Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion In the present climate of extreme political polarization, people need access to well documented and accurate news. We are fortunate in the Capital District to have access to WMHT — a public television channel. The nightly news is presented in a clear, balanced manner. When topics are controversial, guests present both the left and the right positions in a respectful manner. WHMT also has programs that focus on politics in New York state. An added bonus: There are no commercials during the program. You actually get uninterrupted, in-depth coverage in a respectful format. Eleanor AronsteinNiskayunaMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationPuccioni’s two goals help Niskayuna boys’ soccer top Shaker, remain perfectNiskayuna girls’ cross country wins over BethlehemEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motorists
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Topics : Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said during the same news conference that the government had prepared Rp 1 trillion (US$67.63 million) for medical needs, including hospital preparation costs, laboratory tests and to cover medical costs for infected persons.“The Finance Ministry will provide the necessary funds for COVID-19 handling, including for case tracking, coordination between the central government and regional administrations and the provision of face masks and hand sanitizer,” Sri Mulyani told reporters.The government announced on Friday that it was allocating Rp 120 trillion from the state budget to stimulate the economy through tax incentives and subsidies for workers, businesses and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.Read also: Indonesia advances pre-employment card program to tackle pandemic impactsIt also announced a second stimulus package, worth Rp 22.9 trillion, that includes individual and corporate tax breaks as well as the relaxation of loan disbursement and restructuring requirements.This is in addition to the first Rp 10.3 trillion stimulus package announced on Feb. 25, which was aimed at boosting household spending and provided mortgage subsidies for low-income families and fiscal incentives for travel-related industries.The government will also speed up disbursement of social spending and funds for the pre-employment card program in the first quarter of this year. Indonesia is set to temporarily ban exports of face masks to ensure there is a sufficient domestic supply amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Trade Minister Agus Suparmanto said on Friday.“We will issue a temporary export ban for face masks so the needs of companies and consumers are met,” Agus told a news conference in Jakarta. “The ban will be effective until we have a sufficient stock of face masks.”Prices of face masks have skyrocketed in several parts of the country, as people stockpile protective supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer liquid, to protect themselves from the virus. “If we have any excess supply [in the future], we will resume exports,” Agus said.Read also: Two Malaysians arrested for alleged attempt to smuggle face masks from North SumatraHe previously urged mask producers to halt exports of masks and prioritize domestic consumers amid a spike in demand in Indonesia. State-owned pharmaceutical company PT Kimia Farma has implemented rationing for face masks and hand sanitizer to ensure the products are available at all of its 1,300 stores nationwide.The government has so far announced 34 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with one death. Globally, the pneumonia-like illness has infected more than 128,000 people and taken at least 4,700 lives.
“We are way off in terms of conducting COVID-19 tests on the public. Therefore, not many people have tested positive for the disease while there is a huge potential [for further infections],” Jusuf said.Indonesia, the fourth-most-populous country in the world, has only tested 1,592 people, which resulted in 309 people being declared positive according to the Health Ministry’s latest data.In comparison, South Korea has tested over 290,000 people and identified over 8,000 infections according to Reuters.While the former VP calls for quick action, bureaucratic red-tape has slowed down the import process for 500,000 COVID-19 rapid testing kits from China by state-owned diversified manufacturer PT Rajawali Nusantara Indonesia.State-Owned Enterprises Ministry spokesman Arya Sinulingga on Wednesday said the company was still waiting for the Health Ministry to give them clearance to import testing kits from China, despite having submitted the import request on March 10.President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo called for widespread nationwide rapid testing on Thursday, but it is unclear when such tests will be available. (mpr)Topics : Former vice president and chairman of the Indonesian Red Cross Jusuf Kalla criticized the government’s slow response to the COVID-19 pandemic and called for mass testing to prevent further spread of the virus.“Just like several other countries, our initial response to the outbreak was slow. However, in the last few days the government has understood the problem and is acting based on the proper procedures,” he said during an interview on national television show Mata Najwa on Wednesday night.He also urged the government to ramp up its effort to identify the spread of COVID-19 by conducting mass tests on “hundreds of thousands of people” using rapid test kits.
The US Treasury Department has ordered President Donald Trump’s name to be printed on checks the Internal Revenue Service is planning to send to tens of millions of Americans, a decision that will slow their delivery by several days, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.Citing unnamed administration officials, the Post said the $1,200 checks to be sent as part of a $2.3 trillion package enacted last month to cushion the economic blow from the novel coronavirus outbreak will “bear Trump’s name in the memo line, below a line that reads, ‘Economic Impact Payment.'”The White House and the Treasury Department did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment. The Post said the decision to include Trump’s name was announced to the IRS information technology team on Tuesday.”The team, working from home, is now racing to implement a programming change that two senior officials said will likely lead to a delay in issuing the first batch of paper checks,” it said.The Republican Trump is seeking re-election in November.Topics :
Mount Semeru in Lumajang, East Java, has reportedly shown elevated volcanic activity that was marked with a 300-second tectonic earthquake and a 2,000-meter-high column of ash blowing south.The increasing activity was recorded on Friday morning at around 6 a.m., the Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center (PVMBG) confirmed, citing that the mountain had persistently erupted and expelled lava from its crater since the beginning of April.”For now, the volcano will potentially expel lava and hot ash in the direction of the Besuk Bang, Besuk Kobokan and Besuk Kembar deltas,” the PVMBG staff member in charge of monitoring Mount Semeru, Kristyanto, said as reported by kompas.com.Read also: Anak Krakatau not alone as three more Indonesian volcanoes eruptAuthorities, however, still maintained caution in the alert status for the volcano, which is the second-highest level, despite the increasing activity.A top official at the Lumajang Disaster Mitigation Agency, Wawan Hadi, separately called on local residents not to panic yet remain alert. (vny)Topics :
A second Dutch worker has likely been infected with coronavirus on a mink farm, but the risk of further contagion remains low, the agriculture minister said Monday.The case follows a reported infection last week on one of two farms near the southern city of Eindhoven, where the disease was discovered in April among mink that are bred for their valuable fur.”A second case has become known where on one of the mink farms SARS-CoV-2 has been passed from a mink to a human,” Carola Schouten said. The Netherlands has so far recorded 5,830 human coronavirus deaths and 45,445 infections. Topics : “The case is similar to the previous one,” she said in a letter to the Dutch parliament.The infection happened before it was known that the mink were carrying the virus, meaning that workers did not wear protective clothing at the time.Dutch health authorities who assessed the risk of infection outside the shed where the mink were being kept believed it was “negligible,” Schouten said.Keeping mink for their fur has been a controversial issue in the Netherlands, with its highest court in 2016 ordering that all mink breeding must cease by 2024.
The government has decided to allow places of worship in COVID-19 “green zones” to reopen as the “new normal” comes into force.Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi explained on Wednesday that the permits to re-open certain worship places would be issued after taking into consideration the areas’ R0 and RT. R0 refers to a virus’ basic reproduction number, while RT refers to R0 at a given time. Both indicators measure how contagious an infectious disease is. An outbreak will eventually peter out in a certain area if it has an R0 below one. On the other hand, the outbreak can grow exponentially if the R0 remains above one. “The permits will be issued by district heads upon consulting with regents. After all, it’s the regents who are fully aware of an area’s R0 and RT,” Fachrul said during a teleconference on Wednesday, adding that the permits would be reviewed monthly. “If COVID-19 transmission in an area increases, the permit to operate places of worship there will be revoked,” the minister said.The government is planning to ease large-scale social restrictions in the near future and embrace the new normal by reopening schools, offices and shopping centers as well as other public places. However, many have questioned the decision as the numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths still continue to rise across the country. Topics :
The Danish Cup final was interrupted for almost a quarter of an hour because fans refused to comply with the social distancing rules inside the stadium, police said. The two finalists, Aalborg (AaB) and SonderjyskE, were each allocated 750 tickets for the match in Esbjerg on Wednesday evening.During the first half, “the referee had to suspend the match for up to 15 minutes, when the AaB fans refused to stay in the designated seats and huddled together in violation of the Covid rules,” Sydjylland police said on Twitter. Pictures show members of the Aalborg staff unsuccessfully encouraging their supporters to return to their designated seats. Between 40 and 50 of the fans were expelled from the ground and put on a bus and sent back to Aalborg with a police escort.The match resumed after 14 minutes and ended in a 2-0 victory for SonderjyskE, who won the competition for the first time.The police also tweeted that they arrested some fans for letting off flares.The increased crowd for the match represented a loosening of Denmark’s earlier coronavirus rules limiting attendance at a football match to 500 with a minimum distance between them of two metres.On Tuesday, the Danish government said it would allow 500 fans into each section of the stadium and that would have to keep one metre apart. In Copenhagen, up to 10,500 fans will be able into Parken, Denmark’s largest stadium which can hold 38,000, FC Copenhagen club communications manager Jes Mortensen told AFP on Tuesday. Topics :