A year-long government investigation has found widespread use of banned drugs in Australian professional sport and links with organised crime. The Australian Crime Commission released findings into the integrity of Australian sport and the relationship between professional sporting bodies, prohibited substances and organised crime.
PHUKET: A daily wrap of Thailand news, with a Phuket perspective, plus relevant reports from national and international media.
An Army helicopter performed an emergency landing on Phuket yesterday, coming down in Baan Leng, Moo Three, Thepkasattri in Thalang district. A crew of four on board were reported to be slightly injured. Engineers were flown from Krabi to repair the aircraft.
The Thailand Tourism Forum gathering of tourism and travel-industry experts has concluded that while Thailand looks headed for its best year ever for tourist numbers and revenues, action to legalise gaming, improve infrastructure and attract ''quality'' travellers is urgently needed ahead as establishment of the Asean Economic Community nears.
Thailand and the US must come clean on allegations of Thailand's role in an alleged, 54-nation network of CIA-run prisons and torture houses in the post-9/11 months, human rights groups said. Last week, an Italian appeals court convicted a CIA station chief and two other Americans of the kidnapping of a radical cleric taken from the streets of Milan in 2003.
Japanese auto-maker Honda will invest 20 billion baht to build a new assembly and engine plant in Prachin Buri as well as expanding the Ayutthaya plant that was hit by the devastating floods in late 2011. From 2015 the company's combined production capacity in Thailand will be 420,000 units per year.
DSI chief Tarit Pengdith believes ''a very influential figure'' is behind the bungled, multi-billion baht police station construction scheme - and that the top members of the last Democrat government including Abhisit Vejjajiva may know useful details.
Another surge in air passenger traffic is taking place at Thai airports as Lunar New Year revellers, especially from China, start scrambling to the country this week. The number of passengers passing through Thailand's six major airports during the holiday season until February 18 is expected to jump 21 percent over last year to more than 3.54 million. Phuket airport will squeeze in eight additional flights.
Qatar Airways is keen to offer a second daily flight to Phuket. However ''during peak hours there are simply not enough check-in counters to accommodate passengers,'' says CEO Akbar Al Baker. ''The situation is really turning chaotic.''
Ticket prices will start falling next Monday, the second day of the Chinese New Year, for outbound flights from Shanghai. Prices for many hotels in popular destinations like Phuket Island will also decline during the slow season in March, Ctrip said.
House Standing Committee on State Security chairman Weng Tojirakan discussed the Rohingya migrant issue and recommended talks with Burma to repatriate them or contact the UN to find a third country to take them in.
Police and soldiers have raided six targets in Narathiwat's Sungai Kolok district, arresting a Rohingya man together with six of his workers suspected to be involved in a gang trafficking illegal Rohingya migrants. About 50 officers in a combined force of police and soldiers stormed targets in Sungai Kolok municipality.
Another two rare Irrawaddy dolphins were found dead in the sea off a beach in tambon Mai Rood in Khlong Yai district of Trat, bringing the confirmed death toll of the threatened marine mammals in the eastern province this year to 10.
An air hostess who posted a picture of herself giving her passengers the finger has been sacked by Aeroflot in Russia after it ended up on Twitter. Flight attendant Tatiana Kozlenko put the snap up on her personal page on one of Russia's most popular Facebook-style social networks. Within hours the snap had clocked up dozens of 'likes.'
Travel agents in the Middle East have urged Thailand to promote more tourism destinations as most travellers from the region know only Pattaya, Chiang Mai and Bangkok.
It's a before and after thingy you do when you get to visit Phuket. You pucker up and give Phuket a big kiss upon your arrival for an exciting adventure awaits you. In a big island such as Phuket, dining is always a case of ''so many restaurants, so little time'' and you know you???ll be back soon. I know I will. Kiss-kiss Phuket!
Chinese visitors to Australia jumped from 190,000 in 2002 to 630,000 in 2012. In the same period, Indian visitor numbers rose from 45,000 to 160,000. Eleven days is the average time spent in Australia.
Moevenpick Resort Bangtao Beach, a luxury boutique hotel in Phuket, aims to raise its profile in the local arena by increasing the proportion of Thai guests to about 5 percent this year. The new strategy is part of the operator's plan not to rely too heavily on foreign guests. At present, Russians are its main clients at 36 percent, followed by Chinese at 16 percent and Australians at 12 percent.
With the behavior of Russian visitors a major talking point on Phuket, Russia may soon crack down on boozy flights after a spate of brawls involving drunken passengers. [Yes, a story stolen word for word from Phuketwan
England ensured Luiz Felipe Scolari's second spell in charge of misfiring giants Brazil began with a defeat as World Cup favorites Spain, Argentina and Germany all clinched impressive wins on the road.
Mario Balotelli is at the centre of a fresh racism storm in Italy, just days after completing his return to his native country with a move to AC Milan. The former Manchester City striker was described as ''negretto di famiglia'' - translated as ''the family's little n*****,'' by the Milan vice-president Paolo Berlusconi, younger brother of the club president Silvio.
In a much-viewed video clip, he tells supporters as he heads to Milan's stadium: ''Now, let's go see the family's little black boy, the hot head,'' using a pejorative term for black people.
Chinese New Year
Chalong Temple Fair: Food, fun each night.
Phuket Old Town Festival, with roads in central Phuket Town walking streets each evening. Parade 5pm on February 15. Street performances nightly.
Phuket FC v Krabi FC at Krabi
Phuket FC v Sriracha SuzuKi FC at Surakul Stadium, Phuket City
Phuket Vegetarian Festival
Fourth Asia Beach Games, Phuket