BANGKOK, Oct 23 – Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha led the Cabinet, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and members of the public at large gathering at the Equestrian Statue of King Chulalongkorn at the Royal Plaza in front of Dusit Palace to lay wreaths and garlands of flowers as a tribute to pay deep respect to King Rama V.

BANGKOK, Oct 23 --  Thailand will maintain its constructive role in the United Nations although it was not elected to a United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) seat, according to Sek Wannamethee, spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

TOKYO, Oct 23 - Malaysia will start finalising details with Singapore on the upcoming High Speed Rail (HSR) project in the first quarter of next year.

Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said this to Malaysian and Singaporean reporters at the High-Speed Rail Conference 2014 here Wednesday.

The conference is held in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Tokaido Shinkansen (Tokaido bullet train).

"As far as the feasibility study is concerned, we have submitted it (report)to the (Malaysian) government and they have accepted it. It will go to both the Prime Ministers (of Malaysia and Singapore).

"Two committees have already been established - a technical and a joint ministerial committee," he said.

Singapore is still in the midst of its own feasibility study and is expected to complete it early next year.

Syed Hamid said the government was currently assessing the best HSR system for Malaysia to adopt based on the ones from Europe, China and Japan.

It was not merely the technology that was being studied but the human capital and cultural mindset behind it as well, he added.

On the lack of rail specialists in Malaysia, he said more universities have been offering courses on rail engineering in preparation for the country's changing public transport landscape.

He admitted that the HSR "was a whole new level" in rail technology but assured that local rail engineers would be sent for overseas training once the government had decided the country from which the technology would be sourced from.

Syed Hamid said seven HSR stops have been confirmed on Malaysia's side, namely Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Seremban, Ayer Keroh, Batu Pahat, Muar and Nusajaya.

SEJONG, Oct 23 - South Korea's antitrust watchdog has launched a probe into suspicions that major instant noodle and snack makers were involved in fixing prices, government sources said Thursday.

"A probe is underway as there are suspicions that some companies had conspired to hike prices of their products at a certain level," a Fair Trade Commission (FTC) official said. "An on-spot inspection has already been completed and we will keep monitoring to secure specific evidence going forward."

He said that the evidence at this moment is all "circumstantial." He did not name companies currently being probed.

Suspicions of price fixing have arisen as prices of processed food products are increasing despite a fall in the costs of raw materials over the past few years.

Government data showed that the international prices of corn, wheat and soybeans have dropped 47.1 percent, 20.3 percent and 19.4 percent since January 2012.

Prices of processed food prices, however, rose 4.6 percent and 3 percent in 2012 and 2013, when the country's consumer prices rose only 2.2 percent and 1.3 percent.

Thursday, 23 October 2014 13:55

China promotes new-energy buses in Beijing

BEIJING, Oct 23 -  Chinese authorities released a plan Wednesday requiring the heavily polluted cities of Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei Province to put more new-energy buses on the road to cut pollution.

China aims to promote the use of 20,222 new-energy cars in the region's public transport system from 2014 to 2015, according to the plan jointly released by seven departments, including the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and National Development and Reform Commission.

By the end of 2015, new-energy vehicles should take no less than 16 percent of the total buses in those regions, the plan said. The number of charging posts are estimated to reach 19,657.

The announcement is the latest government effort to address the increasingly serious pollution in the area.

Beijing and eight of its neighboring cities were among the 10 Chinese cities with the worst air quality in the third quarter this year.

The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region on average suffered from air pollution 45 percent of the days in the third quarter, according to Tuesday's data from the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

It did not say what the major pollutant in the region were, though earlier reports released in August had pointed to ozone and PM2.5.

China began to include PM2.5, a key indicator of air pollution, and ozone in its new air quality standard in 2013, as a series of choking smog spells raised public concerns.

The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region will be once again be shrouded by smog beginning Thursday, the local observatory has predicted.

BANGKOK, Oct 22 -- The parents of two Myanmar suspects arrested for allegedly killing two British tourists on Ko Tao island of Surat Thani province arrived in Thailand today, and will visit their sons at Ko Samui prison. 

Thursday, 23 October 2014 13:49

Murdered Japanese man's son thanks Thai police

BANGKOK, Oct 22 -- The son of an aging Japanese man murdered in Thailand has thanked the police for their quick investigation into his father's disappearance. 

Thursday, 23 October 2014 13:45

Thai Industries Sentiment Index drops

BANGKOK, Oct 22 -- The Thai Industries Sentiment Index (TISI) dropped for the second month in a row, and local sales and export of automobiles also declined.

BANGKOK, Oct 22 -- After chairing a National Energy Policy and Planning Committee meeting at Government House today, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the government will promote the energy production from garbage and energy crops to reduce the amount of imported gas and oil.

BANGKOK, Oct 22 -- Thienchay Kiranandana, chairman-elect of the National Reform Council (NRC), said the main goals of the body were to resolve conflicts in the nation and draft a new constitution.

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