Four Indonesians in Japan recover from COVID-19: Minister

October 19, 2020

first_imgFour of the nine Indonesian citizens who tested positive for COVID-19 in Japan have since recovered, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said on Tuesday.“Four out of nine positive Indonesians have been declared negative [recovered] and the remaining five are still undergoing treatment in the hospitals and they are in a stable condition,” Retno told reporters in Jakarta on Tuesday.The nine Indonesians are crew members of the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship that had been docked in the port of Yokohama, Japan. Sixty-nine of their fellow crew members who tested negative for the disease have been evacuated from the ship and are currently quarantined in Sebaru Island, Thousand Islands regency, Jakarta. Retno said the Foreign Ministry was closely monitoring the well-being of Indonesians in countries that were hardest hit by the virus. “Our focus is on the countries that have had a significant increase of [confirmed] cases […] We are intensively communicating with our missions abroad in Iran, Italy, South Korea and Japan [as countries with significant surges in cases],” she said.“Our embassies are also consistently showing support for the [governments] of the affected countries,” Retno added.Read also: Jakarta steps up efforts to tackle COVID-19 following two confirmed casesSeparately, the ministry’s director for citizen protection, Judha Nugraha, said on Wednesday that the recovered Indonesian crew members were still hospitalized to undergo a second test – except for one who has already taken the two tests and had been evacuated along with the other crew members who tested negative.As of Wednesday, real-time data from the Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) recorded 93,158 confirmed cases worldwide, with a total death toll of 3,198. South Korea bears the second-highest number of cases, second only to China, with 5,328 confirmed cases. Meanwhile, Italy has 2,502 cases, Iran has 2,336 cases and Japan has 293 cases so far.More than 50,600 people worldwide have recovered from the disease.Topics :last_img read more

Authorities assure safety as locals protest burial of people with coronavirus

October 19, 2020

first_imgBanyumas Regent Achmad Husein even went as far as to help in the digging to show residents that as long as the corpse had been handled properly, the dead body of a COVID-19 patient was not dangerous.”In the near future, we’ll educate residents so they understand that the virus dies underground and it won’t spread everywhere and infect people,” Husein said as quoted by tribunnews.com on Wednesday.Similar tensions have been reported in Depok and Tasikmlaya in West Java, Bandar Lampung in Lampung and Gowa regency in South Sulawesi.Ganjar said he himself had asked experts about the protocol for handling the dead bodies of people with COVID-19.The safety protocols include that hospital authorities treating the patient spray disinfectant on the corpse, wash the body, cover it in plastic and put it inside a coffin for the burial.”If the bodies are handled according to the guidelines […] they will not spread the disease. It’s safe, the virus will be dead, too,” Ganjar said, “The most important thing is that residents should not attend the funeral.”Following the protests, the Banyumas administration prepared three plots of land as a graveyard specifically designated for COVID-19 patients and suspects.Read also: Viral video shows Southeast Sulawesi family unwrapping body of suspected COVID-19 fatalitySouth Sulawesi also took a similar action after locals rejected the idea of burying three COVID-19 suspects in the provincial capital of Makassar on Sunday and Tuesday.”The South Sulawesi administration has prepared a special graveyard for COVID-19 patients and suspects so such incidents won’t occur again in the future. The graveyard can be used starting on Wednesday,” medical department head of Hasanuddin Military Command Col. Ckm. Dr. Soni Endro Cahyo Wicaksono said on Tuesday.Husni Thamrin, public health department head of the South Sulawesi Health Agency, said his side would continue to educate people so the latter understood that all COVID-19 patients and suspects were buried in accordance with WHO guidelines.As of Wednesday afternoon, Indonesia has recorded 1,677 confirmed coronavirus cases with 157 fatalities, making the country’s mortality rate of 9.3 percent among the highest in the world. (nal)Topics : Authorities across some regions are trying hard to assure the public that the burial of people with COVID-19 is not something to be wary of, as reports emerged that some locals have rejected the idea of having the bodies of deceased persons infected by the novel coronavirus buried in cemeteries near their homes.Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo said he was “deeply saddened by the reports”, emphasizing that all burials of those with or suspected to have contracted COVID-19 in the country had followed the safety standards of the World Health Organization (WHO).”I don’t want such a thing to happen again. Let’s respect the feelings of the family members of the deceased,” he said on Wednesday, “They are already in so much grief as they were not able to see the faces of the deceased one last time.” “So, please don’t hurt them [the family members] more. Let’s support them together.”Read also: Alone on their deathbed, how COVID-19 keeps families away from loved onesOn Tuesday, the dead body of a COVID-19 patient that had been buried in Tumiyeng village in the province’s Banyumas regency was dug up to be removed to another cemetery following protests.Four villages previously rejected the idea having the dead body buried in a local cemetery, as they were reportedly concerned about possible coronavirus transmission.last_img read more

Muhammad Syarifuddin elected new Supreme Court chief justice

October 19, 2020

first_imgMuhammad Syarifuddin has been elected as the new Supreme Court chief justice, replacing Muhammad Hatta Ali who previously served two terms and is due for retirement in May.Syarifuddin, formerly the judicial division deputy head at the country’s highest court, won the majority vote during an election held in a plenary meeting attended by 48 justices on Monday.The meeting was live-streamed on the Supreme Court’s official YouTube channel, allowing other officials and members of the public to witness the proceedings amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, he has served as the deputy head of Muara Bulian District Court in Jambi, the head of Padang Pariaman District Court in West Sumatra, the deputy head of Bandung District Court in West Java and a judge at the Palembang High Court in South Sumatra.He became a Supreme Court justice in February 2013 and was elected as the court’s judicial deputy head in May 2016.Following the election on Monday, Syarifuddin thanked his colleagues for the trust given to him to lead the Supreme Court for the 2020-2025 period.“I would like to sincerely thank my colleagues who have been moved to pass the leadership baton on to me. I hope that, from this day on, we will be united and work hard together so that the Supreme Court and other institutions under it may improve,” he said during his speech.Hatta congratulated Syarifuddin, as well as expressing his hope that the policies implemented during his term would continue in effect under the newly elected chief justice.“I thank every element of the Supreme Court and every legal institution under it for their support during my tenure as chief justice for eight years and two months. I hope every policy we have implemented will continue to take effect under the newly elected chief justice,” Hatta said.Topics : In addition to Syarifuddin, other candidates for the top judiciary post included Supreme Court spokesperson Andi Samsan Nganro and the court’s nonjudicial division deputy head Sunarto.Sunarto lost the first round of the election, leaving only Syarifuddin and Andi vying for the top post in the second round. Syarifuddin ultimately garnered 32 votes, surpassing Andi’s 14 votes.Former chief justice Hatta refrained from casting a vote as he said he was already due for retirement next month.Born in Baturaja, South Sumatra, on Oct. 17, 1954, Syarifuddin has been a career judge since being appointed to Banda Aceh District Court in 1981.last_img read more

Air Canada to rehire 16,500 workers laid off due to pandemic

October 19, 2020

first_img“Subject to its adoption into law substantially as announced, Air Canada intends to adopt the CEWS for the benefit of its 36,000 Canadian-based employee workforce,” the company said in a statement.Trudeau also warned Canadians to brace for painful monthly unemployment figures to be released Thursday.Read also: Q1 passenger traffic at Ngurah Rai falls 15%, but worst yet to come”It’s going to be a hard day for the country,” he said. “But I know that if we pull together, our economy will come roaring back after this crisis.”More than four million people have applied for emergency aid offered by the government since mid-March, about one fifth of the country’s active population.The figures point to an explosion in the unemployment rate for March from 5.6 percent in February.Canada on Wednesday had more than 19,000 officially declared cases of coronavirus, and 456 deaths.Topics : Some 16,500 Air Canada employees who were laid off because of the coronavirus pandemic will be rehired under a government relief package for businesses, the airline said Wednesday.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced during his daily news conference that the program would now be open to companies that suffered a drop of more than 15 percent in their revenues in March, against 30 percent previously.Air Canada furloughed nearly half of its Canada-based workforce of 36,000 on March 30 after seeing business abruptly dry up by more than 90 percent as country after country imposed travel restrictions and people stopped flying. Read also: Airline employees worried about job security as COVID-19 takes its tollThe Canadian government stepped in April 1 with the emergency wage subsidy plan designed to help employers keep their workers or bring back ones that were laid off because of the pandemic.It is retroactive to March 15 and the government will pay 75 percent of hard-hit companies’ payrolls through June 6.Air Canada said that under the “CEWS” relief package it will bring back the people it had furloughed.last_img read more

‘We all need to make sacrifices’, Jokowi says in subdued Idul Fitri greeting

October 19, 2020

first_imgHe urged the public to prioritize their health and that of their families.“I am sure that, together, as a country, we can make it through this trying time,” he said. “Happy Idul Fitri, forgive me for my physical and emotional wrongdoings.”The President himself would be spending the holiday at Bogor Palace in West Java instead of his hometown Surakarta in Central Java, presidential spokesperson Angkie Yudistia said separately. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and first lady Iriana wished all Indonesians a happy Idul Fitri in a subdued video greeting as the country celebrates the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan differently amid the COVID-19 outbreak.It is customary for Indonesians to gather with their families in their hometowns for Idul Fitri, in a tradition known as mudik (exodus). This year, however, the government has banned the mudik to curb the spread of COVID-19.“We celebrate differently, because [now] we all need to make sacrifices to refrain from the usual mudik and [family] gatherings,” Jokowi said in a video message on the State Palace YouTube channel on Saturday. “This is part of the President’s commitment to physical distancing and reducing the potential for COVID-19 transmission,” she said in a statement on Saturday. “Gatherings and open house events are also temporarily canceled, as current conditions do not allow for them.”Previously, Coordinating Legal, Political and Human Rights Minister Mahfud MD noted that mass Idul Fitri prayers in mosques or public squares had been prohibited through the Health Ministry’s regulation on large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) and the 2018 Health Quarantine Law.The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), chaired by Vice President Ma’ruf Amin, has also issued a fatwa that allows Idul Fitri prayers to be performed at home.The virus outbreak has also forced Muslims to forgo other religious rituals and traditions during Ramadan as the Religious Affairs Minister called to avoid performing the tarawih (evening Ramadan prayers) in congregation as well as visiting relatives’ graves.Topics :last_img read more

Growing US-China rivalry seen fueling UN paralysis amid virus crisis

October 19, 2020

first_img“The Security Council has been frozen for 45 years between 1945 and 1990, because of the Cold War,” one ambassador said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The last thing we need is another Cold War that would freeze again the Security Council.””Importing bilateral disputes in the Council would be a disaster,” he said.Added another ambassador: “We really shouldn’t enter in a new Cold War. But it doesn’t look very good at the moment,” whether regarding leadership, the pandemic or US-Chinese relations, three subjects “very closely tied to each other.”At the UN, there is a sense of a dangerous drift into new and dysfunctional territory.”In the past, when you had disagreements among members of the Council, it was compartmentalized,” said a UN official, speaking on grounds of anonymity. “So your adversary one day on a particular issue was your best ally the next day on another issue. What we see now is everything spilling over.”So there are camps, or there are disagreements which just spill over from one issue to another,” the official said, clearly alluding to the situation in Hong Kong, where tough new Chinese security legislation has pitted the two leading permanent members of the UN against each other.”The tensions between the US and China are really problematic” for the world body, meaning the Security Council is “not able to move forward on a range of things,” the official added. Several ambassadors shared that view. “There is a huge fracture in the global multilateral architecture right now. And it’s very serious,” said Olof Skoog, the European Union ambassador to the UN.”We are witnessing a polarization in the Security Council,” said Ambassador Christoph Heusgen of Germany, currently a non-permanent member of the council, alluding to an ever more bitter volley of tweets being exchanged by the US and Chinese missions.At a press conference Thursday, Guterres expressed his regret that the pandemic had not evoked a greater sense of humility from the big powers. “If the present crisis shows something, it is our fragility. Collective fragility. When we are fragile, we should be humble. When we are humble, we should be united and in solidarity,” he said, in remarks directed to members of the Security Council.  He then made it abundantly clear that he had in mind the United States and China — which as permanent Security Council members enjoy the veto power that greatly magnifies their influence. “I have never seen the Council’s work being paralyzed by [non-permanent] members,” he said. Topics : “Where we see power, we sometimes do not see the necessary leadership,” he said recently.Even after more than two months of negotiations, the 15 Security Council members were unable to reach agreement on a resolution supporting a call from the UN secretary-general for a global cease-fire while the world battles the novel coronavirus. The sole reason? US-Chinese differences over a passing mention in the draft resolution to the World Health Organization (WHO), with which President Donald Trump on Friday said he planned to sever ties.Both UN officials and diplomats say the US-Chinese conflict seems to be spreading, leaving them increasingly pessimistic. For nearly a decade, the UN Security Council has been frequently paralyzed by Russia’s obstinacy over the Syrian crisis. Today, however, it is the US-China rivalry that has infected a growing array of issues, according to officials and diplomats.As recently as 2017, an understanding between Washington and Beijing allowed the United Nations on three occasions — involving separate sets of economic sanctions — to project international unity in the face of the North Korean nuclear threat. Three years later, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a ferocious competition erupt between the UN’s two main contributors, prompting the organization’s chief, Antonio Guterres, to bemoan a “lack of leadership” during the world’s worst crisis since 1945.last_img read more

Consumers lament PLN electricity bill spike

October 19, 2020

first_img“I use nine hours of air conditioning daily. That hasn’t changed. Plus, I haven’t added any new electronic devices,” he told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.He said his effort to contact PLN customer service, including through the company’s official Twitter account and its hotline last week, had not improved the situation. While the company promised to send an inspector to his house, the person had yet to show up.Similarly, Putu Riza, a Youtube gadget reviewer based in Greater Jakarta, published a screenshot of his Rp 1.93 million June bill, more than double the previous month.“Here’s my bill, which is the highest ever throughout the work-from-home period, even though I’ve been working at home less,” he wrote on his Twitter account @papersboy. The spike in electricity bills has been attributed to PLN’s new billing method, where it calculates monthly residential power bills based on consumption during the previous three months. The higher-than-usual consumption in April and May was billed in June.The company has encouraged customers to self-report their electricity usage as an alternative to the new bill calculation method, but many have not done so, as noted by PLN and YLKI.In June, a total of 4.3 million post-paid residential customers saw bills 20 percent higher than in the previous month.The company’s assessment of 2,200 complaints about high electricity bills in April concluded that 94 percent of the increases were proportional to increases in electricity consumption.The proportionality contradicts customers’ speculation that PLN has raised rates – expressed in rupiah per kilowatt hour (Rp/KwH) – at the request of the government.“Consumers felt they were being cheated with a higher rate. There is no higher rate,” said Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) chairman Tulus Abadi in a video statement on June 7.However, Tulus urged PLN to improve its customer service because many consumer complaints were not processed properly. He also told affected consumers to contact PLN.“Consumers should not be shy about asking PLN for clarity. That is our right,” he said.Because of the mounting complaints, PLN has pledged that it will relax payments for customers whose June bills rose by more than 20 percent.PLN will now collect 40 percent of the eligible customers’ bills this month. The remaining 60 percent will be charged equally over the following three months.The company plans to offer the scheme to an estimated 1.93 million customers who saw spikes in their monthly electricity bills.However, PLN senior executive vice president for customer service Yuddy Setyo Wicaksono, speaking on Monday, maintained that the higher power consumption was because of increased at-home work during the pandemic, as well as the Ramadan fasting period in May.“People watched Korean dramas and played video games at home. These forms of entertainment are related to electricity usage when people avoid leaving home,” he said, adding that consumers also used more electricity during the fasting month because people woke up before sunrise for predawn meals.Topics : Consumers have criticized state-owned electricity firm PLN for a significant spike in electricity bills in June resulting from a new billing method and increased at-home work.PLN data shows that about 258,000 households, all of which are on post-paid residential plans, saw a significant increase in their power bills. The company claimed this was because of higher electricity consumption at home as people avoided going out.Hendrik Tampubolon, 33, an East Jakarta resident, showed a screenshot of his house’s electricity bill in June. It had jumped fivefold to Rp 551,416 (US$39.1). His electricity bills over the three months before averaged about Rp 100,000.last_img read more

Trump ditches new tone on coronavirus to tout questionable theories

October 19, 2020

first_imgNew tone? Trump’s Twitter activity on Monday was made more remarkable by the fact that hours earlier he’d flown to a North Carolina laboratory participating in the race for a coronavirus vaccine. Trump used the photo-op, where he was shown inspecting high-tech lab equipment at Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies in Morrisville, to underline his support for the scientific response to the pandemic.”We will achieve a victory over the virus by unleashing American scientific genius,” he told reporters.The facility has been awarded a contract to mass produce an experimental vaccine developed by Novavax, as part of a multi-billion dollar government initiative dubbed Operation Warp Speed.Topics : But at a press conference in the White House on Tuesday, it was the old Trump in full.He said it was unfair that the leading US infectious diseases specialist Anthony Fauci was more popular than him.”Nobody likes me,” he said.He pushed his pet theory — counter to advice from his own government and most doctors — that the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine can be used to treat COVID-19 patients. President Donald Trump’s much heralded new tone on the coronavirus pandemic evaporated Tuesday in a burst of misleading medical speculation, criticism for his own top virus expert, and praise for an eccentric preacher-doctor touting conspiracy theories.Just a week ago, Trump sought to get his shaky reelection campaign back on track by addressing national criticism of a leadership void in a crisis that has already killed nearly 150,000 Americans and wreaked havoc on the world’s biggest economy.The president admitted things were going to “get worse before they get better.” He indicated he was embracing the science. He finally urged the wearing of masks. Social media outcast Trump’s testy press conference, which he abruptly ended while answering a second question about his praise for Immanuel, followed an overnight row with social media giants Twitter and Facebook over some of the same controversies.Twitter took the rare step of removing clips tweeted by Trump from a video earlier deleted by Facebook in which Immanuel and a group of doctors told Americans that masks are unnecessary and that hydroxychloroquine can defeat the COVID-19 virus.Twitter said Tuesday that tweeting the video, which was seen by millions of people online late Monday and remained up on different right-wing websites, was “in violation of our COVID-19 misinformation policy.”Twitter also blocked Trump’s son Don Jr — a major player in the president’s reelection campaign — from tweeting for 12 hours after he uploaded a version of the video.The physician, who calls herself “God’s battle axe,” claims in the video that “the virus has a cure” in hydroxychloroquine.This is false — there is currently no cure for the coronavirus. Also, a majority of medical authorities now have decided, after some initial debate, that hydroxychloroquine has no proven benefit for coronavirus patients and can be very harmful.Trump has for months pushed the notion of hydroxychloroquine and says he took the drug for two weeks as a precaution, without suffering ill consequences.As he repeated on Tuesday, “I’m here, right? I’m here.”center_img “Many doctors think it’s extremely successful.”And he took pains to praise Stella Immanuel, a doctor and preacher who believes in witchcraft and a plot being carried out to vaccinate people against being religious, calling her “spectacular.” Anti-Fauci rants In his Twitter spree late Monday, the president also retweeted a growing right-wing conspiracy theory that Fauci helped push coronavirus to hurt Trump’s reelection in November.The tweet, shared by Trump to his 84 million followers, claimed that Immanuel is highlighting “what should be the biggest scandal in modern American history.”This was “the suppression of #Hydroxychloroquine by Fauci & the Democrats to perpetuate Covid deaths to hurt Trump,” the tweet reads.Trump also attacked Fauci by retweeting a comment on a podcast hosted by his former advisor Steve Bannon that Fauci “misled the American public on many issues.”Fauci responded early Tuesday on ABC News saying he ignores Twitter. “I don’t tweet, I don’t even read them,” he said.”I have not been misleading the American public under any circumstances,” said Fauci, whose decades of experience include pioneering the fight against AIDS from the 1980s onward.”We’re in the middle of a crisis with regard to a pandemic,” he said. “This is what I’ve been trained for my entire professional life.”Trump insisted on Tuesday at the press conference that he has “a very good relationship with Doctor Fauci.”last_img read more

Google owner Alphabet issues record $10 billion bond at lowest-ever price

October 19, 2020

first_imgAlphabet Inc borrowed US$10 billion in the investment-grade corporate debt market on Monday, the Google parent’s largest ever bond issue, which it secured at its lowest-ever cost of financing.Of the $10 billion on offer, the $1 billion five-year tranche was issued at a coupon of 0.45 percent, the lowest coupon seen at that maturity since Apple Inc issued a $1.5 billion five-year note at 0.45 percent in 2013.Investor appetite was fierce for the tech giant’s six-part bond, as low interest rates and corporate bond buying from the Federal Reserve continues to support issuance. The deal garnered more than $31 billion in demand, according to Refinitiv IFR. Previously, Alphabet’s lowest coupon was 1.25 percent on a $1 billion May 2014 note. “We’re at a stage where these extremely high-quality issuers – of which Alphabet is one – are going to price very very tight. That’s because there are a lot of buyers who need short-term, don’t-need-to-think-about-it money. You’re getting two times the yield on the five-year Treasury,” said Tom Graff, head of fixed income at Brown Advisory.Last week Alphabet reported its first quarterly sales drop in its 16 years as a public company. Its share price was largely unmoved however, as the loss in sales was offset by a recovery in Google’s ads business.“There is a very narrow set of companies that were already super high quality, that are not impacted by this recession we’re going through right now. And Google is one of them,” said Graff.Alphabet’s five-year tranche priced just higher than Amazon.com’s 0.40 percent three-year note issued in June, among the lowest corporate coupons ever recorded. Alphabet’s 0.45 percent five-year tranche was however cheaper than Amazon’s June 2020 offering at the same maturity, which priced at 0.80 percent.Of the $10 billion offered, $4.5 billion from the seven-, 20- and 40-year tranches will be used for general corporate purposes, including acquisitions. The remaining $5.5 billion will be used for green initiatives, the company said, the largest-ever issue of corporate debt for environment, social and governance endeavors.Topics :last_img read more

PREMIUM ‘Our goal is not only to escape the pandemic’: Jokowi wants nation to take leap

October 19, 2020

first_imgTopics : Wrapped in the traditional black and golden garb of the people of East Nusa Tenggara, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo made a big ask when he gave his annual state of the nation address in the chambers of the People’s Consultative Assembly in Jakarta on Friday.He asked the people to support his massive development drive, even in the midst of an unfurling multidimensional crisis.“Our current goal is not only to escape the pandemic but also to get through the crisis. We are taking measures to take a big leap by making the most of the ongoing crisis,” Jokowi said.In his speech, held to commemorate Indonesia’s 75th Independence Day that falls on Monday, the President acknowledged that, like most countries in the world today, Indonesia was facing one of the worst economic crises in history, due to a pandemic that has killed nearly 800,000 people g… Forgot Password ? Log in with your social account Linkedin State-of-nation-address Jokowi pandemic economic-crisis democracy intolerance structural-reform omnibus-bill Facebook Google LOG INDon’t have an account? Register herelast_img read more