SOIna strengthens ties with Asia-Pacific counterparts to improve athletes’ welfare

first_imgThe cooperation is also part of the SOIna’s strategy to gather support from regional countries in hopes of in turn gaining support for Indonesia’s bid to host the Special Olympics Games Asia Pacific in 2022.Meetings will be held every three months in different locations. The first meeting, held on Monday, was organized in Singapore.Vicky Sihotang said besides the 2022 Special Olympics, the organization was also looking forward to the National Games, which will be held this year, and the 2023 World Games in Berlin.“We need all hands on deck to prepare for the event. Among the strategies, we are going to build more awareness,” he said. Topics : The Special Olympics Indonesia (SOIna) has announced its intention to strengthen ties with similar organizations in the region to improve the credibility of data on athletes.SOIna chief Warsito Ellwein and national director Vicky Sihotang met with president and managing director of the Special Olympics Asia Pacific (SOAP), Dipak Natali, to discuss ways to improve data credibility.“We have strengthened cooperation to improve the quality of our athletes with intellectual disabilities,” Warsito said after the meeting on Monday.last_img read more

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Agus Yudhoyono elected as Democratic Party chairman

first_imgAgus Harimurti Yudhoyono, the eldest son of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has been elected as the Democratic Party’s new chairman by acclamation on Sunday, following in his father’s footsteps.The decision was made after a plenary session, held during the party’s fifth national congress in Jakarta, conducted a verification and declared Agus eligible to become the party’s new chairman. “That’s right, [he was] elected by acclamation,” said Democratic Party executive Ferdinand Hutahaean, as quoted by kompas.com on Sunday.During the registration of his candidacy, AHY had already received 93 percent of the votes from the party’s regional executive boards (DPD) and branch executive boards (DPC).AHY is the fifth politician to hold the position after Subur Budhisantoso helmed the party from 2001 to 2005, Hadi Utomo from 2005 to 2010, Anas Urbaningrum from 2010 to 2013 and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono from 2013 to 2020.Agus had served as the party’s deputy chairman since October 2019 after his duties as the party’s joint election command chief ended following the 2019 general election.Many observers have said Agus may run for president in 2024. (asp)Topics :last_img read more

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Politicians ‘underestimated’ virus threat: EU chief

first_imgPolitical leaders “underestimated” the magnitude of the danger posed by the coronavirus, the president of the European Commission admitted Wednesday, as the EU shut its borders.”I think that all of us who are not experts initially underestimated the coronavirus,” Ursula von der Leyen told Germany’s Bild newspaper in an interview published Wednesday.”But now it is clear that this is a virus that will keep us busy for a long time yet.” Topics : Germany’s economy minister Peter Altmaier said the United States under Donald Trump had taken the threat of the virus even more lightly. “The outbreak of the crisis was probably underestimated even more so in the US than in some countries in Europe,” Peter Altmaier told Germany’s regional press group Funke.  “That is the reason we very much hope that the US will manage to control the situation, also in our own interest,” he added.”No-one hopes that the US economy would fall into an uncontrolled recession.”center_img “We understand that measures that seemed drastic two or three weeks ago, need to be taken now,” she added.The coronavirus outbreak, which first emerged in China late last year, has quickly marched across the globe, infecting nearly 200,000 people and killing 7,900 as governments scramble to contain it.But von der Leyen rejected the language of French president Emmanuel Macron, who likened the outbreak to war this week, and ordered almost the entire population to stay at home for at least two weeks.”I will not personally use that term but I understand the motivation of the French president as the coronavirus is a worrying enemy.” last_img read more

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Indonesian stocks hit circuit breaker again as dollar nears Rp 16,000

first_imgIndonesian stocks hit yet another circuit breaker on Thursday morning, prompting the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) to halt trading for 30 minutes for the fourth time in a week.The main gauge, the Jakarta Composite Index (JCI), nosedived 5.01 percent a mere 37 minutes after it opened at 9 a.m. in Jakarta to 4,113.65, a level unseen since August 2012.“Trading at the IDX officially halted at 9.37 a.m. and will reopen at 10.07 a.m.,” IDX trading director Laksono Widodo told the press on Thursday, adding that transactions before the market closed totaled Rp 1.22 trillion (US$75 million). Foreign investors dumped Rp 461 billion in stocks more than they bought on Thursday morning.Read also: Rupiah at weakest since 1998 crisis as foreign investors pull out amid virus fearsThe rupiah continued its deep depreciation and reached Rp 15,712 per US dollar, according to the Bank Indonesia Jakarta Interspot Dollar Rate (JISDOR). The last time it touched that level was in June 1998 when it reach reached Rp 16,650 after widespread rioting that led to the downfall of president Soeharto, who led Indonesia for 32 years.“Global investors are still panicking over the spread of the coronavirus and their main concerns is not the virus but its economic impacts, which are still difficult to predict at this time,” said Sucor Sekuritas client coverage head Jason Gozali on Thursday. During the 1998 and 2008 crises, he went on to say, the JCI plunged 50 percent from its recent peak within five to six months. But now, the index has plunged around 35 percent from its recent high in just two weeks.“The panic is shown in the corrections happening in all global capital markets, not just in Indonesia,” he added.Tokyo dropped 0.74 percent, Shanghai fell 1.73 percent, Hong Kong fell 3.74 percent and Singapore plunged almost 4 percent on Thursday morning.Indonesia had reported 227 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 19 dead as of Wednesday, one of the highest death tolls in Southeast Asia.The JCI has lost almost 35 percent of its value since the beginning of the year, slashing its market capitalization to Rp 4.78 quadrillion from more than Rp 7 quadrillion last year.Read also: Indonesia to reallocate $1.8b budget for health care, cash transfers: Sri MulyaniPrivately owned PT Bank Central Asia — traded under the ticker symbol BBCA — led Thursday morning’s decline, as its share prices plummeted 7 percent, hitting the lower limit of price decline set by the bourse last week. The continued decline in the past few weeks has also caused the company to lose almost 30 percent of its market value so far this year.Logistics firm PT Putra Rajawali Kencana (PURA) and food manufacturing giant PT Indofood Sukses Makmur (INDF) also hit the price drop limit, with their shares tumbling 7 percent during morning trading.“In addition to a slowdown in infections, economic growth and corporate financial reports for the first quarter will be the key, as they will help investors estimate the economic impacts of the coronavirus,” Jason said.“If the impacts are not as bad as projected, it will restore investors’ rationality.”Topics :last_img read more

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Bolsonaro, Trump talk coronavirus help as Brazil cases rise sharply

first_imgTopics : He told reporters that Brazil was having difficulty importing urgent medical equipment because the United States sent 23 planes to China to be filled up, and Brazil’s share was slashed as a result.Mandetta said on Monday that 200 million personal protective equipment items would arrive from China this month.Meanwhile, Bolsonaro repeated his insistence that jobs and the economy cannot be forgotten in the coronavirus fight and warned that imports of food were already falling.Figures on Wednesday showed that Brazilian manufacturing activity in March shrank at its fastest rate in three years, while the real sank to a record low of 5.27 per dollar.The government pledged billions more to help the poor but was criticized for fraying ties with congress that could delay aid reaching those most in need.Economy Minister Paulo Guedes said the government will spend about 98 billion reais ($18 billion) to help 54 million informal workers affected by nationwide lockdowns, part of an overall 800 billion reais government aid package. Criticism has grown over Bolsonaro’s handling of the crisis. The right-wing populist has attacked state governors for lockdowns that are causing job losses, played down the threat of what he calls “a little flu” and contradicted his own health minister’s position on self-isolation and social distancing.Brazil’s Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta said the latest coronavirus figures were very worrying and expressed concern about the lack of protective equipment, medical equipment and ventilators.The Health Ministry said on Wednesday that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Brazil rose by 1,119 to 6,836 and the death toll by 39 to 240.A 20-year-old indigenous woman in a village deep in the Amazon rainforest was the first case reported among Brazil’s more than 300 tribes. Mandetta said monitoring indigenous people is a challenge, and their lifestyle could facilitate the spread of the virus.center_img Presidents Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday discussed cooperation between the two countries in the fight against coronavirus, as Brazil’s health minister warned that infection rates and lack of medical supplies were a big concern.The two presidents discussed medical and logistical cooperation on a telephone call but steered clear of confinement and quarantine policies, according to Brazil’s Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo. Both leaders have stirred controversy for their positions on the latter.The White House said they discussed the importance of working together through the Group of 20 nations, cooperating on vaccine development and restoring global economic growth.last_img read more

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Police generals vie for key KPK position

first_imgAfter days of pressure from civil society organizations over a lack of accountability, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has revealed the names of the three remaining candidates for the commission’s deputy for law enforcement position.KPK acting spokesperson Ali Fikri said in a statement on Friday that all of the remaining candidates were police generals: Yogyakarta Police deputy chief Brig. Gen. Karyoto, South Sumatra Police deputy chief Brig. Gen. Rudi Setiawan and National Police Education and Training Institute (Lemdiklat Polri) detective training program head Brig. Gen. Agus Nugroho.The three candidates passed the administrative assessment in early March. They will undergo the next phases of the selection process, a medical checkup and interview, from April 2 to 7. While the position is usually filled by police generals or other law enforcement officers, anticorruption activists have said that putting a police general in the position would cause conflicts of interest.Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) said on Wednesday that public trust in the antigraft body would be eroded further if the position was filled by people “lacking integrity and capacity”. Read also: ‘Maybe it’s working’: KPK says lack of raids thanks to successful prevention methodAli dismissed the criticism, saying the selection process had been carried out openly. He said the KPK had not restricted anyone from applying for the position.“As long as the applicants fulfill our terms and conditions, they are welcome to enter the selection process,” Ali said. “The KPK already has a good work system. All of our work here can be measured for its accountability.”Activists have also demanded that the antigraft body restart the selection process, saying the commission had not been transparent about the process. The KPK had not previously disclosed the names of candidates.The KPK also did not involve the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK) in this year’s selection. The institution was involved in checking the financial backgrounds of each candidate in previous searches.In addition to the deputy for law enforcement position, the KPK is also selecting candidates to fill other key posts, namely investigation director, legal bureau head as well as deputy for information and data. The last position is responsible for all wiretapping conducted by the antigraft body.All the remaining candidates for the other three positions have given presentations and have been interviewed.Since police general Firli Bahuri was inaugurated as the KPK chairman in December 2019, the antigraft body has been routinely criticized for its sluggish law enforcement. It has only arrested two high-profile graft suspects in the period: Sidoarjo Regent Saiful Ilah and General Elections Commission (KPU) commissioner Wahyu Setiawan.Topics :center_img Whoever triumphs will hold a key position within the antigraft body, as the deputy for law enforcement oversees all legal processes against graft suspects.last_img read more

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Grow your own: Urban farming flourishes in coronavirus lockdowns

first_imgTopics : “More people are thinking about where their food comes from, how easily it can be disrupted, and how to reduce disruptions,” said landscape architect Kotchakorn Voraakhom, who designed Asia’s largest urban rooftop farm in Bangkok.”People, planners and governments should all be rethinking how land is used in cities. Urban farming can improve food security and nutrition, reduce climate change impacts, and lower stress,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.More than two-thirds of the world’s population is forecast to live in cities by 2050, according to the United Nations.Urban agriculture can be crucial to feeding them, potentially producing as much as 180 million tons of food a year – or about 10% of the global output of pulses and vegetables, according to a 2018 study published in the journal Earth’s Future. The coronavirus outbreak is not be the first time that concerns about food security have led to more kitchen gardens.During World War One, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson asked Americans to plant “Victory Gardens” to prevent food shortages.The effort continued during World War Two, with vegetable gardens in backyards and schoolyards, on unused land, and even the front lawn of the White House.In recent decades, the fast pace of urbanization in developing countries is causing urban malnutrition, the Food and Agriculture Organization said, calling on planners to become “nutrition partners” and pay attention to food security.Despite pressure on land to build homes and roads, there is more than enough urban land available within UK cities to meet the fruit and vegetable requirements of its population, researchers at the Institute for Sustainable Food at Britain’s University of Sheffield said in a study last month.In tiny Singapore, one of the wealthiest nations in Asia that imports more than 90% of its food, urban farming including vertical and rooftop farms, is fast becoming popular.The city-state, which ranks on top of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s global food security index for 2019, aims to produce 30% of its nutritional needs by 2030, by increasing the local supply of fruits, vegetables and protein from meat and fish.On Monday, Singapore lawmaker Ang Wei Neng said that during the coronavirus outbreak, “it would be wise for us to think of how to invest in homegrown food”.For Allan Lim, chief executive of ComCrop, a commercial urban farm in Singapore, the pandemic is a reminder that disruptions to food supplies can take place at any time.”It has definitely sparked more interest in local produce. Urban farms can be a shock absorber during disruptions such as this,” he said.center_img Coronavirus lockdowns are pushing more city dwellers to grow fruit and vegetables in their homes, providing a potentially lasting boost to urban farming, architects and food experts said on Tuesday.Confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, total more than 1.3 million, with about 74,000 deaths worldwide, according to a Reuters tally.Panic buying in some countries during the crisis has led to empty supermarket shelves and an uptick in the purchase of seeds, according to media reports.last_img read more

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Indonesian banks have sufficient liquidity despite loan restructuring, pandemic: Economists

first_img“We believe that lower loan growth together with various relief measures introduced by the central bank should help to mitigate any potential pressure on funding and liquidity as a result of the coronavirus,” Hannify told The Jakarta Post on Monday. “We expect these ratios to continue to be maintained with a satisfactory buffer throughout 2020.”Read also: State banks say debt relief program could harm bottom lineLoan growth reached 7.95 percent year-on-year (yoy) in the first quarter, higher than the 6.08 percent recorded at the end of last year. However, no new loan demand was recorded in the period as the growth came from the disbursement of existing credit facilities, Financial Services Authority (OJK) chairman Wimboh Santoso said on Monday.The OJK and Bank Indonesia (BI) previously set a loan growth target of around 11 percent this year. The central bank recently slashed its projection to between 6 and 8 percent. The liquidity of Indonesian banks will remain in check despite economic risks brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and loan restructuring program that defers credit repayments, economists have said.Fitch Ratings director for banks Gary Hannify said Indonesia’s 12-largest banks had ample liquidity as reflected in liquidity coverage ratios of about 180 percent at the end of 2019, adding that the industry had above the 100 percent minimum liquidity requirement in recent years.The liquidity coverage ratio is the requirement in which banks must hold an amount of high-quality liquid assets that is enough to fund cash outflows for 30 days. Hannify went on to say that key sources of risk to the banks’ liquidity could stem from a greater-than-expected deterioration in asset quality or a considerable increase in restructuring that defers repayments.“Both would lower incoming cashflow,” he said. “However, loans that need and qualify for restructuring should remain a smaller proportion of the large banks’ loan books and the impact on liquidity should remain manageable for the banks.”The OJK revealed on Monday that 88 banks had provided 3.88 million debtors with credit restructuring worth Rp 336.97 trillion (US$22.57 billion), following the issuance of OJK Regulation No. 11/2020, which instructs financial institutions to provide relief for borrowers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.Nearly 3.5 million applicants are micro, small and medium businesses (MSMEs) as the pandemic forced businesses to close amid large-scale social restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.Read also: Indonesia’s financial system at risk amid pandemic: KSSKMeanwhile, Wimboh said 7.8 million debtors might apply for credit restructuring worth Rp 1.11 quadrillion in 110 banks, adding that the banks had committed to taking part in the program.“We guarantee that the banks’ health would not be shaken because of rising NPL risks,” Wimboh told reporters, referring to non-performing loans or bad debt ratio. “We would help [banks improve their] liquidity together with Bank Indonesia and the Finance Ministry so they do not have liquidity issues.”Under Government Regulation (PP) No. 23/2020 on the national economic recovery program, which took effect on Monday, the government can place funds with certain interest rates at domestic banks, called participant banks, which provide loan restructuring and disburse additional loans to businesses to provide more liquidity to the banks.“The participant banks will later function as supporting banks to provide liquidity for [other] banks, including secondary banks [BPR] that have also provided loan restructuring and disbursed additional loans to businesses,” the PP reads.The liquidity provision will be in the form of a business-to-business scheme.BI has also lowered the reserve requirement ratio for banks that provide loans to export-import businesses, to small and medium businesses and to other prioritized sectors in a bid to provide more liquidity.BI Governor Perry Warjiyo said in April that the policy would boost banks’ liquidity by Rp 117.8 trillion.Read also: Government issues regulation on economic recovery program, focuses on SOEs, MSMEsBanks’ liquidity was deemed adequate after the central bank lowered the reserve requirement ratios, freeing up liquidity for banks to cope with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Bank Central Asia (BCA) chief economist David Sumual.“Risks still loom for the banking industry, including higher NPL level and lower capital flows,” David told the Post.The OJK recorded an increase in NPL ratio to 2.77 percent during the first quarter, still below the 3 percent threshold, versus 2.53 percent recorded in December last year.Contacted separately, Permata Bank economist Josua Pardede said falling consumer demand for credit would cause NPLs to skyrocket and pressure banks’ liquidity.“Reopening the economy would help banks thrive amid the coronavirus outbreak, but it needs thorough preparation to prevent a second wave of the crisis,” Josua said.Topics :last_img read more

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DR Congo reports fresh Ebola outbreak

first_imgThe eastern epidemic The Ebola epidemic in the country’s east has killed 2,280 people since August 2018, and officials had hoped to be able to proclaim it over on June 25.For it to be officially over, there have to be no new cases reported for 42 days — double the incubation period.The eastern epidemic was just three days away from being declared over on April 10 when a new case was reported. Seven new cases were then recorded, including four deaths, two recoveries and one patient who fled, and the clock was restarted on May 14.The WHO also extended its Public Health Emergency of International Concern designation for the epidemic, which has mainly affected the North Kivu province.Two experimental vaccines have been widely deployed to fight the outbreak, with more than 300,000 people vaccinated across the country.However efforts to contain Ebola in the east have been hindered by attacks on health workers and conflicts in the country’s volatile region, long riven by militia killings and ethnic violence.The eastern Ebola outbreak is the second worst in history, after an epidemic in 2014 killed about 11,000 people — mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Topics : Coronavirus, measles The newest Ebola outbreak is the 11th in the Democratic Republic of Congo since the highly contagious hemorrhagic fever was identified in 1976 in Equateur province in the country then known as Zaire.The virus is passed on by contact with the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected or recently deceased person.The death rate is typically high, ranging up to 90 percent in some outbreaks, according to the WHO.The country is also fighting its own coronavirus outbreak, recording 3,195 infections — 2,896 in the capital Kinshasa — and 72 deaths, according to official figures released Monday.”We are in an ascending period of the curve,” Longondo said, adding that it was still too “risky” to lift measures imposed on March 20 to stem the spread of COVID-19.Under the measures, travel is banned between Kinshasa and the rest of the country.No coronavirus cases have been reported in Equateur province. Mbandaka is 600 kilometers from Kinshasa, but the two cities are connected by the Congo river, with a trip down it taking about a week.DR Congo’s coronavirus front man, virologist Jean-Jacques Muyembe, first identified Ebola in 1976 along with Belgian Peter Piot.”I have devoted all my life and all my career to fighting Ebola,” Muyembe has said.The country is also facing a measles outbreak which has killed more than 6,000 people since early last year, as well as recurring flare-ups of cholera and malaria. “The National Institute of Biomedical Research [INRB] has confirmed to me that samples from Mbandaka tested positive for Ebola,” Longondo told a press conference on Monday.”We will send them the vaccine and medicine very quickly,” he said, adding that he planned to visit the site of the outbreak at the end of the week.The capital of Equateur province, Mbandaka is a transport hub on the Congo River with a population of more than a million.Equateur province was previously hit by an Ebola outbreak between May and July 2018, in which 33 people died and 21 recovered from the disease.center_img DR Congo reported a fresh Ebola outbreak in its northwest on Monday, the latest health emergency for a country already fighting an epidemic of the deadly fever in the east as well as a surging number of coronavirus infections.The 11th Ebola outbreak in the vast central African country’s history comes just weeks before it had hoped to declare the end of the 10th in the east.Health Minister Eteni Longondo said that “four people have already died” from Ebola in a district of the northwestern city of Mbandaka. “This is a province that has already experienced the disease. They know how to respond. They started the response at the local level yesterday (Sunday),” Longondo said.The World Health Organization said it would be sending a team to help support DR Congo response.”To reinforce local leadership, WHO plans to send a team to support scaling up the response,” Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said in a statement.”Given the proximity of this new outbreak to busy transport routes and vulnerable neighboring countries we must act quickly.”last_img read more

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Christopher Columbus statue beheaded in Boston

first_imgA jogger running past the statue Wednesday said she approved of the decapitation. “Coming out of the Black Lives Matter protests, I think it’s a good thing to capitalize on this momentum,” she told AFP, without giving her name.”Just like black people in this country, indigenous people have also been wronged. I think this movement is pretty powerful and this is very symbolic,” she added.Dozens of American cities have over the years replaced “Columbus Day” in October — which became a federal holiday in 1937 — with a day of tribute to indigenous peoples.But not Boston or New York, which have large Italian-origin communities.Boston’s mayor Marty Walsh condemned the beheading but added that the statue would be removed on Wednesday pending a decision about its future, local media reported. Protesters also defaced a Miami statue of Columbus at a waterfront park with red paint and messages that read “Our streets,” “Black Lives Matter” and “George Floyd,” before police made several arrests, according to the Miami Herald newspaper.In Virginia, protesters used ropes to pull down the 2.44-meter statue and then dumped it in a nearby lake Tuesday, the Richmond Times-Dispatch said.It echoed an incident in Bristol, England, on Sunday when demonstrators toppled a statue of a slave trader and dumped it in a harbor during anti-racism protests.Topics : Italian explorer Columbus, long hailed by school textbooks as the so-called discoverer of “The New World,” is considered by many to have spurred years of genocide against indigenous groups in the Americas.He is regularly denounced in a similar way to Civil War generals of the pro-slavery South.  The Boston statue — which stands on a plinth in the heart of town — has been controversial for years, like other Columbus statues across the US, and has been vandalized in the past.Boston police were alerted to the damage shortly after midnight on Tuesday, a spokesman told AFP. An investigation is under way but no one has been arrested, he added. A statue of Christopher Columbus in Boston has been beheaded, police said Wednesday, as calls to remove sculptures commemorating colonizers and slavers sweep America on the back of anti-racism protests.A Columbus statue was also vandalized in downtown Miami, and another was dragged into a lake earlier in the week in Richmond, Virginia, according to local reports.The incidents come as pressure builds in the United States to rid the country of monuments associated with racism following massive demonstrations over the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis last month.last_img read more

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