Author: Bella

A rushed cull of Denmark’s minks over concerns about a coronavirus mutation has left the country facing a new horror, as cadavers of the animals reemerge from the earth.

The macabre phenomenon was observed in a military training field outside the western town of Holstebro, where thousands of minks had been put into an improvised mass grave.

The carcasses rose to the surface, lifted by pressure from gases released by the decomposition, according to local police.

The environment ministry said minks should be covered by at least 150cm of earth, but according to public broadcaster DR they were only buried under 100cm of dirt in the field outside Holstebro.

“The authorities are playing with our environment and using it as a dumping ground,” Leif Brogger, a local politician, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

Adding to the frustration, the animals had been buried too close to a lake, raising fears of phosphorus and nitrogen pollution, though officials have promised to fix the situation.

The ministry insisted the minks’ escape from their tomb was a “temporary problem tied to the animals’ decaying process”.

“To avoid potential problems for animals and humans the area will be monitored 24 hours a day until a fence is put up,” said the ministry.

Photos and videos of the ghastly sight have set social media abuzz, with one Twitter user dubbing 2020 “the year of the zombie mutant killer minks”.

In early November, Denmark – which is the world’s largest exporter of mink fur – announced it would cull all of the country’s more than 15 million minks after a mutated version of the novel coronavirus was discovered and believed to jeopardise the effectiveness of future vaccines.

Two weeks after having issued the decree – while in the middle of political crisis over the legality of the decision – the government concluded last week that the potential threat to human vaccines was “very likely extinguished”, in the absence of any new cases of the mutated version.

More than 10 million minks have already been culled in the Scandinavian country, according to the latest tally.

-freemalaysiatoday

The largest sharks ever to have roamed the oceans parked their young in shallow, warm-water nurseries where food was abundant and predators scarce until they could assume their title as kings and queens of the sea.

But as sea levels declined in a cooling world, the brutal mega-predator, Otodus megalodons, may have found fewer and fewer safe-haven coastal zones where its young could safely reach adulthood, researchers reported today in The Royal Society journal Biology Letters.

Indeed, the reliance of Megalodon on nurseries may have contributed to the end of their 20-million-year reign, according to the research.

Otodus megalodon — sometimes classified as a Carcharocles megalodon — took 25 years to become an adult — “an extremely delayed sexual maturity”, the authors said in the research paper.

But once it was fully grown, the shark could reach up to 18 metres, three times the size of the largest great white shark, made famous by the 1975 hit-movie Jaws.

As an apex predator, and up until its extinction around three million years ago, the adult megalodon had no rivals among other ocean hunters and feasted on smaller sharks and even whales.

But its young were vulnerable to attacks by other predators, often other razor-toothed sharks.

Nurseries on shallow continental shelves with extensive smaller fish for food and few competing predators gave them the ideal space to reach their awesome size.

“Our results reveal, for the first time, that nursery areas were commonly used by the O. megalodon over large temporal and spatial scales,” said the authors.

‘Perfect place to grow’

The research team discovered a nursery zone off the eastern coast of Spain in Tarragona Province after visiting a museum and observing a collection of megalodon teeth.

“Many of them were quite small for such a large animal,” the authors from British University of Bristol, Carlos Martinez-Perez and Humberto Ferron, told AFP.

Judging by the size of the teeth, they surmised the area had once been home to young megalodons.

The Spanish nursery could be described as “a perfect place to grow”, the authors said.

It would have been a “shallow bay area of warm waters, connected to the sea and with extensive coral reefs and plenty of invertebrates, fish species, marine mammals and other sharks and rays”.

The researchers analysed eight other sets of shark teeth which had previously been gathered, spread across the United States, Peru, Panama and Chile.

They came to the conclusion in four of them — two in the United States and two in Panama — had belonged to younger sharks.

As a result, the authors suggest these four areas where the teeth were found might also have been nurseries. 

“The remaining four formations … demonstrate size-class structures typical of populations dominated by adults, suggesting these regions might correspond to feeding or mating areas,” the study said.

Sharks continuously shed their teeth throughout their lifetime, and nurseries are zones with a high abundance of sharks.

“As a consequence, huge numbers of teeth can be shed, increasing the chances of subsequent fossil discoveries,” the authors said.

Megalodons enjoyed the warm and temperate waters of the Miocene period which extended from about five million to 23 million years ago.

But the cooler Pliocene period suited them far less.

As their prey adapted and headed towards colder waters, the megalodon stayed where the oceans remained warm.

The remaining food was also favoured by great white sharks, increasing competition with the smaller, but more agile, predator.

The vast reduction of shallow water nurseries due to sea-level losses — caused by a cooler climate — may also have contributed to the megalodon’s eventual extinction.

-malaymail

Top Glove Corporation Berhad said it did not understand why Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan called its worker dormitories “deplorable” and invited him to evaluate its newer facilities.

Top Glove executive chairman Tan Sri Lim Wee Chai said the ministry inspected the  dormitories roughly several months ago, after the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) banned imports from two subsidiaries of Top Glove on suspicion of forced labour back in July.

Rejecting claims that quarters were crowded and unsanitary, he said the firm spent almost RM20 million to purchase improved accommodations for its workers to comply with the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act.

“I don’t know why he said this recently. We also welcome him to come and visit again. Since the minister’s visit, our condition has since improved.

“So it came as a big surprise when such a comment is made. We will need to clarify with the ministry to see what are the areas that we are not doing correctly and improve further,” he said during a virtual press conference conducted through Zoom.

During the virtual sessions, photographs of the current dorm and provided amenities were shown to the media.

Saravanan was quoted as saying in an English daily yesterday that the entire Labour Department will be tasked with investigating the conditions at Top Glove factories in Klang, Selangor.

In Klang alone, the firm has 28 factories, which have become the epicentre of the Teratai cluster with a reported 4,036 Covid-19 cases from November 7. Over 80 per cent of the infected are foreign workers.

Echoing Lim’s remark, Top Glove managing director Datuk Lee Kim Meow said the company wanted to correct views about the welfare of their workers, insisting that it has made strides in this area on the advice of the relevant authorities since July.

“We know that this is issue has troubled many industries. We felt at that time, we needed to do more and the ministry came to us and we showed them. They gave us a thumbs up and complimented us.

“We have kept track of it very closely and have given assurances to our stakeholders. We want to put this behind us. As you can see, arising out of this episode we also realised the virus don’t discriminate against any parties,” he said, adding that the company has sought to better control and strengthen its preventive measures since.

Responding to the high number of cases involving its workers within the Teratai cluster, Lim disclosed that around 3,000 individuals from the company comprised those who have tested positive.

However, he expressed astonishment at the number of positive cases among his employees and cited how some of them could be false positives in reference to the first batch of screening conducted in early November where 17 out of 30 of the workers obtained such results.

However, Lim said he was not disputing the Health Ministry’s data but added they were working closely with them to determine the best method of Covid-19 testing as the sensitivity will determine the number of positive cases.

As for staff who have been discharged from the hospital, Lim affirmed that they have been placed in hotels as they were not allowed to return to their dormitories after an enhanced movement control order (EMCO) was imposed to facilitate targeted Covid-19 screenings from November 17 until November 30.

Top Glove, the world’s largest manufacturer of rubber gloves, currently employs over 21,000 workers nationwide.

On Monday, the NSC ruled that Top Glove must close its factories in stages after the highly infectious virus was found to have breached the workers’ lodgings and entered the community at large.

-malaymail

A stray dog, which went viral after it was filmed being escorted from a mall in Taguig, Philippines, has been “hired” to be part of its security team.

The dog, now named Dogdog, is fostered by the mall’s security team.

Philippines portal Inquirer.net quoted one of the guards Rico Bucan as saying that Dogdog grew up in the mall where he works.

“Dogdog always joins us whenever we have our guard mounting,” Bucan said, expressing his admiration for the mall management for their compassion, especially with animals like Dogdog.

Last Friday, a clip showing Dogdog sneaking into the mall and lying down before being escorted out by its security personnel, had gone viral.

Shared by Facebook user Jan Mart Calimpong, the clip saw two of the mall’s security guards — Rommel Francisco and Dionne Crisostomo — carefully handle the situation before one of them gently escorted the dog outside the mall.

“Though this dog entered the mall premises unnoticed, I was glad he was not treated harshly when sent back outside [and] instead the guard escorted him like he was [his] pet,” Calimpong wrote in his post.

Calimpong’s post had been shared 34,000 times and received 108,000 reactions.

-malaymail

A personnel from the General Operations Force (GOF) was slightly injured after being shot while on duty at the Malaysia-Thailand border near Bukit Kayu Hitam this evening.

Kedah Police chief Datuk Hasanuddin Hassan said that in the 6.15pm incident, the GOF personnel was conducting a patrol with another member in the area.

“The personnel, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, suddenly felt a sharp pain in his abdomen. When he checked, he found a circular mark.

“He then saw there were human activities in the area. We suspect he was shot with an air rifle believed to have come from the direction of the neighbouring country,” he said when contacted by Bernama today.

He said the 26-year-old personnel had lodged a report with the Bukit Kayu Hitam Police Station and that an investigation paper had been opened under Section 307 of the Penal Code for attempted murder.

“We will investigate and take stern action against the individual who fired the shot at the enforcement officer carrying out his duty,” he said.

This is the second such incident on a GOF personnel following the shootout involving two personnel and a group of smugglers about 600 metres from the TS9 command post in Padang Besar, Perlis early yesterday.

In the 3.10am incident, police corporal Baharuddin Ramli, 54, of the elite Senoi Praaq unit was killed and corporal Norihan a/l Tari, 39, was critically injured.

-malaymail

25 individu dicekup cuba guna laluan tikus

November 25, 2020 | News | No Comments

Tindakan 25 individu cuba keluar dari sempadan negara menggunakan laluan tikus gagal apabila dicekup dalam Op Benteng di kawasan Serudong, Tawau pada Jumaat lalu.

Dalam kejadian kira-kira jam 9 malam itu, seramai 24 pendatang asing tanpa izin (PATI) warga Indonesia dan seorang individu berstatus Pemastautin Tetap (PR) ditahan anggota Angkatan Tentera Malaysia (ATM) ketika melakukan operasi di kawasan itu.

Markas Divisyen Kelima Infantri Malaysia (5 Div) dalam satu kenyataan hari ini memaklumkan, semua individu itu ditahan di lokasi yang sama, namun pada waktu yang berasingan iaitu antara jam 9 malam hingga 9.30 malam.

Menurutnya, tangkapan pertama seorang lelaki yang berstatus PR yang dipercayai bekerja sebagai penyelia ladang bertindak memandu sebuah lori bersama enam PATI lain untuk balik ke kampung mereka di Indonesia.

“Tangkapan kedua pula kira-kira selang 15 minit kemudian, seramai 16 PATI menaiki sebuah lori yang tiada nombor pendaftaran melalui jalan yang sama untuk pulang ke Indonesia.

“Kemudian tangkapan ketiga juga selang 15 minit terdapat dua PATI menaiki motosikal ditahan selepas didapati mempunyai tujuan yang sama dengan tangkapan sebelumnya,” katanya.

Katanya, kesemua PATI itu didapati tidak mempunyai sebarang pengenalan diri yang sah dan dipercayai bekerja di kawasan berhampiran.

“Nilai rampasan dianggarkan mencecah RM39,820 iaitu membabitkan 50 kilogram gula, sebuah motosikal dan dua lori serta barangan peribadi PATI berkenaan.

“Kesemua PATI dan seorang lelaki PR bersama barang rampasan dibawa ke Balai Polis Kalabakan untuk siasatan lanjut,” katanya.

-sinarharian

NEW YORK – Mayat hampir 700 pesakit koronavirus (Covid-19) di New York, Amerika Syarikat (AS) pada musim bunga lalu masih ditempatkan di dalam trak sejuk beku.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) melaporkan kebanyakan daripada keluarga pesakit tidak berkemampuan untuk melakukan upacara pengebumian dengan sempurna atau waris mereka gagal dikesan.

“Kebanyakannya mayat tidak dituntut kerana masalah kewangan dihadapi waris keluarga mereka. Sebahagian waris juga tidak dimaklumkan dengan segera tentang kematian ahli keluarga mereka,” lapor WSJ lagi.

Difahamkan, ‘bilik mayat’ sementara itu mula digunakan sejak April lalu apabila kota metropolitan itu berdepan langkah lockdown dan lonjakan kes jangkitan serta kematian yang luar biasa.

Pada April lalu, Datuk Bandar, Bill de Blasio juga menyatakan pengebumian secara beramai-ramai juga tidak dapat dilakukan kerana New York mempertimbangkan penggunaan kubur sementara.

Bagaimanapun, ia tidak dapat menampung jumlah kematian harian yang meningkat pada masa tersebut.

Sementara itu, Gabenor New York, Andrew Cuomo memberitahu, kebanjiran pesakit di hospital juga telah melonjak lebih 120 peratus sejak tiga minggu lalu selepas ancaman wabak itu semakin teruk di AS.

-sinarharian

Peniaga vape Bumiputera bakal gulung tikar?

November 25, 2020 | Opinion | No Comments

PADA pembentangan Belanjawan 2021 pada 6 November lalu, kerajaan telah memutuskan untuk mengenakan duti eksais ad valorem pada kadar 10 peratus ke atas semua jenis peranti rokok elektronik dan bukan elektronik termasuk vape yang berkuat kuasa 1 Januari 2021.
Menteri Kewangan, Senator Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz turut menyatakan bahawa cecair rokok elektronik juga akan dikenakan duti eksais pada kadar 40 sen per mililiter.

Vape merupakan sejenis alat rokok elektronik yang mengandungi sistem isian cecair yang bertujuan untuk mengurangkan ketagihan merokok dan menggantikan rokok tembakau sedia ada di pasaran.

Sembilan daripada sepuluh perokok yang cuba berhenti akan gagal. Sesiapa sahaja yang mempunyai rakan yang merokok tahu bahawa ia tidak senang untuk berhenti.

Cukai yang dikenakan ke atas cecair vape yang tidak bernikotin di lihat seperti tidak masuk akal kerana kandungan cecair rokok elektronik itu hanya dibuat daripada bahan yang sama seperti pembuatan ais krim dan kek.

Lebih-lebih lagi, sistem perundangan di Malaysia tidak bersedia untuk membezakan antara cecair yang tidak bernikotin dan cecair yang mempunyai nikotin. Adakah kementerian mempunyai anggaran untuk menjalankan makmal ini?

Keputusan yang dibuat kerajaan itu juga, sedikit sebanyak akan menjejaskan periuk nasi peniaga vape yang majoriti terdiri daripada kaum Bumiputera iaitu orang Melayu.

Industri vape telah menggajikan sebanyak 25,000 orang Melayu di seluruh Malaysia dan mereka kebanyakan terdiri daripada golongan muda.

Industri vape di Malaysia adalah salah satu yang paling berpengaruh di dunia. Sebilangan besar bekalan dunia berasal dari pengeluar Malaysia.

Sekiranya kita melihat kadarnya, industri ini masih berkembang. Kita tahu bahawa lebih bermanfaat jika kerajaan membiarkan industri ini berkembang, sebelum mengenakan cukai dan menghentikan kemajuannya.

Sekiranya ia menggaji banyak orang Melayu, biarkanlah. Tidak banyak industri di Malaysia yang boleh menggajikan sebilangan besar orang Melayu seperti industri vape.

Jika dilihat dengan lebih teliti kutipan yang bakal di peroleh kerajaan tidaklah terlalu banyak dan ia hanya akan memberi kesan kepada perokok berikutan peningkatan harga.

Dengan itu, kerajaan mungkin hanya dapat menangani isu pelajar sekolah terjebak dengan penggunaan vape yang menjadi isu hangat masa kini. Industri vape juga akan mengurangkan kos dan melepaskan banyak pekerja Melayu.

Jika kerajaan memandang dari sudut pandang yang berbeza ia akan membawa suatu tekanan kepada pengusaha Melayu terutamanya peniaga kecil dan sederhana susulan cukai yang di kenakan itu agak tinggi.

Dan bukan lah masa yang sesuai untuk mengambil kesempatan kepada mana-mana pihak terutamanya ketika ekonomi peniaga yang tidak begitu stabil susulan penyebaran Covid-19 di serata dunia yang sedikit sebanyak memberi impak kepada ramai pihak.

Apabila berlaku kenaikan kos peniagaan, ada ke mungkin terdapat peniaga dalam industri vape bakal menutup perniagaan mereka susulan tidak mampu menampung kos perbelajaan yang boleh di ketogorikan sebagai cekak darah.

Malah, ia juga akan menaikkan rasa tidak puas hati rata- rata peniaga dan beranggapan bahawa keputusan yang di ambil ini seperti menentang peniaga dalam menguasai pasaran dan boleh di sifatkan sebagai salah satu agenda untuk mengenakan mereka.

Tidak menjadi suatu kesalahan untuk kerajaan meletakkan cukai ke atas cecair rokok elektronik tetapi kerajaan perlu mengkaji dan melihat dengan lebih mendalam agar keputusan yang di ambil tidak berat sebelah dan tiada pihak yang tertindas terutamanya orang melayu di Malaysia.

Kerajaan boleh mengenakan cukai tetapi kerajaan perlu memastikan industri ini berada di tahap yang stabil atau ‘mature’ iaitu dalam tempoh dua atau tiga tahun yang akan datang dengan bantuan alternatif daripada pihak kerajaan.

Ini kerana, ketika itu keputusan yang diumumkan kerajaan tidak memberikan tekanan ke atas mana-mana pihak serta tidak menjejaskan sesiapa.

Jika kerajaan beranggapan dengan tindakan yang di ambil ini merupakan jalan terbaik untuk menyelesaikan masalah dalam membendung penggunaan vape di kalangan rakyat Malaysia.

Ia perlu di lihat semula secara menyeluruh serta membuat penekanan lain dalam menjelaskan bahaya vape susulan ramai yang beranggapan vape tidak bahaya, malah rata-rata peniaga juga berkata tiada bukti ke atas dakwaan itu.

Maka dengan itu kerajaan perlu lebih fokus dan mengambil tindakan yang lebih efektif dalam membetulkan persepsi rata-rata pengguna vape dan juga peniaga vape agar lebih faham tentang perkara yang diketengahkan yang tidak hanya tertumpu kepada penguatkuasaan undang-undang serta pelaksanaan cukai semata-mata.

Kerajaan perlu lebih kreatif dan tidak menggunakan tindakan yang sama dalam menangani isu berbangkit dan memastikan segala tindakan yang di ambil memberi impak tanpa memenangkan sebelah pihak dan pihak lain memperoleh kesan dari sudut lain.

Malah kerajaan juga perlu mengambil kira kaum Bumiputera agar perniagaan mereka tidak terjejas.

-sinarharian

Syarikat pengeluar kicap dan sos masakan buatan Malaysia, Mahsuri Food Sdn Bhd menyumbangkan bantuan sebanyak RM15,000 menerusi inisiatif ‘Ikhlas untuk Sabah’ bagi membantu rakyat Sabah yang terjejas akibat pandemik koronavirus (Covid-19).

Ketua Komersil Mahsuri Food Sdn Bhd, Mohd Jazri Ikmal Hijaz berkata, pihaknya menyasarkan untuk menghulurkan bantuan barangan keperluan asas kepada kira-kira 300 ahli keluarga di sekitar kawasan Sandakan dan Semporna.

“Barang keperluan asas untuk program ini dibeli dari kedai runcit tempatan di Sabah dan diharap ia juga dapat membantu industri runcit tempatan di negeri itu.

“Kami berharap sumbangan ini sedikit sebanyak dapat membantu warga asnaf di Sabah,” katanya kepada Sinar Harian pada sesi penyerahan cek di Wisma Tune di sini semalam.

Sementara itu, Ketua Ikhlas, Ikhlas Kamarudin berkata, pihaknya menyambut baik dan berterima kasih kepada Mahsuri Food Sdn Bhd atas sokongan dengan turut menyumbang dana bagi menjayakan program tersebut.

Menurutnya, inisiatif ‘Ikhlas untuk Sabah’ dilancarkan pada 27 Oktober lalu, khusus bagi membantu rakyat Sabah yang terjejas teruk akibat Covid-19.

“Semua dana yang diperoleh menerusi program ini akan disalurkan sepenuhnya kepada rakyat Sabah.

“Alhamdulillah, setakat ini jumlah sumbangan hampir mencecah 70 peratus sasaran dan kita yakin dapat mencapai sasaran sebanyak RM250,000 sebaik sahaja kempen ini berakhir pada 30 November ini,” katanya.

Beliau berkata, sumbangan dana oleh Mahsuri Food Sdn Bhd akan digunakan untuk pengagihan barang keperluan asas oleh Ikhlas dan Kawasan Keselamatan Khas Pantai Timur Sabah (ESSCOM) pada hujung minggu ini.

“Disebabkan fokus bantuan kita untuk penduduk di kawasan yang agak pedalaman dan banyak tidak diketahui oleh pertubuhan bukan kerajaan (NGO), maka kita memerlukan kerjasama daripada pihak ESSCOM,” kata Ikhlas.

-sinarharian

With its new generation of robots, LG has been showing that such technology can fill in for humans in public places where Covid-19 tends to circulate more. For instance, robots can distribute prescription drugs in hospitals or dishes in restaurants and hotels. Such services are currently being tested in South Korea.

These sophisticated robots are able to interact with humans without exposing them to a greater risk of virus transmission. The LG CLOi ServeBot range can carry and deliver food and goods in an autonomous, hygienic fashion.

Such robots are currently being used in the national university hospital in Seoul, one of the biggest in the country. Their mission is to pick up and deliver material to patients, whether that be blood samples, prescriptions or medication.

In restaurants, these types of robots can serve an entire table thanks to their four drawers. Each robot can carry up to 20 kg. Their other mission is to take used plates and cutlery back to the kitchen. Use of these robots greatly reduces interactions between waiters and clients.

In hotels, these robots can also deliver what clients have ordered online or by phone directly to their rooms, without risking virus transmission. Seoul’s Konjiam Resort already uses these automated servers.

As Covid-19 continues to paralyze many sectors, notably in the tourism industry, these robotic solutions may very well become more common worldwide. 

-malaymail

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