Central market spur ordered | Bangkok Post: business

Mr Somkid says the central markets will serve as distribution channels for local vendors and traders. "The Commerce Ministry needs to hold a brainstorming session with its officials at all provincial commerce offices regarding proper locations for the central markets. The government this year will focus on four areas: the digital economy, infrastructure development, agricultural reform and local economic development via 18 provincial clusters aimed to upgrade Thailand's competitiveness and strengthen the economy. In addition, the government will focus on integrating state budgets, which are now scattered among various state agencies and local administrations, and beef up local economic development. In a related development, Mr Somkid yesterday told the Commerce Ministry to closely monitor global oil prices to prevent any negative effects on the cost of living.

January 19, 2017 00:11 UTC

FPO targets balanced budget | Bangkok Post: business

The FPO expects the government budget to achieve balance between 2024 and 2026, said director-general Krisada Chinavicharana. The government recently set a larger budget deficit of 450 billion baht for fiscal 2018, the highest since the military-backed government took the helm. The deficit ran to 250 billion baht in fiscal 2015, unchanged from the previous year, before widening to 390 billion in fiscal 2016. The FPO has budgeted for a deficit of 390 billion baht in fiscal 2017. The 2018 revenue collection target is also based on an assumption that no new taxes come into force, he said.

January 19, 2017 00:11 UTC

Tax incentives planned for digital park | Bangkok Post: business

The government plans to offer enhanced tax incentives for startup companies and global technology firms that establish a presence in Thailand's first digital innovation park. Located in Chon Buri with an area of more than 500 rai, the 10-billion-baht digital innovation park is under construction and expected to open in early 2018. The state telecom enterprise will mainly invest in the park and provide digital infrastructure such as fibre-optic networks, cloud computing, data centres and internet gateway services. The government initially set three main areas for the project: a digital innovation centre, innovation research centre and residence facility centre. The digital innovation centre will be open to both local and foreign investment to develop hardware and software.

January 19, 2017 00:11 UTC

At least B1.5bn eyed from state land auctions | Bangkok Post: business

METHEE MUANGKAEWThe Treasury Department expects to fetch at least 1.5 billion baht from the auction of 15 state land plots, its chief says. Director-general Chakkrit Parapantakul said the 15 land plots are located in 13 provinces, adding that 1.5 billion baht is the starting price for the bidding. To make the revenue target reachable, the department will raise the efficiency of state land use and its adjustment of rental rates. Renting land to state enterprises contributes 3 billion baht in revenue each year to the Treasury Department. The department recently said it will raise rental rates on state land across the country.

January 19, 2017 00:11 UTC

TAT enlists Facebook to spread word | Bangkok Post: business

Singapore: The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) plans to use Facebook Live as a tool to promote its campaigns, citing the application's growing popularity among Thais and tourists from nearby countries. TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn expressed interest in initiating brand-new tourism campaigns using Facebook Live. Using digital technology and social media, he added, will help the TAT reach target customers, especially young people and women. The TAT has found that Facebook is one of the most influential social media, with the number of Facebook users in Thailand among the highest in the region. The expectation is that Mrs Kobkarn will ask the TAT to hold talks with Facebook to devise an appropriate partnership and use Facebook Live as a tool to promote Thai tourism.

January 18, 2017 23:51 UTC

Liverpool beats fourth-tier Plymouth in FA Cup replay | Bangkok Post: news

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp prior to their English FA Cup, third round replay match against Plymouth at Home Park, Plymouth, on Wednesday. (AP photo)LONDON - Liverpool managed to eliminate Plymouth at the second attempt in the FA Cup on Wednesday, edging past the fourth-tier club 1-0 to reach the fourth round. Liverpool clung on in the replay, with Divock Origi squandering a chance to double the lead when his penalty was saved. Liverpool will play Wolverhampton Wanderers next in the FA Cup on Jan 28 and is in the semifinals of the League Cup, trailing 1-0 to Southampton heading into the second leg next week. Southampton also advanced in the FA Cup on Wednesday, with Shane Long's goal securing a 1-0 replay win against second-tier side Norwich and a home match against Arsenal in the fourth round.

January 18, 2017 23:34 UTC

Kasit calls out military on unity pact | Bangkok Post: news

National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) member Kasit Piromya has urged the military to join the planned signing of a controversial national unity pace and pledge not to stage further coups. Mr Kasit, a former foreign minister-turned-NRSA member, is among the critics. "The version of the MoU which the Thai people want," Mr Kasit wrote on Facebook, "must include the military not staging coups and tearing up the constitution." In his view, Thailand must have laws strong enough to keep administrations in check and equipped with effective mechanisms to solve political conflicts without military interference. One reader of Mr Kasit's Facebook post cast doubt over the path toward national unity.

January 18, 2017 23:31 UTC

Police line up scapegoat mob charges | Bangkok Post: news

Renu Nakhon police submitted a report about the new suspect to Nakhon Phanom Provincial Police as the suspect was arrested in an area which was not under their supervision. On Monday, the Nakhon Phanom Provincial Court postponed hearing Jomsap's petition seeking a retrial until Feb 8-10 after Mr Sap failed to appear in court. His testimony is crucial to Jomsap's case. Pol Gen Panya said the Nakhon Phanom officer overseeing the case in 2005 conducted his probe in accordance with investigation procedures. Police need to examine all aspects of the case including the seven people believed to have masterminded the scapegoat plot, he said.

January 18, 2017 22:07 UTC

Disaster centre sounds new flood alerts | Bangkok Post: news

Residents in Chumphon, Ranong and Nakhon Si Thammarat are being warned of heavy rainfall, flash floods and mudslides over the next few days. National Disaster Warning Centre issued a warning Wednesday about bad weather in the three southern provinces. On Tuesday night, more torrential rain pounded the South, resulting in flooding on Phetkasem Road that caused heavy traffic congestion. Highway department officials were conducting emergency repairs to Nong Ya Plong Bridge after the foundations were damaged by flash floods. A mudslide caused by flash floods was also reported in Lang Suan district of Chumphon province in which many trees were uprooted and roads blocked.

January 18, 2017 22:07 UTC

UN urges review of LM cases | Bangkok Post: news

The arrest of the mother of Sirawith "Ja New" Seritiwat on lese majeste charges over a one-word Facebook post last May shocked many. She was granted bail but most lese majeste prisoners are held as flight risks. (File photo by Patipat Janthong)The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (HCHR) has urged Thailand to review lese majeste cases including the current "Pai Dao Din" controversy. Yaowalak Anupan, TLHR's manager, said she was pleased the UN has supported domestic human rights advocates. It is believed the charges against him are aimed at sanctioning [punishing] his legitimate human rights activities."

January 18, 2017 22:06 UTC

Buddhist office urges ex-abbot to surrender | Bangkok Post: news

The National Office of Buddhism has called on fugitive Phra Dhammajayo to turn himself in and face the music. Mr Ormsin said the government is exploring ways to minimise any negative impacts of the handling of the Dhammajayo case. After the meeting he said no plan to enforce the arrest of Phra Dhammajayo was discussed and the concerned agencies were doing their jobs. Justice Minister Suwaphan Tanyuvardhana, who also attended the meeting, said the DSI was assigned as the lead agency in the handling of the money laundering case against Phra Dhammajayo. The monk is facing charges of colluding to launder money, money laundering and receiving stolen property.

January 18, 2017 22:06 UTC

Ex-THAI staff snared in bribe row | Bangkok Post: news

He said the initial information is enough for the panel to identify individuals who were involved in the acquisition process. The conspiracy to corrupt involved the purchase by THAI of Rolls-Royce's Trent 800 (T800) engines, according to the document. At the time, a third order of Boeing 777 aircraft by THAI had been under discussion as early as 1996. A good part of the Trent engines was purchased by THAI after the scandal period (1991-2005). Hugh Vanijprabha, managing director of Rolls-Royce (Thailand) Ltd, told the Bangkok Post: "The past practices that have been uncovered do not reflect the matter in which Rolls-Royce does business today.

January 18, 2017 22:05 UTC

Prepare for Trump's worst | Bangkok Post: opinion

All this could change when Mr Trump starts to implement many of his election campaign pledges. Some have suggested that countries such as Thailand will be able to withstand any major policy upheaval in the United States. The country exports roughly the same to these two nations which account for 11.25% and 11% respectively. This does not take into account the 5.5% of total exports of Thailand going to Hong Kong, another re-export market. With Mr Trump (who is seen as unpredictable) in office, we should be prepared for the worst-case scenario.

January 18, 2017 21:54 UTC

The need for justice to be accountable | Bangkok Post: opinion

Traditionally and legally, criticism of, or opposition to court rulings and verdicts can be considered as contempt, because the courts represent the King. It discourages us from commenting on any particular questionable court rulings. Given that our justice system is not perfect, intentionally or unintentionally barring criticism of mishandled due process could keep the system unchecked, thereby affecting its integrity. As the current regime is drumming up support for reconciliation and national reform, wouldn't anyone considering reforming the justice system go beyond the realm of the police? An effective, transparent and accountable justice system will not only help strengthen our democracy but also serve as a strong foundation for advancement in other areas.

January 18, 2017 21:54 UTC

Sangha Council's rigid control must ease | Bangkok Post: opinion

Admitting defeat, the Supreme Sangha Council announced on Jan 8 through its secretariat office that its previous nomination was no longer valid under the new law. Somdet Chuang has close ties with the controversial Dhammakaya temple, believed to enjoy support from fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Much of the clergy's decline in public faith and structural weakness stem from the Sangha Act which gives the Supreme Sangha Council full autocratic control over the 300,000-strong clergy. The Sangha law also gives abbots absolute power over temples, resulting in widespread corruption and abuse of power. True, amending the Sangha Act to allow a more decentralised, inclusive structure is necessary to tackle temple corruption and inefficiency.

January 18, 2017 21:49 UTC

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