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  1. Brits do not get any SS or health benefits if they reside outside the UK. But they can go out of the country on 'short holiday' and still collect SS benefits. But no health claims will be entertained. Also state pension benefits are frozen if residing outside the UK, ie no annual index increases will be applied.
  2. A 'rich nation' ... hmmm looking at the US government published data seems to me like a 'indebted nation'. I don't doubt that the US is a rich nation, but the national debt seems to be heading the wrong way, at an alarming rate. Time for the government to WAKE UP.
  3. That's quite an old news report. Bit inaccurate. The man confessing to the stabbing is 32 years old. Phuket expat’s killer: I acted alone PHUKET: A 32-year-old man has confessed to the murder of German expat Wolf Kesselheim, telling police he acted alone and in self-defense. Chalong police arrested Pittaya Srijitraporn yesterday evening at Kata viewpoint, where he made a living charging tourists to pose in photographs with sea eagles. Mr Pittaya was paraded before the media at a press conference at Chalong Police Station this morning. He admitted to stabbing 66-year-old Mr Kesselheim, who was stabbed to death in Chalong on Wednesday night. Mr Pittaya said he had just picked up his two young cousins from school and was driving them home on his motorbike when the incident took place. He confessed to cutting off Mr Kesselheim’s pickup truck at around 7pm outside Chalong Police Station. This angered the German, who followed the three Thais in his pick-up to Chalong Circle, shouting at them along the way. Both vehicles turned off the traffic circle onto Viset Road, heading towards Rawai, with the German honking his horn angrily. Eventually, Mr Pittaya pulled over in front of the German’s truck, forcing him to stop in front of a 7-Eleven. He claimed Mr Kesselheim was too drunk to talk the incident through. Mr Pittaya said the German got out of the truck and punched him in the face, starting a scuffle he realized he could not win against the larger man. When Mr Kesselheim got him in a headlock, the Thai stabbed him with a knife. After the elderly German fell to the ground, Mr Pittaya and his cousins fled on the motorbike. Chalong Police Duty Officer Anukul Nuket said Mr Pittaya denied the younger Thais, both minors, were involved in the fight. Mr Pittaya also claimed that at the time of his arrest he was unaware Mr Kesselheim had died of his injuries. Police led by Phuket Provincial Police Commander Pekad Tantipong this morning made Mr Pittaya re-enact the crime. Mr Kesselheim’s body is being kept at Wat Chalong pending funeral arrangements. Source ---->
  4. à¹You are entitled to your view, and you might be correct. But all ex-US Presidents are entitled to the respect of the office.
  5. I quite sure he would only have been granted a maximum of 7 days extension if he only has a visa on arrival (30 days).
  6. Oh dear, more trouble at Phuket Airport with the taxi drivers all squabbling about concessions. If they do block the airport, that will be another nail in Phuket's tourist industry. Protest over Phuket Airport limo concession PHUKET TOWN: Some 100 members of the Phuket Airport Limousine and Business Cooperative Ltd (PBC) assembled at Phuket Provincial Hall this morning to protest a new concession that gives a rival group of taxis the right to operate 30 new vehicles at Phuket International Airport. Airports of Thailand (AoT) yesterday approved a request by Phuket Mai Khao Sakoo to operate 30 more limousines at the airport. This infuriated staff of the PBC, which for years enjoyed a virtual monopoly concession and was the only taxi service allowed to operate a kiosk inside the arrivals terminal. The PBC operates ‘limousine’ taxis, really just green-plated sedan cars, as well as a less expensive minivan service from the airport to Phuket Town and west coast resort beaches. Two years ago the PBC staged a five-hour protest when the Phuket Mai Khao Sakoo service was launched, for the first time giving the PBC direct competition inside the arrival terminal. There are also about 65 metered taxis operating at the airport, but their counter is outside the main terminal building. There was also a recent crackdown at the airport on unregistered 'black plate' taxis that pick up and drop off passengers without paying fees to AoT. The scene at Provincial Hall was relatively subdued earlier this morning as drivers awaited the arrival of Phuket Governor Wichai Phraisa-ngop, who is flying in to Phuket today and is scheduled to meet tour guides and tour company operators to discuss tourist safety. However, there have been unconfirmed rumors that the PBC is considering a blockade of Phuket International Airport if their demands for a more equitable distribution of the new vehicle allotment goes unheeded. In the latest development, after his arrival Gov Wichai explained to the PBC protesters that he did not attend yesterday's meeting on the new quotas, which cannot go into effect until he signs off on them. A meeting will be held in a week's time to discuss the new quota and to find a solution acceptable to the PBC, he said. Source --->
  7. Here is a story from Phuket's other paper, Phuketwan. Phuket Transport Wins Probe as Former PM Visits By Chutima Sidasathian and Alan Morison Friday, January 22, 2010 Phuketwan News and Analysis AN INVESTIGATION is to be made into Phuket's future public transport needs at a cost of 500,000 baht, the island's Transport Director, Kanok Siripanichkoon, revealed yesterday. He gave Phuketwan a full account of the number of tuk-tuks and taxis on Phuket . . . and an explanation of the financial pressures now coming to bear on some drivers. Share Tuk-tuk and taxi alternatives are expected to be discussed today when the first International Conference of the Society for Transportation and Traffic meets on Phuket, with highly regarded former Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai set to head discussions. Other meetings are taking place amid rising concern about the island's future transport needs. Ten years into the 21st Century, Thailand's prime island tourist destination retains a system based on traditional village zones. Excessive fares, unrivalled in Asia, have become a tourism turn-off. Khun Kanok said yesterday that one option that the 500,000 baht investigation would be looking at closely was a light-rail system. Other ideas would also be examined. Here's his official guide to Phuket's current transport: Tuk-tuks: side-entrance 519, rear-entrance 643. PHUKET AIRPORT Mai Khao Sakool: 40 mini-buses, 20 saloon cars. Airport Limousine and Business Services Cooperative: 125 saloon cars, 25 MU-7 seven-seaters Metered Taxis: 68 Buses: Including seung taews, vehicles of all kinds: 2730 Resort buses: 200 Illegal taxis at the airport: About 200 ''I can't imagine how many illegal vehicles are operating on the whole island,'' Khun Kanok said. Colonel Grissak Songmoonnark, police chief for Patong, where most of the tuk-tuks are based, recently told Phuketwan ''Two hundred tuk-tuks would be enough for the whole island. ''Problems arise because of the rivalry between the tuk-tuk groups, which means they often cannot make pick-ups so return trips are usually made empty. ''The return trip empty is built in to the price. It should be 150 baht to travel from Karon to Patong, but because the driver has to return empty, he charges 300 baht.'' Internet news and chat sites are being filled with criticism of the high fares charged by Phuket's tuk-tuks and taxis, yet at the same time the drivers say they are having problems making ends meet. This appears to be for two reasons: ..the number of drivers is increasing, even though tourists are spending less; ..other organisations and individuals with a vested interest in tuk-tuks and taxis continue to take their cut. He estimated the cost of converting any vehicle to a taxi-meter vehicle at 100,000 baht. This includes the meter and a ''Meter-Taxi'' sign, plus a repaint to the existing colors. Khun Kanok said that by his reckoning, the average Phuket airport taxi visited the airport and picked up six fares a day in high season, and two or perhaps three in low season, if they were lucky. Drivers have to make extra in the high season to sustain themselves and meet their outgoings in the low season. Khun Kanok said the average limo driver had monthly expenses of a 10,000 baht repayment on his vehicle, a 16,450 baht payment to Airports of Thailand as a rental fee, petrol costs of 30,000 baht (1000 baht a day) and 9000 baht for food (300 baht a day). This meant each driver had to make about 65,400 a month simply to break even. Similar pressures applied to tuk-tuk drivers. In both cases, the excessive costs are borne by their tourist customers, and Thailand's tourism reputation suffers as a consequence. ''The problem for Phuket is the people who control these vehicles,'' he said. ''They are above the law. According to the law, taxis and tuk-tuks can pick up customers on Phuket anywhere, any time. ''In Phuket, it doesn't work like that. What does this mean? The island needs a step-by-step approach to improve services. If everybody co-operates, it can work.'' Many tourists now book packages in advance to avoid the high cost of airport taxis, and walk or find alternatives to hiring tuk-tuks. Airport drivers are calling for a reduction in AoT rent and Governor Wichai Praisa-ngob is looking at suggestions. He has said he will respond next week. At the same time, he has suggested trialling meters in tuk-tuks, with a flag-fall of 200 baht, around the Karon and Kata regions. What's plain, though, is that as Phuketwan has proposed, Phuket desperately needs a public transport strategy. That can only come at the initiative of Thailand's national government. Source ---->
  8. Yes I agree that any sort of scheme is better than nothing. However it is very telling that many many Thais prefer to struggle with the fees for private treatment. I've had a life time of (free) National Health service in the UK, and as soon as I could afford it I paid for private health insurance policy.
  9. So if the meter starts at 250 baht then the tourists won't see much difference in these outrageous fares. In Bangkok I can catch a meter taxi from my hotel in centre of town out to the airport (Don Muang) for less than 200 baht. I shall be watching with interest, plenty of Phuket Govs have come and gone, all pledging reforms with Tuk Tuk rates. Nothing has even happened. I expect the same with this Gov.
  10. You might want to reconsider that. At this time 84% of votes counted. Looks like Brown is winning, maybe won ... Edit update FOX News report claims that Brown is the winner. Coakley has conceded.
  11. Some say ??? Have a look at the various polls. They are ALL showing a close vote, some show Brown up a few points, other show Coakly up a few points. Now that the media have highlighted this situation I expect that the Democratic voters will turn out in force and Coakly should win. BUT what an upset if Brown did win. I will be watching the result with great interest.
  12. I learned to 'turn the other cheek' in Patong years ago. Especially after a Thai guy pointed a gun at me for tooting at him when he stopped to chat with some massage ladies, and blocked the main road. Maybe not uncommon in the US, but for a Brit it's very far from usual. Welcome to Patong
  13. Ok, I apologise if I offended anyone. I did try to soften my reply by saying it was a rhetorical answer, using the same sort of words as the previous poster. I thought you would all see the (black) humour in my response. I am astonished that you all have not heard the term POTUS. It's often used in books (I read fiction like Ludlam & Clancy) where the US president is referred as POTUS by the secret service. Just google POTUS, plenty of references, even in wikipedia.
  14. Are you serious ???? where have you been all your life never to have heard about POTUS. Maybe you are as dumb as a post. Note - rhetorical answer.