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Thailand 'well suited' to host global tourism conference
22 April 2017 - Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, talks with The Nation on Thailand's readiness to host the World Travel Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit, which will take place in Bangkok from Tuesday to Thursday next week. The summit will be a platform for Thailand to present itself as a hub for tourism and sports before the eyes of more than 700 top executives from 140 companies, representing 30 per cent of the entire travel and tourism sector. Key speakers at the forum include former British prime minister David Cameron, WTTC president and chief executive officer David Scrowsill, United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) secretary-general Taleb Rifai, Thai Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, and Siam Piwat CEO Chadatip Chutrakul. (more)

Thai March consumer confidence reaches a two-year high - survey
7 April 2017 - Thailand's consumer confidence in March rose to its highest level in two years, helped by stronger exports, tourism and commodity prices, a private survey showed on Friday. Southeast Asia's second-largest economy expanded 3.2 percent last year. (more)

Thailand: This company makes food packaging out of bamboo to cut down on trash
18 February 2017 - After growing rapidly in recent decades, Thailand has become one of Asia's biggest economies. But like many other countries in the region, it's been slow to try to combat the millions of tons of trash produced each year. One company is turning to the country's plant life. Universal Biopack makes packaging that it sells to restaurants, organic farmers, and manufacturers. But rather than plastic, it uses a mixture of bamboo and cassava, crops that are widely found across the country. The company is using a technology devised at a Bangkok university to make its zero-waste packaging. It hopes it will eventually replace many of the Styrofoam boxes and plastic bags that end up in huge garbage dumps across Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries. (more)

Thailand expects tourism revenue of nearly $50 billion in 2017
9 January 2017 - Thailand expects revenue from foreign tourists to rise 8.5 percent to 1.78 trillion baht ($49.8 billion) this year, a deputy prime minister said on Monday. The expected rise results from an improved outlook for global tourism as well as Thailand's investment in infrastructure, Deputy Prime Minister Thanasak Patimaprakorn told reporters. (more)

Thailand tourist numbers rise nearly nine percent in 2016
5 January 2017 - The number of foreign tourists visiting Thailand rose nearly 9 percent to 32.6 million in 2016, bringing in 1.64 trillion baht ($45.9 billion) worth of business, up nearly 13 percent from 2015, according to data released by the Tourism Ministry on Thursday (5 January). The ministry said almost a third of its total international arrivals in 2016 came from China, with 8.87 million Chinese visitors, making for an increase of 11.8 percent from 2015. (more)

Organic farms help Thailand welcome cranes lost for 50 years
14 November 2016 - A fuzzy-headed baby sarus crane hatched on a rural farm this fall offers a glimmer of hope for wildlife conservationists, organic farming advocates, and a nation grieving after the death of their beloved King. That's because this chubby chick . . . is the first of its auspicious species to survive after hatching in the wild in Thailand in 50 years. The tallest flying birds in the world, 70 incubator-hatched, hand-fed sarus cranes have been raised and released over the past five years in Thailand's farm-rich northeast province of Buriram, whooping their startling two-toned song at dawn. 'The older generations told us about these cranes, they said they bring luck, but when I actually saw one in my field I was so excited,' village leader Thongpoon Unjit said. Already the birds have brought good fortune: The farmers' organic rice sells for a premium at Bangkok supermarkets. (more)

Thailand: People pay respects to Thai King at Grand Palace
14 October 2016 - Buddhist ceremonies began Friday in Bangkok's Grand Palace complex for King Bhumibol Adulyadej before his body is displayed for people to pay respects to the revered monarch. Most Thais have known no other King. Bhumibol, the world's longest-reigning monarch, had been on the throne for 70 years. Television channels were running non-stop programs devoted to the life of the King. Although a constitutional monarch, Bhumibol wielded enormous political power and served as a unifying figure during Thailand's numerous political crises. He anchored the Southeast Asian country . . . with a blend of majesty and a common touch. So revered was Bhumibol that his portraits are displayed in virtually every Thai home and business, generally depicting him in arduous travels to remote villages, where he often went to see the situation of his subjects first hand. (more)

Remembering Thai King's seven decades of rule (AP video)
13 October 2016 - The King of Thailand was the world's longest-reigning living monarch, presiding over his country for seven decades. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, also known as as King Rama the Ninth (King Rama IX), was deeply revered by his people -- blending majesty with a common touch. Public service was the keynote of his reign. He was most visible to the people crisscrossing the country sponsoring development projects for Thai farmers. He anchored the nation through violent upheavals and communist revolutions next door. And he was a powerful influence on the spiritual, material, and political life of the country. (more)

Thai King Bhumibol was bridge in close relations with US
13 October 2016 - Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who passed Thursday after a 70-year reign, was historically an important bridge in his nation's close . . . relations with the United States. Bhumibol was born in the U.S. He met with six sitting U.S. Presidents, starting with Dwight Eisenhower in 1960 and ending with President Barack Obama in 2012. King Bhumibol's passing at age 88 won't set back those ties. The U.S.-Thai relationship dates back over 180 years. 'His Majesty the King was a close friend of the United States and a valued partner of many U.S. Presidents,' President Obama said in a statement Thursday. 'The American people and I stand with the people of Thailand as we mourn His Majesty the King's passing, and today we hold the Thai people in our thoughts and prayers.' (more)

Bangkok edges out London as world's top travel destination: Mastercard
22 September 2016 - The Thai capital of Bangkok has beaten London to be crowned the world's most popular travel destination this year, according to an annual ranking by global payments and technology company Mastercard released on Thursday, 22 September. Bangkok topped the 2016 listing of 132 cities, beating London, Paris, and Dubai to become the city most visited by international travelers in the Mastercard Index of Global Destination Cities. (more)

Success of Maharishi's Programmes
Short Summaries of Top Stories

Buddhist school in Thailand offers Transcendental Meditation to its students
22 June 2015 - The Dhammajarinee Witthaya school in northern Thailand continues to be a very special school where poor or orphaned girls can get free education from kindergarten to grade 12. Thousands of girls have been uplifted from poverty under the leadership of Buddhist nun Acharn Yai, the school's director and principal. Over 400 students are enjoying their twice-daily practice of Transcendental Meditation, saying it relieves stress, and promotes inner peace and mental clarity. 'Before learning to meditate I felt frustrated and didn't want to do anything. But when I close my eyes to meditate, my frustration decreases, my irritation subsides and I feel good. . . . I can focus on my studies more,' said one student. (more)

Promoting the feminine entrepreneur
30 November 2014 - 'Enabling female entrepreneurs worldwide to develop the confidence to be successful without sacrificing their own values is where Transcendental Meditation and all of Maharishi's consciousness-based programmes come in', said Arabella Higgins, educator, teacher of TM, producer of sustainable leadership programmes, and school administrator. With regards to Arabelle's current research on business practices of the women entrepreneurs of Thailand she said, 'female entrepreneurs will often view the business as a family, bringing employment and supporting the community'. (more)

Educating from the inside out in Thailand
3 November 2014 - The Excellence in Action page of Global Good News is featuring two articles on the Dhammajarinee Witthaya School in Thailand, where 400 at risk girls have learned the Transcendental Meditation technique. In the interview Principal Acharn Yai explains that TM is not only a way to help girls with a history of extreme poverty, broken homes, and domestic violence find their way to a successful and happy life, but its a way to create peace for the entire country. (more)

Thailand: Buddhist nun brings Transcendental Meditation to her school for at-risk girls

16 March 2014 - Acharn Yai is a Buddhist nun who is committed to employing the best of modern technology to help her school thrive. She is the founder of Dhammajarinee Witthaya School in Thailand, the first and only free Buddhist boarding school for Thai girls who are at risk due to poverty, abandonment, or abuse. The school has 530 in-residence students, preschool-grade 12, taught by 41 teachers. The girls not only receive safe haven and a free education, they also practise Transcendental Meditation, which Acharn Yai credits as the turning point for the school--since the girls started meditation, they now win top academic awards, live in harmony together, and have learned skills to succeed in a culture that would otherwise exploit them. Acharn Yai learned Transcendental Meditation in 2008, and is the first Buddhist nun to be trained as a teacher of the technique. (more)

Thailand: Buddhist school for girls offers Transcendental Meditation
10 August 2013 - In Thailand, over 400 girls are blossoming like beautiful lotuses at the Dhammajarinee Witthaya School--the first Buddhist boarding school for girls from kindergarten through 12th grade. By providing a rigorous modern academic curriculum along with Buddhist teachings, the school helps girls to lead better lives, and become the future leaders of their communities. Because many have suffered past trauma, the school also includes yoga and Transcendental Meditation as part of the daily routine, to reduce stress. (more)

Thailand: Rajapark Institute offers SCI degree programmes, Consciousness-Based Education schools flourish
17 July 2013 - With the support of Maharishi University of Management in the USA, Rajapark Institute in Thailand now offers a BA degree for women in the Science of Creative Intelligence (SCI). A Master of Arts degree in SCI is also offered now by the Institute; a dual degree will be awarded from both Rajapark Institute in Thailand, and Maharishi University of Management. The Institute has expanded to include 10 branch campuses throughout Thailand, and the student body has increased from 700 to 3,000. (more)

At Thai school for girls, Transcendental Meditation improves behaviour and understanding
23 April 2013 - Acharn Yai, the principal of Dhammajarinee Witthaya School for Girls in Thailand, has seen changes in the students after they learn Transcendental Meditation. Many come from poor families and broken homes, or are orphans who have been vulnerable to abuse and violence. 'It becomes much easier to take care of them,' Acharn Yai said. 'The aggressive behaviour decreases, their grades go up and they pay more attention to what we teach them. When they have inner happiness they soak up whatever knowledge we give, unlike before.' One of the high school students said, 'Back home I was a hot-tempered person, but since I learned TM, I feel a lot calmer. I feel that I'm happier and my learning ability is better. I feel that I'm happy all day.' (more)

Thai school for disadvantaged girls benefits from Transcendental Meditation
23 April 2013 - 'In Thailand we have many girls who lack opportunity for proper education,' said Acharn Yai, the Director and Principal of the Dhammajarinee Witthaya School in Thailand. The school, founded by Buddhist nuns, is the first and only school of its kind in the country, attended by girls from poor families in provinces all over Thailand. The school's educational programme utilizes Transcendental Meditation to help the girls relieve stress and improve their focus and creativity. (more)

Hundreds of students at a Buddhist girls' school in Thailand practice Transcendental Meditation twice daily
11 January 2013 - The only Buddhist boarding school in Thailand incorporates the practice of Transcendental Meditation into the school's curriculum. Dhammajarinee Witthaya Free School was established to serve hundreds of poor families who otherwise would be unable to send their daughters to school. The school provides a free education to 430 at-risk girls, with Transcendental Meditation a key component in the daily school routine. The Buddhist nuns running the school report the meditation technique is having a positive influence on students, reducing stress and improving learning ability. (more)

Thailand: Transcendental Meditation part of leadership training in girls' school
13 September 2012 - At the highly respected Dhammajarinee Witthaya School in Thailand, many of the students practise Transcendental Meditation regularly as they are educated to become successful leaders, educators, and mothers. The boarding school has helped hundreds of girls, who otherwise would have had no opportunity to go to school, receive a kindergarten to 12th grade education. (more)

Short Summaries of Top Stories

Bombings in Thailand target tourist cities, killing 4 people
12 August 2016 - Attackers using firebombs and homemade explosives struck a series of popular resort cities and beach towns across Thailand in some of the worst violence to hit the country since a military coup two years ago. At least four people were killed and dozens wounded, including 11 foreigners. The attacks occurred south of Bangkok and several of the blasts -- including one on Patong beach in the tourist town of Phuket and four in the seaside resort city of Hua Hin -- appeared designed to strike the tourism industry, which provides vital income to the government. Police said firebombs also triggered blazes at markets and shops in six places, including Phuket, Trang, Surat Thani, Phang Nga, and a souvenir shop in the tourist town of Ao Nang, Krabi. (more)

Series of blasts hit resort towns in Thailand
12 August 2016 - A series of blasts hit three of the most popular tourist resorts as well as towns in southern Thailand on Thursday and Friday, killing four people and wounding dozens, days after the country voted to accept a military-backed charter in a referendum. Four bombs exploded in the upscale resort of Hua Hin on Thursday evening and Friday morning. Other blasts hit the tourist island of Phuket, a resort town in Phang Nga province, and Surat Thani, a city that is the gateway to islands such as Koh Samui in Thailand's Gulf. The attacks are bad news for Thailand's tourist sector, which has been one of the few bright spots in a sluggish economy. 'Why now when the country is getting better, the economy is getting better, and tourism is getting better? We have to ask why and who did it,' Thai junta chief and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters. (more)

Thailand bombs: travel warnings as tourist resorts hit by fatal explosions -- as it happened
12 August 2016 - There have been multiple explosions in nine incidents in at least five separate locations across Thailand in the past 24 hours -- Hua Hin, Phuket, Phang Nga, Surat Thani, Trang. The attacks appear to be at least in part targeting areas where tourism is important. Foreign embassies are warning visitors to Thailand to be vigilant. As details of each incident trickle out, it is clear some of the devices were detonated using timers or a mobile phone signal. (more)

Tourist towns of Hua Hin and Phuket in Thailand hit by deadly explosions
12 August 2016 - A series of apparently coordinated blasts detonated across Thailand have killed at least four people and injured dozens, including in the tourism hotspots of Hua Hin and Phuket. The blasts, which appear to have been coordinated to target tourist hotspots around the country, took place just a few days before the first anniversary of a devastating bombing at a Hindu shrine in Bangkok that killed 22 people and wounded more than 100. The first blasts also took place on the eve of the birthday of Queen Sirikit in Hua Hin, a town where she and King Bhumibol Adulyadej maintain a summer palace. Thailand has a history of violence in southern areas from an ongoing low-level insurgency but bloodshed rarely spreads to Phuket or Hua Hin. (more)

Spike in dengue cases expected in Thailand in 2016, expert says
14 January 2016 - The number of dengue cases in Thailand is expected to spike this year, a researcher said, as experts from across Asia met to discuss introduction of the first ever dengue vaccine to control and prevent the disease. Dengue -- which causes flu-like symptoms and can develop into the deadly dengue hemorrhagic fever -- is the world's fastest-spreading tropical disease, with the annual number of cases increasing 30-fold in the last 50 years, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). (more)

Thailand's road deaths surge despite junta's hardline tactics
5 January 2016 - The number of deaths on Thailand's roads increased over the New Year period despite a crackdown on drunk drivers by the ruling junta, according to official statistics released on Tuesday, 5 January. The government said 380 people had died in 3,379 accidents during a seasonal surge dubbed the 'Seven Dangerous Days', the highest toll in five years on what are already some of the world's deadliest roads. (more)

Thai blast strikes blow to tourism, pillar of ailing economy
19 August 2015 - The bomb blast that ripped through a Bangkok shrine, killing 20 and injuring dozens, is also certain to take its toll on tourism, the one bright spot in Thailand's sputtering economy. The Southeast Asian country's tourism industry has expanded strongly over recent years, driven by rising numbers of Chinese tourists, which has helped offset the drag on growth from a decade of political instability. The explosion at the shrine, which is popular with Chinese visitors, is likely to dampen their enthusiasm for Bangkok as a tourist destination. Tourism accounts for 9 percent of the Thai economy and employs several million people. (more)

Thailand: Rush-hour Bangkok bombing at busy shrine kills 18, hurts 117
17 August 2015 - A bomb exploded Monday within a central Bangkok shrine that is among the city's most popular tourist spots, killing at least 18 people and injuring more than 100 across a hectic intersection surrounded by five-star hotels and upscale shopping malls. It exploded during evening rush hour as the area was filled with tourists, office workers, and shoppers. The bomb detonated at Erawan Shrine, which is dedicated to the Hindu god Brahma, but is extremely popular among Thailand's Buddhists as well as Chinese tourists. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing. (more)

Farmers fight over water as Thailand suffers worst drought in 10 years
10 July 2015 - Farmers in Thailand's rice-growing Suphan Buri province are becoming increasingly desperate for water to irrigate their parched fields as the nation, a leading producer of the staple food, suffers its worst drought in more than a decade. The wet season is under way, but Thailand is contending with drought conditions in seven out of 67 provinces, according to the National Disaster Warning Center, and water rationing is taking place in almost a third of the country. (more)

Thai scholar faces royal insult charge over medieval king
20 October 2014 - A prominent Thai intellectual has been accused of insulting a medieval king, a government spokesman said on Monday, and faces up to 15 years in jail if convicted. Thailand has a strict lese-majeste law which makes it a crime to defame, insult or threaten the king, queen, heir to the throne, or regent. The law does not apply to past or deceased monarchs but is often loosely interpreted for political ends. Thailand's army seized power in a 22 May coup saying it needed to restore order after months of street protests that helped overthrow an elected government. 'Cases that would have been shelved under the previous government are being fast-tracked into military courts,' said David Streckfuss, a Thailand-based scholar who monitors lese-majeste laws. Last year, the Supreme Court sentenced a man to two years in prison over a comment he made in 2005 about King Mongkut, known outside Thailand as the king in the play and film 'The King and I'. (more)


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