BANGKOK, 19 October 2014  The Social Development and Human Security Minister has brought the royally-sponsored Kathin to the people of Surin.

HM the King has granted permission for Social Development and Human Security minister Pol. Gen. Adul Sangsingkeo to bring the royally-sponsored Kathin or robe offerings to a bathing rite at Wat Sala Loi, where a number of ministry officials, officers from the Surin City Hall and the residents of the province were waiting.

Wat Sala Loi, built at least a century ago, is a royal temple which is located in the centre of Surin.

Prior to the ceremony on Saturday, Pol. Gen. Adul had paid a visit to the Nong Bua community in Mueang Surin District, where a campaign to help the poor solve their problems related to living conditions had been going on.

After that, the Social Development Minister led ministry officials to Ban Mueang Ling School in Chom Phra District to get updated on the community strengthening project and on the progress of various career development initiatives.

BANGKOK, 19 October 2014  The chief of the Third Army has visited Chiang Rai, where residents have been affected by the arrival of the cold season.

Commander of the Third Army Region Lt. Gen. Sathit Pitrat on Saturday visited the Pha Muang Task Forces to get an update on their operations.

During the visit, Lt. Gen. Sathit also traveled to Mae Fa Luang District in Chiang Rai province, where he handed out 500 blankets to residents of Tambon Thoet Thai who have been suffering from the drop in temperatures.

The Third Army chief said the blankets are particularly needed for people residing along the border region, where there is reportedly a short supply of winter clothing.

According to the General, the Royal Thai Army has collaborated with both state and private agencies to procure weighted blankets for those in need.

BANGKOK, 19 October 2014  Throngs of book-lovers have continued to visit the Book Expo Thailand 2014 after its opening last Thursday.

Since the Book Expo Thailand 2014 kicked off at Queen Sirikit Convention Center on October 15, hundreds of parents have been seen taking their children shopping for books. 

BANGKOK, 16 October 2014  The Thai delegation has attended a meeting of the Association of Secretaries General of Parliaments in Geneva, Switzerland.

Thailand’s deputy secretaries general of the House of Representatives Saithip Chaowalittawil and Anuwat Tantiwong were joined by Mrs. La-or Pootornjai from the Secretariat of the Senate in a trip to Geneva, Switzerland to attend the ASGP meeting for autumn 2014, scheduled during October 13 and 16.

The meeting discussed various issues from collaborative efforts to assist and provide support to member Parliaments and other interesting cases and situations from many countries.

This time, participants also got to elect a new president to succeed Marc Bosc, the Deputy Clerk at Parliament of Canada, whose 3-year term has come to an end.

The only contender of the position, Doris Katai Katebe Mwinga, Clerk of the National Assembly of Zambi, was incontestably elected a new ASGP President.

The next ASGP meeting is scheduled in Hanoi, Vietnam during March 28 and April 1 of next year.

BANGKOK, 16 October 2014  The Secretariat of the House of Representatives has scheduled the first meeting of the National Reform Council on next Tuesday. 

BANGKOK, 17 October 2014 - Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has affirmed that the security level in the southernmost region of Thailand has been raised following recent incidents while urging all units to work collaboratively to tackle the insurgency problem.

In his weekly address to the Thai people on television, Gen Prayut cited the southern unrest as a persistent problem that had caused substantial damage on the national economy, especially in the tourism, investment and industrial sectors. Despite much improvement, he insisted that the government had ordered officials to apply more stringency in all areas, ranging from security operations to development work and the creation of understanding.

The Ministry of Interior and all security agencies have been instructed by the premier to work together in an integrated manner in line with the government’s strategy. Meanwhile, the Army Commander-in-Chief and the Internal Security Operations Command have earlier introduced the “Thung Yang Daeng Model” which is expected to be an effective tool in providing better protection for schools in the Deep South.

Moreover, the Prime Minister noted that a special committee had been established to serve as the coordinator for the security personnel on duty in the restive region. He then asked the media to present news in a way that would help promote confidence in the government’s ability to solve this problem.

SUKHOTHAI, 18 October 2014 - Locals and officials in some northern and northeastern provinces are already bracing for the upcoming drought period that is expected to be more severe than usual.

In Sukhothai's Si Samrong district, rice plants have been seen withering from the dry weather and lack of rainfall. Some of the rice growers have tried digging water wells, which offered little help as water in the wells dried up quickly.

In Chainat, the greatly reduced water level in irrigation canals acted as confirmation to farmers that the Irrigation Department has, in fact, stopped discharging water into the irrigation system; in line with the government's earlier announcements. Some rice growers opt to cease off-season rice growing activities; others are trying to pump water into their paddies, although each paddy's size has been reduced.

In Yasothon, officials at the rainmaking center for the Northeastern Region are conducting aerial surveys in preparation for the upcoming drought. Meanwhile, authorities are asking farmers to reduce the size of their plantations in anticipation of water shortage in the irrigation system.

BANGKOK, 18 October 2014 - Provincial governors have been told to look closer into the plights of people in their provinces, especially into the problem of debts incurred from non-formal loans, after a woman set herself on fire this week upon learning that officials at a government-run help center for the public were unable to help her clear debts worth 1.5 million baht.

According to Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda, about 400 complaints have been submitted to the government's Damrong Tham help centers in the provinces, and 257 of the cases have been solved, leaving 98 outstanding cases. He said non-formal loans are illegal, and the provincial governors and the local police need to come up with measures to address them.

According to M.L. Panadda Diskul, the minister to the Prime Minister's Office, 4,224 complaints about non-formal loans have been lodged with the service center for the public at Government House.

Police General Woraphong Chiewpricha, the deputy commissioner of the Royal Thai Police, said the police force possessed a list of the individuals known to be non-formal lenders. The police are monitoring their behavior, and will make arrests on anyone of the individuals if he/she clearly breaks the law.

BANGKOK, 18 October 2014 The private sector has voiced readiness to heed the government's drive to promote increased use of rubber in industries.

General Chatchai Sarikulya, the minister of commerce, met with rubber producers on Friday to discuss ways to promote more rubber export and an increased use of rubber domestically, in order to mend the problem of low rubber prices. The minister is slated to hold talks with individual industry groups that include car tyre manufacturers, rubber gloves makers and rubberwood processors next week; each of the industry groups uses para rubber in different ways. The minister revealed he has received affirmation from the private sector about the latter having the capacity to increase rubber usage. For exportation, however, regulations must be adjusted and incentives provided for the industries so the latter would increase export output.

Chen Namchaisiri, Federation of Thai Industries vice chairman, affirmed on Friday the rubber-related businesses are ready to cooperate in raising output. He also expressed the belief that rubber usage within the industry sector can be raised by 100,000 tons if there is a serious drive to make it happen.

Meanwhile, Nanthawan Sakuntanak, director-general of the Department of International Trade Promotion, expressed her belief on Friday that the rubber price in the world market will not lower than what it is at present. She explained that the price had abnormally soared over the previous years because of stockpiling that was triggered by worries of an increased demand for rubber. The price has since become lower and more stable. However, she said demand for rubber will definitely increase in the future.

BANGKOK, 18 October 2014 - Even though no Ebola infections have been found in Thailand, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has encouraged all to carry on with preemptive measures, insisting that the situation is not to be underestimated.

In his statement on television, Gen Prayut spoke of the Ebola outbreak that had claimed many lives around the world, saying all concerned units in Thailand had been well prepared to prevent and contain the spread of the deadly disease in the Kingdom should an infection be detected. He confirmed that no infected persons had been reported so far in the country and the authorities would continue to be watchful for travelers with suspicious symptoms at airports.

As a preparation, the Prime Minister revealed that about 5,000 sets of protective gear and apparatus had been acquired and distributed to health professionals in various parts of the country while over 29,000 more sets were in the procurement process. He said it was vital to have all equipment as well as personnel, strategy and knowledge base ready in case an outbreak occurred.

In terms of humanitarian aid for Ebola-affected countries in West Africa, Gen Prayut admitted Thailand was not yet ready to send its medical staff to the region. Nonetheless, he called on the Thai people to contribute to the relief effort by donating money or necessities.

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