LandSecs eyes up Piccadilly casino

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Ken won’t bring the house down

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Now not the time for ‘blame game’: House calls for global cooperation over pandemic

first_imgThe House of Representatives has called on the governments of other countries to actively promote international cooperation and fulfill their role in assisting governments amid the coronavirus pandemic.In a webinar on Tuesday, the House’s Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation Committee chairman, Fadli Zon, emphasized the importance of globally coordinated action to overcome the global health crisis that has affected over 200 countries and territories.The Gerindra Party politician said the world needed coordinated efforts in various domains including the delivery of health assistance, the development of global health policy and financial relief. Read also: Indonesia calls for ‘collective response’ as UN passes COVID-19 resolution“The WHO remains pivotal in providing advocacy in scientific information and guidelines to contain and mitigate COVID-19. Parliaments should be at the forefront to provide such support.”On the same occasion, WHO representative for Indonesia Navaratnasamy Paranietharan said the exchange of best practices and research findings among countries could help battle the virus. He also talked about the importance of maintaining the global supply chain for medical equipment and collaborating over the procurement of test kits and vaccine research.“Readiness is the key to detect and combat the spread of the new coronavirus. Sharing best practices is deeply critical as we still have a lot of gaps. Testing is the key and laboratories are [going to be] the game-changer in this response,” he told the audience at the one-hour long webinar.Countries around the world, including Indonesia, have been ramping up efforts to clamp down on the coronavirus, which as of Tuesday had infected more than 2.4 million people around the world and killed over 170,000, according to the data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.In Indonesia, some regions hit hard by COVID-19, such as Greater Jakarta, imposed partial lockdowns to restrict people’s mobility with the hope of flattening the curve of the virus.Other countries, including Malaysia, Spain and Italy, imposed nationwide quarantinesRead also: Avoiding quarantine will inflict greater economic harm, says surveyStringent measures have already benefited several countries. Three months after reporting their first cases, Hong Kong and South Korea have shown great strides in recovering, giving the world hope that there is an end in sight to the pandemic if the proper measures are taken.Hong Kong on Monday reported no new infections for the first time in nearly two months, while South Korea announced on Sunday it had hit a two-month low of just eight additional infections, South China Morning Post reported.The head of the South Korean National Assembly special committee for COVID-19 response, Kim Jin-pyo, shared three important lessons from South Korea’s success in containing the outbreak during the webinar on Tuesday.The lessons included aggressive and massive testing in the early stages of virus detection, citizens’ willingness to voluntarily self-quarantine and transparent information from the government to the people.“The support of the legislative body is vital,” Kim said, adding that the first step a government could take is to revise bills in order to slow the spread of disease. Topics : “The pandemic might have changed the global landscape, but multilateralism should remain at the core of cooperation,” he said in the webinar, which was also attended by representatives of Malaysia, Vietnam and South Korea.Fadli, who is also a lawmaker at House Commission I overseeing foreign affairs, said that now was not the time for a “blame game” between global stakeholders, including international organizations that provided countries with platforms through which to cooperate.He raised concerns over a recent move by the United States government to halt funding to the World Health Organization, saying the decision could disrupt the urgency of global cooperation to address the pandemic.“As the promoter of the UN resolution on global solidarity to fight COVID-19, Indonesia’s [House] reaffirms support to the WHO, especially during the time of the pandemic,” Fadli said.last_img read more

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As Japan reopens, coronavirus testing slowed by bureaucracy and staff shortages

first_imgAt the beginning of April, a young Japanese sumo wrestler known as Shobushi came down with a fever. His coaches tried calling a local public health center to get him a coronavirus test, but the phone lines were busy.For four days, he was turned away by clinics in Tokyo overwhelmed during a surge of COVID-19 cases. He was finally admitted to hospital on April 8 when he began coughing up blood, but died of the disease on May 13, the Japan Sumo Association said.Shobushi’s death caused a public outcry over Japan’s testing limitations and reliance on overstretched public health centers at a time when most experts say widespread virus checks are crucial to contain the pandemic. Critics say vested interests and bureaucracy inside Japan’s health ministry caused bottlenecks at overworked public health centers, and officials waited too long to allow private labs to run tests.”It is true that announced figures for infection and deaths are low, but those are based on the tests that were curbed,” said Yasuharu Tokuda, the director of the Muribushi Okinawa Center for Teaching Hospitals. “It is clear that there are quite a few [cases] that have fallen through the cracks.”Even the government’s top advisor, Shigeru Omi, told parliament “nobody knows” whether the true number of coronavirus cases “could be 10 times, 12 times or 20 times more than reported.”Omi’s panel of experts has called on the government to speed up testing, including of people with mild symptoms.The health ministry said it is ramping up the use of private labs to reduce the workload on public health centers.”Our stance that tests should be conducted on people in need has been consistent from the beginning. We have had testing capacity increased continuously,” Takuma Kato, a senior health ministry official, told Reuters.”Not enough” testsPublic health centers are at the forefront of Japan’s response to the pandemic. While South Korea bolstered its public health system in the wake of past epidemics, Japan has halved the number of public health centers since the 1990s.Struggling with overworked staff and flooded with calls, public health centers have asked the government to allow more private clinics to administer polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.Japan says it can run up to 22,000 PCR tests a day, but less than a third – around 6,000 tests – are actually conducted on a daily basis. About 75% of tests have been processed through public health centers and government institutions, according to the health ministry.In a previously unreported May 6 letter, the association of public health centre directors urged Katsunobu Kato, the minister of health, to overhaul Japan’s testing policy.”Currently, there are not enough PCR tests conducted for the coronavirus,” they wrote in the letter seen by Reuters.Some regional governments have begun running temporary testing stations with the help of local medical associations in April, bypassing public centers.Idle labs, unused machinesWhile public health centers are overwhelmed, university labs are sitting idle.Shinya Yamanaka, a Nobel Prize-winning stem cell biologist at Kyoto University, has offered his lab to boost testing capacity.”If we can make good use of resources at places like university labs, PCR testing can exceed 100,000 [per day], far more than 20,000,” Yamanaka said in an internet TV debate with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on May 6.The health ministry welcomed his proposal, but said further considerations were needed.”We are grateful for their offer of help at this time of emergency. We want to work together, carefully matching our needs to their offer,” Masami Sakoi, the assistant health minister, told Reuters.Critics say testing was limited, in part, by health ministry technocrats who wanted to maintain a tight grip on information, rather than cooperate with private institutions.Kenji Shibuya, who heads the Institute for Population Health at King’s College London, said officials wanted to gather high-quality research data using public health centers.The health ministry denies suggestions that ministry technocrats are intentionally curbing testing, and say their approach has proven successful so far.Sakoi from the health ministry said it was important to carry out PCR tests that doctors deemed necessary, and pointed out Japan’s public insurance system started covering the tests in March as part of the government’s effort to make them more accessible. “When we think about using the test results to form policy measures, the current method needs to be maintained for the time being though concerns that it lacks flexibility for boosting the number of tests is understandable,” Sakoi said.Still, the approach is alarming some experts.”It’s safer to assume that Japan has just been lucky than to believe it has taken the right steps,” said Tokuda, the epidemiology expert. With Japan lifting its state of emergency and reopening its economy this week, its pandemic response has been hailed as an unlikely success. In a global death toll of more than 300,000, Japan has confirmed around 800 deaths from 16,000 cases.Yet at the same time, Japan ranks the second lowest in its testing among OECD countries.As of May 20, Japan conducted 3.4 tests per 1,000 people, far below Italy’s 52.5 and 39 in the United States, according to Oxford University data. South Korea has carried out tests on 15 people per 1,000 people.In more than a dozen interviews with Reuters, public health officials, doctors and experts warned Japan’s slow scaling up of tests could mask the scale of infections and make its population vulnerable to future outbreaks.center_img Topics :last_img read more

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Job Creation Law ‘defective’, experts say after incomplete draft passed

first_imgLawmakers passed the contentious law, which contains provisions that activists and members of the public have argued threaten labor rights and environment protections, on Monday following a series of back-to-back and weekend meetings.Didi Irawadi Syamsuddin, a lawmaker of the Democrat Party and member of House Commission XI overseeing finance, claimed a draft of the jobs bill had not been distributed to lawmakers during the most recent plenary session on Monday.“It’s ironic because the jobs law is such a crucial law but we didn’t receive a draft bill during the plenary meeting,” he said, as quoted by tribunnews.com.The Democrats and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) are the only two parties in the House, among nine, that opposed the endorsement of the law. Amid the uproar that has resulted from the passing of the controversial Job Creation Law by the House of Representatives, a lawmaker has claimed the legislature is still working on the final draft of the controversial law, sparking concerns among experts who have described the law as “legally defective”.Member of the House Legislation Body (Baleg) Firman Soebagyo said he was concerned about possible misinformation being spread among the public that had triggered three days of nationwide protests. He claimed the public may not have received accurate information regarding the jobs law as the final version of the law was still being refined.“We are still revising the draft so that there aren’t any typos. We will soon deliver the draft to President [Joko “Jokowi” Widodo],” the Golkar party politician said on Wednesday. Read also: Ministry prepares regulation on small businesses to implement jobs lawConstitutional law expert Faiz Rahman of the Yogyakarta-based Gadjah Mada University (UGM)’s School of Law said it was strange that lawmakers had claimed not to have received a draft during the plenary session. He said all lawmakers should have been given and read the final draft before it was passed into law.“Even though representatives of each faction were involved in the earlier deliberations, the final draft must be distributed to all lawmakers during the plenary session. It’s illogical for lawmakers to have approved a bill without knowing which draft bill it was,” he told The Jakarta Post on Friday.Another of UGM’s constitutional law experts, Mahaarum Kusuma Pertiwi, echoed Faiz’s concerns, saying the jobs law was formally flawed.“Any draft bill that has not been agreed upon during the first stage of deliberations [between Baleg and representatives of each fraction] cannot be taken to the plenary meeting. It means the deliberation has not been completed,” she saidEven if the revisions were merely about wording, Mahaarum said, that was not an excuse to rush an unfinished bill into a plenary session.“Why not cancel the plenary session if the bill was not ready? The wording is not a trivial matter,” she said.According to Article 72 of Law No.12/2011 on the drafting of laws and regulations, once a bill is passed by the legislature, it requires the approval of the president to be enacted. Therefore, there should be not be any additional processes between a law being passed by the House and being passed by the president, even if it was only to fix typos, she added.Topics :last_img read more

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FTK to hit Dutch pension funds’ coverage ratios, consultancies warn

first_img“If the Ministry of Social Affairs is to adopt the recommendations of the ultimate forward rate committee, the new discount rate would be slightly lower than the current one and result in a lower coverage ratio,” he said.However, he said he could not confirm whether a lower discount rate would lead to new rights cuts.“So far, we haven’t conducted exact calculations about the effects on the funding of a new curve,” he said.“In the new situation, for example, the current three-month average of the discount rate would be abolished.”Krijgsman pointed out that Jetta Klijnsma, state secretary for Social Affairs, had said no rights discounts needed to be applied at the end of 2014, and that, under the new FTK – still scheduled to come into force on 1 January 2015 – cuts could be spread out over a 10-year period.Driessens’s response came on the back of calculations of the average coverage ratio, which were, according to Aon Hewitt, stable at 109% in April but so far have not improved in 2014.The company said liabilities increased by 1.9% in April in the wake of falling interest rates, which caused the three-month average of the discount rate to fall.On the other hand, the assets of Dutch pension funds grew by 1.4% on average, largely thanks to a 1.7% increase in fixed income holdings, but also due to a value increase of equity investments of 0.3%, according to Aon Hewitt.Mercer, which linked its calculations to the most recent figures of supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) also concluded that average funding had hardly changed, estimating a 0.1 percentage point drop to 110.4% in April.According to Krijgsman, the 30-year swap rate dropped from 2.55% to 2.45% in April, while the three-month average of the discount rate fell from 2.66% to 2.6%.Dennis van Ek, principal and actuary at Mercer, added that, based on the actual market rate at April-end, the average coverage ratio of Dutch pension funds would have been 104.8%. Aon Hewitt has warned that a number of Dutch pension funds will find themselves with insufficient financial buffers when the new financial assessment framework (FTK) is enacted if their coverage ratios fail to improve significantly in the coming months.Frank Driessen, chief commercial officer for retirement and financial management at the pensions adviser, said: “This would threaten to erode their indexation potential and might even lead to new rights discounts.”Driessen also argued that the lower discount rate for liabilities under the new FTK would generally hurt schemes’ funding. Edward Krijgsman, team leader for monitoring at Mercer in the Netherlands, agreed.last_img read more

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UK roundup: BT Pension Scheme, Accenture, HM Treasury

first_imgThe £40bn (€56.5bn) BT Pension Scheme (BTPS) has re-appointed Accenture to provide its administration system for its 300,000 members, extending the current arrangement for another eight years.Accenture has been the scheme’s provider since 2000, when the BT Group and Accenture launched a joint venture, with the outsourcing firm providing pensions administration alongside HR services such a payroll, training and recruitment.The scheme began reviewing the arrangement in 2013 and has appointed Accenture for an additional eight years.Accenture does not market itself as a third-party administrator to other UK pension schemes. It provided the service to BTPS as part of the wider deal with BT.However, it said it would continue building its capability to provide additional features to BTPS’s members, and grow its business in the UK.Chairman of the scheme, Paul Spencer, said the company was appointed on new terms after a full review of the market.“This new contract provides for further investment in the administration function to continue to enhance the service provided to members,” he said.In other news, the UK government has begun consulting with the pensions industry on whether to cap or ban charges placed on defined contribution (DC) pension scheme members when they transfer out a scheme.Since April, when HM Treasury brought in new freedoms to DC savers to access their savings as cash or income drawdown, the government grew concerned providers might restrict access by adding charges.HM Treasury is also assessing whether to cap fees by assessing what may be “excessive”, and whether charges deter members from accessing savings.The consultation runs for 12 weeks.Malcolm McLean, senior consultant at Barnett Waddingham, criticised the government consultation for being non-specific on what charges and controls it wanted to identify or implement.“[It is] more a case of kicking the ball down the road, pending further evidence, than anything else,” he said.last_img read more

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Diamond Back Squid recipe book officially launched

first_img Tweet Share Sharing is caring! LocalNews Diamond Back Squid recipe book officially launched by: – November 11, 2011 189 Views   no discussionscenter_img Share JICA Expert for Dominica Mr Mitsuhiro Ishida (left) presenting the recipe book to Hon Kelver Darroux (right) The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, Physical Planning and Fisheries through its Fisheries Division has today launched a “53 Recipes” book highlighting dishes made using the Diamond Back Squid (DBS).“53 Recipes” is described as the “best Dominican and regional seafood book every written” and was put together for the simplest to most complex cook including bread, salad, punch, accra recipes to name a few.Junior Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister responsible for Information Technology, Kelver Darroux highlighted the significance of the launching of this new recipe book as he stated that it can contribute to the economic gain and food security.“The Diamond Back Squid is an under-utilized marine life species which occur in the deep waters of Dominica. The Fisheries Division in collaboration with our Japanese friends have proven that the species can be harvested and utilized for human consumption thereby offering another avenue for economic gain from that marine resource and contributing to food security in Dominica”.The minister also congratulated the Fisheries Division for their exemplary work referring to it as “pioneering initiatives”.“This department has made pioneering initiatives that the ministry can be proud of. It is my understanding that the Fisheries Division was the first to introduce fads in the region using coconut branches as early as 1987, now Dominica is the leader in fad technology in the English speaking Caribbean,” he explained. In related news, Mitsuhiro Ishida of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) noted that Dominica is lucky to have the best tasting squid in its waters. “You’re very lucky because this diamond back squid which is caught in Dominica is one of the best tasting squid of the world, we are inviting you to a new word called “love me tender” all edible parts of the squid are tasty and cooked. I believe “53 recipes” is the first ever made for diamond back squid cooking book not only this Caribbean region but also world-wide”.Diamond Back Squid AccraMr Ishida further stated that the “Dominica Fisheries and JICA have put all efforts into promoting its catch and consumption”.Diamond Back Squid (DBS) Accra (recipe):Ingredients:100g chopped Diamond Back Squid100g chopped green seasonings (chive, sweet pepper, celery)1 cup water1 cup flour1 tsp salt½ tsp black pepper1 tbsp minced onionPreparation:1. Mix all ingredients until well blended2. Scoop portions and deep fry with low fire to golden brown color3. Add your favorite pepper sauce when you are about to eatThe Diamond Back Squid is sold at $26.00 per pound and the recipes are featured at most of the hotels on island.Dominica Vibes News Sharelast_img read more

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Minister commends DSS for its resolve to dialogue with people

first_img Sharing is caring! Share Share Senator Alvin BernardMinister of State in the Ministry of Finance Senator Alvin Bernard has commended the management and staff of the Dominica Social Security for their resolve to dialogue with the people on whose behalf it exists.At the 5th stakeholders meeting on Thursday at the Fort Young Hotel, Senator Bernard also noted that the social security fund must be strengthened in order that future generations can receive pension payments. “I wish to commend the DSS for its continuing resolve to maintain a dialogue with the people on whose behalf it exists. Today’s theme “reforming to ensure a secure future for successive generations” speaks of the institution’s preoccupation with recommendations made to ensure the sustainability of the fund. Indeed, the fund must be strengthened to ensure that it will be able to pay pensions to future generations of Dominicans.”Mr Bernard further highlighted that as a result of the global recession pensions systems around the world will but this can be mitigated if measures are implemented early.“The truth is that pension systems will be affected by the global, economic and financial challenges. One way to reduce the impact is to undertake timely reforms and to get consensus from stakeholders on those reforms which are to be implemented.”He said his government is satisfied that the series of stakeholder consultations which the DSS recently undertook in an effort to gain public support for the required changes were sufficient.According to the minister DSS Investment Board must exercise prudence in determining what kinds of investments are pursed to ensure that the fund is sustained.“Of importance to the sustainability of the DSS fund is the quality of the investments which are being pursued. Investments must be productive, but must be subjected to the most rigorous risk analysis both technical and speculative. Investments therefore are critical in shoring up the finances of the social security.”He also challenged the DSS “to find ways of investing its reserve funds in areas that are safe and productive” as he says such investments “should lead to real economic growth and gains in productivity and create jobs which will result in increased contributions to the fund”. He further cautioned that “in the search for investment income, efforts must be made to conduct the necessary due diligence to ensure that investments are safe and there can be preservation of capital over time”.Mr Bernard also urged employers to make payments to the DSS on behalf of their employees in a timely manner as is required which will assist in the growth and sustainability of the fund.Dominica Vibes News 121 Views   no discussionscenter_img LocalNews Minister commends DSS for its resolve to dialogue with people by: – December 8, 2011 Share Tweetlast_img read more

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Italian Cup: Juventus, AC Milan cruise to last eight

first_imgShorn of stars Juventus, AC Milan still cruise in Italian Cup https://t.co/vv5mHOcw1B #FOOTBALL pic.twitter.com/srzDb5psld— Mr Derek Trottter (@MrDerekTrottter) January 15, 2020 Read Also: Ronaldo rivalry will be remembered forever, claims Messi Troubled Napoli eased into the quarters with a 2-0 win over Perugia thanks to two Lorenzo Insigne penalties. In the last eight, AC Milan will face Torino who beat Genoa on penalties last week. Juventus will play the winner of the last tie of the round, Roma at Parma on Thursday. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 In Tuscany, Spaniard Pol Lirola collected Erik Pulgar’s long pass before charging towards goal and slotting home his first Fiorentina goal six minutes from time, winning the tie for the hosts despite German Pezzella’s sending off 14 minutes earlier. Patrick Cutrone also scored his first goal for the club when he put Fiorentina ahead in the 11th minute of his first start since arriving on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers last week. The away side scored a deserved leveller when former Fiorentina man Ilicic turned in a superb Ruslan Malinovskiy cross. But Lirola won the tie to set up a tough match with Serie A title chasers Inter Milan. The winner of that clash face either Lazio or Napoli in the semifinals. On Tuesday, Inter thumped Cagliari 4-1 with Romelu Lukaku scoring twice. Holders Lazio, who are on a club-record run of 10 straight wins in Serie A, made short work of Cremonese in their 4-0 victory in Rome. Cristiano Ronaldo was too ill to play, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic spent the evening resting on the bench, but even without their biggest stars, Juventus and AC Milan cruised into the last eight of the Italian Cup on Wednesday. Juventus beat visiting Udinese 4-0 in the late game, after Milan had dispatched SPAL, 3-0. Paulo Dybala lofted the ball into the far corner for the third Juventus goal In the first game of the evening, 10-man Fiorentina beat Atalanta 2-1. Ronaldo was sidelined after suffering an attack of sinusitis in the afternoon, but he is not the only ace in the Juventus pack. After 16 minutes, Paulo Dybala carved through Udinese with a series of quick one-twos, finishing with a couple of exchanges with centre forward Gonzalo Higuain. When his Argentine compatriot played a pass one little behind him, Dybala spun and floated the ball onto Higuain’s chest and he strode forward and scored. Ten minutes later, after Udinese goalkeeper Nicolas tripped Federico Bernardeschi. Dybala converted the penalty. Dybala scored a in the 58th minute, clipping the ball over Nicolas from the right edge of the box. Two minutes later Douglas Costa converted Juve’s second penalty after Bram Nuytinck handled. In Milan, Krzysztof Piatek, who is reportedly on the verge of a move to Tottenham Hotspur, outpaced the sluggish SPAL offside trap to give the home team the lead after 20 minutes. Samuel Castillejo curled a precise left-foot shot inside the far post just before half time. Krzysztof Piatek beat goalkeeper Etrit Berisha to give AC Milan the lead Fullback Theo Hernandez added a third in the 66th minute, surging upfield and smashing home a left-foot shot from just outside the penalty area.center_img Promoted Content7 Inventions Created To Start Saving The World6 Interesting Ways To Make Money With A DroneCouples Who Celebrated Their Union In A Unique, Unforgettable Way14 Hilarious Comics Made By Women You Need To Follow Right NowA Guy Turns Gray Walls And Simple Bricks Into Works Of Art8 Weird Facts About Coffee That Will Surprise YouTop 10 Most Populated Cities In The WorldWhich Country Is The Most Romantic In The World?10 Most Praised Historical Movies8 Superfoods For Growing Hair Back And Stimulating Its GrowthBirds Enjoy Living In A Gallery Space Created For ThemThe Highest Paid Football Players In The World Loading… last_img read more

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