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Yesterday there was an explosion at a hospital in Bangkok (which is where I'm located), and it didn't come to my attention until a relative in my home country sent me a link to an article in a local online newspaper.

I have some Google Alert's set up and an RSS Feed to my Foreign Ministry's "alert" feed, but those aren't 100% perfect. For instance, the Google Alerts give so many false positives that they're becoming annoying, and the RSS Feed only seems to cover really major events.

Of course, local newspapers in Bangkok have their own RSS Feeds as well, and these will often be the first ones to report on an event as it is happening. But the problem is that the same story is often covered many times, resulting in a lot of unnecessary updates. And filtering out irrelevant events is usually not easy, so you'll just end up with too much information, which is just as bad as no information...

So is there any good way one can get notified of incidents and safety concerns that happen in a particular area, without getting bombarded by too many updates and false positives?

  • Why do you care about things like that? If it's truly dangerous you will know anyway. If not you shouldn't care. – JonathanReez May 23 '17 at 6:40
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    Oh, okay. So you're saying that as long as I can't hear or see an explosion, fire, smoke, people running around, etc. there is no advantage to be gained from knowing about it? – Magnus W May 23 '17 at 8:09
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    Pretty much yes. Although attacks on infrastructure might delay your travel - but then it's just a matter of staying informed about all kinds of travel-related problems, not just terrorism. – JonathanReez May 23 '17 at 8:17
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    @JonathanReez I must disagree for problems in general: Not only terrorists, but natural disasters, riots, epidemics, roadblocks, strikes. I admit I really would like to know some ideas, asking locals give too often conflicting and wrong information. How about expanding the question to important travel information? – Thorsten S. May 23 '17 at 21:27
  • Not an answer because the countries I've gone to are pretty safe, but government travel advisories like smartraveller.gov.au appear to do a pretty good job. You can subscribe to advisories for a single country if you want. – Andrew Grimm May 23 '17 at 23:26
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Currently ThaiVisa.com is a reliable single [English] source for updates and commentary for Thai-related news.

They have a dedicated news forum. Usually they will add several related news updates into 1 thread for the day. In special cases like when the Bangkok flooding occurred in 2011, they had pinned threads and/or sub-forum just dedicated to flood news and recommendations. Also, you can subscribe to specific regional forums. In your case, you could subscribe to the Bangkok forum. This allows you to get updates. I recommend that you limit the emails once per day; instant notifications for an entire subsection would result in information overload and a very full email box.

I prefer the 'View new content' thread if i am board (Timeline tab in the mobile app)....where you can get sample of the headlines that day along with newly asked questions across all of TV. I saw an RSS link for this thread specifically :)

I do agree somewhat with @JonathanReez in that:

a) the reality of the news business is that you may have several reports of the same event. So you can get alerted numerous times for the same keywords unless additional throttling criteria is installed.

b) there is very little you can do anyway about a current event until after the fact. The news outlets often feed our need to be afraid of something or give us an excuse to procrastinate.

c) if it is truly important enough (detrimental to your immediate basic necessities), you'll hear about it from the local expats. In addition to the large supermarkets (Tescos), there are numerous 7-eleven, wet markets, and mom-and-pop grocery stores to keep the country running for several days [and probably weeks].


Side comment: The underlying problem with alerts, web searches, etc is that the algo that filters the content rarely knows what the searcher meant. Perhaps you could have an ability to limit alerts for certain keywords or conditions to xx times per 24 hours or something like that. You can check the advanced section to fine-tune your alert schedule.

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