After a year like this, expect a strange New Year’s Eve

first_imgHomeNewsAfter a year like this, expect a strange New Year’s Eve Dec. 31, 2020 at 5:00 amNewsState & NationalAfter a year like this, expect a strange New Year’s EveGuest Author5 months agoNewsState & NationalHappy New Year Typography with Fireworks in Night Sky. Image courtesy of iStock.com If ever a year’s end seemed like cause for celebration, 2020 might be it.Yet the coronavirus scourge that dominated the year is also looming over New Year’s festivities and forcing officials worldwide to tone them down.From New York’s Times Square to Sydney Harbor, big public blowouts are being turned into TV-only shows and digital events. Fireworks displays have been canceled from the Las Vegas Strip to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Even private parties in some places are restricted.The occasion stirs mixed feelings for people like Cesar Soltero, who was taking photos, and taking stock, in Times Square this week.“I’m going to celebrate that I’m alive, but I’m not precisely too happy for this year,” said Soltero, 36, an engineer visiting from Orlando, Florida, after forgoing his usual holiday trip to see family in Mexico.Simona Faidiga and Alessandro Nunziata strolled through Times Square with their Labrador retriever puppy, Maggie, who has given Faidiga a lift after she lost her tour guide job.The Italian couple moved to Miami for new jobs in March, just as the pandemic froze tourism. He is working as a sales representative, but she is not back at work yet. And they’re not ready to declare 2021 will be better, not wanting to jinx it.“I mean, I don’t think it could be worse than 2020,” said Nunziata, 27.Days ahead of the ball drop in Times Square, it clearly wasn’t New Year’s as usual at the Crossroads of the World. There was room to roam on sidewalks that would normally be all but impassable.Vendors’ carts and window displays at the area’s struggling gift shops flaunted few 2021-themed souvenirs as workers set up a stage for a celebration that will unfold this year without the usual throngs of cheering, kissing revelers. Police will block off the area so spectators can’t get a glimpse.“It’s almost like a ‘Seinfeld’ episode,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said, invoking the 1990s “show about nothing.” “This is a ball drop about nothing, where you can’t see, so you may as well stay home.”The event’s special guests will be first responders and essential workers. But they won’t be joining the mayor on stage to lead the countdown. Instead, each guest will watch from a private, well-spaced area.The night’s performances — including disco diva Gloria Gaynor’s singing of the apt-for-2020 anthem “I Will Survive” — will be aimed at TV audiences.New Year’s Eve will look different around the world after a year in which the virus killed an estimated 1.8 million people, including more than 330,000 in the U.S.Germany banned the sale of fireworks, which residents usually set off in on the streets, and a pyrotechnics show at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate is off.So, too, are the fireworks over the River Thames in locked-down London, where New Year’s Eve also marks Britain’s final economic split from the European Union. However, Big Ben, which has been largely silent since 2017 while its clock tower is restored, will sound 12 bongs at midnight.The Netherlands moved the national countdown from an Amsterdam park to a soccer stadium, where spectators won’t be allowed in and pyrotechnics will be replaced with “electric fireworks.”In Rome, the fireworks are still on, but customary concerts in public plazas have been scrapped in favor of livestreamed performances and art installations. Pope Francis will skip his typical Dec. 31 visit to the Vatican’s life-sized Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square and plans to deliver his New Year’s Day blessing indoors, to prevent crowds from gathering.Rio de Janeiro nixed the fireworks, open-air concerts and rooftop parties that draw crowds of white-clad revelers in the Copacabana neighborhood, where only residents will be allowed in.New Year’s Eve is one of the busiest days of the year at Paulo Roberto Senna’s Copacabana beach stand, but the 57-year-old said he was OK with the shutdown: “No money can buy our health!”Hot dog vendor Fabio Henrique saw it differently.“They tell us to stay home, but for those who don’t have money, where are we going to get the means to live?” asked Henrique, 39.In Russia, New Year’s Eve has been more widely celebrated than Christmas, which is marked on Jan. 7 by the country’s Orthodox Christian majority. Public events have been banned or restricted in many regions. But the country’s so-called New Year’s Eve capital, the city of Kaluga, is luring tourists with a week of festivities, despite pleas from residents to cancel. Officials in Kaluga, 150 kilometers (90 miles) southwest of Moscow, said virus precautions will be taken.Poland has told residents not to circulate between 7 p.m. on Dec. 31 until 6 a.m. on Jan. 1. Turkey declared a four-day lockdown starting on New Year’s Eve, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that security forces will inspect hotels for illicit parties.In the U.S., the Christmas morning bombing of the downtown tourist district in Nashville, Tennessee, led the city to cancel its plan to light fireworks and blow up a 2020 sign.“To say it would have been tone deaf would be an understatement,” said Bruce Spyridon, president of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa suggested a new way of observing the holiday by lighting candles to honor COVID-19 victims and front-line workers and to hope for a healthy 2021.Back in New York, yoga and stress-management instructor Allison Richard, 39, wrote up a few New Year’s wishes on confetti that will be dropped at midnight in Times Square.“Freedom,” she wrote, and “contentment,” “commitment,” “connection,” “prosperity” and “love.”Tags :NewsState & Nationalshare on Facebookshare on Twitteradd a commentSanta Monica Pier to Close December 31 – January 3UK COVID-19 variant in Southern California, but not L.A. yetYou Might Also LikeFeaturedNewsBobadilla rejects Santa Monica City Manager positionMatthew Hall5 hours agoNewsCouncil picks new City ManagerBrennon Dixson16 hours agoFeaturedNewsProtesting parents and Snapchat remain in disagreement over child protection policiesClara Harter16 hours agoFeaturedNewsDowntown grocery to become mixed use developmenteditor16 hours agoNewsBruised but unbowed, meme stock investors are back for moreAssociated Press16 hours agoNewsWedding boom is on in the US as vendors scramble to keep upAssociated Press16 hours agolast_img read more

Gas discovery, step towards exploiting hydrocarbons potential

first_imgA gas discovery by Total South Africa, in the offshore Outeniqua Basin speaks to South Africa’s hidden oil & gas potential and gives an opportunity for a meaningful dialogue on attractive legislation and local content development. Generation Finance and Policy It further echoes increased engagement of the South African government with the African and global oil industry. Read more: Global wireless gas detectors market is expanding “With South Africa demonstrating a commitment to reforms andthe creation of an enabling environment for business, the oil industry isconfident that the country can attract the investment needed,” Ayuk concluded. Since being appointed Energy Minister in 2018, Jeff Radebe has been leading a strong South African outreach to oil markets in Africa like Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, South Sudan, many middle eastern producers and attending meetings of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna and seeking deals for state-owned South African companies such as the Central Energy Fund and PetroSA.  “Oil companies want to see leadership and sound governance wherever they invest,” added NJ Ayuk. Featured image: Stock The African Energy Chamber has welcomed the recent gascondensate discovery by Total in Block 11B/12B, 175km off the southern coast ofSouth Africa. Low carbon, solar future could increase jobs in the future – SAPVIA center_img AFD and Eskom commit to a competitive electricity sector BRICS The gas discovery is a timely one as the South African government is currently working on a new legislation separating oil and gas from traditional minerals, and has released last year a new Integrated Resource Plan (IRP 2018) with ambitions to install an additional 8,100MW of gas-to-power capacity in South Africa by 2030.  This is a great first step for the country, which still relies on imports of oil and gas despite the great reserves believed to be in its soil and waters. The discovery, which will help open a new hydrocarbons province in South Africa, could prove the presence of billions of barrels of oil equivalent in South African waters, which will undoubtedly change the course of the country’s economy and help reduce dependency on imports. “The oil industry hopes this will be a catalyst and encouragement for all policy makers to work on an enabling business environment for exploration and drilling activities in South Africa,” declared NJ Ayuk, executive chairman at the Chamber. “We believe South Africa holds the potential for many more such discoveries, and the time has come to have a meaningful conversation on local content development so the development of the industry benefits all South African workers and contractors across the value-chain and creates jobs for the communities.” TAGSAfrican Energy ChamberEquatorial GuineainvestmentNigeriaSouth Sudan Previous articlePartnership to bring solar power to millions of NigeriansNext articleIRENA to reveal future renewable energy innovations Guest ContributorThe views expressed in this article by the author are not necessarily those of the publishers and/or association partners. While every effort is made to ensure accuracy, the publisher and editors cannot be held responsible for any inaccurate information supplied and/or published. RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Gas discovery UNDP China, CCIEE launch report to facilitate low-carbon developmentlast_img read more