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Quarterly Roundup & Outlook

No belly, please … we’re Thais

Among the Asia-Pacific rim countries Thailand has the fifth most serious problem with obesity, as some 10 million of the country's 65 million people, including many soldiers, are rated fat due to a lack of exercise and over-consumption of fast food.

The report prepared by World Health Organisation (WHO) said most of those people, particularly office workers, in Bangkok and other cities, have problems with weight and obesity.

Office workers are not the only ones with weight problems. The armed forces face a similar problem, with up to 24 percent of 12,227 soldiers at Supreme Command headquarters found to be overweight or obese.

Worried by the report, Thailand's Public Health Ministry recently launched 'No Belly' campaigns. Yet, not all the overweight Thais seem to be joining as the fast-food outlets remain crowded as usual.

After all there still are four other countries which should start worrying: Australia, Mongolia, Vanuatu and Hong Kong took the first, second, third and fourth positions, respectively, in the obesity index. Let them worry first.

Besides, there are more than one billion adults globally who are overweight, and at least 300 million of them are clinically obese.


No strikes here, please!

The government has banned strikes in key public services and in sectors that are ‘of extreme importance to the national economy’, which include power stations, the oil and gas sectors, airports and train stations, the postal service, newspaper delivery, and water supply, irrigation and drainage services.

The list of companies and state agencies, released in a decree by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, is subject to revision ‘depending on the socioeconomic circumstances,’ the government said in a notice posted on the official website.

Government ministers and local authorities would meet every six months with employers and trade unions in the sectors banned from strike action ‘to hear and handle legitimate requests from the workers,’ the website said.

The government’s call against strikes, however, excludes most private sector businesses. About 30,000 Vietnamese workers went on strike in October in 38 foreign and locally owned companies in a southern province near Ho Chi Minh City.

State newspapers reported workers at the plants in Binh Duong, including South Korean and Taiwan-owned factories, were unhappy with their salaries and working conditions, including in some cases the quality of canteen food. A wave of strikes hit foreign-owned companies across southern Vietnam last year, with tens of thousands of workers participating.The government has, since, increased the minimum wage at foreign firms by 25 percent.


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