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Singapore economy slides closer to recession, figures worse than expected

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Singapore’s economy has tanked in Q2, slowing again after hitting the lowest rate since the global financial crisis of 2008 in Q1 this year.

The Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry pegged Singapore’s economic growth at a mere 0.1% in the second quarter of this year, well below analysts’ expectations of 1.1%, according to a Bloomberg forecast.

It is also a far cry from the revised 1.1% growth in the previous quarter and marks the sixth straight quarter of sliding growth.

On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted annualised basis, the economy shrank by 3.4%, after posting growth of 3.8% in the preceding three months.

Manufacturing performed poorly dropping 6% from the previous quarter, while construction contracted by 7.6% and service industries by 1.5%.

Ms Selena Ling, head of treasury research and strategy at OCBC Bank, told The Straits Times: β€œIt does look like the risk of a technical recession is growing by the day.”

A technical recession is defined by two consecutive quarters of slowdown.

SOURCE: The Straits Times

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Australian government provides grant to cover 1 million vaccine doses in Laos

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Photo via Facebook/Australia in Laos

To help the mass rollout of Covid-19 vaccines in Laos, the Australian government is providing a 15.2 million AUD grant to cover around 1 million vaccine doses in the Southeast Asian country. The grant also covers training for healthcare workers on how to safely administer the vaccines.

Laos reported a spike in cases over the past month, after a year of containing the spread of the virus with active cases remaining under 20. Yesterday, Laos reported 1,088 active cases, a sharp increase after months of just a few active Covid-19 cases at a time.

Australian Ambassador to Laos, Paul Kelly, says the Australian government is “pleased to be able to support the people of Laos in a time of need.”

“Ensuring Laos has access to safe and effective vaccines is a major and immediate priority for the Australian government… We recognise that no one is safe until everyone is safe. Our support will vaccinate hundreds of thousands of Lao people as well as support long term health security. Australia has been a long-standing and trusted partner for Laos over the past 69 years.”

Laos Vice President Pany Yathotou says the grant from Australia is a significant contribution to ensures the efficient rollout of Covid-19 vaccines in Laos. Most of the funds will be used to purchase the doses and to help Laos distribute and administer vaccines. It will also support a public information campaign, spreading facts about vaccines and also translating the information to ethnic languages.

The Australian Embassy says the country also contributed to the multilateral COVAX facility which covers free vaccinations for more than 20% of the Laos population.

Australian government provides grant to cover 1 million vaccine doses in Laos | News by Thaiger

Active Covid-19 cases in Laos as of 12 May 2021, according to Worldometers.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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Myanmar

Former pageant queen in Myanmar sides with ethnic armies opposing military coup

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Photo via Facebook/ Htar Htet Htet

A former pageant queen Htar Htet Htet has been vocal about her opposition to the military takeover in her home country, Myanmar. But recently, she took her stance even farther by posting a photo of herself in a black combat outfit with an assault rifle, showing support for the ethnic armies fighting against the state military.

The Myanmar military took over the civilian government in February, ousting the state counsellor who had won the election in a landslide. Since then around 750 people have been killed by security forces.

Ethnic armies that occupy border regions have opposed the military takeover, including the prominent armed wing of the Karen National Union. Recently, Karen troops attacked and took over a state military outpost near the Thai border. Around 2,000 people have fled to Thailand to escape the violence.

The 32 year old, who represented Mynamar in the 2013 Miss Grand International pageant in Thailand, wrote on Facebook saying “the time has come to fight back.”

“Whether you hold a weapon, pen, keyboard or donate money to the pro-democracy movement, everyone must do their bit for the revolution to succeed.

I will fight back as much as I can. I am ready and prepared to give up everything. I am even ready to pay with my life.”

Former pageant queen in Myanmar sides with ethnic armies opposing military coup | News by Thaiger

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Thailand

More than 15,000 foreigners arrested since January for illegal border crossings

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Photo via Facebook/ Kanchanaburi News

Thousands of foreign nationals have been arrested this year for illegally crossing land borders into Thailand. Due to fears that those entering Thailand illegally and evading the mandatory 14-day quarantine could possibly lead to the spread of Covid-19, particularly more contagious variants of the virus, Thai authorities say they will take tough legal action on illegal migrants and labour traffickers.

From January 1 to May 9, a total of 15,378 people have been arrested for illegally crossing land borders into Thailand. Out of the people arrested, 6,072 were from Myanmar, 5,114 were from Cambodia and 882 were from Laos.

The Thai Immigration Bureau is working with border patrol officers to tighten security along Thailand’s borders, the bureau’s chief Sompong Chingduang told the Bangkok Post.

“Those who enter Thailand illegally will be prosecuted under the immigration law, the communicable diseases and the emergency decree.”

In Thailand’s last wave of Covid-19 infections in December and January, fingers pointed at illegal Burmese migrants as the epicentre of infections were concentrated at a fishing hub in Samut Sakhon, affecting a large migrant worker population.

With the recent wave of infections peaking drastically higher than the past outbreaks in Thailand and said to be linked to the more contagious variant of the virus first found in the UK, health officials are now tightening security and control measures along the borders to prevent more cases.

Border security is also being increased to prevent the emergence of the variant of the virus first detected in India. The director of the Health Science Centre of Emerging Diseases at Chulalongkorn University’s faculty of medicine made a post on Facebook saying he was concerned the variant could be imported into Thailand and cause another wave of infections.

“In the next few months, the variant found in India may slip across the border into Thailand from Myanmar. Business operators are now importing illegal migrants again… If the border is left unchecked like this and no tough measures are imposed in Bangkok and adjacent provinces, brace yourselves for a fourth wave. The current third wave will pale by comparison.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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