BANGKOK, 3 July 2015 – The Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives has revealed that Egypt expressed interest in the country’s water-saving rice cultivation and is eyeing opportunities to foster agricultural cooperation in the near future.

Speaking after a talk with the Egyptian ambassador to Thailand, Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Pitipong Puengboon na Ayutthaya disclosed that both governments decided to expand bilateral cooperation, especially in the area of agriculture.

The minister said the Egyptian government was particularly interested in Thailand's water-saving rice farming technology, which was proven to reduce water by 30 percent without affecting output or quality. However, a large number of Thai farmers are still uncertain about the technique's efficacy.

Egypt also expressed interest in artificial reef management technology and was planning to offer a research grant to Thailand. Both sides will discuss the plan in detail later on.

Egypt is the first Arab nation to have formed diplomatic relations with Thailand. The two nations formally established ties in 1954.

BANGKOK, 3 July 2015,  Thai Oil Public Company Limited reported that fuel prices remained stable today, amid the global oversupply concerns after the U.S. increased its crude production.

the price of West Texas Intermediate crude decreased by 0.03 dollar to 56.93 U.S. dollars a barrel. However, the price of Brent crude oil increased by 0.06 dollar to 62.07 U.S. dollars a barrel. Oversupply concerns were triggered after U.S. oil drilling yesterday increased for the first time after 29 weeks of declines.

According to energy services firm Baker Hughes, the oil rig count rose by 12 to 640, following a six-month slump in activity that reduced the number of active rigs from a peak of 1,609 in October to nearly a five-year low last week.

Analysts expect the oil rig count to continue to rise over the latter half of this year, raising U.S. crude supplies and pulling down oil prices. Currently, U.S. fuel prices are being cushioned by the recent report on the employment figure, which is lower than expected. The unemployment rate reached its the lowest point since May 2008 at 5.3 percent.

Thai Oil suggested that investors keep their eyes on the Greek Referendum on Sunday to decide whether or not the country would accept the terms of the International Monetary Fund and remain a member of the European Union.

TOKYO, 3 July 2015  – The Prime Minister of Thailand is set to meet the President of JETRO, the Emperor of Japan, and leaders from the GMS nations today prior to attending the GMS Summit tomorrow.

The Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha is currently on his official visit to Japan from 2-4 July 2015, to join the 7th Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Summit that will be held in Tokyo, Japan.

The Thai PM discussed with the President of Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) this morning, and had lunch with leaders from the GMS countries and members of the Mekong-Japan Parliamentary Friendship group.

The Prime Minister was granted audience with the Emperor of Japan, which he is scheduled to attend after meeting of the Mekong-Five Economic Forum. He will join in a discussion with the Japanese House of Representative Speaker and the President of the House of Councillors after the forum, before attending the dinner hosted by the Japanese Prime Minister.

The 7th GMS Summit is set to take place tomorrow (4 July 2015) followed by a joint press conference with the Japanese PM. The Thai PM will also take part in the gift giving ceremony to youth football players during a GMS-Japan friendship football match.

The Thai PM, along with the Japanese PM and the President of Myanmar, are also set to witness the signing of the Memorandum of Intent (MOI) on the Dawei development project in cooperation between Thailand, Myanmar, and Japan. Bilateral discussion between the Thai and Japanese PMs are also expected to commence after the MOU signing.

BANGKOK, 3 July 2015 - The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has completed repairs to a sinkhole on Phetkasem Road, which is now open to traffic.

According to reports, the 3.5 meter-wide sinkhole was reported after the road collapsed into a hole about a meter deep. The entire road was rendered inaccessible to vehicles, as the hole took up both lanes of the street.

Officials were dispatched on Friday morning to carry out road works. The road was reopened before rush hour.

The BMA said that soils and rocks below the surface may have been dissolved by groundwater circulating through them, creating a void that causes the road to collapse.

BANGKOK, 3 July 2015 - A number of former ministers under the Yingluck Shinawatra government have acknowledged charges against them at the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) headquarters.

Ten ministers so far have acknowledged the accusations against them. Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and 33 politicians have 15 days to report to the NACC over charges relating to compensation payments to victims during political protests between 2005 and 2010.

The NACC has brought the charges against the 34 politicians, arguing they abused their authority in pushing through a two billion baht compensation scheme.

Former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul and Former Deputy Defense Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat had earlier submitted a letter refusing to acknowledge the charges and said the investigating panel is not qualified to indict the ministers. The NACC insisted the panel has been set up in accordance with the law and will mail the letters indicating their charges to the two ministers.

Despite the lack of cooperation, the NACC will push ahead with the investigation and eventually rule on the case based on existing evidence.

BANGKOK, 3 July 2015  – The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) together with the Office for National Education Standards and Quality Assessment (ONESQA) have announced their ambition to make Bangkok the capital of educational opportunity in ASEAN by stepping up the quality of education in all schools within Bangkok.

BANGKOK, 3 July 2015 - The Department of Internal Trade (DIT) has advised consumers to buy more freshwater foods, now that the prices of seafood have begun to increase.

DIT Director General Boonyarit Kalayanamit made the comment after his inspection in Samut Sakhon province.

His advice came after fishing operators decided to stop fishing in protest against the government. The DIT Director General assured that frozen seafood in the market should be enough to meet demand for the next several months.

The Ministry of Commerce will not force seafood suppliers to keep prices down, saying that price fluctuations are normal throughout the year. 135 freshwater food manufacturers have been told to increase their supplies of freshwater food in the market, in anticipation of greater demand.

BANGKOK, 3 July 2015 – The Irrigation Department says its rain-making operations have paid off, adding water to four main dams each day.

Since March 1, the Department of Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation has conducted 3,100 cloud-seeding operations, bringing rainfalls in 95 percent of target areas. Seven million cubic meters are added to four main dams along the Chao Phraya River daily. The Department has also planned to expand its rain-making mission in Chiang Mai and Nakhon Sawan provinces upon the suggestion of His Majesty the King.

Despite the missions’ success, the Irrigation Department insisted on its plan to limit water supplies to no more than 28 million cubic meters per day, while calling on consumers to continue saving water as the situation remains critical. Meanwhile, the Groundwater Resources Department is expediting its search for more underground water sources, in addition to the 200 newly-dug wells.

Farmers in drought-hit areas have been told to delay cultivation until August. Affected farmers have been urged to apply for temporary jobs under the government’s income creation

BANGKOK, 3 July 2015 - The World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has resolved not to include the Historic City of Ayutthaya in the list of endangered world heritage sites, following the great floods of 2011 in Thailand.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister General Daopong Rattanasuwan and his team recently attended the 39th Session of the World Heritage Committee in Bonn, Germany.

The minister said that the decision by the panel not to include the Historic City of Ayutthaya on the world heritage site list was because Thailand’s efforts to restore the city did not follow the World Heritage Committee’s protocol.

However, the committee has endorsed the Department of Fine Arts’ management plan for the site. Ministry of Culture has notified the UNESCO panel of its progress to recruit skilled craftsmen and procure materials used to restore the historical site.

UNESCO has asked that Thailand not build any new structures on the historic site.

General Daopong added the restoration plan is being adapted for clarity, before it is to submitted to the World Heritage Committee on December 1 next year.

BANGKOK, 3 July 2015 - The Office of Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is hosting a farmer’s market today to promote agrotourism in 26 districts of Bangkok.

Organic goods produced by farmers from the 26 districts are for sale today at the event. The BMA is determined to improve and promote farmers in Bangkok.

Under its policy, markets are to be held specifically for Bangkok farmers as an additional channel to sell their chemical-free produce to consumers. They include a wide variety of fresh foods such as vegetables, rice and seafood.

Competitions on farm products, flowers and vegetable baskets will also be held today, as well as free cooking classes for those interested. The farmer’s market is held from 10.00 – 20.00 hrs until July 5th at Central World.

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