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Topic: In Britain, Rising Prices and Shortages Evoke 1970s-Style Jitters

Long lines at gas stations, rising fuel prices, empty shelves in supermarkets and worries about runaway inflation.

加油站大排長龍,燃料價格上漲,超市貨架空無一物,大家憂心通貨膨脹失控。

Britons have emerged from 18 months of pandemic-imposed hibernation to find their country has many of the same afflictions it had during the 1970s. There is nothing Austin Powers-like about this time machine: Unlike the swinging '60s, the '70s were, by all accounts, some of the bleakest days in postwar Britain; even contemplating a return to them is enough to make leaders of the current government shiver.

英國人從疫情造成的18個月冬眠中醒來,發現國家遭遇許多與1970年代相同的痛苦。這次時光機器情節跟電影「王牌大賤諜」毫無相似之處:不同於動盪的1960年代,人們都說1970年代是戰後英國最淒涼的日子。只是想到要回到當時,就足以讓現任政府領導人不寒而慄。

The sudden burst of doomsaying in Britain is rooted at least as much in psychology as economics. While there is no question the country faces a confluence of problems — some caused by the pandemic, others by Brexit — experts said it was far too soon to predict that Britain was headed for the kind of economic malaise and political upheaval that characterized that decade.

英國突然爆發的末日預言,源自心理學的份量跟經濟學一樣多。無疑地,這個國家面臨一系列問題,一些由疫情引起,另一些由英國脫歐造成。專家們說,現在就預測英國將陷入那十年特有的經濟低迷與政治動盪,仍為時過早。

“It’s a combination of things that could, in principle, lead to that, but are quite survivable on their own,” said Jonathan Portes, a professor of economics at Kings College London. “We always talk about the 1970s, but it’s half a century later, and all sorts of things are different.”

倫敦國王學院經濟學教授波特斯說:「原則上來說,這樣的多種因素組合可能導致那種情況,但個別也能發揮作用。我們總是在談論1970年代,但已過去半個世紀了,一切都不一樣了。」

Britain’s economy, he noted, has bounced back faster from the pandemic than many experts predicted. The shortages in labor and some goods are likely a transitory effect of reopening much of the economy after prolonged lockdowns. Rising wages and supply bottlenecks are driving up the inflation rate, while the fuel shortages that have closed dozens of gas stations reflect a shortage of truck drivers, not of energy supplies.

他指,英國經濟從疫情中恢復的速度比許多專家預測還快。勞動力和一些商品短缺,可能是長期防疫封鎖後重新開放大部分經濟活動的短暫影響。工資上漲和供應瓶頸正在推升通膨率,而造成數十家加油站關閉的燃料短缺,反映的是卡車司機短缺,而非能源供應問題。

Nor does Britain have the aging industrial base and powerful unions it had in the 1970s. Labor unrest led to crippling strikes that brought down a Conservative prime minister, Edward Heath, and one of his Labour Party successors, James Callaghan, after what the tabloids called the winter of discontent, in 1979.

英國也沒有1970年代那樣老化的工業基礎與強大工會。1979年發生小報所稱的「不滿之冬」,勞工騷亂導致嚴重罷工,造成保守黨首相奚斯及他的工黨繼任者之一卡拉漢下台。

And yet the parallels are suggestive enough that the right-leaning Daily Mail warned that “Britain faces winter of woe” — a chilly welcome for Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he returned from the United States, having celebrated a new submarine alliance and rallied countries in advance of a U.N. climate change conference in Scotland in November.

然而,一些相似之處足以引發聯想,讓右傾的每日郵報發出「英國面臨災難冬天」警告。對訪美歸來的英國首相強生而言,這是個冷淡迎接,他才剛慶祝新的潛艦聯盟成立,並在11月蘇格蘭聯合國氣候變遷會議前團結各國。

“That is a very easy ghost to resurrect,” said Kim Darroch, a former British ambassador to Washington who now sits in the House of Lords. “But these are real problems. You can just see this perfect storm coming.”

英國駐華府前大使、現為上議院議員的達洛許說:「那是個很容易復活的鬼魂,但這些都是實實在在的問題。你可以看到這場完美風暴逼近。」Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/5804159

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Topic: British hospitals use blockchain to track COVID-19 vaccines

Two British hospitals are using blockchain technology to keep tabs on the storage and supply of temperature-sensitive COVID-19 vaccines, the companies behind the initiative said on Tuesday, in one of the first such initiatives in the world.

英國有兩家醫院正以區塊鏈技術來監控武漢肺炎(新型冠狀病毒病,COVID-19)疫苗儲存與供應的動態,這些疫苗對溫度極其敏感。負責該計畫的公司上週二表示,這是此新做法的全球首例之一。

Two hospitals, in central England’s Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick, are expanding their use of a distributed ledger, an offshoot of blockchain, from tracking vaccines and chemotherapy drugs to monitoring fridges storing COVID-19 vaccines.

這兩家分別位於英格蘭中部埃文河畔史特拉福及華威的醫院,將分散式帳本(區塊鏈的一種)技術的應用範圍擴大,從追蹤疫苗及化療藥物之動向,到監視儲存武漢肺炎疫苗的冰箱。

The technology will bolster record-keeping and data-sharing across supply chains, said Everyware, which monitors vaccines and other treatments for Britain’s National Health Service.

Everyware發布聲明表示,這項技術將加強整個供應鏈的紀錄保存與數據共享。Everyware為英國國民保健署監控疫苗及其它藥物之動向。

Logistical hurdles are a significant risk to the speedy distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, but have resulted in booming business for companies selling technology for monitoring shipments from factory freezer to shots in the arm.

物流的障礙對快速配送武漢肺炎疫苗構成了威脅,但提供監控技術的公司卻因此大發利市──它們監控疫苗的運送,從藥廠冷凍庫開始,直到注射入手臂。

Pfizer Inc and BioNTech’s shot, for example, must be shipped and stored at ultra-cold temperatures or on dry ice, and can only last for up to five days at standard fridge temperatures. Other vaccines, such as Moderna Inc’s, do not need such cold storage and are therefore easier to deliver.

舉例來說,輝瑞公司及德國生物新技術公司所生產的疫苗,其運輸和儲存都必須處於超冷溫度或置於乾冰上,而且在標準冰箱溫度下最多只能保存五天。其他疫苗,例如莫德納公司所生產的疫苗,則不需要這樣的冷藏,因此更易於運送。

Firms from finance to commodities have invested millions of dollars to develop blockchain, a digital ledger that allows secure and real-time recording of data, in the hope of radical cost cuts and efficiency gains.

從金融公司到日用品公司,有許企業已投資數百萬美元來發展區塊鏈。區塊鏈是一種數位帳本,可以安全、即時地記錄數據,以期大幅度削減成本並提高效率。

Blockchain originated from Bitcoin, and it was created for the sake of Bitcoin — Bitcoin being blockchain’s first application. A blockchain is a growing list of records, called blocks, that are linked using cryptography. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp and transaction data. By design, a blockchain is resistant to modification of its data.

區塊鏈的起源為「比特幣」,為了比特幣而產生了區塊鏈──比特幣為區塊鏈的第一個應用。區塊鏈為以密碼學串接並保護內容的串連文字紀錄(又稱區塊)。每一個區塊包含了前一個區塊的加密雜湊、相應時間戳記以及交易資料,這樣的設計使得區塊內容具有難以篡改的特性。

Source article: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2021/01/25/2003751156

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Topic: Plastic-Bag Charge in England Prompts Applause, Anger and Humor

Some critics predicted chaos, confusion and "bag rage." But while this week's introduction of a 5 pence charge for plastic shopping bags in England did not lead to a nationwide mutiny, as some had warned, it did prove polarizing.

Environmentalists, for the most part, praised the government initiative introduced on Monday(Oct.5), saying it would reduce pollution and waste. After all, it can take 1,000 years for a plastic bag to decompose, according to an estimate by Nick Clegg, who was deputy prime minister at the time the step was announced. Last year, major supermarkets in England handed out roughly 7.6 billion single-use plastic bags, about 140 per person, the government has estimated.

一些批評者預言此事必會引發混亂、困惑及「袋怒症」。實則,英格蘭本周開始每個塑膠購物袋收取5便士並未出現全境性反彈,然而正如部分人士所警告的,它的確引起了兩極化的反應。

環保派多半讚揚政府周一(10月5日)推出的這個行動,表示這將使汙染和廢棄物減少。畢竟,據措施宣布時擔任英國副首相的尼克.克萊格估計,一個塑膠袋可能要長達1千年才能分解。政府估計,英格蘭主要超市去年約發出76億個一次性塑膠袋,平均每人約拿140個。

The government hopes the fee, equivalent to about 8 cents, will help reduce the cost of cleaning up garbage by 60 million pounds, or about $80 million, over the next decade.

Stores and supermarkets are being encouraged to donate the proceeds from the bag charge to charitable causes, and are expected to raise 730 million pounds for such endeavors.

政府希望,每個袋子收費約合8美分(台幣2.4元)的作法,能使未來10年的垃圾清理成本減少6千萬英鎊,約合8千萬美元(台幣24億元)。當局鼓勵商店與超市將塑膠袋收入捐給慈善事業,如此預計可募得7.3億英鎊。

But critics of the new fee say it will stoke mayhem, given the long list of exemptions; shoppers can still get a free plastic bag if they are buying pet fish; raw fish, meat or poultry; unwrapped blades (including axes, knives and razor blades); takeout food; or loose seeds and flowers. There are also worries that customers might verbally abuse supermarket cashiers, and some retailers have provided members of their staff with training on how to cope with angry shoppers.

但批評新費用者說,一長串的豁免項目將引起混亂;若消費者購買寵物魚、生魚、肉或家禽、未包裝

的刀片(包括斧頭、刀和刮鬍刀片)、外賣食物或零散的種子和花,仍可拿到免費塑膠袋。也有人擔心顧客會辱罵超市收銀員,有些零售業者已開始訓練員工如何應付憤怒的顧客。

Then there were worries that shoppers would throng the British capital’s already harried streets, clutching, for example, jars of tomato sauce. One man who didn’t want to pay for a plastic bag for a single item was seen walking down a street in North London holding a package of wrapped salmon. Yet another fear is that there will be a glut of eating at checkout counters as wily consumers try to scarf down food before paying for it.

然後令人憂心的是,消費者將把本已忙碌的英國首都街道擠滿,手上抓著罐裝番茄醬之類東西。有位老兄不想為單一物品付塑膠袋的錢,抱著一袋包裝好的鮭魚走在北倫敦街頭。另有件事讓人憂心,很多人會在結帳櫃檯吃將起來,精於盤算的消費者會試圖把食物吃掉再付帳。

That similar plastic-bag charges exist in the other parts of Britain — Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland — seems to not influence the critics. In Wales, use of plastic bags has dropped 79 percent since a 5 pence charge was put in effect in 2011.

The new rules in England apply to retailers with more than 250 full-time employees. Retailers that fail to properly enforce the measure can be fined up to 5,000 pounds.

英國其他地區(威爾斯、北愛爾蘭及蘇格蘭)都收取類似塑膠袋費,但批評者似乎並未因而降低音量。威爾斯2011年開始收取5便士至今,塑膠袋用量減少了79%。

英格蘭新規定適用於全職員工超過250人的零售業者,未適切執行者最高可罰5千英鎊。

Similar efforts to regulate plastic bag have been put in place across the world.

In 2002, Bangladesh became the first country to introduce a ban on thin plastic bags amid concerns that they were clogging drainage pipes and contributing to devastating flooding.

規範塑膠袋使用的類似努力已在全球各地實施。

孟加拉2002年成為第一個推出薄塑膠袋禁令的國家,因為擔心塑膠袋堵住排水管且造成毀滅性洪災。

In 2008, Rwanda banned plastic bags outright, helping to solidify its image as one of the most environmentally conscious nations in East Africa.

In the United States, many communities have regulated or even prohibited the bags. Since 2007, they have been banned in nearly 100 municipalities in California, including Los Angeles. In 2014, California banned stores from giving out free plastic bags. The law was to take effect in July, but after lobbying by opponents of the bill, including the bag industry, a referendum on whether to repeal the ban is planned for November 2016.

盧安達在2008年完全禁用塑膠袋,鞏固了它東非環保意識模範國的形象。

在美國,許多社區已規範或甚至禁用塑膠袋。2007年起,塑膠袋已在加州洛杉磯等近百城市禁用。加州2014年立法禁止商店發放免費塑膠袋,原定當年7月生效,但在包括塑膠袋產業在內的反對者遊說下,計畫於2016年11月就是否廢除禁令進行公投。

Only a tiny fraction of plastic bags are recycled, while many end up in kitchen cupboards, floating through the air or wasting away slowly in landfills. "Plastic bags end up everywhere — stashed in cupboards, floating down canals, littering our streets or killing wildlife," Friends of the Earth, a British environmental group, said in a statement welcoming the new measure.

However, the TaxPayers' Alliance, an anti-tax group, said the new measure would burden families who are already struggling to get by.

只有極小部分塑膠袋被回收再利用,卻有許多最後待在廚房櫥櫃內、飄浮在空中,或在垃圾掩埋場慢慢腐爛。英國環保團體「地球之友」在歡迎這項新措施的聲明中說:「塑膠袋落得到處都是 -- 藏身於櫥櫃內、飄流在運河中、散布在我們的街頭,或殺死了野生動物。」

然而,反稅團體「納稅人聯盟」說,新措施將使那些已在掙扎圖存的家庭負擔更重。

A 2013 study by the Washington-based National Center for Policy Analysis, which champions laissez-faire economics, argued that paper and reusable bags were worse for the environment than plastic bags when it came to energy and water use, and to greenhouse gas emissions. "Every type of grocery bag incurs environmental costs," wrote H. Sterling Burnett, the author of the study.

提倡自由放任經濟的華府美國國家政策分析中心在2013年的研究報告中主張,就能源和水的使用及溫室氣體排放而言,紙袋跟環保袋比塑膠袋更不環保。報告作者史特林.柏奈特寫道:「每種食品雜貨袋都有環境成本。」

Whatever the arguments, the rules have inspired a mix of applause, resentment, fear and no little humor. "Can England cope with the bag charge, or will there be a bagpocalypse?" Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett asked in the British daily The Guardian. "Plastic Bags Chaos Looms," read a headline in The Daily Mail. Chloe Metzger, a 21-year-old blogger and student, wrote on Twitter: "I understand the whole #plasticbags thing but it couldn't be more annoying."

無論主張為何,新規定已引發多種反應,掌聲,怨恨,憂懼,還有不少的幽默。雷亞儂.露西.科斯雷在英國衛報上問道:「英格蘭能處理好塑膠袋收費嗎,或是將出現袋之末日?」每日郵報的標題則寫道:「塑膠袋亂局一觸即發。」21歲的學生部落客克羅伊.梅茲傑在推特上寫道:「我完全明白塑膠袋這檔事,但它讓人煩透了。」

Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/287605/web/

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