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Phuket Gazette Sports: England hammer eight as Spain stutter; World Cup qualifiers

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Phuket Gazette Sports: England hammer eight as Spain stutter; World Cup qualifiers | The Thaiger
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Spain stumbles as England, Germany and France win
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: World champions Spain were held by lowly Finland but there were wins for England, Germany, France and Netherlands as Europe’s top teams returned to the task of qualifying for next year’s World Cup finals yesterday.

The first of this month’s two rounds of qualifiers – with another 20-plus matches scheduled for Tuesday – went according to plan for the big guns apart from Spain who lost top spot in Group I to France after Finland forced a 1-1 draw in Gijon.

England scored their biggest victory for 26 years when they triumphed 8-0 in San Marino, Germany won 3-0 in Kazakhstan, France beat Georgia 3-1 in Paris and Netherlands scored three second-half goals to beat Estonia 3-0 in Amsterdam.

The rapidly maturing Belgium team took another step towards next year’s finals in Brazil when they won 2-0 – albeit with a nervy performance in Macedonia – to stay top of Group A, level on points with Croatia who won a passionately intense derby against bitter Balkan rivals Serbia 2-0 in Zagreb.

There was also an important win for another former part of the old Yugoslavia with Bosnia beating Greece 3-1 in Zenica to move three points ahead of the Greeks at the top of Group G.

Other teams with their eyes on Rio who stumbled included Portugal, who trailed 3-1 in Israel before recovering for a 3-3 draw and Sweden, who lost ground on Group C leaders Germany when they were held to a 0-0 draw by Ireland in Stockholm.

Shock goal

The biggest surprise, though, came in Gijon where Teemu Pukki scored 11 minutes from time to give Finland their second point in the group and help knock Spain off top spot.

Pukki fired past Victor Valdes on a rare counter-attack after they had withstood waves of pressure from the hosts.

Spain’s Sergio Ramos, winning his 100th cap, broke the deadlock with a header from a corner just after halftime but Vicente del Bosque’s side struggled to make their dominance count.

The draw leaves world and European champions Spain under pressure to get a victory next Tuesday when they visit their closest rivals France, who were too strong for Georgia in Paris.

Olivier Giroud, Mathieu Valbuena and Franck Ribery scored for France who lead the group on 10 points, two more than Spain.

Highest scorers

England were the highest scorers on the night, showing San Marino no mercy in a demolition in Serravalle for their biggest win since a victory by the same score over Turkey in 1987.

An own goal by San Marino’s Alessandro Della Valle after 12 minutes started the rout with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jermain Defoe (2), Ashley Young, Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge all finding the net.

The hosts were spared a double-figure defeat but did nothing to counter the argument they should enter a pre-qualifying tournament – managing only one half-hearted attempt at goal.

England face a sterner test on Tuesday against Group H pacesetters Montenegro, who still lead Roy Hodgson’s side by two points after beating Moldova 1-0 away despite having Milorad Pekovic sent off just past the hour mark.

Mirko Vucinic scored 12 minutes from time to keep Montenegro on course for a first appearance at the World Cup finals.

In Zagreb, strikers Ivica Olic and Mario Mandzukic scored as Croatia beat Serbia to stay level with group leaders Belgium

The match was played under tight security amid fears of crowd trouble but apart from sporadic abuse from home supporters towards Serbia’s players, it was incident-free after both federations agreed not to take away fans to either fixture.

The sides, meeting for the first time as independent countries after the violent break-up of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, meet each other again in Belgrade on September 6.

Germany, playing without a recognised striker for the first time in a competitive match under coach Joachim Loew, eased past lowly Group C rivals Kazakhstan in Astana.

Two goals in three minutes midway through the first half from midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Goetze, put the Germans in control before Thomas Mueller made it 3-0 16 minutes from time.

Germany have 13 points from five games ahead of Sweden on eight from four following their goalless draw with Ireland.

Perfect records

Netherlands maintained one of only two 100 percent records left in the European qualifiers with a 3-0 Group D win over Estonia as Rafael van der Vaart, Robin van Persie and Ruben Schaken all found the net after the break.

The Dutch have taken a maximum 15 points from their five games and are well clear of Hungary and Romania who drew 2-2 in a match played behind closed doors in Budapest as punishment for racist chanting by the home side’s fans in a previous game.

Russia, who have the other perfect record after four games, were due to play Northern Ireland last night but the match was postponed until today because of heavy snowfall in Belfast.

The nine group winners in Europe qualify directly for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The eight best runners up go into a playoff round with the four victors taking the remaining spots.

Welsh wizards

Wales shrugged off the halftime loss of playmaker Gareth Bale to storm back from a goal down and beat bottom side Scotland 2-1 in a World Cup Group A qualifier played in the Hampden Park snow in Glasgow.

Scotland, in their first competitive match under new coach Gordon Strachan, took the lead just before halftime when defender Grant Hanley knocked in a corner from Charlie Mulgrew.

Robert Snodgrass went close to making it 2-0 when his curling left-foot shot from the edge of the penalty box struck the post in the 54th minute.

Wales had a goal by substitute Andy King chalked off for a foul on keeper Allan McGregor before Aaron Ramsey levelled with a ferocious 72nd-minute penalty that went in off the underside of the bar.

The spot kick was awarded after Snodgrass was sent off for a reckless challenge on Chris Gunter on the edge of the area.

Hal Robson-Kanu put Wales 2-1 up less than two minutes later, nodding his first international goal following a right-wing cross by King.

Ramsey’s night was spoiled when he was dismissed in stoppage time for a professional foul.

Tottenham Hotspur forward Bale, who had been an injury doubt before the match, was replaced at the interval by debutant Jonathan Williams.

The victory lifted Chris Coleman’s Wales side to third in the table with six points from five matches. Scotland are rooted to the bottom on two points

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand

UPDATE: Confusion over Covid-19 tests for visa extensions

Caitlin Ashworth

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UPDATE: Confusion over Covid-19 tests for visa extensions | The Thaiger

UPDATE: Khaosod English removed a story on Covid-19 tests for those seeking visa extensions and replaced it with the article “Immigration backtracks on plan to require Covid-19 test for visa extensions.” They say the previous report sparked uproar among expats and immigration police spokesperson has since apologised for the misunderstanding.

Original article…

Confusion reigns today over whether Covid-19 tests will be required for visa extensions. While The Phuket News spoke with an immigration official who said “no… you don’t need a Covid-19 test to extend your visa or apply for a work permit”, Khaosod English wrote an article headlined “Covid-19 test will be mandatory for all visa extension”.

The Thaiger also contacted a respected visa agent who said Covid-19 tests are, indeed, now required for applying for both visa extensions and work permits, even renewals.

The Thai Immigration Bureau has not made any official announcement regarding Covid-19 tests. Talk about Covid-19 tests for foreigners was brought up after a rule was published in the Royal Gazette last month, officially adding Covid-19 to a list of dangerous diseases, prohibiting those infected with any of the listed illnesses from entering the country.

Immigration Police Bureau spokesperson Archayon Kraithong told Khaosod English that proof of a negative Covid-19 test will be required for visa extensions, regardless of how long a foreigner has stayed in Thailand. On the other hand, Phuket immigration deputy chief Nareuwat Putthawiro told The Phuket News that Covid-19 tests will not be required for visa extensions or work permit applications.

“We do not require any medical documents for an application to renew a visa, because there are few foreigners’ movements outside Phuket. Most of them live and work in Phuket, and have done so before the new wave of Covid-19… So they do not have to worry about it. Everything is still the same.”

Medical exams are currently already required for most work permit applicants (including tests for Syphilis and Elephantiasis). A visa agent told The Thaiger that Covid-19 tests have been added to the medical examination requirements for work permit applicants. But, on the other hand, Phuket immigration says they DO NOT require Covid-19 tests for work permit applicants.

“We have not received any notices about Covid-19 requirements for processing applications to renew visas. If we do receive any such orders, we will let the public know.”

It isn’t the first time there has been conflicting statements coming out of different officials, in different immigration offices on different days.

SOURCES: Phuket News| Khaosod English

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Visitors to Phuket from “highest risk” areas must show Covid-19 test results

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Visitors to Phuket from “highest risk” areas must show Covid-19 test results | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Chiang Rai Times

People arriving Phuket from the “highest risk” areas are required to take a swab test by the staff at emergency operation centres (EOC) or show the test result document endorsed by the EOC staff made within 72 hours of their arrival. The revised order is effective from now until January 31, according to the Phuket Governor.

Those people who are on a brief business trip to Phuket need to show certificates from their employers describing the reason and necessity of their trips. If they want to leave their accommodations, they have to make a request to the EOC and clearly explain the reason as well as the time and destination. Visitors are also asked to avoid going to the community areas to avoid crowded gatherings.

It is noted that the revised order by the governor has not been officially promoted by the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department. However, all visitors are still asked to register online via the Mor Chana contact tracing application and via www.gophuget.com according to the order re-issued on Friday.

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Tourism

The road less travelled – trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint

The Thaiger

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The road less travelled – trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | The Thaiger

There are two well known ways to get from Kathu to Kalim or Kamala – one is across the Patong Hill, and the other is much longer, through Srisoonthorn and along the coastal road from Surin the Kamala (very scenic too).

But there’s also another way. Also very scenic but will take you about 2 hours through dense forest although there is a well-worn walking track. The track will take you from Kathu up to the Kalim Viewpoint. From here you can head back to Kathu along a different path, or down into Kalim, near Patong.

Starting about halfway down Soi Namtok in Kathu, you head up a nondescript road past the Flying Hanuman zipline attraction, although there’s no sign at the entrance to the soi (below). About the first kilometre is paved but then becomes increasingly ‘agricultural’ as you get higher into the hills, heading towards the Kalim Viewpoint. There’s also a small temple on the way up.

The road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: The start of the trek, a small soi off Soi Namtok – Google Maps

It will take around 2 hours to trek up to the Kalim Viewpoint. The walking is quite strenuous and you’ll need to be wearing the right shoes and take plenty of water – there’s no 7/11s on the way! As you get nearer the top, to the viewpoint, the track becomes less drivable although the track is still quite open and easy to follow. If you’re feeling a bit lazy you can take a motorbike about halfway up the road until you’ll need to proceed on foot from there.

From the Kalim Viewpoint you can see across Kalim to Patong Bay and the land that stretches along the bay south of Patong Beach. From the top you can either make your way down to Kalim or another exit along the Kalim-Kamala Road, just near the Iguana Beach Club.

You can also head back another way to Kathu, a longer return track that skirts around the top of the Kathu Waterfall. A lot of that track gets very narrow and parts of it are up and down the hills, some of it very steep.

The views are amazing and you get to see a vast swathe of Phuket, still very close to popular locations like Patong, Kamala and Kathu, but untouched by any civilisation.

You’ll need to be in reasonable health to take on the trip but, just to go up to the Kalim Viewpoint and back, or down into Kalim, should take around 5 hours in total. On a scale of 1 – 5 for difficulty, we’d rate it a 3. An easy trek for experienced people but will need a bit of planning if you’re not an experienced trekker.

Even on a hazy day, as it was today, the views were amazing. But best to start off early morning when the weather is cooler. Well worth the time for the views and the opportunity to see more of Phuket, away from the bars and beaches.

Thanks to BT for the pics and information.

The road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The Thaiger

The road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The ThaigerThe road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The Thaiger

The road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The Thaiger

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