The World Health Organization has said the United States, which saw 17,099 new coronavirus cases and 281 deaths in the past 24 hours, is expected to become the epicenter of the pandemic.China cuts flightsLike US hospitals now, China’s medical system struggled to contain the coronavirus just two months ago, but draconian city lockdowns and severe travel restrictions has seen China dramatically ease the epidemic.Mainland China on Friday reported its first local coronavirus case in three days and 54 new imported cases, as Beijing ordered airlines to sharply cut international flights, for fear travellers could reignite the coronavirus outbreak.The 55 new cases detected on Thursday were down from 67 a day earlier, the National Health Commission said on Friday, taking the tally of infections to 81,340. China’s death toll stood at 3,292 as of Thursday, up by five from a day earlier.The central province of Hubei, with a population of about 60 million, reported no new cases on Thursday, a day after lifting a lockdown and reopening its borders as the epidemic eased there.The commercial capital of Shanghai reported the most new imported cases with 17, followed by 12 in the southern province of Guangdong and four each in the capital Beijing and the nearby city of Tianjin.Shanghai now has 125 patients who arrived from overseas, including 46 from Britain and 27 from the United States.In effect from Sunday, China has ordered its airlines to fly only one route to any country, on just one flight each week. Foreign airlines must comply with similar curbs on flights to China, although many had already halted services.About 90% of current international flights into China will be suspended, cutting arrivals to 5,000 passengers a day, from 25,000, the civil aviation regulator said late on Thursday.From Saturday, China will temporarily suspend entry for foreigners with valid visas and residence permits, in an interim measure, the foreign ministry added.Before the new curbs, foreign nationals made up about a tenth of the roughly 20,000 travellers arriving on international flights every day, an official of China’s National Immigration Administration said last week.As commercial flights dwindle, Chinese students from wealthy families are paying tens of thousands of dollars to fly home on private jets.International demand for chartered and private flights into China increased 227% in March from a year earlier, said Shanghai-based private jet service provider iFlyPlus.Notably, requests for flights from the United States to China rose 10-fold in late March, iFlyPlus told Reuters. Topics : Chinese President Xi Jinping told US President Donald Trump during a phone call on Friday that he would have China’s support in fighting the coronavirus, as the United States faces the prospect of becoming the next global epicenter of the pandemic.The United States now has the most coronavirus cases of any country, with 84,946 infections and 1,259 deaths. Hospitals in cities like New York and New Orleans struggle to cope with the wave of patients.Xi’s offer of assistance came amid a long-running war of words between Beijing and Washington over various issues including the coronavirus epidemic. Trump and some US officials have accused China of a lack of transparency on the virus, and Trump has at times called the coronavirus a “China virus” as it originated there, angering Beijing.In the call, Xi reiterated to Trump that China had been open and transparent about the epidemic, according to an account of the conversation published by the Chinese foreign ministry.Trump said on Twitter that he discussed the coronavirus outbreak “in great detail” with Xi.”China has been through much & has developed a strong understanding of the virus,” Trump said. “We are working closely together. Much respect!”.
Surge in data traffic expected during Idul Fitri as more people stay home
The estimated increase this year was slightly higher than the 20 percent to 30 percent increase seen in the corresponding period last year because of large-scale social restrictions to curb the COVID-19 outbreak, with school and offices temporarily closed and many religious and public events banned.The fast-spreading coronavirus has infected people in at least 32 provinces of the country. As of Wednesday, 240 patients have died of the disease while 222 people have recovered.Read also: Telkomsel reports 16 percent jump in broadband traffic as people follow physical distancing rulesEven with more and more people expected to stay at home, the minister said, the bandwidth currently offered by cellular operators should be able to sustain the rising demand.Between February 16 and March 29, Indonesians’ length of stay at home increased by 15 percent, according to data released on April 1 by American multinational tech giant Google. Their movement to transit stations correspondingly declined by 54 percent, to parks by 52 percent, to retail and recreational places by 47 percent, to grocery and pharmaceutical stores by 27 percent as well as to offices by 15 percent.“We are ensuring the availability of adequate bandwidth with the operators,” said Johnny, a NasDem Party politician. “We have yet to see any extraordinary increase. It is still under control and the capacity of existing bandwidth [is sufficient].”Johnny added he was concerned about hoaxes related to the novel coronavirus circulating on the internet as people spend more time online.Topics : The Communications and Information Ministry is expecting national data traffic to rise by up to 40 percent during Idul Fitri, set to take place on May 24, as people may be staying at home to avoid contracting the novel coronavirus.Since the government issued the stay-at-home order in March, the ministry has recorded a 5 percent to 10 percent increase in data traffic compared to normal levels.“We are working with cellular operators to anticipate an increase ranging from 30 percent to 40 percent in data traffic during Ramadan and Idul Fitri,” Communications and Information Minister Johnny G. Plate said in a statement released on Wednesday.
Clueless winning bidder of Jokowi’s motorcycle deals with police after failing to pay
A man, who was named the winning bidder in a charity auction of a Rp 2.55 billion (US$172,715) electric motorcycle owned and signed by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, was questioned by the Jambi Police on Thursday after failing to pay.M. Nuh was investigated by the police after he failed to come up with the money after winning the bid in a virtual charity concert on Sunday.Nuh, a construction worker, claimed he was not aware that he had taken part in the bidding, said Jambi Police chief Insp. Gen. Firman Santyabudi.”After the questioning, we found out that [Nuh] did not know that he participated in an auction. He thought he won [the motorcycle] as a gift at the charity event,” Firman said on Thursday as reported by kompas.com.The concert, a fundraiser for people affected by COVID-19, was organized by People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) Speaker Bambang Soesatyo, the Agency for Pancasila Ideology Education (BPIP) and the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).Sunday’s concert, entitled Berbagi Kasih Bersama Bimbo (Sharing the Love with Bimbo), was aired live by state-run television broadcaster TVRI. The event managed to raise more than Rp 4 billion in donations.Firman said Nuh went to the police on Thursday after the auction management asked him to pay the Rp 2.5 billion. “He was afraid so he went to the Pasar district police in Jambi city, asking for protection,” he said, adding that Nuh was not arrested.In response, MPR Speaker Bambang requested on Friday that the Jambi Police drop the case.“We do not see any problem at all [regarding Nuh’s misunderstanding], and I’ve requested the Jambi Police to let him go,” Bambang said as quoted by kompas.com.He went on to say that several businessmen had contacted him to request another round of bidding as they were interested in the motorcycle, branded as Gesits. (nal)Topics :
One Championship could return to ring next month: CEO
He said the job cuts in “non-essential” areas were necessary to insulate the company against an expected economic downturn, despite the $70 million cash injection.”Extraordinary times require very unusual prudence to protect the company and the longevity of many years to come,” Chatri said.”Our operating assumption is that the global economy will continue to suffer over the next 24 months, and potentially enter the worst global recession in history,” he added. “And so we want to be prepared, under all scenarios, with a lean organization with a big war chest.” With coronavirus laying waste to professional sports worldwide, One’s last event was in Singapore in late February, and it had to cancel a series of events in April and May.”Of course, this environment has made it trickier to operate but I’m always an optimist, and I believe that where there’s a will, there’s a way,” Chatri said by phone from Singapore.”We are looking at next month already. Nothing has been announced formally, but I can tell you that we are working very hard to come back,” he added.Chatri did not disclose the size of One’s now-reduced global workforce, but the company’s LinkedIn profile put the headcount at between 201-500 employees. Asia’s largest mixed martial arts promotion, One Championship, could resume putting on fights as early as next month, its CEO told AFP on Monday, as he warned of rocky operating conditions ahead after the coronavirus.Chatri Sityodtong was speaking as the Singapore-based company slashed 20 percent of its workforce but also announced a $70 million funding boost from institutional investors.He said One, which promotes cards across Asia in mixed martial arts, Muay Thai and kickboxing, was planning fight nights next month in China, Thailand and Singapore, depending on lockdown measures. ‘Big vote of confidence’ Chatri said the extra funding had come from existing backers as well as a new institutional investor — a “$20 billion fund” from the United States whose identity will be revealed in the coming weeks.The cash boost brings One’s total capital to $346 million and helps “future-proof” the organization, Chatri said.”I’m very grateful for this big vote of confidence, you know, in the middle of the worst global economic crisis in 100 years,” he said.”I’m just very, very excited and inspired to return back with live events this summer, and start doing what we always do.”Chatri said One was “in talks with every major Asian government to bring back our events online”. One Hero fights, feeder events for the main championship, will also be held in Shanghai on June 20 and 21, he said.The US-based Ultimate Fighting Championship on May 10 became one of the first sports to restart post-coronavirus.UFC has so far successfully put on six shows in tightly controlled environments under COVID-19 testing protocols in Jacksonville, Florida, and Las Vegas.One Championship also has eSports and reality TV interests, Chatri said, as well as its “crown jewel” of stadium fights. Topics :
Three houses in Riau damaged by crashing Indonesian Air Force Hawk 209 jet fighter
Topics : At least three houses were damaged after an Indonesian Air Force Hawk 209 jet fighter crashed and burned in a residential area of Kampar regency, Riau, on Monday morning.In a statement obtained by The Jakarta Post, Air Force spokesman Air Commodore Fajar Adriyanto confirmed that the British-built aircraft, registered as TT-0209, had departed from Rusmin Nuryadin Air Base in Pekanbaru on Monday before crashing about 4 kilometers away in Kubang Jaya village, Siak Hulu subdistrict.“The crash occurred at 8:13 a.m. when the aircraft was about to land from its routine drill,” Fajar said.According to a preliminary investigation by the authorities, when the aircraft was approaching runway 36 of the airbase, the jet fighter had lost its power and fell onto two houses in the area. Although the houses were vacant at the time of the accident, the aircraft was totally destroyed, Fajar added.The pilot, First Lt. Apriyanto, was able to eject himself and survived the accident, Fajar said. Apriyanto is being examined at Dr. Soekirman Air Force Hospital in Pekanbaru.Residents who live at Sialang Indah residential complex around the crash site said Apriyanto landed about 500 meters away from the aircraft, while his ejection seat fell onto the roof of a house, 250 meters away from the aircraft.“The pilot landed in the bushes. He was immediately helped by the residents and later taken to the ambulance with bruises around his face,” said Reni, a resident, as quoted by tribunnews.com.“There were no fatalities in the incident,” Fajar said, adding that his institution would further investigate it.Read also: Commentary: Military aircraft accidents and the vulnerability of state defenseKubang Jaya village head Tarmizi said he was informed of the crash at 7:30 a.m. and that the accident took place behind Siak Hulu 1 state junior high school. “It crashed in the residential area,” he said as quoted by kompas.com on Monday.Before it crashed, some of the residents of Kubang Jaya village said they heard explosions in the sky.Anto, 43, said he heard them twice. “They were pretty loud, and afterward I saw the aircraft fell onto the houses and burned,” he said as quoted by kompas.com.Rahmat, 60, said he heard three explosions, one much louder than the others.At the time of the incident, Rahmat and the other residents ran out of their houses immediately after hearing the explosions and later found that the aircraft had burnt down on the ground after hitting houses that belong to other residents.The aircraft was one of 34 Hawk 209 aircraft that were purchased by the Indonesian Air Force in 1993, making Indonesia one of the largest users of this type of military jet.The accident on Monday occurred days after an Indonesian Army Mi-17 helicopter crashed in Kendal, Central Java. Four out of the nine passengers died at the location of the crash, while five others were taken to the hospital for treatment.The fatalities from the crash increased to five after one of the survivors died on Saturday. First Lieutenant Vira Yudha died after being hospitalized for a week at Dr. Kariadi General Hospital in Semarang, kompas.com reported.The remaining survivors, on the other hand, have shown improvement and continue to receive treatment at Dr. Kariadi Hospital and Gatot Subroto Army Hospital in Jakarta.
NTT journalist wins prize for dedication in gender equality, human rights
“I dedicated this award to women and children who suffer from injustice; [they] are the very reason why I started writing and become a journalist,” Anna told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.”This award serves as [a reminder] for me to continue fighting for women and children who are victims of abuse in Indonesia.”Throughout her long career, Anna is known for her dedication to peace journalism as well as advocating for human rights and gender issues.In KURSOR, she integrates gender perspectives in newsroom policies, which are reflected through its news products, editorials and headlines, giving the daily a reputations as a pioneer of gender mainstreaming in the East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) provincial capital of Kupang. For Gadrida Rosdiana Djukana, the editor-in-chief of East Nusa Tenggara-based daily publication KURSOR, dedicating herself to gender mainstreaming and advocating for abused women and children are at the core of her journalism work and for which she never expected to be applauded, let alone be bestowed with high accolades.So, when the Alliance of Independent Journalist (AJI) awarded her this year’s SK Trimurti Award, which recognizes efforts in fighting for gender equality, Anna, as she is known, said the award had, in fact, reminded her that the struggle to eliminate violence and injustice against the vulnerable still had a long way to go. Topics : Read also: See much progress in women’s equality? Depends who you askThe 52-year-old has also worked with local organizations and has been very active in writing and raising awareness about the injustices faced by vulnerable and marginalized groups.Anna noted that cases of violence against women and children were still rampant in the province and hoped that the award would be a driving force for her and other activists in the campaign for gender equality and elimination of violence in NTT.”I feel very grateful that our struggles have been recognized. At the same time, this award has also become motivation for us to continue working selflessly,” she said.The AJI established the SK Trimurti Award to commemorate the late Soerastri Karma Trimurti, a renowned activist and female journalist who took part in the Indonesian independence movement.The group’s decision to bestow Anna with the prestigious award has been praised by various parties who acknowledged her outstanding achievements throughout her career.Merry Kolimon, the chairwoman of the Masehi Injili Sinode Church in Timor (GMIT), applauded Anna for her achievement, saying that the award could also become an inspiration for the youths in NTT for the advocacy of democracy and gender equality through journalism.”[Anna] is a senior journalist in NTT, a teacher and a friend of many young women,” Merry said.Meanwhile, AJI Kupang chairman Marthen Bana said the award was “the best gift” for them on the organization’s 26th anniversary.Anna was nominated by AJI Kupang to receive this year’s SK Trimurti Award after thorough consideration, Marthen said, adding that they were very proud that Anna had won the prize.He said Anna had proven her dedication and compassion over the past 20 years.”For us, Anna deserves this award because as a journalist and a women activist, she has been consistently advocating for gender equality, human rights and marginalized groups in NTT.” (dpk)
Five suspected terrorists with alleged ties to JAD arrested in Riau
The National Police’s Densus 88 counterterrorism squad arrested five suspected terrorists with alleged ties to Islamic State-linked terrorist group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) in Kampar regency, Riau, on Tuesday.The suspects, identified only as SU, TJ, SY, LR and TW, are natives of Kampar who used to work as farmers and food vendors, the police said.“They were arrested following the development of a case in connection with a terrorist suspect, NW, who was arrested on Aug. 1 at his rented house in Parawang, Siak regency,” Kampar Police spokesman First Insp. Deni Yusra said on Thursday.NW had been on the police’s most-wanted list for a long time, he said, and the five suspects arrested on Tuesday were alleged to have assisted NW while he was on the run.Authorities suspected that NW and the five were members of JAD, a militant group believed to have been behind a number of past terror attacks in the country.According to the police, NW was allegedly involved in assembling explosives and planning an amaliyah — a term commonly used by extremist groups to launch an attack or suicide bombing — in some churches in Pekanbaru.Citing NW’s confession, Deni said NW had planned to execute the attack by planting a bomb inside a food cart carrying cilok (skewered tapioca balls) that he sold every day.“NW planned the attack with his partners, namely AZ, ZZ, AM and KH, who had been arrested earlier on June 21,” Deni said.NW was also believed to have planned a suicide bombing at Kampar Police headquarters, he claimed, but Densus 88 managed to arrest them first and foiled the plan.Deni alleged that the group planned the attacks because they believed that the democratic system in Indonesia was “infidel”. The arrested people had also reportedly been involved in the destruction of banners belonging to one of the country’s political parties during the 2019 presidential election in Kampar, he added. (dpk)Topics :
India’s coronavirus case tally nears 3.8 million as country reopens
A dozen metro services including in the capital New Delhi would be allowed to reopen from Sept. 7, India’s urban affairs minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Wednesday.Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered a nationwide lockdown in March when the country was reporting fewer than 100 daily cases, winning praise from some experts for early action but warnings from others the restrictions had been imposed too soon.India’s economy shrank by nearly a quarter in April-June, data showed on Monday, much more than forecast and placing pressure on policymakers to kick-start growth, despite the high number of new cases.The chief minister of Goa, a popular tourist destination that has relaxed quarantine rules to attract visitors, said on Wednesday he had tested positive for the virus.”Those who have come in my close contact are advised to take the necessary precautions,” Pramod Sawant, a member of Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, said in a tweet.Authorities in the capital New Delhi are due to meet later on Wednesday to discuss the reopening of the city’s metro, despite fresh cases there sitting at a two-month high. Topics : India said on Wednesday it would allow metro services to reopen nationwide, despite the number of novel coronavirus infections there reaching almost 3.8 million.The country reported 78,357 new cases in the last 24 hours, federal health data showed, taking total infections to 3,769,523. Some 66,333 people have died.India’s total cases lag only the United States and Brazil, which it will overtake in days based on current trends.
Rising number of uncontested races undermines regional polls
The number of sole candidates running in Indonesia’s regional elections has steadily increased in the past five years, election data has shown, leading to growing concerns that the upcoming polls might ruin the electoral system.A total of 28 out of the 270 regions holding elections this December are likely to see a single candidate pair run for the top seats, according to recent General Elections Commission (KPU) data.This is more than nine times as many as when sole candidacies were first allowed in the 2015 elections, which were held in a similar number of regions as this year’s polls. Read also: KPU records sharp decline in independent candidates for year-end pollsBased on regulations, independent candidates must be able to show proof that there is enough support for an eventual election campaign.In the 2015 polls, prospective candidates were required to gather the identity card numbers of 3 to 6.5 percent of voters on the final voters list in their respective regions, as per Government Regulation in Lieu of Law (Perppu) No. 1/2014 on regional elections.But the threshold for public support was later raised to 6.5 to 10 percent of voters on the final voters list when the 2015 Regional Elections Law was passed, which was then enforced for the 2017 and 2018 regional polls.“I believe that there might be individuals who are capable and willing to be regional leaders, but they just weren’t able to amass enough public support due to the higher bar set,” Khoirunnisa said during a webinar on Thursday.A lone candidate pair contesting rarely loses to the “blank box”, a space on the ballot paper provided to voters who wish to reject the sole candidate pair.Read also: ‘Blank box’ to compete with sole candidatesSole candidates have only been allowed since 2015, after the Constitutional Court struck down a clause in the Regional Elections Law requiring the KPU to confirm at least two candidate pairs in every provincial, regency or municipal election. But the new provisions have instead exposed the failings of the current political party system.Critics have long pointed to the failure of so-called regeneration among political parties as a possible driver for the lack of competent candidates running for office, resulting in a surge in one-horse races.Read also: Expert links sole candidacies to poor party regenerationKhoirunnisa said that instead of backing their own members as candidates, political parties tended to partner up in big-tent coalitions and support the candidate pair that was most likely to win, such as incumbent leaders or members of existing political cliques.According to KPU data, 16 out of 28 prospective sole candidates are incumbents, while the remaining few are either members of regional councils or relatives of prominent figures in the country.The list includes Hanindhito Himawan Pramono, a sole candidate running for Kediri regency in East Java from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P). He is the son of Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung, a former lawmaker and respected senior PDI-P politician.Read also: One political dynasty makes way for another as Kediri prepares to voteThere were bound to be a lot of “grand coalitions” if all the political parties had the same mindset, said Khoirunnisa.“This is the sort of situation that will lead candidates running for office to focus only on canvassing support from coalitions rather than the public,” she said. “But it won’t be a healthy democracy because, when it comes to the elections, the public – not the parties – should be the main attraction.”Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) political researcher Arya Fernandes said that any regional election featuring a candidate running uncontested with backing from a big-tent coalition would likely produce leaders of poor quality.Such candidates are prone to misusing their power, whether embezzling regional funds or political horse-trading for positions in the administration, he said.Both Arya and Khoirunnisa suggested revising the threshold for public support of independent candidates in order to pave the way for more healthy competition in future elections.Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) member Ratna Dewi Pettalolo said that her agency had found several cases of vote buying in elections where only a sole candidate pair was running.She said, however, that Bawaslu was unable to report the alleged perpetrators to the police due to a lack of supporting evidence.“Most transactions involving ‘political dowry’ are carried out in the dark. But now we are committed to tracing any information on such practices and will gather as much evidence as possible,” Ratna said.Offering a “political dowry” – that is, depositing a sum of money to political parties in the hopes of securing their support – violates articles 47 and 187 of the 2016 revision of the Regional Elections Law.Topics : The data shows that the number of sole candidates has steadily increased in every election year: From only three sole candidate pairs in the 2015 elections, the number rose to nine in 2017, 16 in 2018 and now 28.The trend has critics raising concerns over the possibility that the elections are becoming more unfair with each passing year, while also limiting the chances of independent candidates to succeed.Khoirunnisa Nur Agustyati, the executive director of elections watchdog the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem), said many factors were to blame for the rising number of sole candidate pairs.However, the biggest sticking point may be the tougher requirements that independent candidates have to meet prior to even registering their intent to run.
Oxfam says international response to famine ‘dangerously inadequate’
The international community’s response to global food insecurity is “dangerously inadequate”, the NGO Oxfam said in a new report Tuesday, published just days after the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the UN’s World Food Programme.”The threat of ‘COVID famines’ and widespread extreme hunger is setting off every alarm bell within the international community, but so far sluggish funding is hampering humanitarian agencies’ efforts to deliver urgent assistance to people in need,” Oxfam wrote.”The international community’s response to global food insecurity has been dangerously inadequate,” said the report titled “Later Will Be Too Late”. “But some of the worst funded sectors are food security and nutrition,” it added.Last Friday, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the World Food Programme for feeding millions of people from Yemen to North Korea, as the coronavirus pandemic pushes millions more into hunger.Founded in 1961 and funded entirely by donations, the UN body helped 97 million people last year, distributing 15 billion rations to people in 88 countries. The NGO complained that funding for 55 million people facing extreme hunger in seven worst-affected countries – Afghanistan, Somalia, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen – was “abysmally low”. In five of the seven countries, donors had so far given “no money at all” for the coronavirus-related nutrition assistance part of the UN’s $10.3-billion humanitarian appeal, the report said. “As of today, donors have pledged just 28 percent of the UN Covid appeal that was launched back in March this year,” Oxfam said. Every sector – gender-based violence, protection, health, and water, sanitation and hygiene – were “chronically under-funded,” Oxfam said. Topics :