In the blast zone

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Sweet dreams

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Climate change cause of Greater Jakarta floods, BMKG says

first_imgTopics : Dwikorita said the BMKG recorded higher average temperatures in most Indonesian provinces last year compared to the average temperatures recorded in the same regions between 1981 and 2010.The highest was recorded in Banten and Riau Islands between January and October 2019, with each province seeing an average temperature increase that was more than 1 degree Celsius higher than the temperatures recorded in the provinces between 1981 and 2010, according to BMKG data. In Jakarta, the average temperature last year was 0.82 degrees Celsius higher than the average temperature between 1981 and 2010.BMKG head of climate and air quality information Siswanto said that, between 1866 and 2010, the annual temperature rise in Jakarta was 1.4 times higher compared to the global trend. Climate change-driven global warming is a factor behind repeated instances of severe flooding across Greater Jakarta since early January, including a flood that inundated parts of the capital on Tuesday, according to the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).BMKG head Dwikorita Karnawati said the string of floods that hit Jakarta and its satellite cities over the past two months was a result of several changes.“In addition to the increase of rainfall intensity and the continuation of extreme conditions, it turns out that the temperature of Indonesia has also significantly increased,” Dwikorita said.center_img He said the global annual temperature had increased at an average rate of 0.86 degrees Celsius from 1866 to 2010, while in the same period, “Jakarta’s land temperature increased at an average rate of 1.6 degree Celsius”.Read also: Rising sea levels threaten 23 million in Indonesia’s coastal cities by 2050: StudyDwikorita said Indonesia needed be cautious and keep watch of the rising temperature “because this is an indicator of global climate change that has a local impact”.“From the results of the BMKG analysis, there is a significant correlation between [the temperature rise] and the concentration of greenhouse gases in Indonesia’s regions,” she said.The BMKG head said the rising greenhouse gas emissions were caused by high concentrations of carbon dioxide, with transportation, industry and deforestation among the main drivers of the change.“Extreme weather and climate phenomena are happening more frequently with greater intensity. Such occurrences are predicted to also happen in the future, from 2020 to 2040, if we fail to carry out mitigation measures,” she said.Greater Jakarta was hit by floods on Tuesday morning following overnight torrential rainfall in the fourth major flood to hit Jakarta and its satellite cities since the beginning of the year. The BMKG found that, from 7:00 a.m. on Monday until 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday, rainfall intensity reached 278 millimeters per day, enough to be categorized as extreme rain given it exceeded 150 mm per day, Dwikorita said. At least 19,901 residents across 214 subdistricts in Greater Jakarta were displaced following the floods, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.Jakarta’s highest daily rainfall since 2007 came on Dec. 31, 2019 at 377 mm per day. The heavy New Year’s Eve downpour caused major floods across Greater Jakarta, Banten and parts of West Java and claimed 60 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands of people for days.last_img read more

Resurgent Biden earns Klobuchar, Buttigieg backing before Super Tuesday

first_imgJoe Biden’s presidential hopes received a huge shot in the arm Monday after former rivals Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the United States’ Democratic race and endorsed the former vice president ahead of the crucial Super Tuesday primaries.The dramatic turn comes at one of the pivotal points in a fractured, often bitter campaign, with the Democratic establishment desperate to coalesce around a moderate candidate who can fight off the surging leftist frontrunner Bernie Sanders.As the five remaining candidates in the race made their final pitch to voters in 14 states, Biden has capitalized on the momentum he seized at the weekend with a blowout victory over Sanders in South Carolina. It was just one of several endorsements Biden earned on a busy day.Klobuchar dropped out Monday and her team said she will endorse the 77-year-old and join him onstage in Dallas.Democrat Harry Reid, the former Senate majority leader said his onetime Senate colleague Biden represents “the starkest contrast to Trump’s amorality, corruption and utter incompetence.”Another former presidential candidate, Beto O’Rourke, reportedly will also be on stage with Biden in Dallas.”Most Americans don’t want a promise of a revolution, they want a guarantee of results on the things that affect them,” Biden told a rally in Houston in a swipe at Sanders, who advocates a “political revolution” against the status quo.”We need real results and we need them now. I’ve done that my whole career, and I’ll do it as president.”The departures and endorsements of Klobuchar and Buttigieg are gold for a resurgent Biden.His campaign was on life support after disappointing showings in the first three state contests, but he is suddenly the main challenger to Sanders on the biggest day of the primary campaign.New York billionaire Mike Bloomberg, who on Tuesday competes in his first primaries, has also been spreading his message to voters in a lavish multi-state ad blitz, but Super Tuesday will be his first official day on the ballot.Sanders – flush with money for ads, an extensive organization, and momentum in the polls – has focused on multiple states including delegate-rich California, Tuesday’s biggest prize.”It is no secret… that there is a massive effort trying to stop Bernie Sanders,” the frontrunner said about himself during a press conference in Utah.”The corporate establishment is coming together, the political establishment is coming together,” Sanders added. “They are really getting nervous that working people are standing up.”Sanders, whose ascent as a self-described democratic socialist has disconcerted Democratic grandees, is leading Biden nationally in polling, with Bloomberg in third place.Buttigieg had strong showings in predominantly white early voting states but was unable to draw black and Hispanic support after that.The campaign of pragmatist Klobuchar never gained traction. By endorsing Biden, she could deprive Sanders of a large delegate claim in her state of Minnesota, which votes Tuesday.Klobuchar’s endorsement “will bring more votes to Joe Biden,” Myliesha Smiley, a 23-year-old student at Biden’s Houston event, told AFP.Biden’s fortunes were resurrected in South Carolina, where African-Americans turned out in force to give him a crushing 48 percent to 20 percent victory over Sanders.”Super Tuesday is about momentum, and we’ve got it,” Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager, told CNN.The win has earned Biden badly needed campaign funding – $10 million raised on Saturday and Sunday alone.The former number two to Barack Obama says his strength with blacks, Hispanics, women and suburbanites will show in the coming contests.Though Klobuchar was joining Biden’s camp, Sanders weighed in to appeal to her voters.”I hope her supporters will join us in our fight to defeat Donald Trump in November and win real change,” Sanders tweeted.Also courting moderate and independent voters is Bloomberg, who campaigned in Virginia on Super Tuesday eve.”I’ve won three elections so far, I don’t plan to start losing now,” Bloomberg said.Bloomberg has spent an unprecedented $500 million of his own fortune saturating the airwaves with TV spots.Topics : The 77-year-old Biden is consolidating support among moderates eager to blunt the advance of Sanders, who could take a potentially insurmountable lead in the all-important delegate count after Super Tuesday.Buttigieg, the 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana ran a historic campaign as the first openly gay major presidential candidate.Speaking in Dallas one day before residents of delegate-rich Texas and 13 other states cast their ballots, Buttigieg said he was “delighted” to endorse Biden in part because he embraces the politics of “decency.””I’m looking for a president who will draw out what is best in each of us, and I’m encouraging everybody who was part of my campaign to join me because we have found that leader in vice president, soon-to-be-president, Joe Biden,” Buttigieg said in Dallas, with Biden standing nearby.last_img read more

COVID-19: Jakarta to suspend Car Free Day for two weeks as part of containment measures

first_imgHe added that a decision on whether to resume CFD after two weeks would be made after assessing the situation.A Flourish mapAnies said his administration would follow the example of Singapore and Vietnam, which proactively limited public gatherings before the virus spread too widely.”We have seen other countries like Iran, Italy and the US that did not limit social interaction at first and only started taking measures when the number of [COVID-19] cases increased drastically,” he said. He added that civil servants working for the administration should immediately report to the Jakarta Health Agency and go into quarantine if necessary. “If we are relaxed, it can spread very fast. That’s why we need to contain [the cases],” he said.As of Wednesday morning, the Health Ministry had reported 27 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 11 of which are linked to a Japanese woman who tested positive for the virus in Malaysia after visiting Jakarta in early February. (trn)Topics : The Jakarta administration will cancel the weekly Car Free Day (CFD) on Jl. Sudirman and Jl. MH Thamrin on Mar. 15 and Mar. 22 as part of the efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the city.Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said the city administration would limit public interaction as a precautionary measure.”In order to protect our residents from the virus, the administration will suspend the CFD event for two weeks,” he said in a press conference at City Hall on Wednesday. “We will continue to monitor the rapidly changing situation concerning the coronavirus.“last_img read more

Indonesian mixed doubles shuttlers Praveen-Melati reach All England semifinals

first_imgIn Saturday’s semifinals, Praveen and Melati are set to face either Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet of Hong Kong or Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith of England.Praveen, the 2016 All England champion with former pair Debby Susanto, said he planned to enjoy the match.“We’ve reached the semifinals, anyway. The winning probability for each pair is equal. So, we don’t want to overthink it – just, one thing at a time,” Praveen said.Topics : Indonesian mixed doubles pair Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti are inching closer to their possible first All England Open title after securing a semifinal spot in the prestigious badminton tournament.In the quarterfinal match on Friday, Praveen and Melati stunned Wang Yi Lyu and Huang Dong Ping of China 15-21, 21-19, 21-19 in 72 minutes at the Arena Birmingham. It was the second win for the Indonesians in a total of eight matches against the Chinese pair so far. “Most know the quality of [the Chinese] pair. So, losing focus was something that we avoided throughout the match, be it when we were leading or losing. Every point was important and we could not afford to lose any,” Melati said in a statement on Friday.last_img read more

UAE orders overnight curfew for deep clean, Gulf coronavirus cases rise

first_imgThe United Arab Emirates directed most of the public and private sectors to have the majority of staff work from home, and imposed overnight curfews as a temporary measure this weekend for a nationwide disinfection to combat the coronavirus.The regional business hub, which has confirmed 333 cases of the virus and two deaths, has not announced an official curfew or work suspension but has increasingly clamped down on movement.Authorities announced restrictions on movement of traffic and people overnight from Thursday until Sunday for the disinfection drive. The restrictions will last from 8 p.m. (1600 GMT) to 6 a.m. Topics : It exempted sectors providing essential services including health, finance, energy, telecoms, security, military, cargo and food.Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have taken the most drastic steps, including imposing partial nationwide curfews and suspending work at most public and private sector establishments.Kuwait on Thursday banned all taxis, directed the state supply company to cover any basic food shortages and said it would disburse a month’s salary to all Kuwaiti students abroad.Virus Spread The number of cases in Saudi Arabia passed 1,000 after authorities on Thursday announced 112 new infections, most of them in the capital Riyadh and the holy city of Mecca.They also reported a third death from the virus, a resident in Medina who had suffered from chronic diseases.Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar also saw more cases, taking the total in the six Gulf states to over 2,600, with nine deaths.Saudi Arabia has released 250 foreign detainees held on non-violent immigration and residency offences as part of efforts to contain the spread of the disease, the state-backed Human Rights Commission said on Thursday.Bahrain and Kuwait have also announced prisoner releases.Bahrain continued to evacuate several hundred Bahraini pilgrims stranded in Iran, which is an epicenter for the disease in the region.A second repatriation flight of around 60 Bahrainis arrived overnight from the holy Shi’ite Iranian city of Mashhad, operated by Iranian airline Kish, families and a Bahraini official told Reuters.Bahrain earlier this month repatriated 165 people, but a number of subsequent scheduled flights were cancelled. At least 85 of the first batch of evacuees tested positive for the virus.The island state, which has reported 419 coronavirus cases and four deaths, most of them linked to travel to Iran, has longstanding differences with Iran and has criticized the Islamic Republic for not stamping Bahraini citizens’ passports.In Qatar, the government’s crisis committee ordered the closure of all non-vital shops, and cafes and entertainment outlets, and restricted the working hours of all other shops to 6am to 7pm.Pharmacies, grocery stores and delivery services are excluded from these restrictions, the committee said in a press conference broadcast on Qatari channel Al Jazeera.Qatar recorded 12 new cases of the virus on Thursday, taking its total to 549. center_img Only essential service workers would be allowed out and violators will face fines, a security forces spokesman said in a press conference on Thursday.Public transport including trams and metro services will be suspended, while private cars, cabs and delivery vehicles can operate outside those hours.The UAE has slowly followed other Gulf states in suspending passenger flights and closing public venues such as restaurants and malls. Dubai emirate on Wednesday directed the private sector to implement remote working for most staff but exempted a broad spectrum of businesses.On Thursday, the UAE government ordered all federal ministries and establishments and the private sector to limit the number of staff in offices to 30%.last_img read more

Hungary’s Orban gets sweeping new powers in virus fight

first_img“At the end of the emergency, all powers will be fully restored” to parliament, said Orban after the vote, dismissing opposition fears of a long-running period of rule-by-decree.The vote marked another controversial milestone in Orban’s fractious decade in power. Since the self-styled “illiberal” nationalist won power in 2010, he has transformed Hungary’s political, judicial and constitutional landscape.The 56-year-old has frequently clashed with European institutions, NGOs and rights groups, with Brussels suing Hungary for “breaching” EU values — charges fiercely denied by Budapest.The EU’s Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said Monday the European Commission “evaluates the emergency measures taken by Member States with regard to fundamental rights”.This was “particularly the case for the law passed today”, he added.Among the international bodies expressing concern over the bill before it became law were the UN human rights office, the Council of Europe, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.Orban has given short shrift to criticism of the coronavirus law, accusing critics of alarmism and telling “European nitpickers” to let Hungary defend itself against COVID-19. ‘Imaginary demons’Justice Minister Judit Varga told foreign reporters last week that the constitutional court could provide oversight, while parliament could revoke the decrees at any time. The opposition were “fighting imaginary demons and not dealing with reality,” she said.A government spokesperson Zoltan Kovacs said Monday that the decrees were also time-limited by the pandemic itself, which “hopefully ends one day”. Last week, opposition MPs warned they did not trust Orban not to abuse indefinitely granted special powers. They refused to support fast-tracking the bill without time deadlines. Many cited a so-called “state of crisis caused by mass migration” that Orban’s ruling Fidesz party declared in 2016 and which remains in place, despite migration numbers to Hungary having fallen sharply since then.  Hungary’s parliament endorsed a bill on Monday giving nationalist premier Viktor Orban the sweeping new powers he says he needs to fight the new coronavirus pandemic.Critics at home and abroad have condemned the “anti-coronavirus defense law”, saying it gives Orban unnecessary and unlimited power and is a means of cementing his position rather than battling the virus.After declaring a state of emergency on March 11, the new law gives Orban the power to indefinitely rule by decree until the government decides the emergency is over. ‘Principles of democracy’Akos Hadhazy, an independent MP, told AFP that Orban did not need any “extraordinary empowerment” as his party already controlled parliament. Instead, he said, the ruling party had set a “trap for the opposition”. Pro-government media had accused the opposition of encouraging the virus by rejecting the bill.”Beyond further increasing his power, Orban’s goal was to present a bill that cannot be supported by opposition MPs, so that they can be blamed throughout the emergency for not supporting the government in times of crisis,” said Andras Biro-Nagy, an analyst at the Budapest-based Policy Solutions think-tank.”National unity is not Orban’s way of doing politics,” he told AFP.The fiercely anti-immigration Orban has blamed migration for bringing the virus to Hungary, saying “primarily foreigners brought in the disease”.The first two confirmed coronavirus cases in the EU member state of 10 million were Iranian students.Hungary has since reported a total of 447 cases with 15 deaths. More than 13,300 tests have been carried out, the government said Monday.”The press and non-governmental organizations now have a particularly important role to play in controlling the government,” said a statement after the vote by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee refugee rights group. center_img It removes the current requirement for MPs to approve any extensions to decrees. Elections cannot be held either during the emergency period.It also introduces jail terms of up to five years for anyone spreading “falsehoods” about the virus or the measures against it, stoking worries for press freedom.The measures come into effect as of midnight on Monday.The parliament, where Orban’s Fidesz party enjoys a dominant two-thirds majority, passed the bill by 137 votes to 53. Topics :last_img read more

Agriculture Ministry recommends importing more garlic as demand surges

first_imgWith garlic prices already soaring since the start of 2020, the ministry is now seeking not only to stabilize prices but also to mitigate the impacts of disruption to the logistics sector caused by the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic.The average price of garlic rose roughly 30 percent to Rp 44,900 per kilogram from January to March, according to data from the Information Center for Strategic Food Prices (PIHPS), the government’s food price tracker.This is well above President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s preferred price range of between Rp 20,000 and Rp 30,000 per kilogram.Domestic garlic production is also expected to increase in the coming months as Temanggung in Central Java, the country’s center of garlic production, is now in the middle of harvest season. As of last month, the Agriculture Ministry has issued recommendations to import more than 460,000 tons of garlic to ensure sufficient supplies and stabilize soaring prices during Ramadan and Idul Fitri when food demand usually surges.Between March and May, the government actually needs to procure only around 196,000 tons from overseas to meet demand at home, said Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo. Coupled with domestic production, the ministry estimates there will be a surplus of more than 116,000 tons at the end of May.Speaking during an online hearing with House of Representatives Commission IV overseeing food and agriculture on April 16, Sharul said the garlic imports were necessary to stabilize prices during Ramadan, which will begin April 23. “With the current stock, we expect it will be under control and safe, god willing, at least until Idul Fitri,” he said. Last year, the regency’s harvest yielded more than 24,000 tons, or 27 percent of national production.With a garlic shortage at home and demand surging ahead of Ramadan, the Trade Ministry issued last month a regulation to allow companies to import garlic from overseas without having to obtain a permit.As of April 16, 34 containers carrying 29 tons of garlic each had arrived at Tanjung Priok port in North Jakarta from China, the world’s largest garlic producer, said Trade Minister Agus Suparmanto.“Based on Trade Ministerial Regulation No. 27/2020, local companies can import without a permit until June 30,” Trade Ministry Domestic Trade Director General Suhanto told The Jakarta Post via text message on Thursday.With the rupiah depreciating against the United States dollar and the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting logistics, importing garlic from China is not only more expensive but also more difficult, according to the Indonesian Onions and Root Vegetables Entrepreneurs (Pusbarindo) trade association.China, where the SARS-CoV-2 virus first emerged in late December, has ended its massive lockdown measures. However, business activities have not fully recovered.“Even in normal times […]  it was difficult for companies to fulfill 100 percent [of the permitted import volumes] in one or two months,” Pusbarindo chairman Valention told the Post in a phone interview on Thursday. “Moreover, financial capacity varies from one firm to another.”According to data from the Agriculture Ministry, garlic imports declined by around 20 percent to more than 465,000 tons between 2018 and 2019.Topics :last_img read more

Activists demand police investigate alleged hacking of government critic Ravio Patra’s phone

first_imgOn Wednesday at 2:35 p.m., a message calling for nationwide looting on April 30 was spread from Ravio’s WhatsApp account. The next morning, Ravio was taken into custody but the coalition mentioned several legal problems regarding the arrest.“During the arrest, the police were unable to show the search warrant even though Ravio had requested a copy. The police also seized evidence that was not related to the alleged criminal act such as books, a friend’s mobile phone and an office laptop,” the coalition said.The coalition further said that the police prevented the legal team from swiftly providing legal assistance. “The legal team had trouble getting information on Ravio’s whereabouts because all of the police denied that Ravio was held in their headquarters. Only at 2 p.m. on Thursday did the Jakarta Police admit to holding Ravio.”The coalition also pointed to inconsistencies in Ravio’s status and the charges. “Ravio was initially investigated as a suspect from 3 to 6 a.m. on Thursday. But from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., he was questioned as a witness,” the coalition said.Topics : After being apprehended over an accusation of inciting riots through a WhatsApp broadcast and questioned for 33 hours by the Jakarta Police, an independent researcher known for being critical of the government, Ravio Patra, was released on Friday morning.A coalition of human rights groups, which stated that Ravio is innocent and a victim of identity theft, has demanded that the police arrest the person who allegedly hacked Ravio’s phone to spread hoaxes. The coalition also suggested that Ravio’s arrest was a warning to critics. “We believe that the hacking of Ravio’s account and his arrest is related to the criticism he often delivered through his social media. We demand that the police stop accusing Ravio and stop terrorizing and criminalizing critics,” the coalition said in a statement on Friday.Among the coalition members are the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet), the Foundation of the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute (YLBHI), the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), Amnesty International Indonesia and the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (IJCR).Ravio was critical of presidential special staffer Billy Mambrasar, whom he claimed had a conflict of interest over the government’s projects in Papua. He also criticized the government’s lack of transparency in handling the data of COVID-19 patients.Read also: The curious case of Ravio Patra: Why Indonesian cyberspace is a dystopian nightmarelast_img read more