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MediaWATCH: Expect H1N1 'Pandemic' Soon

MediaWATCH: Expect H1N1 'Pandemic' Soon

Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Phuketwan MediaWATCH

A daily wrap of Thailand news, with a Phuket perspective. Reports from national and international media, with translations into English from Thai.

Associated Press Only 13 cases have been reported in Thailand but the World Health Organisation says a spike in numbers above 1000 in Australia may push it to finally announce the first flu pandemic in 41 years. Flu chief Keiji Fukuda said people might panic or that governments might take inappropriate actions if the WHO declares a pandemic. ''On the surface of it, I think we are in phase 6,'' or a pandemic, said Margaret Chan, WHO director-general. Chan said she will hold a conference call with governments on Wednesday before making a formal announcement. WHO said the virus has infected 26,563 people in 73 countries and caused 140 deaths.

liverpoolecho.co.uk Family and friends have paid their last respects to a Liverpool man. Philip Mussell's scooter went into a pick-up truck while travelling back to his Phuket home, in torrential rain. Friends and family were wearing Liverpool FC shirts as a mark of respect to the big Reds fan who worked as an English teacher. Philip, 24, suffered massive injuries and died later on the hospital operating table. Father Tom told the Echo his son crammed so much excitement and enjoyment into his short life. ''Philip went around looking for the scariest, fastest things. He had a wonderful life and we take comfort in that.''

Today's Must Read

Reuters A bloody Monday attack on a southern mosque killed 10 Muslims at prayer, with Thailand no closer to quelling the insurgency. No credible group has claimed responsibility for the many attacks, but analysts say the rebels' motivation is most likely separatist or ethno-nationalist. The eruption of violence in 2004 fuelled fears that the militants would attack western targets in Bangkok or holiday hotspots like Phuket. It has never happened. ''Expanding their campaign to other regions is not the target of this movement,'' said one political scientist. ''It's very specific. They are attacking the Thai state from inside and want to protect the identity of ethnic Malay Muslims.''.

Bangkok Post Cabinet ministers in charge of security and the southern problem will discuss revisions to the policy on the restive region to handle the insurgent violence in talks tomorrow, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said. ''The [recent] acts of violence are different from the previous ones,'' Khun Abhisit said. ''We may have to change our approach. The mosque shooting is not normal. It does not follow the pattern of violence of the insurgents we have seen before.'' Khun Abhisit stressed that economic development would remain instrumental in putting an end to violence: ''Development is a long-term solution.''

Bloomberg Thailand's economy is being helped by government spending after sliding into its first recession since the Asian financial crisis in the first quarter, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said. ''We are seeing some signs the worst is behind us,'' Khun Abhisit said at a seminar in Bangkok, adding that as much as 80 percent of a government stimulus program has been distributed.The government in April began pumping cash into an economy that shrank 7.1 percent in the first quarter. While gross domestic product isn't likely to expand until the fourth quarter, the central bank has said there are signs the contraction is moderating.

bbc.com The economic downturn, H1N1 and volatile oil prices were clearly occupying the world's airline chiefs, more than 200 of whom gathered at the International Air Transport Association's annual meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, this week. Massive losses in the industry made even previously friendly chief executives, such as newly-installed Iata chairman Tony Tyler of Cathay Pacific, reluctant to speak to the journalists. Iata is projecting a $9bn annual loss for the commercial airline industry this year resizing is already taking place. From Singapore Airlines to Qantas, carriers are reducing capacity. Asia Pacific stand to lose $3.3bn according to Iata's projections.

thephuketinsider.com Despite a tourism slump there are 104 new hotel projects with 19,284 rooms under development in Thailand's hotel pipeline. On a wider scale the Asia Pacific region has 1826 hotels with 423,758 rooms coming, according to a mid-year review issued by leading industry source Lodging Economics. Based on trending analysis 75 percent of these will be managed by a branded operator.

AFP news agency Two foreigners were among the 11 people killed when a suicide truck bomb hit a luxury hotel in the northwest Pakistani city of Peshawar, a provincial minister said. A massive truck bomb ripped through the five-star Pearl Continental in the capital of a northwest province plagued by Taliban violence. The bomb was hidden in a delivery truck, police and officials said, and was driven up to the hotel in a high-security Khyber Roa area of Peshawar and detonated outside, causing massive devastation.

nationalledger.com Autopsy photos of David Carradine have been leaked online, and perhaps a second set is coming, media reports in Thailand are saying. Many were outraged that a Thai tabloid paper published a death photo of Carradine earlier and more are disgusted with the latest development.

Washington Post A court in Burma has partially granted an appeal by lawyers for Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, allowing testimony at her trial by one of several defense witnesses who previously had been barred from the proceedings. Diplomats called the decision a rare legal victory for opponents of the Burmese government, but they predicted that it would have little effect on the outcome of the trial, which is scheduled to resume later this week. Suu Kyi, 63, could face up to five years in prison if she is convicted of having allowed an American to stay overnight at her house.

The Nation Germany has blacklisted fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra and vowed to arrest him if he enters the country with a resident permit that was issued illegally, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said. According to the embassy, the German government had put Thaksin on its ''national exemption'' persona non grata list in December, following his phone-in addresses to anti-government rallies by his supporters in Thailand. It was found later that Thaksin carried a resident permit to stay in Germany. The German embassy explained in its letter that given the federal government's ban, the permit was considered illegally issued.

Straits Times Singapore is among the four most liveable cities in Asia after Osaka, Tokyo and Hong Kong and ranks 54th worldwide, according to the latest assessment of 140 cities by the Economist Intelligence Unit. Canadian and Australian cities did well in the assessment, taking six of the top 10 spots in the rankings, which were based on ratings assigned to 30 factors across five broad categories: stability, health care, education, infrastructure, culture and environment.Vancouver came in first, followed by Vienna and Melbourne.

travelbizmonitor.com The Tourism Authority of Thailand is reworking parts of its marketing and promotion strategy. In India, Juthaporn Rerngronasa, Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications, revealed that arrival figures for the first four months of 2009 show that the total of 3.2 million visitors to Thailand, down 19 percent. Visitors from the Middle East in the first quarter 2009 increased 11.5 percent, while visitors from South Asia rose 3.6 per cent.

Phuketwan Phuket News

Phuket Resorts Sweat on FM Summit Verdict
Latest Thailand's Foreign Ministry is expected to announce at any moment whether the north or the south will hold the coming summit of Asean Foreign Ministers.
Phuket Resorts Sweat on FM Summit Verdict

Phuket Drownings: Rescue Courses Coming
Latest With four drownings within days, Phuket needs more courses and commitment of the kind coming in July at one resort where the safety of guests is a year long priority.
Phuket Drownings: Rescue Courses Coming

Arrests Fail to Slow Theft of Phuket Forest Land
Latest Officials are concerned at the rate of disappearance of Phuket parks, with encroachment of forests continuing despite the arrest of those caught misappropriating land.
Arrests Fail to Slow Theft of Phuket Forest Land

Englishman Drowns at Karon, 'Girlfriend Expecting'
Updating News The girlfriend of an Englishman who has drowned at Karon beach on Phuket is flying home alone and pregnant, Phuketwan has learned. It's the third drowning in a week.
Englishman Drowns at Karon, 'Girlfriend Expecting'

Phuket Set to Greet Kuan Yim: Photo Special
Photo Special An attraction with special appeal to Chinese visitors is to be built off Saphan Hin park in Phuket City: a platform out to sea that will house a statue of female deity Kuan Yim.
Phuket Set to Greet Kuan Yim: Photo Special

Phuket's Grand Mosque Plan Wins the Governor
Photo Album With one in three of Phuket's population being Muslim, the prospect of a Grand Mosque is a significant ambition. And now the plan has three potential sites and the Governor's support.
Phuket's Grand Mosque Plan Wins the Governor

All Safe in Patong Emergency Rescue Practice
Photo Album A rescue drill involving a gps system and aircraft support was carried out on Patong beach today to demonstrate what should happen when tourists strike trouble at sea.
All Safe in Patong Emergency Rescue Practice

Monsoon Riders Title, Kalim Beach, June 12-14
Phuket has had surf competitions since 2002 but nothing like 2009, with three tournaments each over three days in a big new series. Local riders with face a test against the best.
Monsoon Riders Title, Kalim Beach, June 12-14

Phuket Fashion & Music Week, Patong, June 24-30
Photo Album High stepping models strutted their stuff in Patong at the preview of the first Fashion Week at Jungceylon that promises parades and a party every night.
Phuket Fashion & Music Week, Patong, June 24-30

Recent Phuketwan MediaWATCH

MediaWATCH: Stayput Monk Takes On US Law
News Digest A stayput monk fights the US Government; Mosque massacre as the Thailand PM talks peace in Malaysia; Karen flee Burma brutality; Pirate film for Phuket.
MediaWATCH: Stayput Monk Takes On US Law

MediaWATCH: Shocked Carradine Family Call FBI
News Digest The family of actor David Carradine, shocked by a Thai newspaper, call for FBI help; corruption levels surveyed; Mexican shootout in Acapulco.
MediaWATCH: Shocked Carradine Family Call FBI

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