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Phuket Media Watch: Body found on British Queen’s estate; Missing journalist believed dead

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Phuket Media Watch: Body found on British Queen’s estate; Missing journalist believed dead | Thaiger
PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Body at Queen’s estate identified as missing teenager
Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Human remains which were found on the Queen’s Sandringham estate in eastern England on New Year’s Day have been identified as a missing 17-year-old girl, police said yesterday.

The remains were found by a member of the public at around 11pm Phuket time on New Year’s Day in an area of woodland at Anmer, a tiny village which is part of Sandringham estate in Norfolk county. The investigation later turned into a murder investigation.

Detective Chief Inspector Jes Fry, of the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team who is leading the investigation, said on Sunday that the remains have been identified as 17-year-old Alisa Dmitrijeva. She had been missing from Wisbech in Cambridgeshire since August 31, although she was not reported missing until September 6.

It took police nearly a week to confirm the girl’s identity as earlier tests to establish a DNA profile proved inconclusive. “Following initial tests to obtain a full DNA profile, identification of the victim has been made by comparing detail from her palm with records held which have been further verified by DNA from her femur,” police said.

Fry said his department would start working with officers in Cambridgeshire who have been trying to locate Dmitrijeva in recent months. “The information they provide will give me and the team an extra focus to the inquiry,” he said. “I should also add we are still trying to establish any activity which took place on or around the site during the time frame of the end of August to the end of September 2011.”

Dmitrijeva’s family was informed of the news on Sunday morning. “We are devastated by the news of Alisa’s death. We wish to grieve in private,” the family said in a brief statement.

The case has attracted worldwide attention as Dmitrijeva was found in an area which is part of Sandringham estate used by the British royal family to spend some of its holidays, including the recent Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

Body found in Ivory Coast may be missing French-Canadian journalist
Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Skeletal remains were unearthed in a town in the western region of Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) on Friday, state-run media reported on Saturday. The remains are believed to belong to a missing French-Canadian journalist.

The state-owned Agence Ivoirienne de Presse (AIP) said the remains were discovered on Friday in a village near the town of Issia, which is located in the Haut-Sassandra Region in western Ivory Coast. Authorities believe the remains belong to journalist Guy-Andre Kieffer, who went missing in Abidjan in April 2004.

Bernard Kieffer, the brother of the missing reporter, told French media that DNA samples were taken and are being flown to France for analysis. The remains were taken to Abidjan, the country’s economic capital, where Ivorian investigators will examine the remains.

French Judge Patrick Ramael, who is in charge of the French investigation, was present at the site.

According to AIP, the body was found to have been buried under parts of a bridge near a river. Authorities were led to the site by an informant who said he saw the body when it was being buried, but few other details were immediately released.

“We are still a long way from finding out exactly what happened to Kieffer,” Reporters Without Borders said in a statement following Saturday’s announcement. “If it is turns out that the remains are Kieffer’s, confirming that he was murdered and then buried after his abduction, the identity of those who gave the orders and those who carried it out still has to be established. Who killed him? Why? Several persons suspected of being involved have never been detained.”

Kieffer went missing on April 16, 2004, while following leads on a government corruption story he was preparing. His investigation is believed to have angered senior officials in the government of president Laurent Gbagbo, who was ousted last year following an election defeat that led to the Second Ivorian Civil War. Gbagbo’s government at the time denied any involvement.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Grim milestone: 3 million Covid-19 deaths worldwide

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Grim milestone: 3 million Covid-19 deaths worldwide | Thaiger
PHOTO: 3 million Covid-19 deaths recorded around the world.

Today marks a grim milestone as the Covid-19 pandemic has officially caused 3 million deaths around the world, and outbreaks are still surging. Over a year into the pandemic, and we are currently seeing over 700,000 new infections and 12,000 deaths per day, with Brazil, India, and France facing growing crises. The 3 million figure reflects official numbers, though many suspect that real totals are much higher, pointing at government cover-ups and early deaths that were not attributed to Covid-19 when the virus was still in its infancy. Still, the official number is overwhelming enough – equal to the population of Kyiv, Ukraine, or the state of Arkansas in the US, and larger than world cities like Lisbon, Caracas, Dubai, Manchester or Chicago. Imagine nearly one-third of the people in Bangkok wiped out, or the entire nation of Armenia or Jamaica.

The World Health Organisation laments the dire condition of the world dealing with the pandemic after 16 months and so many opportunities to prevent the spread with basic safety precautions. Brazil has spiralled out of control, racking up 3,000 deaths a day, nearly 25% of all the Covid-19 deaths in the world in the past few weeks. New variants have been spreading like wildfire throughout Brazil as more dangerous strains have wriggled their way into countries around the world.

In India, the distribution of vaccines has been thwarted by swelling Covid-19 outbreaks and deaths. In New Dehli, 13,000 infections were reported in a day amongst the 29 million residents, but the city only has 178 ventilators available as of Wednesday. Only 1.1% of the populations has been vaccinated, and officials faced criticism of their vaccine exports while so many need jabs domestically. But the UN’s Covax vaccination program, which delivers doses to poorer parts of the world was dependant on India, their biggest vaccine supplier. Covax has distributed about 40 million vaccines in over 100 countries so far, but this worsening situation may prevent shots from being received in up to 60 countries until June.

700 million vaccines have been distributed worldwide, but they have been shipped disproportionately to the wealthier populations throughout the world. In rich countries, 1 in 4 people have been vaccinated, while in poor countries that number is less than 1 in 500. In fact, 87% of the vaccines distributed worldwide have been to wealthy nations, and the delays in India due to increasing Covid-19 deaths will not help close that gap for many months to come.

SOURCE: Sky

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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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