BANGKOK, 30 April 2015  - The Ministry of Energy has presented a performance report for the past six months, during which the ministry sought to normalize fuel prices, eliminate debt from the Oil Fund, and initiate over 160 alternative energy programs.

In terms of energy security, the ministry has expanded imports of liquid natural gas (LNG) from neighboring countries, while organizing the 21st Round of Bidding for Concessions for Oil and Gas Exploration. Meanwhile, imports of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) were decreased to save the country almost one billion baht per month.

Previously a source of national debt, the Oil Fund has been replenished with nearly 40 billion baht. The excise tax has also generated 80 billion baht in state revenue.

In terms of energy sustainability, the ministry has established rates for feed-in tariffs (FiT) to incentivize alternative energy investments.

Alternative energy projects sponsored by the ministry are expected to produce a combined 918.33 MW. The agency dealt with several administrative barriers to promoting renewable energy, in accordance with government policy to foster the nation’s first integrated energy plan.

SURIN, 30 April 2015 - Participants in the Rocket Festival in Surin are required to report the timing and location of their rocket launching events to authorities in order to reduce the potential danger to aviation, the provincial governor has announced.

According to the Governor of Surin Niran Kalayanamitr, the rockets expected to be used in the rocket festival or ‘Bun Bang Fai’ have been developed to reach even higher altitudes, highlighting a possible risk to aviation. The Bun Bang Fai rocket festival is set to take place in Surin and other provinces in the northeastern region during May and June.

The governor has said that all villages participating in this festival are required to report precise information on time and place of each launch to the district office in advance. The information from this precautionary measure will then be forwarded to aviation authorities to design the safest air navigation route in the area.

The governor of Surin has also stressed that gambling activities are forbidden in all areas during the festival, and violators will be prosecuted in accordance with the law.

BANGKOK, 30 April 2015 - One third of working-age population is now facing depression, while stress management shows signs in help reducing the stress and increasing happiness, says the DMH Director-General.

The Director-General of the Department of Mental Health (DMH) Jedsada Chokdamrongsuk has revealed the findings in the World Health Organization’s survey on the working-age population globally, that shows 1.9 billion people are at risk of facing mental complications from work, 8 percent of which are facing stress from their jobs.

The information corresponds with the DMH Hotline 1323's statistics that showed that 32.24 percent of the 47,780 total hotline users face stress and depression, with most of those at the working-age at risk. 24.02 percent of the working-age population have also faced mental illness risks.

The DMH Director-General has said that stress from work is a big factor that affects productivity, life quality, and workplace environment. It can also lead to symptoms of mental illness.

He advised people to find proper methods to manage their stress. He suggested finding balance, focusing, communicating, and being honest and kind in order to create a healthy workplace environment and a relationship with their coworkers.

These methods are from Buddhism and can easily be adapted to the Thai social context, and can help lead to happiness in the society, says the DMH Director-General.

Friday, 01 May 2015 10:53

Lampang closes smog operation center

LAMPANG, 30 April 2015 – Lampang province has closed the ad hoc wildfire prevention and control center, as the smog level in the region has returned to normal.

Lampang Provincial Governor Thanin Supasan, presided over the closing ceremony of the center during which an update on the wildfire and smog situation, as well as the operation center’s achievements, were announced.

According to the latest report, the number of hotspots in all 13 districts of the province was recorded at 799. Areas with the highest number of hotspots were Ngao district and Muang district. Detected hotspots this year were fewer than the 955 detected last year. Nevertheless, wildfires damaged an area of 1,812 rai.

The PM10 level reached a peak of 260 micrograms per cubic meter on March 2nd. This year, authorities arrested four wrongdoers found to have set fire to forest areas in the districts of Mae Moh, Thoen and Muang.

The PM10 level is now considered normal.

BANGKOK, April 30 2015 - The Ministry of Public Health has submitted its six-month performance report, responding to the need for home treatment in rural areas and of chronic conditions.

The performance report was presented by Public Health Minister Rajata Rajatanavin, Deputy Public Health Minister Somsak Chunharas, and Deputy Permanent Secretary of Public Health Surachet Satitramai. The report covers a six-month period from September 12 2014 - March 12 2015.

Prof. Dr. Rajata spoke on the ministry's efforts to develop teams of doctors that provide hospital care directly to families at home.

In the initiative’s first year, medical teams prioritized persons with disabilities, the elderly, and bed-ridden patients. These groups total two million patients combined. The ministry currently has 50,000 medical teams.

The ministry has also emphasized the production of certain drugs to combat high blood pressure, obesity, and mental disorders. Recent studies showing that Thai traditional medicine has anti-cancer properties has prompted the ministry to research and develop an herbal cancer treatment. Meanwhile, drugs to counteract hair loss will be available within six months.

BANGKOK, 30 April 2015 - The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Committee (NBTC) has agreed on a mobile roaming service fare reduction plan with Japanese authorities, to further facilitate the growing tourism scene between the two nations.

The NBTC Secretary-General Takorn Tantasith revealed the outcome of his meeting with the Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan (MIC) today, saying that both sides have agreed to reduce the mobile roaming service fares between the two countries. This is expected to be beneficial to the mutual growing tourism scene as well.

Mobile carriers have replied positively, saying that they will gladly cooperate on this matter.

The exact amount of cost reductions will be finalized in the next 2-3 months.

On this occasion, Japanese authorities also brought the Japanese television entrepreneurs to explore possible programs for exchange and trading, as well as setting up a joint business venture initiative between Thailand and Japan.

Japan also proposed cooperating in broadcasting technology developments in the 4K and 8K systems. These systems allow the Thai broadcasting industry to broadcast at an even higher resolution than the current ‘High-Definition’ standard.

BANGKOK, 30 April 2015 - The Ministry of Science and Technology has reported on its performance over the past six months, during which it increased tax breaks to 300 percent for students on scholarship and academics working with the private sector.

The ministry has increased income tax breaks from 200 percent of normal to 300 percent. The tax breaks also apply to private companies sponsoring academic research, as opposed to merely those involved in individual projects. Additionally, funds donated to academic research are eligible for doubled tax breaks.

Science and Technology Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj reported that the ministry over the past six months has been operating in accordance with government reform policies. The ministry has been promoting business applications of academic research and development (R&D).

Dr. Pichet spoke of collaborations with other ministries and the private sector to develop the nation’s economy and society, as well as conserve the environment. The ministry is aimed at academic research attracting 1 percent of gross domestic product and attaining a 30:70 proportion of public to private research.

BANGKOK, 30 April 2015 - Director-General of the International Trade Promotion Department (DITP) Nuntawan Sakuntanaga suggested Thai suppliers of electronic products to strengthen their bargaining power by building trading network in a form of cluster and work collectively.

Her suggestion came in the wake of an increasing number of Thai suppliers in the global electronic market. Last year, Thai exports of electronic goods brought in US$33,000 million to the country. Major markets were the United States, Hong Kong and China while their stakes in the secondary markets like Taiwan, Myanmar and South Korea were also expanding.

Mrs.Nuntawan noted that the exports of Thai electronic products have a tendency to grow well particularly Hards Disk Drive and Integrated Circuit (IC) boards which are in great demand in various industries including car production.

Mrs. Nuntawan said the DITP has plans to develop research work and production technology in order to support Thai suppliers to meet the market demand.

BANGKOK, 30 April 2015 - 7 Thai nationals have been retrieved from Nepal through the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF)’s return flight of donations delivery operations today, says RTAF spokesman.

The RTAF spokesman Monthon Satchukorn revealed today that the RTAF has completed its delivery operations for 16 tons of aid items from Thailand to Nepal, as assigned by the Government through the Ministry of Defence. The mission was carried out using two C-130H aircrafts.

The flights took off today at 2:00am and 2:30am, and arrived at Kathmandu airport on 9:00am and 9:10am (Thailand local time).

The donation items will be delivered to those affected from the earthquake disaster, through the coordination of the rescue and coordination team of the Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters. The team had arrived in Nepal earlier, on 28 April 2015.

The two aircrafts then departed Kathmandu airport on 3:00pm and 3:10pm, while one of the aircrafts also brought 7 Thai nationals back to Thailand. The aircrafts are expected to land at Don Mueang Air Force Base in Bangkok at 7:30pm today.

CHIANG MAI, 30 April 2015 - Chiang Mai Province has stepped up security measures to ensure public safety during the upcoming official long holidays from 2-5 May, according to the director of Chiang Mai Provincial Administration.

Tightened security was instructed after the cabinet approved Monday 4 May 2015 as an extra public holiday which will make a four- consecutive-day holiday, from Saturday 2 May to the Coronation Day on 5 May.

The official said that ill-intentioned people might exploit the temporary closure of important places to commit crimes which affect peace and order in the province.

To prevent such incidents, the Interior Ministry has ordered provincial authorities in Chiang Mai to keep watching out for dangers. Security guards at official buildings have been assigned to be on alert throughout the holiday period.

In case of any suspicious movement, person or other abnormalities, the guards must report to local police or their chiefs immediately.

Famous tourist attractions, bus terminals, airports, hotels and places with crowds of local and foreign tourists are also kept under watchful eyes.

Page 9 of 944