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Update April 2016


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Royal Thai Air Force receives 8 women candidates for pilot positions

BANGKOK,(NNT) - Eight women have so far applied for pilot positions with the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF), which began accepting women pilots for the first time this year.

RTAF Commander ACM Treetod Sonjance revealed that the application process began last Monday. This marks the first time in the Air Force's history that it is recruiting women pilots. The RTAF has allotted five positions for women this year and plans to maintain this quota in 2017 and 2018.

Each applicant is required to pass a series of tests and undergo medical and psychological examinations, as well as an interview before they are accepted.


Thailand aims to rid country of malaria by 2024

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Ministry of Public Health is accelerating its malaria eradication campaign under the government's Pracharat Model.

Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn has affirmed his ministry’s commitment to realize the global agenda by the World Health Organization to “End Malaria for Good” and announced Thailand’s goal of eradicating malaria from the country by the year 2024.

Malaria cases worldwide have dropped steadily since 2000 by more than 75% in 55 countries worldwide. In Thailand, the number of malaria patients has decreased from 150,000 cases in 2000 to 24,850 in 2015, marking an 85% decrease with the remaining cases concentrated along the border.

The Ministry of Public Health has announced its malaria eradication plan for 2017 to 2026. The plan consists of developing technology, innovation and appropriate measures to eliminate malaria; increasing cooperation between partners; and empowering the public with healthy habits that prevent malaria. The plan has a total budget of 2.283 billion baht.


36 new foreign investors allowed to open business in Thailand

BANGKOK,(NNT) – Business Development Department Director General Phongphan Jiarawanon said the agency has allowed 36 new foreign investors, mostly from Japan, Singapore and China, to open business in Thailand.

Those foreign investments will combinedly incur a registered 898 million baht capital and lead to the employment of 698 Thai workers.

In April 2016, four new businesses have been granted permission, representing a 13 percent increase from a previous month while the investment capital has increased by 61 million baht, representing a seven percent rise from the same period last year.


Land Transport denies those whose driver's licenses were confiscated must wait three years to reapply

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Director General of the Department of Land Transport Sanit Phromwong has announced that those who have had their driver’s licenses confiscated will not be required to take a driving test as rumored in social media channels.

Mr Sanit denied the information posted on social media channels, claiming that those who have had their licenses confiscated won't be able to apply for a new license for three years. After the three year period the rumors say, they will need to apply for a new driver’s license which will include taking driving tests along with new applicants.

He said that in fact, those who have had their licenses confiscated due to traffic offenses will need to follow the customary procedures in order to have their licenses returned.


Consumers urged to beware of unsafe meat

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Department of Livestock Development has advised consumers to exercise caution when buying meat in summer during which time food can rot easily.

Deputy Director-General and spokesperson of the Department of Livestock, Sorawit Thaneto suggested that consumers only buy fresh meat from certified producers to avoid health risks associated with substandard meat.

Dr. Sorawit said it was inadvisable to buy raw meat from street vendors as the meat may have been butchered in substandard slaughter houses. He has also warned against buying unusually low-priced meat products, as they may be derived from sick animals.

According to Dr. Sorawit, quality pork should have vibrant pinkish color, even texture and little or no odor. Quality poultry should be of a pink color with yellowish skin and must not contain a lot of blood. Meat must be cooked at a temperature of at least 70 Degrees Celsius to prevent bacterial infection.


Chiang Mai organizes Elders' Day activities

CHIANG MAI,(NNT) – The northern province of Chiang Mai has hosted a National Elders' Day event to honor senior citizens.

Governor of Chiang Mai Pawin Chamniprasart officiated at the opening ceremony of the National Day of the Elderly event which took place at Chiang Mai University. More than 1,000 senior people from 25 districts took part in the activity. The governor took the opportunity to honor the older persons most of whom are in good health.

Other activities featured at the event included a smile makeover contest, the traditional “Rot Nam Dam Hua” ceremony where younger persons pour water onto the hands of the elderly as a symbol of respect. Traditional dances performed by the elderly, free haircuts, and health checkups were all part of the enjoyable day.

National Elders' Day is celebrated on April 13th of every year which is also the first day of the annual Songkran Festival. The occasion provides an opportunity for youngsters to pay respect and show appreciation to older persons in their family.


PEA warns of electrical risks during thunderstorm

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) has warned people who live in rain storm risk-areas to keep abreast of weather conditions and frequently check that electrical appliances are working.

The PEA issued the warning on Sunday following strong winds and rain storms during this period in many provinces. Such weather conditions may result in electrical accidents such as electrical malfunction or damaged high voltage power cables. These may lead to a major power outage and pose danger to lives and properties.

The PEA also suggested that tall buildings should install lightning rods and warned against the use of all electrical appliances during a thunderstorm. The public should not attempt to cut the trees near power lines by themselves.


Agriculture Ministry inspects drought situation in Maha Sarakham

MAHA SARAKHAM,(NNT) – The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives is following up on the drought situation in Maha Sarakham province.

Dr. Thanit Anekwit, an inspector general of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, attended a meeting in Maha Sarakham to acquire information on the latest drought situation in the province.

The inspector general was informed that several areas have been declared drought-disaster zones whereas farmers in drought-hit zones have been receiving assistance from local authorities on a constant basis.

Maha Sarakham farmers have been encouraged to replace their plants with drought-tolerant crops such as corn and groundnut or switch to other professions during the long dry season.

The province is receiving 500,000 cubic meters of water from Ubol Ratana Dam on a daily basis. Local officials expect the province to have sufficient amount of water for consumption until July.


Thailand hopes to improve ranking on ease of doing business

BANGKOK,(NNT) – Thailand hopes to maintain its position among top 50 economies worldwide in terms of the ease of doing business.

Deputy Prime Minister in charge of economic affairs Somkid Jatusripitak convened a meeting with state officials tasked with finding ways to attract foreign investors and businesses into Thailand. During the past 6 months, Thailand has been utilizing all efforts to make the country more attractive such as reducing business registration procedures, introducing the “E-Payment” system, creating a business database, and cutting unnecessary licensing processes.

He said the Thai government will host activities throughout the month of May, informing foreign investors of the improved business procedures and the recently-revised regulations aimed at actively facilitating their business opportunities.

Meanwhile, Minister for Finance Apisak Tantivorawong said he was confident that Thailand will remain among top 50 economies in the world on the ease of doing business, but hoped that the World Bank will put Thailand in a better ranking. Thailand was ranked 49 among 189 countries in 2015.


Government Public Relations Department raises awareness of corruption

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Government Public Relations Department (PRD) is raising public awareness of corruption, hoping to make Thailand a transparent country.

Director-General Apinan Juntarungsri chaired the opening of an anti-corruption workshop which was aimed at raising awareness of corruption among people in local communities. The workshop was taken part by public relations officials and volunteers from local communities nationwide.

They are tasked with making people in their respective areas aware of corruption practices, building anti-corruption networks, and fostering honesty and transparency in the Thai society.

The workshop was co-hosted by the PRD and the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).


Yala residents build watercourse to relieve drought impact

YALA,(NNT) - Residents in Pron Sub-district in Yala Province have joined hands in dredging a community canal to relieve the impact of drought on their crops.

A budget of 300,000 baht has been approved for the dredging of the two-kilometer Dusong canal. Villagers who contribute their labor also receive wages. The program is expected to benefit more than 150 households.

The canal enlargement is one of the livelihood enhancement programs based on the community needs. The task is expected to take 50 days. Once completed, the canal will have a greater capacity, enabling villagers to do water-efficient farming during the dry season.


Transport Ministry collects input on transport center construction project

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Ministry of Transport has been collecting opinions and suggestions on the 21.7-billion-baht transport center construction project in central Bangkok.

The Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning under the Ministry of Transport organized a seminar to gather input from the private sector on the government’s project to build a transport center on Phahonyothin Road.

The project is divided into two phases. The first phase requires a budget of 1.7 billion baht which will be spent on the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. The second phase requires a budget of 20 billion baht to be spent on converting an 83 rai of land around the center into a commercial zone. The two phases are expected to be finished by 2023.

Investors taking part in the seminar voiced that the project development should take place simultaneously both in and around the center, while services offered in the commercial zone should vary, and there should be a specific landmark to attract tourists.


Former prime minister Banharn Silpa-archa dies at 83

 

BANGKOK, 23 April 2016 (NNT) – Banharn Silpa-archa, the 21st prime minister of Thailand, passed away this morning, according to Siriraj Piyamaharajkarun Hospital.

Mr Banharn was being treated for allergic asthma at Siriraj Piyamaharajkarun Hospital before he was declared dead at 4.42 am this morning. He was admitted to the hospital on April 21st.

His funeral will be held at Wat Thepsirin. The bathing ceremony will commence at 5 pm today.

Mr Banhan was the prime minister of Thailand from 1995 to 1996 and held different cabinet posts in several governments.

He was born on August 19th, 1932 in Suphanburi to a Chinese merchant family. He was married to Jamsai Silpa-archa and together they have three children.


Startup Thailand 2016 to kick off in late April

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Ministry of Science and Technology has readied to hold Startup Thailand 2016 in cooperation with 11 other public and private organizations.

Minister of Science and Technology Pichet Durongkaveroj made known Startup Thailand 2016 is being organized with cooperation from bodies such as the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Industry.

The objective of the event is to inspire and support Thai startups and build their capabilities so that they can expand into new markets. The event will allow for new startups to meet with seasoned entrepreneurs to exchange experiences and ideas as well as seek investment and capital.

Startup Thailand 2016 is the first holding of the event and will feature over 180 startups. Running from April 28 to May 1 at Queen Sirikit Convention Center, the event will feature seminars and meetings as well as a business proposal competition with a 520,000 baht prize.


Department of Medicine gives guidance on preventing skin cancer

BANGKOK,(NNT) - Thailand is now in the summer, when ultraviolet light in the longer, brighter days can cause skin damage and even skin cancer.

Director-General of the Department of Medicine Supan Sri Dharma said skin cancer constitutes 5% of all cancer cases in Thailand. The condition is more common in males than females and people over 40.

Dr Supan advises the public to avoid the sun during the hours of 10:00am to 3:00pm. He encouraged people to routine use sunscreen and umbrellas, as well as dress in non-revealing clothing. Even on overcast days, UV light is strong enough to damage skin and can actually be more damaging, as people take fewer precautions.

The department has suggested that a healthy diet of all five food groups, especially tomatoes and carrots, can help prevent the harmful effects of sun exposure. Drinking at least eight glasses of water per day would also help skin cells function normally and reduce dehydration in the summer.


Chiang Rai Red Cross Society helps thunderstorm victims

CHIANG RAI,(NNT) - Chiang Rai Red Cross Society President Onanong Techamaneesathit and Chiang Rai Red Cross Society Red Cross members distributed 100 sets of consumer goods to the locals who were affected by thunderstorms in Ngiew county, Theung district on April 19.

A total of 558 households and 1,953 villagers were reportedly affected by the thunderstorms in Theung district while military and administrative officials were scrambling to repair the victims’ damaged houses.

According to Chiang Rai Provincial Office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, the damage caused by the thunderstorms covered nine districts, 32 counties, 208 villages, 3,978 households and over 10,000 villagers.


Chiang Rai to hold arts & culture event

CHIANG RAI,(NNT) - Chiang Rai Province is preparing to hold an arts and culture fair as a tribute to HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

Different agencies have jointly held a press conference to publicize the event. The objectives are to showcase the unique culture of Chiang Rai, raise public awareness of the local arts and culture as well as honoring HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn for her role in arts and culture conservation.

The event features an exhibition on the art and activities of the princess, folk music performances, displays of handicrafts and artworks by local artists, and outlets selling artistic items. The event take place between 27th and 29th April at 75th Anniversary Flag and Lamp Park in Muang District.


Authorities push for rabies-free zones in 2020

BANGKOK, 21 April 2016 (NNT) - The Ministry of Public Health is accelerating its efforts to create immunity from rabies according to the goal set with the World Heath Organization for 2020.

MOPH Permanent Secretary Sopon Mekthon revealed that 80 percent of rabies mortalities came from being bitten or scratched by their own dogs or friend’s dogs that were not vaccinated.

The Disease Control Department has therefore collaborated with the Livestock Department, Department of Local Administration and related agencies to encourage local administrations to prevent rabies infections in their communities in order to create rabies-free zones, according to the World Heath Organization initiative for the year 2020.

Pet owners are advised to vaccinate their pets and report any sign of rabies to the authorities.


Asia to foster greater cooperation against natural disasters

BANGKOK,(NNT)-The government and the private sectors are expected to unite in stronger cooperation against natural disasters via discussions currently being held at the Asian Business Forum 2016 Risk Reduction and Resilience Building.

Interior Minister General Anupong Paojinda, who presided over the forum, said today it is important for businesses to become resilient in the face of natural disaster as they contribute to economic growth.

Asia is more susceptible than any other parts of the world to natural disasters. The Interior Minister hoped the forum would foster tighter cooperation among Asian nations in preparation for natural disasters that are becoming more aggressive.

Asian Disaster Preparedness Center Chairman, Dr. Krasae Chanawongse claimed the event provides a platform for the government and the private sectors to share their thoughts.

He also hoped disasters in the past like a 9.0 magnitude earthquake in Japan and disastrous floods in Thailand would motivate business entrepreneurs to find ways to make their businesses more resilient to such extreme adversity.


Mae Sot wildlife checkpoint calls on tourists to not buy ivory pieces from Thailand

TAK,(NNT) – Mae Sot wildlife checkpoint head Soravit Khablam confirmed that wildlife trafficking is against the wildlife preservation and protection laws of 1992 and 2014.

He called on tourists and other people to not smuggle, possess or trade any protected and reserved animals or wildlife products, especially ivory pieces, from Thailand.

Any persons found to violate the laws will be subject to a maximum of four years in prison or a maximum of 40,000 baht in fine or both. People who might notice any wildlife trafficking can call Hotline 1362.


Kanchanaburi sends mobile service unit to remote district

KANCHANABURI,(NNT) - Various government and non-profit organizations in Kanchanaburi Province have jointly sent a mobile service unit to Huay Krajao District.

The project’s opening ceremony was chaired by Governor Sak Somboonto. The mobile unit offers a variety of services such as medical checkups and treatments, and a hair cutting service, as well as ID card issuance and legal advice.

The governor handed saplings and different kinds of fish to village heads for use in reforestation and food programs in their communities. He also gave aid money to underprivileged people. Meanwhile, the Provincial Red Cross Chapter offered 200 survival bags to aged villagers.

The mobile service unit is one of the projects run by the Ministry of the Interior to facilitate the day to day needs of residents in remote areas. More than 500 people availed themselves of the services.


Thai Police examine records of alleged Uyghur extremists

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Immigration Bureau of Thailand has investigated the matter regarding the National Intelligence Agency’s information about three Uyghurs who might enter the kingdom to potentially attack Chinese tourists' places of interests.

The names of the three reported Uyghur extremists are Hid Yet Dursun, Ali Yalcin Ergin, and Ali Yalcin, all holding Turkish passports.

Immigration Bureau Commander Pol Lt Gen Nattorn Prohsunthorn revealed that only Ali Yalcin has two records of entering the kingdom; on 18 March 2016 to stay for 2 days, and on 24 March 2016 to stay for 4 days, according to the Immigration Bureau’s databases.

Pol Lt Gen Nattorn added that Ali Yalcin had entered the kingdom as a tourist, and the visa is not required under the visa exemption agreement between Thailand and Turkey. However, the names of these alleged extremists are now on the watch list and the system will notify when they travel to the kingdom next time.

Meanwhile, Police Chief Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda said the Royal Thai Police is always on high alert and closely monitoring possible terrorist activities. The police chief today called a preparatory meeting on terror attacks responding measures via video conference with police officers nationwide, also with participation from military officials.


Pattaya welcomes members of South Korean community committee

CHONBURI,(NNT) - Rattanachai Sutthidechanai, president of Pattaya City Council's Committee on Tourism and Culture, welcomed members of South Korea's Cheongju community committee who came to observe Pattaya’s community development projects.

Rattanachai said that the Koreans' visit to Pattaya's community projects would benefit both parties, given the opportunity to exchange experiences and information about the people’s security and quality of life, creating fairness and equality, promoting the protection of individuals’ rights and developing human resources as well as promoting public participation and formulating guidelines for community development.

Moreover, it would be another approach to enhancing relationships and cooperation between the two countries, he said.


Family Day celebrated in Chachoengsao

CHACHOENGSAO,(NNT) – The Chachoengsao Provincial Administration has recently held an event to celebrate the Family Day and the Senior Citizens' Day.

Chachoengsao Deputy Governor Paisan Wimonrut presided over the opening ceremony of the event, during which awards were handed out to three model families.

The event featured a lecture on the government’s social welfare system for senior citizens while Chachoengsao’s family assembly and social welfare assembly also met to discuss how members would benefit from the formation of the two networks.

The event was also intended to raise awareness about the importance of family institution and senior citizens' value. It also provided an opportunity for all to express their opinions and take part in the development of the family institution and senior citizens at the policy-making level.


Community service sentences up 30 percent from last Songkran period

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Director-General of the Probation Department has reported that during the Songkran festival, 5,600 individuals were sentenced to community service, a 30% rise from the same period last year.

Director-General Pol Gen Narat Sawetnarong revealed that the 5,600 cases consist of 5,228 drunk driving violations, 403 miscellaneous cases and 24 cases of reckless driving. The number is an increase from last year by 1,177 or 30%. For cases of drunk driving that did not result in a traffic accident, the court will sentence violators to 20 hours of community service and will have to report themselves to their probation officer four times a year.

According to new laws, probation officers have been given more autonomy in prescribing community service work, which also includes assisting in hospital mortuaries. Pol Gen Narat affirmed that community service in the morgue does not constitute a violation of human rights, but serves as a firm punishment.

The Director-General also revealed that repeat offenders accounted for 5.18% of all cases this year. He said these individuals will be given harsher punishments at the discretion of the courts.


New environment-friendly resort opens on Ko Phra Thong

PHANG NGA,(NNT) - Ko Phra Thong in Phang Nga province suffered severe devastation from the 2004 Tsunami, which forced its inhabitants to desert the island. Today, the island is being restored and is opening the Moken Eco Village resort with 10 unique guesthouses.

Each guesthouse covers an area of 20 square meters and an additional 10-square-meter porch. The rooms are furnished with amenities and solar panels that provide electricity around the clock. The resort gets food from its own self-sustaining farms, as well as crabs that roam the beaches during the night. Each guesthouse features a unique theme of Ko Phra Thong that reflects its history and wildlife.

The resort was designed with environmental conservation in mind, as well as an emphasis on community. The simple island life will help visitors appreciate the value of wildlife, while 2% of the resort’s revenue will go to the education of islanders' children.


Smog in Chiang Mai Province has exceeded normal levels for the 4th consecutive day

CHIANG MAI,(NNT) - The smog situation in Chiang Mai Province has exceeded normal levels for the fourth consecutive day, prompting authorities to strictly monitor all areas for forest fires and the burning of agricultural land.

The level of small dust particles in the province has ranged between 159-183 micrograms per cubic meter and is expected to exceed 200 micrograms in the next few days should no wind or rain occur in the province.

The province reported 115 hotspots in the past 24 hours, including national parks, state highways and agricultural land. The province has instructed all districts to strictly crack down on unauthorized crop burning and swiftly quell any forest fires that occur. Farmers are only allowed to burn crops during select periods and must erect barriers to prevent the fire from spreading to forest areas.


Royal Thai Air Force recruits female pilots for the first time

BANGKOK, (NNT) - The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) is recruiting female pilots for the first time in its history. The application period will be held until Sunday.

Ms. Suwattana Chantalert, a 23-year-old Pattani native, was the first candidate to apply for the position at the RTAF when it began accepting applications yesterday. Ms. Suwattana, who lost her father to the southern unrest when she was young, said was she inspired to become a pilot after joining the RTAF's program ‘Tai Fah Deaw Kan’ 12 years ago.

The program helps orphans in the Deep South like her get an education. After graduating high school, she pursued a degree in aviation in order to become a pilot.

According to the RTAF, eligible candidates must be 18 – 28 years old. Those selected will be required to undergo ground training for three years before they can start working for the RTAF.


Royal message of condolence sent to Ecuador

BANGKOK, (NNT) - His Majesty the King has sent his condolences to the President of the Republic of Ecuador, following the devastating earthquakes that hit the country at the weekend.
The message conveyed Their Majesties the King and Queen’s deep sorrow upon learning of reports of the destructive earthquake which caused immense loss of lives, casualties and heavy damage to infrastructure and property in Ecuador.

It extended Their Majesties’ sincere sympathy and condolences to the Ecuadorian President and to all those who have suffered loss and bereavement in this natural disaster.


Songkran festival celebration claims 442 lives, 3,656 injuries

Thai PBS

Songkran festival holidays from April 11-17 have claimed the lives of 442 revellers and left 3,656 injured.

According to Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paochinda at the press conference held by the Department of Public Disasters Prevention and Mitigation today, a total of 442 people died and 3,656 others injured in nationwide road accidents during the past seven days of Songkran celebrations from April 11-17.

Gen Anupong said there were 3,447 road accidents during April 11-17.

The death toll this year is higher than last year in numbers of fatalities (78), of the injured (97) and of accidents (74).

He said only on April 17 alone, there were 343 road accidents in which 45 people were killed and 385 others injured.

During the seven-day period, Chiang Mai came top with altogether 168 road accidents and 175 injured while Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima topped the list with the highest fatality rate, 19 killed each.

Drink driving accounted for most accidents, followed by speeding.

Motorcycles were blamed for most of the accidents followed by pickup trucks.


Embassy assists affected Thais in Japan earthquakes

TOKYO,(NNT) – Thai nationals affected by the earthquakes in Kyushu have received assistance from Thai authorities and have been escorted to their arranged accommodation, says an MFA official.

Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of Information Sek Wannamethee has revealed that officials at the Royal Thai Embassy in Tokyo and the Royal Thai Consulate in Osaka have visited areas affected by the earthquake on the island of Kyushu, Japan. All affected Thai citizens have been safely escorted from the earthquake area.

127 Thai nationals and 68 foreign nationals have been brought to safety by Thai officials from the city of Yufuin, Kumamoto, and Beppu. The affected Thai nationals from Yufuin have been delivered to their arranged accommodation at Global Arena Hotel in Fukuoka, according to the Royal Thai Embassy in Tokyo’s Facebook page.

For emergency contact, the Royal Thai Embassy in Tokyo can be reached at the phone number 81-90-4435-7812 or 81-90-1216-3168.


397 people died in road accidents during April 11-16

Thai PBS

A total of 397 people died and 3,271 others injured in nationwide road accidents during the past six days of Songkran celebrations as of April 11, according to Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisit.

He disclosed that there were 3,104 road accidents during April 11-16, resulting to 397 deaths and 3,271 injured. On April 16 alone, there were 380 road accidents in which 59 people were killed and 380 others injured. Chiang Mai ranked top with 22 accidents resulting to 22 injured.

During the six-day period, Chiang Mai came top with altogether 158 road accidents and 166 injured while Nakhon Ratchasima topped the list with the highest fatality rate, 18 killed.

Speeding accounted for 31.05 percent of all the accidents followed by drink driving, 28.16 percent. Motorcycles accounted for 80.88 percent of the accidents followed by pickup trucks, 10.08 percent.

69.21 percent of the accidents occurred on highways of the Department of Highways and 36.32 percent on rural roads. 49.54 percent of the dead and the injured were working people.

During the six-day period, officials stopped 654,354 vehicles for checks and of these, 108,717 drivers were charged with traffic violations, including cases of 31,016 not wearing crash helmets and 29,840 cases of driving without licenses.

Mr Arkhom said that the use of personal vehicles had resulted to higher road accidents this year and drink driving was the main cause of most accidents.


3rd Army Area Commander inspects road accident prevention center in Tak

TAK,(NNT) - Commander of the 3rd Army Area Command Lt.Somsak Nilbancherdkul on Sunday inspected a special road accident prevention center in Tak province. All road accident prevention centers in the province focused on speeding vehicles.

The commander and his entourage gave moral support to military and police officers, physicians, nurses and volunteers who were working at the center. He also thanked them for their collaboration to facilitate people who traveled during the Songkran festival.

There were many services available at the center including information route guidance, drinking water, coffee and auto inspection.

The commander said there were a lot of vehicles using the roads during the Songkran holiday period every year, increasing the risk of road accidents. All road accident prevention centers in Tak had been instructed to be strict about vehicle inspection and randomly test drivers for alcohol use, said the commander.


Almost 6,000 vehicles impounded during Songkran holidays

BANGKOK,(NNT)-Nearly 6,000 vehicles have been impounded by authorities after drivers were found drunk driving. The figure covers the period since the beginning of the Songkran holidays.

According to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Deputy Spokesperson Colonel Sirichan Ngathong, traffic authorities worked around the clock over the weekend to relieve traffic gridlocks and prevent accidents as holidaymakers continued returning to Bangkok.

Road regulations had been breached at least 200,000 times over the holiday period. More than 100,000 drivers were prosecuted as a result.

Out of 5,772 vehicles impounded, 4, 353 are motorcycles and the rest are cars. The NCPO has encouraged those who are still making their way back to work to be mindful of conditions on the road.


Purple line train to open public trial in May

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Bang Yai - Tao Poon Purple Rail Line is set for public trial in May, servicing free rides prior to the official opening date in August with an expected daily service capacity of 120,000 passengers, according to the government spokesman.

Government spokesman Maj Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd has revealed that the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) is scheduled to conduct a service trail of the Purple Line train on the Bang Yai - Tao Poon section by May. The Purple Line is expected to be ready for full operations in August.

The 90-day trial run will allow operators to get accustomed to the system, involving normal train operations and emergency situations, as well as full performance of the system. The general public will be allowed to take the train for free during parts of the test run, the government spokesman has said.

The Purple Line train is composed of 16 stations along the 23-kilometer track, connecting Nonthaburi Province to the existing transportation system. It is expected that the Purple Line will be able to accommodate up to 120,000 passengers each day during its first year of operations. The fare along the route is expected to be in the range of 14 baht to 42 baht.


Finance Ministry urges government to mantain 7% VAT for another year

BANGKOK,(NNT)-The Ministry of Finance is set to propose to the government to maintain a 7% value added tax (VAT) as the Thai economy is still recovering.

Permanent Secretary for Finance Somchai Sujjapongse said it was important to keep the VAT rate at the same level for at least one year despite the International Monetary Fund’s suggestion to raise the rate.

He said it would only discourage consumers from spending if the VAT rate was increased. The current rate will expire at the end of September. The Permanent Secretary stressed that the Thai economy still needed supporting factors to grow.

The VAT can be slightly adjusted once the economy begins to show signs of growth. The adjustment, he said, ought to be made gradually instead of adopting a big percentage leap as it would shock the economy.


Phanom Rung Historical Park filled with tourists during long holiday

BURIRAM,(NNT) – Phanom Rung Historical Park has seen a very high number of tourists since the start of the Songkran Festival. The number is expected to topple 50,000 people on the last day of the long holiday.

Phanom Rung Historical Park is crowded with Thai and foreign tourists travelling from Lao PDR, China, and western countries. According to park officials, the park has been visited by at least 10,000 people a day since the first day of Songkran on April 13th.

Park officials are on a heightened sense of alert to prevent any unexpected incidents as well as assist tourists in need. At least 60 security personnel are on standby on a daily basis.

Chief of Phanom Rung Historical Park, Wasan Thepsuriyanon, said the number of visitors throughout the 5-day period (April 13th – April 17th) could be as high as 50,000 people.

Phanom Rung Historical Park is one of Thailand's most famous Khmer architecture sites, aged over a thousand years old. Built on an extinct volcano, it was originally a Hindu religious site and later became a Buddhist one.


Outdoors, summer workers advised to beware of heat stroke

SAMUT PRAKARN,(NNT) – Deputy Samut Prakarn provincial governor Thanu Boonlert said those who work outdoors in the heat of the sun for a long time might have high risks of getting heat strokes.

He advised that those people take special care of themselves especially during summer when temperature is usually high. Those with long-term health problems, in particular, could possibly get a heat stroke, the most serious form of heat-related illnesses. Heat strokes could possibly be fatal.

People should avoid being at hot spots for an extended period of time. One is advised to keep himself or herself hydrated or drink at least six glasses of water every day. Signs of a heat stroke include a fever, thirstiness, dizziness, headaches, nausea and vomiting.

If one experiences a heat stroke, he or she needs to be taken to a cooler place. His/her face and body should be wiped with a wet towel, followed by a gentle massage. Call Hotline 1669 if the condition does not improve.


Fire breaks out on Uthai Thani mountain

UTHAI THANI,(NNT) - A fire broke out at Sakaekrang Mountain in Uthai Thani, posing health risks to nearby communities.

The fire started at the foot of the mountain. The arid condition caused it to spread rapidly to a bamboo forest. Smokes billowed out of Sakaekrang Mountain, leading to air pollution and a visibility problem among residents and motorists.

Uthai Thani Municipality has dispatched firefighting trucks to the scene. It took firefighters 30 minutes to contain the fire. Officials believe the fire might have been lit by a cigarette stub.


Car crash in Egypt kills 1 and injures 3 Thai tourists

CAIRO,(NNT) - One Thai was killed and three others were injured in a car accident in Egypt on Thursday. The Royal Thai Embassy in Cairo has coordinated assistance for them.

The embassy on Friday reported that four Thai tourists were involved in the car accident en route from Luxor to Hurghada . Two of them were slightly hurt and one was seriously injured. The body of the killed tourist, who was a Thai man, is now at Safaga Hospital near Hurghada.

The embassy already contacted relatives of the death and collaborated with the Egyptian authorities to provide assistance for the four tourists.


Tourists flock on Koh Samui island during Songkran holiday

SURAT THANI,(NNT) – A large number of tourists, Thai and foreign, have visited major attractions on Samui island off Surat Thani province during the Songkran holiday.

The popular tourist spots included Phra Yai Koh Fan temple, in Bophut county where the biggest Phraphutthakhodom image in the southern region is enshrined on top of the hill.

Besides, Thai and foreign tourists joyfully swam in hot weather at famous Chaweng beach on Samui island. They took photos and ate food with their family members on the beach. Songkran celebrations on Koh Samui island were expected to generate a large amount of revenue.


Thailand to take further steps against fishing pirates and slavery

BANGKOK,(NNT) – Thailand has been urged to take further steps to eradicate fishing pirates and slavery.

Following a meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan and Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) Executive Director Steve Trent, the deputy prime minister revealed that both sides had discussed Thailand’s current efforts against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and the associated human rights abuses and human trafficking in the Thai seafood sector.

He said the government had been encouraged to complete the ratification and implementation of the Port State Measures Agreement, an international treaty designed to stop IUU fish entering ports and gaining access to markets.

The foundation also recommended an urgent investment in translation and language capabilities of Thai officials responsible for investigating labor abuses, as part of a broader move to a victim-centered approach to these investigations.


Four days of Songkran celebrations claim 259 deaths, 2,378 injuries

Thai PBS

Nationwide Songkran festival celebration has claimed 259 deaths and 2,378 injuries in a total of 2,216 road mishaps that happened within four days from April 11-14.

National Council for Peace and Order’s (NCPO) civil affairs spokesman Lt Gen Thirawat Boonyawat disclosed at a press conference jointly taken part by the Department of Public Disasters Prevention and Mitigation that yesterday alone, 78 were killed and 601 injured in the road mishaps that were caused mostly by drink driving.

Only yesterday a total of 555 road accidents occurred, he said.

In all, he said, a total of 259 people have died and 2,378 others injured in four days of the Songkran festival celebration from April 11-14.

Chiang Mai recorded the highest road mishaps with 100 cases and highest injuries of 104 people in four days, while Bangkok taking the lead in road fatalities with 14 deaths.

Major causes of road mishaps were drunk driving and speeding, and motorcycle is the vehicle that engaged in most fatal accidents.

NCPO deputy spokesman Col Sirichan Ngathong, meanwhile, said 1,492 vehicles impounded at road-safety checkpoints across the country yesterday as part of the government’s no drink-driving campaign during the Songkran festival.

She said there were 41,797 traffic violations involving public vehicles and personal cars yesterday.

Authorities seized 571 driving licenses, impounded 313 cars and public vehicles and arrested 9,323 people for drunk driving yesterday, she said.

Between April 9 and 14, a total of 3,057 vehicles, including 2,361 motorcycles and 696 cars, have been impounded.

A total of 14,880 driving licenses were seized, 32,400 motorcyclists and 19,916 drivers of public vehicles and private cars arrested during this period, she added.


Heavy traffic in Bang Saen necessitates one-way roads be mandated

CHONBURI,(NNT) – Throngs of Songkran revelers have necessitated adjustments to traffic management in Chonburi province’s Bang Saen district.

Large crowds taking part in water play for Songkran along Bang Saen beach in Chonburi province have resulted in heavy traffic along the district’s Sukhumvit Road. Authorities have decided to make the stretch a one-way street to alleviate the congestion. They have also asked that revelers using pickup trucks to splash from divert to Khao Lham road instead.

Municipal officials have asked that all travelers to the popular destination engage in Songkran activities in a polite and appropriate manner, that they not consume alcohol and avoid conflict with other revelers. Police have affirmed that any celebrators found in possession of weapons or other contraband will be apprehended and punished to the extent of the law.


150,000 tons of Thai rice sold to Hong Kong

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Ministry of Commerce has announced success in selling as high as 150,000 tons of rice during a trip in which it led Thai businessmen to Hong Kong. The trip was aimed at expanding the market of Thai rice and fruits in Hong Kong.

Minister of Commerce Apiradi Tantraporn who led the trip met with her Hong Kong counterpart to discuss Thailand’s durian exports to Hong Kong. Last year, more than 50% of Thai durian exports worth six billion baht were to Hong Kong.

In the past, Hong Kong found that some Thai durians were coated with turmeric and contaminated.

The minister said Thailand and Hong Kong agreed to work closely together to tackle the problem of contaminated Thai durian exports. No turmeric-coated durians from Thailand were found in markets in Hong Kong during this period, she said. The minister also warned Thai durian exporters to conform to Hong Kong’s regulations for fresh fruit and vegetable exports


Rumors of 100 Songkran revelers hospitalized in Silom area dismissed as hoax

BANGKOK,(NNT) - Rumors which had circulated in social media that over 100 Songkran revelers had been hospitalized due to illnesses caused by unhygienic water were found by the authorities to be merely a hoax.

Deputy Public Health Ministry Permanent Secretary Suwannachai Watthanayingcharoenchai said today the ministry had made prompt inquiries into the hearsay that more than 100 Songkran revelers in Silom area had fallen ill and been rushed to Lerdsin Hospital, King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, Thai Red Cross Society, BNH hospital and Charoenkrungpracharak hospital. The authorities ultimately found out that such rumors were entirely groundless as no patients with symptoms allegedly related to unhygienic water have been reported at any of those hospitals, he said.

The sharing and forwarding of false information via all kinds of media could possibly be considered an offense. Thus, users are advised to exercise discretion with any information circulating online.


Public health ministry warns of easily spoiled food in summer

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Ministry of Public Health warns the public to eat only freshly cooked food since food spoils easily in hot weather.

Minister of Public Health M.D. Piyaskol Skolsattayathorn suggested food vendors to fully cook food with heat and wash fruits and vegetables with clean water many times. Knieves and cutting boards for raw and cooked food should be separated and the kitchen must be kept clean, said the minister.

As for consumers, the minister suggested that they eat freshly cooked food, use communal spoons and wash hands often in order to avoid digestive system diseases such as diarrhea.

From 1 January to 4 April 2016, there were more than 300,000 diarrhea patients. Two of them died.

10 popular dishes consumers should be extra cautious with include spicy salads with raw meat, fried rice topped with crab meat, food or desserts made with fresh coconut milk, salad and ice cubes.
 


DAILY UPDATE

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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Royal Thai Air Force receives 8 women candidates for pilot positions

Thailand aims to rid country of malaria by 2024

36 new foreign investors allowed to open business in Thailand

Land Transport denies those whose driver's licenses were confiscated must wait three years to reapply


Consumers urged to beware of unsafe meat

Chiang Mai organizes Elders' Day activities

PEA warns of electrical risks during thunderstorm

Agriculture Ministry inspects drought situation in Maha Sarakham


Thailand hopes to improve ranking on ease of doing business

Government Public Relations Department raises awareness of corruption

Yala residents build watercourse to relieve drought impact

Transport Ministry collects input on transport center construction project

Former prime minister Banharn Silpa-archa dies at 83


Startup Thailand 2016 to kick off in late April

Department of Medicine gives guidance on preventing skin cancer

Chiang Rai Red Cross Society helps thunderstorm victims

Chiang Rai to hold arts & culture event


Authorities push for rabies-free zones in 2020

Asia to foster greater cooperation against natural disasters

Mae Sot wildlife checkpoint calls on tourists to not buy ivory pieces from Thailand

Kanchanaburi sends mobile service unit to remote district


Thai Police examine records of alleged Uyghur extremists

Pattaya welcomes members of South Korean community committee

Family Day celebrated in Chachoengsao

Community service sentences up 30 percent from last Songkran period


New environment-friendly resort opens on Ko Phra Thong

Smog in Chiang Mai Province has exceeded normal levels for the 4th consecutive day

Royal Thai Air Force recruits female pilots for the first time

Royal message of condolence sent to Ecuador


Songkran festival celebration claims 442 lives, 3,656 injuries

Embassy assists affected Thais in Japan earthquakes

397 people died in road accidents during April 11-16

3rd Army Area Commander inspects road accident prevention center in Tak

Almost 6,000 vehicles impounded during Songkran holidays


Purple line train to open public trial in May

Finance Ministry urges government to mantain 7% VAT for another year

Phanom Rung Historical Park filled with tourists during long holiday

Outdoors, summer workers advised to beware of heat stroke


Fire breaks out on Uthai Thani mountain

Car crash in Egypt kills 1 and injures 3 Thai tourists

Tourists flock on Koh Samui island during Songkran holiday

Thailand to take further steps against fishing pirates and slavery


Four days of Songkran celebrations claim 259 deaths, 2,378 injuries

Heavy traffic in Bang Saen necessitates one-way roads be mandated

150,000 tons of Thai rice sold to Hong Kong

Rumors of 100 Songkran revelers hospitalized in Silom area dismissed as hoax

Public health ministry warns of easily spoiled food in summer

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