Saturday, March 28, 2009

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Hunt for missing yachtsman goes on

The family of a missing British yacht skipper were waiting for news after police said reports that his body had been found were wrong.

Malcolm Robertson, 64, of Hastings, East Sussex, was allegedly bludgeoned to death with a hammer and thrown overboard while sailing in Thailand on Monday.

Colonel Lerdchai Thinrat, of Thai police, said earlier reports that Mr Robertson's body had been found by a fisherman had proved to be false.

"I was told that the body had been found," said Col Lerdchai. "I contacted Bangkok immediately to report to the family. Some of the fishing boats told the police station around there that he had found a body. I sent a speedboat up there immediately but it was not there."

The Foreign Office said: "The Thai authorities are continuing their investigation and are still searching the area."

The brother of Mr Robertson's wife Linda, John Clee, 63, from Battle, East Sussex, said: "I received a text message from one of Linda's children this morning. He said that he had been told there was a body originally but the consulate had since told him it was a false alarm."

Thai police arrested and charged three fishermen from neighbouring Burma with murder and robbery on Tuesday. They allegedly confessed to climbing aboard the yacht, beating Mr Robertson with a hammer and throwing his body overboard after he found them trying to steal a dinghy.

They then forced Mrs Robertson, 57, to steer the yacht to shore, police said. They fled in a raft when they saw Thai national park employees passing by in a boat, it was claimed.

Mrs Robertson, who was stripped and tied up below deck for hours, escaped with minor injuries.

The retired couple had been sailing their yacht, Mr Bean, from Phuket to the Malaysian island of Langkawi.


from: http://www.google.com/hostednews

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Adhineta in Bangkok

The Jagapathi Babu starrer Adhineta has completed the shooting and is now in PP. Two songs remain balance for the film and the unit has flown to Bangkok after shooting the climax in Khammam. Two songs will be shot in Bangkok, Pattayya and Phuket. The film is a political film and it is for the first time Jagapathi Babu is playing the role of a politician in his career. V Samudra is the director. The film will be released on April 10. -Sampurn Media
Adhineta in Bangkok

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Adhineta in Bangkok

The Jagapathi Babu starrer Adhineta has completed the shooting and is now in PP. Two songs remain balance for the film and the unit has flown to Bangkok after shooting the climax in Khammam. Two songs will be shot in Bangkok, Pattayya and Phuket. The film is a political film and it is for the first time Jagapathi Babu is playing the role of a politician in his career. V Samudra is the director. The film will be released on April 10. -Sampurn Media
Adhineta in Bangkok

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Sri Lanka refutes UN casualty figures

BANGKOK, THAILAND – A diplomatic row is escalating over civilian casualties in Sri Lanka’s war with the Tamil Tigers. The two sides are in the midst of a military showdown in a coastal strip of jungle in the island’s northeast corner.

Western nations are calling for a pause in the fighting to allow for the evacuation of up to 180,000 trapped people, but Sri Lanka is pushing back. In particular, the government is challenging the United Nation’s assessment of suffering among this cornered population. The government was angered following a senior UN official’s recent warning that both sides in the conflict may have committed war crimes.

Last week, the Monitor reported that UN documents attributed escalating deaths and injuries to Army shelling in a no-fire zone (see the Monitor’s story here).

On an official visit to Thailand, Sri Lankan foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama wasted no time in refuting these claims. He said that he had called in the UN’s country coordinator in Sri Lanka to ask him to retract “unauthenticated, unreliable figures” on civilian casualties. The UN had been “misled on the figures,” Mr. Bogollagama told reporters.

“Here is where the UN coordinator agrees with me, that he can’t vouch for the reliability of the figures,” he said Thursday.

The United States has expressed concern over the actions of both sides in the conflict. A US envoy to the UN said the Sri Lankan government “must pay more attention to protecting the civilians in the conflict,” the Associated Press reported from New York (see the story here).

Bogollagama, who met Thursday with Thailand’s prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, to discuss security and economic ties, argues that government troops are doing everything possible to minimize casualties. He denied that long-range artillery was used against targets inside the no-fire zone, as the UN claimed.

“We have to look after the civilians because they are our civilians at the end of the day. The LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] are on the way out. But our people will remain part of the process, so why should we target them?” he said.

More than 52,000 civilians have now fled the fighting and are being housing in government camps. Bogollagama said international agencies were present in the camps and were able to gather first-hand accounts from the war zone. The Red Cross has evacuated thousands of wounded by boat from the zone and delivered food and drugs.

Bangkok has a walk-on role in the conflict. The LTTE have long bought and sold arms here and once built a rudimentary submarine in the Thai resort island of Phuket. A Sri Lankan diplomat said a key LTTE arms dealer in Thailand is believed to have escaped arrest in 2007 and may now be in Malaysia. Bogollagama said Thailand had agreed to keep an eye out for LTTE cadre.


from: /features.csmonitor.com

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Deepika@ Harper’s Bazaar

Deepika@ Harper’s Bazaar thumbnail

Harper’s Bazaar India second edition will feature actress Deepika padukon on its cover page. Deepika is really looking good in the photographs, done by photographer Atul Kasbekar.

All of the pictures were taken at Phuket, Thailand. Location is beautiful, at the same time the actress looks gorgeous. Just check the photographs and be a judge of yourself for Deepika Padukon.

Deepika, who did well in the movie Om Shanti Om, is now a famous face of Indian Film Industry, working on more than 6-7 movies at a time. She was opposite to Shah Rukh Khan, which brought her name and fame. Just take a look at the pictures.

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Phuket Airport Current Weather Forecast

Southern Weather Forecast (West Coast) of Thailand

Scattered thundershowers mostly in Krabi, Trang and Satun. Minimum temperature 23-24 °C. Maximum temperature 32-34 °C. Variable winds 15-30 km/hr. Wave height about 1 meter and about 2 meters in thundershower areas.

Phuket Airport Current Weather Forecast 28/03/2009 at 04:00 AM

26.1 °C
Dew point 24.5°C
Relative Humidity 91 %
Wind calm
Cloud Cloudy Sky
Visibility 10 km
Pressure 1009.5 hPa
Amout of Rainfall (3hr) 0.0 mm
Tomorrow Sunrise 06:27
Today Sunset 18:37
Yesterday Max Temperature N/A
Morning Min Temperature N/A
Average Max Temperature -°C
Average Min Temperature -°C
Amount of Rainfall 07-07 0.0 mm

By : Thai Meteorological Department

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Discussing '"There once was a crash on Nantucket..."'

Hard Times on Nantucket
If you've ever wanted to buy a home on this island enclave, now may be the time to start looking.
By BRETT ARENDS

Chris Matthews has a summer home there. So do John and Theresa Kerry, Jack Welch, and Google boss Eric Schmidt. When the boom times rolled, the richest hedge fund managers simply wouldn't buy anywhere else. Nantucket is so upper crust that it makes nearby Martha's Vineyard look positively working class.

But if you have ever wanted to buy a home in this cosseted enclave, now might be the time to start looking. The real-estate crash has even come ashore here. Prices have fallen by about a quarter or more from the peak.

The island has a glut of unsold homes, and even some foreclosures. Hardest hit of all? Vacant land. "The theory that land on Nantucket would always increase in value has been blown out of the water," says local Realtor Kate Ranney Sayle of Denby Real Estate. "Nobody wants to buy it. Right now, you can't give a vacant lot away."

In 2007 the average lot of vacant land sold for $2.3 million, she says. Today? Try $395,000. In a crash of this scale, nowhere is spared. So much for all those people during the bubble who insisted "quality" and "high end" property would retain its value. According to the Case-Shiller index, average US home prices have fallen about 27% from their peak in early 2006. Nantucket tracks pretty closely to the trend. How the mighty have fallen.


Joe Schram/The Wall Street JournalJust a couple of years ago, at the height of the hedge fund boom, the small island was gripped in a speculative frenzy. The richest hedge fund managers, who made their incredible fortunes just down the coast in Greenwich, Connecticut, bid aggressively for homes and land. A place on Nantucket became the latest trophy for the guys who had everything - including a private jet to fly them to and fro. Nantucket was hardly blue-collar to start with, but many locals complained that the new money was ruining the island. Overpriced bistros and frou-frou shops ran riot. Clam shacks gave way to the sort of restaurants where mashed potato is called "potato foam" and a sauce is an "emulsion." Average sales prices for homes doubled in a few years to $2.5 million. Land prices quintupled. Back then you couldn't find a home. Now you can't get rid of one.

"At the peak of the market there were about 230 houses for sale," says broker Cynthia Lenhart of Compass Rose Real Estate. "There were lots of buyers and nothing to sell them. Now there are about 550 houses for sale, and not many buyers." There have even been foreclosures and short-sales, something almost unimaginable until now. Some were properties developed by speculators. But they've also included a prime commercial building on Main Street that was taken over by the bank.

There's a familiar story in most real estate crashes: First the buyers vanish, then inventory piles up, and only then -- normally after a long and painful process of resistance -- do sellers get real and drop prices.

Several Realtors, however, report a slight pickup in interest in recent weeks. There have been a few more visitors stopping by to see what's on the market. Of course it's easy to be skeptical. But mortgage rates are low, economic confidence has improved a little -- and of course the weather makes a weekend trip a slightly cheerier prospect than it was earlier this winter. But whether this turns out to be a false spring for prices is another matter. Nantucket, obviously, is not like other markets. There aren't too many forced sellers. But the laws of supply and demand function even here. So long as there is a big backlog of unsold properties on the market, buyers hold the cards.

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