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World Sports: Armstrong confesses to drug taking – USA Today

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World Sports: Armstrong confesses to drug taking – USA Today | Thaiger
Lance Armstrong confronts doping charges in interview
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Lance Armstrong could be jailed and cycling could be dropped from the Olympics as a result of the disgraced American athlete’s reported admission that he had used performance-enhancing drugs during his racing career.

USA Today and other media said on Monday that Armstrong confessed to the doping in an interview with Oprah Winfrey to be aired later this week. The talk show host confirmed the reports on Tuesday in an appearance on the “CBS This Morning” show.

“I’m sitting here now because it’s already been confirmed,” Winfrey, who interviewed the Texan for more than two hours on Monday in a hotel in Austin, Texas, told CBS.

It will not come as a great surprise that Armstrong admitted he cheated his way to the top. The mountain of evidence against him was already overwhelming and the pressure to confess was building.

From the moment it was announced last week that he had agreed to the interview with Winfrey, it was widely expected that the 41-year-old cancer survivor would make some sort of confession but even Winfrey was surprised by what he said.

“He did not come clean in the manner that I expected,” she said, without elaborating on the specifics.

“For myself, my team, all of us in the room, we were mesmerized and riveted by some of his answers.

“I didn’t get all the questions asked, but I think the most important questions and the answers that people around the world have been waiting to hear were answered.”

If a damning confession emerges, Armstrong faces the prospect of jail time, according to at least one lawyer, and the return of millions of dollars in repayments for lying about his alleged use of performance enhancing drugs during his career.

Armstrong already had been banned for life and stripped of his race wins, including seven Tour de France victories, after a US Anti-Doping Agency report last year described him as the ringmaster of the “most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”

But he had always denied the accusations made against him, which involved anabolic steroids, human growth hormone, blood transfusions and other doping.

Andrew Stoltmann, a Chicago attorney, said an admission that he lied and cheated his way to the top could have serious legal implications for Armstrong.

“Having previously testified under oath and denying the doping allegations, Armstrong’s admissions would make perjury or obstruction of justice charges a relatively easy charge for prosecutors,” Stoltmann said.

“His past sponsors, including Nike, Anheuser-Busch and even smaller brands like FRS and Honey Stinger, could potentially sue him for brand damages associated with his admission.”

CBS reported Armstrong was in talks about repaying part of the taxpayer money he earned during his career and might be willing to testify against others involved in illegal doping.

That could open up the possibility of a reduction in his lifetime ban but only if he owned up to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

“Only when Mr. Armstrong makes a full confession under oath – and tells the anti-doping authorities all he knows about doping activities – can any legal and proper process for him to seek any reopening or reconsideration of his lifetime ban commence,” WADA Director General David Howman said in a statement.

Cloud over cycling
Cycling, one of the showcase sports at the Olympics, also could possibly be kicked out of the Games if the sport’s officials are implicated, International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Dick Pound told Reuters.

“The only way it is going to clean up is if all these people say ‘hey, we’re no longer in the Olympics and that’s where we want to be, so let’s earn our way back into it,'” Pound, a former WADA boss and current International Olympic Committee member, told Reuters.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) has already acknowledged it received a US$100,000 donation from Armstrong in 2002 but has denied the money was part of covering up a positive drug test.

The UCI recently set up an independent commission to investigate the case and wants Armstrong to testify under oath.

“The UCI notes the media speculation surrounding the interview and reports that he has finally come clean and admitted doping during his cycling career,” the union said.

“If these reports are true, we would strongly urge Lance Armstrong to testify to the independent commission established to investigate the allegations made against the UCI in the recent USADA reasoned decision.”

Armstrong’s interview with Winfrey will be broadcast over two nights – at 9:30pm EST on Thursday (9:30am Phuket on Friday) and 9pm EST on Friday (9am Phuket on Saturday).

— 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.

Tourism

Phuket’s July Sandbox no-quarantine model “needs a major revamp”

Tim Newton

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Phuket’s July Sandbox no-quarantine model “needs a major revamp” | Thaiger
PHOTO: The monsoon waves are starting to hit Phuket's west coast

Thailand’s Sports and Tourism minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn is acknowledging that Phuket’s ‘Sandbox’ model for a no-quarantine re-opening in July will need “a major revamp”. As the Songkran travel bubble bursts and the monsoon season waves start to roll onto the island’s west coast beaches, Phuket’s scheduled July re-boot suddenly seems a long way off.

Minister Phiphat says he plans to meet with “all related agencies” this week. Apart from the latest national re-surge in new infections, Phuket has been unable to get its hands on sufficient vaccines to meed its deadline of 70% of the island vaccinated by July 1. Thailand’s limited supplies of the vaccine – including some 930,000 doses designated for Phuket – are being rerouted to other provinces as the government prioritises the limited supply.

“We are all concerned about the reopening timeline,” he was quoted in Bangkok Post.

But the Minister did acknowledge that, if the 70% vaccination level couldn’t be met, they may consider opening some areas of the island. Exactly how that would work hasn’t been revealed at this stage.

The minister also brought up the ongoing travel bubble negotiations and says he hadn’t heard back from some of the candidates with their reaction to the current outbreak.

Flights in and out of Phuket Airport’s international terminal have been extremely patchy and the flights from feeder tourist markets will need to co-operate with any re-opening plans.

Phuket, whilst suffering a rise in new infections, hasn’t been hit as hard as some of the other popular holiday provinces, like Chiang Mai, Chon Buri (Pattaya) and Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin).

This year’s Songkran was going to be a major stepping stone for the island’s recovery and many hotels, some who had opened especially to cater for Songkran holiday traffic, noted a lot of cancellations just prior to the break.

But some island hotels have still reported high occupancy rates over the past week. One Manager, who did not want his name published, said that their hotel was almost full with Thai patrons, most who had pre-paid for their flights and accommodation and decided to go ahead anyway.

Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, the president of the Phuket Tourist Association, says that they are opposed to any lockdown as it would cripple the island, with its tourist businesses already suffering greatly. He stated that 15% of people cancelled their Songkran bookings, while 30% had postponed their trips.

The Sports and Tourism Ministers is still in quarantine after having close contact with Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, who was diagnosed with Covid-19 2 weeks ago.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket begs Kolour attendees to come for Covid-19 testing

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Phuket begs Kolour attendees to come for Covid-19 testing | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Kolour in the park was more pleasant in 2018 before Covid-19.

Health officials in Phuket put out a public statement this week compelling all foreigners who attended clubs and ‘Kolour’ events to report for Covid-19 testing. As many might expect, the response has been lacklustre at best. Spreading the message around the foreigner and expat community in Phuket, the message is aimed at the multitudes of people, mostly foreign who attended Kolour and related events that turned into a Covid-19 superspreader event. Many foreigners have not come forward, much to health officials chagrin.

Online and on social media, foreigners and Thais shed light on why this urgent public health request is going largely unheeded. Foreigners fear the repercussions of coming forward, especially since Thailand is not allowing staying home or elsewhere in isolation if someone tests positive for Covid-19. Quarantine is mandatory, and with infection numbers exploding across the country, many fear the less-than-posh comforts of being quarantined in an emergency field hospital.

Cost is the other factor that likely is preventing foreigners from turning themselves in to be tested for Covid-19. While Phuket health officials may test people for free, anyone found infected with Covid-19 will be financially responsible for all the costs of their treatment and quarantine. Foreigners with limited financial resources, especially after a year of holing up in Thailand to ride out the Coronavirus, may resist reporting to authorities when they cannot afford the mandatory quarantine and medical treatment.

Perhaps recognizing this hesitation, the message includes a plea for all attendees to self-quarantine and self-monitor for any symptoms over the next week, even if they fail to report or test negative. The note also reminds everyone to wear masks in public at all times. The statement to the public also instructed anyone who attended any of the Covid-19 spreading nightlife events to report to the Acute Respiratory Infection Clinic area of Vachira General Hospital to receive a Covid-19 swab test.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions

Tim Newton

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Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | Thaiger

Three of Thailand’s biggest expat areas are seeing sharp rises in new infections, partly from pre-Songkran traffic. The Songkran holidays, now officially over (but will see many people taking today off and making a weekend Songkran extension), and the government says they are expecting to see a rise in the cases numbers reported in the popular holiday locations.

Chon Buri Public Health office says they now have a total of 910 infections since April 1. They have 103 new cases in the past 24 hours. Most new cases are in Bang Lamung district which includes Pattaya City with 47, Siracha with 12) & Chon buri City with 8.

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | News by Thaiger

Meanwhile Phuket has a total of 142 infections recorded on the island with the Governor still insisting there will be no need for a lockdown. Here’s a breakdown of the areas and the numbers of recorded infections so far (below).

Governor Narong announced that the Phuket Infectious Disease Control Committee won’t be implementing an official lockdown, but will “strictly raise the intensity of public health measures to counter the spread of Covid-19″.

“Everyone should wear a face mask, maintain social distancing, wash their hands frequently and install the Mor Chana app (available for free from App Store and Google Play Store).”

A meeting of the CCSA, chaired by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is expected to upgrade restrictions in red zone areas around the country, which includes Phuket and Pattaya. Read more about the latest red and orange zones HERE.

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | News by Thaiger

For Hua Hin expats, there’s been 100 new Covid-19 infections announced in Prachuap Khiri Khan in the past 24 hours, 75 cases from Hua Hin. This takes the total in the province since April 1 to 625. Hua Hin accounts for nearly 90% of the district’s total cases.

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