first_imgTopics : Globally, there were more than 1.25 million cases of coronavirus and 68,400 deaths across 211 countries and territories, as of Monday morning, according to a Reuters tally.Although Germany’s Geisel said on Friday the consignment had been “confiscated” in Bangkok, his office rowed back a day later, saying it was still trying to clarify the circumstances of how the masks, which were ordered from a German wholesaler, and not from US manufacturer 3M, had been diverted.A spokeswoman for 3M had told Reuters the company had no evidence that its products had been seized.US President Donald Trump said on Saturday that “there has been no act of piracy”.  “We remain concerned about pervasive attempts to divide international efforts through unsourced, unattributed disinformation campaigns.”Thai authorities were not reachable on Monday as the country was observing a public holiday.The accusation that masks were diverted came at a time when countries are scrambling to secure protective gear to battle the coronavirus pandemic.Allies of the United States from Europe to South America have complained about “Wild West” tactics they say Washington has employed to outbid or block shipments of medical supplies to original buyers.center_img The United States had no knowledge of a shipment of face masks bound for Germany that officials in Berlin have accused it of diverting from an airport in Bangkok, a spokeswoman for the US embassy in Thailand said.The comment came after Berlin Secretary of Interior Andreas Geisel said on Friday that an order of 200,000 masks bound for Germany had been “confiscated” in Bangkok and diverted to the United States, calling it an “act of modern piracy”.”The United States Government did not take any action to divert any 3M supplies that were destined to Germany nor did we have any knowledge of such a shipment,” Jillian Bonnardeaux, the spokeswoman for the US embassy in Bangkok, told Reuters.last_img read more

first_imgTopics : “It means that some of us have not properly responded […] to this abnormal situation,” Jokowi said, adding that he expected the central government and local administrations to see eye-to-eye in regard to the current health crisis.Separately, Home Ministry spokesperson Bahtiar said around Rp 55 trillion (US$3.48 billion) in the APBDs had been reallocated for COVID-19 mitigation as of Sunday. The ministry has called on other regions to report their budgets, as the budget reallocation period mandated by the ministry and the Finance Ministry had been extended by to two weeks.“A total of around Rp 55 trillion had been reallocated by several provinces, regencies and cities for health services, financial reserves and social safety net programs. We expect the number to continue to increase as COVID-19 mitigation requires commitment and sufficient funding from regional administrations,” Bahtiar said in a statement on Tuesday.Jokowi has previously issued a decree on budget reallocations and “refocusing” toward COVID-19 mitigation efforts.The decree stipulates that ministers, agency heads, governors, regents and mayors must prioritize spending for mitigation efforts in accordance with protocols established by the COVID-19 task force. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has urged local administrations to reallocate their respective regional budgets (APBD) to fund the ongoing COVID-19 mitigation efforts as the central government scrambles to slow the spread of the deadly disease across the archipelago.“I’ve gathered that the budgets in several regions [have yet to be adjusted]. I ask that the home minister and finance minister call them out,” Jokowi said in a Cabinet meeting Tuesday.He noted that 103 regions had yet to prepare any social safety net programs to help cushion the blow for those most financially impacted by the public health emergency. In total, 140 regions have yet to issue any policies designed to dull the economic impact of the global pandemic, while 34 other regions have not reported their latest budgets, he said.last_img read more

first_img“This is going to be the first payment for Indonesia’s achievement in its REDD+ effort during the period between 2016 and 2017,” she said.Read also: How Indonesia finally earned nod from Norway for climate fundThe ministry reported to Norway that the country saw a decline in the deforestation rate in the 2016-2017 period, with 480,000 hectares of forest lost that was believed to have prevented the release of about 4.8 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions to the atmosphere – a figure lower than the baseline agreed upon by both countries.Under the REDD+ scheme, Indonesia and Norway agreed to measure Indonesia’s results against a 10-year average level of emissions between 2006 and 2016. The annual emissions during that period were estimated at 237 million tons CO2e from deforestation and 42 million tons from forest degradation. Indonesia is set to receive a US$56 million grant from Norway as the first payment for the former’s success in reducing deforestation and carbon emissions under the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) cooperation scheme.According to a statement from the Indonesian Environment and Forestry Ministry on Thursday, the grant would be handed over in June – coinciding with the commemoration of a decade of climate funding cooperation in which Indonesia would receive a total of US$1 billion for protecting its tropical forests.Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya said the grant was a result-based payment. According to the verification process conducted by the Norwegian government from November last year to March, the emissions reduction achieved by Indonesia in the 2016-2017 period was counted at 11.2 million tons CO2e – higher than its initial report of 4.8 million tons.Siti said the government was working to finalize the necessary documents and reports required for the payment, including the measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) report that served as the basis of the result-based payment.The ministry was also finalizing its report on carbon emissions as the basis for the first payment, which contains data on Indonesia’s emissions decline from deforestation and forest degradation between 2016 and 2017.The minister explained that each ton of CO2e under the scheme was valued at $5, referring to the price designated by the World Bank for the REDD+ scheme.She said Indonesia expected to receive another round of payments for its progress in the 2017-2018 period and onward.Read also: Can Indonesia stop deforestation?The fund would be channeled through the Indonesian Environmental Estate Fund (BPDLH), a public service agency tasked with managing funds related to environmental protection and conservation. The agency was launched in October last year.“President [Joko Widodo] has ordered to use the fund for community-based environmental recovery efforts,” said Siti.In a statement made available to The Jakarta Post on Thursday, Norwegian Ambassador to Indonesia Vegard Kaale congratulated the Indonesian government on the positive result under the REDD+ scheme.“The governments of Indonesia and Norway are in the process of finalizing the verification process and agreeing on the way forward and would like to come back with more detailed comments when this process is completed,” the ambassador wrote. (kuk)center_img Topics :last_img read more

first_img“We’re always worried about safety,” he said. “We want to get rid of this thing.”Trump, who is facing a tough re-election battle in November, is scheduled to attend a “Students for Trump” event in Phoenix on Tuesday.He held a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday, his first since the pandemic began, but it was sparsely attended. The death toll from the coronavirus pandemic in the United States could surpass 150,000, President Donald Trump said Monday.”It could get up to 150,” Trump said in an interview with the cable television channel Spectrum News. “It could go beyond that.”But we would have lost two million to four million lives [without mitigation],” he said. A study published by the Imperial College of London in mid-March warned of a possible 2.2 million deaths in the United States if no efforts had been taken to mitigate the spread of the highly-contagious virus.The US death toll from COVID-19 has topped 120,000, according to a tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University.”We’ve done a good job and now we’re bringing the country back,” Trump said.The president was also asked about holding more campaign rallies at a time when the virus was still spreading in several southern and western states.center_img Topics :last_img read more

first_imgGraft watchdog Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) has reported the government’s preemployment card program to the Indonesian Ombudsman for alleged maladministration, urging the institution to open an investigation into it.”We urge the government to stop the preemployment card program and we hope that the Ombudsman conducts an investigation related to alleged maladministration in the program,” ICW activist Tibiko Zabar said at the Indonesian Ombudsman office in South Jakarta on Thursday shortly after submitting the report.In its report, the ICW said that the program, a mix of cash aid and an upskilling subsidy, violated several regulations in selecting its partner companies. “We suspect that the program […] management and the digital platforms did not curate [the courses] well,” he said.Tibiko also raised the issue of conflicts of interest in the course curation process. “There is a double role where the digital platform is not only in charge of curating but also organizes the training courses,” he said.Read also: Preemployment card draws criticism as workers ‘need cash aid’Previously, commissioner Laode Ida said that the Indonesian Ombudsman had received many complaints regarding the program, calling its concept unfinished and its technical implementation “half-baked”.The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has also evaluated the program and pointed out the same issues raised by the ICW.Following the KPK’s evaluation, the government has temporarily halted participant registration for the program, promising an overhaul to address the concerns.Topics : The government selected seven companies to aid with the program, which is managed by the office of the coordinating economic minister. They are e-commerce platforms Tokopedia and Bukalapak and online learning platforms Skill Academy by Ruangguru, Pintaria, Sekolahmu, Pijarmahir and MauBelajarApa.Read also: Conflict of interest? Public questions government’s relationship with start-upsICW activist Wana Alamsyah said that the government established a committee for the program on March 17 and signed a cooperation agreement with the partners on March 20 before issuing a regulation on the technical implementation of the contracts, which he said indicated maladministration.Wana also took issue with the digital learning platforms’ curation of courses for the program, alleging that the process was too rushed.last_img read more

first_imgGermany currently has around 200,000 cases and recorded 9,071 deaths due to the virus.Top clubs like champions Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig are reportedly already working on hygiene concepts which could see a number of fans return.Dortmund have tested a system to measure body temperatures of supporters.”I am hopeful that at least a small proportion of fans will be admitted again from September,” Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said at the end of June.Union Berlin are looking into playing home games in front of a full house when the 2020/21 campaign starts in Germany on September 18.Union want club employees tested and for all 22,000 ticket holders for each home game to produce a negative test for COVID-19 within 24 hours of kick-off.However, Union’s plans have already been criticized and a leading virologist dubbed it “irresponsible”.”Until we have a vaccine, there won’t be a full stadium,” Ulf Dittmer, director of virology at the University Hospital in Essen told newspaper WAZ.Dittmer worries despite a negative test, someone could still be “infectious one day later in the stadium” and spread the virus on packed terraces. Topics : The return of supporters to German stadiums next season took a step closer on Wednesday as the 36 clubs in the Bundesliga’s top two tiers received guidelines on how to  keep spectators safe from infection amid the coronavirus pandemic.The Bundesliga season finished at the end of June with the last nine round of matches played behind closed doors.However, with clubs having lost millions in match day revenue, the German Football league (DFL) has provided help in how to create a safe environment in grounds.center_img “The guideline serves as an orientation for the basic structure” of hygiene concepts and “contains numerous aspects to be considered,” the DFL said in a statement.Each club would need their concept approved by the local health authority.The DFL’s guide has already been submitted to the German government’s Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) for evaluation.As the league points out, the BMG says high standards of protection to prevent infection is a basic requirement before fans can return.last_img read more

first_imgThe mission was dubbed Tianwen-1 (“Questions to Heaven”) in a nod to a classical Chinese poem that has verses about the cosmos.The probe aims to go into Martian orbit, land on the planet and release a small rover to conduct research on its surface.The craft will travel at least 55 million kilometers (34 million miles) to reach its destination. It will arrive seven months after launch, in February, according to an official. Here are five things to know about the program: Six-wheeled roverThe rover, weighing 240 kilograms (530 pounds), has six wheels and four solar panels, Chinese state media reported.The rover will roam Mars for three months, according to Sun Zezhou, chief engineer of the probe.The machine is supposed to analyze the planet’s soil and atmosphere, take photos, chart maps and look for signs of past life. China launched a rover to Mars on Thursday, another milestone for its space program after putting humans into orbit and landing a probe on the Moon.It is among a trio of nations, along with the United Arab Emirates and the United States, launching missions to the Red Planet this month, taking advantage of a period when Mars and Earth are favorably aligned.Beijing’s space program has made huge strides in recent years as it tries to catch up with the United States and Russia. Topics : Jade RabbitsChina sent two rovers to the Moon, Jade Rabbit One and Two (Yutu in Chinese), in 2013 and 2019.The second rover made a historic soft landing on the far side of the Moon, making China the first country to do so.”The lunar Yutu rovers are good practice in many ways for a Martian rover. The terrain is broadly similar,” Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told AFP.But the distance from Earth means communication will be slower, McDowell said, adding that the risk of problems increases with such a long trip. Without Russia this time It is not China’s first attempt to go to Mars.A previous mission with Russia in 2011 failed because the Russian launcher was unable to get the craft into a transfer orbit to slingshot towards the Red Planet.The hardware partially disintegrated as it later crashed back to Earth.Following that failure, Beijing decided to try again on its own.”Its purposes are not different from those of other countries: develop the capability, explore the universe… and finally, create political influence and national prestige,” said Chen Lan, an independent analyst at, which specializes in news about China’s space program. ‘Questions to Heaven’ China’s Mars probe lifted off on July 23 from the southern island of Hainan. Space race China has poured billions of dollars into its space program to catch up with the US, Russia and Europe.In 2003, it became the third nation — after the US and Russia — to send a human into space.It has launched a slew of satellites into orbit, completing a constellation in June to set up its own navigation system, Beidou, to rival the US GPS system.The Asian powerhouse plans to assemble a space station by 2022 in Earth orbit.And China is aiming even higher, hoping to become only the second nation to send humans to the Moon a decade from now.last_img read more

first_imgTopics : It is currently closed to Victoria state and Sydney, and Gunner said he expected other regions to be excluded.Australia, which has recorded almost 22,000 cases and 332 deaths from the virus, has also closed its international borders indefinitely. Australia’s Northern Territory will be closed to visitors from virus hotspots for a further 18 months to protect its large and vulnerable Aboriginal population, authorities said Tuesday.The sparsely populated northern region is home to roughly 250,000 people — 30 percent of whom are Aboriginal — according to government figures.”We’ll have our hard border controls in place for at least the next 18 months. And we’re resourcing so we can do that,” Chief Minister Michael Gunner told public broadcaster ABC.center_img Indigenous Australians are considered more at-risk to diseases such as COVID-19 because of socio-economic and cultural factors affecting access to medical care and underlying health.Many Aboriginal groups fear the virus could sweep through remote indigenous communities where healthcare services are limited.”This is what I think I need to do to make sure some of the most vulnerable people in the world stay safe,” Gunner said.The Northern Territory has recorded few virus cases and no deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.last_img read more

first_img“Imperial continues to engage in a wide range of exploratory discussions relating to COVID-19 research, with a variety of partners. We have nothing further to report at this stage,” a spokeswoman said, asked about the possibility of challenge trials.Any trials conducted in the United Kingdom have to be approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the healthcare regulator which looks into safety and protocol.The MHRA did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment, but 1Day Sooner, which lobbies for challenge trials to accelerate vaccine development, welcomed the report.”1Day Sooner congratulates the British government on their plans to conduct challenge trials to test vaccines,” it said in a statement, confirming it would petition the government to house the trial participants.The industry has seen discussions in recent months about potentially having to inject healthy volunteers with the novel coronavirus if drugmakers struggled to find enough patients for final trials.The FT report said that volunteers would first be inoculated with a vaccine and later receive a challenge dose of the coronavirus. It did not name the vaccines that would be assessed in the project.British drugmaker AstraZeneca, and French firm Sanofi both told Reuters that their vaccine candidates were not involved in the program. Britain is planning to host clinical trials where volunteers are deliberately infected with the new coronavirus to test the effectiveness of vaccine candidates, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing people involved in the project.So-called “challenge trials” are expected to begin in January at a quarantine facility in London, the report said, adding that about 2,000 participants had signed up through a US-based advocacy group, 1Day Sooner. Britain said it was working with partners on the potential for human challenge trials without commenting on a specific plan. “We are working with partners to understand how we might collaborate on the potential development of a COVID-19 vaccine through human challenge studies,” a government spokeswoman said.”These discussions are part of our work to research ways of treating, limiting and hopefully preventing the virus so we can end the pandemic sooner.”The FT reported that the studies will be government funded, although 1Day Sooner said it would also launch a petition for public funding of a biocontainment facility big enough to quarantine 100 to 200 participants.Imperial College London, reportedly the academic lead on the trials, did not confirm the studies.center_img Topics :last_img read more

first_imgNear the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle, meanwhile, the mob allegedly tried to seize control of a pickup.Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Nana Sudjana said police had apprehended around 500 people who had allegedly provoked the protesters to start the clash. He said he suspected they had infiltrated the masses to instigate riots by throwing objects at police personnel.“There were around 600 people trying to provoke the mass. We [Police] stood by at first, but they kept throwing [things] at security personnel. At that point, we pushed and apprehended them,” he said.Read also: FPI, 212 rally alumni protest over omnibus law, demand Jokowi’s resignationEarlier in the day, thousands of protesters of the FPI, GNPF and 212 Alumni had gathered on Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan in Gambir, Central Jakarta, – around 1 kilometer from the Presidential Palace, reported. They recited prayers and voiced demands for the government to revoke the omnibus law. They also called on President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to step down.“The omnibus law will cause Indonesian citizens to be colonized in their own country. We’re here to defend the workers,” Muslim preacher Sugi Nur Raharja said in his speech during the demonstration, as reported by Kompas TV.The 212 Alumni Brotherhood is known as the driving force behind the so-called 212 rally in December 2016 to demand the imprisonment of then-Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama for alleged blasphemy.The protestors followed the members of labor unions and university students that had vowed to continue to stage protests to voice their opposition to the highly contentious law.According to the Jakarta Police, around 12,000 police and military personnel stand ready to ensure public safety and security in the capital. Heru said 650 police officers and soldiers had been deployed to the Horse Statue area.Some public transportation services were suspended on Tuesday as a precautionary measure in anticipation of disruption caused by the large-scale protest. The MRT only served trips from the Lebak Bulus Grab Station to Blok M BCA Station, while the Transjakarta bus service halted operations across the city.Topics : What began as a peaceful protest against the Job Creation Law turned into riots on Tuesday as violent opposition to the controversial law continued in the capital city.Unidentified people reportedly threw bottles and stones at police officers near the Arjuna Wiwaha Monument, also known as the Horse Statue, in Central Jakarta, just as protesters from the Islam Defenders Front (FPI), the National Movement to Safeguard Fatwas (GNPF) and the 212 Alumni Brotherhood started to disperse.At 3:45 p.m., the protesters, mostly dressed in white and wearing caps, began to leave the location. Central Jakarta Police chief Sr. Comr. Heru Novianto appealed to the masses to remain calm while leaving. “This is a peaceful protest. Now the rally is over, let’s return home peacefully. FPI group, please keep the situation [under control] and do not riot,” Heru said to the masses.Read also: Foreign force behind chaotic protests over Job Creation Law: PrabowoHowever, a group of people without attributes refused to leave the area. Clashes erupted when the mob reportedly started to hurl mineral bottles and stones at the police barricades, which the police countered with tear gas fired near the Horse Statue.Clashes also erupted in the nearby Tugu Tani area, also in Central Jakarta, at 5 p.m., where the rioters set alight various goods in the middle of the road, reported.last_img read more