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RPT-EXCLUSIVE: Japan eyes British help to sink German bid for Australian submarine – Sources

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RPT-EXCLUSIVE: Japan eyes British help to sink German bid for Australian submarine – Sources | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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RPT-EXCLUSIVE-Japan eyes British help to sink German bid for Australian submarine-sources
Phuket Gazette / Reuters


PHUKET: A Japanese government team is in talks with at least two top British firms to help a
Japanese consortium land one of the world’s most lucrative defense contracts, a $50 billion project to build submarines for Australia, according to sources.

Germany’s ThyssenKrupp (TKMS), a rival bidder, is wooing anxious members of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s ruling Liberal Party with the economic and political benefits of its proposal.

Two Japanese government officials and a company source in Tokyo said Babcock International Group and BAE Systems had approached the consortium of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries with offers of help. Other British defense contractors may also be involved, they said.

All three sources spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

Both Babcock and BAE declined to say whether they would work with the consortium, the builders of Japan’s 4,000-ton Soryu diesel-electric submarine, for the Australian project.

A spokesman for Japan’s defense ministry said the Japanese bidders were responding to Australia’s desire to have as much local participation as possible in the project.

“With Mitsubishi Heavy taking the lead, we are gathering information from both Japanese and foreign companies in regard to Australian industry, but we are unable to disclose any specific names,” the spokesman said.

Both Babcock and BAE Systems are well established in Australia. Industry sources in Europe said any decision by Babcock to work with the Japanese bid could unsettle TKMS and France’s state-controlled naval contractor DCNS, which is also in the fray for the submarine contract.

Babcock does maintenance work on Australia’s Collins-class submarines, including the torpedo tubes and other parts of its weapons system.

BAE Systems, which builds the UK’s nuclear submarines, employs 4,500 people in Australia. It’s biggest project there is the construction of Australia’s two new 27,000-ton Canberra-class amphibious assault ships, the largest ships ever to be operated by the Royal Australian Navy.

“Japan is arguably ahead of the Germans and French in regard to its technology, but lags in terms of doing business in Australia and organizing an industrial package there,” one of the sources in Japan said.

Japan may also seek cooperation from Saab by tapping the engineers at the Swedish company who built and still help to maintain the Collins-class submarine fleet, the sources said.

Saab also declined to comment.

POLITICAL WORRIES

Parliamentary colleagues of Abbott have told Reuters that the fear of a serious blow back from failing to choose the winner of the contract wisely is one of the most hotly debated topics within the ruling party. The bidders were well aware of this, they said.

According to a company document seen by Reuters, the German bidder TKMS will train local contractors using advanced German manufacturing and production technology and help establish
Australia as a naval shipbuilding and repair hub in the Asia-Pacific region. The document is to be shared privately with Australian government ministers as part of the proposal.

That is an attractive proposition for a country still reeling from the decision by Ford Motor Co, Toyota Motor Corp and General Motors Co to halt local production in 2016.

Two TKMS executives told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday that the Australian government would struggle politically to turn down the economic incentives built into their proposal.

“There’s an awful lot of politicians across the board…who will not be very politically happy if this A$50 billion [life cost] sophisticated program goes to solve Japan’s deficit problem,” TKMS Australia Chairman John White told Reuters.

Senator Sean Edwards – chairman of the economics committee in the upper house of Australia’s parliament – said that no government could say yes to any proposal that did not offer significant economic benefits for Australia.

“I think it’s compelling [to build the submarines in Australia]. And I think this is a problem for Japan,” Edwards told Reuters.

However, Australia’s Abbot has described Japan as his country’s “closest friend in Asia”. With the United States also keen to spur friendlier ties between its two key allies in Asia, Tokyo has Washington’s backing for made-in-Japan submarines packed with American surveillance, radar and weapons equipment, sources familiar with Washington’s thinking told Reuters earlier.

Each of the bidders has been asked to provide three estimates; one for construction overseas, one for a partial assembly in Australia, and one for a full build in an Australian shipyard. A recommendation is likely in November.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand

BBC names Thai protest leader Panusaya in global list of 100 most inspiring women

Maya Taylor

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BBC names Thai protest leader Panusaya in global list of 100 most inspiring women | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

The BBC has named prominent Thai pro-democracy activist, Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, aka, “Rung”, as one of the world’s 100 most inspiring and influential women of 2020. The BBC’s “100 Women of 2020” list singles out women around the world who are driving change in challenging times. Panusaya is one of 3 Thai women to be listed.

As the leader of protest group, the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration, she came to international attention at a Bangkok rally in August, when she read out the group’s controversial 10 point manifesto calling for reform of the Monarchy – a taboo topic never publicly discussed. Her nomination follows the news that a Grammy Music executive has filed a charge of lèse-majesté against her.

The other 2 Thai women to make the list are Kotchakorn Voraakhom and Cindy Sirinya Bishop. Kotchakorn is an urban landscape architect, who promotes the importance of green and public spaces in urban environments. Her aim is to transform vast, sprawling cities into more liveable spaces, while protecting them from the impact of climate change. The BBC describes her as someone who started by prising apart the “cracked pavement” of Bangkok’s cityscape to let new ideas come through.

BBC names Thai protest leader Panusaya in global list of 100 most inspiring women | News by The Thaiger

Cindy Sirinya Bishop is the UN Women Regional Goodwill Ambassador for Gender Equality through Education, Communities and Governments. She is a TV host, actress, and model, known for her campaigns to end violence against women. She came to prominence in 2018, when she created the movement #DontTellMeHowToDress. The campaign was a response to authorities in Thailand telling women they shouldn’t dress provocatively during the Songkran period if they wanted to avoid being sexually assaulted.

Other women shortlisted by the BBC for the 2020 list include Sarah Gilbert, who is leading the research into the Covid-19 vaccine at Oxford University, Sanna Marin, the leader of Finland’s all-female coalition government, and Michelle Yeoh, a Malaysian actress, who the BBC notes is one of very few Asian actresses to enjoy a successful career in the US.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

No vaccine, no flight – Qantas will require international travellers to be vaccinated

The Thaiger

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No vaccine, no flight – Qantas will require international travellers to be vaccinated | The Thaiger

Qantas, Australia’s national airline, is announcing a new requirement that all international travellers will need to have a vaccination against Covid-19 in a move that could become the norm for the world’s airline industry. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says the Australian flag carrier would implement the measure once a coronavirus vaccine was made available to the public.

“We are looking at changing our terms and conditions to say for international travellers that we will ask people to have a vaccination before they can get on the aircraft.”

“Whether you need that domestically, we will have to see what happens with Covid-19 in the market but certainly, for international visitors coming out (to Australia) and people leaving the country, we think that is a necessity.”

Joyce says the new rule is likely to become a standard practice by all airlines worldwide as many governments are now working to introduce electronic vaccination passports. Vaccination requirements are already widely used around the world for those wishing to enter certain countries, with many countries wanting travellers show they have been inoculated against yellow fever if they are coming from regions where that disease could be acquired.

The International Air Transport Association has also announced it is in the “final stages” of developing a digital health pass that it says can be used to record Covid-19 tests or vaccinations and will “support the safe reopening of borders.”

“We are bringing this to market in the coming months to also meet the needs of the various travel bubbles and public health corridors that are starting operation.”

Australia’s borders have been closed since March to help stop the spread of the virus, which has taken the lives of more than 1 million people worldwide. The country has even limited its own citizens arrivals from abroad by implementing a weekly quota that has left thousands stranded overseas. Qantas has grounded more than 200 planes and let go 8,500 staff members as it attempts to offset a US 1.9 billion loss.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Malaysia

Technical issues force Singapore aircraft to land on Malaysian highway – VIDEO

Maya Taylor

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Technical issues force Singapore aircraft to land on Malaysian highway – VIDEO | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Twitter

A single-engine prop plane from Singapore has been forced to make an emergency landing on a Malaysian highway due to technical difficulties. A report in Coconuts says the aircraft touched down on the hard shoulder of a highway in Johor, as cars sped past. The 2 pilots on board are believed to be in stable condition.

Chester Voo, CEO of Malaysia’s aviation authority, says an investigation has been launched to determine what went wrong with the plane, which has now been removed.

“Search and rescue teams have completed all required tasks. The investigation will be conducted by the Air Accident Investigation Bureau under the Ministry of Transport, Malaysia.”

It’s understood the plane left Seletar Airport in Singapore and was flying to Melaka when the pilots contacted Air Traffic Control at Johor, requesting permission to land at Senai International Airport, due to technical problems. However, Voo says the aircraft did not make it to the airport before it had to land on the highway.

Meanwhile, Thomas Ong from Premier Aero Singapore, who provide services at Seletar Airport, says his company provided immigration assistance to one of the pilots prior to departure, but doesn’t know what happened to cause the emergency landing.

“We only assisted Dr Yang in immigration formalities with the Seletar Airport Authority for his arrival and departure.”

SOURCE: Coconuts

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