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A land in need of a good book

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย-ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



Much like the youngster, bookstalls like this one in Yangon are snoozing. Bookrental shops filled a gap until Myanmar

Much like the youngster, bookstalls like this one in Yangon are snoozing. Bookrental shops filled a gap until Myanmar

Once the region’s most literate people, Burmese were weaned off the habit of reading

At 6pm each evening, U Cho opens his book-rental shop below the bottom staircase of the decrepit apartment building where he lives with his family in downtown Yangon. A few elderly customers wait patiently outside.

“I’d like to stay open all day, but it’s no longer viable to rent a place for thing kind of business,” says Cho, 69. For years he rented the ground-floor apartment in the ramshackle building, but dwindling demand forced him to sub-let to a video-games parlour and shift his book collection to the stairwell. Cho, a bibliophile himself, has been running book-rental shops since he was 18.

“There were many rental shops in Yangon back then, and also in the other cities,” Cho says, harking back to his first years in the business, when Myanmar, then called Burma, boasted Southeast Asia’s most literate population, before the repressive military rule of 1962-2010. 

During British colonial rule and during the nation’s first fling with democracy under Prime Minister U Nu, money was scarce among Burmese for “luxuries” such as books.

Book-rental shops started to appear before the independence of 1948, says Hla Shwe, 75, a former political prisoner who, like many elderly Burmese, is an avid reader. Teachers in charge of student hostels at Yangon University would rent their books to the students who couldn’t afford to buy them, he says.

The practice then spread outside the university, especially to teashops in the nearby Hledan quarter. Shop owners rented books to students as they sipped their tea or, at a daily rate, to enjoy in their homes or hostels. 

Under U Nu, the first full-time book-rental shops opened in Hledan and the business eventually spread across the nation. Passenger boats and ferries rented books to travellers. Not even the arrival of television hampered the practice, which continued until Burma was closed off to Western influences thanks to the xenophobic foreign policies of its military rulers.

“TV reached the country in 1980, but there was no serious effect on book rentals because TV was very limited at that time,” says Than Than Mon, who has run the Myat Mon book-rental shop since 1989.

“But when TV became more popular in cities and then in the villages in the late 1990s, many book shops went under,” she says. The decline of the business was further accelerated by the spread of pirated VCDs and DVDs as the military’s control over the flow of information deteriorated in the past decade.

Reforms implemented by the quasi-civilian government of President Thein Sein since 2011 have freed up the publishing industry, which had been heavily censored, but more mundane factors are preventing are revival of reading and book rentals.

“Now you can publish any kind of book, but the prices are too steep for low-income people,” says Thant Thaw Kaung, chief executive of Myanmar Book Centre. Many former book-rental shops have switched to renting VCDs and DVDs.

“With only 200 kyat [Bt8] the whole family can enjoy a day’s entertainment if we rent a DVD, but you must spend more than 500 or 1,000 kyat when you rent different books for everyone,” says Tin Htwe, 43. He’s a father of three who lives on the outskirts of Yangon.

The trend away from reading is worrisome not just for book renters but also opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel laureate, who has taken steps to revive the country’s once-flourishing reading culture.

“We must create a literature atmosphere for our people, especially among the youth, for the sake of the country’s future,” Suu Kyi said in January at the launch of a second fleet of mobile libraries in the capital, Nay Pyi Taw.

The project aims to provide easy access to books, especially in remote areas. “I believe they will enjoy reading again if they can easily and cheaply access books,” Suu Kyi said. 

For many Burmese, that is exactly what the book-rental shops did. “We are not so familiar with libraries,” says Hla Shwe. “We are more used to depending on the book-rental shops.”

เมษายน 7, 2014 แสดงความเห็นโดย | Arts&Culture, The Nation | , , , , , | แสดงความคิดเห็น

Ministry of Health issues warning on extreme UV index

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย-ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


The Ministry of Health issued a warning that the strength of the sun’s radiation, known as the extreme ultraviolet index, could reach a highly dangerous level.

The warning suggested for children, people working from 10 am to 4 pm, those exposed to the sun and revelers for the Thingyan (Water) Festival to take proper precautions.

For safety measures against the ultraviolet rays, those who are working in the sun should put on hats and umbrellas to protect the face, throat and shoulders. Moreover, protective clothing against UV rays should be worn.

“Thanakha,” a local face powder, could also help for sun protection. Sunscreen lotion should be applied 15 minutes before going out, and if staying long in the sun, the lotion should be applied every two hours.

The UV would affect the children more than adults, and the ministry has advised children to play in the shade.

Exposure to UV can cause severe sunburn, dark complexion, aging skin, immune system degradation, skin cancer and gradual loss of eyesight.

เมษายน 7, 2014 แสดงความเห็นโดย | ASEAN, The Nation | , , , , | แสดงความคิดเห็น

Court to make final verdict on dormitory fire

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย-ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


The Botataung Township court will next week issue a final verdict on a case accusing two imams for a fire that broke out in an Islamic school, killing thirteen boys trapped inside.

The fire broke out in the early morning of April 2, 2013 trapping the boys in the upper floor dormitory of the school as they slept.

“On April 8, the final verdict will be decided on Zaya Phyo and Khin Maung Aye. Both sides have made the final pleas on March 26 and so they were waiting for the final verdict,” the judge told Eleven Media.

The government and fire services initially dismissed rumours of an arson attack and an official inquiry concluded that the fire was caused by the overheating of a transformer placed under the staircase.

The two imams have been indicted by the Botataung Township court for nearly one year.

เมษายน 7, 2014 แสดงความเห็นโดย | ASEAN, The Nation | , , , , | แสดงความคิดเห็น

Yangon struggles under the increasing cost of living

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย-ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


People in Yangon are struggling with a big challenge – the increasing cost of living.

At streetside shops, cheap noodles are still there to be found, at Ks 600. Hundreds of metres away, an air-conditioned restaurant which caters for affluent and foreign clients offers a noodle at Ks 2,000 or higher. An influx of foreigners – for leisure or business – has led to the development of higher-quality products and services, while the earning of majority dwellers in the city is not adjusted accordingly.

Many wage earners, especially company and government employees, have found it difficult to keep up with the increasing cost of living, reflecting mainly through rents.

“Last year, when we rented our apartment, we paid Ks 90,000 (US$ 90) per month. But starting from this year, the owner already increased the rents to Ks 120,000 per month. But my salary is still the same as last year. So it is really hard for me to meet my expenses,” said Ei Myat, who works for KBZ Bank.

Whatever the price, she had to accept it. The six-month renewable contract was signed recently, costing her a total of Ks 600,000. It was because it is really hard to find another apartment near her office.

“My salary is less than Ks 200,000 (US$ 200) but I usually earn more than Ks 220,000 a month including the allowances,” said a senior official at the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development, requesting anonymity.

“Although I am single, I find it really hard to make ends meet,” he continued, adding that despite a salary increase for civil servants he still struggles to meet the increasing cost of living.

In the past year, Myanmar’s inflation has been rising by 6 per cent, mostly due to the kyat depreciation against the US dollar. From nearly Ks 900 per dollar, the currency last year nearly hit Ks 1,000 and this was translated into the costs of products and services. From April 1, these people also have to shoulder the higher electricity fees.

Yangon has experienced a sharp economic growth since the country reopened its doors in 2011. The country’s gross domestic product expanded by 7.5 per cent in 2013 from 7.3 per cent in 2012, thanks to new investment by local and foreign investors and tourism spending.

While quality workers find better-paid jobs, the majority is living with barely-the-same salary. The government recently agreed to raise civil servant salary.

“To be honest, the life of a civil servant is very miserable. I earn just over Ks 100,000 at the moment. Thanks to the salary increase, I will get more than Ks 120,000, starting this month. I wish I had my own apartment,” said Kyaw Zaw, a junior assistant teacher.

He has been working under the Ministry of Education for more than 30 years since he was 21 years old.

Others as well as rural people seeking jobs in the city have to endure the higher cost of living.

Win Tin, who has earned a living being a taxi driver, admitted that life in Yangon was really hard for low-income families.

“We have to pay the owner Ks 15,000 a day to hire the car from 6am to 6pm. So I have to earn more than 25,000 a day to meet my family needs. Sometimes, it is impossible. Last month, there were many days when I could hardly earn the owner’s fees because of many drivers in Yangon, following the lifting of the car import ban,” said Win Tin.

Many small businesses are in a similar boat. Hla Hla has been running a video CD rental in Sanchaung Township since 2003. She rarely uses a taxi when going out because she earns only Ks 100,000 a month. Her family, with an 8-year-old child, has to rely on her husband’s salary.

Troubles seem bigger for pensioners.

Retired teacher Myint Myint said that most pensioners cannot live with what they earn and have to depend on their children’s support.

“I get about Ks 30,000 a month or Ks 1,000 a day. How can we survive with such little money?” she asked.

The outlook is bleak. The International Monetary Fund is convinced that inflation this year would remain at 6 per cent.

เมษายน 7, 2014 แสดงความเห็นโดย | ASEAN, The Nation | , , , , | แสดงความคิดเห็น

Suu Kyi and govt discuss opening rule of law centres

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย-ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


Talks still inconclusive, will continue on April 22, says House panel secretary

Parliament’s rule of law committee chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi met with senior government officials in Yangon to discuss opening rule of law centres in Mandalay and Lashio townships.

“The discussion on the issue is still inconclusive. It will continue at the April 22 meeting,” said Win Myint, secretary of the Lower House Committee for Rule of Law, Peace and Tranquility.

Attending the meeting were Sein Than, director general of the Advocate General’s Office, Kyaw San, director general of the Attorney General’s Office, Pol Brig-General Win Tun from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Dr Wah Wah Maung, deputy director general of the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development.

Representatives from the United States Embassy, the Australian Embassy, the United Nations Development Programme, the Department of International Development (UK) and JICA Myanmar Office were also present.

The Lower House Committee for Rule of Law, Peace and Tranquility earlier submitted a report in the seventh parliamentary session, pointing out weaknesses in governmental and judicial bodies and giving recommendations to rectify the situation.

Meanwhile, the National Unity Party will compete in the upcoming by-elections, according to central executive member Han Shwe.

The chairperson of the Union Election Commission, Tin Aye, said that there were 31 vacant places for candidates in both houses of parliament. “We can’t take part in regions where there is no base for our party,” Han Shwe said.

“We must consider participation in by-elections in some places like Kayin and Kachin States where there are armed organisations.

“We will hold a meeting after Thingyan [the Myanmar New Year] but we will participate in most of the vacant seats.”

In the 2010 general election, the National Unity Party won 64 seats including 12 for the Lower House, five in the Upper House and 45 state and regional MP seats, as well as two seats for national race representatives among 995 vacant constituencies.

The National Unity Party was the second largest party that participated in the last elections after the now ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party. Both are offshoots from the military.

The National League for Democracy earlier announced that it would join the race for all available seats.

เมษายน 7, 2014 แสดงความเห็นโดย | ASEAN, The Nation | , , , , | แสดงความคิดเห็น

Huge Laos infrastructure spend paying dividends

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย-ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


Laos has witnessed steady growth in the transportation sector along with greater connectivity in the region following the government’s enormous investment in the development of infrastructure.

The road networks in Laos extended to 43,600km in 2013, which is an expansion of more than 7 per cent compared to the previous year.

According to a report from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, 6,496km of roads across the country are not paved.

The volume of goods transport is growing by between 5-8 per cent per year, while the volume of passenger transport grows between 8-10 per cent yearly.

In 2012 goods transported via water routes reached 923,000 tonnes, which is a growth rate of 11.6 per cent compared to 2011.

However, the transport of passengers on water routes dropped 11.7 percent to 1.9 million people in 2012.

In order to boost water transport, the ministry is working towards maintaining a water route along the Mekong River from the border area shared by Laos, China and Myanmar.

The 333km distance allows cargo ships as heavy as 150 tonnes to sail throughout the year.

Markers have been put along the route to help with the navigation of cargo ships.

Air transport in the country has gained remarkable progress and achievements over the recent years.

The air transport sector has generated steady and increasing revenue for the state budget.

It brought in revenue of US$42.43 million for the 2012-13 financial year, marking an increase of 56.39 percent compared with the 2007-08 fiscal year when only $27.13 million was earned.

The number of air transport passengers grew 15 percent in 2012 compared with 2011 while air transport of cargo and other goods grew only 8.78 per cent.

It was reported previously that national carrier Lao Airlines recorded significant increases in passenger numbers in recent years.

In 2010, Lao Airlines carried approximately 500,000 passengers but in 2012 the figure jumped to around 900,000.

เมษายน 7, 2014 แสดงความเห็นโดย | ASEAN, The Nation | , , , , | แสดงความคิดเห็น

2 abducted women taken to Jolo by Abu Sayyaf: police

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย-ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


Abu Sayyaf gunmen holding two foreign women abducted from the Semporna island in Sabah, in east Malaysia, are believed to have gone back to their lair on the notorious Jolo Island.

Philippine military and police tracking the group led by Murphy Ambang Ladjia, better known as Haji Gulam, suspect the gunmen have moved out of their base at Simunul on Tawi Tawi Island and headed to the Abu Sayyaf stronghold of Jolo, which has been called “the kidnap capital of the Philippines”.

Sulu provincial police chief Supt Abraham Orbita said security forces had received reports of gunmen arriving at Jolo island with Chinese tourist Gao Huayun, 29, of Shanghai, and Filipina hotel employee Marcy Dayawan, 40, who were snatched from the Singamata Reef Resort late on Wednesday.

“We are trying to confirm these reports,” he said when contacted by telephone in Jolo yesterday.

He said security forces had been keeping a close watch on the coastline of islands around the Sulu province for signs of the gunmen and the abducted women.

Sabah officials, who declined to be identified, said a call had been received from an anonymous individual claiming that he and his group were holding the two women. But it was not be known who the call was made to or whether it was a genuine claim.

However, both Sabah Police Commisisoner Hamza Taib and Eastern Sabah Security Command director-general Datuk Mohammad Mentek said they had not received any report of a ransom call.

Ransom call to family

Hamza said that Malaysian police were in contact with their Philippine counterparts and providing whatever assistance was required to secure the release of the two women.

Both women were reported to be alive and well on Friday by intelligence sources, and they are likely to be held in a village under the control of Abu Sayyaf in Jolo.

Meanwhile, Philippine deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte said in Manila that the country’s armed forces were focusing their search in Jolo and other nearby southern islands.

Valte said Philippine security forces had mounted naval blockades in their search for suspicious vessels.

“We have also alerted the West Mindanao Command units in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi Tawi,” she said.

AFP reported yesterday that kidnappers holding a Chinese tourist who was abducted from a resort on Malaysia’s Borneo island had made a phone call to her family in China, a senior security official said yesterday.

The gunmen have communicated with the family of Gao Huayuan, 29, whom security forces believe is being held in Jolo Island in the south of the Philippines, Mohammad Mentek, eastern Sabah security command director-general, told AFP.

“They have made telephone contact with her family,” he said.

The Abu Sayyaf, a small band of militants infamous for kidnapping for ransom, are the prime suspects in Wednesday’s abductions of the Chinese tourist and the Filipina resort worker, Marcy Dayawan, 40.

Mohammad said that Malaysian authorities believe the two hostages are safe.

“We hope they will be returned safely to their families as soon as possible,” he said.

Philippine authorities believe the kidnappers are affiliated with Abu Sayyaf “sub-commander” Murphy Ambang Ladjia, who was involved in a spectacular kidnapping of 21 people from another Sabah resort in 2000.

เมษายน 7, 2014 แสดงความเห็นโดย | ASEAN, The Nation | , , , , | แสดงความคิดเห็น

Singapore taps Philippines’ success

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย-ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


Businesses in Singapore are now presented with opportunities “to be part of the Philippine success story, and vice-versa”, President Tony Tan Keng Yam said, citing the growth momentum set in motion by the administration of Philippine leader Benigno Aquino.

In a speech before members of the Philippine-Singapore Business Council (PSBC) on Friday, Dr Tan said the Philippine economy “has performed remarkably well over the past few years”.

This, he said, had generated “great interest” among companies in Singapore looking for opportunities to expand abroad.

“There will be many opportunities for Singapore businesses to be part of the Philippine success story, and vice-versa,” he added.

International Enterprise (IE) Singapore conducted seven business trips to the Philippines, and hosted six similar visits from the Philippines last year alone.

“I expect this number to grow, as more Singapore professionals and entrepreneurs venture here to tap the Philippines’’ growth potential,” said Dr Tan.

IE Singapore also established an overseas centre in Manila three months ago to help businesses in Singapore navigate the business environment in the Philippines.

The Philippine economy grew 7.2 per cent last year, and the International Monetary Fund expects this upward trajectory to continue in the next few years.

Long-term foreign investments, meanwhile, surged 20 per cent to US$3.9 billion last year, and exports in January grew 9.3 per cent to US$4.38 billion.


PSBC co-chairman Loh Chin Hua, chief executive of Keppel Corp, said there was optimism among Singapore businessmen about the Philippine economy.

“We can certainly see a renewed sense of optimism and confidence, and these are all very positive for the Philippine economy,” he said. “It augurs well for Singapore businesses coming to the Philippines.”

Loh noted Singapore corporate brand names like SingTel, Ascott, Somerset, YCH, Charles & Keith and BreadTalk “are doing well in the Philippines”. Philippine companies like Jollibee and Ayala Corp, in turn, are making “profitable inroads” into the Singapore market.

Guillermo Luchangco, Loh’s Philippine counterpart in PSBC, said national elections in 2016 would not derail the growth momentum set in motion by the Aquino government.

“I think 2016 is a political matter that would have to work itself out, but I don’t think it is going to affect the business climate,” he said.

Earlier yesterday, Dr Tan witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding to broaden Singapore’s efforts to help Philippines rehabilitate areas devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan last November.

Dr Tan also presented a cheque of more than S$7 million (US$5.5 million) in donations to partners of the Singapore Red Cross to help the relief and rehabilitation efforts.

“I hope that our contributions, which are but a small gesture of friendship and solidarity with the Filipino people, will make a difference in the lives of the communities affected by typhoon Haiyan,” said Dr Tan, who arrived in the Philippines on Wednesday and left on Saturday.

The donations are expected to help some 1.5 million Haiyan victims in central Philippines rebuild their lives, with projects slated for schools, health-care facilities, medical equipment and supplies, water and sanitation, and houses.

เมษายน 7, 2014 แสดงความเห็นโดย | ASEAN, The Nation | , , , , | แสดงความคิดเห็น

‘Spend more on health, education’

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย-ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


The Asian Development Bank has prescribed biggest investment on health and education in Asian developing countries to close their equality and income gap spending .

The widening of the income gap over the past 10 years requires more spending on soft infrastructure and more support for inclusive growth.

According to the ADB’s Asian Development Outlook, during the 1990s and 2000s, more than 80 per cent of the region’s population lived in countries with a Gini coefficient that got worse due to globalisation, plus advances in technology and market reforms, which have extensively exacerbated inequality.

The Gini index measures the extent to which the distribution of income within an economy deviates from a perfectly equal distribution. A Gini coefficient of 0 represents a perfect equality in society.

According to the World Bank, Thailand’s Gini coefficient decreased by 14.9 per cent from 45.3 in 1990 to 39.4 in 2010, but it is still higher than South Korea (31.3 in 2007), Japan (38.1 in 2005), Laos (36.7 in 2008), Vietnam (35.57 in 2008) and Cambodia (36 in 2009). However, Malaysia at 46.2 in 2009 and Singapore at 48.1 in 2008 scored worse ratings.

Juzhong Zhuang, deputy chief economist of the ADB, said last week that public policy can and should play a greater role in support of inclusive growth in Asia. Policymakers in Asia should involve the targets for lowering inequality in policies and budget-making to ensure that the benefits from economic growth are equally spread.

From international experience, public spending can reduce income inequality through investment in healthcare and education, which can broaden access to these vital services for the poor and also provide them with an “equal playing field”.

Education and health services directly improve the wellbeing of the poor, as policy simulation suggest that permanently raising public spending on education by 1 per cent of GDP can lower the Gini coefficient by 1.1 percentage point within a decade. Doing the same for healthcare will lower it by 0.3 percentage point.

However, most policymakers in developing Asia have concentrated on fiscal policy to support growth. By doing so, they have fallen behind other regions in the effort to lower inequality and support a more equal income distribution.

Developing Asia spends on average 2.9 per cent of GDP on education, which is lower than 5.3 per cent in advanced economies and 5.5 per cent in Latin America.

Developing Asia is spending only 2.4 per cent on healthcare, in stark contrast to 8.1 per cent in the advanced economies and 3.9 per cent in Latin America.

For social protection, developing Asia is spending 6.1 per cent of GDP, while Latin America is spending double that at 12 per cent and the difference is even starker in advanced economies at 20 per cent.

Making the growth process more inclusive would require an expansion of public spending, but expanding public expenditure without adequate revenues could be unsustainable.

During the 2000s, tax revenue to GDP averaged 17.8 per cent in developing Asia, which is below 21.8 per cent in Latin America, 31.9 per cent in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and 28.6 per cent worldwide. This shows that the region must improve its mobilisation of fiscal resources.

Laxmon Attapich, senior country economist, said that to increase public income to support public spending in education and healthcare, Thailand should expand and strengthen its fiscal resource base by broadening the base for personal income tax, enlarging corrective taxes, such as on pollution, and non-tax revenues while introducing a progressive tax on property, capital gains and inheritance.

Thai policymakers should be more careful when making policies that are financially unsustainable such as the rice pledging and first-car schemes. The money spent on such badly designed policies could go to better use in investing in soft infrastructure.

“A policy needs to be based on solid fiscal data and analysis before it is implemented,” he said.

According to the Asian Development Outlook, extending public infrastructure can magnify the inclusive impact of public spending on education and health since spending 1 per cent of GDP on infrastructure can boost growth by an estimated 1.3 percentage point.

Making infrastructure affordable and accessible also allows the poor to take better advantage of the economic opportunities that come with improved education and health.

เมษายน 7, 2014 แสดงความเห็นโดย | Economics, The Nation | , , , | แสดงความคิดเห็น

Trade mission heads to Latin America ahead of World Cup 2014

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย-ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


The International Trade Promotion Department will next month send a trade mission to Latin America to aggressively promote Thai goods during the upcoming World Cup 2014 in Brazil.

The mission, involving some 28 Thai enterprises, will cover Brazil, Chile, Peru and Colombia.

Nuntawan Sakuntanaga, the department’s director general, who will lead the mission, said the trip would focus on encouraging more food exports to the Latin American market in order to meet the demand during the football competition.

The mission also aims to seek investment in the manufacturing sector, particularly in auto parts and machinery.

“Latin America is one of the potential markets for many Thai products and offers good opportunity thanks to huge demand for many products,” Nuntawan said.

With Thailand’s export growth target set at a moderate 5 per cent this year, the department is aiming to double the numbers by driving more export into Latin America.

Consumption is expected to increase significantly as several million travellers and football fans home in on Brazil and nearby countries during the World Cup, offering Thai exporters a greater opportunity to cash in, she said. Demand for food, sports shirts and licensed Fifa World Cup products is expected to rise at that time.

According to the Thai Garment Manufacturers Association, four leading manufacturers – Hi-Tech, Nice, Hing Leng and Liberty groups – have been employed by top brands such as Nike and Adidas to produce shirts for football clubs and fans under their licence. Thai firms have orders from 10 of the 32 national teams that have joined World Cup 2014 and will be producing about 3 million units of apparel.

Meanwhile, agencies such as Thai Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Thai Industries, the Thai National Shippers Council and other trade associations that are participating in the trip will also have the opportunity to match up with their counterparts in Latin America.

Thailand already has a free-trade agreement with Peru and Chile, and since these countries also have free-trade pacts with other countries in Latin America, there should be an increased flow of Thai products in the region.

According to the department, Thai exports to Latin America grew 0.5 per cent in the first two months of the year to US$1.22 billion (Bt39.69 billion), and account for 3.4 per cent of Thailand’s total export value.

In February alone, exports increased 4.9 per cent year-on-year to $624 million.

เมษายน 7, 2014 แสดงความเห็นโดย | Economics, The Nation | , , , | แสดงความคิดเห็น

Schools’ near-home quota system may be scrapped

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย-ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


Children react with joy yesterday upon hearing that all of them will be enrolled in Triam Udom Suksa Pattanakarn School under the quota for children living in its neighbourhood. Normally, a lucky draw is held for applicants. But this year, 104 places were

Children react with joy yesterday upon hearing that all of them will be enrolled in Triam Udom Suksa Pattanakarn School under the quota for children living in its neighbourhood. Normally, a lucky draw is held for applicants. But this year, 104 places were

Student recruitment under the near-home quota might be scrapped as applicants have dwindled.

Apichart Jeerawuth, secretary-general of the Basic Education Commission, said last week that the near-home quota was also putting pressure on students who wanted to apply for Mathayom 1.

“I really, really do understand the feelings of children and their parents when they are excited and waiting to hear whether they are eligible to join the programme,” he said after observing near-home recruitment at Surasakmontree School.

Young students and their parents living near this school have flocked to try their luck in the draw. Some students wore amulets around their neck for good luck.

Yesterday students graduating from Prathom 6 drew lots to decide whether they can continue their education at a higher level. Competition is especially stiff to enter 63 famous schools nationwide.

In Bangkok, the schools with the highest competition in the near-home category were Bodindecha 2, Triam Udom Suksa Nomklao, Satriwithaya 2, Horwang and Panyaworakun.

At Surasakmontree, 167 students applied under the near-home quota of 100 but only 104 confirmed their intention to join the programme, so the school’s staff decided to accept all of them.

However, those students who were disappointed not to have been included should inform the school that they had applied between April 7 and 11. Alternately, they can inform the secondary education service area office.

The acceptance announcement will be made on April 18. The winners have to confirm their choice and report to the school on the same day.

เมษายน 7, 2014 แสดงความเห็นโดย | National, The Nation | , , , | แสดงความคิดเห็น

Youngest son ‘planned murder of parents’

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย-ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



The parking space at a house that became the scene of a triple murder on April 3. Police have claimed the youngest son of the owners of the house took out a contract to kill his parents and elder brother.

The parking space at a house that became the scene of a triple murder on April 3. Police have claimed the youngest son of the owners of the house took out a contract to kill his parents and elder brother.

Police say desire for inheritance motivated 22-year-old to put contract out on parents’ lives; older brother also shot dead

The youngest member of a family has been arrested for allegedly masterminding the murders of his parents and his elder brother.

“He [Kittinan Homchong] wants inheritance,” Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lt General Camronwit Toopkrajank alleged at a press conference yesterday. The family owns an expensive plot of land in the capital.

Colonel Wichai Homchong, a 63-year-old military retiree, his wife Wanida Homchong, a 57-year-old teacher, and their eldest son Lieutenant Tammanat Homchong, a 24-year-old investigator at Taling Chan Police Station, were shot dead at their home in Bangkok’s Bang Khae district on April 3.

Police have wasted no time identifying and arresting suspects. As of yesterday, four of the five identified suspects were in police detention.

Police alleged Kittinan, 22, and his close friend Sakkarin Panthakul, 22, organised contract killings.

According to police, Kittinan and Sakkarin allegedly hired Chalard Tiangtham, 53, Surapong Chuphan, 47, and Sirichai Permpoonsak, 39, to carry out the killings.

Sirichai, a former murder convict, remains on the run.

“We offer a Bt500,000 bounty to any person who can give a useful tip-off leading to his arrest,” Camronwit said.

He said Sirichai had just completed his jail term for a previous murder.

He said when tips-off arrived, arresting officers would need to proceed with extra caution because Sirichai had a record of shooting at police to resist arrest.

Chalard, who was present at yesterday’s press conference, said Surapong and Sirichai were the gunmen.

“I just drove them to a spot very close to the victims’ house, then I waited there till they came back. We left the scene together,” Chalard said.

Chalard alleged that had he known Kittinan plotted to kill his own parents, he would have not joined in.

“He told me someone cheated his father and he wanted revenge,” Chalard said.

Surapong said he was paid Bt10,000 on April 4 for the murder contract.

Denchai Boonkrapeu, a relative of the victims, showed up at the press conference to listen to the progress of the investigation.

“In fact, I hoped police would bring Kittinan to the press conference. If he has really confessed, I wish to hear it directly from him,” Denchai said. He said Kittinan had moved out of his family’s house to live with a friend due to his conflict with his father.

“But still, the conflict was not that serious,” Denchai said.

He said he would believe Kittinan plotted to kill his parents and his elder brother only when he heard it from his lips.

The funerals for the three victims are being held at the Si Prachantakham Temple in Prachin Buri, the hometown of Wanida and the province where Tammanat grew up.

“In fact, this was a loving and warm family,” Wanida’s sister Wanpen Boonkrapeu said.

เมษายน 7, 2014 แสดงความเห็นโดย | National, The Nation | , , , | แสดงความคิดเห็น

Dumpsite fire in the North

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย-ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


A fire was raging yesterday on at a 15-rai dumpsite in Lampang’s Koh Kha district, spreading smoke that upset the lives of local people.

Police immediately sent five fire trucks to the spot after receiving a report about the blaze at 10am. However, the fire was so strong that at press time relevant officials were still unable to put it out.

Several local administrative bodies jointly operate the dump. But sources said waste disposal at the site was not in line with proper standards.

Last month, it took officials from several agencies plus many volunteers more than one week to extinguish a fire that erupted at a big dumpsite in Samut Prakan.

That dumpsite fire spread toxic smoke across several districts of Samut Prakan as well as its neighbouring Bangkok for days.

เมษายน 7, 2014 แสดงความเห็นโดย | National, The Nation | , , , | แสดงความคิดเห็น

One killed as rash of bombings hits Yala

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย-ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



A series of explosions rocked Yala yesterday, killing at least one and injuring more than a dozen in the heart of the town, provincial Governor Dejrat Simsiri said.

The first of four blasts went off at the Coliseum intersection at about 4pm. The second was in front of Raja Furniture shop, the third at an ATM machine in front of the provincial electricity office and the fourth at the Fa Sai shop. The most serious was at Raja Furniture on Sirorote Road, where an unknown person was found dead and a fire broke out after.

The body of the victim was burnt beyond recognition, police said. Fire officials fought the blaze at the shop, while many injured were admitted to a hospital in the province.

Ten wooden buildings in the area where damaged, police said. A Toyota pickup was found damaged near the furniture shop, according to police, who suspected the bombs were carried in the vehicle.

Police hoped surveillance-camera footage in the areas might be of use in identifying suspects behind the bombings.

Yala is one of several hot spots in the predominantly Muslim deep-South, where violence erupted in early 2004 and has killed more than 5,000 people so far. The government believes separatist movements are behind the violence.

เมษายน 7, 2014 แสดงความเห็นโดย | National, The Nation | , , , | แสดงความคิดเห็น

Ship detects signals matching black box transmission

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย-ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



Sydney – An Australian ship picked up the electronic pulse matching that of a plane’s black-box flight recorder for over two hours, search officials looking for a missing Malaysian airliner said Monday.

The acoustic signals picked up by the Ocean Shield are in a different part of the Indian Ocean from those reportedly monitored by a Chinese ship last week.

“The audible signal sounds to me just like an emergency locator beacon,” search coordinator Angus Houston said.

He described the finding as the “most promising lead so far” in the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 that disappeared on a Kuala Lumpur to Beijing flight March 8 with 239 people on board.

The Ocean Shield, which is towing a pinger locator 3,000 metres below the surface, detected a signal for two hours and 20 minutes in its first run along a 3.2-kilometre course.

On its return run there was a second series of pulses consistent with both the flight recorder and the cockpit voice recorder that lasted for an unspecified period.

“We still have a lot of very painstaking work to do to confirm this is where the plane hit the water,” he said. “This is a most promising lead (but) we haven’t found the aircraft yet.”Houston said finding wreckage was needed to confirm the location ofthe Boeing 777.

That might require the launching of an underwater craft.”We need more evidence and the best evidence we can find is imagery from the autonomous vehicle that suggests the wreckage is on thebottom of the ocean and a photograph that demonstrates that and we could then say this is where the aircraft entered the water and the wreckage is on the floor of the ocean,” the former armed forces chiefsaid.

The Ocean Shield will continue trawling in a box 4.8 kilometres square in the hope of re-establishing contact and getting a firm fixon the source of the acoustic signal.

“If they gain another acoustic event on that towed pinger locator, that will be the trigger to launch the autonomous underwater vehicle with the more accurate sonar and potentially camera for mapping andvisually looking at the ocean floor,” Houston said.

“The focus is ontrying to re-acquire the acoustic signal they had 24 hours ago.”

เมษายน 7, 2014 แสดงความเห็นโดย | National, The Nation | , , , | แสดงความคิดเห็น