PHUKET: The daily wrap of Thailand news, with a Phuket perspective, plus relevant reports from national and international media. Beware of inconsistent imitations.
Thailand's two color-coded political groups have held secret talks and emerged with bipartisan agreement to press ahead with a pair of political amnesty bills - possibly excluding ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra from the deal.
Not far from the world-famous tourist beaches of Phuket and Krabi, a violent conflict in southern Thailand appears to be entering a dangerous new phase as Islamist insurgents expand their attacks against local Buddhists to include outsiders entering the Muslim-majority region.
Singapore plans to add a fourth terminal to its international airport, boosting the number of passengers it can handle to 82 million a year as low cost airlines burgeon in the region. Changi International Airport said construction of the US$485 million terminal will begin in the fourth quarter of this year and be completed by 2017. It will spend a further S$680 million on airfield infrastructure, aircraft parking spots and security.
Airlines have cancelled over 2500 flights as the northeast US braces itself for yet another winter storm. Nemo disruption is expected to continue into the weekend.
A huge 7.1 magnitude aftershock has rocked the Solomon Islands, sending villagers fleeing to higher ground two days after an 8.0 magnitude quake and tsunami killed 13 people.
Thailand must step up its efforts to ensure all their citizens have access to water and sanitation, an independent UN expert said, noting that the stark contrast between populations who are able to enjoy this basic need and those who do not.
Thai politicians excel at using their power for personal gain - to support their own networks of family and friends. In Thailand this kind of behavior is completely normal (bunkun
- the patron-client relationship) which has been reinforced by the long historical stratification of society along feudal lines, where everyone knows their place and accepts their fate/karma. To do otherwise is, well, just ''un-Thai''.
German Karl Josef Ruppel, 69, Briton Andrew John Tracey, 60, and a Thai transvestite have been arrested over the molestation of at least three young boys in Pattaya.
Minor International, the Thai hospitality company, has acquired two hotels in Vietnam for US$16 million. The two are the 96-room Life Heritage Resort Hoi An and the 63-room Life Resort Quy Nhon. Minor now has four resorts in Vietnam.
Getting Asean back on track will be hard, and much of the burden for doing so now falls on tiny Brunei. The oil-rich sultanate, a dot on the coast of Borneo, is home to just 400,000 out of Asean's population of 600 million. Brunei has taken over Asean's annual rotating chairmanship from Cambodia and will host this year's summits.
Detectives have arrested a British man, Reece Elliott, 24, in connection with alleged anonymous Facebook threats to shoot dead 200 children at a US school.
Samuel Mullet Sr, the ringleader in a series of unusual hair and beard-cutting attacks on fellow Amish religious followers in the US, was sentenced to 15 years in prison. The judge also sentenced 15 other members of the deeply traditional group to prison terms ranging from one to seven years.
Burma's reformist government has drawn up an ambitious plan to develop a vast special economic zone, commercial deep seaport, power plant, an international airport, a highway and a railway linking Kyaukpyu with south west China. If successful, the plan could create about 250,000 jobs in the region.
Indonesian police say they will cooperate with Interpol in the investigation of an alleged child trafficking syndicate selling Indonesian babies abroad. Police recently arrested seven women in the capital and rescued three babies including one who was to have been sold in Singapore.
Flying to Hong Kong via Thai Airways International at 10,155 baht is part of special airfare offer by the national airline to mark Chinese New Year 2013. Aside from Hong Kong, they cover Phuket, Taipei, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Xiamen and Kunming.
Chinese Lunar New Year and Valentine's Day are only days apart this year, giving a boost to a booming business in China -boyfriend rentals. Taobao, China's popular shopping website, says that online searches for the term ''rental boyfriend'' have soared by 884 percent. Even state media refers to single women above age 27 as ''leftover women.''
telegraph.co.uk Dr Brett Mills of the University of East Anglia accused veteran broadcaster Sir David Attenborough of espousing the idea that all animals are heterosexual despite a wealth of evidence they engage in a variety of sexual activity. Homosexuality and same-sex parenting are often ignored or explained away.
ft.com Singapore is to send police officers to Europe to help with a growing probe into an international football match-fixing syndicate as the city-state has come under pressure to show it is doing more to tackle sports betting crime allegedly masterminded from Asia.
nationmultimedia.com Thai soccer fans have a double treat in store in July, when Premier League giants Manchester United and Chelsea are expected to be in Bangkok for exhibition matches against local teams. Premier League leaders Manchester United will be in the capital from July 11 to 13.
reuters Chelsea will play a Singha Thailand All-Star XI at the Rajamangala National Stadium in Bangkok on July 17 before meeting a Malaysia XI in Kuala Lumpur on July 21 and an Indonesia side on July 27.
morningstaronline.co.uk Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was fined 12,000 pounds after being found guilty of misconduct for his latest rant against match officials. Ferguson lost his appeal against an FA charge brought after the Scot attacked assistant referee Simon Beck for his display in the 1-1 draw at Tottenham last month.
Agencies Australia has unearthed a new teenage star and maintained two streaks over England with a thrilling two-run win in a women's World Cup Super Sixes match in Mumbai, India. Pace bowler Holly Ferling, 17, claimed 3-35 after she replaced spearhead Ellyse Perry, who pulled out before the game with an upset stomach.
February 10 Chinese New Year
February 10-16 Chalong Temple Fair: Food, fun each night.
February 14 Valentine's Day
February 15-17 Phuket Old Town Festival, with roads in central Phuket Town walking streets each evening. Parade 5pm on February 15. Street performances nightly.
March 2 Phuket FC v BBCU FC Away
March 10 Phuket FC v Bangkok FC at Surakul Stadium, Phuket City
March 16 Phuket FC v Sriracha Suzuki FC at Surakul Stadium, Phuket City
October 5-13 Phuket Vegetarian Festival
November 14-21 Fourth Asia Beach Games, Phuket