BANGKOK, Jan 26 - ASEAN has announced joint tourism promotional campaigns to also emphasise sustainability. Nearly 100 million tourists visited the region last year.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015 13:39

Property sector to rebound 10% this year

BANGKOK, Jan 26 - Thailand’s property sector which experienced a bleak performance last year due to domestic political turbulence is expected to rebound and grow approximately 10 per cent this year, according toThongma Vijitpongpun, CEO of Pruksa Real Estate.

BANGKOK, Jan 26 - The Ministry of Finance will seek a Bt40 billion soft loan for job creation to help farmers outside their crop season and new graduates.

Deputy Finance Minister Wisudhi Srisuphan said the spending would not only help farmers and new graduates, but also stimulate the national economy.

BANGKOK, Jan 26  - Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha insisted that he would not let Thai Airways International (THAI) go into bankruptcy but it must cut expenses, increase income, sell assets and restructure its organisation.

BANGKOK, Jan 23 - A new floating market near Government House in central Bangkok will be opened early next month.

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, who initiated the idea on opening the new traditional Thai floating market on the Padung Krung Kasem Canal near the government seat, will reportedly inaugurate the new floating market himself on February 2, 2015.

The new floating market, set to welcome local and international visitors on Saturdays and Sundays from 9am to 5pm, is aimed to stimulate domestic tourism and assist local traders to earn regular income, as suggested by the prime minister.

The premier, who is also Chief of the army-led National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), also ordered preparations for the public opening of the new ancient Thai style floating market, including cleaning up the Padung Krung Kasem Canal and providing adequate facilities for international visitors.

The Thai premier said he wants the new floating market to be a model for other floating markets to be later opened on other suitable rivers or canals to make use of the country's waterways.

VIENTIANE, Jan 24  - More than 90 per cent of the land border demarcation between Thailand and neighbouring Laos has been completed, said Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Affairs Minister Gen Tanasak Patimapragorn.

Saturday, 24 January 2015 13:31

Third panda dies from virus in NW China

XI'AN, Jan 24 - A third giant panda died Friday after contracting canine distemper virus (CDV) in northwest China's Shaanxi Province, local authorities said.

The panda, 9-year-old Xin Xin, was diagnosed with the virus that affects a wide variety of animals including dogs, primates and large cats, on Jan. 5. Xin Xin died at 4 a.m. Friday.

Another two pandas, Cheng Cheng and Da Bao, both eight years old, died on Dec. 9 and Jan. 4. Xin Xin used to share accommodation with Da Bao.

Another two pandas Feng Feng and Zhu Zhu are ill. Feng Feng is in a very critical condition; Zhu Zhu is stable.

CDV affects the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts, as well as the spinal cord and the brain. Infected animals usually have symptoms including high fever, eye inflammation, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. It is highly contagious with a high fatality rate, commonly spread through contact with infected body fluids or contaminated food and water.

The rescue, breeding and research center in Shaanxi is home to 25 giant pandas. Since the outbreak, the center has sent 18 healthy pandas to reserves elsewhere in the province.  (Xinhua)

Saturday, 24 January 2015 13:31

BNI to open branches in S. Korea, Myanmar

Jakarta, Jan 24 -  PT Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI), the countrys fourth largest bank in assets, said it would open branches in South Korea and Myanmar this year.

"Proposal for the opening of the branches in South Korea was already submitted late last year and proposal for one in Myanmar was already made a year earlier," Gatot M. Suwondo, president director of the publicly traded state lender said here on Friday.

Gatot said expansion to the two countries is included in the banks business plan as reported to the shareholders.

"We focus expansion to the two countries. Later we will open another branch in Malaysia," he said.

He said it is not easy to open a branch abroad as "we have to follow the regulation of the destination country."

BNI, therefore adopts the strategy of "based on related business", that BNI is ready to serve Indonesian business people seeking expansion abroad, he said.

"At the same time we hope to encourage foreign investors from the foreign country to do business in Indonesia," he added.

The unit to be opened in South Korea, will be a full branch as requested, but the one in Myanmar could not be directly to operate as full branch.

"In South Korea apart from facilitating investors BNI also will serve Indonesian migrant workers. In Myanmar, BNI wants only to help promoted investment cooperation between the two countries," Gatot said.

The plan to open a branch in Malaysia is yet to be proposed, he said.

Opening a subsidiary in Malaysia is required to have a capital of at least Rp1 trillion. (ANTARA)

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 24 - SME Bank has allocated a RM100 million fund to provide funding with a payback period of up to 15 years for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to export their products under the SME Go programme.

The programme, held in collaboration with Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation, is an SME Bank initiative to support the government's pre-emptive measures to strengthen the economy, SME Bank said in a statement today.

"Eligible SMEs will be given help and advice as well as marketing assistance to penetrate the international market.

"To qualify for the loan, an SME owner must be a Malaysian with a minimum of three years in business and involved in industries or sectors promoted by the government or identified by SME Bank," it said.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak laid out pre-emptive measures to offset the volatile economic conditions to deal with the plunge in crude oil prices and the weakening of the ringgit.

In an effort to help customers affected by the recent floods, SME Bank said it had deferred repayment of loans among victims for six months from December last year.

For more information on the SME Go funding, visit or call the customer service line at 1-800-88-3131. (BERNAMA)

ZURICH (Switzerland)  Jan 22- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak and his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, arrived here late Wednesday to attend the 45th World Economic Forum (WEF) which begins today until Jan 24.

Najib, who arrived at 10.10 pm (local time) was received at the Zurich ExecuJet Terminal of the Zurich International Airport by Malaysian Ambassador to Switzerland Datuk Mohd Zulkephli Mohd Noor and his wife Datin Anna Amalina Imam Baweh.

Making his second appearance at the WEF as Prime Minister, Najib is leading the Malaysian delegation to this year's forum, themed "The New Global Context".

Najib, is expected to deliver a strong message, as well as, lay the right foundation towards the realisation of the Asean Economic Community in line with Malaysia's chairmanship of the regional grouping this year.

Encompassing 10 diverse countries, Asean today is home to more than 600 million people with a combined Gross Domestic Product of US$2.4 trillion, making it the seventh largest grouping in the world.

Besides Najib, other head of states or government that have confirmed their participation include King Abdullah II of Jordan and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

The annual forum will be held in Davos, a mountain resort in Graubunden, the eastern Alps region of Switzerland, located about two hours drive from Zurich.

It will see the congregation of more than 40 world leaders, as well as, more than 2,500 participants comprising chief executive officers, academic scholars, regional experts, policy makers and business leaders from 140 countries.

Najib is also scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with his Kazakhstan counterpart Karim Massimov, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

He will also hold talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

The WEF, which is a Swiss non-profit foundation based in Cologny, Geneva, is an independent international organisation committed in bringing business, political, academic and other leaders to improve the state of the world. (BERNAMA)

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