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Phuket Gazette World News: Dramatic balloon crash caught on film; Brazilians lose bikinis for the Pope; Cop-turned-actor Dennis Farina dead

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Phuket Gazette World News: Dramatic balloon crash caught on film; Brazilians lose bikinis for the Pope; Cop-turned-actor Dennis Farina dead | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Hot air balloon carrying 11 crashes in Dutch lake, injuring 2
Phuket Gazette / News Wires

PHUKET: A hot air balloon carrying eleven people crashed into a lake in the Netherlands on late yesterday evening, injuring two of the people on board, emergency services said. The exact cause of the accident was not immediately known.

The accident happened at around 9:40pm when the hot air balloon came down in Gooi Lake near the city of Almere, which is located in central Flevoland province on the artificial island of Flevopolder. The crash was witnessed by a few dozen people who were on land nearby.

“The rescue boats from Huizen and Blaricum were immediately alerted. Rescue boats from two rescue brigades and one boat from a local salvor also came to the scene,” Coast Guard spokesman Peter Verburg said.

“At 9:50 p.m. a report came in that all occupants were safe ashore and that police, fire and ambulances were at the scene.”

Dramatic video posted by De Telegraaf newspaper showed how the basket of the balloon came down in the water but was dragged along until it hit the shore (click here). With the basket on its side in the water, the balloon eventually came down on a road near the shore as witnesses rushed in to help.

Verburg said two people were injured in the crash and were transported to a local hospital by ambulance, but their conditions were not immediately known. The exact cause of the accident was also not immediately clear, but officials said an investigation is being carried out by provincial police and the Environment and Transport Inspection (ILT).

Hot air balloon accidents are fairly uncommon, although deadly crashes have taken place in recent years. On February 26, nineteen people were killed and two others were seriously injured when a hot air balloon caught fire and crashed near the city of Luxor in southern Egypt, making it the world’s deadliest ballooning disaster in history.

Prior to that, in January 2012, eleven people were killed when a hot air balloon hit wires on a power line and crashed in the Wellington Region on the North Island of New Zealand. The second deadliest ballooning disaster in history occurred in August 1989 when two balloons collided over Australia’s Northern Territory, causing one of the balloons to crash to the ground and killing all thirteen people on board.

Bikinis make way for rosaries on Brazil beach as youths await pope
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Tens of thousands of young Catholics from around the world flocked to Rio’s famed Copacabana beach to kick off a youth festival that will feature several appearances by Pope Francis.

Bikinis and beach volleyball gave way to rosaries and prayers for world peace as youths settled on the urban shoreline for a night of religious events related to World Youth Day, a biennial gathering of young Catholics.

The 76-year-old pope, the first pontiff from Latin America, took a rest day yesterday after a tumultuous welcome during his arrival on Monday that prompted security concerns when police failed to contain frenzied crowds that mobbed his car.

As Brazilian officials worked to avoid a repeat of such incidents for the remainder of his weeklong visit, Catholic youth, waving their national flags and singing religious songs, gathered along the beach for an evening Mass.

Musicians and dancers entertained the youths, who braved a chilly drizzle. The beach, lined with a series of large monitors, was the site of an evening Mass by local priests and Vatican officials. Later in the week it will serve as an altar for two big appearances by Francis.

A metro malfunction in the evening left some stations out of service for two hours, leaving some people stranded on their way to the inaugural Mass.

Francis, meanwhile, rested at a Church residence and recovered from jet lag ahead of a rigorous five days during which he will preside at about a dozen events before returning to Rome on Sunday night.

The security scare on Monday occurred when his driver took a wrong turn in central Rio. The street had no barriers, which allowed a crowd of well-wishers to swarm the car and reach through the open window to touch the pontiff. Bodyguards moved in to push back the crowd. At one point, the crowd was so heavy that the car was forced to a halt.

On Wednesday, the pope flies by helicopter to Aparecida, about 260 km (162 miles) away, to visit the shrine of the Madonna of Aparecida, whom Catholics venerate as the patroness of Brazil.

In the afternoon, he returns to Rio to visit a hospital run by the Franciscan religious order and address young people taking part in a drug rehabilitation program.

Benedict XVI, now “pope emeritus,” was scheduled to make the trip to Brazil for the youth festival before he resigned on February 28, becoming the first pope to step down in 600 years.

The visit to the Aparecida shrine, the hospital and a slum once controlled by drug lords on Thursday were added to the program at Francis’ request after he was elected on March 13.

Cop-turned-actor Dennis Farina, star of “Law & Order,” dead at 69
Phuket Gazette / News Wires

PHUKET: Dennis Farina, a Chicago police officer who went on to become an actor and played Detective Joe Fontana on the NBC legal drama television series “Law & Order,” died Monday at a hospital in Arizona, his publicist said. He was 69 years old.

Farina, who was born in Chicago and served on the city’s police force for eighteen years, died early Monday morning at a hospital in Scottsdale, Arizona, with his girlfriend of 35 years, Marianne Cahill, at his bedside. Publicist Lori De Waal said the actor died of a blood clot in his lung.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of a great actor and a wonderful man. Dennis Farina was always warm-hearted and professional, with a great sense of humor and passion for his profession,” De Waal said in an e-mailed statement. “He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and colleagues.”

The publicist asked Farina’s family to be left alone to allow them to grieve in private. “We hope that he finds a new life where great roles are plentiful and the Cubs are always winning the pennant,” she said.

“We ask that the press refrain from contacting his family at this time so that they can mourn their loss together.”

While still employed as a Chicago police officer, Farina served as a police consultant for director Michael Mann who eventually gave him a small role in the 1981 film “Thief.” He went on to moonlight as an actor in the Chicago theater scene before Mann chose him for his “Crime Story” series on NBC.

Farina also starred as Jimmy Serrano in the 1988 action-comedy film “Midnight Run,” Ray “Bones” Barboni in the 1995 crime-comedy film “Get Shorty,” Lt. Col. Walter Anderson in the 1998 epic war film “Saving Private Ryan,” and as Abraham “Avi” Denovitz in the 2000 crime comedy “Snatch.”

His TV roles included Albert Lombard on the crime drama series “Miami Vice” and Victor Pellet on the comedy “In-Laws.”

But one of his most not

— 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.

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Environment

Second death in China from virus concerns officials with the CNY holidays looming

The Thaiger

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Second death in China from virus concerns officials with the CNY holidays looming | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Five patients remain in serious condition in Wuhan - New York Times

“At least 41 people have now been diagnosed as being infected this latest flu-like strain.”

Medical officials in China’s Wuhan city have announced that another man had died after being infected by the new coronavirus strain. Thailand and Japan have now reported new cases of a the Chinese Coronavirus that has already killed two and infected at least 40 in China. There are growing concerns about the spread of the virus beyond Chinese ahead of the Chinese New Year holidays. Chinese New Year will be celebrated on January 25 this year but many Chinese, and people of Chinese ethnicity, travel before and after this date, including trips over seas.

The Chinese man, reported to be aged 69, was admitted to a Wuhan hospital on December 31 with “abnormal renal function”. The man died from pneumonia linked to the new strain of the coronavirus outbreak in the central China province.

Chinese scientists identified the illness as a new strain of coronavirus, which is in the same family as the deadly severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Symptoms of coronaviruses can range from fever and coughing to kidney failure, and in some cases lead to death.

At least 41 people have now been diagnosed as being infected this latest flu-like strain, earlier called the “Wuhan Flu”, and now referred to as Chinese Coronavirus.

Five patients still remain in a serious condition. Chinese medical officials state that no cases of human-to-human transmission of the new viral strain have been confirmed so far.

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Crime

2 more alleged call centre scam suspects arrested in Japan

Greeley Pulitzer

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2 more alleged call centre scam suspects arrested in Japan | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Japanese suspects arrested during a raid in Chon Buri in late March 2019

Two men arrested in Japan yesterday stand accused of operating a large-scale call centre scam based in Thailand, bringing the total number of arrests in the case to 28. Japanese police believe 36 year old Kengo Yasutake and 34 year old Shimpei Hirata operated a luxury home in Pattaya, where a team of Japanese men would call people across Japan and tell them their subscription fees for a website were overdue.

Police say the gang has tricked more than 200 people and collected a total of more than 55 million baht. Fifteen Japanese men have already been arrested by Thai police last March at another luxury house location, also in Chon Buri province, and Japanese investigators arrested more in May 2019 as they attempted to leave Thailand for Japan.

Investigators say the group had a well-organised division of labour conducting the scam, with individual members making phone calls, cashing swindled electronic gift cards and as managing the scam web site.

They were arrested on suspicion of scamming a woman and two others living in the city of Fukui, central Japan, alleging in an email that they had failed to pay website subscription fees, and coercing them into purchasing electronic gift cards worth a total 780,000 yen, or about 215,000 baht.

SOURCE: Japan Times
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Well-Being

First ‘China coronavirus’ case confirmed in Japan

Greeley Pulitzer

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First ‘China coronavirus’ case confirmed in Japan | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The first case of the 'Wuhan Flu' identified in Japan - The Economist

As Thailand’s airports continue screening passengers arriving from China, Japan has confirmed its first case of the new China coronavirus that has killed one and attracted a travel alert from the US State Department. The patient, a man from Kanagawa prefecture near Tokyo, had recently visited the Chinese city of Wuhan, where an outbreak of a pneumonia strain is believed to be caused by the new coronavirus.

The US State Department issued a warning on Wednesday about travel to the Wuhan region in China, citing an alert by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention which urges citizens travelling in the region to avoid contact with animals, animal markets or animal products, among other precautions.

Health authorities in Thailand announced on Wednesday they are stepping up screening of passengers arriving by air ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday, when 800,000 Chinese tourists are expected to head for the Kingdom.

Though there has been no known human-to-human transmission, the World Health Organisation says the new virus could spread and is warning hospitals worldwide. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause infections ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, aka. SARS. Some of the virus types cause less serious disease, while some, like the one that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), are far more severe.

The Japanese patient returned from Wuhan and was hospitalised with a fever. He was released yesterday after the symptoms subsided.

SOURCE: The Bangkok Post

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