Posted on: October 19, 2020 Posted by: admin Comments: 0

Indonesia calls for parties to exercise self-restraint in South China Sea amid pandemic

first_imgIndonesia expressed on Wednesday its concern about recent activities in the South China Sea that could potentially lead to an escalation in tensions at a time when a collective global effort is needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.The concerns were raised following the latest maneuvers by China and the United States in the highly disputed region – a sea in the Pacific Ocean that covers an area of around 3.5 million square kilometers.The South China Sea has been the source of a prolonged dispute between China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei, which each have competing territorial claims. The flight by the US bombers comes several days after the Chinese military said it opposed “foreign powers bolstering their naval presence in the South China Sea”.Taiwanese National Defense Ministry (MND) spokesman Shih Shun-wen pointed out that the Taiwanese air force maintained full control over the sea and air surrounding the Taiwan Strait, despite many previous military flights being conducted by Washington over the region.These missions serve to maintain the US’ presence in the region while it also seeks to keep an eye on Chinese military developments amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan News reported.Retno said Indonesia had called on all relevant parties to “exercise self-restraint and to refrain from undertaking action that may [erode] mutual trust and potentially escalate tension in the region”, adding that such a state of affairs needed to be maintained after negotiations of the code of conduct (COC) on the South China Sea were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.Indonesia, she added, believed that a stable situation in the South China Sea would be conducive to the COC negotiations.“Therefore, we remain committed to ensuring a COC that is effective, substantive and actionable, despite the current circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” she concluded.[RA::Australia joins US ships in South China Sea amid rising tensionhttps://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/04/22/australia-joins-us-ships-in-south-china-sea-amid-rising-tension.html]Since last month, Beijing has been increasingly assertive in the region as the COVID-19 crisis eases on the mainland, with a crackdown against democracy activists in Hong Kong and saber-rattling around Taiwan and the South China Sea, Reuters reported.The US State Department said China was taking advantage of the region’s focus on the pandemic to “coerce its neighbors”.The news agency reported that China had also been flying regular fighter patrols near Taiwan and had sent a survey ship flanked by coast guard and other vessels into the South China Sea, prompting the United States to accuse Beijing of “bullying behavior”.Topics : In a virtual press briefing on Wednesday, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi said that Indonesia underlined the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea including “ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight” and urged “all parties to respect international law particularly the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea [UNCLOS]”.On Monday, US air force bombers reportedly conducted a sortie over the East China Sea in what was called a “freedom of navigation operation”, Taiwanese English newspaper Taiwan News reported.The newspaper said that two US B-1B supersonic bombers flew from Guam to the East China Sea and approached Taiwan’s northeastern maritime border along the way.Read also: Malaysia calls for peaceful end to months-long South China Sea standofflast_img read more

Posted on: October 19, 2020 Posted by: admin Comments: 0

Europe lifts virus shutters as Japan ends emergency

first_img‘Break the isolation’As gyms and swimming pools reopened in Germany, Iceland, Italy and Spain, slowing infection rates in Greece allowed restaurants to resume business a week ahead of schedule — but only for outdoor service.”I’m thrilled to break the isolation of recent months and reconnect with friends,” said pensioner Giorgos Karavatsanis. “The cafe in Greece has a social dimension, it’s where the heart of the district beats.”But not all the news from Europe was encouraging.Sweden, which has gained international attention for not enforcing stay-at-home measures, saw its COVID-19 death toll pass 4,000, a much higher figure than its neighbors.And in Britain a political scandal raged on as Prime Minister Boris Johnson defied pressure to sack his top aide Dominic Cummings, accused of breaching the government’s own lockdown rules in March and April.As Johnson separately announced the government will allow non-essential retail stores to reopen June 15, thousands of sun worshippers swarmed a beach — in the southern resort town of Bournemouth — underscoring the difficulty of enforcing social distancing rules in the summer months. Meanwhile, hopes that anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine could be used as a potential treatment for the virus were quashed as the World Health Organization halted clinical trials “while the safety is reviewed.”With the global economy battered, governments are scrambling to provide relief to businesses and citizens wearying of mass confinement.In hard-hit Spain, Madrid and Barcelona cautiously emerged from one of the world’s strictest lockdowns, with parks and cafe terraces open for the first time in more than two months.Hundreds of people flooded Madrid’s famous Retiro Park to enjoy a stroll or a jog in the sunshine. “The reopening of Retiro brings me a feeling of serenity, gives me comfort,” said Rosa San Jose, a 50-year-old schoolteacher.In other parts of Spain, beaches reopened with strict guidelines for social distancing.The Spanish government also announced that it would scrap quarantine for foreign arrivals from July 1, in the hope of helping the battered tourism sector. The new epicenter The pandemic may be under control in many parts of the world, but in Brazil it shows no sign of slowing.The world’s sixth-largest country has now recorded 22,600 deaths, even as far-right President Jair Bolsonaro continues to play down the threat.He flouted social distancing rules again on Sunday, attending a rally outside the presidential palace in Brasilia, ditching his face mask, shaking hands and even hoisting a young boy onto his shoulders.The White House said on Sunday it would bar entry into the US of non-Americans who have been in Brazil in the previous 14 days — despite Bolsonaro being a close ally of President Donald Trump.Trump himself launched a virulent attack on the media on Monday for criticizing him for playing golf twice over the weekend, as the country fast approaches the 100,000 death milestone.”The Fake and Totally Corrupt News makes it sound like a mortal sin!” tweeted the golf-loving president — as his rival for the presidency Joe Biden emerged from a two-month confinement, in a mask, to lay a Memorial Day wreath.Trump has also threatened to pull the Republican National Convention out of North Carolina in protest at the state’s slow lifting of virus restrictions.When and how to exit lockdowns has divided Americans — some seeing the restrictions as an infringement of their liberties. ‘Very nervous’Despite experts warning against reopening too soon, and recommending some form of confinement measures until a vaccine or treatment is developed, governments are feeling immense pressure to ease lockdowns.India — which has imposed the world’s biggest lockdown — resumed domestic flights on Monday, with the government desperate to get Asia’s third-largest economy moving again.But infections are still surging in India, and one airline employee said she and many other colleagues felt “very nervous” about starting work again.center_img ‘New lifestyle’ In the US, Americans are watching each other closely as states gingerly lift lockdown measures to varying extents. Video footage of a raucous, elbow-to-elbow pool party in Missouri over the weekend has now been viewed some 16 million times on YouTube. Americans desperate for breathing room and company after two months of lockdown also headed to beaches on both coasts. Crowds packed the boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland. Police on horseback patrolled a bustling shoreline in Venice Beach, California.   In Asia, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ended a nationwide state of emergency after new cases slowed to a crawl.The move will help the world’s third-largest economy to gradually pick up speed again, but Abe urged citizens to remain cautious.”If we lower our guard, the infection will spread very rapidly… we need to be vigilant,” he said.He urged people to adopt a “new lifestyle” and continue to avoid the “three Cs” — closed spaces, crowded places and close contact. Europeans flocked to parks, gyms and pools on Monday as more countries eased coronavirus restrictions, while Japan lifted its state of emergency but urged vigilance to avoid another wave of infections.In the United States, as the pandemic death toll approached the horrific milestone of 100,000, stir-crazy Americans also headed en masse to beaches and parks for the big Memorial Day weekend.While many Americans wore masks and followed distancing rules, many did not — and images of packed pools and boardwalks triggered fears of a new flare up of the virus that has infected more than 5.4 million worldwide and killed more than 344,000 according to an AFP tally. Topics :last_img read more

Posted on: October 19, 2020 Posted by: admin Comments: 0

Defiant Australians protest racial injustice despite warnings

first_img“The fact that they have tried to push us all back and stop the protest, it makes people want to do it even more,” said Jumikah Donovan, one of thousands who turned up thinking the ban was still in place.The Sydney march was largely peaceful, although one “All Lives Matter” counter-protester was taken away by police.Demonstrators brandished signs that read “I can’t breathe”, a nod to the last words of African-American man George Floyd, whose death while being arrested has sparked civil rights protests around the world.Another read: “Same story, different soil.” The movement has resonated strongly with many in Australia — a country also wrestling with the legacy of a racist past.Organizers said they hoped to highlight the high rates of imprisonment among Aboriginal Australians and large number of deaths in custody of indigenous people — more than 400 in the last three decades.No prosecutions have been brought despite dozens of investigations, inquests and in some cases video evidence of abuse.Many of the protesters wore face masks, brought hand sanitizer and tried to social distance as best they could.”There are things in the world that need to be addressed,” said Fay Goli. “If one person can stand, that’s great, but if a majority can stand together there will be a stronger voice for change.”Australia has seen a sustained drop in the number of COVID-19 cases, but social distancing rules remain in force and mass gatherings are not permitted.”Police are prepared for anybody that wants to just flout the law,” New South Wales Police Minister David Elliott told media before the rallies.Protesters in Melbourne were warned they could face fines for attending a rally if social distancing was not observed, although police appeared not to be enforcing those rules.The day before the protests Prime Minister Scott Morrison had urged people to stay home.”Let’s find a better way and another way to express these sentiments rather than putting your own health at risk,” Morrison said.He admitted there was more to be done to address indigenous inequality, but rejected parallels with the United States.”Australia is not other places, so let’s deal with this as Australians and not appropriate what’s happening in other countries to our country at this time.”Topics : Tens of thousands of Australians defied government calls to stay at home Saturday by spilling onto the streets for Black Lives Matter protests in major towns and cities across the country.Marchers in Sydney, Melbourne and elsewhere rejected arguments from law enforcement and conservative leaders that mass protests could fuel the spread of coronavirus.A court on Friday declared the Sydney protest illegal on health grounds, although the ruling was overturned by an appeals court minutes before the march was due to start.last_img read more

Posted on: October 19, 2020 Posted by: admin Comments: 0

Mexico’s coronavirus death surge puts testing regime under the microscope

first_imgTopics : Government allies are also breaking ranks, and even President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has faced criticism for downplaying the severity of the pandemic, has hinted he backs a broader approach to testing.”How can you end a lockdown when you don’t have clear data, and the number of dead continues to rise?,” Lorena Villavicencio, a federal congresswoman for the ruling National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), told Reuters.MORENA Senate leader Ricardo Monreal has been among those calling for more tests.As well as playing down the need for mass testing, the government was slow to decentralize diagnostics, doctors say. Now that more private medical centers run tests, thousands of new cases are emerging, and not all appear in federal numbers. With an official tally of over 17,500 fatalities, Mexico has the seventh-highest coronavirus death toll in the world. But it also has one of the lowest rates of testing, according to Our World in Data, a research group at Oxford University.Two days after a phased exit from lockdown began on June 1, Mexico logged its highest daily death toll, more than doubling the previous record to nearly 1,100.The next morning, Lopez Obrador pointedly reminded the public the government’s strategy was the work of Lopez-Gatell and Health Minister Jorge Alcocer.”All the management of the process to tackle the pandemic was in their hands,” he said. “They’re the ones who have drawn up all the steps. We’ve moved in accordance with their recommendations.”The president also said he was open to more testing.But he still defends the government’s approach, noting Mexico has suffered far fewer deaths than the United States, where more than 116,000 people have died.SentinelCentral to Mexico’s initial strategy was using a so-called Sentinel model established in 2006 to track flu-like diseases via a network of 475 medical monitoring stations.The model, said Lopez-Gatell, allowed Mexico to make projections with partial data like an “opinion poll.”But the model was not designed for the new virus and the monitoring stations were not set up to provide a representative overview of Mexico, said former health minister Salomon Chertorivski.”If you want to monitor a new pandemic in real time, it simply gives you very limited information,” he said.Arguing that exhaustive mapping was unrealistic, Lopez-Gatell has focused on conserving medical facilities for the most needy, and encouraging the public to self-isolate.That has helped manage hospital saturation, but also means some people cannot get help until it is too late, critics say. The government denies this.Daniel Diaz, health minister of Guanajuato state, said the strategy also overlooked asymptomatic carriers, who made up one in five of all cases in his state. Many of them did not take social distancing seriously until they had been tested, he said.The WHO is still debating how important asymptomatic carriers are in the pandemic.Go privateOpposition-run states in northern and central Mexico have led the charge toward a more comprehensive testing scheme, working jointly to share information and collaborating with the private sector.Without more tests, it becomes harder for authorities to ease travel restrictions, said Sergio Gonzalez, health minister of Durango, one of the states.The drive has also tapped foreign help. Executives at Korean automaker Kia in the northern city of Monterrey, for instance, in April put officials in Nuevo Leon state in touch with South Korean doctors for training on how to deal with coronavirus.Nuevo Leon later brought in officials from neighboring Tamaulipas and Coahuila states for the training sessions.Federal bureaucracy was initially slow to let private health facilities test, said Guillermo Torre, rector of TecSalud, the health system of the Tecnologico de Monterrey university.”[Getting] the stamp that allows you to do the testing was a real hassle,” he said.Now, with private help, Nuevo Leon and Coahuila alone have conducted 40,000 tests and confirmed some 3,000 cases not in federal totals, official registers show.The federal tally omits some private test data because it does not separate full-blown cases from asymptomatic carriers, said Jose Luis Alomia, a senior health ministry official.Last week, according to the federal government’s count, Mexico was conducting 12,000 tests a day. That is three times the daily number of tests during the first week of May, when Lopez-Gatell initially forecast the pandemic would peak, but far short of what critics would like.Mexico City has also changed tack to track cases and isolate asymptomatic carriers, local health minister Oliva Lopez told a news conference last week. Over the next month, she wants the city governed by MORENA to do 2,700 tests a day, up from 1,000 now.Sitting beside her was Lopez-Gatell, who stuck to his guns and said what mattered was not the volume of tests, but how they were used.”There’s no scientific, technical, logical or automatic link between the number of tests and success in control,” he said.That view seemingly jars with the World Health Organization (WHO), which has repeatedly pushed for more testing.At a briefing in Geneva on June 6, WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris urged authorities to “test, test, track, test – find everybody who has potentially got the virus.”The government has also had to contend with a president whose instincts do not always encourage social distancing or containment.Initially, Lopez Obrador urged people to hug each other and keep going out. Later, he told them to stay at home.When the head of Mexico’s Social Security Institute said on June 7 he had coronavirus, two days after speaking at an event with the president, Lopez Obrador dismissed the idea that he, too, should take a test.”I’ve already explained,” he told reporters. “I’m not doing the test because I don’t have symptoms.” center_img Mexico went into the coronavirus outbreak insisting it would beat the pandemic without mass testing, but with deaths surging as it prepares to exit lockdown, the strategy looks increasingly untenable.Mexico’s coronavirus czar, Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell, has doggedly eschewed widespread testing for new cases in favor of a lighter regime based on a model drawn up over a decade ago, arguing it made more efficient use of medical resources.Yet as deaths and cases mount, Lopez-Gatell has repeatedly backpedaled on when the pandemic would peak, prompting opposition-run states to test more to see how widely the virus has spread.last_img read more

Posted on: October 19, 2020 Posted by: admin Comments: 0

Pfizer, BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine candidates get FDA’s ‘fast track’ status

first_imgPfizer Inc and partner BioNTech SE said on Monday two of their experimental coronavirus vaccines received ‘fast track’ designation from the US health agency, speeding up the regulatory review process.The US-listed shares of the German firm climbed about 10%, while Pfizer’s stock rose about 2% before the bell.The companies are in a global race with Moderna Inc , AstraZeneca Plc and others to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus, which has claimed over 568,500 lives globally, according to a Reuters tally. There are no approved vaccines for COVID-19, and the United States and other countries have poured billions into their development as they seek to secure a safe and effective vaccine.The fast track status could potentially make Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine candidates, BNT162b1 and BNT162b2, eligible for the US Food and Drug Administration’s ‘priority review’, under which the agency aims to decide on an approval within six months.Moderna Inc, which is developing a potential vaccine using similar technology as Pfizer/BioNTech, won the same status for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate in May.BNT162b1 and BNT162b2 are the most advanced of the at least four vaccines being assessed by the companies in ongoing trials in the United States and Germany.Earlier this month, the companies said the testing of two dosages of BNT162b1 on 24 healthy volunteers showed that after 28 days they had developed higher levels of COVID-19 antibodies than typically seen in infected people.The companies said they expect to start a large trial with up to 30,000 participants as soon as later this month, upon regulatory approval.They also expect to make up to 100 million doses by the end of this year and potentially more than 1.2 billion doses by 2021-end, if the vaccine is successful.Topics :last_img read more

Posted on: October 19, 2020 Posted by: admin Comments: 0

Lebanon virus cases peak ahead of new lockdown

first_imgTopics : Lebanon on Wednesday reported 182 new coronavirus cases, its highest single-day infection tally since the country’s outbreak began in February, ahead of fresh lockdown measures that go into effect at midnight.The new cases bring the total number of COVID-19 infections in Lebanon to 4,202, including 55 deaths, according to health ministry figures cited by the state-run National News Agency (NNA).New nationwide lockdown measures were announced this week following a rise in cases after previous restrictions were gradually lifted. But new cases have increased since restaurants, bars, clubs and resorts reopened.The pandemic struck as Lebanon was already mired in its worst economic crisis in decades, prompting fears that the country’s fragile health system could collapse.The Lebanese pound, pegged at 1,500 to the dollar since 1997, now sells for more than 7,500 on the black market, sparking soaring inflation.This has dealt a heavy blow to a country where more than 45 percent of the population lives below the poverty line and more than a third of the workforce is unemployed. center_img To stem a larger outbreak, the government ordered a lockdown from July 30 through August 3, coinciding with the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.The lockdown will then be suspended for two days, with restaurants and cafés allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity. Nightclubs, bars, indoor pools and public parks will remain closed.Restrictions will then go back into force for another five days, after which authorities will reassess whether stricter measures need to be imposed.Lebanon had gradually lifted lockdown measures starting in May and in early July, it opened the Beirut airport to commercial flights after a closure of more than three months.last_img read more

Posted on: October 19, 2020 Posted by: admin Comments: 0

China promotes its ‘heroic’ battle against virus in new exhibition

first_imgAs the virus gripped the nation, the power of the usually omnipotent and omnipresent President Xi Jinping seemed to waver, with the leader even disappearing from the state-run media for a couple of weeks. But inside the country, the CCP propaganda machine has relentlessly pushed a positive narrative.China officially recorded around 85,000 cases and just over 4,600 deaths — a fraction of the world’s total — and has now largely brought its domestic virus spread under control.The National Museum of China’s “Unity of Strength” showcases paintings, sculptures and calligraphy, all faithful to the socialist realism style, that depict what the regime says is its success in responding to the crisis.Tens of millions of people were forced into a crippling lockdown when Wuhan and its surrounding province were shut down in late January. ‘Great contribution’ But the exhibition at the museum overlooking Tiananmen Square doesn’t show the overwhelmed hospitals in Wuhan, or the homages given to Doctor Li — whose death from the virus in February triggered an usual outpouring of rage against the government on social networks.Among the large canvases on display, a painting shows an ecstatic nurse reading a letter from President Xi to her colleagues.In the middle of the room, life-size sculptures of soldiers disembark from a plane to come to the aid of stricken inhabitants, with their uniforms evoking a scene from the Long March — a military episode by the Red Army in the 1930s during China’s civil war.One emotive piece depicts a nurse with a face mask adjusting the full protective suit of a colleague, while another features a close-up portrait of the country’s most famous medical expert, Zhong Nanshan, with a tear streaming over his mask. The state-run China Daily said, “despite not working on the frontline to battle coronavirus, artists spare no effort to document the heroic deeds of those that did, hailing their great contribution to the cause”. The exhibition, which opened on August 1 for two months, only allows visitors with Chinese identity cards, and so is not accessible to foreigners. Chinese workers raise their fists beside a red communist flag in a painting displayed at a Beijing museum, one of nearly 200 works put together for a propaganda exhibition that hails, not the Maoist past, but the “heroic deeds” of frontline medics fighting the coronavirus.Since the discovery of the deadly contagion in Wuhan at the end of last year, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has sought to model itself as the vanguard in the fight against COVID-19.Outside China, Beijing has been the target of Western criticism over accusations that it covered up the initial outbreak, silencing early whistleblowers — including doctor Li Wenliang, who alerted colleagues to the virus in late December but was reprimanded by local authorities. Topics :last_img read more

Posted on: October 19, 2020 Posted by: admin Comments: 0

Work-from-home boom is a bust for big office furniture makers

first_imgEven as the wider stock market has nearly recovered all of its losses from the early days of the outbreak, shares of Steelcase and Herman Miller remain deep in the red. Steelcase shares fell 69% from their 52-week high after the pandemic hit – and are still off 51%. Shares of Herman Miller fell over 71% and are still down over 50%.Herman Miller and others say they’ve made strides in expanding their online options since the pandemic hit and have found other ways to sell to individuals.Lori Gee, vice president of workplace performance services at the Zeeland, Michigan-based company, said they quickly set up a way for Google employees to buy directly from the company, for instance.”Part of this has been an acceleration of what we were already doing – to make it easier to get the best set up,” regardless of where the furniture would go or the size of the order.High prices, logistics challengesManufacturers of many other goods have pivoted to new products, including things needed to fight the pandemic, or stepped up services to make up for other lost business.Office furniture makers have had a harder time, in large part because of logistical challenges. The average work-at-home customer, for instance, wants a product that can be sent by a delivery service in a single box and can be easily assembled – ideally without needing special tools.Price is also a factor. An Aeron chair, a classic design sold by Herman Miller, comes in versions that can easily cost $1,000. Workstations in offices can cost even more, depending on their complexity and added features, such as adjustable desktops and built-in arms to hold computer monitors. Workers stuck at home are far less likely to splurge on such expensive options, at least in part because many are worried about keeping their jobs.The way big companies make their products is a complicating factor. Many producers have outsourced component production, buying bases from one company, for instance, desktops from another, and assembling them into configurations according to the design laid out for a large operation.”We’re not used to dealing with the end user – if we get a call from a customer about a missing screw, we’re not set up to handle that,” said Soren Stig-Nielsen, president of LINAK US Inc., the US division of a Danish company that makes many of the world’s actuators for lifting bases on desks to adjust height. The company has a large factory in Louisville, Kentucky, and sells its equipment to most of the big domestic furniture companies, including Steelcase.”COVID has created huge demand in the home office area,” said Stig-Nielsen, “and traditionally we have not been a big player in that market.”Meanwhile, the industry is not giving up on actual offices.Herman Miller’s Gee said it is unclear how long the slump in building new centralized offices will continue. But she said the company’s designers are already working on concepts for a new style of working, including more “small, satellite offices” that they believe companies will want to set up to serve workers more widely dispersed than in the past.”We think there will always be the need for a physical workplace – places where you go for collaboration and bring to life the corporate culture,” Gee said. Topics : America’s biggest office furniture manufacturers got the rug pulled out from under them by the COVID-19 pandemic.For decades, producers like Herman Miller Inc and Steelcase Inc focused on selling through their own dealers to companies that bought ergonomic chairs and desks by the truckload and employed teams of designers and technicians to deliver and install them. None of them were prepared for a flood of orders for a single adjustable desk from stay-at-home workers suddenly trying to figure out how to conduct Zoom meetings from spare bedrooms.Early in the pandemic in late April, 52% of employed Americans said they were always working from home to avoid catching or spreading the coronavirus, while another 18% reported sometimes working from home, according to a survey by Gallup. A later survey found half said they’d like to continue doing this permanently–including 27% who cited both a preference for remote work and fear of the coronavirus.center_img When Alphabet Inc’s Google told employees in May the company would reimburse up to $1,000 to outfit home offices, most of the options they found were inexpensive imports sold by big box stores or Amazon.”A Tsunami hit this industry with this pandemic,” said Ron Wiener, chief executive of iMovR, a maker of adjustable desks in Seattle. “The big companies simply weren’t structured to serve people from home.”Steelcase, the largest US office furniture maker, and Herman Miller, the No. 2 producer, both reported steep losses and double-digit sales declines in the three months ending in May. For Steelcase, sales of about $483 million were the lowest since its initial public offering in 1998.Investors have figured out just how dire their situations have become as some experts predict the virus will largely kill off large offices as more companies find they can operate with workers dispersed, saving on costly real estate.last_img read more

Posted on: October 19, 2020 Posted by: admin Comments: 0

Facebook threatens ban on Australians sharing news posts

first_imgTopics : Facebook threatened Tuesday to block users and media organizations in Australia from sharing news stories if a government plan to force digital giants to pay for content goes ahead.Australians would be stopped from posting both local and international news stories on Facebook and Instagram, the company said, claiming the move was “not our first choice” but the “only way to protect against an outcome that defies logic”.In one of the most aggressive moves by any government to curb the power of the US digital giants, the Australian government has drawn up legislation to force Facebook and Google to pay struggling local news organizations for content or face millions of dollars in fines. The ACCC presumes that Facebook benefits most in its relationship with publishers, when in fact the reverse is true,” he said.”News represents a fraction of what people see in their News Feed and is not a significant source of revenue for us.”Easton said Facebook sent 2.3 billion clicks to Australian news websites in the first five months of 2020 at an estimated value of Aus$200 million (US$148 million) and had been preparing to bring Facebook News to Australia — a feature launched in the US last year where the tech giant pays publishers for news.”Instead, we are left with a choice of either removing news entirely or accepting a system that lets publishers charge us for as much content as they want at a price with no clear limits,” he added.”Unfortunately, no business can operate that way.”Google has also campaigned forcefully against the proposed changes, creating pop-ups on the search engine warning “the way Aussies use Google is at risk” and urging YouTubers around the world to complain to Australian authorities.The legislation will initially focus on Facebook and Google — two of the world’s richest and most powerful companies — but could eventually apply to any digital platform.It has strong support from local media outlets and is expected to be introduced this year.center_img The measures would also force transparency around the closely guarded algorithms that tech firms use to rank content.Facebook Australia and New Zealand managing director Will Easton said the proposed overhaul “misunderstands the dynamics of the internet and will do damage to the very news organizations the government is trying to protect”.”Most perplexing, it would force Facebook to pay news organizations for content that the publishers voluntarily place on our platforms and at a price that ignores the financial value we bring publishers,” he said in a statement.He also accused the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which is drafting the regulations, of having “ignored important facts” during a consultation process that ended Monday.last_img read more

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PREMIUMMoeldoko, Ganjar’s claims of false COVID-19 diagnoses harmful, miss core problems

first_imgTopics : LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here Forgot Password ? COVID-19 #COVID19 COVID-19-Indonesian-patients COVID-19-in-Indonesia #COVID-19–response #COVID-19-response COVID-19-patient hospitals #hospital Facebook Linkedin Google As Indonesia struggles to suppress COVID-19 cases and deaths, government officials appear to be shifting the blame to hospitals by raising claims of false diagnoses — which medical professionals say would erode public trust and further delay treatments, all the while missing the core of the problem: long testing turnaround times.The Indonesian Hospital Association (PERSI) slammed the government over claims it said were not based on facts and evidence, saying they would “prompt stigma and have an extraordinary influence on eroding public trust in hospitals”.”It is feared that this will have a negative impact on the healthcare service provided by hospitals,” the association’s chairman, Kuntjoro Adi Purjanto, said in a statement.Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko made the controversial statement after a meeting with Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo… Log in with your social accountlast_img read more