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Phuket Gazette: Eco-news for Thailand includes bad news for polluters

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Phuket Gazette: Eco-news for Thailand includes bad news for polluters | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Suzuki launches Thailand-made eco car

PHUKET (The Nation): Suzuki Motor (Thailand) yesterday launched a new version of its Swift compact model under a Thai government program to promote local manufacture of fuel-efficient vehicles.

Suzuki Motor Corp’s Executive Vice President Toshi Hiro said three versions of the eco-Swift will be available on the Thai market at prices ranging from 469,000 baht to 559,000 baht (US25,370 to 18,328), inexpensive by Thai standards.

The launch of the model, designed to run more than 20 kilometers per liter of fuel, followed a similar launch by Mitsubishi Motors Thailand of its new Mirage model on Tuesday.

Five Japanese automobile manufacturers won tax privileges to design and produce compact, fuel-efficient passenger cars for the domestic and export market.

Nissan Motor Corp was the first to produce a Thai-made eco car, the March, in 2010, before Honda Motor Co Ltd launched its competing Brio last year.

While Nissan’s March has enjoyed sales averaging 3,000 units a month in Thailand, the launch of the Brio was dogged by the mass floods that inundated the Honda factory in central Thailand in October, halting operations for months.

The factory is scheduled to re-open on March 31. Honda on Wednesday denied news reports that the flood had led it to shift its major production hub from Thailand to Indonesia, where it has been investing.

“The plan for the Indonesian expansion was in place well before the flood,” the company said in a statement.

The Jakarta plant, which aims to supply the Indonesian demand for small cars, would, however, produce an Indonesian version of the Brio instead of importing cars produced in Thailand.

Toyota is expected to launch a new compact model for the Thai market by the end of this year.

Manufacturers of low-emission vehicles enjoy reduced excise taxes in Thailand if they meet government requirements on fuel consumption, safety standards, engine size and production levels.

All models must meet European safety standards.

Thailand designed the program to attract new investment to its automotive industry, the world’s second-largest producer and exporter of 1-ton pickup trucks.

The eco-car is designed for urban, cost-conscious customers.

Under the program, manufacturers must produce at least 100,000 units annually by their fifth year of operation.

Syndication for 3 solar farms

PHUKET (The Nation): SPCG Plc and Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Plc have won a syndicated loan worth Bt1.5 billion for their three jointly-owned solar farms in Nakhon Ratchasima.

Kasikornbank and Bank of Ayudhya joined the 55:45 syndication. Winning the financing are the Solar Power Korat 3, Solar Power Korat 4 and Solar Power Korat 7 projects, which are owned 60 per cent by SPCG and 40 per cent by Ratchaburi.

Wandee Khunchornyakong, chairman and chief executive officer of SPCG, said that these would compliment the company’s 34 solar farm projects, of which 7 have been completed and supplied power to the Provincial Electricity Authority. Nine are under construction and 18 would start construction within this year. Their combined capacity is 240MW.

To Peerawat Pumthong, chief operating officer of Ratchaburi, added that the new projects would help the company achieve its goal to expand its renewable energy business, in light of higher fossilized fuel prices. Aside from partnership in the three projects, Ratchaburi also looks for cooperation in other projects in the near future.

“The loan reflects the projects’ potential. While the banks show confidence in the projects, we’re convinced that renewable energy development would win strong support from all parties involved,” Peerawat said.

BOI wooing Japanese battery makers for electric cars

PHUKET (The Nation): The Board of Investment (BOI) will discuss with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra a policy to woo Japanese battery-makers for electric cars to set up production bases in Thailand.

BOI secretary-general Atchaka Sriboonrueng Brimble said the agency would talk with the prime minister on policy and investment conditions for the production of batteries for electric cars and they are expected to be finalized soon. It also will meet with a major Japanese battery maker at its next roadshow in Osaka to discuss the matter.

She added that judging from talks with leading Japanese car makers, they are of the view that there is a possibility of manufacturing electric cars here.

The BOI currently offers tax incentives for the manufacture of high-technology batteries for electric vehicles (EVs), including a corporate-tax waiver for eight years, and the investors can operate in any zone.

An industrial source said there was a high chance of an investment for the manufacture of electric-car batteries in Thailand.

Meanwhile, Takayuki Sugiyama, president of Suzuki Motor (Thailand), said the company had introduced three models of the redesigned Suzuki Swift eco-cars, featuring a 1,242cc engine. It aims to sell 10,000 Swifts in Thailand in the first year and export 5,000. The debut will help boost its total car sales to 20,000 units this year against 9,600 last year.

Toyota Motor (Thailand) is ready to invest in an EV programme in the Kingdom if BOI plans to extend its eco-car project to such projects.

Vice chairman Ninnart Chaithirapinyo said yesterday that the company had supported many projects launched by the government such as the production of vehicles fueled by E85 (85-per-cent ethanol) gasohol or natural gas.

“However, the EV project also depends on the infrastructure of the country,” he said.

Ninnart said Toyota was not worried about the high competition in the eco-car market. He said the Vios and Yaris were still gaining popularity among customers, resulting in orders for 10,000 units a month. This would take Vios sales to no fewer than 100,000 units this year.

A source in the car industry said Toyota could possibly revise its car sales target for this year to 500,000 units from the previous target of 450,000 units.

Mitsubishi Mirage eco-car makes its debut

PHUKET (The Nation): Thailand yesterday hosted the world premier of the Mitsubishi Mirage eco car in its role as the sole manufacturing base for the “Global Small” model.

Mitsubishi Motors (Thailand) Co expects to sell 2,000 Mirages a month under the Thai government’s policy to promote eco car production.

Osamu Masuko, president of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, and Nobuyuki Murahashi, president of Mitsubishi Motors (Thailand), said 100,000 units would be produced in the first year with 80-per-cent local content, increasing to 90 per cent next year.

If demand is strong, production can be raised to 150,000 units.

Mitsubishi is preparing to develop an electric version of the Mirage, which would take two years before production is started. Whether Thailand is chosen as the production base of the electric model depends on its readiness to make batteries, which are a key component.

The Mirage is Mitsubishi Motors’ first eco car under the “Global Small” project aimed at serving the rising demand for cars in emerging economies.

The Mirage is assembled at Mitsubishi’s new Bt16 billion plant in the Laemchabang Industrial Estate. It is also the biggest production base outside Japan.

Mitsubis

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Thailand

Thailand News Today | Immigration deadline, quarantine update?, arrests averted | October 30

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Thailand News Today | Immigration deadline, quarantine update?, arrests averted | October 30 | The Thaiger

Last day of the week and all the main stories from around Thailand. Thailand News Today, a bit late today but here it is…

Some immigration offices open tomorrow for last minute visa extensions

The latest amnesty is up tomorrow (October 31) and some immigration offices will be open for those who still need sort out their visa extensions.

Those who miss the deadline could face fines for overstay, immigration officials warn. The extensions all go into effect from November 1 and allow a 60 day stay.

Some immigration offices that are typically closed on Saturdays will be open tomorrow for those filing for extensions. Immigration Bureau commissioner Sompong Chingduang says immigration offices on Chaeng Watthana Road in Bangkok and at Muang Thong Thani in Nonthaburi, just outside Bangkok city, will be open tomorrow from 8.30am to 4.30pm. Check with your local immigration office.

Court rejects bid to arrest activists who led march on German Embassy

A bid to apprehend 5 anti-government activists who led a march to the Germany Embassy on Monday has failed, after a court in Bangkok rejected a police application for arrest warrants.

The Bangkok South Criminal Court has turned down the application for arrest warrants.

The 5 would have faced charges of sedition and other offences. But the court told officials to instead issue a summons, given that the protesters are students who only gathered for a short time and are unlikely to flee.

On Monday, protesters marched to the German Embassy to submit a petition calling on the country’s government to investigate whether Thailand’s Head of State conducted official business while in Germany. Which nicely segues to the next story…

German government does not believe the Thai Monarch broke the law on conducting state affairs

The German government does not believe the Thai Monarch broke the law on conducting state affairs during his time in the German state of Bavaria.

Germany says His Majesty the King has not violated the European country’s ban on conducting foreign politics on German soil where he resides. The government in Berlin briefed lawmakers this week, saying the Thai Monarch is allowed make occasional decisions regarding Thai state affairs, but he cannot continuously conduct business from overseas.

So far, the German government says they do not believe the King Maha Vajiralongkorn “continuously” conducted Thailand state business during his residence in Bavaria.

PM to visit Phuket on Monday as island’s economy lies in tatters

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is heading to Phuket on Monday, where he will meet with local business leaders and discuss proposals to help revive the southern island’s devastated tourism sector.

Despite Phuket Models and any number of promises from the Thai tourism sector, Phuket remains in a perilous situation whilst the government keeps its borders closed. Almost 100% of Phuket’s economy is derived directly or indirectly from tourist traffic.

Health officials propose reducing quarantine to 10 days

Health officials are suggesting cutting mandatory quarantine for international arrivals to 10 days. We’ve heard it all before but the idea has risen to the top of the Health Minister’s file again.

Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul says the proposal will be submitted to the CCSA for approval. It’s hoped that a reduction in the quarantine period could help revive Thailand’s battered tourism sector. Only a tiny handful of STV tourists have arrived on the the tourist visa over the past month. The health minister said…

”The priority now is to strike a balance between people’s health and the economy. Thailand still has to rely on foreign tourists. Re-opening the country to foreign visitors will help put the economy back on track.”

The Minister didn’t say where all these tourists might come from or speculate when a reduction on the quarantine period might be introduced.

Police arrest woman for allegedly selling fashion dental retainers

Police have arrested a woman for allegedly selling and fitting fashion dental retainers and braces.

Police seized equipment used for making dental casts and retainers found at her home in Ratchaburi and charged the 27 year old with illegally fitting fashion dental retainers.

The woman has allegedly been selling the retainers on a Facebook page under the name since November 2017, targeting mostly teenage students.

In Thailand, braces and retainers are a fashion trend and also seen as a symbol of wealth. The Thaiger suggests that if you want a set of straight teeth, go to an orthodontist.

Floods in NE Thailand as Vietnam mops up after typhoon

Flooding persists in four north eastern provinces, including Nakhon Rachasima as of this morning. All in the wake of the weakening tropical depression that crossed the Vietnamese coast on Wednesday as Typhoon Molave.

‘Molave’ was the most powerful typhoon to hit Vietnam in 20 years. The remnants of the tropical depression are now centred over the west of Thailand where it continues to drop plenty of rain.

At least 35 people are dead, 100s injured, and 50+ missing in Vietnam as disaster mitigation authorities are now reaching some of the worst hit areas in central Vietnam.

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Dengue Fever

Lockdown may contribute to Thailand’s rise in dengue fever cases, study suggests

Caitlin Ashworth

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Lockdown may contribute to Thailand’s rise in dengue fever cases, study suggests | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikipedia

Social distancing and lockdown measures may have contributed to a rise in dengue fever in Thailand, according to a recent study funded by the Singapore Ministry of Health’s National Medical Research Council.

Researchers, which included scientists from the University of Singapore, examined dengue fever cases in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. No impact on the dengue transmission was found in Malaysia or Singapore, but in Thailand, they found that social distancing may lead to an increase in the number of coronavirus cases. They say the largest impact is in Bangkok Researchers say social distancing is expected to lead to 4.32 additional dengue fever cases per 100,000 people in Thailand each month.

Many people in Thailand stayed at home during lockdown measures put in place to control the spread to the coronavirus, but the study found that people in Thailand are typically bitten by dengue-carrying mosquitos at home rather than at work. Some people even travelled back home to their home provinces to be with their families during the lockdown period.

“Although it is possible for dengue infections to occur in workplaces, it was found in one study that 60% of dengue cases live less than 200m apart came from the same transmission chain, revealing that residential areas are a focal point of transmission.”

Reported dengue fever cases in 2019

Lockdown may contribute to Thailand's rise in dengue fever cases, study suggests | News by The Thaiger

Reported dengue fever cases in 2020

Lockdown may contribute to Thailand's rise in dengue fever cases, study suggests | News by The Thaiger

To read the full study click HERE.

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Thailand

Man arrested for allegedly driving with monitor lizards tied to his motorbike

Caitlin Ashworth

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Man arrested for allegedly driving with monitor lizards tied to his motorbike | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Line Today

A man was arrested on animal abuse charges for allegedly catching water monitor lizards, tying them to his motorbike and driving around Prachuap Khri Khan, south of Phetchaburi province.

The man, who is identified as Chaowalit, posted photos on Facebook of lizards tied up to the back of his motorbike. One photo shows a large monitor lizard tied up to the back of the bike, hanging upside-down. Apparently, Chaowalit has been posting photos for about 4 months now on Facebook page on wildlife hunting.

Officials from the Kui Buri National Park were notified about the photos and a team of special unit officers were sent to Chaowalit’s house to arrest him. He was charged with catching and harming protected wildlife as well as violating the Wild Animal Reservation Protection Act. If found guilty, he could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to 1 million baht.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

Catch up with the latest daily “Thailand News Today” here on The Thaiger.

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