Indonesia’s COVID-19 death toll climbs to four while cases jump to 69

first_imgThe number of coronavirus cases in Indonesia has doubled to 69 with the confirmation of 35 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, its highest jump to date, as the death toll from the disease climbs to four.The new fatalities included Case 35 and Case 36, a 57-year-old and a 37-year-old woman, both of whom succumbed to the disease on Thursday after being admitted to Sulianti Saroso Infectious Diseases Hospital in Jakarta in poor condition, Health Ministry Disease Control and Prevention director-general Achmad Yurianto said on Friday. The test results for Case 35 and 36 came back positive for COVID-19 on Friday, and the central government has handed over the results to the local health administration to trace others who may have been exposed, he said.In addition, a 50-year-old man identified as Case 50, died after his condition quickly deteriorated, Yurianto said, adding that local health authorities were tracing his close contacts.Yurianto, who is the government’s spokesman for COVID-19, said that all of the new cases announced on Friday were identified through the tracing of close contacts of confirmed coronavirus cases over the past two days.“This data is the result of contact tracing over the last two days that was reported by local [authorities] as of this afternoon,” Yurianto told journalists on Friday. The new cases, Cases 35 to 69, vary in terms of age and gender, with the eldest being two 80-year-old women identified as Case 38 and Case 69.They also included a 2-year-old boy known as Case 54 – the youngest patient to have tested positive for COVID-19 in the country to date – and a 3-year-old boy, identified as Case 49. “The 2 and 3-year-old [patients] were [identified] through contact tracing. Their parents contracted the disease, and it was transmitted to them,” Yurianto said.The government announced on Wednesday the death of Indonesia’s first COVID-19 patient, a 53-year-old British woman identified as Case 25.As new cases continue to be confirmed, the government has decided that tests for COVID-19 may be conducted in environmental, health and technology centers (BTKL), the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology and other institutions that have the proper facilities, Yurianto said.“Contact tracing is the most important thing that we need to do quickly to identify, locate and isolate positive cases so that [the disease] won’t spread further in the community,” he added.Topics :last_img read more

Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen out of solitary confinement

first_imgPrior to the transfer, Cohen had been housed in a minimum-security camp at the facility, which is about 70 miles (110 km) northwest of New York City.Cohen, who once said he would “take a bullet” for Trump, was sentenced to three years in prison in 2018 for directing hush payments to pornographic film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claimed they had affairs with Trump. Trump has denied having the encounters.In March, Cohen pressed to be released early due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has hammered New York state and surfaced in prisons around the country.The US Bureau of Prisons said that as of Friday, 318 federal inmates and 163 staffers had tested positive for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus. Five inmates and four staffers at Otisville have tested positive, according to the bureau.Adler said he is concerned that inmates and corrections officers are not routinely tested for the virus and said the bureau “may well be underreporting the incidence of the pandemic.”Cohen was placed in solitary after another inmate complained about his internet use, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters this week.He is eligible for release in November 2021.Topics : Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney to President Donald Trump, has been removed from solitary confinement in a federal prison where he is serving time for violating campaign finance laws, his attorney told Reuters on Saturday.Cohen was transferred on Wednesday to a Special Housing Unit at the Otisville Federal Correctional Institution in New York state, a disciplinary section of the prison, Reuters reported this week.Cohen’s attorney, Roger Adler, did not explain why Cohen had been moved out of solitary confinement. The facility did not immediately respond to a request for comment.last_img read more

Indonesia, 12 cross-region countries agree to keep supply chains open

first_imgGoing forward, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi said, any future cooperation “must be action-oriented” which would bring tangible benefits to the general public worldwide.The declaration, despite its nature as a non-legally binding political declaration, aims at bolstering international norms and actions in handling the COVID-19 pandemic and to manage its social economic impacts. It identified a number of areas for concrete collaborative actions, outlining commitments to maintain an open flow of trade and investment, facilitate repatriation of stranded travelers, and to look for efforts to restore the post-pandemic global economy.“We will continue to promote and protect free trade,”  the ministers said in the declaration, as quoted from a press statement on Saturday. “[…] and we agree that emergency measures designed to tackle COVID-19, if deemed necessary, must be targeted, proportionate, transparent and temporary, and that they do not create unnecessary barriers to trade or disruption to global supply chains, and are consistent with WTO [World Trade Organization] rules.”Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said on Facebook on Saturday that the ICGC ministers had reiterated the importance of maintaining global connectivity, “such as transport and supply chain links, which will help all our economies recover more quickly when the pandemic eventually subsides”.Read also: Indonesia joins multilateral pursuit of ‘practical’, coordinated response to COVID-19 Top diplomats from 13 countries of a cross-regional network, including Indonesia, Singapore and Canada, have agreed on key principles of keeping transportation links and supply chains open to cushion the impacts of COVID-19 on global trade and economy.Facilitated by Canada, the informal network called the International Coordination Group on COVID-19 (ICGC) consists primarily of half of the G20 countries — Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, South Korea, Turkey and the United Kingdom — with the addition of Morocco, Peru and Singapore. It was recently established to look for a shared commitment to “promote and protect free trade” and other selected measures to tackle COVID-19.The fresh declaration was made by foreign ministries of ICGC in a Friday evening teleconference, after it was deliberated at a recent senior officials meeting. The WTO had sounded the alarm on Wednesday that global trade could plummet by a third this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, warning the deepest recession “of our lifetimes” could be on the horizon.North America and Asia would be hardest-hit and could see their exports plunge by 40 and 36 percent respectively, while Europe and South America could see declines of more than 30 percent, the WTO said.WTO chief Roberto Azevedo said countries could ensure a faster and stronger rebound through international cooperation. “A turn toward protectionism would introduce new shocks on top of those we are currently enduring,” Azevedo said, as reported by AFP.”Keeping markets open to international trade and investment would help economies recover more quickly,” he said, arguing that “we will see a much faster recovery than if each country goes it alone.”Following the declaration, the ICGC would now strongly advocate for other countries to take similar steps, with South Korea leading a conversation on best practices for emerging from the COVID-19 crisis.“The COVID-19 pandemic is a global challenge. Maintaining strong coordination with our international partners is critical to mitigate the repercussions of the ongoing challenges we face,” Canada’s Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne said in a statement. “Keeping people, goods and services moving is key in both addressing these issues and ensuring the transition to a strong recovery.”Read also: COVID-19: Jokowi urges G20 countries to develop vaccine, win ‘war’ against the pandemicThey will also continue to pool research and scientific resources and efforts to work toward a COVID-19 vaccine and enhanced testing kits for all countries, the declaration said.As a number of countries and scientists are racing against time to develop COVID-19 vaccines and cures, Retno said that international cooperation “must be able to facilitate the availability of an effective, affordable COVID-19 vaccine and accessible to developing countries”.Topics :last_img read more

Three stages of emotion on COVID-19 journey: Where are you now?

first_imgHow Indonesians are feeling on COVID-19. (JP/File)The first is a short-term stage marked by sudden disruption, along with lifestyle changes and a growing sense of a loss of freedom amid quarantine. This is followed by confusion and uncertainty, which is indicated by mental fatigue due to prolonged lockdown, the economic impact kicking in and thoughts about life and livelihoods arising. The third is the acceptance of the new normal, with long-term behavioral shifts and a new outlook on life.“People take time to adjust to the new normal they have been presented with, which has a sudden impact on day-to-day behavior,” the document explains.“As the COVID-19 [situation] lasts, people increasingly worry about finances. They prepare to plan for the long term and let go of heavy spending occasions,” it reads. “With the acceptance of the new normal people will move toward a more long-term alignment, find new ways to manage life.” People around the world are coping with the COVID-19 pandemic differently. Some are anxious, others unperturbed. Some may find it difficult to get organized, while for others there is no option but for life to go on as normal.People find a sense of security and the freedom to socialize and leave the house the most difficult things to give up in their daily lives, according to market research firm Kantar Indonesia.The change in lifestyle has generally resulted in a three-stage emotional journey stemming from behavioral shifts, according to a Kantar Indonesia report titled COVID-19 Impact on Indonesian Attitudes & Behavior: Learning for Brands. Stages of consumer’s emotional journey during COVID-19 pandemic. (JP/File)Kantar Indonesia’s stages of emotional journey and feelings were created based on surveys on Indonesians’ psychological state amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in line with recent academic research into the impacts of COVID-19 on society’s mental well-being. Psychology experts are warning of the pandemic’s profound and pervasive impact on global mental health as people around the world struggle to cope with isolated living and anxiety spikes.Read also: Pandemic shifts business landscape, strategyBased on a sample of 6,428 people, Kantar Indonesia measured Indonesians’ COVID-19 anxiety meter and found an exponential increase in anxiety over the novel coronavirus within two weeks in March. On March 25, 68 percent were concerned but said they knew what to do, while 10 percent were very concerned and don’t know what to do. On March 13, the numbers had been at just 30 percent and 13 percent, respectively.“We see that Indonesians are concerned but assured,” Kantar Indonesia wrote. “Indonesia and Malaysia are the only countries in the region that have maintained a net-positive sentiment in their social media chatter about COVID-19.”center_img Topics :last_img read more

Privacy watchdog approves French contact tracing app

first_imgThe idea is to send an alert to those who have downloaded the app if they come into close proximity, for example, on public transport, with those who have tested positive for the new coronavirus and who are on the app register.A number of European countries are considering using similar technology as a means of allowing a relaxing of confinement.The CNIL move came as France, which has listed 22,614 COVID-19-related deaths to date, looks to May 11 to start relaxing nationwide lockdown restrictions imposed six weeks ago.The government is due to unveil deconfinement measures on Tuesday in line with a range of recommendations Saturday from its scientific advisors relating to issues such as schooling and the wearing of masks. France’s privacy watchdog CNIL on Sunday gave a conditional green light to a government-backed scheme to monitor people infected with coronavirus.The issue of how to keep tabs on sufferers has sparked privacy concerns in several countries but the CNIL gave the nod to the StopCovid scheme subject to civil liberty guarantees and regular oversight.The French device will, if the country is to begin a gradual emergence from lockdown on May 11, enable creation of an index of sufferers via a smartphone app along the lines of a model touted notably by Singapore. The French government insists its scheme would see the app deployed on a voluntary, anonymous, temporary and transparent basis with all data stored in France in a bid to encourage maximum take-up. ‘Exceptional’ contextCNIL said the context was “exceptional” as France faces up to a global health crisis, adding that StopCovid meets EU norms as long as “certain conditions are respected,” noting the government usage guarantees.The body added that nobody should be penalized, for example being denied a transport ticket, for refusing to use the app and said the scheme’s effectiveness would depend on widespread adoption.Latest opinion polls show less than two in five French people have confidence in the government’s ability to face down the COVID-19 crisis.The French government intends to begin relaxing some restrictions from May 11, including reopening schools and getting public transport back to normal.But a study released last Tuesday by the Pasteur Institute estimated only six percent of France’s population will have been exposed to the new coronavirus by then, meaning the rest will have no immunity and will remain at risk of infection, leading to fears a second wave of the disease would wreak renewed havoc.Critics of using high-tech means to track people have warned any centralized schemes could provide governments with reams of personal data and facilitate mass state surveillance.Decentralized systems can on the other hand allow data to be stored on individual devices.The European Commission has also recommended that data harvested through contact-tracing apps be stored only on users’ own phones and be encrypted. Topics :last_img read more

Recent cases of persecution set back LGBT rights advocacy

first_img“The stigma and discrimination is so deeply rooted in our society that many think of it as a given. It is quite the challenge to face alone.”Discrimination against the LGBT community is still widespread in Indonesia, with the Indonesian Psychiatrists Association (PDSKJI) classifying homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexualism as mental disorders that can be cured through proper treatment.The Komnas HAM commissioner said there had been a stark change in public perception toward the community, highlighted by the lack of representation on national television that came as a result of intolerant groups and agencies like the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) that tried to limit the community’s movement.Just a decade or two ago, national broadcasting was considered a safe space for the LGBT community, with primetime programs like the Dorce Show – a variety show hosted by the openly transwoman Dorce Gamalama – pulling in viewers during a successful four-year run.Local sitcom Bajaj Bajuri, which starred actress-cum-politician Rieke Diah Pitaloka, even casually depicted a gay character in one episode that recently attracted attention on Twitter.Even the Nia Dinata-directed movie Arisan! from 2003, a cult classic depicting the lives of gay urbanites in Jakarta, managed to spawn a sequel and a TV series spin-off on local broadcaster ANTV. The original movie has also found a new generation of viewers on streaming service Netflix.But the tide has shifted in recent years to more conservative programming, which has fueled even more misperceptions about the LGBT community in Indonesia.Advocacy has become even more complicated by the fact that many victims of discrimination are reluctant to report their cases, said Citra Farera of Indonesian Transgender Network (JTID).“The [common] perception is that LGBT organizations exist because we want to legalize same-sex marriage, but what we actually do is far from that,” she said.“What we are fighting for is our basic rights as human beings, such as the right to live and to work.”At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has obliterated many people’s incomes, Citra said the transgender community faced an even greater struggle for survival, as many had lost their jobs.“Our fellow transwomen are experiencing difficulties in accessing public services like getting an ID card,” she said.“[The effects can be seen] during this pandemic, where they are unable to receive government assistance as they don’t have any identification in the first place.”Komnas HAM’s Beka said the government should acknowledge the right of the LGBT community by reaffirming the importance of the Yogyakarta Principles, signed in 2006.“The Yogyakarta Principles is a recognized document that is used as reference when there is a state policy that has the potential to discriminate against our LGBT friends,” he said, adding that all states must comply with the principles.The Yogyakarta Principles are the first set of international principles on the application of international human rights law in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity.They include the right to live, the right to privacy and the right to work, and were further reinforced in 2017 with 10 additional principles such as the right to state protection and the right to protection from poverty.The principles were formulated by a group of 29 international human rights experts, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and other independent UN experts.Topics : At a time when members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community should be able to celebrate their existence without fear of reprisal, two recent cases of persecution have laid bare the cruel reality people in the community still face in Indonesia, rights advocates have said.The murder of Mira, a transwoman who was burned to death by a mob in Cilincing, North Jakarta, and a widely criticized prank by YouTuber Ferdian Paleka, who delivered “care packages” full of garbage to transwomen in Bandung, West Java, served as reminders that many challenges remain for those advocating for the rights of LGBT people.The two cases occurred in the month leading up to the global commemoration of the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) on May 17, which saw a muted reception owing to the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. Observers have noted how the general public’s reaction to the two cases has been skewed, with more people perceived as having flocked to social media to condemn the prank than the murder. In the latter case, the North Jakarta Police even moved to absolve the suspects by saying they had no intention to kill.The public’s selective attention to LGBT rights issues, including politicians who have sought to use such issues to gain public support, has only compounded the struggles the community faces in Indonesia, the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has said.Komnas HAM commissioner Beka Ulung Hapsara said that stigma and discrimination against the LGBT community was a “gargantuan struggle” that would be difficult to resolve without the support of many stakeholders.“[It will be hard to win the battle] if the LGBT community only has support from Komnas HAM, Komnas Perempuan [National Commission on Violence Against Women] and other civil society organizations,” Beka said in a recent virtual discussion on hate speech against marginalized communities.last_img read more

China says non-peaceful action on Taiwan is last resort

first_imgChina will use all means to prevent pro-independence forces separating Taiwan from China but non-peaceful action against the Chinese-claimed island is a last resort, the ruling Communist Party’s third most senior leader said on Friday.Li Zhanshu, who is also the head of China’s parliament, said Beijing will never allow any force, in any way, to separate Taiwan from China.Earlier on Friday, The head of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said on Friday that “one country, two systems” and “peaceful reunification” is the best way to bring China and Taiwan together. Outside attempts by foreign forces to interfere in “reunification” will fail, Liu Jieyi told an event at the Great Hall of the People marking 15 years since China signed into law its Anti-Secession Law.Beijing passed the law in 2005 which authorises the use of force against Taiwan if China judges it to have seceded.Topics :last_img read more

Govt wants Japan to join China-backed high-speed rail project

first_imgKCIC initially aimed to finish the project and begin operation by June 2021, a two-year delay from its original target. With the current health crisis, the project’s completion is expected to be further delayed to the second half of 2021.The Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway project is one of the government’s national strategic projects (PSN) in the transportation sector and is expected to require a total investment of US$6.07 billion.The railway project will serve four main stations: Halim in Jakarta, Karawang in West Java and Walini and Tegaluar in Bandung regency. The trains will travel at 350 kilometers per hour, cutting the travel time between Jakarta and Bandung to 45 minutes from the current three-hour train journey.In September of last year, the Transportation Ministry and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed an agreement on the summary record of the Java North Line Upgrading Project, outlining the two countries’ collaboration to develop the Jakarta-Surabaya railway.Topics : “Because of that – to be more economical – President Jokowi has instructed that the project not stop at Bandung but be extended to Surabaya. Also, [he asked to] add Japan to the consortium,” said Airlangga on Friday in an online press briefing after a limited Cabinet meeting. Policymakers believe the inclusion of Japan would accelerate the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway project, while also helping the consortium extend the project to reach Surabaya via the Southern Java line.Airlangga said that the idea to include Japan in the consortium would first be reviewed by the State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Ministry.The construction of the high-speed railway has faltered because of various technical and financial challenges, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The government is considering including Japan in Kereta Cepat Indonesia China (KCIC), an Indonesia-China consortium to develop the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway, as Indonesia seeks to expedite and expand the national strategic project, a senior minister has said.Japan, which was outbid by China for the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway project, is currently working with the Indonesian government to develop a medium-speed line to connect Jakarta and Surabaya, East Java.Coordinating Economic Affairs Minister Airlangga Hartarto said that the consideration came from a request by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo as the government reviewed the prolonged delays and budget overruns in the development of the Jakarta-Bandung railway.last_img read more

Eight named suspects in sexual assault of now-deceased minor in Tangerang

first_imgOn April 18 at 1 a.m., Fikri took the girl to a house in Pagedangan district in Tangerang regency, where all but one of the suspects were. Prepared in advance were three chlorpromazine pills – a psychiatric medication with sedative properties that is often used to treat mental disorders.The victim reportedly lost consciousness after being forced to take the three pills at once by the seven suspects who were present, after which she was allegedly raped.According to the police’s investigation, the men also sexually assaulted the victim before April 18. Efri said all eight suspects reportedly raped the girl on April 10, although the police provided no details on the incident. He said one of the suspects, identified only as S, tried to convince the victim’s family to refrain from taking the case to court.S tried to “carry out mediation” through a meeting between the victim’s family and those of the suspects before the police became involved, Efri said.”The victim fell ill after the incident and was taken to the Darma Graha mental health hospital in Serpong [Tangerang] on May 26,” Efri said as quoted by kompas.com.The victim’s family reportedly insisted on bringing the girl home from the hospital on June 9. She died on June 11, two days after being discharged. (trn)Topics : The Pagedangan Police in Tangerang regency, Banten, named eight people suspects on Wednesday for their alleged involvement in the rape of a now-deceased 16-year-old girl in April.”The police managed to arrest six of the eight suspects. We are still pursuing the other two,” Pagedangan Police chief Adj. Comr. Efri said on Wednesday.According to the police, the case started when the victim, a South Tangerang resident, met one of the suspects, Fikri, through social media, after which they developed a romantic relationship.last_img read more

More Chinese regions brace for floods as storms shift east

first_imgBut central and eastern regions are set to bear the brunt this week, with some facing 30mm to 50mm (1.2 inches to 2 inches) of rain per hour by Wednesday, the state meteorological bureau said.Regions along the banks of the Yangtze and its tributaries are traditionally vulnerable to flooding in China’s summer, with the impact of heavy rainfall worsened by deforestation, dwindling flood plains and the diversion of natural river systems for hydropower and irrigation.Rainfall has also been heavier than usual, with water volumes in 148 rivers already reaching emergency levels by mid-June. Local authorities are under instruction to pay attention to potential dam and reservoir collapses.Some Yangtze tributaries have already experienced their worst floods ever, including the Xiaojinchuan in Sichuan province. The water resources ministry warned last week that other smaller rivers could be “stricken by major floods” and lakes are also under close scrutiny.Authorities have promised to minimize flood damage in the city of Wuhan as it struggles to recover from the coronavirus outbreak.Wuhan, which lies on the Yangtze, was hit by China’s last major floods in 1998, which killed more than 3,000 people and left 14 million homeless. Topics : Torrential rain is set to hit China’s eastern coastal regions this week after overwhelming large parts of the southwest, inundating villages and tourist spots and displacing more than 700,000 people, state weather forecasters said on Monday.Nearly 14 million people in 26 different provinces had been affected by storms and floods by Friday, with 744,000 evacuated, the China Daily reported, citing the Ministry for Emergency Management. The ministry said 78 people have been confirmed dead or missing, with direct economic losses at 27.8 billion yuan ($3.93 billion).Much of the damage has hit southwestern regions like Guangxi and Sichuan, and the municipality of Chongqing on the upper reaches of the Yangtze river last week experienced its worst floods since 1940.last_img read more