More carmakers caught in headlights of VW engine-rigging scandal

More carmakers caught in headlights of VW engine-rigging scandal
Volkswagen has admitted it installed illegal software into 11 million 2.0 liter and 3.0 liter diesel engines worldwide (AFP Photo/Josh Edelson)

Volkswagen emissions scandal

Iran's 'catastrophic mistake': Speculation, pressure, then admission

Iran's 'catastrophic mistake': Speculation, pressure, then admission
Analsyts say it is irresponsible to link the crash of a Ukraine International Airline Boeing 737-800 to the 737 MAX accidents (AFP Photo/INA FASSBENDER)

Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts

Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 commercial jet.

QZ8501 (AirAsia)

Leaders see horror of French Alps crash as probe gathers pace

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Saturday, November 30, 2019

More pain for German car industry as Daimler axes 10,000 jobs

Yahoo – AFP, Michelle FITZPATRICK, November 29, 2019

Electric shock to jobs: the costly switch to electric vehicles is pushing carmakers
to shed jobs, with Mercedes-maker Daimler become the latest on Friday with a plan
 to cut at least 10,000 posts in the coming years (AFP Photo/Miguel MEDINA)

Frankfurt am Main (AFP) - Luxury automaker Daimler said Friday it would scrap at least 10,000 jobs worldwide, the latest in a wave of layoffs to hit the stuttering German car industry as it battles with a costly switch to electric.

The Mercedes-Benz maker said it wanted to save 1.4 billion euros ($1.5 billion) in staff costs by the end of 2022 as it joins rivals in investing huge sums in the greener, smarter cars of the future.

"The total number worldwide will be in the five-digits," Daimler personnel chief Wilfried Porth said in a conference call about the job cull.

He declined to give a more detailed breakdown.

The group said in an earlier statement that "thousands" of jobs would be axed by the end of 2022, after clinching a deal with labour representatives.

The cull includes slashing management jobs "by 10 percent", Daimler said, reportedly amounting to some 1,100 positions around the world.

"The automotive industry is in the middle of the biggest transformation in its history," Daimler said.

"The development towards CO2-neutral mobility requires large investments," it added.

Along with other manufacturers, Daimler is scrambling to get ready for tough new EU emission rules taking effect next year, forcing it to accelerate the costly shift to zero-emissions electric cars and plug-in hybrids.

The group, which employs 304,000 people globally, said the job cuts would be achieved through natural turnover, early retirement schemes and severance packages.

Fewer parts needed

Daimler's announcement comes as the mighty German car industry is buffeted by trade tensions, weaker Chinese demand and a darkening economic outlook.

Other major car companies have in recent months already unveiled plans to cut some 30,000 jobs in the sector over the next years.

Germany's Audi said it wants to axe 9,500 jobs, followed by more than 5,000 at Volkswagen, some 5,500 at car parts supplier Continental, while Bosch aims to cut more than 2,000 roles.

US car giant Ford plans to scrap some 5,000 jobs in Germany alone.

Electric engines require fewer parts and are less complicated to assemble than internal combustion engines, needing fewer hands.

But auto bosses have said thousands of new, hi-tech jobs will also be created in the electric era to make cars more autonomous and connected.

German automotive expert Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer has said he believes the German car sector -- which currently employs 800,000 people -- will shed 250,000 jobs over the next decade.

A total of 125,000 new ones will be created, he predicted.

Daimler returned to profit in the third quarter and said it was expecting 2019 revenues to be "slightly above" last year's, while operating profit would be "significantly below" the 11.1 billion euros in 2018.

Adding to Daimler's woes this year were expensive recalls linked to faulty Takata airbags and to diesel cars allegedly fitted with software to dupe emissions tests.

While the company has staunchly denied cheating, it nevertheless agreed to pay an 870-million-euro fine in Germany for having sold vehicles that did not conform with legal emissions limits.

Friday, November 29, 2019

European Space Agency agrees record budget to meet new challenges

Yahoo – AFP, November 28, 2019

European Space Agency members agreed a record five-year budget of 14.4 billion
euros to face up to growing challenges and ensure Europe has a fully active space
presence (AFP Photo/jody amiet)

Seville (Spain) (AFP) - European Space Agency (ESA) members agreed Thursday a record 14.4 billion euros budget, promising to maintain Europe's place at the top table as the United States and China press ahead and industry disruptors such as Elon Musk's Space X present new challenges.

The budget is split, with 12.5 billion euros ($14.1 billion) committed for three years and the full 14.4 billion euros over five, representing an increase of some four billion euros on the previous spending plan.

"Its a surprise, even more than I proposed... this is good," ESA head Jan Woerner told a nwes conference after ministers from the 22 member states met in Seville for two days.

Woerner said the funding pledges meant that ESA could run a full series of programmes plus additional scientific work, citing moves to increase earth observation as part of efforts, among other things, to monitor climate change.

"It is a giant step forward for Europe, fifty years after the moon landing," said Jean-Yves Le Gall, head of the French space agency.

"We have beaten all records in terms of financial contributions," Le Gall added.

Germany made the largest contribution to the budget, at some 3.3 billion euros, followed by France on 2.7 billion euros, Italy 2.3 billion euros and Britain with 1.7 billion euros.

The ESA is not a European Union body and so Britain's position as a member remains unchanged despite Brexit.

To reinforce that message, the UK Space Agency issued a statement recalling that Britain was one of ESA's founding members, and detailing its commitments to a series of programmes including earth observation, 5G telecoms and monitoring space debris.

Moon, Mars, science

Among the projects ESA highlighted were the first gravitational wave detector in space, LISA, and the black hole mission Athena, designed to "enable fundamental advances in our understanding of the basic physics of the Universe."

ESA reiterated its commitment to the International Space Station until 2030 and its participation in the Gateway project, the first space station planned to orbit the Moon.

"European astronauts will fly to the Moon for the first time," it said in a closing statement, and ESA will support a "ground-breaking Mars Sample Return mission in cooperation with NASA."

In telecommunications, ESA aims to help develop flexible satellite systems integrated with 5G networks, "as well as next-generation optical technology for a fibre-like 'network in the sky,', marking a transformation in the satellite communication industry."

Ministers also endorsed the transition to the next generation of launchers, the massive Ariane 6 and the smaller Vega-C, "and have given the green light to Space Rider, ESA’s new reusable spaceship."

Going into the meeting, ESA officials had said the agency was hoping to get increased funding to ensure Europe does not lag behind.

Europe has established itself as a major space player, with the Ariane 6 launcher the latest off the production line and the Galileo GPS system operational.

Critics say however that it has been slow to develop some key innovations -- notably reusable rockets pioneered by the likes of Musk.

This "New Space" evolution has seen Musk develop reusable launchers for dramatically smaller yet more powerful satellites, many designed to create and run the "connected world" of driverless cars and countless other aspects of everyday life on earth.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Audi to slash 9,500 jobs in Germany by 2025

Yahoo – AFP, Yann SCHREIBER, November 26, 2019

Audi is to shed jobs as it shifts to electric models (AFP Photo/CHRISTOF STACHE)

Frankfurt am Main (AFP) - German luxury carmaker Audi said Tuesday it planned to slash 9,500 jobs in Germany by 2025 as part of a massive overhaul to help finance a costly switch to electric vehicles.

The job cuts will be achieved through an early retirement programme and natural turnover at its two German plants, the company said in a statement.

At the same time, the Volkswagen subsidiary said it would create 2,000 new jobs in the areas of electromobility and digitisation as it pivots to the smarter, cleaner cars of tomorrow.

The shake-up comes as Audi, like other carmakers, grapples with slowing demand in a weaker global economy, tougher pollution rules and the huge investments needed for the battery-powered era.

"In times of upheaval, we are making Audi more agile and more efficient," said CEO Bram Schot.

"This will increase productivity and sustainably strengthen the competitiveness of our German plants."

The remaining roughly 50,000 workers at Audi's Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm factories will have job security until the end of 2029 under the hard-fought deal struck with labour representatives.

"We have reached an important milestone," said Peter Mosch, head of Audi's works council.

"The extension of the employment guarantee is a great success in difficult times."

Audi said the reorganisation would help boost earnings by six billion euros ($6.6 billion) by 2029, keeping the premium brand on track to reach a profit margin of nine to 11 percent.


The jobs cull comes after Audi was hit by falling sales, revenues and operating profits over the first nine months of 2019.

But the company is far from alone in feeling the pain from an industry in the throes of transformation and buffeted by the knock-on effects from US-China trade tensions and Brexit uncertainty.

German car parts suppliers Bosch and Continental have themselves announced thousands of job cuts to slash costs, while Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler is reportedly planning to axe 1,100 managerial roles.

Hoping to turn the tide at Audi, the Volkswagen group earlier this month said it had picked former BMW purchasing chief Markus Duesmann to replace Schot as the brand's chief executive from April.

Under Schot, Audi suffered more than other German manufacturers from the introduction last year of strict new emissions testing standards in the European Union, which led to expensive production bottlenecks.

And like its rivals, Audi is spending billions on new technologies, including battery-electric and hybrid vehicles, connectivity and autonomous driving.

But the firm last year also had to pay an 800-million-euro fine over its role in the "dieselgate" scandal.

The saga erupted in 2015 when the Volkswagen group admitted to installing cheating devices in 11 million diesel cars worldwide to dupe regulatory emissions tests.

Audi's engineers are suspected of having helped developed the software used to make cars emit less pollutants under lab testing conditions than on the road.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Dutch space technology ‘game changer’ for pollution detection

DutchNews, November 22, 2019


In a scientific first, Dutch and North-American scientists have detected a large source of methane pollution using space technology. 

The satellite-borne TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI), which was developed in the Netherlands, was launched on 13 October 2017 and does world-wide sweeps of the planet in search of greenhouse emissions. 

The source of the harmful greenhouse gas turned out to be an oil and gas installation in Turkmenistan in Central Asia. After the leak was reported to the company subsequent satellite images confirmed that the leak had been dealt with. 

Physics professor Ilse Aben from the Dutch institute for space research SRON, which was involved in the research, told public broadcaster NOS the leak was discovered ‘more or less by accident’.  It was flagged up at the beginning of this year by Canadian and American colleagues and who were doing methane measurements related to volcanic activity. 

‘Their measurements are limited to smaller areas while Tropomi covers the whole planet. However, they can zoom in more and on detecting a number of methane sources they contacted us to see if we could spot them too. And we could,’ Aben told the broadcaster. 

Pieternel Levelt, head of satellite detection at project leader KNMI, called the event ‘a game changer’. ‘The fact that we can detect this sort of methane leaks all over the world is very important for the climate. The instrument is having a huge impact.’ 

Tropomi, and others like it, will in future be used not only for the detection of individual sources of methane but also to check whether countries and businesses are complying with international climate protection agreements. 

‘The European Union is currently working with the European Space Agency (ESA) on new satellites which are going to measure CO2 levels from space in a few years’ time,’ Levelt said. 

CO2 is largely responsible for the warming up of the planet but methane contributes about a third of harmful gases. The most common sources for methane are cattle breeding, the oil and gas industry and coal mines.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Airlines' fuel practices feed doubts over climate commitment

Yahoo – AFP, November 20, 2019

How serious are airlines about cutting emissions? (AFP Photo/JOEL SAGET)

Paris (AFP) - Airlines have taken steps to reduce their carbon footprints under the gaze of public opinion, but the pressure of the bottom line means some fly with extra fuel, boosting emissions of climate-changing greenhouse gases.

As the highly competitive air travel industry is being pushed to reduce its carbon emissions -- which it puts at two to three percent of the global total -- the practice known as fuel tankering has become an acid test for airlines' commitment to really go green.

In fuel tankering, an aircraft's tanks are filled sufficiently at the departure airport to avoid having to take on additional fuel for the return leg at a destination airport where fuel costs may be higher, or there are supply issues.

According to a study by Eurocontrol, the practice is a money-saving strategy for airlines as it outweighs the cost of additional fuel needed to carry the extra weight on the outbound flight.

"Aviation is a very competitive market and each airline needs to minimise operating costs, in order to keep its ticket prices as competitive as possible," said the group, an inter-governmental organisation that helps harmonise regulations in the sector.

With fuel accounting for up to 25 percent of airlines' operating expenses, "saving fuel has become a major challenge for aviation", it added.

Eurocontrol found that in Europe fuel tankering concerns about one in six flights, on average resulting in an extra 136 kg of fuel burned.

Despite the additional fuel cost of 75 euros it still results in a net saving of 126 euros per flight. That saving also includes nine euros for purchasing carbon allowances for the 428kg of additional CO2 generated.

The report estimated that in Europe fuel tankering could generate net savings of 265 million euros per year for airlines, while adding 286,000 tonnes of fuel burnt and 901,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

"This represents about 2,800 round-trips between Paris and New York or the annual emissions of a European city of 100,000 inhabitants," said the report.

The airline industry estimates it accounts for 2-3 percent of global CO2 emissions 

Everybody does it.

After being called out for fuel tankering by the BBC, British Airways called it a "common practice across the airline industry" and said that it is done for "operational, safety and price reasons".

British Airways said it resorts to fuel tankering for "mainly short-haul destinations where there are considerable fuel price differences between European airports".

Willy Walsh, the head of IAG, British Airway's parent company, acknowledged that the issue shows that airlines are torn between economic and environmental imperatives.

"What we see today is that there is often a conflict between what we do that makes a commercial and financial sense and the things we should be doing from an environmental point of view," he told investors at a gathering at the beginning of November.

Germany's Lufthansa said it resorts to fuel tankering only exceptionally for operational reasons because the practice "goes against our goal of reducing carbon emissions," said a spokesman.

Air France said it practiced fuel tankering only on "some specific" routes for economic or organisational reasons.

Planting trees to offset emissions (AFP Photo/JOHANNES EISELE)


The airline industry adopted in 2016 a mechanism called CORSIA to offset any increase in CO2 emissions from 2020 levels using tree-planting and other schemes that absorb carbon.

This will allow the industry to continue to grow to meet rising demand for air travel without adding any additional carbon on a net basis.

Budget airline easyJet announced it plans to go further by offsetting emissions from all flights.

Most airlines have also undertaken efforts to reduce their emissions such as optimising flight paths, using electric towing vehicles or reducing the weight of seats.

But these efforts are not sufficient believes Andrew Murphy of the non-governmental organisation Transport and Environment.

"The increase of aviation emissions and stories like this show that actually the industry isn't doing enough and actually we can't just rely on the industry to cut it's own emissions," said Murphy.

"The equation is super complex" to arrive at a reduction of emissions when the volume of air traffic is expected to double every 15 to 20 years, said Pascal Fabre, an air travel expert at the consultancy Alix Partners.

The situation is even more daunting as airlines need to make money to survive, with around a dozen going out of business in the past year and a half according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Related Article:

Aviation is the big polluter in when it comes to transport: CBS research

DutchNews, November 20, 2019 

Aviation is responsible for almost half of the greenhouse gases emitted by the Dutch transport sector, according to new research by nationalstatistics agency CBS

In total, the transport sector was responsible for 26 billion kilos of carbon dioxide emissions last year, of which 49% was due to air travel. Sea shipping accounted for a further 26% and road traffic 21%. 

The CBS points out that road traffic is the only one of the big three causes of transport-related pollution to be tackled in the government’s climate change plans. 

The transport sector is responsible for some 12% of total Dutch greenhouse gas emissions, a rise of three percent on 2010, the CBS said. Aviation emissions have risen 13% over the period, as flying soars in popularity. 

Some 95% of aviation-related greenhouse gases have an impact abroad.

Related Articles:

Monday, November 18, 2019

Climate protesters block Geneva's private jet terminal

Yahoo – AFP, November 16, 2019

The activists said they were protesting the 'absurd' mode of luxury transport
(AFP Photo/Fabrice COFFRINI)

Geneva (AFP) - Dozens of climate activists blocked access to the private jet terminal at Geneva airport Saturday, demanding a halt to the "absurd" mode of luxury transportation.

Around 100 people took part, organised by pressure group Extinction Rebellion, large groups sitting in front of three entrances to block access to the building for several hours.

Extinction Rebellion describes itself as an international movement using non-violent civil disobedience "to achieve radical change in order to minimise the risk of human extinction and ecological collapse".

As musicians played, protesters wearing armbands with the Extinction Rebellion logo sang songs and danced around with white, cloud-shaped placards and banners with slogans like "Be part of the solution, not pollution".

"We are facing a total climate emergency," Extinction Rebellion spokesman Micael Metry told AFP.

Activists block an entrance at Geneva airport's private jet terminal, during a protest 
by the climate change action group Extinction Rebellion (XR) in Geneva, Switzerland 
(AFP Photo/Fabrice COFFRINI)

"Private jets emit 20 times more CO2 per passenger than normal airplanes," he said.

"It is very important for us to denounce this completely absurd and unjust means of transportation, which is used by a tiny fraction of the population."

Sonia Ediger, who said she had come from Lausanne to take part in the protest, called on the "powerful people of the world" who fly private jets "to come down out of the clouds".

"We are seeing the world collapse around us, we see catastrophe after catastrophe, ever bigger, ever more frequent, all around us," she told AFP, insisting that "radical change" was needed.

A large number of Geneva police, some in riot gear, assembled to monitor the unauthorised protest, but kept their distance for several hours.

At mid-afternoon, police asked the demonstrators to identify themselves and then leave in small groups, which they did peacefully.

Police spokesman Silvain Guillaume-Gentil told the ATS news agency they had not yet decided whether to bring charges.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Promise and peril for German carmakers in Tesla's Berlin touchdown

Yahoo – AFP, Florian CAZERES with Yann SCHREIBER in Frankfurt, November 13, 2019

Tesla would be the first foreign car company to set up shop in Germany
"in decades" sector analyst Stefan Bratzel says (AFP Photo/John THYS)

Hopes are high that US electric pioneer Tesla's first European factory just outside Berlin will boost German carmakers, but it also ups the pressure on homegrown manufacturers to raise their battery-powered game.

Elon Musk's Tuesday announcement that his Californian firm is coming marks the first foreign car company setting up shop in Germany "in decades," said analyst Stefan Bratzel of the Center of Automotive Management -- "symbolic for the new world and the reordering of the industry."

Economy minister Peter Altmaier trumpeted "a great success," saying Germany had prevailed in "intense competition" with other European countries.

Musk unveiled Tesla's European touchdown at an industry event in Berlin, saying he had picked a site in Brandenburg for the factory, which is expected to bring roughly 7,000 jobs.

Slated for an area southeast of the German capital, the plant "will build batteries, powertrains and vehicles, starting with Model Y" SUVs, Musk later tweeted.

Production is to start in 2021 at the earliest.

"I think it's a good thing, it will create jobs and electric cars are good for the environment," said Mathias Wirth, who lives in Gruenheide, set to host the Tesla plant.

"It's a big opportunity for people living here," agreed fellow resident Iris Siebman.

Musk said the German state of Brandenburg offers "a lower than average paid workforce
 in the former East Germany" and space to expand (AFP Photo/Tobias SCHWARZ)

'Pressure on the Germans'

Tesla accounts for almost one in three electric vehicles sold in western Europe, and worldwide sales of its Model 3 have already overtaken those of BMW's 3 Series sedans, although "German sales remain disappointing", according to analyst Matthias Schmidt.

Electric vehicles more broadly have fallen short of ambitions, with Chancellor Angela Merkel this year targeting one million on the road by 2022 -- two years later than she had previously aimed for.

"Elon Musk's decision in favour of Germany... adds more momentum to electric mobility than 100 summits called by the chancellor," said Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, head of the University of Duisburg-Essen's Center for Automotive Research.

"Competition has always made people better and faster, so it's good news for Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler too," he added.

But there is also no doubt Musk's move "puts pressure on the Europeans and the Germans," said Christoph Schalast, professor at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.

German giants are behind in adapting fleets to meet new European emissions limits, and have left it until late to commit to electric drive in a big way.

In the near term, bosses "won't be losing too much sleep, but the danger is if they wait too long with their own credible electric vehicle offerings, they may begin to lose some of their credibility," analyst Schmidt said.

A German car industry source told AFP they were relaxed about Tesla's announcement, hoping the competitor's arrival would accelerate the country's electric transition.

Elon Musk hailed hailed "outstanding" German engineering as a factor in his 
choice of a site near Berlin (AFP Photo/Jörg Carstensen)

'Made in Germany'

On stage Tuesday, Musk hailed "outstanding" German engineering as one factor playing into the choice for Berlin.

The capital can lend "creativity" and English-speakers, "the engineering and programming hipsters," while Brandenburg offers "a lower than average paid workforce in the former East Germany" and space to expand.

But Schmidt warned the Californian risks running into "bureaucratic hell" in Germany, with Musk's new site just a few kilometres (miles) from the Berlin-Brandenburg airport.

The planned hub is almost a decade behind schedule, largely down to problems with its fire suppression system.

Even without such dramatic delays, Tesla is unlikely to throw together a factory in the one year its new Chinese site required.

Work is to start in early 2020 with a budget of several billion euros (dollars), Brandenburg's economy minister was quoted by the news agency DPA as sayin

Daytime speed limit to be slashed to 100 kph to cut pollution: NOS

DutchNews, November 12, 2019 

Photo: Wikimedia Commons 

The cabinet is planning to cut the maximum speed limit to 100 kph nationwide between 6am and 7pm, in an effort to cut nitrogen-based pollution, sources have told broadcaster NOS.

 Higher speed limits of 120 kph and 130 kph would be allowed at night – on roads which currently have the higher speed limit, ministers are set to announce Wednesday. 

Ministers hope that cutting the speed limit will compensate for the extra pollution generated by the construction industry – particularly of new homes. A large number of building projects have been put on hold after the Council of State ruled current measures to reduce nitrous oxide and ammonia pollution are insufficient. 

Prime minister Mark Rutte has declined to confirm the speed limit cut, but says he aims to present the package of measures on Wednesday morning. 

Also on the table is a plan to add enzymes to cattle feed so they produce less ammonia in their manure, NOS said.

Ministers outline the government’s plans. Photo: Phil Nijhuis / HH

  • Stagnation of the current US Politics: Compassioned (US) leaders will arise in the future
  • Shortage of fresh/drinking water: Invention to make salt from salt water magnetic and remove it with water desalination process in high volumes
  • Pollution on Earth: 1 - Stop killing the environment! / 2 - The rise of temperature on Earth is “temporary” and is part of the "regular" Watercycle.
  • Replacement of current fossil energy source: Use of magnetics based (small/big) engines to produces electricity / free energy
  • Plastic pollution in the oceans: Invention to remove the plastics gradually from the oceans
Photo: The Ocean Cleanup

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Workers strike at Kuwait airport for better working conditions

Arab News - AFP, 11 November 2019

The right to strike is guaranteed for its citizens but foreign workers, who make up
a major portion of Kuwait’s labor force, do not have the right to strike. Above,
the Kuwaiti international airport. (AFP)

Monday’s strike by Kuwaiti staff did not affect flights, officials said

The right to strike is guaranteed for citizens in Kuwait, but such actions remain rare in the Gulf country

KUWAIT CITY: Hundreds of workers at Kuwait’s international airport held a one-hour strike Monday to demand better working conditions, threatening to stage longer walkouts in the coming days.

Ahmed Mohammed Al-Kandari, a union representative, said workers were calling for improved treatment and to be compensated for daily exposure to pollution and noise.

Monday’s strike by Kuwaiti staff did not affect flights, officials said.

The right to strike is guaranteed for citizens in Kuwait, but such actions remain rare in the Gulf country.

Foreign workers do not have the right to strike.

“Airport traffic is very normal,” Sheikh Salman Al-Hamoud Al-Sabah, head of the General Directorate of Civil Aviation, said.

Another official, Saleh Al-Fadaghi, the airport’s director of operations, also said flights were not affected.

“During the one-hour strike, 19 flights were operated as scheduled. There were five departures and 14 arrivals,” he said.

Kandari said the purpose of the strike was not to disrupt operations but “to make our voices heard.”

He added that Kuwaiti workers would hold a further two-hour strike on Wednesday and a 24-hour strike on Sunday if their demands are not met.

Of 4,500 civil aviation employees, 1,500 took part in Monday’s strike, he said.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Electric motorcycles ride to rescue in fuel-short Cuba

Yahoo – AFP, Carlos BATISTA, November 8, 2019

Electric motorcycle riders have come to the rescue of Cuban passengers
delayed by fuel shortages (AFP Photo/YAMIL LAGE)

Havana (AFP) - It is rush hour in Havana and the queue at the bus stop is longer than ever. Then a fleet of electric motorcycles appears, beeping their horns.

Surprised and relieved, passengers jump on the backs of the 50 or so electric mopeds.

It is a new solution for Cubans struggling with fuel shortages driven by US sanctions that have curbed oil imports.

Cuba has long been known for the classic American cars that people here lovingly maintain decades after they stopped being built.

But urban transport on the communist island is evolving.

The bikes' horns beep and some of the riders play reggaeton music -- but, being electric, their motors make hardly any noise.

A Chinese-made electric motorcycle costs between $1,800 and $2,300 in Cuba. A basic petrol-powered bike on the island can cost up to six times that.

Authorities estimate there are 210,000 electric motorcyles in use in Cuba 

Volunteer riders

The electric bikes -- with a maximum speed of about 50 kilometers (30 miles) per hour -- were first licensed for import in 2013.

They have multiplied in the streets since then -- and have come into their own with the recent fuel shortages.

"I really like this initiative, it helps a lot with the economy," says passenger Yanet Figueroa, 42, sitting on the back of one of the bikes.

"It really helps people who have great need of it."

Cuba plunged into a fuel crisis in September after Washington imposed restrictions on fuel shipments from Cuba's top ally Venezuela.

Cuba had to make do in September with just 30 percent of its usual fuel supply and the level has still not recovered -- it is forecast to reach no more than 80 percent this month.

With the public transport network badly hit, President Miguel Diaz-Canel has called on drivers to pick up passengers voluntarily.

The owners of electric bikes known as "motorinas" answered the call.

"We have volunteered to do this as a service to society," says one of the drivers, Javier Capote, 33.

"It is going very well. We are very happy about it."

The president himself during a televised address mentioned "those famous... what do you call them, the bikes? The 'motorinas', that have come out to help."

Mechanics have work to do servicing Cuba's fleet of electric motorcycles

Electric bike era

Cuban authorities estimate there are 210,000 electric motorcycles currently in use on the island.

That figure is expected to rise as the government in late October began to sell them with the price capped at $1,700.

Those who make a living servicing the bikes are pleased by that move as it will bring down costs.

"It seems like a very good idea to us mechanics," says one, Enrique Alfonso, 47, in his workshop.

He recalls the economic crisis of the 1990s that followed the end of cheap imports from the Soviet Union.

"That was the era of (affordable) Chinese bicycles. Now we are in the era of electric motorcycles," he says.

"With everything that is going on the country, they have become obtainable for a lot of people."

Members of the Electric Motorcycles of Cuba club ride passengers home


The electric bikes had a mixed reception at first. Silent and often inexpertly ridden, they are often involved in accidents in a country that already suffers from thousands of crashes a year.

Officials say that of the 7,000 road accidents recorded so far this year, a third have involved electric motorcycles.

Authorities have responded by insisting riders have a license and register their vehicles.

The flourishing of electric bikes follows several years of gradual opening-up of Cuba's state-run economy. It has also coincided with a digital mini-revolution.

Thanks to the availability of 3G-standard internet connections since last year, riders can network more easily.

The 3G connections helped spawn the Electric Motorbikes of Cuba online group, a club with more than 80 members.

It started out as a club for enthusiasts seeking to have "healthy fun and share the passion we all have for electric motorcycles and road safety," says its president Osdany Fleites, a 37-year-old taxi driver.

"The motorcycles do not pollute the environment, they do not make a noise," he says.

Now the club has evolved to have an environmental and "social purpose."

Along with another club, Eracing, its members take part in rescuing bus passengers stuck due to the fuel shortages.

They have also taken part in environmental clean-up jobs, helping eradicate an infestation of troublesome giant snails in Havana, donated blood and visited children in a cancer ward.