Jokowi’s mother passes away at 77

first_img“Ladies and gentlemen, please send your prayers from Jakarta. You should focus on your duties,” Pratikno said in a widely broadcast message received by The Jakarta Post.“Please tell all broadcast groups not to come in hordes to Solo [Surakarta].”Born on Feb. 15, 1943, Sujiatmi passed away at 4:45 p.m. Jokowi arrived in Surakarta at 5:52 p.m., according to a broadcast message issued by the Presidential Secretariat’s press, media and information bureau.Jokowi immediately went to the Slamet Riyadi Military Hospital’s emergency room where his mother had been treated. Jokowi said that his mother died of throat cancer that she had had in the past four years.Sujiatmi was the daughter of Wirorejo and Sani, the only daughter among three siblings. Her parents were wood traders from Giriroto village, Ngemplak district, in Boyolali regency, which directly borders Surakarta.On Aug. 23, 1959, Sujiatmi married Widjiatno, a friend of her older brother Mulyono. The bride was 16 years old and the groom was 19.Widjiatno, who changed his name into Notomiharjo after he came of age, hailed from Kranggan village in Gondangrejo, Karanganyar regency, some 25 kilometers from Boyolali. Both his grandfather and father had been village chiefs.The marriage resulted in a son, Jokowi, who was the eldest, and three younger sisters, Iit Sriyantini, Idayati and Titik Ritawati.  After the marriage, Sujiatmi shifted from being a seamstress and the couple followed her father’s trade in the wood business under the tutelage of Wirorejo and Sani.Jokowi is known as a calm, courteous, humble and hardworking person. Apparently he inherited these features from his mother.“The most important thing in raising children is to be honest in all fields,” Sujiatmi said in an interview in 2016 for the Education and Culture Ministry’s Sahabat Keluarga (Family Friends) magazine.“From their young ages, I always told my children, ‘do not take what is not yours, do not wish for others’ belongings’.”She said such honesty was the main thing she and her husband taught their children. The couple also imparted the values of good manners, living frugally and being humble to forge the characters of Jokowi and his younger sisters.She said she never thought that her son would become a high ranking official, let alone the president, and she always told him to respect the mandate he received.“I always tell him that he no longer belongs to just the family, but to the entire Indonesian nation,” Sujiatmi said.“You got promoted three times in 10 years. You have to be very grateful. Do not become swayed. Just take a straight [course].”Sujiatmi’s remains were kept at her residence on Jl. Pleret Raya in Surakarta and she was to be buried on Thursday at 1 p.m. in the family cemetery in Gondangrejo.Meanwhile, condolences have poured in over social media, such as on Twitter. Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Australian Ambassador to Jakarta Gary Quinlan were among those who expressed their condolences over the popular platform.Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo told Metro TV that Sujiatmi had been active with various social and religious activities in Surakarta. Muhammadiyah chairman Haedar Nasir also said that Sujiatmi was very active in various Quran recitals held by Indonesia’s second largest Muslim organization in Surakarta.Topics : President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo faces a major blow in his efforts to quell the COVID-19 pandemic as his mother passed away at the age of 77 on Wednesday afternoon in Surakarta, Central Java, itself an epidemic center with the city administration declaring an extraordinary occurrence status.Out of 12 positive cases in Central Java, four are being treated at Surakarta’s Dr. Moewardi General Hospital and the city has had one of three deaths in the province.State Secretary Pratikno urged state officials to stay in Jakarta when praying for Sujiatmi Notomiharjo and refrain from going to Surakarta in large numbers.last_img read more

Indef projects growth down to 3.6%, urges health spending to tackle COVID-19

first_imgIndef has also urged the government to impose a lockdown on hot zones across the country to curb the spread of the virus and resolve the public health crisis as quickly as possible.“A lockdown will greatly affect the economy’s supply and demand, which will inevitably bring Indonesia to a recession. But it’s a bitter pill that we have to swallow to gain a larger economic benefit in the long run,” he said.Andry also urged the government to invest more in the public health sector, as doing so would increase Indonesia’s capacity to combat the outbreak while creating demand for medical equipment.“We should turn government spending in the public health sector into the main economic driver during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati has announced that the government would reallocate Rp 62.3 trillion (US$3.9 billion) in government spending from the 2020 budget to tackle the outbreak in the country.She also estimated that the state deficit could widen to between 2.2 and 2.5 percent of GDP this year, taking into account the government’s Rp 120 trillion emergency stimulus package to buoy the economy during the health crisis.While the government seems open to the possibility of increasing the cap on the budget deficit above 3 percent of GDP, Indef senior economist Dradjad Wibowo cautioned against it as a preemptive measure.“Deficit relaxation should only be a last resort. We should focus on budget reallocation first,” he stressed.The government has prepared a few scenarios on the outbreak’s long-term effects on the Indonesian economy.“If the issue worsens, [and] the COVID-19 outbreak lasts more than six months, international trade falls by 30 percent and the aviation industry faces a shock [drop] of 75 percent, economic growth could reach as low as 2.5 percent or even zero percent,” Sri Mulyani said after a limited Cabinet meeting on March 20.“We hope there will be a vaccine and antiviral [soon]. If these can be developed quickly, the [economic] impacts will surely be of a shorter term,” she added. (mpr)Topics : The revised Indef projection estimates household consumption dropping 4.8 percent to become the major contributing factor in dragging down the economy.Indonesia’s overall exports would decline 3 percent, while direct investment would drop around 2.4 percent, according to the negative growth projection.In terms of industrial sectors, Indef projects that processed animal products would see the biggest downturn of 7 percent, followed by electricity at 6 percent.“The COVID-19 pandemic will cause a doom loop in supply and demand, with the economy disrupted on both sides,” said Indef economist Andry Satrio Nugroho. Southeast Asia’s largest economy is now projected to grow just 3.6 percent this year, far below the government’s original estimate of about 5 percent, as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to severely hurt trade and manufacturing over the next six months. according to the think-tank.The Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef) has revised down Indonesia’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth projection for the year, with Indef macroeconomics researcher Rizal Taufikurohman estimating that major contributors to economic growth such as household consumption, investment and exports would drop significantly.According to Indef’s economic growth scenario, the pandemic is likely to disrupt the Indonesian economy for up to three to six months, with all provinces affected and Jakarta to be the hardest hit, it said.last_img read more

Australia opens pop-up coronavirus test clinic at Bondi Beach

first_imgTopics : “We can’t let our foot off the pedal, we can’t relax,” New South Wales (NSW) state Premier Gladys Berejiklian said in Sydney. “It doesn’t take long for things to get out of control.”NSW, the country’s most populous state, is responsible for almost half of the national cases and has imposed the strictest penalties for anybody found breaching the rules restricting movement.At Bondi Beach, health workers wearing masks and plastic gloves greeted people at the pop-up testing clinic. NSW officials said earlier this week the virus may have been transmitted in the Bondi community via an infected backpacker who was not aware they were carrying the disease.”Bondi is one of those places where we are seeing local transmission, and we have seen cases among backpackers in recent days,” NSW Health director Jeremy McAnulty said in Sydney on Wednesday. Bondi made headlines in March when thousands of people were seen ignoring social distancing rules at its world-famous beach.Official data showed that young people aged 20-29 account for the highest rates of coronavirus infections across the country, followed by those in their early 60s. Experts told local media the former were most likely to travel or socialize in groups, while the latter represented the cruise ship demographic.The rate of growth in new infections across Australia has slowed to just under 10% over the past three days, from 25-30% a week ago, raising hopes that Australia is starting to “flatten the curve”.”Whilst there are still more cases each day, we’re not seeing the scenes and the kind of growth in cases that so many other parts of the world are experiencing right now,” Daniel Andrews, the premier of Victoria, the country’s second most populous state, said in Melbourne.The federal government has planned for up to 100 pop-up clinics across the country to ramp up testing in transmission hot spots.In South Australia, the Barossa Valley wine region has closed schools and facilities this week due to a localized outbreak, while six baggage-handlers working at the state’s Adelaide airport have also tested positive to COVID-19.Barossa council mayor Bim Lange said that put pressure on vineyards and related businesses at the height of the grape-picking season.”We’ve had three years of drought, and now this,” Lange told Reuters.A single aged-care facility in Sydney accounts for a quarter of the national death toll.Economic fallout The Reserve Bank of Australia warned on Wednesday the country’s A$2 trillion ($1.23 trillion) economy would likely experience a “very material contraction” in economic activity that would spread across the March and June quarters and potentially longer. The RBA held an out-of-cycle meeting on March 18 when it reduced its cash rate to a record low 0.25% and embarked on a bond buying program to try and shield the economy from the devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Like many countries, Australia’s financial and jobs markets have been roiled by the outbreak, prompting the government to unveil several stimulus packages, including a A$130 billion ($79.9 billion) six-month wage subsidy.center_img Australian authorities opened a pop-up coronavirus testing clinic at Sydney’s Bondi Beach on Wednesday, as the country’s central bank warned the economic fallout from the pandemic could last for more than a year.Authorities were zeroing in on specific areas that have reported clusters of infections, following a sustained slow down in new cases in recent days to around 4,700 nationally. The death toll stands at 20, after a steady creep upward in recent days.Officials have stressed the need for continuing strict social distancing measures despite the slowdown, including restricting the number of people meeting in public to just two and the closure of parks, beaches and gyms.last_img read more

COVID-19: Govt mulls over plan to help migrant workers who lost their jobs in big cities

first_imgThe government is currently mulling over a plan to help migrant workers working in big cities across Indonesia who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic, including the possibility of facilitating their return to their hometowns.Indonesia’s COVID-19 rapid response task force chief Doni Monardo acknowledged that those workers would face difficulties if they stayed in the country during the health crisis, as they could barely make ends meet with no income.”We’re now reviewing options to help them, as many of them have lost their jobs and they have low purchasing power,” Doni said in a video-conference meeting with House of Representatives Commission IX overseeing health care and manpower on Thursday. “This would be a problem in the future, so we’re considering whether or not we will help them return to their hometowns.”Read also: Indonesia’s COVID-19 stimulus playbook explainedHe said the government had also tried to come up with a plan to give the affected workers opportunities to engage in new activities once they returned to their hometowns, including farming and fishing, which would contribute to help securing nationwide food supplies.”When the big cities lack food supplies, villages will therefore have a surplus. If the [migrant] workers return to their villages and switch jobs to become farmers and cattlemen, for instance, they can help us prepare to overcome a food crisis, which the WHO has previously warned about,” he said. Although it was still unclear when the plan would be finalized, Doni asserted that migrant workers returning to their hometowns should practice a 14-day self-quarantine upon their arrival so as to reduce the risk of further COVID-19 transmission.Indonesia has launched social safety net programs aimed at helping low-income families and informal workers who depend on their daily income to make ends meet, as the coronavirus has taken its toll on their jobs.Read also: Explainer: BI to throw lifeline to Indonesia’s economy to fight COVID-19The government has allocated Rp 110 trillion (US$6.6 billion) as a safety net budget for people hardest-hit by the pandemic. The amount will be disbursed to around 10 million families in the family hope program as well as the 15.2 million families in the staple food program.The budget for the pre-employment card program will be raised to Rp 20 trillion from the initial Rp 10 trillion, which the government expected would be sufficient to cover 5.6 million laid-off workers, informal workers as well as micro and small business owners.Social protection funds will also include free electricity for 24 million customers using 450 KVa and 7 million customers using 900 KVa.As of Thursday, there were 1,790 confirmed COVID-19 cases across the nation, with 170 deaths and 112 recovered cases, according to the official count of the government. Jakarta, the national epicenter of the outbreak, recorded 897 confirmed cases, more than half of the national figure. (nal)Topics :last_img read more

Locked-down Spain celebrates Holy Week with music and humor

first_img‘Really struggling’ Police have joined in on the act. In Seville, two municipal police cars drove slowly in front of a church, stopping at times before moving on just like Holy Week floats do, to the tune of religious music.With processions called off, many religious brotherhoods have focused on helping fight the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed more than 14,500 lives in Spain, one of the highest tolls in the world.In the northern city of Valladolid, 20 brotherhoods donated 1,000 euros ($1,085) each to buy protective equipment and other urgently needed supplies for healthcare workers, said local association leader Isaias Martinez Iglesias.Pablo Alen of Seville’s Carreteria brotherhood said it would take a “relatively big” economic hit this year, because it will not collect any donations from participants during the traditional Good Friday parade.With less money coming in the brotherhood’s priority is to focus on its charity work such as a soup kitchen, so it will postpone planned restorations of its religious artworks, he added.”There are people who are asking for help, who are really struggling,” Alen noted. In the week leading to Easter Sunday, hundreds of colorful processions featuring penitents in cone-shaped hoods and centuries-old religious floats traditionally flood the streets of villages and cities across Spain.But with a nationwide lockdown in place to curb the spread of COVID-19, Spaniards are finding ways to mark Holy Week from their homes, by blasting religious music from their balconies or viewing videos of last year’s parades.In the western city of Salamanca, the association of religious brotherhoods that organizes processions is posting pictures on social media of religious icons that would normally be paraded through the streets at the hour that would have taken place. “And on our YouTube channel we are posting a video of the procession from last year,” association president Jose Adrian Cornejo told AFP.There is one part of the processions that can still go ahead — the singing of “saetas”, short, flamenco prayers sung from balconies which are especially popular in the southwestern region of Andalusia.Saetas are usually sung as effigies of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary are carried past, but this year they are being performed to empty streets.Type in “saetas of confinement” on YouTube and several events come up, including one by Alex Ortiz in Seville — which is not staging Easter processions for the first time since 1933 —  who sings of a “sad spring” without “drums or bugles” in the streets. Topics : Toilet paper roll icon Pablo Murillo, a Catholic father of four, said he was celebrating Holy Week with “more seclusion”.He was supposed to take part in a Palm Sunday procession but instead listened to the traditional “marchas” — special musical compositions featuring wind instruments and drums that accompany the floats — at home with his sons.”My oldest who is 12 puts the speakers in the bathroom, and takes a shower while listening to the Holy Week ‘marchas’,” Murillo said.He lives near Seville’s largest hospital and every night many neighbors blast “marchas” from their balconies after applauding healthcare workers at 8:00 pm, as people are doing across Europe.Some people have violated the lockdown rules to celebrate Easter, meanwhile. In Puerta de Segura, a small town of whitewashed houses in Andalusia, several people left their homes to imitate a procession, with one man carrying a drum and a woman wearing a blanket wrapped around her head like the veils depicted in the statue of the Virgin Mary, images on Spanish TV showed.In the nearby town of Porcuna nine women dressed in black and carrying candles walked through the streets, while in the northern city of Palencia two men dressed in a tunic and hood held a mock procession by carrying an “icon” made of toilet paper rolls.last_img read more

UK ‘reaching’ virus peak as death toll approaches 13,000

first_img‘People need hope’ Earlier in the day, Keir Starmer, the new leader of the opposition Labor Party, said it would support any government decision to extend the social distancing orders. However, Starmer, who was elected Labor leader earlier this month, called on ministers to explain within a week their plan for easing restrictions, both to reassure the public and to give lawmakers time scrutinize it properly.”People need hope, they need to know there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” Starmer told BBC radio.In a letter to the government, he also warned: “We cannot repeat mistakes that have already been made on testing and access to protective equipment.”Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government has been criticized for not introducing the lockdown earlier, and for failing to properly prepare for the outbreak.Medical staff and care homes still complain of a lack of protective equipment, while testing for coronavirus remains limited.The government has promised 100,000 tests a day by the end of the month, but Starmer noted it was only at about 15,000 a day now.”If [mass] testing is part of the answer, then we now know that plans need to be in place to ramp up testing,” he said.Starmer formally set out his request in a letter to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is deputizing for Johnson while the prime minister recovers from his own bout of coronavirus.”This lockdown is not affecting people equally. In fact, it has exacerbated existing inequalities in our country,” Starmer wrote.”A family living in an overcrowded flat will have particular challenges. And it is hard to imagine the daily horror of someone trapped in a home with his or her abuser.”He asked Raab to set out clearly what criteria the government will use to inform the decision on how to ease the lockdown, and which economic sectors might be first to benefit.However, a government source said it was too soon, saying: “Talk of an exit strategy before we have reached the peak risks confusing the critical message that people need to stay at home.” England’s chief medical officer said on Wednesday he believed the UK coronavirus death toll, which now stands at almost 13,000, was approaching its peak but warned of grim figures to follow in the next 24 hours.”On the issue of the peak, our view is that it is probably reaching the peak overall and that is what the flattening shows,” Professor Chris Whitty said at a daily government crisis news briefing when asked about the number of people losing their life.But any optimism was tinged with the prospect that high fatality numbers “will continue”, Whitty said, confirming Britain as one of the worst affected countries by the global pandemic. Whitty’s comments came ahead of a government decision, expected on Thursday, to extend the lockdown and renew a stay-at-home order imposed three weeks ago to stem the spread of COVID-19.The government has come under increasing pressure in recent days over the death toll as charities and others said it did not reveal the true scale of the number of fatalities in British care homes.Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced on Wednesday, at the same briefing, that people with relatives in care homes would be given the “right to say goodbye” if they were gravely ill with the virus.center_img “I think it’s important, and I am saying this because new data will come out presumably tomorrow. My expectation would be that the number of deaths may well go up.”Figures announced by the health ministry earlier Wednesday showed that 12,868 people in hospital have died from the coronavirus, a rise of 761 on the previous day. That was slightly down from the 778 fatalities recorded on Tuesday but noticeably lower than a high of 980 deaths declared last Friday.The number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the UK has now reached 98,476. Topics :last_img read more

China’s economy shrinks for first time in decades as virus hits

first_imgChina’s economy recorded the first contraction in decades in the first quarter as the coronavirus outbreak shut down large parts of the world’s second-largest economy and dimmed the global outlook.Gross domestic product shrank 6.8 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, the worst performance since at least 1992 when official releases of quarterly GDP started, missing the consensus forecast of a 6 percent drop. Factory output fell 1.1 percent in March, retail sales slid 15.8 percent, while investment decreased 16.1 percent in the first three months of the year.The sharp contraction underscores the pressure that Chinese policy makers face as they attempt to revive the economy without nullifying efforts to contain the virus. The continued spread around the world also threatens to add fresh downward pressure on China’s exporters in a feedback loop that could throw millions out of work. “The first quarter contraction is not a surprise, considering the nationwide lock down in late January and February,” Robin Xing chief China economist at Morgan Stanley Asia, said on Bloomberg TV. “Most major economies are still in the lockdown stage. As a result, growth in the second quarter will be shallow, just marginally above zero.”China’s markets held gains after the release as investors digested the data. The Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.7 percent at 10:02 a.m., while the Chinese currency was 0.2 percent stronger versus the dollar. The Hang Seng Index climbed 2.4 percent in Hong Kong.China’s economy was forced into a paralysis in late January as the epidemic that first started in Wuhan spread across the country. The economy remained shuttered for much of February with factories and shops closed and workers stranded at home. The process of resuming business has been disappointingly slow and the return rate only inched up to around 90 percent at the end of March, Bloomberg Economics estimates.To cushion the economic blow, China has unveiled a range of support measures, although not on the scale of other nations.That includes 3.55 trillion yuan (US$502 billion) in low-cost funding provided to financial institutions, 1.29 trillion yuan in pre-approved local government special bonds, and 1.6 trillion yuan in cuts to various fee taxes, according to the nation’s cabinet.The central government is also mulling other policies like raising the deficit-to-GDP ratio, issuing special sovereign bonds and increasing the local government special bond quota, in order to fuel a faster economic recovery, according to a recent article from a senior official.Exports fell less than expected in March as production capacity was gradually restored, but economists warn bigger headwinds lie head as the rest of the world shuts down and external demand diminishes.Topics :last_img read more

New York reports 15 child cases of rare disease linked to COVID-19

first_imgFrance has also reported several cases.Though frightening, most recover without serious issues.New York’s government health department said it had identified 15 cases of children aged between two and 15 who had symptoms of Kawasaki disease.”That is enough for sure [to say] it’s causing us concern,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters. Four of the patients tested positive for COVID-19, the health department said in a statement.Six of the ten who tested negative were found to have antibodies, suggesting they had previously been infected with COVID-19.More than half of the patients required blood pressure support and five needed mechanical ventilation, but no fatalities were reported among the cases, the department said.Respiratory symptoms were reported in less than half the patients, it said. All experienced a fever and more than half reported rash, abdominal pain, vomiting, or diarrhea. New York City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot said a few cases had also been identified in Boston and Philadelphia.”We’re not sure what to make of this yet. We’re still learning everyday about how COVID-19 behaves,” she said.Treatment for Kawasaki disease involves intravenous immunoglobulin and aspirin, Barbot added. Fifteen children have been hospitalized in New York with a rare inflammatory disease possibly linked to coronavirus, officials said Tuesday, in the latest reports of the worrying syndrome.Kawasaki disease is a mysterious illness that primarily affects children up to the age of five and causes the walls of arteries to become inflamed, resulting in fever, skin peeling and joint pain.Britain’s National Health Service first sounded the alarm last month, warning about a small rise in children infected with the coronavirus that have “overlapping features of toxic shock syndrome and atypical Kawasaki disease.”center_img Topics :last_img read more

Trump cuts ties with WHO as pandemic grips Latin America

first_imgUS President Donald Trump said he is severing ties with the World Health Organization over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, as the death toll from the disease spiked again in the United States and Brazil.Trump’s move signals an end to hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to the United Nations agency just when it needs it most, with outbreaks in many parts of the world yet to reach their peak.Countries in Latin America are bracing for difficult weeks ahead, especially Brazil, where the death toll shot up by 1,124 on Friday and there were a record number of new infections. “The world needs answers from China on the virus. We must have transparency,” Trump said.Beijing has furiously denied US allegations that it played down or even covered up the threat from the virus after it was detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, insisting it has been forthcoming.Read also: Twitter attaches disclaimer to Trump tweet for ‘glorifying violence”Living in fear’ The pandemic has since claimed almost 364,000 lives globally and the number of cases is nearing six million.Populations are now learning to adjust to life with the long-term threat of infection as the virus continues its march around the globe and a vaccine remains elusive.As the disease spreads across South America, the poor have been hit hard in countries like Brazil, which now has the second highest number of cases in the world after the United States.Lockdowns have interrupted the meager services many depend on, such as school lunches for hungry children and water deliveries.”In 26 years, I’ve never seen so many people living in fear, so many people going hungry,” said Alcione Albanesi, founder of charity Amigos do Bem, which distributes supplies to communities in the hot, dry and impoverished Sertao region of Brazil’s northeast.”Everything has ground to a stop. But hunger doesn’t stop.”Chile also logged another record number of deaths on Friday, pushing its total to almost 1,000. The surge in the Americas comes as the number of infections continues to fall in much of Europe, which is pressing on down the path to economic re-opening after months of crippling lockdowns.Italy’s iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa is set to open Saturday, cinemas will reopen in Austria, and parks are scheduled to throw open their gates in Paris.Tourism-dependent Greece said it will restart its two main airports for arrivals from 29 countries from June 15 as the summer travel season picks up. But some European nations hard hit by the virus are not on the list, such as France, Spain, Britain and Italy.In Austria, hotels were on Friday allowed to take in tourists again under special guidelines, provided masks are worn.”It’s of course a lot more effort now. But the most important thing is that guests return,” Gilbert Kratschmann, marketing manager at the Das Triest boutique hotel in Vienna, told AFP.Turkey too moved ahead with easing its restrictions as mosques opened for the first time in months, drawing hundreds of worshippers in masks for mass prayers in Istanbul.And Denmark said it would reopen its border to visitors from Germany, Norway and Iceland from June 15, although Britain and the rest of the European Union will have to wait a few more months for access.Across the Atlantic, the US capital Washington resumed outdoor dining with social distancing precautions in place, and in New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state was “on track” to begin reopening in the week of June 8, even as the death toll in the US spiked again by 1,225 on Friday.Disney World in Florida said it will be up and running again from July 11.The economic damage from weeks of lockdowns continues to pile up, with Chile taking out a two-year $24 billion credit line with the IMF Friday to tackle the virus fallout.India’s economy grew at its slowest pace in two decades in the first quarter, and Canada and Brazil also said their GDP figures shrank.Germany and the European Commission meanwhile reached agreement on a giant Berlin-funded rescue plan for virus-hit Lufthansa, a commission spokeswoman and a source close to the negotiations said.But there were signs of progress in the sporting world, with England’s FA Cup final set to take place on August 1, football authorities announced, and competition in Spain’s La Liga will resume on June 11.Topics : Trump initially suspended funding to the WHO last month, accusing it of not doing enough to curb the early spread of the virus and being too lenient with China, where the virus emerged late last year.On Friday he made that decision permanent in a major blow for the UN agency’s finances, as the United States is by far its biggest contributor, pumping in $400 million last year.”Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization,” Trump told reporters.The Republican leader said the US would be redirecting WHO funds “to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs.”last_img read more

Indonesia seeks to renegotiate trade, investment deal with Japan

first_imgTopics : Japan also imposed the TRQ policy on Indonesia’s tropical fruit products such as fresh pineapple and banana, with the latter providing free entry for up to 1,000 metric tons per year for five years, IJEPA Annex 1 shows.Besides greater market access for export products, Made said the government was also lobbying to include travel workers into an article on the movement of natural persons, which allows entry and temporary stay permits for Indonesians workers in Japan.“As the Japanese government is currently focusing on tourism, Japan needs workers that can provide services to their tourism. We do have trained workers that could cater to that,” she said.IJEPA currently only provides entry and extendable one-year stay permits for skilled medical workers such as nurses and elderly care workers, outside of professional services workers and businesspeople, according to the agreement’s Annex 10.Indonesia has sent 622 nurses and 1,494 elderly care workers during the first 10 years of IJEPA’s implementation, Trade Ministry data shows.The ad interim charge d’affaires of the Indonesia Embassy in Tokyo, Tri Purnajaya, hopes that IJEPA would boost trade and investment between the two countries. The embassy is currently vying to establish a travel corridor for Japanese businesspeople to travel to Indonesia.“We are currently working with the Japanese government to promote easing travel restrictions, so we could facilitate more business travel between the two sides,” he said.IJEPA was implemented by the two countries in 2008 and was reviewed in 2013 based on Article 151 of the agreement, which mandates a general review in the fifth year since the agreement took effect.However, IJEPA’s general review [GR-IJEPA] negotiation effort was stalled in 2016 due to disagreements over automotive products and steel tariffs. It was then resumed in the following year, with the GR-IJEPA report concluded in 2019. The government is seeking to expand access to the Japanese market, reduce tariffs and liberalize the movement of workers in tourism through Indonesia-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (IJEPA) renegotiations.According to the Trade Ministry’s bilateral negotiations director Ni Made Ayu Marthini, the government is focusing on expanding its market access and reviewing Japan’s Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQ) for Indonesia’s agricultural products.“In regard to market access, some of our fishery products still have higher tariffs to enter the Japanese market, including canned products. We would also like to secure the fruit market in Japan, and Japan currently implements the TRQ for Indonesia’s [products],” she said during an online webinar held by SSEK Legal Consultant on Tuesday.center_img Greater market access for Indonesia’s products would boost trade between the two countries, Made said, as Japan is Indonesia’s third-largest export destination and second-largest import source.The total value of trade between Indonesia and Japan reached US$31.56 billion in 2019, a slight decrease from $37.44 billion in 2018, according to Trade Ministry data. Indonesia also posted a trade surplus of around $320 million in 2019.Under IJEPA, fresh and chilled fishery products from Indonesia, including salmon and trout, are excluded from tariff reduction commitments alongside canned tuna products. Meanwhile, other canned fishery products are subject to further negotiations, according to the IJEPA’s Annex 1.“We want 0 percent tariff on [canned fishery] products because we think it will be a win-win situation. Japanese consumers will have the products and there are many Japanese investors who are investing in Indonesia to produce them for the Japanese market,” Made said.last_img read more