Increase agreed for Thailand’s minimum wage

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Increase agreed for Thailand’s minimum wage | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Chiang Mai Citylife

Thailand’s minimum daily wage is going up. But not by much.

The National Wage Committee has singled out nine provinces for a 6 baht increase in the minimum daily wage, while the rest of the country gets an increase of 5 baht. The Permanent Secretary of Labour, Suthi Sukosol, confirms the nine provinces are Chonburi in eastern Thailand, Phuket in the south, and Bangkok, Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon and Prachin Buri in central Thailand.

The highest daily minimum wage in the country will now be on offer in Chonburi and Phuket, at 336 baht a day. The lowest is in Narathiwat and Pattani at 313 baht a day.

The increase is being awarded to reflect the economic situation in the country and once approved by Cabinet, should be in place from January 1, 2020.

Don’t spend it all at once!

Iraq declares three-day mourning period after deadly protests

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Baghdad ( – Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi has declared three days of mourning as deadly protests have swept over several provinces, including the capital Baghdad, since October 1.

The mourning period will start on Thursday for those killed in the protests, whether demonstrators or security forces, the prime minister said in a televised speech on Wednesday.

Earlier on Sunday, the Iraqi Interior Ministry said that the death toll from anti-government protests in the country rose to 104, including eight security members, while at least 6,000 others were injured.

Violent anti-government protests have erupted in Baghdad and other cities since Tuesday, October 1, prompting security forces to fire live rounds and tear gas into the demonstrating crowds.

The demonstrations came in response to online campaigns to express anger about the deteriorating situation in the country, topped by the lack of services, rampant corruption and high unemployment rates.


Source : Iraq News

Aramco will hit $2 trillion valuation soon after float: Energy Minister

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Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman arrives for the 177th Organization Of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting in Vienna, Austria, on Thursday. — AFP

RIYADH — Saudi Aramco may float on the stock market at a valuation below the $2 trillion the Kingdom initially targeted, but it will soon rise above that level on the open market Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman predicted on Friday.

The state oil company is expected to start trading for the first time on Wednesday at a valuation of $1.7 trillion, making it the most valuable company in the world.Speaking to journalists after a meeting of the OPEC oil exporters’ club in Vienna, Prince Abdulaziz said this week’s milestone pricing was a “proud day for all of us.”

“We decided to lower the valuation we were seeking, but on the 11th the shares will be trading and in a few months from now… it will be higher than the $2 trillion and I will bet this will happen,” he said.

“It is a proud day for all of us. It is a proud day for Prince Muhammad to celebrate,” he added, with reference to Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman.

Saudi Aramco shares will start trading on Dec. 11, the Saudi securities exchange Tadawul said on Friday. Tadawul announced that the listing and trading of Saudi Aramco will start with the symbol 2222, and a ±10% daily price fluctuation limit.The Saudi oil giant priced on Thursday its initial public offering at SR32 ($8.53) per share, raising $25.6 billion and beating Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s record $25 billion listing in 2014.

On the first day of trading only, the opening auction for Saudi Aramco will be extended for 30 minutes. Accordingly, the opening auction session will start from 9:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. AST on Wednesday only. Continuous trading will start at 10:30 a.m. AST, and closing auction at 3:00 p.m. AST as usual.

The opening auction will remain the same for the rest of the securities listed on the Main Market from 9:30 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. AST. Continuous trading for the rest of listed securities on the Main Market will commence at 10:00 a.m.

At this level, Aramco would have a market valuation of $1.7 trillion, overtaking Apple Inc. as the most valuable listed firm.

The energy giant had been offering 1.5 percent, or three billion, of the company’s shares on the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul). A third of those shares, 0.5 percent, were allocated to retail, or individual investors.

Aramco completed the retail portion of its IPO last Thursday. It was 1.48 times oversubscribed with SR47.4 billion ($12.64 billion) in orders.

According to the IPO prospectus, Saudi Arabian retail investors that hold their shares for a minimum of 180 days, or six months, will be eligible for a 10 percent discount through the allocation of additional bonus shares. — Al-Arabiya English/SG

Source : Saudi Gazette

Hot water: Pressure to move Olympic open-water venue from Tokyo Bay

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The IOC moved next year’s Tokyo Olympic marathons and race walks out of the Japanese capital to avoid the stifling heat and humidity.

Now some swimmers and an 11,000-member coaching body are asking that something similar should be done with the distance-swimming venue in Tokyo Bay.

Known as Odaiba Marine Park, the water temperatures there were near danger levels in test events this summer for open-water swimming and triathlon. E. coli levels also plague the urban venue, and athletes have complained about the odors coming from the small inlet.

“Here’s the reality,” Catherine Kase, who coaches open water for the United States Olympic team, said in an email to the Associated Press. “If a marathoner faints or passes out, they may get a few bumps and bruises. If the same thing happens to an open-water swimmer, the result could be lethal.”

Tokyo’s heat again is the main problem.

Water temperatures in the venue this summer were very warm, climbing one day to 30.5 Celsius. That’s barely under the limit of 31 C set by swimming’s world governing body FINA. The temperatures were consistently in the 29 C-30 C range.

FINA rules specify that the race will be shortened or canceled if temperatures go over the limit.

FINA rules read: “All open-water swims’ alternative plans should be made in case environmental factors make the swim unsafe forcing it to be canceled or curtailed.”

Kase added. “We would like to push for a viable back-up plan. The straightforward answer is that we are not comfortable with the Odaiba venue.”

Kase noted that U.S. swimmers are advised against participating if temperatures exceed 29.45 C. She also said US swimmers can still choose to swim “and will likely feel pressure to do so” at big events like the Olympics.

“Our athletes shouldn’t have to worry about health concerns as they’re preparing to compete in the race of their lives,” Kase wrote.

The venue also has water quality issues including E. coli bacteria and problems with water transparency. Tokyo organizers say bacteria levels fall within “agreed limits,” on most days, though rainfall exacerbates the problem.

John Leonard, the executive director of the American Swimming Coaches Association, was even more emphatic about a move and placed much of the blame on FINA.

“We support a change in venue,” he said in an email to AP. “The ASCA position is always to err on the side of safety for the athletes. FINA talks about safety and then does the opposite and puts athletes in harm’s way.”

FINA and local organizers say there is no “B Plan.”

The International Olympic Committee promised last month there would be no more venue changes. It made this pledge after angering Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike, who strongly opposed moving the marathons out of Tokyo to the norther city of Sapporo.

The IOC said the decision was made, primarily to consider athletes who must run in the heat. But Koike’s allies characterized it as “an IOC-first decision, not an athletes-first decision.”

Cornel Marculescu, the executive director of FINA, spoke cautiously in an interview with AP.

Asked about the water temperatures at the venue, Marculescu replied: “I don’t want to comment,” he said, and suggested that elaborating could cause “problems.”

“This is what it is,” he added. “We check the quality of the water, we check the temperature all the time.”

Marculescu and local organizers say race times could to be moved up to very early in the morning, hoping to beat the heat. That was also an early strategy for the marathons and race walks before they were moved.

Athletes in outdoor water events at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics faced severe pollution in venues for rowing, sailing, canoeing, open-water swimming, and triathlon. But heat was not an issue.

“We are following up with a company there (in Japan),” Marculescu said, “like we have done in Rio – the same story – with an official government company. We are looking at water temperatures, the quality of the water and all these kinds of things.”

Water temperature was linked to the death of American swimmer Fran Crippen in 2010 at a distance swim in the United Arab Emirates. The autopsy concluded his death was from drowning, heat exhaustion, and included the possibility of a heart abnormality.

It was the first competitive death in FINA’s history, and much of the blame was aimed at the swim body.

The United States and Canada both withdrew their swimmers from an open-water race in October in Doha, Qatar. The race took place in the same body of water where Crippen died. Temperatures were again reported right at the FINA limit, and some reports said they were slightly above the limit.

In an email, the Canadian Olympic Committee did not address the water issue specifically but said “we remain confident that the organizing committee and the IOC will take every precaution to ensure that the games are held safely and successfully.”

Fernando Possenti, the open-water coach for the Brazilian Olympic team, said athletes need to deal with the environment and not waste time complaining about it.

“Program yourself, adapt your athletes to this kind of condition,” Possenti said in an email to AP. “This particular sport contemplates direct contact with nature and its variables. Heat and humidity are two of them.”

The Odaiba venue was picked partly because it offers picturesque 180-degree views of the skyscrapers that hug Tokyo Bay and the bridges that cross it.

Television has a powerful say in scheduling and venue location. About three-quarters of the IOC income is from broadcast rights. The American network NBC has agreed to pay $7.75 billion to broadcast the Summer and Winter Olympics from 2022 through 2032.

In Tokyo, to counter E. coli levels, organizers have installed underwater screens that work as a filter. E. coli was within agreed limits on all but one day in test events this summer.

But the screens also appeared to drive up water temperatures, and organizers plan to install triple screens for the Olympics.

In a statement, Tokyo spokesman Masa Takaya said “we will consider operating methods that can help suppress water temperatures, such as allowing the underwater screens to float, and opening them when the weather is good.”


Source :

Environmental monitoring patrols catch 393 violations in 2019

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07 Dec 2019 – 9:18

Environmental monitoring patrols catch 393 violations in 2019

By Sanaullah Ataullah | The Peninsula

Doha: The Department of Protection and Wildlife at the Ministry of Municipality and Environment has recorded 393 violations of some provisions of environmental law during 2019.

The violations included throwing wastes at unauthorised places, drifting on soil, grazing camels on prohibited pastures, hunting prohibited birds, cutting trees illegally and dumping sewerage water and cement wastes at undesignated areas, said the Ministry in a recent report.

The municipal inspectors of the Department also issued 217 warnings against environmental violations, caught 11 violations related to stone crushers and made three confiscations following the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

The Department deployed special patrolling teams across the country to protect the green land and environment of the country. A hotline 998 was also issued for citizens and expatriates to report to the Department if they come across any type of environmental violation.

Speaking at an event earlier, Omar Salem Al Nuaimi, Director of the Department of Protection and Wildlife, had said that the Department deployed eight patrolling teams of inspectors to cover all areas across the country.

He said that the Department intensified inspection campaign to curb the violations of environment. Al Nuaimi said that the awareness campaign played key role in educating people – citizens and expatriates – about the importance of protecting the environment.

He said that the environment protection is also a social responsibility as each member of the community is accountable to throw the wastes at designated places and to make his/her contribution in protecting the greenery.

Qatar, represented by the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, attaches great importance on protecting the environment, preserving its natural resources and developing it for the future generations, within the framework of the Ministry’s sustainable strategic plan and Qatar National Vision 2030.

During the year 2018-19, the Ministry of Municipality and Environment made many achievements in various environmental fields, which were represented in the field of natural reserves, in the formal approval of the administrative plan for the Al Reem Reserve which was declared by Unesco as natural reserve, and the start of field work for the team on the project to release the bustard ( a endangered species of bird locally called Habari ) and Reem gazelles in the Al Reem Reserve.

The citizens were encouraged to acquire the Arabian Oryx and the Reem gazelle, to involve them in preserving wildlife and supporting the lovers of these species. The establishment of two reserves in the South has also been completed to provide and regularize the practice of hunting hobby in specific seasons.

MGIMO branch opens in Tashkent

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On December 9, Tashkent will host the opening ceremony of the Tashkent branch of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), the university’s first overseas branch.

The signing of the agreement on opening the branch was overseen by the Presidents of Uzbekistan and Russia, Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Vladimir Putin in October 2018.

On September, classes were already started at MGIMO branch with programs in Business IT and Law at the partner University of the World Economy and Diplomacy. The MGIMO lyceum was also opened in Tashkent.

During this time, in a short timeframe, the branch building was erected.

The grand opening of the branch will be the culmination of the MGIMO Days in Tashkent. The ceremony will be attended by high government officials of Uzbekistan, the MGIMO rector, Anatoly Torkunov.


Source :

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