Sports competitions on land, air, sea eyed to lift economies in South

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Thailand is set to hold an “Air Sea Land Southern International Sports Tourism Festival” this year in a bid to stimulate the economy of seven provinces in the South.

Sports competitions on land, air, sea eyed to lift economies in South

Tourism and Sports Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakarn said on Friday that 177 million baht has been allocated for the project, which is expected to generate more than 10-fold in revenue.

The festival will be held in the southern provinces of Songkhla, Satun, Phatthalung, Krabi, Phang Nga, Phuket and Surat Thani.

The Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT), which contributed the bulk of the budget, has been coordinating with its arm in each province to ensure the competition is held in line with international standards.

SAT governor Kongsak Yodmanee said competitions will be held in air, land and sea sports, such as surfing, jet-skiing, beach versions of teqball, football and volleyball, as well as the martial art pencak silat, triathlon, adventure racing, e-sports and motocross among others.

SAT will also be holding the Air Sea Land Expo in all seven provinces to showcase local products, services, cuisine, beverages and traditions to help generate revenue and stimulate the economy. The event will be promoted by the Tourism Authority Thailand.

Sports competitions on land, air, sea eyed to lift economies in South

As of press time, no date for the event had been set.

Sports competitions on land, air, sea eyed to lift economies in South

Published : July 02, 2022

By : THE NATION

Liverpool’s Salah signs long-term contract extension

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Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah on Friday (July 1) signed a long-term contract extension, putting an end to a lengthy saga about his future at the Premier League club.

Liverpool's Salah signs long-term contract extension

The Egypt international has signed an extension until 2025, with the deal coming after strike partner and Senegal forward Sadio Mane left to join German Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich on a three-year deal last month.

“I feel great and (I am) excited to win trophies with the club. It’s a happy day for everyone,” Salah said in a statement on the club website.

“It takes a little bit of time, I think, to renew, but now everything is done so we just need to focus on what’s next.

“I think you can see in the last five or six years the team was always going (upwards). Last season we were close to winning four, but unfortunately in the last week of the season we lost two trophies.”

Salah scored 23 league goals for Liverpool last season to share the Premier League golden boot with Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min.

He was named the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year and also took the top honour from the Football Writers’ Association.

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The 30-year-old scored 31 goals in all competitions for Liverpool and helped them capture the League Cup and FA Cup. They were beaten 1-0 by Real Madrid in the Champions League final in May.

Salah, who joined the Merseyside outfit from Italian side AS Roma in 2017 and has scored 156 goals in 254 appearances, would have been available to leave them on a free transfer at the end of next season.

He is now expected to lead a new-look front line for Juergen Klopp’s side in the absence of Mane and Divock Origi — who left the club — with Uruguayan forward Darwin Nunez having joined in the close season.

“My message (to the fans) is the players in the team want to give our best next season to try to win all the trophies,” Salah added. “As usual, you stay behind us and give us a big push and I’m sure we are going to win trophies again (together).”

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Published : July 02, 2022

By : Reuters

AIS Serenade launches ‘Beyond Expectation’ privileges programme

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Serenade, the customer loyalty programme of mobile operator Advanced Info Service (AIS), has launched a promotion handing users privileges in every aspect of their modern lifestyles.

AIS Serenade launches ‘Beyond Expectation’ privileges programme

Bussaya Satirapipatkul, AIS head of Customer & Service Management, said the programme is forging a new standard of customer care with its “Beyond Expectation” strategy to meet needs in the “new normal”. It has achieved this through collaborations in the dining, travel, shopping, and health sectors.

Along with the development of its smart 5G network to meet the needs of Thai digital lifestyles, AIS Serenade has transitioned from a discount programme to providing tangible “exclusivity” to the customer, Bussaya boasted.

Since lockdown measures were relaxed last year, AIS Serenade members have begun spending more points on travel and transport (up 53 per cent), beverages and desserts (up 78 per cent), and department store shopping (up 136 per cent ), according to a recent survey.
 

Bussaya said this high-value customer segment is seeking not just discounts, but also a more exclusive experience that cannot be found elsewhere. They anticipate excellent service.

“We are required to understand our customers even more deeply. Our work today is not only about following the latest trends. We need a method of thinking that delivers ‘Beyond Expectation’. We must predict what design privileges customers can really use in the future,” she said.

Responding to the increased use of Serenade points across all categories, particularly drinks and desserts, AIS came up with the “Upsize” concept to meet changing demand.

The campaign includes dining, travel, shopping, and health, as well as ongoing collaborations with every AIS partner to redeem AIS points for a variety of exclusive benefits. These can be cash discounts or free products and services, such as those available through the Point Pay programme.

Also, Thung Ngern (Silver Bag) stores are now being expanded from food and beverage outlets to grocery stores, including those in the Blue Flag scheme, and by the end of the year, customers will have over 850,000 stores to choose from.

“Aside from our basic commitment to customer service, it also helps to restore cash circulation to local economies by increasing spending power in small merchant stores. This also shows why AIS Serenade has consistently ranked first in customer loyalty programmes for the past 18 years,” Bussaya said.

With a budget of around 2 billion baht and a focus on customer-centric needs, she is confident that Serenade customers will be more engaged and satisfied, as well as build “brand love” through services and exclusive privileges.
 

Published : July 01, 2022

By : Nongluck Ajanapanya

Honda shares CANDEE platform with Mahidol University to encourage ‘good deeds’

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Honda has taken the first step towards blockchain integration by sharing its own platform, “CANDEE”, with Mahidol University, supported by Bitkub, so that employees from both organisations can record good deeds and healthy living and turn them into a token as a reward.

Honda shares CANDEE platform with Mahidol University to encourage ‘good deeds’

Pitak Pruittisarikorn, chairman of the board of Honda Automobile (Thailand), stated that the concept of the CANDEE application stems from the time banking method, in which people record their time spent doing good deeds for others and society before exchanging for rewards. The more time they spend doing good, the more rewards they may receive, which may include not only money but also a voucher, bonus, or discount coupon.

Since Honda recognises that blockchain technology will become mainstream technology in the digital era because it can respond to a variety of lifestyle needs, the company is interested in using blockchain technology to familiarise their employees with the system, preparing them for the digital economy.

With the aim of assisting people in doing good and encouraging the use of blockchain technology within the company, the CANDEE application was developed and implemented over three years ago after Honda had discussed it with young associates from various departments.

The “CAN” stands for “ability”, and the “DEE” stands for “doing good”, reflecting how the application encourages people to do good and live healthily, and in turn receive digital tokens for participating in CSR and health-related activities within an organisation, Pitak said.
 

As a Honda young-generation project, this movement is part of Blockchain Innovative Technology (BIT). The application was created in collaboration with Bitkub, a blockchain expert, to provide the advice and technology services needed to develop CANDEE’s functionality to make it user-friendly, as well as cater to changes in lifestyles in the Covid-19 era.

Due to its great success and good response, Pitak considered expanding the use of the application to a larger community to create positive changes and to encourage users to spend their spare time productively while becoming acquainted with blockchain technology.

This concept prompted Honda and Bitkup to sign a MoU for the CANDEE application with the Faculty of Medical Technology, Mahidol University, on Thursday at Bitkub M social, The EmQuartier.

Dr Chartchalerm Isarankura na Ayudhya, dean of the Faculty of Medical Technology, Mahidol University, said the institution has been developing the idea of applying technology to health-led awareness since 2016, which corresponds to the guidelines of the CANDEE application. After talking with Honda, the faculty decided to play a part in expanding the community of people doing good and living healthily.

“The cooperation with Honda and Bitkub is a good opportunity for our three organisations to leverage knowledge, expertise and experience to build an ecosystem that contributes to Thai people’s well-being by linking and expanding development that results in the application to promote good health,” said Chartchalerm.

He added that they can take advantage of Candee application features like using blockchain technology to handle various transactions through tokens to collect points and redeem them for rewards to increase active participation within an organisation, It also helps expand the scope of work on Bitkub’s network of advanced platforms.

Passakorn Pannok, chief executive officer of Bitkub Blockchain Technology, which is one of Thailand’s leading blockchain companies, stated that collaborating with Honda is another milestone in finding business partners. The CANDEE application is intended to provide useful functionality. Initially, Honda associates were encouraged to participate by making social contributions in exchange for digital tokens.

“I personally believe that we can drive the application’s widespread availability. By creating new roles, the advanced technology supported by the Bitkub chain will assist us in promoting the seamless use of CANDEE. This results in increased CANDEE efficiency, whether through the use of blockchain technology to collect and save data or by broadening the use of Candee tokens and developing new use cases, all of which will benefit the Bitkub chain ecosystem,” Passakorn said.

The collaboration of partners from various sectors, such as Honda, Bitkub, and the Faculty of Medical Technology at Mahidol University, will mark a watershed moment in the success of the CANDEE application. It will strengthen the CANDEE ecosystem and support its goal of widely encouraging society to do good and live healthily in a limitless yet non-profit form to effect positive change, Pitak said.

Published : July 01, 2022

By : Nongluck Ajanapanya

Recapitalisation a key part of THAI’s revised rehabilitation plan

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Thai Airways International (THAI) on Friday submitted a request to revise its rehabilitation plan, which includes recapitalisation that would increase the company’s registered capital to 80 billion baht.

Recapitalisation a key part of THAI's revised rehabilitation plan

The Cabinet gave the green light for THAI to undergo rehabilitation under the Bankruptcy Act in May 2020, while the airline’s protection filing was granted by a court in June last year.

The Finance Ministry and state enterprises will still have 40 per cent shareholding in the company under the revised plan.

Details of the revised rehabilitation plan are as follows:

1. Procuring loans and/or bonds with a period of no more than six years, totalling no more than 12.50 billion baht. THAI has also prepared a revolving credit facility for the same amount as a backup plan.

2. Increasing registered capital to approximately 31.50 billion shares to boost THAI’s financial structure and enable its shares to be traded on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) again:

  • Allowing new loan subscribers to purchase newly issued ordinary shares equal to the company’s drawdown amount of 12.50 billion baht.
  • Allocating newly issued ordinary shares for repaying debt. All debt the company owes the Finance Ministry, which is the company’s creditor and main shareholder, will be converted into equity. Meanwhile, 24.5 per cent of the company’s debt with creditors who hold the company’s debentures will be converted into equity, while the remaining 75.5 per cent of debt will be repaid using the company’s cash flow in line with the original plan. This plan to change debt into equity will enable THAI to reduce debt by approximately 37.80 billion baht.
  • Allocating newly issued ordinary shares to support the conversion of debt from interest into equity at 2.5452 baht per share. This will enable THAI to reduce debt from interest by approximately 4.84 billion baht.
  • Offering newly issued ordinary shares at a price that the rehabilitation plan administrator deems appropriate and not less than 2.5452 baht per share to existing shareholders based on their shareholdings. In case the newly issued ordinary shares are not fully subscribed, the remaining shares will be offered in private placement. This move is expected to enable the company to raise funds of approximately 25 billion baht.
Recapitalisation a key part of THAI's revised rehabilitation plan

The revision of THAI’s rehabilitation plan is expected to be completed within 2024. If the plan succeeds, THAI’s equity will be on positive trajectory in 2024, while the company’s shares could be traded on the SET in 2025.

“This move aims to boost confidence among creditors in line with aviation business recovery and boost THAI’s growth in revenue,” the company said.

THAI has witnessed exponential growth in revenue since November 2021. The average number of passengers using THAI and its subsidiary airline, Thai Smile Airways, from June 1-27 this year has increased to 12,568 and 12,257, respectively, compared to 269 and 4,929 between April and October last year.

THAI’s cabin factor from June 1-27 this year has risen to 75 per cent, while its booking rate in the third quarter this year has risen significantly after the country’s reopening.

Published : July 01, 2022

By : THE NATION

Household debt rises to 14.64 trillion baht

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The Bank of Thailand (BOT) reported that household debt in the first quarter of 2022 rose to 14.64 trillion baht, up by 80.076 billion baht from the fourth quarter of 2021.

Household debt rises to 14.64 trillion baht

However, the percentage of household debt to gross domestic product decreased from 90 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2021 to 89.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2022.

Of the total debt 12.56 trillion baht were from deposit-taking corporations, up by 57.929 billion baht from the previous quarter.

  • 6.28 trillion baht were from commercial banks
  • 4.11 trillion baht were from depository specialised financial institutions
  • 2.17 trillion baht were from savings cooperatives
  • 5.111 billion baht were from other institutions

Meanwhile, 2.08 trillion baht were from other financial corporations, increasing by 22.149 billion baht from the previous quarter

  • 1.57 trillion baht were owed to credit card, leasing and personal loan companies
  • 177.836 billion baht were from insurance companies
  • 116.778 billion baht were from securities companies
  • 99.455 billion baht were from asset management corporations
  • 77.319 billion baht were from pawnshops, and,
  • 40.465 billion baht were from other financial institutions.

Published : July 01, 2022

By : THE NATION

World Bank appoints new country manager for Thailand

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The World Bank has appointed Fabrizio Zarcone as country manager of Thailand with effect from July 1 to help Thailand tackle poverty and boost prosperity.

World Bank appoints new country manager for Thailand

Italian Zarcone succeeds Birgit Hansl, who served in the position for four years.

Zarcone will implement the World Bank Group-Thailand Country Partnership Framework (CPF), which is focused on key structural economic and social reforms to end poverty and boost prosperity.

He also will be the lead negotiator between the World Bank and the government sector, civil society sector, private sector, and other partners.

The CPF for 2019-22 supports Thailand’s transformation towards greater inclusion, resilience and competitiveness. It is focusing on supporting Thailand integrate with every group of society, promoting competition and innovation by helping improve the business environment, economic institutions, and infrastructure.

The bank also will address climate change and support quality education and targeted programmes for disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.

It also will address issues in the fragile and conflict-affected areas of southern Thailand.

Zarcone said: “It is with great pleasure that I take up this new position in Thailand just as the country emerges from the economic and social challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The tragedy of the pandemic must be turned into an opportunity to build back better and position the economy for sustained productivity-led growth and recovery over the medium and long term. I look forward to supporting Thailand in the achievement of these critical goals,” he added.

Before this appointment, Zarcone was the country manager in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, and Slovakia where he supervised a large and complex portfolio of technical assistance projects. He also was the country manager of Costa Rica and El Salvador, in charge of both lending and advisory services.

He spent time in the Middle East as senior operations officer for the West Bank and Gaza, managing important budgetary support projects for the Palestinian National Authority.

He also has extensive experience working in Sub-Saharan Africa where he supervised several projects in Kenya, Rwanda and the Comoros Islands.

Zarcone holds a PhD in Management Sciences from Escuela Superior de Administración y Dirección de Empresas, and a Masters in European Economics and Law.

Published : July 01, 2022

By : THE NATION

Clean habits keeping Covid-19 infections at bay in Thailand

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People’s tendency to continue wearing facemasks and keeping their hands clean has helped cut down Covid-19 infections in Thailand.

Clean habits keeping Covid-19 infections at bay in Thailand

The country registered 2,508 new confirmed cases and 17 deaths on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha lauded businesses for continuing to observe Covid-19 prevention measures and giving people access to alcohol gel dispensers.

Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said on Saturday that a recent Health Department survey learned that 91 per cent of people still wash their hands after touching objects or surfaces.

He said the number of severe cases has risen slightly in some places and that the changes are being closely monitored. As for Covid-19 patients in hospital, he said most fall under the yellow or not-severe group.

He added that the PM is urging people to maintain their health and follow all prevention methods.

Published : July 02, 2022

By : THE NATION

Four win THB36-million grand prize in July 1 online lottery draw

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A grand prize of 36 million baht was divided between four people who had bought six lottery tickets online, the Government Lottery Office (GLO) said.

Four win THB36-million grand prize in July 1 online lottery draw

GLO board chairman Lawaron Saengsanit said on Saturday that Friday’s lottery draw had gone smoothly. Of the four people, one had bought three tickets and won 18 million baht, while the other three winners had bought one ticket each, for which they got 6 million baht each.

GLO director-general Lt-Colonel Nhun Sansanakom said winners are notified via the “Paotang” application at 6pm on the draw date. He said there are two ways of receiving the winnings, namely:

  • Funds can be transferred within 12 hours to the Krungthai bank account linked to the Paotang app. Of the winnings, 1 per cent will be deducted for transfer fees and another 0.5 per cent for stamp duty.
  • Those wanting to pick up their winnings in person at the GLO office in Nonthaburi are required to make an appointment. Through this method, they will only have to pay a stamp duty of 0.5 per cent of the prize.

Lottery winners have 15 days to decide how they want to be paid. After 15 days, the only way of getting the winnings will be to pick them up at the GLO office. The cash prize will be held for the winner to pick up for only two years, after which it will have to be forfeited.

Four win THB36-million grand prize in July 1 online lottery draw

Published : July 02, 2022

By : THE NATION

Sa Kaew border bustling with tourists on 1st day of no restrictions

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The border checkpoint in Sa Kaew’s Aranyaprathet district was buzzing with Cambodian and Vietnamese tourists on Friday – the first day that Thailand lifted all restrictions on foreign arrivals.

Sa Kaew border bustling with tourists on 1st day of no restrictions

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration scrapped Thailand Pass as of July 1, which means foreign tourists will no longer have to register or buy Covid insurance worth at least US$10,000. The restrictions were lifted in a move to promote tourism and boost the economy now that the number of infections is dropping.

“The 1,000-plus Cambodian arrivals include vendors who want to sell their goods at the Rong Kluea Market, as well as those who want to visit attractions in Sa Kaew. Most of the visitors hail from Poipet in Cambodia, who crossed over the Thai-Cambodia Friendship Bridge,” Sa Kaew’s Immigration Police chief Pol Colonel Rung Thongmon said on Friday.

Sa Kaew border bustling with tourists on 1st day of no restrictions

“The police and customs office have deployed additional officials at the checkpoint to process documents. The flow has been smooth and fast because tourists do not have to queue up for their Thailand Pass registration to be verified.”

He added that apart from Cambodian tourists, many Vietnamese nationals also entered Thailand via Cambodia.

Some 250 kilometres from Bangkok, the Rong Kluea Market is a well-known hotspot in Sa Kaew. The market, located near the Ban Khlong Luek Border Checkpoint, is known for selling second-hand brand-name garments, crockery, electronics and other products at very cheap prices. Most vendors are Chinese-Cambodian and Vietnamese.

Sa Kaew border bustling with tourists on 1st day of no restrictions
Sa Kaew border bustling with tourists on 1st day of no restrictions

Published : July 02, 2022

By : THE NATION