Video footage showed a huge plume of smoke rising into the night sky as fire crews doused the fuselage with foam.The twin-jet West Wind 24 plane was carrying three medical personnel, three flight crew, a patient and a companion, Richard Gordon, a senator and head of the Philippine Red Cross, said on Twitter.”Unfortunately, no passenger survived the accident,” the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said in a statement.An investigation by the Civil Aeronautics Authority of the Philippines was under way, MIAA said. A medical evacuation plane exploded during takeoff in the Philippine capital on Sunday, killing all eight passengers and crew, including an American and a Canadian, officials said.The plane, owned by a Philippines-registered charter service Lionair, had been bound for Haneda, Japan, but burst into flames at the end of the runway around 8 p.m. (1200 GMT), Manila’s main airport said.Indonesian carrier Lion Air issued a statement making clear that it is unrelated to Manila-based Lionair. The runway has been closed temporarily, affecting an arriving Korean Air flight that was diverted to Clark airport in northern Philippines, said MIAA General Manager Eddie Monreal.The aim is to reopen the runway about two hours after midnight, he said in a press briefing.Monreal confirmed that an American national and a Canadian citizen were among those killed, but could not provide further detail. The six others were all Filipinos, he said. Topics :
Some of these administrations have even gone a step further by revealing the number of fatalities among suspected patients.Banten, a neighboring province to Jakarta, revealed on its website that as of Tuesday 144 of its 1,382 PDPs had died. East Java also reported 235 fatalities among its 2,769 PDPs and 53 among its 18,509 ODPs. These figures are higher than both regions’ number of fatalities among confirmed cases, which reached 41 and 90 deaths, respectively, as of Tuesday.Jakarta does not provide such data but has disclosed on its website that 1,666 people had been buried according to COVID-19 protocols as of April 24. The figure is higher than the city’s official death toll of 370 as of Tuesday.Central Java, meanwhile, does not provide the exact number but rather a map of the spread of such fatalities, which according to The Jakarta Post’s estimation could amount to around 200, while its official death toll is 58. Yogyakarta recorded seven fatalities among its suspected patients, while its official count is seven. South Sulawesi reported 81 of its suspected patients had died despite recording only 37 official deaths, although it has published a disclaimer that the former figure also includes those who later test negative. The actual number of COVID-19 deaths in Indonesia may be substantially higher than officially reported as several regions have recorded hundreds of fatalities among patients under surveillance (PDPs), who are suspected of having contracted the highly contagious coronavirus.Patients under surveillance refer to people with COVID-19 symptoms who have not been confirmed as having the disease, meaning that they are waiting either to be tested or for their test results to come back.The central government’s daily count of fatalities, at 773 as of Tuesday, does not include all PDPs who have died. And it was only recently that the government started announcing the number of PDPs and people under observation (ODPs) nationwide. Previously, only local administrations would reveal such figures. “ODPs and PDPs who died might have tested positive for COVID-19,” biostatistics researcher at the University of Indonesia’s (UI) School of Public Health, Iwan Ariawan, said. “Therefore, it is important [for authorities] to disclose how many of the ODPs and PDPs who died had been tested and later turned out to be positive, not only COVID-19 patients who have died.”In its latest weekly situation report on Indonesia, the World Health Organization said that as of April 11, it had updated the guidance for reporting COVID-19 deaths, in which a COVID-19 death was defined as a death resulting from a clinically compatible illness in a probable or confirmed COVID-19 case, unless there was a clear alternative cause of death that could not be related to COVID-19.”Based on this definition, cumulative deaths from people who had or may have had COVID-19 should be reported as COVID-19 related deaths,” the report said.The government’s spokesperson for COVID-19 affairs, Achmad Yurianto, said he was not aware of such a guideline. He said the tally of deaths he was announcing daily only included people who had tested positive for the virus, which was reported by hospitals. He said that even if Indonesia was to announce fatalities among suspected patients, the figures would be separated from those of confirmed cases.Other countries have begun to revise their death toll linked to COVID-19. New York, the hardest-hit city in the United States, for instance, revised in mid-April its official COVID-19 death toll to include victims presumed to have died from lung diseases but never tested, resulting in a 60 percent spike, Reuters reported.China also revised its death toll by adding some 1,290 deaths in Wuhan, the city where the virus first emerged in December, Bloomberg said, citing Chinese state media reports.The late reporting of deaths was attributed to several reasons, including the fact that some patients had died at home without seeking treatment or being tested for the virus and the late and incomplete reporting by medical workers and institutions overwhelmed by the outbreak.”It would be better if fatalities among ODPs and PDPs [in Indonesia] were also announced. However, I don’t think 100 percent of the fatalities would certainly be due to COVID-19,” epidemiologist at Padjadjaran University, Panji Hadisoemarto said, warning of overestimation.Read also: Govt claims Jakarta, epicenter of Indonesia’s COVID-19 outbreak, has flattened the curveSo far 9,511 of 62,544 people who have been tested in Indonesia have been confirmed to have the virus, a positive testing rate of 15.2 percent as of Tuesday.Persahabatan Central General Hospital, a referral hospital for COVID-19 patients in Jakarta, said 65 percent of PDPs it was treating had tested positive. While the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology said between 20 and 30 percent of the specimens it processed daily came back positive.Nevertheless, experts agree that fatalities among suspected patients paint the possibility of Indonesia recording a higher number of deaths than it is currently reporting because of the lack of testing and a testing backlog. This remains a problem in the country, despite calls from President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to boost testing capacity to 10,000 tests per day.”Local administrations need to statistically verify the PDP fatalities into groups: how many had not been tested, were waiting for their results and were tested positive or negative,” said Iqbal Ridzi Fahdri Elyazar, disease surveillance and biostatistics researcher at the Eijkman-Oxford Clinical Research Unit. “They need to provide this public information because it’s important for assessing the severity of the disaster and evaluating their control measures.”Iwan of the UI, meanwhile, said the government would need data on suspected patients’ deaths to evaluate how it had been handling suspected patients.Read also: COVID-19: Indonesia claims daily testing capacity increase to 12,000Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) spokesperson Halik Malik said such data would help hospitals evaluate their services and also act as a warning for the public not to undermine the scale of the COVID-19 outbreak to avoid complacency.”Because of late testing results, the IDI is recommending the need for a new policy in handling patients under surveillance,” Halik said. “There’s no need to wait for [polymerase chain reaction] PCR test results; [hospitals] can treat the patients as COVID-19 patients with clinical criteria […] Otherwise, there’ll be many whose conditions will deteriorate while waiting for their test results and not receiving treatment as COVID-19 patients.”Persahabatan Hospital spokesperson Erlina Burhan told the Post on Monday that the hospital was treating PDPs according to COVID-19 protocols until proven otherwise. She acknowledged, however, in an online discussion on April 17, that the testing backlog was a problem.”We should be receiving results in two days, but in reality […] we sometimes receive them in five to seven days. This is making things quite difficult, especially when the patients are in a severe condition,” Erlina said, adding that around 10 percent of the hospital’s COVID-19 patients needed intensive care and ventilators.Wiku Adisasmito, an expert with Indonesia’s COVID-19 task force, said in an April 22 online press briefing to address international media, that limitations in early detection, coupled with tardy diagnostics, had led to the country’s high mortality rate, but he gave an assurance that the government had been improving the country’s laboratory capacity.”Improvements in the quality of data also need to be made, so that mortality rate data can become more reliable,” he said.– Fiqih Prawira Adjie contributed to this storyTopics :
Students throughout the country have complained about a lack of engagement from their teachers after classes were forced migrate online as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a recent survey by the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) has found.According to the survey – conducted between April 13 and 21 and involving 1,700 students and 602 teachers in 54 cities and regencies – 79 percent of student respondents reported little to no interaction with their teachers in virtual classrooms, saying their instructors used digital communication platforms only to assign homework.About 77 percent of the students polled said their teachers had assigned them more homework than usual with unreasonably tight deadlines, resulting in learning fatigue. About 76 percent of the student respondents said they were not enthusiastic about online learning.“In remote learning, teachers have only focused on providing cognitive education and have overlooked affective aspects related to character-building,” KPAI commissioner Retno Listyarti said in a statement on Saturday.She said that many teachers failed to accommodate students who were unable to afford the electronics or reliable internet connections that were essential for remote learning.“About 42 percent of students said they [could not afford] internet packages, making it difficult for them to make video calls,” Retno said, adding that the current learning methods effectively discriminated against students from low-income households.The KPAI called on the Education Ministry and the Religious Affairs Ministry to formulate an “emergency curriculum” in an effort to improve education during the ongoing public health crisis.The organization said that the emergency curriculum should consist only of core lessons and should do away with complex subjects that required direct assistance from teachers.“An emergency curriculum is needed […] so that students won’t fall victim to ambitious education policies that neglect their rights,” Retno said.Topics :
The Jakarta Police have arrested a woman for allegedly procuring child prostitutes for American fugitive Russ Albert Medlin, who was recently arrested in Jakarta for suspected sex crimes against minors.“We seized her in Banten. She is now in Jakarta Police custody,” Jakarta Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Yusri Yunus told the press on Friday as quoted by tempo.co. “During the arrest, she fled to a nearby hill. It takes four hours to climb the hill from the closest district.”According to Yusri, the woman, identified as A, fled to Banten after the news of Medlin’s arrest surfaced earlier in the week. A allegedly received Rp 6.3 million (USD$ 447.50) for each child she procured for the American. Police arrested Medlin at his residence in Jakarta on Monday, after questioning three minors who accused the American of sexually assaulting them.Medlin was charged under the 2002 Child Protection Law and could face up to 15 years’ imprisonment if found guilty.Police added that Medlin had twice been convicted of sexual assault against a minor by a district court in Nevada, the United States, in 2006 and 2008. He has been on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) wanted list for crimes related to an investment scam in bitcoin stocks worth $722 million. (trn)Topics :
Earlier, Hamilton had penned an article for Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper in which he said he was launching his own diversity body to attract more black youngsters into motor racing, insisting the “time for token gestures is over”.Hamilton, a powerful and influential voice, said he was teaming up with Britain’s Royal Academy of Engineering to launch The Hamilton Commission.”I’ve been fighting the stigma of racism throughout my racing career — from kids throwing things at me while karting, to being taunted by fans in black face at a 2007 Grand Prix, one of my first Formula One races,” wrote Hamilton.”Despite my success in the sport, the institutional barriers that have kept F1 highly exclusive persist. “It is not enough to point to me, or to a single new black hire, as a meaningful example of progress. Thousands of people are employed across this industry and that group needs to be more representative of society.”The research partnership wants to encourage young black people to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics.Hamilton hopes that will then open up avenues to boost the number of minorities represented in Formula One.”The time for platitudes and token gestures is over,” he insisted. “I was proud to be out there acknowledging and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, and my black heritage. “I was also happy to see so many white supporters out there in the name of equality for all. It was really moving. I’m feeling extremely positive that change will come, but we cannot stop now. Keep pushing.”Hamilton also posted a photograph of himself holding up a Black Lives Matter sign while his T-shirt slogan said: ‘Black is a vibe’.The six-time world champion also wore a yellow scarf around his face. Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton marched in the latest anti-racism protest in London on Sunday, describing the experience as “really moving”.The 35-year-old Hamilton, the only black driver in F1, joined the protests which have become common since the death of George Floyd in the United States last month.”Went down to Hyde Park today for the peaceful protest and I was so proud to see in person so many people of all races and backgrounds supporting this movement,” Hamilton wrote on Instagram. Topics :
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the energy ministry expected four new smelters to start operations this year.However, only two smelters – a ferronickel smelter and lead bullion smelter – are slated for completion in 2020, energy ministry mineral director Yunus Saefulhak told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.The remaining two smelters – a nickel pig iron (NPI) smelter and a ferromanganese smelter – have had their expected operational dates pushed back to 2021 from 2020.“We have to be realistic. We will help those facilities that proceed with their development,” he said, adding that his office continued to find investors and electricity suppliers, among other things, for the delayed smelter projects. Investment in the mining industry is expected to fall short by US$4.74 billion this year, 40 percent of the initial target, as a result of delays in several smelter projects, the Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) Ministry has said.Lockdowns at various levels applied in many countries around the world to contain the spread of COVID-19 have disrupted material and labor supplies for the projects, adding more issues to developers’ financial problems, said the ministry’s coal director, Sujatmiko.“Smelter construction will only resume in July 2020,” he said during a webinar hosted by Cerah Foundation on Tuesday. Topics : The pandemic-led investment shortfalls have added further delays to Indonesia’s ambitious smelter-development plan, which is part of a larger plan to transform the mineral-rich country from a commodity-driven economy to an industrial economy.Among the bigger smelter projects facing delays are those being developed by state-owned mining holding company MIND ID, officially PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum), and its subsidiaries.“Our partners cannot operate [normally] so that automatically means there will be delays whether we like it or not,” said MIND ID president director Orias Petrus Moerdak on Tuesday.Some of the projects are expected to fully resume in October, added Orias, who was speaking before House of Representatives lawmakers in Jakarta. Meanwhile, the other projects resumed early work this month.MIND ID subsidiary PT Aneka Tambang (Antam), a diversified miner, has put on hold a 98 percent complete $289 million ferronickel smelter in East Halmahera, Maluku, because of a lack of electricity.Antam president director Dana Amin said the miner initially enlisted private consortium BGP to develop a power plant for the smelter but ended the deal because of “financial problems”.“There was a lack of risk management,” he said.Meanwhile, fellow subsidiary PT Timah, a tin miner, has brought in construction equipment to the site of its $80 million tin smelter in West Bangka, Bangka Belitung province.“They are still waiting for an opportunity for the contractors to enter Bangka,” said Orias, adding that developers were focused on designing the facility in the meantime.PT Freeport Indonesia, a gold and copper miner, has requested a one-year delay in the completion deadline of its $3 billion smelter in Gresik, East Java, to 2023.
Muto said that although organizers hoped the threat posed by the virus could be reduced, nobody knows what the situation will be when the Games start on July 23, 2021.Organizers are assuming coronavirus will remain a major problem.”It is rather difficult for us to expect that the coronavirus pandemic is contained,” Muto told Reuters. “But if we can deliver the Games in Tokyo with coronavirus, Tokyo can be the role model for the next Olympic Games or other various international events.”Muto said he hoped Tokyo 2020 could be the benchmark in a post-pandemic world. Tokyo Olympics organizers are preparing to host the Games next year even if the global coronavirus pandemic hasn’t eased substantially, organizing committee chief executive Toshiro Muto told Reuters on Tuesday.The Tokyo Olympics had been scheduled to start on Friday but were put back to 2021 because of the pandemic.Since then, organizers have scrambled to rearrange an event that has been almost a decade in the making whilst trying to ensure next year’s Olympics are safe for athletes, officials and supporters. Topics : “By delivering the Games successfully in Tokyo we strongly hope that can create a legacy that is in the history of mankind.”New sponsorsThe delay to the Games will incur additional costs for organizers.The International Olympic Committee has already estimated that the postponement will cost them $800 million but the Japanese side has been less forthcoming in giving exact figures.Muto said the final figure wouldn’t be known until December but hoped that bringing on new sponsors, despite the grim economic forecast, would help bridge the gap.“I know that businesses are in dire circumstances because of coronavirus but still there are companies who are coming forward to say they want to sponsor the Games, which we appreciate very much,” Muto said.”It is a bright piece of news.”On Wednesday, Tokyo 2020 announced that Tokyo Skytree, the tallest tower in the world, is joining as a new Games sponsor.Muto said he hoped all of Tokyo 2020’s current sponsors would extend their contracts until the start of the Games next year, although this will come at a cost.A poll conducted by Japanese public broadcaster NHK last month found two-thirds of Tokyo 2020’s corporate sponsors were undecided on whether to continue their support.”We are hoping that there will be additional contributions [from existing sponsors] in terms of sponsorship fee because of the postponement of a year,” Muto said. “We would appreciate a lot if they agree to this.”Muto did not give the names of any other new sponsors.September meetingsThe Games were already set to cost more than 1.35 trillion yen before the postponement, and increased spending might further alienate a public already skeptical of an Olympics they once embraced.A recent poll conducted by Kyodo News found that fewer than one in four favored holding the Games as scheduled next year.Muto said meetings would be held starting in September, with members of the Japanese government and the local Tokyo Metropolitan Government on how best to rebuild support for the Games.”By making a nationwide effort to implement all possible, conceivable measures to battle coronavirus, the people of the world will be able to come to Tokyo with a peace of mind,” he said. “Once we create such an environment, I think people’s opinions will change.”
The Japanese economy has gradually recovered and prices have slowly increased, but are still far short of expectations.The country even experienced deflation between 2015 and 2016, which made an unwelcome return this year with the global economic crisis caused by the coronavirus. When Japan’s Shinzo Abe took office in 2012, he vowed to reinvigorate the country’s economy with a policy that came to be dubbed “Abenomics.” But what has the program achieved?As the prime minister announced Friday he will resign, here is a look at the key goals of the policy, and the extent to which they have been achieved: Major monetary easing On his return to power after a disastrous first term between 2006-2007, Abe cut a deal with the Bank of Japan that saw the central bank implement a policy of unprecedented monetary easing.The goal was to reduce the cost of borrowing, stimulating business activity and personal consumption, and pushing inflation up to a two percent target to end the deflation that had haunted the Japanese economy since the 1990s.The BoJ’s policy helped strengthen the competitiveness of Japanese exporters by weakening the yen, but the inflation target has remained stubbornly out of reach. Government spending galore The BoJ’s efforts were paired with stimulus in the form of massive government spending, the second of the “three arrows” of Abenomics.Hundreds of billion of dollars was spent from 2013, particularly for the modernization of infrastructure nationwide, some of it with an eye on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.The spending boosted revenue and investments for business, stimulated financial and real estate markets and helped support the country’s growth for several years.But it didn’t stop the national economy from derailing several times: GDP contracted between 2014-2015 before recovering, and the country fell into recession again in 2020, even before the coronavirus crisis hit.With an ageing population more inclined to save than spend, consumption has remained stubbornly low. And spending was hit further by two consumption tax hikes, in 2014 and 2019.Economists warned both times that the increases would send the economy into reverse, but the government pushed ahead, spurred by its burgeoning obligations in a country with the world’s highest debt-to-GDP ratio.With the coronavirus causing economic devastation, and domestically forcing the postponement of the Olympics and a nosedive in tourist revenue, the government has unleashed massive new stimulus.But Japan’s growth potential is dropping because “the government lacks a green recovery vision and digital initiatives,” said Sayuri Shirai, a professor in Keio University’s faculty of policy management and former BoJ policy board member. Structural reformsThe first two arrows of Abenomics could not work without the third pledged by the premier: structural reforms.A chief target was Japan’s labor market, characterized by a post-war boom era model in which workers could expect life-long employment and extensive benefits in jobs at one of the country’s behemoth firms.But attempts to overturn the calcified model and promote greater flexibility have moved too slowly, experts say.”At first we thought the government was buying time by monetary easing and fiscal policy, to prepare for structural reforms which are painful,” said Masamichi Adachi, an economist with UBS.”However this time was not used wisely for structural reforms,” he told AFP.There have been some bright spots, including a rising number of women and older people in the workplace, and some loosening of the country’s strict immigration policy, which may help tackle chronic labor shortages.But many of the reforms “have been not bold enough” to boost labor productivity,” Shirai said.The pandemic, she added, revealed “not only Japan’s corporate sector vulnerability but also inadequate electronic public services” and the slow implementation of government policies. Topics :
Gridlock in WashingtonDemocratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday repeated her pledge to continue discussions with the White House on a new spending package, but said Republicans are unwilling to compromise on the size.”We have a massive problem in our country,” she told reporters, adding “it’s hard to see how we can go any lower when you only have a greater needs.” President Donald Trump has balked at calls to ramp up support to struggling state and local governments.White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows threw cold water on hopes of ending the gridlock, saying on Thursday he was “not optimistic” that Pelosi would want to have “meaningful” conversation if dialogue resumes.Economists warn that the better-than-expected economic recovery so far, which has seen the housing market remain strong, could evaporate without more stimulus.”Failure on the part of policymakers to enact another fiscal relief package poses significant downside risks to the economy and labor market as the recovery appears to be losing momentum,” said Nancy Vanden Houten of Oxford Economics.The US is home to the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak but has shown signs of recovering from the economic hit caused by the lockdowns. The unemployment rate skyrocketed to 14.7 percent in April but has since dialed back to 8.4 percent.The latest data showed signs of improvement as the insured unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits fell 0.7 points to 8.6 percent in the week ended September 12. And the number of people receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), the program for those not normally eligible for benefits, declined by more than 200,000.Rubeela Farooqi of High Frequency Economics warned the decline in the insured unemployment rate could reflect people either being rehired, or exhausting their benefits.”The risk going forward continues to come from virus outbreaks and intermittent interruptions to activity,” she wrote in an analysis. “Overall, the labor market is less weak compared to April but remains at risk of permanent damage from repeated closures.”Topics : New claims for United States jobless benefits inched down last week, but not by much, as a brief outburst of optimism about a new government aid package fizzled Thursday amid a continued impasse in Washington.New filings for unemployment assistance last week fell to 860,000, the Labor Department said Thursday, but despite the decline applications were higher than expected.A surge in workers filed for benefits amid the widespread business shutdowns in March at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and though that wave is well past its peak, weekly filings remain far above the worst of the 2008-2010 global financial crisis. And nearly 29.8 million people continued to receive some form of government aid through the week ended August 29, the latest for which data was available, the Labor Department said, and analysts have grown increasingly concerned of a spiraling employment crisis.”While it is good the numbers are falling, their decline is tapering, so we have over a year to get to normal,” chief economist at the AFL-CIO trade union federation William Spriggs said on Twitter.The data comes amid a continued impasse in Washington over providing additional support to the battered US economy and help for workers who have lost their jobs. The US$2.2 trillion CARES Act passed in March allowed people to receive benefits for an extended period, however, the extra $600 in weekly unemployment payments as well as a program to support small businesses have expired.
The postponement of the Games has caused major logistical problems and extra expense for organizers.As a result, organizers have been forced to identify a raft of cost-cutting measures, that will include smaller vehicle convoys for the torch relay and a simpler launch event.The postponed Games are scheduled to open in Tokyo on July 23, 2021. The relay will now start on March 25, 2021, beginning in the Fukushima region hit by nuclear disaster after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.The relay, which will see the flame travel to all 47 prefectures of Japan, is being organized under the slogan “Hope Lights Our Way” and was intended to highlight reconstruction in areas devastated by the 2011 disaster.”In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will additionally symbolize the light at the end of the dark tunnel; a beacon of hope for the world in the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Games, themselves a symbol of the resilience, the unity and the solidarity of humankind,” organizers said in a statement.The route and the schedule for the relay will remain the same “in principle,” though the statement noted that the route and celebration venues “may be reviewed in light of the COVID-19 situation.” The Tokyo 2020 torch relay, which was put on hold when the Olympics were delayed over the coronavirus, will start next March from Japan’s Fukushima region, organizers said Monday.The Olympic flame had already arrived in Japan from Greece and the relay was days from beginning earlier this year when organizers and Olympic officials took the historic decision to postpone the Games by 12 months.The flame is currently on display in Tokyo. Topics :