In Thailand English-language News for February 1, 2018, Newsline presenter Sandra Hanutsaha tells us about:
00:46 | Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn yesterday presented the Prince Mahidol Award 2017 to the winners in the fields of medicine and public health. In the field of medicine the winner was the ‘Human Genome Project (HGP)’, while the winner in the public health section was an American research team, recognised for its development of an improved vaccine against Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), a major cause of meningitis.
02:43 | Deputy prime minister Dr Wissanu Krea-ngam said yesterday that the Thailand general election will take place in February 2019… as long as everything goes as planned.
He said that the proposal of the Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) to establish a tripartite committee to vet the organic bills on the election of members of parliament (MPs) and the origin of senators will not cause a delay in the general election, unless the Constitutional Court needs to review the draft organic laws first or any other unexpected factors come about.
Meanwhile, Royal Thai Army (RTA) Commander-in-Chief, Chalermchai Sittisart, has instructed security agencies to intensify their operations in the wake of activist groups mounting campaigns to protest the election delay and other matters.
04:04 | Highlighting his 50 years of service to the country, deputy prime minister Prawit Wongsuwan said on Wednesday that he is ready to resign if the people no longer wanted him.
05:13 | Deputy prime minster Dr Wissanu Krea-ngam said yesterday that authorities have up to ten years to seize assets of former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra before the statue of limitation expires. He said some of Shinatwara’s assets had been moved, while others had yet to be identified, with the Finance Ministry responsible for locating and identifying them.
06:42 | Thailand’s government has continued to gather public opinions on the draft Social Enterprise Promotion (SEP) law, which is expected to be promulgated by the middle of this year.
07:59 | The government is supporting the establishment of more than 8,700 youth organisations across the country to strengthen youth networks and development programs.
09:00 | General Surasak Karnjanarat, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, yesterday presented awards to 106 establishments that have changed their production and service operations to become more environmentally friendly.
General Karnjanarat also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (DASTA), the SME Development Bank, and the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) to support green businesses in the tourism industry.
12:04 | The Bank of Thailand (BoT) yesterday reported that the Thai economy in the fourth quarter of 2017 grew by 4 per cent, mainly due to exports and the tourism sector. According to the BoT exports in December grew 9.3 per cent, while tourism revenues increased 15.5 per cent, both year-on-year (YoY).
For 2018 the BoT forecasts Thailand GDP growth will likely reach 3.9 per cent, driven largely by the export sector.
13:27 | General Viddhavat Rajatanun, Chief Ombudsman of Thailand, yesterday met with relevant agencies to discuss his recent visits to Don Mueang Airport and Suvarnabhumi airport to inspect food and beverage prices.
The meeting determined that vendors at both airports will be allowed to charge prices that are not more than 125 per cent of suggested prices. Shops that fail to offer bottled water for Bt10 (about US$0.32) or less will be subject to legal action, with the new policy expected to come into force by April.
15:03 | The Ministry of Finance (MoF) is set to implement a new programme aimed at improving the quality of life of more than 11 million holders of the government’s welfare card.
Pornchai Theeravej, financial policy advisor to the Fiscal Policy Office (FPO), said that low income earners wanting to learn new skills can now contact any branch of the Government Savings Bank (GSB) or the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), as well as the district office they originally registered themself with.
Mr Theeravej said additional assistance available to card holders include the Career Training Program which can accommodate up to 240,000 participants, and a loan programme for 2.1 million borrowers. A tax incentive programme for companies which hire low-income earners is also planned.
He said that the enrolment process will stay open until February 28, with those who sign up for it receiving an additional Bt100 (about US$3.20) credit in their welfare cards to spend at Blue Flag shops in March and December of this year.
16:26 | Acting Public Relations Department (PRD) director general, Lieutenant General Sansern Kaewkamnerd, yesterday chaired a meeting to establish policies and a framework for raising organisational standards after a recent review by the office of the Public Sector Development Commission (PSDC) found that the PRD’s radio, television, and online channels had failed to create analytical reports on complaints or suggestions made by its audiences, or modify its content.
17:30 | Last night people across the country witnessed the first total lunar eclipse for 2018 and the first super blue blood moon eclipse in more than 150 years.
The National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (Narit) said that the total lunar eclipse took place over 1.16 hours between 7:51pm and 9:07pm and could be seen with the naked eye in all areas of the country. Another total lunar eclipse will occur on July 27 in Hat Yai.
18:32 | The Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has held a seminar to educate business owners on how to benefit from the Asean-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (AJCEPA) which will take effect at the end of this year.
Deputy commerce minister Chutima Bunyapraphasara said Thai businesses will be given full access to invest in various sectors in Japan, including advertising, conferencing, tourism, exhibitions, hotels, spas, real estate, and restaurants.
In return Japanese businesses will be able to own between 49 and 70 per cent of Thailand businesses in sectors such as telecommunications, finance, real estate, and email.
19:57 | Hindus in Malaysia yesterday celebrated Thaipusam, a sacred celebration based on the full moon in the Hindu calendar. Devotees took part in a procession to a Hindu temple and shrine at Batu Caves, a limestone cave formation on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur dedicated to the Hindu deity Lord Murugan, said to be the biggest in the world outside of India.
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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.