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Consider making less food and composting leftovers this Thanksgiving, experts say

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A prep cook dinner at MoMo’s restaurant in San Francisco drops apple skins right into a food-scrap recycling container in 2009. Composting, a course of that converts natural supplies into nutrient-rich soil, will help scale back the quantity of trash dumped into landfills.

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A prep cook dinner at MoMo’s restaurant in San Francisco drops apple skins right into a food-scrap recycling container in 2009. Composting, a course of that converts natural supplies into nutrient-rich soil, will help scale back the quantity of trash dumped into landfills.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Photos

Environmentalists urge individuals to suppose twice about how a lot meals they make and how one can take care of leftovers this Thanksgiving.

New York Metropolis, reportedly the world’s most wasteful metropolis, final yr produced 5% extra trash the week after Thanksgiving than throughout a typical week, in accordance with town’s Division of Sanitation.

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By composting leftovers, a course of that converts natural supplies into nutrient-rich soil, individuals will help scale back the quantity of trash being dumped into landfills, environmentalists say.

“Over 70 billion kilos of meals waste reaches our landfills yearly, contributing to methane emissions and losing vitality and assets throughout the meals provide chain,” mentioned Andrew Wheeler, then the Environmental Safety Company’s administrator, in an announcement the day earlier than Thanksgiving in 2020. “This vacation season, we should all do our half to assist individuals and the atmosphere by getting ready solely what we’d like, slicing down our meals waste, and sharing or donating what we are able to to feed others.”

Some U.S. cities have arrange curbside composting that enables residents to go away meals waste in labeled bins for pickup. Those that don’t stay in neighborhoods with this service can deliver meals scraps to a compost drop-off location or group backyard.

New York Metropolis’s Division of Sanitation is conducting a pilot program of “sensible bin” composting for straightforward food-scrap drop-offs. Folks can open these bins, scattered all through Decrease Manhattan, through an app and drop off natural waste, which is able to then be taken to native and regional composting amenities.

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Consultants additionally advise People to freeze further meals to eat later, donate extra nonperishable meals to native charities and contemplate making much less meals.

Meals composting has elevated barely over the previous decade however has not grow to be a prevalent strategy to handle meals waste. From 2010 to 2018, the U.S. noticed a 23% improve within the quantity of municipal stable waste composted. However solely 4.1% of wasted meals and different natural stable waste was composted in 2018.

Meals contributes extra to landfills than some other materials, making up 24% of metropolis stable waste. Landfills are the nation’s largest supply of methane, a greenhouse fuel that contributes to world warming and will get emitted when natural waste similar to meals decomposes.

“Stopping meals from going to waste is likely one of the best and strongest actions you may take to economize and decrease your local weather change footprint by decreasing greenhouse fuel emissions and conserving pure assets,” EPA spokesperson Robert Daguillard mentioned.

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China’s disappearing data stokes fears of hidden Covid wave

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China is starting to under-report coronavirus cases and fatalities, obscuring the scale and severity of the health crisis just as the world’s most populous country enters its deadliest phase of the pandemic, analysts warn.

Official statistics on Friday revealed no new deaths and only 16,363 locally transmitted coronavirus cases in China, less than half the peak caseload reported last month.

That is despite a stunning U-turn over the past week to relax President Xi Jinping’s heavy-handed pandemic controls, which means the virus is certain to spread.

The sweeping changes to Xi’s zero-Covid policy allow asymptomatic or mild cases to isolate at home rather than in centralised quarantine, and slashed China’s mass testing and contact tracing requirements.

The sudden reversal comes came weeks after Covid-19 cases hit a record high of more than 40,000 a day, with every region of the country reporting an Omicron outbreak.

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Despite the official numbers suggesting the caseload had halved, Raymond Yeung, China economist at ANZ bank, said that on-the-ground observations indicated some cities, including Baoding, in the northern province of Hebei, already had “high infection numbers”. More big cities, he said, would soon endure similar levels of infections.

“Like Hong Kong, the actual infection data will no longer be informative. As the ‘official’ infection figures decline, the government can eventually claim their success against the virus,” Yeung said.

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The situation echoes the dearth of official information during the disastrous initial outbreak in Wuhan nearly three years ago. Local officials and analysts warned that the reduced testing, as well as gaps in reporting of both cases and deaths, would make it harder to assess the risk to the world’s second-biggest economy.

“The behaviour of case numbers is very similar to 2020, where we had one [to] two weeks with genuine case numbers, before the veil was drawn,” said Rodney Jones, principal at Wigram Capital Advisors, an Asia-focused macroeconomic advisory group.

“We have no idea whether we will see actual case data again, and whether the sharp downshift in cases reflects reduced testing . . . or political management of the case data,” Jones added.

A critical missing piece of information is the rate of positive tests, which is important for determining actual infection. Nor is the real-time effective R value published, depriving observers of a vital measure of the rate at which the disease is spreading.

There are also discrepancies between Chinese regions in how cause of death is determined and the definition of “symptomatic”. In some cities, including Shanghai, a chest scan is required before Covid diagnosis.

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Xi’s decision to loosen strictures has led to fears of an unparalleled wave of infections and a sharply rising death toll. Wigram has projected as many as 1mn deaths over the winter months.

China has reported 5,235 coronavirus deaths, with the latest additions on Sunday. More than 4,600 fatalities were reported in the first few months of 2020 and about 600 during Shanghai’s lockdown in April and May this year.

One provincial health official said deaths would “normally” only be recorded if a person tested positive before seeking medical attention. They added that many colleagues were questioning the veracity of the official death toll after authorities concealed fatality data in 2020.

“Those who present with symptoms but have not had time to be tested and die from an underlying disease, these would be missed,” the official said.

An intensive care unit doctor in Guangzhou, a city in southern China, said the data’s usefulness was complicated by the fact that many seriously ill patients were avoiding hospitalisation. Others were unable to obtain the PCR test result required for hospital treatment because of reduced testing.

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Chinese officials and state media said the policy changes were designed to “contain the epidemic in a more science-based and targeted manner”.

Public health messaging has also intensified to encourage vaccinations among the nearly 90mn elderly Chinese who remain inadequately protected from the virus.

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However, public anxiety is increasing about the healthcare system’s capacity to handle a big rise in Covid cases and the discrepancy between the official narrative and reality.

“We should address the problem — either report real figures or stop publishing them,” Hu Xijin, a former editor of the Global Times, a nationalist tabloid, wrote in a social media post, adding that disseminating “severely distorted figures to the public” was damaging the authority of official information.

Hospitals in Beijing have started running out of medical supplies, including ibuprofen and paracetamol, as health workers fight an outbreak spreading rapidly through the Chinese capital. Yet the Chinese capital reported just 2,654 official new infections on Friday for the day prior.

Ben Cowling, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Hong Kong, warned of the risks of abandoning testing requirements and reporting cases inaccurately.

“As testing intensity is reduced, it will be more difficult to maintain situational awareness of the level of infections in the community, and interpretation of case counts will be more nuanced,” he said.

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Yanzhong Huang at the Council for Foreign Relations think-tank, noted that after the November surge in cases, there were “so many asymptomatic cases and so few severe cases”.

“That is puzzling,” he said. “Does that mean they have a different way of counting Covid-related deaths?”

Others maintained that after nearly three years, the costs of mass testing, coupled with China’s contact tracing system, had become unsustainable.

As local government coffers dried up, the decision to depart from mass testing was essentially forced upon Beijing, said Sam Radwan, principal at Enhance International, a consultancy.

“Beijing Social Insurance Fund Management Center has run out of money. They’re having a hard time paying bills for the first time in a very long time,” Radwan said, referring to the capital’s agency responsible for funding health services.

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“That’s why you were seeing they’re shutting down testing booths before they’re removing the restrictions.”

Additional reporting by William Langley, Andy Lin, Gloria Li and Eleanor Olcott in Hong Kong

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Japan, Britain and Italy plan sixth-generation fighter jet to rival world’s most-advanced warplanes | CNN

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CNN
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The UK, Japan and Italy introduced Friday they’re teaming as much as construct a sixth-generation fighter jet, designed to rival or eclipse the perfect warplanes now employed by the likes of China and Russia – and presumably even the US, the principle ally of the trio.

“We’re saying the International Fight Air Program (GCAP) – an formidable endeavour to develop a next-generation fighter plane by 2035,” British, Japanese and Italian leaders stated in a joint assertion.

The leaders’ assertion didn’t point out China or Russia by identify, however stated the brand new fighter jet is required as a result of “threats and aggression are rising” in opposition to the “rules-based, free and open worldwide order.”

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“Defending our democracy, financial system and safety, and defending regional stability, are ever extra vital,” the leaders stated.

In a separate assertion, the British authorities stated growth of the brand new warplane is predicted to start in 2024, and it’s anticipated to be flying by 2035.

It can showcase applied sciences from every of the three companions, the British assertion stated.

“The ambition is for this to be a next-generation jet enhanced by a community of capabilities corresponding to uncrewed plane, superior sensors, cutting-edge weapons and progressive information programs,” it added.

The brand new jet is seen as a alternative for Britain’s Storm fighters and Japan’s F-2s.

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The brand new program will see Britain, Japan and Italy going their very own manner with out the help of the US, the world’s preeminent warplane maker.

All three nations are a part of the US fifth-generation F-35 stealth fighter program, below which all three fly the F-35 and variations of the warplane are assembled in Italy and Japan. The brand new jet isn’t anticipated to have an effect on the F-35 program.

In a joint assertion with the Japanese Protection Ministry, the Pentagon backed the event of the brand new warplane.

“America helps Japan’s safety and protection cooperation with likeminded allies and companions, together with with the UK and Italy – two shut companions of each of our nations – on the event of its subsequent fighter plane,” the US-Japan assertion stated.

In the meantime, the UK-Japan-Italy assertion stated the brand new airplane could be designed to combine with the protection applications of all their allies and companions.

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“Future interoperability with the US, with NATO and with our companions throughout Europe, the Indo-Pacific and globally – is mirrored within the identify we’ve chosen for our program. This idea will probably be on the heart of its growth,” it stated.

The leaders stated the GCAP program “will help the sovereign functionality of all three nations to design, ship and improve cutting-edge fight air capabilities.”

Critics say that strict US export controls on army know-how have typically restricted what clients of planes just like the F-35 can do to adapt them to their particular wants.

The US additionally has a sixth-generation fighter jet – referred to as the Subsequent-Era Air Dominance (NGAD) program – within the works. It’s designed to be the successor to its F-22, which together with the F-35, is taken into account the world’s high fighter jet.

The NGAD program has comparable goals to the joint UK-Japan-Italy plan.

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“The Air Power intends for NGAD to interchange the F-22 fighter jet starting in 2030, presumably together with a mix of crewed and uncrewed plane,” a US Congressional Analysis doc says.

However as of now the US is pursuing the NGAD program alone.

The British, Japanese and Italian leaders highlighted the advantages of working collectively.

“It can deepen our protection cooperation, science and know-how collaboration, built-in provide chains, and additional strengthen our protection industrial base,” their joint assertion stated.

This system can also be anticipated to supply an financial increase.

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“This program will ship wider financial and industrial advantages, supporting jobs and livelihoods throughout Japan, Italy and the UK,” the assertion stated.

The British assertion stated a 2021 evaluation by PricewaterhouseCoopers predicted the brand new warplane program might help about 21,000 jobs a 12 months by 2050 and contribute an estimated $32.1 billion (£26.2 billion) to the financial system.

In the meantime, China and Russia are additionally regarded as pursuing sixth-generation plane.

China and Russia now fly fifth-generation fighters – Beijing’s J-20 and J-31 jets and Moscow’s Su-57.

However the US-designed F-35s are broadly seen as equal to or higher than the Chinese language or Russian plane.

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9 million Americans wrongly told they were approved for student debt forgiveness

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About 9 million Individuals with scholar loans who had utilized for the Biden administration’s student-debt forgiveness program mistakenly obtained emails final month that stated their functions had been authorised. 

The messages had been a part of updates the Division of Schooling issued in November to inform 16 million debt reduction candidates that that they had been authorised to have as much as $20,000 forgiven. However a further 9 million individuals obtained emails saying that they had obtained mortgage forgiveness after they had not been authorised for reduction as a result of the method was halted attributable to authorized challenges, in line with officers. And others who hadn’t but utilized for the coed mortgage reduction program additionally obtained the e-mail. 

The error was made by Accenture Federal Providers, a contractor with the Schooling Division, which despatched the emails on November 22 and 23. The error could solely compound confusion amongst some debtors concerning the debt-relief program, which for now stays in limbo attributable to a number of authorized challenges, with the Supreme Courtroom earlier this month agreeing to listen to one of many circumstances. 

About 26 million individuals had utilized for the mortgage reduction effort previous to the courtroom rulings which have successfully stopped the Biden administration’s capability to just accept new functions. Within the meantime, the Biden administration has prolonged the pause on scholar debt repayments, which had been slated to renew in January, till as late as June 30, 2023, to present debtors extra respiration room whereas the authorized challenges transfer ahead.

On December 8, the Job Creators Community, a conservative group, stated it submitted a request to the Supreme Courtroom to listen to a second case regarding the loan-relief program. The group had sued in October, arguing the Biden administration violated federal procedures by failing to hunt public enter on this system. 

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“Corrective motion”

“Speaking clearly and precisely with debtors is a prime precedence of the Division,” a spokesperson for the Schooling Division stated in an e mail to CBS MoneyWatch. “We’re in shut contact with Accenture Federal Providers as they take corrective motion to make sure all debtors and people affected have correct details about debt reduction.”

The e-mail topic line incorrectly knowledgeable 9 million recipients: “Your Scholar Mortgage Debt Reduction Plan Has Been Accepted.” Nonetheless, the textual content of the letter was correct, letting these recipients know that the dedication of their eligibility would proceed “if and after we prevail in courtroom.”

Corrected emails might be despatched to these recipients and people who obtained the e-mail in error inside the subsequent few days. 

In a press release to CBS MoneyWatch, Accenture blamed the difficulty on “human error.”

“Accenture Federal Providers regrets the human error that led to an e mail being despatched to various scholar mortgage debt reduction candidates with an inaccurate topic line,” the agency stated. “Working carefully with the Division, Accenture Federal Providers will assessment high quality management measures to assist correct and well timed communications to candidates within the Scholar Mortgage Debt Reduction program.”

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