Category : Thailand

(Bloomberg) Its not just India. New virus waves hit developing nations.

Although nowhere close to India’s population or flare-up in scope, the reported spikes in these handful of nations have been far steeper, signaling the potential dangers of an uncontrolled spread. The resurgence — and first-time outbreaks in some places that largely avoided the scourge last year — heightens the urgency of delivering vaccine supplies to poorer, less influential countries and averting a protracted pandemic.

“It’s very important to realize that the situation in India can happen anywhere,” said Hans Kluge, the regional director at the World Health Organization for Europe, during a briefing last week. “This is still a huge challenge.”

Ranked by the change in newly recorded infections in the past month over the previous month, Laos came first with a 22,000% increase, followed by Nepal and Thailand, both of which saw fresh caseload skyrocketing more than 1,000% on a month-over-month basis.

Also on top of the list are Bhutan, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Cambodia and Fiji, as they witnessed the epidemic erupt at a high triple-digit pace.

“All countries are at risk,” said David Heymann, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. “The disease appears to be becoming endemic and will therefore likely remain a risk to all countries for the foreseeable future.”

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Posted in Bhutan, Cambodia, Health & Medicine, Japan, Nepal, Southeast Asia, Thailand

(NBC) Islamist Insurgency Erupts in Sungai Golok, Thailand's Strangest Party Town

Everything that makes Thailand infamous is available in Golok: cheap booze, late nights, rented female company.

But these parties just happen to be raging inside territory claimed by jihadis who pull off hundreds of bomb attacks each year.

The jihadis are hell-bent on turning this region into an Islamic breakaway state. Since 2004, their war against the Buddhist nation of Thailand has tallied more than 6,200 dead. That’s more conflict deaths in the last 10 years than in the Gaza Strip.

And yet the tourists keep coming. Not from Europe or the United States but from Muslim-majority Malaysia just across the border. They are men escaping provinces where Islamic codes forbid booze and miniskirts.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Thailand, Theology, Violence

(AP) Australian couple left their Down syndrome baby with his surrogate mother but took his twin

Pattaramon [ Chanbua] was promised 300,000 baht ($9,300) by a surrogacy agency in Bangkok, Thailand’s capital, to be a surrogate for the Australian couple, but she has not been fully paid since the children were born last December.

She said the agency knew about Gammy’s condition four to five months after she became pregnant but did not tell her. It wasn’t until the seventh month of her pregnancy when the doctors and the agency told her that one of the twin babies had Down syndrome and suggested that she have an abortion just for him.

Pattaramon recalled strongly rejecting the idea, believing that having the abortion would be sinful. “I asked them, ”˜Are you still humans?’ I really wanted to know,” she said Sunday.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Australia / NZ, Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Science & Technology, Thailand

(Reuters) Thailand may legalise same sex marriage

On a sweltering Saturday night in Bangkok’s Patpong entertainment district, a group of men spill out of a neon-lit bar blasting dance music. Among them is Aashif Hassan and his long-term partner, both visitors from Malaysia.

“We’re celebrating tonight. Where we’re from, it’s illegal to be gay. Here we feel liberated,” said Hassan.

Known for its laissez-faire attitude, Thailand has positioned itself as a holiday destination for gay couples and could soon be cashing in on another niche market if a proposed law makes it the first Asian country to legalise gay marriage.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Sexuality, Thailand, Theology

Thais Look to the Supernatural

Don’t be fooled by the skyscrapers, the roads clogged with the latest luxury cars or the high-tech gadgetry in pockets and purses. This country of 65 million people has embraced modernity, yes, but many Thais will tell you that ghosts and spirits still wander the streets and inhabit buildings. Important business decisions often require consultations with a fortune teller. Cabinet ministers and military officers are sometimes so concerned with numerology and advice from their shamans that politics in Thailand could be called the black art of the possible.

“We still have our ghosts, we still have black magic,” said Todsaporn Jamsuwan, the co-founder of Holy Plus, a company that makes “spirit houses,” the ubiquitous miniature structures that resemble dollhouses and serve as dwellings for protective ghosts.

Far from abandoning traditional beliefs in the paranormal, Thailand is harnessing the forces of technology and modernity to reinforce them.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Thailand

In Thailand Converts to Roman Catholicism face initial family opposition

More than 200 adults receive Baptism every year in Bangkok archdiocese, and for some of them the decision is made in the face of stiff opposition from people they love most.

However, after a while, their family members grow to accept their decision, say several new converts to Catholicism in this predominantly Buddhist country.

“Wait until I die before you convert,” was the request of the mother of Ravipun Jaruthawee. Nevertheless, the 25-year-old post-graduate student got baptized secretly this year on Holy Saturday, April 11, at Assumption Cathedral in Bangkok.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Thailand