BANGKOK, 29 July 2015 - The Vocational Market along Phadung Krung Kasem Canal has concluded, with over 10,000 visitors and 2 million baht in sales throughout the three-day event.

After being launched on July 27 by the Office of the Vocational Education Commission (OVEC), the Vocational Market drew to a close today. Nonetheless, a steady flow of visitors was still seen at the event, lending moral support to the vocational students who were selling their products.

Mr Chaiyapruek Serirak, Secretary-General of OVEC, expressed satisfaction with the event, indicating that more than 10,000 people turned up at the market throughout the three-day period while the total income exceeded 2 million baht.

Products attracting much attention from the public included hammocks made from pieces of cloth and baskets for growing mushroom. There were also beauty services and spa treatments available for the fair-goers.

Another highlight was a special booth jointly set up by various vocational education institutes to sell products related to the Buddhist Lent, such as flower garlands, religious offerings and Lent candles. All of the products were made by students and sold at discounted prices.

BANGKOK, 29 July 2015 - Permanent Secretary for Labour Nakorn Silpa-archa was positive that the US government would not impose sanction on Thai exports although Thailand was classified in “Tier 3”, the lowest place in the 2015 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report published on Monday. 

PATTANI, 29 July 2015 - Deputy Defense Minister and Army Commander-in-Chief Gen Udomdej Sitabutr has paid a visit to the Deep South to observe security operations and has urged all units to be particularly vigilant during the Buddhist Lent period. 

BANGKOK, 29 July 2015 - The National Reform Council (NRC) committee on consumer protection reform has delivered its report on raising the standards of Thailand’s consumer protection policies. 

BANGKOK, 29 July 2015 - The government has completed 81% of its urgent projects to drill and restore 891 groundwater wells nationwide. 721 wells are already in use, with 247,763 cubic meters of water being pumped up everyday for agricultural purposes, according to Deputy Director-General of the Groundwater Resources Department, Aranya Fuangswasdi.

Of the wells already in use, 511 are located in fifteen drought-hit provinces in the Chao Phraya River Basin covering the central region and the lower North of Thailand. The wells have helped revive rice plantations threatened by the dry spell, with 214,013 cubic meters of water being pumped up everyday. Ten more wells are still under construction and expected to be finished by the end of the month.

Apart from the new wells, 380 existing groundwater wells are being equipped with turbine pumping machines to improve their storage capacity. Out of that number, 225 already have the pumps installed and have been pumping up 33,750 cubic meters of water per day.

Aranya said the whole maintenance and drilling process is scheduled for completion at the end of July. By then, the water supply for agriculture will have increased to 350,000 cubic meters per day, helping restore 150,000 rai of farmland owned by 4,000 farmer families.

BANGKOK, 29 July 2015, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha stressed that civil servants must perform their work to the best of their ability for the benefit of the country.

SARABURI, 29 July 2015 - The budget mobile restaurant of the Fifth Cavalry Regiment, Kings Guard has become a must-visit destination for all groups of wage earners shortly after its launch.

Hundreds of people flock to the lunch truck to snap up economy dishes freshly cooked daily by the group of housewives and staff of the Fifth Cavalry Regiment. Various items are offered each day for under 20 baht per dish from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The budget meal project was introduced last week in response to the government and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)’s policy to lower consumers’ cost of living amidst the ongoing economic downturn. The project is expected to help reduce consumers’ food expenses by at least 50 percent.

Most customers have commented that the budget food program should continue as long as possible and should expand to other areas as well.

UTHAI THANI, 29 July 2015 - Buddhists in Uthai Thani province have shown a preference for smaller candles during Buddhist lent, as well as neon lights due to lower prices.

The atmosphere has been quiet at various Buddhist shops around the province, showing a drop-off in the number of customers buying monk supplies.

A shop owner said as much, revealing that sales during this period have been quite low compared to previous years. People tended to buy only small-sized candles and neon lights, leading to a drop in retail revenue.

Therefore, shop owners have in turn decided not to procure additional stock and only order products in accordance with public demand. They also affirmed that there will be no price hike for candles and monk supplies. Consumers have said that they will buy only necessities for the Buddhist lent.

BANGKOK, 29 July 2015, - Army Chief General Udomdej Sitabutr spoke to the media before visiting the troops in the South of Thailand this morning, saying that the Army and security related units would continue to follow the government's strict anti-human trafficking regulations. The commitment was made even as the U.S. decided to maintain Thailand on Tier 3 in its human trafficking report.

General Udomdej is confident that Thailand will improve its eradication of human trafficking rating in the next round of evaluations, as the responsible agencies are doing their best to address the issue.

The Army Chief is scheduled to inspect the troops' performance in today's visit to the southern region, providing them with moral support. He would then hand back schools damaged in violent incidents, subsequently repaired under the supervision of the military on behalf of the community.

According to General Udomdej, the number of incidents in July has decreased when compared to the same period last year.

SAMUT SAKHON, 29 July 2015 - Fishing operators in the gulf province of Samut Sakhon have affirmed full cooperation with government regulations to tackle the industry's problems.

The statement was made by the Samut Sakhon Fishery Association, following the US decision to maintain Thailand's Tier 3 ranking on its human trafficking list. The Association claimed the sector would cooperate with government efforts to combat illegal fishing, as well as illegal labor and human trafficking endemic to the industry.

However, some operators continued fishing activities, despite a fishing ban in the upper Gulf of Thailand from June to July. The ban was put in place due to dwindling marine life from overfishing. The Gulf will be reopened to commercial fishing next month.