In Thailand English-language News for December 20, 2017, Newsline presenter Cholaphansa Narula tells us about:
00:43 | Large numbers of Thais continue to visit the royal crematorium exhibition at Sanam Luang in tribute to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Between November 2 and December 18 more than 3.2 million people visited the site.
01:53 | Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has pledged the cabinet’s determination to tackle poverty in the country after viewing the success of projects in Kalasin Province. While urging members of the Cabinet and their spouses to fight poverty in Kalasin the PM gave each presents of local products and a notebook computer.
02:39 | The Cabinet has approved Bt80 billion (about $US2.4 billion) to help support the country’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The fund is expected to help create 167,000 jobs and inject Bt370 billion (about US$11 billion) into the local economy.
Additionally, Bt20 billion (about US$610 million) was allocated to buy 350,000 tons of dried rubber sheet, while other measures were also approved to assist the agricultural sector.
04:13 | The government will organise 12 activities including cross-year prayers, a tour to ten Royal Temples, and the public presentation of ten highly-respected Buddha statues at the Bangkok National Museum between December 29, 2017 and January 31, 2018 to celebrate the New Year period.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education (MoE) has begun installing high-speed internet in state schools in order to allow students to access more information for academic purposes.
The ministry also plans to open a boarding school in every district of the three southern border provinces to help children from low-income families obtain better access to education.
05:39 | The Ministry of Interior (MoI) is waiting on the Council of State to finish its review of the proposed amendments for all six laws related to the holding of local elections.
06:30 | The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) has held a public forum on the property tax bill which aims to eliminate current redundancies in taxation that lead to less government revenue.
In its current form the bill will lower the tax ceiling by 40 per cent, introduce transition rates for the first two years, and provide tax exemptions capped at Bt50 million (about $US1.5 million) to properties that benefit agriculture valued at less than Bt20 million (about $US61 thousand).
07:31 | The Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP) has held a seminar on financial policies for addressing climate change in Thailand. The seminar informed stakeholders about Thailand’s involvement in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and offered guidelines for projects to meet Thailand’s goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 20-25 per cent by the year 2030.
08:22 | The Ministry of the Interior (MoI) has instructed 14 southern provinces to prepare for the effects of tropical storm Kai-Tak between December 22-24. Meanwhile, the flood situation in the southern region has significantly improved.
11:43 | Police are intensifying security control on roads and in residential areas as people prepare to travel for the New Year holidays. More than 90,000 police, plus volunteers will be deployed at checkpoints, rest areas, and blood alcohol testing stations to ensure road safety during the holidays. Police warn they will impose maximum penalties against traffic offenders, particularly those driving drunk, and speeders.
13:22 | The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will organise the Amazing Thailand Countdown 2018 in five cities across the country to create happiness and to equality distribute tourism income to local communities. The five cities are Lampang, Sakon Nakhon, Rayong, Kanchanaburi, and Phuket.
14:32 | The Department of Business Development (DBD) expects the number of new business registrations to reach 70,000 this year, an eight per cent rise over last year. In the period from January to November 30 registered capital of new business exceed Bt372.71 billion (US$11.37 billion), a 14 per cent increase over the same period last year.
15:45 | Kasikorn Research Center expects government investment programmes will be the key driver of economic growth in 2018, with the Thai economy forecast to grow by 4 per cent, a slide improvement over its revised forecaste for 2017 of 3.9 per cent.
It said stimulus programmes by the government aimed at increasing shopping, along with the low-income card programme, and flood relief programmes have boosted consumer spending by 3.9 per cent.
For 2018 it said it expects state spending to rise by 8 per cent year-on-year (YoY), while private investment is expected to grow at 3 per cent, almost double the 1.6 per cent of 2017. Lending by commercial banks is forecast to increase by 4.5 per cent over 2017, while credit card spending is expected to grow by 6.5 per cent.
17:15 | After 17 years China has agreed to revise its Mekong River blasting operations to minimise adverse effects after concerns were raised by Thailand and Lao PDR at a meeting of foreign ministers under the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (MLC) agreement in China.
18:08 | Newsline takes a look at the detail and excitement of RoboCup Asia-Pacific (RCAP) 2017, the first open robotic competition to be held in Thailand.
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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. AEC News Today publishes Thailand English-language News M-F.