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MediaWATCH: Quake Shakes Java, 34 Die

Thursday, September 3, 2009
Phuketwan MediaWATCH

A daily wrap of Thailand news, with a Phuket perspective and reports from national and international media. A powerful earthquake has struck the southern coast of Java, killing at least 34 people and rocking buildings in the capital, Jakarta, government officials say. The Health Ministry said it was sending medical teams to Tasikmalaya, the town nearest the epicenter, where several buildings were reported to have collapsed, Reuters reported.

afp Shares in low-cost carrier SkyEurope were suspended from trading on the Vienna stock exchange after the troubled airline filed for bankruptcy. Trading was suspended ''until further notice'' from the opening bell on Tuesday, the stock exchange said in a short statement. The Bratislava-based airline, which declared insolvency in June, announced late Monday that its court-appointed trustee had filed for the bankruptcy of SkyEurope Airlines ''due to the lack of sufficient interim funding to finance ongoing operations.'' Phuket will grow in popularity with foreign travellers as many new airlines will operate new flights this winter. Australian holidaymakers this winter will benefit from new routes inaugurated by Australian carriers Jetstar and Virgin Blue. Tassapon Bijleveld, Thai AirAsia CEO, confirmed also the official launch in November of TAA's newest base in Phuket. According to Bijleveld, the airline will base one aircraft in Phuket launching two new international destinations. Hong Kong is already confirmed but M. Bijleveld did not unveil the second destination.

Reuters Tourism in France, the world's top holiday destination, held up over the summer months because a rise in domestic holidaymakers offset a sharp drop in foreign visitors. Hotels in France saw visitor numbers rise one percent in July and August, breaking down into a 3.6 percent increase in July and a 1.2 percent fall in August, Herve Novelli, state secretary for tourism, said in a statement. Foreign fell 14.5 percent in July-August but hotels, holiday homes and campsites recorded a 6.3 percent rise in the number of French customers. As newlywed Claire Harvey crawled to safety from the plane wreckage on Samui, she knew she had left her husband behind. Her leg had been crushed and, when she came round hours later in a Thai hospital, a nurse broke the news that Nick had died. For three agonising hours she believed she was a widow. Claire, 33, said: ''I was told they hadn't been able to get to him - that he'd been crushed. There was a language barrier but that's what I thought she meant.'' But the nurse was mistaken and Nick was in fact lying in a hospital on the other side of town. Kendall Hill on Sri Panwa, Phuket: It takes a while to get into the swing of unbridled hedonism. A kind of tropical inertia takes hold, a pool-villa paralysis, perhaps, that can transform seemingly simple choices into matters of great moment. Should I shower in the south pavilion, the north pavilion, or alfresco on the terrace? Do I bother with bathers before stepping out of my bedroom straight into the pool? And where to sunbathe ???????? on my terrace, at one of the two resort pools, or down by the private beach? Thousands of villagers attacked police, took local authorities hostage and turned over cars in a violent protest against a foul smell from a waste-water treatment plant they say is poisoning the village. Local authorities in the city of Quanzhou confirmed that more than 10,000 people had clashed with some 2000 riot police in the town of Fengwei. Police fired two warning shots and used tear gas to break up the crowd. Thousands of overseas students have marched in Sydney and Melbourne before curious city workers, riot police and an international television audience. Indian and Chinese media followed the marches across Australia, airing the grievances international students have over safety, accommodation, visas, shonky institutions and travel concessions. NSW and Victoria are the only states to deny international students concession fares on public transport.

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