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World Cup: Neymar out of Cup as Brazil and Germany make semis

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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World Cup: Neymar out of Cup as Brazil and Germany make semis | Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Neymar out of Cup as Brazil and Germany make semis
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Hosts Brazil suffered a huge blow when they lost leading forward Neymar for the rest of the World Cup through injury on Friday as they set up an epic-looking semi-final against Europe’s biggest remaining team Germany.

Brazil’s poster-boy, in terrific form with four goals at the tournament, fractured a vertebra near the end of a 2-1 quarter-final win over Colombia and will be out for several weeks.

“It doesn’t need surgery, but he’ll need to immobilise it to recover,” team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said.

The news dampened the host nation’s celebrations, given the team’s reliance on the 22-year-old Barcelona forward’s skill and talismanic presence. Many bookmakers now have Brazil and Germany as joint favourites at around 9/4.

“It’s the worst possible news. Neymar is so important to us. It is going to be so difficult against Germany now,” said shocked student Fabian Ruiz, 19, dressed in a yellow Brazil shirt and quaffing beer with friends in a Belo Horizonte street.

“They must do it for him. We all have to unite now.”

Brazil face their biggest test of the tournament in the semi-final in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday against Germany, who defeated France in their quarter-final earlier on Friday.

The clash of styles and continents will excite fans around the world, but Neymar’s absence is a big disappointment.

He writhed in pain and was taken off the pitch on a stretcher after receiving a knee in the back from Colombia defender Juan Camilo Zuniga. Fans gathered outside the hospital in Fortaleza shouting “Be strong” as Neymar was wheeled in.

“I hope it’s nothing serious, let’s pray to God. He is a great talent for Brazil and for the world,” Zuniga said.

COLOMBIA’S DREAM OVER

The five-time champion’s victory ended Colombia’s dream run to their first quarter-final in a passionate and physical game.

First, Brazil captain Thiago Silva bundled in Neymar’s corner with his waist after seven minutes to settle his nervy team mates. Then a pumped-up David Luiz scored with a sublime 69th minute free kick to put Brazil two goals ahead.

Colombia’s man-of-the-moment James Rodriguez pulled his side back into the match from the penalty spot, his sixth goal of the tournament, with just over 10 minutes remaining.

But Brazil’s passion and will saw them hold firm.

“It was a great match, both teams played beautiful football,” said the emotional Luiz, who prayed on the pitch and hugged Rodriguez in consolation at the end.

Rodriguez, the target of rough treatment from the Brazilians, wept distraughtly at the end. But he will long be remembered as one of the great players of this World Cup.

“We wanted to carry on, but we hold our heads high,” he said. “We left our skins out there.”

Predictably, Brazil came to a standstill during the game, with businesses closed and cans rattling in empty streets as locals packed into homes, bars and beachside fanzones.

The final whistle signalled a cacophony of parties and fireworks in a nation whose people believe they are destined to win a sixth World Cup on home soil. That joy, though, was quickly tempered by the news about Neymar.

In a further worry for Brazil, they will be without captain Thiago Silva for the Germany game after a yellow card for a needless foul on goalkeeper David Ospina.

In the earlier quarter-final in Rio de Janeiro, defender Mats Hummels shook off the effects of flu and fever to win a surprisingly subdued match against France with a well-steered 13th minute header from a free kick.

It gave Germany a remarkable fourth successive World Cup semi-final spot.

“I hope our ride isn’t over yet and I hope we’ll be back here,” the 25-year-old Hummels said, referring to the July 13 final, also at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium

GERMANY WANT FIRST WORLD CUP IN 24 YEARS

He brushed off a challenge from France’s Raphael Varane, appearing to push him lightly, to meet the ball perfectly before wheeling away in delight after securing a dream early lead. Though perennially competitive, the Germans have not won football’s ultimate crown since 1990 despite having a bigger pool talent since the unification of West and East.

‘Les Bleus’ looked uninspired but did have their moments, not least a stinging last-gasp shot by striker Karim Benzema that goalkeeper Manuel Neuer stopped one-handed. “That was just an automatic reaction,” said the modest Neuer.

In truth, Germany, whose team showed no ill effects of a flu virus menacing their camp in recent days, never looked in great danger of losing and substitute Andre Schuerrle wasted two chances to secure a more flattering scoreline.

Though losing once more to old rivals Germany was painful, France have at least restored some pride after the embarrassment of in-fighting and a first round exit in 2010.

“We had our chances. But they had more experience than we did. They had us under control,” said coach Didier Deschamps.

Away from the action, disgraced Uruguay striker Luis Suarez received a second offer to continue playing football during his four-month ban for biting an Italy defender at the World Cup.

Nart FC, a club in the self-declared Republic of Abkhazia within Georgia, said Suarez could join them and keep match fit because the local federation is not part of FIFA.

Hajvalia from Kosovo have also offered the Liverpool striker – reportedly in talks over a possible transfer to Barcelona – the chance to play for them. The Kosovo Football Federation is also not a member of soccer’s world governing body.

In the remaining two quarter-finals on Saturday, Europe squares off against Latin America.

First, Lionel Messi-led Argentina take on dark horses Belgium in a match that is hard to predict. Both teams have won four games from four, but curiously every win was by a single-goal margin, and neither have yet sparkled as expected.

In Saturday’s second game, the Netherlands are hot favourites to end underdogs Costa Rica’s dream run, but will have to guard against complacency given the Central Americans’ extraordinary campaign, including wins over Italy and Uruguay.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Chiang Mai

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half

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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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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

16 more Covid infections reported today in Phuket

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16 more Covid infections reported today in Phuket | Thaiger
iTrip.com

Phuket is reporting 16 more infections today. It follows visits from Bangkok and last weekend’s Kolour Beachside parties that have resulted in a number of new Covid infections. The number of new infections has reached 26. But deputy governor Vikrom Jakthee says the province has been successful in containing the new outbreak “due to its quick response measures which now include shuttering bars and nightlife venues.

One of the confirmed cases is a male teacher from Headstart International School in Kathu who, after attending the parties on the weekend, was back teaching students on Monday and Tuesday. The school has sent a letter to all parents advising them of the situation and organising testing for anyone who may have come in contact with the teacher.

The closure order in Phuket comes just as the island province was expecting to get an influx of visitors for Songkran, the Thai New Year. Many bar and club owners were expecting some increased traffic during the holiday week. Phuket officials say they will explain to bar and club owners why they decided to close the venues during the critical week for business.

Vikrom previously cited the start of the island’s Covid vaccine roll-out of Covid starting to head towards a herd immunity in time for the province’s proposed July reopening to international tourists. But he admitted that the sudden appearance of the coronavirus on the island again will force officials to reevaluate the schedule for reopening. He also said that almost all cases were in younger age groups of people in their 20s and 30s.

“Today, the number of infected people reported in Phuket has reached 26, many are from entertainment venues. This figure is relatively high. It jumped from 10 to 26 cases. We will invite operators of entertainment places in for discussions.”

Partygoers who went to any of the Kolour Beachside parties in Phuket last weekend are being asked to visit a local hospital for a Covid test. The parties hosted more than 3,000 people, drawing concern after a musician tested positive for Covid-19, having attended all 3 parties. The Phuket Provincial Government and Phuket Provincial Public Health Office released a statement yesterday advising all partygoers to get tested.

“Those who attended the Kolour parties from April 2 to 3 at Shelter Phuket Dance & Night Club in Patong, Cafe Del Mar Phuket in Kamala and Illuzion nightclub on Bangla Road in Patong are asked to get tested.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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