BANGKOK, 27 October 2014 - According to the Bank of Thailand (BOT), the Finance Ministry’s concept of extending ‘nano-finance’ loans to help the grassroots people would not increase the number of NPLs in the commercial banking system.

BOT spokesman Jirathep Seniwong na Ayutthaya revealed that under this concept, commercial banks would be issuing loans to non-bank lenders who will then pass these loans to their customers. Each non-bank lender is allowed a maximum credit of only 100,000 baht and must provide collateral as proof of their ability to repay the loans to prevent them from defaulting on their payments.

Nano-finance loans carry an interest rate of 36 percent, which is higher than the 28 percent rate of the ‘micro-finance’ loan concept offered by financial institutions. Nonetheless, the BOT believes that the nano-finance loans would allow low-income earners to have easier access to obtain credit and provide a level of added protection to consumers.

However, the nano-finance concept is not related to the reduction of debt but it would ensure fairness and transparency in the loan-lending process.

YALA, 27 October 2014  Police are going after 100 suspects in the Deep South, who allegedly are said to have coordinated the attacks in the region.

Security remains tight in Yala province to keep the situation under control. According to the report, the courts in the restive South have issued arrest warrants for 100 suspects who have been accused by authorities of instigating violence in the region.

Police also believe the suspects have led their teams in carrying out attacks in various locations.

Among them are Mr. Roh Ki Dollah, who has allegedly been involved in an explosion and a gun attack in Yala, Mr. Sa-u-dee Sta Poh for planting a bomb in Yaha district, and Mr. Hu-Bai-Dee-Lah Roh-Mue-Lee for the gun attack on a bus serving the route between Betong and Hat Yai.

BANGKOK, 26 October 2014  Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Thailand has shown interest in studying electricity generation from waste in Hod district in Chiang Mai as part of its effort to strengthening cooperation with developing countries through technological exchange.

PR Manager of GIZ in Thailand Siriphon Triphonrat said GIZ participated in the project on integrated resource management and planning for cities called “the Urban NEXUS” which was collaboration between the German government and Asian countries. The project would lead representatives of the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia to a landfill factory and a waste-to-energy power plant in Chiang Mai on 28 October 2014. They would later attend a meeting with the deputy mayor of Chiang Mai Municipality on the next day to learn about the province’s management of 300 tons of garbage a day and the factory’s handling of them, said Ms Siriphon.

The power plant can generate 2 kilowatts/hour of electricity each day for sale. 60% of heat from the electricity generation can be used to dry produce such as longan and konjac.

Minister of Transport Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong today discussed new measures to promote tourism with Mrs. Kobkarn Wattanawarangkul, Minister of Tourism and Sports.

Speaking after the meeting, the Transport Minister said three issues were discussed : publicizing the good image of Thai tourism among local and foreign tourists, tightening security measures for tourists on land, water and air transports, and promoting more tourism campaigns such as revival of tourism by train and biking tours.

According to the minister, the bicycle tour would be piloted in Bangkok before being expanded to areas along the Bangkok-Nakhon Nayok and Bangkok-Nakhon Pathom routes. Moreover, bicycle sub-lanes should be provided to connect main roads to inner communities.

The two ministers also discussed prevention of bodily assaults and all forms of intimidation on tourists, as well as money extortion at tourist spots. The two ministries are set to look into the insurance issue to ensure fair protection for tourists and at the same time promote effective communication tools and patrols by authorities in risky areas.

Touching on the problem of illegal cars and motorcycles rented to tourists by unscrupulous shops, Air Chief Marshal Prajin confirmed that strict inspection must be done on those shops. And by the end of this year, the government would announce an action plan in line with its tourism master plan.

BANGKOK, 23 October 2014  - According to the latest survey, the majority of Thais are most concerned over the growing pollution and other threats to the environment.

Major think-tank Pew Research Center has conducted a survey in 44 countries on which of the five dangers is considered the greatest threat to the world. After surveying more than 48,000 people, the group found that the answers vary depending on where they live.

Many in the Middle East said religious and ethnic hatred was the greatest threat, while Europeans tended to choose inequality. Africans are more concerned with AIDS and other infectious diseases and other countries chose the spread of nuclear weapons or pollution and environmental problems as the top danger.

In Thailand, 36 percent of respondents view pollution as the greatest threat and 29 percent identified the gap between rich and poor. The third biggest threat is AIDS and other infectious diseases.

The geographical clustering shows that countries’choices often reflect regional concerns as well as internal problems.

CHIANG MAI, 23 October 2014  - Chiang Mai municipality is set to organize the annual the Festival of Lights or Yi Peng during November 1-7.

The festival, held under the alcohol-free theme, will feature a krathong-making contest and beauty pageants. Locals are encouraged to don traditional costumes to welcome visitors.

Residents and tourists are urged to refrain from using firecrackers in crowded areas and also to exercise extra caution when launching sky lanterns after 9PM due to aviation safety concerns. Local authorities expect a revenue of 200 million baht to be generated from the events.

In Chiang Mai, the Loy Krathong celebration is known as Yi Peng, as the twelfth month in the Thai Lunar Calendar corresponds to the second month in the traditional calendar of the old northern Lanna kingdom.

BANGKOK, 24 October 2014  – The Thailand International Sports Expo 2014 began yesterday with plans to strengthen the sports industry in Thailand and ASEAN. 

AYUTTHAYA, 24 October 2014  – Mr. Prapat Panyachatiraksa, President of the National Farmers Council (NFC) chaired a brainstorming seminar on the structure and roles of NFC networks at district and subdistrict levels this morning, with over 2,000 farmers participating in, at Rajamangala University of Technology Suvarnabhumi Hantra Campus.

Mr. Prapat said that after one year of its establishment, the NFC has served as a coordinator between the government and farmers nationwide, raising the latter’s needs and desirable development plans to the attention of the government in order to receive proper government allocations.

Mr. Prapat, on this occasion, called on all sectors for cooperation and support to the NFC which has worked for the future of Thai farmers. The NFC compiles opinions of farmers for analysis and put them into academic reports aimed at developing agricultural careers, Mr. Prapat said.

He added today’s brainstorming seminar was the first ever held in Ayutthaya province. It not only allowed farmers to voice their opinions but also provided a stage to exchange ideas for further development of their careers.

BANGKOK, 23 October 2014 - Airport Link operator State Railway of Thailand Electrified Train (SRTET) is pushing ahead with the planned commercial development of plots of land around rail link stations. 

BANGKOK, 24 October 2014  – Mr. Suraphong Nillaphan, Executive Vice President of the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Co-Operatives (BAAC) revealed the BAAC was satisfied with the distribution of the 1,000-baht-per-rai aid to low-income farmers.

Since the package was launched on 20 October until 23 October (yesterday), around 200,000 out of the 3.4 million registered farmers have already received the money while the rest are expected to get theirs by November.

He also urged the farmers who have not yet received the subsidy to check their right by contacting a nearest Agricultural Extension office. If their right is confirmed, they can open bank accounts with the BAAC and wait for the money to be transferred into the accounts. The BAAC reiterated that the money would only be transferred to farmers who are eligible for the assistance.

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