Chemical reaction

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East Kalimantan governor to ‘personally stop’ new capital construction if harmful to forests

first_imgKutai Kartanegara regency is home to a 61,850 hectare forest called Bukit Soeharto. Through Agriculture Ministerial Decree No. 818/1982, late former president Soeharto named the location the Bukit Soeharto Conservation Forest, which then covered 27,000 ha. The government subsequently expanded the conservation area over the years until it covered 61,850 ha in 2004, when the Environment and Forestry Ministry declared it the Bukit Soeharto Grand Forest Park.Known as a Taman Hutan Raya (Grand Forest Park) in the province, the sprawling Bukit Soeharto is also home to local wildlife conservation groups such as the Wanariset Samboja Center of Orangutan Rehabilitation and Reintroduction. In addition, Bukit Soeharto is also home to Mulawarman University’s forest education site.According to experts, Bukit Soeharto’s current status as a national forest park could save the government a considerable amount of money allocated for land acquisition, since the entire area is state-owned. (rfa) The environment is a vital component of the lives of East Kalimantan residents, therefore it has to be protected, he added.“It’s better that the capital doesn’t end up being relocated to East Kalimantan if it only brings destruction to local forests,” Isran said, adding that the province had previously committed to protecting the environment in several international declarations, including the New Green Growth Pathway in 2016.Read also: Jokowi wants to see oxygen-rich forests in new capitalPresident Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced in August last year that the province’s North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kertanegara regencies would host the country’s new capital, replacing the overpopulated and sinking Jakarta. East Kalimantan Governor Isran Noor has called on the central government to be more mindful of the lush forests covering parts of the province as Jakarta moves forward with its long-term plan to relocate the country’s capital city to the region.Isran addressed his concerns over the environmental impact of the imminent capital relocation during a meeting with the Climate and Land Use Alliance (CLUA) at the East Kalimantan governor’s office in Samarinda on Monday.“I will personally stop [the new capital construction] if it damages the forests,” he said after the meeting as quoted by Topics :last_img read more

World Bank adds $2b to funds available for coronavirus response

first_imgTopics : IFC said the funding would also help existing clients in tourism, manufacturing and other heavily affected sectors keep paying their bills, while aiding the healthcare industry as it races to meet surging demand for services, equipment and drugs.World Bank President David Malpass said the bank was committed to provide a fast and flexible response based on the needs of developing countries.In this file photo taken on Jan. 17, 2019 The World Bank Group logo is seen on the building of the Washington-based global development lender in Washington,DC. (AFP/Eric Baradat).Usage: 0 (AFP/Eric Baradat)“It’s essential that we shorten the time to recovery,” Malpass said. “Support operations are already underway, and the expanded funding tools approved today will help sustain economies, companies and jobs.” The World Bank on Tuesday said it had increased to US$14 billion the amount of fast-track financing available to members to respond to the global coronavirus pandemic, adding $2 billion to an initial package announced on March 3.The change will give the World Bank’s International Financing Corp a total of $8 billion to support private companies and their employees hurt by economic impacts of the virus, the bank said.It said the bulk of the funding would be used by client financial institutions so they can continue to offer trade financing, working capital and medium-term financing to private firms struggling with disruptions in supply chains.center_img More than 187,700 people have been infected by the coronavirus in 162 countries, and 7,495 have died, according to a Reuters tally.IFC Chief Executive Officer Philippe Le Houerou said the institution’s goal was to help clients sustain their operations during the current health emergency phase so they could help economies recover more quickly later.The Bank said the boards of directors of the World Bank and the IFC on Tuesday responded to requests from clients and approved the addition of $2 billion in new funding on top of $6 billion made available through other IFC instruments.The new component offers funding from the IFC’s Global Trade Liquidity Program and its Critical Commodities Finance Program, both of which provide support to local banks so they can continue to finance companies in emerging markets.IFC is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets and works with 2,000 business worldwide. In fiscal 2019, it delivered more than $19 billion in long-term financing for developing countries.last_img read more

US joblessness spikes as virus takes toll on businesses

first_imgThe Conference Board on Wednesday said unemployment could rise to as high as 15 percent later this year — far beyond the 10 percent peak hit in October 2009 during the global financial crisis.Fed, Congress to the rescueGregory Daco of Oxford Economics said the outlook is grim: “The US economy will experience the largest economic contraction on record with the most severe surge in unemployment ever.”The US Senate has approved a $2.2 trillion economic rescue package that includes an unprecedented expansion in unemployment benefits to try to cushion the blow until the pandemic is under control — and businesses can reopen.The bill would increase weekly payments by $600 and expand them to more workers who were ineligible before, including those who are self-employed or work in the gig economy, which could amount to more than 15 million.The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the measure on Friday,  and President Donald Trump has pledged to sign it quickly.”It protects all American workers,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday on CNBC, calling on lawmakers to pass the bill quickly — and do so unanimously.”The American workers and American public and American business, they need the money now. So this is not the time to debate a bill that passed with every single vote.”The package also provides cash payments of $1,200 for many Americans, and grants to small- and medium-sized businesses, as well as huge amounts for major industries like airlines that have been hit hard by the crisis.The Federal Reserve also has been rolling out all its firepower, slashing the benchmark interest rate to zero earlier this month and launching a host of initiatives, including unlimited purchases of US Treasury debt and mortgage debt and lending to companies and municipalities, to keep the US financial system from freezing up.In a rare public interview, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Thursday the central bank would continue to lend “aggressively” to support the world’s largest economy.”When it comes to this lending, we’re not going to run out of ammunition. That doesn’t happen,” Powell said on NBC. Worse to come in AprilBut forecasters say these efforts cannot stave off a recession — and are only the first steps in dealing with the crisis.”Fed action and fiscal measures can only ameliorate the pain, and we remain worried that the latter aren’t yet on a sufficient scale,” Shepherdson said, adding that $2 trillion “is a lot, but more will be needed, soon.”While economists unanimously warn about a massive increase in the jobless level, the all-important government employment report for March will not capture the full impact: the data are based on the pay period that includes the 12th of each month, which for this month came before the massive shutdowns. The March jobs report is due out on April 3, but the April report, set for release May 8, is likely to be the one that shows a surge in the unemployment rate from the current 50-year low of 3.5 percent.Topics : With streets in major cities empty, and shops and restaurants forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic, there was a record explosion of Americans filing for unemployment benefits.A staggering 3.3 million workers filed claims in the week ending March 21, the highest ever recorded, the Labor Department said Thursday, in a report that laid bare the devastating impact of the health crisis on the US economy.The data lend credence to warnings that the overall US unemployment rate will likely spike into the double digits, although that may not be immediately apparent in the March figures given the way the rate is calculated. “I’ve been writing about the US economy every day since 1996, and this is the single worst data point I’ve ever seen, by far,” said Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics, who correctly forecast initial jobless claims would pass the three million mark.The figure far surpasses the previous record of 695,000 set in October 1982.Nearly every state cited COVID-19 for the jump in initial jobless claims, with heavy impacts in food services, accommodation, entertainment and recreation, health care and transportation, the Labor Department report said.Economists are projecting the pandemic-induced shutdowns could lead to a staggering 14 percent contraction of the US economy.last_img read more

UK man jailed for six months for ‘virus’ police cough

first_imgChief Superintendent Helen Harper said: “While these type of assaults are thankfully a rare occurrence, this incident was horrendous and if we do encounter this type of unacceptable behavior we will be robust in our response. “I hope the sentence today conveys a strong message that it will not be tolerated.” A man who coughed on a police officer and threatened to infect him with coronavirus was on Wednesday sentenced to six months in jail in Britain, a police statement said.Adam Lewis, 55, was sentenced under a specific law governing assaults against emergency workers, which was introduced in November 2018 and carries a maximum jail term of 12 months.He was stopped after allegedly trying the door handles of cars in central London on Tuesday afternoon, by a policeman who then tried to stop and search him. Lewis smashed a bottle of wine he was holding on the floor and then verbally threatened the officer, according to a statement from London’s Metropolitan Police.”I am COVID [19 positive] and I am going to cough in your face and you will get it,” he reportedly said, before coughing on the police officer.Lewis then tried to spit in the officer’s face and threatened to bite him, the Met said.He was arrested and appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Makassar gets PSBB go-ahead, plans to isolate COVID-19 hot zones

first_imgWith the green light from the central government Makassar will soon be joining at least 10 other regions that have imposed partial lockdowns under the PSBB to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Indonesia. The regions include the nation’s capital, Jakarta, the epicenter of the Indonesian outbreak, as well as its satellite cities of Bogor, Bekasi, Depok and Tangerang, as well as Pekanbaru in Riau.On Thursday, the country reported 5,516 confirmed cases and 496 deaths.Iqbal Suhaeb of the Makassar administration confirmed that the South Sulawesi capital was drafting the PSBB regulation in coordination with the Makassar city council. “We will disseminate the regulation [to the public] first before [the PSBB] is enforced,” said Iqbal, adding that he expected the the regulation to be ready to issue by next week.The Makassar administration has prepared 35,000 packages of staple goods for distributing to the poor. It has also readied 35,000 masks for people who needed them, as the PSBB requires all residents to wear masks when they venture outdoors.The administration also plans to build public kitchens in quarantined areas so that food is readily available.Makassar had set aside some Rp 300 billion (US$19.1 million) for its COVID-19 response, Iqbal said. South Sulawesi is one of the “red zones” of the Indonesian outbreak, recording 271 confirmed cases and 23 deaths by Thursday afternoon.Meanwhile, its neighboring provinces of West Sulawesi and South Sulawesi had respectively recorded seven and 26 confirmed cases. (vny)Topics : Essential services such as markets, grocery stores and pharmacies will operate as usual while the PSBB is in place, while offices and schools are to remain closed. People are urged to continue adhering to the stay-at-home and work from home (WFH) policies. However, employees who are still required to go in to the office would still be permitted to do so.”People can still carry out activities, except those in isolated areas [hot zones], because they are considered to be ODP [people under monitoring],” said Nurdin.Read also: COVID-19: Pekanbaru first area in Sumatra granted request to impose large-scale social restrictionsThe Makassar administration was now drafting a regulation on the PSBB implementation, he added. The South Sulawesi administration is soon to impose large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) to contain the rapid spread of the coronavirus in the provincial capital of Makassar, following the Health Ministry’s approval of its PSBB proposal on Thursday.In particular, South Sulawesi plans to lock down the hot zones in Makassar and heighten monitoring to restrict the movement of people in border areas, namely the regencies of Maros, Gowa and Takalar.The PSBB would be implemented once the administration had confirmed that all residents had sufficient stock of basic goods for the duration of the partial lockdown, particularly those in hot zones,  South Sulawesi Governor Nurdin Abdullah said on Thursday.last_img read more

COVID-19: Jokowi cancels Idul Fitri open house event at State Palace

first_imgPresident Joko “Jokowi” Widodo will not host an open house public gathering at the State Palace on the first day of the Idul Fitri holidays on Monday to comply with physical distancing measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.Last year, the President hosted a similar event at Merdeka Palace, with thousands thronging to greet him.“An open house will involve a large mass gathering that can increase COVID-19 transmission, therefore, the President will not host the event,” presidential staffer Angkie Yudistia wrote in a statement on Friday. Read also: Some regional leaders to allow mass Idul Fitri prayers despite calls to worship at homeShe added that Jokowi understood that Idul Fitri was a moment to forgive each other and to strengthen ties with relatives and friends. However, people needed to maintain physical distance and communicate online instead, Angkie said.“All meetings held and attended by the President are conducted virtually using video. There should be no exception for Idul Fitri gatherings.”The government previously declared a ban on all mass religious activities, including Idul Fitri congregational prayers, to prevent a spike in COVID-19 cases. (aly)Topics :last_img read more

Google boots far-right site from ad platform

first_imgTopics : “We do have strict publisher policies that govern the content ads can run on, which includes comments on the site. This is a longstanding policy.”The action against ZeroHedge and warning sent to The Federalist related to content in comments sections that consistently violated Google’s policy about dangerous and derogatory content, according to the internet company.The offending content was related to false information about recent Black Lives Matter protests, US media reported. ZeroHedge said in a post at the website that it is appealing Google’s decision and expects to “remedy” the situation. Google on Tuesday confirmed that it booted one far-right website from its ad platform and put another on notice for hosting “dangerous and derogatory” comments about civil rights protests.The internet giant said that it stopped channeling money-making ads to ZeroHedge and warned The Federalist that it too could be blocked from Google Ads for violating policy about content.“To be clear, The Federalist is not currently demonetized,” a Google spokesperson said in response to an AFP inquiry.center_img The policy at issue was put in place by Google three years ago as part of an effort to avoid advertisers from having their marketing messages appear next to vile or hateful content on websites.last_img read more

Pelita Samudera sees H1 profits halve, secures $19.8m in contracts

first_img“A contract worth almost $3.3 million was signed in June to ship Alumina from Kendawangan in West Kalimantan to Kuala Tanjung in North Sumatra using Handysize bulk carriers,” it reads.The company also secured a five-year charter contract extension for its Floating Loading Facility (FLF) with PT Asian Bulk Logistics and a tugboat charter with PT Dian Ciptamas Agung.At the same time, the company reported a 50 percent annual decline in its net profit in the first half of the year to $2.2 million. Pelita Samudera also posted a 2 percent year-on-year (yoy) revenue decline to $35.5 million, which it attributed to the operation of newly bought ships.“All four bulk carriers that we bought in 2019 have been fully operational this year, supporting the increase of charter revenue by 87 percent yoy to $6.6 million in the first half from $3.5 million in the same period last year,” the company said. Publicly listed shipping company PT Pelita Samudera Shipping secured US$19.8 million worth of long-term contracts in the first half as its profit halved amid slumping international trade.The contracts included a $3.3 million deal with state-owned mining holding company PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum), according to the company’s statement on Tuesday.Read also: Port operator Pelindo III records decline in ship traffic The company’s stocks, traded on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) under the symbol PSSI, remained unchanged as of 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday as the main gauge, the Jakarta Composite Index (JCI), retreated 0.1 percent. The company’s stocks have lost 9.7 percent of their value this year.Read also: Shipping industry weathers pandemic, oil price stormIndonesia’s sea freight industry suffered a double blow in May as falling international trade and a global oil price slump put pressure on shipping demand, according to the Indonesian National Shipowners Association (INSA).The association reported that container shipping revenue had fallen by between 10 and 25 percent from normal levels. Revenue from bulk carriers, such as tankers, tugs and barges, had dropped by between 25 and 50 percent.State-owned port operator PT Pelabuhan Indonesia (Pelindo) III previously announced an 8 percent annual decline in overall ship traffic and a 10 percent annual slump in freight shipping traffic in the first half of 2020.Pelindo III expectes a 9 to 15 percent annual decline in shipped goods by the end of 2020, from the 75 million tons of goods that were shipped last year.Topics :last_img read more

Indonesia’s retail sales contract further but show signs of improvement

first_imgThe government has been campaigning heavily for “adapting to new habits”, asking people to wear masks and wash their hands regularly, among other measures, to save the economy, which is expected to contract by 0.4 percent this year or grow by only 1 percent.Indonesia booked its first GDP decline in two decades as the economy shrank 5.32 percent in the second quarter this year as all components of economic activity fell.The retail sales index in the second quarter contracted 18.2 percent yoy, compared to a contraction of 1.9 percent in this year’s first quarter and 4.2 percent growth in the second quarter of last year, the central bank said.According to the survey, retail sales are set to pick up in the next three to six months following the reopening of the economy, which is expected to boost the public’s purchasing power.“The retail sales performance hit rock bottom in May, showing early signs of recovery in consumption [in June], albeit at a very slow pace,” Mirae Asset Sekuritas Indonesia economist Anthony Kevin told The Jakarta Post. “We continue to expect a U-shaped economic recovery.”Anthony said the demand and supply sides of the economy had yet to pick up significantly after the slump recorded in the second quarter. He said he expected the economy to shrink by 1.8 percent yoy in the third quarter as the recovery remained slow amid rising coronavirus cases.“We are not confident about economic growth should government spending remain weak throughout the year. Therefore, the key is to expedite budget spending,” he went on to say.The government has earmarked Rp 695.2 trillion (US$47.5 billion) for boosting the economy and stimulating consumer demand, but many economists warn it may not be effective if spending remains slow.As of Aug. 6, the government had only spent Rp 151.25 trillion of the stimulus budget, five months after the first outbreak in March, Finance Ministry data show.Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati attributed the slow spending to complicated bureaucracy and a lack of citizens’ data, among other reasons. Retail sales in Indonesia fell 17.1 percent year-on-year (yoy) in June, marking a slight improvement when compared with an even greater contraction recorded in May, as the economy started to recover after three months of partial lockdown to curb the coronavirus spread, a Bank Indonesia (BI) survey released on Tuesday shows.In May, retail sales were down 20.6 percent yoy.The government began lifting large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in early June to rescue the virus-battered economy. Compared to the preceding month, June saw improvements in the purchase of vehicle fuels, food, beverages and tobacco, as well as information services, among other categories, according to the survey.“The improved retail sales performance was driven by reopening of retail stores during the shift from the PSBB [and to the adoption of] new habits,” the central bank said in the survey.“The retail sales performance is expected to improve further in July despite still being in a contraction phase.”The central bank estimates that sales in July were down 12.3 percent yoy, which would be a further decline in the severity of the contraction, thanks to higher sales of food, beverage and tobacco as well as household equipment.center_img Topics :last_img read more