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Malaysia gains edge over Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Malaysia gains edge over Phuket | The Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

– A daily digest of news from around the world compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

PHUKET: Etihad Holidays, a division of Etihad Airways, has announced a new cooperative agreement with Tourism Malaysia to promote holiday packages to Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Langkawi and Kota Kinabalu, giving them a clear advantage over Phuket as a popular tourist destination in the region.

Travel Daily News reports that Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer, has announced a special promotion that runs throughout April and May 2010. Under the program, Etihad Airways is offering travelers a range of bonus privileges including free flights for children; free accommodation for children in selected hotels; additional complimentary nights; free room upgrades; breakfast; airport transfers; and attractive discounts on a wide selection of services.

The sales period for the special offers expires on May 31.

Tsunami warning lifted in Phuket

The Wall Street Journal
A magnitude 7.7 earthquake hit the north of the Indonesian island of Sumatra at 5:15am local time yesterday, triggering a minor tsunami and widespread panic across the same area that was hit by giant waves in 2004 and left 5,400 people dead in Thailand alone.

A tsunami watch was issued, but lifted two hours after the tremblor by the monitoring agencies in Hawaii, Indonesia and Thailand.

The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said a tsunami was generated and “may have been destructive along coasts near the earthquake epicenter.”

Neighboring Thailand issued its own alert, covering the provinces where the major tourist draws of Phuket and Krabi lie. The quake caused some damage and injuries, but no deaths were immediately reported.

In Phuket, the tsunami watch, or “advisory alert”, was misreported and mistaken by many as a full-scale evacuation order, causing panic in some areas. For details of the event yesterday, click here.

Protesters force MPs to flee

BBC
Thousands of Thai anti-government protesters – known as “red-shirts” – have marched on parliament amid high political tension in Bangkok.

The red-shirts forced MPs to call off a session and some breached security to enter parliament’s grounds, but they pulled back after 45 minutes.

The parliamentary session was abandoned shortly after it had begun and senior politicians, including Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, were ushered out of the building by security guards.

While some MPs used ladders to scale walls as they escaped, others were picked up by a military helicopter which landed on the roof of the building.

PM’s handling of protests unpopular

The Associated Press
Thailand’s prime minister has recently come under fire for soft-handed reaction to the political unrest in Bangkok. Many Thai columnists and editorials on Wednesday questioned whether Abhisit Vejjajiva was losing the weeks-old confrontation with the protesters and the crucial backing of the military and police.

A former head of the National Security Council, Prasong Soonsiri, emphasized that there was strong support for the Red Shirts within the civil service and law enforcement agencies.

PM Abhisit made a brief TV address, saying his government is “confident in using the law to resolve the problems and move things forward. I know that many of you who would like to see things set straight and the rules of law respected, are discouraged…but the current fragile situation, involving a large number of misinformed people, demands careful maneuvering.”

Pattaya likes public service Bali-style

The Jakarta Post
Pattaya Mayor Itthipol Kunplome is eager to adopt a one-stop public service system he encountered in Bali, Indonesia.

The head of Bali’s public relations department, Made Erwin, said that the mayor and his staff had visited a number of offices, including permit offices, radio stations, and other community services.

A one-stop public service system such as Bali’s “has accelerated services to the public and enabled us to enforce transparent, accurate services, which has the potential to eradicate corruption,” Erwin said.

The Pattaya mayor, he said, was interested in applying the system.
“Pattaya is a popular tourist destination in Thailand. We [in Bali] have also faced similar public service issues,” Erwin said.

Rice crops depleted

Bloomberg
Rice production in Thailand and Vietnam, the two largest exporters in Southeast Asia, may be hurt by drier-than-normal weather that’s parched farms and cut water levels in the Mekong River, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.

The Thai harvest that begins this month, which accounts for about 25 percent of the country’s annual output, may drop to 7 million metric tons from 8.4 million last year, said Concepcion Calpe, a senior economist at the United Nations agency, prompting a warning from the Thai prime minister that rice prices may gain as output declines.

Lower production of Asia’s most important staple may cut global stockpiles.

— Gazette Editors

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Hua Hin

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain

May Taylor

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Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | The Thaiger

The Thailand Meteorological Department issued a weather warning for southern Thailand with torrential rain forecast to hit the region throughout the weekend. The heavy monsoon over the Gulf of Thailand and south of the country is being blamed for the rough weather, with the TMD predicting flash flooding in many areas.

(Phuket, Hat Yai and Hua Hin’s forecast below)

“Waves are expected to reach 2 metres in height in the lower Gulf of Thailand and possibly higher at the height of the storm. Ships are advised to proceed with caution.”

For the north and northeast of Thailand, the TMD forecasts strong winds and cooler mornings as the arrival of the “winter” season, coupled with a moderate high-pressure system, causes temperatures to dip.

Hua Hin’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

Phuket’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

Hat Yai’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation | weather.com

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Crime

Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft

Greeley Pulitzer

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Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Patong Police

Patong Police have yet to develop any tangible leads tracking down a foreigner who made off with US$30,000 in cash from a currency exchange booth in Kalim, north of Patong in Phuket, last Tuesday.

The man is about 168 centimetres tall with grey hair and around 60 years old, Patong police told The Phuket News.

“We have no clue what nationality he is.”

He was last seen at the currency exchange booth wearing a purple polo shirt, blue jeans and black cap. Police have checked hotels in the area, police stations across the island and Phuket Immigration, but have yet to join the dots and come up with firm leads.

“Investigators have checked CCTV in the area and collected what evidence we have but we still do not know the man’s name or where he was staying.”

The man had visited the booth several times before Tuesday, when he disappeared with the $30,000 in US banknotes, according to police.

“It was always small amounts”, he added, noting that the amounts didn’t warrant staff at the exchange booth to check the man’s passport before making the exchange.

The man arrived at the booth again at about 1pm on Tuesday, saying that he had 900,000 baht cash to exchange.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Crime

Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room

The Thaiger

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Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phuket Hot News

The security guard of a hotel in Nai Yang, northern Phuket, 52 year old Yingyot Butsabong, from Maha Sarakham province, was found dead yesterday (October 16) in his room. Police remain mystified how the man came to grief.

A woman named Supattra received a call from the hotel he worked at and was informed that he didn’t show up at work yesterday, so she went to his apartment to check on him.

She saw that his room was locked from the inside, so used the key she had in her possession to open the room and found Yingyot laying on the floor, face down. She thought he was just sleeping so she tried to wake him up but once she flipped him, she found that he already passed away.

She immediately called Saku police, and once on the scene, police found that there was some blood on the floor. The man had a 2 centimetre wound on his left eyebrow which was deep into his skull. There was also a wound on his chin about 1 centimetre long and about a centimetre deep. His left eye had a bruise which looked like he was attacked by a hard object.

Police report that he had been dead for around four hours in the room.

The room was not ransacked and there was no sign of fighting or theft. His body has been sent to Thalang Hospital for a detailed autopsy and to look into the cause of death.

SOURCE: Phuket Hot News

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