SAKON NAKHON, 18 July 2014 - Mr. Krairas Kaewdi, the Deputy Governor of Sakon Nakhon, said Sakon Nakhon is taking steps to deal with the threat posed by flash flooding, which is likely to occur from 17-21 July as storms and heavy rainfall are expected at that time.

People must prepare to prevent and mitigate floods, as storms and landslides could cause damage to lives and property of people. Sakon Nakhon will thoroughly inform the locals through a local radio broadcast tower and local radio networks about the possible dangers. Moreover, all dams and reservoirs will be inspected for safety and officers will be placed on duty to monitor and prepare to deal with the situation.

Mr. Krairas Kaewdi, the Deputy Governor of Sakon Nakhon, said further that if a disaster occurs in the area, people can report the situation and ask for initial help from the presidents of the Subdistrict Administrative Organizations, mayor and Chief District Officers. People can also report the situation to Sakon Nakhon Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office by calling 0 4271 1771, 0 4271 5233 or Hotline 1784.

LAMPANG, 18 July 2014 -The Lampang office of disaster prevention and mitigation, is taking steps to deal with the threat posed by flash flooding, likely from 17th-21st July 2014 as storms and heavy rainfall are expected.

The Lampang office of disaster prevention and mitigation has conducted a check up of flash flood warning devices in the areas most at risk, to be ready for the approaching weather depression in Thailand.

Mr. Woravit Waisawat, Sheriff of Wang Nuea District, with the Chief of the Lampang office of disaster prevention and mitigation has checked the warning and monitoring devices in the area which could be affected by landslides and flash floods.

The officials have warned villagers in Wang Nuea district, Chae Hom District and Mueang Pan District which is in the area of the source of the Wang River to be extra cautious about the water situation.

The Public is urged to watch for dertain indications of a possible flash flood: any deterioration in weather conditions, a build up of clouds or the sound of thunder, a sudden change in water clarity from clear to muddy, and signs of floating debris.

UBON RATCHATHANI, 18 July 2014 - Ubon Ratchathani provincial authorities have met to decide on ways to put an end to the illegal wood logging activity in Thailand's forests .

The Ubon Ratchathani meeting seeks to implement plans and strategies combating this environmental crime, rampant in many parts of the country.

Invited to the conference were representatives from the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, three branches of the military, police officers from across the country and members of the private sector. The many units met to collaborate in ending illegal logging and preserve the natural resources of the country.

The Governor of Ubon Ratchathani, Serm Chainarong has also announced the results of successful cases in shutting down forest encroachment.

The effort to put an end to forest encroachment is in line with the announcement and the NCPO’s policy.

BANGKOK, 18 July 2014  - The Ministry of Labor has met with concerned parties in order to find solutions to the country's human trafficking problems after the US demoted Thailand for abysmal human trafficking records last month. 

NONGKHAI, 18 July 2014 – Deputy Mayor of Nongkhai along with his entourage and officials from related agencies have went down to inspect the water levels in a local canal following continuous rains. 

BANGKOK, 18 July 2014  – Thai Airways International has adjusted all flight paths to Europe, avoiding Ukrainian air space.

This follows the tragic incident where a Malaysia Airlines (MH 17) with 298 passengers on board flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was apparently shot down near the Russian border. Thai Airways has immediately announced that all its flights to Europe have been adjusted so that Thai passenger aircraft do not pass through Ukrainian air space.

However, flight times will increase by about 30 minutes, due to the indirect routes avoiding the skies over Ukrainian territory.

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) is proceeding with its road map to restore order in the country by drafting a temporary constitution and promising to hold a general election next year. 

Thailand and Vietnam have expressed their intention to achieve bilateral trade target of 15 billion US dollars by the year 2020.

The issue was discussed when Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Acting Foreign Minister Sihasak Phuangketkeow co-chaired the 4th Thailand – Vietnam Political Consultation Group with Mr. Pham Quang Vinh, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok.

Mr. Sihasak reiterated Thailand’s commitment to enhance bilateral cooperation with Vietnam, which was upgraded to a strategic partnership in 2013.

Both sides attached importance to enhancing regional connectivity by utilizing R8, R9 and R12 ASEAN highway routes for trade and investment benefits. Currently, Thailand is in the process of finalizing three bills related to the Mekong Sub-region Cross-Border Transport Facilitation Agreement.

Both sides also discussed commemorative activities for celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Thai-Vietnamese diplomatic relations. Vietnam and Thailand officially established diplomatic relations on August 6, 1976.

Thailand and Vietnam also agreed to cooperate on consular affairs and set up a mechanism to handle this matter. The Permanent Secretary requested Vietnam to reduce the death sentences handed down to two Thai women for drug offences. The Vice Minister accepted the Permanent Secretary’s request for further consideration.

On ASEAN, Vietnam expressed its appreciation to Thailand for the latter's role as coordinator for the ASEAN-China relations. Both sides placed importance on peace and security in the region, especially in the South China Sea, and welcomed the recent relocation of China’s oil rig from the disputed area.

Thailand and Vietnam also agreed upon expediting negotiations between ASEAN and China on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea in order to set a legal binding instrument to increase mutual trust, build confidence and reduce tensions in the South China Sea. Presently, four ASEAN Claimant States (Brunei, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam) are discussing the possibility of tangible measures that ensure avoidance of conflict and build trust among parties concerned in the South China Sea. Thailand will host the Senior Official Meeting of ASEAN-China on the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in October 2014.

Finally, Mr. Sihasak expressed his appreciation to Vietnam for its understanding of the political situation in Thailand. He also briefed the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam on the recent political developments and the the National Council of Peace and Order's three-phase roadmap.

The Permanent Secretary of Commerce is confident that the announced VAT hike, from the current 7% to 10% in October 2015, will not affect public spending.

According to Commerce Permanent Secretary Ms. Chutima Boonyaprapatson, the VAT hike is inevitable as the economic setback forced the previous government to hold it on hold and that the hike is more acceptable to the public now as the local economy has begun to improve.

Furthermore, the VAT hike is making more sense as the kingdom is entering the AEC next year, saying the nation must adjust its tax rate to match those of other ASEAN members.

The public has been given ample time to prepare for the change thus the hike should not affect their spending, she added.

YALA, 18 July 2014 - Five police officers were wounded and three insurgents were killed in an intense 15-minute shootout between the two sides in Yala province.

Nurses and rescue officials have quickly rushed in to evacuate Police Sergeant Major Chalerm Petchrod, who was shot in the flank of his body, causing him to be seriously wounded. Another officer, Police Corporal Chatchai Promthong was shot in the shoulder. Three other officers were also wounded from the flames that resulted from the M-79 grenade explosion. All of them were taken to the Pattani Hospital for treatment.

The attacks happened at 8:00 pm on July 17th, when a group of assailants launched an M-79 grenade at the Baan Nam Dam Police Station. A 15-minute violent gun battle then ensued between the two sides, resulting in the death of three of the attackers and causing five police officers to become wounded.

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