Trump suspends all travel from Europe to US to fight coronavirus

first_imgUS President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday the United States will suspend all travel from Europe to the United States for 30 days starting on Friday in order to fight the coronavirus.Trump said the travel restrictions do not apply to the United Kingdom.The restrictions, meant to combat the spread of the coronavirus, do not apply to legal permanent residents of the United States, nor does it generally apply to immediate family members of American citizens, DHS said in a statement. DHS acting Secretary Chad Wolf said in the statement he plans to issue a notice in the next 48 hours that would require U.S. passengers who have been in Schengen Area countries to travel through select airports with enhanced screening.The White House at dusk ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump’s address to the nation in Washington, U.S., March 11, 2020. (REUTERS/Tom Brenner)Furthermore, Trump emphasizes that trade will not be affected by the 30-day restrictions on travel from Europe, apparently rolling back on comments he made in a speech earlier in the evening.”The restriction stops people not goods,” he said in the tweet.In the speech about an hour earlier, Trump said: “These prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo but various other things as we get approval. Anything coming from Europe to the United States is what we are discussing.”U.S. President Donald Trump has canceled events planned this week in Colorado and Nevada “out of an abundance of caution from the coronavirus outbreak,” White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.Topics :last_img read more

Under-fire UK govt rushes to build field hospitals as virus death toll surges

first_imgTopics : Growing backlash Johnson is facing criticism even in normally supportive media outlets after officials revealed that just 2,000 out of about 500,000 NHS staff had been tested.Health minister Matt Hancock said Thursday the government was “determined” to scale up tests across the board in the coming weeks, with a “goal of 100,000 tests per day by the end of this month”.Hancock blamed global demand for swabs and reagents for the lack of tests, and said that some they had bought were faulty. In order to meet the demand, the government said it would work with private firms such as Amazon and chemist Boots, and that three new “mega labs” would soon be online.Testing for the general public has also been criticized as not widespread enough and is currently largely limited to hospital admissions of the most serious COVID-19 patients. On Tuesday, 10,000 hospital patients and NHS staff were tested in England, well below the daily target of 25,000 and the 70,000 a day achieved in Germany, which has been used as a comparison.Paul Nurse, chief executive of biomedical research center the Francis Crick Institute, told the BBC Thursday that the government should summon “the Dunkirk spirit” and let “small ship” labs start screening for the killer disease.So far, Public Health England (PHE), the body tasked with testing, has insisted all screening should be carried out centrally.PHE medical director Professor Paul Cosford defended his organization’s work.”At the very outset we identified this, we got the tests in place, we designed the tests in our laboratories. We have played our part,” he told BBC radio.Britain is currently in the second week of a three-week lockdown, with non-essential shops shut and the public asked to stay at home to try to limit the spread of the coronavirus.The government has promised an enormous package of support for businesses and employees hit by the measures.New government figures show 950,000 people applied for state welfare support known as universal credit in the last two weeks. It is available to the unemployed and those on low incomes.With economic headwinds gathering pace, national carrier British Airways is also to temporarily lay off 28,000 staff, the union representing its workers announced Thursday.Hancock, meanwhile, demanded that English Premier League footballers take a pay cut amid outrage at top flight clubs using a government furlough scheme for non-playing staff. Johnson has been in self-isolation “with mild symptoms” at his Downing Street official residence since announcing on March 27 that he had caught the virus.  Heir to the throne Prince Charles Thursday made his first public comments since coming out of self-quarantine after contracting the disease, telling the PA news agency the experience had been “strange, frustrating and often distressing”.In a video message, he praised the “utter, selfless devotion to duty” of Britain’s health workers.The country took part in another collective round of applause at 8:00 pm (2000 GMT) Thursday, with social media videos capturing cheers across its cities, towns and villages. The UK government said Friday it was rushing to build more emergency field hospitals ahead of an expected surge in coronavirus cases, hours after recording a record 569 deaths from the disease. Two new facilities will be built in Bristol in the west and Harrogate in the north to house up to 1,500 patients, the state-run National Health Service (NHS) said in a statement.The announcement comes as a similar 4,000-bed facility in London — built in less than ten days — prepares to open Friday, and as criticism mounts over the government’s failure to provide screening, particularly for frontline healthcare workers.  “Further such hospitals will open next in Birmingham and Manchester, offering up to 3,000 beds between them,” the NHS statement added.The health ministry announced a record 569 deaths from the virus in Britain in the 24 hours up to 1600 GMT on Wednesday — the largest single-day rise yet.It followed 563 deaths over the previous corresponding period.Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said Britain will “massively increase testing” for the COVID-19 virus following criticism of his initial light-touch approach to the outbreak.last_img read more

Work smart, travel alone, eat out fast: South Korea’s prescription for coronavirus recover

first_imgTopics : The guidelines detail a code of conduct in areas including workplaces, transport, restaurants, shopping and sporting fixtures, starting with general rules such as washing hands, maintaining distance and regular temperature checks and disinfection.Anyone who travelled overseas within the past two weeks should not go to work for some time, and workplaces are strongly recommended to use video conferences, online training, remote work and flexible hours.Passengers on public transport need to wear a mask and try booking a seat in empty rows, while mobile payments should be used for taxis.The guidelines urged people to spend minimal time at restaurants and cafes and use individual plates to share food. The owners of the businesses should place seating apart, divided by partitions if possible, and actively promote takeout and delivery services alongside online payment.Private academies and religious facilities are strongly advised to provide hand sanitizers but no food.In shopping malls, customers should not test samples and should wait at least 1 meter behind others at checkouts, while shop owners should refrain from soliciting for business and holding first-come-first-served events.South Korea’s stock market has bounced back and bond inflows lead Asia, as investors bet on Seoul’s handling of the crisis.Officials say the strategy will only work if people remain wary.”The biggest sign of danger in our society is becoming careless that the risks of infections are gone,” KCDC director Jeong Eun-kyeong said at a separate briefing.  South Korea outlined guidelines on Friday for a two-year return to a post-coronavirus normality including flexible working, bookings on public transport and quick restaurant meals in a country that has been a role model in containing COVID-19.The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) reported just six new cases, the lowest number since the Feb. 28 peak of 909 in South Korea, which suffered the first major coronavirus epidemic outside China.With no new deaths, the toll remained at 240 and authorities hope daily new cases will drop to zero in the coming days after dipping below 10 on Sunday following several days above that level. Total recorded infections are at 10,708 in the country of almost 52 million people.center_img Widespread testing, intensive contact tracing and tracking apps have enabled South Korea to limit the spread of the virus with social distancing rather than lengthy lockdowns.Seoul has extended its social distancing policy until May 5, while offering some relief for churches and sport facilities, but urged vigilance as imported cases and smaller clusters continued to emerge.”Some experts predict COVID-19 will stay for as long as two years, and we have to accept the reality that we can’t go back to pre-COVID-19 life during that time,” Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip told a briefing.”The government is preparing a transition to a sustainable routine distancing scheme with the goal of carrying out regular social and economic activity and preventing COVID-19 infections at the same time,” he said.last_img read more

Coca Cola considers building Indonesian recycling plant, slashing 25,000 tons of plastic

first_imgSoft drinks manufacturer Coca Cola Amatil Indonesia (Amatil) is looking into developing a plastic bottle recycling facility in one of the world’s top plastic polluting countries.The company said on Friday it had signed a deal with plastic packaging maker Dynapack Asia to conduct a feasibility study on developing the facility. The soft drinks maker also said it aimed to cut consumption of new plastic resin by up to 25,000 tons a year by 2022 by using recycled plastic.The statement did not mention Amatil’s total annual new plastic resin consumption. However, a 2019 report shows that the Coca-Cola Company produced 3 million tons of plastic packaging in 2017, the highest among 31 companies listed in the report.Read also: Ineffective recycling compounds Indonesia’s marine waste problem“It is a significant step toward Amatil becoming self-sustaining in the plastic materials we use, ensuring a closed-loop for plastic beverage packaging in Indonesia as a whole,” said Amatil president director Kadir Gunduz in a statement.Dynapack Asia president director Tirtadjaja Hambali said the packaging manufacturer was committed to using at least 25 percent recycled plastic in its production starting 2025, as part of its commitment to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.Indonesia aims to slash plastic waste output by 70 percent by 2025, as per the country’s contribution to the global National Plastic Action Partnership (NPAP). The Southeast Asian country is the world’s second-largest marine plastic debris polluter behind China, a 2015 study reported.Topics :last_img read more

India says three soldiers killed in clash on Chinese border

first_imgTopics : “A violent face-off took place yesterday [Monday] night with casualties on both sides. The loss of lives on the Indian side includes an officer and two soldiers,” an Indian army spokesman said in a statement.”Senior military officials of the two sides are currently meeting at the venue to defuse the situation.”An Indian army officer based in the region told AFP that there had been no shooting, and that the officer killed had been a colonel.”There was no firing. No firearms were used. It was violent hand-to-hand scuffles,” the officer said on condition of anonymity. Three Indian soldiers have been killed in a “violent face-off” on the Chinese border, the Indian army said Tuesday following weeks of rising tensions and the deployment of thousands of extra troops from both sides.Brawls and face-offs flare on a fairly regular basis between the two nuclear-armed giants over their 3,500-kilometer frontier, which has never been properly demarcated, but no one has been killed in decades.The Indian army said that there were “casualties on both sides”, but Beijing made no mention of any deaths or injuries as it swiftly laid the blame squarely on India for the incident.center_img Beijing on Tuesday confirmed the incident and accused India of crossing the border and “attacking Chinese personnel”.Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Indian troops “crossed the border line twice… provoking and attacking Chinese personnel, resulting in serious physical confrontation between border forces on the two sides.”The Indian army said the incident took place in the Galwan Valley in the high-altitude Ladakh region — which is just opposite Tibet.Thousands of troops from the two nuclear-armed neighbors have been involved in the latest face-off since May.On May 9, several Indian and Chinese soldiers were injured in a clash involving fists and stone-throwing.The Chinese foreign ministry said only last week that a “positive consensus” on resolving the latest border issue was achieved following “effective communication” through diplomatic and military channels.In a later statement, India’s foreign ministry had said the two sides would “continue the military and diplomatic engagements to resolve the situation and to ensure peace and tranquility in the border areas.”But sources and Indian news reports suggested that India appeared to have effectively ceded to China areas that the People’s Liberation Army occupied in recent weeks, notably parts of the northern side of the Pangong Tso lake and some of the strategically important Galwan river valley.India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese leader Xi Jinping have sought to ease tensions at summits over the past two years when they agreed to boost border communications between their militaries.last_img read more

Why the fuss? The US, Taiwan and China — a guide

first_img‘One China’ policy In 1992, Taiwan and mainland China both pledged there is only “one China” but they agreed to disagree about what that precisely meant. Only 14 nations, all in the developing world, and the Vatican still recognize Taiwan. Beijing has tried hard to stop any international recognition for the island.The United States, while recognizing Beijing, is deliberately careful in its wording.The United States says only that it “acknowledges” Beijing’s claim to Taiwan — and leaves it for the two sides to work out a solution while opposing any use of force to change the status quo.In practice, Taiwan enjoys many of the trappings of a full diplomatic relationship with the United States.While there is no US embassy in Taipei, Washington runs a center called the American Institute in Taiwan. In the United States, the island’s diplomats enjoy the status of other nations’ personnel.Beijing is sensitive to any move that could amount to official recognition of Taiwan, such as when Tsai spoke by telephone to Trump after his election but before his inauguration.The United States has pushed for Taiwan to be included in UN bodies such as the World Health Organization.The topic is sure to come up during the visit of Alex Azar, the secretary of health and human services, who like many around the world has praised Taiwan’s effective response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.Topics : Taiwan’s official name remains the Republic of China, while the mainland is the People’s Republic of China.For years both sides still formally claimed to represent all of China although that landscape has changed in recent decades.Since the late 1990s, Taiwan has transformed from an autocracy into a vibrant democracy and a distinct Taiwanese identity has emerged. The current ruling party, led by popular president Tsai Ing-wen, regards Taiwan as a de facto sovereign nation, not part of China. The KMT, now in opposition, is more supportive of better ties with Beijing, especially on trade and maintains the idea that Taiwan is part of China. Bitter history The deep rift between China and Taiwan dates back to China’s civil war, which erupted in 1927 and pitted forces aligned with the Communist Party of China against the Nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) army.Eventually defeated by Mao Zedong’s Communists, KMT chief Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan, which was still under KMT control.From there, Chiang continued to claim the entirety of China — just as the mainland claimed Taiwan. Why has the announcement by the United States of its highest-level visit to Taiwan for four decades sparked such anger from Beijing? Here is a recap of the key issues surrounding the delicate relations between the US, China and Taiwan. Why the fuss? Washington cut formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1979, switching recognition to Beijing as the sole representative of China, with the mainland becoming a major trading partner.But the United States at the same time maintained a decisive, if at times delicate, role in supporting Taiwan.Under a law passed by Congress, the United States is required to sell Taiwan military supplies to ensure its self-defense against Beijing’s vastly larger armed forces.In recent decades US presidents have been somewhat reluctant to sell big ticket items to Taiwan, fearful of incurring Beijing’s wrath.US President Donald Trump’s administration has no such qualms and has approved a string of military sales, including an $8 billion fighter jet deal to replace Taiwan’s ageing fleet.last_img read more

More than 170 dead in Yemen floods

first_imgIn the province’s displaced persons camps, 1,340 families saw their tents and belongings swept away, the agency in charge of them said.In Lahij province in the government-held south, seven people were drowned when their vehicle was swept downstream, a government official told AFP.Another four people were killed on the road connecting the southern provinces of Hadramawt and Shabwa, the official added.In the rebel-held north, the floods killed 131 people and injured 124 between mid-July and August 7, the rebel health ministry said. Topics : They destroyed 106 homes and buildings and heavily damaged another 156, the rebel ministry added.UNESCO expressed sadness at the flood damage to historic buildings in the cities of Sanaa, Zabid and Shibam that are on its world heritage list.center_img Flash floods triggered by torrential rains have killed at least 172 people across Yemen over the past month, damaging homes and UNESCO-listed world heritage sites, officials said.The destruction has dealt a new blow to a country already in the grips of what the United Nations describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis after years of war between a Saudi-backed government and Iran-allied rebels.In the mainly government-held province of Maarib east of the capital, 19 children were among 30 people killed by the floods, a government official said.last_img read more

Ship collision in North Sumatra bay kills one, injures six

first_imgPuyuh 5014 Police Boat commander Adj. Comr. FAP Silalahi of the National Police’s Security Maintenance Agency said the incident occurred at around 8 p.m. on Sunday in the port water area of Sibolga Bay.“At the time, the KM Sinar Mas Jaya was heading out to sea, while the KMP Wira Glory was entering Sibolga Port. The collision was inevitable,” Silalahi said on Sunday.Sudirman, one of the injured fishermen, said that the Sinar Mas Jaya was just about to leave the Beringin fishery to catch fish in the sea when it collided with the ferry coming from the opposite direction.“Our ship tried to avoid [the crash], but it was too late,” he said.Sibolga Port Authority (KSOP) daily operative Purwadi Herianto said the captain of the KMP Wira Glory had flashed warning lights and sounded the siren as the fishing boat approached, but then the boat veered to the wrong side of the ferry.“We are still investigating [the incident],” he added. (syk)Topics : One fisherman was killed and six others injured aboard the KM Sinar Mas Jaya when the fishing vessel collided with the KMP Wira Glory ferry on Sunday evening in Sibolga Bay, North Sumatra.The Sinar Mas Jaya was badly damaged in the mid-sea collision. All seven victims of the 24-strong fishing crew have been transported to Sibolga hospital. The fatal victim has been identified as Miswar Andri Matondang, 52.last_img read more

Boost social aid to offset PSBB: Indef

first_imgIndonesia’s economy shrank by 5.32 percent year-on-year (yoy) in the second quarter of this year. The government expects the economy to contract 1.1 percent at worst or grow 0.2 percent at best in 2020. The economic impact of the so-called micro-scale social restrictions (PSBM) in Jakarta’s satellite cities, including Bogor, Bekasi and Depok, may not be as bad as the restrictions in the capital, according to Izzudin.Jakarta’s neighboring province of West Java had reported about 15,500 confirmed cases as of Thursday, making it the fourth-hardest-hit province.Berly Martawardaya, research director at Indef, said the government could adopt a risk-factor-based approach to making lockdown decisions to save lives while keeping the economy afloat.“If the cases do not slow down in two weeks, the second PSBB will likely be extended. If they decline, the reopening should be based on risk factors so we can stop the pandemic and save the economy – in that order,” he said.The Jakarta administration, he suggested, could close industries that made little economic contribution and had a high risk of transmission, such as entertainment and recreation.Under PSBB, 11 essential sectors – including health, food, energy, communications, finance, logistics and daily needs retail – are allowed to operate at 50 percent of capacity.Government offices and private companies outside these sectors must implement work-from-home policies and allow no more than 25 percent of their employees to work in the office at the same time.In the recently published Asian Development Outlook 2020 Update, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) stated that continued disruption from the pandemic would have “severe implications for growth” in Indonesia, with domestic demand and export prospects dampened as a consequence.Read also: Prolonged pandemic could derail Indonesia’s recovery, ADB, economists warn“Basically, there isn’t a trade-off [between public health and the economy]. This is a health crisis. Unless you can address this effectively, you can’t have a full recovery,” ADB director for macroeconomics research Abdul Abiad said on Tuesday.“We have to remember that containment has many different dimensions, and if you focus on the things that help with the outbreak and don’t hurt the economy so much, you will do well,” Abdul added.Topics : The government will need to augment its social safety net to offset the economic blow of the reimposed large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in Jakarta, an economist with the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef) has said.Izzudin Farras of Indef said on Thursday that the lack of a social cushion could pose a risk to the economy, as the capital city accounted for nearly one fifth of Indonesia’s gross domestic product (GDP).“If Jakarta’s economy remains negative in the third quarter, with the apparent impact since July and August, it will hit the national economy and indicate recession at the national level,” Izzudin said in a virtual discussion.Izzudin added that the government needed to improve its social assistance programs by placing more emphasis on the millions of vulnerable members of the middle class who were prone to falling into poverty because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Policymakers should expand and update the Social Affairs Ministry’s Integrated Data for Social Welfare (DTKS), he said, to cover 60 percent of the nation’s poorest people, an increase from the bottom 40 percent currently accounted for.“With updates and a large amount of data, the government can make social assistance better targeted to middle-lower-class people,” said Izzudin. Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan announced on Sept. 9 that large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) would be reimposed in the city, replacing the “transitional PSBB” that had prevailed since June, over concerns that Jakarta would run out of isolation beds by Sept. 17 if no additional restrictions were put in place.As of Thursday, the capital had recorded about 58,500 confirmed COVID-19 cases, accounting for a quarter of the national tally of more than 232,600.Jakarta is the largest regional contributor to the national economy. The area’s regional domestic product accounted for 17.17 percent of the country’s GDP in the second quarter, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) data shows. The capital is followed by East Java (14.6 percent) and West Java (13.45 percent), which are also virus epicenters.So far, the government has earmarked Rp 204.95 trillion (US$13.8 billion) for social safety net programs in its COVID-19 response plan, including for direct cash transfers and the Family Hope program, out of the total relief budget of Rp 695.2 trillion.last_img read more

Komnas Perempuan concerned about alleged rapist’s appointment as acting regent in SE Sulawesi

first_img “We’re worried that he will exercise his power to delay the investigation and trial against him once he is inaugurated as acting regent,” Komnas Perempuan commissioner Siti Aminah Tardi said on Tuesday as quoted by[RA::Indonesian lawmakers are biggest enablers of nation’s rape culture::[She added that justice was not being served as another suspect in the case, a pimp identified as T, had been on trial and sentenced to nine years in prison. T has appealed the verdict with the Supreme Court.“It’s unfair for the other suspect who had undergone trial,” Siti said.Komnas Perempuan urged prosecutors and the court to put Ramadio on trial as soon as possible. (dpk) Editor’s note: Paragraph one of this article has been edited for accuracy. Topics : The National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) has raised concerns about the appointment of Southeast Sulawesi’s North Buton Deputy Regent Ramadio as acting regent because of his alleged involvement in a sexual assault case against a minor.Ramadio was named a suspect in December 2019 for allegedly paying Rp 2 million (US$134.71) to rape a 14-year-old girl. However, he was not detained and prosecutors have yet to bring his case to court even though they claimed that had completed their case against him.last_img read more