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MediaWATCH: 'Pirate' Sailor Safe on Phuket

MediaWATCH: 'Pirate' Sailor Safe on Phuket

Friday, June 19, 2009
Phuketwan MediaWATCH

A daily wrap of Thailand news, with a Phuket perspective. Reports from national and international media, with translations into English from Thai.

AFP A one-armed Japanese yachtsman feared to have been kidnapped by pirates in the Indian Ocean has been confirmed safe in Phuket, according to the foreign ministry in Tokyo. Officials of the Japanese embassy in Thailand met Akio Yonago in Phuket on Thursday and confirmed he was safe, the ministry said in a statement. Yonago, 62, went missing after he sailed alone from the Seychelles on his boat, the Emi II, on April 28, sparking fears that he may have been kidnapped in the pirate-infested waters off the islands.

straits times Thailand still has Asia's biggest illegal elephant ivory market despite promises to crack down, the wildlife trade monitoring group Traffic says. Bangkok should close ''elephant-sized loopholes'' in its wildlife protection laws that enable sellers to pass off illegal ivory as coming from a legal source of domesticated animals. It said the number of worked ivory pieces seen on sale during its latest survey had fallen but there were more retail outlets dealing in ivory products than counted in 2001. ''Bangkok, a major tourist destination, has emerged as the main hub for illegal ivory activities,'' it said.

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Bangkok Post To reduce the scare factor from H1N1 flu Thai authorities have adopted a scale of five levels that rates it Level 1, the mildest level, where the fatality rate is less than 1 percent of total infections. The new strain is ''a mild one, as virulent as seasonal influenza," one expert said. The fatality rate of the H1N1 virus is 0.4 percent, which is close to the fatality rate for seasonal influenza. About 95 percent of patients will recover without taking anti-viral drugs.

asiatraveltips.com Bangkok Airways has launched a one-day package to Chiang Mai to allow people to say hello to the now famous baby panda. Travellers can fly directly to Chiang Mai to visit Chiang Mai Zoo, Aquarium and Panda's home (Lin Hui and Chuang Chuang). The one-day trip includes a return air ticket Bangkok-Chiang Mai, admission fee for Chiang Mai Zoo, guide tour, transfer and lunch, for 4500 baht net for adults and 3500 baht for children. It's available until October 24.

smh.com.au South Korea, where 95 percent of homes have broadband, topped a world survey on access to the high-speed internet. Thailand ranked 51st with seven percent, Vietnam ranked 52nd, also with seven percent, the Philippines ranked 53rd with five percent, India ranked 57th with two percent and Indonesia ranked 58th with one percent. Australia ranked 11th with 72 percent, Japan ranked 16th with 64 percent, and China ranked 43rd with 21 percent. The US, where just 60 percent of households had broadband as of last year, ranked 20th in the survey of 58 countries by Strategy Analytics.

wsj.com Ford Motor Co. has confirmed it plans to move its Asia, Pacific and Africa regional headquarters to China from Thailand. While the move will improve management efficiency, according to the auto maker, it also places Ford in what is becoming the biggest car market in the world. China is expected to surpass the US this year in car sales. Ford didn't disclose which city has been selected, although published reports suggest Shanghai. Thailand will continue to serve as the regional headquarters for Ford's operations in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines, The move comes five years after General Motors Corp moved its regional headquarters to Shanghai from Singapore.

Reuters Britain wants further targeted international financial sanctions to increase pressure on Myanmar to free opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners. Suu Kyi, who turns 64 on Friday, is on trial for allegedly violating the terms of her house arrest. Her trial, set to resume on June 26, has angered Britain and other Western countries, which say it is aimed at excluding her from elections next year.Britain wants U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to visit Myanmar soon after the trial is over, Lewis said.

todayonline.com British PM Gordon Brown writes: ''Today, June 19, is the 64th birthday of Aung San Suu Kyi. The fact that she remains under arrest is tragic for Burma and for all those throughout the world who believe in democracy and the rule of law. The trial of Aung San Suu Kyi is an absurd mockery of justice. The real injustice was not that someone broke into her compound, but that she was imprisoned in the first place. Her refusal to buckle in the face of tyranny is an inspiration. But words of support are not enough. So far, all requests for moderation have been spurned. In the face of such obstinacy the world must now act.''

Associated Press The 60-year-old captain of a Continental Airlines trans-Atlantic flight between Brussels and Newark died at the controls but co-pilots took over and 247 passengers remained unaware of the situation. Five doctors on board answered a call for medical assistance. Pilots aged 60-65 are required to have medicals every six months.

cnn.com Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has fractured her right elbow during a fall, State Department officials said. Mrs Clinton fell Wednesday afternoon on her way to the White House and was taken to George Washington University Hospital. She was treated and released, and will have surgery to repair her elbow in coming weeks. She is due to visit Phuket in July for an important Asia Regional Forum gathering.

allheadlinenews.com The US military is tracking a North Korean ship suspected of carrying banned weapons or technology. Sources say the Kang Nam is currently in international waters off the coast of China and is believed to be headed to Singapore. The ship is believed to have transported such cargo as missile parts and nuclear technology in the past. A recent UN resolution banned the Communist country from trading such material and authorised naval powers to request permission to search the ship. North Korea has warned that any attempt to stop its ships would be an act of war.

Tempo Interactive An airliner caught fire at the Garuda Maintenance Facility at Soekarno-Hatta Airport. Airport operators said the burned plane was damaged, while Garuda said the explosion ocurred on an old plane being dismantled. Reports said the plane was a Boeing operated by a Thai carrier, Phuket Airlines. Garuda Indonesia's spokesman said there were no casualties.

sun2surf.com Asean's non-interventionist policies have not helped solve the Rohingya boat people issue, writes Azril Mohd Amin, Vice-President, Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia. ''This long standing problem affects Malaysia and other Asean countries. The way forward, at least at this stage here in Malaysia, is to: establish a cultural orientation program; set up a skills development program; establish an ombudsman to act as their representative in the mediation process with the UNHCR, the Immigration Department, and NGOs; and develop a long-term plan to integrate them. We in Malaysia can take the first steps towards treating the Rohingyas in a humane manner.''

Boattest.com A Qantas pilot and a friend plan to ride jetskis from London to Sydney via Phuket in 2010 to raise money for charity. The run is ''definitely'' scheduled for July 20, 2010. Jeremy Burfoot is no beginner at jetskis, having taken a ''warm up and shakedown'' 9000 km, 19 day trip around New Zealand in 2006.

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