Health units in Thailand have gone on high alert against the H7N9 virus, a new strain of avian influenza, after it claimed its sixth victim in China.
PHUKET: The daily wrap of Thailand news, with a Phuket perspective, plus relevant reports from national and international media. Beware of inconsistent imitations.
Popular holiday destinations like Cebu City, Chiang Mai and Phuket showed double-digit increases in room rates over early 2012. The average Phuket hotel room goes for $151.60 a night, up from $135.64 a year ago, according to a report. One night in Bangkok can be had for $82.91, up from $74.54 a year ago.
Americans and Germans, the top spenders on overseas travel for years, were overtaken by Chinese last year, according to a United Nations World Tourism Organisation report. But they still need to learn how to behave on holiday.
A bomb blast in Thailand's insurgency-plagued south killed two top provincial officials, authorities said, blaming rebels seeking to derail peace talks. Issara Thongthawat, 56, deputy governor of Yala province, was killed along with the province's permanent secretary responsible for security, Chavalit Krairisk, after a roadside bomb struck their vehicle, officials said.
Increased security is likely for top officials on Phuket although there has never been any indication of the Deep South terrorist spreading to Phuket, Krabi or Phang Nga. The Commander of Phuket Police, Major General Chote Chawanwiwat, is a veteran of police operations in the Deep South provinces.
The deputy governor became the highest-ranking civilian official to die in the insurgency since another deputy provincial governor was shot and killed in 2004. The car's driver was severely wounded and now in a coma. The insurgency remains murky, with militants making no public pronouncements on their goals.
LAGUNA Phuket hosted a welcome lunch for Indian travel agents, media, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) executives and airline representatives who travelled on the inaugural Thai Smiles flight from Mumbai on April 4. The lunch at Banyan Tree Phuket was hosted by Ziya Birkan, Deputy Managing Director of Laguna Phuket. The travel agents later attended a business-to-business conference organised by TAT at Angsana Laguna Phuket.
The once quiet beach area of Nai Thon is increasingly becoming a development target. Thai property developer Phanason has launched a 300 unit, six building condominium complex called The Naithon.
Indonesian police arrested 35 Muslim Rohingya from Burma (Myanmar) who planned to make the treacherous sea crossing to Australia to seek asylum, a spokeswoman said. It came the same day that stateless Rohingya being held at a detention centre on Sumatra island beat to death eight Burmese detainees.
In a severely overcrowded Indonesian detention center, a brawl broke out between Muslims and Buddhists that left eight of the latter group dead. Thousands of Rohingya have fled to neighboring Thailand, and hundreds at least have floated on down to Muslim-majority Indonesia in makeshift boats, setting the stage for today's violence.
The migration of Rohingya from Burma's Rakhine state and border challenges will top the agenda when Thai and Burmese officials talk on the sidelines of an Asean Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Brunei next Wednesday and Thursday. The 22nd Asean Summit is set for April 24-25.
North Korea warned foreign embassies in Pyongyang that it was unable to guarantee their safety after April 10 and they should consider evacuating their missions amid soaring nuclear tensions.
Bali authorities were dealt another embarrassing blow when a second video shot by Dutch stunt journalist Kees Van der Spek hit YouTube. Van der Spek, a journalist for the Dutch TV station SBS6, secretly recorded a customs officer at Bali's airport demanding a $200 bribe. The video was posted days after another undercover shoot showing extortion by Bali police.
A Dublin man who fraudulently lived off disability benefits for almost two years in Malaysia where he quit drugs, got married and started a family, has been given suspended jail terms totalling 12 months. Raymond Pullen, 31, made ''full admissions'' and 20 pounds a week is being deducted from his benefit payments.
Twenty-five years ago, Billabong basked in street cred. If the 45-year-old dads are wearing boardies with elasticised or Velcro adjustable waists to accommodate a middle-aged muffin top, their 15-year-old sons are not in the market. Two American corporate sharks have been circling the bleeding Billabong carcass.
Dubai-based businessman Asghar Patel has invested in Thailand's tallest tower, MahaNakhon mixed-use development. The project is expected to be valued at 18 billion baht or $640 million at completion in 2015: ''Thailand has a large middle class population who are gaining wealth that will support future developments.''
Thailand's peak electricity use was much lower than expected on Friday, offsetting a fall in output caused by a cut in gas supply from Burma, although the government said power use may rise next week and industry fretted about long-term supply.
Aspiring documentary maker Lee Halpin has been found dead while sleeping rough in Newcastle as part of his research into homelessness. He is believed to have frozen to death.
The toll in a building collapse in Thane, India, rose to 56, triggering widespread outrage as it emerged that the seven-storey structure was in violation of every norm in the rulebook. Nineteen of the dead were children. More than 60 people remain in hospital.
Travellers have voted Bora Bora in French Polynesia No. 1 in the South Pacific in TripAdvisor's inaugural travellers' choice island awards. Moorea, in French Polynesia, was voted No. 2 and Rarotonga, Cook Islands, No. 3.
Airlines of India and Singapore would now be able to fly 10 percent more passengers with the signing of a new MoU to enhance the bilateral air traffic agreement. The MoU, however, bars Singaporean carriers from operating the superjumbo Airbus A-380 to India.
One of three football officials facing match-fixing-related charges was taken to hospital with an undisclosed illness. The other two appeared in a Singapore court and entered no pleas. Referee Ali Sabbagh and assistants Ali Eid and Abdallah Taleb, all from Lebanon, were charged with ''corruptly receiving gratification in the form of free sexual service'' by Singapore's Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau. The bureau said they accepted free sexual service in return for trying to fix an Asian Football Confederation Cup match.
Chakri Memorial Day (holiday the following Monday)
Navy League at the Irish Times in JungCeylon, Patong, will hold a remembrance for founding president Jimmy Madigan followed by general networking and Independence Day planning.
Songkran New Year Festival
Angsana Laguna Phuket with XANA and Attica invites guests and Phuket locals to celebrate Thai New Year with a full day program. Entrance is freewith a lot of fun activities from Songkran water wars parade to Miss Songkran Competition and much more.
Phuket Bike Week
Phuket Pride Week, with the theme ''Same Same Not Different.'' Grand Parade 4pm April 27.
Kata-Karon Mini-Marathon, Karon Park
National Labor Day
Laguna Phuket International Marathon
Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek
Phuket Vegetarian Festival
Asian Cup Triathlon Sprint, Patong
ITU Long Distance Series triathlon, Patong
Loy Kratong Day
November 24-December 1
Challenge Laguna Phuket Tri-Fest. Laguna Phuket
HM The King's birthday
Fourth Asia Beach Games, Phuket