Sunday, October 24, 2021

Questions on Malaysia's Covid Deaths

The Malaysian Health Minister is keeping mum over Covid fatalities. 

Khairy Jamaluddin (left) has been asked to clarify the difference in the number of Covid-19 deaths reported by the CovidNow and Worldometer websites. 

Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang today pointed out that there is a serious discrepancy in fatality numbers between the official Malaysia government website for data and insights on Covid-19 and the reference website that provides counters and real-time statistics on Covid. 

“I am confused. CovidNow website says there were 42 Covid-19 deaths including 10 Brought-in-Dead (BID) yesterday bringing the cumulative total of Covid-19 deaths to 28,354 deaths but the Worldometer website says 222 Covid-19 deaths in Malaysia yesterday, bringing the cumulative total to 28,534 deaths”, Lim asserted. “If CovidNow website is right, then we have the lowest number of daily reported deaths in more than five months as on May 13, we recorded 38 Covid-19 deaths”. 

Already, Lim (right) has been kept waiting for Khairy’s long-delayed explanation about Malaysia’s high Covid-19 fatality rates, the high BID rates and why Malaysia is the worst-performing nation in ASEAN in terms of Covid-19 deaths. 

According to the DAP lawmaker, Malaysia is above the Asian and world averages for both the categories of ‘total Covid-19 deaths per million population’ and ‘daily Covid-19 deaths per million population’. 

“The Asian average for ‘total Covid-19 deaths per million population’ for Oct 21 is 247.78 and the ‘daily Covid-19 death per million population’ is 22.58, while the world average for ‘total Covid-19 deaths per million population’ is 626.01 and the ‘daily death per million population’ is 58.05. 

Malaysia is above both the Asian and the world averages, as Malaysia’s ‘total Covid-19 deaths per million population’ is 861.42 and ‘daily Covid-19 death per million population’ is 189.47”, he pointed out. 

Khairy is just playing dumb – he should promptly address the cold sober questions about the accuracy of our Covid numbers.

In the Scottish Premiership yesterday, Celtic overcame a stubborn St Johnstone to earn a 2-0 win and three important points. 

In the thirty-fourth minute, Giorgios Giakoumakis bagged his first goal for the club on his first start. And in the eightieth minute, Josip Juranovic who scored from the spot, made it two. 

Celtic stay fourth and are now within three points behind leaders Hearts and Rangers.

Blue is Out of Stock

On October 10, I had blogged about food and fuel shortages in the UK.

Now the US seems to be running out of everything. Supply-chain bottlenecks caused record shortages of everyday products from household goods and electronics to cars, food, and raw materials. 

For shoppers, empty shelves can be jarring, spurring panic-buying sprees. It's often the first sign people see that something may be wrong with the global supply chain. But, shortages are typically indicators of issues that have plagued the industry for months. 

I suppose you can say it all started because of Covid. 

In 2020, coronavirus shutdowns all over the world wreaked havoc on the global supply chain. Since, lingering virus-mitigation measures continue to limit efforts to return the supply chain to pre-pandemic levels. 

Also, industry players limited worker levels due to fears of the further spread of Covid-19 within their workplaces. In China, port terminals temporarily shuttered as a result of the country's Covid zero-tolerance policy, spawning backlogs at some of the world's largest ports. 

The world economy is out of sync because parts of it were forced to go offline when the pandemic started and getting all the industry players back in line at the same time is extremely challenging. And as countries open up again, demand for products is soaring. 

"All parts of the supply chain, most of which are built on 'lean' principles (no slack, little redundancy, from truck drivers to inventory in warehouses), were not prepared for this increase", Tony Pelli (right), Practice Director of Security & Resilience at BSI, told Insider. "While consumer demand can increase in a matter of months, it takes more time to increase port capacity, build warehouses, hire employees, etc, to meet that demand".

And the color blue has become a victim too. For some odd reason, it made the news.  

Dutch paint maker Akzo Nobel NV are running out of ingredients to make some shades of blue – the latest fallout from the global supply-chain disruptions that are spreading across manufacturers. 

“There is one basic color tint that is extremely difficult to get”, Chief Executive Officer Thierry Vanlancker said on Wednesday after publishing third-quarter earnings. “It’s creating complete chaos”! 

It didn’t appear out of the blue (no pun intended) but paint makers, which typically rely on hundreds of additives and chemicals, have warned for months of higher costs and logistical issues. 

And while demand is coming back to 2019 levels as some countries appear to be getting past the worst of the pandemic, the installed capacity for making raw materials hasn’t changed, Vanlancker said. 

I daresay this issue of supply and demand imbalance is happening in many countries – and it’s going to last for quite a while. Already, it is claimed that supply chain breaks will continue well into 2023. We will just have to live with it. 

Blue, blue, my world is blue!

Saturday, October 23, 2021

US Provokes China on Taiwan

China has been really patient and unbelievably tolerant with the US even as the latter continues to provoke the former on the matter of Taiwan. 

The US appears to be abandoning its long-held policy known as "strategic ambiguity", where Washington helps prop up the rebel province's defences but does not explicitly promise to come to its assistance. The policy is designed to deter a supposed Chinese invasion and also discourage Taiwan from formally declaring independence, something Beijing regards as a red line. 

And the Joe Biden administration, through both word and deed, persist to demonstrate that Taipei should have no worries about Washington's commitment to the island.

I must say that I am not surprised with Biden’s declarations of commitment to Taiwan. He must show bravado. Likewise, he’ll want to follow the US presidential tradition of immersing himself in foreign military adventures as a way to feed their ravenous military-industrial complex and to deflect from domestic issues plaguing the country. 

In fact, all recent US presidents have either started a new war or been involved in escalating or starting a new military operation on foreign soil. Since 1945, the United States has had an aggressive foreign policy, with its military getting engaged all around the world. 

In case you doubt me, here’s a list of their most prominent military interventions overseas: 

  • John F Kennedy’s botched Bay of Pigs invasion on the south coast of Cuba in April 1961. 
  • Lyndon Johnson launched a three-year campaign of sustained bombing of targets in North Vietnam and the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Operation Rolling Thunder in March 1965. The same month, US Marines landed on beaches near Da Nang, South Vietnam as the first American combat troops to enter Vietnam. 
  • Richard Nixon escalated the war into Laos and Cambodia – and for your info, he stalled the Vietnam peace talks – he had needed the war to continue, since he was running on a platform that opposed(!) the war – before finally settling for a peace agreement in January 1973 that was within grasp back in 1968. 
  • Ronald Reagan deployed US Marines to Beirut during the Lebanese civil war, the invasion of Grenada in October 1983 and the bombing of Tripoli in Libya. 
  • Under George HW Bush, the US invaded Panama codenamed Operation Just Cause – from mid-December 1989 to late January 1990 – in an attempt to overthrow Manuel Noriega. 
  • During Bill Clinton’s presidency, under “Operation Uphold Democracy”, US troops were dispatched to Haiti in September 1994 to unseat a military junta. 
  • George W Bush launched Operation Enduring Freedom, an offensive in Afghanistan in October 2001 and he initiated the war on Iraq with the launch of Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003. 
  • With Barack Obama, the United States and its lackeys conducted months-long air strikes in Libya, Iraq and Syria, besides increasing the deployment of US troops to Afghanistan – although he would ultimately drop the troop level to about 8,400 by the end of his term. 
  • Donald Trump may be pre-occupied with his own domestic missteps but he still managed to escalate military ops in Syria and he presided over the killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani via a drone strike. 

Joe Biden too wants to be “one of the boys” and I betcha, he’s no different. He’s itching for a war and China is in his sights.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Speech is Power!

Indeed, children should be encouraged to speak. Freely. Without fear. 

And when they speak, we shall listen. There’s much to learn from them. 

At WSD 2021 World Children’s Day, we provide them an opportunity to speak. One special day dedicated to them. November 20.

Truly, speech is power!

Today, we’ve secured 45 registrations todate. Let’s go for 60!

#unexpectedvoices #worldspeechday #sabahbolehbah

Much Ado About Chips

I stumbled upon this weird group on Facebook! These are Wetherspoon's customers who target the chips that come with their chow! 

Yes, you heard me correctly. For those not familiar with the UK, Wetherspoon, founded in 1979 is a national chain across the whole of the UK & Ireland, with award-winning pubs and hotels. 

And you should also know that Wetherspoon has been named ‘Pub Brand of the Year’ in the National Pub & Bar Awards for 2021. As this award is based directly on consumers’ feedback, it is supposed to show how valued the business is by pub-goers all around the UK. 

But alas, not everything is as rosy as you think. 

It seems that one major gripe is, as I have already hinted above, is their serving of chips! There's nothing worse than your long-awaited meal arriving, only for a measly portion of chips to be served alongside your main. 

Previously, one man was mocked after demanding a friend cover part of his bill after eating three of his chips. 

Even Gordon Ramsay was criticized over the portion of chips in his £18.50 fish and chips meal. 

For sure, it's a contentious issue – and thousands of Wetherspoon's customers have banded together in a Facebook group – where they actually count the number of chips per portion. 

Over 37,000 customers have joined this Facebook group called 'Wetherspoons Paltry Chip Count' to share their woes. It's a single-issue group with members required to share a photo of their meal alongside the number of chips they were served.

Diners have flocked to mock the pub chain for a vast discrepancy between the number of chips they apparently get at different boozers. 

One disgruntled customer found just 10 fries with their dish. But another found a whopping 41 chips on their plate when it arrived. 

Yet another vexed customer visited the Master Mariner in Wallasey, Merseyside and got just 10 with his burger. He said: "Finally now I have a place to share my pain"! 

Meanwhile, one fumed after being served just 14 chips at the Jolly Tars in Cleveleys, Lancashire. He has vowed never to return to 'Spoons, writing: "Been waiting almost seven years for this group. December 22, 2014, I remember it well. Fourteen chips. Haven't been to a Wetherspoons since. Probably best I don't talk about the ham and cheese panini". 

And one woman frequented The Chevalier Inn, in Plymouth, Devon, where she was unhappy with the size of the fries rather than the quantity. She said: "Twenty five of the smallest chips I've ever seen". 

One visionary saw beyond the appearance of his dish to applaud the 41 chips he got including one huge one. "Looks like baby s***e but that's besides the point", he said. "Forty-one chips here including that monster which is worth about five itself".

Meanwhile, one dedicated customer took a tape measure to The Barum Top Inn, in Halifax, West Yorkshire. "Twenty-one chips, average chip length was 2.75 inch overall", he boasted. "Good effort". 

Another went one step further and brought weighing scales to the Sir Henry Tate Chorley, Lancashire: “Twenty-six chips – fairly average – at a total weight of 189g, approximately 7.27g per chip”. 

But it appears some upset patrons might be wrongly judging the portion of chips, according to an employee. They wrote on Twitter that workers are required to serve the chips according to weight – and they are checked if they're serving the right amount. 

They wrote: "They're counting the chips not knowing Wetherspoon measures chips by weight (180g) and yes you get spot tested on your chip weight"

And then added: "Before you get signed off you fully have to scoop a portion of chips and it be within a certain range otherwise you fail".

Thursday, October 21, 2021

The Man of Steel is A Man of Tomorrow

I’m not a fan of Superman – but no matter. He’s becoming a Man of Tomorrow. 

Over the weekend, DC Comics held their second annual FanDome event, chock-full of announcements and teaser trailers and all that good hype stuff. 

During Saturday's event, Chief Creative Officer and Publisher Jim Lee announced that Superman would be getting a new mission statement "to better reflect the storylines that we are telling across DC and to honor Superman's incredible legacy of over 80 years of building a better world". 

In other words, he will no longer be fighting for the American way – but for a better tomorrow instead. Yay-y-y!

This idea of "truth, justice, and the American way", if you didn’t know, is not intrinsic to the character as originally created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1938. While truth and justice have always been central to the character, "the American Way" was only added during the popular Adventures of Superman serial that aired during World War II. By the time the Super Friends cartoon launched in the 70s, the achingly pandering nationalism was replaced by "truth, justice, and peace for all mankind". 

Whether you have an affinity for America or not, the Man of Steel will now fight for "Truth, Justice and A Better Tomorrow" – and to me, it fits better with the character anyway. 

Besides, dropping the “American Way” makes sense, given the increasingly global markets that DC is operating within. 

Chinese war epic ‘The Battle at Lake Changjin’ surpassed the 5 billion yuan ($782 million) mark at the China box office on Tuesday – its twentieth day of screening. 

This makes it the second highest-earning film of 2021 at the global box-office, according to Chinese ticketing platform Maoyan. 

In fact, the top two movies worldwide for this year both belong to Chinese hits that cater almost exclusively to Chinese audiences, with ‘The Battle at Lake Changin’ in second place and ‘Hi, Mom’ in first place with a whopping $821 million. 

In the meantime, Wednesday's grosses for ‘No Time To Die’ amounted to a worldwide tally of $474 million – and it is already on its way to cross the $500 million milestone over the weekend.

99.9% of Scientists Agree Humans Cause Climate Emergency

The scientific consensus that humans are altering the climate has passed 99.9%, according to research that strengthens the case for global action at the COP26 summit (October 31–November 12, 2021) in Glasgow, Scotland. 

The degree of scientific certainty about the impact of greenhouse gases is now similar to the level of agreement on evolution and plate tectonics, the researchers say, based on their study. This means there is practically no doubt among experts that burning fossil fuels, such as oil, gas, coal, peat and trees, is heating the planet and causing more extreme weather. 

A previous survey in 2013 showed 97% of studies published between 1991 and 2012 supported the idea that human activities are altering Earth’s climate. This has been updated and expanded by the study by Cornell University that shows the tiny minority of sceptical voices has diminished to almost nothing as evidence mounts of the link between fossil-fuel burning and climate disruption. 

The latest survey of peer-reviewed literature published from 2012 to November 2020 was conducted in two stages. First, the researchers examined a random sample of 3,000 studies, in which they found only found four papers that were sceptical that the climate crisis was caused by humans. Second, they searched the full database of 88,125 studies for keywords linked to climate scepticism such as “natural cycles” and “cosmic rays”, which yielded 28 papers, all published in minor journals. 

The authors said their study “Greater than 99% consensus on human caused climate change in the peer-reviewed scientific literature”, published on Tuesday in the journal Environmental Research Letters, Volume 16, Number 11, showed scepticism among experts is now vanishingly small.

“It is really case closed. There is nobody of significance in the scientific community who doubts human-caused climate change”, said lead author, Mark Lynas (right), a visiting fellow at Cornell University. 

This echoed the view expressed in August by the world’s leading scientific body, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which said: “It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land”. 

It appears that the general public does not yet understand how certain experts are, nor is it reflected in political debate. This is certainly very true in the US, where fossil fuel companies have funded a disinformation campaign that falsely suggests the science is not yet settled, similar to the campaign by tobacco industries to cast doubt on the link between smoking and cancer. 

The paper cites a 2016 study by the Pew Research Center that found only 27% of US adults believed that “almost all” scientists agreed the climate emergency was caused by human activity. 

Nothing that is surprising really because Americans don’t seem able to separate the truth from the lie. I guess they are easily deceived. Just consider the bullshit they readily swallowed about Covid and China – and you know they are dupable. No wonder their politicians can manipulate them at every given opportunity.