In response to the Covid-19 outbreak in Shijiazhuang, a city up northern China that homes more than 1 million people, a quarantine centre with more than 4,000 rooms is being built at full speed.
According to the European Space Agency’s satellite images, what looked like a flat land on January 13th is now lined up by prefabricated houses. The official People’s Daily newspaper said that more than 600 rooms were ready by the 19th and another 3,600 will be added by the time of completion.
State media reported that workers and materials were transported from all across the country to help building the centre; it’s common for China to utilize nationwide resources when natural disasters or other crisis occur.
In 2020, it took merely days to build the hospitals, Huoshenshan and Leishenshan in Wuhan, the place where Covid-19 had originated from.
China who is known to have curb the virus domestically is battling outbreaks again this winter in its northern regions. The National Health Commission reported 145 new cases on Monday, including 11 in Hubei province.
According to the China News Service, each room is designed to house one person only, stands at 18 square meters and comes with bedding, a desk, an air conditioner, television and WiFi.
The centre is located in Zhengding county, a surburban area north of Shijiazhuang. Hebei on the other hand is roughly 260 kilometers southwest of Beijing.
At a time when communication and curbing the spreading of misinformation is vital, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC)’s Twitter account has abruptly gone private after netizens had discovered its tweets from 2014 belonging to a 16-year-old kid.
Viewers discretion is advised as for some of these tweets may be plain offensive or not safe for work; other than that, it’s a fun example of how the Twitter community can dig up history on literally anybody, MCMC included.
Netizens surely wasn’t going to let this information go by just like that as many were quick to quoting the tweets, which some were homophobic, racist or downright child’s play.
And of course, it didn’t take long for news outlets to reach out to the boy who is now already a 22-year-old man
Interviewed by the Malay Mail, Nazrul Hakim said that he was the original owner f the account @Nazrulllhakim which he had then sold to another person.
“The account had around 50,000 followers at that time. So somebody offered to buy that account from me,” Nazrul told Malay Mail over text message.
“I was then just 15 or 16 years old. As a schoolkid, of course, I wanted to feel what it’s like to have money.”
However, this couldn’t be verified by Malay Mail as no records of the transaction was kept by Nazrul. Before being exposed and going private, the now MCMC Twitter account had 70,000 followers.
Nazrul mentioned that he didn’t expect MCMC being the one that is buying his account and didn’t even thought about deleting his account as he was just a kid at that time, unaware of the consequences a bad tweet would bring.
F-bombs, homophobic tweets, racism, content that is downright NSFW, these are just one of the many that were being retweeted virally by Malaysian users who were digging up tweets from the now MCMC account.
Some however were used to match present day context, such as one that was hating on a bald man, which garnered the attention of Muar MP who had recently went bald for #1Keluarga1Laptop.
According to Twitter regulations, it is a violation when a person or entity wishes to acquire an account that has already amassed a huge number of followers straight away rather growing it organically over time.
Communications Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah is yet to comment on the issue while MCMC had claimed that their account was hacked by “irresponsible parties” and is “suspended” temporarily, despite the tweets being dated by to 2014.
While America tries to deal with the Trump-catastrophe happening, more so after the pro-Trump riots at the U.S Capitol, social media companies in the other hand have also been busy to help curb the spread of misinformation and also any that could incite more violence.
Most notably with Twitter who have long been flirting with the move of banning Trump’s personal Twitter account, a lot more have been joining hands to prevent the current U.S. president to spark more violence.
Here’s a list of social media platforms that Trump is currently banned from.
The first of many, Twitter banned Trump’s personal account, followed by his campaign Twitter account and also deleted tweets from his official government account hours after the riots and look to have a near permanent ban moving forward.
A video where Trump spoke to and “professed his love” for the rioters proved to be the last straw for Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg and co have deleted said video and have banned his accounts from posting for at least the next two weeks in a bid to allow a peaceful transition of power to president-elect Joe Biden.
Being owned by Facebook, the same two week ban until the successful transition of power also applied to Instagram as well.
Being one of the first to take serious action on Trump’s content, Snapchat spokesperson Rachel Racusen told Axios “earlier today we locked President Trump’s Snapchat account,” because it believes the account promotes and spreads hate and incites violence.
Following trending hashtags like #stormthecapitol, #stopthesteal #qandanon and #patriotparty, TikTok has and continues to remove said content and hashtags citing that “Hateful behavior and violence have no place on TikTok. Content or accounts that seek to incite, glorify, or promote violence violate our Community Guidelines and will be removed,”
In other words, TikTok banned Trump before Trump banned TikTok.
After reports of people using right-wing friendly social media app, Parler to spread riot information, Apple has pushed the app to lay out a plan to moderate its content with said email being sent to Parler.
“We have received numerous complaints regarding objectionable content in your Parler service, accusations that the Parler app was used to plan, coordinate, and facilitate the illegal activities in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021 that led (among other things) to loss of life, numerous injuries, and the destruction of property. The app also appears to continue to be used to plan and facilitate yet further illegal and dangerous activities.”
YouTube has fast forwarded their efforts to reducing violent inducing content, which began with removing the video Trump posted Wednesday that addressed the Capitol violence without fully condemning it.
“Due to the extraordinary events that transpired yesterday, and given that the election results have been certified, any channel posting new videos with these false claims in violation of our policies will now receive a strike, a penalty which temporarily restricts uploading or live-streaming. Channels that receive three strikes in the same 90-day period will be permanently removed from YouTube,” Alex Joseph, a YouTube spokesperson, told Axios.
The subreddit group “r/DonaldTrump,” has been banned, according to a spokesperson that confirmed to Axios on Friday. Although not an official group or page hosted by the president, it’s one of the company’s largest political communities dedicated to support for President Trump.
Google has pulled “Parler” from its Playstore after its users had been accused of promoting violence. A spokesperson for Google added that it “require that apps displaying user-generated content have moderation policies and enforcement that removes egregious content like posts that incite violence,”
Shopify took down two online stores affiliated with the President for violating its policies on supporting violence. Based on recent events, we have determined that the actions by President Donald J. Trump violate our acceptable Use Policy, which prohibits promotion or support of organizations, platforms or people that threaten or condone violence to further a cause. As a result, we have terminated stores affiliated with President Trump.” – a spokesperson told The Financial Times.
In a bid to force users to share data with its parent company, Facebook, WhatsApp said users would have to agree to let Facebook and its subsidiaries collect WhatsApp data including users’ phone numbers, contacts’ phone numbers, locations, and more. Users who don’t agree by February 8th can expect to lose access to the messaging platform by then.
A WhatsApp spokeswoman told Ars Technica that this was to allow businesses to store WhatsApp chats using Facebook’s broader infrastructure.
A WhatsApp spokesman did not clarify why the platform decided to make the change but said it would not affect EU and UK-based users.
So what exactly is WhatsApp gathering data on? Here’s all of them.
Other Diagnostic Data
Other User Content
WhatsApp has actually been sharing your data with Facebook since 2016, but the latest option to not have an option is deemed as crossing a line for many.
In a recent release by Apple’s App Store, “App Privacy” labels also shows how much data are being collected by WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
A level of data-sharing that some users disagree with and even fear has already been going on under their noses for years, and people are starting to realize it.
“Is it a bird? Is it a plane?”, if you have a solid guess in your mind, you’d better hold your horses as it it’s drones instead of a red-caped flying man.
Somewhat a cultural phenomenon for gadget enthusiast, the creation drones undoubtedly enhance our lives as helping us reach places we couldn’t and also to see things we can’t. What is often made out of carbon fiber or plastic materials may have taken a turn for the better of Mother Earth, as researchers from Putra University has figured out a way to make drones from pineapple leaves.
Before we move to the specifications, it’s important to mention that the drone frames ar the ones made out of pineapple leaves. In an interview with Reuters, Professor Mohamed Thariq Hameed Sultan who had successfully found a way to turn fiber from pineapple leaves into material sturdy enough to make drone frames, said that drones built with the material had a higher strength-to-weight ratio than frames made with synthetic fibers. They’re cheaper and lighter, too, making it easier for them to fly greater distances and greater speed.
So how does a drone made out of pineapple leaves help nature? Drone flyers may be familiar with the dreaded feeling when your drone flies beyond your sight and connection, only to crash land somewhere untraceable. If remained uncovered for a long amount of time, one may give up the search to get a new drone instead while their lost plastic drone sits somewhere in the dirt, for almost eternity.
These new biodegradable drones help fix that problem, as the researchers say that A damaged frame can be buried and the bio-composite material will degrade within two weeks.
Prototypes made from the material have also flown to around 1,000 meters and can stay aloft for about 20 minutes, much like any other drone.
Started in 2017, the project helps finding sustainable uses for pineapple waste. Farmers are known to burn or discard these leaves after harvest, which can cause air pollution. Selling the waste to these research would help increase their income and may benefit the environment instead.
While Malaysians and Singaporeans alike were excited to hear about the billion ringgit Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) in the beginning, they may not have to look forward to a direct route to and from anytime soon as the project has been ultimately scrapped a few days back.
Citing that both nations being unable to reach an agreement on several changes proposed by the Malaysian government, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong broke the news in a joint statement on December 31st last year.
“In light of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Malaysian economy, the government of Malaysia had proposed several changes to the HSR project. Both governments had conducted several discussions with regard to these changes and had not been able to reach an agreement. Therefore, the HSR agreement lapsed on Dec 31, 2020.
“Both countries will abide by their respective obligations, and will now proceed with the necessary actions resulting from the termination of the HSR agreement,” said the statement, released in the morning of January 1st.
The termination was also confirmed by The Edge who called it in their article as “Malaysia to go it alone with HSR project, pay RM300m compensation to Singapore — source”.
Due to contract regulations, it is also understood that Malaysia is to compensate 300 million ringgit in result of the termination. Proposed back in 2010, the change of government in 2018 and COVID-19 pandemic had also put the project on halt at one time and went pretty stale after that.
Changes proposed by the Malaysian government was to change the alignment to link HSR to KLIA and it didn’t sit well with our counterparts; ultimately, minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Mustapa Mohamed took to Facebook to further explain the cause of termination and reasoning behind it.
“Other changes proposed by Malaysia include that the HSR be connected and integrated with the available transportation network in the country,” he said in a lengthily post.
“The proposed new structure could also help the country avoid committing RM60 billion for 30 years, apart from providing the government with flexibility in terms of funding for the HSR project.
“In addition, the government also proposed several other changes, including to the design of the rail stations, which would help reduce almost 30 per cent in expenses for the project,” he added.
“Our Prime Minister (Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin) also had a video conference with his Singaporean counterpart (Lee Hsien Loong) on Dec 2 last year. However, we failed to reach an agreement (over the proposed changes to the HSR project).
“As an individual who was directly involved in the discussions for the project over the past six months, (I can tell you that) we had done our best for the interest of the country,”.
Sources say that Malaysia is to switch their focus towards undertaking the project with a new alignment stretching from Kuala Lumpur to Johor Baru instead of joining both the Southeast Asian capitals and offering another alternative to one of the busiest flight roads in the world.
In an extraordinary step to curb the violence happening at the U.S. state capitol, social media giants Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have taken it upon themselves to temporarily silence Donald Trump.
Twitter being the first to lead, said that Trump’s account will be locked for 12 hours and warned for the first time that further violation of its rules would result in a permanent suspension of the president’s Twitter account.
“We have required the removal of three @realDonaldTrump Tweets that were posted earlier today for repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity Policy,” Twitter said. “This means that the account of @realDonaldTrump will be locked for 12 hours following the removal of these Tweets. If the Tweets are not removed, the account will remain locked.”
“Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account.”
Hours later, Facebook followed suit when it said that Trump’s Facebook will be blocked from posting content for 24 hours. This also comes after the company had removed a video of Trump professing “love” for a riotous mob that stormed the Capitol in protest of his electoral defeat that was liked more than 179,000 times on his Facebook profile.
“We’ve assessed two policy violations against President Trump’s Page which will result in a 24-hour feature block, meaning he will lose the ability to post on the platform during that time,” Facebook said in a tweet.
Being owned by Facebook, Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram confirmed that the “Trump ban” will also be in effect on Instagram for the same 24 hours.
Facebook is yet to respond to whether a permanent suspension could be looming if Trump is to violate its policies again.
Nonetheless, this still marks an important step for social media companies in curbing the spreading of misleading information on the social platforms especially from those seen during the 2020 U.S. election.
A menace to both drivers and cyclists, the pothole issue isn’t a new one as road users in Malaysia know that manoeuvring the streets of Malaysia would require swerving around the ever-present potholes.
What started as a mere obstruction to many is slowly becoming one of the reasons to why road users are injured even killed, as seen recently with experiences from Science, Technology, and Innovation Minister Khary Jamaluddin who had been injured after falling due to a pothole and Ho Yan Fee who had died after skidding of another.
How are they formed?
Potholes are formed when water seeps into an existing small crack on the surface of the road and deteriorates further over time. Potholes varies in sizes and are caused by the expansion and contraction of water that has entered the ground under the pavement.
This only adds on to the factors as road surfaces which develop cracks due to stress caused by traffic expands during daytime and contracts during the night. Roadway traffic only makes the matter worst as cracks are widen which allows more water to seep in and repeat the process.
So why is Malaysia’s climate a recipe for potholes?
Unless you’ve been in doors all your life, you’d be quick to know that Malaysia has two kinds of weather, mainly hot and rainy.
Throughout the year we see rainy days more than enough and scorching hot temperature on other days, higher number of potholes are developed when we experience the various flashfloods across the country and when the roads dry up later at extreme temperature causing cracks on the road surface which only worsens over time.
As the weight of cars and trucks pass over spots that have succumbed to way too much pressure, pieces of the road are quite literally shattered, creating what we know as the pothole we often see.
Irresponsible utility companies
Potholes are also mainly the work of irresponsible utility companies that dig up roads in order to lay down cables and pipes. After doing so, these roads are not properly patched up, eventually deconstructing the hard work done by those in the road maintenance industry.
The lack of communication between agencies means that one would do the hard work of paving a road making it seemingly brand new, while the other digs a spot up for piping or other purposes. Unwanted cracks are created way before the weather comes into effect, which indefinitely speeds up the process of how a pothole is formed.
You’ve seen it more than once, customers to a restaurant or shoppers at a mall, there’ll always be people who end up using their hands for temperature taking instead of using their foreheads like how we’re supposed to be.
So that brings the question to which method should we use? To answer the question, an eatery in Singapore has resorted to leave a sign outside where customers are to have their temperature taken at a machine – Only use your hands to have your temperature taken if you don’t have a head.
With some of us more clearly still more confused than the other, this one eatery is obviously fed up with all the connotation of “having your temperature taken”.
Should get scanned for your temperature at the wrist or forehead?
Health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said that having it taken at the forehead would result in the most accurate body temperature reading. However, Malaysians who were concerned about infrared rays perpetrating the skull and affecting the brain started the trend of using their wrists instead, causing a nationwide phenomenon.
Arms are not considered in temperature checks as they are the peripheral parts of the body, and extremities would have temperatures at the arms vary depending on environmental conditions.
The normal human body temperature varies from 36.5°C to 37.5°C, any temperature higher would be considered a fever.
Dr Noor Hisham also assured to the public on how there have been no reported side effects of scanning the forehead with infrared light
“We do not deny that many people are worried about side effects if they use the thermometer on their foreheads, but as far as we know, there is no scientific data that states it will cause illness,” he said.
Getting involved with the outside world is an easier than said task when most of your time is spent behind bars with very limited face-to-face communication; for prisoners, most of them who rely on plain email hard copies are getting more and more out of the outside world, but with technology and the internet advances, things are beginning to be that much simpler for prisoners to reconnect with reality.
As weird as it sounds, it’s the way the world works now as pen and paper just don’t seem to be able to cut it anymore. Gone are the days of meeting up in person as virtual meetings, instant messages, and the ability to follow, like, post or comment seems to be the majority of the way we interact now, and there aren’t signs of us slowing down anytime too.
In practice, prisoners aren’t allowed to have cell phones, but in reality, they’re in fact all over social media. Sources told VICE that prisoners are able to post photos to Instagram and to tweet directly from their cell blocks and this is because of them being able to use contraband and illegal cellphones.
In Malaysia, the National Prison Department took an approach which allowed those behind bars to keep in touch with love ones and respective lawyer. This started when prisons nationwide were barred from having any visitors, following the Movement Control Order (MCO).
Since 2008, selected prisoners who have undergone higher education were allowed to use the internet for their studies. Open University Malaysia (OUM) was among the first who had offered higher education to prisoners where inmates would be offered an online and flexible learning system.
The prison had earlier allocated computer and internet usage for said inmates from 8am to 5pm daily with monitoring by management to ensure that it was only used for academic and learning purposes, which comes mainly from the OUM digital library.
For those wanting to try smuggling an authorized handphone though, Jabatan Penjara has an entire unit that is dedicated to preventing items of such. Known as the UKP (Unit Kawalan dan Pecegahan) or the Prevention and Control Unit, spot checks, zone patrol are utilized to ensure nothing gets past their sight. These men are also easily identifiable by their maroon berets and camo uniform.
They were also rumored to have beaten up inmates who tried smuggling handphones in as it is essential for drug businesses in prison. Phones with cameras are also believed to be able to threaten the reputation of a prison.
When successfully smuggled in, prisoners have an ingenious way to charge them though, with the use of fluorescent lights. As there are very limited to no plug points to work with, prisoners connect the charger to electricity wires from fluorescent lights inside the cells. By connecting wires from cell lights or even the CCTV camera to charge phone batteries, touching a live wire could also result in fatal injuries or even death.
Because of this, Sungai Buloh Prison cells disabled their lights because prisoners kept using them to charge their phones!