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Everything posted by Flashermac

  1. A Grab passenger has posted a video of taxi motorcyclists attacking her motorcycle driver on Sukhumvit 48 Road in Klong Toey district on Monday. Facebook user Amittaa Phongsawat posted a seven-second video showing three motorcyclists registered with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) attacking her app-based motorcycle service driver. She wrote that she was going by Grab motorbike from her condominium to a gym. A local taxi motorcyclist stopped in front of them and hit her driver. She was also hit in the face. Fortunately, neither of them were knocked down, she said. A couple of other taxi motorcyclists arrived and also assaulted the Grab driver. She recorded the assault on her phone, and posted the video. The woman asked Grab where the security for its users and driver partners was. BMA spokesman Pongsakorn Kwanmuang said on his Twitter account that City Hall was aware of the incident and would question those involved and take disciplinary action on Tuesday. https://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/easy/1869929/taxi-motorcyclists-attack-grab-biker
  2. Flashermac

    The Covid-19 thread

    Outrage over mask shortages People are crying foul over the shortage of masks amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, triggered by the death of a Thai man who was diagnosed with the Covid-19 virus. Public complaints grew louder on Monday over the continuing lack of masks on the back of heightened concerns over the spread of Covid-19, which claimed the life of the 35-year-old man on Saturday night -- the first reported death from the virus in the country. One more infection was reported on Monday, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 43. The new patient was a 22-year-old Thai woman, who worked as a tour guide along with an already infected Thai, a driver for foreign tourists. The Private Hospital Association also said their medical personnel have been seriously affected by the mask shortage. The Bangkok Post on Monday conducted a survey of drug stores in Suan Luang, Prawet and Lat Krabang districts, and spoke to pharmacists and owners, who all said their stocks ran out almost a month ago and did not know when fresh supplies would be available again. He said the number of people looking for these items at his store has skyrocketed since Thailand reported its first coronavirus death. "Hundreds of customers visit my shop each day. They keep asking for masks and hand gels, even though I have already put up a sign outside the door. Some have even wanted to 'reserve' them in advance and asked me to contact them once masks and gels are available," he said. Another pharmacist at a drug store near Suan Luang Rama IX said her pharmacy had also ran out of masks and hand sanitisers weeks ago and that she has not been able to order new stock. "I've asked my suppliers to send more masks and hand gels to my shop, but they said demand is far outpacing the manufacturers' ability to produce them," she said. Exploiting the situation, many online shops have started advertising masks at exorbitant prices. An N-95 protective mask -- which normally retails at between 80-95 baht -- is being sold online for 190-220 baht apiece. Meanwhile, a simple green-and-blue mask which costs 4 baht at a pharmacy, is being sold online at 15-20 baht each. The owner of another large pharmacy in the Lat Krabang area said some customers have asked why her pharmacy is all out of masks and gels, when these items are still available online. "I don't know what to tell them, as I don't know how these online retailers manage to get their hands on these items when we can't," she said. "Perhaps producers are realising they can make more money selling online than to pharmacies, because pharmacies are subject to controls by the authorities and we can't overcharge customers." Disappointed people finding local stores are out of masks are starting to blame authorities for the shortages. Prommet, 29, an office worker who only gave his first name, said while the government has already made masks a price-controlled product with a fixed price of 2.5 baht apiece, fewer people can find them for that price. In reality, most people pay 15-30 baht for each mask. "It is unacceptable the government has let this mark shortage go on, not to mention the inflated prices. Those at Government House should do better," he said. He urged the government and related agencies to force manufacturers to increase the production of masks to meet demand. The government has already tried to assure people that masks are being adequately and fairly distributed nationwide. The Commerce Ministry, for instance, is imposing penalties on shops and sellers who jack up the prices of masks for a quick profit. Whichai Phochanakij, director-general of the Internal Trade Department, said the demand for masks has surged fivefold from normal levels. He said authorities will review their distribution methods because Thai manufacturers only have the capacity to make 1.35 million masks a day. Mr Whichai also said that raw materials from China have been in short supply and producers have had to import most of them from Indonesia, which consequently raises production costs. Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit has instructed the department to dispatch 111 mobile outlets to sell the masks directly to people across the country starting from Thursday, said Mr Whichai. He said 21 mobile outlets will be located in Bangkok and surrounding provinces, while the rest will be in other provinces. Each mobile outlet will sell about 10,000 masks each day and they will move to various locations so more people will have access to the masks. One person will be able to buy a pack of four masks at 2.5 baht each. "The outlets' locations will posted on the department's website," he said. People who find any sellers who sell masks at inflated prices can inform the department at 1569, he noted. So far, 51 people have been caught selling masks at inflated prices. They are subject to up to seven months in prison and a maximum fine of 140,000 baht, Mr Jurin said. https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1869964/outrage-over-mask-shortages
  3. As the new coronavirus continues its spread around the world, some medical experts say it could become as widespread as the common flu. But even as casualties climb, thousands have also recovered. But few want to talk about their experience publicly, because of the discrimination and stigma they could face. One woman in Singapore, where there have been more than a hundred cases, decided it was time to speak out. Here’s Julie's story. https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-asia-51714162/how-i-survived-coronavirus-and-isolation
  4. As long as they understand the risks, no problem. But a government that would rig an election might be willing to do more than that. We'd all thought that coups were of thing of the past, until the military showed us otherwise. https://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/1869369/student-rallies-need-careful-handling#cxrecs_s
  5. Jews once lived all over the Middle East. But after the creation of ths state of Israel by the UN in 1948, most of them were expelled from their homes. Egypt before that had a large Jewish population, as did Iraq and Iran. As to discrimination, I have no doubt the recent Russian immigrants feel that way. However, I had an Israeli friend whose family were Turkish Jews and had lived in Jerusalem for generations. He said the only negative reaction he and his wife ever had was because they'd meet the Dalai Lama in India and converted to Buddhism. That didn't go over too well. https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-middle-east-51676580/israel-elections-will-the-arab-israeli-vote-swing-the-third-election-in-a-year
  6. One more Covid-19 infected person was found in Thailand on Saturday, the Ministry of Public Health told a press conference. “The latest infected patient is a Thai man aged 21, who has been exposed to foreign tourists,” said Dr Sukhum Kanjanapimai, permanent secretary at the Public Health Ministry. “He is being treated in isolation at Nopparat Ratchathani Hospital in Bangkok.” The discovery of a new patient brings the total number of Covid-19 cases in Thailand to 42. “The number of confirmed infected patients in Thailand currently under hospital care is 14, while 28 have fully recovered and been discharged,” added Sukhum. Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul added that his ministry is planning to give away sanitary face masks on Monday at the offices of nine departments under the ministry. “We will give away three face masks per person to alleviate the short supply problem,” he said. “Please be socially responsible and do not take them to sell to others. Also refrain from taking the free masks if you can afford to buy your own.” Covid-19 has been labelled a dangerous contagious disease and will take effect on Sunday, according to a Public Health Ministry announcement in the Royal Gazette yesterday. https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30383085?utm_source=homepage&utm_medium=internal_referral 42 infected in a counrty of 69 million is hardly an epidemic. So far, so good ... Tags:
  7. Students joining the latest flash mob at Kasetsart University have vowed to escalate their protests until the government is brought down. "We won't stop here, though I can't say yet whether our next move will be a mass rally or a street march," said pro-democracy activist Parit "Penguin" Chiwarak, who co-organised the three-hour protest on Saturday evening in front of the university's auditorium, which was joined by nearly 700 demonstrators. University and secondary students have been rallying on or near their campuses every day since Monday to demand change. Their demands include a rewrite of the constitution and the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. ... https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/politics/1868569/students-vow-to-ramp-up-protests-in-coming-weeks As someone who was here for both the 1973 student rising against the "Gang of 3" and the 1976 Thammasat Massacre, this makes me worry somewhat. Do the students realise how much they are playing with fire? In 1976 we even had a shooting on my own campus, and I later worked with former 1976 student protestors at Thammasat Uni myself. I hope it all ends peacefully.
  8. The Mall in Nagmwongwan is full of shoppers as usual, but Nonthaburi is off the beaten path for tourists. However, the malls in downtown Bangkok are hurting badly, since much of their business is from tourists. A friend told me he went to Yaowarat (Chinatown) last week, and the area looked like a ghost town.
  9. Coronavirus: Could North Korea handle a Covid-19 outbreak? ... North Korea claims its public health system is world-class. But international experts say it is appalling, with some hospitals even lacking electricity and running water. Outside the capital, Pyongyang, there are no medical facilities to speak of, and there have been concerns that virus cases may be going undetected in rural areas. On paper, North Korea provides free universal healthcare to its people at government-operated centres, but the system is said to favour the elite. In NK News' "Ask a North Korean" feature, defector Tae-il Shim said that citizens had better treatment in the 1970s and 1980s under Kim Il-sung, the nation's founder. "North Korean unpreparedness to deal with a pandemic could undermine regime rule and create internal instability," said Kevin Shepard, a defence policy analyst, in an article on NK News. In 2019, North Korea was ranked amongst the worst in the world in terms of preparedness for a disease outbreak, according to the Global Health Security Index published by US-based Johns Hopkins University. Doubts have also been raised about North Korea's ability to test for the virus - even though state media have reported on factories producing test kits, facial masks and disinfectants. Furthermore, sanctions have restricted North Korea's ability to obtain advanced medical equipment. Even North Korean leader Kim Jong-un admitted late last year that high-quality medical equipment was "badly needed" in the country. ... https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-51624624
  10. It seems to me that the media is being much more negative on Bernie than they were in 2016. Since he was the main alternative to Hillary back then, maybe they liked him better than they do now, when there are other choices. He was sort of a heroic figure in 2016, going up against the Dem Party establishment. Now he's being reported on as more of an old man with lefist ideas.
  11. Hotels, as all tourist connected businesses, are hurting. I'd have no worries about being here. My only concern would be about exposure on an airliner. p.s. Obviously, the US Navy isn't very worried. https://www.pattayamail.com/featured/u-s-navy-storms-walking-street-rescues-pattaya-tourism-289515?fbclid=IwAR0IPwgLPrBc1ESE_x70bR9jfyKcB0NEp97p6iNDT4c9MJcnUnas2hDD6RY
  12. Time to start buying? https://www.bbc.com/news/live/world-51669434
  13. I'm all in favour of politicians dueling ... in every country. Thin them out a bit and save the taxpayers money..
  14. To see who would recognise him. Very few have. It's a test of others' knowledge of notorious criminals. Remember that I am a combat veteran, and we tend to have strange notions of "humour". Using a photo hardly indicates approval of his actions. Why has Australia almost made a hero of Ned Kelly, when in reality he was little more than a murderous thug? To shock maybe? The same reason I use Lucan. As to Trump, I refer you to Snopes, which is hardly sympathetic to Trump: Did U.S. President Donald Trump once admit to reading the book Mein Kampf and being an admirer of its author, Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler? Those were the central claims in an internet meme that began making the social media rounds in mid-April 2019, which purported to quote Trump’s praising Hitler in a Time magazine interview published in 2002. We found instances of the meme’s being shared on both Twitter and Facebook, including a popular Facebook page titled “Joe P. Kennedy III for President 2020,” which does not appear to be owned or operated by Kennedy himself: “Reading Mein Kampf in college had a profound affect [sic] on me. Very, very interesting. Of course there were many problems in Germany at the time, they were losers, they lost. But Adolf Hitler, that is to say, I don’t agree with everything he was saying at the time of course but I do respect him. As a leader. Tremendous respect. And I suppose you could say, I try to incorporate some of his teachings into everything I do to this day. In business, my daily life and my politics.” – Donald J. Trump (Interview with Time Magazine, 2002) Not only were we unable to locate an original source for this quote, or evidence that Time magazine even interviewed Trump in 2002, but we found no discernible record of its existence before the meme first surfaced in April 2019. Yet it’s the kind of statement that would have been quoted ad nauseum in the press had Trump said it. No such references exist. Nor were we able to find isolated instances of Trump praising Mein Kampf or Adolf Hitler in public statements. The cadence and grammar of the passage are Trump-like (“… but I do respect him. As a leader. Tremendous respect.”), but all indications point to its being fabricated. That said, Trump was quoted in 1990 as saying he had been given a copy of Mein Kampf by a friend — though it turned out he was mistaken about which of Hitler’s books had been given to him. ... https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/trump-hitler-mein-kampf/
  15. By Teeranai Charuvastra, News Chief February 27, 2020 3:50 pm BANGKOK — An opposition politician on Thursday challenged PM Prayut Chan-o-cha to a trial by combat. Saranwut Saranke, a Pheu Thai MP for Uttaradit province, made the eccentric proposal during the Parliament’s no-confidence debate. After suggesting Prayut harbored a disloyalty to the monarchy for failing to recite his oath of office in full in 2019, Saranwut challenged the Prime Minister to prove his allegiance by meeting him for a one-on-one duel in front of the Emerald Buddha Temple. “Both of us bring a bullet each, then shoot at each other with that one shot,” Saranwut said. The MP issued the challenge after saying he’s already made his farewell to his children and left them with a will. Following protests from coalition MP Sira Janejaka – who taunted Saranwut that there’s no need for a duel “because I’ve seen your gun. Your gun is so small,” – the House Speaker chided Saranwut and asked him to withdraw the challenge. Saranwut complied with the demand. “But let me say I withdrew my word out of respect for the House Speaker,” the MP said. It’s the second threat of violence made by lawmakers in flares of emotion during the no-confidence debate in two days. On Wednesday night, Seri Ruam Thai Party MP Sereepisuth Temeeyaves ended a heated exchange with Deputy House Speaker Supachai Phosu by telling him, “I’ll see you outside the Parliament,” prompting an uproar from government lawmakers. “I’m not afraid of you, Mr. Seree,” Supachai said. “Stop making threats like that.” In response, Sereepisuth, a former police commissioner, said he only wanted to talk with Supachai in his office, and insisted he did not mean any harm. https://www.khaosodenglish.com/news/crimecourtscalamity/2020/02/27/pheu-thai-mp-challenges-prayut-to-a-duel/?fbclid=IwAR2KrsPSThmT3MQV2_5cfzT8jibItnFQK39UzRyBJ8Q-r38lxPwxyfRvhZU
  16. Do the Democrats still have their "superdelegates"? That made a farce of the primaries last time around. Bernie would win primaries and end up with fewer delegates than Hillary. I haven't heard anything about it so far this time. p.s. I voted the way I see it going, not necessarily the way I want it to go.
  17. Sales drop as locals, tourists avoid shops published : 26 Feb 2020 at 06:31 The atmosphere at NaRaYa, a popular bag retailer at Ratchaprasong intersection, has completely changed during the past several months. Long queues of customers and busy cashiers are sights not seen at the flagship store since the coronavirus outbreak. A similar fate has befallen Big C Supercenter's Ratchadamri branch, whose Thai souvenir zone on the ground floor used to be a hotspot for Chinese shoppers but has now gone quiet. It's the same story at Tao Kae Noi Land's Terminal 21 shop, another draw for Chinese tourists. "Tour buses and almost all Chinese shoppers have gone away," said a salesperson at Big C Ratchadamri who asked not to be named. "I am no longer adding products to the Thai souvenir shelves three or four times a day." A director of the Thai Retailers Association said the 3.8-trillion-baht retail industry is in dire straits as the viral outbreak drives shoppers away. "The overall industry is completely in the dark, and I don't know when the situation will improve," the director said. Palm, 35, a trader at Platinum Fashion Mall in the Pratunam area, said sales of fashion products at her shop fell by 50% in January, with as much as an 80% drop anticipated in February. "Some shops on the third, fourth and fifth storeys of Platinum were closed because they don't have products to sell, as traders from China cannot send their products to Thai partners," Mrs Palm said. "I have inventory only for the end of this month." The situation is the worst she's confronted since events like the 2010 political protests, the 2011 floods and the 2018 Phuket boat accident. Sending out an SOS Tenants at MBK shopping centre near Siam Square also share the same harsh experience. A sharp fall in sales prompted tenants two days ago to gather in protest against MBK and ask management to come up with aid measures such as reducing the rent. Somphol Tripopnart, managing director of shopping centre business at MBK Plc, said the company is working on short- and long-term measures to help tenants. Last week, traders at Platinum Fashion Mall sent an open letter to the management seeking support, while a Platinum spokesman said management is also mulling a reduction in rent during these tough times. "The reduction rate will be considered with different conditions for each tenant," the spokesman said. Paibul Kanokwattanwan, group chief executive of The Mall Group, acknowledged the unprecedented headwinds for retailers. "In the several decades I've been in the retail business, 2020 is the most difficult year," Mr Paibul said. "Chinese shoppers have shunned our country, while locals aren't going shopping. Revitalising the retail market is difficult because I don't know when the virus outbreak will be brought under control." He expects the overall retail industry to lose several billions of baht in the first quarter. A source at the Mall Group said the company has yet to consider any aid measures for its tenants. Supoj Chaiwatsirikul, managing director of Iconsiam Co Ltd, said the company has set aside more than 50 million baht to launch the "Iconsiam, Thais Help Thais" campaign, offering sales and marketing promotions and concerts from February to May. Moreover, the "SOS Sale of Iconsiam" from Feb 28 to March 1 will provide discounts of up to 90% and special prices on products. "We hope this campaign will help operators get over this crisis and restore declining consumer spending soon," Mr Supoj said. https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1865689/uneasy-silence-at-malls
  18. Don’t buy China’s story: The coronavirus may have leaked from a lab At an emergency meeting in Beijing held last Friday, Chinese leader Xi Jinping spoke about the need to contain the coronavirus and set up a system to prevent similar epidemics in the future. A national system to control biosecurity risks must be put in place “to protect the people’s health,” Xi said, because lab safety is a “national security” issue. Xi didn’t actually admit that the coronavirus now devastating large swaths of China had escaped from one of the country’s bioresearch labs. But the very next day, evidence emerged suggesting that this is exactly what happened, as the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology released a new directive titled: “Instructions on strengthening biosecurity management in microbiology labs that handle advanced viruses like the novel coronavirus.” Read that again. It sure sounds like China has a problem keeping dangerous pathogens in test tubes where they belong, doesn’t it? And just how many “microbiology labs” are there in China that handle “advanced viruses like the novel coronavirus”? It turns out that in all of China, there is only one. And this one is located in the Chinese city of Wuhan that just happens to be … the epicenter of the epidemic. That’s right. China’s only Level 4 microbiology lab that is equipped to handle deadly coronaviruses, called the National Biosafety Laboratory, is part of the Wuhan Institute of Virology. What’s more, the People’s Liberation Army’s top expert in biological warfare, a Maj. Gen. Chen Wei, was dispatched to Wuhan at the end of January to help with the effort to contain the outbreak. According to the PLA Daily, Chen has been researching coronaviruses since the SARS outbreak of 2003, as well as Ebola and anthrax. This would not be her first trip to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, either, since it is one of only two bioweapons research labs in all of China. Does that suggest to you that the novel coronavirus, now known as SARS-CoV-2, may have escaped from that very lab, and that Chen’s job is to try to put the genie back in the bottle, as it were? It does to me. Add to this China’s history of similar incidents. Even the deadly SARS virus has escaped — twice — from the Beijing lab where it was (and probably is) being used in experiments. Both “man-made” epidemics were quickly contained, but neither would have happened at all if proper safety precautions had been taken. And then there is this little-known fact: Some Chinese researchers are in the habit of selling their laboratory animals to street vendors after they have finished experimenting on them. You heard me right. Instead of properly disposing of infected animals by cremation, as the law requires, they sell them on the side to make a little extra cash. Or, in some cases, a lot of extra cash. One Beijing researcher, now in jail, made a million dollars selling his monkeys and rats on the live animal market, where they eventually wound up in someone’s stomach. Also fueling suspicions about SARS-CoV-2’s origins is the series of increasingly lame excuses offered by the Chinese authorities as people began to sicken and die. They first blamed a seafood market not far from the Institute of Virology, even though the first documented cases of Covid-19 (the illness caused by SARS-CoV-2) involved people who had never set foot there. Then they pointed to snakes, bats and even a cute little scaly anteater called a pangolin as the source of the virus. I don’t buy any of this. It turns out that snakes don’t carry coronaviruses and that bats aren’t sold at a seafood market. Neither, for that matter, are pangolins, an endangered species valued for their scales as much as for their meat. The evidence points to SARS-CoV-2 research being carried out at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The virus may have been carried out of the lab by an infected worker or crossed over into humans when they unknowingly dined on a lab animal. Whatever the vector, Beijing authorities are now clearly scrambling to correct the serious problems with the way their labs handle deadly pathogens. China has unleashed a plague on its own people. It’s too early to say how many in China and other countries will ultimately die for the failures of their country’s state-run microbiology labs, but the human cost will be high. But not to worry. Xi has assured us that he is controlling biosecurity risks “to protect the people’s health.” PLA bioweapons experts are in charge. I doubt the Chinese people will find that very reassuring. Neither should we. Steven W. Mosher is the president of the Population Research Institute and the author of “Bully of Asia: Why China’s ‘Dream’ Is the New Threat to World Order.” https://nypost.com/2020/02/22/dont-buy-chinas-story-the-coronavirus-may-have-leaked-from-a-lab/
  19. Katherine Johnson: Nasa mathematician dies at 101 Nasa mathematician Katherine Johnson, who helped launch the first American into orbit around the Earth, has died at the age of 101. Nasa, which describes Ms Johnson as one of its "most influential figures", announced her death on Twitter. "Today, we celebrate her 101 years of life and honor her legacy of excellence that broke down racial and social barriers," it wrote. Ms Johnson's role at Nasa was highlighted in the film Hidden Figures. The 2016 film tells the story of African-American women whose maths skills helped put a US astronaut into orbit in the 1960s. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-51619848
  20. I wonder if he wil dress up and dance like Justin Trudeau.
  21. Bernie wins in Nevada. Is the contest for the White House to be between two guys in their 70s? Bernie is even older than I am. p.s. Putin should like Bernie, since he spent his honeymoon in the Soviet Union.
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