Timeframe: December 24 to December 30, 2022
Contributors: G.M.Sifat Iqbal, Affan Bin Saber, and Farhan Uddin Ahmed
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Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
Hong Kong to lift almost all of its Covid rules Hong Kong is lifting almost all of its Covid restrictions this week, following a similar move in mainland China.
From Thursday, people arriving in the city will no longer have to undergo mandatory PCR tests. The vaccine pass system will also be scrapped – but mandatory masks in public places will continue. It’s a dramatic move for the city, which once had some of the toughest restrictions in the world. Also being lifted from Thursday are rules that limit the number of people allowed to gather outdoors to 12.
Hong Kong leader John Lee cited high vaccination rates as one of the reasons for lifting the restrictions. According to official statistics, 93% of the population has two doses of the vaccine, while more than 83% have received three.
But only 64% of people over 80 – the most vulnerable age group – received three doses.
2. Economics & Business
The Philippines’ food worries amid Ukraine war and typhoons
Felix Pangibitan runs his hand through the remnants of his precious rice crop.
The stems of about two-thirds of the field are doubly bent; Most were flattened, others were battered by strong typhoon winds that reached speeds in excess of 150mph (241km/h).
“It looks so pathetic,” he said in a video that has now gone viral across the Philippines
“It’s a waste. It’s too hard to be a farmer.”
It’s a loss that neither Felix nor the country can afford – especially this year, as food costs have risen to alarming levels.
His farm in Nueva Ecija, on the main island of Luzon, was among thousands in the path of a powerful storm that hit the country’s so-called “Rice Bowl.” $22m (£18.2m) worth of crops destroyed in 24 hours.
“I can’t remember all the typhoons and their names but this was the most heartbreaking yet,” he told us.
His simple heartwarming videos are all over the Philippines, especially among the poorest communities that are hit by multiple crises.
Like most of the world, food, fuel and fertilizer prices have soared since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February.
But the Philippines is particularly vulnerable. It has to import food to feed its growing population – including all cereals like rice and wheat – making it one of the most food-insecure countries in Asia.
Tk 6,014 crore deal with Indian firm signed to upgrade Mongla port
Scheduled to be complete by July 30, 2024, Egis India Consulting Engineers Private Limited has been appointed as the consultant for a capacity building project worth Tk 6,014 crore at the second largest port of Bangladesh, the Mongla port.
The related agreement was signed on 26th December between The Mongla Port Authority (MPA) and Egis India at Raddison blu. Rear Admiral Mohammad Musa, chairman of the MPA, and Laurent Germain, chief executive officer of Egis India, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective parties.
The government will finance Tk 1,555 crore from its own coffer while India will provide Tk 4,459 crore as assistance under its third line of credit. Constructing a container terminal, handling and delivery yards, a residential complex is said to be a part of the plan.
Source: The Daily Star
3. Science & Technology
Pilotless cargo carrying aircraft
Bulgarian manufacturer Dronamics will soon debut a pilotless cargo aircraft the size of a delivery van, named Black Swan The company will operate the aircraft as the world’s first “cargo drone airline” starting in 2023.
The concept came to the minds of Bulgarian brothers Konstantin and Svilen Rangelov in 2013 when Amazon began dabbling in drone deliveries. However, the brothers found logistical difficulties in sending small drones to deliver directly to homes and believed there was a better way of getting personal packages to each customer. Black Swan embodies a combination of lightweight composite materials and a standard piston engine that sips petrol while the drone cruises on long and fuel efficient wings. This whole package will fly at 20,000ft altitude, below the mass of passenger air traffic.
The plane reduces costs by up to 50% compared to competing cargo aircraft, partially due to its carbon fiber materials, making it favorable for the middle-mile market according to the company.
Meta and Alphabet lose dominance over US digital ads market
Meta and Alphabet have lost their dominance over the digital advertising market they have ruled for years, as the duopoly is hit by fast-growing competition from rivals Amazon, TikTok, Microsoft and Apple.
The share of US ad revenues held by Facebook’s parent Meta and Google owner Alphabet is projected to fall by 2.5 percentage points to 48.4 percent this year, the first time the two groups will not hold a majority share of the market since 2014, according to research group Insider Intelligence.
This will mark the fifth consecutive annual decline for the duopoly, whose share of the market has fallen from a peak of 54.7 percent in 2017 and is forecast to decline to 43.9 percent by 2024. Worldwide, Meta and Alphabet’s share declined 1 percentage point to 49.5 percent this year.
Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has blamed recent revenue falls on Apple’s privacy changes that make it harder to track users and target advertising, as well as the growing popularity of viral videos app TikTok, owned by Chinese parent ByteDance.
Regulators in the US and Europe have added antitrust scrutiny such as pursuing Google for allegedly promoting its products over rivals.
Source: Ars Technica
Deadly blizzard leaves more than 60 dead across US
The death toll in the New York city of Buffalo has risen to 28, with thousands still without power amid a monster winter storm that has battered North America.
Across the US, at least 62 people have died in weather-related incidents.
The winter storm has also forced the cancellation of thousands of flights, including about 4,800 on Tuesday morning alone. Thousands of passengers have been left stranded at airports across the country.
Conditions are now expected to improve, with very little snowfall on Tuesday and slightly warmer weather on the way.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is obtained solely from the aforementioned third parties. Youth Policy Forum (YPF) is not responsible for any misinformation or misrepresentation.