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International Sports: Queen goes 3D; Clarke to miss Boxing Day test; Messi gets another

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International Sports: Queen goes 3D; Clarke to miss Boxing Day test; Messi gets another | Thaiger
Queen Elizabeth goes 3D for Olympics tribute
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Queen Elizabeth will use her traditional Christmas Day message, filmed in 3D for the first time, to pay tribute to the world’s athletes for delivering a “splendid summer of sport” at the London Olympics.

In her personal address to the nation, the monarch will pay tribute to the competitors’ “skill, dedication, training and teamwork”, her office said.

The 86-year-old head of state provided an Olympic highlight when she made a surprise comic turn with James Bond actor Daniel Craig in a short film for the opening ceremony.

“In pursuing their own sporting goals, they gave the rest of us the opportunity to share something of the excitement and drama,” she will say, according to advance extracts.

The Queen missed a church service at her country retreat yesterday due to a cold, Buckingham Palace said. Her message was pre-recorded and will go out as expected.

It comes at the end of a landmark year for the royal family.

The Queen marked 60 years on the throne with the Diamond Jubilee celebrations and her grandson Prince William and his wife Kate are expecting their first baby.

Prime Minister David Cameron issued his own Christmas message in which he talked of Britain’s “extraordinary year”.

“We cheered our queen to the rafters with the Jubilee, showed the world what we’re made of by staging the most spectacular Olympic and Paralympic Games ever and – let’s not forget – punched way above our weight in the medals table,” he said.

The first Christmas broadcast was given by Queen Elizabeth’s grandfather George V in 1932. It has become a Christmas Day tradition for many families to watch it together after lunch.

Clarke to miss Boxing Day test if fitness doubts remain
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Australia will not risk playing captain Michael Clarke in next week’s second test against Sri Lanka if he is not fully fit, chairman of selectors John Inverarity said yesterday.

Clarke is doubtful for the Melbourne test starting on Boxing Day after a hamstring problem forced him to retire hurt while batting on the fourth day of Australia’s 137-run win in the opening match of the series in Hobart.

The 31-year-old batsman, who is the leading scorer in tests in 2012 with 1,489 runs, has repeatedly said he was confident of returning to fitness in time for the second test at the MCG but Inverarity was not sure it was worth taking the risk.

“He’s a very precious asset and I would go low risk,” Inverarity told reporters after watching Sunday’s training session at the MCG, in which Clarke underwent light duties.

“He’s always upbeat, he desperately wants to play. But we certainly don’t want to push him especially hard in a test and for him to break down.”

If Clarke fails to prove his fitness over the next couple of days, his place in the batting order could got to Usman Khawaja, while all-rounder Shane Watson will take over as captain.

Amazing opportunity
Watson said he could fully understand why Clarke was so keen to lead Australia in the Boxing Day test at the MCG.

“It’s just about as big as it gets for an Australian cricketer,” Watson said.

“… It’s an amazing opportunity to think that something like that has come along in your life.

“But I’m trying not to get too far in front of myself at the moment. I know Michael will be doing everything he can to get right for this test match.”

Australia have been forced to reshuffle their pace attack due to injuries and fatigue in recent matches and are set for another line-up change with Ben Hilfenhaus ruled out of the second test.

Left-armers Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnston, and the uncapped Jackson Bird are vying to join Peter Siddle in a three-pronged pace attack at the MCG, with selectors likely to retain off-spinner Nathan Lyon.

Inverarity confirmed that the selectors would continue with their rotation policy to preserve the fitness of the remaining bowlers and Starc was next in line.

“It’s about bowling loads,” he said. “The science behind it is that they’ve got to build up their bowling loads so the oscillations are not very significant.

“If they do become reasonably significant, as they have done for Mitchell (Starc), then you enter a danger period, a high-risk period.”

(Writing by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by John O’Brien)

Messi ends 2012 with another goal as Barca march on
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Unbeaten La Liga leaders Barcelona continued their record-breaking start to the season when Lionel Messi struck his 91st goal of 2012 in a 3-1 win at Real Valladolid on Saturday.

The victory at Valladolid’s Jose Zorrilla stadium was Barca’s 16th in 17 league matches this term and restored their nine-point advantage over second-placed Atletico Madrid, who won 1-0 at home to Celta Vigo on Friday.

Barca have a La Liga record 49 points for this stage of a campaign and are 16 ahead of champions and arch rivals Real Madrid who are third ahead of their game at fourth-placed Malaga later on Saturday.

Valladolid kept a dominant Barca at bay until two minutes before halftime when Messi, who earlier shook the frame of the goal with a free kick, played Jordi Alba through on the left and Xavi turned his low cross into the net.

Messi uncharacteristically fluffed a simple chance early in the second half but the Argentine World Player of the Year doubled Barca’s lead in the 59th minute with a trademark run and finish.

Xavi’s clever back heel set the Argentine on his way and Messi dinked the ball between a defender’s legs before firing a low shot into the far corner.

It was his 26th La Liga goal of the campaign and his 91st of 2012, extending the calendar year record he broke earlier this month when he overhauled Gerd Mueller’s 40-year-old mark of 85.

Javi Guerra pulled a goal back for Valladolid in the 89th minute before Cristian Tello added a third for Barca in added time moments after coming off the bench.

The Catalan club were without coach Tito Vilanova, who had surgery on his saliva glands on Thursday and was released from hospital only hours before Saturday’s game.

Assistant coach Jordi Roura has taken charge on a temporary basis until Vilanova is well enough to return.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

UPDATE: Field hospitals being established in Covid hot zones around Thailand

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UPDATE: Field hospitals being established in Covid hot zones around Thailand | Thaiger

UPDATE: The field hospital in Bangkok’s Bang Bon district, west of the Chao Phraya river, had its first 10 Covid patients today. The director of the medical services office of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration says that the 10 patients into the makeshift hospital, located at the Chalerm Phra Kiat Stadium, will enable assessment of the performance by the medical team, before more patients arrive – Thai PBS World

ORIGINAL STORY: Despite the confident posture and Songkran going ahead, amid restrictions, there is a lot of background activity which suggest the authorities are getting ready for a surge of new infections at the end of the Songkran break, officially this Thursday (but in reality, next Sunday at the end of the weekend when most people who travelled home will return for a resumption of work).

The Thai lunar new year celebrations – Songkran – are the largest mass movement of Thais each year, a source for a huge leap in road deaths and accidents. And, this year, a potential super-spreader event.

Quietly, at least 3,000 extra beds have been prepared in 10 field hospitals around Bangkok. The government has also confirmed that additional field hospitals are being set up in other potential ‘hot zones’, including Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chonburi and Hua Hin. Some of them were set up last year, and since closed, and now being prepared for new positive infections.

One Thai person who had been in one of the field hospitals put together a check-list of things to take IF you end up as an invited ‘guest’ HERE.

The CCSA say they are looking for additional beds in hotels and previous state quarantine facilities (where repatriating Thais were housed for their free quarantine) to be used if needed.

This year’s Songkran had bad timing, coming just a week after a number of major clusters were identified around some of Bangkok’s popular nightlife areas in 3 key inner city districts. Even before Songkran these isolated clusters had already spread into the provinces. In the weekend before Songkran the government had already listed 37 provinces which had instigated some form of paperwork or restrictions for people who had been in any of the 3 Bangkok districts.

The government also leapt on the source of the new outbreaks – bars, clubs and entertainment venues – and promptly shut them down for at least 2 weeks. At this stage it looks likely that that ban will be extended beyond the 2 weeks and, depending on the extent of new infections following the Songkran holiday, additional restrictions will also be added.

Even today the Civil Aviation Authority published a number of new in-flight restrictions for passengers – another blow to the hard-hit domestic aviation sector.

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Chiang Mai

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half

Tim Newton

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Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | Thaiger

The TAT, ever the optimists regarding anything tourism related, even domestic tourism, predict that the Bangkok clusters that have emerged in the week before the Songkran break could reduce traffic and spending by up to half.

Today the CCSA is reporting 789 new infections and one additional death. 522 were local infections, mostly walk-ins to Bangkok hospitals, 259 were discovered through track and tracing. The remaining 8 were found in quarantine from overseas arrivals. In Phuket, another 17 cases have been reported today, taking the island’s week total to 43.

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | News by ThaigerGRAPH: Worldometer figures for Thailand, up to April 9

A 68 year old man from Nakhon Pathom province died on April 4 but wasn’t reported until today. The CCSA report that he died from Covid and “complications”. 33 other former patients have recovered and been discharged.

Last week the TAT estimated 3.2 million domestic trips would circulate 12 billion baht for the Thai economy. But the Tourism Authority has now slashed their estimates by half after hotels, airlines and bus companies reported mass cancellations in the last few days. Other provinces are reporting less than 20% cancellations. Although this weekend will see a lot of travel, Songkran doesn’t formally start until next Tuesday and the TAT expect there could be additional fallout as travellers decide to have a staycation for Songkran instead heading home.

Bangkok Post reports that 70% of travellers to Prachuap Khiri Khan and Hua Hin have already cancelled hotel bookings. Similar cancellations have been reported in Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai. Many other provinces, particularly in the north east and north, are also enforcing quarantine on arrivals or additional paperwork to try and protect their provinces from any of the Bangkok clusters.

8 north eastern provinces rare now requiring 10 or 14 day quarantine periods for anyone arriving from areas where new clusters have been reported. Chiang Mai provincial officials say that tourists from Samut Prakan, Nakhon Pathom, Bangkok, Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi – basically Bangkok and surrounding provinces – must complete a 14 day mandatory quarantine or conduct a test for Covid when they arrive.

The reality is that the travel and quarantine changes are outstripping the ability to communicate them all. Anyone crossing into other provinces in the next few day, especially if you’re travelling from Bangkok and surrounding provincial ‘red zones’ can expect some additional paperwork or a Covid test. Or even quarantine.

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Education

Phuket student protests and is flunked as “not loyal to the nation”

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Phuket student protests and is flunked as “not loyal to the nation” | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Student protests led to one student not graduating due to being “not loyal to the nation, institution of the monarchy”

After participating in protests for student’s rights, a Phuket student was barred from graduating 9th grade, moving from middle school to high school, charged with being “not loyal to the nation, institution of the monarchy”. The student had advocated against mandatory uniforms and for student’s liberties. He told reporters that the school started paying attention to his actions last year when he participated in rallies in solidarity with students across Thailand. The school’s student affairs office received a copy of posts he made on social media encouraging others to join the cause. The school ordered a stop to his political actions, but he and his friends disregarded warnings and violated school rules when they handed out white ribbons to classmates. They received a warning from the student affairs office.

Student protests have increased after pro-democracy demonstrations surged in July last year, empowering many Thai people to speak out against injustices, including students’ rights and liberties. People from schools across the nation have been banding together in solidarity to bring their issues to public light.

On graduation day, all the students were promoted into high school, except for the one student protestor, says the Bad Student protest group. The theme of the day focused on dedication to the monarchy, country and religion, and specifically how students should be obedient. The student said he has received support from friends, but his parents remain neutral and his teachers have been completely silent on the matter. He is frustrated that he was punished for his right to express himself. He plans on testing with incoming students to re-enrol in the same school, and if he is not accepted because of the disloyalty charge, he will pursue legal ramifications, suing the school for blocking his right to an education over the student’s protests.

The student believes he needs to speak out to prevent school administrators from imposing on more students’ rights. He advocates for diversity in schools and ending prejudices, with increased liberties and freedoms for students.

“Schools must teach children to be able to think by themselves, not force children to think like them. Schools should create opportunities for students to express their ideas more freely.”

SOURCE: Prachatai

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