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Pitak Siam to hold another rally next month, Democrats appoint Suthep to attack government. Chinese flooring fails to arrive for Futsal Arena.
Killer storm Sandy near New York, disrupts US election campaign. Gary Glitter held again for sex with children. Small Hawaii tsunami, no damage after 7.7 quake.
– BANGKOK’S ROYAL PALACES: Fascinating palaces in Bangkok which were formerly homes to the royal family continue to draw large numbers of tourists. The Grand Palace of Bangkok, Ananta Samakhom Hall, Vinamnek Mansion, and the Dusit Parliament House are just some of the living treasures found in the capital city.
The magnificent Grand Palace is definitely the most famous. At night, the Grand Palace looks dazzling and spectacular especially even at night. Built in 1782, the Palace takes pride for its stunning architecture and intricate designs, all of which show the creativity and draftsmanship of the Thai people.
The Ananta Samakhom Hall was where many of Thailand’s significant political events took place. This landmark was established in 1933, and it became the first chamber of the parliament until 1947. The hall was mainly made up of Renaissance style marble and was designed by Italian architects in 1915.
After the leadership of King Rama V, Vimanmek Masion was rarely used until Queen Sirikit decided to have it renovated in 1981 as part of Bangkok’s bicentennial celebrations. Inside the Vinamnek Mansion is an exhibit of valuable and priceless items made up of ceramics, crystals, ivory, and silverwares.
Built in 1900 under King Rama V, Dusit Parliament House on the other hand was known to be largest teakwood mansion in the world. It officially became a tourist spot in 1985 with more than 700,000 tourists last year.
– THAI-VIETNAM: The second joint Cabinet meeting between Thailand and Vietnam in Hanoi yesterday agreed to achieve total bilateral trade worth US$18 billion (Bt540 billion) in 2015, an increase of 20 percent annually over the next 3 years.
The governments also signed 3 cooperation documents – a joint statement between the Thai and Vietnamese foreign ministers, the Thailand-Vietnam Security Outlook (2012-2016), and a memorandum of understanding on the establishment of the Thai-Vietnamese Business Council.
In 2011, bilateral trade between the 2 nations was worth $9.08 billion (Bt277 billion). Exports from Thailand were valued at $7.05 billion, while imports from Vietnam amounted to $2.03 billion.
– THAI TOURIST SITES UPGRADE: A total of 29 tourism sites have been selected for a first phase of upgrades as part of a larger plan to generate more tourism revenue.
As well, funding for megaprojects such as theme parks will be proposed in a bid to achieve the government’s goal of 2 trillion baht in tourism and related revenue by 2015.
The Tourism and Sports Ministry’s Tourism Department reckons improvements to the 29 spots could cost 1 billion baht. Plus the mega projects could run to 1.5 billion baht apiece.
Arnupap Gaesornsuwan, the department’s Acting Deputy Director-General, said 29 sites have been selected out of 100 screened by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
Each one has been popular with local and foreign tourists for a long time, but improvements are deemed necessary.
The sites include Koh Phi Phi in Krabi, Patong Beach in Phuket, Koh Samet in Rayong, Jomthien beach in Pattaya, Koh Tao and Koh Samui in Surat Thani ,and Yaowarat Road in Bangkok.
A development plan for the 29 destinations will be completed within 6 months after receiving approval.
This will be the first phase of the project, with the second phase covering the other 71 sites.
Mr. Arnupap said the department envisages 8 tourism clusters.
These will include a Lanna civilization and the upper North cluster and a Mekong River cluster.
The department is also looking into new megaprojects, as it believes improvements to existing tourism sites alone is not enough to attract large numbers of tourists.
“Singapore is a case study in showing the achievements of megaprojects,” said Mr. Arnupap.
Four will be proposed for government consideration.
They include a Movie World theme park located in Hua Hin or Cha-am.
The Transport Ministry is planning new transportation routes between the Eastern Seaboard and the South to link popular tourism destinations such as Pattaya with Cha-am and Hua Hin.
Boonserm Khunkaew, Acting Director of the Tourism Department’s general affairs division, said these 3 locations could also serve as stops for cruise ships plying the Gulf of Thailand.
Other megaprojects include a City from the Past theme park in the Northeast.
Mr. Boonserm said building a theme park there would give a big boost to tourism in that region, as its few attractions has failed to attract many tourists to date.
Mr. Arnupap said the department will focus more on joint projects with the Transport and Commerce ministries.
However, at present, each ministry has different policies and practices, making it difficult to work in the same direction, he said.
-T ERRORISM: Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is calling on Muslims to kidnap Westerners, citing the success in the abduction of American aid worker Warren Weinstein in Pakistan.
– BANGED UP: Gary Glitter, the former pop star convicted of child sex offenses, was arrested this morning by police investigating sexual allegations against Jimmy Savile.
– PATTAYA: Police arrested three teens for the knifepoint robbery of a Russian tourist in Jomtien. She was repeatedly slashed in her arm while resisting an attempt to yank a gold necklace from her neck. The thieves stole her handbag and escaped. All three suspects were recently released from jail.
– AEC2015: Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has instructed all concerned agencies to work with the private sector in preparing the country for the Asean Economic Community in 2015, while the government has outlined 8 key strategies to ensure the country’s readiness.
– BURMA: Escalating violence in Rakhine state deserves the urgent attention of Asean and the international community, said Asean Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan. ”The conflict has been presented as an Islamic issue when it is not,” Mr. Surin said, ”It is a political, democratic, human rights, and constitutional issue, and has direct implications on political reform and national reconciliation processes in Myanmar.”
– MALAYSIAN VISITORS to THAI DEEP SOUTH: Thailand hosts more than 2 million Malaysians a year, many of them satisfied, repeat visitors. The vast majority of Malaysian tourists cross the land border in the Thai South. Few venture more than 50 kilometers from the border, the distance to Hat Yai city in Songkhla province. And they don’t visit Thailand for the Buddhist culture or the Thai food.
To most Thais, destinations like Sadao, Betong, and Sungai Kolok bring up images of recent history, the Muslim South, and shopping. To those Malaysian men targeted by a recent travel warning, the mention of these Thailand destinations brings up entirely different images. Most of the potential Malaysian visitors to the Thai border region think of liquor, discos, and especially women.
-G OOD POLICE WORK: Thai authorities have arrested a lorry driver after 16 tiger cubs were discovered in the back of his vehicle. The man was stopped near the border with Laos after avoiding a police checkpoint. The driver told police he had been paid 15,000 baht to transport the cubs, the BBC reported.