Thailand Bulletin For Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Roundup of Thailand news with AJW
WORLD SUMMARY: China pushes back Kachin refugees to Myanmar. Turkey on high alert against Syria. Egypt pres loser faces corruption charges.
BANGKOK BRIEF: Economic ministers meet today to prepare for "looming" euro crisis impact. Waiting for Nasa - likely to cancel U-tapao reseach project.
EURO 2012 SEMI-FINAL: Tonight (Thursday morning at 1.45am Thailand time) match: Portugal vs Spain (Channel 3).
FIVE SMALL COMMERCIAL AIRLINES have requested Airports of Thailand (AoT) to stop what they said was unfair treatment by not giving them incentives to return to Don Mueang airport. The airlines Tuesday selected Nok Air Chief Executive Officer Patee Sarasin as their representative to meet Transport Minister Jarupong Ruangsuwan to discuss the issue. The AoT has announced it will grant three-year discounts on airport fees to 14 budget and chartered airlines if they agree to relocate from the congested Suvarnabhumi airport to Don Mueang. However, the AoT stunned Orient Thai, Nok Air, its sister airline Nok Mini or Siam General Aviation, Solar Air, and M Jet, which offers chartered flights, by excluding them from the incentives. The AoT is offering 95 percent discounts, which cover take-off, landing and hangar fees, if the target airlines use Don Mueang from Aug 1 to Sept 30, when the 6-year-old Suvarnabhumi airport will be undergoing repairs.
THE CABINET YESTEREDAY VOTED TO FORWARD NASA'S REQUEST to use U-tapao naval airbase in Rayong for atmospheric studies to parliament for debate in August, which will likely result in the project being cancelled as it fails to meet Nasa's dead-lines. Last week, Nasa made it clear the request for use of the airport for scientific studies in August and September would be withdrawn if approval was not forthcoming by yesterday.
THAILAND'S GOVERNMENT HAS CALLED A MEETING of 9 ministries related to the economy today to discuss measures to deal with the looming impact of the eurozone debt crisis on the Thai economy.
PHUKET: Australian travel agent, Michelle Smith, died because her killer could not pay a 300 baht bill for dinner, investigators learned as police brought the alleged murderer back to Phuket. A tall Thai man ate out at a restaurant in Chalong, on Phuket's east coast, with a friend on Wednesday night. After he finished the meal, he told the waiter he did not have the money to pay for it and would be back. According to Phuket police, the man then rode a motorcycle with his friend to Phuket's holiday west coast, where he tried to snatch the bag of Mrs. Smith outside the Katathani Beach Resort in quiet Kata Noi, not far from Kata and Karon. Mrs. Smith, 60, would not let go, so the man stabbed her in the heart. He left her bleeding to death in the street, with her wounded companion, another Australian travel agent, Tammee Lee, 42. His dinner bill remained unpaid.
Police brought the alleged killer, Surasak "Boy" Suwannachot, 26, and and his getaway motorcycle rider, Surin Taptong, 37, back to Phuket with the case rated so important that Thailand's top cop, Priewpan Damapong, traveled to Phuket. Investigating officers praised the man from the restaurant who gave police the vital piece of information that led to the arrests of the two men yesterday.
"He saw television reports and realized how important the case was, so he walked to Chalong Police Station and told them everything he knew," an officer said, "Without him coming forward, we would still be hunting the men. He has no interest in the 300,000 baht reward, he just wants to help Phuket recover its safe image."
The two accused Thai men admitted to the crime, saying they meant only to slash her pocketbook strap and did not mean to stab her. A crowd of 200 people shouted angrily at the handcuffed men during a reenactment on Phuket, accusing them of bringing bad publicity to an area that depends on tourism.
To boost security and confidence among locals and international visitors, the Phuket tourism sector has urged the local government to install 10,000 CCTVs, with a budget of 2 billion baht, throughout the southern resort island, on top of the existing 2250 CCTVs.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has promised a major overhaul in Phuket, Samui, and Pattaya to wipe out rip-offs, jet-ski scams, and overpriced taxis to make the destinations more appealing.
IN HIS FIRST OUTING AT WIMBLEDON 2012, Andy Murray showed himself to be a genuine contender for this title, trouncing Nikolay Davydenko in what was arguably his most complete performance on Centre Court. He lost only six games on his way to a 6-1, 6-1, 6-4 win that will send vibrations through the rest of the field.
ANGELA MERKEL has firmly rejected the use of eurobonds ahead of a crucial summit in Brussels this week, ruling out jointly guaranteed eurozone debt for "as long as I live."
Several Eurozone leaders, including French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, have called for the 17-nation bloc to draw up plans to issue jointly-guaranteed debt in order to reduce borrowing costs for struggling eurozone nations.
Ms. Merkel this week played down expectations of a major shift in policy from Germany at the EU summit, which starts on Thursday, and repeated that eurozone bonds would be "economically wrong and counterproductive. When I think of the summit, I feel concerned that yet again we will have too much focus on all kinds of ways of sharing debt."
A German government spokeswoman declined to comment on Merkel's reported remarks. Mrs. Merkel is set to address Parliament in Berlin on Wednesday, a day before the summit of EU leaders in Brussels is set to debate new strategies to tackle the bloc's debt crisis.
THE TOURISM AUTHORITY OF THAILAND'S creative tourism campaign is geared towards the growing trend of environmentally-concerned travelers and community tourism. Target groups are independent travelers, especially generation X and Y tourists from Singapore, Japan, Australia, the UK, Germany, Scandinavia, the US. and Canada.
HISTORICAL HOTELS: Reid's Palace, Funchal, Portugal. Located on a cliff overlooking the south coast of Funchal and first opened in 1891, Reid's Palace was the crowning achievement of Scotsman William Reed, an impoverished cabin boy who landed on the island of Madeira at age 14 and eventually made his fortune in the wine trade. Although he did not live to see the hotel's completion, Reid's Palace quickly became a major attraction, in large part due to the small flotilla of boats and vendors that greeted each new guest upon arrival. Distinguished guests included playwright George Bernard Shaw, Prime Minister Lloyd George, and the "traveling Empress," Elizabeth of Austria, known for her extensive travels after the suicide of her only son Rudolf. Today, the feeling of nobility remains, and chief among the hotel's attractions are the semi-tropical gardens that are unique to Reid's Palace. Kept in full bloom throughout the year, the flowers and plants originate from all over the world, and are a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery.