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MediaWATCH: Massacre Death Toll Rises

Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Phuketwan MediaWATCH

A daily wrap of Thailand news, with a Phuket perspective, plus relevant reports from national and international media. At least 39 people are now known to have died in a massacre in the southern Philippines on Monday, after more bodies were discovered in a shallow grave. Philippine President Gloria Arroyo has declared a state of emergency in two provinces on the island of Mindanao to allow police to search for the gunmen. Filipinos are pointing to the massacre of unarmed people in the southern Philippines as evidence of the deadly influence of a dynastic clan that has been nurtured by the central government for almost 20 years. Nothing is yet proven, but survivors of the attack, national politicians, and police officials all say the likely perpetrators were loyalists of Andal Ampatuan, a former provincial governor who has used his private army to control politics in the province for a decade. Photos tell of the horror:

Phuketwan Update An investigation on Phuket on Tuesday by the Deputy Commissioner of the Immigration Bureau, Police Major General Rattawit Santaweesuk, has reaffirmed the long-standing tradition of inaugural flight passengers being greeted as they come through the doors into Phuket airport, before reaching the Immigration counters. The colonel formerly in charge of Immigration at Phuket airport has been posted to a non-service position at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. The lone major sport with its roots in America could soon see its premier players dunking and driving to the hoop wearing uniforms made in Thailand, costing nearly 100 workers their jobs. And that's downright un-American, says Donna Wampole, who has worked at ACO, outside Buffalo, for 22 years. ''They're American teams, they should all be wearing American garments.'' Senator Chuck Schumer said the switch would blemish more than a century of history for the marquee American sport, calling on Adidas to reverse its decision. ''To do anything else is an insult to the American worker and sports fans everywhere in America,'' said the New York Democrat, a New York Knicks fan.

Associated Press Seeking firmer footing for US-India relations, President Barack Obama tried to calm India's fears about Asian rival China. ''The relationship between the US and India will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century,'' Obama declared twice during a news conference with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Letter to the editor: President Obama's bow to the emperor of Japan and the king of Saudi Arabia was not ''a sincere show of respect.'' In Thailand, shop owners would bow maybe 10 degrees when we came into their shop, and we would reply likewise as a show of respect and greeting. Obama's bows are bows of obsequiousness and subservience. No American citizen is subservient to any foreign ruler, especially their elected representative. Jetstar has apologised to Paralympian Kurt Fearnley after he criticised the airline for making him check his personal wheelchair in with his luggage. Fearnley, a wheelchair marathon champion, says he chose to crawl through Brisbane Airport rather than use an unsuitable chair offered by the airline. Indonesia's chief of detectives, whose role in a corruption scandal sparked a public outcry, has been moved aside to a ''non-job,'' a police spokesman said. The scandal, arising from a power struggle between the Corruption Eradication Commission and other law enforcement agencies, has forced President Yudhoyono to promise legal reforms seen as crucial for curbing graft, attracting investment, and lifting growth. Amnesty International is urging international donors to pressure Burma's junta to stop arresting activists involved in Cyclone Nargis relief efforts. Amnesty says at least 10 political activists and journalists were arrested by Burmese authorities last month for accepting relief donations from abroad. As a country often referred to as an example of a moderate Muslim-majority state in the region, Malaysia has been raising eyebrows worldwide lately.But more worrisome is the level of Islamisation in the nation's bureaucracy, which has taken on a life of its own and seems accountable to no one. Each of the 13 states in Malaysia now has its own Islamic administration and jurisdiction.

Phuketwan Update Derrick Van Deventer has been appointed the new manager at Phuket's Ao Po Grand Marina from December 7. Mr Van Deventer, a mechanical engineer and a dive instructor, has an extensive marine background as a private captain, charter captain and as sports fishing captain. Mr Van Deventer says he loves Phuket, and has been living on the island for five years with his wife. He replaces Simon Grant, who died in a motorcycle crash near Ao Po in October. A question for frequent flyer Dave Howe, president of the cable network Syfy . . . Q. Of all the places you've been, what's the best? A. Thailand. The food, people and culture are amazing.

afp Malaysian wildlife authorities are using electronic implants to keep track of orangutans in a bid to protect the endangered apes after they are freed into the wild, an official said. Laurentius Ambu, wildlife department head in Sabah state on Borneo island, said three orangutans had coin-sized transmitters implanted in their necks in September. One of Singapore's top designers, Feng Zhu, asked a pointed question to a panel of mostly Western designers at the end of the second day of an important design conference that got the mostly Asian crowd really buzzing. ''How much does making money drive design and how much does saving things?'' he asked. Faced with growing competition, many hotels and key market players identified spa facilities as a deciding factor when hotel guests choose accommodations for events or vacations. 2009 thus brought a wide spectrum of new spa packages and discounts for travellers and clients. What many spa clients have thought for years, a jury of industry insiders and journalists has proclaimed in the 2009 AsiaSpa Awards: Thailand is indeed Asia's spa capital. Taking five citations including Asian Spa Capital of the Year, Thailand was one of the big winners in the fifth AsiaSpa Awards, presented by AsiaSpa magazine, during a glittering ceremony recently in Hong Kong.
Phuket Airport Immigration Chief Shown the Exit
Latest The newly arrived Phuket Airport Immigration chief who told a tourist greeting party they were not welcome has been swiftly removed from the island to Bangkok.
Phuket Airport Immigration Chief Shown the Exit

Phuket Monk, Birthday Boy Killed by Pick-Up
Latest A young man celebrating his birthday and a monk giving him a blessing died when a runaway pickup ran into them both in Phuket City. The driver fled and is being hunted by police.
Phuket Monk, Birthday Boy Killed by Pick-Up

MediaWATCH: Former PM Samak Dies, Aged 74
Phuket News Digest Internet paywall fear as News Corp eyes Microsoft; Survivor plucked from sea; Philippines massacre; Burmese win schools; Thaksin the author; Mass circumcision.
MediaWATCH: Former PM Samak Dies, Aged 74

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

V Runs from Brisbane Plus Visa Runs to Hong Kong
Latest Flights boom as the Phuket high season approaches. New direct links from Hong Kong and Brisbane are an indication that more tourists will come if it's easy to fly here.
V Runs from Brisbane Plus Visa Runs to Hong Kong

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


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