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Thai men are ranked on top and their women are ranked second as the world's most unfaithul lovers, with well over half of them admitting to frequent infidelity, according to a survey conducted by Durex, a condom producer.

Women from Thailand are ranked the world's second most unfaithul lovers, according to the survey report.

The survey of 29,000 women in 36 countries names the women of Ghana the world's most unfaithful, with 62 per cent of the women questioned there admitting they often cheat on their boyfriends and husbands.

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Central Plaza Hotel, the operator of Centara Hotels & Resorts, is looking for a new property in London to operate after failing to acquire one worth more than Bt8 billion, which was snapped up by another buyer.

The Thai hotel chain is also eyeing Paris. It considers these two capital cities to be the gateways to Europe, and a presence there would provide great opportunities to build recognition of its brand internationally. However, its core market will remain Asia, and especially Asean.

Chief executive officer Thirayuth Chirathivat said it was time to shop for properties in Europe because prices were plunging. However, it will tread carefully with its investment plan because stepping into Europe, a highly competitive market, would be a big move. Therefore, there is no time frame to do so.

"The company wants to make sure everything is ready before pouring investment [into Europe] to gain success there,'' he said, adding that under the plan, the firm would form a joint venture.

Thirayuth, 46, who took over the CEO position in April, is the son of Suthikiati Chirathivat, chairman of the board. He is putting a big effort into strengthening the business in every hotel segment and its role in international markets. It is mainly expanding its business by forming agreements with property owners.

By the end of next year, the firm plans to open an economy hotel chain under the management concept. It is in talks with property owners who run its wider network.

Thirayuth declined to disclose the official name of the new chain, but said it would be one that is easy to remember. The concept will be comfortable two-star hotels. It will compete head-on with Ibis, part of Accor, and Tune Hotels.

The company believes that entering the low-cost market will help strengthen it in all segments. The economy market is growing quickly, and will be driven by an increasing number of travellers after the full opening of the Asean Economic Community.

By 2015, the company plans to be operating 10,000 rooms, preferably under management agreements. Under its expansion plan, which does not include the new economy brand, the firm plans to operate 10 new hotels annually.

Within five years, it plans on hotel operations abroad accounting for 60 per cent of the total, reducing its dependence on the domestic market.

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Sin taxes for liquor and cigarettes were increased yesterday, with government officials projecting the tax hikes will generate an additional 12 billion baht in revenue for the state each year.

Benja: Tax hikes ‘relatively limited’

The boost in excise taxes for liquor and cigarettes is also expected to help reduce consumption by increasing consumer prices.

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Phuket Gazette – Wednesday, August 22, 2012 8:13:29 AM
The chief inspector from a team of expert architects, called in to investigate the Tiger Discotheque inferno, yesterday said he believed that 20 per cent of the upper area inside the disco was “highly flammable”. Photo: Kritsada Mueanhawong

Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha said he was waiting for Patong Municipality to confirm whether or not the upper area of the disco was an approved extension. Photo: Kritsada Mueanhawong

PHUKET: The chief inspector from a team of expert architects called in to investigate the Tiger Discotheque inferno yesterday said he believed that 20 per cent of the upper area inside the disco was “highly flammable”.

Pol Lt Col Bundit Pradubsuk, chairman of the Association of Siamese Architects Under Royal Patronage (ASA) Security Architecture Committee, revealed the news during an inspection visit by Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha.

The same team of investigators yesterday said that the highly flammable polystyrene foam used in making the discotheque’s iconic decorations likely contributed to the deadly fire.

The upper area of the disco has come under the scrutiny of investigators as it remains unclear whether or not the "extension" to the original building plan was approved by the local authority, Patong Municipality.

“We will investigate to confirm whether or not the ‘extension’ was an approved addition to the structural plan. We will need to check the building’s historical documents and building permit,” Lt Col Bundit said.

“We will also investigate whether they [the nightclub operator] restricted the number of people entering the building in accordance with the building’s rated capacity. Although this is done in other countries, in Thailand we have yet to introduce regulations to ensure it becomes standard practice,” he said.

Lt Col Bundit told the governor that it was critical that local authorities conduct regular building inspections to make sure they comply with regulations and also to make sure no unapproved extensions are added to the original structure.

“We recommend that the building [Tiger Discotheque] be torn down, but the bars on the ground-floor level can stay,” he added.

Governor Tri agreed and explained, “We are now waiting for information from Patong Municipality about any additions made to the building's structural plan. I believe we will have the answer soon.”
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Phuket Gazette – Wednesday, August 22, 2012 10:32:00 AM
Flooding along a 15km stretch of Thepkrasattri Road has slowed north-south traffic on the island to a crawl. Photo: Atchaa Khamlo

PHUKET: Motorists throughout Phuket are urged to exercise caution today as flooding from last night's storm has affected areas across the central and northern parts of the island.

Long tailbacks on Thepkrasattri Road are currently stretching from in front of the Isuzu showroom in Koh Kaew all the way back to the Watermark bakery on the bypass road in Bang Khu, and north all the way to the new Tesco Lotus in Thalang.

There have also been reports of flooding in Samkong in Phuket Town to as far south as the TOT building along Chao Fa West Road.

The Phuket Gazette has been told that the flooding in Chalong has dissipated and traffic is now flowing freely again, but traffic delays in Phuket Town are expected to continue throughout much of the day.

The wild weather last night saw heavy deluges lash the island in wind-driven sheets.

The Thai Meteorological Department weather monitoring station at Phuket Airport recorded 93mm of rainfall in a 24-hour period – 34mm of which occurrd within a three-hour period.

Phuket Town suffered a much more severe lashing, with 177mm of rain drenching the town within 24 hours – 95mm of that in just three hours.

Traffic on the bypass road, usually hurtling along at over 100kmh in the right-hand lane, slowed to 50kmh and eventually came to a standstill earlier this morning. One vehicle, however, ended up in the median storm drain separating the traffic flow. Workers are retrieving the car as this report is posted. The Gazette has yet to learn if anyone was injured.

The downpours last night followed the Thai Meteorological Department (TMD) issuing a “heavy rain” warning on Saturday after Tropical Storm Kai-Tak moved from Laos into Thailand.

More “isolated heavy showers” are forecast for the coming days.

Rather strong wind-waves of about two meters are likely in the Andaman Sea. All ships should exercise heightened caution over the next two days, the TMD warns.
Tagged in: flood flooding phuket
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Phuket Gazette – Wednesday, August 22, 2012 9:42:00 AM
The scene on Yaowarat Road in front of Bangkok Phuket Hospital at about 7am. Photo: Natacha Kitchakarn

PHUKET: Severe flooding has affected large areas of Phuket this morning, with traffic brought to a standstill throughout Phuket Town and tailbacks of more than 10 kilometers on the main arteries leading into the city.

The Phuket Gazette has spoken to many motorists across the island who were still attempting to reach their destinations. One family said they had not moved for almost an hour as the traffic drew to a halt in Phuket Town.

Many others said they had decided to return home as the driving conditions were intolerable.

The Gazette will bring more details as they are received.
Tagged in: flood flooding phuket
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Thailand should prepare for a worsening global economy next year by using the Asean Economic Community (AEC) to promote global economic growth, says Supachai Panichpakdi, head of the UN Conference on Trade and Development.

Attending yesterday’s seminar are from left to right: Thanavath Phonvichai, director of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Economic and Business Forecasting; UTCC president Sauwanee Thairungroj; Dr Supachai; and Pongsak Assakul, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce. KOSOL NAKACHOL

He also urged Thailand to speed up concluding mutual recognition agreements with Asean countries to establish the same standards. Thailand, however, should be cautious about signing a bilateral free trade agreement with the EU, as developing countries are usually at a disadvantage when negotiating FTAs.

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The past year under the Yingluck Shinawatra administration has seen some changes in Thailand's tourism industry.

The prime minister has been used as a presenter in advertisements welcoming foreign travellers, while the latest projection pegs annual industry revenue at 2 trillion baht by 2015.

But in the views of operators, that figure is rather inconceivable considering this year's projection is only 1.2 trillion baht.

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A warder at Nakhon Si Thammarat prison was shot dead yesterday after he refused to cooperate with a drug gang, police said.

Od Sae Pua, 49, was shot and killed on a road in Nakhon Si Thammarat's Phra Phom district.

He had left the prison early yesterday morning and was riding his motorcycle home when he was attacked.

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Phuket Gazette – Friday, August 17, 2012 10:39:00 AM
Phuket rescue workers recover one of the bodies from the gutted Tiger disco in Patong. Photo: Atchaa Khamlo

People fleeing the fire gather near the fire trucks in front of the disco as firefighters extinguish the blaze. Photo: Atchaa Khamlo

PHUKET: A pre-dawn blaze at the popular Tiger Bar and Discotheque in Phuket has left four people dead and 11 people injured.

Among the injured were four French nationals.

Photo: Kritsada Mueanhawong
Kathu Police were notified of the blaze at the well-known Patong nightspot at about 4am.

Patong Municipality Fire Department rescuers raced to the scene with eight fire engines. It took them about one hour to extinguish the fire.

The firefighters had to battle the blaze in the darkness, as power had to be cut throughout the municipality for safety reasons.

Kathu Police said that the cause of the fire appears to have been related to an explosion in an electrical transformer.

The identities of the four dead have not yet been released; all were burned beyond recognition.

Photo: Atchaa Khamlo
The most seriously injured person was 30-year-old Frenchman Benjamin Tallanotte, who suffered second-degree burns to 40 per cent of his body. He was among two victims who required admittance to Patong Hospital.

The other victim was 42-year-old Noodaneg Pramangkata, who suffered from dizziness and hyperventilation.

Other French nationals treated and released were identified as:

Nicolas Robyn, 25, minor injury to the right arm;

Mathieu Lagrange, 40, minor hand and arm injury;

Ms Yasmine Khelaef-humber, panic attack.

Also suffering a serious injury was 25-year-old Kanyaporn Kantong, who was at the venue with two friends when they began to smell smoke in one of the two second-storey bars attached to the disco.

Another witness who escaped unharmed told the Gazette she noticed that Mr Talanotte was badly burned and assisted him to safety.

Mr Talanotte was a guest at a hotel on Nanai Road and was concerned that his wife was unaware that he was being treated in Patong Hospital.

Although not on the list of those treated at Patong Hospital, the owner of the nightclub, identified only as “Mr Piya”, also suffered minor injuries, Patong Police said.

The area remains cordoned off as investigators sift through the scene, including the bar complex area underneath the main nightclub.

The Gazette was told that once news of the fire spread through the nightclub, many patrons rushed to the front door. Many people were hurt as they tried to exit via the stairs at the front.

Security guards are now allowing controlled access to let bar owners in to check their properties.

The electrical power supply has now been restored to the wider area.
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