Dec 26, 2013

DSI reaffirmed its order to freeze bank accounts of protest leaders

Thailand's Deparment of Special Investigation (DSI) reaffirmed 4 Thai commercial banks of its order to freeze accounts of 38 people who were charged of acting as oppositional protest leaders agiant the present Yinglux government.

Earlier, 20 Thai banks had conformed to its order of DSI without any question, while remaining 4 banks still questioned the validity of the 'sedition' charges by the DSI to those people as unclear.

Ref: Manager

Thailand opened bidding for HDTV and SD channels

Today, Thailand is having a bidding process for 7 HDTV channels and standard channels, up to 24 channels.

So far, the price for 7 HD channels went up to 23.7 billion Bahts.

Ref: Manager

Mass dying of wild gaurs in Kuiburi National Park

Kuiburi national park in Southern Thailand is temporarily closed while officials investigated death of 16 gaurs (wild ox) of a 22 gaur flock. There are around 120 wild gaurs in many flocks in the park. So far, they have not found evidence of bullets or hunters.

Ref: Manager

Dec 2, 2013

Thailand to test China's satellite navigation system

Thailand will be a first international customer of China's Beidou satellite navigation system. The 300 million USD deal had been signed earlier and will be tested in December 2013, will supplement the existing GPS system.

Ref: Nation

Nov 30, 2013

News on recent Thai constitution court 's verdict translated into English

The Recent verdict given by Thailand's Constitution Court toward falsification of draft bill by government politicians and members of the parliaments has just been translated into English by a volunteer, posted to ASTV Manager website.

I have not checked for accuracy of his translation though.
Yet, perhaps this would help remedy an earlier lack of English details which had caused misunderstandings among foreign reporters and international people interested in Thailand's situations.

Masked men temporarily disrupted Thailand's Internet service

Today, an unknown group of masked men, pretended to be protestors, stormed into the CAT's Bangrak building in downtown Bangkok before arrival of government protestors. They disrupted power supplies, causing widespread Internet blackout in Thailand for a period of time. It 's possible that they wanted to lay blame of the outage to the group of protestors. A side effect is also to disrupt online communications among protestors.

Ref: Manager

Nov 28, 2013

Some of Thailand MOF's servers were down

Nov 27, 2013. Thailand's Ministry of Finance's GFMIS (Government Fiscal Management System) and E-GP (e-Government Procurement) system reportedly were offlined.
This was believed to be related to a recent occupation of the Ministry by protestors of the government since the servers were located in the Ministry compound.
It is expected that this failure might cause a 1 month delay of government's bill payments until January 2014.

Ref: Blognone

Nov 27, 2013

A University president fired today for falsifying activities

Nov 27, 2013, Council of KMITL reportedly fired the University Rector (or University President) today after an investigative committee reported that he adjusted grades for his son, who studied in the same University, in 8 subjects, and he ordered acceptance of 48 pro-government politicians into Ph.D. programs under an unusual circumstance. Those were mainly representatives from the present government's Puathai Party, including a sister of Mr. Thaksin, and pro-Thaksin red-shirt political movement leaders. 

Ref: Naewna 

Nov 24, 2013

Overseas Thai students boycotted visiting deputy PM

Thai students studying at Oxford University submitted an open letter declining to meet a Thai Deputy Prime Minister of  the current Yingluch government who was visiting the institution. However they did not organize any protest, as they said, for the sake of the University and Thai community.

Ref: Nation

Booby traps used against political travellers from the south

Buses and vans carrying passengers from the south hoping to join a major protest against the government in Bangkok last night (Sat, Nov 23, 2013) were seriously delayed by nails spreaded on the highway near Chumphon,  hit by stones thrown to break wind shields, blocked by police checkpoints and trucks.

Ref: Manager

Nov 7, 2013

Money stolen from accounts via bugged ATM machines

Some ATM machines in Bangkok were found installed with skimmer device by international criminals. Around 40 people reported their cash withdrawn from their accounts in foreign countries.

Ref: Manager

Nov 6, 2013

Various sectors join in nation wide protest against Amnesty bill

After the recent passing of a general amnesty bill by Thailand's House of Representative, aiming to give a clean history of Mr. Thaksin from sentenced corruption cases and to pave way for a return of around 60 billion Baht confiscated asset judged to be obtained illegally and taxes to him, the bill is now in the hand of Thailand's Senate.  If the Senate passed the bill, surely a petition would likely be launched to the Constitution Court to decide.

Apart from many protests held by thousands of people in several locations in Bangkok, there are protests in many provinces.  In addition, many groups have come out to protest againt it, including University professors and students from nation-wide institutions, rural doctors from many provinces, government enterprise worker unions, bussiness groups.

Ref: Manager

Regarding a group of 63 judges who under-signed an announcement against the amnesty bill, spokesman of the Office of the Judicial Courts said that it was acceptable since they came out to voice their opinions as private citizens.

Ref: Manager

Dean and members of the Faculty of Laws, Thammasat University came out against the principles of the Amnesty Bill.

Ref: Manager

How Thailand could improve her IT business environment ?

Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Google, gave a talk at Google Big Tent Thailand 2013 conference in Bangkok on November 5, 2013. He suggested that Thailand could improve her IT business status in 4 ways :- a) building the country's (IT) ecosystem, b) producing more IT personnels, c) issuing 4G licenses quickly, d) having political stability.

Ref: Manager

Oct 21, 2013

October 21 - Tree Loving Day in Thailand

Commemorating the birthday anniversary of the late Princess Mother (born October 21, 1900), who actively involved in Thailand's reforestation efforts, October 21 has been designated as Thailand's National Tree Loving Day.  Activities were organized at Doi Tung (= Flag Mountain) 's working area in Chiang Rai, her original site, by the Forestry Department and the National Park Department.

Oct 15, 2013

Former Deputy PM and Finance Minister opposed Rice pawning program

Former Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Finance MInister, Pridiyathorn Devakula, estimated that Thailand government of PM Yingluck has lost 425 billion Bahts of budget money for 2 years of the rice buying program.  He estimated that over 110 billion Bahts had gone into pockets of non-farmers.
He also submitted an open letter to the PM asking her to discontinue the program and use other methods to help farmers instead.

Ref: Manager

Petroleum conglomerate try to silence Thai media

According to Thailand's news media, Thai government has so far turned blind eyes on the recent oil leak in the guilf of Thailand and its ecological impacts due to error from PTTGC.  Meanwhile, PTTEP group tried to shut up news of the impacts by sending threat of legal action to some Thai media if they continue reporting on the issues.

Ref: Manager

Anti-government protesters retreated due to extremely itchy plant

A group of anti-Thaksin protestors camping at the Uropongs intersection near the government house were forced to retreat by an unconventional means. Late last night, while protesters were sleeping, someone dispersed cowhage or velvet beans, known in Thai as หมามุ่ย , a plant that can cause severe itching and irritations near them along a street distance of 100 meter. The group retreated to other locations. A few people were hospitalized. Next morning, workers from Bangkok Metropolitant Administration cleaned and washed the area.

Ref: Manager

Oct 12, 2013

Thailand and China bilateral agreements on financial swap and visa exemption

Visiting Chinese Prime Minister said China plans to establish a Yuan Clearing Bank in Thailand to cope with business transactions between Thailand and China.  Bilateral trades are expected to top 100 Billion USD by year 2015. For Thailand, China is now the largest trading partner.

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck, said Thailand and China have also agreed on elimination of tourist visas between citizens of the two countries. In 2013, 5 million Chinese citizens are expected to visit Thailand.

Ref: Manager

Oct 11, 2013

Customer Protection Action on complaint cars

Thailand's Consumer Protection Agency ordered Chevrolet Thailand Co. to officially test customers' cars claimed to be defective for 5 days at Kangkrachan Racing Circuit, Petchaburi province.

Ref: Manager News Here and Here

Oct 7, 2013

30% of government's procured tablets for Thai primary school went to repair

The Office of the Auditor General found that around 30% (258,000 tablets) of the low cost tablets distributed by the Thailand government to grade 1 students under the one tablet per child program went to repair and the supplier could not service the tablets in a timely manner as specificed in the contract.

Source: Manager

Oct 3, 2013

Commission to investigate 'forged' draft constitution amendment

A Thai senator asked a parliamentary commission to investigate unusual modifications of draft constitution amendment that had not passed previous voting, esp. on an addition of an exception clause for the current senators to be eligible for the next round of senator election. The investigative commission would invite the secretary of the House of Representative as well as government whip to explain to discrepancies in 2 versions of the draft.

Ref: Manager

Is Thailand's one tablet per child program a failure ?

A government agency is contemplating on giving a 3,000 Baht voucher to each school student to choose and buy ablet instead of handling out a tablet in the future. If parents want better quality tablet for their child they have to pay extra.
Some Thais opined this as a failure.

Read (mainly IT apt) people's comments (in Thai) here : Blognone

Thai Prime Minister went abroad 50 times in just 2 year

PM Yingluck was criticized in the media for her excessive travelling abroad of 50 trips to 40 countries using taxpayers' money during her first 2 year of premiership. 

Some people noticed some close coincidences between her trips and those of her brother and former PM.

Ref: Manager

Sep 28, 2013

Protests against construction of a dam in a pristine National Park

A prominent media mogul and a former leader of yellow shirt movement  has blasted the planed construction of the Maewong dam as ugly project benefiting some corrupted governmental politicians. He also attacked mainstream media for not adhering to the public interest and protect our home land.

Ref: Manager

Today, Thai TV channel 9 banned an episode in the popular documentary program "Man in search of Man", or คนค้นคน. The banned espisode entitled "Mr. Sasin Chalermlarb: 388 km walk from the jungle to the capital city", refering to Mr. Sasin's leading of a group marathon-walking to protest the planned construction of Maewong dam in the Maewong National Park". An old episode on another person would be rerun instead. Many people created an uproar on online social media believing Thai government 's interference.

Ref: Manager

Meanwhile, when reporters went after the producer and narrator of the popular documentary program for an interview, he said nothing but simply put strips of black masking tape over his mouth, eyes, ears, as a gesture.

Ref: Manager

The banned episode is now available via Youtube

Sep 14, 2013

Former cabinet member sentenced by supreme court on corruption

Thailand's supreme court had finally convicted a businessman and former cabinet member of Thaksin government, among others, on corruption regarding 315 fire engines and 30 boats ordered in 2006 from Steyr Daimler Puch Spezialfahzeug. The accused did not come to listen to the final verdict, reportedly escaped to Europe, and was sentenced in absentia for 12 years of imprisonment.

News: Manager

Thai Government might have been violating Constitution on multiple counts

Former Head Judge of Thailand's Constitution Court gave opinions that the present Yingluck government has violated Thailand's current constitution laws on several aspects:-

a) They have not given verbal annual reports to the parliament for 2 years,

b) the 350 billion Baht loan has not been practically done according to its bill by the deadline of June 30, 2013,

c) the rice pledging policy was making the Thai government a rice trading monopoly in conflict with the constitution,

d) the pending Pardon Bill planned to retroactively annull cases which were judged by courts which is against principle of laws, and its aims to enact upon small specific groups of people as well as selectively aimed at benefiting certain ex-politician.

Ref: Manager

Cambodians modified disputed border area in Ubon

Cambodian soliders hauled over 50 truckloads of soil to modify terrain in a disputed border area of Namyuen district that Thailand considered her territory. Thai soliders had notified them of their violation of an agreed upon MOU.
Ref: Manager

Aug 23, 2013

Use of new Thai font designs in Apple iOS 7 created controversy among users

Many Thai people have voiced their concern of new Thai fonts, as seen in Apple iPhone 's iOS 7 and its website, which lack 'head' part as unconventional and made the Thai alphabets difficult to read.

Traditionally, Thai alphabets mostly have a small circle in each character which serves as writing's start point. Its replacement into a tiny bar in this set of designs made some characters less prominent compare to some others with similar shape.

Ref: Blognone

Aug 13, 2013

Thai Parliament wasted money on digital wall clocks

Thailand's parliament purchased 200 digital clocks for 15 million Baht, or at 75,000 Baht each (around US$ 2,500 each) !

Most (if not all) people who read the Thai news disliked it.

Ref : Manager

Aug 12, 2013

Heavy traffic jam effect of First Car Project

Today, mother's day long holiday weekend caused 20 km traffic jam on highway 314, with thousands of cars coming back to Bangkok to resume working day.  Many people blamed this another consequence of the government's "first car project" which refunded excise tax up to 100,000 Baht per car to people who bought their first cars in an attempt to buy favor with voters.

Ref: Manager

Aug 9, 2013

Opposing suppressive view on political posting and sharing on social network

Four Thailand's mass media organizations issued an open letter opposing Thai police's summoning of 4 people, including some journalist, who had either posted politically-related factual information on Facebook or pressed a "Like" button. They said the action of the police has intimidated people who used their liberty of expression given by the constitution. They also said pressing Like button is a social interaction and police should not interpret that as personal signing to certify "illegal misinformation".

Ref: Manager

Aug 5, 2013

Police warned people against posting "national security" issues on Facebook

Thai Police has named 4 people whom they issued a "calling warrant" for them on propagating false information on Facebook.  Commander of the Technology Crime unit also remined the public about Computer Crime Act, article 14(2), that anyone bringing false information to a computer system which affects (national) security, is punishable with up to 5 year imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 Baht." He also warned that those who press the "Like" and "Sharing" buttons would be charged as well.

Ref: Manager

Aug 2, 2013

Preemptive enforcement of Internal Security Act in Bangkok for 10 days

Thai government's recent accouncement on enforcement of Internal Security Act for 10 days in certain districts of Bangkok ahead of a planned anti-Thaksin white-mask peaceful demonstration on August 4, 2013, has lowered the Thai stock market today by 25 point (1.8 %).

Ref: manager

A group of people had submitted a petition to National Human Right Commision office and National Ombudsman Office claiming  the enforcement of the law by the 'mini cabinet' ahead of a planned peaceful demonstration is in violation against Thailand's constitution.

Ref: manager

Bangkok Metropolitan Police reportedly prepared 35 police companies for mob control in areas surrounding parliament and government house ahead of the scheduled anti-government demonstration.

Ref: manager

Jul 29, 2013

Crude Oil Leak from undersea pipe in Gulf of Thailand

Estimated 50,000 liters of crude oil leaked from an underwater pipe of PTT Global Chemical PLC, in the Gulf of Thailand on July 27, 2013.  Oil slick now moved toward Rayong province. Ko Samet's Prao beach was covered by thick black oil for about 600 meters. Tourists have checked out from hotels on the island.
Thai navy and marines were asked to assist in cleaning up. It might take over 15 days to clean up. Tourism industry of Rayong province estimated the loss of over 1 billion Baht so far.

News from the Thai stock exchange indicated a lower stock price of PTTGC PLC lowered for 2 consecutive days over high costs of clean up and possible litigations from affected parties.

Ref: Manager

Jul 11, 2013

Arrest for use of fake credit cards in Bangkok

Police was alerted by a Thai bank and arrested a gang of foreigners using faked credit cards purchasing high value merchandises from various stores in Bangkok.

Ref: Manager news

Jul 6, 2013

Engineer said the 350 Billion Baht loan for flood water management would not work

Associate Dean of KMITL Faculty of Engineering gave a talk in a forum entitled "the 350 billion Baht loan, Water management or Corrupting it ?" suggesting that the master plan was flawed since it used the flood event in 2011 as the model. He also said that  the government's 9 water management modules were not linked together and was against engineering principles.  He said it would not be successful and the government knows this.

Ref: Manager

Closure of Sahafarm poultry factory in Petchabun

Around 3,000 Burmese workers protested for late wage payment at Sahafarm's poultry factory in Petchabun province. Over 100 police from neighboring districts had to control situation and 6 leaders who destroyed properties in the factory were apprehended. Sahafarm said it has to temporarily close the factory and would pay remaining wage on July 15.  Remaining wage for June is expected by the end of July pending outcome of loan from financial institution.

Ref: Manager

Jun 26, 2013

TV Channel censored news on government bidding irregularity

TV Channel 5 abruptly ended a news program attempting to report irregularity on the case of "K Water Resources Corp." which won 3 modules from Thai government to build flood ways and reservoirs with a budget of 164 billion Bahts.

Ref: Manager

Jun 22, 2013

Devastatingly illegal fishings in gulf of Thailand are out of controlled

Green Peace announced after they have monitored the gulf of Thailand they found a lot of devastating fishing activities and illegal fishings in conservation zones. They call the Thai government to strictly enforce the law and establish a more efficient monitoring system or all the fish and marine animals will be mostly gone soon.

Ref: Than News

Jun 14, 2013

Red shirts in Chiang Mai attacked demonstrators

A group of around 200 red shirts in Chiang Mai tried to prevent people wearing Guy Fawk white-masks from organizing their anti-Thaksin political activity. After the small group moved to another location, yet they were attacked by the red shirts.

News : Manager

Jun 11, 2013

Many Thais named their newborn male babies after characters in popular TV soap operas

Minister of Interior gave information that over 1000 new male baby first names registered in the recent 3 months were named according to a series of TV drama centered around young fictional aristocrats, Radchanond (664 babies), Putthipat (412), Tharathorn (142), Pavornruj (112), Ronnapee (26), and Juthathep (30). These are new first names in use.

Ref: Manager 

Jun 9, 2013

Commerce Minister said he did not know magnitude of financial loss in rice grain pawning program

A former Thai Finance Minister in a previous government, wrote "he was about to faint" upon hearing news about answer of the current Minister of Commerce at a recent press conference that he did not know how much was the government's loss on rice grain 'pawning' because the government has not sold out the grain stock yet. The former minister argued that every organization must do accounting on a regular schedule, and that it would be a shame if the Ministry of Commerce has not used good accounting practice.
He guessimated that the loss was at least 200-300 billion Baht.

Ref: Manager

May 17, 2013

Protest planned against Minister of Science

Thai scientists and officials of various organizations under Thailand's Ministry of Science plan to dress in black to protest the current Puer Thai Party's Minister of Science on May 20, 2013, for a number of his indiscreet actions and his planned cutting of research budget for science and technology by 30% from next fiscal year (October 2013).

Ref: Prasong

May 16, 2013

Online protest against PM Yingluck and her government started

A group of Thai people launched "Thai Spring" online rally to voice their opposition to PM Yingluch, esp. for her recent fact-twisting talk in Mongolia, and actions of her government, which tried to white-wash former PM Thaksin from criminal verdicts.

Ref: Manager 

May 15, 2013

Thai government will buy 1.6 million Tablets for students

Another batch of tablets for students under the Thailand government's one-tablet-per-child program, to be called for bidding in June 2013, would cover 1.6 million tablets for P1 (grade 1) and M1 (grade 7) students.
Office of the primary education expected more course wares would come out this year than last year's.

Ref: Daily News

May 14, 2013

THAICOM 6 delayed to launch in Q3 or Q4 of 2013

A new communication satellite, THAICOM 6, due to be sent to the position at 78.5 degree east, has been delayed until Q3 or Q4 of 2013.  Currently, around 60% of channels have been booked.

Ref: Prachachat

Beach erosion in an area of Thailand's west coast

A beach in Phang Nga province, Bang Nien beach, has suffered from serious beach erosion due to strong high waves from Andaman Sea.  Damage on the 13 km long beach has adversely affected local tourist  resorts.

Ref: Manager news

May 11, 2013

Plan to dissolve 14,000 rural schools opposed

Local teachers, educational scholars, and the public have expressed strong oppositions to a plan by the Minister of Education to dissolve rural schools that have small number of students across the country.

Ref: Manager news

May 9, 2013

Police caught foreign tourists using counterfeit cards

Two eastern Europeans were caught with 27 faked electronic cards after they have been using those to withdraw money from various automatic teller machines in Pattaya area for the past 1 month and caused multi-million Baht loss for Thai Banks.

Ref: Matichon news

May 6, 2013

Democrat Party corrected statements on recent Thai PM's speech abroad

Thailand's Democrat Party is about to distribute a declaration in both English and Thai languages rectifying the recent speech given by the Thai Prime Minister in Mongolia. The document will be distributed to various news agencies, diplomatic missions, and various organizations.

May 5, 2013

Media mogul blasted the Prime Minister

A media mogul who formerly headed the yellow shirt movement against Thaksin government remarked that the Prime Minister, a younger sister of Mr. Thaksin, has used her talk in a foreign land to make falsifying propaganda statements in an attempt to cover her elder brother's wrongdoings.  He claimed that the current government is not democratic but a parliamentary authoritarian which rifted with corruptions.

ICT Minister to fight with defamatory remarks against PM

Thailand's minister of Information Communication Technology held a press conference to threaten strong criminal actions, both jail terms and fines, against people who bad-mouth about the Thai Prime Minister.  Defamatory websites will be blocked. His reponse is apparently in response to buzzing remarks and calling her bad names by the public about the Prime Minister recent speech in Mongolia which contained a number of distorted facts.

Some Thai people have remarked in the news commentary section that the minister has never taken such strong position against those insulting or falsifying information regarding the Monarch.

Ref : Manager news

Public opinions of people in 3 southern provinces of Thailand

Few days ago, Suan Dusit Poll surveyed over 500 people of the 3 southern provinces of Thailand and the result just came out. Around 36% considered the recent massacre of 6 innocent people by radical separatists as gruesome violence that might happen to them or anyone living in the area as well. Around 65 % could not accept BRN group's 5 conditions, saying that they don't have right to bargain.

Ref: translated from Manager news

The King has recovered

The Bureau of the Royal Household issued an announcement bulletin no. 65 on May 5, 2013, indicating that H.M. the King of Thailand is recovering from pulmonary infection. X-ray result showed a reduced inflammation. He could sleep well, but could not consume much. He has been administered an intra-venous antibiotic medication course. The doctor suggested that he refrained from royal ceremonial activities for a period of time.

Ref: translated from Manager news

May 3, 2013

Recent violence in south Thailand

'South bandits' sprayed bullets to kill and execute 6 innocent Buddhist villagers, including a 3 year old boy and his father, near a grocery shop on May 2, 2013, in Pattani province, southern Thailand. Police named possible suspects based on evidence and are hunting them.

Ref : Matichon

Apr 28, 2013

Thailand to stop producing squat type toilet platform

A law was enacted to stop production of inferior quality 'squat type' toilet platform within 4 months after the law became effective. In effect, the government wants wide-spread use of western style of toilets, which is more suitable for elderly.  This is in preparation for more number of old people in the present and future demography.

Comment: However, western's style of toilets require more volume of flushing water. That would make the water shortage problem more serious in the future, esp. in the northeast.

Ref: Prachachat Business 

Thailand Constitution Court filed complaint to Police of contempt by Red Shirts

The Constitution Court send legal clerks to officially file a complaint to police at Crime Suppression Division headquarter, with recorded vdo and voice clips of a protest by 200 red shirts in front of the court as evidence.  Leaders of the small protesting group were accused of contempting the court.

Additional information: the red shirt protesters also announced that if then encountered any of the Constitution Court judges outside the office anywhere they would grab them.  Subsequently, they went to the CSD office and demanded to see the filed complaint, which the police denied.

Ref: Than news

Thailand now has only 19% usable irrigation water

The Irrigation Department announced that, as of April 27, 2013, the country 's major water reservoirs have water around 51% of their capacities. However, the usable amount of water is only at 19%.  This year's water is only 57% less than last year's.

Ref : Than News

Thailand stopped using CDMA mobile phones

CAT Telecom of Thailand has moved from CDMA system to HSPA 3G, effective midnight of April 26, 2013.  CDMA phones no longer work in Thailand. Original CDMA customers had been migrated to new system using their original phone numbers.

Apr 23, 2013

Thai investor to discuss with government on hydrogen fuel policy

Manager of Bangkok Industrial Gas, the major hydrogen producer in Thailand said that he would soon to consult with the Ministry of Energy on their policy of using hydrogen as an alternative fuel in the next 5 years (2018, B.E 2560). His company could implement faster than the target. He will consult with car manufacturers in Thailand for testing.

Ref: Thai Post

28 Democrat MPs went to DSI Police to hear charge of "wrong doings"

Today, 28 members of Thai parliaments from the opposition Democrat Party surrendered themselves to hear charge of "wrong doings" to the DSI (Department of Special Investigation) police, for their decades long practice of donating a fraction of their monthly salary to their party by means of automatic withdrawal.  A recent law only allow donation by checks.
Recently, the recently elected Bangkok Governor from the Democrat Party was also charged of this wrong doings in an attempt to nullify the recent election result of the election when a candidate from the government Puer Thai Party lost.

The MPs said that DSI's action was politically motivated.

Ref: picture from Thai Post

Forest rangers would try to verify the young white elephant

Director General of the Department of National Park mentioned of the recent picture taken of a young albino elephant that the young one in Kang Krachan National Park likely belongs to a type of white elephant that, by law, belongs to the King of Thailand.  Officers would be sent out to verify the characteristics. He also mentioned that illegal poachings of wild elephants going on in some areas has caught the attention of the Prime Minister. Currently there are around 3000-3500 wild elephants roaming in 68 reservation areas

Ref: Thai Rath

Bangkok World Book Capital 2013 kicked off

April 23, 2013, at 7 a.m., Bangkok city governor and people donated books as symbolic morning alms for 400 Buddhist Theravada monks to commemorate Bangkok World Book Capital 2013.  At 8:30 a.m. the governor, with representatives from UNESCO, IPA, IFLA, IBF  revealed a commemorative postage, with the first-day cover on sale until May 15.

I think a more interesting story which was not mentioned in the news event today but I want to add is that, the Bangkok Metropolitant Administration (BMA) would build its new main office building and the original city hall would be turned into Bangkok city library. That 's a better news.

Ref: Than News

Thai people rushed to buy gold after global price dropped

News reported a large number of Thai people nationwide tried to buy gold, after a sudden drop in global price caused around 3,000 Baht price reduction (per "one Baht by weight" or 15.2 gram) in addition to the recent down trend since few months earlier, which would have caused a loss of around 6,000 Baht.  Meanwhile, small gold-trading shops reportedly closed since they initially purchased gold at higher price and did not want to sell as a lost.

Pawn shops are also badly affected. With drastic gold price reduction below the previous pawned values, pawn shop owners estimated that customers up to 40% might not return to claim their golds and pay back the loans. However, pawn shops would keep gold for long term so that they would not lose money.

Ref: Than News

Thailand Ministry of Finance reported better government balance

Ministry of Finance reported that, for the first half of the fiscal year B.E. 2556 (starting October 2012) the government of Thailand had income of 957.192 billion Baht, a 17.9% higher than the same period of the previous fiscal year.
Spending rates of government agencies was 1,371.578 billion Baht, or 8.1 % higher than last year's, which is considered better.
Budget balance deficit was 414.386 billion Baht, plus 115.556 or ex-budget deficit, resulted in the government having a cash deficit of 529.942 billion Bahts. The government had seeked loan of 163.758 billion Baht, as such the cash deficit was 366.184 billion Baht.
The reserve status at the end of March 2013, as 194.153 billion Baht, or 160.5% higher than last year's.

Ref: Prachachat newspaper

Bangkok traffic cameras at 30 intersections resume operation

Bangkok's Traffic Police unit announced that closed circuit cameras monitoring 30 intersections in the city has been repaired and resumed their operation. For the first 3 months of 2013, over 12,000 traffic tickets have been issued and mailed to car owners caught violating red lights.

Red shirt mobs still followed to harass Democrat politicians in their rallies

Recently, the Democrat Party held a political rally in Sisaket province in the northeast. As usual, a small group of red shirts went to harass the activity.

This behavior is highly criticized by the press, esp. that the government keeps quiet on this.

Ref: Bangkok Post Editorial 

Government MP to challenge Constitution Court

A group of 312 members of Thai parliaments from the Pheu Thai party and senators are seeking impeachment of all 9 judges of the Constitution Court for they don't agree with a recent decision of the court.

Some scholars have criticized this move as inappropriate.

Ref: Bangkok Post

Apr 4, 2013

Thailand MOF criticized for trying to use national reserve

Spoke person of the Democrat Party criticized the current Minister of Finance when he proposed to use 30 Billion Baht of national reserve money to pay for duty fee reimbursements the First Car project and the Rice price setting policy of the current government.

The spoke person said that it would be a severe violation of the guidelines for financial good practices and that the previous Democrat government had accrued Thailand monetary reserve for the future while the present government try to diminish it with its futile policy to appease voters. He predicted that value added tax (VAT), currently at 7%, would likely be increased next.

Ref: Matichon

Mar 17, 2013

Prominent economist suggested Thailand to avoid joining TPP

Nobel laureate in economics, Joseph Stiglitz suggested that Thailand avoids the mistakes of western countries. He also suggested that Thailand had better not join the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (TPP), as invited by the US President.  The forum was being lobbied behind the door by big US pharmaceutical industries and Thais would have to pay expensively for new drugs patented by the industry despite the basic researches were paid for by the public and American taxpayers.

Ref: Nation Multimedia

Mar 13, 2013

Thailand National Archive Act B.E. 2556

Thailand now has National Archive Act B.E. 2556,  (2013) or พระราชบัญญัติจดหมายเหตุแห่งชาติ พ.ศ. ๒๕๕๖ in Thai. Mostly it covers government documents produced by various agencies.

Link to the PDF document is here.

Mar 10, 2013

Thailand to revise primary school education curriculum

Advisor to Thailand's Minister of Education recently gave a talk indicating that the core school curriculum of B.E. 2551 (2008) is based on the basic curriculum of B.E. 2544 (2001) therefore quite outdated. A revision committee will spend 6 months revising it. An aim is to reduce the time students spent in classes. Currently, Thai primary school children study on average 1000 hr per year in classes which is too high. UNESCO study suggested that only 800 hr per year would give better result.  Subjects taught would also be adjusted to suit age groups.  More emphasis will be on students' project works and self-learning. A 5 prong strategy will be used, curriculum improvement, teacher improvement, setting up of STEME (science, technology, engineering, math, English) in every province, use of ICT in education, structural reforms.

Deputy Prime Minister said in another speech that an emphasis will be on thinking ability, and reducing number of hours in classes.

Ref: Thai Post

Mar 7, 2013

Bidding for construction of new Parliament proceeded

Sino-Thai construction has submitted a lowest bid for a construction a new parliament for Thailand at a cost of 12.9 Billion Baht.  The lowest bid was still higher than the planned budget and price-negotiation will be conducted.  In the past few years, members of parliaments have voiced their desire to get a new location of the parliament, to be constructed over the left bank of Chaophraya River in north Bangkok.
Some scholars have earlier opposed to the idea citing more severe floods in the future and had suggested any new development located out of the central low plain, but the idea went unheard.

Ref: Manager News

Mar 5, 2013

Local merchants stunned at ill-behaved Asian tourists

Local merchants in Chiang Mai complained about some ill-behaved Asian tourists who recently visited en masse the northern Thailand province.

Some of the tourists did not flush toilets after use, violated traffic laws, excessively bargained for prices, jumped queues, smoked in non-smoking areas in violation of laws, spit frequently in places, made loud noises in hotels thus disturbing other guests, shop-lifted goods, excessively search and unwrapping for merchandises then not purchasing.

They suggested that Thailand Tourism Authority create a pamphlet of do and don't for them.

Ref: Manager web board

Thai government plan to take a 2.2 trillion Baht loan

A former Finance Minister has criticized the attempt by the government of Yingluck Shinawatra to issue a 50 year bond of 2.2 trillion Baht for infrastructure development projects. This might be under a special law to be passed through the Puea Thai party-dominated parliament, and not through the regular annual budget laws which means a lack of check and balance system and prone to recklessness.

Ref: Manager News

Rule of laws and Karma on an elite

A finance company successfully repossessed a Mercedes car from a government party's MP.  The car was under leasing by a former owner who did not pay later installments and had disappeared and NOT paid annual license tax for the past 5 years.  The car is currently impounded in Nakhon Pathom.

Ref:- Manager News

Mar 1, 2013

Thai SMEs shrank in Q3 of 2012

TDRI revealed that number of small and middle size firms in Thailand for Q3 of 2012 shrank by 110,000 due to the new 300 Baht minimum daily wage.  Since then Thailand has around 930,000 SME firms remained.  Nevertheless, around 5 million workers in Thailand still agreed to accept older wage below the new minimum wage due to their mutual agreement with their employers.

Ref:- Manager Online

Feb 16, 2013

Thailand to face energy shortage in April, 2013

Minister of Energy revealed that a recent damage on the Thailand-Malaysia gas pipeline from boat anchor had cut a 270 M cu. ft. daily loss of natural gas from the production. In addition, the gas production platform in Burma would be under maintainance in April 2013. The loss for that month would be up to 1,100 M cu. ft. per day and would affect electricity production.  The Ministry has thus prepare to ask for energy saving measures from the public in order to minimize the effect on the industry sector.

Ref : Matichon newspaper

Jan 30, 2013

Thailand Development plan for 18 provincial groups

According to a recent meeting of provincial governors and various governmental agencies in Thailand, a revised plan for development (B.E. 2557-2560 or 2014-2017) uses strategic grouping of provinces into 18 local clusters, each with its own emphasis. The Prime Minister asked each provincial group to compile data and sent them over to NESDB to consider and coordinate among various ministries

Ref :- Prachachat business

3 projects at Thailand-Malaysia border to be developed.

Governor of Takbai District, Narathiwas province, revealed 3 projects in preparation of AEC (Asean Economics Community), namely (1) a bridge across Su-ngai Kolok river bordering Thailand and Malaysia, (2) a 500 m long 6 traffic lane tunnel under the Su-ngai Kolok river linking the Thai and Malaysian customs stations, (3) a container yard in a special industrial zone (of 1,200 Rais, or 480 acres) in Takbai district.

Powerful influence of ex-PM on current Thai government

Foreign news agency reported that a former PM of Thailand, Thaksin Shinawatra, directed various key policies through his direct contacts to individual ministers of his party.

Jan 28, 2013

A group of Thais to protest EU over interfering with Thailand sovereignty

A group of Thais called "(Monarchy) Institution Protection Network" would organize a protest in front of the EU office in Thailand on charge of "interfering with Thailand's sovereignty". Thailand 's judicial power is regarded as one of the triad of the governing powers of the state as specified by the constitution.  Their planned action is in response to "an over-step beyond impolite", referring to a recent announcement by the office and its diplomats in Thailand expressing their uneasy feeling over the jail term given by a court to a man who was convicted of intentionally falsifying stories and insulting the King in his works in a pro-Thaksin magazine.

Ref: Manager news

Jan 22, 2013

Thailand plans for 1 trillion Baht food export target

Thailand's National Food Institute revealed that it emphasizes on 3 missions, food safety, value creation, environmental issues.  For food safety, it hopes that more food processing factories would pass HACCP. For value creation, new products will be developed. For environmental issues, carbon footprint and water footprint, as well as energy savings would be addressed. Those measures aim to target the 1 trillion Baht food export target in the near future.

Ref :- manager online

Thailand opens new astronomical observatory

A new astronomical observatory, with a 2.4 meter diameter telescope locating at Doi Inthanon (the tallest peak in Thailand), Chiang Mai, has been inaugurated on January 22, 2013.

Reference :- manager news

Jan 18, 2013

Thailand high-speed train to bid in September 2013

Director of the Office for Transportation and Traffic Planning revealed that 3 routes for the high-speed train have been evaluated by consultants, namely the Bangkok-Chiang Mai, Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima, and Bangkok-Hua Hin routes. 

The Chiang Mai route would be build between Bangkok and Pitsanulok first (382 km). 
They hope details for all routes would be finalized in May, and environmental impact assessment would be conducted. It is hope that the bidding for the electric train system would be help in September 2013, while bidding for civil engineering structures would be called later.  The budget for the first phase investment wass projected to be  around 327 billion Baht, already covered within the framework of the 2.2 trillion Baht Fiscal Loan Act.

Jan 12, 2013

Obstruction for Thailand's IT development, Computer Crime Law

News summary from a recent talk at the Foreign Correspondent Club of Thailand (FCCT) entitled "Impacts of the Computer Crime and Security Act" mentioned of an opinion from Google's representative against "article 15" of the Thai law, which holds online service providers accountable to such activities as well as violators.  This is a drawback when compare to similar laws of other neighboring countries.

Ref: Blognone Tech news blog

Jan 4, 2013

CP Motor Company formed to produce cars

A new car company has been formed, CP Motor Company, a co-investment between Thailand's CP and China's SAIC, to produce "MG" European brand cars. A 10 Billion Baht investment is a 49% holding for CP and 51% holding for SAIC and a contract has been signed in China.

MG will be marketed in 2014.  Parts will be initially imported to be assembled in Thailand. The initial production target is 50,000 cars per year, with a future capacity planned to 200,000 cars per year. First car series to be sold in Thailand will be MG 3, MG 5, MG 6.

Ref : Goto Manager

Thailand tourism to expand 9-11 % in 2013

In 2013, Thailand expects 24.5 million tourists (up 11%), and expects an income of 1.14 trillion Bahts (up 9 %).  Domestic tourism is expected to be around 400-500 billion Bahts.

Ref : Than News

Thailand's car industry may contract slightly in 2013

Many executives of car companies which have assembly plants in Thailand voiced a general consensus that there might be a contract of 5-10% this year compare to 2012.  However, the first half year may still be fair, due to the continuation of backlog deliveries to customers in the First car project who will be eligible for tax reimbursement up to 100,000 Baht from the government.

Ref : Than News 

Thailand aim for emergency rescue in every sub-district

Minister of Public Health indicated that it aims to standardize and organize medical emergency rescue unit for every Tambon (sub-district). They will all be reached by 1669 emergency number.  It will collaborate with the Ministry of Interior for training of enlisted volunteers from private organizations and will provide with supports on equipments.

Ref : Manager Online

Some factories closed after new minimum daily wage took effect

News from a major province, Nakhon Ratchasima, indicated that 6 factories have been closed and 800 workers lost their jobs after the 300 Baht minimum daily wage took effect since January 1, 2013.

Officials of the Welfare and Labor Protection Department are watchful for a list of 8,000 factories at risk for closure in the province.

Ref: Manager Online

Jan 2, 2013

Over 1.3 milliion people claimed 90.5 Billion Baht of excise tax reimbursements for first cars

Deputy General of the Excise Department revealed today that, as of December 31, 2012, there were over 1.25 million Thais claiming their returns of excise tax (up to 100,000 Baht per vehicle) returns for the Thai government 's first car tax return project.  Of those, they were for 739,000 first cars, and 258,000 first small pickups, and 257,000 cab or double cab pickups.  He expected more to file for tax return by 2400 of December 31, so there could be as many as 1.3 million claimants.  The number of claimants was higher than their expectation by 500,000 people.  The excise tax money to be returned to the first car buyers could top 90.5 billion Bahts, to be returned by 3 fiscal years.

Ref: Manager Online