Monday, 4 February 2008

Thai Press Freedom - Reality Or Mirage

After the coup in September 2006, the junta set out to obliterate Thaksin's political leadership. A special task force of soldiers paid with public money was sent into the villages of the North and Northeast on a hearts-and-minds mission against pro-Thaksin thinking. The tactics were based on the campaigns which mopped up the last traces of the communist movement in the 1980s. By brandishing their weapons, the soldiers would persuade people to transfer their allegiances.

By decapitating the Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party, the junta expected the alliance of MPs supporting Thaksin to fall apart. Many factions had joined the Thaksin camp since 2001 because that was the way to gain access to power. Now that TRT had been disbanded and Thaksin was in exile, faction leaders would peel away and wait until a new power centre arose. Some did indeed follow this route. [via The Nation]

Ed. This is an extract from a lengthy article in The Nation about events over the last 16 months in Thailand but what makes this article unusual is the implication that the Establishment were the problem, not the solution. The fact that The Nation has run an article like this would suggest that they feel they can express themselves freely without fear of redress. There again they could be owned by the PPP !!!!!

Sierra Tangos

  • As it's a slow news day in Pattaya, (apart from the daily cycle of bag snatches and motorcyke accidents in Pattaya City News), I thought I'd treat you to the latest fashions in G-strings - hot of the catwalks so to speak. Click on the image for a closer look. Bar keeps, any chances we'll be seeing them in your establishments anytime soon? [via Asian Sweethearts]

  • New Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said on Sunday he planned a $16 billion expansion of Bangkok's mass transit system, three times the original cost because of delays. The former Bangkok governor, whose coalition cabinet is expected to be announced in the next few days, said his plan called for up to nine "Skytrain" and underground rail routes to add to the existing three. [via The Epoch Times]

  • Thai Premier Samak Sundaravej plans to submit his cabinet line-up to the king for approval on Wednesday, which would clear the way for the new elected government to be sworn in, an official said. 'The prime minister will submit the cabinet list to the king at 4:30 pm (0930 GMT) Wednesday, and the whole cabinet is set to be sworn in by the king soon afterward,' an official in Samak's People Power Party (PPP) told Agence France-Presse, speaking on condition of anonymity [via Forbes]

  • Pattaya's 5 Star Market Potential - The growth in Pattaya's property market in just the last two years is nothing short of astonishing. There are a number of factors that have caused in this growth, such as the economic strength of the Eastern Seaboard, but none has been more important than tourism.

As an industry, tourism has created international awareness and prosperity, resulting in the establishment of impressive five-star infrastructure assets particularly in terms of transport, health and hospitality, which are directly benefiting the property industry today.

Pattaya has long been the biggest tourism destination for Thailand and continues to be so with an estimated 6.85 million visitors expected to have arrived in 2007, capping an increase rate of almost one million visitors every two years over the last five years.

Thais, who for years have travelled to the beach resort for weekends, remain the dominant group representing between 20% and 25% of total visitors.

The biggest change the destination is experiencing is the surging volume of visitors from Russia. From January to June 2007, a total of 558,608 Russians visited Pattaya, by far the biggest overseas visitor source, and a huge increase over the 482,587 arrivals from the destination in the whole of 2006. [via Bangkok Post]

Ed. This is an extract from a lengthy and positive article on the Pattaya property scene in today's Bangkok Post by Nigel Cornick, CEO Raimon Land. As Raimon Land are behind the Pattaya Northshore development it would have been surprising if it was anything but positive. I leave you to form your own opinions. It's not listed an Advertisement but a Property Insight. What's that then when it's written by vested interests?

  • Just one week to go before the smoking ban is enforced in entertainment venues in Pattaya. Get puffing, time's nearly up.

There’s nothing worse than snapping a once-in-a-lifetime photo just to get home and realize that you weren’t holding the camera still enough. Have no fear because there are several different tools that you can use to try and remove the blurry effect. The bad news is that most of them aren’t free, but we did manage to find one that is.

Unshake is a free Java application that doesn’t require installation. Just download, run the “Launch” shortcut, open the blurry image, and hit the DeBlur button. Unshake will go to work trying to clear up any nasty blurring that may have occurred when the photo was taken. Here’s how it works. Unshake analyses correspondences between nearby points in a picture, and if it finds more similarity between points than it expects, it deduces what went wrong with the image and “deconvolves” it, that is, it works out what the original scene looked like.

The results that I got from the test varied, but in all of the cases the end result was better than the original. As seen in the example on this page you can tweak the various settings to increase the quality of the outputted image. In particular giving Unshake more time to process the image (by increasing the “x1″) will yield way better results, but it will also take a few minutes depending on the size of the image. [via Cybernet]

  • How to create animated Gifs online - Every once in a while you might run into the need for creating animated GIFs online for your website, blog, or just to send to a friend who managed to get caught doing something very stupid that makes for a great digital flip book! With all the tools online today, you can easily create slideshows from pictures, but it usually requires setting up an account and taking out time to create a good slideshow. If you’re not up for all of that work, you can check out a few websites that let you take a couple of pictures and turn them into animated GIFs for free:
  • GIFUP is a free personal GIF animation and avatar generator. All you have to do is upload pictures from your computer or get them from your Flickr account and let GIFUP handle the rest. What I like about GIFUP is that you can also use some basic editing tools on the uploaded pictures. Feel free to rotate, crop, add various effects and text, change frames order, animation speed or the final size of your final GIF animation. At the end, it gives you the code that you can use to embed the GIF into your website or a URL link that you can send to others via email. You can also save the GIF animation to your computer for free.
  • Picasion allows you to grab images from your Picasa Web Albums account! It does not have the editing features of GIFUP, but that’s ok for me since I have everything stored in Picasa. I’ve already edited the photos on my desktop Picasa app before uploading them anyway! To grab pics from Picasa, simply enter in your username and type in a tag for the pictures you would want to grab! No need to supply your Picasa albums password. Of course, this means it can only access your public photos, but that’s cool with me. It’s also amazingly fast! I typed in my name and a tag and got a whole slew of pics in 2 seconds!

[via Online Tech Tips]

  • The New York Giants shocked the world Sunday at Super Bowl XLII against the New England Patriots. Here is a look at the front page of several newspapers/websites from Boston, New York, Phoenix along with ESPN and SI. Click cover image to go to home page of each site. [via Bump Shack]

Ed. The Patriots were just the thickness of a shirt away from victory and perfection. The final 6mins game time, (2 hours in real time), were absolutely riveting, edge of the seat stuff and I'm a Brit. Cometh the hour, cometh the Manning. Yeah, I know, don't quit my day job. One of the things I find amazing about American Football is the quarterback, (usually a wasp) gets all the credit and the other 200 players on the team (anything but wasps) get an orange. Bet they couldn't wait for the phone call from the President to go with the orange.

  • I'm reading HuffPo today to see what's going in the most powerful nation on Earth and I come across, "Let's Do Anal". Say what. I double check I'm still on HuffPo and sure enough I am. I'm thinking, Arianna's revealing her Greek roots. No such luck. The HuffPo leader linked to the full article on "anal sex for beginners" at Tangomag.

  • A guy walks into a bar and asks the bartender if he will give him a free beer if he shows him something amazing. The bartender agrees, so the guys pulls out a hamster, who begins dancing and singing "Tuff Enuff" by the Fabulous Thunderbirds.

"That IS amazing!" says the bartender and gives the guy his free beer.

"If I show you something else amazing, will you give me another beer?" The bartender agrees, so the guy pulls out a small piano and a hamster and a frog. Now the hamster plays the piano while the frog dances and sings "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" by Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

The bartender, completely wowed, gives him another beer. A man in a suit, who's been watching the entire time, offers to buy the frog for a princely sum, which the man agrees to.

"Are you nuts?" asks the bartender. "You could've made a fortune off that frog."

"Can you keep a secret?" asks the man. "The hamster's a ventriloquist."

  • The U.S. Navy initiates it's new terrorist catch and release program. Now isn't that far more satisfying than waterboarding?

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