In Thailand English-language News for May 5, 2017, Newsline presenter Sandra Hanutsaha tells us about:
• Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has said that security officials will seek to jointly question a suspected IS (also known as Daesh) member arrested by Malaysian authorities if it was confirmed he had been involved in violence in Thailand’s southern provinces. Royal Thai Army (RTA) Fourth Region Commander, Lieutenant General Piyawat Nakwanich, has ordered a probe into the accusation, but said to date no connection had been established between IS (Daesh) and the Southern Thailand insurgency.
• The National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) has said that amendments to the controversial Protection of Media Rights and Freedom, Ethics and Professional Standards Bill will be made in the next seven days, before it is submitted to the Cabinet. Amongst the items to be removed from the Bill includes a requirement for all professional journalists to be licensed by the State, or face criminal charges with penalties including imprisonment.
• Denying that it was impinging on peoples rights, National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC) chairman Takorn Tantasith said yesterday that it had ordered all Thailand ISPs to block the remaining 600 of 6,900 websites on a government list within the next seven days. Comprising mostly gambling and adult entertainment sites, Mr Tantasith said they had been deemed a threat to national security. Some 6.300 websites had been blocked by the Thailand government over the last three years, he said.
• Despite orders by US President Donald Trump for American officials to investigate what he perceives as imbalances in foreign trade, the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) said on Thursday it was committed to helping Thai agricultural and food producers increase their market share in the US by 5 per cent. Food and agricultural exports to the US in 2016 generated more than US$4.3 billion, a 10 per cent year on year (YoY) rise over that in 2015.
• The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) says that a survey conducted in April showed that the Thai Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) had risen for the fifth month in succession, rising from 76.8 in March to 77.0 in April. The rise, it said, was due to increased tourism, exports, and increases in agricultural prices. Domestic consumption was expected to continue to surge this year.
• Up to 15 million people are expected to register as low income earners during the second round of welfare benefit registrations currently underway, almost double the number that registered during the first round last year. Dr Navin Damrigan, Ph.D, Deputy Secretary General to the Prime Minister for Political Affairs, said the aim of this year’s registration was to collect big data so that the government could evaluate how to best assist those in need.
• The Thailand Exhibition and Convention Bureau (TCEB) has developed a strategy themed ‘Smart Mice’ to boost Thailand’s attractiveness as a destination for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (Mice). The Smart Mice strategy, part of a 20-year plan, will combine sustainability, modernity, creativity, revolution, and transformation into the way Mice events in Thailand are organised.
• The Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) committee is pushing for a feasibility study into the construction of a double track railway connecting the Port of Laem Chabang in Chonburi Province with the Port of Sattahip at the southern tip of the province, and the Port of Map Ta Phut in Rayong Province, to enhance logistics in the EEC.
• A group of 25 motorbike riders from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and China have taken part in the 15th Wingers Camaraderie Ride 2017 to Mae Sot District in Tak Province to promote regional tourism and investment.
• 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.