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BANGKOK, 3 October 2014,  The Small and Medium Enterprise Bank of Thailand (SME Bank) will be lending a large number of loans to small-time entrepreneurs under a nine-loan scheme to keep their businesses alive in order to boost their sales and cash flows.

According to the bank, bank employees are encouraged to go above and beyond the call of duty to accommodate a long line of business owners during the loan application process. The bank also said that a large number of SMEs have expressed interest in the program, as it is the last chance for them to seek loans before the end of this year.

Application forms for SME operators will be accepted from tomorrow onwards. The forms can be handed in from 9:00AM to 4:00PM at the SME Bank Tower on the 11th floor. For more information, please contact the call center at 1357 or visit www.smebank.co.th

TRANG, 3 October 2014  Trang provincial officials are urging people to frequently check weather conditions with the meteorological department as harsh weather is expected.

Trang Province Deputy Governor Niphan Sirithorn revealed said that the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, which has been working with the Thai Meteorological Department, is saying that strong wind and rains can be expected during 4-7 October.

This weather pattern is due to a monsoon trough that will sequentially cover the central, western, and southern part of Thailand, while the Southwesterly winds, which is covering the Andaman Sea, the southern part of Thailand, and the Gulf of Thailand and will intermittently become stronger.

Meanwhile, the low pressure areas above the South China Sea will become stronger. These conditions will cause more rains in the central, western and southern part of Thailand. Heavy rain might occur in some areas. The heights of the wind and waves in the affected areas will be stronger and higher.

To prepare for the floods, storms and landslides which might unexpectedly occur from heavy rain and strong wind, people in affected areas are advised to regularly check the weather forecast and news to prevent damage to properties, injuries and loss of lives during 4-7 October.

BANGKOK, 3 October 2014 Lumpini police are prepared to forward the case against the owner of All IVF Clinic, which is at the center of a surrogacy scandal, to the Office of the Attorney-General for indictment.

Police plan to charge Dr. Pisit Tantiwattanakul with operating the clinic without a proper medical license and providing surrogacy services at his establishment. Both charges carry a jail sentence of no more than 3 years and a fine of up to 60,000 baht.

Dr. Pisit has so far denied all allegations against him. Dr Pisit and his lawyer are scheduled to report to the OAG on October 9. The OAG will set up a committee to probe the case and review evidence against the IVF clinic owner.

All IVF is accused of providing surrogacy services to Mitsutoki Shigeta, a Japanese businessman who reportedly fathered 15 babies to surrogate mothers in Thailand, including nine babies found at a Lat Phrao condominium.

BANGKOK, 3 October 2014  Mr. Lertviroj Kowattana, the Director-General of the Royal Irrigation Department (RID), noted that a cold air mass from China is moving down to Thailand, signalling the arrival of winter and the end of rainy season.

The RID is concerned about the lack of remaining water in all dams and reservoirs as the current volume has reached the lowest point in 15 years, due to the delay of this year’s rain and the exhaustion of 2000 cubic metres of water that was used for agricultural purposes last year. As a consequence, there is a sufficient amount of water only for consuming purposes but not for off-season rice planting.

In response to the current situation, the RID will propose a plan to reduce impacts of water shortage to the cabinet next week in which the government will be asked to announce a prohibition of off-season rice planting in Chao Phraya and Mae Klong River Basins. Rather than rice planting, farmers will be encouraged to plant field crops and vegetables that need less water in about 820,000 rai of agricultural land in the basins.

BANGKOK, 1 October 2014 The Tourism Authority of Thailand is confident that the number of Chinese arrivals to the country will exceed this year’s target.

TAT’s East Asia director Srisuda Wanapinyosak on Wednesday led a team of representatives from Airports of Thailand Public Company Limited, the Immigration Bureau, the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) and the Thai-Chinese Tourism Alliance Association (TCTA) to welcome a group of 180 Chinese travellers from Shanghai who flew to Thailand for their Golden Week holiday during October 1 and 7.

Mrs. Srisuda said that the number of Chinese visitors to Thailand has been rising lately although statistics showed an 18.9% on-year decrease in Chinese arrivals during the first eight months of 2014 because of the political crisis in the first quarter of the year.

She believed that the improvement in the Chinese market was partly attributed to the Thai government’s visa waiver for travellers from China and Taiwan while the Golden Week holiday was another factor that helped draw more visitors to Thailand.

The TAT’s East Asia director expects between 400,000 and 500,000 Chinese visitors will visit Thailand during the fourth quarter of this year — the number that will raise this year’s total number of Chinese arrivals to 4.3 million which is higher than the initial estimate of 3.98 million.

BANGKOK, 1 October 2014  Mr. Narade Boonpiam, Acting Director of the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) said on the occasion of the 38th anniversary of BMTA establishment that the BMTA has re-launched a more modern and updated image by redesigning its logo and changing the colour of buses. 

BANGKOK, 2 October 2554 The Governor of the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand is confident that a successful establishment of a special economic area in Thailand’s northern Mae Sot area will effectively boost border trade.

IEAT Governor Verapong Chaiperm said that the preparation for the establishment of a special economic area under the supervision of the Industrial Estate Authority is in the primary stage that focuses on the development of border areas to boost the economy and the income of locals.

The works of the IEAT will also involve putting trade and immigrant labor in all areas in order, Mr. Verapong added.

The IEAT Governor said five areas have been initially selected as parts of the pilot project. They are Mae Sot district of Tak province, Aranyaprathet district of Sa Kaeo province, the border area of Trat province, the border area of Mukdahan province and Sadao district of Songkhla province.

According to him, a successful establishment of the special economic zone in Mae Sot will particularly increase border trade as the area is a part of the Asia’s East-West Corridor that connects Myanmar with Laos and Vietnam.

BANGKOK, 2 October 2014 Swarms of sea nettle jellyfish have been spotted on the Hua-Hin beach, prompting authorities to take action in cleaning up the beaches. Meanwhile, tourists have been warned to stay out of the water to avoid these stinging jellyfish.

Lined between the Saphan Pla fishing pier and the Khao Takiab area of the beach’s coastline are thousands of sea nettle jellyfish and some Aurelia jellyfish that have been washed ashore.

Following this unusual phenomenon, Hua-Hin Mayor Mr. Noppon Wutthikul has instructed municipality officials to clean up the beach area for tourists’ own safety, as sea nettles have a poisonous sting that could cause serious burns on the skin. As for Aurelia jellyfish, touching them can produce an itching on the skin that may develop into a rash.

Investigations reveal that hordes of jellyfish have been washed up on the beach since yesterday as a result of a change in the wind direction that pushed them to the coastline.

At this point, authorities have put up a warning sign written in Thai, English, and Chinese languages to inform tourists to avoid going into the water.

BANGKOK, 1 October 2014  Mom Rajawongse Pridiyathorn Devakula, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Economics reveals that the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday 1st October has approved 5 economic stimulating measures to create job opportunities. 

BANGKOK, 1 October 2014  Dr. Narong Sahamethapat, the Permanent Secretary for Public Health has urged all sectors to realize the importance of elderly care, in his speech to mark the International Day of Older Persons on 1st October.

In his address, Dr. Narong cited a research recently conducted by Mahidol University as saying there are currently 9.93 million elders, accounting for 15 per cent of total population in Thailand. However, only 5 per cent of them are healthy and have self-care ability while the rest of 9 million have congenital diseases e.g. diabetes, high blood pressure, depression and osteoarthritis. 200,000 of them lack self-care competence and are also immovable from beds. In addition, there are around 800,000 elders or 8 per cent who have to stay on their own at home.

The Ministry of Public Health, consequently, has provided a better elderly-care system focusing on the integration between internal and external organizations related to the matter including the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, local administrative organizations and communities. The improving system emphasizes a long-term care service which is consistent with local culture and way of life in order to encourage the elders to live happily with their own families in hometown. Meanwhile, all necessary facilities can be accessed locally and closely to their accommodations.

Besides, the ministry will establish special clinics for physical and mental consultants and health screening in central hospitals, community hospitals as well as general hospitals. Moreover, buildings should be reconstructed or renovated to become ‘Universal Design’ by installing horizontally-sitting toilets with handles, and replacing stairs with ramps.

In addition, the ministry will promote the establishment of long-term elderly care model in each community with the inter-organizational operation. The system will create elderly-demographic information center both of healthy and impaired ones. Meanwhile, multi-professional staff with voluntary team and the elders’ family will visit them at home. Currently, the project has progressed to cover 2000 districts but needs to increase to 2300 districts and eventually cover all by 2021.

Furthermore, the ministry also manages a pilot project called ‘elderly-friendly city’ in 2 areas namely Pattaya and Nonthaburi’s municipality to be launched during 2014-2016 in order to respond to the need of elders, impaired and disabled people. Not only facilities which all elders can utilize universally such as wheel chairs, parking, buses and hospitals, but the ministry will also do the increase in their higher earnings. Importantly, they will also be encouraged to participate in community activities so that they can be happier and recognised in the society.

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