What's new in business news: July 17, 2014 (video) | Bangkok Post: learning

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What's new in business news: July 17, 2014 (video)

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Google plans smart contact lense as wearable computing device, PTT boss says end fuel subsidies now & possible healthcare fee increase to make people use services more wisely. 

Google and Novartis are working together to create a contact lense wearable computing device with glucose monitoring for diabetics and autofocusing bifocal lenses. (Source: AFP)

TECHNOLOGY & GADGETS

Google plans smart contact lense wearable computing device  

AFP Relaxnews

Google and Novartis have announced plans to bring smart contact lenses to market within the next five years, and no, they're not a more sophisticated version of Google Glass. These contact lenses will perform healthcare functions such as helping diabetics (who have diabetes) keep track of their glucose levels or providing autofocusing bifocal contact lens. In January,  the Google X Lab blog announced the project here.

The contact lens is equipped with a sensory microchip and a tiny LED light will warn users when their glucose levels get too high. The device will skip the lengthy three step device-app-Bluetooth connection that has become commonplace in wearable health-tracking technology.  As an autofocusing bifocal contact lenses, the lens will work like a camera lens to adjust to a variety of vision problems, eliminating the need for individualised prescriptions. On April 14 of this year, Google applied for a patent  on a micro-camera system intended for use in contact lenses, an extension of one of the functions of the Google Glass. Microsoft and researchers at the University of Washington have developed similar contact lenses in the past, so the idea is not entirely new to the world of research.
 


HEALTHCARE

Healthcare fee increase to make people use services more wisely

The current free universal coverage (UC) nationwide healthcare scheme has encouraged people to make too many visits to state hospitals which has put a strain on hospital staff and doctors according to healthcare experts. Healthcare being completely free has created different kinds of problems including financial problems, hospital management difficulties as well as overuse of the system. Of all the patients who visit hospitals, about 30-40% have minor ailments that do not need to be treated in a hospital, such as dizziness, common flu and indigestion.

The public may soon be asked to pay for some of their treatment under the UC scheme and this is called a "co-payment". A co-payment scheme would encourage more people to take better care of themselves and not make unnecessary trips to the hospital if they have to pay some of the bill. Co-payment will also reduce the possibility that people who urgently need care might not be able to receive the treatment they need because their doctors are busy. The idea was raised in a meeting between the Public Health Ministry and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) on May 31.

The scheme isn't covering the full cost of each case and hospitals have to seek a subsidy from other healthcare schemes, including the civil servants, welfare and social security schemes, to help cover the costs. Hospitals are reimbursed about 300 baht for an outpatient visit but the true cost is about 600 baht. About 6,000 baht is reimbursed for an inpatient admission, but the true cost is between 10,000-12,000 baht. The Provincial Health Offices tends to allocate more money to bigger hospitals compared to smaller hospitals. This results in about 400 to 1,000 state hospitals struggling with debt.

Read full story here

ENERGY

PTT boss says end fuel subsidies now

Bloomberg News agency

Thailand’s junta should remove fuel subsidies that have cost a half-trillion baht over the past three years to free up funds for crucial infrastructure projects, PTT chairman Piyasvasti Amranand said in an interview.  The junta' s economic chief, Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong, also said May 30 that prices should move in line with the market, raising speculation that subsidies may be removed. The junta government will be more able to move quickly on politically sensitive reforms than an elected government. When a government has absolute power, it is easier to deregulate energy prices.

Thailand imports about 85% of its crude oil consumption. It subsidises prices of diesel, ethanol-blended gasoline and natural gas (in the form of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and natural gas for vehicles (NGV)) through a state oil fund that levies taxes on fuel users. For example, 95-octane gasoline costs about 48 baht per litre in Thailand, compared with an subsidised price for natural gas for vehicles of only 12.7 baht per litre. The distortion in fuel prices increased when Thaksin was prime minister. Everything was then deregulated after the coup in 2006 and then distortions disappeared and then distortions came back again when Abhisit became prime minister, to be followed by even more distortions under Yingluck.

Fuel subsidies remain a challenge for neighbouring Southeast Asian economies. Indonesia's fuel-subsidy bill amounted to about 3.4% of GDP in 2013, compared with 2.9% in Malaysia and 1.4 percent in Thailand. Energy subsidies have cost Thailand an estimated 500 billion baht in the past three years, similar to the burden of the previous government's rice subsidy program.

Read full story here

Video on contact lense wearable computing device similar to Google's that was developed by Microsoft:

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Vocabulary:

absolute: complete - ทั้งสิ้น โดยสิ้นเชิง

adjust: to change something slightly, especially to make it more correct, effective, or suitable - ปรับ

admission: the act of accepting somebody into a hospital for medical treatment - การรับผู้ป่วยไว้ในโรงพยาบาล

ailment: an illness - อาการป่วย, โรคทางกาย

allocate: to officially give out an amount of or share of something - แบ่งส่วน

announce: to tell people something officially, especially about a decision, plans, etc - ประกาศ, แจ้ง, แจ้งให้ทราบ

apply: to make a formal request for permission to do or have something - ขอ, สมัคร (noun form: application การขอ, การสมัคร)

burden: a serious or difficult responsibility that you have to deal with - ภาระ

case: a particular situation or a situation of a particular type - กรณี, เหตุการณ์, สถานการณ์

chairman: the person in charge of a committee, a company, etc - ประธาน

challenge: something that needs a lot of skill, energy, and determination to deal with or achieve - สิ่งที่ท้าทาย, การท้าทาย

chief: a person with a high rank or the highest rank in a company or an organisation - หัวหน้า, ผู้นำ

civil servants: people who work in the government departments responsible for putting central government plans into action - ข้าราชการ

co-: done together with another -

commonplace: common; not unusual - สิ่งที่เห็นได้บ่อยๆ

consumption: the act of using energy, food or materials; the amount used - การบริโภคพลังงาน, การใช้หมดไป

contact lense: small round clear discs you put on the surface of your eye to see better, instead of wearing glasses - เลนส์สัมผัส

coup: the seizure of power in a country by a group of people, usually members of the armed forces - รัฐประหาร

cover costs: be the one who pay for things -

coverage: protection that an insurance company or government provides by promising to pay you money if a particular event happens - ความคุ้มครอง

crucial: extremely important because it effects the result of something - สำคัญยิ่ง

crude oil: oil that is still in its natural state (crude) before processed in a refinery and made into chemicals - น้ำมันดิบ

current: of the present time - ปัจจุบัน

de: getting rid of, stopping, eliminating something -

debt: an amount of money that you owe - หนี้, นี้สิน

device: a machine or piece of equipment that does a particular job - อุปกรณ์ เครื่องมือ เครื่องจักร

diabetes: a serious medical condition in which your body does not produce enough insulin to reduce the amount of sugar in the blood - โรคเบาหวาน

diabetics: people who have the disease diabetes -

disappear: to no longer exist; to no longer be in use - หายไป, สาบสูญ, สูญหาย

distortion: when something is changed so that it is not longer true or accurate anymore - บิดเบือน

dizziness: feeling as if everything is spinning around you and that you are not able to balance - เวียนศีรษะ

elect: to choose/decide to do something when you have other choices - เลือก, ตัดสินใจ

eliminate: to get rid of - กำจัด ลดตำแหน่งงาน

encourage: to cause someone to be more likely to happy - กระตุ้น

equipped: having what is necessary to do something - ครบครัน, ซึ่งมีเครื่องประกอบพร้อม

estimated: thought to be a particular amount, size, etc. based on a guess or the best information available - ประมาณการ

expert: someone who has a particular skill or who knows a lot about a particular subject - ผู้เชี่ยวชาญ

extension: something that is added to make something longer, bigger, etc. - การยืดออก, การยืดขยาย, การเพิ่ม

financial: involving money - เกี่ยวกับเงิน, ทางการเงิน

flu: a very common infectious disease that lasts a short time and makes you feel hot or cold, weak, and tired - ไข้หวัดใหญ่

free: to release; to allow someone to go free - ปล่อยตัว

fuel: any material that produces heat or power, usually when it is burnt - เชื้อเพลิง

function: job or particular responsibility - หน้าที่, บทบาท

funds: money needed or available to spend on something - เงินทุน

import: to buy or bring in products from another country - นำเข้า

in line with: similar to or corresponding with another thing - สอดคล้องกับ

indigestion: small stomach problems from eating too much -

individualised: making something special for each person, customized, personalised -

infrastructure: a set of systems within a place or organisation that affect how well it operates, e.g., the telephone and transport systems in a country or the system of train tracks that a railway uses - สาธารณูปโภค

intended: planned; wanted to happen - ที่ได้วางแผนไว้ ที่ตั้งใจให้เกิดขึ้น

interview: a meeting (often a public one) at which a journalist asks somebody questions in order to find out their opinions, experiences, etc. - การสัมภาษณ์

junta: a group of military officers that governs a country, usually without having been elected - รัฐบาลทหาร

keep track of: to have or get all the information that you need about something - ติดตาม, เฝ้าสังเกต

management: the act or skill of dealing with people or situations in a successful way - การจัดการ

micro: very small -

ministry: a government department that has a particular area of responsibility - กระทรวง

minor: not important; small; having little influence or effect - เล็กน้อย

nationwide: throughout a whole country - ทั่วทั้งประเทศ

natural gas: the gas used for cooking, power generation and car fuel in Thailand - แก๊ซธรรมชาติ

necessary: essential, needful, something that you must do or have - จำเป็น, ซึ่งเลี่ยงไม่ได้, ซึ่งเป็นที่ต้องการ, สำคัญ

neighbour: someone (or towns, cities, countries) who lives or is located near you - เพื่อนบ้าน

outpatient: someone who receives medical treatment at a hospital, but who does not stay there for the night - คนไข้นอก

patent: an official document that gives someone who has invented something the legal right to make or sell that invention for a particular period of time, and prevents anyone else from doing so - สิทธิบัตร

patient: someone who is receiving medical treatment - คนป่วย, คนไข้

perform a duty: to do what your job requires - ปฏิบัติหน้าที่

possibility: the fact that something might exist or happen, but is not certain to - สิ่งที่เป็นไปได้

power: having a lot of influence and uses it to control people and situations - อำนาจ

prescription: an official piece of paper on which a doctor writes the type of medicine you should have, and which enables you to get it from a chemist's shop/drugstore - ใบสั่งยา

project: a planned piece of work that is designed to find information about something, to produce something new, or to improve something - โครงการ

provincial: related to "provinces" , the different parts of a country -

public: the public; all people; the people in general - มหาชน, ประชาชน

public health: the health of all the people in a country, city or community and their health issues; also the name of a government department - การสาธารณสุข

raise: to bring up a subject for discussion - ยกขึ้นมาเป็นประเด็น

reform: a change that is intended to correct a situation that is wrong or unfair - การแก้ไข การปฏิรูป

regulate: to control an activity officially by using rules - ควบคุม

reimburse: to make a payment to someone who has spent or lost money on something - ชำระเงินคืน

remove: to take something away - เอาออกจาก

research: a careful study of a subject, especially in order to discover new facts or information about it - การวิจัย

researcher: a person who carriers out a careful study of a subject, especially in order to discover new facts or information about it - นักวิจัย

result in: cause to happen -

scheme: a plan that is developed by a government or large organisation in order to provide a particular service for people - แผนการ โครงการ

sensitive: needed to be dealt with very carefully to not cause anger or offence - ที่ละเอียดอ่อน

similar: like somebody/something but not exactly the same - คล้ายกัน

skip: to not do something that you usually do or that you should do; to avoid - ไม่เข้าร่วม, ขาด

social security: money that the government pays regularly to people who are poor, unemployed, sick, etc - สวัสดิการสังคม,ระบบการประกันสังคม

sophisticated: complicated and advanced in design - ที่มีการออกแบบให้ซับซ้อน

speculation: ideas or discussion about what might happen or has happened or why something has happened without having complete information - การคาดการณ์

state: government - รัฐบาล

strain: pressure on somebody/something because they have too much to do or manage, or something very difficult to deal with; the problems, worry or anxiety that this produces - ความตึงเครียด

struggling: having serious difficulties - มีความยุ่งยาก

subsidise: to pay part of the costs of something - ให้ความช่วยเหลือด้านการเงิน

subsidised: paid part of the cost of something - ให้ความช่วยเหลือด้านการเงิน

subsidy: an amount of money that a government or organisation pays to help to reduce the cost of a product or service - เงินชดเชยที่รัฐเป็นผู้จ่ายให้

track: to follow the development or progress of something - ติดตาม

treat: to provide medical care - รักษา

treatment: the process of providing medical care - การรักษา

trillion: the number 1,000,000,000,000; one million million - ล้านล้าน

universal: involving everyone - ทั่วไป

unnecessary: not needed; not necessary -

urgently: needing to be dealt with immediately - อย่างเร่งด่วน

variety: many different types of things or people - ความหลากหลาย

vehicle: a machine that you travel in or on, especially one with an engine that travels on roads, e.g., a car, bus, van, truck, etc. - ยานพาหนะ

version: a particular form of something which varies slightly from other forms of the same thing - ชุด, เวอร์ชั่น

vision: the ability to see; the area that you can see from a particular position - การมองเห็น

warn: to make someone aware of a possible problem or danger - เตือน

wearable: able to be worn - สามารถที่จะสวมใส่ได้

welfare: help given, especially by the state or an organization, to people who need it; good care and living conditions - สวัสดิภาพ

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