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Thailand Live Wednesday 24 Dec 2014


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SBPAC sets up Coordination Center for flood relief operation in southernmost provinces

YALA, 24 December 2014 (NNT) – The Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center (SBPAC) has established a Coordination Center on flood relief for the southernmost provinces, to receive emergency calls for assistance, collect donations, coordinate with related agencies and distribute survival kits.


SBPAC Secretary-General Panu Uthairat says the center target impoverished people living in various communities in remote rural areas, Muslim people listed as eligible to receive financial assistance from the Zakat Fund, farmers, fishermen and monks.

The center can be reached at 1880 which is normally used as the SBPAC’s hotline. It is manned by student volunteers who are available to receive any calls around the clock.

SBPAC members from executives to low-ranking employees had jointly helped in the packing of 200 relief packages donated by the Rajaprajanugroh Foundation under HM the King’s patronage. These bags are destined for people in flood-hit areas.

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2014 Tourism revenue from foreign markets misses target

BANGKOK, 24 December 2014 (NNT) - The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has admitted that Thailand’s tourism revenue from foreign tourists dropped by 5% compared with 2013 due to the political crisis and economic slowdown this year.

Full story: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/786498-2014-tourism-revenue-from-foreign-markets-misses-target/

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YEAR-END SPECIAL
Tourism industry again braces for another tough year ahead

SUCHAT SRITAMA
THE NATION

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BANGKOK: -- The Thai tourism industry is expected to face another tough year, judging from a slow economic recovery in key markets. But stakeholders are optimistic that arrivals will soar from 25 million in 2015 to 29 million in 2016.

Full story: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/786499-thai-tourism-industry-again-braces-for-another-tough-year-ahead/

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ROUNDUP 2014
Good times, bad times

PHOOWADON DUANGMEE
THE NATION

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Police and soldiers on horseback patrol Sanam Luang Square and the Grand Palace in Bangkok. The Thai capital experienced a slump in tourism in 2014 following a series of political uprisings.

As we approach the end of 2014, we take a look back at the ups and downs of this year's tourism industry

BANGKOK: -- For most of us, the Year of the Horse has cantered past with unseemly speed but for the tourism industry, and especially Thai tourism, it's barely gathered enough steam to merit a trot. Much of that, of course, can be blamed on the political uprisings in Bangkok and upcountry earlier in the year and the subsequent coup and imposition of martial law. And while life goes on much as usual for the majority of those living in the Land of Smiles, tourists are still staying away.

Full story: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/786502-roundup-2014-ups-and-downs-of-thailands-tourism-industry/

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CHARTER WRITING
House to pick the PM, CDC decides

KHANITTHA THEPPHAJORN,
NITIPOL KIRAVANICH
THE NATION

Simple majority of MPs, not direct election, to decide on country's head of govt

BANGKOK: -- The Constitution Drafting Committee decided yesterday that the House of Representatives would be authorised to choose the country's prime minister, but did not seem clear on whether the PM would be an elected member of the lower house.

Full story: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/786503-thai-charter-writing-house-to-pick-the-pm-cdc-decides/

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Two arrested over Bt1.6-bn KMITL embezzlement
MONTHIEN INTHAKET
THE NATION

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BANGKOK: -- FOLLOWING THE arrest yesterday of two suspects for allegedly embezzling some Bt1.6 billion from King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Lat Krabang (KMITL), the institute said a committee had been working over the past week with a view to establishing the facts, gathering more evidence against the alleged wrongdoers and retrieving the lost money.

Full story: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/786504-two-arrested-over-bt16-bn-kmitl-embezzlement/

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Move to seize assets
The Nation

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AMLO TO CONFISCATE ITEMS WORTH BT1 BILLION FROM EX-CIB CHIEF PONGPAT

BANGKOK: -- THE ANTI-MONEY Laundering Office agreed yesterday to seize assets of former Central Investigation Bureau chief Lt-General Pongpat Chayaphan worth more than Bt1 billion. They include several items of newly discovered jewellery and bundles of foreign banknotes.

Full story: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/786505-move-to-seize-assets-from-ex-cib-chief-pongpat/

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NRC to consider limits on shareholdings in broadcasters
Watchiranont Thongtep
The Nation

BANGKOK: -- A member of the National Reform Council has suggested limiting direct and indirect cross-holdings in radio and TV broadcasting to protect freedom of the media and civil rights.

Full story: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/786506-thailands-nrc-to-consider-limits-on-shareholdings-in-broadcasters/

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Angered By Parking Fine, Motorist Attacks Krabi Cop

By Khaosod English

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KRABI - A motorist is under arrest on suspicion of attacking a police officer with a knife after he was fined for illegally parking near a police box in Krabi province.

Full story: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/786507-angered-by-parking-fine-motorist-attacks-krabi-cop-video/

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STOPPAGE TIME
Things to remember for 2014

Tulsathit Taptim

BANGKOK: -- Nobody should want to read anything too serious today, which suits me nicely. Moreover, a lot of thrills and anxiety and depression should come in leaps and bounds next year. So, let's enjoy the festivity while we can and recap 2014 in a not-so-downhearted manner.

Full story: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/786508-thai-opinion-things-to-remember-for-2014/

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14 year old sexual assault allegations reported to Police in Pattaya

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PATTAYA: -- On Tuesday, the Mother and Grandmother of a 14 year old girl, visited Banglamung Police Station to discuss a case of an alleged sexual assault on the girl by a 30 year old Neighbor who initially communicated with the girl via a free chat app.

Full story: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/786509-14-year-old-sexual-assault-allegations-reported-to-police-in-pattaya/

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One of two suspects arrested in recent North Pattaya assault case

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PATTAYA: -- Banglamung Police announced on Tuesday the arrest of a 25 year old man wanted in connection with a vicious assault on a female tour guide who was kicked in the head before being robbed of valuables in North Pattaya.

Full story: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/786510-one-of-two-suspects-arrested-in-recent-north-pattaya-assault-case/

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Woman injured as Iron Gate falls onto her at South Pattaya house

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PATTAYA: -- Medics were called to the scene of a serious accident which occurred at a house in South Pattaya on Tuesday morning where an Iron Gate fell onto a 24 year old Thai woman.

Full story: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/786511-woman-injured-as-iron-gate-falls-onto-her-at-south-pattaya-house/

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Ministers launch life vest exchange project in Phuket
Nattha Thepbamrung

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Life vests can make you look good: Pretty girls with a wall of new life vests yesterday.

PHUKET: Two ministers visited Phuket yesterday (December 22) to launch a Life Vest Exchange Project.

Full story: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/786512-ministers-launch-life-vest-exchange-project-in-phuket/

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Random drug and alcohol tests among bus drivers

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BANGKOK: -- The Office of Narcotics Control Board and Land Transport Department have launched a campaign to conduct random urine tests of public bus drivers to ensure that they are drugs free.

Full story: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/786514-random-drug-and-alcohol-tests-among-thai-bus-drivers/

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Govt moves to tackle human trafficking
PRAVIT ROJANAPHRUK
THE NATION

FISHING BOAT GPS PART OF MEASURES TO LIFT RATING NEXT YEAR; US 'TOO JUDGMENTAL'

BANGKOK: -- THE GOVERNMENT has taken measures to improve Thailand's rating in the United States' Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report for next year, officials said yesterday.

Full story: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/786516-thai-govt-moves-to-tackle-human-trafficking/

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Decision on Yingluck 'negligence' case not till next year
The Nation

BANGKOK: -- A decision on whether to indict former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra for negligence in failing to stop graft and massive losses in the rice-pledging scheme may be reached after New Year's, Deputy Attorney-General Wuthi-pong Wiboonwong said yesterday.

Full story: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/786517-decision-on-yingluck-negligence-case-not-till-next-year/

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Can Abe last his four-year term?
Yang Bojiang
China Daily
Asia News Network

TOKYO: -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to be in power until 2018 after his coalition won a big victory in the December 14 snap election. Abe's Liberal Democratic Party and coalition partner, the Komeito, won 326 of the 475 seats in the lower house of parliament, gaining a two-thirds "super-majority".

Full story: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/786518-can-abe-last-his-four-year-term/

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BURNING ISSUE
Fleet-footed Thailand leading Asean race for deals with China

Supalak Ganjanakhundee
The Nation

BANGKOK: -- Everybody in this region knows that Thailand - no matter which government is in power - wants to be the first among equals in engaging with China. Up to this point, every country has had to look forward to deals with China, but now Thailand is at the forefront.

Full story: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/786519-fleet-footed-thailand-leading-asean-race-for-deals-with-china/

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Detained Muslim boy's death sparks call for improvement
The Nation

BANGKOK: -- The Office of Sheikul Islam, Southern Branch, has demanded a better place to house a group of Muslims who are being detained pending verification of their nationality, after a young member of the group died of tuberculous meningitis on Monday.

Full story: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/786520-songkhla-detained-muslim-boys-death-sparks-call-for-improvement/

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UPDATE:

TAT trims 2015 arrival target amid shaky world economy
SUCHAT SRITAMA
THE NATION

BANGKOK: -- Although international and local tourists are set to raise their headcount in the coming year, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has tempered its revenue target from Bt2.2 trillion to Bt2.15 trillion because of the global economic instability.

Full story: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/786498-2014-tourism-revenue-from-foreign-markets-misses-target/#entry8843386

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Chinese tourists to bring smiles back to Thailand
John Phillips

(CNBC) Political unrest kept tourists away from Thailand for much of this year, but a surge in Chinese tourists over the past two months may signal a recovery next year, analysts say.

Full story: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/786521-chinese-tourists-to-bring-smiles-back-to-thailand/

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Cabinet agrees to lower alien labor registration fee, increase accident compensation

BANGKOK, 24 Dec 2014, (NNT) - The Cabinet has agreed to reduce foreign labor registration fees for workers from 3 neighboring nations, while increasing the compensation of road accident victims.


According to Deputy Spokesperson of the Prime Minister’s Office, Major General Sansern Kaewkamnerd, the Cabinet has agreed with the Ministry of Interior’s proposal to decrease the fees for alien labor registration for Burmese, Laotian, and Cambodian; from 2,000 baht to 500 baht per person, in its bid to eliminate illegal labors in the nation.

The Cabinet also agreed to double the compensation for victims of auto accident, from no more than 15,000 baht to 30,000 with a limit of 65,000 baht per each accident. The change will take effect on Friday this week.

The Cabinet also approved the Land Allocation Act, which dictates that all common areas of housing estates, such as gardens, are to be used strictly for the benefit of all tenants-- not for any other purpose.The measure is aimed at preventing tenants from paying for maintenance and upkeep, or common area fees.

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TMB Analytics trims 2015 GDP growth forecast to 3.5%

BANGKOK, 24 December 2014 (NNT) – TMB Bank's research institute TMB Analytics has revised its GDP growth forecast for year 2015 down to 3.5%, after determining that the economy was recovering more slowly than earlier expected.

Full story: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/786539-tmb-analytics-trims-2015-thai-gdp-growth-forecast-to-35-percent/

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Oil Fund to grow faster in size; gasohol 95 and benzene prices slightly lowered

BANGKOK, 24 December 2014 (NNT) – The National Energy Policy Committee resolved on Tuesday to increase the contribution rates to the Oil Fund, for diesel and gasohol 91. Meanwhile, other benzene fuels will become cheaper by 30 satang per liter.


Narongchai Akrasanee, the minister of energy, said after chairing the meeting of the committee that the retail prices of diesel fuels and gasohol 91 would remain unchanged, although each liter of diesel purchased would now contribute an additional 70 satang toward the Oil Fund, and each liter of gasohol 91 would contribute an additional 30 satang.

A liter of diesel purchased would now add 2 baht 45 satang to the Oil Fund-- up from 1 baht and 70 satang-- which now stands at 14 billion baht. The increased contribution rate means 189 million baht will now be added to the fund each day, a significant increase from the previous daily gain of 149 million baht.

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Para rubber and rice farmers receive assistance funds

NAKHON SITHAMMARAT, 24 Dec 2014, (NNT) - Over 200 rubber planters in Nakhon Sithammarat Province yesterday received the assistance fund of 1,000 baht per rai as promised by the government .


Presiding over the fund handing out ceremony, Lansaka District Chief Kittipan Petchu said a total of 1,406 rubber farmers registered for the assistance fund scheme and officials are in the process of checking out their applications and farmland.

The authorities had verified the documents and surveyed the plantations of all the 239 planters who received their assistance fund yesterday, said Mr. Kittipan.

Meanwhile, more than 100 rice farmers from 11 sub-districts in Burirum province yesterday queued up for the assistance money at the BAAC, Isan branch.

According to the BACC, it will be able to complete the payment before the end of the year, adding that it has so far handed out over 93 million baht worth of funds to 7,500 farmers .

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Cabinet approves BIMSTEC anti-terrorism pact ratification proposal
By Digital Content

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BANGKOK, Dec 24 -- The Thai cabinet has given a green light to the country's Foreign Ministry to ratify the Convention on Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism, Transnational Organized Crime and Illicit Drug trafficking of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), according to a deputy government spokesperson.

Full story: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/786546-thai-cabinet-approves-bimstec-anti-terrorism-pact-ratification-proposal/

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