In Thailand English-language News for December 22, 2017, Newsline presenter Surapan Laotharanarit tells us about:
00:41 | Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has presided over a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of Thailand’s first high speed rail line. The first section will run from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima and include six stations and form part of China’s One Belt One Road project.
02:09 | The majority of members of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) have opposed a proposal to grant the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) wide sweeping powers to wiretap the telephone communications of politicians, government officials, and those suspected of being involved in corruption. They said such power could be exploited for political gain. Further discussion was scheduled for today.
03:41 | The Ministry of Culture (MoC) is to hold a year-long campaign to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the establishment of the Thonburi Kingdom, and to honour King Taksin the Great for liberating Siam from the Burmese. Commencing December 28, the celebrations will feature seven commemorative activities at historically significant locations in Bangkok and the provinces.
05:12 | The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has produced Islamic calendars for distribution domestically and internationally. It will also provide passport services on Saturdays to assist citizens traveling during the New Year’s holiday. The additional working day includes Saturday December 23, 2017, as well as January 6, and 13, 2018.
07:09 | The Department of National Parks Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) will organise an event at the Bangkok Art & Culture Center to mark National Wildlife Protection Day on December 26 and December 27. The event will feature a photo exhibition of the DNP’s forest protection efforts and achievements, a ceremony honoring environmental campaigners, and a seminar on the threats to wildlife.
10:32 | Chen Namchaisiri, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), has reported that the industrial confidence index (ICI) hit an eight month high in November, climbing to 87 from 85.9 the previous month. The improvement was attributed to government’s stimulus measures such as state welfare cards, the Shop for Nation tax measure, and sales promotions by retailers.
However, for the next three months, the ICI has dropped from 103.3 to 102 due, largely blamed on a hike in gas prices, volatile currency exchange rates, private sector concerns about a price slump in agricultural commodities, as well as the trade policies of Thailand’s commercial partners.
12:06 | The Export-Import Bank of Thailand (EXIM Bank) and the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank of Thailand (SME Bank) have signed a memorandum of cooperation (MoC) to provide syndicated and club loans to more than 20,000 Thai SMEs. SMEs wishing to expand in domestic or overseas markets will be able to borrow up to Bt15 million (about US$457,000) from SME Bank, or Bt50 million ($1.5 million) from EXIM Bank.
13:53 | The Pollution Control Department (PCD) and Traffic Police have held a refresher course on noise and smoke detection for auto inspectors. Statistics show that the percentage of cars producing high levels of smoke and noise on Thailand’s roads have dropped from 40 per cent to 5 per cent.
15:09 | Metropolitan Police Chief, Police Lieutenant General Chanthep Sesawet has launched a road safety project aimed at raising public awareness of traffic rules and compliance. Private organisations and civil networks have donated more than 1,500 helmets to 88 police stations across Bangkok. The helmets will be lent by police to motorcycle drivers and passengers caught not wearing helmets for up to seven days in order for them to obtain their own.
16:28 | The government is to set up more complaint centers to assist citizens between December 29, 2017 to January 3, 2018. The new centers will be at Mo Chit Bus Terminal, the Southern Bus Terminal and Hua Lumpong train station.
In addition, the government complaint filing mobile app is also set to be updated to allow for the attachment of photos, audio, and location information, as well as the ability for citizens to follow the progress of a complaint.
17:41 | Government agencies and the private sector have held a seminar on the prevention of cyberbullying. According to Pichet Durongkaveroj, Minister of the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES), cyberbullying is an issue that needs to be discussed, with prevention strategies more important than punishments.
20:54 | The Thai-Lao General Border Commission (GBC) has agreed to increase cooperation on shared security threats, reducing human and drug trafficking, improving cross-border trade, and further developing the border area. Both countries signed a memo to continue collaboration in 2018, swearing to maintain peace, friendship, stability, and quality of life for their citizens.
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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.