Improve’s skills plan takes shape

first_img“Everybody should stop moaning about bakery skills shortages and learn to love the new skills framework.” This is not what Improve’s CEO Jack Matthews said of the new ’employer-led’ qualifications, but he might have done in a more private moment than speaking at last week’s launch of the new framework.”It’s about engendering the recognition that it’s a demand-led agenda – led by the employers.” That, he did say.Speaking to British Baker at the sector skills council’s conference, held at Improve’s base at York University, Matthews said the qualifications have been streamlined to eliminate thorny issues such as duplication of learning. It also offers a modular ’plug and play’ skills framework, applicable across the whole food and drink industry, with specific bakery modules.Meanwhile, momentum is building to plug the gap in training provision, with the establishment of a Centre of Excellence for bakery, which should culminate on 30 October at Bakers’ Hall, London, where the issue is set to dominate an Improve-led bakery training conference. This would see the baking industry come up to speed with the meat and fish industries, which already have centres of excellence.Matthews said a new centre could be up and running within a year if the idea were embraced by the baking industry. “We can get that development process under way, assessed and accredited, and a centre set up within a year – if there is the will to do it,” he said.national skills academyThe National Skills Academy is the training division of Improve, funded by The Learning & Skills Council. The existing centres of excellence are independent providers, with an emphasis on engaging with employers, he added.”We have been working with a number of bakery companies – Warburtons to name but one – and they are beginning to recognise what skills can actually do for their organisation, for shareholders and their performance in the marketplace, as well as for the individual. The baking industry is going to continue to change in terms of plant size and complexity. On the craft bakery side, we know what issues they have with finding good bakery apprenticeships, and locations for bakery apprenticeships can actually be delivered.”The flexibility of the qualifications will allow bakery employers to plan using their people better, he believes. “If you want to move on from a Level 2 to a Level 3, you can add whatever units you want, because the credits are all equalised and accessible. When the provider sees the demand starting to build for these tailored qualifications, they will recognise that’s where they have to go.”Baking industry figures gave their backing to the framework at the event. British Bakels MD Paul Morrow said that firms are now realising that engaging skills more fully into their business structure adds value to the bottom line. “If we look at the commonality of food manufacture, rather than at the very small sub-sectors of baking, craft baking or confectionery, then there are many themes in common – from health and safety, hygiene, through to process operators and management supervision.”Whether it’s craft baking, bread or confectionery, or whether it’s craft fish processing or craft butchery, there’s still a scope for all those craft skills within the framework. We’re trying to build those foundation skills that are common to the whole food industry as well as the very narrow but important sector craft skills – in our case bakery.”British Bakels is recruiting senior level food scientists and training them in bakery craft skills. “It will take us a couple of years but it’s not impossible. The true craft skills are only a small part of the common skill set that our company employees will require.”He added that common complaints against embracing training – including fears that upskilled employees would jump ship to competitors, meaning someone else reaps the fruit of the investment, or a lack of time and/or money – are misplaced.”If you haven’t got the time to train then you’re not going to be in business long-term. If you train your people, they’ll be motivated to stay – losing them to competitors is not a convincing reason not to train,” he said.This argument was echoed by Sylvia Halkerston, HR director of Macphie, which decimated the rampant staff turnover at the Glasgow Oakwood Foods Factory it acquired in 2000; this fell from 90% to less than 1% through a structured approach to training involving NVQs. “There’s a consensus today that there’s a direct correlation between training and development and the success of a business. Training produces a competent, confident workforce that enables us to compete globally,” she said.But will the baking industry embrace this new framework or is there still scepticism? “The baking industry is much more enlightened than some of them give themselves credit for! They will have to make an investment – which some in the industry have run from in the past – but they’re beginning to see that training gives a clear return on their investment.”wait and see stanceThere was however a ’wait and see’ outlook on the mix and match flexibility of the qualifications from Arthur Rayer of the SAMB. “When you have hundreds of units, I’m not sure how you hang a qualification on a generic mix. I think you have to drive the industry a wee bit,” he said.But he welcomed the retention of the bakery element. “Although it’s a framework for food manufacturing, within it, there are still bakery roots. We were worried that bakery would be swamped by a generic qualification, but it’s not. We’re also happy with having the standards, but not necessarily attached to VQs. That means we can offer alternative qualifications where people want them.”The development of a genera- lised food manufacturing qualification to replace all the old qualifications in no way detracts from the role of bakers, insists Paul Wilkinson, chairman of Improve. “Clearly, bakers need to know how to bake, whether craft or plant. But it is a simplified, more clearly focused set of qualifications. And through the National Skills Academy it should be easier to access training.”Matthews added: “The critical element is that bakery employers feel something has been done that reflects their needs.” nlast_img read more

Harvard College Professors named

first_imgTheir work ranges from understanding the cellular processes inhibited by antibiotics to the challenges of religious pluralism in a multi-religious society to the design of distributed open computer networks, but the five faculty members awarded Harvard College Professorships this week have one thing in common: their dedication to educating undergraduate students and helping them develop their intellectual passions.The five, Fredric Wertham Professor of Law and Psychiatry in Society and Master of Lowell House Diana Eck, Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory Jorie Graham, Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology Daniel Kahne, David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History Jill Lepore, and Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science David Parkes, were named to the prestigious professorships on April 26 by Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) Dean Michael D. Smith.“First and foremost, Harvard is an institution dedicated to educating the next generation of leaders,” Smith said. “It is a pleasure to recognize Daniel Kahne, David Parkes, Jill Lepore, Jorie Graham, and Diana Eck, who are not only stars in their chosen fields, but true innovators in their teaching, dedicated to the sort of student engagement that has come to characterize the Harvard College experience.”The professorships are one of a number of recent efforts aimed at underscoring the exceptional teaching that takes place in Harvard’s classrooms.Earlier this year, FAS launched the Great Teachers video series to highlight exceptional FAS faculty members, while last year saw the creation of [email protected], a series of faculty panels in which participants shared best practices and innovative methods with fellow faculty and teaching staff.Complementing those efforts was the University-wide Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching (HILT) symposium held Feb. 3. The conference offered faculty and students the opportunity to engage in dialogue and debate, while sharing ideas and information about pedagogical innovation, and was developed as part of a $40 million gift from Rita E. and Gustave M. Hauser.“Harvard has long been recognized as a leader in the world of scholarship, but it is also an institution of exceptional teachers,” Smith said. “Harvard College Professorships are just one of the ways we recognize great teaching at Harvard.”The Harvard College Professorships are five-year appointments, begun in 1997 through a gift of John and Frances Loeb. They provide faculty with extra support for research or scholarly activities, a semester of paid leave or summer salary.Each recipient said he or she was honored to receive the recognition, and all said their time in Harvard’s classrooms has been as much about learning as teaching.Diana EckAlthough she hasn’t yet considered how the Harvard College Professorship will impact her time in the classroom, Eck said her teaching is constantly evolving in response to the digital revolution, and the wealth of information it puts at students’ fingertips.“My teaching has changed a great deal — images, visual arts, music, YouTube selections — all are so much easier to access, both in class and in student research,” she said. ????My research project, the Pluralism Project, has been developing Web-based tools for teaching for the past 20 years, including, most recently, layered Google maps on religious diversity of 20 American cities.”Eck has also taken the unique approach of using the case study model pioneered at the Harvard Business School by applying it to religious dilemmas in contemporary America.“I actually think this is the best teaching I have done at Harvard,” she said. “I learn a lot when developing lectures, and love doing it, but I’m trying to move away from that, so students can engage more in the classroom experience.”While she has long seen the utility of bringing the digital world into the classroom, Eck said there is often no substitute for the value of face-to-face learning and experience.“In some of my teaching, such as in my class ‘World Religions in Boston,’ I want students to move outside the Harvard classroom and explore the religious communities of the region,” she said. “With the help of our website on the religious communities of greater Boston, students can do more than read about Islam, Sikism, or Buddhism — they have living communities close enough to visit. Crossing the threshold of our immediate experience to become a guest in someone else’s religious community is a learning experience in itself.”Jorie GrahamThough it’s continually challenging, Graham said the experience of being in a Harvard classroom is one she finds immensely rewarding.“I find teaching to be spiritually and emotionally draining as well as nourishing,” she said. “I feel tested by each encounter — so much is at stake! And I come to deeply admire and cherish my students. It is a commonplace, but I do indeed learn so much from them.“My approach to teaching is simple: I have never taught any class before,” Graham continued. “We reinvent the wheel each semester. The information we transfer back and forth, and handle, and tear into, and reconstitute, and add to — is in many ways the excuse that permits us to get closer to that knowledge which eludes us individually but which we can often reach as a community. I profoundly trust the discoveries made by the community of the class.”While Graham said she is happy to receive the recognition that comes with a Harvard College Professorship, she said that the “victory” of seeing her students’ lives and work flourish is a communal effort that stretches far beyond the bounds of the classroom.“[This award] makes me feel all the extra hours are not invisible — a good feeling — though of course I would not do things any differently were it not acknowledged,” said Graham. “It does, sweetly, in its way of singling one out even to one’s self, make one feel, to mangle Yeats’ words, that all “our stitching and unstitching has not been naught.” Though no award could give me the feeling I get from watching my students’ lives and work flourish and astonish. And that, of course, is never the outcome of one teacher’s work — all our victories are communal efforts — starting with the Admissions Office!”Daniel KahneFor Kahne, teaching at Harvard has — literally — been a learning experience.One of several professors who teach Life Sciences 1a, an interdisciplinary course that includes faculty from chemistry and chemical biology, biology, and molecular and cellular biology, Kahne said his colleagues have served as role models for his own teaching.“Since coming to Harvard, I have seen that there are some incredibly talented teachers here,” he said. “There are many faculty members here for whom it seems effortless, and it has been a tremendous learning experience to work with them and to see them in the classroom.”For students, Kahne said, the course’s multifaceted approach is designed to highlight a concept they may not normally associate with the sciences: that there may not be one single answer to a question, but multiple ways to approach it.“Certainly, it’s easier for people to recognize that, if you read a piece of literature, there could be multiple ways to interpret it,” he said. “In the sciences, we’d like to teach it as though it’s objective and there is a single answer that is knowable, but in fact things can be quite variable, depending on your perspective.”Jill M. LeporeJust hours before she learned she’d been awarded a professorship, Lepore was leading a seminar class in one of the unlikeliest places on campus: the roof of the Science Center.“Yesterday was my last class of the semester and one of the students in my American Revolution seminar had the brilliant idea that we should hold class there, so we trooped on over,” she said. “Up there, looking out and over the Yard, talking about the meaning of freedom, left me thinking, as I often do, what a delight and an honor it is to teach such astonishing students.”While the digital revolution has profoundly transformed how some subjects are presented in the classroom, Lepore said her approach to teaching is “embarrassingly low-tech.”Often, she said, the best way to understand history is to travel to the places where it was made. By experiencing a location that played witness to history, students can understand the forces that may have driven people a century ago.To give them that experience, Lepore and students in her freshman seminar on Charles Dickens traveled to Lowell to trace the author’s 1842 journey to the city. In her class on the American Revolution, students spend time walking around Boston, “trying to find the 18th-century city that lies hidden within the 21st.”When asked how a Harvard College Professorship will influence her teaching going forward, Lepore joked about a professor in New York who teaches a class on the city’s history — by bicycle.“That sounds to me about the most beautiful use of technology in the classroom I could ever imagine,” she said. “But I’m open to suggestion; in my experience, the students always have the best ideas.”David C. ParkesFor Parkes, the experience of teaching a new class has served as a springboard toward a new textbook on economics and computation, related to algorithmic economics, which he is writing with a former Ph.D. student, Sven Seuken, now on the faculty at the University of Zurich. Being named to a Harvard College Professorship will offer him the chance to extend his current sabbatical into the fall — and complete the book.“This whole enterprise would simply not be possible in the same way without the ability to experience teaching and interacting with such a fantastic body of students,” he said. “I think that we need to remember that what makes Harvard truly great is the strength of our undergraduate body. It is an exciting and rewarding experience to be able to share new ideas, both in terms of the pleasure of teaching new things and the energy and enthusiasm that reflects back from students and motivates me to think about and understand concepts in new ways.”When he returns to the classroom, though, his students can look forward to classes that he strives to make as engaging and interactive as possible.“I encourage students to think actively and ask questions and stop me where there is confusion,” Parkes said. “I teach with a view to everyone in the class being able to understand the material and get something out of the material.It is essential that the faculty of leading universities bring more than just facts and raw knowledge to the classroom,” he added. “We need to work to convey a deeper understanding and a point of view, a mental model with which to understand different concepts and the way that they fit together. I have tried to embrace this in a number of ways: through collaborative mark-up tools for reading class notes in advance so that reading is not an isolated experience for students; Web portals to facilitate posting of notes and questions and for class discussion; and looking to prompt students with questions ahead of class in order to structure my own lecture around the parts of the material that are most interesting or most challenging to students.”last_img read more

Photos! Matilda Star Christopher Sieber Officially Becomes a Sardi’s Legend

first_imgChristopher Sieber usually spends his time making maggots’ lives miserable in Matilda—but on November 13, 2014, he was ready to party! The Tony-nominated star officially became a part of Broadway history when legendary theater restaurant Sardi’s presented him with his very own portrait. Check out these snapshots of Sieber kicking back with a few of his favorite maggots, then see him terrify them in Matilda at the Shubert Theatre! Matilda View Comments Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 1, 2017last_img read more

Fun Home’s Michael Cerveris & Judy Kuhn Are Taking Your Questions!

first_img Related Shows Fun Home Show Closed This production ended its run on Sept. 10, 2016 Welcome to our couch at HQ! Fun Home stars Michael Cerveris and Judy Kuhn are leaving the Bechdel Funeral Home for the afternoon to answer your questions in their very own “Ask a Star” video. This onstage duo has a whopping 19 Broadway credits between them, including Cerveris’ Tony-winning performance in Assassins and Kuhn’s Tony-nominated turns in She Loves Me, Chess and Les Miserables. Submit your questions for the talented pair below, then tune in to to see their answers!<a data-cke-saved-href="" href="">Fill out my Wufoo form!</a> View Commentslast_img read more

Analysis: Renewable investments have walloped oil and gas over the past five years

first_imgAnalysis: Renewable investments have walloped oil and gas over the past five years FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Renewable energy stocks have punched well above their weight over the past five years, an analysis by S&P Global Market Intelligence found, with the biggest players tripling in value in that period as oil and gas production company stocks held steady.An equally weighted basket of the 20 largest publicly traded stocks of North American companies that make and sell renewable power — geothermal, wind and solar energy sellers — gained 201% over the past five years as of Aug. 31. Meanwhile, the equally weighted value of the 73 firms in S&P’s Oil & Gas Exploration and Production Index—energy providers—gained 2% over the same period.Of the 20 renewable stocks, with a total market value of $34 billion, 65% gained in value over the five years, while only 30% of the 73 S&P oil and gas index companies, a group totaling $1.36 trillion in market cap, were in positive territory after five years. The broader benchmark S&P 500 index grew 40% over the five years.A 35% slide in the price of crude oil has not helped the E&P stocks, which are historically closely tied to the commodity, while renewable stocks have tracked more closely with the tech sector, said Deanna Zhang, an energy tech and renewables analyst for the energy investment bank Tudor Pickering Holt & Co.Raymond James & Associates Inc. oil and gas analyst Pavel Molchanov agreed that the market rewards high-growth stocks and renewables. Largely based on new and improving technologies, renewable energy companies are benefiting from the same trend that has exploded the value of such high-tech issues as Inc. and Facebook Inc.“It is not surprising that renewable stocks have outperformed the E&P index over the past five years,” said Vishal Shah, a partner with Hudson Sustainable Investments LLC, a $3 billion private equity fund. “[A] combination of positive industry fundamentals and favorable global policy support have resulted in this outperformance for renewables. Corporate renewables and storage plus renewables, along with the strong growth of distributed generation, are the main drivers for strong fundamentals in the renewables sector for power generation,” Shah said.More ($): Renewable premium: Wind, solar stocks soar as oil prices constrain drillerslast_img read more

Fridays on the Fly: ‘Stream Protection Rule’ Struck Down in Congress

first_imgIt seems like every time you turn around these days up pops a new challenge to public lands and environmental standards.The latest legislative threat hit home hard for people in Southern Appalachia yesterday, when the Senate voted 54–45 to strike down the ‘Stream Protection Rule’ using a complicated “regulation killing tool” known as the Congressional Review Act.The Stream Protection Rule was enacted in December of 2015 by former Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. It’s primary purpose was to update the decades old environmental regulations placed on coal companies.The new standards would have protected some 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forest by preventing these companies from dumping harmful, chemical-laden debris into nearby waterways and filling stream beds with the sedimentary byproducts of mountain top removal mining.This is something the Appalachian coal industry has done in the past with wanton disregard for the environmental implications. In fact, North Carolina-based non-profit Appalachian Voices estimates that the mountain top removal methods employed by Southern Appalachian coal companies are responsible for the  destruction of some 2,000 miles of mountain stream channels.Once a stream or river is damaged in this manner, there’s no bringing it back.A reconstructed “stream” below a surface mine in Central Appalachia.“As you think about the impacts of this, we urge you to think about the impacts of mine pollution that TU members, staff, and partners have been working hard to clean up,” wrote Trout Unlimited in an open letter to Congress, just before the resolution striking down the Stream Protection Rule passed. “In the East, pollution from abandoned coal mines continues to damage thousands of miles of streams and rivers — over 10,000 miles just within Pennsylvania and West Virginia.  We know firsthand how hard it is to clean up the mess.  It is far better to avoid a mess in the first place.  That is the singular purpose of the Stream Protection Rule.”According to TU, the Stream Protection Rule took nearly a decade to craft, and was the first meaningful update to surface mining regulations since the Regan Administration.The withdrawal of this rule has far reaching implications for anyone who enjoys recreating on the streams and rivers of Southern and Central Appalachia, fly fishing or otherwise, but the truly dire consequences will be felt by those who live in the vicinity of these poorly regulated mining operations.Members of these nearby communities are the ones who will pay for the consequences with their own health and well-being.One such person is former coal miner and West Virginia resident Chuck Nelson.Chuck worked in underground coal mines for thirty years. When a coal processing plant was constructed near his home in Sylvester, West Virginia, he and his family began to feel first-hand the effects that a lack of regulation on coal industry standards can have on nearby communities.“We started eating a lot of coal dust,” Nelson told NPR’s planet money. “I’d go to work and come home at night and there would be a half an inch of coal dust on everything in the house.”In an effort to do something about the direct health threat being posed to him and his family, Nelson started traveling to Washington, D.C. on a regular basis. Once there, he’d tell his story to lawmakers and express his grievances about the lack of oversight in Appalachian coal production.He became heavily involved with organizations like Appalachian Voices who were working to overhaul coal industry standards and introduce some accountability and meaningful reform.The most important avenue of reform for Chuck and his family was the newly defeated Stream Protection Rule.“All this work we’ve done for years…all that work that’s going to be wiped away with a stroke of a pen,” Nelson lamented in his Planet Money Interview.Indeed, the stroke of a pen, Donald Trump‘s pen, is now the only thing that stands between the Stream Protection Rule actually being implemented or being wiped from the books altogether. I’m not holding out a lot of hope.Related:last_img read more

Valley Stream Man Sentenced for Fatal DWI Crash

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A Valley Stream man was sentenced Monday to 12 years in prison without parole for causing the crash that killed a 46-year-old man in the victim’s hometown of Franklin Square last year.Nassau County Judge Angelo Delligatti also sentenced Brian Daly to five years of post-release supervision.Daly had pleaded guilty in March to second-degree manslaughter, depraved indifference assault, criminal possession of a controlled substance and driving while intoxicated.Prosecutors said the 26-year-old man blew a red light at 70 mph in a 30-mph zone while drunk and high on cocaine when he broadsided a minivan driven by Christopher DeCrescito at the corner of Franklin and Corona avenues on Feb. 27, 2013.Daly, who had more than a half ounce of cocaine at that time, was arrested immediately after the crash.The victim left behind a wife and three children ages 12, 9 and 8.last_img read more

A small lesson from a large project

first_imgA trait of my elementary school teaching years, I often find that children’s literature captures lessons still applicable in adulthood. It’s strange, as adults, we spend hours digesting complex situations, analyzing and cross-referencing data, studying focus groups, research and the like; and still often times the solutions can be a simple as the lessons inspired by grade-school stories and nursery rhymes.Within our organization, I spent months purposing, convincing, and training our teams to care about member experience.  Creating compelling cases to better understand member’s needs – not just on a transactional level – but to truly understand how it feels to be a member. Within this I had my own visions – creating process efficiencies, enhancing workflows, telling stories to our leaders with data.  What I did not anticipate was that when I asked our teams to capture the feelings of our members—they would do just that.As our team members were empowered to engage with our members differently, the member’s stories were given a voice, and our CRM became the vehicle calling these stories to life. Transforming beyond just a call center or branch, our front lines felt empowered to use our CRM not just as a means for problem resolution, but as an engine to create impact. continue reading » 52SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Spain reports first avian flu case in birds

first_imgJul 7, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – Spain today became the latest country to join the list of nations responding to outbreaks of H5N1 avian influenza, as officials reported finding the virus in a wild bird.In a report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), Spanish officials said highly pathogenic H5N1 strain had been confirmed in a sample taken from a great crested grebe that was found dead Jun 30 in the Salburua wetlands in Alava province. The diagnosis was established by the Central Veterinary Laboratory in Algete.To control the outbreak, a 3-kilometer protection zone around the site has been established, and surveillance will be conducted within 10 km. Authorities have banned movement of poultry and hunting of wild birds within the zone and are monitoring natural areas for any further bird deaths.Spain is the 14th European Union member to report H5N1 avian flu in birds, on the basis of information from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.An outbreak of avian influenza is a particular concern in Spain because, according to a Bloomberg News report today on the outbreak, Spain is Europe’s biggest tourist destination.In other avian flu developments this week:Canadian authorities reported that final virological tests on samples from a dead gosling were negative.The OIE announced that avian influenza had recurred among ostriches in South Africa.Thailand said it hoped to be free of avian influenza in 3 years.Canada ends testing of Prince Edward Island birdsThe Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced Jul 5 that further testing related to a suspected H5 avian flu outbreak in Prince Edward Island had revealed no evidence of the virus.Authorities had announced Jun 16 that preliminary tests had indicated an H5 virus in a gosling, one of four birds that had died in a backyard flock. The positive test led authorities to destroy the rest of the flock and raised concern about the threat of H5N1 spreading to North America. But officials reported on Jun 20 that further tests at Canada’s avian flu reference laboratory in Winnipeg, Man., were negative.In the latest announcement, the CFIA said attempts to culture the virus from samples from the gosling had failed. The agency said testing was finished, and a quarantine on the affected site was lifted.South African ostriches have H5N2 virusAn H5N2 strain of avian flu has been confirmed on an ostrich farm in South Africa, according to a report that officials filed with the OIE. The virus was identified Jul 1 in eight ostriches on the farm in Riversdale, Western Cape province.In his notice to the OIE, South Africa’s senior manager of animal health, Bothe Modisane, said surveillance indicated that the outbreak was probably limited to the farm where the disease was detected. He reported that the farm was quarantined and that all 58 ostriches there were destroyed on Jul 1. Culling of all other poultry on the farm was completed on Jul 3. The source of the infection was not known.In 2004, a similar outbreak of H5N2 in ostriches stopped all poultry exports from South Africa. That outbreak killed 2,000 ostriches on two farms, and officials planned to destroy 6,000 remaining ostriches on the farms.Highly pathogenic strains of H5N2 virus have caused a number of past outbreaks in birds, though none in humans. H5N2 viruses were blamed for outbreaks in Pennsylvania (1983-85), Mexico (1994-95), Italy (1997), Texas (2004), and South Africa (2004), according to the World Health Organization. In addition, Japan had H5N2 outbreaks in poultry in 2005.Thai official offers optimistic projectionThailand’s agriculture minister said yesterday the country hopes to be completely free of avian influenza virus in 3 years. The Thai official, Sudarat Keyuraphan, told Agence France Presse (AFP) that the country has gone 239 days without an outbreak.”If we are able to control the virus for the rest of this year, we will have fewer worries next year, and I am confident that Thailand will be free from the bird flu virus within three years,” Keyuraphan told AFP. She said the 239-day outbreak-free stretch is notable, given that surrounding countries continue to report the disease.According to the AFP report, Thailand has recruited 900,000 volunteers to help with prevention efforts, including regularly spraying disinfectant around poultry farms.In May 2005, Thai officials declared the country free of the H5N1 virus, but more poultry outbreaks were reported the following July, and new human cases emerged in the fall.See also:Jul 7 OIE report on avian influenza in Spain 21 CIDRAP News article “Further tests show no avian flu in Canadian flock”Jul 3 OIE report on avian influenza in South Africa 6, 2004, CIDRAP News article “Avian flu hits ostriches in South Africa”May 5, 2005, CIDRAP News article on Thailand’s avian flu battle read more

Oil price slump a double-edged sword for Indonesia, Sri Mulyani says

first_img“The positive side is the price of energy will be relatively cheap,” Sri Mulyani told reporters in Jakarta. “However, this could lead to bigger uncertainty in the capital market.”Read also: Oil plunges about 30% after Saudi Arabia slashes prices, opens tapsGlobal share markets tumbled on Monday as panicked investors fled to bonds to hedge the economic shock of the coronavirus and the oil price slump.Sri Mulyani added that the government would continue to monitor the low oil price situation and its potential impact on the state budget. “For the state budget, in revenue from oil, as I said, we are facing low prices, and volume is also down because exports and production are declining, as well as the currency rate,” she pointed out. “We will assess its impact on this year’s state budget as well as the assessment for 2021.”Read also: Indonesia’s 2019 budget deficit widens to 2.2 percent amid tax revenue short fallSaudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, is attempting to punish Russia, the world’s second-largest producer, for balking on Friday at production cuts proposed by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).OPEC and other producers supported the cuts to stabilize falling prices caused by the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.Saudi Arabia plans to boost crude output above 10 million barrels per day (bpd) in April after the current supply deal between OPEC and Russia – known as OPEC+ – expires at the end of March, according to Reuters.Topics : Low oil prices may be a double-edged sword for Indonesia after Saudi Arabia started a price war with Russia by slashing its selling prices and pledging to boost supply amid falling demand due to the coronavirus outbreak.Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on Monday that the current price war amid the weakening economy due to the outbreak may benefit Indonesia’s imports as a result of lower oil prices. Brent crude futures fell by the most since 1991 on Monday, by US$14.25 or 31.5 percent to $31.02 per barrel.The current circumstance may ease state-owned oil producer Pertamina’s oil import burden, she added.last_img read more