Leaders must speak out against intolerance

first_imgFor example, Donald Trump claimed he couldn’t be anti-Semitic because his son-in-law is Jewish and his daughter converted to Judaism. However, when he didn’t unequivocally condemn the neo-Nazi activities in Charlottesville, Va., he was giving the group his tacit approval.It’s not sufficient to claim that you are a “good person” when you remain silent in the face of injustice.If you don’t speak out against white-supremacists and Neo-Nazis, then you may be giving them comfort. If you don’t clearly separate yourself from a group that supports, or gives a platform to, hate groups, then you are providing assistance to these groups.During these trying times, I want my political leaders to be strong and courageous and to speak out loud and clear in opposition to intolerance.Roberta SteinerNiskayunaMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsNiskayuna girls’ cross country wins over BethlehemFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion During these times, when hate and intolerance are promulgated at the highest levels of government, it’s not enough to say that one’s family is multi-ethnic and multi-religious, and, therefore, you couldn’t be prejudiced against racial and religious minorities.If you don’t speak out against hate and intolerance, it could be interpreted that you endorse hate and intolerance.last_img read more

Embassy decision has negative effects

first_imgThe Trump administration’s hasty and thoughtless proposal to move the U.S. embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has already had negative repercussions. It has emboldened the Likud Party to push for annexation of West Bank territories, making a two-state solution even more implausible.The description of Israel as an apartheid state, while offensive to many, is becoming more accurate. And Congress, by not pushing back against the administration’s actions is complicit in making a bad situation worse. Instead of casting votes that limit the free speech of U.S. citizens who support the boycott divestment sanctions movement, Congress must focus on urging our ally Israel to behave in a manner that truly will bring statehood and justice to Palestinians. I urge you to educate yourself about the injustices that a 50-year occupation of the West Bank have brought about, and to acknowledge that there are both fanatics and reasonable people on both sides of the Green Line. Before blindly supporting Israeli policy — a policy designed only to annex and repress — I suggest you read the book, “Kingdom of Olives and Ash” to get a sense of the oppression that residents of the West Bank face on a daily basis.Gary GrillCanaanMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationCuomo calls for clarity on administering vaccine Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

United Nations acts irresponsibly

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionThe actions taken by the Trump administration with regard to the United Nations are long overdue. More should be done with less of our taxpayer money.I give the UN the benefit of the doubt that its inception was with the best intentions. I really don’t believe that, but I wrote it to make you feel good — another brick in the “road to hell.” Who could forget the League of Nations? That really worked. The UN is like our Congress and Senate in America. It knows right from wrong, but choses to act irresponsibility (partisan). Ditto the UN. It’s not a matter of money; it’s a matter of lack of character of the members.The fact that North Korea exists with all of its existing torments is a testament to the failure of the UN. There are other examples. The UN has no problem getting its “act together” when it comes to denouncing Israel and America. When I see a leader of a poor nation living in splendor, adorned with medals for who knows what, I know my tax dollars shouldn’t be going to that bottomless pit.Like Jesus, salvation in the material form is found within, not someone else’s pocketbook.As for the poor of other nations, let their affluent give till it hurts. They won’t. We need to fix our infrastructure, not the “shovel-ready” boondoggles of former President Obama. What difference does it make? Dance fool dance.Edmond DayRotterdamMore from The Daily Gazette:Rotterdam convenience store operator feels results of having Stewart’s as new neighborEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesCar hits garage in Rotterdam Sunday morning; Garage, car burnEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristslast_img read more

To be safe, teach  all kids at home

first_imgHere’s a solution to school shootings without taking guns away from law-abiding citizens.My idea would be to have all school-aged children learn from home. First, all children would get a state of the art computer, with face recognition monitors. Tracking devices would be placed on each school-age child to be sure they are at their computers during school hours. We could eliminate all the overhead,  maintenance, and supplies.We could have one teacher, teaching each grade via computer. The cost for education would drop dramatically.A student who has special needs could have a teacher for each individual need. Of course, there would be a need for truant officers to round up the law-breaking kids.The children could enroll in extracurricular activities through boys and girls clubs. This would eliminate bullying, school fighting, and all the other social issues faced by kids that we seem to keep throwing money at. Think about how much money the taxpayer could save by just putting kids in front of a computer for learning.It’s no different than video games.Sounds far-fetched, but we have to do something, right?Robert SponableSchenectadyMore from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationSchenectady’s Lucas Rodriguez forging his own path in dance, theater, musicTroopers: Schenectady pair possessed heroin, crack cocaine in Orange County Thruway stopEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the census Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

Riding for a fall?

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Ex-Amec man Knott asks for partnerships

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The man who can’t say ‘no’

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The BBC’s buildings have to move on from the age when Auntie knew best

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Trading suspension looms as Indonesian stocks plunge another 4%

first_imgRead also: Global shares head for worst week since 2008 financial crisis Indonesia’s benchmark stock index plunged deeper on Friday, trading down more than 4 percent during the morning session and prompting the bourse operator to call for an emergency press briefing. The latest sell-off has been mainly blamed on the coronavirus spreading rapidly outside of China.The Jakarta Composite Index (JCI) was down 4.4 percent at 5,290 at 10:55 a.m., a level unseen since December 2016. The morning session closed at 5,311.96 points at 11:30 a.m., down 4.04 percent from Thursday’s close. The market is set to reopen 2 p.m. The decline adds to a 2.69 percent plunge on Thursday, when foreign investors posted Rp 1.05 trillion (US$75.1 million) in net sells of domestic stocks, and falls in line with a global market rout over fresh fears that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is spreading rapidly outside of China. The MSCI all country world index fell 3.3 percent on Thursday to bring its losses so far this week to 8.9 percent, on course for its biggest weekly decline since a 9.8 percent plunge in November 2008. The US’ Down Jones slumped 4.4 percent on Thursday’s close. Japan lost 2.5 percent, Australia dropped 3 percent and South Korea slipped 1.4 percent.On Friday, all of the bourse’s nine sectoral indices were in the red during the session before lunch break. The decline was led by miscellaneous industry, which plummeted by 5.65 percent. Diversified conglomerate PT Astra International, a blue chip stock, plunged 6.72 percent. Cement producer companies’ stocks such as PT Indocement Tunggal Prakasa and state-owned PT Semen Indonesia, as well as diversified petrochemical giant PT Barito Pacific declined by around 7 percent.The agriculture sector index followed the decline, down by 5.3 percent, as agribusiness company PT Salim Ivomas Pratama plummeted 12.3 percent.Despite the rout, foreign investors seemed to have used the opportunity to buy back Indonesian stocks as the IDX recorded a total of Rp 61.59 billion in net foreign buys as of 11:30 a.m.Panin Sekuritas equity analyst William Hartanto told The Jakarta Post on Friday that the JCI had entered a market crash phase in a technical manner.“The uptrend that had been created since 2009 broke when the index fell below the 5,940 level,” he said by text message.Read also: Stocks near 3-year low as foreign investors post huge sell-off amid virus fearsHe attributed the crash to the COVID-19 outbreak all over the world as investors are panicking over concerns that the virus could cause the global economy to continue to slow.According to the World Health Organization, there were 459 new cases and 44 deaths in 37 countries as of Wednesday. China reported 412 new confirmed cases.The coronavirus has infected more than 80,000 people and killed nearly 2,800, the majority in China. Cities in the world’s second-largest economy are in lockdown, with factories temporarily halting production and travel warnings for China issued by countries around the world.Aside from the virus, William also attributed the JCI’s rout to the investment mismanagement case implicating state-owned insurers PT Asuransi Jiwasraya and Asuransi Sosial Angkatan Bersenjata Republik Indonesia (Asabri), which prompted the Attorney General’s Office to freeze 800 securities accounts.“The case caused transactions in the market to quiet down since the case unravelled,” he saidWilliam continued that he expected the market to continue to decline until the COVID-19 outbreak could be contained. He projected that the JCI would dip to around 5,060 to 5,250 by the end of the first quarter of this year.He suggested that market players adapt their strategies to book profits. “The crash is not the end of the stock market,” he said. (est)Topics :center_img Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) president director Inarno Djajadi said that, if the drop in the JCI reached 5 percent, the bourse would suspend trading for a few hours but reopen within the same day.“We’ve prepared a crisis protocol [for the event that] it falls 5 percent,” Inarno told The Jakarta Post on Thursday. “We’ll monitor the situation closely.”If the stock index fell by 10 percent, stock trading would be suspended for the whole day, he added. The IDX has announced a press briefing for later today.Global share markets headed for the worst week since the darkest days of the financial crisis in 2008 as investors braced for the coronavirus to morph into a pandemic and derail world economic growth, Reuters reported.last_img read more

8 Indonesians with COVID-19 in Japan have recovered: Foreign Ministry

first_imgEight out of nine Indonesian citizens who had tested positive for COVID-19 in Japan have completely recovered, the Foreign Ministry announced on Thursday.”Eight have recovered, one is stable,” the ministry announced on its official Twitter account, @Kemlu_RI.The nine Indonesians are crew members of the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship that was docked in the port of Yokohama. The remaining 68 Indonesian crew members who have been tested negative in Japan have returned to the country. However, one of them later tested positive for COVID-19. He has since recovered after being treated in Persahabatan Hospital’s isolation room in East Jakarta for several days.On Wednesday afternoon, the Health Ministry’s disease control and prevention director-general, Achmad Yurianto, said the patient, known as Case 6, had been allowed to go home.Read also: ‘We didn’t know’: Bali authorities in the dark as COVID-19 patient dies on resort island “Case 14, a 50-year-old woman, and Case 6, a Diamond Princess cruise ship crew member [were discharged]. They were tested twice. The results came back negative,” Yuri said.According to data from the Foreign Ministry, 16 Indonesians abroad have tested positive for COVID-19 as per Thursday.Besides the nine Diamond Princess crew members who are currently in Japan, five Indonesians are being hospitalized in Singapore. One has recovered, three are in stable condition and one is being treated in the intensive care unit.Two other Indonesians infected by the novel coronavirus are currently hospitalized in Taiwan and Australia; both are in stable condition.On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially categorized COVID-19 as a pandemic.As of Thursday, real-time data from the Foreign Ministry showed 118,326 confirmed cases worldwide. Italy reported the highest number of infections outside of China, with 10,149 cases, followed by Iran with 8,042 and South Korea with 7,755.Meanwhile, Indonesia’s tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases stood at 34 as per Wednesday. (nal)Topics :last_img read more

‘It’s too late’: Lawmakers criticize timing of Jokowi’s ‘mudik’ ban

first_imgMudik homecomings have already caused issues. Recently, a 72-year-old stroke patient from Ciamis tested positive for COVID-19 after spending time with his child, who had returned to his hometown from virus-stricken Jakarta. The case was made public when West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil announced it on Facebook earlier this month. Annually, some 20 million people from Greater Jakarta, currently the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in Indonesia, travel to their hometowns across the nation to celebrate Idul Fitri.The tradition, public health experts say, could lead to the further spread of COVID-19 on the island of Java, home to 141 million people. Many regions have healthcare systems far worse than Jakarta’s.Both Mardani and Irwan said the ban must be followed by strict monitoring of mass transportation companies and roads.”Without forming a team tasked with monitoring the movement, the ban will be ineffective. Just like the PSBB [large-scale social restrictions] policy,” Mardani said.Yandri Susanto of the National Mandate Party (PAN) said the government had to come up with measures to enforce the ban quickly, suggesting that transportation companies should be prevented from selling tickets during Ramadan and Idul Fitri.”Do not just ban people from participating in mudik. The government must be firm by making all transportation options unavailable for people to do it,” said Yandri.Melki Laka Lena, the deputy chairman of House Commission IX overseeing health, said the government needed to ensure that people in economic hardship as a result of the pandemic received social assistance.“Many are still in need of social assistance. The government should ensure it and distribute it equally to all,” the Golkar Party politician said.A recent survey by the Transportation Ministry showed that 68 percent of people had decided not to participate in mudik, while 24 percent planned to leave regardless and 7 percent had already left for their hometowns, Jokowi said on Tuesday.Topics : Previously, Jokowi had merely advised the public to skip the annual tradition, which involves millions of people traveling to their hometowns – often from urban centers to the countryside. The advice was considered insufficient by health experts, who called for an outright ban on this year’s mudik because of the health crisis.“It’s too late. Many of them have left the city. And their chances of becoming virus spreaders are huge,” Mardani Ali Sera of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) said on Tuesday.Irwan of the Democratic Party shared the opinion, saying he had been suggesting the ban since last month.”Many have tested positive on other islands after visiting Jakarta. [This year’s] mudik should have been prohibited a long time ago. The President was too slow by only banning it now as the virus is already widespread,” he said. Members of the House of Representatives have expressed dissatisfaction about President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s newly announced ban on the Idul Fitri tradition of mudik (exodus) to curb the spread of COVID-19.They said the President had taken too long to make his decision.last_img read more

On Earth Day, COVID-19 a ‘wake-up call’ to reinvigorate nature

first_imgRead also: Humans to blame for spread of coronavirus and other ‘zoonosis’“The mismanagement of our country and of Mother Earth has made us realize that the planet we live on is no longer safe; the Earth is no longer able to sustain the environmental damage of greedy investments,” Walhi wrote in a statement on Earth Day.As the global community commemorated the 50th annual Earth Day on Wednesday, COVID-19 continued to cast a pall over most of the world’s countries, dampening the celebrations.Further research is required to determine all the factors that have caused the pandemic, but so far, much of the scientific world suspects that bats and pangolins have acted as carriers of SARS-CoV-2, said Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) microbiology researcher Sugiyono Saputra on Tuesday. COVID-19 should serve as a wake-up call for Indonesia to better preserve its natural environment, activists say, as scientists have linked environmental degradation to the spread of the zoonotic diseases.On Wednesday, the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) blamed the country’s capitalist economy and the greed of corporations and investors for the environmental damage that they said had caused COVID-19 to “haunt” the Earth.The group was referring to a 2016 United Nations Environment Program report, which found that the risk of emergent and fast-spreading diseases increased as encroachment upon natural habitats by mankind intensified. The proximity enabled pathogens found in wild areas to spill over into livestock and humans. SARS-CoV-2 is the coronavirus strain that causes the pneumonia-like disease, which has infected more than 2.4 million people worldwide and killed almost 170,000, according to World Health Organization data on Wednesday.A cartoon depicting Earth Day 2020. (JP/Budhi Button)The virus is believed to have first emerged in animals sold in a wildlife market in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, although newer studies have cast doubt on this assumption.Read also: Wuhan’s ‘wet markets’ struggle after virus lockdownIndonesian researchers have urged the government to implement stronger measures against the cross-border wildlife trade to anticipate the possible spread of COVID-19. Animal rights organizations have also called on the government to close all markets that slaughter or sell illegal wildlife.A coalition of several animal rights groups wrote in late January that they had visited a “good number” of animal markets where the “conditions are the same as those being described by scientists as the perfect breeding grounds for new and deadly zoonotic viruses”, potentially exposing thousands of people in Indonesia every day to a variety of diseases originating from animals.Many rural communities across Indonesia still have an appetite for wildlife, such as bats, snakes, wild boar and dogs, putting those who eat them at risk of contracting zoonotic diseases.Read also: Monitor wildlife trade as certain animals ‘have potential’ as coronavirus carriers, warns LIPIThe Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), a panel of United Nations experts on biodiversity, estimates that zoonotic diseases kill about 700,000 people a year.The virus that caused the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic – which also originated in China and killed about 800 people worldwide in 2002 and 2003 – originated in bats, civets and raccoons. The virus that caused the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak, which killed 282 people in Saudi Arabia in 2014, was transmitted from camels to humans.Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) senior scientist Herry Purnomo urged urban dwellers to refrain from eating the cuisine of rural communities to keep interactions between wild animals and humans at a minimum and prevent such diseases from spreading in the future.“When we do damage to nature, nature will find a new balance that humans may not like,” Herry said on Wednesday.He also advised tightening protocols and certifications to ensure food safety in wild animal consumption but warned that illegal markets might thrive if the wildlife trade was banned outright.UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in New York that while the impact of COVID-19 was both “immediate and dreadful, […] there is another, even deeper emergency: the planet’s unfolding environmental crisis”.“We must act decisively to protect our planet from both the coronavirus and the existential threat of climate disruption,” he said in a statement circulated on Wednesday.“The current crisis is an unprecedented wake-up call.”This diptych demonstrates the side effects of the physical distancing policy on air quality in Jakarta. The first photo (above) shows a view from Central Jakarta on March 11, with a hazy skyline. The second photo (below) shows the Jakarta skyline around Jl. Sudirman on April 3 with much clearer skies. ((above) JP/Dhoni Setiawan/(below) Antara/ Galih Pradipta)The pandemic has not been all bad news for the environment. Factory shutdowns and travel bans have curbed carbon emissions and made the skies clearer in many countries, including Indonesia. However, experts say the cleaner air may be short-lived as economies will likely try to make up for lost time.Reports of wild animals roaming some of the world’s biggest cities have also emerged as people retreat into their homes and more countries go under lockdown, AFP reported.Indonesia is still miles away from resolving its environmental and wildlife problems. National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) data shows that land and forest fires ravaged 942,484 hectares of the country in 2019, almost double the area in 2018 – gutting natural habitats and biodiversity.Read also: Nature takes back world’s empty city streetsTopics :last_img read more

Shuttered factories, plummeting demand cause Indonesian manufacturing to collapse in April

first_imgIndonesia’s manufacturing output and new orders collapsed in April as the COVID-19 pandemic forced factories to close and crushed demand for manufactured goods, a new survey has shown.IHS Markit announced on Monday that Indonesia’s Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), a gauge of the nation’s manufacturing activities, fell to 27.5 from 45.3 recorded in March, the worst decline in the survey’s nine-year history. A number above 50 reflects expansion, while one below 50 indicates contraction.”April saw Indonesian manufacturing suffer the most severe deterioration of operating conditions ever recorded as a result of stricter measures imposed to contain the COVID-19 outbreak,” HIS Markit principal economist Bernard Aw said in a statement on Monday. Manufacturing contributed about 19 percent of Indonesia’s gross domestic product (GDP), the largest contributor after household consumption.With factory closures and dwindling sales, companies scaled back purchasing activity and instead tapped into existing stock, the survey said. Input buying fell the furthest in the survey’s history. This contributed to a record decline in input inventory. Stocks of finished goods fell for a second straight month, albeit marginally.“The survey underscores the unprecedented damage to the Indonesian economy from emergency public health measures to curb the spread of the virus, which has contributed to slumping global demand and shortages of input materials,” Aw added.“Despite the severe deterioration of factory conditions, long-term prospects remain positive, with optimism linked to higher sales projections ahead of the Idul Fitri holiday, as well as hopes that businesses will be able to operate as normal once the global pandemic situation improves,” the survey projected.Read also: Pandemic slams Asia’s factories, activity hits financial-crisis lowsThe country usually sees a spike in consumption during Idul Fitri, which will fall in late May this year.The steep decline in Indonesia’s PMI could also be caused by the rupiah’s depreciation. It fell 17.6 percent against the United States dollar in the first quarter, the worst decline in Asia, Bahana Sekuritas said.“The latest PMI data shows foreign exchange depreciation has pushed up input costs for food items, fabric, base metals, chemicals and paper products,” Bahana researchers wrote on Monday.  Indonesia’s April PMI was far lower than that of South Korea (41.6), Taiwan (42.2), Vietnam (32.7), Malaysia (31.3) and the Philippines (31.6).“We really need to be more careful because it dropped significantly within a month,” Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on Monday.“No one knows when [manufacturing] activity will return to normal. Thus, we need a fast response to create a buffer in economic and financial sectors,” she said, citing Government Regulation in Lieu of Law No. 1/2020, which allows the government to increase its budget deficit beyond the previous ceiling of 3 percent, among other measures, to cushion the stumbling economy.The government has prepared a Rp 22.9 trillion (US$1.5 billion) stimulus package in the form of tax incentives for the manufacturing sector, including cutting corporate income tax by 30 percent, deferring import tax payments and exempting manufacturing workers with income of less than Rp 200 million a year from income taxes for six months. Read also: Indonesia’s factory activity in deepest-ever contraction as pandemic disrupts supply, demandIndonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) deputy chairwoman Shinta W. Kamdani said manufacturers were complaining about disrupted supply chains.“This needs to be solved so that manufacturers can have a sense of certainty to continue their activities going forward,” Shinta told The Jakarta Post. “If the government does not provide such certainty, the country’s PMI will continue to plummet.”“In addition to that, the outbreak must be controlled effectively in the near-term so we can have a fixed timeline to relax restriction measures, especially in the manufacturing sector,” she added.Topics : As of Monday, four provinces and 22 regencies and cities had implemented large scale social restrictions (PSBB), including the manufacturing centers of Jakarta, West Java, Surabaya, Gresik and Sidoarjo. The measures have forced factories and retail shops to close as would-be workers and customers are required to stay home.Read also: Only one third of manufacturers still operating: Govt”Factory closures and tighter social distancing rules led to collapses in production and demand. Both output and new orders fell at record rates,” Aw said. “Consequently, factory layoffs were also widely reported, and firms also faced greater cost burdens as a combination of material shortages and inflation fueled by the weaker rupiah.”More than 2.8 million people had lost their jobs as of mid-April, according to the Manpower Ministry and the Workers Social Security Agency (BPJS Ketenagakerjaan). The government predicts that 2.9 million to 5.2 million workers could lose their jobs during the outbreak, which would erase last year’s gains of 2.5 million new jobs.last_img read more

710 vehicles seized for violating ‘mudik’ ban

first_img“Up until Wednesday, the police had issued 9,541 reprimand letters for traffic violations,” he said, adding that this figure had decreased compared with last year’s violations.Ahmad said 52 traffic accidents were recorded during this year’s Operation Ketupat, a 100 percent increase compared with last year.Previously, the National Police also tightened security at all mudik checkpoints to stop people who had left Greater Jakarta from returning back to the capital without an exit and entry permit (SIKM).“People wishing to enter Jakarta are required to obtain a permit from the Jakarta administration and the police,” National Police traffic corps head Insp. Gen Istiono said on Monday. “Otherwise, they will be told to turn back,”. (trn)Topics : The National Police seized 710 commercial vehicles for transporting passengers during the period of the mudik (Idul Fitri exodus) ban designed to curb the spread of COVID-19.“Among the 710 vehicles were 698 illegal shuttle vans, eight freight trucks and four buses,” National Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Ahmad Ramadhan said in a virtual press conference on Wednesday.Some 87,636 vehicles were ordered to return to their point of departure during this year’s Operation Ketupat — a security operation during Ramadan and the Idul Fitri holiday — which lasted from April 24 until May 26.last_img read more

Can you catch COVID-19 from delivered packages?

first_imgAn outbreak of COVID-19 at a logistics center run by one of South Korea’s largest online shopping companies has raised concerns over whether the virus can be transmitted by package deliveries.Who’s been infected?More than 117 cases of COVID-19 have been linked to the warehouse near Seoul owned by e-commerce giant Coupang facility. No cases have been related to deliveries and South Korean health officials have played down the chance of infection from packages. The World Health Organization (WHO) has cited laboratory research that found the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could persist for up to 24 hours on cardboard and 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel.Kim Woo-joo, a professor of Infectious Diseases at Korea University Guro Hospital, said the virus could also survive on surfaces like bubble wrap.”The virus can last up to 24 hours on cardboards and over three days on hard surfaces like stainless steel. There is no research on bubble wraps yet, but it could be between a cardboard and a stainless steel,” he said.Speedy delivery dangers?Many of South Korea’s e-commerce brands are known for their less-than-24-hour “bullet delivery”. Both Coupang and Market Kurly, which have reported infections from their logistics centers, provide fast grocery delivery services.This could raise the risk of spreading the virus, as packages don’t sit for long, some experts said.”We should take into account the temperature and the humidity of the package, but there is a possibility of infection as they pack it overnight,” said Shin Hyoung-shik, president of the Korean Society for Zoonoses, a leading expert in infectious diseases.However, Ki Mo-ran, professor of cancer control and population health at the National Cancer Center, said it was not so easy to contaminate packaging, and people should be safe as long as they wash their hands.”Just a small amount of virus is not that contagious … the handles of a public restroom could be more dangerous.” While infection from touching surfaces of boxes or bubble wraps couriered by an infected logistics center worker would be concerning, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said transmission in this manner was unlikely.”There has been no precedent of a global transmission so far from delivered packages,” Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip told a briefing.But health authorities and infectious disease experts have not ruled out the possibility of infection if a person touches their eyes, nose or mouth after contact with a contaminated package.Contaminated surfacescenter_img Topics :last_img read more

UK and Japan aim for free trade deal this year as negotiations begin

first_imgTalks will be held via video conference and will be kicked off by British trade minister Liz Truss and Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs   Toshimitsu Motegi on Tuesday.“This deal will provide more opportunities for businesses and individuals across every region and nation of the UK and help boost our economies following the unprecedented economic challenges posed by coronavirus,” Truss said in a statement.Britain said it aimed to reach a deal which builds on Japan’s existing agreement with the EU, going further by including areas such as digital trade.Japan was Britain’s fourth-biggest non-EU trading partner in 2019, with total trade between the two countries of 31.4 billion pounds, according to government statistics.Britain hopes ultimately to join the 11-member Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and sees trade talks with Japan as a step towards that end.Britain said around 100 negotiators would be involved on its side, with talks led by Graham Zebedee, a former British ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo, and overseen by Britain’s Chief Trade Negotiation Adviser Crawford Falconer.  Topics : Britain will begin negotiating a post-Brexit trade agreement with Japan on Tuesday which the government said both sides hoped would enter into force by the end of this year.After decades outsourcing its trade policy to the European Union, Britain is embarking on negotiating free trade deals with countries around the world, and last month launched formal negotiations with the United States.Trade deals typically take years to complete. Britain is also hoping to reach a trade agreement with the EU by the end of the year.last_img read more