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World News: 11 now confirmed dead in avalanche

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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

Climbers’ death toll in Nepal avalanche reaches 11
Phuket Gazette / News Wires
PHUKET: The death toll has reached eleven while a number of others remain missing after a group of foreign and national climbers were buried under an avalanche in Nepal, local authorities said.

The avalanche occurred on the 8,848 meter-high (29,000 feet) Manaslu Peak in Nepal’s Gorkha District at an altitude of about 7,300 meters (24,000 feet) at around 4am on Sunday. According to reports, a large piece of ice broke off a glacier, causing the avalanche which ultimately destroyed over 20 tents at the peak’s camp-3, sweeping several people down the mountainside.

Bad weather forced rescue operations to be suspended on Sunday at about 3pm local time. As of yesterday morning, the deaths of eleven people were confirmed as Nepal army and police carried out search-and-resce operations with Simrik Air and Fishtail Air helicopters searching throughout the area.

Among the large group of over 200 climbers and guides were Germans, Italians and French nationals, as well as Sherpa guides, but the nationalities of those killed was not immediately available.

The former chairman of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, Ang Tsering Sherpa, confirmed the number of deaths, adding that avalanches on this scale were not common.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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World

PM weighs in after Thai national injured in Gaza explosion

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: An explosion in the Gaza Strip injured a Thai national this week. (via Flickr/Jim Forest)

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has made statements expressing concern and sorrow for the violence in the Gaza Strip as recent explosions have injured a Thai national. Thailand has a quota for agricultural labourers that work on exchange in Israel, with about 250 workers travelling to Israel each week on a charter flight. 3,100 Thai workers are currently already working in Israel.

Among the Thai labourers is Sitthichok Nanam, a 24 year old from Udon Thani who was injured in the Gaza Strip this week by a Hamas-launched explosion. No details about the nature of his injuries have been released yet, though he was treated at Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheva already. The Thai man had been working in Israel since June of 2017.

The Thai Royal Embassy in Tel Aviv passed on the information to the Labour Ministry who then contacted his family in Udon Thani to keep them updated on the situation. The ministry also requested funds to take care of the injured Thai man as well as to help other labourers who may need assistance.

Conflict has been escalating in the region as Israeli police and Palestinians have battled most recently over Muslims gathering at the Damascus Gate for iftar, the evening meal after daily fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. This is in addition to balloon bombs and dozens of rockets being launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel last week and other growing local conflicts.

PM Prayut has weighed in on the international matter since it does affect Thai citizens working near the Gaza Strip and in the region. His concern was added to a recent statement Thailand released regarding growing violence in the area.

“Thailand is deeply concerned by the violence in Israel and Palestine and strongly urges all parties concerned to exercise utmost restraint and refrain from any provocative actions that could escalate the situation and cause further casualties of innocent civilians and damages to heritage sites. Thailand also expresses its condolences and sympathies to those who have been affected by the violence.”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Economy

Market down as good US economy drives interest rate fears

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: The Thai stock market followed the rest of the world down yesterday, but long-term prospects may be looking up.

After US inflation exceeded targets and increased 4%, global stock markets including Thailand plummeted yesterday with fears of rising interest rates. Almost 144 billion baht was traded yesterday with the market at one point diving down 70 points in the late afternoon before recovering to a 23.72 point loss, closing at 1548.13.

2% is a high rate of inflation so the big numbers sparked fears that the US Federal Reserve will reduce quantitative easing and increase interest rate which decreases the market’s liquidity. The US economy is surging with the Consumer Price Index up 4.2% over last year.

The balancing out of the economy will likely push risky prospects like the stock market down while driving up commodity prices like energy and oil. This may hurt the Stock Exchange of Thailand in the short run, but will likely have long-term positive effects as the SET has a large number of energy stocks that will benefit from the market’s change.

Some long-term investors in Thailand fear quantitative easing and the market’s tightening because it drives away foreign investors which in the past made up 30% of the Thai market. But now foreigners only account for 20% so the negative effect should be much less. However, in the normal inflation range of 1 to 3%, the stock market should have a price-to-earnings ratio of 20 and some experts have downgraded it to 18 now.

Eyeing the US, some experts predict that even accelerated quantitative easing won’t come into effect until the end of the year and interest rates probably won’t rise significantly within the next 2 years. Watching the continued effect of the Covid-19 pandemic and US unemployment figures will be key indicators driving the global market up or down.

Even with the stock market down in Thailand, there’s still some good news as Thai corporations listed on the SET expected to cross the 200 billion baht profit threshold this week, after reporting 180 billion baht in the first quarter of the year, with 55% of the market recording a profit.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

America sees an easing of mask-wearing for those fully vaccinated

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America is seeing an easing of mask wearing rules for those who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention announced the new regulation yesterday, which allows those inoculated against the coronavirus, to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings. US President Joe Biden, who held a press conference without wearing a mask, to announce the new rule.

β€œToday is a great day for America. If you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask. Get vaccinated β€” or wear a mask until you do.”

The new rule still includes wearing a mask in crowded indoor areas such as buses, prisons, homeless shelters, and planes. But the relaxed rule will now help set the stage for other venues, workplaces, and schools to reopen sans social distancing requirements. Recently, the intense vaccination campaign has been considered, by some, to be successful as infection amounts in the US are the lowest since last September. Deaths are also the lowest since last April of 2020.

But as to how businesses or employees are supposed to know who has been fully vaccinated, remains unclear. Marc Perrone, the president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, says it is too much for essential workers to be forced to play mask police for shoppers who may be unvaccinated and also refuse to mask up. Biden has only seemed to offer advice instead of a plan for the issue.

β€œWe’ve gotten this far β€” please protect yourself until you get to the finish line.”

He admitted that most of the population under 65 years old has not been fully vaccinated, and that the government wouldn’t enforce mask wearing on them. Biden said that he believes the American people want to take care of their neighbours.

β€œWe’re not going to go out and arrest people. If you haven’t been vaccinated, wear your mask for your own protection and the protection of the people who also have not been vaccinated yet.”

But, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi isn’t budging on removing the mandatory mask wearing rule on the House floor. When CNN asked if she would follow the newly announced regulation, her response was not in favour of supporting it.

β€œNo. Are they all vaccinated?”

Despite the CDC’s announcement that Americans could relax their mask wearing, if vaccinated, America is the odd one out as the rest of the world is still battling the pandemic with strict mandates. And, just a few weeks ago, the CDC contradicted its recent announcement by recommending that even those who are fully vaccinated should continue to wear masks in all types of indoor settings, and in crowds, if outdoors.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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