Comment Sound of the suburbs

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PREMIUMBatan finds source of Serpong’s radioactive waste, dumper still unknown

first_imgNuclear waste radioactive Serpong South-Tangerang BATAN Bapeten Walhi Topics : Facebook LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here Activists and experts are demanding to know how radioactive materials ended up in the Batan Indah housing complex in South Tangerang, Banten, saying that such dangerous substances should not be discarded in a residential neighborhood.“The radioactive waste in a populated area is quite unusual. It makes us wonder: Who threw the waste away in the [housing] complex?” Dwi Sawung, the head campaigner for energy and urban issues at the Indonesian Forum of the Environment (Walhi), told The Jakarta Post on Monday.Meanwhile, Heru Umbara, spokesperson for the National Nuclear Agency (Batan), said his agency had already determined the source of the waste, but a further investigation was still needed to find those responsible for leaving it in the residential area.“We have identified the source of the waste, but we still don’t know who dumped the waste at the site… Google Log in with your social account Forgot Password ? Linkedinlast_img read more

How cat videos could cause a ‘climate change nightmare’

first_img“If we don’t take into account the carbon footprint, we are going to have a climate change nightmare coming from information technology,” said Babak Falsafi, a professor of computer and communication science at the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne.One solution is to improve the efficiency of data centers, which is something operators are naturally prone to do since electricity accounts for a large share of their running costs, according to data experts.”As a rule of thumb, a megawatt costs a million dollars per year … This obviously catches management’s attention,” said Dale Sartor, who oversees the United States Department of Energy’s Center of Expertise for Data Centers in Berkeley, California.Energy demand from data centers in the United States has remained largely flat over the past decade as improvements in computing have allowed processors to do more with the same amount of power, he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.But that is set to change, predict tech analysts.The 50-year-old trend known as Moore’s Law, which has seen computer chips double in capacity every two years, is expected to slow down as it becomes harder to add any more transistors to a chip.Some companies have been looking at other ways to make savings.In Georgia, where most electricity is generated by hydropower, Bitfury deployed a system to reduce the energy needed to cool down its heating servers.Cooling can account for up to half of a data center’s total energy use, the company says.While some of its processors are still cooled with outside air, others are immersed inside metal tanks filled with a special liquid with a low boiling point.As the liquid boils, the vapor transfers heat away from the processors, keeping them fresh and allowing the company to do away with fans and save water.”Air is free … but it is not efficient,” explained Capes, who heads Bitfury’s liquid cooling technology subsidiary, adding that the system consumes 40 percent less electricity than traditional air cooling solutions.Others have taken similar steps.A Google data center in Finland uses recycled seawater to reduce energy use while some companies have opened facilities near the Arctic Circle to benefit from naturally cold air.But improving efficiency “can only get you so far”, said Elizabeth Jardim, a senior corporate campaigner at environmental group Greenpeace. “At some point you will have to address the type of energy that is powering the facility.”Tech giants including Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft have committed to using only renewable energy but some still use fossil fuels, and more needs to be done to bring others on board, she said.Jardim suggested governments enact policies to incentivize tech companies to procure green energy and increase transparency around the data sector’s carbon footprint.Meanwhile, internet users can also play a role by switching to greener companies or simply reducing their data use, said Jardim.”Right now data pretty much is equivalent to energy, so the more data something takes the more energy you can assume it’s using,” she said.Simply sending a photo by email can emit about the same amount of planet-warming gases as driving a car for a kilometer, said Luigi Carafa, executive director of the Climate Infrastructure Partnership, a Barcelona-based non-profit.”The problem is we don’t really see this, so we don’t perceive it as a problem at all,” he said by phone.A 2019 study by energy supplier OVO Energy found that if Britons sent one less email a day the country could reduce its carbon output by the equivalent of more than 81,000 flights from London to Madrid.Global online video viewings alone generated as many carbon emissions as the whole of Spain in 2018, according to French think tank The Shift Project.”People can already reduce their carbon emissions today if they stop watching cat videos,” said Falsafi, the Lausanne professor, who heads the university’s research center for sustainable computing, EcoCloud.”Unfortunately, they are neither aware of the issue nor incentivized to reduce carbon emissions.”Topics : Cryptocurrencies are one of several new technologies, like artificial intelligence and 5G networks, that climate experts worry could derail efforts to tackle global warming by consuming ever-growing amounts of power.Data centers processing and storing data from online activities, such as sending emails and streaming videos, already account for about 1 percent of global electricity use, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).That’s about the same amount of electricity that Australia consumes in a year.But as societies become more digitalized, computing is expected to account for up to 8 percent of the world’s total power demand by 2030, according to some estimates, raising fears this could lead to the burning of more fossil fuels. A stone’s throw from a power station on the barren outskirts of Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital, a grey warehouse surrounded by metal containers hums to the sound of money.Inside, hundreds of computer servers work continuously to solve complicated mathematical equations generating the digital currency Bitcoin – burning enough electricity to power tens of thousands of homes in the process.”Any high-performance computing … is energy intensive,” explained Joe Capes of global blockchain company The Bitfury Group, which operates the facility in Tbilisi.last_img read more

English Premier League suspended until April 4

first_imgLeicester City had three players go into self-isolation on Thursday and Bournemouth said goalkeeper Artur Boruc and four staff members were also self-isolating.”Above all, we wish Mikel Arteta and Callum Hudson-Odoi speedy recoveries, and everyone else affected by COVID-19,” said Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters.”In this unprecedented situation, we are working closely with our clubs, Government, The FA and EFL and can reassure everyone the health and welfare of players, staff and supporters are our priority.”The English Football League, which heads up the three divisions below the Premier League, and Women’s Super League will also be suspended until April 3.England’s two friendly matches at home to Italy and Denmark later this month have been postponed.However, the authorities still hope to be able to resume and complete the season at a later date.”Despite the challenges, it is the Premier League’s aim is to reschedule the displaced fixtures, including those played by Academy sides, when it is safe to do so,” added the Premier League statement.Topics : The English Premier League suspended all fixtures until April 4 on Friday after a spate of coronavirus cases, including Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi.”Following a meeting of shareholders today, it was unanimously decided to suspend the Premier League with the intention of returning on 4 April, subject to medical advice and conditions at the time,” the Premier League said in a statement.Everton also announced their entire first-team squad and coaching staff have been told to self-isolate after a player reported symptoms consistent with COVID-19.last_img read more

Puerto Rico first US territory under 24-hour virus isolation

first_imgOn Monday Vazquez said that, during the day, only authorized persons and those seeking food, gasoline or medical services can circulate but “from 9:00 at night it’s a lockdown,” she said.”If someone needs to go to the pharmacy, if they need to go to the supermarket, or to get gasoline for their vehicles, it can be done from 5:00 in the morning until 9:00 at night,” she said on the radio.Other than such essential trips, she added, “you have to stay at home.”The Caribbean territory of 2.9 million, whose residents are US citizens, was the first to adopt such a major restriction, although New Jersey will implement a night-time curfew from Monday night, and a “remain-in-place” order will take effect from Tuesday in San Francisco. Puerto Rico was under 24-hour isolation Monday, governor Wanda Vazquez told local media, leaving the island the first major US jurisdiction to take such drastic measures against the coronavirus pandemic.”All citizens should stay in their homes 24/7 until March 30,” Vazquez told WKAQ 580 AM radio.The comments came a day after she announced by video message a 9:00 pm to 5:00 am curfew, and the different directives left some residents confused about whether or not they could go out in the daytime. Puerto Ricans were still trying to understand the restrictions in their territory.”People have so many questions,” Aliana Diaz, 54, a marathon runner, told AFP.She said her son, visiting from the US mainland, thought he could go out during the day.”I told him he can’t do it.”Until Sunday, Puerto Rico had reported five cases of the new coronavirus, which has infected more than 4,000 people in the entire US, killing 74 people, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Biden holds sizable edge over Trump in swing counties

first_imgIn 2016, the 300 counties gave a margin of victory to either Trump or Hillary Clinton of less than 10 percentage points, and comprise about one-fifth of the total US electorate.The poll did not yet show much impact from the pandemic’s hit on the economy.Sixty-two percent of respondents said their current financial situation was stable, more than the 55% who said their situation was stable in the same poll in April 2019. Only 25% said they were struggling and just 12% said that it was improving.Initial unemployment claims spiked more than 33% in the week ending March 14, three days before the poll began, as the service industry contracted due to increased social-isolation measures and government-ordered shutdowns in some parts of the country. “The coronavirus situation is just starting to hit American family finances,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.They included such closely watched areas like Erie County, Pennsylvania, where Trump beat Clinton by 1.6 percentage points, becoming the first Republican to win there since 1984. It also included Muskegon County, Michigan, a Democratic stronghold that Clinton won by just 1,200 votes.Overall, Biden had a negligible lead among voters nationally, with 48% preferring him, 45% backing Trump, 3% backing an independent candidate and 4% undecided. That 3 percentage-point lead was within the margin of error of 3.6 percentage points.Biden has led in head-to-head match-ups against Trump by 2 to 11 points in polls taken since mid-February, shortly before he won the South Carolina primary and took command of the Democratic nominating contest.Murray said that while the national results show a tight race, the Electoral College will ultimately decide the race.“The poll results suggest Biden may actually be starting out with an advantage in crucial swing areas of the country,” he said.The poll of 754 registered voters across the US was conducted by phone March 18-22, just as the impact of the coronavirus was starting to be felt.Topics : Joe Biden has a substantial lead over President Donald Trump in 300 of the crucial so-called swing counties that can determine the November election, a new poll released Tuesday showed.The poll was taken last week as Americans were just beginning to grapple with staying at home and employment and economic worries because of the coronavirus. Trump was holding daily televised briefings on the coronavirus, while Biden was largely out of the limelight.The Monmouth University poll showed that 50% of voters in crucial swing counties backed Biden, while only 41% backed Trump. Biden is the Democratic front-runner to face off against Trump in the November presidential election, having amassed a near-insurmountable lead in delegates over Bernie Sanders.last_img read more

Sweden’s king urges citizens to skip Easter travel

first_imgThe figures are likely much higher in reality, as only patients admitted to hospital and health care personnel are being tested for the virus.In stark contrast to its Nordic neighbors and much of Europe, Swedes are still able to move about freely though they are strongly advised to respect social distancing and to self-isolate at the first sign of symptoms.People over the age of 70 and in risk groups have been advised to avoid contact with other people, and high school and university classes have been moved online.But nursery and primary schools remain open, as well as cafes, restaurants and shops. Among the stricter measures are bans on gatherings of more than 50 people and on visits to nursing homes.Authorities have in recent days stepped up pleas to Swedes to stay home for Easter to slow the spread.The holiday is “a time when we are keen to travel and perhaps spend time with family and friends. Many go to church,” the king said in a televised address.”But, this Easter, some of this will not be possible. We have to accept this. We have to rethink, prepare ourselves for staying home,” he said.The king, 74, and Queen Silvia, 75, who are considered at risk because of their age, have been self-isolating at a royal castle south of Stockholm, Stenhammars Slott.King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, file photo. (Courtesy of the Swedish Royal Court/Peter Knutson)Data on Sunday showed that 352 of the 401 deaths in Sweden were among those over the age of 70.A third of the country’s municipalities have confirmed or suspected cases of the new coronavirus in nursing homes, according to public broadcaster Swedish Radio.Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has urged Swedes to take individual responsibility to slow the spread of the virus, as public health officials have expressed skepticism about the viability of lengthy lockdowns.Critics have meanwhile called for more stringent measures.  Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf on Sunday urged Swedes to refrain from Easter travels to loved ones in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19, as the death toll rises in one of Europe’s few countries not in lockdown.Sweden, whose softer measures to combat the spread of the new coronavirus have drawn criticism both at home and abroad, on Sunday reported 6,830 confirmed cases of the illness and 401 deaths.That is up from 3,700 cases and 110 deaths one week earlier.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Biden reaps trio of big-name backers just when he needs a bump

first_imgThe danger for Biden is that with the coronavirus pandemic sidelining political events, he may miss the full effect of what could have been one of his biggest campaign moments to date. With the nominating convention potentially in doubt, he can’t afford to miss too many other headline moments, especially with an incumbent dominating the day’s headlines with a daily briefing.Despite private communications with Biden and Sanders over the past few weeks, Obama had always planned to wait to publicly weigh in on the race until there was a nominee. From the outset, he made it clear he did not want to put his thumb on the scale for Biden. But when Sanders dropped out of the race last week and did not issue a full-throated endorsement of his opponent, Obama stayed silent, safeguarding his ability to come in as a unifying figure later.“If he had done it earlier, it would have looked like he was trying to push Sanders out,” Joel Benenson, Obama’s longtime pollster, said about the timing of Obama’s endorsement.He added, “You don’t jump into the ring and declare a winner when the contest was still going on unless there was a TKO and there wasn’t a TKO.” Back-to-back endorsements from Bernie Sanders, Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren this week cemented the Democratic Party behind Joe Biden as the presumptive nominee and demonstrated the careful calculus of party leaders to unite its once-warring progressive and moderate wings.First came the vanquished rival. The Biden camp wanted Sanders to endorse before Obama to ensure the Vermont senator was genuinely behind the campaign, according to a Democrat familiar with the campaign’s strategy. It also allowed Obama to swoop in to close the Democratic contest, using his power as the party’s undisputed leader to unite the factions represented by the two candidates.Biden’s bid to unite the party got another boost on Wednesday with his endorsement from Elizabeth Warren. For weeks before Sanders dropped out, the Biden and Sanders campaigns had been discussing ways to find common ground on policy and personnel, but they didn’t want a public perception that Biden was trying to hasten Sanders’s exit. That effort culminated in a live-stream endorsement from Sanders on Monday. Biden and Sanders, appearing together, praised each another and announced the formation of six policy task forces to find compromise on key issues.With Sanders on board, the Obama endorsement video was rolled out Tuesday. In his nearly 12-minute remarks, which Obama wrote over the past week and was taped in the last few days, the former president praised Biden and advocated for all Americans to support his bid, displaying the unifier role he has long sought to play.He also devoted a portion of the video to complimenting Sanders, who he said, “has devoted his life to giving voice to working people’s hopes, dreams and frustrations.”“We both know that nothing is more powerful than millions of voices calling for change,” Obama said of Sanders and his supporters, adding a little nostalgia for his own campaign promises of hope and change. “And the ideas he’s championed, the energy and enthusiasm he inspired, especially in young people, will be critical in moving America in a direction of progress and hope.”More than that, Obama made the progressive case for Biden, in the hopes of avoiding the bitter feelings that many believe hurt Hillary Clinton after she defeated Sanders for the nomination in 2016. In the endorsement video, Obama also nodded to Senator Elizabeth Warren, who centered her campaign around calling for structural change.“If I were running today, I wouldn’t run the same race or have the same platform as I did in 2008,” Obama said. “The world is different; there’s too much unfinished business for us to just look backwards. We have to look to the future. Bernie understands that. And Joe understands that. It’s one of the reasons that Joe already has what is the most progressive platform of any major party nominee in history. Because even before the pandemic turned the world upside down, it was already clear that we needed real structural change.”Powerhouses homeboundWith Sanders and Obama on board, the Biden camp must decide how to deploy the two powerhouses when they can do little more than stream video from their homes. Obama is expected to play a significant role in fundraising, but his exact role remains unclear.Biden still has work to do to win over Sanders supporters, many of whom remain skeptical of the former vice president and the outreach he’s made to them. Obama, who remains the most-liked Democrat, plans to play an elder statesman role in that process, but his administration’s record also came under scrutiny as Biden ran his primary campaign. But, the good news for Biden is that the reconciliation process has begun much earlier than it did in the 2008 or 2016 cycles.“The quest for unity is a timeless journey and we recognize that,” said Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. “We must earn every vote. At the same time, we are so much better off as a party right now than we were in 2016. We had a record number of candidates, and I am confident that every candidate who did not make it to the mountain top is going to be a full-throated surrogate for Joe Biden and his running mate.”Topics :last_img read more

Over a million low-income households left out of electricity relief scheme

first_imgThe subsidy comes in the form of electricity token codes for household electricity meters.“So PLN’s local branches will have to communicate more intensively with village, subdistrict and district officials,” said the ministry’s electricity business development director, Hendra Iswahyudi.PLN kicked off the three-month relief scheme on April 1 to help 31 million of Indonesia’s poorest households to weather the economic shocks of the pandemic. For Indonesia’s bottom 30 percent, electricity is the third-highest non-food expense.The Rp 3.5 trillion (US$223.5 million) relief scheme subsidizes electricity for 11.82 million prepaid PLN customers whose power consumption falls within the 450 volt ampere (VA) and 900 VA categories, the two lowest tiers out of six such categories under prevailing regulations. The electricity relief scheme is also being given to 19.3 million postpaid PLN customers from both the 450 VA and 900 VA categories.These customers are already eligible for government-subsidized electricity but the emergency relief further slashes their bills to 50 percent for 900 VA customers and 100 percent for 450 VA customers.PLN said in a statement on April 9 that all the prepaid tokens were “uploaded” and thus “all prepaid customers may enjoy the free tokens from the government”. The company did not explicitly state whether all tokens were distributed.Of the 1.2 million families living in remote areas, around 400,000 of them are located in the highly impoverished Maluku, Papua and Nusa Tenggara islands, all of which fall within the jurisdiction of PLN regional director Ahmad Rofik.Ahmad told The Jakarta Post that PLN would deploy its local service unit (ULP) offices, which had better internet connectivity, to print the token codes. Offices would then coordinate with subdistrict and village heads to distribute the codes to eligible families.“A region has to have some locations with internet connectivity. And the locals will know where they are,” he said.Ahmad noted that distributing postpaid discounts was easier. PLN needed to only deduct electricity bills before customers paid for them through the usual channels, such as ATMs and PLN offices.Energy analyst Fabby Tumiwa of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) commended the government for the electricity discount scheme, saying that it was important “to address the decline in household buying power and income” amid the pandemic.However, the scheme also “had potential to be off target” as many urban informal workers who live in rented homes above the unsubsidized 900 VA category will not receive any electricity subsidies even though the pandemic has affected their income.“The short-term solution is for the government to quickly identify these vulnerable groups and prepare supporting instruments, aside from electricity subsidies,” he said. Topics :center_img Over a million Indonesian families living in internet dead zones have been unable to access a government-funded electricity relief scheme being distributed online.An Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry official said on Tuesday that as many as 1.2 million families lived in regions with poor connectivity and thus were unable to access both the WhatsApp account and the website of state-owned electricity company PLN, which is distributing the electricity.These households, most of which are prepaid customers of PLN, are eligible for an electricity subsidy as part of the government’s relief program for residents affected by COVID-19.last_img read more

Virus could mean 1.2b fewer airline passengers: UN agency

first_imgThe projections are more dire than the ICAO’s initial estimates in February when the outbreak seemed to be mostly localized in China, where almost all of the first 1,400 COVID-19 deaths were recorded.The ICAO said then that the airline industry was facing a $4-5 billion drop in revenue.Topics : The coronavirus pandemic could mean 1.2 billion fewer airline passengers worldwide by September, the International Civil Aviation Organization said Wednesday.The “most substantial reduction in passenger numbers,” the United Nations agency said in a statement, “is expected to be in Europe, especially during its peak summer travel season, followed by the Asia-Pacific.”Airline capacity could also be significantly slashed, it said, resulting in a drop in airline revenues in the first nine months of the year by as much as US$160-253 billion.last_img read more