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Daily Archives: May 18, 2022

Chart: The Japanese Economy Contracted 1.0 percent on an Annualized Basis in Q1, 2022

Compared with market estimates of a 1.8 percent fall

Source : Trading Economics

Chart: Historical % Fall of NASDAQ Composite Index from Previous Market Peak

Source : Chartr

Humour: News in Cartoons

Charts: Americans View Inflation as the Top Problem Facing the Country Today

Chart: The E.U. is Streets Ahead of the U.S. in Electric Vehicle Uptake

Source : Statista

Shanghai Declares Zero-COVID Milestone But Residents Cast Doubt on Reopening

Nectar Gan wrote . . . . . . . . .

Shanghai officials on Tuesday said they had achieved “zero-Covid at the community level” in what appeared to be a turning point in a heavy-handed and costly campaign to tame an Omicron outbreak — but many residents remain skeptical the city will reopen anytime soon.

“Zero-Covid at the community level” means infections are no longer found outside centralized quarantine facilities or neighborhoods under the strictest lockdowns — and is a prerequisite for those measures to be lifted.
Zhao Dandan, deputy head of the Shanghai Municipal Health Commission, said at a news conference Tuesday that all 16 districts of the Chinese financial hub had now achieved that distinction. But 860,000 people remain under the strictest lockdown level, meaning they cannot leave their homes.

Since China’s leader Xi Jinping vowed to endure with his zero-Covid policy on May 5, Shanghai authorities have taken increasingly hardline measures, canceling food deliveries in some neighborhoods, forcing residents who tested negative for Covid into government quarantine and disinfecting their homes without consent.

However, while the tough measures have fueled discontent among residents, they also appear to have brought infections down. Shanghai reported fewer than 1,000 new cases on both Sunday and Monday — the first time under four figures since March 24, according to the city’s health commission.

The announcement comes a day after Shanghai pledged to gradually ease its Covid lockdown and return life to normal in June, following seven weeks of a government-enforced standstill that inflicted great pain on residents and dealt a devastating blow to the economy.

At a news conference Monday, Shanghai officials declared the outbreak to be “under effective control” as 15 of the city’s 16 districts had stopped the community spread of Covid, with fewer than 1 million of its 25 million residents still in strict lockdown.

Officials said the city’s reopening will come in three phases, with the goal of restoring life to normal and fully restarting factories in June.

“From June 1 to mid- and late June, under the premise of controlling the risks of a rebound in infections, we will make epidemic prevention and control a normalized routine, and fully restore normal production and life in the city,” Deputy Mayor Zong Ming said.

Supermarkets, convenience stores and pharmacies began to reopen on Monday, Zong said, adding they would be followed by hair salons and wholesale agricultural markets.

Train services to and from Shanghai have also been gradually resuming since Monday, followed by domestic flights. Starting May 22, bus and subway services will resume. Passengers will need a negative Covid test — taken within 48 hours — to board public transport, according to Zong.

Shanghai residents unconvinced

The reopening roadmap was met with skepticism by some Shanghai residents who have lost trust in the local government.
In March, Shanghai authorities repeatedly denied the city would go into lockdown. Police even arrested two people accused of “spreading rumors” that such a measure was imminent.

When the local government announced a two-stage lockdown in late March, it said it would last for only four days and promised daily supplies would be sufficient. But days turned into weeks, and many struggled to secure access to food and other daily necessities.

“You can fool me, but please don’t do it too many times,” said a user on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform, in a widely circulated comment.

On Chinese social media, some Shanghai residents said they were still not allowed to go outside despite their neighborhoods reporting no recent cases. Others lashed out at state media reports claiming life in the city is returning to normal.

Meanwhile, an article on the website of the People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s mouthpiece, featuring pictures purporting to show reopened restaurants, cafes and supermarkets was lampooned.

“Although I’m not allowed to go out in Shanghai, I can feel a real sense of warmth from your fake news. Thank you People’s Daily!” said one resident in a social media post under a hashtag that loosely translates as “the smell of cooking is coming back in Shanghai”.

“Is that Shanghai in a parallel world?” asked another user under the same hashtag.

The hashtag, which has been viewed 140 million times, appears to have caught the attention of China’s internet censors; by Tuesday afternoon only posts published by official accounts under that hashtag could be viewed.

Some Shanghai residents even left sarcastic comments on the official Weibo account of the “National Anti-Fraud Center,” an app launched by China’s Ministry of Public Security to fight phone scams.

“Please go after the Shanghai government and let them shut up. They lie with their eyes wide open every day, enough is enough,” a user from Shanghai said.

Others kept their ire for the People’s Daily. “The People.cn is spreading rumors. The Shanghai described in their words is not the Shanghai I’m living in right now,” a user said.

Most of the comments had been deleted by Tuesday afternoon.

Source : CNN

World-first Hub for Flying Taxis, Air-One, Opens in Coventry, UK

Alice Finney wrote . . . . . . . . .

Aviation and aerospace manufacturing company Urban-Air Port has designed Air One, an airport for electric flying cars and large drones in Coventry, UK.

The 17,000-square-foot airport is designed to be “a world-first fully-operational ‘pop up’ urban airport and charging hub for future electric vertical take-off and landing (EVTOL) aircraft”, Urban-Air Port said.

Air One, which was constructed from steel and aluminium wrapped in a tensile translucent fabric, is located in the centre of Coventry in the West Midlands.

Urban-Air Port said flying cars that transport passengers could start using the airport in 2025, while the first cargo drone is set to take off on 25 April 2022.

“We wanted to create a multi-functional operations hub for manned and unmanned vehicles providing aircraft command and control, refuelling, cargo and passenger loading,” founder and executive chairman of Urban-Air Port Ricky Sandhu said.

“This new, green intermodal infrastructure will remove the largest, single constraint to sustainable air mobility and significantly cut congestion and air pollution from passenger and cargo transport and create a zero-emission ecosystem,” he told Dezeen.

The airport will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

“In Coventry, we are powering AirOne from hydrogen fuel cells that will also power our fast EV chargers,” Sandhu said. “The EV chargers are for ground transport vehicles so we provide a seamless journey that is zero-emission.”

While the EVTOL cars will transport passengers around the country, the autonomous drones will collect and deliver emergency supplies and equipment for the British police and emergency services.

The vehicles will take off from a 14-metre-wide launchpad that sits atop the middle of the prefabricated building, giving it its domed shape.

When a flying car or drone touches down on the landing platform, the vehicle drops down inside the hanger, where it can recharge and unload to be ready for its next flight.

A model flying car called Air Taxi SA-1 by South Korean carmaker Hyundai Motor Group’s Urban Air Mobility Division Supernal is currently on display in the hangar.

One of many car manufacturers in the race to commercialise flying taxi services, Supernal is planning on commercialising the aerial vehicle by 2028.

Elsewhere inside the building, there will be a passenger lounge, security screening area, restaurants, shops and a designated drone area.

A separate defence and logistics area will house disaster relief operations, airside-mobile-clinics, air evacuation hubs, defence and logistics lines and other emergency services.

The airport, which is also known as a skyport or vertiport, has a 60 per cent smaller footprint than traditional heliports. According to Sandhu, the decision to create a smaller airport was based on its central city location.

“In Coventry, we are in an ultra-dense location where almost half a million people work and live right next to the main train station in the city centre,” explained Sandhu.

“Our solution is compact but high capacity – that means we take up less space in the heart of a city where these electric vehicles can land and take off efficiently and quickly providing a new mode of sustainable transport and new connectivity.”

The company used lightweight materials that could be easily replicated and mounted for the design of the skyport, as it plans to open 200 more ports in cities around the world in the next five years.

The design also means that the building can be replicated and adapted in the future to be suitable for other modes of transport, such as flying buses or scooters.

“The choice of building materials for the Air One are in line with Urban-Air Port’s DNA and are based on rapid deployability, flat-packed system, modularity and demountability,” said Sandhu.

“This allows for a quick installation and dismantling processes and transportation to the next venue.”

Sandhu claims that the launch of Air One marks an important step in the burgeoning flying vehicle industry and could reduce congestion and air pollution in cities, providing a solution to the growing climate crisis.

“Air taxis will certainly help remove some congestion and pollution of our streets but they are intended to be a complementary mode of transposition,” he said.

“As urban populations grow year on year it’s these new sustainable mobility solutions that we will need to help lighten the load and at the same time get us moving and the economy moving quicker,” he added.

Other companies in the electric flying vehicles market include Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer XPeng, which recently revealed a concept flying car. Slovakian company Klein Vision has also developed AirCar, a vehicle that can travel both on roads and in the air.

The race to develop flying cars has subsequently prompted companies to plan ahead for skyports, with Uber calling on architecture studios to create concept designs of skyports for both ground-based and drone taxi fleets.

Source : Dezeen