Russia’s floating nuclear plant readies for Northern Sea Route

Robie de Guzman   •   August 23, 2019   •   540

Russia showcased to the media the world’s first floating nuclear power plant Akademik Lomonosov on Thursday (August 22).

Crew on the Akademik Lomonosov are expected to leave Murmansk for a long journey along the Northern Sea Route to Chukotka in Russia’s far east.

Rosenergoatom deputy director Dmitry Alekseenko said at a news conference that the main advantage of the new type of nuclear plant is its mobility that allows it to reach any point with demand for energy. He also said that it would do no harm to the environment.

Critics, however, warily recall Soviet-era nuclear accidents and Russia’s naval disasters such as the loss of the nuclear-powered submarine Kursk, which sank in the Barents Sea after explosions on board, killing all 118 crew.

In 2018 Greenpeace issued a statement calling Lomonosov a ‘nuclear Titanic’. (Reuters)

(Production: Lev Sergeev, Dmitry Turlyun)

Russia to investigate safety of ventilators after hospital fire kills five

UNTV News   •   May 12, 2020

Russian authorities said they would look into the safety of artificial lung ventilators being used at two hospitals after a fire broke out in St Petersburg at one of them on Tuesday (May 12) morning and killed five people.

The blaze erupted after a ventilator in an intensive care ward treating 20 patients with the novel coronavirus burst into flames, one source told the TASS news agency.

It was the second fire to break out at a hospital treating coronavirus patients in less than a week. A similar fire erupted at a Moscow hospital on Saturday killing one person.

A TASS law enforcement source said that a ventilator had caused that fire too. The source said the ventilators that caused both fires had been produced in the same factory in the Urals region.

Roszdravnadzor, Russia’s federal service for supervising healthcare, said it would check the quality and safety of the ventilators in the two hospitals, the RIA news agency reported.

Investigators opened a criminal case into Tuesday’s fire.

Russia is relatively well stocked with ventilators and has increased domestic production since the coronavirus outbreak. But data, experts, and some medics say many machines outside big cities are old.

In this case however, the ventilator reported to have started the St. Petersburg fire was new, TASS reported, having only been installed this month.

A third fire broke out on Monday at a private hospice in the Moscow region which killed nine elderly people outright.

The hospice’s owner was detained by police. A further two people later died in hospital, the RIA news agency reported.

Russia has reported 232,243 cases of the novel coronavirus, the second highest number of cases in the world as of Tuesday morning according to the Johns Hopkins University in the United States, and 2,116 deaths. (Reuters)

(Production: Anton Vagonov, Tatiana Gomozova)

NBI warns against proliferation of cybercrimes amid ECQ

Marje Pelayo   •   April 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Scammers are increasingly active these days especially with everyone practically living in cyberspace due to lockdowns in different parts of the world.

In the Philippines, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has warned the public of the rise in cybercrime as the national government’s enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) limits movement outside of residence.

With almost all services migrating online, scammers are taking advantage of online platforms to pursue their schemes.

Such is the problem of Jodel Merjudio who operates an online travel agency.

Merjudio reported to UNTV’s Serbisyong Bayanihan that some scammers created an impostor account of his enterprise’s Facebook page.

It only came to his knowledge when one of his clients told him about an alleged representative of his travel agency who transacted and asked money from that client on his behalf.

Part of the scammer’s modus operandi is to block the clueless victims from its fake page once payment is received.

The victims are then led to Merjudio’s official page to follow up on transactions that the latter had no knowledge of.

“Ang nangyayari, iyong kliyente pag nag-search sila sa Facebook, dalawa ang lalabas na agency. So kami ang nako-contact nila kasi naka-block na sila doon sa scammer page,” Merjudio said.

Jodel said he initially reported the incident to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Region 4A Cybercrime Division.

To assist Jodel, Kuya Daniel Razon contacted Atty.Victor Lorenzo of the NBI’s Cybercrime Division who agreed with Jodel’s initial move of reporting the incident to proper authorities.

The official promised to help Jodel in identifying the perpetrators behind the impostor account and to eventually resolve the case.

“Kunin nila ang mga contact details [ng kliyente] at kung makipag-ugnayan sila sa amin ay iyon kasi ang hihingiin namin (Get the contact details [of the client] so when you come to us, those are the details that we would be asking],” Lorenzo said.

Kokontakin namin sila para malaman kung ano ba ang mode of payment? Paano ang money ay transmitted? Bank to bank? Kasi ang best lead natin kung sino ang nag-create ng fake account ng travel agency (We will ask them what the mode of payment was; how the money was transmitted; and was it bank to bank? Our best lead would be the creator of the travel agency’s fake account),” he added.

Atty. Lorenzo said incidents of online travel agency scams have already dwindled for some time but since the country is under lockdown, scammers have again started to become active online. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

Russia test-launches controversial tracking app in coronavirus lockdown

UNTV News   •   April 13, 2020

Russia’s Ministry of communications has released a mobile phone app which allows people to have an instant security clearance to leave their homes during the coronavirus lockdown.

Users have to register with their passport details and supply a selfie to carry a clearance on their mobile phones to be shown on demand by the security forces. Reasons to be out of doors include taking out the rubbish, walking a dog, visiting hospital, caring for someone or going to work.

But the app means the user can be tracked by authorities, which has led to criticism from human rights campaigners.

The Roskomsvoboda organisation, which monitors internet freedom in the country, told Reuters that some measures during the pandemic were understandable, but the biggest fear was that they would not be lifted once the pandemic ends.

In a press released the ministry said the mobile app was designed for testing and its use is not mandatory.

Russia on Sunday reported 2,186 new coronavirus cases, the largest daily increase since the start of the outbreak.

Moscow and many other regions have been in lockdown for nearly two weeks to stem the contagion, but the number of cases was on the rise and reached 15,770 as of April 12, while the number of deaths rose to 130. (Reuters)

(Production: Maria Vasilyeva, Gennadiy Novik, Dmitry Turlyun)

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