Coping with corporate challenges amid uncertainties #SootinClaimon.Com

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Coping with corporate challenges amid uncertainties

Apr 11. 2021


Krungsri has launched “The Change Master”, a television programme, to cope with disruption and uncertainty.

The initiative under Krungsri Business Empowerment aims to provide knowledge, perspectives, and inspiration to entrepreneurs, and airs on Business Watch, TNN 16 Channel, this month.

Krungsri collaborated with four CEOs from four leading Thai organisations to share their experiences in leadership during a crisis in order to empower customers and entrepreneurs to make a change, welcome disruption and uncertainty.

Each of the four leaders gave important lessons on how to “manage business durinv uncertainty”.

Prasit Boondoungprasert, chief executive officer of Charoen Pokphand Foods Pcl, suggested that “in crisis, we must shift to high-speed mode; otherwise problems will not be fixed in time”. What is a high-speed way of operation?

“The end game must be set, we have to ask, if we want to achieve this kind of success, which direction we should take and how to solve problems. Moreover, frontline workers must be given more authority to make decisions, and the steps in approval process must be reduced to enable prompt response to customers,” he said.

“We are also trying to look for opportunities, for example, during the Covid-19 situation, we visited our export partner countries to see how they were affected.

What happened was we had the opportunity to export thousands of tons of chicken meat to Singapore, which led to a bigger project that would help the supply chain in Singapore by providing food safety.

“CP’s plant in Wuhan was chosen by the government to be the sole food supplier for the province, leading to learning and acquisition of logistics knowledge.

“The situation also caused employees of all generations to adapt to IT, resulting in faster operations, decrease in expenditure, use of AI in connection with production process, eg, voice technology in pork quality checking and camera-based chicken weighing system.

“The idea was that everyone should select technologies and approaches suitable for each of their business.

If you have a rash, go for a Covid-19 test #SootinClaimon.Com

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If you have a rash, go for a Covid-19 test

Health & BeautyApr 11. 2021

By The Nation

Having a rash may be a sign of Covid-19 infection, Chulalongkorn Hospital said on Saturday.

Earlier, Department of Disease Control director-general Dr Opas Karnkawinpong said young Covid-19 patients have a pink eye, runny nose and rash instead of fever.

In response to Dr Opas’s remark, Chulalongkorn Hospital said Covid-19 patients in many countries have “Covid toes” or red rash on their toes or other parts of the body.

The hospital added that Covid toes are usually found in asymptomatic patients and some of them have respiratory symptoms before or after having a rash.

“However, Covid toes were rarely seen in tropical countries,” the hospital said.

The hospital advised people to observe the following symptoms:

• Net-like red rash

• Petechia

• Urticaria-like red rash

• Chickenpox-like blebs

• Rash, fever, cough, sneezing and other respiratory symptoms at the same time.

“Patients who have rash, fever, cough, sneezing and other respiratory symptoms should see the doctor immediately,” the hospital added.

Medical expert tells people to strictly follow Covid-19 prevention measures during Songkran #SootinClaimon.Com

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Medical expert tells people to strictly follow Covid-19 prevention measures during Songkran

Health & BeautyApr 11. 2021Chulalongkorn University virology specialist Dr Yong PoovorawanChulalongkorn University virology specialist Dr Yong Poovorawan

By The Nation

Chulalongkorn University virology specialist Dr Yong Poovorawan has urged people to strictly follow measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 during the Songkran holidays.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, he said people who decide to return to their hometown to pay a visit to relatives posed a risk in spreading the virus.

He added that 10 per cent of people taking Covid-19 tests in hospital were positive, a higher percentage than last year.

“Therefore, everyone should maintain distance, wash their hands and wear face mask,” he said. “Nowadays, we can meet relatives even via online channels, such as Line Call and FaceTime.”

He also asked people to refrain from splashing water on others and forming alcohol drinking circles.

Matsuyama on brink of Masters glory after glorious 65 #SootinClaimon.Com

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Matsuyama on brink of Masters glory after glorious 65

Apr 11. 2021 Hideki Matsuyama (Credit to Getty Images)Hideki Matsuyama (Credit to Getty Images) 

Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama put himself on the threshold of Masters Tournament history after a stunning 7-under 65 in the third round fired him into a four-shot lead at Augusta National on Saturday.

No Asian golfer has slipped on the famous green jacket awarded annually to the Masters champion and the 29-year-old gave himself the best opportunity following a sublime inward 30 featuring four birdies and an eagle. He stands at 11-under 205.

 Four players – Xander Schauffele (68), Marc Leishman (70), Justin Rose (72) and Will Zalatoris (71) – share second place on 209, with Corey Conners (68) lying a further shot back. After starting the day three off the pace, Korea’s Si Woo Kim carded a 74 to drop to a share of 10th on 2-under.

 Matsuyama came out firing on all cylinders following a one hour 15 minute weather suspension, taking advantage of softer conditions. He rolled in a 19-footer for birdie on 11 following a great recovery shot, and snared further birdies on 12, 16 and 17, and an eagle on the par-5 15th after striking a beautiful five iron approach to five feet. He made a vital par save at the last, getting up and down from the back of the green to post the tournament’s first bogey-free round and his career low score at Augusta National.

 “Before the horn blew, I probably hit the worst shot I’ve hit this week (on 11), but after the restart, I hit practically every shot exactly how I wanted to. I just figured, I can’t hit anything worse than that. And so maybe it relieved some pressure,” said Matsuyama, who played games on his cell phone in the car during the weather delay.

 Ten years ago, he was in Butler Cabin as a 19-year-old amateur receiving the Silver Cup for Low Amateur Honours at the 2011 Masters and watched up close South African Charles Schwartzel slipping on the green jacket. He hopes it will be his turn on Sunday, which comes a week after 17-year-old compatriot, Tsubasa Kajitani won the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.

 Matsuyama holds two top-10s and three other top-20s at the Masters and has missed only one cut in nine appearances. His 65 was his 10th straight round of par or better at Augusta National and when asked what it would it mean for Japan if he won Sunday, he replied:  “I’m not sure how to answer the question. All I can do is prepare well, try my best, and do the best that I can tomorrow. I love playing here, and hopefully I can make it 11 (par or better) tomorrow.”

 He will attempt to win his sixth PGA TOUR title and first since August 2017. In the past 10 years, he has amassed six top-10s in the majors, with a T2 at the 2017 U.S. Open being his best. At the Masters, Matsuyama’s best result is fifth place in 2015, one rung below compatriots Shingo Katayama (4th/2009) and Toshi Izawa (T4/2001). Korea’s Sungjae Im’s tied second here last November is the best finish by an Asian golfer.

 Growing up in Japan, Matsuyama vividly recalls some of Tiger Woods’ early wins at the Masters, including the famous chip-in birdie on the 16th hole in 2005 which inspired him to excel in the sport.  “I have a lot of great memories watching the Masters as a young boy. I was always dreaming someday I could play here,” said Matsuyama, who won the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship twice to earn Masters invites in 2011 and 2012.

 Two Japanese women golfers have won majors – Hisako Higuchi and Hinako Shibuno – and Matsuyama will be hoping he will be making new memories and rewriting golf history along the way on Sunday.

 He will play alongside Schauffele, who is also chasing his first major win, again on Sunday. The winner of the Masters has come out of the final pairing 25 out of the last 30 years. “This will be a new experience for me, being a leader going into the final round in a major. I guess all I can do is just relax as I can tonight, prepare well and just do my best tomorrow,” he said.

 Third-Round Notes – Saturday, April 10, 2021

 Weather: Cloudy, with light showers late in the afternoon. High of 79. Wind SSE 10-15 mph, gusting to 25 mph. Play was suspended at 3:58 p.m. due to a dangerous weather situation. Play resumed at 5:15 p.m. for a delay of 77 minutes.

 Third-Round Leaderboard

Hideki Matsuyama            69-71-65—205 (-11)

Xander Schauffele              72-69-68—209 (-7)

Marc Leishman                  72-67-70—209 (-7)

Justin Rose                         65-72-72—209 (-7)

Will Zalatoris                      70-68-71—209 (-7)

Corey Conners                   73-69-68—210 (-6)

 Things to Know

  • Hideki Matsuyama seeks to become the first male major championship winner from Japan
  • Just two major championship winners (Justin Rose, Jordan Spieth) among the top 12 players on the leaderboard
  • Matsuyama’s 65 is his best score at the Masters and represents the only bogey-free round of the week
  • Matsuyama now has 10 straight par-or-better scores at the Masters
  • The winner of the Masters has come out of the final pairing 25 out of the last 30 years; following a 4-under 68, Xander Schauffele joins Matsuyama in Sunday’s final pairing
  • Jordan Spieth sits inside the top 10 through three rounds of the Masters for the sixth time in eight appearances
  • The last Masters champion to win from outside the top five was Nick Faldo in 1989 (T9)
  • First- and second-round leader Justin Rose trails by four after an even-par 72
  • Will Zalatoris trails by four in his attempt to become the first player to win in Masters debut since 1979
  • Marc Leishman is four behind in attempt to join Adam Scott as Aussie winners of the Masters
  • Corey Conners hopes to become the first player to record an ace and win the Masters in the same week

 Third-Round Lead Notes

47          Third-round leaders/co-leaders to win the Masters Tournament

(most recent: Dustin Johnson/2020)

11          Third-round leaders/co-leaders to win in 2020-21

(most recent: Jordan Spieth/Valero Texas Open)

 Final pairing (entering the week)

CategoryHideki MatsuyamaXander Schauffele
Age29 (February 25, 1992)27 (October 25, 1993)
Starts at the Masters93
Wins at the Masters00
Top-10s at the Masters21
Career PGA TOUR starts186107
Career PGA TOUR wins54
Career PGA TOUR top-10s4729
PGA TOUR starts in 2020-211611
PGA TOUR wins in 2020-2100
PGA TOUR top-10s in 2020-2115

Hideki Matsuyama (1st/-11)

  • Seeking to become the first male major championship winner from Japan
  • A victory Sunday would come in his 187th start on the PGA TOUR at the age of 29 years, 1 month, 17 days
  • Third-round 65 is the only bogey-free round of the week and his 10th straight par-or-better score at the Masters
  • 65 is his best score in 37 rounds at Augusta National Golf Club (66/R4/2015)
  • Holds his fifth third-round lead/co-lead on the PGA TOUR (1-for-4 to date; won the 2016 WGC-HSBC Champions)
  • Only previous lead/co-lead at a major championship came at the 2017 PGA Championship (R2/finished T5)
  • Making his 87th start since the last of his five PGA TOUR wins: 2014 Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, 2016 Waste Management Phoenix Open, 2016 WGC-HSBC Champions, 2017 Waste Management Phoenix Open, 2017 WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational
  • Making his 33rd major championship appearance; best finish came at the 2017 U.S. Open (T2)
  • Has finished inside the top 20 in five of his last starts at Augusta National, led by a fifth place showing in 2015
  • Leads the field in Scrambling (13 of 15) and eagles (3)

 Additional Player Notes

  • Xander Schauffele (T2) enjoyed his best finish in three prior starts at the Masters in 2019, finishing T2 and one stroke behind Tiger Woods; has three runner-up finishes this season (2020 THE CJ CUP @ SHADOW CREEK, 2021 Farmers Insurance Open, 2021 Waste Management Phoenix Open)
  • First- and second-round leader Justin Rose (T2) carded a second consecutive even-par 72 and trails Matsuyama by four strokes; 2013 U.S. Open champion is making his 67th major championship appearance; finished T2 in 2015 and 2nd in 2017 for his best finishes in 15 prior appearances at the Masters
  • Marc Leishman (T2) trails by four in bid to join Adam Scott as Aussie winners of the Masters; scoring breakdown for the week: Nos. 1-6 (8-under; 8 birdies), Nos. 7-18 (1-over; 6 birdies, 7 bogeys)
  • Will Zalatoris (T2) would become the first player to win in his debut Masters appearance since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979; the last player to pick up his first PGA TOUR win in a major was Danny Willett at the 2016 Masters; has 10 top-25 finishes in 14 starts this season
  • Corey Conners (6th) aced the par-3 sixth hole with an 8-iron from 182 yards; marks his second ace on the PGA TOUR (2020 BMW Championship/R3/No. 6); of the 33 aces in Masters history, six have come at the sixth hole (most recent: Jamie Donaldson/2013); would become the first winner of the Masters with an ace during the week
  • 2015 Masters champion Jordan Spieth (7th) sits inside the top-10 on the leaderboard through three rounds of the Masters for the sixth time in eight starts (2014/1st/finished T2, 2015/1st/won, 2016/1st/T2, 2017/4th/T11, 2018/9th/3rd, 2021/7th/TBD)the last player to win the week before winning the Masters was Phil Mickelson (2006 BellSouth Classic); leads the field in Greens in Regulation (44 of 54)
  • With his third even-par 72 this week, Jon Rahm (T21) now has 14 consecutive par-or-better rounds at the Masters

Internet usage soars as pandemic compels change in lifestyle: survey #SootinClaimon.Com

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Internet usage soars as pandemic compels change in lifestyle: survey

Apr 11. 2021

By The Nation

The Covid-19 pandemic has pushed Thais into a full digital life with internet usage rising to 11 hours and 25 minutes.

Chaichana Mitrpant, executive director of Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA), said that Thailand has been moving to a full digital era each year.

Various online activities, including online transactions, increased by leaps and bounds which created economic value and a digital society.

Thai people are now more familiar with technology and the Internet as the pandemic has driven the use of digital tools and internet, a recent survey said. This is one of the ways to prevent infection according to the principle of social spacing.

The 2020 Thailand Internet User Behaviour Survey reflected the behaviour change and future trends.

According to the latest survey in 2020, Thai people used the internet on average for 11 hours and 25 minutes a day, an increase of an hour and three minutes from 2019.

In terms of generations, Gen Y (age 20-39 years) made the most use of the internet with 12 hours and 26 minutes, followed by Gen Z (younger than 20) – 12 hours 8 minutes; Gen X (age 40-55) – 10 hours 20 minutes; and Baby Boomer (age 56-74) – 8 hours 41 minutes.

Overall, the number of internet hours used for school/work increased. This was partly due to the Covid-19 outbreak that led to closure of schools, and most offices having a work-from-home arrangement.

The most popular online activities are social media such as Facebook, Line, Instagram. They accounted for 95.3 per cent, followed by watching TV/watching clips/watching movies/listening to music online (85.0 per cent), searching for information (82.2 per cent), communicating online both phone calls and chat (77.8 per cent), email (69.0 per cent) and online shopping (67.3 per cent).

Social media that have continued to dominate the hearts of Thai people are Facebook (98.29 per cent), YouTube (97.5 per cent) and LINE (96.0 per cent), while the new platform TikTok has gained 35.8 per cent popularity.

The most popular online shopping platform is Shopee 91 per cent, followed by Lazada 72.9 per cent, Facebook Fanpage 55.1 per cent, Instagram 42.1 per cent, and Line 41.6 per cent.

The No. 1 popular TV and clip viewing platform is YouTube 99.1 per cent, Netflix 55.6 per cent, and Line TV 51.9 per cent.

NASA is preparing to fly the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars, in an otherworldly Wright brothers moment #SootinClaimon.Com

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NASA is preparing to fly the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars, in an otherworldly Wright brothers moment

Apr 11. 2021

By The Washington Post · Christian Davenport

They landed a car-size rover on Mars, and the brilliant, if cheeky, engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory even snuck a coded message into the parachute used to slow it down for a soft landing that read, “Dare Mighty Things.”

Now comes what the space agency says will be a “Wright brothers” moment on Mars: the first powered flight of an aircraft on another planet.

It won’t fly far, just to the height of a basketball rim and down, a short hop that should take about 40 seconds. But the autonomous flight of a tiny helicopter called Ingenuity would mark a first in interplanetary travel, demonstrate a new technology and pave the way for scientists and explorers to more quickly traverse the surface of the Red Planet.

Originally expected to happen as early as Sunday, the flight was postponed until no earlier than Wednesday after a problem during a test of spinning the rotor blades at full power. In a statement Saturday, NASA said, “The helicopter is safe and healthy and communicated its full telemetry set to Earth.” But it is diagnosing the problem before running another test.

The flight will be a technology demonstration add-on to the main feature of the mission – the Perseverance rover, a four-wheeled vehicle designed to explore the landscape of a crater that once held water and could yield clues about the possibility of ancient life there.

The rover is outfitted with all sorts of cameras and sensors that can zoom in on rock formations and collect data about the planet’s landscape and climate. “Reading the geological history embedded in its rocks will give scientists a richer sense of what the planet was like in its distant past,” NASA said.

Perseverance carried Ingenuity with it, a tiny offspring clinging to the under-carriage of the rover during the seven-month, 300-million-mile journey, the white knuckled landing through Mars’s atmosphere and the frigid Martian nights since.

Now it’s almost ready for its first flight.

“It could be an amazing day,” Tim Canham, NASA’s Ingenuity operations lead, told reporters Friday. “We’re all nervous, but we have confidence that we put in the work and the time and we have the right people to do the job.”

Ingenuity is a sprite of a helicopter, just four-pounds, with four pointy legs, two rotor blades that whirl at blinding speed in opposite directions, a solar panel and a fuselage packed with avionics designed to help it navigate the thin Martian atmosphere – another marvel to emerge from the labs at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

It’s no easy feat, flying a helicopter on Mars. The reduced gravity – about one-third of Earth’s – will help it take off and stay aloft. But the paucity of the Martian atmosphere, just 1% of the density of Earth’s, doesn’t give the blades much to chew on as they try to gain purchase for liftoff.

“That’s the equivalent of about 100,000 feet of altitude on Earth, or three times the height of Mount Everest,” said MiMi Aung, NASA’s Ingenuity project manager. “We don’t generally fly things that high.”

Commercial airliners fly at about 35,000 feet above the Earth, she noted, adding: “There were some people who doubted we could generate enough lift to fly in that thin Martian atmosphere.”

The twin blades can spin incredibly fast, 2,400 rotations per minute, and were designed to propel the drone-like Ingenuity off the ground. “Those blades are not something off the shelf,” she said. “They are really fine-tuned to maximize the lift that we can generate in such a thin atmosphere.”

If successful, Ingenuity’s flight would come nearly 120 years after the Wright brothers’ first flight of a plane above the beach in North Carolina. Nothing like Kitty Hawk, Ingenuity’s airfield is a dusty, rock-strewn, barren strip of land that is flat enough, NASA hopes, for takeoff and landing.

Designed as a test vehicle, Ingenuity is “in the long tradition of experimental aircraft that started with the Wright brothers, who were able to bring aerial mobility as a dimension for us to be able to travel here on Earth,” NASA’s Bob Balaram, the chief engineer of the Mars helicopter project, said in a news briefing last month. “In the same way, we are hoping that Ingenuity also allows us to expand and open up aerial mobility on Mars.”

As a tribute to the Wright brothers, Ingenuity has a postage-stamp-size bit of fabric from the brothers’ aircraft attached to a cable under the solar panel.

In 1903, the Wright brothers’ first flight went about 120 feet. Ingenuity’s first flight won’t go that far. Initially it plans to lift off, rise to about 10 feet, hover for some 30 seconds and come back down.

If all goes according to plan, the helicopter could make as many as five flights, each one more ambitious than the last. The second, for example, would fly slightly higher, to 16 feet, and then horizontally for a little bit before returning to the landing site.

The Perseverance rover will assist in Ingenuity’s flight, attempting to document it and relay signals back to Earth.

Ingenuity is a side benefit to the mission, a technology demonstration that could pave the way for more aircraft on Mars in the future that “could provide a supporting role as robotic scouts, surveying terrain from above,” NASA said.

“It’s a high-risk, high-reward approach that allows us to test capabilities we can improve on later, which could also advance science on future missions,” said Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s planetary science division.

America’s top residential solar CEO has started selling peace of mind #SootinClaimon.Com

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America’s top residential solar CEO has started selling peace of mind

Apr 11. 2021Lynn Jurich, CEO of Sunrun Inc., America's largest residential-solar company, on March 9, 2021 in Park City, Utah. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Kim Raff.Lynn Jurich, CEO of Sunrun Inc., America’s largest residential-solar company, on March 9, 2021 in Park City, Utah. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Kim Raff.

By Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Brian Eckhouse

Residential solar looked like a generational opportunity to Lynn Jurich back when few American homeowners had panel systems. The cost of solar equipment would fall, she surmised, and utility bills would rise. The economic case for going green would become clear.

There was little expectation that her company, Sunrun Inc., would capture new customers as a result of widespread panic triggered by fragile U.S. power grids heaving under the weight of climate calamities. But that’s happening now. Since summer 2020, emergencies have battered or threatened electricity systems in the New York area, California, the Gulf Coast, California again and in February, perhaps the most surprising place of all: Texas, the nation’s energy hub, a place unaccustomed to debilitating winter storms.

“It’s not slowing down, and it’s probably going to be even faster than we have anticipated,” says Jurich, Sunrun’s co-founder and chief executive officer. “To really combat the speed of climate change and extreme weather and what it’s doing to the grid, we need to go faster. We don’t have the luxury to rebuild this over the next 20 to 30 years.”

Climate-induced weather crises aren’t yet a primary catalyst for the growth of Sunrun, the leading residential-solar company in the U.S. But the urgency they foster is helping move the rooftop sector and home batteries into the American zeitgeist. Only about 3% of U.S. homes are equipped with solar, compared to more than 20% in Australia.

“The dynamics in places that haven’t historically been friendly to residential solar are starting to change,” says Joe Osha, an equity analyst at JMP Securities. “In Texas, you’re going to have people looking for resilience.”

America’s climate emergencies are happening at an inflection point: The U.S. residential-solar sector achieved record installations in 2020 despite an historically weak stretch early in the pandemic-and projections from Wood Mackenzie anticipate new highs in each of the next three years.

“If you had asked me in 2008, what’s the chances of weeklong blackouts in California and Texas, I would’ve said they were really low,” says Edward Fenster, a Sunrun co-founder and executive chairman. “The fact that the grid was so ill-equipped to handle modern weather, we missed. And that’s obviously created a real important urgency and opportunity around storage.”

Then there’s the change in administration: President Joe Biden is pushing to make the country’s electric system fully green by 2035, a moonshot ambition that will require a lot of rooftop capacity-as well as billions of dollars in new transmission lines that could take a decade to build to support remote pockets of robust wind and solar power. Biden’s bid will only amplify megatrends that are here to stay, no matter who ultimately succeeds him: decarbonization and the electrification of everything from vehicles to buildings to stoves, as the U.S. tries to eliminate carbon emissions in the decades ahead.

In some ways, Jurich’s company is ideally positioned to meet the moment. San Francisco-based Sunrun was the leading residential company in the U.S. even before it bought rival Vivint Solar Inc. amid the pandemic last year. It has a national brand that, while obviously nowhere near the notoriety of Tesla Inc., is gaining in consumer awareness. It also saw the potential of storage before many of its peers, which could ultimately transform the company from installer and financier to new-age utility. (Sunrun is among the companies that are working with electric-system incumbents to provide some energy from solar-powered battery systems.)

Still, there are challenges. The biggest utilities in California-America’s leading solar state-in March proposed lowering compensation for rooftop customers and adding a new connection charge. Interest rates have ticked up. There’s competition from other companies eager to participate in the electrification of residences, including solar-loan originators and local installers. And bureaucracy continues to stretch out the residential-sales process, contributing to high customer-acquisition costs.

– – –

Jurich and her family have been in Utah in recent months, where Vivint is based, while she works on integrating the company into Sunrun. It was from Utah that she watched the Texas crisis unfold, a deep freeze that caused days of blackouts and left millions in the cold and dark. More than 100 people died. “It was shocking,” Jurich says. “A lot of people across the country always like to look at California as, ‘Oh, it’s an exception; oh, it’s California.’ But when you see something so dramatic happen, and so tragic-really happen in another place, it just really makes it that much more personal and that much more visceral that this is not just about cleaner electricity, but it’s about safety and well-being and healthy households.”

Jurich, 41, is an introvert and perpetually on message-basically the opposite of Tesla CEO Elon Musk. She’s a regular on podcasts, and her company has long been one of the most engaged rooftop companies in federal and state policy.

Jurich took up meditation around 2013. “When she’s engaged in something, she’s fully there,” says Diana Chapman, a mentor to Jurich and co-founder of the Conscious Leadership Group, an organization that describes itself as supporting leaders to “build trust and create conscious cultures.”

A venture capital associate before returning to her alma mater, Stanford University, for business school, Jurich and her then-boyfriend, also an aspiring entrepreneur, agreed that the partner with the best business idea would tackle it first. Jurich was already interested in the environment. A trip to China in 2005 for an internship at an investment bank made an impression: Jurich found the pollution so bad that a necklace she had polished one morning was tarnished by evening. “I was convinced that sustainable infrastructure would be the biggest problem of our generation to solve,” she says.

Jurich got married a week before Sunrun launched in 2007, the first spouse out of the gate with a new company. Sunrun was part of a wave of clean-tech startups that came before solar reached the mainstream. The company emerged, as many Silicon Valley companies do, from a connection made at Stanford: Jurich met one of her co-founders, Fenster, at an orientation event at a site that had been billed as a houseboat. (Fenster recalls it was really a floating barge with a port-a-potty). Co-founder Nat Kreamer was a friend of Fenster’s who had come back from the war in Afghanistan and was eager to wean the U.S. off foreign energy.

Many of the startups at that time focused on making futuristic solar technologies. Sunrun followed a different route: using finance to deploy proven technology atop rooftops. The enormous investment in polysilicon that had already taken place meant that Sunrun could finance pools of rooftops and offer them to homeowners via long-term leases-a key product in the mainstreaming of rooftop systems. “We have all of the technology we need to make massive change-that was our original thesis,” Jurich says.

Her focus during the company’s startup days covered a lot of terrain-operations, strategy, boosting the efficiency of the company’s installers, fundraising, even putting flyers on cars parked at Bay Area Rapid Transit train stations. “It was a real hustle,” Jurich recalls. Fenster was the company’s initial CEO.

Sunrun spent part of 2008 trying to line up financing and closed a deal with US Bancorp as the financial markets went into free fall. “Lynn and Ed felt like the last helicopter over Saigon,” recalls Steve Vassallo, general partner at Foundation Capital, which had invested $8 million in the startup.

Jurich’s company was an early mover, but SolarCity Corp.-whose biggest shareholder was Musk, its chairman-went public first and was growing faster.

Sunrun went public in 2015. By then, Jurich was sole CEO and she had a month-old baby. “One of my favorite all-time images from our industry is that of Lynn Jurich on the day Sunrun went public,” recalls Emily Kirsch, founder and managing partner of Powerhouse Ventures, a clean-energy and mobility venture fund. “She’s surrounded by men in mostly gray blazers. She’s wearing a bright-yellow blazer while holding her newborn in her arms while she’s ringing the opening bell, as confetti falls from the sky.”

SolarCity, meanwhile, deployed 272 megawatts of systems in the final period of 2015, a high-water quarterly mark that no company has come close to matching. (Sunrun deployed 68 megawatts during that period). But the Musk-backed company was also debt-burdened. SolarCity was acquired in 2016 by Tesla-and soon began ceding market-share to Sunrun.

As panel prices continued falling, the sector firmed up its footing in California but less so in regions that boasted low power prices-thanks, in part, to the shale gas boom. Nationally, the status of federal subsidies often swayed total annual installations. Some companies “were focused completely on deploying megawatts and didn’t fully understand the economics of what they were doing,” JMP’s Osha says. “What distinguished Sunrun: They had a very good understanding of the financial implications of what they were doing. They weren’t just growing for growth’s sake.”

– – –

The SolarCity brand may be gone, but Tesla’s residential-solar business, as Osha puts it, “is back from the dead.” It’s on the upswing with a standardized, web-based approach that cuts down on customer-acquisition costs. The automaker deployed 86 megawatts of solar during the final three months of last year, its best period since third-quarter 2018. This was half Sunrun’s output in that quarter. On an earnings call in January, Musk said he expects Tesla expects to become the market leader. “But they have a long, long way to go,” Osha says. Tesla didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Jurich says the more awareness and investment in decarbonizing the system, the better. One of her mantras: “All people and all circumstances are my allies,” she says. “Even the existing, more fossil-fuel based companies and people who have worked in those industries, they deserve credit … They helped the quality of life, they played a really important role in the development of the world. And now it’s time to evolve and switch over to using decarbonized technologies.”

Residential solar companies attribute the sector’s slow market penetration in the U.S. partly to permitting delays, which help keep customer-acquisition costs stubbornly high. So the industry is pushing to streamline government approvals. “Some of the states, like California, that claim to be pro-solar are some of the worst for soft costs and permitting,” Osha says. In Australia, some residential systems cost less than $3,000 (after subsidy) and can be installed within weeks following purchase, according to Hugh Bromley, an analyst at BloombergNEF, a clean-energy research group.

But selling rooftop solar can be low-tech, and often involves heavy marketing expenses. Door-to-door sales were a sector mainstay before the pandemic struck. Sunrun’s sales and marketing costs for last year’s first quarter exceeded benchmarks for national companies and local installers. The company believes its customer-acquisition costs are competitive at the market level and deliver strong returns, contending that if it doesn’t spend the next dollar to acquire the next incremental customer, it will leave business on the table.

The promise of getting at least some blackout-proofing with solar panels and batteries is changing the sales pitch. For some homeowners, the climate crises have become effective advertisements for those products, as well as for generators.

“Inertia can take hold until things are too painful, where people now are motivated to change,” Jurich says. “I believe we’re at the beginning of that now.”

Battery demand “is so high that it has outstripped supply since late last year,” according to a Goldman Sachs research note in March. Five U.S. power outages have affected at least 1 million people since 2019, according to Pavel Molchanov, an analyst at Raymond James. The Texas crisis was particularly visible, and Sunrun experienced a 350% jump in web traffic in Texas in February. Its peers saw big surges, too.

“There’s something very empowering about being able to make your own decision and control your own electricity,” Jurich says. “We’re really innovating on turning the home into an energy asset.”

Việt Nam pilots initiatives to reduce plastic waste and marine litter #SootinClaimon.Com

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Việt Nam pilots initiatives to reduce plastic waste and marine litter

Apr 11. 2021A local sorts works in a plastic waste landfill in northern province of Lào Cai. — VNA/VNS Photo Ngọc Hà A local sorts works in a plastic waste landfill in northern province of Lào Cai. — VNA/VNS Photo Ngọc Hà

By Vietnam News / ANN

HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese authorities and international organisations discussed ways to reduce plastic waste and marine litter in Việt Nam at a workshop held in Hà Nội on Friday.

Delegates presented work between the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE), the Delegation of the European Union to Việt Nam and Expertise France on policy development as well as recommendations for four pilot projects in HCM City, Hà Nội and Phú Yên Province, which aim to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up untreated on land and in the oceans.

The initiatives included enhancing plastic packaging collection, sorting and recycling, encouraging fishermen to collect plastic waste caught while fishing, establishing an alliance of supermarkets to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags, and managing waste in ports.

“The Vietnamese Government and the MONRE have shown strong political commitments affirming that we have always given high priority to finding both short and long-term solutions to reduce plastic pollution and foster economic development,” said Director-General of the International Cooperation Department of the MONRE Phạm Phú Bình.

“The circular economy solution to marine plastic litter can be an important contribution to support the implementation of the National Action Plan and helps Việt Nam achieve its goals. Experience and lessons learned from the project and pilot activities will serve as a basis to expand to other localities and aim to inform policy development initiatives,” he said.

The circular economy means markets that give incentives to reusing products, rather than scrapping them and in such an economy, all forms of waste are returned to the economy or used more efficiently, according to the United Nations definition.

Talking about the circular economy, Rui Ludovino, First Counsellor, Climate Action, Environment, Employment and Social Policies at the Delegation of the European Union to Việt Nam, said: “We must move towards a circular economy for plastics, an economy in which resources are used and managed more efficiently and more sustainably. Through the Rethinking Plastics project, we work closely with Việt Nam to prevent marine plastic litter and share regional and European experiences,” he said.

The four pilot activities complement these efforts towards a circular economy with concrete actions and experiences from the local level, involving communities and households, local businesses and administrations, he added.

These activities are run within the ‘Rethinking Plastics – Circular Economy Solutions to Maritime Litter’initiative,  which is implemented by Expertise France with the financial support of the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Việt Nam has been confirmed as the world’s fourth-largest marine plastic polluter after China, Indonesia and the Philippines. Each year, the country dumps an estimate of 300,000-700,000 tonnes of plastic waste into the ocean per year, accounting for 6 per cent of the world’s marine plastics.

The country has set the target to have zero disposable plastic waste by 2025.

It has adopted a development strategy to promote the maritime economy in parallel with protecting maritime environment and ecosystems, specifying “preventing, controlling and significantly mitigating marine environmental pollution; being a regional pioneer in reducing ocean plastic waste” among the country’s objectives for 2030. — VNS

USAID to launch $17 million multi-year project to promote clean energy #SootinClaimon.Com

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USAID to launch $17 million multi-year project to promote clean energy

Apr 11. 2021

By The Daily Star / ANN

USAID will soon launch a multi-year project of up to $17 million to promote clean energy, said the US Embassy in Bangladesh today, a day after US President’s Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry’s visit to Dhaka.

The project titled “Bangladesh Advancing Development and Growth through Energy” will work to expand Bangladeshs’ access to affordable clean energy, support clean energy entrepreneurship, foster transparent and efficient energy markets, and advance innovation.

“It is also critical to curb the country’s carbon emissions, which nearly quadrupled over the past two decades. Not only will it reduce emissions, but will also improve living standards for the people of Bangladesh and will support continued rapid economic growth,” the statement said.

For more than two decades, USAID has helped Bangladesh transform the country’s energy sector as well as protect its natural resources, including more than 2.5 million acres of wetlands and forest areas, which contain habitats for the iconic Bengal tiger in the Sundarbans mangroves, it added.

John Kerry was in Dhaka to invite Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to attend the Leaders’ Summit on Climate, to be hosted by Joe Biden on April 22-23.

At least 40 world leaders from major economies and climate-vulnerable countries will attend the summit ahead to COP26 to be held in Glasgow in November this year.

US’ return to Paris Agreement, from which the former president Donald Trump pulled out, generated hopes among scientists and world leaders to protect the world from climate change.

John Kerry told reporters in Dhaka on Friday that the US will pay $2 billion to the Green Climate Fund and will play a leadership role in mobilizing $100 billion annually for the fund meant to promote mitigation and adaptation.

Experts demand generic version of drug effective against Covid-19 #SootinClaimon.Com

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Experts demand generic version of drug effective against Covid-19

ColumnsApr 10. 2021

By Bobby Ramakant
Citizen News Service

Shouldn’t a medicine like Remdesivir, which has proved to be life-saving in certain cases of Covid-19, be made available to all those who need it without delay?

Even if Big Pharma has a patent, there are provisions in global trade treaties that allow governments to issue compulsory licences for such a life-saving drug, and keep public interest above profit. This is why medical experts are demanding that governments use compulsory licensing for generic production of such a drug to help save lives.

Compulsory licensing is one of the key public health and social justice safeguards that allows governments to use, produce, and import or export patented technologies in the public interest.

When confronted with intellectual property barriers that block access to affordable life-saving treatments, governments of countries like Thailand, Brazil, India, South Africa, Malaysia among others, have used this mechanism of compulsory licensing in the past, to ensure life-saving medicines reach the people who need it most (for HIV, hepatitis C, cancer, etc).

Compulsory licensing enables local production or importation of generic medicines, multiple supply options, reduces price and increases access to life-saving treatments for those most in need.

The Indian state of Maharashtra is registering high numbers of Covid-19 cases as of now, and the situation is equally bad in several states. Among the medicines that have shown to work in Covid-19 are steroids and Remdesivir. The patent owner of Remdesivir, Gilead, had given voluntary licence to six Indian pharmaceuticals. Even then, there is an acute shortage of Remdesivir injections, possibly due to hoarding and racketeering, especially in Maharashtra. This will have a cascading effect in the rest of India. Its maximum retail price ranges between 2,800-5,400 Indian rupees (Bt1,200-Bt2,500) as per the company that produces it, whereas procurement rates at hospitals range between 600-1000 rupees. “After we pointed out this discrepancy, the Maharashtra government has once again capped the price from 1,000 to 1,400 rupees per injection. Each eligible patient needs six doses and is required only for treating moderate or severe Covid cases” said Dr Ishwar Gilada, secretary-general of Organised Medicine Academic Guild (Omag), an umbrella network of several professional medical experts’ associations in India.

Omag has appealed to the Indian prime minister to put Remdesivir in Drug Price Control Order, as is done for other life-saving medicines. This will help reduce the maximum retail price to an affordable level and remove buffer margins and scope for black-marketing.

Another ask of Omag is to grant a compulsory licence under Section 84 of Indian Patents Act, 1970, to ramp-up production of Remdesivir. It can bring down procurement cost to below 500 rupees per vial, to save millions of Indian Covid patients as also several more globally, who will benefit from made-in-India generic Remdesivir.

Omag has also insisted on rationalising the use of Remedesivir with strict adherence to the guidelines, making multiple Remdesivir stores or Remdesivir banks with strict sales control, and making racketeering of Remdesivir punishable under the Epidemic Act of India.

Gilada, who is also the president of Aids Society of India and Governing Council member of International Aids Society, added that Remdesivir (GS-5734) was originally developed by Gilead Sciences in 2009, to treat Hepatitis C and respiratory syncytial virus, but failed. It was then repurposed and studied as a potential treatment for Ebola and Marburg virus infections. In collaborative study it was subsequently discovered that it had antiviral activity in-vitro against multiple filoviruses, pneumoviruses, paramyxoviruses, and coronaviruses. It is now repurposed for use in Covid-19. Remdesivir was granted a patent in India in 2010. A compulsory licence can be issued against any drug with a three-year-old patent and hence this demand from Omag.

One of the lessons from the global public health emergency, is that profiteering from illness has to end. It is an essential cog-in-the-wheel of sustainable development where no one is left behind and that all healthcare services reach every human being in a rights-based manner, not dependent on the capacity to pay.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF or Doctors Without Borders) had earlier stated that a compulsory licence is a licence for alternative production or importation of a generic version of a patented medicine which is granted by the government and does not require the consent of the patent-holder. The Doha Declaration on TRIPS Agreement and Public Health confirms that countries are free to determine the grounds of compulsory licences. TRIPS, or Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, is an international legal agreement between all the member nations of the World Trade Organization. Examples of different grounds for compulsory licence include, for instance to remedy anti-competitive practices, failure to work or insufficient working of the patent, when the patented medicine is unaffordable or unavailable making it inaccessible to patients and when public health is at stake including but not limited to emergency/extreme urgency, epidemics and public non-commercial use.

Bobby Ramakant is a 2008 WNTD Awardee of the World Health Organization director-general.