Roundup of Thailand news with AJW

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BKK Weather 32C; Hot, cloudy, rain; Euro:US 1.2563, Euro:Baht 39.27, SET Index: 1233



BKK Weather 32C; Hot, cloudy, rain; Euro:US 1.2563, Euro:Baht 39.27, SET Index: 1233


“No evidence” of Thaksin corruption in CTX bomb detector purchase. Suthep turns on accusers, says DSI chief implicated in 2010 killings.


Colombia opens talks with terrorist group FARC. US hurricane nears New Orleans. Research: pot smoking lowers IQ. Arctic ice at record low.


– DTAC FINED: The move came in the wake of DTAC’s fifth telephone network collapse since late last year.

The latest failure occurred at 11:00 am Tuesday morning before normal service resumed in the afternoon. Some 130 million mobile users of all operators were affected by the service disruption.

– GRAND HYATT OPENS: Hyatt Hotels announced the opening of the Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur the first in Malaysia.

This elegant, contemporary and luxurious hotel with 370 guestrooms and 42 suites offers business travelers, tourists, and local guests a sophisticated ambience. Situated in the Kuala Lumpur City Centre and right next to Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, the hotel is within walking distance of the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, Suria, Dewan Filharmonik Petronas, as well as the Golden Triangle shopping and entertainment district. The Pavilion Shopping Centre is less than a ten-minute walk by the covered sky-bridge outside the hotel.

– RESCUE: An Australian family has told of their dramatic rescue from a sinking speedboat off the Thai holiday island of Phi Phi.
As the speedboat sank in a storm, Hakan Ergun, 38, from Sydney, cradled his two-year-old daughter in his arms and feared they were both going to die. His wife and another daughter were also on the boat.

“I thought it was the end.”

“The lifejackets weren’t really life jackets at all. There were buckles missing, and it was a miracle everyone stayed afloat.”

Another 24 rescued passengers were brought back to Phuket by speedboat the following day. Most of them are thought to be Chinese, although there were a handful of European tourists among them.

– ADULT-ONLY HOTEL MOVIES: With the USA Republican National Convention now underway, the party’s platform is on full display. Among the policy items catching its share of the spotlight: a potential crackdown on pornography.

“Current laws on all forms of pornography and obscenity need to be vigorously enforced.”

Republicans are planning a Tuesday vote on the document.

The move, which could pit social conservatives against hotel operators, is not unfamiliar. The presumptive Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, was criticized during his 2008 bid for having served on the Board of Directors of hotel operator Marriott International, which sold sexually explicit content in its hotel rooms. Marriott announced last year that it would gradually stop providing pay-per-view “adult” material.

– NAKED FACEBOOK: Military personnel have been showing their support for Prince Harry.

The Facebook group features users of the social network posing in various states of undress saluting.

The Facebook group entitled “Support Prince Harry with a naked salute!” featuring people posing in various states of undress saluting the third-in-line to the throne, has won more than 12,000 members and is still growing.

The group sprang up after Harry, 27, was photographed naked after a game of “strip billiards” during a party in a VIP hotel suite in Las Vegas. The images, first published on a US website, rapidly went viral and caused a furor in Britain.

The response was a flood of images of people saluting while posing in various states of undress, often with strategically-placed props, including Union Jack flags, camouflage backpacks, and teddy bears.

The motive for Prince Harry’s infamous Vegas nude party to get out-of-control could now be known. Cocaine was reportedly used in the Royal’s high rollers VIP suite at the Encore Wynn Las Vegas hotel room.

– AEC2015: The Asean Tourism Strategic Plan 2011-15 is the foundation of the Asean Tourism Marketing Strategy (ATMS) 2012-15, adopted by tourism ministers in January 2012.

Asean destinations attracted 81.2 million visitors in 2011, an average increase of a million visitors each year for the last 2 decades. Three out of 4 visitors to Asean come from Asia; 46.5% from within Asean, and 27.6% from other Asian markets.

“Niche and mass-market promotions will go hand in hand,” said Sansern Ngaorungsi, who chairs the Asean Tourism Marketing Working Group and is also a Deputy Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

One niche sector, cruises, is being favored, because river and sea-cruise vessels usually visit more than one destination.
Southeast Asian NTOs will also be emphasizing the group’s marketing plan at the Asean Tourism Forum in Vientiane from January 17-24 next year. More than 1,600 delegates will include some 150 Asean tourism ministers and officials, 800 Asean exhibitors, 400 international buyers, 150 international and local media members, and 100 tourism trade visitors.

– DINER EN BLANC FURY: When Singapore was chosen to be the first Asian country to host the glamorous Diner en Blanc – a pop-up chic picnic that has thrilled diners everywhere from New York to Kigali – local food enthusiasts cheered and thousands rushed to score invites to the exclusive evening. The now-famous events include large groups of people, all dressed in white, who only learn the location of the picnic from the organizers and assigned “group leaders” just before it occurs.

But the atmosphere around the upcoming Singapore version of the dinner has soured in recent days, after a local food blogger was told to remove a blog post suggesting that diners bring local delicacies to the outdoor dinner.

Daniel Ang, who blogs at Daniel’s Food Diary, was told by the event’s organizers that the local foods – including the ubiquitous tau huay (soya bean pudding) and chicken rice – were not “in line with the image” of Diner en Blanc. Many in Singapore’s boisterous blogosphere deemed that judgment an insult to local cuisine, a source of pride for many in the city-state.

– TOP MISTAKES IN PROMOTING TRAVEL USING SOCIAL MEDIA: Everyone seems to be caught up in the social-media game these days, and seemingly everyone is making the same old mistakes. Among them:

• assigning the task of social-media management to someone who has no training, experience, or social-media affinity;
• trying to sell with every post;
• posting as frequently as possible;
• talking only about your organization; and
• ignoring customer questions.

– SMART TRAVEL APP: Agencies in Asia will soon be able to avail of a new app that allows smartphone users to manage their own self-touring itineraries from start to finish.

Soft launched last week at Singapore’s NATAS travel fair, the Tourizz MobileTouring App utilizes GPS technology to function as a navigational device, and provides users with location tour narrations, as well as meal and hotel vouchers, dining suggestions, and notifications for pre-booked events.

– BANG SARAY: Until recently, Bang Saray in Eastern Thailand was a sleepy fishing village where the only activity was the coming and going of the small wooden fishing craft as they depart each day to make their catch.

Recently, due to the superb location, it has been “slightly” developed by 1 or 2 high-end villa projects. However, it still maintains its “old world charm.” The gentle sloping beach and the calm turquoise waters are rarely busy and offer an excellent opportunity for relaxing and eating local barbecue and seafood dishes.

It is situated 160 kilometers to the southeast of Bangkok, less than 2 hours by road, and stretches along the eastern seaboard.
It shares the coast with traditional fishing villages, and other resorts such as Bang Saen, Pattaya, and Rayong.

– HURRICANE: Isaac’s center was about 125 miles (201 kilometers) southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River with top winds of 70 miles per hour (mph). That’s 4 mph less than hurricane strength. It is set to strike south of the city on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which killed 1,800 people after levees surrounding New Orleans failed.

Supplies were dwindling at stores, and officials began to close roads and ask people to evacuate. Residents were weighing whether to leave the lives they’ve built behind or to remain, and ride out the storm’s consequences.

About the author


Editor in chief for eTurboNew is Linda Hohnholz. She is based in the eTN HQ in Honolulu, Hawaii.