Imperial strikes back

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Great Portland returns £100m to shareholders for ‘right balance’

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

Local baker turns Palu ‘choker’ crocodile into 60 cm bread

first_imgA wild crocodile in the Palu River of Central Sulawesi, its neck trapped for several years in a motorcycle tire, has been in the media spotlight in recent weeks, particularly after an Australian wildlife expert joined a local rescue team in an attempt to free it of the “choker”.Despite failing, the mission received wide coverage across the nation’s media to become the talk of the country, and gave at least one entrepreneurial baker an idea.Read also: ‘See you soon, mate’: Australian presenter Matt Wright returns home despite failing to rescue Palu crocodileAbraham, the 58-year-old owner of Master Bakery in Palu, decided to take the local reptilian “icon” as an opportunity for testing his creativity and boosting his business – by making bread shaped like the crocodile, complete with a tire around its neck.“At first, I made two 60-centimeter breads that resembled the crocodile. I left one [on display] in the store and took the other to a warkop [coffee stall] where I usually hang out to share it with my friends,” Abraham told kompas.com on Thursday.He said he had not realized that the crocodile bread had gone viral until the orders started coming in – to the point that he was overwhelmed by the high demand.“I did not expect this to go viral. My staff and I have been working overtime to make these crocodile breads,” Abraham said, adding that the breads were offered in various sizes and ranged from Rp 7,000 (50 US cents) to Rp 80,000 per piece.Crocodile-shaped bread has long been popular fare among Jakarta’s indigenous Betawi culture. Two pieces of sweetened bread shaped like a crocodile (sans tire) are a must at every traditional Betawi wedding, as the reptile symbolizes loyalty and long life.Meanwhile, the “Palu crocodile” breads at Master Bakery have received good reviews from culinary enthusiasts.Abraham said that he had come up with the idea of making crocodile-shaped bread in October 2012, and that he had simply not acted on it until the recent rescue attempt brought widespread attention to the crocodile and its plight.He added that he planned to make one life-sized bread that accurately resembled the 4-meter crocodile – or at least as closely as he could make it, including the texture and color of its skin.Jemmy, a Master Bakery customer, applauded Abraham’s creative innovation and said he was excited about trying the bread.“I’m curious about the bread that looks like the crocodile with the tire necklace. It went viral, and I want to buy one for my child, who I think will absolutely love it,” said the 30-year-old. (syk)Topics :last_img read more

Serbia announces first coronavirus case: ministry

first_imgTopics : The first case of coronavirus in Serbia has been diagnosed in a man who had been in Hungary, the country’s health minster announced on Friday. “The first case of coronavirus has been confirmed in Serbia. It is a 43-year-old man from Subotica [north] who recently stayed in Hungary, in Budapest,” said Zlatibor Loncar at a press conference. The man is in solitary confinement at the Subotica hospital and his health is good, the minister said. The people with whom he came into contact have been tested. “There is no need to panic, you have to behave in accordance with the authorities’ recommendations,” added the minister who said the patient behaved “responsibly”.Serbia is the fourth country comprising the former Yugoslavia to have reported cases of infection following Croatia (11 cases), North Macedonia (one case) and Bosnia (two cases). The virus, which now affects around 90 countries and territories, has infected more than 98,000 people worldwide and left nearly 3,400 people dead. At 0900 GMT Friday, Europe had registered 5,701 cases with 161 deaths, all but 13 of those in Italy. last_img read more

NZ’s Ardern, ministers take 20% pay cut for six months due to coronavirus impact

first_img“This is where we can take action and that is why we have,” Ardern said in a news conference announcing the decision.”We acknowledge New Zealanders who are reliant on wage subsides, taking a pay cut, and losing their jobs as a result of the global pandemic,” she added.New Zealand on Wednesday recorded 20 new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases to 1,386. It has recorded nine deaths so far.The government is expected to decide next week whether it will extend its current “Level 4″ shutdown. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, ministers in her government and public service chief executives will take a 20% pay cut for the next six months amid the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.New Zealand’s offices, schools and non-essential services have been closed for the last three weeks, and economic activity is at a standstill as the country undertakes one of the strictest lockdowns globally.The government has forecast joblessness to surge because of the global and domestic slowdown. In a speech to New Zealand’s business community earlier in the day, the finance minister said that if the government decided to ease restrictions, the emphasis would be to permit economic activity that is safe.Grant Robertson also said the annual budget, to be announced on May 14, would focus on recovery.”It will include funding for the cost pressures that are necessary part of keeping our country ticking over. But we will devote much of our resources to kick starting this recovery,” Robertson said in his speech streamed to business leaders. center_img Topics :last_img read more

Garuda’s $500m sukuk extension inevitable as cash-flow crisis gets worse: Analysts

first_img“The COVID-19 outbreak has had a significant impact on the airline’s financial performance. However, we are optimistic that we will be able to pull through this difficult situation and adapt to a new normal,” Garuda president director Irfan Setiaputra said in a statement on Tuesday.With the extension, Garuda will be able to strengthen its liquidity and improve its overall financial performance, he said.Garuda Indonesia booked $3.25 billion in short-term liabilities last year, including $498.9 million in sukuk bonds, according to its 2019 financial report. Flight disruptions caused by emergency measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 have dealt a major blow to the country’s airlines, including Garuda.According to a letter available on the IDX website signed by Garuda finance director Fuad Rizal, Garuda’s flight traffic dropped by 83 percent year-on-year (yoy) in April as the government banned flights between major cities in the country. The number of passengers decreased by 45 percent in the January to April 30 period, compared to the same months last year. Travel restrictions imposed by several countries also led to a 95 percent decline in international flights.“Flight disruptions have impacted the company’s financial condition, with operating revenue decreasing by 89 percent in April compared to that in the same month in 2019. The outbreak has also led to negative cash flows as a result of a 47 percent increase in the company’s trade payable arrears — or $236 million — during the first quarter, from the last quarter of 2019,” the statement read.To cope with the difficult situation, Garuda Indonesia will receive a capital injection of Rp 8.5 trillion from the government.Analyst and the head of research of MNC Sekuritas, Edwin Sebayang said Garuda’s request for an extension was necessary and inevitable. However, the decision may also lead to a downgrade in the company’s credit rating.Going forward, Edwin said Garuda must be very careful in maintaining its cash flow and had to apply strict cost efficiency measures for the next two years. Edwin estimates that in the next two years, the aviation industry would face a tough recovery as passenger demand would slowly return to normal and a decline in revenue would likely continue.“Thus, Garuda must implement cost efficiency measures because it also has more debts, either from bank loans or from other bonds,” he said on Tuesday.Edwin said that in the future, Garuda must only focus on profitable routes within the country and across Asia instead of insisting on operating long-haul but unprofitable flights such as Jakarta-Amsterdam or Jakarta-London.“Garuda must change the way it does business. It must put aside its pride and focus on routes that can turn a profit and avoid those that would only incur losses,” he said. Topics :center_img Publicly listed national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia is asking for a three-year extension on US$500 million worth of global sukuk (global Islamic bonds) due on June 3 to address a major liquidity problem caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.The proposal was submitted to the Financial Service Authority (OJK), the Indonesian Stock Exchange (IDX) and the Singapore Stock Exchange (SSE) on Tuesday.The airline will formally ask for approval from bondholders to extend the Islamic bonds during their meeting, which will be held at the end of the grace period on June 10.last_img read more

Jakarta not ready to enter ‘new normal’, LaporCOVID-19 survey suggests

first_imgA survey conducted by LaporCOVID-19 (Report COVID-19) community reveals that Jakarta is not yet ready to enter the so-called “new normal” as the capital is gearing up to ease social restrictions. Based on the survey, the group has expressed concern that the new normal policy might instead cause a spike in transmission as there is low risk perception of COVID-19 among Jakarta residents. The survey took place between May 29 and June 2 in collaboration with Singapore’s Nanyang Technology University (NTU) Social Resilience Lab. It was aimed at finding how Jakartans perceive the risk of COVID-19 using a risk perception index developed from sociological theories of risk.On a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 equals critically low, Jakartans scored 3.46 in the risk perception index, meaning they were between “rather low” and “rather high”. NTU associate professor Sulfikar Amir said the score should be 4 or higher for the capital to apply the new normal policy.“Overall, we can say that residents of Jakarta are not yet ready to enter the new normal phase until we reach a score of at least 4,” Sulfikar said during a virtual discussion session on Thursday.“If the survey reaches the score of 4, it means that residents have become more disciplined and are aware of the risk of COVID-19, which is [suitable to] reduce the transmission rate in the capital,” he added.Read also: Jakarta discusses ‘new normal’ possibilities for nightclubs, massage parlorsThe survey measured several variables to determine the index score, namely knowledge and information about COVID-19, how much the participants are willing to protect themselves from transmission — such as by wearing a protective mask as well as their social and economic condition, in addition to their overall risk perception.The close-ended survey asked 3,079 participants from almost all subdistricts in the capital city several questions, such as “in your opinion, how likely are you to contract COVID-19?”, “how likely are you to help acquaintances that have contracted COVID-19?”, and “how much has your income decreased due to the pandemic”. Respondents were also questioned about their knowledge of the disease, such as its symptoms and methods of transmission.Sulfikar said Jakartans received a relatively high score in terms of their knowledge and information regarding the disease and how much they are willing to protect themselves. However, they scored lower in economic and social conditions, which affected the overall risk perception scoring.Sulfikar, for example, said a poor economic condition might result in someone risking their health and safety by going out to work instead of staying at home.To improve residents’ risk perception, Sulfikar said the Jakarta administration needed to be consistent in educating the public about the pandemic. Additionally, LaporCOVID-19 co-founder Irma Hidayana suggested that the administration should be more transparent about COVID-19 data, such as the number of deaths among suspected individuals showing symptoms. Transparency is an important factor as the survey also showed that 66.9 percent of respondents trusted the data provided by government officials.National Development Planning Minister Suharso Monoarfa previously said that the new normal policy was aimed at keeping the economy running while maintaining restrictions. However, on the other hand, the country faces slumping economic growth and a looming recession. Read also: Experts warn of turbulent ‘new normal’ amid COVID-19 data, testing issuesIrma said the government carried the responsibility of ensuring social and economic welfare of the people during the national health crisis.“[In a state of health quarantine], social and economic assurance should be provided by the government so that an alarming condition [showed in the survey] that affects public perception does not happen,” she said during the discussion. “The [1945] Constitution guarantees social and economic rights, especially during a pandemic like this,” added Irma.Jakarta, the epicenter of the epidemic in Indonesia, continuously records the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country. As of Wednesday, the Health Ministry reported 7,623 confirmed cases with 523 fatalities. However, Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartanto has suggested that Jakarta is one of the provinces ready to enter the new normal phase despite concerns over the low testing capacity and incomplete data in the country.The capital applied the first period of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) from April 10 to 23, with several extensions prolonging the period until June 4.On Thursday, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan decided to extend the period of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) to the end of June as Indonesia’s capital city enters the transition phase with gradual easing plans in place for several sectors.Topics :last_img read more

Govt expects unemployment to worsen, continue into next year

first_imgThe government expects 4 million additional people to fall below the poverty line this year, making for a total of 28 million people in poverty in the nation, or around 10.6 percent of the population, up from 9.2 percent in September of last year.“With government’s intervention, we could reduce [the number of additional people who fall into poverty] to under 1 million so that it does not reach double digits this year,” said Suharso.The government is targeting a poverty rate of between 9.2 percent to 9.7 percent next year, according to the minister.The government has allocated Rp 695.2 trillion (US$49.2 billion), or 4.2 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Of that figure, Rp 172.1 trillion has been designated for the social safety net, far higher than the previous plan’s allocation of Rp 110 trillion.Indonesia’s economy has been hit hard by the pandemic. It grew 2.97 percent in the first three months this year, the weakest since 2001, as household spending and investment growth slowed.The government expects the economy to shrink by 3.8 percent in the second quarter of this year, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said during the same hearing.Sri Mulyani revised the country’s expected GDP growth down to between negative 0.4 percent and positive 1 percent this year because of feeble economic activity and depressed commodity prices.“The government is currently focusing on the economic recovery in the third and fourth quarters from the contraction in the second quarter,” Sri told lawmakers. “We will use our policy instruments, supported by Bank Indonesia, to maintain recovery momentum.”The government is hoping the economy will grow by 4.5 to 5.5 percent in 2021 on the back of a global economic recovery as the pandemic subsides.The World Bank expects the country’s poverty rate to increase by 2.1 to 3.6 percentage points this year, which would mean between 5.6 million and 9.6 million people could fall into poverty this year.“There is a need for adequate protection for vulnerable communities,” World Bank senior economist for Indonesia Ralph Van Doorn said recently. “We are concerned that the value of the stimulus package may not be enough to offset the economic impact on households.”The World Bank now projects zero percent growth for Indonesia this year as the COVID-19 crisis causes the global economy to experience its deepest downturn since World War II.Topics : “If the [economic] condition persists throughout the year, we are worried that unemployment will reach 10.7 million to 12.7 million in 2021,” Suharso said during a parliamentary hearing on Monday.The coronavirus has forced people to stay at home, disrupting business activity as shops, factories and offices have shut their doors. As economic activity languishes, millions of Indonesians have lost their jobs and are in danger of falling into poverty.As of May 27, more than 1.79 million people had lost their jobs after nonessential businesses shut down to comply with government restrictions, according to data from the Manpower Ministry.“We are hoping that jobs will return to near prepandemic levels,” Suharso said. The nation’s high unemployment rate is expected to worsen and continue into next year as the country braces for further economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis, senior government officials said on Monday.Some 5.5 million people may lose their jobs this year, pushing the unemployment rate to between 8.1 and 9.2 percent, up from 5.28 percent last year, according to National Development Planning Minister Suharso Monoarfa.As a result, up to 12.7 million people are expected to be unemployed by next year, up from 7.05 million people in 2019. The government’s baseline scenario for next year predicts that the unemployment rate will be between 7.7 and 9.1 percent.last_img read more

Vice squad: East Java Police officers reported for marital infidelity

first_imgA top official at the National Police’s internal affairs division revealed that a large number of East Java Police officers had been reported for marital infidelity.Sr. Comr. Budi P. said that the East Java Police had recorded the highest number of infidelity cases in the country. “At the National Police headquarters [in Jakarta], the East Java Police are famous for the many officers that are unfaithful,” the official said on Tuesday on the sidelines of a visit to the Probolinggo police department headquarters, as quoted by kompas.com. “After we checked the data, it turned out that it was true; East Java has the highest number of police infidelity cases in Indonesia.” Budi did not say exactly how many cases of police infidelity had been reported in the province.He said that police departments in almost every regency and municipality in East Java had reported cases of adultery. “We have passed through Madiun, Kediri, Blitar and Malang, and all them have [cases of police marital infidelity],” he said.He warned that those caught could be dishonorably discharged from the institution, “especially if they are cheating with policewomen, police officers’ wives, or civil servants”.  Sex between a married person and a person who is not his or her legal spouse is outlawed under the current Criminal Code and carries a maximum sentence of eight months of imprisonment. The law, however, also only allows the husband or wife who has been cheated on to report the crime. A revised version of the Code, currently being deliberated by the House of Representatives, would outlaw all forms of sex outside marriage, including consensual sex between two unmarried people. (vny)Topics :last_img read more

Biden unveils $2 trillion climate plan in new contrast with Trump

first_imgWhite House hopeful Joe Biden on Tuesday unveiled an ambitious, $2 trillion climate change plan that would revamp the US energy sector and seek to achieve carbon pollution-free power in just 15 years.The clean energy proposal was fleshed out in a speech in Wilmington as the veteran Democrat drew a sharp contrast with President Donald Trump ahead of November’s election by arguing that fighting climate change would be a massive job creator under a Biden administration.Insisting that “there’s no more consequential challenge” today than climate change, Biden pledged to spend $2 trillion over four years to promote his plan, a dramatic acceleration of the $1.7 trillion he had proposed to spend over 10 years  during the primary race. He reiterated that he would rejoin the Paris climate agreement that Trump quit in 2017, fund the construction of 1.5 million new energy efficient homes, upgrade appliance standards and prioritize renewable energy.”We’re not just going to tinker around the edges,” Biden said.”I know meeting the challenge will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to jolt new life into our economy.”Biden said he would reverse some 100 steps by Trump to roll back environmental regulations. He also recalled parts of his earlier climate proposal that would put the nation on the road to net zero emissions economy-wide no later than 2050. Topics : “Transforming the American electrical sector to produce power without producing carbon pollution… will be the greatest spurring of job creation and economic competitiveness in the 21st century,” Biden said. “That’s why we’re going to achieve a carbon pollution-free electric sector by the year 2035.”The plan also includes more ambitious goals than the proposal he released months ago when he ran as one of the more moderate Democrats in the party’s nomination race.By embracing some ideas of his progressive ex-rivals, including Senator Bernie Sanders and Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Biden appears intent on winning over progressive voters who might be wary of the former vice president’s more centrist positions. ‘Extreme’ Trump delivered a rebuttal hours later, accusing Biden of launching a “hard-left crusade against American energy” and pushing a platform “that would demolish the US economy.””He wants no oil and gas,” Trump said as he criticized Biden’s plan to reduce carbon emissions.One week earlier Biden unveiled a unity platform that incorporated positions from leftist Sanders, but Trump attacked it as “the most extreme platform of any major party nominee, by far, in American history.”Biden, who has refrained from campaigning publicly amid coronavirus outbreaks, berated Trump for failing to contain a pandemic which has killed 136,000 Americans, or set the right example by wearing a mask, something Trump finally did on Saturday.”I’m glad he made the shift,” Biden said of Trump appearing in a mask.”But Mr President, it’s not enough. We won’t be able to turn the corner and get the American people back to work safely without presidential leadership.”Biden leads Trump on most issues, according to polling, but voters still see the president as stronger on steering the US economy.last_img read more