BANGKOK, 24 October 2014  – Minister of Transport Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong today discussed new measures to promote tourism with Mrs. Kobkarn Wattanawarangkul, Minister of Tourism and Sports.

Speaking after the meeting, the Transport Minister said three issues were discussed : publicizing the good image of Thai tourism among local and foreign tourists, tightening security measures for tourists on land, water and air transports, and promoting more tourism campaigns such as revival of tourism by train and biking tours.

According to the minister, the bicycle tour would be piloted in Bangkok before being expanded to areas along the Bangkok-Nakhon Nayok and Bangkok-Nakhon Pathom routes. Moreover, bicycle sub-lanes should be provided to connect main roads to inner communities.

The two ministers also discussed prevention of bodily assaults and all forms of intimidation on tourists, as well as money extortion at tourist spots. The two ministries are set to look into the insurance issue to ensure fair protection for tourists and at the same time promote effective communication tools and patrols by authorities in risky areas.

Touching on the problem of illegal cars and motorcycles rented to tourists by unscrupulous shops, Air Chief Marshal Prajin confirmed that strict inspection must be done on those shops. And by the end of this year, the government would announce an action plan in line with its tourism master plan.

BANGKOK, 23 October 2014  - According to the latest survey, the majority of Thais are most concerned over the growing pollution and other threats to the environment.

Major think-tank Pew Research Center has conducted a survey in 44 countries on which of the five dangers is considered the greatest threat to the world. After surveying more than 48,000 people, the group found that the answers vary depending on where they live.

Many in the Middle East said religious and ethnic hatred was the greatest threat, while Europeans tended to choose inequality. Africans are more concerned with AIDS and other infectious diseases and other countries chose the spread of nuclear weapons or pollution and environmental problems as the top danger.

In Thailand, 36 percent of respondents view pollution as the greatest threat and 29 percent identified the gap between rich and poor. The third biggest threat is AIDS and other infectious diseases.

The geographical clustering shows that countries’choices often reflect regional concerns as well as internal problems.

CHIANG MAI, 23 October 2014  - Chiang Mai municipality is set to organize the annual the Festival of Lights or Yi Peng during November 1-7.

The festival, held under the alcohol-free theme, will feature a krathong-making contest and beauty pageants. Locals are encouraged to don traditional costumes to welcome visitors.

Residents and tourists are urged to refrain from using firecrackers in crowded areas and also to exercise extra caution when launching sky lanterns after 9PM due to aviation safety concerns. Local authorities expect a revenue of 200 million baht to be generated from the events.

In Chiang Mai, the Loy Krathong celebration is known as Yi Peng, as the twelfth month in the Thai Lunar Calendar corresponds to the second month in the traditional calendar of the old northern Lanna kingdom.

BANGKOK, 24 October 2014  – The Thailand International Sports Expo 2014 began yesterday with plans to strengthen the sports industry in Thailand and ASEAN. 

AYUTTHAYA, 24 October 2014  – Mr. Prapat Panyachatiraksa, President of the National Farmers Council (NFC) chaired a brainstorming seminar on the structure and roles of NFC networks at district and subdistrict levels this morning, with over 2,000 farmers participating in, at Rajamangala University of Technology Suvarnabhumi Hantra Campus.

Mr. Prapat said that after one year of its establishment, the NFC has served as a coordinator between the government and farmers nationwide, raising the latter’s needs and desirable development plans to the attention of the government in order to receive proper government allocations.

Mr. Prapat, on this occasion, called on all sectors for cooperation and support to the NFC which has worked for the future of Thai farmers. The NFC compiles opinions of farmers for analysis and put them into academic reports aimed at developing agricultural careers, Mr. Prapat said.

He added today’s brainstorming seminar was the first ever held in Ayutthaya province. It not only allowed farmers to voice their opinions but also provided a stage to exchange ideas for further development of their careers.

BANGKOK, 23 October 2014 - Airport Link operator State Railway of Thailand Electrified Train (SRTET) is pushing ahead with the planned commercial development of plots of land around rail link stations. 

BANGKOK, 24 October 2014  – Mr. Suraphong Nillaphan, Executive Vice President of the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Co-Operatives (BAAC) revealed the BAAC was satisfied with the distribution of the 1,000-baht-per-rai aid to low-income farmers.

Since the package was launched on 20 October until 23 October (yesterday), around 200,000 out of the 3.4 million registered farmers have already received the money while the rest are expected to get theirs by November.

He also urged the farmers who have not yet received the subsidy to check their right by contacting a nearest Agricultural Extension office. If their right is confirmed, they can open bank accounts with the BAAC and wait for the money to be transferred into the accounts. The BAAC reiterated that the money would only be transferred to farmers who are eligible for the assistance.

BANGKOK, 24 October 2014 – The Rice Policy and Management Committee is launching a short-term mortgage program for rice farmers in some areas in an effort to reduce the amount of paddies entering the market and prevent the price from falling.

Following a meeting of the Rice Policy and Management Committee, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Permanent Secretary for Commerce Chutima Boonyaprapatsorn revealed that the committee had approved the implementation of a paddy pledging program for farmers within the northern and northeastern regions. The objective is to absorb up to 2 million tons of paddies from the total supply being delivered to the market during the upcoming period.

Under the program, the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) will pay participating farmers 90 percent of their grains’ market value, or 11,700 baht a ton for sticky rice and 15,400 baht a ton for jasmine rice. Each household is allowed to receive no more than 300,000 baht and pledge no more than 20 tons of paddies. The interest, meanwhile, will be subsidized by the government.

The pledging period will run for four months, from November 1 this year until February 28 next year. If any of the farmers do not redeem their pledged paddies by the deadline, the grains will be kept in the government’s stock and be put up for auction later on. The quality of the rice entered into the program will also be checked thoroughly by the BAAC before their acceptance.

According to Ms Chutima, the market is expected to see around 5-6 million tons of paddies in the months to come, half of which will be for domestic consumption. The amount indicates that price increases are still possible.

BANGKOK, 25 October 2014– The Ministry of Justice has indicated it will set up local centers in each and every sub-district in the country to facilitate the reduction of disparities. 

BANGKOK, 25 October 2014  – The Irrigation Department has indicated it will soon stop discharging water for agriculture through many of its irrigation canals, in accordance with the government policy which requests that farmers refrain from growing off-season rice.

In Buriram, the water quantity at several reservoirs is at critical level; the reservoirs have seen little rainfall recently. Lam Nang Rong Dam, the province's largest reservoir, is holding just 76 million cubic meters or just 63 percent of its capacity. Because there will likely not be enough water to feed the local irrigation system, officials from Lam Nang Rong Dam have asked farmers to reduce the cultivation area for off-season rice to 10,000 rai, from the previous season's 24,000 rai.

The Irrigation Department has announced it will cease irrigation water discharge on October 31 for many of its irrigation networks, such as the Nam Un irrigation project in Sakon Nakhon and the Mano Rom irrigation project in Chainat.

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