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Update March 2016


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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
Thailand News
 

SME Bank pledges help for customers with financial woes

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank of Thailand (SME Bank) organized an activity aimed at helping financially troubled customers.

SME Bank President Mongkol Leelatham said the gathering enabled more than 300 customers to discuss their debt problems with the bank’s counselors and come to suitable solutions, including repayment suspensions and debt restructuring.

The meeting was held in a relaxing ambiance so that clients could feel free to talk with the bank about their difficulties.

Those seeking the bank’s help consisted of taxi operators and small business owners. The event also featured other activities, such as English and Chinese courses to boost the abilities of SME operators.


Culture Ministry unveils "Better Driving through Thainess" campaign

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Ministry of Culture has unveiled its “Better Driving through Thainess” campaign, training 600 public transport drivers to apply Thai cultural values to their work.

Deputy Prime Minister Gen Thanasak Patimaprakorn launched the campaign, which began with a training session under the topic “Smiles on Every Thai Road”. The project was organized by the Ministry of Culture and 14 relevant agencies with the aim to increase safety on Thai roads by encouraging classic Thai values.

Established ahead of the Songkran holiday, the campaign will seek to create value in proper and courteous driving and will include passing out recognition and stickers to exemplary drivers. The 600 drivers undergoing initial training have also been invited to a midnight prayer on April 12 to symbolize the beginning of their new driving habits.


Labor Ministry to create more jobs for the disabled

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security plan to collect information about disabled people's demands for careers nationwide.

The Ministry of Labor has named 2016 the year of disabilities while at least 10,000 handicapped people nationwide are expected to have careers with steady incomes.

Thailand has won eight medals from the ninth Abilympics handicapped skills competition. The Department of Skills Development (DSD) Director-General Kreeta Sopchoak said he was satisfied with the outcome while the agency is now seeking jobs for the unemployed contestants.


Thailand should prepare for ageing society

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The elderly should be encouraged to save money and work beyond retirement, an expert at Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) said.

TDRI research fellow Jirawat Panpiemras said the government should implement policies to ensure workers have life security as Thailand will have a greater number of elderly people in near future. He also urged the authorities to launch vocational alternatives for the elderly, especially in the service sector.

According to a TDRI study, a continuous decline in deaths and fertility rates has led to Thailand becoming an ageing society, and this would have an effect on economic growth. By 2030, one fourth of the population or 23.5 per cent will be elderly, he said.

In addition to rising medical costs, a larger number of senior citizens will inevitably affect the country's economy on several aspects, including fewer working-age people and a lower amount of savings. The shortage of labor will slow down the business sector if Thailand is unable to import migrant workers to fill the gap or does not develop technology which cuts down on manual labor, he said.

He also urged the business sector to set up strategies to make adjustments in response to the labor shortage, which might get worse in the future. This includes encouraging workers to hold down their job longer, promoting workers' well-being and productivity as well as developing technology.


Air condition services in high demand as temperatures rise

YALA,(NNT) – Air condition maintenance and retailers have reported a spike in business due to the hot weather.

Home and automobile air condition maintenance service providers in the province of Yala have reported that their daily business has picked up with many now having to put customers on hold. They indicated that air condition check-ups and cleanings are the most asked for services.

Some retailers have indicated a significant uptick in sales compared to previous years and have speculated that this year’s record setting heat is likely the cause. They noted that improvements in technology have also brought down the prices of air conditioning units and have allowed for consumers to more easily purchase new machines. Nonetheless, they said the record heat has forced customers to have to buy more powerful units in the 12-18,000 BTU range.

Many of the shops have reported a shortage of workers as increased demand has made them unable to keep up with the amount of customers.


Civil state housing project receives 8,000 loan applications

BANGKOK,(NNT) – After two weeks since the launch of the civil state housing project, the Government Housing Bank (GHB) has approved 3.4 million baht in loans to five home buyers.

Senior Executive Vice President of the GHB Credit Business Unit Chatchai Sirilai said the bank is currently considering 300 other loan applicants with a combined loan value of approximately 280 million baht.

Since the project's inception, the GHB has received 8,000 loan applications seeking a total of 6.7 billion baht. The state-run bank was given a budget of 20 billion baht under the civil state housing project to extend credit to low-income earners.

Mr. Chatchai speculated that the loans will no longer be available after April, due to the popularity of the housing project. Loan applicants expressed satisfaction with the project, saying it gives them the opportunity to become homeowners. They compared the monthly mortgage fees to apartment leasing fees.


Taxi driver's license revoked for overcharging passengers

BANGKOK,(NNT) – A taxi driver was fined 3,000 baht and his driving license was revoked after he charged a Swiss couple 6,000 baht in fare from Suvarnabhuimi International Airport to a hotel in Sathorn area.

The taxi driver was summoned by the Inspection Division of the Land Transport Department (DLT) to hear the charges and penalties.

DLT Director-General Sanit Phromwong said the agency has requested all taxi operators to submit a profile of their drivers so that background checks could be made. Such procedure would make it easier to keep track of taxi drivers with driving misdemeanors and to insure public safety.

Those who may be concerned about their own safety or would like to make complaints about taxi rides can call Hotline 1584 around the clock.


TAT expects slight expansion in tourism this Songkran

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has predicted that growth in the tourism sector during this Songkran Festival will be hindered by several negative factors.

Giving his projection of the tourism performance during the Songkran holiday from April 13-17, TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn voiced belief that around 2.14 million domestic trips will be made by Thai travelers, an increase of 2 percent year-on-year, while the total revenue to be generated will likely reach 6.98 billion baht.

However, Mr Yuthasak pointed out that the overall tourism atmosphere this year will not be as lively as last year due mainly to people’s worries over the delayed recovery of the world economy, the drought crisis and the smoke haze problem in some areas.

As for foreign tourist arrivals, Mr Yuthasak estimated that nearly 500,000 incoming travelers will be seen during Songkran, increasing 26 percent from last year and generating over 8 billion baht for the country. There will be around 94 chartered flights coming to Thailand, mostly from China, during the holiday period; however, the number is lower than that of last year.


Gusty weather helps disperse smog in Chiang Mai

CHIANG MAI,(NNT) - The smog in Chiang Mai province has improved, following gusty weather conditions.

Officials said that although the capital district of Chiang Mai is still blanketed by thick haze, the overall atmosphere has considerably improved from the last four days. They attributed the improvement to windy weather conditions, which helped to dissipate the smog. They also indicated that the reading for particulate matter of 10 microns in diameter or smaller (PM10) in the province is 100 micrograms per cubic meter, falling just under the threshold for public safety.

Nonetheless, the Chiang Mai administration maintained its warning to locals, recommending they avoid outdoor activities, especially exercise. Local authorities have encouraged residents to wear face masks when venturing outside, until the situation improves.

Officials suggested that small children, senior citizens, and patients with chronic diseases exercise caution regarding their health.


Mae Klong-Baan Laem route to reopen this April 1

SAMUT SAKHON, (NNT) – State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has prepared to resume its Mae Klong-Baan Laem rail route this April 1 after shutting down the track for improvements.

Following repairs to 33.57 kilometers of the route that connects Samut Sakhon province to Samut Songkhram province, which began in May of last year, the SRT says it is now ready to once again offer the Mae Klong-Baan Laem service starting on April 1. The stretch is particularly popular among tourists as it passes by the Rom Hoob, or closed umbrella, market, which became an attraction due to its vendors setting up next to the tracks and having to shut their umbrellas each time a train passes.

Upgrades to the rail route cost 432.6 million baht and included the installation of larger tracks and the replacement of wooden railroad sleepers with concrete slabs to allow for trains to travel at higher speeds.

The route will run 4 times a day, leaving from Mae Klong at 6.20AM, 9AM, 11.30AM and 3.30PM. It passes a total 12 stops before its destination at Baan Laem.


Sakon Nakhon unveils wild hog farming island

SAKON NAKHON,(NNT) - Sakon Nakhon province has unveiled a free-range, wild pig-farming island as its newest tourist attraction.

The provincial authorities let on that the island is located in the province's famous Nong Han lake and is home to more than a thousand wild pigs. They said tourists can take a boat to the island and engage in several activities, such as sightseeing, hiking, pig feeding, and learning more about the lifestyle of Nong Han locals.

Officials said the island first served as a free-range, farming area for wild pigs, whose numbers grew exponentially over time. They explained that pig farmers mark their livestock with paint, in order to identify ownership in the cage-free environment.


Thai Government to wholly invest in the high-speed rail project

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Transport Minister said that both Thai and Chinese governments have agreed to soon begin construction of the Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima high-speed rail.

Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith made known that the construction of the 250-km rail would be supervised by China, which will be responsible for the train's signaling system. He added that the Thai government will wholly invest in the railway project.

The minister said the project would use local building materials, which are more affordable. China estimated the project would cost 190 billion baht, or 20 billion baht more than the estimate made by local companies.

Mr. Arkhom revealed that the government is considering its options regarding project loans, citing one of the conditions that the loan's interest rate must not exceed 2%. He stated that construction would start sometime between August to September 2016.

The minister also indicated that the 10th round of discussions with China on the matter is scheduled at the beginning of next month.


Drought dries up waterfalls in Chiang Mai

CHIANG MAI,(NNT) – Four waterfalls in the northern province of Chiang Mai has become parched amidst the prolonged drought crisis.

This year’s drought crisis is said to be the worst in a decade. Water in Huay Kaew, Sai Yoi, Wang Bua Ban, and Mon Tha Than waterfalls has completely dried up. The four waterfalls are situated in Doi Suthep Pui National Park.

Local authorities are now drawing up plans to increase humidity in the park and looking into the possibility of building weirs in different locations.

Meanwhile in Si Sa Ket Province, provincial authorities are travelling to different places afflicted by the ongoing dry season and giving out drinking water to the residents. The locals have also been told to brace for possible summer storms.


Anti-drug operations in Samut Prakan

SAMUT PRAKAN,(NNT) – The Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) recently paid an inspection visit to Samut Prakan to follow up on anti-drug operations in the area.

Narong Rattananukul, Secretary-General of the ONCB, along with Samut Prakan authorities, inspected the progress of an anti-drug campaign launched under the “Pracharat” or “State of the People” approach in Muang district.

The campaign which seeks to eliminate drug abuse in local communities requires active participation by the public in order to effectively stamp out all illicit drug use. It also aims to assist those falling victim to drug addiction by providing drug rehabilitation treatment to the victims.

If successful, Mr Narong said local communities will be stronger while community members will be immune to external threats.


Chulabhorn Hospital opens brain clinic

BANGKOK, 27 March 2016 (NNT) – Chulabhorn Hospital has inaugurated a brain clinic as part of its plan to enhance the well-being of the elderly.

During the inauguration, Chulabhorn Hospital held a talk on how to prevent and treat dementia by medical specialists. According to doctors, there are more than 400,000 dementia patients and the country will become an aged society and later a super aged society in the next 10 and 20 years respectively. Therefore, it is necessary to ready the country for the challenge.

The brain clinic has been set up in response to Prof. Dr. Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn’s wish to develop Chulabhorn Hospital into a center of academic and medical excellence that can fully serve the public. The clinic opens on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to midday. Those seeking more information can call 0-2576-6060-62.


Cambodian passport delivery fraud

BANGKOK,(NNT) – Cambodian workers residing in Thailand have been warned on the act of passport delivery fraud, carried out by third parties who charge passport issuance at a much higher rate.

The Office of Foreign Workers Administration is warning Cambodian workers and their employers in Thailand to be aware of the fraudulent activity from persons claiming to be officials from the Cambodian Embassy in Thailand. These people will request passport delivery fees to the verified Cambodian workers.

It is reported these persons charge as much as 3,000 - 4,000 baht per passport delivery per person, including a 1,000 baht deposit payable at the day of passport request. These people, claiming to be third parties, even charge an additional 3,000 baht payment on the passport receiving date. The rates have been confirmed by Cambodian authorities that they are much higher than the official fees collected.

Cambodian workers and their employers should not believe such claims and are advised against making any payments to these criminals.

The Office of Foreign Workers Administration will be informing the passport delivery date to Cambodian workers, once the office has received the workers' passports from Cambodian officials.


Government poised to promote blind musicians

BANGKOK,(NNT) – In a move to raise the quality of life for the physically-challenged, the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security and its partners are commencing with the next phase of the project, “From Street to Stars.”

The project aims to give blind musicians the opportunity to sharpen their skills with renowned music and singing gurus. Music contests were held in different parts of the country to select the best-performing artists. The winners of each region will be trained by mentors in the music industry and image consultancy. Over 1,000 people took part in the contests. The first phase concluded on Thursday.

The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security is preparing to carry out the second phase of the project. Social Development and Human Security Minister Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew said he was hopeful the project would create job opportunities for participants and inspire other people with disabilities.


Drought will be significant this year

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) has forecast that the drought crisis will cause as much as 119 billion baht in damages by the end of this year.

Director of the UTCC Center for Economic and Business Forecasting Thanawat Polwichai said a recent survey by the university revealed that the drought has driven up water expenses incurred by farmers, eating into their profits.

The number of farmers currently in debt has risen by 12% from last year. The survey indicated that the average agricultural household owes 167,000 baht in either formal or informal loans. Mr. Thanawat added the drought crisis will likely continue to ravage Thailand's agriculture until June.

The damage on rice, cassava and corn fields is projected to increase to 78 billion baht, while the business sector stands to lose around 41 billion baht to water shortages. The Center has revised down its forecast on Thai economic growth to 0.85% from 3.5%, due to the impact on the agricultural and business sectors.

Most survey respondents agreed that Songkran holidays should be shortened to conserve water, but maintained that it is still important to celebrate the water festival.


Preperations for jewelry businesses in US market

BANGKOK, 25 March 2016 (NNT) – The Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) has begun preparing Thai businesses to enter the precious stones market of the United States after the segment showed signs of recovering.

The DITP has initiated a project to develop Thailand’s gem and jewelry businesses so that they may penetrate the US market. Under the project, gem and jewelry enterprises will have their abilities enhanced and given knowledge about the market in the United States, which has shown signs of heightened demand. Currently, the US is already one of Thailand’s most important export destinations for precious stones with over 45 billion baht worth of gems and jewels shipped to the nation annually.

The intensive training will take place over a 6 month period. Selected businesses will be taught how to build their brands and maintain brand images as well as given knowledge on the needs of the US precious stones market. The businesses will be taken on a trip to New York of the US to engage in business negotiations and be allowed to present their goods at the 58th Bangkok Gems and Jewelry Fair taking place this September. Interested entrepreneurs can find more information at facebook.com/ThaiJewelryBrand.


Governments housing project allows low-income persons to own first house

BANGKOK, (NNT) – The government’s “Civil-State” housing campaign will provide both social and economic benefits by allowing house ownership to low-income earners, says an official from the Ministry of Finance.

The Ministry of Finance’s Permanent-Secretary Somchai Sujjapongse stated in a national televised broadcast regarding the government’s “Civil-State” housing campaign which has recently received Cabinet approval, that the campaign will provide opportunities for low-income persons to own houses, at a price not exceeding 1.5 million baht.

He said this campaign will contribute to social and economic development, as real-estate activities will also benefit many related industries, as well as enhancing the efficiency of resource management in the economy.

The housing campaign will be funded by three responsible financial institutes, namely the Government Housing Bank (GHB), Krungthai Bank (KTB), and the Government Savings Bank (GSB), along with private sector cooperation.

On this matter, the GHB’s Senior Executive Vice President for Credit Business Unit Chatchai Sirilai has said the bank is now allocating 30 billion baht as loans to support the government’s housing campaigns.

Persons eligible for this loan must not have any prior ownership of residential properties. The total value of the house eligible for loans must not exceed 1.5 million baht. Persons requesting loans for housing renovation will be exempted from property holding requirements.

The loan will be provided into two categories, first being the low-value loan with a credit not exceeding 700,000 baht, and the credit loan ranging between 700,000 baht and 1.5 million baht. Both offers come with a special interest rate within a 6-year payback term.

Interested individuals can request for the housing campaign loan within a period of 2 years, starting from the date approved by the Cabinet. The public can inquire for more information by contacting the GHB branches nationwide or call the 0 2645 9000 call center.


Chief of Defense Forces welcomes Chinese air force Political Commissar

BANGKOK, 25 March 2016 (NNT) – The Chief of the Defense Forces has welcomed the Chinese air force’s Political Commissar for discussions on Thailand and China’s security relations.

Chief of the Defense Forces Gen Sommai Kaotira has welcomed Political Commissar of the Chinese Air Force Lt Gen Yu Zhongfu to his official visit to Thailand as a guest of the Royal Thai Air Force. Lt Gen Yu was invited to the Kingdom as part of a program to enhance relations between Thailand and China.

While here, the political commissar will engage in discussions with military top brass on security issues and enhancement to the military forces of both nations. He will also be seeking to elevate military cooperation between Thailand and China.


Government ensures aid to drought affected persons in all areas

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The government assures the public on its drought relief aid that all affected areas will receive help according to a fair criterion, and asks the public to help conserve water during the upcoming Songkran Festival.

The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation's (DDPM) Director-General Chatchai Promlert has said that the government highly prioritizes on the drought mitigation measures through the careful allocation of the nation's water resources, which are much lower than usual this year.

He said the authorities have been appointed to carry out rainmaking operations, survey water shortage in various areas, in order to commission relief aid without having to officially declaration of the drought disaster status.

Only the areas which are severely affected by the drought will be designated as disaster zones, while the affected farms will be assessed by government officials to enable future subsidiary payments through the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives.

The DDPM is also preparing over 6,000 water tankers to deliver water to the areas which are suffering from shortages.

The DDPM director-general has further stated regarding the upcoming Songkran Festival, that the government is campaigning for the general public to use water in an appropriate amount, according to water availability in areas. This campaign will seek to ensure appropriate conservation, to both water resources and the Kingdom's traditions.


Government agency imposes new price regulation on motorcycle taxis

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Department of Land Transport (DLT) has adjusted the calculation of motorcycle taxi fares in a bid to ensure fairness for passengers and prevent them from being taken advantage of.

DLT Director-General Sanit Phromwong stated that changes in the motorcycle taxi fare calculation have been included in a newly-issued ministerial regulation. He elaborated that the fare for the first two kilometers will be kept at no more than 25 baht and that collected for the third to the fifth kilometer will remain at 5 baht per kilometer.

Nonetheless, the fare after the fifth kilometer will be changed from a negotiable rate to a flat rate of 10 baht per kilometer. From the fifteenth kilometer onwards, the motorcycle taxi rider can charge the passenger 10 baht per kilometer or negotiate for an agreeable price.

The alterations are aimed at protecting the rights of service users and giving them fairness. Each motorcycle taxi stand is now required to clearly display fare rates. DLT officials across the country will be sent out to ensure service providers’ compliance with the new regulation while passengers are encouraged to file any complaints to the DLT Hotline 1584.


Chiang Rai draws the curtains on 12th Mekong Goodwill Games

CHIANG RAI,(NNT) – The 12nd Mekong Goodwill Games Chiang Rai 2016 have concluded, giving participants new friendships and a memorable experience.

The closing ceremony took place at Chiang Rai Grandroom Hotel in Muang District, with vice-governor Prachon Pratsakul presiding over the ceremony. Over 500 Thai and foreign athletes and staff from Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam and China took part in the event.

The Mekong Goodwill Games began in 2012, with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports as the main organizer. Chiang Rai was chosen as this year’s host thanks to its readiness and suitable location.

The objectives are to foster friendships between Thailand and nearby countries and promote cooperation in the areas of sports, tourism and culture. The 12th Mekong Goodwill Games Chiang Rai 2016 was held between 21st and 25th March at Chiang Rai Central Stadium.


Thailand vows to reduce carbon emission by 35% at SETA 2016

BANGKOK,(NNT) - Thailand has been hosting the Sustainable Energy & Technology Asia (SETA) 2016, where it vowed to reduce carbon emission by 35% in 20 years.

Deputy Prime Minister ACM Prajin Juntong, who presided over the opening ceremony, said the Thai government is devising a plan to provide long-term energy security in the Kingdom.

Energy sustainability will be promoted via efficient production and distribution processes. Various types of fuel will also be sourced to keep energy prices at reasonable levels and lower the impact on the environment.

The government will promote the use of alternative energy rigorously in order to cut carbon emissions by 35% over the next 20 years.

The hosting of SETA 2016 by Thailand has allowed other nations in Asia to evaluate the country's preparedness in terms of technology and human resources to become a regional hub for sustainable energy knowledge and development.

The event is divided into two areas, the academic and exhibition zones. It is being held at BITEC Bang Na from now until Friday.


Food vendors in Don Mueang Airport to lower prices starting April 10

BANGKOK,(NNT) - Food vendors at Don Mueang International Airport have agreed to lower the price of their products from April 10 onward.

Ombudsman Wittawat Ratchatanan inspected food outlets in the airport and met with Director of Don Mueang International Airport Petch Chancharoen and related agencies to discuss the issue of overpriced food in the airport.

The airport's management later discussed the matter with vendors and resolved to lower the price of ready-made meals from 120-160 baht to about 50 baht, starting April 10. The Department of Internal Trade will move to enforce similar pricing controls at Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

Earlier on March 20, food vendors at Don Mueang Airport slashed the price of 600mL bottled water from 30 baht to 10 baht, after similar complaints were made to consumer protection officials.


Neighbouring countries asked to collaborate in smog mitigation

BANGKOK, 24 March 2016 (NNT) – The Pollution Control Department (PCD) has reached out to ambassadors of neighbouring countries, urging immediate control of burning activities as air pollution is reaching high levels.

The PCD Director-General Wijarn Simachaya has revealed that areas in the Northern region of Thailand were partially affected by the accumulated haze from burning activities in the neighbouring countries, blown into Thailand through the provinces of Mae Hong Son, Chiang Rai, and Phayao.

He has said the PCD will be reaching out through dialogue with ambassadors, asking for border area cooperation to urgently regulate the burning activities to help mitigate the issue.

Currently, the PM10 airborne particulate matter level in many provinces are still considered to be standard, with exceptions in Mae Sai District, Chiang Rai, where the PM10 reading has reached 300 micrograms per cubic meter due to low pressure and strong winds, bringing in accumulated airborne particles.

Smoke from burning activities in Thailand is also a key cause of haze accumulation in the area.

The PCD director-general has stressed all provinces will be enforcing the prohibition of all burning activities to prevent further accumulation of air pollution, along with mitigation measures such as spraying water vapour to bring down airborne particle, distribution of masks, and the provision of medical services to the general public to provide guidance of proper practices amidst an intensifying haze condition.


Agriculture’s 2016 Q1 recession due to drought according to officials

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Office of Agricultural Economics (OAE) forecasts a first quarter contraction of 2.1 percent, citing drought conditions brought on by the El nino effect as a major factor, while expecting full year growth figures to fall between 1.8 to 2.8 percent.

The OAE Secretary-General Surapong Jiasakul has revealed Thailand’s agricultural sector’s economic status in the first quarter of 2016 to contract by 2.1 percent when compared to the same period last year. This fall was brought on by lower production in cultivation, fisheries, and in agricultural services.

He identified the key cause for this recession as the El nino effect, which has brought on drought conditions in various parts of the country from late 2015 until today. The remaining water in dams and reservoirs is considered to be at an extremely low level and should be allocated for consumption and ecology protection first, warning of water shortages in the agricultural sector.

The OAE secretary-general then added that he expects agricultural economy for the entire year to expand by 1.8 to 2.8 percent, supported from lower fuel price which contributes to lower manufacturing costs, and a weaker Thai currency beneficial to export activities. The government’s agricultural policies and the development of water resources to mitigate the drought will also help the agriculture economy grow during the remainder of 2016.


Health Ministry determied to stop tuberculosis infections in 20 years

BANGKOK,(NNT)-The Ministry of Public Health is determined to stop tuberculosis in Thailand over the next 20 years. The goal was announced to coincide with World Tuberculosis Day observed each year on March 24th.

Department of Disease Control Director, General Dr. Amnuay Kajeena and related agencies is to host an event to make awards to medical units that have demonstrated outstanding care for patients with tuberculosis.

He added that tuberculosis is a major problem in Thailand. Around 120,000 new patients with the disease have been recorded so far. Of this number, only 70,000 have been registered for medical treatment.

In addition, 2,200 other patients have developed resistance to drugs. The Ministry of Public Health is therefore, planning a campaign to reduce the number of infections in two decades.


Police Chief calls for vehicle confiscation of drunk drivers during Songkran

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Commissioner-General of Royal Thai Police has affirmed that authorities will implement a policy of impounding the vehicles of drunk drivers, in the hopes of reducing road fatalities during the upcoming Songkran festival.

Commissioner-General Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda revealed that from April 13-15, he will give orders to all law enforcement officers across the country to confiscate the motor vehicles of drunk drivers. He said the police will liaise with local military units across the country to use military grounds to impound the vehicles. In addition, Pol Gen Chakthip said he will call for the establishment of road checkpoints and measures to monitor dangerous driving behavior.

Meanwhile, Acting Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau Pol Lt Gen Sanit Mahaworn has suggested that drivers install dashboard cameras in order to record footage to be used as supporting evidence in the event of a traffic lawsuit. Statistics have shown that if both parties fail to produce supporting evidence, the party with more legal expertise has the advantage.


Ministry of Education launches anti-smoking campaign for ages 7-20

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Ministry of Education and the National Alliance for Tobacco Free Thailand (NATFT) have launched an anti-smoking campaign aimed at children and young adults between the ages of 7 and 20.

The campaign was inaugurated by Deputy Education Minister Teerakiat Jareonsettasin along with NATFT President Somsri Pausawasdi and related agencies. It was prompted by the increasing number of new smokers in its target demographic of ages 7-20. The campaign plans on utilizing social media in order to reach youngsters and better their understanding of smoking, while discouraging the habit.

Meanwhile, the campaign will push for a new minimum age requirement for purchasing cigarettes and a ban on selling cigarettes in smaller packages.

Surveys conducted in 2015 revealed there are 11 million smokers in Thailand, 350,000 of which are under the age of 18. Roughly 80% of smokers surveyed began smoking before the age of 24.


Immigration Bureau calls for strict monitoring of travelers after attacks in Belgium

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Commissioner of the Immigration Bureau has urged all jurisdictions to strictly inspect those traveling in and out of Thailand.

Commissioner Pol Lt Gen Nathathorn Prousoontorn also said he had instructed officials to coordinate with Belgian officials to determine whether the suspects in the recent terrorist attack in Belgium have ever entered Thailand.

Meanwhile, Deputy Spokesperson of the Royal Thai Police Col Krisana Pattanacharoen, revealed that the Royal Thai Police have called for the integration of intelligence on tourist information between various jurisdictions to better screen foreigners.
 


DAILY UPDATE

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Back to Main Page

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

SME Bank pledges help for customers with financial woes

Culture Ministry unveils "Better Driving through Thainess" campaign

Labor Ministry to create more jobs for the disabled

Thailand should prepare for ageing society


Air condition services in high demand as temperatures rise

Civil state housing project receives 8,000 loan applications

Taxi driver's license revoked for overcharging passengers

TAT expects slight expansion in tourism this Songkran


Gusty weather helps disperse smog in Chiang Mai

Mae Klong-Baan Laem route to reopen this April 1

Sakon Nakhon unveils wild hog farming island

Thai Government to wholly invest in the high-speed rail project


Drought dries up waterfalls in Chiang Mai

Anti-drug operations in Samut Prakan

Chulabhorn Hospital opens brain clinic

Cambodian passport delivery fraud


Government poised to promote blind musicians

Drought will be significant this year

Preperations for jewelry businesses in US market

Governments housing project allows low-income persons to own first house


Chief of Defense Forces welcomes Chinese air force Political Commissar

Government ensures aid to drought affected persons in all areas

Government agency imposes new price regulation on motorcycle taxis

Chiang Rai draws the curtains on 12th Mekong Goodwill Games


Thailand vows to reduce carbon emission by 35% at SETA 2016

Food vendors in Don Mueang Airport to lower prices starting April 10

Neighbouring countries asked to collaborate in smog mitigation

Agriculture’s 2016 Q1 recession due to drought according to officials


Health Ministry determied to stop tuberculosis infections in 20 years

Police Chief calls for vehicle confiscation of drunk drivers during Songkran

Ministry of Education launches anti-smoking campaign for ages 7-20

Immigration Bureau calls for strict monitoring of travelers after attacks in Belgium

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