BANKOK, 18 November - Gen. Udomdetch Sritabutch has expressed his condolences over the 9 soldiers who died in a helicopter crash yesterday.

As the Commander of the Royal Thai Armed Forces and Defense Secretary, Gen. Udomdetch said he had been informed of the incident by Lieutenant General Sathit Pitharat, commander of the 3rd army division, that the helicopter carrying 9 soldiers had crashed in Payao province killing all aboard.

The army will care for the family members of the deceased as best as they possibly could and will launch an investigation into the cause of the accident.

Gen. Udomdetch said the bodies of the deceased soldiers would be brought to Pitsanulok province to for the funeral rite.

BANGKOK, 18 November 2014 - The Ministry of Interior has instructed local administration offices to improve waterways as part of its creating smile and returning happiness campaign for Thais.

The campaign, dubbed ‘Muang Suay Nham Saai’,is aimed at preserving and restoring sources of natural water. Local officials have been told to remove weeds and trash blocking the canals. The removal of water vegetation will also prevent them from expanding their colonies further into other adjacent canals.

People would also be asked to use these water plants, particularly hyacinth, as raw materials for textile products or as fertilizer. Everyone in the society, including those from various organizations and the media, is also encouraged to promote the preservation of natural water.

Monday, 17 November 2014 14:05

Robust tourism in Fang district

BANGKOK, 16 November 2014 - Tourism in the northern districts in Chiang Mai province is bustling after winter arrived. National parks in Fang district are the most crowded tourist sites this cold season. 

CHIANG MAI, 16 November 2014 - The Royal Park Rajapruck is set to hold the Flora Festival 2014 this winter season.

The Director of the Royal Park Rajapruck Arnada Niruntrayakul said that the Royal Park Rajapruck, the Highland Research and Development Institute (Public Organization), the Royal Project Foundation and its network organizations are holding the Flora Festival 2014 from 1 December 2014 to 28 February 2015.

The theme for this year’s Flora Festival is ‘The variety of plants and Cultural Diversity of Neighboring Countries’. The event will be held to promote the work of His Majesty the King and the Royal Project, to promote the knowledge of garden plants and agriculture, and to boost domestic economy and tourism.

There will be a spectacular array of cold climate flowers from the Royal Project Foundation, an outstanding lightshow, the tribute exhibition to His Majesty the King, the demonstration of the Royal Project Foundation’s learning center, a showcase of fancy vegetables, and feature performances from neighboring countries.

This year’s Floral Festival will feature activities in the themes of various holidays set between 1 December 2014 until 28 February 2015, including the Father’s Day celebrations, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve countdown, Children’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and Chinese New Year.

The admission fees for foreign visitors are 100 baht for adults and 50 baht for children. The park also offers a seasonal pass with unlimited admission throughout the entirety of the festival at a rate of 400 baht per person.

SATUN, 16 November 2014 - Over a thousand Thai Muslims in La-ngu District of Satun participated in an event to mark “Ashura Day in Hijri New Year 1436”, to commemorate the sacrifices of ancient Muslims during the Great Flooding in the Era of prophet Noah and to maintain the local tradition.

Through the collaboration between the Imams of La-ngu Association and local organizations, the grandest-ever Ashura Day’s celebration was held in Satun, though similar events of a smaller scale are normally organized in the three southernmost provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, the chief of La-ngu District said.

Apart from entertainment activities, Muslims from 62 mosques of La-ngu also helped make Ashura dessert by putting various ingredients and sent their dessert to join in a competition.

Such dessert making derives from a major event in ancient Islamic period when people were suffering from a starvation after the flooding. Initiated by Noah, Ashura foods were made from various ingredients donated by the people and were shared among all starving people to keep them survive.

BANGKOK, 16 November 2014 - Army Commander-in-Chief Gen. Udomdet Sitabutr has expressed no concern over political movements in the northeastern region despite those who voiced their disagreement with the government. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha has urged Thai people to help reduce conflicts in the country and create reconciliation.

Gen. Udomdet on Sunday said the overall political situation in the northeastern region was peaceful and confirmed the government had it under control. Regarding the requests that the government allows political parties to organize activities, the army chief said he could not make a decision on the matter. National security and reconciliation must be considered when deciding whether to lift the ban on political gatherings, he added.

The army chief reiterated that the army always supported the government’s work such as projects to solve problems of low-income people. Another important task of the army was to prevent deforestation in cooperation with the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, said Gen. Udomdet.

TRANG, 16 November 2014 - The Trang Provincial Center of Skill Development has launched the first Bahasa- Melayu language course to enhance the language competency of Thai workers ahead of the AEC in 2015.

Director of the centre Chulalak Wongpreechakorn explained the Bahasa-Melayu is promoted in the province because it is an official language of Malaysia, the country sharing its border with Trang.

The foreign language courses have been supported by the Department of Skill Development in response to a wide concern among local business enterprises that Thai workers lack foreign language skill which could be the main obstacle for them to compete in the AEC’s labor market.

BANGKOK, 16 November 2014 - The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has set plans to establish markets of high quality agricultural products in all 77 provinces. The markets target the middle class who have high purchasing power.

Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Pitiphong Phuengbun Na Ayutthaya said he had asked provincial governors and the private sector in the 77 provinces to find locations for the markets in city areas or government places. There would be one market in each province to trade high quality agricultural products with Good Agricultural Practices, Good Manufacturing Practices and Q Mark. At the markets, farmers would sell their produce to consumers directly. This way, they would sell their produce at good prices and had higher profits since there were no middlemen, said the minister.

On 28 November 2014, the ministry will open the markets in five pilot provinces, including Trang, Amnat Charoen, Nakhon Nayok, Mukdahan and Uttaradit. The ministry has set a target to establish the markets in all 77 provinces by the end of this year.

PATTANI, 16 November 2014 - Fourth Army Area Commander Lt Gen Prakan Cholayuth said he believed the chronic violence in the South of Thailand would be addressed to a certain extent in one year’s time. He cited the government’s policy of placing greater emphasis on political strategy over the military approach as yielding a good result.

He indicated that the policy had led to a decrease in local people’s support to perpetrators but better cooperation with the military, leading to the government’s successful control in some areas.

The Thung Yang Daeng model initiated recently in the Deep South has also contributed to peace restoration and will be expanded to 36 other districts, said Lt Gen Prakan.

According to him, the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) Region 4 is also having a talk with families of persons with different political stance so that they can reflect their demands. ISOC is also facilitating persons with arrest warrants in their petitions for justice in a hope to rebuild trust in government officials.

BANGKOK, 17 Nov 2014,  Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has called on all sides to eliminate conflicts and create unity. Meanwhile Deputy Defense Minister General Udomdej Sitabutr brushed aside concerns over political movements in the Northeastern Region.

According to General Udomdej, the overall the situation in the Northeastern region remains peaceful despite the presence of those who disagree with the administration's view. He said officials are currently monitoring the group.

The Deputy Defense Minister declined to comment on the National Council for Peace and Order’s recent decision to make an exception to the political gathering ban for political parties holding discussions regarding the charter drafting process, only saying that the Council must have taken security and unity matters into its consideration prior to making that decision.

General Udomdej also reaffirmed the Royal Thai Army's support for the government in the latter's efforts, citing as an example the army’s lending its personnel to aid operations of the Damrongtham Centers nationwide.

The Army is currently working with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in dealing with the illegal logging problems, the General added.

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