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first_imgBritain said on Thursday it had agreed to acquire over 10 million coronavirus antibody tests from Roche and Abbott which would be rolled out to health and care workers from next week.Mass antibody testing is being considered by many countries as a way to speed the reopening of economies devastated by lockdowns and to introduce more tailored social distancing measures.Health minister Matt Hancock said the tests would be first rolled out to staff, patients and residents in health and care settings. “This is an important milestone, and it represents further progress in our national testing program,” he added.”We’re not yet in a position to say that those who test positive in these antibody tests are immune from coronavirus. But as our understanding of the disease improves, the insight these antibody tests provide will be crucial.”The antibody tests – also known as serology tests – show who has been infected, although it is not yet clear whether the presence of antibodies to the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, confers permanent immunity.Hancock said an antibody surveillance study had found 17% of people in London and around 5% or higher in the rest of the country had tested positive for coronavirus antibodies. Earlier this month, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there was the possibility of issuing some kind of certificate based on immunity but that scientists still needed to know more about that subject area.Hancock also said that Britain would trial a new antigen test – which shows whether people currently have COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus – that would return results in 20 minutes without needing to be sent to a lab for processing.”If it works, we’ll roll it out as soon as we can,” he said. center_img Topics :last_img read more


first_imgTwo years ago, Zhou Xiaoxuan publicly accused one of China’s most recognizable people of groping and forcibly kissing her, setting off a firestorm in a country that did not specify sexual harassment as a legal offence.Last week Zhou and dozens of other women who started China’s #MeToo movement won a small victory when the nation’s parliament enacted legislation that for the first time defines actions that can constitute sexual harassment.The reference in the new civil code, approved on Thursday by a session of the National People’s Congress, is largely a symbolic step. While it holds schools, businesses and other organizations responsible for preventing and dealing with sexual harassment, it does not lay out guidelines for enforcement. Topics : The parliament’s Legislative Affairs Commission and China’s State Council did not respond to faxed requests for comment about the decision to define sexual harassment in the civil code.Victims come forwardChina’s #MeToo movement took off in 2018 when a college student in Beijing publicly accused her professor of sexual harassment. It spread to NGOs, media and other industries.Zhou’s accusation against Zhu Jun, a well-known TV personality, was one of the most prominent. In a series of social media posts, she described a 2014 incident when she was an intern working for him at state broadcaster CCTV.She says he tried to reach into her dress and drag her onto himself, and then forcibly kissed her. Zhou’s accusation quickly went viral.Zhu denies the allegations and is countering Zhou. He could not be reached, and his lawyer declined to comment on the case or the new legislation.Some activists and lawyers are hopeful that the movement is starting to lead to real change, starting with the mention in the civil code.”MeToo’s spread has made a huge push on this matter of law,” said Zhou, who says much more needs to be done to protect the rights of sexual-violence victims. “But this may be a process, and you can’t solve it in one leap.”More than a year and a half later, there have been no hearings in the case brought by Zhou in September 2018. Most Chinese #MeToo cases remain unresolved, activists say.Zhou filed hers under the category “personality rights” – a broad term in Chinese law that includes rights applying to one’s body and health – because sexual harassment was not recognized as a legal cause of action.”If you wanted to go bring a court case, then you had to bring a labor dispute – it was very difficult,” said a woman who brought her own #MeToo accusation against a prominent charity founder in 2018 and who works under the name Huahua for privacy and safety. She ultimately chose not to take her accusation to court.Sexual harassment remains sensitive in China. The movement, despite bursts of grassroots activity, has faced government pressure and censorship, the activists said.The State Council did not respond requests for comment about the allegations of pressure and censorship.center_img “The civil code is a big step, but much more will need to be fleshed out,” said Darius Longarino, a senior fellow at the Paul Tsai China Center at Yale Law School. “After all, US sexual-harassment law is still developing after decades and grappling with its failures, as laid bare by #MeToo.”Still, some lawyers and activists say the civil code offers for the first time a nationally recognized enumeration of sexual harassment as a legal offence.Article 1,010 of the new code says a person may be held liable “for speech, words, images or bodily actions that have been used to carry out sexual harassment against a person’s wishes.”The development could pave the way for further changes to allow sexual-harassment victims to seek redress, six lawyers and activists interviewed by Reuters said.last_img read more


first_imgPresident Joko “Jokowi” Widodo signed Government Regulation No. 25/2020 on the public housing savings program (Tapera) on May 20.The regulation provides further instruction for fund management body BP Tapera in collecting and organizing money for public housing intended for civil servants, military and police personnel, state-owned enterprise employees and private employees.Formal workers and individuals with monthly salaries equal to or surpassing the minimum wage, including foreign workers living in Indonesia for at least six months, are required to participate in the program. Its purpose is to accelerate the government’s program to build 1 million houses a year.  “The public housing savings program will require its participants to pay a monthly deposit that equals 3 percent of an employee’s monthly salary,” says Article 15 of the regulation as quoted by kompas.com.Read also: Housing program exceeds 1 million target in 2018The 3 percent payment is split between the employer and employee, with the employee paying 2.5 percent and the employer paying 0.5.Tapera program contributions end when a participant reaches the age of 58. The participants can then draw their public housing savings after retirement.BP Tapera will replace the Housing Savings Advisory Board for Civil Servants (Bapertarum-PNS), with the latter expected to hand over its assets totaling Rp 12.3 trillion (US$861 million) to the former. The government has injected Rp 2.5 trillion into BP Tapera so far.Bapertarum-PNS has a total of 6.7 million participants, both active civil servants and retirees. (trn)Topics :last_img read more


first_imgPresident Donald Trump will accept the Republican presidential nomination in Jacksonville, Florida, this summer after balking at having the event in Charlotte, North Carolina, due to the state’s coronavirus social-distancing rules.Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement on Thursday the official business of the party’s convention would still be held in Charlotte but the celebration of Trump’s nomination would be moved to Jacksonville.The announcement, which was expected, caps an ugly dispute that had been brewing between Trump, his Republican Party and Democratic Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina, who refused to alter public health protocols to suit Trump in a state where the number of COVID-19 cases is still growing. Instead, Trump will give his acceptance speech on Aug. 27 in a 15,000-seat arena in his recently adopted home state of Florida, where a top ally, Ron DeSantis, is governor. Florida is a crucial battleground in Trump’s November election matchup against Democrat Joe Biden. “Not only does Florida hold a special place in President Trump’s heart as his home state, but it is crucial in the path to victory in 2020,” McDaniel said.Trump and the committee have insisted that the president speak to a packed house, forcing the flight from Charlotte. North Carolina looks to be another closely contested state, and Republicans had hoped that the economic benefits of the convention would boost Trump’s chances there.In her statement, McDaniel pledged the event in Jacksonville would be “safe and exciting” but offered no details of any virus-related measures the committee will take.Democrats are scheduled to hold their convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in August, but have not yet worked out their own safety precautions for the event. Topics :last_img read more


first_imgTech failure The big talking point came late in the first half when a free-kick from United’s Oliver Norwood was caught by Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland, but he stumbled backwards and looked to have carried the ball over his own goal line.United players appealed for the goal, but the technology that alerts the referee when the ball has gone over the line did not award it and VAR did not intervene.Despite replays showing the ball had clearly crossed the line before Nyland regained his footing, referee Michael Oliver had no choice but to let play continue.Should Manchester City lose to Arsenal, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, who hold a 25-point lead at the top of the table, could be crowned champions as early as Sunday when they face local rivals Everton.Despite concerns over fans congregating around stadiums, clubs won the battle to host matches in their home grounds.Liverpool can win a long-awaited title in their own city, either at Goodison, or when the Reds host Crystal Palace at Anfield on Wednesday.But Klopp stressed the need for supporters to stay at home.”Stay safe, support us from home. We are still with you and you’ll never walk alone,” he said.The battle for Champions League places next season and to avoid the drop are far more closely contested.Matches will be preceded by a minute’s silence in memory of those who have died from coronavirus. Britain is the worst-hit country in Europe with more than 42,000 deaths.Three of the four managers to lead their sides on Wednesday have been touched by the virus.Aston Villa boss Dean Smith’s father died, while City manager Pep Guardiola lost his mother.Guardiola’s former assistant Mikel Arteta returns to the Etihad for the first time as Arsenal manager three months after his positive test for coronavirus hastened the season shutdown. All players will wear Black Lives Matter (BLM) on the back of their shirts where names are normally printed for the first 12 matches of the restart.A BLM logo will feature on shirts for the remainder of the season along with a badge thanking Britain’s health workers for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.The 0-0 draw at Villa Park did not suit either side.Aston Villa were seeking a precious win to lift them out of the relegation zone while Sheffield United are chasing a European spot next season. But Villa and Sheffield took center stage to relaunch the English top-flight.In front of a huge global audience, players and staff protested racial injustice for about 10 seconds in solidarity with worldwide protests following the death of American George Floyd while in police custody. “In the first Premier League fixture of Project Restart both clubs hope that the act of ‘taking a knee’ will send a strong message of unity and amplify the many messages of support from Premier League players and the wider football family,” the clubs said in a statement.Manchester City and Arsenal players also took a knee before kick-off at the Etihad. The Premier League resumed on Wednesday after a three-month hiatus, with players taking the knee at the start of a goalless draw between Aston Villa and Sheffield United overshadowed by a goal line controversy.Coronavirus restrictions mean the 92 games remaining after the 100-day shutdown are being crammed into less than six weeks.Defeat for Manchester City, who kicked off against Arsenal later on Wednesday, would leave Liverpool on the brink of their first English top-flight title for 30 years.center_img Silence With all games being played behind closed doors, players will have to get used to the eerie silence in the usually raucous stands.Piping crowd chants into stadiums, cardboard cut-outs of supporters and live video fan walls will add color but the Premier League’s chief executive Richard Masters admitted there would be something missing without crowds.”It is going to be an odd experience without fans at the stadia,” he said. “The Premier League won’t be back with a capital ‘B’ until fans are back.”Just 300 people will be allowed in stadiums for each match, with strict health protocols in place.Players have been told to maintain social-distancing during goal celebrations and are banned from spitting. Topics :last_img read more


first_imgThe government has officially started construction on 10 planned tourism villages around Lake Toba in North Sumatra. It hopes the villages, once completed, will attract domestic and foreign tourists and boost the area’s economy.Lake Toba Tourism Authority Board (BOPDT) director Arie Prasetyo said the development of the villages was a pilot project for the development of other tourist destinations in the country. Part of the infrastructure costs are being covered by corporate donations.Read also: Govt spurs on development of ‘super-priority’ destination Lake Toba “We hope Lake Toba’s development will not only depend on the state budget funding but will also maximize the involvement of other stakeholders,” he said in a statement on Friday.According to Arie, state-owned oil giant Pertamina contributed to the construction of toilets in the area while state-owned pawnshop Pegadaian developed the area’s waste management system.The government has been working to develop five super-priority tourist destinations as part of its efforts to make the tourism industry one of the new drivers of the country’s economic growth. The destinations are Lake Toba, Borobudur in Central Java, Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara, Mandalika in West Nusa Tenggara and Likupang in North Sulawesi.Coordinating Maritime and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan asked ministries in April to accelerate the Lake Toba villages’ development in July. “It’s already clear what should be done by each ministry and institution so that the coordination will be close, despite the physical distancing,” he said.The 10 villages will be located in Humbang Hasundutan regency, Toba regency and North Tapanuli regency.Arie said the government had also provided Rp 26 billion (US$1.8 million) in compensation to local residents whose land was to be affected by the project, which covers a total of 279 hectares.“We gave compensation for 255 land plots owned by 204 people. The Rp 26 billion budget is funded by the state budget and will be distributed to the people,” he said.The ministry’s tourism and creative economy deputy Odo Manuhutu expressed hope that the first phase of land acquisition would attract investment to the destination.“Hopefully, the investment will boost economic growth in the region, create jobs and give added value to the local economy,” he said, as quoted in the statement.The Toba caldera was recently named a UNESCO Global Geopark during the United Nations cultural body’s 209th plenary session in Paris on Tuesday.Read also: Lake Toba reopens for residents, not yet for domestic and foreign touristsToba Caldera Geopark is a home to 13 geosites with striking views, namely Tongging Sipiso-piso, Silalahi Sabungan, Haranggaol, Sibaganding Parapat, Eden Park, Balige Liong Spige Meat, Situmurun Blok Uluan, Hutaginjang, Muara Sibandang, Sipinsur Bakti Raja, Bakara Tipang, Tele Pangururan and Pusuk Buhit.Lake Toba, the world’s largest volcanic lake, was formed about 74,000 years ago by a supervolcanic eruption. The bottom of the caldera later filled with water, and it is currently the largest lake in Indonesia.The North Sumatra provincial administration is hopeful that the UNESCO recognition will help boost foreign tourist arrivals in the province.center_img Topics :last_img read more


“We are going to evaluate and validate solutions developed by the TIP community to be adopted for deployment by mobile network operators,” he said in a press briefing on Wednesday, adding that shared infrastructure could eventually lead to optimal and affordable communication services even in rural areas.He went on to say that the lab would conduct training for university students and workers, as well as provide workshops and bootcamps to introduce new technologies and methodologies.Unequal development in telecommunications infrastructure persists across different regions of the country, with network expansion programs still heavily focused in Indonesia’s more populated areas.The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) ranked Indonesia 57th out of 100 countries in its Inclusive Internet Index, scoring lowest for internet affordability and availability.Read also: Indonesia ranks 57th in Inclusive Internet Index, among the lowest in the world Telkom University, an institution affiliated with state telecommunication firm PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom), is hosting a local community lab that promotes research for shared telco infrastructure as the country aims to boost network connectivity and internet penetration.The community lab is being run in partnership with global telecommunication collaborative Telecom Infra Project (TIP) and the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA).The university’s president, Adiwijaya, said that having shared telecommunication infrastructure, such as the open radio access network (ORAN), could promote wider and faster connectivity. Topics : The Indonesia chapter is TIP’s first community lab in the Southeast Asia region and the third in Asia after India and Japan, as well as the fourteenth globally.Established in 2016, TIP has more than 500 telecommunication organization members from around the world.  TIP global head of engagement Vishal Mathur said that Indonesia’s internet penetration had risen by 25 million people since last year to 175 million, showing there was potential for further growth.“Our goal in Indonesia is to drive forward scaling up of standard base network solutions. We want to show that it can be commercially scalable for social and commercial use in the country,” he said.He went on to say that TIP was planning to collaborate with associations such as the Indonesian Cellular Telecommunications Associations (ATSI) and would also establish start-up accelerators with local players.Indonesia’s telco operators, including Telkomsel, Indosat Ooredoo and Smartfren, have become TIP members. Vishal said that Indosat and Smartfren had kicked off technical trials for TIP’s ORAN.Speaking as a keynote speaker at the briefing, the Information and Communications Ministry’s post and information resources and equipment director general (SDPPI) Ismail said that even with high internet penetration, Indonesia was still struggling with the last mile of connectivity.“We hope this collaboration can accelerate the nation’s goal in providing internet for all,” he said. “Especially as the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of connectivity.”Meanwhile, the ministry’s telecommunications and information accessibility agency director, Anang Latif, said the initiatives from the lab could help the ministry achieve its goal to provide 7,904 villages and subdistricts in Indonesia with 4G by 2022.  read more


first_imgThe company has more than 100 million paid subscribers in what Chapek touted as a “significant milestone” affirming the company’s move to streaming its coveted content direct to homes.That includes some 60.5 million for Netflix rival Disney+ along with some 35 million for Hulu and 8.5 million for its ESPN+ sports service.Earnings in the fiscal third quarter were hurt by the pandemic, with Disney’s theme parks, resorts and cruise ships closed or operations suspended, according to the California-based company.”The most significant impact in the current quarter from COVID-19 was an approximately $3.5 billion adverse impact on operating income at our Parks, Experiences and Products segment due to revenue lost as a result of the closures,” the company said in a statement. Disney also reported higher costs to launch its online services.Disney shares were up 4.5 percent in after-market trades that followed release of the earnings.”Despite the harsh realities we are facing today, we have made some encouraging progress,” Chapek said on an earnings call.”We’ve begun a responsible phased reopening of our Parks in Shanghai, Paris, Tokyo, and Orlando, as well as our shopping and dining area, Downtown Disney, in Anaheim.”Theme park reopenings have involved new health and safety measures including a mandatory mask policy, temperature screenings, and capacity restrictions to promote social distancing, Chapek noted.Disney executives said some television and film production has restarted, and that the return of professional sports matches promised to return ad revenue to its ESPN arm.‘Mulan’ heads to homesChapek announced that Disney’s much-delayed blockbuster “Mulan” will skip the big screen and premiere on the streaming platform Disney+ next month, as coronavirus keeps theaters shut across much of the United States. The unprecedented decision – described by Chapek as a “one-off” for a Disney blockbuster – is the latest major blow for movie theater chains already reeling from the pandemic.”Mulan,” a mega-budget live action remake of the tale of a legendary Chinese warrior, will be available from September 4 in homes to Disney+ subscribers for an additional $29.99.”We see this as an opportunity to bring this incredible film to a broad audience currently unable to go to movie theaters, while also further enhancing the value and attractiveness of a Disney+ subscription,” Chapek told an earnings call.The film will launch simultaneously in theaters in territories such as China which do not have currently announced Disney+ launch plans.The move comes as coronavirus cases stall reopening plans for theaters in key markets such as New York and Los Angeles.”We are looking at ‘Mulan’ as a one-off, as opposed to trying to say that there is some new business window model we are looking at” regarding movie launches, Chapek said.But he added that the experiment would provide “very interesting” information on consumers’ willingness to shell out $29.99 for a new streaming title.If successful, the price would help to “recapture some of that investment” in a “fairly expensive” movie, said Chapek.”Mulan” cost an estimated $200 million to produce.Topics : The Walt Disney Company on Tuesday reported its quarterly earnings were hit hard as the pandemic emptied theme parks and cruise ships, while it hit a new milestone for streaming subscriptions.The entertainment colossus said it lost US$4.7 billion on revenue of $11.8 billion – about half of the amount of money it took in during the same period last year.”Despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, we’ve continued to build on the incredible success of Disney+ as we grow our global direct-to-consumer businesses,” Disney chief executive Bob Chapek said in an earnings release for the quarter ending June 27.last_img read more


first_imgPrime Minister Shinzo Abe made no expression of remorse or apology, but said at the National Memorial Ceremony for the War Dead: “We will never forget that the peace and prosperity we enjoy today are built on the ultimate sacrifices of the war dead.”Japan’s oath is to never allow the tragedies of war to be repeated,” added Abe, who wants to revise the nation’s pacifist Constitution to allow a more aggressive defense posture.”Under the banner of proactive pacifism, Japan is determined to play a greater role than ever to solve the various challenges facing the world while working with the international community,” he said.Over in South Korea, which marks the occasion as National Liberation Day, President Moon Jae-in paid tribute to freedom fighters. Topics : He added that he wants dialogue with Japan to overcome historical issues such as forced labor and comfort women that continue to plague bilateral relations.”I believe that joint efforts by Japan and Korea to respect individual human rights will become a bridge for friendship and future cooperation between the peoples of our two countries,” he said.North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency, citing a statement by the Korean Committee on Measures for the Sexual Slavery for Japanese Army and Drafting Victims, accused Japan of “desperately shunning atonement for its past crimes” and called for a sincere apology and reparation to the “victims of hideous inhuman crimes”.China’s state-run Global Times cited experts who blame Japan for a recent chill in bilateral ties and allege a lack of sincerity in fulfilling post-war promises and a rise in historical revisionism. It said: “Japan, which had historically brought great misery to the Chinese people, should learn from history and not follow the same path.”Abe, who did not mention diplomatic issues in his speech, sent a ritual offering on Saturday to the Yasukuni Shrine but did not personally make the trip.Any visit by a sitting Japanese premier will cause a diplomatic uproar; Abe’s last trip in December 2013 not only raised the ire of China and South Korea, but was also frowned upon by its ally the United States.The shrine honors millions of war dead. But the enshrinement of 14 convicted Class A war criminals, including wartime Prime Minister Hideki Tojo, has raised perceptions of the Yasukuni Shrine as an emblem of Japan’s past militarism.No emperor has visited since 1978, after the decision to honor war criminals there.Four Cabinet ministers paid their respects at the shrine on Friday, the first visits on the war anniversary since 2016. They were Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi, Education Minister Koichi Hagiuda, Minister-in-charge of Territorial Issues Seiichi Eto, and Internal Affairs Minister Sanae Takaichi.”While bearing in mind the will for peace, it is only natural to want to pay our condolences to those who give their lives for the country,” Mr Koizumi, 39, who is seen as a future prime minister, told reporters.”It should no longer be an era where ministerial visits to Yasukuni Shrine become news.”center_img Japan marked its defeat in World War II on Saturday with a minute of silence at the stroke of noon – the exact moment 75 years ago when Emperor Showa (Hirohito’s posthumous name) announced the surrender on radio.Cabinet ministers also visited the controversial Yasukuni Shrine on the war anniversary for the first time since 2016.Emperor Naruhito, 60, who was born after the war, said in his first public appearance since the COVID-19 outbreak that he feels “deep remorse” for the battles waged in his grandfather’s name. He added: “I earnestly hope that the ravages of war will never again be repeated.”last_img read more


first_imgThe government has postponed the plan to construct Indonesia’s new capital city in East Kalimantan as the country switched its priorities to mitigating the coronavirus pandemic, an official has said.National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) head Suharso Monoarfa confirmed with The Jakarta Post on Wednesday that the capital relocation plan had been suspended for the time being, since the pandemic had forced the government to shift its policies.Suharso previously announced the postponement of the multibillion dollar project during a meeting on Tuesday with House of Representatives Commission XI overseeing finance and banking affairs. “To this day, the program of relocating the nation’s capital is still on hold,”  Suharso told lawmakers in the meeting.Although the construction plan was suspended, Suharso said the government would continue with the planning stages for the new capital, which will be built in North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kartanegara regencies, including those related to infrastructure development in buffer cities of East Kalimantan’s provincial capital, Samarinda, and port city Balikpapan.Read also: Jokowi’s capital relocation dream faces COVID-19 hurdleIn the initial plan announced last year, Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono said the government would begin construction of the new capital that would replace Jakarta in 2021. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo previously said the relocation and construction of the new capital city — planned to be a smart metropolis that supported the growth of innovation and green industries — would cost around Rp 466 trillion (US$ 31 billion).According to the Finance Ministry, the state budget would cover Rp 89.4 trillion, 19.2 percent of the cost while Rp 253.4 trillion, 54.4 percent, would be financed through government cooperation with businesses. The remaining Rp 123.2 trillion, 26.4 percent of the cost, would be gained through private financing.During the meeting with the House on Tuesday, Suharso also proposed a Rp 1.77 trillion budget for Bappenas next year, an increase of Rp 260.8 billion from the previously approved Rp 1.5 trillion in the 2021 budget.Out of the additional budget, Rp 240 billion would be used to fund the agency’s priority programs, such as the data portal initiative referred to as Satu Data Indonesia (One Data Indonesia) and continuing the sustainable development goals programs.Topics :last_img read more