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MediaWATCH: Former PM Samak Dies, Aged 74

Tuesday, November 24, 2009
UpDATE

xinhua Samak Sundaravej, the 25th prime minister of Thailand who was disqualified from office in 2008 because of hosting a cooking show, died of liver cancer Tuesday morning in a Bangkok hospital, Thai media reported. He was 74.

Phuketwan MediaWATCH

A daily wrap of Thailand news, with a Phuket perspective, plus relevant reports from national and international media.

FOR EXPATS on Phuket and in Thailand, news via the internet represents a vital connection to the world. If Rupert Murdoch's News Corp starts charging viewers for online content behind paywalls, expats from Britain, Australia and North America will have fewer free-to-air choices for news and information. What next?

guardian.co.uk Rupert Murdoch is considering a tie-up with Microsoft which would see the technology group pay for exclusive rights to content from his stable of newspapers, including the Times and the Sun, [plus many titles in Australia and the US] to attract visitors to its Bing search engine. As part of the deal, Murdoch would prevent stories from his News Corp outlets appearing on rival Google News, even though the service provides the bulk of web traffic for sites such as timesonline.co.uk.

business.theatlantic.com The central struggle of monetising online news is that ad rates for web pages are significantly worse than the print ad rates that once buttressed newspapers. So for a newspaper publisher like Murdoch, big online traffic helps, but it doesn't pay for a sprawling roster of reporters and editors. Somebody's gotta break the tyranny of revenue-light banner ads, eventually.

marketwatch.com While Microsoft has gained some ground in search lately, nearing a 10 percent US market share, Google still commands roughly 65 percent of the market, according to recent data. ''I don't think there's a threshold you cross and all of a sudden it's OK to not be in Google," said Gartner Inc. analyst Andrew Frank. ''If you're not in the [Google] index, you're not even part of the conversation.''

wsj.com Wikipedia.org is the fifth-most-popular Web site in the world, with roughly 325 million monthly visitors. [Phuketwan has 60,000 visits a month.] But unprecedented numbers of the millions of online volunteers who write, edit and police it are quitting. That could have significant implications for the brand of democratisation that Wikipedia helped to unleash over the Internet - the empowerment of the amateur.

Associated Press Some 25 hours after a crowded ferry sank off Indonesia's Sumatra island, a woman described by officials as ''very tough'' has been pulled from the choppy waters. At least 29 people drowned and 20 others are missing after the Dumai Express 10 was hit by towering waves during an inter-island trip. A total of 255 survivors have been pulled from the sea.

afp At least 21 people among a group of local politicians and journalists were killed in the southern Philippines shortly after being abducted, the military said. The killings appeared to be linked to a political rivalry that flared ahead of next year's national elections, according to the military and relatives of some of those believed killed.

afp Gunmen fired at the home of two US academics in the Indonesian province of Aceh, the latest in a string of attacks directed against foreigners in the region, police said. No one was injured. The attack comes less than a week after motorcycle-riding gunmen fired on the home of the European Union's local representative, a British national.

cnn.com A UN-backed Cambodian court started closing arguments Monday in the trial of a former Khmer Rouge prison chief accused of killing thousands of people three decades ago. Prosecutors say Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch, oversaw the torture and killing of more than 15,000 people and actively took part in some cases from 1975 to 1979.

irrawaddy.org Burmese migrant teachers welcome plans to allow migrant schools to set up as private schools but wonder how they will be financed. The Thai cabinet has approved a decision by the Ministry of Education to allow migrant schools to register as private schools. However, all migrant schools must follow a curriculum established by the ministry. Teachers must be graduates of Thai universities and schools, and the schools must teach the Thai language and have a large open ground as well as a clinic.

csmonitor.com At a luxury guesthouse, Cambodia's newest government adviser picks up a copy of his latest book, 'Tackling Poverty.' It explores how lessons from Thailand can be applied to other developing countries. ''I help tackle poverty worldwide, wherever they need me. Why not my neighbor?'' asks Thaksin Shinawatra, the author.

thegovmonitor.com Australia will provide $15 million in humanitarian assistance for the Burmese people still suffering from the devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis which struck Burma in May 2008. Cyclone Nargis killed an estimated 140,000 people and severely affected more than two million. Australia will make this formal commitment at the Asean Post Nargis and Regional Partnerships Conference in Bangkok on Wednesday

reuters.com Thousands of Malaysian boys will begin the journey into adulthood at mass circumcision ceremonies that start this month. The events are a rite of passage for Muslim boys aged between 6 and 12 and whose faith requires removing the foreskin. As their waited their turn, some boys whiled away the time playing games on their mobile telephones, while others confessed they were nervous ahead of the religious ceremony.

digitalspy.co.uk Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt reportedly handed over $6.8 million to charity in 2008. A tax return obtained by The Hollywood Reporter for the Jolie-Pitt Foundation showed the biggest recipients were Global Health, awarded $2m; Human Rights Watch, which received $1m; and Pitt's Make It Right Foundation, which also gained $1m. Several projects in Cambodia also benefitted.

smh.com.au The time may be approaching when Australians start spreading out from Bali and discovering new Indonesian treasures. Manado is one of the northernmost cities of Indonesia, and one of the South Pacific's premier diving and aquatic adventure destinations. Ujung Pandang (Makassar), the capital of the southern end of Sulawesi, is a cultural crossroads of races and religions: Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, animist.

afp Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, best known for winning the British version of television show Celebrity Big Brother, married in a lavish ceremony in western India. Shetty, 34, wed London-based businessman Raj Kundra and tackled criticism that she was marrying a millionaire divorcee. ''We are used to a certain lifestyle and it's practical to choose a spouse who can at least match those luxuries, if not more.''

Phuketwan Update This year's Laguna Phuket Triathlon boasts a strong line up of elite professional athletes, including Australian defending title champions Belinda Granger and Richie Cunningham. The 2007 Laguna Phuket Triathlon men's champion, Italian born Massimo Cigana, who came second last year, is confirmed to return for the December 6 event. Belinda Granger, despite surgery earlier in the year, took first place in this year's Honolulu 70.3.
Phuket Jet-Ski Collision: Back to the Bad Old Ways
Latest The new Phuket jet ski insurance system fails its first test as operators demand $1000 compensation after a collision, and an indignant guest at first refuses to pay.
Phuket Jet-Ski Collision: Back to the Bad Old Ways

Immigration Chief 'Arrests' Phuket Welcomers
Latest Phuket never seems to get it quite right. The new Immigration chief at Phuket airport ordered the arrest of a group of prominent citizens waiting to greet an inaugural flight.
Immigration Chief 'Arrests' Phuket Welcomers

Indian Marriage Made in Heaven for Banyan Tree
Photo Album A wealthy Indian family has booked the entire five-star Banyan Tree Phuket for three days for a wedding. The rest of the tourism industry is hoping a little love comes their way, too.
Indian Marriage Made in Heaven for Banyan Tree

Bangkok Horror at YouTube 'Threat to Tourism'
Latest Members of an important Senate tourism committee express horror at the impression tourists are givent by lack of skills and training among jet ski operators and others on Phuket.
Bangkok Horror at YouTube 'Threat to Tourism'

MediaWATCH: Phuket Award a Blow to Corruption
Phuket News Digest Local authority rewarded for corruption cleanup; Tourist gives 500,000 baht to tsunami village; Thaksin tape tug of war; Michael's glove fetches fortune; Pirate lawyer profits.
MediaWATCH: Phuket Award a Blow to Corruption

Phuket Police, Gang in Gun Battle: One Dead
Photo Album A gun battle between pursuing police and a gang of five suspected of robbery leaves one body floating in a Phuket public park and two others under arrest.
Phuket Police, Gang in Gun Battle: One Dead

Comments

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Please don't confuse Rupert Murdoch's propaganda vehicle with a news organization. If that hideous collection of neo-conservative inventions and distortions gets locked behind a pay-per-view wall, real journalists should be standing on their chairs applauding.

Let 'em go down the tubes. Their loss of revenue & readership would leave more revenue for the REAL "fair and balanced" reporting.

Editor: Whatever your view of Murdoch's publications (and don't forget he runs newspapers that vary from the News of the World to the Wall Street Journal) News Corp adds to the breadth of free choice.

Posted by Anonymous on November 24, 2009 10:41

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Thousands of Malaysian boys lining up for circumcision may think their Muslim faith requires removing the foreskin, but the Qur'an does NOT mention genital cutting of males or females. Many Muslims DO NOT consider it part of the faith, but rather a cultural mark.

This surgery should be reserved only for fully informed adults who have weighed the risks and drawbacks.

Posted by Ron Low on November 25, 2009 13:06


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