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UDON THANI, 6 Mar 2015 - The Upper Northern Region Provinces are currently holding a One Tambon One Product (OTOP) Fair in Udon Thani with a view to showing the readiness of Thai entrepreneurs to enter the ASEAN Economic Community. The fair opens from now until March 7th from 11a.m. to 10 p.m.

According to the organizers, the event provides another distribution channel for OTOP products and also an incentive for producers to produce high quality goods for the regional market. The fair is being organized in line with the policies of the Government and the Department of Community Development.

There are 150 stalls of vendors selected from all over the nation, the organizers indicated, adding that 50 other stalls from Udon Thani’s agricultural sector and another 50 food stalls from the previously held OTOP City 2014 are also taking part in the fair.

The event also offers live performances and art shows and exhibitions.

BANGKOK, 6 March 2015  The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) has coordinated rescue efforts in preparation for thunderstorm forecast across the country until next Monday.

According to DDPM Deputy Director-General Anusorn Kaewkangwan, the high pressure system from China could bring thunder and hail storms to some areas in the Northeast, lower Central region and the East of the country.

The DDPM is expected to respond to any emergency situations at any time, even though no severe weather conditions have been reported yet. People in 40 provinces have been told to brace for gusty winds and heavy rains.

They are also urged to remove any signs and placards which are vulnerable to wind damage. The 18 DDPM provincial offices will be on standby to dispatch a rescue team to help those in need or call a 24 hour-hotline at 1784.

However, the storms could raise national water storage levels and put out forest fire on top of everything else. Residents affected by the water shortage are advised to take this opportunity to store water.

RATCHABURI, 6 March 2015 - The National Reform Council (NRC) has launched another round of public hearings on national reform in Ratchaburi province, where a total of 11 meetings are scheduled by the end of March.

The sessions consist of more than 70 politically-active people, who were asked to share their vision of Thailand 20 years from now and suggest ways to solve deep-rooted issues. These problems include corruption, vote buying, lagging education, nepotism, and social and economic gaps.

Among the proposed solutions were harsher punishments, especially in the form of lifelong impeachments for rogue politicians, as well as the acceleration of legal procedures and proceedings.

Other suggestions included the establishment of a school of ethics for prospective civil servants, and a civil organization tasked with scrutinizing civil servants and politicians.

The NRC is expected to finish the 11 hearings by the end of this month. The final session is scheduled for March 26th.

Friday, 06 March 2015 13:21

NRC: religious reform is only an idea

BANGKOK, 6 March 2015 - The Defense Minister downplayed a controversial proposal for religious reform, following strong opposition from Dhammakaya followers.

Defense Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan assured the public that the National Reform Council (NRC) is well aware of the strong opposition to reforms that are related to religious affairs.

NRC President Thienchai Kiranan said the NRC is only discussing religious reforms, an idea which currently exists in its infancy.

Followers of Wat Phra Dhammakaya have vowed to take to the streets if the proposal was not withdrawn in seven days. Despite the threat, General Prawit claimed he is not worried about potential unrest.

Meanwhile, Army Chief General Udomdej Sitabutr said he personally believes that further deliberation is needed to decide whether the religious reform should be implemented. He said that no conflict should arise from the debate and called for careful consideration of the issue, given its sensitive nature.

ROI ET, 6 Mar 2015 - Roi Et Province is currently holding an exposition on the Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine.

Director General of the Department of Thai Traditional and Complementary Medicine, Dr. Twatchai Kamontham, yesterday chaired the opening ceremony of the exposition which was being held at the Somdet Phrasrinakarin Garden in Roi Et.

The event is the 7th of its kind, and is a part of the local annual ‘Bun Phawet’ merit making festival. The exposition showcases new innovations and exhibition on the Thai traditional and complementary medicines and their application in the era of the ASEAN Economic Community.

The fair is also an excellent ground for experts in the field to mingle and exchange their ideas.

Event goers can also purchase a wide range of herbal medicines and try out Thai traditional treatment at the fair.

Organizers expect that more than 10-thousand people including practitioners, health officials and interested youths would visit the exposition this year.

BURIRAM, 6 Mar 2015,  As the haze weather condition from drought rages on, the Northeastern Province of Buriram has reported that its average daily water usage of the local has jumped to 21,000 cubic meters, an increase of 2-3,000 cubic meter from the usual.

According to the Waterworks Office in Buriram, the temperature in the Northeastern region at this time of year is between 36-38 degrees Celsius during the day, and will likely be even higher during the month of April and May, the hottest period of the year.

According to officials, the locals reportedly consumed 653,000 cubic meters of water during April of last year. The figure is expected to remain the same or even higher this year.

In order to avoid water shortages, the provincial waterworks and the irrigation office plan to release water from the nearby Huay Talad Reservoir to the Huay Jorakay Reservoir, the province's source of raw water for tap water production.

To prevent shortages, the Office plans to draw more water from the Mart river if needed, said the officials, adding that the province would need up to 10 million cubic meters of water for consumption this year.

BANGKOK, 6 March 2015 - His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn on Thursday (March 5) represented His Majesty the King at the ceremony of changing the costume of the Emerald Buddha image, at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in the Grand Palace.

BANGKOK, 6 March 2015 - Her Royal Highness Princess Soamsawali yesterday (March 5) presided over the ceremony of presenting plaques of honor to women who have been selected Outstanding Women of the Year 2015, at a hotel in Bangkok. 

BANGKOK, 6 Mar 2015 - Deputy Prime Minister M.R. Pridiyathorn Devakula told press members that the Cabinet would grill the new land and house tax collection scheme within the next 2 weeks, while expecting its promulgation in 2 years’ time.

M.R. Pridiyathorn briefly explained that the new scheme would collect tax starting from 0.1% of the land price, from the owner of a land with building. He added the tax for land without a construction would be slightly higher than before, and the tax for land with residential building would be as much as that of annual vehicle tax.

He expected the new bill would be promulgated within the next 2 years. In the meantime, the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency, or GISDA, needs to survey the entire area and constructions in the country while the Treasury Department should work out prices of land in different parts of the country.

As for a hike in the Value Added Tax, the Deputy Prime Minister said there is no indication of the hike for the moment, adding that the necessity of the move may be negated if the Government implements the new land and house tax collection scheme. However, he said the amount of tax collected from February would also contribute to the decision.

M.R. Pridiyathorn admitted that the amount of tax collected last month may be lower than that of January, but expressed his confidence that the figure would be higher than the one in the same period last year by 7-8%.

He said the number signals an improvement in public spending, despite the falling Consumer Confidence Index last month.

Thursday, 05 March 2015 14:48

Tropical storm to make landfall in Thailand

BANGKOK, 5 March 2015 - The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) has issued warnings for people in 40 provinces against a tropical storm which is likely to take place during March 5-10.

According to the DDPM, the high pressure system from China is now moving to cover the northeastern, central and eastern regions of Thailand. As a result, thunder storms with gusty wind are expected to occur during the day.

The impact will be seen in most part of the Northeast and the east coast while only a handful of provinces in the lower portion of the Central Plains will experience adverse weather conditions. Residents have been told to be cautious when leaving their homes.

Provinces likely to be affected include Pathumthani, Nonthaburi, Ayutthaya, Saraburi, Nakhon Nayok, Prachinburi, Chachoensao, Sakaeo, Nakhon Ratchasrima, Chaiyaphum, Buriram, Surin, Khon Kaen, Kalasin, Roi-et, Maha Sarakham, Sakon Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan, Udon Thani, Nong Khai, Buengkan, Nong Bua Lamphu, Loei, Kamphang Phet, Pichit, Uthai Thani, Nakhon Sawan, Ubon Ratchathani, Si Sa Ket, Yasothon, Amnat Charoen, Chainat, Lopburi, Ang Thong, Singburi, Chonburi, Rayong, Chanthaburi and Trat.

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