Tag Archives: Business

Gentleminions TikTok Craze : The Good, Bad + Ugly!

Gentleminions TikTok Craze : The Good, The Bad + The Ban!

The Gentleminions craze is driving tickets sales to Minions: The Rise of Gru, but some parents are really pissed at this new TikTok trend!

Find out what the heck is the Gentleminions trend all about, and why some cinemas have banned it!

 

Gentleminions TikTok Craze : What Is It?

Minions: The Rise of Gru – the latest instalment of the wildly popular Despicable Me movie franchise – was released on July 1, 2022.

It quickly topped the box office, with a four day total of $122.5 million in the US and Canada alone, thanks in part to the Gentleminions TikTok craze.

The Despicable Me movie franchise has been a family favourite with kids and their parents who can’t get enough of cute banana-yellow Minions – Kevin, Stuart and Bob, and friends.

But cinemas are seeing hordes of teenagers – mostly male, all dressed in smart suits and some “armed” with yellow bananas, lining up for the new Minions movie.

They would record themselves swarming the theatre, sitting together in a group to watch the movie and mimic Gru or the minions – all to post on TikTok, and other social media – Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

 

Gentleminions TikTok Craze : The Good, The Bad + The Ban!

Many Gentleminions dressed up in the spirit of good humour, as part of a fun night at the movies with friends after 2+ years of the pandemic.

Universal Pictures was no doubt pleased as punch – these teenagers (and some adults) were boosting the box office numbers, which is why they gave a hat tip to those who participated.

Unfortunately, some Gentleminions were not really “gentleminions”. They would clap, shout and wave their hands, or even stand up during the movie, disrupting the experience for everyone else.

Some even threw the bananas they brought at the screen, while others turned on their smartphones’ torchlight to wave in the dark cinema.

When cinema ushers asked them to stop and settle down, some verbally abused them while others threw things at them, or other cinema-goers, including young children.

In some cases, the cinema staff had to evict the troublemakers, and even the police was involved. One cinema manager shared that :

It’s been absolutely heartbreaking. We’ve had families who won’t even go back into the screen when we’ve tried to sort it out, families leaving before the film has even started, and of course the children have been in tears.

A few cinemas had to refund other patrons who were not pleased at all with the disruptions, especially families who brought their children for what they thought would be a fun experience.

In the end, some cinemas are refusing to allow “unaccompanied children wearing suits” to watch the movie. Odeon cinemas in the UK, for example, put up this sign :

Due to recent disturbances following the #Gentleminions trend, any group of guests in formal attire will be refused entry for showings of Minions: The Rise of Gru. Thank you.

 

Gentleminions Cinema Ban : Check Before You Leave Home!

It is sad that what seemed to be a fun trend devolved in some cases into a real problem. Those rowdy Nastyminions are spoiling the trend for the real Gentleminions, and that’s a real shame.

If you are planning to dress up to watch Minions: The Rise of Gru, please check if the cinema has a new dress code restriction. Just in case – bring a set of casual clothes.

And if they do let you go in, please be a real Gentleminion, like these Japanese fans. Enjoy the movie together with everyone else, not at their expense. Thank you!

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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ViewSonic Launches New Corporate + Education Solutions!

ViewSonic just launched new solutions for the corporate and education segments!

Here’s a quick look at the new ViewSonic LED projectors, and the ViewSonic Studio!

 

ViewSonic Launches New Corporate + Education Solutions!

Thanks for the COVID-19 pandemic, many of those working in the corporate and education industry are looking for a hybrid approach to combine in-person and online meetings and education.

Capitalising on the increased demand in those market segments, ViewSonic is introducing two new 3rd Generation LED projectors, as well as their Hybrid Ecosystem ViewBoard Interactive Display.

3rd Gen ViewSonic LED Projectors

ViewSonic is offering two new 3rd Generation LED projectors – the LS500WHE and the LS550WHE, both offering a maximum brightness of 3,000 ANSI lumens, as well as greater energy efficiency, and a longer lifespan.

The ViewSonic LS500WHE delivers 125% Rec.709 colour gamut, with 50% lower power consumption, and an LED light source that does not require replacements (thanks to its 30,000 hour lifespan), and is mercury-free.

Its optical engine is sealed against dust, with an IP5X rating, ensuring optimal image quality regardless of the environment. And the LS500WHE offers a 360-degree tilt angle projection to support floor and ceiling projections.

The ViewSonic LS550WHE is a short-throw version that offers all of the LS500WHE’s capabilities, with a 0.49 short throw lens, together with horizontal and vertical keystone correction, as well as 4-corner adjustments to eliminate crooked or distorted images.

ViewSonic LS500WHE (left) and LS550WHE (right)

ViewSonic Studio For Education Tech Solutions

ViewSonic also launched the first ViewSonic studio in Malaysia, which offers educators and policy makers access to their latest edtech solutions, like the ViewBoard Interactive Display, and the myViewBoard visual learning software suite.

The ViewBoard interactive display has made significant inroads in the Malaysian education system, taking up 43.5% of the market share up to Q1 2022.

ViewSonic hopes to expand on this through their myViewBoard software suite, which would allow for Student-Centered Active Learning Environment with Upside-down Pedagogies (SCALE-UP).

The integration of the ViewBoard interactive display, with their myViewBoard software suite will allow classrooms to adopt group work, with better engagement through enriched content and an immersive learning system.

 

ViewSonic Corporate + Education Solutions : Price + Availability

The new ViewSonic corporate and education solutions are available with immediate effect.

Here are the launch prices for the 3rd Generation ViewSonic LED projectors :

  • LS500WHE : RM3,599 (about US$815 | £672 | A$1,187 | S$1,137)
  • LS550WHE : RM3,999 (about US$905 | £747 | A$1,319 | S$1,263)

Online purchase options in Malaysia :

Online purchase options in Singapore :

 

Please Support My Work!

Support my work through a bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card!

Name : Adrian Wong
Bank Transfer : CIMB 7064555917 (Swift Code : CIBBMYKL)
Credit Card / Paypal : https://paypal.me/techarp

Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Crypto Hedge Fund 3AC Filed For Chapter 15 Bankruptcy!

Cryptocurrency hedge fund, Three Arrows Capital (3AC) just filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy! Here is what you need to know…

 

Crypto Hedge Fund 3AC Filed For Chapter 15 Bankruptcy!

The 2022 Crypto Winter continues to blow hard and cold…

On Friday, July 1, 2022, Singapore-based cryptocurrency hedge fund, Three Arrows Capital (3AC) filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy in the Southern District of New York.

Representatives from the law firm Latham & Watkins filed the Chapter 15 bankruptcy filing to legally protect its US assets from creditors in the United States.

In the legal filing, they stated that “the Debtor’s business has collapsed in the wake of extreme fluctuations in cryptocurrency markets” and “the Debit commenced a liquidation processing before the BVI Court” on June 27, 2022.

This move came after a British Virgin Islands court ordered the liquidation of 3AC on Monday, June 27, 2022.

Voyager Digital revealed that 3AC failed to make payments on loans made up of US$350 million in USDC and 15,250 BTC (worth US$306 million), and issued them a notice of default on the same Monday, June 27.

 

3AC Founders Remain Silent On Bankruptcy, Location Unknown

Founded in 2012 by Zhu Su and Kyle Davis, 3AC managed about $10 billion in assets as recently as March 2022, but that sank to just $3 billion a month later.

3AC was dogged by persistent insolvency rumours in the last few weeks, with rumours of more than US$400 million in losses when the cryptocurrency markets collapsed between May and June 2022.

Zhu and Davis admitted in a WSJ interview that 3ACa lost their $200 million investment following the collapse of Luna and its sister coin, TerraUSD.

8 Blocks Capital chief executive Danny Yuan also alleged that 3AC had misappropriated US$1 million of its funds to pay off their margin calls.

Both co-founders have remained silent over the implosion of 3AC, and its bankruptcy. Zhu’s last Twitter post was on June 15, in which he sought to allay rumours of insolvency, while Davies has not said a word.

According to the lawyers from Latham & Watkins, their current locations are unknown, and they are “rumoured” to have left Singapore.

The foreign representatives understand and believe that while the debtor has had certain operations in Singapore, Mr. Davies and Mr. Zhu’s current location remains unknown. They are rumored to have left Singapore.

 

Please Support My Work!

Support my work through a bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card!

Name : Adrian Wong
Bank Transfer : CIMB 7064555917 (Swift Code : CIBBMYKL)
Credit Card / Paypal : https://paypal.me/techarp

Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Did Dutch Gov Close Farms To Fight Climate Change?!

Did the Dutch government just close thousands of farms and cattle ranches to fight climate change?!

Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!

 

Claim : Dutch Government Closed Farms To Fight Climate Change!

People have been sharing videos angry farmers blocking roads with their tractors, claiming that they are protesting the closure of farms and cattle ranchers by the Dutch government.

Such videos are now being spread in pro-CCP groups as “evidence” of corrupt Western governments, or how Western governments oppress the common people.

28 June 2022
As the Dutch government closed dozens of farms and cattle ranches to reduce nitrogen by 30%.
Angry and hungry farmers blocked the roads nationwide
Corrupt Dutch govt trying to artificially create food shortage.

Following politicians’ decision to close dozens of farms and cattle ranches to reduce nitrogen to comply with absurd EU rules on nitrogen pollution, angry Dutch farmers have issued an ultimatum and are threatening to block the country’s airports, ports and distribution centers.

The Dutch government wants to close 17,000 farms out of 50,000 by 2030 to reduce Nitrogen emissions. Their “leaders” have bought into the climate change hysteria during a time of impending global food shortages. These bozos have a few screws missing.

 

Truth : Dutch Government Did NOT Close Farms To Fight Climate Change!

These posts appear to be an intentional “misunderstanding” of the facts surrounding these Dutch farmers’ protests.

These protests have been covered extensively, and so have the Dutch government’s proposal. So it seems incredulous that people would continue to lie about this issue.

Fact #1 : Dutch Government Did NOT Close Any Farm / Cattle Ranch

Let’s start with the most basic fact – the Dutch government did not close any farm or cattle ranch. This is complete and utter nonsense.

There are no laws in the Netherlands that would permit the Dutch government to forcibly take over, or shut down, any farm or cattle ranch.

This kind of blatant lie can only perpetuate in the minds of conspiracy nutcases, and Chinese netizens because only authoritarian governments (like the CCP in China) are capable of such actions.

Seizing and closing farms and cattle ranch may be possible for the government in China, but not in the Netherlands.

In fact, the Dutch government has offered BUY OUT (not close) farms near nature reserves.

Fact #2 : Dutch Farmers Have Been Protesting Since 2019!

What many of these “concerned netizens” (intentionally?) do not tell you is that Dutch farmers have been protesting against such climate change laws since 2019.

Dutch farmers protest in October 2019

Fact #3 : The Government Was Complying With A Court Order

This issue actually started way back in May 2019, the Dutch Administrative Court of the Council of State (the highest administrative body in the Netherlands) ruled that the Dutch government breached EU rules on protecting nature reserves from ammonia and nitrous oxide.

The Dutch Administrative Court suspended permits for all construction projects that pollute the atmosphere with nitrogen compounds, stalling the building of new homes, roads and airport runways… as well as the expansion of dairy, pig and poultry farms.

Fact #4 : Dutch Government Tried Other Measures First

To comply with the court order, the Dutch government tried other measures first.

For example, in 2020, they cut the maximum speed limit on roads in the Netherlands from 130 km/h to just 100 km/h for most of the day, to reduce nitrous oxide emissions.

The government also allocated more money to help farmers reduce emissions from pigs, and changed the composition of animal feed.

Fact #5 : Dutch Farms Produce A Lot Of Pollution

The problem is partly caused by Dutch farmers themselves. Their farms are highly concentrated, with four times more animal biomass per hectare than the EU average.

Dutch agriculture is responsible for 40% of the nitrogen pollution in the Netherlands. The entire construction sector, for example, is only responsible for 0.6% of nitrogen emissions.

Thanks to its large livestock sector, and intensive use of fertiliser, the Netherlands – the world’s second-largest agricultural exporter – is also one of the top greenhouse gas emitters in Europe.

Fact #6 : Only Farms Near Nature Reserves Are In Danger

Depending on their proximity to nature reserves (Natura-2000 areas), Dutch farms will have to reduce their nitrogen emissions by 12% to 70%.

Those located in or close to the Natura-2000 areas will be particularly hard-hit by the new nitrogen limits :

  • 40% of the nitrogen sensitive Natura-2000 areas must be below the critical deposition value (< 255 mole per hectare) in 2025,
  • 50% of the nitrogen sensitive Natura-2000 areas must be below the critical deposition value in 2030, and
  • 74% of the nitrogen sensitive Natura-2000 areas must be below the critical deposition value in 2035.

Fact #7 : Provincial Government To Formulate Emission Reduction Plan

While the Dutch government came up with the plan to reduce nitrogen emissions to meet EU requirements, it is up to the Dutch provinces to develop the necessary measures to hit those targets.

Provincial governments have a year to formulate their own plans, to meet the pollution reduction targets.

Fact #8 : This Is Part Of EU Natura 2000 Conservation Efforts

This isn’t just a Dutch issue, it is actually part of the EU effort to protect the Natura 2000 network of vulnerable and endangered plant and animal habitats.

The Natura 2000 sites cover some 18% of the European Union land area, and 8% of its marine territory.

Fact #9 : Dutch Government Is Financing Agricultural Reforms

To help farmers meet those targets, the Dutch government has earmarked an extra €24.3 billion (about US$25.6 billion) to finance agricultural reforms and their existing buy-out programs.

Farmers who accept the government buy-out program can still open a new farm at a less sensitive location, as long as they substantially reduce nitrogen emissions.

Fact #10 : Protests Are ALLOWED In Real Democracies

What Chinese netizens may not be aware is that protests are not only common, they are allowed in real democracies.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, for example, defended the farmers’ right to protest, but reminded them not to break the law :

Freedom of speech and the right to demonstrate are a vital part of our democratic society, and I will always defend them.

But … it is not acceptable to create dangerous situations, it is not acceptable to intimidate officials, we will never accept that.

With the exception of a few farmers setting bales of hay on fire outside town halls and near roads, and attacking police officers, the majority of farmers have protested the proposed plan peacefully.

So what the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛) and pro-CCP netizens are deriding as chaos, is really just people expressing their real freedom of speech, which includes the right to protest. Try that in China, and see what that gets you.

 

Please Support My Work!

Support my work through a bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card!

Name : Adrian Wong
Bank Transfer : CIMB 7064555917 (Swift Code : CIBBMYKL)
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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India Just Banned Almost All Single-Use Plastic Items!

India just imposed a ban on almost all single-use plastic items, to combat plastic pollution!

 

India Just Banned All Single-Use Plastic Items!

On Friday, July 1, 2022, India imposed a ban on all single-use plastic items – everything from straws and disposable cutlery to cigarette packets!

With the ban in effect, the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of all identified single-use plastic items are hereby prohibited in India.

Those who violate this single-use plastic ban may be jailed for up to five years, or fined more than 100,000 rupees (about US$1,267 | £1,046 | RM 5,582).

The Indian government has setup special control rooms to monitor and enforce the ban at national and state levels.

 

India Still Allows Some Single-Use Plastic Items

This measure was announced more than two years ago by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on January 26, 2019. The list of prohibited single use plastic items include :

  • plastic straws
  • plastic cups, glasses, plates, trays, spoons, forks, knives
  • ear buds with plastic sticks
  • plastic flags
  • plastic stirrers for tea / coffee
  • wrapping and packaging films
  • plastic sticks for balloons, candy and ice-cream
  • cigarette packets, sweet boxes, invitation cards
  • polystyrene (thermocol / styrofoam) decoration
  • plastic or PVC banners less than 100 microns thick

The items have been chosen on the basis of three criteria – their low utility, high littering potential and availability of alternative materials.

We know that the manufacturers of these banned items have already shifted or are in the process of shifting, and notices had been sent out by the CPCB last year to these companies alerting them of the ban and to begin the process.

We have given manufacturers plenty of time for preparation – 11 months – before the ban was to come into force. We believe that we have their support and cooperation.

– Indian Environment, Forests and Climate Change Minister Bhupender Yada

The only single-use plastic items exempted from this ban are PET plastic water bottles, and thick plastic bags.

In 2021, India had already banned plastic bags with a thickness of below 75 microns thick. The government has asked manufacturers and importers to increase the thickness of plastic bags, to promote reuse.

India’s Central Pollution Control Board is also asking people to switch to cotton and jute bags, clay cups, bamboo or wooden cutlery, as well as items made of biodegradable materials.

 

Please Support My Work!

Support my work through a bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card!

Name : Adrian Wong
Bank Transfer : CIMB 7064555917 (Swift Code : CIBBMYKL)
Credit Card / Paypal : https://paypal.me/techarp

Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Please support us by visiting our sponsors, participating in the Tech ARP Forums, or donating to our fund. Thank you!

Air Travel To Malaysia : Latest Covid-19 Requirements + SOP!

Here are the LATEST COVID-19 requirements and SOP for those plan to travel by air to Malaysia!

Updated @ 2022-07-03 : Malaysian citizens are no longer required to register for Traveller’s Pass.
Updated @ 2022-06-13 : Added the current COVID-19 vaccination requirements

Originally posted @ 2022-04-28

 

Malaysia Air Travel : Current COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements

Currently, travellers to Malaysia must provide documentation that they have completed a full regimen of a COVID-19 vaccine recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO), or by a stringent regulatory authority in the country of origin.

There are additional requirements on COVID-19 vaccination for travellers :

  • Those aged 60 years and above are required to receive a booster dose.
  • Those received two doses of Sinopharm or Sinovac vaccine, regardless of age, must receive a third dose (of any vaccine) to qualify as fully-vaccinated.

The definition of a full regimen of a COVID-19 vaccine includes the number of doses required to provide the full vaccine protection, as well as the time needed to achieve protection against COVID-19.

Currently, that means 14 days after the second dose of a two (2) dose vaccine, or 14 days after a one (1) dose vaccine. In the case of Sinopharm / Sinovac vaccine recipients, that would mean 14 days after the third dose.

You are also considered fully-vaccinated immediately after receiving your booster dose.

Please make sure you submit your vaccination information through the Travellers option in MySejahtera, before your flight to Malaysia.

After submitting your COVID-19 vaccination details, you will receive a Travellers digital card, which allows you entry into Malaysia on arrival.

 

Malaysia Air Travel Test + Quarantine Rules From 1 May 2022!

On 27 April 2022, the Malaysia Minister of Health Khairy Jamaluddin announced new test and quarantine rules for travellers flying to Malaysia.

These COVID-19 test and quarantine rules take effect from Sunday, 1 May 2022 onwards!

A. Children 12 Years Or Younger : No Test, No Quarantine!

Irrespective of their vaccination status, children who are 12 years old or younger do NOT need to :

  • undergo pre-departure test
  • undergo on-arrival test, or
  • undergo HSO quarantine

B. Fully-Vaccinated 13 Years Or Older : No Test, No Quarantine!

Fully-vaccinated adolescents and adults who are 13 years or older do NOT need to :

  • undergo pre-departure test
  • undergo on-arrival test, or
  • undergo HSO quarantine

C. Partially-Vaccinated / Unvaccinated 13-17 Years Old : No Quarantine!

Adolescents who are 13-17 years old, and are partially vaccinated or unvaccinated do NOT need to undergo HSO quarantine on arrival in Malaysia.

However, they will need to undergo :

  • a PCR test within 48 hours before departure to Malaysia, and
  • a supervised RTK-Ag test within 24 hours of arrival in Malaysia.

D. Vaccinated Adults : No Test, No Quarantine!

Fully-vaccinated adults (18 years and older), with or without a booster dose, do NOT need to :

  • undergo pre-departure test
  • undergo on-arrival test, or
  • undergo HSO quarantine

E. Unvaccinated with Medical Exemption : No Quarantine!

Unvaccinated individuals with a medical exemption will be allowed, on a case-by-case basis, to travel to Malaysia without a mandatory quarantine.

However, they must undergo :

  • a PCR test within 48 hours before departure to Malaysia, and
  • a professional RTK-Ag test within 24 hours of arrival in Malaysia.

F. Unvaccinated Adults : 5 Day Quarantine

Adult travellers (18 years and older) who are partially-vaccinated, or completely unvaccinated, must :

  • undergo a 5-day mandatory quarantine on arrival in Malaysia, and
  • undergo a PCR test on Day 4, or a professional RTK-Ag test on Day 5.

Travellers who are exempt from vaccination for health reasons must upload the evidence of medical exemption into the MySejahtera app.

G. Unvaccinated + Post COVID-19 : 5 Day Quarantine

Unvaccinated individuals who recovered from COVID-19 (infected in the last 6-60 days) must:

  • undergo a 5-day mandatory quarantine on arrival in Malaysia, and
  • undergo a PCR test on Day 4, or a professional RTK-Ag test on Day 5.

If they were not hospitalised, they must undergo :

  • a professional RTK-Ag test within 48 hours before departure to Malaysia, and
  • a professional RTK-Ag test within 24 hours of arrival in Malaysia.

If they were hospitalised, they can use a Fit To Travel letter from the hospital.

 

Latest Malaysia Air Travel Procedure From 4 July 2022!

On 27 April 2022, the Malaysia Ministry of Health issued the official procedure for travellers who arrive by air, that will take effect from 1 May 2022 onwards.

It was then updated on 1 July 2022, with the abolishment of the Traveller’s Pass for Malaysian citizens.

Before Departure

  1. Download the MySejahtera app, and register for your MySejahtera account. *
  2. Click on the Traveller icon in MySejahtera, and complete the pre-departure form
    a) fully-vaccinated travellers will receive a Digital Traveller’s Card *
    b) partially vaccinated / unvaccinated travellers will receive a Digital Home Surveillance Order (HSO).
  3. All unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travellers 13 years and above must undergo a PCR test 2 days before departure.
  4. Those who had a previous COVID-19 infection (within 6-60 days before departure) must undergo a professional RTK-Ag test 2 days before departure, or alternatively, have a Free-To-Travel letter if they were hospitalised for COVID-19 during that time.
  5. You do NOT need to purchase travel and COVID-19 insurance.

* No longer necessary for Malaysian citizens, starting 4 July 2022.

On Arrival

  1. All partially vaccinated or unvaccinated travellers 13 years and above must undergo a supervised RTK-Ag test within 24 hours of arrival in Malaysia.
    a) this supervised RTK-Ag test can be performed at any health facility of your choice, or virtually
    b) COVID-19 breathalyser / professional RTK-Ag tests are available at the airport
    c) Cost of on-arrival RTK-Ag test must be borne by the travellers.
  2. Children below the age of 13, and travellers from Singapore are exempted from the on-arrival test.
  3. Partially-vaccinated / unvaccinated travellers must undergo a mandatory 5-day quarantine.
  4. IMPORTANT : Travellers transiting through Malaysian international airports to Sabah or Sarawak must undergo professional RTK-Ag at the airport, before departing.

Testing Positive On Arrival

If you test positive on arrival, you must undergo a mandatory HSO quarantine of 7 days.

You can opt for the new Day 4 test and release procedure, by undertaking a supervised RTK-Ag test on Day 4 of your quarantine.

  • If you test negative, you are allowed to immediately terminate your quarantine.
  • If you test positive, you must complete your 7-day quarantine

Read more : Day 4 Test + Release For COVID-19 Positive In Malaysia!

Testing Positive During Quarantine

If you are a partially vaccinated / unvaccinated traveller, you will need to undergo a 5-day quarantine, and get tested on Day 4 (PCR) or Day 5 (RTK-Ag).

If you test positive on Day 4 or Day 5, your quarantine will get extended for 5 more days.

 

Malaysia Air Travel Test + Quarantine SOP : Summary

To make it easier to compare the myriad air travel requirements to Malaysia, I created this table to summarise the key requirements.

Vaccination Status Pre-Departure On Arrival Additional Test
or Quarantine
Child (< 13 Years) * No Test Required No Test
No Quarantine
Fully Vaccinated (≥ 13 Years)
Partially-Vaccinated or
Unvaccinated (13-17 Years)
PCR test
within 2 days
Supervised
RTK-Ag
within 24 hours
of arrival

On-Arrival
Professional
RTK-Ag
for travellers
transiting to
Sabah or
Sarawak
Not Vaccinated with
Medical Exemption
Partially Vaccinated or
Unvaccinated (≥18 Years)
5-Day Quarantine
with
Day 4 PCR or
Day 5 RTK

Partially Vaccinated
or Unvaccinated

+ Post-COVID-19
(6-60 Days)
Professional
RTK-Ag
within 2 days
or FTT letter **
if hospitalised

* By year of birth
** Also professional RTK-Ag if recovered from COVID-19 infection 6-60 days before departure
*** FTT = Fit To Travel

 

Please Support My Work!

Support my work through a bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card!

Name : Adrian Wong
Bank Transfer : CIMB 7064555917 (Swift Code : CIBBMYKL)
Credit Card / Paypal : https://paypal.me/techarp

Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

Recommended Reading

Go Back To > Travel | BusinessTech ARP

 

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Palm Cooking Oil Price In Malaysia Shoots Up By 44%!

Palm cooking oil in Malaysia shot up by 44% on the first day price control was lifted! Here is what you need to know…

 

No More Price Control For Palm Cooking Oil!

On 21 June 2022, the Malaysian government announced that price control for palm cooking oil would be removed starting 1 July 2022.

Since 1 August 2021, palm cooking oil was subsidised with the price fixed at :

  • 5 kg palm cooking oil : RM 29.70 per bottle
  • 3 kg palm cooking oil : RM 18.70 per bottle
  • 2 kg palm cooking oil : RM 12.70 per bottle
  • 1 kg palm cooking oil : RM 6.70 per bottle

While Malaysians were hoping that the government would U-turn on the price control of palm cooking oil like it did for chicken, that didn’t happen.

Read more : Malaysia Removes Price Control, Subsidy For Chicken, Eggs, Cooking Oil!
Read more : 
Malaysia Cancels Chicken Price Float, Maintains Water + Power Rates!

 

Palm Cooking Oil Price In Malaysia Shoots Up By 44%!

On 1 July 2022, Malaysians finally realised how much palm oil prices have gone up since the price control and subsidy scheme was put in place last year.

Depending on the brand and bottle size, palm cooking oil prices have shot up between 38% and 44%.

Brand Bottle Size Old Price New Price Difference
Alif 1 kg RM 6.70 RM 9.50 +42%
Buruh 1 kg RM 6.70 RM 9.45 +41%
Saji 1 kg RM 6.70 RM 9.50 +42%
Seri Murni 1 kg RM 6.70 RM 9.25 +38%
Vesawit 1 kg RM 6.70 RM 9.40 +40%
Alif 2 kg RM 12.70 RM 18.05 +42%
Buruh 2 kg RM 12.70 RM 18.15 +43%
Saji 2 kg RM 12.70 RM 17.90 +41%
Seri Murni 2 kg RM 12.70 RM 18.10 +43%
Vesawit 2 kg RM 12.70 RM 18.25 +44%
Buruh 3 kg RM 18.70 RM 26.95 +44%
Vesawit 3 kg RM 18.70 RM 26.65 +43%
Alif 5 kg RM 29.70 RM 42.50 +43%
Buruh 5 kg RM 29.70 RM 42.60 +43%
Saji 5 kg RM 29.70 RM 42.20 +42%
Seri Murni 5 kg RM 29.70 RM 42.70 +44%
Vesawit 5 kg RM 29.70 RM 42.25 +42%

However, the government is maintaining the subsidy for cooking oil sold in 1 kg polybag packages, which will remain priced at RM 2.50 per packet.

The abolishment of the palm cooking oil subsidy would save the government about RM 20 million a month.

On social media, Malaysians are generally resigned to the fact that they will have to put up with increased food prices going forward. Some have suggested buying an air fryer, or boiling / steaming food, to cut down on the use of oil.

Looking at the bright side of things – perhaps, this will spur Malaysians to adopt a healthier diet with less fried foods!

 

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CIMB Online Services Up Again, After Going Down For Hours!

CIMB online and mobile banking services are finally up after failing for most of the day! Here is what you need to know!

 

CIMB Online + Mobile Services Down Most Of The Day!

At around 10 AM on Friday, July 1, 2022, CIMB started experiencing issues with their online and mobile banking services.

Some users could not load the CIMB Clicks website completely, while many users complained that they could log in, but were unable to complete any online transactions, like :

  • Interbank GIRO (IBG)
  • Instant transfers
  • DuitNow transfers

Instead, they received error messages like :

Sorry, service is temporarily unavailable. We apologise for the inconvenience caused. [CLK00495]

We’ve encountered an unexpected error. Please try again later. [CLK00507]

[/su_note]

Please enter valid Email or Mobile Number. [CLK00494]

 

CIMB Online Services Up Again, After Going Down For Hours!

This system-wide issue is not only affecting their online banking portals – CIMB Clicks and CIMB BizChannel, but also their Clicks mobile app.

At 4:37 PM, CIMB announced that Interbank GIRO (IBG) transfers were back online, but not DuitNow transfers.

Please be informed that DuitNow To Account (Instant Transfer) is unavailable at the moment. As an alternative, you may perform transaction by using Normal Transfer (IBG). Thank you.

At 5:22 PM, CIMB announced that they resolved their DuitNow services, although many of their BizChannel customers complained that they are still not able to view their statements, or make online transfers.

Their social media team is asking BizChannel users still experiencing problems to contact the BizChannel team at 1300 888 828 or +603 2297 3000 for further assistance.

CIMB ATM and counter services were not affected by this issue, so you can still head over to a nearby CIMB ATM if you need to withdraw money.

 

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Thor : Love and Thunder Postponed, May Be Censored!

Malaysia just postponed the premiere of Thor : Love and Thunder, possibly over censorship requirements!

 

Thor : Love and Thunder Postponed To 21 July 2022!

Thor : Love and Thunder was scheduled to be launched in Malaysia on July 7, in line with the July 7 global release (July 8 in the United States).

Cinemas had already opened up booking for the tickets, with many Malaysians purchasing them in advance.

However, on 1 July 2022 came the shocking announcement – the release date for Thor : Love and Thunder in Malaysia has been postponed for two weeks, to 21 July 2022!

Those who purchased advance tickets will receive a full refund within 14 working days, and will have to rebook their tickets at a later date.

If you purchased your tickets online, they will be automatically refunded. If you purchase them at the counter or through the e-kiosk, you will need to claim your refund at the cinema.

 

Thor : Love and Thunder May Be Censored

It is currently unknown why the release date for Thor : Love and Thunder in Malaysia was postponed by two weeks, at such a late juncture.

But Malaysians have long expected the film to be censored, especially the scene of Thor’s naked butt.

As director Taika Waititi shared, the movie will showcase Chris Hemsworth’s mighty cheeks in their full glory.

So it is possible that the delay was to allow certain cuts or mosaicking to be made to the film to allay the delicate sensitivities of the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia.

Unlike the brief LGBT kiss that got Lightyear banned in Malaysia and 14 other countries, it seems that Disney may be open to at least blurring Thor’s ass.

I guess we will find out if Thor : Love and Thunder will look like a JAV movie, when it finally opens in Malaysia!

Read more : The Brief Kiss That Got Lightyear Banned In 14+ Countries!

 

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Malaysian Citizens Don’t Need MySejahtera Traveller’s Pass!

Citizens returning to Malaysia will no longer be required to obtain the Traveller’s Pass in MySejahtera!

Here is what you need to know…

 

Currently : MySejahtera Traveller’s Pass Required To Enter Malaysia!

Since 1 May 2022, the Malaysian government has liberalised air travel into Malaysia, waiving both quarantine and insurance requirements.

However, they still require all travellers to fill in their details in MySejahtera, to obtain a Traveller’s Pass, prior to departure.

  1. Download the MySejahtera app, and register for your MySejahtera account.
  2. Click on the Traveller icon in MySejahtera, and complete the pre-departure form
    a) fully-vaccinated travellers will receive a Digital Traveller’s Card
    b) partially vaccinated / unvaccinated travellers will receive a Digital Home Surveillance Order (HSO).

This requirement applies to both citizens and foreigners alike – everyone must apply using the Traveller option in MySejahtera.

Read more : Air Travel To Malaysia : Latest Covid-19 Requirements + SOP!

 

Now : Malaysian Citizens Don’t Need MySejahtera Traveller’s Pass!

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced on 1 July 2022 that Malaysian citizens will no longer be required to obtain the Traveller’s Pass.

Starting Monday, 4 July 2022, travellers to Malaysia will no longer be required to fill in their details using the Traveller option in MySejahtera, to obtain a Traveller’s Pass or Digital Home Surveillance Order (HSO).

However, this is currently limited only to Malaysian citizens. The government will gradually extend this privilege to other groups like social pass holders, students, and permanent residents.

Therefore, all travellers who are not Malaysian citizens must continue to fill in their details using the Traveller option in MySejahtera, and obtain the Traveller’s Pass.

 

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Maxis Network Down : Full Restoration Soon!

The Maxis mobile network has been down for several hours in the Klang Valley, but they say that the network will be fully restored soon!

Here is what you need to know…

 

Maxis Network Down : No Calls, No Internet

On Friday, June 30, 2022, Maxis experienced a significant network failure in the Klang Valley, with many people unable to make calls, or connect to the Internet using mobile data.

Maxis issued a press statement this morning, stating that they are working on restoring their network.

We are aware that our customers have been experiencing service disruptions. Rest assured that our team is working hard to identify and resolve the matter as soon as possible. We would like to thank our customers for their understanding and patience, and apologise for the inconvenience during this time.

There was a complete loss of signal, with some people being reverted to EDGE, instead of 4G LTE.

People from various areas of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, like Damansara Perdana, Ara Damansara, Puchong, Cheras, Ampang, Mutiara Damansara and Bandar Utama reported this problem.

 

Maxis Network Down : Full Restoration Soon!

At about 1:45 PM, Maxis announced that their network is being restored gradually, and they expect full restoration soon.

We would like to update our customers who were experiencing network disruptions earlier, that services are being restored gradually, and expect full restoration soon. We would like to once again thank our customers for their understanding and patience.

Just in case your connectivity isn’t restored automatically, you can try reset your phone’s connectivity by turning the Airplane mode on, and then off.

This will disconnect your phone from the Maxis network and reset the connection, hopefully restoring your access to the network.

You may have to do this 2-3 times. When I did it the first time, they switched me to the EDGE network and while I could make calls – they didn’t seem to be connecting.

I could only connect to the 4G LTE network after reconnecting for the second time. So keep trying, and you should get connected again.

Let’s see if Maxis issues its affected users some kind of compensation for this network failure… 😉

 

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Malaysia Announces July-Aug Ceiling Price For Chicken, Eggs!

The Malaysian government just announced the ceiling price for chicken and eggs for July to August 2022!

 

Earlier : Malaysia U-Turns On Chicken Price Float

Just 3 days after announcing that the price of chicken and eggs would be freely floated, the government of Malaysia announced a U-turn.

At 5:45 PM on 24 June 2022, the Prime Minister of Malaysia Ismail Sabri announced that the government has cancelled the floating of chicken price, and will continue to impose a price ceiling.

Read more : Malaysia Cancels Chicken Price Float, Maintains Water + Power Rates!

 

Malaysia Announces July-Aug Ceiling Price For Chicken, Eggs!

On Wednesday, 29 June 2022, the Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Ronald Kiandee announced that the ceiling price for chicken and eggs for Peninsular Malaysia for July and August 2022.

From 1 July until 31 August 2022, the price of a standard whole chicken would be capped at RM 9.40, but there was no mention of a price cap for the super whole chicken (slaughtered and cleaned without legs, head, liver and gizzard).

The price for eggs would also go up in tandem, with Grade A eggs capped at 45 sen each, Grade B eggs capped at 43 sen each, and Grade C eggs capped at 41 sen each.

Here is a comparison table of the current and new prices, with my calculations on the difference :

Feb to June July to Aug Difference
Standard Whole Chicken RM 8.90 per kg RM 9.40 per kg +5.6%
Super Whole Chicken RM 9.90 per kg NA NA
Grade A Eggs RM 0.43 each RM 0.45 each +4.7%
Grade B Eggs RM 0.41 each RM 0.43 each +4.9%
Grade C Eggs RM 0.39 each RM 0.41 each +5.1%

In general, the ceiling price for chicken and eggs in Malaysia would be raised by about 5%, which is significantly lower than the 33% hike expected if their prices were freely floated.

This subsidy though isn’t really free, as taxpayers are ultimately footing the bill.

According to the government, it will spend RM 369.5 million for this additional subsidy on chicken and eggs, bringing the total amount spent to RM 1.1 billion since February 5, 2022.

 

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China Slashes COVID-19 International Travel Quarantine!

China just relaxed entry requirements, by slashing more than half of its COVID-19 international travel quarantine!

Here is what you need to know…

 

China Slashes COVID-19 International Travel Quarantine!

On June 28, 2022, the Chinese National Health Commission announced a reduction of China’s quarantine requirement for international travellers.

China had earlier mandated that most inbound travellers must undergo a 14 + 7 quarantine protocol – at least 14 days at a government quarantine facility, followed by 7 days of self-isolation at home.

The new quarantine requirement will be a much shorter 7 + 3 protocol – travellers only need to spend 7 days at a quarantine facility, followed by 3 days of self-isolation at home.

 

Shorter Travel Quarantine, But China Still Maintaining Zero COVID

While China has relaxed its international travel quarantine requirements, that doesn’t mean it is going to quit its Zero COVID policy.

On the same day China announced the shorter quarantine policy, Chinese President Xi Jinping reaffirmed the Zero COVID policy on a visit to the Wuhan – where the pandemic started.

According to Chinese state news agency Xinhua, he said that he would rather “temporarily sacrifice a little economic growth” than “harm people’s health“.

This announcement came one day after Beijing Daily – the official CCP newspaper – published a quote by a senior Communist Party official who said that Beijing would remain under the Zero COVID policy “for the next five years”.

That sparked panic, causing Beijing Daily to remove the quote after claiming it was an “editing error”. Chinese censors also went into overdrive, removing all references to the quote.

According to CNN which analysed the entire speech, Beijing party chief Cai Qi did discuss at length the possibility that Zero COVID policies may remain in place for Beijing over the next five years.

Those measures, he said, would include routine PCR tests, strict entry rules, regular health checks in residential neighbourhoods and public venues. There will also be rigorous monitoring and testing for people entering and leaving Beijing.

So Chinese citizens and foreigners willing to tolerate the travel quarantine will have to continue putting up with mass testing and lockdowns of entire cities over small outbreaks. How long that lasts is anyone’s guess…

 

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FCC Commissioner Asks Apple + Google To Remove TikTok!

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr just publicly asked Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores!

Here is what you need to know about the renewed heat on TikTok!

 

FCC Commissioner Asks Apple + Google To Remove TikTok!

On June 29, 2022, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr publicly called on Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores.

This move came after leaked TikTok audio recordings obtained by Buzzfeed News revealed that ByteDance staff in China (and possibly the Chinese government) retained extensive access to data on US citizens.

Read more : TikTok Leak Showed China Repeatedly Accessed Private User Data!

In his public letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, the FCC Commissioner asked that TikTok be removed for “its pattern of surreptitious data practices”.

It is clear that TikTok poses an unacceptable national security risk due to its extensive data harvesting being combined with Beijing’s apparently unchecked access to that sensitive data.

But it is also clear that TikTok’s pattern of conduct and misrepresentations regarding the unfettered access that persons in Beijing have to sensitive U.S. user data – just some of which is detailed below – puts it out of compliance  with the policies that both of your companies require every app to adhere to as a condition of remaining available on your app stores.

Therefore, I am requesting that you apply the plain text of your app store policies to TikTok and remove it from your app stores for failure to abide by those terms.

FCC Commissioner Carr also labelled TikTok as a “sophisticated surveillance tool” that is designed to harvest “personal and sensitive data“.

At its core, TikTok functions as a sophisticated surveillance tool that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data.

Indeed, TikTok collects everything from search and browsing histories to keystroke patterns and biometric identifiers, including faceprints – which researchers have said might be used in unrelated facial recognition technology – and voiceprints.

It collects location data as well as draft messages and metadata, plus it has collected the text, images, and videos that are stored on a device’s clipboard. The list of personal and sensitive data it collects goes on from there.

This should come as no surprise, however. Within its own borders, the PRC has developed some of the most invasive and omnipresent surveillance capabilities in the world to maintain authoritarian control.

Carr ended his letter with an “ultimatum” of sorts – if Apple and Google do not remove TikTok from their app stores, they need to provide “separate responses” to him by July 8, 2022, explaining why TikTok does not contravene their App Store policies.

As of June 30, 2022, TikTok is still available to download in the US app stores of both Apple and Google.

If Apple and Google acts on the FCC Commissioner’s request, TikTok will only be removed from their US app stores. It won’t affect downloads in other countries.

Neither would it prevent users in the US from continuing to use TikTok. They just won’t be able to download it any longer, or update to newer versions.

 

FCC Commissioner Lists History Of TikTok Data Practices!

While the leaked TikTok audio recordings may have precipitated this open letter to Apple and Google, FCC Commissioner Carr pointed to a list of questionable data practices by TikTok in the past.

The list makes for really interesting reading, especially for those who are not up to date on TikTok’s privacy and data security issues :

  • In August 2020, TikTok circumvented a privacy safeguard in Google’s Android operating system to obtain data that allowed it to track users online.
  • In March 2020, researchers discovered that TikTok, through its app in the Apple App Store, was accessing users’ most sensitive data, including passwords, cryptocurrency wallet addresses, and personal messages.
  • In 2021, TikTok agreed to pay $92 million to settle lawsuits alleging that the app “clandestinely vacuumed up and transferred to servers in China (and to other servers accessible from within China) vast quantities of private and personally identifiable user data and content that could be employed to identify, profile, and track the physical and digital location and activities of United States users now and in the future.”
  • In March 2022, a report included current and former TikTok employees stating in interviews that TikTok delegates key decisions to ByteDance officials in Beijing and that an employee was asked to enter sensitive information into a.cn domain, which is the top-level domain operated by the Chinese government’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
  • Earlier, in 2019, TikTok paid $5.7 million to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations that its predecessor app illegally collected personal data on children under the age of 13.
  • India- the world’s largest democracy–has already banned TikTok on national security grounds for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting user data in an unauthorized manner.
  • Multiple U.S. military branches have also banned TikTok from government-issued devices due to national security risks, including the Navy, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps.
  • U.S. government officials have also urged troops and their dependents to erase the app from their personal phones.
  • U.S. national security agencies have similarly banned TikTok from official devices citing national security risks, including the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and the TSA.
  • The RNC and DNC have warned campaigns about using TikTok based on security concerns and the threat of officials in Beijing accessing sensitive data.
  • Citing data security concerns, private U.S. business operations have also banned TikTok from company devices, including Wells Fargo.
  • Once accessed by personnel in Beijing, there is no check on the CCP using the extensive, private, and sensitive data about U.S. users for espionage activities because compliance with the PC’s 2017 National Intelligence law is mandatory in China.

 

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Dell Introduces 14-inch Portable Monitor + S Series Displays!

Dell just introduced a slew of new S Series monitors, as well as its first 14-inch Portable Monitor!

 

Dell Introduces 14-inch Portable Monitor + S Series Displays!

Thanks to the pandemic, the workplace has changed globally, with many companies now adopting a hybrid workplace policy.

Dell just introduced a slew of new S Series monitors, as well as its first 14-inch Portable Monitor, to address the need for employees to work between home and the office.

Dell 14 Portable Monitor (C1422H)

Built to be the ultimate laptop companion, the C1422H is Dell’s first ever 14-inch portable monitor, designed to deliver dual-screen productivity to work, present and collaborate anywhere.

Professionals working in the office, at home or on the go  will appreciate the Dell Portable Monitor’s lightweight design. It weighs just over half a kilogram, and is less than a quarter-inch thick at its slimmest, making it extremely easy to travel with.

With an IPS panel that offers a Full HD display resolution, with an 16:9 aspect ratio, the Dell C1422H Portable Monitor offers easy plug and play with USB-C connectivity. Simply press the quick access buttons to adjust brightness (up to 300 nits) and the ComfortView feature that reduces harmful blue light emissions.

This sleek yet practical portable monitor complements all workstyles and productivity demands with a small continuous tilt stand that bends from 10 to 90 degrees. It also features Energy Star and EPEAT GOLD certification.

Dell 24 and 27 Video Conferencing Monitor (S2422HZ and S2722DZ)

Hanging out virtually with friends, family and co-workers will be easier with the new 27-inch QHD / 23.8-inch FHD monitors that are specifically designed for video calls.

For an easy out-of-box experience, these monitors come with a built-in 5 MP privacy pop-up camera, noise-cancelling microphones and dual 5 watt speakers. The pop-up camera stays hidden until you’re ready for video chatting, for privacy.

These video conferencing monitors feature Dell’s TÜV-certified ComfortView Plus – an always-on low blue light reduction technology that optimises eye comfort while retaining colour accuracy.  Other features include USB-C connectivity, AMD FreeSync technology and a 75 Hz refresh rate for smoother graphics.

Dell 27 4K UHD USB-C Monitor (S2722QC) and Dell 27 USB-C Monitor (S2722DC)

These two USB-C monitors offer the convenience of a single cable solution with USB Type Connectivity, to deliver video, audio, and data; while charging your laptop with up to 65 watts of power.

These monitors are great for those who want a clutter-free workspace, with a single-cable monitor to complement their laptops.

 

Dell 14-inch Portable Monitor + S Series Displays : Price + Availability!

These monitors are available with immediate effect from Dell online and authorised stores, at these starting price points :

  • Dell 14 Portable Monitor (C1422H) : RM 1,499 (about US$341 / £277 / A$491 / S$471)
  • Dell 24 Video Conferencing Monitor (C2423H) : RM 1,439 (about US$327 / £266 / A$471 / S$452)

Online purchase options in Malaysia :

Online purchase options in Singapore :

  • Dell 14 Portable Monitor (C1422H) : S$498 | S$515
  • Dell 24 Video Conferencing Monitor (C2423H) : S$479 | S$479
  • Dell 24 Video Conferencing Monitor (S2422HZ) : S$428 | S$499
  • Dell 27 Video Conferencing Monitor (S2722DZ) : S$589 | S$599 | S$599
  • Dell 27 4K UHD USB-C Monitor (S2722QC) : S$595 | S$599 | S$629
  • Dell 27 USB-C Monitor (S2722DC) : S$469 | S$479

Online purchase options in United States :

  • Dell 14 Portable Monitor (C1422H) : $319.97
  • Dell 24 Video Conferencing Monitor (S2422HZ) : $385.98
  • Dell 27 Video Conferencing Monitor (S2722DZ) : $299.99
  • Dell 27 4K UHD USB-C Monitor (S2722QC) : $399.99

Online purchase options in United Kingdom :

  • Dell 24 Video Conferencing Monitor (S2422HZ) : £250
  • Dell 27 USB-C Monitor (S2722DC) : £299.99

Online purchase options in Australia :

  • Dell 27 Video Conferencing Monitor (S2722DZ) : A$915

 

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Russia Defaults On Foreign Debt For First Time Since 1918!

Russia has officially defaulted on its foreign debt for the first time since 1918!

 

Russia Officially Defaults On Foreign Debt!

Russia was due to pay a $100 million interest payment on May 27, 2022; but creditors did not receive it 30 days later.

Russia says they sent the money to the Euroclear bank, which would distribute payments to its creditors. However, those payments were not made – Euroclear wouldn’t say if they were blocked, but would only say that it is adhering to all sanctions.

The US Treasury had earlier decided not to renew the special sanction exemption allowing investors to receive interest payments from Russia, letting it expire on May 25, 2022.

Russia could have paid that interest before the interest payment exemption expired, but opted not to. It has so far managed to make its payments on time, despite sanctions kicking in after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

But after missing that June 26 deadline on Sunday, Russia officially defaulted on that payment – their first foreign debt default since 1918, and their first default of any kind since 1998.

  • In 1918, Vladimir Lenin refused to pay the outstanding debts of the Russian Empire during the Bolshevik Revolution.
  • In 1998, the Russian. government was rocked by the rouble crisis, and defaulted on domestic bonds, but managed to pay its foreign debt.

 

Russia To Pay In Roubles, To Avoid Future Defaults On Foreign Debt

Russia called the default artificial, because it has the money to pay its debts, but sanctions have frozen its foreign currency reserves held abroad.

The Kremlin announced on 23 June 2022, that it would make all future debt payments in roubles through a Russian bank – the National Settlements Depository, even for bonds that are denominated in dollars or other foreign currencies.

The Russian Finance Ministry said that it would offer “the opportunity for subsequent conversion into the original currency” as a way to avoid future debt defaults.

While embarrassing to the country, and would make it expensive or difficult to borrow money in the future, this technical default does not have a significant effect on Russia right now.

For one thing, Russia is already barred by sanctions from borrowing in Western markets. Russia is also not interested in borrowing foreign money, thanks to a healthy influx of money from its sale of oil and gas.

In fact, Russia had been preparing for such an eventuality by paying down its foreign debt since it annexed Crimea in 2014.

All it does at the moment is ensure that Vladimir Putin goes down in history as only the second Russian leader to be responsible for a foreign debt default.

 

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Pfizer + Moderna Bivalent COVID Vaccines Are Almost Here!

Both Pfizer and Moderna have successfully tested their bivalent COVID-19 vaccines which offer significantly better protection against Omicron and its sub variants!

 

Pfizer + Moderna Bivalent COVID Vaccines Are Almost Here!

Pfizer and Moderna announced, on 25 June and 8 June respectively, that they successfully tested their bivalent COVID-19 vaccines.

The Moderna bivalent COVID-19 vaccine targets both the original SARS-CoV-2 strain, as well as the current Omicron variant. Moderna says it’s their lead candidate for the Fall 2022 booster dose.

Pfizer tested both a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine, as well as a monovalent vaccine that targets the Omicron variant, in two dose levels – the “regular” 30 µg, and a higher 60 µg.

All three mRNA vaccine candidates offered significantly higher neutralising antibody titres against the Omicron variant.

The US FDA and other health regulators are now looking into whether to offer them as a booster dose for the fall season.

 

Pfizer + Moderna Bivalent COVID Vaccines : What We Know So Far…

Moderna Bivalent COVID-19 Vaccine

Designed as a booster dose, the Moderna bivalent COVID-19 vaccine contains the original mRNA-1273 (Spikevax) vaccine and a vaccine candidate targeting the Omicron variant.

The resulting mRNA-1273.214 mix was tested at the standard 50 µg dose, and found to increase the geometric mean title (GMT) against Omicron by approximately 8X above the baseline level (without the booster dose).

Antibody levels dropped after a month, but the new mRNA-1273.214 vaccine candidate still showed significantly higher antibody levels against the Omicron variant, compared to the original Spikevax vaccine.

GMT Levels
(after 1 month)
Bivalent
Candidate
Original
Spikevax
Difference
Ancestral SARS-CoV-2 5977 5649 +5.8%
Omicron Variant 2372 1473 +61.0%

Moderna also said that the new bivalent vaccine candidate has a similar safety profile to its original Spikevax vaccine, when both vaccines were administered as a second booster dose.

Pfizer Bivalent + Monovalent COVID-19 Vaccines

Pfizer and BioNTech tested both an Omicron-specific monovalent vaccine, as well as a bivalent mix like Moderna. They also tested them in both the standard 30 µg dose, and a higher 60 µg dose.

The Omicron-only booster dose offered the strongest immune response against the Omicron variant – 2X to 3X higher than the original COMIRNATY vaccine.

Their bivalent booster dose candidate, on the other hand, offered 1.5X to 2X higher antibody levels against the Omicro variant than the original COMIRNATY vaccine.

However, health authorities are likely to prefer the bivalent version as it will boost protection against the original virus, as well as the Omicron variant at the same time.

Pfizer Vaccine Type GMR
(vs. Omicron)
60 µg Monovalent 3.15
30 µg Monovalent 2.23
60 µg Bivalent 1.97
30 µg Bivalent 1.56
30 µg Original Vaccine Baseline

One month after administration, both monovalent and bivalent Pfizer vaccine candidates offered significantly higher neutralising antibodies against the Omicron BA.1 variant.

Pfizer Vaccine Type GMT
(vs. Omicron)
60 µg Monovalent 19.6X
30 µg Monovalent 13.5X
60 µg Bivalent 10.9X
30 µg Bivalent 9.1X
Without Booster Baseline

Pfizer also Said that both vaccine candidates demonstrated a favourable safety and tolerability profile, similar to the original Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

 

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Travellers To Europe Must Apply + Pay For ETIAS From 2023!

It’s official – travellers to Europe must start applying and paying for ETIAS from 2023! Here is what you need to know…

 

Travellers To Europe Must Apply For ETIAS From 2023!

The European Commission has just announced the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) for all travellers to the Schengen States.

Slated to start in May 2023, ETIAS is meant to “identify security, irregular migration or high epidemic risks” amongst visa-exempt travellers.

EU travellers are exempt from ETIAS, and will continue to have freedom of movement throughout the EU, and the freedom to spend as much time as they want in any state in the Schengen zone.

ETIAS will only be obligatory for travellers from countries that currently do not require a visa to travel to the EU – about 60 countries including the US and the UK.

Travellers who currently need a visa to enter the EU will still need to apply for a visa. They will not be allowed to use ETIAS.

 

How Does ETIAS Work For Travellers To Europe?

Travellers will need to apply for ETIAS through a “largely automated IT system”, with approval granted “within minutes” for about 95% of applicants. But that could drag out to a month for “very exceptional cases”. Those who have their application denied will be allowed to appeal.

While applying for ETIAS will be quicker, done online, and requires no biometric information, there is a cost attached.

Every traveller aged 18 to 70 will need to pay an ETIAS fee of €7 (about US$7.40, £6, A$10.60, S$10.20, RM32.50). It is currently unknown if ETIAS will be free or cheaper for other age groups.

Applicants will be required to submit their data in the online application, which is said to take only “10 minutes” :

  • Unspecified personal data
  • Travel document (passport or equivalent document)
  • Member State of first intended stay
  • Background questions relating to previous criminal records, presence in conflict zones, orders to leave the territory of a Member State or third countries, return decisions issued.
  • Identity of the person / company assisting the applicant in the application process (if necessary)

The ETIAS system will automatically check the information provided against several EU databases, and approve or transfer it to ETIAS National Units for manual processing.

Once approved, the ETIAS will be valid for 3 years, or until the expiry date of the passport. So if possible, travellers should definitely renew their passports before applying.

But note that the ETIAS can be revoked at any time, if the conditions for that travel authorisation are no longer met by the applicant.

 

ETIAS : Selected FAQs

Here are selected FAQs on the European Travel Information and Authorisation System for those who want to learn more.

What is the difference between a Schengen visa and an ETIAS travel authorisation?

The ETIAS authorisation is not a visa. Nationals of visa liberalisation countries will continue to travel the EU without a visa but will simply be required to obtain a travel authorisation via ETIAS prior to their travel. ETIAS will be a simple, fast and visitor-friendly system, which will, in more than 95% of cases, result in a positive answer within a few minutes.

An ETIAS travel authorisation does not reintroduce visa-like obligations. There is no need to go to a consulate to make an application, no biometric data is collected and significantly less information is gathered than during a visa application procedure.

Whereas, as a general rule, a Schengen visa procedure can take up to 15 days, and can in some cases be extended up to 30 or 60 days, the online ETIAS application only takes a few minutes to fill in. Only in very exceptional cases, could the ETIAS procedure take up to 30 days. The validity will be for a period of three years, significantly longer than the validity of a Schengen visa. An ETIAS authorisation will be valid for an unlimited number of entries.

The ETIAS travel authorisation will be a necessary and small procedural step for all visa-exempt travellers which will allow them to avoid bureaucracy and delays when presenting themselves at the borders. ETIAS will fully respect this visa-free status; facilitate the crossing of the Schengen external border; and allow visa free visitors to fully enjoy their status.

Read more : EU Digital COVID Certificate : A Comedy Of Errors!

What will visa-exempt travellers have to do before their travel?

Travellers will have to complete an online application via a dedicated website or an application for mobile devices. Filling in the application should not take more than 10 minutes and should not require any documentation beyond a travel document (a passport or other equivalent document). In case of an inability to apply (due to age, literacy level, access to and competence on information technology etc.) applications may be submitted by a third person.

An electronic payment of a €7 fee for each application will be required for all applicants between the ages of 18 and 70. The electronic payment methods will take into account technological advancements in the visa-free countries in order to avoid hindering visa-free third country nationals who may not have access to certain payment means.

The automated assessment process will start after the fee collection is confirmed. The vast majority of applicants (expected to be more than 95% of all cases) will be given automated approval which will be communicated to them within minutes of payment. If there is a hit against any of the searched databases or an undecided outcome of the automated process, manual handling of the application will take place by a Central Unit in the European Border and Coast Guard Agency or by a Member State team. This can prolong the response time to the visa-exempt third country national by up to 96 hours. In very exceptional circumstances further information may be asked of applicants and further procedural steps may be necessary, but in all cases a final decision shall be taken within four weeks of their application.

Of the roughly 5% of applications which produce a hit, it is expected that 3-4% will receive a positive decision after ETIAS Central Unit verifies the data, with the remaining 1-2% being transferred to ETIAS National Units for manual processing. After the decision applicants will be given a response by email with a valid travel authorisation, or a justification for the refusal.

Read more : EU Officially Accepts Malaysia’s Digital COVID Certificate!

What happens if a person has been refused travel authorisation from ETIAS?

If the travel authorisation is refused, the applicant retains the right to appeal. Appeals can be launched in the Member State that has taken the decision on the application and in accordance with the national law of that Member State. The applicant will be informed which national authority is responsible for the processing and decision on his or her travel authorisation, as well as information regarding the procedure to be followed in the event of an appeal. If the traveller considers their treatment to have been unfair, he/she is also given the right to seek redress or request access to the information through the national authority.

What is the validity of an ETIAS travel authorisation?

The validity of the travel authorisation will be three years (or until the expiry date of the travel document).

What are the obligations for the carriers?

Prior to boarding, air and sea carriers, as well as carriers transporting groups overland by coach will have to verify the status of the travel document required for entering the Schengen Area, including the requirement to hold a valid ETIAS travel authorisation. A transitional period is foreseen for carriers transporting groups overland by coach during which it will not be obligatory for them to check the presence of a valid travel authorisation.

What will happen at the border crossing point? 

Upon arrival at a Schengen area border crossing point, the border guard will electronically read the travel document data, thereby triggering a query to different databases, including a query to ETIAS in the case of visa-exempt travellers. If there is no valid ETIAS travel authorisation, the border guards will refuse entry and record the traveller and the refusal of entry in the Entry Exit System.

If there is a valid travel authorisation, the border control process will be conducted and the traveller may be authorised to enter the Schengen area if all entry conditions are fulfilled or refused access as provided by the Schengen Border Code.

Read more : EU Air Travel : Face Mask + Physical Distancing Not Required!

What databases will be checked by ETIAS?

When verifying and assessing the information submitted by visa-exempt travellers, the system will automatically cross-check each application against: 

A. the existing EU information systems:

  • the Schengen Information System (SIS),
  • the Visa Information System (VIS),
  • Europol data,
  • the Eurodac database (once the Eurodac recast is in place),

B. future EU information systems:

  • the Entry/Exit System (EES), 

C. Interpol databases:

  • the Interpol Stolen and Lost Travel Document database (SLTD),
  • the Interpol Travel Documents Associated with Notices database (TDAWN),

D. a dedicated ETIAS watch list and specific risk indicators.

Read more : Air Travel To Malaysia : Latest Covid-19 Requirements + SOP!

How will ETIAS ensure and guarantee the respect for fundamental rights and data protection?

Personal data recorded in ETIAS will not be kept for longer than is necessary for its purpose. Data shall be stored for: 

  • the period of validity of the travel authorisation or, 
  • five years from the last decision to refuse, revoke or annul the travel authorisation. 

The data could be stored for an additional period of no more than three years after the end of the period of validity of the travel authorisation if the applicant freely and explicitly consents to keep his or her data longer. After the expiry of the data retention period, the application file and personal data will be automatically deleted from the ETIAS Central System. 

Member States’ law enforcement authorities and Europol will have access to ETIAS, under strictly-defined conditions, for the prevention, detection or investigation of terrorist offences or other serious criminal offences. The designated authorities and Europol should only request access to ETIAS when they have reasonable grounds to believe that such access will substantially help them in carrying out their duties. 

 

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US Mil Contractor Admits Selling Aviation Secrets To China!

A US military contractor just pleaded guilty to selling classified aviation secrets to China!

 

US Mil Contractor Admits Selling Aviation Secrets To China!

On 23 June 2022, Shapour Moinian, 67, of San Diego, pleaded guilty to selling classified aviation secrets to “representatives of the Chinese government”.

Moinan admitted that he knew that those individuals were employed by, or directed by, t he government of the People’s Republic of China.

He also admitted making false statements to cover that up, by lying on his government background questionnaires in July 2017 and March 2020 that he did not have any close or continuing contacts with foreign nations, and that no foreign national had offered him a job.

He now faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, and a fine of up to $250,000 for action as an agent of a foreign government, and up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for making false statements.

His sentencing is scheduled for August 29, where federal prosecutors have agreed to recommend a sentence of no more than 20 months, as part of his plea agreement.

As Special Agent in Charge Stacey Moy of the FBI’s San Diego Field Office explains :

The defendant admitted to being an unregistered agent of a foreign power, lying on his background check paperwork to obtain his security clearance, knowingly providing proprietary information to people controlled by the Chinese government, and willingly receiving payments from them. This is another example of how the Chinese government enhances its defense capabilities through the illicit exploitation of U.S. technology.

When someone holds a security clearance, they know what information should be reported to security officials. In this case, the defendant betrayed his sacred oath, knew his actions were wrong, and subsequently lied about it. The FBI and our partners on the Counterintelligence Task Force will pursue anyone who abuses their placement and access to obtain proprietary information on behalf of a foreign government. I specifically want to thank the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) for their continued partnership on this case.

 

How This Military Contractor Sold Aviation Secrets To China!

Moinan was a former US Army helicopter pilot who served in the United States, Germany and South Korea from 1977 to 2000. After leaving the US Army, he worked for various “cleared” defence contractors in the United States.

The term “cleared” indicates that the contractor has been vetted and cleared to work on projects involving classified information.

While working for a cleared defence contractor on various aviation projects involving the US military and intelligence agencies, Moinan was contacted by an individual in China, who claimed to be working for a technical recruiting company.

This Chinese individual offered Moinan the opportunity to consult for the aviation industry in China. In March 2017, Moinan travelled to Hong Kong to meet with this recruiter.

At that meeting, he agreed to provide information and materials related to multiple types of aircraft designed and/or manufactured in the United States, in exchange for money. Moinan accepted between $7,000 to $10,000 during that meeting.

On returning to the United States, Shapour Moinan began gathering aviation-related materials for the Chinese government.

In one instance, he copied classified materials obtained from a cleared defence contractor into a thumb drive, which he handed over to Chinese government officials during a stopover in the Shanghai airport in September 2017.

Moinan arranged for payment for this transfer to be paid through his stepdaughter’s South Korean bank account. He told her that these funds were payments for his overseas consulting work, and instructed her to transfer the funds to him in multiple transactions – to avoid scrutiny.

Moinan also accepted a mobile phone, and other equipment from these Chinese government officials to securely communicate with them, and to aid in the electronic transfer of classified materials and information.

At the end of March 2018, Moinan travelled to Bali to meet with the same individuals again. After that meeting, his step daughter received thousands of dollars in her South Korean bank account, which she wired to him in multiple transactions.

Later in 2018, Moinan went to work for another cleared defence contractor, and in August 2019, he travelled with his wife to Hong Kong to meet with the same Chinese government officials.

This time, he received $22,000 in cash for his services, which Moinan and his wife smuggled into the United States that trip.

It is currently unknown how the US government discovered Moines’s activities, but he was investigated by the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division and the Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS).

 

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Malaysia Cancels Chicken Price Float, Maintains Water + Power Rates!

The Prime Minister of Malaysia just cancelled the floating of chicken price, and maintained water and electricity power rates!

Here is what you need to know…

 

Earlier : Malaysia Removes Price Control + Subsidy For Chicken!

On 21 June 2022, Malaysia’s Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) Minister Alexander Nanta Linggi, announced that price control for chicken and chicken eggs, as well as subsidies for palm oil used for cooking will be removed.

From 1 July 2022 onwards, the price of chicken was supposed to be floated, and would depend on market forces. The price of chicken was expected to increase from RM8.90 per kg currently, to about RM11.90 per kg, once its price was floated.

The government needed to remove the price control on chickens because they would stop giving subsidies to poultry farmers on 1 July 2022 as well.

Read more : Malaysia Removes Price Control, Subsidy For Chicken, Eggs, Cooking Oil!

 

Now : Malaysia Cancels Chicken Price Float, Maintains Water + Power Rates!

Just 3 days later, the Prime Minister of Malaysia announced a U-turn on removing price control on chickens.

At 5:45 PM on 24 June 2022, the Prime Minister of Malaysia Ismail Sabri announced that the government has cancelled the floating of chicken price, and will continue to impose a price ceiling.

However, this does not mean the chicken price will remain at its current ceiling prices of :

  • Standard whole chicken : RM 8.90 per kg
  • Super whole chicken (without legs, head, liver and gizzard) : RM 9.90 per kg

According to his official statement, the government will announce the new ceiling price for chicken later.

He also announced that the government has decided to maintain the current water and electricity tariffs in Peninsular Malaysia, by continuing to provide subsidies worth approximately RM 5.8 billion.

  • Domestic users : A rebate of 2 sen per kW-hour will be maintained, with no surcharge.
  • Commercial and industrial users : A surcharge of 3.70 sen per kW-hour will be maintained.

This is good news for domestic users, but not so good news for commercial and industrial users who have to put up with the surcharge.

 

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Netflix Fires 300 More Employees In Round 2 Of Layoffs!

Netflix just announced a second round of layoffs, firing 300 more employees!

 

Netflix Fires 300 More Employees In Round 2 Of Layoffs!

Back in February, Netflix announced that it lost 200,000 subscribers globally at the start of 2022. Even worse, it projected a decline of 2 million users in the upcoming quarter.

They blamed the drop on everything from increased competition from rival streaming services, to the economy and the war in Ukraine, as well as people sharing their Netflix accounts.

Their response was to curb losses by laying off their employees. They started by firing 150 employees last month, and followed up with 300 more employees this month.

Read more : The Brief Kiss That Got Lightyear Banned In 14+ Countries!

 

Netflix Layoffs Are Minimal At Just 4%

So far, the 450 fired employees make up about 4% of the streaming giant’s workforce of about 11,000 globally.

Most of those who were fired were based in the US and allegedly of minorities, or those working on projects catering to marginalised communities.

Netflix also fired another 70 employees working for its social media and publishing teams last month, including those that catered to marginalised communities.

But while Netflix claimed that it will help reduce costs, the 4% trimming of their workforce is unlikely to make much of a dent… unless Netflix intends to fire even more employees.

Sadly, it seems likely we will see more people getting let go at Netflix.

 

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Malaysia To Give RM100 / RM50 Subsidy To B40 Group!

The government of Malaysia just announced that it will give RM100 / RM50 subsidy to the B40 group to cope with the increased cost of living!

Here is what you need to know…

 

Malaysia Removes Price Control, Subsidy For Chicken, Eggs, Cooking Oil!

On 21 June 2022, Malaysia’s Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) Minister Alexander Nanta Linggi, announced that price control for chicken and chicken eggs, as well as subsidies for palm oil used for cooking will be removed.

There was an immediate uproar from consumers, as it would mean additional increases in food prices, that have already shot up in recent weeks.

Read more : Malaysia Removes Price Control, Subsidy For Chicken, Eggs, Cooking Oil!

 

Malaysia To Give RM100 / RM50 Subsidy To B40 Group!

To assuage the concerns of many citizens who are struggling to make ends meet in a time of high inflation, the Prime Minister of Malaysia Ismail Sabri today announced that the government will give a small one-time subsidy to the B40 group :

  • B40 families will receive RM100 (about US$22.70)
  • B40 individuals will receive RM50 (about US$11.35)

This small cost-of-living subsidy is meant to help the B40 group cope with the increased food prices.

It will be paid to their accounts together with Phase 2 of Bantuan Keluarga Malaysia (BKM) programme for the B40 group.

For example, if you are a B40 senior citizen who is supposed to receive RM150 in Phase 2 of BKM, you will now receive RM200 = RM150 (BKM) + RM50 (additional cost of living subsidy).

 

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New Taxes On Small Online Purchases + Delivery In Malaysia!

There will soon be new taxes on small online purchases and delivery in Malaysia! Here is what you need to know…

 

New Taxes On Small Online Purchases + Delivery In Malaysia!

There will be soon new taxes on low-value purchases from overseas, and delivery services in Malaysia!

These taxes were announced in Budget 2022, but you may not be aware of it.

6% Service Tax On Delivery Services

From 1 July 2022 onwards, delivery services are subject to 6% service tax, for delivering goods other than food and beverages, and logistics delivery services.

This 6% service tax applies to e-commerce platforms as well, so expect the cost to be passed to you – the customer.

10% Sales Tax On Low Value Imports

Currently, goods imported from overseas that are delivered via courier services through specific international airports in Malaysia are not subject to the 10% sales. tax, if the value of each consignment (parcel) does not exceed RM 500.

Budget 2022 removed that exemption, which means all imported goods will be taxed, regardless of value.

From 1 January 2023 onwards, online sellers of low value imported goods delivered by air courier worth less than RM 500 per consignment must charge their customers a 10% sales tax. Otherwise, the purchaser will be subject to an import tax.

This sales tax applies to both local and foreign merchants. But the government has yet to reveal the mechanism by which foreign merchants will register, process and forward the collected sales tax.

 

Why New Taxes On Small Online Purchases + Delivery?!

Taxing low cost value goods purchased overseas is a way to level the playing field between local and foreign manufacturers.

Malaysian products are already subject to a 5% or 10% sales tax, which places them at a disadvantage when competing with low value imports that are currently tax-free.

That’s why many countries like Australia and New Zealand implement similar taxes, to align with local sales tax.

Even Singapore will be implementing a 7% GST on low value goods (LVG) from 1 January 2023 onwards, increasing it to 9% by 2025.

This sales tax on imported LVG will no doubt raise revenue for the government, but it is inline with what other countries are implementing to level the playing field, and encourage purchases of local products.

The 10% sales tax may seem high, but it does not apply to low value goods imported via sea or land.

This sales tax will not affect the RM1,000 exemption for travellers bringing in goods purchased overseas through the seven designated international airports in Malaysia.

The 6% service tax on delivery services is a new revenue stream for the government, although they have exempted food and beverage deliveries, as well as logistics deliveries.

Whatever the reasons are – expect to pay more for your online purchases!

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Malaysia Removes Price Control, Subsidy For Chicken, Eggs, Cooking Oil!

Malaysia is removing price control for chicken and chicken eggs, as well as the subsidy for palm oil used for cooking!

Here is what you need to know…

 

Malaysia Removes Price Control, Subsidy For Chicken, Eggs, Cooking Oil!

On 21 June 2022, Malaysia’s Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) Minister Alexander Nanta Linggi, announced that price control for chicken and chicken eggs, as well as subsidies for palm oil used for cooking will be removed.

Read more : Malaysia To Give RM100 / RM50 Subsidy To B40 Group!

Currently, the Malaysian government imposes the current maximum retail price for chicken and palm oil used for cooking in Peninsular Malaysia.

  • Standard whole chicken : RM 8.90 per kg
  • Super whole chicken (without legs, head, liver and gizzard) : RM 9.90 per kg
  • 5 kg palm cooking oil : RM 29.70 per bottle
  • 3 kg palm cooking oil : RM 18.70 per bottle
  • 2 kg palm cooking oil : RM 12.70 per bottle
  • 1 kg palm cooking oil : RM 6.70 per bottle

From 1 July 2022 onwards, the price of chicken will be floated, and will depend on market forces; and the subsidy and price limit on bottled palm cooking oil of 1 kg, 2 kg, 3 kg and 5 kg will be abolished.

The abolishment of the palm cooking oil subsidy will save the government about RM 20 million a month. However, they will maintain the subsidy for cooking oil sold in 1 kg polybag packages, priced at RM 2.50 per packet.

The government needed to remove the price control on chickens, because they would stop giving subsidies to poultry farmers on 1 July 2022 as well.

The inflation of food prices will inevitably increase in July, so please be prepared!

 

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Cloudflare Went Down, Knocking Many Websites Offline!

Many websites were knocked offline today, after Cloudflare suffered a major outage and went down!

Here is what you need to know…

 

Cloudflare Went Down, Knocking Many Websites Offline!

At around 6:30 AM UTC, Cloudflare – the popular content delivery network (CDN) went down, knocking large parts of the Internet offline.

This is ironic, because many websites rely on Cloudflare to not only speed up page loading for their users, but also to mitigate or prevent downtimes from DDoS attacks and server failures.

Cloudflare declared it a critical P0 incident at around 6:34 AM, noting that “connectivity has been disrupted in broad regions“. Instead of loading, all affected websites would show a 500 Internal Server Error message.

Tech ARP was affected, and so were many popular websites and online services like Discord, Omegle, Medium, Feedly, Epic Games, etc.

 

Cloudflare Now Up, After Down For An Hour!

They finally identified the issue about 23 minutes later. The fix took another 23 minutes, but by 7 AM UTC, they restored connectivity.

After monitoring for about an hour, the Cloudflare team declared the P0 critical incident “resolved”0 at 8:06 AM UTC.

Cloudflare has not revealed what caused the outage, but right now, most people are just glad that they resolved in within an hour!

 

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Bitcoin Rebounds Above $20K, Ether Shoots Over $1,100!

Bitcoin rebounded above $20,000 while Ether shot over $1,100, after experiencing record lows! Here is what you need to know…

 

Bitcoin Rebounds Above $20K, Ether Shoots Over $1,100!

After a terrible week, cryptocurrencies are getting a big respite with Bitcoin rebounding above $20,000. and ether shooting over $1,100!

Last Saturday, Bitcoin crashed through the $20,000 line, and smashed right through the $19,000 and $18,000 support lines. It hit a record low of $17,663.80, wiping out 12% of value in less than a day.

The $20,000 mark was psychologically-important because Bitcoin first hit it in December 2020. It was also the peak of its last bull run, when it hit a high of $19,834 in December 2017. Bitcoin had, for the first time, fallen below the peak of its prior bull run.

But it gradually recovered over Sunday, and actually rose above the $20,000 mark at 7 PM. After a short sell-off early Monday morning, it recovered to above $20,000.

Ether had a terrible Saturday too, falling from $1,069.70 to just $903.23 – wiping out 15.6% of its value in less than 24 hours!

But it recovered quickly, breaching $1,000 by Sunday morning, and then the $1,100 mark by Sunday evening.

Like Bitcoin, Ether saw a sell-off on Monday morning, but it recovered again and stayed above $1,100

 

Bitcoin + Ether Rally May Be Shortlived

Cryptocurrency investors and traders are sure to be relieved by the rally, which kept both Bitcoin and Ether above those psychologically critical $20,000 and $1,000 price levels, even though they had already breached them two days ago.

The rally seems to be fuelled by investors and traders looking to buy cheap coins. Both Bitcoin and Ether were over 70% and over 80% below their all-time highs of $68,990.90 and $4,865.57 respectively.

However, the Bitcoin rally seemed rather weak – it was vacillating around the $20,000 mark, unable to push above $21,000. Ether did better, staying above $1,000 and rising above $1,100 on Sunday and Monday.

It seems likely that this rally will be short-lived, and could be a short respite before a larger sell-off.

As inflation remains red hot, with rapidly rising interest rates amidst recession fears, there is significant pressure to sell risky cryptocurrencies.

Even though both cryptocurrencies are holding steady right now, be prepared for more sell-offs that could trigger a vicious cycle of forced selling and falling prices.

The 2022 Crypto Winter may have been delayed, and spring isn’t coming soon.

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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The Brief Kiss That Got Lightyear Banned In 14+ Countries!

Take a look at the scene that got the Disney-Pixar movie, Lightyear, banned in 14 countries, and likely China too!

 

Lightyear Movie Banned In 14 Countries + Maybe China Too!

Lightyear – the long-awaited Toy Story prequel from Disney-Pixar – has been banned in  14 Asian and Middle Eastern countries, and quite likely China too!

The ban started in the UAE, whose Media Regulatory Office of the Ministry of Youth and Culture announced on 13 June 2022 that Lightyear was banned from screening in all cinemas for “its violation of the country’s media content standards“.

A Variety report claimed that the UAE initially approved Lightyear for release, but revoked the licence after social media posts accused the movie of insulting Muslims and Islam.

That ban was then followed by other countries. The current list includes, but is not limited to :

  • United Arab Emirates
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Egypt
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Singapore
  • Lebanon
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • Kuwait
  • Bahrain

Although not confirmed yet, it is very likely that Lightyear will also not be allowed to screen in China.

Lightyear producer, Galyn Susman, said that Chinese authorities “asked for cuts”, which Disney declined to make. So she assumed that the movie would not be allowed to screen there either.

I’m assuming it will not make it to China. I know we’ve gotten requests for things to cut, Disney isn’t going to modify the material.

We’re not going to cut out anything, especially something as important as the loving and inspirational relationship that shows Buzz what he’s missing by the choices that he’s making, so that’s not getting cut

 

The Brief Kiss That Got Lightyear Banned In 14+ Countries!

The reasons why Lightyear has been banned in at least 14 countries, and possibly China too, is over a brief kissing scene.

In the first 30 minutes of Lightyear, Alisha Hawthorne (voiced by Uzo Aduba) – a female space ranger and a close friend of Buzz Lightyear – shares a brief kiss with her same-sex partner.

That kiss was part of a scene showing milestones in the couple’s relationship. It also shows the couple’s son, although it is not known if he was adopted or conceived through assisted reproduction.

But it was the brief kiss between two fictional characters that broke the camel’s back for censors in those countries. They demanded that the scene be cut from the film.

Normally, Disney would quietly cut such a controversial scene from the movie to comply with “local sensibilities”, since it doesn’t affect the plot.

However, Pixar employees had earlier penned a letter complaining that Disney corporate executives were censoring “nearly every moment of overtly gay affection” in their projects.

We at Pixar have personally witnessed beautiful stories, full of diverse characters, come back from Disney corporate reviews shaved down to crumbs of what they once were.

Nearly every moment of overtly gay affection is cut at Disney’s behest, regardless of when there is protest from both the creative teams and executive leadership at Pixar.

Disney caved to the pressure, and decided not to censor the kiss from Lightyear. And so, all those countries refused to grant a licence to screen the movie in theatres.

Read more : Lightyear Movie Banned In 14 Countries + Maybe China Too!

 

Lightyear Stars On Why Lightyear Was Banned…

Chris Evans, who voiced Buzz Lightyear in this prequel, labelled such objections as “frustrating”.

It’s great that we are a part of something that’s making steps forward in the social inclusion capacity.

But it’s frustrating that there are still places that aren’t where they should be.

He also told Variety magazine that he was frustrated that news coverage of the movie would be focused on such an issue :

It’s tough to not be a little frustrated that it even has to be a topic of discussion. That it is this kind of ‘news.’

The goal is that we can get to a point where it is the norm, and that this doesn’t have to be some uncharted waters, that eventually this is just the way it is.

Taika Waititi, who voices the character of Mo Morrison in the film, added :

We’re hoping for a time when we don’t even have to have this conversation. We can watch a movie and we don’t even have to bat an eyelid.

We don’t have to think ‘Oh wow, weird’. It’s not weird, it’s normal and it should be normalised.

Whenever you have these small steps that studios are making – sometimes they may feel small but also, they are steps – and it’s steps towards normalising humanity and love. I really feel sorry for countries who don’t want this film because of a tiny, weird little thing like that

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Rapid KL Survey NOT Required For Taxpayer-Paid Free Rides!

You are NOT required to fill in their survey for the free rides on Rapid KL trains or buses subsidised by Malaysian taxpayers!

Here is what you need to know!

 

Free Rapid KL Rides For 1 Month : Subsidised By Taxpayers!

On 16 June 2022, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Ismail Sabri Yaakob officially launched the opening of Phase 1 of the MRT Putrajaya Line.

In conjunction with that launch, he announced that all Rapid KL train and bus rides will be free of charge for a month, from 16 June to 15 July 2022. This free ride program also includes KTM Komuter rides in the Klang Valley.

However, it was not some kind of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or launch promotion by Rapid KL. These free rides were subsidised by the Malaysian government, to the tune of RM155 million – RM140 million will go to Rapid KL, while KTM will receive RM15 million.

In other words – taxpayers are ultimately footing the bill for these free rides.

Read more : All Rapid KL + KTM Rides Are FREE For 1 Month!

 

Initially : Rapid KL Requires Survey For Gov-Paid Free Rides?!

About a day after the announcement of the free rides, Rapid KL released its Terms and Conditions (PDF download), in which passengers were asked to participate in their survey, in order to enjoy the Rapid KL Free Rides (RKLFR) programme.

Passengers were asked to either install and register an account the MyRapid PULSE app, and fill in the survey there; or fill in a physical form at the stations. They were also asked to “keep a screenshot or the top portion of the completed [survey] form to enjoy the RKLFR“.

Its Terms & Conditions stated, explicitly, that (with my emphasis in bold) :

5. Customers who are using tokens are required to redeem the token at any of Rapid KL Customer Service Offices (LRT/MRT/Monorail/BRT/ Selected Bus Hubs) and fill up the form in MyRapid PULSE or fill up the hardcopy survey form before entering the gates.

6. Customers who are using cashless (My50 pass, Touch ‘N Go card and Concession card) need to fill up the form in MyRapid PULSE or fill up the hardcopy survey form before entering the gates. 

There was an immediate social media backlash to the requirement to participate in the Rapid KL survey, in return for the taxpayer-sponsored free rides.

 

Now : Rapid KL Survey NOT Required For Taxpayer-Paid Free Rides!

Rapid KL quickly responded to the furore by “clarifying” that passengers are not forced to download the PULSE app, or participate in the survey.

When I took the MRT and LRT recently, there was no one enforcing the survey requirement. I just tapped my Touch ‘n Go card through the gantries. No one asked to check for a completed survey.

However, it is unlikely that the RapidKL Terms & Conditions was a misunderstanding. Rapid KL repeated the “requirements” in social media posts, like this example (with my English translation)

Terma Dan Syarat

2. Muat turun aplikasi MyRapid PULSE untuk menebus 30 hari perjalanan percuma.

Terms And Conditions

2. Download the MyRapid PULSE app to redeem 30 days of free travel.

In another Facebook post, Rapid KL specifically asked passengers to complete the survey to obtain the free rides.  Here is my English translation of their requirements :

To redeem free rides:

  1. Users are encouraged to download the MyRapid PULSE app in Google Play or Apple Store, and register for an account and fill in the provided [survey] form. After the form is completed, users need to take a screenshot and show it to the officer at the station, while passing through the gantry, or on entering a bus.
  2. Forms are also provided at all RapidKL passenger service counters, selected bus hubs, in the bus, and downloadable through the Rapid KL website and social media platforms. Passengers must take a picture or the top portion of the complete form to enjoy RKLFR.
  3. For passengers who do not have Touch ‘n Go card or other passes, they can obtain a free token at the customer service counter by filling in their information through the MyRapid PULSE app or the provided form, before entering the station.

It appears that they genuinely wanted people to participate in their survey, and only backtracked on those requirements after the social media uproar.

Based on my ride experience, they did not appear to station officers to check for the completely survey forms.

But it was possible that they asked people to fill in the form to obtain a free token. I can’t confirm that as I used my own Touch ‘n Go card, and didn’t collect a free token.

In any case, there is NO LONGER a need to fill in any survey form, to enjoy the taxpayer-sponsored rides on Rapid KL trains or buses. If anyone insists on seeing a completed survey form, just say NO.

 

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He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Chipmakers Brace For Noble Gas Shortage, After Russia Cut Supply!

Chipmakers worldwide are bracing for a noble gas shortage, after Russia cut supplies! Here is what you need to know…

 

Chipmakers Brace For Noble Gas Shortage, After Russia Cut Supply!

On June 2, 2022, the Russian government issued a decree stating that export of noble gases will be subject to Moscow’s approval until December 31, based on the recommendations of the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

This effectively cuts or limits the export of critical noble gases to “unfriendly” countries, and was a direct response to the fifth round of sanctions imposed by the European Union in April.

Russia and Ukraine were leading producers of noble gases since the days of the Soviet Union, and jointly supplied about 30% of the chipmaking industry’s supply of neon gas.

Both countries were closely intertwined in their noble gas supply to the world. Russia produced raw neon gas as a byproduct of its steelworks, and sent it to Ukraine for purification. That ceased with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

 

How Badly Will Russia Noble Gas Cut Affect Chipmakers?

Noble gases like neon, argon, xenon and helium are critical in the production of microelectronics that power everything from computers to smartphones and cars.

Neon, in particular, plays a critical role in the optical lithographic process used to etch patterns on silicon wafers, creating circuits in semiconductor chips.

The state-of-the-art excimer pulsed laser used to create semiconductors, for example, requires an argon-fluorine-neon mixture, up to 95% of which is made up of exceptionally pure neon gas.

That’s why about 70% of the world’s supply of neon gas (about 540,000 tonnes) is used by the semiconductor industry.

Fortunately, Russia’s decision to cut noble gas supplies may have less impact that they assumed, because chipmakers prepared for such an eventuality.

The semiconductor industry used to rely on Ukraine and Russia for about 80% to 90% of their neon gas supply, but they started diversifying their noble gas supplies after Russia invaded and annexed Crimea in 2014.

Over the last 7-8 years, they managed to cut down their dependence on Ukraine and Russia to about 30%. And the industry generally maintains gas reserves that would last 3-6 months.

China is the main beneficiary of reduced noble gas supply from Russia. Since the war started, Chinese noble gas producers said that their daily order enquiries have jumped 5X to 6X.

For now, the semiconductor industry does not need to reduce production, but the reduced market supply will mean noble gas prices will remain elevated for some time to come.

Needless to say – this will increase the cost of semiconductors, the cost of which will be passed onto consumers.

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Crypto Prices Tank : Bitcoin Below $19K, Ethereum Below $1K!

Cryptocurrency prices continue to tank, with Bitcoin dipping below $19,000 and Ethereal sliding below $1,000!

Here is what you need to know…

 

Crypto Prices Tank : Bitcoin Below $19K, Ethereum Below $1K!

The week is ending on a bad note for cryptocurrencies, as prices continued to tank.

On early Saturday morning, Bitcoin crashed through the $20,000 line, and smashed right through the $19,000 line, trimming 7.4% of its value in less than 1.5 hours!

The $20,000 mark was psychologically-important because Bitcoin first hit it in December 2020. It was also the peak of its last bull run, when it hit a high of $19,834 in December 2017.

Bitcoin has, for the first time, fallen below the peak of its prior bull run; which may well spook traders, if not the HODLers.

It hit the bottom (so far) of $18,811.40 at 8:20 AM, before recovering slightly to hover around the $19,000 to $19,500 range.

Ethereum did even worse, falling from $1,069.70 to just $977.37 – wiping out 8.6% of its value in less than 2 hours!

It recovered, but hovered under $1,000 for most of the day, before dipping to another low of $978.91 at 4:50 PM.

Ethereal first hit $1,000 in January 2018, and never dropped below $1,000 after January 2021.

 

Will Bitcoin, Ethereum Prices Continue To Tank?

Bitcoin and Ethereum are now trading almost 60% lower, compared to last year; and Bitcoin is down over 72% from its all-time high of $68,990.90.

While many HODLers and crypto traders are hoping that this is the bottom, this may only be a short respite before a larger sell-off.

Investors may be forced to liquidate their positions after these psychological lines were breached, possibly triggering a vicious cycle of forced selling and falling prices.

As inflation remains red hot, with rapidly rising interest rates amidst recession fears, there is significant pressure to sell risky cryptocurrencies.

So look forward to more sell-offs, and both Bitcoin and Ethereum breaching more resistance levels. The 2022 Crypto Winter may well be here…

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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