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  1. I don't go to Foodland for memorable meals. I go there for predictable. quick and economical meals. The memories are provided by those who accompany me.
  2. From The Star South Korea has decided to ban its nationals from traveling to the "Golden Triangle" region in Laos infamous for criminal activities starting next month, the foreign ministry has announced. The Level 4 travel alert, the highest in the government's four-tier travel advisory system, for the region will take effect Feb 1, Yonhap News Agency citing the ministry. The Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone, located along the Mekong River in the Laos province of Bokeo, is known for illegal activities, such as trafficking and scamming. The decision to raise the advisory came as South Koreans have been subject to multiple crimes despite a Level 3 alert being issued for the region since Nov 24, the ministry said. Such crimes involved luring the victims into working for a local company and forcing them to engage in voice phishing scams, prostitution or other illegal activities, and then holding the victims captive and physically assaulting them if they refuse to do so, according to Yonhap. South Korea has also decided to extend the travel ban for another six months on eight countries and six regions, citing the risk of terrorism and unstable security. The travel ban will be extended for Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Ukraine and Sudan, as well as parts of the Philippines, Russia, Belarus, Gaza, Myanmar and the border area between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
  3. NOTE -- Most readers are likely familiar with Richard Barrow, the Bangkok-based English teacher who devotes much of his free time to updating his websites about travel in Thailand and adjacent countries. Here's one of his most recent postings on traveling between Singapore and Bangkok by train. From RichardBarrow.com By Richard Barrow This is a guide to taking a train from Singapore to Bangkok via Kuala Lumpur and Penang in 2024. There are no trains that go all the way from Singapore to Bangkok. You must do it in at least four stages. I did it in five as I did a side trip to Penang. These are my notes detailing the trains that I caught and how much it cost me. file:///C:/Users/User/Downloads/Singapore-to-Bangkok.pdf
  4. From Pattaya News On January 12th, 2024, Asst. Prof. Pimol Srivikorn, the Advisor to the Prime Minister and the president of the Taekwondo Association of Thailand, publicly revealed after the 1st meeting of the Sport Industry Subcommittee regarding an extension visa for foreigners studying Muay Thai to stay in Thailand from 60 to 90 days. “The meeting concluded that the Thai government would build standards for Muay Thai by instituting training and granting official certificates to be a Muay Thai instructor overseas. It is considered to create value for Muay Thai personnel in Thailand,” said Asst. Prof. Pimol. Furthermore, the Thai government would grant a special visa for foreigners who are interested in and desire to study Muay Thai who could stay for an extended period from 60 to 90 days, stated Asst. Prof. Pimol. The Thai government also publicized an official Muay Thai website, Now Muay Thai, as a channel for foreigners to freely choose their Muay Thai gym anywhere in Thailand.
  5. From the BBC US citizens travelling to Colombia have been warned against using dating apps in the country after the "suspicious deaths" of eight American tourists in two months. The US embassy in Bogota said some victims were drugged and robbed after meeting people on these apps. The incidents often occurred in cities like Medellin, Cartagena and Bogota where US tourism has picked up. Travellers are being told to avoid isolated locations like hotel rooms. Criminals use the apps to lure victims to public spaces like restaurants and bars, where they can be assaulted, robbed and even killed, sometimes by the person they meet, the embassy warned. In the final three months of 2023, the number of robberies of foreign visitors increased by 200% and deaths by 29%, including the eight Americans who died between 1 November and 31 December. One of those victims was American comedian and activist Tou Ger Xiong, 50, an Asian-American living in Minnesota. He was on vacation in Colombia at the end of November when he was kidnapped and killed after meeting a woman online and meeting her on a date. Xiong was abducted and fatally stabbed over a dozen times by a group of men. The number of foreign victims of these kinds of crimes could be higher than the figures suggest. "These types of crimes routinely go underreported as victims are embarrassed and do not want to follow through with the judicial process," the embassy said. And those who try to resist or fight back against a robbery attempt are more likely to be killed, it warned.
  6. From the Ledger Please check box if Riobard has never been to Bangkok.
  7. In other words, you've never been to Bangkok, have you?😄
  8. I'm sure you're basing this on your recent visits to Bangkok?
  9. From Pattaya Mail The Samae Beach Seaside viewpoint walkway on Koh Larn Island has been restored to its former glory, much to the delight of the island’s residents and tourists. The circular design of the walkway complements the landscape, creating an aesthetic that harmonizes with the natural surroundings. The walkway has been painted in shades of green, mirroring the hues of the foliage in the background.
  10. From The Nation Loading... The National Identity Committee resolved on Thursday to designate the “wai” – the Thai way of greeting or paying respects – as a national identity, Deputy Prime Minister Somsak Thepsuthin said. Somsak, who chaired the committee’s meeting on Thursday, said that he would later seek a Cabinet endorsement to the resolution so that the “wai” would become Thailand’s official national identity. Wai, the most common greeting used by natives of Thailand, involves bringing one's palms together while bowing or dipping one's head. Somsak said on Thursday that ancient kingdoms in Southeast Asia accepted this greeting gesture from India through the spread of Hinduism and Buddhism, but Thailand managed to refine it and make the “wai” unique from similar gestures in other countries. The deputy premier also said that this way of greeting has become more common internationally, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, when people avoided shaking hands to prevent the spread of the virus. Somsak said that he expected “wai” to become a popular Thai identity in the same way as the elephant, which was declared the national animal several years ago by a previous government.
  11. From The Nation Loading... The chief of the Department of Corrections has approved a Bangkok Remand Prison request to extend former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s stay at the Police General Hospital as he still needs close medical care from specialists there, the department said on Thursday. Director-general Sahakarn Petchnarin’s approval came on Monday after he took into account opinions from Thaksin’s doctors that the ex-premier still needed close medical attention and provided necessary documents, the department said in a statement. “The Department of Corrections director-general agreed that Thaksin should continue his stay at the Police General Hospital because his illness requires close attention from medical specialists. In case of any complications, he will be able to receive immediate treatment,” the statement said. It added that the department was dealing with the case in line with a 2020 Justice Ministry regulation on sending inmates for treatment outside prison. The statement also noted that the department had notified Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong about the director-general’s decision. Those actions by the Bangkok Remand Prison chief and the Department of Corrections chief are required by the ministerial regulation for cases where inmates are treated outside prison for longer than 120 days. Loading... The chief of the Department of Corrections has approved a Bangkok Remand Prison request to extend former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s stay at the Police General Hospital as he still needs close medical care from specialists there, the department said on Thursday. Director-general Sahakarn Petchnarin’s approval came on Monday after he took into account opinions from Thaksin’s doctors that the ex-premier still needed close medical attention and provided necessary documents, the department said in a statement. “The Department of Corrections director-general agreed that Thaksin should continue his stay at the Police General Hospital because his illness requires close attention from medical specialists. In case of any complications, he will be able to receive immediate treatment,” the statement said. It added that the department was dealing with the case in line with a 2020 Justice Ministry regulation on sending inmates for treatment outside prison. The statement also noted that the department had notified Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong about the director-general’s decision. Those actions by the Bangkok Remand Prison chief and the Department of Corrections chief are required by the ministerial regulation for cases where inmates are treated outside prison for longer than 120 days. Thaksin, 74, was sent from the Bangkok Remand Prison to the Police General Hospital in the early hours of August 23, less than 24 hours after he returned to Thailand to face imprisonment for corruption following 15 years of self-imposed exile overseas. The ex-leader, who served as prime minister from February 2001 to September 2006, was sentenced in absentia to eight years in prison. His prison terms were reduced to one year after being given a royal pardon. In its latest statement, the Department of Corrections also maintained that it adheres to international standards and that the patient’s basic rights must be respected. It said that no information about Thaksin’s treatment would be disclosed without his consent. The department cited the National Healthcare Act of 2007, the Penal Code, and the Medical Council of Thailand’s 2006 regulations on the ethics of the medical profession.
  12. China's version of soft power that turns to rock as time passes. The grift that keeps on giving.
  13. A reliable source reports that Hot Male beer bar will remain open late only when customer demand exits.
  14. From The Star PHNOM PENH: The under-construction Techo International Airport (TIA), Cambodia’s largest once completed, is among the most important public infrastructures, reflecting its status as a gateway to the capital and its crucial role in the global economy, according to the heads of Foster + Partners, the firm that designed the facility. It said the project represents a new vision for Phnom Penh, with a design that draws inspiration from the country’s ancient civilisation, its traditional forms and the tropical climate. It added that construction of the airport, located about 20km south of the city centre, is progressing swiftly. The firm’s master plan for the hub includes a state-of-the-art terminal at the heart of a new airport city. It aims to provide the highest levels of passenger experience and set new standards for sustainability. Stefan Behling, head of studio at Foster, commented on the airport’s importance as a symbolic gateway and its role in the globalised economy. “The new airport will be an important part of Phnom Penh’s development as the nation’s primary inter-regional, inter-modal transport hub,” he said. According to the company, the terminal building features a central head the nation’s primary inter-regional, inter-modal transport hub,” he said. “The roof – supported by structural trees spanning 36m– is a lightweight steel grid shell, with an innovative screen that filters daylight and illuminates the vast terminal space. "Designed to be highly legible at a human scale, there are minimal level changes throughout the terminal and views out to the apron to improve clarity and make movement intuitive. Interior materials are warm and welcoming, evoking the Cambodian vernacular in a contemporary manner,” it stated. Nikolai Malsch, senior partner at Foster, emphasised the airport’s symbolic significance. “If nothing changes, the project will be completed by the end of 2024. We expect the airport to open in the first half of 2025, following pilot testing and certification for flight,” he stated.
  15. Home Spa has upped its game with addition of this new "T & B" masseur.
  16. And Japan authorizes were quick to acknowledge that their own communications protocols may have been a contributing factor.
  17. You mean Swiss guards (ones with big poles) are offable?
  18. From the Associated Press Japan issues improved emergency measures following fatal collision Japan's transportation ministry said Tuesday it has introduced improved emergency measures for the country's airports, a week after a fatal collision between a Japan Airlines jetliner and a coast guard plane at Tokyo's busy Haneda airport that is seen as a result of human error. The measures — including more visible stop line markings on taxiways leading to runways and use of clearer language in traffic control communication — are to be implemented right away at Haneda while they are slated to go into effect at other airports across the country in the coming weeks. The probe into the collision has focused on what caused the coast guard flight crew to believe they had a go-ahead for their take off. A partial release of the air traffic control transcript showed no clear takeoff approval was given to the coast guard plane. According to the text, the Tokyo air control gave the JAL plane permission to land on the 34R runway, noting that there is a departing plane, with the JAL pilot repeating the instruction. In the transcript, the traffic control tells the coast guard plane that it was given a “No. 1” priority for takeoff, an expression some experts say might have led the Bombardier crew to mistakenly believe they got a permission to proceed to the runway. According to a report Tuesday in the Asahi newspaper, the coast guard plane may have started communication with the traffic control only after the JAL plane got its landing permission and may not have been aware of the airliner’s arrival. The ministry's new emergency measures call for making sure pilots understand the terminology specifically related to runway entry, urging them to repeat the instructions given by the traffic controls, and ask if they are uncertain. They also instruct traffic control not use numerical terms such as No. 1 suggesting takeoff and landing priorities to avoid confusion. The Haneda traffic control tower has created a new position specifically assigned to monitor a radar system that indicates any unauthorized runway entry, beginning next Saturday. The Haneda airport is the world's third busiest, and preferred of the two in the Tokyo region because of better accessibility to the city's downtown. During its peak time, flights come and leave every few minutes, a frequency comparable to Tokyo's commuter trains.
  19. From Yahoo News errifying video footage has captured the moment two American women were threatened by a knife-wielding taxi driver over the cost of a ride in Bali, while it’s been reported the cabbie has since been caught trying to flee the country. The frightening three-minute clip taken by one of the tourists begins with the pair begging to be let out of the taxi and asking to go to the police while travelling through Kuta, a beach and resort area in Bali’s south. While they offer the driver 50,000 in Indonesian Rupiah (AUD $4.80) for the fare, he insists on USD50 (A$74). Continues with photos https://au.news.yahoo.com/terrifying-moment-bali-tourists-held-up-at-knifepoint-over-taxi-fare-072003507.html
  20. From VN Express Airlines are scrambling to launch direct services between Southeast Asian tourist hubs and China, the world's largest tourism market before Covid broke out. Cambodia Airways on Saturday began flights between Phnom Penh and Chongqing, China’s most populous city with a population of over 31 million, the Khmer Times reported. The twice weekly service is on Mondays and Saturdays. The carrier also flies to Beijing, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Macau, Sanya, Jinan, Jieyang, and Haikou. Cambodia attracted 498,250 Chinese visitors in the first 11 months of last year, or 10% of all foreign arrivals. Singapore-based Jetstar Asia recently launched a direct service to Wuxi City on two days a week. It said on its website that the frequency would be doubled from Jan. 15. Malaysian budget airline Thai AirAsia plans to launch flights, five a week, between Bangkok and Shanghai starting on Feb. 2. Vietnamese budget carrier Thai Vietjet plans to start direct flights from Bangkok to Beijing on March 1. It already flies to Shenzhen and Hangzhou, Nation Thailand reported. Thailand expected to get five million Chinese visitors last year but only managed 3.51 million out of a total of 28 million arrivals. This year it is eyeing eight million Chinese visitors after the two countries agreed to waive visas for each other's citizens starting in March.
  21. From Pattaya Mail By Barry Kenyon Thai premier Srettha Thavisin has told the Cabinet that he is seeking a much more powerful Thai passport which will be enable holders to enter far more than the 34 countries which currently do not require a prior visa or a visa on arrival. Thailand has recently expanded its visa-free policy to several nations including China, Russia and India. Mr Srettha is particularly pleased with the Thai-Chinese agreement which permanently allows tourists visa exemption in both directions. Vice-president of the Thai Travel Agents Association, Phumiphiphat Meesamran, told the Bangkok Post that the Thai government should now push for visa exemptions for Thai nationals with European nations, the UK, the US and Australia – none of which allow Thais visa-free entry even though their nationals are visa exempt to Thailand for 30 days with an easy option to extend for a further month at local Thai immigration for another month. Mr Phumiphiphat noted that visa-free access in both directions would encourage tourism and further economic growth. The main barrier to visa-free access to western nations is their belief that Thais may be tempted to overstay, or even settle, without the approved paperwork. The UK, mainland European nations, Australia and US currently insist that Thais applicants have good reasons to return home, such as property ownership, proof of significant employment or other forms of wealth. There are also some Thai critics of the Cabinet policy. Sumate Sudasna, president of the Thailand and Convention Association, said visa-free access normally applied only to tourists and businessmen would still need to apply for special visas. He added that security issues could be compromised by wholesale abandonment of visas. There is some evidence to support security concerns overall. Some Thais pretend to be tourists visiting South Korea, but they act as “phi noi”, or little ghosts describing their status as illegal workers. Conversely, several Chinese citizens have recently been arrested for illegal working in Thailand. The Thai Chamber of Commerce observed, “If the government and the private sector together advance efforts to build relationships with other countries, the Thai passport can improve its global ranking.” The Asian country whose nationals can visit the most countries without needing a visa is Singapore with 164 choices.
  22. It's ironic that legalizing it was the brainchild of Anutin Charnvirakul, who was Minister of Health in the cabinet of the previous administration and now Interior Minister in current one.
  23. NOTE -- Using the Omni velocity calculator, an object falling 16,000 feet strikes the ground at a speed of 691.8 m.p.h. From CBS News iPhone that got sucked out of Alaska Airlines plane and fell 16,000 feet is found on the ground – and still works When a door plug on an Alaska Airlines plane suddenly ripped off minutes into a flight on Friday evening, everyone on board remained safe, but several objects were sucked out of the aircraft and fell roughly 16,000 feet – including what appears to be an intact and working iPhone. Washington resident Sean Bates tweeted on Sunday that he found an iPhone on the side of the road that was "still in airplane mode with half a battery and open to a baggage claim" for the plane involved in Friday's incident, Alaska Airlines ASA1282. The phone also has a piece of a charger still stuck inside. "Thing got *yanked* out the door," Bates tweeted, "...survived a 16,000 foot drop perfect in tact!" Bates said he called the National Transportation Safety Board, the federal agency investigating the incident, and an agent told him it was the second phone to be found from the plane.
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