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The Bureau of the Royal Household has announced that Wat Phra Kaew (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha) will be closed from 1 to 29 October 2017 to prepare the Royal Cremation Ceremony for His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. It will be reopened for tourists to visit again on 30 October 2017 onward.
The College of Dramatic Arts in Salaya, Nakhon Pathom, recently arranged a full rehearsal for the traditional Thai dances in honor of H.M. the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, with participation from more than 400 performers. Mr. Pakorn Pornpisut, a specialist at the Office of Performing Arts, Fine Arts Department, revealed that the performances are aimed at expressing the Thai people's gratitude to the late monarch. The dances include certain episodes of the Ramayana epic which were favored by His late Majesty and were often performed at his command when receiving his guests. The performances are scheduled to be conducted during the royal cremation ceremony on 26 October, in front of the Royal Merit-Making Pavilion, where H.M. King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun and members of the royal family will be seated.
The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) plans to introduce the e-ticket system for its bus fares on 1 October 2017. The system will allow holders of the state welfare cards for low-income earners to pay for their bus rides using their card and have the fare automatically deducted. Two hundred BMTA-operated buses have already been installed with card readers; readers will be installed on a total of 800 buses plying the roads between Bangkok and its peripheral areas. Buses with card readers installed will have a green indication sticker. During the initial phase, the fare-collecting staff will stay aboard to help passengers adjust to the new system.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is considering enhancing cooperation with the World Economic Forum (WEF) on youth development and business promotion. Thailand and the WEF have mutually agreed on shared benefits. The WEF stressed the importance of the growing relations in the ASEAN community, and reaffirmed the invitation to the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs to attend the annual meeting in Switzerland, in January 2018, which will be a good opportunity for global leaders to exchange views.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova and UNESCO Chairperson Michael Worbs will deliver a message of condolences for His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej on 26 September 2017 at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France. The speech will be delivered on the first day of an International World Peace meeting, which UNESCO permanent delegates from Buddhist organizations will attend on 26-28 September. The meeting will be chaired by Thai Ambassador to France and permanent Thai delegate to UNESCO H.E. Mr. Sihasak Phuangketkeow.
The Treasury Department is preparing to construct the fifth seniors' complex in Mueang district, Prachuap Khiri Khan province. The complex will have a clinic and low-rise residential buildings. Each unit will be sold at less than one million baht. The department will also launch residential projects on government surplus land in more than 20 provinces in early October this year. The price of each unit will not exceed 500,000 baht, to help low to middle-income people to have their own house.
The Trade Policy and Strategy Office, Ministry of Commerce, has organized a seminar on market research relevant to the Thai rice industry. Thai rice demand is expected to continue to be high. The strength of the Thai rice industry is its high-quality jasmine rice, which generates over 800 billion baht in annual revenue. The ministry has also conducted research on the benefits of each rice strain and appropriate processing measures to help farmers meet market demand.
The public is invited to visit an exhibition showcasing stamps with the story of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, organized by Thailand Post at the Central Postal Building every Tuesday-Sunday. The exhibition lasts from 22 June until 31 October 2017.
The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security aims to launch a guide dog service for blind people, in accordance with the Government policy to improve the well-being of citizens. This is the first time the service has been provided to the visually impaired in Thailand. The army will arrange for personnel to complete guide dog training overseas, to subsequently teach blind people selected by the Thailand Association of the Blind how to command guide dogs.
Prime Ministerís Office Minister Ormsin Chivapruck recently led a team of officials to Suphan Buri province, to hold a meeting with chiefs of local state offices and related officers ahead of the upcoming mobile Cabinet meeting. The minister also inspected the progress of construction of the replica of the Royal Crematorium, as well as the areas where the Prime Minister will be visiting on 18 September †in Suphan Buri before chairing the mobile Cabinet meeting in Ayutthaya province on 19 September.
Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chatchai Sarikulya recently said that the Cabinet will consider a 37-billion-baht project to tackle flooding problems in the Central Plains. He said the ministry is currently supervising several urgent water-related plans across the provinces over the next 2 years. He added that the plans would deal with the flood-prone areas covering 2.5 million rai.
Speaking after a meeting with US Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer, Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said USTR praised Thailandís efforts in tackling the violation of intellectual property rights, which had yielded concrete results. USTR plans to reconsider the Priority Watch List (PWL) status of Thailand earlier than scheduled, to see whether the country should be lifted from the bottom tier of the Special 301 Report. Should the country make it to an upper level, the elevation would be the first in 11 years.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha recently announced that he issued an executive order, as chief of the National Council for Peace and Order, on the waiver of the immigration form for Thai passport holders which took effect early Saturday (16 September 2017) morning. Thai passport holders are now no longer required to fill out the TM6 immigration form to depart or enter the country. They are encouraged to use the automated immigration clearance gates available at airports, to help them pass through the immigration process faster, and reduce the burden of immigration officials in manually processing many passengers.
The recent BOI meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, †approved a series of investment promotion measures under the governmentís Thailand 4.0 policy, in order to enhance the agricultural sector through the adoption of technological innovations. The meeting also endorsed tax incentives for companies using robotics and machinery in their production processes, as well as approved measures to support three investment projects worth more than 28 billion baht, to be implemented in the Eastern Economic Corridor.
More than ten million brochures will be distributed to the people who come to offer sandalwood flowers at the Royal Cremation Ceremony for His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The brochure, both in Thai and English, consists of the contents of the late Kingís life and work, and the schedule of the Royal Cremation Ceremony. The application ďZapparĒ and AR codes will also be launched to enable people to access the virtual brochure free of charge.
The Bank of Thailand has revealed that it is developing QR codes for e-payment to accelerate Thailand's move to become a cashless society. Because printing banknotes has production and transportation costs, and it takes time to count notes before distributing them to ATMs, using QR codes will save money and time. It is expected that people who use this payment system will find it convenient and secure.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has launched a campaign for clean and cheap food in four communities and will increase to ten by the end of September. The food markets are provided for street food vendors in designated and regulated areas at Lotus shopping center in Pathumwan district, the Lumpini Park parking lot, in front of Koong Luang restaurant in Pinklao district, and near Somdet Chaophraya Hospital in Bangkok Noi district. The campaign is aimed to help street food vendors who are currently affected by restrictions along Bangkok's streets.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Industry presided over an award ceremony for enterprises participating in the project to develop the competitiveness of the agricultural product processing industries in the region, in accordance with One Province One Agro-Industrial (OPOAI) Product Project 2017. He said that the ministry aims to enhance the efficiency of agro-industrial enterprises nationwide. The manufacturing sectors must follow the changes in both domestic and international markets, and have a clear management planning system in production, transportation, marketing, and financial management.
Under the initiative of H.M. King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, the Government has invited Thai people to be volunteers during the Royal Cremation Ceremony for H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej in October. The registration started on 1 September and runs through 30 September every day in Bangkok and in provinces all over the country. In Bangkok, those who are interested in joining may apply for registration at the reception building of Sanam Sua Pa and all 50 district offices. For persons in the provinces, registration can be done at all district offices. Overseas Thais can also apply at Thai embassies or consular offices.
Mr. Kampol Tansajja, Director of Nong Nooch Tropical Garden Pattaya, which is in charge of gardening in Sanam Luang, recently stated that the agency is currently in the process of planting large perennial trees around the Royal Merit-Making Pavilion, in accordance with the landscaping design by the Fine Arts Department. The trees include 50 ebony trees and over 100 Siamese rough bushes, which are species commonly found in palaces and temples around Thailand. Small to medium-sized ornamental and flowering plants will be put in the ground around the royal crematorium when the structure is finished, as expected in early October.
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