BANGKOK, 27 October 2014  Supreme Commander Gen Worapong Sanganet has greeted the defense attache of Singapore who finished his term in Thailand while both sides agreed to strengthen their military cooperation. 

BANGKOK, 27 October 2014 - The Minister attached to the Prime Minister’s Office have inspected the operations of the government’s complaint center which has been staffed with more officials on Monday.

M.L. Panadda Diskul, PM’s Office Minister, invited senior officers from 20 ministries and various state agencies to a meeting to discuss the operations of the complaint center at the Office of the Permanent Secretary.

After the meeting, M.L. Panadda said that the discussion was intended to brainstorm ways to help respond to all complaints that members of the public have filed, adding that all offices need to work in an integrated fashion for the interest of the people, as stated in the policies of the Prime Minister.

He added that an evaluation of the center’s operations will be made after one month.

The PM’s Office Minister went on to say that, so far, more than 80,000 complaints have been filed with the center, including those that could be solved within a few days, those that need coordination from various agencies, and those that are complex and need some time to solve. He said that more than 80% of the filed complaints had already been resolved.

BANGKOK, 28 October 2014 - The government will allocate personnel from 20 of its ministries to the service center for the public at the Office of the Prime Minister in order to improve the center's capability.

According to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the knowledgeable officials to be stationed at the center will be able to make decisions on the spot due to the depth of their knowledge on certain affairs. The center will be able to deal with each complaint from the public more quickly and matters can be forwarded to ministries in charge faster.

Prime Minister's Office Minister, M.L. Pannada Dissakul, explained that the specialists from the 20 ministries will be stationed at the central service center at Government House, while each Damrong Tham center in the provinces will be tasked by the central center with resolving various problems and must quickly address these problems. He said the work of the service centers will be evaluated in one month's time.

BANGKOK, 28 October 2014  The government will establish four joint working committees with the private sector to lay down strategies to propel the economy forward. 

BANGKOK, 28 October 2014 - The confidence index of small-and medium-enterprise owners has risen for the first time since mid-2013 due to the government's policy to support the SMEs sector, according to TMB Bank's economic analysis center.

Bencharong Suwannakhiri, the director of TMB Analytics, on Monday revealed the result of the center's survey of SME businesses' confidence conducted in 71 provinces. For the third quarter, the confidence index rose 1.4 points from 36.6 to 38.0, which was the first increase since the index began to contract in mid-2013. The improvement was especially apparent for businesses in the Central Region and Greater Bangkok.

However, the index remains well below 50 points, meaning that the SME operators were still not very confident. The survey respondents attributed their lack of confidence to the lackluster regional economy, which weighed on consumer spending power and spending. Still, the operators believed that the situation would improve over the next 3 months due to an expected improvement in the economy that will be brought about by clearer government policies.

SONGKHLA, 28 October 2014 - Songkhla provincial authorities have decided to seal off certain areas of the Ton Nga Chang Waterfall after a flash flood killed a tourist.

The Patrol Chief of the Ton Nga Chang Wildlife Sanctuary has revealed that park rangers have beefed up security measures in the waterfall after a flash flood swept a college student from the Prince of Songkhla University off the cliff on the third level.

Following the incident, park rangers have decided to immediately seal off the waterfall from level 3-7 until the monsoon season is over. Levels 1 and 2 of the falls, however, remain open for visitors but they will be manned by forest rangers, who are to keep a close watch on the safety of tourists.

Meanwhile, the 5.3 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Sumatra Island in Indonesia yesterday triggered aftershocks that could be felt in several beaches in Phuket. However, no tsunami warnings have been issued and residents continue living their lives as normal.

Krabi residents living in high-rise buildings have also felt an impact of the quake, as well as those living on the Phi Phi Islands.

BANGKOK, 28 October 2014 - The Ministry of Tourism and Sports is joining hands with the Ministry of Transport to improve the current tourism promotion strategy, with more emphasis to be placed on the safety of travelers.

Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul revealed that the ministry is in the process of revamping the tourism strategy for 2012-2016 in hopes of creating a better image for Thai tourism. She elaborated that new measures will be adopted to assure tourists, both Thai and foreign, of more safety when using transport services in Thailand.

As one of the measures, the minister said the Transport Ministry will come up with a special type of life vests that will more effectively prevent boat passengers from drowning in case they fall into the water. The new safety gear is expected to become available from November onwards and will mainly be distributed in destinations known for marine tourism, such as Phuket and Pattaya. The Department of Tourism will also financially support the move by offering the new vests to boat service providers free of charge, in exchange for their old ones.

Furthermore, another program has also been planned to increase traveling convenience in major tourism provinces by improving the local public transport system. The ministry is set to coordinate with the Ministry of Commerce in inspecting car rental services as well as taxi, van and boat operators in each area in a bid to make sure that they abide by laws and safety regulations.

BANGKOK, 26 October 2014 - The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will arrange Loy Krathong celebrations at 28 public parks on the Loy Krathong Day this 6 November. Firecrackers will be strongly prohibited.

Deputy Director of the BMA’s environment department Suwanna Chungrungroeng said the BMA invited Loy Krathong revelers to bring their families and loved ones to celebrate the Thai tradition in 28 public parks in Bangkok, including Lumpini, Chatuchak, Santi Chaiprakan and Benjakitti, from 3 PM – 12 AM. The deputy director also encouraged people to use floating baskets, or “Krathong,” made from natural materials to avoid harming the environment. Those who would come in groups should use only one Krathong, said Ms Suwanna.

The BMA calls on vendors not to sell Styrofoam floating baskets and bans firecrackers at the public parks since they might cause danger.

BANGKOK, 27 October 2014   A civic group called “Thailand Reform Institute” has been launched by a group of National Reform Council (NRC) members with an aim to act as a coordinating center for movements related to national reform.

After the introduction of the newly-established Thailand Reform Institute, a group of NRC members and academics, led by Sangsidh Piriyarangsan, said the institute’s main responsibility would be to spread information about politics and national administration as well as heed public opinions on national reform.

President of the newly-formed body Mr. Sangsidh, who also acts as a dean of the College of Social Innovation at Rangsit University where the institution was launched, said the civic group would work as a coordinating center for all movements in the areas of reform and national development, adding that it would work to help build a strong democratic society as well as to monitor the use of power by the government.

Meanwhile, speaking as the director of the institute, a lecturer at the College of Social Innovation and the Green Group leader Suriyasai Katasila said the newly-formed body would call on the NRC and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to draw up a long-term plan for national reform and to make sure that public opinions are not taken for granted.

He also explained the reason why some of the NRC members were included in the Thailand Reform Institute committee, saying that talks to establish such institute had well taken place before the appointment of the NRC, while assuring that this matter would not be a problem in terms of work of the institute.

PHUKET, 27 October 2014 - An earthquake measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale occurred in northern Sumatra of Indonesia, sending shockwaves that could be felt in Phuket province.

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