Singapore: Heavy Smog May Last Several Weeks

Singapore Heavy Smog May Last Several WeeksSingapore’s prime minister has warned that the haze engulfing the city-state could last for weeks, as air pollution soared to record levels.

‘Definitive action’

The pollution standards index peaked at 371 on Thursday, breaking previous records and well above hazardous levels, before falling to about 300. The haze is the result of forest fires started by farmers clearing land on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

The issue has sparked accusations between the two neighbours. Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore’s Environment and Water Resources Minister, wrote on his Facebook wall that he would demand “definitive action” from Jakarta.

‘Hazardous pollution levels’

The poor air quality has prompted widespread buying of disposable face masks, leading shops to run out of stock. Parts of Malaysia have also recorded “hazardous” pollution levels, with over 200 schools in the country’s south ordered to shut. Malaysia’s Department of Environment has also banned open burning in some states. Indonesia’s forestry ministry said it intended to use cloud seeding to try to induce rain on the affected area of Sumatra.

Indonesian officials have suggested that foreign palm oil investors, including Singaporean companies, may bear some responsibility for the fires. However, several major Singapore-based palm oil companies have denied any involvement. Singapore’s prime minister said the city-state had provided satellite data to Indonesia to help identify who was responsible for the fires. He added that if any Singaporean companies, or companies with a presence in Singapore played a part in the fires, they would be held responsible.

Who is to blame for this hazardous haze shrouding Singapore and Malaysia? What should be done to remedy the situation?

Source: BBC News

Image: Breaking News

5 Weird Facts About Pokemon

Pokemon is not just a sales juggernaut. The Pokemon pan-media powerhouse is also a treasure-trove of trivia. Here are a few Pokefacts you might have overlooked.

Pokemon can be hazardous to your health.

When Pokemon triggered a seizure epidemic in Japan in 1997, it wasn’t the game that was to blame. Instead, it was the Pokemon TV show — and specifically an episode entitled “Computer Warrior Porigon”, which featured intense patterns of flashing lights. After it aired, over 700 children and adults developed epilepsy-like symptoms and were rushed to the hospital.

They’re edible.

Ever wonder why there are no farm animals in the Pokemon world? Many Bulbasaurs, Pikachus, and Vulpixes, but never a chicken, cow, or pig to be seen? According to the background text in a number of the Pokemon games, not only are Pokemon regularly eaten by the general public, some are considered delicacies.

The mystery of MissingNo.

He’s only in Pokemons Red and Blue, the first two games in the series, his name is “MissingNo,” and he’s the result of a bizarre bug discovered by Pokefans around 1999. If you can trick the game into trying to display a Pokemon that doesn’t exist in its database, MissingNo is the result.

Some Pokemon are worth as much as $20,000.

The Pikachu Illustrator card is the rarest find in the game. Never officially sold, never released in English, and worth somewhere around $20,000, the cards were given away as prizes in a Japanese drawing contest and only four are thought to exist.

They can get to be a bit of an obsession.

Lisa Courtney, of Hertfordshire, England, is the holder of the world’s largest collection of Pokemon memorabilia, with an awe-inspiring stash that totaled 12,113 items when Guinness last counted them in 2009. They take up the whole house.

Are you a Pokemon fan? Do you know of other weird facts about Pokemon? Feel free to share them with us!

Source: Yahoo News

Image: Side Questing