Thailand Bulletin For Monday, March 4, 2013
Roundup of Thailand news with AJW
Original, timely global, travel, tourism, business news and research:
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BKK Weather: 31C
SET Index: 1540
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.
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.
- 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.