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Update May 2017

Thailand News
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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
Thailand News

Update May 27-28, 2017

Ayutthaya celebrates planting season at late Kings’ field

AYUTTHAYA - Farmers in Ayutthaya province have marked the beginning of the planting season at a rice field where HM the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej used to visit and plant paddies.

At Tung Makham Yong in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya district, farmers have performed a rite to worship Goddess of Rice and to show their gratitude to HM the late King who helped Thai agriculturists throughout his lifetime.

King Rama IX in 1996 allowed local farmers to grow paddies in his seven-rai rice field to give them moral support. Growing rice in the royal field at the start of the planting season has become an annual ceremony held by Ayutthaya’s Agriculture Office since then. In 2011, the beloved monarch visited Tung Makham Yong again to encourage flood-hit farmers.

Rice growing in Tung Makham Yong began in April and has now started yielding outputs. Harvest will commence in one month’s time. Ayutthaya’s Agriculture Office has also organized an exhibition to educate farmers and visitors on the rice culture.

776 beggars removed from Bangkok streets

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security has revealed that 776 street beggars have been removed from the streets during the first five months of this year.

Speaking during a meeting on the development of a draft strategic beggar management plan, Social Development and Human Security Minister Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew said today that of the 776 beggars removed from the streets, 519 of them were Thais and the rest were foreign nationals.

Around 421 Thai beggars have already returned to their families while 168 foreign beggars have been deported.

Those who sing and perform on the streets in exchange for money have been asked to register for special identification cards under the Beggar Control Act. Without the cards, they will be treated as beggars and will be taken off the streets.

Moreover, they are required to notify local authorities in advance each time they perform. Since the introduction of the special ID cards, more than 1,500 people, mostly from Bangkok, Nonthaburi and Chiang Mai, have registered as performers.

Thailand to celebrate World Environment Day on June 5th

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has decided to waive entrance fees for many natural tourist attractions in Thailand in celebration of World Environment Day on June 5th.

According to Permanent Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Wijarn Simachaya, entrance fees at forest parks as well as zoos managed by the Zoological Park Organization will be waived on June 5th to mark World Environment Day.

An event celebrating the occasion will also be held at Siam Paragon to instill in people the need to protect the environment.

The United Nations declared June 5th to be World Environment Day in 1974 to promote people's relationship with nature. Efforts have been made to raise awareness about the impact of pollution on the environment and what can be done to improve the situation.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment urged department stores across the nations to reduce their use of plastic bags every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from June 5th onward, in order to protect the environment.

People advised to watch out for F.A.S.T. stroke indications

NONTHABURI,(NNT) – The Department of Medical Services (DMS) has encouraged the general public to watch out for symptoms of strokes which may lead to a paralysis.

DMS Director General Theerapol Topanthanont said strokes or conditions due to lack of blood in the brain may lead to a paralysis which could be caused as a birth defect or from the thickening of blood vessels among patients of some chronic diseases including obesity, diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, or from the blockage in blood vessels by blood clots among patients with irregular heartbeats.

He said it is crucial for persons with such symptom to receive a treatment as quickly as possible as the possibility of disabilities or death would increase if the patient failed to receive the treatment in time, while the indicating symptoms can be observed from F.A.S.T., namely Face, Arm, Speech, and Time.

The F.A.S.T. code calls for observation to see whether one of the lip corners drops with idle face expression or when smiling, if a person fail to life their arm or have weak arm power, and if they cannot speak clearly. If the symptoms persist, the affected person should receive medical attention within four and a half hours.

Concerning persons can call Hotline 1669 around the clock toll-free to request for assistance. The general public are encouraged to eat balanced diets, avoid eating sweet, oily, and salty food while eating more fruit and vegetable, controlling their weight, exercise regularly, refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol, and have a medical check-up on yearly basis.

Thailand promotes potential of gifted children

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Education Council and the Office of Knowledge Management and Development are promoting proper development of gifted children.

Education Council Secretary General Kamol Rotkhlai disclosed that he had discussed with Knowledge Management and Development Office Director Mr. Athipat Bamrung on the promotion of gifted children.

The Office of Knowledge Management and Development is directly for cooperating with the public and private agencies to develop gifted students to become creative leaders and will work with the Education Council to establish the intelligent children development center and create a database of gifted children throughout the country.

The Secretary-General of the Education Council added that the cooperation between the two agencies will turn Thailand into a learning society and create many new innovations.

Security beefed up around Siam area

BANGKOK,(NNT) - Deputy Police Chief Pol Gen Chalermkiat Sriworakhan and his retinue visited department stores around Ratchaprasong Intersection to inspect CCTV cameras and ensure they are in good conditions.

More than 700 CCTV cameras at CentralWorld, Siam Paragon and other places in the vicinity were inspected by the Deputy Police Chief and his entourage during their visit to ensure public safety.

Following the bombing incident at Phramongkutklao Hospital on Monday, security has been beefed up around the shopping district. Soldiers, police officers and other security personnel can be seen screening people at the entrances of shopping malls.

Pol Gen Chalermkiat is confident that the 200,000 shoppers visiting these department stores per day will be safe. However, he urged the general public to report any suspicious item or person to the authorities. People are encouraged to use their smartphones to take photos of any unusual activity and submit them to the police as evidence in any possible investigation that may ensue.

PRD holds activity for children with disabilities

NONTHABURI, (NNT) - The Public Relations Department (PRD) held a charity event to support boys with disabilities at Ban Rajawadee in Nonthaburi.

Acting PRD Director General Lieutenant General Sansern Kaewkamnerd led a group of civil servants in the activity for the happiness of persons with disabilities at Home for Mentally Handicapped Children or Ban Rajawadee, Department of Social Development and Welfare, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security.

Lt. Gen. Sansern said the main objective today is to give money and sport equiptment for Rajawadee Home as well as provides fun activity for the children here. He hopes money today will give the most benefits to boys as they are the Thai people as well.

The 900,000 baht donation came from public and private sectors on the occasion of 84th aniversary of the PRD.

The fun activity comprises of Thai dancing and mini-concert from PRD band, fun games and dog show by K-9 of the Royal Thai Army.

Rajawadee Home was established in 1976. To provide residential care for mentally handicapped boys ranging in age 7 - 18 years old who are orphans, homeless, abandoned and children of distress or poverty - stricken families. The home now is giving the support to 636 boys.

The public can bestow love, care and kindness to children by depositing or transferring money to the saving account, “Banrajawadee Foundation” Krungthai Bank, Nonthaburi branch, account number 108-0-13468-9.

Agreement reached to push forward tourism and service industry

BANGKOK,(NNT) – Three agencies have singed an agreement on research cooperation to develop tourism and service industry.

Deputy Prime Ministers Tanasak Patimapragon and Prajin Juntong presided over the Thailand Forum on Tourism Research Integration (TFTRI) held to promote the importance of researches and implementations in various areas, particularly the development of Thailand's tourism industry towards the Thailand 4.0 goal.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing ceremony has been held on this occasion between the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the Thailand Research Fund, and the Tourism Council Of Thailand to develop the concept of researches on tourism and services in three categories in the 2018 fiscal year, namely cross-border tourism, creative and community based tourism, and the value enhancement of research supported tourism activities.

The TFTRI has been held as part of the 20-year strategy to develop Thailand as a leading quality tourism destination of the world with a balanced growth based on the Thai identity to serve the development of the economy and society and distribute revenues to the general public.

Update May 26, 2017

Social Development Ministry calls meeting on beggar control

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security has called a meeting with related officials on its draft beggar control strategy for the next five years.

The meeting, chaired by Social Development and Human Security Minister Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew, saw the attendees agree on the draft beggar control strategy for 2018-2022 which involves public participation in solving the problem of street beggars. The five-year plan separates panhandlers from street performers so as to reduce public nuisance and promote job opportunities.

So far, the ministry has issued permits to more than 1,500 independent musicians, dancers, and painters. Its multi-disciplinary teams are offering funding and other assistance to have mendicants engage in job training so that they can rely on themselves. Communities are encouraged to help address panhandling and watch out for human trafficking.

The government will stage a campaign educating the general public on how to help vagrants in a constructive manner while improving its database to enable local agencies to handle the problems more efficiently.

Lottery Office to issue new tickets

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Government Lottery Office (GLO) has readied to issue a new lottery ticket that collapses the double ticket system into a single piece this September.

GLO Director Maj Gen Chalongrat Nakathit explained that starting September 1, double lottery tickets priced at 40 baht each for a total of 80 baht will be replaced by a single 80 baht ticket. The new tickets are in response to reports of confusion by buyers and will improve the safety of tickets from tampering and fraud.

The new tickets will feature even more safety features such as a more distinct watermark and a two dimensional barcode that can be scanned by GLO offices for authentication.

The office is also soon to discuss adding more pay out channels via Krung Thai Bank branches and Thai Post offices.

Royal Thai Navy conducting mobile medical service in honor of Prince of Chumporn


BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Royal Thai Navy has continued its mobile medical treatment activity, established in honor of Prince of Chumporn Admiral Abhakara Kiartivongse.

Commander of the Royal Thai Navy Adm Na Areenij and Dean of Medicine for Siriraj Hospital Dr Prasit Wattanapha traveled by boat to Suwanaramrajaworawiharn Temple in Bangkok Noi district of Bangkok to inspect the “In the Footsteps of Dr Porn Mobile Medicine” activity.

The mobile treatment is being conducted by Somdej Phra Pinklao Hospital, the Naval Medical Department and Siriraj Hospital and is in honor of Prince of Chumporn Admiral Abhakara Kiartivongse who hand wrote one of the nation’s first traditional medical guides and provided care to citizens at no cost.

The activity includes checkups and free medical advice for the public. The service will travel to Phawanapirataram Temple tomorrow.

Security reinforced in key places in Bangkok

BANGKOK,(NNT) - Security has been heightened in business areas and at the Government House following a bomb attack on Monday.

A group of soldiers from the 3rd Special Forces Regiment arrived at the Government House to provide safety for government officials, replacing the old security team as part of a six-month service rotation.

Permanent Secretary of the Office of Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) Pattarut Tantaranon has instructed every unit under the BMA to raise security levels across Bangkok. They have been told to ensure that CCTV cameras are operational and that government buildings, bus stations, and public places are protected around the clock.

The security plan that was implemented during the previous unrest in Bangkok will be reintroduced to maintain peace and order in the capital city for the time being.

Update May 25, 2017

NBTC confirms it will not block Facebook

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) says Facebook will not be blocked in Thailand as understood.

NBTC Secretary-General Takorn Tantasith revealed that he has recently met with Managing Director of the Asia Internet Coalition (AIC) Jeff Paine, who conveyed his concerns over the possible closure of Facebook, the most popular social networking website in Thailand.

In reply, Takorn denied that the country was planning to close the site, saying that the government was merely seeking cooperation from Facebook to close down illegal pages and delete inappropriate comments, as opposed to blocking the site from all Thai users.

The AIC Managing Director told Takorn that he would have to discuss the matter with other AIC members before making any decisions.

Thai cooking class provided to Laotian cooks in Loei

LOEI,(NNT) - A Thai cooking class has been held in Loei province for Laotian chefs to cater to Thai nationals working in the neighboring country.

Loei provincial authorities have coordinated with the Department of Skill Development, the Thai Chamber of Commerce, and the Thai-Laotian Chamber of Commerce in developing a Thai cooking course for 30 Laotians working in restaurants in Luang Prabang, Vientiane and Sainyabuli provinces of Laos.

The five-day course, which will come to an end on Friday, has received financial support from the Loei Provincial Office, which sought to provide a skill development program for those working in the Laotian restaurant industry.

The course also fosters commercial growth in the Mekong Subregion and the ASEAN Economic Community, while strengthening ties between Thailand and Laos.

Secretary-general of EEC panel confident Section 44 will help spur investment

BANGKOK,(NNT) - Secretary-General of the Eastern Economic Corridor Policy Committee Khanit Saengsuphan has expressed confidence that the enforcement of Section 44 to expedite projects in the EEC will help attract the private sector to invest in the EEC more.

Mr. Khanit said if the government can make the investment process of the EEC easier, there will be around 30 businesses investing in the EEC within one year. Six businesses have expressed interest to invest--most of them in 10 target industries such as aviation, e-commerce, electric car production, medical equipment, robotics and parts, said Mr. Khanit.

The committee's meeting on 26 May will consider guidelines for the development of Laem Chabang, Sattahip and Map Ta Phut ports.

Meanwhile, Meechai Ruchuphan has confirmed that the enforcement of Section 44 to stimulate investment in the EEC is not against the constitution.

More details of Thai-China rail cooperation ready for vetting by Cabinet

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Ministry of Transport is set to propose more matters on Thailand-China rail cooperation for Cabinet vetting in June.

Transport Minister Akhom Termpittayapaisit has disclosed that following the 18th Thailand-China Rail Cooperation committee meeting, his office has prepared project information on the Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima rail link for Cabinet consideration. It is expected the contract will be put up for auction by August for this year.

Funds for the project still have to be discussed with the Bureau of the Budget and the Ministry of Finance as it has to be decided whether funding will come from loans or established budgets. It has already been concluded that loans will be needed to import train bogeys and signal jammers.

The committee meeting also heard an Environmental Impact Assessment report which was completed for the Bangkok-Baan Pa Chi stretch of the rail line. The 19th meeting of the body will take place July 5-7 in Beijing of China.

Update May 24, 2017

PM calls for study on plan to increase pension for elderly

BANGKOK, 23 May 2017 (NNT) – Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered for a feasibility study on a plan to raise the pension for elderly persons.

He said the Ministry of Finance's proposal to increase the pension for the elderly from 1,000 baht to 1,500 baht per month needs to be considered given the fact that the number of senior citizens will increase significantly over the next several years.

He said the government needs to consider the ratio of people in the workforce and create more working people to fill new vacancies and address the decreasing birth rate in Thailand, all of which need to be taken into account.

He called on the authorities to check the number of elderly persons who have registered for the pension to see whether they have done so as low-income earners in order to provide appropriate assistance and benefits according to their needs.

He said the previous form of pension will not be altered, but the related agencies are to consider the Ministry of Finance's plan to allow some elderly persons with stable financial status to withdraw themselves from the government's pension scheme in order to reallocate the money to help senior low-income earners.

Religious function held in tribute to King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit

BANGKOK,(NNT) – Privy Council President Gen Prem Tinsulanonda has presided over a royal merit-making ceremony in honor of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit at the Dusit Palace.

Deputizing for His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, Gen Prem this afternoon laid floral offerings and lit candles and joss sticks before the Equestrian Statue of King Chulalongkorn or King Rama V upon his arrival at the Royal Plaza. He then proceeded to the ceremonial pavilion, where he was greeted by the Prime Minister, Cabinet members and civil servants.

To initiate the merit-making ceremony, the Privy Councilor lit candles and joss sticks before Phra Phuttha Norasi Buddha image, which had been relocated from the Amphorn Sathan Residential Hall in the Dusit Palace in the same afternoon especially for this occasion. This was followed by his paying of respects to the royal portraits of King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit before Supreme Patriarch His Holiness Somdet Phra Ariyavongsagatayan led 175 other Buddhist monks in chanting holy stanzas. Afterwards, Gen Prem and high-ranking civil servants together presented saffron robes to the monks.

Another praying session was then conducted, with an aim of paying respects to all ancestral kings and Phra Siam Devadhiraj image as well as offering blessings to Her Majesty Queen Sirikit. The ceremony was concluded with the presentation of monastic necessities to all participating monks.

Health minister attends World Health Assembly in Switzerland

GENEVA,(NNT) – Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn attended the 70th World Health Assembly (WHA) in Switzerland and delivered a speech on "Building Better Systems for Health in the Age of Sustainable Development."

He attended the discussion on Gearing up Towards Sustainable Health Development by 2030 co-hosted by Thailand and Iran, Bangladesh, and Venezuela.

Member countries voted to choose a new WHA director while Thailand will join a multilateral discussion with health ministers from Singapore, Iran, Qatar, Bahrain, and Fiji, on cooperation in health care, participate in the Partnership Matters - Achieving Stronger Systems for Health in Practice activity, and join the event to endorse the International Health Partnership for Universal Health Coverage 2030 hosted by Germany, the World Health Organization and the World Bank.

Hospital bombing not affecting tourist sector

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The bombing incident at a hospital in Bangkok has not affected tourist sector as no foreign nationals were harmed, said Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul.

She said the bombing incident at Phramongkutklao Hospital has not affected the tourism sector as there were no fatalities and no foreign visitors were injured.

She said that the Ministry of Tourism and Sports was not at ease with the incident and was monitoring the situation closely with instructions prepared to communicate with tourists if necessary.

No countries have issued any warning against traveling to Thailand while no special protocol has been sought as yet, the minister said.

The Ministry of Tourism and Sports will continue to promote tourism in Thailand by highlighting foods, fruits, local culture, and sports to attract more tourists, she said.

Update May 23, 2017

Thailand hosts romantic Chiang Mai honeymoon trips for Chinese celebrity couples

Ms. Runjuan Thongrut (centre), TAT Director of East Asian Region, and Mrs. Zhu Lijuan and Mr. Li Junbao

Chiang Mai, 22 May, 2017 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is hosting honeymoon trips for six celebrity couples from China under the 4th Romance in Thailand project. Taking place from 17 to 23 May, the hosted couples have been enjoying a range of Northern Thai experiences packaged to promote romantic activities and attractions in Chiang Mai and boost the province’s standing as a preferred honeymoon destination.

Under the theme, “Amazing Romance in Thailand 5.20 @ Chiang Mai”, the six loving couples have been experiencing a range of local activities in different areas of Chiang Mai. These include spa treatments, afternoon tea, merit-making in local temples, elephant bathing, and Thai cooking lessons. Members of the Chinese media were also invited along, meaning that all activities undertaken by the celebrity couples would be reported via online and offline publications as well as shared via social media channels, showcasing some of the many activities Chiang Mai offers to couples.

Ms. Runjuan Thongrut, TAT Director of East Asian Region, said “The Romance in Thailand project has been running successfully for four years. And, as Chiang Mai was awarded the Best Honeymoon Destination in 2016 from, the largest online travel agent in China, we are promoting the charms of the North to newlyweds and couples. Chiang Mai is one of Thailand’s most romantic destinations so we’d like the guests on this trip to inspire other Chinese couples to choose the North for their honeymoons.”

The “Amazing Romance in Thailand 5.20 @ Chiang Mai”, is so called, to mark 20 May, which is celebrated as the day of love in China. This tradition comes from the fact that the pronunciation for the date 5.20 (the fifth month and 20th day) sounds like the Chinese pronunciation of “I love you.” So on 20 May the couples came together for a romantic Lanna Dinner at the 137 Pillars House Hotel Chiang Mai, where they dressed in Northern Thai costume and sample authentic local dishes.

Ms. Runjuan added, “We want the “Amazing Romance in Thailand 5.20 @ Chiang Mai” to help spread awareness of the romantic side of Chiang Mai to over five million potential Chinese travellers, and to encourage quality Chinese tourists to make Thailand their honeymoon destination and help increase sales of honeymoon packages among Chinese travellers.”

The activity is jointly arranged by the TAT offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Kunming and Chengdu.

In 2017, TAT expects Thailand to welcome at least nine million visitors from China and generate some 570 billion Baht for the Thai tourism industry. Of these, TAT anticipates about 2,000 honeymoon couples with an average trip expenditure of around 80,000 Baht or approximately 200 million Baht in total.

Export figures strong with growth rate highest in 6 years

BANGKOK, (NNT) – Thai exports have continued to show strong signs with the sector growing 5.69 percent between January and April, the highest rate of growth in 6 years.

Director of the Trade Policy and Strategy Office (TPSO) Pimchanok Wonkorporn reported Thai exports valued 16.864 billion USD in April, 8.49 percent greater than the same period last year. Total value over the first 4 months was 73.321 billion USD, 5.69 percent up on-year and the highest rate of increase in 6 years.

The strong figures were mostly due to a global economic recovery and Thailand’s policy of diversifying risk. By spreading out trade, the nation was both able to benefit from growth in China and ASEAN and to avoid downturns in other markets.

Imports in April were worth 16.808 billion USD, 13.4 percent up year-on-year. Trade balance in the month saw Thailand 56 million USD in surplus.

For the year, analysts see exports on an uptrend with clear indicators of recovery as fuel and farm goods prices rise. It is believed a growth rate of 5 percent will be met with the only major causes for concern political uncertainty and trade obstructions put up by the US.

New way of tourism promoted with preservation of bio-diversity

BANGKOK,(NNT) – Thailand is promoting a new way of tourism which looks to preserve bio-diversity and encourage the preservation of natural resources and sustainable uses of diverse resources.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Surasak Karnjanarat has said the Ministry's agencies have held activities to promote the new way of tourism which preserve the biodiversity on the occasion of the International Day for Biological Diversity.

This year's event is promoting practices related to conservation and restoration of natural resources, including exhibition on herbs, proper practices for tourists, the promotion of sustainable tourism, the sale of products created from biological diversity, along with the raising of awareness among the general public to help conserve and benefit from diverse natural resources properly.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has selected Khao Yai National Park as model for Thailand's biological diversity as it is a major tourism attraction for the northeastern region with rich and diverse natural resources and can be developed into a world famous tourism attraction.

He added Thailand is considered a country rich with natural resources that contributed to the livelihood such as the diversity of cuisine and the use of herbs in foods, making Thailand an interesting place for tourists to visit and witness the diversity of nature.

Figures from 2012-2016 shows more and more tourists are interested to participate in special tourism activities such as the community based tourism, health tourism, adventurous tourism, religious tourism, sports tourism, and tourism for meetings and exhibitions.

Indonesian, Malaysian, Thai media members meet to discuss multilateral cooperation

PERLIS,(NNT) – A Perlis media association held a meeting for IMT-GT media members on occasion of the King of Perlis' 74th birthday during 15-19 May 2017.

Members of the media from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand (IMT-GT countries) attended the meeting arranged by Perlis media association and included seminars on media as the driver of culture, and discussions on cooperations under the IMT-GT program which covers the southern region of Thailand, the northern region of Malaysia, and areas on Sumatra Island of Indonesia.

The Crown Prince of Perlis Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra Jamalullail on this occasion joined a cycling activity with members of the media, and distributed items to needed persons from 10 households. Members of the media were also honoured to attend the honorary medal granting ceremony on the birthday of King of Perlis.

The next meeting for IMT-GT media will take place in Medan, Indonesia.

Update May 22, 2017

MOE adopts His late Majesty’s teachings to improve education in southern border provinces

SONGKHLA, 21 May 2017 (NNT) – The Deputy Minister of Education has followed up on the campaign aimed at improving the quality of education in the southern border provinces’ Special Economic Zones, urging educational institutes to uphold His late Majesty’s principle of understanding, reaching, and developing.

PHOTO:Thailand News - 22-05-17 4 NNT MOE adopts His late Majesty’s teachings to improve education in southern border provinces 1JPG

Deputy Minister of Education Gen. Surachet Chaiwong presided over the meeting to drive the quality of education in the 21st century in Songkhla.

He asked all participants to uphold His late Majesty’s principle of understanding, reach, and development as guidelines to uphold the sufficiency economy philosophy and to improve the quality of education in their areas.

He has instructed educational officials to adhere to the main working principles, namely developing educational quality, enhancing opportunities, and supporting and developing sports in the education system. Other will seek to improve employment, stability, security and welfare for the teachers and related staff.

The Deputy Minister of Education has also invited the general public to do good deeds as tribute to His late Majesty the King and asked officials to work diligently towards development and peace.

Better awareness on electricity situation in southern region

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The general public are aware of the electricity situation in the southern region, while the Ministry of Energy has been tasked with communicating the facts to the public nationwide, says government spokesman.

The Government Spokesman Lt Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd revealed the Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has acknowledged the report from the communication committee on the electricity situation in the southern region, which organized three public forums to inform the general public on the region's challenges in energy.

The forums proposed power plants constriction options and their potential environmental effect, and gathered input from the general public regarding this issue. The forums were broadcasted on local TV and radio networks.

From the results of the forums, the general public believes it is necessary to construct power plants in the region, while some does not view it as a necessity and that energy demand can be managed.

The general public have expressed their concerns regarding the coal power plant on the transport of coals,pollution control procedures, and impacts to the environment, health, and tourism.

The Prime Minister had urged the Ministry of Energy and related agencies to communicate with the general public to create understanding among them that electricity demand will grow accordingly to the region's economic development. To gain better electricity capacity and regional stability, a power plant would have to built, while alternative energy options would only help support the region's sustainability.

"The Prime Minister has also asked the authorities to further communicate with people from other regions to make sure all people in Thailand are aware of this issue and can play a part in safeguarding the country's electricity security," said the government spokesman.

12 million tourists visit Thailand in first 4 months


BANGKOK,(NNT) – Thailand has been visited by 12 million foreign tourists in the first four months of this year, generating more than 800 billion baht.

According to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, 2.827 million foreigners visited Thailand in April, 1.877 million of whom were from East Asia, followed by Europe and South Asia. Thailand gained 139.9 billion baht from tourism last month, which represents an increase of 7.64% year on year.

Between January and April 2017, the Land of Smiles welcomed 12.02 million people from overseas, creating a 2.91% rise in visitor numbers. The industry generated more than 800 billion baht for the country, an increase of 4.71% compared to the same period last year.

The ministry has instructed tourism and security related agencies to keep all tourists safe and keep hospitality standards high, in the hope of increasing the country’s tourism revenue.

Government steps up nationwide eradication of child prostitution

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The government is stepping up its nationwide eradication of child prostitution, retaining strict law enforcement against mafia networks, encouraging the general public to inform officials of any suspicious clues.

Ministry of Defense Spokesman Maj Gen Kongcheep Tantrawanich revealed that the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Gen Prawit Wongsuwan had ordered the Royal Thai Police to eradicate child prostitution in all areas of the country according to the Prime Minister's policy, and to work with the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security to provide protection to victims and prosecute all human trafficking activity.

The Defense Minister had stressed security officials to retain strict law enforcement against mafia networks and persons involved in the sabotage of national stability, including the sales of narcotics, illegal weapons, assassin rings, violent informal debt groups, the human trafficking groups, and prostitution.

The Defense Ministry spokesman said security officials have since October 2016 seized some 20,000 guns and busted some 10 million pills of drugs from major narcotics network, and that authorities are tracing the trail of money to the money-laundering and international criminal networks.

He said the government is working to ensure public safety based on the principles of freedom, fairness, and equality under the law, and encourages public participation in the government's operations to solve social issues. The government is now asking the general public to help watching out for each other's safety by informing suspicious clues to authorities.

Update May 20-21, 2017

Merit-making ceremony for late king scheduled for next Tuesday

Tanakorn Sangiam (NNT)

 The Bureau of the Royal Household will hold a merit-making ceremony for His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej on 23 May at Dusit Palace, with a live broadcast on NBT and Radio Thailand stations.

His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun has ordered the Bureau of the Royal Household to arrange the merit-making ceremony for the late king and other previous Thai monarchs as well as a religious ceremony for celebrating Her Majesty Queen Sirikit on Tuesday from 4:30 p.m. at Dusit Palace Plaza behind the King Rama V statue in Bangkok.

The ceremony will be led by His Holiness the Supreme Patriarch and 175 Buddhist monks chanting prayers on this auspicious occasion. The general public are invited to attend the ceremony or watch the live television broadcast on NBT2HD, Thai TV Global Network, and NBT World starting from 5:10 p.m.

The live broadcast will also be available on liveNBT2HD Facebook page, and on Radio Thailand's stations nationwide. The mantra to be used in this ceremony is available for download on

Iranian self-immolates outside embassy in election protest

An unidentified man sits on the ground after he set himself on fire outside the Iranian Embassy Friday, May 19, in Bangkok. (Photo via AP)

Associated Press

Police said an Iranian man set himself on fire Friday in front of the Iranian Embassy in Bangkok to protest his country's presidential election.

The unidentified man doused himself with gasoline before lighting himself on fire outside the gate of the embassy around noon, police said. The man suffered burns all over his body and was taken to a hospital.

Pol Lt Col Noppadol Samart said the man was protesting Friday's presidential vote in Iran, though he did not know exactly what about the election the man was opposed to.

Iranians are voting in the first presidential election since the country's nuclear deal with world powers. The election is largely viewed as a referendum on the current president's more moderate policies as well as economic issues.

Twister strikes Nakhon Sawan, flood hits Lampang

Vipaporn Pooritanasarn (NNT)

 A twister struck Nakhon Sawan province on Thursday, damaging dozens of houses and utility poles in Takhli district.

Nakhon Sawan Governor Thanakom Chongchira and representatives of related agencies visited residents in Takhli district Friday and assessed the damage. The storm that hit the central province damaged 27 houses and brought down 89 utility poles, causing power outages in the districts of Takhli and Tak Fa and a nearby district in Chai Nat province.

Takhli Provincial Electricity Authority estimated the damage to its infrastructure at six million baht and said it would take around three days to restore power supplies in all affected areas.

In the North, heavy rains triggered a mudslide and flash floods in several areas in Chae Son sub-district of Lampang province. Civil workers and villagers combined forces to remove a fallen tree and mud that blocked a mountainside road.

In the Northeast, days of thundershowers have raised the water levels of the Mekong River. Fishermen in Bueng Kan province have taken the opportunity to catch fish which sell for 200-300 baht per kilogram. Many of them are able to make 1,000- 2,000 baht a day.

Thailand's chunky monkey on diet after gorging on junk food

A wild obese macaque named "Uncle Fat" sits with bananas in a rehabilitation center in Bangkok, Friday, May 19. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Kaweewit Kaewjinda (AP)

A morbidly obese wild monkey who gorged himself on junk food and soda left behind by tourists has been rescued and placed on a strict diet of lean protein, fruits and vegetables.

Wildlife officials caught the chunky monkey — nicknamed "Uncle Fat" by locals — after photos of the animal started circulating on social media last month.

Wild monkeys roam free in many parts of Thailand, attracting tourists who feed and play with the animals. Most of the monkeys are macaques like Uncle Fat, and they typically weigh around 9 kilograms (20 pounds).

Uncle Fat weighs three times that, tipping the scales at around 26 kilograms (60 pounds).

"It was not easy to catch him," said Kacha Phukem, the wildlife official who conducted the capture and rescue on April 27. "He was the leader of his pack, and when I tried to go in, I had to fight off a flock of them with sticks."

The subordinate monkeys fed into Uncle Fat's bad habits.

"He had minions and other monkeys bringing food for him but he would also re-distribute it to younger monkeys," said Supakarn Kaewchot, a veterinarian in charge of the monkey's diet.

"After he ate food given by humans for a while, he developed a fat mass, which became a type of benign tumor," Supakarn said. "He is now in critical condition where there is a high risk of heart disease and diabetes."

Uncle Fat is believed to be between 10 and 15 years old. To help him lose weight, his new diet is limited to 400 grams worth of lean protein, fruits and vegetables twice a day. Supakarn said she hopes that within a few months they can consider releasing him to the wild.

She said Uncle Fat is an example of why people shouldn't feed wild monkeys unhealthy food.

"I understand that people feel sorry for the monkeys and want to feed them when they see them," Supakarn said. "But please don't feed them food that people like to eat like snacks and soda. It is very bad for their health and the problem is entirely man-made."

Update May 19, 2017

Heavy rains bring damage and blessings to provinces

Vipaporn Pooritanasarn (NNT)

Several provinces have experienced both damage and blessings following days of heavy rain.

In the northern province of Nan, municipal workers are speeding up the dredging of canals in response to thundershowers that triggered flooding in the city center this week. Water pumps have been installed at inundated areas to quicken the floodwater removal.

In the central region, downpours from the upper provinces of Kamphaeng Phet, Nakhon Sawan and Uthai Thani have raised the water level of the Chao Phraya Dam in Chai Nat province. The upstream water level has lifted by 30 centimeters from last week to 16.7 meters, or 27 centimeters below the embankment.

In the Northeast, rainstorms have caused the main canal in Ban Phai district of Khon Kaen province to overflow, making it easier for villagers to catch fish.  However, flooding has also swept more than 100,000 small fish away from the municipal fish breeding center, and damaged some corn farms.

In Bueng Kan, rainfall over the past week has brought favorable conditions for farmers in the capital district to start growing rice. More rainy days are also on the way.

National Theater incident confirmed as bombing

Itiporn  Lakarnchua (NNT)

The Deputy Commander of the Royal Thai Police said investigations have concluded into the incident that took place in front of the National Theater in Bangkok earlier this week and concluded that it was in fact an explosion, with similarities to the attack on the Government Lottery Office in April.

Deputy Police Chief Pol Gen Sriwara Rangsiphramnakul said investigations into the explosion turned up traces of Potassium Chlorate, a component of explosive devices. He noted the substance was also found after the bombing on Rajadamnoen Avenue on April 5. Local police have been tapped to continue to probe the latest incident.

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-ocha later elaborated that while police probes have progressed well, no firm conclusions can yet be drawn and all possibilities must be considered. He acknowledged that malicious groups still exist but assured they would not impact the government’s work, asking the public to help authorities in identifying ill-wishers.

Metropolitan Police Commander Pol Lt Gen Sanit Mahataworn added that initial theories from authorities that the explosion was actually falling PVC pipes were put out merely to put the bombing’s culprits off-guard as officers intensified their investigation.

Seminar held to improve quality of Taxis

Nuppol Suvansombut (NNT)

King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL) and the Department of Land Transport (DLT) recently held a seminar on improving the quality of taxis.

At the seminar, the KMITL unveiled its GPS tracking system and a mobile application "TAXI OK", in a bid to improve the value of local taxis. GPS tracking devices will relay the positions of taxis to a monitoring center, and TAXI OK, which will be operated by the DLT, provides other information about the taxi driver.

The department is expecting to issue a regulation that requires all taxis to install a GPS tracking device and linked to the DLT's taxi management center. The move is part of the department's initiative to improve the quality of taxis and address various issues, including drivers refusing to take passengers, not using the fare meter and other inappropriate practices.

Meanwhile the Thailand Development Research Institute has pointed out that in order to effectively achieve these goals, transport officials must work with taxi rental service providers to implement innovations and enforce regulations to maintain the quality of taxi services.

New cases of HIV in Thailand declining to less than ten thousand per year

Jettana Pantana (NNT)

The Bureau of AIDS, TB and STIs has revealed that new cases of HIV in Thailand are declining to less than 10,000 per year, due to higher use of condoms and advancements in preventive medicine.

Dr Saman Fuutrakul, director of the bureau, said during a press conference that the rate of new HIV cases per year has dropped from its peak of 150,000 to between 6,000 and 10,000. The Ministry of Public Health plans on reducing the rate of new cases to less than 1,000 per year by 2030.

Dr Pannee Pitisutham, head of the Vaccine Center of the Faculty of Tropical Medicine at Mahidol University, revealed that the progress of developing an AIDS vaccine in Thailand has entered its third phase. The most recent testing on HIV-positive volunteers saw an increase in immune cells. The results are promising, as HIV infection can lead to a progressive failure of the immune system.

The center is conducting tests under the AD26 program, which involves administering the vaccine to male volunteers.

Update May 18, 2017

Thai tourism rakes in over THB800bn in first 4 months

Western tourists soak up the sun on Kata Beach, Phuket. (AP Photo)

Surapan Laotharanarit (NNT)

The Ministry of Tourism and Sports has revealed that over 800 billion baht worth of revenue was generated by the tourism sector during the first four months of this year.

Commenting on the tourism sector’s performance between January and April 2017, Permanent Secretary for Tourism and Sports Pongpanu Svetarunda reported that there were more than 2.8 million foreign arrivals during the period.  The visitors brought in approximately 840 billion baht of income to the country, an increase of 4.68 percent compared to the same period of last year.

Of all the foreigners, 1.8 million came from East Asian countries, mostly China. Although the number of Chinese tourists was found to decline slightly following the clampdown on zero-dollar tours, it was offset by the rising number of European visitors, who contributed to revenue of over 600 billion baht.

According to Svetarunda, it is expected that arrivals from China will rebound from June onwards after the ministry continues to promote tourist confidence by ridding the Thai tourism industry of illegal practices and scams.

Four people arrested in connection with Pattani bombing

Nuppol Suvansombut (NNT)

Four more suspects in last week's explosion in Pattani have been apprehended and taken to an army base for interrogation.

Authorities found the four suspects inside a deserted house where they allegedly planned the attack and attached an explosive device to a pickup truck. All four of them are now being questioned at the Ingkhayuttha Borihan Military Base.

Following the explosion, the Pattani Provincial Court issued arrest warrants for nine suspects, most of whom are from Songkhla and Yala provinces and have previously committed crimes.

A Sheikhul Islam Office representative, Wisut Billateh, visited people who were injured in the explosion and conveyed the Muslim chief’s concern for their well-being.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, commenting on the call for the United Nations to list the Barisan Revolusi Nasional as a terrorist group, said that the international organization may not fully understand the problem with such complexity.

Chief of the Defense Forces Gen Surapong Suwana-adth said the army will do its best to promote peace in the Deep South, adding that the situation has improved over the past ten years.

Govt to accept 2,200 nurses as civil servants this year

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-Ngam talks to the press, Wednesday, May 17 in Bangkok.

Tanakorn Sangiam (NNT)

The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) will grant civil servant job status to 2,200 nurses before the end of the year.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-Ngam announced Wednesday that the cabinet had instructed the MOPH to draft up rules for the acceptance of the 2000+ nurses, which when combined with 800 vacancies, will allow for a total of some 3,000 nurses to be accepted as civil servants this year.

He said that the quota for next year will be limited at 2,900 positions, plus some others left vacant by retired personnel as the MOPH needs to reserve some positions for other medical professionals and scholarship students.

The cabinet also proposed the establishment of a commission to determine the number of personnel required in the MOPH to prevent such staff shortages from arising again. The committee will look after medical professionals in the civil servants system as the current public sector development committee does not have the scope of work to cover doctors and nurses.

The MOPH is to study plans for training new medical professionals to meet the increasing demand following the realization of ASEAN Economic Community and also to compensate for staff who opt to work at private hospitals and clinics.

Krea-Ngam suggested a study be taken on the feasibility of allowing special employment of medical professionals outside the civil service but provide them with similar benefits.  He said many people are currently waiting to be officially hired as civil servants under the MOPH and the Ministry of Education.

Govt to allow foreign institutions to open universities in Thailand

Lt. Gen. Sansern Keawnkamnerd announces proposed new legislation to allow foreign run universities in Thailand, Wednesday, May 17.

Nuppol Suvansombut (NNT)

The government is planning to invoke Article 44 of the interim constitution to allow foreigners to open universities in the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in an effort to address skill shortages.

Spokesman of the Prime Minister’s Office, Lt. Gen. Sansern Keawnkamnerd, revealed that the cabinet and the National Council for Peace and Order had agreed to enforce Article 44 to improve higher education in Thailand, especially in science and technology.

Foreign educational institutions will be allowed to offer courses which are not available in Thailand to Thai students primarily in special economic zones. They must also comply with Thai regulations and meet the standard criteria for all university-level courses.

The Cabinet also wanted foreign institutions to provide vocational programs in Thailand. Stricter requirements will, however, have to be met in order to prevent them from competing with Thai vocational colleges.

Update May 17, 2017

Thailand backs off threat to block Facebook over content

Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission Secretary-General Takorn Tantasith talks to reporters in Bangkok, Tuesday, May 16. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Kaweewit Kaewjinda (AP)

Thailand backed off a threat to block Facebook on Tuesday, instead providing the social media site with court orders to remove content that the government deems illegal.

Thailand made the threat last week as it wanted Facebook to block more than 130 posts it considers a threat to national security or in violation of the country's lese majeste law.

Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of Thailand's broadcast regulator, said Facebook had requested the court orders before it would take action but he expected the social media giant would comply with the government's demands.

"Facebook has already responded that it will comply when we have court orders," Takorn told reporters.

Emails and calls seeking confirmation from Facebook were not immediately returned.

Last week, the regulator demanded that Facebook remove more than 130 posts by Tuesday or face legal action that could shut down the site. In a change of tactic, Takorn said that Thailand had forwarded 34 court orders to Facebook so far.

"The websites that need to be taken down are not only those that are a threat to stability but they also include other illegal websites such as porn and websites that support human-trafficking which take time to legally determine," Takorn said.

Facebook, which is blocked in a number of authoritarian countries such as North Korea, has said it relies on local governments to notify the site of information it deems illegal.

"If, after careful legal review, we find that the content is illegal under local law we restrict it as appropriate and report the restriction in our Government Request Report," Facebook has said in past statements outlining its policy.

Soccer game broadcasting pirates arrested

Tanakorn Sangiam (NNT)

The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has arrested three suspects for alleged unauthorized broadcasting of English Premier League soccer games.

Deputy DSI Director General Pol Maj Gen Suriya Singhakamol led a raid in cooperation with the Central Institute of Forensic Science and Mahidol University on five locations in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, and Samut Prakarn to arrest the suspected broadcasting pirates.

The three suspects were identified as a 39-year-old Daryl William Lloyd and a 35-year-old William John Robinson of the United Kingdom, and a 33-year-old Thai national Supattra Raksasat, alongside nine network servers, 49 set top boxes, nine computers and three cell phones which the police seized during the raid.

The UK suspects were granted bail at the request of the British embassy.

The raid followed a complaint from a delegate of the Football Association Premier League Company Limited which holds a broadcasting license for English Premier League matches which were broadcast illegally on and five other websites. Such piracy was punishable by the Computer Crime Act BE 2550.

Damage was estimated at 100 million baht while the website has been offline following the arrests.

Investor confidence remains high

Kesara Manchusree, President of the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

Nuppol Suvansombut (NNT)

According to the Federation of Thai Capital Market Organization (FETCO), local investors are confident that the Thai economy will improve despite the current volatility while pointing out that foreign investments in Thai stocks remain stable.

FETCO quoted its survey on the Investor Confidence Index over the next three months which stands at 100.89, an increase of 11.69 percent from the June projection of 90.33. The organization attributed the positive speculation to the improving local economic situation and the performances of several listed companies, adding that one major negative factor is the volatility in the international capital flows.

The President of the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET), Kesara Manchusree, said foreign investors in April bought 1.82 billion baht worth of Thai stocks.

The combined net value of the SET and the Market for Alternative Investment now stands at 15.8 trillion baht, an increase of 1.87 percent from 2016. The average value of daily trades is 40 billion baht, representing a drop of 8.18 percent year-on-year.

Immigration Bureau arrests Taiwanese call center operator

Jettana Pantana (NNT)

Immigration police have raided a Taiwanese call center operation, found to be using Thailand as a base to scam victims in China and Taiwan.

Commissioner of the Immigration Bureau, Pol Lt Gen Nattathorn Prousunthorn led the raid on the Bangkok based call center operation of Zhou Zheng Cheng, and seven accomplices at a two story home in Napalai Village in Bang Na District. Officials confiscated computers, international telephones and a list of thousands of victims.

The callers claimed to be bank employees and told the victims that their accounts had been hacked and used to purchase narcotics. They would then transfer the call to an accomplice who would impersonate government officials such as the police, Anti-Money Laundering Officers, and those from the Office of Narcotics Control Board, to gain the victim's trust. Those who fell victim were then asked to divulge their financial information and transfer money. Most victims were located in China and Taiwan with no Thai victims found so far.

The investigation found that the accused group traveled from the Pacific island of Saipan, which is a territory of the United States, arriving in Thailand in January. The suspects revealed the identity of the head of the operation in Taiwan, for whom an arrest warrant has now been issued. The Immigration Bureau has now revoked the passports of the suspects and will send them back to their country of origin.

Update May 16, 2017

Ordnance Division begins marching rehearsal of chariot bearing royal urn

Jettana Pantana (NNT)

 The Royal Thai Army Ordnance Division has begun its rehearsal of the march with the royal chariot, which will carry the royal urn of King Rama IX.

The Ordnance Division has selected 441 officers to undergo a lengthy training course, which consists of an orientation to the funeral procession, dress code, and marching rehearsals.

Director-General of the Royal Thai Army Ordnance Division Lt Gen Awut Aemwong delivered a speech to the selected officers on Monday, saying that bearing the royal chariot is a task of the highest honor and urged them to fully dedicate themselves to the ceremony as a way of honoring the late King.

The group will undergo training at the ordnance academy in Saraburi province before integrating with the First Army at the 11th Army Division in Bangkok. The rehearsal will involve the use of two military vehicles of similar weight as the royal chariots.

Training will take place on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays until the end of September, before integrating with the First Army at the actual location in October. The royal funeral will take place on October 26.

Public vans told to carry no more than 13 passengers

Nuppol Suvansombut (NNT)

The Department of Land Transport has told public van operators to carry a maximum of 13 passengers at a time and install an emergency exit door at the back of the vehicle.

According to the Department of Land Transport, all passenger vans are required to service no more than 13 people at a time and leave a space of at least 20 centimeters in the last row so that passengers can exit through the back door in case of emergency.

Each vehicle should be equipped with a hammer as an escape tool and a sign indicating an emergency exit. Van operators who fail to abide by the new regulations will be fined.

The new regulations are enforced to ensure the safety of the passengers. Any violations can be reported to Hotline 1584.

Thailand’s south, east to experience thundershowers

Thammarat Thadaphrom (NNT)

The southern and eastern regions of Thailand can expect heavy thundershowers from now until May 18 according to a Meteorological Department forecast.   Seafarers in the Andaman Sea have also been advised to proceed with caution.

Meanwhile, students and teachers in Ang Thong province are cleaning up after heavy rain over the weekend damaged parts of Wat Yang school and brought down a tree. The school is now appealing for donations to effect repairs. Wat Yang school has 67 students and 7 teachers. The new semester started on Monday.

CDC to review draft law on criminal procedure for political office holders

CDC Chairman Meechai Ruchuphan talks to reporters in Bangkok, Monday, May 15.

Kitti Cheevasittiyanon (NNT)

The Constitution Drafting Commission is set to review the details of the organic law on criminal procedures for political office holders.

CDC Chairman Meechai Ruchuphan said Monday that the charter drafters haven't made any changes to the draft although they did meet with representatives of the Supreme Court on May 8 when both sides discussed their views on the new law.

Ruchuphan said that the Supreme Court has proposed additional details concerning the trial process and an adherence to facts, logic and rationale in the proceedings, which is how the Constitutional Court performs its work.

He said that the Supreme Court believes such additional details should be effective in preventing any attempt to use a technicality to win a case.

Ruchuphan said that the CDC will work on the draft and submit it to the National Legislative Assembly accordingly.

Update May 15, 2017

Land Transport Dept reports 569 public transport drivers violated law

BANGKOK, 14th May 2017 (NNT) - The Land Transport Department has found hundreds of cases of law violations by public transport owners and drivers.

Land Transport Department Director-General Sanit Promwong said this week that officers from the department have recently been going out to inspect how the public transport service is being provided across the country.

Mr. Sanit said that officers have focused on issuing fines and offering advice on how to offer a quality service to members of the public.

In April alone, the department conducted inspections of 17,173 public buses, vans, taxis and motorcycle taxis in Bangkok and 569 of them were found to be in violation of law, he said

According to records, 280 taxi drivers turned down passengers while 178 passenger vans were found to be substandard vehicles, and 113 motorcycle taxi drivers did not use approved vehicles or failed to produce proper licenses.

Mr. Sanit said that all of them will be ordered to attend a training session to learn more about quality service and their responsibilities towards passengers.

Commerce Ministry takes action against unscrupulous rice traders

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Commerce Ministry has launched an initiative to take action against unscrupulous rice traders.

Director General of the Department of Internal Trade, Nuntawan Sakuntanagak said today that the department has been receiving complaints from rice farmers in Sing Buri Province about some irregularities surrounding the purchase of rice by middlemen.

Ms. Nuntawan said that a team of inspectors from the department was dispatched to inspect all scales at rice trade stations in Mueang District, Bang Rachan District and Khai Bang Rachan District on May 8th and 10th.

She said that at least two cases of irregularities with the scales were found and their operators were charged with violation of the law before each was fined 20,000 baht and the scales were banned from use.

The Director General of the Department of Internal Trade said that rice farmers should make sure all scales are in good condition and carry the department-approved tag to make sure they are not taken advantage of and to report any suspicious cases for investigation, to their provincial commercial affairs office or on the department’s hotline number of 1569.

Privy councilor on inspection trip to flood-hit Surat Thani

BANGKOK - A privy councilor has traveled to Surat Thani Province to follow up on the situation of those who were affected by severe flooding earlier this year.

Privy Councilor Palakorn Suwanarat, visited Wat Khao Khong Kha Lom School in Kanchanadit District of Surat Thani Province to meet local residents, who he said HM King Maha Vajjiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun has been particularly concerned about.

Mr. Pakakorn said that HM the King also graciously directed all involved to inspect the flood-hit areas thoroughly and to offer morale support to affected residents while making sure they have everything they might need.

Wat Khao Khong Kha Lom School was severely damaged by flash floods on January 5 of this year and its restoration with the cooperation of all related parties has been going on ever since to allow it to resume classes.

Mr. Palakorn also traveled to Ban Klong Sra to visit the family of Mrs. La-ong Thaimuang, one of the flood victims, to make sure her home had been rebuilt, while offering moral support to other residents.

In addition, he visited Ban Soi 2 School in Mueang District, which was hit twice by floods but had been completely restored before classes resumed.

Gem & jewelry export growth expected to remain at 5%

BANGKOK - The Thai Gem & Jewelry Traders Association (TGJTA) estimates this year’s jewelry export growth at five percent despite a slowdown in the first quarter.

The TGJTA’s President, Suttipong Damrongsakul announced today that jewelry and gold exports in the first three months generated 131 billion baht in revenue, a 22.5 percent drop from 169 billion baht year-on-year. Exclusive of gold exports which fell 38.8 percent, gem and jewelry exports by manufacturers in the first quarter were valued at 70.9 billion baht, a 0.06 percent rise on the same period last year.

Regardless of the disheartening figures, the association remains hopeful exports to major markets and its efforts to penetrate China could push up earnings in coming quarters and maintain the growth of non-gold jewelry exports at five percent. Main importers are Hong Kong, the United States, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium which represent 66.18 percent of the country’s gem and jewelry export.

The association is scheduled to stage the Thailand Gems & Jewelry Fair 2017 between 15th and 18th June which will coincide with the Thailand Grand Sale, a shopping fair held by the Tourism Authority. Both events are expected to draw visitors and shoppers to the country. The association believes the Finance Ministry’s decision to exempt rough gemstones from import tariffs will boost the competitiveness of the country’s gem and jewelry industry.

The association, commented however, that political and economic volatility as well as security problems in the importing countries could affect buyers’ confidence.



Back to Main Page

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Ayutthaya celebrates planting season at late Kings’ field

776 beggars removed from Bangkok streets

Thailand to celebrate World Environment Day on June 5th

People advised to watch out for F.A.S.T. stroke indications

Thailand promotes potential of gifted children

Security beefed up around Siam area

PRD holds activity for children with disabilities

Agreement reached to push forward tourism and service industry

Social Development Ministry calls meeting on beggar control

Lottery Office to issue new tickets

Royal Thai Navy conducting mobile medical service in honor of Prince of Chumporn

Security reinforced in key places in Bangkok

NBTC confirms it will not block Facebook

Thai cooking class provided to Laotian cooks in Loei

Secretary-general of EEC panel confident Section 44 will help spur investment

More details of Thai-China rail cooperation ready for vetting by Cabinet

PM calls for study on plan to increase pension for elderly

Religious function held in tribute to King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit

Health minister attends World Health Assembly in Switzerland

Hospital bombing not affecting tourist sector

Thailand hosts romantic Chiang Mai honeymoon trips for Chinese celebrity couples

Export figures strong with growth rate highest in 6 years

New way of tourism promoted with preservation of bio-diversity

Indonesian, Malaysian, Thai media members meet to discuss multilateral cooperation

MOE adopts His late Majesty’s teachings to improve education in southern border provinces

Better awareness on electricity situation in southern region

12 million tourists visit Thailand in first 4 months

Government steps up nationwide eradication of child prostitution

Merit-making ceremony for late king scheduled for next Tuesday

Iranian self-immolates outside embassy in election protest

Twister strikes Nakhon Sawan, flood hits Lampang

Thailand's chunky monkey on diet after gorging on junk food

Heavy rains bring damage and blessings to provinces

National Theater incident confirmed as bombing

Seminar held to improve quality of Taxis

New cases of HIV in Thailand declining to less than ten thousand per year

Thai tourism rakes in over THB800bn in first 4 months

Four people arrested in connection with Pattani bombing

Govt to accept 2,200 nurses as civil servants this year

Govt to allow foreign institutions to open universities in Thailand

Thailand backs off threat to block Facebook over content

Soccer game broadcasting pirates arrested

Investor confidence remains high

Immigration Bureau arrests Taiwanese call center operator

Ordnance Division begins marching rehearsal of chariot bearing royal urn

Public vans told to carry no more than 13 passengers

Thailand’s south, east to experience thundershowers

CDC to review draft law on criminal procedure for political office holders

Land Transport Dept reports 569 public transport drivers violated law

Commerce Ministry takes action against unscrupulous rice traders

Privy councilor on inspection trip to flood-hit Surat Thani

Gem & jewelry export growth expected to remain at 5%



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