Rent reviews: when words fail us

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Two become one

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Iraq bans public gatherings on virus fear; travel ban totals 9 countries

first_imgTopics : Fears over the spread of the virus come as Iraq faces a domestic crisis with nearly 500 people killed since Oct. 1 in mass anti-government demonstrations.”All gatherings in public places, for any reason, are banned, and the relevant authorities must take all measures to enforce this,” said Allawi, who heads the government task force handling response to the virus.Coronavirus is believed to have originated in a market selling wildlife in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year and has infected about 80,000 people and killed more than 2,700, the vast majority in China. Iraq banned all public gatherings and barred entry by travellers from Kuwait and Bahrain, the health minister said on Wednesday, banning travel to or from a total of nine countries as fears grew over the spread of the coronavirus.Iraqi citizens are now banned from travelling to China, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Italy, Bahrain, and Kuwait, Health Minister Jaafar Allawi said in a decree seen by Reuters.Allawi also ordered the suspension of schools and university and the closure of cinemas, cafes, clubs, and other public gathering spots nationwide from Feb. 27 to March 7.last_img read more

First confirmed COVID-19 case in Bhutan

first_imgBased on the prepared plans, the Bhutanese king personally oversaw implementation of the response strategy, with health officials to take care of the patient.A resident of Washington DC, the patient was travelling with his partner, aged 59. There were 10 passengers on board the plane, of which eight others were Indian nationals. However, upon reaching Thimph on the afternoon of Mar 5, he visited the medical clinic, complaining of bloaty abdomen (dyspeptic symptoms) and nausea. The patient suffers from chronic hypertension and is on medication. However, even at that time, he did not have any flu symptoms. The patient and his partner stayed at Le Meridien on the first night. The following day, he stayed indoor most of the time and went to the hospital again around 3.30pm for stomach upset and diarrhea.The next day, he travelled to Punakha, with two stops on the way for tea and lunch. He had stayed at Densa Boutique Resort. That evening, he had walked until the Bazam next to Punakha Dzong, and returned to the room. Yesterday, upon returning to Thimphu, he visited clinic again. He was found to have fever, sore throat, cough and shortness of breath. He was kept under observation at the flu clinic (designated COVID-19 hospital) and samples were collected and sent to Royal Centre for Disease Control (RCDC).Upon confirmation, he has been isolated in the COVID-19 hospital. Considering his age and underlying conditions, the patient is on oxygen support. At press time, over 90 persons who might have come into his contact have been traced. Health officials and other relevant agencies are in the process of carrying out primary disease management and contact tracing.Contact tracings were launched as per the patient’s itinerary. It included people he associated with at all the points and stops along the way, starting from Paro airport to Thimphu, to Punakha and back. It included tea stops at Druk Wangyal Café, and lunch at Punakha High School park.The close contacts were his partner, the driver and the guide. While all three are asymptomatic for now, they have been quarantined at the designated COVID-19 hospital.The eight Indian passengers have also been quarantined. The government is closely working with the Indian Embassy.Health ministry has asked the four crew members of the particular flight, and the hotel staff at both Le Meridien and Densa Boutique Resort to “home quarantine”. Which means they should stay home and maintain distance from people, including family members. Until all suspicions are ruled out, health officials will closely monitor and provide all services at respective homes. Response planAs per the National Preparedness and Response Plan, with the detection of first confirmed case of COVID-19, the country stepped into “Orange” zone. The zone is defined as having one or more isolated confirmed cases without secondary transmission. It is described as “moderate disruption”, according to which the government has to isolate confirmed cases, quarantine suspects, carry out closure of schools, institutions and public gatherings in the affected localities. Per  the response plan, the government had announced closure of schools and institutes in Thimphu, Paro and Punakha for two weeks with effect from March 6.The duration is specified in keeping with the health advisory, which states that people who would have contracted infection from the primary source would develop full-blown infection by then. Parents are advised to closely monitor the health of the child. Should there be any concern, parents are asked to contact health officials.Topics : At the Paro International Airport, the American patient’s health declaration form was assessed. He had indicated “negative” against all conditions. He did not have a sign of fever. center_img The Himalaya kingdom of Bhutan has confirmed its first Covid-19 case of a visiting American tourist, the PM’s Office has announced.The patient is said to be a 76-year-old from the United States of America, who had come to Bhutan on Mar 2 via India in which he originally arrived on Feb 21.The Bhutanese government immediately imposed a two-week restriction on all incoming tourists. This is to enable rigorous monitoring, source assessment of infection and mitigate the situation. In addition, all international conferences and seminars to be held in the country in the two weeks are also postponed. last_img read more

Real Madrid in quarantine as La Liga suspends fixtures

first_imgA club statement read: “A player from our basketball first team has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus.”Since then, the recommendation has been made to quarantine both the basketball first team and the soccer first team, given that the two squads share facilities in Ciudad Real Madrid.   “Likewise, it has been decided to close the facilities at our training ground and it is also recommended that all Real Madrid personnel who work there remain in quarantine.”La Liga has also followed Italy’s Serie A in suspending its matches, following a meeting on Thursday with the Spanish Football Federation and the Spanish Players Union (AFE).It means league fixtures over the next two weekends in Spains’ top two divisions will be postponed.A La Liga statement read: “In view of the circumstances known this morning, referring to the quarantine established in Real Madrid and the possible positive tests from players at other clubs, La Liga considers that the circumstances now exist to continue with the next phase of action against COVID-19.””La Liga agrees to suspend at least the next two matchdays,” the statement added. “This decision will be re-evaluated after the quarantine at affected clubs and other possible situations that could occur have ended.”Topics : Real Madrid went into quarantine on Thursday as La Liga announced Spain’s top two divisions will be suspended for at least two weeks over the coronavirus.La Liga authorities made the decision after Real Madrid confirmed its senior soccer team is in quarantine after one of the club’s basketball players tested positive for the virus.Real Madrid’s soccer and basketball players share facilities at Ciudad Real Madrid, the club’s training ground in Valdebebas.last_img read more

Dollar creeps higher as virus worries return

first_imgThe US currency rose most against the risk-sensitive Australian and New Zealand dollars, gaining about 0.5 percent on each to sit at $0.6142 per Aussie and $0.5951 per kiwi .”Risk aversion and the US dollar are going hand in hand,” said Ray Attrill, head of FX strategy at National Australia Bank in Sydney.”Improvement has been based on less-bad statistics coming out of various parts of the world…but our view is that markets are going to remain choppy – we can’t expect an uninterrupted flow of singularly good or singularly bad news.”The dollar edged 0.1 percent lower to 108.55 yen. It rose a fraction against the British pound to $1.2321 and euro to $1.0878. The Aussie was also knocked by ratings agency S&P downgrading the outlook on the sovereign AAA rating from stable to negative.New York overnight reported 731 fatalities from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, the sharpest single-day spike, but state Governor Andrew Cuomo drew hope from an apparent levelling off in the number of hospitalisations.Across the Atlantic, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has the illness, is in intensive care for a second night although his condition is stable.Elsewhere in Europe, Spain’s daily toll of coronavirus deaths rose for the first time in five days, but officials there and across the continent pushed forward with plans to begin lifting some lockdown measures soon.In Asia, the dollar rose 0.5 percent against the Korean won and lifted from a three-week low against the Chinese yuan – rising 0.1 percent to 7.0730 yuan in offshore trade.Investors are keenly watching as lockdowns lift in Wuhan, China, the epicentre of the pandemic, for clues as to how the rest of the world may fare when the worst has passed.Authorities are walking a fine line between allowing greater freedom of movement and preventing a second wave of infection, with particular concern people who show no symptoms but can still pass on the virus.Later on Wednesday, the US Federal Reserve releases minutes from its emergency meeting last month, which may include more commentary on the depth of the economic contraction that looms.”While the virus’ curve is flattening, the economic effects of the corona crisis will linger for years,” said Commonwealth Bank of Australia currency analyst Joe Capurso.”Economies will take time to re-open, some businesses will not re-open, and unemployment will take years to (recover). We think that means the dollar and yen will re-strengthen.”Topics : The dollar found a footing on Wednesday as investors returned to safe-havens, unwinding some risk currency gains made on hopes the coronavirus crisis in Europe and New York was slowing.The greenback rose on most majors besides the safe-haven Japanese yen, a day after suffering its worst drop against a basket of currencies in nearly two weeks.Safe-haven gains were slight but gathered pace in morning trade as the two-day rally in Asia’s equity markets lost steam and bonds and gold firmed.last_img read more

Indonesia receives 58 foreign aid packages for COVID-19 relief: Foreign Minister

first_imgThe Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that Indonesia had received 58 international aid packages for COVID-19 relief. They came from foreign governments, international organizations, NGOs and the private sector.Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi said that nine of the aid packages had come from foreign governments, 42 from NGOs and the private sector and seven from international organizations.“The governments of China, Japan, the United States, Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates have sent aid,” Retno said at a virtual press briefing in Jakarta on Thursday. The Foreign Ministry said it would prioritize seven kinds of medical equipment to be accepted, namely personal protective equipment, N95 and surgical masks, rapid testing kits, virus transfer media (Dacron swabs), ventilators, RT-PCR with reagent and thermometers (infrared and thermal).“Amid this pandemic, Indonesia’s diplomacy will continue with two main focuses, namely citizen protection and international cooperation facilitation,” Retno said.Although every country, she added, was busy with their domestic affairs, especially in addressing the spread of COVID-19, the spirit of collaboration remained.“It is the spirit that can help us fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” Retno said.According to the WHO, the pandemic has spread to 211 territories around the world. As of Wednesday, more than 1.3 million cases have been confirmed with nearly 80,000 deaths.Topics : The seven international organizations that have given aid packages to Indonesia are the World Health Organization, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Global Fund, and UNICEF.In addition, Indonesia has received 42 assistance packages from NGOs and private enterprises in nine countries, namely China, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam, France, Russia, Germany, Japan and Sweden.Read also: Public health and Indonesia’s foreign policy in time of coronavirus“Most of the aid is in the form of masks, rapid testing kits and personal protective equipment,” Retno said.last_img read more

Another day, another blunder: Jokowi’s millennial staff mired in controversy

first_imgThe eight partnered startups are Skill Academy by Ruangguru, Tokopedia, Bukalapak, MauBelajarApa, HarukaEdu, PijarMahir, Sekolah.mu and Sisnaker. Responding to the criticism, Belva tweeted on Wednesday that he played no part in any decision-making in the appointment of Skill Academy by Ruangguru as a government partner. “All decisions were made independently by the Coordinating Economic Ministry and Operational Management,” said Belva on his Twitter account, @AdamasBelva, on Wednesday. He also denied accusations of a conflict of interest over the appointment of his company, adding that “all partners went through a public selection process” and that “the participants are the ones who decide which partner they want to get the benefit from.” Several members of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s expert staff have received public criticism over conflicts of interest regarding double roles in public service and private interests, especially during the COVID-19 outbreak. Adamas Belva Devara, co-founder of education technology startup Ruangguru, is the latest staffer to experience backlash following the naming of his company as one of the government’s eight partners in the pre-employment card program.The program, which was launched on Saturday, offers social aid similar to unemployment benefits with a total worth of Rp 20 trillion (US$1.27 billion).center_img Belva said Skill Academy by Ruangguru had gained popularity, with approximately 1 million users, so he thought it would be reasonable for the government to name it as a partner. “Even though there is no violation against the law in this matter, I am ready to step down [as the president’s special staffer] to avoid assumptions in the future,” he concluded.Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW) activist Egi Primayogha said no public servant should take a role that has the potential to create conflicts of interest.“So, whatever the reasoning, Belva is still in trouble,” he told The Jakarta Post on Thursday, adding that the fact that Belva was still made a staffer regardless of his position in Ruangguru showed that Jokowi permitted possible conflicts of interest in his administration. Read also: COVID-19: Jokowi staffer criticized for requesting local leaders to support his companySeparately, Rachland Nashidik, a politician from the Democratic Party, condemned the lack of bidding in any partnership between the start-ups and the government over the program. He said that each partner company in the pre-employment card program would receive Rp 700 billion, as reported by tempo.co.Prior to Belva, presidential staffer Andi Taufan Garuda Putra, owner of PT Amartha Mikro Fintek, had also drawn public criticism over a letter asking for local leaders’ support of a COVID-19 relief program led by his company.Advocates M. Sholeh and Tomi Singgih were reportedly planning to report the case to the National Police Crimes Unit for power abuse.”He doesn’t not have any capacity to send letters to the district heads. A Presidential staff member’s duty is only to give advice to the President,” M. Sholeh said as quoted by tempo.co. “Even if there is no harm to the country, corruption proceedings could take place.”Previously, staffer Angkie Yudistia also received criticism about hoaxes she posted on her Instagram account on Mar. 15. The post, which has since been deleted, spread false information about the detection of COVID-19. Meanwhile, staffer Billy Mambrasar received public condemnation after posting a tweet that demeaned the government’s opposition in November. Despite widespread popular disapproval of Presidential expert staff, President Jokowi issued Presidential Regulation No. 56/2020 on Apr. 6, which allowed the Vice President to have a maximum of ten expert staff members from the initial eight.Topics :last_img read more

Jakarta seeks to protect poor as COVID-19 outbreak leaves many homeless

first_imgThe Jakarta administration has set up a number of homeless shelters across the city as the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 outbreak forces some hard-hit residents to live on the sidewalk as they are no longer able to afford to pay their rent.A recent KompasTV report showed dozens of Jakartans, some of whom were small traders, resting on the sidewalks in the Tanah Abang area of Central Jakarta at nightfall, awaiting aid from volunteers who usually come during the fasting month.“I had a small stall in Kota Tua [in West Jakarta]. Because of the coronavirus outbreak, I lost my customers and the government’s regulations prohibited me from opening my place. Meanwhile, we must eat and pay for housing,” Reza, one of the homeless people, said in an interview. The Jakarta administration has said that it plans to turn all city-owned sports halls (GOR) across the capital into temporary homeless shelters for those who have lost their jobs and homes because of the pandemic.“The important thing is that no one is abandoned,” Governor Anies Baswedan said recently, adding that the sports halls would also be equipped with public kitchens.[RA::Hunger hits as many Indonesians struggle during COVID-19 pandemichttps://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/04/21/hunger-hits-as-many-indonesians-struggle-during-covid-19-pandemic.html]The Jakarta Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) relocated 92 homeless people, who were found on the streets in Central Jakarta and South Jakarta on Friday and Saturday, to the Karet Tengsin GOR in Tanah Abang. Central Jakarta Social Agency head Ngapuli Peranginangin said, however, that the majority of those relocated had relatives in the areas surrounding Jakarta who picked them up shortly after relocation.“We conducted an assessment so that the homeless people’s backgrounds were clear. We have given them and their family a statement of warning to prevent them from returning to the streets,” Ngapuli told The Jakarta Post on Monday.He said there were nine people left in the GOR, who had no relatives living nearby and who could not go back to their hometowns in Papua and Riau due to the government’s mudik (exodus) ban.“Our targets are the victims of the pandemic, including those who suffer because of policies like the mudik ban, or medical workers kicked out of their rooming houses. But we haven’t found that many of them,” Ngapuli said. (syk)Topics :last_img read more

Time has come to hold police accountable: Sharpton

first_imgRecent cases of alleged police brutality — especially by white officers against minorities — and negligence were already grabbing headlines all over the United States, sparking a national outcry and rekindling concerns about race relations.”We won’t stop,” Sharpton said in a reference to the protests. “We’re going to keep going until we change the whole system of justice.” “America, this is the time for dealing with accountability in the criminal justice system,” he added.The country has seen more than a week of nationwide protests over Floyd’s death, captured in a shocking video showing white officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he pleaded for his life.The wave of civil unrest has been unlike any seen in the US since the 1968 assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.At the memorial service, mourners observed eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence, the length of time that Chauvin kept his knee to Floyd’s neck, including for two minutes and 53 seconds after he became unresponsive. US civil rights leader Al Sharpton said Thursday at a memorial service for George Floyd, the African-American whose death during an arrest set off mass protests, that it was time to hold police accountable.”You changed the world George,” the 65-year-old Baptist minister said at the memorial service at North Central University in Minneapolis, where Floyd died on May 25.”This is the era to deal with policing,” Sharpton said.center_img Topics :last_img read more