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Regional news source publishes smuggled photos from Bangkok’s Immigration Detention Centre

The Thaiger

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Regional news source publishes smuggled photos from Bangkok’s Immigration Detention Centre | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: Photos from inside the Bangkok Immigration Detention Centre smuggled out and given to UCA News
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A regional news source, linked to the Catholic Church, has published a group of photos over the weekend slamming Thailand’s notorious Bangkok’s Immigration Detention Centre. The article claims the Centre has “squalid and overcrowded conditions in which inmates, including children, women and the elderly, have been forced to languish for months and even years on end.”

The Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN) is a news agency that covers issues and matters of interest for the Catholic Church on the Asian continent. It was launched in Hong Kong in 1979. Since its foundation, it has become one of the largest Catholic news agencies in the world, as well as the largest in Asia.

The writer of the story containing the photos and claims has been credited to an UCA News reporter in Hong Kong.

UCA News say the photo’s were taken and smuggled out of the Centre “surreptitiously” and paint an even darker picture of inmates’ living conditions inside the Bangkok holding facility.

“More than 1,000 inmates have been squeezed into tightly packed cells that provide no privacy and barely any room for individual detainees.”

Bangkok’s IDC, ironically situated in Bangkok’s swishest district of Sathorn, was designed to hold no more than 500 detainees at most, but even officials admit that it frequently needs to accommodate up to 1,200 people at any one time. The article says, inmates are let out from their cramped cells to get some fresh air in an outdoor area, for a few hours a day.

“Here they have access to a canteen where those fortunate enough to have money sent from the outside can buy food to supplement meagre prison rations.”

Regional news source publishes smuggled photos from Bangkok's Immigration Detention Centre | News by The ThaigerRegional news source publishes smuggled photos from Bangkok's Immigration Detention Centre | News by The Thaiger

Much of the knowledge of conditions inside the IDC has come from testimonies of former and current detainees. Cameras and mobile phones are strictly prohibited and if any devices are found they are immediately confiscated and the memory wiped.

Only one photo of the Centre’s insides was smuggled out last year and ended up in major Thai newspaper and, subsequently, widely shared on social media. These photos of the interior of the IDC, given to the UCA News by an undisclosed source, are probably the largest number of images ever to be published.

UCA News says the photos show… “life inside for detainees whose only crime has been to overstay their visas.”

The outlet also complains that numerous inmates are simply asylum seekers… “such as Catholics from Pakistan whose right to refugee status and appropriate treatment has been denied by Thai authorities”.

The article goes on to list other detainees as visitors with invalid passports or expired visas, migrant workers without work permits, and refugees who fled persecution in their countries, ending up incarcerated in Thailand as illegal migrants.

UCA News, goes on to compare the living conditions inside the IDC with the Kingdom’s other prisons.

“In effect, the IDC is no different from any Thai prison where conditions have long been known to be similarly appalling.”

In November, news was leaked by a British detainee in the IDC who says he witnessed another inmate “dying in his arms” following a brutal beating.

A British father of two has shared his horror story after being locked up in a Thai jail. Imprisoned for overstaying his visa, 35 year old Kai Isaacs claims a fellow inmate died in his arms following a brutal beating. The incident happened back on May 21 in the International Detention Centre, situated next door to the swanky Sathorn residential area in Bangkok.

Kai, from the Isle of Wight, was imprisoned with 150 other inmates at the IDC. He says he was locked up with “gangsters and suspected terrorists”, according to the article in the Mirror Online. He said all 150 inmates had to sleep on the floor, ten in a row.

Regional news source publishes smuggled photos from Bangkok's Immigration Detention Centre | News by The ThaigerRegional news source publishes smuggled photos from Bangkok's Immigration Detention Centre | News by The Thaiger

Regional news source publishes smuggled photos from Bangkok's Immigration Detention Centre | News by The Thaiger

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Entertainment

BTS switches ON its domination of the pop world with their new album ‘Map of the Soul:7’

Tim Newton

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BTS switches ON its domination of the pop world with their new album ‘Map of the Soul:7’ | The Thaiger
BTS in the launch music clip for Map of the Soul:7

From the first determined drum stroke in the new BTS music video you get the sense that these guys mean business for their new album. The music video will likely kick over more than 50 million views in its first 24 hours since launch.

The world’s biggest band BTS – in terms of album sales, stadium tickets sold, and sheer internet presence – has launched their latest studio album, their seventh, Map of the Soul:7. And they’re spending their time launching it in the US, seen as the holy grail of pop for bands around the world.

The seven-member South Korean band has boldly gone where few ‘foreign’ language bands have gone before. Last year they notched up a major milestone becoming only the second band to have three consecutive No. 1 albums in the Billboard Chart in a 12 month period. The last band to do that was a British quartet called The Beatles… you may have heard of them.

But the white-washed world of American pop has been slow to come around to the invasion of the South Korean band that cut its teeth in the ultra-competitive world of K-pop before making headway in the international market. Indeed they’ve done just about everything differently than bands before and, somehow, etched out a brave new world of pop success, on their own terms.

Launching in June 2013, BTS (aka. Bangtan Boys, Bangtan Seoyondan, which translates as Bulletproof Boy Scouts), the seven members have played with hip hop, R&B, power ballads, pure pop and edgy rap styles. Seven years later their music is much more difficult to define as it crosses multiple genres and emerges as something new and distinct. 

But BTS is a lot more than its three letter acronym. BTS is RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook.

Much of their success is rooted in a few points-of-difference, all of them taken to new levels of professionalism and art.

• Every BTS music video is almost a piece of art, sometimes filmic and always beautifully crafted.

• BTS write, produce and perform. They act, sing, dance and rap. They are the total pop-package.

• BTS lean heavily on their authentic messages of loving yourself, acknowledging your shadows, accepting your frailties and, well, a lot of other ‘young people’ issues. Apart from the occasionally dark and ‘real’ messages in their music, all seven members appear humble and intelligent, and willing to share their ups and downs with fans (Band leader ‘RM’ has an IQ of 148).

• BTS have weaponised social media in a way never before attempted or achieved. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok… they have accumulated a vast online fandom, called ARMY. It’s easy to say that there has NEVER been such a motivated, dedicated fandom in music history, across borders, across languages.

• They have a well-catalogued rags-to-riches backstory, complete with hundreds of videos following their early days, failures and apprehension. From living together in a tiny dorm and cooking their own meals together, all the way to their world-wide popularity and chartered jets, it’s a fascinating journey that adds to their appeal.

• They are genuinely likeable and have always, ALWAYS, thanked their legion of fans, first and foremost, for their success.

BTS switches ON its domination of the pop world with their new album 'Map of the Soul:7' | News by The Thaiger

‘7’ has held its position at No. 1 on Amazon’s bestsellers chart for nearly a month, and the upcoming US stadium tour (then to Europe and Asia) has already sold out. Even before its release, Map of the Soul: 7 was the fastest-selling album this year (4 million sales), selling four times the numbers of pre-release sales for Taylor Swift’s Lover.

There’s little doubt BTS will earn their fourth consecutive No. 1 debut on the Billboard 200.

Why ‘7’? The band says it’s a salute to their seven years together as a band and, well, there’s seven of them.

Their launch single (which follows two YouTube teaser music videos of the songs Shadow and Ego, plus a hugely popular performance of Black Swan on James Corden’s Late Late Show – 39 million views), is ON.

The music video released yesterday is an alternative version of the collaboration featuring Sia on the album. ON is a catchy anthem starting out with a stripped back church-like organ breaking into a precision drum-band punching out the rhythms for the track.

As with most of their work, all BTS members get their chance to shine. Just when you think you’re getting into the track (it’s in Korean and English), it changes direction and surprises. Wait until you get to the dance break in the middle!

The new album has 20 tracks including some from the previous Map of the Soul: Persona. But this is certainly taking a darker and edgier turn for the band which, seven years on, has a rich tapestry of styles in their extensive repertoire.

Full Track List for Map of the Soul: 7

Intro: Persona

작은 것들을 위한 시 Boy With Luv (Feat. Halsey)

Make It Right

Jamais Vu

Dionysus

Interlude : Shadow

Black Swan

Filter 시차

Louder than bombs

ON

욱 UGH!

00:00 (Zero O’Clock)

Inner Child

친구 Moon Respect

We are Bulletproof : the Eternal

Outro : Ego

ON (Feat. Sia)

But there’s stormy weather ahead for the band and ARMY with South Korea’s compulsory military conscripton looming over the seven 20-something members. The oldest member, Jin, reaches 28 years of age in December this year which will force him to enter the mandatory 2 year military service. And that will be followed over the following four years by the other band members – Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V and Jungkook. Although there’s been a strong media and online push to get an exemption for the group, (in 2019 BTS contributed $4.65 billion to the South Korean GDP), the members have all said they look forward to serving their country.

For now BTS are switched ON with their new album and their reshaping of the world pop industry will continue, for at least the rest of 2020.

BTS switches ON its domination of the pop world with their new album 'Map of the Soul:7' | News by The ThaigerYou know you’ve made it in the pop music world when you end up on Carpool Karaoke

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Coronavirus

China reports further reduction in new coronavirus cases, down to 397; Korea has a second death

Greeley Pulitzer

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China reports further reduction in new coronavirus cases, down to 397; Korea has a second death | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Staff at the workshop of Fusen Pharmaceutical China’s Henan Province. The company has resumed production to ensure the supply of medicines during the fight against the coronavirus - Xinhua

China’s National Health Commission announced today that the country had 397 new confirmed cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus infections as of yesterday, down from 889 cases a day earlier. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in mainland China so far to 76,288. The death toll from the outbreak in mainland China had reached 2,345.

Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, reported 106 new deaths, 90 in the capital, Wuhan. New infections in China have been falling for days, although changes in how it counts cases have caused doubts about the true trajectory of the epidemic.

China last week began recording new cases without waiting for laboratory results, causing a significant spike in the number of cases reported. But on Thursday it returned to its original method of counting, and removed some cases from the tally because test results were negative. The changes are sure to aggravate observers who say consistency is key to understanding COVID-19’s path.

South Korea reported 142 more cases this morning, bringing the nationwide total to 346. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an additional death, bringing the total to two.

Among the latest cases, 92 were connected to a hospital in Cheongdo, a southern city connected to a religious sect. More than 150 members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus have now been infected, after a 61 year old woman developed a fever on February 10 but attended at least four church services in the city of Daegu before being diagnosed. Cheongdo, around 27 kilometres south of Daegu, is the birthplace of Lee Man-hee, Shincheonji’s founder. County officials said yesterday that a three day funeral was held for his brother three weeks ago at a hall owned by the hospital, where the 92 new cases were confirmed today.

Iran announced three more infections Thursday, a day after it reported its first two deaths.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | Thai PBS World

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Coronavirus

Coronavirus cases more than double in South Korea to surpass 150

Greeley Pulitzer

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Coronavirus cases more than double in South Korea to surpass 150 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: South Korea's coronavirus cases doubled in a day to surpass 150 - Yonhap

South Korea has reported its first death from the COVID-19 corona virus. The government reports that a 63 year old man, who died Wednesday, tested positive for the virus in a post mortem examination. The exact cause of his death has yet to be determined. He died in North Gyeongsang province, where he had been hospitalized for over 20 years, according to the Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

A 10:30am today, the total number of infected people in South Korea stood at 156, with 70 of them in Daegu and nearby North Gyeongsang Province. Most of the cases have been traced to a church in the city that a 61 year old woman, confirmed as the country’s 31st patient on Tuesday, had attended. Daegu fears becoming Korea’s Wuhan, with largest cluster outside of China: in just 24 hours through yesterday afternoon, the area saw 53 new cases confirmed. Among the new cases, 39 people are linked with the Sincheonji Church of Jesus, a Christian sect to which the 61 year old woman, who tested positive Tuesday, belongs.

KCDC Director Jung Eun-kyeong said 1,001 church members who attended services with the woman are now in self-isolation at home. But the agency is leaning toward the possibility that the woman could have contracted the virus via a secondary infection. She is considered to be a potential “superspreader.”

In a phone survey conducted by health authorities, 90 church members indicated having symptoms so far, although 396 could not be reached.

President Moon Jae-in vowed to mobilise all available resources to Daegu during a phone conversation with Mayor Kwon Young-jin. The central government plans to send medical professionals and facilities to help the city deal with snowballing cases.

Vice Health and Welfare Minister Kim Kang-lip says the country is facing a new situation that requires a different response.

“At this stage, (the government) has judged that COVID-19, which has been flowing in from overseas, is spreading locally with a limited scope.”

He added that cases where the source of infection is unclear are emerging in Daegu and the capital, Seoul. There are at least 20 coronavirus patients whose transmission path is unknown.

South Korea is now one of the countries that has reported the highest tallies outside mainland China, along with Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.

SOURCE: The Nation

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