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BANGKOK, 16 November 2014 - Army Commander-in-Chief Gen. Udomdet Sitabutr has expressed no concern over political movements in the northeastern region despite those who voiced their disagreement with the government. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha has urged Thai people to help reduce conflicts in the country and create reconciliation.

Gen. Udomdet on Sunday said the overall political situation in the northeastern region was peaceful and confirmed the government had it under control. Regarding the requests that the government allows political parties to organize activities, the army chief said he could not make a decision on the matter. National security and reconciliation must be considered when deciding whether to lift the ban on political gatherings, he added.

The army chief reiterated that the army always supported the government’s work such as projects to solve problems of low-income people. Another important task of the army was to prevent deforestation in cooperation with the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, said Gen. Udomdet.

TRANG, 16 November 2014 - The Trang Provincial Center of Skill Development has launched the first Bahasa- Melayu language course to enhance the language competency of Thai workers ahead of the AEC in 2015.

Director of the centre Chulalak Wongpreechakorn explained the Bahasa-Melayu is promoted in the province because it is an official language of Malaysia, the country sharing its border with Trang.

The foreign language courses have been supported by the Department of Skill Development in response to a wide concern among local business enterprises that Thai workers lack foreign language skill which could be the main obstacle for them to compete in the AEC’s labor market.

BANGKOK, 16 November 2014 - The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has set plans to establish markets of high quality agricultural products in all 77 provinces. The markets target the middle class who have high purchasing power.

Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Pitiphong Phuengbun Na Ayutthaya said he had asked provincial governors and the private sector in the 77 provinces to find locations for the markets in city areas or government places. There would be one market in each province to trade high quality agricultural products with Good Agricultural Practices, Good Manufacturing Practices and Q Mark. At the markets, farmers would sell their produce to consumers directly. This way, they would sell their produce at good prices and had higher profits since there were no middlemen, said the minister.

On 28 November 2014, the ministry will open the markets in five pilot provinces, including Trang, Amnat Charoen, Nakhon Nayok, Mukdahan and Uttaradit. The ministry has set a target to establish the markets in all 77 provinces by the end of this year.

PATTANI, 16 November 2014 - Fourth Army Area Commander Lt Gen Prakan Cholayuth said he believed the chronic violence in the South of Thailand would be addressed to a certain extent in one year’s time. He cited the government’s policy of placing greater emphasis on political strategy over the military approach as yielding a good result.

He indicated that the policy had led to a decrease in local people’s support to perpetrators but better cooperation with the military, leading to the government’s successful control in some areas.

The Thung Yang Daeng model initiated recently in the Deep South has also contributed to peace restoration and will be expanded to 36 other districts, said Lt Gen Prakan.

According to him, the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) Region 4 is also having a talk with families of persons with different political stance so that they can reflect their demands. ISOC is also facilitating persons with arrest warrants in their petitions for justice in a hope to rebuild trust in government officials.

BANGKOK, 17 Nov 2014,  Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has called on all sides to eliminate conflicts and create unity. Meanwhile Deputy Defense Minister General Udomdej Sitabutr brushed aside concerns over political movements in the Northeastern Region.

According to General Udomdej, the overall the situation in the Northeastern region remains peaceful despite the presence of those who disagree with the administration's view. He said officials are currently monitoring the group.

The Deputy Defense Minister declined to comment on the National Council for Peace and Order’s recent decision to make an exception to the political gathering ban for political parties holding discussions regarding the charter drafting process, only saying that the Council must have taken security and unity matters into its consideration prior to making that decision.

General Udomdej also reaffirmed the Royal Thai Army's support for the government in the latter's efforts, citing as an example the army’s lending its personnel to aid operations of the Damrongtham Centers nationwide.

The Army is currently working with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in dealing with the illegal logging problems, the General added.

BANGKOK, 17 Nov 2014, The Engineering Institute of Thailand under HM the King’s Patronage (EIT) has urged the Government to reform the security in the transportation sector, proposing 6 policies for its consideration.

Referring to the record compiled over the past 5 years, the EIT pointed out that there were 2,768 accidents at rail track junctions, 2,109 injuries, 659 deaths, while indicating that 2013’s road accidents caused 578,490 injuries and 6,834 deaths. The EIT said the figures signified a serious flaw in the safety measures in Thailand’s transportation sector.

To remedy the situation, the institute thus proposed that the Government consider implementing 6 measures as follows: All agencies offering public transportation services must plan and implement safety measures in accordance with international standards; barricades at various intersections must be erected; sufficient budget should be provided for related unit to inspect and ensure road safety; the Government should emphasize and promote transportation safety measures, and lend its support to researches and review road safety measures regularly, the EIT added.

Finally, the institute recommended that the Government erect visible accident warning signs, and increase penalties for those who cause accidents.

BANGKOK, 17 Nov 2014 - General Prayuth Chan-o-cha will pay a familiarization trip to Malaysia on December 1st and is expected to sign of a cooperation agreement to promote a peace dialogue aimed at resolving the violence problem in southern Thailand.

According to Major General Weerachon Sukhonthapatipak, a member of the Government Spokesman’s team, General Prayut would visit Malaysia as part of his official tour of ASEAN countries in his capacity as the new Prime Minister of Thailand, and would take this opportunity to reinforce bilateral cooperation.

He said that the Thai Prime Minister will discuss with Malaysian counterpart Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on peace dialogues between the Thai government and separatist groups, which had been put on hold since last year due to the political strife. Malaysia played the role of facilitator in the previous dialogues.

The Government Spokesperson also clarified that December 1st has been chosen for the trip as it is the earliest convenience date for both the Prime Ministers. He added that details of the visit are being worked out between the two governments.

Saturday, 15 November 2014 13:42

Surat Thani braces for rough weather

SURAT THANI, 14 November 2014 -The Surat Thani province is preparing to brace the rough weather conditions due to the monsoon winds.

The Surat Thani governor Chatpong Chatputi has revealed that the province has received weather advisory from the Thai Meteorological Department (TMD) regarding the weather condition caused by monsoon winds.

According to the TMD, the north-easterly wind that has covered the Gulf of Thailand and the southern region will continue to grow stronger, resulting in more rains in the area with a high tide in the Gulf of Thailand during 13-16 November 2014.

The Surat Thani governor said that the province is prepared for the floods, storms, landslides, and high tides that will occur during this time. The province has ordered every district and related agencies to provide a task force to provide 24 hour situation reports in the designated areas.

The responsible agencies and the staff were asked to carry out the district-level disaster prevention and mitigation plan and to report the provincial officers immediately should a situation arise, said the Surat Thani governor.

RATCHABURI, 14 Nov 2014 - Cattle raisers have voiced concern about the government’s urge for off-season farming suspension in provinces along the Chao Phraya River and the Mae Klong River, saying that the cost of cattle feed could be higher due to the shortage of hay.

Cattle raisers explained hay was the major ingredient of cattle feed as it was cheaper than other ingredients, such as corn, pineapple, and fresh grass. They added that the suspension of rice farming until April, 2015 could lead to a critical shortage of hay, forcing the hay price and other costs to go up.

Cattle raisers are stockpiling haystacks and enlarging their storage facilities to cope with the lack of hay, which they predict might last for a year.

They called on the government for help, saying that cattle raisers had never received assistance or compensation from any public agency at all.

BUENG KAN, 14 November 2014 -  Tourism attractions in Bueng Kan province have been ranked on the top-ten list in the tourism calendar of the Thailand Tourism Authority (TAT), said the provincial governor. 

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