PHUKET: A daily wrap of Thailand news, with a Phuket perspective, plus relevant reports from national and international media.
Mat Thornhill, 44, left for a solo holiday in Thailand three weeks ago, but he was found dead in his hotel in Phuket. An autopsy was undertaken in Thailand, but his death was not being treated as suspicious. Parents Norm and Val are trying to get their son home for a proper burial.
''When an officer knocks on your door at 8.30 on a Saturday night, it puts your heart in your boots, and it's stayed there for the past week,'' Norm said.
Britons were bracing themselves for disruption as heavy snow looked set to blanket the country and impact travel plans. Much of the UK has woken to a thick covering of snow, and up to 12 inches could fall on higher ground. Travel companies have warned of widespread disruption.
More than 20 foreigners were captive or missing inside a desert gas plant nearly two days after the Algerian army launched an assault to free them that saw many hostages killed.
An unknown attacker threw acid in the face of Sergei Filin, 42, the artistic director of Russia's prestigious Bolshoi Ballet, endangering his eyesight, in what police and colleagues said was the culmination of a two-week campaign of intimidation.
Torrential rains caused flooding that paralysed much of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, resulting in the deaths of at least four people and forcing the evacuations of tens of thousands of others.
Stansted airport, one of the prime contenders to supplant Heathrow as part of an expansion of airport capacity in the southeast of England, is to be sold by the company formerly known as BAA in a 1.5bn pound deal to Manchester Airports Group.
Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung said the Rohingya refugees must be sent to other countries. ''The international community might see Thailand as being cruel if we turn away from them, but we must protect the country's interests at the same time,'' Chalerm said.
Armed Forces Supreme Commander General Thanasak Patimaprakorn said that standard procedures in dealing with illegal immigrants, which stipulate that they be repatriated, should be maintained, or else the illegal entry of Rohingya into Thailand would continue. In the meantime, ''Thailand is following a principle of feeding them and taking care of them, on humanitarian grounds.''
Sympathy alone is not enough. All parties concerned have to help the Rohingya find a solution. This group of illegal migrants is not the first to arrive here and they are unlikely to be the last. The root cause of the problem must be addressed.
Thailand's motorcycle industry ended 2012 with record sales of 2.13 million units. Overall registrations in 2012 rose 6% year-on-year.
Tos Chirathivat, CEO of Central Retail Corporation, said Phase 3 of the Central Festival Phuket project would see a huge launch at the end of 2016, with a grand-opening budget of more than 1 billion baht: ''It will make Phuket a world-class superior-lifestyle luxury-travel city. Phuket will never be the same.''
Venus Williams was unable to stop the Maria Sharapova juggernaut as the Russian powered into the fourth round of the Australian Open.
The president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, John Fahey, has branded Lance Armstrong's doping confession a ''controlled public relations'' stunt that revealed nothing new.
January 30-February 2
Bay Regatta, Phuket Phang Nga Krabi
Phuket Vegetarian Festival
Fourth Asia Beach Games, Phuket