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Philippines may ban pop singer Madonna for disrespect to flag

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Philippines may ban pop singer Madonna for disrespect to flag | The Thaiger
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– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Philippines may ban pop singer Madonna for disrespect to flag
Phuket Gazette / Reuters

MANILA: American singer Madonna may face a ban in the Philippines for disrespecting the country’s flag in her concerts this week in Manila, a domestic broadcaster said on Friday, citing an official.

The 57-year-old entertainer is on a world tour to promote her “Rebel Heart” album, and did sold-out shows on Wednesday and Thursday.

“She ridiculed our flag,” the official, Teodoro Atienza, told radio station dzBB, adding that Madonna violated a law that prohibits wearing the flag “in whole or in part as a costume or uniform.”

The singer and concert producers could be held liable for the violation even if they were unaware of the law, said Atienza, who is chief of the heraldry section of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.

“They may face deportation and might not be able to return to the country. She also allowed the flag to touch the stage floor, which is another violation.”

There was no immediate response from the organizers of the concerts, held in the same hall where Pope Francis met Philippine families last year.

Madonna’s next stop will be in Singapore on Sunday.

A Roman Catholic bishop in the Philippines this week urged the faithful to boycott Madonna’s shows over her “suggestive” performance and “vulgar” clothes.

Roman Catholics make up about 80 percent of a population of more than 100 million in the Philippines, where the church has strong influence, blocking legislation on the death penalty, divorce and same-sex marriage.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Mayor of Seoul dead in apparent suicide after harassment allegations

Jack Burton



Mayor of Seoul dead in apparent suicide after harassment allegations | The Thaiger

Seoul’s mayor has died in an apparent suicide the day after a former assistant made allegations of sexual harassment against him. Park Won-soon, a former human rights lawyer and potential presidential candidate, was found dead earlier yesterday on a mountain in the South Korean capital.

The death is by far the most dramatic end to a #MeToo case in the nation, a male-dominated culture where the women’s movement has brought down dozens of prominent men in various fields. If Park’s death does prove to be a suicide, he will be the highest-profile politician to do so since former president Roh Moo-hyun jumped off a cliff in 2009, after corruption allegations swirled involving family members.

Police say there were no signs of foul play, and according to Yonhap news agency, Park is presumed to have taken his own life. His daughter reported him missing yesterday, saying he had been unreachable after leaving a message that “sounded like last words”.

A heavyweight in the ruling Democratic party, Park ran South Korea’s vast capital – home to nearly 20% of the nation’s population – for nearly a decade. He won 3 elections while promoting gender and social equality, and wasn’t shy about his ambition to replace incumbent President Moon Jae-in in 2022. His death comes a day after his former secretary filed a police complaint, reportedly involving sexual harassment, against him.

South Korea remains extremely patriarchal despite recent economic and technological advances, but in the last 2 years has also seen a widespread #MeToo movement, sparked by a prosecutor who publicly accused a superior of groping her at a funeral. Perpetrators have included a former provincial governor and presidential candidate who was jailed last year after his female assistant accused him of repeatedly raping her.

According to a document purporting to be the statement by Park’s victim, his personal secretary from 2015, he committed “sexual harassment and inappropriate gestures during work hours”. After work, she reports, he sent her “selfies of himself in his underwear and lewd comments” on a messenger app.

“I brainwashed myself, bearing tremendous fear and humiliation, that all of this was in the interest of Seoul City, myself, and mayor Park.”

The police confirmed a complaint had been filed but declined to confirm the details. Park’s death means the investigation will automatically be closed.

Park was a student activist in the days of South Korea’s military dictatorship – he was jailed for his part in a rally against then-president Park Chung-hee – and later became a human rights lawyer. He defended many political activists and ironically, in the 1990s won South Korea’s first sexual harassment conviction, in a landmark judgment.

The Seoul city government said a memorial altar will be set up in front of the city hall for citizens to pay respects.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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US ambassador vows to help Thailand combat human trafficking

Jack Burton



US ambassador vows to help Thailand combat human trafficking | The Thaiger

The US ambassador to Thailand is pledging to help Thailand achieve its goal to be upgraded from Tier 2 to Tier 1 in the annual US Trafficking in Persons Report. The report divides countries into tiers based on their compliance with standards outlined in the US Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. Tier 1 comprises countries whose governments fully comply with TVPA minimum standards.

Tier 2 is for countries whose governments do not fully comply with TVPA minimum standards but are making significant efforts. Speaking after a meeting with Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon, Ambassador Michael George DeSombre said yesterday that Washington stands ready to support Thailand in the ranking elevation, as Prawit requested. Prawit said he has already seen the TIP Report 2020, in which Thailand remains at Tier 2.

Prawit says Thailand is determined to continue working hard to tackle the human trafficking problem, and the issue is high on the country’s priorities but involves cooperation from all sides to tackle.

“All parties involved in this work are ready to fully cooperate with the US in the continued fight against human trafficking.”

“Thailand does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts. The government has generally demonstrated increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period although the country remains on Tier 2.” – US Trafficking in Persons Report

The efforts include anti-trafficking training for judges and working with non-governmental organisations to arrange trauma care training for police, prosecutors, and shelter staff, according to the report. The government investigated more cases of labour trafficking compared to the previous reporting period, and convicted traffickers faced stiffer penalties.

It also increased the amount of compensation provided to victims through the anti-trafficking fund and handed out restitution to victims of trafficking for the first time during the reporting period.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid-19 UPDATE: Friday, July 10

The Thaiger



Covid-19 UPDATE: Friday, July 10 | The Thaiger

Today the total number of Covid-19 patients in the world has nearly reached 12.4 million with over 557,000 people succumbing to the effects of the disease. Nearly 7.2 million people are registered as ‘recovered’ from their bout of Covid-19. The numbers of new cases, worldwide, is accelerating. The current hotspots are the US, Brazil, India, South Africa and Mexico – presenting with the highest numbers of new cases in the past 24 hours.

On the positive side, the death rate from Covid-19 cases has flattened out a lot over the past 2 months although there are now signs it is starting to rise again.

Covid-19 UPDATE: Friday, July 10 | News by The Thaiger

Covid-19 UPDATE: Friday, July 10 | News by The Thaiger

Here’s some latest news from around the world relating to Covid-19…

• Italy is banning entry to people arriving from 13 countries that it says “presents an excessive rate of Covid-19 infections. The list compiled by the health ministry comprises Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chile, Kuwait, North Macedonia, Moldova, Oman, Panama, Peru and Dominican Republic.

The ban affects anyone who has stayed in or travelled through these countries in the last 14 days.

• The first coronavirus case has been confirmed in northwest Syria, according to aid workers in the region. The area is where hospitals lie in ruins and camps overflow with people after nearly a decade of war.

• Greek authorities say they are ready to re-impose public and travel restrictions next week, warning that safety guidance for the coronavirus is being frequently ignored.

• Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, is calling for millennials and members of Generation X to “social distance and wear face coverings” to help mitigate the spread of Covid-19 in the US.

“We have not been able to reach effectively the millennials and the Generation X. We’re seeing the outbreak increase in number of states across this nation, in a number of metropolitan ares. The most important powerful weapon we have, please social distance. Please wear a mask in public. Please wash your hands. And please, basically, let’s not be going to bars right now. It’s just not the time for us to do that.”

• Brazil is approaching nearly 70,000 fatalities from Covid-19 after its health ministry reported at least 1,220 new deaths in the last 24 hours. The ministry also reported at least 42,619 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the Brazilian total to approximately 1,755,779.

Brazil maintains the second highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths worldwide behind the US. On Tuesday, Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro, announced he had tested positive for the virus. His doctors announced yesterday that the president was “well” and “without complications”.

• Starbucks Corp says its customers will have to wear face coverings at all company-owned US stores starting from July 15. The international coffee chain says certain locations where there was no local government mandate to wear face masks, customers would have other options including drive-through and roadside pickups.

• The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has announced it is not issuing new guidelines on reopening schools, despite comments to the contrary made by US VP Mike Pence. Students are scheduled to return to school in late August, early September.

• An Italian study suggests that coronavirus can cross the placenta from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Two babies born to women infected with Covid-19 were born infected themselves.

They studied 31 women infected with coronavirus who were in late pregnancy during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in Italy. They thoroughly tested the women, their babies once they were born, the placenta, the umbilical cord, the mother’s vaginal fluids and breast milk. Two of the newborns had positive tests at birth.

• The World Health Organisation announced yesterday that it’s possible Covid-19 spreads through the air in health care settings. But Dr. Anthony Fauci director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says it’s a confusing question because of differing definitions of airborne droplets and aerosols.

“It’s known the virus spreads on larger droplets that fly out of a person’s nose and mouth. More worrying is the idea that particles containing virus might remain suspended in the air for longer than a few minutes.”

“There’s no proof that the new coronavirus spreads via an airborne route, but it’s better to assume it does, just to be safe.”

• There is new evidence that people can develop a long-term fatigue syndrome from Covid-19 infections. Speaking at the International AIDS Society conference, Dr. Anthony Fauci says that the symptoms resemble those seen in patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis, or ME, once known as “chronic fatigue syndrome”.

“If you look anecdotally, there is no question that there are a considerable number of individuals who have a post-viral syndrome that in many respects incapacitates them for weeks and weeks following so-called recovery.”

• Bolivian Interim President Jeanine Añez has announced on Twitter that she tested positive for Covid-19. Añez mentioned that many of her cabinet members had also tested positive recently.

“Given that over the last week many of my team members have tested positive for coronavirus, I also did the test and also was positive. I will be quarantined for 14 days until I do a new test to see how I am. I feel good, I feel strong, I am going to continue working virtually from my isolation and I want to thank all the Bolivian men and women who are working to help in this health crisis we are having.”

Añez is the third Latin American head of state to test positive for the virus, following Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez.

• A 2-drug cocktail used to treat hepatitis C may also help patients recover more quickly from coronavirus. 3 small studies involving 176 patients show the combination of the two drugs, “sofosbuvir” and “daclatasvir”, may have hastened the recovery of patients hospitalised with coronavirus. The report was presented by Andrew Hill of Liverpool University at the International AIDS Society’s Covid-19 Conference.

After two weeks of treatment, 94% of the patients given the two-drug combination were significantly better on a 7-point scale, compared to 70% of those not given the drugs. The studies were conducted in Iran, where the drug combination is widely used to treat hepatitis C patients.

• Brazil’s famous tourist beaches in Rio de Janeiro “will only reopen officially for sun bathers and swimmers once there is a vaccine for Covid-19”. This declaration from Mayor Marcelo Crivella yesterday.

Rio’s beaches are currently only open for exercise and water sports, but casual beachgoers are regularly breaking the rules on recent weekends, with many not using masks.

“Where you can’t use masks, the inclination is to only return when there is a vaccine, which is being tested, or when contamination is close to zero.”

SOURCES: Al Jazeera | CNN | BBC | USA Today | Worldometers

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