CHIANG MAI, 13 April 2014 —The Prime Minister today took part in a merit making ceremony in Chiang Mai province.

Yingluck Shinawatra and her son made merit to mark the Thai New Year at Tha Pae Gate. Her prime duty was to preside over a ceremony to bring the venerated Phra Phuttha Sihing Buddha statue, from the Lai Kham Hall to the Pra Sri Maha Wiharn temple in Muang district.

Meanwhile, early in the day, people got dressed in local costumes to go to the temples to make merit, and then later in the morning, proceeded to begin splashing water at every corner of Chiang Mai city, well into the afternoon.

BANGKOK, 13 April 2014 —People continue to join the Songkran celebration being held on Silom Road, one of the busiest commercial districts in central Bangkok. The roadway is temporarily closed for water splashing activities from 02.00-08.00 p.m., continuing until Tuesday, 15th April.

In fact, Silom Rd., from Saladang Intersection to Naralom Intersection is closed from noon onwards to facilitate the access of tourists to the area. Alcoholic beverages are strictly prohibited from sale in this area.

Meanwhile, Suthep Thaugsuban, the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) secretary-general and other leaders took part in the Buddha image bathing ceremony on the occasion of the Thai New Year. Later, while he was riding an electric motorcycle visiting makeshift villages in Lumpini Park, many supporters splashed water on him and also rushed to take photographs of themselves with Mr Suthep .

Bangkok, 13 April 2014 - Most violent incidents in the restive South involve stolen vehicles or those with fake registration numbers. It can therefore be assumed that a number of incidents will decrease if all vehicles in the region can be identified and tracked. This is the main idea behind a project by the Independent National Rule of Law Commission (NRLC) to use the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) with all vehicles in the far South. 

BANGKOK, 13 April 2014 – The 15th Smila-Chang Asian Beach Volleyball Tour or the “Smila Open” will take place from 14-16 April 2014 at the famous Smila beach in Songkhla province. Beach volleyball athletes from more than 20 countries will join in the tournament. 

BANGKOK, 11 April 2014  - The Department of Business Development (DBD) has revealed its plan to join hands with the Thai Condominium Association in drafting new regulations to raise the management standard in condominiums and housing units to the international level. 

BANGKOK, 11 April 2014  - Motorcycle Taxi operators charging fares unfairly during the long Songkran holiday are subject to fine, said Department of Land Transport Director General Atsatai Rattanadilok Na Phuket. 

SONGKHLA, 11 April 2014  The Sadao Boundary Post, Songkhla Province is crowded with tourists who have come for a travel holiday in Songkhla and southern Thai provinces over Songkran. They have been arriving since early morning, creating a crowded fun filled atmosphere.

The many visitors have mostly traveled with tour groups or in private cars. Extra immigration officers have been stationed at the checkpoints due to the large number of tourists who have been entering the country throughout the day to join in the Songkran festivities.

Songkran Festival activities in Songkhla are held near the Thailand-Malaysia border; Hat Yai District; and Khao Niaw Road. It's reported that 13,000 hotel rooms in Sonkhla Province are all reserved.

BANGKOK, 11 April 2014  –The Ministry of Public Health has prepared all of the 855 hospitals throughout Thailand, to help victims of road accidents, as needed. To this end 160,000 medical experts have been assembled, while authorities have taken firm measures aimed at reducing the number of road accidents during Songkran 2014.

Mr. Narong Sahametapat, M.D., Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health said large numbers of people go back to their provinces during the 5 day Songkran holiday, and roads can be very dangerous. The Ministry of Public Health has adopted measures intended to reduce the number of road accidents.

The measures in operation from 11th-17th April 2014, are 1. the setting up of 14,000 mobile medical teams to help the injured within 10 minutes of an accident happening; 2. prepare 160,000 medical experts to be stationed at hospital emergency centers around the clock, and 3. the breath testing of drink drivers.

Mr. Narong recommends not moving the injured without authorization from the medical experts, and calling 1669 for help round the clock.

BANGKOK, 11 April 2014  - The Department of Highways has set up several service points to assist the general public traveling on roads during the Songkran festival. Highway and provincial police have also been tasked with providing assistance.

Bangkok, 11 April 2014 - Women and children are vulnerable people suffering from unrest in the southern border provinces both directly and indirectly. One of the prominent organizations working actively for them is “Deep Peace,” a non-profit organization run by local Muslim women leaders. Deep Peace has recently branched out into “Perwani” which specializes in assistance for victimized women.

While Deep Peace’s mission focuses on orphans, Perwani, officially launched in March 2014 in Yala province, emphasizes the importance of aid for female victims. During the launching ceremony of the group, there was an activity called “Perwani CloseUp Program” attended by representatives of the civic sector. The group used this opportunity to clarify the rumors of a disagreement between Deep Peace and Perwani and briefed the representatives about its missions.

Chairperson of Deep Peace NureesanDolohhas explained the reason behind the establishment of Perwani, saying the new organization was set up to help tackle Deep Peace’s increasing work involving women and families. Perwani’s missions seek to help women affected by the Southern fire by creating jobs for them, developing their potential and arranging useful activities to empower them.

Most of the Deep Peace and Perwani members are teachers, civil servants and officers from various units. The fact that the two organizations are driven by full-time employed workers has led to the misunderstanding that they have recently played a less active role and have no longer worked with other organizations on women and children in the deep South.

Perwani’s urgent work is to provide assistance for grassroots women whose voice needs to be heard by the society. It is important for them to be better informed and understand the ongoing peace dialogues carried out by the government and other sectors.

Despite its support for the government's peace dialogues, the group disagrees with the enforcement of special laws in the region such as the Emergency Decree and the martial law which it believes affect freedom of the local people. A Perwani leader has said the group constantly urged the government to lift the special laws but to no avail. The leader then stressed that Deep Peace, Perwani and other groups of the likes were able to take care of local women and children by using other tools and mechanisms since they did not believe in the efficiency of the special security legislations.

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