even tougher winter next year as natural gas stocks are used up and as new supplies to replace Russian gas, including increased shipments from the United States or Qatar, are slow to come online, the International Energy Agency said in its annual World Energy Outlook, released last week.

Europe’s activity appears to be accelerating a global transition toward cleaner technologies, the I.E.A. added, as countries respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by embracing hydrogen fuels, electric vehicles, heat pumps and other green energies.

But in the short term, countries will be burning more fossil fuels in response to the natural gas shortages.

gas fields in Groningen, which had been slated to be sealed because of earthquakes triggered by the extraction of the fuel.

Eleven countries, including Germany, Finland and Estonia, are now building or expanding a total of 18 offshore terminals to process liquid gas shipped in from other countries. Other projects in Latvia and Lithuania are under consideration.

Nuclear power is winning new support in countries that had previously decided to abandon it, including Germany and Belgium. Finland is planning to extend the lifetime of one reactor, while Poland and Romania plan to build new nuclear power plants.

European Commission blueprint, are voluntary and rely on buy-ins from individuals and businesses whose utility bills may be subsidized by their governments.

Energy use dropped in September in several countries, although it is hard to know for sure if the cause was balmy weather, high prices or voluntary conservation efforts inspired by a sense of civic duty. But there are signs that businesses, organizations and the public are responding. In Sweden, for example, the Lund diocese said it planned to partially or fully close 150 out of 540 churches this winter to conserve energy.

Germany and France have issued sweeping guidance, which includes lowering heating in all homes, businesses and public buildings, using appliances at off-peak hours and unplugging electronic devices when not in use.

Denmark wants households to shun dryers and use clotheslines. Slovakia is urging citizens to use microwaves instead of stoves and brush their teeth with a single glass of water.

website. “Short showers,” wrote one homeowner; another announced: “18 solar panels coming to the roof in October.”

“In the coming winter, efforts to save electricity and schedule the consumption of electricity may be the key to avoiding electricity shortages,” Fingrad, the main grid operator, said.

Businesses are being asked to do even more, and most governments have set targets for retailers, manufacturers and offices to find ways to ratchet down their energy use by at least 10 percent in the coming months.

Governments, themselves huge users of energy, are reducing heating, curbing streetlight use and closing municipal swimming pools. In France, where the state operates a third of all buildings, the government plans to cut energy use by two terawatt-hours, the amount used by a midsize city.

Whether the campaigns succeed is far from clear, said Daniel Gros, director of the Centre for European Policy Studies, a European think tank. Because the recommendations are voluntary, there may be little incentive for people to follow suit — especially if governments are subsidizing energy bills.

In countries like Germany, where the government aims to spend up to €200 billion to help households and businesses offset rising energy prices starting next year, skyrocketing gas prices are hitting consumers now. “That is useful in getting them to lower their energy use,” he said. But when countries fund a large part of the bill, “there is zero incentive to save on energy,” he said.

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EDF says strike hits a third of French nuclear plants, delaying maintenance work

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PARIS, Oct 15 (Reuters) – Strike action over wage demands was hitting a third of EDF’s 18 French nuclear plants as of Friday night, a spokesperson for the utility said, further delaying the maintenance of its reactors.

“Six sites (were) affected by strikes as of last night,” the spokesperson said on Saturday.

This led to the postponement of the restart date of five reactors currently under maintenance by “one to several days”, the spokesperson for EDF (EDF.PA) added.

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Nuclear power represented more than two thirds of France’s total electricity production in 2021, according to data from grid operator RTE.

The country will be short of between 5 and 15 gigawatts (GW) of power at peak demand this winter depending on the temperature and will need to mainly rely on imports, according to forecast models developed by EDF’s works council CSE.

France will have to buy electricity on the market this winter or produce it from gas, and there is no guarantee that neighbouring countries will be in a position to sell their electricity, CSE representative Philippe Page le Merour has said, given the energy crisis in Europe.

A representative for France’s FNME trade union said on Friday that maintenance work at nine nuclear reactors split between five sites had been delayed due to a strike over wages.

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Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Less Turnover, Smaller Raises: Hot Job Market May Be Losing Its Sizzle

Last year, Klaussner Home Furnishings was so desperate for workers that it began renting billboards near its headquarters in Asheboro, N.C., to advertise job openings. The steep competition for labor drove wages for employees on the furniture maker’s production floor up 12 to 20 percent. The company began offering $1,000 signing bonuses to sweeten the deal.

“Consumer demand was through the roof,” said David Cybulski, Klaussner’s president and chief executive. “We just couldn’t get enough labor fast enough.”

But in recent months, Mr. Cybulski has noticed that frenzy die down.

Hiring for open positions has gotten easier, he said, and fewer Klaussner workers are leaving for other jobs. The company, which has about 1,100 employees, is testing performance rewards to keep workers happy rather than racing to increase wages. The $1,000 signing bonus ended in the spring.

“No one is really chasing employees to the dollar anymore,” he said.

By many measures, the labor market is still extraordinarily strong even as fears of a recession loom. The unemployment rate, which stood at 3.7 percent in August, remains near a five-decade low. There are twice as many job openings as unemployed workers available to fill them. Layoffs, despite some high-profile announcements in recent weeks, are close to a record low.

Walmart and Amazon have announced slowdowns in hiring; others, such as FedEx, have frozen hiring altogether. Americans in July quit their jobs at the lowest rate in more than a year, a sign that the period of rapid job switching, sometimes called the Great Resignation, may be nearing its end. Wage growth, which soared as companies competed for workers, has also slowed, particularly in industries like dining and travel where the job market was particularly hot last year.

More broadly, many companies around the country say they are finding it less arduous to attract and retain employees — partly because many are paring their hiring plans, and partly because the pool of available workers has grown as more people come off the economy’s sidelines. The labor force grew by more than three-quarters of a million people in August, the biggest gain since the early months of the pandemic. Some executives expect hiring to keep getting easier as the economy slows and layoffs pick up.

“Not that I wish ill on any people out there from a layoff perspective or whatever else, but I think there could be an opportunity for us to ramp some of that hiring over the coming months,” Eric Hart, then the chief financial officer at Expedia, told investors on the company’s earnings call in August.

Taken together, those signals point to an economic environment in which employers may be regaining some of the leverage they ceded to workers during the pandemic months. That is bad news for workers, particularly those at the bottom of the pay ladder who have been able to take advantage of the hot labor market to demand higher pay, more flexible schedules and other benefits. With inflation still high, weaker wage growth will mean that more workers will find their standard of living slipping.

But for employers — and for policymakers at the Federal Reserve — the calculation looks different. A modest cooling would be welcome after months in which employers struggled to find enough staff to meet strong demand, and in which rapid wage growth contributed to the fastest inflation in decades. Too pronounced a slowdown, however, could lead to a sharp rise in unemployment, which would almost certainly lead to a drop in consumer demand and create a new set of problems for employers.

Recent research from economists at the Federal Reserve Banks of Dallas and St. Louis found that there had been a huge increase in poaching — companies hiring workers away from other jobs — during the recent hiring boom. If companies become less willing to recruit workers from competitors, and to pay the premium that doing so requires, or if workers become less likely to hop between jobs, that could lead wage growth to ease even if layoffs don’t pick up.

There are hints that could be happening. A recent survey from another career site, ZipRecruiter, found that workers have become less confident in their ability to find a job and are putting more emphasis on finding a job they consider secure.

“Workers and job seekers are feeling just a little bit less bold, a little bit more concerned about the future availability of jobs, a little bit more concerned about the stability of their own jobs,” said Julia Pollak, chief economist at ZipRecruiter.

Some businesses, meanwhile, are becoming a bit less frantic to hire. A survey of small businesses from the National Federation of Independent Business found that while many employers still have open positions, fewer of them expect to fill those jobs in the next three months.

More clues about the strength of the labor market could come in the upcoming months, the time of year when companies, including retailers, traditionally ramp up hiring for the holiday season. Walmart said in September that this year it would hire a fraction of the workers it did during the last holiday season.

The signs of a cool-down extend even to leisure and hospitality, the sector where hiring challenges have been most acute. Openings in the sector have fallen sharply from the record levels of last year, and hourly earnings growth slowed to less than 9 percent in August from a rate of more than 16 percent last year.

Until recently, staffing shortages at Biggby Coffee were so severe that many of the chain’s 300-plus stores had to close early some days, or in some cases not open at all. But while hiring remains a challenge, the pressure has begun to ease, said Mike McFall, the company’s co-founder and co-chief executive. One franchisee recently told him that 22 of his 25 locations were fully staffed and that only one was experiencing a severe shortage.

“We are definitely feeling the burden is lifting in terms of getting people to take the job,” Mr. McFall said. “We’re getting more applications, we’re getting more people through training now.”

The shift is a welcome one for business owners like Mr. McFall. He said franchisees have had to raise wages 50 percent or more to attract and retain workers — a cost increase they have offset by raising prices.

“The expectation by the consumer is that you are raising prices, and so if you don’t take advantage of that moment, you are going to be in a pickle,” he said, referring to the pressure to increase wages. “So you manage it by raising prices.”

So far, Mr. McFall said, higher prices haven’t deterred customers. Still, he said, the period of severe staffing shortages is not without its costs. He has seen a loss in sales, as well as a loss of efficiency and experienced workers. That will take time to rebuild, he said.

“When we were in crisis, it was all we were focused on,” he said. “So now that it feels like the crisis is mitigating, that it’s getting a little better, we can now begin to focus on the culture in the stores and try to build that up again.”

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Why Is There New Interest In Fusion Energy?

A company by the name of Zap Energy is trying to find a way to develop more energy output from fusion reactions.

Temperatures hotter than the center of the sun, the highest-energy lasers in the world, magnets the size of a basketball court — and the promise of virtually unlimited energy on Earth. 

Dozens of universities and governments around the world are pursuing fusion energy, hoping to obtain a limitless energy source that produces no carbon emissions. 

At Zap Energy outside Seattle, researchers are among the 35 private companies racing to crack the puzzle.  

Ben Levitt is the director of research and development at Zap Energy. 

“I run a team here of physicists and engineers at this lab. We do the development on the fusion core reactor right here,” said Levitt. “Where we need to get to is getting more energy output from these fusion reactions than is required as input. In other words, to light the candle, you need a certain amount of energy.” 

No one here is wearing radiation protection. Scientists say nuclear fusion is very different than nuclear fission, which powers hundreds of power plants across the world. 

“Fission, which is commercially available and has been so since, you know, right after World War II, is the breaking apart of large nuclei. Think of uranium and plutonium, those things, when you take a large nucleus and split it apart, you get a bunch of energy coming out and that’s great,” Levitt said. 

But fission reactors also produce thousands of tons of radioactive waste each year.  

“Fusion, on the other hand, is quite different and is not yet commercially available. This is the process that exists in all the stars in all the galaxies in the universe. So the challenge for us is how do you create a star on Earth? Our sun is made up predominantly of hydrogen and helium. What the sun also has is a lot of gravitational force. So it can compress all this hot gas, hot enough and dense enough that these nuclei of hydrogen come so close together they actually fuse and they’re pushed together to create another nucleus, a heavier nucleus, which is helium. And you get even more energy than in the fission reaction,” said Levitt. 

To “create that star on Earth,” says Levitt, researchers must contain a mysterious substance called plasma.

“In order of increasing temperature, you can start at a solid, increase the temperature you get to a liquid, then to a gas,” he said.  “What happens when you go even hotter than a gas? That’s a plasma.”

Plasma’s charged particles repel one another.  

“The trick is to force them together, long enough that they’ll fuse,” he continued. 

Smushing charged plasma to achieve fusion takes incredible force. A massive machine called the National Ignition Facility in Livermore, California uses 192 giant lasers to push the plasma together.   

A facility under construction in France called Iter will use huge magnets to try to achieve fusion. 

Zap, meanwhile, is working to make smaller scale reactors. Their name reflects their strategy: By hitting the plasma with a zap of lightning, they create magnetic fields that they believe can eventually keep the plasma together. 

“If we can create this actually confined plasma with its own magnetic field, it will self confine without the need for any other confinement technology,” said Levitt. 

But big hurdles loom. Tritium gas is a rare isotope of hydrogen that serves as a key ingredient for fusion.  

Recent reports, including an article in Science Magazine, suggest a shortage of the gas could derail efforts to achieve fusion. 

The bigger problem is that despite billions of dollars of funding and decades of research into fusion, no experiment has ever produced a sustained fusion burn. 

“We’ve been making fusion reactions for more than a decade now. The issue is producing more energy output from fusion reactions than is required to start. These fusion reactions are what’s called this energy break-even demonstration. We believe we’re right around the corner from doing so,” said Levitt. 

That achievement could make Zap Energy a household name and transform the world energy system for centuries. 

Source: newsy.com

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Report: 2021 Saw New Weather Records, Shifts In Global Ecosystems

The report is put together by more than 500 scientists from 60 countries and it’s spearheaded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Warming air temperatures, melting ice sheets, rising seas — it’s all getting worse, according to the newly released 2021 State of the Climate.

The annual report is put together by more than 500 scientists from 60 countries and it’s spearheaded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It says the planet has set new records and none of them are good.  

We’re still pumping a lot of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, despite countries pledging to make cuts.

We put more carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide into the air than ever before. The CO2 levels were the highest in the last million years based on paleo-climatic records.

And those gases are driving up global temperatures. It rose by half a degree, making it one of the hottest since the mid 1800s.  

It’s not just the land, though. The earth’s waters are heating-up, too. Ocean temperatures hit new record highs because most of the planet’s excess heat is stored in the oceans.

They’re not just getting hotter. They’re getting deeper too. They’re about four inches higher than the 1993 average, which was the first year we used satellites to measure the ocean’s heights.  

There was a ray of good news, though. Temperatures in the arctic were cooler than in the last few years, but it was still the 13th warmest year since records started 122 years ago. 

While overall the arctic was cooler, there were a few heat events in the polar regions. In Canada’s northwest territories, it hit 104 degrees in June, which is the highest temperature ever recorded that far north. And in Greenland, it was so warm that it rained for the first time in 33 years.

In the Antarctic, less ice melted but the ice that did melt was older ice —  leaving behind just newer ice, which is likely to eventually completely melt in the future because its thinner.

And the number of tropical storms around the world increased above the 30 year average.

Source: newsy.com

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NASA Aims For Saturday Launch Of New Moon Rocket After Fixes

By Associated Press
September 2, 2022

NASA is counting down toward a Saturday launch of its new moon rocket, its second attempt in a week.

NASA aimed for a Saturday launch of its new moon rocket, after fixing fuel leaks and working around a bad engine sensor that foiled the first try.

The inaugural flight of the 322-foot (98-meter) rocket — the most powerful ever built by NASA — was delayed late in the countdown Monday. The Kennedy Space Center clocks started ticking again as managers expressed confidence in their plan and forecasters gave favorable weather odds.

Atop the rocket is a crew capsule with three test dummies that will fly around the moon and back over the course of six weeks — NASA’s first such attempt since the Apollo program 50 years ago. NASA wants to wring out the spacecraft before strapping in astronauts on the next planned flight in two years.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said he’s more confident going into this second launch attempt, given everything engineers learned from the first try.

So is astronaut Jessica Meir, who’s on NASA’s short list for one of the initial moon crews.

“We’re all excited for this to go, but the most important thing is that we go when we’re ready and we get it right, because the next missions will have humans on board. Maybe me, maybe my friends,” Meir told The Associated Press on Friday.

The engineers in charge of the Space Launch System rocket insisted Thursday evening that all four of the rocket’s main engines were good and that a faulty temperature sensor caused one of them to appear as though it were too warm Monday. The engines need to match the minus-420 degrees Fahrenheit (minus-250 degrees Celsius) of the liquid hydrogen fuel at liftoff, otherwise they could be damaged and shut down in flight.

“We have convinced ourselves without a shadow of a doubt that we have good-quality liquid hydrogen going through the engines,” said John Honeycutt, the rocket’s program manager.

Once fueling begins Saturday morning, the launch team will perform another engine test — this time earlier in the countdown. Even if that suspect sensor indicates the one engine is too warm, other sensors can be relied on to ensure everything is working correctly and to halt the countdown if there’s a problem, Honeycutt told reporters.

NASA could not perform that kind of engine test during dress rehearsals earlier this year because of leaking fuel. More fuel leaks cropped up Monday; technicians found some loose connections and tightened them.

The engine-temperature situation adds to the flight’s risk, as does another problem that cropped up Monday: cracks in the foam insulation of the rocket. If any foam pieces break off at liftoff, they could strike the strap-on boosters and damage them. Engineers consider the likelihood of that happening low and have accepted these slight additional risks.

“This is an extremely complicated machine and system. Millions of parts,” NASA’s chief, Nelson, told the AP. “There are, in fact, risks. But are those risks acceptable? I leave that to the experts. My role is to remind them you don’t take any chances that are not acceptable risk.”

The $4.1 billion test flight is NASA’s first step in sending astronauts around the moon in 2024 and landing them on the surface in 2025. Astronauts last walked on the moon in 1972.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press. 

Source: newsy.com

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Take 2: NASA Aims For Saturday Launch Of Artemis I Moon Rocket

By Associated Press
August 31, 2022

The 322-foot rocket — the most powerful ever built by NASA — remains on its pad at Kennedy Space Center with an empty crew capsule on top.

NASA will try again Saturday to launch its new moon rocket on a test flight, after engine trouble halted the first countdown this week.

Managers said Tuesday they are changing fueling procedures to deal with the issue. A bad sensor also could be to blame for Monday’s scrapped launch, they noted.

The 322-foot rocket — the most powerful ever built by NASA — remains on its pad at Kennedy Space Center with an empty crew capsule on top.

The Space Launch System rocket will attempt to send the capsule around the moon and back. No one will be aboard, just three test dummies. If successful, it will be the first capsule to fly to the moon since NASA’s Apollo program 50 years ago.

Proceeding toward a Saturday launch will provide additional insight, even if the problem reappears and the countdown is halted again, said NASA’s rocket program manager, John Honeycutt. That’s better “than us sitting around scratching our heads, was it good enough or not.”

“Based on what I’ve heard from the technical team today, what we need to do is continue to pore over the data and polish up our plan on putting the flight rationale together,” he said.

During Monday’s launch attempt, readings showed that one of the four main engines in the rocket’s core stage could not be chilled sufficiently prior to the planned ignition at liftoff. It appeared to be as much as 40 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the desired minus-420 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature of the hydrogen fuel, according to Honeycutt. The three other engines came up just a little short.

All of the engines appear to be fine, according to Honeycutt.

The chilling operation will be conducted a half-hour earlier for Saturday afternoon’s launch attempt, once fueling begins that morning. Honeycutt said the timing of this engine chilldown was earlier during successful testing last year, and so performing it sooner may do the trick.

Honeycutt also questioned the integrity of one engine sensor, saying it might have provided inaccurate data Monday. To change that sensor, he noted, would mean hauling the rocket back into the hangar, resulting in weeks of delay.

Already years behind schedule, the $4.1 billion test flight is the opening shot in NASA’s Artemis moon-exploration program, named after the twin sister of Apollo in Greek mythology. Astronauts could strap in as soon as 2024 for a lap around the moon and actually attempt a lunar landing in 2025.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Tens Of Millions Of People Under Heat Alerts In The West

Major western cities like Portland, Sacramento and Phoenix are in or nearing triple-digit temperatures for the holiday weekend.

A brutal heat wave is baking the West, testing California’s infrastructure in Sacramento.

The country’s largest electric utility told its customers in the state to do their part to avoid overtaxing the grid.  

“Set your thermostat to about 78 degrees,” said Megan McFarland, spokesperson for Pacific Gas and Electric. “Try to avoid using your oven. Use your microwave instead or grill outside. This prevents your house from heating up.”

It’s a concern that could quickly get dangerous as the mercury rises, and with triple-digit highs on the map already, it will quickly get exhausting out west over the course of the week.

By Monday, it’s still expected to be 100 degrees Fahrenheit in Boise, Idaho, and Sacramento could hit 111, as Phoenix, Arizona cools to 109.

“Close your blinds,” McFarland said. “The sun beating in on your house actually raises the temperature and makes your air conditioning work harder.”

As tens of millions get some type of heat alert and settle in for a sweltering week, cities like Scottsdale, Arizona have already tried to be prepared.

“We wanted to get more data to make sure that we really understood where it’s hotter, why it’s hotter in some of those places,” said Lisa McNeilly, Scottsdale’s sustainability director.

The city is studying its landscape to analyze heat patterns block by block, trying to figure out how to make the hottest parts of the city cooler.

“We hope that the resources provided really will help people better understand all of those differences in heat, also what they can do, but then also let the city have a good basis for developing a heat mitigation plan,” McNeilly said.

That’ll mean things like taking out or covering up asphalt and planting more trees. It’s part of living in the extremes of a warming climate where heat waves like this one are much more common.

Source: newsy.com

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Climate Change Threatens Endangered Whale Sharks

August 30 is International Whale Shark Day. While they’re among the biggest creatures in the sea, they are now endangered.

There’s a problem growing in the planet’s oceans.   

And it starts on the land. Rising greenhouse gases from man-made sources like coal plants and cars are changing the salinity, temperature and food chain in the oceans.  

A new study predicts 90% of marine species will go extinct by the end of the century, without deep emission cuts.  

And one of the most vulnerable is one of the largest in the seas: the whale shark.  

They grow up to 40 feet long and weigh more than 21 tons. They’re the size of a school bus with about 3,000 teeth. They filter 1,500 gallons of water per hour and reach mating maturing at 30 years old. They can live to the ripe old age of 150 years.  

Unlike their relative, the great white, they’re harmless. 

Whale sharks play a critical role in the ocean. Just like a whale, they eat a large amount of plankton, regulating it so it doesn’t generate dangerous algae blooms that can create ocean dead zones.  

But the endangered whale shark is fighting for its survival.  

Over the last 75 years the global population has been cut in half, and it’s even worse in the Indian and Pacific oceans. They are home to the most whale sharks. There’s been a 63% kill off there.   

Because of their size they don’t have any natural predators. It’s humans that are killing them and overfishing them for their fins and meat, and changing their environment by increasing the water temperature. They can only live in water between 70 and 77 degrees. Their habitats are being destroyed and their food source is being disturbed.  

This, added to their late mating maturity, is why the species is dying off. They don’t live long enough to breed.  

There are less than a quarter million whale sharks left in the world.   

Source: newsy.com

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Qatar Detains Workers Protesting Late Pay Before World Cup

By Associated Press
August 22, 2022

The move comes as Qatar faces intense international scrutiny over its labor practices ahead of the tournament.

Qatar recently arrested at least 60 foreign workers who protested going months without pay and deported some of them, an advocacy group said, just three months before Doha hosts the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The move comes as Qatar faces intense international scrutiny over its labor practices ahead of the tournament. Like other Gulf Arab nations, Qatar heavily relies on foreign labor. The workers’ protest a week ago — and Qatar’s reaction to it — could further fuel the concern.

The head of a labor consultancy investigating the incident said the detentions cast new doubt on Qatar’s pledges to improve the treatment of workers. “Is this really the reality coming out?” asked Mustafa Qadri, executive director of the group Equidem.

In a statement to The Associated Press on Sunday night, Qatar’s government acknowledged that “a number of protesters were detained for breaching public safety laws.” It declined to offer any information about the arrests or any deportations.

Video footage posted online showed some 60 workers angry about their salaries protesting on Aug. 14 outside of the Doha offices of Al Bandary International Group, a conglomerate that includes construction, real estate, hotels, food service and other ventures. Some of those demonstrating hadn’t received their salaries for as many as seven months, Equidem said.

The protesters blocked an intersection on Doha’s C Ring Road in front of the Al Shoumoukh Tower. The footage matched known details of the street, including it having several massive portraits of Qatar’s ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, looking down on passers-by.

Al Bandary International Group, which is privately owned, did not respond to requests for comment and a telephone number registered in its name did not connect on multiple attempts to call it.

The Qatari government acknowledged that the firm hadn’t paid salaries and that its Labor Ministry would pay “all delayed salaries and benefits” to those affected.

“The company was already under investigation by the authorities for nonpayment of wages before the incident, and now further action is being taken after a deadline to settle outstanding salary payments was missed,” the government said.

Qadri said police later arrested the protesters and held them in a detention center where some described being in a stifling heat without air conditioning. Doha’s temperature this week reached around 105.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

Qadri described police telling those held that if they can strike in hot weather, they can sleep without air conditioning.

One detained worker who called Equidem from the detention center described seeing as many as 300 of his colleagues there from Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Nepal and the Philippines. He said some had been paid salaries after the protest while others hadn’t. His comments could not be corroborated.

Qatar, like other Gulf Arab nations, has in the past deported demonstrating foreign workers, and tied residency visas to employment. The right to form unions remains tightly controlled and available only to Qataris, as is the country’s limited right to assembly, according to the Washington-based advocacy group Freedom House.

Qatar, a small, energy-rich nation on the Arabian Peninsula, is home to the state-funded Al Jazeera satellite news network. However, expression in the country remains tightly controlled. Last year, Qatar detained and later deported a Kenyan security guard who wrote and spoke publicly about the woes of the country’s migrant labor force.

Since FIFA awarded the tournament to Qatar in 2010, the country has taken some steps to overhaul the country’s employment practices. That includes eliminating its so-called kafala employment system, which tied workers to their employers, who had say over whether they could leave their jobs or even the country.

Qatar also has adopted a minimum monthly wage of 1,000 Qatari riyals ($275) for workers and required food and housing allowances for employees not receiving that directly from their employers.

Activists like Qadri have called on Doha to do more, particularly when it comes to ensuring workers receive their salaries on time and are protected from abusive employers.

“Have we all been duped by Qatar over the last several years?” Qadri asked, suggesting that recent reforms might have been “a cover” for authorities allowing prevailing labor practices to continue.

The World Cup will start this November in Qatar.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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