Friday, 26 September 2014 13:42

PM urges all state agencies to work in concert

BANGKOK, 25 September 2014  Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has demanded concerted efforts among government units in each line of work while stressing the need for budgets to be evenly distributed to every corner of the country.

After his meeting with representatives of state agencies, Gen Prayut said the session was mainly aimed to categorize ministries and their subordinate offices into different working groups in accordance with the nature of their responsibilities. The premier revealed he would play the role of a coordinator so as to facilitate and speed up the works of all ministries.

On this occasion, policy guidelines were also given to the newly-formed working groups and, according to Gen Prayut, they must be implemented immediately and yield concrete results within one year. Each working group was ordered to perform its duty in an integrated manner and to submit a progress report to the next meeting.

Concerning budget disbursement, the Prime Minister said the government would make use of both the leftover budget from fiscal 2014 and the new budget prepared for fiscal 2015 in rejuvenating the national economy. He reiterated that the distribution of budgets must cover all areas throughout the Kingdom while the funds for holding seminars and field trips would mainly be spent domestically.

BANGKOK, 26 September 2014 Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) is joining hands with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports in promoting the Meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) sector in Thailand.

According to Noppharat Methawikunlachai the director of TCEB, the MICE industry and the tourism industry generate a combined income of 80 billion baht per year. Significantly, the two industries help distribute income throughout the various locales of Thailand, which helps spur development in each of the locales. Under a collaboration agreement signed with the Ministry of Tourism and Sport, the two agencies will work together in four major affairs relating to the promotion of the MICE industry. The said affairs include policy and work plan, marketing, market communications and image-strengthening, and the boosting of the Thai MICE industry’s capacity. The agencies will also work to secure the rights to host important conventions. Personnel development will also be undertaken for the purpose of feeding the demands of the MICE industry.

Mr. Nophharat disclosed further that the Tourism Authority of Thailand had already secured the rights to World Travel Market Asia and World Tourism Day 2016 events.

Friday, 26 September 2014 13:39

Princess Chulabhorn back to hospital

BANGKOK, 26 September 2014 Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn has been readmitted to Vichaiyut Hospital after experiencing a new round of stomach ache.

The Bureau of the Royal Household said in its third announcement on the princess’s condition issued last night that doctors found several lumps in her stomach through a gastroscopy examination. Samples of the lumps have been taken for tests while the Princess has been advised by doctors to stay in hospital for treatment. Her Royal Highness has also been asked to refrain from duties for a while.

Her Royal Highness was first admitted to Vichaiyut Hospital on September 4 due to a stomach inflammation and was discharged nine days later after some improvements. However, during her visit to the Republic of Turkey from September 14-23 at the invitation of Marmara University, the Princess experienced the same ache in her stomach. Upon her return, the Princess was sent to the Hospital where she was given medicine and nutrients intravenously and asked to remain in hospital.

BANGKOK, 26 September 2014  Animal rights advocates on Thursday petitioned the National Legislative Assembly to quickly push through a law for the prevention of animal cruelty.

The Thai Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (TSPCA) has asked the NLA, through NLA speaker Phonphet Wichitchonlachai, to push through the law after having accumulated numerous signatures of those in support of a law against animal cruelty and that which fosters animals’ well-being.

According to the TSPCA, it wanted the NLA to finally enact an existing draft of the bill on animal well-being and animal cruelty prevention. The animal well-being advocacy group has, together with other networks, been backing the bill for at least ten years. The TSPCA also noted that no political motives are associated with this bill, and the drive to have it enacted is fueled by members of the public who want Thailand to have a law against animal cruelty and one that ensures well-being of all types of animals.

BANGKOK, 25 September 2014  DLT explained that the automobile passport is an agreement between Thailand and Laos, although new driver licenses can allow Thais to drive in all ASEAN countries.

The DLT deputy-general, Atsathai Rattadilok, said the automobile passport cannot be used among other ASEAN countries and can only be used in Laos PDR as the agreement is only between Thailand and Laos PDR. Other ASEAN countries are not involved in this, although the new driver license will allow drivers to use cars in all ASEAN countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos PDR, Myanmar, and Cambodia.

In case of any confusion, or if you have any clue which can lead to uncovering any deceptive practices, reports should be made to the license department at the Provincial Land Transport Office of Bangkok area 5, Tel. 02-271-8426 or Call Center at 1584 for 24/7.

BANGKOK, 26 September 2014 The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has trimmed down Thailand’s GDP growth to 1.6 percent this year, down from their original target of 2.9 percent.

Senior economist of the ADB Laksamon Attaphit stated that the lowered forecast was partly due to the political turmoil in the beginning of this year and weak exports. Nonetheless, she has maintained a positive outlook for the nation’s GDP for next year, saying that it would grow by 4.5 percent.

According to Ms. Laksamon, the driving factor that would play a pivotal role in boosting the nation’s GDP includes government spending on mega infrastructure projects. In return, this would lead to a recovery for investments in the private sector and consumer spending.

Household non-performing loans (NPLs), meanwhile, accounted for 2.2 percent of the total household debts. Even though the number is still relatively low, the number of loan defaults over a three month period has increased by 30 percent. This may eventually cause household debts to rise, which will in return affect consumer spending.

BANGKOK, 25 September 2014 Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Gen Tanasak Patimapragorn is set to deliver a statement this Saturday at the 69th United Nations General Assembly, which has raised its curtains in New York today.

At the UN Headquarters in New York City, the 69th session of the UN General Assembly has officially commenced under the theme “Delivering on and Implementing a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda”. US President Barack Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff were among the many international leaders giving an address before the meeting began.

On behalf of Thailand, Gen Tanasak, in his capacity as Minister of Foreign Affairs, is leading a delegation to participate in the session. A speech will be given by him on September 27 under the topic “Sustainable Development of Thailand in 2015”, in which the focus will be placed on the sufficiency economy concept, the government’s endeavor towards national reform and sustainable democracy and Thailand’s role in tackling global issues, ranging from human trafficking to environmental problems.

While in New York, Gen Tanasak is also scheduled to attend the ASEAN-UN Ministerial Meeting, of which participants will include ASEAN foreign ministers, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and President of the 69th UN General Assembly Sam Kutesa. The Thai Foreign Minister will also hold a discussion with the American private sector, with a view to bolstering its confidence in Thailand.

INCHEON, 25 September 2014 The women's volleyball event kicked off at the Asian Games on Wednesday, with Thailand seen beating India 3-0.

Thailand and India were both making plays in the first set, each team seemingly taking turns to score. Thailand did manage to outpace India's points-making, and by the end of the first set the score was 25-19.

The early part of the second set was similar to the first, with both teams picking up points and the score gap never widening significantly. However, Thailand widened the lead as the set progressed, and finally triumphed with a score of 25-12.

At the end of the third set, Thailand emerged victorious with scores of 25-19, 25-12 and 25-11.

Thailand's players were also competing at the FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championships in Italy on Wednesday. The team lost to the Netherlands in three straight sets, 25-20, 25-22, 25-18.

SEOUL/WASHINGTON, Sept 25  South Korea has decided to purchase 40 F-35A fighter jets from the U.S. defense firm Lockheed Martin in a deal worth 7.3 trillion won (US$7.04 billion), the state arms procurer said Wednesday.

Under the purchase deal, Lockheed Martin will transfer fighter production technologies in 17 sectors to be used for South Korea's project to develop an indigenous next-generation fighter jet, the South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said.

"We held negotiations from March to September on technology, price and trade-off conditions and decided to adopt 40 units even under the limited conditions of the (state-to-state) foreign military sales (FMS) process," a DAPA spokesman said. "The purchase price per unit is around 120 billion won."

After signing a formal deal with the U.S. later this month, the military will push to deploy the new combat planes from 2018 to 2021, he noted.

Sources said that among the technologies Lockheed Martin would transfer are flight control and fire-extinguishing functions.

The purchase program is designed to replace South Korea's aging fleet of F-4 and F-5 fighter jets.

Also on Wednesday, DAPA finalized a plan to produce an indigenous next-generation fighter.

Under the 8.5 trillion won project, the military will manufacture 120 units of an upgraded middle-size fighter jet to be deployed from 2025, the spokesman added.

The United States welcomed the South's decision.

"We welcome the announcement that the Republic of Korea intends to sign the Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) between the U.S. and Korean governments for 40 F-35A Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL) variant jets with initial deliveries beginning in 2018," said Lt. Col. Jeff Pool, a spokesman for the Defense Department.

"Korea becomes the 3rd Foreign Military Sales customer joining Israel, Japan and our eight partner nations on the program. This is a good day for the F-35 program and we look forward to working with the Republic of Korea government in executing its F-35 program," he said.

BANGKOK, 25 September 2014  Representatives of people's networks on Wednesday called on the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation to revoke the license granted to Pata Zoo in Bangkok and to find a new home for the animals currently housed at the building-top zoo.

The people's networks yesterday presented department director-general Niphon Chotiban with the signatures of 35,000 persons who supported the relocation of the animals at Pata Zoo. The group also inquired about the August 13 renewal of the zoo's license despite continuous public opposition.

Mr. Niphon explained that officials had told the zoo owner to make improvements in the aspect of safety, especially for fire safety. The zoo must satisfy officials with a plan for the evacuation of animals in times of fire or the license would not be renewed next year. He also noted that a relocation of any of the animals from Pata zoo required the consent of the owner, as the animals were lawfully acquired assets of the zoo.

Proponents of the drive to relocate the animals argued that the zoo had been providing the animals with substandard quality of life. The focus was especially on the 27-year-old gorilla that has been living at the zoo for 25 years.