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Island View – Fighting for British pensions in Phuket’s paradise

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Island View – Fighting for British pensions in Phuket’s paradise | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Your signatures are needed to end the unfair frozen overseas pension policy of the British government.

Some of you may not be aware that when a United Kingdom state pensioner retires to live abroad in certain countries their pension is frozen and they do not receive annual cost-of-living increases. There are over half a million of these pensioners affected by this totally unjust law, mostly in the Commonwealth countries of Australia, Canada and South Africa, but also in Thailand. These pensioners made the same National Insurance contributions as those living in the UK who get the increases.

The International Consortium of British Pensioners (ICBP) is the organization representing UK pensioners living abroad and they have been very active in trying to get the government to change the legislation so that all pensioners are treated equally.

A new electronic petition on the frozen pension issue, sponsored by the ICBP, has now been posted on the government website with the aim of obtaining 100,000 signatures so that this matter can be considered for debate in the House of Commons. So come on, you Britons, male and female, young and old, rich and poor, speak out and add your name to the petition.

To sign the petition, visit bit.ly/BritPensions and click on the “Sign this petition” button.

Complete all the details and make sure your email address is accurate, as you will be sent a confirmation message as part of the process.

Where asked if you are a “British Citizen or UK Resident”, answer “yes”, unless you are neither.

Having completed all of the above, click the next box, “I agree to the Terms and Conditions”, then click on the box “Sign this E petition”.

You will receive a confirmation email usually within minutes. Click on the link provided in that email and your signature will be registered.

Additional votes will not be accepted from the same email address. If you are a couple who share one email address, both names can be entered in the name box but it will only register one vote.

— Peter Wyborn



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BOI approves new rail services, new port investment

The Thaiger

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BOI approves new rail services, new port investment | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Duangjai Asawachintachit, BOI secretary general

The Board of Investment of Thailand (BOI) has laid out strategies to boost the development of rail services and the country’s cruise tourism.

Duangjai Asawachintachit, BOI secretary general, says the latest BOI meeting chaired by the Prime Minister had resolved to instigate measures to attract investment in rail development and related infrastructure for continued economic growth.

According to Duangjai, investment projects for rail development and related sectors will be entitled to a tax break of 50% for the first three to five years of investment.

The BOI also approved measures to stimulate the cruise tourism business, with the aim of attracting more tourists to the kingdom.

Moreover, the BOI has introduced a plan to attract aerospace investment to U-Tapao Airport in 2019 as part of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) project, as the EEC Office is planning to develop an “Aerotropolis” which will stretch over 30 kilometers from the airport.

Additionally, the meeting endorsed the 7-year strategic investment promotion plan, spanning 2015 to 2021, which it is anticipated will contribute 418 billion baht to the country’s GDP.

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Chinese foreign policy – On track

The Thaiger

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Chinese foreign policy – On track | The Thaiger

by Nikkei Asia Review

“When Japanese trading house Itochu and train maker Hitachi withdrew from a soon-to-be-decided $7 billion tender for a high-speed rail project near Bangkok, it appeared to be another victory for China and its grand plans to connect Southeast Asia with railways.

Thailand has for decades been the centerpiece of Tokyo’s strategy for Southeast Asia, and long-discussed plans to build extensive shinkansen-style rail lines in the country’s east and north were meant to cement the relationship between the two nations.

But while Japan’s ambitions have been stalled by disagreements about financing and other details, Beijing has managed to push ahead with construction of a separate high-speed rail line in northern Thailand. To some, the rail projects are a symbol of China’s growing influence in a country where Japan had spent decades building ties.”

The article predicts that the Chinese investment into South East Asian rail services is part of its broader ‘belt and road’ policy that is stretching out into new routes and connecting regions, and China, with hitherto remote parts of the asian continent.

“China’s high-speed rail ambitions in Southeast Asia don’t end in Bangkok, however. Under its planned 3,000-km pan-Asian railway network, Chinese rail lines will extend even further south, stretching through Malaysia and feeding into Singapore.”

Chinese foreign policy - On track | News by The Thaiger

China’s reach southwards will allow it to exert greater political influence on places like Singapore which, for now, still retains strong connections to Washington. Investing in high-speed railways all the way from China’s borders to the tip of the Malay Peninsula is a lot more than just an economic investment, it’s a high-profile symbol of China’s new influence in the region where issues such as ‘Taiwan’ and it’s demands in the South China Sea have caused prickly negotiations with the ASEAN countries.

But to reach Singapore, China must first get Malaysia on side…

“A dramatic recent shift in Malaysian politics has put China’s plans for Singapore on hold, however. After his election in May, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad decided to hold up “for now” the $20 billion 688-km east coast rail line connecting southern Thailand to Kuala Lumpur, and postpone for two years a 350-km high-speed rail link between the Malaysian capital and Singapore.”

The article says that these ‘investments’ are actually just loans for high-priced infrastructure that often cannot be repaid by smaller economies….

“China typically provides loans, not grants, for foreign infrastructure projects, and takes possession of the project if the recipient is unable to repay its debt – as happened with a port in Sri Lanka. Such instances have prompted critics in the West to accuse China of practicing ‘debt diplomacy’.”

Read more of this fascinating and important article from Nikkei Asia Review HERE.

Chinese foreign policy - On track | News by The Thaiger

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Thailand opens doors to cryptocurrencies – Thaiger Bites

The Thaiger

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Thailand opens doors to cryptocurrencies – Thaiger Bites | The Thaiger

Divisions are forming across Asia with regards to cryptocurrencies. Some nations such as China are constantly stomping on anything to do with crypto assets but others, Thailand being the latest, are opening their digital doors to the fledgling industry.

Over the past year Thailand has warmed to crypto and this latest raft of official licenses is a big boost to the industry in the country and region as a whole. Military rulers and the central bank remains wary which is no surprise and have issued warnings to investors. Overall though the sentiment is positive and an official ICO portal has even been proposed by the SEC.

Read more about this story from News BTC HERE.

(Thaiger Bites provides these short snippets for stories we believe of interest to our readers)

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