Drought Deepens.

first_imgAthens, Ga. – As Georgia starts its fourth year of drought and summer nears, dry conditions are expected to worsen. After a very wet March that brought temporary relief to topsoil moisture and stream flows, dry conditions have returned to the state.Since April 1, the entire state has received very little rain. Rain deficits since April 1 include 4.39 inches at Athens, 3.18 at Atlanta, 3.14 at Augusta (Bush Field), 3.76 at Columbus, 0.87 at Macon and 4.20 at Savannah.Because of the rain deficit, soils have quickly dried across the state. The Georgia Agricultural Statistics Service reports that soil moisture is short to very short in 82 percent of the state’s soils.Soil-moisture Losses HighIn the past six weeks, moisture losses from soils include 5.56 inches at Alma, 7.02 at Brunswick, 7.25 at Savannah, 6.27 at Midville, 5.03 at Plains, 6.64 at Tifton, 5.35 at Fort Valley, 4.30 at Griffin, 3.73 at Watkinsville, 4.60 at Dallas, 4.80 at Gainesville, 3.91 at Blairsville and 4.06 at LaFayette.The decrease in soil moisture is stressing pastures and row crops. GASS reports that only one-third of the corn, cotton and hay crops are in good to excellent conditions.Many farmers are having to irrigate just to get the crops started. Row-crop planting has slowed due to the dry condition.Stream Flows Extremely LowStream flows are extremely low, with daily low-flow records being set on the St. Mary’s River in Charlton County, Little River in Wilkes and Taliaferro Counties, Broad River in Elbert and Wilkes Counties and Chattooga River in Rabun County.Flow rates in other unregulated rivers and creeks across the state are near or below the 10th percentile. At the 10th percentile, in only 1 out of 10 years would stream flows be less than the current flows.The low stream flows in coastal Georgia are not good news for the shrimping and crabbing industries. Low stream-flow levels in southeast Georgia are associated with decreased white shrimp and blue crab landings.Wildfires IncreasingThe dry conditions are also increasing wildfires, with several new fires during the past few days. On May 16, the Georgia Forestry Commission rated wildfire danger as high to extreme over most of the state.The outlook for breaking the drought is not promising. Even with normal weather, the soils across the state will continue to lose moisture. Normal summer weather also means that streams and reservoir levels will continue to drop.From May through October, soil moisture loss due to evaporation and transpiration (plant water use) is generally greater than rainfall.Tropical Weather May Not HelpTropical weather is usually the only event that can cause rainfall to be greater than soil moisture loss during Georgia’s summers. With the extremely dry conditions of the state’s subsoils, even a tropical storm will probably not break the drought.With early indications that the summer will be hotter than normal, soil-moisture loss due to evaporation and transpiration may be greater than normal. This increase in soil-moisture loss will tend to increase the severity of the drought.Daily updated drought information from the University of Georgia is available at Daily updated weather information is available from UGA Engineering’s Georgia Environmental Monitoring Network at read more

More momentum in corporate demand for renewables

first_imgMore momentum in corporate demand for renewables FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Intelligence ($):Since 2013, nonutility companies have announced nearly 11,000 MW of power purchase agreements, or PPAs, for renewable energy, including 1,960 MW in 2018 as of April 12, according to Rocky Mountain Institute. And clean energy developers are seeing nonutility customers such as Microsoft as a significant source of demand.The renewable energy industry sees the trend maturing from companies procuring green energy for its data centers and other facilities to throughout their supply chain, said Andrew Slaughter, the director of Deloitte’s Center for Energy Solutions. For example, Apple Inc. has been getting its suppliers to commit to powering their production of Apple products solely with renewable energy as part of the tech giant’s sustainability goals. The room for demand growth combined with the renewable energy’s increasing efficiency will accelerate the trend’s momentum.“We’re in this kind of magic moment … where the desires of energy users in business is at a meeting place with the availability of solutions in terms of reducing costs of technology,” he said during an interview.Marlene Motyka, the leader of consulting firm Deloitte LP’s U.S. and global renewable energy operations, said the trend has become “a two-fold” story where companies are making decisions that are both economically and environmentally good.More ($):  Renewables enjoy ‘magic moment’ from corporate purchaseslast_img read more

Low costs drive PenFed to $20 billion asset mark

first_imgIt took more than 50 years for Pentagon Federal Credit Union to reach $1 billion in assets. But every year since 2001, the Alexandria, Va.-based credit union has been generating an average of approximately $1 billion in assets per year.And it’s set to reach $20 billion in assets by May 1, making it the third credit union in the nation to reach that milestone. The Vienna, Va.-based Navy Federal Credit Union is No. 1, with $73.2 billion in assets, and SECU of Raleigh, N.C., is second with $31.8 billion in assets.In a recent interview with CU Times, 49-year-old PenFed President/CEO James R. Schenck said the key to the credit union’s explosive growth has been and continues to be its lower-than-peer operating cost structure, which has enabled it to compete on product pricing for its 1.3 million members.Lower operating costs have also allowed PenFed to build a reputation as a destination employer to attract and retain talent and become a leader in giving back to the communities it serves through the PenFed Foundation and many other charitable initiatives. continue reading » 4SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Wright-Patt controversy: Boards control account refusal

first_imgRecent controversy over a credit union account opened to help the family of convicted Stanford University student Brock Turner got some in the industry questioning whether and how credit unions can refuse services to members, and it appears credit union boards play a big role in determining the answer.The controversy centered around the Beavercreek, Ohio-based Wright-Patt Credit Union, which faced harsh public criticism a few weeks ago after Turner’s father set up a legal support fund there. Turner, 20, was accused of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster on the Stanford campus. Earlier this month, he was sentenced to six months in jail plus three years of probation.The sentence, which some said was too light, sparked an outcry against the judge in the case, Turner’s parents and later Wright-Patt, which has $3.3 billion in assets and 321,000 members. Wright-Patt later posted a Facebook message that read in part: “Wright-Patt Credit Union is aware of the account in question that was established as a legal support fund by the father of an individual convicted of sexual assault in California. When opening a new account, we confirm the membership eligibility and qualifications of the account owner in adherence with our bylaws and applicable law. Beyond that, we respect the privacy of our members and their intended use of the account.” continue reading » 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Trump fumes, Democrats rejoice as the fate of the Senate hangs in the balance

first_imgUniversally speaking, no Americans wanted to come straight off an election only to head straight back into one where the stakes will be so high. But Democrats just logged a huge win despite the fact that it wasn’t the blue-wave repudiation of Trumpism we had all been dreaming of. We achieved the historic elevation of the first woman and first woman of color to the vice presidency—that alone feels so sweet, particularly given the racist, misogynist vitriol Trump has been mainstreaming for the past four years from the most powerful perch in the land. We clawed back the Upper Midwestern states that had been a Democratic bulwark for decades before 2016. We likely flipped not just one, but two critical Sunbelt states on the electoral map: Georgia and Arizona. That’s huge. As one pundit recently pointed out (unclear who, it’s all a blur), once the evolution from red to blue begins in these states with rapidly growing metro areas like Atlanta, it’s swift. Virginia, for instance, moved from red to purple to pretty solidly blue all within a few election cycles. The gravitational pull of the dense urban areas and surrounding suburbs—which are increasingly voting blue—ends up dictating the direction of the state.But most importantly, in one of the most rancorous and polarized political environments in American history, we defeated a fascist regime with a pervasive state-run propaganda machine. That’s a whopper achievement, especially given the fact that only three duly elected incumbent presidents have been defeated in the past century: Herbert Hoover, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush. Incumbency is powerful, and we have ripped that power from the hands of a man who was otherwise destined to destroy the entire American enterprise. We should be incredibly proud. It wasn’t easy work, and it’s been a solid four years in the making. The sustained organizing that resulted in the massive blue wave of 2018 teed up Democratic success in 2020. In the midterms, we not only ensured a Democratically controlled House would end the GOP’s stranglehold on the federal government, we also restored Democratic leadership to three states—Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania—that proved absolutely critical to our victory on Tuesday.But our work is not done. Facing down the fascist impulses of a nation going through an historic demographic shift was never going to be a short-term project. To give the Biden administration the tools it needs to right the course of this country, we must take back a majority in the U.S. Senate in the two Georgia runoff races that will take place in January. Elevating Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to the Senate is critical, and we have the momentum, the drive, and clear-eyed motivation to get it done.So take a moment to breathe and do what you need to do, whether that’s mourning what’s been lost along the way or raising a glass and hugging your loved ones. And then let’s get back to those Senate races with the full force of our convictions and the knowledge that these are truly winnable seats. Whatever Trump does, we can be assured that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris know what’s at stake and will be doing everything in their power to bring those seats home.Finally, in honor of this history-making day, I leave you with a quote I both adore and live by from the great Audre Lorde:This is why the work is so important. Its power doesn’t lie in the me that lives in the words as much as in the heart’s blood pumping behind the eye that is reading, the muscle behind the desire that is sparked by the word—hope as a living state that propels us, open-eyed and fearful, into all the battles of our lives. And some of those battles we do not win.But some of them we do.We’ve done some damn fine work, my friends. Onward!The Georgia run-off is January 5th. Request an absentee ballot by Nov. 18. Early in-person voting starts Dec. 14. And REGISTER TO VOTE here by Dec. 7. Trump spared nothing and no one, but the main object of his loathing was an entire political structure that was rotten, top to bottom. He seethed with disgust at the injustices taking place. “We’re hearing stories that are horror stories—absolute horror stories. And we can’t let that happen to the United States of America,” Trump said. “We can’t be disgraced by having something like this happen.”- Advertisement – – Advertisement – For months, Trump had been grooming his cultists for the moment when he would declare a massive fraud had been perpetrated on the American people because it was the only way Democrats could win. They drank it all in. It became part of their DNA. Conservative commentator and anti-Trumper Charlie Sykes repeatedly warned that Trump supporters overwhelmingly believed he would win reelection. They were certain of it, and they would be shocked if the race ultimately went the other way.The weekend before the election, The Washington Post‘s Philip Bump went to Scranton to interview both Biden and Trump supporters and size up the campaigns’ GOTV operations. Parroting Trump’s lies, 48-year-old Trump supporter Wendy Ross told Bump, “I think Trump is going to win unless there’s election fraud. God, I’m hoping not. I think that’s on everybody’s mind.” Winning wasn’t a problem so long as Democrats didn’t steal the election. “That’s the only thing that we’re worried about, is election fraud,” Ross added, “I just think Democrats are going to try to pull something just to get in.” At this very moment, all across the country, somewhere close to 48% of the population that voted for Trump just watched the predictions he foretold come true, or so they think. Democrats, in their view, employed corrupt tactics to bend a rigged political system their way and disenfranchise the will of The People. And Trump even confirmed it in a grievance dispatch straight from the White House.- Advertisement – That must be especially disheartening to Trump voters in Georgia, who turned out in historic numbers only to watch their votes evaporate into what appears to be the first Democratic presidential victory in the Peach State since 1992. And yet, having just lost the presidency, those very same GOP voters are going to be asked to turn back around in two months and save the Senate majority by placing their faith in the same system they think betrayed them. This time around, however, Trump won’t be on the ballot. In fact, he may not even campaign for the two Republican senators trying to save their seatsIt remains to be seen how Trump will handle this crushing blow to his ego, particularly as the center of the media universe quickly shifts to the Biden-Harris transition. Trump surely won’t be graceful, but his paper-tiger grousing will soon be dismissed as little more than the amusing antics of a sore loser. But in terms of the Senate races, the question is whether he will be consumed by a scorched-earth campaign of maximal destruction or, rather, crave the spotlight so badly he decides a few campaign rallies in Georgia wouldn’t be all bad. What else does he have to do besides watch Fox News, where coverage will increasingly be devoted to the Biden transition?- Advertisement –last_img read more

Indonesia passes jobs bill as recession looms

first_imgThe government and the House of Representatives passed on Monday the controversial omnibus bill on job creation into law, which is expected to bring a radical change in the country’s labor system and natural resources management.    The final draft of the bill, a copy of which was obtained by The Jakarta Post, is 905 pages long and amends 79 prevailing laws, including the Labor Law, the Spatial Planning Law and Environmental Management Law.The Job Creation Law, which is one of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s key priorities in his second and final term, is expected to improve bureaucratic efficiency and cut red tape, particularly in regard to business permits and investment. “The deliberation was careful enough until the end. All factions paid attention to workers’ rights in the decision-making process,” the Gerindra Party politician said.A number of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s Cabinet members were present during the plenary, including Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Manpower Minister Ida Fauziyah, Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly and Home Minister Tito Karnavian.Airlangga said the law was necessary as the country needed to increase employment and improve the business climate following the pandemic.”We are now working to handle COVID-19, which has had a significant impact on the global and national economy. There were 43,600 regulations that needed to be sorted out before the pandemic and our competitiveness is also lagging behind in ASEAN,” Airlangga, who is also the Golkar Party chairman, said.The law is also seen as necessary by the government since the country’s economy shrank 5.32 percent in the second quarter this year, and is widely expected to record the first economic contraction since the 1998 Asian financial crisis this year.Read also: Indonesia’s annual GDP set to contract for first time since 1998Seven House factions have conveyed their approval of the bill, which is one of Airlangga’s flagship programs, namely the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Golkar, Gerindra, the NasDem Party, the National Awakening Party (PKB), the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the United Development Party (PPP).Labor groups on the same day held protests against the bill in several locations as the police prevented them from holding a mass rally in front of the House compound in Senayan, Central Jakarta.Read also: Workers set to strike as House, govt agree on labor cluster in jobs billAhead of Monday’s plenary, social media users expressed their frustrations over the bill by writing posts with the hashtags #DPRRIKhianatiRakyat (House betrays the people), #BatalkanOmnibusLaw (cancel the omnibus law) and #MosiTidakPercaya (vote of no confidence).Civil society organizations, grouped in a coalition calling itself the Indonesian People’s Faction (FRI), have also voiced their disappointment, saying the state has turned a blind eye to popular opposition to the controversial bill, which the FRI believes only accommodates business interests.“We’ve [issued] a vote of no confidence. The people demand an end to the deliberation and a cancellation of the job creation bill. The government and House have betrayed the people and the 1945 Constitution,” the coalition said in a written statement on Monday.As companies have fallen into financial difficulties during the pandemic, the unions have expressed concerns that the law would make it easier for businesses to lay off workers.Among the points that have been agreed is abolishing the sectoral minimum wage (UMSK) by only recognizing the provincial minimum wage (UMP) and regency or municipality minimum wages (UMK).According to the law’s Article 88C, governors can set their region’s minimum wage at provincial and regency or city level in line with the area’s inflation and economic growth rate.The government and lawmakers have also agreed to lower maximum severance pay for laid off workers and introduce a new unemployment fund (JKP), which effectively means the government will shoulder part of the company’s cost when they lay off their workers.According to the law, employers could pay a maximum of 19 times the monthly salary, and an additional six times the monthly salary will be paid by the government through the JKP scheme.The JKP scheme will be managed by the Workers Social Security Agency (BPJS Ketenagakerjaan). Article 46E of the bill stipulates that the source of funds for the JKP scheme, which currently has yet to be established under the country’s social security system, will come from the government, workers’ premiums and BPJS Ketenagakerjaan operational funds.The law also stipulates that BPJS Ketenagakerjaan is set to receive Rp 6 trillion from the state budget to run the JKP scheme, but there have been no guarantees that the funds will be disbursed for those who will face termination immediately.   Key changes in omnibus law on job creation (JP/File)Topics : The government’s expectation has pushed the law to make significant adjustments to labor rules and business licensing processes, all of which have been criticized, as they are considered to infringe on labor rights and put the environment at risk.Until the moment of its passage, the law met mounting resistance from labor unions and environmentalists as well as rejection from House factions of the Democratic Party and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).Read also: Police stop labor unions from protesting newly passed omnibus bill on jobsIn a plenary session on Monday, led by Deputy House Speaker Azis Syamsuddin of the Golkar Party, House Legislation Body (Baleg) chairman Supratman Andi Agtas said the deliberation of the bill had taken place from April 20 to Oct. 3, adding that lawmakers and the government had been holding meetings, even on weekends, to expedite the deliberation.last_img read more

Land Reclamation for the Sunshine Coast New Runway Starts Soon

Dredging and Reclamation Solutions Pty Ltd (DRS) has successfully completed full installation of the sand delivery (reclamation) pipeline that will be used for the Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion (Runway) Project.Working closely with MP Dredging, DRS wrapped up temporary construction operations including the establishment of the sand pumping pipeline.With the pipeline now complete, sand placement operations for the new runway will begin in the next couple of days.According to the project’s official website, Dredging International vessel ‘Nile River’ will dredge around 1.5 million cubic meters of sand from the Spitfire Realignment Channel in Moreton Bay. The sand will then be pumped from the vessel onto the project site via this pipeline.The dredging and sand placement operation will take approximately three months. The officials also added that the dredging activities need to be completed, with all materials taken off the beach, before the next turtle nesting season starting in November 2018.When completed, the $225 million Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project will deliver a new east–west runway (capable of servicing aircraft such as the A350 and 787 Dreamliner) and associated infrastructure at the existing airport at Marcoola, Queensland. read more

Suicide Rate for Women Having Abortions is Six Times Higher Than Women Giving Birth

first_imgLifeNews 19 December 2014Voluntary guidelines for post-abortion mental health evaluations during the month following an abortion have failed to significantly decrease the rate of suicide after abortion in Finland, according to a new study.Finland adopted the guidelines after a large-scale study of women’s health records, published in 1997, found that the suicide rate among women who had undergone abortions in the prior year was three times higher compared to women in the general population and six times higher compared to women who gave birth.Mika Gissler of the National Institute for Health and Welfare, who was the lead author of the 1997 study, led a team of researchers who examined health records to see if the suicide rate went down after the new guidelines were published.They found that the decrease in the suicide rate was not statistically significant.“Women with a recent induced abortion still have a two-fold suicide risk,” they wrote. “A mandatory check-up may decrease this risk.”Officials in Australia Also ConcernedThe increased risk of suicide following abortion has been recognized in Australia as well. The 2013 Queensland Maternal and Perinatal Quality Council report noted:Suicide is the leading cause of death in women within 42 days after their pregnancy and between 43 days and 365 days after their pregnancy. There appears to be a significant worldwide risk of maternal suicide following termination of pregnancy and, in fact, a higher risk than that following term delivery.The potential for depression and other mental health issues at this time needs to be better appreciated. Active follow-up of these women needs to happen. Practitioners referring women for termination of pregnancy or undertaking termination of pregnancy should ensure adequate follow-up for such women, especially if the procedure is undertaken for mental health concerns.Council chairman Professor Michael Humphrey said that “the number of suicides was a key concern,” according to a report in the Queensland Courier-Mail:“It’s pretty scary,” Prof. Humphrey said. “But this is not just happening in Queensland or Australia. The incidence of suicide in relation to maternal deaths is also seen very clearly in reports coming out of New Zealand and the UK. It’s a major phenomenon.’’He said some women had taken their own lives within a year of having an abortion.“There’s a lot of evidence that a significant proportion of women who have termination of pregnancies do have mental health issues subsequently,’’ Prof. Humphrey said. “Whether they are mental health issues related to the reason why the woman had the termination or whether they’re related to regret afterwards, we don’t know.”Besides the Finland study, large record-based studies from the United States and Denmark have found that overall death rates were higher among women following abortion compared to those among women who had given birth. read more

Namibia: New President meets Chinese President’s Envoy

first_imgNamibia’s new president Hage Geingob met with Chinese President Xi Xinping special envoy and Chinese Minister of Transport, Yang Chuantang, shortly after his inauguration on Saturday afternoon.The Chinese Minister of Transport expressed president Xi’s warm congratulations to Geingob and good wishes for the country’s 25 years of independence.Yang said China is willing to work with Namibia to improve their mutual trust and enhance their collaboration in the international arena.The Namibian president also said he highly valued the relationship between  the two countries, commending China’s support  towards Namibia’s development. Geingob is Namibia’s third president since independence.China and Namibia have maintained strong ties for decades.last_img read more

Radiation fears after Japan blast

first_img Share Radiation from Japan’s quake-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has reached harmful levels, the government says. The warning comes after the plant was rocked by a third blast which appears to have damaged one of the reactors’ containment systems for the first time. If it is breached, there are fears of more serious radioactive leaks. Officials have extended the danger zone, warning residents within 30km (18 miles) to evacuate or stay indoors.The crisis has been prompted by last Friday’s 9.0-magnitude quake and tsunami in north-eastern Japan. On Tuesday morning, reactor 2 became the third to explode in four days at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. A fire also briefly broke out at the plant’s reactor 4, and is believed to have caused radioactive leaks. Reactor 4 had been shut down before the quake for maintenance, but its spent nuclear fuel rods are still stored on the site. Radiation levels in the Japanese capital – 250km (155 miles) away – were reported to be higher than normal, but officials said there were no health dangers. Tokyo residents have been stocking up on supplies, with some stores selling out of items such as food, water, face masks and candles. Housewife Mariko Kawase, 34, told AFP news agency: “I am shopping now because we may not be able to go out due to the radiation.”No-fly zoneHe said that those living within between 20km (12 mile) and 30km of the plant were at risk and should not leave their homes.Residents within 20km have already been advised to evacuate, and the premier said anyone left in that exclusion zone must leave. “Now we are talking about levels that can impact human health,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano. He told residents: “Please do not go outside. Please stay indoors. Please close windows and make your homes airtight. “Don’t turn on ventilators. Please hang your laundry indoors.” Japan also announced a 30-km no-fly zone around the reactors to prevent planes spreading the radiation further afield. Radiation levels around Fukushima for one hour’s exposure rose to eight times the legal limit for exposure in one year, said the plant’s operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco).The International Atomic Energy Agency said after Tuesday’s blast that radiation dosages of up to 400 millisieverts per hour had been recorded at the site. Exposure to over 100 millisieverts a year is a level which can lead to cancer, according to the World Nuclear Association. On Monday, a hydrogen blast at the Fukushima plant’s reactor 3 was felt 40km (25 miles) away. It followed a blast at reactor 1 on Saturday. All explosions have followed cooling system breakdowns. Engineers are trying to prevent meltdowns by flooding the chambers of the nuclear reactors with seawater. Japan’s nuclear safety agency said it suspects Tuesday’s blast may have damaged reactor 2’s suppression chamber.The BBC’s Chris Hogg in Tokyo says that would make it a more serious incident than the previous explosions, which were thought just to have damaged the buildings housing the reactors. The latest official death toll from the quake and tsunami stands at about 2,400 – but some estimates suggest at least 10,000 may have been killed. Thousands are still unaccounted for – including hundreds of tourists – while many remote towns and villages have not been reached. More than 500,000 people have been made homeless. The government has deployed 100,000 troops to lead the aid effort.The UK Foreign Office has updated its travel advice to warn against all non-essential travel to Tokyo and north-eastern Japan. British nationals and friends and relatives of those in Japan can contact the Foreign Office on +44(0) 20 7008 0000.Source: BBC News Tweet Share Sharing is caring!center_img News Radiation fears after Japan blast by: – March 15, 2011 Share 33 Views   no discussionslast_img read more