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Phuket calm as drama escalates in Bangkok



Phuket calm as drama escalates in Bangkok | Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

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

PHUKET: The latest development in the month-long standoff in the Bangkok-based anti-government demonstrations saw the protesters storming a satellite television station yesterday. Meanwhile, Phuket remained as calm and seemingly detached from the action as Perth, Pretoria or Pittsburgh.

The New York Times reports that the red-shirted protesters in the capital climbed over rolls of barbed wire and beat back soldiers and riot police officers who confronted them with tear gas and water cannons. The violence ended quickly as most of the security forces withdrew and the protesters took over the station’s compound.

The anti-government station had been taken off the air as the government’s main action in enforcing a state of emergency declared Wednesday evening. Soon afterward, officials announced that the station, the People’s Television Station, would resume broadcasting, a significant victory for the protesters. Several casualties were reported on both sides.

Mega-site Asia Travel Tips on Thursday was warning tourists to “exercise caution; to avoid demonstrations and getting involved in political debate; and even to refrain from wearing red or yellow shirts.

“If the situation concerns you,” the site advised, “then visit other parts of Thailand, such as Phuket…” and other peaceful tourist destinations in the Andaman region.

Bali bows to Phuket  

The Jakarta Post
Balinese tourism-related businesses must improve the courtesy shown to domestic visitors and put it on a par with that afforded to overseas visitors if the island is to remain a top leisure destination and compete with the likes of Phuket, a study says.

Udayana University’s Culture and Tourism Research Center says an estimated 150 million Indonesians spent their leisure time and money in domestic destinations, including Bali, Java and Sumatra, between 2005 and 2009, and it was domestic tourists who propped up the island’s tourism sector after the deadly 2002 and 2005 terrorist bombings scared off overseas visitors.

Domestic visitors have, however, complained about discriminatory services at hotels, restaurants and entertainment centres.

Some bars and nightclubs in Bali refuse entry to Indonesians.

Some hotels in Phuket did, actively or passively, discourage Thais from booking in the past, but economic factors and rising social rectitude have long since put paid to the practice.

Currently, a number of high-end resorts in Phuket are offering promotional discounts to Thais and foreigners resident in the Kingdom.

Swine flu spreads from Phuket to Namibia

All Africa
At least two cases of the H1N1 flu have been confirmed in Namibia and are believed to have been transported there from Phuket. They are the first cases of the flu strain reported in Namibia this year.

A group of 13 Swakopmunders returned to Namibia from a golf vacation in Phuket two weeks ago, and on arrival in Windhoek most of them were suffering from flu-like symptoms. One of those who tested positive to H1N1 said that, “I believe we contracted it in Phuket because one of our members already showed flu-like symptoms there.”

A child of one of the tourists who had visited Phuket is also believed to have contracted H1N1, and has been present at school during his infection.

The festival that rocked Phuket

National News Bureau
The Phuket International Blues Rock Festival 2010 set a record in attendance and musicianship, the organizers say.

The festival was officially opened by Phuket Vice Governor Smith Palawatwichai who gave a short speech on the importance of Blues and western music in Thailand.

The festival is an annual charity event and this year organizer Andy Anderson presented a cheque for 50,000 baht to the ‘Phuket Has Been Good To Us Foundation’ in support of education for less fortunate local children, and another 50,000 baht to the Rotary Club of Patong for local children and a number of projects on the island.

The Phuket Gazette has sponsored the Phuket musical event since its launch in 2005.

Anderson says he expects another record breaking festival next year.

Protesters arrested

At least 18 arrest warrants have been issued for leaders of Bangkok’s anti-government protests, who have rallied for almost four weeks, leaving the capital paralyzed.

The emergency decree in place since Wednesday evening allows the military to break up large gatherings and to arrest and search people without court orders.

A police spokesman says the authorities have arrested two suspects on motorcycles carrying a total of six homemade bombs. The two also had batons, electric shock equipment, body armor and communications devices, he said.

— Gazette Editors


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