DIY virus protection: Hong Kongers making own masks amid shortages

first_imgSome are turning to DIY solutions — albeit of questionable quality.Judy, a 73-year-old out shopping in the district of Wanchai, was spotted in a homemade mask.”I found the material — my handkerchief, and some non-woven fabric — and I combined them and used some wire for the top, and some elastic,” she told AFP, declining to give her surname.While Hong Kong’s economy reels, business has been brisk on one street in the working-class Sham Shui Po district that boasts many fabric and tailoring shops. A colorful array of cloth masks hangs outside many of the cramped storefronts as shoppers haggle over the din of whirring sewing machines.Elase Wong, a tailor, said she was giving away her face mask sewing design.”Some people couldn’t buy any masks… So if they can make them themselves, that would be great,” she told AFP. “I hope everyone can achieve self-sufficiency.”Pop-up assembly lineThe cost of masks has skyrocketed with scarcity and the government resisting price controls or rationing, as in nearby Macau and Taiwan.A set of 50 simple surgical masks can sell for up to HK$300 (US$40), while the top of the range N95 variety is going for as high as HK$1,800 a box.A film director surnamed Tong was this week putting the finishing touches to a face mask assembly line in an industrial building.”I was shocked by the price of face masks,” he told AFP.”I did some research and realized that masks are not that difficult to make. Why do people have to bear such a high cost? Because there is no production line in Hong Kong”.With the help of an investor he managed to import a machine from India, and plans to ship more. Currently in the testing phase, the device will produce 60-80 surgical masks per minute from Saturday in a dust-free room. Tong said the masks will be sold online for HK$1-2 each, limited to one box per person. The administration of chief executive Carrie Lam says it is doing all it can to secure new supplies of face masks amid a global shortage.Output has been ramped up on a prison labor production line and there are plans to set aside HK$1.5 billion to support the creation of domestic factories.The lack of stockpiles has sparked criticism of Lam, even from among her pro-Beijing political allies.Many have expressed surprise that a city which suffered 299 deaths during the 2003 SARS outbreak was not better prepared.Since SARS, which Beijing initially covered up, Hong Kongers have embraced higher communal hygiene standards and face masks have long been a common sight, especially during the winter flu season.Joseph Kwan, a public health expert from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, said widespread mask use during SARS also lowered cases of the common cold that year.In a tightly packed city like Hong Kong, new viruses will “spread like wildfire if nobody wears a mask”, he said. “It would be a public health disaster”. Topics :center_img With chronic face mask shortages in the midst of a virus outbreak, Hong Kongers have started making their own — with a pop-up production line and seamstresses churning them out on sewing machines.In one of the most densely populated cities on earth, face masks have become hot property as people scramble for protection against the new deadly coronavirus.Long queues — sometimes thousands strong — routinely crop up outside pharmacies when supplies are in, and there is anger at the government’s failure to have stockpiled.last_img read more

IORP II to revise investment guidelines, introduce remuneration policies

first_imgA draft proposal seen by IPE in March previously listed requirements for schemes to produce risk evaluations immediately following any significant change in risk profile.In what will likely be perceived as a swipe against the Dutch and Irish pension systems, the Commission said the changes were necessitated by a “failure of certain funds” during the financial crisis, leading to reductions in benefits for members.“This has shown a need to strengthen governance provision,” the Commission said.In a detailed Q&A dossier, the Commission stressed that its proposals would seek to “ensure the soundness of occupational pensions” by laying down minimum governance standards and requiring all of the sector’s regulators to conduct stress tests.It said the revised directive would remove existing obstacles to cross-border provision so that funds and sponsors alike could “fully reap the benefits of the single market”, and that this would be accomplished by introducing a pension fund transfer procedure to facilitate the shift of funds between member states.“Innovative companies, raging from SMEs to multinationals, would be able to reduce staff costs through economies of scale, risk diversification and innovation,” the dossier added.Additionally, the revised Directive will overhaul investment rules across Europe, seeking to remove nationally legislated investment rules perceived as a barrier to “financing of growth in the real economy”, the Commission said.“The proposal would change the existing provisions on investment restrictions to make sure occupational pension funds remained free to invest in infrastructure [and] unrated loans,” the dossier said, “thus ensuring that investments, in particular with a long-term profile, should not be restricted if the restriction is not justified on prudential grounds.”The overhaul stands alongside Commission pledges to examine whether pension investment can be attracted to infrastructure loans by increasing the level of transparency in the market.In a move likely to be controversial, the Directive retained a requirement seen in several drafts for a uniform pension benefit statement.The Commission insisted the standardised approach would help members compare different schemes and assist pension providers, particularly where these operate cross-border.However, a number of countries – most notably the Netherlands and Denmark – have spent significant time and industry resources developing their own universal statements catered to national needs, which include online portals.The Commission said the statement would be a “first layer in a modern multi-layered approach to communication, with national specifities described more in depth in subsequent layers”. The revised IORP Directive will aim to modernise investment guidelines to foster long-term investment and improve cross-border activity by developing a framework for the transfer of benefits between member states, the European Commission has said.Publishing the long-awaited Directive – excluding the controversial pillar I solvency rules and instead focusing on governance, supervisory and disclosure requirements through pillars II and III of the legislation – the internal market commissioner Michel Barnier said the proposals would “further develop occupational pension funds as key long-term investors”.Barnier previously said the Directive would be “less regulation, more politics”, but he indicated that it would still fall to his successor to consider the introduction of solvency requirements for pension funds.The measures introduced include new governance requirements for internal audit, revised remuneration policies for pension funds to avoid conflicts of interest and a requirement for a self-assessment of fund risk – described as the Risk Evaluation for Pensions.last_img read more

‘Nitro Nick’ nails Port Royal PASS feature

first_imgThe win was hardly a gimme, though. Last week’s Port Royal winner Garrett Bard, started 10th, got all the way to fourth on the opening lap, then took the runner-up spot on lap 11 and began to pressure Sweigart in lapped traffic during the caution-free race.  Sweigart had looked headed for victory in the season opener at Selinsgrove before engine troubles spoiled that outing, and an early race accident sidelined him last week at Port Royal. A third place at Selinsgrove in between was the year’s highlight before Saturday. PORT ROYAL, Pa. (June 20) – ‘Nitro’ Nick Sweigart made up for a couple of early season disappointments with a dominating wire-to-wire win in the 20-lap Pennsylvania Sprint Series feature Saturday at Port Royal Speedway. By Frank Buhrman Nick Sweigart led every time around the oval in winning the fast-paced Pennsylvania Sprint Series main event Saturday at Port Royal Speedway. (Photo by Dan DeMarco) Sweigart took advantage of his pole start and put his IMCA RaceSaver Sprint Car in victory lane for the first time in the late-starting 2020 season. Sweigart responded, though, and was 1.5 seconds ahead at the checkered flag. Bard’s finish gave him two wins and two seconds in five PASS starts, plus a Laurel Highlands Sprint Series victory.  Dave Grube matched Bard’s charge, advancing from 11th starting spot to finish third, ahead of Larry McVay and Derek Hauck. The Penns Valley Meat Market Hard Charger Award went to sixth-finishing Doug Dodson, who came all the way from 18th. Feature results – 1. Nick Sweigart; 2. Garrett Bard; 3. Dave Grube; 4. Larry McVay; 5. Derek Hauck; 6. Doug Dodson; 7. Jake Frye; 8. Christian Rumsey; 9. Erin Statler; 10. Tom Carberry; 11. John Walp; 12. Jaremi Hanson; 13. Devin Adams; 14. Kassidy Kreitz; 15. Greg Dobrosky; 16. Jared Zionkowski; 17. Ken Duke Jr.; 18. Ron Aurand; 19. Johnny Scarborough; 20. Landon Price; 21. Cassandra Minium; 22. Dominic Melair; 23. Josh Roush; 24. Kruz Kepner; 25. Nathan Gramley; 26. Peter Dance.last_img read more

Vinesh Phogat eyes World Wrestling Championship title

first_img Suman Ray WE RECOMMEND FOLLOW US Last Updated: 16th September, 2019 21:32 IST Vinesh Phogat Eyes World Wrestling Championship Title Wrestler Vinesh Phogat to face some of the biggest names from the in the World Wrestling Championship as she hopes to earn the title of ‘World Champion’ 1 year ago Vinesh Phogat wins 3rd successive gold in 53kg in Poland Open 11 months ago MC Mary Kom and PV Sindhu in line for top national civilian honours In her quest to become the first Indian woman wrestler to finish at the top podium at the World Wrestling Championships, Asian Games gold medallist Vinesh Phogat faces a path littered with some of the biggest names from the wrestling world as the women’s freestyle events get underway in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan on September 16. It would need the marquee grappler to summon her very best as she returns to the elite competition a year after having pulled out due to elbow injury.Phogat- three-time gold winnerThe 25-year-old switched to 53kg from 50kg and despite some initial struggles, she has found her groove, as evident by her three gold medals at the Yasar Dagu, Poland Open and Spain Open. A bronze at the Asian Championships along with a couple of silver medals at the Dan Kolov and Medved International tournaments gave enough testimony to the fact that the star wrestler was beginning to find her comfort level even in her new weight category.READ: Wrestling TV: A new platform dedicated to Indian wrestlersVinesh Phogat to face familiar opponents For Vinesh to show that confidence and conviction, and earn a medal for India, she has to overcome some familiar opponents. In the qualifying rounds, the seventh seed faces Rio Olympic bronze medallist Sofia Mattson and a win over her will fetch her a chance to compete against the two-time world champion Mayu Mukaida of Japan. If Vinesh can manage to overcome that hurdle, last year’s World Championships runner-up and top seed Sarah Hildebrandt will await in the quarter-finals. While Vinesh has got the better of both Mattson and Hildebrandt this season, Mukaida stopped her at the continental event in April.READ: Vinesh Phogat wins 3rd successive gold in 53kg in Poland OpenOther Indian women wrestlers at the tournamentIn 50kg, all Indian hopes will rest on the shoulders of the second seed Seema Bisla, who won gold at the Yasar Dogu 2019 Ranking Series tournament in July. The higher seeding doesn’t exempt her from facing a quality opponent as early as the opening round and she could possibly begin her campaign against three-time Olympic medallist Mariya Stadnik of Azerbaijan. A win will put her in the way of either European Games bronze medallist Miglena Selishka or Yasar Dagu silver medallist Ekaterina Poleshchuk. Lalita Sehrawat, the former Commonwealth Games silver medallist and Asian Championships bronze medallist, will be representing India in 55kg. As the 12th seed, she kicks off her challenge against Mongolia’s Bat Ochir, the 13th seed. A win will set up a possible quarter-final showdown with America’s third seed Jacarra Winchester.In 72kg, sixth-seeded Komal Bhagwan Gole will be in contention for a berth in the quarter-finals when she faces off against Turkey’s accomplished Beste Altug. Should she manage a win there, she has a tough proposition in the next round as she will have to square off against the top seed Zhamila Bakbergenova of Kazakhstan.READ: MC Mary Kom and PV Sindhu in line for top national civilian honoursREAD: “Don’t break players morale”: Wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat slam Haryana Government after cuts in Prize money WATCH US LIVE 11 months ago Wrestling TV: A new platform dedicated to Indian wrestlerscenter_img COMMENT Written By LIVE TV SUBSCRIBE TO US First Published: 16th September, 2019 20:18 IST 1 year ago “Don’t break players morale”: Wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat slam Haryana Government after cuts in Prize money 1 year ago Wrestler Vinesh Phogat ties the knot with Somvir Rathee, here are first pictures of the beautiful couple!last_img read more

Dodgers’ offense runs short in 5-4 loss to Giants

first_img“I just think (it was) a little too much aggressiveness and a couple of them were just kind of just mental mistakes.”The Dodgers had 40 baserunners while scoring 17 runs in the first two games of the season. They kept putting them on base Saturday afternoon as well. But Justin Turner drove in their first run of the afternoon with an RBI double in the first inning.That made Giants starter Logan Webb the ninth of 10 different Giants pitchers to be charged with at least one run in this series against the Dodgers. They left the bases loaded in the second when Mookie Betts flew out to end the inning, but it still felt like just a matter of time before the Dodgers’ offense woke up. But the bats weren’t the problem.Turner dropped another double into right field with one out in the third. But he was left helpless when Corey Seager’s knuckling line drive was caught by Giants second baseman Wilmer Flores, who had shifted into shallow right field against Seager. Turner was easily doubled off.In the fourth, things looked promising for the Dodgers when Chris Taylor and Joc Pederson led off with singles. But Taylor made a dash for third base when the throw from right field on Pederson’s single momentarily got loose with no one covering third. Webb got there in time to tag Taylor out. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error The fourth ended on another misadventure when Pederson was doubled off first on Kiké Hernandez’s flyout to center.In the fifth, it was Austin Barnes’ turn. He led off with a single but was doubled off to end the inning on a Betts’ line drive to shortstop Mauricio Dubon.By then, the Dodgers were down 5-1, thanks to a wayward start by Alex Wood in his re-debut with the team. Wood gave up a run in each of his three innings, grinding away to keep the damage down in a 31-pitch second inning.“I kind of got away from my general plan of how aggressive I am,” said Wood, who made only seven starts last season for the Cincinnati Reds due to a back injury. “We threw a little bit too much soft stuff early. I think they had some good at-bats and ended up drawing three walks in those first two or three innings.“It was just overall getting away from what I do best, in terms of pounding the zone and attacking early. I thought that was the difference. I felt much better in third inning. I kind of got back to doing what I typically like to do and it felt better in the third inning. But those first two innings, it just wasn’t me in terms of plan of attack.”Dennis Santana followed him and gave up two runs in the fourth, putting the Dodgers down even further. The Dodgers almost overcame their shortcomings – by taking advantage of some of the Giants’ many flaws.An eighth-inning rally against lefty reliever Tony Watson was sparked by a hit batter – Max Muncy for the second time in the game – and a two-base error by Donovan Solano at third base. It was the Giants’ seventh error in the first three games.Related Articles Corey Seager drove in two unearned runs with a two-out single. After a slow ground ball by Taylor crawled into right field against a defense shifted to the left, Giants reliever Tyler Rogers hit Joc Pederson with a pitch to load the bases and put the go-ahead runs on. But Hernandez grounded out to end the threat.The late life continued when Will Smith led off the bottom of the ninth with a home run, clipping a cardboard cutout beyond the wall in left-center and making it a one-run game. That was as close as they got, the squandered opportunities growing in importance as the game wound down. Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco center_img Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire LOS ANGELES — Maybe three weeks of Summer Camp wasn’t enough to fine-tune everything.The Dodgers had four runners thrown out on the bases – three were doubled off – in a three-inning, mid-game stretch, stymying their offense better than the Giants’ pitching staff had been able to do before a 5-4 Dodgers loss Saturday afternoon.Toss in four hit batters, a couple errors and a run-scoring wild pitch from the expanded pitching staffs, and the game would have fit comfortably at Camelback Ranch in mid-March.“We don’t enjoy any losses,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “But whether you win or lose, it’s sort of how you play the game. I think how we got there today, I’m not pleased with. You leave four outs on the field. That’s something that, for us, we pride ourselves on – intelligence and running the bases, knowing the scoreboard. But, when you get doubled off four times and give away outs, that’s just not helpful. Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start last_img read more