SAMUT PRAKAN, 9 April 2014 – Officials have the fire at Phraekkasa landfill in Samut Prakan under control and are maintaining vigilance as the hot weather continues to favor a new round of ignition.

Pollution Control Department officials used chemical fire extinguishers to put out the flames at Phraekkasa landfill in Mueang district, Samutprakan on Tuesday. Just last month, blazes at the landfill filled the air in the vicinity with smoke and prompted the evacuation of hundreds of households.

On Tuesday, officials determined from air quality tests that harmful sulfur dioxide was not present in the air. However, they said another fire may erupt from underneath the trash pile because there was still heat and methane present. The Phraekkasa sub-district administrative organization has been asked to ready its fire engines for putting out any new blazes that might break out at the landfill.

The public can make inquiries about pollution or report pollution problems at hotline number 1650.

BANGKOK, 9 April 2014  – The United States has handed a letter to the Thai government expressing grave concern over the political situation and the possibility of a power grab.

US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel R. Russel and US Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney attended a meeting with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at the Ministry of Defense on Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said after attending the meeting that the US delegation handed a letter from US Secretary of State John Kerry, which expressed concern over the political situation in Thailand, to Ms. Yingluck.

Mr. Surapong added that the US was especially against a military coup or seizure of power. The US was also worried over the effects the problems in Thailand would have on ASEAN as a whole, as Thailand was unable to initiate any new policies in the multilateral arena due to the caretaker status of the government.

BANGKOK, 8 April 2014 – Residents living in the surrounding areas of the Praekkasa landfill have requested the governor of Samut Prakan to permanently close down the dump site following repeated fire incidents.

About 100 locals previously affected by garbage fires at the Praekkasa ground today gathered in front of the Samut Prakan City Hall to call on Governor Kanit Iamrahong to clarify the province’s measures to prevent recurrences of the fires. The governor then invited the group to a meeting to listen to their suggestions.

The troubled residents reportedly expressed their wish for a permanent shutdown of the Praekkasa landfill. They also claimed that a number of people in affected communities had not been given their compensation by the province.

In response, Governor Kanit explained that the Praekkasa Tambon Administrative Organization was the agency empowered to make a decision whether or not to close down the dump site as demanded. A committee will be set up to study ways to deal with this matter while the locals will be allowed to become part of the panel so as to make their voices heard.

As for the rehabilitation process, representatives from the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security noted that only the affected residents who had to reside at the evacuation center during the fires were entitled to financial compensation; the rest had been given assistance in the form of relief packages. So far, around 70 evacuees have been compensated at the rate of 2,000 baht each.

BANGKOK, 8 April 2014  -A Pheu Thai Spokesman Prompong Nopparit has requested the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) prosecute Suthep Thaugsuaban, the leader of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) on charges of insurrection. 

BANGKOK, 8 April 2014 - Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has ordered Deputy Minister of Defense Gen.Yuthasak Sasiprapha to be in charge of solutions to the southern unrest after recent explosions in Yala. The Ministry of Interior has been tasked with providing compensation for the victims. 

BANGKOK, 7 April 2014  —The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has conducted a poll to survey Thais on a range of issues including questions about where people are travelling for the Songkran Festival as well as how people plan to watch the upcoming World Cup in Brazil.

The poll asked 1,800 respondents, comprised of 600 accommodation owners, along with 1,200 other people in six major tourist attractions of Thailand: Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Cholburi, Khon Kaen, Chiangmai, and Songkla.

The survey, conducted during 1-8 March 2014, found that people mostly plan to travel during April (86.5%), and the top-three favorite places are Chiangmai (10.7%), Phuket (6.4%), and Cholburi (6.4%).

The top three popular places to go for the Thai New Year celebration are Pattaya (28.3%), Bangkok’s Khao San Road (22.9%), and Chiang Mai’s moat (15.5%). Most people who are travelling in May plan to go during the National Labor Day (1 May) and Coronation Day (5 May).

Moreover, 79.2% of accommodation providers expect the tourism atmosphere to be robust during the Songkran Festival, and 53.7% said that they expect the atmosphere to be bustling during the long holidays in May. However, 46.3% believe that the atmosphere will continue to be dull due to the low season among foreign tourists, Thailand’s sluggish economy and the prolonged political unrest.

The poll also asked about the upcoming World Cup that will be held in Brazil from June 12 to July 13. Almost 60% of respondents said they will watch the matches live, 39.5% said they planned to watch at their friend’s house, 35% at restaurants, and 23.5% at outdoor activity squares. 65.7% of operators answered that they still do not have any plan for the World Cup, but 18.7% will extend closing time for restaurants or hotels’ pubs, and 13.3% will hold activity centers in hotels.

The TAT firmly believes that prominent cultural events, including the Songkran Festival, serve as a significant magnet that attracts tourists and that Thai tourists will travel to the beaches during the long holidays in May.

BANGKOK, 7 April 2014,  - The national reserves at the end of March stood at 167 billion USD, or 5.453 trillion baht, thanks to the baht exhibiting signs of stability, the slowdown in capital outflow, and the increase in cash circulation in the local economy.

According to the Bank of Thailand (BoT), the currency forward trading in March was worth 2.33 billion USD, a drop of 100 million USD from the previous week’s 2.34 billion USD, adding that the nation's international reserves stood at 191 billion USD when taking the forward trading value into account.

The fact that the central bank did not interfere with the baht value has contributed to the reserves’ stability; on that note, the steady value of the baht suggests that the effect on capital outflow caused by the adjusted benchmark rate of the Federal Reserve had dissipated.

The baht is expected to trade between 32.50 - 32.52 baht per one Us dollar today.

BANGKOK, 6 April 2014  - Bangkok is the best-value tourism city for the upcoming Songkran holidays when compared to three other popular tourist destinations in Thailand, according to TripAdvisor, the world's largest travel site. 

BANGKOK, 7 April 2014  – The Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) has revealed that Thai garment companies are being commissioned to produce outfits for ten football teams competing in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. 

BANGKOK, 6 April 2014 -- The Erawan Emergency Center of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has prepared more than 40 medical teams to deal with possible emergency situations from political rallies.

Thousands and thousands of pro-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship members have staged their rally at Utthayan Road in Buddhamonthon, an eastern suburb of Bangkok, while anti-government supporters of the People's Democracy Reform Committee have gathered in the heart of Bangkok.

Concerns have been raised over more political violence during the rallies of the two opposite groups. Since November 30 of last year, 21 people have been killed and 734 injured from political melees in Bangkok and its vicinity.

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