US Says Planned Meeting With European Nations Including France Was Canceled Due to Scheduling Issues

A meeting between leaders from the United States, France, and other European nations that was set to take place on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York has been cancelled due to scheduling issues, according to a senior State Department official.

The transatlantic Quad meeting between the United States, France, Germany, and the UK was scheduled to take place on Tuesday alongside the 76th session of the U.N. General Assembly.

In a Tuesday briefing with Senior State Department Officials On U.S. Engagements at the United Nations, a senior State Department official told reporters that schedules had prevented the meeting from going ahead.

“We did have a Quad at my level today,” the state official said. “I think that schedules got in the way of that at the ministerial level, but a lot of those countries are going to see each other in other formats both at the … the G-20 meeting and at least the P3 [permanent members meeting] will all be part of the secretary-general’s P5 meeting tomorrow night.”

The state official noted that he expects U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will “have a chance to exchange views at some point over the course of the week.”

The cancelled meeting was one of the three planned get-togethers that would bring together Blinken and Le Drian, among other countries’ representatives, for the first time since a diplomatic spat between the United States and France.

France has berated the United States for negotiating a security pact in secret with Australia and Britain that would help Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines, and cost Paris a lucrative defense deal.

Australia says the United States’ offer of access to U.S. nuclear technology to build nuclear-propelled submarines was too good to refuse.

Previously, Australia struck a $65 billion deal with France to provide subs in a security agreement in the Asia–Pacific region. France said it was now assessing all options in response to Australia’s scrapping of the billion-dollar submarine contract, with officials noting that they learned about the new agreement between the United States and the U.K just hours before it went public.

The move prompted France to withdraw its ambassadors from Australia and the United States and cancel a planned gala in Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile Germany, France’s biggest EU ally, has rallied behind it, saying Washington and Canberra had damaged trust between allies that would be difficult to rebuild.

The official did not state whether or not the cancelled meeting was due to the recent tensions between the U.S. and France.


Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.

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Wuhan Scientists Planned to Release Coronaviruses Into Bat Caves 18 Months Before Pandemic

We reported in April 2020 that ‘bat doctor’ Dr. Shi, was using money from the US in experiments involving the bat coronavirus in Wuhan.

BREAKING: Dr. Fauci and Obama Admin Gave Wuhan Lab $3.7 Million After Its Top Dr. Shi Zhengli Had US Project Shut Down and She Was Sent Back to China

We were the first to uncover the bat doctor and we uncovered in April 2020 that Dr. Shi was maintaining an inventory of bat viruses in China as well as was in the process of developing vaccines to combat the viruses.

BREAKING EXCLUSIVE: In 2017 Dr. Shi from Wuhan Institute of Virology Claimed She Kept a Large Reservoir of Bat Viruses and Related Vaccines

TRENDING: BREAKING: Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Chucri RESIGNS From Office After TGP Exposé : “There Was No Cover-Up, The Election Was Not Stolen. Biden Won.”

The Telegraph now has reported on the Chinese efforts to infect bats in the caves in China to use as future inoculations against the coronavirus.  The Telegraph reported, via Yahoo.

Wuhan scientists were planning to release enhanced airborne coronaviruses into Chinese bat populations to inoculate them against diseases that could jump to humans, leaked grant proposals dating from 2018 show.

New documents show that just 18 months before the first Covid-19 cases appeared, researchers had submitted plans to release skin-penetrating nanoparticles containing “novel chimeric spike proteins” of bat coronaviruses into cave bats in Yunnan, China.

They also planned to create chimeric viruses, genetically enhanced to infect humans more easily, and requested $14 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) to fund the work. [A US Defense agency that does R&D on emerging technologies.]

The US had no business working with China on bat viruses.  These efforts in conjunction with the China military were a recipe for disaster.

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OKCupid dating platform announces ‘I’m Pro-Choice’ profile badge, will donate $1 to Planned Parenthood for each user who adopts the badge

Pro-life advocates looking for love may want to think twice before conducting their search on the OKCupid dating platform.

The company has announced that users will be able to add an “I’m Pro-Choice” badge to their profile, and that for every person who uses the pro-abortion badge, OKCupid will donate donate $1 to Planned Parenthood, up to $50,000.

“Given the new, radical Texas law that essentially bans abortion access, it’s more important than ever to take a stand and we’ve found that our users want to be able to choose to filter for dates who are pro-choice more than they ever have before. This summer, there has been an 18% increase in ‘pro-choice’ on user profiles in the US compared to last,” the company said.

The New York Times noted that OKCupid’s parent company Match Group has its headquarters in the city of Dallas.

The Lone Star State law prohibits abortions after a fetal heartbeat has been detected, with an exception for medical emergencies.

People can lodge a civil action against those who conduct or induce an abortion in breach of the law, and against people who knowingly participate in activity which “aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion” conducted in breach of the law irrespective of whether the person knew the abortion would be carried out in violation of the law. Claimants who prevail will earn statutory damages of at least $10,000.

“Daters also want to filter matches by whether or not they’re pro-choice; after all, people with ‘pro choice’ in their profile are nearly 2x more likely to get a reply than those who don’t. Therefore, the I’m Pro-Choice profile badge will be accompanied by a Pro-Choice Stack which acts as a filter when you’re looking for dates; it will only be accessible to users with the I’m Pro-Choice badge and will only feature other daters who’ve opted into it as well. Because if you only want to match with people who are pro-choice, well, that’s your choice!” the company said.

“We expect daters in the Pro-Choice Stack to increase their likes up to 10x; when we released the #ISupportPP profile badge in support of Planned Parenthood several years ago, men with the badge got 9x more likes than those who didn’t add it to their profile,” OKCupid noted.

“The I’m Pro-Choice profile badge will go live for OkCupid users in the US on Wednesday, and the Pro-Choice Stack will become available soon after,” according to OKCupid.

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Call Being Planned Between Biden and Macron to ‘Reaffirm’ Partnership: White House

The White House says it is planning a call with French President Emmanuel Macron to, among other things, reaffirm the U.S. commitment to working with one its oldest allies, press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday.

This comes amid fallout from a new trilateral defense partnership between the U.S., the United Kingdom, and Australia. The deal announced last week includes plans to build a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines for the Australian military and comes after Australia and France had already struck a $66 billion deal in 2016 for submarines.

French officials say they were made aware of the new arrangement only hours before it was announced last Wednesday by U.S. President Joe Biden, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. France has since withdrawn its ambassadors from Canberra and Washington D.C. and has threatened to block trade discussions between the European Union and Australia.

France’s foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has called the situation a “crisis,” denouncing what he called the “duplicity, disdain and lies.”

France’s European Affairs Secretary Clement Beaune told Politico that “keeping one’s word is the condition of trust between democracies and between allies.”

“So it is unthinkable to move forward on trade negotiations as if nothing had happened with a country in which we no longer trust,” Beaune said of Australia.

At Monday’s press briefing, Psaki told reporters the French government has committed to a call between Macron and Biden, and scheduling is still being worked out.

“What I expect the president will do on that call is reaffirm our commitment to working with one of our oldest and closest partners on a range of challenges that the global community is facing,” said Psaki. “And he, of course, will discuss recent developments and our ongoing work together on a range of issues, certainly our shared interest in the Indo-Pacific, but also a range of global challenges and issues.”

When the trilateral agreement, known by the acronym AUUKUS, was announced last week, Biden acknowledged France’s “substantial Indo-Pacific presence,” and called the country a “key partner and ally in strengthening the security and prosperity of the region.”

The abandoned deal between French and Australia was with majority French state-owned Naval Group for conventional submarines. That group put out a statement saying it had been working on the project for five years with teams in both France Australia. The statement reads: “The analysis of the consequences of this sovereign Australian decision will be conducted with the Commonwealth of Australia in the coming days.”

Psaki said she is not aware of any plans to offer France any recompense for any economic loss but acknowledged reports saying a couple of hundred French jobs are anticipated to be lost from the deal.


Nick Ciolino covers the White House.

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Judge Ruling Prevents Abbott From Closing Planned Entry Points Along Southern Border

A ruling from a federal judge on Thursday led Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to abandon his plan to close six entry points on the southern border amid a surge of migrants,  the El Paso Times reported.

The U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia blocked President Joe Biden from turning away migrant families with children under 18, citing a health order related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the El Paso Times reported. The order will take effect in 14 days.

Abbott announced Thursday he had directed the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard to close six entry points along the southern border in a statement obtained by Fox News.

“The sheer negligence of the Biden Administration to do their job and secure the border is appalling,” Abbott said in the statement. “I have directed the Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard to surge personnel and vehicles to shut down six points of entry along the southern border to stop these caravans from overrunning our state.”

“The border crisis is so dire that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection is requesting our help as their agents are overwhelmed by the chaos,” he added. “Unlike President Biden, the State of Texas remains committed to securing our border and protecting Americans.”

Texas Department of Public Safety Regional Director Victor Escalon said earlier on Thursday that all Del Rio, Texas entry points would be shut down due to the massive amounts of migrants there, CNN reported.

“Six, seven days ago, Del Rio saw 400 migrants sitting, underneath the bridge, the (point of entry) in downtown Del Rio … there’s about 6,000 sitting there right now and more are coming,” Escalon said, CNN reported.

Abbott released a statement reversing his decision hours later, blaming the Biden administration for having “flip-flopped to a different strategy that abandons border security and instead makes it easier for people to cross illegally and for cartels to exploit the border.”

“I have directed the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard to maintain their presence at and around ports of entry to deter crossings,” he added.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson told the Texas Tribune on Thursday it has no plans to shut down any of the ports. (RELATED: Rescue Crews Struggle Emotionally And Physically To Retrieve Migrant Remains In West Texas)

“The Border Patrol is increasing its manpower in the Del Rio Sector and coordinating efforts within [the Department of Homeland Security] and other relevant federal, state and local partners to immediately address the current level of migrant encounters and to facilitate a safe, humane and orderly process,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement to the Tribune.

“To prevent injuries from heat-related illness, the shaded area underneath Del Rio International Bridge is serving as a temporary staging site while migrants wait to be taken into USBP custody,” he added.

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Leaked Document Shows Biden Taking Orders From Planned Parenthood

A new leaked document shows the Biden administration flouting the regulatory process in order to push through a massive financial favor to the powerful and lucrative abortion industry that backed Joe Biden’s presidential candidacy with tens of millions of dollars.

Less than two weeks after an already abbreviated period of time for the public to review and comment on the proposed regulatory change, Biden’s Department of Health and Human Services circulated a draft final rule that violates the clear language of Obamacare in order to benefit Planned Parenthood and other corporate abortion interests. The leaked document, dated August 10 and more than 300 pages long, was then sent to the Office of Management and Budget for final approval, according to multiple sources familiar with the federal rule making process. OMB posted confirmation of receipt August 19, a mere 50 days after the major rule change was first proposed to the public.

“In their rush to finalize the rule, HHS and [Secretary Xavier] Becerra are making a mockery of the rule making process. Their efforts to minimize public input and provide only cursory review shows the rule was predetermined,” said Rachel Morrison, a policy analyst at the Ethics & Public Policy Center who submitted comments opposing the rule.

In order to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, in 2010 on a mostly party-line vote, Democrats included a provision to placate pro-life members of the party reluctant to vote for it. Section  1303 of the bill requires separate billing for medical procedures that end unborn human lives. Pro-life Democrats said this would ensure no federal funds were spent on abortions. Plan users would write one check for their premium, and another for an abortion rider.

However, the Obama administration ignored the statutory language and made it harder for plan users to know if they were funding abortion by allowing insurers to bury the abortion surcharges deep in plan documents. Before the end of the Trump administration, the regulation governing such payments for abortion was updated to make it compliant with the law as written. Planned Parenthood and then-California Attorney General Xavier Becerra sued to block the rule. Becerra was rewarded by Biden, who regularly emphasizes his devotion to the Roman Catholic Church, with an appointment as secretary of Health and Human Services.

On July 1, the Biden administration proposed to eliminate and replace the Trump administration’s separate billing requirement.

Normally, such an important and economically significant rule change would require giving the public months of opportunity to comment, followed by months more of rigorous review of and response to the comments, before finalizing the rule. In a stunning move, the Biden administration provided only 28 days for public comment, thereby receiving only 341 comments.

By contrast, President Donald Trump gave the public a full two months to comment on his administration’s rule governing the billing for abortion services, receiving more than 75,000 public comments. This was consistent with Executive Order 12866, signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, which provides that rules should generally have at least 60 days for public comment. The Administrative Procedure Act says that unless it’s a national security crisis or other urgent situation, less than 30 days of review is not advisable.

What makes the abnormally short public comment period even more surprising is that HHS admitted in its final draft this rule “is expected to be a ‘major rule’ … because it is likely to result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more.”

One of the most difficult and time-consuming portions of the regulatory process is the period in which an agency reviews and responds to public comments, which they are required to do by law. The Administrative Procedure Act (APA) requires any rule that has force or effect of law to be open to public inspection and comment before finalized. Agencies must take comments into account.

That means an agency must read and respond to them in the preamble to the final rule. If they don’t, agency has violated the APA and the regulation can be blocked. Limiting the public comment period to less than a month truncated the number of public comments drastically, but regulatory experts say less than two weeks was way too little time to review several hundred comments, some of which were dozens of pages long and dealt with comprehensive legal and regulatory arguments. The draft final rule indicated no changes from the July 1 proposed rule in response to the substantive public comments on the controversial portions of the proposed rule.

“To me this signals that unfortunately [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] has already made up its mind about all of these complicated issues and is rushing to finalize the rule without really considering the public comments and frankly without giving the public enough opportunity to weigh in on a number of controversial provisions,” said Randy Pate, former director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at HHS. He noted that the rule change not only covered the separate billing for abortion issue, but also raised premiums on users, and removed flexibility for states in how they operate their insurance exchanges.

The rushed rule change covers one of the most important legislative battles Democrats waged in order to pass Obamacare, which legislated a massive regulatory overhaul of the health insurance marketplace. Sen. Ben Nelson, a pro-life Democrat from Nebraska, authored the section requiring separate payment for abortion services. The bill would not have passed without the provision.

Nelson explained during the debate over Section 1303 that separate payment meant separate billing and separate transactions: “[I]f you are receiving Federal assistance to buy insurance, and if that plan has any abortion coverage, the insurance company must bill you separately, and you must pay separately from your own personal funds—perhaps a credit card transaction, your separate personal check, or automatic withdrawal from your bank account— for that abortion coverage. Now, let me say that again. You have to write two checks: one for the basic policy and one for the additional coverage for abortion. The latter has to be entirely from personal funds.”

Planned Parenthood said in a lawsuit that following Obamacare’s requirement of separate billing for abortion services, as also required by the Trump regulation, would have a “devastating” financial impact on the abortion corporation. They said the Trump rule would result in less profitable abortions than insurance-covered abortions as well as fewer abortions overall due to insurers and patients dropping coverage.

“Planned Parenthood is desperate to hide abortion surcharges from consumers because they know transparency and truth is bad for business,” said Roger Severino, former director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights.

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Planned Parenthood Doxxes Pro Life Leader

A senior staffer at a Texas pro-life organization has been bombarded with threats after Planned Parenthood divulged their personal information in legal filings, in possible violation of state law.

The Texas Right to Life employee’s home address was circulated widely online after Planned Parenthood listed it on a recent lawsuit filed against the pro-life group. A link to the lawsuit, which included the staffer’s name and home address, was initially included in a September 2 press release announcing the legal action, but the link was eventually taken down sometime after September 9th after the pro-life group’s attorneys raised the issue in

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Norquist: Democrats’ planned business taxes higher than communist China’s

Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist told Just the News that the Democrats’ proposed tax increases to pay for their “behemoth” $3.5 trillion filibuster-proof social safety net spending bill would lead to Republicans taking back the House and “maybe” the Senate.

Norquist was asked if he thinks moderate House Democrats in districts that voted for former President Trump in 2020 would lose their seats if they support a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill.

“The dirty little secret in D.C. is there are no moderate Democrats in the House or the Senate,” Norquist said during an interview about the tax hikes Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee have proposed. “There are Democrats in moderate districts. There are Democrats in swing districts. There are a couple of Democrats in trending Republican districts. They are all in trouble because they said they were going to vote one way and they have all voted to move this $3.5 trillion spending behemoth, with the massive taxes promised, forward step by step.

“Some of them might go, ‘I’m not gonna vote for the final product,'” Norquist acknowledged. But whenever the question before them was whether to keep the reconciliation bill moving forward, “they voted yes, keep going, keep going,” he said

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton has said that the $3.5 trillion package will need to be reduced in order to gain support from all Senate Democrats for final passage.

Norquist predicted that there will ultimately be a massive tax and spending increase while the Democrats are in control of Congress.

“Maybe not as big as what Biden wants,” he conceded, but “there’ll be a massive spending increase; maybe not as big as what Bernie Sanders wants, but more than the American people asked for or wanted.” 

Norquist noted that past Democratic presidents saw their party lose control in Congress during their time in office.

“Under two years into Bill Clinton, he raised taxes, spent too much, lost the House, lost the Senate for six years,” he recalled. “He was a lonely president with a Republican Congress. Two years into Obama, he lost the House — 63 House seats, and six Senate seats right away. And he was a very lonely president for the last six years of his presidency, unable to initiate any successful programs or efforts because of that. Two years into Biden, we’re going to see a Republican House and probably Republican Senate as a result and begin to stop the bleeding, but it’s going to hurt.”

Norquist said that the Democrats’ proposed tax hikes to pay for “free stuff” in the reconciliation bill will hurt American workers, despite Biden and the Democrats framing them all as taxes on the wealthy. 

“This is the scene in the horror movie where the guy talks the girl into coming up to his apartment, and he pulls out the hacksaw,” he said. “And you get to understand how the rest of the movie is going to go.”

Under the Democrats’ plan, the corporate tax rate would rise to 26.5% from 21%, and the top capital gains tax rate would jump to 28.8% from 23.8%.

Norquist said the new hikes in corporate and capital gains tax rates, among others, will impact average American workers, whether directly or indirectly.

“They’re going to take the corporate rate — the tax that American companies pay — up higher than communist China’s business tax, higher than the European average,” he said. “Okay, so we will not be competitive with China when people are looking to invest, not competitive with Europe when people are looking to invest, start new firms.

He noted that more than half of American families who have a 401k or an IRA will feel the effect of the capital gains tax hikes that Biden wants passed.

“They want to raise taxes that will make the stocks inside your life savings, your 401k, your IRA, they want to make them worth less, because if you tax an income stream from something, it’s worth less,” Norquist said. “If you have a 401k, or an IRA, or a health savings account, you will be harmed directly by this. If you pay utility bills, you will be paying higher taxes. Why? Because your utility for energy or natural gas pays federal income taxes, corporate taxes, and those taxes imposed by the federal government on utilities are paid, 100%, they’re passed on to consumers.”

Norquist argued that the purpose of the reconciliation bill is to “make more people dependent on the government” and become compliant over time. 

“People who are more reliant on the government do not challenge the government when the government tells them what to do,” he said.

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Lyft to Donate $1M to Planned Parenthood, Pay Legal Fees for Drivers Sued under Texas Law

An empty Lyft pick-up area in Los Angeles, Calif., August 20, 2020. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

Lyft and Uber announced Friday they will pay the legal fees for any of their drivers who are sued under Texas’ new law that prohibits abortion after a heartbeat can be detected.

The law allows private citizens to enforce the measure. Though patients may not be sued, any individual can sue the people “knowingly” assisting the procedure, including doctors, those paying for the abortion and clinic workers.

Plaintiffs in litigation cases resulting from the law’s implementation can earn up to $10,000 in damages.

“Drivers are never responsible for monitoring where their riders go or why. Imagine being a driver and not knowing if you are breaking the law by giving someone a ride,” Lyft said in a statement announcing the policy.

“Similarly, riders never have to justify, or even share, where they are going and why. Imagine being a pregnant woman trying to get to a healthcare appointment and not knowing if your driver will cancel on you for fear of breaking a law. Both are completely unacceptable,” Lyft added.

However, it is unlikely that the law would apply to rideshare drivers, as they would be unlikely to “knowingly” transport a woman who was having an abortion after a heartbeat had been detected. 

Lyft announced it would create a defense fund to completely cover any legal fees incurred by drivers because of the law and also pledged to donate $1 million to Planned Parenthood.

Lyft CEO Logan Green wrote in a tweet that the law is “an attack on women’s access to healthcare and on their right to choose.”

He added that the company’s donation will help “ensure that transportation is never a barrier to healthcare access.”

Soon after, Uber announced it would also pay drivers’ legal fees.

“Drivers shouldn’t be put at risk for getting people where they want to go. Team Uber is in too and will cover legal fees in the same way. Thanks for the push,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a tweet.

The rideshare companies’ announcements come after the dating app Bumble announced this week that it will create a fund to help people seeking abortions in Texas, where it is based. Shar Dubey, the CEO of Match, which owns dating apps including Tinder and is based in Texas, announced that she would personally start a fund to assist employees and their dependents who are impacted by the law.

Send a tip to the news team at NR.

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Thai PM survives no confidence vote as more anti-government protests planned

FILE PHOTO: Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrives before a family photo session with new cabinet ministers at the Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, March 30, 2021. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

September 4, 2021

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and five cabinet ministers comfortably survived a vote of no confidence in parliament on Saturday as activists planned more protests against the government.

Prayuth received 264 votes in favour and 208 against. Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and four other cabinet ministers also survived the censure motion in similar fashion.

The opposition needed 242 of the 482 parliamentary votes to oust the prime minister.

Prayuth said he remained confident after the vote.

Lawmakers over four days accused his government of mishandling the pandemic and criticised him for the severe economic impact, taking aim at the government’s slow vaccine rollout as a result of not making advance vaccine orders and deciding not to join the international COVAX vaccine-supply scheme.

Prayuth has stood by those decisions.

This is the third censure motion the government has survived and comes as pro-democracy protesters plan more demonstrations on Saturday.

Recent rallies have turned violent, with security forces using tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets against protesters who threw stones and firecrackers.

Thailand has reported over 1.2 million infections and over 12,000 coronavirus-related deaths, most of them since April due to the Delta variant.

Authorities reported the largest single-day increase in cases in mid-August with over 23,000 cases.

The vaccine rollout began in June amid the country’s most severe outbreak, with people unable to find medical treatment and some dying at home. About 13% of Thailand’s more than 66 million have been fully vaccinated.

The government cut its 2021 economic growth forecast for a third time, to 0.7%-1.2% from 1.5%-2.5%. The economy shrank 6.1% last year.

(Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng and Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by William Mallard)

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