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BUENG KAN, 30 July 2015 - Continuous downpours have resulted in flooding in some areas of the northeastern province of Bueng Kan, prompting authorities to provide urgent help for local residents.

In the wake of torrential rains which have continued in Bueng Kan for three weeks, Ban Na Kham Village in So Phisai district has been flooded with 1.2 meters of water while Moo 1 and Moo 2 Villages in Mueang district are also affected by overflows from canals.

So far, 25 homes and three fish farms have been damaged by the floodwater. The road linking Ban Pong Pueai Village and Ban Na Waeng Village is now submerged under one-meter-deep water. Residents are unable to travel in small vehicles and have to rely on military trucks in their daily commute.

However, the overall damage is still considered minimal as Mueang District Chief Adithep Kamolvej previously instructed officials to help villagers move their belongings to safe places in anticipation of a flood disaster. A special task force set up by the local administrative organization is also providing assistance for flood victims in the area.

Friday, 31 July 2015 09:35

Exports to contract 3-4% this year

BANGKOK, 30 July 2015 - The Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) has expressed concern for the export sector, forecasting a contraction in the latter half of 2015.

TCC Vice Chairman Sanan Angubolkul said that exports in the second half of the year will contract 3-4%. The TCC forecast overall exports to contract 3% in the third quarter, and only 1% in the fourth quarter, in an indication of economic recovery.

Exports have suffered from the low prices of agricultural and industrial products. The private sector has been pushing for more government support in penetrating foreign markets, especially those of neighboring countries.

However, Mr. Sanan expressed optimism that the export sector will rebound at the beginning of next year, when there will be a clearer effect of the baht's depreciation. Several foreign economies are also expected to improve next year, including the US and China.

BANGKOK, 30 July 2015 - The Department of Employment (DOE) will allow foreign ship workers to apply as technicians, in a move to deal labor shortages in the fishing industry.

According to DOE Director-General Sumet Mahosot, the new policy applies to workers from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia who have already obtained work permits.

Employees who have acquired ship technician certificates issued by the government can apply for the position change via the Department Employment. The processing fee is 1,100 baht.

The processing fee is 3,100 baht for foreign workers who have completed their nationality verification or those contracted under a memorandum of understanding.

However, ship workers holding pink one-year work permits are still unable to upgrade their jobs, pending an executive order from the PM Office.

BANGKOK, 30 July 2015 - The Deputy Director-General of the Public Relations Department (PRD) has been has won a Thai Idol award.

The Broadcaster and Journalist's Assembly of Thailand and other related agencies have conferred a Thai Idol Award on PRD Deputy Director-General Charoon Chaiyasorn. He is among 162 individuals across the country that were handpicked by the assembly’s committee. MR Somlabh Kitiyakara, Secretary to HRH Princess Soamsawali, presided over the award ceremony.

The Thai Idol Award, otherwise known as the Golden Swan, is an accolade aimed at recognizing individuals from different occupations whose achievements are both remarkable and inspirational. The award is part of the Goodness Idol Project meant to laud those who are determined to create a better society.

BANGKOK, 30 July 2015 - Culture Minister Weera Rojpotchanarat has disclosed, following a courtesy call from the US charge d' affaires Patrick Murphy, that the U.S. is to return more Thai antiques located in the US. 

MUKDAHAN, 30 July 2015 - The Governor of Mukdahan province has issued a warning to residents along the Mekong River to beware of bank erosion as a result of the rising water.

Run-off caused by continued cloudbursts has brought muddy water from local streams and wood scraps into the Mekong River. Passengers traveling between Thailand and Laos by boat are advised to exercise caution and wear life jackets at all times.

Meanwhile, residents and fishermen along the Mekong River were warned to be on the alert for soil collapse. The provincial Disaster Prevention and Mitigation office is prepared to deal with any emergency situation.

The Meteorological Department says the Northeastern region will continue to experience isolated thundershowers until next week.

BANGKOK, 30 July 2015 - Police are preparing to apply Article 44 to the campaign aimed at suppressing motorcycle gang activities and social vices.

Royal Thai Police Spokesperson, Pol Lt Gen Prawut Thavornsiri has disclosed that the ban on alcohol sales within a 300-meter radius of schools will come into effect within six months. Meanwhile, authorities will also keep a close watch on motorcycle outlets to curtail sales of certain bike accessories.

Pol Lt Gen Prawut explained the move was to prevent teenagers from consuming alcohol, which often leads to a drunken brawl and to stop motorcycle gangs from causing a public nuisance. The campaign came about after a recent meeting during which the Ministry of Justice asked related agencies to apply Article 44 to their efforts to curb trouble makers.

Article 44 empowers the National Council for Peace and Order's (NCPO) leader, to issue any order to deal with any act deemed harmful to social order or security.

The Royal Thai Police Spokesperson, however, told concerned business operators not to overly panic. He explained that the zoning of liquor shops has yet to begin. Meanwhile, the use of Article 44 will cover only bike shops that sell accessories intended for illegal street racing.

BANGKOK, 30 July 2015 - The Thai government has expressed its gratitude toward store owners for keeping prices of every item at an affordable level until November this year.

Deputy Spokesperson to the Prime Minister’s Office, Major General Sansern Keawkamnerd has revealed that the Ministry of Commerce has received cooperation from 205 retail stores across Thailand in not raising the prices of household goods and fresh food before November.

Many food vendors have also been asked to sell at least one ready to eat meal at a maximum price of 25 baht until September this year.

The Deputy Spokesperson said this is to help shoulder the cost of living for Thai people. He also added that stable fuel prices at present would continue to help keep commodity prices at a reasonable level.

PATHUM THANI, 30 July 2015 - Pathum Thani and Yasothon are both holding their activities welcoming the Buddhist Lent and at the same time promoting the anti-drinking and gambling campaigns during the 3-month Lent period.

A parade promoting the anti-drinking campaign was held in Pathum Thani yesterday at the provincial hospital. Later in the day residents gathered to pledge an oath of not drinking alcohol and strictly maintaining the five precepts of Buddhism during the Buddhist Lent period.

The event also offered a free counseling service for those who wish to quit drinking, and many other entertainment activities.

Meanwhile, residents, government officials and private sector units in Yasothon yesterday held a mock ceremony incinerating a giant cigarette and a deck of playing cards, symbolically showing their determination to stop drinking and gambling during the period.

The event was a part of the province's anti-alcohol and gambling drive this year which also promotes the religious teaching and the sufficiency economy philosophy of His Majesty the King.

Thursday, 30 July 2015 16:18

ASEAN, UK bolster cooperative relations

UK Prime Minister David Cameron visited the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, Indonesia on July 27, becoming the first acting British PM to visit the bloc’s headquarters to cement the economic relationship between the UK and the dynamic region.

Secretary General Le Luong Minh praised the visit as reflecting the UK’s commitment and political will to deepening its relationship with ASEAN.

He said the European country’s interest in strengthening economic relations with ASEAN is in line with the bloc’s growth trend of stronger economic integration.

He also highlighted achievements in forming the ASEAN Community in late 2015 while pointing to arising challenges.

Minh added with combined gross domestic product (GDP) reaching nearly 2.6 trillion USD in 2014, ASEAN is now the world’s seventh biggest economy and aims to become the fourth largest in 2050.

For his part, the British PM said the UK will intensify its collaboration with ASEAN in infrastructure development and electronic commerce. He will also appoint a special commerce envoy to boost trade relations and investment between ASEAN and the UK.

The two sides exchanged regional and international issues affecting world peace and stability such as nuclear weapons and the East Sea dispute.

On the occasion, the ASEAN Secretariat held an ASEAN-UK business forum to increase investment in ASEAN

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