Phuket jet-ski accident fatal

Phuket NEWS Hound

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

PHUKET: Eleven days after a friend crashed into him while they were on jet-skis in Phuket, 20-year-old Loh Ying Jie died at Singapore General Hospital from swelling of the brain.

The New Straits Times reports that Loh, a former student of National Junior College, had gone to Phuket to celebrate the end of his national service with four of his friends when the freak accident happened, on April 2.

The impact led to a blood clot forming in his brain. The clot was removed in a three-hour operation in Phuket, and he was brought back to Singapore on a medical evacuation flight late on April 4. Two-thirds of his brain was damaged.

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Protesters resolute

Thailand’s “red shirt” protesters congregated in their thousands at an upmarket Bangkok shopping district yesterday, preparing a “final battleground” in their campaign to oust Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

About 20,000 had gathered in the commercial heart of the city by early evening as the prospect of continued impasse looked set to clip growth in Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy.

“We are staying here until this government is gone,” said Ratchada Pumsin, a protestor.

“They are holding the economy as their hostage,” said Ramkhamhaeng University political scientist Boonyakiat Karavekphan.

At Victory Monument, several kilometres away, more than 1,000 counter-protesters gathered calling for peace and showing support for the government, raising the risk of a potential clash.

Death toll from clashes rises

Prime Minster Abhisit Vejjajiva’s ruling Democrat Party says it will fight a recommendation by the country’s election commission that it be dissolved, as Thailand’s political crisis showed no signs of abating yesterday.

The Bangkok Emergency Medical Service updated the fatality count from Saturday’s deadly police-protester clashes to 23 – up from 21 on Tuesday.

More than 850 others were wounded in the clashes, of whom 195 remained in hospital yesterday, the service said.

ASEAN comment on protests

Travel Daily News
In response to enquiries from the media about the current situation in Thailand, the Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, has issued the following statement:

“The situation is affecting confidence in the security and stability in the region… This will tarnish the good reputation of Thais as a peace-loving nation, and of Thailand as a source of prosperity and stability in the ASEAN region.

“I call upon all Thai parties concerned to exercise a maximum self-restraint, and to seek a quick negotiated settlement through dialogue and reconciliation as soon as possible. ASEAN stands ready to extend any appropriate support to help diffuse the situation.”

Thai exporters under scrutiny

The Nation
Thai export firms were warned yesterday to be prepared for a new US law banning imports of goods made by child labour, forced labour or human trafficking victims.

The Labour Protection and Welfare Department will soon dispatch inspectors to Samut Sakhon and Samut Prakan to randomly check export factories for any illegal workers.

Thailand would be affected because 22 per cent of its exported merchandise goes to the US alone, while 24 per cent is shipped to Asian countries and 12 per cent to European countries, Director General Amporn Nitisiri said.

The food and frozen shrimp industries in particular have been criticized for reportedly using forced labour and mistreating migrant workers.

Malaysia pushing medical tourism

New Straits Times
Countries in Asia, including Thailand, are using various marketing strategies to woo medical tourists.

Malaysia, which ranks fifth in the world among medical tourism destinations, was taking measures to boost the industry through advertisements and standardizing treatment costs, besides offering medical and tourism packages.

Malaysia chief executive officer Suresh Ponnudurai says the country not only has world-class hospitals with state-of-the-art medical facilities but also non-medical expertise and other facilities to meet patients’ needs.

The average annual growth in foreign patients has been about 30 per cent and revenue per patient has increased from MYR 360 (approx USD 112)  in 1998 to MYR 800 (USD 250) in 2008, the latest year for which official statistics are available.

— Gazette Editors

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