Archive | August, 2012

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Etihad Airways Introduces Farm-to-Flight Menus

Posted on 31 August 2012 by admin


Tapping into travelers’ locavore interests, earlier this summer Etihad Airways—the United Arab Emirates‘ main carrier—rolled out an industry first: farm-sourced in-flight food menus that use organic ingredients.

The airline didn’t just place an order with a farm. It partnered with one: the airline’s 200 free-range hens and three beehives are kept at Abu Dhabi Organics Farms, the United Arab Emirates’ first internationally certified-organic farm and in operation since 1997. Eggs from the hens are used for the “eggs any style” breakfast for Diamond First Class passengers. Whether your vice is scrambled or sunny-side up, on-board chefs whip them up for you as you start a new day. Honey from the bees is used as an ingredient in dishes served in all cabins, as well as hot tea.

In addition to eggs and honey, Etihad Airways developed a 100-percent organic dish that’s proof airline meals can be more than just peanuts. Ingredients are sourced from organic farmers in the United Arab Emirates. Tomato caprese salad is included in the Diamond First Class Mezoon Grille menu and features cherry tomato, basil, rocket-leaf lettuce, mozzarella, and olive oil. And that’s not all. Plans call for adding organic signature pickles so that guests can munch on a snack seasoned with paprika, chili, onion, capsicum, and dates. Served alongside warm bread and a cheese plate, in-flight dining has never been this good.

Photos courtesy of Etihad Airways

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Undiscovered Hawaii: The Big Island

Posted on 31 August 2012 by admin

By Michele Bigley


With its erupting Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii’s Big Island promises something new at every visit. But for people more interested in culture, community, and cuisine than lava, there are plenty of changes afoot. The Big Island’s most popular tourist destination, Waikoloa, has kicked the offerings up a notch and is currently erupting with energy of its own.

Where to Stay

Kona’s Waikoloa region might be known for its stunning resorts and plush condos, but there is a new kid in town—one that is changing the face of this tourist region. Owned by the guys behind Kona’s famed Huggos on the Beach, the Lava Lava Beach Club and Restaurant recently splashed on the scene, making waves with locals and tourists craving sophisticated accommodations on the sand. The four cottages feature beach chic interiors that would make any interior designer smile. Think bubble gum colored daybeds topped with heaps of pillows, bowls of seashells, ukuleles hung from the walls, local art featuring surfers, a wide comfy bed with views of A’ Bay through the floor to ceiling windows, an outdoor rock shower, and a kitchenette. Sit on the lanai with a flaming blue cocktail and watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean. Or meander over to the restaurant where you can bury your toes in the sand and sip microbrews and fill up on fish tacos while musicians serenade the setting sun.

Where to Eat

Food in Waikoloa doesn’t come cheap. And the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel’s Canoe House Restaurant might cost a pretty penny. But with the addition of new chef Allen Hess, every morsel is worth the money. Sit along the coastline, with tiki torches ablaze as the sun descends over the sea and get to know some of the freshest Hawaiian seafood on the island. Hess only offers what can currently be sourced from the ocean, so his seafood, like the indulgent coastal salad or the furikake-crusted ono, is enough to make even the most serious foodie giddy.

Inside the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel, the organic coffee growers and roasters Mountain Thunder have opened a shop—pleasing locals and tourists who had, up until recently, not been able to find a killer cup. If that’s not enough, sign up to visit their farm and roast five pounds of your own organic beans to take home for friends and neighbors.

Where to Swim

Waikoloa breeds stunning strands, but if you want to get away from the crowds, park at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel. Ask the valet for directions to the black sand beach. You’ll walk south along the coast, past the golf course, to a hidden black sand beach lined with houses where you will find some of the finest snorkeling in Hawaii. But shhhh, don’t let the secret get out. For now, the beach is rarely visited by anyone but locals and a snorkel boat that docks here every so often.

Insider Tip

Okay, so you come to Hawaii to don a bikini, but on the Big Island, you’ll need to lug a sweater as well. The Big Island can get cold, especially if you are heading up to the volcano, Mauna Loa, or nearby Waimea Town to grab a bite to eat.

Want more undiscovered Hawaii? Check out ‘Undiscovered Molokai’ and take a look at our insider’s guide to Kauai’s West Side.

Photo credits: Big Island beach via Shutterstock; Historical park on the Big Island via Shutterstock

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What to Wear To Get Upgraded

Posted on 31 August 2012 by admin

Growing up in a hospitality-driven family (my mother works for Alaska Airlines and my father in hotels), getting upgraded was always a coveted possibility. With an employee’s handbook in hand, my mom used to chide me on sloppiness before boarding a flight. No sweatpants. (Not even the Juicy Couture kind.) Check. Polished heels with flats to change into. Double check. Granted, some of it was old school, and especially in our casual dressing times, perhaps not necessary, but a lot of it has stuck with me. The truth is, looking good actually helps when angling for an upgrade. Here are a few style picks with the luxuries of first class in mind.



Look 1: First Lady Chic

Nothing stands out in the airport terminal like a cool and collected look. With election season in full swing, first ladies are a good guideline. Their styles tend to be more structured and in favor of texture, like this boxy boucle tweed coat ($280 by Rory Beca) with metallic threads that will (hopefully) catch the eye of the gate agent. For a take on the modern skirt suit, pair with a bateau neck sweater in the same color family ($17.99 at Target) and bright tweed pencil skirt in head-turning cobalt ($75). Though, flats are comfy, stow them in this handsome designer bag by Reed Krakoff ($1,090). This is the time to pay attention to your footwear. A classic pump, especially in this leg-lengthening nude patent ($59 by Nine West), with a moderate heel will go a long way at check-in. (So will batting eyelashes, but you didn’t hear that from us.)


Look 2: Movie Star

It used to be first class was a denim-free zone. Those days are long over, so take cues from A-listers who lay all the way back in first class wearing dressy jeans. We like style arbiter Gwyneth Paltrow’s style: the mom of two flits between London, New York, and LA looking just about perfect. Paltrow often wears skinny jeans—here, we selected a pair by another famous frequent flier, Victoria Beckham ($265)—tucked into boots like these by Burberry in walnut brown ($850). On top, she sticks with a classic button-down, maybe in a light blue (贕 by MIH Jeans). In case of chilly cabins, bring along a shearling jacket, cut into a hip motorcycle shape ($2,115 by Acne). Budget watchers can try faux versions, or go to for more affordable price points. Accent with a simple stone drop necklace ($96)â��agates are all the range—and pull all your documents together with a hot pink travel wallet ($145.99). Just remember to take off your Jackie O sunglasses while chatting up the check-in agent.



Look 1: Dandy CEO

Play the part of a mover and shaker. Sure, a regular suit will accomplish the head honcho look, but stylish business casual makes a stronger, cooler impression. British menswear is a good guiding light. Look in your closet for gray trousers, or French Connection makes nice flat-front designs ($198). On top, throw on a striped blue shirt, maybe with a tweak like this Rag Bone design with partial button-down placket ($205). To highlight English dandy style, slip on wing-tip oxfords ($188 by Allerton) and loop on a menswear print scarf, like this one in houndstooth by Ermenegildo Zegna ($185). But, if there is one category to invest in, it would be outerwear. A traditional trench coat by the Mackintosh or Burberry ($1,295) will last you ages and add tremendously to your wardrobe. Lastly, these Bose in-the-ear headphones ($129.95 for music and calls) will comfortably stay in place hours into your flight.


Look 2: Jet-Setter

These days, first class regulars don’t always have your usual desk jobs with humdrum dress codes. So, take inspiration from bad-boy-look-aficionado/millionaire Brad Pitt. Pitt’s jet-set look is polished but also kind of rebellious. There’s a hint of that in these black motorcycle boots ($219.99) and Ray-Ban folding aviators that neatly tuck into breast pockets ($244.ȿ). On top, the actor usually goes for something basic with an athletic feel, like a three-button henleyâ€�we like this one in rich Bordeaux ($18.36). Just add your favorite denim. The finishing pieces are what separate the outfit; a black leather jacket is a must-have, like this Belstaff one with snap buttons ($1,450), and a dapper checked cap in a textured wool blend ($24) adds just the right gentlemanly touch.

Photo credits: Women: First Lady Chic: Top left, Target Brands, Inc. Bottom left,  REED KRAKOFF LLC; Top center, Lord Taylor; Bottom center, Nine West; Right, Movie Star: Top left,; Bottom left,; Center, NET-A-PORTER.COM; Top right, Planet Blue; Middle right,; Bottom right, Matches. Men: Dandy CEO: Top left, MRPORTER; Bottom left, Neiman Marcus; Top center, Bose Corporation Bottom center, French Connection Limited; Top right,; Bottom right,Â�J. Crew. Jet Setter: Top left, Topshop USA; Bottom left, SINGER22; Center, Sunglass Hut; Top right, Sierra Trading Post, Inc.; Bottom right,Â�

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Seoul officially rebuffs Tokyo’s Dokdo proposal

Posted on 31 August 2012 by admin

Seoul on Thursday sent Tokyo a diplomatic document rebuffing Japan’s proposal to bring the spat over the Dokdo islets to the International Court of Justice.

Calling the rejection “very disappointing,” Japan’s Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said his government will seek proper measures including referring the case to the court on its own, according to Kyodo News.

Seoul’s Foreign Ministry gave the document to an official from the Japanese Embassy who visited the government building in the morning.

“Japan’s wrongful claim over Dokdo is an act of undermining our sovereignty,” ministry spokesperson Cho Tai-young said during a regular briefing, urging Tokyo to immediately stop it.

“Dokdo is unequivocal Korean territory historically, geographically and under the international law. We made it clear [through the document] that it is not under dispute and there is no reason whatsoever to respond to Japan’s written proposal [for ICJ litigation].”

In protest of President Lee Myung-bak’s August 10 visit to the islets and his call for Emperor Akihito’s apology for Japan’s colonial atrocities, Tokyo delivered last Tuesday to a Korean mission its written proposal to have the fray taken to the ICJ.

Cho added that through the document, Seoul reminded Tokyo of the “historical fact” that Dokdo is Korea’s first victim of Japan’s past imperialism, and that Dokdo was recovered following Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II in 1945.

The rejection of Japan’s proposal came a day after the upper house of Japan’s bicameral Diet passed a resolution calling on Korea to withdraw the “illegal” occupation of the islets, which it calls “Takeshima”. Its lower court adopted a separate resolution last Friday that condemned Lee for his visit to Dokdo and call for the emperor’s apology.

Observers say the Tokyo government may take the litigation process although the court proceedings cannot be initiated without Seoul’s consent. Korea has not accepted the court’s compulsory jurisdiction.

Should Tokyo file a suit with the ICJ, the court is to notify Seoul of the fact. But Seoul does not need to explain why it will not respond to the call for litigation.

Even if the litigation process cannot move forward, observers say that Japan may utilise the process itself to claim that Seoul is not confident in its argument concerning the sovereignty issue.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is expected to continue his tough stance on the territorial spat amid mounting political pressure ahead of parliamentary polls expected as early as in October.

On Wednesday, the upper house of the Diet adopted a censure motion against Noda in protest of his failure to keep a promise to hold the elections soon and his Democratic Party of Japan having unilaterally passed a set of bills at the Diet’s lower house.

He was the third prime minister against whom a censure motion was adopted. The motion is not legally binding, but dealt a political blow to the embattled Noda. The two former prime ministers censured at the legislature stepped down within three months.

As Noda comes under more political pressure, he would make more efforts not to seem soft on a range of territorial and historical issues that have strained ties with neighboring states such as Korea and China, analysts said.

On Monday, Noda claimed that there was no evidence that Japan forcibly mobilised Korean women for sexual enslavement during World War II. He has also said that his government will sternly deal with its territorial issues.

Some observers said that the diplomatic tension over Dokdo may not sharply escalate for the time being since preparing for litigation would take at least several months.

Seoul also appears to be attempting to maintain composure. But efforts to gain international support over the spat are expected to continue with both sides apparently moving to drum up international support for their claims through the media and other means.

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US helps Philippines fortify defence in West Sea

Posted on 31 August 2012 by admin

Pursuing its pivot to Asia strategy, the United States yesterday handed over to the Philippines new equipment to improve surveillance and law enforcement operations in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) as President Benigno Aquino prepared to meet China’s leader for talks that may include territorial disputes in those waters.

US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas turned over to police and local government officials in Palawan province two new patrol boats and two boat-towing pick-ups to support the Philippine National Police Special Boat Unit (SBU) in the island province.

The United States is also helping the Philippines build a new SBU outstation on Balabac Island, off Palawan’s southernmost tip close to Sabah in Borneo.

Police and local officials in Palawan said the new equipment would not be used for border patrols in disputed parts of the West Philippine Sea but for surveillance against transnational crimes.

Containing China

But US help to China’s rivals for territory in the West Philippine Sea is seen in Beijing as an attempt to contain China’s growing influence in the Asia-Pacific region, drawing hawkish comments from Chinese military leaders increasingly suspicious about Washington’s renewed focus on Asia.

The United States has said it has national interest in the maintenance of stability and freedom of navigation in the West Philippine Sea, parts of which US allies the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan claim but all of which China insists is part of its territory.

In April, China’s insistence of sovereignty over the entire sea met resistance from the Philippines, which stood its ground at Panatag Shoal (Scarbourough Shoal), a reef within Philippine territory where Chinese fishermen had been caught poaching sharks and harvesting rare clams and corals. For two months, two Philippine vessels faced off with Chinese ships that sought to prevent the arrest of the fishermen until stormy weather drove the Filipinos to shelter in mid-June.

The standoff has soured relations between the two countries, but Beijing’s proffer of a bilateral meeting between President Aquino and Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the 20th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) leaders’ summit in Russia next week was seen as a sign that China is cooperating with the Philippines in finding a peaceful solution to the dispute.

Apec summit

The Apec leaders’ summit will be held on Russky Island, in the Pacific Ocean off the port city of Vladivostok, on September 8 and 9.

Foreign Undersecretary Laura del Rosario told a press briefing in Malacañang on Wednesday that China had proposed a one-on-one meeting between President Aquino and Hu and that Aquino would accept.

Aquino leaves for Vladivostok on September 7 to join other regional and world leaders in the summit on Russky.

He will join exchanges on trade and liberalisation, regional economic integration, strengthening food security, establishing reliable supply chains and cooperation to foster innovative growth. Officials said the Philippines would present its position on each of these issues.

The President will address the Apec Business Advisory Council (Abac) Dialogue with Leaders, after which he will meet with Hu and the leaders of Japan, Singapore and Chile.

Del Rosario said Aquino would not raise the West Philippine Sea dispute in his meeting with Hu, but Hu was expected to bring it up.

In that case, Del Rosario said Aquino would explain to the Chinese side what the Philippines was doing to “deescalate” tensions and maintain economic relations.

Focus on partnerships

Del Rosario said the meeting had not yet been confirmed, as the Philippine and Chinese delegations were still preparing their schedules.

But she said the Chinese side had proposed the meeting, and Aquino would accept.

She said the Philippines wanted to focus on boosting economic partnerships with China during the meeting, not the West Philippine Sea dispute.

Aimed at fighting transnational crime, Thursday’s US activity in Palawan should not derail the Russky meeting.

Joint naval patrols

The US Embassy in Manila said the donation was part of continuing US$9-million (380-million peso) US support to the SBU programme, which was established in 2010 through a partnership between the PNP and the US Department of Justice’s International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Programme.

“This partnership has greatly increased the capabilities of the Philippine authorities to confront long-standing transnational organised criminal activity,” Thomas said in a statement.

The new equipment will also be useful should the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia approve joint patrols of their sea borders to combat piracy, smuggling and the movement of al-Qaeda-linked terrorists.

Defence Secretary Voltaire Gazmin yesterday said that the proposal was discussed during his meeting earlier this week with his Malaysian and Indonesian counterparts, who travelled to the Philippines to visit their troops involved in efforts to strengthen a ceasefire between the Philippine military and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Gazmin said the three countries would study the proposed joint naval patrols, along with real-time information exchanges and rapid-response arrangements to deal with emergencies at sea and cross-border crimes.

First proposed in 2006 as a “modern police unit fully capable of enforcing maritime law,” the PNP SBU in Palawan has seized contraband worth $1.1 million, or nearly 50 million pesos, made 200 arrests at sea and accosted 17 vessels.

The arrests were related to cigarette and fuel smuggling, illegal drugs and weapons, illegal fishing and poaching of protected marine resources.

Illegal fishing and poaching are problems involving Chinese fishermen, but if the talks between Aquino and Hu are successful, Manila can expect an easing of these causes of friction with Beijing.

With reports from TJ Burgonio, AP and AFP

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US remains firm in commitment to defence treaty, re-pivot to Asia

Posted on 31 August 2012 by admin

United States Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas Jr. on Wednesday said that amid countries’ territorial disputes over areas in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), the US would remain firm to its commitment under its Mutual Defence Treaty (MDT) ties with the Philippines, and its plan to reposition its military forces in the Asia Pacific region.

“Rising tensions is in no one’s interest but, as Secretary Hillary Clinton has stated, we are a Pacific nation, the United States, we stand by our Mutual Defence Treaty,” Thomas said.

Speaking at the at a Makati Business Club’s (MBC) general membership meeting on the topic The Significance of the Philippines – United States Alliance in a Volatile Pacific Region, Thomas said: “We have made a re-balance or re-pivot to Asia on all sides and that will continue.”

Thomas, in his speech and in interviews with reporters at the sidelines of the meet, reiterated the United States’ position of having peaceful resolutions to the disputes in accordance with international law.

He added that the West Philippine Sea issue was something that the US worked out on a daily business with concerned Philippine government officials, but that they called on all nation states to “sit and decide on things at the negotiating table.”

“We don’t want to further escalate tensions; we want peaceful resolution of tensions but we want all countries to live up to their agreements and that is why we support the Code of Conduct between China and Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). We think this is a better way to resolve this,��� Thomas said.

Tensions in the West Philippine Sea, internationally known as South China Sea, have been rising in the recent months, with countries� contesting their claims over the area, and China deploying its ships around the Scarbourough Shoal.

Apart from China, the Philippines, Brunei Malaysia and Vietnam, and Taiwan claim parts of the sea.

Manila has been pushing for diplomatic, legal and political solution to the dispute, which began when maritime authorities caught Chinese fishermen reportedly poaching in the disputed waters.

China claims sovereignty over nearly all of the West Philippine Sea, which is believed to sit atop vast amounts of oil and gas, is one of the region’s most important fishing grounds, and is home to shipping lanes that are vital to global trade.

Asked about the specifics of the US plan to rebuild its forces in Asia in relation to assistance to the Philippines, Thomas said that they were looking for a “balance�� in the relationship, not only focusing on military plans but also beefing up efforts for humanitarian assistance, disaster mitigation efforts and economic investment.

He, however, said that in terms of equipment, they we’re bringing the second cutter, the Dallas, to the Philippines, in about six to eight months. He said that Filipino sailors were already training on manning the ship.

Thomas also said that he would be heading to Puerto Princesa, Palawan Thursday to donate the last of the six ships the US had been providing to the Philippine National Police (PNP) to help the agency capture smugglers.

He said that the White House would also be sending a team to the country next week to meet Filipino officials and engage sectors in efforts to combat human trafficking.

He said he was also pleased that members of other Asean were also stepping up to assist the Philippines militarily across a broad range especially in disaster and humanitarian assistance.

“We have poured last year US$4 million to help cities train to prevent and mitigate flood. We’ll put more money in next year for disaster relief because clearly climate change has already been the ring of fire. We have US AID and the defence department working on Philippine organisations on recommendations on these assistance,” he said.

He also noted how the US had more peace corps volunteers in the Philippines than any country in the world, and that there were over 200 peace corps volunteers in the country.

Thomas stressed how the Philippines should particularly work on its economic investments and initiatives and step up to not lag behind other Asean nations, saying that of the $150 billion investment in Asean, $100 billion was in Singapore.

“How do you attract that $100 billion that Singapore has to the Philippines that is not up to us, that is up to you to design,” Thomas said.

He noted how the Philippines ranked eight or ninth economically among Asean countries but that he believed that the Philippines could be number one.

Thomas said that they were working on getting American businessmen to look favourably on Southeast Asian nations, but that Southeast Asian nations-based business should open up and be more transparent economic societies.

Thomas said that with his experience in the Philippines, he believed that the country needed to work on transparency in court system and bureaucracy, speed of decision making, and predictability.

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Taiwan, China vice ministers preside at joint maritime drill

Posted on 31 August 2012 by admin

The second cross-strait joint maritime search and rescue exercise was held yesterday in the waters between Xiamen and Kinmen, aimed at building a sound maritime search and rescue mechanism and maintaining peace across the Strait.

Around 600 rescue officers and coast guards from Taiwan and China took part in the exercise, which involved 18 vessels and two helicopters from Taiwan, as well as 11 ships and one helicopter dispatched by China.

The vice minister of Taiwan’s Coast Guard Administration, Cheng Chang-hsiung, and China’s vice transport minister, Xu Zuyuan, jointly presided over the exercise in their respective capacities as honourary chairmen of the Chinese Search and Rescue Association and China’s Association for Shipping Across the Taiwan Strait.

To avoid controversy, the vessels and helicopters of both sides sailed without flying their respective national flags, with drill flags used instead.

Cheng and Xu, each leading a group of officials, watched the exercise onboard the 2,000-ton Taiwanese frigate “Tainan”.

“It’s the first time ever that Chinese government officials have been onboard a coast guard vessel from Taiwan,” Coast Guard spokesman Hsieh Ching-chin told reporters. “It’s significant both historically and symbolically.�

The exercise played out a scenario where a passenger aircraft had crashed into the ocean, hitting a passenger boat shuttling between Kinmen and the mainland, the spokesman said. Other scenarios included rescue operations for overturned fishing boats and rescuing their passengers and crew, he said.

Meanwhile, Xu said yesterday that both the Chinese mainland and Taiwan have agreed to hold a joint maritime search and rescue exercise every other year, taking turns as host.

Xu made the announcement during the ongoing cross-strait maritime rescue exercise, the second such exercise since the first one in 2010.

The exercise aims to meet the mounting need for maritime emergency rescue abilities after the mainland and Taiwan started direct flights and shipments of commodities in 2008.

Last year, the maritime rescue coordinating centre of Fujian province, which is on the opposite side of Taiwan across the strait, rescued 193 ships and saved 1,973 people through 209 manoeuvres.

As of the first half of this year, cross-strait travellers rose 13.6 per cent year-on-year to hit 840,000, while the volume of cargo and container transportation reached 27 million tonnes and 840,000 TEUs separately.

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Dialogue key to ending Syrian crisis, says Thai minister

Posted on 31 August 2012 by admin

Thailand will today (Friday) tell leaders at the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) that the Syrian crisis can be solved through dialogue.

The 18-month-old Syrian crisis is one of the hot topics at the summit of the 120-member NAM. Iran, as the body’s current chair, is playing the role of peacemaker in attempts to end the bloody conflict.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, in Iran for the summit since Wednesday, discussed the Syrian crisis with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

He urged Iran to use its influence to call on Syrian leaders to end the violence and create conditions for dialogue and a political solution.

Iran proposed that a “troika” take on the Syrian problem – previous NAM chair Egypt, current chair Iran and the next chair Venezuela.

Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul, who will speak to the summit on behalf of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, will say that sustainable peace can only be achieved through dialogue.

“We express our sincere and steadfast hope that the people of Syria will be able to resolve their current struggles through an inclusive process so that peace can be returned to the country,” he states in his written speech.

Differences, disagreements and disputes are part of human nature, he says. As such, they can even occur within and between countries that have otherwise enjoyed longstanding friendship and cooperation.

“Thailand is convinced that dialogue can eliminate misunderstandings and prejudices,” the speech reads. On the Palestine issue, Surapong will inform the summit that Thailand has established diplomatic relations with the State of Palestine.

“We fully support the ‘Two State Solution’, which envisages an independent Palestinian state co-existing peacefully with the State of Israel,” his speech says.

Surapong will also suggest His Majesty the King’s philosophy of “sufficiency economy” as a solution for peace and a better life for people.

The philosophy emphasises moderation, living within one’s means and responsible consumption to provide the necessary resilience to external shocks.

This has contributed to Thailand’s resilient economy and quick recovery from past political crises, global economic setbacks as well as last year’s devastating floods, Surapong’s speech says.

Thailand is ready to share its expertise and best practices in various areas of technical cooperation and capacity building in the South-South framework, which would complement North-South cooperation, Surapong’s speech reads.

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Stocks close 1.60% lower

Posted on 31 August 2012 by admin

Tokyo stocks closed 1.60% lower on Friday after a worse-than-expected drop in Japan’s factory output while investors look to a speech by US Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke later in the day.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange lost 143.87 points to 8,839.91 while the broader Topix index of all first-section issues was down 1.63%, or 12.15 points, at翛.64.

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Top 5 Apps for Vacationing Photographers

Posted on 31 August 2012 by admin

Nothing beats the size, simplicity, and ease of the smartphone camera. It’s in your pocket anyway, and the built-in camera’s quality and functionality is better than some basic point-and-shoots. Case in point, the newest iPhone and HTC1S both have 8-megapixel cameras. Banking on the smartphone’s photogenic qualities, the app revolution has brought a brood of photo-enhancing add-ons more plentiful than Brangelina’s power-family. We’re not saying you should cut all ties with your multi-lens dSLR, but the five apps below will convert you from smartphone photography novice to virtuoso, proving the best camera is the one you have with you.




As much as the slightly awkward family self-portrait sporting dad’s hairy arm and half of your aunt’s face is a vacation classic—and a likely candidate for—there’s a better way. TimerCam allows you to pick four time-delay settings (in 5, 10, 15, or 30 second increments), and once you hit the camera icon, the app counts down to your moment in the limelight. If you like the shot, save it to your gallery, if you’d prefer to self-snap another, cancel it and set it up again.

Works with: iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Find an Android version here.




Remember that 1970′s multi-generational photo collage hanging in your childhood friend’s  hallway? Forty years later, there’s an app for that! PicFrame is the modern-day photographer’s way of making vacation photo collages, offering 67 customizable frames, a bevy of filters, plain or patterned backgrounds, and the ability to add labels to each photo. Insert your pics and save the frame for printing, or share it via Facebook or other social media platforms.

Insider Tip: Don’t want to spend 99 of your hard-earned pennies on a photo collage app? You’re in luck. Less the labels, patterned backgrounds, and rounded corners, Picture Frames FREE has similar functionality and 18 frames to create a three-in-one Kodak moment.

Works with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Android.




Not just for hipsters on fixie bikes or food photos, Instagram is the dead-simple, uber-app you can’t stop hearing about. It turns ho-hum photos into (near) Ansel Adams masterpieces (kind of). Add one of 18 photo filters, plus a light room’s worth of photo tricks to snaps taken on-demand or past photos in your gallery. Use the app in “private” mode to spruce photos and save them to your gallery (to impress family and friends later), or use the app’s robust social networking capabilities to share your photos with the world tout suite.

Works with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Android.




If a picture’s worth a thousand words, what happens if you add words to that picture? Deep thoughts aside, turn plain photos into magazine cover material with the help of Phonto, a photo-meets-literary app boasting 200 fonts for budding wordsmiths with a penchant for visual arts.

Works with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Android.




For many years, the digital photo craze left buying and sending postcards in yesteryear’s dust. Thank goodness for nostalgia and savvy developers behind apps like Postino. Now there’s a way to snap, personalize, and send a digital postcard to your loved ones while you’re sitting in a cafe (with WiFi) in Ibiza. After selecting a photo from your stream, it only takes two minutes to create, pen, and sign your customized postcard, and send it on its merry way.

Works with: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, plus Android and Windows phones.

Insider Tip: For those who haven’t joined the digital revolution (like your 92-yr old grandpa), convert your postcard from digital to physical in a flash. For a small shipping and handling fee, Postino and other apps like fCards will print and send your postcard by mail. Everybody wins, even grandpa.

Bonus: the All-in-One Photo App

We suggest adding all the apps above to your smartphone’s photography collection, but if you’re only going to download one do-it-all photo app, make it Camera+ ($0.99). It’s your smartphone’s version of a Swiss Army Knife with a built-in self-timer, zoom, stabilizer, advanced shooting modes, light room effects, and flash settings (that can be added after you’ve shot the photo). Just think of all those no-flash shots you secretly snapped in museums and churches abroad that can now be brought to life.

All photos courtesy of Trish Friesen

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