BANGKOK,July 2015 - The Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) has planned to turn state-run science parks nationwide to “Special Space for Innovations” where the private sector can invest in scientific researches and contribute to Thailand’s economic growth as a whole, revealed Minister of Science and Technology (MOST) Pichet Durongkaveroj.

Mr.Pichet said that the initial project aims to build an innovative-based economic zone of Thailand where private sector uits can inject more budget for scientific researches and, in turn, get special privilege of tax exemption. It is also a forum for younger researchers to meet their peers, seek job opportunities as a researcher, scientist or inventor.

The government has motivated industrial estates to take part in the project. Once those estates contribute part of their areas to set up “Innovative Space”, they can enroll in the development of a sustainable production system for their own industries and at the same time get benefit from the government’s tax incentives and easier mobility around ASEAN.

The initiative of Special Space for Innovation has been proposed to the Committee on Innovation System chaired by the Prime Minister, and will soon be forwarded to the Cabinet after more details are added for completion.

BANGKOK, 24 July 2015 - Three ministries have co-organized the Asian Science Camp 2015 in Thailand set during 2-8 August 2015, with 7 award-winning scientists participating as guest speakers with 265 youth participants from 29 Asia-Pacific countries.

The Promotion of Academic Olympiad and Development of Science Education Foundation under the patronage of HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana Krom Luang Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra (POSN) Charas Suwanwela has said that Thailand has requested to be the host country for Asian Science Camp in 2015, which corresponds to the auspicious occasion of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s, the royal principle of the POSN, fifth cycle birthday.

He has said that the camp will inspire creativity among scientifically gifted Asian-Pacific youths. Participants will attend lectures, discussions, and engage in conversation with world class scientists, and cooperate with youths from other nations to enhance the region's younger generation cooperation.

Guest speakers in this event are Nobel-winning and leading scientists in Chemistry, Anatomy, Medicine, Mathematics, and Physics from Taiwan, Germany, Israel, Russia, Japan, and Thailand.

The Minister of Education Admiral Narong Pipatanasai has said that this event will help increase the quality of Thai youths to reach international standards, in line with the government’s policy to develop human resources in science, technology, and innovations.

The slots open to 265 young participants at the Asian Science Camp 2015 are compatible for high school students up to students studying in the sophomore year of university from 29 Asia-Pacific countries. Thailand, being the host country can submit up to 40 participants to attend this event, based on each participant's talents in science and technology, while participants should be proficient in the English language.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Science and Technology Pichet Durongkaveroj has said that the event will take place at Thailand Science Park, Khlong Luang Distirct, in Pathum Thani, which is set to become a learning center with the concentration on science and technology. High security standards will be enforced to accommodate the international participants during the event.

HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will be presiding over the opening ceremony of Asian Science Camp on 3 August 2015, and will give a special lecture that will receive a live television broadcast by the NBT channel, and on the www.asc2015.posn.or.th website.

Youth, students, and the general public can follow the developments of this event and watch the broadcast of this activity on nstda channel (http://nstdachannel.tv), which will also broadcast the recording of the event after the Science Camp has concluded.

CHIANG RAI, 24 July 2015 - Thailand and Myanmar cooperation during the past three years has halved the number Malaria patients, granted better access to medication for tuberculosis patients, and provided a better supply of anti-HIV medicine, the Thai Minister of Public Health says.

The Minister of Public Health Rajata Rajatanavin today co-chaired the opening ceremony of the 2nd Myanmar-Thailand Health Collaborative Ministerial Meeting with Myanmar’s Minister of Health Than Aung at Dusit Island Resort, Chiang Rai. The ceremony addressed the outcome of both countries' cooperation, and discussed the endorsement of the future cooperation plan in 2016-2018.

The Thai Minister said that the Ministry is aiming to enhance the healthcare system along border areas to help improve the health and safety of the public, especially through the disease prevention system and upholding food and drug standards. He stated that good multinational public health systems would help drive forward the ASEAN Community's economy.

The cooperation between Thailand and Myanmar from the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding has been satisfactory. Malaria contraction figures were halved in 16 provinces of Myanmar, while the number of malaria patients dropped to 20,000 in 2014 from the recorded 45,000 patients in 2013.

The result was due to the contributed from the establishment of 199 malaria clinics along the Myanmar border to provide faster diagnosis and treatments. However, the disease has become more resistant to the current medication due to the free moment of people in areas such as the Dawei and Myawaddy Special Economic Zones.

On tuberculosis issues, The number of tuberculosis patients who now have access to medication has increased from 4,882 to 5,523 persons in 2014. Up to 80 percent of the patients use their medicine regularly. Thailand and Myanmar's cooperation has also provided access to anti-HIV medicine for HIV patients, which has greatly improved their livelihoods.

The cooperation also includes the simultaneous patients referring system between the twin hospitals in four provinces, while the authorities now have to be more strict in regulating food and drug standards, including herbal medicines. Authorities have enhanced laboratory tests at Myawaddy, Tachileik, Dawei, and Kawthaung to allow molecular level inspections that will improve the public's wellbeing, while other forms of cooperation involves academic cooperation, cooperated research, and trainings.

Future cooperation and operations for 2016-2018 are now being discussed to push forward a concrete cooperation plan to benefit the people of both nations.

BURIRAM, 24 July 2015 - The Royal Irrigation Department (RID) will carry on with its rainmaking operations in the Northeast, despite the arrival of rainfalls. Meanwhile, farmers in drought-hit Central Plains are still grappling with the extended drought.

The RID explained that rainmaking operations must continue in the Northeast, as rainfall has yet to reach some areas. Water reserves in the upper Northeast are most abundant, with ample supplies in the central Northeast. However, the lower Northeast, where rice farming is most prevalent, remains parched. Irrigation and administrative officials have surveyed areas in need of precipitation to adjust cloudseeding operations.

Meanwhile, rice growers in the drought-hit Central region continue to hold out against severe drought. Some farmers in Kamphaeng Phet province have risked sowing their fields, although spotty rainfall occurred just a week ago. Others have opted for non-farming jobs for the time being.

In Nakhon Sawan province, a number of farmers are hastily diverting water from public sources to irrigate their paddies, after the provincial irrigation office decided to open sluice gates to help local agriculture. Kamphaeng Phet and Nakhon Sawan are among the four provinces in the Central region hardest hit by the dry season. The other two provinces are Phichit and Uthai Thani.

BANGKOK, 24 July 2015 - The upcoming auction of 1.29 million tonne below-standard rice, set to open in late-July, is possibly delayed to early-August as the separation process of the below-standard rice from the good quality one would take time, Commerce Minister Chatchai Sarikulya said on Friday.

The rice separation is being carried out jointly by Commerce Ministry officials and experts from the National Farmers Council, the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) as well as rice surveyors and suppliers.

They have been assigned to screen spoiled rice and draw up the best approach and necessary budget for the whole process of rice separation. He disclosed that the bidding conditions must give the best benefits to the public.

Responding to a concern that rotten and fungal-contaminated rice would mix with rice for consumption, Chatchai said that the ToR of each rice auction will identify which industries the auctioned rice will be for, and officials will be assigned to follow up the process and destinations of the auctioned rice.

The minister also revealed that 400,000 - 500,000 tonnes of good quality rice for consumption kept in the government stock are likely to be auctioned before the end of July.

BANGKOK, 24 July 2015 - The committee on the 2016 fiscal budget has so far trimmed off 9 billion baht from the budget allocation for 18 Ministries.

According to the budget committee spokesperson, Maj Gen Chatudom Titthasiri, budgets requested by 302 agencies of 18 Ministries account for 76 percent of the entire budget. So far the committee has been able to shave off 9.754 billion Baht from the initial numbers.

The committee will proceed to consider budget allocations for the Ministry of Interior, followed by non-ministry agencies and independent organizations.

Regarding the Ministry of Defense, Gen Chatudom disclosed that the committee had decided to increase the budget for the Ministry by 10 billion Baht as a result of an increase in compensation to its regular army personnel and ranger force. He, however, noted that the committee did not allocate any budget towards the Ministry’s planned purchasing of submarines in 2016.

BANGKOK, 24 July 2015 - The Department of Skill Development (DSD) has indicated that a number of bicycle owners have availed themselves of the free bike check-up services being provided by the department ahead of the Bike for Mom activity.

In preparation for the Bike for Mom campaign in commemoration of the 83rd birthday anniversary of Her Majesty the Queen, skill development offices and institutes nationwide have been offering bicycle maintenance and repair services to the public since the beginning of this month. The services are being provided for free under the "Fix Bike for Mom" project initiated by the Ministry of Labor.

DSD Director-General ML Puntrik Smiti reported that so far about 320 bikes have been brought in by participants of the Bike for Mom event. The services given out include tire repair and brake testing. The Director-General expects more people to use the services until August 16, the day the biking activity will be held.

On the day, the DSD will also set up four service points along the biking route, namely the Royal Plaza, the Royal Thai Army Sports Club on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, Kasetsart University and the Eleventh Infantry Regiment King's Guard.

BANGKOK, 24 July 2015 - The Deputy Secretary General of the House of Representatives has tasked the various divisions of the country’s government radio programs with expanding their audience base for the government’s show “Our Parliament”

The objective of the program is to enhance the public’s understanding of the country’s legislative process, and how useful legislation can improve their lives.

The government’s Public Relations Department currently operates 50 radio stations in 44 provinces across the country

BANGKOK, 24 July 2015 - The National Reform Council (NRC) has approved of the report by its sports committee, with an expectation to establish a standalone Ministry of Sports within 3-5 years.

Chairman Gen Yuthasak Sasiprapha presided over a seminar held by the NRC committee on sports reform, during which he delivered a keynote address on public input towards sports reform. According to him, based on the committee’s discussions and the public’s input, the committee detailed eight major ways to reform the country’s sports sector.

The eight-point proposal includes establishing a national sports university, a national sports committee, a national sports science institution, the reforming of sports infrastructure, supporting the sports industry, passing legislation to facilitate sports development, and to establish a standalone Ministry of Sports.

Gen Yuthasak stressed that the NRC has already given positive feedback towards its committee’s proposal, and that he expects the Ministry of Sports to be established within 3-5 years.

BANGKOK, 24 July 2015 - Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha has agreed to the demands from anti-coal power plant activists in Krabi province.

An Andaman protection network earlier today submitted a letter to National Legislative Assembly member Wallop Tangkananurak, petitioning the government to halt preparations of the power plant's Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), postpone August 5 construction bidding indefinitely, and establish a joint committee comprised of representatives from related state agencies, local businesses and civil sectors.

Gen. Prayut explained that the government has yet to begin the project, pending an EIA and Environmental Health Impact Assessment (EHIA). The premier said further talks between the government and the Andaman protection network will be held to conclude on the issue.