Arrest warrant issued for S. Africa ex-president Zuma

first_imgA South African court on Tuesday issued an arrest warrant for embattled former president Jacob Zuma after he failed to appear for a pre-trial hearing over corruption charges related to a 1990s arms deal.But the court said that execution of the warrant will be deferred until May 6 when the case is due to resume.Zuma’s lawyers said he was not able to attend the pre-trial hearing on Tuesday because he was ill and receiving treatment abroad, in the latest twist in a case that has seen numerous legal turns over a decade and a half. Topics : The High Court in the southeastern city of Pietermaritzburg issued the warrant after it questioned the authenticity of the sick note said to have been signed by a military doctor.”The court accepts that Mr Zuma may be unwell,” said judge Dhaya Pillay. “But this court needs reliable evidence that Mr Zuma is indeed ill.””It is not clear that [the doctor] is indeed a regular practitioner,” she said.State prosecutor Billy Downer said it was a “criminal offence” for the 77-year-old Zuma, who was in office between 2009 and 2018, to skip court.center_img Zuma’s lawyer Dan Mantsha told reporters outside the courtroom that “our courts have no sympathy, no compassion”. “We are very concerned when courts issue warrants under the circumstances like this when the whole country knows that president Zuma is not well … indeed president Zuma underwent two operations in early January this year,” Mantsha said.”When you start to issue warrants under such circumstances, people start to question whether we are all equal under the law.” He said for the court to doubt “whether he is sick or not, is absolute unimaginable”.Mantsha vowed that the “elderly” Zuma, will attend court when he is fit, as he has done for previous hearings.Local media suggested that Zuma is in Cuba undergoing treatment for an undisclosed ailment.Zuma posted a video clip on Twitter on December 29 of himself dancing with a local gospel choir, with the caption “Happy Holidays.. From myself and the Umlazi Gospel Choir”. The former president has not tweeted since.Zuma is alleged to have taken bribes worth four million rand ($270,000) related to a $3.4 billion arms deal in 1999 when he was deputy president.In all Zuma faces 16 charges of fraud, graft and racketeering related to the purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and military equipment when he was deputy to the country’s second black president, Thabo Mbeki.Both Zuma and French defense company Thales, which supplied equipment for navy vessels, deny the charges.Last year Zuma unsuccessfully tried to stop the trial from going ahead.If the trial takes place, it would be the first time Zuma faces a court on graft charges, despite a string of accusations over his long political career.Critics have dubbed Zuma the “Teflon president” for his reputed ability to evade judicial reckoning.He has also been accused of organizing the systematic plunder of government coffers in a scandal known as “state capture”.Zuma appeared at an inquiry into the scandal in July, putting on a defiant performance and denying all wrongdoing.  He was forced to step down in 2018 by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party after a nine-year reign marked by corruption allegations and dwindling popularity.The main opposition Democratic Alliance hailed the warrant decision, saying the court “has put its foot down and shown Mr Zuma that he can no longer continue wasting the court’s time and public resources because he is too afraid to face the music”.  “He has gone above and beyond and tried every trick in the book to avoid being held accountable for his alleged hand in the arms deal,” the DA said in a statement. last_img read more

Maybank Bali Marathon earns bronze label from World Athletics

first_imgThe annual Maybank Bali Marathon (MBM), held by private lender PT Bank Maybank Indonesia, has become the first marathon race in Indonesia to win the road race bronze label from World Athletics, the international governing body for the sport of athletics.The MBM achieved the label after fulfilling requirements set and verified by World Athletics, formerly known as the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), including AIMS-certified mileage and routes, road closures and time-recording systems.It also fulfilled the requirements of international runners’ attendance, medical assistance, media coverage, standardization of comfort and safety of runners and compliance with all competition regulations set by World Athletics. Maybank Indonesia president director Taswin Zakaria said the achievement would not only make the MBM an internationally recognized running competition but also raise Indonesia’s contribution to the marathon arena.“With this bronze label achievement, we are committed to continuously improving the quality of the competition, especially in the comfort and safety aspects that include the infrastructure medical assistance,” said Taswin, as stated in a statement released by MBM organizers.Taswin added that the company had implemented the “You Register, You Run” campaign to avoid data manipulation and ensure that MBM participants were the ones registered in the company’s data bank.In addition to achieving the bronze label, the MBM is now also included in the Abbott World Marathon Majors (WMM) Wanda Age Group World Rankings, which enables athletes in nine separate age groups to compete in marathons across the world to earn ranking points in a one-year qualifying period.The ninth MBM will be held on Aug. 30 with contested categories including a marathon (42.1 km), a half-marathon (21 km), a 10 km and a kids’ dash. Registration is open from Feb. 25.As a preparatory step, Maybank Indonesia will hold the Road to Maybank Marathon activities for the next six months in collaboration with health experts and running coaches.Prospective participants will get access to training and education prior to the race day, including running clinics and joint training through the Sunday Morning Long Run, where they will be given education about the cut-off time (COT) of the race per category.Topics :last_img read more

Coronavirus: Indonesia to screen ships seeking to dock from China

first_img“Only if everything is safe we will allow the vessel to drop anchor in our [ports],” he said.The move is among the latest efforts by Indonesian authorities seeking to contain the outbreak, which has killed nearly 1,500 since it first emerged from the Chinese city of Wuhan in late December and has since spread globally.Earlier this week, the Sabang administration in Aceh called for foreign cruise ship MS Artania to delay its planned arrival in the city on Feb. 16 amid fears of the virus, following Japan’s decision to quarantine the Diamond Princess cruise ship and its 3,700 passengers in Yokohama after one of the passengers tested positive for the coronavirus.As of Thursday, 218 people on board the Diamond Princess have tested positive for the virus, AFP reported.Some 78 Indonesian citizens were among crew members of the quarantined cruise ship. The Foreign Ministry said they were all in good condition as of Wednesday. (gis)Topics : State-owned port operator PT Pelabuhan Indonesia II (Pelindo II) will start screening every vessel and ship from China seeking to dock in Indonesia’s ports, to reduce the risk of the coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, from spreading in the archipelago.”As the gates of entry for cargo and humans, of course we have to employ preventive measures [at seaports] to prevent the coronavirus from entering Indonesia,” Pelindo II president director Elvyn G. Masassya said as quoted by Antara.Citing new standard operating procedures, Elvyn said Pelindo II and port health office personnel would check every vessel from China and screen the crew members on board while the ship was still on the waters, or before it sought to dock at the country’s ports.last_img read more

Tycoon and a tea-seller’s son: Trump, Modi forge bonhomie

first_imgIn Gujarat’s capital Ahmedabad, large billboards with the words “two dynamic personalities, one momentous occasion” and “two strong nations, one great friendship” have gone up across the city.”There’s a lot that Trump and Modi share in common, and not surprisingly these convergences have translated into a warm chemistry between the two,” Michael Kugelman of the Washington-based Wilson Center told AFP.”Personality politics are a major part of international diplomacy today. The idea of closed-door dialogue between top leaders has often taken a backseat to very public and spectacle-laden summitry.”Since assuming the top political office in their respective countries — Modi in 2014 and Trump in 2017 — the two men have been regularly compared to each other. They hail from vastly different backgrounds — Donald Trump is the son of a property tycoon while Narendra Modi is a descendant of a poor tea-seller.Yet the two teetotallers, loved by right-wing nationalists in their home countries, share striking similarities that have seen them forge a close personal bond, analysts say.Ahead of the American leader’s first official visit to India, which begins in Modi’s home state of Gujarat on Monday, the world’s biggest democracy has gone out of its way to showcase the chemistry between them. Trump, 73, and Modi, 69, both command crowds of adoring flag-waving supporters at rallies. A virtual cult of personality has emerged around them, with their faces and names at the centre of their political parties’ campaigns.Nationalist, protectionist A focus of Trump’s administration has been his crackdown on migrants, including a travel ban that affects several Muslim-majority nations, among others, while critics charge that Modi has sought to differentiate Muslims from other immigrants through a contentious citizenship law that has sparked protests.Both promote their countries’ nationalist and trade protectionist movements — Trump with his “America First” clarion call and Modi with his “Make in India” mantra.And while they head the world’s largest democracies, critics have described the pair as part of a global club of strongmen that includes Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro.”There are many qualities that Trump and Modi share — a love for political grandstanding and an unshakable conviction that they can achieve the best solutions or deals,” former Indian diplomat Rakesh Sood told AFP.Modi and Trump have sought to use their friendship to forge closer bonds between the two nations, even as they grapple with ongoing tensions over trade and defence.Despite sharing many similarities in style and substance, analysts say there are some notable differences between the pair.Modi is an insider who rose through the ranks of the Bharatiya Janata Party after starting out as a cadre in the militaristic hardline Hindu group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.Trump is a businessman and a political outsider who has in some sense taken over the Republican Party.”Modi is a more conventional leader than is Trump in that he hasn’t sought to revolutionise the office he holds in the way that Trump has,” said Kugelman, a longtime observer of South Asian politics.He added that genuine personal connections between leaders of both countries have helped to grow the partnership. “George Bush and Manmohan Singh, Barack Obama and Singh, Obama and Modi, now Modi and Trump — there has been a strong chemistry in all these pairings that has clearly helped the relationship move forward,” he added.Trump has also stood by the Indian leader during controversial decisions, including his revocation of autonomy for Muslim-majority Kashmir and his order for jets to enter Pakistani territory following a suicide bombing.Analysts said the leaders would use the visit to bolster their image with voters. A mega “Namaste Trump” rally in Ahmedabad on Monday will be modelled after the “Howdy, Modi” Houston extravaganza last year when the Indian leader visited the US and the two leaders appeared before tens of thousands of Indian-Americans at a football stadium.”The success of this visit… will have a positive impact on his (Trump’s) re-election campaign and the people of Indian origin who are voters in the US — a majority of them are from Gujarat,” former Indian diplomat Surendra Kumar told AFP.”On the Indian side, the fact that Prime Minister Modi… (shares) such warmth, bonhomie and informality with the most powerful man on Earth adds to his stature… as well as with hardcore supporters.”Topics :last_img read more

COVID-19: Indonesian mission in Pyongyang to remain operational: Envoy

first_imgThe envoy’s statement comes following the closure of several embassies in the North Korean capital on Monday after the government ordered hundreds of foreigners including diplomats to go into virtual lockdown in their own premises, AFP reports.These restrictions were finally eased last week after more than a month, and more than 200 foreigners were allowed to leave their compounds.Monday’s evacuation efforts also came after reports that special flights were being arranged to fly diplomats and other foreigners out of Pyongyang to the Russian city of Vladivostok.”Sad to say farewell this morning to colleagues from German Embassy and French Office #NorthKorea which are closing temporarily,” tweeted Colin Crooks, the British ambassador to North Korea, who added that the United Kingdom embassy would remain open.North Korea has not confirmed a single case of infection from the coronavirus but has imposed strict measures, including closing off its borders and putting thousands of its own people in isolation.North Korean leader Kim Jong-un warned last month of “serious consequences” if the virus reached his country, which has also banned tourists from entering and suspended international train travel and flights.The North Korean regime, which is subject to multiple international sanctions over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, has weak medical infrastructure and analysts say that prevention is its only option.Topics : The Indonesian mission to North Korea in Pyongyang will remain operational despite the closures of other foreign embassies and the evacuation of diplomats from the city, following weeks of tight quarantine restrictions imposed in response to the continued global spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.“Based on our own assessment of the conditions on the ground until present, we will remain open,” Indonesian Ambassador Berlian Napitupulu told The Jakarta Post on Monday.As many as 20 Indonesian nationals currently live in North Korea, almost all of whom are embassy staffers.last_img read more

PREMIUMIconic banners of ‘pecel lele’ vendors symbol of Lamongan people’s struggle

first_imgForgot Password ? Streetfood street-vendors sidewalk lamongan catfish chicken jakarta-food-adventure surabaya LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here Linkedin A common sight in Jakarta are the many food stalls displaying banners featuring images of catfish and chickens that are set up on sidewalks, enlivening the capital city’s frantic streets every evening.While famous for their pecel lele (fried catfish), the vendors, who typically come from Lamongan, East Java, also serve pecel ayam (traditional fried chicken) and soto ayam (chicken soup served with noodles). The dishes are common favorites among Jakartans, with customers typically paying less than Rp 30,000 (US$2.14) per portion.Customers have probably also noticed that these stalls display similar banners, even if they have no relation to each other. The banners, which are usually placed at the front and two sides of each stall, always consist of a white background, with striking-colored lettering and images of catfish and chickens to repre… Topics : Google Log in with your social account Facebooklast_img read more

PREMIUMResidents’ participation vital in Jambi peatland restoration: BRG

Topics : Google Jambi BRG PeatlandRestorationAgency peatland peatland-restoration forest-fires-2019 forest-fires forest-fires-in-Indonesia Log in with your social account Facebook Forgot Password ? LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here The Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG) has called on the public to support its efforts to restore peatland areas in the province of Jambi, where land clearing and fires cause trillions of rupiah in environmental damage and impact people’s livelihoods.BRG official Myrna A. Safitri said the agency needed help from locals for its program to gradually restore peatlands amid limited funding provided by the government.“Peat areas that have been damaged over the past few decades cannot be repaired in one or two years. But, with the support of the local community, we are optimistic that the damaged areas can be restored,” she said on Wednesday.Since 2017, the agency had been focusing on the regencies of West Tanjung Jabung, East Tanjung Jabung and Muarojambi in Jambi, as those three were particularly prone to forest and land fires. Those regencies also saw lots of lan… Linkedin read more

‘If you love them, don’t go home’: Urban migrants decide to stay put amid COVID-19

first_imgFor many Indonesians, family is among the first people we turn to for support and comfort when the going gets tough, but as the COVID-19 pandemic keeps more and more people home for work and school, urban migrants in Jakarta have been asked to refrain from returning to their hometowns to prevent the outbreak from spreading farther across the country.President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo called on all citizens last week to work, study and worship from home to help slow the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.Indonesia has reported 790 confirmed cases to date and the numbers continue to rise each day. By Wednesday afternoon, 31 out of the 58 deaths across the nation were residents of Jakarta, which has emerged as the epicenter of the outbreak in Indonesia. “My mom is having chemotherapy right now for Stage IV breast cancer and she is immunocompromised. I would not forgive myself if anything happened to her just because I couldn’t stay put in Jakarta,” she told The Jakarta Post on Saturday. “I don’t want to potentially carry a virus back to my hometown.”Cynthia, who declined to give her family name, said she understood her colleagues who had decided to go back to their hometowns for fear of being quarantined all alone, or just to be with their families during these unprecedented and stressful times.“That being said, it doesn’t erase the fact that it is selfish and is putting others at risk. If I can stay away from my sick mom, so can you. But then again, it boils down to what they consider to be important,” she noted.Public health expert Sudirman Nasir said that it was important for people – and especially youngsters – to understand that although they might feel healthy or are not showing any symptoms associated with the disease, they can still be carriers of the virus and infect others.For people who had traveled far from home for work or study, this meant that they must avoid returning to their hometowns in the midst of the outbreak, said the lecturer from Hasanuddin University in Makassar, South Sulawesi, who is now offering his lectures online for as long as the study-from-home policy remains in place. Sudirman added that he never tired of telling those who lived far from home to stay put in Makassar.“If you love them, then don’t go home, especially if your parents and relatives who have comorbidities [additional health conditions] or are above 65 years old. You can use technology to communicate with them for the time being,” he told the Post. “It is pivotal to practice [physical] distancing and avoid travel.”Separately, 31-year-old Yodie Hardiyam admitted to being a little worried that he might have put his family’s lives in danger, although he had no idea whether he was a carrier. An employee of a company based in Jakarta, he did not think about the possible consequences of a brief trip he recently took to see his family in Salatiga, Central Java.“I’m worried because [my parents] are now over 60 years old,” Yodie said. “We keep tabs on each other every day to see how we’re doing. Alhamdulillah [Praise be to God] we are all healthy so far, and I am grateful for that.”Looking at the worsening conditions in Jakarta and across the country, Yodie has considered scrapping this year’s plans to take mudik – the annual exodus that millions of Indonesians make to reunite with their families in their hometowns for Idul Fitri.The two-day Islamic holiday is expected to fall on May 24 to 25 this year, while the holy fasting month of Ramadan is likely to start around April 24.Chenny, 25, another employee based in Jakarta, said that most of her relatives in Samarinda, East Kalimantan, had already canceled their flights to Semarang.The city in Central Java is where her grandmother lives, and where the entire family gathers every year for Idul Fitri.“We had already bought our tickets for Idul Fitri, but we decided to cancel them. Our grandmother is really old and we don’t want to take any chances in any way and infect her,” she said.Syahrizal Syarief, an epidemiologist at the University of Indonesia, said that the most dangerous thing about returning to one’s hometown or going on mudik during the outbreak was that people would ultimately flock to public transportation hubs – the worst possible place to be if the aim was to contain the virus’ spread.Syahrizal urged the government to issue a much stronger policy to avoid this mass movement of people. This was particularly vital because he believed that people would not wait until Ramadan to return to their hometowns, especially those who were financially affected by the physical distancing or the work-from-home policy.“Living costs are more expensive in Jakarta than they are back in rural areas. [People] most definitely won’t wait until the fasting month to go home,” he said.As the number of scheduled trips continue to dwindle, the Transportation Ministry is mulling whether to restrict or even ban this year’s mudik to cut down on mass gatherings.Meanwhile, railway companies are already feeling the adverse effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.Vice president for public relations Yuskal Setiawan at PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI), when contacted by the Post on Saturday, said that the state-owned railway company had seen a 46 percent decline in bookings for long-distance journeys since the outbreak emerged. Yuskal expected the downward trend to continue [at least] until Ramadan. “Demand is low and many passengers have canceled their trips,” he said.Topics : While many people still refuse to listen to the government and thereby put themselves and others at risk of infection, other people have chosen to stay put – not only for their own safety, but also for the safety of their loved ones.Wednesday marked the 10th day of self-isolation for Cynthia, a 25-year-old start-up content editor who lives in a rented room in Jakarta, far from her family in Medan, North Sumatra.Following the news closely from their home, Cynthia’s parents have asked her to return to Medan, worried about their daughter living alone in the capital that has been hardest hit by the outbreak.Although she really wanted to go back to be with her family and to take care of her mother, Cynthia has decided to stay in Jakarta – at least until the outbreak subsides. She understands that older adults and people with chronic or underlying medical conditions are at a higher risk of infection, or even dying from COVID-19.last_img read more

BRI, Grab launch soft-loan program for drivers, merchants

first_imgBRI launched a similar program with the Jakarta-based ride-hailing service provider Gojek earlier this week.The number of active Gojek and Grab users declined 17 percent throughout March as a result of the government’s large-scale social distancing restrictions (PSBB), according to a Statqo Analytics report, leading to a reduction in drivers’ income.Meanwhile, the country’s small and medium enterprises (MSME) saw a 30 to 35 percent sales decline in February and March, according to Indonesian MSME Association chairman Ikhsan Ingratubun.BRI consumer director Handayani said the company was committed to helping MSME and informal workers who were hit hard by the health crisis.“The low-interest loan program is part of our commitment to supporting the livelihoods of drivers and merchants,” she said.Topics : State-owned lender Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI), in cooperation with ride-hailing service provider Grab, has launched a low-interest loan facility for the latter’s drivers and merchant partners who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.Under the program, Grab’s drivers are eligible for a low-interest loan worth up to Rp 5 million (US$336) with a 24-month tenure. BRI is also giving leeway to the drivers by freeing them from payment obligations for the first three months.Besides drivers, merchants who operate through the GrabFood and GrabKios services, especially those with no access to bank loans, will be eligible for a microcredit program (KUR) worth up to Rp 50 million. The interest rate stands at 6 percent for a maximum 36-month tenure. “We welcome BRI’s support in providing soft loans. We hope that this program can ease the burden on our partners,” Grab Indonesia’s managing director Neneng Goenandi said in a press statement on Thursday.Drivers who open accounts in the bank will also get insurance for accidents to the amount of 250 percent of their current account or a maximum coverage of Rp 150 million.For the first phase of the program, a quota of 1,000 Grab driver partners in Greater Jakarta will be able to access the soft-loan facility.The partners, however, will still have to meet the minimum requirements for their average earnings and the length of partnership with Grab to access the loans.last_img read more

Australian officials warn against travel to new coronavirus hotspots

first_imgAustralian officials tried to contain a fresh outbreak of the novel coronavirus on Monday, telling residents in the cluster hotspots to avoid travel outside their suburbs in Melbourne, the country’s second-largest city.Victoria state of which Melbourne is the capital has recorded double digit rises in new COVID-19 infections, accounting for nearly 90% of the 126 cases detected nationally over the past week.”At the moment the recommendation is simply an advisory, a strong advisory, where what we don’t want is people to come from those areas to other parts of Victoria, or interstate,” Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy told Australian Broadcasting Corp radio. “If you are coming from interstate and you have family in one of those areas, we would prefer you not to come and visit that area and potentially take the virus back.”The Victorian government has said it would reimpose restrictions on social gatherings after the surge in new cases it says has been caused by family get-togethers attended by people with mild symptoms.Officials have also criticized people who have gone shopping while awaiting COVID-19 test results.New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, told residents to avoid travelling to hotspots in neighboring Victoria as the winter school holidays approach. Topics :center_img “We’re asking people to consider their trips to Melbourne as community transmission at the moment is higher than what they would like,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.Despite the spike in cases in Victoria, Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged states and territories to continue removing the bulk of social distancing restrictions by the end of July.”We have to ensure that we can run our economy, run our lives, run our communities alongside this virus,” Morrison told reporters in Sydney.Australia had reported nearly 7,500 coronavirus cases and 102 deaths as of Sunday. last_img read more