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E-Comm lists top 10 worst reasons to call 911 in 2019 – BC News – Castanet.net

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A bad hair cut, a parking spot deemed too small, and neighbours who vacuum too late at night – these were among the worst reasons to call 911 during 2019.

Others, according to B.C.’s E-Comm call centre, included not being allowed to use the washroom at a gas station, complaining that a coin laundry machine didn’t have enough water, and to enquire why traffic was so bad. 

Every year, there’s no shortage of examples of calls E-Comm staff have handled that aren’t based on a genuine life-or-death situation in need of emergency care.

Operator Chelsea Brent says an alarming trend has emerged in 2019, where people call 911 to seek general information, knowing full well their situation is not an emergency. 

“Sometimes, it feels like people may have forgotten that the reason to call 911 is to get help in a life-or-death situation. I take a lot of 911 calls where ‘I know this isn’t an emergency’ are the first words out of the caller’s mouth. But when I’m answering calls that aren’t an emergency, it means I’m not available for someone else who really does need critical help.” 

E-Comm communications manager Jasmine Bradley says although such calls may be absurd, all call takers must treat every call as an emergency unless they can establish there isn’t one, and this takes time away from helping those in genuine need. 

Here’s the full list of E-Comm’s top 10 reasons not to call 911 in 2019: 

  • To complain a hotel parking spot was too small
  • To complain a hair salon didn’t style their hair properly
  • To complain their neighbour was vacuuming late at night
  • Because they were upset a coin laundry machine didn’t have enough water
  • To enquire why traffic was so bad
  • To request police bring a shovel to dig their car out of the snow in front of their house
  • Because police are being ‘too loud’ responding to an emergency and requesting they should come back in the morning
  • To get information about water restrictions
  • To report a broken ATM machine
  • Because a gas station wouldn’t let them use the washroom

E-Comm is responsible for 99 per cent of British Columbia’s 911 call volume and handled more than 1.6 million 911 calls in 2019. 

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Cathay Pacific Crew Demand Right To Wear Masks Amid Coronavirus Fears – Simple Flying

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Cathay Pacific cabin crew members are asking their employer for the right to wear masks in fear of contracting the new fast-spreading Coronavirus. The new virus is quickly spilling out of China, with carriers like Cathay Pacific most exposed.

Flight attendants are requesting the right to wear face masks. Photo: Cathay Pacific

What are the details?

Cathay Pacific is no stranger to viruses. The airline was right at the center of the SARS crisis many years ago and memories of quarantined infected passengers are still fresh in its collective mind. In fact, back in 2003, some 42 percent of all Cathay inbound and outbound flights had been canceled due to a drop in passenger traffic and the airline was considering grounding the entire fleet.

As such, cabin crew operating the airline know they will be on the front line when it comes to battling this new challenge and they want to be prepared.

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So far the airline has allowed its staff to wear face masks on flights operating to and from China, but now the flight attendant union is fighting to have all staff on all flights have the right to wear a mask.

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As Cathay Pacific has a large number of network throughput-passengers, it is very likely that if someone was infected with the virus they would head onwards to another destination and could infect others on a non-china flight.

Cathay Pacific
Flight attendants are the most at risk. Photo: Cathay Pacific

What is the union arguing?

“All of them are worried about the risk they are taking every time they go to work,” the union said in a statement to South China Morning Post. “It is time for the company to properly address their concerns and allow cabin crew to wear masks on all flights.”

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The union also stated that having their team members wear masks means that they will be able to protect their passengers.

“Such a measure does not only ease the anxiety of frontline employees but also sends a message to the public that Cathay Pacific is doing everything to ensure the safety of the passengers.”

The union’s statement concluded that it would be ‘too late and too painful’ to let the team members wear masks on all flights only after the first flight attendant gets infected.

Previously during a measles outbreak last year, Cathay Pacific allowed all flight crew to wear masks. So far the airline has only responded cautiously and has not elevated the new virus to the same level.

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The carrier has not allowed flight attendants to all wear masks yet. Photo: Cathay Pacific

“As required by the Hong Kong health authorities, we are now distributing health declaration forms and will be making face masks and antiseptic wipes available at the boarding gate to passengers traveling from Wuhan to Hong Kong,” Cathay Pacific said in a statement to SCMP.

“Our frontline staff are reminded to maintain good personal and environmental hygiene, and to remain alert and vigilant while being on the lookout for passengers presenting with infectious disease symptoms.”

How dangerous is this new virus?

So far this new virus has killed six and spread from China to Thailand, Japan, and Taiwan. There are around 300 reported cases so far, but some experts believe that China is under-reporting the number and it could easily be in the thousands within the country.

With the Lunar Holiday soon approaching, the number of Chinese passengers will dramatically increase around the world as they travel to, from and throughout China. If the new virus is going to spread, it will be spreading then and the world should be prepared.

For those reading for the first time about this virus and are worried, fear not. Most of those who get the virus will only suffer symptoms associated with the common cold, such as a runny nose, headaches, coughing, sneezing. However, there is a chance that the virus could lead to pneumonia or bronchitis. If you feel like you have flu-like symptoms and you recently traveled internationally, then go see a doctor.

Simple Flying is an aviation blog and not a professional medical service. Any medical statements we published is based on the writer’s common sense at best and is no way an official medical recommendation nor the official advice of Simple Flying. If you are feeling unwell, seek a professional

What do you think? Should the flight attendants wear a mask? Let us know in the comments.

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Lineups outside grocery stores in St. John's as state of emergency hits Day 5 – CTV News

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ST. JOHN’S, N.L. —
Emptying kitchen cupboards were restocked in St. John’s, N.L., on Tuesday, as residents lined up at grocery stores open for the first time since last week’s massive blizzard.

The lineup at one Sobey’s store stretched around the parking lot and out onto the street by the time doors opened at 10 a.m.

The city had advised people to buy enough food to last 48 hours, but some would-be shoppers still turned away upon seeing the epic queue.

Within 20 minutes, there was little room to move inside the store as people filled their carts with essential foods and household items, leaving some shelves nearly bare.

The openings at Sobey’s and other grocers occurred on the fifth day of a state of emergency in the provincial capital, as cleanup continued from a storm last Friday that brought 76 centimetres of snow to some areas.

The state of emergency was to continue Wednesday, though the city said some restrictions would be lifted.

Grocery stores and pharmacies will be allowed to open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, as well as family doctors and specialist clinics in order to take pressure off hospital emergency rooms.

Oil companies will also be permitted to deliver home heating fuel.

Hundreds of Armed Forces personnel have been brought in to help in the effort, and more were expected to arrive on Tuesday.

Amid the slow return to everyday life, police announced one troubling development: the search for 26-year-old Joshua Wall, who went missing at the height of the blizzard, has been suspended.

RCMP spokeswoman Glenda Power said in an email that despite “exhaustive efforts” over the last four days, Wall — who was last seen leaving his home for a friend’s house at the height of the storm on Friday — has not been found.

“Bay Roberts RCMP continue to urge residents in the area to check their properties, including backyards, sheds, barns and other outbuildings, as well as vehicles, in the event Joshua sought shelter there,” Power said.

At Sobey’s on Tuesday, one St. John’s resident said she and her husband walked down early with a plan to beat the crowd, but arrived to find others had the same idea.

Doris Squires said she was looking forward to a restocked kitchen Tuesday night.

“I’m going to put on a pot of fresh meat soup, if I can get some fresh meat,” she said.

Several taxi companies offered free rides to seniors and people with disabilities who needed to pick up supplies.

Just around the corner from Sobey’s, there was a sense of relief at The Gathering Place, a service centre providing meals, warmth and other basic needs for low-income residents.

Ashley MacDonald, director of social programs, said the state of emergency has been hard on guests who rely on the centre for food and toiletries and couldn’t afford to stock up ahead of the storm.

Many were without power or any means to keep up with updates from the city, MacDonald said, noting some people approached her in the street during the last few days asking where they could find food.

“They’re in the dark about what everybody else knows,” MacDonald said.

About 70 people showed up on Monday to eat and to warm up, MacDonald said, and more than a dozen took home canned supplies for other community members who were housebound.

MacDonald said there was a sense of relief that day as people were finally fed, saw their friends’ faces and swapped stories after an isolating and precarious stretch.

She said planning ahead for warming centres and access to food should be a priority during such weather events in order to better support vulnerable members of the community.

Scott Seabrook, who lives in a bedsit nearby, was at The Gathering Place for a meal Tuesday afternoon. He said he’d been relying on the centre since moving to the city nearly a month ago for a job opportunity that fell through.

Seabrook said staff sent him home with some extra canned food Thursday night, warning they might be shutting down for a couple of days.

“I’ve been living on canned goods since then, and I shared it with some of the people in my room,” he said.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said about 450 troops — including some 175 reservists — would be in Newfoundland on Tuesday to help the province dig out from the storm.

Premier Dwight Ball said Tuesday afternoon that the Armed Forces had completed more than 160 assigned tasks so far, and the call volume of requests for assistance had been “extremely high.”

The city said it would allow the St. John’s International Airport to resume flights Wednesday at 5 a.m., and taxis would have permission to resume operations at midnight.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2020.

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The "Twin Threats" Facing Big Oil – OilPrice.com

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The “Twin Threats” Facing Big Oil | OilPrice.com

Nick Cunningham

Nick Cunningham is an independent journalist, covering oil and gas, energy and environmental policy, and international politics. He is based in Portland, Oregon. 

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    The global oil and gas industry is facing the “twin threats” of the loss of profitability and the loss of social acceptability as the climate crisis continues to worsen. The industry is not adequately responding to either of those threats, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

    “Oil and gas companies have been proficient at delivering the fuels that form the bedrock of today’s   energy system; the question that they now face is whether they can help deliver climate solutions,” the IEA said.

    The report, whose publication was timed to coincide with the World Economic Forum in Davos, critiques the oil industry for not doing enough to plan for the transition. The IEA said that companies are spending only about 1 percent of their capex on anything outside of their core oil and gas strategy. Even the companies doing the most are only spending about 5 percent of their budgets on non-oil and gas investments.

    There are some investments here and there into solar, or electric vehicle recharging infrastructure, but by and large the oil majors are doing very little to overhaul their businesses. The top companies only spent about $2 billion on solar, wind, biofuels and carbon capture last year.

    Before even getting to the transition risk due to climate change, the oil industry was already facing questions about profitability. Over the past decade the free cash flow from operations at the five largest oil majors trailed the total sent to shareholders by about $200 billion. In other words, they cannot afford to finance their operations and also keep up obligations to shareholders. Something will have to change. Related: Libya Is Facing A New Oil War

    But, of course, as climate policy begins to tighten, oil demand growth will slow and level off. Most analysts say that it won’t require a big hit to demand in order for the financial havoc to really begin to devastate the balance sheets of the majors. Demand only needs to stop growing.

    The IEA said there are things the industry can do right now – and should have done a long time ago. Roughly 15 percent of the energy sector’s total greenhouse gas emissions comes from upstream production. “Reducing methane leaks to the atmosphere is the single most important and cost-effective way for the industry to bring down these emissions,” the IEA said. But, the Permian is flaring more gas than ever, and methane leaks at every stage of the extraction and distribution process. Drillers have promises improvements, but the industry’s track record to date is not good.

    Meanwhile, the IEA also noted that while attention is often focused on the oil majors, national oil companies (NOCs) account for more than half of global oil production. The majors only account for about 15 percent.

    It is one thing for ExxonMobil or Chevron to face an existential crisis – which, absent an attempt to transition to a low-carbon business, they certainly do – but it’s an entirely different thing for the NOCs who will struggle to deal with the energy transition. The threat from the energy transition is not just to a specific business, but to whole governments and entire populations. “Some are high performing, but many are poorly positioned to adapt to changing global energy dynamics,” the IEA said. “None of the large NOCs have been charged by their host governments with leadership roles in renewables or other noncore areas.” Related: Has Natural Gas Hit Rock Bottom?

    Ultimately, the report from the IEA should be worrying for the industry. The agency itself has faced criticism for not being more at the forefront of calling for a clean energy transition, and its forecasts for renewables have consistently undershot actual improvements for renewable technologies. The agency also continues to call for more upstream oil and gas investment. In other words, the IEA is somewhat conservative, and has been slow to recognize major shifts in the energy sector.

    As such, the majors should probably take note when the IEA says something like “the transformation of the energy sector can happen without the oil and gas industry.” They can drag their feet, and will become increasingly ravaged by policy change and a deterioration in their core business. Or, they could proactively transform themselves, as the IEA says they should. Solutions to climate change “cannot be found within today’s oil and gas paradigm,” the agency said.

    By Nick Cunningham of Oilprice.com

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