Look who’s talking

May 12, 2021

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first_img Comments are closed. Look who’s talkingOn 1 Apr 2001 in Personnel Today HelenVandevelde detonates the debate about foreign language training and gives herview that it has benefits which you probably haven’t thought ofAEurobarometer survey just out suggests that English is fast becoming the internationallanguage of the European Union. Asked whether everyone in the EU should speakEnglish, two-thirds of the 16,000 participants said “yes”.Thesurvey could not have come at a worse time for those who argue that people inthe UK should do more to acquire foreign language skills. At the end of lastyear, the Nuffield Languages Inquiry published its report, Languages: the nextgeneration, urging the establishment of a national strategy, complete with itsown supremo with direct access to the Cabinet Office. Andlast month saw the official launch of the European Commission’s project, theEuropean Year of Languages.Thenatural response from the monolingual tendency is to say, “Why bother ifeveryone else is going to learn English anyway?” – 40 per cent of thosesurveyed claimed to be able to use English as a foreign language. Ifyou add the 16 per cent of EU citizens who speak English as their firstlanguage, we’re already over halfway to English being the common language ofthe organisation (French and German come next with around one-third of the EUpopulation being able to speak them).Sohow strong is the case for the Brits to get off their bottom position in theEuropean language league? The problem with the debate about foreign languageacquisition is that it hasn’t been a debate at all. We’vehad a serial procession of worthy reports about the importance of languagelearning since the 1960s. They all warn of the job losses that will arisebecause we can’t speak the languages of our customers. And here we are in 2001,still unable to unveil the first person to be made redundant because theycouldn’t speak German or Spanish. Noone ever puts forward the case that we shouldn’t learn languages. Why shouldthey? Who would ever come up with a campaign slogan that goes, “Let’s justnot bother”?Theconsequence of the absence of debate is that the case in favour of languages isseen as special pleading on the part of vested interests like commerciallanguage trainers. So, how strong is the case against language training forbusiness?Infact, there’s a lot to be said against language learning in terms of itsopportunity cost. It takes a long time to learn. It’s expensive. And unlike forthose in all the other EU countries, except Ireland, there isn’t an obviousforeign language to learn.It’sthe long lead times that are the biggest problem for UK plc. If you want toexpand into Portugal or Greece, you can’t afford to hang around until yourstaff know how to ask for a business card in the relevant foreign language. Andwhat if your staff start to learn German but economic conditions require you toswitch to Spain? You’ll never see morale plummet so fast.Addto that the specialist language services available to companies seeking toexpand into new markets, and the coffin lid for languages looks firmly screwedon. Whybother training your staff when you can access multilingual call centres,specialist translation and interpretation services, not to mention targetedpromotional campaigns with in-depth knowledge of the culture and expectationsof the target market? If you’re still keen to pursue an in-house solution, theobvious route is to recruit the expertise you need, rather than spending yearsdeveloping it.Sohas the recent development of specialist language services weakened the casefor foreign language acquisition? Paradoxically the answer is “no”.Butthe strength of the argument in favour hasn’t been made by the lobbyists inreports like Languages: the next generation. What they have missed is the divergenceof interest between the individual and the company. The business case forlanguage development is marginal other than where there are unusualcombinations of circumstances, such as the need to collaborate closely withspecialists in a minority language area. Forthe individual, the position can be very different. The need to invest inlong-term employability makes foreign language acquisition attractive,especially for world languages like Mandarin Chinese and Arabic that have lowexposure in the West. Aswe’ve seen, the better solution for the company is to recruit for languageskills rather than to train for them. So for the individual, having the rightcombination of expertise and language skills can turn them into a piece of hotmerchandise.Andthis is just where the interests of the company reconnect to those of theindividual. Businesses whose success depends on their ability to attracttalented staff understand that the best way to retain talented staff is toinvest in their employability. So the smart thinking in company training isaround enabling good people to pursue their own career aspirations, includingforeign language acquisition.Thereare backwash advantages for the company too. Graham Heard, lecturer inlanguages and pre-MBA course director at the Cranfield School of Management, isconscious of the development of cross-cultural communication as a businessnorm. He has noticed how often first language English speakers get intodifficulty when communicating with speakers of English as an additionallanguage.”Nativespeakers have to become aware that their complex use of language isn’t going tobe understood by foreigners, even those who seem to speak English well.Learning a new language yourself helps you to develop that sensitivity.”MaryOrr, professor of French Studies at Exeter University, reinforces thecollateral benefits that arise from language learning. “If you speakanother language, you are sensitive to different things because you’re notquite a native. And that gives you a flexibility and self-awareness that amonolingual speaker never develops.”Thereis, then, a strong case to be made for company-sponsored foreign languageacquisition. But the arguments are more subtle than the white noise generatedby the language lobbyists. Languagetraining needs to be rescued from the tumbleweed sidings that the lobbyistshave shunted it into. As an option to be pursued within the broader context ofrecruitment, retention and motivation strategies, it could have a vibrantfuture.www.cilt.org.uk/ey12001/    [email protected]’cornerTheCouncil of Europe and the European Union have joined forces to implement the EYL,as the European Year of Languages 2001 is known.Theaims of the EYL include:–To increase awareness of Europe’s linguistic heritage and openness to differentlanguages and cultures as a source of mutual enrichment –Motivating European citizens to develop a degree of communicative ability in anumber of languages, in order to improve active participation in Europeandemocratic processes–Encouraging and supporting language learning for personal developmentTwomajor instruments to promote plurilingualism developed in the context of theModern Languages Project in Strasbourg will be launched:–The Common European Framework of reference – a tool for all those concernedlanguage coaching–The European Language Portfolio – to a personal record for learners Forinformation on EYL events in the UK, contact the Centre for Information onLanguage Teaching and Research  [email protected]   or   www.cilt.org.uk/ey12001/ Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more


Liberte up in flames

May 3, 2021

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first_imgCar on burning car symbolises the razing of French democracy to the ground, as violence flares across the republic. Last weekend saw the introduction of curfews by city authorities as part of the emergency legislation implemented by the French government. The fifty year old law was originally brought in as an attempt to counteract the guerrilla efforts during the algerian war of independence, but, as of last week, is now being used for the first time in mainland France.later, the British summer became unusually hot when the northern towns of Oldham, Bradford and Burnley were set ablaze after alleged provocation by the British National Front-inspired race riots.As well as allowing local authorities to put curfews into place, it has some potentially far more unsettling features. Measures can be imposed upon the whole country, restricting people’s movements in even completely unaffected areas. authorities have the power to assume control of the media. police are free to carry out raids on homes as they deem necessary. The latter was intended to act upon suspicion of stockpiling weapons, but is currently in use to freely search for suspected participants in the violence. it is now illegal to meet publicly with the perceived intention of causing disorder. This in practice could mean as little as peaceful protest.Firm and swift action may be needed, but the suspension of civil liberties may go unquestioned by parliament for up to twelve days. democracy is on hold. it is not without irony that France, which still prides itself on its revolutionary principles of liberté, égalité and fraternité and annually celebrates the storming of the Bastille, can dismiss liberté so quickly and show little concern towards the effects such action will have on any remaining sense of fraternité. admittedly, this violence seems to lack political purpose, but the revolution too was first and foremost an uprising against inequality. Britain, at least, seems more consistent. On 5 November, the majority of the population celebrated, once again, the prevention of an attack upon our democracy. in doing so, we ritualistically burned an effigy of our most notorious terrorist to the sound of shouts and cheers. keeping with such aggressive tradition, our government is responding to the risk of terrorism with excessive legislation. while for us fire and explosions mark the preservation of democracy, for France it marks its suspension.The first of the riots took place on the evening of 27 October in clichy-sous-Bois following the deaths of two boys. The teenagers had run into an electricity substation under the assumption that they were being chased by police after being found at the scene of a break-in. authorities have since denied this. Nevertheless, the belief spread that the police were to blame, helped by the silent march which took place two days later where marchers wore tops emblazoned with the slogan ‘dead for nothing’.Regardless of the specifics, the fuel for the fire has been mounting for a long time. Many of the post-war immigrants have never fully integrated into society and since the 1980s the hLMs (habitations à Loyer Modéré), state-provided accommodation, home to large groups from ethnic minorities, have become symbols of social exclusion. Visible monuments to separation between the inhabitants of the cités and the rest of society have also purportedly become the source of discrimination in job application. For years, stories have circulated of employers at interview, on sight of the address on the head of the form, informing applicants from HLMs that the position has already been filled. whether completely true or not, there are undoubtedly still racial tensions in the banlieues of cities throughout France. it could be argued that class provides the greatest social divisions, but the importance of cultural differences must not be ignored either. skin colour or religious symbolism, such as a headscarf, merely supplies a visual stimulus with which to pigeonhole people, typically as criminals and never victims.Hence, it was not with applause that the unsympathetic comments made on 25 October, two days prior to the first troubles, by interior Minister, Nicolas sarkozy, were met. His suggestion to take a “power hose” to areas with high crime was both insensitive and incendiary. after all, it has been his decision to substantially reduce the number of community police officers, only for them to have to return charging in full riot gear.Even François Massenet, secretary general of uNsa-police, the union for French expressed malaise over sarkozy’s comments, which he implied was a part-timer’s response. Too often have the French government responded to situations on a short-term, reactionist basis, rather than considering long-term plans for such enormous problems. But what democratic government is not guilty of the same?Riots are, of course, nothing new. in 1991 the beating of the african-american rodney King sparked race riots in Los angeles. Ten years Indeed, the recent violence has been compared to the events of May 1968, which spread throughout the population gaining support from all demographics. The increasing unrest over the last couple of weeks is, unlike the student revolts, unlikely to spread from its current lone demographic. while people of the same social class and ethnic background may show solidarity in not condemning the random acts of violence, there can be no such support in other areas of society, when it lacks a political or ideological focus. On the contrary, the acts have been solely an expression of anger. There is little political motivation behind beating elderly men to death or setting disabled women alight, although these are only isolated incidents and the far-right have been also been active attempting to incite further divisions along racial fault lines.There are uncanny parallels between the very real and very awful events of the previous weeks and the fictional ones of La haine. in Mathieu Kassovitz’s 1995 film, a boy dies after sustaining injuries while in police custody. rioting ensues and, ultimately, Vinz, the young Jewish protagonist, seeks his own retribution for the injustice. his anger, or hate, appears slightly self-indulgent, but is, symbolically, uncontrollable and indiscriminate; he does not seem to care who he hurts, employing an us-against-them mentality. The consequences are bloody and tragic. Police react with extreme force.Of course, a policeman’s job in such a situation is of inestimable difficulty and the fictional police are portrayed rather unsympathetically. It has, nevertheless, been alleged that police officers have referred to suspects as “dirty arabs” and told families of children thought to be involved in the violence, in their own homes, to “go home”. This just goes to show what bubbles under the surface, even when tensions are not so high.So, while it remains difficult to discern protest from wanton destruction and aggression, which would seem to support the actions of the French administration, handing over more power to the police is not necessarily a sensible idea. The allegations against police, even if untrue, present more provocation. As one youth is quoted by Le parisien as saying, “More repression means more destruction.”Immigrants who would once have been proud of their individual heritage now often refer to themselves just as Muslims, adopting religion, a potential source of radicalism, as the part of them that binds them with the largest number of people. Feelings of social isolation and hopelessness may lead some to extreme measures, partly because it creates an unbreakable solidarity between themselves and others like them.Media groups fail to agree on whether, as the Le Figaro reports, “tous se disent solidaires des violences urbaines de ces derniers jours” (‘everyone claims solidarity with the instances of urban violence in recent days’) or whether in fact, as patrick Sabatir of Libération stated, “most inhabitants of these ghettos do not approve of their [those involved] senseless destruction”. continued to claim that, since there is no political motivation behind the actions of youths, the violence is purely “blind rage against injustice and inequality”.When even French rappers, such as the social lyricist, shurik’N, disseminate awareness of the ever-present aggression within the cités, it beggars belief that the government are yet to act for the long-term. Not that it is likely that dominique de Villepin listens to rap music in between cabinet meetings, but this fact is, nonetheless, demonstrative of the administration’s ignorance of or, worse still, insensibility to the burgeoning social conflicts in their own country. in fact, it is completely deaf to such problems, as it collects no information about issues such as academic success or failure of distinct social or ethnic groups under the impression that they are preserving égalité. as such, it is impossible to know the full extent of the current divides between social groups and so even more difficult to solve them.Quite simply, the government have, for whatever reason, failed to move for preventative, or at least containing, actions. This is surely a fault of government. They have surely let down the people who they represent. Yet, this is sadly not the case. democracy, far from representing the people, represents only those who elect the government or, in fact, only those who will vote for them next time. with this in mind, long-term plans are rarely implemented. Moreover, social divides are maintained, as some groups will always be neglected by an elected government. even a Labour government, albeit a New Labour government, has increased the gap between rich and poor.So, while we might bandy about the idea of democracy as the route to social freedom, even invade a country or two on our crusade of ideals, let us stop for a moment, perhaps longer, and reflect on the limitations of the system we share with the rest of the western world. Of course, enjoy your personal freedoms, while the wheels of democracy still turn, but appreciate that they are driven by someone else, who can stamp on the brakes at any moment.ARCHIVE: 6th week MT 2005last_img read more


Building barriers

April 21, 2021

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first_imgPaper-based packaging manufacturer Smurfit Kappa has developed a barrier coating for food packaging that is both water- and grease-resistant. It is made from a non-hazardous opaque water-based liquid, which when dried forms an inert translucent film. The firm said the technology will enable packaging containing frozen foods or hot and cold greasy snacks to be made from corrugated cardboard, inside of metal or plastic. The coating will then prevent moisture from penetrating the cardboard surround. Smurfit Kappa said the coating is now being trialled by a major supermarket for use with its hot baked goods.”Millions of tonnes of metal and plastic packaging is being used for convenience, snack and frozen foods, with major environmental implications,” said general manager David Spencer. “This barrier coating will mean these formats can be phased out and replaced with recyclable cardboard.”last_img read more


Subway expansion gains momentum

April 20, 2021

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first_imgSubway’s expansion plans are gathering pace after its Midlands development agents announced plans to open 59 new stores.Brother and sister team James and Andrea Fleck, who are development agents for the franchise sandwich chains in Staffordshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcester and Warwickshire, said they planned to increase the number of stores from 65 to 124 over the next three years, creating around 885 new jobs.The news follows an announcement by Subway co-founder Fred DeLuca last year, revealing plans to increase the number of UK stores to 2000 by 2015, creating 6,000 new jobs. To achieve growth across the five counties, the Flecks will be looking to recruit nearly 40 new franchisees.There are currently 1,684 Subway stores in the UK, almost a fivefold increase on the 2004 store count. Last month saw the brand announce the 40,000th Subway location in the world at an AppleGreen petrol filling station in Ipswich, England.Subway’s development agents in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire announced last year that they planned to open 35 new stores in five years, taking the total number of outlets in the region to 69.James Fleck said: “The planned expansion will not only provide a significant boost to the local employment market but also give entrepreneurs the opportunity to establish their own small business.last_img read more


UN worried Yemen’s Houthis may renege on tanker examination

February 8, 2021

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first_imgUNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations says it is “very concerned’’ that Yemen’s Houthi rebels may reconsider their formal approval for U.N. experts to examine an oil tanker moored off Yemen’s coast loaded with over 1 million barrels of crude oil that is at risk of leaking. The U.N. has warned that the FSO Safer could cause huge environmental damage and affect international shipping in the Red Sea. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Wednesday that the Iranian-backed Houthis have not responded to multiple requests for a letter with security assurances that the U.N. needs to facilitate the leasing of service vessels for the mission. He also says there are indications Houthi officials are considering a “review” of their approval for the mission.last_img read more


Students brave cold for Center for the Homeless

January 26, 2021

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first_imgFacing one of the coldest days of the year in only sandals, shorts and T-shirts, men of Siegfried Hall walked to class, stood in front of buildings and collected donations for South Bend’s Center for the Homeless. Sophomore Andrew Ritter, Siegfried Hall president and coordinator for the Day of Man, said this annual event has allowed the men of Siegfried Hall to stand in solidarity with the homeless since 2007. “By standing with the homeless for a day, even though it’s not nearly what they go through the entire year, it creates waves on campus,” he said. “When you see a guy walking around in minimal clothing on a day with a negative one [degree] for a low, you notice. We’re showing our support for the South Bend community.” This year 200 of Siegfried’s 248 residents participated, Ritter said, demonstrating strength and humility. “It’s the toughness of being able to say you can stand in that weather, but for the right reasons,” he said. “We stand outside of DeBartolo Hall and North and South Dining Hall with cups that people drop money into.” Freshman Michael Harvey said that, despite the cold, he finds encouragement from other Notre Dame students. “I’ve learned how cold negative 15 [degree] wind chill is and that I’ve noticed a 5 degree increase in temperature since the morning,” he said. “Your fingers and toes go numb as you walk from Siegfried to DeBartolo, but people are supportive which makes it a lot better.” Lisa Knox, a representative from the Center for the Homeless, said the organization and its guests appreciate the time these men dedicate to raising money. “We think these guys are stellar. The fact that they’ve done this unique fundraising is really humbling,” Knox said. “Their impact is great and the money they raise for the shelter is critical, but most importantly, they raise awareness of our organization and its volunteer opportunities.” Siegfried residents also continue to collect money after the Day of Man. E-mails sent to friends and family bring in contributions, Ritter said, and the dorm ends collections around the end of February. “If people just want to make a check to the Center for the Homeless and send it to our rector [Fr.] John Conley, then we’d be more than happy to take donations any time during February,” he said. “But donations to the Center for the Homeless are always more than welcome.” Knox said the Center also welcomes students to volunteer and become involved in the organization. “Peter Lombardo, our director of community involvement, coordinates outreach on campus. If you want to volunteer, contact him or you can visit us online at cfh.net,” she said. “I would encourage anyone to help us or to check their local organizations and see what they can do.”last_img read more


Landlord Arrested After Allegedly Shooting Tenant During Dispute

January 18, 2021

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first_imgStock Image FARMERSVILLE – A Cattaraugus County landlord is facing attempted murder charges after allegedly shooting his tenant during a dispute late last week.New York State Police say Daniel Langdon Jr., 51 of Little Valley, was arrested following a dispute on State Route 98 in the Town of Farmersville just after 6 p.m. on Friday.Police allege that Langdon got into a physical altercation with his tenant, a 40-year-old man.During the altercation, troopers say Langdon pulled a legally owned 9 mm pistol and shot the victim multiple times. The victim was air lifted to Erie County Medical Center for non-life-threatening injuries.Langdon is charged with attempted murder, an A-Felony, and first-degree assault with intent to cause serious injury with a weapon.Police said he was arrested, processed, arraigned and remanded to the Cattaraugus County Jail on $25,000 cash bail. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more


Hot winter squash

January 17, 2021

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first_img* Column * By George BoyhanUniversity of GeorgiaThe term ‘winter squash’ might have you thinking about growing squash during the winter. But all squash are warm-season crops. The name is a bit misleading — storage squash would be more accurate.The yellow crookneck and zucchini squash we eat during the summer are actually immature forms that remain tender with edible seed. Allow these types to continue growing and they get huge, with hard seeds and rinds.Winter squash are types that are selected for their ability to be stored. Our ancestors spent long winters relying on food like this.Ornamental squashToday, many of the winter squash are grown for ornamental purposes: multicolored Turk’s turban, graceful swan-shaped fruit, even a squash that looks like a giant green apple.Many of these are becoming popular fall decorations, competing with the ever-present pumpkin. Don’t forget, though, that they’re edible. Many recipes are available.The shapes and colors are almost endless, with growth habits from compact bushy plants to vining types that will take over your garden.To grow winter squash, start from seed or transplants around the first of August. Depending on the variety, winter squash take 80 to 120 days to mature.Resistant varietiesWinter squash can be affected by several diseases, so plant resistant or tolerant varieties if they’re available. When it comes to handling these diseases, winter squash will do better in north Georgia for fall production.Insects can also be a problem with fall production. Scout your plants regularly for insects and their damage. Early detection is best for control. Check with your county extension agent for disease and insect control measures.Whether starting with seed or seedlings, a well-prepared bed free of plant debris and weeds is best. Adding organic matter is always helpful in increasing soil fertility and water-holding capacity.Test your soilHaving your soil tested is the best way to determine the fertility needs of winter squash. Your county agent can help you with this.A good, general fertilizer recipe for winter squash would begin with 14 pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer broadcast for every 1,000 square feet. Three to four weeks after planting, side-dress the plants with another 9 pounds of calcium nitrate or 4 pounds of ammonium nitrate per 1,000 square feet. You may need to make an additional side-dress for varieties that take 120 days to mature.Winter squash are ready for harvest when they’ve reached the right size and color for the particular variety. The rind, too, will be hard and not give when pressed with your thumbnail.So get out there and plant some winter squash. Your ancestors would be proud.last_img read more


World Cup Preview: Uruguay

December 20, 2020

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first_imgBy Dialogo May 28, 2010 *URUGUAY* *Nickname*: La Celeste *World Cups*: 11 (1930, 1950, 1954, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1974, 1986, 1990, 2002, 2010) *Championships*: 2 (1930, 1950) *Runner-up*: 0 *Third*: 0 *How it qualified*: The Uruguayans finished in fifth place in the CONMEBOL region by going 6-6-6 to finish with 24 points, one ahead of Ecuador. The fifth-place showing forced La Celeste to qualify for their first World Cup since 2002 by defeating Costa Rica – the fourth-place team from the CONCACAF region – in a two-game playoff. Uruguay outscored the Ticos, 2-1, collectively to earn a trip to South Africa. *Coach*: Oscar Washington Tabárez *Projected starting lineup*: *Goalie*: Néstor Muslera *Defense*: Andrés Scotti; Diego Lugano; Diego Godín; Martín Cáceres *Midfield*: Nicolás Lodeiro; Sebastián Eguren; Diego Pérez; Álvaro Pereira *Forward*: Luis Suárez; Diego Forlán *Pool Play*: Uruguay, which is ranked 18th in the world by FIFA, is in Group A with 10th-ranked France, 17th-ranked Mexico and 90th-ranked South Africa. *Schedule*: June 11 vs. France at Cape Town Stadium; June 16 vs. South Africa at Tshwane/Pretoria’s Loftus Versfeld; June 22 vs. Mexico at Rustenburg’s Royal Bafokeng *Did you know?* Uruguay is one of five countries to have won multiple World Cups, accomplishing the feat in 1930 and 1950. Uruguay has not advanced out of pool play since 1990, when it lost in the round of 16 to Italy, 2-0. The team boasts three of the tournament’s top young players: midfielder Lodeiro (21), defender Cáceres (22) and forward Suárez (23). Uruguay is not sound defensively, but it has a very potent offense, as it scored 28 goals in CONMEBOL qualifying, third-most behind Brazil and Chile. Forlán scored a team-high seven, followed by Abreu’s six and Suárez’s five.last_img read more


Climatology agency warns about strong rain, wind in several provinces

October 19, 2020

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first_imgThe Meteorological and Climatology Agency (BMKG) has warned that several regions in Indonesia might experience extreme weather in the next couple of days.In a report issued on Wednesday, the agency predicted that on Thursday, some regions in 11 provinces would experience heavy rain with a chance of thunder and strong wind or small tornadoes, namely:1. West Kalimantan 6. Gorontalo7. Central Sulawesi8. West Sulawesi9. Maluku10. West Papua11. PapuaAdditionally, some areas in seven provinces would experience lighter rain with a chance of thunder and strong wind or small tornadoes, namely Aceh, North Sumatera, West Sumatera, Riau, Jambi, South Sulawesi and North Maluku.“We observed that the area where strong winds meet or slow down [convergence] will extend from the western waters of West Kalimantan to the western part of East Kalimantan, from the southern Maluku Sea to the northern waters of North Sulawesi, from the eastern waters of Halmahera to northern Halmahera, and from Papua to the southern area of West Papua,” the BMKG wrote in the statement, adding: “These conditions can increase the potential for the formation of rain clouds throughout the area.”Topics : 2. Central Kalimantan3. North Kalimantan4. East Kalimantan5. North Sulawesilast_img read more