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US-China trade war accelerates formation of RCEP trade bloc

The Thaiger

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US-China trade war accelerates formation of RCEP trade bloc | The Thaiger

The escalation of the trade war between China and the US might help push forward negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement.

RCEP, once formed, will be the largest trading bloc in the world.

Trade ministers from China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the 10 ASEAN member states met in Beijing last weekend for the latest round of RCEP. Ministers confirmed their commitment to concluding talks by the end of the year end and signing the agreement in 2020. They are all scheduled to meet in Bangkok next month to finalise the agreement.

The RCEP meeting was held amid an intensifying trade war as the US President Donald Trump announced additional tariffs on US$300 billion of Chinese goods, triggering retaliatory measures from China. That’s spurred a war of words between Japan and South Korea as well as traditional trade partners and pathways are disrupted. The countries involved hope that RCEP may provide a forum for members to ease tensions and ensure smooth continuity of regional supply chains amid growing geopolitical tensions.

Negotiations on a total of seven chapters and three annexes have already been concluded, while remaining chapters or annexes near conclusion. Recently concluded annexes include telecommunications, financial and professional services.

Thailand’s Trade Negotiations Department Director General, Oramon Sapthaweetham, said the RCEP agreement should provide additional benefits to Thailand’s exporters, on top of existing free trade agreements.

For examples, Thai exporters should be able to ship more machinery, electrical appliances, plastics, chemicals, autos and parts, tires, fibre, apparel, tapioca and paper to other RCEP countries. Additionally, RCEP should lead to clearer trade and investment regulations.

The agreement should also encourage Thai investors to invest in other RCEP countries, in areas where Thailand has strong expertise, such as in construction, retail, health-related businesses as well as the movie and entertainment industries, especially in post-production and animation.

The new RCEP is intended to cover a wide range of issues from trade and investment to services, as well as new areas of business such as electronic commerce. Late last month, the Thai Cabinet gave trade negotiators a mandate to negotiate the intellectual property issue in RCEP.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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ASEAN

China has the most atheists, Indonesia and Philippines the most believers

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China has the most atheists, Indonesia and Philippines the most believers | The Thaiger

“According to the survey there is a connection between religiosity, beliefs and socio-demographic characteristics like age, income and education level.”

China is the least believing country in the world but belief in a God gets 100% mention in countries like Indonesia, Bangladesh and Philippines, according to the survey by Gallup International.

According to the survey exploring religious tendencies of 66,000 people in 68 countries across the world, 62 per cent of people in the world define themselves as religious, 74% of people globally believe we have a ‘soul’ and 71% believe in a God. Another 56% believe in heaven, 54% in life after death and 49% in hell.

China has the highest percentage of atheists in the world with 67% not believing in any religion. Every seven out ten people are atheists, more than double than any other country. 23% consider themselves as non-religious. Less than 10% identify themselves as religious in China.

China’s atheist percentage is followed by Japan, a long way behind in second place at 29%, Slovenia (28%) and Chech Republic (25%). Despite rapid industrialisation and urbanisation religion has stayed relevant in the South Korean region with only 23% identifying as atheist.

China has the most atheists, Indonesia and Philippines the most believers | News by The Thaiger

European countries like Belgium (21 %), France (21%) , Sweden (18%) and Iceland (17%) also have a large percentage of believing population.

Bangladesh, Indonesia and Philippines are the most believing countries with entire population claiming to believe in God, soul, hell and heaven. Thailand and Pakistan have 99% believing population, followed by India, Vietnam and Mongolia.

The survey shows that the levels of religiosity diminish as income and education levels increase. While 66% of people with low income affirm to be religious, this percentage drops to 50% among people with higher incomes. The same trend is verified in relation to education levels: 83% of people with lower education level are religious against 49% of higher level.

According to the survey there is a connection between religiosity, beliefs and socio-demographic characteristics like age, income and education level. As education and income levels grow higher, religiosity levels tend to go down. Also, the expression of different beliefs is higher among young people.

The level of education has a considerable influence on the perception of religion by the society. Women and young children show higher percentage for spiritual forces.

China has the most atheists, Indonesia and Philippines the most believers | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Data Leads

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Bangkok and Nonthaburi to get 2 extra holidays during ASEAN summit

May Taylor

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Bangkok and Nonthaburi to get 2 extra holidays during ASEAN summit | The Thaiger

November 4 and 5 have been approved as official holidays for Bangkok and Nonthaburi as a result of the 35th Asean Summit and Related Summits being held at Impact Arena Muang Thong Thani in Bangkok.

Deputy government spokeswoman Traisulee Traisoranakul confirmed yesterday that the measure was being taken in an effort to alleviate traffic problems in both areas during the summit, adding that other state enterprises and the Bank of Thailand could implement the holidays for their subsidiaries at their own discretion and on a case-by-case basis.

“Government agencies in Bangkok and Nonthaburi will stop working on these dates. Meanwhile, state enterprises and the Bank of Thailand will consider announcing November 4 and 5 as holidays for their subsidiaries on case-by-case basis.”

“However, government agencies which have a necessity to provide urgent or previously scheduled services to their clients that cannot be postponed may stay open on November 4 and 5, depending on the decision by the heads of these departments.”

Some other public or regional holidays coming up…

Bangkok and Nonthaburi to get 2 extra holidays during ASEAN summit | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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Two more Thai marine parks declared ASEAN heritage parks

The Thaiger

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Two more Thai marine parks declared ASEAN heritage parks | The Thaiger

PHOTO: bluestars.info

“The two marine parks are Thailand’s fifth and sixth to be given the status of ASEAN heritage parks.”

Two southern Thailand national parks have been recognised as ASEAN heritage parks at this week’s 15th ASEAN environment ministers’ meeting in Siem Reap, Cambodia, the home of Angkor Wat. Warawut Silpa-archa, Thailand’s Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, told reporters the ASEAN environment ministers voted unanimously to designate Haad Chao Mai-Koh Libong No-hunting Zone and Ang Thong marine parks as the 45th and 46th ASEAN heritage parks.

Ang Thong Marine Park, west of Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand, is made up of 42 islands rich in natural diversity, with a rare orchid, the Venus slipper, only available in the park. It is also the feeding ground for Bryde or Bruda whales, bottlenose dolphins and green turtles.

Haad Chao Mai-Koh Libong No-hunting Zone Marine Park, off Trang province, is rich in sea grass and corals and is the feeding ground of dugongs.

The two marine parks are Thailand’s fifth and sixth to be given the status of ASEAN heritage parks after Khao Yai National Park, Tarutao, Surin-Similan-Similan-Phang-nga Bay marine parks and the Kaeng Krachan forest complex in Kanchanaburi province.

To qualify as ASEAN heritage parks, they must meet certain criteria, such as ecological richness, natural characteristics, regional representation, high conservation importance, proper management, cross-boundary characteristics and connectivity between cultures and the ecological system and natural diversity.

Two more Thai marine parks declared ASEAN heritage parks | News by The Thaiger Two more Thai marine parks declared ASEAN heritage parks | News by The Thaiger

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