Month: October 2020

  • Honor country by standing for the flag

    first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion I understand letting young people make their own decisions. I believe sometimes someone needs to step in and ask these questions: Will what you are doing hurt anyone? What other ways can you get your point across?I also understand about the First Amendment. I don’t believe it was intended to be used as an excuse for the disrespect of our national anthem.I know we learned about honoring our country, our flag and our national anthem from our parents and in elementary school.I stand when our flag passes in review. Do you?Marion FosterGlenvilleMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censuslast_img read more

  • Use ice-breaker to reduce river ice dams

    first_imgThe March 25 article, “State plans $500k study of ice jams,” indicates the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will fund another study of the Mohawk river basin. The “ice jam flooding” presentation by Professor John Garver at the Mohawk Watershed Symposium was awesome and indicated to me how the 2012-2016 Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda to “promote flood hazard risk reduction” and the draft 2018-2022 Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda item to “understand and predict the hazards associated with ice jams through monitoring” needs action, not study.Recently, it was reported the Unified Military Affairs Council and several federal and state government representatives emphasized how the Naval, Army and air military facilities in our region influence our economy and protect our communities. In addition, the DEC and the state Canal Corporation have responsibility regarding water resources in the basin. Even though DEC has two water resource research vessels located in the Great Lakes, the Canal Corporation has a fleet of 100 vessels throughout the canal system.Is it possible for the military affairs supporters to request the U.S. Coast Guard lease one of its 65-foot ice-breaker tugs to the Canal Corporation and DEC to prevent ice jams in the Mohawk Basin? Also, is it possible for the Mohawk Basin municipal governments, academic institutions and non-profit conservation agencies to make a request to the Regional Economic Development Councils to obtain money?I think an ice-breaker tug would keep a water flow channel open in the winter to prevent ice jams. It could be equipped with water resource technology to research water quality for fish, wildlife and humans; monitor inappropriate chemical discharges by municipalities and businesses; and locate sediment build-up. Meanwhile, they could be developing an education-and-training program for a workforce to protect lives and our resources.Michael McGlynnWatervlietMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motorists Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

  • Poll readers on how Trump will go down

    first_imgThe Gazette offers reader surveys on topical issues. I’d like to offer a more comprehensive question and choice of answers with a bit of commentary: What will bring down Comrade Trump: impeachment or will he lose the 2020 election if he gets that far? Let’s begin.1) Will Special Prosecutor Mueller prove Russia and Trump campaign collusion and corruption? The Cambridge Analytica connection established how Trump supporters were brainwashed in key battleground states.2) Will trade wars lead to a worldwide recession, ending the economic gains made by Obama? As other nations retaliate, the prices for goods and services will rise and eliminate the measly gains received from the recent ill-advised tax law. 3) Will Trump’s total disrespect of women, including his extramarital affairs, sexual harassment of dozens of women, and payments to women be too much for his base to swallow?4) Will Trump’s failure to protect the Dreamers and his bucking of the NRA by advocating for gun-safety laws (banning assault rifles and bump stocks, establishing universal background checks, banning the mentally ill and domestic abusers from purchasing and keeping any weapons, and raising the age to 21 to purchase a firearm legally) usher his demise?5) Will his total lack of character, leadership and honesty finally grind on his insipid and naive supporters, who will seek a new leader who can bring us and other nations together? His cabinet and advisers are bent on turning the environment over to fossil fuel (or is it fools?) companies and ripping off taxpayers with their extravagant travel and lifestyles, as well as gutting health care and ignoring the opioid crisis. The Trump swamp lives.6) Or is it all of the above? UnlikeThe Gazette’s polls, there’s no option for the undecided. Make up your mind. Time will tell.Raymond HarrisGlenvilleMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidation Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

  • Lakeside rent revolt as retailers jump ship

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  • Leeds’ double vision

    first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img

  • To contain coronavirus, Australia PM urges against big gatherings

    first_img“This is an early-stage action that we are undertaking to make sure we get ahead of this,” Morrison told reporters in Sydney, adding Australians should also reconsider their need for any overseas travel.The virus has so far infected almost 135,000 and killed more than 4,900 worldwide.Health officials warned millions of Australians will contract the coronavirus within the next six months.”We’re anticipating 20% of the population in the first wave to be affected,” Kerry Chant, the chief medical officer for the New South Wales [NSW] state government. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday urged people not gather in groups of more than 500 but said he would still go to a weekend rugby game, as health officials warned millions of residents will contract coronavirus within months.Australia has recorded 156 infections and three deaths from the flu-like disease, figures that authorities expect to increase rapidly in the coming weeks.Morrison said his government will from Monday advice against non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people, though this does not include schools, airports or public transport. Keep calm and carry on Australia ban on foreigners from arriving from China, Iran and South Korea was extended on Thursday to cover Italy, and has formed a key part of Australia’s move to stop the spread of the virus.Morrison has spent much of the past week urging locals to remain calm while trying to reassure nervous financial markets.On Thursday he said his government would inject A$17.6 billion (US$11.1 billion) to spur an economy hammered by the coronavirus outbreak.But Morrison’s urging for calm has largely fallen on deaf ears. Hundreds of Australians have begun stockpiling goods, from staples to sanitizers, while the country’s share market has been battered in the past week. Home to more than 7 million people, NSW is Australia’s most populous state, and Chant said models suggest 5% of the state’s population – some 350,000 people – will need hospital treatment as a result of coronavirus. Sporting upheaval Australia’s updated medical advice was a key catalyst behind the cancellation of the Australian Formula One Grand Prix and an order for a cricket series between Australia and New Zealand to be played behind closed doors.Two of the sports-mad country’s most popular sports, rugby league and Australian Rules football, are beginning their seasons with games that typically draw tens of thousands of spectators, raising the risk of contagion.Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the Australian Rules football league season may need to be suspended. The country’s biggest and best-attended football code is due to begin its season on March 19.Morrison said he would attend a weekend rugby league game to watch his favorite Cronulla Sharks team.”It might be the last game I get to go to for a long time. That’s fine. In the future I suspect we might be watching them on television.”Topics :last_img read more

  • Listed companies to buy back shares as market rout continues

    first_imgSeveral other listed companies have also followed suit. Bread producer PT Nippon Indosari Corpindo and retail firm PT Ramayana Lestari Sentosa will also repurchase their shares, in addition to several state-owned companies such as Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) and Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI), which had unveiled their buyback plan earlier, following the announcement of the new share buyback policy by the Financial Services Authority (OJK) on March 10.The new rule allows listed companies to repurchase their shares without a prior shareholders’ meeting in an effort to ease market volatility. The companies are allowed to buy back 20 percent of their paid-up capital and are also required to maintain free-float shares at 7.5 percent.“This is an effort to stimulate the economy and reduce the impact of the significantly fluctuating market,” the OJK said in a statement on March 9.Read also: SOEs set aside up to Rp 8 trillion to buy back shares amid falling prices Of the 32 companies, BRI announced the biggest buyback, allocating Rp 3.8 trillion for the repurchase of shares. Diversified petrochemical giant PT Barito Pacific allocated Rp 1 trillion to repurchase its shares.OJK deputy commissioner for capital market monitoring Fakhri Hilmi said on March 12 that the new rule was intended to expedite the buyback process amid the run on the Jakarta Composite Index (JCI), which had caused it to lose about 30 percent of its value since the beginning of the year. The largest fall in the index occurred last week after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The sharp fall in oil prices early last week further worsened the global economic outlook, triggering massive withdrawals from stock markets around the world.The rout continued on the IDX, with the JCI losing another 3.35 percent just before the close of trading on Wednesday.“The buyback can also give a signal to investors that the companies’ fundamentals are all right, so it can restore their confidence in the stock market,” Fakhri said during a press briefing in Padang, West Sumatra.Read also: To buy it or not: Retail investors are torn amid volatile stock marketWhen asked if the buyback would be effective enough, he said he was not sure, given immense pressure on the global markets as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had caused concern about the possibility of a global recession among market players.Jasa Utama Capital analyst Chris Apriliony told The Jakarta Post that the buyback would only help the companies prevent share prices from plummeting further amid intense selling pressure in the market. Koneksi Kapital analyst Alfred Nainggolan said the measure would not catapult the companies’ share prices as the impact of COVID-19 would be great and could hurt Indonesia severely. “Buybacks can only have a positive impact on share prices in the short term. So despite the fact that the companies will carry out the buyback over the course of three months, the positive sentiment it brings will not last for long,” Alfred explained over the phone.For this reason, as well as the fact that market players were scrambling for safety from a possible global recession, he suggested that both traders and investors put off buying more stocks for the time being until the coronavirus pandemic started showing signs of improvement. “For now, cash is king,” he said.The coronavirus, which can cause a pneumonia-like illness, had been identified in 227 people in Indonesia as of Wednesday and has killed 19. Globally, the infections have topped 185,000, and as of Monday, more than 7,300 people had died.Topics : Thirty-two companies listed on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) have announced plans to buy back shares to halt a plunge in prices amid growing concerns about the wider economic impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic.The plan was first announced by PT Fast Food Indonesia, which manages the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) chains in Indonesia, on March 11. The company said it would allocate about Rp 10 billion (US$66,666) for the buyback of up to 200 million shares from the public from March 12 to June 11.“The buyback will not cause a decline in revenue or an increase in costs as we will use internal funds sourced from our own operational activities,” the company said, adding that the buyback would not affect the company’s profit projection for the year.last_img read more

  • Trump muses that virus briefings ‘not worth the time and effort’

    first_imgPresident Donald Trump has been determined to talk his way through the coronavirus crisis, but frequent misstatements at his daily news conferences have caused a litany of public health and political headaches for the White House.On Friday, Trump sought to clean up his briefing room riff from the day before about the possibility of fighting coronavirus infection in patients with chemical disinfectant or sunlight — a dangerous idea that doctors and a manufacturer of cleaning products felt obliged to publicly warn against.By Saturday, Trump suggested the briefings, which have become a televised daily substitute for his campaign rallies, were “not worth the time and effort,” a day after a report that he plans to scale back such appearances.  There was no briefing on Saturday but instead, a series of Twitter messages that returned to familiar targets including the media and Democrats. Just 23% of Americans consider Trump a trustworthy source of information on the virus, while 52% trust their state and local leaders, according to poll published Thursday by the Associated Press and NORC at the University of Chicago.Trump’s questionsTrump’s remarks on Thursday followed a presentation by a Department of Homeland Security undersecretary, Bill Bryan, who showed White House reporters new research indicating the virus wouldn’t survive as long on nonporous surfaces in higher temperatures and humidity. The research suggested summer heat could help temper the US outbreak, at least temporarily, although places in warm climates such as Singapore are still battling their own outbreaks.After Bryan’s presentation, Trump chimed in, off script.“So I asked Bill a question that probably some of you are thinking of, if you’re totally into that world, which I find to be very interesting. So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light — and I think you said that that hasn’t been checked, but you’re going to test it,” Trump said. “And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way, and I think you said you’re going to test that too. It sounds interesting.”Bryan responded: “We’ll get to the right folks who could.”“Right,” Trump continued. “And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that.”Two-hour briefingsEven some Republicans have said Trump would be better served by holding fewer news conferences or speaking less during the events, leaving his medical experts and others to convey the information. But the former reality TV star has until now shown no sign of surrendering the lectern and has repeatedly bragged about his television ratings.In the last month, the White House has held a coronavirus briefing on all but three days, and the last time Trump did not speak at one was late March, according to data compiled by C-SPAN. Of the 47 briefings held since the start of the pandemic response, Trump has spoken at 43 of them — the most of any administration official, the data show.His marathon public remarks — the news conferences have extended for as long as two hours and 23 minutes, according to C-SPAN — have been peppered with false claims, exaggerations and misstatements, opening the president to criticism by Democrats seeking to defeat him in November. Trump’s claims that the virus would “disappear” and that “nobody could have ever seen something like this coming” have been included in political ads arguing he is ill-equipped to combat the pandemic.Even government health authorities have been forced to rebut the president. On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration cautioned against the use of two drugs Trump has promoted to treat coronavirus infection, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine. The malaria medicine has not been shown to be effective against the virus. Nonetheless, the FDA issued an emergency order last month permitting the drug to be prescribed for hospitalized coronavirus patients, after Trump repeatedly recommended it and directed his administration to procure millions of doses.The medicines “can cause abnormal heart rhythms” as well as “a dangerously rapid heart rate called ventricular tachycardia,” the FDA said Friday. “These risks may increase when these medicines are combined with other medicines” including azithromycin, the FDA said.The US Surgeon General, Jerome Adams, meanwhile tweeted on Friday an admonition against Americans self-medicating without their doctors’ advice.The state of Maryland’s Emergency Management Agency said in a tweet on Friday that it had “received several calls regarding questions about disinfectant use and Covid-10.”“This is a reminder that under no circumstances should any disinfectant product be administered into the body through injection, ingestion or any other route,” the agency said.And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a tweet Friday that household cleaners and disinfectants “can cause health problems when not used properly.”‘Something There’Trump views the daily White House briefings as an opportunity to share his optimistic view of the US effort against the virus and battle critics, according to a person familiar with the matter. That has included insulting and arguing with individual reporters, particularly those from news organizations such as CNN that he considers unfair.The briefings also serve as an outlet for the president, who is no longer able to stage the boisterous political rallies that were the spine of both his 2016 and 2020 campaigns, the person said.But his frequent speaking appearances have also exposed his lack of preparedness. Trump rarely attends the White House coronavirus task force meetings that precede the briefings and does not typically rehearse his opening remarks, often reading them for the first time just minutes before he goes on air, the New York Times reported.After his remarks about light and disinfectant on Thursday, a litany of scientists and doctors called the president’s suggestions dangerous. The maker of Lysol, Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc, issued a statement saying that “under no circumstance” should its disinfectant products be administered into the human body. The company said it felt obliged to issue a statement because it has a “responsibility in providing consumers with access to accurate, up-to-date information as advised by leading public health experts.”In the Oval Office on Friday, Trump was invited to clarify his remarks. “I do think that disinfectant on the hands could have a very good effect,” he said, adding that he’d like the government to research the effect of sunlight, heat and humidity on infected patients.“Maybe there’s something that’s there,” Trump said. “They have to work with the doctors. I’m not a doctor.” Trump on Friday said he had “sarcastically” suggested Americans be injected with disinfectant. The president’s new spokeswoman also sought to clarify his remarks.“President Trump has repeatedly said that Americans should consult with medical doctors regarding coronavirus treatment, a point that he emphasized again during yesterday’s briefing,” the press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, said in a statement. “Leave it to the media to irresponsibly take President Trump out of context and run with negative headlines.”Trump’s most public response to the US coronavirus outbreak has been the extended news conferences he’s held almost every day, including most weekends, to talk about it. He pulled off his 2016 election upset and survived the Russia investigation and impeachment in part due to his ability to dominate media coverage. But the president has never been known as a detail-oriented leader and his off-the-cuff briefings have left many Americans distrustful of what he says.As questions mounted about Trump’s comments on disinfectant, Trump and his coronavirus task force on Friday evening held their shortest news conference yet, at just 22 minutes. He took no questions.center_img Topics :last_img read more

  • Autoimmune community seeks govt support as medication costs skyrocket during pandemic

    first_img“Since COVID-19 hit, the price has crept up steadily. It could reach Rp 22,000 per pill. The supply and demand has been out of balance,” Dian said.Dian also regretted the limited direct access to doctors, medical examinations or treatment. “Especially for patients who use the BPJS Kesehatan [the Health Care and Social Security Agency] service,” she said.Dian said the condition of people with lupus or other autoimmune diseases varied from the mild form, which attacked the skin or joints, to more severe conditions that attacked the blood or nervous system and even vital organs.“We can’t help but try to survive. That’s why we also strive for personal protective equipment [PPE], medicine, as well as collecting donations for those who have lost income,” added Dian.The SDF has initiated the collection of donations for the procurement and distribution of PPE, including 2,000 nonmedical masks, for 16 autoimmune communities around Indonesia. Within three weeks, they managed to raise funds of up to Rp 141 million.The organization has also provided aid that includes PPE such as medical and nonmedical masks and coverall hazmat suits, as well as multivitamins, to some hospitals and public health centers across Indonesia.Read also: Australian study links fiber intake during pregnancy to babies born with allergies and autoimmune disease“Because of the PPE scarcity, the distribution has been done gradually, depending on availability, to nine hospitals and regional hospitals in Bandung, Cimahi, Cianjur and Majalengka [in West Java] and Medan [in North Sumatra]. We also provided PPE to six public health centers in Jakarta, South Kalimantan and Bandung,” said Dian.SDF manager Laila Panchasari said that in commemoration of World Lupus Day, the organization had also launched a membership card program in collaboration with two clinical laboratories, Pramitha and Prodia, and state-owned pharmaceutical company Kimia Farma.“So, members can access generic HCQ and can get additional discounts for routine checks in the laboratories,” Laila said, adding that the SDF had more than 1,000 members across the archipelago.The membership number, however, is still small compared to the number of lupus sufferers in Indonesia, which Dian estimated at 135,000 to 270,000. Worldwide it is estimated that there are at least 5 million people with lupus, with 100,000 new cases every year. (syk)Topics : “The price of HCQ has increased by 100 percent. We hope the government can regulate the price so that patients can still can afford it and other primary medications needed by autoimmune patients,” Dian told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.Dian said autoimmune patients needed one or two HCQ pills a day to alleviate joint pain and other medications such as corticosteroids to increase steroid hormones in the body, relieve inflammation and suppress the excessive work of the immune system.She said the country was not able to produce its own HCQ until the end of 2019, when the domestically supplied immunosuppressant was sold at prices ranging from Rp 11,000 (73 US cents) to Rp 13,000 per pill.Read also: COVID-19 exposes flaws in Indonesia’s health insurance program The Syamsi Dhuha Foundation (SDF), a nonprofit organization representing autoimmune disease sufferers, has urged the government to pay more attention to people with immune-related conditions, who are much more vulnerable during the current COVID-19 pandemic, as medication costs have increased dramatically.To mark World Lupus Day on May 10 and World Autoimmune Day on May 20, the SDF is making an effort to gain support and raise awareness about people with autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, with its #ShareOurLove campaign.SDF chairwoman Dian Syarief, who is also an autoimmune disease sufferer, said it was an extraordinary time for her community as the prices for autoimmune drugs, including hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), which is also prescribed for COVID-19 patients, had soared.last_img read more

  • Disconnected: Digital divide may jeopardize human rights

    first_img“This populous Southeast Asian country experiences considerable difficulties in supporting internet inclusion in every area of the index except for trust and safety,” the EIU report states. “Indonesia struggles, for example, to ensure affordability of mobile and fixed broadband data, and local content availability leaves much to be desired.”So far, this digital divide has impeded the government’s COVID-19 social assistance programs, which rely heavily on online platforms to deliver relief to those in need. It has also weighed down on schools affected by social restrictions, which are expected to shift to online learning with little to no preparation in internet access.“[The effort to increase access] should not simply be about ratcheting up digital industry growth; it should also be about giving the public access to what is already available,” said Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) deputy research director Wahyudi Djafar.“Because the internet is an enabler that opens up opportunities, it is important to ensure that [wide] access is available.”A number of reports portray Indonesia’s digital divide. A 2018 Indonesian Internet Providers Association (APJII) survey, for instance, showed that the country’s most populous island of Java contributes over half of the internet usage, much higher than the rest of the country, with most users living in urban areas.But Indonesia is not alone. International Telecommunication Union (ITU) secretary-general Houlin Zhao said in a video message on Feb. 25 that almost half the world’s population was still not using the Internet, while overall growth in information and communications technology (ICT) connectivity was slowing.“Time is pressing,” he said. “We need to coordinate and redouble our efforts to connect everyone to the global digital economy, and for those connected, more must be done to ensure that connected life is safe and trustworthy.”The Indonesian government has sought to provide 4G services through the Palapa Ring broadband project, a 35,000-kilometer fiberoptic network throughout the archipelago that was completed last year.“The Palapa Ring will hopefully be able to bring justice to all Indonesian citizens – from Sabang to Merauke, from Miangas to Rote – and allow them to have an equal opportunity to access advanced technology and high-speed connectivity,” President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said during the project’s launch last October.In the past, authorities have used universal service obligation (USO) funds collected from telecommunication operators to expand internet access through programs like Desa Berdering (Ringing Villages) and sub-district mobile internet service centers (M-PLIK), among others.APJII chairman Jamalul Izza expressed appreciation for the Palapa Ring project but said that internet providers needed more outreach to cities in the country’s interior as the infrastructure only connected the outermost regions so far.In the meantime, the association has been encouraging regional heads and village-owned businesses (BUMDs) to get involved in the internet business, informing them of alternatives to fiber optic internet connections, such as microwave transmission and satellites, among others.“We hope that internet traffic and penetration will increase,” he said. “ This is important because a good internet connection can add to people’s knowledge […] whether they are in cities or villages.”Topics : The slow pace at which Indonesia is addressing digital inequality could jeopardize basic rights for those excluded, experts have warned, at a time when the world relies heavily on information technology to stay connected.On Sunday, the global community celebrated World Telecommunication and Information Society Day while much of the world sheltered in place to curb the spread of COVID-19, which has infected more than 4.5 million people and killed upwards of 300,000.During the pandemic, information technology has allowed people around the world to stay connected, and these connections are becoming more important than ever, said United Nations Secretary General António Guterres in his message to commemorate the occasion. “World Telecommunication and Information Society Day reminds us that international cooperation on digital technology is essential to help defeat COVID-19 and achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” he said in a statement on the UN website.In Indonesia, the rapid internet penetration of the last two decades has yet to benefit the majority of the population, owing to inequitable access to information technology in the country’s rural and remote areas.According to both the 2020 Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Inclusive Internet Index and the 2019 Network Readiness Index, Indonesia trails behind most of its neighbors in inclusive access to the internet.last_img read more