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Leicester fans mourn Thai boss killed in helicopter crash

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Fans have been laying out flowers, football scarves, prayers and tributes outside the Leicester City club grounds after Saturday’s helicopter accident, in tribute to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the Thai Leicester club owner fans credit for an against-all-odds Premiership victory in 2016.

“Leicester City was a family under his leadership. It is as a family that we will grieve his passing and maintain the pursuit of a vision for the club that is now his legacy.” – Leicester Club statement.

The club’s Thai billionaire owner died in a helicopter crash just outside the ground. According to witnesses it had just taken off from the centre of the pitch and was just gaining altitude when it appeared to suffer an unknown mechanical failure.

Fans streamed towards the stadium to express their gratitude and condolences, sensing the worst, but before official confirmation that the 60 year old businessman, had perished in the crash. Vichai frequently flew to and from Leicester’s home games by his family-owned helicopter. Four other people on the helicopter, including two members of Vichai’s staff, were also killed in the crash.

As emergency vehicles whizzed back and forth from the crash site, the car park in the rear of the stadium, a stream of people came to pay homage and their gratitude.

According to AFP, one 55 year old fan said, “He’s put Leicester on the map. He’s made us big, we’re not just a little club anymore.”

Vichai also had enormous impact on Thailand football, not only in the international arena, but developing Thai football and sponsoring many competitions and clubs.

Eyewitnesses report that the helicopter appeared to develop some mechanical problems in the rear rotor shortly after takeoff. Orange balls of flame engulfed the craft as it crashed to the ground, according to people that watched the horror unfold.

It was under Vichai’s ownership of the club that Leicester was able to produce one of the biggest fairytale wins in English football history by winning the 2015/16 Premier League title. The club had started the season as 5,000-1 outsiders to win the title.

Leicester fans mourn Thai boss killed in helicopter crash | News by The Thaiger

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

“Vaccines are no magic bullet” – World Health Organisation

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“Vaccines are no magic bullet” – World Health Organisation | The Thaiger

“Vaccines will be no magic bullet for the coronavirus crisis as nations gear up for a massive rollout to tackle surging infections.”

The warning of caution comes from the World Health Organisation on the day the US United States recorded a record number of Covid-19 cases for a second day in a row. President-elect Joe Biden is already describing the time ahead as a “dark winter”. The US recorded 235,272 new infections on Friday, the second daily record in a row for the world’s worst-hit nation.

Large-scale public vaccinations are expected to roll out within weeks. But the WHO is warning against ‘vaccine complacency’ saying that exists an erroneous belief that the Covid-19 crisis will be over after people are vaccinated.

WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan, says that not everyone will be able to receive the medicine early next year.

“Vaccination will add a major, powerful tool to the tool kit that we have. But by themselves, they will not do the job. Vaccines do not equal zero Covid.”

The WHO also announced yesterday that 51 candidate vaccines are currently being tested on humans… 13 have reached Phase 3 mass testing and headed towards approval.

Meanwhile in the US, the Centres for Disease Control is now recommending “universal face mask use” indoors for the first time and President-elect says he will “ask all Americans to wear a mask for 100 days”.

Britain became the first Western country to approve a vaccine from the Pfizer/BioNTech candidate, for general use, adding additional pressure for other countries and pharmaceutical giants to swiftly follow suit. Businesses and logistics companies specialising in cold storage and insulating containers are preparing for the Pfizer and BioNTech injection as their vaccine needs to be stored and transported at -70 degrees Celsius.

In the US, Belgium, France and Spain inoculations will begin later this month and January for the most vulnerable, then broader community groups.

In south east Asia, Singapore Airlines will prioritise freight capacity to ship the new vaccines and will conduct test flights soon to trial the transport into south east Asian hubs. The airline says that Boeing 747-400 freighters, and some specially-purposed passenger aircraft, will be ready to boost capacity where needed.

The logistics of a successful vaccine rollout are challenging enough, but the vocal rump of vaccine sceptics, aka. anti-vaxxers, peddling misinformation and mistrust, continue to colour public discourse on the topic. Social media platforms have recently been active in removing much of this misinformation but admit that they will never be able to intervene with all comments.

To counter this President-elect Joe Biden, WHO director-general Tedros and former US presidents Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton, have all said they will be inoculated publicly to help build confidence. Other world leaders are throwing their support behind positive promotions of the new vaccines offering their arms for the first jabs in their countries.

SOURCES: AP | Reuters | WHO

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Protests

US senators introduce resolution in support of Thailand’s pro-democracy movement

Maya Taylor

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US senators introduce resolution in support of Thailand’s pro-democracy movement | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Getty Images

The US Senate has called on the Thai government to end violence against political activists, as it introduced a resolution in support of the pro-democracy movement. 9 members of Congress introduced the resolution, including Thai-American senator Tammy Duckworth, who has previously served in the US military.

“As a Thai-American who fought to protect the right to peacefully protest here at home, I know that both the longstanding, strong relationship between the US and Thailand as well as every individual’s inalienable democratic rights are critically important to uphold and defend. Thailand is a strong partner with the US, both in terms of our shared national security priorities and economic relations, and the Thai people have a proud history of democratic reform. I urge Thai leadership to listen to the people and respect the democratic principles at the heart of the government they’ve worked so hard to form.”

A press release from the Senate says the resolution, “underscores the United States’ commitment to human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Thailand. The senators’ resolution follows recent demonstrations by Thailand’s pro-democracy movement, which have been met with violence and repression by the country’s monarchy and government.”

The resolution says the military-drafted 2017 Constitution is at the root of the problem, accusing it of eroding democracy and the protection of citizens’ rights in the Kingdom. It points out that in the 2019 election, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha managed to maintain his grip on power through the support of an unelected Senate appointed by the military. The election is seen by many independent monitoring groups as having been deeply flawed and skewed in favour of the PM and his administration.

The resolution also criticises the dissolution of the opposition party, Future Forward, saying that process too was flawed and based on spurious accusations. It also claims the Thai government has not done enough to investigate the enforced disappearances and killings of Thai political activists elsewhere in Asia.

The government’s response to the ongoing political protests has also come in for criticism, with the resolution saying it consists of, “intimidation tactics, surveillance, harassment, arrests, violence and imprisonment”, prompting UNICEF to voice concern over the risks to children attending political rallies.

Meanwhile, Senator Bob Menendez says pro-democracy activists in Thailand are only seeking what’s fair.

“Thailand’s reformers are not seeking a revolution. They are simply yearning for democratic changes to their country’s political system, for freedom of speech and assembly, and for Thailand to be a part of the community of democratic nations.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Technology

Chinese probe heads back to Earth after spending 2 days on the Moon

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Chinese probe heads back to Earth after spending 2 days on the Moon | The Thaiger

A Chinese space probe, Chang’e 5, is now on its way back to earth after having flown to the Moon, landed, explored, collected soil samples and taken off again. It will bring the first lunar rock and soil samples back to Earth in over 4 decades. The probe is bringing a payload of some 2 kilograms of rocks back for testing and investigation.

The landing hardware included a powered descent system, which is now remaining on the Moon’s surface after last night’s blast off.

The Chang’e-5 Chinese developed and built probe, named after the mythical Chinese moon goddess, look off from the Moon at 11.10pm Beijing time last night. Everything was described as ‘routine’ by the mission control staff following the probe’s 2 days motoring around the lunar surface and collecting samples.

The probe was launched from China’s Hainan island, south of Hong Kong in the South China Sea. It will land in northern China’s Inner Mongolia region after its journey back to earth and the perils of an earth atmosphere re-entry. The arrival back at earth is at least a week away.

Scientists hope the samples will help unravel more about the moon’s origins and volcanic activity on its surface. The Chinese have poured billions of Yuan into its military-run space program. The program’s stated ambitions is to have a crewed space station by 2022, and eventually sending humans to the moon and establishing the first colony.

China is only the third country to have retrieved samples from the moon, following the US and the Soviet Union in the 1960s and early 70s. The last time a mission headed to the Moon was the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 unmanned mission in 1976.

The spacecraft was due to collect 2kg (4.5lbs) of material in a previously unexplored area known as Oceanus Procellarum (Ocean of Storms), a vast lava plain, according to the science journal Nature.

Beijing is looking to finally catch up with the US and Russia after years of belatedly matching their space milestones.

Another Chinese lunar rover landed on the far side of the moon in January 2019 in a first that boosted Beijing’s aspirations to become a space superpower. The mission of Chang’e 5 was on the side of the Moon that always faces the earth.

Chinese probe heads back to Earth after spending 2 days on the Moon | News by The Thaiger

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