News

Roundup of Thailand news with AJW

thailand rice
thailand rice
Written by editor

TODAY:

BKK Weather: 35C
Sunny
Euro:US 1.3082
Euro:Baht 39.03
US:Baht 29.83
SET Index: 1561

BANGKOK BRIEF:

TODAY:

BKK Weather: 35C
Sunny
Euro:US 1.3082
Euro:Baht 39.03
US:Baht 29.83
SET Index: 1561

BANGKOK BRIEF:

Government accepts it will lose on rice debacle. Grandma Moi wins compensation. Lessons learned after Bkk Governor election. Don Mueang to reopen terminal 2.

WORLD SUMMARY:

WTM London 2022 will be taking place from 7-9 November 2022. Register now!

Chavez’s last words: “Please don’t let me die.” North Korea vows to “strike” US if sanctions tighten. Berlusconi sentenced to year in jail, will appeal.

OTHER NEWS:

– DON MUEANG AIRPORT BKK: Airports of Thailand expect 27.5 million passengers to use Don Mueang Airport by 2016 after it reopens Terminal 2 which is to refurbished.

Don Mueang uses Terminal 1 for its present operation for low-cost airlines for domestic and international routes.

Nok Air, Thai AirAsia, AirAsia, Indonesia AirAsia, and One-Two-Go Orient Thai are among the no-frills airlines using Don Mueang after moving their operations from Suvarnabhumi.

It handled 6 million passengers in the first 5 months of its fiscal year starting October 2012 and AoT is confident that 10 million more will be added over the next 9 months.

The role of Don Mueang was relegated to a secondary airport for the capital after the opening of Suvarnabhumi Airport in 2006.

The combination of the 2 airports will enable Thailand to handle 87.5 million air travelers a year in 2016.

– PHANTOM OF THE OPERA: The internationally- and critically-acclaimed masterpiece, will be staged in Bangkok at Muangthai Rachadalai Theatre. As the longest running musical on Broadway, “The Phantom” recently celebrated its 25th year and has won more than 50 major theatre awards, including seven Tonys.

The musical tells the story of a disfigured genius known only as “The Phantom” who haunts the depths of the Paris Opera House. Mesmerized by the talents and beauty of a young soprano, Christine, The Phantom lures her as his protege and falls fiercely in love with her. Unaware of Christine’s love for Raoul, The Phantom’s obsession sets the scene for a dramatic turn of events where jealously, madness, and passions collide.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical is based upon the novel Le Fantome De L’Opera by Gaston Leroux. The original London show was produced by Cameron Mackintosh. Presented in Thailand by BEC-Tero Scenario from May 7 to June 9 (except Mondays).

– AIRASIA PHUKET: AirAsia is increasing the number of flights it operates between Bangkok (Don Mueang) and Phuket, to 10 flights a day.

To celebrate the new additional flight, promotional all-inclusive fares are being offered as one way bookable until March 17 for May-November flights this year.

Mr. Tassapon Bijleveld, CEO of Thai AirAsia, said, “From April 30, 2013, AirAsia will be offering up to 10 direct flights a day from Bangkok to Phuket, the airline’s southern flight hub and Thailand’s number one domestic and international tourist destination. The island is busy year round and as a commercial center, traveler numbers are constantly increasing. AirAsia is confident that its additional flights will prove popular.”

– SOUTH AFRICAN COP QUITS: Hilton Botha, the detective who bungled investigations into the case against Paralympian star sprinter, Oscar Pistorius, has quit the force, South African police say.

– SABAH INVASION: Malaysia has rejected a call for a ceasefire by a Philippine Muslim clan who launched an incursion into a village in Sabah last month, saying the land belongs to them. PM Najib Razak said they want the group “to unconditionally surrender.”

– BHUTAN: Most people’s fears about flying are unfounded: it’s a remarkably safe form of travel, especially on large, commercial airlines.

But for anyone headed to Bhutan, a little fear of air travel is totally justified. The small country’s only international airport is called Paro, and like the rest of the mostly Buddhist nation, it is nestled among the Himalayan Mountains.

The neighboring 18,000-foot mountains and unusually short runway make for some of the world’s most difficult takeoffs and landings. In fact, only 8 pilots are qualified to land there.

But for those who can handle the danger, a trip to Paro also offers breathtaking views of the mountains.

– CHIANG MAI HEIST: Police investigating the disappearance of 9.2 million baht in cash from a Krungthai Bank armored truck in Chiang Mai say the story of one of the 3 guards forgetting his wallet and returning to the van to fetch it is suspicious.

– THAI HIGH: Consumer confidence last month reached its highest level in 19 months, driven mainly by economic expansion, fiscal stimulus, and higher purchasing power, according to the Centre for Economic and Business Forecasting.

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News

Roundup of Thailand news with AJW

bangkok_0
bangkok_0
Written by editor

TODAY:

BKK Weather: 33C
Sunny, warm
Euro:US 1.3060
Euro:Baht 38.87
US:Baht 29.77
SET Index: 1549

BANGKOK BRIEF:

TODAY:

BKK Weather: 33C
Sunny, warm
Euro:US 1.3060
Euro:Baht 38.87
US:Baht 29.77
SET Index: 1549

BANGKOK BRIEF:

EGAT says power will flow. The reduction in gas supply from Myanmar would cause a problem of low pressure in the electricity supply system in some areas of Bangkok and nearby provinces, but that would not affect people. Bus-stop driver’s rage sentence reduced. School teacher caning student goes viral.

WORLD SUMMARY:

WTM London 2022 will be taking place from 7-9 November 2022. Register now!

North Korea threatens to cancel 1953 cease-fire. Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has died, Vice President announced. Chavez’s death ends 14 years of tumultuous rule that made the socialist leader a hero for the poor but a hated figure to his opponents. China’s old guard leaders bow out today.

OTHER NEWS:

– TG AND AIRASIA IN CODE SHARE TALKS: Sorajak Kasemsuvan, President of the country’s flag carrier, personally made the overture during a recent meeting in Bangkok with Tony Fernandes, the Chief Executive of Asia’s largest and fastest-growing budget carrier group.

It was the first meeting of any kind between the leaders of the two feuding carriers, which over the past decade have publicly made known their intention of trumping each other in the fiercely-competitive airline industry.

THAI has lost considerable domestic and regional market share to AirAsia, whose aggressive expansion is seen as a major threat to several legacy airlines including the state-controlled carrier.

Mr. Sorajak spoke about several cooperation possibilities between the 53-year-old airline and the 20-year-old, no-frills carrier including becoming codeshare partners, a proposal that is raising the eyebrows of industry executives.

Two other ideas he suggested were THAI, AirAsia, and the privately-owned Bangkok Airways joining hands to develop a pilot training pool, and allowing AirAsia to use THAI’s aircraft maintenance services.

THAI managed to establish THAI Smile as anM LCC airline but only through a full ownership structure to get around the opposition.

This recently proposed codeshare agreement, with the airlines sharing the same flight, would be between two very different animals – a full-service airline and an LCC – and is seen as very odd.

The launch of Thai Smile looks to take a left-turn with plans now being revealed to shelve the low-cost model. The airline is now into Plan B mode and looking at creating a separate operating entity for the airline.

– MURDEROUS RAGE DRIVER: The Appeals Court has reduced the prison sentence handed down to the son of a former Miss Thailand, who rammed his car into a crowded bus stop 6 years ago, killing one woman and injuring several other people.

Kanpitak Pachimsawat, 24, better known by his nickname “Mu Ham,” was charged with premeditated murder, attempted murder, and physical assault in connection with the July 4, 2007 incident.

He drove his Mercedes Benz sedan into a crowd waiting at a bus stop in Bangkok’s Watthana district on July 4, 2007, killing one woman and grieviously injuring two other people, following a quarrel with the driver of a bus.

Kanpitak’s 10-year sentence was reduced as he suffers from mental illness, his lawyers claimed.

– DJ RECORD HIGH: The Dow Jones Industrial Average powered to an all-time record high overnight exactly 4 years after hitting bottom in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

– CHINA: China’s moment of change has come. After a decade in power, President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao are stepping aside. Xi Jinping and a new generation are taking over.

– FOOTBALL CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund became the first teams through to the Champions League quarter-finals with contrasting wins over Manchester United and Shakhtar Donetsk.

Manchester United lost after holding the advantage with a 2-1 lead on aggregate and was turned on its head by a decision by the Turkish referee that was just plain wrong. Just shy of the hour he sent off Nani for a high boot on Alvaro Arbeloa that might have merited a yellow card and United’s 10 men never recovered. Even Jose Mourinho conceded: “The best team lost.”

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News

Roundup of Thailand news with AJW

thailand_10
thailand_10
Written by editor

TODAY:

BKK Weather: 31C
Cloudy showers
Euro:US 1.3028
Euro:Baht 38.77
US:Baht 29.76
SET Index: 1540

BANGKOK BRIEF:

TODAY:

BKK Weather: 31C
Cloudy showers
Euro:US 1.3028
Euro:Baht 38.77
US:Baht 29.76
SET Index: 1540

BANGKOK BRIEF:

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra “congratulated” MR Sukhumbhand Patibatra who won the Bangkok election for Governor. Anti-Red Shirt voters fooled the pollsters. Abac Poll to keep future data secret.

WORLD SUMMARY:

WTM London 2022 will be taking place from 7-9 November 2022. Register now!

With hundreds dead, Syrian rebels seize police academy. Sixteen die in Bangladesh riots over death sentence to Islamist. Chad kills Algeria Islamist kidnapper. Scientists appeared a step closer to conquering the AIDS virus after US doctors confirmed they had cured an infant born with HIV through a course of antiretroviral drugs, the first time this has ever been recorded.

OTHER NEWS:

– BANGKOK GOVERNOR ELECTION: Bangkok voters Sunday re-elected Democrat candidate MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra as the city’s Governor. Political observers consider the result an attempt by the capital’s residents to counter the Pheu Thai Party’s grasp on power on the national stage. It was the fourth consecutive win for the Democrat Party in the city race.

According to the unofficial result from the Election Commission, MR Sukhumbhand received 1,256,231 votes, the largest ever haul in the gubernatorial election. His rival, Pheu Thai candidate Pongsapat Pongcharoen, was close behind with 1,077,899 votes.

Sunday’s poll marked the first time the winning candidate and runner-up amassed more than 1 million votes each. It also marked the largest voter turnout at 63.98 percent. A total of 2,715,640 out of 4,244,465 eligible voters cast their ballots.

In the last leg of the election campaign, the Democrat Party urged city residents to re-elect MR Sukhumbhand to avoid giving the ruling Pheu Thai Party a monopoly on political power.

“The voters were possibly concerned that if Pol Gen Pongsapat won, the government could do anything it wanted to, like amending the charter or issuing an amnesty,” observers said.

Abac Poll has vowed not to disclose the results of its surveys about elections in the future, after its predictions for the Bangkok poll picked the wrong winner. Abac’s pre-election poll, conducted between Thursday and Saturday, had Pheu Thai Party candidate Pongsapat Pongcharoen leading the race with support of 45.9%, an 11% lead over Sukhumbhand Paribatra of the Democrats.

But in the actual election yesterday, MR Sukhumbhand emerged victorious. He defeated Pol Gen Pongsapat by about 200,000 votes.

Abac Poll Director Noppadon Kannikar accepted the survey results were flawed. He attributed the discrepancy to respondents later changing their minds, switching from independent candidates to those of the two major parties.

– SKAL PATTAYA RELAUNCHED: Skal International President Mok Singh sent a message of congratulations to Tony Malhotra, the new President of Skal International Pattaya and East Thailand, following a spectacular re-launch party held at the Dusit Thani Hotel, Pattaya last week to an invited audience of travel and tourism professionals.

“Congratulations to both Andrew and Tony on this auspicious re-launch,” Mr. Mok said.

The new Club President, Tony Malhotra, Deputy Managing Director of
Pattaya Mail Publishing Co. Ltd,, presided at the inaugural event.

Said Andrew Wood, Skal International Thailand’s National President, “It has been a long time since we were able to talk Skal to Pattaya’s travel and tourism leaders, and I am delighted to announce that we are re-starting the Pattaya Club.”

Asked why it is important to have a Skal Club in Pattaya, new President Tony Malhotra said, “Pattaya is expanding rapidly, and there are many new tourism projects planned. It is important to support our members’ efforts to promote Pattaya to all our friends around the world.

“A destination with a Skal Club sends out a message to all stakeholders and suppliers that we are serious about the business of tourism, and we have a strong and committed work ethic to promote and support our city. I will do my best to mirror those principles.”

– PHUKET: Governor Maitree Inthusut is scheduled to fly out today to lead the Phuket delegation to ITB Berlin (March 6-8), the travel fair that should establish the number of European tourists that Phuket can expect in the future.

– AIR ACCIDENTS 1 IN 5 MILLION: Final figures compiled by the International Air Transport Association showed 2012 had the lowest accident rates in the 98-year history of aviation. The accident rate involving Western-built jets was 0.2, the equivalent of one accident every 5 million flights.

– IVORY BAN: Thailand’s Prime Minister promised to end her nation’s trade in ivory, delighting conservationists who have long urged Thailand to tackle the rampant smuggling of tusks through its territory.

– OBSCENE FOOTBALL: Arsenal football club may be bought out by a Middle East group for $2.3 billion, the sport’s biggest takeover, the UK Telegraph reported, citing an unidentified person in the group.

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News

Roundup of Thailand news with AJW

ajwood_2
ajwood_2
Written by editor

TODAY:

BKK Weather 32C
Hot sunny
Euro:US 1.3369
Euro:Baht 39.80
US:Baht 29.77
SET Index: 1421

BANGKOK BRIEF:

TODAY:

BKK Weather 32C
Hot sunny
Euro:US 1.3369
Euro:Baht 39.80
US:Baht 29.77
SET Index: 1421

BANGKOK BRIEF:

Japan PM Abe promises cooperation on high-speed trains, water management. Thai Islamic group speaks out, calls for Rohingya compassion. The Criminal Court sentenced Yossawaris Chuklom, aka Jeng Dokchik, a Red Shirt leader, to 2 years in jail without suspension for lese majeste.

WORLD SUMMARY:

WTM London 2022 will be taking place from 7-9 November 2022. Register now!

Torrential rains in Jakarta, thousands evacuate. French fight intensifies against Mali Islamists. Foreign hostages of Algeria al-Qaeda escape or killed.

OTHER NEWS:

– NOK AIR IPO: Nok Air, a subsidiary of Thai Airways, asked its financial adviser, Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), to prepare a listing application for submission to Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in March. The move is part of the expansion strategy of the airline which wants to raise money to fund its growth, according to Nok Air Chief Executive Patee Sarasin.

Details of the planned IPO have yet to be finalized, though Mr. Sarasin declared that up to a 30 percent stake in the company would be offered with existing shareholders’ holdings reduced pro rata. Nok Air posted an unaudited net profit of 480-500 million baht, a major turnaround from 2011 when its operation was hit by the great flood in October and November.

Nok Air also plans to resume international services this year after they nearly pushed the airline into bankruptcy five years ago. It suspended loss-making international flights to Vietnam and India as part of a turn-around program implemented four years ago.

Private regional carrier Bangkok Airways is also looking into an IPO launch in either April or May this year, according to its management. Both Nok Air and Bangkok will then follow Thai AirAsia, which was the first to make its trading on Bangkok’s stock exchange in May 2012.

– DREAMLINER: US officials and Boeing are investigating whether defective batteries from the same batch caused failures in two 787 Dreamliners that triggered the plane’s worldwide grounding.

If proven true, flaws may be confined to a small number of 787s, rather than indicating a systemic fault with the plane’s design and manufacturing, and could speed resumption of flights on the jet.

– THAILAND TOP: More than half the foreign tourists polled recently agreed that Thailand is their favorite destination in the Asean region, Bangkok Poll of Bangkok University reported on Thursday.

The pollsters interviewed 686 foreign tourists visiting Thailand, seeking their views on Thailand’s readiness for the debut of the Asean Economic Community in December 2015, from January 11-13.

Bangkok Poll said 58% of the respondents voted for Thailand as the most attractive tourist destination in Asean, followed by Vietnam (34.1%), Cambodia (30.6%), Laos (30.3%), and Singapore (26.1%).

Asked whether Thailand was ready for the AEC, 83% of the polled foreigners said yes, but 16.1% of them disagreed.

Regarding the most interesting things in Thailand, 28.1% of the respondents pointed to ancient ruins, 20.4% said Thai culture and traditions, and 14.3% said beautiful sea and beaches.

Asked if they had confidence in the security provided by Thai authorities, 97.6% said they have strong confidence and only 2.4% responded negatively.

Asked about factors that could damage tourism in Thailand, 37.2% of them said traffic congestion, 23.2% pointed to unfair fares charged by taxi and tuk tuk drivers, and 20.7% said unreasonably high prices of products.

As many as 85% the respondents said they would visit Thailand again, 14% of them were unsure, and only 1% said they would not.

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News

Roundup of Thailand news with AJW

ajwood_1
ajwood_1
Written by editor

TODAY:

BKK Weather 34C
Hot sunny
Euro:US 1.3291
Euro:Baht 39.77
US:Baht 29.93
SET Index: 1426

BANGKOK BRIEF:

TODAY:

BKK Weather 34C
Hot sunny
Euro:US 1.3291
Euro:Baht 39.77
US:Baht 29.93
SET Index: 1426

BANGKOK BRIEF:

PM orders navy to halt Rohingya “surge,” and consult with UNHCR. Pongsapat asked about “radio theft in US.” Carabao riot videos online. Seven men to contest for Bangkok governor. Mobile phone minutes “last forever.”

WORLD SUMMARY:

WTM London 2022 will be taking place from 7-9 November 2022. Register now!

Pakistan court orders arrest of “corrupt” PM. France steps up Mali intervention attacks and airstrikes. Sudan rebels kidnap Chinese railroad workers.

OTHER NEWS:

-DREAMLINER GROUNDED: All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines, the world’s largest users of Boeing 787 jets, grounded their entire fleet of Dreamliners today in the biggest blow yet to the troubled passenger jet’s image.

An All Nippon 787 made an emergency landing in Japan today because of smoke coming from the aircraft, prompting the decision to ground its entire fleet for the first time, said Ryosei Nomura, a spokesman for Tokyo-based All Nippon. Japan Air will also idle its fleet today. The carriers didn’t say for how long the planes will be grounded.

The emergency landing, which the carrier said it will probe, comes a week after the lithium-ion battery in a Japan Airlines 787 caught fire on January 7 in Boston. That incident prompted a review by US regulators of the design and manufacturing of the Dreamliner, Boeing’s most technologically-advanced jet, and the first to use lithium-ion batteries and to have a composite-plastic body.

“This is not good,” said Andrew Orchard, a Hong Kong-based analyst at CIMB Securities HK Ltd.

A strange odor was detected on the cockpit, forcing the pilot to evacuate the passengers through a chute after the emergency landing, All Nippon Vice President Osamu Shinobe said at a press conference in Tokyo. One passenger was taken to a hospital because of wrist pain.

The Japanese transport ministry said the pilots and air-traffic controllers saw smoke.

All Nippon was the first customer for the plane, which entered service in late 2011. The 787 has been plagued by incidents since then, including fuel leaks and faulty parts, most of which have been typical for a new model’s first year or two and none of which have caused injuries.

Last week’s fire in Boston was the most serious of the incidents. It was followed by a couple of fuel leaks, a software problem with the electric brakes – new to the Dreamliner – and a cracked windshield, all reported by the two Japanese carriers last week.

Boeing last week stood by its new plane, testifying to its safety and that the issues are introductory pains that will be overcome. The 787’s entry into service hasn’t been any worse than that of the 777, one of Boeing’s most popular models.

The planemaker has delivered about 50 (out of orders for 800 worldwide) of the $207 million jets to eight customers: All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, Air India, Ethiopian Airlines, Chile’s LAN Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, United Continental Holdings Inc., and Qatar Airways.

-ATF 2013: The Lao People’s Democratic Republic and the Host Committee of the 32nd ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF), will extend a warm welcome next week to all ASEAN and Dialogue Partners, Tourism Ministers, Heads of NTOs, Travel Association Delegates, buyers, sellers, and the international media.

ATF will be held in Vientiane, the capital of Lao PDR, from January 17 to 24. Situated on the Mekong River, Vientiane is the economic centre of Laos. It is celebrated for its ecotourism, Buddhist culture, and food.

The accompanying ATF TRAVEX show will take place from January 22 to 24 at the Lao International Trade Exhibition and Convention Centre (Lao ITECC). ATF TRAVEX 2013, the 3-day travel trade mart component of the ASEAN Tourism Forum, is a showcase for the largest contingent of ASEAN destination products and services. TRAVEX has recorded strong interest and is now sold out.

The ASEAN Tourism Conference (ATC) – the educational component of ATF – will feature sessions by industry veterans, which will engage the audience through presentations and panel discussions on the major trends, and issues affecting ASEAN tourism today.

Laos is proud to host ATF in Vientiane for the second time.

-SKAL WORLD CONGRESS 2013: New York City’s official marketing, tourism, and partnership organization, is pleased to announce that Skal International, the world’s largest professional association of senior travel and tourism executives, will bring its 74th World Congress to New York City this fall. The prestigious gathering will begin on September 27, 2013, before embarking from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal on a first-ever meeting at sea aboard the Carnival Cruise ship Glory. The group consisting of 1,200 travel industry delegates – who hail from all around the globe – will conclude their annual event back in New York City on October 5, offering attendees an opportunity for post-Congress meetings with NYC-based travel partners as well as tours of the destination.

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News

Roundup of Thailand news with AJW

thailand_9
thailand_9
Written by editor

TODAY:

BKK Weather 33C
Hot sunny
Euro:US 1.3399
Euro:Baht 40.58
US:Baht 30.29
SET Index: 1412

BANGKOK BRIEF:

TODAY:

BKK Weather 33C
Hot sunny
Euro:US 1.3399
Euro:Baht 40.58
US:Baht 30.29
SET Index: 1412

BANGKOK BRIEF:

Battle for Bangkok Governor – Pheu Thai executive committee unanimously decided to field Pol Gen Pongsapat Pongcharoen as candidate in the election. Mekong River Commission – what is it good for? Temple rally fizzles.

WORLD SUMMARY:

WTM London 2022 will be taking place from 7-9 November 2022. Register now!

French warplanes attack in Mali. Huge Paris protest against gay marriage. US influenza epidemic widens. Egypt court orders Mubarak retrial.

OTHER NEWS:

-DREAMLINER SAFETY: The US Federal Aviation Administration will undertake a comprehensive review of the 787’s critical systems, “including the design, manufacture, and assembly,” the Department of Transportation said in a statement. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, and Boeing Commercial Airplanes President Ray Conner will address the issues in a press conference today. The review is in addition to a US National Transportation Safety Board probe of the January 7 fire that the agency said caused severe damage to the battery pack area of the 787 after passengers disembarked in Boston following a flight from Tokyo. A couple of jets were grounded last month by a power fault which Boeing said this week it had traced to flaws in power panels.

The 787’s use of lithium-ion batteries sets it apart from other models. Boeing got regulators’ permission to use the batteries in the jet in 2007, 3 years after passenger planes were barred from carrying non-rechargeable types as cargo. Only those batteries can provide a high-energy start and be recharged quickly to meet the jet’s needs, Mike Sinnett, the Chief Engineer for the Dreamliner, said this week. The battery has “robust protection” against charging and discharging too quickly, since both are dangerous, he said.

All new jets have introductory pains the first year or two, Sinnett said. The 787’s performance since entering service in 2011 hasn’t been any worse than that of the 777, which made its commercial debut in 1995 and is one of Boeing’s most popular models, and has been better than other wide-body jets, he said.

-M23 EVENT SPACE OPENS IN BKK: The newly-opened M23 event space at Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld is designed as an intimate setting for business meetings and receptions, seminars, and golf.

Covering more than 1,000 square meters, the space is divided into four natural day-lit boardrooms offering dramatic views of the city skyline, and with a class/board room capacity from 18 to 50.

Along with its meetings facilities, M23, on the 23rd floor of the hotel, has its own reception area; open show kitchen and bar that caters for coffee breaks, luncheons, and social events; and a 50-meter-long, open-air patio with a putting green.

“With M23 we really have a new and exciting style of meeting space in Bangkok,” said Chris Bailey, Senior Vice President for Sales and Marketing at Centara Hotels & Resorts, “This is perfect for smaller events, where there is a high degree of social involvement, and along with the tailor-made catering arrangements and the opportunity to practice your golf swing, the views of Bangkok from the 23rd floor are magnificent.”

-TAT’S AMAZING I-SAN FAIR 2013: Long overlooked by the international tourism industry, Thailand’s northeastern region, called “Isan” by Thais, is being given a major boost with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) collaborating with travel trade partners to promote the destination by organizing Amazing I-San Fair 2013. The fair will be held during January 24-27, 2013, at Plenary Hall, Queen Sirikit National Convention Center.

There are more than 60 operators participating in the fair including travel agents, airlines, accommodations, and producers of local handicrafts. The travel fair is aimed at increasing tourist traffic from Bangkok and other provinces to Isan.
For decades, Isan was perceived as a remote, underdeveloped area that held little tourism appeal. Things began to change as the region’s transportation network expanded in the 1980s and a number of historical sites and nature reserves opened up to the public. In recent years, the Northeast has seen an influx of domestic and foreign travelers going for its unspoiled nature and chic resorts. It is also the main gateway to the many wonders of the neighboring countries of Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

In 2011, there were more than 26 million visitors to the Northeast (+15.86% over 2010), more than 95 percent of whom were Thai tourists. In 2013, TAT expects the number of domestic trips will increase to 115.36 million trips and generate 537,800 million baht.

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News

Roundup of Thailand news with AJW

thailand_8
thailand_8
Written by editor

TODAY:

BKK Weather 36C
Hot sunny
Euro:US 1.3187
Euro:Baht 40.40
US:Baht 30.61

BANGKOK BRIEF:

TODAY:

BKK Weather 36C
Hot sunny
Euro:US 1.3187
Euro:Baht 40.40
US:Baht 30.61

BANGKOK BRIEF:

Yingluck rejects Chalerm’s comments but doubts she can get referendum turnout. Extremists in South hunt Buddhists, burn TAO building. Total Access Communication (DTAC) earmarks 25 billion baht for installation of its third-generation (3G) mobile network over the next three year, hopes to cover 80% of the population.

WORLD SUMMARY:

WTM London 2022 will be taking place from 7-9 November 2022. Register now!

World fails to end, China arrests Doomsday cult of 1,000 members. Assange vows “million documents in 2013” for Wikipedia. Internet eagle video is a hoax. The three students who made the video, apparently showing a golden eagle snatching a toddler in Montreal, did so in a production simulation workshop at their university.

OTHER NEWS:

– MY THAILAND: An American photographer is reaching for gold after nabbing first place in National Geographic’s photo competition, “My Thailand, My Story.” The prestigious international magazine awarded Harvey Abernathey’s photo “Harold’s Tree” earlier this year. He was one of seven first-place winners who went on an all-expense-paid, weeklong photography excursion in Thailand, and was accompanied by National Geographic travel photographer Alison Wright.
Abernathey explored the cities of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket and created an online photo album, telling the story of his experience. Only one of the seven will be awarded National Geographic’s top honor – a photographic exhibition in New York City at a venue determined by Tourism Thailand. The online album that receives the highest number of valid online votes will win the prize, valued at $20,000.

Abernathey attributes his foray into impressionistic photography through training by photographer Jimmy Katz and his “Joy to Abstract” workshops at the Point Reyes National Seashore.

Two days after returning from Thailand, Abernathey created an online photo album to showcase the best 15 shots from the trip. He said the hardest challenge was selecting from over 18,000 photos of temples, festivals, and Thai people within 48 hours.

“With the shooting schedule we had, I didn’t get to see my work until I got home,” Abernathey said, “But the purpose of the trip was to tell a story, so I was selecting photos that would do that.”

“One morning we set out for a balloon ride over Chiang Mai at 6:00 am, landed, drove to the mountains, and went on an elephant ride, all before breakfast,” Abernathey said.

The highlight of the trip was the Loi Krathong lantern festival in Chiang Mai. “It’s an all-night celebration with fireworks and thousands of lanterns are floated in the sky,” Abernathey said, “There were beautiful flower floats, and we went to the flower market and watched people making them, later floating them on the river following their blessing.”

“I was struck by the reverence the people have for their monarchy and their spirituality,” Abernathey said.

“The Thai people were so enjoyable to be around,” Abernathey said, “They would socialize with us even though we couldn’t speak the language.”

Abernathey called his trip “the experience of a lifetime,” which allowed him to meet lifelong friends in his photographer competitors.

“It was an amazing opportunity to experience the culture,” Abernathey said, “This is something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”

Public voting opened to the public on December 10 and will close January 10. To vote visit nationalgeographic.com/mythailand .

-REFERENDUM: Thai PM Yingluck brushed aside comments by Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung, who voiced opposition to a referendum. Ms. Yingluck said the government’s task is to encourage the public to participate in the charter amendment process to find a peaceful solution to political conflict, while the duty to amend the constitution rests with parliament.

The proposed referendum question is “Do you like the proposal to rewrite the constitution in its entirety or not?”

Former charter writer, Seri Suwanpanont, said the question is confusing and the term “approve” should be used instead.

Mr. Chalerm has opposed the government’s move to hold a referendum. He said the number of eligible voters is expected to rise to around 49 million next year, and roughly 25 million would have to take part in the referendum.

If the voter turnout fails to reach the required total, the referendum would automatically become invalid.

Even if a sufficient number of voters take part, the government would still need more than half of the votes to win in the referendum, he said.

Mr. Chalerm said yesterday that voting in a referendum is different from voting in an election. In a referendum, those who do not show up do not have their voting rights disenfranchised, he said, adding that many people still think constitutional amendments have little relevance to their daily lives.

Charter amendments do not motivate people to come out and vote, he said. His proposal will not push for the establishment of a charter drafting assembly and will not call for a referendum. Under his proposal, sections on the monarchy and independent agencies would be left untouched, he said.

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Roundup of Thailand news with AJW

thailand_7
thailand_7
Written by editor

TODAY:

BKK Weather 33C
Hot sunny and hazy
Euro:US 1.3243
Euro:Baht 40.50
US:Baht 30.58

BANGKOK BRIEF:

TODAY:

BKK Weather 33C
Hot sunny and hazy
Euro:US 1.3243
Euro:Baht 40.50
US:Baht 30.58

BANGKOK BRIEF:

Abhisit, Suthep may face hundreds of murder, assault charges. Thailand begins AFF Cup final tonight. Auto tax to be emissions-based.

WORLD SUMMARY:

WTM London 2022 will be taking place from 7-9 November 2022. Register now!

China arrests 100 for spreading doomsday rumors. Iraq President suffers stroke. Taliban kill five polio vaccinators. Pakistan car bomb kills 17.

OTHER NEWS:

– SANTA THAI WISH LIST: Wish lists identified Smartphones ahead of travel as the most wanted gift during Christmas and New Year, according to Kasikorn Research Centre survey.

The bank’s latest survey focused on what gifts Thais wanted the most at New Year by interviewing 400 people nationwide, from November 23 to December 2.

Smartphones led the field with 11.8% of respondents, followed by 11.4% who said they would like a tour package as a gift. A tablet (iPad) came in at 10%; accessories (9.1%); and computer equipment such as a PC, notebook, or ultrabook (8.2%).

– ANGRY PHOTO USERS: Facebook’s photo-sharing site Instagram has updated its privacy policy giving it the right to sell users’ photos to advertisers without notification. Unless users delete their Instagram accounts by a deadline of January 16, they cannot opt out.

Facebook has infuriated users by changing its terms of service to allow it to sell uploaded photos or related data.

– THE END IS NIGH: Members of a fringe Christian group in China have been rounded up for spreading rumors of an impending apocalypse, pegged to the Mayan calendar. Known as the ”Almighty God” cult, the group latched on to the Mayan doomsday scenario to predict the sun will not shine and electricity will not work for three days beginning on December 21.

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Roundup of Thailand news with AJW

thailand_6
thailand_6
Written by editor

TODAY:

BKK Weather 36C
Hot sunny and partly cloudy
Euro:US 1.3158
Euro:Baht 40.28
US:Baht 30.61
SET Index 1359

BANGKOK BRIEF:

TODAY:

BKK Weather 36C
Hot sunny and partly cloudy
Euro:US 1.3158
Euro:Baht 40.28
US:Baht 30.61
SET Index 1359

BANGKOK BRIEF:

Yingluck – 40 businessmen fly to Myanmar for Dawei project talks. Opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva urged voters to join the Democrat Party to say NO in a public referendum on charter amendment. Sudarat supporters bitter over pullout for Bangkok Governor. Former veteran politician Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan has confirmed she will not run for the Bangkok governor’s seat early next year but plans to return to politics later when she is ready.

WORLD SUMMARY:

WTM London 2022 will be taking place from 7-9 November 2022. Register now!

New Japan PM Abe vows tough China line. Calls for US gun control – but not by Obama. Violence in Egypt over Islamist constitution.

OTHER NEWS:

– SO CHRISTMAS BKK: Sofitel So Bangkok, the city’s first truly urban design hotel that draws inspiration from the traditional five elements: earth, wood, water, metal, and fire, is in its own element when it comes to celebrating the festive season.

Offering a full program of dining and partying from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day, with events designed to suite all styles of celebration, the hotel promises a So joyous time as it welcomes one and all to join in the festive spirit. It is also the occasion when Sofitel So Bangkok marks its first calendar year of operations, which has seen the hotel win many honors.

– PATA: The Pacific Asia Travel Association has stepped forward to voice its strong opposition to Britain’s air passenger duty, which has increased by 140 percent for economy class and 325 percent for business class since 2007. However, observers say there appears to be no-one listening.

– ASIAN SHARES 13-DAY WINNING STREAK: Asian stocks headed for the longest winning streak since 1988 as Japanese shares rose and the yen fell to its weakest level since April 2011 after elections returned the Liberal Democratic Party to power amid calls for more monetary easing.

– US SHOOTING CONNECTICUT: Education officials say they have found no link between the gunman’s mother and the school, contrary to earlier reports that said she was a teacher there. Investigators said they believe Adam Lanza, 20, attended Sandy Hook School many years ago.

– MALDIVES: The Malaysian government had sent its foreign minister to Maldives to save the Male airport contract held by a consortium in which Malaysia Airports Berhad was a partner. The project was terminated earlier this month by a new government.

– THAI MIGRANT WORKERS: The International Labor Organization has expressed ”concern” over Thailand’s decision to deport millions of illegal migrants and called for the government to develop a coherent labor migration policy.

– UK’S WONDERFUL YEAR OF SPORT: Cyclist Bradley Wiggins has capped his remarkable sporting year by winning the 2012 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. As Wiggins received his latest trophy from the Duchess of Cambridge, he did so not only as the Tour de France champion and Olympic time trial gold medalist, but also as a symbol of Britain’s sporting annus mirabilis.

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Roundup of Thailand news with AJW

thai wedding
thai wedding
Written by editor

TODAY:

BKK Weather 35C
Hot sunny and partly cloudy
Euro:US 1.3077
Euro:Baht 40.07
US:Baht 30.64
SET Index 1354

BANGKOK BRIEF:

TODAY:

BKK Weather 35C
Hot sunny and partly cloudy
Euro:US 1.3077
Euro:Baht 40.07
US:Baht 30.64
SET Index 1354

BANGKOK BRIEF:

PM greeted with terrorist leaflet threats to kill more teachers in South. Democrat deputy leader Thaworn Senneam: Abhisit Vejjajiva and Suthep Thaugsuban denied murder charges at the Department of Special Investigation. Elton in Bkk.Thailand to play Singapore Wednesday in Suzuki Football Cup final.

WORLD SUMMARY:

WTM London 2022 will be taking place from 7-9 November 2022. Register now!

China fights UN attempt to add to North Korea sanctions. Chief backer Russia says Assad losing Syria civil war. UK, Europe pay “victims” of CIA rendition.

OTHER NEWS:

-UNLUCKY DAY IN THAILAND: Computer software glitches frustrated many couples trying to register their marriages Wednesday on the auspicious date of 12/12/12.

Couples who hoped to have the special date printed on their marriage certificates faced hours of delays at district offices after computers slowed to a crawl. The process stopped altogether at times, as the software of the ministry’s the Bureau of Registration Administration hit snags.

Bureau officials and the computer supplier were trying to pinpoint the cause of the problem, and they expected the glitches to be sorted out in a few days.

Delays in marriage registration were also experienced at the Bang Rak district office, which is a popular place to register marriages, given its name in Thai which means the district of love.

Bang Rak district chief Suachana Sudcharoen said about 100 couples applied for marriage certificates at the office yesterday.

-ARRESTED FOR HONESTY: A taxi driver has been arrested in Bangkok for an armed robbery he committed 18 years ago, after he attempted to pay a fine on a traffic ticket.

Wichai Thampaisal, 56, was apprehended at Choke Chai police station in Lat Phrao district on a charge of armed robbery, committed in 1995.

Mr. Wichai and four accomplices allegedly robbed and beat the owner of an animal feed factory at gunpoint in Chachoengsao province and made away with nearly 160,000 baht. Mr. Wichai received his share of 60,000 baht and fled to a relative’s house in the eastern part of the country.

He returned to his native Chachoengsao about 5 years ago and learned that all of his accomplices had already been caught. He also thought that police were no longer looking for him and decided to live a law-abiding life, police said.

Mr. Wichai became a taxi driver about a year ago.

On December 6, he made an illegal U-turn and was given a ticket and told to pay the fine at Choke Chai police station. When he went to pay, he was arrested. The statute of limitations for his crime would have expired in 2 more years.

-QANTAS: Qantas’s link-up with Emirates means that passengers will, from next April, pass through United Arab Emirates rather than Bangkok on their way to Europe.

-SIMPLIFIED UK VISA FOR CHINA: Home Secretary Theresa May is to simplify the visa application process to make it easier for Chinese visitors to holiday in the UK.

In a recent speech, which was flagged last month by sports and Tourism Minister Hugh Robertson, May signaled the introduction of a less demanding regime for Chinese tourists and students.

This includes a shortened online application form, with translated forms available from April 2013, dedicated Embassy staff to help business travelers with their applications, and the option for applicants to keep their passports while visas are processed.

Tourism body VisitBritain welcomed the announcement, saying it would attract more Chinese visitors. Its recent research found that 61% of Chinese people who chose not to come to Britain were put off by the visa process. The application forms are currently in English, rather than Mandarin.

“The introduction of shorter and translated application forms, as well as reduce documentary requirements is extremely welcome as these were identified by VisitBritain as areas where the UK could improve its visa service to out compete those of the Schengen member states, as well as Australia and the USA. In addition, we are pleased to support UKBA’s efforts by adding a visa module to our BritAgent program, which provides training to tour operators and travel agents in China.

“China is a key growth market for international tourism and a market in which Britain needs to compete effectively to ensure that we continue to be in the top 10 of tourism destinations. Improvements in the visa process will support our ambition to attract 40 million visitors a year by 2020, and we have been working closely with UKBA to inform their thinking.”

Britain attracted around 149,000 visits from China last year, up 35% on 2010, but it was outperformed by European rivals such as France and Germany.

VisitBritain is looking to increase this to 382,000 visits by 2020. As Chinese visitors spend around 3 times as much as other visitors, it said that anything that could be done to attract more Chinese tourists would be a welcome boost for the economy.

-PATTAYA MURDER: A 66-year-old German man has been found dead inside a 28th floor condo unit on Jomtien beach in Pattaya with a deep slash on his neck, and police suspect foul play, he was drinking with 6 Thai women inside the condo. Police suspect robbery.

-AIRLINE DRINKS: The Skytender Trolley dispenses hot and cold drink options without the cabin crew having to pour and open traditional drink containers for passengers. Flight attendants using the system are able to serve hot and cold drink items like juices, soft drinks, cocktails, and hot drinks in less time.

Airlines and passengers will like the more efficient operation, enabling cabin crew to serve more people, faster. Cabin crew can forget about making coffee or going back and forth to the aircraft galley for water refills as Skytender holds 30 liters of hot and cold water.

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Roundup of Thailand news with AJW

ajwood_0
ajwood_0
Written by editor

TODAY:

BKK Weather 33C
Sunny and partly cloudy
Euro:US 1.3009
Euro:Baht 39.84
US:Baht 30.63
SET Index 1341

BANGKOK BRIEF:

TODAY:

BKK Weather 33C
Sunny and partly cloudy
Euro:US 1.3009
Euro:Baht 39.84
US:Baht 30.63
SET Index 1341

BANGKOK BRIEF:

Yingluck backs referendum before constitution amendment; Thaksin says it’s “not for me.” Red Shirt lawyers have asked the Department of Special Investigation not to allow bail for ex-PM Abhisit Vejjajiva and his former Deputy Suthep Thaugsuban.

WORLD SUMMARY:

WTM London 2022 will be taking place from 7-9 November 2022. Register now!

North Korea delays missile launch, rocket problems. Mandela has lung infection. Thousands rally in Egypt. US says HSBC “intentionally” laundered drug cash.

OTHER NEWS:

– THAI POLITICS: Boonlert admits audio clip of Thaksin “insulting monarchy” was altered.

Former Pitak Siam leader Boonlert Kaewprasit Tuesday insisted that an audio clip played during the anti-government group’s November 24 rally was authentic, though confessed some parts of the recording had been removed.

Thaksin appeared on Channel 11 on Sunday night, saying that the clip had been manufactured to fuel allegations that he is an anti-monarchist.

Gen Boonlert, also known as Seh Ai, yesterday affirmed the audio clip was genuine, but said some parts of the recording had been removed.

He shrugged off speculation that Thaksin would sue him over the recording, adding that he was not intimidated by the ex-Premier’s clout.

Gen Boonlert said Thaksin’s appearance on Channel 11 indicated that the ex-premier was desperate to return home.

“He is dying to come back home, and he is selfishly using state-run TV,” the retired general said.

Gen Boonlert challenged Thaksin to turn himself in and serve his two-year jail term for abuse of power to show that he accepted Thai law. By doing so, he would be eligible to apply for a royal pardon.

“Or as a rich man he can hire people to stage a coup for him,” the retired general said.

– CX NO STRIKES BUT NO MEALS OR DRINKS: Agents can continue booking Cathay with ease after the airline’s cabin crew union confirmed it will not stage strikes during the Christmas and New Year period.

The airline and its 6,000-strong Flight Attendant’s Union (FAU) have been in conflict over salary, with the union requesting a 5 percent salary increment for 2013 over the 2 percent Cathay has offered.

This week, crew voted against holiday strikes, a decision the airline’s Chief Executive John Slosar says is good news for passengers, its staff, and the Hong Kong traveling public.

Despite the agreement to keep the peace over Christmas, crew are said to be considering other forms of action including the introduction of a “work-to-rule” measure.

According the union’s General Secretary, Tsang Kwok-fung, its members will be selective in which services they provide, and passengers may find themselves denied certain beverages while flying, including alcohol.

Smiles are another service that may be withheld as well as meals.

“In a nutshell it means passengers will still be able to reach their destinations except they are paying a five-star price to get a three-star service,” Mr. Tsang said.

– PATA THAILAND/SKAL BANGKOK XMAS LUNCH: This year’s joint Christmas lunch will be held on Thursday, December 13, 2012 at the Rembrandt Hotel on Soi 18 from 12:00 noon. Cost is Baht 1,000 per person. Reservations at www.skalthailand.org

– OTA’S MOBILE: On-Line Travel Agencies are banking on consumer preferences for mobile bookings.

At its annual Expedia Partner Conference executives shared data and trends related to online booking behavior.

“Today, most of our sites are seeing 20 percent or more of their transactions coming from mobile,” said President and CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, “It’s by far our fastest-growing channel.”

Right now Expedia has more than 130 mobile websites and its mobile apps are available in more than 200 countries.

While the company and its brands, including Hotels.com and Hotwire, are in various stages of introducing mobile sites and apps around the world, some overall trends are evident.

“When you consider who is using mobile, you have to separate tablet use from phone use,” said Nigel Pocklington, CMO of Hotels.com, “Phone use is for people looking for a booking close in, while tablets on the other hand are used by customers with longer windows.

“We see customers are using mobile during commute hours, desktop computers at the lunch hour, and during work hours, and tablet bookings go up after 9:00 pm.”

Seventy-five percent of same-day bookings on Hotwire come from mobile, while the highest average daily rate is achieved through tablet bookings.

Same-day hotel bookings in March 2012; 16.6 percent of US Expedia users booked their hotel room within 24 hours of departure on a mobile device.

Eighty-one percent of people booking one-night stays via mobile are located within 10 miles of the hotel.

– HILTON THAILAND: The DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Phuket – Surin Beach has appointed Simon McGrath as General Manager and Tane Picken as Director of Business Development.

Mr. McGrath holds a graduate certificate in Hotel Management from the University of South Australia and has completed the General Managers Program of the Australian Graduate School of Management.

To support Hilton Worldwide’s rapid expansion in Thailand, the company has also appointed Tane Picken as Director of Business Development for the DoubleTree Resort.

Based in Bangkok, Mr. Picken is responsible for overall sales and marketing operations, in a role he also undertakes for the Hilton Hua Hin Resort and Spa.

Originally from South Africa, he has been with Hilton Worldwide since 2001, where he started as a Food and Beverage Supervisor with the Hilton Durban in South Africa.

– THAI MINISTER OPTIMISTIC: Tourism & Sports Minister HE Mr. Chumpol Silpa-Archa painted a rosy picture overall, saying international tourist arrivals to Thailand this year should reach 21.5 million with revenue of at least 800 billion baht. The Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) also believes that the country will welcome some 23 million foreign travelers in 2013.

The minister said more big sporting events were planned in southern Thailand in an effort to draw more tourists. The country will also host the World Deaf Futsal Championships in 2015 and the fourth Asian Beach Games in 2014.

– SAMUI POWER PLAN: Yutthachai Soonthronrattanavate, President of the Association of Domestic Travel, said local residents of Samui and Phangan were concerned about the risk of power outages and the economic consequences.

However, they did not generally welcome the idea of building a natural gas-fired power plant in their area.

“Authorities might consider building a wind or solar power plant here because even though they’re costly, it’s still necessary for creating confidence about energy supply, and it can be used as a selling point to tourists.”

He also expressed concern that power outages might occur on other islands where tourists visit, such as Koh Chang in Trat province. The government should study the recent blackout and ensure that it can prevent a similar incident from happening again, he said.

The environmental group, Greenpeace, said the blackout in Surat Thani showed that Thailand still lacked an efficient electrical system. Greenpeace said the government needed to consider using alternative energy sources such as wind or solar on Samui and Phangan, as they can generate about 90 megawatts of electricity per day. The PEA plans to start supplying electricity to the islands through a new underwater cable in March. It will provide up to 200 megawatts of electricity.

– DELTA BUYS VIRGIN ATLANTIC: Delta Air Lines has agreed a deal to buy Singapore Airlines’ 49 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic for $360 million. Virgin Group and Sir Richard Branson will retain their 51 percent shareholding, and the Virgin brand will remain in place, the new partners said in a joint statement.

– UK’S COLORED CAPITAL: White Britons no longer make up the majority of people in London for the first time, according to the latest census data which pointed to a cosmopolitan capital increasingly divergent from the national economy around it.

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Roundup of Thailand news with AJW

samui blackout
samui blackout
Written by editor

TODAY:

BKK Weather 33C
Sunny hot
Euro:US 1.2925
Euro:Baht 39.66
US:Baht 30.68
SET Index 1335

BANGKOK BRIEF:

TODAY:

BKK Weather 33C
Sunny hot
Euro:US 1.2925
Euro:Baht 39.66
US:Baht 30.68
SET Index 1335

BANGKOK BRIEF:

Thaksin attacks opponents live on state TV. Government steps up charter rewrite bid. Democrats say fake witnesses in murder case.

WORLD SUMMARY:

WTM London 2022 will be taking place from 7-9 November 2022. Register now!

Ghana’s president wins re-election. Messi beats Muller’s 85-goal record. 3 dead, 3 children hurt in California shootings. Venezuela’s Chavez cancer returns.

OTHER NEWS:

– ARCADIA SUITES OPENS IN BKK: Compass Hospitality has opened its first all-suite serviced apartment in Bangkok, the Arcadia Suites.

Arcadia Suites, Bangkok, is located in Nai Lert, just a few minutes’ walk from the BTS Phloenchit sky train station.

Close to shopping centers: Central Chidlom, Gaysorn Plaza, Amarin Plaza & Erawan Shine, Central World, and All Seasons Place.

Arcadia Suites offers 73 suites with LCD TVs, wireless Internet, en-suite bathrooms, and a fully-equipped kitchenette.

– ACCOR: Europe’s biggest hotel operator plans to locate half of its new Southeast Asia properties in Indonesia to take advantage of the country’s growing economy and expanding middle class. The Paris-based company plans to increase the number of its hotels in the region to more than 200 from 132, said Robert Murray, Chief Operating Officer for Accor’s northeast and southeast Asian operations.

– EXPEDIA: Several major hotel chains in Norway are cutting their ties with Internet giant Expedia and dropping out of Expedia’s hotel reservation service Hotels.com. Their executives cite “sky-high commissions” and Expedia’s alleged demands that the hotels can’t offer any lower rates themselves on their own websites than what Hotels.com offers.

“We can’t live with the commissions Expedia is demanding,” said Morten Thorvaldsen of Thon Hotels, claiming the commissions vary between 18 and 25 percent. “Nor can we live with Expedia’s demand that we can’t set our own room rates on our own websites.”

Expedia, the hotel operators fear, holds far too much market power to steer room rates in Norway if the hotels themselves can’t. International hotel organizations have also worried that the number of online booking services has been greatly reduced to a few players who how hold huge market power.

-SAMUI BLACKOUTS – EGAT DENIAL: The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) insists that it did not cause blackouts on Samui and Pha-ngan islands.

An electrician at EGAT’s station in Nakhon Si Thammarat’s Khanom district said the station cut the power temporarily for maintenance on December 4 but after doing this it released electricity through a cable. Three minutes later, a problem occurred with the cable which caused the blackouts.

Once power was released past Egat’s system, it was the Provincial Electricity Authority’s responsibility.

Power returned to the islands on Friday after a 3-day blackout.

Meanwhile, more than 30 mobile generators are “on standby” in case residents and tourists have another power crisis during the holidays.

After using 35 mobile generators to produce electricity during the blackout period, the PEA said it was not sure if the islands will black out again as there will be high power usage during the festive season.

About 80-90 percent of hotel rooms have been reserved via the Internet, mostly by tourists from the UK, Germany, Russia, and China despite the 3-day blackout, said Panu Woramit, Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Surat Thani Office.

There are 490 hotels outlets with 19,500 rooms on Samui Island and 300 sites providing 7,000 rooms on Pha-ngan Island.

– NEW ZEALAND WINE: A great pre-Christmas choice from Hawkes Bay with a deep ruby Trinity Hill Syrah 2011 and a peppery Trinity Tempranillo 2009 by John Hancock rounded off with a honey sweet dessert wine from Mission Estates NZ’s oldest vineyard.

– BILLION TOURISTS: A record one billion people will travel across an international border as a tourist in 2012, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council. That means that one in 7 people on the planet will participate in world traveling this year.

– TEMPLE OF THE DIVINE MADMAN: Bhutan’s religious heritage is among the most fascinating in the world, with numerous sites open to tourists. One, the fantastically-named Temple Of The Divine Madman, was built in the 15th century and has been restored, dazzling with brilliant golds, blues, and reds. As you walk up a dirt path towards it, guides explain that the Divine Madman was so called because of his preference for conducting his teachings via womanizing, drinking, and generally “acting crazy.”

The temple is believed to have been built to mark the saint’s success in defeating a trio of devils who had been eating local people. Meanwhile the Madman’s legendary sex life gained him a lasting reputation for fertility which encourages childless couples from Bhutan and beyond to make pilgrimages here. Once inside they pray and receive blessings. Many choose a card from a special pack offered by the temple’s chief monk who then shows them the name – and, therefore, the sex – of their future child written on the back.

– PHUKET MURDER: A second Hungarian suspect surrendered to Samui Tourist Police, denying any involvement in the grisly murder of a countryman in a Phuket house. Lajos Gyorgy Kvalka, 48, is now in Tourist Police custody in Phuket.

– MANDELA ILL: Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, spent a second day at the Pretoria hospital where he is said to be undergoing tests. On Saturday he was flown from his rural home in the Eastern Cape to the capital Pretoria to receive medical attention.

Mandela’s admission to the hospital sparked screaming newspapers headlines and ripples of fear that the frail leader is fading further away. And as his African National Congress political party stands ready to pick its leader who probably will be the next president, some believe governing party politicians have abandoned Mandela’s integrity and magnanimity in a seemingly unending string of corruption scandals.

– STAR GAZER DIES: Tributes have been paid to the “irreplaceable” British astronomer Sir Patrick Moore who has died at age 89. The eccentric broadcaster passed away peacefully at his home in Selsey, West Sussex, after being struck down by an infection.

– FOOTBALL: Robin van Persie scored a stoppage-time winner as Manchester United clinched a dramatic 3-2 away victory over Manchester City to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to 6 points. At the final whistle it felt like bedlam, with Carlos Tevez and Sir Alex Ferguson contemplating whether to prolong an old argument, Gareth Barry screaming at Roberto Mancini, Rio Ferdinand nursing a line of blood above his left eye, and Phil Jones, already booked for inciting the crowd, determined to milk the moment some more.

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Roundup of Thailand news with AJW

thailand_5
thailand_5
Written by editor

TODAY:

BKK Weather 34C
Sunny hot and morning haze
Euro:US 1.2960
Euro:Baht 39.74
SET Index 1340

BANGKOK BRIEF:

TODAY:

BKK Weather 34C
Sunny hot and morning haze
Euro:US 1.2960
Euro:Baht 39.74
SET Index 1340

BANGKOK BRIEF:

Democrats cry “foul politics” on Abhisit DSI murder charge. Abhisit Vejjajiva and Suthep Thaugsuban will be charged with murder for the death of a taxi driver during the 2010 Red Shirt rallies. ”They allowed security forces to use weapons and live ammunition that led to the death of civilians,” said DSI Chief Tarit Pengdith. Koh Samui still without power today after Tuesday’s blackout. Buddhist teachers want to move from Narathiwat.

WORLD SUMMARY:

WTM London 2022 will be taking place from 7-9 November 2022. Register now!

Philippines typhoon toll 380. Tanks deployed, army moves to disperse dueling Egypt protests. Israel, German leaders “agree to disagree” on settlements.

OTHER NEWS:

– SAMUI BLACKOUT: Following the latest power failure on Samui, tourism operators yesterday demanded the development of a resilient infrastructure framework that will maintain the resort island’s fame as a world-class visitor destination.

“It’s time the private and public sectors work together for its sustainable development,” said Piyamarn Techapaibul, President of the Tourism Council of Thailand.

The blackout struck at around 8:00 am on Tuesday when a short circuit crippled the main transmission line carrying electricity from the mainland to Samui.

Piyamarn said the power outage was a good lesson. Tourism development nationwide must go hand in hand with infrastructure development. Samui should be a model, but its development has proceeded without direction. Especially utilities, both water and electricity, are insufficient to serve population growth.

For example, 10,000 rooms were estimated a few years ago to serve tourism on the island, but today that figure has doubled, she said.

Thirayuth Chirathivat, CEO of Centara Hotels and Resorts, also called for the problems to be fixed. His three hotels on Samui have faced shortages from water, too. Piyamarn said the immediate damage to tourism was slight.

Business was running as usual. The airport was still open and hotels have survived without facing serious trouble. Especially the small- and medium-sized inns and guesthouses which offered special services to make their guests relax.

Thirayuth said the impact on his business has not been significant, thanks to generators installed.

Authorities in Surat Thani yesterday declared as disaster zones the two districts that have been suffering from blackouts since Tuesday.

The decision enables the provincial authority to use its emergency budget of Bt50 million, which will be used to buy necessary supplies, particularly petrol, for affected people.

Panu Woramit, Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s South office, said that due to the low season, 50 percent of Samui hotel rooms were occupied, and standard-level hotels have their own generators, so the incident has slightly affected the tourism industry on the island. According to Bangkok Airways Head Office release yesterday, Samui Airport remains open with normal operation from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm.

Power is expected to be restored to the island today.

– CROWN PRINCE ARRESTED IN BKK: Former Nepalese Crown Prince Paras Shah has been arrested for smashing property at a luxury apartment in Bangkok, police said, just a week after news emerged he had been bailed on drug charges. Shah was flown to the Thai capital for questioning after being seized in the tourist island of Phuket, where he was earlier arrested for drug possession.

– TRANG ARRIVALS SURPASS 1 MILLION: Trang province in Southern Thailand welcomed its one millionth visitor of the year on November 29, signifying a major milestone in the growth of the local tourism industry.

The waters off Trang have also become a refuge of the threatened dugong. Koh Libong is one of the best places to spot these docile sea mammals which have become the unofficial symbol of Trang.

As the average number of daily visitors is 3,200, it was calculated that the millionth visitor of 2012 would arrive in November. The province is growing in stature and reputation, becoming as popular as Krabi and Phang-nga, receiving 910,000 domestic and foreign visitors through the first nine months of 2012. By the end of 2012, Trang is expected to record 1.15 million visitors, an increase of 14% over 2011. Official statistics show that 70% of total visitors are Thai and 30% are foreigners.

Most of the foreign visitors are European, especially from the Scandinavian countries who enjoy long-stay, leisure holidays at the beachfront bungalows, mostly between November- March. More recently, there has been strong growth in arrivals from neighboring Malaysia, where TAT and the Thai tourism private sector have done extensive promotions.

Major factors that have contributed to the tourism growth are the increased flights by Nok Air and Thai AirAsia, the absence of natural disasters, and a stable social and economic situation which was orchestrated by a combination of private and public sector policies which are designed to ensure a balance between the local cost of living and income levels of the local people.

– ASIA HOTELS PREFERRED: LaSalle Investment Management, a division of the world’s second-largest commercial real estate brokerage, said it favors Asian hotels because of high occupancy rates. Revenue per available room in luxury hotels in Tokyo climbed almost 38 percent in the first 6 months of 2012 from a year earlier, while Shanghai’s top-tier hotels had growth of 28 percent and Jakarta’s upscale hotels’ revenue climbed 21 percent.

LaSalle Investment, which manages about US$7 billion in property in Asia, said that an increase in prices of higher-quality properties, driven by demand from pension and sovereign wealth funds, will attract other investors. International visitor arrivals to SE Asia grew 8 percent in May from a year earlier, while in northeast Asia and south Asia they rose 4 percent and 6 percent, respectively, the latest figures from PATA showed.

In Australia, tight vacancy rates in inner and urban areas of Sydney and early signs of a recovery in the nation’s most populous city make apartments an attractive investment.

– UK AIR TAX INCREASE: A further increase in Air Passenger Duty confirmed by Britain’s Chancellor in his Autumn Statement has been labeled ”unsurprising and self-destructive” by the Board of Airline Representatives in the UK. Dale Keller, Chief Executive of BAR UK, which represents over 80 airlines, said even the pre-Budget levels of APD could not be justified. ”The latest increase takes us dangerously beyond the tipping point where the impact can only be negative to the economy,” he said.

– CRICKET: Alastair Cook led England against India to a dominant position with a record-breaking innings in the Third Test. He became the youngest player to score 7000 Test match runs and it was his 23rd Test hundred for England, overtaking the 22 scored by four other players, first reached 73 years ago. No batsman in history has made hundreds in his first 5 matches as captain as Cook now has.

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Roundup of Thailand news with AJW

king
king
Written by editor

TODAY:

BKK Weather 34C
Sunny hot and morning haze possible showers later
Euro:US 1.3101
Euro:Baht 40.187
SET Index 1330

BANGKOK BRIEF:

TODAY:

BKK Weather 34C
Sunny hot and morning haze possible showers later
Euro:US 1.3101
Euro:Baht 40.187
SET Index 1330

BANGKOK BRIEF:

Hundreds of thousands of people thronged the Royal Plaza to help celebrate HM’s 85th birthday; the King is the world’s longest-reigning monarch. His Majesty ended his birthday speech delivered to all well-wishers before returning to Siriraj Hospital. The King stressed good morals in his people. Several thousands of well-wishers chanted “Long Live the King” as his royal motorcade reached the hospital.

WORLD SUMMARY:

WTM London 2022 will be taking place from 7-9 November 2022. Register now!

Protesters besieged Egypt’s presidential palace; Morsi flees ahead of mob. Nato moves missiles to Turkey-Syria border.

OTHER NEWS:

– TUI: Organic growth boosted turnover by 2 percent at TUI Travel, but currency fluctuations turned this into a 2 percent decline for the year. However, price increases, and cost savings of £42m pounds helped to lift underlying profits by 4 percent to £490m pounds.

– DIVORCE BY SMS: An Indonesian official is facing calls for his resignation after it emerged he divorced a teenager by text message following four days of marriage. Aceng Fikri, 40, is married with 3 children and took the 17-year-old as his second wife in a Muslim ceremony.

– ROYAL THAI AUDIENCE: Thais across the country will experience a rare delight today – a grand public audience granted by their much-beloved King from a balcony – an event known as Seehabanchorn in Thai. His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej is the world’s longest-reigning monarch, but throughout his more than 6-decade reign, he has granted such a grand public audience only 5 times before.

– MACAU: Casino shares tumbled. Police in mainland China and Macau have detained people from at least 3 of the biggest junket operators. By acting as middlemen, junket operators help drive the VIP business that accounts for about two-thirds of casino revenue in the world’s largest gambling hub. Las Vegas Sands fell 2.8 percent to US$45.46. Wynn Resorts dropped 2.9 percent to US$110.12.

– OBAMA HOLDS GROUND ON INCOME TAXES: US President Obama’s administration rejected a Republican plan for tackling the fiscal cliff that omitted higher tax rates for top-earning Americans, leaving the issue unresolved with about four weeks left before more than US$600 billion in tax increases and federal spending cuts start taking effect. European stocks rose as finance ministers met to discuss moves to stem the debt crisis.

Obama said in a television interview that the Republican offer on resolving the fiscal cliff doesn’t go far enough and won’t raise the revenue needed to shrink the deficit by US$4 trillion over the next decade. Obama, in his first television interview since winning re-election, said, “We have the potential of getting a deal done.”

The President said he’s willing to make further cuts in entitlements and realizes he won’t get “100 percent” of what he wants. Still, he insisted that Republicans accept higher tax rates for top earners if the US is to avoid automatic spending cuts and tax increases at the start of 2013.

“We’re going to have to have higher rates for the wealthiest,” Obama said, “It’s just a matter of math.”

– NEW AIRLINE FOR THAILAND: One of Japan’s biggest travel agencies said Tuesday it would set up a charter airline based in the Thai capital Bangkok as demand for air travel in Asia soars.

Interest in Asian Airlines has risen, and companies like Thai AirAsia, Nok, and Bangkok Airways are all doing well; at this point we will see many new airlines, and the industry will consolidate by 2015.

H.I.S. said its Asia Pacific Airlines would begin operating flights in the summer, connecting Bangkok to locations across East Asia, including China, Japan, and South Korea, a company official said.

The carrier would initially operate two 767 mid-sized planes before expanding its fleet to 10 aircraft within several years, it said.

“As demand for international flights is expected to jump in Asia, we want to secure our own aircraft so that we can offer services to both our current and new customers flexibly,” the official said.

The travel giant offered few other details about its new airline.

About 18 million people used H.I.S. last year, and it had 446 billion yen (HK$42 billion) in turnover, according to the company’s financial results.

Asia Pacific Airlines will be owned 49 percent by H.I.S., with 39 percent held by its Thai unit H.I.S. Tours Co., and the remaining 12 percent held by Thai hotel owner, Panlert Baiyoke, according to a statement.

– TRINITY HILLS WINE NEW ZEALAND: Homage a Hawkes Bay Syrah is only produced in those years where the vintage is deemed worthy. The previous vintages of this wine have become highly collectible, and Homage is already one of New Zealand’s most iconic and internationally-recognized labels. 2007 produced a wine that is more refined, elegant, and fragrant than the great 2006 and will mature into a beautiful wine, with elements of black fruits such as plum, blackberry, cherry, and cassis. The wine shows great elegance, with concentration and weight.

A rich game dish such as venison is required to stand up to this wine. The structure is tight and tense, which will allow the wine to age gracefully for up to 10 years in good conditions.

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News

Roundup of Thailand news with AJW

bangkok
bangkok
Written by editor

TODAY:

BKK Weather 33C
Sunny hot and haze
Euro:US 1.3014
Euro:Baht 39.97
SET Index 1324

BANGKOK BRIEF: