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Coding is new ‘game’ for Chinese kids

Published September 14, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30376179

Coding is new ‘game’ for Chinese kids

Sep 13. 2019
A teacher explains how to use coding to create games at a summer camp organized by Codemao, an education group, in Beijing in July, 2018. [Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily]

A teacher explains how to use coding to create games at a summer camp organized by Codemao, an education group, in Beijing in July, 2018. [Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily]
By Coding is new ‘game’ for Chinese kids

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Chen Jiale’s 10-year-old son, Zhixing, spends most of his free time on the weekends in front of his computer.

The fourth-grade pupil said he would rather stay indoors after a quick lunch, glued to the screen. But Zhixing is not just playing games or surfing the internet – the boy is immersed in a basic computer programming, or coding, lesson. It is an increasingly addictive hobby that his mother completely approves of.

“I signed him up for coding lessons at a private learning center about six months ago because I thought it might be an important skill that he would need. I’m glad he’s enjoying it,” said Chen, 36, who works in the catering industry like her husband in Beijing.

The mother is one of a growing number middle-class Chinese parents in major cities where the private education sector is racing to fill demand for coding lessons, which are seen as a crucial skill to adequately arm students for the digital age.

The coding industry for Chinese children is worth up to 4 billion yuan ($558 million) and that is forecast to increase about tenfold in the next five years, according to market research and consulting group iResearch.

Major coding training companies accounted for a large portion of Chinese education investment deals last year, raising more than 780 million yuan altogether, according to latest industry figures.

Makeblock, a global educational solutions provider for the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math fields and a major player in the intelligent hardware sector, is one of the Chinese companies looking to ride the coding wave. The company helps students build robots and carry out programming with self-developed software using tools and toys.

It boasts 8 million users at home and abroad, with more than 25,000 schools tapping its solutions, over 1,600 partners via its various channels and the overseas market forming a substantial part of its revenue.

The company, set up in 2013 and based in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, is focusing on schools, training institutions and families, continuing its involvement in STEAM education via schools through a comprehensive hardware and software combined learning ecosystem, according to its public relations manager Mason Zhong.

Makeblock has robotics products for the 4-to 8-year-old, and 8-to 16-year-old segments, geared toward maker communities and robotics competitions, and it has also rolled out kits targeting children’s coding activities at home, Zhong said.

“The emergence of the Scratch graphical programming language has greatly reduced the coding threshold,” Zhong said.

Scratch, developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, helps children to drag and combine code blocks to make a range of programs, including animations, stories, musical instruments and games.

The international coding scene has expanded to cover the children and adolescent markets, Zhong said. Industry figures show that the current market penetration rate for those segments in China is 1 percent, compared with close to 45 percent in the United States and close to 10 percent in the United Kingdom, reflecting the great potential of the Chinese market, Zhong said.

The challenge now is to fully integrate coding into children’s education and the latest policies pushing for that are positive signals, Zhong said. The breakthrough may come when STEAM and coding become part of college entrance examinations and related requirements, Zhong said.

More than half a million schools are now tapping advanced technology, including artificial intelligence and big data, to provide the latest teaching methods and curriculum for more than 270 million students across grades nationwide with practical lifelong skills for an increasingly digitized world, according to the Education Ministry.

Education guidelines for schools cover pilot programs to push ahead with classes focusing on major fields such as science, math, engineering and technology, including computer coding. A national plan to develop the AI sector also requires coding classes in elementary and secondary schools, with private sector involvement in designing games and the use of related software.

Education group Codemao, also based in technology hub Shenzhen, is another coding lessons provider for early learners, offering online platforms for children to design and program their work through animation and games. It boasts more than 10 million online users, including via mobile devices.

Tao Mingshun, whose 13-year-old son learns coding with the company on top of lessons in a private training center, said the boy and his peers find the games and other activities in the weekend classes “challenging but fun”.

“The education sector is right to focus on these latest digital trends and the schools themselves need to speed up to meet these needs,” said Tao, 45, who is also an educational consultant in a technology company.

“We’re certainly glad and excited with the growing interest. But I guess parents must also not forget that learning also occurs outdoors, in the physical environment.”

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Pope Francis to visit Thailand as pilgrim of peace in November

Published September 14, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30376175

Pope Francis to visit Thailand as pilgrim of peace in November

Sep 13. 2019
Cardinal Francis-Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij announces the upcoming visit of His Holiness Pope Francis.

Cardinal Francis-Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij announces the upcoming visit of His Holiness Pope Francis.
By The Nation

1,310 Viewed

His Excellency Paul Tschang In-Nam, the archbishop of Thailand, and His Eminence Cardinal Francis-Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij, president of the Bishops’ Conference of Thailand, officially announced in a press conference held by the Catholic Social Communications of Thailand on Friday (September 13) that His Holiness Pope Francis intends to make an official visit to the Kingdom on November 20 to 23.

From left: Father Joseph Anucha Chaiyadej, director of the Catholic Social Communications of Thailand, along with deputy secretary-general Monsignor Dr Vissanu Thanya-anan and Dr Chainarong Monthienvichienchai, counsellor for the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, speak to the press on Friday (September 13).

From left: Father Joseph Anucha Chaiyadej, director of the Catholic Social Communications of Thailand, along with deputy secretary-general Monsignor Dr Vissanu Thanya-anan and Dr Chainarong Monthienvichienchai, counsellor for the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, speak to the press on Friday (September 13).

They said the Pope is coming to Thailand as a pilgrim of peace and aims to promote inter-religious dialogue. The Pope will also preside over two public Masses – one for general Thai Catholics and another for Thai Catholic youth.

His Holiness will also lead religious ceremonies and visit Catholic communities during his time here, before heading to Japan from November 23 to 26, where he is scheduled to visit Tokyo, Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

More details of the Pope’s visit to Thailand will be provided at a later date.

Haze worsens in Penang

Published September 14, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30376157

Haze worsens in Penang

Sep 13. 2019
By The Star

413 Viewed

GEORGE TOWN: The haze situation has worsened in the state with the Air Pollution Index (API) recording unhealthy levels in two areas on the island over the course of Friday (Sept 13).

According to the Department of Environment (DOE), Balik Pulau and Minden had API readings of 137 and 107 respectively at noon.

The DOE is expecting the haze to get worse later in the day.

Seberang Jaya and Seberang Prai had moderate API level at 92 and 88 respectively, but this was expected rise.

An API reading of between 0 and 50 is good, while 51 to 100 is moderate, 101 to 200 is unhealthy, 201 to 300 very unhealthy, and 301 and above hazardous.

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/09/13/haze-worsens-in-penang

HKEX offers to buy LSE for $36.6b

Published September 12, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30376097

HKEX offers to buy LSE for $36.6b

Sep 12. 2019
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing is pictured on Dec 1, 2018. [Photo/VCG]

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing is pictured on Dec 1, 2018. [Photo/VCG]
By  China Daily
Asia News Network

138 Viewed

Move would allow Asian bourse to extend reach, become global leader

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd announced on Wednesday that it had offered to buy London Stock Exchange Group Plc for $36.6 billion, marking a significant push by the Asian bourse operator to further extend its global reach.

The proposed combination represents “a highly compelling strategic opportunity to create a global market infrastructure leader”, HKEX said in a statement.

It would strengthen both businesses, better position them to innovate across markets and geographies, and offer market participants and investors unprecedented global market connectivity, it said.

The announcement came weeks after the London bourse announced a plan to acquire financial data analysis services provider Refinitiv with the aim of diversifying its business and turning itself into a market data and analytics giant.

The Hong Kong bourse operator said its deal would only go ahead on condition that the Refinitiv merger does not proceed.

But if successful, it would mark HKEX’s second overseas acquisition following its takeover of the London Metal Exchange in 2012.

“Bringing HKEX and LSEG together will redefine global capital markets for decades to come. Both businesses have great brands, financial strength and proven growth track records,” HKEX Chief Executive Charles Li said.

“A combined group will be strongly placed to benefit from the dynamic and evolving macroeconomic landscape, whilst enhancing the long-term resilience and relevance of London and Hong Kong as global financial centers.”

Li later said the proposed deal has nothing to do with the timing, and it is “the right thing to do” for the HKEX, regardless of any temporary geopolitical difficulties.

He added that the HKEX deal is fundamentally different from the Refinitiv one and would deliver significantly more superior growth.

LSEG confirmed the proposal, saying it will consider it and make a further announcement “in due course”.

Harm reduction with safer alternatives new approach to public health

Published September 12, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30376086

Harm reduction with safer alternatives new approach to public health

Sep 12. 2019
By Jintana Panyaarvudh
Special to The Nation
Seoul

866 Viewed

While policymakers in Thailand are concerned about the dangers of e-cigarettes and have vowed to retain the ban on smoking devices, other countries in Asia are joining forces in their fight against tobacco.

Leading experts from the fields of science, technology, health, policy and consumer advocacy from Asia Pacific gathered at the third Asia Harm Reduction Forum (AHRF) held in Seoul late in August to discuss and share information about the “harm-reduction” approach, which they believe will play an important role in improving public health.

Introduced in developed countries, the harm-reduction concept is a new public health approach aimed at reducing damage from heath hazards such as alcohol, cigarettes and gambling. The concept focuses on cutting down on negative consequences rather than eliminating them.

Though the forum discussed measures to reduce harm from addictions, it mostly focused on harm from tobacco.

Konstantinos Farsalinos, a cardiologist and researcher at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre in Greece, said the harm-reduction concept was necessary to tackle tobacco consumption because as of 2015, there were more than 1.1 billion smokers worldwide and up to 8 million premature deaths are caused annually from smoking.

Moreover, he said, quitting cigarettes is very difficult and the efficacy of approved methods, like nicotine replacement therapy, is very low at under 7 per cent.

Hence, he added, products like e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn and oral smokeless tobacco fit perfectly in the harm-reduction definition due to their effectiveness as smoking cessation aids and have lower toxin emissions.

Expert speakers from New Zealand, Canada and the United States also shared how state policy can intervene by taking a pragmatic approach and regulating novel tobacco products as well as providing alternatives to smokers who want to quit conventional cigarettes.

New Zealand, for instance, has launched advanced tobacco-control programmes and has committed itself to a smoke-free environment, said Marewa Glover, director of the Centre of Research Excellence: Indigenous Sovereignty and Smoking.

She said that a policy “sweet spot” is important to politicians and the important thing now is gathering and better organising vaping proponents.

New Zealand government runs a website that provides accurate information on vaping, so people can make their own decisions, she said, adding that the government has also launched a campaign encouraging people to switch to vaping.

David Sweanor, a public health advocate from Canada, said there is a global public health catastrophe with as many as 20,000 people dying from inhaling second-hand smoke, so the problem here is not nicotine but the delivery system.

He said this problem can be solved by coming up with an advanced public health policy, that reduces risk once it is found with the use of technology, policy changes and the gathering of information.

He also called on policymakers across the world to take a fundamental step by changing the products themselves.

Sweanor added that there is a tremendous opportunity to combine technology with public policy, which will help markets develop amazing alternatives.

Carrie Wade, director of harm-reduction policy at the R Street Institute in Washington, suggested that the US tobacco-control policies, such as high taxes and mandatory labels on tobacco products, have reduced the prevalence of smokers by about 15 per cent.

However, she said, smoking is still very high among lower income and less-educated segments of society.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is partly committed to allowing e-cigarettes to be made available to smokers, but they have set up a system, in which electronic device sellers need to make a Pre-Market Tobacco Application and manufacturers making “reduced risk” claims need a Modified Risk Tobacco Product Application, to ensure a robust process is in place.

Hong Kong, meanwhile, has been holding discussions about tobacco harm-reduction issues, with the government initially proposing that it will regulate e-cigarettes and tobacco heat products in the same way as traditional cigarettes, said Willy Wong, director of Hong Kong Psychiatry and Integrated Medical Centre.

However, Hong Kong eventually decided to ban e-cigarettes and tobacco heat products because these devices were seen as fashion accessories, not smoking-cessation devices, he said.

Co-organised by the Korea Harm Reduction Association (KHRA) and the Indonesian Public Health Observer Foundation, the AHRF aims to educate society on the reduction of harm through better alternatives, and to promote and advocate practical solutions that can contribute to better public health.

Its goal is to boost public awareness of the harm-reduction concept, integrate harm-reduction strategy and eventually achieve improved health and health public environment.

Thai Mangosteen clears Taiwan import hurdle as officials align document language terms

Published September 11, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30376026

Thai Mangosteen clears Taiwan import hurdle as officials align document language terms

Sep 10. 2019
By The Nation

385 Viewed

Surmsuk Salakpetch, director of the agriculture department, held a press conference on Tuesday after a Taiwan news report claimed that a container load of mangosteen exported from Thailand had been rejected for not meeting the agreed terms.

The problem was not caused by a quality problem related to the fruit, said Surmsuk, but rather a difference in the language regarding conditions and terms found in the agreement document. There were language variations between the English-language document of the Thai exporter and that of the Chinese language document seen by the Plant Protection Research and Development officer in Taiwan.

The Taiwan news report said fresh fruit from Thailand had been transported by air in a cargo container that lacked a lead seal, but also had a label announcing “TREATED-PQ-DOA-THAILAND”, which was against Taiwan’s regulations.

Surmsuk confirmed that the Thai exporter had used the sticker to meet the import conditions. In the case of the cargo number and lead seal, both Taiwanese and Thai officials had agreed before signing a phytosanitary certificate that the container number would only be used for sea transportation and not air transportation.

After acknowledging the problem, Thai plant quarantine officers and a Taiwanese plant quarantine officer who had come to Thailand checked the decontamination process mangosteen undergoes before being exported to Taiwan.

The exporting company also checked various details to ensure that the Taiwan Plant and Animal Disease Prevention and Quarantine Office’s regulations were followed, and immediately informed Taiwan of the import conditions that the Thai exporter follows in the English version, which were mutually agreed by both parties.

The rejected container lots were eventually accept by Taiwan, and the latest mangosteen container has not encountered any holdups. The Thailand’s Agriculture department has asked Taiwan to inspect the products under the same document conditions to prevent the problem from recurring.

MOU inked on restaurant investment in Myanmar

Published September 9, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30375942

MOU inked on restaurant investment in Myanmar

Sep 08. 2019
By The Nation
768 Viewed

On 6 Sep,Thaniwan Kulamongkol, vice president of the Federation of Tourism Industries of Thailand and the president of the Thai Restaurant Association, recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Nay Lin, head of the Myanmar Restaurant Association to create business opportunities for restaurant operators and develop food business industries in both countries.

Under the agreement, Thai and Myanmar will exchange knowledge on recipes and organise training courses for skill development programmes aimed at educating Myanmar restaurant operators on food safety issues and how to manage restaurants for profit. The cooperation will also see Thai entrepreneurs operating restaurants and creating investment opportunities in Myanmar.

Expect protests in Hong Kong from Friday to Sunday: Thai Consulate

Published September 7, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30375901

Expect protests in Hong Kong from Friday to Sunday: Thai Consulate

Sep 06. 2019
By THE NATION

496 Viewed

The Royal Thai Consulate-General has issued a warning to Thai people living in or visiting Hong Kong that protests might take place from today (September 6) thorough Sunday.

On its Facebook page, consular officials predicted a protest in the Kowloon area starting at 7pm on Friday at MTR Prince Edward Station. Protestors did not request permission for the protest, said the post.

A protest on Hong Kong Island will begin at 7.30pm at Chater Garden, located in the Central district. Permission has been granted by the Hong Kong police, the post continued.

On Saturday (September 7), pro-democracy protestors might gather from 1pm to disrupt transportation from entering Hong Kong airport or the area surrounding the airport. Consular officials are advising people who plan to fly that day to arrive at the airport before 1pm.

On Sunday (September 8), a protest march is expected from 2pm on Hong Kong Island from Edinburgh Place in Central district to the intersection of Garden Road and Lower Albert Road.

Consular officials suggest that Thais who are living in or vesting Hong Kong area avoid the protest areas and nearby locations and manage their time on both land transportation and the MTR train.

Officials also ask that Thais visiting or living in Hong Kong register their name and contact in case of an emergency, sing the registration website at www.consular.go.th/main/th/register or the website of the Royal Thai Consulate-General in Hong Kong at www.thai-consulate.org.hk.

In an emergency, people can contact (+852) 6821-1545 or (+852) 6821-1546, or the Consular call centre at (+66) 2-572-8442

Hong Kong’s stock market surges as Lam to formally withdraw Extradition Bill

Published September 5, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30375834

Hong Kong’s stock market surges as Lam to formally withdraw Extradition Bill

Sep 04. 2019
Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam (File Photo by China Daily)

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam (File Photo by China Daily)
By The Star
Asia News Network

524 Viewed

HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s main stock benchmark surged more than 4% on Wednesday afternoon after media reported the government was set to formally withdraw the proposed extradition bill that sparked three months of protests in the former British colony.

A government source confirmed to Reuters the media reports saying Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam will officially withdraw the bill later on Wednesday.

The move would meet one of the protesters’ key demands.

The Hang Seng rose 4%, outpacing the 1.6% gains in Asia ex-Japan and 0.9% rise in Shanghai shares.

Britain heading for early general election after Boris Johnson’s defeat over Brexit

Published September 4, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30375806

Britain heading for early general election after Boris Johnson’s defeat over Brexit

Sep 04. 2019
Photo by The Straits Times

Photo by The Straits Times
By The Straits Times
Asia News Network

203 Viewed

LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced plans to hold early general election after suffering a crushing defeat in Parliament on Tuesday (Sept 3) night on plans for the country’s withdrawal from the European Union.

 

But as Johnson saw his majority in the House of Commons (Britain’s lower parliamentary chamber) melt away on Tuesday after rebel MPs either defected or were thrown out of the ruling Conservative party, it remains unclear whether the British leader even has the power to stage the election at a time of his own choosing.

Johnson is largely responsible for provoking Tuesday’s parliamentary showdown after it became clear that the British Prime Minister is not only prepared to pull Britain out of the EU without negotiating any interim deal on the terms of trade with the Union, but is also determined to ignore any challenge by closing the current parliamentary session for a period of five weeks, just enough to prevent any serious debate before Oct 31, when under current plans Britain automatically ceases to be a member of the EU.

Incensed by what they termed as a “constitutional coup”, most opposition parties presented early in the week a draft law intended to force the government to seek an EU membership extension until the end of January next year, largely in order to facilitate new discussions with Europe.

Johnson, who dismissed the initiative as a “surrender Bill” to Europe, pulled all the stops to prevent it from going ahead. His government refused to allow the necessary time for the parliamentary debate. And the Prime Minister warned that any of his own backbench MPs who may be tempted to vote for the Bill will be expelled from the Conservative party and prevented from standing again in elections.

Tuesday’s parliamentary debate was ill-tempered; “the mood was as sour as old milk”, said Mr Michael Deacon, a noted local commentator. And even before the session begun, Prime Minister Johnson was dealt a blow as one of his own MPs demonstratively crossed the floor of the debating chamber, to join the opposition Liberals, a rare event in British politics.

But there was worse to come. Overall, a total of no less than 21 MPs from the ruling Conservatives rebelled against their own government by voting with the opposition; a resolution to take control of the parliamentary agenda in order to force through the legislation passed by a majority of 328 against 301 MPs.

Pound hits 3-year low as election threat adds to Brexit jeopardy

In theory, Mr Johnson still has everything to fight for. For the House of Commons will only begin debating the legislation asking the EU for an extension later Wednesday (Sept 4), and even if this passes, it will need to be approved by the House of Lords, Britain’s upper parliamentary chamber, where members could delay its adoption by simply tabling a limitless number of amendments; no less than 90 amendments have already been registered in the Lords.

Nonetheless, within seconds after Tuesday’s parliamentary defeat was announced, the British prime minister stood up in parliament to announce that he will be seeking new general election. “I don’t want an election” he shouted in the noisy, restless parliamentary chamber, “but that would be the only way to resolve this”, he added.

One reason for this drastic decision is that the rebels who defied Mr Johnson were not just ordinary lawmakers. For they included two former finance ministers, a clutch of other former senior Cabinet members, as well as the grandson of Winston Churchill, Britain’s legendary wartime leader.

Johnson realised that expelling such senior people from the party would split the Conservatives right down the middle, a split which can only get worse with time, since the rebels are likely to remain in Parliament until the next election.

By bringing the general election forward to probably Oct 15 – approximately three years earlier than required by law – Mr Johnson dispenses with the annoyance of having to face the rebels every day.

Besides,  Johnson’s government has lost any prospect of having a majority in the current parliament. So, yet again, a fresh election make sense.

It is not clear, however, if Johnson can get his wish. Under current constitutional procedures, he needs the support of two-thirds of the MPs in order to hold early elections.

And  Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Labour, the main opposition party, has warned that he will not support early ballots until Mr Johnson accepts the need to ask the EU for an extension of Britain’s membership, precisely what the British government refuses to consider.

Nobody can predict how the debate will develop over the next few days. Still, it seems more than likely that this stormy political week will end with the dissolution of Parliament and a new election.

Seldom has Britain’s political disarray been greater.

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