NewsWine world newsBy admin – February 11, 2010 560 Pinot noir fraud could land 13 winemakers in jailFRENCH wine makers could face up to 12 months in jail following the unfolding of what Decanter noted as the world’s biggest wine con. E&J Gallo are at the centre of the con as being the recipient of what they believed to be over 3.5 million gallons of pinot noir, but in fact, according to wine experts and a French court, was in fact phoney pinot noir.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up With enough to fill 16 million bottles, Gallo, the American wine producer, bought the wine under the label of being from the Languedoc-Roussillon area. But authorities were alerted after suspicions were raised as to the amount of pinot noir being exported from the region was thought to far exceed historic levels. Thirteen people have been charged with selling the wine labelled as something in fact it wasn’t. It is believed that Gallo paid in the region of €4 million for the wine over a two year period. WhatsApp Email Australian wine producers face 25% drop in industryThe Australian wine industry is facing the prospect of reducing volumes by approximately 25% if proposals by Australia’s various statutory bodies and non-governmental organisations representing the industry, are accepted.Capacity among producers equates to around two million tonnes while demand currently runs at 1.5m tonnes. As an industry insider observed: “There is a significant overhang and Australia needs to put some ‘tension’ back into its demand and supply chain. It needs to look at sustainable dollars per tonne not production: tonnes crushed.”Drinks International say “that the proposal, which is expected to be announced in the coming weeks, is that wine producers will be asked to submit their production figures and business plans to a sort of ‘clinic’, region-by-region, where they will be scrutinised. If their business is deemed unsustainable, they will be offered government money to cease wine grape growing”. Advertisement Twitter Facebook Linkedin Print Previous articlePart-time hours to full-time beautyNext articleMan held following firearm find admin
Watergate Flats in Limerick City.Picture: Brendan GleesonTHE long delay in starting the final phase of refurbishment works at the Watergate Apartments in Limerick City has been questioned by a local councillor.The work at Tara Court was originally expected to start early last year when the first phase at Mungret Court and St Michaels Court was completed but, according to Sinn Féin councillor Malachy McCreesh, only some of the funding has been approved for the project.“The residents in Mungret Court and St Michael’s Court have seen the positive improvement the refurbishment has brought to their living conditions so it is important that Tara Court residents can experience the same result, especially with regard to heating in their homes,” the City West representative said.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up “The residents have campaigned for years to have maintenance repairs to their homes in order to rectify the issues of dampness and general draughtiness. It has been difficult for families, especially those with young children, to keep these homes warm under the circumstances.”Cllr McCreesh believes a speedy resolution is now required to allocate the necessary funding to complete the upgrade to each of the 44 homes in Tara Court. He also takes the view that the overall housing maintenance allocation within the Metropolitan District is totally inadequate to support the 3550 Council owned housing units.He said that maintenance staff are restricted to providing limited responses to the numerous major repair requests on a year-to-year basis.“General maintenance has not provided the answers to the ongoing problems encountered by the residents of Tara Court. As was outlined in the literature associated with the original upgrade proposal, the Watergate complex has some of the lowest energy rated units across all Council housing units. Phase 1 of the project has resolved these energy issues so Tara Court needs the same attention.“Council staff work closely with the Residents Association to ensure the community gets all the necessary support. Obtaining the required funding and providing a schedule for the commencement and completion of Phase 2 of this refurbishment project will resolve many of the daily issues highlighted by residents,” he declared.Senior architect at the Council’s Social Development department, Seamus Hanrahan explained that the deep retrofit of the 100 unit Watergate Flats complex is being delivered on a phased basis.“This work has significantly enhanced the performance, comfort levels and visual amenity of these buildings. Part-funding has been confirmed by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government for Phase 2 of the project. Part-funding has also been committed by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) under the Better Energy Communities Programme 2018. It is envisaged that work will commence on Phase 2 this year,” he said.by Alan [email protected] Email Advertisement Print WhatsApp Predictions on the future of learning discussed at Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival NewsLocal NewsQuestions over delay in refurbishment of Watergate FlatsBy Alan Jacques – March 30, 2018 1500 Linkedin Previous articleNew social work clinic will make pregnancy less stressfulNext articleWin cinema tickets Alan Jacqueshttp://www.limerickpost.ie Facebook RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Twitter WATCH: “Everyone is fighting so hard to get on” – Pat Ryan on competitive camogie squads TAGSCllr Malachy McCreeshlimerickLimerick City and County CouncilSinn FeinWatergate Flats Billy Lee names strong Limerick side to take on Wicklow in crucial Division 3 clash Limerick’s National Camogie League double header to be streamed live Limerick Artist ‘Willzee’ releases new Music Video – “A Dream of Peace” Limerick Ladies National Football League opener to be streamed live
I agree with President Juan Manuel Santos that it is necessary to seek peace for Colombia It is good for the Colombian people that their authorities and the guerrillas took the decision, as intelligent beings, of beginning peace talks, because this war causes delays in their economic and social development, and I am happy about the Colombian brothers. Al result of the internal conflict, they seek refuge in other countries, especially Ecuador, causing more problem to other countries and to themselves. Hopefully it is a dialogue of consensus and not of popularity and sensationalism but of truth and at heart. On August 27, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos confirmed that his government conducted “exploratory conversations” ahead of possible peace talks with the FARC communist guerrillas, in arms for almost 50 years, and the results will be known in the coming days. “From the first day in my government I have complied with the constitutional obligation to seek peace. Exploratory conversations with the FARC [Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia] to seek an end to the conflict have been developed”, Santos said in a televised address to the nation. The president pointed out that the Colombian Military Forces would not cease their operations nor will they reduce their presence in the national territory while carrying out contacts with the guerrillas. Also, he said he knew the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla was interested in participating in these “conversations aimed at ending the violence” and were open to participating in a possible dialogue. Santos said one of the basic premises is that “any process must lead to the end of the conflict, not its extension.” The president did not specify the location of the conversations or who participated in them. He simply said, “In the coming days the results of the rapprochement with the FARC will be announced.” Versions leaked by the press indicated that contacts have taken place in Cuba, with Venezuelan participation, and that they would continue the next stage in Norway beginning in October. Meanwhile, Attorney General Eduardo Montealegre, said that Colombia “must move toward a peace process.” In recent years, the guerrilla has lost territorial control and has seen the fall of its top leaders, Mono Jojoy and Alfonso Cano, but it is still very active in certain areas of Colombia, with new strategies of bomb attacks and causing havoc among the civilian population. Daniel García Peña, former Peace Commissioner from 1995 to 1998, said, “Both the government and the FARC have realized that continuing the war is meaningless.” The last peace talks, which ended in a guerrilla demobilization, was the April 19 Movement (M-19) in 1990, while the latest process with the FARC was developed for nearly four years until their breakup in February 2002. By Dialogo August 29, 2012
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York This story was co-published with Politico.Since being seized in a raid in Pakistan in 2002, Abu Zubaydah has had his life controlled by American officials, first at secret sites, where he was tortured, and since 2006 in a small cell in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. And, thanks to one of the strangest, and perhaps most troubling, legal cases to grow out of the War on Terror, it appears he’s not going to be leaving anytime soon—which was exactly the plan the CIA always wanted. Not even his lawyers understand what’s transpired behind closed doors in a Washington, D.C., courtroom.In June of 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that detainees at Guantanamo had the right to challenge their imprisonment in federal court and that their cases should be handled “promptly” by the judicial system. The next month, lawyers for Abu Zubaydah, a detainee whose torture and waterboarding in secret prisons was among the most notorious of the Bush years, filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging his detention.The progress of that case has been anything but prompt. While more than 100 Guantanamo detainees have been released since then, and the military tribunals of even more high-profile detainees like 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed are moving forward in Guantanamo’s courtrooms, the federal judge hearing Zubaydah’s case has failed to rule on even the preliminary motions.The seemingly intentional inaction has left even experienced court observers baffled. Richard W. Roberts, the U.S. District court judge handling the suit, is not a particularly slow-moving judge. His median time for resolving entire cases is slightly over two years; Zubaydah’s initial plea has already been pending 6 years 9 months and 12 days.Because the entire file has been kept secret, it’s not possible to know why Roberts, who is the chief judge of the D.C. circuit, has let Zubaydah’s case languish. But this much is clear: Keeping Zubaydah from telling his story is exactly what the CIA wanted from the moment it began to torture him. And it’s exactly what they promised they’d do in 2002 during one of the darkest chapters of the War on Terror. (He was one of the first al-Qaeda suspects to face the harsh new regime implemented by the CIA following 9/11—a regime that FBI agents at the scene tried to prevent.)Soon after the agency’s contractors began their program of “enhanced interrogation” at the secret black site in Thailand – placing him in a coffin-size box; slamming him against wall; depriving him of sleep; bombarding him with loud music; as well as waterboarding – they sent an encrypted cable to Washington.The CIA interrogators said that if Zubaydah died during questioning, his body would be cremated. But if he survived the ordeal, the interrogators wanted assurances that he would “remain in isolation and incommunicado for the remainder of his life.”Senior officials gave the assurances. Zubaydah, a Saudi citizen, “will never be placed in a situation where he has any significant contact with others and/or has the opportunity to be released,” the head of the CIA’s ALEC Station, the code name of the Washington-based unit hunting Osama bin Laden, replied. “All major players are in concurrence,” the cable said, that he “should remain incommunicado for the remainder of his life.”The decision to hold Zubaydah “incommunicado” was disclosed by the Senate report on torture, which was released last December. But the judicial inaction on his case has received virtually no public attention.In all, Roberts has failed to rule on 16 motions, 13 of which have been filed by Zubaydah’s lawyers. Several of those allege misconduct by the government.Roberts’ judicial inaction runs the gamut: Zubaydah’s motion for an un-redacted copy of his own diary, which the government seized, has sat for six years without any ruling by the judge. His habeas corpus petition was sealed at the request of the government. Zubaydah’s lawyers filed to have it declassified. It remains classified.A lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has been at the forefront of lawsuits to gain the release of Guantanamo detainees, says he has been baffled by the judge’s inaction. “It appears to be highly unusual,” says the lawyer, J. Wells Dixon, who has represented several Guantanamo detainees, but is not involved in the Zubaydah case. In contrast to Zubaydah’s case, Dixon said that 64 Guantanamo detainees who filed habeas petitions have seen their cases adjudicated.Rooted in English common law, the principle of habeas corpus is a cornerstone of the American legal system. In England, it served as a check on the king’s power to lock someone in the dungeon and throw away the key. Dixon noted that the Supreme Court has said habeas was designed to be a “swift and imperative remedy.”Yet Judge Roberts appears content to let Zubaydah’s case languish. Compared to his handling of other cases, the jurist has been anything but “swift” in Zubaydah’s case. For cases he closed in 2014, the median time from filing was 751 days, according to data assembled for ProPublica by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a nonprofit organization at Syracuse University. The longest any closed case had been on his docket was 1,651 days, according to TRAC. Zubaydah’s case has been pending for some 2,400 days, and it will be years before it goes to trial, if it ever does.There are few answers for why Zubaydah’s case has gone so far off track — and there’s nothing in Roberts’ background or recent behavior on the bench that would make him seem incapable of ruling if he desired. He was appointed to the court by President Bill Clinton in 1998 and has a fairly typical background for a federal judge: A Columbia law school grad, he rose through the ranks of the Department of Justice, working as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York and as principal assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia. He later spent three years as the chief of the criminal section at the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Absent the apparently intentional aberration of the Zubaydah case, his court docket proceeds as normal in Courtroom 9 on the fourth floor of the U.S. District Courthouse on Pennsylvania Avenue NW.A spokeswoman for the federal district court declined to comment on the case.One possible clue about the judge’s failure to act may be found in a motion Zubaydah’s lawyers filed in 2010. They asked Roberts for access to any “ex parte filings,” which is evidence the government shows the court outside the presence of the other side’s lawyers.In other cases involving detainees, secret prisons, watch lists and challenges to domestic spying, the Justice Department has attempted to win dismissals by presenting classified evidence to judges in the secrecy of their chambers.A rare insight into how that tactic is deployed was made public by a federal judge in San Francisco in a lawsuit by a Malaysian woman who challenged her placement on the no-fly list. The government sought to dismiss the case on the grounds of national security. In a ruling on the motion, the judge, William H. Alsup, described what happened next: “A telephone call came into the court staff saying that a federal agent was on the way from Washington to San Francisco to show the judge confidential records about this case, all to be relied upon by the government in support of its motion to dismiss (but not to be disclosed to the other side). The officer would take back the records after the judge reviewed them and would leave no record behind of what he had shown the judge.”In that case, Alsup declined to receive the officials, although he did receive other ex parte filings in the case.It’s not clear whether Judge Roberts has received a comparable offer, and if so, how he reacted. But it’s unlikely that if such a meeting or meetings happened, the public would ever know—and likely that not even Zubaydah’s own lawyers would know about it, unless Roberts came forward as Alsup did.Although the case is an infamous one, it’s worth recalling the details of Abu Zubaydah’s custody in U.S. hands.He was captured in a joint Pakistani-CIA-FBI operation in Lahore, Pakistan, in March 2002, during which he was shot in the groin, leg and stomach. Severely wounded, Zubaydah lingered near death as the CIA, which wanted him alive for interrogation, flew in a top surgeon from Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. Later, Zubaydah was handcuffed, hooded, drugged and flown to Thailand, where the CIA was in the process of creating one of its first “black sites.” Initially interviewed by the FBI, Zubaydah cooperated. FBI Special Agents Ali Soufan and Steve Gaudin even held ice to his lips so he could receive fluids. Zubaydah told the agents that Khalid Sheik Mohammad was the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and gave them further detailed information about him, including his alias—the news ricocheted across Washington and Zubaydah became a pawn in the capital’s power tussle between the FBI and the CIA.CIA Director George Tenet wasn’t satisfied with the progress on the interrogation. The agency was convinced that Zubaydah knew more, that he was a high-level al-Qaeda operative, and that he was withholding information about pending terrorist plots. Thus, Zubaydah became the guinea pig for what the Bush Administration called “enhanced interrogation techniques.” The FBI pulled its agents out of Thailand as the CIA’s plans for the prisoner became clear—but not before the agents got one final useful tip: Zubaydah pointed them to a name “Abu Abdullah al Mujahir” that eventually led agents to José Padilla, a would-be jihadist who was arrested in Chicago on May 8, 2002.Meanwhile, the CIA started in on Zubaydah. For 47 days, he was held in complete isolation, with only a towel. Then, shortly before noon on August 4, 2002, hooded security personnel entered his cell, shackled and hooded him, and removed his towel, leaving him naked. “So it begins,” a medical officer in Thailand cabled CIA headquarters about the first day’s session.Interrogators placed a towel around his neck, as a collar, and slammed him against a concrete wall. They removed his hood and had him watch while a coffin-like box was brought into the cell. The waterboarding started, “after large box, walling, and small box periods,” the medical officer reported. “NO useful information so far.” He added, “I am head[ing] back for a waterboard session.” During the waterboarding Zubaydah frequently vomited, made “hysterical pleas,” and experienced “involuntary leg, chest and arm spasms.”After a few days, some of the individuals involved in Zubaydah’s interrogation were deeply disturbed, to the “point of tears and choking up,” the team cabled Washington.Over the course of the interrogations, Zubaydah “cried,” he “begged,” he “pleaded,” he “whimpered,” the team in Thailand reported to headquarters in various cables. But he never gave the CIA information about plans for attacks in the United States. And in the end, the CIA “concluded that Abu Zubaydah had been truthful and that he did not possess any new terrorist threat information,” the Senate torture report says. He was not even a member of al-Qaeda.Yet even though the torture was over, Zubaydah’s ordeal was just beginning. For nearly a decade, he’s been shuttled around the world and held in legal limbo—even as hundreds of detainees have been transferred or released and court cases have moved forward for other suspected terrorists at Guantanamo.After the first media reports appeared about a CIA secret prison in Thailand, Zubaydah was moved to a secret site in Poland. A year ago, the European court of human rights ruled that Poland had been complicit with the United States in subjecting Zubaydah to “inhuman and degrading treatment,” and ordered Poland to pay him reparations. After losing an appeal, Poland paid Zubaydah 100,000 Euros, which Zubaydah has said he will give to victims of torture.Zubaydah, who was transferred from Poland to Guantanamo Bay in 2006, has not fared well with the American judicial system even as his lawyers have attempted to nudge the case forward to a conclusion.Much of the case remains wrapped in secrecy, meaning that his lawyers are unable to discuss or elaborate upon much of their work or knowledge of the case. Glimpses into it, though, are possible through the languishing court filings. Zubaydah’s lawyers have filed two motions that raise questions about the government’s conduct in the case. In 2010, they sought an “order prohibiting the government from obstructing petitioner’s investigation.” The court hasn’t ruled, and we don’t know what might have prompted this request because the documents are sealed. Similarly, three years ago, Zubaydah’s lawyers asked for sanctions against the government because of what they said was “the improper seizure” of documents “subject to the attorney-client privilege.” Again, Judge Roberts has yet to rule.Frustrated by the inaction in the case, Zubaydah’s lawyers filed a motion in January asking the judge to recuse himself for “nonfeasance.” It is an unusual motion. Judges are occasionally asked to recuse themselves because of conflicts of interest or bias, but not for simply failing to act. The government has filed its response, which is sealed, and the judge—perhaps not surprisingly, given the track record thus far—has not yet ruled.“We don’t take this step lightly,” said Joseph Margulies, one of Zubaydah’s lawyers. Margulies, an experienced criminal defense lawyer who has represented several Guantanamo detainees and is a professor at Cornell University School of Law, added, “I have never seen a case in which there has been this much judicial inaction. There has to be a remedy.”But there may not be. If Judge Roberts “ignores Abu Zubaydah’s case, there is very little we can do,” said Margulies. “The net effect is that the CIA wins.”ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A 52-year-old woman was killed in a chain-reaction car crash in her hometown of East Northport on Monday night.Suffolk County police said Karla Kovach was driving a Kia northbound on Larkfield Road when her vehicle struck a Nissan that was slowing in traffic near the corner of 5th Avenue at 9:50 p.m.The Nissan hit the side of Mario’s Pizza and the Kia spun into the rear of a Mercedes, which then rear-ended a Cadillac, police said.Kovach was taken to Huntington Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The driver of the Nissan was taken to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore for treatment of serious injuries. The driver of the Mercedes and her two child passengers were transported to Huntington Hospital with minor injuries. The driver of the Cadillac and his passenger were not injured.Second Squad detectives impounded the Kia, are continuing the investigation and ask anyone with information on this crash to call them at 631-854-8252.
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Topics : Quantity does not equal quality for the Indonesian textile industry, which has contributed to a production surplus of personal protective equipment (PPE) to meet demand during the COVID-19 health crisis, despite complaints from users over quality and distribution.The country now has the monthly capacity to produce 394.82 million surgical masks, an increase from just 150 million masks prior to the pandemic. As a result, Industry Ministry data project a surplus of almost 2 billion surgical mask by the end of the year.The soaring production, which began in April, stemmed from the changing business in the textile industry during the pandemic and government demand due to prior supply shortages, Industry Minister Agus Gumiwang said on Tuesday. However, national demand would still be prioritized, he said.The nationally produced PPE include high-grade ISO 16604 standard coveralls for doctors and health workers at hospitals and AATCC 42 standard coveralls for test-site attendants, according to COVID-19 task force data.The ministry projected a deficit only for N95 masks by the end of the year, when demand for the product is expected to surpass the actual number of produced masks by 5.39 million units.Despite the industry’s success in avoiding PPE shortages, many health workers who are using the products are complaining about the quality of locally produced PPE.“While the majority of the products have already passed the medical standards, many doctors are complaining that the coveralls are too heavy and uncomfortable. This is the reason why we could not take in all the locally made PPE products,” Health Ministry crisis center head Budi Sylvana said during the same discussion.He added that many small hospitals and clinics also refused to use washable PPE and preferred instead to purchase disposable products, as they did not have the systems in place to disinfect PPE.“There are cases of COVID-19 infection among medical workers that are caused by unsterile PPE. Not all hospitals have the ability to sterilize the PPE correctly,” he said.Budi said small hospitals and clinics usually used a third-party laundry service that was not equipped with the tools for proper sterilization.Besides being uncomfortable, Indonesian Hospital Association (Persi) secretary-general Lia Gardenia Partakusuma also complained about the distribution process of PPE to hospitals.“Sometimes there’s a delay in PPE shipment due to a lack of supply, among other things. Hospitals need a steady supply of PPE to operate,” she said.Persi data show that, on average, medical workers at 800 COVID-19 referral hospitals in Indonesia require 20 PPE per COVID-19 inpatient per day.“As the PSBB are currently being relaxed, hospitals need more PPE to handle [additional cases],” she said.The country recorded more than 33,000 cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday, with more than 1,900 deaths, government data show. “The textile industry was trying to sustain its factories by diversifying its products, which include surgical masks, cloth masks and coveralls. It led to significant growth of PPE production,” he said during an online discussion.As demand dwindles, many textile industries are suffering from low factory utilization due to the government’s large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) to contain COVID-19.As a result of the surplus, the Industry Ministry asked the Trade Ministry to revise a regulation that restricts the export of PPE so that it can begin exporting abroad.“The oversupply condition must be addressed with the right policy to capitalize on the huge export potential for PPE,” Agus said, referring to Ministerial Regulation (Permendag) No. 23/2020.
Terawan said the new benefits package would contain a list of what the JKN could and could not cover, as well as what it could cover with restrictions.The ministry will further discuss the package with the Healthcare and Social Security Agency (BPJS Kesehatan), which manages the JKN, to take into account the social security fund managed by the agency and to avoid “aggravating” its deficit further.As deficits continue to batter the agency, totaling Rp 13 trillion (US$920 million) last year alone, the government issued in early May a presidential regulation to almost double JKN premiums roughly two months after the Supreme Court annulled an earlier regulation on similar premium increases.The new regulation will take effect in July but to the opposition of lawmakers and experts who not only accused the government of undermining the rule of law but also criticized its timing, as millions of people had been badly hit by the pandemic.Read also: Government accused of undermining rule of law in JKN premium hikeBPJS Kesehatan president director Fahmi Idris said that with the premium hikes, the agency would still see a deficit of Rp 185 million by the end of 2020 — but this was better than the Rp 3.9 trillion deficit projected if it maintained the old premiums.However, relying only on the increases would not be enough, Fahmi said, as they were still below the actuarial estimates for premiums, ranging between Rp 137,221 and Rp 286,085. Thus, managing the agency’s spending by defining primary health needs and classes of JKN services, among other measures, was necessary and also mandated by the new presidential regulation.Achmad Choesni, the head of the National Social Security Council (DJSN) overseeing the BPJS, said the council was still mulling over the criteria for JKN hospitalization classes, which was expected to be gradually implemented starting at the end of this year before coming into full force by 2022.Read also: Can BPJS Kesehatan survive? An assessment after drastic premium hikesIt remained to be seen whether there would be only one service class for all policyholders or two, such as by separating the recipients of contribution assistance (PBI) — low-income patients whose premiums are fully paid by the state — from non-PBI participants. What is certain is that those willing to upgrade their plans could do so by paying the remaining fees on their own or by other insurances.Currently, there are three types of JKN plans, with the third-class service also covering a large number of PBI recipients. Non-PBI policyholders can choose to pay the premiums by themselves or have them partly paid by their employers.”Some of the output will be to […] reduce the potential of INA-CBG [diagnostic rate] claim fraud,” Achmad said.Much of the concern, however, was directed toward whether the country’s hospitals would be able to adjust their wards to the planned JKN service class.If the prevailing third-class JKN service was to be used as the baseline for the new categorization, then the number of hospital beds for the third-class service should also be increased to accommodate 270 million Indonesians, said National Mandate Party (PAN) lawmaker Saleh Daulay.JKN now covers some 220 million participants, but the government is aiming for all its citizens to join the program to help close the gap between claims and benefits.“We need a review of our hospital beds, especially now that the COVID-19 pandemic is taking up many of them,” Saleh said.Read also: Experts warn about impact of premium hike on low-class JKN holdersThe Health Ministry’s director general for health services, Bambang Wibowo, said his office had requested that hospitals add third-class beds even before the pandemic struck to anticipate policyholders downgrading their insurance plans following the previous premium hikes.Some 127,000 beds, or 47 percent of the country’s 270,000 hospital beds, are available for third-class policyholders, which is more than the mandatory 30 percent. Following the previous premium hikes, the ministry targeted to have 60 percent of hospital beds for this category by 2021.Activist Timboel Siregar from BPJS Watch said the government must first ensure that the planned categorization would not lead to a shortage of hospital beds because even “with the current three insurance classes”, many hospitals still do not have enough beds for inpatient care. He doubted that hospitals would be able to renovate their wards as that would be costly.The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) found in a recent study that the BPJS could save as much Rp 12.2 trillion through stricter insurance claim management, including by limiting claims for noncommunicable diseases, which puts the heaviest burden on the JKN. It found that readjusting hospital classes could also help the BPJS avoid making unnecessary payments. Topics : The government is redefining primary healthcare needs and the standards of service at hospitals eligible for the National Health Insurance (JKN) to ensure the deficit-stricken program’s sustainability.Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto said the ministry was working on finishing a benefits package for policyholders that was based on primary health needs, as mandated by a 2004 law on the national social security system (SJSN), and was expecting to realize it by the end of June.He also presented the plan on Thursday before a hearing with the House of Representatives’ Commission IX overseeing health care and manpower. “The benefits package, which is based on primary health needs, will not reduce the benefits received by the people but rather optimize the benefits principles by reducing unnecessary treatments […],” Terawan told the hearing.He said such excessive services were in contrast to the principles of social insurance, which aims at providing basic health care for all eligible Indonesians.Unnecessary treatments have reportedly inflated medical bills under the JKN.Read also: Activists demand better services after drastic JKN premium hike