first_imgAmerica has been at war for close to two decades with relatively modest accomplishment. The war in Afghanistan continues and Iraq has become a more religiously divided country with a weak central government and much poverty. Many innocent Iraqis are dead; many families are shattered; and Iranian influence is more prominent.Add in that the whole region is in turmoil. For examples, note the catastrophic conditions in Syria, the involvement of the Russian military there and the Turkish war with the Kurds.Now the president is dealing with the threat of North Korea’s nuclear weapons. That problem, as I see it, isn’t solvable peaceably without the support of China and Russia. Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion The Korean War began due to the Soviet Union’s dictator, Stalin, encouraging the North Koreans to invade South Korea. When the war ended in a stalemate in 1953, 4 million people were dead. Now, after 75 years, South Korea is an economically advanced democratic country and North Korea a prison camp run by a cruel dictator.President Truman responded correctly militarily to the invasion (supported by the UN) and Gen. MacArthur drove the North Koreans back. When he crossed the Yalu River, China entered the war against us. Then Eisenhower became president and he turned the war into a stalemate because it was unwinnable due to the backing of the North Koreans by China and the Soviet Union.Nuclear war isn’t a real option, and America doesn’t need another war of any kind. As a result, the only real option is a diplomatic solution that involves China and Russia, because those powers won’t permit the United States from gaining more influence on the Korean peninsula.I have little confidence that the Trump- Bolton team is capable of delivering a viable diplomatic solution. They are more likely to make matters worse. Howard LittmanNiskayunaMore from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusNiskayuna girls’ cross country wins over BethlehemPuccioni’s two goals help Niskayuna boys’ soccer top Shaker, remain perfectEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationlast_img read more

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first_imgBoeing and the plaintiffs’ lawyers agreed to brief the court on the outcome of a conference call with NTSB assistant general counsel Benjamin Allen scheduled for Thursday. Chicago-based Boeing is in the process of settling a separate batch of lawsuits related to the Lion Air crash, but families of the Ethiopian crash are seeking a jury trial. Following 737 MAX testimony from Boeing executives at congressional hearings in Washington, Ethiopian crash victim lawyers want to know whether the planemaker hid materials.Dan Webb, a lawyer for Boeing, rejected in court the notion that documents have been hidden, saying that some “haven’t been produced yet.” “Boeing takes very seriously its legal obligations and is working with the plaintiffs in good faith, and consistent with our obligations as a technical advisor to the NTSB, to provide the information they need to pursue their claims,” the company said in an emailed statement, adding that it was cooperating fully with investigative authorities. A Lion Air investigation faulted Boeing’s design of the 737 MAX but said the airline also made mistakes. The Ethiopian probe is still ongoing, nearly a year after the crash.Topics : “They’re hot documents,” Robert Clifford, lead counsel for the plaintiffs, told reporters, saying some show what and when Boeing knew about factors that played a role in the Lion Air accident. Boeing has argued that the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is restricting release of the documents under international guidelines on crash probes and that they are confidential. The plane, once Boeing’s fastest-selling jet, has been grounded globally since mid-March while Boeing addresses software and training issues involved in both disasters, costing the planemaker nearly $19 billion. The NTSB seemed to switch its stance on some of the documents in a Feb. 18 letter to Boeing, one topic of Wednesday’s hearing in US federal court in Chicago before US Magistrate Judge David Weisman.  Boeing Co and lawyers representing families of victims of a 737 MAX crash agreed in court on Wednesday to hold a conference call with US government crash probe authorities over access to documents related to the now-grounded aircraft’s design, development and two fatal disasters involving it.Boeing has resisted sharing documents sought by lawyers representing families of victims of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX crash on March 10, which killed 157 people five months after a similar Lion Air disaster in which 189 people died. The lawyers, who are asking why the MAX continued flying after the first crash, say the materials are critical for assessing liability by Boeing and punitive damages. last_img read more

Citing sources close to the German government, Die Welt newspaper had previously reported that Trump had offered “a billion dollars” to secure research into a vaccine by German biotech firm CureVac “only for the United States”.”Germany is not for sale,” economy minister Peter Altmaier told broadcaster ARD on Sunday, reacting to the report.At a news conference, interior minister Horst Seehofer was asked to confirm the attempts to court the German company.”I can only say that I have heard several times today from government officials today that this is the case, and we will be discussing it in the crisis committee tomorrow,” he said. Germany’s foreign minister said Monday the rights to coronavirus vaccine research were not for sale, following reports Donald Trump wanted the US to buy exclusive access to a potential vaccine developed by a German biotech firm.The comments, made in an interview to media group Funke, come as scientists raced to develop a vaccine against the deadly coronavirus that has killed some 6,000 people, seen millions placed under lockdown and devastated global markets.”German researchers play a leading role in drug and vaccine development and we cannot allow others to seek exclusive results,” Heiko Maas told Funke. CureVac said in a statement Sunday that it “abstains from commenting on speculations and rejects allegations about offers for acquisition of the company or its technology”.The report prompted fury in Berlin.”International cooperation is important now, not national self-interest,” said Erwin Rueddel, a conservative lawmaker on the German parliament’s health committee. A US official told AFP Sunday that the report was “wildly overplayed”.”The US government has spoken with many [more than 25] companies that claim they can help with a vaccine. Most of these companies already received seed funding from US investors.”The official also denied that the US was seeking to keep any potential vaccine for itself.”We will continue to talk to any company that claims to be able to help. And any solution found would be shared with the world.”CureVac, founded in 2000, is based in the German state of Thuringia, and has other sites in Frankfurt and Boston.The firm markets itself as specialising in “development of treatments against cancer, antibody-based therapies, treatment of rare illnesses and prophylactic vaccines”.The lab is currently working in tandem with the Paul-Ehrlich Institute, linked to the German health ministry. Last week, the firm mysteriously announced that CEO Daniel Menichella had been replaced by Ingmar Hoerr, just weeks after Menichella met with Trump, his vice president Mike Pence and representatives of pharma companies in Washington.”We are very confident that we will be able to develop a potent vaccine candidate within a few months,” CureVac quoted Menichella as saying on its website shortly after the visit.On Sunday, CureVac investors said that they would not sell the vaccine to a single state. “If we are successful in developing an effective vaccine, then it should help and protect people across the world,” said Dietmar Hopp, head of principal investor dievini Hopp Biotech Holding, in a statement.Economy minister Altmaier welcomed the statement, saying it was a “fantastic decision”.He also pointed out that the government has the power to scrutinise foreign takeovers, saying that “where important infrastructure and national and European interests are concerned, we will take action if we have to.”Topics : read more

first_imgThe government aims to complete this year a study into replacing several aging fossil fuel-fired plants with renewable energy plants as it races against time to catch up with its green goals.The study, which began in January, not only includes mapping potential renewable sources but also future growth in targeted regions, the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s director general for electrification, Rida Mulyana, said on Monday. It is being conducted by state-owned electricity company PLN as the operator of the aging plants.”We are still gathering data right now,” said Rida, who is also a PLN commissioner. “There are a lot of plants and they are quite spread out. We can’t study them randomly, but this has to be done one by one. This needs time.” Energy Minister Arifin Tasrif first publicly announced the replacement plan in January. He said the government’s purpose was to simultaneously “supply energy at competitive prices” and chase Indonesia’s renewable energy commitments. “We are still conducting the assessment. We hope to finish as soon as possible,” PLN deputy president director Darmawan Prasodjo told The Jakarta Post on March 6.Read also: Indonesia plans to fuel all diesel power plants with CPO within two yearsIndonesia also has 23 coal-fired power plants (PLTU) that over 20 years old and 46 combined-cycle power plants (PLGU) of similar ages. The former have a combined capacity of 5,655 MW and the latter 5,912 MW. Most of these aging plants are located on Java Island.In comparison, PLN’s total installed capacity is 42,350 MW as of December last year, according to government data.Arifin has repeatedly said that Indonesia’s regions should use locally available energy sources, particularly renewables, instead of solely relying on fossil fuels. His statement reflects a principle enshrined in the country’s 2007 Energy Law.However, Indonesia’s largest electricity company, PLN, is also constantly being pushed by the government to sell electricity as cheaply as possible for the benefit of low-income households and major industries.The government imposes price limits for PLN electricity through Energy Ministerial Regulation No. 28/2016 on electricity tariffs. Such limits force PLN to invest in fossil fuel-fired power plants, whose fuel is kept at below-market prices through other regulations.Read also: Coal miner builds solar power plants to provide electricity in remote areasThe government’s Domestic Market Obligation (DMO) policy requires coal miners to sell one-fourth of their production domestically at US$70 per ton. The government is also allocating Rp 18.7 trillion ($1.18 billion) for fuel subsidies this year.“PLN has the target of selling the cheapest electricity in ASEAN,” said PLN’s strategic procurement director 1, Inten Sripeni Cahyani, in December last year when she served as the company’s acting president director.According to PLN data, the electricity company sells household electricity at an average of Rp 1,467 per kilowatt-hour (KwH). The tariff is the second-lowest in Southeast Asia after Malaysia, which sells at Rp 1,286 per KwH.Topics : Indonesia has 2,246 diesel-fired power plants (PLTD) that are over 15 years old, 16.2 percent of which are in Aceh, ministry data shows. These plants have a combined installed capacity of 1,778 megawatts (MW).“At the end of the day, it’s a question of how much efficiency can we achieve,” Rida added.Read also: Government issues regulation to jumpstart stalled renewable energy projectsSoutheast Asia’s largest economy aims to make renewables contribute 23 percent to its power production by 2025, yet regulatory headwinds are setting the country back from achieving the goal. Existing regulations stipulate that Indonesia should have reached a 17.5 percent renewable power mix by 2019, yet the country achieved only 12.36 percent that year.last_img read more