Misquoted information regarding the origins of the virus

WHO convened an international group of experts to undertake a series of studies on the origins of the virus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic. The experts constituting the team are independent scientists. One expert member of this group was recently misquoted as suggesting that the origin of the virus was Thailand. There is no current evidence to suggest this. The article with the misquote has since been corrected.

The team recently concluded its mission to China, and is working on its report. The report will summarize the findings from that mission, including from discussions with Chinese scientists. The broad strokes of the findings have been communicated at press conferences in recent weeks. The report will outline the remaining gaps in knowledge and outline next steps, including further studies that will need to be conducted in China and elsewhere.

The report will not provide a conclusion on the virus origins, as much more work remains to be done to reach such a conclusion. Given past experiences with these types of studies, the search for the origin of the virus may take months or even longer.

https://www.who.int/thailand/news/detail/24-02-2021-misquoted-information-regarding-the-origins-of-the-virus

 

Information and Source

Reporter : Tarin Angskul

Rewriter : Tarin Angskul

National News Bureau & Public Relations : http://thainews.prd.go.th

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First batch of Covishield delivered to COVAX: Adar Poonawalla calls it historic

  • Ghana has become the first country in the world to receive vaccines acquired through the United Nations-backed COVAX initiative
  • Adar Poonawalla says SII will continue to be at forefront of fighting the pandemic with affordable and immunogenic vaccines.

Adar Poonawalla, CEO, Serum Institute of India, describes COVAX receiving the first doses of Covishield as a historic moment adding that SII will continue to be at forefront of fighting the pandemic with affordable and immunogenic vaccines.

On Wednesday, Ghana has become the first country in the world to receive vaccines acquired through the United Nations-backed COVAX initiative with a delivery of 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India.

The vaccines, delivered by UNICEF, arrived at Accra’s international airport early Wednesday and are part of the first wave of COVID-19 vaccines being sent by COVAX, an international cooperative programme formed to make sure low- and middle-income countries have fair access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Following this, Poonawalla said: It’s a historic moment for all of us as COVAX receives its first doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine made by SII, ‘COVISHEILD’. SII will continue to be at forefront of fighting the pandemic with affordable & immunogenic vaccines

 

He also tweeted: Thanks to the combined efforts of @gavi @GaviSeth @WHO @UNICEF @gatesfoundation @BillGates, the first batch of vaccines were delivered to #COVAX by @SerumInstIndia,@UniofOxford@AstraZeneca. Thank you @vonderleyen for your support. This is indeed a historic moment!

 

COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, abbreviated as COVAX, is a global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines led by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and others.

Last month, the MEA announced that India plans to supply 1 crore or 10 million vaccine doses to Africa and 10 lakh to United Nations health workers under GAVI’s COVAX facility.

Pune-based company is manufacturing the Oxford University/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, one of the two shots that India is using to initially vaccinate some 300 million people as part of a national inoculation drive

The company’s head Adar Poonawalla on Sunday urged other countries to be “patient”, saying it had been instructed to prioritize its home market over exports.

“We are trying our best,” Poonawalla said.

Ghana is among 92 low-and middle-income countries that are receiving vaccines for free through COVAX. Another 90 countries and eight territories have agreed to pay if they choose to receive vaccines through COVAX.

Source: https://www.livemint.com/companies/news/first-batch-of-covishield-delivered-to-covax-adar-poonawalla-calls-it-historic-11614181295814.html

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Seminar on ‘Business Opportunities in India and Incredible India

 

Embassy of India, Bangkok organized a seminar on ‘Business Opportunities in India and Incredible India’ on 22 February, 2021 at Nakhonratchasima Province, Thailand. Ms. Alpana Dubey, Deputy Chief of Mission, in her speech, highlighted the strong economic and people-to-people ties between India and Thailand and encouraged the business representatives to tap the huge potential of trade, investment and tourism existing in the two countries. She also underscored the major policy initiatives and incentives of the Government of India. The Embassy representative made presentation on opportunities in India including the highlights of the recent Union Budget of the Government of India, opportunities in Tripura including the recent Industrial Policy launched by State Government of Tamil Nadu. A presentation on the ‘Incredible India’ on tourism promotion with special focus on Tripura Tourism was also made.

2. Mr. Jaraschai Chokereungsakul, Vice Governor of Nakhonratchasima Province also highlighted the long standing relationship including trade, investment, tourism, culture, education between the two countries. President of Federation of Thai Industries(FTI)-Nakhonratchasima Chapter, Vice Chairman of Nakhonratchasima Chamber of Commerce and President of Nakhonratchasima Tourism Business Association also addressed the participants. Around 75 representatives from Government, Trade, Tourism and media attended the seminar. Thai companies showed their interest in doing business with India.

 

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Fin Min adding 3,500 Rao Chana registration sites from Feb. 22

The Ministry of Finance is to add another 3,500 places nationwide in the Rao Chana program, in aid of those with special needs.

Director-General of the Fiscal Policy Office Kulaya Tantitemit, as spokesperson of the Ministry of Finance, announced that conclusions reached at a meeting concerned with aiding registration in the Rao Chana program for special needs groups, including those without access to the internet, or don’t own a smartphone as well as those who are a dependent. The meeting decided to add physical locations for registration into the program to facilitate access by these groups. In addition to Krungthai Bank branches and mobile units, citizens will be able to apply for participation in Rao Chana at Government Savings Bank branches, Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives branches, Provincial Finance Ministry Offices and Excise Tax Offices.

The Ministry of Finance will also continue to work with the Ministry of the Interior to meet with citizens unable to travel. The door-to-door teams will comprise representatives of Krungthai Bank, the Government Savings Bank and other state agents, and will work from February 22nd to March 5th. In total, 3,500 registration locations will be added.

So far, 11,989,928 people have verified themselves at www.เราชนะ.com to take advantage of several state assistance programs, with 571,797 found to be in need of aid to register. Holders of the State Welfare Card have received a transfer of their assistance funds and will be able to use them until Mah 31st.

So far, 24.571 billion baht distributed under the various programs, has been spent by the recipients.

 

Information and Source

Reporter : Paphamon Arayasukawat

Rewriter : Paphamon Arayasukawat

National News Bureau & Public Relations : http://thainews.prd.go.th

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Meditation: Social Distancing from Mind and Emotions

What is the motivation behind the 500 million meditators around the world? Many are allured to the promise of a relaxed and peaceful state of mind or to rejuvenate their brain cells. Others hope to escape from their unhappiness and problems. Some even aim to reach the much talked about enlightenment or to gain supernatural powers. Whatever their aims, many mistakenly think meditation is a means to their personal goals, when in fact, the importance of meditation lies in its process of self-discovery and to be in the present moment.

Just as social distancing is practiced to protect ourselves from harmful viruses, meditation allows us to distance ourselves from our own adverse emotions and thoughts as well as social expectations. Most of the pain we experience in life is caused by our own thoughts and emotions; comparing ourselves to others, fear, sense of loss, jealousy, bitterness, greed, attachment, etc. Of course unexpected situations arise in the outer world, such as natural disasters, pandemics and fluke accidents but they are beyond our control. What we can manage is how we mentally and emotionally react to any events.

Meditation allows us to look inward to identify the true sources of our problems. Setting goals and conditions to meditation is counter- productive because they distract and limit us from the main purpose of the practice. Meditation is the practice of distancing one’s awareness from thoughts and emotions and simply witnessing them.

For example, when you feel angry, your awareness is identifying with the emotion of anger and the attachment to it traps you. You can no longer differentiate the emotion of anger from your awareness. Meditation allows you to peal your awareness away from the emotions, with no expectations of outcome. You simply observe your inner world. By doing so, you learn to witness your thoughts and emotions without judgement and only then can you slowly learn how to release them. If you set an aim and say to yourself, “I meditate not to be angry and become peaceful,” you put pressure on yourself to succeed and you are frustrated and, consequently, peacefulness is out of reach.

The more pressure you put on yourself, the more you are under the grip of your thoughts and emotions. Meditation is about experiencing the process and not about setting aims. It is about being in a present moment and enjoying the moment as a seer.

Meditating with the correct attitude and approach

Yoga is an ancient science teaching us the correct attitude, approach and awareness to meditation so that the practitioner may experience his or her own journey to self-discovery. Yoga shows us the process of meditation and not its goal. As outlined in Sage Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra’s Eight Limbs of Yoga, the sequential yoga practices are there to facilitate meditation. All the mentioned practices are equally important to develop the awareness and self-witnessing attitudes necessary for meditation. Observing personal and social codes of conducts (Yama and Niyama) is the first two preparatory, but indispensable, steps towards meditation.

A sincere effort to become responsible and moral individuals, who have the wellbeing of the entire community in mind, is a prerequisite to developing awareness of our actions. There is no room for self-centered attitudes in meditation. Body awareness is developed through asana practices (physical postures). The main purpose of physical practices is to prepare the body to sit still in meditation. Breath awareness is fostered through pranayama practices (controlled breathing) to settle heightened emotions and racing thoughts and ushers awareness to the present moment. Isolating awareness and ability to withdraw the senses are developed through the pratyahara practices. These practices relax the mind and deepen your awareness inward to prepare for meditation. Yoganidra is the most powerful and accessible pratyahara practice, to disconnect with the outer world and be in the present moment. It is the first step towards practicing meditative detachment. Bringing the awareness to a one-pointed focus is learned through dharana practices. Trataka, a single-pointed gazing dharana practice, subdues restlessness and fosters concentration, both qualities necessary for meditation. Armed with awareness of our actions, bodies, breath, senses and some ability to isolate, detach and focus, we have finally reached at the doorsteps of meditation. Beyond this point, you are on your own to experience your inner world.

Dhyana (meditation) is the practice of self-witnessing attitude. The purpose of meditation is to bring awareness to the present moment and in doing so, a self-witnessing attitude is developed. Through this process, we discover who we really are and let go of who we thought we were.

Gaining peace of mind is not the aim of meditation because as soon as you place expectations, it fuels attachment to the desired outcome and sabotages the self-witnessing process. There are times we can meditate with ease, calmly observing our thoughts and being able to detach from the negative or positive emotions associated with them. We feel peaceful in those instances. However, there are times when strong emotions, deeply rooted in our memories, disturb our self-witnessing ability because of strong attachments. These instances are difficult but are valuable experiences of the self-discovery process.

Meditation allows us to shed the limiting aspects of our personalities and brings us closer to the core of our being. Meditate without expectation but heighten your self-witnessing ability. Try not to identify with your thoughts and emotions and just observe them as if you are looking at scenes through a window. If your awareness should lapse, and thoughts and emotions take over, realize what has happened and just go back to observing them again without self-judgement. Meditation takes patience and practice, but as you progress, you will reach a state where you feel equanimity towards any situations, good or bad. This means you will no longer be dictated by your emotions, tainted by your attachments and instead, can accept reality as it is. When we see ourselves for who we are, and have can assess situations as is, we develop discernment, allowing us to make the best decisions and course of actions in our lives. Drop all preconceived notions about meditation now and focus on the self-witnessing process.

There are many different meditation practices which foster self-witnessing attitudes. Inner silence meditation (Antar Mouna) is suitable for practitioners of all levels to learn to observe thoughts and emotions without attachment. Ajapa Japa is another practice where total awareness is developed by mindful concentration upon the breath, synchronized to the Soham mantra. Vipassana meditation is also a popular self-exploration and self-observation practice. It is important to learn how to do these practices under the guidance of a competent teacher to develop the correct attitude, approach and awareness of meditation.


Finding the right teacher

A good teacher guides students into the experience of meditation and does not plant ideas of unrealistic aims in them. Sadly, some teachers who claim to understand meditation attract students with their flowery language or bombards them with theoretical jargon way over the students’ heads. This causes the students to have false expectations and frustrations, robbing the students the opportunity to experience the meditative process for themselves because they are keen to live up to the teacher’s expectations. As a result, the student does not develop a self-witnessing attitude. The result of such misguided exercise is simply not meditation. Each student’s experience is different and therefore the significance of meditation is in the process of self-discovery. Emphasis should not be placed on the outcome of the meditative experience.

Finding the right teacher takes discernment. Make sure the teacher has proper qualifications and decide for yourself if the focus of his or her guided meditation is on the self-witnessing process, or on something else. As discussed earlier, there are many practices leading up to meditation to develop awareness in the present moment. Does the teacher incorporate those practices? These are all relevant questions you need to ask yourself. In the yogic tradition, it is said there is an appropriate guru, a spiritual teacher, to suit different personalities of students. Your guru can best direct you on your meditative journey. With diligent practice, you will one day be able to awaken your own inner wisdom (the guru within), thanks to the mentorship of their guru. A guru challenges your understanding of reality and helps you broaden your horizons. In the same manner, the student too must challenge conventional stereotypes of a teacher and decipher the right mentor for yourself.


Meditation is the science of wellbeing and the road to self-discovery, helping us to observe our deeply rooted fears, suppressed thoughts and desires. By learning to self-identify our issues, we can then release them from the sheaths of our personalities (koshas). Our sense organs receive enormous amounts of information daily, leaving both positive and negative impressions which need to be processed.

In effect, meditation acts as a detox of the mind to keep it balanced and allowing you to accept reality as is, without judgement or wishful thinking. To see things as they are is empowering because only then can you assess your options realistically for the future. Meditation is a journey of your personal evolution to arrive at your own destination. Your awareness frees you from limiting attitudes of self-judgement and social images of success and empowers you to live your life fully. Let yoga guide you through the process of meditation so that you can face life’s challenges awake, without delusion. Ultimately, meditation will be your state of being. Meditation will no longer be just practiced on your cushion. You will live fully awake in the present moment for every moment because even one moment in life is too precious to waste unaware.

Benefits of meditation

Meditation is the science of wellbeing and the road to self-discovery, helping us to observe our deeply rooted fears, suppressed thoughts and desires. By learning to self-identify our issues, we can then release them from the sheaths of our personalities (koshas). Our sense organs receive enormous amounts of information daily, leaving both positive and negative impressions which need to be processed. In effect, meditation acts as a detox of the mind to keep it balanced and allowing you to accept reality as is, without judgement or wishful thinking.

To see things as they are is empowering because only then can you assess your options realistically for the future. Meditation is a journey of your personal evolution to arrive at your own destination. Your awareness frees you from limiting attitudes of self-judgement and social images of success and empowers you to live your life fully. Let yoga guide you through the process of meditation so that you can face life’s challenges awake, without delusion. Ultimately, meditation will be your state of being. Meditation will no longer be just practiced on your cushion. You will live fully awake in the present moment for every moment because even one moment in life is too precious to waste unaware.

Sanjiv Chaturvedi, Divine Yoga Bangkok

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Thailand’s most popular tourist destinations launch new promotions

Two of Thailand’s most popular tourist destinations, Phuket and Pattaya City, have launched new promotions as the COVID-19 crisis shows signs of improving.

Phuket has come up with an online campaign called “Have You Ever” to promote a subculture being developed in the province, which potential visitors were being urged to experience.

As for the “Check in Chonburi Free 500” campaign in Pattaya, visitors who check into a hotel anywhere in the province will be offered cash coupons for use at about 130 tourist attractions, spas, restaurants and cafes.

 

Information and Source

Reporter : Subhabhong Rarueysong

Rewriter : Tarin Angskul

National News Bureau & Public Relations : http://thainews.prd.go.th

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Holidaymakers flock to Ko Samui for Chinese New Year holidays

The tourism scene in Ko Samui is coming back to life as many people are now visiting the island to spend the Chinese New Year holiday weekend there. All visitors to Ko Samui are required to undertake Samui Health Pass registration by scanning a QR code.

The ferry pier for trips to Ko Samui, operated by Seatran Ferry, has been very busy, as many people decide to visit the island, as well as residents returning home to celebrate with their families.

Ferries leaving for Ko Samui are now full with cars on every trip. It is estimated businesses on the island will generate no less than 10 million baht over this long weekend.

All travelers to Ko Samui are subject to COVID-19 screening while embarking and disembarking from the ferry. They are required to log their visit on the Samui Health Pass platform, by scanning a provided QR code, which will prompt them to fill in their personal information and their purpose of travel.

This registration is required for anyone visiting the island. Any person determined to be at risk of COVID-19 infection will be isolated for COVID-19 testing, with persons testing positive being taken immediately for treatment.

 

Information and Source

Reporter : Tanakorn Sangiam

Rewriter : Tarin Angskul

National News Bureau & Public Relations : http://thainews.prd.go.th

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HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha marks Chinese New Year 2021

Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha Narendiradebyavati Krom Luang Ratchasarinee Siripatchara Maha Watchara Ratchathida engaged in a religious ceremony on the occasion of Chinese New Year 2021, on behalf of Her Royal Highness Princess Soamsawali Krom Muen Suddhanarinatha.

On February 12, 2021 at 5:53PM, Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha Narendiradebyavati Krom Luang Ratchasarinee Siripatchara Maha Watchara Ratchathida traveled, on behalf of Her Royal Highness Princess Soamsawali Krom Muen Suddhanarinatha, to Deves Palace to engage in a religious ceremony marking Chinese New Year 2021, laying a flower garland and lighting candles and incense.

Her Royal Highness repeated the ceremony at the residence of Mom Luang Sarali Kitiyakara before tying a pink cloth around the residence’s shrine, burning silver and gold paper and lighting fire crackers.

The proceedings culminated in Her Royal Highness laying a flower garland and lighting a red candle before placing a ceremonial incense stick, burning silver and gold paper and lighting fire crackers.

Chinese New Year is an important date for Thais of Chinese descent and is considered the beginning of the Chinese Lunar Calendar. The day is marked by a variety of ceremonies paying tribute to deities and ancestors for good crop yields and fortune throughout the year. The holiday extends across three days, during which offerings of food, desserts and fruits are presented at shrines and participants engage in revelry.

 

Information and Source

Reporter : Praphorn Praphornkul

Rewriter : Tarin Angskul

National News Bureau & Public Relations : http://thainews.prd.go.th

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Pattaya organizes marriage registration on elephant back

Nong Nooch Tropical Garden in Pattaya today organized a marriage registration event on elephant back to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The local administrative office sent a mobile unit and its officials to facilitate the marriage registration which was conducted in line with the “new normal” guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The event featured a parade of couples riding the elephants. The couples participating in the event today received their marriage certificates while on the backs of the elephants. They also received an auspicious plant as a souvenir from Nong Nooch Tropical Garden.

February 14th each year is Valentine’s Day, a day to commemorate Saint Valentine and his love and kindness for humanity. Lovers usually celebrate this day expressing their affection with greetings and gifts.


 

Information and Source

Reporter : Na-ark Rojanasuvan

Rewriter : Tarin Angskul

National News Bureau & Public Relations : http://thainews.prd.go.th

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Which countries are now leading the Covid-19 vaccination race

The leading Covid-19 vaccines manufacturers around the world are pumping out the needed vaccines as the world of 7.8 billion people is in grave need for immunity to get back to normal life as soon as possible.

A vaccination race has raised the global concern over the “vaccine nationalism” issue as the demand for vaccines is outpacing the world’s supplies.

Israel is still leading the race in terms of doses per capita, with a rate of 56.3 vaccination doses per 100 people. Meanwhile, the United States is leading in terms of the total number, with 31.12 million doses having been administered in the country (as of February 1st, 2021), according to Our World in Data, a global tracking website affiliated with Oxford University.

So far Thailand has ordered 61 million doses of vaccine from AstraZeneca and 2 million doses from Sinovac. The country is now waiting for the delivery with the distribution plan ready to give the vaccines to the most vulnerable groups first. With the population of around 70 million, Thailand has performed well to control Covid-19 pandemic, with 20,454 confirmed cases / 7,158 active cases / 79 deaths.

 

Information and Source

Reporter : Paphamon Arayasukawat

Rewriter : Paphamon Arayasukawat

National News Bureau & Public Relations : http://thainews.prd.go.th

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