BANGKOK BRIEF: 1,000 rubber planters block Highway 41 in Surat Thani’s Tha Chang district, demanding government to raise rubber price to B120/kg. Red Shirt leaders have hinted at holding a mass rally if the Constitution Court delivers a verdict unfavorable to the government-sponsored charter amendment process.
WORLD SUMMARY: Egypt’s Constitutional Court froze a presidential decree reinstating the Islamist-led parliament. Hillary in Laos. Peter O’Toole (79) retires, Cameron and Hollande meet and smile. Tetra Pak heir, in UK murder inquiry. Megaupload boss Kim Dotcom wants deal.
USA: Hillary Clinton Wednesday became the first US Secretary of State to visit Laos for 57 years, on a trip focused on the damaging legacy of the Vietnam War and a controversial dam project.
RED ARSON: The arson at CentralWorld shopping mall in Bangkok in 2010 did not involve mysterious “men in black” says Tarit Pengdith, Director-General of the Department of Special Investigation.
TODAY: Weather 33; Hot, Cloudy; Euro:US 1.2261; Euro:Baht 38.90; SET Index: 1207
CHINA: Premier Wen Jiabao said promoting investment growth is the key to stabilizing China’s economic expansion, according to a statement posted on the government’s website yesterday. The nation’s economic growth may have slid to 7.7 percent in the second quarter, according to estimates, the least in three years.
HI SO HOTELS: A hotel unlike any other, the Sofitel So Bangkok, a 32-storey, urban-designed hotel, featuring works from Thailand’s leading architects and designers is a WOW.
OBA’s Smith Obayawat creates a hotel housing 238 rooms, whose interior decor is designed based on the 5 elements by 5 different designers; the 5 themes are: water (Pongthep Sagulku), earth (Vitoon Kunalungkarn), wood (Nithi Sthapitanonda), metal (Somchai Jongsaeng), and fire (Rujiraporn Wanglee), supported with French elegance by renowned designer Christian Lacroix.
Adjacent to Lumpini Park in the central business and entertainment districts, the hotel offers unique and superb restaurants with gorgeous views over the park. The hotel has easy access to Lumpini subway and Saladaeng skytrain station. The hotel is located 25 km from Suvarnabhumi airport, just a short hop into town.
All 238 rooms and suites feature Apple Mac minis with fully-integrated entertainment and guest services; enhanced with the latest iPad in all suites.
Bangkok joins its sister hotel, the Sofitel So Mauritius, a radiant oasis where Thai architect Lek Bunnag’s inimitable architecture is enhanced by exclusive designs from fashion designer Kenzo Takada. Lush vegetation, a turquoise lagoon, a quietly-flowing stream; this Mauritius hotel, located on the wild south coast of the island, brings you to one of nature’s finest settings on a wide open beach but surrounded by nature – soothing, elegant, and naturally sophisticated.
TAT 2013: The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) says it will focus on tapping new markets and boosting first-time visitors using specific niche markets, according to Deputy Governor for International Marketing – Europe, Juthaporn Rerngronasa.
“Niches are very important. We will promote a tailored tourism experience, starting with luxury travel. We are planning to host our own luxury travel mart after participating in luxury marts held in Shanghai, China, and Cannes, France, for several years; we are ready to host one,” said the Deputy Governor.
TAT is holding a marketing plan meeting to outline a business plan for next year; it will announce the results at a meeting on July 16, that will be attended by private sector tourism stakeholders.
The government’s target for tourism revenue is Bt2.2 trillion in 2015.
Last year, Thailand welcomed 19.23 million international tourists, up 20.67 percent with a revenue of Bt780,000 million that increased 30.94 percent from 2010.
Regarding TAT’s Eastern region, Mr. Borisut Prasopzup said: “TAT is targeting big-money tourists; however, it needs to create emotional value for tourists. That comes from working with partners, forming networks, strengthening relationships, and coordinating with international tourism groups to convert crisis into opportunity by turning rivals into partners to increase marketing opportunities as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations prepares to unify the market in 2015.”
THAI TOURIST SAFETY: The Senate Committee on Tourism is urging the government to raise awareness about safety measures for tourists via media outlets in a bid to increase their confidence in Thai tourism.
Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Tourism, Mrs. Thanyarat Atchariyachai, has raised the issue of tourist safety during her meeting with tourism officials which is in line with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s 9-point tourism policy.
Under the policy, Mrs. Thanyarat stressed that the safety of tourists should be promoted through all media channels to raise their confidence in Thailand, while all crimes against tourists, including theft and money extortion, must be eliminated.
NORTH KOREA: The lady pictured with Kim Jong-un at a series of recent events is a previously married singer who is in a relationship with the North Korean leader.
STOP SMOKING: Quitting smoking leads to an average weight gain of four to five kilograms in the first year, “significantly” more than previously thought, a study said.
Most of the pounds are piled on in the first three months, a team of medical researchers found, stressing that the health benefits of quitting far outweighed the risks of putting on weight.
Earlier research showed that nicotine is an appetite suppressant and may increase the metabolic rate.
Experts from Spain and Australia said modest weight gain was far less life-threatening than smoking.
“Tobacco is the main cause of premature death worldwide, being responsible for 5.1 million deaths each year. Obesity, together with overweight, causes 2.8 million deaths,” researchers said.