Watch Kristin Chenoweth Perform on The View, In Honor of Joan Rivers

first_img Star Files The latest season of The View premiered on September 15, with new hosts Rosie Perez, Nicolle Wallace and The View alum Rosie O’Donnell, as well as returning co-host Whoopi Goldberg. Among those who stopped by for the debut of the talk show’s new look was Tony and Emmy winner Kristin Chenoweth, who performed “Borrowed Angels,” from her album As I Am, as a tribute to the late Joan Rivers. Rivers (like O’Donnell), was a vocal cheerleader for the Broadway community. Take a look at Cheno’s performance, backed by her longtime musical director Mary Mitchell Campbell, in the clip below. View Commentscenter_img Kristin Chenowethlast_img

Read More »

$1.1 Billion in Bonds of Marquee U.S. Coal Company Plunge in Value

first_img$1.1 Billion in Bonds of Marquee U.S. Coal Company Plunge in Value FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg News:Bonds of Murray Energy Corp., the biggest privately owned U.S. coal producer, fell the most in 15 months after the White House denied the company’s request to aid one of its power-plant customers, an action it said would help both companies avoid bankruptcy.The miner’s $1.1 billion of 11.25 percent bonds due in 2021 fell 7 cents on the dollar on Wednesday and were quoted at 61 cents, according to Trace, the bond-price reporting system of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. It was the biggest decliner and the most actively traded security in the U.S. corporate-bond market, the data show.The plunge came as President Donald Trump’s administration rejected Murray’s request to keep the coal-fired power plants of FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. operating by invoking emergency authorities under the Federal Power Act. The same bonds had surged last year in part on Trump’s election as the Republican vowed to revive America’s coal industry. The securities exceeded 83 cents on the dollar as recently as February.Robert E. Murray, the company’s chief executive officer and an early backer of Trump, said in a letter earlier this month that he was present when the president expressed support for the company’s plea and directed Energy Secretary Rick Perry to get it done.Murray Energy has debt payments of $44.4 million due at the end of September, another $59.4 million on Oct. 17 and $44.3 million at the end of the year, Murray’s Chief Financial Officer Robert D. Moore wrote in an Aug. 18 letter to Perry.Murray, a closely held company, produces about 65 million tons of the fossil fuel a year, according to the company’s website. It primarily operates in the country’s Northern Appalachian and Illinois coal basins and sells its coal to power plants operated by companies including FirstEnergy.More: Coal Miner Murray’s Bonds Drop After Trump White House Snublast_img read more

Read More »

Thinking About Veterans Day, D-Day & The Liberation Of France Today

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Standing barefoot on Omaha Beach, the sand silky soft, the warm waters of the English Channel lapping gently against me, I thought it was a perfect summer day. The sun shone brightly in a clear blue sky. The tide was low, leaving a wide expanse between the sparkling surf and the dark green bluffs past the dunes where a path led to the stairs that would take us back to the American Normandy Cemetery.It’s so hard to imagine that here was where “all hell broke loose” on that bloody gray dawn of D-Day, June 6, 1944. Officially known as Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Normandy would be the largest amphibious assault in history. There’d be 5,000 ships of all sizes; 11,000 aircraft and some 156,000 American, British and Canadian soldiers, hitting five beaches along a 50-mile front. Omaha was the bloodiest.In the heat of battle, Col. George Taylor reportedly told his men, “There are two kinds of people who are staying on this beach: those who are dead and those who are going to die. Now let’s get the hell out of here.”My earliest memories of the D-Day invasion were in black and white, because I’d seen the images taken by famed photographer Robert Capa for Life Magazine. What I’ve since learned is that he shot 108 frames when he landed with the soldiers at Omaha Beach, but a lab technician had ruined all but 11 of them in his haste to process them in time for a flight across the Atlantic to the editors in New York. That explains why the surviving ones are slightly out of focus, too.In 1962, Hollywood released its black and white movie about Normandy called The Longest Day, which had a cast that included Sean Connery, Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, John Wayne and Richard Burton, to name a few box-office stars. Today’s millennials could re-experience the landing by watching the terrifying opening minutes of Saving Private Ryan, starring Tom Hanks, which came out in 1998.Omaha and Utah were the codenames for the American landings to the west; the British had Gold, Juno and Sword beaches to the east. One of the military goals was to seal off Normandy’s Cotentin peninsula and eventually seize its port, Cherbourg, but by the time the Allies finally captured that city, the Germans had left the harbor in ruins.These days, Normandy thrives on a tourist industry catering to veterans and others who want to remember the war. Today, driving from Omaha Beach to Utah Beach takes about a half hour, but traversing those 47 kilometers through the impenetrable hedgerows of the Bocage region took days of bloody fighting in 1944.In Saint Mere Eglise, you can see a dummy dangling from the church tower high above the central square. Back on D-Day, the GI named John Steele was less conspicuous—and therefore survived—because this paratrooper from the 82nd Airborne Division had gotten his parachute stuck on the tower’s other side when he landed as part of the pre-dawn aerial assault behind enemy lines. In The Longest Day, Steele was played by Red Buttons, a carrot-topped American comic actor born in the Lower East Side who became a top star in the early days of television. His scene is one of the few comedic moments in that very long war movie.Before the Normandy invasion, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme commander, was a nervous wreck, smoking up to five packs of cigarettes a day and consuming bottomless cups of coffee. The first week of June the weather had turned bad. A huge storm barreled into the English Channel, churning up the seas with high winds and complicating the coordination plans. He knew there was only a small window when the tidal conditions would be right for the kind of amphibious assault the Allies intended: a low tide rising at daybreak.The remains of Nazi bunkers built by the Germans in Brittany as part of the Atlantic Wall defenses in the years before the Normandy invasion (Long Island Press photo).It was no secret the Allies were coming by sea. Germany’s Nazi ruler, Adolf Hitler, had put Field Marshall Erwin Rommel in charge of stopping the invasion, authorizing him to build the Atlantic Wall, a 2,400-mile fortification of cement bunkers, long-range guns, landmines on telephone poles jutting out of the sand, booby traps underwater, spiked iron staves designed to rip open the hulls of incoming boats, and other metal obstacles that would pin down our men in high or low tide.Rommel knew the invasion was coming but he didn’t know where, or when. The Allies had created a deception, complete with Hollywood-concocted fake tanks and bogus planes, codenamed Operation Fortitude, to make the Germans think Gen. George Patton, whom they regarded as the Allies’ smartest general—a perception he also shared—would cut across between Portsmouth and Calais, the shortest distance between England and France. They wouldn’t dare crossing the widest part of the English Channel, would they? When the storm rolled in, Rommel convinced himself that he could leave his elegant chateau estate near Bayeux and celebrate his wife’s birthday back home in Germany. Today the chateau still stands but it’s in private hands.By June 5, 1944, Gen. Eisenhower had already held back the invasion 24 hours and he didn’t want to delay another day. Many men were already on their ships and landing crafts, getting cold and seasick. He feared that one German surveillance aircraft flying over the Channel might eliminate the element of surprise, which really was one of the only advantages the Allies had. Fortunately, even the Germans had grounded their planes that day because of the weather.Before the troops boarded, each soldier, sailor and airman of the Allied Expeditionary Force had been given a copy of the “Orders of the Day,” a letter Eisenhower had drafted:“You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brother-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.”The plan was to start the invasion at 6:30 a.m. And so it went. Relatively speaking, Utah Beach was a cakewalk, even though Gen. Teddy Roosevelt, Jr., the president’s 57-year-old son, had landed 2,000 yards off target because of the strong currents and the stiff winds. He turned to his men and said, “We’re going to start the war from here.” He faced minimal opposition, as did the Brits and Canadians on their beaches.At Omaha Beach, the Americans ran into a shit storm. The naval bombardment had been cut too short to do any damage to the defenses, and the Allied aircraft had flown too far inland where their bombs did nothing but kill cows and horses. The tanks and bulldozers intended to provide cover on the beach had been released too far from shore and many sank immediately. The first wave of soldiers were too loaded down with heavy packs that impeded their maneuverability. Yet, ahead of them lay hundreds of yards, all under unrelenting enemy fire from crack reinforcements from a German division that had recently been on the Eastern Front fighting the Soviets. Not at all the level of resistance the brass had led them to expect.“The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.”– Gen. EisenhowerWhen the doors of the landing craft opened, the embarking soldiers were exposed to the dark bluffs where the Germans were entrenched in concrete bunkers. It was like shooting ducks in a barrel. Our troops had to wade waist-deep past the dead bodies floating in the incoming water. They had been trained to ignore the cries of the wounded and head straight to the dunes where the Germans held the high ground with their protected artillery. Casualties reached the thousands.By 10:30 a.m., the invasion was going so badly that Gen. Omar Bradley, watching from a ship off shore, wanted to call it off and rescue the remaining men. His German counterpart, looking at the carnage on the beach from his protected bunker on the bluff, came to the same conclusion, sending a message to his commander that the Germans had turned the tide.Both officers were wrong.Today you can walk freely around the most strategic part of Omaha Beach, Pointe du Hoc, where the Germans had their artillery emplacement that enabled them to blow ships out of the Channel and rake our troops on the wide stretch of sandy beach. You can stand at the edge of a 130-foot cliff that our Army Rangers had to climb rapidly in order to knock it out of commission. You don’t hear the machine gun fire, the bombs blasting, just the wind and the sea below, as you try to put yourself in their shoes.  When my wife and I were in France this summer, two off-duty U.S. military members and their friend had tackled and subdued a heavily armed man on a high-speed train bound for Paris, reportedly “breaking up what could have been a deadly terrorist attack.”Childhood friends from Sacramento, Calif., the three Americans were enjoying the ride through Belgium when they heard a gunshot. Twenty-three-year-old Airman First Class Spencer Stone—a great name if I do say so myself—ran and tackled the gunman. His pal Army Spc. Alek Skarlatos, 22, a member of the Oregon National Guard, who had been deployed in Afghanistan, grabbed the assailant’s AK-47 rifle while their friend Anthony Sadler, 23, a student at Sacramento State University, assisted them.The gunman was a 25-year-old Moroccan man named Ayoub El-Khazzani, whom French intelligence officials said belonged to “the radical Islamist movement.” He’d emerged from an onboard restroom heavily armed when an unnamed French man trying to enter confronted him. That’s when the first shot rang out and the Americans sprang into action.French President Francois Hollande wanted to personally thank them for their bravery in an official ceremony at the Elysee Palace. When they later met President Obama in the Oval Office, he said they represented “the very best of America and the American character.”“They were thinking they were just going to have a fun reunion in Paris and ended up engaging in a potentially cataclysmic situation,” Obama said at the White House. “Because of their courage, because of their quick thinking, because of their teamwork, it’s fair to say a lot of people were saved, and a real calamity was averted.”The news of their courage made me think of my sons back home who are around their age. Then I got to thinking of the brave soldiers landing on Normandy Beach who once were their age as well. When I was in my early 20s, I was protesting the Vietnam War because I was draft age. Years later, my ex-brother-in-law, who fought in the dense jungles around Da Nang, forgave me. I don’t know what I would have done in the heat of battle, and I hope I never find out.But I do know that this summer was a good time to be an American in Paris.An angry Donald Trump glaring from the front page of France’s Liberation newspaper with the tagline: “The American Nightmare.”The Allies had liberated the City of Light in August, 1945. My wife and I arrived 70 years later. As we got off the train from Nice, the beautiful city overlooking the French Riviera, the first newsstand I saw had a rack of angry Donald Trumps glaring from the front page of France’s Liberation newspaper. It was the quintessential “ugly American,” and I was taken aback because I hadn’t thought about his presidential campaign for weeks.But he wasn’t the only Yankee the French seemed to be thinking about in August. Plastered on walls all around Paris were posters of JFK and Jackie. It turned out to be a promotional campaign for a photo exhibit devoted to the Kennedys. When we saw the show on a Sunday afternoon, about two dozen people were packed into the gallery’s upstairs room watching a French documentary recounting the president’s assassination.From left to right: The view from Pointe du Hoc overlooking Omaha Beach in Normandy, France; a sign at the U-Boat Memorial in Camaret-sur-Mer and one of the remaining Nazi artillery canons.In January, the big news in France was about Charlie Hebdo, the satirical weekly, whose offices had been attacked by armed gunmen allegedly angered over the publication’s depiction of the Prophet Mohammad. Twelve staffers had been slain, including the editor. As offensive as the publication deliberately was, it was a bastion of free speech.We didn’t plan to visit the site of the massacre but we did come upon a packed opening one night for the Galerie Glenat in the Marais district featuring renderings of Titeuf, a well-known French cartoon character of a kid with a bright yellow tuft of hair sticking out of his head. On the wall was a Charlie Hebdo magazine cover by an illustrator named Luz, which showed an adolescent Titeuf wearing a backpack facing his mirror image with a yellow beard who had an AK-47 on his back. The latter one says, “I have jihad tomorrow.” His schoolboy friend replies, “You have it good. I have math.” For the exhibit, Luz had dropped red ink on one corner of the cover. It was a subtle reminder of the blood shed that day.When we went to Notre Dame, like so many tourists before us, we learned there’d been a ceremony honoring surviving American veterans of WW II that very morning. They were long gone from the cathedral by then. But knowing they had been welcomed for their service decades ago still resonated in the air.And on this Veterans Day, 70 years after the end of the Great War, it’s the right time to pay tribute to all the soldiers who’ve gone before and honor the ones who survive.On the eve of D-Day, just as he was about to board his ship, Keith Douglas, a 24-year-old British poet, started a poem he called “Actors in the Wings,” and it had this stanza: “Everyone, I suppose, will use these minutes to look back, to hear music and to recall what we were doing and saying that year during our last few months as people, near the sucking mouth of the day that swallowed us all into the stomach of war.”He never wrote another line. He was killed by a mortar round a few days after landing in Normandy.last_img read more

Read More »

Hopeful news on human H5N1 vaccine, but production concerns considerable

first_imgAug 8, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Positive results from a human vaccine against the H5N1 avian flu that is the prime candidate for causing the next influenza pandemic came out of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), this weekend. Still, the challenges to producing such a vaccine in the quantities needed in an actual pandemic lend a dose of reality to the news.Trials of the vaccine on human volunteers began several months ago at three university-based centers in the United States—the University of Rochester, the University of Maryland at Baltimore, and the University of California, Los Angeles. The vaccine so far has been given to 452 healthy adults to ascertain the immune response and to evaluate its safety profile.Early trials results, reported by the New York Times and the Washington Post Saturday, showed good results after an initial dose and a booster dose given 4 weeks later. NIAID Director Anthony Fauci is quoted in the Times story as saying, “It’s good news. We have a vaccine.”Preliminary results obtained from 115 (some sources say 113) of the vaccine recipients showed a strong enough immune response to ward off the virus. Results are awaited on the remaining subjects, but Fauci said he expects them to parallel those already in. The doses that were most effective contained 90 micrograms of H5N1 antigen in each of two shots, compared with the 15 micrograms of antigen given via a single injection in typical annual flu vaccinations.The vaccine, made by Sanofi Pasteur, will next be tested in adults over age 65, likely beginning in about a month, according to the Associated Press (AP), and trials in children will follow shortly thereafter. Safety issues will be examined in these groups as well as optimal dosing levels. Normally, older people, children, and people with chronic diseases are most at risk for complications of influenza. The H5N1 strain may not fit this pattern; mortality rates in the 1918 flu pandemic were highest in otherwise healthy young adults.The high doses needed for protection against H5N1 pose obvious challenges in regard to production capacity. In a Wall Street Journal (WSJ)article today, Fauci said the 2 million US doses already ordered might cover only 450,000 people. Supplying even the amount of vaccine ordered for yearly US influenza vaccination programs is problematic, as evidenced by last flu season’s shortage when the Chiron company was unable to produce the almost–50 million doses it was to supply to the United States. In a flu pandemic, vaccine for the worldwide population would be needed.The new vaccine, like yearly flu vaccines, is grown in chicken eggs, so the amount that can be produced is dependent on the supply of eggs that producers can supply to vaccine companies. And the growth process takes several months. Experiments on cell-culture vaccines, which would circumvent these limitations, are under way, but their clinical use is far distant. Said Fauci in the Times article, “The critical issue now is, can we make enough vaccine, given the well-known inability of the vaccine industry to make enough vaccine?”Infectious disease expert Michael Osterholm said the news is hopeful, but he expressed great concern over supply issues. Even though the dosage will likely be refined as study continues, he told CIDRAP News, “We’re starting, from these results, with the amount of antigen needed to immunize a person standing at 12 times what’s needed for a typical flu vaccination.”And the limiting factors aren’t only the egg supply. “We need to quickly scale up capacity,” said Osterholm, director of CIDRAP, which publishes this Web site. “Since the current annual vaccine-production capacity worldwide is about 1 billion doses of the 15 microgram–antigen vaccine, right now we have the ability to produce less than enough vaccine for 100 million people in the first year of a pandemic. This covers less than 2% of the 6.5-billion world population. The bottom line is that this will do little to stop or even arrest a worldwide pandemic.”The vaccine was made under a 2004 contract with NIH to develop and make 8,000 to 10,000 doses of a new vaccine based on the H5N1 avian flu strain circulating in Southeast Asia at that time. Vaccine testing has not been done on the strain as it now exists, pointed out Osterholm.The federal government, through a separate contract in 2004, ordered 2 million more doses of the vaccine, to be made available to public health and laboratory workers in the event of an emergency and to encourage the manufacturer to ramp up the production process. Dr. Fauci told the AP over the weekend that the government is poised to order significantly more vaccine now that positive results are coming in.Research into an effective human vaccine has been humming due to the fact that the H5N1 strain of avian flu that has caused massive poultry deaths in Asia has also caused at least 112 cases in humans, with almost 60 of them fatal. Experts agree that when the strain evolves to a point where efficient person-to-person transmission begins, a worldwide pandemic will quickly follow.See also:Mar 23, 2005, CIDRAP News story on the clinical trialslast_img read more

Read More »

Jokowi to become second Indonesian president to address Australian parliament

first_imgPresident Joko “Jokowi” Widodo will address the Australian Parliament on Monday, making him only the second Indonesian president to do so in the 70-year-history of Indonesian-Australian diplomatic relations.“President Jokowi will convey his vision for Indonesia-Australia partnership for the next 30 years to the Australian Parliament to strengthen Australia’s support of our country,” presidential secretariat head Heru Budi Hartono said according to a State Palace press release.Besides Heru, Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi, Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD, Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko and presidential military secretary Maj. Gen. Suharyanto also accompanied the President on his visit to Australia. Topics : By giving the speech, Jokowi would be the second Indonesian president to address Australia’s Parliament, following in the footsteps of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who delivered a speech in front of Australian lawmakers in 2010.In the speech, Yudhoyono announced the death of key Bali bombing suspect Dulmatin and highlighted the importance of Jakarta and Canberra becoming strategic partners.”Indonesia and Australia have a very promising future. We are not only friends. We are not only neighbors. We are strategic partners,” Yudhoyono said at the time.Besides the speech, Jokowi will also discuss the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement’s (IA-CEPA) ratification with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison during the visit, with both countries set to launch a plan of action for 2020-2024 to support the agreement. The President will also attend the Indonesia-Australia business roundtable. (mfp)last_img read more

Read More »

US prepares orders blocking cotton, tomato imports from China’s Xinjiang over forced labor

first_imgUS Customs and Border Protection officials have prepared orders to block imports of cotton and tomato products from western China’s Xinjiang region over allegations they are produced with forced labor, although a formal announcement has been delayed.The Trump administration announcement of the actions, initially expected on Tuesday, has been put off until later this week because of “scheduling issues,” a CBP spokesman said.The cotton and tomato bans along with five other import bans involving Xinjiang forced-labor abuses would be an unprecedented move by CBP and likely stoke tensions between the world’s two largest economies. The “Withhold Release Orders” allow the CBP to detain shipments based on suspicion of forced-labor involvement under long-standing US laws aimed at combating human trafficking, child labor and other human rights abuses.President Donald Trump’s administration is ratcheting up pressure on China over its treatment of Xinjiang’s Uighur Muslims. The United Nations has said it has credible reports that 1 million Muslims have been detained in camps in the region, where they are put to work.China denies mistreatment of the Uighurs and says the camps are vocational training centers needed to fight extremism.CBP Executive Assistant Commissioner Brenda Smith told Reuters that the effective import bans would apply to the entire supply chains involving cotton, including cotton yarn, textiles and apparel, as well as tomatoes, tomato paste and other products exported from the region. “We have reasonable but not conclusive evidence that there is a risk of forced labor in supply chains related to cotton textiles and tomatoes coming out of Xinjiang,” Smith said in an interview. “We will continue to work our investigations to fill in those gaps.”US law requires the agency to detain shipments when there is an allegation of forced labor, such as from non-governmental organizations, she said.The bans could have far-reaching effects for US retailers and apparel producers, as well as food manufacturers. China produces about 20% of the world’s cotton and most of it comes from Xinjiang. China also is the world’s largest importer of cotton, including from the United States.’Abusive working and living conditions’In March, US lawmakers proposed legislation that would effectively assume that all goods produced in Xinjiang are made with forced labor and would require certification that they are not.In July, Washington issued an advisory saying companies doing business in Xinjiang or with entities using Xinjiang labor could be exposed to “reputational, economic, and legal risks.”The State Department also said it sent a letter to top American companies including Walmart Inc, Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc warning them over risks faced from maintaining supply chains associated with human rights abuses in Xinjiang region.In a draft announcement seen by Reuters, the CBP said it identified forced-labor indicators involving the cotton, textile and tomato supply chains “including debt bondage, unfree movement, isolation, intimidation and threats, withholding of wages, and abusive working and living conditions.”The agency’s orders would block cotton produced by the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, and apparel produced by Yili Zhuowan Garment Manufacturing Co Ltd and Baoding LYSZD Trade and Business Co Ltd. It says those entities use prison labor from Chinese government administered “re-education” internment camps. In addition, the proposed CBP orders would block imports of products made at the Lop County Industrial Park as well as the Lop County No. 4 Vocational Skills Education and Training Center. The moves follow the detention on July 1 of hair extensions and other goods from the Lop County Meixin Hair Product Co..The CBP orders would also block imports of computer parts made by the Hefei Bitland Information Technology Co Ltd, based in Anhui, China.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Read More »

Critics lambast govt over bullish tone in COVID-19 messages

first_imgAnita Wahid, a member of the committee for the Indonesian Anti-Slander Society (Mafindo), said she had noticed recently that the government had a tendency to convey an optimistic tone in its public communications, but without including a message calling for vigilance to prevent transmission.Anita said she was concerned that, if this were to continue, the public would be split into those who comply with health protocol and those who underestimate the threat of the disease, further dividing society.The anti-hoax activist noted that, for instance, there were cases where gravediggers were being harassed by bereaved members of a victim’s family for insisting on proper COVID-19 burial protocol. This, Anita said, illustrated a widening rift in society that could lead to even bigger conflict.“It is true that we really need to be given hope that we can get through this problem, but what is actually important – and what the government has missed – is that there is a need to balance that hope with cautiousness,” she told The Jakarta Post on Monday. Read also: Govt consistent in prioritizing health in handling COVID-19, Jokowi saysPresident Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said on Saturday that Indonesia’s case number was still lower than those of India and the United States, but he failed to mention that the scale of testing in the country lags behind the two others.According to the most recent data on ourworldindata.org, Indonesia has carried out 111 daily tests per 1 million people, whereas India and the US logged 784 and 2,201 daily tests per 1 million people, respectively.Meanwhile, Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan recently instructed state-owned companies to speed up the local production of remdesivir, while the President promised in March to provide millions of doses of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients. Neither drug is a proven treatment for COVID-19, and they are still being tested.But while providing prompt curative solutions is important, experts have underlined the greater urgency of taking preventive action to limit surging cases that may overwhelm healthcare capabilities.Irma Hidayana, cofounder of the LaporCOVID-19 volunteer group, said the government’s statements attempted to illustrate that it had been doing well to limit virus transmission, when actually the opposite was true.Indonesia has seen a continuously rising number of cases since March. The nation logged record daily highs, all above 4,400 new cases, for three consecutive days last week. As of Monday, the official number of infections nationwide stands at 278,722, with more than 10,000 deaths.Read also: Indonesia’s latest official COVID-19 figuresThis has put a continuous strain on the country’s healthcare system, with hospitals being inundated by patients and practitioners overworked.Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto on Sept. 10 appeared to play down Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan’s suggestion that the capital needed to return to large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) amid an “alarming” shortage of hospital beds, saying the state had enough funds to increase capacity as needed.Anies eventually reimposed PSBB on Sept.14, prompting further protests from the Presidential Palace.LaporCOVID-19 has assisted dozens of people with COVID-19 who had difficulties finding hospital beds, not only in Jakarta, Irma said.“If the situation is unclear, tell it like it is. But accompany it with instructive information, so as to raise people’s awareness,” she told the Post on Monday.“Show us the data and information that proves things are not fine but that we can work through it with some requirements, including strong regulations and protections for the people.”The mixed messages the government is articulating have adverse effects on the health sector.Read also: Six months on, health experts covet greater voice in pandemic responseBambang Pujo Semedi, head intensive care unit (ICU) doctor at East Java’s main COVID-19 referral hospital, Dr. Soetomo, said government officials should refrain from “lullabying” the public with their statements, which sometimes come off as neither correct nor appropriate.Pujo, who also heads the Intensive Care Doctor Association (PERDICI), called on officials to amplify the message that COVID-19 still could be dangerous and that medical experts still don’t know much about its long-term effects.He also wanted to draw attention to the fact that there are only around 330 intensivist doctors, 2,600 anesthetists and 8,000 intensivist nurses in the country, and that they were neither evenly distributed nor always treating COVID-19 patients.”Honestly, we’ve been stressed out from having to deal with patients in really bad condition and the many who died. This is what the general public can’t see, but we see it directly every day,” Pujo said.Topics : Activists and public health experts have criticized the government for failing to balance between optimistic and cautionary messages in disseminating COVID-19 information, which they say could undermine public health measures to tackle the pandemic.Indonesia has been struggling to communicate and carry out a consistent and effective response to the current pandemic, owing partly to the sheer complexity of a bureaucracy responsible for more than 260 million people.As a result, an increasing number of state actors have opted for action that, more often than not, causes friction and confusion as to how best to respond to a multifaceted crisis in Southeast Asia’s largest economy.last_img read more

Read More »

Sydneysiders being advised by their agents to invest their money in the Gold Coast

first_img1153/1 Lennie Ave, Main BeachMcGrath Surfers Paradise agent Craig Caughlan said the price differential was encouraging large numbers of Sydney and Melbourne investors to buy on the Coast, with four out of ten sales on the Gold Coast from interstate buyers. “About 80 per cent of interstate investors are buying units while homes are usually more popular for interstate buyers coming to settle down here,” Mr Caughlan said.“Sydney is getting to a point where buyers are having to go further and further out to the western suburbs.“Prices range from $1.5 million to $10 million anywhere close to the city but on the Gold Coast their cheapest is our most expensive and they find better value for their money here.” More from news02:37Purchasers snap up every residence in the $40 million Siarn Palm Beach North7 hours ago02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa1 day ago15/64 Penkivil Street, Bondi.But on the Gold Coast buyers can nab a beachfront unit off the plan at Palm Beach’s latest development, The Jefferson, for a mere $525,000. Real Estate — 1153/1 Lennie Ave, Main BeachA REMARKABLE three for the price of one deal has Sydney buyers piling into the Gold Coast real estate market.Southern agents are advising investors their money is better spent on the Coast, where the average price for a unit in Surfers Paradise is $370,000 compared $1.041 million at Bondi — almost three times the price. The courtyard of a two bedroom Sydney unit.Mr Caughlan said while Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise were the main targets for interstate investors, Hollywell, Labrador and Main Beach were becoming hot spots.“The vacancy rates are about two per cent, tenants want to rent closer to the water and transport so these units are always popular,” he said. “The biggest driver for interstate buyers is the return they make.” 60 The Jefferson at Palm Beach is located on the beachfrontProminent Sydney agent John McGrath, of McGrath Real Estate, who is on the Gold Cost to host the 20th annual Australasian Real Estate Conference, is among those advising clients to look north.“I am still sending them north, I think this is still the place to be,’’ Mr McGrath said.“I think the value for money is compelling — you can still buy properties here in some instances for a third or a quarter of the equivalent in Sydney.“In Sydney now we are selling for $800,000 or $900,000 one-bedroom units and I look at that and I think well, you can buy one for a third of the price of that on the Gold Coast in an equally beautiful location, or you could buy a house on a canal for a similar money.’’A glimpse at properties on the market at realestate.com.au proves Mr McGrath’s point.In the middle of Sydney a luxury apartment at 18/155 Macquarie St comes with an eye-watering price tag of $4.7 million to $4.8 million. The 214 sqm apartment comes with three bedrooms adorned with crystal louvres. Further north, a two-bedroom, one-bathroom unit at 7/134-138 Ocean St, Narrabeen is on offer for $1.1 million to $1.2 million. 3277 Surfers Paradise blvd, Surfers Paradise.For the same price as a small unit in Sydney, buyers can live in luxury on the Coast in a stunning unit at 1153/1 Lennie Ave, Main Beach on the market for $1.225 million. 60 The Jefferson, Palm Beach.In the heart of Surfers Paradise, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit at 3277 Surfers Paradise Blvd is also on the market for $489,000. 7/134-138 Ocean Street, Narrabeen.Head down to Bondi and a dozen blocks from the beach is a stylish unit at 15/64 Penkivil St with “ocean glimpses” will set you back $1.475 million. A Bondi apartment will set you back millions.Harcourts Coastal agent Tolemy Stevens said, in the past 12 months, almost 80 per cent of luxury property sales along the beachfront have been sold to Sydney or Melbourne buyers.“These buyers tend to be very astute and already own a substantial home or multiple investments within their own state and now believe it’s time to look outside of their booming markets for better value and the next best option is the Gold Coast,” Mr Stevens said. “With the Commonwealth Games on the horizon and plenty of cranes in the sky, these buyers are aware that the Coast market is really hot.“They have a focus on absolute beachfront locations from Main Beach to Coolangatta as a safe bet over the next three to five years.”Mr Stevens said the appetite for luxury beachfront properties is currently at an highest and that demand is currently outweighing the supply.last_img read more

Read More »

Massive surge in first home buyers as investor numbers fall: ABS

first_imgThe surge in owner occupiers has more than made up for the fall in investors, ABS has found. Picture: AAP Image/Dave HuntNEW data shows first home buyers have sprung into the market as new lending rules force large numbers of cashed up investors out – but there’s fresh competition waiting in the wings. Latest Australian Bureau of Statistics housing finance data showed investor lending fell 4.7 per cent over the last quarter seasonally adjusted, after posting a 1.4 per cent drop in May when owner occupiers rose 2.9 per cent.May saw 54,061 loans approved, a rise of 1 per cent from the previous month. The days of battling it out with cashed up investors and superannuation investment vehicles have been numbered since banking finance regulator APRA began a crackdown on high levels of investor exposure in lending portfolios.Real Estate Institute of Australia president Malcolm Gunning said in trend terms Queensland saw the largest decrease in investment housing commitments of 0.9 per cent with the only rise coming out of the ACT of 0.5 per cent.First home buyers reached their highest level since July 2015 as a proportion of total owner-occupied commitments, he said, rising to 14 per cent.“The number of first homebuyer commitments increased by 28.9 per cent for the month and is the highest since October 2014,” he said.“The May figures show that the market is adjusting with owner occupiers and first home buyers returning to the market as investor activity decreases and is worth noting that this is before the recent concessions introduced for first homebuyers.”Mr Gunning said the May figures were the first to show the impact of the lending crackdown on property investors.But there’s a twist in the tale for first home buyers with the investor vacuum being rapidly filled by a flood of other owner occupiers hitting the market, according to RateCity.com.au money editor Sally Tindall.“The surge in owner-occupier lending has more than made up for the drop in investor lending, defying increasing speculation the housing market is waning,” she said.“The government regulator will be pleased with this surge as it shows that the ‘right’ type of people are taking out home loans.”More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home3 hours agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor3 hours agoOwner occupiers can expect to see even less investors competing for property with them as the full effects of two rounds of rate hikes interest-only loans and investment housing finance sink in.“Further drops in investor lending are extremely likely in the months to come,” Ms Tindall said.“It just goes to show there is no shortage of owner-occupiers waiting in the wings when investors get cold feet. Owner-occupiers with principal & interest loans are now paying an average of 80 basis points less than investors with interest-only loans, so it’s no wonder they are stepping up to the plate.” Average Variable Rates Based on the average mortgage size of $350,000 (ABS). Owner-occupier, principal & interest: 4.29 per centOwner occupier, interest only: 4.71 per centInvestor, principal & interest: 4.72 per centInvestor, interest-only: 5.09 per cent Source: RateCity.com.aulast_img read more

Read More »

Dreaming of a sleek penthouse? This one is as close to UQ as you can get along the river

first_imgCertainly enough room in the sleek kitchen.More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this homeless than 1 hour agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investorless than 1 hour agoSpanning the top two floors of a complex featuring a riverside pool and barbecue area, this penthouse residence was made for entertaining.It captures panoramic views across the Brisbane River, CBD and leafy neighbourhood surrounds, with no expense spared in its luxury north-facing design.Entry is via a private foyer that leads to an open-plan living and dining space. Sleek interiors and designer finishes define the lower-level hub of the residence, with the nearby kitchen including a marble island bench, Miele appliances, soft-close cabinetry and granite benchtops, along with a small balcony.From the living and dining space, bi-fold doors open to a covered riverside balcony. A glass-walled media room also extends outdoors.Adding a further touch of sophistication to the residence’s lower level is a large wine cellar and bar. This is how to get away from it all without leaving home. 14/100 Macquarie St, St Lucia.THIS double storey penthouse is about as close as you can get to the University of Queensland along the Brisbane river.The four bedroom, three bathroom, triple car garage penthouse at 14/100 Macquarie St, St Lucia, is being marketed by Simon Caulfield of Place Kangaroo Point at one of the suburbs “most significant residences”. Not a bad spot to have friends over. The Brisbane River in all her glory is spread out below.Taking over the left of the floor are three bedrooms. Two of these bedrooms have built-in wardrobes and are serviced by a bathroom, while one has a balcony.At the rear of the floor, the main bedroom is generously proportioned and includes integrated cabinetry, a walk-in wardrobe and an opulent ensuite with twin marble vanities, rich stone tiles and a stand-alone bath tub. It also has two balconies – one off the wardrobe and the other facing the river.Other features of the lower level include a study with balcony access, a laundry and powder room.Upstairs, the lift opens to an expansive semi-covered rooftop terrace ideal for entertaining with its outdoor kitchen including sinks, a fridge and barbecue and gas hotplate.Agent Simon Caulfield said there was potential for the rooftop terrace to be closed in, subject to Brisbane City Council approval.Additionally, the residence has two large storage rooms, three car spaces and a private marina berth.“Offering a remarkable lifestyle that only a few will be lucky enough to experience, the complex offers exclusive features such as a private and shaded river deck, riverside pool, spa and barbecue area, plus a fully equipped gym,” Mr Caulfield said.last_img read more

Read More »