Thailand, Japan sign local currency swap arrangementThe Bank of Thailand and Bank of Japan signs a bilateral local currency swap arrangement for three years. (Bangkok Post photo)The central banks of Thailand and Japan on Tuesday signed a bilateral local currency swap arrangement (BSA) to enhance the financial stability of the two countries, the Bank of Thailand said in a statement. The arrangement allows for the exchange of local currencies between the two central banks of up to 240 billion baht or 800 billion yen, enabling them to provide baht or yen liquidity to eligible financial institutions in support of their cross-border operations, it said. The BSA is effective as of March 31, for a period of three years.
March 31, 2020 11:59 UTC
(Photo by Nutthawat Wicheanbut)Up to 40 more labs will be given approval to run tests for Covid-19 infections nationwide by the end of this month, according to the Department of Medical Sciences. The virus detection test gave a more accurate result and would show positive 5-7 days after an individual contracted the disease. He said the Covid-19 test kits and solution liquids were reserved for use by medical establishments and hospitals, as permitted by the Food and Drug Administration. His comments are in line with the government's continued suppression of online sales of so-called home "Covid-19 test kits", which experts have confirmed are not effective in detecting the virus. Of the tablets, 18,000 will be given to state-run regional hospitals which form the medical nerve centres of the clusters of infections in provinces.
March 31, 2020 10:52 UTC
'Stop nagging, use makeup': Malaysia coronavirus advice to womenA member of the Hazardous Material Unit Team (HAZMAT) sprays disinfectant near a residential area during the Movement Control Order, limiting the activities of people in Malaysia as a preventive measure against the spread of the novel coronavirus, in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday. (AFP photo)KUALA LUMPUR: Coronavirus lockdown advice issued by Malaysia that urges women to dress up at home and avoid nagging their husbands sparked a sexism row on Tuesday, with critics saying it promotes gender stereotypes. "How did we go from preventing baby dumping, fighting domestic violence to some sad variant of the Obedient Wives Club?" "No tips on how to deal with domestic violence?" Women's groups have warned lockdowns could see a rise in domestic violence, with women trapped with their abusers.
March 31, 2020 07:52 UTC
February exports rise 3.6% y-o-y, trade surplus widens: BoTThailand's current account surplus was $5.4 billion in February, up from a surplus of $3.44 billion in the previous month, the Bank of Thailand (BoT) said on Tuesday. Exports rose 3.6% in February from a year earlier, after rising 3.5% in January. Imports fell 7.8% year-on-year in February after January's 0.1% drop. February saw a trade surplus of $5.4 billion, up from a $0.38 billion surplus in January.
March 31, 2020 07:18 UTC
From winners to worriers: isolated athletes face mental health risksMichael Phelps is one of several athletes who have suffered from depressionHONG KONG - Fear, stress and money worries: coronavirus lockdown is hard for anyone, but athletes are facing extra mental health risks as they go from highly active lifestyles to isolation and boredom, experts warn. Concerns have also been raised about Australia's swimmers and cricketers, after athletes in both sports suffered well-documented psychological problems in the past. "The mental health thing, we talked about it in a conference call this week," said Australian men's cricket coach Justin Langer. "The high-level, high-profile professional athletes can handle this loss of income but there are a lot of athletes on the fringe," she said. She recommended athletes stick to routines, focus on what can be controlled and use their extra time for a hobby or online training to maintain their mental health.
March 31, 2020 06:45 UTC
Revellers busted on river raftTwenty-five young people are arrested partying on a river raft in Bang Sai district of Ayutthaya on Monday night in defiance of the ban on large social gatherings to contain the coronavirus epidemic. (Photo by Sunthorn Pongpao)AYUTTHAYA: A group of 25 young men and women were caught partying in a raft house on the Chao Phraya River in Bang Sai district late on Monday night, in violation of the emergency decree on the coronavirus, governor Panu Yaemsri said on Tuesday. Local officials who raided the raft found many of the party-goers were also high on drugs. They seized quantities of ketamine, ecstacy, methamphetamine and marijuana, and also liquor. The 25 revellers were taken to Thanyarak Hospital in Pathum Thani, where they were tested for drugs, and then handed over to Chang Yai police in Bang Sai district for legal action.
March 31, 2020 06:11 UTC
Extreme isolation: world's last virus-free corners hold tightTonga is one of the Pacific nations that has reported zero virus cases, along with Palau, Micronesia and others. The Northern Mariana Islands confirmed its first cases over the weekend, followed by a suspected death on Monday. The government is building five isolation rooms that will be able to hold up to 14 patients. "I would like to be optimistic we won't get the virus," Tulop said. But even in the most remote corners of the world, the impact of this truly global pandemic is already being felt.
March 31, 2020 05:03 UTC
'Megxit': Harry and Meghan formally quit royal lifeThe couple are said to have relocated to California by private jet earlier this month. LONDON: Prince Harry and his wife Meghan formally step down as senior members of the British royal family on Tuesday, as they start a controversial new life in the United States. The couple have already relocated to California, according to reports, after announcing in January that they intended to quit royal life and "work to become financially independent". It follows reports Meghan was deeply unhappy with life inside the centuries-old institution and increasing complaints from the couple about media intrusion. Their shock announcement rocked the royal family, appearing to blindside the queen and other senior family members.
March 31, 2020 01:41 UTC
State urged to assist SMEs with PDPAThe government needs to assist local businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in complying with the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) as the compliance is costly and many organisations are suffering from the Covid-19 outbreak, say cybersecurity experts. The PDPA was published in the Royal Gazette in May last year, but comes into force this May following a one-year grace period. "I estimate only 35% of the organisations can fully comply with the PDPA," Mr Nipon said, citing a figure tallied when the General Data Protection Regulation was implemented by the EU. The DES Ministry should come up with relief measures for those facing lawsuits in connection with the PDPA, he said. As for SMEs, the government can dispatch officials to assist them on a case-by-case basis, similar to Singapore, he said.
March 31, 2020 00:11 UTC
After giving chase, Washington state police were shocked to see a pit bull (similar to the one pictured) in the driver's seat and a man steering and controlling the accelerator pedal from the passenger side. A man was arrested following a high-speed chase after police saw his pit bull behind the wheel. Axtman said that as officers gave chase, they got close to the car and were shocked to see a pit bull in the driver's seat and a man steering and pushing the accelerator pedal from the passenger side. The chase ended after police used spike strips and arrested 51-year-old Alberto Tito Alejandro, who was booked on multiple felonies including driving under the influence of drugs. "When we took him into custody... he admitted that he was trying to teach his dog to drive," Axtman said.
March 31, 2020 00:11 UTC
Airbnb to pay hosts $250m for cancellationsAirbnb will pay hosts 25% of what they would typically be due if someone booked between March 14 and May 31 cancels the stay due to Covid-19. "Please know this decision was not a business decision, but based on protecting public health," said Airbnb co-founder and chief Brian Chesky. Airbnb will pay hosts 25% of what they would typically be due if someone booked between March 14 and May 31 cancels the stay due to Covid-19. Airbnb is also adding a feature to its platform that will let people send money to support hosts they bonded with during stays. About 50,000 Airbnb hosts have volunteered to make their homes available to health care workers, relief providers, and first responders combating the coronavirus pandemic, according to Chesky.
March 31, 2020 00:00 UTC
Officer caught Covid-19 'elsewhere': policeMetropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) chief Pakkapong Pongpetra yesterday denied reports that one of his officers contracted Covid-19 while manning a checkpoint set up to screen passengers for symptoms of the disease. Pol Lt Gen Pakkapong said that the infected officer, who is based at Taling Chan police station, didn't catch Covid-19 while on duty -- insisting that the officer caught the virus elsewhere. Meanwhile, the government moved to allay fears of Covid-19 transmission among personnel at the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), based at Government House, after one official tested positive for the virus. Up to 30 people who came in contact with the infected officer have been quarantined. According to Dr Taweesin, the infected official, 46, had a runny nose without a fever on Thursday.
March 30, 2020 23:48 UTC
Finance Ministry readies phase 3 of virus welfareThe Finance Ministry is preparing the third phase of the government's Covid-19 relief package to support people, small-and-medium enterprises and financial institutions as the country grapples with the virus crisis. Mr Uttama said the latest package will support SMEs and make credit more affordable and available. However, the size and sources of the funding to steer aid to those affected by the virus crisis have yet to be determined, he said. The highlight of the first phase was soft loans worth 150 billion baht to business operators while the second phase involved cash handouts to temporary employees and self-employed workers who are not covered by the social security scheme. Asked about the aviation industry's call for soft loans to boost liquidity, he said companies in the sector can obtain loans from the Government Savings Bank (GSB), which has set aside 150 billion baht in soft loans for the tourism industry.
March 30, 2020 23:37 UTC
Virus blunders see govt bobbing and weavingA big round of applause from people around the country can lift the spirits of doctors and nurses fighting against the coronavirus outbreak. We saw photos of nurses washing and sanitising face masks for reuse as they are given only a few to use each week. These are stories of desperation and heroic attempts to keep saving lives even in the face of extreme shortages and hardship. Every day, we are repeatedly assured by officials at the microphone that there has been no shortage of face masks or other protective equipment. Is this misunderstanding the reason why hospitals and health personnel do not have enough face masks?
March 30, 2020 20:15 UTC
Govt won't let THAI go under: SomkidDeputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak yesterday said the government will not allow ailing flag-carrier Thai Airways International Plc (THAI) to collapse and dismissed rumours of impending lay-offs as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Mr Somkid said the government is ready to help the national airline, which was already beset with financial difficulties even before the pandemic began. News involving THAI that didn't come from the Finance Ministry should be considered false," he said. THAI employs about 20,000 staff, while its sister company Wingspan, which offers aviation-related services, has about 4,900 workers on its payroll. He added that THAI's other businesses, such as inflight catering and ground services, are still operating.
March 30, 2020 20:15 UTC