SE Asia fires ‘produce more greenhouse gas than US’

For nearly two months, thousands of fires caused by slash-and-burn farming have suffocated vast expanses of Southeast Asia with smog

Jakarta (AFP) – Fires raging across huge areas of Indonesia are spewing more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere every day than the US economy, according to estimates from global environment watchdogs.

For nearly two months, thousands of fires caused by slash-and-burn farming have suffocated vast expanses of Southeast Asia with smog, causing respiratory illnesses to soar, schools to close, and scores of flights and some international events to be cancelled.

Much of the burning is in tropical peatlands rich in carbon but which are being drained and cleared at a rapid rate to make way for agriculture, particularly fast-expanding palm oil plantations.

The World Resources Institute, using findings from the Global Fire Emissions Database, said in a recent report that since early September carbon emissions from the fires had exceeded average US daily output on 26 out of 44 days.

The United States is the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas source after China.

“The burning of tropical peatlands is so significant for greenhouse gas emissions because these areas store some of the highest quantities of carbon on Earth, accumulated over thousands of years,” WRI said. 

“Draining and burning these lands for agricultural expansion, such as conversion to oil palm or pulpwood plantations, leads to huge spikes in greenhouse gas emissions.”

The fires and resulting region-wide blanket of smoke occur to varying degrees each year during the dry season as land is illegally cleared by burning, regularly angering Indonesia’s smog-hit neighbours Malaysia and Singapore.

But experts warn the current outbreak is on track to become the worst ever, exacerbated by bone-dry conditions caused by the El Nino weather phenomenon.

The fires on the huge islands of Sumatra and Borneo are typically only brought under control by November with the onset of the rainy season.

But Herry Purnomo, a scientist at the Indonesia-based Center for International Forestry Research, told AFP this week that climatology data indicated the rainy season may be delayed this year and that the fires could last until year-end.

Indonesia earlier this month agreed to accept international help after failing for weeks to douse the fires manually and last week launched its biggest fire-fighting push yet.

Thirty-two planes and helicopters — including six aircraft from Singapore, Malaysia and Australia — were deployed to back up more than 22,000 personnel on the ground.

Malaysia, which in recent weeks has repeatedly ordered school closures across several states as a health precaution, did so again on Wednesday for the third straight day as pollution levels climbed.

Air quality was in the “very unhealthy” range near the capital Kuala Lumpur under the government’s rating system, with much of the rest of the country experiencing “unhealthy” air.

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When You Marry A Man, Are You One With His Debt?

Your vows may say that you’re in it for better, or for worse, but do you really need to shoulder the financial burden of his debt too? No matter how much love there is between you and your husband, many marital arguments are due to the amount of debt and in some cases it might be the husband’s. Marry A Man, Marry His Debt? Under Singaporean solemnisation laws, you are held responsible for each other’s debts, and therefore, while you shouldn’t be holding up the fort by yourself, it is still necessary to keep you and your husband on the right financial path. Emotional Support Irresponsible financial decisions in the past or college tuition loans (that most of us seem to have these days) may be the cause of the debt. Whichever the scenario is, it is important to keep perspective and take on this financial hardship together without damaging your union. Once you have become aware of this, decide quickly how the two of you will pay off the debt, in what time frame, and how it impacts your current financial plan. At first it might be hard to remain positive since you have very little to no debt. […]

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Things To Consider When Building A Mobile Friendly Website

A mobile friendly website, which is also referred to as a responsive website, is one that will appear just as you intend it to display, regardless of whether a user is visiting your website on a desktop computer, laptop, or mobile device like a tablet or smartphone. These days, every site needs to be made mobile friendly; otherwise, you risk losing traffic and conversions.

What are some things that you need to consider when you build a mobile friendly site? Continue reading for a few tips that will steer you in the right direction.

Utilise a Responsive Framework

One of the easiest ways that you can make a mobile friendly website is by using a responsive framework. This offers a simple method that allows you to place every element of your site into a grid so you can then shift the grid based upon various screen sizes. In this way, every element will appear with the correct spacing, whether it is being displayed on a large Mac monitor or a small smartphone. Check out free open source frameworks like Bootstrap to get started, as these are reliable and simple to implement.

Set the Right Width

You also need to set the appropriate width so that your site will look the same on a desktop and on a mobile device. Start by loading your site in your desktop browser. Then resize the window until it reaches the narrowest width, making sure the site is still readable. In doing so, you will find the minimum viewing size for your particular site and its design, so the next step is to set it at the preferred viewport width.

By taking this simple step, your website will appear at the right size when it is loaded onto a mobile device. There won’t be any unnecessary extra space on the right and left sides of the page, and the user won’t have to zoom in or out to see the content clearly.

Maintain a Simplistic Design

Maintaining a simplistic design, along with focused content, is necessary if you want your site to load quickly and be easy to navigate, regardless of what device a visitor is using to surf the Web. If you have too many videos, graphics, and copy, your site will be slow to load, and the user will be distracted and may end up leaving frustrated. But to make sure your images do load quickly, serve those that are smaller in terms of byte size.

In the same way, you want to keep your content short and sweet and to the point. Too much text on a small screen is off-putting for most users, so reduce the amount of copy that is displayed on your mobile site. In this way, visitors can scroll quickly to find what they’re looking for without becoming overwhelmed.

Once you have created a responsive, mobile friendly website, it is time to find the right hosting platform that fits your needs and your budget. A good place to start is

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Israel destroys West Bank house of Palestinian attacker: army

Hebron (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) – The Israeli military early Tuesday destroyed the West Bank house of a Palestinian from Hebron in the West Bank who killed an Israeli in a knife attack last year, the army said.

The destruction of the house of Maher al-Hashlamoun was accompanied by clashes between dozens of Palestinian stone throwers and Israeli soldiers but no one was injured, according to witnesses at the scene.

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Investing and Money Habits of Millennials

Kim taps on the trading app on her iPhone, buys 100 shares of Yahoo, flicks off her iPhone and continues to eat her lunch. “If Yahoo spins off a division this year as planned, the stock should rise at least 15%,” she says to the 23-year-olds sitting with her in the hipster cafe. A day in the life of millennial investors – iPhone-carrying teenagers who read investment market classics on their lunch hour. The generation that grew up as Singapore transformed into a global financial centre (early 1980s – early 2000s) will have more money to invest than any generation before it. In North America alone, over $30 trillion in financial and non-financial assets is expected to be passed down to them from baby boomers. Money Habits of Millennials The young investors among the Facebook, or Y, generation are motivated by financial security. The Millennial generation is not depending on social security. Ninety percent expect to receive no benefits or a reduced level of benefits from what their parents will receive, according to Federated Investors. Others from the generation that grew up role-playing in video games want to be financiers and hedge fund managers. This was the motivation of the […]

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The Problem With Tying Health Care To Trade

I first met Cesar Alva on a gray winter afternoon in downtown Lima. He wore a knit stocking cap over a thick head of hair, drawing attention to his slight underbite and jaundiced eyes. Alva lives with his parents, a retired housekeeper and construction worker, in a neighborhood at the center of Peru’s swelling capital […]


Tombstone gunfighter wounded during Old West re-enactment

TOMBSTONE, Ariz. (AP) — Two people were hit with bullets during a gunfight re-enactment in the Old West town of Tombstone.

The Tombstone Marshal’s Office says the skit was supposed to involve blanks, but one of the actor’s guns fired lived rounds during a standoff. Actor Ken Curtis was hit and treated at the scene before being flown to a hospital in Tucson, where he is undergoing surgery to remove the bullet. Other rounds struck businesses and a bystander whose condition was not immediately known.

The Marshal’s Office says Mayor Dusty Escapule advised the Tombstone Vigilante group to put future gunfight skits on hold as the investigation plays out.

Tombstone is a popular tourist draw as people flock to the former Old West town to see gunfight re-enactments and the history dating back to the days of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and the O.K. Corral.

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4 Types Of Alternative Investments The “Average” Singaporean Should Steer Clear Of

Do you consider yourself an “average” Singaporean when it comes to investing? By average, we mean you don’t understand terms such as Dollar Cost Averaging, Passive Investing & Risk Premium. You do not know how an Exchange Traded Fund actually works, and you don’t know all the different type of insurance policies out there. If you are such a person, welcome to the club. And for the record, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being an “average” Singaporean, as long as you are fully and conscionably aware of it yourself. In our first newsletter issue back in August (do sign up if you have yet to do so!), we wrote about how people continue to make “sub-optimal” investment decisions. One of the main reasons for that was due to a lack of knowledge and transparency in information. People make investment decisions regularly. And if you consider yourself an “average” person, here are some investments we feel you should never be considering. 1. Investing In Wine Over the past couple of weeks, there have a couple of reports published on “wine investors”crying foul over their “investments” made with “wine investment companies.” High profits of up to 30% within 3 years – […]

The post 4 Types Of Alternative Investments The “Average” Singaporean Should Steer Clear Of appeared first on The New Savvy.


Harvey and Murphy lead Mets over Cubs 4-2 in NLCS opener

New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey throws during the first inning of Game 1 of the National League baseball championship series against the Chicago Cubs Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

NEW YORK (AP) — Matt Harvey delivered his first huge performance on baseball’s October stage. Daniel Murphy has been providing them all postseason.

Harvey pitched the game he’s been pining for, Murphy took his latest star turn and the New York Mets beat the Chicago Cubs 4-2 Saturday night in their NL Championship Series opener.

“I wanted this game bad,” Harvey said.

After eliminating rival St. Louis and streaking into New York with 12 wins in 13 games, the power-hitting Cubs and their young sluggers were stopped cold on a chilly night at Citi Field. Trying to end a championship drought that dates to 1908, they remained four wins from capturing their first pennant in seven decades.

Meanwhile, the Mets have a mind to make some history of their own — the kind that would break the Cubs’ hearts one more tormenting time.

“If Harvey wasn’t pitching, it would have looked a lot better. He was outstanding tonight,” Chicago manager Joe Maddon said. “His stuff is always good, but the command was outrageous tonight.”

Game 2 in the best-of-seven set is Sunday night, with Chicago ace Jake Arrieta facing rookie Noah Syndergaard.

Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes cut down a runner at the plate, and Curtis Granderson had two RBIs for New York. Travis d’Arnaud homered off the giant Mets apple in straightaway center field.

“I’ve never seen that before,” Murphy said.

Helped by Cespedes’ strong throw, Harvey struck out nine and worked into the eighth for the first time in more than two months — brushing aside all that late-season hoopla about his innings limit as his 2015 total reached 202.

“I talk to this guy every day. I know exactly what he’s made of,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “He wants the baseball. … That is not just a mask that he’s putting out. This kid likes to compete.”

Jeurys Familia got four outs for his third playoff save, and the NL East champs solved the wild-card Cubs for the first time all year. The Mets went 0-7 during the season series and had dropped nine in a row to Chicago overall.

New York is looking to advance to the World Series for the first time in 15 years, the longest absence in franchise history but one the Cubs and all their pained, loyal followers certainly scoff at.

Murphy connected off losing pitcher Jon Lester for his fourth homer of the playoffs and made a diving play at second base for the final out.

“I freaked out when I caught it, and then you’ve got to make the throw,” Murphy said. “I just happened to be in the right spot.”

Kyle Schwarber was the only one of those rookie boppers who showed off his prodigious power for the Cubs, hitting a mammoth homer that chased Harvey with two outs in the eighth and pulled Chicago to 4-2.

Starlin Castro had an RBI double in the fifth but was thrown out at the plate by Cespedes on Javier Baez’s single.

Murphy finished off the Dodgers in the deciding game of their Division Series with an all-around offensive performance that inspired a “Mr. October” nod in a tweet from the New York original, Reggie Jackson.

Two nights later, the free agent-to-be was at it again, getting the Mets off to a rollicking start against Chicago.

“Once again, put our team behind the 8-ball against a really good pitcher,” Lester said. “Just trying to get your feet wet and trying to figure out what’s going on, and boom! You’re down 1-0.”

Murphy, who set a career high this season with 14 homers, launched another one into the second deck in right field for his fourth of the postseason. By taking Clayton Kershaw (twice), Zack Greinke and Lester deep, the 2014 All-Star has tagged $517 million worth of pitchers in these playoffs.

“He’s locked in, and when he gets locked in he can do some damage offensively, and you’re seeing that right now,” teammate David Wright said. “It doesn’t matter what they throw at him. Left-hander, right-hander. Fastballs, off-speed pitches. It’s fun to watch.”

It was Murphy’s third homer against a left-hander in the playoffs — he had one during the regular season. And by connecting in his third consecutive postseason game, he matched a Mets record set by Donn Clendenon in 1969, the year he was World Series MVP.

“Saving the homers,” Murphy joked. “If I knew what I was doing I would have hit more homers during the regular season.”

Granderson’s soft RBI single on an 0-2 pitch from Lester put the Mets up 2-1 in the fifth, and d’Arnaud hit a 431-foot drive to center in the sixth. Juan Lagares stole third against Lester in the seventh and scored on Granderson’s sacrifice fly.

With that familiar October chill in the New York air for the first time this postseason, Harvey came out firing 95-96 mph heat on a 48-degree night.

Chicago hit several line drives that were turned into outs, including one that prompted Harvey to duck quickly out of the way and another that struck the pitcher near his pitching shoulder.

But this was his game.

“The ball kind of dented my arm a little bit, got me right in the triceps,” Harvey said. “It’s a little bit swollen right now, but the training staff will take care of that and we’ll be all set.”


Cubs: Arrieta is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA and 20 strikeouts in two playoff starts. No Cubs pitcher has won three games in one postseason. The right-hander was 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA in two outings against the Mets this season.

Mets: Syndergaard lost his major league debut 6-1 to Arrieta at Wrigley Field in May. “I remember I fell behind a few batters. Still kind of was a lot to take in. I just feel like a completely different pitcher now,” he said Saturday.

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Lamar Odom regains consciousness, family and friends say

FILE - In this April 24, 2007, file photo, Los Angeles Lakers' Lamar Odom sits on the bench in the fourth quarter of a Western Conference playoff basketball game against the Phoenix Suns in Phoenix. Odom, who was embraced by teammates and television fans alike for his Everyman approach to fame, was found face-down and alone Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, after spending four days at the Love Ranch, a legal Nevada brothel. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Lamar Odom has regained consciousness, and he is communicating — speaking and even giving a thumbs up from his hospital bed — just days after being found in extremely critical condition at a Nevada brothel, loved ones said.

It’s the first significant update on Odom’s health since he was found unconscious and facedown at the Love Ranch in Crystal, Nevada, on Tuesday afternoon.

Odom spoke a greeting and gave a thumbs-up Friday morning, his first communication since being hospitalized in Las Vegas, said Alvina Alston, publicist for JaNean Mercer, Odom’s maternal aunt and godmother.

“He woke up, and he spoke,” Alston said.

A person who is close to estranged wife Khloe Kardashian, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to release details of Odom’s condition to the press, also said that he was able to say hi to Kardashian.

His former coach Jim Harrick in Los Angeles, who said Odom sounded upbeat on a call just a few weeks ago, said Kardashian told him that Odom is now off dialysis, and that he showed a response when she reached down to say “Lamar, I love you.”

“Khloe has promised me she’s going to stay by his bedside until she and him can walk out of the hospital together,” Harrick said.

Authorities are still retracing Odom’s $75,000, three-day visit to the brothel that started late afternoon Saturday, with blood-test results to determine what caused his medical episode still pending.

The brothel’s owner and spokesman have said that he chose two women to accompany him in a VIP suite on his first visit to the ranch. Odom had said that he had done cocaine before his arrival, and the brothel said they saw him drink alcohol and take as many as 10 supplements sold as “herbal Viagra.” One brand that he took, Reload, was the subject of a 2013 warning from the Food and Drug Administration, which said the pill contained sildenafil, the active ingredient in prescription Viagra.

The brothel also said he became upset Sunday following a phone call where his ex’s “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” show was mentioned. But he was generally in a good mood, even suggesting that he stay an entire week at the brothel in the rural community.

Odom was then found unconscious there Tuesday with white and reddish substances coming from his nose and mouth. He was breathing and taken to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas.

Kardashian rushed to his side that night and since then, friends, teammates and loved ones, including his two children, have visited and posted messages on social media asking for prayers. On Wednesday at the hospital, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said Odom was on life support.

Harrick also praised Kardashian for sticking by his side as a frenzy of people — well-wishers inside and media outside — crowded the hospital.

Friday’s latest update on Odom’s health condition comes as Mercer and Kardashian just hours earlier started speaking out to thank fans.

Kardashian had said her family won’t be posting content on their apps while attending to his health crisis. The online message read: “As a family, we’ve decided to hold off on publishing content across our apps while we continue to support and pray for Lamar.”

She also thanked fans for their kindness and understanding. The message was addressed to fans as a note from Kardashian on her blog-like app. Announcing a posting black-out is a rarity for the family, who meticulously document their lives on various social media channels and on the “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” television show.

Meanwhile, Mercer had issued her own statement Friday to thank the public for its support, saying they’re family was focused on Odom’s “complete healing.”

“No words can express the overwhelming gratitude we feel for the outpouring of support from around the world,” the statement issued Friday said.

Alston said Mercer is the sister of Odom’s late mother who helped raise him in New York, where she still lives. Mercer and other family members are now in Las Vegas. The statement said: “His complete healing is paramount and our primary focus.”

The former NBA star had been a beloved member of the Los Angeles Lakers, winning two championships with the team and enjoying widespread fame as a reality TV star himself before his recent downward spiral, which included leaving pro basketball, a pending divorce with Kardashian and a DUI arrest.

“He’s one of the most wonderful, kind, humble and generous human beings you’d ever want to meet,” Harrick said.


Harris reported from Los Angeles.

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