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World News: Israel, Gaza intensify bombings this morning

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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

Israel, Gaza fighting rages on as Egypt seeks peace
Phuket Gazette / Reuters
PHUKET: Israel bombed militant targets in Gaza for a fifth straight day this morning (Phuket time), launching aerial and naval attacks as its military prepared for a possible ground invasion, though Egypt saw “some indications” of a truce ahead.

Forty-seven Palestinians, about half of them civilians, including 12 children, were killed in Israel’s raids, Palestinian officials said. And more than 500 rockets were fired from Gaza struck Israel, killing three people and injuring dozens.

Israel unleashed its massive air campaign on Wednesday, killing a leading militant of the Hamas Islamist group that controls Gaza and rejects Israel’s existence, with the declared goal of deterring gunmen in the coastal enclave from launching rockets that have plagued its southern communities for years.

The Jewish state has since launched more than 950 air strikes on the coastal Palestinian territory, targeting weaponry and flattening militant homes and headquarters.

The raids continued past midnight yesterday, with warships bombarding targets from the sea. And an air raid targeted a building in Gaza City housing the offices of local Arab media, wounding three journalists from al Quds television, a station Israel sees as pro-Hamas, witnesses said.

Two other predawn attacks on houses in the Jebalya refugee camp killed one child and wounded 12 other people, medical officials said.

These attacks followed a defiant statement by Hamas military spokesman Abu Ubaida, who told a televised news conference.

“This round of confrontation will not be the last against the Zionist enemy and it is only the beginning.”

The masked gunman dressed in military fatigues insisted that despite Israel’s blows Hamas “is still strong enough to destroy the enemy.”

An Israeli attack yesterday destroyed the house of a Hamas commander near the Egyptian border.

Casualties there were averted, however, because Israel had fired non-exploding missiles at the building beforehand from a drone, which the militant’s family understood as a warning to flee, and thus their lives were spared, witnesses said.

Israeli aircraft yesterday also bombed Hamas government buildings in Gaza, including the offices of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and a police headquarters.
Among those killed in yesterday’s strikes on Gaza were at least four suspected militants riding motorcycles, and several civilians including a 30-year-old woman.

Israel’s operation has drawn Western support for what U.S. and European leaders have called Israel’s right to self-defense, but there have also been a growing number of calls from world leaders to seek an end to the violence.

British Prime Minister David Cameron “expressed concern over the risk of the conflict escalating further and the danger of further civilian casualties on both sides,” in a conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a spokesperson for Cameron said.

The United Kingdom was “putting pressure on both sides to de-escalate,” the spokesman said, adding that Cameron had urged Netanyahu “to do everything possible to bring the conflict to an end.”

Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser to President Barack Obama, said the United States would like to see the conflict resolved through “de-escalation” and diplomacy, but also believes Israel has a right to self-defense.

Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi said in Cairo as his security deputies sought to broker a truce with Hamas leaders, that “there are some indications that there is a possibility of a ceasefire soon, but we do not yet have firm guarantees.”

Egypt has mediated previous ceasefire deals between Israel and Hamas, the latest of which unraveled with the recent violence.

A Palestinian official told Reuters the truce discussions would continue in Cairo on Sunday, saying “there is hope,” but it was too early to say whether the efforts would succeed.

— Reuters

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Thailand

Supreme streetwear makes deal over T-shirt featuring monk

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Supreme now has the temple's permission to use the monk's image. (via Pinterest)

Wat Ban Rai, a small temple in Nakhon Ratchasima, has reached an agreement with popular streetwear brand Supreme for using an image of their monk. In February the temple became aware that the global clothing brand was using a stylised photo of a well-known monk from their temple, Luang Por Khun, without having ever asked permission. They had threatened lawsuits and other legal action until the settlement was reached.

Luang died at age 91 in 2015 and donated his body to Khon Kaen University for study, after which he was cremated in 2019. Before his death, he was popular throughout Thailand with many believing that he possessed magical power. People would visit him with belief that his blessings could protect them from danger and even gunshots.

The photo had been taken around 2003 and he had given permission for it to be used on t-shirts locally to raise money for the temple itself. But relatives and Temple members were shocked to see the image of the monk squatting and smoking an enormous cigarette with a sacred “yant” script encircling him appear on a trendy t-shirt from Supreme, a fashion company based in New York.

The temple manager said they finally received a written request asking for permission to use the image of the late monk on 1,000 Supreme t-shirts. They reached an agreement when Supreme pledge to donate a portion of the proceeds to the temple.

Relatives and religious officials criticised Supreme for using the monk image as Thai people don’t use such sacred images as decoration and are sensitive about the destruction of such images which could inadvertently occur with a carelessly discarded old t-shirt. They had previously tried to explain these reasons to the clothing brand.

The threats of a lawsuit have now been dropped and it appears the Supreme monk shirts will now be sold with the temple’s blessing and with an undisclosed portion of the profits being donated to the temple.

SOURCE: Coconuts

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Australian government provides grant to cover 1 million vaccine doses in Laos

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/Australia in Laos

To help the mass rollout of Covid-19 vaccines in Laos, the Australian government is providing a 15.2 million AUD grant to cover around 1 million vaccine doses in the Southeast Asian country. The grant also covers training for healthcare workers on how to safely administer the vaccines.

Laos reported a spike in cases over the past month, after a year of containing the spread of the virus with active cases remaining under 20. Yesterday, Laos reported 1,088 active cases, a sharp increase after months of just a few active Covid-19 cases at a time.

Australian Ambassador to Laos, Paul Kelly, says the Australian government is “pleased to be able to support the people of Laos in a time of need.”

“Ensuring Laos has access to safe and effective vaccines is a major and immediate priority for the Australian government… We recognise that no one is safe until everyone is safe. Our support will vaccinate hundreds of thousands of Lao people as well as support long term health security. Australia has been a long-standing and trusted partner for Laos over the past 69 years.”

Laos Vice President Pany Yathotou says the grant from Australia is a significant contribution to ensures the efficient rollout of Covid-19 vaccines in Laos. Most of the funds will be used to purchase the doses and to help Laos distribute and administer vaccines. It will also support a public information campaign, spreading facts about vaccines and also translating the information to ethnic languages.

The Australian Embassy says the country also contributed to the multilateral COVAX facility which covers free vaccinations for more than 20% of the Laos population.

Australian government provides grant to cover 1 million vaccine doses in Laos | News by Thaiger

Active Covid-19 cases in Laos as of 12 May 2021, according to Worldometers.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Fear over Covid in India has some washing themselves with cow dung

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Photo via Chiang Rai Times

Fears over Covid-19 has some people in India, bathing themselves in cow feces. Doctors, however, warn that there is no evidence that cow dung is effective at curing the novel coronavirus and even warn of other diseases that can be acquired from the bacteria and germs in the feces. The pandemic has brought widespread devastation to India, with 22.66 million infections of Covid-19 so far, and 246,116 deaths.

But experts say the numbers could be as much as 5 to 10 times higher than that reported as hospital beds, oxygen, and medicine has left many to die from a lack of treatment. The state of Gujarat, in western India, has seen some going to cow shelters once a week to bathe themselves in cow feces and urine with the hope that it will boost their immunity against the coronavirus.

It may sound disgusting and weird, but in Hinduism, the cow is a scared symbol of life and Earth. Hindus have used cow feces to clean their homes and in prayer rituals, believing that it has antiseptic and therapeutic components. Gautam Manilal Borisa, an associate manager at a pharmaceutical company, says the practise of using cow dung helped him recover from the virus last year.

β€œWe see… even doctors come here. Their belief is that this therapy improves their immunity and they can go and tend to patients with no fear.”

But not all doctors are in agreeance over its effects or healing properties. J.A. Jayalal, the national president of the Indian Medical Association, feels otherwise.

β€œThere is no concrete scientific evidence that cow dung or urine works to boost immunity against Covid-19. It is based entirely on belief. There are also health risks involved in smearing or consuming these products – other diseases can spread from the animal to humans.”

He says it is also risky for groups to take part in bathing themselves, as it could spread the Covid virus further. But, those who believe in the dung and urine mixture, keep lining up to smother themselves in the concoction. As it dries, they hug or honour the cows at the shelter, and practise yoga to boost their energy levels. When the mixture is dry, they wash it off with milk or buttermilk.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

 

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