Thailand Bulletin For Wednesday, July 4
Roundup of Thailand news with AJW
BANGKOK BRIEF: Constitution Court orders 415 supporters to write why they voted for amendments. New 80, 100 baht bills to be issued for royal birthdays.
WORLD SUMMARY: Myanmar frees 20 political prisoners. Syria army attacks rebels. Pakistan to reopen Afghan supply lines. US beefs up Gulf force as Iran tests missiles.
EXPLOSION: An explosion rocked a refinery owned by Bangchak Petroleum Plc in Bangkok's Sukhumvit Soi 64. UPDATE: Fire fighters were able to put the blaze at the refinery in Soi 64 under control, reports said on Wednesday morning. A Bangkok Metropolitan Administration official said there was no need to evacuate people near the area. However, nearby schools are closed today.
ADVISOR TO PM: Pansak Winyarat, a former adviser to Thaksin, has been appointed Chief Policy Adviser to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
YELLOW SHIRTS: The prosecutors have deferred until August 23 orders whether to indict core members of the People's Alliance for Democracy in four different cases.
POLITICS: Constitution Court spokesman Somrit Chaiwong said the court wants to hear statements to decide if Maj. Gen. Chamlong's petition should be combined with five complaints that also question the legality of the charter amendment bid. Mr. Somrit said it is not known at this stage when a verdict will be issued after the court's two-day inquiry tomorrow and Friday. Pheu Thai MP and legal expert, Pirapan Palusuk, yesterday decried the charter court for accepting the Yellow Shirt leader's complaint. He said the move comes despite criticism that the court has no authority to accept such a petition directly. Mr. Pirapan said the court had set a new precedent that broadens its power and indicates a bid to infringe on the work of the legislature.
NOT NASA: The cabinet approves a 200 million baht fund for a Thailand led atmospheric study project as proposed by Science and Technology Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi.
TODAY: Weather 33C, Hot Cloudy Rain, Euro:US 1.2598, Euro:Baht 39.59, SET 1198
ICTP: The International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP) announced that SKÅL International has joined the alliance as a partner association.
ICTP Chairman, Juergen T. Steinmetz, said: “SKÅL values sustainable development as the key to the industry’s future success. It is a tourism organization which cares about the possible implications of its activities and recognizes its responsibility in developing and operating in such a manner as to contribute positively in the protection and preservation of natural, social, and cultural environments. I am pleased also to be able to work closely with President Enrique Quesada and Vice President Karine Coulanges of SKÅL International.”
INDIA: Kasikorn Research Centre, in its latest tourism forecast, estimated 1.07 million Indian tourists will visit Thailand this year representing a 20 percent increase on last year.
It added that revenue could reach Bt 37,000 million, increasing 21.9 percent on last year’s performance.
The research center said a recent survey indicated Thailand was now the top destination in Asia ahead of Singapore and Malaysia.
Positive factors cited by the center are:
• Short-haul flights time of around four hours;
• Wide options on airline services and low-cost fares that make Bangkok and Pattaya an excellent value;
• Recognition of Thailand’s hospitality skills;
• A diversity of tourist attractions for families and shopping centers, particularly Bangkok’s Pratunam market and Pantip market.
It said travel agencies should transfer some of their attention from a failing European market to concentrate on high-end Indian tourists and other niche markets such as MICE, wedding services, as well as tour packages for shoppers, golfers, and filmmakers - all areas with an average spending of around Bt30,000 per trip.
For the weddings and honeymoons market, the center advised the state and private sector to set up wedding venues besides Bangkok, possibly developing the market in Chiang Mai, Phuket, Krabi, Samui, and Nakhon Ratchasima as each wedding event could generate income of around Bt10 to Bt20 million.
PLANNING A VACATION: CEO tips - Accept the entrepreneurial lifestyle. If you're traveling to a different city for a wedding, bachelor party, birthday, funeral or other non-business reason, plan some business meetings while you're there. Some people say you should never mix business and personal, however, busy entrepreneurs find their businesses are their lives. Using this scheduling strategy will save the time and expense of having to plan a completely separate trip to accomplish the same ends.
BARCLAYS BANK UK: When Robert Diamond took over Barclays's shrinking securities unit in 1997, he vowed to turn the business into a leading global firm. Fifteen years later, his success in creating a top investment bank, whose profit reached $4.7 billion in 2011, may hasten its split from the lender after the London-based bank admitted to trying to rig global interest rates. Diamond quit as Barclays’s Chief Executive Officer yesterday, and hours later Chief Operating Officer Jerry del Missier followed. The departure of Diamond may presage a reorganization of Barclays after regulators in the UK and the US pointed to the need for change at the company.
Barclays was hit by a record $455 million fine last week for rigging the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor), a benchmark for more than $360 trillion of securities. Diamond, as CEO of the investment bank from 1997 through 2010, oversaw the unit where Libor rates were submitted.
SUVARNABHUMI: Airports of Thailand said the eastern runway, one of Suvarnabhumi's two runways undergoing overlays since June 11, will be fully operational on August 2, one week ahead of schedule.
BURMA: Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has brushed off orders from Myanmar's government to stop calling the country ''Burma,'' a name widely used by democracy campaigners to defy the former junta.
SHARK FIN SOUP: China is planning to ban shark fin soup from being served at official banquets in a sign the country may be losing its taste for the expensive delicacy. According to Chinese media, the ban could take up to three years to implement.
WIMBLEDON: Fourth and fifth seeds Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, indefatiguable Spaniard David Ferrer and Germans Florian Mayer and Philipp Kohlschreiber joined earlier arrivals Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Mikhail Youhzny in an all-European last Wimbledon eight.