LONDON, ENGLAND, 14 October 2014  The UK Foreign Office has requested the Thai charge d’affaires for an inquiry about the murder case of two British tourists in Koh Tao.

British Foreign Office Minister Mr. Hugo Swire has expressed his concerns regarding the case and has called for Mr. Natthawat Krisanamara, the Thai charge d’affaires, to give a clarification about how the case has been handled.

Mr. Swire has requested that the investigation be carried out transparently and the Thai police perform their duties with integrity. At the same time, he also said that the British police would be willing to provide any means of assistance for the investigation as well.

Last week, the Thai police pressed charges against two Burmese workers for the gruesome murder of Mr. David Miller, 24, and Ms. Hannah Witheridge whose bodies were discovered on September 15th, 2014 on the tourist island of Koh Tao.

Although both workers confessed that they were responsible for the murder and the Thai police claimed that their DNA matched those found on the bodies, many people are still not convinced that the workers were the real culprits, saying they have been made scapegoats.

BANGKOK, 14 October 2014  Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will attend a cabinet meeting today to acknowledge the progress of the agricultural zoning for rice farming and other important matters such as one related to southern security.

According to the report, Deputy Prime Minister for Security General Prawit Wongsuwan is expected to propose to the cabinet the appointment of former Secretary General of the National Security Council Thawil Pliensri as head of the advisory team on security for the Deep South.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister General Anupong Paojinda will be presenting a report on agricultural zoning to the Prime Minister. His report will be focused on the suitability of farmlands for rice growing both within and beyond the reach of the irrigation system.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives is also planning to propose a budget of 2 billion baht to be spent on the dredging of more waterways.

BANGKOK, 14 October 2014 The Office of the Ombudsman is holding an academic seminar entitled ‘Overhauling the National Education System’ on October 14, so that all relevant parties in the educational field can collectively generate a more effective model of educational reform in line with the government’s policy, said Mr. Raksagecha Chaechai, the Office Deputy Secretary-General and Spokesman. According to him, the seminar is initiated by Ombudsman Prof. Siracha Charoenpanij, adding that education development is part of Ombudsman’s responsibilities since it is significant to the development of the whole nation.

The main objective of the seminar is to brainstorm all possible means to enhance overall the quality of education and teachers as well as learners in response to the ongoing decline in the nation's education quality. Over 50 concerned parties will attend the seminar, including academics, experts, specialists, and authorities in the education sector, which include executives from the Education Ministry, the National Reform Council on Education, the Board of Director of universities and schools, Education Reform Assembly, Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI), Director General of Department of Provincial Administration and governors as well as other of relevant personnel.

Mr. Raksagecha said the agendas to be discussed in the seminar range from legislative amendment, the structure of education administration, curriculum, human resources management system to the decentralization of the educational administration. The brainstorm is expected to lead to a more effective and practical model of educational overhaul.

NAN, 14 October 2014  As Nan province is entering the cold season, thick blankets of fog in the early mornings are causing visibility problems for motorists.

Nan is considered one of the provinces full of natural tourism locations and unique cultural traditions that attract many tourist groups, especially during the cold season from November to February.

Due to the cold season, thick fog has reduced the visibility level to 50-100 meters in the mornings. Commuters are advised to travel with caution to prevent any accidents from occurring since most of the province’s geographical landscapes are mountainous areas. The huge amount of visitors to the province has also added to the problem, increasing the likelihood of accidents.

As for the weather condition in Nan especially during the night time, temperatures may drop to 16-23 degrees Celsius at mountain tops or high-level areas. During day time, however, the ground-level weather conditions would see temperatures hovering between 24-28 degrees Celsius.

YALA, 12 October 2014  The Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre (SBPAC) will install ‘hi-met’ or ‘height mast’ electricity poles in urban communities in the deep South in hopes of reducing chances of violence in the region.

Mr. Phanu Uthairat, SBPAC Secretary- General said the project is a joint project of the SBPAC, the Provincial Electricity Authority and the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC). Under the project, 34 additional height masts will be initially installed in 9 urban communities.

More lights are expected to help reduce the risk of crimes and violence in the far South as well as establish peace of mind and vitality for those living in the southernmost region. Consequently, all the three units have worked together to determine the best locations for new Hi-mets, said Mr. Phanu.

34 height-masts will be installed in nine urban areas as follows: five each for the districts of Muang Yala, Muang Pattani, Muang Narathiwat, and Su-ngai Kolok. Four each for the districts of Yaha, Sai Buri and three each in the districts of Rue-so and Raman.

BANGKOK, 12 October 2014  Thai and foreign tourists swarm into the northern province of Chiang Rai as winter is about to arrive. There are musical performances and food fairs organized on the province’s main walking street to attract tourists.

Deputy mayor of the Chiang Rai municipality Bang-on Malidin said the municipality was preparing to organize the 11th flower fair and the 2015 Thin Thai Ngam beauty pageant this high season to stimulate the province’s tourism. There would be many more festivals and tourism events to take place in winter this year for tourists to enjoy, said Ms. Bag-on.

From 13-16 October, temperatures in Chiang Rai are expected to drop by 3-5 degrees Celsius, resulting in cold weather and strong winds. The lowest temperature is forecast to be 17-22 degrees Celsius.

BANGKOK, 13 October 2014  A member of the National Reform Council has pledged a determination to achieve legal reform that will help rid Thailand of corruption.

Admiral Pajun Tamprateep, one of the 250 NRC members, told reporters that he feels Thailand is being heavily plagued by corruption at the hands of civil servants, the military, the police and politicians who have been exploiting their authority for their own benefits.

Admiral Pajun said that the situation has made it necessary for Thailand to have more stringent laws to eliminate what he called a vicious cycle and, in order to succeed, fast and strong punishments for those involved in corruption will also be needed.

When asked if he may join the Constitution Drafting Committee, Admiral Pajun said that he has not been invited by anyone to join the process and it will be up to the NRC as a team to decide who will representing them in the drafting process.

BANGKOK, 13 October 2014  His Majesty the King developed a high fever before the weekend but his temperature cooled down after new antibiotics was administered.

The sixth announcement concerning the royal stay at Siriraj Hospital issued by the Bureau of the Royal Household said the team of doctors tending His Majesty the King decided to change the antibiotics administered to him intravenously after he developed a higher fever on Friday afternoon. The result of new antibiotics was satisfactory as His Majesty’s temperature returned to normal on Friday night.

The doctors also expressed satisfaction over His Majesty’s recovery from an operation to remove an infected gallbladder on October 5. They said His Majesty no longer felt abdominal pain when he moved his body.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of the Royal Household also issued the sixth announcement concerning Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn’s condition after being treated for stomach inflammation and pancreatitis related to the systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) at Vichaiyuth Hospital on Sep 4.

The statement said the doctors on Saturday declared Her Royal Highness safe after a period of treatment and allowed her to leave the hospital for recuperation. The Princess on October 11 left for Pimanmas Palace in the Sattahip naval base, in Chonburi Province.

The statement also said that during her stay at the hospital, Her Royal Highness had learned with appreciations the concerns expressed for her by ambassadors, officials, monks and people from all walks of life, and would like to thank all those well wishers through this announcement.

BANGKOK, 13 October 2014  The Acting Traffic Police Chief has warned his subordinates to discontinue the campaign to reward 10,000 baht to traffic police who catch motorists red-handed for bribery attempts.

Acting Metropolitan Police Chief Pol. Maj. Gen. Sriwara Rangsiphrammanakul has ordered to put a halt on the campaign, saying that it does not tackle the root cause of corruption problems in the police organization. He also said that the traffic police has not set a clear budget for this campaign and will have to listen to opinions from all sides for approval.

Therefore, he has submitted a letter to Deputy Metropolitan Police Chief Pol. Maj. Gen. Adul Narongsak, who is the person that initiated this campaign, to shelve the project.

Pol. Maj. Gen. Sriwara has also requested all the police officers to perform their duties transparently and enforce the rule of law fairly without giving special privileges to certain people. Motorists have also been advised to abide by the traffic laws.

BANGKOK, 10 October 2014  Heads of government units, state enterprises and private companies, both in Bangkok and the provinces, turned up in large number at Siriraj Hospital on Thursday (Oct 9) to sign get-well books, wishing for His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s speedy recovery.

The Siriraj 100 Years Pavilion in Siriraj Hospital was yesterday crowded with well wishers, both Thai and foreign, dignitaries and commoners alike. They included high-ranking officials, groups of teachers and students, provincial governors, bankers, members of the armed forces, actors and actresses, and village scouts.

Among those people, the ambassador of Bhutan, Mr Kesang Wangdi, brought the royal vase of flowers from King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck of Bhutan to His Majesty the King and then signed a get-well message. Following suit was the ambassador of Brazil, Mr. Gilberto Fonseca Guimar?es de Moura.

The afternoon saw more key public figures such as Police General Adul Sangsingkeo, the Minister of Social Development and Human Security; executive members, production teams and artists of Television Channel 3; the 2013 batch of student officials of the National Defense College; and Director-General of the Government Public Relations Department Apinan Chantarangsi and high-ranking officials of the Department.

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