CHANTHABURI, 28 July 2015, Thai and Cambodian Buddhists yesterday offered alms to 105 monks along the Chanthaburi - Phratabong border ahead of Asanha Bucha Day and Buddhist Lent Day at the end of this month. The event helps tightening the bonds between the people of both nations.

The 105 monks participating the event were from both Thailand and Cambodia. The event was organized at the permanent check point in Pong Nam Ron District.

BANGKOK, 28 July 2015 - The Prime Minister has affirmed that no politician will be asked to join his government in the upcoming Cabinet reshuffle.

According to Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the planned shake-up of the Cabinet is not being driven by social pressure. He said that such a change is needed because it will work.

The PM stated that he will personally make all the decisions in the reshuffle, which will take into consideration such factors as suitability, age and health condition.

He added that the actual reshuffle would likely take place when the government’s term hit the one-year mark.

When asked about rumours that Advisor to the PM, Somkid Jatusripitak, will joint the next Cabinet line-up, Gen Prayut said that remains just what people think while assuring that no politician will ever be joining his government.

He went on to say that all ministers have been working hard although he feels that economic ministers have been criticised only because economic problems still continue unresolved.

BANGKOK, 28 July 2015 - The government has assured that the new copyright law has been designed to protect all online media beginning next week.

According to Deputy government spokesman Maj Gen Sunsern Kaewkumnerd, the activation of the amended Copyright Act B.E. 2558, which will take place on August 4, is aimed at protecting all who have created any work which is distributed online.

Maj Gen Sunsern said that such an intention is decided in order to go in line with the public behaviour that has centered around online media.

He added that the previous version of the law did not clearly specify the punishment clauses for those found guilty of violation of the code.

For instance, social network users who intentionally edit any photograph or video clip of other people and claim those works to be theirs for commercial purposes will be punished by the amended law.

BANGKOK, 28 July 2015 - An international conference that sees the gathering of community health care leaders in Southeast Asia has opened in Bangkok.

On Monday, the Health Minister Dr. Rajata Rajatanavin chaired the official opening of the 2015 conference of ASEAN community health care leaders, which the Thai government joined Singapore’s Institute of Mental Health and the Temasek Foundation in organizing this year.

The event, which is scheduled from July 27th to 29th at the Pullman Hotel in Bangkok, was initiated to promote a regular exchange of knowledge, technology, skills, ideas and experiences related to disasters, among related organizations and individuals.

An exhibition has also been installed to showcase the progress in the improvement of mental health of members of communities from ASEAN+3 countries, where disasters have struck, including Singapore, China, Indonesia and Thailand.

For Thailand, the exhibition sheds light on the project related to the strengthening of communities through education on disaster and primary mental health care.

BANGKOK, 27 July 2015 - The Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs has reacted to the United States’ decision to keep Thailand in the Tier 3 Watch List on human trafficking for another year, affirming that the Kingdom has been making huge progress in eradicating the problem.

The US has released its 2015 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, in which Thailand is maintained in the Tier 3 Watch List for the second consecutive year after its downgrade from Tier 2 last year. In response, Mr Sek Wannamethee, Director-General of the Department of Information and Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, cited the latest report as an inaccurate reflection of Thailand’s efforts and achievements in its combat against human trafficking over the past year.

The Spokesman insisted that, since the incumbent government came into office, the anti-human trafficking mechanism has been completely revamped, resulting in concrete improvements in many aspects. Policy-wise, he said the problem has been included in the national agenda while a number of related laws and regulations have been amended.

Law enforcement has also been intensified, leading to the arrest and prosecution of many culprits, one of whom is a senior army officer. Meanwhile, over 1.6 million foreign workers have been properly registered in a bid to prevent them from falling prey to human traffickers while cooperation has been established both bilaterally and multilaterally with neighboring countries in order to rid the region of trafficking activities.

Although Thailand will continue to be in the bottom tier for one more year, Mr Sek was adamant the country will remain determined and devoted to putting an end to the problem of human trafficking.

UTHAI THANI, 27 July 2015 - The governor of Uthai Thani province spoke with local farmers who used His Majesty the King's Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy to manage their crops and mitigate drought that has crippled the nation's agriculture.

Governor Somchai Leartpongpakorn visited Moo 5, Thung Yai sub-district, Mueang district, where farmers have applied the King's message of sustainable living. Locals created an eight-rai reservoir, where rain water was collected during last year's monsoon. Then during the dry season, water is distributed to a system of smaller one-rai pools to irrigate 20 rai of rice paddies. Finally, the leftover water is pumped back into the main reservoir.

To conserve water further, the farmers employ alternate wet/dry irrigation (AWDI). As the farmers explained, the AWDI method involves inundating rice paddies with water 5 cm deep, allowing the field to dry, then following up with water 15 cm deep and adding fertilizer. They claimed that the AWDI method enhances nutrient uptake by the soil and crops.

The farmers also took the opportunity to grow flowers along walkways and partitions that can be sold for extra income, as well as vegetable gardens for their own use.

BANGKOK, 28 July 2015 - The government has expressed its support for a proposal to introduce a new website to promote the present efforts at reform.

Member of the National Reform Council Pattareeya Sumano, who is also the chairwoman of the subcommittee for the promotion of internal communications and image, said that the government of Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has offered support and cooperation for the planned setting up of the website “Online Voice of Reform”.

Ms. Pattareeya said that the government has made clear that once up and running, the website will be a channel for all state agencies to publicize and promote the works of the NRC and the National Legislative Assembly, the Constitution Drafting Council, the Cabinet and the National Council for Peace and Order – collectively known as the Five Rivers.

She added that the public will soon receive an update through various media, from newspapers to radio and online media which will enable them to gain a better understanding of the work of all bodies working on reform in Thailand.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has promulgated a plan on viral hepatitis prevention for the 2015-2019 period to reduce the spread of hepatitis viruses and improve community access to screening, treatment and care services, reports Tran Dac Phu, Head of the MOH’s Preventive Health Department.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that about two billion people worldwide are infected with the hepatitis B virus and around 130 – 150 million people were chronically infected with the hepatitis C virus, in 2014. About one million people die every year as a result of the viral disease, or 2.7 percent of all fatalities globally.

Hepatitis B and C viruses are major causes of liver cancer and cirrhosis. An estimated 57 percent of cases of liver cirrhosis and 78 percent of cases of primary liver cancer result from hepatitis B and C virus infections.

According to the Preventive Health Department, 8-25 percent of people in certain population groups in Vietnam have hepatitis B and some 2.5 – 4.1 percent of such population groups test positive for hepatitis C.

Chronic hepatitis remains a major public health problem and liver cancer is the most common cause of cancer mortalities in Vietnam.

A hepatitis B vaccine has been used in the country’s Expanded Programme of Immunisation since 1997 in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

It has been given to children under one year old nationwide since 2003 with a coverage rate of over 90 percent.

Since 2006, the vaccine has been applied to newborns within the first 24 hours after birth. Pregnant women are also encouraged to be screened for hepatitis to prevent mother-to-child transmissions.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015 09:43

FDI in Ho Chi Minh City doubles

The flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Ho Chi Minh City so far this year has reached 2.5 billion USD, up 2.3 times from the same period last year, according to the Municipal People’s Committee.

The city has licensed 284 new projects with a total investment of 2.02 billion USD, respectively an increase of 35.2 percent and 210 percent this year.

An additional 456.5 million USD was injected into 89 ongoing projects, an annual increase of 410 percent in capital and 48.3 percent in the number of projects.

The bulk of the expenditure is in the real estate sector, with investments in four projects worth 1.31 billion USD, followed by industrial projects at 491.9 million USD and trade projects totaling 112.5 million USD, among other ventures.

The UK is currently the biggest investor in the city with five projects worth 1.2 billion USD, accounting for 59.2 percent of the newly registered capital.

The British Virgin Islands trail the UK with 7 projects worth 306.5 million USD or 15.1 percent, followed by the Republic of Korea with 61 projects worth 210.5 million USD and Singapore with 47 projects valued at 100.8 million USD.

Meanwhile, as many as 19 projects worth 69.7 million USD were dissolved or halted in the review period.

Five members of the Vietnam Harmonica Orchestra will set off for the Seoul International Harmonica Festival in the Republic of Korea (RoK) on July 29.

This is the first time that a Vietnamese harmonica troupe has attended an international harmonica event.

The annual festival in the RoK, the third of its kind, is being hosted by the Korea Harmonica Education Association to foster international exchanges among world-class artists.

Vietnamese artists will perform traditional pieces of music such as “Bay den hoa binh” (Fly for peace) in the concert category, “Trong com” (Rice drum) in the trio category and “Chim K’Tia” (K’Tia bird) in the solo category.

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