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BANGKOK, 12 December 2014 - By royal command, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn left for Belgium yesterday to take part in a state funeral for Queen Fabiola, widow of King Baudouin.

The Bureau of the Royal Household said in an announcement last night that Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will represent His Majesty the King at the state funeral of Queen Fabiola which will take place at the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula in Brussels on 12 December 2014.

Her Royal Highness yesterday afternoon proceeded to Suvarnabhumi Airport to board a Thai Airways International airplane amidst a large number of well wishers seeing her off. Among them were members of the Cabinet, high ranking senior officials and military officers, representatives of the Thai Red Cross Society and village scouts.

The Bureau of the Royal Household said Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will return to Thailand on Saturday, 13 December, at 1.05 p.m.

Queen Fabiola passed away last Friday at the age of 86.

TRAT, 12 Dec 2014 - Deputy Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs Nuttavudh Photisaro has led a team of Foreign Ministry officials to observe the Thai-Cambodian border pass at Baan Tha Sen Village in Trat Province to look into a possibility of upgrading the border checkpoint.

Nuttavudh revealed that his visit followed an agreement between General Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Prime Minister, and his Cambodian counterpart during Gen Prayut’s visit to Cambodia in October this year, when the two leaders agreed to study ways to upgrade four border passes.

The four passes are those at Baan Thasen in Trat opposite Baan Tamorda in Bodhisat Province of Cambodia, Chong Arn-ma in Ubon Ratchathani opposite Chong-Aseh in Preah Vihear Province of Cambodia, Baan Khaodin in Sakeo opposite Cambodia’s Chong Phanomdai in Battambang Province, and Chong Sai-taku in Buriram opposite Chong Jupkoki in Oddar Meanchey province of Cambodia.

NAKHON PHANOM, 12 Dec 2014 - The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security is urgently pushing for the establishments of welfare centers for senior citizens whose number tends to increase significantly by 2027.

Minister of Social Development and Human Security Police General Adul Sangsingkeo yesterday visited the Social Welfare Development Center for Older Persons in the Tha Uthen District, Nakhon Phanom Province, to observe the well-being of senior citizens.

The Minister cited a survey as showing that a number of older persons in the northeastern region are either homeless or being abandoned by their relatives. The government has therefore set up the welfare center in Nakhon Phanom to look after them.

According to the Minister, the Government has a firm policy to prepare members of the public for the aging society. Among its projects, the government is training prototype volunteers to take care of the elderly, and is establishing additional care centers for senior citizens nationwide. Currently there are 878 district-level development centers for senior citizens. Similar centers at the Tambon (community) level will also be established, raising the number of such centers to 7,853 nationwide.

Pol Gen Adul said the move would help the Kingdom handle an estimated number of 16 million senior citizens by 2027.

BANGKOK, 12 December 2014 - Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn will visit the People’s Republic of China during 12 – 21 December 2014 to take more lessons on the traditional Chinese zither, Guzheng, in preparation for the royal performance at the 7th concert on “Two Lands One relationship”.

According to the Bureau of the Royal Household, Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn will take this opportunity to select Chinese dancing performances for the royal concert which will be held in Thailand. After China, Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn will pay a private visit to Japan.

Her Royal Highness will be leaving Suvarnabhumi Airport on Friday, 12 December, at 10.10 a.m. and return to Thailand on Friday, 26 December 2014 at 10.30 p.m.

BANGKOK, 12 Dec 2014,  Thailand's leading department store chains like Central and Robinson are ramping up their end of the year campaigns, aiming to boost sales by offering goods at discounted prices.

Marketing Senior Director of Robinson Department Store (Public) Company Limited Tham Jirathiwat revealed that his company has spent 80 million baht in its New Year sale campaign ‘Give the Perfect Gift’ which takes place from now until January 4th in all of its branches.

He said that Robinson also joins hands with the Ministry of Commerce organizing the Government’s New Year Gift to the People Campaign, offering 20-70% discounted items from December 24th - 30th. The goods being offered in this event include kitchenware, bedroom furniture, electrical appliances, and various New Year gift sets.

Meanwhile, Senior Vice-Chairman of the Marketing Department of the Central Department Store Company Limited Piyawan Lelasompob said that the company would hold 2 separate end of the year campaigns; one in the capital, and the other in branches in rural areas.

Ms. Piyawan estimated that the capital campaign, ‘Central Celebration in Bangkok’, a 250 million baht sales campaign which combines forces with Central World, Zen Department Store, Chidlom Central, and Central Embassy, as well as the latter's 650 million baht campaign for the provincial branches would generate no less than 12 billion baht of income during the period.

BANGKOK, 11 December 2014 - The temperature in upper Thailand is expected to drop by another 3-5 degrees Celsius this weekend, whereas the Southern Region is expected to see an increase in rainfall.

The Meteorological Department has reported that a high pressure area extending from China still blankets the North of Thailand, which makes for cold weather and morning fog. Another bout of relatively intense high pressure area will reach upper Thailand this weekend, meaning the temperature will drop by up to 3-5 degrees Celsius.

Meanwhile, the northeasterly monsoon prevailing over the Gulf of Thailand and the South is forecast to intensify. An increase in rainfall is expected over the Southern Region and over the Gulf of Thailand, from Nakhon Si Thammrat downward.

According to the weather bureau, Typhoon Hagupit, which has now weakened into a tropical storm, is expected to weaken further and dissipate once it reaches the coast of Vietnam. No effects on Thailand's weather are expected.

BANGKOK, 11 December 2014  -  Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on 10th December presided over the opening ceremony of the 2014 photographic exhibition of her work , at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center in Pathumwan district, Bangkok. The exhibition is being organized by the Royal Photographic Society of Thailand, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and the Bangkok Art and Culture Center.

It features 158 pictures taken by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn during royal visits to different places both in and out of Thailand from 2013 to 2014. The Princess told participants at the opening ceremony that this year’s exhibition was more interesting than in previous years in that it contains such pictures as the sky and stars taken through a telescope and also images taken through the scanning electron microscope which could magnify a small object by 40,000 times.

There are also pictures taken by unmanned aerial vehicles or drones. The Princess remarked that the new equipment could identify targets that otherwise could not be seen by the human eye. Books containing the exhibited photographs are also available for sale at the exhibition and at major bookstores at the price of 900.- baht a piece. Proceeds from the sale will go towards royal charity projects. The exhibition will continue until 8th March 2015.

Friday, 12 December 2014 14:35

Typhoon Hagupit will not affect Thailand

BANGKOK, 11 December 2014-The Meteorological Department has assured that tropical Typhoon ‘Hagupit’ will not have an impact on Thailand.

Thailand’s upper region will continue to experience colder weather until December 14th. as a high pressure system from China is extending beyond the Southern China Sea to the north of Thailand. The temperature is expected to drop 3-5 degrees Celsius.

More rain has been forecast in the southern provinces as the northeasterly wind is gaining strength over the Gulf of Thailand and down toward Nakhon Sri Thammarat and below, where waves could reach as high as 2-3 meters. According to the Department, Typhoon Hagupit will have weakened by the time it reaches Vietnamese coast, and will not cause climate changes in Thailand.

Friday, 12 December 2014 14:35

Minimum wage unchanged till the end of 2015

BANGKOK, 11 December 2014 - The National Wage Committee has decided not to not raise the minimum wage until late next year as the cost of living remains at a reasonable level.

According to Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Labor Mr. Nakorn Silapa-archa, the wage committee has resolved not to increase the daily minimum wage given that the inflation rate and the global oil prices have declined.

However, Mr. Nakorn, who is also the president of the National Wage Committee, said they would deliberate on an unofficial proposal from the labor union suggesting that the daily wage be increased to 321 baht. Another meeting will be held at the end of 2015 to consider the possibility of adjusting the wage again.

Following concerns of higher costs of living after the salaries of low ranking government officials have been increased, the Commerce Ministry will try to make everyday items more affordable for consumers, the Permanent Secretary said, adding that the prices of most products remain unchanged.

BANGKOK, 11 Dec 2014 - The Ministry of Commerce is proposing to the Cabinet to sell stockpiled rice to nations in Africa and the Middle East.

According to Commerce Minister General Chatchai Sarikalya, the ministry will propose a set of rice-exporting guidelines to the meeting of the national rice policy committee on December 19th. The proposed measures take into account the quality of the remaining rice in stock and seek to export them to a market suitable to their quality.

Recent inspections show that a large amount of the rice in stock is in a deteriorating condition, the Minister said, but affirmed that the Government would still use an auction in selling the grain as it was still a fair and transparent way for the business.

As for the two million tons of rice that would be sold to China, General Chatchai stated a sale agreement would be signed during the visit of Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang who would attend the GMS Summit in Thailand on December 19th-20th.

As for new markets, General Chatchai added that his ministry is planning an aggressive public relations campaign to penetrate markets in the Middle East and Africa. He clarified that Middle East countries demand a higher quality grain while a more humble quality rice is wanted in the African markets.

The Minister also mentioned more than 8.7 million tons of rice have been sold during the first 10 months of this year, a 62% jump year-on-year, bringing in a foreign exchange of about 4.3 million US dollars. Thailand’s major rice trading partners are the Benin Republic, Nigeria, China, Cote d'Ivoire, South Africa, and Cameroon.

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