Opposition chief whip Sutin Klangsang said opposition MPs deserved the time to discuss the government's proposed 3.2-trillion-baht spending plan. He claimed that the party's discussions about the budget bill would be constructive and useful to the public. PPRP MPs were scheduled to meet on Tuesday to prepare for the budget debate and the party was allotted three hours for the debate. Mr Sontirat stressed that the government and opposition whips should hold talks and make sure each side managed their time efficiently, refraining from making unnecessary interjections. According to Mr Sontirat, it was up to the whips to decide if the budget bill debate would be extended for another day from its two-day schedule.
October 15, 2019 22:52 UTC
At crowded Democratic debate, Biden and impeachment to draw spotlightThe fourth Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season takes place at Otterbein University in Ohio, a swing state that Trump won in 2016 but that Democrats are seeking to take back in 2020WESTERVILLE (UNITED STATES) - Twelve Democrats square off Tuesday in a crowded presidential debate overshadowed by an impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump, who has dragged chief rival Joe Biden into the Ukraine crisis. Two others who missed the September debate but qualified for Ohio are congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and billionaire activist Tom Steyer, who for two years has sought Trump's impeachment. - Guns blazing -The scandal over Trump's communications with Ukraine has engulfed the White House, and will surely color the debate proceedings. An embattled Trump has come out with guns blazing against Biden and his son Hunter, repeatedly claiming without evidence that they are corrupt. - Capitalist, socialist -Beyond the Trump impeachment fight, likely debate topics include health care, climate change, immigration, gun control and the economy.
October 15, 2019 22:41 UTC
Standing in front of a giant US flag, spacesuit engineer Kristine Davis wore a pressurized red, blue and white xEMU suit, showing off a vastly improved range of motion thanks to bearings systems on the waist, arms, and legs. "If we remember the Apollo generation, we remember Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, they bunny hopped on the surface of the Moon," NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine told a hall filled with students and interns at the space agency. "Now we're going to be able to walk on the surface of the Moon, which is very different from the suits of the past." The crew survival suit, meanwhile, is designed to provide full life support for up to six days -- a scenario that could be required, for example, if a meteorite punches a hole in the spacecraft's hull. The agency views its return to the Moon as a proving ground for an onward mission to Mars in the 2030s.
October 15, 2019 22:18 UTC
Restaurant operators along the Chao Phraya River expect brisk business during the Royal Barge Procession, the final event in King Rama X's coronation. Projected spending ranges from 1,000 baht to 10,000 baht per person, depending on the location, she said. "Restaurants near the Chao Phraya River are fully booked and about 80% of guests are Thais," Ms Thaniwan said. Rehearsals for the Royal Barge Procession, which have been conducted since Aug 22, attract visitors to eateries with good vantage points, most notably this month when full dress rehearsals will be held on Oct 17 and 21. The Royal Barge Procession is expected to revive the stagnant restaurant business, which has suffered from the slow economy this year.
Government to expedite studies on Thai-EU FTAThe government pledges to speed up studies on the opportunities and challenges in reviving long-delayed trade talks between Thailand and the EU after the Council of the EU said in a statement yesterday the bloc aims to resume negotiations with Thailand on a free trade agreement (FTA). Auramon Supthaweethum, the director-general of the Department of Trade Negotiations, said the studies on a Thai-EU FTA could possibly be submitted to the cabinet for approval next month. Mrs Auramon said a Thai-EU FTA would help expand the market for Thai products, notably for farm goods, processed products, garments, and automobiles and parts, while drawing foreign investment from the bloc. Bilateral trade between Thailand and the EU totalled US$47.3 billion in 2018, accounting for 9.4% of Thailand's trade with the global market. FTA negotiations between Thailand and the EU have been on hold since the 2014 coup and subsequent military rule.
Confidence dives to 21-month nadirBusiness sentiment plunged to the lowest level in 21 months in September as the sector fretted over the ongoing trade war, the Brexit impasse and the PM2.5 dust particle problem. "We have to remain focused on whether the government's 1,000-baht cash handout and a 15% cash rebate scheme will help stimulate the economy and business sentiment in November." Mr Thanavath said both of the schemes have been well-received and are expected to generate higher spending among Thai consumers. The government is also being urged to upgrade the production and processing of farm products and community-made goods to raise the income of local communities. In addition, the administration should accelerate development of the transport infrastructure and logistics services to link all regions of the country, he said.
The director-general of the Mineral Fuels Department, Premrutai Vinaiphat, has been reassigned as inspector-general of the Energy Ministry amid an unresolved dispute over gas platform decommissioning expense in the Erawan and Bongkot offshore fields. US-based Chevron is the main operator of the Erawan gas field with Japan's Moeko as a shareholder. Chevron, Moeko and Total were asked to pay the collateral for decommissioning, while PTTEP would take over the operations for both gas fields. Because these platforms will not be transferred to the government, the operators have been asked to pay for the decommissioning expense. "The collateral payment procedure follows the Ministerial Regulation Prescribing Plans and Estimated Costs and Security for Decommissioning of Installations Used in the Petroleum Industry of 2016," Mr Kulit said.
IMF chief Georgieva tells women: Don't accept less! International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said she never knew she could negotiate for a higher salaryWASHINGTON - Women around the world take on far more unpaid work than men but what they should never do is agree to a lower wage in the workplace, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said Tuesday. To women of today she said: "Do not accept to be less paid than your colleague men, ever!" The International Monetary Fund released a report on Tuesday which found that unpaid work "is a substantial part of economic activity that goes unmeasured and is shouldered disproportionally by women." In fact, women do two hours more of unpaid work than men every day and even "in the most egalitarian countries in the world, women do at least 20 percent more unpaid work than men," notably chores around the home, the report said.
October 15, 2019 21:22 UTC
The cabinet on Tuesday approved the new SRT board members, clearing the way for the planned signing of a public-private partnership agreement. "We expect to sign the contract for the high-speed railway project on Oct 25 as things are expected to be settled by that time," said CP chief executive Suphachai Chearavanont. Mr Anutin, who is a former president of Sino-Thai Construction Plc, claimed to have no vested interests in the three-airport link project. The deputy prime minister said he had no idea why the SRT board members resigned en masse, thereby delaying the signing of the contract. Mr Anutin also said he would not nominate any of the former SRT board members who came from the private sector to serve on any state enterprise boards.
Thai-Qatari MoU signedPatama Leeswadtrakul, right, and other officials at the MoU signing ceremony. Thailand stands to benefit significantly from a memorandum of understanding (MoU) it has signed with Qatar for sports cooperation and exchange, Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul, a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said yesterday. The MoU was signed by the National Olympic Committee of Thailand (NOCT), Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT), Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) and Aspire Academy. He said he looks forward to seeing the MoU "in action" with seminars, training courses and other forms of knowledge exchange taking place. Gongsak and NOCT treasurer Thana Chaiprasit signed the MoU for Thailand.
Concrete blot on beauty spot sparks probeCement areas for tourists are allegedly encroaching on the Klong Tha Dee in Khiriwong village, Nakhon Si Thammarat. The probes were ordered by provincial governor Siripat Patkul and Royal Forest Department (RFD) chief Atthapol Charoenchansa. If the law had been broken, the concrete will be removed and local businesses responsible for the encroachment would face swift legal action, he added. Mr Atthapol said the RFD was conducting a parallel probe as Khlong Tha Dee comes under the Forestry Act. Any unauthorised action to change the physical integrity of the natural waterway amounts to an encroachment and is punishable by law.
'Political warfare' worries veteran criticThirayuth: Warns of 'enemy mindset'Political analyst Thirayuth Boonmee warned on Tuesday that Thailand has regressed after long periods of political mass rallies and military coups. "Meanwhile, the army is obsessed with national security and has failed to encourage the public to share a common goal," the veteran social critic told the forum. In the political [realm], however, they see one another as enemies of war," he said. In this war, Prof Thirayuth said factions view one another as a national threat even though the situation in Thailand remains normal. "In the political [realm], they twist information, create [divisive] discourse, and take legal action to destroy one another.
Ministry seeks reversal of compensation to HopewellAbandoned Hopewell transit project structures near Vibhavadi Rangsit Road in Bangkok. (File photo)The Transport Ministry is seeking to reverse the Supreme Administrative Court's ruling ordering it and the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) to pay hefty financial compensation to Hopewell (Thailand) Co. Acting SRT governor Worawut Mala said earlier this year that his agency does not have enough cash to pay the compensation. It is important to further investigate whether the registration of Hopewell (Thailand) Co was carried out correctly, as it was given the green light a long time ago, he added. On April 22 this year, the court ordered the ministry and the SRT to compensate the firm within 180 days for the losses incurred after authorities terminated the contract for the Hopewell project.
BMA hails pavement riding blitzCity Hall's campaign to crack down on motorcyclists riding or parking on pavements has seen the number of offenders apprehended by police fall by 37% during the 16 months of the blitz, according to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA). Initially, the BMA raised the penalty from 500 baht to 1,000 baht but saw little change to motorcyclists' behaviour. One thing that is certain is that it is impossible to remove all street food vendors from Bangkok. However, we need to establish a policy that clarifies which streets trading is allowed and what rules these street food vendors need to follow," said Mr Sakoltee. So far, the BMA has axed 508 street vending spots in 50 districts, some of them including food vendors.
Prayut 'gives full support' to chemical banCassava growers from the Northeast rally on Tuesday outside the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry against attempts to ban three toxic farm chemicals, including paraquat. Varuth HirunyathebPrime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has thrown his full support behind a ban of the three toxic farm chemicals, while Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul insisted the premier should take action if the National Hazardous Substances Committee (NHSC) rejects the recommended ban. "That's even clearer than clear," the public health minister said. Mr Anutin added that next Tuesday's NHSC vote on the chemical ban should be made public. The public health minister insisted that if the NHSC decides to reject the ban, Gen Prayut must "step in and act".