IMF, World Bank roll out all their lending tools

first_imgAll members of the International Monetary Fund have access to the US$1 trillion in lending capacity. As of Thursday, 102 out of 189 IMF member countries had made requests for aid, and 50 of them will receive it by the end of April, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said following the virtual spring meetings.The World Bank plans to provide up to $160 billion in aid over the next 15 months.Emergency aid The IMF and World Bank have aggressively pushed out financing to help countries deal with the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.Here is a summary of the financing available from the Washington-based development lenders:Regular lending capacity The IMF’s emergency aid capacity recently was doubled to $100 billion, available through two tools: the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) and the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF). The RCF is interest-free and accessible to low-income members, while the RFI is accessible to all members, without the need to negotiate a traditional loan program.The funds “can be disbursed very quickly to assist member countries implement policies to address emergencies such as the coronavirus,” the IMF said.Disaster reliefThe IMF also uses its redesigned Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) to provide grants for debt relief to the poorest and most vulnerable countries with outstanding obligations to the IMF to help address disasters, including public health disasters.This instrument was used to support Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone during the 2014 Ebola epidemic. The IMF board approved a six-month debt payment standstill for 25 countries eligible for CCRT funding, which potentially could be extended.Georgieva put out an urgent call for donations to boost resources of this fund, and she said Thursday the IMF has received commitments totaling $600 million from Britain, Japan, China, the Netherlands and Germany.Poverty reduction fundGeorgieva also has called for an additional $17 billion in donations to shore up the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT), which provides concessional lending to low-income countries. She said the fund already has received commitments for 70 percent of this amount from Japan, Britain, France, Australia and Canada. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the United States is considering a possible contribution.Short term credit lineFor countries that are not eligible for concessional lending, the IMF on Wednesday approved a new Precautionary Liquidity Line (PLL) to help countries with “sound policies” deal with “adverse shocks” from the coronavirus.The countries that qualify can draw on the credit backstop for six months, one year or two years.Funding field projectsThe World Bank intends to roll out $160 billion over the next 15 months in countries like Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Haiti, Ecuador, India, Mongolia and Tajikistan to strengthen their medical resources to respond to the pandemic’s immediate health crisis and bolster economic recovery. The bank already has pushed out fast-track financing, with programs underway in 25 countries totaling $1.9 billion, and others moving forward in 40 countries amounting to $1.7 billion.The focus is on “fast, broad-based action, especially for the poorest countries,” the World Bank President David Malpass said Thursday. “By the end of April, we expect to have COVID-19-related projects in 100 countries, and we are taking steps to provide unprecedented financing to help countries respond to the crisis.”Topics :last_img read more

Travelers in Java ignore ‘mudik’ ban, bringing coronavirus home

first_imgGanjar asserted that going on mudik secretly would be dangerous to travelers’ health as well as risking others’ lives. He called on people under his jurisdiction to be open in communicating with officials if they had to go home under urgent circumstances.“If you really have to go home, you should request a letter of permission. I think the government will wisely consider it,” he said, asking that residents should stay where they were while the government distributed necessary social aid.Ganjar said he had asked regents, mayors and village heads across Central Java to prepare health protocols and quarantine places for travelers who returned to their hometowns.According to the Jakarta Police, the number of vehicles leaving Jakarta increased two days prior to the enforcement of the mudik ban on Friday. Once the policy was imposed, the traffic police had asked around 1,200 motorists attempting to leave Greater Jakarta to turn around, as reported by kompas.com.The number of vehicles told to turn around amounted to 3,300 on Sunday, as revealed by Jakarta Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Yusri Yunus.Authorities have set up checkpoints in several locations across Java to monitor the flow of vehicles between cities and provinces following the mudik ban.People found violating the ban were subject to the maximum punishment of fines amounting to Rp 100 million (US$6,490) and a year’s imprisonment, as stipulated in the 2018 Health Quarantine Law. (syk) The governor added that he had received a report from the Cilacap regent, who said that some people recently arrived the regency despite the mudik ban had tested positive for COVID-19.Cilacap Health Agency head Pramesti Griana Dewi confirmed that eight residents of Cimanggu district tested positive for the disease. They had traveled to Cilacap in the same car from Jakarta.The travelers had tested positive following a rapid test and were now declared patients under surveillance (PDPs). They would undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to make sure of their medical status.“We will announce if the swab test results come back positive,” Pramesti told tribunnews.com on Sunday, adding that the eight patients showed no medical symptoms of having contracted the coronavirus. Many residents of regions across Java have been ignoring the government’s mudik (exodus) ban and are insisting on traveling home undetected, even though some are testing positive for COVID-19 upon arriving in their respective hometowns.Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo said he had received reports and photographs showing travelers returning to their hometowns across the province, with some coming by dangerous means.“Some have put their cars inside trucks and covered them with other stuff. There were also some who traveled in a container [on the back of a truck], although that’s not confirmed yet,” Ganjar said on Tuesday in Semarang.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Tackling banned under terms of Premier League protocol for training: BBC

first_imgPremier League players will be prohibited from tackling and pitches will have to be disinfected when clubs return to training as part of plans to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, the BBC reported on Tuesday.Citing an official protocol sent to Premier League players and managers outlining conditions for returning to training, the BBC’s report said pitches, corner flags, cones and goalposts would have to be disinfected after each session.Players will be tested twice per week for the virus and take a daily temperature check, while they will also be forbidden from congregating together or travelling to or from training with team mates, the report added. Topics : The Premier League did not immediately respond to a request to comment on the BBC’s report.English soccer has been on-hold since March along with most leagues across Europe due to the pandemic.Yet while clubs across the continent have begun training again and set dates for re-starting their seasons, England’s top-flight is yet to confirm plans for returning to training or matches.Germany’s Bundesliga is set to become the first of Europe’s top five leagues to start up again when matches resume on Saturday, while the Polish, Austrian and Portuguese leagues have also confirmed start dates.Clubs in Spain’s top two divisions have returned to individual training and while no date has been set for matches to restart, La Liga president Javier Tebas has said he hopes action will resume from June 12.last_img read more

Football returns, beaches reopen as Europe eases lockdown

first_imgRussia has announced its own football league will return next month and pushed ahead with plans to lift restrictions despite recording its highest daily death toll on Saturday, with 119 fatalities.Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Saturday the country would extend its state of emergency for “about a month”, until the transition out of lockdown is completed.In France, the first weekend after the most strict measures were lifted saw many venture out into the spring sunshine.”I really missed nature,” 55-year-old doctor Lise Balmes said of walking through a forest outside Paris. Such fears have delayed the return of team sport — where it is almost impossible for players to practice social distancing measures — and all eyes will be on Saturday’s Bundesliga matches.The games will be held without spectators and players will have to follow strict hygiene guidelines — former Chelsea striker Salomon Kalou was suspended by Hertha Berlin just for shaking hands with team-mates.”The whole world will be looking at Germany, to see how we get it done,” said Hansi Flick, the boss of league-leaders Bayern Munich.”If we manage to ensure that the season continues, it will send a signal to all leagues.” Beaches in France and Italy opened on Saturday for the first weekend since the countries eased coronavirus lockdowns, while football fans awaited the return of major league action with Germany’s Bundesliga set to kick off.The reopenings are a major sign of returning normality for countries hit hard by the pandemic, which has killed more than 307,000 people, infected over 4.5 million, wrought vast economic havoc and brought life to a halt.But as countries lift restrictions to boost their stagnant economies, there have been widespread fears of a second wave of infections that could plunge the world back into lockdown. Here comes the sunWith the European summer fast approaching, governments are moving to help their key tourism industries to salvage something from the wreckage.Italy, one of the nations worst hit by COVID-19, announced it would reopen to European holidaymakers from June 3 and scrap quarantine requirements for arrivals.Parasols and sunloungers have started to appear on Italy’s coastlines and Greece will open some of its air and sea links from Monday.Malls opened in the Philippines’ capital Manila on Saturday, but saw only a trickle of customers.”It looks like people are not too excited to come back. Maybe all their money is gone,” said shoe shop employee Kristine Grape.However, for some the cautious easing of restrictions has not been enough.Major German cities on Saturday will see the latest of a growing wave of protests against the country’s lockdown measures.The demonstrations have been mired in controversies over conspiracy theories, anti-Semitism and extremism.In a sign of rising tension, a mock tombstone was found in front of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s electoral offices, apparently to protests against the lockdown, police said Saturday. Vaccine hopes One hope of avoiding a dreaded second wave has been a vaccine, and US President Donald Trump voiced hope late on Friday that one would be available by late 2020 — a timeline deemed unrealistic by many experts. “We are looking to get it by the end of the year if we can, maybe before,” Trump told reporters at the White House as he discussed America’s “Operation Warp Speed” effort in the global race for a vaccine.This timeline is more aggressive than the one-year scenario put forward by European scientists.The hunt for a vaccine for a disease that the World Health Organization (WHO) says may never disappear has also threatened to become a source of tension between the globe’s haves and have-nots.The virus itself is having an uneven effect on communities around the world.New research on Saturday showed that people living in the most deprived areas of Britain are more than four times likelier to test positive than those living in the richest neighborhoods. ‘No celebration’ The pressure to ease lockdowns has mounted as the catastrophic economic effects of the virus have become clearer.In the United States, the world’s worst-affected country with more than 87,000 deaths and 1.4 million cases, industrial production plunged 11.2 percent in April, the largest drop in a century.Department store JCPenney, a retail institution which has not turned a profit since 2011, on Friday became the latest US business to file for bankruptcy.”May will not be a month of celebration. Nor will June. Nor July. Nor probably the rest of this year,” warned Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail.With 36.5 million Americans — more than 10 percent of the population — now out of work, Trump has been keen to ease lockdown measures as he seeks re-election in November.Some areas are resisting. Lockdown measures in New York City have been extended until May 28.In the US House of Representatives, Democrats narrowly pushed through a $3 trillion rescue package late on Friday — but Republicans have vowed to block the package in the Senate, which they control.Since emerging in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, the novel coronavirus has affected almost every country in the world.The WHO has warned Africa, which has so far been spared the worst, could have 231 million people infected and up to 190,000 die.Besides its health and economic toll, the pandemic has also caused political ructions.The latest fallout was in Brazil, which lost its second health minister in a month as Nelson Teich resigned.An official said the resignation was due to the minister’s “incompatibility” with right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro’s approach to fighting the country’s spiraling COVID-19 crisis. Topics :last_img read more

Back on the road: E-scooter service GrabWheels returns to Jakarta streets

first_imgElectric scooter rental service GrabWheels has made a comeback to the streets of Jakarta following months of hiatus since November last year.The return of the service, operated by ride-hailing decacorn Grab, follows the issuance of Transportation Ministery Regulation No. 45/2020 on electric-powered transportation signed by Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi on June 16.Grab Indonesia president Ridzki Kramadibrata said the company expected the service — relaunched on Thursday with the support of the Transportation Ministry and the Jakarta Police — to serve as an alternative solution for “first-mile and last-mile trips” for the people in the capital. “The public will be able to ride GrabWheels on designated lanes, such as bicycle lanes. We hope GrabWheels will be a solution for the public that will also contribute positively to the environment and the transportation ecosystem,” Ridzki said in a statement.Grab has added safety features for the relaunch, including transmitting sensors built into the scooters to limit their use in forbidden areas, such as pedestrian bridges, automatic lights and reflectors as well as a forced speed limit of 15 kilometers per hour.The company said it would also provide riders with health insurance and safety education through the Grab mobile app and roadshows. It also encourages riders to bring their own safety helmet.Amid the COVID-19 epidemic, the company said, it would carry out routine disinfection of the electric vehicles at all seven Grabwheels stations in the capital. GrabWheels can be found in seven locations in Jakarta, namely Thamrin 10, Intiland Tower, Blok M Square, Blok M Mall, Kuningan City, Lotte Shopping Avenue and the BRI 2 Building, the company said, adding that more locations would be available in the future.“We will also constantly remind GrabWheels users to always follow [stringent] health and safety protocols,” Ridzki said.Jakarta Police community development director Sr. Comr. Badya Wijaya said in a statement that the police would supervise GrabWheels security at all stations, including customers’ compliance with the new safety protocols.In November last year, the Jakarta Transportation Agency banned users of electric scooters from roaming freely on the streets for safety reasons, shortly after two users had been hit by a car and died outside of the Gelora Bung Karno (GBK) sports complex in Central Jakarta.During the ban, the company only offered GrabWheels services in specific areas. Grab also provided the service for medical workers at Central Jakarta COVID-19 emergency hospitals to aid their mobility.Topics :last_img read more

Italy registers highest number of coronavirus cases since May

first_img“I don’t want to look like the one blaming young people, there are certain episodes that have struck me,” like nine young people who tested positive after returning from Croatia.”Every day we receive reports of this type,” Galli said.The highest number of cases were reported in the northern Veneto and Lombardy regions, with 159 and 154 and in Rome’s Lazio region with 115. “We are not in as bad a position as France and Spain, but the current situation is not satisfactory,” said Professor Massimo Galli, who heads the infectious diseases department at Milan’s prestigious Sacco hospital.”The end of confinement has resulted in an excessive feeling of false security,” he told the La Repubblica newspaper.Italy in May emerged from a severe lockdown after becoming one the first European countries to report cases of COVID-19.We have to be careful, otherwise we will find ourselves facing an extremely difficult situation,” Galli warned, pointing particularly to returning travellers over the summer vacation. Topics :center_img Italy has recorded its highest number of coronavirus infections since May 23, with 845 new cases reported over the last day, health ministry officials said Thursday.The new high comes after the health ministry on Wednesday counted 642 new cases, confirming an upward curve.Six people also died over the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 35,418 in a total of 256,118 cases, health officials added.last_img read more

Military denies claims Army hospital denied care, caused death of unborn baby

first_imgThe military command in Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara, assured that Wira Bhakti Army Hospital staffers are following proper procedures in treating patients amid reports that COVID-19 rapid test requirements had delayed treatment for a woman in labor. The unborn baby of resident Gusti Ayu Arianti reportedly died in the womb on Tuesday after the hospital allegedly turned her away and told her to go to a community health center (Puskesmas) first to take a COVID-19 rapid test, even though her water had broken and she had lost a lot of blood.Maj. Dahlan, the spokesperson of the 162 Military Region Command Wirabhakti Mataram, said the medical staff in the army hospital had handled the patient according to standard procedure. “Upon arriving at the hospital, staggers questioned the patient, who said [she wasn’t] experience any pain, thus giving the impression that she was in good condition. She could also communicate well,” Dahlan wrote in a statement obtained by The Jakarta Post on Saturday.Read also: Doubts loom over widespread use of rapid tests in virus-stricken IndonesiaHe added that Gusti had been told to go to Mataram General Hospital, where here obstetrician was practicing. Wira Bhakti Army Hospital also recommended that she take a COVID-19 rapid test at a nearby Puskesmas, as the test was free of charge there and would ease the referral process.“Upon leaving the army hospital, the patient asked whether it was better for her to go to the obstetrician or take the rapid test first. The staffer answered that she should go to the obstetrician first,” Dahlan went on to say.It was previously reported that Gusti had gone to the Puskesmas to take a rapid test first. She later had a C-section at Permata Hati Hospital, where the doctor claimed the baby had died in the womb a few days earlier, which the family denied.Topics :last_img read more

Israel-UAE flight may start ‘historic’ Mideast journey: Kushner

first_imgWhite House advisor Jared Kushner, boarding the first Israel-UAE commercial flight following a US-brokered deal to normalise ties, voiced hope Monday for a more peaceful era in the region.Flight 971 of Israel’s national carrier El Al then took off from Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, bound for Abu Dhabi.The historic flight was carrying a joint US-Israeli delegation that was led on the American side by Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law. “While this is a historic flight, we hope that it will start an even more historic journey in the Middle East and beyond,” Kushner said shortly before boarding.”The future does not have to be predetermined by the past. This is a very hopeful time, and I believe that so much peace and prosperity is possible in this region and around the world.”The Israel-UAE agreement to normalise ties was announced by Trump on August 13, making the UAE the first Gulf country and only the third Arab nation to establish relations with Israel, after Egypt and Jordan. The word “peace” was painted on the plane’s cockpit in Arabic, English and Hebrew.Topics :last_img read more

Surabaya pastor sentenced to 10 years in prison for years of sexual abuse

first_imgThe Surabaya District Court has declared 50-year-old pastor Hanny Layantara guilty of sexual abuse and sentenced him to 10 years’ imprisonment.Presiding judge Johanis Hehamony said Hanny was found guilty of violating Article 82 of the Child Protection Law.”We declare the defendant Hanny Layantara guilty and sentence him to 10 years in prison and order him to pay Rp 100 million in fines or serve an additional six months in prison,” Johanis said on Monday as reported by kompas.com. He added that the panel of judges noted two factors in their sentencing decision, namely that the defendant had refused to admit his wrongdoings and that his actions were contradictory to his role as a religious leader.The sentence matched the punishment demanded by prosecutors.Hanny was arrested in Sidoarjo, East Java, on March 3, two weeks after his victim’s family reported the abuse to the police. He had allegedly been planning to flee the country at the time of his arrest.The victim, now 26, said that Hanny had sexually abused her from 2005 – when she was only 12 years old – until 2011.Hanny’s lawyer, Abdurrachman Saleh, said he and his client would file an appeal against the verdict.”We disagree with the judges’ verdict. We will appeal,” he said. (nal)Topics :last_img read more

Unai Emery reveals key reason why Arsenal will miss Sven Mislintat

first_imgUnai Emery reveals key reason why Arsenal will miss Sven Mislintat Metro Sport ReporterThursday 7 Feb 2019 2:18 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link217Shares Comment Advertisement Advertisement Mislintat spent less than 18 months at Arsenal (Picture: Getty)However, Mislintat was crucial to the captures of Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira last summer and Emery admits the club will miss the Swede’s knowledge of the market.AdvertisementAdvertisement‘I’ve been working with him for eight months. My relationship with him is good,’ said Emery.“When I arrived here young players came, they decided because of him. He has a very good scouting responsibility for his past and his present.‘I worked well with him and after it’s between the club and him. I don’t know everything but I respect him and the club.‘I wish good luck for him in his future’.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing ArsenalMislintat was seen as instrumental to the new direction that the club were going in in the post-Arsene Wenger era and his departure is therefore a blow.The Swede is said to be willing to remain in the Premier League, though he’s also been linked with a return to Dortmund.MORE: Ander Herrera wants to sign new Manchester United contract Unai Emery admits the club will miss Sven Mislintat (Picture: Getty)Arsenal boss Unai Emery admits the club will miss Sven Mislintat’s ability to attract young players to the club.The Gunners announced last week that the Swede will be leaving the club after less than 18 months in his role as head of recruitment.Arsenal will overjoyed to have landed Mislintat from Dortmund in 2017 but the 46-year-old was unhappy with developments within the club and felt his role was being marginalised by the promotion of Raul Sanllehi to Head of Football.The Gunners were unable to make permanent signings in January and had to settle for the loan signing of Barcelona star Denis Suarez.ADVERTISEMENTlast_img read more