Connect with us

World

Phuket Gazette World News: Syrian peace call; Berlusconi Bunga; Pirates seize tanker; Belgian child killer appeal

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

Phuket Gazette World News: Syrian peace call; Berlusconi Bunga; Pirates seize tanker; Belgian child killer appeal | Thaiger
PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– World news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Syrian Opposition chief calls to offer Assad peaceful exit
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Syrian opposition leader Moaz Alkhatib urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government on Monday to start talks for its departure from power and save the country from greater ruin after almost two years of bloodshed.

Seeking to step up pressure on Assad to respond to his offer of talks – which dismayed some in his own opposition coalition, Alkhatib said he would be ready to meet the president’s deputy.

“I ask the regime to send Farouq al-Shara – if it accepts the idea – and we can sit with him,” he said, referring to Syria’s vice president who has implicitly distanced himself from Assad’s crackdown on mass unrest that became an armed revolt.

Speaking after meeting senior Russian, U.S. and Iranian officials, Alkhatib said none of them had an answer to the 22-month-old crisis and Syrians must solve it themselves.

“The issue is now in the state’s court…to accept negotiations for departure, with fewer losses,” the Syrian National Coalition leader told Al Arabiya television.

Pirates seize French tanker, 17 crew off Ivory Coast
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Suspected Nigerian pirates have hijacked a French-owned Luxembourg-flagged tanker along with its 17-member crew off Ivory Coast, Ivorian officials and the International Maritime Bureau said on Monday.

The Gulf of Guinea area is second only to the waters off Somalia for piracy and there has been a spate of violent attacks in vessels in recent days, prompting the bureau to issue a security alert for the region.

The Gascogne was the second vessel to be seized off Ivory Coast in less than three weeks and the first to have been taken so far from shore.

Many of the pirate gangs are offshoots of militant groups that once operated in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta and mainly target ships carrying refined petroleum products that are easily sold on the local black market.

Ivory Coast authorities said the Gascogne had been chartered by South Korean petroleum transporter SK Shipping. It had taken on 3,000 tonnes of diesel fuel in Abidjan on January 30 but had already off loaded a portion of its cargo when it was seized on Sunday.

The Gascogne was 70 nautical miles (130km) south of Ivory Coast’s commercial capital Abidjan when it went missing. The 17-strong crew comprised seven Togolese, two Senegalese, two Ivorians, one South Korean, one Chinese and four sailors from Benin.

SEA-Tankers, the ship’s French owner, said it lost contact with the vessel on Sunday morning.

“We don’t know who (the attackers) are. We don’t know what kind of weapons they have… We don’t have the means to keep a watch over Ivorian territorial waters,” said Bertin Koffi Tano, Ivory Coast’s head of maritime and port affairs.

Berlusconi sex trial begins, Monti Promotes Women’s Rights
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti spoke of the importance of women’s rights on Monday, while his election rival Silvio Berlusconi sought to have his latest hearing in a trial for underage prostitution postponed.

Berlusconi’s “Bunga Bunga” sex scandal was one of the factors that cut short his last spell as prime minister in late 2011 at the height of the euro zone debt crisis.

Monti, who took over as a “technocrat” premier, used a conference on female genital mutilation to underline the importance of women in Italy, which ranks 80th in the world for gender equality according to one league table.

“We must not allow people to abuse and exploit women and then forget them because they are no longer considered useful. We must acknowledge their intelligence, humanity and qualities that can be developed at all stages of their lives,” he said.

Around the time Monti was speaking, judges in Milan agreed to a request by Berlusconi’s lawyers to postpone by a week his trial for paying for sex with an underage prostitute, due to his busy agenda of interviews as he bids for a fifth term.

Several young women who had aspired to be showgirls on Berlusconi’s television channels have described lurid stripteases during parties at his Milan villa. He has said the parties were “elegant dinners” and denies any wrongdoing.

Belgian child killer requests early release
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Belgium’s most notorious killer launched a bid for early release on Monday, despite little chance of getting parole.

Marc Dutroux, who was convicted of the kidnapping and rape of six girls and the murder of four of them in the 1990s, put his case to judges in a closed-door hearing in Brussels.

The case touches a nerve in Belgium because of the horrific nature of the murders, and the fact that Belgian police visited one of Dutroux’s houses while two victims, both eight years old, were being held there without finding them. The two subsequently starved to death in a makeshift dungeon.

Under Belgian law, criminals can be freed after serving a third of their sentences, or after 15 years in the case of those who have received life, a perpetual sentence in Belgium.

However, thousands of protesters called for tougher rules on convicts when Dutroux’s ex-wife was granted conditional freedom last year and moved to a convent. She had to request parole several times before it was granted.

Before Monday’s hearing, armed police placed razor wire barriers along the side of the courtroom, an unusual security measure in Belgium. Officials also erected a metal detector across the center of Belgium’s main courthouse.

Dutroux, who was arrested in 1996, was sentenced to life in 2004. He served two extra years under a separate charge, meaning he is free to request early release this year.

Colombian ELN rebels capture two ‘likely Germans’
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Colombian rebels from the National Liberation Army (ELN) said on Monday they have captured two men believed to be from Germany, the second time in a month the armed group has seized foreigners.

The ELN, Colombia’s second largest guerrilla group, said in a statement the two were seized in Catatumbo, near the border with Venezuela. It identified the two captives as Uwe Breuer and Gunther Otto Breuer.

The ELN said it considered the two “for now” to be intelligence agents because they could not explain why they were in the area, the statement said.

“In the weeks they have been held, they have not been able to justify their presence in the territory, for which reason they are considered, for now, to be intelligence agents and will continue to be investigated,” the ELN statement said.

The German Embassy in Bogota was unable to provide further information but said it was investigating.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Find more SE Asian News courtesy of Thaiger.

Broke? Find employment in Southeast Asia with JobCute Thailand. Rich? Invest in real estate across Asia with FazWaz Property Group. Even book medical procedures worldwide with MyMediTravel, all powered by DB Ventures.

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

Avatar

Published

on

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

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Continue Reading

Economy

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

Avatar

Published

on

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

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Continue Reading

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Denmark becomes first country in Europe to ditch AstraZeneca vaccine

Maya Taylor

Published

on

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

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Continue Reading
Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4 | Thaiger
Thailand1 month ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO | Thaiger
Tourism1 month ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2 | Thaiger
Phuket1 month ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO | Thaiger
Tourism2 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23 | Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO | Thaiger
Tourism2 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Follow Thaiger by email:

Trending