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Phuket hit by coral bleaching



Phuket hit by coral bleaching | Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

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

PHUKET: Marine scientists have been closely watching massive coral bleaching in the Andaman Sea around Phuket, believed to be the worst case in Thai waters for 20 years.

According to the Bangkok Post, coral reefs off Phuket, Krabi and Phang-nga, including popular scuba diving sites such as the Similan, Surin and Phi Phi islands, have been damaged by the phenomenon.

The bleaching could get worse if sea temperatures continue to rise, says Niphon Phongsuwan, a marine biologist at the Phuket Marine Biological Centre (PMBC).

Temperatures in the Andaman Sea have stood as high as 31-32C for a long period this year.

Coral reefs in shallow waters at depths of up to 10m will take three to four years to recover. Coral at greater depths will take more time.

Emerging tourism challenge for Phuket

New Straits Times
The mystical Malaysian island of Pulau Besar will have a MYR20 million (THB 200,000,000) facelift which will turn it into a “major tourist destination,” putting it in direct competition with Phuket.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said the project includes landscaping, establishment of a museum, upgrading of basic infrastructure and the purchase of a new fleet of vans to transport tourists around the famed island.

Ali said “Pulau Besar has the potential to be the next tourism attraction in the state.”

From the MYR20 million, Ali said 10 million would be for the refurbishment of a hotel, and that 6 million would be spent on upgrading of some chalets and landscaping.
Ali said the state was hoping to attract 200,000 visitors to the island next year.

Award winners for Phuket Film Festival

E travel blackboard
The Phuket Film Festival, which runs June 4–13, is finalizing its film line-up.

According to the organizers, an eclectic menu of award winning films from around the globe will be screened – everything from a musical comedy from Australia to a controversial documentary from Cambodia and Internationally acclaimed Indian films.

On Saturday and Sunday, June 5 & 6, two benefit screenings will take place: the movie “Soi Dogs” benefitting the Phuket Soi Dog Foundation, and the UNDP produced “Anatomy of a Recovery”, benefiting the Chumchonthai Foundation.

The Festival’s Gala Opening and Awards will be held on Sunday, June 5th, at the Royal Phuket Marina.

The Phuket Gazette is the media sponsor for this event.

Tickets go on sale May 16 at the Coliseum Cineplex in Phuket Town.

Film celebrity in Phuket
Thai cinema’s top leading man Ananda Everingham enjoyed some well deserved R&R recently at Mom Tri’s Boathouse in Phuket.

Ananda enthuses, “I’ve been coming to the Boathouse for over 15 years and it feels like home to me…. Many of the staff have known me for a long time as I used to come together with my dad [Phuket Magazine founder John Everingham] while growing up.”

He says he is about to start filming a new project in the south of Thailand in a few days.

Violence in Bangkok

Two Thai police officers were killed and eight people injured in overnight violence that lasted into early yesterday morning in areas where anti-government protesters are camped out.

The first attack – a drive-by shooting in Bangkok’s business district – killed two police officers.

Later, early yesterday, several grenades were launched toward police and army troops guarding an area where protesters were camping in the capital. That attack injured eight.

Leaders of the anti-government protesters announced Tuesday that they had reached a deal with the government but said they would not end their demonstrations until the prime minister announces when he will dissolve parliament.

Red shirts divided

Christian Science Monitor
While Red Shirt leaders in Bangkok have agreed to a road map to reconciliation with the Thai premier, the protesters from the farms of northeast Thailand, a hotbed of antigovernment demonstrations, show no signs of backing down.

Although the Red Shirts have not officially agreed to end their marathon protest, one leader said they would leave tomorrow.

But in the northeast, a convoy of hundreds of pick-up trucks was due to leave Friday, part of a fresh influx from the rural heartland.

The mobilization may reflect divisions in the leadership. Ittichai Sriwongchai, a red-shirt organizer, says a decision was taken on Wednesday to ratchet up the pressure, declaring, “We need a knockout punch [to Prime Minister Abhisit].”

— Gazette Editors


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