JAKARTA, 22 April 2015  - Thailand and Jordan agreed to further their relations especially in tourism and rainmaking technology to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Thai-Jordanian diplomatic relations in 2016.

The latest agreement was made while Thailand’s Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha had a sideline meeting with H.M. King Abdullah II Ibn Al-Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan during Asian -African Conference Summit 2015 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

In relations to tourism, both leaders saw greater opportunity to boost tourism cooperation between the two countries and the Thai PM vowed to support Jordanian tourists with best efforts.

Thailand and Jordan have signed an MoU on Royal Rainmaking which runs progressively on its plan. However, both countries are in the process of improving the agreement and revising Project Work Plan for better rainmaking efficiency.

In 2016, the two countries have plans to hold a grand celebration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Thai-Jordanian diplomatic relations. On this occasion, Gen Prayut invited Jordan's King to visit Thailand within this year or no later than next year to mark their bilateral relations.

BANGKOK, 22 April 2015 - Gen Prawit Wongsuwon, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, claimed that unrest and violence in southern border provinces have mitigated by 60% whereas loss of lives and damage to property has fallen relatively by 40%, compared to the same period of last year.

His claims were made today as part of the announcement of the government’s six-month performance since Oct 2014.

According to him, the southern unrest was one of the most urgent and important issues in Thailand. The government solved the problems in three stages: firstly the instant troubleshooting that was continuing since 2004, secondly the proactive operations in parallel with the sustainable development and the peace-building process.

However, he admitted that the government needed more time for making people in the southern provinces understand its efforts and encouraging them to take part in the peace-building and development process.

Along with Gen Prawit was Gen Udomdej Sitabutr, Deputy Minister of Defence and Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army. He said that during the six months of the government, PM Prayut has set up the Committee on the Mobilization of Southern Border Provinces Policy and Strategies which was chaired by Gen Prawit.

The Committee focused on the overall development, divided into seven fields but still working integratedly. The committee had so far managed to solve problems precisely responding to the public demands.

He added that the peace talks led by chief negotiator Gen Aksara Kerdpol was still working on its tasks, hoping to return peace, order and great benefits to the southern people.

SURAT THANI, 22 April 2015 – Police are preparing to seek arrest warrants for six more suspects involved in the April 10 bombings at Central Festival superstore in Surat Thani province.

JAKARTA, 22 April 2015 - Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha said today to members of "Thailand Team" who mostly work at Thai Embassies to contribute their power to push forward the Government’s National Roadmap.

His policy statement was made while he had dinner with Thai officials at the Thai Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, on the occasion of his attendance to the Asian -African Conference Summit 2015.

Gen Prayut emphaiszed the government welcomed any useful suggestions or initiatives from Thai officials. He asked all of them to protect Thailand’s benefits and well cooperate with ASEAN partners for utmost benefits of the whole region.

This morning at 9 a.m. local time, Gen Prayut attended the opening ceremony of the Asian -African Conference Summit 2015 which was held at Jakarta Convention Center (JCC).

KAMPAENG PHET, 21 April 2015  - Kampaeng Phet central prison has signed an MoU on looking after and improving prisoners' attitudes before they return to society.

The Governor of Kampaeng Phet presided over the signing by 12 other related organizations. The corrections department of the justice ministry, has a policy enabling prisons and penitentiaries to collaborate with social networks on the treatment of prisoners. It is thought that for prisoners to become good citizens again, they will need acceptance from society, and will also have to obtain a fair level of working skills to be able to survive in a community, which is something the corrections department can not provide on its own.

The department needs assistance from various related organizations in providing prisoners with skills and health information so they are able to return to the society. Such a move gives them the ability to make a living and look after their own family and not go back to make the wrong decisions again.

The MoU saw 12 organizations sign the agreement to help overcome the behavioral problems of prisoners and turn them into better people. This move is in line with the government's laws and policies including lifting prisoners' health and lifestyle standards, providing assistance to prisoners and their families, improving prisoners' skills and encouraging them to seek employment, while first preparing them to be released back into society and financially assisting them after imprisonment.

BANGKOK, 22 April 2015 - The Industry Minister has lauded the ministry’s six-month performance, following the successful execution of its plans and solving private sector complaints.

Industry Minister Chakramon Phasukavanich said that most private operators expressed their satisfaction with the ministry’s performance between 12 Sep 2014 and 12 Mar 2015.

Several official procedures have been streamlined and relaxed, generating 570 billion baht in investment capital and creating 100,000 new jobs. The ministry has forecast the investment value of the industrial sector will reach one billion baht by the end of 2015.

These eased procedures mostly involved issuances of different types of approvals, aimed at facilitating business operators and driving economic growth.

For example, the approval period for factory licenses was shortened from 90 days to 30 days. Consequently, 2,528 new factories have been approved since this administration came into power.

Approval periods were also shortened for mining leases and exclusive prospecting licenses, the Thai Industrial Standards (TIS) certificate, and the Land Use and Operation Permit for industrial estates. During the six-month period, the ministry granted mine exploration licenses for 188 plots, 2,873 TIS certificates, and 6,000 permits for industrial estates.

The ministry also emphasized improved industrial waste management, which has become a national agenda. It has set a goal of properly disposing 1.5 million tonnes of the waste for a total of three million tonnes in five years. Illegal dumping will be prosecuted with a harsher punishment of up to two years in prison and/or a fine of 200,000 baht.

As for the next six months, the ministry has planned to launch another six projects, such as the establishment of a 900-rai Tire Test Center, with an initial budget of 2.850 billion baht. Officials are currently conducting a site survey, shortlisting Sanam Chai Khet district in Chachoengsao Province.

BANGKOK, 22 April 2015 – The Ministry of Commerce has assigned commercial attaches worldwide to make urgent clarifications regarding Thailand’s ongoing efforts to solve problems in its fishing sector.

Deputy Commerce Minister Apiradee Tantraporn disclosed that an order has been issued for the Department of International Trade Promotion to have commercial envoys stationed in Thailand’s trade partner countries promptly create an understanding with local trade authorities concerning issues surrounding Thai fishery.

The deputy minister said the envoys are to emphasize Thailand’s commitment and relentless efforts to tackle various problems in the fishing industry. She also hopes importers of Thai products will be convinced that the issue has received the greatest attention from the Thai government and their perception of Thai goods will not be tarnished.

Such clarifications are deemed necessary after the European Union recently issued a yellow card to Thailand for its non-compliance with the Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing Regulation. The yellow card is considered the EU’s warning for Thailand to improve its fishing standard and fix all pressing problems by formulating a concrete action plan against IUU fishing.

Ms Apiradee voiced belief that all problems will be addressed in a matter of six months. In the meantime, she said the Commerce Ministry has prepared alternative markets, such as Eastern Europe and the CLMV group, to accommodate Thai fishery products in place of the EU market.

BANGKOK, 22 April 2015  – The Ministry of Defense has confirmed that the nation has been more at peace since the current administration came into office while feeling confident that happiness will be restored among the people.

In his capacity as Minister of Defense, Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan opened a press conference to declare the ministry’s works during the past six months. In his speech, Gen Prawit affirmed that the ministry has made tremendous progress in the government-assigned duties of fostering national reconciliation and addressing social conflict. Overall, he claimed the situation in the country appears to be calmer and more peaceful even though there remain some groups who disapprove of the government.

Other major accomplishments during the six-month period include the prevention of drug trafficking and illegal immigration in border areas, reorganization of public spaces and suppression of crimes. The ministry has also been an active mediator in the South China Sea dispute.

The minister vowed that the government and the National Council for Peace and Order will speed up their efforts to lay down a new and improved foundation for the next government while concurrently returning happiness to the Thai people.

Meanwhile, Deputy Defense Minister and Army Chief Gen Udomdej Sitabutr, who accompanied Gen Prawit on this occasion, expressed satisfaction over the ministry’s peace-building operations in the Deep South. He said, since October 2014, the number of insurgent attacks has dropped 60 percent while the death toll has decreased 40 percent.

BANGKOK, 22 April 2015 – Transport Minister ACM Prajin Juntong has expressed satisfaction over his ministry’s work progress in the last six months though admitting that several projects have been faced with delays.

While delivering the Transport Ministry’s six-month progress report, ACM Prajin affirmed the ministry has pushed forward a number of important projects for the benefit of national economy, society and public members. He rated his satisfaction with the ministry’s works under the eight-point policy at 62.5 percent.

The minister added that a transport infrastructure development strategy for the year 2015-2022 has already been drawn up. The strategy consists of five work plans, which concern the improvement of inter-provincial railway, development of public transport systems in Bangkok and its vicinities, increase of highway connectivity with neighboring countries, upgrade of water transport networks and enhancement of air transport services.

Furthermore, the Transport Ministry has plans to build bicycle tracks in many areas around the country and to use Para rubber in road construction and maintenance as a way to support rubber farmers.

Despite satisfactory achievements so far, ACM Prajin conceded that delays have been reported in many projects due to obstacles in such procedures as procurement, environmental impact assessment and land expropriation.

PATTANI, 22 April 2015 - The present situation in the deep southern provinces is reportedly better than last year with a 61% decrease in fatalities and a 43% decrease in casualties.

Commander of the Fourth Army Area Command Lt. Prakan Chonlayut on Wednesday said the army was proactively making people in the region understand its work and feel confident in officers’ operations. Relevant government units cooperated in terms of security, development and civil service which met the needs of local people, the commander said. He also stressed that army officers adhered to the laws and peaceful means, respect human rights and operate with transparency.

One of the army’s policies in the deep south was to strengthen local people and civic societies in line with the “Thung yang Daeng” model. Each day, 25,000 people in 37 districts helped provide security for their communities. This proved that there were more local people who rejected violence and took side with the government, said the commander.

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