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Posts Tagged ‘BBC’

Battle of zero emissions cars: hydrogen or electric?

Posted by hkarner - 9. Juni 2015

Date: 08-06-2015
Source: BBC

Toyota MiraiThe Toyota Mirai is named after the Japanese word for future

When Toyota puts its considerable bulk behind a new technology, everyone should sit up and take notice.

When it launched the first generation Prius back in 1997, many scoffed. It was ugly, not terribly efficient and distinctly uncool. Eighteen years later, Toyota has sold nearly five million Prius’s, and it is now the best selling car in Japan.

And so enter the Toyota Mirai, the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell car.

The, now rather tired, joke about hydrogen is that it is “the fuel of the future, and always will be”.

Fuel cells were invented in the 1880s. They were used on the Apollo spacecraft back in the 1960s (remember Apollo 13’s exploding hydrogen tank?). Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Asia tops biggest global school rankings

Posted by hkarner - 13. Mai 2015

But we don’t need a reform of our education system in austria, do we? (hfk)

Date: 13-05-2015
Source: BBC

The biggest ever global school rankings have been published, with Asian countries in the top five places and African countries at the bottom.
Singapore heads the table, followed by Hong Kong, with Ghana at the bottom.
The UK is in 20th place, among higher achieving European countries, with the US in 28th.countries ranked schools

The OECD economic think tank says the comparisons – based on test scores in 76 countries – show the link between education and economic growth.

“This is the first time we have a truly global scale of the quality of education,” said the OECD’s education director, Andreas Schleicher.

“The idea is to give more countries, rich and poor, access to comparing themselves against the world’s education leaders, to discover their relative strengths and weaknesses, and to see what the long-term economic gains from improved quality in schooling could be for them,” he said.

overall school rankingsThe top performer, Singapore, had high levels of illiteracy into the 1960s, said Mr Schleicher, showing how much progress could be made.

In the UK, the study shows about one in five youngsters leave school without reaching a basic level of education – and the OECD says that reducing this number and improving skills could add trillions of dollars to the UK economy.

“I think it’s partly a mindset, an expectation. There are plenty of examples of schools that have raised the bar dramatically,” said education minister Lord Nash.

The analysis, based on test scores in maths and science, is a much wider global map of education standards than the OECD’s Pisa tests, which focus on more affluent industrialised countries.

This latest league table, ranking more than a third of the world’s nations, shows how countries such as Iran, South Africa, Peru and Thailand would appear on an international scale.

It shows once again the poor performance of the United States, slipping behind successful European countries and being overtaken by Vietnam. It also highlights the decline of Sweden, with the OECD warning last week that it had serious problems in its education system.
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China takes Under the Dome anti-pollution film offline

Posted by hkarner - 9. März 2015

Date: 08-03-2015
Source: BBC

China pollutionA woman wears a mask during a day of heavy pollution in Beijing, 7 March
There is widespread public concern in China over air pollution

The authorities in China have a removed from websites a popular documentary which highlights the country’s severe pollution problem.
Under the Dome explains the social and health costs of pollution, and was watched by more than 100 million people online, sparking debates.
It was removed just two days after Premier Li Keqiang called pollution a blight on people’s lives.

Mr Li had promised to fight it with all the government’s might.
The environmental issue has dominated the current session of the Chinese parliament, the National People’s Congress, in Beijing.
The newly appointed environmental protection minister, Chen Jining, had praised Under The Dome, telling reporters it should “encourage efforts by individuals to improve air quality”.

But the huge popularity of an impassioned, independent film on the issue appears to have made the communist authorities nervous, correspondents say.

The film that took China by storm
Standing in front of an audience in a simple white shirt and jeans, Ms Chai speaks plainly throughout the 103-minute video, which features a year-long investigation of China’s noxious pollution problem.

At times, the documentary is deeply personal. Near the start of the documentary, Ms Chai interviews a six-year-old living in the coal-mining province of Shanxi, one of the most polluted places on earth.

“Have you ever seen stars?” Ms Chai asks. “No,” replies the girl.
“Have you ever seen a blue sky?” “I have seen a sky that’s a little bit blue,” the girl tells her.

“But have you ever seen white clouds?” “No,” the girl sighs.
The film watched more than 100 million times

Under the Dome, a year-long investigation of pollution in China, had garnered more than 100 million views in less than 48 hours.

Made by renowned investigative journalist Chai Jing and funded with her own money, the film sharply criticises the Chinese state’s lax environmental laws.
As of Saturday, the film was no longer available on popular Chinese mainland video sites.

A link on the Youku website that previously led to the video now prompts the message, “We’re very sorry, Youku was unable to find the page you requested”.
Neither Youku or Ms Chai responded immediately when asked to comment, the Reuters news agency reports.

‘Fight smog instead’
China operates the world’s most formidable online censorship machine, known as the Great Firewall.
Some social media users in China voiced frustration at the removal of the film.
“When will this country be able to face the attitudes of its own people?” wrote one Weibo user, quoted by AFP news agency.
Another Weibo user quoted by Reuters wrote:
“Some people have the power to completely smother Chai Jing’s Under the Dome on the internet but don’t have the power to smother haze in this country.”

Alvin Lin, the Beijing-based China climate and energy policy director of the US-based environmental group the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the buzz around Chai’s film had ultimately made officials nervous,
“They’ve made a big deal about air pollution in the last couple of [legislative meetings],” he told the AP news agency. “Under the Dome made it so they really really have to talk about it.”

Willy Lam, a political analyst at the Chinese University in Hong Kong, said: “They are really serious about this except the problem is really entrenched.
“It is intertwined with all aspects of industry and agriculture and so forth, and it’s a really difficult problem to tackle.”

The film is still available on YouTube with English subtitles.

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Daily Telegraph’s Peter Oborne resigns over HSBC coverage

Posted by hkarner - 19. Februar 2015

Date: 18-02-2015
Source: BBC

Peter Oborne said newspapers had “a constitutional duty to tell their readers the truth”

The chief political commentator of the Daily Telegraph has resigned from the paper, accusing it of a “form of fraud on its readers” for its coverage of HSBC and its Swiss tax-dodging scandal.

Peter Oborne claimed the paper did not give due prominence to the HSBC story because of commercial interests.

Newspapers had a “constitutional duty” to tell readers the truth, he said.

The Telegraph called Oborne’s statement an “astonishing and unfounded attack, full of inaccuracy and innuendo”. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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IMF downgrades global growth forecast

Posted by hkarner - 20. Januar 2015

Date: 20-01-2015
Source: BBC

The recovery in the eurozone is expected to continue, but not strongly

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has lowered its forecast for global economic growth for this year and next.

The IMF now expects growth of 3.5% this year, compared with the previous estimate of 3.8% which it made in October.

The growth forecast for 2016 has also been cut, to 3.7%.

The downgrade to the forecasts comes despite one major boost for the global economy – the sharp fall in oil prices, which is positive for most countries. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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USA Russia: Obama suggests Putin ‘not so smart’

Posted by hkarner - 31. Dezember 2014

Date: 30-12-2014
Source: BBC

President Barack Obama has said Vladimir Putin made a “strategic mistake” when he annexed Crimea, in a move that was “not so smart”.

Those thinking his Russian counterpart was a “genius” had been proven wrong by Russia’s economic crisis, he said.

International sanctions had made Russia’s economy particularly vulnerable to changes in oil price, Mr Obama said.

He also refused to rule out opening a US embassy in Iran soon.

“I never say never but I think these things have to go in steps” he told NPR’s Steve Inskeep in the Oval Office. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Japan’s savings rate turns negative for first time

Posted by hkarner - 29. Dezember 2014

Date: 28-12-2014
Source: BBC

For the first time since records were collected in 1955, Japan’s population is drawing down its savings and the savings rate, calculated as savings divided by disposable income plus pension payments, was negative 1.3%.

It’s a dramatic change from when the Japanese saved nearly a quarter of their income (23.1%) when the savings rate peaked in 1975.

Japan had the highest household saving rate in the OECD in the 1960s until it fell to the lowest. After all, an aging population draws down savings and Japan is the fastest-aging country in the world; its population has been shrinking for a decade. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Largest Vessel Ever Built

Posted by hkarner - 17. Dezember 2014

by Shell for Gas Liquification offshore Australia

Largest vessel ever built

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Is China’s economy really the largest in the world?

Posted by hkarner - 17. Dezember 2014

Date: 16-12-2014
Source: BBC

For the first time in more than 140 years, the US has lost the title of the world’s largest economy – it has been stolen by China, according to the IMF. But how reliable are the statistics underpinning this claim? The BBC’s economics editor, Robert Peston, explains lower down why China matters to all of us.

The Chinese economy is now worth $17.6tn, slightly higher than the $17.4tn the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates for the US.

So for the first time since 1872, when it overtook the UK, the US has been knocked off the top spot.

The IMF calculated these figures by using purchasing power parity (PPP) which enables you to compare how much you can buy for your money in different countries. As money goes further in China than in the US, the figure for China is adjusted upwards. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Superbugs to kill ‘more than cancer’ by 2050

Posted by hkarner - 11. Dezember 2014

I hope I still will be alive by then! (hfk)

Date: 11-12-2014
Source: BBC

Drug resistant E.coli bacteria are already a significant problem in Europe
e-coli bacteriaDrug resistant infections will kill an extra 10 million people a year worldwide – more than currently die from cancer – by 2050 unless action is taken, a study says.

They are currently implicated in 700,000 deaths each year.
The analysis, presented by the economist Jim O’Neill, said the costs would spiral to $100tn (£63tn).

He was appointed by Prime Minister David Cameron in July to head a review of antimicrobial resistance.

Mr O’Neill told the BBC: “To put that in context, the annual GDP [gross domestic product] of the UK is about $3tn, so this would be the equivalent of around 35 years without the UK contribution to the global economy.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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