Offices: older buildings with generous parking ratios may attract a premium


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Coronavirus could damage global growth in 2020: IMF


first_imgThe coronavirus epidemic could damage global economic growth this year, the IMF head said Sunday, but a sharp and rapid economic rebound could follow.”There may be a cut that we are still hoping would be in the 0.1-0.2 percentage space,” the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, told the Global Women’s Forum in Dubai.She said the full impact of the spreading disease that has already killed more than 1,600 people would depend on how quickly it was contained. If the disease is “contained rapidly, there can be a sharp drop and a very rapid rebound”, in what is known as the V-shaped impact, she said.Compared to the impact of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002, she said China’s economy then made up just 8.0 percent of global economy. Now, that figure is 19 percent.She said the trade agreement between the United States and China, the world’s first and second economies, had reduced the disease’s impact on global economy.But the world should be concerned “about sluggish growth” impacted by uncertainty, said the IMF chief.”We are now stuck with low productivity growth, low economic growth, low interest rates and low inflation,” she told the Dubai forum, also attended by US President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and former British prime minister Theresa May.Topics : “I advise everybody not to jump to premature conclusions. There is still a great deal of uncertainty. We operate with scenarios, not yet with projections, ask me in 10 days,” Georgieva said.In its January update to the World Economic Outlook, the IMF lowered global economic growth forecast in 2020 by a 0.1 percentage point to 3.3 percent, following a 2.9 percent growth the previous year, the lowest in a decade.Georgieva said it was “too early” to assess the full impact of the epidemic but acknowledged that it had already affected sectors such as tourism and transportation.”It is too early to say because we don’t yet quite know what is the nature of this virus. We don’t know how quickly China will be able to contain it. We don’t know whether it will spread to the rest of the world,” she said.last_img read more


Saudi chairs G20 crisis talks as virus threatens recession


first_imgLeaders of the G20 major economies will hold an online summit Thursday in a bid to fend off a coronavirus-triggered recession, after criticism the group has been slow to address the crisis.US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will join the emergency videoconference chaired by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, who is also under pressure to end an oil price war with Moscow that has roiled energy markets.The talks come as the global death toll from COVID-19 soared close to 21,000 and over 3 billion people were locked down in their homes. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged G20 nations to offer support to “low and middle income countries”, including from Sub-Saharan Africa.This week, French President Emmanuel Macron and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping pushed for an emergency G20 summit to limit the impact of the pandemic.French presidential sources said the virtual meeting would focus on “coordination on the health level” as well as sending a “strong signal” to financial markets over efforts to stabilise the global economy. ‘Missing in action’ With world leaders divided, the meeting stands in contrast to the G20 summits following the 2008 financial crisis, when the group swung into action to mobilize assistance for vulnerable countries.”The G20 is missing in action today, unlike 2008,” said Ian Bremmer, president and founder of the Eurasia Group.Talk of global coordination has yet to resonate under the isolationist US presidency of Trump.On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took aim at China, saying the top diplomats of the Group of Seven agreed with him that Beijing was waging a “disinformation” campaign about the pandemic.At the G7 talks, a day before the G20 summit, Pompeo alleged Beijing was engaged in a social media campaign that included conspiracy theories that the US was behind the virus, first detected in the Chinese metropolis of Wuhan. “If G20 leaders can put politics aside and reach a collective G20 agreement, countries have a better chance of success or of delivering more stimulus than on their own,” Markus Engels, from the Global Solutions Initiative, told AFP.”Coordination among the G20 sends a strong message of unity and confidence, both of which are urgently needed now.”Crude oil prices — hammered by the outbreak’s impact on demand as well as by a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia — are also expected to be at the centre of the discussions.Riyadh faces pressure from Washington to row back on its decision to hike production and offer the biggest price cuts in two decades, in retaliation for Russia’s refusal to tighten supply as the virus saps demand.On Wednesday, Pompeo urged Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to “rise to the occasion” and “reassure global energy and financial markets”.The G20 members will be joined by leaders from other affected countries including Spain, Jordan, Singapore and Switzerland, Riyadh said.Leaders from international organizations such as the United Nations, World Bank, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) will also participate. “As the world confronts the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges to healthcare systems and the global economy, we convene this extraordinary G20 summit to unite efforts towards a global response,” the king of Saudi Arabia, which currently holds the G20 presidency, said on Twitter.The meeting, expected to be held at 1200 GMT, comes as the world’s 20 most industrialized countries scramble to defend their virus-wracked economies amid forecasts they will likely plunge into recession this year.On Wednesday, the financial ratings agency Moody’s estimated the G20’s overall gross domestic product would contract by 0.5 percent, with the US economy shrinking by 2 percent and the eurozone by 2.2 percent.While wealthy nations including the US have unveiled mammoth stimulus packages, there has so far been no collective action plan from the G20, and concerns are mounting for poorer countries without access to capital markets and adequate health facilities. Topics :last_img read more


Four die as flash floods, landslides hit South Sulawesi


first_img“The family members were sleeping when the flash flood hit their home causing it to cave in. They were buried by the landslide,” Alfian said, adding that the event occurred in the early hours of Sunday. “We are still searching [for more victims], but [the search] has been postponed due to heavy rain.”The landslide has also cut some road links, including the main road connecting Tana Toraja regency and North Toraja regency. The disaster has forced at least 20 families out of their homes. (trn)Topics : Heavy rain has caused flash floods and landslides in two districts of Tana Toraja regency in South Sulawesi, leaving at least four people dead.Tana Toraja Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) head Alfian Andi Lolo reported that three of the deceased were members of the same family in Randanbatu village, South Makale district, identified as Bottong, 80, Rita, 40, and Yen, 12. Meanwhile, one fatality is Rantetayo district has yet to be identified.last_img read more


State-owned weapons, electronics manufacturers to produce ventilators for COVID-19 patients


first_imgState-owned weapons manufacturer PT Pindad and electronics manufacturer PT LEN Industri are developing and planning to mass-produce ventilators to help hospitals handle COVID-19 patients, officials said.Pindad has developed a ventilator prototype and is currently seeking medical certification from the Health Ministry’s Health Equipment Monitoring Agency (BPPK), the company’s president director, Abraham Mose, told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.“We have tested it in our hospital in Bandung and it’s already operational. Once we receive the green light from the BPPK, we will be able to produce 40 ventilators per day,” he said. “We’re producing the ventilators by ourselves for now, but I think the machine will work better if it’s equipped with an oxygen flow sensor, among other things,” he said. “And for that to happen, I think we need to work together with other electronics companies such as PT LEN.”Read also: PTDI, Indofarma, universities working on ventilator prototypesHospital chains perform well on IDX, thanks to rising awareness about healthy livingSeparately, LEN Industri told the Post on Wednesday that the company was also developing a ventilator in collaboration with the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT). The company declined to further elaborate on the project as their product was still in the trial process, according to its statement to the Post.Pindad and Len Industri have joined the list of companies working to develop and produce medical equipment to help meet skyrocketing demand for equipment to treat COVID-19 patients.State-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia told the Post on Tuesday that the aerospace company planned to mass-produce one of five ventilator prototypes currently being tested by the Health Ministry.State-owned pharmaceuticals firm PT Indofarma is also developing health equipment such as invasive ventilators, hospital beds, IV posts and negative-pressured isolation stretchers.Read also: Hospital chains perform well on IDX, thanks to rising awareness about healthy livingA sharp increase in demand for masks has also prompted other manufacturers from various industries to produce masks and other personal protective equipment.Textile companies such as publicly listed PT Pan Brothers and PT Sri Rejeki Isman have switched some of their production lines to make masks and coveralls. Pan Brothers agreed to produce 20 million washable masks and 100,000 jumpsuits by April, as ordered by the government and several retailers.Topics : Read also: Indonesia looks to China, S. Korea for medical suppliesPindad, he went on to say, had been developing the ventilators since early March and expected to be able to produce the machines “in a matter of weeks.”Indonesia currently has 8,936 ventilators divided between 1,827 hospitals across the country, according to Health Ministry data on March 23. Meanwhile, official data shows the number of COVID-19 cases in the country having reached 2,956, with 240 fatalities, the highest death toll in Southeast Asia, as of Wednesday afternoon. Scientists have estimated that the number of cases could reach 71,000 by the end of April.Abraham said that while Pindad was independently developing the ventilators, he expressed hope for a collaboration with LEN Industri to improve the ventilators.last_img read more


Chinese Super League to start by July: club chairman


first_imgThe coronavirus-delayed Chinese Super League (CSL) season is scheduled to begin in late June or early July, a club chairman says.Suspended leagues across the world, including in Europe, will be watching the CSL with interest as an indicator of the challenges they face in relaunching their own competitions.The campaign was supposed to start on February 22 but was indefinitely postponed by the pandemic, which emerged in China in December before spreading worldwide. Marouane Fellaini, the former Manchester United midfielder, is the only known coronavirus case in the CSL.He was released from hospital last week and is under further observation, although he was not seriously ill. Topics :center_img “Based on the assessment of the current situation, the new season will start at the end of June or beginning of July,” said Guangzhou R&F chairman Huang Shenghua, according to state media.Huang said that the season will be able to take place in full with each team playing the allotted 30 matches.The media reports did not indicate whether a formal announcement was expected from the Chinese Football Association.China says that it has curbed coronavirus at home but is now concerned about a second wave of imported infections from people entering the country from overseas.last_img read more


Three negatives and a positive: Problems with coronavirus tests in China


first_imgTopics : Finally, at least, he had an explanation for why he felt so terrible. “I felt like I was dying. You can’t imagine how it feels.”His case is not unique. Similar instances in China and elsewhere have compounded concern over the accuracy of coronavirus testing, even as authorities push for testing as key to handling the crisis.Unreliable testing could undermine strategies not just for stopping the virus but for opening up locked-down economies, as pressure grows on governments around the world to ease restrictions.More than 2.5 million people have been infected with the coronavirus globally and about 177,000 have died, according to a Reuters tally.Wuhan, where the new coronavirus emerged late last year, has recorded 50,333 cases and 3,869 deaths as of April 21, accounting for the majority of China’s cases.Nucleic acid testing, on samples swabbed from the back of a patient’s throat or respiratory tract, for the virus’ genome, is the main way cases are detected.The test is not easy to administer and, experts say, and mistakes do happen, such as if too small a sample is taken or if the swab misses a virus-hit spot.”The limitations of these tests need to be recognized, and the need to run regular tests if we want assurance that someone is truly negative, and that they remain so over a period of time,” said Andrew Preston, a lecturer in microbial pathogenesis at the University of Bath.Testing times There is little consensus on what proportion of nucleic acid tests yield false negatives.A survey by Chinese doctors in February looking at samples from 213 patients suggested a false-negative rate of about 30%.Media has also reported cases of people testing negative repeatedly before finally getting a positive result.In February, the People’s Daily newspaper reported on a woman who had fallen ill with pneumonia but tested negative for the coronavirus four times. A fifth test was positive.Wuhan authorities have started testing residents for antibodies. China is conducting an epidemiological survey in nine regions in an effort to determine the full extent of asymptomatic infections and immunity levels.He said he first got tested on March 1 when his chest congestion worsened though he had no fever or cough.X-rays showed his lungs had white blotches, similar to those found in coronavirus patients, but his nucleic acid test was not positive so a hospital declined to admit him.As a precaution, a committee that manages his housing compound put him in quarantine for 14 days.Later, two more hospital tests came back negative so he turned to traditional Chinese medicine and other drugs.Finally, on March 28, he took a fourth nucleic acid test, which was again negative, but he was also tested for antibodies and got confirmation.”I told my story to a doctor and he said ‘you’re so lucky you didn’t die’,” he said in his apartment, where boxes of various medicines were scattered about.His wife, who he lives alone with, has shown no coronavirus symptoms though she has not been tested.He said he believed he was immune and not infectious, though he’s taking no chances and wears an N95 mask and a face shield when going out.”If there’s any possibility that I’ll infect others, I’ll harm them,” he said. “That’s why I’m taking these precautions.” Still, he did not challenge the three negative tests at the time. After all, his wife did not fall sick.But he could not shake off the nagging suspicion that he had the coronavirus and in late March went to a hospital in Wuhan for more tests, including one for antibodies.This time he tested positive.”I didn’t expect it,” the 52-year-old vegetable seller said as he showed Reuters a copy of his test results – positive for antibodies showing exposure to the coronavirus.center_img Trader He Ximing in the Chinese city of Wuhan says he has no idea how or where he caught the coronavirus or why repeated nucleic acid tests showed he didn’t have it.He was not a coronavirus patient, doctors told him, even though he had been having difficulty breathing with what he described as smothering chest congestion from early February.But his condition worried the authorities enough to get him sent to a quarantine center.last_img read more


Mainstream US religious leaders criticize Trump after church photo


first_imgMainstream US Protestant and Catholic leaders sharply criticized President Donald Trump on Tuesday, a day after peaceful protesters were forcibly displaced for a staged presidential photo in front of a church near the White House.Trump won the 2016 presidential election with strong support from white Catholics and evangelical Christians. Just months ahead of the November elections, when he hopes to win a second term, Trump has been trying to appeal to those voters with the photo in front of the Episcopal church, a visit Tuesday to a shrine to Pope John Paul II, and an executive order directing US agencies to “protect” religious freedom overseas.But religious leaders have condemned the administration’s treatment of Americans protesting the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American who died after a white policeman pinned his neck under a knee for nearly nine minutes in Minneapolis on May 25. Police on horseback and armed soldiers on Monday evening used tear gas and rubber bullets to push protesters back before Trump walked from the White House across Lafayette Square to St. John’s Episcopal Church, which had been damaged by fire amid protests on Sunday evening. In front of the church, Trump held up a Bible.US President Donald Trump leaves the White House on foot to go to St John’s Episcopal church across Lafayette Park in Washington, DC on June 1, 2020. – US President Donald Trump was due to make a televised address to the nation on Monday after days of anti-racism protests against policebrutality that have erupted into violence. The White House announced that the president would makeremarks imminently after he has been criticized for not publicly addressing in the crisis in recent days. AFP/ Brendan Smialowski (AFP/Brendan Smialowski )Trump has called for state governors to crack down on the thousands protesting Floyd’s death around the country, and threatened to send in the US military.John Paul, the head of the Catholic church for nearly 40 years, would “not condone the use of tear gas and other deterrents to silence, scatter or intimidate them for a photo opportunity in front of a place of worship and peace,” Archbishop Wilton Gregory, the top Catholic leader in the nation’s capital, said in a statement Tuesday. Hundreds of shouting protesters lined the street near the monument to the pope, holding signs that read, “Racist in Chief,” “Trump Mocks Christ” and “Our Church is not a Photo Op.”Susan Gunn, director of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, a Catholic group that helped organize the protest, said she was disappointed that Trump had not used either occasion to try to bring people together.”Our society’s splintering. We are in the middle of a pandemic with 100,000 dead,” she said speaking of the coronavirus outbreak, which she noted has disproportionately affected people of color.”President Trump identifies himself as a Christian and avid reader of the Bible. And I just call him and all of our hurting communities to remember the great commandment to love your neighbor as yourself,” Gunn said.Bishop Michael Curry, the chief pastor and chief executive of the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church, also criticized Trump for using a church building and the Bible for partisan purposes.”We need our president, and all who hold office, to be moral leaders,” he said in a statement. “For the sake of George Floyd, for all who have wrongly suffered, and for the sake of us all, we need leaders to help us to be ‘one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.'”Trump won strong support from white evangelical Christians in the 2016 presidential election, while white Catholics backed him by 60 percent, according to Pew Research Center.Elizabeth Eaton, the presiding bishop for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, condemned Trump’s decision to use the Catholic shrine as a political backdrop.”Denouncing this outrage cannot, however, distract us from the deep wounds of structural racism and white supremacy that have been reopened by the killing of George Floyd,” she said in a statement.Topics :last_img read more


UK says virus-related deaths rise to 48,000


first_imgSome younger children returned to school in England on Monday while some shops were allowed to reopen.However, some critics say the government is moving too quickly while infection rates and deaths remain high. Separately, England’s public health agency on Tuesday published a new report confirming previous evidence that the outbreak is hitting ethnic minorities the hardest.People of Bangladeshi origin had around twice the risk of dying than white British people, even accounting for age, sex, deprivation and region — although not accounting for comorbidities, occupation or obesity.Health Secretary Matt Hancock said coronavirus had “emphasized the existing health inequalities in the country”, and promised further work on the issue.He said the report was timely given global protests over the death of George Floyd in the United States, adding: “Black lives matter.”And I want to say this to everyone who works in the National Health Service and in social care: I value the contribution that you make, everybody equally.”And I want to say it right across society too. I want to thank you.” Topics : The number of suspected and confirmed deaths from coronavirus in Britain has risen to 48,000, official data showed Tuesday.The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures tallied all fatalities in which COVID-19 was suspected or mentioned on death certificates up to May 22.The total of 48,106 is significantly higher than the government’s latest daily figure of 39,369, which only includes deaths where the patient tested positive for coronavirus.center_img By either measure, the toll is Europe’s worst and puts Britain behind only the United States in officially announced deaths, although each country has different reporting lags and methods. The data also showed there had been 56,308 more deaths in England and Wales than the five-year average since the outbreak took hold in March.But in the week ending May 22, there were 2,589 mentions of “novel coronavirus” on death certificates in England and Wales — the lowest since the seven days to March 27.Britain is one of the last European countries to start easing its stay-at-home restrictions, which were imposed on March 23.last_img read more


Healthcare staff win top Spain prize for ‘spirit of sacrifice’


first_imgAt the height of the pandemic, with hospitals on the brink of collapse, healthcare professionals had protested over the lack of beds and ventilators for patients as well as personal protection equipment for frontline staff.  Spain’s healthcare workers won the prestigious Princess of Asturias prize Wednesday, with the jury hailing their “heroic spirit of sacrifice” in risking their own lives in the frontline fight against COVID-19.Considered the equivalent to a Nobel Prize within the Spanish-speaking world, the Princess of Asturias Award recognizes individuals or institutions in a number of different categories from literature to the arts, science and sport. In allocating the award, the jury congratulated “thousands of people.. in public and private healthcare centers who have been in direct contact with patients” suffering from the deadly virus that has claimed more than 27,000 lives.  Health ministry figures indicate more than 50,000 healthcare staff have been infected by the virus in Spain, representing 22 percent of the 240,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. And medical associations say more than 50 have died as a result of the virus. “With their heroic spirit of sacrifice and facing serious risks at personal costs, including that of their own lives, they have become a symbol” of the fight against the virus, the jury said. And that had won them “ongoing expressions of thanks and solidarity” from the nation, it said in a nod to the applause that has rung out every night at 8:00 pm from homes across the country since the crisis began in mid-March. center_img Topics :last_img read more