Phuket’s daily world news round-up – Wednesday 9th January 2013

Phuket’s daily world news round-up – Wednesday 9th January 2013

Phuket’s daily world news round-up – Wednesday 9th January 2013THAILAND – Taking positions
Police and soldiers go on red alert for bombs after local farmers reported suspicious insurgent activities – while in Malaysia, Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung took a position not to talk with separatists. – Plan shows govt’s ‘true intent’
Radical proposals by a House working committee – to dissolve top courts and key government agencies – showed the “true colours” of the ruling Pheu Thai Party and its push to write a new constitution, the opposition Democrat Party said yesterday. – 2,500 jobs axed
Factory layoffs are running at 500 per day after the 300-baht wage was enacted, and the government has brought in measures to help small businesses. – Businesses unimpressed by govt ‘compensation’ to deal with wage

The Cabinet yesterday approved 16 measures aimed at helping owners of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) affected by the Bt300 daily minimum wage, said Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong. Key among the measures is an increase in the profit ceiling for tax exemption, from Bt150,000 to Bt300,000 per annum, which will benefit around 210,000 SMEs at a cost to state revenue of Bt2.8 billion, said Kittiratt. – Channel 3: ‘No politics’ in soap ban
TV Channel 3 said violent content forced executives to cancel the finale of the soap opera “Nua Mek 2” and insisted no political interference was involved. – Temple on the streets
The PAD and protesters have demanded that the government reject in advance any unfavourable verdict by the world court over Preah Vihear. – Bangkok polls set for March 3
The capital’s gubernatorial election has been set for March 3 and applications will be accepted from January 21 to 25, chairman of the Bangkok Election Commission Pol Maj-General Thaweesak Toochinda said yesterday. – Cabinet approves 2 Red Line contracts
A cabinet meeting on Tuesday approved the signing of two of three contracts to build a section of the Red Line electric railway, Transport Minister Chadchat Sittipunt said. – Political instability main worry for tourism industry
The tourism outlook remains bright this year, but clouds lie ahead, especially political instability as the major threat to foreign visitor sentiment, according to the Centre for Economic and Business Forecasting. – 120-sick-day rule for civil servants
The cabinet approved a draft regulation asking civil servants who take sick leave of more than 120 working days in a fiscal year to retire early.

ASIA – Indian troops shot dead in Kashmir
India accuses Pakistani troops of killing two of its soldiers in disputed Kashmir in the region’s second fatal shooting incident in three days. – New Japan PM mulls SE Asia visit
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to make Southeast Asian countries his first foreign destination, reports said Tuesday, despite an earlier pledge to go to Washington before anywhere else. – Japan spends stimulus billions on military
Japan plans to spend Y180.5 billion on its military over the next few months, citing a harsher security environment with North Korea and China. –  Cool relief for blazing Australia
Cooler temperatures bring some short relief to south-east Australia as fire crews battle to control hundreds of bushfires across several states.

UK – UK hosts Syrian experts gathering
The UK hosts a conference of experts on Syria to plan for the possibility of the collapse of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. – N Ireland police face 6th day of riots
Northern Island police have been able to maintain order without resorting to plastic bullets or water cannon, which were used previosly. – Alternative arthritis care queried
Few complementary therapies help arthritis, say experts who have looked at all the available trial evidence.

AFRICA – DR Congo rebels declare ceasefire
M23 rebels declare a unilateral ceasefire ahead of a new round of peace talks with the government of Democratic Republic of Congo. – Sudan’s south crisis ‘worsening’
The UN warns of a worsening humanitarian crisis in Sudan’s conflict-torn South Kordofan and Blue Nile provinces, blaming both the government and rebel groups. – Poachers slaughter Kenyan elephant family
Kenyan poachers have massacred a family of 11 elephants, the worst such killings in 30 years.

EUROPE – Madrid healthcare managers quit
Healthcare managers in the Madrid region quit over plans to privatise part of the health service in and around the Spanish capital. – Eurozone unemployment at new high
The unemployment rate across the eurozone hit a new all-time high of 11.8% in November, official figures show. – Kurdish rebels ‘killed in Turkey’
Twelve PKK Kurdish separatist rebels and a soldier are reported killed in a clash at an outpost in south-eastern Turkey. – French property slump costs 10,000 jobs
A slump in the French property market has cost 10,000 jobs and forced 10 per cent of the country’s 30,000 estate agencies to close. – Find of Roman statues ‘important’
Archaeologists in Italy say they have discovered what they’ve called a “very important” series of statues dating back to the Roman era, linked to the celebrated poet Ovid. – Belgian children escape coach fire on Swiss motorway
The driver of a Belgian coach on a skiing trip has safely evacuated his 45 passengers, including 38 children, after it caught fire in Switzerland. – Depardieu fails to attend court on drink-drive charge
Gerard Depardieu has failed to appear in a French court where he faces a drink-driving charge, days after taking Russian citizenship in a tax row.

LATIN AMERICA – Hugo Chavez to miss swearing-in
Venezuela’s President Chavez, in hospital after cancer surgery, is given “as much time as he needs” to recover before being sworn in for a new term.

MID-EAST – Five civilians killed around Damascus
Heavy fighting around a Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus has killed five civilians. – ‘No food aid’ for million Syrians
One million Syrians are going hungry and helpless due to the 22-month civil conflict in the country, says the UN food agency. – Four die as harsh weather hits Middle East
Four people have died and dozens have been injured by severe weather that has swept through the Middle East. –  Egypt finance: Qatar steps in to ease Cairo cash crisis
Qatar has lent Cairo a further £1.25bn and donated an extra £300m in an effort to control a currency crisis prompted by Egypt’s political turmoil.

bbc.couk – US firm pays out over Abu Ghraib
A US defence contractor settles with former inmates of Abu Ghraib for $5m (£3m), after a subsidiary is accused of conspiring to torture prisoners. – Second faulty Boeing Dreamliner in Boston
A fuel leak on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner has caused Japan Airlines to cancel its takeoff from Boston’s Logan airport, the second incident in as many days involving the new jet. – Armstrong set for Oprah interview
US cycling star Lance Armstrong will be interviewed by talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, amid reports that he will publicly admit to doping. – 2012 ‘hottest US year’ on record
The US sweltered under its hottest year on record in 2012, breaking the previous high temperature record by a full 1F (0.6C).


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