BANGKOK, 22 July 2014 - Suvarnabhumi Airport has joined hands with the military organizing activities for cab drivers at the airport in an effort to reconcile the nation. Military officers have joined hands with Suvarnabhumi Airport holding activities dubbed “Returning Happiness to the People” for taxi drivers in Suvarnabhumi Airport in a bid to restore unity and return happiness to Thais. The wvent is in line with the “Returning Happiness to the People” campaign by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), aimed at encouraging the people to live together happily and peacefully. Activities in the event include cleaning and reorganizing taxi parking areas. It also features concerts performed by army personnel, and a variety of free services such as health checkup and haircut.

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has increased the budget allocation for the National Counter Corruption Commission (NACC) to tackle existing frauds and corruption in the country.

Head of the NCPO General Prayuth Chan-ocha said that the NACC, which is an independent public agency, is facing a problem of insufficient personnel to deal with the large number of pending cases. The NCPO, therefore, approved more than 700 additional personnel for the NACC. The addition will involve a budget of over 300 million baht.

He said that the NCPO places great importance on anti-corruption efforts. Importance is also given to the promotion of innovation, which serves as a basis for the sustainable creation of wealth for the country.

Concerning claims by some groups of people who cited familiarity with the NCPO in order to gain government procurement projects, such as water management, canal dredging, and other issues, General Prayuth reiterated that the NCPO had never assigned any individual to implement any of these projects on its behalf. He called on people to inform the NCPO for investigation immediately if anyone claims a personal interest in these matters.

As for the prevention and suppression of corruption in the cases where legal action has already been taken, he said, the NCPO will proceed according to the normal course of justice. Because there is a high backlog of pending cases, the NCPO has assigned relevant agencies to move ahead with the judicial process before the cases are barred by prescription, in order to prevent wrongdoers from escaping the judicial process.

Regarding guidelines to tackle corruption in procurement, the NCPO has assigned the Committee on the Inspection of Public Expenditures and the Anti-Corruption Organization of Thailand, to consider using international measures for investigation into corruption cases applying to government or state enterprise mega-projects, starting with the Suvarnabhumi Airport Development Project – Phase II.

Moreover, the Committee on the Inspection of Public Expenditures has checked various projects and reviewed their cost-effectiveness and the necessity to spend funds that come from taxpayers. Among the issues raised for consideration were the meeting allowances of parliamentary committees and commissions and the construction of government buildings that may not be necessary. The prevention and suppression of corruption is one of the agenda items that will be brought up for consideration by the Reform Council, in a continuing effort to free Thailand from corruption.

On excessive disbursement of expenditures to support populist policies, General Prayuth said that the system needs to be totally revised. He cited the fight against corruption as the next phase of reform, together with good governance to bring about transparency, with an appropriate, effective, and efficient system of checks-and-balances.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014 15:54

Travelers warned about Typhoon Matmo

BANGKOK, 22 JULY 2014 - Typhoon Matmo is gearing up to take a swipe at Taiwan and China, according to meteorologists. Travelers are being warned to check the weather status before expedition, especially on 22-25 July, travelers who will travel to Manila, Taipei, and Shanghai.

Matmo -- the tenth storm of the 2014 Pacific season -- formed Thursday in the southern Philippine Sea. Despite not being affected by the Matmo, central Thailand will experience scattered rain, while isolated heavy rain is expected in the eastern Northeast, the East and South West Coast. The waves in the upper Andaman Sea are expected about 2 meters high from the heavy winds. All ships should proceed with caution, according to meteorologists.

The public and private sectors are joining hands in organizing a “Reconciliation Festival” to return happiness to the people and promote national reconciliation.

The festival is taking place until July 27th at Sanam Luang ceremonial ground in Bangkok.

According to the Spokesman of the Internal Security Operations Command, Colonel Banpot Poolpian, the six-day festival aims to mobilize support for the national reconciliation, which will lead to the next phase, national reform.

It follows reconciliation activities held in the provinces, where local people are able to meet and interact. This will create mutual trust and reduce suspicions among the people, especially between conflicting parties, or people who hold different views on political and social issues.

Colonel Banpot stated that the festival would be another step to show that the situation in Thailand was back to normal. The Internal Security Operations Command has been assigned by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to help create unity in Thai society.

The Reconciliation Festival consists of several activities, such as prayers for peace and happiness by major faiths in Thailand, a bazaar of low-priced products, exhibitions, music, cultural performances, and film screenings.

Activities to return happiness to the people will continue until mid-August, when Thai people celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s birthday anniversary.

Meanwhile, the Tourism Authority of Thailand is working on a series of tourism marketing and promotion activities to attract tourists to the Kingdom during the remainder of this year as well as the years to come. Among the strategies is the plan to reiterate the charms of Thai culture and heritage, including a talk-of-the-town activity - “Thailand Happiness” Street Festival Extravaganza over the 25-26 July 2014 weekend.

During the two-day period, the primary business and shopping district of downtown Bangkok is to be converted into a giant festival of happiness, joy, fun, and Thai smiles as part of a big-bang effort to show the world that Thai tourism is bigger than it ever was.

Thailand remains a safe tourist destination, offering a wide variety of tourist attractions, ranging from unique culture, abundant natural beauty, and a remarkable variety of activities, including soft-adventure, spa, shopping, and medical tourism.

The NCPO has launched several measures over the past two months in order to boost tourism. Efforts to achieve national reconciliation and return happiness to the people have been focused upon in the 3-phase roadmap.

BANGKOK, 22 July 2014 - A medium-intensity southwestern monsoon covering the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand and a low pressure cell at the north of Vietnam are set to bring scattered rains and heavy rainfall to some areas of Thailand.

Regions that are susceptible to rain include the East, the Northeast, and the Southwest of Thailand.

Waves in the Andaman Sea are set to reach up to 2 meters. Fishermen and boat service operators are advised to take caution before setting sail.

Meanwhile, Typhoon Matmo in the Pacific Ocean is set to make landfall in the Philippines and is moving northwest to Taiwan and eastern China. The typhoon is not expected to have any affect in Thailand. However, those who plan to travel to countries under the influence of the typhoon between July 22-25 are advised to take caution and closely follow weather updates.

BANGKOK, 22 July 2014 - Princess Sonam Dechan Wangchuck of Bhutan, sister of the King of Bhutan, is paying an official visit to Thailand from July 20 to 24, 2014 as guest of the Court of Law of Thailand.

In her capacity as the President of the Bhutan National Legal Institute, Princess Sonam Dechan Wangchuck yesterday (July 21) visited the Supreme Court of Thailand located in the Government Center in Chaeng Watthana area, to observe the system of searching for court decisions and rulings and other legal services.

Later in the afternoon, Princess Sonam Dechan Wangchuck observed the activities of the Legal Training Institute of the Thai Bar Association in Taling Chan area, which currently has over 24,000 registered students. In the 2013 academic year, 1,227 students successfully passed the bar examination.

Upon the royal visit, the Thai Bar Association humbly bestowed on the Princess honorary membership in recognition for her talents and knowledge in political science and law and her contributions in the fields to the people of Bhutan. The Princess is the fifth person to receive the honor from the Thai Bar.

BANGKOK, 22 July 2014,  - The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission together with the Department of Pollution Control (PCD) are planning to regulate the disposal of obsolete mobile phone batteries.

The campaign emerged after records showed the nation’s electronics garbage collection has increased exponentially over recent years.

Residents are urged to dispose of unused and obsolete batteries at one of the NBTC’s designated areas, officials said, adding that they would collect and dispose of these items appropriately and in accordance with the safety codes. They believe doing so would significantly reduce electronics waste while minimizing the impact on the environment and health.

Meanwhile, the Department of Pollution Control has indicated that there were 8.52 million discarded mobile phones and household telephones in 2012, forecasting the number would reach 10.91 million in 2016. The Department stated electronics waste tends to increase at the rate of 7% annually.

More importantly obsolete cell phones can leak deadly chemicals such as lead, cadmium, and arsenic, while citing LED displays that contain cancer inducing agents.

The Department is particularly concerned about the newer models of mobile phones which tend to have more advanced and larger LED screens, adding however that Thailand does not yet have the know-how to ensure their correct disposal or recycling.

BANGKOK, 22 July 2014,  - Head of National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) General Prayuth Chan-Ocha has expressed his concerns over the ongoing violence in the South, urging all sides to monitor and address the problem. 

BANGKOK, 21 June 2014  H.E. Harsh Vardhan Shringla, the newly appointed Indian ambassador to Thailand, on Monday visited Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, the chief of National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) at the Royal Thai Army headquarters. The two discussed several issues of cooperation including security, economy and society. Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police Division 1 provided security guard at the location.

BANGKOK, 22 July 2014  - His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej has sent messages of condolence to the Heads of State of Malaysia and the Netherlands over the loss of lives in the downed Malaysia Airlines on the 17th of July 2014 in eastern Ukraine.

The royal message sent to His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia, said Their Majesties the King and Queen were deeply saddened by the news of the crash of Malaysia Airlines in eastern Ukraine which led to the loss of so many lives. Their Majesties conveyed profound condolences to the Malaysian king as well as to members of the bereaved families for this irreparable loss.

In another message sent to King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, Their Majesties the King and Queen extended heartfelt condolences and deep compassion to the Dutch monarch and, through him, to the families of the Dutch victims in the plane crash.