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MediaWATCH: Killers Terminate Pregnant Teacher

MediaWATCH: Killers Terminate Pregnant Teacher

Thursday, June 4, 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.

Bangkok Post Insurgents have brutally shot dead a pregnant woman as ''retribution'' for authoritarian suppression of militant groups, police say. The woman, eight months' pregnant, was one of two teachers killed in the attack on Tuesday evening. Police said four people in uniform on two motorcycles overtook the vehicle carrying the teachers on their way home and flagged it down. Survivors told officers they assumed the militants chose to shoot the two non-Muslim female teachers dead. The other four teachers were spared because they were Muslims. The attack has refuelled fears about the safety of teachers.

cnn.com A pregnant British woman accused of trying to smuggle heroin onto a flight to Thailand from Laos has been sentenced to life in prison. Samantha Orobator, 20, was convicted after a three-hour trial, an official in the southeast Asian country said. He declined to give his name because he is not authorised to talk to foreign media. Orobator's mother was in the courtroom, he said. The British Foreign Office confirmed Orobator's sentence.

thesun.co.uk A British heroin smuggler who cheated the death penalty by getting pregnant in jail has been caged for life in Laos. Samantha Orobator, 20, artificially inseminated herself with sperm from another prisoner while awaiting trial. She was held 10 months ago and admitted planning to fly to Thailand then Australia with 680g of the drug. Dressed in blue overalls, she sobbed as she was put into a prison van. She has 21 days to appeal.

Xinhua news agency Chinese experts plan to take the semen of giant panda Chuang Chuang to China next year for breeding after the successful artificial insemination of partner Lin Hui, which resulted in the birth of a cub. Lin Hui, the female panda in the Chiang Mai Zoo in the Thailand's northern province of Chiang Mai, delivered her first baby, which has become the first panda born in Thailand and the world for 2009. More experts from China would come to Thailand next year to take some of Chuang Chuang's sperm to the panda research center in China for use in future artificial insemination programs, said Wei Ming, Chinese panda expert. Ming arrived at the zoo shortly after the birth to supervise Thai staff.

homemediamagazine.com DVD copies of Star Trek, Terminator: Salvation, Angels & Demons and Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian were among 35,000 pirated discs seized in a two-day raid in the Malaysian state of Johor May 30-31. The six warehouses where the discs were found were only one mile from Singapore, a transit hub for illegal DVDs made in Malaysia and Indonesia. The illegal copies of DVDs, games and software were uncovered with the help of Paddy, a black Irish Labrador trained specifically to smell for the polycarbonate plastic in discs. No arrests were made.

voanews.com (voice of america) A lawyer for Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi says a court in the military-run nation will consider an appeal against a key ruling in her trial. The Rangoon court has been asked to readmit three defense witnesses previously disqualified from her trial on charges of violating her house arrest. The court only accepted one defense witness, while allowing prosecutors to call 14 witnesses. Defense lawyer Nyan Win told VOA the court will hear the appeal on the issue of defense witnesses on Friday. The court originally planned to hear the trial's closing arguments on that date.

reuters.com Global airlines have stepped up efforts to protect passengers from health risks on international flights. Cathay Pacific now replaces used pillows, blankets, headset covers and headrest covers. China Eastern Airlines flight attendants are required to wear disposable facial masks, gloves and hats and even disposable overcoats during flights to select destinations. The H1N1 flu virus has been confirmed in 20,000 people in 68 countries, killing at least 126, according to the World Health Organisation. Experts worry that the disease, formerly called ''swine flu,'' could change into a more dangerous form. Singapore Airlines is giving passengers traveling to the United States health kits that include a thermometer, masks and antiseptic towels.

dailytimes.com.pk India's bureaucrats are the least efficient while Singapore's civil servants are the most efficient among their Asian peers, a business survey on 12 economies shows, but they tend to clam up unhelpfully when things go wrong. The island-state was ranked first for a third time in a poll of 1274 expatriates working in 12 North and South Asian nations on the efficiency of bureaucrats in those countries. The poll was last held in 2007. ''During normal times, when the system is not stress-tested, it operates very well,'' Hong Kong-based Political & Economic Risk Consultancy said in a 12-page report of Singapore's bureaucracy.

nst.com.my The global economic downturn isn't just making us poorer but less safe as well, an Australian think tank says. The Institute for Economics and Peace ranked Malaysia as the 38th most peaceful place in the world, just behind Vietnam. Among other better-placed Asian economies were Hong Kong on 23rd spot, Australia (27th) and Singapore (29th). Other Asean members among the 144 countries ranked by the Global Peace Index included Indonesia on 68th position, the Philippines (113th), Thailand (118th) and Myanmar (126th). Big powers China and the United States were at 67th and 83rd place, respectively. New Zealand took over Iceland's position as the world's most peaceful nation, with Iraq still anchored at last spot.

4goteliers.com Hotels in Singapore are experiencing a slower take-up rate in their room reservations during the 2009 Formula One race, to be held September 25-27. Hence, some hotels are extending their special rates for early bird packages till as late as July. According to some hoteliers, consumers are also expecting lower room rates due to the global economic slowdown and declining visitor arrivals in Singapore. Hoteliers are looking to provide incentives such as discounts for consumers to make reservations in advance.

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