Monday, 09 February 2015 14:31

Thai PM Prayut visits Japan

BANGKOK, Feb 9 –Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-ocha left Bangkok Sunday for a three-day official visit to Japan, his first visit to that country since the military seized power May 22.

Thursday, 05 February 2015 09:20

Thailand, Japan joint prepare for AEC

BANGKOK, Feb 3 - The Japan-Thailand Joint Trade and Economic Committee and the Ministry of Industry are preparing together for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), but Japan will propose changes to Board of Investment (BoI) promotional privilege criteria by the end of next month.

Thursday, 05 February 2015 09:18

Boeing delivers Scoot's first 787 Dreamliner

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 2 - Boeing and Scoot Pte Ltd has announced the delivery of the Singapore-based airline's first 787 Dreamliner.

The plane will play a key role in the low-cost carrier's strategic plan to expand its long-haul fleet.

"We are excited to be taking delivery of our very first 787 Dreamliner," Scoot chief executive officer Campbell Wilson said in a statement issued from Everett, Washington today.

"The Dreamliner represents a step-change for Scoot, allowing us to take our onboard customer experience to a new level and to greatly expand our network.

"The 787's significant advances in efficiency will enable Scoot to continue offering safe and reliable service, with increased comfort and even greater value airfares," Wilson said.

The 787 is a family of technologically advanced, super-efficient aircraft with new passenger-pleasing features.

In addition to bringing big-jet ranges to midsize airplanes, the 787 will provide Scoot with unrivaled fuel efficiency and environmental performance, using 20 percent less fuel and with 20 percent fewer emissions than the planes it replaces.

"We are proud to deliver the first 787 to Scoot and have them join the growing family of 787 operators," Boeing Commercial Airplanes senior vice-president, Asia Pacific and India Sales, Dinesh Keskar said.

"The new Dreamliner will bring great value to Scoot's operations and provide an exceptional experience for Scoot's passengers."

Customers traveling on Scoot's new 787 will experience the passenger-pleasing features of the Dreamliner such as larger, electronically dimmable windows and larger overhead luggage bins.

The lower cabin altitude, higher humidity levels, advanced air filtration and smoother-ride technology, help make the flying experience more comfortable and allow passengers to arrive at their destination more refreshed.

The airline will take delivery of an additional 19 787 Dreamliners.

The planes were originally ordered by Scoot's parent company, Singapore Airlines, which included ten 787-9 and ten 787-8s. (BERNAMA)

Thursday, 05 February 2015 09:16

Most Chinese cities below air quality standard

BEIJING, Feb 2 - Only eight of the 74 major Chinese cities subject to air quality monitoring met the national standard for clear air in 2014, official figures showed on Monday.

Six of the eight cities are on the eastern or eastern coast. Haikou, Zhoushan, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Huizhou and Fuzhou are joined by Lhasa and Kunming elsewhere in the country, according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

China began to include an index of PM2.5, a key indicator of air pollution, and ozone in a new air quality standard at the beginning of 2013. The 74 cities have been chosen as pilots for the new standard.

In 2013, only three of the 74 met the standard.

The ministry said the general condition of serious pollution has changed little, though the average number of days with heavy smog in the 74 cities decreased by about 11 days from the 32 days in 2013.

The metropolitan area centered on Beijing and Tianjin was the most seriously polluted, with eight of the 13 cities in the area featuring on a list of the 10 smoggiest cities.

The average number of days with standard air quality in the area in 2014 was 156, 85 days fewer than the national average. The annual average intensity of PM2.5 in the area was more than 1.6 times stronger than the standard figure, according to the statistics. (Xinhua)

BANGKOK, Feb 3- The Thai Cabinet on Tuesday approved visa exemptions for Bruneian and Thai diplomats and officials for periods of no more than 30 days.

Poor management at ports along the United States West Coast has led to rising expenses as well as delays in unloading goods and Thai exporters are advised to have their goods delivered to the East Coast or other ports in Canada, according to Nuntawan Sakuntanaga, director-general of the Commerce Ministry’s International Trade Promotion Department.

Wednesday, 04 February 2015 15:01

Thailand should negotiate FTA with Europe

Thailand should quickly negotiate and conclude a Free Trade Area agreement with Europe in the absence of a Generalized System of Preferences offered by the European Union, said Suttinee Poopaka, executive director of the Thailand Textile Institute.

The EU has cut GSP privileges to several countries, including Thailand, since January 1 after the World Bank redefined them as upper-middle income countries from 2011 to 2013.

Suttinee told a seminar in Bangkok that Thailand must pay duty as high as 12 percent now for products exported to the EU, impacting the country’s competitiveness with countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar which still enjoy GSP privileges.

Vietnam currently holds an economic strategic partnership under the Trans-Pacific pact with the US and is opening an FTA with the EU.

If it succeeds, Vietnam would enjoy a zero duty on its goods exported to the US and to the EU, she said.

Suttinee advised that Thailand should conclude an FTA agreement with Europe as soon as possible as well as boost its production competitiveness in its textiles and garments.

Several Thai manufacturers of brand name products have now relocated their production bases to neighboring countries, including Cambodia which still enjoys GSP privileges, she said.

The producers have also been impacted from a hike of daily minimum wage to Bt300 in the country.

BANGKOK, Feb 2 - Despite the ongoing enforcement of martial law, many foreigners seem to better understand the situation in Thailand and the number of foreigners visiting the kingdom in 2015 is expected to rise to  28 million, said Charoen Wangananont, secretary-general of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA). 

BANGKOK, Feb 2 - Recovery of domestic consumption and private investment in Thailand is still slow as the private sector is still waiting for global economic recovery and massive government investment on basic infrastructure projects, said Don Nakornthab, director of the Bank of Thailand (BoT) Macroeconomic Policy Office. 

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 1 Compensation will be paid to next-of-kins of MH370 victims about three weeks after the documentation process and paper work have been completed, said MH370/MH17 crisis director Fuad Sharuji.

"We are ready to pay compensation but the next-of-kins (NOK) must show proof of their relationship, such as birth and marriage certificates, and these must be verified by a commissioner of oath.

"After the documents have been verified, payment can be made direct into their accounts in less than three weeks. Our lawyers will call and help the NOK with the documentation," he said.

He was speaking in the programme 'Landskap' shown on RTM1, hosted by Sayed Munawar Sayed Mustar and Shuhaimi Mohamed on Sunday night.

Also on the programme were MAS Group Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya and MAS Senior Vice-President and Corporate Communication head, Datuk Najmuddin Abdullah.

Fuad said the compensation to be paid was more than what has been set by the Montreal Convention 1999 but he did not disclose the amount.

"Our compensation is more than the minimum scheme (Montreal Convention). We are giving a certain amount (compensation). There may be some adjustment if the NOK can prove that the passenger should get more.

"For instance, if the victim was earning a high income, still young and should get more. We will consider."

Fuad was asked if the Life Insurance Association of Malaysia (LIAM) had settled almost all the claims worth RM16.875 million by the NOK.

He said that was the life insurance which the passengers themselves had taken out and thus did not need a declaration for claims and payment.

This was different from MAS which was paying compensation for passengers who used its airline service.

Clarifying the need for a declaration of death for MH370 passengers, Fuad said the government had decided on the declaration to facilitate compensation payment to the NOK.

He said without the declaration, the NOK would have to wait for seven years (for a person who was lost to be declared dead) in order to proceed with the claim for compensation.

"You can give the compensation without a declaration but it is important for the next-of-kins to get certification.

"Under the law, you must wait for seven years. But do we want to wait? So the government decided to make a declaration and we can take advantage of this to continue with the compensation claim," he said.

On Jan 29, Malaysian government declared that MH370 was an accident under international aviation regulations and all 239 passengers were presumed dead.

However, the Malaysia government stressed that the mission to search for the Boeing 777 was still a priority.

Flight MH370, with 227 passengers and 12 crew, departed KL International Airport at 12.41 am on March 8 last year and was missing from the radar screen one hour later as it was over the South China Sea.

It was scheduled to arrive in Beijing at 6.30 am on the same day.

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