Archive for June, 2021

Game Bits: Say Good-Bye To Magic: Legends and Two Final Fantasy Games On Steam

June 30, 2021

Magic: Kegebds Says Bye on Halloween

On October 31, 2021, Magic: Legends will say goodbye to the virtual world.
In the event that you were a player at the time of the closure, all of your virtual money will be returned to you in full.
Until D-day, all servers will be open. We will eliminate Zen Shop as soon as possible.
Aether, the free in-game currency, will soon be used to purchase all items.
They think they missed the mark, but they are proud of what they achieved.
Wizards of the Coast will assist the publisher to bring the Magic: The Gathering Multiverse to a wider audience. They should be able to explore new approaches within the established ARPG genre.
The published has learned from its past mistakes and will use them to improve its future development efforts.
They thank their fans for exploring their Multiverse.

Two Final Fantasy Games Will Soon Disappear from Steam

Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI have been updated on the Steam pages with a disclaimer stating that each title will no longer be available to purchase starting July 27. The message reads:

After July 27, 2021, this game will no longer be available for purchase. Please consider purchasing the pixelated remaster version of “FINAL FANTASY VI,” coming soon.

The two titles are based on the mobile releases from 2013 and 2014, respectively, which are notorious for their redrawn art style – particularly the character sprite style. As the Pixel Remaster series will be bringing new versions of Final Fantasy V and VI to the platform, Square Enix wants to avoid having multiple versions on its storefront. It is worth noting that the mobile pages for these games do not currently have a similar disclaimer.

As Square Enix inadvertently uploaded a longer video overview on the upcoming Pixel Remaster series, we were able to get a closer look at the upcoming new versions of these classic games. The video has since been removed, but not before we had a chance to compare the Pixel Remaster to other versions of Final Fantasy 1 through 6.

Square Enix has delisted titles from Steam due to re-released versions of their games in the past. There are no longer Steam ports of Dragon Quest XI available, as the current version is based on the Switch release, despite a slight decrease in visual fidelity. In addition, The Last Remnant was removed from Steam when the PS4/Switch remaster was released in 2019, so the PC version is no longer available.

There is no exact release date for Pixel Remasters. From the now-removed video, they know the titles will be released individually with the first one landing sometime next month. The remasters are currently slated for Mobile and Steam.

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Myanmar People Now Have To Worry About Dying from COVID-19 or The Myanmar Military

June 30, 2021

Recently, there were a record number of COVID-19 cases with 1,225 positive tests from 6,586 conducted tests and 12 deaths, the highest number since May/

More than 1,200 cases have been reported since June 12,

According to the junta-controlled health ministry, Myanmar had 154,385 COVID-19 cases with 3,309 deaths. The ministry has issued stay-at-home orders in 11 townships in Sagaing and Bago regions as well as in Chin and Shan states.

As health care staff joined the civil disobedience movement (CDM), refusing to work for the military regime, COVID-19 testing dropped. Since Feb. 8, the regime has called on the health staff to return to work.

In January, approximately 16,000 to 18,000 swab tests were conducted a day by the ousted civilian government of the National League for Democracy.

The number of tests administered per day decreased to a bit over 1,500 between February and early June.

Since June 12, 2021, the number of daily swab tests has risen again between 3,000 and 7,000.

Most cases have been reported in border towns with India, China, and Bangladesh. The junta has yet to introduce effective measures to curb the spread of the virus in Myanmar’s borders.

Since June 1, the health ministry has distributed over 12 million surgical masks and conducted health awareness activities.

Three mutant coronavirus strains have been detected in Myanmar, including the Delta strain from India.

The junta is expanding quarantine centers, opening dedicated hospital wards and promoting vaccines from China and India.

Myanmar’s COVID-19 vaccine program has also struggled under the junta, as millions of civilians refuse the jab, and thousands of health workers have gone on strike and joined the CDM.

On January 27, the NLD began a nationwide vaccination program for COVID-19 using vaccines donated by AstraZeneca. Health care staff and volunteers received shots first.

Since the military took over on Feb. 1, almost all health workers have refused to receive the second vaccination in protest.

In May, the regime claimed that more than 1.7 million citizens had received two vaccinations.

Many people have refused to get inoculated because they distrust the quality control of the COVID-19 vaccines.

In the absence of the needed vaccines, the lawyers representing State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in her Naypyitaw trials have to test for the HIV virus every time they travel. They need a certificate proofing that their tests are negative for this virus.

American Expats In Thailand Are Being Urged To Call US Senatos So US Citizens Can Get Vaccines At US Embassies

June 30, 2021

Covid-19 vaccines are still being sought by some Americans living overseas in Thailand. Democratic Abroad Thailand is urging American expats to contact their senators and ask them to support the allocation of vaccines to citizens overseas. The ex-pat group’s Covid-19 Vaccine Task Force will hold a Zoom meeting tomorrow evening to discuss the call to action.
Recently, the US Embassy in Thailand’s Charge d’Affaires issued a statement saying the US Department of State is not able to provide vaccines for the millions of Americans living abroad.
In response to the news, 26 US senators urged Secretary of State Antony Blinken to include the 9 million Americans living abroad in the government’s global effort.
 In addition to Thailand, the US government is donating 500 million vaccine doses to 92 countries with low to lower-middle incomes. Senators urged Blinken to donate supplemental doses to US embassies and consulates in those countries so that US citizens could be vaccinated.
In order to optimize the distribution of those additional doses, we encourage you to prioritize countries where Americans have been deemed ineligible or low priority in national vaccination deployment plans, as well as countries that are currently not distributing U.S. vaccinations. The vaccine must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization.
Democratic Abroad Thailand is urging American expats to contact their senators and urge them to join the initiative before July 4. Here is a suggestion…
“I am a constituent currently living in Thailand where foreigners do not have access to US FDA-approved Covid-19 vaccines. I would urge you to sign the letter that Senators Murphy and Moran sent on June 24 to Secretary of State Blinken asking him to “take concrete steps toward vaccinating the nine million Americans living abroad.”
The US government has been pushed to provide vaccines to Thai citizens by ex-pat groups in recent months. Democrats Abroad Thailand, Republicans Overseas Thailand, the American Women’s Club of Thailand, and Veterans of Foreign Wars have collaborated to push for US government officials to include Thai citizens living abroad in global vaccinations.

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The Myanmar Military Is Battling The Opposition Through The Judicial System

June 29, 2021

As it battles to consolidate control over a country in uprising, it has increasingly targeted lawyers representing political prisoners. At least five lawyers have been arrested across Myanmar over the past month for defending politicians and activists, an escalation of the military’s assault on the judiciary.
In late May, police arrested Thein Hlaing Tun, the lawyer of deposed Naypyidaw Council chairman Myo Aung, a co-defendant of Aung San Suu Kyi. The former elected leader of Myanmar was overthrown by the military on February 1 after her party, the National League for Democracy, had won the November election in a landslide.
According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which has been monitoring the situation, over 6,000 opponents have been arrested, charged, or sentenced since the coup.
Thein Hlaing Tun and five other lawyers were with their client on May 24, when he was arrested and charged under section 505A, an incitement charge that carries a three-year sentence and has become a favorite of generals. Myo Aung did not learn of the arrest until he met with the other lawyers on June 7, according to Khin Maung Zaw, a member of Aung San Suu Kyi’s defense team.
In a text message, Khin Maung Zaw announced that he had appointed new lawyers among us. Al Jazeera reported that “we’re worried about other lawyers,” and that the situation has become “very very difficult” due to the danger of harassment and arrest as well as internal disagreements about how to proceed in such a skewed system.
On May 28, 2021, a lawyer from Ayeyarwady Region was arrested while defending a political dissident in court. As reported by local media, she had taken on a few high-profile clients, including the superintendent of a hospital who went on strike rather than work under the military regime. A 505A charge was filed against her as well.

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Game Bits: The Latest in Esports

June 29, 2021

League of Legends Mobile Games Has Been Approved By Chinese Organization

The League of Legends Esports Manager mobile game from Riot Games has been approved by China’s National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA), along with 43 other titles. The Chinese version of the game will include all League of Legends Pro League (LPL) teams, players, and staff, and the player will serve as the “team manager.” 
According to NPPA, Tencent Holdings still holds the publishing and operating rights to Riot Games. It is the second mobile game from Riot Games to receive approval in China this year. League of Legends: Wild Rift was approved in February 2021.
Valorant has not yet received game approval. At the Tencent Esports Global Summit, the game logo was featured only once, when TJ Sports Co-CEO Bobby Jin gave his presentation.

Freaks 4U Gaming Had Bought ProGaming Italia

In an announcement on its website, Freaks 4U Gaming announced its acquisition of ProGaming Italia, an Italian and Swiss esports and gaming event organizer. Unknown amount paid to Fin. 
It is now owned by Freaks 4U, but the company said that ProGaming Italia will operate as a joint venture, since “both Freaks 4U Gaming and ProGaming Italia have always intended to forge a strategic alliance as equals.” 
 Several international esports organizations, game developers, and tournament organizers partner with ProGaming Italia to deliver esports tournaments. ProGaming Italia is a long-standing licensee of ESL and Riot Games, with whom it partners on most of the Valorant activities in Italy. As part of its ongoing licensing agreement with ESL, which is also a minority shareholder of ProGaming Italia, the company’s CEO Daniel Schmidhofer has been named the company’s CEO for ESL Italy, Switzerland, and Austria. 
Freaks 4U Gaming and ProGaming Italia announced their strategic partnership in March 2021 in order to develop Valorant news and content platform Agent’s Range Italia aimed at Italian audiences. 
Freaks 4U Gaming acquired all shares of ProGaming Italia held by majority shareholder Game as part of the acquisition. Schmidhofer’s holding company, Fin. Game returns the favor. Finn is now a minority shareholder in Freaks 4U Gaming following his acquisition of shares. Game was not disclosed by Freaks 4U. Fin did not receive any additional compensation. ProGaming Italia CEO Schmidthofer will continue to lead the company as CEO, as well as assume a vice president position with Freaks 4U Gaming.

Thai Bits: Thai Foreign Chamber Of Commerce Wants Thai Government To Give Priority To Expats For Vaccine, Thai Government Causes Confusion About Current COVID-19 Policy

June 29, 2021

Thai Foreign Chamber of Commerce Really Wants Expats To Get Vaccine

In a meeting of 35 foreign chambers of commerce, it was unanimously agreed that the Thai government should give priority to vaccinating foreign businessmen, foreign employees, and their families. 
Stanley Kang, the president of the JFCCT (Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce Thailand), said there were 500,000 foreign businessmen and their families, and 2 million foreign employees and their families. 
The two and a half million people need to be vaccinated before the end of the third quarter (the start of October at the latest), according to Thai business media.
Registration for ThaiIntervac.com has so far only been available to foreigners with work permits, so it is not open to foreigners’ families or older people.
Kang thought it would be better to register vaccines via passports and visas rather than work permits. 
The Thai-Chinese CoC noted that Chinese nationals are being vaccinated by their governments.
It was agreed that Thailand is a great country to live in and invest in, but the amount of red tape faced by foreign companies needs to be cut in order to make it more competitive with ASEAN rivals. 
It was suggested the Board of Investment privileges be upgraded and that Social Security benefits be extended to foreigners working and residing in Thailand. 

Who Can Travel in Thailand?

Ten provinces have been asked not to travel.
In spite of this, the Thai media was filled with stories of people packing the roads, defying bans, and heading for villages. 
Netizens thought this measure was about as helpful as what happened in the country due to the dilly-dallying at Songkran if this was the government’s way to stop the spread of Covid. 
The order – number 25 – covered provinces in the deep red zones where Covid is spiking in and around Bangkok and in the far south.
Bangkok, Nakhon Pathom, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla, and Yala are affected. 
Anucha Burapachaisri looked increasingly flustered as he described construction site closures for 30 days and further restrictions on gatherings as most definitely “not a lockdown”.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people took him at his word and fled to the countryside.
The hardest-hit areas, in particular, hunkered down. 
After ignoring the travel advisory and on the other hand many people feeling as though they were under lockdown, the government looked increasingly out of touch. 
The Daily News chose the headline: Spokesman says it is not a lockdown – people should avoid traveling between provinces. 
Anucha was pictured looking like he was caught in the headlights of a car. 
In the meantime, he had to admit that a new strain from Africa, known as the Beta variant, had now been detected in the far south. 
As announced in the government gazette, the new regulations are in effect today, June 28, 2021.

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Netflix Thailand: What is the Difference Between Netflix Thailand and Netflix America?

June 28, 2021

Honestly, I cannot tell you as I live in Thailand. I have not tried to use a VPN to gain access to Netflix America. What I do know is based on what I have observed on Netflix Thailand.
One basic difference is that you use baht to pay for Netflix Thailand. The maximum that you have to pay to get Netflix Thailand is 420 Thai baht. You can pay for it using your debit card from a Thai bank.
What is on Netflix America is not necessarily on Netflix Thailand. I was reading an article that a series called Voltron had debuted on Netflix and that it was a good show. I tried finding it on Netflix Thailand, but I could not find it. You should not assume just because it is on the American version that it is on the Thai version.
On Netflix Thailand, you get movies and TV shows from Thailand, Japan, India, and South Korea. I have even have watched a Turkish TV series on this version of Netflix.
During the lockdown, I did become addicted to South Korean TV dramas. They do take more patience to watch than American TV dramas. You do have to watch every frame as you probably don’t know Korean and have to watch the subtitles. Each episode is usually about an hour and a half and each season is about 16 episodes. This is more time than you would normally spend with an American TV drama. I can tell you that the journey is usually worth it and that the endings are worth the wait.
If you are a Star Trek fan, Netflix Thailand is definitely worth it as it has almost every episode of Star Trek that has ever aired including Star Trek: Discovery. You cannot see the Picard series on Netflix. For some reason, you cannot see every episode of Star Trek: The Original Episode. They have left out episodes for some reason. Netflix Thailand did give me a chance to Star Trek: Enterprise as I had been in Thailand when that show aired.
Until now, this is all that I have observed about Netflix Thailand.

Myanmar Military Tortures Prisoners To Get Information About Opposition

June 28, 2021

According to an American citizen and journalist who was recently released from a Yangon prison, Myanmar’s military junta uses torture to obtain information on the whereabouts of senior opposition members and activists.
Nathan Maung, 44, was detained in Myanmar for more than three months before he was deported to the United States on June 15. In Yangon, the country’s largest city, he was held for two weeks in a secret military interrogation center.
Nathan Maung told CNN Business from Washington, DC, that his time in the facility was “hell” and that he was prepared to die there, believing the soldiers would kill him.
According to the advocacy group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, he is one of more than 6,200 people arrested since Myanmar’s military, led by Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, seized power in a coup on February 1. After overthrowing Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government, the military launched a bloody crackdown on dissent and on any perceived opposition. Street protests have been suppressed with deadly force.
Former prisoners, lawyers, and family members of those detained have told CNN that detainees have been tortured during interrogations and denied communication with family members. There have also been deaths from torture, including those related to ousted national party National League for Democracy (NLD).
Despite months of escalating violence, the junta says it is using restraint against what it calls “riotous protesters,” who it claims attack police and harm the country’s security and stability.
Nathan Maung is co-founder and editor in chief of the online news site Kamayut Media in Myanmar. During a raid on their office on March 9, he was arrested alongside co-founder and news producer Hanthar Nyein, 39.
Nathan Maung, a citizen of the United States, feels guilty and unhappy about his release due to his American citizenship, while Myanmar national Hanthar Nyein remains in the notorious Insein Prison.
The two of us have been through hell together, so we should be released together,” Nathan Maung said, his voice cracking with emotion. “I want him to know we are not forgetting him. He is not alone.”
Additionally, Danny Fenster, another American journalist prevented from leaving Myanmar on May 24, remains detained at Insein Prison.
When a convoy of military trucks carrying soldiers pulled up outside Kamayut Media’s office in Yangon, Nathan Maung knew something was wrong. Security forces barged through the door and raided the office, seizing equipment and taking Nathan Maung and Hanthar Nyein with them as they left.
He said, referring to a suburb of Yangon, that they sent them to the interrogation center in Mingaladon.
They were denied food and water for three days, Nathan Maung claims. They were handcuffed and blindfolded nearly the entire two weeks they were there, he said.
“They handcuffed us and blindfolded us before they started questioning us. They beat us for every answer, regardless of whether it was correct or incorrect,” he said.
Nathan Maung said the facility had five houses and an office. Four interrogation cells are located within the buildings, he said. On his last day there, his blindfold was removed, allowing him to see the room and the buildings.
“In the room, there is a CCTV camera, there is no bed, only a small table, and chair, so you sit all day and night,” he said. There is no time to sleep because you are blindfolded. They put handcuffs in front of you so you can try to sleep like that, but every five minutes they come and question you.”

In addition to the house and cell moves, the detainees were subjected to eight days of torture.
Nathan Maung said Hanthar Nyein bore the brunt of the torture.
He said Hanthar was treated badly because he was a Burmese national. Hanthar had to kneel on the ground for two days. His skin was burned with cigarettes.
Nathan Maung believes that the soldiers pressured Hanthar Nyein into divulging his phone password, which would give them access to his encrypted communications and phone records with high-profile opposition and activist leaders.
Hanthar Nyein refused to reveal the password for days, offering them false numbers in the hopes that his phone would automatically lock everyone out. But the final straw came when the guards threatened to rape him.
As a result, Hanthar surrendered his password and they stopped beating him, Nathan Maung said.
Nathan Maung’s phone broke during the arrest. The beatings stopped for him on the fourth day, he said, when the soldiers discovered he was a US citizen.
In addition to beating me, they asked why I was in the US and why I received US funding – simply dumb questions, he said. “I said no, I’m a journalist, no one gave me money.”
Consequently, the line of interrogation focused instead on his media company, Kamayut Media. He said the soldiers asked about budgets and finances. He asked if we had done any fundraising or where we got it from.
Nathan Maung feared he would die in the interrogation cell.
I thought we would still be alive if we survived for two days at the beginning, but after that, nobody knows,” he said. “When they started giving us water, I thought we wouldn’t die, we’d live.”
Nathan Maung said he meditated to cope with the mental and physical trauma. “That’s the only thing that saved us from the hell,” he said.
However, his ordeal was not over.
Nathan Maung revealed he was transferred to a detention center adjacent to Myanmar’s Insein Prison, an overcrowded facility with about 10,000 inmates that has a reputation for poor treatment.
According to him, he was held in a large cell with about 80 other people, all student activists, protesters, and NLD members. Then he was moved to solitary confinement, where he stayed until his release on June 14.
Nathan Maung and Hanthar Nyein’s treatment in detention is not an isolated incident.
According to Human Rights Watch, many of the thousands of people arbitrarily detained by the military have been subjected to torture, routine beatings, and other ill-treatment since the coup.
The report notes that “Myanmar’s military and police hold detainees in overcrowded, unhygienic interrogation centers and prisons, and detainees are frequently kept incommunicado, unable to communicate with relatives or attorneys.” Those who died have been described as having been beaten, burned by cigarettes, and placed in stress positions.
HRW Myanmar researcher Manny Maung, who is not related to Nathan Maung, said in a statement that since the coup, authorities have used torture “without fear of repercussions.”
“The brutality of the beatings shows how far Myanmar’s military authorities will go to silence those who oppose the coup,” she said.
Nathan Maung believes he was arrested because the military took him “as an enemy.”

More Details About Re-Launching of Sonic Theme Parks

June 28, 2021

SEGA re-launched its theme park business earlier in June 2021, according to reports. It wasn’t clear if SEGA would use its video games as a theme, which was exciting news for gamers and theme park fans alike. Due to SEGA art director Kazuyuki Hoshino, people now know that a Sonic theme park is in the work
Sonic is also planning to turn its mascot into a Vtuber, as mentioned by Ryokutya2089. Kazuyuki Hoshino attributes the decision to expand into theme parks and virtual content to the success of Sonic the Hedgehog, a movie released last year. The exact source of these statements is unclear, but Ryokutya2089 frequently archives segments from physical publications like Famitsu and Weekly Shonen Jump. As a result, the statements may relate to the recent Famitsu article on Sonic 30th Anniversary.
How will a Sonic theme park differ from other theme parks? This park could be SEGA’s answer to Super Nintendo World, which offers various rides, amusements, and restaurants based on Mario. According to previous reports, SEGA could announce a UK location for a Sonic park by the end of 2021.
In the coming months, SEGA should reveal more information about its theme park plans. The SEGA theme park venture seems extremely likely at this stage, but we’ll need official confirmation on whether the parks will be based on the blue blur.

Thai PM Wants To Re-Open Country To Tourists In 120 Days, Thai Poll Disagrees

June 28, 2021

Suan Dusit Rajabhat University, or Suan Dusit Poll, has conducted an opinion survey that shows the majority of people believe reopening the country in 120 days is not feasible due to the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The online poll was conducted between June 21-24, 2021, on 3,320 people across the country to compile their opinions on the Thai PM’s announcement that the country would be reopened in 120 days amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

When asked if it would be possible to reopen the country within 120 days, 39.88% said this was unlikely, and 21.64% said it was impossible. In contrast, 30.26% thought it might be possible, and 8.22% were confident it could happen.

58.22% of respondents disagreed with the announcement, 25.90% agreed, and 15.88% were uncertain.

Asked whether they would accept a higher risk of Covid-19 reopening the country in 120 days, 51.05% said “no”; 26.93% said “yes”; and 22.02% were uncertain.

Asked what concerns them about the pledge to reopen the country in 120 days, respondents were allowed to select more than one concern:

-78.07% expressed concern about new variants of the Covid-19;

  • 71.18% expected more clusters of infections; and
  • 68.41% expected a new wave of the pandemic.

When asked what should be done to be able to reopen the country in 120 days, respondents said:

  • 85.12% said vaccinations must be accelerated;
  • 77.06% quarantine and suppression of illegal border crossers must be tightened;
  • 76.53% Increase the number of vaccine brands imported to adjust vaccination administration;
  • 71.78% vaccine distribution must be expedited; and
  • 54.75% case-finding needs to be stepped up to prevent Covid-19 from spreading.

If asked what benefits reopening would have, regardless of whether they agreed with the 120-day schedule, the answers were:

  • 84.04% believe it could boost the economy;
  • 61.73% believed it could accelerate vaccinations; and
  • 50.10% believed it could draw tourists from abroad.