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They think you’re their cash cow

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Going places

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would 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 newsletterslast_img

Asian, European investors express interest in Kualanamu development project

first_imgThe airport operator is seeking a strategic partner to help expand Kualanamu airport’s capacity to welcome international arrivals, allowing it to compete with the regional hubs of Changi International Airport in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur International Airport and Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok.  “The candidates must have the capability to boost international traffic to Kualanamu and make it a regional hub for destinations in East Asia and South Asia,” said Awaluddin. “Together, we will redesign and improve Kualanamu’s capacity,” he said, expressing hope the airport could become as important as Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten. Kualanamu is more strategically located than Soeakarno-Hatta as it closer to many Asian countries, such as China, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia, as well as countries in the Middle East and Europe. As many as 39 local and foreign investors have expressed interest in partnering with state-owned airport operator PT Angkasa Pura II to develop Kualanamu International Airport in Medan, North Sumatra, into a world-class regional hub.Angkasa Pura II president director Muhammad Awaluddin said the majority of the companies came from East Asia, West Asia, Southeast Asia and Europe, while eight were Indonesian companies.“We plan for the selection process to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2020,” he said in Jakarta on Monday, adding that his company would be open to proposals until June. Topics :center_img However, international flights to the airport account for only 11 percent of its total traffic.“The target is for international flights to account for 40 to 45 percent of the airport’s traffic,” he said.  Angkasa Pura II plans increase the airport’s capacity to 40 million passengers per year from 8 million at present.last_img read more

Sanders roughed up, hits back at Democratic presidential debate

first_imgFellow progressive Elizabeth Warren and centrists Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, all desperate to halt Sanders’ momentum before it is too late, laid into his ability to deliver on costly programs like universal health care and tuition-free college.Buttigieg, a 38-year-old military veteran presenting himself as a unifier, warned a Sanders fight against Trump would spell “chaos” and divide the nation.”I tell you what it adds up to,” Buttigieg said, “it ends up as four more years of Donald Trump.”Sanders is in pole position in South Carolina, the last step before “Super Tuesday” March 3 when 14 states vote and a whopping one third of all delegates — the representatives who pick the nominee at the Democratic Party’s July convention — are up for grabs. Topics : The 78-year-old hit back at the charge his policies were too “radical,” insisting such ideas “exist in countries all over the world,” including the notion that health care is a human right.”The way we beat Trump, which is what everybody up here wants, is we need a campaign of energy and excitement,” Sanders said.”We need to bring working people back in to the Democratic Party.”Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg speak after the Democratic presidential primary debate at the Charleston Gaillard Center on February 25, 2020 in Charleston, South Carolina. Seven candidates qualified for the debate, hosted by CBS News and Congressional Black Caucus Institute, ahead of South Carolinas primary in four days. (AFP/Win McNamee/Getty Images)- ‘Bumper stickers’ -Talking over one another in often contentious exchanges, the seven candidates on stage aggressively vied for attention, locking horns on everything from housing to China policy and whether or not to move the US embassy from Jerusalem back to Tel Aviv.Seeking to prove he is still in the fight, the 77-year-old Biden put in a spirited performance and snapped back at moderators who tried to cut him off, telling them: “I’m not going to be quiet anymore, OK?”The former vice president aimed a sharp attack at Sanders over gun control, an issue largely absent from previous debates, and a significant weakness for the Vermont senator who voted against legislation that would have allowed lawsuits against gun manufacturers.Sanders had emerged largely unscathed from the previous debate. But he acknowledged he was now in the firing line, with rivals seeking to derail his push for the nomination following two straight victories, in New Hampshire and then Nevada.”I’m hearing my name mentioned a little bit tonight,” he said to laughter. “I wonder why.”Piling on, Klobuchar hammered Sanders’s plans as “broken promises that sound good on bumper stickers,” while billionaire activist Tom Steyer accused him of planning “a government takeover of large parts of the economy.”Like Buttigieg, Bloomberg sought to cast a Sanders nomination as a sure path to losing.”Vladimir Putin thinks that Donald Trump should be president of the United States, and that’s why Russia is helping you get elected so you’ll lose to him,” the former New York mayor told Sanders in a heated opening exchange.”I’m the one choice that makes some sense,” said Bloomberg, touting his experience running America’s largest city for 12 years — a point hammered home in lavish televised ads during multiple commercial breaks.Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former Vice President Joe Biden participate in the Democratic presidential primary debate at the Charleston Gaillard Center on February 25, 2020 in Charleston, South Carolina. Seven candidates qualified for the debate, hosted by CBS News and Congressional Black Caucus Institute, ahead of South Carolinas primary in four days. (AFP/Win McNamee/Getty Images)- Bloomberg, Biden seek rebound -Bloomberg seeking to rebound from a disastrous performance last week in his first debate and prove he is a credible, moderate alternative to the leftist Sanders.But the 78-year-old found himself under assault too, including by Warren who called him “the riskiest candidate” on stage.”I don’t care how much money mayor Bloomberg has. The core of the Democratic Party will never trust him,” Warren said. “He has not earned their trust. I will.”Bloomberg jumped late into the race, and has not been on the ballot in the four early states, opting instead to make a splash on Super Tuesday. He has now spent more than $500 million on campaign advertising.Rival centrist Biden desperately needs a win after dismal showings in Iowa and New Hampshire, and a disappointing result in Nevada where he won 20.2 percent, well behind Sanders’ 46.8 percent.Biden has been counting on strong support among black voters in South Carolina to recharge his flagging campaign — earning cheers at one point when he promised to put a female black justice on the Supreme Court if elected.Pressed on whether he would throw in the towel if he falls short on Saturday, Biden stood defiant, saying: “I will win South Carolina.”center_img Democratic White House hopefuls rounded on leftist frontrunner Bernie Sanders at a feisty debate Tuesday, attacking him as too extreme for American voters and a flawed challenger to President Donald Trump.Joe Biden, who needs a victory in South Carolina’s crucial primary on Saturday to keep his campaign alive, hit Sanders as soft on gun control, while billionaire tycoon Michael Bloomberg claimed Russia was working to help Sanders win the nomination — betting he would be defeated in November.And Sanders’ rivals joined in savaging the self-described democratic socialist as too radical to appeal to a broad swathe of Americans.last_img read more

PREMIUMJakarta floods hit street vendors hard despite minor impact on city’s growth

first_imgLOG INDon’t have an account? Register here floods Jakarta-flood disaster Jakarta-administration bank-indonesia Statistics-Indonesia economy economic-growth Facebook Forgot Password ? Topics : Log in with your social account Linkedin Google Rosuli, the owner of a small kiosk in flood-stricken Kayu Putih in East Jakarta, had to move the goods from the shelves to the loft as water inundated his shop on Feb. 25, forcing him to close for the whole day.“The rain was too strong. It did not stop overnight”, the 68-year-old, who has been running the kiosk together with his wife Fatimah for five years, said on Wednesday.He said closing his shop that day had cost him Rp 300,000 (US$21.19) as that was what he usually made a day by selling daily necessities such as snacks, bottled beverages and cigarettes.The floods also forced him to make a bulk purchase worth around Rp 5 million to replace goods ruined by floodwater, said Fatimah. They were also forced to replace their refrigerator twice, as it broke in the New Year’s Day flood and then again in late February.”I could not eat and sleep f…last_img read more

Villages in Indonesia lack skills to manage development funds

first_imgVillage head Heriyan of Serjiabo, South Sumatra, has a lot on his plate when it comes to administering and managing the village funds.He said that village heads lacked financial literacy, which slowed budget absorption. They also worried under the shadow of the current provisions, which stipulated sanctions if they failed to manage the funds appropriately – never mind their lack of skills and understanding.”Technical problems have delayed the absorption of village funds. There are regulations on rural development, yet technical experts and advisors are not available to villages,” he said during a meeting with several ministers in Palembang, South Sumatra.Heriyan is only one village head among the thousands attending the meeting to discuss the village funds, which has helped rural infrastructure projects get off the ground.Read also: Villages key to Indonesia’s economic growth: MinisterThe village funds is a flagship program of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, whose administration has provided from Rp 800 million (US$56,200) to Rp 1 billion to each of the archipelago’s 73,670 villages.But there have been reports on the misallocation of funds and corruption because of the poor accountability systems that are in place. Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) reported that it had recorded 181 corruption cases in villages across the country from the launch of the program in 2015 until January 2019, with 30 percent of these cases related to the village funds. A 2017 study by the Australian-Indonesian Government Partnership revealed imbalances in funding distribution due to flaws in how the funds were calculated.Read also: Minister Sri Mulyani, who attended the meeting, said that only one out of 14 regencies in South Sumatra alone had successfully channeled its funds this year, while the other regencies and city administrations had yet to meet all criteria for the funds’ disbursement.The government is allocating Rp 2.7 trillion in village funds to the province this year.  Home Minister Tito Karnavian admitted during the meeting that not all village heads had the capacity to manage the village funds.”Yes, there are problems among the village heads. The village funds need to be used quickly once it has been disbursed and shouldn’t [remain idle] in a bank account,” said Tito. Meanwhile, the budget increased annually, with Rp 72 trillion allocated to the program in 2020 from Rp 70 trillion in 2019.He said the home ministry’s regional human resource development team would help train the village heads in financial management and public administration. The training program would emphasize transparency in compiling the budget realization report, which will be publicized on billboards.Tito also urged local institutions, including the police and judiciary, to provide guidance before taking legal action against village heads for administrative errors. However, he made an exception for cases in which the government funds were used for personal reasons.Read also: Three fictitious villages received funds, 31 others problematic: KPKThe 1999 Corruption Law, which was amended as Law No. 20/2001 on corruption eradication, carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison and a maximum Rp 1 billion fine for “any person who commits an act of illegal enrichment [that benefits] oneself, another person or a corporation [in a manner] that is detrimental to the country’s finances or economy”.”If the [village funds] is used to buy a car, we’ll arrest [them],” Tito said in providing an example.Villages, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration Minister Abdul Halim Iskandar said that his team would focus on increasing the capacity of its field experts to improve infrastructure development in 2021. He expressed the hope that, in the future, only one or two villages would need just a single expert to assist them in administering the funds.”But we still ask village heads to be creative and empower [the community] in using the disbursed village funds from labor-intensive [industry], to roads, bridges, village markets [and] to clean water,” he said. (mai)Topics :last_img read more

Conflict of interest? Public questions government’s relationship with start-ups

first_imgThe government’s relationship with the country’s start-ups during the pandemic have raised eyebrows as the latter have been invited to get involved in national-scale programs, including the multitrillion rupiah preemployment card program, with lack of transparency, experts have said.Recently, an expert staff member to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, Andi Taufan Garuda Putra, was criticized for sending out a letter bearing the Cabinet’s Secretariat’s letterhead asking district heads across Indonesia to support a COVID-19 relief program led by his fintech start-up, Amartha.He issued the letter on April 11 without acknowledgement of the home minister, who supervises regional leaders, prompting the public to question the government’s impartiality. Andi has since revoked the letter and issued an apology, saying that his intention was to do something good as quickly as possible. There have been other cases like that of Andi’s. Adamas Belva Devara, another presidential expert staff member who is also education start-up Ruangguru CEO, also got caught up in controversy as his company was appointed by the government as among several start-ups to provide training in the preemployment card program.On Wednesday, he clarified the situation on his personal Twitter account following complaints from netizens, saying he had asked State Palace officials if there was a conflict of interest despite the fact that he was not involved in the program’s partner selection process. He said he was ready to step down from the position but the decision “should be discussed with the palace”.Adamas Belva Syah Devara (JP/Seto Wardhana)The program, which aims to reskill and upskill laid-off workers amid the pandemic, has been allocated Rp 20 trillion (US$1.2 billion) from the state budget fund to cover around 5.6 million participants. Each participant will receive Rp 3.55 million, of which as much as Rp 1 million is for training costs, Rp 2.4 million for living cost incentives for four months and Rp 150,000 for job survey fees.If the program’s goods and services procurement was carried out through an appointment, the decision violated Presidential Regulation (Perpres) No. 16 /2018 on government procurement, which states that procurement valued at Rp 200 million and above should be done through a tender, Misbah said.“Even during the pandemic, the procurement and bidding must be transparent, accountable and open for all eligible providers through the Electronic Goods and Services Procurement [LPSE] system,” he said.He went on to say that since the program has been rolled out, the next thing to do would be for the National Public Procurement Agency (LKPP), the Government Internal Supervisory Agency (APIP) and the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) to audit the procurement process, including the start-ups involved in the program.Read also: COVID-19: Jokowi staffer criticized for requesting local leaders to support his companyRuangguru CEO Iman Usman addressed the issue on his Twitter account @imanusman on Tuesday. He said procurement for the preemployment card was more like social aid programs, such as the Indonesia Smart Card (KIP), in which aid recipients could use the money they received to buy books, for instance, in partnering bookstores that “have fulfilled certain requirements”.“The preemployment card is similar, people can choose courses from the eight digital platforms that have qualified,” he said in one of the tweets without specifying the qualifications.   Other than Ruangguru’s Skill Academy, education start-ups MauBelajarApa, Pijar, Pintaria and e-commerce unicorn Tokopedia-backed Tokopedia Pintar, among other start-ups, are also engaged in the program. Meanwhile, e-wallet GoPay, OVO and state-owned companies-backed LinkAja will channel the funds to the participants’ digital wallet.Corporate affairs chief Nila Marita of Gojek, which will be involved in the preemployment card program through its e-wallet GoPay, told the Post that the start-up had been “officially appointed by the government” to be a payment partner in the program.Tokopedia, also stated in a press release on March 23 that it had been “appointed as an official digital platform by the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister to launch the pre-employment card features.”Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef) economist Bhima Yudhistira said the government could use free and existing facilities, such as university websites, to offer online lessons for the preemployment program, instead of spending money on start-up platforms.Read also: Govt partners with food, ride-hailing companies to guarantee food supplies during outbreak“Some start-ups are cozying up to the government to keep getting projects and sustain their business,” he told The Jakarta Post over the phone on Tuesday. Such practice, he added, would create a bad precedent for future start-ups as they might think that businesses needed the government as a patron to ensure sustainability, creating new generations of oligarchs.Throughout March and April, other government bodies have partnered with start-ups in other sectors as well.The Agriculture Ministry signed a memorandum of understanding with ride-hailing apps Gojek and Grab to sell staple foods from the ministry’s marketplace Toko Tani Indonesia Center as well as partnered with e-commerce platform to sell rice.Meanwhile, the Health Ministry signed an MOU last month with 11 telemedicine start-ups, including Halodoc and Good Doctor Technology Indonesia, which can be accessed through Gojek and Grab, respectively. Topics :center_img Andi Taufan Garuda Putra (JP/Seto Wardhana)“There is clearly a conflict of interest that could lead to abuse of authority,” said Indonesian Forum for Budget Transparency (Fitra) secretary-general Misbah Hasan in a text message to The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.“CEOs should step down prior to working in the government to be neutral. But I think the government was wrong in the way it recruited these CEOs because these appointments could hinder their creativity in improving their start-ups,” Misbah said.Read also: Underprivileged millennials: Being young and poor in Jakartalast_img read more

New research says players at risk of coronavirus spread to lungs

first_imgResearch from Germany and Italy suggests that footballers and other athletes face a particular risk of the coronavirus infecting their lungs, raising major questions over attempts to restart professional soccer.The research, produced by Italian immunologists and lung specialists based at institutes in Berlin, Rome and Verona, suggests that due to strenuous exercise, elite athletes are more likely to inhale virus particles and direct them to the lower areas of the lung.COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, can cause lung damage and complications such as pneumonia and, in severe cases, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The preprint paper, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, also suggests that athletes who are asymptomatic could make their condition worse by infecting their lungs during strenuous exertion.Soccer has ground to a halt in all major leagues in Europe and none have yet to resume. European soccer’s governing body UEFA has set a May 25 deadline for leagues to outline their plans to re-start.Leagues, governing bodies and clubs, however, have said they will only return when play is safe and that they will take medical advice.In their paper: “The First, Comprehensive Immunological Model of COVID-19”, Paolo Matricardi, Roberto Dal Negro and Roberto Nisini raise questions over the safety of playing while the virus remains at large. “The pattern of breathing during strenuous exercise changes dramatically by a tremendous increase of ventilation [i.e.: inspiratory and expiratory volumes of air], and of alveolar ventilation in particular,” the authors state.”Professional athletes [are] particularly exposed [much more than individuals of common population] due to their frequent practice of extreme and long-lasting exercise.”The researchers state that the “ideal lungs” of athletes, while helpful in normal conditions, significantly favor the deep inhalation of infectious agents.”Even the SARS-CoV-2 can then spread more easily to the deepest areas of the lungs during strenuous exercise, and there start its aggressive action,” they said.Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the name given to the 2019 novel coronavirus. COVID-19 is the name given to the disease associated with the virus.”Not by chance, a great proportion of professional football players claimed the occurrence of fever, dry cough and malaise (and dyspnea in some cases) immediately after, or a few hours following their last official match,” note the authors.Asymptomatic athletes Adding to the dangers, the research says that players who have the virus but do not show symptoms, could make their condition worse by allowing the virus to move from their upper to lower airways.Asymptomatic but infected athletes could exhale or eliminate aerosolized particles that may contain viruses which are then re-inhaled.”These droplets or aerosol might be re-inhaled and facilitate the spread of the virus from the upper to the lower airways,” the paper states.The authors also look at the risk of the virus being transmitted during a game.”In sports where many athletes are in close contact, such as team sports or marathons, the same particles have high chances to be inhaled by other athletes, facilitating viral transmission.”To emphasize that strenuous exercise induces a much more frequent spitting of secretions and this can further contribute to the environmental SARS-CoV-2 spreading, particularly if the distancing recommendations are not strictly followed.”A separate new study from Aarhus University, in Denmark, looking at how much exposure players would have to a single infected player on the field, showed that, on average, a player is positioned within an ‘exposure zone’ for one minute and 28 seconds during a match.On Tuesday, the World Players Association, which represents some 85,000 athletes from different sports in over 60 countries, said competitors should not be rushed back to action.“At the moment there is a lot of pressure from the leagues on all continents to resume,” WPA Executive Director Brendan Schwab told Reuters in an interview.“The players can only agree to that [return] if they know that their interests will be protected. “Soccer’s global players’ union FIFPro has also urged caution. “We need guidance and protocols on how to return in a healthy and safe manner. Football is a contact sport and we feel very high protection standards are required,” said FIFPro secretary general Jonas Baer-Hoffmann.center_img Topics :last_img read more

First poverty, now pandemic threatens access to electricity

first_img And even before the outbreak of COVID-19 threw up new obstacles, the report estimated 620 million people would remain without electricity in 2030, 85% of them in sub-Saharan Africa.”Even before today’s unprecedented crisis, the world was not on track to meet key sustainable energy goals. Now, they are likely to become even harder to achieve,” said Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA).”We must redouble our efforts to bring affordable, reliable and cleaner energy to all – especially in sub-Saharan Africa, where the need is greatest – in order to build more prosperous and resilient economies,” he added in a statement.The report said disruptions caused by coronavirus lockdowns and their economic fallout would likely affect electrification, slowing and in some cases reversing advances. One in 10 people lack electricity and the pandemic will likely make it harder still to meet a global goal of getting power to everyone by 2030, international organizations said on Thursday.An annual report tracking progress on sustainable energy said more than a billion people have won access to electricity since 2010, with 90% of the planet connected in 2018.But that still left 789 million people without power. Some utilities and off-grid providers are expected to face financial difficulties, said the report from the IEA, the International Renewable Energy Agency, the U.N. Statistics Division, the World Bank and the World Health Organization.COVID-19 has also disrupted supply chains and limited the ability of many to pay for their services, it added.”Governments, hand in hand with the international community, should be prepared to mitigate these adverse effects to safeguard the gains in (electricity) access,” it said.The crisis has shown the need for reliable and clean energy at hospitals, for schools to prepare children for the digital economy, and for communities to pump clean water, it added.”Access to reliable energy is a lifeline, especially in the context of the COVID-19 crisis,” said Riccardo Puliti, global director for energy and extractive industries at the World Bank.”It is essential not only for preventing and addressing the pandemic but also for accelerating the recovery and building back better,” he added.The report showed that efforts to provide poor families, especially in rural communities, with cleaner cooking methods continued to stagnate, despite gains in large parts of Asia.In 2018, 2.8 billon people were cooking with smoky fuels like kerosene, coal and wood, compared with 3 billion in 2010.Under current and planned policies, 2.3 billion people would still not be using clean cooking fuels and technologies in 2030, falling short of a goal for universal access by almost 30%.The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to worsen the exposure of women and children to air pollution at home, which already causes close to 4 million deaths a year, the report warned.International aid to developing countries in support of clean and renewable energy hit $21.4 billion in 2017, double its level in 2010, but only 12% reached the least-developed countries and small island developing states, it said.To speed up deployment of renewable energy in those places, larger amounts of funding should be channeled to those most in need – even more so in a post-pandemic world, the agencies said.center_img Topics :last_img read more