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International Sports: Liverpool draw; Lotus wins; Ferrer’s first

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International Sports: Liverpool draw; Lotus wins; Ferrer’s first | Thaiger
PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– World sporting news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Suarez goal gives Liverpool draw with Newcastle
Phuket Gazette / Reuters
PHUKET: Liverpool failed to mark captain Steven Gerrard’s 600th appearance for the club with a win when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Newcastle United in the Premier League at Anfield which leaves them mired in mid-table.

Liverpool needed a well-taken 67th minute equalizer from Uruguay forward Luis Suarez to save a point after Newcastle took a first-half lead through Yohan Cabaye’s stunning strike.

Earlier, Queens Park Rangers and Reading drew 1-1 at Loftus Road, leaving the two sides still looking for their first League wins of the season and both in the relegation zone.

Gerrard was presented with a statue of Liverpool’s city emblem, the liver bird, by former skipper Gary McAllister before the match when manager Brendan Rodgers compared him to Superman although not even his astonishing powers could bring victory.

Hatem Ben Arfa created Newcastle’s opener with a superb run down the right before crossing for Cabaye who lashed the ball into the far corner of the net after 43 minutes.

Suarez leveled with an excellent goal when he controlled a long ball from Jose Enrique and rounded keeper Tim Krul to score.

Red Card
Newcastle were then reduced to 10 men when captain Fabricio Coloccini was sent off for a careless lunge at Suarez in the closing stages.

The result left Newcastle in 10th spot, two places above Liverpool whose fans also had to contend with being soaked by a malfunctioning pitch sprinkler which drenched them instead of watering the pitch during the halftime break.

Liverpool have now gone five league matches without defeat – although they have only won one home match all season – and Rodgers told Sky Sports: “Our possession was good and it was fast, but we just could not finish it off.

“That was our fifth draw in 10 (league) games but I am sure we will soon turn that into wins because with that type of football we will always create chances.”

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew was upset that Coloccini was sent off but did not criticize referee Anthony Taylor, saying match officials had enough problems to deal with at the moment.

“He said he thought it was serious foul play. The morale of referees must be really low because of constant criticism and the issues around them are unfair. We accept his decision and I thought he had a good performance.”

Relegation Clash
In the early kickoff yesterday, QPR and Reading shared the points in an early-season relegation scrap at Loftus Road.

QPR manager Mark Hughes has been consistently backed by owner Tony Fernandes but Hughes admitted afterwards, “we need to get maximum points on the board as soon as possible.”

Former QPR defender Kaspars Gorkss put Reading ahead with an acrobatic volley in the 16th minute after the ball rebounded off the bar before Djibril Cisse equalized with a well-taken goal, controlling and firing home from close range after 66 minutes.

Adel Taarabt had a golden opportunity to win it for QPR in the closing stages but Reading keeper Alex McCarthy made a superb block with his feet to steer the ball past the post.

It was his second important save after a brilliant effort stopped Esteban Granero’s freekick in the first half.

The result left Reading in 18th place with five points from nine games and QPR 19th with four from 10.

Southampton, who have a worse goal difference than QPR, also have four points and are now bottom although they have a game in hand at West Bromwich Albion on Monday.

Manchester United moved into first place when they beat visitors Arsenal 2-1 on Saturday when Chelsea, who were top, slipped a place after being held to a 1-1 draw at Swansea City.Ferris)

Raikkonen wins Abu Dhabi thriller
Phuket Gazette / Reuters
PHUKET: Kimi Raikkonen won an Abu Dhabi Grand Prix thriller for Lotus while Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel defended his Formula One championship lead by fighting sensationally through the field from last place to third.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso finished runner-up, just 0.8 seconds behind the Finn after reeling him in with a string of fastest laps, to close the gap with Vettel to 10 points with two races remaining.

On an evening with a huge crash, two safety car interludes and a string of retirements including McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton while leading from pole position, the floodlit Yas Marina circuit hosted one of the sport’s great races and kept the stewards busy.

The victory was Raikkonen’s first since 2009 when the 2007 world champion won in Belgium, the 19th of his career, and made him the eighth different driver to triumph in 18 races so far this season. He stopped just once.

Vettel, who had to start from the pit lane due to a fuel irregularity and finally set the fastest lap of what he called a ‘crazy race’, now has 255 points to Alonso’s 245 and can clinch a third successive title in Austin, Texas, in two weeks if results go his way.

“I went to see Sebastian before the race and he said ‘I’ll see you on the podium’,” said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner of a race in which Vettel’s run of four successive wins come to an end but added considerably to his reputation as a true champion.

“I think it’s one of the best of his career. He really went for it. To go from pit lane to podium is phenomenal.”

Red Bull could have clinched the constructors’ championship for the third year in a row on Sunday but were made to wait after Australian Mark Webber crashed out. They now have 422 points to Ferrari’s 340 with 86 remaining to be won.

Vettel, who had led every lap of the last three races, and Alonso are the only drivers still in contention for the title with Raikkonen third overall but 57 behind Red Bull’s 25-year-old German.

Deadpan Style
Raikkonen, a man who has always done his talking on the track, swigged from his bottle of fizzy non-alcoholic rose water on the podium as the other two sprayed theirs at him.

Asked in front of the crowd by retired McLaren team mate David Coulthard what it was like to win again, the 33-year-old Finn replied in the deadpan fashion his myriad fans have come to love: “Not much really.

“Last time you guys were giving me grief because I didn’t smile enough but I’m happy for the team. It’s been a hard season and not easy times lately,” he added. “Hopefully this will give everyone belief and turn the tables so we can win more races, if not this year then next year.”

Raikkonen, who had signed a contract extension before arriving in Abu Dhabi, had seized second place at the start and inherited the lead after Hamilton slowed and pulled over after 20 of the 55 laps.

McLaren said a mechanical fuel pump had failed.

When the team advised Raikkonen of the gap between him and his rivals, the Finn was typically blunt: “Leave me alone, I know what to do,” he told his engineer.

“Yes, yes, yes, I do it all the time,” he added later on when they reminded him to warm the tyres.

The win was the first since 1987 by a car racing under the Lotus name, although the new Lotus is effectively the old championship-winning Renault outfit that Alonso took his two titles with.

Vettel’s performance matched Raikkonen’s for emotion, with Red Bull changing the 25-year-ol

— 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)

Covid-19 vaccine CEOs say 3rd dose may be needed along with annual jabs

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Covid-19 vaccine CEOs say 3rd dose may be needed along with annual jabs | Thaiger
Stock photo of Pfizer vaccine via Flickr

The CEO for the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines says it is likely that people will need a 3rd dose of the vaccine and to receive it annually. Albert Bourla, told CNBC, that the booster, or 3rd dose, will be needed less than a year after being fully vaccinated.

“A likely scenario is that there will be likely a need for a 3rd dose, somewhere between 6 and 12 months and then from there, there will be an annual revaccination, but all of that needs to be confirmed. And again, the variants will play a key role. It is extremely important to suppress the pool of people that can be susceptible to the virus.”

Bourla’s comment echoes that of Johnson & Johnson’s CEO when he stated in February, that people may need to get vaccinated against Covid-19 annually, just like seasonal flu shots. Both statements reflect the fact that since the vaccine is new, and testing periods are shorter than most vaccines in the past, researchers are still unclear about how long the vaccine will protect against the virus.

Pfizer says that its Covid-19 vaccine was more than 91% effective at protecting against the coronavirus and more than 95% effective against severe diseases up to 6 months after the 2nd dose. Moderna’s vaccine, which uses technology similar to Pfizer’s, was also shown to be highly effective at 6 months.

Just yesterday, the Biden administration’s Covid response chief science officer, David Kessler, noted that new Covid variants could “challenge” the effectiveness of the shots.

“We don’t know everything at this moment. We are studying the durability of the antibody response. It seems strong but there is some waning of that and no doubt the variants challenge … they make these vaccines work harder. So I think for planning purposes, planning purposes only, I think we should expect that we may have to boost.”

Late last month, the National Institute of Health started testing a new Covid vaccine from Moderna in addition to the one it already has, designed to protect against a problematic variant first found in South Africa. The variant is similar to that of the UK one that has recently made landfall in Thailand.

Recent findings, by The Lancet, however, have stated that the UK variant, known as B117, has a higher reproductive rate than other strains, and it’s more transmissible. However, it refuted earlier reports that the strain is more severe. Meanwhile, Thailand’s health minister is confirming his commitment to making AstraZeneca the nation’s chosen vaccine.

SOURCE: CNBC

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Economy

China grows 18.3%, the only major economy to grow in 2020

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China grows 18.3%, the only major economy to grow in 2020 | Thaiger
PHOTO: China - the second largest economy, and only major economy to grow last year.

China’s economy set a record for growth in Q1, 2021, marking an 18.3% jump in year-on-year figures, the biggest quarterly growth in almost 30 years. China only started publishing growth statistics in 1992, and this drastic increase is the fastest growth recorded since then.

The figures, however impressive, are mainly due to what is called a “low base effect” where the change from a low starting point translates into big percentage statistics. Because of the devastating economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Q1 2020 figures were dismal, allowing the big gain over the last year.

Quarter to quarter, the last 3 months saw only a 0.6% growth, but in the last quarter of 2020 China recorded an economic boom of 6.5% according to the Chinese government. Still, the figures are admirable, as China was the only major economy in the world to achieve growth in 2020. Most of the planet struggled to contain global Covid-19 outbreaks, crippling economies across the globe. But China, now the second-largest economy in the world, managed a 2.3% overall expansion. Even Chinese officials called the impressive statistics “better than we had expected.”

China has been growing in terms of imports and exports as well, with exports expanding nearly 31% and imports up 38% by price over last years.

SOURCE: CNN

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Denmark becomes first country in Europe to ditch AstraZeneca vaccine

Maya Taylor

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Denmark becomes first country in Europe to ditch AstraZeneca vaccine | Thaiger
PHOTO: Flickr

Denmark has announced that it is abandoning the AstraZeneca vaccine, the first European country to do so, amid concerns about very rare but serious blood clots. The rollout of the vaccine has run into problems in several countries, with its use either temporarily suspended or restricted to older age groups.

When concerns first arose over the vaccine’s rare side-effects, Denmark was the first country in Europe to suspend its use. In Thailand, use of the vaccine was suspended last month, before officials judged it safe to proceed, with Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul going on to confirm it would become the Kingdom’s primary Covid-19 vaccine.

Both the European drugs regulator and the World Health Organisation are standing by the jab, saying the benefits outweigh the risks. However, health officials in Denmark have now decided to ditch it for good.

“Denmark’s vaccination campaign will go ahead without the AstraZeneca vaccine.”

Denmark has reported 2 cases of thrombosis (blood clotting) linked to administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine, one of which proved fatal. The blood clot incidents arose after 140,000 people had received the jab. The Bangkok Post reports that 8% of Denmark’s 5.8 million inhabitants have been fully vaccinated and 17% have received their first dose.

The country plans to continue its rollout using the Modern and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. Officials say they are confident that the availability of other jabs, coupled with the fact that Covid-19 is relatively under control in Denmark, means the country’s mass inoculation can continue without issue.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca has released a statement acknowledging the decision taken by Danish health authorities.

“We recognise and respect the decision taken by the Danish Health Authority. Implementation and rollout of the vaccine programme is a matter for each country to decide, based on local conditions. We will continue to collaborate with the regulators and local authorities to provide all available data to inform their decisions.”

SOURCE: Euro News | Bangkok Post

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