Women March plans return to D.C. to fight for abortion access #SootinClaimon.Com

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The Women March returns to Washington this Saturday for its fifth annual event.

Though recent marches have been smaller than the first, which drew millions of participants, organizers say women have plenty to protest. The pandemic revealed striking wage and employment gaps for women, and a national child care crisis has left many overwhelmed and tapped out financially.

Most of the previous marches have occurred in January, but organizers decided to host this year’s event in October to fight imminent threats to abortion access. Texas recently enacted one of the most restrictive abortion laws in decades, and a U.S. Supreme Court case out of Jackson, Miss., could overturn Roe v. Wade this fall. Eleven other states have trigger laws set to ban abortion if Mississippi prevails.

Leaders of this year’s march said they applied for permits for 10,000 people. They will rally at 11 a.m. at Freedom Plaza then wind toward the steps of the Supreme Court. Participation at the D.C. march may be smaller than 10,000, though, organizers said, as fewer people are traveling this year and instead are rallying in their hometowns. Activists have planned more than 600 “sister marches” across the country in cities from Charleston, W.Va., to Boise, Idaho.

Deputy Director Tamika Middleton said the march may be her organization’s marquee event, but the real focus is on recruiting new activists to help fight for reproductive justice over the next year.

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“October 2 will be a day to really galvanize folks across the country and begin that push for at least the next year around abortion access,” Middleton said. “We see it as an opportunity, especially in this moment, when there are some states where they just need more capacity. They need the word to be spread. They need to have more boots on the ground doing the work.”

The first Women’s March was widely considered to be the largest single-day protest in American history. But as subsequent events drew smaller crowds, and the national leadership found itself embroiled in controversies, critics suggested the organization might not maintain its momentum.

Still, researchers say the first march had a lasting impact. Sociologists at Purdue University found that participants continued to stay active in their communities and online through Instagram. Elle Rochford, a Purdue professor who co-authored the report with Rachel Einwohner, said she has found that many activists “get their sea legs” at the marches, then either engage in direct activism or use their social media accounts to persuade others to act.

“The Women’s March is kind of a friendlier space if you’re new to activism or organizing or the feminist movement,” Rochford said.

Cindi Schorr was one of those women. For 50 years, she was not an activist. The Houston resident voted, and she watched the news, but she avoided protests and other forms of activism. That changed when Donald Trump was elected president. In January 2017, Schorr joined millions of other people and headed to her local Women’s March to protest.

“It was really a turning point for my life,” Schorr said. “Especially in a red state like Texas, it can feel like you’re isolated in your values or politics or beliefs. Seeing thousands of people who were there in solidarity was so overwhelming, inspiring and empowering.”

Schorr has since worked on election campaigns and voter drives. This year, she is traveling to D.C. to help train and recruit volunteers at the national march.

Because the march has such a large platform, the nonprofit has moved toward boosting smaller organizations, but Rochford said some local organizations don’t need or want the structure a national organization can provide.

Michelle Colon, an activist in Jackson, Miss., has long resisted national sponsorships. She has spent two and a half decades fighting for abortion access and women’s rights in Mississippi. For the last three years, she has run SHERo, a nonprofit dedicated to building leadership among Black women and girls in the state.

Often, Colon said, national organizations use Mississippi to drum up financial support. They send out emails, promising to funnel donations toward the state’s lone abortion clinic, then they never show up to back activists on the ground, and they don’t support women, especially Black women, when they need help outside of abortions. Mississippi also has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the country, as well as the highest infant mortality rate.

When the Women’s March approached Colon to lead an “anchor march” this year, something felt different. Middleton and other new leaders have worked as grass-roots organizers, and they didn’t impose their vision on Colon. Instead, they listened when she explained why she would rather host a rally.

“Marching to the Capitol here in Mississippi, especially on a Saturday, no one’s there, and they don’t take us seriously on an open day, so what is the point in having people come to the Capitol?” Colon said.

Colon’s event, called “Abortion Freedom Fighter’s Rally,” is “homegrown Mississippi,” Colon said. The Women’s March is boosting it in part because Mississippi leaders have asked the Supreme Court to decide whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional. The Court will hear the case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, in December.

Sponsoring small, Black-led groups like Colon’s has been an intentional evolution for the Women’s March. Middleton said they’ve spent much of the year building a national coalition of groups who have long been working to better their own communities. Activists like Colon have “often been the lone voice in the room,” Middleton said.

Colon said her experience with the Women’s March has been positive, and she’s hoping their support will bolster her work as local activists gear up for a busy fall.

“We need to show people that we are supportive of their decision because the first thing is dismantling the stigma, taking that power away from the ‘anti’ legislators and anybody else who’s antiabortion,” Colon said. “We need people to say the word ‘abortion,’ and to have these discussions in the home and in the workplace.”

Though Schorr will be in D.C. this year, she said she’ll be doing so to rally for access in her home state. That first march “sounded an alarm we had previously not heard or ignored,” Schorr said, and she intends to remain vigilant.

“These bans and restrictions disproportionately impact communities that have survived systemic oppression, as well as people who hold multiple marginalized identities,” Schorr said. “We need to rally for abortion justice because all people should have the ability to make decisions about their lives and bodies, to access abortion care when they need it, in the way that works best for them, and with the guidance and support of providers they trust.”

Published : September 28, 2021

Chile begins vaccinating young children with Sinovac vaccine #SootinClaimon.Com

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https://www.nationthailand.com/international/40006721


The Chilean government began vaccinating children ages six to 11 as it moves forward with one of the most advanced Covid-19 prevention campaigns in Latin America.

Chile begins vaccinating young children with Sinovac vaccine

Children will get shots made by Sinovac Biotech following Chile’s approval for emergency use earlier this month. The government will begin giving shots in schools, and Health Undersecretary Paula Daza attended a ceremony in Santiago to mark the beginning of the vaccination campaign.

Previously, only Pfizer had approval in Chile to use its vaccine on people 12 to 17 years old. Chile’s move comes as questions emerge about the efficacy of inactivated shots like Sinovac’s with studies finding they produce fewer antibodies than mRNA vaccines like the one made by Pfizer.

Chile has administered 31.5 million vaccine doses covering 82.4% of its 19 million residents, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In Latin America, only Uruguay has vaccinated a higher percentage of its population.

Published : September 28, 2021

Covid hit us like a cyclone: An Aboriginal town in the Australian Outback is overwhelmed #SootinClaimon.Com

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WILCANNIA, Australia – The nurses drove up and down the dusty streets, from one family overwhelmed by the coronavirus to the next, until they arrived at a red brick house on the edge of the Outback town.

They were met at the door by two stray dogs lying in the sunbaked red dirt and a slender young Aboriginal woman wrapped in a surgical mask and blanket.

Brooke Johnson had heard the coughs begin to ripple through the crowded home a week earlier but had nowhere to go. Now she feared the virus had reached her 4-year-old son, whom she called outside to get tested.

“He started coughing yesterday,” she told the nurses, who donned protective gear to swab the curly-haired boy in a Spider-Man sweater on Aug. 30. “I just want to get him checked because we sleep together and I’m positive.”

So were her brother and sister; her aunt and uncle; her two cousins and her nephew.

So was the family of five a few doors down, and the household of nine a few doors up.

So was almost everyone she knew in Wilcannia.

In two weeks, more than one-tenth of the town of 600 people had been infected, making Wilcannia the hardest-hit place in Australia. Soon, the number of cases would approach 150, with about 90% of them Aboriginal people.

The remote community’s crisis reflects not only the recent collapse of “covid zero” in Australia but also the country’s historical failings.

For 18 months, state and federal leaders had been promising to protect Indigenous Australians, who have higher rates of chronic disease and shorter life expectancies. They were declared a priority for vaccination.

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Nowhere was more vulnerable than Wilcannia, where a 2005 study found Aboriginal men had a life expectancy of just 37 – yet the nearest intensive care unit was 125 miles away.

When the pandemic began, the local Barkindji people were so worried that their children made signs begging tourists not to stop. For a while, it seemed to work.

But then an outbreak of the delta variant crept from Sydney’s wealthy eastern beaches to its working-class suburbs to the surrounding regions and across New South Wales.

And now, after a year and a half without an infection, Wilcannia was overrun.

“There has been a stunning lack of preparedness,” said Linda Burney, a federal lawmaker from the opposition Labor party who is an Aboriginal woman. “The people out there have been sitting ducks.”

Health officials say they had a plan but it was upended by a superspreader event that exposed three-quarters of the town.

“Imagine that happened in Washington,” said Umit Agis, chief executive for the state’s far-west health region. “I don’t think the system would cope.”

As cases began to climb in late August, a solitary doctor flew in with a portable ventilator he feared he would soon need.

“I feel like I’m in one of those cowboy movies where it’s quiet, too quiet,” said the doctor, Randall Greenberg. “Someone is about to attack.”

Brooke Johnson holds her son Christopher while a New South Wales Health worker takes a covid swab. PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Matthew Abbott for The Washington Post.Brooke Johnson holds her son Christopher while a New South Wales Health worker takes a covid swab. PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Matthew Abbott for The Washington Post.

The road to Wilcannia is lined with dead kangaroos. Once a prosperous river port that sent steamboats full of wool downstream, the town has faded into a struggling pit stop on a pancake-flat highway.

Two weeks into its outbreak, Wilcannia’s town center was nearly silent. Aside from an open pickup window at the pub, the only sign of life was the store, serving a handful of anxious locals.

As she loaded groceries and diapers into her car, Saphire Hall stopped to vent to a neighbor. The mother of four had already copped a $725 fine for giving her cousin a lift during the outbreak. Now she risked a $3,630 penalty if she visited her elderly and disabled in-laws. Online fundraisers had collected almost $300,000 for the town, but fights were brewing over where the money should go, and residents had yet to see a cent.

“The community is supposed to stick together, but they ain’t,” said Hall, 37.

“It’s not right,” said Janell Evans, 61, as her 9-year-old granddaughter sat barefoot on the sidewalk, eating candy. “We can’t survive out here.”

Evans feared for her nephew, who had lung problems, and her son, who had a weakened immune system.

“They knew this was going to happen,” she said angrily through a surgical mask. “They knew it would only take one person to spread it in the whole community.”

For a year and a half, Australia prided itself on keeping the coronavirus out of Aboriginal communities. As recently as Aug. 5, Prime Minister Scott Morrison touted his administration’s success.

A week later, the virus reached Wilcannia.

Locals had feared what would happen if the contagion came to a place so remote yet overcrowded. Wilcannia sits in the center of the Central Darling Shire, an area nearly twice the size of Maryland but with fewer than 2,000 people. That makes it expensive to build housing, said shire administrator Bob Stewart.

“You’re really in the Outback here,” he said.

But many feel race has played a role in the treatment of a town that is almost three-fourths Indigenous.

“As First Nations people, we have faced genocide, we have faced stolen generations, we have had Black deaths in custody,” said Brendon Adams, who has lived in Wilcannia for two decades but belongs to the Kuku Yalanji people of northeastern Australia. “And we have a Third World housing situation.”

In March 2020, Adams and other community leaders met with Stewart, Agis and state officials to urge them to close the town to outsiders. State emergency officials rejected the idea, Stewart said, so locals put up signs pleading for people to stay away.

Health officials understood the virus would tear through overcrowded houses, Agis said, so they contracted with motels and campgrounds in Wilcannia and other towns to serve as isolation facilities.

But when the virus arrived via a large Aboriginal funeral and wake on Aug. 13, contact tracers were overwhelmed and some isolation facilities refused to take positive cases, Agis said.

“Covid hit us like a cyclone,” Adams said. “It came in with so much devastation. And we were unprepared.”

Less than 2% of Aboriginal people in the Central Darling Shire had been fully vaccinated when Sydney’s outbreak began in June, according to data obtained by The Washington Post. When the virus hit Wilcannia two months later, the figure was 17% – half of the non-Indigenous population’s vaccination rate.

Ronnie Murray was visiting family in Wilcannia for “sorry business,” a traditional Aboriginal period of mourning, after the death of a relative. Police pulled up to the small house in the Mallee – one of two Barkindji neighborhoods bookending the Whiter, better-off part of town – and told everyone inside to walk to the football field to get tested.

By the time his result came back positive, Murray, who was partially vaccinated, was racked with body aches. Five others in the house initially tested positive, he said, but health officials told everyone to stay inside. Within a few days, two more were infected.

Murray’s brother, William, who was still negative, moved outside into a tent donated by a community elder. When Murray demanded his brother be put up somewhere, health officials moved William to a motel, then to a campground where he was flanked by positive cases.

“I was going out there to get away from corona,” William said, “not live next door to people who got it.”

Officials eventually moved him back to the motel, where there were also positive cases, but fewer and farther apart.

“It’s like they don’t really care about us Black fellas out here,” William said.

Agis said every affected family was offered a place to isolate but some did not want to leave Wilcannia. The Murrays deny they were given that choice, however, and Agis acknowledges that officials acted too late.

“In hindsight, we probably could have done everything two weeks earlier,” he said.

“I think we all would have liked a better level of planning,” added Stewart, the shire administrator.

“There is still no plan!” roared Ronnie Murray as he stood in his front yard near the now-empty tent on Aug. 30. He was on Day 12 of “isolation” in the crowded house. On the news, Australia had been evacuating Afghans from Kabul. But here in the Outback, he felt the nation was neglecting its own.

“We’re meant to be the First Nations people,” Murray said. “They’d rather go to another country and help people.”

A birthday party celebration for Nathaniel Bugmy, who was turning 7. He spoke with his mother Merinda Bugmy on FaceTime, as she was in isolation because of the coronavirus. PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Matthew Abbott for The Washington Post.A birthday party celebration for Nathaniel Bugmy, who was turning 7. He spoke with his mother Merinda Bugmy on FaceTime, as she was in isolation because of the coronavirus. PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Matthew Abbott for The Washington Post.

Patricia Wilson walked barefoot to the riverbank and began to snap branches off emu bushes and eucalyptus trees. She stuffed the leaves into a metal tin and lit them on fire.

“They say it kills the corona,” the 35-year-old said as she circled the campground in a leopard-print bathrobe, wafting the fragrant smoke.

But it was too late for Wilson and most of those quarantined here. Officials had begun to move positive cases and close contacts to the campground 1.5 miles outside Wilcannia a week into the outbreak. Of the 13 people in the cabins, only five had yet to test positive, and anger was growing.

“Instead of putting all the positives on one side and the negatives on the other side, they mixed us all up here,” said Leaetta Hunter, whose teenage daughter had arrived negative but tested positive after being put next to those with the coronavirus.

Leaetta’s cousin Raelene Hunter had been the first to arrive after testing positive. A few days later, her 19-year-old son, Jai Kirby, had been put next to her. When the pandemic hit Australia last year, Kirby had spent weeks living by the river to avoid the virus. Now, as he awaited his test result, he was contemplating going back.

Everyone quarantined at the campground was Aboriginal. They weren’t allowed to use the washing machines, so some did laundry in the river. Health workers brought hospital food, but few ate it. When a relative dropped off kangaroo tails, Raelene Hunter and Anthony Dutton made a campfire and scooped the coals over the bush meat.

Dutton’s family had been made to walk to the park in their flip-flops.

“We passed the police,” he said. “We thought they might give us a lift, but all they asked was our names and they kept going.”

The trek had triggered such severe breathing problems for his daughter that the 17-year-old, who had already tested positive, was taken to the hospital the next day, he said.

New South Wales Police Assistant Commissioner Brett Greentree said he was unaware of the incident.

Many said they were angry authorities had stopped Wilcannia from closing to outsiders and then did not keep the virus out. They felt sacrificed for an economy that barely benefited them.

“If they had stopped the flights and things, we wouldn’t all be like this,” Raelene Hunter said as she stirred the coals.

Two days later, her son received the dreaded news: He, too, was positive. The teen began having a panic attack, Raelene recounted. But then a health worker called back to say it had been a mistake. Kirby was so fed up he left the campground without permission.

Agis said there that had been three false positives in 33,000 tests in the far-west health region and that concerns around the food and laundry had been addressed. But he acknowledged that mixing positive and negative cases at the campground was “not ideal” and that more should have been done to keep them apart.

“It’s been a sharp learning curve for us,” he said.

By the week’s end, the state government’s response was finally starting to come together. Tents for emergency workers sprang up on the football field, with 30 motor homes for affected families due to arrive a few days later.

But the damage was done. Aboriginal people had begun to die of covid-19 in the state. In Wilcannia, the tiny hospital now had its first elderly covid patient, and doctors felt it was a matter of time until more arrived. (Agis would later say hospitalizations had proven lower than feared.)

“We’re in the eye of the storm,” Adams said. “On the other side of the eye is more storm.”

In the Mallee, Brooke Johnson’s son was now positive and her aunt’s breathing was getting worse.

A few doors down, Raelene Hunter had moved back home after being released from the campground. Health workers had told her she needn’t worry about reinfection from her relatives, who were still positive, she said.

After everything that had happened in Wilcannia, she wasn’t sure what to believe.

Published : September 28, 2021

New U.S. travel rules close door on those fully vaccinated with Russias Sputnik V #SootinClaimon.Com

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https://www.nationthailand.com/international/40006717


The United States announced last week that it would soon open its doors to foreign travelers vaccinated against covid-19, loosening restrictions for broad swaths of global visitors for the first time since the pandemic began.

New U.S. travel rules close door on those fully vaccinated with Russias Sputnik V

But the new rules, set to take effect in November, appear to also shut out many people who consider themselves to be fully immunized – including millions who have received two doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.

Hundreds of thousands of Russians could be directly affected. Despite frosty diplomatic relations and limited demand for international travel, roughly 300,000 Russians visited the United States in 2019, the last year for which figures are available, according to the U.S. Travel Association.

More broadly, the U.S. plan is another blow for the manufacturers of Sputnik V, which Moscow has proudly proclaimed as the first covid-19 vaccine to be registered for use. Though the vaccine was intended to be a powerful tool of pandemic diplomacy, its limited acceptance abroad and slow rates of delivery have left it behind not only Western vaccines but also those made by Chinese manufacturers.

“This is a big problem for Russian travelers and for people in other countries who’ve received Sputnik V,” Judyth Twigg, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University who tracks public health in Russia, said of the new U.S. rules in an email.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund that backed Sputnik V, said in a statement that the vaccine had “not only has it been approved in 70 countries where over 4 billion people, or over half of the world’s population, live, but its efficacy and safety have been confirmed both during clinical trials and over the course of real-world use in a number of countries.”

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“We stand against attempts to politicize the global fight against COVID-19 and discriminate against effective vaccines for short-term political or economic gains,” the statement continued.

The new U.S. plan requires that most noncitizens seeking entry to the United States are vaccinated with shots approved for emergency use either by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or World Health Organization. That includes vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna, as well as shots developed by Chinese firms such as Sinopharm and Sinovac.

But Sputnik V, an adenovirus vaccine developed by the Moscow-based Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, has yet to be approved by the WHO. The global health agency this week said that it suspended its review process of the vaccine, citing concerns over the manufacturing practices at production plants inside Russia and whether the vaccine can be consistently produced to the necessary standard.

Speaking at a conference in Vladivostok this month, RDIF head Kirill Dmitriev said that “mutual recognition of vaccines is the issue of this year” and claimed that a “number of ‘Big Pharma’ companies intentionally, as a matter of competitive rivalry, are attempting to restrict Sputnik and absorb markets,” according to Russian news agency Tass.

Unlike other nations, the United States did not have blanket restrictions on travel from Russia before this announcement, meaning all travelers from the country that tested negative for covid-19 could be allowed into the United States under CDC guidelines. That will change in November, just as doors open to millions of travelers from Europe and elsewhere.

The new U.S. rules will not only affect Russians. According to data from the Global Health Innovation Center at Duke University, some 448 million Sputnik V doses have been purchased worldwide, with many going to low income nations. Some governments have complained of slow deliveries from Russia. The limited options for travel are likely to further criticism of the Russian drug.

“Russia’s squandered an opportunity to use this vaccine as a diplomatic tool,” Twigg said, citing the production issues around Sputnik.

The Russian Embassy in Washington declined to comment on the new U.S. policy.

Sputnik V is not the only vaccine facing risk of being left behind. Neither the FDA nor the WHO have authorized India’s Covaxin, which has seen 560 million doses purchased so far, mostly in India. Those vaccinated with Covaxin may not be allowed to visit the United States in November. There have also been disputes with individual governments not accepting some vaccines, such as Britain’s refusal to fully recognize vaccines administered in many parts of the world.

But for Sputnik V, a vaccine which has taken a brash and sometimes confrontational approach to its rivals, the failure to secure World Health Organization emergency use listing or a similar listing by the European Medicines Agency, an E.U. body, has been a big reputational blow.

Despite the recent suspension of the WHO approval process, RDIF said that “Russia’s Health Ministry is in constant contact with WHO experts on the approval process and we remain confident Sputnik V’s approval by the global health regulator is imminent due to the vaccine’s outstanding track record.”

Some immunization experts have broader fears that the U.S. move and others like it could create two classes of vaccinated people around the world: one that is able to travel freely and the other not. In Russia and other countries, travel firms have already started offering wealthy customers trips abroad, including to places such as Serbia, so that they can get vaccinated with more widely-accepted shots.

Alexander Gabuev, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Center, said that there was a growing frustration among “those with money and power” that their vaccines were not more widely accepted. Some spread “conspiracy theories,” Gabuev said, including one that “everybody envies Russia as the nation that developed the first vaccine” and so Western powers conspired against Sputnik V.

The WHO approval for Chinese vaccines, such as Sinopharm and Sinovac, undercut that message. Though Sputnik V appeared to provide stronger protection than these China-backed vaccines, Russia’s role as a vaccine exporter had been severely limited by production issues and China had emerged as a more reliable partner, Gabuev said.

“The approval of the World Health Organization adds to the credibility of Chinese vaccines as opposed to the Russian vaccines,” he added.

Published : September 28, 2021

New South Wales says more freedoms coming by end of October #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

https://www.nationthailand.com/international/40006716


Australias most populous state will roll back more restrictions for fully-vaccinated adults and raise caps on international arrivals once 80% of the adult population has received two shots at the end of October, as it unveils the next stages of its path out of Covid lockdown.

New South Wales says more freedoms coming by end of October

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Monday said the next phase of the re-opening will include increased access to hospitality venues, the ability to travel freely throughout the state and eased limits on the number of guests able to visit homes once the 80% threshold is reached, which she expects will come at the end of next month.

“I hope New South Wales will show the way to the nation as to what is possible in living with Covid,” Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney. Authorities believe that by Dec. 1, “we will be at that Covid normal state where hopefully we will be booking our international travel.”

A third phase of the reopening will take effect on Dec. 1 and allow unvaccinated people to participate in activities like community sports and regional travel, as well as eased restrictions on venue capacity for offices, indoor pools and nightclubs, she said.

Overseas arrivals levels are set to increase to allow about 3,500 Australians to return home each week, Berejiklian said. Once Prime Minister Scott Morrison “gives that green light, we will be able to go overseas as well,” she added.

The new freedoms come after months of lockdown in Sydney, amid an outbreak of the delta variant that has seen roughly half the country under stay at home orders. They build on a previously-announced phase-one easing that will see some restrictions dialed back once a 70% full vaccination target is reached among those over age 16, likely on Oct. 11.

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New South Wales recorded 787 new cases overnight and the seven-day average fell below 1,000 for first time since August 29. Neighboring Victoria state hit 705 new infections Monday as the seven-day average continues to climb.

New South Wales has recorded 365 deaths since the pandemic began. The Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported Monday that of the 29 people who died at home in New South Wales, only 13 were known to health authorities.

The commitment to ease the lockdown marks a reversal from the nation’s strict Covid-Zero approach, which has been under unprecedented pressure from the outbreak and has seen states take different tactics in reopening. New South Wales and Victoria now favor hitting vaccination targets before opening their economies back up, while states like Western Australia have chosen to keep their borders shut to keep the virus out.

Morrison wants all domestic border restrictions to be lifted by Christmas.

The Australian Capital Territory, home of Canberra, on Monday said it would end its lockdown measures on Oct. 15, amid expectations that double-dose vaccination rates would hit 80% by then.

Published : September 28, 2021

Russian tour operators gear up for Phuket high season as travellers book Sandbox breaks to beat the winter blues #SootinClaimon.Com

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https://www.nationthailand.com/pr-news/thai-destination/40006737


Virtual event hosted by Laguna Resorts & Hotels, C9 Hotelworks and Delivering Asia Communications reveals how pent up demand will drive Russian business back to Phuket now the Sputnik vaccine is approved

Phuket’s tourism industry can look forward to a stronger high season, as Russian travellers prepare to swap their cold winter weather for a sun-soaked Sandbox escape, a recent webinar has learned. In the “Phuket Sandbox: Russia’s Winter Wonderland” event, Russian outbound tour operators expressed their belief that many of their clients are longing to return to Phuket. They warned however, that some key factors were still restricting the destination’s full potential.

Recently, the webinar was organised by C9 Hotelworks and Delivering Asia Communications (DAC), and hosted by Laguna Resorts & Hotels. It was attended by a wide range of industry experts, including top tour operators, leading hoteliers, airline executives and representatives from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), and there was a general feeling of optimism about the upcoming peak season in Phuket.

Prior to the global pandemic, Russia was one of Phuket’s biggest source markets. In 2019, over 700,000 visitors arrived direct from Russia, and while that level is unlikely to be matched in the near future, hoteliers and tour operators are confident that the coming months will see the start of a recovery.

Russian tour operators gear up for Phuket high season as travellers book Sandbox breaks to beat the winter bluesRussian tour operators gear up for Phuket high season as travellers book Sandbox breaks to beat the winter blues

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This belief is driven by the fact that, effective 1st September 2021, Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health added Russia’s Sputnik to its list of approved vaccines, which will enable thousands of Russian citizens to take part in the Phuket Sandbox programme. Ravi Chandran, CEO of Laguna Resorts & Hotels, called this move a “huge boost to the Sandbox”.

“It adds stability and continuity to the Sandbox concept and it will give a lot of the other European countries – and other countries around the world – confidence in the concept, when they see a big player like Russia participating,” Mr. Chandran told the webinar. He added that arrival numbers would probably start slowly, before “building up in November and December, once more airlines launch flights”. The first Aeroflot flight is due to depart on 4th October 2021.

Russian tour operators gear up for Phuket high season as travellers book Sandbox breaks to beat the winter bluesRussian tour operators gear up for Phuket high season as travellers book Sandbox breaks to beat the winter blues

To drive Phuket’s rebound, Khanittha Phanworawat, Director of the TAT’s Moscow Office, revealed that her team is now ramping up its promotional efforts in Russia.

“The Phuket Sandbox is our main agenda for the travel trade,” Ms. Khanittha stated. “We explained the concept to Russian tour operators at an event in Moscow in September. B2B online workshops have also connected Thai hoteliers and suppliers with Russian agents, and we have set up a dedicated Russian language website to provide the latest information for travel to Thailand.”

“It adds stability and continuity to the Sandbox concept and it will give a lot of the other European countries – and other countries around the world – confidence in the concept, when they see a big player like Russia participating,” Mr. Chandran told the webinar. He added that arrival numbers would probably start slowly, before “building up in November and December, once more airlines launch flights”. The first Aeroflot flight is due to depart on 4th October 2021.

To drive Phuket’s rebound, Khanittha Phanworawat, Director of the TAT’s Moscow Office, revealed that her team is now ramping up its promotional efforts in Russia.

“The Phuket Sandbox is our main agenda for the travel trade,” Ms. Khanittha stated. “We explained the concept to Russian tour operators at an event in Moscow in September. B2B online workshops have also connected Thai hoteliers and suppliers with Russian agents, and we have set up a dedicated Russian language website to provide the latest information for travel to Thailand.”

Tour operators said they were hopeful that Russian ‘snow birds’ would flock back to Phuket this winter. Salim Akbas, Product Purchasing Manager (Southern Thailand) for ODEON Tourism, said that Russia was a “really good fit for the Sandbox” due to the 14-day length-of-stay requirement, which is similar to the usual vacation duration preferred by Russian travellers, and their strong appetite for Thailand’s beaches and food. The “7+7” extension of the Sandbox will also enable visitors to experience more parts of the Kingdom, with the option of combining Phuket with destinations such as Khao Lak, Koh Samui and Koh Phi Phi.

Launched on 1st July 2021, the Phuket Sandbox allows fully-vaccinated international travellers from 60+ countries and territories worldwide to enjoy quarantine-free stays in the “Pearl of the Andaman”, if they fly direct to the island, stay in approved accommodation, and take regular PCR tests during the stay.

A dedicated PCR test centre now has been set up within Laguna Phuket, the integrated resort that features seven world-class, SHA Plus-certified resorts, plus a wide range of restaurants, bars, spas, boutique shopping, private yachting and water sports, all nestled within 1,000 acres of sparkling lagoons and verdant parkland, with a 3km stretch of pristine beach at Bangtao Bay. Golfers can tee-off at the 18-hole Laguna Golf Phuket, which was named as “Thailand’s Best Golf Course” at the World Golf Awards. This means that international guests, including Russian nationals, can enjoy safe, serene and secluded Sandbox stays at Laguna Phuket.

For more information about Laguna Phuket and to book your stay, please visit http://www.lagunaphuket.com.

For all the latest updates about the Phuket Sandbox and tourism in Thailand, please CLICK HERE to visit the TAT’s official website.

Published : September 28, 2021

Need a new monitor for your computer? You can wear one on your face. #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

https://www.nationthailand.com/tech/40006718


Forget settling down in front of a computer monitor at work – someday, you might strap on a headset instead. That might sound a bit like a 90s cyberpunk fantasy, but its not really all that outlandish.

Beyond having more screens to work with for multi-tasking, there’s another benefit to wearing your computer’s screen(s) on your face: no one else can look at them. If you frequently work with sensitive files or data, the last thing you’d want is for a nosy neighbor on a plane or at a coffee shop peering over your shoulder. But these kinds of headsets can be cumbersome and in some cases could leave you feeling queasy.

More than a few tech companies are convinced that sophisticated screens shoved into glasses could represent the future of work. But they have different visions for how a screen you wear on your face should work.

Microsoft has built a chunk of its business around the HoloLens, which can display 2-D or 3-D content in the physical space workers occupy. Facebook is pushing new tools to turn virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Quest into tools employees can use to meet and collaborate in a virtual world. Meanwhile, a crop of headsets from companies like Lenovo and TCL are trying something a little more practical. Rather than thrust you into a world of conferences populated by 3-D avatars, these smart glasses try to replicate the experience of sitting in front of a computer monitor. (Or in some cases, lots of computer monitors.)

To be clear, these kinds of specialized gadgets are still far from hitting the mainstream.

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“The people who are getting these now are technophiles who are willing to say ‘Hey, I’m going to take it, warts and all,'” said Ramon Llamas, a research director at market research firm IDC. “It’s probably not going to be until the third or fourth revision that we start seeing more mass-market interest.”

– How do they work?

Most of the headsets that fall into this category have a lot in common. They generally don’t have any processing power of their own, so they need to be connected to a proper computer – or a smartphone – to get anything done. So far, that means they rely on long USB cables, though companies like chipmaker Qualcomm are working to embed powerful mobile processors directly in these glasses so future models can go cord-free.

But what makes these headsets interesting are how they show you your work. Essentially, they put a tiny screen in front of each your eyes, positioned in just the right way to make each little display look like one big one. (If you’ve ever gone birdwatching with a pair of binoculars, you’ve seen this technique in action!) Assuming everything is plugged in correctly and working the way it’s supposed to, you’re able to just pop those glasses on and have a look around.

They might not look like it, but these glasses can act like a full-size computer monitor. PHOTO CREDIT: TCLThey might not look like it, but these glasses can act like a full-size computer monitor. PHOTO CREDIT: TCL

– What can you do with them?

These headsets aren’t meant to lock you in some strange virtual conference room – instead, they basically act as secondary screens you wear instead of putting them on your desk.

TCL, a Chinese company best known for producing televisions, makes one such headset. Its Nxtwear glasses can connect to one of the company’s compatible smartphones, which offers a view of a familiar, desktop-like interface where you can browse the Web, watch videos, or fire off emails. (If you do that, the phone’s screen also becomes a big trackpad for moving a mouse cursor around.)

When connected to a computer, like a MacBook Pro, the glasses effectively become a replacement monitor that looks much bigger than a typical laptop screen. You could certainly make it your main display, but because the glasses are screens propped up to the top of your line of sight by a set of big nose pads, you’d still be able to easily glance at your laptop.

Some models like Lenovo’s ThinkReality A3 PC Edition, offer a more immersive approach. Hooking it up to a compatible computer with a USB-C cable lets you view and rearrange up to five different screens in a sort of virtual “space” in front of you. As you move your head around, each of those monitors will come into view depending on how you’ve configured them. It’s as though you’re sitting in front of a desk you’ve meticulously arranged multiple monitors on, except you didn’t have to lug those monitors around in the first place.

The catch? Because the Lenovo’s headset is designed to show you multiple screens at the same time, it requires a lot more horsepower to work correctly, and not every computer will do. For now at least, you would have to already own – or buy – a compatible, Lenovo Thinkpad laptop if you ever wanted to try building a virtual workstation with the ThinkReality glasses.

– Where do we go from here?

These headsets are here, and they work, but let’s be honest: they’re still far from ideal.

For one, the companies that make these headsets haven’t completely conquered the issue of comfort. Because they have so many components and sensors packed into them, this current generation of smart glasses just can’t be nearly as flexible as, say, a regular pair of glasses. That could mean people with bigger heads may literally feel the pinch when they try to strap on a wearable display.

And while these headsets aren’t all that heavy – Lenovo’s is about a third of a pound – they can still feel cumbersome to use. But as the constellation of component makers continues to shrink their parts, that may change before too long.

“If these can be lightweight and comfortable and offer sufficient image quality where I can be productive on multiple screens, that’s the litmus test,” said Ross Rubin, principal analyst at market research firm Reticle Research. “I could see a path to that in the next maybe three years.”

Until then, headset makers have something else to tackle: price. Lenovo’s headset costs about $1,500, which is a big ask even if it’s meant for work – and especially one that requires other equipment to work. (Then again, maybe companies will eat the cost to make its workforce more productive; we’ll have to see.) Meanwhile, TCL’s glasses aren’t on sale in the U.S. yet, but models available elsewhere cost the equivalent of about $680.

That will change over time, too, as the technology matures and the cost of parts become more reasonable. Until then, though, many of us will just have to make do with the computer monitors we have now.

Published : September 28, 2021

The Nintendo Switch OLED model is sleek, vibrant and still not enough #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

https://www.nationthailand.com/life/40006719


The Nintendo Switch OLED model is coming soon, and even though it boasts a sleek design, has vibrant colors and impresses with its graphics, ultimately its still not a very exciting upgrade.

Nintendo is basically serving up gamers another version of its best-selling 2017 console that is nearly identical besides its nicer screen.

The Switch OLED costs $50 more than the standard Switch and $150 more than the Switch Lite. For that price, Nintendo has upgraded the Switch’s screen to a seven-inch OLED touch screen (rather than the 6.2-inch LCD screen of the standard model), doubled the storage space and added a port to the console dock so people can hardwire into their Internet router for a stronger connection. In a preview event, The Washington Post was able to get over an hour with the Switch OLED and the game “Metroid Dread,” both slated for an Oct. 8 launch.

The Japanese company has sold more than 89 million units of the Switch so far, making the console one of its most popular ever, ahead of the Nintendo 3DS, the Nintendo 64 and the Game Boy Advance. In the years following the Switch’s launch, Nintendo has continued to serve more consoles to the market, releasing a handheld-only version, the Switch Lite, in 2019 and various themed Switches for fans of specific game franchises.

The main things to like about the Switch OLED are the enhanced graphics. But one can imagine that for many Nintendo games, starring amorphous blobs or turn-based combat, the slight improvements to vibrancy, sharpness and overall crispness of animations might not make a huge difference. The new console provides a small boost that fans of the Switch’s online multiplayer titles might really appreciate, because hardwiring into the Internet coupled with a longer, sleeker screen could ultimately mean improved performance in games like “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,” “Splatoon 2″ or “Mario Golf: Super Rush.”

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It’s fitting, then, that Nintendo chose to showcase the upcoming action-adventure game “Metroid Dread,” which follows Samus as she explores passageways, runs from robots and loads different blasters into her arm cannon. The early cutscenes in “Metroid Dread” are rendered in bright red and clean, white colors, with details looking visibly clearer than how graphics usually look on the regular Switch or the Switch Lite. It’s still easy to notice that the Switch OLED model has 720p resolution on handheld mode, and while that’s not a bad resolution on a small screen, it makes you wonder how much nicer the graphics could get if Nintendo bumped it up to 1080p in handheld mode.

In TV mode, though, the Switch is only as good as the TV that’s being used, rendering the fancy magic of the OLED display moot. Both the OLED and standard Switch models go up to 1080p via an HDMI cable in TV mode, which is still far from the 4K resolution of the new Switch’s latest console rivals, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.

The Joy-Con controllers, too, are nothing new, though the new Switch is backward compatible with older Joy-Cons. That’s good news for anyone who has bought themed Joy-Cons, like the blue and green “Animal Crossing” ones or the purple and orange ones sold at retailers.

For all the improvements, the Switch OLED model is only slightly heavier than the original Switch, but because of its longer screen size, it also feels different to hold. I found it most comfortable to play while having both hands propped on a table, as holding the console in the air alone felt unwieldy after an hour of dodging and weaving through obstacles.

After all the rumors of a “Switch Pro” with a potential update to storage, graphics and battery life, it’s clear the Switch OLED model is not exactly the impressive refresh that fans were hoping for. But maybe for those who have been slow to buy a Nintendo Switch, or those who want to collect them all, the OLED model could find its audience.

Published : September 28, 2021

UFC champion Shevchenko hails Thailand after retaining title #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

https://www.nationthailand.com/life/40006754


Mixed martial artist Valentina Shevchenko from Kyrgyzstan gave a shout-out to Thai fans – in Thai – after successfully defending her UFC flyweight title on Saturday.

Her post-fight interview with former UFC champion-turned MC Daniel Cormier saw Shevchenko speak in English and Kyrgyz, before shocking fans in Thailand by switching to their mother tongue.

Speaking in fluent Thai, she paid homage to the land where she learnt her awesome fighting skills.

“Hi Thai fans. My name is Valentina. I am a Muay Thai athlete. Muay Thai is a really strong sport. Hello Tiger Muay Thai, my gym. Hello, and thank you.”

Shevchenko learnt the Thai language while training at the Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket. The gym is a world-famous training ground for MMA fighters from around the globe.

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Shevchenko put her UFC Women’s Flyweight title on the line against Lauren Murphy, for UFC 266 at the T-Mobile Arena in Nevada on Saturday. She won by TKO in the fourth round, improving her MMA record to 22 wins and 3 losses.

Muay Thai is the chosen martial art of many famous MMA fighters, including Joanna Jędrzejczyk from Poland. Jędrzejczyk is former UFC Women’s strawweight champion and currently No 2 in the rankings. She competed in Muay Thai for more than 10 years, starring in the “Sud Suay Muay Thai (World Muay Thai Angels) competition.

Published : September 28, 2021

Thailand appoint ‘Mano’ as head coach for AFF Championship #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

https://www.nationthailand.com/life/40006753


Alexandré “Mano” Pölking has been appointed interim head coach of the Thailand national football team, tasked with guiding the Kingdoms squad at the 2020 AFF Championship campaign against Asean rivals.

The Brazilian-German football manager has been handed a four-month contract and can rely on his years of experience in Thai football – including with the national team. In 2012 he was appointed assistant to Thailand’s head coach Winfried Schäfer. He went on to work for eight years as a head coach in Thai League 1, taking charge of Army United, Suphanburi FC, and Bangkok United. He joined Ho Chi Minh City FC for the 2020-21 season.

Thailand have also appointed Jadet Meelarp and Nuengrutai Srathongvian as Mano’s assistant coaches. Both have pro coaching licences as well as experience in both domestic and international competition. They will work together and manage the team with coaches and staff from the Football Association of Thailand.

The 2020 AFF Championship will be held from December 5 to January 1. The host country will be announced at the end of this month and is expected to be Thailand or Singapore.

The Thais will be looking to take the AFF crown from reigning champions Vietnam.

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Published : September 28, 2021