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What will be the fallout from Pakistan’s political crisis? | TV Shows

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Video Duration 24 minutes 10 seconds

From: Inside Story

Prime Minister Imran Khan is under pressure as opposition MPs push to remove him from office.

It is one of the biggest tests in the career of former cricket star turned Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan.

He tried to delay a no-confidence vote in parliament to oust him. Lawmakers met to debate his fate after the Supreme Court ruled Khan’s attempt to dissolve parliament and call new elections was unconstitutional.

Opposition members accuse him of failing to root out corruption and fix the struggling economy.

Khan says there is a US-backed conspiracy to remove him, without providing any evidence.

So how did Pakistan get to this point, and what will be the fallout for the country?

Presenter: Mohammed Jamjoom

Guests:

Saira Asad – adjunct assistant professor Riphah International University

Ayesha Siddiqa – senior fellow department of war studies, King’s College London

Farahnaz Ispahani – former member of the National Assembly of Pakistan



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After reopening, Thailand’s battered tourism struggles to rebuild | Tourism

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Krabi, Thailand – At Railay Beach, an Instagrammers’ favourite known for its wide, warm sands bookended by limestone cliffs, 23-year-old Londoner Becca sips coffee and savours the return of Thai backpacking following a recent easing of entry requirements.

“We saved our money, quit work and travelled here,” she told Al Jazeera of her months-long trip with friends, which was impossible during the last two years lost to the pandemic.

Thailand was one of the first places in the world to reopen to tourists late last year, but under a confusing web of rules – including seven day quarantine – travellers complained the small print failed to match the big announcements.

Meanwhile, horror stories of people testing positive on arrival and being shunted into 14-day quarantine – paid for from their own pocket – bounced around travel blogs and Twitter.

On May 1, Thailand dropped its “Test & Go” quarantine procedure, allowing vaccinated visitors to enter freely, while an onerous pre-departure registration scheme known as the “Thailand Pass” is likely to also be abandoned within weeks.

Authorities hope the result will be between 5 and 15 million overseas visitors by year end, as the Southeast Asian country prepares to declare the coronavirus endemic and throws open the door to a travel-starved world.

Krabi beach, Thailand
Tourists have begun to return to Krabi favourites such as Railay Beach [Courtesy of Vijitra Duangdee]

On Railay beach, bars and restaurants already hum with backpackers, many knocking back beers to a loud techno soundtrack as the sun dips behind the ocean.

As far as Becca is concerned, the island-hopping route across Koh Phangan, Koh Samui, Phi Phi and Koh Tao is firmly back in business.

“It’s so cheap here, compared with where we’re from,” she said. “It’s such a treat to have a meal for two pounds.”

A 500-metre walk to the more rugged east side of the coast, tour operator Naren Fangkwa is less enthusiastic as he laments the continued absence of wealthier tourists to one of Thailand’s top destinations.

Naren believes many high-end visitors have been frightened off by the kingdom’s constantly changing rules of entry.

“Since borders opened, visitors are mainly young people like uni students and backpackers who don’t really buy tour packages,” he said.

Many restaurants on Naren’s side of Railay get by on handfuls of customers, while several others remain shut, victims of a pandemic that has smashed one of the country’s most crucial industries.

Railay Beach, Krabi, Thailand
Thailand’s tourism remains well below pre-pandemic levels, when it attracted nearly 40 million people and generated over $60bn in revenue [Courtesy of Vijitra Duangdee]

Despite the banner headlines about reopening, tourism is still far below pre-pandemic levels, when it attracted nearly 40 million people and generated over $60 billion of revenue, accounting for up to a fifth of the kingdom’s gross domestic product.

Last month, forward bookings for 2022 showed Thailand had reached 25 percent of normal levels, compared to 72 per cent and 65 percent each for Singapore and the Philippines, respectively.

Nevertheless, the kingdom expects those who do visit between now and year end – the majority from Europe, the United States, the Middle East and India – to spend at least 630 billion baht ($18bn) in the country, providing a much-needed boost to incomes as inflation chews into purchasing power.

Halal tours

Krabi, whose population is 40 percent Muslim, is particualy well-placed to pull in an expected surge in Middle Eastern visitors, with “halal tours” offering a mix of sight seeing, religious visits and food.

“We’re planning to tap the Middle Eastern market this year, especially Saudi Arabia,” Sasithorn Kittidhrakul, president of Krabi Tourism Association, told Al Jazeera.

“It’s a high-end market for us and Krabi has what it takes to cater to the health and wellness conscious tourists.”

Sasithorn said bookings at the province’s hotels are running at 30 percent for the next high season of October-March.

So far, bold projections of one million visitors a month are yet to be felt across the grassroots economy of Krabi, where most families count several members employed in tourism.

Krabi, Thailand
Tourism operators in Krabi, Thailand see the Middle Eastern market as a key priority this year [Courtesy of Vijitra Duangdee]

Driver Sorapong Kuasuk said high-spending tour groups are yet to reappear and blames months of mixed messaging from the government for deterring bookings.

“Tourists are going to go to other countries that have clearer COVID measures,” he said, condemning Thailand’s months-long debate over ending quarantine on entry.

“Everyone knows that if the Thai authorities announce one thing in the morning they will change it by the evening. I think it’ll be a while before tourists feel more confident to return.”

Bigger economic forces also threaten the outlook for Thailand’s tourism reboot.

Surging living costs are eating into the disposable incomes of the world’s middle class.

Earlier this month, analysts at J.P. Morgan issued a pessimistic outlook for Thailand’s economic recovery, due in part to the lack of a timetable for the return of Chinese tourists under Beijing’s draconian “dynamic zero COVID” policies.

From Krabi to Phuket and Pattaya, Thai resorts do not expect a return to the boom times until Chinese visitors, who made up more than one-quarter of arrivals before the pandemic, come back.

For the tour operators of Railay, the next few months are about survival.

“We barely make five percent back of what we used to before COVID,” Atittaya Kajay, who sells boat trips to nearby islands, told Al Jazeera.

“People spend less now, they want bargains when before they were all higher end, people with money”.



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N Korean leader sends in military to help tackle COVID outbreak | Coronavirus pandemic News

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Kim Jong Un orders the military to stabilise the supply of medicines in Pyongyang amid the outbreak of COVID-19, KCNA reports.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered the military to stabilise the supply of medicines in Pyongyang days after announcing a lockdown following the outbreak of COVID-19, according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

North Korea acknowledged for the first time last week that it is battling an “explosive” COVID-19 outbreak, with experts raising concerns that the virus could devastate a country with limited medical supplies and no vaccine programme.

The country reported 392,920 more people with fever symptoms, with eight new deaths, the state news agency said.

It did not report how many of those suspected cases had tested positive for COVID-19. North Korea has no COVID vaccines, antiviral treatment drugs or mass-testing capacity.

Kim Jong Un’s administration has insisted the country was coronavirus-free until a few days ago.

State media says 50 people have now died – and more than a million workers have been mobilised to stop the spread.

At the emergency politburo meeting, held on Sunday, Kim criticised the “irresponsible” work attitude and organising and executing ability of the Cabinet and the public health sector, KCNA reported.

“Officials of the Cabinet and public health sector in charge of the supply have not rolled up their sleeves, not properly recognizing the present crisis but only talking about the spirit of devotedly serving the people,” KCNA said Kim had told officials.

The government had ordered the distribution of its national medicine reserves but Kim said the drugs procured by the state are not reaching people in a timely and accurate manner through pharmacies, the report said.

‘Careless’

Kim ordered that the “powerful forces” of the army’s medical corps be deployed to “immediately stabilise the supply of medicines in Pyongyang City.”

KCNA also reported that Kim visited pharmacies located near the Taedong River in Pyongyang to find out about the supply and sales of drugs.

Kim said pharmacies are not well-equipped to perform their functions smoothly, there are no adequate drug storage areas other than the showcases, and the salespeople were not equipped with proper sanitary clothing.

North Korea has said that a “large proportion” of the deaths so far have been due to people “careless in taking drugs due to the lack of knowledge and understanding of stealth Omicron variant virus infection disease and its correct treatment method.”

While North Korea has maintained a rigid coronavirus blockade since the pandemic’s start, experts have said that Omicron outbreaks in the region meant it was only a matter of time before COVID spread to the country.



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Deadly shooting at a church in California, police say | Gun Violence News

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At least one killed and 4 others critically wounded in a shooting in southern California, a day after a white gunman killed 10 people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York state.

At least one person has been killed and four others critically injured after multiple shots were fired at a church in southern California, authorities have said, just a day after a white gunman killed 10 people at a grocery store in New York state’s Buffalo city.

The shooting happened at Geneva Presbyterian Church located in the town of Laguna Woods, 70 kilometers (45 miles) southwest of Los Angeles, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said on Twitter on Sunday.

“Multiple victims have been shot,” said the Sheriff’s department, adding that deputies detained one person and recovered a weapon.

The Orange County Fire Authority said on Twitter that its firefighters and paramedics were “on scene and treating and transporting multiple patients.”

Pictures posted on social media appeared to show emergency vehicles lined up outside a church.

“This is upsetting and disturbing news, especially less than a day after a mass shooting in Buffalo,” tweeted Democratic Congresswoman Katie Porter, who represents Orange County in Washington.

“This should not be our new normal.”

More soon.



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