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International News

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Nepalís "God of Sight" eye doctor to expand work beyond border


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Asia Today: Thailandís new cases exceed 2,000, set record


From The Asian Reporter, V31, #5 (May 3, 2021), page 2.

Bhutan has registered only 1,059 infections, 1 death

Bhutan (AP) ó The tiny nation of Bhutan is a success story in the Asia-Pacific region despite being poor and sharing land borders with China, where the virus was first detected, and India, which is facing a disaster now. The nation of about 800,000 people has registered only one death and 1,059 infections. Its success is based on the early adoption of lockdowns, quarantines, contact tracing, and other measures, as well as a fast vaccination program this year. More than 480,000 vaccine doses were administered by April 26, government statistics say.

Dubai-bred baby sharks released into Persian Gulf

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) ó The baby sharks, bred at a gargantuan luxury resort on Dubaiís artificial palm-shaped island, had never before encountered the open sea. But last month the tiny carpet sharks were jolted out of their warm pools at the flashy Atlantis Hotel aquarium to travel farther than they ever have in their two years of existence. A team of Dubai conservationists gingerly caught the sharks with nets and moved them into oxidized tanks in a Ford pick-up truck. Soon, the baby sharks were on the move. The specialists plopped them into big plastic bags and carried their squirming bodies across the white sandy beach of the Jebel Ali Wildlife Sanctuary, a short drive from the hotel. For the past few years, the hotelís aquarium has sought to contribute to the conservation of native marine species by breeding honeycomb stingray and brown Arabian carpet sharks before releasing them into the wild, rich with coral reefs and mangroves. The team stood shin-deep in the warm waters of the Persian Gulf, surrounded by the small and slowly circling sharks. The creatures are harmless to humans, preferring a diet of snake eels, shrimp, crab, and squid. For a few minutes, many of the sharks appeared spooked, staying close to the shore, before venturing into their vast new home.

Indonesian military pays last respects to submarine crew

BULELENG, Indonesia (AP) ó Indonesiaís military and family members paid their last respects to the 53 submarine crew members who died when their vessel sank and broke apart in the depths off the resort island of Bali. The ceremony included relatives casting flowers into the ocean from a navy hospital ship. Indonesia is planning to recover the KRI Nanggala (402) with the help of a Chinese navy ship thatís capable of lifting objects 3,280 feet deep. The navy said the submarine sank April 21 to a depth of 2,000+ feet, much deeper than its collapse depth of 655 feet, at which point water pressure would be greater than the hull could withstand. President Joko Widodo met the families of the 53 crew members to express condolences. The German-built diesel-powered submarine had been in service in Indonesia since 1981 and was carrying 49 crew members and three gunners as well as its commander, the Defense Ministry said. Indonesia, the worldís largest archipelago nation with more than 17,000 islands, has faced growing challenges to its maritime claims in recent years, including numerous incidents involving Chinese vessels near the Natuna islands.

Myanmar withdraws, Asian club competitions reshuffled

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) ó The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has amended the schedule for two tiers of its continental club championships after the Myanmar Football Federation withdrew Hantharwady United FC and Shan United FC from the 2021 competitions. AFC issued a statement saying its competitions committee "noted and acknowledged the challenges as well as the present complexities caused by the state of emergency in Myanmar and decided the situation constituted an event of force majeure." More than 700 protesters and bystanders have been killed by security forces in Myanmar since the February 1 coup, according to several detailed estimates. The juntaís own figure is roughly one-third of that. The military also denies using disproportionate force to put down what it describes as rioting. With the Myanmar clubs out of the regional soccer competitions, AFC has cancelled an AFC Champions League preliminary stage match between Shan United and Australiaís Melbourne City, which now advances directly to a playoff against Cerezo Osaka from Japan. With Hantharwady out of playoff contention in the second-tier AFC Cup, AFC decided that FC Chanthabouly of Laos and Bruneiís Kasuka FC will compete.

2 influencers ordered off Bali after fake mask video prank

DENPASAR, Indonesia (AP) ó A U.S.-based YouTuber and a Russian influencer were ordered off Indonesiaís resort island of Bali after recording themselves defying mandatory mask-wearing with some imaginative makeup. Clips of the video created by Josh Paler Lin and Leia Se and posted last month show the two duping supermarket guards with a painted surgical mask after they were refused entry because Se was unmasked. "Did you notice like no oneís actually looking at you?" Lin exclaimed. "I canít believe it worked!" he said in the video that appears to have been taken down from his social media accounts but has since been reposted elsewhere. Lin is a Taiwanese passport holder whose YouTube channel specializes in prank videos and is followed by 3.4 million fans. Se has more than 25,000 Instagram followers. Although first-time violators of Baliís mask-wearing rule face fines of 1 million rupiah ($70) for foreigners and deportation after a second offense, the police wanted them removed off the island immediately. The pair had shown remorse and apologized through Linís Instagram video. "I made this video to entertain people because Iím a content creator and itís my job to entertain people," Lin said, "However, I did not realize that what I did could actually bring a lot of negative comments," he said, advising people to always wear masks and invite everyone to help Bali regain its tourism. Jamaruli Manihuruk, who heads the Bali regional office for the Justice and Human Rights Ministry, said that "Foreigners who donít respect the laws and regulations in Indonesia are facing deportation sanctions."

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