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Update January 2016


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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
Thailand News
 

Tourists flock to Chiang Rai to see beautiful cherry blossoms

BANGKOK,(NNT)-Many tourists are flocking to see the cherry blossoms that are blooming in Chiang Rai at this time of year.

Visitors have traveled to Wiangkan district to see these pink flowers, which are also known as Thai Sakura. The icy weather in the province at this time of year also attracts a large number of tourists from all over the country, looking for a genuine winter experience.

The Watershed Management Unit of Ngao will continue to allow people to take photos and enjoy the sight of these beautiful cherry blossoms until early next month.

They are advised to travel to the Watershed Management Headquarters either via Phu Chi Fa or Wiangkan district, which is only 2 kilometers away.


Justice Ministry coordinating with Police after attack on homepage

Police Colonel Krisana Pattanacharoen

The Deputy Spokesman of the Royal Thai Police has made it known the agency has coordinated with the Ministry of Justice on the disruption of its website but said the origin of the hackers behind the attack have yet to be uncovered.

Deputy National Police Spokesman, Police Colonel Krisana Pattanacharoen, disclosed that the Ministry of Justice’s official homepage has been attacked by the hacker group known as Anonymous. The website has been rendered inoperable due to the attack.

The ministry is coordinating with police on the issue but has yet to file a formal complaint with the Technology Crime Suppression Division.

Police General Krisana let on that initial inspection has indicated the hackers were working from abroad but admitted police have yet to pinpoint their exact location.

On measures following last week’s bomb attack in Jakarta, Indonesia, the deputy spokesman said that an order has been issued for all police divisions to integrate their work and watch over the nation’s tourism destinations and significant sites.


Health Ministry urges leptospirosis prevention

NONTHABURI,(NNT) – The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) is urging officials nationwide to prevent the spread of leptospirosis, a disease commonly found in all regions throughout the year.

The Speaker of MOPH Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai has said regarding the local disease leptospirosis, that this disease is found throughout the year and mostly in the rainy season.

Patients are at risk to this disease by having direct contact to water contaminated with rat urine. Farmers and individuals living in densely populated areas are at risk of contracting this disease.

The MOPH speaker has said all MOPH officials and volunteers have been urged to closely monitor the situation, and promote prevention practices among the public to reduce the number of patients and casualties.

According to statistics from the Bureau of Epidemiology, 2,176 leptospirosis patients have been found in 2015 with 33 casualties in 67 provinces, while 12 patients from 9 provinces have already been identifies during the first 11 days of 2016.


Thai Immigration 24/7 Center officially opens

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Thai Immigration 24/7 Center under the Immigration Bureau officially operated for the first time on Monday to be an important mechanism for transnational crime suppression in Thailand.

The Thai Immigration 24/7 Center will inspect and control people entering and leaving Thailand or staying in the country with its seven systems. The systems include a system to inspect and screen passengers in advance, an immigration information system, a transnational crime database, an immigrant surveillance system, Hotline 1178 and a system connecting the immigration bureau’s information with other organizations.

Deputy Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police Pol.Gen.Ekkawut Liptapanlop said the center was established to accommodate the ASEAN Community. In the future, the center will collaborate with Interpol and the Transnational Criminal Records Division to integrating information of dangerous people. Since the center’s systems were first tested, the Thai authorities banned more than 50 people with arrest warrants from entering Thailand, the deputy police chief said.

The center can also inspect vehicles entering Thailand through border crossings. It is expected work with the Highway Police in inspecting and suppressing crime.


Officials to clear Huai Kwang Market of sidewalk vendors

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is pursuing its policy to ban sidewalk vendors at the Huai Kwang Market from Pracha Uthit to Pracha Songkhro Road.

The Chairman of Advisers to the Governor of Bangkok, Wallop Suwandee dispatched 150 police officers and soldiers to enforce the regulation, banning vendors from setting up their stalls in the area. The move was prompted by complaints from residents who have been affected by congestion and a garbage buildup in the drainage system.

The BMA has allowed 390 vendors to relocate to the second floor of Huai Kwang Market and will begin renovating the reclaimed sidewalks.

Huai Kwang Market has filed a petition to extend the relocation deadline, saying the market is not fully prepared to accommodate the new vendors.


Ministry of Defense dredges waterways ahead of dry season

Ministry of Defense Spokesman Maj Gen Kongcheep Tantrawanich

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Ministry of Defense has ordered its units to dredge waterways across the country to boost the efficiency of water distribution ahead of the dry season.

Ministry of Defense Spokesman Maj Gen Kongcheep Tantrawanich said the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) is concerned that the severity of this year's drought crisis will be greater than anticipated.

Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan has called on the armed forces and other agencies to help the Ministry of Interior to unclog rivers and canals in Bangkok and elsewhere.

Participating units have been told focus their efforts around sluice gates and riverbends, to ensure that drought-affected areas receive water during the summer.

The Defense Spokesman added that the ministry has always supported projects by the Department of Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation. The construction of 24 temporary water retention areas, or 'monkey cheek' dams, are now underway in the provinces of Bueng Kan, Nakhon Phanom and Mukdahan.

The dams are expected to be up and running by the end of March. The Thai public is being reminded to conserve water in order for the country to survive the dry season.


Government ready to handle annual haze crisis

Major Genwral Sansern Kaewkamnerd

BANGKOK, (NNT) - The government has prepared for the perennial haze crisis in the North of Thailand.

Government Spokesperson Maj Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd said that smog countermeasures are now in place, with special attention given to nine northern provinces from January to April. During this time, visibility is expected to be significantly impacted by smog.

Maj Gen Sansern added that the situation often worsens as farmers set fire to their fields to clear out weeds and pave the way for the next crop cycle. Provincial authorities have been told to prevent the haze problem by raising awareness about the environmental impact among residents and encouraging them to cooperate with the government.

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha cited the need for every agency involved to work collaboratively and proactively, in an effort to mitigate the haze crisis. He added that preventative efforts also help to conserve water for household consumption, rather than putting out fires.


Burapha University launches scholarship winning contest

CHONBURI,(NNT) – Burapha University is holding the GSC Smart BIZ Model 2015 contest, awarding the winner with a scholarship to the university's Master’s Degree course, aiming to provide new opportunities for university students in ASEAN community.

The Graduate School of Commerce, Burapha University is now inviting interested candidates to receive the complimentary Business Master’s Degree course, in the GSC Smart BIZ Model 2015 campaign.

Applicants will be selected based on their personality, knowledge, and capability in business administration deemed suitable to promoting the university's recognition. This contest will be the stage for university students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills.

Competition will be carried out in two rounds, with the first being business model presentation, and the night attire competition. 12 persons from universities across Thailand have been selected as finalists who will compete to win a 300,000 baht worth graduate program.

Burapha University’s Graduate School of Commerce Dean Banpot Wiroonratch has said the Graduate School of Commerce is considered an education institute of success providing human resources to the ASEAN Economic Community and to the Special Economic Zones.

The institute also helps Thailand to prepare itself for trade interactions with other ASEAN member states. This campaign will help enhance the personality and knowledge of undergraduate students into becoming efficient entrepreneurs in the future.


Ceremony held to commemorate King Ramkhamhaeng Memorial Day

SUKHOTHAI,(NNT) – The Sukhothai provincial Governor has attended a ceremony on the occasion of King Ramkhamhaeng Memorial Day, along with government officials and local residents.

The ceremony was held at the Sukhothai Historical Park where a statue of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great is located. Sukhothai Governor Piti Kaewsalubsee led the group in a wreath laying ceremony before the statue to pay their respects to the king who ruled the ancient Sukhothai Kingdom from 1279 -1298.

Sukhothai residents today joined the event to commemorate King Ramkhamheang’s major achievements including the invention of the Thai alphabet.

January 17 is acknowledged as King Ramkhamhaeng Day in Thailand as on January 17, 1833, King Rama IV discovered the stone tablet inscriptions of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great.


Ayutthaya to hand out water-economizing crops

AYUTTHAYA,(NNT) – Agriculturists in Ayutthaya will be given saplings of drought-resistant crops as part of the province’s policy to reduce farmers’ operating expenses.

Chief of the Ayutthaya Provincial Agricultural Extension Office Paisarn Sangmongkol stated that water-saving plants, such as green bean and a variety of vegetables, will soon be distributed to more than 10,000 local farmers. The move is one of the assistance measures adopted by the province, with a view to helping the farmers cut their costs of production.

The handout of the alternative crops followed the success of a previous program, which persuaded off-season rice farmers to switch to other crops that would require less water to grow. The program resulted in a shorter cultivation period and brought higher income to participants.

Another aid measure for local farmers is also being carried out by Ayutthaya province. Their needs have been surveyed and compiled while over 300 projects worth about 119 million baht have been prepared.


Government sets 20-year strategy for tourism

BANGKOK,(NNT) – Deputy Prime Minister Tanasak Patimapagorn said the government has set a 20-year strategy for tourism under which natural resources will be restored and local villagers will be taken care of.

He said he was confident that such strategy will lead to the stability and prosperity of the country while revenues from tourism sector from 2016 – 2017 will increase from last year though it will also largely depend on the world situation.

He reiterated that the government focuses on domestic tourism and urges Thai people to travel within the country while the government will continue to develop the local, regional and central tourist attractions and create new tourist spots.


National Astronomical Research Institute signs partnership with Japan

BANGKOK,(NNT) – National Astronomical Research Institute director Boonraksa Soontorntham said the agency has signed a partnership with the National Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) for the development of astronomical equipment and exchange of personnel and training programs.

The partnership is primarily designed to push forward a national radio telescope project and install radio telescopes of 40 meters in diameter and 20 meters in diameter in various regions in order to join a remote telescope network with other countries in the future.

That will be a foundation for astronomical development and will inspire youths of the two countries to love nature, science and technology.


Health Service Support Department to revoke licenses from substandard clinics

Health Service Support Department Director General Boonreung Traireungworarat

BANGKOK,(NNT) - Health Service Support Department director general Boonreung Traireungworarat said the department has planned to monitor and control the operating standards for private clinics and hospitals.

That refers to a total of 22, 578 clinics and 344 hospitals nationwide which have been granted operating licenses for 2016.

In addition, nine channels are available for the public to file complaints about possible flaws in the operating standards of those clinics and hospitals such as by calling 02-193-7000 ext. 18822, Hotline 02-193-7999, or visiting the website: http://www.mrd.go.th/mrdonline2014) or contacting the Office of the Consumer Protection Board (OCPB).

All complaints will be inspected and those who may file them will get a reply within a 12-days time.


National Reform Assembly joins Google in promoting creative uses of online media

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) has coordinated with top search website Google to promote creative uses of online media in Thailand.

NRSA's Media Reform Committee spokesman Apichart Jongsakul said the panel had invited representatives of Google from the United States and Singapore, who are responsible for the company's operations in the Asia-Pacific region for talks on preventive measures and solutions to online media abuses and the promotion of creative uses of online media in Thailand.

He said Thailand is becoming more developed in digital economy and smart phones, which pave way for quicker and easier access to online information.

He noted that Google would also be organize joint training projects for Thai students to teach them to become more aware of online media and provide knowledge on how to operate an online marketing as well.

Mr Apichart said the committee has also affirmed that the 2007 Computer Crime Act would be updated to pave way for online business growth, while ensuring that any changes to the law would not affect the public freedom to use online media.


Chiang Mai to re-regulate Sunday walking street

CHIANG MAI,(NNT) – Chiang Mai authorities will be rearranging the Chiang Mai Sunday Walking Street, as vendors have violated the rules and regulations, says mayor.

Chiang Mai Mayor Tatsanai Puranupakorn has revealed that the municipality had received notifications of misconducts among authorized vendors at Chiang Mai Sunday Walking Street.

He said some authorized vendors have transferred their permit to other vendors in exchange for a sum of money, while some of the items that are being sold by these vendors are pirated goods.

Violators to the municipality rules will face confiscation of their authorized selling space and legal punishment, along with the ban from the walking street vendor membership; while the permit will be issued only to enlisted vendors according to the survey conducted in 2015.

Chiang Mai City Municipality has been authorized by the court to regulate activities at the walking street regarding orderliness, and have been urged against any obstruction of the walkways. However, 326 vendors were reported to be violating official instructions, resulting in a report being submitted to the police and the discontinuation of their street vendor permit.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Thailand - Japan join hands on industrial cooperation

BANGKOK (NNT) – The Department of Industrial Promotion (DIP) has established an industrial cooperation with the local government in Japan, driving forward the economy of both countries.

The DIP Director-General Somchai Harnhirun has officiated over the business matching seminar between Thai entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurs from Aichi Prefecture, Japan, on advanced industries.

He said the DIP is aiming to further develop Thai industries to enhance their value to meet global demands, including the targeted industry clusters of automobile and parts industry, digital industry, textiles and garment industry, and the processed produce industry.

The DIP is also seeking to develop technological infrastructure and enhance the manufacturing standards of Thai SMEs and OTOP goods.

The seminar is being held in order to provide SME entrepreneurs with better international business opportunities according to the SMEs development cooperation established between the DIP and the government of Aichi. The seminar is being attended by 23 Japanese companies and about 100 Thai companies with business matching potential.

Aichi Prefecture is considered the center of manufacturing industry in Japan, while investors from Aichi Prefecture have contributed to the majority of the investment in Thailand with an investment volume of 44 billion US dollars from 284 companies during 2007-2015.


Broadcasting staff inoculated with flu vaccines

BANGKOK,(NNT) - Doctors from the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute (BIDI) have given inoculations of 3 flu strains for authorities at the National Broadcasting Services of Thailand

The vaccines consist of strain A of the H1N1 influenza of 2009, the H3N2 and the B strain. The vaccines will provide protection for 1 year.

BIDI Director Chariya Sangsajja says the outbreak of flu is usually severe during the rainy and cold seasons. Those who are especially at risk are people aged 65 and above, women who are over 4 months pregnant, children from 6 months to 2 years old as well as people with chronic diseases.


Police tighten security in wake of Indonesia terror attack

SONGKHLA,(NNT) – The Provincial Police Region 9 has ordered security to be tightened in the southern region, adding 150 policemen to be stationed in Hat Yai District in wake of the terror attack in Jakarta.

The Provincial Police Region 9 Commissioner Pol Lt Gen Weerapong Chuenpakdee has said that the police are tightening security to counter any potential terror threats to the area, after Indonesia suffered a terrorist attack in Jakarta on 14 January, with casualties reported.

He said the incident in Jakarta is considered an outrage which has stirred widespread chaos and disorder.

Authorities will be placing more road checkpoints, increase security protection at government offices and public places with a constant monitoring of the situation, and has intensified operations of their intelligence unit.

More security officers are now being stationed with 32 checkpoints and blockage points assembled to prevent any potential incidents in Hat Yai District, which is a major economic city in the southern region, with patrols in all areas as part of the enhanced security measures.


Royal condolence message sent to Indonesia over terrorist attacks

BANGKOK, NNT) - His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej has conveyed a message of condolence to the President of the Republic of Indonesia following terrorist attacks in Jakarta on 14 January.

The message, revealed on Friday night by the Office of His Majesty’s Principal Private Secretary, read as follows: “The Queen and I are deeply distressed by reports of the terrorist attacks which caused loss of innocent lives and casualties in your country. We wish to extend our heartfelt sympathy and condolences to Your Excellency and through you to all those who have been inflicted with loss and bereavement from this tragic incident.”


Thai Embassy in Jakarta sets up emergency assistance hotline

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has launched a hotline for the Thai Embassy in Jakarta to care for Thai citizens in Indonesia while affirming that a major attack on the city will not impact ASEAN cooperation.

Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of Information, Sek Wannamethee, disclosed a plan to assist Thai citizens living in Indonesia after several gun and bomb attacks took place in the nation’s capital of Jakarta yesterday. He revealed that the Thai Embassy in Jakarta has established a hotline at +62 811186253, allowing Thai nationals to request assistance 24 hours a day.

The director-general added that the ministry has not yet issued a travel ban for Thais to Indonesia as most head to Bali rather than Jakarta and the ministry wishes to avoid impacting tourists. He advised however that Thai travelers be aware of their embassy’s contact information and notify it of their itinerary so that they may be cared for in an emergency situation.

Sek voiced confidence that the incident yesterday will not impact cooperation within ASEAN even with the ASEAN headquarters being located in Jakarta. He made known that all ASEAN nations are sharing security intelligence with the National Security Council handling the data in Thailand.


State Railway opens public hearing on southern double-track railway project

BANGKOK, (NNT) - The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has opened a public hearing on the planned construction of a double-track railway between Surat Thani, Hat Yai Junction and Songkhla to optimize a public transport system in urban and rural areas.

In 2012, the government assigned the Ministry of Transport to conduct a feasibility and suitability study in bid to accelerate the development of the southern double-track railway project (Bangkok - Chumporn - Sungai Kolok and Padang Besar) and the implementation of an infrastructure investment plan.

In 2015, the SRT assigned a group of consultant firms to conduct a feasibility study and outline details of the double-track railway construction project for Surat Thani, Hat Yai Junction and Songkhla.


Thailand extends condolences to Indonesia over Jakarta attack

BANGKOK,(NNT) - Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has sent a letter of condolences to the Indonesian President on the bombings in Jakarta and joined the global community in condemning the attack.

“I was deeply saddened to learn of the series of explosions and gun-fires on 14 January 2016 in Jakarta, which resulted in the loss of four lives and several injuries.

On behalf of the Royal Thai Government and the Thai people, I wish to extend my heartfelt sympathy and condolences to you and to the families of those who have lost their loved ones in this tragic incident. Thailand joins Indonesia and the international community in strongly condemning this hideous act.”

Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs Don Pramudwinai also extended his condolences and sympathy to the families of the deceased and to the victims of the attack.


Yala rubber farmers satisfied with government’s help

YALA,(NNT) – Local rubber farmers are satisfied with the government’s relief measures to alleviate the rubber price crisis, requesting the government to execute short-term measures for the time being.

A representative of Klong Sai Nai fresh rubber group has revealed that the government’s relief measures are considered a good solution to yield a sustainable outcome in the long run, although farmers would prefer the government to help push the price of fresh rubber to be as high as 60 baht as opposed to the current rate at 32 baht per kilogram.

He said almost 100 percent of farmers in the southern region rely on rubber cultivation and are highly affected by the low rubber price, commenting that the current price of products made from rubber such as car tires have not decreased to reflect the lower production costs.

He also urged the government to provide continuous support to the farmers, procure alternative cultivation plants' seeds and promote variations in alternative cultivation suggestions.


Consumer products selling at normal price, says official

BANGKOK,(NNT) – Recent inspections have revealed that consumer product prices have remained at the normal range, while authorities are set to conduct more frequent inspections during the Chinese New Year.

The Department of Internal Trade officials, led by the Deputy Director of the Trade Policy and Strategy Office (TPSO) Pimchanok Vonkhorporn, have conducted inspections of consumer goods selling at Number One Market in Bangkok.

The TPSO deputy director has said most items are being sold at normal price, while the price of some items such as vegetables have slightly dropped. However, pricing of some items such as pork and chicken meat should be observed as it may slightly increase during the Chinese New Year festival.

In response, the Ministry of Commerce will be conducting more frequent pricing inspections at various markets during the Chinese New Year festivities. The general public can also report overpriced items to the Department of Internal Trade hotline 1569.


Tourism Ministry to continue with Discover Thainess campaign this year

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Ministry of Tourism and Sports is aiming to generate 2.3 trillion baht in revenue this year while pressing ahead with the strategy to sell Thainess.

Speaking of the tourism promotion campaign of 2016, Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said it will focus on sustainability, quality, adding value and distributing income. Due to positive feedback from last year, the minister affirmed the Discover Thainess campaign will go on this year.

In the meantime, tourism development will be pushed forward particularly in provinces along the borders with Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia. The move is expected to bring more income to local tourism SMEs while supporting Thailand in its goal to become the travel hub of the region. Emphasis will be placed on attracting first-time visitors from major markets, including China, Europe and ASEAN.

Ms Kobkarn stated that the ministry is targeting to make 2.3 trillion baht from tourism this year, up 5 percent from last year. However, she expressed concerns over potential impacts from terrorism, natural disasters and the economic slowdown in China.


PM: Rubber price problem must be solved with whole-system approach

BANGKOK,(NNT) - Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has emphasized that the government's buying price of rubber must be appropriate and most of the purchased rubber will go to processing plants.

The PM on Wednesday spoke about the government's assistance measures for rubber farmers. He stressed that a whole-system approach was needed to tackle rubber price drop and financial support was not the only solution to the problem.

Gen.Prayut also suggested that research on the production of processed rubber should be utilized with the objective to increase domestic consumption of rubber.

Rubber plantations should be limited and controlled due to oversupply at present, the PM added. He further suggested that rubber farmers should grow other crops when rubber price was low.


Nam Nao national park chief calls on tourists to keep it clean

PETCHABOON,(NNT) - Nam Nao national park chief Uthai Chansuk said Thailand's national parks are now growing more popular among tourists but the increased number of visitors might cause adverse impacts such as the degradation of natural resources.

The park chief called on tourists and other people to dump garbage outside the park by putting it in given black plastic bags and leave them outside the national park area or at the park's checkpoint so that the forestry and wildlife in the park will be safe from pollution caused by waste.

Nam Nao national park covers an area of approximately 603,750 rai or 966 square kilometers of land in Petchaboon province’s Lom Sak district and Nam Nao district and Chaiyapoum province’s Khon San district.

The park area generally consists of high mountains which pose as a boundary line between the Northeast and the North. It is viewed as one of the most beautiful national parks in Thailand.


Water level at Lam Takhong Dam reported critically low

NAKHON RATCHASIMA,(NNT) – Residents of Nakhon Ratchasima have been prohibited from using water from Lam Takhong Dam for farming as the water level has fallen below normal.

According to the director of the Lam Takhong water reserve and distribution project, the latest reading showed that the amount of water at Lam Takhong Dam was standing at 97 million cubic meters, or only 30 percent of its full capacity. The figure has prompted related officials to reduce the amount of water being released from the dam each day.

An announcement has been issued to local residents to inform them of the water situation. Farmers were also ordered not to pump water from the Lam Takhong River below the dam for agricultural use as the amount discharged is only enough for tap water production and household consumption.

Meanwhile, officials from the Army Region 2 and local administrative staff are conducting an inspection of the Lam Takhong River to make sure there are no obstructions in the waterway or improper use of water among residents.


Exports to recover this year

BANGKOK,(NNT) - A forecast by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) says exports would expand 218,000 dollars or 2% this year, the first positive growth in four years.

The projection was compiled by the Center for International Trade Studies of the UTCC. The Center has linked the sector's recovery to the global economic recovery, which is predicted to grow 3.6% by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The Center's Director, Aat Pisanwanich, explained that Thai exports could rely on markets in the United States and the CLMV region, provided that global economic growth follows the IMF's prediction.

World Bank had earlier forecast that India's economic growth would expand 7.5% for 2015-2016, the highest rate in the world.

Mr. Aat said this year, the exports would face difficulties, such as insurgency across the world, China's economic slump, tougher competition, poor agricultural prices, and the EU stance on illegal fishing in Thailand.


Foreign Minister accepts G77 Chairmanship on behalf of Thailand

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Foreign Minister has traveled to the UN Headquarters in New York and accepted the G77 Chairmanship for 2016 on behalf of the Kingdom of Thailand.

Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai attended the inauguration ceremony for Thailand to assume this year's G77 Chairmanship.

Today on January 13th, the previous G77 Chairman, South Africa, passed the torch to Thailand, which must now speak on behalf of developing countries in the United Nations. This honor is a first for the Southeast Asian country.

Thailand will use this opportunity to expound the Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy for the purpose of advancing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs were deliberated at the UN Sustainable Development Summit 2015, held in New York from September 25 - 27.

The Group of 77 is the largest intergovernmental organization in the UN, having expanded to 134 nations but retaining its original name.


Prime Minister attends 106th anniversary ceremony of 1st Army Area

BANGKOK,(NNT) - A ceremony to commemorate the 106th anniversary of the 1st Army Area was attended by the Prime Minister, Defense Minister, and Chief of the Defence Forces.

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha led an inspection of the troops and laid a wreath at the Royal Monument of King Rama VI.

Then he joined the anniversary ceremony with Defense Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, Deputy Defense Minister Gen Udomdej Sitabutr, and the Chief of the Defence Forces Gen Sommai Kaotira.

The 1st Army Area was established on January 13th, 1910. Its defense jurisdiction covers 26 provinces in central Thailand.


The 18th Bangkok International symposium on HIV updates response to HIV infection

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The HIV Netherlands Australia Thailand Research Collaboration (HIV-NAT) is hosting the 18th Bangkok International symposium on HIV medicine from 13th-15th January 2016 at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center.
The symposium aims to disseminate information in order to further develop medical treatments and to update knowledge in accordance with current practices. The symposium also includes talks by eminent speakers and will conduct workshops for more than 500 participants from the Asia Pacific region, United States, Europe and Africa, many of whom are doctors, nurses or pharmacists.
Dr. Phan Wannamethee, Secretary General of the Thai Red Cross society has already advised the media that the HIV Netherlands Australia Thailand Research Collaboration is playing a leading role in acknowledging progress and promoting education in this field since it remains important even though HIV infection in Thailand hasn't increased. He also expressed appreciation to HIV-NAT for conducting the symposium that is to everybody's advantage.
Ms. Deborah Birx, United States Ambassador-at-large, Coordinator of the United States government's Activities to combat HIV/AIDS and United States Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy appreciated the progress in decreasing the HIV Infection rate in Thailand but also spoke of concerns about West Africa where HIV infection still tends to increase significantly. Moreover she promoted Cost Effective Strategies to end HIV including a suggestion to persuade people to answer questions in the test honestly and change their behavior accordingly in order to eliminate HIV.


Thailand Yacht Show 2016 to be held in Phuket in February

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Ministry of tourism and Sports, the Ministry of Transport, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Marine Department will co-host “Thailand Yacht Show 2016” as venue for innovative super and luxy yachts in Phuket, Thailand.

The yachting event aims to support the government policy to promote Thailand as 'Marina Hub of ASEAN' as well as stimulate Thailand’s economy and tourism sector committed to raising the national growth.

Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said Thailand Yacht Show 2016 will kick off this year's yachting industry in Phuket and will significantly support other forthcoming international yacht events, such as the 19th Bay Regatta, Cape Panwa Hotel Raceweek, the Asian Yachting Grand Prix, and Asia Super Yacht Rendezvous.

Most importantly, the yachting event is expected to generate no less than USD 200-400 million in tourism-related earnings.

Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said Thailand’s marine leisure is a top tourism destination which has hugely drawn interest from both local and international travelers. However, laws and regulations regarding foreign super yacht visits may have to be reviewed. The Ministry of Transport will discuss the matter with the Marine Department, the Customs Department and the Revenue Department, among others. Such efforts will reflect the government’s policy to manifest Thailand’s potentials for becoming a Marina Hub of ASEAN and to promote Thailand as an operating base for super yacht charters.

Thailand Yacht Show 2016 will be held from February 8 until February 14, 2016. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will preside over the opening ceremony on February 11 at Ao Po Grand Marina, Phuket. For more information, please visit www.thailandyachtshow.com.


Temperatures continue to fall in Northern and Northeastern regions of Thailand

THAILAND,(NNT) - Lower temperatures in the Northern and Northeastern regions of Thailand are having a positive impact on sales of winter clothing as well as tourism at higher altitudes.

Thick fog covered Sakon Nakhon Province’s Main Street on the morning of January 12, prompting motorists to exercise extra caution during their morning commutes.

Meanwhile, flower growers are selling blossoming winter bouquets to residents to decorate their houses, increasing revenue for many vendors during this period.

In Nong Khai Province, temperatures have continued to drop in the past few days; the province’s municipality has informed schools to care for their students by scheduling exercise sessions, health checkups and by supplying blankets. Extra care is given to kindergartens where those found sick will be urged to stay home to prevent the spread of colds among their classmates.

Residents of Nan Province have continued to shop for winter clothes, buying bright colored jackets and sweaters for average prices of 40 Baht, or 100 baht for 3 items, but at times as much as 500 baht.

In Chiang Rai Province, morning temperatures in the plains were around 10 degrees Celsius, with residents donating winter blankets and clothing to children in cold mountain terrain and tourists visiting various mountaintop national parks throughout the day.


Chiang Mai adventure-based tourism tipped to grow

CHIANG MAI,(NNT) - Chiang Mai Tourism Business Association President Pornchai Chitnawasatian disclosed that the number of Chinese tourists to the Thai northern city will not decrease by more than 10 percent throughout this year.

However, the numbers of tourists from other countries will continue to grow especially those from the United States and Japan, he said.

The tourism association chief said Chiang Mai will focus more on qualitative development of tourist industry by organizing tourism-related activities throughout the year with the newly-constructed tourist attractions.

For instance, adventure-based tourism at national parks in the province registered the highest growth last year.


Employers reminded to register immigrant employees within this month

PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN,(NNT) – Employers in the province are urged to bring their migrant workforce in the fisheries industry for registration within the deadline on 30 January 2016.

Prachuap Khiri Khan Provincial Employment Official Arom Wajarat has revealed that the registration center for migrant workers will be providing registration services to labourers from neighbouring countries every Wednesday and Thursday, with a constant flow employers bringing in their employees for registration.

The total number of registered workers in the fisheries industry is now at about 1,200 persons, while it is expected that this number will increase by 500-600 more before the 30 January deadline approaches. Employers have shown more confidence in extending migrant workers' employment after returning from the New Year holidays.

The officials are now urging employers to sign their employees up for proper registration to avoid being prosecuted by law. The registration period of workers in seafood processing is expected to be concluded on 22 February 2016.


Department of Probation proposes use of electronic devices as an alternative to imprisonment

 

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Department of Probation has developed of electronic tools to be used as a new probation monitoring system instead of imprisonment, unveiling the device at a seminar on the Tokyo Rules on non-custodial measures.

The Department of Probation and the National Institute for Justice held the seminar to mark the 25 year milestone of the Tokyo Rules that defined the minimum requirements of the United Nations on taking measures other than detention to punish those who commit crimes.

At the seminar, Director-General of the Department of Probation Pol Col Naras Savestanan gave a report on the development of projects to rehabilitate drug addicts together with volunteers and the development of new measures as alternatives to incarceration such as electronics equipment.

He also revealed that the National Reform Steering Assembly had drafted a set of proposals to the government on the use of electronic devices on individuals released on probation, those without bail and those with moderate offenses where home detention is sufficient.

Such tools not only serve as an alternative to imprisonment but also serve to rehabilitate offenders back into their communities and offer them a chance to live a normal life in society.


Ministry of Education vows to urgently reform Thai education

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Ministry of Education is pushing for education reform by urgently developing standards of teachers. The ministry stressed that teachers must be evaluated after they were trained.

Deputy Minister of Education M.D.Thirakiat Charoensetthasilp on Monday attended a meeting with the National Reform Council and National Legislative Assembly. He informed the meeting that the ministry was steering its work to develop the country’s education, especially in terms of teachers’ development. Teachers as well as students who were studying to be teachers needed to be evaluated and there must be a system to assure teachers’ quality, said the deputy minister.

Meanwhile, Member of the National Reform Steering Assembly for Education Piyathida Praditthabathuka said all sides agreed to reform the country’s education in the same direction so that it was completed within the time frame set by the government.


Investor Confidence Index likely to drop in March

BANGKOK,(NNT) - Volatility in global markets and currencies is forecast to push down the local Investor Confidence Index by 17.85% to 73.46 in March.

The President of the Federation of Thai Capital Market Organization (FETCO), Worawan Tharapoom, made the three-month projection, citing previous figures. She said the foreign Investor Confidence Index would take the biggest hit, falling 57.15% to 33.33.

Ms. Worawan explained that the massive drop is the culmination of international concerns, and volatility in global markets and currencies, particularly China's weakening yuan. Other key factors include low fuel prices, unrest in the Middle East, and the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to raise the benchmark interest rate.

According to the FETCO President, government policy would be the most influential element affecting the local stock market. She suggested that the administration find measures to improve agricultural prices, arguing that agriculturalists make up the biggest group of consumers. Ms. Worawan also recommended that the government come up with a plan to effectively deal with the anticipated drought.


Health Ministry to develop old-fashioned medicine and use Thai herbs

BANGKOK,(NNT) – Public Health Minister Piyasakon Sakolsattayatorn said old-fashioned medicine is growing more popular worldwide as it helps solve health problems which modern drugs cannot.

The Ministry of Public Health is accelerating the development of the old-fashioned medicine as an alternative for the public to make Thailand an international health center and to help stabilize the country's economy.

The agency is yet to make a national master plan for the development of Thai herbs to include Thai old-fashioned medicine as part of a health care system associated with the modern medicine.


Ministry of Interior continues to fight human trafficking in 2016

Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paochinda

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Ministry of Interior continues to suppress human trafficking in 2016, as it instructs related officials to step up efforts to eradicate the human trade, especially in high-risk provinces.

Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paochinda revealed that this year, the ministry's policy is to continue its efforts to prevent and eliminate human trafficking, while carrying on its campaign for fair use of public space.

Gen Anupong said the ministry plans to encourage each province to use legal means of dealing with human trafficking. He also mentioned the establishment of a special task force under the Department of Provincial Administration to directly handle these types of cases.

Gen Anupong explained that the task force would conduct investigations and random inspections in risk areas, such as hotels, factories, and entertainment venues. He added that an emphasis would be placed on provinces with industrial estates, provinces that have a large number of tourists, and coastal and border provinces.

The minister stated that the government would recruit locals as watchdogs for suspected human trafficking activities. These volunteers would inform the authorities through Damrongtham centers.

An urgent plan to determine the nationality of stateless individuals and minority ethnic groups will also be implemented, in order to prevent them from getting involved with human trafficking activity.


Prime Minister calls for all agencies to utilize more rubber

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-Cha

BANGKOK (NNT) - The Prime Minister has called for an increase in the use of natural rubber in the country, starting tomorrow afternoon.

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-Cha spoke at the national water resources committee, indicating that the country must increase its utilization of its rubber output. Therefore, all phases of production must be restructured with all ministries including rubber in their various projects, such as public walkways and sports stadiums.

Gen Prayut indicated that he will bring the matter to the attention of the Cabinet on January 12 and will order all agencies to implement the agenda immediately after the Cabinet meeting.

He noted that the implementation of projects requires large sums of money but that the country also requires funds to solve other problems as well.


Government unveils 2nd phase of soft loan program for SMEs

BANGKOK,(NNT) - As part of the government's policy to provide easy access to cash flow for small to medium enterprises (SMEs), the Government Savings Bank (GSB) has proceeded with the 2nd phase of its “soft loan” program, offering a total of 50 billion Baht in loans to SMEs.

GHB bank signed a deal with 19 banks to provide the low-interest loans or soft loans as working capital to entrepreneurs and SMEs. The 2nd phase is a continuation of the previous project which offered a total of 100 billion Baht in credit.

As of November 2015, over 11,750 businesses applied for the 1st phase of the project with another 23 billion Baht pending approval. GHB bank expects that the new funds in the 2nd phase will sufficiently accommodate applicants that missed out on the 1st phase. The rest of the funds will then be allocated for new SMEs located in various regions across the country.

The financial terms of the 2nd phase include credit not exceeding 10 million Baht down from the previous 50 million Baht limit. The total 50 billion Baht approved for the 2nd phase is expected to be distributed to all participating banks this month.


Thailand on alert for bird flu after WHO reports rash of outbreaks

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Ministry of Public Health has instructed all provinces to closely monitor any signs of bird flu during the winter season, and warned the public to avoid contact with any birds that appear sickly.

Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsattayatorn said the latest data from the World Health Organization showed the continuous transmission of avian flu in various countries, both in people and birds. Some countries have been on alert for the infectious disease and have set up infrared scanners at airports and border crossings after a number of related deaths.

Thailand has followed suit, given that the current weather is ideal for the spread of avian flu. Public Health Offices, as well as offices for the Bureau of Disease Control and Veterinary Services, have been ordered to monitor the situation in their respective provinces. Related officials are to keep careful travel records of people and animals entering the region, as well as any clinical samples for subsequent lab testing.

Local officials have also been ordered to look out for suspicious changes in the rate of death or disease in birds, as well as conduct an awareness campaign to ensure cooperation from the public.

In the event of a rise in bird deaths, members of the public have been urged to contact the authorities, so they can conduct lab testing to confirm the cause of death. When consuming bird meat, people are encouraged to ensure the meal has been thoroughly cooked, while taking care to maintain proper hygeine. Those in the poultry industry are prohibited from selling birds that are sick or died under suspicious circumstances.

For question or comments, please contact the 24-hour hotline 1422.


Domestic tourism in 2015 performs better than expected

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Ministry of Tourism and Sports said the tourism sector last year performed better than expected, generating roughly two trillion baht in revenue.

Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanawarangkul said that tourism revenue in 2015 grew by 30 billion baht year-on-year. It was considered a success for the ministry's campaign, "12 Can't-miss Cities."

The campaign ostensibly increased tourist spending to an average of 5,050 baht per day from 4,500 baht the year before. Another 12 cities will be included in the campaign, which will be renamed to "12 Can't-miss Cities Plus."

The minister said the expanded campaign will further promote domestic tourism. Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has instructed the ministry to raise the standards of tourism in Thailand in order to gain more confidence abroad and set up a one-stop service for tourist assistance.


Department of Probation proposes use of electronic devices as an alternative to imprisonment

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Department of Probation has developed of electronic tools to be used as a new probation monitoring system instead of imprisonment, unveiling the device at a seminar on the Tokyo Rules on non-custodial measures.

The Department of Probation and the National Institute for Justice held the seminar to mark the 25 year milestone of the Tokyo Rules that defined the minimum requirements of the United Nations on taking measures other than detention to punish those who commit crimes.

At the seminar, Director-General of the Department of Probation Pol Col Naras Savestanan gave a report on the development of projects to rehabilitate drug addicts together with volunteers and the development of new measures as alternatives to incarceration such as electronics equipment.

He also revealed that the National Reform Steering Assembly had drafted a set of proposals to the government on the use of electronic devices on individuals released on probation, those without bail and those with moderate offenses where home detention is sufficient.

Such tools not only serve as an alternative to imprisonment but also serve to rehabilitate offenders back into their communities and offer them a chance to live a normal life in society..
 


DAILY UPDATE

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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Tourists flock to Chiang Rai to see beautiful cherry blossoms

Justice Ministry coordinating with Police after attack on homepage

Health Ministry urges leptospirosis prevention

Thai Immigration 24/7 Center officially opens

Officials to clear Huai Kwang Market of sidewalk vendors


Ministry of Defense dredges waterways ahead of dry season

Government ready to handle annual haze crisis

Burapha University launches scholarship winning contest

Ceremony held to commemorate King Ramkhamhaeng Memorial Day

Ayutthaya to hand out water-economizing crops

Government sets 20-year strategy for tourism

National Astronomical Research Institute signs partnership with Japan


Health Service Support Department to revoke licenses from substandard clinics

National Reform Assembly joins Google in promoting creative uses of online media

Chiang Mai to re-regulate Sunday walking street

Thailand - Japan join hands on industrial cooperation

Broadcasting staff inoculated with flu vaccines

Police tighten security in wake of Indonesia terror attack

Royal condolence message sent to Indonesia over terrorist attacks

Thai Embassy in Jakarta sets up emergency assistance hotline


State Railway opens public hearing on southern double-track railway project

Thailand extends condolences to Indonesia over Jakarta attack

Yala rubber farmers satisfied with government’s help

Consumer products selling at normal price, says official


Tourism Ministry to continue with Discover Thainess campaign this year

PM: Rubber price problem must be solved with whole-system approach

Nam Nao national park chief calls on tourists to keep it clean

Water level at Lam Takhong Dam reported critically low


Exports to recover this year

Foreign Minister accepts G77 Chairmanship on behalf of Thailand

Prime Minister attends 106th anniversary ceremony of 1st Army Area

The 18th Bangkok International symposium on HIV updates response to HIV infection

Thailand Yacht Show 2016 to be held in Phuket in February

Temperatures continue to fall in Northern and Northeastern regions of Thailand

Chiang Mai adventure-based tourism tipped to grow

Employers reminded to register immigrant employees within this month


Department of Probation proposes use of electronic devices as an alternative to imprisonment

Ministry of Education vows to urgently reform Thai education

Investor Confidence Index likely to drop in March

Health Ministry to develop old-fashioned medicine and use Thai herbs

Ministry of Interior continues to fight human trafficking in 2016

Prime Minister calls for all agencies to utilize more rubber

Government unveils 2nd phase of soft loan program for SMEs

Thailand on alert for bird flu after WHO reports rash of outbreaks

Domestic tourism in 2015 performs better than expected

Department of Probation proposes use of electronic devices as an alternative to imprisonment

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