Thursday, 22 January 2015 15:22

PM opens 14th TELMIN conference this morning

BANGKOK, 22 January 2015  Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha officially opened the 14th Meeting of the ASEAN Telecommunications and IT Ministers (TELMIN) at Shangri La Hotel this morning.

Prior to the conference, the Prime Minister received ASEAN IT ministers at the reception room of the hotel where they greeted each other. General Prayut was also scheduled to deliver a keynote speech at the TELMIN opening ceremony.

The 14th TELMIN conference sees ASEAN governments and private sectors working together to improve regional information technology and communication as one community.

KHON KEAN, 22 Jan 2015,  The locals of Khon Kean’s Nongrua District have been suffering from severe drought conditions, forcing them to purchase water for consumption

The 70-rai Nongsala reservoir in Yangkham Sub-district has dried up and the little water remaining is murky and unsuitable for drinking. According to the local residents, it has not rained since the beginning of 2015, resulting in the rapid decline in the water level.

One of the locals said his family has resorted to buying water for daily use and consumption, as they can no longer rely on the dried-up reservoir.

The locals urged the Government to help dredging the reservoir, enabling it to hold enough water for the consumption of 500 households that in the area.

BANGKOK, 22 Jan 2015 - The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security (MSDHS) will lead a campaign to address the ongoing beggar issue on a sustainable basis, with a major clean-up operation to be organized from January 26th -30th.

Minister of Social Development and Human Security Police General Adul Sangsingkeaw said that the beggar issue has been deep-rooted in the Thai society and fallen prey to the human trafficking ring. He said one particular method favored by the traffickers is to use children to reel in crowds, living off of human kindness.

He said 3 major policies will be implemented nationwide -- law enforcement, protection to victims of human trafficking, and to develop a network against human trafficking.

The Police General clarified that the law enforcement involves amending the beggar related laws, handing out punishments to human traffickers and professional beggars and drawing up an official record of beggars.

He said the truly destitute would receive assistance in the form of general welfare, rehabilitation and occupational training.

BANGKOK, 22 January 2015 - The water management policy committee is planning to propose to the cabinet its comprehensive water management blueprint in February.

Commerce Minister General Chatchai Sarikalya, who chairs the committee, said his team is still reviewing the strategy to assure its efficiency.

The 10 year management plan is expected to cost the government 1 trillion baht. It will be implemented in 3 different stages.

Under the first urgent phase, from 2015-2016, measures will be taken to maintain water supplies throughout the country and prevent repetitions of flooding disasters.

Around 240 billion baht would be needed to achieve these goals. Laws regarding water resources will also be legislated during the same period.

In the second and third phases, the committee will proceed with the construction of medium and large-scale reservoirs. The projects will be preceded by public hearings and studies on environment impacts.

BANGKOK, 22 Jan 2015,  The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) yesterday announced that all prepaid Subscriber Identity Module or SIM cards must be registered by July 31st. Failure to do so will result in the termination of services.

The announcement was made after a meeting held yesterday between the NBTC and the country's 5 mobile phone service providers: Advanced Info Service, DTAC, True Move, TOT and CAT Telecom.

According to the NBTC, a public hearing will be organized to gauge the people’s reaction; however, the agency expects the regulation to take effect within 6 months.

According to NBTC Secretary-General, Thakorn Tantasit, the objective is to protect the public from various scams given swindlers using unregistered SIM cards are virtually impossible to be tracked down. Another major reason is national security, referring to the cases of perpetrators of violence using unregistered SIM cards for illegal purposes.

To register their SIM cards, the owners must bring their identification cards to their respective service providers, the Secretary-General said, adding that the NBTC would later add Krung Thai Bank and the outlets of giant convenient store chain 7-Eleven to the list of registration venues.

Unregistered SIM cards will no longer function after July 31st.

Currently, there are 90 million active SIM cards in use, with only a fraction of them-- 1.6 million-- registered.

BANGKOK, 20 January 2015 - Prices of three categories of goods, of which manufacturers have benefited from the drop in oil price, have already been lowered, according to the Department of Internal Trade.

Department director-general Boonyarit Kalayanamit said on Monday the three categories included lubricants, plastic beads and construction materials. PTT has lowered its prices of lubricants by 2-5%, and prices of the remaining manufacturers are expected to be reduced by early February. Plastic beads have become 3.85-7.70% cheaper, according to Mr. Boonyarit. Cement prices have dropped by 2-4%, roof tile prices by 5-7%, steel bars by 1,500-2,000 baht per ton, metal sheets by 1,000-1,500 baht per ton, and structural steel by 1,000-1,200 baht per ton.

Mr. Boonyarit disclosed further that chemical fertilizer manufacturers have promised to lower prices of 50-kilogram bags of fertilizer by 10-30 baht. He also assured that there will be no shortage of palm oil, and each liter will retail for no more than 42 baht.

LAMPHUN, 20 Jan 2015,  The Department of Environmental Quality Promotion (DEQP) has established a learning center in Baanpuang Sub-district of Tunghuachang District in Lamphun Province, aimed at discouraging the ‘slash and burn’ agricultural technique.

Deputy Director General of the Department, Sakol Thinakul, presided over the opening ceremony of the center, handing out an education fund of 20,000 baht on behalf of the center to the locals.

According to DEQP officials, the slash and burn practice triggers smog and bush fires, which are persistent issues every season in the North. The practice produces dust smaller than 10 micron, which is harmful to those inhaling it, adding that the issue has greatly affected the local tourism industry.

The department and related agencies thus decided to establish learning centers in 5 different locations in the North, with an aim to inform the residents of the adverse effect of the slash and burn technique, and to teach them a better method to prepare their farmland for the next planting season. These centers are located in Lamphun, Lampang, Phayao and Maehongson.

BANGKOK, 20 January 2015 - The National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards (ACFS) says no imported apples distributed by American companies are found contaminated in Thailand.

The ACFS has taken samples of American apples, especially the suspected Gala and Granny Smith varieties from stores in Bangkok and its vicinity. Results show no Bidart Bros apples have been imported into Thailand. The ACFS affirms that imported apples are usually tested for Listeria to assure safety for consumers before they are delivered to supermarkets.

Moreover, the ACFS has instructed Modern Trade Supermarket to examine its apple stock and immediately return them if any of them belong to Bidart Bros.

The action followed reports of bacteria outbreak in caramel apples distributed by Bidart Bros in the U.S. two weeks ago. The bacteria, known as Listeria, can cause life threatening illness.

The U.S. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention claimed at least 7 people killed by Listeria. The bacteria were reportedly found at the company’s facility in California. America is recalling Granny Smith and Gala apples following the discovery.

NAKHON SI THAMMARAT, 20 January 2015 - The Muslims for Peace Foundation is planning to ask the UN Refugee Agency to help Rohingyas falling prey to human traffickers.

Nakhon Si Thammarat residents in Hua Sai district have donated their money to help Rohingyas. The proceeds collected at a Muslim mosque will be given to a human rights center.

95 Rohingya refugees were intercepted on January 11th in Hua Sai district. They were reportedly crammed in trucks when they were found. Two drivers were charged with human trafficking.

The Foundation will be submitting a letter to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees asking for international assistance.

Hua Sai Police Chief Police Colonel Prawit Chantabut said the investigation would be concluded quickly before they are sent to the care of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security.

HONG KONG, 18 January 2015 – The Thai Minster of Commerce is on a business trip visiting Hong Kong to enhance the trade cooperation and push forward the ASEAN - Hong Kong FTA framework to be completed by 2016.

The Minster of Commerce Gen. Chatchai Sarikulya has revealed his official meeting with the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of Hong Kong Gregory So, that he is satisfied with the meeting’s outcome.

He has said that both sides have agreed to extend the trade cooperation and exchanged beneficial comments for trade developments in the future, especially for the ASEAN - Hong Kong Free Trade Area (FTA) agreement, which Thailand is appointed as the coordinating country to push the FTA framework forward towards the targeted time in the year 2016.

The ASEAN - Hong Kong FTA will benefit ASEAN countries in the inclusion of utilizing the trade gateway of Hong Kong to mainland China free of tax, while Hong Kong can extend its trade and investment to the ASEAN market that houses 600 million residents.

The Thai Minister has said that the Ministry of Commerce has settled the strategies and plans to extend the Thai rice exports to the Hong Kong market through various strains of rice to comply with the individual demands in Hong Kong.

For example, the Hom Mali Rice is aimed for the domestic consumption market through modern trade, and the Hom Patum Rice is aimed for restaurants and hotels market, while the organic rice will be introduced to the younger generations.

In this occasion, the Minster of Commerce has given the Best Friend of Thai Rice Award to the seven Hong Kong rice importers that have imported Thai rice in the past ten years.

He has also stressed that the Thai government is aware of the Hong Kong market's importance to Thai rice, and will control the quality of rice exports to be high in accordance with demand of consumers in Hong Kong.

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