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High speed railway linking Thailand and China takes another step

Jack Burton

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High speed railway linking Thailand and China takes another step | The Thaiger
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A high speed rail link between Thailand and China is closer to becoming a reality, according to Thai Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob. The signing of “Contract 2.3″ for the Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima section is expected in October this year. China has become a major player in the railway industry and, as a result, many countries, including Thailand, are working with China to develop their own high speed rail networks.

Following the meeting of the 28th Thai-Chinese Joint Committee, Chidchob said the 2 sides agreed on the 50.6 billion baht draft contract including the content on signaling and operation systems. The 253 kilometre rail route from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima in the northeast is part of a stage 2 project which will ultimately link Bangkok to NongKhai, bordering Laos.

The first phase covers a 125 billion baht link from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima. The second, expected to cost 200 billion baht,will run 355 kilometres from Nakhon Ratchasima to Nong Khai. For the second project, Thailand is working with China’s State Railway Group.

The projects form part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, launched by President Xi Jin-ping 6 years ago, according to the president of the All-China Journalists Association.

“This Belt & Road Initiative project will help China integrate with the rest of the world and link the Chinese dream with the global dream.”

The Belt and Road Initiative was developed to bolster economic and social ties with 65 countries in Asia, Africa and Europe, covering an estimated population of 4.4 billion people.

“I think it is important. The project will help connect people in the two countries via Laos. It can help promote socio-economic development and prosperity in these two countries and also across the whole Asian region. China has made a lot of investments in Laos. Among them is the China-Laos Railway, running from Kunming to Vientiane.”

Under Contract 2.3, 80% of the payment will be made in US dollars and the remaining 20% in baht.

The signing is scheduled for October or sooner before the 5 year project commences. PM Prayut Chan-o-cha will preside over the signing ceremony at Government House.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | TNA

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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    Clyde James

    May 30, 2020 at 2:59 pm

    The dream of economic prosperity and modernization based on the pictures painted by the CCP are enticing many political leaders to sign agreements that bind them ever closer to CCP influence and control. The question is whether the dream will match reality.
    Many countries are finding that they have become indebted to an evil political party that rules ruthlessly. Welcoming large investments by foreign companies, banks, and holding companies that are serving as fronts for the CCP has bankrupt native business owners who can not compete with CCP networks. By controlling tourism, transportation, hotels, accomodations, and hardware and dry good markets the CCP government gains control (ownership) of the means of production and the distribution goods and services. These my friends are the definition of communism. As the Thai saying goes “Beware of raising a baby tiger, for when it grows up it will eat you”.
    Look to the youth of Hong Kong for insight, do not let this happen to Thailand. Do not sell your souls to the devil.
    Please note that nothing that has been stated above is an inflection on Chinese people, for they suffer greatly under the CCP’s crushing fist. China and its people will offer great hope and prosperity to the world when if ever they throw off the enslaving yoke of the CCP communist dictatorship and join the free capitalistic democracies of the world.

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Bangkok

Poll shows most Bangkok residents dissatisfied with public bus service

Jack Burton

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Poll shows most Bangkok residents dissatisfied with public bus service | The Thaiger
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A recent survey by Bangkok Poll showed most of the city’s residents aren’t satisfied with the capital’s bus services, citing long waiting times, shabby conditions and thick black exhaust. The poll, conducted June 25-29 by the Bangkok University Research Centre, surveyed 1,299 people aged over 18 to gauge public satisfaction with city buses.

The largest group, 46.7%, said they were unsatisfied with buses operating on Bangkok streets; 33% were partly satisfied and 20.3% were mostly satisfied.

Asked to identify the problems with the capital’s public buses, 61.1% complained of long waiting and inadequate numbers of buses. Another 51.7% said most of the buses are old, while 41.2% complained of black smoke.

Asked to suggest improvements they’d like to see, 61.6% said they want buses to arrive on time to shorten commuting times. Some 53.1% wanted all city buses to be air conditioned. About 51.9% wanted them to be less crowded by adding frequencies and seats, in line with “new normal’’ and social distancing measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19, according to the poll.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Thailand growing more expensive for expats

Jack Burton

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Thailand growing more expensive for expats | The Thaiger
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According to Employment Conditions Abroad, Bangkok and Chiang Mai are among the 30 most expensive cities for expats in Asia. The capital of Turkmenistan might not spring to mind when with considering the priciest cities, but according to ECA International it ranks first on both the global and Asian tables, a 5 point rise up the rankings due to an ongoing economic crisis, food shortages and the resulting hyperinflation.

The survey is performed in March and September every year, based on a basket of items such as rents and utility fees. Car prices and school fees are not included.

In Asia, Bangkok ranks 28th, just above Chiang Mai, according to the latest ECA International survey on the cost of living for expatriates. But it dropped out of the top 50 global rankings from the report released in December 2019. In global rankings, Bangkok is now at 60 and Chiang Mai at 142. Bangkok has lost a good deal of its former appeal for budget-conscious travellers and expatriates, rising 64 places over the past 5 years, according to the survey.

ECA says a rapidly expanding economy and increased foreign investment, at least, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, made Thailand more expensive, fuelled by the strengthening baht.

“The baht has strengthened considerably, making the country more expensive for expatriates and tourists. However, this trend has slowed over the past year, partly in response to government attempts to weaken the baht in order to keep the country competitive.”

Hong Kong is the second most expensive city in Asia after Ashgabat (Turkmenistan), but ahead of Tokyo and Singapore. Singapore is rated the most expensive place for expats in Southeast Asia and has led that ranking for many years.

Hong Kong remains sixth in the global standings, 1 place ahead of the Japanese capital. Singapore was fourteenth in Asia, dropping 2 notches from the previous survey.

Ashgabat’s sudden rise to the top of the is largely attributable to the economic dilemmas of Turkmenistan’s government, according to ECA. The energy-rich Central Asian nation faces severe inflation, and a black market for foreign currencies has caused the cost of imports to rise. Both factors have sparked a large increase in the costs visitors pay.

The ECA says Chinese cities fell across the board due to signs of a weakening economy and poorly performing currency, even before Covid-19 began taking its toll.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Hospital director proposes importing overseas Covid-19 patients for treatment

Jack Burton

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Hospital director proposes importing overseas Covid-19 patients for treatment | The Thaiger
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With the Covid-19 situation in Thailand apparently well in hand (there have been no locally transmitted cases for well over a month), a hospital director in Bangkok is proposing flying in patients from abroad for treatment at his hospital. The director of Mongkutwattana Hospital is considering medical flights to bring international Covid-19 cases to the hospital for treatment, in an effort to stimulate the economy.

In a Facebook post, Dr Rienthong Nanna said flights would carry 60 passengers and be specially adapted to prevent the spread of the coronavirus outside the cabin. Under his proposal, the hospital would act as a state quarantine facility, caring for foreign patients until they are certified virus-free and allowed to travel in Thailand as tourists.

The proposal has the support of several clinics that treat international patients. Accommodation providers who want to collaborate with the hospital to prepare medical flights and state quarantine are invited to contact the director of Mongkutwattana Hospital’s office.

The Ministry of Public Health Ministry has not announced whether Thailand will consider accepting Covid-19 patients from overseas.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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