Category Archives: Politics

Press Releases : High-Level Foreign Policy and Global Health Initiative Retreat

On 6 � 7 February 2017, Mrs. Busaya Mathelin, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with Dr. Somsak Akksilp, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health, co-chaired the High-Level Foreign Policy and Global Health Retreat in Bangkok and Samut Sakhon Province on the occasion of Thailand's assumption of the Chairmanship of the Foreign Policy and Global Health Initiative (FPGH) in 2017. The Retreat began the process of consultation and exchange of views among member countries on the FPGH work plan for 2017 under the theme Addressing the health of vulnerable populations for an inclusive society. The Retreat was attended by participants from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Health from seven FPGH member countries, namely Brazil, France, Norway, Indonesia, Senegal, South Africa and Thailand.

On 6 February 2017, the participants reviewed the implementation of initiatives and assessed the achievements of the FPGH over the past ten years since 2006. The group has been able to build international awareness on the nexus between foreign policy and health issues despite the multiplicity of member countries. The key achievement of the FPGH is in setting the global health agenda through Global Health and Foreign Policy resolutions proposed to United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) annually. The participants extensively discussed the need to revitalize the Oslo Political Declaration for the FPGH to address new and important global health issues. The Retreat was also an opportunity to discuss current health challenges and health-related targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which the FPGH will seek to actively engage in.

On 7 February 2017, participants attended a study visit to Samut Sakhon Hospital, Baan Kamphra District Health Promoting Hospital and St. Ann Catholic Center for Migrants. The visit showcased the determination of the Thai government and non-governmental organizations to ensure access to health services for migrant workers and to provide access to basic education for migrant workers' children.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Thailand

Cabinet extends visa exemption for tourist from 21 countries for 6 more months

The cabinet on Tuesday agreed to extend the exemption of visa fees for tourists from 21 countries who apply for visas at Thai embassies or consular offices for an addition of six months from March 1 to August 31.

Visa fees amount to 1,000 baht per one application.

Also extended for another six months is the reduction of fees of visa upon arrival (VoA) for tourists from 21 countries which are currently set at 1,000 baht for one single visa.

The extension of the period for the waiving of visa fees and reduction of visa fees for VoA for the tourists from 21 countries is intended to boost tourism industry in the country as recommended by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

Tourist arrivals last year increased 12.4 percent compared to the statistics a year before.

The 21 countries benefiting from this arrangement are Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, San Mario, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Papua New Guinea and Fiji.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

Bangkok Folk Museum founder pronounced dead

The founder of Bangkok Folk Museum Associate Professor Varaporn Saravadi who suffered a fractured skull when she fell from the second floor of her residence was pronounced dead at Prasat Neurological Institute at about 1 pm on Wednesday.

A Facebook post under the name of Rapee Tor said Khun Sasiwimon Petcharat reported two days ago that the professor's body did not respond to any medication and her hands were swollen.

Her relatives visited her at the institute before noon and found she was unconscious and was not responsive to any medication. They then left for the museum and, soon after, were notified by the hospital that she had passed away.

The professor donated her house and land in Charoenkrung area which she inherited from her family to be turned into a museum, later named Bangkok Folk Museum, which was eventually transferred to the care of Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

More water pumps to Nakhon Si Thammarat to quicken draining of water into the sea

More bigger water pumps are to be installed in Nakhon Si Thammarat province to accelerate the draining of flood water, estimated at about 800 million cubic metres, out of Pak Phanang river basin to brace for another round of heavy rains starting January 20.

Agriculture Minister Chatchai Sarikalya said Thursday that the Pak Phanang river basin which covers Pak Phanang, Ronpibul, Chalerm Phrakiart, Chian Yai, Cha-uad and Hua Sai are still awash with about 800 million cubic metres of excess water which needs to be drained out quickly.

Chatchai Sarikalya, Agriculture Minister

The water pumps already installed by the Royal Irrigation Department were capable of draining a combined total of 162 cubic metres of water person which would not be able to drain the excess water fast enough before the arrival of another round of monsoon rains starting January 20.

The Royal Irrigation Department has been instructed by General Chatchai to coordinate with Nakhon Si Thammarat provincial administration to find more and bigger water pumps to be installed so that the excess water could be drained out of the basin in 7-10 days.

Draining water out of the basin into the sea is the top priority, said General Chatchai who, however, cautioned that officials concerned must, at the same time, keep the water in reserve to make sure that there won't be water shortage during the dry season.

The agriculture minister said he had instructed 11 inspectors to be assigned to each of the flood-hit provinces to work out with provincial authorities on rehabilitation programmes to help farmers whose crops and livestocks have been affected by flooding.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

Flooding eases in Yala and Ranong but flood situation remains serious elsewhere in South

Flooding in Yala and Ranong has gradually eased but the flood situation in eight other southern provinces remain serious, said Mr Chatchai Promlert, director-general of Public Disasters Prevention and Mitigation Department, on Sunday.

Giving updates of the flood situation in 10 southern provinces since January 1, he disclosed that the ongoing flooding has affected 330,318 households or over 900,000 people with 19 deaths and one missing. Five government offices, 218 roads and bridges were damaged.

Altogether 91 districts, covering 4,205 villagers have been flooded.

In Trang province, Governor Siripat Pattanakul ordered district chief officers in Muang, Huay Yod, Nayong, Yan Takhao and Palien districts and islands in the Andaman to brace for flash flood and mudslides due to non-stop heavy rains since Saturday, especially in the Banthad mountain range.

Forest officials were also told to ban tourists from swimming or frolicking in water falls because of the strong current. All local officials, police and volunteers were instructed to closely monitor flood situation around the clock.

In Trang province, five districts are inundated, affecting more than 9,600 households.

In Nakhon Si Thammarat, 30 water pushing boats provided by the Royal Thai Navy have been anchored in a row across Klong Cha-uad-Preak Muang in Hua Sai district to accelerate the flow of flood water into the sea.

Another 20 similar boats are expected in Pak Phanang Sunday evening to join the effort in pushing water out into the sea.

RTN official said that each boat is capable of pushing 24 cubic metres of water per minute which will help reduce the level of flood water in Nakhon Si Thammarat.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

PM says Dhammachayo will be arrested at the right timing

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha said Wednesday that officials were waiting for the right timing to enter Wat Dhammakaya to arrest its former abbot, Phra Dhammachayo.

He explained that the authorities concerned had to be cautious in making the arrest as there are still between 4,000-5,000 monks inside the temple. He asked the monks who are supportive of the embattled Phra Dhammachayo to judge by themselves whether it was right for them to be in the temple to protect their former abbot.

Although the supporting monks are not breaking any law now, in the future, they may be deemed defying the law, said the prime minister as he pleaded with members of the public to have sympathy with the government for the delay to make the arrest.

He also asked the public not to disseminate the distorted or un-Buddhist teachings of Dhammachayo such as the embrace of worldly wealth and materialism.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

Boundary markings for the Royal funeral pyre

Deputy Prime Minister Thanasak Patimaprakorn on Monday presided over a religious ceremony to mark the boundary for the Royal funeral pyre for the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej at Sanam Luang.

Altogether nine main markers made of Thong Lang wood were driven into the ground at Sanam Luang followed by eight secondary markers made of Payoong wood to form a square-shaped territory for the construction of the Royal funeral pyre which is due to commence next year by the Fine Arts Department.

General Thanasak was the first to drive the boundary marker followed by the culture minister and other senior officials, among them the lord chamberlain, secretary-general of the Bureau of the Royal Household and city clerk.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

Army chief vows to punish army personnel for lighting flares at Rajamangala stadium

Army commander-in-chief Gen Chalermchai Sithisart vowed to punish the Army personnel if investigation confirmed that they were involved in lighting flares at the Ranamangala stadium during the football match between Thailand and Indonesia last Saturday.

He said they would be dealt with severe disciplinary action.

The army chief's comment came after photographs of men in army uniforms lighting flares at the stadium were posted and went viral on the Internet with strong comments that some perpetrators who are wanted by police were in fact soldiers.

Unhappy with the posts, Gen Chalermchai promised a probe and disciplinary action.

He stated that anyone found involved in the matter, regardless of occupation, will face severe legal punishment.

But if the person is discovered to be attached to an Army unit, severe disciplinary action will be taken as the Royal Thai Army has no desire to protect or harbor a bad person.

The men in uniforms were said to be from the Army Ordnance Department.

Meanwhile the police on the other hand have revealed that they have discovered where the flares were purchased.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Sanit Mahathavorn the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau revealed that with the evidence that was collected yesterday by forensics teams at the stadium they have been able to ascertain the location of the shop from which the flares were bought.

The shop in question operates in the provinces and criminal proceedings will be taken against the owners if it confirmed that that they were directly involved in the incident.

Taken alongside eyewitness accounts, he said the police have made great progress in the case and have stated that they should be able to bring all the individuals involved to face justice in a matter of days.

He stated that they needed a little more time to make certain that all the evidence in the case was solid in order to deny the suspects any chance of denial. The exact number of persons involved in the matter however has yet to be ascertained.

Commenting on a clip that was posted on the social media showing one of the men involved in igniting the flares wearing Army uniform, he said the police were looking into the matter.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)