BANGKOK, 29 June 2015 (NNT) – Oil conglomerate PTT has planned to invest five billion baht in energy businesses in Southeast Asia during the next five years.

PTT Vice President for International Marketing Buranin Rattanasombat revealed that the PTT would focus its investment on the increase of the number of gas stations within Thailand and in other ASEAN countries.

According to him, the sales of benzene and diesel through PTT its gas stations have jumped eight percent in the past five years. Its market share has risen by one percent to 38 percent. Sales of benzene and diesel to other operators have also jumped 14 and 2.1 percent respectively, whereas the sales of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) have dropped between five to six percent.

The giant oil corporation estimates that its income from petrol sales this year would likely drop to 500 billion baht, down from 635,000 billion baht, due to falling petrol prices. However, its profits are expected to remain stable.

BANGKOK, 29 June 2015 (NNT) – Pramote Maiklad, one of the National Reform Council members, has said he is not in favor of digging artesian wells to mitigate the water situation, as the nature of the problem is a shortage of water and not drought.

Speaking in his capacity as the chairman of the NRC subcommittee on the reform of natural resources and environment, Mr. Pramote told that media that he personally disagreed with solving the problem by digging artesian wells, because the water shortage was due to the low amount of rainfall at the beginning of the rainy season. He expected the situation to resolve soon as the rainy season progressed. In the meantime, he suggested that decision makers should be aware of the situation of irregular rainfall. He also expressed the belief that farmers were knowledgeable and well-acquainted with this phenomenon.

According to Mr. Pramote, there have been irregular rainfall in the past and the problem was dealt with through the creation of understanding among the public and by managing water resources well. He also urged for clear strategies to address the water problem by relevant agencies.

BANGKOK, 29 June 2015 (NNT) – National Legislative Assembly (NLA) President Pornpetch Wichitcholachai has scheduled the 40th and 41st meetings of the NLA on July 2 and 3 in order for the new attorney general to be endorsed and in order for NLA members to give approval to two draft bills.

On Thursday and Friday, NLA members will vote whether to endorse the draft bill on land expropriation for the purpose of construction of the Green Line electric train project, which involves the expropriation of land for the Bearing Station-Samut Prakan section of the electric train network. The legislators will then vote on the town and country planning bill that has already been vetted by the NLA's subcommittee on transportation.

The NLA members will also deliberate newly presented matters such as the motion to establish an extraordinary committee on education, the proposed amending of laws related to small- and medium-sized enterprises, the motion to set up a follow-up committee on water management, and the annual report of the performance of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication commission.

BANGKOK, 29 June 2015 (NNT) – Women empowerment agencies have proposed increasing stipulations related to gender equality in the draft permanent constitution.

The calls were made at a seminar hosted yesterday by the Law Reform Commission of Thailand, the women empowerment organization "We Move to Reform (We Move)' and the 'United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)'; which was attended by some 100 representatives from gender equality-promoting agencies.

Although meeting participants discussed the draft charter's stipulations aimed at increasing the political role of women, most viewed that rights of women and gender equality could be diminished by the draft charter, when compared to the B.E. 2540 and B.E. 2550 constitutions.

Those at the meeting also proposed that state budget allocation be considered based on gender equality, that sexual diversity be promoted by ensuring that rights of all gender types are protected by law, and that all age groups and cultural diversity be accounted for when stipulating the rights of citizens. The meeting participants also proposed that social reform include increasing the ratio of women in the civil service and in positions that allowed the women to make policy suggestions on the country development.

NAKHON SI THAMMARAT, 29 June 2015, (NNT) - The southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat is currently holding the yearly regional OTOP fair, providing top goods and services from more than 300 OTOP vendors across the nation. The fair started on June 26, officially kicked off yesterday and will be concluded on July 2.

The event is aimed at preserving local wisdom, providing additional distribution channels to OTOP vendors, giving them a hands-on experience in large-scale business operations, and preparing them for the arrival of the ASEAN Economic Community at the end of this year.

Various goods, such as food, drinks, herbal products, garments, textiles, tools, and decorating items from OTOP producers nationwide are being featured at the fair.

Event-goers are invited to visit the fair’s exhibition on modern local wisdom that have given birth to various products along with live performances from different regions. A folk music singing contest also being held at the event.

BANGKOK, 29 June 2015, (NNT) - During the the second Meeting of the Joint Trade Committee (JTC) set up by Thailand and Malaysia, the two nations agreed to increase their trade value to 30 billion USD by 2018.

Last year the two countries engaged in trade valued at 25.5 billion USD, 10 percent of which was attributed to border trade.

The discussion was between Dato' Sri Mustapa Mohamed, Malaysian Ministry of International Trade and Industry, and General Chatchai Sarikalya, Thai Commerce Minister.

The two nations aim to boost border trade, saying a joint border trade committee will be established. The new committee will set a firm direction for border trade promotion. It will also be responsible for issuing appropriate investment policies for the new Special Economic Zone in Sadao District of Songkhla Province.

The government and the private sector are to expand their cooperation in producing better quality Halal goods and providing better services. Thailand had already drafted such a plan for 2016 - 2020. The cooperative plan with Malaysia will be integrated into the strategy in the near future.

Furthermore, ministers from both countries have signed two memorandums of understanding, to accelerate the implementation of bilateral agreements on cross border logistics.

Thailand has also agreed to consider Malaysia’s request to speed up the process involved in registering medical products. In turn, Malaysia will consider importing more rice from Thailand.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015 12:08

Commerce Ministry strikes deal with UAE

BANGKOK, 29 June 2015, (NNT) - The Ministry of Commerce has successfully struck trade deals worth over 100 million baht with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and two other economies in the Middle East.

According to the Department of International Trade Promotion Director-General, Nantawan Sakuntanaga, the new deal is part of the Commerce Ministry’s policy to penetrate new markets abroad.

The recent visits to the UAE, Kuwait and Jordan have landed 275 more business matching meetings for Thai businessmen and their counterparts in the two countries,which are to be held in the coming months. The Thai team has also secured 185 million baht worth of orders from their food sectors.

A study undertaken by the Ministry has revealed that the Middle East markets have high demands for a number of products, which will benefit Thai food manufacturers. However, adjustments must be made to the products to ensure compliance with the Middle East nations' specifications.

BANGKOK, 29 June 2015 (NNT) - Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn presided over the opening ceremony of the 16th World Sanskrit Conference at Renaissance Hotel in Pathuwan District.

The conference was jointly organized by the Sanskrit Study Center, Silpakorn University and the International Association of Sanskrit Studies in honor of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on the occasion of her fifth-cycle birthday on April 2, 2015.

The five-day world conference is the first of its kind ever held in Thailand as well as in Southeast Asia. Over 600 scholars from 60 countries are participating in the academic conference during which they will share their views and exchange experience using Sanskrit as the medium of communication.

One of the guests of honor at the opening ceremony was External Affairs Minister of India Sushma Swaraj, who also gave the inaugural speech. The conference provides a stage for the participants to express their perspectives on the modern world in relation to the two great Sanskrit epic poems, Ramayana and Mahabharata, which offer models in all aspects of life that can be applied to the modern-day life.

The Princess Maha Chakri has had interest in Sanskrit studies since she was very young. She obtained her Master of Arts degree in oriental epigraphy from Silpakorn University and Master of Arts in Pali and Sanskrit from Chulalongkorn University. The Princess has also supported further education in Sanskrit by granting scholarships for university students to study the language abroad, many of whom have become lecturers at Silpakorn University.

BANGKOK, 29 June 2015 (NNT) - His Majesty the King has ordered the opening of two special rainmaking units in Chiang Mai and Nakhon Sawan to relieve shortage of water due to droughts.

The rainmaking unit in Nakhon Sawan has been assigned to conduct artificial rain making operations in the Chao Phraya basin while the one in Chiang Mai has been entrusted to launch similar operations in the northern region. The operaions come under the supervision of the Director-General of the Department of Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation.

The objectives of the operations are to increase the volume of reserved water at various dams. If the operations are successful, these dams will have sufficient water to be released to farmland and for tapwater production. The use of rainmaking operations was one of the solutions that His Majesty the King had suggested to officials to solve the drought crisis in 1999.

BANGKOK, 29 June 2015 (NNT)-The Department of Land Transport (DLT) is planning to revoke the driving licenses of public bus drivers who behave unprofessionally, after receiving numerous complaints from passengers.

DLT Director General Theerapong Rodprasert says his department has received a large number of complaints through social media and his office.

According to the complaints, many bus drivers had behaved very unprofessionally, including running red lights, ordering passengers to get off before they reached their destinations and using vulgar language.

The DLT will from now penalize drivers blatantly breaking the law, especially those whose conduct could put the lives of passengers as well as others on the road in great danger.

Such drivers would have their driving licenses revoked immediately if found guilty. The DLT Director General added that they would not be given a second chance even if it was their first offense.

Some drivers will also be required to attend a seminar on public transport safety and have their driving history recorded. The DLT will continue to keep an eye on these drivers, to make sure they do not repeat the same mistakes.