KERCH: Putin to open Crimea-Russia bridge today, Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to unveil today a highly symbolic bridge linking southern Russia to the Crimea, four years after the peninsula was annexed from Ukraine.
The Crimean Bridge, at 19 kilometres (nearly 12 miles) will be Europe’s longest, overtaking Lisbon’s Vasco da Gama Bridge. Built at a cost of 228 billion rubles ($3.7 billion), the new structure, connects the southern Krasnodar region with the Crimean city of Kerch, spanning a strait between the Black and Azov seas.
Ukraine has condemned the project, which was personally championed by Putin, saying construction has damaged the environment and that larger ships will be unable to get through to its ports on the Azov Sea.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s security service raided the offices of Russian state media in Kiev and detained one journalist, moves the chief editor of Russia’s RT television suggested were linked to the bridge opening.
The chief editor of the Kremlin-funded channel, Margarita Simonyan, wrote on Twitter that “Kiev decided to take revenge on us for the Crimean Bridge,” after the raids on the offices of RIA Novosti state news agency, which is part of the same media group as RT.
European Union and US sanctions have targeted those involved in building the bridge, principally Putin’s close ally, businessman Arkady Rotenberg, whose company Stroygazmontazh won the construction contract.
Protests have been growing in recent months over the stench from landfill sites around Moscow, overflowing with millions of tonnes of rubbish. Authorities have now decided on a plan to tackle the problem — generating energy by burning the waste instead. But their course of action has also sparked public fears over pollution. Russia produces almost 70 million tonnes of rubbish per year, according to Greenpeace’s estimates. The sorting of trash only takes place in around 100 of the country’s 4,000 towns and cities, and most of the waste builds up for decades in tips. “Russia seems to be fulfilling the prediction… that mankind will die from choking on its own rubbish,” said Alexei Kiselyov, of Greenpeace Russia. The amount that Russians throw away has grown 30 percent in the last decade, Greenpeace says. Two percent is incinerated, seven percent is recycled and the rest is dumped in landfills. Around Moscow, 24 landfill sites have been closed over the last five years because they were outdated and dangerous, the regional authorities said, while the remaining 15 — enormous mountains of malodorous rubbish open to the elements — are still filling up with unsorted waste.
Tesla to cut 7% of workforce amid tough profit outlook
NEW YORK: Elon Musk’s electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors announced Friday it was cutting its workforce by about seven percent in a push to keep the Model 3 affordable for middle-income consumers.
Shares plunged following the announcement, which also signaled a tough profit road
ahead for Tesla.
The round of job cuts — which follow an earlier downsizing announced in June — comes as the envelope-pushing company faces pressure in its home market on prices from the phasing-out of a tax credit for electric car purchases.
Musk did not release an estimate of the employment hit but the company had 45,000
employees in October, suggesting about 3,150 would be cut.
Musk, who originally conceived of the Model 3 as a reasonably priced option for consumers who could not pay the lofty prices of its first two vehicles, said action was needed if the company was to succeed in its mission of challenging conventional autos.
“While we have made great progress, our products are still too expensive for most people,” Musk said in a blog post announcing the layoffs.
“We need to continue making progress towards lower priced variants of Model 3.”
LG’s 17-inch laptop sets new Guinness World Record
SEOUL: South Korean electronics maker LG Electronics Inc. claimed today that its 17-inch ultra-thin laptop has been recognized as the world’s lightest laptop for its size by the Guinness Book of World Records.
Among 150 kinds of 17-inch laptops sold in seven countries, the LG gram 17 weighing in at just 1,340 grams set the new Guinness record after it was launched earlier this month, the company said.
It was LG gram series’ third Guinness record, following two titles that were secured by laptops with 15.6-inch and 14-inch screens.
The 17-inch laptop, equipped with a 2,560 x 1,600-pixel resolution and 16:10 ratio LCD display, is slim and light enough so people can take it anywhere, the company said. LG claims the laptop can run up to 19.5 hours on its 72 watt-hour battery.
The LG gram 17 also won the Innovation Award from the Consumer Electronics Show held earlier this month in Las Vegas.
WWF implementing SMART with IWMB
ISLAMABAD: WWF-Pakistan with Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) are implementing Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) for eliminating poaching and illegal wildlife trade in the country.
WWF Manager Conservation Muhammad Waseem said SMART patrolling system was based on wildlife monitoring and conservation systems in the selected Protected Areas (PAs) of the country for snow leopard preservation in Gilgit-Baltistan and overall wildlife species in Margalla National Park, he added.
He said the software was completely a modern technology based accessible both on Android smartphones and personal computers having Global Positioning System (GPS), pictures and various other features that would help wildlife conservators and national park managers to handle patrolling and monitoring of vast areas under their control.
He said WWF was providing technical assistance to IWMB and research students of various universities making a study on various wildlife management species.
To a question, he said WWF Pakistan had successfully controlled the illegal trafficking of Pangolins from the country where the species was threatened to get extinct.
The WWF had made extensive efforts for the capacity building of the Customs department and regional wildlife departments to control the unlawful smuggling of Pangolins who were significantly important for the agricultural produces of the country.
He added that WWF-Pakistan was also working on watershed projects in Ayubia and Khanpur Dam locations whereas the project was proceeding at a satisfactory pace.