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PREMIUMBrace for floods: Jakartans try to save their valuables

first_imgFacebook Topics : Forgot Password ? Google Linkedin With the threat of floods looming over Jakarta until next month, people are gearing up for further disaster.The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has warned that medium to heavy rain with thunderstorms and strong winds would occur across the city until next month as the rainy season reaches its peak in the last week of February and the first week of March. It also predicted that this year’s rainy season in Jakarta would be harsher than last year’s, with the highest rainfall having been recorded at 377 millimeters per day on New Year’s Eve.Ratna Dewi, a 26-year old living in a two-story house in Mampang Prapatan, South Jakarta, said she had been used to floodwater inundating her house during the rainy season since her childhood, so the heavy flood on New Year’s Eve that reached her thigh had come as no surprise to her.Every time such d… Log in with your social account LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here #flooding floods flood #Jakarta heavy-rains #weather weatherlast_img read more

‘Keep us safe!’ US nurses hold protests over virus failings

first_img“Each time we are faced with a new infectious disease, our union is forced to address staffing, protection equipment and training.”Santini, who has three decades of experience, spoke to AFP at one of a dozen events in California, Illinois and Georgia held by the country’s largest nursing union. Last week the 150,000-strong National Nurses United issued the result of a survey denouncing the “disturbing” lack of preparation at many hospitals and clinics in the face of the deadly outbreak.Over a third of respondees did not have access to protective masks, and half had not received any information on the novel coronavirus from employers. US nurses staged a day of action Wednesday calling for better protection in the fight against coronavirus, warning that medical chiefs had failed to learn from previous deadly global health crises.”We need the proper protection… if we aren’t safe, our patients and our community aren’t safe,” warned Marcia Santini, an emergency room nurse at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) medical center.”The virus is just the latest in a long string of infectious disease crises that we have dealt with in recent years, including SARS, H1N1 (swine flu) and Ebola,” she said. Mary Beth Soscia told AFP that her ambulance in Los Angeles does not have any specific protective equipment against coronavirus.Mike Hill, at a protest in Oakland near San Francisco, said resources and training should have been stepped up when the virus first broke out in Asia.”We’ve known about this for quite a while, leading up to this — we should have been more prepared,” he said, as nurses dressed in bright red and holding balloons gathered outside a hospital chanting “Keep us safe!”- ‘My family at risk’ -Advice on handling and testing potentially infected patients has varied from county to county.Northern California’s Placer, Yolo and Sacramento are among those which no longer advise people exposed to the virus — including health care workers and first responders — to quarantine themselves for two weeks.For Andrea Peregrin, an emergency nurse based in southern California’s Santa Monica, that guidance is at odds with her own training. “I think that anyone who has been exposed to a potential patient needs to be quarantined, and that’s why we need adequate staffing to prepare for that,” she told AFP.UCLA must “create a plan to not only prevent exposure, but to ensure that we have adequate staffing in all of our facilities,” she said, pointing to another California hospital where over 100 medics are currently quarantined.Estela Villegas, at UCLA’s pediatric intensive care unit, agreed that mixed messages were a cause for major concern.Days earlier an 18-month-old infant who showed signs of coronavirus had arrived without any notification, and had to be placed in isolation.”We had not been trained beforehand,” she said.”I think about the health of my patients, but I also want to be able to go home without telling myself that I’m putting my family at risk.” Topics :last_img read more

In sports, coronavirus shows no respect for stars or youth

first_imgHigh-level sports was one of the first social activities shut down by the coronavirus pandemic and many athletes, who play in front of crowds and train with team-mates, have been among the high-profile victims.While only one sports personality, the 76-year-old former Real Madrid president, Lorenzo Sanz, has so far died, those infected spread across the age range and the sporting spectrum, with clusters in Italian football, the NBA and cycling.The numbers could be higher because not all clubs are testing.  Topics : Valladolid in the Spanish Liga rejected test kits saying they should be used on those who need them. The NBA’s Golden State Warriors said they would only test players with symptoms.”We’re treating ourselves like people, which is what we are,” said general manager Bob Myers. “We’re just a basketball team.”Here, AFP Sport looks at some of the most high-profile cases.center_img — Sanz, who died on March 21, was in charge of Real Madrid from 1995-2000, overseeing two Champions League titles.”My father has just passed away. He did not deserve this ending and in this way,” tweeted his son, Lorenzo Sanz junior.– On March 17, while the International Olympic Committee and local organizers were still insisting the Tokyo Games would go ahead as scheduled this summer, Japan Olympic Committee deputy chief Kozo Tashima said he had contracted coronavirus.”I have a mild fever. Examinations showed a symptom of pneumonia, but I’m fine,” the 62-year-old Tashima said in a statement, issued via the Japan Football Association, which he also heads.– Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for COVID-19. The English Premier League was suspended the day after the Gunners announced Arteta had tested positive. As a result of the Spaniard’s diagnosis, the Arsenal squad were sent into self-isolation for 14 days.– Callum Hudson-Odoi, the 19-year-old Chelsea and England winger on March 13 became the first Premier League player to test positive.The club said at the time that the teenager was “doing well.”– Among other young, rising, stars to catch the virus is 20-year-old Brazilian tennis player Thiago Seyboth Wild who announced on Wednesday that he had tested positive.He said he started feeling ill “about 10 days ago.”That came after a globe-trotting period typical of the tennis circuit.On March 1, Seyboth Wild won his first ATP title in Santiago Chile. The following week he played in a Davis Cup tie in Adelaide, Australia. “I really don’t think he’s the only player who has it,” former player Lindsey Davenport told Tennis Channel. “We have so many players all over the world.”– Former NBA season MVP, Kevin Durant, a 31-year-old forward former NBA most valuable player,is one of four Brooklyn Nets players to have tested positive. The forward had been sitting out the season recovering from an Achilles injury.– Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus. The Frenchman had to apologise after pointedly touching every microphone and voice recorder on a table in front of him at a media conference, only to then test positive for COVID-19.–  Defender Daniele Rugani at Italian champions Juventus was the first player from Italy’s Serie A to test positive.Since then, team-mates Blaise Matuidi, a World Cup winner with France, and star striker Paulo Dybala have  tested positive.– Former AC Milan defender Paolo Maldini, another World Cup winner, and his footballer son Daniel announced they were positive.– Six players at Sampdoria, Bartosz Bereszynski, Albin Ekdal, Morten Thorsby, Antonio La Gumina, Manolo Gabbiadini and Fabio Depaoli, along with team doctor Amedo Baldari, have tested positive. But team-mate Omar Colley said reports that he had tested positive were wrong.– In Spain, center-backs Ezequiel Garay from Argentina and Frenchman Eliaquim Mangala are among five cases.– In Germany, Luca Kilian is among four known cases in the Bundesliga but the news is good for the 20-year-old Paderborn defender. The club’s sporting director, Martin Przondziono, told German media Kilian “had two days of real trouble, with fever and chills, but he’s better now.”– Sean Payton, the long-time head coach of the New Orleans Saints in the NFL, announced March 19 that he has coronavirus. “If people understand the curve, and understand the bump, we can easily work together as a country to reduce it,” 56-year-old Peyton, who led the Saints to their only Super Bowl victory in 2009.– Another iconic coach, Fatih Terim, 66-year-old manager of Istanbul football giants Galatasaray, has tested positive. — Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini, the former Manchester United and Everton midfielder who is with Shandong Luneng Taishan in China also reported that he had tested positive.– Former England cricketer Alex Hales self-isolated after showing symptoms. Two other England cricketers, Tom Curran and Jade Dernbach, who had gone out to play darts with Hales to celebrate Curran’s 25th birthday, also self-isolated.– The first sportspeople to be hit by the virus were at cycling’s UAE Tour in late February. One of the victims, Colombian rider Fernando Gaviria tweeted on March 12: “I’m okay and I’m feeling good”. But as recently as Monday, cycling media were reporting that he was one of eight people still quarantined in a hospital in Abu Dhabi. last_img read more

US increases support for Taiwan in recognition battle with China

first_imgTopics : “We are also willing to work with the United States and countries with similar ideals to promote the shared common goals of freedom and democratic values, and continue to strive for even wider international space for Taiwan,” the ministry said.There was no immediate reaction from Beijing, which is already angry about Trump’s accusations that China poorly handled the coronavirus outbreak.China’s defense ministry on Thursday accused the United States of playing a dangerous game with its support for Taiwan, after a US warship passed through the sensitive Taiwan Strait.One of the act’s authors, Senator Cory Gardner, said the law was needed to respond to Chinese pressure on, and bullying of, Taiwan.”This bipartisan legislation demands a whole-of-government approach to ramp up our support for Taiwan, and will send a strong message to nations that there will be consequences for supporting Chinese actions that undermine Taiwan,” he said in a statement.The United States has been particularly concerned about China hiving off Taiwan’s allies in the Pacific and Latin America, areas of the world Washington traditionally considers its zone of influence.Taiwan now only has diplomatic relations with 15 countries, almost all small and developing nations like Nauru, Belize and Honduras.  US President Donald Trump has signed into law an act that requires increased US support for Taiwan internationally, which will likely infuriate a China already angry with Trump’s criticism of the handling of the coronavirus outbreak.China claims democratic and separately ruled Taiwan as its own territory, and regularly describes Taiwan as its most sensitive and important issue in ties with the United States.While the United States, like most countries, has no official relations with Taiwan, the Trump administration has ramped up support for the island, with arms sales and laws to help Taiwan deal with pressure from China.center_img The Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act, signed by Trump into law on Thursday with strong bipartisan support, requires the US State Department to report to Congress on steps taken to strengthen Taiwan’s diplomatic relations.It also requires the United States to “alter” engagement with nations that undermine Taiwan’s security or prosperity.Taiwan complains that China is poaching the dwindling number of countries that maintain formal ties with Taipei and has prevented it from participating in bodies like the World Health Organization. China says Taiwan is merely one of its provinces, with no right to recognition as a country.Taiwan’s foreign ministry welcomed the US law and thanked the United States for its support for Taiwan’s “diplomatic space” and right to international participation.last_img read more

Oil rallies as top producers agree massive output cuts

first_imgIt still required Mexico’s agreement and in a compromise reached Sunday they agreed to a cut of 9.7 million barrels per day from May, according to its Energy Minister Rocio Nahle, down slightly from 10 million barrels per day envisioned earlier. OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo called the cuts “historic”. Oil markets have been in turmoil for weeks as lockdowns and travel restrictions imposed worldwide to combat the virus outbreak strangle demand, with a price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia compounding the crisis.While Monday’s price rises were healthy, they were not as strong as the double-digit jumps and falls of recent weeks in a highly volatile market, and analysts were sceptical the deal went far enough.  Oil prices rallied Monday after top producers agreed to slash output and shore up coronavirus-ravaged energy markets, but some analysts were concerned the cuts did not go far enough.US benchmark West Texas Intermediate was up 7.7 percent at US$24.52 a barrel in Asian trade while Brent crude, the international benchmark, put on 5.0 percent to $33.08 a barrel. OPEC producers dominated by Saudi Arabia and allies led by Russia met via videoconference for an hour Sunday in a last effort to cement a deal struck early Friday.  The amount being cut was slightly lower than had been expected, and observers said it would not make up for expected demand loss due to the virus outbreak. Some analysts are putting this at about 25 million barrels per day in April. In addition, storage tanks worldwide are rapidly filling up. “The deal is a little less than the market expected given that Mexico has gotten off easy,” Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston, told Bloomberg News.”The hard work lies ahead given that the market is very sceptical that OPEC+ are actually going to be able to come up with their near 10 million barrels a day of production cuts.”AxiCorp’s Stephen Innes added that “there remain concerns the agreement could be a day late and a ‘barrel short’ to prevent a decline in prices in the coming weeks as storage capacity brims”. Topics :last_img read more

Teenagers vandalize house after owner informs Jakarta governor about mass prayer

first_imgA group of teenagers vandalized a house in Jati subdistrict, Pulogadung, East Jakarta allegedly because the owner, a man named Aselih, reported a mass tarawih (evening Ramadan prayer) at a nearby mosque to Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan via social media.A video of the assault, which shows the teenagers destroy Aselih’s fence and throw firecrackers at his house, went viral on social media.Pulogadung district head Bambang Pangestu said the attack took place on Thursday after Aselih, who lives next to the Al Watsiyah mosque, recorded a mass tarawih at the mosque and posted it on his son’s Instagram account, tagging Anies’ official account.”Aselih took pictures and video footage of the mass tarawih. The teenagers found out after checking the mosque’s CCTV. They were angry at his family so they decided to throw firecrackers at his house, destroy his potted plants and fence,” Bambang told kompas.com on Monday.Jakarta, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, has been implementing a large-scale social distancing policy (PSBB) since April 10 to curb the spread of the virus.Read also: Indonesian Muslims hold congregational Ramadan prayers despite COVID-19 warningsOn Wednesday, The Jakarta administration announced that the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) would be extended until May 22 as the outbreak had yet to subside. Anies urged residents to conduct Ramadan rituals, such as tarawih, at home with their families rather than in congregations. He also said that anyone found violating the PSBB measures, such as individuals participating in public gatherings and offices of nonessential companies remaining open, would be punished to educate the public.Bambang said Aselih’s family and the teenagers had settled the problem through mediation with local stakeholders and religious leaders.”Aselih’s son has deleted the report and locked his Instagram account. The teenagers also demanded that Aselih apologize to locals,” Bambang said.The teenagers, he said, had also been advised not to repeat their actions.”They will be reported to the police if they carry out a similar action in the future,” he said.Bambang said he had urged all residents to comply with PSBB rules including worshipping from home.”Before Ramadan, we had urged all residents not to perform mass tarawih. We plan to intensify our efforts [to educate residents] so such an incident doesn’t occur in the future,” he said. (nal)Topics :last_img read more

Virus model sees near-doubling of US deaths

first_imgA prominent US pandemic model on Monday significantly increased its coronavirus death forecast after parts of the country began reopening.The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) now foresees 134,475 deaths by August 4, up from 72,433 projected in an April 29 estimate. On Monday the United States had recorded around 68,000 deaths linked to COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus. A government document cited on Monday by two US newspapers forecasts that new coronavirus cases will surge to around 200,000 per day by June 1 and the daily death toll will rise to roughly 3,000. The White House said the data did not reflect modeling or analysis done by the president’s coronavirus task force. Topics :center_img Previously criticized for being too optimistic, the model’s projections will now be more in line with those of other estimates, several of which have already forecast that the United States would exceed 100,000 deaths by the beginning of June.IHME’s new estimate takes into account the lifting in some states of restrictions on movement and gatherings, as well as residents’ mobility during confinement, thanks to anonymous data provided by phone apps and other platforms.”The social distancing that has occurred has actually, in most settings, been quite effective,” said Christopher Murray, director of IHME based in Seattle at the University of Washington.”There have been many, many states where mobility is starting to go up, even before the social distancing mandates are coming off. So we’re seeing a rise in mobility” which over the last seven to 10 days “is likely leading to some increased transmission,” Murray told reporters.last_img read more

South African schools reopen after March lockdown eased

first_imgAn hour before the gates opened, dozens of uniformed students wearing face masks stood silently in single file outside their schools in the dusty South African township of Tembisa.”Have you seen how many are waiting to come in?” said Eddie Kekana, the headmaster of Winnie Mandela Secondary School, just north of Johannesburg.”They have been longing to come to school,” he said. Students across South Africa returned to classes on Monday after two and a half months of home-schooling to limit the spread of coronavirus.The education department last week postponed the reopening, originally slated for June 1, to better prepare facilities and train staff.Schools had been shut since March 19, two weeks after Africa’s most industrialized economy recorded its first coronavirus case and days before President Cyril Ramaphosa imposed one of the world’s strictest lockdowns.As restrictions have been gradually eased, with more movement allowed and economic activity resuming, exam-year students were welcomed back to classes. ‘No hugging’ By 9:30 am, all of the students were finally in class. A total 234 students out of 263 enrolled attended on Monday.Only two students were sent home: the first had a cold and the second was 38 weeks pregnant.Classes began with hygiene instructions.”Today you’re going to learn a new way of life,” the headmaster told the students.”No hugging, no shaking hands, no kissing,” said one teacher.”As schoolchildren, we are not good at social distancing. We like touching each other,” said Delin Walend.In one classroom, students lowered their masks to chat.One student, Mandla Masinga, asked about the logic behind reopening schools when the pandemic is expected to peak in South Africa in a few weeks’ time. The country has the continent’s highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases, with 48,285 infections and at least 998 deaths recorded to date.”It’s confusing,” he said. “When the infections were low, nobody was expecting to be out of school. But now that the number of infections are higher, we are back at school.” “I am very happy but at the same time I am very scared to come back to school,” said 21-year-old Lefa Ramoroka, dressed in the school uniform of grey trousers and an azure blue blazer.”I thought I would not see my friends again,” he said.But he expressed concern about maintaining basic hygiene protocols expected in the fight against COVID-19.”Often there is no water at school,” he said.center_img Maths via WhatsApp The pipes are working, however, according to the headmaster Kekana, and two large tanks were available in case of water cuts. At the entrance to the school, teachers took the temperature of each student, who answered a quick health questionnaire.For nearly three months, the teachers have been giving lessons remotely, though doing so by videoconference was out of the question.”Videos take too much space and too much data,” said Steve Shaku, who taught maths via WhatsApp, audio messages and downloadable documents.But some students did not have the technology to access the lessons.”I could not see everything,” Eliza Manasse, who lives with her single mother and siblings. “I have only a small phone. It was challenging to follow the classes,” she said.Other students borrowed phones from neighbors whenever possible.”We are finally teaching at satisfactory standards,” said Shaku, installing a protective visor over his mask.”We have to catch up,” warned one of his colleagues, Noko Matloa. “Our clock is ticking.”For the students’ return, Winnie Mandela Secondary School was divided into 14 classes, compared to the usual six. Topics :last_img read more

Virus travel bans separate families even as lockdowns ease

first_imgHumanitarian exceptions? Elsewhere in Asia, the rules are even stricter, with countries like Mongolia effectively sealing its borders altogether. Even citizens are only able to re-enter the country on rare evacuation flights.That has left people like Nyamtseren Erdenetsetseg and her husband Sukhbaatar Dorj, who are stuck in South Korea, with no way back and no idea when they will see their children in Mongolia again.The couple went to South Korea in January to visit Erdenetsetseg’s mother, who lives in Seoul. They left their five children with Dorj’s mother while they were away.But on February 23, Mongolia announced it was banning entry from South Korea, leaving the couple stranded.They tried in vain to get a seat on an evacuation flight, and then on May 3, Dorj’s mother died suddenly.His sister has taken in the couple’s children, who ask their parents on phone calls when they will be back.”I don’t say anything,” Erdenetsetseg said. “I don’t want to get their hopes up for nothing.”She has even considered allowing her Korean visa to expire instead of extending it, in the hope authorities would deport her. But doing that would mean she would be banned from South Korea in the future.In some places, there are signs of tentative changes. China has begun relaxing travel caps for some foreign firms and is increasing the number of international flights.And in early June, Japan’s government said foreign residents now “may be granted” humanitarian exceptions to the ban, potentially offering Yukari an opportunity to see her mother.”I just pray that… I can go and see her one last time.” When Julie Sergent’s father died, she faced an agonizing decision: if she travelled from her home in Japan to attend the funeral in France, she wouldn’t be allowed back.Across Asia, domestic lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus are easing, but international travel restrictions in the region remain tight.Many countries have banned non-citizens from entry or even closed their borders altogether, with devastating consequences for some living far from family. The 29-year-old was told she might be able to apply for a humanitarian exemption, but with just two days before the funeral, there wasn’t time.”My mother was devastated. I was the only one in the family who couldn’t attend my father’s funeral,” she told AFP.”My brother and sister described to me how they wrote a message on a little piece of paper and placed it on his jacket. And that was something I couldn’t do,” she added, her voice cracking. ‘There’s no one else’Yukari, who asked to be identified by her first name only, faces a similar situation.She is half-American, half-Japanese and lives in Tokyo with her Japanese husband and their nine-year-old son.But she doesn’t have Japanese citizenship and faces being separated from her son and husband if she travels to the United States, where her mother is battling cancer.”I’m… [the] only immediate family that she has. There’s no one else… in the US,” she told AFP.Her mother was diagnosed with bile duct cancer in March, and in April her doctor warned she might have just weeks to live.Ordinarily, Yukari would have taken the first flight out, but instead, she was forced to rely on friends of the family to help her mother.After a touch-and-go period, her mother’s health has stabilized, though the cancer has not gone away.”I talked to her helpers, and one of them said ‘I think she’s holding on, to see you one more time.’ That was hard to hear.”center_img In Japan, citizens can leave and re-enter the country. Those coming from designated high-risk areas are tested for the virus on arrival and asked to observe a quarantine.But foreign residents, even those with long-term ties or married to Japanese citizens, cannot do the same.That put Sergent in an impossible situation when her father died suddenly in April: if she left for France, she would be stranded there.”I might lose my job, my apartment, my income for quite a while,” she said. Topics :last_img read more