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Bulbs

CARICOM moving to phase out incandescent bulbs by September

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, May 9, CMC – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries are expected to complete the phase out of the use of incandescent bulbs by September this year, the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat announced Wednesday.

It said the regional countries are undertaking the project to become more energy efficient, on the basis of a mandate from the CARICOM Energy Ministers.

BulbsThe Secretariat said that the plans for the phase out programme are now being developed by the CARICOM Secretariat and the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ).

The programme will include a roadmap to reduce the import and sale of incandescent light bulbs within the region, and will guide and support countries in the establishment of regulations and actions for the phasing out exercise.

“If all goes according to the plan, incandescent bulbs will gradually be phased-out as energy efficiency standards for lighting are phased-in. The phase-out schedule could begin as early as January 2019 with the 100 watt incandescent bulbs, with further restrictions on smaller lamp sizes entering into force in incremental stages over a number of years,” the Secretariat noted.

The decision to develop the phase-out programme was taken at the recently-concluded meeting of CARICOM Energy Ministers as part of the menu of quality measures that are being undertaken to steer the Community towards energy efficiency and sector regulation.

The incandescent light bulbs have existed for 130 years and are inefficient because they waste most of their energy. They are very cheap to manufacture and purchase, but only five per cent of the input power is converted into visible light, with the remainder converted into waste heat.

Hence, they are expensive to operate and lead to high electricity bills for households and businesses that use them. The natural successors to the incandescent bulb are compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). These use 60-90 per cent less energy than incandescent lighting and offer a much longer lifespan, the Secretariat noted.

It said that in 2015, the CARICOM Ministers had approved energy perform standards for CFLs and LEDs. These standards protect consumers from “underperforming products” while simultaneously protecting importers of highly efficient products from competitors saturating the market with “cheaper”, low performance products.

“Effort is being made for the standards for CFLs and LEDs to be adopted at national levels before year end as an assurance of quality in the efficient lighting alternatives. This is a precursor to the removal of inefficient incandescent bulbs from CARICOM markets.”

Cuba was the first country in the world to successfully complete the phase-out of incandescent bulbs. In 2007, the Caribbean country banned the import and sale of incandescent bulbs and implemented a programme for their direct substitution with CFLs in households.

According to reports, about 116 million incandescent bulbs were replaced by CFLs in every household in Cuba, resulting in peak demand savings of about 4,000 MW and eight million tons of carbon emissions.

Regional Energy Efficiency Building Code

Among the other steps that the region has taken on the road to energy efficiency is the development of an Energy Efficiency Code for buildings within the CARICOM.

The Energy ministers at their meeting here last month also approved the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code, with the accompanying Caribbean Application Document, as the Regional Energy Efficient Building Code (REEBC).

The establishment of the REEBC is a very important step in creating a clear and generally-accepted framework for maximising the efficiency of the “total” energy services in buildings.

“The approval paves the way for the systematic implementation of the principles and practices related to, among other things, energy efficient lamps and lighting. The phase out of incandescent bulbs is consistent with the requirements of the recently approved Energy Efficiency Code for CARICOM buildings,” the Secretariat added.

It said within CARICOM, successful implementation of the REEBC could eliminate 15,000 barrels of imported oil and save an estimated one million US dollars in foreign exchange every day.

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WhatsApp users should be careful when opening messages, after the discovery of a text bomb that can cause your handset to freeze. The glitch works by overloading systems with tens of thousands of hidden text characters, forcing affected users to reset their device

Warning over WhatsApp ‘text bomb’ that could crash your phone: Malicious message causes iPhone and Android handsets to freeze

Mail onLine

  • The glitch overloads smartphones with tens of thousands of hidden characters
  • This forces users who received the message to reset their iOS or Android device  
  • This come in two varieties, one featuring a black dot and a warning message
  • Another contains a crying while laughing emoji with instructions to ‘read more’
  • A full system reboot may be required if you are unlucky enough to activate it

WhatsApp users are being warned about a new ‘text bomb’ that can cause their iOS and Android handsets to freeze. 

It is being spread by messages sent via the popular app and comes in two varieties.  One reads: ‘This is very interesting’ with a crying while laughing emoji, followed by ‘Read more’. Tapping on ‘read more’ causes your handset to freeze. 

Another features a black dot and contains the words ‘if you touch the black point then your WhatsApp will hang’. Clicking on the black dot causes the crash to occur. 

The code powering the messages is being shared on Pastebin, meaning anyone can find it online, copy and paste it, then spread the text bomb via WhatsApp.

Its understood that the text message is being circulated by friends as a prank to their WhatsApp contacts, to deliberately crash their phones.

Anyone who is sent the text bomb is advised to delete the message in question. The safest way to do this is to delete the conversation thread it is part of, rather than clicking on the message itself.

Devices caught out by the bomb may need to be rebooted. To do this, hold down the power button on your handset until the restart option appears, or power down the device then power it back up if this option isn’t available.

WhatsApp has yet to issue a statement, but the Facebook-owned firm is likely to issue a software patch fixing the problem in the near future. 

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WhatsApp users should be careful when opening messages, after the discovery of a text bomb that can cause your handset to freeze. The glitch works by overloading systems with tens of thousands of hidden text characters, forcing affected users to reset their device

Another variant of the message is said to contain the words ‘if you touch the black point then your WhatsApp will hang’. Clicking on the black dot icon in the message causes the same issues to arise for Android users specifically
 

Another variant of the message is said to contain the words ‘if you touch the black point then your WhatsApp will hang’. Clicking on the black dot icon in the message causes the same issues to arise for Android users specifically

The bug has been hidden in the specially crafted messages according to Neowin, who first reported the text bomb after spotting claims made on Reddit.

In the first message, the code in question is hidden just after the emoji and clicking on ‘read more’ causes Whatsapp to expand this part of the message. In the second, the code is hidden after the dot icon.

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N. Korea, setting stage for talks, halts nuclear, ICBM tests

N. Korea, setting stage for talks, halts nuclear, ICBM tests

KIM TONG-HYUNG and ERIC TALMADGE

Associated Press
 
North Korea Suspends Nuclear, Long-Range Missile Tests, Will Close Testing Site

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea announced Saturday it will suspend nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic missile launches ahead of its summits with Seoul and Washington, but stopped well short of suggesting it has any intention of giving up its nuclear weapons or scale back its production of missiles and their related component parts.

The new policy, which sets the table for further negotiations when the summits begin, was announced by leader Kim Jong Un at a meeting of the North Korean ruling party’s Central Committee on Friday and reported by the North’s state-run media early Saturday.

Kim justified the suspension to his party by saying that the situation around North Korea has been rapidly changing “in favor of the Korean revolution” since he announced last year his country had completed its nuclear forces. He said North Korea has reached the level where it no longer needs to conduct underground testing or test-launching of ICBMs.

He added that the country would close its nuclear testing facility at Punggye-ri, though that site was already believed to have been rendered largely unusable due to tunnel collapses after the North’s test of what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb last year.

The announcement is seen as an opening gambit aimed at setting the tone for talks ahead of Kim’s summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in next Friday and U.S. President Donald Trump in late May or early June.

Trump almost immediately responded with a tweet saying, “This is very good news for North Korea and the World” and “big progress!” He added that he’s looking forward to his upcoming summit with Kim.

South Korea’s presidential office also welcomed North Korea’s announcement as “meaningful progress” toward the denuclearization of the peninsula. Presidential official Yoon Young-chan said in a statement that the North’s decision brightens the prospects for successful talks between Seoul, Pyongyang and Washington.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomed the announcement too but was a bit more guarded in his reaction.

“What is crucial here … is how this development is going to lead to the complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement of nuclear arms, weapons of mass destruction and missiles,” he said. “And I will keep a close eye on that.”

Some analysts believe that rather than denuclearizing, Kim feels he is entering the negotiations from a position of strength and is hoping to achieve tacit recognition that his country is now a nuclear power. They believe he wants engage in talks and make some concessions around the edges that would convince Washington and other countries to ease sanctions on his struggling economy.

In his speech at the party meeting, Kim praised his nuclear policy as “a miraculous victory” achieved in just five years. A resolution passed after his speech also stressed that the country had successfully achieved its goals of obtaining a viable nuclear force and suggested it intends to keep that force — at least for the time being.

Using the acronym for North Korea’s official name, it said the North would “never use nuclear weapons nor transfer nuclear weapons or nuclear technology under any circumstances unless there are nuclear threat and nuclear provocation against the DPRK.”

“This was a smart move by Kim,” said Vipin Narang, an associate political science professor and nuclear proliferation expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Although it largely formalizes previous pledges on the moratoria from last November and March, it still leaves a lot of wiggle room for circumventing the pledges in the future, and nothing in there is irreversible. And nothing in there mentions denuclearization, of any variety.”

Narang noted that North Korea has already conducted as many nuclear tests as Pakistan and India, and may indeed not need to conduct any more underground testing.

“The aim of this, in my view, is to make it exceedingly difficult for Trump to say the North is uninterested in talks and walk away,” he said. “Kim is doing everything he can now — in a reversible way, mind you — to ensure the summit happens. Because that’s his ultimate victory.”

Tossing out another nugget that could be used at the summits, Kim stressed at the party meeting his desire to shift the national focus to improving the country’s economy, which has been hit hard by international sanctions and the “maximum pressure” strategy pushed by Trump.

 The announcement ends what had been an ominous silence from Pyongyang regarding the stunning diplomatic moves Kim has been making since the beginning of this year, including his first summit, with Chinese President Xi Jinping, last month.

It also gives the best idea yet of what Kim intends to bring with him in his summits with Moon and Trump.

Seoul says Kim has expressed genuine interest in dealing away his nuclear weapons. But North Korea for decades has been pushing a concept of “denuclearization” that bears no resemblance to the American definition, vowing to pursue nuclear development unless Washington removes its troops from the peninsula.

Some important items were also left off the North’s resolution, suggesting either that the North isn’t willing to go that far or that it wants to wait and see how much it can gain by further concessions once actual talks begin.

It did not announce a moratorium on short- or mid-range missile launches or ground-based engine testing. It also did not suspend the production of more fissile material to build additional warheads, or the production of the longer-range missiles, which are Washington’s primary concern.

At the height of Pyongyang’s standoff with Washington and Seoul last year, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters the country could conduct an atmospheric hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific Ocean.

That kind of test would also not be included in the suspension.

___

Talmadge, the AP’s Pyongyang bureau chief, reported from Tokyo.

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Darcy Boyce

COTED meeting agrees on CCREE full operationalisation

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Apr 20, CMC – The Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on Energy has ended here with an agreement that work has advanced towards the full operationalisation of the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) by the middle of this year.

Minister of State in the Office of the Barbados Prime Minister, Darcy Boyce, who chaired the one-day meeting on Thursday, said “we can then move forward with appointment of the executive board and staffing of the Centre”.

Darcy Boyce
Darcy Boyce

Montserrat became the latest Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country to have deposited its instruments of ratification of the agreement establishing the CCREEE.

Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica and Belize are the other CARICOM countries that have deposited their instruments of ratification.

The Centre is intended to function as the implementation hub for the CARICOM Energy Policy, as well as the Caribbean Sustainable Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS). I

n 2015, CARICOM leaders approved the establishment of the CCREEE and identified Barbados as the host country for its Secretariat. The COTED agreed to interim operations of the Centre in January, 2016 and on Thursday, the meeting agreed on decisions related to the transition from that interim stage to the first operational phase.

When fully operational, the Centre is expected to improve the quantity and quality of programmes and projects in sustainable energy within the region.

“We had a very useful meeting, and I expect that we would have put ourselves in a position to achieve a lot more in the energy sector, in renewable energy and energy efficiency over the next few years,’ Boyce said, adding that “good progress” had also been made on the matter of labelling of energy efficient equipment within the region.

He said this step would ensure that people knew “exactly what they were getting” when they bought equipment and sought to encourage them to acquire more efficient equipment and appliances for their properties.

The meeting also approved a pilot programme which will get underway shortly to promote energy efficiency in commercial and residential buildings. Substantial discussions were held on integrating climate resilience into the C-CERMS against the background of the region’s vulnerability to intense climate-related events.

The one-day meeting also discussed insurance and electricity disruption.

“We felt that we needed to discuss ways in which we could get the work done to guide us… to become more resistant to those situations, and to help us to recover faster” when there are natural disasters,” Boyce said.

He said the ministers also took stock of the availability of technical assistance under the CARIFORUM Regional Programme for Energy under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) to get the resources that were necessary for studies and to implement projects to grow the energy sector.

The ministers also had “robust” discussions on oil and gas in the Region. A working group is to be established to consider how there could be deeper cooperation and more advice available on the technical matters on that sector.

Boyce had at the start of the meeting made reference to the region’s oil and gas sector, and its potential to benefit the populace.

“While we are all determined to make sure that we benefit as best as we can from renewable energy and energy efficiency, we all also have to bear in mind that if we are the owners of resources, we ought not to let those resources stand there idly, but we should use them for the benefit of our countries and for the Region.

“So I am very glad that we are not shying away from the matter of oil and gas. It is a matter of balancing … oil and gas, with the natural resource of sunlight, and wind, and water. And this is what it is all about: optimising, getting the best mix of those resources to give our people and our economies what they need”, he said.

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Reid

CAPE students could earn credits to universities -Reid

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Apr 20, CMC – Education Minister Ruel Reid says students pursuing the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) will have an opportunity to earn credits for entry to certain universities in Jamaica.

Reid told students of the St Mary High School that as of September this year, he will be working with the local office of the Barbados-based Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) to make this a reality.

Reid
Ruel Reid (File Photo)

“You will have a whole suite of subjects around your CAPE programme, which will be the equivalent to 60 college credits, so that when you complete sixth form you go into university with the credits. This means (that) you will end up completing your first degree in a much shorter time, and you will also reduce the cost of your university education,” he said.

Reid was visiting schools in the parish in response to a letter from Alicia Blake, a student who had expressed gratitude to the minister for enabling her to sit the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) while in hospital.

Reid said that a memorandum of understanding (MOU) will be signed with the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) to facilitate opportunities for students on the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) to pursue courses of study in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

He said more scholarships would also be provided to students on the PATH programme but will require the government to bond them “for five years, so that we can get you back to work for us in Jamaica to build our country, so that it becomes very progressive and prosperous”.

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marijuuu

Former health minister renews call for decriminalising marijuana

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Apr 20, CMC – Former health minister Dr. Fuad khan Friday renewed his call for the decriminalisation of marijuana for medical purposes.

“Trinidad and Tobago needs to join the march towards decriminalization of marijuana, particularly for medical use” Dr. Khan, an opposition legislator, said in a statement in which he noted that as of this year several countries including Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, India, Israel, Jamaica, Mexico, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Uruguay, and some U.S. jurisdictions, had done so.

marijuuuThe global community is Friday observing International Day of Cannabis, commonly referred to as “420’ and Dr. Khan said “on the occasion of 420, I once again renew my call for the decriminalization of the use of marijuana”.

The opposition legislator, a medical practitioner, said that in his contribution to the budget debate last year “ I pointed out the many benefits to the economy by legalizing marijuana, its medical uses and the need to desist from criminalizing young men in particular for using small amounts.
“ I went to great lengths to show the benefits but the current government has constantly ignored all calls for changes to the law. Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley when asked about the legalization of marijuana in 2015 said that while the issue might be “fashionable” at the moment, it isn’t a priority for his government.”

Dr. Khan said that the government’s “continuing failure to broach matters of national importance has become a serious drawback when it comes to our society evolving based on science, pragmatism and common sense.”.

He said Trinidad and Tobago has some of the highest rates of cancer, hypertension and diabetes in the region and if marijuana licences are granted, the country can begin to benefit from the positive medical benefits.
“Patients with epilepsy, diabetes, cancer, multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome and other conditions will be able to have access to legal marijuana, not having the added burden of trying to evade law enforcement,” Khan said, noting that while the debate continues on the efficacy of medical marijuana, several major research have been undertaken to understand the positive effects of the marijuana.

He quoted the findings of several research studies on the issue insisting that Trinidad and Tobago must move swiftly to separate marijuana from the very real and dangerous illegal drug trade and allow the people who use it as medicine to do so without being incarcerated.

“Marijuana smokers are not second class citizens. Adults have the legal right to consume alcohol, tobacco and other legal drugs but are criminalized if they choose marijuana, a natural herb. That is neither reasonable nor fair,” Dr. Khan added.

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The docking of two robotic spacecraft, the Tiangong 1 space station and Shenzhou 8 capsule, provided a preview of larger Chinese space complexes planned for the future.

Farewell, Tiangong-1: Chinese Space Station Meets Fiery Doom Over South Pacific Ocean

 

An artist’s concept of China’s Tiangong-1 space station prototype burning up in Earth’s atmosphere during its fiery fall back to Earth overnight on April 1-2, 2018.

Credit: Alejandro Miranda/Alamy

Tiangong-1 is no more.

China’s prototype space station, whose name translates as “Heavenly Palace 1,” met a fiery end in Earth’s atmosphere today (April 1), breaking apart and burning up in the skies over the southern Pacific Ocean at about 8:16 p.m. EDT (0016 April 2 GMT), according to the U.S. Strategic Command’s Joint Force Space Component Command (JFSCC).

“The JFSCC used the Space Surveillance Network sensors and their orbital analysis system to confirm Tiangong-1’s re-entry,” U.S. Air Force officials wrote in a statement. [Tiangong-1: China’s Falling Space Station in Pictures

Some pieces of the school-bus-size Tiangong-1 almost certainly survived the fall, but the odds that they caused any damage or injury are extremely small: You had a less than 1-in-1-trillion chance of getting hit by a flaming chunk of the heavenly palace, according to experts with the Aerospace Corporation. 

By the way, if you do manage to find such a chunk of Tiangong-1, don’t pick it up or breathe in any fumes emanating from it. The space junk may be contaminated with hydrazine, a toxic rocket fuel, experts have said.

Tiangong-1 was about 34 feet long by 11 feet wide (10.4 by 3.4 meters), and it weighed more than 9 tons (8 metric tons). The space lab consisted of two main parts: an “experimental module” that housed visiting astronauts and a “resource module” that accommodated Tiangong-1’s solar-energy and propulsion systems.

https://www.space.com/40101-china-space-station-tiangong-1-crashes.html

The docking of two robotic spacecraft, the Tiangong 1 space station and Shenzhou 8 capsule, provided a preview of larger Chinese space complexes planned for the future.
The docking of two robotic spacecraft, the Tiangong 1 space station and Shenzhou 8 capsule, provided a preview of larger Chinese space complexes planned for the future.

Credit: Karl Tate, SPACE.com Contributor

The craft launched without anyone aboard on Sept. 29, 2011, to an orbit about 217 miles (350 kilometers) above Earth. That’s slightly lower than the orbit of the much larger International Space Station, whose average altitude is 250 miles (400 km). Tiangong-1’s main mission was to help China master the technologies required to assemble and operate a bona-fide space station in Earth orbit, a goal the nation aims to achieve by the early 2020s, the country has said.

On Nov. 2, 2011, the robotic Shenzhou-8 spacecraft visited Tiangong-1, executing China’s first-ever orbital docking. Another big milestone came in June 2012, when a crew of three spaceflyers linked their Shenzhou-9 vehicle to the heavenly palace and came aboard for a spell.

Three more “taikonauts,” or Chinese astronauts, visited in June 2013, traveling on the Shenzhou-10 spacecraft. Each of these crewed missions lasted about two weeks.

Tiangong-1’s design lifetime was just two years, and the space lab’s work was mostly done after Shenzhou-10 departed. The empty space lab continued to do some Earth-observation work, however, and researchers and engineers kept in touch with it until March 2016, when data transmission between Tiangong-1 and its handlers stopped, for reasons that China never explicitly specified. At that point, an uncontrolled atmospheric re-entry was apparently inevitable.

This is the view of outside researchers. But Chinese space officials dispute such terminology, said Dean Cheng, a senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation who’s an expert on China’s space program. [The Biggest Spacecraft to Fall Uncontrolled From Space]

“The Chinese insist that it is controlled,” Cheng told Space.com. “They’re very, very unhappy when you use this term ‘uncontrolled.'”

Chinese officials say that they know where Tiangong-1 is and can provide location updates at any time, Cheng added. But for other spacefaring nations, a “controlled” re-entry is one performed under the guidance of a spacecraft’s handlers — for example, the intentional de-orbiting of the Soviet/Russian Mir space station over the Pacific Ocean in March 2001. 

https://www.space.com/40101-china-space-station-tiangong-1-crashes.html

“We should be diplomatically, and in the space-policy world, pushing China to accept a definition of ‘control’ that is comparable to that of the rest of the rules-based world. You don’t get your own definition,” Cheng said. “To support that, there need to be some sticks here,” he added, referring to consequences.

The re-entry of Tiangong-1 was tracked by the JFSCC, the U.S.-based analysis group Aerospace Corp., the European Space Agency and scientists around the world as part of a global space-debris tracking network. 

“The JFSCC works alongside government, industry and international partners to track and report reentries, to include today’s Tinagong-1 reentry, because the space domain is vital to our shared international security interests,” JFSCC deputy commander Maj. Gen. Stephen Whiting, commander of the 14th Air Force, said in the JFSCC statement. “One of our missions, which we remain focused on, is to monitor space and the tens of thousands of pieces of debris that congest it, while at the same time working with allies and partners to enhance spaceflight safety and increase transparency in the space domain.”

“All nations benefit from a safe, stable, sustainable, and secure space domain,” Whiting said. “We’re sharing information with space-faring nations to preserve the space domain for the future of mankind.”

Tiangong-1’s successor, Tiangong-2, launched to Earth orbit in September 2016 and hosted three visiting astrpnauts a month later. And a robotic vessel called Tianzhou-1 rendezvoused with Tiangong-2 a few months later, performing several automated docking and refueling operations from April 2017 to September 2017.

The success of these missions apparently has China poised to start building a permanent space station. The nation aims to begin construction and assembly operations next year, and the first crewed missions to the outpost could come in 2022, Chinese space officials have said.

Tiangong-1 is not the biggest spacecraft ever to fall from the sky. That distinction goes to the 140-ton (127 metric tons) Soviet/Russian space station Mir, which was guided to a controlled destruction over the Pacific Ocean in March 2001.

The largest craft ever to come down at least partially uncontrolled is NASA’s 100-ton (91 metric tons) space shuttle Columbia, which broke apart as it was returning to Earth on Feb. 1, 2003, killing all seven astronauts aboard. An investigation later pinned the cause of the disaster on a piece of foam insulation from Columbia’s external fuel tank, which broke off and punched a hole in the heat shield on the orbiter’s left wing during launch, two weeks before the tragedy.

Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us @SpacedotcomFacebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com

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oil spill

PCJ seeks to assure measures being taken to preserve environment as it searches for oil and gas

 
KINGSTON, Jamaica, Mar 21, CMC – The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) says it is taking all measures to ensure environmental preservation during its search for oil and gas on the island’s south coast.

PCJ’s Oil and Gas Manager, Brian Richardson, told a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank that protection of the environment while undertaking its engagements is a pivotal part of the entity’s mandate.

oil spillHe said that the Corporation and its partner in the exploration exercise, Tullow Oil, have been abiding by this in accordance with stipulations from the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), which is monitoring the project.

Richardson said NEPA, as an independent body, “has looked at what Tullow Oil is doing and has seen that they are doing the appropriate work, which is reflected in the international community”.

He noted that two 2D surveys have already been conducted by the companies, and “we have not had any issues.

“We are going to go through it a third time, and I don’t believe we are going to have any issues,” he added.

While pointing out that environmental risk is an ever-present possibility, Richardson said that “the way you manage it is to try and reduce that actively, and we have a company who actively pursues that”.

He said that in addition to the seismic vessel, there will also be smaller scout vessels around to protect fragile marine environment so that the various life forms do not cross the path of the large vessel.

PCJ Manager Corporate Affairs and Communications, Camille Taylor, said the survey vessel will also have marine mammal observers on-board.

She noted that these individuals have the authority to stop the survey if they think there is any risk to marine life, adding that “they will pretty much be directing when and where (things are done), and their top priority will be to preserve marine life”.

Taylor said that “as it is, seismic surveys are non-invasive and they (persons conducting the exercise) tend to be very respectful of marine life.

“The PCJ is taking every precaution, (and) with NEPA and the marine mammals observers on board, it is assured that marine life will not be harmed”.

Oil and gas exploration activities being undertaken by the PCJ and Tullow Oil, which began with an agreement in 2014, will shift into a higher gear with the initiation of the first-ever 3D seismic survey in the waters off Jamaica’s south coast between the Pedro Banks and Portland Cottage this month.

PM says electoral victories in Grenada and Antigua send strong messages

March 23, 2018
186 views
 

ROSEAU, Dominica, Mar 24, CMC – Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit Friday said that the “clear and strong mandates’ given to the incumbent governments in Grenada and Antigua and Barbuda should serve them to implement policies geared towards “the re-fashioning and revitalisation” of their respective economies.

Browne skerrit
Prime Minister Gaston Browne (left) and Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit (right) with CARICOM Secretary general irwin La Rocque (File Photo)

Speaking on the state-owned DBS radio, Skerrit in extending congratulations to Prime Minister Gaston Browne, whose Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) won 15 of the 17 seats in Wednesday’s general election, said it showed that as in the case of Grenada, the electorate had “evaluated all options and determined it would be better not to tinker or tamper with a formula that is working.

“All may not be well with everyone and for everyone in Antigua, but voters obviously took the picture and broader picture into consideration and stick with the incumbent party,” Skerrit told radio listeners,

“I believe the message we can draw from both the Grenada and Antigua election outcomes is that stability at this time is crucial. If what you have is working for you then it is better…to stay with it.

“These large mandates have given each respective government the opportunity to make hard but needed decisions with respect to the re-fashioning and revitalisation of their respective economies,” Skerrit said, warning that ‘these economies in the English-speaking Caribbean are at a very crucial stage.

“We cannot wish natural disasters away nor can we pretend that there aren’t international forces acting against our very best interest. Therefore governments in the region need a mandate to act and I think both the Grenadian and now the Antigua and Barbuda governments have been given such a strong and clear mandate to bring about needed reforms”.

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell led his New National party (NNP) to a complete washout of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in Grenada winning all 15 seats for the second consecutive occasion on March 13 and the third time overall since 1999.

Skerrit said that he was looking forward to working with both governments “in the furtherance of the CARICOM (Caribbean Community) and OECS (Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States) missions and agenda.

“To the losing NDC in Grenada and the UPP (United Progressive Party) in Antigua and Barbuda, I commensurate with Mr. Nazim Burke and Mr. Harold Lovell, I wish their respective organisations the very best wishes in their efforts to re-organise and re-position themselves.”

Skerrit said that in the case of Antigua and Barbuda, where “hundreds” of Dominicans reside, the outcome of the election was important.

“It was important for us that these elections were conducted in atmosphere of free from fear, violence or intimidation. We wish the very best for Antigua, because when Antigua prospers, Dominican families prosper as well”

But as he has said in the past, Skerrit reiterated that opposition parties in the Caribbean were becoming very critical of existing government policies without having developed any meaningful alternatives.

“It speaks to the fact that electorates are really in many instances fed up with the negative rhetoric coming in from political quarters,” he said, including his own country as part of that malaise.

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Appreciation for communication will bring about unity

Appreciation for communication will bring about unity

March 16, 2018

This past weekend there was a prominent person who commented in the presence of a good cross section of women in the community, visitors included, that they “read the newspaper, yes, The Montserrat Reporter… it is always saying all things about me…!”

Without looking around, the wondering thought flashed, how many of these present, if any at all, would say the same thing. Moments later, a lady visiting since January 16, leaving right after the St. Patrick’s Day festivities, enquired where she can get a copy of TMR.

That was a very common recurring conversation, as only recently someone in Antigua personally sought, “how can I subscribe to get the newspaper?” They pointed out that it is just not convenient to do read it on the computer (a very computer literate person).

Much of the problems and difficulties faced over the past two weeks and affecting the festival have come from poor communication. Governors come and go, the last at the end of her first function made the observation at the end of teh event. But when she left, her communication effort left enough to be desired.

From here it seems much we do is lament. There is this This is a very serious situation that ‘communication’ without which (whether blind, mute, any disability) it is a must has hit a rock bottom, unthinkable. So this lament, is done with the hope that soon, very soon, there will be light and everyone, not just a few, will smile, realities of the dream and the efforts of what is being preached about the day, in the week we commemorate and celebrate.

Plenty has been said, even though no one event or writing has said all. The suggestion is that every one, the young, not so young, the old and the not so old, all is the way it is communicated and understood. Why? Everyone can come to a better understanding creating in their own minds whatever they want to, especially if based on their own sensible experiences.

Ah yes, it is dangerous when someone speaks their heart out about an experience as they cry for a ‘coming together in support of each other’ for another to say, referencing what they just heard, not just once, that the state they describe is ‘not true.’

Besides, inside and out of the debates, festivities and celebrations, we hope that by the climax of the week on Saturday, March 17, 2018, all will leave with disappointments included, everyone saying, it is possible to take in all, none of which may be complete in themselves, and we will hear a chorus, this is worth it.

This 250th year after that uprising by the ‘enslaved’, the new word which we believe it is hoped would change the ‘mentality’ harboured about the era, making it more comfortable to think and talk about it.

It seemed to some that unity was the cause of the failure. And the glaring truth is, not necessarily so throughout the Caribbean but definitely in Montserrat, unity is so lacking, as it saps even the perceived decency to fall deed in the same mire. That sadly is the position seen of Montserrat. And at the end of the day there are those who abuse and gloat and all, believing wrongly they are more intelligent.

Claude Hogan’s lecture delivery brings out the point, perhaps not as directly as we make it sound here, as he discussed the probably seemingly obscure topic of ‘masquerading’, noting a good aspect of communication. “What can he say about that?” was a question seriously asked. Will there be agreement that there was not a boring moment during that 55-minute lecture?

Very well discussed, and may well be his best oration to date. Here is a small quote near the end of his delivery: “The UK has good practices in providing people and community security to allow development to happen…call on the British Government our Administering Power, to move safeguarding to beyond child ‘anti-sexualization’, illegal marijuana and the like, to dealing with social uplifting behaviours. They should help us build and restore systems of governance that rely on merit, fairness and equity…”

Posted in Editorial, International, Local, News, Regional, Science/Technology, TOURISM0 Comments

Ash and lava are visible inside the cone of the Soufrière Hills volcano, seen from Olveston, Montserrat, in January 2007. Photograph: Wayne Fenton/AP

MVO Director Stewart fixes UK Guardian, Express newspapers misrepresentation

by Bennette Roach

Soufriere Hills mountain, March 5, 2018

It wouldn’t be the first time that UK Newspapers have distorted and published information that turned out unfavourable and detrimental to the Island.

Publication of articles like this with this kind of information, is reminiscent of 1997-8 when the UK Government authorities broadcasted and said that there might be a cataclysmic eruption that would cause Montserrat to completely evacuated. The result of that in spite of vehement denial of that situation from the Government and scientists on Montserrat, it was not until 2008 the UK relented on the misinformation.

Very cleverly written, if not with some dishonesty. If one doesn’t read carefully, you will miss that Professor Neuberg is not the one saying, ‘Sadly, Montserratians must continue to wait.’

The only information attributed to Professor Neuberg is the following: “Except for the gas plume there is nothing visible on the surface, but the instruments show us clearly that the deformation is ongoing and the entire island is still inflating.”

With all the observations and opinions inserted, some of the information is far from up to date, even though they claimed they were reporting on very recent information.

As the Director Stewart observes the Express was even more damning in its reporting on this matter.

Here MVO director sets the record straight.

Statement on the Status of the Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat (Director, Roderick Stewart)

Following the publication on 7 March 2018 of two articles in UK newspapers (The Guardian and The Express), members of the public have expressed concerns about the current status of the Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat (SHV), particularly with reference to ground deformation. Monitoring data recorded and interpreted by Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) shows no changes that suggest that new activity is imminent. The newspaper articles are misleading and, in the case of The Express, alarmist.

Ash and lava are visible inside the cone of the Soufrière Hills volcano, seen from Olveston, Montserrat, in January 2007. Photograph: Wayne Fenton/AP

Since the end of the last phase of lava extrusion on 11 February 2010, MVO has observed a slow, steady movement of the ground surface across the whole of Montserrat using data recorded by our network of very precise Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers. The news articles in question report on research being carried out by MVO in collaboration with Professor Jurgen Neuberg (University of Leeds, UK) that seeks to understand this trend. The research suggests that, since February 2010, the underground magma system that feeds the SHV has been slowly recharged by the influx of magma at depth. This causes the pressure inside the system to increase, which is then seen as upwards and outwards movement of the ground surface around the volcano.

The news articles suggest that the research has produced new information. In the Express article this, when combined with a very small swarm of small-magnitude earthquakes on 25 February 2018, indicates that a new eruption may be imminent. This is not the case. Brief swarms of such earthquakes have occurred on more than one hundred occasions since 2007.

All the data recorded by MVO since the last surface activity in February 2010 follows a consistent long-term trend which was also characteristic of four previous pauses in activity. The overall earthquake activity has been relatively low; the observed deformation pattern shows slow inflation; and the sulphur dioxide gas output is between 200 and 400 tons per day.

The restrictions on access to some areas of Montserrat have been in place for many years and all visits to these areas, including for economic activity, are closely controlled and very carefully managed.

 

 

 

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Climate/Weather, Featured, International, Local, News, Regional, Science/Technology0 Comments

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