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President Barack Obama: Heading this way to Asia in November

MediaWATCH: President Obama Set to Visit Asia

Friday, August 14, 2009
Phuketwan MediaWATCH

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

Yonhap/AP President Barack Obama will attend a meeting of Asian and Pacific leaders in Singapore in November. A White House spokesman says Obama will attend the 17th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, set for November 14 and 15. A visit to South Korea on his way is likely, Washington sources said. The president is expected to visit other countries during the trip. The White House will announce details when those plans have been completed. Speculation includes China, Japan and possibly Indonesia.

Today's Must Read

Associated Press Les Paul, the guitar virtuoso and inventor who revolutionized music and created rock 'n roll as surely as Elvis Presley and the Beatles by developing the solid-body electric guitar and multitrack recording, has died at age 94. Known for his lightning-fast leads, Paul performed with some of early pop's biggest names and produced a slew of hits, many with wife Mary Ford. But it was his inventive streak that made him universally revered by guitar gods as their original ancestor and earned his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the most important forces in popular music.

AFP Malaysian rights activists on Thursday welcomed the government's decision not to implement a controversial plan to create an Internet filter blocking ''undesirable'' websites. The proposal has been described as a ''horror of horrors'' by the opposition which said it would destroy the relative freedom of the Internet in Malaysia, where the mainstream press is tightly controlled. Information Minister Rais Yatim says the government will instead directly target cases of sedition, fraud and child pornography on the Internet.

nytimes.com Early in the fight against Al Qaeda, agency officials relied heavily on American allies to help detain people suspected of terrorism in makeshift facilities in countries like Thailand. But by 2003, that arrangement was under threat, according to people briefed on the situation. In Thailand, for example, local officials were said to be growing uneasy about a black site outside Bangkok code-named Cat's Eye. (The agency would eventually change the code name for the Thai prison, fearing it would appear racially insensitive.) The CIA wanted its own, more permanent detention centers.

abc.net.au The former leader of the Jemaah Islamiya (JI) terrorist group, Abu Bakar Bashir, has praised two of Noordin Mohammad Top's terrorists who were killed in raids last weekend. Bashir attended funerals in Central Java of the two men, who died in the co-ordinated raids by Indonesian police. A banner was allowed to be displayed in their village praising them as martyrs and declaring that ''Jihad still continues''.

washingtonpost.com John P. Hannah, former vice president Dick Cheney's second-term national security adviser, said the former vice president is driven, now as before, by the nightmare of a hostile state acquiring nuclear weapons and passing them to terrorists. Aaron Friedberg, another of Cheney's foreign policy advisers, said Cheney believes ''that many people find it very difficult to hold that idea in their head, really, and conjure with it, and see what it implies.''

straitstimes.com The UN Security Council opted not to condemn the extended detention of Burma's democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi but unanimously issued a fresh call to the military regime to free all political prisoners. After two days of closed-door bargaining, the 15-member body could only agree on a watered-down statement expressing ''serious concern at the conviction and sentencing of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and its political impact'' and reiterating ''the importance of the release of all political prisoners''.

Reuters Europe was the world's second-worst hit region after the Middle East in the first four months of 2009 with a 10 percent drop in tourist arrivals. Most tourism bodies or industry groups across Europe report similar data for the summer, with revenues seen down as much as 15 percent in Greece and Italy. Europe boasts 10 of the world's top 20 destinations in terms of tourism revenues and accounted last year for just over half the world's international tourist arrivals.

scmp.com Almost 1000 asylum seekers have arrived in Australian waters in rickety boats so far this year. That's four times more than for all of 2008. Afghans, Pakistanis, Iraqis, Tamils from Sri Lanka, Bangladeshis and even some from Africa are finding Malaysia an ideal stepping stone. On arrival, most are automatically granted a three-month tourist visa. It puts Malaysian authorities in a difficult spot. Inam Khan, co-chairman of the Human Rights Development Organisation, said: ''Once here, Malays and Thai agents take over, they organise the trip across the Malacca Strait to Indonesia and then the boat to Australia.''

smh.com.au Tourism Queensland has decided to extend its hugely successful Best Job in the World campaign to find the four mates to help Englishman Ben Southall explore the Sunshine State in a move it's hoped will draw even more tourists Down Under. One lucky person will be drawn at random next month and awarded an all-expenses-paid holiday to the Great Barrier Reef for the rest of the year. Anyone could enter and the winner can chose any three friends from all corners of the globe to join them. The region had already seen a 15 to 20 percent spike in bookings in the wake of the Best Job in the World campaign.

Phuketwan Phuket News

Phuket '70 Percent Certain' of Asean Summit: PM
While the Asean Summit is likely to come to Phuket in October, other candidates are being considered, the PM says. Last minute bids are being staged by Hua Hin and Pattaya.
Phuket '70 Percent Certain' of Asean Summit: PM

Phuket Volunteers Hard to Find in Emergencies
Latest Disaster preparedness is lacking on Phuket even though the island has suffered a tsunami, a major air crash and an airport invasion over the past five years.
Phuket Volunteers Hard to Find in Emergencies

Mother's Day From Hell: Pregnant, and Under Arrest
Photo Album A mother of two expecting her third child within a month was arrested by Phuket police on Mother's Day and accused of 50 robberies. Her husband has yet to be told, she said.
Mother's Day From Hell: Pregnant, and Under Arrest

Phuket Governor's Road Trip: Wheels Set in Motion
Latest A Phuket road project begins not with a bulldozer but with a birthday as the island's governor sets the wheels turning on one of two controversial new routes.
Phuket Governor's Road Trip: Wheels Set in Motion

Bangkok Flier Bounce Lets Phuket Shine Brightly
Latest Figures on arrivals by nation at Bangkok's international airport reflect different fortunes with Phuket doing better. Britons and Europeans keep coming while East Asia stays home.
Bangkok Flier Bounce Lets Phuket Shine Brightly

Phuket Andaman Tsunami Practice: August 21
Latest An undersea earthquake at night rekindles concerns about resorts' preparedness for a second tsunami. A large practice drill is scheduled for Phuket.
Phuket Andaman Tsunami Practice: August 21

Recent Phuketwan MediaWATCH

MediaWATCH: Call for Burma Crisis Meeting
Latest Indonesia urges Burma summit; time for action, says lawyer; Thaksin's busted flush; Singapore recovering; Thai MICE moving; Aussie dive tours suffer.
MediaWATCH: Call for Burma Crisis Meeting

MediaWATCH Extra: 18 Months More for Suu Kyi
Latest Burma pro democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is given 18 more months under house arrest while the American who swam to see her gets seven years' hard labor.
MediaWATCH Extra: 18 Months More for Suu Kyi

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