BANGKOK, 16 October 2014  The National Innovation Agency (NIA) has launched its ShareHerb.com website as a channel of information on herbs and healthcare as well as alternative medicines.

NIA Deputy Director Supachai Lorlowhakarn said that Thai herbs are very popular in the beauty industry. Herbs are being used as cosmetics and weight-control products. However, the public still has only limited access to reliable research and information on herbs.

Therefore, the NIA, the network of academics, and Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have supported the ShareHerb Co.Ltd. with a budget of 1.4 million baht to develop the ShareHerb.com website.

The website contains academic information on Thai herbs and their correct usage as medicine or healthcare products. Users can search for herbal treatments suited to their symptoms. This will effectively upgrade the herb industry as a source of alternative medicine.

The ShareHerb.com is also an online community that suggests remedies and the correct way to use herbal products to ensure consumer safety. The website also has a feature that can track the ingredients of herbal products, giving consumers the information they need when deciding to use a herbal product.

The NIA expects to make the website into a source of scientific information on herbs to build consumer confidence on herbal products as an alternative medicine, conforming with the herbal industry development strategy, said NIA Deputy Director.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014 17:30

DDPM prepared for cold season in upper Thailand

BANGKOK, 15 October 2014  The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) is prepared to deal with the upcoming cold season in 48 provinces and floods in 14 others, as Thailand is moving towards the end of 2014.

According to the DDPM, the upper part of Thailand will experience a drop in temperature due to high pressure conditions. 15 provinces in the North, 20 others in the Northeast and the remaining 9 in the central region, and the remaining 4 in the East will experience chilly weather.

The department has surveyed the need for winter clothes and compiled a list according to areas and the number of affected people. People will be given general information on how they can keep themselves warm and avoid any health problems in winter.

In the South of Thailand, heavy rains and gusty winds have been forecast in 14 provinces. Residents are told to brace for flash floods, especially those living in the vicinity of the mountains and the sea.

BANGKOK, 15 October 2014  The President of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) revealed on Wednesday that he has received the impeachment case against the former Prime Minister for mishandling of the rice pledging scheme.

Mr. Pornpetch Wichicholachai, the President of the NLA said that he has received the case file regarding the impeachment of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra over her alleged corruption of the rice pledging scheme.

The NLA President said he is required to present the issue to NLA meetings within 30 days, but the case will be considered on a separate agenda from that of former House speaker Somsak Kiatsuranonda and former Senate president Nikom Wairatpanich.

He said although the NLA Ad Hoc Committee on Administrative Affairs deemed it appropriate for the legislature to accept the 2 cases for consideration, it is still up to the NLA’s prerogative whether or not to review the case files.

BANGKOK, 15 October 2014  Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has suggested that higher domestic consumption of para rubber should help stabilize its declining price. Farmers also need to rethink the way they market their products in order to increase their value.

According to the Prime Minister, the government is focusing on increasing the prices of rubber this year. He urged Thailand to increase domestic use of rubber, as the country exports most of it overseas.

His strategy is to seek demand from local tire manufacturers as a primary objective. The rest of the rubber will be exported once the demand from the domestic tire industry has been met. The suitable exporting price will also have to be determined and discussed with rubber traders in ASEAN, Gen. Prayut added.

As for other farm products, the Ministry of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives has been instructed to assist rice farmers in the face of the ongoing drought, said the PM.

General Prayut also encouraged farmers of other crops such as sugarcane and cassava to increase their product values to offset their high cost of production, in order to be able to effectively compete with neighboring nations that offer lower prices for their products

BANGKOK, 15 October 2014  The Cabinet of the Thai Government has approved Ebola virus control measures involving all sectors, and plans to send assistance to countries affected by the virulent disease in West Africa. The Government stressed the importance of correct procedures in patient care, in the wake of the transmission of the disease to some healthcare workers in Western medical teams assisting in the crisis area, said a government official.

The Minister of Public Health Prof. Dr. Ratchata Ratchatanawin, along with the Director-General of the Department of Disease Control (DDC), today held a press conference at Government House after the cabinet meeting, to announce the measures being taken in Thailand against the Ebola virus.

The cabinet has acknowledged the current situation of the Ebola virus epidemic and has approved the prevention and control measures as proposed by the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH), as well as approved a plan to send financial assistance and medical equipment to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone as requested by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN).

The Minister of Public Health said that even though it is unlikely there'll be an Ebola virus infection in Thailand, the matter cannot be neglected. The Ministry has been working with related agencies in Thailand to closely monitor the situation and has declared the Ebola virus a dangerous contagious disease under the Contagious Diseases Act.

The declaration grants authority to healthcare workers to efficiently screen and track travelers from the epidemic areas. Currently, 2,126 persons have been screened and have been confirmed as uninfected. No case of infection has yet been found in Thailand.

The MOPH has also been working with medical schools, and international organisations such as the WHO and the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to set up a fast and efficient monitoring and control system, as well as providing patient care and referrals.

There are five measures of Ebola prevention and control. First, the establishment of monitoring systems in humans and animals with screening at disease control stations, hospitals and communities. Second, the patient’s care and infection prevention in hospital by patient isolation and strict infection control. Third, the development of laboratory tests on which the Department of Medical Science has been working with universities and related agencies to establish a national laboratory network that can test and identify the virus, with results known in 24 hours. Fourth, communication to the public of correct information concerning disease prevention. And fifth, the full cooperation of related sectors and the establishment of an emergency operations center at the DDC, that will be the center of operations nationwide should an Ebola infected patient be identified.

Furthermore, the MOPH has established a patient referral system to operate in 30 provinces, as people from the epidemic area might travel to Thailand by air, sea, or over land. This will boost community confidence that the country is ready, if any person infected with the Ebola virus arrives in Thailand.

According to the WHO’s report on 8th October 2014, there are 8,399 Ebola patients worldwide, resulting in 4,033 deaths, or about 50 percent. Infections are widespread in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

There are also cases in the United States and Spain, where healthcare workers in West Africa were infected with the Ebola virus. Experts say that they might have become infected when removing their personal protective equipment. The MOPH will refer to this as a case study for healthcare workers to be aware that the protective equipment must be used accordingly to the directions.

The public plays a great role in Ebola prevention. The MOPH has asked the public to avoid travelling to countries with an Ebola outbreak. Should any person travel back from an epidemic area, or know someone who has returned here within the last 21 days, they should report to a hospital as soon as possible for disease monitoring and for the immediate treatment of the traveler if infected.

The Ebola virus is transmitted through blood, lymph glands, and bodily fluids. The virus cannot be transmitted through the air or be contracted by breathing. Healthcare workers are among those most at risk of infection.

BANGKOK, 15 October 2014  The Department of Employment (DoE) said the number of registered migrant workers since the end of June until the middle of this month has reached as much as 1.3 million people. Most of them are from Cambodia, Myanmar, and Laos respectively.

Of that number, there are a total of nearly 530,000 Burmese nationals, around 200,000 Laotians, and almost 600,000 Cambodians. The total number of 1.3 million also consists of their family members who are not being employed in Thailand.

The DoE is urging employers to bring their migrant workers to the registration office to be declared of their nationality by the end of this month.

Employers who fail to legalize their workers will be subject to a fine of 10,000 to 100,000 baht per worker. A migrant worker will also be sentenced to 5 years or less in prison and receive a fine of 2,000 to 100,000 baht, or both.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014 15:04

Giant mud crab discovered in Phuket

PHUKET, 14 October 2014  Locals in the famous island of Phuket have discovered a giant mud crab weighing nearly 3 kilograms.

Kasit Padungkan, a 29 year-old local in Phuket, held the crab in front of the media’s camera before sending it to the provincial office of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources where it would be kept for display and for researchers to study.

Investigations confirm that it was a male crab weighing 2.8 kilograms and measured at least 2 feet from its left to right claw. The crab’s scientific name is Scylla serrata and is commonly known among the locals as “Poo Thonglang.”

According to Mr. Kasit, he had bought the crab from an associate of his at a price of 700 baht. However, he decided to offer the crab to the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources instead since it was a rather rare catch.

The last time a crab like this had been appeared in Phuket was back during 30-40 years ago. The crab population has reduced significantly due to the destruction of mangrove forests and the spread of shrimp farming within the area.

Realizing this problem, the locals along with the subdistrict administration organization (SAO) and other government agencies have worked together to replant several mangroves and now the crab population is starting to recover considerably.

BANGKOK, Oct 13 Lao Ambassador to Thailand Ly Bounkham on Monday paid a courtesy call on Thailand’s new Chief of Defence Forces Gen Worapong Sa-nganet with both pledging to strengthen government, military and citizens cooperation between the two neighbouring countries.

Besides pledging to strengthen cooperation at all levels, Mr Ly reportedly told Gen Worapong that peace has once again returned to Thailand after the National Council for Peace and Order seized administrative power on May 22.

He also thanked the Thai military for offering military training to Lao military personnel.

In return, Gen Worapong offered his thanks and told the Lao ambassador that cooperation between the two countries would continue as before and both nations would strive to solve any problems which arise.

Laos and Thailand share an almost identical language and majority of their peoples are Buddhist.

PHITSANULOK, 14 October 2014 - Phitsanulok province has unveiled its latest natural wonder – the newly discovered Phai See Thong Waterfall, which will be officially listed as a tourist attraction on October 21st. 

PAISLEY, SCOTLAND, 14 October 2014  Police in Scotland have discovered the body of a Thai woman at a river after she had been missing for two weeks.

The woman was identified as 41 year-old Amnuay Hobbs and her body had been found floating in the Cart River near the Inchinnan Road in the town of Paisley.

Ms. Hobbs was a resident of Oban, a town off to the western side of Scotland and was scheduled to take a trip back to her home country. However, she mysteriously disappeared on October 2nd and her relatives went to the police to file a missing-persons report. On the same day, a witness reported that she was last seen at Paisley.

Police in Scotland are now investigating to determine the cause of the death and her body would be sent to the forensics team for an autopsy.

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