SET dives for 3rd straight day as political turmoil rocks market #SootinClaimon.Com

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SET dives for 3rd straight day as political turmoil rocks market

EconOct 19. 2020

By The Nation

The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) Index closed at 1,208.75 on Monday, down 24.93 points or 2.02 per cent. The volume of total transactions was Bt54 billion, with an index high of 1,223.15 and a low of 1,205.61.

In the morning session, an analyst at Krungsri Securities expected the day’s index to fluctuate between 1,225 and 1,245 despite hopes that US economic stimulus measures will be launched before the presidential election on November 3.

“Uncertainty over Thailand’s political unrest, as anti-government protesters prepare to hold rallies across the country, will pressure the index,” he said.

The 10 stocks with the highest trade value today were AOT, KBANK, CPALL, STGT, SCB, PTT, CBG, BBL, IVL and ADVANC.

As of 4.30pm, the price of oil dropped by US$0.14 or 0.34 per cent to $40.74 per barrel, while gold rose by $7.80 or 0.41 per cent, to $1,914.20 per ounce.

Other Asian indices were mixed:

Japan’s Nikkei Index closed at 23,671.13, up 260.50 points or 1.11 per cent.

China’s Shang Hai SE Composite Index closed at 3,312.67, down 23.69 points or 0.71 per cent, while Shenzhen SE Component Index closed at 13,421.19, down 111.54 points or 0.82 per cent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed at 24,542.26, up 155.47 points or 0.64 per cent.

South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2,346.74, up 5.21 points or 0.22 per cent.

Taiwan’s TAIEX Index closed at 12,908.34, up 157.97 points or 1.24 per cent.

Protesters gather at Kaset intersection, Klong Prem prison, Nonthaburi MRT station #SootinClaimon.Com

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Protesters gather at Kaset intersection, Klong Prem prison, Nonthaburi MRT station

PoliticsOct 19. 2020Protestors at Kaset Intersection hold up their cellphones for a demonstration dubbed ‘switch on the light to expel dictatorship’. Photo by Korbphuk PhromrekhaProtestors at Kaset Intersection hold up their cellphones for a demonstration dubbed ‘switch on the light to expel dictatorship’. Photo by Korbphuk Phromrekha 

By THE NATION

Pro-democracy protestors began gathering in Bangkok’s Kaset intersection near Kasetsart University on Monday afternoon after the Free Youth movement announced the new location on Facebook.

The Kaset Intersection rally ended peacefully at 7.15pm. Photo by Korbphuk Phromrekha

The Kaset Intersection rally ended peacefully at 7.15pm. Photo by Korbphuk Phromrekha

Protesters reportedly started stopping traffic at the intersection by putting up plastic barriers at about 4.30pm.

Traffic is jammed as the number of protesters swells beyond 1,000 at Kaset Intersection in Bangkok on Monday. More protestors were seen joining the rally. Photo by Korbphuk Phromrekha

Traffic is jammed as the number of protesters swells beyond 1,000 at Kaset Intersection in Bangkok on Monday. More protestors were seen joining the rally. Photo by Korbphuk Phromrekha

The other two protest sites in Greater Bangkok were the Klong Prem Central Prison and the MRT station near the Public Health Ministry complex in Nonthaburi. 

Photo by Korbphuk Phromrekha

Photo by Korbphuk Phromrekha

Protesters also simultaneously started gathering in Nakhon Pathom, Buri Ram, Maha Sarakham, Khon Kaen, Ubon Ratchathani, Lamphun, Phetchaburi, Chiang Mai, and Songkhla provinces.

Photo by Korbphuk Phromrekha

Photo by Korbphuk Phromrekha

Bangkok’s Skytrain and MRT services had not been suspended as of press time.

The crowd of pro-democracy protesters steadily grows on Monday evening at Bangkok’s Kaset intersection in Bang Khen district. The intersection is near Kasetsart University.

The crowd of pro-democracy protesters steadily grows on Monday evening at Bangkok’s Kaset intersection in Bang Khen district. The intersection is near Kasetsart University.

Pro-democratic doctor Tossaporn granted temporary release #SootinClaimon.Com

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Pro-democratic doctor Tossaporn granted temporary release

PoliticsOct 19. 2020

By THE NATION

Dr Tossaporn Serirak, a former Pheu Thai MP who became famous after being arrested while helping injured protesters on Friday, was granted bail by Pathumwan Municipal Court on Monday.

The doctor, who was charged for violating the “severe” state of emergency, has been released on condition that he not face similar charges again and that he report every time he is summoned.

The medical doctor, however, insists he will continue with his battle for democracy.

Tossaporn has reportedly been visiting protest sites to provide medical advice or offer first aid. A recording on Friday showed him attacking the authorities for cracking down on unarmed protesters, and offering to treat those affected by the chemical-laced water at the Police General Hospital.

Dr Tossaporn’s actions and political views have made him a celebrity, especially among the pro-democracy groups.

Social media users violating emergency orders will be reported to police: ministry #SootinClaimon.Com

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Social media users violating emergency orders will be reported to police: ministry

PoliticsOct 19. 2020Buddhipongse PunnakantaBuddhipongse Punnakanta 

By THE NATION

The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society said on Monday that it had ordered its permanent secretary to report to police those who violate the social media use orders under the state of emergency announced last week.

When asked if police had contacted the ministry to close websites or Facebook pages which urged people to join the protest, Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta answered that his subsidiary will report about news agencies that had violated the orders on Monday.

He said that his ministry would contact some Facebook pages to close as soon as possible, if allowed by the court. He said that the ministry was monitoring all users, and over 300,000 URLs have violated the emergency decree.

Asked if the government was effectively silencing people, Buddhipongse explained that the operations against media and social media users would be executed with care. Those who are not obviously wrong would not be prosecuted, he assured.

Panupong flung behind bars for sedition, altering historic site #SootinClaimon.Com

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Panupong flung behind bars for sedition, altering historic site

PoliticsOct 19. 2020Panupong JadnokPanupong Jadnok 

By THE NATION

Protest leader Panupong “Mike” Jadnok was taken this morning to the Bangkok criminal court to be detained for 12 days for sedition and altering a historic site.

The sedition charge was related to his participation in the September 19 protest.

The second charge was related to his role in the installing of the 2020 coup memorial plaque in Sanam Luang on September 20. This case was filed by the Fine Arts Department.

Panupong was arrested on Saturday in Bangkok’s Ramkhamhaeng area and was then taken to Huamark Police Station.

The protest leader has denied both charges and police have objected to him being granted bail. Officers said Panupong faces other, more serious charges and may flee if he is granted temporary release.

Anutin vows to have half of population jabbed once Covid-19 vaccine released #SootinClaimon.Com

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Anutin vows to have half of population jabbed once Covid-19 vaccine released

NationalOct 19. 2020Public Health Minister Anutin CharnvirakulPublic Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul 

By The Nation

Siam Bioscience Group has been chosen to produce the Covid-19 vaccine once the human trials conducted by Oxford University and AstraZeneca prove to be successful.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul announced on Monday that the vaccine will initially be tried out on Thais in their mid-60s, with the eventual target of covering at least 50 per cent of the population.

The Public Health Ministry is working on ensuring a sufficient supply of the vaccine by pre-booking through the World Health Organisation’s COVAX facility, using bilateral agreements or negotiating for technology transfer.

Thailand is also developing vaccines using seven codes, namely mRNA, DNA, viral-like particle, protein subunit, viral vector, as well as inactivated and live attenuated vaccination. There are nine agencies involved, including private and public universities.

So far, three studies based on mRNA, DNA and plant-based vaccine have entered the Phase 1 and 2 of clinical trials. It is difficult to conduct human trials domestically because Thailand does not have enough Covid-19 patients.

Dr Supakit Sirilak, the Public Health Ministry’s deputy permanent secretary, said approximately 65 million doses will have to be reserved if half of the population, or some 30 million people are to be vaccinated.

He added that some 40 per cent of the doses will be reserved with COVAX, 40 per cent with AstraZeneca and 20 per cent with other sources.

“Siam Bioscience has the potential to produce up to 200 million doses. Once the technology transfer agreement is signed, the Thai side will have to be trained on production processes. AstraZeneca’s vaccine is expected to pass Phase 3 testing and production should start in December. After that it needs to register with the FDA in the UK and Thailand, before we can start producing the vaccine mid next year,” said Nakorn Premsri, director of the National Vaccine Institute.

Meanwhile, the price of the vaccine has yet to be set clearly. Initially, COVAX priced each dose at US$10.55 (Bt329), but AstraZeneca has said its vaccines will be a lot cheaper.

Police deny online crackdown despite moves against media outlets #SootinClaimon.Com

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Police deny online crackdown despite moves against media outlets

NationalOct 19. 2020

By The Nation

Police have confirmed the authenticity of a leaked document revealing their actions against social media, but deny a crackdown on internet freedom is underway.

The document, released by the Free Youth protest movement, shows police have targeted the Free Youth’s Facebook page for allegedly violating the emergency decree by spreading information that could incite unrest. In response Free Youth opened a Telegram messaging account, but this is now being scrutinised by authorities.

Assistant national police chief Jaruwat Wisaya on Monday confirmed police had asked the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) and Digital Economy and Society Ministry to consider whether protester’s social media accounts were breaking the emergency law. Police also asked the NBTC to check four media outlets – Voice TV, Prachathai website, The Reporters and The Standard.

Jaruwat said police would have to follow procedures by applying for a court order first before suspending or censoring any online outlets found to be breaking the law.

He denied that police had policies or orders to restrict or shut down media, adding that allegations against media outlets would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

However, he said a media and information management committee had been set up under the emergency decree to monitor news and information that might affect national security.

Chaired by the Digital Economy and Society Ministry’s permanent Secretary, the committee will inform police when action should be taken against media and social media outlets.

Related story:

74 held over past three days of protests, police threaten to detain more

Telegram targeted in media crackdown #SootinClaimon.Com

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Telegram targeted in media crackdown

NationalOct 19. 2020

By The Nation

The government moved to block communications on the Telegram messaging app on Monday, claiming they pose a threat to national security under the special emergency decree.

After police moved to shut down its Facebook page on Friday, the Free Youth movement called for protesters to switch to the Telegram messaging app.

The Digital Economy and Society (DES) Ministry asked the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to delete information on Telegram, claiming it violated the emergency decree imposed last Thursday in response to escalating anti-government protests.

The decree bans gatherings of five or more people and dissemination of information that threatens public order.

The pro-democracy Free Youth movement opened the Telegram account after national police chief Suwat Jangyodsuk asked the NBTC to close its Facebook page along with four media outlets – Voice TV, Prachathai.com, The Reporters and The Standard.

Government critics condemned the move as a slide back towards dictatorship.

Political crisis worries private sector despite consistent rise in industrial confidence #SootinClaimon.Com

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Political crisis worries private sector despite consistent rise in industrial confidence

NationalOct 19. 2020Supant Mongkolsutee, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI)Supant Mongkolsutee, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) 

By The Nation

The Thai Industrial confidence index in September improved for the fifth consecutive month, however a majority of business owners have expressed concern about the political situation.

The index rose to 85.2 in September, increasing from 84.0 in August, Supan Mongkolsutee, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), said.

He said the survey results pointed to expanding domestic demand over the previous month after the government relaxed lockdown measures, helping economic activities in the country recover.

The recent economic stimulus and measures to help small and medium-sized entrepreneurs have helped improve domestic purchasing power. This is reflected by the index of orders, sales, production and turnover, which increased in both durable and non-durable products, Suphan said. Meanwhile, the export and shipping sectors showed positive signs after several countries eased Covid-19 control measures, causing trading partners to import more products from Thailand

According to a survey of 1,301 entrepreneurs covering 45 industry groups nationwide in September, it was found that 55.3 per cent of operators were concerned about the domestic political situation, 40.4 per cent about oil prices and interest rates, and 36.8 per cent about loans.

Factors alleviating the operators’ concerns were the recovering world economy (65.7 per cent), the exchange rate (42.4 per cent — mostly exporters).

The index forecast dropped to 93.3 from 94.5 in August. The drop was due to concerns about the second round of Covid-19, both domestic and abroad, especially the situation of the outbreak in neighbouring countries.

Many countries have enforced more lockdown measures. This will put pressure on the recovery of the Thai export sector in the future. Moreover, the end of the debt moratorium in October may affect the liquidity of businesses and the purchasing power in the country.

However, the issues that industrial sectors want the state to take are: accelerate budget disbursement through public investment projects, both central and regional, to help stimulate the economy; offer additional financial measures to help SMEs after the end of the debt moratorium in October; and, encourage government agencies to purchase and hire products from domestic entrepreneurs.

More than 1,000 doctors protest violence against protesters #SootinClaimon.Com

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More than 1,000 doctors protest violence against protesters

NationalOct 19. 2020

By The Nation

The number of doctors who have signed a petition protesting violence against anti-government protesters has risen from 386 to 1,008.

On Monday, medics issued a statement condemning policing of the rally on Friday (October 16), when water cannon was used to clear protesters from Pathumwan Intersection and an ambulance was blocked while transporting a casualty.

The statement said medical personnel had to treat every person without discrimination under any circumstance and protect the rights and privacy of patients.

The doctors also demanded that authorities follow international regulations and stop using violence against peaceful protests, while ensuring that hospitals are safe and neutral locations.

International regulations forbid the use of chemical irritants against peaceful protesters, the medics said. Protesters complained of a burning sensation in their eyes and skin after being targeted by water cannon on Friday.

The government should heed international standards and open a space for people who want to voice their opinion, the doctors added.