Junshi Biosciences and Coherus Announce Positive Final Overall Survival Results of JUPITER-02, a Phase 3 Clinical Trial Evaluating Toripalimab as Treatment for Recurrent or Metastatic Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma

– Final overall survival analysis of the JUPITER-02 trial shows first-line treatment with toripalimab plus chemotherapy significantly prolongs survival in patients with advanced NPC –

SHANGHAI, China and REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Feb. 15, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Shanghai Junshi Biosciences Co., Ltd (“Junshi Biosciences”, HKEX: 1877; SSE: 688180) and Coherus BioSciences, Inc. (“Coherus”) today announced positive results of a final analysis of overall survival (“OS”) from the pivotal study JUPITER-02 (NCT03581786), a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 3 clinical trial evaluating toripalimab in combination with gemcitabine and cisplatin as the first-line treatment for patients with recurrent or metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma (“NPC”). This final analysis demonstrated a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in OS in NPC patients treated with toripalimab plus chemotherapy compared to chemotherapy alone. These data are being submitted for presentation at an upcoming medical meeting.

“With the ongoing accumulation of data from the JUPITER-02 trial, we are thrilled to observe toripalimab gain more ground for becoming the preferred treatment for advanced NPC,” said Dr. Patricia Keegan, Chief Medical Officer of Junshi/TopAlliance Biosciences. “Compared to chemotherapy alone, a combination containing the immune checkpoint inhibitor, toripalimab, clearly has the potential to bring unprecedented changes to the extension of life in patients with NPC. We are looking forward to bringing this promising therapy to patients around the world.”

“In the pivotal JUPITER-02 trial, toripalimab has demonstrated a statistically significant and clinically meaningful overall survival benefit for patients with advanced NPC, an aggressive head and neck tumor with no current FDA-approved treatment options,” said Rosh Dias, M.D., Coherus’ Chief Medical Officer. “These mature overall survival data continue to demonstrate the benefit of toripalimab in the treatment of NPC patients, further building upon the data published in Nature Medicine and presented at the 2021 plenary session at the ASCO annual meeting, and clearly show that toripalimab has the potential to become the new standard-of-care for NPC patients, once approved. We look forward to sharing these data with the oncology community at an upcoming medical meeting.”

The FDA has granted Breakthrough Therapy designations and priority review for the toripalimab Biologics License Application (“BLA”) for use in combination with gemcitabine and cisplatin as first-line treatment for patients with advanced recurrent or metastatic NPC and for toripalimab monotherapy for the second-line or later treatment of recurrent or metastatic NPC after platinum-containing chemotherapy. Recurrent or metastatic NPC is an aggressive head and neck tumor which has no FDA-approved treatment options.

About Toripalimab

Toripalimab is an anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody developed for its ability to block PD-1 interactions with its ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2, and for enhanced receptor internalization (endocytosis function). Blocking PD-1 interactions with PD-L1 and PD-L2 promotes the immune system’s ability to attack and kill tumor cells.

More than thirty company-sponsored toripalimab clinical studies covering more than fifteen indications have been conducted globally by Junshi Biosciences, including in China, the United States, Southeast Asia, and European countries. Ongoing or completed pivotal clinical trials evaluating the safety and efficacy of toripalimab cover a broad range of tumor types including cancers of the lung, nasopharynx, esophagus, stomach, bladder, breast, liver, kidney and skin.

In China, toripalimab was the first domestic anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody approved for marketing (approved in China as TUOYI®). Currently, there are six approved indications for toripalimab in China:

  1. unresectable or metastatic melanoma after failure of standard systemic therapy;
  2. recurrent or metastatic NPC after failure of at least two lines of prior systemic therapy;
  3. locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma that failed platinum-containing chemotherapy or progressed within 12 months of neoadjuvant or adjuvant platinum-containing chemotherapy;
  4. in combination with cisplatin and gemcitabine as the first-line treatment for patients with locally recurrent or metastatic NPC;
  5. in combination with paclitaxel and cisplatin in first-line treatment of patients with unresectable locally advanced/recurrent or distant metastatic esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (“ESCC”);
  6. in combination with pemetrexed and platinum as the first-line treatment in EGFR mutation-negative and ALK mutation-negative, unresectable, locally advanced or metastatic non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (“NSCLC”).

The first three indications have been included in the National Reimbursement Drug List (NRDL) (2022 Edition). Toripalimab is the only anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody included in the NRDL for treatment of melanoma.

About Junshi Biosciences
Founded in December 2012, Junshi Biosciences (HKEX: 1877; SSE: 688180) is an innovation-driven biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development, and commercialization of innovative therapeutics. The company has established a diversified R&D pipeline comprising over 50 drug candidates, with five therapeutic focus areas covering cancer, autoimmune, metabolic, neurological, and infectious diseases. Junshi Biosciences was the first Chinese pharmaceutical company that obtained marketing approval for anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody in China. Its first-in-human anti-BTLA monoclonal antibody for the treatment of various cancers was the first in the world to be approved for clinical trials by the FDA and NMPA and has since entered Phase Ib/II trials in both China and the US. Its anti-PCSK9 monoclonal antibody was the first in China to be approved for clinical trials by the NMPA.

In the face of the pandemic, Junshi Biosciences’ response was strong and immediate, joining forces with Chinese and international scientific research institutions and enterprises to develop an arsenal of drug candidates to combat COVID-19, taking the initiative to shoulder the social responsibility of Chinese pharmaceutical companies by prioritizing and accelerating COVID-19 R&D. Among the many drug candidates is JS016 (etesevimab), China’s first neutralizing fully human monoclonal antibody against SARS-CoV-2 and the result of the combined efforts of Junshi Biosciences, the Institute of Microbiology of the Chinese Academy of Science and Lilly. JS016 administered with bamlanivimab has been granted Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) in over 15 countries and regions worldwide. As of December 3 2021, over 700,000 patients have been treated with bamlanivimab or bamlanivimab and etesevimab, potentially preventing more than 35,000 hospitalizations and at least 14,000 deaths. Meanwhile, VV116, a new oral nucleoside analog anti-SARS-CoV-2 drug designed to hinder virus replication, has been approved for marketing in China and Uzbekistan. The JS016 and VV116 programs are a part of the company’s continuous innovation for disease control and prevention of the global pandemic.

Junshi Biosciences has more than 3,100 employees in the United States (San Francisco and Maryland) and China (Shanghai, Suzhou, Beijing, Guangzhou, etc). For more information, please visit: http://junshipharma.com.

About Coherus BioSciences

Coherus is a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the research, development and commercialization of innovative immunotherapies to treat cancer. Coherus’ strategy is to build a leading immuno-oncology franchise funded with cash generated through net sales of its diversified portfolio of FDA-approved therapeutics.

In 2021, Coherus in-licensed toripalimab, an anti-PD-1 antibody, in the United States and Canada. The Biologics License Application for toripalimab in combination with chemotherapy as treatment for recurrent or metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma is currently under review by the FDA.

Coherus markets UDENYCA® (pegfilgrastim-cbqv), a biosimilar of Neulasta® (pegfilgrastim), and CIMERLI® (ranibizumab-eqrn), a biosimilar of Lucentis® (ranibizumab), in the U.S., and expects to launch the FDA-approved Humira®(adalimumab) biosimilar YUSIMRY™ (adalimumab-aqvh) in the U.S. in mid-2023. In January 2023, Coherus agreed to enter into definitive agreements providing for the acquisition of exclusive U.S. commercial rights to an Eylea® (aflibercept) biosimilar, FYB203, and plans to file a BLA for FYB203 in 2023.

Forward-Looking Statements

Except for the historical information contained herein, the matters set forth in this press release are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including, but not limited to, statements regarding Coherus’ ability to build its immuno-oncology franchise to achieve a leading market position; Coherus’ ability to generate cash; Coherus’ investment plans; Coherus’ expectations for the launch date of YUSIMRY™; Coherus’ expectations about entering into definitive agreements and closing on those agreements to acquire exclusive U.S. commercial rights to an Eylea® biosimilar; expectations about Coherus’ ability to file a BLA for an Eylea® biosimilar; Coherus’ expectations about toripalimab gaining approval and becoming the new standard-of-care for patients with NPC after approval. Such forward-looking statements involve substantial risks and uncertainties that could cause Coherus’ actual results, performance or achievements to differ significantly from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, risks and uncertainties inherent in the clinical drug development process; risks relating to the COVID-19 pandemic; risks related to our existing and potential collaboration partners; risks of the drug development position of Coherus’ competitors; the risks and uncertainties of the regulatory approval process, including the speed of regulatory review, international aspects of Coherus’ business, the need to schedule inspections in China and the timing of Coherus’ regulatory filings; the risk of FDA review issues; the risk of Coherus’ execution of its change in strategy from a focus on biosimilars to a strategy using cash from its portfolio to fund an oncology franchise; the risk that Coherus is unable to complete commercial transactions and other matters that could affect the availability or commercial potential of Coherus’ drug candidates; and the risks and uncertainties of possible litigation. All forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date of this press release. Coherus undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. For a further description of the significant risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those expressed in these forward-looking statements, as well as risks relating to Coherus’ business in general, see Coherus’ Annual Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter-ended September 30, 2022, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 8, 2022, including the section therein captioned “Risk Factors” and in other documents that Coherus files with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

UDENYCA®, CIMERLI®, and YUSIMRY™, whether or not appearing in large print or with the trademark symbol, are trademarks of Coherus, its affiliates, related companies or its licensors or joint venture partners, unless otherwise noted.

Junshi Biosciences Contact Information

IR Team:
Junshi Biosciences
+ 86 021-6105 8800

PR Team:
Junshi Biosciences
Zhi Li
+ 86 021-6105 8800

Coherus Contact Information

Marek Ciszewski, SVP Investor Relations

Jodi Sievers, VP Corporate Communications

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8750054

Röhrl’s Porsche 911 Dakar equipped with the right tyres from the desert to the Alps in partnership with Pirelli

MILAN, Italy, Feb. 15, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The right tyre makes all the difference. Veteran driver Walter Röhrl, who in his rallying career has won on the most diverse tracks, from mud to asphalt, from gravel to snow, knows this well. And now for his Porsche 911 Dakar he can count on tyres that are specific to the type of terrain: from the Scorpion All Terrain Plus, designed for the sand of the desert, to the P Zero Winter, put to the test in the snow of the Alps, changing tyres is the key. Just like forty years ago, Röhrl explains, when he won the Monte Carlo Rally thanks to a strategy that allowed him to get the better of his opponents who, unlike him, were equipped with four-wheel drive; in order to deal effectively with both icy and dry asphalt, Röhrl’s team was the only one to opt for a tyre change, switching from studded Pirelli tyres to Pirelli slicks.

This is the first time that a Porsche 911 Dakar – a reinterpretation of the classic coupé in an all-terrain key, designed to maximise its off-road capabilities – has been fitted with a Pirelli off-road tyre as original equipment. The Scorpion All Terrain Plus tyre is specifically designed to offer resistance and support on the most demanding terrain, adapted to give the Porsche 911 Dakar the versatility of an off-roader as well as the high performance that has always been a feature of the iconic sports car, with a special development process.

Pirelli’s R&D department used compounds capable of handling performance on both gravel and asphalt. In addition, the structure has been and optimised to improve the footprint on the ground. Compared to the traditional Scorpion All Terrain Plus, the new tyre for the Porsche 911 Dakar has a tread pattern that delivers competitive performance in the dry, both on the circuit and in the desert. All this is achieved without compromising on aspects that are fundamental for everyday use, such as stability, safety and comfort. For the outdoor testing of this tyre, Pirelli drove the 911 Dakar on all the main European proving grounds and on a variety of tracks representative of a wide range of conditions.

Pirelli and Stuttgart have a long-standing partnership, so much so that the Porsche 911 was the first car to receive a marked Pirelli tyre (in this case, with the ‘N’ symbol) in 1982. As a result, Pirelli’s ‘Perfect Fit’ strategy was born with Porsche, a strategy that involves the development, alongside the most prestigious car manufacturers, of tyres that are specifically tailored to the most high-performance cars.

For more information:

Press Office LaPresse ufficio.stampa@lapresse.it

A video accompanying this announcement is available at: https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/2e615cdf-af52-4b8b-b9cd-a9a5473058f9

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8750009

Xometry to Announce Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2022 Financial Results on March 1, 2023

ROCKVILLE, Md., Feb. 15, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Xometry, Inc. (NASDAQ: XMTR), the global online marketplace connecting enterprise buyers with suppliers of manufacturing services, today announced it will report its fourth quarter and full-year 2022 financial results before the market open on March 1, 2023.

Xometry will host its conference call and webcast to discuss the results at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time (5:30 a.m. Pacific Time) on the same day. In addition to its press release announcing its fourth quarter 2022 financial results, Xometry will also provide an earnings presentation, which will be available on its investor website at investors.xometry.com.

Xometry, Inc. Fourth Quarter 2022 Earnings Presentation and Conference Call

The earnings webcast presentation will be archived within the Investor Relations section of Xometry’s website.

About Xometry

Xometry (NASDAQ: XMTR) powers the industries of today and tomorrow by connecting the people with big ideas to the manufacturers who can bring them to life. Xometry’s digital marketplace gives manufacturers the critical resources they need to grow their business while also making it easy for buyers at Fortune 1000 companies to tap into global manufacturing capacity and create locally resilient supply chains. Learn more at www.xometry.com or follow @xometry.

Investor Contacts
Shawn Milne
VP Investor Relations

Media Contact
Matthew Hutchison for Xometry

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8749688

GreySkies Service Assurance Software Platform Helps Orange Egypt Reduce Operational Costs

GreySkies provides end-to-end visibility for Orange Egypt’s fixed and mobile networks

Featured Image for Greyskies Inc.

Featured Image for Greyskies Inc.

SEATTLE, Feb. 15, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today GreySkies, a telecommunications service assurance software provider, announced the completion of the deployment of its market-leading platform at Orange Egypt, the world’s leading telecommunications operator, enabling the reduction of their service assurance operational costs by 76%. These results were achieved by consolidating many expensive assurance tools, and right sizing the associated resources in the process. Furthermore, the advanced GreySkies capabilities in Machine Learning and Automation will enable Orange Egypt to model their services and address service degradations before impacting customers.

Orange Egypt felt comfortable going with GreySkies’ leading Universal Service Assurance solutions based on its superior technical capabilities, compelling business value proposition and high ROI, and thus, becoming the unifying platform to manage the performance of all its network services and correlate them with their customers’ experience.

“With the ongoing network transformation that Orange is going through, it is critically important to have a cutting-edge service assurance platform to help us pivot successfully in an ever-changing market,” said Ayman Amiri, Orange Egypt Chief Technology Officer. “We couldn’t be happier to work with a proven company like GreySkies, and we look forward to continuing working with them to provide better service quality to our customers.”

Monther Muharram, Director of Mobile & Fixed Core said, “With the universal nature of the GreySkies Service Assurance platform, it allows us to have one pane of glass to quickly and comprehensively monitor all our services and the impact on our customers. We are thrilled with the results we have seen thus far and look forward to continuing to capitalize on that platform after seeing the true impact GreySkies has on reducing our service assurance operational costs.”

“It is a great privilege for us to work with Orange Egypt, the operator of the fastest network in Egypt, and to partner with them through their transformation initiatives positioning them for IOT and the multi-cloud. It is indisputable that service quality is a determining factor in customer retention and acquisition. By deploying the GreySkies technology, Orange Egypt can quickly identify and resolve network issues through automation and advanced machine learning analytics” said Ahmed Mokhtar, GreySkies Chief Executive Officer.

About GreySkies

GreySkies Inc. provides Service Assurance solutions to network service providers and large enterprises. The Universal Service Assurance platform allows an operator’s engineering, operations, and planning teams to efficiently manage today’s complex and ever-changing infrastructure, enabling visibility at every layer. From infrastructure monitoring and end-to-end service modeling to subscriber analytics and customer quality of experience metrics, GreySkies unifies it all in one pane of glass, with machine learning and automation to close the loop. The platform provides universal support for all vendors and all technologies within a service provider’s network, including Cloud, 5G and IOT.

For more information on the internet and on your mobile: www.greyskiesinc.comor follow us on Twitter: @greyskiesinc and LinkedIn: company/greyskies

About Orange

Orange is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of 42.5 billion euros in 2021 and 136,500 employees worldwide at 30 Sept. 2022, including 75,000 employees in France. The Group has a total customer base of 286 million customers worldwide on 30 Sept. 2022, including 240 million mobile customers and 24 million fixed broadband customers. The Group is present in 26 countries. Orange is also a leading provider of global IT and telecommunication services to multinational companies under the brand Orange Business Services. In December 2019, the Group presented its “Engage 2025” strategic plan, which, guided by social and environmental accountability, aims to reinvent its operator model. While accelerating in growth areas and placing data and AI at the heart of its innovation model, the Group will be an attractive and responsible employer, adapted to emerging professions.

For more information on the internet and on your mobile: www.orange.comwww.orange-business.com and the Orange News app, or follow us on Twitter: @orangegrouppr.

Orange and any other Orange product or service names included in this material are trademarks of Orange or Orange Brand Services Limited.

Contact Information:
Ahmed Mokhtar

Andrew Miller
Marketing Manager

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100 Days to Go Until Vivid Sydney Dazzles Again

Vivid Sydney

Vivid Sydney

SYDNEY, Feb. 15, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The countdown to Vivid Sydney 2023 has officially begun, with today marking 100 days until the festival’s Lights On moment at 6 p.m. on Friday, 26 May (AEST).

Celebrating creativity, innovation and technology, Australia’s largest festival will dazzle and delight audiences for 23 days and nights across four pillars this year — Vivid Light, Vivid Music, Vivid Ideas and the brand-new Vivid Food.

Minister for Tourism Ben Franklin said Vivid Sydney was one of Australia’s best events and a vital economic driver for New South Wales (NSW) during the winter months.

“Vivid Sydney is NSW’s biggest annual event and makes a vital social and economic contribution to our state. From our creative industries to entertainment and hospitality venues, accommodation and retailers, it supports and creates jobs across the NSW economy,” Franklin said.

“Last year, Vivid Sydney was attended by over 2.5 million people and injected $119 million into the NSW economy. With international borders fully reopening, we’re anticipating this year’s festival to be our biggest and best yet.

“Vivid Sydney 2023 promises to be a significant driver for domestic and international visitors to travel to NSW and attend Australia’s brightest event and immerse themselves in our city.”

This year’s creative direction, “Vivid Sydney, Naturally,” has been inspired by our connection to the natural environment and will be brought to life via a kaleidoscope of colourful light projections and activations, plus free and ticketed events.

Vivid Sydney Festival Director Gill Minervini said this year’s festival would raise the bar even higher than past events with festival-firsts, world-firsts and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

“We are proud to have curated an impressive collection of local and international artists and food creatives to provide Vivid Sydney audiences with new and exciting experiences,” Minervini said.

“We have expanded and evolved the festival further this year and have curated an amazing lineup for 2023. The festival offering includes some significant new and Vivid-first experiences, as well as Vivid Food to deliver world-class culinary talent, events and activations as part of the program.”

A preview into some of the Vivid Sydney 2023 highlights includes:

  • The Vivid Sydney Light Walk will return in 2023 with more than 49 light installations and 3D projections along the 8.5km illuminated walk.
  • The internationally acclaimed, multi-sensory experience of light, colour and sounds, Lightscape, will transform The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney for the first time at Vivid Sydney.
  • First Nations artist Maree Clarke’s Barerarerungar will be projected on the Museum of Contemporary Art.
  • Internationally renowned Jen Lewin’s The Last Ocean will enthral audiences following its 2022 debut at Burning Man.
  • Brand-new festival pillar Vivid Food will activate across venues in Sydney’s central business district, showcasing a variety of creativity, innovation and culinary experiences from pop-up restaurants to haute cuisine, celebrating the city’s vibrant and diverse food culture.

Vivid Sydney 2023 will illuminate and energise various locations throughout the city, including Circular Quay, The Rocks, Barangaroo, Darling Harbour, The Goods Line, Central Station and Sydney icons such as the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Museum of Contemporary Art and more.

Vivid Sydney is proudly owned, managed and produced by Destination NSW, the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency. The complete program for Vivid Sydney 2023 will be announced in mid-March. For more information and to keep updated on the program, visit vividsydney.com.


Lightscape, The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

For the very first time, the internationally acclaimed multi-sensory experience of light, colour and sound, Lightscape, is coming to The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney as part of Vivid Sydney 2023. Lightscape is a timed-entry event and sells out across the world.

Tickets are available now: vividsydney.com/lightscape.

Barerarerungar, Maree Clarke, Museum of Contemporary Art   

Maree Clarke is a Yorta Yorta, Wamba Wamba, Mutti Mutti, Boonwurrung artist and designer. Barerarerungar means “Country” in Boonwurrung and will be projected on the Museum of Contemporary Art. The impressive, stunning projection will pay tribute to practices on Country while also creating a space for communal reflection at the heart of Vivid Sydney.

The Last Ocean, Jen Lewin, Stargazer Lawn, Barangaroo Reserve   

This massive, interactive, tessellated “ice sheet” is made of recycled ocean plastic that shifts colour and shape beneath your feet. The Last Ocean, which made its debut at Burning Man in 2022, will be the largest-ever installation at Vivid Sydney.

For more information and to keep updated about the program, go to vividsydney.com.

Contact Information:
Jenna Whyte
PR Manager

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Captain of Thai ‘Cave Boys’ Soccer Team Dies in Britain

BANGKOK — One of 12 boys dramatically rescued after two weeks trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand in 2018 has died in Britain where he was attending a soccer academy, his former teacher said on Wednesday.

Duangpetch Promthep, better known as “Dom,” was captain of the “Wild Boars” team whose seemingly impossible extraction by international divers and Thai navy SEALs captured huge global attention.

The circumstances of 17-year-old Duangpetch’s death were not immediately clear. The news was shared on social media by a Buddhist monk who taught the boys in Thailand’s northern Chiang Rai province.

“Duangpetch Promthep has now gone to another world,” Supatpong Methigo posted on Facebook. “I hope he will be reborn and become my student again in the next life.”

Reuters could not independently confirm the death, which Supatpong said he learned of from Duangpetch’s grandmother, who said he had suffered an unspecified accident in Britain.

Former Thai national team captain and coach, Kiatisuk Senamuang, whose foundation helped Duangpetch secure a scholarship at the Brooke House College Football Academy in Leicestershire, described him as a polite, kind gentleman who dreamt of playing for his country.

“I wanted to see his dream realized … but rest well now Dom,” he posted on Instagram.

In June 2018, the boys, aged 11-16 and their 25-year-old assistant coach set off to explore the Tham Luang cave complex for just an hour, but ended up trapped by flood waters.

They were found nine days later in a flooded chamber 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the entrance of the caves. Their complicated extraction started six days later in an unprecedented operation during which a retired Thai diver died.

Once rescued, the boys were invited to attend a Manchester United match and their story was the subject of books, documentaries and films, and most recently, the Netflix NFLX.O series “Thai Cave Rescue.”

Source: Voice of America

Opposition launches debate against Prayut government

Opposition MPs began a House debate against the Prayut government this morning (Wednesday), in what is seen as a prelude to this year’s general election.

The House of Representatives was able to proceed with the debate despite earlier fears that many government MPs would boycott the session to deny it a needed quorum.

Opposition leader Cholnan Srikaew, of the Pheu Thai Party, kicked off the two-day debate with a list of failures and mismanagements by the government, which have resulted in, what he described as, the “sorry state” of the country.

Cholnan accused Prime Minister Prayut and his government of economic mismanagement and cronyism, as well as turning a blind eye to rampant corruption and widespread drug abuse. He also blamed the Prayut government for the country’s unprecedented and mounting debt.

The session is being held under Article 152 of the Constitution, which permits MPs to propose a general debate to raise questions with the Cabinet and to offer advice. Such sessions, however, often turns into de facto censure debates.

As many as 35 opposition MPs have signed up to speak during the debate, which comes ahead of a general election, which is expected in the near future.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service

Thunderstorms, strong winds, falling temperatures forecast until Friday

Thailand’s Meteorological Department has advised 50 provinces to brace for thunderstorms, strong winds and falling temperatures, by 1-3oC, with hailstorms in some areas from today (Wednesday) until Friday.

Meanwhile, in Bangkok this morning, 60% of the capital was lashed by heavy rain, with poor visibility being reported by motorists on the expressways, forcing them to reduce the speed to prevent accidents.

The turbulent weather conditions are being caused by the arrival of a strong cold front from China, which is covering Thailand’s north-east and is forecast to spread to other regions, said the department, adding that these conditions will converge with the westerly winds, blowing through the north tomorrow and Friday.

Affected areas today include Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Lamphun and Tak in the north, Chaiyaphum, Nakhon Ratchasima, Buri Ram and Surin in the north-east, Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani, Chainat, Lop Buri, Saraburi, Kanchanaburi, Ratchaburi, Suphan Buri, Sing Buri, Ang Thong, Ayutthaya, Samut Songkhram, Samut Sakhon, Nakhon Pathom, Bangkok and its suburbs.

Areas to be affected tomorrow and Friday are Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lamphun, Lampang, Phayao, Phrae, Nan, Uttaradit, Phitsanuloke, Phetchabun, Phichit, Kamphaeng Phet and Tak.

Rough seas are forecast in the Gulf, with waves as high as two or three metres in stormy areas. Sailors are warned to exercise caution and to avoid stormy areas.

Temperatures in Bangkok and its suburbs are predicted to drop by 1-2oC, to minimum of 24-26oC today through tomorrow.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service

TAT to lead a strong Thailand presence at ITB Berlin 2023

Bangkok, The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is leading an impressive delegation of 70 Thai tourism suppliers to ITB Berlin 2023, which is on from 7-9 March, 2023, and is the first in-person staging of the leading travel show since the pandemic.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor, said “The strong Thailand presence at ITB Berlin 2023 will reiterate to the world’s travel and tourism community that Thailand is again welcoming all visitors with the ‘Visit Thailand Year 2023: Amazing New Chapters’ campaign, which highlights the kingdom’s 5Fs soft-power foundations and the new direction towards experience-based tourism and a meaningful travel experience.”

At the forefront of the Thailand presence at this the 56th edition of ITB Berlin, is the Thailand Stand and which is carrying the theme of ‘Visit Thailand Year 2023: Amazing New Chapters’.

The Thailand Stand will showcase the leveraging of the kingdom’s 5Fs soft-power foundations – Food, Film, Fashion, Festival, and Fight, new tourism offerings and experiences to be enjoyed throughout the country, and the push towards a meaningful travel experience for tourists – with a focus on sustainable and responsible tourism. And as people are now more health conscious than ever before, the stand will also highlight Thailand’s health and wellness offerings.

For the delegation of Thai tourism suppliers, ITB Berlin 2023 will be a valuable platform for reconnecting face-to-face with overseas tour operators – both existing business partners and potential new ones.

Among the specific activities Thailand is holding at ITB Berlin 2023 is the Thailand Mini Mart 2023, which will involve business meetings between the Thai tourism suppliers and operators selling Thailand from new markets identified as having great potential for travel to Thailand, including the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, and Hungary.

A more informal and social opportunity for networking between the Thai suppliers and overseas partners will be in the form of the Thailand Mini Mart Happy Hour.

At the Amazing Thailand Press Conference, members of the global tourism industry and media will be updated on the ‘Visit Thailand Year 2023: Amazing New Chapters’ campaign, and some of the exciting new tourism products and wonderful experiences on offer throughout the kingdom.

TAT is also organising the “Discover Thailand Journey to Happiness” special event from 9-11 March, 2023, on the 6th floor at KaDeWe (Kaufhaus des Westerns) department store in Berlin. This enormous complex attracts 40,000 to 50,000 visitors daily, and the Thai event will showcase Thailand’s 5 soft power (Food Fight Film Festival Fashion) to store-goers. There will be cooking demonstrations of popular Thai food dishes, snacks and desserts, along with presentations and performances of Thai arts and culture.

Information on travel to Thailand and the many wonderful tourism experiences waiting to be enjoyed throughout the kingdom will be on hand for distribution, and tour packages to Thailand will be on sale. In addition, in collaboration with TAT, Thailand’s Central Group, which acquired the KaDeWe Group in partnership with Signa, will be holding a lucky draw.

Source: Tourism Authority of Thailand-TAT

Two Omicron XBB.1.5 cases found in Thailand

The Thai Medical Sciences Department has confirmed two cases of COVID XBB.1.5, a hybrid of Omicron BJ.1 and BM.1.1.1 sub-variants, but there is no information to suggest that the hybrid is more serious than other sub-variants, said Dr. Supakit Sirilak, the head of the department, today (Wednesday).

The two confirmed cases, a Thai and a foreigner, have already recovered from the disease and there are no reports of infection among those who are close to the individuals. The two cases have been reported to GISAID by the Medical Sciences Department.

According to information from October 26th, 2023 through to February 12th this year, 33,219 XBB.1.5 confirmed cases have been reported globally, including 24,505 cases (73.7%) in the United States, 6.6% in the United Kingdom, 5.3% in Canada, 2.65% in Germany, 1.5% in Austria and 1% in Ireland and Denmark, according to Dr. Supakit.

He said that XBB.1.5 is easily transmissible and is capable in evading the immune system, like the XBB.1 sub-variant, adding, however, that XBB.1.5 cases in the US have steadily increased since December, but will not overtake the BN.1 sub-variant, which is as also easily transmissible.

In China, Dr. Supakit said that most of the cases being found are BA.5.2.48 (69.9%) and BF.7.14 (28.3%), but they are not new variants nor are they more transmissible than the sub-variants in Thailand.

He dismissed concerns over the spread of the XBB.1.5 sub-variant in Thailand by Chinese tourists, noting that only three cases have been detected in China since December.

The dominant sub-variant in Thailand is BA.21, which is a sub-variant of BA.2.75.

To reduce the risk of becoming infected, he advised the wearing of face masks in public and crowded venues and regular hand washing with sanitizer gel, even though the COVID-19 situation is steadily improving.

Members of the public should receive a vaccine booster four months after receiving their last shot, he added.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service