MPI dips to lowest since 2011Thailand's capacity utilisation for car manufacturing plants fell to 12.6% in April. Pattanapong HirunardThailand's manufacturing production index (MPI) in April stood at 79.04, the lowest level since November 2011. The capacity utilisation rate was 51.9% in April, a decrease from 67.8% in March. The capacity utilisation rate for the first four months this year was 63.1%. In the first quarter of 2020, capacity utilisation was 66.7%, down from 71.3% during the same period last year.
May 27, 2020 23:37 UTC
Cyber security – a medicine against technology-related anxiety? Passwords are supposed to make your data secure, yet any regular cybercriminal can break them with a couple of clicks. It allows for setting conditions that must be met in order to log in from a specific device or location. A two-factor authentication tool (2FA) will keep your data secure from unauthorised access. The second one indicates an additional layer of security, for example assigning a specific mobile device, card or token to a given user.
May 27, 2020 03:11 UTC
Best Western pares launches to 8 hotelsBest Western Hotels and Resorts plans to open just eight properties in three countries in Asia -- Thailand, Japan and Myanmar -- this year as the coronavirus crisis puts several projects on hold. The group has more than 4,700 properties globally, including the WorldHotels portfolio and hotels in the pipeline. Last year, Best Western opened more than 250 properties worldwide and generated revenue of US$8 billion. Best Western delivered the best performance in the midscale segment, while the acquisition of WorldHotels last year provides an opportunity to offer the upscale and luxury segments. Apart from the flagship Best Western brand, SureStay and the BW Collection series have attracted attention from both developers and ownership companies.
Soft loans have been approved for virus-hit SMEs. Arnun ChonmahatrakoolThe committee for SME development funds under the Pracha Rat scheme has approved loans for 10,000 businesses worth 1.7 billion baht for drought and Covid-19 relief. Kobchai Sungsitthisawad, the Industry Ministry's permanent secretary and chairman of the committee, said the loan scheme under Pracha Rat will accept applications until July 31. Since 2017, the government has approved soft loans under the Pracha Rat fund of 20 billion baht for SMEs following the Thailand 4.0 initiative. Earlier this year, the Industry Ministry teamed up with state agencies and business operators to support SMEs by providing soft loans to 100,000 businesses through the Pracha Rat fund.
Face mask crisis of another designA woman wearing a face mask to protect her from Covid-19 makes merit at a temple earlier this month. On the plus side, the great demand shows the public's strong awareness of self-protection through frequent hand washing and the wearing of face masks. The other key factor is a lack of awareness on how to properly dispose of soiled face masks. Clearly, the government's measures to prevent environmental pollution from the deluge of single-use face masks are not extensive and rigorous enough. And outside of Bangkok, there is no designated facilities to dispose of soiled face masks.
'New normal' for dining out is simply absurdLast week my family decided to take advantage of the second phase of relaxed lockdown measures by eating out. This reminds me of a recent "new normal" rule suggested by the Thai Health Promotion Foundation asking people to no longer eat sticky rice with their hands. Growing up in the Northeast, I've seen how farmers and workers eat sticky rice with their hands because of the convenience. They insist doing so makes the sticky rice tastier. With those partitions, family members are separated but can still share dishes that are served on a Chinese-style dining table, with an elevated spinning platform in the middle.
Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of the NBTC, said on Tuesday that his agency set up a panel on Monday to look into the event. The panel resolved that no personal customer data was leaked during the scheduled test that could be used to identify any customers or cause financial harm. Sutisak Tantayotin, deputy secretary general of the NBTC, said AWN told the commission that the exposed database was brought up for examination by the firm to study user behaviour to seek ways to improve service. The company insisted that the database did not contain personal data of users or any electronic transactions by them, only involving website addresses reached by users. He said the data leak demonstrates flaws in the security system, which could potentially affect the public.
Demand didn't edge up until 2018 and 2019, when new aircraft models sparked fresh interest. Back in 2008, roughly a fifth of business aircraft were up for sale. Investors are also somewhat more upbeat about business jets than they are about aviation more generally. None of this heralds a new golden age for the makers of business aircraft. Yet business jets may fly through a recession caused by a pandemic better than they did through one caused by a financial crisis.
"Jobs from the public sector can support the construction industry this year and next year," he said. New construction contracts awarded in 2020 will decline from last year, when CNT recorded 6.73 billion baht, down from 11.34 billion baht in 2018. "If the outbreak is stable like today, the construction sector will likely improve in the second half, but gradually." By the end of the year, the contractor expects to have 8 billion baht in revenue, up 10% from 7.34 billion baht last year. The firm posted revenue of 1.9 billion baht in the first quarter, up from 1.6 billion baht a year earlier.
Help beyond handoutsA series of alleged abuses of the public's charitable spirit and donations has prompted many to think twice before expressing their sympathy through money transfers. While a sense of charity and obligation to help the less fortunate will always be cherished, a more prudent approach and background checks will make the whole exercise as helpful as intended. According to the ministry's website, the social assistance centre extended help to more than 120,000 cases last year or 355 per day. While it's true that compassion is what makes us human and help in cash or in kind will always be appreciated, certain problems such as poverty are best tackled systematically. It must show people there are ways to tackle social problems that are more effective and more sustainable than charity.
SpaceX readies for blast-off with NASA astronauts aboardA SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft sits atop launch complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 25, 2020. US astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley have been in strict quarantine for two weeks ahead of their trip on the brand-new Crew Dragon capsule, which will be propelled by a Falcon 9 rocket. SpaceX made history in 2012 when it became the first private entity to dock a cargo capsule to the ISS. After a successful uncrewed test flight last year, a Crew Dragon capsule later exploded during a ground engine test. If all goes well, the Crew Dragon could then begin regular flights from the United States to the ISS.
May 26, 2020 18:56 UTC
Dino-dooming asteroid hit Earth at 'deadliest possible' angle66 million years ago an asteroid roughly twice the diameter of Paris crashed into Earth, wiping out all land-dwelling dinosaurs and 75 percent of life on the planetPARIS - This much we knew: some 66 million years ago an asteroid roughly twice the diameter of Paris crashed into Earth, wiping out all land-dwelling dinosaurs and 75 percent of life on the planet. As it turns out, according to a study published Tuesday in Nature Communications, the giant space rock struck at the "deadliest possible" angle -- 60 degrees. Analysing the structure of the 200-kilometre-wide crater in southern Mexico where the asteroid hit, scientists ran a series of simulations. Had the asteroid hit head on or at a more oblique angle, not as much debris would have been thrown up into the atmosphere, he added. Scientists are still trying to figure out exactly how the asteroid triggered a mass extinction event and why some species survived while others didn't.
May 26, 2020 15:00 UTC
Two likely options to get proposal on trackHua Hin airport is one of the facilities currently managed by the Department of Airports. (Bangkok Post file photo)Deputy Transport Minister Thaworn Senneam has put the brakes on a plan to transfer four airports under the supervision of the Department of Airports (DOA) to the Airports of Thailand (AoT) Plc to manage, saying a thorough study is necessary to avoid legal problems and benefit the public. Mr Thaworn said the airport handover cannot proceed until it is established whether the law allows it. Mr Thaworn said while the cabinet agreed in principle with the airport transfer plan, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the process must be in line with the law and regulations. So the most feasible option is for the AoT to lease and manage the airports, plus invest in upgrades.
May 26, 2020 13:30 UTC
Iconic sites reopen as world eyes life after lockdownCrowds were eager to enter as the Church of the Nativity reopened n BethlehemBETHLEHEM (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES) - The Church of the Nativity and the ruins of ancient Pompeii reopened to pilgrims and tourists on Tuesday, as countries further eased coronavirus controls and reopened shuttered economies. But, while now past its peak in Asia and much of Europe, the new coronavirus is continuing its spread. On Tuesday the number of case passed the 5.5 million mark, according to an AFP tally of official sources. Nevertheless, in Italy -- once the world epicentre of infections after it spread to Europe from China -- the site of a previous natural disaster also reopened to visitors. Elsewhere, Russia on Tuesday recorded its highest daily coronavirus death toll of 174 but said more than 12,000 people had also recovered over the past 24 hours.
May 26, 2020 11:26 UTC
Philippines' Duterte says no school until there is a virus vaccineMichelle Asinto, 42, wears a mask for protection against the coronavirus disease while her children share a plate of rice with soy sauce for lunch, in their shanty home along an estuary in Manila, Philippines, May 6, 2020. (Reuters file photo)Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he will not allow students to go back to school until a coronavirus vaccine is available, even as some countries resume in-person classes. But in a speech aired late Monday, Duterte said the risk was too great, even if it held students back academically. "Unless I am sure that they are really safe it's useless to be talking about opening of classes," the president said. The Philippines' coronavirus case count reached more than 14,669 on Tuesday, including 886 deaths.
May 26, 2020 10:18 UTC