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  • Myanmar to have first Thai-operated powerplant in Dawei SEZ

    03/30/2016

    Myanmar’s Energy Ministry has signed a 10-billion-baht concession agreement with a Thai company to produce electricity within the Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

    The Thai company, United Power Of Asia PCL (UPA), recently inked the 30-year agreement with the government of Myanmar to build a natural gas power plant, which has a capacity of 200 megawatts.

    It will be the first Thai power plant operating in the Dawei SEZ. Under the agreement, the Myanmar government will supply natural gas to the UPA power plant for free. The Thai company will also earn 1.18 baht for every unit of the electricity sold in the country.

  • Govt. expedites diversion of water from Mekong

    03/30/2016

    The Royal Irrigation Department has confirmed that the public sector is trying to increase water volumes in the country especially by diverting water from the Mekong river to drought-hit areas.

    Expert from the Royal Irrigation Department Sanya Saengphumphong said the department was conducting a study on how to divert water from the Mekong for use and building temporary pumping stations with the capacity of 40 million cubic meters. The pumping stations are expected to benefit more than 10,000 Rai of drought-hit areas. The pumping stations will be upgraded into permanent ones with the capacity of 100 million cubic meters in 2017.

    The department also had a plan to divert water from the Moei and Salween rivers in Myanmar into the Bhumibol dam in Thailand, said the expert.

  • Thailand’s transparency deficit: Haste makes waste on mega-projects

    03/29/2016

    One of the country’s top bankers is stressing the need for faster action to transform Thailand into a hub for CLMV countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam).

    Kevin Tan, CEO of HSBC Thailand, was speaking during an interview on Vietnam’s increasing attractiveness to foreign investors. Vietnam’s gross domestic product grew a whopping 797 per cent between 1995 and 2014, from US$20.74 billion to $186.2 billion. Thailand’s GDP growth was sluggish in comparison, rising from $169.28 billion to $404.8 billion over the same period.

    And with big names like Intel, Apple and Samsung now showing interest in Vietnam, it seems the times are against Thailand.

  • Drowning in generosity

    03/29/2016

    Again?” Chai Tamuen, 42, thought when he saw Mekong water rising at the riverbank of Chiang Khan district in Loei eight days ago.

    Overnight, water had engulfed the sandy shore of Kaeng Khut Khu, a tourist spot popular for swimming and recreation, leaving stalls stranded on an “island” now surrounded by water.

    As a vendor, Mr Chai was forced to leave his kiosk four days later when water submerged half of the island.

    “This is not the first time that the bank has been flooded in dry season. It’s happened like this for the last five years,” he said.

    “We can’t predict water. Our income has not been stable since Chinese dams have taken control over the water upstream.”

    China announced on March 14 it would discharge a massive quantity of water from one of its dams, claiming it would help communities in the Mekong region facing severe drought.

  • The grand vision for mainland China’s Nu River can become a model for the region

    03/29/2016

    China’s slowing economy would not seem a good time to scrap hydroelectric dam projects. That would seem especially so in southwest Yunnan’s Nu River valley, among the nation’s poorest regions. Yet provincial authorities have decided to put the way of life of villagers and the environment first by calling a halt to small-scale schemes. It is a hopeful sign for those in the area and downstream in Myanmar and Thailand who rely on the waters for their livelihoods.

    The valley is a Unesco World Heritage site included for its scenery and biodiversity, accounting for 6,000 different types of plants and half of China’s animal and fish species. Plans in 2004 for a 13-dam cascade to be built in the upper reaches of the Nu were shelved under pressure the following year, but revived in 2013 on a lesser scale with an eye on meeting national renewal energy targets. The province’s Communist Party chief, Li Jiheng, said earlier this month that projects for coal mines and small hydro plants beside the river and on tributaries would not go ahead. In five to 10 years, with vegetation restored, the valley would be a tourist attraction rivaling the US’ Grand Canyon.

  • Thais must face up to China reality

    03/28/2016

    There has always been a special bond between China and Thailand, which hosts the largest overseas Chinese community in the world. In Thai culture, the Chinese influence is easily traced, through descendants whose origins can be found in rural areas of the southern Chinese mainland, from where their ancestors fled poverty, communism and political oppression to the more hospitable environs of Thailand.

    China has always been perceived as a friend — a friend indeed who never leaves a friend in need. The phrase is not just a cliche. Comrades from the mainland have proven their love. During the tom yam koong economic crisis in 1997, this friend lent the debt-ridden Thailand much-needed funds, while other friends gave it the cold shoulder.

  • Water management center for Mekong River to be established

    03/28/2016

    The Prime Minister has revealed a water management center will be set up under the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (MLC) to manage water levels in the Mekong River more effectively.

    Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha said after returning from the first MLC meeting in China that the water management center will alert countries in the Mekong River Basin to be prepared whenever China discharges water into the river.

  • NEO-Esaan Movement order to stop NCPO’s order no. 3, 4, 9/2559

    03/28/2016

    NEO-Essan Movement released statement which results in the deprivation of citizens’ rights in a number of areas in the Northeast as well as other areas around the country. From the statement, it was claimed that the NCPO’s orders destroyed the public participation rights instead of protecting it, undisclosed the information to public instead of promoting public freedom of expression which is a fundamental rights of every citizen.

  • NLA passes new mining bill

    03/25/2016

    The National Legislative Assembly on March 17 passed the new mining bill by 148 votes against one opposition.
    The bill, in essence, empowers the state to manage mining operations for utmost benefits to the country and its people by taking into consideration economic and social development and environmental and health impacts.

  • Laying down the ‘dictator law’ for money

    03/24/2016

    The prime minister, who seized power in May 2014, wants all Thais to have a better life and increased income, despite looming economic problems.

    But to achieve his goal, there’s one condition. Gen Prayut has to use Section 44 of the interim charter, the so-called dictator law, which allows him to bypass checks and balances to fast-track development projects.

    The hope is that as a result of the orders, 12 new SEZs and dozens of mega projects will pump trillions of baht into the economy by the end of the year.

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