BANGKOK, 17 February 2015 - The Ministry of Culture will be screening a Thai romantic film ‘Sen Thang Rak’ at Cannes Film Festival in France in the hope of creating impacts on tourism promotion in Thailand.

Permanent Secretary for Culture Apinan Poshyananda said the movie is a joint project undertaken by the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.

The 7 minute film was produced as a tool to increase the number of tourist arrivals to Thailand. It features a love story between a Thai woman and a foreigner. Both get to know each other through photos of local attractions in Thailand that the woman had posted on her social media site.

Professor Apinan said the decision to produce sequel films is now underway. The film will also be shown on planes, at schools and hospitals in France.

BANGKOK, 17 February 2015 - As many as 300,000 Chinese tourists are expected to arrive in Thailand during the Chinese New Year period and contribute 6.9 billion baht in tourism income.

Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul disclosed on Monday that 1.4 million foreign tourists arrived in Thailand during February 1-15. This figure grew by 18.9% when compared to that of the same period in the previous year, when protests were rampant in Thailand's capital city.

According to the minister, 890 flights are expected to arrive from China and Hong Kong during the Chinese New Year period. 560 of the flights will be arriving in Bangkok, and the remaining will be arriving in Phuket, Chiang Mai and Krabi.

BANGKOK, 17 Feb 2015 - Digital TV operators has submitted a petition to the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) calling for postponement of the deadline for the auction payment of the digital TV licenses originally set in May. They also asked the commission to consider changing the payment method to a flat rate.

The group also implored the NBTC to extend the license duration from 15 years to 20 years and amend the use of digital TV converter box coupons so that they could be used to redeem discount for satellite boxes as well. Furthermore, the commission was also asked to arrange channels in a uniform manner in all platforms.

After accepting the petition, NBTC Secretary-General Thakorn Tantasit said he would escalate the request to the Appeal Court and the Finance Ministry for their consideration. He speculated their decisions should be made by next month.

The current deadline for the auction payment of the digital TV licenses is set in May when all of the operators of 24 digital TV channels are obligated to pay a total of 8 billion baht in the 2nd installment of the auction fee to the commission.

Regarding the request to change the payment method to a flat rate, Mr. Thakorn said the NBTC would discuss the matter in its meeting tomorrow.

BANGKOK, 17 Feb 2015, The Commerce Ministry has indicated that a total of 5,980 businesses were registered in January, an increase of 12% year-on-year. It said the number of audit companies is particularly rising as the Government has tightened tax collection measures.

Director-General of the Department of Business Development Phongpan Jiarawirayaphan said the number of new businesses last month was also a jump of 80% compared to December last year, with a registration capital of 18.6 billion baht.

According to her, the major driving force behind the rise was the Kingdom’s economic recovery. The Bank of Thailand predicted that this year the nation would be able to achieve a 4-5% economic growth

Miss Phongpan said that last month saw 1,380 companies make an exit from the market, a decrease of 3% compared to the same period last year. The business termination capital was at 3.9 billion baht.

BANGKOK, 17 Feb 2015, The Commerce Ministry says the next round of rice auction is scheduled for the end of this month, expecting to sell no less than 1 million tons of rice.

According to Commerce Minister General Chatchai Sarikallaya, the administration managed to sell 496,000 tons out of 999,000 tons of rice during the first round of auction held on January 29th.of this year.

He said one of the bidders, a nominee from the Siam Indica Co.,LTD., had been disqualified from the deal, relinquishing its deal of 400,000 tons of rice. The rice released from the deal will be auctioned off in next round as well.

Earlier the National Anti Corruption Commission discovered that Siam Indica had been involved with a shady government-to-government rice deal.

BANGKOK, 17 Feb 2015 - According to the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB), there is no sign of deflation despite the minus 0.41% inflation rate last month, as the economic growth continues to show positive prospects.

NESDB Secretary-General Arkom Termpittayapisit yesterday said that the Government would implement appropriate monetary measures, such as benchmark rate adjustment, to prevent deflation, should the situation calls for such an intervention.

He said at the moment there is no need for the measure, but stated that close monitoring is mandatory.

Mr. Arkom said, to determine whether the nation is facing deflation, 2 major factors have to be considered -- inflation rate and economic growth. The Secretary-General said the lack of spending and money in the system would cause deflation. He pointed out that the Kingdom’s economy was expanding steadily, thus deflation was unlikely at the moment.

BANGKOK, 16 February - The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) is expected to approve the amended Military Court Charter Act on February 20th while assuring the public the expansion of military jurisdiction will not affect civilian rights. 

BANGKOK, 16 February 2015 - Scattered precipitation has been forecast today and tomorrow in the lower parts of the Northeastern, Central and Eastern regions of Thailand.

The Meteorological Department announced that the temperatures in the North will vary between 12-17 degrees Celsius in the morning. The mountain tops will experience temperatures as low as 6 degrees Celsius.

Chilly mornings have been predicted in most parts of the Northeast, with only 10% of the region receiving precipitation. The mountain ranges in this region were forecast at between 11-13 degrees Celsius, while low-lying areas were forecast at 18-23 degrees Celsius.

Similar weather conditions can be expected in the Central Plain and the east coast, with lows ranging from 19-24 degrees Celsius. The weather bureau expected Bangkok and its vicinity to receive scattered showers today and tomorrow.

Meanwhile, only 10% of the South from Surat Thani onwards will see the rain.

CHAINAT, 16 February 2015 - The Office of Regional Irrigation 12 has issued warnings for riverside residents in Chainat, Uthai Thani and Nakonsawan against the collapse of riverbanks as the water levels have decreased.

According to the Office of Regional Irrigation 12 Director, Tarongkorn Somton, the water stored in Bhumipol, Sirkit and Kwae Noi dams at present is only enough for household consumption, ecosystems and vegetable growing. Advice against growing off season rice is still in place to prevent water shortages in summer.

The water levels in the dams built on the Chao Praya River are about 14.04 meters higher than the sea level, and are expected to go lower than 14 meters in coming days.

Mr. Tarongkorn said his office will try to keep the levels at higher than 14.30 meters, as any level lower than that will likely cause the riverbanks to collapse.

Warnings will also be issued to riverside communities, businesses, and fish farms in the river in order for them to be prepared for the lowering of the water levels to prevent damage to their properties or businesses.

BUENG KAN, 16 February 2015 - Consumer spending in Bueng Kan province has been sluggish ahead of the Chinese New Year celebrations, while the price of one boiled pig’s head, a popular traditional dish, has risen to 600 baht.

The market in Muang district has been rather quiet, despite the upcoming Chinese New Year period. Fewer people visited the market, as the prices of all meats have increased.

Meanwhile, the price of pig head has increased by 10 baht to 70 baht per kilogram. This translates to a head fetching between 600-800 baht. The price is expected to increase further during the Chinese New Year period.

The holiday coincides with the Buddhist Holy Day, when pork is forbidden. The prices of pork and ground pork remained at 150 baht per kilogram.