Unrest in Thailand's Muslim south has scared off tourists and cut rubber production, hurting the country's economic growth, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said yesterday. \nShortly after Thaksin vowed to restore peace in a month in the region where more than 200 people have been killed since January, a bomb exploded in front of a judge's house in Narathiwat province. No one was hurt. \n"One factor that hurt our growth in the first quarter this year was the unrest in the south," Thaksin said in a weekly radio address. \nThe country's GDP for the first quarter of the year grew only 6.5 percent from the same period last year, compared with 7.8 percent annual growth in the previous quarter, the national planning agency said recently. \n"The unrest has been reported worldwide, which has scared off many potential tourists," Thaksin said. \n"Tourism didn't grow as much as we expected," he said. He did not give details. \nAuthorities have blamed Muslim militants for daily explosions and killings in recent months that have revived memories of a separatist insurgency that plagued the region in the 1970s and 1980s but almost petered out in the 1990s. \nDespite sending in thousands of troops and promising millions of dollars in development aid, Thaksin's government has failed to stop the violence in the Malay-speaking region, which borders Muslim Malaysia. \nAbout 2 million tourists visited Thailand in the quarter to March, down from 2.03 million in the same period a year ago, the tourism ministry said in April. \nTourism generates about 6 percent of GDP and had just rebounded from an outbreak of SARS in Asia last year that lopped 10 percent off last year's arrivals. \nAustralia and the US have advised their citizens against unnecessary travel to the three southernmost provinces -- Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala -- following clashes on April 28 in which security forces killed 108 militants. \nThe area is about 350km to the south of the resort island of Phuket. \nThaksin said the violence had prevented rubber workers from going out to tap rubber at night, hurting production. \n"Despite good prices in the global markets, rubber volume from the three southern provinces is low because people are worried about their safety," Thaksin said. \n"I've ordered troops to protect them to resume their normal rubber tapping soonest," he said. \nRubber industry officials say output is bound to be hit in the three provinces, which produce 200,000 tonnes of rubber a year, about a tenth of the country's production. Most is sold to Japan, China and the US. \nThe latest violence took place in Narathiwat town yesterday when a bomb made of ammonium nitrate was set off by a mobile phone signal near the home of a judge. It caused some minor damage but no injuries.
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Sony Corp has cut its estimated Play Station 5 (PS5) production for this fiscal year by 4 million units, down to about 11 million, following production issues with its custom-designed system-on-chip (SOC) for the new console, people familiar with the matter said. The Tokyo-based electronics giant in July boosted orders with suppliers in anticipation of heightened demand for gaming in the holiday season and beyond, as people spend more time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the company has come up against manufacturing issues, such as production yields as low as 50 percent for its SOC, which have cut into
O2O BICYCLE SHOW: The Taiwan Bicycle Show next year is to be online to offline, with forums, audio-visual conferences and livestreaming of the offline events Local bicycle makers expect demand to continue outpacing supply due to orders triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, with some companies seeing orders back up through next year. “Next year is all full in terms of orders. Our lead time on components is one year,” Giant Manufacturing Co Ltd (巨大機械) chairwoman Bonnie Tu (杜綉珍) told a news conference in Taipei organized by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) to announce next year’s Taipei Cycle Show. The pandemic has reduced bicycle supplies and increased demand around the world, Robert Wu (吳盈進), chairman of KMC (Kuei Meng) International Inc (桂盟國際), one of the world’s