BANGKOK, 11 December 2014 - The temperature in upper Thailand is expected to drop by another 3-5 degrees Celsius this weekend, whereas the Southern Region is expected to see an increase in rainfall.

The Meteorological Department has reported that a high pressure area extending from China still blankets the North of Thailand, which makes for cold weather and morning fog. Another bout of relatively intense high pressure area will reach upper Thailand this weekend, meaning the temperature will drop by up to 3-5 degrees Celsius.

Meanwhile, the northeasterly monsoon prevailing over the Gulf of Thailand and the South is forecast to intensify. An increase in rainfall is expected over the Southern Region and over the Gulf of Thailand, from Nakhon Si Thammrat downward.

According to the weather bureau, Typhoon Hagupit, which has now weakened into a tropical storm, is expected to weaken further and dissipate once it reaches the coast of Vietnam. No effects on Thailand's weather are expected.

BANGKOK, 11 December 2014  -  Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on 10th December presided over the opening ceremony of the 2014 photographic exhibition of her work , at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center in Pathumwan district, Bangkok. The exhibition is being organized by the Royal Photographic Society of Thailand, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and the Bangkok Art and Culture Center.

It features 158 pictures taken by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn during royal visits to different places both in and out of Thailand from 2013 to 2014. The Princess told participants at the opening ceremony that this year’s exhibition was more interesting than in previous years in that it contains such pictures as the sky and stars taken through a telescope and also images taken through the scanning electron microscope which could magnify a small object by 40,000 times.

There are also pictures taken by unmanned aerial vehicles or drones. The Princess remarked that the new equipment could identify targets that otherwise could not be seen by the human eye. Books containing the exhibited photographs are also available for sale at the exhibition and at major bookstores at the price of 900.- baht a piece. Proceeds from the sale will go towards royal charity projects. The exhibition will continue until 8th March 2015.

Friday, 12 December 2014 14:35

Typhoon Hagupit will not affect Thailand

BANGKOK, 11 December 2014-The Meteorological Department has assured that tropical Typhoon ‘Hagupit’ will not have an impact on Thailand.

Thailand’s upper region will continue to experience colder weather until December 14th. as a high pressure system from China is extending beyond the Southern China Sea to the north of Thailand. The temperature is expected to drop 3-5 degrees Celsius.

More rain has been forecast in the southern provinces as the northeasterly wind is gaining strength over the Gulf of Thailand and down toward Nakhon Sri Thammarat and below, where waves could reach as high as 2-3 meters. According to the Department, Typhoon Hagupit will have weakened by the time it reaches Vietnamese coast, and will not cause climate changes in Thailand.

Friday, 12 December 2014 14:35

Minimum wage unchanged till the end of 2015

BANGKOK, 11 December 2014 - The National Wage Committee has decided not to not raise the minimum wage until late next year as the cost of living remains at a reasonable level.

According to Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Labor Mr. Nakorn Silapa-archa, the wage committee has resolved not to increase the daily minimum wage given that the inflation rate and the global oil prices have declined.

However, Mr. Nakorn, who is also the president of the National Wage Committee, said they would deliberate on an unofficial proposal from the labor union suggesting that the daily wage be increased to 321 baht. Another meeting will be held at the end of 2015 to consider the possibility of adjusting the wage again.

Following concerns of higher costs of living after the salaries of low ranking government officials have been increased, the Commerce Ministry will try to make everyday items more affordable for consumers, the Permanent Secretary said, adding that the prices of most products remain unchanged.

BANGKOK, 11 Dec 2014 - The Ministry of Commerce is proposing to the Cabinet to sell stockpiled rice to nations in Africa and the Middle East.

According to Commerce Minister General Chatchai Sarikalya, the ministry will propose a set of rice-exporting guidelines to the meeting of the national rice policy committee on December 19th. The proposed measures take into account the quality of the remaining rice in stock and seek to export them to a market suitable to their quality.

Recent inspections show that a large amount of the rice in stock is in a deteriorating condition, the Minister said, but affirmed that the Government would still use an auction in selling the grain as it was still a fair and transparent way for the business.

As for the two million tons of rice that would be sold to China, General Chatchai stated a sale agreement would be signed during the visit of Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang who would attend the GMS Summit in Thailand on December 19th-20th.

As for new markets, General Chatchai added that his ministry is planning an aggressive public relations campaign to penetrate markets in the Middle East and Africa. He clarified that Middle East countries demand a higher quality grain while a more humble quality rice is wanted in the African markets.

The Minister also mentioned more than 8.7 million tons of rice have been sold during the first 10 months of this year, a 62% jump year-on-year, bringing in a foreign exchange of about 4.3 million US dollars. Thailand’s major rice trading partners are the Benin Republic, Nigeria, China, Cote d'Ivoire, South Africa, and Cameroon.

Thailand has finally managed to become the world’s largest rice exporter once again, exporting more than 10 million tons so far this year.

Commerce Minister General Chatchai Sarikalaya said the country is also trying to win back its place as the world’s largest jasmine rice exporter after losing the title to Hong Kong. He added that the stockpiled rice would be sold or exported as quickly as possible as grains are perishable goods.

General Chatchai said the inspection of rice in stock nationwide has been completed. Out of the 17 million tons of rice, only 10 percent are in good condition. The rest are of lower-than-standard quality including 14 million tons which have turned yellow and 700,000 tons which have begun to deteriorate. Authorities are now investigating how another number of 200,000 tons has gone missing.

The Ministry of Commerce will ask the Rice Policy Committee to consider more channels to release the rice in stock. It is expected that 400,000 tons of rice will be released within this month.

The British Ambassador to Thailand has met with the Thai deputy Prime Minister on economics to discuss Thailand’s ability to support investments, reports a Thai official.

The British Ambassador to Thailand, H.E. Mark Kent met with the deputy prime minister on economics M.R. Pridiyathorn Devakula at Government House to discuss economic matters.

The Thai deputy prime minister said that the two sides discussed investment potential in Thailand, especially the progress of the digital economy project, as well as the overall economic status of Thailand, without discussing the political situation.

He mentioned the rubber price issue that was troubling southern rubber farmers, saying that the government has been working to stimulate rubber prices since October. However, each stimulus measure involves many procedures and requires some time to take effect.

Regarding the request from rubber farmers to raise the rubber price to 80 baht per kilogram, the deputy prime minister said that the price raising process is underway and each step will take some time. He also stressed that the government is sincere about solving the issue.

The deputy prime minister also set an estimate of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the first quarter of the 2015 fiscal year at a 3 percent expansion.

The upcoming economic stimulus measures from the government, and the distribution of the fiscal budget, will likely have a positive impact to the economy between December 2014 to February 2015, said the deputy prime minister.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014 17:29

Transport ministry expediting train projects

The Ministry of Transport is expediting the delayed orange line electric train project while preparing to sign a dual track rail contract with China.

Minister of Transport ACM Prachin Chantong said the ministry had planned to push for the delayed electric train project and would request the Cabinet to approve it in January 2015. The ministry would also urgently implement three other electric train projects including the Green Line (Mo Chit-Saphan Mai-Ku Khot), Yellow Line (Lat Phrao-Bang Kapi-Samrong) and Pink Line (Khae Rai-Min Buri). They would be submitted to the Cabinet for consideration mid 2015, said the minister.

As for the dual track rail project, the minister said Thailand and China would sign the contract this year during the Chinese prime minister’s visit to Thailand on 25 December or the Thai premier’s trip to China. The ministry was consulting with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) about an infrastructure fund for the project, he added.

BANGKOK, 9 December 2014 - A National Reform Council committee is preparing to propose to the charter drafters policy guidance related to sports.

An NRC committee in charge of sport reform, led by Yuthasak Sasiprapha, will propose to the Constitutional Drafting Committee to state in the new charter that sports will be the government’s fundamental policy.

The committee will also ask that the new Constitution demands the government to support sports as the means to improve health, quality of life and spirit of the people while strengthening the sense of unity and pride in Thailand.

At the same time, the government will be required to provide for standard sport facilities that are accessible by everyone and to promote the country’s excellence in sports which can later become added economic value.

BANGKOK, 9 December 2014 - The National Legislative Assembly is set to start visiting people across Thailand to hear their opinions regarding the country’s reform before the end of this year.