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Week of government self-congratulation begins with claim that capturing Thaksin not its job. Defense Minister to call Defense Council in Permanent Secretary row.
Super-typhoon nears Okinawa, Japan. Florida hurricane delays Romney nomination convention. Non-aligned “summit” to open in Iran. New Syria massacre.
The Foreign Ministry does not have the authority to pursue ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to get him to serve his jail sentence in Thailand, Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said.
Democrat Party spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut lashed out at Mr. Surapong’s one-year performance, saying nothing the Foreign Ministry did had been for the benefit of the country.
He said Mr. Surapong’s work only served Thaksin. The ministry attempted to help Thaksin obtain a Japanese visa, secretly returned a passport to him, and allowed him to travel freely around the world, Mr. Chavanond said.
-AEC2015: Kasikorn Research Centre believes that AEC integration will present both opportunities and challenges to Thai retailers. They believe that one of the more noteworthy benefits of the AEC would be that it will help expand the Thai internal marketplace. This, coupled with likely increases in purchasing power, and even more international tourist arrivals, especially from ASEAN into Thailand, should help bolster the retail business. In 2011, ASEAN tourists spent over THB 37.5 billion here, up 32 percent YoY. In 2012, we expect that this figure will grow to at least THB 42 billion, up 12 percent YoY.
-THAI OUTBOUND TRAVEL: Intense competition in the travel industry has forced local tour operators to seek business partners to reduce operating costs and risks.
“Many companies have formed consortia to divert risks and share benefits, as well as responsibilities,” said Thanapol Cheewarattanaporn, Managing Director of Quality Express Co.
He said that the picture of business consortium will become clearer when the Asean Economic Community is implemented in 2015.
While collaborations do not give much profit to participants, he believes that the drop in operating costs increased business margins significantly.
Although the government has forecast high tourism revenue from inbound travelers in the coming years, outbound tourism has shown a rather weak performance.
This year, most Thai people still have no plans to take overseas trips, largely due last year’s massive floods dampening their mood, he said.
-APPLE: A California jury awarded Apple Inc. more than US$1.05 billion dollars on Friday in its patent infringement claim that Samsung Electronics Co. copied technology used in its iPad and iPhone.
-PRINCE HARRY: A week on, grainy photos taken of Prince Harry on a reveler’s mobile phone are still causing shock waves. Their emergence on the US show business gossip website, TMZ, led to Harry, 27, having to face the music at Clarence House and questions being asked about the conduct of his personal protection officers. “You have to think he is a bit of a dumb-ass for throwing all his clothes off and letting himself be photographed by a bunch of strangers.”
-THAI TOURISM: The Association of Domestic Travel’s President, Yutthachai Soonthronrattanavate, said the government has implemented initiatives such as raising the daily minimum wage and launching the first-time car buyer scheme.
“Unfortunately, no scheme has been designed to boost tourism, and it is needed urgently if we are to meet targets.”
The government has pinned its hopes on two state agencies – the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Thailand Convention Exhibition Bureau – to promote tourism and tourism products.
-NASA: Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon, has died. He was 82. Armstrong is best remembered for his famous words: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” spoken as he stepped on to the lunar surface.
He died after undergoing heart surgery.
Former colleagues at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration hailed him as a “true American hero.” He commanded the Apollo 11 spacecraft that landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, capping the most daring of the 20th century’s scientific expeditions. Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin spent nearly three hours walking on the lunar surface, collecting samples, conducting experiments, and taking photographs.
-FACEBOOK: Facebook Inc. received approval from US authorities to take over the photo-sharing application Instagram Inc. in a bit of good news for the social-networking company, which has seen its stock lose half its value since its market debut.
-BAHRAIN-THAI PROSTITUTION: After her return to Thailand, Ms. Som was questioned by police. Ms. Som told police that she had been invited by a friend to work in Bahrain to promote Thai tourism. The friend told her the job was for 20 days and she would get paid 50,000 baht.
Ms. Som accepted the job, and stayed in the Bansuan resort for two days before going to Bahrain. But when she reached Bahrain, her passport was seized, and she was forced to be a prostitute.
The madame informed the victim that she now had to repay a debt of 80,000 baht, including her travel expenses. Ms. Som then tried to call her mother to find a way to get help. But she was unsuccessful, and was forced to work as a prostitute for more than 10 days before returning to Thailand.
-POLONNARUWA SRI LANKA: When you arrive at the Sri Lankan ancient town, Polonnaruwa, the sound of rushing water in a canal where local men and women bathe to escape the scorching heat, welcomes you to this region in the island’s northern-central part – infamous for its year-long hot climate. All canals have the same headwaters – an impressively large artificial lake – which together form a sophisticated water supply system from which the people of the ancient kingdom of Polonnaruwa get fresh water to sustain their lives.
The kingdom of Polonnaruwa was Sri Lanka’s second most ancient kingdom, after Anuradhapura. However, it managed to establish itself as a highly-independent and respectable kingdom for most of its time – the artificial lake is undoubtedly a silent witness of its old glory. In the early 11th century, King Vijayabahu I reunited the country and declared Polonnaruwa the capital of the unified kingdom, which lasted until the late 13th century when the island was once again invaded by Indians.
At the heart of the ancient kingdom, lies what was once the royal palace complex, which consists of the palace itself, the council chamber, the vatadage (Sri Lankan vernacular architecture of a Buddhist shrine), and structures related to the daily life of the kings and his family. All of them are in the vicinity of the lake.
-RARE THAI ELEPHANT: Early in 2012, while most Thais were recovering from their traditional Songkran celebrations, a baby elephant was born in a wilderness reserve in central Thailand.
This was an important moment not just for Jarunee, a 15-year-old former tourist elephant from Surin, who had carried the baby inside her for 22 months.
Staff at the Sublangka Wildlife Sanctuary near Lop Buri, had been waiting for this day.
Sublangka valley is one of three sites in the Central, North, and Northeast regions – about 1.1 million rai of wilderness in total – used by the Elephant reintroduction Foundation, a Royal-initiated Thai non-profit organization that releases captive elephants back to the forest.
The baby’s birth was historic.
“To the best of our knowledge, it’s the first time a baby has been born to two formerly captive elephants who were reintroduced to the wild, and naturally mated,” the foundation said.
“We had been waiting for two years for this to happen. Finally, we had a joyful ending and cause for optimism.”
The Reintroduction Foundation has been working towards this goal – healthy individuals rejuvenating their herd back in their natural habitat – for 10 years.
-FOOTBALL: Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney will be out for around four weeks after suffering a deep wound on his thigh during the 3-2 Premier League win over Fulham, Manager Sir Alex Ferguson said.
-RUGBY: Daniel Carter ensured New Zealand converted their territorial domination into points as the All Blacks beat Australia 22-0 in their Rugby Championship clash at Eden Park. The world champions did not concede a kickable penalty until the 51st minute.