Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion I received a disheartening message recently. As the chairman of the Department of Surgery at Ellis Hospital, a disheartening message usually means a patient has received a terminal prognosis. In this case, the notice was far less critical, but just as disturbing. The Niskayuna Democratic Committee, whose candidates in this year’s election are Joe Landry, Denise Murphy-McGraw, John Della Ratta, Peter Scagnelli and Diane Percy, sent out a “mailer,” claiming that my daughter — at the top of the Republican ticket for this year’s elections — was racist, Anti-Semitic, and Anti-Muslim.How would my daughter, Yasmine Syed, harbor such beliefs? I’m a Muslim. So are three of her uncles and two of her aunts. Her mother, Anne Marie, is of Jewish descent whose ancestors barely evaded persecution in Hitler’s Europe, escaping to America after World War II. Yasmine is half-white, half-Middle Eastern, the daughter of both a Muslim and a Christian, the descendant of Jews. As a parent, I asked, “What did my wife and I do wrong?” I quickly realized we didn’t do anything wrong. It was Joe Landry and his team of Democrats who did something wrong. In Mr. Landry and his political counterparts’ ignorance and haste to smear my daughter and the Republican slate of candidates, they revealed a glaring oversight.They failed to even properly research their opponent. My daughter and all of our children are a living, breathing “League of Nations.” Being of Pakistani descent, she isn’t anti-Muslim. With a mother of Jewish heritage, she isn’t anti-Semitic. And being half-Caucasian, half-Middle Eastern, she isn’t racist. As Jesus said in Mark 3:25: “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” Basically, Joe Landry and the Niskayuna Democratic Committee would have you believe my daughter is full of hate — for herself.If Mr. Landry and the Democratic slate don’t even know or respect our family, do you think they care about your family or what’s needed to make Niskayuna a better place? Since my wife and I moved here in 1982, this town has represented every good thing about America that I sought to enjoy when I emigrated from Pakistan in the 1970s.With this ugly, hurtful, and most importantly false mailer, Mr. Landry and his team reminded us of what our families sought to escape by coming here to America: accusations and innuendo based on personal politics or ethnic background. Niskayuna is better than this, and I know you are, too. Politely, I hope you’ll keep this in mind on Election Day, Nov. 7.Iftikhar SyedNiskayunaMore from The Daily Gazette:Puccioni’s two goals help Niskayuna boys’ soccer top Shaker, remain perfectNiskayuna girls’ cross country wins over BethlehemEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidation
I do not know Sen. Rand Paul’s position on gun control (I believe he is at least for some background checks, etc.) and I do not know if his angry neighbor had or has gun (or guns). But what if his neighbor did (or does)?Arthur GlaudeRexfordMore from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationPolice: Schenectady woman tried to take car in Clifton Park hours after arrest, release in prior the… Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion
Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionCan’t take four more years of amoral TrumpPeople with honor and dignity cannot stand working for President Trump very long.Now we have temporary, unconfirmed, acting heads of customs and border protection, acting homeland secretaries, acting heads of citizenship and immigration, acting defense secretary, and vacancies throughout the government.President Trump prefers acting people because they are compliant.One result is the terrible maltreatment of children on the U.S. southern border.We once were horrified to see Syrian parents and babies washing up to be virtual prisoners on the shores of Greece or arriving to find guns and barbed wire pointing at them in Hungary. Now, here in the United States, it’s little and non-nutritious food, little or no drinking water, no bathing, no sleeping, no parents, no asylum hearings, no love, all punishment for children in our care. Are we no better than Greece or Hungary?If we tolerate our amoral, shameless president for four more years, it will get worse. Take back our honor. Save the children. Close the camps.Help the world. Vote in 2020.David GibsonBallston LakeWhy should we all have to pay again?Why do we have to pay again?Montgomery County broke a contract for garbage disposal with Fulton County. I ask Matt Ossenfort, who is responsible. He is Montgomery county executive, just as Ann Thane was responsible for the city of Amsterdam.Who should take the blame for the $5 million in debt when she left?Who takes the blame that obviously we broke the contract by taking in garbage at a higher price than we were paying Fulton County?Who is responsible for the $450,000 that we must pay Fulton County? Was it the country executive, legislatures or some other employee?Who is responsible for the $450,000 that we have to pay? This county has to smarten up. Ann Thane and her cohort Gerry DeCusatis should be liable for some of the city debt, just as Matt Ossenfort should be liable for the garbage fiasco — especially since now we have to pay more again for disposal. Ann Thane and Gerry DeCusatis both have nice, rewarded jobs with the state (paying $97,000 and $86,000 annually by state records). Maybe they should have their wages garnished to pay back the $5 million deficit, neve rmind blaming dead people and others. The county and city are on a bad path.Take off the rose-colored glasses. You might think things are getting better, but ride around and look.Enough is enough.Sandy “Rogo” RoginskiAmsterdamOnly help immigrants who are here legallyBravo. David DeMarco was absolutely right about coming into our country legally in his July 7 letter, (“Want rights? Enter the country legally”).I think we should help all immigrants who come legally, but I don’t think we should help those who come illegally.They broke our laws to get here and should not take away from those who are here legally or were born here.We have too many poor people who need our help and should get it. I also agree that only those who are legally here should get driver’s licenses.Carol VaccaSharon SpringsMore from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motorists
More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionDo we really need a review of flushing standards?The review of toilet flushing regulations demanded by President Trump because, 1) they were an Obama-era regulation and thus inherently flawed, and 2) that “people” are flushing their toilets “10 to 15 times as opposed to once,” is not based on reality. I’d like to know this: Have any official, credible and unbiased studies, or even a single such study, been submitted to support such bizarre, fictional claims?Even in the 60s and 70s, depending on the quality of toilet engineering, manufacture and local water supply, reasonable people flushed more than once occasionally. When I first heard about the Obama administration’s proposed toilet waterflow regulations, I was skeptical whether they could be achieved without necessitating multiple flushes more often.The amount of water used by toilets and urinals in this country is truly mind-boggling. Water is life.Our species is truly insane to needlessly continue to “flush it down the toilet.” However, modern engineering, in my personal experience, has met the challenge.The last toilet I installed in my basement uses a fraction of the water used by my previous toilet and cost around $50. We will face increasing water shortages and higher water costs in the future unless we conserve it. For the sake of our survival, we should not abandon real achievements based on the behavior of some politician’s “imaginary friends.” Sensibly, my new basement toilet has two buttons, appropriately and sensitively labeled, the use of which I will leave to the reader’s imagination.Bruce PettitJohnstownSmart Cities preserve valuesUpper Union Street in Schenectady has what we consider a well-preserved mixed use/mixed occupancy community, with pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly sidewalks and streets. However, McDonald’s is proposing a project that includes the demolition of an existing long-term clothing store building, replacing it with additional parking and an additional drive-thru for its Dean and Union street location.This project is kitty-corner from a Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru that has currently added to traffic congestion and standing vehicles on Dean and Union Street sidewalks, creating two hazardous pedestrian/bicycle obstacles. In addition, Bruegger’s bagels allows 4-car parking access across the street from what will potentially be the third curb opening for the proposed McDonald’s double-drive-thru project, which in our opinion tips the scale for this project in terms of pedestrian and traffic safety.Our understanding of Smart City growth is a plan that seeks to conserve historic streetscape buildings, preserve community customs and values, and not separate housing, business, recreation, education, industry and government. If Schenectady is seriously considering a plan to pursue a smarter, safer and more sustainable city, as was demonstrated at the Smart City open house, smart growth cities do not demolish buildings, replace them with parking lots and alter the streetscape to accommodate automobiles.This project will be presented at the City Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 18, at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, Room 110. Now is your time to voice your concerns.Gary J. Lessard, P.E.Donna M. LessardSchenectady
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“Are Apple’s engineers with the Foxconn engineers? If they are, they’re probably making progress. But if they’re not, if they’re quarantined, that could be bad.”While Apple uses other contract manufacturers such as Wistron Corp to make some iPhones, Taiwan’s Foxconn tends to handle the introduction of new models because its capabilities are the most advanced, supply chain experts said.Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics maker, delayed reopening key iPhone factories in Shenzhen and Zhengzhou after the Lunar New Year holiday but hopes to resume half of its Chinese production by the end of February.Senior Foxconn officials who have been working remotely from Taipei since the holiday have not yet returned to China on a large scale, a person with knowledge of the matter told Reuters, speaking of company officials generally. Travel restrictions to China because of the coronavirus have come just as Apple Inc’s engineers usually jet off to Asia to perfect the production of this fall’s new iPhones, former employees and supply chain experts told Reuters.High-volume manufacturing is not scheduled until summer, but the first months of the year are when Apple irons out assembly processes with partners such as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co’s Foxconn, two former Apple employees said.“They probably have one assembly line they’re trying things out on,” said one of the former employees who asked not to be named discussing production matters. Apple declined to comment. Foxconn Technology Group said in an emailed statement on Tuesday that the company is following all legally required health and safety practices at its factories to protect employee welfare.“Consistent with this, we are taking a cautious approach in the implementation of our post-holiday production schedules in each of our facilities in China,” the company said.Last week, Apple warned investors it was unlikely to meet revenue targets for the first three months of 2020 and that global iPhone supplies would be limited as manufacturing sites in China were not ramping up production as quickly as expected.Foxconn said this month that the coronavirus outbreak would lower its revenue this year.Earlier this month, United Airlines, which has disclosed that Apple is a major customer, said it was cancelling all fights to China until late April. Apple, meanwhile, said on Jan. 28 that it was restricting employee to travel to China to “business-critical” situations.Medical workers in protective suits check a CT (computed tomography) scan image of a patient at a community health service center, which has an isolated section to receive patients with mild symptoms caused by the novel coronavirus and suspected patients of the virus, in Qingshan district of Wuhan, Hubei province, China February 8, 2020. (REUTERS/China Daily)Collaboration criticalFor new iPhone models, the transition from prototype to the assembly of millions of units starts in earnest when the Lunar New Year holiday in China ends in late January and early February, people familiar with the process said.At that point, Apple has tested numerous prototypes and is in the late stages of what is called engineering validation, in which Foxconn workers assemble small numbers of devices while engineers from both firms troubleshoot.If delays occur at this stage it would eat into the time Apple needs to finalize orders for chips and other parts, almost all of which are custom-made for the iPhone.Because of the huge volumes needed, “they can’t wait to make component selections”, said Ron Keith, founder of Supply Chain Resources Group, which works with electronics makers such as Alphabet Inc’s Nest.In March and April, Apple engineers typically work with Foxconn counterparts to set up new assembly lines and do trial runs, before making final adjustments in April and May. The aim is to have production lines up and running in June so others can be added progressively to ramp up output.“It’s very complicated. There are so many variables in the environment, including small factors such as air pollution,” one of the people familiar with the process said.Anna-Katrina Shedletsky, a former Apple engineer and founder of Instrumental, a startup focused on factory automation based in Mountain View, California, said on-the-ground engineering collaboration was critical for new products.“You can fly those engineers somewhere else but there’s knowledge about how you make a product in that environment. It’s not that it can’t be taught but it’s a hard thing to move,” she said.While supply chain experts and industry insiders say Apple still has time to keep its annual iPhone schedule on track, travel restrictions have left it in a tough spot.“There is no face-to-face work being done,” an executive at a semiconductor firm that supplies smartphone companies and works with teams in China said, speaking generally about phone production cycles.“And the word is, that’s probably not going to change for another month at best. You’re really talking about two lost months, which in the consumer electronics cycle is huge.”Topics :
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced on Monday the country’s first confirmed COVID-19 cases, prompting efforts by the government and financial authorities to cushion the economy from any possible hit.Read also: Auto industry poised to recover after sales hit brakes in 2019Currently, the government is preparing a stimulus package to ease export and import regulations as supply chains are expected to start getting hit by the virus spread. The stimulus will be the second of its kind after a Rp 10.3 trillion (US$725 million) package announced earlier for boosting private consumption and the tourism sector.Industry Minister Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita said he was confident that the local industry had enough automotive parts despite the outbreak that disrupted factories’ activities in various countries, mainly in China.“According to a Gaikindo members’ report, their supply chains face no problems so far and the industry has enough stockpiles to continue production for the next three to four months,” he said.The Asian Development Bank (ADB) president Masatsugu Asakawa said in Jakarta on Wednesday that he believed Indonesia was less likely to experience a strong impact from the global outbreak than other countries in the region, such as Japan or Thailand.“Indonesia isn’t deeply integrated into the global supply chain, so it is still considerably fortunate compared to other countries,” Asakawa said, adding that the Indonesian economy which was primarily driven by domestic activity was at an advantage during the global health emergency.The country’s economy grew by 4.97 percent in last year’s fourth quarter, the slowest rate in three years, as investment and exports cooled. Following the outbreak, the government expects growth to slow to 4.7 percent in this year’s first three months.Read also: COVID-19 impact far more complex than 2008 crisis: Sri MulyaniDespite these challenges, Mitshubishi Fuso truck distributing company PT Krama Yudha Tiga Berlian Motors (KTB) maintained its positive outlook for 2020.“We project truck sales for the domestic market will increase by 7 percent,” the company’s marketing director Duljatmono said, adding that the company aimed to sell 46,900 trucks and acquire 46 percent of the market share for trucks in 2020. (mpr) Indonesia’s automotive manufacturers have expressed optimism that national car sales will soon bottom out and show a rebound as early as March despite a further drop in January and risks posed by the COVID-19 outbreak.The country’s car sales stood at 1.03 million units last year, a 10.8 percent drop compared to a year before, according to data from the Association of Indonesian Automotive Manufacturers (Gaikindo). The association blamed sluggish sales on political uncertainties due to the 2019 general elections that hold people off from buying big-ticket items, such as cars.Sales further dropped in January amid heavy flooding that struck several regions in the country, especially Jakarta and a novel coronavirus outbreak but the association maintained its target of selling 1.05 million cars this year. Topics : Read also: Astra International profits hit by lower car sales, commodity prices“While the COVID-19 spread has adversely affected sales, the absence of a political agenda and a subsiding trade war has supported the automotive industry,” Gaikindo chairman Yohannes Nangoi said at the Gaikindo Indonesia International Commercial Vehicle Expo (GIICOMVEC) 2020 opening ceremony in Jakarta on Thursday.“I expect car sales in February to remain flat compared to January. Hopefully, they will recover in March,” he added.The pneumonia-like illness has infected almost 100,000 people in around 85 nations and killed more than 3,300 worldwide, disrupting economic activities in countries around the globe.
He said such measures risked wrecking the Brazilian economy, Latin America’s largest.His stance, which flies in the face of World Health Organization recommendations, drew a strongly worded letter of condemnation from a group of eight medical professional associations.They called Bolsonaro an “enemy of the people’s health” whose response to the crisis was “incoherent and criminal.””He denies the body of scientific evidence guiding the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, disdaining the serious and dedicated work by a national and global network of researchers and health technology professionals,” it said. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro drew blistering criticism from the medical community and opponents Wednesday for downplaying the coronavirus pandemic, but renewed his attacks on containment measures to slow its spread.The far-right leader has repeatedly lashed out at restrictive measures to fight the virus, which he has called a “little flu” that caused an “overblown” reaction.He triggered new outrage among critics with a national address Tuesday night condemning “scorched-earth” containment measures by local authorities, such as closing businesses and confining people in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s biggest cities. Politicians of various stripes also attacked Bolsonaro, including center-right Senate president Davi Alcolumbre, who said Brazil “needs a serious, responsible leader who cares about the people’s lives and health.”Undeterred, Bolsonaro doubled down.”Companies aren’t producing anything. They can’t pay their employees… We are facing chaos,” he told journalists outside the presidential residence in Brasilia.”We could end up with problems like people looting supermarkets… What do we need to do? Get people back to work. Protect the elderly, protect people with health problems, but that’s it.”Bolsonaro, a former army captain who has been criticized for praising Brazil’s brutal military dictatorship (1964-1985), also warned the fallout of the coronavirus crisis could put democracy at risk.”What if this derails the ‘democratic norm’ you all defend so staunchly?” he asked, adding: “It wouldn’t come from me, don’t worry.”He compared his approach to the pandemic to that of US President Donald Trump, whom he admires.”We’re following a similar line,” he said. Topics :
Besides demand destruction, oil markets have also been slammed by the Saudi Arabia-Russia price war that is flooding markets with extra supply.An official from Saudi Arabia’s energy ministry said on Friday the kingdom was not in talks with Russia to balance oil markets despite rising pressure from Washington to stop the rout that has cut prices by more than 60 percent this year.With world demand now forecast to plunge 15 million or 20 million barrels per day, a 20 percent drop from last year, analysts say massive production cuts will be needed beyond just the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.“OPEC, Saudi Arabia and Russia could mend their differences, but there’s not that much OPEC could do …. The demand shock from COVID-19 is just too big,” said Lachlan Shaw, National Australia Bank’s head of commodities research.The contango spread between May and November Brent crude futures reached its widest ever at $13.45 a barrel, while the six-month spread for US crude broadened to minus $12.85 a barrel, the widest discount since February 2009.Prompt prices are lower than those in future months in a contango market, encouraging traders to store oil for future sales.Asian shares also slipped on Monday despite the all-out efforts of central banks to bolster markets with rate cuts and asset-buying campaigns.China’s central bank unexpectedly cut the rate on reverse repurchase agreements by 20 basis points on Monday, the largest in nearly five years, as authorities ramped up steps to relieve pressure on an economy ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.Topics : Oil prices fell sharply on Monday, with US crude briefly dropping below US$20 and Brent hitting its lowest level in 18 years, on heightened fears that the global coronavirus shutdown could last months and demand for fuel could decline further.Brent crude, the international benchmark for oil prices, was down $2.09, or 8.4 percent, at $22.84 by 0917 GMT, after earlier dropping to $22.58, the lowest since November 2002.US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell $1.11, or 5.2 percent, to $20.40. Earlier in the session, WTI fell as low as $19.92. The price of oil is now so low that it is becoming unprofitable for many oil firms to remain active, analysts said, and higher cost producers will have no choice but to shut production, especially since storage capacities are almost full.“Global oil demand is evaporating on the back of COVID-19-related travel restrictions and social distancing measures,” said UBS oil analyst Giovanni Staunovo.“In the near term, oil prices may need to trade lower into the cash cost curve to trigger production shut-ins to start to prevent tank tops to be reached,” he added.Rystad Energy’s head of oil markets, Bjornar Tonhaugen said: “The oil market supply chains are broken due to the unbelievably large losses in oil demand, forcing all available alternatives of supply chain adjustments to take place during April and May,” including cutting refineries runs and increasing storage.