Tag Archives: response

Response to climate change | Instant News


The dangers are clear and real. Pakistan is ranked 153 in the list of countries emitting greenhouse gases. According to several studies, Indonesia is also the fifth most vulnerable country in the world to climate change.

The country continues to face flooding, degraded air quality, pollution of water sources, soil erosion, heat waves, etc. One can easily identify the effects of climate change in a city like Karachi. The huge amount of greenhouse gas emissions is causing the temperature to rise and we see how the city has dealt with heat waves in previous years. The response of civil society, political actors and academics to these threats will determine Karachi’s future.

The following sentences, drawn from a discussion conducted by NED University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi and Bristol University UK, are an attempt to highlight some of the key points around this issue.

First is the response from civil society. Although civil society is generally defined as a third entity and lies outside of government, philosophically it is a buffer between the oppressor and the oppressed. In terms of environment, its functions are in four domains. The first type of environmental CSOs to work at the policy level may be semi-implementing (funding for partners) and their main framework is conservation for sustainability. The second type of environmental CSO is rights-based and works for environmental justice. Community is the core of the work of the CSO.

The third type of environmental CSO works indirectly on environmental issues. For example, in EQ 2005, rehabilitation was the main program by various local and global organizations, and sustainability was the main theme of the respective interventions. The fourth type manifests itself in the form of concerned individuals who mostly use the justice system and often choose litigation in the public interest.

In Pakistan, the response of civil society has generally been anthropocentric conservation and has very little to do with deep ecology. The way forward for Pakistani CSOs is to create a hybrid model for environmental sustainability and environmental justice.

For political actors, there are many things that need to be addressed. Several plans were passed in the post-independence era and a considerable analysis was carried out on various attributes including environmental aspects. Unfortunately, the plan lacked legal protection and the recommendations and advice provided did not fulfill the role expected of them. The overview of the situation of the city is that the unplanned compaction of the inner-city area, the illegal distribution of land continues without control and there is a commercialization of bands in the main corridors, paving the way for speculative real estate development.

Natural tributaries and storm drains serve as city sewers. Municipal waste is managed informally because scavengers and the recycling industry informally support most of the municipal waste. The informal sector simply regulates public transport.

So, do we have a city plan and a climate change mitigation plan and other attributes? Second, are we taking action to protect vulnerable communities, their assets and livelihoods? Do we have such institutional arrangements in places that deal with recurrent disasters efficiently? A very specific direction that needs to be taken is to pay attention to how development projects, especially those with broader territorial and contextual impacts, are formulated.

While much research is being done in Pakistan what is missing is a critical mass of a philosophically strong base of related knowledge. In addition, the formulation of a vision on the issue of climate change requires critical thinking where students and teachers can work in a paradigm shift. Unfortunately, academic institutions cannot perform this mandatory function. Climate change and adaptation require a new type of contextual vocabulary and academic inquiry between disciplines.

These three sectors – civil society, political apparatus and academics – need to work together to tackle the high climate change agenda. The sooner the better, because the fate of the people depends on the actions of these three sectors. The first is to get policy makers and power structures to understand climate change and its impacts. Since academics have data relevant (whatever) to it, civil society can easily cooperate with politicians to maintain pressure for negotiations. One important area where civil society, academics and politicians can work together is pro-people and environmentally friendly urban planning.

The author is a lecturer in the Department of Architecture and Planning at NED, Karachi.

Email: [email protected]

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The Minister is considering legal changes to the privacy of browsing data | Instant News


Covid-19 Minister Chris Hipkins has sought advice from officials on potential changes to the law that could address lingering privacy concerns with the NZ Covid Tracer app. Photo / Bevan Conley

Covid-19 Countermeasure Chris Hipkins has sought advice from officials on potential changes to the law that could address lingering privacy concerns with the NZ Covid Tracer app.

It comes after a prominent data expert and Privacy Commissioner John Edwards suggested changes to the law would ensure agencies can’t use tracking data for spying or criminal investigations.

The New Zealand app remains an important tool for helping tracers quickly trace the close contacts of people infected with Covid-19 – but at the same time, gathering large amounts of personal information from users.

The government has moved to ease surveillance concerns by creating “decentralized” applications, leaving location data – such as those loaded via QR codes – and interaction information, entered via Bluetooth tracking, on people’s phones until needed for contact tracing.

While this approach, widely used by other countries, helps protect user privacy, there is still little legislative protection against data used for other purposes by Governments.

Dr Andrew Chen, a researcher at Koi Tū: The Center for Informed Futures based at the University of Auckland, said one concern is that police or intelligence agencies could request a warrant for a phone call and then retrieve tracing data from it.

The Singapore government recently sparked protests when it passed a law allowing police to access data from the TraceTogether app for serious crimes such as murder, rape and drug trafficking.

In New Zealand, Chen noted that a recent police review of emerging technology suggests police have the tools and the ability to search data on cell phones.

This month, he wrote to Hipkins and Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield, suggesting New Zealand could take similar steps to Australia, which introduces amendments that define who and who is not allowed to use tracer app data, and for what purposes.

That effectively means that intelligence agencies that accidentally collect tracking data from cell phones have to erase the data and can’t use it.

But Chen told the Herald that there were still concerns surrounding the two scenarios.

“One of them is that law enforcement officers get access, as happened in Singapore, which is a major concern,” he said.

“The other thing is, just because the NZ Covid Tracer app is well designed, it doesn’t mean that other digital contact tracing tools are designed as well.”

For example, he said, there were about 30 different providers for QR code digital contact tracing in the past.

“We know, last year, there were companies that collected personal information from contact tracing and then used it for marketing purposes.

“So it’s actually nice to have some rules that specifically state data collected for the purpose of the Covid-19 pandemic should only be used to respond to it.”

Data expert Dr Andrew Chen.  Photo / Provided
Data expert Dr Andrew Chen. Photo / Provided

Chen previously suggested that the Government could amend the Public Health Response Act, but now believes the reforms would fit better elsewhere in the current law.

In a written response to Chen last week, Hipkins noted that Bluetooth location and contact data were recorded centrally only when given to the tracker – and even then, people can still decide if they want to release it.

“With the relatively small number of cases in New Zealand, there are very few people whose data is stored centrally,” said Hipkins.

“This data is well secured in the ministry system and the ministry has done only to use it for contact tracing purposes.”

Furthermore, he said, the application has protection that limits the time period for data storage.

Manually scanned and recorded locations are stored on the user’s phone for 60 days and then deleted automatically, while the Bluetooth interaction key is stored on the user’s phone for 14 days and then deleted.

Although data from apps uploaded to the ministry’s system is kept longer because some of it becomes part of a person’s health records, the ministry has committed to deleting it “in a specific category” at the end of the pandemic – including all contact details.

Hipkins claims that the risk of being used for surveillance is low, and has been told that the threshold for agencies forcing access to it is “quite high.”

The police also told Chen that they did not – and would not – seek or access any data from the app to aid in the investigation.

However, Hipkins acknowledged that the existing safeguards were “incomplete” – and pointed to similar suggestions for reforms being made by privacy commissioners.

“While digital contact tracing options are now more limited than ever before, I notice nothing is preventing people from using other existing options, or preventing new ones from emerging,” Hipkins said in the letter.

“I understand that the ministry has published standards and certification regimes for applications that use Government QR codes that include privacy expectations.

“However, alternative approaches are not prohibited, and for that reason the Government supports ensuring there is protection for all digital applications and tools used for contact tracing.”

He has asked the ministry for advice on possible legislative changes – a move that encourages Chen.

“It’s great to look at. At the same time, I think it’s important to convince people that the risk here is low – and that we should all use this app as much as possible.”

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The seven countries with better coronavirus responses than Australia | Instant News


While the coronavirus pandemic is showing no signs of abating worldwide, Australia continues to manage the crisis well.

With two waves crushed, a relatively small outbreak on Christmas day under control and close calls to the highly contagious British variant avoided in Brisbane, we’ve logged 12 days of no locally acquired cases.

We are often cited as one example of a global public health response (even if we say so ourselves).

“If you asked me a year ago, can you imagine a situation where Australia is at zero cases but the world has 630,000 cases a day, I would struggle to be so brave in making that prediction, so our efforts are extraordinary,” the Minister said. Greg Hunt’s health on Friday.

So when the Lowy Institute released it analysis of countries with the most effective pandemic response, some were surprised to see Australia break into the top 10 at number eight.

The think tank tracked six actions in 98 countries for 36 weeks after confirmed cases of all 100 countries. The Institute’s Herve Lemahieu told the ABC that no one type of country can hold back the flow, but that there appears to be an advantage for smaller countries.

“One of the remarkable findings of this study is that there is a lot in common between developing and wealthy countries,” he said.

Despite their success, the top 10 is a warning against complacency – with New Zealand’s travel bubble suspended this week and Vietnam recording its worst one-day coronavirus outbreak so far.

So what lessons can we learn from the seven nations that defeated us?

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern locked down the country early.(AP: Mark Mitchell)

New Zealand

Special weapon: Elimination strategy

Graph comparing cases in New Zealand and Australia

Like many countries that have coped with their pandemic response, New Zealand is an island. But a key factor to the country’s success is how hard and fast it moves to lock down the population after the initial cases.

Unlike Australia, which aims to “suppress” the virus, New Zealand is eliminating it from the start. And after seven weeks of lockdown, the country is virus-free. Clear communication from health authorities, including via text messages, is credited for sparking positive responses from the general public.

New Zealand was also an early user of genome sequencing, suggesting that the tight lockdown started working almost immediately: in the first week, transmission fell from seven contacts of infected cases, on average, to 0.2.

Although tight borders have hurt New Zealand’s tourism sector, they have allowed the island nation to remain largely COVID-free, minimizing the blow to other industries.

Vietnamese

Special weapon: Low tech response, hard and fast

Graph showing the case of Australia compared to Vietnam

Vietnam has spent more than half a year without a single death from COVID-19. The country’s approach has shown that low-tech responses can be just as effective at containing the virus.

Vietnam has forced hundreds of thousands of people into quarantine, even blocking roads where infected people live. Human rights organizations are voicing caution about a cruel, but proven approach, in fighting the outbreak.

By mid-March 2020, face masks became mandatory outdoors and there was little resistance from populations experienced in disease outbreaks.

One of the ways Vietnam increased its resources is through “batch sampling” during community-wide testing.

This involves testing the entire household with a single swab, and if the results are positive, retesting each person individually to see who is infected.

This means the testing stock can expand further, and cover a wider range of populations. During the outbreak in the tourist city of Da Nang, about a third of the city’s households were tested, according to the WHO.

And then there’s the jingles, like this public health message that goes viral.

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Taiwan

Special weapons: Extensive public health infrastructure and experience with SARS

A graph comparing the case of Taiwan with Australia

When the pandemic reached Taiwan, the government acted immediately. With SARS still fresh in national memory, they took no chances.

The country owes much to its success to its extensive public health network, which enabled it to rapidly activate testing, quarantine and contact tracing, achieving elimination in the community in April without lockdown.

The country’s immigration and health insurance agencies integrate their databases so they can quickly identify who to get tested based on their travel and medical history.

Health authorities are partnering with telecommunications companies to enforce quarantine through tracking the location of cell phones. They are also collaborating with two technology companies to create chatbots so citizens can report their health status and ask for advice.

Taiwan is rapidly increasing mask production, building 60 production lines in 25 days, with the country producing more than 20 million masks a day by the end of May.

Thailand

Special weapons: Volunteer troops

Graph showing Australia's case against Thailand

Thailand is facing the second wave scattered among the densely populated accommodation of migrant workers from Myanmar. But many in the country are not panicking, given Thailand’s early success in overcoming the pandemic.

Like Taiwan, Thailand has a strong public health network with a unique advantage: volunteers are mostly women with basic medical training.

These volunteers, scattered across the country, go door to door during 2020, educating households on how to prevent transmission, eliminating misinformation, offering masks and sanitizers, and providing updates on public health measures.

They also conduct case triage, send people with symptoms for testing, and enforce quarantine orders.

This, combined with sophisticated lockdowns and screening at airports and other public places, gives Thailand an advantage in suppressing COVID-19.

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Foreigner arrested at Thai bar for violating COVID-19 restrictions.

Cyprus

Special weapons: Border control and lockdown

Graph comparing cases in Australia and Cyprus

Another island nation, Cyprus’ success in overcoming the pandemic is heavily dependent on border controls, which have a major impact on its tourism sector. From the start of the pandemic, migrants must prove they are virus-free before arriving.

The country is also happy to impose restrictions, such as a nearly three-month lockdown imposed in mid-March that devastated the virus.

While infection rates remained low during the early months of the pandemic, the recent surge in infections saw Cyprus hit more cases than Australia, and the country has returned to lockdown.

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The Lowy Institute looks at which countries are responding best to the COVID-19 pandemic

Rwanda

Special weapon: Public belief in the health system

a chart comparing cases in Rwanda and Australia

As some of its neighbors are battling a case burden 10 times higher, Rwanda has been a low-key COVID success story, with around 14,600 cases and 186 deaths.

Agnes Binagwaho, a state health system architect, told BMJ in December that the Rwandan people trust their health system.

“So when the government closes the border and sends everyone home – when it sends health workers to people’s homes, robots to their treatment centers, and drones to their skies. [as it has done] – people should know that this action is not against them, but for them. That’s the only way they’re going to adhere to those guidelines – law enforcement has only given you so far, “he said.

The country’s “patient-centered” response and community involvement have been cited as reasons for Rwanda’s success, despite lacking some resources from wealthy countries.

“COVID-19 has shown that the Western world and the northern hemisphere of the world are not the best at doing everything. It’s time to revisit why they do what they do,” he said.

“A culture of individualism, lack of solidarity – it loses trust with people. And it makes people sick.”

Iceland

Special weapons: Extensive and sophisticated testing

Graph comparing cases in Iceland and Australia

Iceland’s small population of 368,000 allows it to carry out extensive community testing.

Unlike other European countries that limit testing to people with symptoms, Iceland has put forward an open invitation for its citizens to be tested. About 13 percent of those who initially progress tested positive. Nearly half of those infections were asymptomatic, revolutionizing understanding of the virus.

Scientists also tracked the symptoms of confirmed cases, and found muscle pain, headaches and dry cough were the most common, despite the public focus on fever.

More than half of Iceland’s population will be tested for COVID-19 by 2020. With an understanding of the full scope of community transmission, the country has been able to deal with the outbreak while keeping its borders open to many countries.

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Christchurch mosque shooting victim’s younger brother, Aya Al-Umari warns the public of the mayor’s response to ‘racist rant’ | Instant News


A “shocked” mayor has contacted the victim of racist accusations and offered to take him to his family home and offer an apology.

Aya Al-Umari, whose brother was shot dead in the March 15 mosque attack, was shopping with her mother Janna Ezat at the Rangiora Farmers Branch when she was confronted by an older couple in an incident recorded on video.

Al-Umari, who was asked if he was “born and raised” in New Zealand, has since reported the incident to police.

A police spokesman confirmed today that they have received the report and are now conducting an investigation.

“The police take all reports of hate speech or behavior that cause concern for our community seriously,” the spokesman said.

Aya Al-Umari lost her only brother Hussein Al-Umari in the March 15 attack.  Photo / Getty Images
Aya Al-Umari lost her only brother Hussein Al-Umari in the March 15 attack. Photo / Getty Images

“Hateful speech, violence or threatening behavior is unacceptable and should not be condoned by anyone, whether it occurs online or on the street.”

Now, the mayor of the Waimakariri region – the whitest district in the country, with 95.22 per cent of the population identifying as European, according to the 2013 Census – has contacted Al-Umari to express his disappointment over what he described as a “racist incident.”

Mayor Waimakariri Dan Gordon was very surprised by the incident.  Photo / Provided
Mayor Waimakariri Dan Gordon was very surprised by the incident. Photo / Provided

“I have messaged Aya Al-Umari and her family to tell them how shocked I am that they were subjected to completely unacceptable behavior,” Mayor Waimakariri Dan Gordon said on his Facebook page.

“I can comfortably say Waimakariri is a friendly community and our citizens will be surprised to hear that they have been treated this way.”

Gordon added: “I have extended an invitation to welcome Aya Al-Umari back to our community and asked the families around my house to show them how welcome they are at Waimakariri and offer apologies.”

Al-Umari said he was touched by the mayor’s offer and felt overwhelmed by the support he was receiving.

“It really restores faith in humanity,” he said.

Al-Umari described the incident on social media two days ago, writing the trouble started when he and his mother were at the shop’s makeup counter, speaking in Arabic.

“We were standing at the lipstick counter. Since we were in a pandemic, Mum did the wise thing and tried the lipstick * on her clean hands * and then rubbed it on her lips,” said Al-Umari.

They then saw the couple beside them. “They are watching us,” said Al-Umari.

She heard the woman say to her husband “she can’t do that”.

Al-Umari asked the woman if she wanted to say something directly to them.

“She pretended not to hear me and then said to her husband, ‘It’s okay, it won’t be long before they leave our country’.”

He then has to decide whether to ignore it or call the woman on his comments, Al-Umari said.

“I asked him what the problem was and he said if we were in Europe we would be fined, which is strange because how else do we have to test it?

“He then asked if I was born and raised in New Zealand and I decided to start recording.”

His older brother, Hussein Al-Umari, 35, lost his life at the Al Noor Mosque on March 15 last year.

Aya Al-Umari with her brother Hussain Al-Umari.  Photo / Facebook
Aya Al-Umari with her brother Hussain Al-Umari. Photo / Facebook

“If it happened before my brother died, I would probably remain silent but the hatred is increasing, it needs to stop because we have seen what happens otherwise.”

Al-Umari took to social media after the incident telling the story of what happened together by posting a video he had taken.

All the love and support they receive has not been replaced by hatred, he told the Herald.

“It’s a little over the top, we’ve received lots of messages of support. It’s great to see it.

“It restores your faith in humanity.”

A passerby at the shop told the woman that she should be ashamed of herself.

“It’s wonderful to see other people calling him too.”

Al-Umari said he was happy with the situation handled by the farmer staff.

“They escorted the man out of the shop and the woman immediately opened the gap after that.

“Looks like he’s in denial. As soon as he was summoned, he ran away.”

He felt sorry for the woman “because of her ignorance”, said Al-Umari.

Aya Al-Umari (left) with her parents while convicting the Christchurch mosque terrorist.  Photo / Pool
Aya Al-Umari (left) with her parents while convicting the Christchurch mosque terrorist. Photo / Pool

“I was more upset about how it would make my mother feel because I didn’t want her to get angry.

“Over the past year, my personal resilience has reached its peak and this is just one more thing we have to endure.”

Al-Umari said he would encourage anyone who was an observer in a similar situation to “call it out”.

A staff member at the Farmers shop in Rangiora told the Herald they had been instructed not to comment to the media but said the staff member seen in the video had done “a very good job”.

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The GHA plans to respond to PM’s comments | Instant News


Islamabad: The Federal Grand Health Alliance (FGHA) has held a press conference today (Wednesday) on the grounds of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) in response to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s remarks on why hospital reform is needed to make this happen. about increasing the standard of medical care for the rich and the poor.

“We will restore the Medical Teaching Institutions (MTI) Ordinance by moving forward with unity,” said the Chairman of FGHA, Dr. Asfandyar Khan, invited all print and electronic media to reach PIMS at 11 am to respond to the PM. statement.

The Prime Minister stressed Wednesday the need for government hospitals to function as efficiently as private hospitals. He dismissed the notion that each hospital was privatized and clarified that the aim was to place government hospital functions under the Board of Governors so that the same management ethos that was followed in private hospitals to improve the quality of care, should be practiced in public hospitals. as well.

The PM stated that private hospitals were successful because they followed a system of penalties and rewards; the absence of this system in government hospitals has led to their condemnation. He said doctors and nurses who serve with commitment and provide quality care deserve promotions and salary increases compared to those who are not diligent in carrying out their duties. The PM said the government’s vision is to ensure that government hospitals offer the best possible care for the poor.

Previously, Senator Usman Kakar from the Pakhtoonkhwa Party Milli Awami made a speech in front of protesting PIMS employees. “We will oppose the privatization of PIMS in every forum, and will accompany you in your protests, both at the Bani Gala, D Chowk, and in the PM Building,” he said.

The crowd was also greeted by representatives of government organizations that supported the PIMS protest.

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