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Phuket Media Watch: North Korea defiant; Fires rage in Los Angeles; Sailor rescued 5 days after ship sinks off Vietnam

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Phuket Media Watch: North Korea defiant; Fires rage in Los Angeles; Sailor rescued 5 days after ship sinks off Vietnam | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

North Korea warns South Korea on ‘hideous crimes’
Phuket Gazette / News Wires

PHUKET: The North Korean military on yesterday said the South “will pay for its hideous crimes” during the mourning period for Supreme Leader Kim Jong-il, and warned it may launch a retaliatory strike to “smash the stronghold of the puppet forces.”

A statement from the National Defense Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK/North Korea) condemned the South Korean government for immediately putting its forces on alert and convening an emergency meeting following the announcement of Kim Jong-il’s death.

“When the whole nation is overcome with grief over the great loss, only the South Korean puppet group committed thrice-cursed crimes,” the Commission said in a long statement. “The DPRK National Defense Commission, above all, discloses before the world and the nation the truth about those crimes of the South Korean puppet group.”

The Commission said the South’s actions created the impression that a “golden opportunity” had arrived to lead the North to a system change. “The South Korean authorities put the three services of the puppet army on an emergency alert and ordered them to adopt combat posture, creating a war-like atmosphere,” it said.

North Korean state-run media published a series of articles yesterday which were critical of South Korea. While threats against South Korea have been made in the past, yesterday’s was the first since Kim Jong-il’s son, Kim Jong-un, took over as Supreme Leader.

The Commission said the statements yesterday were made to “clarify” its principles in regards to South Korea, mainly because of the events during the mourning period. “As already declared, the DPRK will have no dealings with the Lee Myung-bak group of traitors forever,” it said. “To keep company with them is a disgrace for the clear and honest-minded Korean nation as they are ignorant in politics, vulgar in morals and lack elementary human nature.”

The military warned: “We will surely force the group of traitors to pay for its hideous crimes committed at the time of the great national misfortune. The veritable sea of tears shed by the army and people of the DPRK will turn into that of retaliatory fire to burn all the group of traitors to the last one, and [turn our] wailing into a roar of revenge to smash the stronghold of the puppet forces.”

Police hunt arsonist after 20 fires hit Los Angeles overnight

Phuket Gazette / News Wires
PHUKET: As many as twenty suspicious fires were set in Hollywood and the City of Los Angeles early yesterday morning, police said. One firefighter was injured while responding to one of the fires.

Sheriff’s officials said the first fire was set just after midnight in a car port in West Hollywood, a city in Los Angeles County. Over the next two hours, officials say, at least four other fires were started throughout the area in car ports. No residents were injured in any of the fires, but one firefighter was transported to the hospital after falling from a ladder.

At the same time, up to 15 other fires were started in the city of Los Angeles, which is within a two-mile (3.2 kilometer) radius of West Hollywood.

“The City of West Hollywood arson fires are definitely related to the LA City fires,” said Los Angeles County Police Detective Ed Nordskog.

Several of the fires raged in homes and other buildings, including the former home of U.S. musician Jim Morrison, according to the DPA news agency. Dozens of residents had to be evacuated from an apartment building after two fires were set shortly after 2am local time (5pm Phuket time). The last fire was started after 4am.

“We are very fortunate that these outrageous crimes didn’t result in injuries or death,” said Captain Kelley Fraser at the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station. “We are asking for the public’s help in the search for the arsonist(s). If you saw or see anyone or anything suspicious, please report it immediately.”

Vietnamese sailor found 5 days after shipwreck killing 22
Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: A Vietnamese sailor was found alive on yesterday after his cargo ship sank off the coast of Vietnam on Sunday, killing nearly two dozen people, officials said.

The English MV London Courage ship found 31-year-old Dau Ngoc Hung adrift in a life boat, five days after the Vinalines Queen capsized after it passed the Phillipines island of Luzon, which is located east of Vietnam.

Nguyen Anh Vu, the director of the Vietnam Maritime Search and Rescue Co-ordination Center, told the Vietnam News Agency that Hung is the only surviving crew member of the 23 people who worked aboard the ill-fated ship.

The accident occurred on Christmas Day when the Vinalines Queen went missing while transporting 54,000 tonnes of Nikel from Indonesia to China. The ship did not send out a distress signal, slowing down rescue operations.

Hung said the boat suddenly overturned and quickly sank, explaining that he was the only one of the crew who was able to reach a life boat. Search and rescue operations were carried out by different teams from the Philippines, Japan and Taiwan, as well as a number of other countries, which have already been informed of the rescue.

The cause of the accident remains unknown.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Tourism

No vaccine, no flight – Qantas will require international travellers to be vaccinated

The Thaiger

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No vaccine, no flight – Qantas will require international travellers to be vaccinated | The Thaiger

Qantas, Australia’s national airline, is announcing a new requirement that all international travellers will need to have a vaccination against Covid-19 in a move that could become the norm for the world’s airline industry. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says the Australian flag carrier would implement the measure once a coronavirus vaccine was made available to the public.

“We are looking at changing our terms and conditions to say for international travellers that we will ask people to have a vaccination before they can get on the aircraft.”

“Whether you need that domestically, we will have to see what happens with Covid-19 in the market but certainly, for international visitors coming out (to Australia) and people leaving the country, we think that is a necessity.”

Joyce says the new rule is likely to become a standard practice by all airlines worldwide as many governments are now working to introduce electronic vaccination passports. Vaccination requirements are already widely used around the world for those wishing to enter certain countries, with many countries wanting travellers show they have been inoculated against yellow fever if they are coming from regions where that disease could be acquired.

The International Air Transport Association has also announced it is in the “final stages” of developing a digital health pass that it says can be used to record Covid-19 tests or vaccinations and will “support the safe reopening of borders.”

“We are bringing this to market in the coming months to also meet the needs of the various travel bubbles and public health corridors that are starting operation.”

Australia’s borders have been closed since March to help stop the spread of the virus, which has taken the lives of more than 1 million people worldwide. The country has even limited its own citizens arrivals from abroad by implementing a weekly quota that has left thousands stranded overseas. Qantas has grounded more than 200 planes and let go 8,500 staff members as it attempts to offset a US 1.9 billion loss.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Malaysia

Technical issues force Singapore aircraft to land on Malaysian highway – VIDEO

Maya Taylor

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Technical issues force Singapore aircraft to land on Malaysian highway – VIDEO | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Twitter

A single-engine prop plane from Singapore has been forced to make an emergency landing on a Malaysian highway due to technical difficulties. A report in Coconuts says the aircraft touched down on the hard shoulder of a highway in Johor, as cars sped past. The 2 pilots on board are believed to be in stable condition.

Chester Voo, CEO of Malaysia’s aviation authority, says an investigation has been launched to determine what went wrong with the plane, which has now been removed.

“Search and rescue teams have completed all required tasks. The investigation will be conducted by the Air Accident Investigation Bureau under the Ministry of Transport, Malaysia.”

It’s understood the plane left Seletar Airport in Singapore and was flying to Melaka when the pilots contacted Air Traffic Control at Johor, requesting permission to land at Senai International Airport, due to technical problems. However, Voo says the aircraft did not make it to the airport before it had to land on the highway.

Meanwhile, Thomas Ong from Premier Aero Singapore, who provide services at Seletar Airport, says his company provided immigration assistance to one of the pilots prior to departure, but doesn’t know what happened to cause the emergency landing.

“We only assisted Dr Yang in immigration formalities with the Seletar Airport Authority for his arrival and departure.”

SOURCE: Coconuts

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Singapore – Hong Kong travel bubble delayed due to Covid rise in HK

Maya Taylor

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Singapore – Hong Kong travel bubble delayed due to Covid rise in HK | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Ruslan Bardash on Unsplash

Singapore and Hong Kong have agreed to delay their travel bubble plans as Hong Kong experiences a jump in Covid-19 cases. Although case numbers in both cities are nowhere near as serious as what’s currently being seen in places like Europe and the US, officials are erring on the side of caution and postponing the plan by at least 2 weeks.

The travel pact would have allowed people to travel between both cities without having to endure mandatory quarantine, but authorities on both sides had agreed it would be postponed if either location reported more than 5 new local cases in a rolling 7 day average. The Bangkok Post reports that travel between both cities remains possible, but quarantine is still a requirement in both places.

Mungo Paterson, a British national who lives in Hong Kong and had booked a ticket to Singapore for December 7, says the reinstatement of the quarantine requirement is the biggest problem.

“That is the main deterrent, I have no interest in sitting in a hotel room for 2 weeks – it’s not healthy. I was excited when they announced it, I thought ‘here we go’. I’m now holding off confirming until Dec 2. I think there’s a 50-50 chance the flight will happen.”

Singapore Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung says the rise in cases in Hong Kong shows that any attempted travel arrangement will not be plain sailing.

“This is a sober reminder that the Covid-19 virus is still with us, and even as we fight to regain our normal lives, the journey will be full of ups and downs.”

The strict border controls seen in Asia appear to have helped countries here suppress the virus better than elsewhere in the world, but the controls have come at a significant cost, crippling tourism and the aviation sector. Rico Merkert from the University of Sydney’s business school says that, without international traffic, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines will continue to struggle, even when the travel bubble between their 2 hubs does begin.

“Even if the Hong Kong-Singapore corridor opens, the boost to the 2 aviation hubs will be limited. Singapore Airlines and Cathay will continue to struggle because they can’t funnel onto the route those travellers who would normally arrive from Europe and the US. Without that feeder traffic, those bubbles will at best be limited to the local population. International travel is going to remain a tricky affair.”

October traffic for both carriers has plummeted compared to the same period last year, with Cathay carrying just 38,541 passengers, down 98.6% on 2019 figures. Singapore Airlines has experienced a similar slump, with October numbers down 98.2% on last year’s, at 35,500.

Brendan Sobie from Sobie Aviation says at this stage, the implementation of a travel bubble is mostly symbolic, adding that the aviation sector will take years to fully recover.

“Bubbles provide a little bit of incremental additional international traffic in the interim period until the pandemic ends. A full recovery in air traffic will still take a few years, even with a vaccine, though bubbles will help get the process moving.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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