In Thailand English-language News for May 2, 2017, Newsline presenter Cholaphansa Narula tells us about:
• Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai has told the media in Bangkok that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had spoken with US President Donald Trump and both leaders had invited each other to visit their respective countries. Mr Pramudwinai also confirmed that Thailand will observe UN and Asean resolutions relating to the current Korean peninsula tensions.
• Thailand government spokesperson, Lieutenant General Sansern Kaewkamnerd, said the Cabinet has approved a request by the Ministry of Finance for Bt5.8 billion (about US$168,360) from the 2018 expenditure budget to enable the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) and Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) to continue to offer free travel on third-class trains and busses.
• Deputy government spokesman, Lieutenant General Werachon Sukhondhapatipak, said this week’s Cabinet meeting had approved an memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Thailand Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) aimed at increasing information exchange, particularly focusing on narcotics, immigration and transnational crimes.
• The National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) has approved suggestions on the implementation of the media reform plan aimed at regulating the media. During the discussions on the Protection of Media Rights and Freedom, Ethics and Professional Standards Bill former police commander, Police General Seripisut Temiyavet, told the assembly that journalists who reported criticism of the military “should be executed by firing squad”.
• Thailand’s First Army has began inviting representatives from the central and eastern regions to submit their proposals for national reconciliation.
• A number of related government agencies from Chonburi Province have met with Chonburi deputy governor, Phawat Lertmukda, to formulate an approach to the Marine Department insisting that it take action against commercial shipping and fishing vessels that are continuously dumping waste water and engine oil into the sea off the province. The dumping has cause irreparable damage to the regions ecosystem, killed sea life, and impacted tourism. If the Marine Department does not take action the regional authorities plan to file complaints with the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).
• In an attempt to accelerate the move towards a cashless society the Ministry of Finance (MoF) is to hold a raffle each month for people who use debit cards to pay for transactions (excluding eCommerce transactions), and vendors who have installed Electronic Draft Capture (EDC) machines. Shoppers will be entered into a monthly draw for Bt1 million ($29,027) prize money and another 1,000 prizes valued at Bt5.6 million ($162,554). Qualifying vendors must earn less than Bt500 million ($14.513 million) in revenue and have an EDC machine installed. Prizes for vendors comprise Bt1 million ($29,027) prize money and another 30 prizes valued at Bt300,000 ($8,708) each.
• The Ministry of Commerce (MoC) in collaboration with the Thai Retail Association (TRA) has kicked off its annual programme aimed at promoting ‘mom-and-pop’ grocery stores. The promotion will see 48 everyday items available at more than 3,000 ‘mom and pop’ grocery stores nationwide at prices discounted by between 20-50 per cent until June 30. An estimated Bt100 million ($2.902 million) is expected to be generated from the promotion.
• Vinaroj Supsongsuk, Director-General of the Cooperative Promotions Department (CPD) has met with the Department of Land Transport (DLT), and 58 taxi cooperatives in Bangkok to discuss measures to control their members, including keeping a record of all taxi drivers commencing within the next 15 days, after it was discovered that some taxis were rented out to drivers without licenses.
• Operators of public transport vans have asked the government to ease strict safety regulations applied to non-fixed route vans from being applied to charter vans with a capacity of less than 12 passengers.
• The Thailand Government Public Relations Department (PRD) is holding two-day event with a series of recreational activities to mark its 84th anniversary. Originally termed the Publicity Division, the agency was established less than one year after the Siam Revolution in 1932 which ended absolute monarchy rule.
• Representatives of Asean member nations have met with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) to discuss regional integration and crime challenges, and ways to improve border security and safety throughout the Asean Community (AC). The meeting followed one in Manila last week during the 30th Asean Summit in Manila where matters of transnational organised crime, human, and drug trafficking were discussed.
• A meeting has been held by Thai and Cambodian representatives at Sa Keao Province in preparation for the Visakha Bucha week religious ceremony commencing on May 10th to commemorate the cremation of Buddha, which falls on May 18 this year. The event will offer entertainment such as cultural shows, religious exhibitions, as well as an alms giving ceremony for Thai and Cambodian monks.
• 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.