Varuth HirunyathebThailand's economy could contract by 15% year-on-year in the second quarter from lockdown measures, with rising contagion risk affecting economic activities on the external front, says Asia Plus Securities (ASP). "Second-quarter GDP is likely contract for both quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year figures because of the country's lockdown measures against the pandemic," said ASP executive vice-president Therdsak Thaveeteeratham. "The reopening of business activities will help the economy gradually rebound in the second half." The contraction could flare up to 8.4% if exports fall by 13.7%, said the securities firm. Thailand, Asean's second largest economy, reported first-quarter growth of 2.8% from a year earlier, the smallest since 2014's final period.
MP no-shows kill debateA Lower House sitting on national reform was cancelled yesterday for the lack of quorum. Pheu Thai MP for Surin, Khrumanit Sangphum, asked the speaker for a headcount as the debate began, saying he saw few MPs from the government bloc in attendance. Pheu Thai MP Sutin Klungsang after the meeting said the opposition bloc would not rubber-stamp reform plans. He said coalition MPs showed ignorance on the importance of reform by failing to attend the sitting. Palang Pracharath MP Wirat Rattanaset claimed many coalition MPs were attending some 30 House committee taking place simultaneously.
Ivy League colleges halt sport over virus concernIvy League colleges have decided to halt all sports until at least January 2021 over fears of the coronavirus. The ruling means the eight Ivy League colleges will play no gridiron football this year. Ivy League executive director Robin Harris told ESPN campus policies designed to mitigate the threat of coronavirus, with many requiring students to study remotely, made sport a non-starter. "It's certainly the right decision for the Ivy League, but it's difficult." The Ivy League said practice and other athletic training would be permitted, starting with limited individual and small group workouts.
MotoGP plan approvedA plan to extend Thailand's role as a host of MotoGP races until 2025 was approved by the cabinet yesterday. The licence to host MotoGP events will expire this year. Traisuree Traisanakul, deputy spokeswoman for Government House, said the government will pay for half of the 50 million euros (1.7 billion baht) needed to retain the MotoGP licence for five more years. Deputy prime minister Anutin Charnvirakul said hosting MotoGP events will help boost the national image and income. MotoGP races were set to start in March in Buri Ram, but they were postponed due to Covid-19.
Somchai PoomlardActivists campaigning against wildlife crime say Thailand could be a global leader in stopping pandemics by further cracking down on and ceasing to be a gateway for the illegal wildlife trade. He said the nation could return to its top place in the region in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade under the framework of the Asean Wildlife Enforcement Network known as ASEAN-WEN. However, it has left one door open for the next viral bomb to explode, which is the illegal wildlife trade on its own doorstep. The final destination of these items in the world wildlife trade market is usually China. Many anti-wildlife trafficking experts say the Covid-19 pandemic has played a significant role in stopping the illegal wildlife trade.
July 08, 2020 23:15 UTC
Army chief Apirat KongsompongArmy chief Apirat Kongsompong has denied the US is looking to set up a military base on Thai soil. However, Gen Apirat said US troops have left behind some of their military equipment deployed during exercises in Thailand. Meanwhile, Gen Apirat also defended a two-day visit by a delegation led by US army chief-of-staff James McConville which starts today. The US chief-of-staff-led delegation will be the first group of foreigners to officially visit Thailand since the country began lifting Covid-19 restrictions in phases. Gen McConville will meet Gen Apirat and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha today and tomorrow.
July 08, 2020 23:14 UTC
(Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)Average trading value per day in Thailand's two stock indices saw a 27.8% year-on-year rise in June, a 30-month high, as retail investors returned to capture capital gains from lower share valuation because of the pandemic. The average trading value per day also rose by 38.2% year-on-year during the first half to 68.6 billion baht. Mr Soraphol said more than 100,000 new retail trading accounts entered the stock market, with most younger investors accessing the market via online trading. "These new investors [seem to] prefer investing in fundamental stocks that have share prices below the fundamental value," he said. Foreign investors were net sellers of 22.4 billion baht worth of local shares in June, trending the same as other regional markets.
Gen Narongpan Jitkaewthae is expected to replace Gen Apirat Kongsompong as army chief during a military reshuffle at the end of September, according to a source in the armed forces. Gen Apirat, navy commander Adm Luechai Ruddit, air force commander Acm Manaat Wongwat and national police chief Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda reportedly attended the main meeting, while the pre-session was attended by defence permanent secretary Gen Nat Intaracharoen and army chief of staff Gen Chalermpol Srisawat. Gen Chalermpol is expected to succeed Gen Pornpipat as chief of the defence forces, while Gen Narongpan could take over Gen Apirat's current position as army chief. He denied he would seek to extend his tenure as army chief. ''I will pass the baton to the next army chief on Sept 30 when my duties will come to an end," Gen Apirat said.
(Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is keeping faith with his "New Normal" to steer Thailand foward, prioritising public health safety and tackling the economic problems of the poor. He said that while 500 billion baht had been spent to relieve the immediate impact of Covid-19 for the people over the past three months, another 550 billion baht had been earmarked to combat ongoing problems. A large slice of that --200,000 billion baht -- will be reserved in case of a second wave of infections. The cabinet on Wednesday also approved five projects worth 15.5 billion baht proposed under the government's economic stimulus packages altogether worth 400 billion baht. The first is a One Tambon One New Theory Cluster project worth 9.8 billion baht, which focuses on increasing farmers' income and employment.
Thaicom-CAT tie-up for CLMVSET-listed Thaicom says a joint venture it recently formed with CAT Telecom would serve as a hub for low earth orbit (LEO) satellite service in the Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) market, catering to demand for high-speed internet via 5G tech and innovative applications. The JV is aimed at providing satellite gateway services and solutions as well as marketing the sale of LEO satellites. LEO satellite projects are operated by two main companies: Space Exploration Technologies Corp (SpaceX) and London-based satellite internet access provider OneWeb. "Through the JV, we can form the strongest partnership in Asean for LEO commercial services, especially in the CLMV market," he said. CAT expressed its readiness to take control of satellites Thaicom 4 and 6 after the concession expires.
MCOT 'not insolvent' as cash shrinksState-owned broadcaster MCOT is going through a liquidity crunch but is not insolvent, says a source at the Finance Ministry who requested anonymity. MCOT is not on the State Enterprise Policy Office's list to begin a business rehabilitation plan, the source said. MCOT was mired in a net loss of 877 million baht in the first quarter of 2020, worsening from 32 million over the same period last year. The broadcaster posted a net loss of 457 million baht in 2019, 376 million in 2018 and 2.54 billion the previous year. Shares of MCOT closed on Wednesday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 5.10 baht, unchanged, in trade worth 2.31 million baht.
Rat pack: rodents feel peer-pressure to be helpful, says studyA rat trapped in a restrainer as a free rat opens the restrainer door to liberate the trapped ratWASHINGTON - Rats are less likely to assist a fellow rodent in need if other members of their group are being unhelpful, according to a study that sheds new light on the so-called "bystander effect." In the presence of these unhelpful bystanders, a rat that had previously been helpful in a one-on-one interaction now stood by idly and did not rescue the subject. On the other hand, when undrugged, helpful bystanders were placed at the scene, a rat that had been helpful one-on-one became even more keen on being a good Samaritan. A study led by Richard Philpot and published in American Psychologist last year in fact found that in the real world, bystanders rarely stood by. Mason said her paper built on Philpot's by showing that having helpful bystanders enhanced the desire to help, compared to when there was no audience watching.
July 08, 2020 20:37 UTC
Man City hit Newcastle for five, Wolves beaten by Sheffield UtdGabriel Jesus scored his first goal since February for Manchester City. LONDON: Manchester City moved to the brink of sealing their place in the Premier League top four by bouncing back to form to thrash Newcastle 5-0 on Wednesday, while Wolves' Champions League aspirations stumbled again in a last-gasp defeat at Sheffield United. City lost for the ninth time in the league this season at Southampton on Sunday despite dominating possession and chances in a recurring theme of their season. Victory moves the Blades up to seventh, within one point of Wolves, who remain seven points adrift of the top four. West Ham remain four points above the relegation zone, but Villa and Bournemouth, who host Manchester United and Tottenham respectively, have the chance to narrow that gap on Thursday.
July 08, 2020 19:07 UTC
US tops 3 million Covid-19 cases as Trump pushes schools to reopenUS President Donald Trump sits with arms crossed during a White House roundtable discussion on the Safe Reopening of America's Schools on July 7, 2020. WASHINGTON: The United States on Wednesday passed another grim coronavirus milestone with three million confirmed cases, as President Donald Trump downplayed the risks posed by the pandemic and aggressively pushed for schools to fully reopen. "At this point, we have tested more than 39 million Americans," US Vice President Mike Pence told reporters. "Among those, more than three million Americans have tested positive and more than 1.3 million Americans have recovered." "Ultimately it's not a matter of if schools should reopen, it's simply a matter of how," said Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
July 08, 2020 17:37 UTC
Same-sex marriage endorsedIn this 2015 photo, campaigners call for public awareness of LGBT rights and same-sex marriage during a parade in downtown Bangkok. Five years later, the cabinet has endorsed a bill permitting such marriage. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)The cabinet on Wednesday endorsed a bill permitting marriage registration of same-sex couples, along with legal amendments to ensure they have the same rights as different-sex couples. Marriage registration will be available to consenting same-sex couples who are at least 17 years old. After same-sex marriage registration, minors will be considered mature.
July 08, 2020 09:15 UTC