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What if Phuket's next scare comes at night, when everyone is asleep?

MediaWATCH: Tsunami Alert Scare as Drill Nears

Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Phuketwan MediaWATCH

A daily wrap of Thailand news, with a Phuket perspective, including reports from national and international media.

Reuters A major quake of magnitude 7.6 struck in the Indian Ocean off India's Andaman Islands early on Tuesday, but a tsunami alert for India, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand and Bangladesh was later cancelled. Several hours after the quake there were no reports of a tsunami from ocean rim countries or of any casualties from the tremor. The US Geological Survey said the quake, initially reported as a magnitude 7.7, struck at 1:55 am. (1955 GMT on Monday). It was shallow, at a depth of 20.6 miles (33 km), and was centred 160 miles (260 km) north of Port Blair. The 2004 tsunami killed more than 220,000 people, most of them in the northern Indonesian province of Aceh. Thousands were also killed in Sri Lanka, Thailand and India.

Phuketwan Comment Phuket and Thailand's Andaman coast has its next tsunami drill on August 21. Almost five years on from the tsunami, Phuketwan continues to ask the question: What warning system is in place if the next tsunami comes at 3am or 4am, everyone is asleep, and the sound from the warning towers along the beaches is being blown out to sea? We have yet to get an answer. Drills are easy. But there is no sign of any genuine preparedness for a tsunami that comes while the whole of the Andaman sleeps.

AFP Viktor Bout, the alleged Russian arms dealer dubbed the ''Merchant of Death'', is due on Tuesday to hear the result of his drawn-out fight against extradition from Thailand to the US. A Bangkok court is set to rule on a request from Washington to extradite the 42-year-old former Soviet air force pilot, who is said to have inspired the Hollywood film ''Lord of War'' starring Nicolas Cage.

Bangkok Post Thailand's three major mobile phone operators - AIS, DTAC and True Move - have agreed to joint countermeasures to block up to nine million spam text messages a day. The three operators will spend 30 million baht on anti-spam software using an application centre to filter unsolicited advertising across their networks. Starting from August 31, the new software will be able to reduce SMS spam by up to 90 percent of the 10 million junk messages sent every day.

Xinhua The cub born to giant pandas Chuang Chuang and Lin Hui of the Chiang Mai Zoo has a name . . . Lin Bing. Around 22 million postcard-votes were mailed in. The name Lin Bing received 13.2 million votes, or about 60 percent. Lin Bing in Chinese means ''a forest of ice,'' while in the Chinese pronunciation the word bing is very similar to the name of Chiang Mai's major river the Ping. The zoo will set up Facebook and Twitter sites for fans of the little panda.

Today's Must Read

chinadaily.com.cn Katherine Tsang writes: There is little doubt that China's economy has started to turn the corner. The US, Europe and Japan are still the biggest drivers of the global economy today. However, these economies are likely to experience slow growth for many years to come, leaving Asian economies in the lookout for alternative engines. As China rebounds, it will lift the rest of the region in varying degrees. Just take tourism, for instance. Hong Kong is the biggest beneficiary from the growing numbers of mainland tourists venturing abroad. The city attracted 16 million mainland visitors in 2008, equalling 57 per cent of its total tourist arrivals last year. China can help the rest of Asia escape a prolonged downturn through its growing trade ties with its neighbors.

AFP US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton showed a rare flash of public anger on a trip to the Republic of Congo as a student asked for her husband's views, putting him in his place by saying she is the United States' top diplomat. Clinton replied in a forceful voice: ''You want to know what my husband thinks?'' ''My husband is not the secretary of state, I am. You ask my opinion, I will tell you my opinion. I'm not going to channel my husband.''

smh.com.au Amateur spies and armchair sleuths using Google Earth have discovered a suspicious development in the Burmese jungle thought to be linked to the pariah state's clandestine nuclear program. The main facility, which measures 82 by 84 metres, can been seen on satellite images published on both Google Earth and Google Maps. It features a pitched, blue corrugated roof, which, at first glance, makes it look like an over-sized swimming pool.

bernama.com Two forensic experts from Thailand were present during the inquest proceedings into the death of Teoh Beng Hock before Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas. Teoh, 30, political secretary to Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead on July 16 on level 5 of Plaza Masalam after giving a statement as a witness into alleged abuse of state government allocations at the Selangor Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission office. The inquest proceeding into Teoh's death continues.

Associated Press A luxury resort in San Diego is offering rooms for $19 a night - if you don't mind sleeping in a tent. The Rancho Bernardo Inn boasts three pools, a spa and golf course. It typically charges more than $200 a room. But business is down. So from August 16 to 31, guests can get a 'Survivor Package' that charges them less for each amenity they give up, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports. For $19, guests give up breakfast, air conditioning, lights, sheets and even the bed. Staff will remove the mattress and headboard and leave a small tent instead. Oh, and bring your own toilet paper.

usatoday.com The midair collision between a sightseeing helicopter and a small plane over the Hudson River is the latest accident to involve an industry plagued by safety problems and calls for improved oversight, according to federal investigators. On Sunday, divers retrieved a helicopter and four more bodies, but little is known about why a Liberty Helicopter Tours flight collided with a small plane, destroying both aircraft and killing nine. The crash is at least the 14th involving a chartered sightseeing flight in the US since 2000.

washingtonpost.com As the first influenza pandemic in 41 years has spread during the Southern Hemisphere's winter over the past few months, the US and other northern countries have been racing to prepare for a second wave of H1N1 virus. At the same time, international health authorities have become increasingly alarmed about the new virus's arrival in the poorest, least-prepared parts of the world. While flu viruses are notoriously capricious, making any firm predictions impossible, a new round could hit the Northern Hemisphere within weeks and lead to major disruptions in schools, workplaces and hospitals, according to US and international health officials.

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Comments

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Tsunami Alert.
I don't think it matters what time of day it strikes. It has been reported that the US funded warning buoy of the Andaman coast has had a flat battery for 2 months and is not working and it is going to cost 10 million baht!!!! to replace it. Probably a couple of thousand for the battery, can only guess where the rest of the quoted cost will go. Who will be the lucky contractor? Naturally there are no funds available until a budget meeting is called.
Nero fiddled whilst Rome burned.

Editor: The difference is that the beach warnings will sound during the day and any serious alert will gain massive television and radio coverage. But at night, when even the resort desk staff are asleep . . . who alerts the Andaman coast, and how?

Posted by Anon. on August 11, 2009 09:26

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I can hardly believe that a replacement battery costs ten million baht, and the navy should participate in re-placing it . This latest quake proves it should be done urgently !I should hope that in the case of an alert, coastal town police should be able to do something ?

Editor: Warnings of undersea earthquakes seem adequate. It's the on-the-ground response at 3am or 4am that concerns us. At most resorts at that hour, there is usually someone asleep at the front desk, and that's it. We'd like to see evidence of a proper state of preparedness. Five years is time enough.

Posted by elizabeth on August 11, 2009 21:45


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