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Update April 2016


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Uthai Thani operates checkpoints for road users throughout Songkran

UTHAI THANI,(NNT) - Uthai Thani has opened checkpoints on the roads to ensure safety during the Songkran festival.

The Uthai Thani provincial highway police, Ranong provincial police department and a rescue unit of the Uthai Thani Rescue Foundation on Wednesday opened the checkpoints. The checkpoints' main task is to facilitate road users, tourists as well as the general public on the Songkran days.

The checkpoints also hand out drinking water, cool towels, drinking yogurt and nonprescription drugs to road users. Rest areas are provided for them in an effort to reduce road accidents.

The highway police and the rescue foundation offer service for vehicles in case of breakdown and accident.


Nature-loving tourists flock to Koh Phra Thong

PHANG NGA,(NNT) - Growing numbers of tourists have headed to Koh Phra Thong in the southern province of Phang Nga to enjoy the charming Andaman scenery.

Koh Phra Tong is the biggest island in Phang Nga and the fifth biggest one in the country. The island was selected in 2003 by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) as an unseen attraction, thanks to its unique geographical features.

Thick fossil reefs have a formed an expansive plain on Koh Phra Thong. The island boasts a mangrove forest on the eastern side and a savanna, dotted with man made ponds, in the middle; the ponds were dug decades ago by miners working on the island.

What also makes Koh Phra Tong a must-visit destination for nature lovers is that the island is home to rare wildlife such as the Sambar deer, lesser adjutant storks, and Nicobar pigeons.


Samut Prakan to stringently punish drunk drivers and speeders

SAMUT PRAKAN,(NNT) – Samut Prakan officials have resolved to strictly punish drunk drivers and speeders threatening other motorists during Songkran.
Deputy Governor of Samut Prakan, Siam Sirimongkol, has ordered authorities strictly take action against violators of traffic laws, especially speeders and drunk drivers, with an aim to reduce road accidents during the Songkran period.

The deputy governor recently conducted an inspection of check points and officers dispatched to work against holiday road accidents.

Samut Prakan recorded 2 major accidents and 2 fatalities during its Songkran holiday last year. Both incidences involved motorcycles and speeding.

This year, the province is looking to encourage traditional Thai celebrations to offset accidents and has set up a 24 hour medical response center.


116 died and 981 injured in two days of Songkran celebrations

Another 64 people died and 550 others injured in the second day of the Songkran safety drive campaign, raising total road death toll in two days to 116 killed and 981 injured.

The centre for the prevention and reduction of road accidents of the Department of Public Disasters Prevention and Mitigation said today that only in a single day yesterday, 64 were killed and 550 injured in 520 road accidents.

Main causes of the accidents are drunk during which accounted for 36.35% of the 520 accidents, and speeding, 33.46%.

Motorcycles accounted for the bulk of the accidents or 81.03%, followed by pickup trucks, 6.8%.

Chiang Mai topped the highest incidence of road accidents with 19 cases, and Phichit topped highest death toll of six yesterday.

In conclusion, 116 people died and 981 injured in two days of the Songkran safety drive campaign in which a total of 907 cases were reported.

Chiang Mai had the highest accumulated incidents of 45 accidents, while Buriram recorded the highest deaths of eight in two days.


52 people killed and 431 injured on first day of Songkran festival on Monday

Thai PBS
Fifty-two people were killed and 431 others injured in 387 road accidents on the first day of the launch road safety campaign on Monday to coincide with Songkran festival.

The centre for the prevention and reduction of road accidents of the Department of Public Disasters Prevention and Mitigation, the main cause of the road accidents was speeding which accounted for 36.69 percent of the 387 accidents recorded on the first day followed by drunk driving which accounted for 26.87 percent of the accidents.

Motorcycles accounted for the bulk of the accidents representing 79.6 percent followed by pick-up trucks accounting for 10.20 percent of the accidents. 56.93 percent of the dead and injured victims were working people.

Chiang Mai topped the highest incidence of road accidents with 19 accidents followed by 6 in Prachin Buri.

The centre reported that a total of 2,128 road checkpoints were set up on Monday and over 65,000 officials were mobilized to keep check of traffic flow and inspection of vehicles.

A total of 528,903 vehicles were checked and, of these, 84,724 faced legal actions, including 25,651 cases of no driving licenses and 23,354 cases of riding with crash helmets.

Pol Lt-Gen Anan Srihirun, assistant national police chief, said police in the provinces were instructed to facilitate traffic flow and to ensure road safety today which is the last working day in anticipation of more people leaving Bangkok.

Mr Chatchai Promlert, chief of the Department for Public Disasters Prevention and Mitigation, said that as most holidaymakers would have reached their destinations in upcountry by tomorrow, provincial and local administrators had been instructed to tighten up the five measures introduced by the National

Council for Peace and Order, foremost of all is the measure to clamp down on reckless driving, speeding and drunk driving.


Dusit Zoo offers free admission for senior citizens on Songkran days

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Dusit Zoo invites children and adolescents to celebrate the Songkran festival at the zoo from 13-15 April 2016. Free admission is offered for people aged 60 years old and up.

Dusit Zoo Director Benchaphon Nakprasert on Tuesday presided over the opening ceremony of the zoo’s Songkran event. The director invited those who did not plan to travel to other provinces during the Songkran festival to visit the zoo and have a good time together. There was an animal parade and water activities for children after the opening ceremony.

Another highlight of the zoo's Songkran celebration are four Capybaras from Khon Kaen province. They were exhibited since 12 April 2016.


Don Mueang Airport foods still overpriced

BANGKOK,(NNT) – Overpriced food are on sale at Don Mueang Airport, while legal pricing control measures will be required if merchants fail to cooperate with authorities, says the Ombudsman.

Ombudsman Gen Viddhavat Rajatanun has revealed the outcome of a meeting to solve the overpriced food issue in Bangkok Don Mueang Airport, stated that the price of food sold at the airport are still higher than the price ceiling according to today’s inspection. Shops and restaurants were charging an excess price at 40-200 percent of the actual price.

He has said foods in the airport are only allowed to be sold at the price not higher than an extra 20 percent from the price sold outside the airport. Don Mueang Airport and the Department on Internal Trade have been assigned to work together to formulate pricing guidelines, set to be implemented within 30 days.

However, the price of drinking water has been reduced at the airport following a previous request for the shops to cooperate in selling 500-600 milliliter water bottles at 10 baht, as opposed to the previous price of 30 baht.

On this matter, Don Mueang Airport General Manager Phet Chan-charoen states that the high price of food inside the airport reflects the cost merchants have bear from auctioning for retail space, while the airport will work to maintain the price of food to be within the agreed rate, charging no more than 20 percent higher than the original price.

Don Mueang Airport hosts restaurants selling food at low prices on the second floor of Terminal 2, with price of food dishes starting from around 30-50 baht, as an affordable option for passengers.


NCPO steps up road safety measures

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has asked the public for cooperation in following suggestions from security agents to bolster their safety following the discovery that over 3,000 drunk drivers took to roads during the first 3 days of Songkran.

Deputy Spokesperson for the NCPO, Col Sirichan Ngathong has acknowledged that traffic congestion has increased due to the large number of Songkran revelers traveling across the nation. She stated that military units have been dispatched to assist police in facilitating the holiday travel.

Agents will be strictly operating under the “No Drink and Drive, Vehicle Seizure” concept created by the NCPO to ensure road safety. Col Sirichan urged all members of the public to listen to security officers for their own safety.

More than 3,000 drunk drivers were pulled off roads during the first 3 days of the Songkran holiday. Up to 1,994 have been prosecuted with 255 having their licenses revoked and 75 having their cars impounded. Those whose vehicles were seized will be able to retrieve them only after Songkran.


More than 370,000 holidaymakers leaving Bangkok for a week

BANGKOK,(NNT) - More than 370,000 holidaymakers have begun to make their trips upcountry since last Friday to celebrate the Songkran festival with their families and loved ones.

Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said the number of people leaving Bangkok over the past three days has fallen short of its forecast by 20,000. He expects the number of travelers to peak between April 12 and 13.

The Transport Minister is confident there will be enough bus and train services for the holidaymakers and those returning to their hometowns. Transport Company Ltd and Don’t Drive Drunk Foundation have launched a road safety campaign to ensure passenger safety.

Public transport vehicles and their drivers will be screened in frequent intervals. Anyone found to be driving under the influence will face a fine of up to 10,000 baht or a maximum jail term of three months. A maximum fine of 50,000 baht will also apply to the bus operator.

To prevent the sales of overpriced tickets, police and Transport Company staffers will keep ticket counters under surveillance during the holiday period. Bus operators risk losing their service contracts with Transport Company Ltd if they are found to have committed the same offense repeatedly.


Suvarnabhumi revamps control to handle growing number of flights

BANGKOK,(NNT) – Suvarnabhumi International Airport has prepared to accommodate an expected throng of travelers during this Songkran holiday.

Aeronautical Radio of Thailand Ltd. has indicated that a total 23,924 flights will take place between this 8-18 April, up 10 percent from last year. Suvarnabhumi Airport has had to add up to 50 flights, bringing its daily total to 940 flights, to keep up with demand. Over 100 chartered flights have been booked for the Songkran holiday.

The added flights have had to be met with changes to air traffic control standards with a focus on reducing delays. More airport staff have been added and communications have been upgraded.

Thailand is set to see 1 million flights for the first time this year after recording 800,000 flights last year. New regulations are expected to allow the handling of 1.5 million flights a year.


Transport Ministry orders closer watch against accidents at rail crossings

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Ministry of Transport has assigned railway officials to better manage traffic at railway crossings in a bid to prevent accidents as a large number of holidaymakers are embarking on their journeys.

Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith reported that people have already begun traveling back to their hometowns to celebrate the Songkran Festival since the past weekend. Therefore, he called on all related agencies to ensure convenience for all commuters and study past mistakes in order to improve traffic management this year, especially on April 12 and 13 when the roads are expected to be most congested.

In addition, Mr Arkhom has instructed the State Railway of Thailand to seek cooperation from its officials in each area in paying special attention to motorists crossing railway tracks as many accidents occurred in the past.


Chonburi opens immigrant workers registration center

CHONBURI,(NNT) – Chonburi Province officially opens the province’s registration center for migrant workers from neighbouring countries, allowing registered workers to reside in the kingdom for an additional two years.

Chonburi Provincial Fisheries Official Bancha Sookkaew has revealed that a One Stop Service Center for the registration of migrant workers from Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia has begun operating at Laem Chabang Municipality Civic Center, Chonburi.

The center is providing registration service according to the Cabinet’s resolution which allows workers, whose permit expire on 31 March 2016, to receive a 2-year work permit extension. After registration, the new permit will expire on 31 March 2018.

Employers are asked to bring their employees from eligible countries for registration, starting from today until 29 July 2016.

Chonburi’s Command Centre to Combat Illegal Fishing has registered 510 fishing boats with 6,140 crew members. As of March 2016, it has received port-in reports from 6,147 boats with 75,820 crews, and port-out reports from 6,600 boats and 77,445 crews.


Narcotics Control launches drug-detecting operation at Suvarnabhumi airport

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) launched the operation ''Safe Songkran Without Drugs'' at Suvarnabhumi international airport.

The operation, jointly opened by Narumol Chuangrangsri, deputy ONCB secretary general, Jirut Wisanchit, deputy director general of the Department of Land Transport, and Sirote Duangrat, director of Suvarnabhumi international airport, calls for detection for drugs in urines of public-vehicle drivers at Suvarnabhumi airport to reduce risks of road accidents during Songkran festival.

The deputy ONCB secretary general said that the agency will encourage Songkran travelers to never accept anything from strangers who might possibly be suspected drug dealers.


Thais urged to wear indigenous costumes during Songkran festival

CHIANG MAI,(NNT) — Chiang Mai province has launched a cultural promotion campaign during Songkran festival by inviting local villagers to wear indigenous costumes and use native dialects on daily basis as part of celebrations for the northern province's 720th anniversary.

Chiang Mai provincial governor Pavin Chamniprasat disclosed that the cultural promotion campaign will be held from April 13-15, 2016 when a large number of tourists, both Thai and foreign, are expected to visit the province.

Chiang Mai province will celebrate its 720th anniversary on April 12, 2016 and throughout the year to express the local people's unique identity, way of life and beautiful culture during Songkran festival.


124 billion baht forecasted to circulate during Songkran

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) has forecast there will 124 billion baht in circulation during the upcoming Songkran festival.

Director of the UTCC Center for Economic and Business Forecasting Thanawat Polvichai cited a recent survey that expected the water festival to be lively this year.

The estimated cash flow for Songkran in 2016 is the highest in three years, thanks to the government’s tax deduction scheme. It is also expected to increase from the year before by 4.5%.

More than 60% of respondents will travel, spending an average of 4,600 baht. Those planning to attend parties will spend an average of 4,281 baht per person, while those looking to make merit will spend 2,600 baht per person.

However, Mr. Thanawat added that the drought crisis still poses a risk to consumer spending. He claimed that without the water shortages, consumer spending would grow 5-7% during the festival.


Narathiwat holds seminar to promote cultural products to ASEAN markets

NARATHIWAT,(NNT) - The Narathiwat Provincial Culture Office has organized a seminar to promote the use of local wisdoms in producing goods with Thai identities for ASEAN markets.

Taking part in the seminar were 86 Small and Medium Enterprise manufacturers as well as OTOP operators in the province. These entrepreneurs are producers of traditional fabrics, miniature drums, basketry handicrafts, and decorative daggers.

The participants were to learn more about how to introduce their crafts to markets in the ASEAN Community and ways to improve their manufacturing process. The seminar constituted a way to ensure that community-based products would generate substantial income to locals as well as the Kingdom on a sustainable basis.

The event included a talk to promote local wisdoms in producing cultural goods on a commercial scale, and also discussions on merchandise demand and product development. The attendees were also awarded with certificates upon the completion of the event.


Thailand Post requires parcel senders to show ID cards

BANGKOK,(NNT) - Thailand Post has introduced a measure to help crack down on drug smuggling by having senders of parcels at its post offices produce a proof of identity.

Waraporn Chaitiamwong, manager of organizational communications for Thailand Post, said the new ruling which came into effect today calls for parcel senders to present either their ID cards or, in case of foreigners, their passports.

Such personal details will be recorded at the post office. The first day of the implementation of the measure saw people readily complying.


Probe into 16 Thai nationals listed on Panama Papers

BANGKOK, (NNT) - The Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) has launched investigation into 16 Thai nationals whose names appeared in Panama Papers scandals but it is not clear as yet whether they broke the anti-money laundering law.

Acting AMLO secretary genral Seehanat Prayoonrat said the agency is checking out with its Panama counterpart and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) to help verify the names of those Thai nationals.

The investigation into possible money laundering charges is currently at an early stage and the authorities have so far found no evidence of wrongdoing, he said. AMLO would not release the names of the individuals until the authorities have verified the leaked information pertaining to those Thai nationals, who had allegedly done businesses overseas with the help of a legal firm in Panama.


Chiang Rai holds recycling contest

CHIANG RAI,(NNT) - The Office of Natural Resources and Environment in Chiang Rai province has organized a trash recycling competition to encourage the public to participate in environmental management.

The competition, held under the theme Reduce, Reuse & Recycle, featured different categories of inventions, where participants brought their innovative ideas to life. Contestants were required to come up with trash-derived products with real-world applications.

Inventions that won awards included a drug cabinet made of popsicle sticks, furniture made of used cans, cushions made of plastic bottles, a coconut shell lamp and a shirt made of used materials.


Businesses encouraged to install cameras on their vehicles

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Department of Land Transport has introduced a GPS system to track public buses as well as CCTV cameras for transparency. The department will also encourage businesses to install cameras facing the front view of their vehicles by making the purchase of such a camera tax-deductible.

Deputy Minister of Transport Aomsin Shiwapruek officiated at the opening of the GPS operations center which will oversee GPS information from all vehicles for real-time monitoring of drivers. Any anomalies in behavior or driving speed will be immediately made known to the center.

The public will be able to file complaints to the center through the mobile application “DLT GPS”

In addition, the Department of Land Transport has encouraged businesses to attach front-facing cameras to their service vehicles to monitor road behavior in a bid to reduce road accidents. Businesses will be able to claim the purchases of the cameras for tax deductions.
 


Public spending during Songkran expected to make 3-yr record high

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Center for Economic and Business Forecasting has forecast that the public spending during the Songkran festival this year will be over 124 billion baht—the highest in three years—due to government’s stimulus measures.

The Center for Economic and Business Forecasting conducted a survey on public spending on the Songkran days 2016. It found that the Songkran atmosphere this year would be bustling with a 4.51% increase in public spending compared to last year. Most of the respondents said they planned to have a trip and might spend around 4,600 each. Those who planned to visit their hometown only will spend the most on Songkran celebration and merit making.

The center’s director Thanawat Polvichai said Songkran this year would be lively since the holiday was spread to five days. The government’s stimulus measures made people feel more confident to spend but drought made them more careful with their spending.


Sriracha district launches campaign for motorcyclists to wear helmets

CHONBURI,(NNT) - Sriracha District Chief Officer Worayarn Boonnarat presided over the launching of a campaign for motorcyclists to wear helmets to prevent and reduce road accidents in Chonburi province.

The activity aims to make motorcyclists and motorcycle passengers realize good things about wearing helmets while riding a motorcycle to reduce injuries and fatalities in road accidents. The campaign focuses on safe riding by following traffic rules and wearing helmets.

A parade consisting of 500 motorcycles was released from Nakorn Laem Chabang municipality to receive helmets handed out in front of the Sriracha District Office.


Anti-smoking groups call for updated amendments to tobacco control laws

BANGKOK,(NNT) - Anti-smoking groups have collected over 15 million signatures across the country to push for new legislation to prevent children from smoking.

Heads of the National Alliance for Tobacco Free Thailand, Moh Anamai Network, Youth Network of Bangkok and the Friend of Women Foundation delivered a joint press conference on the successful collection of signatures to push for the Cabinet’s proposal of a new tobacco control law to be submitted to the National Legislative Assembly.

The proposed law will amend the definition of "tobacco products" to include any new tobacco products such as e-cigarettes and shisha pipes, while the definition of tobacco advertising will cover new mediums such as the use of presenters. The new law will also ban the publication of any social service activities by tobacco companies.


Suvarnabhumi Airport to increase service capacity during Songkran festival

BANGKOK,(NNT) - Suvarnabhumi Airport is establishing a coordination center to facilitate passengers traveling during the annual Songkran festival between April 8 and 18, as the average number of passengers is expected to rise to 166,760 people per day.

Director of Airports of Thailand (AOT) Sirote Duangrat said the number will mark a 7 percent increase from the same period last year.

The number of passengers during the festival will consist of over 1.5 million international passengers and over 295,000 domestic passengers. There will be a total of 10,296 flights throughout the period, a 5.77 percent increase from the same period last year. The number consists of 8,064 international flights and 2,232 domestic flights.

The AoT director said the new “Passenger Facilitation Center” to be set up during the festival will serve to ensure safety and provide convenience for passengers. The center will be located on the 4th floor lobby behind the R line ticketing booth. The center will collect traffic data to be used for adjusting manpower and service capacity to suit actual conditions while allocating adequate personnel for checkins, baggage inspections and passport checking.

He also revealed that the AoT has increased the number of security officers by increasing its own number and by contracting third party security agencies. The AoT has also coordinated with law enforcement agencies to provide additional personnel and increase the frequency of inspections at various points such as in and outbound vehicles and luggage inspections.

Mr Sirote added that passengers should take advantage of the airports' available automated services such as the Common Use Self Service: CUSS for checkins and the Auto Channel for automatic passport inspections.


Hospitals ready to admit emergency cases during Songkran

BANGKOK, 6 April 2016 (NNT) - The Minister of Public Health is pushing forward the policy of resolving medical reimbursements for all qualifying cases, while affirming that all hospitals stand ready to admit emergency patients during the Songkran festival.

Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn said the policy to have all hospitals ready to provide emergency treatment has been a five-year-long policy that needs to be actualized. Meanwhile, public health agencies are in agreement on a reimbursement scheme according to average hospitalization prices. The ministry is discussing with private hospitals on a reasonable reimbursement price.


Rice export target to be met despite drought

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Ministry of Commerce has indicated that, even though rice exports this year are being affected by the drought crisis, their volume will likely reach 9.5 million tons as targeted.

According to Commerce Minister Apiradee Tantraporn, this year’s rice exports will be outshined by those of last year, when a total of 10 million tons were exported, largely because the severe drought has affected productivity. Nonetheless, the minister gave assurance that the annual target of 9.5 million tons will be achieved.

She affirmed that the government will from now on coordinate more closely with the private sector in order to raise the country’s rice production capacity. While private entrepreneurs take charge of the production process, the state will search for additional channels for their rice in such markets as Hong Kong, Singapore, China, ASEAN and the United States.

Concerning the remaining rice stocks amounting to over 12 million tons, Ms Apiradee insisted that the government will hastily seek channels to release them, citing that the old stocks are holding back the prices of rice in the market.


Thailand seizes 87 African ivory tusks worth $800,000

Thai customs officials display seized ivory during a press conference in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

BANGKOK (AP) — Officials in Thailand say they seized 315 kilograms (695 pounds) of African elephant tusks worth an estimated $800,000 at Bangkok's international airport.

Kulit Sombatsiri, director-general of the Thai Customs Department, said Tuesday that the haul of 87 ivory tusks was found March 27 in a dozen barrels sent from Mozambique on a Kenya Airways flight. A routine X-ray at Suvarnabhumi International Airport detected the contraband.

Kulit said a Kenyan man was due to pick up the parcels, but is believed to have fled the country after learning they were seized.

Kulit told reporters that Thai authorities alerted Kenyan officials, who discovered 561 kilograms (1,237 pounds) of ivory tusks waiting to be shipped to the same man.

He said it was the fifth seizure of elephant tusks this year in Thailand, which a number of United Nations reports have identified as one of the prime end user countries for ivory.

The global regulator in international trade in endangered species, CITES, put Thailand on a watch list of eight countries a few years ago. This required it to formulate an action plan to fight against the illegal ivory trade through legislation and enforcement or face the possibility of trade sanctions.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


McDonald's in Thailand blames rat sighting on local sewers

BANGKOK (AP) — McDonald's in Thailand has apologized to customers after a video surfaced online showing a large rat scurrying around a dessert counter at one of its restaurants.

The fast-food giant confirmed in a statement that a rat had rummaged through its outlet in a shopping mall in the city of Hat Yai in southern Thailand, and blamed the incident on the unhygienic neighborhood where the complex is located.

"We checked security footage and found that the accusation is true. A rat ran into the restaurant," McDonald's Thailand said in a statement Sunday. "We ordered the restaurant to clean all of its equipment and the whole restaurant, especially the dessert counter, right away."

The 21-second video clip was posted on YouTube on March 21, and the company became aware of the rodent issue the following morning and immediately ordered the thorough cleaning, it said. The video had a revival last week and got more attention, including local news coverage, which prompted the official statement.

The Hat Yai outlet "is located near street vendors and public sewers that are a breeding area for rats and insects," McDonald's Thailand said. It added that McDonald's pays close attention to hygiene and regularly hires pest control services as does the shopping mall, Lee Garden Plaza.

As a result of the video, McDonald's has asked the mall to increase rat control measures around the complex and Hat Yai public health officials to increase inspections of street vendors and the restaurant itself, the statement said.
___

Online:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGyNO18dFGE&feature=youtu.be

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Health Ministry to improve public safety at railway intersections

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Ministry of Public Health has instructed all provinces to improve public safety at railway intersections, in a bid to reduce related accidents.

Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn revealed that the ministry is collaborating with several related agencies to prevent road accidents, following a recent incident where a train collided with a tour bus in Nakhon Pathom province.

All provinces are to compile a list of risk areas and improve safety for at least five areas per quarter year. Special attention will be given to railway intersections.

The ministry has also moved to improve data collection on injuries and deaths from road accidents, as well as emergency medical services. It has targeted a 21% reduction in traffic-related deaths.


Monkeys at Phra Nakorn Khiri historical park sterilized

PETCHBURI,(NNT) – Veterinarians have sterilized monkeys at Phra Nakorn Khiri historical park in Petchburi province.

The veterinarians from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation launched a health program for monkeys to prevent an outbreak of viruses and diseases among the monkeys as well as control their population.

The program includes sterilization, surgery for injured monkeys and collection of blood samples for laboratory tests which will take a one-month time.

Anyone who has been bitten by a monkey and has had a deep wound is advised to seek prompt a medical treatment and rabies vaccination.


Public Relations Department to train staff on royal vocabulary

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Public Relations Department (PRD) is holding a training course on royal Thai vocabulary to ensure proper usage by PRD officials.

PRD Deputy Director-General Charoon Chaisorn chaired the opening ceremony for the training course, now in its third incarnation. The program runs a total of 15 hours and will cover the importance of using royal vocabulary, as well as information on various ceremonial rites, palace traditions, and specific vocabulary for various occasions.

The course will also hold workshops on proper pronunciation for news reading, as well as feature guest speakers with expertise in royal proceedings.


Honda most popular brand at the 37th Motor Show

BANGKOK,(NNT) -The last day of the 37th Bangkok International Motor Show had a lively atmosphere, with Honda being the most popular brand among car buyers.

The event, which was held at Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani, was crowded with car enthusiasts on March 3, especially at the Honda booth. People were attracted by a payment plan which allows them to own a Honda City sedan with only a 30% down payment and a 0.69% interest rate for 48 months.

The Motor Show featured 30 car companies, 10 motorcycle companies, and 175 vehicle-equipment manufacturers. The top five manufacturers with the most car reservations were Honda with 2,800 reservations, Isuzu with 2,631, Toyota with 2,437, Mazda with 2,069, and Mitsubishi with 1,913.


Government unveils new attitude adjustment program

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The government has unveiled its new “attitude adjustment” program for those with dissenting political opinions, while affirming that it is not a breach of civil rights.

Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan said the program will last between three to seven days and will be carried out by the Royal Thai Army. The program will immediately enroll those deemed necessary for attitude adjustment. Their results will be compiled for the program's evaluation and future adjustments.

In response to suggestions that former Prime Minister Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh canceled his press conference on the threat of reshuffling public officials, Gen Prawit denied that any threat was made and also claimed he had not recently been in contact with the former premier.


Over 80,000 registered for child support funds

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security has reported the number of registrants in the government’s 400-baht-per-child policy at over 80,000 while affirming that the payment will rise to 600 baht in the next fiscal year.

Ms Anusree Tubsuwan, Spokesperson of the Social Development and Human Security Ministry, disclosed that, since September 15 last year, a total of 80,761 people have registered themselves with the government program offering poor families with infants a monthly allowance of 400 baht per child. The number is equivalent to about 63 percent of those eligible and around 23,000 registrants have already received the money.

The highest number of registrants was recorded in Pattani province at 4,055, followed by Buri Ram at 3,458. On the other hand, the lowest figure was seen in Phuket at only 72.

Ms Anusree highlighted the Cabinet’s recent resolution to extend the child allowance program from one year to three years and to raise the amount of payment from 400 baht to 600 baht, which will be effective in the fiscal year 2017.

In regard to registration, the Social Development and Human Security Ministry has instructed all local administrative organizations to continue to accept more registrants in a bid to give everyone equal access to the government support.


Freight carriers urged to avoid operating on Songkran days

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Department of Land Transport has called on freight carriers to avoid transporting goods during the Songkran festival in order to help reduce traffic problems and road accidents.

Deputy Director-General of the Department of Land Transport Kamol Buranapong said the department had launched an intensive campaign to promote road safety and decrease accidents during the coming Songkran festival this year. From 11-17 April, freight carriers should avoid operating. If they had to transport goods during Songkran, they should avoid using crowded routes during the times when most people traveled on roads, said the deputy director-general.

Mr.Kamol added that freight carriers should also make sure that their trucks had blockages to prevent goods from falling which might cause danger or an accident. The public can alert the authorities to unsafe driving behaviors by contacting the department at Hotline 1584.


Police Center dispatches anti-crime unit ahead of Songkran in Yala

YALA,(NNT) - The Southern Border Provinces Police Operation Center, recently dispatched an anti-crime unit ahead of the Songkran festival in the city precinct of Yala province.

The unit is comprised of 350 officials from the police, the military, the administrative office and volunteers from the public.

According to the chief of the center Police Lieutenant-General Chalermpan Achalaboon, the unit will focus on screening people, and inspecting vehicles and residences, in order to prevent insurgent activity during the holiday period.

He said the move is in line with the policy to maintain security during the Songkran festival, as outlined by the Royal Thai Police and the Southern Border Provinces Police Operation Center. The chief said the unit would protect the lives and property of the public, while maintaining a good relationship between the officials and residents.


Prime Minister concerned over taxi scams

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Prime Minister has expressed his concern regarding taxi scams in Thailand, urging fellow drivers to help report misconducts to authorities.

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has addressed the persisting issue of Thai taxi scams, such as demanding inappropriately high fares particularly to tourists, saying that he believes most taxi drivers are honest and would never conduct such offence. He urged taxi drivers to help authorities by reporting any inappropriate conduct to officials.

The Prime Minister has assigned the Department of Land Transport to strictly collect the service history of each taxi according to the license plate, and are authorized to punish taxi drivers who violate the regulation, should the evidence indicate so.

Tourists police have also been urged to improve their performance while servicing tourists, as tourism is a main economic driver for Thailand, in which taxi services also play a crucial part, the PM has said.


Lam Takong dam ensures sufficient water until August

BANGKOK, 3 April 2016 (NNT) - The Royal Irrigation Department has confirmed the current amount of water of the Lam Takong dam in Nakhon Ratchasima will be sufficient for consumption until August this year and urged all sides to save water as much as they can.

Deputy Director-General and Spokesman of the Royal Irrigation Department Thongplew Kongchan on Sunday said the dam had around 100 million cubic meters of water for use or 29% of its capacity. The department was implementing a plan to ensure sufficient water for the local people in the next four months, said the official.

In Uttaradit province, Provincial Governor Surasak Charoensirichote said the Sirikit dam now had 1.3 billion cubic meters of water which would be sufficient for consumption until July this year.

Six districts in Uttaradit have been declared drought-hit disaster zones.


Thai & US naval officers join combat training

PHUKET,(NNT) – The Royal Thai Navy and the United States Navy are preparing to co-launch Guardian Sea 2016, a series of marine defense and combat drills scheduled for late May.

PHOTO:NNT-02-04-16 News 4 Thai & US naval officers join combat
Rear Adm Vasinsan Chantavarin, Commander of Helicopter Carrier Squadron, Royal Thai Fleet on Thursday chaired a meeting on the final preparations for Guardian Sea 2016.

The Royal Thai Navy and the United States Navy have organized military exercises of this nature in the past. However, the upcoming drill will be a first to take place in the Andaman Sea.

The Thai Navy has prepared HTMS Chakri Naruebet, HTMS Naresuan and HTMS Taksin and three Seahawk helicopters with dipping sonar systems for the event. The United States Navy will contribute a submarine, a destroyer and a helicopter.


Finance Ministry to refocus attention on stimulating local economies

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Ministry of Finance will propose an economic stimulus plan which will focus on communities and villages to replace the previous policy of giving 1,000 baht to mid-level civil servants.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance Somchai Sujjapongse revealed that his Ministry will present to next week’s Cabinet meeting a plan to give money to communities and villages as a replacement for the 1,000-baht subsidy for civil servants.

According to him, the change was due to the Ministry’s assessment that the overall economy has improved and that the government should refocus its attention on strengthening communities.

In addition, the ministry is planning to register all low-income earners in order to allow state offices to be able to provide assistance according to people’s needs.


Security to be beefed up at all airports during Songkran celebrations

BANGKOK,(NNT) – All airports across Thailand will be on high alert for unexpected incidents during the Thai New Year.

Chula Sukmanop, director-general of the Department of Airports, said he had instructed all 28 airports operating under his supervision to step up security measures. His order followed the announcement of the Department of Civil Aviation which is urging all airports to increase security and safety in all areas.

He said security personnel will be on a 24-hour lookout during the upcoming Songkran festival in order to prevent all forms of violence as well as any accidents that could lead to casualties.

He also called on the public to immediately report all suspicious activities to nearby authorities.


Rainmaking operations bring rainfalls to Northeast

KHON KAEN,(NNT) - In response to the severe drought crisis, the Royal Rainmaking Operation Center in the Northeast has performed a cloud-seeding mission which successfully brought rainfalls to five northeastern provinces.

The rainmaking operation has added 1.8 million cubic meters of water to Ubonrat Dam in Khon Kaen and Lamtakhong Dam in Nakhon Ratchasima. The provinces of Kalasin, Chaiyaphum and Udon Thani also benefited from the drought-relief mission. The rainmaking operation base will in mid-April be moved from Udon Thani to Khon Kaen where the weather condition is conducive to cloud-seeding operations.

Up North, drought-hit farmers in Phrae Province are struggling to save their paddies by pumping water from the local irrigation canal into their rice fields as natural water sources have dried up. Despite the government’s campaign for water-efficient cultivation, there are still a number of agriculturists who continue with the water-intensive rice farming.

The ongoing drought crisis has prompted different agencies to launch aid programs for affected provinces. The army has started giving out water containers to residents in Sa Kaeo Province. The Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) on Friday dispatched a caravan of water trucks to three districts in Nakhon Ratchasima and Buriram.


Media professionals participate in productive workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction

Thai media professionals participated in a two-day intensive workshop on climate change and disaster risk management, co-organized by the Public Relations Department (PRD), and the Asia Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD), the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) at the Public Relations Department (PRD).

Media professionals that attended took part in activities concerning the importance of communicating the varying climate trends that run throughout Thailand. In particular, there was discussion of what could be more effective methods to simplify technical knowledge so important information could be more understandable when spread through the media to the community.

Mr. Saqib Shiekh, AIBD’s Programme Manager, who took part in the workshop, said that the media must play a strong role. "We can't be the only ones to make the public aware, " he said. "That's the job of the media. We are interpreters between those in the disaster fields and in the science fields, and we take what we know and we try to educate the public about that. We hope the media can get the message and understand that they have a role to save lives and to keep people safe. So there are a lot of things to be done."

Besides concentrating on natural disasters, those at the workshop also encouraged broadcasters to become more aware of man-made disasters that could be prevented. For example, there is a strong relationship between human activity and the effects that help creating climate change. So it is very important for the media to let the public realize how they could help assist mitigate the problems to ensure the health of the planet with a lighter footprint.


South Korean delegation in Thailand to continue joint SME development efforts

BANGKOK, 31 March 2016 (NNT) – A delegation from South Korea’s government dealing with small and medium enterprises (SME) has traveled to Thailand to follow up on negotiations initiated by Deputy Prime Minister for economic affairs Somkid Jatusripitak during his recent visit to the country.

Director-General of BMB and SMBA in South Korea Baek Woonmann is leading the delegation to engage in a series of meetings on joint development of SMEs between Thailand and South Korea. The group has 11 business representatives from industries that include cosmetics, IT and medical equipment, who are slated to take part in business matching sessions with 50 Thai SMEs.

SME Bank Director Salinee Wangtal made known that South Korea has indicated willingness to support Thai start ups in the technology sector that wish to enter the South Korean market. The East Asian country will allow the new businesses to spend 1 year at its Innovation Center and negotiate development support with South Korean entrepreneurs.

South Korea also intends to support Thailand in producing human resources for SMEs with efforts likely to kick off in the latter half of this year.


2.8 million rai of farmland destroyed by drought crisis

BANGKOK, 1 April 2016 (NNT)-The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives will adjust a water management plan to mitigate the impact on Songkran water-throwing festival.

Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister General Chatchai Sarikalaya said after attending a meeting to solve the drought crisis that there would still be enough water for household consumption until July.

He believed there would be more rainfall in April, which would benefit the farming sector. The Minister also indicated he would adjust the watermanagement plan to facilitate the Songkran celebrations but encouraged revelers to use water wisely during the holidays.

As for the farming sector, farmers have been told to grow crops that thrive well in dry weather conditions instead of growing off-season rice. More underground water wells and water retention areas have been developed across the country.

Surveys show more than 2.8 million rai of farmland have been destroyed by the drought with damages worth 15 billion baht in total. Moreover, farmers lost around six million tons of agricultural produce to water shortages.


Labor Ministry finds jobs for over 180,000 people in past six months

BANGKOK, 31 March 2016 (NNT) – Ministry of Labor spokesman Theeraphol Khunmuang quoted the Department of Employment as saying the Smart Job Centers and Employment Offices nationwide had found jobs for 189,030 people or an average of over 31,000 people monthly which generated an average income of about 283 million baht per month during 2016's past six months.

During October 2015 - February 2016, 936 jobs had been provided for disabled people, 918 of whom or 98 percent having been employed through the service of the Ministry of Labor.

The Labor Ministry spokesman said the general public and students who are unemployed and looking for a job or a career guidance can contact Smart Job Centers and employment offices nationwide or call Hotline 1694.
 


DAILY UPDATE

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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Uthai Thani operates checkpoints for road users throughout Songkran

Nature-loving tourists flock to Koh Phra Thong

Samut Prakan to stringently punish drunk drivers and speeders

116 died and 981 injured in two days of Songkran celebrations


52 people killed and 431 injured on first day of Songkran festival on Monday

Dusit Zoo offers free admission for senior citizens on Songkran days

Don Mueang Airport foods still overpriced

NCPO steps up road safety measures

More than 370,000 holidaymakers leaving Bangkok for a week

Suvarnabhumi revamps control to handle growing number of flights


Transport Ministry orders closer watch against accidents at rail crossings

Chonburi opens immigrant workers registration center

Narcotics Control launches drug-detecting operation at Suvarnabhumi airport

Thais urged to wear indigenous costumes during Songkran festival


124 billion baht forecasted to circulate during Songkran

Narathiwat holds seminar to promote cultural products to ASEAN markets

Thailand Post requires parcel senders to show ID cards

Probe into 16 Thai nationals listed on Panama Papers


Chiang Rai holds recycling contest

Businesses encouraged to install cameras on their vehicles

Public spending during Songkran expected to make 3-yr record high

Sriracha district launches campaign for motorcyclists to wear helmets


Anti-smoking groups call for updated amendments to tobacco control laws

Suvarnabhumi Airport to increase service capacity during Songkran festival

Hospitals ready to admit emergency cases during Songkran

Rice export target to be met despite drought


Thailand seizes 87 African ivory tusks worth $800,000

McDonald's in Thailand blames rat sighting on local sewers

Health Ministry to improve public safety at railway intersections

Monkeys at Phra Nakorn Khiri historical park sterilized


Public Relations Department to train staff on royal vocabulary

Honda most popular brand at the 37th Motor Show

Government unveils new attitude adjustment program

Over 80,000 registered for child support funds


Freight carriers urged to avoid operating on Songkran days

Police Center dispatches anti-crime unit ahead of Songkran in Yala

Prime Minister concerned over taxi scams

Lam Takong dam ensures sufficient water until August


Thai & US naval officers join combat training

Finance Ministry to refocus attention on stimulating local economies

Security to be beefed up at all airports during Songkran celebrations

Rainmaking operations bring rainfalls to Northeast


Media professionals participate in productive workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction

South Korean delegation in Thailand to continue joint SME development efforts

2.8 million rai of farmland destroyed by drought crisis

Labor Ministry finds jobs for over 180,000 people in past six months

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