Καιρός BKK 33C
Sunny and partly cloudy
Ευρώ: 1.3009 ΗΠΑ
Ευρώ: Μπατ 39.84
ΗΠΑ: Μπατ 30.63
SET Ευρετήριο 1341
Yingluck backs referendum before constitution amendment; Thaksin says it’s “not for me.” Red Shirt lawyers have asked the Department of Special Investigation not to allow bail for ex-PM Abhisit Vejjajiva and his former Deputy Suthep Thaugsuban.
North Korea delays missile launch, rocket problems. Mandela has lung infection. Thousands rally in Egypt. US says HSBC “intentionally” laundered drug cash.
– THAI POLITICS: Boonlert admits audio clip of Thaksin “insulting monarchy” was altered.
Former Pitak Siam leader Boonlert Kaewprasit Tuesday insisted that an audio clip played during the anti-government group’s November 24 rally was authentic, though confessed some parts of the recording had been removed.
Thaksin appeared on Channel 11 on Sunday night, saying that the clip had been manufactured to fuel allegations that he is an anti-monarchist.
Gen Boonlert, also known as Seh Ai, yesterday affirmed the audio clip was genuine, but said some parts of the recording had been removed.
He shrugged off speculation that Thaksin would sue him over the recording, adding that he was not intimidated by the ex-Premier’s clout.
Gen Boonlert said Thaksin’s appearance on Channel 11 indicated that the ex-premier was desperate to return home.
“He is dying to come back home, and he is selfishly using state-run TV,” the retired general said.
Gen Boonlert challenged Thaksin to turn himself in and serve his two-year jail term for abuse of power to show that he accepted Thai law. By doing so, he would be eligible to apply for a royal pardon.
“Or as a rich man he can hire people to stage a coup for him,” the retired general said.
– CX NO STRIKES BUT NO MEALS OR DRINKS: Agents can continue booking Cathay with ease after the airline’s cabin crew union confirmed it will not stage strikes during the Christmas and New Year period.
The airline and its 6,000-strong Flight Attendant’s Union (FAU) have been in conflict over salary, with the union requesting a 5 percent salary increment for 2013 over the 2 percent Cathay has offered.
This week, crew voted against holiday strikes, a decision the airline’s Chief Executive John Slosar says is good news for passengers, its staff, and the Hong Kong traveling public.
Despite the agreement to keep the peace over Christmas, crew are said to be considering other forms of action including the introduction of a “work-to-rule” measure.
According the union’s General Secretary, Tsang Kwok-fung, its members will be selective in which services they provide, and passengers may find themselves denied certain beverages while flying, including alcohol.
Smiles are another service that may be withheld as well as meals.
“In a nutshell it means passengers will still be able to reach their destinations except they are paying a five-star price to get a three-star service,” Mr. Tsang said.
– PATA THAILAND/SKAL BANGKOK XMAS LUNCH: This year’s joint Christmas lunch will be held on Thursday, December 13, 2012 at the Rembrandt Hotel on Soi 18 from 12:00 noon. Cost is Baht 1,000 per person. Reservations at www.skalthailand.org
– OTA’S MOBILE: On-Line Travel Agencies are banking on consumer preferences for mobile bookings.
At its annual Expedia Partner Conference executives shared data and trends related to online booking behavior.
“Today, most of our sites are seeing 20 percent or more of their transactions coming from mobile,” said President and CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, “It’s by far our fastest-growing channel.”
Right now Expedia has more than 130 mobile websites and its mobile apps are available in more than 200 countries.
While the company and its brands, including Hotels.com and Hotwire, are in various stages of introducing mobile sites and apps around the world, some overall trends are evident.
“When you consider who is using mobile, you have to separate tablet use from phone use,” said Nigel Pocklington, CMO of Hotels.com, “Phone use is for people looking for a booking close in, while tablets on the other hand are used by customers with longer windows.
“We see customers are using mobile during commute hours, desktop computers at the lunch hour, and during work hours, and tablet bookings go up after 9:00 pm.”
Seventy-five percent of same-day bookings on Hotwire come from mobile, while the highest average daily rate is achieved through tablet bookings.
Same-day hotel bookings in March 2012; 16.6 percent of US Expedia users booked their hotel room within 24 hours of departure on a mobile device.
Eighty-one percent of people booking one-night stays via mobile are located within 10 miles of the hotel.
– HILTON THAILAND: The DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Phuket – Surin Beach has appointed Simon McGrath as General Manager and Tane Picken as Director of Business Development.
Mr. McGrath holds a graduate certificate in Hotel Management from the University of South Australia and has completed the General Managers Program of the Australian Graduate School of Management.
To support Hilton Worldwide’s rapid expansion in Thailand, the company has also appointed Tane Picken as Director of Business Development for the DoubleTree Resort.
Based in Bangkok, Mr. Picken is responsible for overall sales and marketing operations, in a role he also undertakes for the Hilton Hua Hin Resort and Spa.
Originally from South Africa, he has been with Hilton Worldwide since 2001, where he started as a Food and Beverage Supervisor with the Hilton Durban in South Africa.
– THAI MINISTER OPTIMISTIC: Tourism & Sports Minister HE Mr. Chumpol Silpa-Archa painted a rosy picture overall, saying international tourist arrivals to Thailand this year should reach 21.5 million with revenue of at least 800 billion baht. The Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) also believes that the country will welcome some 23 million foreign travelers in 2013.
The minister said more big sporting events were planned in southern Thailand in an effort to draw more tourists. The country will also host the World Deaf Futsal Championships in 2015 and the fourth Asian Beach Games in 2014.
– SAMUI POWER PLAN: Yutthachai Soonthronrattanavate, President of the Association of Domestic Travel, said local residents of Samui and Phangan were concerned about the risk of power outages and the economic consequences.
However, they did not generally welcome the idea of building a natural gas-fired power plant in their area.
“Authorities might consider building a wind or solar power plant here because even though they’re costly, it’s still necessary for creating confidence about energy supply, and it can be used as a selling point to tourists.”
He also expressed concern that power outages might occur on other islands where tourists visit, such as Koh Chang in Trat province. The government should study the recent blackout and ensure that it can prevent a similar incident from happening again, he said.
The environmental group, Greenpeace, said the blackout in Surat Thani showed that Thailand still lacked an efficient electrical system. Greenpeace said the government needed to consider using alternative energy sources such as wind or solar on Samui and Phangan, as they can generate about 90 megawatts of electricity per day. The PEA plans to start supplying electricity to the islands through a new underwater cable in March. It will provide up to 200 megawatts of electricity.
– DELTA BUYS VIRGIN ATLANTIC: Delta Air Lines has agreed a deal to buy Singapore Airlines’ 49 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic for $360 million. Virgin Group and Sir Richard Branson will retain their 51 percent shareholding, and the Virgin brand will remain in place, the new partners said in a joint statement.
– UK’S COLORED CAPITAL: White Britons no longer make up the majority of people in London for the first time, according to the latest census data which pointed to a cosmopolitan capital increasingly divergent from the national economy around it.