The Cabinet decision to increase salaries for lawmakers in Thailand by about 14 percent has attracted widespread criticism. Social-media enthusiasts and online critics aired their views and left messages against the unpopular move. Many said the performance of most MPs did not warrant a salary hike. Asia’s largest human trafficking ring smashed: The National Immigration Agency announced that it has smashed a cross-border human trafficking ring, the largest in Asia, after over a year of cooperation with their counterparts in Hong Kong, Thailand, Britain and the US. Thai investigators refuse to release report on shot Reuters cameraman Thailand’s department of special investigation (DSI) is refusing to release the full report on the death of Reuters cameraman Hiro Muramoto following a leak that he was killed by a Thai soldier. DSI chief Tharit Pengdit said the continuing investigation into the death of Muramoto during the Bangkok red-shirt protests in May could be affected by disclosure. Rubber extended a rally to an all-time high as persistent rain in Thailand, the top producer and exporter, lowered output, adding to worries over tightening supply ahead of low-production season early next year. The cash price in Thailand also reached a record. Zimbabwe’s Minister of Sport has called on police to investigate claims of match-fixing made against the national team. Zimbabwe players and officials have admitted being paid to throw matches on a trip to Thailand and Malaysia, losing 3-0 to Thailand and 6-0 to Syria. Thailand’s reverse democratisation and the violence that has characterized it has tarnished participatory democracy as an approach to governance in the view of some Asean members. Paired with China’s well-documented soft-power onslaught in the region, the result is that countries such as Laos and Vietnam have backed away from opening up their political systems and are increasingly attracted to the Beijing model of capitalism. Centara Hotels & Resorts hopes its latest launch of three-star Centra and Centara Boutique Collection brands will become its key revenue driver in hotel management over the next few years. The five-star hotel segment has many players right now. This year, the revenue contribution of both Centra and Centara Boutique Collection will be only 10 percent, but will increase to 20 percent in 2011. Centel secured four management contracts for Centra including the Centra Ashalee on Patong beach, Phuket, to open this month in Thailand. Hilton Hotels & Resorts continues the global growth of its leisure portfolio with the opening of Hilton Pattaya. The 302-room new-build, upscale and full-service hotel enjoys a prime location on Pattaya Beach, one of Thailand’s most popular family resort destinations. The fourth Hilton-branded property in the country, Hilton Pattaya offers amazing 180-degree views and the vacation destination’s only rooftop sky venue. As Phuket experiences an increase in the number of tourists visiting the Island, its economy appears not to have been affected by the recent rise in the value of the Thai Baht against major currencies. The Baht has gained more than ten percent against the US dollar and Euro this year to date, rising to its highest level in 13 years.

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