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Messages - adroth

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Space / Re: Blue Origin New Shepard
« on: January 15, 2021, 04:50:47 PM »

Space / Re: SpaceX Starship SN10
« on: January 15, 2021, 04:22:00 PM »

Indonesia / Re: Jakarta - Bandung High Speed Railway
« on: January 15, 2021, 02:10:20 PM »
China-made steel rails go on voyage for Jakarta-Bandung high speed railway
Source: Global Times Published: 2020/11/29 12:43:40

China's high-speed railway exports ushered in a new business in addition to technical standards and contracted construction - as steel rails export heading for Indonesia's Jakarta-Bandung high speed railway (HSR) was on sea voyage, making the nation as one of the few countries in the world that can export long steel rails.

The first batch of steel rails, produced by Pangang Group Co based in Southwest China's Sichuan Province, were loaded on to a cruise tanker in Fangchenggang port, South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and departed for Indonesia on Saturday, the People's Daily reported.

According to negotiations between China's railway authority and several companies including Pangang Group, the steel rail's transport plan was made as follows: the 100-meter long steel rails were first shipped to Fangchenggang port by rail, and then cut into 50 meter sections for shipment to Indonesia.

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United States of America / Trump has been impeached again
« on: January 15, 2021, 12:51:01 PM »
Trump's been impeached again. What's next?
By Zachary B. Wolf, CNN
Updated 9:52 AM ET, Thu January 14, 2021

(CNN)President Donald Trump has been impeached again -- the first leader in US history to be impeached twice by the House.

The question now is whether he'll become the first President to be convicted by the Senate and removed from office.

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These screen captures were taken from official DOTr documentation for the bid invitation for the Project Management Consultancy project for the Mindanao Railway

Related links here:




Indonesia / Indonesia's vaccine roll-out
« on: January 14, 2021, 11:35:09 PM »
Indonesia receives first COVID vaccine from China's Sinovac
December 6, 20207:51 AM

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia received its first shipment of coronavirus vaccine from China on Sunday, President Joko Widodo said, as the government prepares a mass inoculation programme.

Jokowi, as the president is widely known, said in an online briefing that the Southeast Asian country received 1.2 million doses from China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd., a vaccine Indonesia has been testing since August.

He added that the government plans to receive another 1.8 million doses in early January.

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Indonesia is also expected this month to receive shipments of raw materials to produce 15 million doses and materials for 30 million doses next month, the president said.

Infrastructure and Nautical Highways / Re: Davao-Samal bridge
« on: January 14, 2021, 04:55:53 PM »

The Department of Public Works and Highways and China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) have finally signed a P19.32-Billion official contract which marks the green light for the design and build of 3.98 kilometers Samal Island to Davao City Connector (SIDC) Project.

“We are more than excited to announce that with the signed contract, we can now apply for the loan agreement with the People’s Republic of China thru China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) to proceed with the detailed engineering design (DED) of the Samal Island to Davao City Connector Project,” said Secretary Mark A. Villar.

“Brighter future is ahead especially in tourism with the implementation of the toll-free four (4)-lane bridge that will significantly improve mobility and bring down travel time of around 25,000 daily motorists to only two (2) to five (5) minutes between Davao City in Davao del Sur and Island Garden City of Samal (IGaCoS) in Davao del Norte”, added Secretary Villar.

In a signing event held Thursday, January 14, 2021, Secretary Villar was represented by Undersecretary for Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) Operations Emil K. Sadain joined by DPWH UPMO Roads Management Cluster 2 Project Director Sharif Madsmo H. Hasim and Project Manager Soledad R. Florencio, while CRBC Authorized Representative and Branch General Manager Ren Xiaopeng with Marketing Manager Mo Haiyan represented the contractor.

Also present as witnesses were Counselor Jiang Jianjun and 3rd Secretary Xiang Chunnan of Economic and Commercial Counselor’s Office of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Philippines, while virtually participating in the event via zoom are CRBC Head Office President Du Fei, Director Hazel Baliatan and Assistant Director Joseph Capistrano of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and Department of Finance (DOF) technical representative John Narag.

According to Undersecretary Sadain, the CRBC which is one (1) of the three (3) shortlisted qualified contractors bagged the design and build contract of the SIDC following the procurement activities held on November and December 2020.

Once the DED for the SIDC is completed, CRBC will start the 54-month civil works stage of the project, said Undersecretary Sadain.

The SIDC is a China-funded project, envisioned as a modern bridge that will connect the Samal Circumferential Road in Barangay Limao, IGaCoS to Davao City in between R. Castillo-Daang Maharlika junction.

Its main span measures 250 meters and has a vertical navigation clearance of up to 47 meters crossing over Pakiputan strait. The bridge will also be supported by two (2) pylons with a height of 73 meters.


General Discussion / Black Hawk in Mindoro
« on: January 12, 2021, 03:42:54 PM »
Black Hawk, the most modern air asset of the country, ready to use in Mindoro

The most modern Polish-built S-70 i Black Hawk transport helicopters in the country, Occidental Mindoro PTF ELCAC Chairman Governor Eduardo Gadiano along with the staff of the Provincial Government, LtGen Antonio Parladé Jr of Southern Luzon Command, Col Jose Augusto Villareal of the 203rd Bantay Peace Brigade and LTC Alexander Arbolado of the 4th Infantry Battalion to re-host the native Bowing of the Site Mantay and its surrounding areas and personally know the developmental and other needs of its residents.

Remember that on 13th July last year the local government of San Jose and Provincial Government actively conducted the Retooled Community Support Program or RCSP of DILG, according to Executive Order 70 of our President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. This is aimed at addressing the aspirations of our Mangyan brothers so that they will not be deceived by the CPP-NPA terrorists.

Because of this program, Mangyan people in this area are gradually opening up about the government's program for them. At the same time, the CPP-NPA terrorists who are said to have had a long time in the mentioned area were expelled.

Since then until now, the ′′ convergence ′′ or the merger of various government agencies and non-government organizations continues to bring the situation of our brother Mangyan in Sityo Mantay and nearby. its place.
The leaders of Buhid tribe convey heartfelt gratitude to the government for the services and assistance provided to them. In the leadership of Gov Ed Gadiano as PTF ECLAC Chairman and MTF ELCAC Chariman Mayor Romulo Festin was able to carry out medical missions here, the House Meeting was also built, pathway and they were also given solar lights.
Apart from this, they were also given agricultural supplies, pets and fabric scarves materials for their alternative livelihoods.

And at the end, when the leaders of the Provincial Government and the Army went up again, they saw a big change in the life of the Tribung Buhid who are there far from fear and danger caused by the terrorist CPP-NPA.

On the other hand, the leaders of the army extend their gratitude to the local government of San Jose and the Provincial Government of West Mindoro for their immediate action to improve the condition of our Mangyan brothers. ′′ Your army will continue to be aides and aidesmaids for the peace and development of your community. Having the latest aircraft, the Black Hawk, this is an additional tool so that we can easily reach the remote areas here in Mindoro Island with various government staffs and solve the problems in the community. Let's work together and together give way to our long-awaited peace ′′ final statement by Col Villareal.

Aside from the Black Hawk's ability to perform day and night surveillance missions, these will also be considered multi-purpose helicopters that can be used during disaster, HADR or humanitarian assistance and disaster response missions, insurance, and troop transport of AFP.

House Democrats plan to vote Wednesday to impeach Trump
By Jeremy Herb, Manu Raju, Lauren Fox and Phil Mattingly, CNN
Updated 9:49 PM ET, Mon January 11, 2021

(CNN)House Democrats plan to vote Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told Democrats on a caucus call Monday, setting up an impeachment vote one week after rioters incited by Trump overran Capitol police and breached some of the most secure areas of the US Capitol.

The House will vote Tuesday evening on a resolution urging Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from power, and then plan to vote Wednesday at 9 a.m. ET on the impeachment resolution, Hoyer said.

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China imports avocados from the Philippines for the very first time
Tuesday, 31 Mar 2020

8:24 PM MYT

SHANGHAI: The first batch of avocados imported from the Philippines weighing 7,656kg arrived at the Waigaoqiao Port in Pudong New Area of Shanghai on Monday, the local customs officers announced on Tuesday (March 31).

According to the Shanghai Customs, the Philippines is the first Asian country to export avocados to China, which marks the successful practice of bilateral agricultural cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative.

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All plantations and packinghouses in the Philippines planning to export avocados to China must get approval from both the Philippines' Department of Agriculture and the Chinese General Administration of Customs.

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Where should the 2nd Phase of the Mindanao Railway Project be?

Conventional wisdom attributes the selection of the Tagum-Davao-Digos route as Phase 1 of the Mindanao Railway to fact that the President that designated the railway project a "flagship project" hails from Davao City. Pundits had chalked the decision to a classic case of "to the political victors go the spoils". While there is merit to this jaded conclusion, it is also prudent to consider the economic justification for this course of action.

Let us explore this in the following sections:

Making a railway sustainable
The strength of the regional economy matters
Next steps

Making the railway sustainable

The oldest railway system in the Philippines is the Luzon-based Philippine National Railways (PNR). At its height, the system maintained 797 kilometers of track from La Union to Bicol. By 2014 however, this coverage had shrunk to less than 100km of track. Less than the intended length of track for Phase 1 of the Mindanao Railway.

To protect the billions of pesos that are earmarked for the implementation of the Mindanao Railway, it is important to understand how and why the PNR declined to its current state. Lessons must be learned to avoid repeating them with the MRS.

Based on the experience of the Philippine National Railways (PNR), its path to degradation and decay was accelerated, in no small measure, to its over-dependence on passenger traffic as its primary source of revenue and the loss of its freight business. PNR General Manager Junn Magno explained the importance of cargo traffic to the PNR's future in this interview given to Bicol media. (Proceed to time index: 3:00).

The following Philippine Daily Express article from 1983, shared be Gorio Belen the Philippine Railway Historical Society FB page, reinforced GM Magno's point above. It summarizes what happens when a railway is overly dependent on government subsidies to stay operational and lacks measures to achieve a measure of profitability.

Therefore, if the Mindanao Railway is to be given a proper jump-start in its operations, it is important that its inaugural phase be situated in the most economically vibrant region of Mindanao.


The strength of the regional economy matters

A sustainable railway is one that will not only fill passenger seats, but will also support commercial needs. According to a study funded by the World Bank (see page 36).

Railways cost structures are at their most highly competitive when railways can operate large trains, well-loaded with traffic, over a heavily used network, by organizations with a lean and market-oriented corporate management. Train size and payload provide train operating economies; train density plus heavy network use provide infrastructure economies; and corporate structure yields administrative overhead economies.

These findings match the the PNR's own experience. Railways must be maximized to be profitable, and freight traffic is key.

As shown in the following table -- with data drawn from the Philippines Statistics Authority -- the Davao Region has consistently been the stronger regional economy in Mindanao. This gives it an advantage in generating kind of the activity that would maximize a railway.

In addition to the Davao Region's economic advantage, there is also the matter of population density. A relatively larger concentration of potential passengers also presented a key consideration.

Prior to the Duterte administration, discussions about the Mindanao Railway had always centered around Cagayan de Oro as being the most likely hub for the system. In addition to vocal support by prominent national leaders such as Senator Aquilino Pimentel, the prevalence of heavy industry in Northern Mindanao also made it a serious contender as a starting point for the railway system. It remains a consistent close second to Davao in terms of both economic strength and population -- as per PSA data.

The ground work for the Tagum-Davao-Digos leg of the railway is already well underway. The surveys have been completed, notices to homeowners have all already been sent out. Phase 1 will be in Davao.


Next steps

The only question remaining at this point is: Where will Phase 2 be?

The answer to this may lie in a recent presentation to Congress. Atty. Clipton Solano, Project Manager for the Mindanao Railway Project Management Office, gave the House of Representatives an update on the Mindanao Railway Project on October 23, 2020. There, Atty. Solano revealed that the MRPO was looking into starting feasibility studies for a railway to Koronadal and General Santos City -- in the SOKSARGEN region. The presentation used for the update appears below.

Note: The graphic above has stirred up interesting discussions on this website's companion page on Facebook. See here:
This selection is reportedly not yet final as the study for this southbound phase has yet to yet started. The DOTr has NOT issued an official public summary for the table above. Therefore, what follows is speculative and based solely on an analysis of open-source information.

But the following are reasonable justifications for prioritizing the Digos-General Santos-Marbel route. Points for comparison between a northern and a southern expansion of the the railway given the location of Phase 1 is not as straight-forward as one would think.

While Northern Mindanao has a significantly stronger economy than SOKSARGEN, General Santos -- one of the destination cities -- is significantly closer to Davao City than Cagayan de Oro. Even if the southern line is extended to Koronadal City, it would only add an addition 58km to the Phase, which would still be shorter than a line to Cagayan de Oro via Bukidnon. This would make for a shorter, and thus more affordable, railway. Resulting in a more favorable rate of return

While the alignment survey for both lines have yet to be completed, a line through Bukidnon would arguably traverse more challenging terrain than a line to General Santos and Koronadal. It is worth noting that the terrain that the Tagum-Davao-Digos railway traversed is the reason by the two-track railways was modified to a single-track railway to manage project cost.

Cagayan de Oro to Davao (262km est.)     General Santos to Davao (150km est.)

The population sizes of SOKSARGEN and Northern Mindanao are very similar, but slightly in favor of Northern Mindanao. But the proximity SOKSARGEN to Phase 1 allows a southbound railway to increase the addressable market of Phase 1 by 4.5 million passengers at a fraction of the cost of connecting Phase 1 with Northern Mindanao.

Further study is required to ascertain if the significantly stronger economy of Northern Mindanao, compared to SOKSARGEN, would offset the increased cost.

Jordan approves China's Sinopharm COVID vaccine
posted January 10, 2021 at 06:30 am by AFP

Jordan said on Saturday it has approved China's Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine for emergency use, after previously giving the Pfizer-BioNTech jab the green light.

"Emergency use of the... Sinopharm vaccine against the novel coronavirus has been authorised," the head of the Jordanian Food and Drug administration, Nizar Mheidat, told state television.

"It is the second vaccine available for use in Jordan after the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine," which Jordan approved in December, he told Al-Mamlaka television.

China's Sinopharm says its vaccine has a 79 percent efficacy rate.

Health Minister Nazir Obeidat said late last month that the kingdom had ordered one million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

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