UAE and China issue travel warnings to Thailand

Escalating political tensions have led the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and China to step up travel warnings for Thailand.

The UAE Foreign Ministry urged its citizens not to travel to Thailand and told Emirati citizens in Thailand to keep away from protest rallies and take extra caution in view of the current security situation and the declaration of the state of emergency in Bangkok.

China suggested its people put off their travel plans to Thailand.

Vichit Prokobgosol, president of the Thai-Chinese Tourism Alliance Association, said the Chinese Foreign Ministry recently sent a letter to tour companies suggesting they put off bringing Chinese tourists to the kingdom.

The latest demonstrations have had a huge impact on Chinese visitors, which usually number 1 million per year.

“Before the rally, 100 charter flights were scheduled for Bangkok between April 10 and 13, but after the rally started we learned that only 30 flights will come,” said Mr Vichit. “Those 30 charter flights could be put off if violence breaks out.”

Prakit Piriyakiat, deputy governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) for marketing communications, said travel advisories from other countries for Thailand remained unchanged, as no violence has occurred despite the declaration of a state of emergency.

To date 43 countries have issued travel advisories for Thailand.

Most advisories were in the third or fourth risk levels, recommending people apply a high degree of caution and avoid the protest areas.

The Thai Foreign Ministry issued a statement to assure tourists they would not be affected by emergency rule, but advised them to “be vigilant, particularly in areas where demonstrations are held”.

Relate Search: Prakit Piriyakiat, Vichit Prokobgosol, Thai-Chinese Tourism Alliance Association

THAILAND: Media Crackdown a Mistake, Say Analysts by IPS

BANGKOK, Apr 9, 2010 (Asia Media Forum) – For press freedom advocates, it was bad enough, though not totally surprising, to hear that the government had shut down the opposition media amid the state of emergency in the Thai capital. But alarming to them is the gagging even of independent news sites.

“There is a mistaken notion that we are supporters of the red shirts,” Chiranuch Premchaiporn, director of the independent Thai news website said in an interview with IPS, referring to the red-clad protesters that have been demonstrating here for the fourth week to get the government to call for a new election.

“I have to say again that we are an independent media organisation that does not take sides with anyone in particular,” she explained. – which means ‘free people’ – is one of the 36 websites singled out for blocking by the government in a directive approved Thursday. Most of the other sites were media outlets by opposition groups themselves.

But “we will continue to follow events and I hope (the government) will see us in a proper light, that we’re just doing our duty in informing the public about what’s happening,” added Chiranuch, who is out on bail on a lese majeste charge due to comments that were not removed from Prachatai’s discussion board in 2009.

Thus far, Prachatai’s English-language site,, is still on.

Among the blocked opposition-backed sites is People’s TV, the satellite television station of the red shirts, as the supporters of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) are called due to their protest colour.

Also blocked were an FM community radio and online sites, including the red shirts’ YouTube channels and pages on Facebook and Hi5.

Thai media activist Supinya Klangnarong says that banning these websites is “simply wrong”. Continue reading “THAILAND: Media Crackdown a Mistake, Say Analysts by IPS”

Hlawga National Park handed over to Htoo Company

Mizzima (Rangoon) – In its privatization spree, the Burmese military junta has now begun to lease out the country’s natural resources. The Hlawga National Park, in Mingaladon Township, is being handed over to Htoo Trading Company to run.

The park is the property of the Ministry of Forestry but will be transferred to the private firm, which will take the responsibility of all the employees.

“If the government leases it to a private company the maintenance will be more systematic. I don’t know the number of years the lease is for. A contract will be signed in the end of April,” said a park official.

“The park generates revenue mainly from elephant rides by visitors among other entertainment facilities. Those wanting to shoot films in the park will have to pay a fee,” he added.

Hlawga National Park is in Mingaladon, Rangoon Division and came into being in 1980. The park is spread over 1500-acres and includes a wildlife park, a mini-zoo and a buffer zone. The people’s resort is owned by the Ministry of Forestry. There are around 200 species of birds in the park. However the 2008 Cyclone Nargis uprooted hundreds of trees.

NLD protests rejection of lawsuit against Than Shwe

Mizzima News
THURSDAY, 08 APRIL 2010 16:34
The National League for Democracy (NLD) has despatched a protest note to the Chief Judge in the Central Court, which states rejection of the lawsuit against Senior General Than Shwe is unlawful, Nyan Win, one of the lawyers of Aung San Suu Kyi, said today.

In keeping with the decision of the Central Executive Committee’s meeting on March 22, signed by Chairman Aung Shwe, NLD filed the lawsuit against Senior General Than Shwe on March 23. However, an authorized person in the Rangoon Division Court rejected the lawsuit. He said that the court does not have the power to accept the case, and returned the documents to the party.

NLD sent the letter because rejection of the lawsuit according to sections 5(a) (h), (j) of 2000 Burma Judiciary Law and sections 45 and 54 of 1887 Specific Relief Act is not in accordance with the law.

“The court rejected the lawsuit which is against the law, so we sent the letter to the Chief Judge by post,” NLD Central Executive Committee’s member, lawyer Nyan Win said.

“The court does not have the right to reject the lawsuit. They should have formally recorded the reason for rejection. Rejecting the lawsuit without a formal record was unlawful,” he added.

According to Nyan Win, when he met Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday, she pointed out that rejecting the lawsuit was unlawful and directed them to continue to take legal action.