MULTI-COLOR CORPORATION ACQUIRES SKANEM GROUP’S LABEL OPERATIONS IN EUROPE AND THAILAND

Cincinnati Ohio and Stavanger Norway, Dec. 31, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — CINCINNATI, OHIO and STAVANGER, NORWAY – DECEMBER 31st, 2021 – Multi-Color Corporation (MCC), one of the largest label companies in the world, is pleased to advise that the previously announced acquisition of Skanem Group’s label operations in Europe and Thailand successfully closed yesterday.

Effective immediately, seven of Skanem Group’s facilities in Denmark, Norway, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Thailand are part of Multi-Color Corporation, giving MCC an enhanced footprint in Europe and Thailand.

The acquisition will give Skanem’s customers access to expanded product offerings and a comprehensive range of the latest label technologies. We welcome the experienced Skanem team to MCC and look forward to building on existing and new growth opportunities together with our new colleagues.

About Multi-Color Corporation
Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A. based Multi-Color Corporation (MCC), established in 1916, is the global leader in prime label solutions with approximately $3 billion in annual revenue supporting a number of the world’s most prominent brands across end categories including Food & Beverage, Home & Personal Care, Wine & Spirits and other specialty end categories. MCC serves national and international brand owners across its global footprint with a comprehensive range of the latest label technologies in Pressure Sensitive, Cut & Stack, Roll-Fed, In-Mold, Shrink Sleeve and Heat Transfer. MCC employs approximately 13,000 associates across more than 100 plants in over 25 countries. MCC is owned by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. For additional information on Multi-Color Corporation, please visit www.mcclabel.com.

About Clayton, Dubilier & Rice
Clayton, Dubilier & Rice is a private investment firm with a strategy predicated on building stronger, more profitable businesses. Since inception, CD&R has managed the investment of more than $35 billion in over 100 companies with an aggregate transaction value of more than $160 billion. The Firm has offices in New York and London. For more information, visit www.cdr-inc.com.

Contact For Multi-Color Corporation:

Sharon E. Birkett
Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
513-345-5311
InvestorRelations@mcclabel.com

The Deed of Demerger Between Cnh Industrial N.v. and Iveco Group N.v. Has Been Executed

Corporate Communications

ADVERTISEMENT. This announcement is an advertisement for the purposes of Regulation (EU) 2017/1129, as amended (the “Prospectus Regulation”) relating to the intention of Iveco Group N.V. (the “Company”) to proceed with the proposed first admission to listing and trading of all of the common shares of the Company on the regulated market of Euronext Milan (the “Admission”). This announcement does not constitute or form part of a prospectus within the meaning of the Prospectus Regulation and has not been reviewed nor approved by any regulatory or supervisory authority in any jurisdiction, including any member state of the European Economic Area (each, an “EEA Member”), the United Kingdom and the United States. This announcement is for information purposes only and is not intended to constitute, and should not be construed as, an offer by or invitation by or on behalf of, the Company, CNH Industrial N.V (“CNH Industrial”), any of their advisors or any representative of the Company or CNH Industrial or any of their advisors, to purchase any securities or an offer to sell or issue, or the solicitation to buy securities by any person in any jurisdiction, including any EEA Member, the United Kingdom or the United States. The approval of the Prospectus (as defined below) by the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (Autoriteit Financiële Markten, the “AFM”) should not be understood as an endorsement of the quality of the Shares (as defined below) and the Company. Potential investors should read the Prospectus before making an investment decision in order to fully understand the potential risks and rewards associated with the decision to invest in the Shares.

London / Turin, December 31, 2021

Today CNH Industrial N.V. (“CNH Industrial”) and Iveco Group N.V. (“Iveco Group” or the “Company”) have executed the deed of demerger whereby, effective January 1, 2022, the relevant Iveco Group business segments will separate from CNH Industrial (the “Demerger”) and Iveco Group will become a public listed company independent from CNH Industrial (the “Admission”). As previously announced, Iveco Group common shares will begin trading on Euronext Milan, a regulated market organised and managed by Borsa Italiana S.p.A., on January 3, 2022 under the ticker symbol ‘IVG’.

In this transaction CNH Industrial was advised by Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, BofA Securities, and Barclays Bank Ireland PLC. Citi and BNP Paribas advised Iveco Group on the transaction. Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and JP Morgan Securities LLC provided financial advice. Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A. and UniCredit Bank AG, Milan Branch acted as sponsors for the Admission.

For further information, please see the documents available at IVG’s website (www.ivecogroup.com/investor_relations).

Risk Factors
Investing in the Company involves certain risks. A description of these risks, which include risks relating to the Company as well as risks relating to the Demerger, the Admission, and the Common Shares and special voting shares in the share capital of the Company (the “Special Voting Shares” and together with the Common Shares, the “Shares”) is included in the prospectus prepared in connection with the Demerger and Admission (the “Prospectus”) and in the supplement to the Prospectus (the “Supplement”). Potential investors should read the Prospectus and the Supplement before making an investment decision in order to fully understand the potential risks and rewards associated with the decision to invest in the Shares.

Earlier announcements related to the Demerger and Admission
On December 27, 2021 CNH Industrial and the Company announced that Borsa Italiana S.p.A has admitted Iveco Group N.V. common shares to listing on Euronext Milan, a regulated market organised and managed by Borsa Italiana, and that Iveco Group has also submitted to Borsa Italiana the application for admission to trading of its common shares on Euronext Milan. On December 23, 2021 CNH Industrial announced that CNH Industrial extraordinary shareholders’ meeting approved the Demerger. On December 22, 2021, CNH Industrial announced that the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (Stichting Autoriteit Financiële Markten, the “AFM”) has approved the Supplement to the Prospectus. On December 17, 2021, CNH Industrial announced the publication of combined financial figures for both its ‘Off-Highway’ and ‘On-Highway’ businesses. On December 9, 2021, CNH Industrial and the Company announced the rating assigned to the Company by Fitch Ratings. On November 18, 2021, CNH Industrial and the Company presented the Company’s business, strategy and 2026 financial ambitions. On November 11, 2021, CNH Industrial and the Company announced the approval and publication of the Prospectus. On September 3, 2019, CNH Industrial announced the intention to separate the relevant business segments of the Company’s from CNH Industrial and to admit the Company’s shares to listing and trading on a regulated market. On June 11, 2021 and on July 5, 2021, CNH Industrial announced management changes for the Company in view of the Demerger and Admission. On October 18, 2021, CNH Industrial further announced that an Investor Day in respect of the Company, ahead of the Demerger and Admission, was to be held on November 18, 2021. These press releases are available on the corporate website of CNH Industrial (www.cnhindustrial.com/en-us/investor_relations) and/or on the corporate website of the Company (www.ivecogroup.com/investor_relations).

CNH Industrial N.V. (NYSE: CNHI / MI: CNHI) is a global leader in the capital goods sector with established industrial experience, a wide range of products and a worldwide presence. Each of the individual brands belonging to the Company is a major international force in its specific industrial sector: Case IH, New Holland Agriculture and Steyr for tractors and agricultural machinery; Case and New Holland Construction for earth moving equipment; Iveco for commercial vehicles; Iveco Bus and Heuliez Bus for buses and coaches; Iveco Astra for quarry and construction vehicles; Magirus for firefighting vehicles; Iveco Defence Vehicles for defence and civil protection; and FPT Industrial for engines and transmissions. More information can be found on the corporate website: www.cnhindustrial.com

Iveco Group N.V., after the completion of the Demerger as announced on November 11, 2021 (and expected to be effective on January 1, 2022), will be the parent company of the trucks and specialty vehicles, powertrain and related financial services businesses currently held by CNH Industrial. Iveco Group will therefore own and operate eight unique, yet unified commercial brands: IVECO, a pioneering champion that designs, manufactures and commercializes heavy, medium and light duty commercial vehicles; FPT Industrial, a global leader in providing its vast array of advanced powertrain technologies to customers in agriculture, construction, marine, power generation, and commercial vehicles alike; IVECO BUS and HEULIEZ, premium and mass-transit bus and coach brands; Iveco Defence Vehicles, for highly-specialized defence and civil protection equipment; ASTRA, a global expert in large scale heavy duty quarry and construction vehicles; Magirus, the industry-reputed firefighting vehicle and equipment manufacturer; and IVECO CAPITAL, the financing arm which supports them all, serving as the cornerstone of Iveco Group’s new business models. Further information about Iveco Group is available on the company’s website www.ivecogroup.com

Media contacts:
E-mail: mediarelations@cnhind.com
Francesco Polsinelli, Tel: +39 335 1776091
Laura Overall, Tel: +44 207 7660 386

Investor contacts
E-mail: investor.relations@cnhind.com
Federico Donati, Tel: +44 207 7660 386
Noah Weiss, Tel: +1 630 887 3745

www.cnhindustrial.com

DISCLAIMER
This announcement does not constitute a prospectus within the meaning of Regulation (EU) 2017/1129 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2017 on the prospectus to be published when securities are offered to the public or admitted to trading on a regulated market, as amended (the “Prospectus Regulation”), and shares in Iveco Group N.V. will be allotted in circumstances that do not constitute “an offer to the public” within the meaning of the Prospectus Regulation. This announcement is not intended for distribution in jurisdictions that require prior regulatory review and authorization to distribute an announcement of this nature.
The release, publication or distribution of this announcement in certain jurisdictions may be restricted by law and therefore persons in such jurisdictions into which they are released, published or distributed, should inform themselves about, and observe, such restrictions.
This announcement is an advertisement and not a prospectus within the meaning of Regulation (EU) 2017/1129 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2017 on the prospectus to be published when securities are offered to the public or admitted to trading on a regulated market, as amended (the “Prospectus Regulation”). With respect to the member States of the European Economic Area, no action has been undertaken or will be undertaken to make an offer to the public of the securities referred to herein requiring a publication of a prospectus in any relevant member State. As a result, the securities may not and will not be offered in any relevant member State except pursuant to a prospectus approved by the relevant market authorities in that member State or in accordance with the exemptions set forth in Article 3(2) of the Prospectus Regulation, if they have been implemented in that relevant member State, or under any other circumstances which do not require the publication of a prospectus pursuant to Article 3 of the Prospectus Regulation and/or to applicable regulations of that relevant member State. This announcement is not intended to constitute, and should not be construed as, an offer by or invitation by or on behalf of, the Company, CNH Industrial, any of its advisors or any representative of the Company or CNH Industrial or any of their advisors, to purchase any securities or an offer to sell or issue, or the solicitation to buy securities by any person in any jurisdiction, including any EEA Member, the United Kingdom or the United States.
The securities referred to herein may not be offered or sold in the United States of America absent registration or an applicable exemption from registration under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended. The Company and CNH Industrial do not intend to register all or any portion of the offering of the securities in the United States of America or to conduct a public offering of the securities in the United States of America.
This announcement does not constitute an offer of securities to the public in the United Kingdom. This announcement is being distributed to and is directed only at (i) persons who are outside the United Kingdom or (ii) persons who are investment professionals within the meaning of Article 19(5) of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2005 (the “Order”) and (iii) high net worth entities, and other persons to whom it may lawfully be communicated, falling within Article 49(2)(a) to (d) of the Order (all such persons together being referred to as “Relevant Persons”). Any investment activity to which this announcement relates will only be available to and will only be engaged with, Relevant Persons. Any person who is not a Relevant Person should not act or rely on this document or any of its contents.
This announcement may include statements, including with respect to CNH Industrial’s and the Company’s financial condition, results of operations, business, strategy, plans and outlook, including the impact of certain transactions. These forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology, including the terms “believes”, “estimates”, “anticipates”, “expects”, “intends”, “plans”, “targets”, “may”, “will” or “should” or, in each case, their negative or other variations or comparable terminology. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this announcement. Although CNH Industrial and the Company believe that such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, such statements are not guarantees of future performance. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties because they relate to events and depend on circumstances that may or may not occur in the future. Such forward-looking statements are included for illustrative purposes only. Actual results may differ materially from the forward-looking statements as a result of a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which are outside CNH Industrial and the Company’s control. CNH Industrial and the Company expressly disclaim any intention or obligation to provide, update or revise any forward-looking statements in this announcement to reflect any change in expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which these forward-looking statements are based.
The price and value of securities may go up as well as down. Persons needing advice should contact a professional adviser. Information in this announcement or any of the documents relating to the Admission and the Demerger cannot be relied upon as a guide to future performance.
The Company may decide not to go ahead with the Admission and CNH Industrial may decide not to go ahead with the Demerger and there is therefore no guarantee that the Admission and the Demerger will occur. You should not base your financial decision on this announcement. Acquiring investments to which this announcement relates may expose an investor to a significant risk of losing all of the amount invested.

Attachment

Countdown to 2022 Concerts

Published by
The Bangkok Post

Countdown to 2022 Concertspublished : 31 Dec 2021 at 04:00 newspaper section: [Life](http://search.bangkokpost.com/search/result_advanced?category=news&xNewsSection=Life) There are also exciting countdown events presented under the “Amazing Thailand Countdown 2022 — Amazing New Chapters” concept by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, at five major venues in Phuket, Chiang Mai, Rayong, Nakhon Ratchasima and Ayutthaya, today from 4pm. Tourism Authority of Thailand They feature cultural exhibits mixed with local ways of life, art and culture, traditional and contemporary music performances by famo… Continue reading Countdown to 2022 Concerts

With Omicron Variant, Countries Scale Back, Cancel New Year’s Celebrations

As revelers said goodbye to 2021 and welcomed 2022, many countries around the world canceled or scaled down New Year’s Eve celebrations for the second year thanks to the coronavirus pandemic and the omicron variant’s spread.

New York City dropped its iconic ball at midnight in Times Square with only a fraction of the number of revelers the world has come to expect to see at the annual event. City officials allowed only 15,000 to attend the celebration and required them to wear masks and provide proof of vaccination.

New Year’s festivities in Chicago were not as boisterous this year as in previous years, after Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker warned earlier this week that “Omicron and delta are coming to your party,” a reference to two coronavirus variants.

Large fireworks displays were called off in major cities, including London, Paris, Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur.

New York City was still planning to drop its iconic ball at midnight, but revelers will number only a fraction of the usual size, with entrance to the area capped at 15,000. Restrictions to attend the celebrations included mask wearing and proof of vaccination.

The number of daily new COVID-19 cases reported around the world topped 1 million for the first time since the pandemic began, according to a tally Thursday by Agence France-Presse.

While the omicron variant has put a damper on many festivities around the world, the decreased severity of the strain has offered people hope in the coming year.

In South Africa, where officials first raised alarm about the variant, authorities lifted a nighttime curfew, allowing celebrations to go ahead. Officials there said the country’s omicron wave had crested.

And Britain reported Friday that the risk of hospitalization with the omicron variant is about one-third that of the previously dominant delta variant.

Britain

London called off its riverside fireworks display because of the rapid spread of the coronavirus. However, the city’s Big Ben chimed at midnight for the first time since 2017, following more than three years of restoration.

France

Paris canceled its fireworks display at the Arc de Triomphe, and officials mandated that everyone older than 11 wear masks outdoors while walking on the Champs-Élysées and other city streets. Bars closed at 2 a.m.

Spain

New Year’s celebrations were canceled across much of the country. A scaled-down gathering took place in Madrid with crowds limited to less than half the size of a normal year.

Russia

In a state televised address broadcast just before midnight in all of Russia’s time zones, President Vladimir Putin honored Russians who died from the coronavirus and offered words of support to those who lost family and friends. Russia’s government coronavirus task force has reported more than 300,000 COVID-19 deaths, but its state statistics agency puts the figure at more than double that.

Japan

Celebrations were banned in Tokyo’s Shibuya entertainment district, and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida addressed the nation on YouTube, asking citizens to wear masks and limit the number of people at gatherings.

Australia

Hours before the start of Australia’s celebrations, health authorities announced a record number of COVID-19 infections – 32,000, many in Sydney. Festivities, though, continued as planned. The world-renowned fireworks display from the Sydney Harbor Bridge and the Sydney Opera House ignited the night sky with vibrant colors, while people in boats watched from the water, ushering in the new year.

New Zealand

Although the country has not reported any community spread of the omicron variant, New Zealand authorities canceled several fireworks displays, including the one atop Auckland’s Sky Tower. In place of the tradition, Auckland celebrated with light displays projected on the tower and on other city landmarks.

South Korea

Seoul’s annual New Year’s Eve bell ringing was canceled for the second consecutive year because of an increase in COVID-19 cases. Officials instead broadcast a pre-recorded video of the bell ringing on television and online. The event had traditionally drawn tens of thousands of spectators, and last year’s cancellation was the first since the ceremony’s start in 1953.On Friday, officials also announced that strict social distancing rules would be extended for two weeks.

India

Nighttime curfews and restrictions forced millions in India to celebrate the new year from their homes. In Mumbai, authorities banned all New Year’s celebrations, including at hotels, restaurants, bars and pubs, indoors or in open spaces. Curfews were imposed for restaurants. New Delhi’s authorities also enforced similar measures. However, in other cities restrictions were not as strict, including in Goa and Hyderabad, which did not have night curfews.

Indonesia

The Indonesian government’s ban on celebrations meant many citizens rang in the new year in a much quieter manner, with evenings spent at home. Fireworks displays, parades and large gatherings were prohibited in Jakarta, where authorities also closed 11 roads that typically draw large crowds for the holiday. Restaurants and malls remained open, but with a curfew.

Vietnam

In Vietnam, fireworks displays and celebrations were also canceled. Authorities in Hanoi closed central streets, and in Ho Chi Minh City, audiences were banned from watching live countdown performances, which were instead shown on social media.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong hosted its first New Year’s Eve event since 2018, because of the pandemic and political issues, with an open-air concert featuring local celebrities including the popular boy band Mirror, and about 3,000 in attendance. Despite the celebration, authorities appealed to citizens on Friday not to attend New Year’s celebrations but did not impose cancellations because the territory has not reported cases of the omicron variant.

China

In Shanghai, the government canceled several events, including the annual light show along the Huangpu River in the city center, which typically attracts hundreds of thousands of attendees. In Beijing, there were no public festivities planned, and popular temples were either closed or remained open with limited visitor access. Temples in the eastern cities of Nanjing and Hangzhou also canceled traditional New Year’s Eve “lucky bell ringing” ceremonies and asked the public not to visit.

Thailand

Under strict COVID-19 safety measures, Thailand’s authorities allowed New Year’s Eve parties and fireworks displays to continue. Despite the emergence of the omicron variant, authorities hoped restrictions would mitigate its spread while allowing people to celebrate, in an effort to aid its damaged tourism sector. New Year’s Eve prayers, typically hosted in Buddhist temples around the country, took place online.

The Philippines

Following highly destructive Typhoon Rai two weeks ago, New Year’s Eve celebrations in the Philippines were severely hampered. Tens of thousands were without necessities, and half a million homes were destroyed. The death toll has surpassed 400, and 82 people remain missing.

South Africa

While it was the first to discover the omicron variant, South Africans were able to ring in the new year with traditional festivities. The country announced that many restrictions, including a nighttime curfew, would be lifted ahead of the holiday because, authorities said, the fourth wave of COVID-19 had peaked.

Source: Voice of America

Thai House Speaker complains of too much game playing in parliament

The Speaker of Thailand’s House of Representatives, Chuan Leekpai, has complained about opposition MPs playing games in parliament, causing House meetings to be abruptly suspended due to the lack of a quorum.

While admitting that the tactic has been used before by the opposition, to get back at the government, he said that he feels that it was used too frequently in the past month, to the extent that the image of parliament as a whole may be tainted.

He observed that the problem usually occurred in the evening, as some MPs left the chamber in the middle of a House meeting or those who were present deliberately declined to declare their presence by refusing to insert their ID cards.

As a matter of principle, Chuan said that it is the joint responsibility of both government and opposition MPs to attend House meetings, while adding that the government, which commands the majority in the House, must take the lead in making sure that sufficient of its MPs are present to make a quorum.

As far as he is concerned, he said that, in order to avoid unnecessary conflict over, for instance, changes to the agenda, the whips of the two camps should meet first to settle the conflict.

Regarding the idea of holding meetings on Fridays, in addition to Wednesdays and Thursdays, which several MPs oppose due to the need to visit their constituencies, Chuan said he has suggested that the Wednesday and Thursday meetings be extended by 2 or 3 more hours, so there would not need to be a meeting on Fridays.

While admitting that MPs have to meet with their constituents, he insisted that attending parliamentary meetings is an MPs’ duty, because they have to debate and pass laws.

Chuan also said that he will discuss the issue with Pheu Thai party leader Chonlanan Srikaew, once the Royal Gazette announces his formal appointment as the leader of the opposition.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service

Thailand’s New Year road carnage claims 85 deaths and injures 786 in 2 days

Forty-four people died and 426 others were injured in 422 road accidents across the country on the second day of the long New Year long holidays.

Total casualties for Wednesday and Thursday include 85 deaths and 786 injured, according to the Department of Disasters Prevention and Mitigation.

Speeding and drunk driving were the two main causes of accidents, accounting for 33.20% and 29.6% respectively.

Motorcycles accounted for 82.7% of the accidents. 81.80% occurred on straight roads, 43.1% occurred on highways and 32.9% on secondary roads in villages. Most accidents took place between 6pm and 9pm.

Chiang Mai recorded the highest number of road accidents at 32.

Nakhon Ratchasima had the highest death toll at 7.

Loei province has the highest injury rate at 32.

46 provinces have not reported a single fatality yet.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service

Why ‘mercy’ for mega-corruption convicts could cost Thailand dear

Public anger is growing after five key convicts in high-profile corruption scandals were granted hefty cuts to their jail terms. Four were convicted for their role in the Yingluck government’s graft-riddled rice-pledging scheme.

Over the past year, their original court-set terms have been cut by more than half — and upwards of three-quarters in some cases.

The move has angered both supporters and critics of the government, who in a rare consensus agree that the Justice Ministry and Corrections Department are being “too generous” with graft convicts, who include former Cabinet members, senior civil servants and businesspeople.

However, opposition politicians have stayed uncharacteristically quiet over the controversy, declining to target either the Justice Ministry or the government for the hefty cuts. Observers say this could be because most of the convicts are linked to the main opposition Pheu Thai Party, which insists its rice-pledging scheme benefited farmers and will be revived once it returns to power.

Generous cut

The corruption convicts were among some 200,000 inmates whose terms were commuted by a royal pardon granted in honor of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej on December 5, his birthday. Their terms had already been cut several times over the past year, including by a pardon to mark the birthday of HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn on July 28.

The five key corruption convicts are former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyaphirom, his ex-deputy Poom Sarapol, rice-trading businessman Apichart Chansakulporn, former Foreign Trade Department director-general Manat Soiploy, and former Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Juthamas Siriwan.

The first four were found guilty of corruption in 2017 for their roles in the fraudulent sale of rice to China. About 6.5 million tons of rice was supposed to have been sold to China at special prices under a government-to-government deal. Instead, it was redirected to Thai traders for domestic distribution.

After serving four years in jail, Boonsong’s term was reduced from 48 years to 10 years, Poom’s from 36 years to eight, Apichart’s from 48 years to six years and four months, and Manat’s from 40 years to eight.

Meanwhile, Juthamas had her 50-year sentence cut to nine years and six months. She was found guilty of accepting $1.8 million in bribes from an American couple in exchange for a contract to organize the annual Bangkok International Film Festival from 2002 to 2007.

‘Fair for all’

The five “big fish” have benefited from royal pardons granted to thousands of eligible inmates, in a decades-old tradition marking significant occasions such as the birthdays of Their Majesties the King and Queen.

The royal pardons offer inmates opportunities to “reform and become good citizens who are beneficial to the country”, while also easing pressure on one of the world’s most overcrowded prison systems.

Along with cuts to around 200,000 jail terms, the pardons also saw 32,000 prisoners released this year. That left 282,620 inmates in Thai prisons as of December 1, according to the Corrections Department.

Inmates eligible for royal-pardon release include those with less than a year left to serve, prisoners with physical disabilities, paralysis, dementia, final-stage cancer or Aids, those aged over 70, and first-time female convicts and first-offenders under the age of 20.

The Corrections Department categorizes inmates in six groups — excellent, very good, good, medium, bad, and very bad. Only those in the first four groups are entitled to royal pardons, with reductions ranging from one-fifth of the remaining term for convicts in the “medium” category to half for those in the “excellent” category.

Several high-profile convicts have benefited from pardons and early release over the years. Among them are media celebrity Sorrayuth Suthassanachinda, the “Godfather of Chon Buri” Somchai “Kamnan Poh” Kunplome, red-shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan, and convicted serial murderer Somkid Pumpuang.

Corrections Department director-general Ayuth Sintoppant said pardons are granted according to existing laws and rules, with no preferential treatment for any particular group. He added that the policy accorded with principles of criminology and penology, serving as an incentive for inmates to turn over a new leaf and become good citizens.

Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin also insisted that all beneficiaries of royal pardons were approved by his ministry strictly in line with the law.

Friendly fire

However, the huge sentence reductions for high-profile graft convicts triggered anger among anti-corruption advocates, many of whom side with the government on other issues.

Among them are Senator Somchai Swangkarn, royalist politician and Thai Pakdee Party leader Warong Dechgitvigrom, and Mongkutwattana Hospital director Dr Rienthong Nanna, who is described by some media outlets as “ultra-royalist”. They voiced strong opposition to slashing jail terms of convicts imprisoned for “cheating the country for personal gain”.

Former Constitutional Court judge Charan Pakdeethanakul also warned that reducing prison penalties for corruption risked paving the way for more large-scale graft.

“It sends the wrong signal that no matter how serious the offense, this loophole exists,” he said.

On Dec 11, the Anti-Corruption Organization of Thailand (ACT) issued a statement opposing the corruption sentence reductions. It also asked Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to order an urgent review “to convince people that this government remains firm in its policy against corruption”.

Meanwhile, the coalition Democrat and New Palangdharma parties proposed amending the law to make it more difficult for graft convicts to benefit from royal pardons.

PM takes action

Amid growing criticism, Prayut on Dec 16 set up an independent committee to investigate the Corrections Department’s criteria in judging prisoners’ eligibility for term reductions via royal pardon. Led by former attorney-general Khemchai Chutiwong, the eight-member panel was given a month to complete its task.

The PM instructed the panel to carefully examine the matter and ensure transparency and fairness for all sides, according to government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana.

PM Prayut told a recent Cabinet meeting that his government was not keen on seeking frequent royal pardons, according to Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, who oversees the government’s legal affairs.

“Frequent reductions would eventually cut down the penalty to just a few years [in prison],” the premier was quoted as saying.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service

AIM 2022 Aims to Spur Growth in Foreign Direct Investments Worldwide

● Developed economies registered a threefold increase in FDIs in 1H21, reaching a total of $424 billion ● The UAE is one of the world’s top 20 economies, in terms of FDI ● AIM 2022’s FDI Pillar aims to explore pivotal themes, including mainstreaming ESG investments, GVCs Optimisation, IPAs as a favourable business environment, importance of SEZs, amongst other relevant topics

Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi

Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi

DUBAI, Arab Emirates, Dec. 29, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Eyeing the augmentation of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) flows worldwide, The Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) — an initiative by the UAE’s Ministry of Economy — expressed its keenness on continuing to create numerous investment opportunities and innovative economic and business strategies, whilst fully supporting the ensuing macro recovery and subsequent changes to the global economy.

AIM 29-31 March 2022 — global context and focus themes 

The AIM’s next edition — to be held from 29 to 31 March 2022, with the theme of “Investments in Sustainable Innovation for a Thriving Future” — will focus mainly on endorsing and boosting investments towards sustainability and innovation through key activities under the FDI Pillar.

Thanks to rising investors’ confidence, FDI flows have rebounded, globally, in 1H21, as per the latest United Nations (UN) report. Developed economies’ FDIs increased more than threefold in the first half of this year, hitting $424 billion. Contrary to previous forecasts, global FDI prospects for the full year have improved, the UNCTAD report indicated. This has also been evident in FDIs into East and Southeast Asian countries, which saw a rise of 25%.

The UAE is one of the world’s top 20 economies, in terms of FDI, indicating the country’s strong economic performance. In response to the pandemic, it was one of the first countries in the world to launch stimulus packages and initiatives to provide the necessary support to the economy’s various sectors and adapt to pandemic-related challenges. The country’s resilience and relentless pursuit of successful economic transformation and sustainability are clearly manifested in the high global rankings it has achieved.

H.E. Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade of the UAE, said: 

“With the world’s greatest show, Expo 2020 Dubai, we are now looking forward to collaborating with other organizations and partnering with the best ideas in the world to shape the future. To achieve our goal of attracting foreign direct investment, we offer a number of incentives to investors, such as zero personal income tax, 100% foreign ownership, and a 10-year golden visa. Currently, the UAE is ranked 11th in the world for Ease of Doing Business and first in the region. Together, we will make the UAE the best investment destination in the world.”

AIM 2022 activities are designed to boost investment opportunities extensively in various sectors. Participants can explore lucrative investment prospects and ideas under the FDI Pillar as global markets offer new investment opportunities to spur economic growth.

H.E. Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi added that: 

“For the past 10 years, the Annual Investment Meeting has played a crucial role in bringing in foreign investment to the UAE. Our focus is now on enhancing UAE’s international reputation as an investment hub and mobilizing concrete investments, along with bringing in solutions for sustainable economic growth. I believe the next edition of the Annual Investment Meeting will bring positive economic change achieving new milestones in the FDI world.”

AIM 2022 will recognize the best Investment Promotion Agencies across the globe through the AIM Awards, giving tribute to the best FDI projects in regions that have contributed significantly to their markets’ growth and expansion.

AIM’s FDI Pillar will present and discuss key topics. These include: 

  • “Less than a decade away from SDGs 2030, where are we now, in terms of sustainable investments?” will explore the concerns and action plans to foster inclusive economic development and resilient societies.
  • “How FDIs must drive change towards mainstreaming ESG investments”: Experts from global investment agencies will provide their insights and engage in thought-provoking discussions.
  • Global Value Chains (GVCs) Optimisation” is also especially relevant, as developed and emerging economies are urged to reposition and optimize their supply chain systems, not only in terms of cost-effectiveness but, more importantly, from the perspective of logistical expertise and long-term regional stability. As GVCs are revisited, redesigned and transformed, this will be reflected in investors’ preferences, in addition to all the complementary initiatives that are implemented by regulatory authorities.
  • Establishing a digital competitive investment infrastructure has now become mandatory for positioning Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) as favourable business environments, which was evident in the global economic recovery pattern. This issue will be explored in the session “Accommodating Virtual FDIs: No Longer a Far-Fetched Concept, but a Requisite.”
  • According to UNCTAD, only half of the IPAs worldwide acknowledge the impact of FDI attraction in their country zones. The Special Economic Zones (SEZs) session, “Walking the Talk Beyond Fiscal Incentives,” will discuss the rationality of establishing SEZs: what makes them mutually prosperous and sustainable in today’s business context; and how to best strategize their development through constructive partnerships.
  • When selecting an FDI location, countries with higher-skilled and better-educated workforces tend to attract more greenfield FDI projects (UNCTAD, WIF). In the wake of workforce flexibility, countries are increasingly promoting diverse and digitally adept talent pools to leverage FDIs. The session “Seizing the Opportunity to Attract & Retain the Talent Pool” will present an opportunity where policymakers and employers will gather to tackle the issue of the remotely functional and resilient workforce in today’s fragmented global economy.
  • Focused on three regional topics that examine the economic landscapes of Africa, Asia and Latin America, Day 3 of the FDI Pillar’s activities will explore the regions’ risks, challenges and opportunities for growth that call for increased regional cooperation.

Mr. Dawood Al Shezawi, President of the AIM’s Organising Committee, stated that: 

“Since the global pandemic, the Annual Investment Meeting has undertaken several innovative and technologically driven initiatives to transform the economy towards an upward direction. The platform has continued to drive investments through smart solutions. It has also pushed for the development of several projects that add value to investors and the economy in general. AIM recognises the UAE’s continued success and will serve as an instrument to further establish future economic developments and boost FDI flows worldwide.”

The Annual Investment Meeting continues to gain support from several ministries and government departments, Special Economic Zones (SEZ), smart city solution providers, venture capitalists, angel investors and several financial institutions to provide SMEs and start-ups with an abundance of opportunities. Apart from AIM’s FDI Pillar, the Annual Investment Meeting consists of five more pillars: i) the 50 Initiatives Pillar; ii) The Small Medium Enterprises (SME’s) Pillar; iii) The Future Cities Pillar; iv) The Start-ups Pillar; and v) the FPI Pillar.

For more information on AIM 2022, please visit www.aimcongress.com.

About the Annual Investment Meeting

Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) is the world’s leading platform for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), aimed at facilitating strategic networking and promoting investments. It is the largest gathering of the international investment community, policymakers, business leaders, regional and international investors, entrepreneurs, leading academics and experts showcasing up-to-date information and strategies on attracting FDI. 

It convenes key decision-makers from around the world, bringing together businesses and countries willing to engage in sustainable partnerships with investors. It offers a variety of features aimed at facilitating strategic networking and promoting investments while providing a worthwhile learning experience.

For press inquiries, please contact Angie.Mahran@aimcongress.com.

Related Images

Image 1: Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi

Minister of State for Foreign Trade and Minister in charge of Talent Attraction and Retention at Ministry Of Economy, UAE

This content was issued through the press release distribution service at Newswire.com.

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Are charity runs side-stepping real crisis in Thai education?

Dana (giving) is recognized as a virtue in Thai culture, meaning almost all citizens are familiar with the idea of charity and donations. But this month a debate on what the state – rather than charity – should provide has gone viral across Thailand. The hot topic was sparked after rock star Artiwara “Toon Bodyslam” Kongmalai decided to stage another charity run to raise funds for impoverished children.

“Why doesn’t Toon question existing state mechanisms, the current charter or the new education law instead?” asked Athapol Anunthavorasakul, a Chulalongkorn University education lecturer.

Many Thais agree that combatting poverty and Thailand’s appalling level of inequality is the duty of the government, not celebrities and other private citizens.

That opinion began trending earlier this month when the hashtag #whydoesToonrun? rippled across social media.

In a bid to halt the growing wave of criticism, Artiwara’s wife Rachwin explained that he began his charity runs for poor kids last year after the Equitable Education Fund (EEF) contacted his Kaokonlakao Foundation for help.

“EEF hopes we can help raise public awareness about the risk of very poor children dropping out of schools,” Rachwin said on December 25, as controversy raged over the rock star’s charitable efforts.

Last year, his charity run raised Bt27 million for impoverished and vulnerable students. Artiwara recently announced plans for another charity run early next year.

Efficient state policies vs charity

Chula lecturer Athapol conceded that charity could be useful in certain cases – such as in crises that need urgent solutions where government help could arrive too late. However, knowledgeable people should realize that charity cannot compensate for structural problems in society, he added.

“If Toon is worried about dropouts, he should encourage the public to question state policies and management,” the outspoken educator said.

Athapol pointed out that Thai education is not lacking in funding, and that several mechanisms are in place to prevent kids from drifting away from schools.

“Toon should not turn a blind eye to such facts, otherwise the real problems will simply be swept under the carpet,” he commented.

Thailand’s huge education budget

Of all ministries in Thailand, the Education Ministry receives the biggest budget. It was allocated Bt356.44 billion in fiscal year 2021, dropping to Bt332.39 billion in 2022 amid the pandemic-related economic crisis.

The Thai state offers free education for 12 years, while also providing the Student Loan Fund to ensure cash-strapped students can further their education. However, because student loans are only granted to children from families earning Bt360,000 per year or less, many have no choice but to give up their studies.

Flaws in charter?

The 2017 Constitution stipulates that the state must provide 12 years of free education. But unlike the 1997 Constitution, the current charter states that the period of free education starts at pre-school age, not Pathom 1.

Drafters of the 2017 Constitution said the change was made to support early development when young brains are developing quickly. However, a problem with the new policy has emerged. When the 12 years of free education ends at Mathayom 3 – typically 14 years of age – nearly 50 percent of graduates decide to not pursue further education.

According to the National Economic and Social Development Council, yearly education expenses for senior-secondary students averaged Bt7,607 in 2020 each. Perhaps it is no surprise, then, that only 60 percent of Thai children complete senior secondary education.

Mathayom 3 graduates usually enter the labor market as unskilled workers and end up earning low pay all their lives. But if they can further their studies, for example, in a vocational field, then their job and salary prospects improve significantly.

Role of the EEF

The storm of criticism buffeting Artiwara quickly engulfed the Equitable Education Fund, too. Established under the 2017 Constitution to curb educational inequalities, EEF received a large budget of up to Bt7.6 billion this fiscal year. Critics are now wondering why EEF still needs help from Artiwara and others.

Pumsaran Thongliemnak, an education economics specialist at EEF, said that while free education provided by the state was a good foundation, much more money was needed to help cash-strapped students further their studies.

“Fund-raising via charity events is a way to solve these problems in the short run,” he said via Facebook. “If we can do it, let’s do it. [But] if we want sustainable results, debates on the structural allocation of resources must be conducted to achieve long-term solutions.”

EEF provided scholarships to 949,941 cash-strapped families in the fiscal year 2019. Under the scholarships, a kindergartener received Bt4,000 a year while a primary, secondary, or vocational student received Bt3,000 a year.

EEF continues to provide scholarships, while also seeking help from allies like Artiwara in a bid to boost educational opportunities for underprivileged kids.

Curbing the dropout crisis

About 57,000 students dropped out of school this academic year, according to a survey conducted by EEF and Office of Basic Education Commission. However, some of these children were placed back in schools thanks to the efforts of relevant agencies.

Prof Sompong Jitradub, a prominent education specialist, said that if teachers and local authorities joined forces to keep students in the school system, the number of dropouts could fall below 20,000 in academic year 2021.

He said that aside from poverty, behavioral problems and a lack of equipment for online learning was also driving up the number of school dropouts.

He added that some students left school for other reasons, including the need to care for elderly or bed-ridden family members, lack of housing security, and transportation problems. These issues also deserve attention, he said.

Equitable and quality education

For Athapol, education is a public service that the state is duty-bound to provide to citizens. In general, the more people are educated, the better their skills, earnings and mental health.

Athapol said several factors were needed before equitable and quality education could materialize in Thai society. Among them are accountable and reliable political institutions, strong economic and social institutions, and stable families.

“Tackle the root causes of problems,” he concluded. “Don’t rely on charity runs.”

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service

Thailand Reports Over 700 Omicron Variant Cases

BANGKOK, Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health said yesterday that, the country has detected a total of 739 cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, to date, including 488 overseas arrivals and 251 local infections.

Although the majority of new COVID-19 cases reported in Thailand are still those of the Delta variant, more Omicron cases have started popping up, said Supakit Sirilak, director-general of the Medical Sciences Department from the Ministry of Public Health.

According to the official, Omicron infections have already been found in at least 33 provinces, of which 19 are known to have cases from local infections. Many of those locally infected patients are linked to transmission from the Kalasin cluster.

Three provinces – Bangkok, Kalasin and Phuket – accounted for more than 60 percent of these Omicron cases.

The Ministry of Public Health urged the people to protect themselves with face masks, social distancing and regular hand washing, as these measures were still proven effective in preventing infection by all COVID-19 variants.

Government officials have been told to work from home after the New Year, while schools may consider resuming online classes, as part of a precautionary measure to keep the country safe from the rising threat posed by the Omicron variant.

Source: Nam News Network