KUALA LUMPUR: Crude palm oil (CPO) futures on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives are likely to trade between RM2,000 and RM2,050 a tonne next week on demand from China, India, Pakistan and the Middle East, said a dealer. [...]
With American women increasingly delaying having children, fewer U.S. babies were born in 2018 than in any year since 1986, according to provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).
About 3.7 million babies were born in the U.S. last year, 2% fewer than in 2017, according to the NCHS. Birth numbers fell across racial groups, with declines charted among white, black, Hispanic, Asian and American Indian women.
In 2018, the U.S. saw not only a 32-year low in total births, but also a record-setting dip in national fertility rates. Based on 2018 data, a group of 1,000 women would be expected to have 1,728 babies in their collective lifetimes, the data say—well below the 2,100 required to replace aging generations without accounting for immigration and emigration, according to the NCHS.
The report, however, deals only with a snapshot in time and may not represent “births foregone. It’s simply births that have been postponed,” says Brady Hamilton, a statistician demographer at the NCHS and lead author of the new report. “Women generally do have, in the end, two children”—they may just have them later in life than did women of previous generations.
In other words, the data don’t suggest that Americans are actually getting less fertile, biologically, says Hans-Peter Kohler, a sociology professor at the University at Pennsylvania who specializes in fertility and was not involved in the NCHS study. Instead, Kohler says, the declining birth rates seem to be driven mostly by sociological reasons, as couples choose to delay starting a family so they can stay in school or the workforce longer, either by choice or out of financial necessity. The NCHS’ latest numbers support that theory: Birth rates fell for younger age groups, but rose slightly for women ages 35 to 44.
Population replacement is an important marker of a country’s public and economic health. If the number of older adults dying and aging out of the labor market is far larger than the number of babies born to eventually take their place, a country’s economy and social services can become unsustainable. But compared to other countries of similar socioeconomic status, like Japan and many in Europe, Kohler says the U.S.’ birth rate is keeping relatively good pace with its rate of population aging.
“At the moment, there is no need to panic or see these trends as overly dramatic,” Kohler says.
In fact, some of the trends detailed in the NCHS report “are welcome news” for public health, Hamilton says, like the 7% decline in teen birth between 2017 and 2018—enough for the teen birth rate to hit a new record low, even after years of declines.
That’s good, of course, because most teenage pregnancies are “mistimed” or “unwanted,” Kohler says. He notes that the downturn in birth rates for teenagers likely reflects more widespread use of effective and long-lasting forms of contraception, perhaps due to expanded access under the Affordable Care Act. [...]
NEW YORK (May 17): Brent crude is set for its biggest weekly advance since early April, as tensions swirl in the Persian Gulf.
The global benchmark... [...]
A Sri Lankan Tamil woman reacts as she takes part in a ceremony at Mullaivaukkal on the outskirts of Jaffna. — AFP photos
MULLAITTIVU, Sri Lanka: Still reeling from the Easter terror attacks, Sri Lanka commemorates this weekend 10 years since the end of a bloody civil war that killed at least 100,000 people, from which the scars are still not healed.
Security was tight in the north of the island, home to Sri Lanka’s minority Tamils, ahead of solemn ceremonies.
Sri Lanka’s government and top military brass were due to hold their own commemoration in Colombo on Sunday.
On May 18, 2009 government forces brought their no-holds-barred military offensive to an end at a lagoon in the northern coastal district of Mullaittivu with the killing of Velupillai Prabhakaran, leader of the rebel Tamil Tigers.
A Sri Lankan trooper stops a vehicle for security check during a road block in the district of Mullaittivu.
Sri Lanka’s then-president Mahinda Rajapakse declared an end to the 37-year separatist conflict – marked by massacres, suicide bombings and assassinations – between Tamil militants and the central government, which is dominated by the majority Sinhalese.
But for thousands of war widows and other victims on both sides, this marked the start of a new struggle: to find out the fate of their loved ones.
About 20,000 people are still missing, including 5,000 government troops.
Nagaraja Sureshamma, 65, who lost one son and is still looking for the other, recalled the horrors of the final months and how civilians scrambled to escape indiscriminate attacks and shelling.
“We were all going together, but my son happened to go on a different route… Ever since, we have not been able to find him,” Sureshamma said.
Sri Lankan forces have been accused of killing about 40,000 Tamil civilians in the final months of the war, a charge successive governments have denied.
Several mass graves containing skeletal remains have been found in the past two decades, but only a handful of those buried have ever been formally identified.
Until recently, even remembering the war dead was considered subversive and annual memorial services by Tamils were trashed by government forces.
Government forces have set up memorials in the north for fallen security forces and bulldozed Tiger cemeteries, obliterating any sign of the rebels who at their zenith controlled a third of Sri Lanka.
The International Crisis Group (ICG) said in a recent report that the new government’s promised political reforms and accountability for wartime atrocities have failed to materialise.
“For many Sri Lankans living in the bitterly contested north and east, the war has never quite ended,” it said. — AFP
The post Sri Lanka marks decade since end of bloody civil war appeared first on Borneo Post Online. [...]
Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri speaks during a press conference in Parliament March 19, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
SHAH ALAM, May 18 — Umno vice president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has quit as Selangor Umno chairman, effective May 1.In a statement here today, Ismail said Selangor Umno deputy chairman Datuk Mat Nadzari Ahmad Dahlan assumes the role of acting chairman pending an announcement from Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, who is also carrying of the duties of the president, on who would be appointed to the post.“Insya Allah (God willing) the announcement will be made after Aidilfitri (next month),” he said. — Bernama [...]
Want to save a few hundred dollars when buying a smartphone? Online marketplaces and seller platforms offer countless used phones priced well below their original cost. [...]
Industry executives are facing rising pressure to clean up their energy and resource-intensive business. ― AFP pic
SAN FRANCISCO, May 18 ― Technology is often touted as a solution to the world's environmental challenges, but it is also part of the problem: industry executives are facing rising pressure to clean up their energy and resource-intensive business.How much energy, for example, does it take to send a one-megabyte email?Around 25 watts per hour, representing 20 grammes of carbon dioxide emissions, according to France's CNRS research centre.It might not seem like much, but the Radicati research group expects 293 billion emails will be sent every single day this year and the power needs to be generated ― mostly from fossil fuels.Apps can quickly drain and shorten the life of phone batteries, with Snapchat a particularly “heavy” messaging service because it automatically turns on the camera.Then there are the server farms crunching mammoth amounts of data worldwide, which require huge amounts of electricity both to run and to power airconditioning which keeps the equipment from getting too hot.“Under the current global energy mix, the share of greenhouse gas emissions from information and communication technologies will rise from 2.5 per cent in 2013 to four per cent in 2020,” the French think-tank Shift Project said in a recent report.That makes the sector more carbon-intensive than civil aviation (a 2 per cent share of emissions in 2018) and on track to reach automobiles (8 per cent), it said.'Huge impact' In February, Greenpeace warned about the concentration of data centres, in particular those used by Amazon, in the US state of Virginia, which reportedly help transmit 70 per cent of the world's internet traffic.To cope with the voracious energy needs, the local power company Dominion turned to non-renewable fuel sources ― drawing the ire of tech firms.Most have pledged to use as much “clean” energy from wind farms or other sources as possible, with Facebook signing a partnership with Greenpeace several years ago.“Our use of data, videos and streaming, the cloud, it's invisible to us but it can have a huge impact and require a use of non-renewable energies in a way that would surprise a lot of people,” said Gary Cook, an IT campaigner at Greenpeace.“Given this rapid growth, in numbers and size, decisions on electricity sources is becoming absolutely critical,” he said.The surge in video and streaming services poses a particular challenge: already in 2017 Greenpeace estimated that the viral K-pop sensation “Gangnam Style”, viewed more than 2.7 billion times, had consumed a year's worth of production from a small nuclear power plant.Video streaming now accounts for nearly 60 per cent of all “downstream” internet traffic from servers to individual devices, with Netflix alone generating 15 per cent, according to an October report from US network analysis and services group Sandvine.Music services also take a toll. In 2000, researchers at the Universities of Glasgow and Oslo found that greenhouse gas emissions from the US music industry alone stood at 157 million kilogrammes in 2000.But by 2016, even as the use of plastics for CDs and their cases plummeted, the storage and sharing of online music files in the US generated between 200 million and 350 million kilogrammes of greenhouse emissions.Recycling costs Tech executives say they're taking action to shrink their environmental footprints.Carole Marechal of DATA4, which operates data centres in France, Italy and Luxembourg, said her clients can get real-time readings of how much energy and water they are using, as well as their share of greenhouse gas emissions.“But it's not limited only to energy consumption,” Marechal said, pointing to the energy and resources required to build digital infrastructures worldwide, and to recycle them.The Basel Action Network NGO estimates that the European Union exports some 350,000 tons of electronic and electrical waste (a category that also includes appliances like washing machines) to developing countries each year.Activists have denounced the practice, saying it burdens poor countries with toxic residues that eventually contaminate the local environment.The race to extract the rare-earth metals essential for modern phones and other devices, often leading to deforestation and water pollution, is also an environmental threat in Africa and Asia in particular.The Shift Project notes as well that the push for smaller yet more powerful devices makes recycling even more costly.“The energy needed to separate the metals increases as a function of the complexity of the assembly,” it warned. ― AFP-Relaxnews [...]
Visitors are welcomed by Heasy by Hease Robotics at VivaTech 2019. ― AFP pic
PARIS, May 18 ― To complement the human employees running VivaTech 2019, organisers of the conference ― and even some exhibitors ― also deployed an army of service robots to help visitors find their way, browse through the presentation schedule, and even play games.At Viva Technology 2019, a slew of autonomous and artificially intelligent robots were let loose throughout the conference ― not to take over the human race, but instead to guide it through all the presentations, exhibitions, and workshops. The following are some of the fully-autonomous robots that may roll up to you during VivaTech to lend a helping hand.Heasy by Hease RoboticsImmediately upon entering the VivaTech conference building, visitors are welcomed by a handful of Heasy service robots that are as tall as a person. Dominating their torsos is a massive touchscreen display where conference goers can access the event schedule and get recommendations for must-see innovations. Above the body of the unit is a second screen which displays a set of welcoming eyes that make interacting with the robot feel more natural.
Pepper robots by Softbank Robotics could be found peppered all over the conference halls offering assistance. ― AFP pic
Pepper by Softbank RoboticsWhile the Heasy units were primarily rolling around the entrance to welcome guests, Pepper robots by Softbank Robotics could be found peppered all over the conference halls offering assistance. Not only is Pepper an informative bot, but it can recognize faces and emotions. If you were to approach one at VivaTech, its light-up eyes would follow your face and strike up a conversation.
UBTech's Cruzr humanoid service robot at VivaTech 2019. ― AFP pic
Cruzr by UBTech RoboticsIf you were to walk deeper into Hall 1 of the conference venue, you would surely come across UBTech's Cruzr humanoid service robot. It shares many of the same abilities as Heasy and Pepper: internet access, facial recognition, and autonomous movement among other skills. Cruzr, however, was seen ordering lunch for a visitor to demonstrate how the bot could be used for room service in a hotel.
Diya One X by Partnering Robotics is designed to improve human well-being. ― AFP pic
Diya One X by Partnering RoboticsRolling about the conference halls purifying the air was a robot called Diya One X by Partnering Robots. Like the others, this bot moved around completely autonomously but instead of offering guidance, it was designed to improve human well-being. Diya One X is a mobile air purifier through which you can see information about your environment like lighting, humidity, and noise levels as well as temperature.Whether you saw and met these robots at VivaTech 2019 or not, you're bound to see one similar in the future as autonomous technology continues to mature. ― AFP-Relaxnews [...]
With the upcoming Ramadan and Hari Raya festive season, Volvo Cars Malaysia...
The post Volvo launches #StandForSafety campaign with Lite FM and Sinar FM appeared first on Marketing Magazine Asia. [...]
Nobody buys an island for just a bit of quick fun
By James Tarmy / BLOOMBERG
NO ONE buys a private island looking for a faster pace. The key is creating a place that functions as an actual refuge — one where you can live for weeks, if not months, without interruption.
But when Eric Bloch’s grandfather bought a 32-acre (13ha) island off the coast of Roatan, one of the bay islands of Honduras, it was only equipped to be a weekend getaway. “He bought it in 1962, and I think it cost about US$2,000 (RM8,340),” says Bloch, an architect in Zurich. At the time, his grandfather lived on the mainland, where he owned fruit plantations.
“The island was completely uninhabited,” Bloch says. “He put in a runway and dug a canal where you could dock boats.”
After his grandfather’s death, Bloch’s mother inherited the island. In the mid-1990s, she decided to develop it into a permanent compound where the family could spend weeks at a time. She built it out of what Bloch calls “simple tropical- wood structures”.
The exception, he says, is a reinforced-concrete hurricane shelter.
Fort Morgan Cay, Honduras
• Price: US$19.5 million.
• Size: 32 acres.
• Bedrooms: 8, plus staff quarters for 12.
The main house has eight bedrooms, each of which has an en suite bathroom. There are also facilities where a staff of up to 12 can stay. The island, Bloch says, is designed to sustain a comparatively large group. Its solar panels “work about 85% of the time — it depends on how many people are on the island”, he says. “If you have 16 friends and they’re all city people who want to blow-dry their hair, it’s going to drain the batteries pretty quickly.” (Should the system fail, there are generators.) Together, two massive cisterns can store 40,000 gallons (151,416 litres) of water, enough to get through six months of dry season. The only thing the location lacks, he says, is food, which has to be brought in.
“The island is beautiful for 10 days or two weeks,” he says. “If you wanted to stay for longer, you could, but after a while, it gets pretty lonely. You want to see people.”
Motukawaiti Island, New Zealand
• Price: About US$10.7 million.
• Size: 94 acres.
• Bedrooms: 5.
Located in the Cavalli Islands, near the northern tip of New Zealand, Motukawaiti is the only one of the cluster left in private hands. The complex has a large contemporary house with an open-plan kitchen and living room, which is adjacent to two smaller studios with sleeping areas. The entire compound is powered by solar panels and a backup generator, and water is collected on roofs and stored.
Much of the island is wild, but there are a few luxury amenities, including a pool and lounge areas. It’s accessible by boat from Matauri Bay, which itself is fairly remote — Auckland is more than a three-hour drive away.
Potato Island, Connecticut
• Price: US$4.9 million.
• Size: 1 acre.
• Bedrooms: 4.
East of New Haven, this tiny plot of land is a few minutes’ boat ride off the coast and part of the storied Thimble Islands. The house, set on the tip of the island and overlooking the Long Island Sound, was built in 1912 and renovated in 1998. Inside are stone fireplaces, an eat-in kitchen, large living areas, and a master suite with a jacuzzi and steam shower. The property has manicured gardens and lawns and a swimming pool with a separate outdoor granite hot tub. You can access the house only by boat (unless you’re willing to let a helicopter obliterate those flower beds), but the deep-water dock can accommodate a variety of craft. The house has its own solar panels and a water hookup to the town of Branford on the mainland.
Jewel Caye, Belize
• Price: In the range of US$3 million to US$5 million.
• Size: 2 acres.
• Bedrooms: 8, plus staff quarters for 10.
Set in the Caribbean 6.5 miles (10.5km) east of Belize’s Hopkins Village, the compound has a master house on each end of the island, with attached guest accommodations.
Between them are staff quarters that sleep 10. The pièce de résistance is a floating “clubhouse” accessed by a 120ft walkway. It has a kitchen, dining room, bar and glass bottom, so guests can admire the coral reef below. The island has 33,550 gallons of water storage and solar-powered electrical systems, satellite television and WiFi.
Ilha da Josefa, Brazil
• Price: 32 million reals (RM33.78 million).
• Size: 13.6 acres.
• Bedrooms: 8.
Located in Angra dos Reis, a vacation area between Rio and São Paulo, the island compound comprises 16 buildings with a combined 21,000 sq ft of space. Although there’s a helipad, the mainland is only a 10-minute boat ride away. With its proximity to the coast, power is supplied by underwater electrical lines, but there’s a freshwater source on Ilha da Josefa itself.
Eshpabekong Island, Ontario
• Price: US$2.5 million.
• Size: 10.5 acres.
• Bedrooms: 3.
Eshpabekong, a group of four small islands in Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay, is about two hours north of Toronto (the travel time includes the drive and boat ride). There’s a timber-frame cottage on the 10.5-acre main island, as well as a 100-ft-long dock where boats moor once the lake unfreezes in late spring. Solar panels and backup generators provide power. The current owners have secured municipal approval to build a second cottage plus two sleeping cabins should buyers want to create a fully realised compound.
Lataro Island, Vanuatu
• Price: About US$10 million.
• Size: Approximately 800 acres.
• Bedrooms: 4, plus staff quarters for 18.
Lataro is covered in old-growth rainforest and sits among almost four sq miles (10 sq km) of coral reefs; 90% of the island is a conservation reserve.
(It’s one of the only remaining habitats of the highly endangered coconut crab, the largest terrestrial crab on the planet.) The compound has solar power and ample water reserves. The South-Pacific property is in fact a 75-year leasehold that expires in 2082.
DAP’s Lim Kit Siang says Chief Justice Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat’s message following her appointment proved she was the right person for the job to return the judiciary towards excellence. — Bernama pic
KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 — Veteran lawmaker Lim Kit Siang said Malaysia is progressing steadily on the path towards institutional and political reform with a inspector-general of police and a chief justice leading the way.As Pakatan Harapan enters the second year of its administration, he said Chief Justice Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat’s message following her appointment proved she was the right person for the job to return the judiciary towards excellence.“She declared that the independence of the judiciary does not mean that the judiciary is immune from criticism or accountability to the public which it serves,” Lim said in a statement.He praised Tengku Maimum for saying that the courts respect the right of the public to criticise judges' performance but the criticisms must be based on facts and done responsibly since unfounded and baseless criticisms against the judiciary would weaken the administration of justice and erode the confidence of the public in the judiciary.“The time has come for the Malaysian judiciary to produce luminaries not just in Malaysia but also in the international arena,” Lim said, citing the international renown of individuals including the late Lord President Tun Mohamed Suffian bin Mohamed Hashim and senior Federal Court judge Tan Sri Eusoffe Abdoolcader.Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador also made a great start by clearing the way for the establishment of the Independent Police Complaint and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) something which he noted had been blocked from implementation for some 14 years.“It is even more impressive that the new Inspector-General of Police is visiting police stations in plainclothes and alone, without prior notice or his outrider escorts, to listen to the grouses of police personnel,” Lim said.Alongside Tengku Maimum and Abdul Hamid, he said other appointments earlier this year and last year to pave the way for the changes and reforms include Speaker of Parliament Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas, Director-General of National Centre for Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption Tan Sri Abdul Kassim Ahmad, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Chief Commissioner Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull, and Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Datuk Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus.“I believe the second year of the Pakatan Harapan government in Putrajaya will see more reforms and changes in the democratic governance of Malaysia.“The stage is set for a greater pace to reset the nation-building process in the second year of Pakatan Harapan government in Putrajaya,” the Iskandar Puteri MP said. [...]
The filters and angles we use on Instagram and Snapchat are changing our perceptions of ourselves. [...]
I want to grow a few herbs in my apartment, but my kitchen window is right in front of the apartment dumpsters. I have some light filtering curtains setup that I would prefer to keep drawn (for obvious reasons). If I place the herbs right next to the curtains, will they get enough light? submitted by /u/TheTypographer1 [link] [comments] [...]
This post may contain affiliate/referral links. Read my full Disclosure/Disclaimer Policy. Herbal antibiotics have long been used by herbalists to ward off colds and flu, clear infections, treating respiratory problems and speed wound healing. Nature has served as humankind’s pharmacy for millennia. Nature has provided thousands of natural medicines and natural antibiotics over millennia. Most […]
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LONDON (Reuters) - Raheem Sterling scored a hat-trick as Manchester City crushed Watford 6-0 in the FA Cup final on Saturday to become the first team to win the English treble of league championship and both domestic cups in spectacular style. [...]
KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia is set to rise further next week to test the immediate resistance at 1,620 and the next resistance threshold of 1,650. [...]