RDA row heads for Euro court

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Staines massive

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New homes in Birmingham

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Adventures in Africa

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Oil supplied

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China virus death toll nears 1,400, six health workers among victims

first_imgThe death toll from China’s virus epidemic neared 1,400 on Friday with six medical workers among the victims, underscoring the country’s struggle to contain a deepening health crisis.Nearly 64,000 people are now recorded as having fallen ill from the virus in China, with officials revealing that 1,716 health workers had been infected as of Tuesday.The grim figures come a week after grief and public anger erupted over the death of a whistleblowing doctor who had been reprimanded and silenced by police after raising the alarm about the virus in December. Some 80,000 medical workers were involved in combating the epidemic in Wuhan, the city government said earlier this month.After the death of whistleblower Li Wenliang, a 34-year-old ophthalmologist in Wuhan, 10 academics circulated an open letter calling for political reform and freedom of speech in the Communist-ruled country.Under criticism over the handling of the crisis, the Communist Party sacked two top-ranking officials in Hubei, and replaced them with senior cadres with security backgrounds.New count Authorities in Hubei on Thursday started counting patients who were “clinically diagnosed” via lung imaging, in addition to those who undergo lab tests.The revision added nearly 15,000 patients to Hubei’s count in a single day, with officials explaining that past cases were included. The first cases emerged in December in Wuhan.On Friday, Hubei’s health commission said another 116 people had died and more than 4,800 new cases were reported. Of those cases, more than 3,000 were “clinically diagnosed”.The WHO said the numbers included cases going back weeks.The sharp one-day increase “does not represent a significant change in the trajectory of the outbreak,” said Michael Ryan, head of the WHO’s health emergencies program.The move will ensure patients get treated as early as possible, instead of having to wait for laboratory tests, health officials said.”There have been some backlogs in testing and this is also going to help in ensuring that people get adequate care,” Ryan said.The National Health Commission said the new criteria would only apply to Hubei. The commission reported five other deaths and 217 new cases elsewhere in China, as the number of new patients outside Hubei fell for a 10th straight day.It also disclosed a statistical error, saying it removed 108 previous deaths in Hubei that had been double-counted. The nationwide toll still rose to 1,380.Authorities have placed some 56 million people in Hubei under quarantine since late last month, in an unprecedented effort to stop the new coronavirus from spreading.Some cities in Hubei tightened restrictions this week, sealing off neighborhoods in what they liken to “war-time” measures.Authorities have scrambled to deploy protective equipment to Wuhan’s hospitals, where doctors and nurses have been overwhelmed by an ever-growing number of patients.Some 26 billion Chinese yuan (US$3.7 billion) has been spent on medical equipment, protective gear and improving conditions in medical facilities, said Ou Wenhan, a finance ministry official.US criticism While the WHO has praised China’s handling of the epidemic — in contrast to its cover-up of the SARS outbreak in 2002-2003 — a top White House official on Thursday said Beijing should be more open.”We are a little disappointed that we haven’t been invited in and we’re a little disappointed in the lack of transparency coming from the Chinese,” Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, told reporters.Kudlow said President Xi Jinping had assured President Donald Trump that Beijing would accept US help, but “they won’t let us”.Kudlow’s comments contrasted with Trump’s apparent confidence in China, with the US leader telling a radio show that Xi is “extremely capable” and that the US was “working with them” and “sending a lot of people”.Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing has had an “open and transparent attitude” with the global community since the start of the epidemic.”The Chinese side has always a positive, open attitude toward cooperation with the US side,” Geng told reporters, adding that US and Chinese health departments have maintained close communication and exchanged epidemic information in a “timely manner”.Several countries have banned arrivals from China, while major airlines have halted flights to and from the country.The US State Department said it was “deeply concerned” about the vulnerability of China’s northern neighbor, North Korea, and offered to support aid work in the country. Topics :center_img The scale of the epidemic swelled this week after authorities in central Hubei province, the epicenter of the contagion, changed their criteria for counting cases, adding thousands of new patients to their tally.The health emergency in China has caused fears of further global contagion, with more than two-dozen countries reporting hundreds of cases among them. Three people have died outside mainland China.The United States has accused China of lacking transparency.The majority of cases of infections among health workers was in Hubei’s capital, Wuhan, where many have lacked proper masks and gear to protect themselves in hospitals dealing with a deluge of patients.last_img read more

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Got a Google Maps link on floods? Careful, it’s misinformation, says BNPB

first_imgThe National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has cautioned city residents over a widely shared link to Google Maps purporting to show flooded areas in Jakarta.Beredar secara luas peta banjir terlampir, ada juga yang diedarkan via link google maps. Peta tersebut adalah peta genangan banjir thn 2013. Peta yang update berdasar laporan masy bisa diakses di https://t.co/LhQnyCWoMx @BNPB_Indonesia @TurnBackHoax #banjir2020 #Jabodetabek pic.twitter.com/OHp6iffl9R— Agus Wibowo (@aw3126) February 25, 2020“The attached flood [area] map has been widely shared. It is also being shared as a Google Maps link. The map shows flooded areas in 2013. The updated flood map based on public reports can be accessed at petabencana.id,” BNPB spokesperson Agus Wibowo posted to Twitter on Tuesday. Following the link reveals that the map was created on Jan. 20, 2013. The map, which shows massive flooding across most of Jakarta, has been circulating via messaging apps and on social media since Tuesday morning.Google Indonesia did not immediately respond to The Jakarta Post’s request for comment.Residents once again awoke to widespread flooding on Tuesday, following heavy overnight rains in the capital and surrounding areas.Mild to severe flooding across Greater Jakarta has paralyzed traffic on several major roads and disrupted public transportation.Topics :last_img read more

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General mask use OK where hand-washing, distancing hard: WHO

first_imgRacism row Tedros also lashed out at “racist” suggestions from some scientists that Africa could be used as a testing ground for a vaccine, which is thought to be 12 to 18 months away.Two leading French doctors sparked a storm of criticism last week by discussing on television the idea of testing a coronavirus vaccine in Africa, citing its relative lack of resilience to the pandemic in its infrastructure.They insisted Friday they had been misunderstood and apologized for any offence caused.Africa has confirmed relatively few cases and deaths so far compared to other continents.But the WHO and others have long warned that it could be badly exposed should the virus, both in terms of preparedness and health care.”Africa cannot and will not be a testing ground for any vaccine,” Tedros said.”It was a disgrace, appalling, to hear during the 21st century to hear from scientists…  this kind of racist remarks.”The hang-over from the colonial mentality has to stop. WHO will not allow this to happen.”We will follow all the rules to test any vaccine or therapeutics all over the world using exactly the same rules,” said Tedros, who previously served as minister of health and foreign affairs in Ethiopia. The WHO said Monday that asking the general public to wear facemasks could be justified in areas where hand-washing and physical distancing were difficult, but warned masks alone could not stop the coronavirus pandemic.World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also slammed suggestions that Africa should be used as a testing ground for a vaccine as racist.The global COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 70,000 people, while more than 1.2 million people have tested positive for the new coronavirus. A vaccine is thought to be at least a year away. “Countries could consider using masks in communities where other measures such as cleaning hands and physical distancing are harder to achieve because of lack of water or cramped living conditions,” Tedros told a virtual briefing in Geneva.Tedros said he understood that some countries had recommended or were considering the use of both medical and non-medical masks in the general population to prevent the spread of the virus.However, he stressed that the mass use of medical masks could exacerbate the shortage of protective equipment for healthcare workers, saying some were now facing “real danger”.And he said that outside of health facilities, medical masks were recommended for those who were sick, and their carers.center_img Free online concert Meanwhile the WHO teamed up with US superstar Lady Gaga to launch a giant coronavirus awareness concert on April 18 entitled “One World: Together at Home”.The free oTopics :last_img read more

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Bank Indonesia strikes $60b repo facility deal with US Fed as forex reserves drop

first_imgRead also: Indonesia sells Asia’s first 50-year dollar bond to fight pandemic“The Fed only works with a few emerging countries including Indonesia on such deals,” he added. “This shows a vote of confidence in Indonesia’s economic prospects.”The rupiah dropped around 15 percent against the US dollar in March, as investors pulled money out of emerging markets and fled to the safe-haven assets, triggering dollar liquidity shortages.On Tuesday, the currency appreciated 1.3 percent to Rp 16,200 per US dollar, while the yield on 10-year government bonds fell 4 basis points to 8.16 percent, the first decline in seven days, according to Bloomberg data. Bank Indonesia (BI) has reached a repurchase agreement (repo) worth US$60 billion with the United States Federal Reserve to boost dollar liquidity supply following a fall in Indonesia’s foreign exchange reserves in March amid the COVID-19 pandemic.Forex reserves dropped $9.4 billion last month to $121 billion as the central bank stepped up market intervention to stabilize the rupiah exchange rate amid heavy capital outflows, it announced on Tuesday.“This will be the second line of defense other than bilateral currency swaps in case we need dollar liquidity,” BI Governor Perry Warjiyo said in a teleconferenced meeting later on Tuesday, adding that the current forex reserves level was “adequate” for further market interventions and the central bank would use the second line of defense if necessary. BI has a $30 billion bilateral swap agreement with China, $22.7 billion with Japan, around $7 billion with Singapore and an undisclosed amount with Australia and other central banks to buffer the nation’s economy in the COVID-19 battle.Furthermore, the central bank has also sealed a $2.5 billion repo line agreement with the Bank of International Settlements and another $3 billion with the Monetary Authority of Singapore.Read also: BI to dominate ownership of ‘pandemic bonds’ as debt burden grows“Going forward, we see a higher risk of foreign reserve outflows mainly related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bank Mandiri chief economist Andry Asmoro wrote in a research note.The ongoing pandemic, he went on to say, caused uncertainty in the financial markets, which made investors dump Indonesian assets and delayed the inflow of foreign direct investment into the country as the global value chain has been seriously damaged.“It is also causing a global recession that weakens major commodity prices, disrupting Indonesia’s export performance,” Andry said, adding that the health crisis had heavily impacted Indonesia’s tourism.“We expect the current account deficit to widen to 2.88 percent of GDP and the financial account balance to notably decline,” he said. “If the pandemic keeps getting worse, we see the balance of payments in 2020 booking a huge deficit.”A group of economic researchers at the University of Indonesia’s Institute for Economic and Social Research (LPEM UI) said that massive capital outflows during the COVID-19 crisis had an impact on slowing money supply growth in the economy as liquidity dried up.Read also: Indonesia’s COVID-19 stimulus worth 2.5% of GDP, lower than Singapore, Malaysia“Considering banks’ liquidity is a central factor in the money circulation cycle, particularly in terms of loan creation, the threat of liquidity shortages needs to be addressed immediately,” the researchers wrote.”Looking at the trend of capital outflows, which suppressed forex liquidity during the pandemic, the rupiah will still be under pressure until the COVID-19 pandemic tapers off,” the LPEM researchers said, projecting that the rupiah would hover at around Rp 16,500 to Rp 17,500 against the greenback this year.Topics :last_img read more

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Five percent of Indonesia’s COVID-19 cases are children: Ministry

first_imgThe ministry was therefore devising a protocol for implementing the so-called new normal at schools to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus among children, Ciput said.Read also: 22-month old baby in N. Sulawesi may be Indonesia’s youngest COVID-19 related deathAs of Thursday afternoon, Indonesia has recorded 24,538 COVID-19 cases nationwide, 1,496 of which have turned fatal. Based on the ministry’s statement, that would mean roughly 1,200 children are infected with SARS-CoV-2 in the country.The Indonesian Pediatricians Association (IDAI) previously revealed that at least 584 children in Indonesia had tested positive for COVID-19, 14 of whom had died of the disease.Meanwhile, up to 3,324 children have been classified under the PDP status, which refers to people with COVID-19 symptoms who have not been confirmed as having the illness. As many as 129 of them have died.”We retrieved the data on May 18,” IDAI chairman Aman Bhakti Pulungan told kompas.com last week.Topics : According to the Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry, around 5 percent of all people found to be COVID-19-positive in Indonesia are children below 17 years of age.”Normally, children’s immunity is lower than that of adults,” said the ministry’s deputy assistant for child protection in emergency situations and pornography, Ciput Eka Purwianti, on Thursday.According to the ministry’s preliminary analysis, many children are infected with the virus due to the lack of a clean and healthy lifestyle, indicators of which include frequently washing hands with clean water and soap, eating fruits and vegetables in sufficient amounts and doing physical activities on a daily basis.last_img read more

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