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Forget the models on the catwalk, this Paris Fashion Week has been all about Kim Kardashian and her sometimes questionable but always headline-grabbing FROW ensembles.

Over the past few days since she arrived at the French capital, she’s treated us to an array of flesh flashing looks that would make even the most seasoned of show-goers fidget in their seat.

We’ve seen her sport a sheer lace jumpsuit with nothing but a body underneath to save her modesty and rock a blazer with a micro feather skirt, strappy heels and little else. However, her latest fashion week attire took a turn for the chic, with Kim covering up almost all of her curves. Say what?

We clocked the 33-year-old Keeping Up With The Kardashian’s starlet exiting her Parisian hotel to attend a star-studded luncheon rocking a look that ticked off two of AW14’s biggest trends in one sleek swoop.

Fringing was one of the hottest textures on the autumn/winter runway circuit and it looks like Kim has taken note. She’s got in on the action with Roberto Cavalli’s leather fringe-hem skirt complete with ornate stud work.

Thinking of emulating Kim’s skirt choice? A word of caution; Kim’s actual skirt will set you back an eye-watering £5110. We think we’d rather have a roof over our heads for the next few months, thank you very much…

The second trend Kim nailed on the head was the sleeveless coat, and we LOVE her luxe velvet number. Set to be one of the coolest cover-up trends of the season, you’ll definitely want take a leaf out of Kim’s book and snap one up, pronto.

Yes, she may have showed off her undergarments with her sheer roll-neck, but we reckon this (mainly) covered up look is one of Kim’s hottest to date. Proof that when you’ve got some serious curves, less can sometimes be so much more.

Japan eases visa rules for SE Asia

Posted by pakin On September - 30 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Japan said Tuesday it has significantly relaxed its visa requirements for visitors from Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

The measure is part of the government’s drive to increase the number of foreign tourists to 20 million a year by 2020 after hitting the 10 million mark in 2013.

Japan exempts applicants from the three countries from submitting documents showing their savings on condition that they have visited Japan in the past and also that they have made several trips to any of the Group of Seven industrialized nations other than Japan, according to a Foreign Ministry official.

The G-7 groups Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.

The validity of multiple-entry visas for nationals of the three Southeast Asian countries has been extended to up to five years from three years, the official said.

Japan will also waive visas for tourists from Indonesia from Dec. 1 if they register in advance with their IC passports at Japanese diplomatic establishments abroad.

The sluggish global economy will ensure Thai exports grow by only 0.5-1 per cent this year, the Commerce Ministry says.

August exports slumped for the second consecutive month to lowest value in 32 months, and down 7.4 per cent year on year, to US$18.94 billion (Bt612.7 billion).

“Exports are still dropping more than expected because economic growth in many markets has not yet recovered and demand is lower than expected. Lower prices for many farm crops and declining shipments of gold and fuel are major factors bringing down export volume and value,” said Nuntawan Sakuntanaga, director-general of the International Trade Promotion Department.

She said the ministry would officially announce a lower 2014 export-growth forecast next month after a meeting between Commerce Minister Chatchai Sarikulya and overseas Thai trade officials. Because of declines in the first eight months, full-year export growth is now expected to be only 0.5-1 per cent.

At the upcoming meeting, the ministry and exporters will also brainstorm on how to revive the sector next year.

Exports in the first eight months of 2014 were down 1.36 per cent year on year to $150.54 billion, so the ministry now accepts that the previous growth projection of 3.5 per cent is unobtainable. For a full-year growth rate of 0.5 per cent, exports in the remaining months will need to average at least $19.7 billion. August exports were kept low by external factors. The International Monetary Fund’s Export Price Index dropped by 1 per cent in the first eight months of the year, reflecting low demand in the world market. The IMF’s Agricultural Price Index shrank 2.8 per cent, and the Industrial Price Index dropped 2.9 per cent.

Prospects for economic recovery in many major markets remain uncertain, mainly China, Japan, the United States and the European Union. In the first eight months, the value of Thailand’s rubber exports plunged by 20 per cent to $4.21 billion, sugar export dropped 22.4 per cent to $1.79 billion, and shrimp export dropped 17.3 per cent to $1.07 billion.

Industrial exports also contracted in the first eight months – construction materials by 16.2 per cent to $5.46 billion, televisions and parts by 1.3 per cent, and refrigerators and parts by 3.3 per cent.

Overseas demand weakens

In the first eight months, demand for Thai merchandise weakened in many markets, such as by 1.6 per cent in Japan, 5.4 per cent in China and 18 per cent in Australia, as well as in Asean by 2.5 per cent.

Last month alone, exports to other major markets also dropped again, by 0.3 per cent to the United States and 5.4 per cent to the EU, despite the fact that some exporters have accelerate shipments before the expiration of tariff privileges in the latter market.

Imports in August declined for the 13th straight month by 14.17 per cent to $17.79 billion. The first eight months saw a 12.69-per-cent slide to $150.26 billion. These figures left Thailand with a trade surplus of $1.14 billion in August and $280.8 million in the first eight months of the year.

The value of gold imports and exports last month plummeted because of a severe drop in the metal’s global price. Gold exports dropped 92.9 per cent ($956 million). Oil exports also dropped by 16.1 per cent ($226 million).

Vallop Vitanakorn, vice chairman of the Thai National Shippers Council, said exports this year could face flat growth because many markets had not yet shown clear signs of recovery. Next year, Thailand should also beware of slower economic growth in Japan as its government plans to raise the consumption tax again, likely causing lower purchasing power.

Army chief retires after four turbulent years

Posted by pakin On September - 30 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

General Prayut Chan-o-cha’s four full years as Army commander-in-chief ends today, with his mandatory retirement starting tomorrow.

It has been an eventful four years full of problems, changes and conflicts.

It is rare for an Army chief to serve a full term. And it must have been even more difficult to serve at a time when the Army is full of internal problems and the country has experienced political strife.

There have also been security problems – insurgency in the deep South and border conflicts with neighbours such as Cambodia.

Prayut will now focus on running the country as prime minister and also as chief of the National Council for Peace and Order.

In October 2010, Prayut replaced General Anupong Paochinda as the 37th Army chief. That was a few months after severe political unrest in Bangkok left more than 90 people dead and some 2,000 injured.

Earlier that year, thousands of anti-government red shirts staged weeks of protests that began in March, shortly after the Supreme Court seized Bt46 billion in assets off former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra after a ruling that the money had been earned dishonestly.

The protests led to riots and arson attacks in many locations in the capital. Provincial halls in some northeastern provinces were also burnt down by red-shirt protesters.

During his tenure as Army chief, Prayut maintained unity within the 200,000-strong Army as it faced a problem of pro-red military officers creating “undercurrents”.

There was also political and social pressure against the Army, stemming from the fact it was involved in the deadly operations in 2010 to reclaim sites in Bangkok from red-shirt protesters.

However, the flood crisis in late 2011 appeared to be a boon in disguise for the Army. Thousands of troops were sent to help flood victims, and they managed to win much praise from the public.

The government at that time, led by Yingluck Shinawatra from the Pheu Thai Party, opted not to replace Prayut in order to avoid possible repercussions or conflict with the military.

While in office Prayut implemented a 10-year plan to improve the armed force’s efficiency in terms of personnel and weaponry.

Yesterday, he took part in a ceremony at the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy in Nakhon Nayok in honour of the 262 retiring Army generals.

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