AOT warns revenue will take another hit from domestic flight ban
Airports of Thailand (AOT) warned on Tuesday that the ban issued on domestic flights for Dark Red provinces would cause the company’s revenue to plunge further.
Nitinai Sirismatthakarn, AOT president, said the suspension of all domestic flights to and from 13 Dark Red-zone provinces from Wednesday would hit both passenger and flight volumes, especially for Bangkok’s Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports.
“In mid-July, the volume of passengers at six airports dropped to an average of 10,000 per day – an 80 per cent contraction year on year,” he said, adding that this issue was a serious problem.
The decline in the number of passengers and flights had affected the company’s revenue and expenditure, he added. As a result, the company’s turnover has fallen from nearly 80 billion baht before the pandemic to 21 billion baht, said Nitinai.
“Although expenditure was reduced by the closure of airport construction camps to curb Covid-19 infections in line with government measures, the company expects to face a possible liquidity shortage from July next year,” he said.
The AOT board recently approved moves for up to 25 billion baht in borrowing, but Nitinai said the company would evaluate the situation over the coming season to see how much it needed to borrow. “The precise [figures of the] loan plan will be available by October this year,” he said.
Food delivery platform Robinhood helping out Covid patients at home
Food delivery platform Robinhood has stepped in with free deliveries to Covid-19 patients being treated at home under Siriraj and Ramathibodi hospitals.
The two Bangkok hospitals are currently providing treatment for 160 Covid-19 patients isolating at home, Srihanath Lamsam, managing director of Robinhood’s operator, Purple Ventures Co, said on Wednesday.
“Khiang, Robinhood’s partner restaurant, is using its two branches as food distribution centres to prepare three full meals each day,” he explained.
“Volunteer riders pick up food from the distribution centres and deliver it to Covid-19 patients at home.”
Food delivery platform Robinhood helping out Covid patients at home
He added that volunteer riders strictly adhere to anti-Covid measures to ensure the safety of patients.
Food delivery platform Robinhood helping out Covid patients at home
Hospitals are facing bed shortages as the number of Covid cases surges. Thailand logged 9,317 new infections and 87 deaths over 24 hours on Wednesday.
To relieve the pressure on hospitals, Bangkok authorities announced that mild cases can be treated at home or in the community.
DHL Express Thailand launches next-day cactus export service to Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia
Thailand, 13 July, 2021: DHL Express Thailand has introduced Cactus Export Service to provide next-day delivery of delicate plants like cactuses from Thailand to Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Cactuses have become increasingly popular in Southeast Asia. This new service will allow local business owners to capture the opportunities of this increasing demand and expand their reach across the region.
DHL Express provides cactus business owners with access to direct routes from Bangkok Hub and Gateway to the four destination countries. Full tracking visibility is enabled across the entire supply chain and supported by DHL Express’ own fleet of planes, ground transport and logistics facilities.
“Regular conversations with our customers in order to review our services and identify areas where we could improve is important to us. We are constantly looking at ways to better serve our customers, and to be the platform of choice. By expanding our capabilities to now include cactus delivery not only opens doors to new possibilities and cross-border opportunities for our customers, it also shows our versatility and commitment to meet their needs,” said Ken Lee, CEO, DHL Express Asia Pacific.
According to the Global Succulent & Cactus Plants Market Report 2021, the Succulent & Cactus Plants Market will register 16.80% CAGR over the next six years to 2027.
The four destinations accommodate international trade amid the Covid-19 gardening boom. Many cactus species are highly localized and tend to be slow-growing. These features make cactus particularly attractive to collectors interested in exclusivity.
“The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of lifestyle e-commerce. With our cactus export service, cactus business owners can take advantage of our global network and expertise to get their products quickly delivered. This launch reflects our commitment to Thai SMEs, the sector most affected by the pandemic. We continue exploring alternative services for them, working closely with our operations to establish compliant processes that address the restrictions for cactus shipping to accommodate them,” said Herbert Vongpusanachai, Managing Director at DHL Express Thailand & Head of Indochina.
Cactuses adapt well to the intense heat and survive the warm and dry conditions of a centrally heated home. These succulents are also perfect for the less green-fingered, as they need only moderate watering and minimal care. The cactus business has become one of the hottest during the pandemic, with shops struggling to keep some species in stock. “With home gardening surging in popularity during the lockdown, I have been growing cactuses at home and this propelled me to take the plunge into entrepreneurship. I started the cross-border business because the market is much bigger and I use DHL Express for delivery, ” said Athiwat Chakpan, the owner of Cactus Inter. “Although drought-resistant cactuses can survive without soil for months, having them packed with limited airflow during transit may cause the cactus to die quickly and lead to fragmented quality. Using a reliable express service provider is essential to building trust, especially with my return customers. Being able to track and trace their products en route, and receive their cactus plants safely and on time, is a great customer experience that we always aim to deliver.” Athiwat Chakpan grows his Lophophora cactuses in a greenhouse. (Photo: Cactus Inter) To deliver cactuses to Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia with DHL Express, a CITES Permit (Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora) is required by the customs authority, together with Phytosanitary Certification to certify that cactus is free from pests and aligns with conditions of the destination country. The recipient is advised to contact the ministry or relevant agency before the goods are delivered to prepare the import documents varied by different destination countries to ensure next-day delivery (excluding customs inspection and clearance process). Contact our Customer Service at 02-345-5000 (24 hours) for shipment booking instructions of DHL Express Cactus Export service or read more at https://bit.ly/3racXtd.
Thailand’s GPSC buys stake in Indian renewable energy producer Avaada
The Global Power Synergy Public Company Limited (GPSC) on Tuesday confirmed it has acquired a 41.6 per cent stake in India’s Avaada Energy Private Limited.
In its announcement to the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET), GPSC said its subsidiary, Global Renewable Synergy Company Limited (GRSC), had completed the transaction on Tuesday.
“GRSC has invested by way of subscription of new shares worth approximately 41.6 per cent of equity interest in Avaada with a total investment of approximately 14.83 billion baht, which is based on the resolution of the board of directors’ meeting on May 21,” the statement read.
The company said Avaada has developed and is operating a large portfolio of solar power plants in India, with long-term power purchase agreements with the country’s central and state governments as well as private commercial and industrial customers.
Avaada’s total committed capacity is approximately 3,744 megawatts, of which approximately 1,392 megawatts are in operations and some 2,352 megawatts are under construction with expected commercial operations by 2021-2022.
“The investment in this platform aligns with the company’s growth strategy in renewable energy business internationally and enhances its expertise in solar power generation as well as collaboration in the area of the company’s renewable energy business in the future,” the announcement read.
“In addition, Avaada aims to expand its renewable energy portfolio in accordance with significant growth expected in electricity demand in India.”
GPSC added that the Indian government has set a policy to support investment in clean energy, with an aim to expand the electricity capacity of renewable energy from 73 gigawatts to 450 gigawatts by 2030.
“The company, therefore, considers India as one of the focus countries for renewable energy business expansion,” the announcement read.
Separately, Avaada and O2 Power were declared winners in the Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Limited’s auction for 550MW of solar projects at the Agar Solar Park in Madhya Pradesh, according to Mercom Communications India’s report on Monday.
Google fined $593 million by French antitrust agency
Google was fined 500 million euros ($593 million) in France after the search giant failed to follow an order to thrash out a fair deal with publishers to use their news content on its platform.
The Alphabet unit ignored a 2020 decision to negotiate in good faith for displaying snippets of articles on its Google News service, the Autorité de la concurrence said Tuesday. The fine is the second-biggest antitrust penalty in France for a single company.
France isn’t alone in trying to hold tech giants to account over their use of news. Australia earlier this year required digital giants like Facebook and Google to pay local publishers for news. Google has been increasingly paying publishers but on its own terms, with a $1 billion Google News Showcase to point readers to news content.
The company is facing a global onslaught as regulators across the world sharpen scrutiny of the world’s largest tech firms, looking at its advertising business, apps and search. In Russia, Google is seeking an out-of-court settlement after a court ruling that it must unblock the YouTube account of a TV channel owned by a U.S.-sanctioned backer of President Vladimir Putin.
“The sanction of 500 million euros takes into account the exceptional seriousness of the breaches observed,” said Isabelle de Silva, president of the French agency.
Google is “very disappointed” with the decision and considers it “acted in good faith throughout the entire process,” a spokesperson said. Google added that it’s about to reach an agreement with Agence France-Presse that included a global licensing agreement.
Google can appeal Tuesday’s penalty announcement.
The confrontation between Google and newspaper owners and wire services has been a long time coming. European publishers have been pushing regulators for over a decade to tackle the power of Google, which has lured away billions of euros in advertising revenue. Complaints were lodged in France in 2019 by groupings representing newspapers and magazines as well as Agence France-Presse.
Tuesday’s fine is the latest show of strength by the French regulator as it vies with its EU and German counterparts to be the region’s toughest watchdog of U.S. tech firms.
In recent years, the authority has tended to order behavioral changes before the end of probes, which can drag on for years. While this has spurred other antitrust agencies to emulate the tactic, Google’s defiance risked jeopardizing it.
Earlier this year, Google reached a deal to remunerate a grouping of French newspapers – Alliance de la Presse d’Information Générale. There have also been talks with magazine owners and AFP.
But de Silva said that regulators dismissed the remuneration offered by Google as “negligible.” She criticized the tech giant for offering to pay the same amount for press content that it did for dictionary listings or weather information.
As part of Tuesday’s decision, Google was ordered to enter negotiations within two months of fresh requests from the plaintiff press publishers or face daily fines reaching as much as 900,000 euros a day.
Google may risk a further attack in the news case as French regulators are expected to issue a decision on the substance of the case, which may also include fines, at the end of the year.
Silicon Valley firms have been facing close French scrutiny in recent years. Google agreed last month to pay a 220 million euro penalty to settle a probe that struck at the heart of its power over online advertising, and it got a 150 million euro fine in 2019 in a case focusing on its Google Ads platform.
The authority’s record 1.1 billion-euro fine was issued last year against Apple after the U.S. firm was criticized for anti-competitive agreements with two distributors over the sale of non-iPhone products such as Apple Mac computers. Apple is appealing the penalty.
Published : July 14, 2021
By : Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Gaspard Sebag
Richard Branson reaches space, as Virgin Galactic gets closer to flying paying customers
SPACEPORT AMERICA, New Mexico – Richard Branson completed a daring, barnstorming flight to edge of space Sunday, rocketing through the atmosphere in the spaceplane hed been yearning to ride for nearly 20 years.
The suborbital trip gave the British billionaire, his three crewmates and two pilots a glimpse of the Earth from more than 50 miles up and a few minutes of weightlessness before the vehicle they were traveling in, SpaceShipTwo Unity, glided back to Earth and a landing on the runway at Virgin Galactic’s facility here in the New Mexico desert.
It was SpaceShipTwo’s fourth trip to the edge of space since 2018, and Virgin Galactic, the company Branson founded in 2004, says it will soon start flying paying customers regularly on similar jaunts, opening a new era in human space exploration.
Several companies in the growing commercial space industry, including Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX, have developed spacecraft designed to allow private citizens, and not just NASA trained military fighter pilots and scientists, to earn the title of “astronaut.” (Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
Virgin Galactic seemed intent on making it clear that this was not a traditional NASA launch. Instead of a stoic countdown, there was a party-like atmosphere along the tarmac, a scene as much a spectacle as a space launch that even included a musical guest, Khalid, who debuted a new song during a performance here. The company’s live broadcast of the flight was hosted by comedian and late-night host Stephen Colbert, and Musk was on hand to watch Branson and the crew take off.
Unlike traditional rockets that launch vertically, Virgin’s SpaceShipTwo Unity takes off tethered to the belly of a mother ship. On Sunday, the mother ship, known as WhiteKnightTwo, lifted off from the tarmac here shortly after 10:30 a.m. Eastern time, delayed by about 90 minutes because high winds overnight had kept the ground crew from rolling it out of the hangar. The spaceship was released at about 11:25 a.m. Eastern, the pilots ignited the engine and the spacecraft shot almost straight up as it thundered toward space.
The flight reached its apogee at 282,000 feet – 53.41 miles – where the passengers were able to unstrap and experience weightlessness. The spacecraft then fell back to earth and a landing at 11:39 Eastern time.
On board were pilots Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci, both of whom had flown to space on previous flights. Joining Branson in the crew compartment were Sirisha Bandla, Virgin Galactic’s vice president of government affairs, Colin Bennett, the company’s lead operations engineer, and Beth Moses, its chief astronaut instructor. Moses, who is married to Mike Moses, the company’s president, flew on Virgin Galactic’s second spaceflight mission, in 2019.
Branson had originally been scheduled to fly aboard a flight scheduled for later this summer or early fall. But after the company successfully made it to space in May, he grew impatient.
“I’ve been itching to go, and they said they wanted somebody to properly test the astronaut experience,” Branson said in a recent interview with The Post. “And I was damned if I was going to let anyone take that seat.”
In a news conference after the flight, he said he wasn’t nervous about the trip. “We have nearly 1,000 of the best engineers in the world” who pored over every inch of the spacecraft, he said. His only concern, he said, was the possibility of a delay. “The only thing I was worried about was some tiny little something that would get in the way, something that would stop us from getting into space.”
He called the experience “just magical. … I’m just taking it all in.” And added that, “having flown to space, I can see more clearly how Virgin Galactic is the spaceline for Earth.”
By moving up his flight, he was able to beat Bezos to space by nine days. Bezos, who recently stepped down as Amazon’s CEO, is scheduled to fly a on his company’s suborbital New Shepard capsule on July 20.
Branson has repeatedly denied that he was in a race with Bezos and said in the interview that it was just “an incredible, wonderful coincidence that we’re going up in the same month.”
But when asked about a rivalry with Bezos on CNBC, he couldn’t help himself, saying “Jeff who?”
Richard Branson reaches space, as Virgin Galactic gets closer to flying paying customersBranson’s antics elicited a strong response from Bezos’ Blue Origin. Bob Smith, Blue Origin’s CEO, issued a statement last week wishing Branson well but also pointing out that Virgin Galactic is “not flying above the Kármán line, and it’s a very different experience.” The Kármán line, at 100 km or 62 miles, is an internationally recognized threshold for where space begins. Virgin Galactic flies to just over 50 miles, the altitude at which the Federal Aviation Administration will award crew members astronaut wings.
On Saturday, however, Bezos wished Branson luck in a post on Instagram. “Wishing you and the whole team a successful and safe flight tomorrow,” Bezos wrote. “Best of luck!”
Branson would now be eligible for his wings, fulfilling a dream he has had since he founded Virgin Galactic, lured by the romance of space travel and the possibility of commercializing an endeavor that had been monopolized by governments.
One of the first major steps on that path was the 2004 Ansari X Prize, a $10 million competition to put a commercial vehicle into space for the first time. Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft had funded an effort, led by Burt Rutan, the legendary aircraft designer, to build what was called SpaceShipOne. Branson fell in love with the ship, purchased the rights to the technology and was able to slap a Virgin logo on the spacecraft as it won the prize.
Watching the spacecraft take off, Branson turned to Allen and said, according to Allen’s memoir, “Paul, isn’t this better than the best sex you ever had?”
Branson then turned his attention to creating the “world’s first commercial spaceline” and vowed that within a matter of years passengers would soon be flying to space on a regular basis.
Virgin Galactic set off to build SpaceShipTwo, which would be far larger and more powerful vehicle than its predecessor. But the program quickly ran into technical problems. And in 2014, it suffered an accident midflight that killed one of the pilots, Michael Alsbury, and severely injured the other, Peter Siebold, who parachuted to the ground. Branson considered giving up on his quest, but ultimately decided that the risk was worth it and carried on, vowing to learn from the accident and build a safer and more robust spaceship.
The company finally made it to space in December 2018, and again a few weeks later, in early 2019. It then moved its operations from Mojave, Calif., to New Mexico’s Spaceport America, the gleaming $220 million facility funded by taxpayers. In 2019, the company announced it would go public through a merger with a New York investment firm and hired a new CEO and leadership team.
Then, in May, it reached space for the third time in a flight with two pilots, and, after consulting with the company’s engineers, Branson decided that he would be on the next flight.
The flight comes amid a flurry of spaceflight activity that taken together amounts to a renaissance for human exploration.
Just over a year ago, no one had flown to space from U.S. soil since the space shuttle was retired in 2011, a long, ignominious drought that ended when Elon Musk’s SpaceX flew a pair of NASA astronauts, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, in a test flight to the International Space Station.
Since then, SpaceX has flown two more human spaceflight missions. Boeing, which is also under contract from NASA to transport the agency’s astronauts to and from the station, hopes to fly people in the months to come.
SpaceX plans to fly a mission dubbed Inspiration4 in September. Financed by billionaire entrepreneur Jared Isaacman, a group of four civilians would spend three days or so orbiting the Earth in SpaceX’s Dragon capsule. Axiom Space, a firm based in Houston, is arranging trips for very wealthy groups of people to spend a week on the space station. A voyage that costs some $55 million.
In addition to the flight on July 20, Bezos’ Blue Origin has two more flights planned for this year and more than half a dozen next year.
In all, that would culminate to an era of spaceflight like the barnstormers in the early days of aviation. But whether it is successful depends on whether the industry can continue to fly people reliably and safely.
After the flight, Branson was greeted by his 3-year-old granddaughter, who said, “Papa gone to the moon. Papa gone to the moon.”
Branson let it slide. “I’m not going to disillusion her,” he said.
Innovations speed race to put more wind turbines on sea floor
Its getting faster and cheaper to embed a wind tower the size of the Washington Monument into the sea floor.
South Korea is cutting the time it takes to construct and install an offshore turbine, from as long as three months to just a matter of days, thanks to a large flat-bottomed ship for hauling the structure and a “bucket suction” method for affixing it. The innovations could chop an estimated $3 million from the process.
State-owned utility Korea Electric Power Corp. on Wednesday showcased what it says is the first vessel that can haul a fully constructed wind plant. A crane on the 1,500-ton ship, known as a multipurpose mobile base, or MMB, lifted a 140-meter-high (459 feet) wind tower built in the water near the western port of Gunsan.
“Through using the MMB technology, we should be able to tackle our 2050 carbon neutrality goal and make a huge contribution to wind power, which is the core element in the nation’s transition,” Kepco Chief Executive Officer Cheong Seung-il said at the event.
Innovations to cut costs and installation times promise to help spur a global expansion of offshore wind power that’s already forecast to deliver an 11-fold increase in capacity through 2035, according to BloombergNEF. Annual installations are expected to rise to a record 11 gigawatts this year and hit 32.5 gigawatts by the end of the decade, as nations add more renewable energy to phase out fossil fuels and curb carbon emissions.
China, which will account for almost three-quarters of installations this year, and nascent markets across Asia like Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam, will support that growth outlook, BNEF said in a report last month.
The sea offers one of the best prospects for green energy in South Korea, where the climate and topography are ill-suited for large solar and onshore wind plants, and conventional hydropower resources are almost fully utilized. The country is seeking to add 12 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030, compared with less than 0.2 gigawatts now.
South Korea already has the world’s biggest tidal power plant at Sihwa Lake, and is adding the world’s largest offshore wind farm near Shinan.
Kepco is crunching down the 90-day period it can take in some circumstances to build and place an offshore wind turbine. The company can put together a plant onshore in seven days, and the MMB will then ship it to the offshore location. Hauling the entire plant significantly reduces the time and cost of having to make several trips to deliver parts.
The new process would lower the cost of installing a 5-megawatt turbine by 43%, or 3.7 billion won ($3.3 million), according to a statement from Kepco.
The company is looking to increase the size of MMBs to carry up to 14-megawatt turbines that are being rolled out in Europe, according to Ryu Moo Sung, principal researcher at Kepco Research Institute. He said Germany’s RWE and Spain’s Ocean Winds have shown an interest in Kepco’s vessels.
Once the MMB is at the offshore site, it takes up to 12 hours to fix the tower to the ocean floor using a “suction bucket” technique. The method pumps water out of the buckets, creating pressure to force them into the floor. The southwest coast of South Korea is ideal for this technique because of the soft seabed.
The new process is an improvement over traditional methods, which can create environmental problems as cement is injected into the sea floor to build a foundation, Kepco said. In addition, offshore construction is vulnerable to delays caused by inclement weather, which can further raise costs.
The time it takes to install an offshore turbine has been steadily decreasing, with the pace twice as fast as 10 years ago, according to a BNEF report in 2019. In the U.S., the Department of Energy and partners including the University of Delaware have also worked on accelerating the construction of offshore wind farms using suction bucket technology.
Published : July 11, 2021
By : Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Heesu Lee
Digital Justice: Solution to Inequalities in the New Normal
The 18th National Symposium on Justice Administration, held on May 13-14, 2021, addressed the topic of “Enhancing Justice for People in the New Normal Era” with the aim of achieving inclusiveness and preparing a blueprint for justice administration in the new era
The COVID-19 pandemic has not only threatened public health, but also widened inequalities in Thai society. Reports on Thailand’s social outlook from 2019 to the fourth quarter of 2020 show the number of unemployed people in the country rose from 370,000 to 740,000. Many families have lost income and are facing growing pressures, which in many cases have manifested in domestic violence or violence against women. Hence, judicial processes need to adapt quickly to keep pace with problems arising from changing lifestyles, especially now that both adults and children spend more time online.
The 18th National Symposium on Justice Administration, held on May 13-14, 2021, addressed the topic of “Enhancing Justice for People in the New Normal Era” with the aim of achieving inclusiveness and preparing a blueprint for justice administration in the new era. Hosted by the Office of Justice Affairs, the symposium invited members of the Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ) and the TIJ Executive Program on the Rule of Law and Development (RoLD) to share legal and judicial knowledge applicable to different sectors of society.
Digital Justice: Judicial Process That Respects Diversity, Pursues Inclusivity in COVID-19 Age
Dr. Kiratipong Naewmalee, a senior researcher at the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) who studied mechanisms of the Justice Fund, said people with insufficient financial resources are the most likely to have difficulty accessing Thailand’s judicial process. Relevant authorities, after all, could not provide complete assistance in the face of legal constraints. For example, the Justice Fund can only help once the case has gone to court and only if applicants meet certain criteria. The criteria for eligibility are also not very clear. Dr. Kiratipong believes such problems lead to unequal access to Thailand’s judicial system despite the fact that every legal state must guarantee its people’s rights and liberties. The accused should always be presumed innocent and have equal access to the judicial process.
The Justice Ministry set up the Office of Justice Affairs in 2006 to promote equality and deliver assistance to the poor. Its key missions are:
• Providing financial assistance to people requiring access to the legal process;
• Requesting temporary release of accused persons/defendants;
• Helping victims of human-rights violations who have been detained longer than required by law or scapegoats whose cases have been dismissed in court; and
• Providing legal knowledge to the public.
However, Dr. Kiratipong pointed out that “the Office of Justice Affairs has not been able to address requests filed by several people” due to legal constraints and criteria that need more legal interpretation. He recommended that the Justice Fund explore solutions to the following problems:
Digital Justice: Solution to Inequalities in the New Normal(1) Assistance with legal procedure is still restricted to people whose cases have already entered the legal system, thus making it impossible for poor people to seek any legal help before that stage;
(2) Lack of clear guidelines on helping secure temporary release or bail for defendants during trial. Currently, the basic criteria focus on whether the accused tends to flee or commit crimes that disrupt the peace. Owing to this, accused persons in border areas or those implicated in narcotics cases usually do not receive assistance.
(3) To date, the Justice Fund has not delivered assistance to any victim of human-right violations, as no request has been approved due to problems with legal interpretation. Based on current criteria, only persons subject to persecution by state officials or those suffering at the hands of unauthorized state officials can seek help.
(4) Because, under the current framework, only projects from central agencies get support in distributing legal knowledge to people, approved projects lack diversity.
In response to these recommendations, the Office of Justice Affairs plans to improve relevant laws to accommodate more people’s access to the Justice Fund.
Digital Justice: Solution to Inequalities in the New NormalAs the COVID-19 outbreak has significantly limited access to the fund, the Office of Justice Affairs is developing digital systems, including mobile applications, to deliver services. The office has also set up a Digital Exchange Center and acquired Big Data for the fund.
These developments aim to help streamline the work process, remove the need for people and officials to travel, and decentralize the process to grant everybody convenient access to the justice system in a sustainable and equal manner.
“To reduce inequalities in the judicial process during the new-normal period, the first thing to do is to educate people about the role of the Justice Fund. The Justice Fund should also expand its scope of work. For instance, it should recruit lawyers specializing in different fields, so they can deliver legal assistance or facilitate mediation before legal battles escalate,” Dr. Kiratipong said.
Digital Justice: Solution to Inequalities in the New Normal
Assistance Methods to Curb Inequality for Women and Children during COVID-19
The symposium also discussed problems faced by vulnerable groups, such as children and women, affected both directly and indirectly by the COVID-19 outbreak. The discussion allowed various parties in Thai society to seek solutions and address the problems in a timely manner.
Mr. Surasek Yuthiwat, managing director of Toolmorrow, said in response to findings that the outbreak has pushed children deeper into the online world, the “You Change, Your Kids Change” project was launched. The increasing amount of time children spend online leaves them more vulnerable to online threats, while parents still lack adequate knowledge to protect them.
The “You Change, Your Kids Change” project offers parents lessons on how to deal with children/grandchildren who have “nomophobia”, or fear of going without mobile phones. Apart from teaching parents to deal with youngsters suffering from this condition, the project also monitors their performance via the LINE app. Results, so far, indicate the project has helped to reduce social inequalities. The project has also helped cut the expense of physically attending these classes and reduced spending on psychiatric help for the affected youngsters.
Toolmorrow has designed the course to suit “parents of all economic classes” hoping that such online lessons will serve as powerful tools in reducing social inequalities.
“Nowadays, media can inspire and educate the masses, while creative media can even perpetuate social changes… Do not just focus on raising awareness about an issue. Media should now deliver help, too, because they have the power to do so at this time,” Mr. Surasek concluded.
Ms. Montira Narkvichien, regional communications specialist for UN Women – Asia Pacific, presented “COVID-19 and Violence Against Women: The evidence behind the talk”, a research study by her agency. Conducted between September 2019 and November 2020, the study shows that women across the Asia-Pacific region were subject to violence during the spread of COVID-19. Backed by artificial intelligence, the research cited images of abused women posted on social media. During lockdowns, Twitter was also rife with derogatory, malicious, or aggressive comments about women. The use of misogynistic words online soared during lockdowns, especially in Thailand, where the usage was up to 22,384% higher than in other countries. Women also faced online shaming and violence from both their families and their communities during the lockdown.
The biggest concern from these findings is that women have been confined with their abusers during lockdowns and, as a result, have faced rising physical and emotional abuse. Moreover, access to the judicial process has been more difficult than usual during periods of lockdown.
Women should be included more in the policy-making process to ensure policies respond to their needs. It’s better to have women working for the right to express their honest opinions and needs. This mechanism is the critical success for involving women’s voices in the joint decision-making stage. Then, the equality place for everyone in society exists.” Ms. Montira concludes.
The symposium underlined that specialists from various fields, when brought together, can connect the dots and present a clearer picture of problems arising in Thai society during the COVID-19 outbreak. With everyone adapting to the new normal, all existing mechanisms must be adjusted to ensure they remain relevant, meaningful, and able to reduce social inequalities.
Digital Justice: Solution to Inequalities in the New Normal
Virgin Galactics Richard Branson now says hell beat Blue Origins Bezos to space
The billionaire space race is heating up.
Richard Branson is set to get his long-awaited trip to space as early as July 11, flying on a suborbital mission that would allow him to beat Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos, who is scheduled to fly on his company’s spacecraft nine days later.
Branson had been scheduled to go on a later flight but clearly wanted to be the first of the billionaire space entrepreneurs to blast out of the atmosphere.
In a statement announcing the mission, the company said Branson would be joined in the cabin by three Virgin Galactic employees who would evaluate the “cabin environment, seat comfort, the weightless experience, and the views of Earth that the spaceship delivers – all to ensure every moment of the astronaut’s journey maximizes the wonder and awe created by space travel.”
Among those employees is Beth Moses, Virgin Galactic’s chief astronaut instructor, who flew to space on the company’s second spaceflight mission. Virgin Galactic’s plane, known as SpaceShipTwo Unity, has reached space on three occasions, and this would be the first time it will have flown a crew of four.
In an interview, Branson said that he was “incredibly excited” and that moving up his flight was “honestly not” intended to best Bezos.
“I completely understand why the press would write that,” he said. “It’s just an incredible, wonderful coincidence that we’re going up in the same month.”
Bezos, who owns The Washington Post, recently said he would fly on July 20, the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. And on Thursday his space company, Blue Origin, announced he would be joined by Wally Funk, a member of the “Mercury 13,” a group of women privately tested and trained by a team of aviation medical experts for NASA’s astronaut program at the height of the space race.
Both Branson’s and Bezos’s flights will travel on suborbital trajectories that will just scratch the edge of space and give passengers a few minutes of weightlessness.
Virgin Galactic recently received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration that allows it to fly commercial passengers, paving the way for Branson to join the crew. In May, the company flew another test flight that went so well that the company felt it was safe to allow Branson to fly as part of the crew.
“I’ve been itching to go, and they said they wanted somebody to properly test the astronaut experience,” he said in the interview. “And I was damned if I was going to let anyone take that seat.”
Virgin Galactic, which Branson founded in 2004, has some 600 people signed up for flights – one of them Funk – and is expected to reopen sales around the time of Branson’s flight. The company had charged $250,000, but that price will increase. The company has not said what it would charge, but analysts have said it could be as much as $500,000.
Blue Origin has not announced ticket prices either. But it recently auctioned off a seat for $28 million for its first spaceflight mission. The company has yet not announced who the winner is.
Virgin Galactic flies out of Spaceport America in New Mexico. Unlike a traditional rocket, Virgin’s spacecraft is carried aloft to some 45,000 feet by a mother plane. The spacecraft is then dropped, and the pilots ignite its engines and fly the craft almost straight up.
In addition to Branson and Moses, Sirisha Bandla, Virgin Galactic’s vice president of government affairs and research operations, and Colin Bennett, the company’s lead operations engineer, would join the flight.
Virgin Galactic’s CEO, Michael Colglazier, said in an interview that the crew “are going to open the door for the rest of us to find a way to access space in the future.”
He said the company did a thorough safety review and determined that the previous test flight met all its objectives, meaning the company could move Branson up to its next test flight instead of the one to follow.
“It really gave us a choice as to whether Richard would prefer to fly on the first or the second,” Colglazier said. “And guess which one he chose?”
Branson said that after waiting to go to space for 17 years, he was most looking forward to seeing the earth from a distance, and allowing his customers, some of whom have been waiting for years to go as well.
“I truly believe that space belongs to all of us,” Branson said in a statement. “After 17 years of research, engineering and innovation, the new commercial space industry is poised to open the universe to humankind and change the world for good. It’s one thing to have a dream of making space more accessible to all; it’s another for an incredible team to collectively turn that dream into reality.”
Didi said to guide pricing U.S. IPO at top of range or above
Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Global Inc. is telling investors it plans to price shares in its U.S. initial public offering at or above the top of a marketed range, according to people familiar with the matter.
Didi plans to sell 288 million American depositary shares. It had marketed the shares at $13 to $14 each.
Deliberations are not final and the price could change, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. A representative for Didi did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The guidance shows investors are backing Didi despite Beijing’s scrutiny of Chinese internet firms, which has stoked uncertainty ahead of its debut.
At $14 a share, the IPO would raise about $4 billion, making it the second largest U.S. IPO by a Chinese company on record, after Alibaba’s $25 billion debut in 2014, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The price would give the company a market value of about $67 billion, based on the outstanding shares listed in the filing. That’s well below the peak of a range that had stretched up to $100 billion as recently as a few months ago.
Even though it is set to rank among the year’s biggest listings, the relatively modest showing by Uber Technologies Inc.’s peer and onetime rival reflects both investors’ increasing caution over pricey growth stocks, and China’s recent crackdown on its biggest tech players.
Didi’s IPO comes in a year that’s on track to set a record for first-time share sales, with almost $351 billion raised to date. More recently, creeping inflationary pressures have injected volatility into the IPO market.
The ride-hailing company is grappling with an antitrust probe into China’s internet giants, a source of uncertainty for the firm and peers such as its major backer Tencent Holdings Ltd. Didi, which was among 34 technology firms ordered by regulators in April to correct excesses, warned in an earlier filing that it couldn’t assure investors that government officials would be satisfied with its efforts or that it would escape penalties. In May, the antitrust watchdog ordered Didi and other leaders in on-demand transport to halt practices from arbitrary price hikes to unfair treatment of drivers.
After the coronavirus pandemic delivered an initial hit to its business last year, Didi rebounded quickly. In the first quarter, revenue more than doubled from the equivalent period a year earlier to reach $6.4 billion. The company also turned a profit for the three months, reporting net income of $837 million. It still posted a $1.6 billion loss last year on sales of $21.6 billion.
The company plans to use the IPO funds to invest in technology, grow its presence in some international markets and introduce new products, according to its U.S. filings. It’s planning to make its debut in Western Europe this year, Bloomberg News reported in February, and has invested heavily in so-called community buying, one of the hottest e-commerce growth areas in China.
The offering is being led by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase. In all, Didi appointed 20 advisers to manage the IPO. Its ADSs, four of which represent an ordinary share, are slated to start trading on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DIDI.
Published : July 01, 2021
By : Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Julia Fioretti, Vinicy Chan