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Update June 2018


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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
Thailand News
 

Update June 9-10, 2018

4 villagers shot dead in insurgency-plagued south

 

Hat Yai (AP) — Four villagers were shot dead in Thailand's south in another case of violence in the insurgency-wracked region, police said.

Police Maj. Gen. Manas Siksamat, police chief of Narathiwat province, said the killings happened Thursday while the victims were gold panning at a river running through a rubber plantation.

He said the victims, all male, were discovered Thursday night and their bodies were riddled with bullet wounds.

Thailand's three southernmost provinces of Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani have been plagued by a Muslim separatist insurgency that has claimed the lives of more than 6,500 people since the violence escalated in 2004.

The victims had Muslim names and one was 16 years old.

Police said they are investigating whether the violence stemmed from personal conflict or was connected to the insurgency.


PM confirms no rice planting ban in place

NNT

Bangkok - The Prime Minister has confirmed that no farmer has been forbidden from growing rice, while the government aims to align supply with market demands to curb oversupply and price depreciation.

Three hundred farmers from across the country met with Prime Minister Gen Prayut-Chan-o-cha on the occasion of Rice and Farmer's Day on June 5. Chatchawan Taomali represented farmers' organizations to pledge their allegiance to the nation and monarchy, and to abide by the country's laws, strengthen cooperation among Thai farmers, and work with the government and private sector to achieve the Thailand 4.0 agenda.

Gen Prayut replied that farmers are the backbone of the country and are the overseers of an important occupation. However, rice farming must plan crop cycles according to weather conditions, water supply, and market demands to prevent an oversupply of rice. Should farmers wish to increase bargaining power with middlemen, they must be able to control the production of rice. He confirmed that the government has no policy to ban rice planting. Instead, the government aims to develop the agricultural sector which requires cooperation with the state.

Off season planting in 2018 is projected to decline from last year due to farmers converting their off season land to the production of other crops, resulting in a 2-3 million rai decrease in rice production which is in line with the government's policy.


Phuket incinerates fake IP goods

NNT

Phuket - Customs officers in Phuket have incinerated over 3,000 items violating intellectual property with a combined value of close to 2 million baht.

Customs Officer Kanchana Suwanicho led members of her office and the media in witnessing the burn-off in Phuket City Municipal Authority’s new incinerator. Over 3,000 products were seized due to their avoidance of customs duties and violations of intellectual property and trademarks. Their total face value was 1.8 million baht.

Goods included clothing, hats, hand bags, watches, belts, shoes and contraband including electric cigarettes and hookahs. All the items were destroyed by hand before being run over by a steamroller to ensure their easy incineration and complete destruction.


Bumrungrad Hospital showcases its robot spinal surgery

 

NNT

Bangkok - Bumrungrad Hospital has held a demonstration of its spinal surgery assistance robot, showcasing the machines ability to aid surgeons in targeting areas for operation and for directing screws implanted to reconnect spinal sections. The robot arm has complete freedom of movement and can be controlled via a three dimensional display, providing surgeons with greater precision and reducing operation times. Less blood loss due to the faster procedure and smaller incisions also mean that patients recover faster.

The robot has been used on over 600 patients at Bumrungrad Hospital so far and is being developed for application in other surgeries such as on the abdomen or urinary tract. Its application is in line with a government policy to elevate and support the medical care industry, which is one of the nation’s 10 target industries.


Update June 8, 2018

Phrae sees most dengue fever infections in the north

NNT

Phrae - Phrae province has seen the northern region's most cases of dengue fever and has suffered one casualty, prompting relevant agencies to step up their campaigns to combat the disease.

All seven districts of the province have reported cases of dengue fever infection except Nong Muang Kai, with a total of 119 people suffering from the illness, the most in three years after it saw only limited infections over the past two years. The first fatality from the ailment was a 32 year old woman from Tung Kwaw sub-district in Muang district. She died at Phrae Hospital after receiving treatment at a private hospital for three days.

Public Health Physician for Phrae, Dr. Kajorn Winaipanich has ordered his office’s authorities to coordinate with municipal agents of Tung Kwaw and its medical facilities to take action against mosquitoes, which carry dengue fever. Authorities are to clean and disinfect objects in a 100 meter radius of the area where the deceased woman initially contracted the illness. They are also to step up promotion of ways to prevent dengue fever infection and urge cooperation from the public.

Dengue fever is most commonly found in young people aged 5-14 years old. Department of Disease Control Office 9 has coordinated with Ministry of Public Health officials to perform health checks on Phrae locals with an emphasis on educational institutes. They will also rid such areas of mosquito breeding grounds.


DLT introduces electronic driving test

NNT

Bangkok - The Department of Land Transport (DLT) is aiming to raise the overall standard of driving tests by introducing an e-driving system developed by vocational students to ensure standardized assessment. In addition to improving the quality of driving for road safety, the new technology also aligns with the government's policy of developing the potential of human resources.

The e-driving system uses computer software to detect vehicle movements as opposed to an instructor overseeing the test. The test consists of driving a vehicle backwards and forwards without hitting marker poles, parking by a pavement within a designated area, and reversing into a parking spot. An alarm will sound if the driver hits any obstacles.

The DLT is piloting the e-driving system at 10 out of its 196 test centers across the country. The remaining systems will be installed by the end of the year, thereby boosting credibility in the issuance of driver's licenses according to international standards.


Sibutramine found in another food supplement brand

 

NNT

Nakhon Ratcahsima - Police have seized food supplement products worth 2 million baht in Nakhon Ratchasiman province after they were found to contain the appetite suppressant ‘sibutramine’.

The manufacturer of products under the ‘Asia Slim’ brand has allegedly violated Medicine Act B.E 2510. According to the Food and Drug Administration, the packages did not contain dietary supplements as claimed. The products will be sent to the Department of Medical Sciences to be further investigated.

Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Tares Krassanairawiwong has reminded food supplement manufacturers to abide by the law or face the legal consequences. They could be subject to a maximum 20 year jail term and a maximum fine of 2 million baht as sibutramine is an illegal substance.

Dr. Tares also said food supplements do not aid weight loss adding that those claiming so usually contain sibutramine which has harmful side effects.


Chachoengsao waste separation plant found to be operating without a license

NNT

Chachoengsao - Military personnel, local administrators and industrial officials are carrying out inspections of waste separation facilities in Chachoengsao and have found one factory that has operated for over five years without a license.

Royal Thai Army Infantry 11 personnel have provided support to Khlong Udomcholjorn Sub-District administrators and Chachoengsao industrial officials in the inspection of the recycling plants. A check of one such facility utilizing a two rai plot found that it had been operating for over five years without proper authorization. The plant, operated by Komdech Dhammathongsiri, also included structures built without permission.

The factory has also piled up electronic waste and recyclables in public space outside its structures. Administrators have ordered that entry to the plot and its buildings be barred and has begun legal proceedings against Komdech, bringing charges of illegal structural additions and pollution of a public space.

Industrial officials are looking into the legal ramifications of the plant so that they may also take action. The officials have also urged residents of the area seen transporting waste to the facility to stop the practice.


Update June 7, 2018

Thailand seeks deportation of monk taking refuge in Germany

Deputy Prime Minister Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan.

NNT

Bangkok - Thai officials are working around the clock with their German counterparts to extradite a monk taking refuge there. He is allegedly connected to the ongoing embezzlement case of Thailand's temple maintenance fund.

The fugitive monk, a Thai national who was formerly known as Phra Prom Methee and is a former Deputy Abbot of Wat Samphanthawong, is reportedly asking for asylum in Germany.

Deputy Prime Minister Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan said the asylum seeker had refused to meet with the Royal Thai Police Commissioner General. It is suspected that the former deputy abbot might have had assistance in traveling to Germany.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has reiterated that officials are processing the case in accordance with the justice system and reassured the public that the government has no intention of tarnishing Buddhism nor using the case to make a political statement. He said that it is the duty of officials to bring escaped wrongdoers back to the Kingdom.


THB20 billion to be generated in Thailand by World Cup 2018

NNT

Bangkok - The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) estimates that the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2018 will generate almost 20 billion baht in Thailand through activities related to the soccer competition.

The UTCC’s Center for Economic and Business Forecasting on Tuesday announced the findings of a survey on Thai people’s planned spending behavior during the World Cup this year. Most of the respondents said they intend to watch the live broadcast which will lead to higher spending through electricity consumption, purchase of TV and radio sets and computers, satellite dishes Internet installations, parties, and dining as well as purchase of souvenirs.

Most of their spending, or around 15.4 billion baht, will be on the purchase of commodities and parties. Around 2.46 billion baht is expected to be spent on electrical appliances and signal receivers.

The respondents also expressed concern over work and study efficiency, an increase in robbery and a higher rate of gambling. They suggested that parents should keep a close watch on their children and the government impose strict measures to prevent gambling.


Bangkok aims to put fireboats from corruption case to use

NNT

Bangkok - The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is sending fireboats related to a fireboat and fire-truck corruption case of 2003 in for repairs before putting them into service.

The court of arbitration ruled on November 12, 2014 that the boats, valued at over 6.6 billion baht, belong to the BMA. The BMA has since negotiated with a docking company to waive rental fees and will now put the vessels to use.

BMA Governor Pol Gen Asawin Kwanmuang inspected 12 fireboats, which were transported from the docking company in Chonburi to Samsen Fire Station on Tuesday. All 30 vessels involved in the case will gradually be transported along with equipment for repair. He said that repair costs for each vessel should not exceed 800,000 baht.

The BMA is also surveying fireboat docks along the Chao Phraya River between Nonthaburi and Samutprakarn. It is estimated that 10 ships will be repaired by September this year. Due to the size of the vessels, they will not be able to travel along narrow canals. Therefore, the BMA has decided to retain no more than 12 vessels, while the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation will decide where the remaining 18 are to be deployed for the best use of taxpayer money.


Tourist Police urge for an end to prank calls

NNT

Bangkok - The Tourist Police Bureau (TPB) has urged citizens to refrain from making prank calls to the 1155 tourist police Hotline, as the line is meant to provide assistance to local and foreign tourists.

According to TPB Deputy Commissioner Pol. Maj. Gen. Surachet Hakpan, the bureau’s call center has received over 200,000 calls since its inception a year ago. He pointed out that during the high season from July to December the average number of calls was in the range of 30,000 - 50,000 calls monthly. The Deputy Commissioner indicated that the number peaked in October at 53,756 calls, adding however that out of that figure, 15,537 were prank calls.

The TPB Deputy Chief said that so far this year the number of calls had already reached 140,000, with 1,400 being prank calls. He implored people to refrain from prank calling and preventing those who need help from receiving immediate assistance.

He further stated that prank callers are usually either juveniles or mentally disturbed individuals.


Update June 6, 2018

Govt ponders plan to transform U-Tapao into Eastern Aviation City

NNT

Bangkok - The Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Committee has convened for the first time after the Eastern Economic Corridor Act was passed to acknowledge a 10-year plan on the development of the "Eastern Aviation City".

Secretary-General of the EEC Committee Khanit Saengsuphan clarified the plan at the meeting, saying that the project includes the development of the 6,500-Rai U-Tapao airport with the construction of a passenger terminal, cargo facilities and an aircraft maintenance center. The construction is expected to begin in January next year and be completed approximately at the same time as a high-speed train project in 2023.

The Royal Thai Navy will be responsible for finding consultants to conduct studies on the airport's development.

Minister of Industry Uttama Savanayana said the ministry will conduct roadshows abroad to attract foreign investors, particularly those in South Korea and Japan, to invest in the EEC after a plan to construct infrastructure in the EEC solidifies.


Two million tons of plastic waste pile up in Thailand every year: MNRE

NNT

Bangkok - Thailand is suffering a massive volume of over two million tons of plastic waste every year, most of which comes in the form of contaminated plastic bags.

Natural Resources and Environment Ministry (MNRE) Permanent-Secretary Wijarn Simachaya delivered a speech Tuesday at Beat Plastic Pollution seminar, held as part of the World Environment Day, to point out a plastic waste crisis which Thailand is currently facing.

He said this country has to reduce the volume of plastic waste in urban and rural areas, specifically plastic bags which are easily distributed from shops.

Over the past 10 years, plastic waste accounted for 12 percent of all waste in the country, or weighing about two million tons. Only 0.5 million tons was recycled, leaving the other 1.5 million tons, mostly contaminated plastic bags, untreated.

The permanent secretary said the government is working to raise the awareness among the general public on their participation to help reduce plastic waste, and to help conserve the nature and the environment.


Police to set up technology crime suppression center

NNT

Bangkok - The Royal Thai Police will set up a technology crime suppression center to deal with call center scams.

The Special Adviser to the Royal Thai Police, Pol. Gen. Tanitsak Teerasawat, and the Deputy Commander of the Tourist Police Bureau, Pol. Maj. Gen. Surachet Hakphan, held a press conference on Monday (June 4) to discuss the role of the technology crime suppression center. The center will be established to deal with call center and online romance scams.

Meanwhile, police have returned more than one million baht, seized from call center gangs, to their victims.

Pol. Maj. Gen. Surachet said that the officers have regularly been following the money trails, after the victims transferred money to the scammers. He said the seized money would then be returned to the victims.

The Deputy Spokesman of the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO), Pirapat Ingpongpan, said the police will remain vigilant, following the arrests of many call center gangs. Pirapat also warned people about scammers luring them into opening a new bank account. With the personal information exposed, scammers can withdraw their money through internet banking.

Since December 2017, the phone and electronic media fraud prevention and suppression center has received 446 cases, with damages of over 235 million baht in total. Over 20 million baht was seized and returned to 110 victims.


SET acknowledges foreign selloff but sees no cause for concern

Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) President Pakorn Pitatawachchai.

NNT

Bangkok - Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) President Pakorn Pitatawachchai has acknowledged a recent selloff of stocks by foreign investors is taking place across all of Thailand’s neighbors but assured investors that overall, the Thai stock market is still doing well on the back of institutional and small time investors as well as from the accounts of stock firms. He pointed out the SET also has a diverse range of investors and is not solely dependent on foreign investment, reiterating its strong fundamentals.

Nevertheless, the president said investors should track external risks affecting capital movements such as changes to the United States’ policy interest rate, international politics and their impact on fuel prices and cases stemming from the developing trade war. On the last matter, Pakorn predicts little effect on Thailand due to its wide range of trading partners and strong economic fundamentals.


Update June 5, 2018

Police close down online soccer gambling sites

NNT

Bangkok - The Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) has conducted a raid on a gambling den operating an illegal online soccer gambling site in Bangkok.

Deputy chief of the MPB Pol. Maj. Gen. Panurat Lakboon, led the raiding team and arrested suspects running the site FIFAGOAL.com, which is an affiliated site of FIFA55.com.

The arrest was made at a townhome in the Gusto Grand Ramkhamhaeng village in Saphan Sung district of the capital. Police were able to apprehend eight people and confiscated three personal computers, ten computer monitors, three laptops, 16 mobile phones and a board containing plans to promote the illegal website. The apprehended are now awaiting further legal proceedings.

The site has attracted more than 900 regular gamblers monthly, with an average of 50 new subscribers. Police speculated that the numbers would continue to rise as the World Cup approaches, while pointing out that the establishment had a combined cash circulation of about 500,000 baht daily or 15 million baht monthly.

Investigation also revealed that the site, which has been operating through a Thai server for over eight months, was part of an international crime syndicate and has already profited by approximately 120 million baht.


Harsh weather anticipated across the nation this week

NNT

Khon Kaen - All parts of Thailand will see heavy rain this week with the Royal Irrigation Department (RID) ordering its offices to prepare accordingly, especially in light of a typhoon warning from the Meteorological Department in effect for both the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand.

Khon Kaen contended with flooding of its roads over the weekend, with water reaching a depth 40 centimeters. It took up to an hour for authorities to adequately drain the roads and bring them back into use. At Bang Saen 2 beach near Ubolratana Dam, vendors had to assist tourists to escape a sudden bout of heavy rain and high winds.

In the south, Nang Thong beach in Phang Nga was emptied of vacationers over the weekend after days of stormy conditions and strong waves.

The Meteorological Department has warned of monsoon conditions moving over the Andaman and Gulf of Thailand, fed by a low pressure system in the South China Sea. The conditions will spur rain in all parts of the country and see wave action pick up off the coast in both the east and west.

The RID is preparing to handle the onslaught of showers and is monitoring Meteorological Department reports.


Action Coalition for Thailand Party launched

NNT

Bangkok - Founders of the Action Coalition for Thailand Party organized the party’s first meeting over the weekend, announcing its ideologies and determination to reform the country.

Held at Rangsit University on Sunday, the meeting was attended by the party’s key figures including Suthep Thaugsuban, Anek Laothammathat and Satit Segal.

Anek, as the party’s co-founder, said every member is important and has a role to play. He confirmed that the party was not founded for personal benefit, but for the children of the future. The founders all agreed that Thai people need “Dhammacracy”, not a democracy that seeks power, he said.

The party’s ideologies include respect and protection for the monarchy, being a party of the people and for the people, successful national reform, the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy and a sustainable environment.


Tourism Ministry looks to promote foreign film making in Thailand

NNT

Bangkok - The Ministry of Tourism and Sports has launched a tax incentive measure to promote foreign film making in Thailand. A tax rebate equal to 15 percent of every 50 million baht spent on filming locally will be offered.

Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Khowsurat disclosed that the incentive will help boost the country’s revenue from being used as a location for film making and the production of documentaries and reality shows.

The Ministry has also assigned the Department of Tourism to attract more foreign film producers to Thailand to generate revenue and reputation for the country.


Update June 4, 2018

Government to focus on second chance for convicts

NNT

Bangkok - The government continues to focus on its plan to offer a second chance to convicted criminals.

Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister ACM Prajin Juntong recently attended a seminar on the matter after the Department of Corrections reported on the problem of over-crowding at its controlled facilities, which currently house altogether 350,366 inmates.  The facilities were originally designed to accommodate up to 122,047 inmates only.

One of the suggested measures to remedy the problem is the electronic monitoring (EM) system to allow convicts to be temporarily released without needing to post bail.

While the device prevents convicts from running away, it can also help address the issue of social inequality due to poverty while enabling them to turn their lives around and learn new professional skills for a future working life after completing their terms.

ACM Prajin stated that the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Corrections will never allow conflicts with flight risks to opt for the EM system, while continuing to find new policies to control the population of inmates.


Officials, engineers inspect Bangkok Noi Dam

NNT

Bangkok - The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has inspected Bangkok Noi Dam following a complaint filed by a nearby community concerning leakage.

The inspection was led by Deputy Bangkok Governor Chakkaphan Phewngam.

Chakkaphan and his team checked water barriers along Bangkok Noi Canal and instructed responsible personnel to identify and seal any leaks.

To prevent future flooding in the capital city, he said a 72-kilometer flood barrier and a 680-square-kilometer water retention area have been built on the east side of Bangkok. In western Bangkok, a 77-kilometer flood wall has been erected along Bangkok Noi Canal, Mahasawat Canal, Chak Pha Canal, and Phra Khanong Canal.

The deputy governor also ordered his subordinates to inspect a 43-kilometer flood barrier in Thon Buri district. These barriers were built 23 years ago, in 1995.

The City Hall is also planning to install steel sheet piles stretching 3.4 kilometers in Bangkok Noi district to protect 674 houses from inundation. The installation will take about 200 days.


Rojana Laem Chabang Industrial Park to be established in Chonburi

NNT

Bangkok - A new industrial park will be established in Chonburi province as part of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) project.

The Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) and Rojana Industrial Park Public Co., Ltd. have signed an agreement to build the 843-rai “Rojana Laem Chabang Industrial Park” in preparation for the development of the S-Curve 10 targeted industries, which are next-generation automotive, intelligent electronics, tourism for high-income tourists and medical tourism, advanced agriculture and biotechnology, food processing, advanced robotics industry, logistics and aviation, biofuels and biochemical, digital, and holistic medical and health services.

Deputy IEAT Governor Suwatana Kmolwatananisa said the new park is part of the EEC development project straddling three eastern provinces – Chonburi, Rayong, and Chachoengsao – along the coastline of the Gulf of Thailand and encompassing more than 12,000 rai.

Expected to be complete by 2021, the EEC project will turn these provinces into a hub for technological manufacturing and services with strong connectivity to ASEAN neighbors by land, sea and air.


Khon Kaen steps up dengue virus surveillance in rainy season

NNT

Khon Kaen - The northeastern province of Khon Kaen has tightened its dengue virus surveillance program as the rainy season has raised the risk of infection.

According to Khon Kaen Governor Somsak Jangtrakul, continued rainfall in many areas has provided favorable conditions for mosquitoes to propagate, thus increasing the spread of dengue virus.

It is feared that dengue virus infections will be widespread this year since rainfall has continued in Khon Kaen for more than a month. Governor Somsak says all districts have been instructed to beef up their dengue fever prevention and control measures.

Disease control officials have been spraying larvicide in risk-prone areas and urging different communities and workplaces to make their environment unsuitable for mosquitoes to lay their eggs.


Update June 2-3, 2018

Cambodian man arrested for releasing fake news about Thai PM

NNT

Bangkok - A 21-year-old Cambodian man has been arrested for trying to defame the Thai government by releasing fake news online.

During a press conference at Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Deputy Commissioner of the Tourist Police Bureau, Pol Maj Gen. Surachet Hakpan, said that the Cambodian man, identified by police as Ratanak Heng, would be handed over to the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) to face criminal charges.

Ratanak had allegedly claimed in a fake news article that Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha told Thai people to fill up their cars with water instead of diesel, causing the general public to grow concerned over rising gas prices.

Pol Maj Gen. Surachet said Ratanak’s action was clearly intended to damage the reputation of the government. He had posted 3 fake online news stories regarding the Thai government and the premier prior to his arrest.

6 Thai nationals, who were found to have been involved in the release of those fabricated articles, said they were only sharing information on social media without any intention to instigate conflicts.

If found guilty, they will face a maximum jail term of 5 years or a maximum fine of 100,000 baht for violating the Computer Crime Act.


Iconic cinema Lido shutters after 50 years

NNT

Bangkok - Thailand’s longest operating independent theater, Lido Multiplex, has finally closed after 50 years with the conclusion of its tenancy contract.

On Thursday, the iconic cinema held a night of remembrance to mark its closure, looking back on over 50 years of operation in the Siam Square area of Bangkok. The cinema’s plot is to be returned to the Chulalongkorn University Property Office.

The final day of the multiplex saw a steady stream of visitors, many of whom sat for a screening of “Kids on the Slope” at 8:45PM, the last film to be projected in the theater.

The visitors also wrote down their feelings and impressions in relation to the Lido, most lauding it for maintaining ticket prices at a low 120-140 baht and for showcasing hard to find and alternative films.

Apex Group President Nan Tansajja said, while Lido is closing, the equally iconic Scala Theater has had its tenancy contract extended by another two years to December 31 of 2021.


Govt to wait for court ruling on foreign minister

Deputy Prime Minister, Wissanu Krea-ngam.

NNT

Bangkok - Thailand's Government has called for an investigation into the Election Commission's (EC) ruling that the Minister of Foreign Affairs is unfit for office.

The EC ruled 3-2 in favor of disqualifying Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai from his post, on the grounds that his spouse holds more than 5% equity in a company and failed to notify the National Anti-Corruption Commission within the legally required time frame.

Deputy Prime Minister, Wissanu Krea-ngam, said the ruling is likely just a notification to Don and that an investigation must be undertaken. If the ruling is substantiated, then the Constitutional Court must also rule on the case. The deputy premier added that it is too early to discuss a reshuffle of the Cabinet at this time.

Dr. Wissanu's statement echoed the remarks previously made by fellow Deputy Prime Minister, ACM Prajin Jantong, who said a ruling by the Constitutional Court must be made first. Regarding a potential Cabinet reshuffle, ACM Prajin said that all officials have been assigned tasks according to the national strategy and reform agenda.


Mahakan Fort park to be ready in mid-June

NNT

Bangkok - The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is expediting the landscaping of the defunct Mahakan Fort community to prepare for a temporary public park that will open this month.

The transformation of Mahakan Fort, jointly run by the Environment Department and the Department of Public Works, involves building a garden, public restrooms and fences along the Ong Ang Canal, and renovating old buildings. The grounds have been raised by 50 - 80 centimeters, in order to lay drainage and lighting systems and build pedestrian walkways.

The Department of City Planning will put up signs introducing visitors to Mahakan Fort in Thai, English and Mandarin. The private sector has sponsored the construction of public restrooms. The park is expected to be completed in mid-June.

The Fine Arts Department and the BMA are considering whether the park should become a permanent public facility.


Update June 1, 2018

U-Tapao airport development to attract investors

 

iNNT

Bangkok - The Ministry of Industry has expressed its confidence that the U-Tapao International Airport redevelopment project, part of an overall plan for an Eastern Airport City, will attract many investors.

Industry Minister, Dr. Uttama Savanayana, said the terms of reference (TOR) for the development would be released soon, and the project will be opened to private companies to compete for work on the aviation facilities, which will cover 225 acres.

"Even though the development of the U-Tapao International Airport and the Eastern Airport City has been delayed as a result of waiting for the implementation of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Act, which became effective in the middle of this month, we are quite confident that we will get the names of investors for different projects for the development of airport this year,” Dr.Uttama said.

Under the original timeframe, the invitation for private sector to invest in the U-Tapao project was to be conducted between March and June this year. The Industry Minister said the names of those who win the bids would be announced in September.


Thai appeals court dismisses case against British activist

British labor rights activist Andy Hall is shown in this Nov. 3, 2016, file photo. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Bangkok (AP) — An appeals court on Thursday vindicated a British labor rights activist entangled in a years-long legal confrontation with a fruit-packing company after he publicized alleged human rights violations at its factory.

The legal victory for Andy Hall was welcomed by Amnesty International but is not necessarily the end of protracted court battles that forced him to leave Thailand in 2016.

A criminal defamation and other cases against Hall stemmed from a 2013 report he researched for Finnish consumer organization Finnwatch that alleged labor abuses at Natural Fruit's pineapple canning operation. It employed migrant workers from Myanmar who said the company abused them and broke labor regulations.

Sunya Joongdee, a lawyer for Hall, said Thursday's court ruling dismissed the criminal defamation case, which also resulted in the collapse of a related computer crime case.

He said the court accepted that Hall's interviews with migrant workers revealed allegations of rights violations that should be made public. Hall was found guilty of criminal defamation in 2016, fined and given a suspended prison sentence.

Natural Fruit, owned by businessman Wirat Piyapornpaiboon, can appeal to the Supreme Court. Other cases brought by both sides as the legal battle escalated are still before the courts.

On Twitter, Hall said he had previously lost hope of justice but now a "flame was reignited in my heart."

"There is still the possibility that today's verdict could lead in some way to peace and reconciliation," he said.

Amnesty International's Thailand campaigner, Katherine Gerson, said the ruling should be followed with law changes that prevent companies using the courts to harass activists who campaign against abusive corporate practices.

"This successful appeal is very welcome, and it underlines how the original conviction against Andy Hall was an abuse of justice that should never have been allowed," she said in a statement.

Finnwatch also welcomed the ruling.


Phra Phrom Sitti denied bail after submitting to police on suspicions of corruption

NNT

Bangkok - Former Abbot of Wat Sa Ket Raja Wora Mahawiharn, Phra Phrom Sitti, has submitted to police investigators after they last week found he had 132 million baht in personal savings and over 87 million baht in circulation through a raid on the temple that tied him to suspicions of corruption.

Authorities questioned the former abbot for close on three hours on Thursday before Crime Suppression Division Commander Pol Maj Gen Maitree Chimcherd escorted him to the Central Criminal Court for an initial 12 day detainment period, during which police are to question another 20 witnesses as to the monk’s finances. The clergyman has been denied release on bail for the time being as he is in possession of a large quantity of pertinent financial information and is believed to be part of a network of wrongdoers who face severe punishment. He has been detained at Bangkok Remand Prison for the time being but his lawyers have prepared a second bail request.

The National Buddhism Office has indicated to the court that while Phra Phrom Sitti has maintained his monkhood, according to the Monk Act of 1962, authorities have the right to strip him of his ordainment.

Police are still in pursuit of another high ranking monk linked to the temple fund corruption case, Phra Phrom Methi.


Thailand aims to increase milk consumption to 25 liters per head per year

NNT

Bangkok - The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives is cooperating with the Ministry of Public Health, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the dairy industry to try to increase the country's annual milk consumption to 25 liters per head by 2026.

An awareness campaign will be launched to promote benefits of milk, which plays an important role in supplying essential nutrients to different stages of life.

Currently, Thai people drink about 18 liters of milk per head per year, which is relatively low compared to people in Japan, Europe and the United States. Thailand is urging its citizens to drink two glasses of milk a day. 
 


DAILY UPDATE

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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

4 villagers shot dead in insurgency-plagued south

PM confirms no rice planting ban in place

Phuket incinerates fake IP goods

Bumrungrad Hospital showcases its robot spinal surgery


Phrae sees most dengue fever infections in the north

DLT introduces electronic driving test

Sibutramine found in another food supplement brand

Chachoengsao waste separation plant found to be operating without a license


Thailand seeks deportation of monk taking refuge in Germany

THB20 billion to be generated in Thailand by World Cup 2018

Bangkok aims to put fireboats from corruption case to use

Tourist Police urge for an end to prank calls


Govt ponders plan to transform U-Tapao into Eastern Aviation City

Two million tons of plastic waste pile up in Thailand every year: MNRE

Police to set up technology crime suppression center

SET acknowledges foreign selloff but sees no cause for concern


Police close down online soccer gambling sites

Harsh weather anticipated across the nation this week

Action Coalition for Thailand Party launched

Tourism Ministry looks to promote foreign film making in Thailand


Government to focus on second chance for convicts

Officials, engineers inspect Bangkok Noi Dam

Rojana Laem Chabang Industrial Park to be established in Chonburi

Khon Kaen steps up dengue virus surveillance in rainy season


Cambodian man arrested for releasing fake news about Thai PM

Iconic cinema Lido shutters after 50 years

Govt to wait for court ruling on foreign minister

Mahakan Fort park to be ready in mid-June


U-Tapao airport development to attract investors

Thai appeals court dismisses case against British activist

Phra Phrom Sitti denied bail after submitting to police on suspicions of corruption

Thailand aims to increase milk consumption to 25 liters per head per year

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