Chinese travelers can help the baht emerge from its political quagmire 2023

The prolonged deadlock drove the baht to 35.285 per dollar on Friday, its lowest level since March 1.

The currency has fallen 3.5% since the referendum, the worst-performing Asian emerging currency behind the Malaysian ringgit.

Landing slots

Possible assistance. In May, the tourists and Sports Ministry stated airlines are in negotiations with the local airport authorities to enhance landing slots, which should boost tourists from China and Australia.

Chua Han Teng, an economist at DBS Group Holdings Ltd in Singapore, wrote in a client note last week that Chinese tourist arrivals were only 40% of pre-pandemic levels in April. As flight capacity increases, this should improve.

May current-account statistics on Friday may show early signs of the surge. Exports fell in April, allowing for an upside surprise.

Some drawbacks

Baht bears see several causes for more losses.

Given the strong link between the two currencies, the baht may suffer from Chinese yuan weakness, said Societe Generale Singapore Branch Asia macro strategist Vijay Kannan. He warned that weakening foreign demand and a weak Chinese rebound might hurt Thai exports.

US-Thailand monetary policy divergence may potentially weaken the baht. The Federal Reserve has signaled two more interest-rate rises this year, while experts are very convinced the Bank of Thailand’s main rate has peaked at 2%.

Near success

If the political gridlock breaks, those drawbacks may not matter.

Parliament meets July 3 to establish a new administration and pick a prime minister. Last week, Move Forward, an eight-party coalition of pro-democracy parties led by Harvard-educated Pita Limjaroenrat, announced it was close to forming a government with Senate backing.

Kannan of Societe Generale said USD/THB might fall if political issues are resolved.

Pro-reform Small far-right parties help Mitsotakis win second term in Greek election 2023

On Monday, Greece’s center-right leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis will be sworn in as prime minister after winning a second term with a record-high margin over the leftwing opposition.

Mitsotakis’ New Democracy party won 40.55% of the vote, more than double Syriza’s 17.84%. It was the greatest victory in 50 years and marginally increased ND’s 20-percentage-point lead from five weeks earlier.

Sunday’s result gives ND 158 members in the 300-member Parliament, while Syriza gets 48. The Stalinist Communist Party won 20 seats and PASOK 32.

Three far-right parties and one far-left party will divide the remaining 42 seats.

Turnout was 53%, down from 61% in May.

Mitsotakis, 55, promised economic prosperity and political stability as Greece emerges from a decade-long financial crisis.

He will be sworn in and announce his Cabinet on Monday when Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou gives him the power to form a cabinet.

His primary competitor, 48-year-old Alexis Tsipras, was Greece’s prime minister from 2015 to 2019.

Tsipras hasn’t resigned despite Syriza’s poor performance, and his party hasn’t called on him to. Tsipras said Syriza will focus on next year’s European parliamentary elections after Sunday’s loss.

Harvard-educated Mitsotakis hails from a notable Greek political family. His late father, Constantine Mitsotakis, was prime minister in the 1990s, his sister was foreign minister, and his nephew is the mayor of Athens. The younger Mitsotakis wants to make Greece a pro-business, financially responsible eurozone member.

The plan is working. New Democracy won all but one of the country’s 59 election areas, winning Socialist and leftwing strongholds, some for the first time.

Despite scandals that hit the Mitsotakis government late in its term, including wiretapping of senior politicians and journalists and a deadly Feb. 28 train crash that exposed public transport safety issues, voters appeared happy to return a prime minister who delivered economic growth and lowered unemployment.

Atheists are more political than other religious groups 2023

Political scientist Ryan Burge claims that evangelicals are not the most politically active Americans. Atheists, indeed. “Let me put it plainly,” Burge wrote, “atheists are the most politically active group in American politics today, and the Democrats (and some Republicans) ignore them at their peril.”

Atheists outperformed evangelicals in most indications, from yard signs to protest marches.

We should question how this misleading notion that religious people are more political came to be accepted. Given their perspective, why are so many atheists so concerned about truth and fairness in politics? Why care about politics if everything is just atoms, quarks, and leptons?

“The Ricky Gervais solution” may help. Gervais, a British comedian, mocks Hollywood elites and promotes atheism in film, television, and life. In one of his acts, a dim-witted believer confronts his character, who cannot understand why anybody would not believe in an afterlife. If this life is all there is, she thinks, why bother caring? Gervais responds that we should enjoy what we have because this is all we have.

C.S. Lewis said of his atheism,

This is how contemporary atheism spreads the “good news” of destroying gods and improving lives, according to historian Tom Holland. “Atheism in the contemporary West is less a repudiation of Christianity than a logical endpoint of one of its key trends,” Holland argues.

Modern atheists want to fix the world because they’re angry with God for making it. The metaphysical rebel atheist, according to Albert Camus,

exceeds his denials. At first, he only talks to God. It’s rude. Conquest drives this polemic. The slave wants a crown after demanding justice.

Like many Atheists and Antitheists, I was living in contradictions. I denied God. God’s nonexistence made me furious. I also hated Him for making the world.

Christians may capitalize on atheist activism. Two, actually. Co-belligerency first. Even if unjustified, atheists frequently find common ground with Christians in “wokeism” and our culture’s critical theory attitude.

Agnostic Evan Griggs of The European Conservative writes,

Fighting the “woke” requires accepting that only Christianity can overcome the worship of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Non-believers need not convert, but we must go.

We may also love our unbeliever neighbors. Atheists who care about justice implicitly admit that there must be more to life than their worldview permits. We might remind them that Christian beliefs about the imago Dei underpin their human dignity. We can explain evil as a true part of existence after the fall.

Christian hope goes beyond wishful thinking for change and good to win over evil. The loving God Who created atheists, yet Whom they deny, will restore all good things through Jesus Christ.

Minister warns of lesser public sector salary hikes 2023

As the government tries to increase its efforts to rein in inflation, one minister has stated that the government may decide to reject the advice of independent pay review committees and provide certain public sector workers with salary increases that are less generous than others.

The Minister of Health, Helen Whately, stated that the government will “consider” the recommendations for salary increases for workers in the public sector that have been made by independent agencies.

She stated that she could not “preempt the response” and emphasized the need to be “responsible” with the public finances, but she would not make a commitment to agreeing to the proposals. She also emphasized the need to be “responsible” with the public finances.

Any attempt by the government to disregard the proposals would be met with resistance by labor unions, given that the government has established a strong reputation for being open to new ideas and suggestions.

As the Treasury Department works to combat inflation, which continues to be persistently high, there is rising suspicion that it may wind up approving agreements that are lower than the suggested amount for some workers.

Ms. Whately stated the following in an interview with Times Radio: “Of course the Government will do, which is the right thing to do, is to consider their recommendations and respond after doing that.”

“Clearly, one of the things that the Prime Minister spoke about over the weekend and has been very clear about is the need for the Government to be responsible about the public finances and the priority of bringing down inflation and considering that as we respond, of course, to pay demands.”

Korn resigns as Chart Pattana Kla leader, indicating his retirement from politics 2023

On Sunday, veteran politician Korn Chatikavanij resigned as Chart Pattana Kla leader and signaled he was done with politics after his new party secured only two seats in the House of Representatives.

Korn said on Facebook that he will vacation with his family and support the party’s ideas as an average person.

He was certain his new party would gain enough House members to adopt innovative business ideas to revitalize the economy during the election.

He promised to cut gas costs by forcing oil refineries to lower their profits in the next government. He suggested that banks cease utilizing Credit Bureau records of loan failures when contemplating new loans to help small and medium-sized businesses.

The Chart Pattana Kla Party will have two lower House MPs, a constituency MP and a party-list MP.

Wannarat Charnukul became party-list MP. Prasat Tanprasert, who won Nakhon Sawan’s Constituency 6, is Chart Pattana Kla’s lone MP.

Korn ran exclusively as his party’s second prime minister.

Worse, the Chart Pattana Kla briefly considered joining the Move Forward-led alliance, but Pheu Thai supporters were upset that Korn had organized rallies against the government under previous premier Yingluck Shinawatra.

Korn stated he resigned to Chart Pattana Kla chairman Suwat Liptapanlop last week on Facebook.

“I met him to thank him for giving me trust and I informed him of my resignation as Chart Pattana Kla leader,” Korn wrote.

“As the ex-Chart Pattana Kla leader, I would like to thank the people for voting for our political policies. I’ll support all our policies as a citizen.”

“I felt very honoured to serve the people and the country I love as an elected politician,” Korn said.

Korn continued, “I would like to thank all of you for helping me carry out this mission since 2005.

Our nation has many unsolved issues. I support all politicians morally. He offered his moral support to first-time elected officials.

Korn said his family will take a long vacation.

Korn stated he owed his family several vacations.

London-born Korn. He was an investment banker at SG Warburg after studying at St John’s College, Oxford. He launched Thailand’s largest brokerage, JF Thanakom, in 1997.

Korn became a Democrat MP in 2001. He was re-elected in 2005, 2007, 2011, and 2019.

2008–2010 Deputy Minister of Finance.

Korn helped Thailand recover from the global financial crisis as Minister of Finance. He reformed the banking industry and slashed taxes. He founded the Thai Bond Market Association.

Korn founded the Kla Party on February 14, 2020, after leaving the Democrats.

He attended a news conference with Suwat in September 2022 to announce their political collaboration.

After the news conference, Korn persuaded Kla Party members to join Suwat’s Chart Pattana, which became Chart Pattana Kla.

Its leader is Korn.

Pindrus’ anti-LGBT remarks prompt Yair Lapid’s torah lecture 2023

On Wednesday, Yesh Atid MK Yair Lapid offered an impromptu Torah lecture in response to United Torah Judaism MK Yitzhak Pindrus, who had dubbed the LGBTQ population the country’s biggest threat.

“Yesterday MK Pindrus said of the LGBT-community: ‘It’s more dangerous than the Hamas and Hezbollah’,” Lapid claimed, citing a Torah text that said Jews may be expelled.

“The most dangerous thing for the State of Israel, more than ISIS and Hezbollah is the LGBTQ+ community,” Pindrus added. “If it were up to me, I would prevent not just the pride march but also the whole movement.”

Lapid likes Solomon over Pindrus.

“First of all, [this] was said of all the sinners, not just the LGBT-community,” claimed the son of anti-religious former MK Tommy Lapid, taking a Kippah from his pocket. “Out of respect for the Torah, I will put on a Kippah,” Lapid remarked, reading Numbers 20:20: “You shall faithfully observe all My laws and regulations, lest the land… spew you out.”

Lapid cited other Torah transgressions and their punishments as worse than being LGBT.

He cited death punishments for eating khametz (leavened bread) on Pessach or arguing with the Sanhedrin, among others. “I hope my sons are listening to this right now… Why don’t Haredi MKs offer that bill?”

Lapid then lambasted the MKs for focusing on the sin of being LGBT, repeating that there are other, more important crimes but that he would not rank them.

“What do you know, the LGBT-community doesn’t appear there!” Lapid referenced King Solomon in Proverbs, listing the seven biggest crimes. Lapid said.

Finally, Lapid accused the Haredi MKs of one of Proverbs’ sins—dividing Israel “which is exactly what you do today, from morning til evening.”

Police report Syariah-compliant investment frauds utilizing photos of celebrities, preachers, and politicians 2023

Misuse of pictures using celebrities, preachers, and politicians in the promotion of investment schemes that are consistent with Islamic law and Syariah law has resulted in a number of people filing reports with the police.

The Commercial Crime Investigation Department has found adverts for investment schemes on many social media platforms, according to the Police Secretary Deputy Comm Datuk Noorsiah Mohd Saaduddin.

“According to the ads, the schemes guaranteed returns of up to fifty times the amount of money that was invested.

She made these comments in a statement that she released on Saturday (June 24). “They also claimed that profits would be paid as early as three hours after the initial investment was made,” she added.

These occurrences cost RM5.411 million.

According to her, the advertising also included well-known preachers, politicians, and celebrities to pique the interest of potential investors.

“The findings of the investigation showed that the individuals in question were not participating in the scams and that they had never given permission for anybody to use their photos.

“We have received reports from several individuals over the misuse of these images,” she added, adding that 186 instances involving investment schemes that were compliant with Syariah had been probed from January 2020 to May of this year.

DCP Noorsiah issued a call to the general public to exercise extreme caution at all times and to avoid falling prey to investment schemes that promise great returns.

Before investing, she advised the public to “conduct detailed checks from official sources such as the semak mule portal, Bank Negara Malaysia’s Alert List, as well as the Securities Commission.”

Iran Condemns Israeli Desecration of the Quran 2023

The destruction of the Holy Quran by settlers affiliated with the Zionist authority in the West Bank was met with vehement condemnation by a spokesperson for the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

On Friday, Nasser Kanaani sent out a tweet in response to an attack by Israeli settlers on the hamlet of Urif, which is located south of Nablus in the northern part of the West Bank.

“The barbaric raid by Zionists on mosques and their desecration of the Holy Quran, the destruction of homes, and the daily killing of children, women, and defenseless Palestinians shows this fake regime does not have any red lines in insulting religious sanctities and violating human rights,” the spokesman said.

“The Holy Quran was desecrated.” “The daily killing of children, women, and defenseless Palestinians shows this fake regime does not have any red lines.”

“The supportive silence of Western governments will only embolden the Zionists to continue their atrocities,” he continued, according to the website of the Foreign Ministry in Iran.

The Israeli assailants also broke into a nearby mosque on Friday and destroyed it. They then tore the pages out of a copy of the Quran and threw it out onto the street after doing so.

Since the beginning of the week, over a dozen Palestinians have been killed as a result of violence that was either instigated by the Israeli military or by armed Israeli settlers.

One Palestinian guy was one of the victims; he was slain on Wednesday when hundreds of settlers went on a rampage throughout the town of Turmus Ayya, which is located in the north-central West Bank.

Russian Mercenary Chief Who Called for Rebellion Confirms He and His Troops Reached Russian City 2023

Wagner private military contractor owner who called for an armed uprising to overthrow Russia’s defense minister said Saturday morning that he and his forces have reached a vital Russian city after crossing the border from Ukraine.

Yeveny Prigozhin released a video of himself in Rostov-on-Don at the Russian military headquarters overseeing the Ukraine conflict. He claimed authority over the city’s military infrastructure, including the airfield. Social media footage showed military vehicles, including tanks, on the streets.

Prigozhin announced early Saturday that his soldiers had crossed into Russia from Ukraine and reached Rostov, adding that his men “aren’t fighting against children.”

“But we will destroy anyone who stands in our way,” he declared in one of a series of heated social media videos and audio recordings uploaded late Friday. “We will keep going.”

Russia’s security agencies demanded Prigozhin’s arrest after his armed insurrection proclamation. The Kremlin tightened security in Moscow and Rostov-on-Don, demonstrating its concern. He entered the southern Russian city with unknown soldiers.

Prigozhin said that Gen. Valery Gerasimov ordered jets to attack Wagner’s convoys, which were traveling alongside civilian cars. His soldiers also shot down a Russian military helicopter that fired on a civilian convoy, although there was no independent confirmation.

After a Rostov meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to eliminate Wagner, Gerasimov ordered rockets, helicopter gunships, and artillery bombardment on Wagner field camps in Ukraine.

This is not a military coup, but a march of justice

Kyiv’s soldiers were testing Russian positions in the early phases of a counteroffensive, which might impair Moscow’s military effort. If Prigozhin wins, the disagreement might affect President Vladimir Putin’s unity.

The Wagner troops have helped Russia win the war in Ukraine by seizing Bakhmut, the deadliest and longest battleground. Prigozhin has frequently accused Russia’s military leadership of inefficiency and depriving his soldiers of guns and ammo.

The National Anti-Terrorism Committee, part of the FSB, accused Prigozhin with inciting an armed uprising on Friday, punishable by up to 20 years in jail.

The FSB advised Wagner’s contract troops to arrest Prigozhin and defy his “criminal and treacherous orders.” It labeled his words a “stab in the back to Russian troops” that incited war.

Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesperson, said Putin was notified and “all the necessary measures were being taken”. He said Saturday morning that Putin would address the country “shortly.”

Early Saturday, heavy military trucks and armored vehicles were observed in many central Moscow neighborhoods, while troops with assault guns were stationed outside the Defense Ministry. Traffic was clogged around the presidential administration in Red Square.

Despite the military presence, downtown pubs and restaurants were packed. People danced outside a bar near the FSB headquarters.

Saturday morning, Moscow’s mayor announced counterterrorism measures, including road control and probable mass assembly restrictions.

Prigozhin, who has fought the Defense Ministry for years, refused to sign contracts with the ministry until July 1. “They have treacherously cheated us,” he added late Friday.

“Today they rocketed our rear camps and killed a lot of our comrades,” he claimed. Defense Ministry denied Wagner camp attacks.

Stop the evil of the military leadership

Col. Gen. Sergei Surovikin, the deputy commander of the Russian forces operating in Ukraine, warned the Wagner forces not to attack the army since Russia’s opponents are “waiting to see the exacerbation of our domestic political situation.”

Political expert Tatiana Stanovaya anticipated Prigozhin’s demise.

She tweeted that the state’s active engagement is irreversible. “Prigozhin and Wagner are going. The Wagner group’s resistance is the single variable in absolute obliteration. Surovikin was sent to negotiate their capitulation. Confrontation feels pointless.”

Top military officer Lt. Gen. Vladimir Alexeyev called Prigozhin’s decision “madness” that risks civil war.

It’s a betrayal of the nation and president. “Only Russia’s enemies could stage such a provocation,” he claimed.

The Defense Ministry claimed Ukraine was gathering soldiers for an offensive on Bakhmut to take advantage of “Prigozhin’s provocation.” It said Russian artillery and airplanes were targeting Ukrainian soldiers preparing an attack.

“The violent overthrow of Putin loyalists like Shoigu and Gerasimov would cause irreparable damage to Putin’s perceived hold on power,” stated the Institute for the Study of War in Washington.

“We are monitoring the situation and will be consulting with allies and partners on these developments,” said White House National Security Council spokesperson Adam Hodge.

Serhii Popko, the commander of Kyiv’s military administration, stated on Telegram that a Russian missile assault killed two people and injured eight Saturday when falling debris caused a 24-story apartment building in a key sector to catch fire.

He reported detecting and destroying over 20 missiles. The image revealed a fire on the top stories with ash and debris in the parking lot.

Fringe parties fight to enter Parliament as Greece’s center-right heads for a landslide 2023

Greece’s political edges are more quaint than threatening with the Nazi-inspired Golden Dawn party dissolved, its leadership in prison, and the anti-Western left defanged.

Despite a return to mainstream politics as Greece’s 10-year financial crisis heals, up to five minor parties—three on the extreme right and two on the far left—could perhaps achieve the 3% threshold in Sunday’s rerun elections.

That would raise the number of parties in Parliament from five to nine, eroding the center-right New Democracy, or ND, which is projected to keep its 20-percentage-point advantage from a first vote last month but wants an absolute majority to prevent coalitions. If ND can’t rule alone, it may call a third election during August’s high vacation season.

“The small parties’ performance will affect the outcome, as the more parties that manage to elect lawmakers, the higher the threshold for ND to win a majority,” said Teneo analyst Wolfango Piccoli.

“Moreover, more fringe parties into Parliament—especially from the extreme right spectrum—could complicate the legislative process over the next four years.”

Both reflect views unfamiliar to most Greeks, but they’re far from the thuggery-prone, Nazi-mimicking Golden Dawn elected to Parliament four times during the 2009-2018 financial crisis, becoming the country’s third-largest party.

Golden Dawn collapsed after a party organizer killed a left-wing musician: The party’s leadership was arrested and imprisoned for criminal activity.

A former top Golden Dawn official has sponsored the little-known Spartans party, whose insignia is a far-right Greek crested helmet. Nationalist, anti-immigration groups are increasingly polling close to Parliament.

Elliniki Lysi is the fringe right’s most likely representative. Kyriakos Velopoulos, 57, promotes historical and religious literature and alternative remedies on rural Greek TV.

“Many extreme voices in Parliament could lead to a democratic cacophony,”

The party supports forcibly returning asylum-seekers to Turkey at the border and imprisoning escapees on remote islands.

Niki seeks “to unite all Greeks who nourish patriotic and Orthodox beliefs” via Greek Orthodox Christianity. Dimitrios Natsios, 58, leads the 2019 party.

Monks on Mount Athos, a northern Greek independent monastic community where women have been forbidden for a millennium, have supported it. Russia is a strong Orthodox Christian power. Greece’s Church leadership has categorically rejected politics.

Niki’s power base is northern Greece, where many appreciate its rejection of the 2018 accord that ended a decades-old identity conflict with neighboring North Macedonia.

ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis encouraged northern voters to ignore far-right appeals.

Giorgos Floridis, a former Socialist Cabinet minister from Kilkis, northern Greece, a Niki stronghold, told The Associated Press that Niki is founded in pandemic-era antivaccination organizations.

Floridis claimed several monasteries, including ones on Mount Athos, are pro-Russian. Russia likes this party because it expresses its ideas.

Theologian and retired police officer Ilias Theoharakis, Niki’s top Kilkis candidate, called pro-Russian accusations “a joke.”

“Soon, they’ll say I’m a KGB agent,” he joked to the AP. We’re pro-vaccine. We respect everyone’s right to choose.”

He said, “That’s a personal question, but I haven’t.”

The two far-left parties polling about 3% are breakaway groups that abandoned the major opposition Syriza party after its 2015 decision to accept a second international bailout months after being elected on promises to halt bailout-linked austerity.

Zoe Konstantopoulou, leader of Plefsi Eleftherias, or Passage to Freedom, was parliament speaker under Syriza, whereas Yanis Varoufakis, 62, secretary of European Realistic Disobedience Front or MeRA25, was finance minister during the 2015 bailout stalemate.

Plefsi Eleftherias leads the polls for Parliament. If elected, 46-year-old lawyer Konstantopoulou promises “a lively opposition” in Parliament.

“We will make their life difficult,” she declared. “No peace.”