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BANGKOK, 17 May 2015  - The Constitution Drafting Committee expects quite a number of articles of the draft charter to be changed.

Member of the National Reform Council Niran Pantharakit, who is also the secretary-general of the subcommittee in charge of preparation of suggested changes of the draft charter, said that he personally believes there will be a lot of changes to the first draft of the Constitution.

Mr. Niran said that the expected changes can be the removal of the entire article or parts of the some.

He added that, for instance, there should be a study on the suggested electoral system which the references of both the British system and the American system have been included and seem to be impractical in reality.

BANGKOK, 17 May 2015 - A public survey shows that about 42% of the respondents would vote for the constitution draft if a public referendum is held now.

The poll on the proposed referendum of the charter draft, conducted by the National Institute for Development Administration, involved 1,250 people over 18 years of age. The respondents have diverse levels of education and occupations nationwide.

Most, or 42.96% of the polled, said they would vote for the charter draft because they wanted the country to progress. 31.76% said they would against it because they believed lawmakers still need to amend certain sections. The rest said they were undecided, or would waive the right to vote, or did not answer.

NARATHIWAT, 17 May 2015 - The Minister of Tourism and Sports has joined the Kolok Thailand-Malaysia cycling event, held in celebration for HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s 60th birthday and to tighten the relations between Thailand and Malaysia. 

BANGKOK, 17 May 2015 - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has invited 17 countries in the region to a meeting on the problem of Rohingya illegal immigrants on 29 May 2015.

Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sek Wannamethi said Minister of Foreign Affairs Thanasak Patimapagorn had confirmed to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that Thailand had taken care of Rohingya refugees in line with humanitarian principles. Thailand would not force them out of the country, the spokesman said.

Thailand provided food, water and petrol oil for a group of Rohingya people straying in the sea on 15 May 2015 off Satun province, said the spokesman. The immigrants told Thai authorities that they wanted to travel to another country.

Mr. Sek aded that Thailand was ready to take care of Rohingya immigrants and allow them to stay at temporary refugee camps. Thailand needed to abide by its laws otherwise other immigrants might try to enter the country illegally.

The spokesman expressed his belief that all 17 countries would send their representatives to attend the meeting where they were expected to learn about concrete guidelines to tackle the problems of Rihingya illegal immigrants and human trafficking.

BANGKOK, 17 May 2015 - The Ministry of Industry has denied a rumor that it was preparing to auction gold mining concessions.

Industry Minister Chakramon Phasukavanich confirmed the government had yet to put gold ore sources in 31 provinces up for auction, since the cabinet has decided to suspend the planned bidding since 2007.

Mr. Chakramon said the Ministry of Industry was in the middle of drafting a new policy regarding the gold mining concessions. Brain-storming sessions will be held in different provinces in July to collect the opinions of local people on the matter. The data will then be discussed at the cabinet meeting for consideration.

The Minister added that anyone spotting gold mining in his community can inform authorities so that culprits can be prosecuted.

BANGKOK, 17 May 2015 - The new government pawnshop (25th branch) opens at 73 Phet Kasem Alley, on Phet Kasem Road, in Nong Khaem District, Bangkok with one-month interest-free loans offered to celebrate its opening as well as to relieve financial burdens of parents with low income during a new school semester.

BANGKOK, 17 May 2015 – The Thai government will comply with humanitarian principle and national security regarding the issue of irregular migration of Rohingya refugees, while a multinational meeting scheduled for next week will seek to solve this issue, says a spokesman.

Prime Minister’s Office Deputy Spokesman Maj Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd has said that Thailand is willing to cooperate with other nations to solve the issue of the irregular migration of the Rohingya refugees. A portion of the refugees are believed to be victims of human trafficking.

He said that all nations must cooperate to solve this issue, which Thailand will be providing humanitarian aid that does not conflict with Thai laws and internal security directives, while upholding the national agenda of taking care of the Thai nationals.

The spokesman said that these refugees are considered illegal immigrants who violated Thai laws and must be prosecuted and face deportation to the country of origin or the third country based on the person’s preference. The Thai government will not permit residency to the refugees.

Regarding a suggestion proposed by a third party organization that Thailand should provide shelter and employment for the refugees, the deputy spokesman stated that the idea is not a proper solution and might might violate Thai laws and compromise internal security.

He has said that the proper solution for this problem is for international organization to help regulate refugees from their country of origin.

Thailand is set to host a special meeting on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean on 29 May 2015 in Bangkok with participants from the 15 affected nations such as Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Bangladesh. International observers such as the United States and other international organizations will also participate in exchanging useful information at the meeting as well.

TRANG, 17 May 2015 - The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has announced a temporary closure of Hat Chao Mai National Park to enable the park to take a breather.

BANGKOK, 17 May 2015 - Malaysia has expressed confidence that Thailand will, one day, be successful in conquering the problem of corruption.

The National Reform Council has recently joined the National Anti-Corruption Commission in hosting a seminar on the fight against graft and the promotion of ethics.

In addition to members of the NRC and representatives from various private organizations, the organizer has invited Datuk Paul Low, Malaysia’s Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department to attend as an honorary speaker.

Mr. Low has shared with participants of the seminar that he does not consider the problem of corruption in Thailand as critical and unsolvable.

He also noted that the prevention or the clampdown on graft in each country requires different approaches due to differing settings although all solutions must always take into consideration the aspects of economics, society, politics and the promotion of moral and ethics among the people.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department also showed his confidence that Thailand will soon find an appropriate solution to such a problem in an efficient and timely manner.

SONGKHLA, 17 May 2015 - The Prince of Songkla University, the Department of Agriculture and the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) have co-signed an MOU on rubber development in a latest bid to strengthen the country’s rubber industry.

Under the MOU, the three agencies will undertake different tasks to boost the potential of Thai rubber industry. The Prince of Songkla University will act as the provider of academic knowledge for personnel or agencies through the launch of short courses and general ones in line with the needs of the FTI.

The Department of Agriculture will meanwhile be responsible for research and development which will be integrated into the curricula offered by the Prince of Songkla University. The FTI will then apply the knowledge and technologies to rubber production.

The MOU is expected to improve the production and processing of rubber, thus enabling the country to expand its processed rubber market and rubber prices to go up.

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