BANGKOK, 23 October 2014 Diplomats from eight European countries met with representatives of Thai media yesterday to discuss the presentation of personal details of crime victims and inappropriate images by the media.

The Italian, French, British, Danish, German, Spain, Czech and Portuguese ambassadors to Thailand submitted a letter addressed to the Thai Broadcast Journalists Association, the News Broadcasting Council of Thailand, the Thai Journalists Association and the National Press Council of Thailand to Mr. Thepchai Yong, president of the News Broadcasting Council. The European diplomats urged the Thai press to be more responsible in presenting photographs of victims and inappropriate images, as well as unnecessary personal details.

Italian Ambassador Francesco Saverio Nisio indicated he wanted the Thai press to have more respect for the privacy of the victims and their families.

Mr. Thepchai indicated he will ask the various media for cooperation on this matter, which can be considered a step towards the reform of the Thai press.

BANGKOK, 23 October 2014 - The Commerce Minister has instructed all related offices across the country to make sure that goods prices remain affordable for consumers in order to help keep their cost of living in control. 

BANGKOK, 23 October 2014 - Public prosecutors are not worried that the suspects accused of killing two British tourists have retracted their earlier confession to the crime.

Regional Public Prosecution 8 deputy director-general Thawatchai Siangjaew said that the retraction of the confession by two Myanmar migrants who have been accused of killing the two Britons on the popular island of Koh Tao will not impact the case compilation and the prosecution because public prosecutors have been focusing on evidence and witnesses, not the confession.

Mr. Thawatchai added that, in this case, forensic evidence and reports from the medical examiners will be the most crucial elements in the filing of the case with the court.

He went on to say that after investigators have been instructed to conduct more probes, it remains unknown when the case will be complete and ready for filing.

When asked about international concerns over the investigation, Mr. Thawatchai said that Thai police will be able to answer every doubt raised but no outside authorities can send their people to work on this case as Thai laws do not permit such a scenario.

BANGKOK, 23 October 2014 - Industry Minister Chakramon Phasukvanich on Wednesday expressed confidence that the government's short- and long-term measures to address the low rubber price will be successful.

Mr. Chakramon said that the government will be removing excess rubber from the market during November and April, when vast amounts of rubber reach the market, as part of its urgent phase measure to address the rubber price. This will be achieved by having six banks providing loans to latex processing businesses to buy the excess rubber. The interest rate for such loans will be two percent for the lender, as the government will compensate the banks with another three percent. This measure is expected to remove 200,000 tons of latex from the system and result in an immediate increase of rubber price by 2-3 baht per kilogram. The aim is to achieve a rubber price of 66 baht per kilogram.

For the long-term, the government is collaborating with the Government Savings Bank to lend a total of 15 billion baht to rubber processing businesses so the latter would increase their output and improve on their machineries. Borrowers will pay interest equivalent to the rate for savings; the government will pay the remaining three percent to the GSB. Nine businesses have already applied for 7.6 billion baht of the loan. This scheme is expected to increase domestic rubber usage by 300,000 tons per year.

BANGKOK, 23 October 2014 - Foreign investors are still confident in the Thai economy in the long run, according to Stock Exchange of Thailand President Kesara Manchusree.

Ms. Kesara said on Wednesday that foreign investors will be returning to invest in Thailand, based on the feedbacks received during the Stock Exchange of Thailand's (SET) recent roadshows abroad. Investors have expressed interest in the government's long-term bond, which is proof that the investors have confidence in the Thai economy in the long run. Ms. Kesara said the investors demanded clarity on future infrastructure investments, and the government has asserted that these projects will definitely take shape even if the current administration's term ends.

Ms. Kesara believes the effects of roadshows will manifest itself in the 6 months ahead. The SET also plans to hold two more roadshows at the end of the year.

The SET president also spoke of the problem of stocks manipulation, saying that the SET will confer with the Association of Thai Securities Companies to seek measures against price manipulation, as there continues to be stocks that are being traded at abnormally high prices.

BANGKOK, 23 October 2014 - Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on Wednesday (October 22) presided over the ceremony of presenting the Princess Srinagarindra Award 2014 to Prof. Dr. Shiela Dinotshe Tlou, at the Moon Satharn Borom Ard Throne Hall in the Grand Palace.

Prof. Dr. Shiela Dinotshe Tlou, a 61-year-old Botswana specialist in HIV/AIDS and women’s health, has been picked out from 29 nominees from 22 countries to be the winner of the Princess Srinagarindra Award 2014. She has been recognized for her leading roles in public health at both national and international levels. She used to serve as Health Minister and Member of Parliament of Botswana. She had provided leadership in the regional response to HIV/AIDS, successfully bringing Botswana and other African and world countries to the table to work on a support program on HIV prevention, treatment and care, which is still referred to as a model today.

Dr. Shiela Dinotshe Tlou is currently the Director of the UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Eastern and Southern Africa. She has also taken a leading role in promoting health and protecting rights of women and girls. She acts as a goodwill ambassador for the Study Project on Orphaned Girls of the International Nursing Council.

The Princess Srinagarindra Award was created by the Princess Srinagarindra Award Foundation which was established in commemoration of the Centenary Birthday Anniversary of Her Royal Highness Princess Srinagarindra Mahidol of Thailand on October 21st, 2000. It is granted each year to a registered nurse or registered midwife or group of registered nurses or midwives who have made a significant contribution for the development of the nursing and midwifery profession and/or quality of life and health of people at local and international levels.

BANGKOK, 23 October 2014 - His Majesty the King on October 22 designated Air Chief Marshal Chalit Pukbhasuk, a Privy Councilor, to represent him at the wreath laying ceremony to commemorate the Korean War Veterans Day.

The ceremony was held at the Monument of Korean War Veterans situated at the Nawamintharajini Camp of the 21st Infantry Division of Her Majesty the Queen’s royal guards in Chon Buri Province.

Also laying wreaths on the day were the Deputy Governor of Chonburi, the Commanding General of the 14th Military Circle of the Royal Thai Army, the Korean Ambassador to Thailand, representatives of soldiers who had participated in the Korean War and heads of various government units.

Thailand, as a United Nations member, was the first country to respond to the UN call for members’ assistance in repelling North Korean forces which invaded South Korea in June 1950. Thai troops were sent to South Korea on October 22, the same year. The date has therefore been observed as the Korean War Veterans Day for Thailand.

During the three years leading to the armistice in 1953, a total of 136 Thai soldiers had been killed. They were broken down into 130 officers from the Army, four from the Navy and two from the Air Force.

BANGKOK, 23 October 2014 - The Meteorological Department has forecasted more rainfall throughout the northern and northeastern regions from October 23-24.

A high-pressure cell coming in from southern China and a western trough has covered parts of the upper northeastern region. Thunderstorms and heavy rains are expected occur as a result during the next 1-2 days, and temperatures are expected to drop after the rains pass.

Meanwhile, the easterly wind covering the eastern and southern regions as well as the Gulf of Thailand would trigger scattered rainfall throughout these areas as well.

Bangkok and its vicinity are most likely to face thunderstorms up to 60 percent throughout the capital. Temperatures are expected to hover between 25-26 degrees Celsius at minimum and 32-33 degrees Celsius at maximum.

BANGKOK, 23 October 2014 The Ministry of Tourism and Sports is now aiming to improve tourism services before the arrival of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) next year.

The ministry has also sought cooperation from the government sector and tourism business operators to bolster their transportation services.

Air, land, and water transport services are poised to be improved in order to assure safety for tourists. Tourists will also be able to use an electronic pass, which is a ticket that will allow them to gain access to many tourist attractions throughout Thailand.

The ministry is also planning to develop the tourism database system to help tourists find legitimate tour guides. Tourist police have been cracking down on illegal tour guides recently and the agencies will be required to hire certified guides.

PHICHIT, 23 October 2014 - The Royal Irrigation Department (RID) in Phichit province has sent a representative to inform rice farmers regarding the department’s decision to stop distributing water to farmers living along the banks of the Chao Phraya River in 22 provinces.

More than 12,000 rai of rice paddies in Khon Kaen province have been affected from a dry spell, leaving rice plants dehydrated and eventually dying off. The surviving plants have also been damaged by the rice blast disease, causing losses up to 7,000 rai.

This year’s drought is regarded as the worst in the decade. Relevant government agencies have gone down to the area to inspect the damages so that help could be provided.

Farmers in the Tapan Hin and Bang Mun Nak Districts in Phichit province have also been informed about the Irrigation Department’s decision to stop supplying water, as the water levels in major dams and reservoirs remain critically low and pose immediate risk of water shortages.

Therefore, farmers have been advised to refrain from planting off-season rice. However, other assistance measures would be applied instead such as providing career training workshops outside the agricultural industry and giving farmers the incentive to plant crops that consume less water.

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