Thailand resumes flights, ferry services as Storm Pabuk slows

A resident pushes his motorcycle through floodwater from Tropical Storm Pabuk on Friday, January 4, 2019, in Pak Phanang of southern Thailand. (AP)
Updated 05 January 2019
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Thailand resumes flights, ferry services as Storm Pabuk slows

  • The storm lost speed on Saturday and was downgraded to a depression as it moved off land
  • Over the past few days, more than 28,000 people have been evacuated into shelters across seven provinces

BANGKOK: Thailand resumed flights on Saturday to its southern provinces, as the first tropical storm in 30 years slowed and headed into the Andaman Sea, leaving behind a trail of homes damaged by fallen trees or blown-off roofs, and disrupted power networks.
Before tropical storm Pabuk hit land in Nakhon Si Thammarat on Friday, arriving from the Gulf of Thailand, airports had shut in the province and nearby Surat Thani and the holiday island of Koh Samui, with all flights canceled.
But on Saturday, the storm lost speed and was downgraded to a depression as it moved off land, weather officials said, although they maintained warnings of torrential rain and possible flash floods in nine provinces.
“The strong winds are forecast with waves up to 3 to 5 meters high in both the Gulf and in the Andaman Sea,” the Thai Meteorological Department said in a statement, urging ships to keep to shore and highlighting the risk of sudden water surges.
Bangkok Airways, which has a monopoly at the Koh Samui airport, resumed normal operations early on Saturday and added extra flights to assist stranded passengers.
The airports at Nakhon Si Thammarat and Surat Thani will resume operations at noon.
Most ferry services to Thailand’s southern holiday islands have resumed following suspension for the storm.
Over the past few days, more than 28,000 people have been evacuated into shelters across seven provinces, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation said in a daily tally on Saturday.
Authorities have recorded just one death, after a fishing boat capsized in strong winds near the coast of Pattani province, leaving another of the crew missing, though four more were safe.
PTT Exploration and Production, a unit of state-owned PTT, said it expected to resume operations of oil rigs at Bongkot and Erawan, two of Thailand’s biggest gas fields in the Gulf of Thailand, on Sunday.
It had suspended operations there since Monday and brought staff inland.


Pakistan’s top court grants bail to former PM Sharif on medical grounds

Updated 26 March 2019
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Pakistan’s top court grants bail to former PM Sharif on medical grounds

  • Nawaz Sharif is serving a seven-year sentence imposed last year for failing to disclose his source of income to acquire Al-Azizia Steel Mills

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Supreme Court agreed on Tuesday to release former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on bail for six weeks to receive medical treatment but said he would not be allowed to leave the country.
Sharif is serving a seven-year sentence imposed last year for failing to disclose the source of income that allowed him to acquire the Al-Azizia Steel Mills in Saudi Arabia. He has appealed.
The case was heard by a three-judge panel headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa.
The three-time former premier has been suffering from a heart condition and kidney problems and has been admitted to hospital. A previous bail appeal was rejected last month.
The Supreme Court removed Sharif from office in July 2017 for not disclosing part of a salary drawn from his son’s company and he was later convicted in two separate cases of failing to disclose sources of income.
In one of those cases, over the ownership of upmarket properties in London, the high court granted him bail last September, suspending a 10-year sentence until a final decision on his appeal against the conviction.
The appeal process in both cases is continuing.
Sharif has termed the charges against him politically motivated and accused the military and courts of working together to end his political career and destabilize his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party.