In Thailand English-language News for April 18, 2017, Newsline presenter Dhra Dhirakaosal tells us about:
• Four subcommittees that have been hearing submissions from a range of stakeholders in regard to reconciliation will meet with Thailand Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, General Prawit Wongsuwan, to discuss any major concerns and suggestions before they are submitted to the subcommittee responsible for drafting reconciliation proposals.
• Election Commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn has said that while the Electoral Commission (EC) was preparing to hold the first Thailand general election since the military coup of May 22, 2014, he could not provide an exact date before considering new content contained in the 2017 Thailand Constitution, and organic laws yet to be approved by the National Legislative Assembly (NLA).
• Thailand Tourism and Sports Minister, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, yesterday took part in the final day of the Wan Lai Festival (the day that flows) at Bang Saen Beach in Chonburi City where a range of traditional Songkran activities were held, including a traditional sad sculpting competition.
• The Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) has identified an additional main suspect involved in a pyramid selling scheme which saw more than 1,000 people stranded at Suvarnabhumi International Airport (SIA) on Songkran eve when they found no aircraft had been booked for a trip to Japan that they had paid for. The scheme is thought to have conned more than Bt50 million (about US$1.454 million) from participants. Eight suspects are currently detained at the 11th military circle, while the head of the scheme, WealthEver executive Pasit ‘Shogun’ Arinchalatis, has been remanded at the Central Women’s Correctional Institution (CWCI) pending prosecution. To date authorities have seized assets of the company and directors valued at about Bt20 million ($581,777).
• The Royal Thai Army (RTA) has reported that of this year’s total military intake of 103,097 some 50,580 people had volunteered, with the remainder drawn from a pool of 532,277. The Royal Thai Army took in 78,677 new recruits, while the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) took 16,000, and 8,420 were apportioned to the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF).
• The Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board (ONESDB) has said that the economy is on track to achieve 2017 Thailand GDP growth of 3.5 per cent. State enterprise spending grew 12 per cent between December and January and 48 per cent between January and February in line with the governments financial strategy of ensuring 95 per cent disbursement of state enterprise budgets to stimulate the economy.
• The Ministry of Industry (MoI) is preparing to allocate packages of Bt100 million ($2.910 million) to provinces for disbursement as low-interest loans to local SMEs from a Bt20 billion ($582 million) SMEs assistance fund.
• The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) composite index is forecast to hover between 1,650 and 1,680 points due to continued economic recovery fuelled by government funded infrastructure projects.
• The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is preparing to increase the fuel tariff fee on electricity bills. The new fees will come into effect on bills being issued between May and August, with rising natural gas prices blamed for the rise. Additional increases are forecast for later in the year.
• NBT takes a look at the Thai blueberry (Thai: mak mao) industry in Sakon Nakhon Province.
• Increased demand for Thai rice from Peru will see the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) launch a marketing programme aimed at increasing Thai rice sales to the country. Peru consumes 1.8 million tons of rice annually, the most in Latin America, with 65 per cent imported from Uruguay, 22 per cent from Brazil and 9 per cent from Thailand. Last year Thailand sold $50.3 million worth of rice to Peru and Minister of Commerce Apiradi Tantraporn said it is hoped this can be increased.
• Twenty five Cambodian nationals who had previously been working legally in Thailand before returning home for the new year celebrations last week have been taken into custody in Sa Kaeo after attempting to return to Thailand using a different border crossing to that which they left by, being denied reentry, and then using a people trafficking network to sneak into the country. Foreign workers were given approval to go home for the holiday period free of charge, but were required to return using the same border crossing.
• and more.
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Newsline is a daily Thailand English-language news and current affairs programme produced by the National News Bureau of Thailand (NNBT) under the Thailand Government Public Relations Department (PRD) for *NBT World, the NNBTs 24/7 English language television service delivering Thailand government news and information to the Thai, Asean, and wider Asian communities via cable and satellite. It is also available via android and iOS apps. AEC News Today publishes Thailand English-language News M-F.