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Thai Crime: Thai Police Are Cracking Down On Street Racing

October 13, 2021

The Thai police are cracking down on street racing and have charged thousands of racers and tens of thousands of parents whose children participated in the races since the start of this year. Those who report street racing and the information that leads to an arrest are being rewarded with 3,000 baht.
According to Nation Thailand, deputy chief general Damrongsak Kittipraphas said officers had confiscated 320,973 motorcycles and motorbikes used in illegal races. According to the deputy chief, more than 3,000 street racers have been charged with violating the country’s Traffic Act, and more than 1,000 bike shops have been charged for doing illegal modifications on bikes.
Meanwhile, over 40,000 parents were charged with violating the Child Protection Act for allowing their children to participate in illegal street racing, either as racers or spectators.”
To crackdown on illegal street racing, officers set up a 400,000 baht tip-off fund. When a tip leads to an arrest, the individual will be rewarded with 3,000 baht.
TThis year, more than 1.2 million people have been charged with traffic violations.tions.ions. According to The World Health Organisation, the traffic conditions in Thailand are the worst in Southeast Asia, and among the most dangerous in the world. They report that around 20,000 people die in road accidents in Thailand each year, a figure of about 56 people per day.

Square Enix Makes Changes To New Avengers Game

October 11, 2021

Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics have added game-enhancing microtransactions to Marvel’s Avengers title, following previous comments that the game would only include paid boosts for cosmetic items.
The game was added to Xbox Game Pass last week and now offers the option to purchase ‘consumables’ with real money, which include XP boosts and other ways for players to speed up their progress, as per VGC.
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz in 2019, Crystal Dynamics studio head Scot Amos said that Avengers would have a range of character customization options, some of which will be monetized, but also said that microtransactions in the game would be restricted to cosmetics.
“The idea, from the beginning, is that we want you to be able to customize your hero; how they look, how they play, the gear they have, and how they use it,” Amos said at the time.
“Your Black Widow could be different to my Black Widow — just a little, maybe a lot depending on what you favor and how you unlock things. In terms of how we monetize, we’ll have cosmetics. No gameplay paywalls.”
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The company kept its word on this decision in a 2020 blog post, which said: “We’ve committed that content purchasable with real money in Marvel’s Avengers will be aesthetic-only additions, which will ensure we can keep the game fresh for years to come.”
A later blog post, shared in March 2021, said that the XP needed to level up in the game was to be increased, as the previous leveling system led to “pacing issues.”

Poll Says Thai PM Should Resign By August

October 11, 2021

With the upcoming election, a new poll from the National Institute of Development Administration found that 40% of people feel PM Prayut Chan-o-cha should announce he is quitting as prime minister by next August. The NIDA poll asked political opinions from 1,311 people of various occupations and educations levels nationwide by phone on October 5 to 8.
The poll addressed the controversy over whether PM Prayut can be reelected as the Constitution says no one can serve as prime minister for more than 8 years, and Prayut has been in command of Thailand since the 2014 coup. But as the Constitution was established in 2017 so some argue that PM Prayut only officially took the office in 2019 election and is, therefore, eligible for one more term.
With the upcoming election, a new poll from the National Institute of Development Administration found that 40% of people feel PM Prayut Chan-o-cha should announce he is quitting as prime minister by next August. The NIDA poll asked political opinions from 1,311 people of various occupations and educations levels nationwide by phone on October 5 to 8.
The poll addressed the controversy over whether PM Prayut can be reelected as the Constitution says no one can serve as prime minister for more than 8 years, and Prayut has been in command of Thailand since the 2014 coup. But as the Constitution was established in 2017 so some argue that PM Prayut only officially took the office in 2019 election and is, therefore, eligible for one more term.
The NIDA poll found nearly 41% of people believe that PM Prayut should commit to stepping down by August 2022 while 38% believe the Constitutional Court needs to rule on the issue as quickly as possible. Only 15% believe nothing needs to be done and nearly 6% had no opinion.
The poll also found that only 22% believed that the House of Representatives does not need to be dissolved, while other respondents debated when the dissolution should take place. 40% believe the House should be dissolved immediately, while 30% said the election law should be revised in line with the Constitution before the House dissolves. Nearly 6% believe PM Prayut should just be sure to dissolve the House before he faces another vote of no-confidence next year. Just under 2% had no opinion.
50% of those responding to the NIDA poll felt that the Cabinet was in need of a major reshuffling while 24% believed only a minor shuffle was necessary to fill the 2 empty cabinet positions formed by Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Thamanat Prompow and Deputy Minister of Labour Narumon Pinyosinwat being ousted one month ago. Of that 24%, half felt their replacements should be outsiders while the other half think members of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party should step into the positions. 6% had no comment.

ASEAN Leaders Are Deciding Whether Myanmar Leader Should Come To Up Coning Summit Or Not

October 10, 2021

A regional envoy has said Southeast Asia is discussing not inviting the head of Myanmar’s military regime to their leaders’ summit later this month after the generals failed to make progress on a road map to restore peace after a February coup plunged the country into chaos.
In a news conference on Wednesday, ASEAN’s special envoy to Myanmar, Erywan Yusof, said the military’s failure to follow up on a five-point plan it agreed to in April was “tantamount to backtracking”.
Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the country’s army chief, seized power on February 1, ending 10 years of tentative steps towards democracy and sparking mass protests and civil disobedience.
A second foreign minister from Brunei, ASEAN’s current chair, said the bloc was in discussions about not inviting the military government to participate in a virtual summit starting on October 26.
The five-point consensus has yet to be implemented, Erwan said.
On Wednesday, Reuters news agency was unable to reach Zaw Min Tun, the military government’s spokesman. He said at a news conference last week that Myanmar was cooperating with ASEAN “without compromising its sovereignty”.
Myanmar’s military and the National Unity Government (NUG), the shadow government set up by politicians thrown out of office, have criticized the bloc’s efforts to engage the military.
However, there are signs that some countries within the 10-member grouping are becoming frustrated.
Kuala Lumpur will not support Min Aung Hlaing’s attendance at the summit if the military continues to ignore ASEAN’s attempt at conflict resolution, Malaysia’s foreign minister Saifuddin Abdullah said at the country’s parliament on Wednesday.
In response to a follow-up question about whether Malaysia might engage with the shadow civilian administration, Saifuddin said Malaysia might consider dialogue with NUG “if what was agreed in the consensus cannot be achieved”.
There have been more than 1,000 deaths since the generals toppled the government of Aung San Suu Kyi, and thousands have been detained. Several opponents of the coup have set up armed groups to fight the military, while the NUG has declared a “defensive” war on the military

Nonthaburi Restaurant Remains Open Despite Flood

October 9, 2021

A restaurant in Nonthaburi that had been flooded along the Chao Phraya River turned a negative into a positive after videos went viral showing diners seated knee-deep in floodwaters.
Chao Phraya International Cafe in the Bangkok suburb Nonthaburi province had already been suffering from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw customer counts plummet, along with closures of restaurants and other businesses across the province. As Thailand has been ravaged by heavy rains and floods from the north, river water was rising and the restaurant owner braced himself for more financial loss.
But instead of closing the restaurant and sandbagging, the owner decided to stay open and, as floodwater rose, customers embraced it. According to the owner, customers love wading into the water to their tables and dodging the waves created by passing boats.
The owner was pleasantly surprised by how much the customers loved the unique element of getting soaked while dining. As a result, he schedules 2 sittings for dinner each evening when water levels are at their highest.
The viral restaurant goes viral as diners brave floodwaters | News by Thaiger
Viral videos show customers enjoying the adventure – alternating between shoveling food into their mouths and jumping out of the way as boats sail past and waves knock over chairs as customers laugh.
The restaurant, once known for its delicious barbecue pork and beautiful sunset views, has evolved into a culinary experience, and the owner couldn’t be happier.

Myanmar Student Activists Have Been Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison

September 9, 2021

A family member confirmed that Min Thukha Kyaw, the former chair of the Dagon University Students’ Union, was sentenced to ten years in prison by a military tribunal.
During his appearance at the tribunal, he called me with the assistance of a prison employee. According to the relative, who spoke on condition of anonymity, he had been sentenced.
Earlier this year, Min Thukha Kyaw was arrested and charged under Section 505a of the Penal Code, which carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison.
At the time of reporting, it was unclear what additional charges had been made against him that would account for the length of his sentence.
In June, Min Thukha Kyaw was arrested at his home in Yangon’s North Okkalapa Township and accused of receiving military and explosives training from the Kachin Independence Army.
Since his arrest, he has been held in Yangon’s Insein Prison without access to a lawyer.. The relative said that his family has also been unable to meet with him.
“Martial law took away [his right to hire a lawyer],” lawyer Thet Naung explained.
Officials at the Prisons Department and Insein Prison were contacted by Myanmar Now for comment on Min Thukha Kyaw’s case but did not respond.
As a result of massive protests against the coup staged by the military the previous month, several Yangon townships, including North Okkalapa, declared martial law in March.
In the affected townships, the judiciary has been replaced by a military tribunal with sweeping powers, including the power to impose the death penalty.
Since the military took power on February 1, more than 1,000 people have been killed and nearly 8,000 have been detained, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

Myanmar Military Used Its Own Soldiers As Guinea Pigs For Unapproved COVID-19 Vaccine

August 23, 2021

Myanmar’s military was given doses of a Covid-19 vaccine imported from India without being informed that it had not yet been approved, military sources said.
The military’s secret vaccination program, which used the Covaxin vaccine from Bharat Biotech, began in January and lasted for three months, according to sources.
Several participants in the program claim that those who received the vaccine were not informed it was still in the third phase of clinical trials at the time.
“They said they would vaccinate us and then check our immunity two weeks later to see if it had increased. One of the officers in the first batch of test subjects said that it was a test.tal in Yangon’s Mingaladon Township, told Myanmar Now that 15 soldiers, including himself, had blood drawn from them three times after each of the two shots they received.
After examining the results of the first 15 subjects, the program was later expanded to include more military personnel.
The first time, I thought they were squeezing blood from everyone. Later, I learned it was just us. “We joked about being lab rats,” he said.
It’s frustrating, but there is nothing you can do since it’s the military.”
According to the person who took part in the program as a test subject, it was ordered by senior officers.
Another doctor in a military hospital in Yangon said they were looking for a sample population of people who had received the shots. Maybe 100,000 people. “It’s sad that we were used as human guinea pigs in this way.”
The doctor, who requested anonymity, said two teams were involved in collecting data from those who received the vaccine.
There was a group that kept track of how our bodies responded to the vaccine-how many people became nauseous, how many developed fever-and another that determined how many antibodies increased in our blood after the vaccination,” he said.
She told Myanmar Now that she learned later that the vaccine her husband received was Covaxin, and not the approved Covishield vaccine made in India, which had been used in the national vaccination program launched by the Myanmar government before it was overthrown on February 1.
While her husband was able to obtain this information because of his rank, it was unlikely that ordinary soldiers who participated in the military’s vaccination program knew about this fact.
As of early January, Bharat Biotech hadn’t made much progress with its Phase 3 trials of Covaxin due to a lack of volunteers willing to try the vaccine.
It has denied conducting clinical trials outside of India, but told Myanmar Now by email that it sent 55 vials of the vaccine to Myanmar in January, adding that this was standard practice when dealing with prospective buyers.
As part of the Indian government’s Vaccine Maitri diplomacy program, another 200,000 doses of Covaxin were sent to Myanmar on February 11. On January 22, 1.5 million doses of Covishield were sent under the program.
India’s Mint news outlet reported on January 27 that Bharat Biotech sought approval from Myanmar and Bangladesh to test Covaxin there.
The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), Bharat Biotech’s partner for producing the vaccine, is quoted in the article as saying that such trials are standard procedure for countries seeking to procure vaccines. However, the article noted that Bharat Biotech declined to comment on the subject of foreign trials.
Unlike Covishield, which is manufactured by the Serum Institute of India under license from the multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company AstraZeneca, Covaxin was developed in India. In late June, local media reported that it had been approved for emergency use in 16 countries.
Early this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) received a request for the inclusion of Covaxin on its Emergency Use Listing. The WHO has yet to complete its review of the data.
Almost all government officials, including members of the former civilian government, deny knowledge of the military’s vaccine trial program.
The former Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement under the ousted National League for Democracy government, and the current shadow Health Minister, both denied they were aware of any Covaxin-related programs that might have existed before the coup.
At the end of January, just prior to the military takeover, Health Ministry spokesperson Dr. Khin Khin Gyi told local media outlet Eleven News that the government had no plans to test Covaxin in Myanmar.
In an interview with Myanmar Now on July 15, Dr. Htay Htay Tin, the deputy director of the National Health Laboratory and another leading figure in the effort to contain Covid-19, also said that there were no Covaxin trials conducted in Myanmar.
Dr. Khin Zaw, the director of the Food and Drug Administration, announced less than a week later that civilians had been given Covaxin shots.
Myanmar has already received Covaxin vaccines. “We gave all of the donated vaccines to civilians,” he said., adding that the FDA had approved the vaccines for use, not for trial.
Despite the fact that the Public Health Department may have conducted some trials using data collected from those who received vaccines, he stated that the vaccine had already been proved to be safe and effective by the time it was administered.
According to Than Naing Soe, one of the directors of the Department of Public Health, the department does not conduct Covaxin trials or approve research on the vaccine, although there has been some discussion about it.
“We refused to hold the trials here. Dr. Than Naing Soe, a spokesperson for the Health Ministry under the current regime, said, “We do not want our people to suffer just because another country wants to test its vaccine.”
Although the junta has not admitted to carrying out clinical trials on military personnel, senior figures in the regime have made no secret of their willingness to use vaccines not approved by the WHO to combat Covid-19.
General Min Aung Hlaing, who led the coup in February, mentioned Covaxin as one of the vaccines the regime planned to buy, along with others from China and Russia.
General Zaw Min Tun, deputy information minister of the Myanmar military council, also mentioned Covaxin in an interview with China’s state-run Xinhua news agency in April.
As early as June, some companies claimed to have received FDA approval to import Covaxin. A local pharmaceutical company called SML announced on Facebook that it was accepting preorders for the vaccine on June 23.
SML received approval because it had submitted its request along with Bharat Biotech’s approval, said FDA director Khin Zaw.
We wouldn’t be able to approve most medicines here if we turned down everything that was still awaiting WHO approval. The WHO-approved vaccines are almost impossible to get here at the moment, so we decided to approve whatever was available,” he said.
Over the past two weeks, the junta’s health authorities have administered the Chinese vaccines Sinopharm and Sinovac to over 65-year-olds who are affected by the pandemic’s third wave. Covid-19 is protected from 51-79% by these vaccines.
China has donated 2.5 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine to Myanmar, and the regime has purchased 2 million doses of Sinovac.
According to those familiar with the Covaxin trial program, the Indian vaccine has largely failed to prevent infection.
The wife of the navy officer said that everyone in her husband’s unit had contracted the disease despite being vaccinated with Covaxin.
According to the officer at the Mingaladon military hospital, two-thirds of the participants in the Covaxin trials became infected soon after the third wave began. Many people developed symptoms of Covid-19 despite being vaccinated, he said.
A fever followed by a loss of smell hit me first. After that, I experienced nausea and stopped eating,” he said, describing common early signs of infection.
“Me, I’m not even going to test myself for Covid-19. I’ve been treating Covid-19 patients in my ward, so I’m pretty certain I already have it,” he added.

BBC Viewers Took Tour Of Tokyo Olympics Using BBC’s Virtual Studio

August 11, 2021

Having just finished its coverage of this year’s Olympic Games – which were controversial and disrupted – the BBC has taken viewers behind the scenes of its virtual studio.
The explainer video below, hosted by the BBC’s Dan Walker and Sam Quek, mentions Fortnite as everything except the presenters’ chairs and a table was made with Unreal Engine.
Often, Unreal Engine is used in film and TV production to create virtual studios and environments or to simulate how effects-based shots would look with live-action actors in the frame.
A BBC Sport Olympic tour hosted by Dan Walker and Sam Quek simulated what it would be like to sit in the stadium if the presenters were there. In Unreal Engine, every aspect of the tour was recreated, from the elaborate Tokyo backdrop to the tables and chairs of the newsroom. Walker reveals this by revealing a large green screen room in Salford.
If you’re a gamer, you’re probably already aware of Unreal Engine’s capabilities. The game creation software is also commonly used in film and television. In fact, Epic’s toolkit has been used in movies like War of the Planet of the Apes and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Do you remember K-2SO? Unreal Engine was used. Afterward, Disney used the technology to create a real-time set for The Mandalorian.
No matter whether you’re a gamer or not, you have to admire Unreal Engine’s capabilities. Unreal Engine is a testament to the games industry and the powerful tools it produces, while CGI can often lead us down the uncanny valley. Did you see those fish in the video? The benchmark demo will do just as well as an aquarium,

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The UN Refugee Agency Is Being Blocked By The Myanmar Military From Reaching All Refugees In The Country

July 24, 2021

The UN aid to displaced people from Mindat, a mountainous town in Chin State that saw fighting between junta troops and civilian resistance fighters, is only reaching areas that Myanmar’s government permits.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) delivered humanitarian aid to Mindat’s growing displaced population this week as part of an “emergency response.” However, the aid did not reach those in need, as they fled the town after shootouts into rural Mindat. Villagers told The Irrawaddy this week that the aid had not left Mindat town and that they had not received any assistance.
“The UNHCR was granted travel authorization to access a number of displacement sites within Mindat town,” the UNHCR said.
Convoys carrying non-food items and COVID-19 prevention materials went to Mindat. The UNHCR said that since February, it has closely followed developments in Chin State to assist those who have been displaced.
UNHCR said it is calling on all concerned to collaborate to ensure unhindered humanitarian access in Chin State and across the country in order to prevent humanitarian work from being disrupted.
The agency declined to provide details on how the aid was distributed and how many civilians benefited from it.
As humanitarian assistance for up to 5,000 people, the agency plans to distribute tarpaulins, mosquito nets, sleeping mats, blankets, kitchen equipment, solar lamps and protective equipment for COVID-19 prevention.
According to Dr. Bu Htang, a member of a displacement camp committee in Tuili village, about 5km from Mindat, the internally displaced people (IDP) in his village have not received assistance from the UNHCR. He hosts about 1,200 people who fled fighting in Mindat town and cannot return home.
“There are no supports. Whatever donations we have, we are sharing. UN aid only reaches the areas where the military regime’s governing council permits. Many IDPs live in the villages, a long way from the town, and the aid should be delivered to them,” he said.
In spite of these obstacles, the UNHCR said it is in regular contact with its partners “to determine the best way to respond to the needs of those who are displaced in other areas of Chin State.”

The Third Wave Of COVID-19 in Myanmar Causes A Shortage of Oxygen

July 16, 2021

As Myanmar struggles with a deadly third wave of Coronavirus, the country’s lack of medical oxygen has become the biggest killer.
In June, 117 people died from COVID-19. The death toll has already reached 847 in the first two weeks of July. In Yangon and elsewhere, crematoriums are suddenly crowded with coffins, and lack of oxygen is the main cause of death.
In the aftermath of the junta’s coup in February, the country’s healthcare system collapsed. Hospitals that were able to handle the influx of patients during the country’s first and second waves of the virus are now understaffed and unable to treat patients as a result of the military takeover.
Many people who are turned away by hospitals need to obtain their own medical oxygen at home. Oxygen cylinders are in short supply as a result of panic buying.
The military regime has ordered oxygen plants in Yangon and other towns not to refill oxygen cylinders for individual consumers. On July 13, troops fired into the air to disperse crowds queuing for oxygen at a plant in Yangon’s South Dagon Township.
According to the Ministry of Health and Sports controlled by the junta, COVID-19 fatalities caused by a lack of oxygen increased significantly on July 12, 109 on July 13, and 145 on July 14 2021. The real figures, however, are believed to be higher.
In addition, the regime’s repressive orders like the dusk-to-dawn curfew have contributed to COVID-19 fatalities, with people dying because they were unable to access oxygen and medical treatment in time. Additionally, people face a higher risk of Coronavirus infection from standing in line for hours at the few oxygen plants that exist.

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