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Tuesday MediaWATCH: Swine Flu Spreads, No Panic

Tuesday MediaWATCH: Swine Flu Spreads, No Panic

Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Phuketwan MediaWATCH

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

Reuters: A top World Health Organisation official says closing borders and imposing travel restrictions will do no good at this point in combating swine flu. From Geneva, Acting Assistant Director-General Keiji Fukuda says mitigation rather than containment is the best way to fight the infection that has killed up to 149 people in Mexico and spread to the US, Canada and Europe. ''A pandemic is not considered inevitable at this time,'' he added.

Bangkok Post: Thailand is launching strict swine flu prevention measures, including thermal scanners at airports in Phuket, Bangkok and Chiang Mai, as fears of a global outbreak of the swine flu virus spread to Europe. In Thailand, passengers with flu-like symptoms ''will be put under close surveillance for three to five days,'' says Public Health Minister Witthaya Kaewparadai. In Bangkok scanners are being used on routes from France, Tokyo, Dubai, Frankfurt, London, Chicago, Los Angeles and Texas with connecting flights from Mexico. Headline of the month: Panico from Mexico.

The Nation: The Government is using Interpol and other diplomatic moves to corner fugitive former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, says Panich Vikitsreth, an assistant to the Foreign Minister. Asked if the Government was aware of the attempts by former members of the defunct Thai Rak Thai Party to meet Thaksin in Dubai, Panich said no Thais could be barred from travelling abroad or meeting any specific person.

Xinhua news agency: Thailand's Foreign Ministry is studying a draft extradition treaty received from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Convicted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has reportedly used Dubai as his base in attacking the Thai government. Government spokesperson Panich Vikitsreth says the ministry has already revoked Thaksin's diplomatic and ordinary passports in an attempt to capture him. The former PM's whereabouts are a matter of conjecture.

Today's Must Read

Wall Street Journal: Thailand will be among the countries hardest hit by climate change, An Asia Development Bank report says. Rice production will be seriously jeopardised in South-east Asia. Total cost of lost agriculture and other negative impacts from climate change would be equivalent to as much as 6.7percent of gross domestic product in the region by the end of this century, more than double the 2.6 percent loss estimated for the world as a whole.

Thai Rath: Deputy PM Suthep Pueksuban suggests that the army needs to be in charge of security for the next Asean Summit on Phuket in June, not police, to prevent a repetition of the Pattaya takeover. PTT says tourists worldwide will use less energy in the economic downturn, so Thai Rath urges PTT to reduce prices. Heavy rains are forecast for northern Thailand. An elephant museum is being suggested for Surin province, where 2000 elephants live and work.

The Advertiser, Adelaide: John Warren, who played a key role in the Andaman response to the 2004 Asian tsunami, has died in a Harley Davidson motorcycle accident in Texas. Warren, 58, was the vice president of corporate services at Kenyon International Emergency Services, and led 150 staff on Phuket in repatriating bodies of victims. Kenyon staff established the Wall of Remembrance.

Daily News: Thai authorities are checking reports that fugitive PM Thaksin Shinawatra has been in Africa. Renegade red shirt Jakkapob Penkae is believed to be still in Thailand, the newspaper says. Khun Jakkapob, a wanted man, has suggested violence might be the next course of action in Thailand's political unrest. Thailand needs to develop a food to rival Korea's congee, says the newspaper, healthy and cheap.

Khaosod: Don't believe email reports that predict a tsunami for Thailand in three months, says the newspaper. The email has been circulating widely in English, with a graphic. Free lessons are being given to jobless people in Yala to help them learn new skills.

Kom Chad Luek: Widespread changes are almost constant in Thailand's armed services, with a long list of 450 changes listed for action. Some of them have already taken place, with Vice Admiral Narong Testvisan confirmed as Third Naval Area Commander, in charge of Andaman activities, and senior officer in charge of the region's security.

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