Environmental activism? There are apps for that

first_imgFor Indonesia, forest conservation and efforts to mitigate and prevent land and forest fires has been a big focus area in the digital space. The severity of annual blazes, which managed to raze 1.65 million hectares of land last year, has pushed environmental groups and government agencies to develop digital tools to help mitigate the disaster.Here are a few examples of apps that look to bridge the digital divide in conservation efforts:Urundata is a crowdsourcing app that invites its users to help interpret landscape and environmental data for research and environmental restoration purposes.The app, launched in April last year, boasts over 1,000 downloads on Google Play Store, with 1,055 data contributors in 19 campaigns helping to observe 4,408,458 landscape spots. Conservation and environmental activism are no longer limited to professionals working and interpreting data in the field, as regular civilians can now pitch in through mobile apps that not only educate, but also invite people to contribute to conservation efforts from the screens of their smartphones.As the global community commemorates World Telecommunication and Information Society Day on Sunday, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres reminds people that new technologies are “powerful tools to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges”.“International cooperation on digital technology is essential to […] achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” Guterres said in his 2020 commemoration message. The app is a project of the RESTORE+ consortium, which consists of the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), World Resources Institute (WRI) Indonesia, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Indonesia, International Institute for Applied System Analysis (IIASS), as well as 10 higher learning institutions in South Sumatra.IIASS scholar Ping Yowargana, one of the developers of the app, said the group looked at crowdsourcing efforts such as Kitabisa or change.org and wished to implement similar methods for data gathering on landscape information to help restoration efforts and guide policymaking.“We wanted to try quality crowdsourcing that still fulfills some scientific criteria, resulting in efficient and cheap data gathering gleaned from people’s contribution” Ping told The Jakarta Post this week.The app gamifies data gathering and interpretation, in which users are presented with satellite images of various landscapes and then asked to identify what kind of landscape it is – informing users of the differences between primary forests and man-made plantations.The app has so far gathered data from South Sumatra and East Kalimantan, provinces that have a wide range of geographical make-up and are prone to annual forest and land fires.It is currently gathering national data for restoration landscapes, asking users to distinguish between primary forests, secondary forests, plantations, agricultural land, grass fields and savannas.Ping said the data would be made publicly available on the urundata.id website once all the data had been collected.The Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG) has also developed its own smartphone app dubbed Mitra Gambut (Peat Partners), together with the Partnership for Governance Reform (Kemitraan) nongovernmental organization.The app will serve as an online platform for villagers in peatland areas to share best practices on peatland restoration.The app, launched in 2018, has been installed on more than 1,000 devices, mostly by villagers and the project facilitators. It works like a social network platform, but puts an emphasis on geospatial features such as geotagging (marking the location of posts).The BRG’s deputy for promotional education and partnerships, Myrna Safitri, said Mitra Gambut was meant as a companion app for the agency’s Villages Care for Peatland program, so villagers and their facilitators have a platform to share their restoration practices and success stories.“The app is for them a place of education. They share what can be successfully planted in their villages, and in turn others are motivated to communicate [through the app],” she said.The Riau Police have developed a smartphone app called Lancung Kuning Nusantara to assist police and military personnel across 11 provinces in Sumatra and Kalimantan to aid prevention and law enforcement against land and forest fires.With the app, security personnel and civilians can volunteer by reporting land and forest fires when they occur. Once they register for an account in the app, users are also able to look for hot spots that have emerged within the past 24 hours – using various satellite data and imaging to inform.For more simplified data on forest fires within the last 24 hours, the LAPAN: Fire Hotspot app is a solid alternative.Both apps have been installed on more than 50,000 devices.The Environment and Forestry Ministry has also jumped on the digital bandwagon by launching its land and forest fires monitoring system SiPongi, which is available through the sipongi.menlhk.go.id website and as a smartphone app. Found on Google Play Store, the app has been downloaded and installed on more than 1,000 devices.Topics :last_img read more

Dutch metal scheme PMT demands equal treatment on Swedish tax

first_imgThe ECJ will now consider PMT’s case against Swedish tax authorities after the Dutch scheme lost an appeal in a lower Swedish court.The Solicitor General of the European Court, however, has argued that the different tax treatment is justifiable. He said that, although the free movement of capital within the EU means a foreign shareholder must be treated equally to a local one, if a non-resident pension fund’s position is incomparable with that of a local scheme, a different treatment is allowed.He also pointed out that Sweden levies tax on a scheme’s total assets against projected returns to avoid affecting investment decisions through tax policy, as well as to keep tax revenues independent from the broader economy. PMT, the €60bn pension fund for the Dutch metal industry, has taken Sweden’s Inland Revenue to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to demand equal tax treatment with Swedish pension funds.The Dutch scheme was forced to pay a 15% dividend tax on the €50m of Swedish equities it owned between 2002 and 2006 – a levy for which Swedish pension funds are exempt.PMT argues that national governments, as a matter of principle, should adjust their tax laws to create a level playing field between local pension funds and foreign schemes and demands a full refund. The scheme cited success in “similar cases” in Spain and Poland, where it managed to claw back more than €1.5m in paid taxes. read more

Suggs’ knee “good” as Ravens make final preparations for Seattle

first_img(Updated: 1:30 p.m.)OWINGS MILLS, Md. — A day after creating concern with their unexpected absence from practice, linebacker Terrell Suggs and safety Ed Reed returned to the field Friday.Reed sat out with a shoulder injury, but it was unclear whether it stemmed from the stinger he suffered a few weeks ago in the Jacksonville or from the nerve impingement he’s dealt with for the last few seasons. Suggs had not appeared on the injury report prior to Thursday, and it’s not clear whether he injured his knee in Wednesday’s practice. Coach John Harbaugh said following Friday’s practice that both players sat out Thursday in order to rest.“[The knee’s] good,” Suggs said. “Sometimes, things just flare up. It’s the NFL, but I’m good.”The Pro Bowl linebacker was amused when a media member asked him about his status for Sunday.“I don’t know,” said Suggs, drawing laughter from the gathered reporters. “I guess I’ll be a game-time decision. I guess we have to see. You all know the rule — we’re not allowed to talk about injuries around here.”When Suggs was told Harbaugh said Thursday was a day of rest and not an injury concern, the animated defensive player cleared up any lingering doubt about his status.“It’s not a big deal,” Suggs said. “I mean, come on, man. How long have you all been covering me? Nine years. You all know the story — if I can breathe, I’m good.”Wide receiver Lee Evans (left ankle) practiced for the third straight day and could be available to play if needed for the first time since the Ravens’ Week 2 loss to the Tennessee Titans. However, Evans has been limited all week, so his exact level of activity in practice is a mystery. Either way, the 30-year-old veteran’s ability to stack three practices in a row is a vast improvement over several past attempts to return to action over the last two and a half months.Brendon Ayanbadejo was on the practice field again, but the linebacker has not been cleared for contact as of yet. He will take the concussion test again on Saturday, and both he and Harbaugh expect him to be cleared to play on Sunday. The special teams standout sustained a concussion in the 23-20 win over the Steelers last Sunday night.“I feel fine, but the main thing is I just have to pass my test,” said Ayanbadejo, who said his reaction time was slow when he was tested earlier in the week. “I’m just anticipating it, and I think I’m going to read online, so I can study and see exactly what [the doctor’s] going to do, so I can get a little cheating so I can get this thing passed so I can help my team on Sunday.”Running back Anthony Allen (thigh) was the only player absent from the field during the portion of practice open to the media. He practiced on a limited basis Wednesday before sitting out a day later.Sunday’s officiating crew will be led by Scott Green, who called the Ravens’ Week 3 win in St. Louis. The game-time temperature in Seattle is forecasted to be in the high 40s with a 40 percent chance of precipitation.The Ravens will depart for Seattle late Friday afternoon in an effort to adjust to the time change ahead of Sunday’s game at 4:05 p.m.last_img read more

Logitech G becomes official partner for Super League Gaming

first_imgThis includes Minecraft City Champs, League of Legends City Champs, and after school programs across the States. Super League Gaming is focused on the amateur and grassroots side of things.Ujesh Desai, Vice President and General Manager of Logitech Gaming commented: “At its core, gaming is all about play – whether you’re a top esports pro or a child discovering the joy of games for the first time.“We’ve been so impressed with Super League’s work to create respectful gaming environments. It’s vital to the industry, and we couldn’t be happier with this partnership.  We both have a common goal of supporting creativity and inclusion among gamers and esports pros, and we’re dedicated to turning the tide and removing toxicity from gaming.”Logitech G will be supporting City Champs tournament prizing, as well as collaborating with Super League on ‘social media initiatives’ and working with the company to develop original content that will be distributed through both Logitech G channels and SuperLeagueTV.Ann Hand, CEO, Super League Gaming noted: “Logitech G’s commitment to providing best-in-class PC and console gear aligns with Super League Gaming’s mission to deliver the preeminent competitive community experience for gamers.“Our organization embodies a diverse set of gaming talent where teamwork, friendship, and inclusivity are key tenets of our philosophy. With esport’s rapid growth, we’re confident this partnership will broaden our scope of talent and allow us to foster player diversity for the next generation of gaming professionals.”Esports Insider says: There has been a lot of noise from Super League Gaming recently with the company evidently aiming to have a big 2018. Partnering up with a company with the stature of Logitech G is a solid move, and makes sense for both parties. Logitech G has today announced that it has signed on as the official partner to Super League Gaming’s 2018 schedule. Ann Hand, SLGlast_img read more