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She went on to say that the “men-made” events caused last year’s world economic growth and trade to reach their lowest point since the global financial crisis in 2008.The World Bank projected the global economy to grow by only 2.9 percent in 2019 as global trade and manufacturing activities slowed down last year as a result of trade tensions and financial pressure in advanced countries.In the meantime, the World Trade Organization (WTO) announced last October that it forecast global trade to rise by only 1.2 percent in 2019.“Men created these problems, so men have to fix them,” Sri Mulyani said, followed by applause and cheers from the audience.Despite the situation, she said the government was still optimistic that Indonesia could still maintain robust economic growth while also remaining vigilant about the challenges that lay ahead.She also said that the government would continue to work on its policy choices and utilize to the utmost the available instruments to maintain growth.“We will also conduct structural reform to make sure the good conditions will be sustained and improve in the future,” she said.Topics : Finance Minister Sri Mulyani has laid the blame for the recent and ongoing global uncertainties squarely on men – and she demanded they take the responsibility for fixing them.In a speech at the Mandiri Investment Forum in Jakarta on Wednesday, she said that the uncertain global conditions in 2019—caused by the United States-China trade war, Brexit and protests in many parts of the world—were likely to persist in 2020.“These uncertainties are actually man-made and I’d really like to underline the word ‘man’ here because almost all of them are caused by men,” Sri Mulyani said, citing the protests in Hong Kong as an exception, as the autonomous state is led by chairwoman Carrie Lam.
Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke on Friday with US President Donald Trump on the novel coronavirus outbreak and urged Washington to respond “reasonably” to the epidemic, state media reported.Xi told Trump on the phone that China was “fully confident and capable of defeating the epidemic”, and that “the long-term trend of China’s economic development for the better will not change”, according to state broadcaster CCTV.The viral outbreak, which is believed to have originated in central China late last year, has now infected at least 31,000 people and caused 636 deaths, mostly within China. Local governments across China have locked down cities of tens of millions of people in response to the crisis, while global panic has risen over the more than 240 cases that have emerged in two dozen countries.Xi’s comments come hours after the death of a whistleblower doctor, punished for sharing information about the virus, prompted an immense outpouring of public grief and anger over how Chinese authorities have handled the crisis.Xi called the fight to contain the virus a “people’s war” and told Trump that China has implemented “nationwide mobilisation, comprehensive deployment and rapid response” along with “the strictest prevention and control measures” against the virus.Xi also urged the US to act “reasonably” in response to the outbreak, the official Xinhua news agency said.Beijing has hit out against strict measures by other countries to contain the spread of the virus, calling travel bans against Chinese arrivals by a growing list of nations “unkind” and going against the advice of the World Health Organization.The US has temporarily barred entry to foreigners who have been in China within the past two weeks, joining countries including Italy, Singapore and Mongolia who have announced expansive restrictions on travellers from the virus-hit country.The United States, Japan, Britain, Germany and other nations have also advised their citizens not to travel to China.Topics :
Topics : The Washington Post on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter, said US officials had told Sanders about the Russian effort and had also informed Republican President Donald Trump and US lawmakers.It was not clear what form the Russian assistance took, the paper said.A congressional source confirmed intelligence officials have told lawmakers Russia appears to be engaging in disinformation and propaganda campaigns to boost the 2020 campaigns of both Sanders and Trump.The source, however, cautioned that the findings are very tentative. Sanders said he was briefed about a month ago. His campaign noted the briefing was classified.”We were told that Russia, maybe other countries, are going to get involved in this campaign,” Sanders told reporters. “Look, here is the message: To Russia, stay out of American elections.””What they are doing, by the way, the ugly thing that they are doing – and I’ve seen some of their tweets and stuff – is they try to divide us up,” he said. “They are trying to cause chaos. They’re trying to cause hatred in America.”Moscow denies The Kremlin on Friday denied Russia was interfering in the US presidential campaign to boost Trump’s re-election chances, following reports that American intelligence officials warned Congress about the election threat last week.”These are more paranoid announcements which, to our regret, will multiply as we get closer to the [US] election,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. “They have nothing to do with the truth.”US intelligence officials told members of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee in a classified briefing that Russia was again interfering in American politics ahead of November’s election, as it did in 2016, a person familiar with the discussion told Reuters on Thursday.Since that briefing, Trump has ousted the acting intelligence chief, replacing him with a political loyalist in an abrupt move as Democrats and former US officials raised the alarm over national security concerns.A senior administration official said the nation was better positioned than in 2016 to defend against foreign attempts to influence elections.”President Trump has made clear that any efforts or attempts by Russia, or any other nation, to influence or interfere with our elections, or undermine US democracy will not be tolerated,” the official said.Some of Sanders’ rivals for the Democratic nomination said they had neither received similar briefings nor word that Russia was working to boost their campaigns.Former Vice President Joe Biden told CNN on Friday: “I know Russia doesn’t want me to win. It’s really clear that Putin doesn’t want me to be the nominee, and Donald Trump doesn’t want me to be the nominee.”US Senator Elizabeth Warren, while campaigning in Las Vegas, said there should be “as much transparency as possible” to block Russia from having “too much influence” in US elections.”This is about disinformation and the way to fight disinformation is to call it out, show what it is and give everyone full information as quickly as possible,” Warren told reporters.Russian Accounts Facebook declined to comment on whether it has seen any evidence of Russian assistance to Sanders’ campaign. In October, the company took down Russian-backed accounts that pretended to be from political battleground states.Some of those accounts used Instagram to praise Sanders. Another used the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag and faulted Biden on race issues.Jessica Brandt of the Alliance for Securing Democracy, an organization that monitors foreign interference in US politics, said Russian state media and official social media accounts have been working to help Sanders by amplifying conspiracy theories that his Democratic rivals, the Democratic National Committee and the “corporate media” have been “rigging the system” against him.”We can say with certainty that this is what the Russian government is pushing,” she told Reuters. “We’ve seen for some time Russian official channels promoting division within the Democratic Party.”Graham Brookie, director of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, which works with Facebook to analyze state-backed information operations, said “Russian influence operations are equal opportunity hyperpartisan, with the overarching goal to drive Americans further away from each other.”US officials have long warned that Russia and other countries would seek to interfere in the Nov. 3 presidential election, following Russia’s meddling in the 2016 campaign that ended with Trump’s surprise victory over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.US intelligence agencies concluded that the Kremlin used disinformation operations, cyber attacks and other methods in its 2016 operation in an effort to boost Trump, an allegation that Russia denies. Trump, sensitive to doubts over the legitimacy of his win, has also questioned that finding and repeatedly criticized American intelligence agencies.Russia’s alleged interference sparked a two-year-long US investigation headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.Mueller found no conclusive evidence of coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign. He also pointed at 10 instances in which Trump may have attempted to obstruct his investigation, as Democrats alleged, but left any finding of obstruction to Congress. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders warned Russia on Friday to stay out of 2020 White House elections after US officials had told him Moscow was trying to aid his campaign.”The intelligence community is telling us they are interfering in this campaign, right now, in 2020. And what I say to Mr. Putin, if elected president, trust me you are not going to be interfering in American elections,” Sanders told reporters in Bakersfield, California.Sanders, 78, a democratic socialist US senator from Vermont, is considered the front-runner for the Democratic nomination and is favored to win the Nevada caucuses on Saturday.
Israeli aircraft hit what the military said were Islamic Jihad sites in the Gaza Strip and Syria late Sunday, after the Palestinian militant group fired a barrage of rockets at Israel.In a new flareup a week ahead of fresh general election in the Jewish state, the Israeli Air Force carried out strikes on “Islamic Jihad terror sites” throughout Gaza and near the Syrian capital Damascus, a military statement said.There were no immediate reports of fatalities in either Gaza, which lies to the west of Israel, or Syria, which is to the country’s north. Islamic Jihad, which along with allied group Hamas has fought three wars with Israel in Gaza since 2008, operates in both territories.The Israeli military said it had struck “dozens” of Islamic Jihad targets throughout Gaza.A military aircraft also fired at “Islamic Jihad terror operatives preparing to launch rockets,” from the northern Gaza Strip, the army said.”A hit was identified,” it added, with health officials in Gaza saying four people were wounded in the strikes. In Syria, the Israeli army said it had struck Islamic Jihad targets outside the capital Damascus, including a base “used as a hub” for the group’s activities in the country.An AFP correspondent in Damascus heard several strong explosions shortly before midnight (2200 GMT).The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attacks were “near the Damascus international airport”.The Syrian state news agency Sana said “most of the enemy missiles were shot down before reaching their targets,” stressing that “no airport” was struck.Bulldozed Earlier Sunday, more than 20 rockets and mortars were launched from Gaza towards Israel, setting off warning sirens in the southern city of Ashkelon and several other locations, the army said.More than a dozen were intercepted by the Jewish state’s Iron Dome missile defence system, the Israeli army said.There were no reports of serious injuries.Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the rockets, calling them a response to the killing of one its fighters along the Gaza border early Sunday.Israel said the man had been part of a cell seeking to plant an explosive device on the border fence.Islamic Jihad identified the dead man as Mohammed al-Naem, 27, a member of its armed wing.A video later emerged on social media showing a bulldozer approaching a body while a group of young, apparently unarmed men, were trying to retrieve it. The sound of gunfire is heard and the men ultimately run away as the bulldozer scoops up the body.A tank can be seen positioned nearby.Israel’s hawkish Defence Minister Naftali Bennett has pursued a policy of retaining the bodies of militants from Gaza as bargaining chips to pressure Hamas, which has held the bodies of two Israeli soldiers since 2014.Hamas is also believed to be detaining two Israeli citizens who entered Gaza separately and whose families say suffer from mental illness.Israel has a general election on March 2, its third in less than a year after deadlocked polls in April and September 2019.Embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, facing trial over a series of corruption allegations, is again neck and neck with centrist challenger Benny Gantz, a former military general.Hamas and Israel last fought a full-scale war in 2014 but smaller flareups are relatively common.In November, Islamic Jihad and Israel fought a three-day conflict that left 35 Palestinians dead and more than 100 wounded, according to official figures.There were no Israeli fatalities.Under the informal agreements in the past year, Israel has slightly eased a blockade of the impoverished Palestinian enclave in exchange for relative calm.Topics :
“The positive side is the price of energy will be relatively cheap,” Sri Mulyani told reporters in Jakarta. “However, this could lead to bigger uncertainty in the capital market.”Read also: Oil plunges about 30% after Saudi Arabia slashes prices, opens tapsGlobal share markets tumbled on Monday as panicked investors fled to bonds to hedge the economic shock of the coronavirus and the oil price slump.Sri Mulyani added that the government would continue to monitor the low oil price situation and its potential impact on the state budget. “For the state budget, in revenue from oil, as I said, we are facing low prices, and volume is also down because exports and production are declining, as well as the currency rate,” she pointed out. “We will assess its impact on this year’s state budget as well as the assessment for 2021.”Read also: Indonesia’s 2019 budget deficit widens to 2.2 percent amid tax revenue short fallSaudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, is attempting to punish Russia, the world’s second-largest producer, for balking on Friday at production cuts proposed by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).OPEC and other producers supported the cuts to stabilize falling prices caused by the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.Saudi Arabia plans to boost crude output above 10 million barrels per day (bpd) in April after the current supply deal between OPEC and Russia – known as OPEC+ – expires at the end of March, according to Reuters.Topics : Low oil prices may be a double-edged sword for Indonesia after Saudi Arabia started a price war with Russia by slashing its selling prices and pledging to boost supply amid falling demand due to the coronavirus outbreak.Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on Monday that the current price war amid the weakening economy due to the outbreak may benefit Indonesia’s imports as a result of lower oil prices. Brent crude futures fell by the most since 1991 on Monday, by US$14.25 or 31.5 percent to $31.02 per barrel.The current circumstance may ease state-owned oil producer Pertamina’s oil import burden, she added.
The Jakarta administration has secured sufficient food supplies for residents to prevent shortages during the coming Islamic holy month of Ramadan as the COVID-19 outbreak stokes uncertainty in the capital, the country’s hardest-hit area.“The food supply is enough for the needs leading up to Ramadan and through Idul Fitri,” Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said during an online video conference with Vice President Ma’ruf Amin on Thursday.The month of Ramadan will begin on April 23 and will end with Idul Fitri celebrations. People typically buy more during the fasting month, which pushes up the prices of basic commodities. The city administration is expecting a surge in demand for staple foods as millions of Jakartans are Muslim, 85.3 percent of the capital’s 10 million people, according to the 2010 census.Some commodities, such as garlic and sugar, are of particular concern in Jakarta. Statistics Indonesia’s Jakarta office (BPS Jakarta) found that the average price of garlic had risen by 0.21 percent to Rp 44,465 (US$2.68) per kilogram and the average price of sugar by 20.62 percent to Rp 15,583 per kilogram, according to data released on Wednesday.Read also: 70 million informal workers most vulnerable during pandemicPresident Joko “Jokowi” Widodo previously said the government would keep garlic prices between Rp 20,000 and Rp 30,000 per kilogram and would keep sugar prices to Rp 12,500 per kilogram by procuring additional supplies from overseas. Disrupted logistics, however, are posing a challenge to both the administration and the central government’s plans to ensure the food supply. Jakarta has had the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country. As the national epicenter of the outbreak, the capital city has declared a state of emergency between March 16 and April 19, including the suspension of schools, in-office work, large religious gatherings and public activities.The suspension of such activities is in line with the government’s recently issued large-scale social restriction (PSBB) measure.The suspension of public religious activities drew the government’s attention as Muslims traditionally perform more rituals during the holy month.Read also: People are dying, ‘Pak’ Ma’ruf: Anies reports Jakarta’s harrowing situation to VPWhen Vice President Ma’ruf asked Anies how long the measures would last, the governor said his administration had not made any decisions.“We still have time, and we will observe the developments before Ramadan,” said Anies. “We will probably wait for the Indonesian Ulema Council [MUI] to give advice if the COVID-19 situation shows no improvement leading up to Ramadan.”In addition to declaring a state of emergency, the Jakarta administration is allocating Rp 3 trillion of its Rp 87.9 trillion 2020 regional budget for COVID-19 efforts until May. “If [the outbreak] drags on beyond May, we will definitely raise the allocation,” Anies said.The governor is planning to allocate more money to fund the COVID-19 response from a profit-sharing fund worth Rp 7.5 trillion run by the Finance Ministry.Topics :
Topics : WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Gheybresus, noting that several countries were considering new recommendations on masks, said: “First and foremost medical masks must be prioritized for health workers on the front lines of the response.”We are concerned that the mass use of medical masks by the general population could exacerbate the shortage of these specialized masks for the people who need them most,” he told a virtual news conference.”Masks alone cannot stop the pandemic, countries must continue to find, test, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact.”Tedros also announced that Lady Gaga would direct a televised live concert “One World: Together at Home” with top entertainers including Elton John and Paul McCartney later this month to support health workers. “It has been an honor to help with this huge broadcast event that will take place on April 18 where we need to tell the stories of and celebrate the frontline community, health care workers and their acts of kindness,” Lady Gaga told reporters. The World Health Organization (WHO) voiced concern on Monday that the wearing of medical masks by the general public could exacerbate the shortage for health workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.It said lockdowns in many places are proving effective in dampening spread of the coronavirus but any lifting of restrictions requires a calibrated, step-wise approach based on data.European nations including hardest-hit Italy and Spain have started looking ahead to easing their lockdowns as fatality rates have fallen, while Austria said on Monday it would start reopening shops from next week, although it widened a requirement to wear face masks. In the past week, $35 million had been raised for WHO’s solidarity fund, the American pop star added.Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO’s top emergencies expert, said governments would have to look at specific parameters, including hospital bed occupancy, the doubling rate of infections and the proportion of positive results compared to all tested samples, to determine whether they can start lifting easing measures.”So (we need) a step-wise approach of unlocking somewhat and then waiting to see. I think you need to say we’ll stop doing this element of the shutdown and then we’ll wait and we’ll look at the data. And if that works, we’ll go to the next stage.”He said it was very important to help fragile countries in the developing world to avoid a lockdown situation.Tedros, a former Ethiopian foreign minister, said Africa should do its utmost to prevent coronavirus transmissions. But he condemned what he said were suggestions by some scientists that the “testing ground” for experimental vaccines should be Africa. Normal protocols will be followed, he said.”We will be announcing as soon as possible, hopefully during this week, a big initiative to accelerate the research, development and production of vaccines and also design mechanisms for equitable distribution,” Tedros said.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam warned on Tuesday the city could not afford further “chaos” as it marked the first anniversary of the start of rolling mass pro-democracy protests.More than a million people flooded the streets a year ago to protest a bill by Lam’s government that would have allowed people to be extradited to mainland China, where courts are controlled by the Communist Party, for trial.Lam later withdrew the bill but the legislation triggered widespread concern that the central government in Beijing was stifling freedoms in the global financial hub, sparking months of anti-government protests. “All of us can see the difficulty we have been through in the past year, and due to such serious situations we have more problems to deal with,” Lam said during her weekly media conference, which coincided with the anniversary.”We need to learn from mistakes, I wish all lawmakers can learn from mistakes – that Hong Kong cannot bear such chaos.”After a relative lull in protests during the coronavirus pandemic, demonstrators have returned to the streets in recent weeks and more rallies are expected.Activists have called for people to gather at lunchtime and later on Thursday to mark the anniversary of last year’s mass rally. They have also announced plans to hold a referendum on Sunday about whether to launch a city-wide strike against national security laws proposed last month. Topics : That legislation, which authorities insist will focus on “troublemakers” who pose a threat to national security, has ratcheted tensions higher. Lam cautioned against the activists’ plans to hold a strike referendum.”Over the past year, Hong Kongers and the world have been bearing witness to the deteriorating situation in Hong Kong, with Beijing tightening its grip over the city’s liberties, democracy activist Joshua Wong said in a Twitter feed.On Monday, a Chinese official suggested that the degree of autonomy that Hong Kong would have when the post-colonial agreement on its status runs out in 2047 could depend on how the city behaves until then.