Extreme winter weather

first_img David Emory Stooksbury is associate professor of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Georgians can expect a roller coaster winter with temperatures jumping between warm and extremely cold.The southeastern United States is currently in what is called a neutral phase of the El Niño – Southern Oscillation. The ENSO refers to the surface temperatures around the equator in the Pacific Ocean. The ENSO’s other two phases are El Niño and La Niña. Last winter, a La Niña ENSO phase influenced Georgia’s weather.The neutral phase normally brings a winter with wide swings in temperatures. This means that Georgia can expect extremely cold periods with single digits in the mountains and the lower 20s in south and coastal Georgia. Between the extremely cold periods, warm temperatures in the 70s can be expected.All devastating freezes that have affected the Southeast have occurred during neutral winters. Devastating freezes for Georgia have been ones with temperatures below zero in the mountains, around 10 degrees along the coast and single digits in south Georgia. This does not mean that every neutral winter will have a devastating freeze, but the odds are greatly increased. Because of the greater likelihood of a devastating freeze this winter, all Georgians are urged to take necessary precautions to protect life and property. The rainfall outlook is less certain. Rainfall during neutral winters is very variable. Some neutral winters are very wet while other are very dry. At this time, we don’t know what we’ll get. Whether Georgia experiences a wet or dry winter will depend on the number of low-pressure systems that develop in the northern Gulf of Mexico and move across the state.We do know, however, that the past 15 winters have been drier than the long-term average. Given this trend, the best rainfall outlook for the winter is to hedge our bets that the winter will be drier than the long-term average. A dry winter is not what the state needs. Northeast and north-central Georgia are still in extreme drought. Lakes Lanier, Hartwell, Russell and Clarks Hill are near or below their record lows. A very wet winter is needed for these lakes to fully recover.Additionally, a dry winter will set the state up for another drought. Georgia depends on winter rains to recharge the soil moisture, groundwater and reservoirs for the heavy water use in summer. If the state does not receive adequate rains this winter, the probability of the drought expanding will increase. David E. Stooksbury Experts/Sources: By David E. StooksburyUniversity of Georgialast_img read more

‘Don’t Expect Major New Coal-Fired Plants’ in the U.S.

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享E&E News: About 16 percent of the U.S. coal fleet has retired in the past five years, but don’t expect major new coal-fired plants to fill that void.The federal government counts four new coal projects on a list of planned power plants nationwide. Three of those face long odds, and none will be able to replace the millions of tons in lost coal demand resulting from recent retirements, even as the Trump administration has vowed to revive the ailing industry.The developer of a proposed 320-megawatt unit in Wyoming is facing jail time after pleading guilty to stealing government cash. A Kentucky coke plant that would have generated electricity as a byproduct has been scrapped. And a planned $2.1 billion plant in Georgia has idled.The sole U.S. coal facility under construction: a tiny plant being built by the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.The dynamic amounts to an existential crisis for the U.S. coal industry. While coal still accounts for roughly a third of U.S. power generation, the industry is slowly contracting as plants retire and utilities replace them with natural gas and renewables. American Electric Power Co. Inc., one of the country’s largest coal-burning utilities, recently announced plans to build a $4.5 billion wind farm in Oklahoma . PacifiCorp, another coal-centric power company, has similar plans to upgrade its wind fleet while slowly transitioning away from power plants fueled by the black mineral.Utilities entered 2017 with plans to retire 4.5 gigawatts of coal — or 2 percent of 2016 U.S. coal capacity — and add 11 GW of natural gas and 8.5 GW of wind, according to figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.The trend has prompted a series of rescue efforts. West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) has proposed a $15-per-ton subsidy for utilities burning Appalachian coal In Congress, there is an effort afoot to expand tax credits for power plants that use carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). (Both efforts hint at coal’s long-term challenges and the reason for the dearth of planned coal plants.“There are two big risks for coal generation right now. One is gas prices stuck at low levels for a long time. Second, developers take on a lot of environmental risk in the future,” said Travis Miller, who directs utilities research at Morningstar Inc. “So environmental risk might not be a risk for four years, obviously referring to the presidential administration, or eight years.Full article: Will the U.S. ever build another big coal plant? ‘Don’t Expect Major New Coal-Fired Plants’ in the U.S.last_img read more

Berger: Regulators, Congress must coordinate on fintech

first_imgNAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger urged key members of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) to consider enacting regulation to achieve a level playing field between fintech companies and traditional financial institutions as he shared the association’s new fintech whitepaper.“In the paper, NAFCU advocates for regulator coordination with Congress to ensure that credit unions and fintech companies compete on a level playing field where collaboration is valued and consumers are appropriately protected,” Berger said. He shared the whitepaper directly with NCUA Board Chair Rodney Hood and Members Todd Harper and Mark McWatters, CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.NAFCU developed its whitepaper to chart a path towards regulatory coordination between traditional financial institutions and fintech companies. NAFCU is active in the fintech landscape: The association has worked closely with the Federal Reserve and other stakeholders on making the U.S. payments system faster and more secure, and is also a member of two blockchain consortia to give credit unions direct access to use cases being developed. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »last_img read more

Tomatoes confirmed as source of Salmonella outbreak

first_img Acheson said the next step is a trace-back investigation to determine where and when the restaurants purchased the tomatoes and to try to identify the involved production facilities and farms. “It may be a couple weeks before we have a common denominator,” he said. See also: Nov 3, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – Federal officials said today they have zeroed in on restaurant tomatoes as the cause of a recent nationwide Salmonella outbreak. Acheson said he’s not sure if produce contamination is increasing or if more outbreak reports are due to better recognition of illness or higher consumption of fresh produce. Braden said another factor may be the increased centralization of the fresh produce industry over the past several decades. Larger food-processing operations, he said, may face a greater risk of cross-contamination than smaller, less centralized operations. CIDRAP overview of salmonellosishttp://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/fs/food-disease/causes/salmoview.html At a press conference, Christopher Braden, MD, chief of outbreak response and surveillance in the foodborne disease branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said 183 Americans from 21 states were sickened in the outbreak. Two Canadians also fell ill. Twenty two (12%) patients were hospitalized, which Braden said was typical for a Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium outbreak. The Salmonella outbreak is the second major produce-contamination event in recent months. In late August and September, fresh spinach contaminated with Escherichia coli O157:H7 sickened 204 people in 26 states. Three deaths were linked to the outbreak.center_img A case-control study, which involved interviews with sick and well people about their recent food histories, helped the CDC narrow the cause to restaurant tomatoes, Braden said, adding that the contaminated products were not linked to a specific chain or type of restaurant or a specific growing region. The organism typically causes fever and nonbloody diarrhea that resolves in a week. Several disease outbreaks involving contaminated tomatoes have occurred in the past 7 or 8 years, Acheson said. The FDA met with Florida and Virginia tomato producers in 2004 and 2005 to discuss food safety problems. He said the next such industry forum, cosponsored by the University of Florida and the Florida Tomato Exchange, will be held in Orlando at the end of November. The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now consider the outbreak over, and they don’t believe the public is at risk. David Acheson, MD, chief medical officer for the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said all of the tomatoes associated with the outbreak have been destroyed, thrown out, or eaten by now. “So there’s no need for a warning for consumers,” he said. The CDC detected the outbreak 2 weeks ago through PulseNet, an electronic network for sharing molecular fingerprinting (pulsed-field gel electrophoresis) data. At the same time, states were noticing clusters of patients who had the same strain and genetic fingerprint. The CDC said cases in the outbreak have been reported since Sep 1. Most of the states affected are in the eastern half of the nation.last_img read more

New corporate raider targets ScotMet

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Indonesia’s inflation hits record 20-year low in August amid declining purchasing power

first_imgIndonesia recorded core inflation of 2.03 percent in August, while administered prices were up 1.03 percent. At the same time, food prices recorded an annual deflation of 1.09 percent.The pandemic has hit Indonesian consumers hard, with millions losing their jobs due to a cooling economy as a result of the COVID-19 physical restrictions. Household consumption, which typically accounts for more than half of Indonesia’s gross domestic product (GDP), shrank 5.51 percent, deeper than overall economic contraction of 5.32 percent in the second quarter of the year.The CPI recorded a 0.05 percent month-to-month (mtm) deflation in August, due primarily to the falling prices of poultry, shallots and air travel. In comparison, the CPI saw 0.12 percent mtm inflation in August 2019.The steepest deflation in August was recorded in food, beverage and tobacco prices (0.86 percent) as well as transportation prices (0.14 percent). Meanwhile, the highest inflation was recorded in personal care and other services (2.02 percent), including gold, and in education (0.57 percent). Indonesia recorded the lowest inflation in two decades in August as consumer prices fell due to weakening purchasing power, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) announced on Tuesday.BPS said Indonesia’s consumer price index (CPI) declined to 1.32 percent in August. The CPI fell further below Bank Indonesia’s 2020 inflation target of 2 to 4 percent to reach the lowest level since May 2000, as the global health crisis continued to batter the country’s economy and consumer spending.“Inflation in many countries slowed [and] even headed into deflation, as the COVID-19 pandemic delivered a severe blow to [both] the demand and supply sides,” BPS head Suhariyanto told a virtual press briefing on Sept. 1. “The declining trend in core inflation showed that purchasing power has yet to recover.” The personal care and education segments resisted deflation due to an increase in gold prices, while the new academic year led to seasonal inflation due to increased tuition for primary, secondary and tertiary education, said Suhariyanto.The increasing trend in gold prices indicated a higher risk of a recession in the third quarter, said Bank Mandiri chief economist Andry Asmoro. He added that easing core inflation indicated “significantly weaker demand” that had “still not recovered”.The major contributor to annual inflation this year would be “the increasing gold prices due to uncertainty in the global financial markets”, Andry wrote in a research note made available to The Jakarta Post. He also expected inflation to reach 1.95 percent by the yearend, lower than the 2.59 percent inflation recorded last year as well as the central bank’s target range.“We view that the increased money supply from the economic stimulus, namely [the] quantitative easing and burden sharing [policies], will have a limited impact on the inflation rate this year. This condition will support the central bank in continuing to accommodative the monetary policy,” he said.Bank Indonesia (BI) has cut the benchmark interest rate four times this year to 4 percent, the lowest since 2016, to cushion the economy from the impacts of the pandemic. The central bank is also continuing in its role as a standby buyer of government bonds and is taking part in a debt monetization scheme to help the government fund its COVID-19 response.The fiscal authority has earmarked Rp 695.2 trillion (US$47.2 billion) in stimulus measures to revive the economy and stimulate domestic demand, even as consumers reined in spending while the government restarted economic activities in August to accelerate recovery.Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said recently that the economy was projected to shrink another 2 percent in the worst-case third-quarter scenario for an estimated annual contraction of 1.1 percent.Topics :last_img read more

Baltics roundup: Latvia, Lithuania look to system reforms

first_imgIntroducing personal accounts for the first pillar, to pay out amounts relating to the individuals’ contributions over their lifetime, irrespective of years of service. Returns would be indexed in line with economic growth, but would also be adjusted in line with specific demographic parameters. A state reserve fund would also be set up.More retirement flexibility, including a partial pension for those still working, and incentives for older people to work longer.Mandatory ‘lifecycle’ investing pre-retirement. The BoL said 70% of second pillar participants assumed either too little or too much risk, leading to insufficient returns or loss of funds. Participants were also not inclined to adjust their fund to their risk profile. The BoL has already submitted draft legislation to the Ministry of Social Security and Labour.Encouraging individuals paying 2% contributions for additional pension either to save more or return to SoDra, the social insurance fund. Participants should also be supported in voluntarily increasing contributions.A state pension fund to pay benefits under the second pillar system, thus assuming annuity risk. The BoL said this would incur less risk than using private insurers which might be financially vulnerable, while having a positive effect on administration charges and competition. Participation should be voluntary.In addition, the BoL said it would evaluate whether tax relief on third pillar pension fund contributions succeeds in encouraging retirement saving.Vasiliauskas also called for a long-term political agreement on pension reform.“Short-term issues have been addressed at the system’s expense, and inconsistent proposals have distorted the fundamentals. It is time to put an end to that,” he said.Latvia seeks to boost first pillar savingsMeanwhile, the Latvian state audit office (SAO) has concluded that the decision to create the country’s three-pillar pension system over 20 years ago was correct.It said the system provides stability regardless of economic and demographic changes, while allowing the government to make unpopular decisions such as increasing the retirement age in order to ensure sustainability.However, the SAO’s report highlighted the system’s failure to achieve the first pillar goal of a minimum pension of 20% of the average gross wage.One reason for this is the large number of individuals paying low, or no, contributions, including employees of very small companies and the self-employed. The SAO is seeking ways to ensure that these individuals pay their legal contributions into the system.It also recommended a review of fund management fees for second pillar pension funds, observing that the current level of 1% of asset values means increased charges as funds grow, regardless of the actual cost of the service.The SAO suggested setting up a pension budget reserve to ensure payment of pensions when the ratio of pensioners to working people rises.But it also warned that there was little public trust in the ability of the system to pay individuals a pension dependent on the capital accrued during their working life, and that publicly available information on the pension system was inadequate.The Ministry of Welfare has committed to implementing a number of the SAO’s recommendations by end-2020. “Significant and immediate” reforms are needed to Lithuania’s pension system in order to halt a worsening of future pensioners’ interests, according to the Bank of Lithuania (BoL).The BoL, regulator of the country’s second and third pillar funds, reported in a study that the current pension system model was not viable enough.Vitas Vasiliauskas, chair of the BoL board, said: “The scale of emigration, low birth rate, [and] population ageing suggests that, without pushing through significant reforms in the near future, the state will fail to ensure sufficient income for residents without increasing state debt.”The BoL has accordingly proposed a package of measures to withstand these challenges, including:last_img read more

Top pools on the Gold Coast market to make a splash this summer

first_img An indoor pool is on offer at 1-3 Queen Guineveres Place, Sovereign Islands. Perfect for those who like to be protected from the sun.It’s a distinctive castle that is looking for a new king or queen to take reign. And what would a regal residence be without an indoor pool which looks out onto the waterfront. The pool house has a heated 18m pool, perfect for year-round use, and automatic roof shutters to let the summer sun in on warm days. No this isn’t a luxury resort in Bali, it’s 131-135 Monaco St, Broadbeach Waters.This luxury Broadbeach Waters property sure does make a splash with its resort-style pool and cabana in the frontyard. There’s also a covered alfresco area with a kitchen and teppanyaki hotplate and outside bathroom to make the most of lazy summer days. When the weather cools, head to the backyard and jump in the riverside spa instead.The tropical offering has had a no-expense spared makeover and features five bedrooms and eight bathrooms. 6/1285 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach 48 Claymore Cres, Sorrento 38 Brittanic Cres, Sovereign Islands More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa9 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag1 day ago Water lovers will feel right at home at 38 Brittanic Cres, Sovereign Islands.Enjoying the pool while being waterfront is a luxury afforded to only the finest homes, and this Brittanic Cres property certainly is one. The property’s pool sits almost right on the water’s edge and is flanked by day beds. The five-bedroom house is the creation of renowned architect Bayden Goddard and has plenty of features that pair perfectly with poolside entertaining, including a 1250-bottle wine cellar and a professional Teppanyaki bar and outdoor kitchen. Luxury and fun combine at 48 Claymore Cres, Sorrento.Slide right into this modern Sorrento home where the backyard will ensure the whole family is having fun. The saltwater pool comes complete with a slide and there’s a covered deck to the side where the parents can relax while keeping an eye on the children.Inside, a trendy makeover will have you unwinding in style after a big day of lapping up the backyard’s features. center_img 1-3 Queen Guineveres Place, Sovereign Islands 131-135 Monaco St, Broadbeach Waters Feeling the heat? Check out these impressive property listings with incredible pools.SUMMER on the Gold Coast is synonymous with swimming and what better way to cool off than from the comfort of your own backyard. If the heat has you yearning for a house with a pool, then here are our top pick of properties on the market where you can dive right in. RELATED: Castle has multimillion-dollar price slashedRELATED: Top ‘healthy’ pools on the market Swim beachside at 6/1285 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach.You’ll feel on top of the world while taking a dip in this three-bedroom apartment’s pool.The three-storey penthouse is topped with an impressive open roof with outdoor entertainment areas and a pool that has incredible ocean views. It’s the perfect option for those who want to feel like they are at the beach, minus the sand.last_img read more

First Vessel Over 13,000 TEUs Calls at Port of NY & NJ

first_imgImage Courtesy: Port Authority of New York and New JerseyOn July 17, Hong Kong-based container carrier Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) and Salt Lake City, Utah, sailed the largest containership to date into the Port of New York and New Jersey.The 13,208 TEU OOCL Berlin measures longer than 1,200 feet – or the equivalent of 4 football fields – and is the largest vessel to transit under the newly elevated Bayonne Bridge roadway. To date, the longest ships to call New York and New Jersey terminals have been 1,000 feet long.The 144,100 dwt boxship was rotated to the Port of New York and New Jersey to load empties on one of its East Coast services.The OOCL Berlin, which is operated in a vessel sharing agreement with Ocean Alliance (OA), partners CMA CGM, COSCO Shipping, and Evergreen, sailed into Newark Bay to dock at Maher Terminals Berth 68.The OA and other carrier alliances have announced their intention to deploy even larger vessels of up to 18,000 TEUs to the Port of New York and New Jersey as cargo demand grows and as fewer East Coast ports are able to provide infrastructure sufficient to safely handle and work ships of this size.The OOCL Berlin, built at South Korean Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in 2013, will be joined by a sister ship of identical size, the OOCL Malaysia, later this summer, according to the Port of New York and New Jersey.As explained, three other ships from the same group — the OOCL Korea, the OOCL Chongqing, and the OOCL France — are being considered for future rotation to New York and New Jersey, based on market conditions in the second half of 2017.last_img read more

Ghana:Government declares 3 days of mourning

first_imgA fire Engine at the petrol station that caught fire in Ghana’s capital Accra#Ghana has declared three days of mourning for over 175 people who died in a fire disaster in the capital Accra.Sources say that number is expected to rise as recovery efforts continue because some of the bodies of the fire disaster may have been swept away by flood waters.President, John Mahama , has directed that the 3-day exercise starts on Monday June 8, 2015, to Wednesday June 10.President  Mahama visited the scene early on Thursday, calling the incident “catastrophic”.The president has also directed that the national flag must fly at half-mast for the mourning period. The move  came after a crisis meeting that was held at the flagstaff House over the devastation Thursday.Hundreds of workers had gathered in front of a Pharmacy Shop near the Filling Station to shelter themselves from the rains, but met their untimely deaths after the explosion.Several people were trapped indoors since the streets were flooded while the fire spread to where they were seeking refuge following a fuel leakage which covered the water.Dozens of passengers in commercial vehicles as well as private cars which had gone to buy fuel as well as park for safety at the time of the flood, were also trapped and died subsequently during the explosion.Many of the people who died in the fire were caught up in public transport vehiclesThe rains were so heavy to the extent of hampering rescue efforts at the petrol station.Local hospitals said morgues were full and security officials also said the death toll was likely to rise, as fire investigators picked through the charred debris to determine what caused the inferno. Dozens of motorcycles were seen burnt and the fire is also thought to have engulfed a bus full of passengers that was waiting on the forecourt.Local residents said many people had sought shelter under the filling station canopy from days of heavy rains that have engulfed Accra when the fire broke out.last_img read more