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BANGKOK, 22 October 2014  - National Reform Council speaker-elect Thienchay Kiranan promised on Tuesday to heed the voices of the public as he facilitates the NRC's work to reform the country in all aspects. 

BANGKOK, 22 October 2014  Authorities in Bangkok have brought back mounted patrol units to help boost security at important tourism spots in the capital city.

The mounted patrol is a joint collaboration between the Army's 29th Cavalry Battalion and the police's Patrol and Special Operation Division. The task of the patrol, which was deployed around the Grand Palace on its first day on Tuesday, is to maintain the safety of tourists. The reintroduction of the mounted officers is also aimed at preserving the tradition of having mounted patrols guard the outer premises of the Grand Palace.

The re-introduction is being piloted under a 3-month time frame. If proven to be successful, the mounted patrols may be introduced in the business districts of Bangkok.

Bangkok City Hall is also providing rest areas for the patrol officers, who comprise both policemen and soldiers. The eight horses currently used for the patrol duty also have their own tent to rest under.

BANGKOK, 22 October 2014 - His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej sent on October 20 a message of congratulations to Mr. Joko Widodo on the occasion of his swearing in as President of the Republic of Indonesia. In the royal message sent via the Royal Thai Embassy in Jakarta, His Majesty the King offered his sincere wish for the President’s success and happiness and for the prosperity of Indonesia and her people.

His Majesty was confident that the friendly relationship and cooperation that had existed between the two countries would continue to be enhanced in the years to come.

BANGKOK, 22 October 2014 - Most Europeans who have plans to visit Thailand do not rethink their visits after the murders of the two British tourists on Koh Tao, according to consumer research firm Envirosell.

The New York-based firm carried out a survey of European tourists' opinions about visits to Thailand, during October 13 and 16. 1,835 would-be visitors to Thailand were surveyed; 618 were British and the remaining 1,217 were from eight other countries in Europe. 61 percent of the respondents said they would not reconsider their planned visits to Thailand whereas the remaining 39 percent indicated they might review their plan, depending on the developments of the murder case on Koh Tao. 74 percent of the tourists did not doubt the investigation into the murders; 26% cast doubts about the case because they had heard about lack of transparency in the investigation from the media. 85 percent of respondents said they still liked Thailand despite recent developments.

Asked what improvements they would like to see most, the respondents indicated they wanted to see improved tourist safety and more assistance centers for tourists, harsher penalties for exploiters of tourists, and better regulation of tours and taxis.

BANGKOK, 22 October 2014 - The Bank of Thailand (BOT) stated that even though the nation’s economy has already passed the recession stage, it is still at a critical turning point before it could make a full recovery. 

BANGKOK, 22 October 2014  The Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) in Surin province have dispatched officials to investigate farmers who have registered for the government’s rice-subsidy program, to ensure that the money has not reached the wrong hands.

Thousands of farmers in Chat Trakan District of Phitsanulok have queued up at the Agriculture Office in Chat Trakan, carrying certificates of ownership of their lands, as well as copies of their house registration and ID cards in order to register for the program. Each farmer will be allowed to receive 1,000 baht per rai, but not exceeding 15,000 baht in total.

Meanwhile, several farmers in Surin have opened bank accounts with the BAAC branches throughout the province to receive the subsidy. As of now, there are 160,000 farmers in Surin registered for the program. They will receive a combined subsidy of 1.5 million baht.

BANGKOK, 22 October 2014 - The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) said National Reform Council (NRC) members do not have to expose their assets to the public.

According to the report, the NACC has indicated that the NRC members are not obligated to reveal all their assets to the public. The commission claimed that they are only a group of academics, and they neither gain nor lose politically in their roles.

They are required to use their expertise and knowledge in changing the society. NACC commissioner Supa Piyajitti said politicians and government officials must have their fortune probed at the start of their duties.

Her job is also to identify whether the assets have been obtained legally. They will be confiscated if they are illegal. She said an in-depth look into how they make a living should be carried out during their employments too. Mrs. Supa wanted Thailand to be corruption free. She said most of the cases were often found in procurement agreements.

The NACC has also revealed that 50% of the corruption cases involved local administration officials. This is followed by cases regarding natural resources and abuses of power respectively.

KRABI, 22 October 2014 -  Maritime police have found the bodies of the two missing South Korean tourists yesterday following a speedboat crash that led to their deaths.

The bodies of Sun Yang, 28, and Go Min Woo, 31, were found under the wreck of the speedboat between 3pm and 5pm yesterday. The boat was carrying 44 passengers at the time of the accident.

Police are preparing to file additional charges against the driver of the speedboat which include causing death to others.

All of the passengers on board the boat have provided statements to the police and formal charges will be brought against the driver once compilation of forensic evidence is completed.

BANGKOK, 20 October 2014  Minister of Commerce Gen Chatchai Sarikalya has voiced confidence that this year’s export growth will end up with a positive figure and has assigned commerce officials overseas to step up promotional campaigns.

Gen Chatchai convened a meeting with Thai commerce attaches from 43 countries worldwide to discuss the direction of Thai exports and related strategies for the rest of this year and the year 2015. The minister said he wished to see exports of next year expand at a higher rate than the national GDP, hoping the growth would be around 4-5 percent.

By the end of this year, the commerce officials were instructed to hold more promotional activities for Thai export goods in their respective countries. Gen Chatchai pointed out that important markets at the moment were China, India and the Middle East, adding that border trade with neighboring countries should also be accelerated, especially after the ASEAN Community officially opened.

Although the country’s export earnings for the first eight months of this year indicated an expansion of negative 1.36 percent year-on-year, the Commerce Minister assured that the figure for the entire year would be positive. He revealed he would make a journey to various countries in a bid to boost confidence among foreigners towards Thai products.

BANGKOK, 20 October 2014  The Secretary General of the House of Representatives has confirmed that the first meeting of the National Reform Council can take place as planned even without its own meeting regulations.

House Secretary General Charae Panpruang, who acts as the Secretary General of the NRC, said that the first meeting of the reform council on October 21 has been scheduled for the election of an NRC president and two NRC vice presidents.

Before the election process, all NRC members will be taking an oath of allegiance after they have received the royal endorsement for the appointment to sit in the council, with Mr. Paron Israsena, who is the most senior NRC member, performing the role of the chair for the day.

Mr. Charae insisted that, even though the NRC has not drafted its own meeting regulations, the adoption of the NLA rules will ensure that the selection process will be fair and transparent.

He went on to say that after the selection of the president and the two vice presidents, the meeting will move on to discuss other issues, including the appointment of two members to the Constitutional Drafting Committee, which must be completed within 15 days from the first day of the NRC meeting.

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