Thursday, 09 October 2014 15:05

Thai PM to meet several leaders during ASEM

BANGKOK, Oct 8 Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, head of Thailand's National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) which seized power in the May 22 bloodless coup, said Wednesday that he would confer with a number of government leaders during the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Milan, Italy on October 16-17.

Jakarta, Indonesia, Oct 9 A team of Indonesian and Australian scientists has dated some of the world's earliest known cave art on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, challenging the commonly held view that Europeans were the first to produce rock art.

The team dated 12 hand stencils and two figurative animal depictions at seven cave sites in the limestone 'tower karst' of southwest Sulawesi, with the earliest image (a hand stencil) being at least 40,000 years old. The findings are published today in the prestigious journal, Nature.

The Sulawesi project builds on decades of research carried out by Indonesian and European archaeologists, and more recently by the late Professor Mike Morwood from the University of Wollongong's (UOW) Centre for Archaeological Science in Australia, where many of the team members involved in this discovery are based.

Co-author of the paper, Thomas Sutikna, who is completing a PhD at UOW's School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, was part of the Indonesian team that uncovered the new species of tiny human nicknamed 'the Hobbit' ten years ago. He said this latest finding holds important implications for theories of human evolution.

"Rock art is one of the first indicators of an abstract mind - the onset of being human as we know it," he said.

Historically, archaeologists have thought that rock art first emerged in Europe, with a minimum age of 41,000 years for the oldest dated rock art in the world - a painting of a red disk at El Castillo in Spain. Co-author of the Nature paper, Dr Anthony Dosseto, Director of UOW's Wollongong Isotope Geochronology Laboratory, said the discovery shows that at the same time as Europeans were expressing themselves on cave walls, people in Sulawesi were doing the same.

"Europeans can't exclusively claim to be the first to develop an abstract mind anymore. They need to share this, at least, with the early inhabitants of Indonesia," Dr Dosseto said.

Mr Sutikna said the finding suggests that figurative art may have been part of the cultural repertoire of his ancient Indonesian ancestors - the first modern human populations to reach this region more than 40,000 years ago.

BANGKOK, Oct 7 Thailand's Public Sector Anti-Corruption  Commission (PACC) is sending a letter to Justice Minister Gen Paiboon Kumchaya today complaining of irregularities in a several million baht project to construct futsal pitches at schools in several northeastern provinces, according to PACC Secretary-General Prayong Preeyachit. 

Wednesday, 08 October 2014 14:02

Draft law on fisheries workers making progress

BANGKOK, Oct 7 Less than four months after the US downgraded the kingdom on its labour conditions and trafficking watch list, a draft law aimed at protecting Thai fishermen, ending human trafficking, forbidding persons below age 18 from working in the industry and making skippers legally liable employers is making gradual progress.

Wednesday, 08 October 2014 13:58

Govt to set up ‘agricultural zoning’

BANGKOK, Oct 7 – The interim government of Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha will set up ‘agricultural zoning’  for growing rice, rubber and other agricultural products to persuade growers to use less land area and water but which offers higher yields.

Wednesday, 08 October 2014 13:47

'AEC+3 Summit & Expo 2014" set for November

BANGKOK, Oct 7 -- An ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) summit and expo will be held in Bangkok early next month, aimed at encouraging Thai businessmen to invest more in fellow ASEAN member countries and for Thailand to become an economic hub in the region.

WASHINGTON, Oct 8 The International Monetary Fund (IMF) kept its growth estimate for South Korea's economy at 3.7 percent for 2014 on Tuesday while predicting Asia's fourth-largest economy will expand 4 percent next year.

"In Korea, growth should rise from 3.7 percent this year to 4.0 percent in 2015, led by exports and investment," the Washington-headquartered institute said in its new World Economic Outlook issued ahead of the 2014 fall meetings of the IMF and the World Bank.

The estimate for this year's growth is the same as the lending agency forecast in April. But the estimate for next year's growth is up 0.2 percentage point from 3.8 percent forecast in April.

The revised forecasts are in line with the estimates of South Korea's government.

The IMF forecast the global economy will expand 3.3 percent this year, slightly down from a 3.4 percent forecast in July. It said, however, that the world economic growth will pick up speed next year, rising to 3.8 percent.

The weaker-than-expected growth outlook for 2014 reflects setbacks to economic activity in advanced economies during the first half of 2014, and a less optimistic outlook for several emerging markets, the report said.

In advanced economies, growth is forecast to increase to 1.8 percent in 2014 and 2.3 percent in 2015, the IMF said. It raised this year's growth forecast for the U.S. economy to 2.2 percent from July's 1.7 percent while putting next year's growth estimate at 3 percent, up 0.1 percentage point from July.

The IMF also forecast emerging economies will expand 4.4 percent this year, which is slightly lower from July's estimate of 4.6 percent. Emerging economies are expected to grow 5 percent next year, it said.

Its forecast for China remained the same as July's estimate at 7.4 percent for this year and 7.1 percent for next year.

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 8 Nikon Malaysia Sdn Bhd has recently launched two new models - the revolutionary Nikon D750 and cutting-edge Nikon Coolpix S6900 - as it taps into the growing interest in photography, especially among the younger generation.

Wednesday, 08 October 2014 13:34

Railways embrace busiest day for holiday week

BEIJING, Oct 8 The China Railway Corporation (CRC) mobilized more trains to carry about 10.3 million passengers during the busiest day of the week-long National Day holiday that ends on Tuesday.

BANGKOK, Oct 7 Former Deputy House Speaker Apiwan Wiriyachai died of a lung infection at age 65 after having treatment for the illness in the Philippines.

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