BANGKOK, 7 December 2013 – Singapore, after 9 years, has decided to lift the ban of Thai chicken imports allowing Thai frozen chicken into the country once again.
According to the Commerce Ministry, Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry has decided to lift the suspension of Thai chicken, after banning it 9 years ago following the deadly avian flu outbreak. Singapore is a potential market for Thailand as it imports 250 million US dollars worth of frozen chicken a year.
The cancellation of Thai chicken ban by Singapore creates good image for Thai chicken as the move could attract other importers as well.
The Commerce Minister however said Thai chicken exporters could face a fierce competition in the world market, while urging them to focus more on processed chicken products.
Organizers have confirmed that this year’s New Year celebrations will go ahead as planned despite the continuation of political demonstrations in the capital.
The countdown festivities at Central World has over the years become a major touristy draw attracting over 20 million visitors during the period and generating over 18 billion baht in revenue.
Leading event organizer Index Creative Village has said that the company's events, including New Year countdown parties at Central World and in Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, Hat Yai and Chiang Mai, will not be disrupted by political conflicts in the country.
Other organizers have said that a number of concerts and fairs planned for this month have been delayed to next year as concerns about safety persist. Many concerts from Thai Ticket Major, such as the BoydKo Family Christmas Together, Big Mountain Music Festival and Overcoat Music Festival, are still scheduled to take place as long as protests remain in limited areas without violence. The Red Bull Singha Race of Champions 2013, originally scheduled for the Rajamangala National Stadium from December 14-15, has recently been cancelled however.
In addition to the main countdown event at Ratchaprasong intersection, the Tourism Authority of Thailand will lend its support to host the “Amazing Thailand Countdown 2014” in seven major tourist destinations, such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Songkhla and Phuket, from December 25 to January 1, 2014.
The “New Year Celebration Prayers – A Traditional Thai Buddhist Ritual” will also be organized on December 31 to give locals and visitors the chance to make merit on New Year’s Eve at the Temple of Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University in Ayutthaya. Visitors can partake in reciting the ancient prayers that mark the passing of the year.
Meanwhile, authorities are cracking down on overpriced gift baskets and out-of-date goods sold during the festive period. The Department of Internal Trade (DIT) is stepping up inspections of New Year’s gift baskets in order to ensure fairness for consumers. The inspection began early this month and will be concluded by the end of the New Year festival.
BANGKOK, 6 December 2013 - Deputy Commerce Minister Yanyong Phuangrach expressed concerns that various projects of the government, including the rice mortgage scheme, would be interrupted should Parliament be dissolved.
Mr. Yanyong revealed that at the moment the effects of the political turmoil on exports cannot be determined yet, as most of the export orders are placed 3 months in advance. He however said as long as the country's logistic system is still functional, the export sector should remain relatively safe.
Mr. Yanyong also extended his concerns over the currently low investor confidence, saying foreign investors might decide to pull out their capital which would create huge impact on the manufacturing sector, particularly the automobile, electrical appliance and electronic parts industries.
He speculated that investors might have doubts over the stability of the government and its ability to continue with its major projects, especially the 350-billion-baht water and flood management project and the 2.2-trillion-baht infrastructure overhaul project.
Moreover, the deputy minister expressed his opinion that if Parliament was dissolved or the Prime Minister resigned, several policies, such as the rice pledging program, would have to be put on hold. He said should the predicament take place, prices of rice would plummet, and so would the prices of other crops.
BANGKOK, 7 December 2013 – The cold weather in the North and Northeast is having varying effects on inhabitants in the two regions, with the tourism scene in Chiang Rai clearly benefiting from the cold weather; meanwhile, people living in the mountains in several provinces have to combat the low temperature through various means.
Teachers have decided to arrange physical exercises for students at Ban Khun Nam Khap in Chattrakan district, Phitsanulok to keep them warm in the mornings. Most of the students are hilltribes children who have inadequate winter gear despite living high up in the mountains. Officials said there were more districts at risk of 'cold disasters' in Phitsanulok this year than in the past.
In Amnat Charoen province, authorities said they would declare 7 districts as cold-hit areas after the mercury dropped rapidly, afflicting numerous locals with respiratory illnesses.
Some parts of Thailand are experiencing colder weather than they did the previous year. The low temperature is affecting not only the human inhabitants in Nakhon Sawan, but also the monkeys at Kriang Krai Klang Temple. The cold-struck monkeys have been seen bathing in the sun during the day, and staying near the fires set for them by monks in the temple at night.
In Chiang Rai City, municipal workers have re-decorated parts of the city with flowers usually found in colder countries, such as tulips and lilies. The flowery scene downtown is scheduled to last until January 20. Visitors to the province can also experience the Music in the Park festival until then.
BANGKOK, 7 December 2013 – The US Pacific Commander and the US ambassador have met with Thai Premier Yingluck Shinawatra, expressing concerns over the current political turmoil in Thailand.
BANGKOK, 7 December 2013 – Amnat Charoen Province is set to declare its 7 districts cold spell disaster zones after the temperature has dropped to 15-16 degree Celsius.
The temperature in Amnat Charoen has dropped to 15-16 degrees Celsius, causing a number of locals to come down with respiratory diseases. To make matters worse, a lot of people living in the countryside are poor and in need of winter clothing and blankets. The provincial governor is, therefore, seeking a budget for the purchase of blankets for those people. The governor is also keen on declaring 7 districts of Amnat Charoen cold spell disaster zones.
Some locals in Amnat Charoen have been seen outside their homes in the morning and the evening making bonfires to keep themselves warm, while some people gather outside to do aerobic exercises.
In the meantime, local doctors have issued warnings, urging those who buy used clothes to boil them for 5-10 minutes before wearing them in order to prevent themselves from catching contagious diseases that might come with the clothes.
BANGKOK, 6 December 2013 - In order to closely monitor the political situation in the country, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has decided to cancel all her 3 overseas trips planned for next week.
According to Government spokesman Teerat Ratanasevi, the premier earlier planned to visit Russia on December 8-9, and to attend the opening ceremony of the SEA games in Nya Piw Taw, Myanmar on December 11th . However, she has assigned a minister to attend the events on her behalf.
The Prime Minister has also cancelled her planned trip to Tokyo to attend the ASEAN-Japan meeting on December 12-15, but has assigned Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisal to attend the meeting instead.
LAMPANG, 6 December 2013 - Wintry conditions are set to linger in the northern province of Lampang as the average temperature has dropped to as low as 12 degrees Celsius.
The local weather unit said a cold spell has been gripping the province since December 2. The temperature on mountain tops is expected to sink to below 9 degrees Celsius.
Residents in 13 mountainous districts have been warned to prepare for a cold snap as another high-pressure cell from China is slated to cover the upper parts of Thailand during December 6-8.
Commuters driving past the mountainous areas are advised to brace for poor visibility during the morning hours due to thick fog.
The Lampang provincial administration has joined hands with local charities to provide winter gear and other necessities to hundreds of low-income earners and hill tribes villagers in Wang Nuea district, which is situated at high altitude.
BANGKOK, 6 December 2013 – South Africa's first black president Nelson Mandela has passed away at the age of 95 after receiving intense home-based medical care for a lung infection.
BANGKOK, 6 December 2013 Interior Minister Charupong Ruangsuwan insisted on Thursday that requesting a royally-bestowed line-up of cabinet ministers or a prime minister cannot be done under Article 7 of the charter.
Mr. Charupong spoke of demonstration leader Suthep Thueksuban's claim over rights stipulated under Article 3 and Article 7 of the charter for a royally-bestowed ministerial cabinet. He asserted such practice cannot be implemented in accordance with the charter, adding that the government had always tried to seek solutions based on democratic principles, via Parliament. He added that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra had been trying to talk to Mr. Suthep, and the latter's proposals would be heeded if they were within the framework of the Constitution.
Wirot Ali, a lecturer at Thammasat University's Faculty of Political Science, said Article 7 was considered a violation of rights under the democratic framework because Parliament had not 'disintegrated' and the political system was still functional. In addition, most members of the public were ready to exercise their rights in going to the polls.
In the meantime,The 'citizens group for peace' plans to hold a discussion over the topic of whether Article 7 in the charter can provide an exit for the current political conflicts.