RICS urges rates review

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Egan urges councils to put planning first

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118 foreigners refused entry to Indonesia in February due to China travel history

first_img“Overstay visas were only issued to Chinese citizens in Indonesia whose visas had expired but who could not go back to their country because of the virus outbreak and because there was no means of transportation to take them there,” Arvin said. Airlines and airports have suspended all flights to and from mainland China following the government’s decision to impose a temporary travel ban to and from the country on Feb. 5.There have been no confirmed COVID-19 cases in Indonesia to date. (gis)Topics : Immigration authorities denied entry to 118 foreigners in February in an effort to prevent the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from spreading to the country.“The foreigners had lived in or visited China 14 days before arriving in Indonesia,” immigration spokesperson Arvin Gumilang said in a written statement on Sunday, adding that the denial of entry was in keeping with a 2020 Law and Human Rights Ministerial Decree that had been issued in response to the coronavirus outbreak.The Immigration General Directory has issued overstay visas for 1,247 Chinese nationals across the country.last_img read more

Sporting events in UK to go ahead as Italy issues ban

first_imgThe British government stated that all sporting events in Britain will go ahead as planned despite the outbreak while from Italy, Premier Giuseppe Conte on Monday extended measures to tackle the new coronavirus across the whole country, telling people to “stay at home” and banning public gathering as well as Serie A soccer matchesCulture Secretary Oliver Dowden told the BBC on Monday that it would be “premature” to cancel fixtures as officials from a number of sports gathered in London to discuss the impact of the virus.”There’s no reason for people either not to attend such events or to cancel them at this stage, but we keep it under review,” he said. The global sporting calendar is being badly disrupted by the virus, which has infected more than 110,000 people worldwide, with over 3,800 deaths.France’s Six Nations match against Ireland in Paris on Saturday has been postponed — the third game of the tournament to be called off.The decision means that Saturday’s Wales v Scotland match in Cardiff is the only remaining match on the Six Nations program, leaving the tournament unfinished, with the identity of the champions uncertain.Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League home game against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday will be played behind closed doors. The ATP and WTA tennis tournament in Indian Wells, California, has been cancelled and Japan’s baseball season has been postponed.The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said senior government officials had held a “constructive meeting with sports and broadcast partners” as part of contingency planning.”This included a discussion of how staging sporting events behind closed doors could work in practice, should the situation change and become necessary,” the DCMS said in a statement.Rugby Football Union chief executive Bill Sweeney, who was at the meeting, said: The basic message coming out of today is ‘let’s not panic’. Let’s monitor the situation and carry on as normal.”Premier League executive director Bill Bush refused to speculate on the possibility of matches being played behind closed doors.Steve Elworthy, director of special projects at the England and Wales Cricket Board, was also at the meeting.”We are starting to think about contingency planning and it was a great meeting with all the sports around,” he said.From Rome, the unprecedented measures that would be taken by the government would cover the entire Mediterranean nation of more than 60 million people after Italy reported 97 more deaths that took its toll to 463.”I am going to sign a decree that can be summarized as follows: I stay at home,” Conte announced in a dramatic evening television address.”The whole of Italy will become a protected zone,” he said, as reported by AFP.At the same time, Italy’s top sports body also called for all sports events to be cancelled until April 3.After a meeting between representatives from all Italian team sports federations, the National Olympic Committee (CONI) said in a statement the government should intensify its measures against the virus.”Health protection is the top priority for everyone,” the statement said. Reuters reportedHowever, the statement noted international competitions, for both clubs and national teams, do not fall within CONI’s jurisdiction and so can’t be influenced by its decision.This includes UEFA soccer tournaments such as the Champions League, in which Italy’s Serie A leader Juventus is set to host France’s Lyon on March 17, and the Europa League, in which Inter Milan and AS Roma have home games scheduled against Spain’s Getafe and Sevilla on March 12 and 19 respectively.The government had already ordered that all sporting events, including Serie A matches, must be played behind closed doors to avoid crowds of people that could boost the contagion.The closed-doors games at the weekend caused chaos, with Italy’s sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora calling Serie A organizers “irresponsible” after they ignored a late call from the players’ union for the day’s matches to be suspended, which saw Parma’s clash with SPAL delayed by 75 minutes.The previous two rounds of fixtures were heavily disrupted by the spread of the virus as several games were suspended.The Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) had also decided to suspend ticket sales for the Euro 2020 qualifying playoff semi-final between Bulgaria and Hungary on March 26 because of outbreak.Bulgaria reported on Sunday its first cases of the coronavirus and the BFU said that all Bulgarian league matches in the next two rounds will be played in empty stadiums.Topics :last_img read more

Fighter jet crashes in Pakistan capital during parade rehearsal

first_imgPakistan has a chequered military and civilian aviation safety record, with plane and helicopter crashes frequent over the years.Wednesday’s incident comes only months after a fighter jet crashed during a training mission near the city of Mianwali in eastern Punjab province, killing both pilots. In July last year at least 18 people were killed when a small military plane belonging to the army crashed into a residential area in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi.And in 2016 a Pakistan International Airlines plane burst into flames after one of its two turboprop engines failed while travelling from remote northern Pakistan to Islamabad, killing more than 40 people.Pakistan’s powerful military consumes a large portion of the country’s yearly budget, spending millions on sophisticated hardware in the impoverished nation, which critics say has come at the expense of investment in other sectors.Topics : A Pakistani F-16 fighter jet crashed in Islamabad on Wednesday in an apparent accident during a rehearsal for an upcoming military parade in the capital, officials said.There was no immediate word on the fate of the pilot or co-pilot, or details on the area the plane crashed.Footage on social media showed a large plume of smoke billowing into the sky after the plane plummeted to the ground having apparently attempted a loop. “Pakistan Air Force reports with regret that a PAF F-16 aircraft crashed near Shakarparian, Islamabad during the rehearsals of 23rd March parade. Rescue teams have been dispatched towards the site of the crash,” the air force said in a statement. A second security official speaking on condition of anonymity also confirmed the crash.The rehearsals were taking place before the annual military parade that is set to be held in Islamabad this month to celebrate Pakistan Day.F-16 jets are among the most valuable defence hardware in the Pakistani military’s arsenal. The country has a fleet of about 50 F-16s, each worth at least $40 million.last_img read more

US begins first human trial of coronavirus vaccine

first_imgThe first human trial to evaluate a candidate vaccine against the new coronavirus has begun in Seattle, US health officials said Monday, raising hopes in the global fight against the disease.But it may be another year to 18 months before it becomes available, once it has passed more trial phases to prove it works and is safe.The vaccine is called mRNA-1273 and was developed by US National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists and collaborators at biotechnology company Moderna, which is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Global race Pharmaceuticals and research labs around the world are racing to develop both treatments and vaccines to the new coronavirus.An antiviral treatment called remdesivir, made by US-based Gilead Sciences, is already in the final stages of clinical trials in Asia and doctors in China have reported it has proven effective in fighting the disease.But only randomized trials allow scientists to know for sure whether it really helps or whether patients would have recovered without it.Another US pharma called Inovio, which is creating a DNA-based vaccine, has said it will enter clinical trials next month. Regeneron is trying to isolate coronavirus-fighting antibodies that can be administered intravenously to confer temporary immunity, and hopes to start human trials by summer.According to the World Health Organization, 80 percent of COVID-19 cases are mild, 14 percent are severe and about five percent result are critical, resulting in severe respiratory illness that causes the lungs to fill with fluid which in turn prevents oxygen from reaching organs.Patients with mild cases recover in a week or two while severe cases can take six or more weeks.Recent estimates suggest about one percent of all infected people die. Topics : “Finding a safe and effective vaccine to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2 is an urgent public health priority,” said Anthony Fauci, head of infectious diseases at the NIH, using the technical name for the virus that is believed to have originated in bats.”This Phase 1 study, launched in record speed, is an important first step toward achieving that goal.”The Seattle trial will study the impact of different doses delivered by intramuscular injection in the upper arm, with participants monitored for side-effects like soreness or fever.Coronaviruses are spherical and have spikes protruding from their surface, giving them a crown-like appearance. The spike binds to human cells, allowing the virus to gain entry.The Moderna candidate vaccine carries the genetic information of this spike in a substance called “messenger RNA.”Injecting human tissue with the spike’s messenger RNA makes it grow inside the body, thereby eliciting an immune response without having actually infected a person with the full-blown virus. “The open-label trial will enroll 45 healthy adult volunteers ages 18 to 55 years over approximately 6 weeks,” the NIH said. “The first participant received the investigational vaccine today.”Funding was also provided by the Oslo-based Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).There are currently no approved vaccines or treatments against the coronavirus disease, known as COVID-19, which has infected more than 175,000 people across the world since it was first identified in central China in late December.It has claimed 7,000 deaths, according to an AFP tally, most in China followed by Italy.last_img read more

Quarantined travelers in Maluku get angry over absence of food, health tests

first_img“If authorities fail to fulfill what they’ve promised us, how can we stay [in this quarantine facility]? We’re not sick, but we could die from hunger here,” a traveler from Jakarta, Helmy Latupono, said while leading a protest at the building on Wednesday afternoon.”I’ll definitely lead others to leave this building,” he added, asserting that they were healthy and therefore had no chance of transmitting the virus to locals.Read also: Maluku limits access to airports, harbors to curb COVID-19 spreadThe Maluku administration had prepared the building to quarantine anyone traveling to the region during the COVID-19 outbreak to contain the disease’s spread. The quarantine period was supposed to last 14 days.LPMP Maluku head Achli Jasim explained separately that his office had prepared 142 isolation wards in the building, as requested by the Maluku administration. The administration, however, had not specifically asked his side to provide food or medical examinations for the travelers.”Our task is to assist the COVID-19 task force in Maluku with the isolation facility,” Jasim said, suggesting that it was the task force’s duty to provide the quarantined people with food and medical tests.He further said that some of the quarantined travelers had left the building after the protest but some others decided to stay. Eighty-six of them arrived in the province aboard state ship operator Pelni’s KM Tidar passenger vessel. (vny)Topics : Dozens of travelers arriving at Yos Sudarso Port in Ambon, Maluku, on Wednesday morning  reportedly expressed outrage after the city failed to provide them with food and medical examinations at its quarantine facility.The travelers had been transported to the nearby Education Quality Control Agency (LPMP) building, which has been designated as a quarantine facility during the COVID-19 pandemic, at around 4 a.m., just after setting foot in the region.They had purportedly waited for further action from the administration inside the building but nothing happened until noon. They were not given food and did not undergo health tests for COVID-19, which they claim had been promised beforehand. last_img read more

African ambassadors complain to China over ‘discrimination’ in Guangzhou

first_img“The Guangdong authorities attach great importance to some African countries’ concerns and are working promptly to improve their working method,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in a statement published Sunday, referring to the province in which Guangzhou is located.”African friends can count on getting fair, just, cordial and friendly reception in China,” he said, adding the foreign ministry will stay in close communication with Guangdong authorities and address the “African side’s reasonable concerns and legitimate appeals”.Zhao’s statement did not reference the ambassadors’ note to Wang and did not mention the allegations of discrimination against Africans in the city.Foreign affairs official Liu Baochun told a news conference separately on Sunday that Guangzhou is enforcing anti-virus measures on anyone who enters the city from across the national border, regardless of nationality, race or gender.The Chinese embassy in Zimbabwe on Saturday dismissed the accusation that Africans were being deliberately targeted.”It is harmful to sensationalize isolated incidents,” it said in a tweeted statement. “China treats all individuals in the country, Chinese and foreign alike, as equals.”Disappointment The ambassadors’ note highlighted a number of reported incidents, including that Africans were being ejected from hotels in the middle of the night, the seizure of passports, and threats of visa revocation, arrest or deportation.On Saturday, Ghana’s foreign minister of affairs Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey said she had summoned the Chinese ambassador to express her disappointment and demand action.Kenya’s foreign ministry has also “officially expressed concern”, adding the government is working with Chinese authorities to address the matter.On Friday, Nigerian legislator Akinola Alabi tweeted a video of a meeting between the leader of Nigeria’s lower house of parliament, Femi Gbajabiamila, and Chinese Ambassador Zhou Pingjian. In it, Gbajabiamila demanded an explanation from the diplomat after showing Zhou a video of a Nigerian complaining about mistreatment in China.The ambassador said in response to the questions from the house leader that he took the complaints “very seriously” and promised to convey them to the authorities back home. In recent days Africans in Guangzhou have reported being ejected from their apartments by their landlords, being tested for coronavirus several times without being given results and being shunned and discriminated against in public. Such complaints have been made in local media, and on social media.The ambassadors’ note said such “stigmatization and discrimination” created the false impression that the virus was being spread by Africans.”The Group of African Ambassadors in Beijing immediately demands the cessation of forceful testing, quarantine and other inhuman treatments meted out to Africans,” it said.The note was sent to State Councilor Wang Yi, the Chinese government’s top diplomat, copying the chair of the African Union, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and all African foreign ministers. African ambassadors in China have written to the country’s foreign minister over what they call discrimination against Africans as the country seeks to prevent a resurgence of the coronavirus.Several African countries have separately also demanded that China address their concerns that Africans, in particular in the southern city of Guangzhou, are being mistreated and harassed.Having brought under control the original outbreak centered on the city of Wuhan, China is now concerned about imported cases and is stepping up scrutiny of foreigners coming into the country and tightening border controls. It has denied any discrimination.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Buzzfeed closes news operations in Britain, Australia

first_imgGroundbreaking website Buzzfeed said on Thursday that it would be shuttering part of its loss-making news operations in Britain and Australia, as it scales back global ambitions to cut costs.”For economic and strategic reasons, we are going to focus on news that hits big in the United States during this difficult period,” a company spokesperson said.Many news outlets have been hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with plummeting advertising revenues and already struggling operations pushed deeper into the red. “BuzzFeed gave us space to experiment with covering politics for a young audience,” Australian news editor Lane Sainty tweeted.She lauded her staff’s work to “tackle important and often under-covered beats like abortion, LGBTQ rights, Indigenous affairs, immigration and internet culture.””I’ve always been grateful for that & very proud of our work.”More cost-cutting measures are expected, including in the United States, where “workshare programs” are being touted as a way of avoiding furloughs.”Those options need to meet our savings goals, be legally and logistically workable, and allow us to keep producing kinetic, powerful journalism,” Buzzfeed said.This year “news will spend about $10 million more than it takes in,” it added. Topics :center_img Ten staff in Britain and four in Australia will be furloughed, in a move that is expected to become permanent.The company will no longer cover local news in the two countries, but said: “In the UK, we still plan on retaining some employees who are focused on news with a global audience — social news, celebrity, and investigations.”The four Australian posts were “no longer essential during this time of sharply limited resources,” the company added.Once maligned as a funnel for little more than celebrity gossip, clickbait lists and cat pictures, Buzzfeed has developed into a news force to rival more established outlets.last_img read more

G20 vows to avoid ‘unnecessary’ trade barriers

first_imgDisruptions to supply chains could “prolong and exacerbate the health and economic crisis”, the two institutions warned. The G20 on Thursday pledged to avoid “unnecessary” trade barriers on essential goods including food during the coronavirus pandemic, after the WTO and IMF warned over the growing use of export restrictions.The pandemic has pushed the global economy and international trade into turmoil as they face downturns not seen since the Great Depression. Global trade is expected to register “double-digit declines” in volumes in nearly all regions this year, the World Trade Organization has said. G20 trade and investment ministers said export restrictions on vital medical supplies and other essential goods, if necessary, must be “proportionate, transparent, temporary” and must not create “unnecessary barriers to trade or disruption to global supply chains”.Following a virtual meeting hosted by Saudi Arabia, the ministers also pledged to “refrain from introducing export restrictions on agricultural products” and avoid “unnecessary food-stockpiling”.Last month, the International Monetary Fund and WTO expressed concern over possible “supply disruptions” from the growing use of export restrictions that limit trade of key medical supplies and food.They called on global leaders to refrain from imposing such restrictions.center_img Topics :last_img read more