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Xayaburi Dam owners say they’re not responsible for dry Mekong River

The Thaiger

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Xayaburi Dam owners say they’re not responsible for dry Mekong River | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Laotian Times

CK Power, operators of the new Xayaburi Dam in Laos, are denying their dam tests (running from July 15 until tomorrow) are responsible for the low water flows in the Mekong River. The tests were a lead up to full scale production of electricity from October this year, most of which will head to Thailand.

Fingers are being pointed at both the Jinghong Dam in China and Xayaburi Dam in Laos for the low water flow in Thai areas of the Mekong. But the company says it’s the low rainfall which is causing the drought, not their dam tests.

According to Thailand’s Office of the National Water Resources, the trials would severely impact the drought-hit provinces in the northeastern region, whose tributaries rely on water from the Mekong River. The office added that Thai water level gauges below the dam found that water levels had dropped by almost 1.8 metres, which is the lowest in 28 years, since the dam began to store water on July 9.

CK Power has invested 135 billion baht into the eight-year construction project, which started in 2012 and is currently 99.4% complete. They say they’ve also invested heavily in ecological research, especially the ‘fish ladder’ technology which monitors the movement and breeding of fish that have moved up and down the Mekong for centuries. But critics are saying that there are no guarantees the fish will use the ladder technology and that long term effects from the dam are not known.

CK Power claim the new dam will produce 7,600 gigawatt hours of electricity per year, most of which will be sent to Tha Li district in Loei province, just over the border in north-east Thailand. It’s the company’s second hydropower investment in Laos – their first was the Nam Ngum 2 Dam. CK Power’s concession lasts until 2050, when the project will be transferred back to the government in Laos.

The selling point to Laos citizens is better living conditions as a result of job and wealth creation as well as the technology and education which the government says will increase engineering skills in the country.

Already 15 villages have been affected by the project, seven requiring resettlement to new areas around the dam. The Xayaburi Dam has forced 2,975 people to move to new homes.

Xayaburi Dam owners say they're not responsible for dry Mekong River | News by The Thaiger

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Bangkok

Airports of Thailand block entrance to new Central Village at Suvarnabhumi

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Airports of Thailand block entrance to new Central Village at Suvarnabhumi | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Nation

Please be seated and fasten your seat belts due to severe turbulence at the front of the almost-open Central Village “luxury outlet” shopping area next to Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok.

A dispute between Airports of Thailand and Central Pattana, the owners of Central Village, has hit some mid-air turbulence after AOT officials set up tents blocking the entrance of the hew shopping precinct to open on August 31. The AOT claims the outlet “trespasses the flying zone of Suvarnabhumi Airport” next door.

AOT president Nitinai Sirismatthakarn says he sent officials to inspect the disputed area earlier and found that Central Village was building a road connecting the outlet to the main road.

“The road they are building trespasses the airport’s flying zone. The land was assigned to AOT’s administration by the Treasury Ministry.”
Nitinai added that Central Village also applied for permission to lay a water pipe through the land, which cannot be approved because this, too, would violate flying zone regulations.

Meanwhile, Central Pattana issued a letter claiming its construction strictly follows current urban laws and regulations, and that it had received approval from related agencies before commencing all work.

The letter also said that applying for tap water and electricity connections from responsible authorities is a fundamental right to basic infrastructure, which every citizen is entitled to.

SOURCE: The Nation

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ASEAN

US and China ramp up the rhetoric and the tariffs in a day of tit-for-tat

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US and China ramp up the rhetoric and the tariffs in a day of tit-for-tat | The Thaiger

Beijing has unveiled a new round of retaliatory tariffs on the US valued around US$75 billion. China will now place additional tariffs of 5%-10% on US imports starting next week.

The tit-for-tat trade war between the world’s two largest economies is causing widespread disruption to supply chains and long-held trade conventions.

China’s Finance Ministry says they will also resume tariffs on US imports of automobiles and automobile parts – 25% for vehicles and 5% on parts starting December 15.

China said it would take countermeasures last week after the US announced it would impose new 10% tariffs on Chinese imports worth US$300 billion. The new Chinese tariffs will target 5,078 exported products, including soybeans, seafood, coffee, whiskey and oil.

US President Trump responded yesterday saying that he would increase rates on existing tariffs on Chinese imports.

“We don’t need China and, frankly, would be far better off without them.”

The US President also “ordered” US companies “to immediately start looking for an alternative to China.”

the American Farm Bureau claim the tit-for-tat tariff reaction from the President “signals more trouble for American agriculture.”

“We know continued retaliation only adds to the difficulties farm and ranch families are facing and takes the situation in the exact wrong direction,” the statement said.

But the US National Retail Federation says the President’s demands are “unrealistic.”

“For years, retailers have been diversifying their supply chains, but finding alternative sources is a costly and lengthy process that can take years. It is unrealistic for American retailers to move out of the world’s second largest economy.”

“Our presence in China allows us to reach Chinese customers and develop overseas markets. This, in turn, allows us to grow and expand opportunities for American workers, businesses and consumers.”

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Business

Thai finance minister confident GDP will pick up next quarter

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Thai finance minister confident GDP will pick up next quarter | The Thaiger

Deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak says he is confident Thailand’s gross domestic product will pick up in the fourth quarter as a result of the launch of 316 billion baht economic stimulus package from the Thai government.

He claims the new rice price guarantee scheme will also assist the agricultural sector.

The Cabinet approved the new packages at its Tuesday meeting. The National Rice Policy Committee approved a budget of 21 billion baht to guarantee the price of rice harvested in 2019 and 2020 the following day.

Somkid recently held a meeting with the Bank of Thailand and Finance Ministry to discuss a plan to set up a joint committee to steer the Thai economy.

Meanwhile, Standard Chartered Bank has downgraded its 2019 GDP growth forecast for Thailand to 3% from 3.3%. The bank expects growth in the second half to improve from a weak 2.6% in the first half.

According to the National Economic and Social Development Council, the country’s GDP expanded 2.3 per cent in the second quarter compared to the previous quarter’s growth of 2.8 per cent.

According to the Finance Ministry, the country’s debt level in the next five years is expected to be 46.73%, while the GDP next year is expected to expand by 3.5%, then 3.6% in 2021, 3.8% in 2022 and 4% in 2023.

SOURCE: The Nation

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