Tag Archives: EU

EU Orders All Brands To Use USB-C, Including Apple!

EU Orders All Brands To Use USB-C, Including Apple!

It’s official – the EU has ordered all brands to standardise on the USB-C connector for all mobile chargers, including Apple!

 

EU Orders All Brands To Use USB-C, Including Apple!

On Tuesday, October 4, 2022, the European Parliament voted decisively in favour of adopting the USB-C (USB Type C) port as the new standard for all portable devices.

The directive passed with an overwhelming vote of 602 MEPs in favour, and just 13 against (with 8 abstentions), and now heads to the EU Council for the formality of a final approval.

Once the Council signs off on the directive, it will enter into force 20 days after publication in the EU’s Official Journal. Member states will then have 12 months to transpose the new directive, and another 12 months after that transposition period, to apply the new rules.

Once these new rules are enforced, consumers will be able to use and share chargers since all portable devices use the same charging port.

The EU expects the directive to greatly reduce e-waste, and help consumers save up to €250 million a year on purchasing chargers of different standards.

In the EU, chargers alone account for about 11,000 tonnes of e-waste every year. So this directive will help to cut down on the environmental impact of disposing of so many old or unused chargers.

 

Details Of EU Directive On USB-C Standardisation

Here is my quick round-up of the new EU directive on standardising portable devices and laptops on the USB Type C charging port.

All Devices Must Come With USB-C Charging Port

What this means is that by the end of 2024, all portable devices sold in the EU must come with a USB Type C charging port.

Regardless of their manufacturer, all new mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers, e-readers, keyboards, mice, portable navigation systems, earbuds and laptops that are rechargeable via a wired cable, operating with a power delivery of up to 100 Watts, will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C port.

Small devices like smartwatches and health trackers that cannot fit a USB-C port are exempted from this requirement.

This directive is more or less directed at Apple which persists in using its own proprietary Lighting connector for its devices – everything from iPhone, iPad, AirPods and even its wireless keyboard and mouse.

The only way for Apple to get around this is to switch their new devices to wireless charging before the end of 2024.

All Devices Must Support USB-C Fast Charging Standards

Also important is the fact that the EU is going to force all brands to adopt USB-C fast charging standards.

While the legislation won’t stop manufacturers from implementing special fast charging capabilities, it will ensure that their chargers and devices support USB-C fast charging standards as a minimum.

All devices that support fast charging will now have the same charging speed, allowing users to charge their devices at the same speed with any compatible charger.

USB-C Mandate To Extend To Laptops In 2026

On top of that, the directive also requires laptops to standardise on the USB Type C charging port by spring 2026.

This new directive will not please Apple MacBook users who just celebrated the return of the MagSafe connector, but it will be a great advantage for consumers.

Once enforced, everyone will be able to use their laptop’s USB-C charger to also recharge their other devices, because they all have the same USB Type port!

Dedicated Labels

The directive also requires brands to use dedicated labels to help consumers decide if their existing chargers will support their new devices, or if they need to purchase a new charger.

This will hopefully prevent consumers from being hoodwinked into purchasing a new charger with every new device, when their existing chargers will work just as well.

Dedicated labels will inform consumers about the charging characteristics of new devices, making it easier for them to see whether their existing chargers are compatible.

Buyers will also be able to make an informed choice about whether or not to purchase a new charging device with a new product.

Wireless Charging To Be Standardised Too

The directive also commanded the European Commission to tackle wireless charging interoperability by the end of 2024.

It highlighted the risk of brands using proprietary wireless charging technologies to “lock in” users, replicating what Apple did with its Lightning connector for wired charging.

Like with wired charging, the EU wants wireless charging to be interoperable as well.

 

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Did EU Torture + Kill Hundreds Of African Refugees?!

Did the European Union torture and kill hundreds of African refugees?!

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

 

Claim : The EU Tortured + Killed Hundreds Of African Refugees!

The Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛) and pro-CCP (Chinese Communist Party) netizens are sharing a picture of African refugees apparently lying dead, together with this message.

This is massacre within NATO and European Union borders. African immigrants are being tortured and killed in numbers to prevent them from seeking refuge in Europe. This is not for Ukrainians. Do you remember how they treated Arabs and other Asians? Recorded 100 deaths yesterday alone.

For those who condemn Russian actions to restore equality and humanity across the globe let them think again.
Please share it widely and quickly before the West (read the WORST) remove this video from their Facebook.

 

Truth : The EU Did Not Torture + Kill Hundreds Of African Refugees!

This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS created by the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛), and shared by pro-CCP netizens and websites, and here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : The Incident Happened In Africa, Not Europe

The viral photo was not taken in Europe, but in Morocco, Africa, of what is now known as the 2022 Melilla Incident.

The 2022 Melilla Incident occurred on Moroccan soil, at the border fence separating Morocco from the autonomous Spanish city of Melilla.

Fact #2 : 2,000 Migrants Attacked The Border Fence

On June 24, 2022, about 2,000 African migrants attacked and tried to break through the Melilla border fence.

Security forces from both Morocco and Spain tried to disperse them, but ended up fighting them for two hours.

Fact #3 : Hundreds Of Migrants Did Not Die

The wumao claim that hundreds of refugees died is easily proven false.

Several refugees died in the stampede when they stepped on each other while trying to flee, while five fell and died trying to scale the fence. In the end…

  • At least 37 migrants died
  • At least 63 migrants were injured
  • Two Moroccan gendarmes (police officers) were killed
  • 140 Moroccan officers were wounded, five seriously
  • 49 Spanish Civil Guards were lightly injured

The wumao intentionally used a picture that shows most of the migrants lying down, instead of other pictures that show them sitting down after being detained.

While it may look like the migrants are dead, they are very much alive. If you look closely at the viral photo, you can see some of them sitting up.

Fact #4 : Individuals In The Photo Were Detained, Not Killed / Tortured

The wumao took the picture from Association Marocaine des Droits Humains – Section Nador (AMDH Nador), and edited out their watermark, so you cannot find the original post.

They did that to avoid people finding out that the migrants in the viral picture were not killed or tortured, from the AMDH Nador’s post :

They are currently in custody at Nador central police station. Given the large number of detained migrants and the heavy charges they may face prosecution, AMDH Nador wishes to mobilize more lawyers to defend them and ensure fair trials.

Unfortunately for them, I managed to trace the source of the viral photo, although the Rafah / Pafah Orient bus in the photo threw me off for a while.

Fact #5 : Moroccan Authorities Were Responsible

The wumao also did not want you to find out that it was the Moroccan authorities that were responsible for tackling the refugees that day.

If you traced the photo  also posted a video showing part of the migrants’ effort to storm the Melilla border fence, in which they stated that the Spanish authorities just “quietly observed” the Moroccan authorities at work :

The video that shows it all. At the moment when the Moroccan authorities were playing the role of gendarme by prohibiting asylum seekers from arriving in Melilla using very violent practices, the Spanish authorities crossed their arms and quietly observed that they getting the dirty job done.

Fact #6 : China Wants To Divert Attention From Xinjiang

The wumao is creating fake news like this, not just to support Russia, but also to divert attention from its oppression of the Uyghur people in Xinjiang.

No, it’s not all kumbaya in Xinjiang, no matter what pro-CCP netizens keep claiming. That’s just Chinese propaganda.

Fact #7 : This Is Chinese Propaganda

This is really nothing more than yet another example of Chinese propaganda created by the infamous Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛).

All of the wumao articles that I looked at so far have proven to be false… at every instance. So please watch out for such false claims.

Please help us fight fake news – SHARE this article, and SUPPORT our work!

 

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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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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 of 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.

 

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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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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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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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Azovstal Photos Show What’s Really Inside Its Bunkers!

Many people claim that Ukraine is hiding NATO’s biological warfare lab and headquarters in the bunkers under Azovstal.

Take a look at the real photos of Azovstal, and find out what’s really inside its bunkers!

 

Claim : Azovstal Has NATO Bio Warfare Lab + Officers!

Pro-Russian and pro-CCP websites and groups keep claiming that Azovstal conceals a NATO biological warfare lab, which is why the Ukrainians fought so hard to defend Azovstal – they simply cannot let Russia find out that NATO had been developing illegal biological weapons in the bunkers!

They even shared schematics of what they claimed was the NATO biological laboratory hidden under the massive Azovstal metallurgical plant.

If a biological weapons lab is not enough, they also claim that NATO also has a secret headquarters under Azovstal, hosting soldiers who would have attacked Russia…

Read more : Secret NATO Headquarters Under Azovstal Exposed?!

 

Azovstal Photos Show What’s Really Inside Its Bunkers!

When Russia invaded Ukraine, one of the first cities they attacked was Mariupol, which they quickly surrounded in just 3 weeks.

Due to heavy attacks and bombardment, Ukrainian soldiers and civilians retreated to the massive Azovstal metallurgical plant, which had over 30 Soviet-era bunkers.

After almost 3 months of constant bombardment and attacks, civilians were evacuated and the Ukrainian defenders were ordered to surrender.

One Ukrainian soldier, Orest (Орест), had been documenting life at the Azovstal metallurgical plant throughout their ordeal.

On the day he left the massive complex (20 May 2022), he left his photos on a public Google Drive, with this message (and its English translation) :

Ну от і все. Дякую з прихисток Азовсталь – місце моєї смерті і мого життя.

Well, that’s all. Thank you from the shelters of Azovstal – the place of my death and my life.

Доречі, поки я буду в полоні, залишу вам фото в найкращій якості, відправляйте їх на всі журналістські премії і фотоконкурси, якщо щось виграю, після виходу буде дуже приємно. Дякую всім за підтримку. До зустрічі ❤️

By the way, while I am in captivity, I will leave you photos in the best quality, send them to all journalistic awards and photo contests, if I win something, it will be very nice after the release. Thank you all for your support. See ❤️

These 24 photos will show you what it was really like inside the tunnels and bunkers, and prove once and for all just how absurd and false those claims of NATO facilities under Azovstal really are.

The extent of the devastation is clear in this photo of a Ukrainian soldier standing inside one of the many Azovstal factory buildings.

The Soviet-era bunkers may have been hardened against a nuclear attack, but Russian forces cut electricity and water supply to the complex. So most of the bunkers were dark or lit only by lamps powered by car batteries.

Most of the bunkers were not only dark and damp, they were cold and heated by wood fire. Hardly what you would expect from a “NATO biological warfare lab”, right?

Go Back To > More Photos From The Azovstal Bunkers

 

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More Photos From The Azovstal Bunkers!

Many of the photos show what the sheltering Ukrainian soldiers were doing while off-duty.

What’s notable is how dreary and low tech the bunkers look – all concrete, with dirt floors and minimal lighting.

It’s amazing that these soldiers and the civilians sheltering in these same bunkers managed to hold out for so long!

Many of the Ukrainian soldiers can also be seen with various injuries, or getting treated for their wounds.

But what’s obvious from these photos are the lack of medical supplies, sanitation or even proper light.

You have to wonder – is this how a NATO biological warfare laboratory looks like?

And where are the NATO officers that so many people claim were hiding in the bunkers?

Will people stop creating and spreading fake news about the Azovstal tunnels and bunkers? I seriously doubt it.

They will just jump to the next fake news… and the next Azovstal…

Despite their injuries, the Ukrainian soldiers seem to be in remarkably high spirits, for people who have had to endure daily bombardments and attempts by Russian soldiers to root them out from the Azovstal bunkers.

Please help us FIGHT FAKE NEWS by sharing this fact check article out, and please support our work!

 

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Touch ‘n Go eWallet Is Now Back On Apple App Store!

The Touch ‘n Go eWallet app was quietly restored to the Apple App Store, as quietly as it was removed earlier!

Here is what we know so far…

 

Touch ‘n Go eWallet Is Now Back On Apple App Store!

Apple quietly removed the Touch ‘n Go eWallet (TNG eWallet) from the App Store in the first week of May 2022.

The TNG eWallet download page earlier stated “App Not Available – The app is currently not available in your country or region“.

It was also removed from the App Store search listing. The Boost eWallet now appears, instead of the TNG eWallet.

Even though the Touch ‘n Go eWallet app is no longer available in the Apple App Store, you can continue to use it if you had already installed it earlier.

The TNG Digital team stated that they are working to resolve the issue with Apple, and confirmed that the app that is installed in your iPhone will continue to work with all features fully-functioning.

Fortunately, the Touch ‘n Go eWallet (TNG eWallet) app was quietly restored to the Apple App Store on 11 May 2022.

 

Was Touch ‘n Go eWallet NFC Feature Removed For Apple Users?

Neither Apple nor Touch ‘n Go eWallet stated why the TNG eWallet app was removed from the App Store.

At that time, believed Apple removed it because of the recently-added NFC top-up feature for physical Touch ‘n Go cards.

That’s because Apple Pay is the only mobile wallet / eWallet allowed to use the iPhone and iPad’s NFC capabilities  for contactless payments.

That limitation has resulted in an antitrust charge by the European Union :

The European Commission has informed Apple of its preliminary view that it abused its dominant position in markets for mobile wallets on iOS devices. By limiting access to a standard technology used for contactless payments with mobile devices in stores (‘Near-Field Communication (NFC)’ or ‘tap and go’), Apple restricts competition in the mobile wallets market on iOS.

The Commission takes issue with the decision by Apple to prevent mobile wallets app developers, from accessing the necessary hardware and software (‘NFC input’) on its devices, to the benefit of its own solution, Apple Pay.

However, the newly-approved Touch ‘n Go eWallet version 1.7.73 continued to feature the NFC reload option.

Therefore, it seems more likely that Apple removed the app earlier due to the Face Verification feature in the Touch ‘n Go eWallet app.

In fact, the new Touch ‘n Go eWallet version 1.7.73 now lacks the Face Verification feature. Their FAQ also stated that :

Face verification is being upgraded for iOS users, this feature will be temporarily disabled. Kindly use your PIN as alternate authentication.

The previous version of Touch ‘n Go eWallet could have contravened this App Store Review Guidelines rule :

2.5.13 Apps using facial recognition for account authentication must use LocalAuthentication (and not ARKit or other facial recognition technology) where possible, and must use an alternate authentication method for users under 13 years old.

But at least Apple iPhone users can rest assured that they will continue to get the latest Touch ‘n Go eWallet app. They just have to live without the Face Verification feature for now…

 

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

You will not longer be required to wear a face mask, or physically distance, during air travel to and from EU countries!

Here is what you need to know…

 

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

On 11 May 2022, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) issued a joint statement, dropping their recommendation for the mandatory wearing of a face mask as well as physical distancing in airports and on flights.

From Monday, 16 May 2022 onwards, you will no longer be required to wear a face mask at airports, or onboard a flight across the European Union.

However, travellers with respiratory symptoms (coughing or sneezing) are strongly recommended to wear a face mask.

Airports are also no longer required to strictly implement physical distancing. Rather, they should adopt “a pragmatic approach”, and avoid imposing distancing requirements if they “will likely lead to a bottleneck”.

Airport operators are also not required to impose physical distancing if they are “not required at national or regional level”.

That said, they are still asking airport operators to encourage physical distancing where possible, particularly in the meet and greet areas and around baggage carousels.

 

Face Mask + Physical Distancing Not Required In EU, But Still Recommended!

While the EU will no longer require you to wear a face mask, or impose strict physical distancing during air travel, they are both still highly recommended to prevent COVID-19.

Here are selected excerpts from the latest EASA and ECDC guidelines (PDF) for air travel in the European Union :

Medical Face Masks

Medical face masks (hereafter referred to also as ‘face masks’) are among the most efficient means to prevent the transmission of SARS-COV-2 including existing VOCs. As such, the wearing of masks should be considered in crowded indoor and outdoor settings, including air travel.

If the departure or destination States require wearing of face masks in public transport, aircraft operators should require passengers and crew to wear a face mask beyond 16 May 2022.

In other cases, starting 16 May 2022, aircraft and aerodrome operators should continue to encourage passengers and crew members, as part of their pre-flight communications as well as during travel through signage and announcements, to wear a face mask during flight as well as in the airport as a way to protect themselves and others and that they should respect others’ decision to wear or to not wear a mask.

In their communication, operators should highlight that people at high risk for severe COVID-19 are advised to wear an FFP2 respirator mask during the flight for their own protection. Experimental studies indicate that respirators are more effective than medical face masks both in limiting the release of infectious respiratory droplets when worn by the infectious source and in limiting the exposure when worn by the exposed person. 

People with respiratory symptoms (coughing or sneezing) are strongly recommended to wear a medical face mask irrespective of the requirements on that particular flight. 

Physical Distancing

Physical distancing, alongside the proper wearing of face masks, has proven among the most effective non-pharmaceutical interventions to prevent SARS-CoV-2 (including VOCs) transmission. Physical distancing should be encouraged in all airport areas, the arrival terminal (with a particular focus for the meet and greet area) and around the baggage carousels. Signage and communication material should continue to encourage physical distancing where possible. 

However, implementation experience has shown that in some cases, strict physical distancing measures in the aviation environment (airport and aircraft) is not operationally feasible and creates additional unintended bottlenecks in other areas, increasing the exposure times and leading to operational delays touching the flight time limitation requirements and, consequently, flight safety. Physical distancing could therefore be added to the use of face masks where operationally feasible and where it does not result in additional crowding in other areas. If physical distancing measures cannot be implemented, the use of face masks should be encouraged for passengers. 

PPE For Airline / Airport Crew + Staff

Airport operators, aircraft operators and service providers/suppliers should provide the necessary PPE to their staff members and ensure that they are trained in its appropriate use: 

— Staff members who interact with passengers directly (e.g. cabin crew members, security check agents, assistants for passengers with reduced mobility, cleaning staff, etc.) should be encouraged to properly wear a medical face mask or, where available and the legal framework permits, a higher-standard face mask (e.g. FFP2/N95/KN95 respirators). 

— Staff should be encouraged to practise respiratory hygiene at all times as well as frequent hand hygiene, either via appropriate hand-washing or by applying an alcohol-based hand disinfectant. The use of a protective gown or a one-use plastic apron can be considered for tasks that may expose staff to splashes. 

— Flight crew members should be encouraged to wear a face mask whenever interacting with, or in the proximity of, other people. Once they are in the flight compartment and the door is closed, flight crew members may remove their masks subject to their operator’s policy and mutual agreement. Furthermore, the flight’s crew members should remove their masks for emergency situations and whenever requested by appropriate authorities for official purposes such as identification or alcohol testing. 

— Aircraft operators should have on board one or more Universal Precaution Kits (UPKs. Such kits should be used by crew members who are assisting passengers with COVID-

 

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Why Was Touch ‘n Go eWallet Removed From App Store?!

The Touch ‘n Go eWallet app was just removed from the Apple App Store!

Here is what we know so far…

 

Touch ‘n Go eWallet Removed From Apple App Store!

Apple quietly removed the Touch ‘n Go eWallet (TNG eWallet) from the App Store a few days ago.

The TNG eWallet download page now states “App Not Available – The app is currently not available in your country or region“.

It was also removed from the App Store search listing. The Boost eWallet now appears, instead of the TNG eWallet.

Interestingly, the download page in the official Touch ‘n Go eWallet website is also not functioning, with a 404 error – Page not found.

It is however still available in the Google Play Store, so Android users can still download it just fine.

Even though the Touch ‘n Go eWallet app is no longer available in the Apple App Store, you can continue to use it if you had already installed it earlier.

The TNG Digital team stated that they are working to resolve the issue with Apple, and confirmed that the app that is installed in your iPhone will continue to work with all features fully-functioning.

This does not mean the removal is to be taken lightly. Until the app is restored to the App Store, you will no longer be able to update the app.

Over time, you may lose out on new features. But more importantly, you will no longer receive security and fixes.

 

Why Was Touch ‘n Go eWallet Removed From App Store?!

Neither Apple nor Touch ‘n Go eWallet stated why the TNG eWallet app was removed from the App Store.

However, I believe Apple removed it because of the recently-added NFC top-up feature for physical Touch ‘n Go cards.

That’s because Apple Pay is the only mobile wallet / eWallet allowed to use the iPhone and iPad’s NFC capabilities  for contactless payments.

That limitation has resulted in an antitrust charge by the European Union :

The European Commission has informed Apple of its preliminary view that it abused its dominant position in markets for mobile wallets on iOS devices. By limiting access to a standard technology used for contactless payments with mobile devices in stores (‘Near-Field Communication (NFC)’ or ‘tap and go’), Apple restricts competition in the mobile wallets market on iOS.

The Commission takes issue with the decision by Apple to prevent mobile wallets app developers, from accessing the necessary hardware and software (‘NFC input’) on its devices, to the benefit of its own solution, Apple Pay.

If this was the reason for the TNG eWallet app’s removal, it will be yet another example of Apple’s egregious anti-competitive nature, and yet another strike against their walled garden.

If they continue to lock down the NFC feature on the iPhone / iPad to force the use of Apple Pay, they will invite more anti-trust actions, and possibly turn people to the Android platform.

Unfortunately, there’s really nothing much Apple users can do.

 

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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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Did Italian Court Rule Vaccine Mandate As Unconstitutional?!

Did an Italian court rule that vaccine mandates are unconstitutional because fatal side effects are too risky?!

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

 

Claim : Italian Court Ruled Vaccine Mandate As Unconstitutional!

People are sharing articles from websites like News Punch, claiming that an Italian court just ruled vaccine mandates as unconstitutional, because their fatal side effects are too risky!

The article includes a transcript from a RAIR Foundation USA video. It is rather long, so feel free to skip to the next section for the facts…

Italian Court Rules Vaccine Mandates Unconstitutional: ‘Fatal Side Effects Too Risky’

An Italian court has ruled that Italy’s mandatory Covid vaccination program is ‘unconstitutional’ due to the “serious or fatal adverse effects” posed by the experimental jabs.

Sicily’s Court of Administrative Justice stated that any death due to the jab is enough to render the mandate completely illegal in Italy.

 

Truth : Italian Court Did NOT Rule Vaccine Mandate As Unconstitutional!

This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS that anti-vaccination activists are concocting to mislead people about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, and here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : Italy Only Has A Limited Vaccine Mandate

First, I need to point out that Italy only has a limited vaccine mandate.

Since 15 October 2021, it has been mandatory for workers in both private and public sectors, who are 50 years and older, to present a valid COVID pass.

This does not affect younger employees, and is not exactly a vaccine mandate, because the COVID pass only requires :

  • at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, OR
  • proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken in the previous 48 hours, OR
  • proof of having recently recovered from COVID-19.

Technically, you can refuse to get the vaccine and receive the COVID pass, as long as you keep testing negative for COVID-19.

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

Fact #2 : Italian Court Did Not Rule Vaccine Mandate Unconstitutional

If you translate the court judgement to English, you will quickly realise that the Italian court did not rule the vaccine mandate as unconstitutional.

In fact, the court document clearly states that the judge suspended the trial, and sent the documents to the Italian Constitutional Court for their decision instead.

Fact #3 : Italian Court Did Not Call Vaccine Side Effects Too Risky

The Italian court certainly did not claim that the “fatal side effects” of the vaccine are “too risky”.

In fact, the court document pointed out that “undoubtedly, most of the side effects, listed in the database, show modest and transient symptoms”.

Fact #4 : Court Photo Was From 2013

The picture that is often used to convey the “importance” of this court finding was misappropriate, and does not show the Administrative Justice Court for Sicily.

That is a local court for Sicily, which has a single judge. The presiding judge for this case was Maria Abbruzzese.

The photo was actually taken in Rome, on 1 August 2013, and shows Chief Justice Antonio Esposito of the Italian Supreme Court reading the verdict of the Mediaset trial involving former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Fact #5 : Correlation Is Not Causation

I also have to point out that correlation does not imply causation. In other words, just because something after vaccination, it does not mean it was caused by the vaccine.

For example, if you get pregnant after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, does it mean that the vaccine made you pregnant? Of course, not.

There is also the fact that many events can result in the same “side effect”.

For example, the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are known to cause anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction) in rare cases. However, anaphylactic reactions can also occur due to a peanut allergy or a bee sting.

That is why every reported case must be examined to determine if it is actually related to the vaccine.

Fact #6 : EudraVigilance Data Have Yet To Be Verified 

The EudraVigilance system is not an open system like VAERS, or the UK Yellow Card system, which makes it less susceptible to abuse.

However, EudraVigilance data and reports cannot be considered “evidence” of side effects of any particular drug or vaccine, because :

  • they may contain duplicated information and/or reports
  • the reported event may be caused by an illness, like a COVID-19 infection for example,
  • the reported event may be caused by a different drug taken by the patient at the same time
  • they have not been assessed by the EMA to ascertain if it’s even “biologically plausible”

In fact, the EudraVigilance website specifically warns against using their data as “evidence” of a drug / vaccine’s side effects :

The information on this website relates to suspected side effects , i.e. medical events that have been observed following the use of a medicine, but which are not necessarily related to or caused by the medicine.

Information on suspected side effects should not be interpreted as meaning that the medicine or the active substance causes the observed effect or is unsafe to use. Only a detailed evaluation and scientific assessment of all available data allows for robust conclusions to be drawn on the benefits and risks of a medicine.

They even created a dedicated page on COVID-19 vaccines to warn against using their data to draw any conclusions about a vaccine’s side effects.

Fact #7 : Vaccines Proven Safe + Effective

Irrespective of what’s argued in any court, the approved COVID-19 vaccines have all been proven safe and effective.

Not only did they undergo and passed very large clinical trials, almost 12 billion doses have been administered worldwide in the past 1.5 years.

Despite scaremongering by anti-vaccination activists, ongoing pharmacovigilance monitoring show that they are safe and effective for the vast majority of people who received them.

Fact #8 : COVID-19 Infections Are Far Riskier Than Vaccines

In addition to the aforementioned anaphylaxis risk, pharmacovigilance surveillance picked up rare severe side effects like VITT, myocarditis and pericarditis.

But what anti-vaccination activists don’t tell you is that COVID-19 infections cause similar side effects, but at much higher rates.

Take myocarditis for example. Anti-vaccination activists love to tell us how they put our children’s lives at risk. But they conveniently leave out the fact that your child is hundreds of times more likely to develop myocarditis from a COVID-19 infection than from three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine!

Read more : Vaccine myocarditis risk is less than 1 in million!

Myocarditis
Risk
Per Million
People
vs
Sinovac
vs
AstraZeneca
vs
Pfizer
COVID-19 450 +300x +214x +167x
3x Pfizer 2.7 +1.8x +1.3x Baseline
3x AstraZeneca 2.1 +1.4x Baseline -0.2x
3x Sinovac 1.5 Baseline -0.3x -0.4x

Now that you know the facts, please help to fight fake news – SHARE this article out!

And please protect yourself, and your family, by vaccinating them against COVID-19!

 

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Was Azov Battalion Caught Executing Civilians In Viral Video?!

Was the Ukrainian Azov Battalion caught executing civilians and dumping them in mass graves?!

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

 

Claim : Azov Battalion Caught Executing Civilians In Viral Video!

People are sharing a video showing a few soldiers executing blindfolded civilians with their hands tied behind their backs, and dumping their bodies into a mass grave.

The video is accompanied by this message, which claims that it shows the Ukrainian Azov battalion executing innocent civilians :

🇺🇦 🇺🇦 🇺🇦UKRAINE.. Bloody, cruel and brutal, the Ukrainian Azov Battalion killed civilians dump them in mass graves. 🤦🏻‍♂️Russia & the World must destroy the Ukrainian Azov battalion. 👊🏼

Suddenly, US, UK, EU, NATO, international human rights organizations have all keeping quiet and disappeared. 😠 😡 🤬 🤬 🤬

 

Truth : Azov Battalion Did Not Execute Those Civilians In Viral Video!

This is yet another example of pro-Russia FAKE NEWS, and here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : Video Was Recorded In Syria In 2013

Anyone who watched the video would have immediately realised that neither the soldiers nor the civilians look like Ukrainians.

That’s because the video was not recorded in Ukraine in 2022, but in Tadamon, Syria on 16 April 2013 – 9 years ago!

The video was recently leaked to the Guardian by a Syrian militia recruit, who stole it from a laptop belonging to the Syrian government.

Fact #2 : al-Assad Government Committed That Atrocity

The video actually shows Syrian soldiers kicking civilians who were blindfolded and tied up into a pit filled with tyres, before shooting them.

In the end, at least 41 men lay dead in that mass grave in the Damascus suburb of Tadamon, Syria.

After the Guardian broke the story and released the video on 27 April 2022, the US State Department strongly condemned the Tadamon massacre on 29 April 2022 :

We strongly condemn the atrocities depicted in a recently released video, which appears to show blindfolded, unarmed civilians being shot point-blank by an Assad regime official before falling into a mass grave in Tadamon, Syria, during a 2013 massacre that reportedly killed hundreds of Syrian civilians. The video, which suggests additional evidence of war crimes committed by the Assad regime, is yet another harrowing example of the horrors that the Syrian people have endured for more than a decade.

Credit : The Guardian

Fact #3 : Killer Was Identified As Syrian Major Youssuf

That war crime was eventually traced to Branch 227 of the Syrian military intelligence service under the al-Assad regime, by a Syrian activist who called herself “Anna Sh”.

Amjad (Amgd) Youssuf – a major in Branch 227 – admitted to Anna Sh that he was the man seen in the video executing those civilians.

I killed a lot. I took revenge.

Fact #4 : Russia Actively Supports al-Assad Government

I should point out that the Russian government not only provides the al-Assad government with military support, they actively provide air support to the Syrian military, which includes launching airstrikes on Syrian civilians.

The Russian government has also notably declined to condemn the al-Assad government for their role in executing Syrian civilians in the Tadamon massacre.

It is likely that the creator of this fake news is attempting to cover up Russian complicity in that atrocity, by falsely pinning the recently-leaked video on the Azov battalion.

Fact #5 : Russians Were Caught Executing Civilians

This is not the first time fake news was created to cover up the fact that Russian forces were caught executing Ukrainian civilians, the most notable of which was the Bucha massacre.

After the Ukrainians evicted Russian forces from the town of Bucha, they found bodies of civilians who appeared to have been executed in cold blood and left on the road.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the Russian Ministry of Defense immediately claimed that the footage of the bodies was “staged” by Ukrainians who placed them there after Russian forces left Bucha.

Unfortunately for the Russians, satellite photos taken weeks before their withdrawal showed that the Russians executed those civilians while they were in full control of the town.

A satellite image from Maxar showed that the bodies were already there as early as 11 March, with this clearer picture taken on 19 March. The Russians only left Bucha on 30 March.

Russian forces was also caught on satellite creating massive graves at Bucha, which were later found to contain bodies of hundreds of Ukrainian civilians.

So it is likely that they left these bodies on the streets of Bucha as a warning to the town residents, much like how Nazis in World War 2 would sometimes hang bodies in the streets of the towns they conquered.

Read more : How Did Ukrainian Windows Remain Intact After Explosion?!

Fact #6 : Azov Battalion Is Small

Pro-Russian netizens are incessantly harping about the right-wing, neo-Nazi Azov battalion, as if they are the Ukrainian version of Nazi Germany’s Waffen-SS.

The truth is – the Azov battalion has always been few in numbers, with a disproportionate reputation to its size.

The Azov battalion was formed as a volunteer group in May 2014, by members of the right-wing Patriot of Ukraine and neo-Nazi Social National Assembly (SNA) political parties, to fight against pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk.

With only about 500 members, the Azov battalion helped the Ukrainian armed forces recapture the city of Mariupol from pro-Russian separatists.

After that success, they were integrated into the Ukrainian National Guard, and reorganised as a regiment on 11 November 2014 with about 2,500 members.

Not only does the Azov regiment constitute a very small proportion of the Ukrainian National Guard, only about 10% to 20% of its members identify themselves as Nazis, according to Andriy Diachenko, the Azov Brigade spokesperson.

According to Anton Shekhovtsov, a Vienna-based Ukrainian expert on Russia’s connections to Europe’s far-right :

Azov’s history is rooted in a volunteer battalion formed by the leadership of a neo-Nazi group. But it is certain that Azov has depoliticised itself. Its history linked to the far-right movement is pretty irrelevant today.

Many pro-Russian and pro-CCP netizens are sharing the video and fake message on WhatsApp, Telegram, Twitter and Facebook.

Please help us FIGHT FAKE NEWS by sharing this fact check article out!

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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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Is Malaysia Going To Supply Russia With Semiconductors?!

Is Malaysia preparing to break Western sanctions, and supply Russia with electronics and semiconductors?!

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

 

Claim : Malaysia Preparing To Supply Russia With Semiconductors!

People are sharing a GizChina article that claims that Malaysia is preparing to supply Russia with electronics and semiconductors against Western sanctions!

Here is what the article says… It’s long so please feel free to skip to the next section for the facts…

It looks like Malaysia is prepping to supply electronics and semiconductors to Russia amid the country’s invasion of Ukraine. This piece of information has been confirmed by the Malaysian Ambassador to the Russian Federation, Bala Chandran Tharman.

 

Truth : Malaysia NOT Preparing To Supply Russia With Semiconductors!

The truth is – GizChina made up this story, and here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : Mahathir Is No Longer Prime Minister Of Malaysia

GizChina does not seem to be aware that Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has not been the Prime Minister of Malaysia since he stepped down on 24 February 2020.

They hilariously used the photo of Dr. Mahathir with Russian President Vladimir Putin that was taken at the 33rd ASEAN Summit in Singapore, in 2018.

Mahathir wasn’t even mentioned in their article. They could have used a photo of the Malaysian Ambassador to Russia, Bala Chandran Tharman…

Please don’t tell them they thought that this was a picture of the Malaysian Ambassador to Russia with Putin…

Fact #2 : GizChina Offered No Evidence

GizChina offered ZERO evidence that Malaysia is preparing to go against Western sanctions, and supply Russia with semiconductors.

The writer, Vinay Patel, claimed that “this piece of information has been confirmed by the Malaysian ambassador to the Russian Federation, Bala Chandran Tharman“.

However, he offered no evidence to back up that claim. There was no link to any statement, or a quote of Bala Chandran confirming that Malaysia would be supplying Russia with semiconductors.

Fact #3 : Bala Chandran Did Not Say Malaysia Will Supply Russia With Semiconductors

Despite other sources claiming that Bala Chandran made that claim to RIA Novosti and Sputnik News, I could find no reference in their official websites.

The only legitimate news source I could find was a Bernama report on 23 April 2022, which stated :

In another development, Bala Chandran believes Malaysia would consider an opportunity to sell semiconductors and electronics to Russia.

“The Malaysian industry is market-oriented and I am absolutely sure that any request from the Russian party concerning such products will be considered,” the ambassador said.

He stressed that he was not aware of any current talks on the issues between the two countries.

Bala Chandran, as far as I can tell, never said that Malaysia would go against Western sanctions, and actually supply Russia with semiconductors.

He only said that “Malaysia would consider” the “opportunity to sell semiconductors and electronics to Russia“.

This is no different from a lady telling you that “she would consider” going out on a date with you. That could possibly happen, but it does NOT mean she actually agreed to go out on a date with you.

Fact #4 : Malaysia Is A Democracy With A Market Economy

Bala Chandran also pointed out that the Malaysian market is “market-oriented“. Malaysia has a market economy, and is not controlled by the government.

Malaysia is also a democratic country, not an autocratic / authoritarian state like China, where the government has massive power to control private / public enterprises.

In short, the Malaysian government cannot and does not dictate who Malaysian companies should sell to. Even if Malaysia wanted to sell semiconductors to Russia, it cannot simply order companies to do so.

Bala Chandran also clarified, he isn’t aware of any ongoing conversations at the government level. In other words, the Malaysian government itself has made no effort to sell or market semiconductors to Russia.

Fact #5 : Malaysia Does Not Own Semiconductor Companies

Malaysia has a number of homegrown semiconductor companies that provide critical support to multinational corporations like Intel, AMD, Agilent, Renata, Osram, Infineon and Broadcom.

However, they are private and public-listed companies and not owned by the Malaysian government, or beholden to it. Practically all of them have ties to Western companies that have to comply with Western sanctions against Russia.

Therefore, the Malaysian government cannot dictate who these companies should supply their products and services to. It can only say that “any request from the Russian party concerning such products will be considered“, and nothing more.

Fact #6 : Even Chinese Companies Are Avoiding Russia

Despite China coming out against economic sanctions imposed on Russia, Chinese companies are studiously avoiding breaking Western sanctions.

Even Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, explicitly said that “China is not a party to the crisis, nor does it want the sanctions to affect China.

Companies placed under US sanctions, for example, will have all of their US assets and banned from trading with US companies.

If China does not dare to break Western sanctions against Russia, do you really expect Malaysia to break them? Do you expect private and public-listed companies to break Western sanctions?

As a warning shot, Singapore electronics wholesaler Alexsong Pte Ltd. was placed under US sanctions for facilitating “transactions that helped Russia evade sanctions“.

The truth is, for most companies, the Russian market is much too small to risk losing access to Western markets, capital and technologies.

Variants of this FAKE NEWS are now being shared in pro-Russia and pro-China websites.

Please help us FIGHT FAKE NEWS by sharing this fact check article out!

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Did Western Countries Just Steal $600 Billion From Russia?!

Did Western countries just steal US$600 BILLION from Russia?!

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

 

Claim : Western Countries Just Stole $600 Billion From Russia!

Pro-China groups and supporters are sharing this post on social media and WhatsApp, claiming that Western Countries took opportunity of the Ukraine War to steal US$600 billion from Russia.

It’s a long post, so feel free to skip to the next section for the facts!

Good morning. Happy Monday
Those who have read English literature would be familiar with the saying ” A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet”.

What they may not know is that thievery by any other name ,as in sanction, is also thievery.

Of course the West would want to sanitize and justify their actions by avoiding the term “thievery” when they stole Afghanistan’s US$ 7 billion last year. Today they are stealing US$600 billion from Russia’s Central Bank apart from other assets belonging to Russian individuals.

 

Truth : Western Countries Did Not Steal $600 Billion From Russia!

This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS created and/or propagated by the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛), and here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : US Did Not Steal US$7 Billion From Afghanistan

The US government did not steal US$7 billion from Afghanistan.

This false claim is based on an executive order by the Biden Administration to freeze approximately US$7 billion worth of US-based assets owned by Afghanistan’s central bank – Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB).

The US Feds are holding onto those assets, so they are not actually being taken or used by the US government.

  • US$3.5 billion will be allocated for “the benefit of the Afghan people”.
  • Another US$3.5 billion will be held, as they are subject to “ongoing litigation by US victims of terrorism”.

In essence, the Biden Administration is blocking the Taliban government from using the assets to purchase what they don’t believe would be in “the benefit of the Afghan people”. Chief on their mind would be weapons, and financing of terrorist activities.

One may argue that the Taliban is the Afghan government of the day – as reprehensible as they may be, and therefore have the right to access all of that money.

That may well be true, but it does not mean that the US government stole the money. After all, they did not take or use it for their own purposes.

I should also point out that the US contributed at least $130 billion to Afghanistan, so it would seem silly for them to “steal” $7 billion from Afghanistan, wouldn’t it?

Read more : Did US Government Steal 7 Billion Dollars From Afghanistan?!
Read more : Did US Steal Gold + Oil From Iraq Worth Trillions Of Dollars?!

Fact #2 : US + Allies Froze $400 Billion Of Russian Assets

Right after Russia invaded Ukraine, the US and its European allies sanctioned Russia’s central bank, preventing it from accessing most of its foreign reserves.

Russia had built up about $630 billion worth of foreign currency and gold reserves in various countries, but the US government and its allies froze about $400 billion of those reserves.

So right off the bat, the claim that the US government stole $600 billion from the Russian bank is wrong.

Not only did the wumao writer (intentionally?) get the figure wrong, it was not just the US government. The European Union also sanctioned the Russian central bank.

Fact #3 : Russian Reserves Were Frozen, Not Seized

The foreign currency and gold reserves of the Russian central bank were FROZEN, not seized.

That blocks the Russian central bank from accessing them in any way, but does allow the US government or any other country to take control of those assets, or use them.

For a Western government to seize any frozen asset, they would have to first prove that the assets are linked to a crime. Until that happens, they too cannot access those assets.

These cases need to be built, there has to be a showing of some sort of underlying theory of forfeiture, there has to be a reason that they are forfeited. The mere fact that somebody the United States has said is a target owns this asset isn’t enough to form a basis of seizure under U.S. law.

That’s the difference between “law-based order” where everyone follows the same rules, and “autocratic order” like in China, where the government can and have arbitrarily seized assets belonging to individuals that have fallen out of favour.

Fact #4 : Only Assets Of Sanctioned Individuals Were Frozen

The post falsely claimed that assets belonging to Russian individuals were also stolen.

Not only were they not stolen, only assets belonging to sanctioned individuals were frozen. The assets of other Russian individuals were not affected.

Chinese netizens need not be overly concerned about their money stashed in Western banks.

Even if China decides to do something similarly evil like Russia, and invade another country, Western banks will only be forced to freeze the assets of those in power, like Chinese President Xi Jinping, for example.

Fact #5 : English Piracy Has No Relevance To Spanish Abuses

The viral post falsely claimed that English pirates attacked Spanish galleons filled with gold and silver, because they looked down on the native people of the Caribbeans and Americas.

That’s an astonishingly silly claim. Pirates attacked Spanish galleons because they were after the cargo, not because they had something against the native people.

Whatever the pirates may think of the native people is irrelevant. They were not remotely interested in the abuses that the Spanish conducted in their theft of gold and silver from the Incas.

This is no different from how robbers are only interested in taking your money, and not at all interested in whether you earned your money through hard work, or stole it from someone else.

Fact #6 : Russian Assets Only Frozen After Invasion Of Ukraine

The viral post falsely suggested that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was planned by the West, as a way to steal Russia’s money.

Not only was the money not stolen at all, Western countries had repeatedly threatened sanctions if Russia invaded Ukraine.

The West tried to prevent Russia from invading Ukraine. Russia explicitly chose to ignore their threats, and invade Ukraine.

Fact #6 : China Has Publicly + Unilaterally Threatened Taiwan

The viral post falsely suggested that the West is planning to target China next for its riches, by goading China to shoot first at Taiwan.

That’s another silly claim. The West does not need to goad China to do something that it is already doing – repeatedly provoking tensions with Taiwan, even publicly threatening military action.

China and its 50 Cent Army have also been actively creating and disseminating fake news and threats not just against Taiwan, but against other countries and Western nations.

Read more : Did China Threaten West With Waterloo In South China Sea?
Read more : US Withdraws After Chinese Jamming Attacks?

Fact #7 : US Cannot Refuse To Repay Its Loans

The writer falsely claimed that the US will sanction China’s ownership of $1 trillion worth of US debt if China attacks Taiwan. That’s nonsense.

China has steadily purchased US Treasury securities as an investment, and a way to push down the value of the renminbi (RMB).

These securities are backed by the “full faith and credit” of the United States, and is considered one of the world’s lowest-risk investments, because they have never defaulted on a payment.

If the United States defaults and refuses to pay China what it’s owed, it would suffer a massive hit to its reputation and credit rating, and the yield rate of its debt would skyrocket.

Even though China owns $1.065 trillion worth of US debt (as of October 2021), that is only 3.68% of the $28.9 trillion US national debt.

It would be idiotic for the US to risk over 96% of its rock-solid bonds, by refusing to repay China for its ownership of those bonds.

This fake news appears to be part of the disinformation campaign conducted by the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛) to support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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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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How To Add MySJ Vaccine Certificate To Apple Wallet + Health

Find out how to add your MySejahtera vaccine certificate to Apple Wallet and Apple Health!

Here is what you need to know!

 

Apple Wallet + Health Now Support MySJ Vaccine Certificate!

When Apple released iOS 15.4, it included support for the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) in both Apple Wallet and Apple Health.

This allows you to store your EUDCC in Apple Wallet, and verifiable versions of your COVID-19 vaccinations, lab results and recovery records in Apple Health.

Happily, the EU officially accepted the MySejahtera digital COVID-19 certificate, connecting Malaysia to the EUDCC trust framework on 4 April 2022.

Now that’s done, you can add your MySejahtera vaccine certificate to both Apple Wallet and Apple Health!

Read more : EU Officially Accepts Malaysia Digital COVID Certificate!

 

How To Add MySJ Vaccine Certificate To Apple Wallet + Health!

In this video, we will show you how to add your MySejahtera vaccine certificate to both Apple Wallet and Apple Health.

Read more : How To Get PDF Of Vaccine Certificate In MySejahtera!

For those who prefer a pictorial guide, here are the steps :

Step 1 : Please make sure you update to iOS 15.4 or newer. We highly recommend upgrading to the latest iOS 15.4.1.

Step 2 : Open MySejahtera and look for the QR codes :
a) Go to MySejahtera > Profile
b) Scroll down to your digital COVID-19 certificate
c) Tap on the Show QR button
d) Take screenshots of the QR codes, or photos of them using another phone. Please make sure each screenshot or photo only has a single QR code.
You can also find these QR codes in the PDF version of your vaccine certificate.

Step 3 : You will now need to scan the QR codes. There are three ways to do it.

Option A : Use Camera App

Use this method if you took photos of the QR codes using a different phone, or you printed the QR codes.

  1. Open the Camera app.
  2. Aim the rear camera at one of the QR codes in your MySejahtera vaccine certificate.
  3. The Camera app will recognise the QR code and ask you if you wish to add to Wallet & Health.
  4. Tap on the notification.
  5. Tap on the Add to Wallet & Health option.
  6. Tap Done.

Option B : Use Photos

Use this method if you took screenshots of the QR codes. But please make sure each screenshot only has one QR code.

  1. Open the Photos app.
  2. Tap on the screenshot of your QR code to open it.
  3. Tap on the QR code in the image, and hold.
  4. Tap on the notification “Open in Health“.
  5. Tap on the Add to Wallet & Health option.
  6. Tap Done.

Option C : Use Wallet

Use this method if you took photos of the QR codes using a different phone, or you printed the QR codes.

  1. Open the Wallet app.
  2. Tap on the Get button.
  3. Tap on the Scan Code option to launch the Camera app.
  4. Aim the rear camera at one of the QR codes in your MySejahtera vaccine certificate.
  5. The Camera app will recognise the QR code and ask you if you wish to add to Wallet & Health.
  6. Tap on the notification.
  7. Tap on the Add to Wallet & Health option.
  8. Tap Done.

Step 4 : Repeat Step 3 for all of the QR codes in your MySejahtera vaccine certificate, and you are done!

You should now see all of your MySejahtera vaccine certificate QR codes in your Apple Wallet. If you have three QR codes, all three should appear.

This will allow any health authority to quickly check and verify all of your COVID-19 vaccinations.

This is similar to showing them your digital COVID-19 vaccination certificate in MySejahtera.

You will also find your MySejahtera vaccination details in Apple Health, under Immunisations.

If you tap on Immunisations, you will see a list of your COVID-19 vaccinations, including the type of vaccine and when you received them.

I hope you found my guide useful. Please feel free to share it out!

 

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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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EU Officially Accepts Malaysia Digital COVID Certificate!

The EU has officially accepted the MySejahtera digital COVID certificate from Malaysia!

Here is what you need to know!

 

EU Officially Accepts Malaysia Digital COVID Certificate!

On 4 April 2022, the EU Ambassador to Malaysia, Michalis Rokas, announced that Malaysia has officially been connected to the EU Digital COVID Certificate trust framework.

Some great news: The EU 🇪🇺 has accepted Malaysia 🇲🇾 @officialmosti
request for establishing the equivalence between EU’s Digital Covid Certificate and Malaysia’s MySejahtera.

This decision was actually agreed during the EU Commission Implementing Decision 2022/534 on 1 April 2022, but only took effect after it was published in the Official Journal of the European Union, L 105 on 4 April 2022.

Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/534 of 1 April 2022 establishing the equivalence, for the purpose of facilitating the right of free movement within the Union, of COVID-19 certificates issued by Malaysia to the certificates issued in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2021/953 of the European Parliament and of the Council.

 

EU Accepts Malaysia Digital COVID Certificate : What Does It Mean?

But what exactly does it mean by this EU decision to accept Malaysia’s MySejahtera digital COVID certificate?

To help you understand what this means, I created this FAQ :

What Is The EU Digital COVID Certificate?

The EU Digital COVID Certificate is a digital verification system that certifies that the person has

  • been vaccinated against COVID-19, or
  • received a negative test result *, or
  • recovered from COVID-19

The EUDCC basically confirms that the person does not have COVID-19, or has immunity against COVID-19.

* Validity : 72 hours (PCR tests), 48 hours (rapid antigen tests)

It is basically the European Union equivalent of the MySejahtera digital COVID-19 certificate issued by Malaysia.

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

Does It Mean Malaysians Will Receive The EUDCC?

No, Malaysians will not receive the Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC), which is the EU equivalent of the MySejahtera digital COVID-19 certificate.

The EUDCC is used only by residents in the 27 EU countries, and a few non-EU countries that are in the Schengen Area, or have an open border with the EU :

  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Norway
  • San Marino
  • Switzerland
  • Vatican City

If you have been fully-vaccinated with an EU-authorities vaccine, you may request for an EUDCC, but that’s a separate matter altogether.

So The EU Accepts The MySejahtera Certificate?

Yes. European Union countries will accept the MySejahtera digital COVID-19 certificate as equivalent to the EU Digital COVID Certificate.

This is reciprocal – Malaysia will also accept the EUDCC as equivalent to the MySejahtera digital COVID-19 certificate.

This means that holders of certificates issued by these two countries will be able to use them under the same conditions as holders of an EU Digital COVID Certificate.

At the same time, the two countries agreed to accept the EU Digital COVID Certificate for travel from the EU to their countries.

What Are The Advantages Of Connecting To EUDCC?

The instant Malaysia is connected to the EU Digital COVID Certificate system, all MySejahtera digital COVID-19 certificates are automatically valid in the EU.

Malaysian travellers to the EU will be exempted from travel-related testing or quarantine across the entire EU+ are, including all Schengen Member States, and the four Schengen Associated States – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Is This Necessary For Free Movement In EU?

No, the MySejahtera digital COVID-19 vaccination certificate or the the EU Digital COVID Certificate are not necessary for free movement, which is a fundamental right in the European Union.

Unvaccinated individuals are still free to travel across the EU. They are just subject to restrictions like testing or quarantine.

 

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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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COVID-19 Vaccine Is Now Mandatory In Austria!

Austria is now the first country in Europe to make it mandatory to receive a COVID-19 vaccine!

Here is what you need to know…

 

COVID-19 Vaccine Is Now Mandatory In Austria!

On Friday, 4 February 2022, President Alexander Van der Bellen signed into law a national COVID-19 vaccine mandate for adults in Austria.

The new law makes it mandatory for all adults in Austria to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, or get fined up to 3,600 euros (US$4,120).

This makes Austria the first country in Europe to make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory, but not the first in the world.

Ecuador was the first country to make it compulsory for all individuals 5 years and above to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

 

COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate In Austria : The Details

Huge Monetary Fines

Unvaccinated people in Austria are currently banned from restaurants, sports and cultural venues, but they are now liable to be fined from 600 to 3,600 euros (US$687 to US$4,120).

Unvaccinated adults in Austria will be given time until 14 March to comply with the vaccine mandate, with compliance checks beginning on 15 March 2022.

This new law will last until 31 January 2024, and unvaccinated people can receive the maximum fine of €3,600 (US$4,000) up to four times a year. These fines can be waived if the individuals get vaccinated within 2 weeks.

Exemptions To Vaccine Mandate

The new law allows for certain individuals to receive an exemption from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine :

  • Pregnant mothers,
  • Individuals who cannot be vaccinated without endangering their health,
  • Individuals who recently recovered from COVID – this is a temporary exemption that only lasts 180 days from the date they received their first positive PCR test result.

A police officer checks the vaccination status of a visitor during a patrol in a shopping mall in Vienna, Austria, in this file photo from January 12, 2022. © Lisa Leutner, AP

Implemented In 3 Stages

The Austrian vaccine mandate will be implemented in three stages :

  • All households will be informed of the new law by 15 March through an official letter delivered by post.
  • Austrian police will start spot-checking people’s vaccination status, and issuing fines of €600, which can increase to €3,600 for non-compliance.
  • Those who refuse to show proof of vaccination by a certain undetermined deadline will be automatically fined.

This vaccine mandate in Austria is on the other end of the spectrum from Denmark’s decision to remove all COVID-19 restrictions.

81% of Danes 5 years and older have been fully-vaccinated, but Austria has a pretty high vaccination too – about 75% of the eligible population has been fully-vaccinated.

However, the government argues that mandatory vaccination is the only way to further increase vaccination rates, especially in certain regions like Upper Austria where fewer than 60% of residents are fully-vaccinated.

Other countries will be closely watching to see which of these EU countries made the right decision…

Read more : Why Denmark Is First EU Country To Lift All COVID-19 Laws!

 

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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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Why Denmark Is First EU Country To Lift All COVID-19 Laws!

Denmark is the first EU country to lift all COVID-19 restrictions, fully opening up despite a massive surge in cases.

Find out why they are able to do that… again.

 

Denmark Is First EU Country To Lift All COVID-19 Laws!

On Tuesday, 1 February 2022, Denmark became the first country in the European Union to lift all COVID-19 restrictions… again.

  • Wearing of face masks is no longer mandatory on public transport, shops and standing clients in restaurant indoor areas.
  • Face masks will only be recommended in hospitals, healthcare facilities, and nursing homes.
  • The COVID-19 digital pass is no longer required to enter nightclubs, cafes, party buses, and to be seated indoors in restaurants, unless required by individual event organisers.
  • There will no longer be limits on the number of people allowed in indoor gatherings.
  • Social distancing measures will no longer be required.

The Danish government no longer considers COVID-19 to be a “socially critical sickness“, even as the country experienced a massive surge in cases.

There is one notable exception though – unvaccinated travellers, or those who were not previously infected between 11 and 180 days ago, must undergo a COVID-19 test before being allowed to enter Denmark.

Read more : Did 10 countries cancel all COVID-19 tests and vaccinations?

 

Why Denmark Is Able To Lift All COVID-19 Laws!

Some antivaxxers are already touting the move by Denmark as evidence that COVID-19 is not serious. After all, they will point out – Denmark currently has the second-highest infection rate in the world.

That’s an intentionally misleading, and here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : Denmark Has Very High Vaccination Rates

Danish Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said that “widespread vaccination and boosters have helped the country open up again“, and it shows :

  • Over 81% of people 5 years and older have been fully-vaccinated.
  • Over 61% of people 12 years and older received their booster dose

Jens Lundgren, a professor of viral diseases at the Copenhagen University Hospital said, “We have been very successful in our national vaccine programme throughout 2021, a lot of people have received two vaccination shots, and a lot have received three doses as well, and many of those doses were provided in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Fact #2 : Denmark Has Very Low ICU + Death Rates

Thanks to the high levels of vaccinations, Denmark has experienced very low levels of ICU usage and mortality rates.

Even though they are experiencing a massive surge in new COVID-19 cases, the number of people in ICUs have fallen to only 32.

Even people dying today is far lower than the peak in December 2020, when Denmark experienced far fewer COVID-19 cases.

Danish Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said, “the number of hospitalizations and patients in intensive care is decreasing every day, thanks to vaccination“.

Søren Brostrøm, director-general of Denmark’s Health Authority concurred, “At the same time as infections are skyrocketing, patients admitted to intensive care actually going down. It’s around 30 people in ICU beds right now with a COVID-19 diagnosis, out of a population of 6 million.

Fact #3 : Denmark May Reimpose Restrictions

The Danish authorities held out the possibility that COVID-19 restrictions may return, as it is too early to know whether there will be a new variant that needs to be addressed.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told Danish radio, “I dare not say that it is a final goodbye to restrictions. We do not know what will happen in the fall, whether there will be a new variant.

Denmark had actually lifted all COVID-19 restrictions in September 2021, but reimposed them in the first of a third wave of infections.

So it will not be surprising if they do reimpose COVID-19 restrictions should a new virulent COVID-19 variant start spreading.

Fact #4 : Denmark May Introduce A Fourth Dose

Despite the elation over the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, the government has warned that Denmark could see a rise in infections in the coming weeks.

Health Minister Magnus Heunicke called on Danes to get tested regularly, so that the country could “react quickly if necessary”.

In addition to the reinstatement of COVID-19 restrictions, the Danish government may introduce a fourth vaccine dose.

I should also point out that Denmark almost exclusively uses mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. They stopped using AstraZeneca and J&J vaccines, citing the risk of rare blood clots.

Read more : AstraZeneca Vaccine Blood Clots – What To Look For?

We can all enjoy the same privilege as the Danes, by adopting the same common sense approach they have.

Help us reach the same goal, by vaccinating yourself and your family against COVID-19!

 

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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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Klaus Schwab: Was WEF Founder Arrested For Fraud?

Was World Economic Forum founder, Klaus Schwab, arrested for fraud?

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

 

Claim : WEF Founder Klaus Schwab Was Arrested For Fraud!

Conservative Beaver is hard at work again, this time scoring yet another “exclusive”.

Apparently, he was the only one in the world who found out that Europol arrested World Economic Forum founder Professor Klaus Schwab for fraud!

Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum (WEF), has been arrested at his home in Cologny, Switzerland Friday and charged for multiple counts of fraud. A police source states that he was arrested on request of Europol in relation to crimes he allegedly committed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Klaus Schwab is currently in custody. His lawyer was not immediately available for comment.

According to Wikipedia: the WEF is mostly known for its annual meeting at the end of January in Davos, a mountain resort in Graubünden, in the eastern Alps region of Switzerland. The meeting brings together some 3,000 paying members and selected participants – among which are business leaders, political leaders, economists, celebrities and journalists – for up to five days to discuss global issues across 500 sessions.

According to the AP: The elite gathering typically draws hundreds of well-known government leaders, business executives, civil society advocates and artists, actors and musicians. However, Fox News commentator Laura Ingraham warned Fox News viewers in 2020 the meetings were centered around a globalist plan to “transform civil society.”

 

Truth : WEF Founder Klaus Schwab Was NOT Arrested For Fraud!

Just like other Conservative Beaver Exclusives, this is just FAKE NEWS. And here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : Conservative Beaver Is A Known Fake News Website

The Conservative Beaver is a “news aggregator” (copy and paste) website that is known for creating fake news to generate more page views and money.

10 November 2021 : They wrote a fake story about Pfizer CEO’s wife – Myriam Bourla – dying from vaccine complications. That naturally did not happen.

5 November 2021 : They wrote a fake story about the FBI arresting Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla for fraud. It was quickly debunked by Bourla appearing on CNN and CNBC on the day of his “arrest”.

4 November 2021 : They wrote a fake story about Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe being arrested and charged with possession of child porn and cocaine. This never happened.

1 November 2021 : They wrote a fake story about an American Airlines plane crashing into the Atlantic ocean after the pilot died from a heart attack, after taking his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. There was no such plane crash.

Read more : Did Pfizer CEO’s Wife, Myriam Bourla, Die From Vaccine?

Fact #2 : Klaus Schwab Was Not Arrested

On 17 November 2021, spokesperson for both the Swiss federal police department and Europol confirmed with Reuters that both claims are FALSE.

Klaus Schwab was not arrested, never mind charged with fraud.

Fact #3 : Switzerland Is Not Part Of European Union

As a Canadian website, Conservative Beaver was apparently unaware that Switzerland is NOT part of the European Union.

Therefore, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (EUROPOL) does NOT have any mandate in Switzerland.

EUROPOL can only support EU member states in their own investigations into organised crime across the European Union.

Fact #4 : No Evidence Of Arrest

This may seem obvious, but it has to be pointed out that there is ZERO evidence that Klaus Schwab was ever arrested :

  • ZERO media coverage – whether in Switzerland, the EU or internationally.
  • ZERO mention in the EUROPOL Twitter feed, which is very active in listing arrests.
  • ZERO mention in the WEF Twitter feed, which continues to be actively posting tweets.

Do you really believe that such an arrest would have gone without notice by EVERYONE ELSE in the world, but Conservative Beaver?

The truth is – this is just a FAKE STORY created by Conservative Beaver in a few minutes, just to generate page views and money.

Everything that Conservative Beaver posts should be regarded as FAKE NEWS, until proven otherwise.

 

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Facebook, Instagram, Messenger + Workplace Down Again!

Just days after going down for SIX HOURS, Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Workplace went down AGAIN!

Find out what happened!

 

Facebook, Instagram, Messenger + Workplace Down Again!

Just days after all of Facebook’s services went down for six hours, Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Workplace went down AGAIN!

At around 3:22 AM on 9 October 2021, they went down again… with people reporting that they were unable to log into their accounts, or send messages.

Fortunately, this time it didn’t take down WhatsApp and it took their engineering team just under 2 hours to get those Facebook services restored.

 

Why Did Facebook, Instagram, Messenger + Workplace Go Down Again!

Again, Facebook blamed another faulty “configuration change” for this downtime, but did not announce any details on what actually happened.

But coming right after an extraordinarily long downtime just days earlier and public testimony by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, this new downtime may be shorter but is no less grievous.

It will feed growing opinion that Facebook has too much services under its control, and it’s dangerous and even folly to let a single company control so many social networks and communication services.

Regulators will no doubt be spurred by this new incident to look at breaking up Facebook.

EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said that the major Facebook outage highlighted the danger of relying on just a few big players, underscoring “the need for more rivals”.

Even Russia jumped into the fray, stating that Russia was right to develop its own Internet platforms and social networks.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said that the recent 6-hour outage of Facebook services “answers the question of whether we need our own social networks and Internet platforms“.

We will be looking forward to Facebook Engineering’s explanation of what happened, and whether it involved cutting through doors to get to their servers…

Read more : Why Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram Went Down!

 

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Is EU Cancelling COVID-19 Vaccination In October 2021?

Is the EU planning to cancel COVID-19 vaccination in October, after approving FIVE therapies for the coronavirus?

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

 

Is EU Cancelling COVID-19 Vaccination In October 2021?

This article has gone viral on WhatsApp, claiming that the EU (European Union) is going to cancel COVID-19 vaccination in October, after approving FIVE therapies for the coronavirus!

It also claims that ivermectin has been scientifically recognised as an effective treatment and prophylaxis of COVID-19 by the Pasteur Institute.

It’s a long article, so just skip to the next section for the facts!

DISTRIBUTE TO EVERYONE who does not want to be “vaccinated”. All vaccines will no longer be justified from 20.10.2021: verified information. The European Union has approved (https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/fr/ip_21_3299) 5 therapies that will be available in all hospitals in the Member States for the treatment of Covid.

These therapies have been approved by a decree of the European Council (European Parliament) and will be in force from 1/10, so they will be distributed little by little around 20/10. Vaccines were approved on a “temporary experimental basis”. But since the decree will oblige to prescribe these 5 new drugs, the use of the vaccine will cease.

 

Truth : EU Is NOT Cancelling COVID-19 Vaccination At All!

This is yet another FAKE STORY written by anti-vaxxers in their bid to discourage people from protecting themselves with the COVID-19 vaccines.

Here are the FACTS…

Fact #1 : The EU Press Release Is Available In English

It is instructive to note that the fake article offers a link to the EU press release in French, even though there is an English version.

Whoever wrote the fake article intentionally gave you the French press release, so you won’t be able to read it and discover that it’s just fake news.

Fact #2 : They Are Potential Treatments For COVID-19

If you read the EU press release in English, you will realise that what the viral article claimed is COMPLETELY FALSE.

Published on 29 June 2021, the press release only announced that the EU had identified the first five therapeutics that have “a high potential” to be approved later.

Nowhere in the press release was it stated that ANY of the five therapeutics was even approved.

Fact #3 : The EU Has Not Approved Them

The EU press release stated that these five therapeutics had a high potential to be among the three new COVID-19 therapeutics to receive authorisation by October 2021

  • the immunosuppressant, baricitinib
  • the monoclonal antibody combination of bamlanivimab and etesevimab
  • the monoclonal antibody combination of casirivimab and imdevimab
  • the monoclonal antibody, regdanvimab
  • the monoclonal antibody, sotrovimab

However, the EU has NOT approved any of those five therapeutics for use against COVID-19, of 24 September 2021.

There was no “decree of the European Council” that approved any of these therapeutics, and that’s not how treatments are approved in Europe.

So the five therapeutics above are unlikely to be in use in October 2021, contrary to what the fake article claimed.

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

Fact #4 : Approval Does Not Mean Obligation

Even if any of those five therapeutics are eventually approved by the EU for use against COVID-19, there is NO OBLIGATION to administer them.

It is left to the treating doctor to decide whether to prescribe it to the patient, or not. The patient can, of course, choose to accept or refuse the treatment.

Fact #5 : COVID-19 Vaccines Will Remain In Use

Even if new treatments can be found for COVID-19, vaccines will remain in use as the first line of defence.

That’s because they PREVENT people from getting COVID-19, thereby negating the need for hospitalisation and treatment.

Therapeutics are also MORE expensive than vaccines, even without accounting for the manpower (doctors and nurses) and hospitalisation costs!

COVID-19 vaccines will remain in use in the European Union, irrespective of how many COVID-19 treatments are eventually approved.

Fact #6 : COVID-19 Vaccines Are NOT Experimental

Once the COVID-19 vaccines successfully completed their clinical trials and received their EUA, they were NO LONGER EXPERIMENTAL.

The conditions to receive the EUA is similar to that of a full approval. The only real difference is the post-study follow-up :

  • EUA : At least half of the participants in the studies must be followed for at least two months after vaccination.
  • Full FDA Approval : All of the participants in the studies must be followed for at least six months.

The EU has never called the COVID-19 vaccines “experimental and provisional”. That’s yet another lie in the fake story.

Read more : What’s The Difference Between Full FDA Approval vs EUA?

Fact #7 : Ivermectin Was NEVER Approved For Use Against COVID-19

The fake story claimed that ivermectin was just “re-approved”. That’s completely FALSE.

Ivermectin was NEVER approved by any major health authority, including the WHO, CDC, FDA, EMA or the TGA, for use against COVID-19. Never mind getting “re-approved”…

Fact #8 : Pasteur Institute Study Was Conducted On Hamsters!

The Pasteur Institute press release and the published study are both in English.

However, the fake story creator shared a link to the French biography of a French antivaxxer – Dominique Rueff instead, to mislead you.

That’s because the Pasteur Institute study DID NOT actually recognise ivermectin as an effective drug against COVID-19 in humans…

  • The study was conducted on hamsters, not humans
  • Ivermectin reduced inflammation in the respiratory tract of hamsters, with reduced symptoms.
  • Ivermectin reduced risk of loss of smell in hamsters.
  • Ivermectin did NOT have any impact on the viral replication of SARS-CoV-2.

The chief author of the study, Guilherme Dias de Melo said, “Surprisingly, we observed that treatment with ivermectin did not reduce viral replication; the models that received treatment had similar quantities of viral load in the nasal cavity and the lungs as those that did not receive treatment. Our results reveal that ivermectin has an immunomodulatory effect rather than an antiviral effect.”

Therefore, the Guilherme said that, “these data provide crucial evidence to support clinical trials in humans“.

In other words, the Pasteur Institute is only advocating for clinical trials in humans, not the use of ivermectin against COVID-19 in humans.

Antivaxxers are not interested in the truth, or even your lives. These human viruses are only interested in spreading lies and misinformation about vaccines.

Please SHARE this fact check with your family and friends, and protect yourself and your family – get vaccinated against COVID-19!

 

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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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EU Digital COVID Certificate : A Comedy Of Errors!

Will travellers be BARRED from entering Europe unless they get the right vaccines approved by the EU Digital COVID Certificate???

Find out why this is just a comedy of errors, and what the FACTS really are!

 

EU Digital COVID Certificate : A Comedy Of Errors!

The EU Digital COVID Certificate went live on 1 July 2021, connecting 21 EU nations into a unified system that manages COVID-19 certificates.

Unfortunately, the healthcare portal – CodeBlue – triggered panic when they made this shocking claim (our emphasis) :

“Malaysians vaccinated with AstraZeneca-Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine may be barred from entering Europe, as the European Union’s (EU) Digital Covid Certificate — which came into force yesterday — only recognises EU-approved shots for free travel within the bloc.

They then went on to explain how the EMA has only approved AstraZeneca vaccine factories in the EU, US, the UK and China.

The implication is that since people who received AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured in South Korea and Thailand “may be barred from entering Europe“.

In truth – there is NOTHING to suggest that anyone will be barred from entering the EU because their vaccines were not manufactured in an approved facility.

 

EU Digital COVID Certificate : Just A Certificate For EU Residents

The CodeBlue article makes it sound like the EU Digital COVID Certificate is a prerequisite for travel into Europe. That’s really not the case.

The CodeBlue article also wrongly suggested that people could be barred from entering Europe merely because they were vaccinated with AstraZeneca vaccine that were manufactured in factories not recognised by the EMA.

Here are the facts…

Fact #1 : EUDCC Is An Immunity Passport

Countries around the world are coming up with immunity passports to authenticate people who have been vaccinated or have immunity against COVID-19.

The EU Digital COVID Certificate is a digital verification system that certifies that the person has

  • been vaccinated against COVID-19, or
  • received a negative test result *, or
  • recovered from COVID-19

The EUDCC basically confirms that the person does not have COVID-19, or has immunity against COVID-19.

* Validity : 72 hours (PCR tests), 48 hours (rapid antigen tests)

Fact #2 : EUDCC Is For Schengen Area Residents

The EU Digital COVID Certificate is meant to be used by residents in the 27 EU countries, and a few non-EU countries that are in the Schengen Area, or have an open border with the EU :

  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Norway
  • San Marino
  • Switzerland
  • Vatican City

Fact #3 : EUDCC Not Applicable To Non-EU Residents

Everyone else not residing in the list of countries above generally do not qualify for the EU Digital COVID Certificate.

After all, they will have their own vaccination or test certificate from their own countries!

However, travellers from other countries who have been fully vaccinated with an EU-authorised vaccine may be issued an EU Digital Covid Certificate “on a case by case basis“.

Fact #4 : EUDCC Not Required For Free Movement Within EU

The EU Digital COVID Certificate is “not a pre-condition” to travel freely within the European Union.

However, it will exempt the traveller from free movement restrictions in EU member states that are designed to curb COVID-19.

Those without the EUDCC will simply have to comply with COVID-19 free movement restrictions in a particular EU member state, which can include testing and/or quarantine.

Fact #5 : EMA Approval For Vaccine Use In EU, Not Travel

The EMA (European Medicines Agency) evaluates and approves COVID-19 vaccines for use within the EU. This approval process does not include just the clinical data but also the manufacturing sites.

Only EMA-approved vaccines produced at EMA-approved manufacturing sites can be administered within the European Union, as EMA told Health Policy Watch :

It is important to note that in the context of a vaccine authorisation the company has to submit a list of manufacturing sites to EMA and it is EMA’s role to evaluate and potentially approve it. The benefits and risks of Covid-19 vaccines need to be properly assessed based on detailed information on manufacturing as well as on nonclinical data and well-designed clinical trials.

However, EMA vaccine approval has NO DIRECT BEARING on travel restrictions by EU member states!

In fact, European Commission spokesperson, Stefan De Keersmaecke, said :

“As set out in the Council Recommendation on the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU, adopted by Member States on 20 May,  entry into the EU should be allowed to people fully vaccinated with one of the vaccines authorised in the EU.”

“This does not mean that the vaccines has to be produced in facilities covered by the marketing authorisation in the EU.”

“Member States could also allow entry for people vaccinated with vaccines having completed the WHO Emergency Use Listing process.”

Fact #6 : EU Member States Decide On Entry Requirements

The EU Digital Covid Certificate is only meant to provide a standardised system to certify an EU resident is “COVID-19-free”.

It is ultimately up to each EU member state to decide on recognising certificates from other countries, vaccines manufactured in other countries, and even vaccines that are not approved in the EU.

On this matter, European Commission spokesperson, Stefan De Keersmaecke, said :

Member states are free to accept the documentation issued in third countries for vaccination. These should contain information that at least allows [the country] to identify the person, the type of vaccine and the date of the administration of the vaccine.”

Member states could also allow entry for people vaccinated with vaccines having completed the WHO Emergency Use Listing process.

Fact #7 : Vaccine Factory Approval Not Necessary For Entry Into EU

This must be emphasised again – the approval of any vaccine factory is NOT necessary for entry into the EU.

This was already clarified by European Commission spokesperson, Stefan De Keersmaecke, on 30 June 2021.

But because of erroneous reporting by various media organisations including CodeBlue, the European Union clarified again on 7 July 2021 :

“Entry into the EU is in principle allowed to fully vaccinated persons with one of the vaccines authorised in the EU, including those produced in facilities not covered by marketing authorisation in the EU.

“Member States could also allow entry for people vaccinated with vaccines that have not been yet authorised in the EU but have completed the WHO Emergency Use Listing process.”

As you can see – their 7 July 2021 statement is the same as it was on 30 June 2021. Nothing has actually changed.

We should note that the EU also said, “There is no obstacle or hurdle. Therefore, some recent reporting concerning the AstraZeneca vaccines’ origin is inaccurate.

Fact #8 : Vaccine Passports Are Political Decisions

I would like to end by pointing out that vaccine passports are ultimately, political decisions.

It is up to the European Commission and individual EU member states, and of course, all other countries around the world to decide WHICH vaccine / immunity passports they will accept.

In the end, EVERY COUNTRY wants to open its borders to tourism and business. It is in their interest to accept ANY genuine proof of vaccination for entry into their country.

Right now, it’s a matter of negotiating reciprocal recognition, and how to authenticate the different digital certificates.

So stop panicking over vaccine or immunity passports. Get yourself vaccinated first!

 

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Eurocham Leak Of Malaysia Shutdown : Please Don’t Panic!

Did the leaked Eurocham circular warn of a total shutdown of the economy in Malaysia?

Find out why it was really just a storm in a teacup…

 

Eurocham Leak Of Malaysia Shutdown : What Happened?

On 23 January 2021, a Eurocham (EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry) circular to their members leaked and circulated on social media – WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Many netizens and even media outlets blared warnings of a TOTAL LOCKDOWN immediately after 4 February 2021.

 

Eurocham Leak Of Malaysia Shutdown : Nothing Shocking…

When the circular leaked, there were expressions of SHOCK! Horror! Outrage! online.

The truth is – those who actually read the circular carefully would be nonplussed about what it revealed…

It was really an appeal to the manufacturing industry to help cut down on the infection rate, so that the economy does NOT need to shut down.

So please don’t panic over the threat of a complete shutdown of the economy. We went through it once with the first MCO in March 2020.

It will be no different. We survived that, and if it happens again, we will be ready for it. Remember, my fellow Malaysians – MALAYSIA BOLEH!!!

And if you really want to help prevent a shut down of the economy, please FOLLOW THE SOP!

 

Eurocham Leak Of Malaysia Shutdown : The Facts

For those who want a play-by-play of why there’s nothing to worry about in the Eurocham circular, here are our points…

Fact #1 : It Was KKM With Clear Stand On Complete Shutdown

The circular noted that it was the Malaysia Ministry of Health (KKM) that “made a clear stand of the matter of a complete shutdown of the economy“.

It did not even mention what that “clear stand” was, but KKM has stated publicly that they recommended a strict lockdown to the government several times in the past.

Fact #2 : Shutdown Was Always A Possibility

A complete shutdown of the economy, which happened with the first MCO, was always a possibility.

The Malaysia Ministry of Health shared publicly that they had recommended the reimposition of those strict measures several times in the past.

Fact #3 : Shutdown Was Predicated On Infection Rate

What many people did not notice or care is that the “threat” of a complete shutdown of the economy was predicated on the infection rate.

Should the infection rate not decrease, the Malaysian government will announce a shutdown / strict lockdown immediately after 4 February 2021.

In other words – if the infection rate can be brought down, the shutdown or strict lockdown will not happen at all.

Fact #4 : Shutdown Was Overruled In The Past

The Malaysian government overruled KKM’s recommendations for strict MCO in the past, so even their “clear stand” this time may not amount to much.

In fact, the circular states that the Malaysian government is considering either a shutdown or a strict lockdown (see the quote in Fact #3).

Fact #5 : Industry Was Asked To Help Cut Down Infection Rate

The circular points out that the manufacturing sector accounts for a large number of clusters, and worker dormitories, transportation and social activities were identified as key problem areas.

Therefore, the meeting was to get the manufacturing industry to help clamp down on the infection rate, by addressing those problem areas.

Fact #6 : It Was An Urgent Appeal To Forestall A Shutdown

If the government had already made up their mind to shutdown the economy, they would not bother to call for such meetings with industry representatives.

It was obvious from the circular that the Malaysian government was urgently appealing for industries to solve the problem of persistently high COVID-19 infection rates.

Hence, the circular listed two urgent measures that companies were requested to implement immediately.

 

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Adobe Cloud Signature Consortium Announced

Kuala Lumpur, 5 July 2016 – On July 1, 2016, a new European Union signature regulation came into effect, helping pave the way for global adoption of secure digital signatures. Aligned with this milestone that will help take digital signatures mainstream, Adobe today announced the Cloud Signature Consortium, a group comprised of leading industry and academic organizations committed to building a new open standard for cloud-based digital signatures across mobile and web – so anyone can digitally sign documents from anywhere.

Digital signatures are the most advanced and secure type of electronic signature, increasingly used by businesses and governments around the world. However, using standards-compliant digital signatures today can be a cumbersome, time consuming process that keeps people tethered to their desktop. In many cases, they need certificate-based IDs stored on a physical device, like a USB token or smart card. This approach doesn’t meet increasing consumer and business expectations for simple and engaging experiences that work anywhere, on any device.

And, while some cloud-based digital signature solutions exist, they are proprietary and fragmented, rather than an open approach that offers a choice of certificate providers. As a leader and founding member of the new consortium, Adobe is collaborating with industry leaders to develop an open standard that will bring the world’s most secure form of electronic signing to over seven billion mobile devices around the globe.

“Adobe has a history of pioneering and advancing industry standards like PDF. We embrace open standards and, where none exist, we help create them,” said Bryan Lamkin, executive vice president and general manager of Digital Media, Adobe. “With more than six billion digital and electronic signature transactions processed each year through Adobe Sign and Adobe Document Cloud, we are focused on moving the signature industry forward. Today, in collaboration with the Cloud Signature Consortium, we are proud to advance an open standard for cloud-based digital signatures.”

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Why an open standard is needed

The new standard created by the consortium will be critical to furthering digital transformation of business on a global scale by giving everyone access to secure digital signature solutions across a full range of cloud applications and mobile devices. Once implemented, the standard will benefit processes where signer identification is critical, such as applying for a marriage or business license, social security benefits, or signing for a large loan.

While initially focused on the EU, the Cloud Signature Consortium aims to build a global network of industry contributors and intends to release new standard specifications by the end of 2016—with the first cloud-based implementations to follow shortly thereafter. The consortium was inspired by the need to meet the highest level requirements of the European Union’s Regulation on Identification and Trust Services (eIDAS), but its impact is expected to be global as demand for highly secure digital solutions continues to rise.

“Adobe has a long history of successfully helping to establish and drive the adoption of open standards,” said Melissa Webster, vice president of content and digital media technologies, IDC. “An open standard focused on cloud-based digital signatures will not only help companies save time and resources, but ultimately move an entire industry forward with best practices that benefit all.”

In addition to Adobe, initial Cloud Signature Consortium members, which span EU cloud-based digital signature providers, trust services providers, academics and standards and security focused organizations, include:

  • Asseco Data Systems – Poland
  • Bundesdruckerei / D-Trust – Germany
  • Cryptolog / Universign – France
  • Docapost / Certinomis – France
  • InfoCert – Italy
  • Intarsys Consulting – Germany
  • Intesi Group – Italy
  • Izenpe – Spain
  • Safelayer – Spain
  • SwissSign – Switzerland
  • Graz University of Technology – Austria
  • Unibridge – Norway

 

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