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Update May 2016


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Wildfire at Doi Suthep national park in Chiang Mai

Thai PBS

A huge wildfire broke out late yesterday evening at Khuncharngkien in the Doi Suthep-Pui national park in Chiang Mai, forcing several hundreds of park, forestry officials and volunteers to immediately create buffer areas to prevent the fire from spreading into the famous Doi Suthep temple ground and the Phuphing royal winter palace.

It was not immediately known how the fire started but the deputy governor of Chiang Mai Mr Mongkol Suksai said last night that fire fighters could hardly get into the fire scene because of the high terrain of the area.

The fire which started at 3.30 pm yesterday has destroyed over 70 rai of forest area and was threatening the Doi Suthep temple and the royal palace.

They have created buffer areas to prevent the wildfire from spreading into other significant places at the national park, and the Northern Royal Rain-Making Centre was sought to help in fighting the fire.

By midnight last night, Chiang Mai governor Mr Pawin Chamniprasart said the wildfire could be temporarily controlled in limited areas after fire fighters could create buffer lines to prevent it from spreading downhill.

The situation has eased and kept under control, he said.


Lively atmosphere at Huai Kon Border Pass in Nan province

NAN,(NNT) - Local media reported a lively atmosphere at the Huai Kon Border Pass in Nan province during the Coronation Day national holiday.

Thai and Laotian vendors set up stalls in the area, attracting a large number of visitors from both nations.

Items being sold at the venue included antiques, agricultural products, wild and domestic produce, and goods from Thailand's One Tambon One Product and Lao PDR's One District One Product campaigns.

Local media reported that border pass sales activity was able to generate more than 10 million baht daily during the recent holiday.

The Huai Kon border pass is located in Chaloem Phra Kiat district, Nan province. It operates daily from 8.00 AM to 20.00 PM during weekdays and 08.00 AM -12.00 Noon during weekends.

It can be reached by car by traveling 139 km from Nan province using Highway No. 1080. From the border pass, visitors can travel to Lao PDR's major cities such as Xayaburi, Luang Prabang and Udomchai. Travelers can also go to Vietnam and China from the Huai Kon border pass.


Phetchabun officials inspect damage from recent storm

PHETCHABUN,(NNT) - The Governor of Phetchabun and his entourage on Sunday visited areas damaged in a tropical storm on the weekend, and provided assistance to the victims.

Mr. Bundit Theveethivarak, Phetchabun Governor, headed the inspection team at Nong Naree Arboretum in the capital district. He also met with officials of Phetchabun Provincial Electricity Authority who were dispatched to restore power in the area, after a severe storm hit the region on Saturday night.

Victims of the storm who are seeking assistance from the provincial administration are asked to present officials with their citizen ID card, house registration document and pictures of their damaged property at the office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation of Mueang Phetchabun Municipality as soon as possible.


Thai Red Cross Society holds four-day blood drive

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Thai Red Cross Society recently held a four-day blood drive to commemorate World Red Cross Day on May 8.

The event was at the National Blood Center in the Thai Red Cross Society's headquarters on Henry Dununt Road, highlighting the organization's humanitarian principles. An exhibition about blood donation was also held at the venue.

A large number of blood donors lined up to donate blood from early morning at the National Blood Center, prompting the Thai Red Cross Society to increase its staff numbers to facilitate the process. All donors received a t-shirt as a souvenir of their donation.

The event, which started on May 5 and concluded on May 8, was able to generate an average of 1,700 units of blood daily.


Rajaprajanugroh Foundation hands out royally bestowed survival kits to storm victims in Bueng Kan

BUENG KAN,(NNT) - The Rajaprajanugroh Foundation Under Royal Patronage, has handed out royally bestowed donations to residents of storm stricken districts in Bueng Kan province.

Seven hail storms last month wreaked havoc in all of the province's eight districts, particularly in Mueang, Sopisai and Pak Khat districts, where a total of 396 households were damaged.

Mr. Wilas Rujiwatthanapong, Chairman of the Foundation's Relief Unit, handed the 350 royally bestowed survival kits to the storm victims. The kits contained dried food, instant noodles, canned products, cooking oil, fish sauce, drinking water, as well as a cooking pan and plates. The ceremony was held in the meeting hall of the Sopisai District Office.

The affected residents have expressed their gratitude to Their Majesties the King and Queen for their boundless kindness. The donation will greatly boost the morale of storm victims in the province.


Sungaigolok Bike Week 2016 expects over 5,000 participants

NARATHIWAT,(NNT) – Narathiwat province's tourism and sports office and Kolok Rider Club in Sungai Kolok district will hold SUNGAIGOLOK BIKE WEEK 2016 between May 13-14, 2016.

The event, to be held at a local park in Sungai Kolok district, Narathiwat, aims to strengthen relationships of three countries including Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.

There will be concerts by famous artists and a big-bike caravan ride to beautiful tourist attractions of Narathiwat. More than 5,000 people are expected to join while many local hotels have been fully booked.


Thailand to host CLMVT Forum 2016 next month

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Ministry of Commerce is looking to host a number of business leaders and startups when it organizes the “CLMVT Forum 2016” next month.

Minister of Commerce Apiradi Tantraporn, together with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Ministry of Labor, will play host to one of this year’s most important business events called CLMVT Forum 2016 at Dusit Thani Bangkok Hotel between June 16th and June 18th. The 3-day event is expected to be taken part by businesses leaders, entrepreneurs, startup owners, and government officials from the CLMVT countries which include Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand.

Participants will be able to share their experiences as the event opens up opportunities to all businesses both in Thailand and abroad.

The event is also hoped to create regional connectivity between member countries, eliminate trade and investment barriers, promote domestic tourism, and allow startups to make their presence known in the CLMVT region.

The minister strongly believes that the CLMVT countries will be keys to driving the ASEAN economy forward, thanks to the potential labor market, abundant natural resources, and the continually growing market.


Rail projects set to boost economy

BANGKOK,(NNT) – Investment in rail lines is expected to contribute to economic growth this year with 3 lines continuing their construction and 2 more set to go to auction within the year.

Deputy Governor of the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) Theeraphan Thechasirinukul disclosed that a commission set up under the Public-Private Investment in State Projects Act has completed guidelines for investing in the Kaerai-Minburi Pink Line and Ladprao-Samrong Yellow Line train extensions. It is expected their Terms of Reference will be completed by the Ministry of Transport within May and they will be open for auction before the year’s end.

Currently, there are 3 train lines being constructed; the Bang Sue-Tha Phra Blue Line, Bering-Samut Park Green Line and Mo Chit-Ku Kot extension.

Additionally, high speed rails connecting Bangkok to Rayong and to Hua Hin worth 152 billion baht and 94.6 billion baht respectively, are being reviewed by State Enterprise Policy Office (SEPO) for private involvement through the PPP Fast Track program. Relevant data for the two projects is expected to be submitted for conclusion by June.


New low cost housing project to be established

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The government is planning to establish a new project using state land under the Department of Treasury to offer low cost housing following the end of the Civil-State Housing program of the Government Savings Bank (GSB) and Government Housing Bank (GHB).

An agreement has already been signed by the Treasury Department, GHB and GSB to offer loans to developers to construct the low cost housing. The project is available for 2 purposes, namely; a short term project in which developers create housing for civil servants at a cost of 4,000 baht per month for 5 years and a long term project in which developers must create low cost homes to be sold to citizens.

Deputy Minister of Finance Wisut Srisuphan said the project targets the creation of 4,000 units, each to have contracts lasting up to 30 years. Buyers will only be able to sell their purchases in the first 1-5 years to avoid speculative purchasing. The project is currently having its health and environmental impact reviewed but is expected to be ready within 1 and a half years.

Ten state plots have been chosen for the project both in Bangkok and its vicinity.


Four killed when train rammed into a pickup truck at a railway crossing

Thai PBS

Four people, including the driver of a pickup truck, were killed when the truck in which they were travelling was rammed by a train at an unbarricaded railway crossing Petchaburi’s Cha-am district Friday morning.

The identities of the four victims were not known and police are still investigating the incident which occurred in Ban Huaysai Nua.

Involved in the fatal accident was the Bangkok-Hua Hin-Suanson Pradipat train which stopped at the scene and all passengers were transferred to cars to their destination.

Responding to the accident, several netizens pointed out that the railway crossing there was not the official one and, therefore, there is no barricade and is not manned. Some said that if the driver had been more cautious and taken a look first whether there was a training coming or not, the accident could have been avoided even though there was no barricade at the crossing.


Social Development & Human Security permanent secretary visits Nakhon Ratchasima

NAKHON RATCHASIMA,(NNT) - Permanent Secretary for Social Development and Human Security, Maitree Intusut has travelled to Nakhon Ratchasima to brief officials on the government’s policy on the protection of human trafficking victims.

Mr. Maitree’s visit came weeks before the U.S. Government’s issuance of Trafficking in Persons Report in June. The Permanent Secretary for Social Development and Human Security told local officials to uphold the government’s zero-tolerance policy towards human trade.

According to Mr. Maitree, the government attempts to fix legal loopholes by passing laws that especially deal with human trafficking criminal procedure and increasing penalties against offenders as well as setting up bodies of legal experts to oversee all steps of criminal investigation and legal proceedings.

Mr. Maitree said Thailand was the only country in Southeast Asia to have formulated a legal mechanism aimed at ensuring help and protection for victims of human trade, including local and foreign labourers working in the fishing industry.

The Permanent Secretary for Social Development and Human Security stressed that all victims of human trafficking would be treated in accordance with the human rights principles and standards, regardless of gender, age and race.

The government has set up eight welfare protection centres for people affected by human trade in different regions of the country. The centres helped 471 Thai and foreign nationals last year.


TAT governor expects over 7.6 billion baht in tourist cash during long weekend

BANGKOK,(NNT) - Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Yutthasak Suphasorn expected as many as 2.16 million people to take leisure trips within Thailand during the upcoming long weekend which could probably generate a cash flow of over 7.6 billion baht.

Most travelers are likely to visit the provinces such as Chonburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Kanchanaburi, Nakorn Ratchasima, Ayutthaya, Petchburi, Saraburi, Chiang Mai and Songkhla.

As the economy is beginning to recover, he said, TAT has launched a major campaign entitled “Ruam Jai Tiew Thai” to stimulate tourism from May until September, 2016.


Chinese white dolphin found dead on Tha Sala Beach in Nakhon Si Thammarat Province

NAKHON SI THAMMARAT,(NNT) - A corpse of a Chinese white dolphin was found on Tha Sala Beach in Nakhon Si Thammarat Province, with wounds from fishing equipment.

The corpse was approximately 2.5 meters long and weighted 200 kilograms, with traumatic abrasions on the body and mouth.

Sayan Sahakul, a 38 year old local, revealed that the corpse was the largest of its kind sighted in 1 year. Dozens of dolphins have been found dead in the past year, sparking concerns of an impending extinction of the species in the region.


Taxi driver praised for returning money to passenger

BANGKOK,(NNT) – Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport has granted a certificate for a taxi driver who has returned belongings left behind by a passenger, promoting the act as a role model for taxi drivers.

Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport has granted a certificate to Mr Pan Daochan, a taxi driver registered with the airport who has returned belongings of a passenger who left them behind on 2 May 2016.

The belonging was successfully returned to Me Omar Ali, a Kenyan passenger who took the taxi from the airport to a hotel in Pratunam area, Bangkok. The belonging is a black wallet containing 3,500 US dollars worth of banknotes.

On this occasion, Suvarnabhumi Airport Deputy Director Patchara Pornyuthapong has thanked and praised Mr Pan’s honesty and noble actions which reflects the level of care he has towards passengers, which in return has brought fame and builds the airport's good image.

She states that all airport staff should look up to Mr Pan as a role model when providing services to passengers.


Public Health Ministry limits quantity of nitrate and nitrite in food

BANGKOK, (NNT) - Dr. Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoenchai, deputy permanent secretary and spokesman of the Ministry of Public Health, said three out of 15 samples of sausages in the domestic market had been found to have an excessive amount of nitrate and nitrite.

The Ministry of Public Health has assigned the Bureau of Food Safety Extension and Support to search for the information related to the matter and educate the public about food safety. Moreover, the ministry has coordinated with the Food and Drug Administration to investigate the notorious case.

The ministry has issued the Announcement No. 281 which limits the quantity of nitrate or nitrite in fermented meat to a maximum of 125 milligrams per one kilogram of food for safety reasons.


Two high-speed train projects to be included in PPP programme

Thai PBS

The Office of State Enterprise Policy Committee has been instructed by Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak to include the Bangkok-Hua Hin and Bangkok-Rayong high-speed train projects into the PPP’s (Public Private Partnership) fast-track programme.

Dr Somkid said that the inclusion of two high-speed train projects in the PPP programme was intended to speed up implementation of the infrastructure projects now that five similar projects have already taken off including the mass transit system, the motorway and the special highways.

There have been enough studies about the two high-speed train projects with only one remaining issue, that is how the private sector will participate and in what form – private sector’s complete responsibility for the entire projects or just operating the train services; government’s investment in infrastructure and train system and the private sector chosen to operate the services.

The Transport Ministry will work out all the details and the various options for submission to the PPP committee for consideration.


A major drug trafficking gang of the East busted

Thai PBS

TNarcotics police have announced the arrest of an alleged major drug trafficker of the East and four of her men together with the seizure of 200,000 tablets of methamphetamine.

Pol Lt-Gen Raewat Klinkaesorn, commissioner of the narcotic suppression bureau, told a press conference that the gang led by Mrs Chanyaporn Khunnan, alias Jae Pom, was apprenhended in Chachoengsao province in a sting operation.

Posing as buyers for 200,000 ya baa tablets at 7.5 million baht, the undercover policemen waited at a rendezvous in front of a mall in Chachoengsao where the drug was to be delivered and money changed hands.

When the gang showed up with the drug, the policemen then rushed in to make the arrest.

Pol Lt-Gen Raewat said that the gang received the ya baa from Lt-Col Yeesee network in northern Thailand.


Cambodian rosewood smugglers rounded up in Prachinburi

Thai PBS

Twenty-eight Cambodians and a Thai were arrested yesterday and charged with illegal entry, and cutting rosewood trees in Thap Larn national park in Nadee district of Prachinburi province.

The Cambodians were rounded up by a combined force of police, soldiers, national park officials and defense volunteers after they fled on foot from the park after hearing gun shooting between Thai authorities and their armed guards.

Thai authorities were deployed around two jungle routes to the park where they believed the Cambodian smugglers would use to escape after cutting rosewood trees.

As the combined force moved in to the park, it was spotted by armed guards protecting the Cambodians in cutting the trees.

A brief gun battle broke out and the Cambodian smugglers fled downhill to a place where truck would be on a wait to drive them back to the Cambodian border.

The arrested Cambodians admitted that they came in a large group of 60 men by a hirer who promised to pay 200 baht per ton of eucalyptus trees in the Thai border.

They split in two groups, one would cut the trees, and another would load them on trucks.

They said they didn’t know the trees they were paid to cut are rosewoods.

They were only told that they would have to spend about two weeks to finish the job and they have to prepare enough food to eat while working in the jungle.

Police said the Thai was arrested while driving the truck to pick up the fleeing Cambodians.

The Thai driver said he was paid 3,000 baht to drive them to Aranyaprathet border.

Police said they were investigating to find out the financier of this rosewood smuggling gang.


Commerce Ministry to scramble for 20 billion baht damage pay over G-to-G rice scam

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Ministry of Finance has called on the Ministry of Commerce to have six politicians and government officials pay an estimated 20 billion baht in damage compensation concerning a government-to-government rice scam.

The Ministry of Commerce is currently examining legal details of the issue and will notify those who might be legally obliged to pay for such damage to the government, said government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd.

He said the government did not delay the case involving a previous government's rice subsidy program but was working on it.


TAT and Thai Air Asia launch Paint the Sky with Amazing Thailand design contest

Mr.Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya (Middle), Executive Director of the Advertising and Public Relations Department of TAT, Mr. Banyat Hansakul (2nd left), Director of Engineering for Thai AirAsia and Mr. Wisut Ponnimit (2nd right), Thai cartoonist

Bangkok, – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is partnering with Thai Air Asia in launching the “Paint the Sky with Amazing Thailand” design contest, following the success of last year’s co-branding partnership in which the airline wrapped its newest Airbus A320 aircraft with the logo of the 2015 Discover Thainess campaign and decorated its interior with images of the “12 Hidden Gems” destinations.

Mr. Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, Executive Director of the Advertising and Public Relations Department of TAT said, “Last year’s co-branding partnership between TAT and Thai Air Asia proved highly popular with visitors while adding a unique colour to Thai Air Asia’s fleet. Under this year’s Paint the Sky with Amazing Thailand design contest, we look forward to seeing great designs that will help inspire more travellers from around the world to want to visit Thailand to discover the many amazing travel stories here by themselves.”

Mr. Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, Executive Director of the Advertising and Public Relations Department of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)

The “Paint the Sky with Amazing Thailand” design contest is open for designers, artists and members of the public. They are invited to submit their entries under two categories: Amazing Thailand – Amazing Culture, to promote Thai culture, hospitality and lifestyles, and Amazing Thailand – Amazing Destination, to promote Thailand’s tourist attractions, be they cultural, natural, architectural or concerned with Thai festivals and leisure. Any region of Thailand can be represented, giving artists a great deal of freedom when coming up with creative designs.

Mr. Banyat Hansakul, Director of Engineering for Thai AirAsia said, “As one of the world’s largest low-cost carriers, Thai Air Asia is responsible for bringing tourists into Thailand and showing them its wonders, so we are proud to work with TAT again and further promote the kingdom via the livery of our aircraft.”

Mr. Banyat Hansakul, Director of Engineering for Thai AirAsia

The winning designs in both “Paint the Sky with Amazing Thailand” concepts will be painted onto two of Thai Air Asia’s Airbus 320-200 aircraft, which operate on both domestic and international routes. The first aircraft with the winning design will be launched in August 2016, and the second one about a month later, and will be available for at least 11 months.


Man charged with stoning car causing injuries

Phuket police have charged a man of stoning a car after he turned himself in to the police to acknowledge his crime.

The man, Anucha Imuda, was brought to the police in Phuket by a village headman after a video clip was posted on the social network showing a motorcyclist throwing a large rock at a moving car.

The car lost control and hit a power pole by the roadside, injuring the driver and other passengers in the car.

Anucha admitted to be the person on the clip but said he threw the rock at the car because he was squeezed by the car and almost lost balance.

He chased the car and engaged in a brief argument with the driver.

He said when the driver drove away, he became angry, chasing and throwing a rock at the windshield.


Acting city police chief assures fair treatment of cripple man’s murder case

Thai PBS

Acting metropolitan police commissioner Pol Lt-Gen Sanit Mahathavorn gave an assurance on Wednesday that all the six youths suspected of beating to death a cripple will be dealt with strictly in accordance with the letters of the law despite the fact that some of them are children of the police.

Ms Thunyachanok Srichan, the elder sister of the victim, Mr Somkiart Srichan, told the media that she was not sure that the case would be treated fairly by the police because some of the suspects were sons of policemen. She also complained that she was worried with her own safety after she was threatened.

Sanit said that police would proceed with the case in accordance with the evidences collected. He also warned that additional charges would be slapped against any of the suspects if they resorted to intimidation against the victim’s relatives.

The six suspects have been charged with murder. Five of them have been held in custody at Bangkok Special Prison and the sixth is hospitalized.

Two women who were seen in surveillance camera footages shouting and urging the suspects to attack the cripple have been summoned by police to testify. Police said they wanted to know whether the two women were involved in the incident and should be charged or not.


Defense Minister says posting information that distorts facts is punishable by law

BANGKOK,(NNT) - Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan has warmed that posting information that distorts facts is punishable by law.

Gen Prawit was speaking in regard to groups that have expressed their disapproval of the draft constitution over the internet, saying that the posts need to be in accordance with the facts. He said posts that are meant to persuade or dissuade people from voting for or against the new constitution are forbidden, as is posting distorted criticisms of the government.

Gen Prawit declined at the time to make a connection between the recently detained individuals who criticized the government and Panthongtae Shinawatra, son of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The Defense Minister added that regarding the recent crackdown on influential groups in Nakhon Pathom Province, and peace talks in the southern border provinces, all policies are being enacted as planned.


Kanchanaburi encourages SMEs services in ASEAN

KANCHANABURI,(NNT) – Kanchanaburi Provincial Commercial Affairs Office is calling upon entrepreneurs to participate the activity called Open the Door to ASEAN, encouraging the inclusion of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Kanchanaburi Provincial Commercial Affairs Official Worawit Meknopparat has revealed that Kanchanaburi will be hosing the Open the Door to ASEAN event, promoting services from the ASEAN SME Service Center on 17 May 2016. The event will be situated at the provincial hall.

Activities in this event will include lectures on product branding, ASEAN market, international trade agreements, and product photography for online retailing.

The event is a part of the campaign by the Office of SMEs Promotion to provide e-commerce channels for SME entrepreneurs on www.AseanSme.org, a website which has been developed by King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang.

The website provides marketing opportunities for SME entrepreneurs to expand their sale to ASEAN markets and other regions such as Japan and Europe, via this free to use website.

Interested individuals who wish to attend the workshop or showcase their products at the event can call the Kanchanaburi Provincial Commercial Affairs Office 034-564293, or send an email to [email protected] for additional information.


Rubber-tree cutting season gets started in May

NAKORN SRI THAMMARAT,(NNT) - Nakorn Sri Thammarat Provincial Office of Agriculture and Cooperatives chief Chalin Praphreuttrong said rubber-tree cutting season gets started in May.

There might be drizzles of rain during the starting period of the rubber-tree cutting season, causing moisture in the rubber plantations. For that reason, he said, the rubber planters need to fertilize their rubber trees before cutting them.

Following the cutting of the rubber trees, the planters are advised to continue to fertilize them for high yields of latex.


Artesian well project implemented for drought-affected farmers in Songkhla

SONGKHLA,(NNT) – Deputy Artesian Resources Department Director General Suwat Piampatja inspected an artesian well project for drought-affected farmers in Songkhla province.

The agency has assisted the southern farmers with the project in Phraek Suwan village, Bang Riang county, Khuan Niang district, Songkhla province.

An artesian well has been excavated with the depth of 30 meters and eight cubic meters of water per hour to alleviate the suffering of the drought-stricken farmers.


Bangkok Mass Transit Authority introduces refurbished buses

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) has introduced four newly refurbished buses to the public transport network, while the Ministry of Transport will urge Cabinet to approve an overhaul of Bangkok’s bus system, a project worth 4.3 billion Baht.

The newly refurbished buses were a collaboration between the King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Lat Krabang and Thai Charoenyang Service Company Limited. The vehicles are equipped with improvements to safety features as well as CCTV and GPS navigation systems. The buses were put into service on May 4, on routes 178, 168, 73? and 36?.

Deputy Transport Minister Aomsin Cheewapruek revealed this week that the BMTA plans on refurbishing an additional 668 buses and will propose this month that the Cabinet approve the procurement of 489 NGV-powered buses and 200 electric-powered buses, worth 4.3 billion Baht.


Foreign life insurance firm to expand business in Thailand

BANGKOK,(NNT) - Pacific Century Group (PCG) President Richard Li and a consultant, namely former Canadian foreign affairs minister John Baird, visited Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak at Government House.

The deputy premier assured that the Thai government has had the policy to stimulate investments by promptly promoting foreign investment projects of the Thai and foreign private sector.

Richard Li, a noted investor who has handled business and industrial development projects in Asia, praised the government for such policy to promote foreign investments. He said that he is expanding ING life insurance business in Thailand which has continually flourished.


Satun municipality to sterilize and resettle 1,500 monkeys

Thai PBS

Satun municipal officials have started capturing some of the 1,500 long-tailed macaques from the municipal area to be resettled in an island after numerous complaints from the residents of the troubles caused by these monkeys.

Municipal and livestock officials used traps to capture the wild monkeys at Ma Khao community, Khao Toh Yongkong, Sanyaram community and Khao Toh Phaya Wang.

The officials planned to resettle half of the 1,500 monkeys to Koy island in Tambon Tanyong Po which is abundant with fruit trees such as mango and fresh water resource so the monkeys will not starve.

Satun deputy governor Somjate Chongsupavisarnkit said that the long-tailed monkeys have been a nuisance to people in the aforementioned communities and have caused damages to their properties for a long time.

For the rest of the monkeys which are not resettled, he said officials will sterilize them to control their population.


City governor faulted for misusing central fund to launch the “Motif of Light” project

Thai PBS

The Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) has faulted Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra and eight other city officials of misusing the City Hall’s central fund for the “Motif of Light” or light tunnel project for tourism promotion.

Auditor-General Phisit Leelawachiropart told the media on Tuesday that the central fund was meant to be used for emergency or necessary project only and the “Motif of Light” project did not have the consent of the city council and, hence, the use of the central fund for the project was unlawful.

He said that the investigation also found out that the top administrators of the City Hall and some officials concerned appeared to favour the contractor which won the contract and that there might be a collusion in the bidding process.

Also, the 39.5 million baht price tag for the project was overstated and the actual cost should be about 29 million baht, said Mr Phisit.

He went on saying that even if the city administration had not paid the contractor it was unlikely that the City Hall could accept the project from the contractor. However, he insisted that damage had already done to the state because of the alleged misconduct in the project implementation.

For the next step, the auditor-general said he would report to the interior minister about the findings and would propose that a fact-finding probe team should be set up to consider disciplinary and criminal actions against the governor and eight other officials.

Mr Wasant Meewong, the governor’s personal secretary, said M.R. Sukhumbhand was not worried with the OAG’s probe result because the case was not over yet.


15th Thailand Travel Mart Plus Amazing Gateway to Greater Mekong Subregion to open in Chiang Mai

BANGKOK,(NNT) - First-time prospective buyers and sellers have signed up in record numbers for the 15th Thailand Travel Mart Plus Amazing Gateway to the Greater Mekong Subregion, scheduled in Chiang Mai between June 8-10, 2016.

The event, which will open for first time to ASEAN national tourism organizations, has seen the registration of 321 prospective buyers as of February 11, 142 of whom were first timers.

By country, the largest number of buyers (79) was from India. That was the highest number so far and projected to grow until the registration ended on February 28, 2016.

In addition to the list of prospective buyers from traditional markets such as, Europe, Japan, Australia and North America, new prospective buyers from such markets as Moldova, Ireland and Ukraine have registered.

As of February 11, the number of prospective sellers totaled 305 companies and exhibitors, 72 of whom were first timers. This has already surpassed the total of 258 sellers and 49 first-timers recorded in March 2015, for the TTM+ 2015.


Measures to increase the number of disabled workers by the year 2018

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security is urging government agencies and the private sector to hasten the hiring of more people with disabilities, as the government aims to double the number of disabled people in real employment by the year 2018.

Anusree Tubsuwan, spokesman for the Minister of Social Development and Human Security, along with deputy spokesperson Usanee Kangwanjit and Director General of the Department for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Somchai Charoen-Amnuaysuk recently attended a joint press conference on the social initiative.

Mr Somchai revealed that 13,259 businesses have hired a total of 57,122 employees with disabilities out of an identified 61,441, as part of a legal requirement to hire one disabled employee for every 100 able bodied employees.

In addition, 290 government agencies are required to hire a total of 16,123 disabled employees. However, government agencies have so far only hired 2,097. Mr Somchai says the country must increase these numbers by 2018.

As for disabled individuals who wish to start their own businesses, the Department for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities will provide a 60,000 Baht interest-free loan to be paid off within 5 years.


More emergency services to be provided in Bangkok

BANGKOK,(NNT)-The Ministry of Public Health is developing a medical emergency system with the Office of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to respond to emergency situations within 10 minutes.

Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Public Health Dr. Sophon Mekthanon, said today the system is aimed at providing a timely arrival at callers’ locations via the hotlines 1669 and 1646, adopting new technology to help paramedics identify where the callers are and ensuring a comfortable trip to and from the hospital for patients needing emergency treatment.

A committee will be appointed to ensure the service runs smoothly and effectively. There are currently only nine hospitals in Bangkok that provide emergency services. At present an emergency call is acted upon around 1.4 million times each year. The Ministry of Public Health is determined to respond to as many as 6 million emergency calls in future to help more people.


Department of Intellectual Property unveils services to assist new businesses

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) is moving forward in developing the country’s intellectual property system to support SMEs and new businesses engaged in innovation.

The DIP held an event recently to celebrate its own 24th anniversary, with Commerce Minister Abhiradee Tantraporn presiding over the ceremony.

The DIP plans on backing SMEs and startup businesses through an intellectual property research and analysis service to reduce the cost of businesses having to conduct their own studies.

The ceremony unveiled a commemorative postal stamp in honor of HRH Princess Sirindhorn, after the World Intellectual Property Organization presented Her Royal Highness with an award for creative excellence on August 28, 2015.

In addition, the ceremony unveiled an online trademark filing service, www.ipthailand.go.th


Breakthrough in controlling Aedes mosquitoes

Thai PBS

The Mahidol University has now achieved a breakthrough in the birth control of the Aedes mosquitoes and will release the sterilized mosquitoes into the real environment in Chachoengsao province for test.

Chief of the university’s Centre of Excellence for Vectors and Vector-Borne Diseases Vice Professor Pattamaporn Kittayapong said the mosquitoes sterilised via this two-step sterilisation technique will not affect the balance of nature because they will die within two to three weeks.

According to The Nation, they will mate with females in the wild and make the females sterile as well.

100 sterilised mosquitoes per household will be released into the nature for the first time at a pilot 150-household community in Tambon Hua Samrong of Chachoengsao’s Plaeng Yao district by the end of this month, she said.

The two-step method applies both X-ray technology and injection of Wolbachia bacteria which will help ease the number of patients suffering from dengue fever, Chikungunya, Zika fever and yellow fever.

The test release will be followed up for six months and if proved effective, a plan to set up a farm for Aedes mosquito sterilisation will be pushed forward in the hope of exterminating its population in nature.


Ministry of Commerce develops standards of organic Riceberry rice

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Ministry of Commerce is pushing for the accreditation of organic produce with the objective to increase organic exports to international markets. A pilot project on Riceberry rice has been launched.

Permanent Secretary for Commerce Chutima Bunyapraphasara said the ministry chose Riceberry rice due to its popularity. However, Riceberry rice farmers still found it hard to market the produce since their Riceberry rice production had not met organic standards, she said.

The ministry would educate the participating farmers and urge them to work together to plant Riceberry rice in line with standards, said the permanent secretary. 364 farmers have participated in the pilot project.

The project is seeking accreditation from the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements.

Thailand has more than 235,000 Rai of organic farms. Around 9,960 organic farms, or 0.15% of the total agricultural area, are certified. Thailand’s organic produce is worth more than 2.3 billion baht and its major markets include the EU, the U.S. and Singapore.


Bangkok temple now a venerated site for Leicester City fans

Visitors walk around the Wat Traimitr Withayaram temple in Bangkok, Thailand. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Natnicha Chuwiruch, Associated Press
Tassanee Vejpongsa, Associated Press


BANGKOK (AP) — Tucked in the Chinatown area of Bangkok is a Buddhist temple that has turned overnight into a venerated site for Leicester City's fans, at least the ones in Thailand.

After all, it was the chief monk of that temple who some months ago had predicted that the team, which was a 5,000-1 outsider at the start of the season, would win the English Premier League title.

The prediction came true on Monday night, and by Tuesday morning fans were flocking to the Golden Buddha temple, hoping to get their hands on Leicester City banners blessed by the monk, Phra Prommangkalachan, who is revered by the club's Thai owners.

A Leicester City banner hangs in a room at the Wat Traimitr Withayaram temple.(AP Photo/Mark Baker)

But no banners were for sale, the monk's assistant, Korpsin Uiamsa-ard, told the throngs of disappointed fans.

"I never believed in blessings until now," said Ling Prakorpvoon, 51, who came from the neighboring province of Chonburi for the blessed banner. "He (the monk) is incredible. Leicester never won and now this miracle."

Premier League football is popular among Thais, but many are fans of better-known teams such as Manchester United or Chelsea.

"The odds (of Leicester winning the title) were quite low. I am a follower of the monk himself and I think he is magical and holy," said Songwit Suwannaram, who has been the monk's follower for more than 10 years. "I so badly want the Leicester banner now because this just happened."

In fact, only a few such banners exist, said Korpsin, wearing Leicester City's dark blue jersey. He showed The Associated Press one of them — a rectangular yellow silk cloth with blue tassels and the club's fox emblem emblazoned on it. The lion is surrounded by Buddhist religious symbols.

Korpsin Uiamsa-ard, an assistant of chief monk Phra Prommangkalachan at the Wat Traimitr Withayaram temple, holds up a Leicester City banner in Bangkok, Thailand. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Korpsin said the banners will not be sold but will be given to people chosen by Prommangkalachan.

"At the start of the year, if I had forced someone to take the Leicester team banner, no one would have touched it Who would've thought?" he said in an interview in a small room in the sprawling temple complex not far from the city's main train station.

The monk himself was away and not available for an interview.

He came into prominence when Thailand's King Power duty free company, owned by billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprbha, bought Leicester City six years ago. Vichai is a devotee of Prommangkalachan and got him to bless the team.

Vichai has also flown several monks from the temple — its Thai name is Wat Traimitr Withayaram — to England to bless the team, the King Power stadium in Leicester City, and also to lead spiritual sessions for the players.

"A lot of Thais believe that Leicester's win is good karma, or even a miracle," said Korpsin. "Barely anyone had heard of (Leicester City) before this season, and all of a sudden they've snatched the Premier League cup."

Visitors look for items to buy in a shop at the Wat Traimitr Withayaram temple.(AP Photo/Mark Baker)

The temple plans to give gold amulets, blessed by Prommangkalachan, to each of the club's players. The unblessed amulets are sold in the temple's shop for about $1,700. Korpsin said two bigger amulets are reserved for Vichai and the team coach Claudio Ranieri, probably valued at about $5,000.

Even the young disciples who live and work at the temple are now fans of Leicester City, said Korpsin. "They all used to be Manchester United or Liverpool fans."

Now they wear the team's dark blue jerseys as they sweep leaves off the temple grounds and carry on other chores.

A visitor photographs a Leicester City banner at the Wat Traimitr Withayaram temple.(AP Photo/Mark Baker)

And at night? "They all transform — they wear Leicester's white away-game jerseys and chant its name while watching the game," said Korpsin.
___

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


Drinks with high content of sugar will be taxed 20-25 percent

Thai PBS

The National Reform Steering Assembly on Monday approved by 153 votes against two a proposal of its panel on health and environment affairs to increase taxes for non-alcoholic drinks with high content of sugar.

Under the proposal which is to be submitted to the cabinet for endorsement, there will be two tax rates: 20 percent tax for drinks which contain 6-10 grammes of sugar per 100 millilitre and 25 percent for drinks with over 10 grammes of sugar per 100 millilitre.

The proposed tax increase is aimed to cut Thai people’s consumption of sweetened drinks such as green tea, instant coffee, energy drinks, soybean milk and soft drinks.

Statistics show that Thais rank No 9 in the world as sugar consumers which put them at risk of being afflicted with obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart diseases.

According to the NRSA, almost all the non-alcoholic drinks available in the market have sugar content exceeding 6 grammes/100 millilitre. The proposed tax increase will earn the state an extra of 10 billion baht in taxes.


Public health ministry sets THB11-bn budget to develop health services

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Ministry of Public Health is urgently developing a health service plan for all health regions nationwide for the years 2018 – 2022. More than 11 billion baht has been approved for all 12 health regions.

Permanent Secretary for Public Health M.D. Sophon Mekthon on Monday presided over a meeting on the development of the health service plan under the 11-billion-baht budget. The plan is aimed at increasing public access into quality health services. The meeting instructed the 12 health regions to urgently develop their own health service plan which covers medical equipment and treatments of major diseases.

The meeting also set a target to decrease the mortality rate of heart disease and develop hospitals’ capacity to perform operations for heart disease patients.


April's inflation rate rises 1st time in 16 months

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The inflation rate in April 2016 increased for the first time in 16 months to 106.47 due to increasing prices of meat and fresh vegetables.

The Ministry of Commerce on Monday reported that the April inflation rate was a 0.07% increase following the agricultural product price hike. The price increase was a result of drought and rising fuel price in the global market.

The ministry will consider adjusting this year’s average inflation rate after sees May’s inflation rate. It earlier forecast that the 2016 average inflation rate will be around 0% - 1%.

Agricultural product prices are expected to drop after the rainy season arrives.

Agricultural products whose prices have increased include pork, white shrimps and eggs. However, prices of milled rice, milk and instant noodles have dropped.


Ministry of Agriculture gets prepared for royal plowing ceremony

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has made preparations for a royal plowing ceremony on May 9, 2016. The annual ritual marks the beginning of a rice-growing season in Thailand.

Ten royally-bestowed rice strains prepared by the Rice Department with a total weight of 2,667 kilograms will be used during the ceremony from 8.29 a.m. to 9.09 a.m.

Plastic packets of rice grains will be handed out to farmers and people attending the ceremonial grounds.


Rayong tops provinces with highest income per capita

RAYONG,(NNT) – Rayong remains the province with the highest income per capita, with income at almost one million baht per person, despite signs of recession in the province's economic outlook.

The latest average income of people in Raying Province shows each individual in the province receiving a mean of 1,008,615 baht, highlighting Rayong Province as the province with highest income per capita in the Eastern region and nationwide. This data was revealed in the official meeting chaired by Rayong Vice Governor Montri Chanachaiwiboonwat at the provincial hall.

According to this meeting, Rayong's economy relies on major industries such as mining, industrial, wholesales, and retailes. However, the latest information in March 2016 has noted signs of recession in the industrial, service, and agricultural sectors due to problems in the manufacturing sector.

In regards of economic stability, Rayong Province now has minor negative inflation rate at negative 1.4 percent, while employment has expanded by 1.1 percent compared to the previous month.

It is expected the province’s economy will see a 0.1 percent expansion in this year, recovering from a 2.0 percent decline in 2015.


Pattani Central Mosque Recognized as a Special Tourist Attraction

BANGKOK,(NNT) – Mosques are regarded as the centers of Muslim communities all over the world. They are the places where Muslims gather to pray, listen to sermons, and strengthen their communal bond.

According to statistics compiled by the Internal Security Affairs Bureau, Department of Provincial Administration, there were altogether 3,722 mosques registered on 31 October 2011 in Thailand.

Out of this number, 3,158 are located in the South (14 provinces), 491 in the central region (25 provinces), 46 in the North (13 provinces), and 27 in the Northeast (15 provinces).

A large number of Muslim Thais live in the five southern border provinces, namely Pattani, Narathiwat, Yala, Songkhla, and Satun. There are more than three million people in the deep South of Thailand and 62 percent of them are Muslim. About 82 percent of local residents in the four southern provinces – Pattani, Narathiwat, Yala, and Satun – are Muslim. They have a distinctive culture, different from the culture in other parts of Thailand.

Among the five southernmost provinces, Pattani has the highest number of mosques, 675, followed by Narathiwat, 633, Yala, 470, Songkhla, 378, and Satun, 223. These mosques play an important role in social and spiritual development.

The central mosque in Pattani is recognized as the most beautiful Muslim religious structure in Thailand. It is located on Yarang Road in Mueang district. The Thai government in 1954 approved a budget for the construction of the Pattani Central Mosque. It took nine years for the construction of this magnificent mosque, which was completed in 1963.

On 21 October 1993, Their Majesties the King and Queen visited local residents at the Pattani Central Mosque. His Majesty told the then Education Minister (Mr. Samphan Thongsamak) to renovate this mosque. Later, the Ministry of Education included the renovation of the Pattani Central Mosque as a project to celebrate the golden jubilee of His Majesty the King’s accession to the throne in 1996.

The central mosque of Pattani is a two-storey building and its architectural form looks like that of the Taj Mahal of India. It has a large dome, surrounded by four smaller ones. There are two minarets on both sides of the building. A large pond is found in front of the mosque. Inside the mosque, there is a large prayer hall and long corridors.

The mosque is open for daily religious activities. Visitors may visit this mosque from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every day, except on Friday, when Muslims are called for a special gathering prayer, with religious activities culminating between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

The beautiful mosque has become a major tourist attraction in the southern border province of Pattani. A visit to the Pattani Central Mosque is recommended for all visitors who should not miss the opportunity to see the magnificence of this religious structure. The mosque is also recognized as a symbol of Pattani, which also boasts many interesting historical and cultural sites.


More than 100 houses in Samut Songkhram damaged by summer storms

SAMUT SONGKHRAM,(NNT) - Summer storms have hit three districts in Samut Songkhram province, damaging more than 100 houses and fruit orchards.

The three districts are Mueang, Amphawa and Bang Khon Thi. The storms wreaked havoc on houses, a swine farm, and fruit orchards. The total damages were estimated at many hundreds of thousands baht.

Acting Governor of Samut Songkhram Suriyan Chirasatsunthon instructed local administrative organizations to provide primary assistance for the affected people immediately.

Army officers from the 16 Military Circle were sent to help the affected people.

The provincial administration is working with relevant units to search for long-term assistance for those affected by summer storms during this period.


Illegal stalls removed from beaches in Phuket

PHUKET,(NNT) – Phuket authorities have reclaimed approximately 500 rai of public land from illegal vendors. They will hold a meeting this week to discuss measures to compensate the vendors and those affected by the recent land reclamation effort.

Deputy Governor of Phuket, Chokdee Amornwat said a huge amount of progress has been made in the attempt to establish order on several beaches in the province. Authorities were able to retrieve 500 rai of public space encroached upon by stall owners and vendors.

The province will renovate the affected landscape and is considering the possibility of using the land to organize activities in honor of Their Majesties the King and Queen.

A committee has also been formed to find measures to compensate the vendors and those who might have been affected by the reclamation policy. The committee is expected to meet this week to go over the compensation plan.


Government to punish corrupt officials concerning artesian well filling project

BANGKOK,(NNT) - Prime Minister’s Office Spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd disclosed that the Office of Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) has found suspicious evidence which could indicate corruption in the project for filling artesian wells.

Evidence linking to corruption that was identified by the PACC dates during 2009-2014, which is before the National Council for Peace and Order's government.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has instructed the PACC to carefully identify the witnesses and collect all crucial evidence, stating that government officials found guilty of corruption will face strict punishment.

The Prime Minister’s Office spokesman said that the Prime Minister asked government officials from all agencies to focus on serving the nation and the general public without acts of corruption.
 


DAILY UPDATE

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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Wildfire at Doi Suthep national park in Chiang Mai

Lively atmosphere at Huai Kon Border Pass in Nan province

Phetchabun officials inspect damage from recent storm

Thai Red Cross Society holds four-day blood drive

Rajaprajanugroh Foundation hands out royally bestowed survival kits to storm victims in Bueng Kan


Sungaigolok Bike Week 2016 expects over 5,000 participants

Thailand to host CLMVT Forum 2016 next month

Rail projects set to boost economy

New low cost housing project to be established


Four killed when train rammed into a pickup truck at a railway crossing

Social Development & Human Security permanent secretary visits Nakhon Ratchasima

TAT governor expects over 7.6 billion baht in tourist cash during long weekend

Chinese white dolphin found dead on Tha Sala Beach in Nakhon Si Thammarat Province


Taxi driver praised for returning money to passenger

Public Health Ministry limits quantity of nitrate and nitrite in food

Two high-speed train projects to be included in PPP programme

A major drug trafficking gang of the East busted

Cambodian rosewood smugglers rounded up in Prachinburi

Commerce Ministry to scramble for 20 billion baht damage pay over G-to-G rice scam


TAT and Thai Air Asia launch Paint the Sky with Amazing Thailand design contest

Man charged with stoning car causing injuries

Acting city police chief assures fair treatment of cripple man’s murder case

Defense Minister says posting information that distorts facts is punishable by law

Kanchanaburi encourages SMEs services in ASEAN

Rubber-tree cutting season gets started in May

Artesian well project implemented for drought-affected farmers in Songkhla

Bangkok Mass Transit Authority introduces refurbished buses

Foreign life insurance firm to expand business in Thailand


Satun municipality to sterilize and resettle 1,500 monkeys

City governor faulted for misusing central fund to launch the “Motif of Light” project

15th Thailand Travel Mart Plus Amazing Gateway to Greater Mekong Subregion to open in Chiang Mai

Measures to increase the number of disabled workers by the year 2018

More emergency services to be provided in Bangkok

Department of Intellectual Property unveils services to assist new businesses

Breakthrough in controlling Aedes mosquitoes

Ministry of Commerce develops standards of organic Riceberry rice


Bangkok temple now a venerated site for Leicester City fans

Drinks with high content of sugar will be taxed 20-25 percent

Public health ministry sets THB11-bn budget to develop health services

April's inflation rate rises 1st time in 16 months

Ministry of Agriculture gets prepared for royal plowing ceremony

Rayong tops provinces with highest income per capita


Pattani Central Mosque Recognized as a Special Tourist Attraction

More than 100 houses in Samut Songkhram damaged by summer storms

Illegal stalls removed from beaches in Phuket

Government to punish corrupt officials concerning artesian well filling project

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