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  1. Thailand Live Tuesday 20 Feb 2018

    BoE's Carney says Bitcoin has 'pretty much failed' as currency David Milliken Bank of England Governor Mark Carney speaks during the central bank's quarterly inflation report press conference in the City of London, Britain, February 8, 2018. REUTERS/Victoria Jones/Pool LONDON (Reuters) - Bitcoin BTC=BTSP has failed as a currency measured by standard benchmarks, and is neither a store of value nor a useful way to buy things, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said on Monday. Full story: https://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/1025916-boes-carney-says-bitcoin-has-pretty-much-failed-as-currency/
  2. BoE's Carney says Bitcoin has 'pretty much failed' as currency David Milliken Bank of England Governor Mark Carney speaks during the central bank's quarterly inflation report press conference in the City of London, Britain, February 8, 2018. REUTERS/Victoria Jones/Pool LONDON (Reuters) - Bitcoin BTC=BTSP has failed as a currency measured by standard benchmarks, and is neither a store of value nor a useful way to buy things, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said on Monday. “It has pretty much failed thus far on ... the traditional aspects of money. It is not a store of value because it is all over the map. Nobody uses it as a medium of exchange,” Carney told students at London’s Regent’s University. But the crypto-currency’s underlying technology may still prove useful as a way to verify financial transactions in a decentralised way, he added in response to a question. The central bank governor also said that, to make Britain’s departure from the European Union in March 2019 as smooth as possible, British regulators intended to give financial institutions “the benefit of the doubt, beyond the last minute”. Sterling’s movements were largely driven by financial speculation over Brexit, and he said British and European officials were working hard to secure a transitional deal before the end of March. “Everyone is very focused on that. It obviously won’t be a hard, legally binding agreement. But I can tell you that if 28 leaders agree to something that has legal text associated with it, which will be part of the separation agreement, that should be good enough,” he said. Carney made the comments in a question and answer session after giving a speech on leadership, in which he stressed the importance of humility and empathy and said financiers should not be motivated purely by profit. Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Catherine Evans and John Stonestreet -- © Copyright Reuters 2018-02-20
  3. Thailand Live Tuesday 20 Feb 2018

    The Real Reasons Expats Decided Thailand (And What They Think Now) By Dan Cheeseman In many instances there is a stigma regarding becoming an expat in Thailand, stereotypical images of old men with vests, slugging away on a can of Singha beer and ogling the young Thai women spring to mind. In my mind this is hugely misleading and in the majority of cases not true. Full story: https://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/1025914-the-real-reasons-expats-decided-thailand-and-what-they-think-now/
  4. Thailand Live Tuesday 20 Feb 2018

    Ignore the tourist attractions, what is it really that makes Hua Hin worth a visit? By Dan Cheeseman It would be all too easy for me to just list all the different attractions that Hua Hin offers to build the compelling case for why Hua Hin is well worth a visit Full story: https://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/1025915-ignore-the-tourist-attractions-what-is-it-really-that-makes-hua-hin-worth-a-visit/
  5. Ignore the tourist attractions, what is it really that makes Hua Hin worth a visit? By Dan Cheeseman It would be all too easy for me to just list all the different attractions that Hua Hin offers to build the compelling case for why Hua Hin is well worth a visit; but that is just far to predictable and by and large a little dull and uninspiring for anyone reading. Top things to do lists are done to death, old hat and not worth the read. Tell me something new, something that captures that Je nai sai quoi, you know the heart and soul of the area that makes it so desirable, because to me this is what Hua Hin really has in abundance. I have traveled pretty much all the main areas of the Thailand, not really the second and third tier locations, but I have hit the key places and for me Hua Hin is one of my favourites. The people are nice – both Thais, expats and tourists; there is a common courtesy and respect that you most definitely do not find in locations like Pattaya. When driving in Pattaya any on coming traffic will flash their lights aggressively and do everything they can not to let you pass or get into lane, yet in Hua Hin cars will give way and there is a driving code that you normally only find in Western worlds. The two locations of Pattaya and Hua Hin are poles apart. Full story: http://danaboutthailand.com/2018/02/19/ignore-the-tourist-attractions-what-is-it-really-that-makes-hua-hin-worth-a-visit/
  6. Thailand Live Tuesday 20 Feb 2018

    Two arrested with a tonne of marijuana in Trang Highway police stopped a pickup truck in Trang’s Palian district and found 1,092 kilograms of marijuana hidden inside. Full story: https://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/1025911-two-arrested-with-a-tonne-of-marijuana-in-trang/
  7. The Real Reasons Expats Decided Thailand (And What They Think Now) By Dan Cheeseman In many instances there is a stigma regarding becoming an expat in Thailand, stereotypical images of old men with vests, slugging away on a can of Singha beer and ogling the young Thai women spring to mind. In my mind this is hugely misleading and in the majority of cases not true. You certainly have your areas in Thailand more befitting of such views, like Pattaya, but it’s far more marginal now than its ever been in these locations. Trust me as I live in Pattaya with my family. But it did get me thinking. What was the primary reason for people deciding to come and live in Thailand in the first place, if stereotypes was to be believed you’d assume ‘women’ to rate fairly highly. So using the various media at my disposal I did a simple online survey and in a matter of days had an interesting – if not huge – 89 replies back from Expats living in Thailand. At the core to this survey was the question ‘What was your primary motive for becoming an Expat in Thailand?’. You can see from the chart below that ‘Women’ most definitely was not the driving force. In fact almost 1 in 4 of the replies was a financial reason – ‘Cheaper to Live’. 1 in 10 cited the reason that they had friends living in Thailand already, so friendships and bonds were a far stronger rationale than sexual relationships – which would have come through from ‘women’ being selected. A further 1 in 10 came to Thailand more to leave their domestic country than the attraction of Thailand itself. 1 in 5 were work motivations whilst 15.87% was due to the warmer climate – and after a recent trip back to the UK in February of this year I can be reminded of how lucky we have it living in Thailand with almost year round sunshine. All very interesting information. Full story: http://danaboutthailand.com/2018/02/19/the-real-reasons-expats-decided-thailand-and-what-they-think-now/
  8. Two arrested with a tonne of marijuana in Trang Highway police stopped a pickup truck in Trang’s Palian district and found 1,092 kilograms of marijuana hidden inside. Two suspects were arrested and were identified as Adirek Phetkong, a Songkhla resident, and Thossaniyom Trisuwan, from Phatthalung. Their pickup was stopped at the highway checkpoint in Tambon Liphang. Police said the two admitted that they were hired to take the drug from Bueng Kan province to Satun for Bt100,000, half of it already paid. Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/breakingnews/30339308 -- © Copyright The Nation 2018-02-20
  9. Thailand Live Tuesday 20 Feb 2018

    NLA member reiterates election road map By The Nation Jate Siratharanont, a member of National Legislative Assembly (NLA), has written on Facebook that the road map to the election will become clearer early next month. Full story: https://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/1025910-nla-member-reiterates-election-road-map/
  10. NLA member reiterates election road map By The Nation Jate Siratharanont, a member of National Legislative Assembly (NLA), has written on Facebook that the road map to the election will become clearer early next month. “After March 8, the election road map will become clearer as all four organic laws essential for the poll are completely passed by the Assembly then [everyone] will wait for the royal endorsement, the promulgation and the enforcement. Then, the election comes within 150 days,” Jate said, reciting the road map. Last week, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, who is also a legal expert, said the government would announce the election date in June, presumably after all the organic laws were promulgated. The election would not be delayed, Wissanu said. The statements came amid growing pressure against the junta after the NLA passed the MP election bill, which could put off the promised election by three months. Pro-democracy activists are encouraging people to take to the street to demand an election, pressing the junta to keep its promise. Jate slammed the pro-democracy movement for ignoring the conditions laid out by the political party organic law. He explained the 90-day extension was for the political parties to conduct primary voting. This was a way for the people to participate in selecting political candidates to be fielded in the general election, he said. Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/politics/30339306 -- © Copyright The Nation 2018-02-20
  11. Thailand Live Tuesday 20 Feb 2018

    Insight: Rising poverty gnaws at Italian social fabric as election nears By Crispian Balmer A woman folds clothes next to her tent in the portico of the Basilica of the Santi Apostoli, where she lives after being evicted from an unused building along with other families in August 2017, in Rome, Italy January 29, 2018. REUTERS/Tony Gentile HERCULANEUM, Italy (Reuters) - Roberto Biondi's 89-year-old mother has Alzheimer's, is housebound and no longer recognises her son. She is also the family's main breadwinner. Full story: https://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/1025909-insight-rising-poverty-gnaws-at-italian-social-fabric-as-election-nears/
  12. Insight: Rising poverty gnaws at Italian social fabric as election nears By Crispian Balmer A woman folds clothes next to her tent in the portico of the Basilica of the Santi Apostoli, where she lives after being evicted from an unused building along with other families in August 2017, in Rome, Italy January 29, 2018. REUTERS/Tony Gentile HERCULANEUM, Italy (Reuters) - Roberto Biondi's 89-year-old mother has Alzheimer's, is housebound and no longer recognises her son. She is also the family's main breadwinner. Her state pension of 800 euros ($990) a month covers her own living expenses and those of Roberto and her grandson, both of whom are unemployed and have little hope of finding jobs in Italy's underdeveloped south. "I have no idea how I will cope when she dies," said Roberto, 53, as he shopped for food in the coastal town of Herculaneum under the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. He receives no benefits of his own. "I am poor. I am not ashamed to admit it, there are millions of others like me in Italy. This country isn't working." Italy holds national elections on March 4 and while much campaigning has focused on the divisive issue of immigration, pollsters say voters are most concerned about the economy, which has still not recovered from the 2008 financial crisis. Angela Grossi sits next to her tent in the portico of the Basilica of the Santi Apostoli, where she lives after being evicted from an unused building along with other families in August 2017, in Rome, Italy January 29, 2018. Picture taken January 29, 2018. REUTERS/Tony Gentile The government argues that the worst is over, pointing to 14 straight quarters of economic growth, but many Italians have yet to feel the benefits of the upturn, helping to explain why the ruling centre-left Democratic Party is trailing in the polls. Italy's economy is still six percent smaller than it was at the start of 2008, hobbled by a slew of old problems, such as a huge national debt mountain, a chronically slow justice system and stifling bureaucracy. By comparison, output across the 19-nation eurozone as a whole has grown five percent over the same 10-year period. This anaemic performance has pushed millions of Italians into poverty, stoking social discontent and fueling the rise of populist or anti-establishment parties, such as the far-right anti-immigrant League and the maverick 5-Star Movement. The 5-Star looks set to emerge as the largest party next month and says it will introduce a universal wage for the poor if it wins power. Other parties are also promising to unleash billions of euros of fresh spending to revive the economy -- money analysts say the country does not have. The number of Italians at risk of poverty has risen by more than 3 million since 2008, according to the Eurostat statistics agency, the largest increase seen in any EU nation. By contrast, 3.3 million Poles pulled clear of the poverty threshold. The number of Italians living in absolute poverty, defined as not having enough money to buy a basket of basic goods and services, rose to 4.7 million in 2016, according to the latest data from statistics office Istat, a three-fold increase in a decade. "The rise in absolute poverty is a very Italian problem and the numbers are still growing despite the fact the economy has picked up," said Roberto Perotti, an economist with Bocconi university and a former government adviser. "It is the most serious problem facing Italy today." FLIGHT Biondi's problems started in 2006 when he had to close down the small clothing store he had opened as a teenager in 1983. Like many Italians, he believes the arrival of the euro currency in 2002 marked the start of the country's decline. "Things went well before, but then money dried up. I struggled on but eventually had to give up," he said. With no major industry in the area, he has never found a new job. Unemployment in Italy stands at 10.8 percent, four percentage points higher than in 2008, while in the south it stands at almost 18.3 percent, up 7.2 points in a decade. Youth unemployment in the south is 46.6 percent, 13 points up on 2008 levels, spelling trouble for Bianchi's son Danilo, 24, who sees little hope of building a career in Italy and is planning to move to London at the end of the month. The rising tide of poverty and lack of economic opportunities has led to a surge in emigration. Between 2006 and 2017, the number of Italians officially registered as living abroad rose 60 percent, from three to almost five million. The Fondazione Migrantes, which monitors migrant flows, believes the number is much higher, with many Italians failing to check in with their local embassy in their new foreign homes. Danilo's sister Carmen has already left, fed up with low-paying part-time jobs, and moved to Glasgow in Scotland, where she works for the McDonald's fast food chain. "I told her she would be back within three or four days. That was three years ago and she is adamant that she will never return," said Biondi. "That is hard for a father to hear, but there is nothing here for young people. No future." BABIES The lack of faith in the future is reflected in Italy's plummeting birthrate. According to latest statistics, Italian couples had 373,075 babies in 2016, down 22 percent on 2008. Italy offers little welfare help to young people. Only 4 percent of all social spending goes to the under-40s, while 77.2 percent goes to those aged over 65, which is why pensioners often play such a vital role in family finances. Istat says having just one pensioner in a vulnerable household halves the risk of that family descending into outright poverty -- but it is not a guaranteed safety net. Angela Grossi is 48 and unemployed. She gets financial help from her elderly mother, but it was not enough to help her pay for rent so four years ago she and her two sons moved into a squat along with 60 families in an unoccupied building in Rome. They were evicted last August and since then Grossi and her boys, aged 12 and 14, have lived in tents under an exposed church porch less than a mile (km) from the Italian parliament. "Rome is full of people sleeping under the arcades, on the streets, under the bridges, but no one looks at them, so who cares?" she said, standing infront of the baroque facade of the Santi Apostoli Basilica. PROMISES Grossi used to clean in a hotel, but lost the job when the business closed. Italy has no minimum wage and Grossi said she has since been offered 3 euros an hour on temporary contracts -- a wage that would never give her enough money to pay rent. In another sign of growing poverty, the Federcasa housing association estimates some 49,000 public buildings are occupied by illegal squatters, up from 38,000 in 2006, driven in part by the influx of some 600,000 migrants in the past four years. Some 89 percent of the squats were in southern and central Italy, which have been worst hit by the economic crisis. The widespread discontent within Italy over the economy means almost all parties have drawn up long lists of costly pledges that could upend Italy's finances if they are enacted. Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right party is promising to double the minimum pension to some 1,000 euros a month and allow earlier retirement. The ruling PD says it will boost the minimum pension to 750 euros and give families 400 euros a month per child for three years. Most parties are also offering various welfare schemes, including the 5-Star's flagship proposal of a monthly universal wage of up to 780 euros for the poor. Bocconi university's Perotti said such schemes risked entrenching poverty, by dissuading people from seeking work. "The most simplistic way to deal with poverty is to give money to everyone and hope the problem goes away. In reality, not only is this measure hugely expensive , but it creates other problems, for example it creates a poverty trap," he said. Biondi sees the prospect of a universal wage as a potential godsend and he plans to vote 5-Star on March 4. "At the moment the government offers no help to people like me," he said. "I mean, it can't get any worse can it?" ($1 = 0.8061 euros) (Editing by Anna Willard) -- © Copyright Reuters 2018-02-20
  13. Japanese businessman wins custody of 13 children born to Thai surrogates By Thai PBS The Central Juvenile and Family Court in Bangkok today (Feb 20) granted a Japanese businessman Mitsutoki Shigeta, parental rights to 13 children born to Thai surrogate mothers, ending almost four years of the scandal that broke out in 2014. The decision to declare the Japanese man father of the 13 children born via surrogacy was based on reasons that not only the Japanese man‘s caring for the children he fathered but also on his well established background. The statement released today by the court said “For the happiness and opportunities which the 13 children will receive from their birth father, who does not have a history of bad behaviour, all children born through surrogacy will be legal children of the plaintiff.” Full story: http://englishnews.thaipbs.or.th/japanese-businessman-wins-custody-13-children-born-thai-surrogates/ -- © Copyright Thai PBS 2018-02-20
  14. Thailand Live Tuesday 20 Feb 2018

    Thai court grants custody to Japanese father of 13 surrogate children FILE PHOTO: Surrogate babies that Thai police suspect were fathered by a Japanese businessman who has fled from Thailand are shown on a screen during a news conference at the headquarters of the Royal Thai Police in Bangkok August 12, 2014. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha/File Photo BANGKOK (Reuters) - A Thai court on Tuesday said it ruled in favour of a wealthy Japanese man who had fathered 13 surrogate children in Thailand, naming him their legal parent and sole guardian. Full story: https://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/1025905-japanese-businessman-wins-custody-of-13-children-born-to-thai-surrogates/
  15. Thai court grants custody to Japanese father of 13 surrogate children FILE PHOTO: Surrogate babies that Thai police suspect were fathered by a Japanese businessman who has fled from Thailand are shown on a screen during a news conference at the headquarters of the Royal Thai Police in Bangkok August 12, 2014. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha/File Photo BANGKOK (Reuters) - A Thai court on Tuesday said it ruled in favour of a wealthy Japanese man who had fathered 13 surrogate children in Thailand, naming him their legal parent and sole guardian. The case harks back to late 2014, when police said they had found 13 babies fathered by a Japanese national with nine Thai surrogate mothers. The children were taken to foster homes and the father has petitioned for custody since early 2015. The man had his sperm fertilise donor eggs, which were then planted in the wombs of the surrogate mothers in 2013, according to a press statement given by the court. No details were given on where the donor eggs were from. The scandal at the time shone an international spotlight on Thailand's largely unregulated surrogacy business, prompting authorities to crack down on clinics with nationwide inspections and later to ban commercial surrogacy. The Japanese man was given custody of the 13 children on Tuesday largely due to his financial and professional stability, and he was found to have no links to human trafficking, the court said. Growing up with a biological parent will also be in the children's best interests, the court added. "The petitioner is an heir and president of a well-known company listed in a stock exchange in Japan, owner and shareholder in many companies, and receives dividend of more than 100 million baht (2.28 million pounds) from a single company in a year, which shows the petitioner has professional stability and an ample income to raise all the children," the court said in a statement. "Therefore, it is ruled that all the 13 children are legal children of the petitioner ... and the petitioner is their sole guardian." The court gave no further details about the man, but said he plans to raise the 13 children in Japan where he lives, adding that he had previously raised his other surrogate children in Cambodia and Japan. When the case was first lodged in 2014, police had said the man was 24 years old. The man's lawyer, Kong Suriyamonthon, said his client plans to raise the 13 children, who are aged around 4, in Japan. When asked why the man would want so many children at the same time, Kong said: "He has personal and business reasons. He was born in a big family, so he wants his children to grow up together." Thailand was rocked by several surrogacy scandals in 2014, including allegations that an Australian couple had abandoned their Down Syndrome baby with his Thai birth mother taking only his healthy twin sister back to Australia with them. Thailand passed a law banning commercial surrogacy in 2015 as a result, forcing clinics to move to Cambodia, where it was also later banned, and then Laos. (Reporting by Aukkarapon Niyomyat; Additional reporting and writing by Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore) -- © Copyright Reuters 2018-02-20
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