 be heldover to March 8 due to official engagements.
Nevertheless, another meeting will take place on March 12 to decide if
Premchai will be charged, which would require him to appear before the
Premchai’s party must today hear
charges of animal abuse in Kanchanaburi province. If they twice fail to
appear before police the matter will be put to the court for further action.
Head of the Department of National
Forests, Wildlife and Plant Conservation’s Phaya Sua Task Force, Chaiwat
Limlikitaksorn made known meanwhile, that his unit will take investigators
from Thong Pha Phum police station back to the scene where Premchai’s party
was discovered to look into several more places where evidence has been
Bangkok Governor promises truth to be uncovered in unauthorized market matter
Bangkok, 22 February 2018 (NNT) – Thailand's National Anti-Corruption
Commission (NACC) has setup a fact finding committee to look into claims
Prawet district officials neglected complaints over land usage for markets
in the area. The governor of Bangkok has ordered a full investigation into
an incident resulting from the markets and temporary closure of the spaces
until probes are concluded.
Bangkok Governor, Pol Gen Assawin
Kwanmuang, led a contingent of Prawet district officials and police to Soi
Srinakarin 55 to inspect the area in front of the home of Boonsri
Saengyoktrakarn, where a truck was attacked by a member of Boonsri’s
household due to frustration over frequent obstructive parking. It was later
discovered that Boonsri has made multiple complaints over the five markets
that were established surrounding her home and how they encouraged buyers to
park in front of her driveway. While not meeting the owner of the house
during the visit, the governor said he had spoken to her on the phone and
promised to step up work to uncover the truth of the matter.
Initial checks have found that Suan
Luang, Ple and Ying Nara markets were erected in violation of their land
usage authorization while Roong Wanich and Rom Luang did not have any
permission. The latter two have been ordered to cease operation until
February 28, but the first three have been allowed to continue in the
interests of the vendors.
NACC Chairman, Pol Gen Watcharapol
Prasarnrajakij, disclosed that a committee is being established to look into
claims that Prawet area officials failed to act on complaints lodged against
the markets and he assured that it would pursue the matter through to
Bangkok’s highest office if necessary.
Community service programs held in various provinces
SI SA KET, 20 February 2018 (NNT)
- People in various provinces in Thailand have joined community service
programs to improve the standard of living.
In Kantharalak district of Si Sa Ket
province, Governor Thawat Suraban presided over the opening ceremony of the
program, which was initiated by His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn.
Joining the program were local
residents and those from various organizations. They offered short career
training courses, legal advice and health checkups to Kantharalak residents.
The governor said the objectives were
to help public organizations see, firsthand, what people were struggling
with on a daily basis, to improve their livelihoods and to establish good
In Bangkok, people joined the community
service program that took place in the areas surrounding Lad Ped and Prem
Prachakorn Canals. They helped each other unclog the waterways and prune
They later visited Don Muang Temple and
Wat Don Muang School to clean rooms and floors. The community service will
continue until this Thursday.
Thais continue to visit winter festival
Bangkok, 22nd February 2018 (NNT) - More people dressed in
traditional clothes are visiting the winter festival to enjoy the sight of
beautiful flowers and learn about major events that took place in the past.
The festival remains popular among Thai
and foreign visitors who want to learn about the period of King Rama V.
Those who wish to wear traditional costumes can rent outfits at the event.
The festival, which was initiated by
His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn, welcomes people of all backgrounds. A
group of volunteers is on standby to accommodate people with disabilities
and the elderly looking for assistance.
His Majesty the King deputized Privy
Councilor Attaniti Dita-amnat to visit the event on his behalf on Wednesday.
The event features exhibitions on major
events that took place during the reign of King Rama V, more than 200,000
flowers, and vending stalls selling food and locally made items.
The festival is open every day until
March 11th from 10.30 am to 9 pm, but stays open until 10 pm on Fridays and
Saturdays. Entry is free of charge.
Free buses are provided for visitors
coming to the festival from Chatuchak, North & North Eastern Bus Terminal,
Victory Monument, Wongwian Yai, Nang Lerng Horse Stable and Sanam Luang.
Pattaya Night Run scheduled for March to boost tourism
Pattaya, 21 February 2018 (NNT)
– The beach resort town of Pattaya is set to host the Pattaya Night Run 2018
in March as part of the tourism promotion strategy.
The Chon Buri Provincial Office of
Tourism and Sports, together with Pattaya Municipality and related agencies,
has held a press conference on the upcoming Pattaya Night Run 2018. Among
the attendees were Deputy Governor of Chon Buri Chaicharn Aeimjaroen,
Pattaya City Mayor Anan Charoenchasri as well as representatives of the
Provincial Office of Tourism and Sports, Provincial Public Relations Office
and Pattaya Business and Tourism Association.
Deputy Governor Chaicharn stated that
the objective of the Pattaya Night Run is to promote a new trend of tourism
in Pattaya and stimulate the national economy while also encouraging the
public to exercise. The main event is called Fun Run, in which participants
will get to run in a fun nightlife setting of Pattaya, with upbeat music,
laser displays and light tunnels throughout the course. Another special
feature is an art corner, where runners can splatter themselves with
On the sidelines of Fun Run, there will
be a concert featuring the hit girl band BNK48 and Ae Jirakorn. Other fun
activities include a costume contest, which is divided into individual and
group categories, and the “Run for More Likes” photo contest on social
media. Many prizes will be up for grabs.
The Pattaya Night Run, which is the
first of its kind, will take place at Bali Hai Pier on Saturday, March 3
from 6 pm until midnight.
Rare Disease Day 2018 event to be held
Bangkok, 21 February 2018 (NNT) – The Thai Rare Disease Foundation
has joined with Ramathibodi Hospital to hold the “Rare Disease Day 2018”
event, seeking to raise awareness of the up to 8,000 rare diseases yet to be
recognized in the public health system.
Head of the Department of Medicine at
Ramathibodi Hospital, Dr. Duangrudee Wattanasirichaikul, stated at the press
conference for “New Life on Rare Disease Day 2018” that a rare disease is
any disease that affects less than 1 person in 2,500, of which there are
between 7,000 and 8,000. She explained that such diseases can only be
diagnosed through blood analysis and that modern medicine, while able to
treat most complications of such ailments, lacks adequate supply of the
required pharmaceuticals. The rare disease day event is to raise awareness
of rare diseases.
Thai Rare Disease Foundation President,
Preeya Singhnarala, said her foundation was established to promote
understanding of rare diseases not yet recognized by the Thai public health
system as well as to serve as a connection between patients and medical
organizations in Thailand and abroad so that diagnoses of such diseases can
Ramathibodi Hospital physician, Dr.
Thanyachai Sura, remarked that rare diseases are costly to treat due to the
range of treatments needed and due to the fact that many medications are not
listed in the nation’s compulsory registry.
Winter festival features student shows on Tuesday
Bangkok, 21 February 2018 (NNT) - Visitors to the winter festival,
being held in Bangkok, are enjoying beautiful winter flowers and spectacular
cultural performances by school students.
Many people have continued to make
their way to the winter festival to learn about the lives of people during
the reign of King Rama V. Most visitors were dressed in traditional
Cultural shows featured on Tuesday
night attracted many visitors. A shadow-puppet show performed by students
from Trang province was among several performances that brought smiles to
Located to the east of the Equestrian
Statue of King Chulalongkorn the Great is an outdoor movie theater. It is a
place for people to reminisce about their childhood years when indoor movie
theaters were not as ubiquitous as they are today.
The winter festival was initiated by
His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn for people of all backgrounds to enjoy
and learn about major events that took place during the reigns of King Rama
V and King Rama IX.
The festival is open every day until
March 11th from 10.30 am to 9 pm, but stays open until 10 pm on Fridays and
Saturdays. Entry is free of charge.
Japanese man given custody of 13 surrogate kids
In this Aug. 12, 2014, file photo, the media
attend a press briefing where Thai police display projected pictures of
surrogate babies born to a Japanese man who is at the center of a surrogacy
scandal during a press conference at the police headquarters in Chonburi,
Thailand. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File)
By Kaweewit Kaewjinda, Associated Press
Bangkok (AP) — A Thai court on
Tuesday granted legal custody of 13 babies carried by surrogate mothers to a
secretive Japanese millionaire who is their biological father, reviving a
bizarre tale that captured tabloid headlines four years ago, but leaving
some basic questions unanswered.
Mitsutoki Shigeta's case raised
eyebrows in 2014 when police raided a Bangkok condominium and found nine
babies and nine nannies living in unfurnished rooms. It was determined that
Shigeta had fathered the children using Thai surrogate mothers. The case,
along with several others, helped usher in a Thai law prohibiting commercial
surrogacy for foreign clients.
Bangkok's Central Juvenile and Family
Court gave Shigeta sole legal custody of the children, ruling that he is
financially stable and had showed his plans to care for them.
The ruling said Shigeta had a right to
custody because the children were born before the new law was enacted, and
because the surrogate mothers signed documents waiving their custody rights.
Shigeta, who has kept an extremely low
profile, did not attend the court's sessions and had a lawyer represent him.
Shigeta is the son of an owner of a
Japanese company and earns over 100 million baht ($3.1 million) in annual
dividends, which shows he is financially capable of looking after the
children, the court said in a statement. He is now 28 years old, according
to a copy of his passport released by Thai police in 2014.
It said DNA evidence confirmed that
Shigeta is the children's' father, and that he plans to send the children to
an international school and has bought a piece of land to house them next to
a large park in central Tokyo, where they will be looked after by nurses and
The court also said Shigeta had opened
bank accounts in Singapore for all 13 children whose custody he was awarded
Tuesday. Reports in the Thai media in 2014 said he had fathered 16 children
in Thailand, but the court's decision mentioned only 13.
The court's statement did little to
lift the veil of mystery over Shigeta, who had minimal contact with the
surrogates. After his case made headlines, a group of prominent lawyers sent
letters warning Japan's mainstream media not to report Shigeta's name or the
names of his family members, according to news organizations that received
Several Japanese magazines and online
publications nonetheless identified him as a son of Japanese tycoon
Yasumitsu Shigeta, founder and chief executive officer of the Japanese
communications and technology company Hikari Tsushin.
In 2014, a woman who was recruited
through an online advertisement to be one of his surrogates recalled meeting
Shigeta for the first time two months after giving birth at the fertility
clinic that arranged the deal, for which she was paid $10,000.
She described him in an interview with
The Associated Press as tall, with shaggy, shoulder-length hair, and dressed
casually in jeans and a wrinkled, button-down shirt he left untucked. The
woman, who asked to be called by the pseuudonym "Wassana" to avoid
embarrassment to her family, said his lawyer accompanied him to the meeting,
where she and Shigeta signed a document granting him sole custody.
"He didn't say anything to me," said
Wassana, a sidewalk food vendor who took on the surrogacy job to help pay
her rent. "He never introduced himself. He only smiled and nodded. His
lawyer did the talking."
When public interest in the case became
intense, Shigeta said through a lawyer that he simply wanted a big family.
But Mariam Kukunashvili, founder of the
New Light clinic that recruited Wassana, said he told her "he wanted to win
elections and could use his big family for voting,"
"He said he wanted 10 to 15 babies a
year, and that he wanted to continue the baby-making process until he's
dead," Kukunashvili told the AP in 2014.
Wassana's doctor, Pisit
Tantiwattanakul, told the Medical Council of Thailand — which was concerned
that there had been ethical breaches in the case — that Shigeta said he had
businesses overseas and wanted a large family because he trusted only his
own children to take care of them.
According to Tuesday's court statement,
Shigeta has taken care of other children, born from surrogacy, and raised
them in Japan and Cambodia, where they were well looked after. The children
that he cared for in Japan now all have Japanese citizenship, it said.
It is unclear where the children raised
in Cambodia are now. Cambodia inherited much of the surrogacy-for-hire
business for foreigners after Thailand banned it, but later passed its own
law against it.
The court said Shigeta did not show
behavior linking him to human trafficking, which had been a concern when his
story was originally revealed.
Protesters win agreement for new reviews of coal plants
cry during gathering near government house in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday,
Feb. 20, 2018. Protesters seeking to stop construction of coal-fired power
plants in the country's south have claimed victory, as the Energy Ministry
agreed to order news assessments of the health and environment impacts of
the projects. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
By Tassanee Vejpongsa, Associated Press
Bangkok (AP) — Thailand's energy
minister told protesters Tuesday that the health and environmental impacts
of two planned coal-fired power plants in the south will be reassessed
impartially, an announcement the group termed a victory.
About three dozen demonstrators who had
been holding a hunger strike ended their protest in the capital after Energy
Minister Siri Jirapongphan met with them and agreed to suspend work on the
projects in the seaside provinces of Krabi and Songkhla until neutral
reviews are done.
The protesters sang, cried and hugged
each other as the agreement was announced.
Protesters gather near the government house to
protest the construction of a coal power plant in Bangkok, Thailand,
Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Siri, speaking in front of the
protesters, agreed to withdraw the assessments by the state enterprise
Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand and undertake broader reviews
of whether the projects are suitable from impartial participants agreed upon
by both the ministry and the protesters.
The ministry agreed not to proceed with
either project if the new review finds them unsuitable. The proposed Krabi
plant would generate up to 800 megawatts and the Songkhla one 2,200
megawatts of power. The areas under consideration have notable tourism and
Activist Roonguna Kitiyakara expressed
confidence that new, fair reviews would mean a halt to the projects.
"The real victory is the reassessment
of the environmental and health impacts, making sure the process is
impartial, transparent and fact-based," he said "Because we all know that
it is impossible, if you consider all the facts, to find these areas, like
Krabi, suitable for power plants, especially coal-powered plants. Perhaps
other types of power plants may be possible."
EEC investment to boost Thailand's GDP growth by 5%
Bangkok - The projected
substantial investment in eastern provinces under the government’s Eastern
Economic Corridor (EEC) project could help boost the country’s economy by 5
percent in 2018, according to officials.
Secretary-general of the Eastern
Economic Corridor (EEC) Office, Kanit Sangsubhan, said investments in the
eastern provinces will help raise Thailand's gross domestic product (GDP) in
the latter half of this year.
For the first five years under the
EEC’s implementation plan, there are four investment categories with a total
of 15 projects. These included a project to develop U-Tapao international
airport as the eastern region's aviation city, a high-speed rail project
connecting Don Muang, Suvarnabhumi, and U-Tapao airports, the expansion of
Laem Chabang deep sea port, Maptaphut, and Sattahip ports, the construction
of a dual-track railroad connecting the three ports, and the construction of
highways and roads.
The total investment cost is projected
at no less than 1.7 trillion baht, or 49.9 billion US dollars.
The 200 billion baht U-Tapao airport
development project and the 64.3 billion baht high-speed rail link
connecting the three airports are expected to commence their TOR drafting
processes this year, with actual processing by private firms expected to
start by the end of this year. Both projects are expected to be completed by
After completion, U-Tapao airport will
be able to accommodate 15 million passengers over the first five years and
the capacity will increase to 30 million in 10 years, and to 60 million in
Wissanu: Election timeframe to be clearer in June
Deputy Prime Minister for
Legal Affairs, Wissanu Krea-Ngam.
Bangkok - Deputy Prime Minister
for Legal Affairs, Wissanu Krea-Ngam has indicated that the exact date of
the next general election will be announced in June.
Asked about National Legislative
Assembly President Pornpetch Wichitcholchai’s comment that the election will
be postponed until March 2019, Wissanu said the National Council for Peace
and Order (NCPO) will issue an order calling on related agencies to discuss
an election date in June, which is after the enactment of all election
At present, he said it is still
difficult to predict when the election will take place.
When asked what would happen if the
joint committee formed by the legislature decided not to accept the last two
organic bills governing the elections of the lower and upper houses, Wissanu
said the 2017 constitution doesn’t specify who should be responsible for a
rewrite, meaning the government can either form a new committee to redraft
the laws or let the Constitution Drafting Commission rewrite them.
The most likely scenario is that the
incumbent charter drafting team would take up the responsibility if the
bills are rejected.
Phang Nga launches safety operations on tourist islands
Phang Nga - Relevant agencies in
the southern province of Phang Nga have launched joint safety operations on
tourist islands in Koh Yao district to ensure legal compliance by service
The operations, involving officials in
charge of administrative affairs, security and marine and coastal resources,
entailed inspections of frequently-visited spots and tourist boats as well
as drug tests on boat drivers on Koh Khai Nai and Koh Khai Nok islands.
The officials have found two
parasailing motor boats that carried an incorrect type of service license
and six unlicensed jet skis. The owners of the two parasailing motor boats
face a fine of 10,000 baht for each boat. The jet skis’ owners are subject
to similar penalties. Drug tests on boat drivers’ urine indicated no
narcotic substance in the samples.
Phang Nga’s Regional Marine Office
cautioned tour service providers to strictly observe the laws and safety
rules, saying officials would launch random boat inspections regularly.
Thailand to host International Earth Science Olympiad in August
Bangkok - Thailand is preparing
to host this year’s International Earth Science Olympiad (IESO).
This year’s competition, which will
take place from August 8-17 at Mahidol University, Kanchanaburi, will be
held on the theme "Earth Science for All" to raise awareness of global
environmental challenges. The event will consist of theoretical and
practical tests covering three branches of science: geography, meteorology
Representatives of 35 countries are
expected to participate in the competition. The 12th International Earth
Science Olympiad is also meant to encourage relevant bodies to modernize
Thailand has taken part in the IESO on
nine occasions. In last year’s competition hosted by France, Thai students
gained five gold, 156 silver and 13 bronze medals.
Thailand rated 'least miserable' country for fourth consecutive year
Bangkok - The Prime Minister
says he is satisfied with the latest Bloomberg published Misery Index where
Thailand was listed as ''the least miserable'' economy out of a total of 66
countries for the fourth consecutive year.
Thailand scored 2.5, which pertained to
its low inflation and unemployment rate, reflecting a well-performing
The Bank of Thailand had estimated that
Thailand will have only a 1.3 percent unemployment rate this year, with 0.66
percent inflation rate, thanks to the government's economic promotion
The five least miserable countries
included Thailand, Singapore, Japan, Switzerland, and Taiwan. Venezuela
topped the list as having the most miserable economic outlook.
The premier said the government is
improving the grassroots economy, and expressed well wishes for Thai-Chinese
people currently celebrating the Chinese New Year to have a happy and
Public Health Ministry on alert against possible spread of bird flu
Bangkok - The Ministry of Public
Health is on alert to prevent any spread of bird flu following reports of
the finding of the virus in China.
After China confirmed the first human
case of H7N4 bird flu, the Public Health Ministry has been prompted to stay
vigilant about any possible spread of the virus in Thailand, where the last
case was reported in 2006, said Permanent Secretary to the ministry, Dr.
Director-General of the Department of
Disease Control, Dr. Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai, added that all DDC
offices have been alerted to work with the Department of Livestock
Development offices in their respective areas, to be on the lookout to
prevent any infection in both humans and animals.
Dr. Suwannachi said that although there
has not been a case of bird flu infection in Thailand for over 10 years, the
risk of the spread of the virus remains due to the migration of birds from
infected areas and the travel of people from such areas.
Police to collect public feedback on involuntary DNA tests
Bangkok – The Justice System
Reform Commission (Police Reform) will hold a public forum on the proposed
authorization of the police to order DNA tests from criminal suspects
without their consent.
Justice Reform Commissioner Manit
Suksomjit said that the proposed adjustment to criminal cases processed by
the police would authorize investigators to assign physicians or other
experts to collect DNA samples from the suspect without requiring their
consent in all criminal cases, adding that the change is aimed at helping
improve the efficient processing of cases.
The proposed changes will expand the
coverage of the practice which is currently limited to suspects in criminal
cases that will result in more than 3 years detention, and requires consent
from the suspect. The collection of DNA samples will help investigators gain
a more complete set of evidence to prove the innocence or guilt of a
The methods of DNA sample collection
are limited to buccal DNA collection in an appropriate manner which causes
minimum pain and no harm to the person.
The proposed changes are subject to the
processes of a public forum under the constitution. The forum will be held
on 20th February 2018 at Centra by Centara Government Complex Hotel &
Convention Center in Bangkok.
Bangkok dust levels close to normal
Bangkok - The Pollution Control
Department reports dust levels in Bangkok are falling back to normal.
Air quality monitoring stations have
indicated a gradual decline in fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) in most
areas except the Thanon Intharaphithak area in Thonburi district where PM
2.5 particles are still above the standard level at 45-54 micrograms per
The Meteorological Department has
forecast moderate weather for Bangkok. The temperature is likely to drop by
1-3 degrees Celsius, with morning fogs and 88 percent humidity. The capital
city has a 20-30 percent chance of rain until 21st February.
Residents in areas with high levels of
PM 2.5 who have respiratory tract disorders and cardiovascular disease are
advised to put on face masks when going outdoors and to see a doctor if any
health irregularities are detected.
All sectors are cautioned against any
activities that might raise pollution, such as burning garbage, unsystematic
building demolition and driving poorly maintained vehicles.
Update February 17-18, 2018
Thai industries likely to grow impressively alongside EEC
Bangkok - A leading high-street
research agency has predicted a bright future for three industries after the
passing of the new Eastern Economic Corridor bill.
Siam Commercial Bank’s Economic
Intelligence Center or EIC believes the aviation and logistics industry, the
robotics industry and the digital industry will play a more important role
after the EEC bill is put into effect as they will be the ones to support
the growth of other sectors.
It elaborated that development of
U-Tapao Airport is expected to be able to accommodate up to 60 million
passengers within the next 14 years while the air transport business in Asia
is expected to expand by 60 percent.
This will also lead to the development
of adjacent towns and eventually the setting up of an Airport City, the EIC
Meanwhile, all digitally-related
businesses are projected to expand impressively and the total spending on
digital technology is projected to rise to 135 billion baht in 2020 from 73
billion baht in 2015.
Chinese New Year being celebrated nationwide
Bangkok - Thais of Chinese
descent engaged in ceremonies across the nation Thursday to mark Chinese New
Year, with many traveling to shrines in search of good fortune.
Members of the largely Chinese
population of Yaowarat road in Bangkok attended Wat Mangkol Kamalawas, in an
act believed to bestow merit and good fortune upon those who pay their
respects during auspicious occasions. When asked about their visit to the
temple most of them remarked that they come annually to ensure good fortune
for their families.
Many more Chinese New Year revelers
were seen along Yaowarat Road, Bangkok’s China Town, purchasing offerings
such as meats, fruit and desserts.
The road this year, is hosting the
“Rich and Fortunate Year of the Dog” event in its Chalerm Prakiat Gate area.
It has attracted both local and foreign visitors in big numbers.
Similar scenes took place at the
popular Chao Pho Suea Shrine with most visitors seeking to circumvent bad
luck brought on by their year of birth according to traditional Chinese
In Phuket province, a major activity
was set up with feasts and dragon dances taking place on the occasion of
Chinese New Year. Chiang Mai province held the 16th incarnation of its
Chinese New Year celebration, taking place on Chang Mai road and Wichayanon
road, which have both been decorated in Chinese motifs such as glowing red
Royal Thai Navy launches new patrol boats
Chonburi - The Royal Thai Navy
held a ceremony Friday at the shipyard of Marsun Company Limited in
Samutprakan to deploy five new M-21 patrol boats brought in to replace older
Navy Commander-in-Chief, Adm Naris
Pratoomsuwan, presided over the ceremony marking the deployment of the
vessels which bear pennant numbers 265, 266, 267, 268 and 269.
Joining Adm Naris was the Navy Wives
Association President, Kesara Pratoomsuwan, who officially launched the
vessels (it is a tradition to have a woman launch a new boat or ship).
These patrol vessels will be stationed
at the Royal Thai Navy’s Coast Guard Squadron and are tasked with protecting
Thai waters and the marine ecosystems in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of
Thailand. The M-21 boats also have defensive capabilities and onboard
facilities to help victims of natural disasters.
Illegal migrant workers in Sukhothai urged obtain legal status
Sukhothai - Many business
operators in Thailand's Sukhothai province have taken their migrant workers
to One Stop Service centers to obtain legal documents that allow them to
continue working in Thailand.
At present, there are 2 million legal
migrant workers in the kingdom, whereas nearly 2 million others are working
without a permit. Despite having been allowed to stay in the country
temporarily, illegal alien workers are still required to register for legal
There are around 742 migrant workers
from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar living in Sukhothai at present. Of this
number, 413 of them have already had their identities checked while the
remainder have not.
Employers have until the end of this
month to legalize their workers' status at One Stop Service centers. Those
working in the fishing industry have until November next year.
After completion of the registration
process, migrant workers whose nationalities have already been verified will
be granted a working visa.
Thailand's former top cop grilled over brothel owner's loan
Former national police chief Somyot
Poompanmoung, center, speaks after being interrogated at the Department of
Special Investigation in Bangkok, Thursday, Feb. 15. (AP Photo/Gemunu
Bangkok (AP) — Thailand's former national police chief, who currently
heads the Thai Football Association, met Thursday with investigators to
explain his financial links with a fugitive massage parlor owner accused of
Somyot Poompanmoung reported to the
Department of Special Investigation in the wake of his admission that while
serving as top policeman he borrowed 300 million baht from Kampol
Kampol is owner of the Victoria Secret
massage parlor, which also operated as a brothel, and has been charged with
at least 12 separate counts, many related to human trafficking.
Police raids in January revealed that
the massage parlor employed underage women and allegedly trafficked some of
them into the sex trade. Investigators also discovered that police officers
had received sexual favors from staff. Police have raided several other
venues that Kampol owns.
Somyot told reporters he was
interviewed by investigators as a witness, but declined to elaborate.
Supat Thamthanarug, director of the
DSI's anti-trafficking section, said Somyot's large loan was under
investigation but he declined to provide further details.
After news of the charges was made
public, Somyot told the media that Kampol was an old friend who shared a
love of sacred Buddhist amulets, and had helped him out at a difficult time.
He said he had paid the money back and declared the loan to the relevant
authorities at the time.
The story provoked widespread comment
in Thailand about links between police and the criminal underworld.
Newspaper opinion writers condemned the former police chief's behavior as
Somyot sullied his image even more in a
recent media interview in which he said that being Thailand's top policeman
had only been a sideline and that his real job was speculating on the stock
Somyot made international headlines in
2015 when he announced a reward of 3 million baht for information leading to
the arrest of the perpetrators of a deadly Bangkok bomb attack, then awarded
it to his own police officers once arrests had been made.
He became head of the Thai Football
Association in 2016 after leaving his police post. He took over from Worawi
Makudi, who was banned in 2016 from all national and international
football-related activities for five years by FIFA, the international
governing body of football, for ethical violations including forgery.
Forensic evidence found in Italian Thai CEO's car
Bangkok - Forensic police have
made progress in inspecting a vehicle used by Italian Thai Co Ltd CEO
Premchai Karnasutra and three others on an alleged illegal hunting trip but
are waiting on confirmation of their findings.
Forensic Science Police Commander, Pol
Maj Gen Tawachai Mekprasertsuk indicated Thursday that an inspection of the
Land Cruiser used by Premchai and his party when they entered Tungyai
Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary has turned up finger prints and gun powder
residue but added that unidentified sets of finger prints were also found.
All of the prints are to be tested against the weapons found at the scene to
establish if any were the shooters.
Blood samples thought to be from
poached animals found in the vehicle have been forwarded to the Department
of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation for DNA analysis. Police
found no signs of adaptation of the car for hunting purposes but are to
continue the analysis until a 30 day deadline is reached.
Head of the Phaya Sua Unit, Chaiwat
Limlikitaksorn, meantime disclosed that a secondary survey of the scene
where Premchai and his party were found turned up pieces of animal intestine
and two bone fragments with evidence pointing to the animal having been used
for food. The evidence is to be forwarded to police investigators who are to
further inspect the area later.
Meanwhile, at Premchai’s Rangyen Resort
in Loei province, which is suspected of having encroached on a national
park, Director of the Forest Fire Prevention Office of the Royal Forestry
Department, Cheewaphap Cheewatham, on Thursday filed charges with the Dan
Sai Police Station against CPK International Co Ltd, accusing it of
circumventing the law to take ownership of 6,215 rai of land and convert it
into a resort.
4 fetuses found in trash at Thai resort town
headline case in November 2010, police discovered over 2,000 fetuses hidden
at a Buddhist temple in Bangkok. (AP Photo/file)
Bangkok (AP) — Garbage
collectors have found four fetuses in the trash at the popular resort town
of Hua Hin, police said Wednesday.
Police Lt. Sommit Petchpradab said the
fetuses were discovered Tuesday by garbage collectors and were found
together in a large black plastic bag.
Sommit said police are still
investigating the case. He said two of the fetuses had a gestational age of
between six and eight months, one between three and four months and the
other between eight and 10 weeks.
There are legal restrictions on
abortion in Thailand, and the procedure is generally socially taboo, so some
women patronize underground abortion clinics. In 2010, police discovered
over 2,000 fetuses hidden at a Buddhist temple which appeared to have come
from illegal abortion clinics.
Justice Min campaigns for legal awareness among Thais
Bangkok - A transit advertising
campaign is being organized by the Ministry of Justice in various provinces
to raise awareness of the law and the justice system among public members
and state agencies.
The Justice Ministry has kicked off the
transit advertising campaign as part of its endeavor to ensure Thai people
are well informed about the law and the justice system and have equal access
to justice services in accordance with the 20-year national strategy. The
campaign is also in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development
Goal Number 16, which seeks to develop a peaceful society through the
promotion of the rule of law.
The transit advertising campaign is
running from now until March 24 in several provinces. The launching ceremony
was attended by a number of Thai country singers and accomplished film
director Bandit Thongdee, who has produced a short film on legal knowledge
particularly for the campaign.
During the campaign, there will be
seminars by legal experts and lawyers in each locality to exchange legal
knowledge with residents as well as entertainment activities.
Major drinking water manufacturers agree to use less plastic
Bangkok - Government agencies
and the private sector have signed an agreement to stop using plastic film
covering water bottle caps in an effort to reduce plastic garbage on land
Permanent Secretary for Natural
Resources and the Environment Wichan Simachaya, presided this week over the
signing of the agreement between the Pollution Control Department, the
Department of Environmental Quality Promotion, the FDA, the Office of The
Consumer Protection Board, the Thai Beverage Industry Association, the Thai
Retailers Association, the Thai Plastic Industries Association and the
Plastics Institute of Thailand.
According to the ministry, Thailand
produces around 2.6 billion plastic water bottles a year. The lightweight
plastic covering water bottle caps poses a threat to the environment on land
and at sea since it does not decompose.
Five major drinking water manufacturers
have agreed to stop using the plastic covers from 1st April this year. After
that, the ministry will urge other companies to follow suit.
Air quality worsens in Thai capital
A woman wears a face mask to filter out some of
the thick air pollution in downtown Bangkok. (AP Photo)
Bangkok - The Pollution Control
Department has reported an air pollution level that exceeds the safe limit
on three main thoroughfares in Bangkok.
The air pollution level has registered
between 48-64 micrograms per cubic meter, higher than the safe level of 50
micrograms per cubic meters. The three main roads with the worst air
pollution are Rama IV, Intharaphithak and Lat Phrao Roads. The department
also found that the amount of PM10 will likely increase in all areas.
At-risk people and patients with
respiratory tract or heart diseases are strongly advised to wear face masks
when entering an area affected by air pollution.
The department has urged all
industries, especially construction, to help prevent PM10 affecting the air.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has
instructed the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, and the
Pollution Control Department to impose measures to tackle the problem as a
matter of urgency, suggesting they create artificial rain to reduce dust in
Public Health Min to promote safe drug use in hospitals
Bangkok - The Ministry of Public
Health is set to implement a multi-pronged policy to promote correct drug
use, as well as transparent drug procurement by hospitals.
According to Deputy Permanent Secretary
for Public Health Dr. Tharet Kratnaiyarawiwong, the ministry developed the
policy in response to Cabinet resolutions.
Under the policy, seven measures
grouped into three prongs will be enforced to ensure drug quality in
hospitals and that patients always receive prescription information for
their medication. Hospitals must also take steps to avoid excessive
medication, in order to curb drug resistance and the use of antibiotics
among patients by 50% and 20%, respectively.
Dr. Tharet revealed that more than 80%
of hospitals nationwide are expected to comply with the policy by 2021. He
claimed the move would save on unnecessary drug-related expenses and promote
safe drug use.
As for medical procurement, certain
criteria are currently being developed to ensure transparency and allow any
anti-graft agency to examine the process.
Agencies discuss aging society in Thailand
Minister Gen Chatchai Sarikulya.
Bangkok - Chulalongkorn
University and public health agencies held a seminar this week to discuss
the future of Thailand as an aging society.
Deputy Prime Minister Gen Chatchai
Sarikulya inaugurated the event and called for all sectors to contribute to
improving the quality of life for children and the elderly, in accordance
with the country's 20-year national strategy.
Participants discussed policies for
low-fertility rates and case studies from other countries, a study of
Thailand's aging population, and a survey of attitudes towards having
Myanmar's presence downplayed at Thai-US military exercise
attend the opening ceremony of the joint military exercise Cobra Gold 2018
at U-tapao Airport in Rayong Province. Tuesday, Feb. 13. (AP Photo/Sakchai
U-Tapao Air Base (AP) — Thailand
and the United States downplayed the presence of a Myanmar military officer
at the opening Tuesday of the largest annual joint military exercise in
Myanmar's military has been accused of
massive human rights violations in its crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim
minority, who have fled by the hundreds of thousands to neighboring
Bangladesh. U.S. lawmakers had demanded Myanmar's exclusion from the
"The truth is Myanmar is not a
participant nation," U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Glyn T. Davies told
reporters at in the Cobra Gold exercise in eastern Thailand. "They're not
part of the exercises here." He did not explain the Myanmar officer's
Thai Gen. Thanchaiyan Srisuwan
acknowledged inviting Myanmar to the opening ceremony. However, Myanmar's
flag was not flown at the ceremonial opening. It's believed Thailand invited
Myanmar to send three personnel though only one appeared to be attending.
In Washington last week, both
Republican and Democrat members of congress criticized the invitation to
Myanmar. Sen. John McCain, the Republican chair of the Senate Armed Services
Committee, told The Associated Press "militaries engaged in ethnic cleansing
should not be honing their skills alongside U.S. troops," a reference to
accounts of atrocities committed by Myanmar troops.
A U.S. statement said 11,075 service
members from 29 countries are taking part in this year's exercise, with
Thailand, the U.S., Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia
the seven main participants.
It said the aims of the exercise are to
enhance security cooperation, develop peacekeeping forces and maintain
readiness for humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions.
The exercise includes humanitarian
components, such as evacuation drills, as well as traditional military
exercises such as amphibious landings.
Disaster relief has assumed a high
profile in recent years, especially after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that
killed 230,000 people in 14 countries. Multinational forces mobilized for
relief efforts after that crisis, as they did again on a more limited scale
after 2008's Cyclone Nargis devastated Myanmar, killing upward of 130,000
Davies, in an indirect reference to
such crises, told reporters that "It's very important that everyone from
around the region have an eye on what's happening here and to some extent to
be part of it, but I'll come back to what I said earlier that Burma
(Myanmar) is not a participating nation."
Police deployed to China Town ahead of Chinese New Year
Bangkok – The Ministry of
Tourism and Sports has deployed over 100 police officers to Bangkok's China
Town to ensure public safety ahead of Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year.
Tourism and Sports Minister, Weerasak
Kowsurat, launched a tourist safety campaign on Yaowarat Rd with the aim of
raising tourists’ confidence in their safety during this week’s
celebrations. Canine units and police officers have been stationed at the
venue to maintain law and order.
According to Weerasak, the number of
Chinese tourists in Thailand this year has increased by 10% compared to the
previous year while an average spending per Chinese tourist has risen from
4,500 baht to 6,000 baht.
The minister also asked the locals to
be good hosts and that tourism-related firms promote tourist destinations,
in addition to China Town, in order to boost tourism revenues elsewhere in
Thai pilgrims visit Lord Buddha’s birthplace in Nepal
Bangkok - A group of Thai
Buddhists on a pilgrimage funded by the 4th Region Forward Command of the
Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) traveled to Lumbini garden
earlier this week, the birthplace of Prince Siddhartha, covering an area of
2,000 rai (790 acres).
Lumbini was inscribed on UNESCO's List
of World Heritage in 1997 as the place where Gautama Buddha was born. It is
a Buddhist pilgrimage site in Nepal where Queen Mayadevi gave birth to
Siddhartha Gautama in 563 BCE. Lumbini has a number of temples, including
the renowned Mayadevi Temple. Another historical site is the Puskarini, or
the Holy Pond, where the Buddha's mother took the ritual dip prior to his
birth and where he had his first bath.
The Buddhist pilgrims performed morning
chanting and made meditation in Mayadevi Temple for the prosperity of
themselves and their families and prayed for peace in Thailand's southern
The Buddhist pilgrims said they felt
overwhelmed for having this opportunity to visit the birthplace of the Lord
Buddha once in their lifetime, and thanked the ISOC for organizing this
More than 11.9 billion baht spent through state welfare cards over first 4 months
Director-General, Yanee Sangsrichun.
Bangkok - According to
Thailand's Comptroller General's Department (CGD), more than 11.9 billion
baht was spent during the first four months of the state welfare card
CGD Deputy Director-General and
spokeswoman, Yanee Sangsrichun, reported that 10.9 million out of 11.4
million people who are eligible for the social welfare card program have
already received their cards.
She clarified that, in the first four
months of the scheme, 11.8 billion baht was spent at Pracharat Blue Flag
shops, 14.3 million baht on cooking gas, 38.2 million baht on bus fares and
65.3 million on rail fares.
She added that a total of 20,272
electronic data capture (EDC) devices have been installed at participating
stores, 8,789 of which were installed at Blue Flag shops, 828 at cooking gas
retailers, 534 at the State Railway of Thailand, and 121 at the Transport
Yanee said the government will install
an additional 20,000 EDC devices to serve cardholders to improve their
quality of life in the long term.
Thailand welcomes UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, left, shakes hands with Thai Prime Minister
Prayuth Chan-Ocha during their meeting at the Government House, in Bangkok,
Monday, Feb. 12. (Narong Sangnak/Pool Photo via AP)
Bangkok (AP) — British Foreign
Secretary Boris Johnson met Monday with Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and
other Thai officials and discussed neighboring Myanmar's persecution of
ethnic Rohingya Muslims and plans for elections in Thailand to end military
A statement from Britain's Foreign &
Commonwealth Office said their discussions also covered "cooperation on
education, the digital economy, science and innovation, financial
technology, and trade and investment, as well as further co-operation to
tackle the Illegal Wildlife Trade."
"Our relationship with Thailand spans a
broad range of issues from bilateral trade and investment to regional
security and the Illegal Wildlife Trade," the statement quoted Johnson
saying. "I look forward to further strengthening the UK's relationship with
Thailand in the future."
Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai,
one of the officials who met with Johnson, told reporters that the British
government is especially concerned about the plight of the Rohingya. About
700,000 members of the Muslim minority have fled to Bangladesh to escape
violence by Myanmar security forces that has been characterized by some
human rights experts as ethnic cleansing.
Johnson is in Thailand after visiting
Bangladesh, where he met Rohingya refugees, and Myanmar, where he held talks
on the Rohingya situation with the country's leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.
In Myanmar, Johnson also visited areas
in the western state of Rakhine, the site of the violence that drove the
Rohingya to flee.
Plans to repatriate the Rohingya have
been made by Bangladesh and Myanmar, but are a major concern of the
international community. Human rights advocates insist that any repatriation
be carried out under verifiably safe conditions.
"Shocked at what I saw during tour of
northern #Rakhine," Johnson wrote on Twitter. "The devastation of hundreds
of villages torched. UK already a major donor to crisis and will continue to
use our influence to provide a better future for the #Rohingya community."
"In the eyes of the British government
right now, they are putting an emphasis on fixing the issue of Rohingya in
Rakhine state, first and foremost," Don said, adding that Britain did not
ask for the Thai government's help in the matter.
Don said Johnson was not concerned by
the Thai government’s most recent election date postponement, after several
earlier promised deadlines for a return to an elected government passed.
"They are not pressuring Thailand to
hold elections because they do not see it as having any impact on England,"
Johnson's visit to Thailand came after
an official visit last Friday by Italy's foreign minister, and will be
followed by the French deputy foreign minister on Tuesday. Thai Foreign
Ministry spokeswoman Busadee Santipitak said last Friday that the trips are
a sign of improved relations between Thailand and European nations following
the EU's easing of sanctions.
Transport Ministry says Japan still interested in high speed train project
Bangkok - Officials from the
Ministry of Transport have shot down claims being made on social media that
Japan has withdrawn interest in investment in the Bangkok-Phitsanulok
portion of the Bangkok-Chiang Mai high speed train project. The ministry
explained that the speculation was based on an assessment report following
talks between the ministry and Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure,
Transport and Tourism and clarified that no agreements for investment have
yet been secured. The office affirmed Japan is in the process of evaluating
data and considering its investment model, with an emphasis on reducing the
burden on Thailand.
The officials added Japan is
considering the Life Cycle Cost of the rail system and changes to its top
speed after finding that reducing the system’s speed from the usual 300km/h
would not result in any significant change to cost.
The Ministry of Transport confirmed its
intention to develop the rail system for the betterment of Thailand’s
economy and society and for the facilitation of travel and logistics
throughout the nation’s regions.
US criticizes Thailand for deporting Cambodian shoe thrower
Cambodian national Sam
Sokha is shown in this Thursday, Feb. 8, 2017, photo. (Pool Photo via AP)
Washington (AP) — The U.S. has criticized Thailand for repatriating a
Cambodian labor activist wanted for throwing a shoe at a billboard depicting
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.
The activist, Sam Sokha, was arrested
after she was returned to Cambodia last week.
Police said she was to serve a two-year
prison sentence after being convicted in absentia on Jan. 25 on charges of
insulting a public official and "incitement to discriminate."
State Department spokeswoman for East
Asia, Katina Adams, said Monday the U.S. was "deeply concerned" that Sam
Sokha was repatriated in spite of her U.N.-recognized refugee status.
Adams urged Thailand to refrain from
"involuntary refugee returns."
A 13-second video clip that circulated
last April showed Sam Sokha throwing shoes at images of Hun Sen and a party
Police name possible coordinator of ItalThai CEO's illegal hunting trip
Kanchanaburi - Thailand's
Natural Environment Police (NE Police) have secured a warrant for
Noppadol Prueksawan after he was identified as being the coordinator for
an illegal hunting trip conducted by Italian Thai Co Ltd CEO Premchai
Kannasutr and three others.
NE Police Deputy Commander, Pol Col
Suwat Intasit, said investigators are to question agents of the
Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants at Thong Pha Phum, the
area of Tungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary where Premchai and his party
were discovered. Police are also to take a statement from Noppadol
Prueksawan, a former agent of the department alleged to have coordinated
the hunting trip, on February 16. Noppadol has responded to the call but
has not confirmed his appearance date. Police believe he will show up on
schedule but have prepared measures in case he fails to appear.
All statements collected are to be
compiled to move the case forward.
Head of Tungyai Naresuan Wildlife
Sanctuary, Wichien Chinnawong, has already led two of those under his
supervision to meet with police in Thong Pha Phum to provide them with a
statement. They were questioned for over an hour.
Director of Conservation Area 12 in
Nakhon Sawan, Wittaya Hongwiangchan, and Director of Tungyai Naresuan
World Heritage Coordination, Apicha Yusomboon, met with Wichien during
the questioning to offer him moral support and to hand over donations to
rangers working in his sanctuary.
Wichien thanked the two and his
superiors for their close attention to the case. He assured that all of
his agents are committed to seeing the matter through.