Major regions still classified as red zones despite claims of improvement

first_imgWhile the government has claimed an increase in the number of regions that are COVID-19 free and categorized as low-risk zones, epidemic risk mapping shows that 57 cities and regencies are still classified as red zones, or areas with high rates of transmission. According to data from the COVID-19 national task force, 13 out of the 57 high-risk areas were the capital cities of their respective province. The data showed East Java had recorded the highest number of red zones with 13 cities and regencies followed by South Kalimantan with 11. As of Friday, East Java has surpassed Jakarta, the first epicenter of COVID-19 transmission, with 10,901 confirmed cases compared to 10,796 in the nation’s capital.Additionally, 157 cities and regencies were categorized as orange zones with a medium risk of infection, while 188 were classified as yellow zones or low-risk areas. The remaining 112 were either completely free of the disease or have not recorded any new cases in four weeks, with a 100 percent recovery rate of patients.An epidemiologist on the national task force, Dewi Nur Aisyah, said the percentage of green and yellow zones had gradually increased. On May 31, regions listed as low-risk or COVID-19-free zones comprised 46.7 percent of the 514 cities and regencies while on June 21, the figure had risen to 58 percent.“Overall, we saw improvements in cities and regencies,” Dewi said during a press conference hosted by the National Disaster Mitigation Agency on Tuesday.At the press conference,  task force chief Wiku Bakti Bawono Adisasmito said the team had used 15 indicators to assess the risks in cities and regencies.As of Friday, Indonesia has recorded 51,427 cases of COVID-19, the highest in Southeast Asia, with 2,683 fatalities and 21,333 recoveries.Topics :last_img read more

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Dollar in tight range ahead of US services sector data

first_img“When it comes to dollar/yen, recovery expectations are supporting the dollar, but worries about the virus are capping the upside,” said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief currency strategist at Mizuho Securities.“The markets are focused on other currency pairs, like the Australian dollar, which is still in a clear uptrend against the US dollar due to the rise in copper prices.”The dollar held steady at 107.56 yen on Monday in Asia following a 0.3 percent gain last week. Market activity was subdued following the July 4 long weekend holiday in the United States.The euro changed hands at US$1.1247. Against the British pound, the common currency bought 90.18 pence. Sterling moved in a narrow range at $1.2474.Against the Swiss franc, the dollar was quoted at 0.9455.The Institute for Supply Management’s index for non-manufacturing activity due later on Monday is expected to rise to 50.0 in June from 45.4 in the previous month, indicating activity stopped shrinking.The greenback has been locked into narrow trading ranges recently as concerns about a resurgence in US coronavirus infections offset growing optimism about the economy.The euro will come into focus later in the trading day as Germany, the euro zone’s largest economy, is scheduled to release industrial orders for May.Retail sales for all of the eurozone will also be released later on Monday. Both indicators are forecast to recover strongly from large declines caused by the spread of the coronavirus.Elsewhere in currencies, the Australian dollar traded at $0.6944 on Monday in Asia following a 1.2 percent gain last week.The Aussie is another market focus ahead of a Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) policy meeting on Tuesday. Analysts expect that rates will stay at 0.25 percent amid signs that Australia’s economic downturn will not be as dire as first feared.Recent gains in prices of copper and other commodities that Australia exports, combined with a more positive tone for the RBA, are likely to support the Aussie, analysts say.Across the Tasman Sea, the New Zealand dollar was quoted at $0.6535.Topics : The dollar held steady against most currencies on Monday as investors awaited data expected to show the US services sector stopped contracting, and highlighting the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.The euro moved in a narrow range before economic data from Germany and the eurozone that are also forecast to show a sharp rebound in corporate activity and retail sales, which would ease concerns about the economic outlook.A steady rise of new coronavirus infections in the United States has discouraged some investors from taking on excessive risk, but most market participants remain focused on the growing likelihood that major economies will continue to recover.last_img read more

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Better food for world’s poor could hike climate-changing emissions

first_imgGlobally, more than 3 billion people – about two in five – cannot afford healthy diets, the UN report said. That includes 18 million people across North America and Europe, it said.In Indonesia, more than a third of children under five are stunted and a quarter of all adults are overweight or obese.Ensuring a healthy diet – on average 2,300 calories per person per day, including sufficient protein – for everyone would increase Indonesia’s emissions by 15%, said the five UN agencies behind the report.In Malawi, where UN figures show half of people face severe food insecurity, a healthy diet could mean more dairy and less tubers, Loken said.That change would increase Malawi’s emissions by 31%, said Loken, a scientist who also leads work on food issues globally for conservation group World Wildlife Fund (WWF).But Malawi’s small size means such an increase would not have a significant global impact, he said.Agnes Kalibata, a UN special envoy for a summit next year on improving food systems, said tradeoffs between lowering emissions and improving nutrition do “not need to be our only path forward”.She pointed to a program in western Kenya where environmentally-friendly farming practices doubled yields of staple crops and farmers “are no longer encroaching on forests for farming or fuel because they don’t need to”.Because forests absorb planet-heating emissions, better protecting them can help hold the line on climate change, scientists say.More meat, less animalsEthiopia’s government plans to produce more meat and dairy products – but by raising more productive animals rather than more of them, said Katrin Glatzel, program head of the Malabo Montpellier Panel, a group of international agriculture experts.Both meat and dairy require more climate-changing emissions to produce than food typical of a vegetarian diet, scientists say.In North America, with both a meat-heavy, carbon-intensive diet and a serious problem with obesity, shifting to healthier diets would cut both emissions and healthcare costs, said Cindy Holleman, the UN report’s editor.The latest UN report revised the number of hungry people in the world to almost 690 million or 8.9% of the global population in 2019, a significant drop from 822 million, or 11% of the population, in 2018.But the new figures, based on updated data for 13 countries including China, do not mean the world is winning the fight against hunger, it said.Overall trends still show hunger rising since 2014 and the economic shifts associated with the coronavirus pandemic could leave an additional 83 million to 132 million people hungry globally in 2020, the report warned.Hunger is rising fastest in rapidly growing Africa. The region is likely to account for half of the world’s hungry by 2030, it said.Topics : To feed their people a healthy diet, countries from Ethiopia to India may need to hike their climate-changing emissions – a shift only possible if richer nations simultaneously curb theirs, a United Nations flagship report on hunger said Monday.Increasing emissions to provide poor children, in particular, with more protein or dairy products – “outweighs the negative effects deriving from higher national emissions” in those countries, the report said.But Brent Loken, lead author of an upcoming report on the G20’s role in transforming the food system, said overall global emissions cannot increase as diets improve in poorer countries. That means rich nations – from the United States and Britain to South Korea and Argentina – would need to cut back on carbon-intensive diets, both he and the annual UN report said.”If we truly feel that every single person on the planet has a right to healthy food, has a right to be able to eat enough food, this is the only way that we’re going to be able to do this without destroying the planet,” Loken said.Currently, the world’s food system is responsible for at least a fifth of planet-heating emissions, according to the report.Scientists have warned that failure to curb the world’s still-growing emissions could lead to crises from food and water shortages to worsening weather disasters and sea level rise.last_img read more

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‘Wake-up week’ for Greece as COVID-19 cases climb

first_imgTopics : “We have located three sources of concern: very regular crossings from Balkan countries by ethnic Greeks and residence permit holders… social gatherings, including clubbing youths, weddings and baptisms, and public transport,” Petsas said.The public protection agency last week said masks must be worn in all indoor public areas, and visits to retirement homes and other institutions hosting vulnerable groups are restricted until August 15.A limit of 100 guests was also set for weddings, baptisms and funerals, and summer fairs were cancelled.Mitsotakis has already ruled out a general lockdown after gradually reopening the economy in May and starting to accept foreign arrivals in June to salvage part of the tourism season that is vital to the economy. Greece’s government on Wednesday announced a “wake-up week” on COVID-19, tightening restrictions after a steady rise in mostly domestic infections.The country has seen infections increase this month to levels last seen in April, with officials blaming overcrowding in clubs and social events.”We are calling this a wake-up week. We are trying to awaken people with messages and daily  announcements on additional measures,” government spokesman Stelios Petsas told Mega TV.center_img “The virus is here, it feeds on our complacency,” he said.Over 380 new infections have been announced in August by the national public health organization.Only 10 percent of cases in Greece can be traced to foreign arrivals, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.Greece has so far recorded 209 COVID-19 deaths and over 4,800 infections.last_img read more

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Biden, Harris slam Trump over social unrest, COVID response

first_imgTopics : “Instead of looking to calm the waters, he adds fuel to every fire. Violence isn’t a problem in his eyes — it’s a political strategy,” Biden said. “And the more of it, the better for him.”With Trump set to close out the Republican convention with a speech Thursday night, Harris sought to shine a light on racial injustice and police brutality.”As vice president Biden put it, the shots fired at Mr Blake pierced the soul of our nation,” she told reporters in an address in Washington. “It’s sickening to watch. It’s all too familiar. And it must end.” Harris said she would “always defend” peaceful protesters but they should not be confused “with those looting and committing acts of violence.”She also warned against citizens taking the law into their own hands, a veiled reference to the arrested teen.”Make no mistake, we will not let these vigilantes and extremists derail the path to justice,” Harris said.Harris also went after Trump for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, saying the president showed “reckless disregard” by failing to take decisive action.”President Trump got it wrong in the beginning. And then, he got it wrong again, and again. And the consequences have been catastrophic,” she said.”Donald Trump has failed at the most basic and important job of a president of the United States. He failed to protect the American people,” she said.Trump is expected to speak Thursday about his efforts to end the pandemic and revive the battered US economy. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris launched a two-pronged attack Thursday against Donald Trump, saying the president is fueling unrest over police brutality and racial injustice and has failed to protect Americans.Trump “refuses to even acknowledge there is a racial justice problem in America,” Biden said in a statement amid swelling social unrest after an African-American man, Jacob Blake, was shot in the back at close range multiple times by police in Wisconsin.The shooting sparked nationwide rage and three nights of violence in the city of Kenosha. Tensions soared when two protesters were shot dead Tuesday.center_img A white 17-year-old was detained on murder charges connected to the protesters’ slayings, and Trump announced he was sending federal forces to Kenosha to “restore law and order.”On Wednesday Vice President Mike Pence warned people watching the Republican convention that they “won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America.” Biden shot back that the deadly violence did not occur on his watch, and won’t during a future Biden presidency.”The violence we’re witnessing is happening under Donald Trump. Not me,” Biden said, adding that Trump — who has yet to publicly address Blake’s shooting — is turning a blind eye to the crisis.last_img read more

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BCA to merge Rabobank Indonesia with BCA Syariah following acquisition

first_imgShe went on to say that the merger would increase the Islamic banking entity’s core capital without mentioning the figure.She said Rabobank’s core capital stood at Rp 384 billion, while BCA Syariah’s core capital stood at Rp 2.31 trillion as of 2019 after it injected Rp 1 trillion in capital in September of last year.BCA Syariah’s assets, meanwhile, stood at Rp 8.63 trillion in 2019 or up by 22.23 percent from the previous year.Given that BCA is aiming to grow the business, Vera said the bank had yet to have any intention to list BCA Syariah on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX).In the meantime, Vera said BCA would focus on broader digital bank development and was testing the product on its own employees.“The launch will still be on schedule, October or November of this year,” she said, adding that it would target mainly millennial customers.BCA developed the digital bank after successfully acquiring Bank Royal in November 2019 for Rp 1.01 trillion.Following the acquisition, BCA injected Rp 1 trillion in capital into Bank Royal, making its issued and paid-up capital jump to Rp 1.29 trillion each from Rp 287.2 billion and boosting it to become a BUKU II bank category with a core capital of Rp 1 trillion to Rp 5 trillion.The plan was also in line with the digital banking trend during the pandemic, as it saw a 35-percent increase in digital banking transactions to Rp 5.1 billion as of the first half of this year.Jasa Utama Capital analyst Chris Apriliony lauded BCA’s plan to merge Rabobank with its Islamic bank subsidiary because of the huge potential from the large number of Muslims in Indonesia.“The merge would also impact the bank positively as it could significantly reduce operational cost in the long run,” he said.BCA’s shares, listed under the code BBCA at the IDX, have lost 3.37 percent of their value since the beginning of the year. As of 11 a.m. on Monday, the shares dipped slightly by 0.54 percent to Rp 32,300 apiece. Topics : Publicly listed Bank Central Asia (BCA) plans to merge newly acquired Rabobank Indonesia with its sharia financing arm BCA Syariah in 2021 to capture bigger opportunities in sharia-compliant financial products and services in Indonesia.BCA finance director Vera Eve Lim said on Aug. 28 that the bank expected to go forward with the merger in 2021 should the acquisition process go smoothly.“We’re currently focusing on completing Rabobank’s acquisition process with the Financial Services Authority [OJK], and once we finish, we’ll go forward with the merger,” she said during a virtual press briefing. BCA acquired all 3.72 million shares of the local arm of Dutch lender Rabobank from its five shareholders in December 2019, including its parent company Cooperatieve Rabobank UA.The country’s biggest privately owned bank by assets would buy Rabobank Indonesia’s shares for a total of US$20.5 million and one-time adjusted book value on closing.Vera went on to say that the merger between Rabobank and BCA’s sharia-compliant entity was aimed at grabbing the potential that Islamic banking presents in Indonesia.“I think there’s always an opportunity in the sharia market, especially in the commercial and small and medium enterprises [SME] segment,” she said, adding that the bank would continue BCA Syariah’s focus on SMEs and the retail segment.last_img read more

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Subdued atmosphere grips new La Liga season

first_imgAfter a brief yet turbulent close-season marked by the attempted departure of Lionel Messi, little transfer activity and the renewed threat of the coronavirus in Spain, La Liga returns on Friday with a decidedly gloomy outlook.Fans are not expected to return to Spanish stadiums until 2021 at the earliest as infection rates continue to rise across the country, depriving the game of the noise and color for which it is renowned.There is also a subdued feeling as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla are among six teams missing the opening weekend due to finishing last season late, with the latter three sides also missing the second weekend. Old tensions have resurfaced at institutional level, meanwhile, creating yet more uncertainty.The federation delayed the release of fixtures and this week threatened to block the first match of the season between Granada and Athletic Bilbao due to a ban on Friday matches, although La Liga are certain the game will go ahead.The financial impact of the pandemic, meanwhile, is being keenly felt across the league, even afflicting the wealthiest clubs.Champions Real Madrid, who usually spend their summers parading big money signings at glitzy presentation ceremonies, are not expected to bring in anyone new. Instead they are focusing on recalling loanees such as Martin Odegaard while clearing out unwanted players. Topics :center_img Still, Zinedine Zidane’s side are the favorites to lift the title after last season’s relentless run of 10 straight victories and given the turmoil at Barcelona.Barca may have clung on to Messi after a two-week saga but are still in deep trouble on a sporting, institutional and financial level.President Josep Maria Bartomeu is threatened by a potential vote of no-confidence, while the club are trying to ease a colossal wage bill, shown by their willingness to part with Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal for cut-price deals.New coach Ronald Koeman, a beloved former Barca player but with a patchy record as a club manager, faces a daunting task in reshaping an ageing side whose weaknesses were woefully exposed by the 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.Unlike predecessors Ernesto Valverde and Quique Setien, the Dutchman will look to impose his authority on a dressing room that many believe has had too much power for too long and it will be fascinating to see how he gels with the players.Hope for Barca comes in excitement around teenage forward Ansu Fati, who recently became Spain’s youngest goalscorer and had a highly promising debut campaign.Sevilla, Villarreal out to challenge AtlánticoAtletico Madrid are used to being Spain’s third force but face competition from Sevilla, who could even challenge the usual suspects in the title race if they build on an excellent season in which they finished fourth and won the Europa League.Sevilla have crucially held together most of their squad after getting accustomed to parting with 10 or more players each summer.Villarreal are also one to watch after recruiting Unai Emery as coach and making some eye-catching signings including midfielders Dani Parejo and Francis Coquelin from Valencia plus exciting playmaker Takefusa Kubo, on loan from Real Madrid.Valencia are braced for a testing season after parting with captain Parejo plus Spain forward Rodrigo due to a dire financial situation which meant they were unable to pay their players.Elsewhere, David Silva is back in La Liga for the first time in a decade after joining Real Sociedad, while much-loved Cadiz make a welcome return to the top-flight after a 14-year absence, joining Huesca and Elche in being promoted.last_img read more

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Indonesia records another record-high daily virus count: 3,861 cases

first_imgHowever, experts have pointed out that many cases in Indonesia remain undiscovered because of the country’s relatively low number of tests.Read also: Not enough for Jakarta alone to reimpose COVID-19 restrictions: EpidemiologistsAs the initial epicenter of the outbreak, the capital city of Jakarta recorded again the highest number of new confirmed cases with 1,274, followed by East Java with 381, Central Java with 375, West Java with 335 and Riau with 194 cases.West Java reported the highest number of new deaths with 42, trailed by Central Java with 18, Jakarta with 17, Bali with 9 and South Kalimantan 6.Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan decided on Wednesday to “pull the emergency brake” and announced that the capital would reinforce a partial lockdown, or large-scale social restrictions (PSBB), after the rules had been eased in early June to gradually reopen the economy.The decision to reinstate the PSBB was made after the capital saw coronavirus case spike, repeatedly recording record-high daily increases in August, with the isolation bed occupancy rate reaching 77 percent as of September.Topics : Indonesia has recorded another record daily case number as the national task force confirmed 3,861 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday, bringing the national total to 207,203.The task force also announced 120 deaths due to the illness and 2,310 recovered patients, making for a cumulative 8,456 fatalities and 147,510 recoveries from COVID-19 so far.Based on the official figures, Indonesia is the country with the second-highest COVID-19 case number in Southeast Asia, just below the Philippines, which reported a total of 248,947 cases on Thursday, according to the worldometer.info website. Indonesia ranks 23rd in the world.last_img read more

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Former EU chief Barroso to chair vaccine alliance

first_imgThe Gavi vaccine alliance announced Tuesday that former European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso will become its new chair, as it works towards ensuring eventual COVID-19 jabs for poorer countries.The former Portuguese prime minister — currently the non-executive chairman of Goldman Sachs International (GSI) — will take over the role in January.”As we face the worst pandemic in over a century, the world needs Gavi now more than ever, both to ensure COVID-19 vaccines reach every country, rich and poor, and press ahead with its core mission to protect hundreds of millions of people from preventable diseases,” Barroso said. Geneva-based Gavi, a public-private partnership, helps vaccinate half the world’s children against some of the deadliest diseases on the planet.The Gavi board unanimously approved Barroso’s appointment to the unpaid role, the 64-year-old having come through a field of 115 candidates.Barroso was Portugal’s prime minister from 2002 to 2004, then ran the European Commission — the European Union’s executive branch — from 2004 to 2014.He accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the commission in 2012. Barroso has been in his role with London-based GSI, the US investment bank’s largest subsidiary, since 2016.center_img Outgoing chair eyeing WTO He takes over from Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria, who took up the Gavi chair in 2016. Her term ends in December.Okonjo-Iweala is one of five candidates left in the running to become the new head of the World Trade Organization.Her country’s first female finance and foreign minister, the 66-year-old had a 25-year career as a development economist at the World Bank, eventually becoming its number two.Gavi announced Tuesday that up to 100 million additional doses of any eventual COVID-19 vaccines would be secured for delivery to poorer countries in 2021.The announcement doubles the number of doses it has already secured from the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume.Gavi says it has helped vaccinate more than 822 million youngsters in the world’s poorest countries since its inception in 2000.The core partners in the alliance are the World Health Organization, The United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF, the World Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.Topics :last_img read more

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House submits final draft of jobs law to Jokowi

first_imgEarlier on Wednesday, Indra told The Jakarta Post that the House would publish a copy of the law for the public after Jokowi signed it, instead of on the day of submission.As of Wednesday morning, the House had yet to officially distribute or publish a copy of the final law to the public.The draft uploaded to the House’s website was the one that had yet to be finalized by the House Legislation Body (Baleg), which was 1,028 pages long.Read also: House scrambles for clarity amid four different final drafts for jobs lawInteractive content by Flourish The House of Representatives has handed over the final draft of the controversial Job Creation Law to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Wednesday.Out of four final drafts circulating in public, which has caused confusion among citizens over the final content of the law, the House submitted the latest 812-page draft to Jokowi.House secretary-general Indra Iskandar submitted the final draft through State Secretary Pratikno at the Presidential Palace complex in Jakarta on Wednesday afternoon, Kompas TV reported. Besides the 812-page and the 1,028-page drafts, three copies of different drafts — comprising 1,035, 1,052 and 905 pages respectively — also recently circulated in public following the passage of the controversial law last week.The 905-page draft was the one used by the House to pass the bill into law on Oct. 5, both House deputy speaker Azis Syamsuddin and Indra Iskandar confirmed.Azis said the law would belong to the public after the House had submitted it to Jokowi.”The deadline for submitting the law is at midnight on Oct. 14, 2020, so that when the law is officially sent to the President, as the head of government, this law will officially belong to the public,” the Golkar Party politician said on Tuesday.Having caused public confusion, Azis swore that the House had not changed anything substantial in the draft and said the changes were due to different fonts and page size.”I guarantee that, according to our oath of office, we don’t dare to insert additional articles [after the passage]. It is a criminal act,” he said.However, the Post has obtained all the four final drafts, compared three of them and found differences between the 905-, the 1035- and 812-page versions.Topics :last_img read more

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