SAMUT SAKHON, 29 July 2015 - Fishing operators in the gulf province of Samut Sakhon have affirmed full cooperation with government regulations to tackle the industry's problems.

The statement was made by the Samut Sakhon Fishery Association, following the US decision to maintain Thailand's Tier 3 ranking on its human trafficking list. The Association claimed the sector would cooperate with government efforts to combat illegal fishing, as well as illegal labor and human trafficking endemic to the industry.

However, some operators continued fishing activities, despite a fishing ban in the upper Gulf of Thailand from June to July. The ban was put in place due to dwindling marine life from overfishing. The Gulf will be reopened to commercial fishing next month.

BANGKOK, 29 July 2015 - In another step towards stronger ties, Thailand and Myanmar have agreed to exempt visitors to each other’s country from visa requirements.

According to the Royal Thai Embassy in Yangon, the governments of Thailand and Myanmar have recently signed an agreement aimed at facilitating visits by the nationals of the two countries in preparation for the emergence of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

Beginning from August 11, Thai and Burmese holders of ordinary passports will be allowed to enter and stay in each other’s country for up to 14 days without a visa. At this stage the deal applies only to those entering either country through an international airport.

Prior to the 11th August visa exemption, Thai people still need to apply for a visa at the Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Application fees vary, depending on the urgency of applicants' travel plans.

BANGKOK, 29 July 2015 - The Office of Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is proposing a restoration project for inner areas of Bangkok ahead of the 250th anniversary celebration of Bangkok as the capital city in 2032.

The Department of City Planning, and the Urban Design and Development Center (UddC) are currently hosting an exhibition that reveals details of the plan to the public.

People are invited to visit Kbank Siam Pic-Ganesha Theater until August 2nd to see the exhibition.

The project is aimed at improving the landscape of 17 districts and restoring riverside areas along the Chao Praya River from Kadeejeen and Khlongsan.

The UDDC Director, Dr. Niramon Kulasrisombut, says that visitors will learn more about the project and what will have been achieved after the project is completed.

BANGKOK, 29 July 2015 - Heavy rain in the Northeast has brought down trees and damaged a dyke.

In Yasothon province, vehicles have been damaged by large trees and billboards brought down by heavy rain and strong winds. Meanwhile, the large amount of water has caused a 10-meter long crack in the dyke in Nakhon Phanom following weeks of rainfall.

Repairs are now underway to restore the dyke. Ferry operators in Bungkan have been told to be extra cautious when traveling across the Mekhong River as the currents are still strong. Several embankment areas have reportedly been eroded by the river.

The higher amount of precipitation has, however, brought good news to Kalasin residents. Water in Lam Pao dam and 18 others in Kalasin have now been replenished, enabling the PROVINCIAL Irrigation Office to release 4 million cubic meters of water a day into the streams to help farmers, who have already begun to grow rice in more than 296,000 rais of rice fields.

BANGKOK, 29 July 2015 - The Ministry of Transport has revealed that the construction project for a high-speed train between Bangkok and Chiang Mai province has made significant progress.

Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said the 672-km high-speed railway is a collaborative effort between Thailand and Japan.

The island country has hired a construction company to provide additional design advice to the existing blueprint made by the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning.

Mr. Arkhom said Japan is placing great emphasis on safety, as it will be the first time a railway system outside of the country is being modeled after the Shinkansen.

Japan is suggesting that it be built as an extension to the regular railway. The Transport Minister admitted that it would change plans for land expropriation.

Another meeting over the speed railway development will be held in Japan late next month. The complete construction plan is expected to be completed and ready for Cabinet approval in June next year. Construction will begin approximately in two years.

BANGKOK, 29 July 2015 - Japanese businessmen in Thailand said they believed the Thai economy would improve in the latter half of this year due to the government’s economic stimulus and acceleration of budget disbursement by government units.

Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) President and Chief Representative for ASEAN and South East Asia Masayasu Hosumi has revealed in a recent interview that the overall performance of Japanese businesses was not doing well during the first 6 months of this year.

Mr. Hosumi added that the performance declined by 4% when compared to the second half of last year due to declining spending of the Thai public. However, he believed that the situation would pick up later this year.

He expected a business growth of as much as 20% as a result of higher confidence in the Thai government’s stimulus measures. Car exports are also expected to do better in the second half after an export figure for June showed a negative growth as old models were being replaced.

JETRO is urging the Thai government to quickly implement economic stimulus measures, improve basic infrastructure in Bangkok and its vicinity and remove certain restrictions to allow migrants to start a business as well as maintain the Thai currency’s stability.

BANGKOK, 29 July 2015, The Sheikhul Islam Office, Ramkhamhaeng University, and Islamic-related networks yesterday held a seminar on teaching His Majesty the King's Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy among minority Islamic groups in Thailand and other ASEAN member nations.

According to Sheikhul Islam of Thailand Aziz Phitakkumpon, the revered philosophy would reduce the number of violent incidents in the Deep South. He said that Islamic lifestyles may be foreign to the larger community, as Islam is a minority religion in Thailand. Mr. Aziz said that people must be well informed of Islamic beliefs, in order create a peaceful atmosphere for all.

Meanwhile, Ramkhamhaeng University Rector Wuttisak Lapcharoensap echoed the spiritual leader's opinion, saying the seminar paves the way for all to co-exist in the multifaith ASEAN community.

CHIANG MAI, 29 July 2015 - The 8th Meeting of Thailand-Myanmar Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JC) in Chiang Mai has concluded satisfactorily.

Foreign Minister General Tanasak Patimapragorn and his Burmese counterpart Wunna Maung Lwin co-chaired the meeting that was aimed at strengthening bilateral relations in various areas.

At the meeting, Thailand and Myanmar reaffirmed their commitment to tighten bilateral cooperation in all aspects, particularly in driving the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by placing the peoples of ASEAN at the center.

U Wunna Maung Lwin also conveyed Myanmar people's wishes for good health and happiness for Their Majesties the King and Queen of Thailand.

The Minister indicated that Myanmar people were ready to welcome Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn who is scheduled to visit Myanmar this October.

CHAI NAT, 29 July 2015 - Royal Irrigation Department Director-General Lertwiroj Gowattana visited Chai Nat, to inspect canal dredging operations aimed at opening more space for water storage in the province.

The dredging operations are being conducted at two swamps in Han Kha District. Officials are also digging small canals around the swamps to facilitate distribution of water to farmlands. Mr. Lertwiroj said the operation is part of the government's anti-drought policy providing urgent assistance to farmers affected by severe drought conditions. His visit to the province is expected to speed up the dredging process, and ensure a thorough access to water for drought victims.

The operations will increase the water-storing capacity of the two swamps in Han Kha District, in preparation for the rainy season which is expected to arrive next month.

BANGKOK, 29 July 2015  The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has expressed its belief that there is no need for digital TV broadcasters to close down, as their viewership continues to grow. 

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