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Railtrack aims for 20 depots

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Twin towns: the second- and third-most expensive office locations in the world

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Master of all I survey

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Kingston and Richmond Tight supply spells opportunity

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Time for nuclear power? Luhut tells tale of Indonesia ‘having it all’

first_imgCoordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan has shared a story of his enlightenment that maybe Indonesia, after all, needs to have nuclear power.Luhut, a retired Army general, recalled a moment at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last month, in which he spoke to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, asking: “Who has wrought havoc in the world? It’s countries with nuclear power.”Luhut shared the story at the launch of the “Agriculture War Room” at the Agriculture Ministry in Jakarta on Tuesday. He said he was “triggered” to start the discussion on nuclear power with the President after seeing an American general who only wanted to speak with North Korea and China, and not with Indonesia. “[Indonesia] was overlooked. In my mind I was, ‘damn you’. I told him, ‘Hey, general, I am also a US graduate. You know what? Our country has it all’,” Luhut said.“As a general I also thought of having nuclear power, but President Jokowi is still discussing about prosperity issues. [But the American general] told me, ‘General, don’t ever think about that’. I thought in my mind, maybe only if we have nuclear power will it scare you.”Luhut closed his remarks with that statement, after boasting of the vast resources of green energy that Indonesia can develop. He shared the nuclear story to make a point that: “Indonesia has it all” in terms of resources for power generation and to become self-sufficient.It was not certain whether Luhut implied that he would use nuclear power for power plants, research or weaponry. Still, his current position contrasts with his previous stance that prioritized nuclear development for research purposes only, not as an energy source.Luhut in 2017 expressed reluctance when the Russian Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation offered to develop turnkey nuclear power plants in Indonesia.“However, we have told them that we are not ready yet. We need to raise public awareness, which takes time,” he said following a meeting with Rosatom representatives at his office in Jakarta in 2017.The new “Agriculture War Room” will allow the Agriculture Ministry to better update its data through a satellite-backed monitoring system, generating informations on the area of ​​paddy fields, fertilizer supply and harvest area. Apart from Luhut, Agrarian and Spatial Planning Minister Sofyan Djalil, Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo and House of Representatives’ Commission IV chairman Hasan Aminuddin attended the launch event, among others.Topics :last_img read more

Precious Griezmann goal earns Barcelona draw at spirited Napoli

first_imgAntoine Griezmann’s second-half equalizer handed Barcelona a vital away goal and earned them a 1-1 draw at Napoli in their Champions League last-16 first leg meeting on Tuesday.A superb curling strike from Dries Mertens put the home side in front after half an hour and saw the Belgian draw level with Marek Hamsik as Napoli’s all-time top scorer with 121 goals.But Barca breached a well-drilled Napoli defence in the 57th minute when Griezmann fired in a Nelson Semedo cross. The visitors ended the game with 10 men after Arturo Vidal was sent off late on for picking up two yellow cards in quick succession.The two sides, who were facing each other for the first time, will meet again at the Camp Nou for the second leg on March 18 with Barca now firm favorites to progress despite having Vidal and Sergio Busquets suspended for the return.Barcelona dominated possession from the first whistle but struggled to find their way through the well-organized Italians, who then struck with their first meaningful attack of the game.Junior Firpo lost the ball to Piotr Zielinski and the midfielder pulled a pass across to the waiting Mertens, who took a touch just outside the box before curling in his sixth goal in seven Champions League games this season. But the Belgian limped off through injury early in the second half after a hefty tackle from Busquets, which earned the midfielder the yellow card that will rule him out of the second leg.Barca soon equalized when Griezmann fired home from close range after a neat passing move from the visitors but Napoli responded with Lorenzo Insigne and Jose Callejon both being denied by excellent saves from Marc-Andre ter Stegen.In the 89th minute, Vidal was booked for a foul on Mario Rui and immediately shown a second yellow for butting heads with the defender in the aftermath. center_img Topics :last_img read more

‘Triple market intervention’: BI buys bonds, rupiah to prop up prices amid viral rout

first_imgThe rupiah erased losses of 0.6 percent after the announcement and traded 0.4 percent higher at Rp 14,260 to the US dollar.Last week, foreign investors sold a net Rp 33.6 trillion (US$2.36 billion) in both Indonesian stocks and bonds, as $5 trillion was wiped off stock markets around the world in the worst week for global shares since the 2008 financial crisis.Over the week, the benchmark stock index, the Jakarta Composite Index (JCI), fell 7.3 percent to 5,452 and the rupiah depreciated by 4.1 percent to 14,234 per US dollar. Ten-year Indonesian government bond yields, which indicate investment risk, rose 35 basis points last week to 6.83 percent, the third-biggest increase after Turkey and Russia. “We’ve increased the volume [of intervention] so the market is assured and confident that BI is always in the market to guard the market,” Perry said at a news conference on Monday after President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced first two coronavirus cases in Indonesia.“BI will intensify intervention in the financial market through triple intervention to stabilize the rupiah to follow its fundamental [value].”Read also: Disappearing act: Market braces for volatile March after $2.4b vanishes in a week Topics :center_img Bank Indonesia (BI) will “intensify intervention” to stabilize the local financial market by buying government bonds and the rupiah amid heavy selling pressure caused by coronavirus fears as Indonesia reports its first two cases.BI Governor Perry Warjiyo said the central bank was conducting “triple intervention in the financial market”: stabilizing the rupiah in the domestic non-deliverable forward (DNDF) and spot markets, as well as buying government bonds (SBN) on the secondary market.The central bank has bought Rp 103 trillion (US$7.24 billion) worth of SBNs, Rp 80 trillion of which followed its assessment that the novel coronavirus may pose risks to Indonesia’s economy.last_img read more

Seventy trapped after Chinese coronavirus quarantine hotel collapses

first_imgIt collapsed at about 7:30 p.m. (1130 GMT) and 34 people were rescued in the following two hours, the Quanzhou municipality said on its website.No reason was given for the collapse.A woman named only by her surname, Chen, told the news site that relatives including her sister had been under quarantine at the hotel as prescribed by local regulations after returning from Hubei province, the center of the coronavirus outbreak.She said they had arrived on Feb. 25 and had been scheduled to leave soon after completing their 14 days of quarantine. About 70 people were trapped on Saturday after a five-story hotel being used for coronavirus quarantine collapsed in the port city of Quanzhou in southeast China, state media said.A live video stream posted by the government-backed Beijing News site showed rescue workers in orange overalls clambering over mounds of rubble and carrying people towards ambulances gathered around the site.Beijing News said the Quanzhou Xinjia Hotel had been five stories high. Topics :center_img “I can’t contact them, they’re not answering their phones, she said.”I’m under quarantine too [at another hotel] and I’m very worried, I don’t know what to do. They were healthy, they took their temperatures every day, and the tests showed that everything was normal.”The official People’s Daily said the hotel had opened in June 2018 with 80 rooms.Quanzhou is a port city on the Taiwan Strait in the province of Fujian with a population of more than 8 million.The Fujian provincial government said that as of Friday, the province had 296 cases of coronavirus and 10,819 people had been placed under observation after being classified as suspected close contacts.The official Xinhua News Agency said the committee responsible for working safety under the State Council, China’s cabinet, has sent an emergency working team to the site. last_img read more

Major businesses split over lockdown, support social distancing

first_imgTopics : As officials scrambled to contain COVID-19, which has spread to at least eight provinces, infecting more than 130 and killing five, Jokowi stressed the government was “not leaning toward issuing a lockdown policy”.Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) executive director Danang Girindrawardana, who opposed a lockdown scenario, said the measure would require a thorough assessment as around 70 percent of the country’s economic activities needed to be done outside the home. He cited the supermarket, manufacturing, hotel and restaurant businesses as those that would be greatly affected.Read also: COVID-19: Government calls for limits to all tourist activitiesAside from causing an economic shutdown, he also feared that a lockdown could impact businesses’ ability to repay their debts to banks.“Lockdowns could affect debt repayments, so the government really needs to think about the impact on financial industries as well,” he told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday. Slower repayments from the real sector could lead to bad loan ratios, which could lead to a financial crisis, he warned.Should the government decide to impose a lockdown, Danang suggested the introduction of incentives or relaxation measures to counter its likely adverse effects on businesses and the banking industry.Meanwhile, Indonesian Shopping Center Tenants Association (Hippindo) advisory board member Tutum Rahanta said on Monday a lockdown appeal would not only impact shopping mall tenants, but also online transportation services and informal workers who operate near shopping malls.“For now I think a lockdown needs to be an option, although the impact will be negative, especially on the mid- to low-earners, particularly those in the informal sector. Therefore, the government needs to thoroughly think about it,” Center of Reform on Economics (CORE) Indonesia executive director Piter Abdullah.“The government should prepare for a worst-case scenario, plan ahead for the day when a lockdown is no longer an option but a necessity, so when the time comes the government is ready with a detailed plan.”The government announced last Friday that it would allocate Rp 120 trillion (US$8.1 billion) from the state budget to stimulate the economy by providing tax incentives and subsidies for workers, businesses and families affected by the pandemic. It also deployed two stimulus packages worth Rp 22.9 trillion and Rp 10.3 trillion each, with individual and corporate tax breaks and the relaxation of loan disbursements and restructuring requirements.The executive director of the British Chamber of Commerce (Britcham) in Indonesia, Chris Wren, said that while it was good to campaign for social distancing, there was only so much the government could do given that policing individual behavior was an impossible task.Therefore, it was critically important to educate the public about honest and relevant information so that people would discipline themselves and keep their loved ones safe, he said.Read also: COVID-19: Well-prepared emergency status, lockdown keys to protecting economy, economists say“We are in extraordinary times and these require extraordinary measures and will result in impacts.”Some members of the public have been calling for President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to issue a lockdown as the country braces for its worst pandemic in recent memory.The World Health Organization urged Jokowi to scale up the country’s emergency response mechanisms in containing the COVID-19 outbreak by declaring a national state of emergency.Jokowi has yet to do so, having only recommended that people distance themselves from others in order to slow the spread of the disease.Banten and Tangerang in West Java and Surakarta in Central Java did not wait for an order from the top. The three regions have all declared an extraordinary occurrence status, while Jakarta and Surakarta have closed schools temporarily. Major business players are split over the idea of a lockdown to slow the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus disease (COVID-19). However, they seem to support President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s push to limit face-to-face interactions by having people work, study and worship from home.Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) chairman Rosan Roeslani said Tuesday that businesses would support the government’s recommendation for social distancing to contain the COVID-19 global pandemic, but cautioned that, if a lockdown was in place, businesses and low-income workers would need a cushion.The cushion, Rosan said, could come in the form of more and wider tax relaxations from the government’s first and second stimulus packages, which waived manufacturing workers’ income tax payments and deferred corporate income and import duty taxes for the tourism and manufacturing industries. The Financial Services Authority (OJK) also needed to relax rules on debt restructuring at times of crisis, especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), he added.center_img Read also: Indonesia deploys second stimulus amid market, rupiah routs“We let the government decide [whether to impose a lockdown] so long as it conducts a thorough assessment. But the point is to prepare for [change]. For the business world to keep on running, [tax and debt-restructuring] relaxations need to be widened,” Rosan told reporters.“Every single industry is affected, be it imports, exports, consumer goods, tourism. Everything was hit.”The President said he would not impose a lockdown even though two of Indonesia’s neighbors – Malaysia and the Philippines – and several European countries have decided to take the drastic measure to slow the transmission of the disease.last_img read more

Rupiah depreciates 4.5% as BI easing fails to entice investors

first_imgThe day’s freefall continued to cement the rupiah as Asia’s worst-performing currency as it has depreciated by 14 percent so far this year from Rp 13,635 per US dollar on Jan. 24 when the rupiah was the region’s best performing currency. In the past month alone, the currency plummeted 13.7 percent against the dollar, the biggest loss among major Asian currencies.Indef economist Bhima Yudhistira said the central bank’s easing measures were not enough to stop the rupiah from losing its might against the greenback.“Ideally, BI should cut its rate by 50 bps to signal that the central bank is ahead of the curve,” he told The Jakarta Post.The central bank’s triple market intervention in the currency market and purchase of government bonds failed to cushion the blow for the currency. “It’s unclear whether BI has enough ammunition for the rupiah as our foreign exchange reserve is very limited compared to other Southeast Asian countries,” he said.According to CEIC data, Indonesia’s forex reserve to GDP stood at 10.9 percent last year. The figure is significantly lower than Malaysia which stood at 27.2 percent, Thailand at 39.4 percent and the Philippines at 21.7 percent.Bhima predicted that the rupiah could touch the Rp 16,500 to Rp 17,000 level in the short term if BI failed to launch extraordinary policies that could stymie further weakening.Stock market players had a similarly negative reaction to BI’s move as the Jakarta Composite Index (JCI) continued to weaken by 5.2 percent to 4,105.42 even after the bourse halted trading for 30 minutes at 9.37 a.m. thursday morning. Foreign investors dumped Rp 635.87 billion worth of Indonesian shares during the day.Anugerah Mega Investama analyst Hans Kwee told the Post that although BI’s announcement was a breath of fresh air for market players, it failed to slow down the index’ slump as the global sentiment caused by the spread of the coronavirus still clouded the country’s stock market.“The market is still concerned about the rapid spread of the virus,” he said. (ydp)Topics : The rupiah depreciated 4.5 percent on Thursday as it nears Rp 16,000 per US dollar, a level unseen since the 1998 crisis, as Bank Indonesia’s (BI) easing move fails to entice investors on a selling-spree amid COVID-19 fears.The rupiah stood at Rp 15,912 against the greenback as of 3:40 p.m. BI on the same day cut its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 4.5 percent to boost economic growth, which it expected to slow to a 15-year low level of 4.2 to 4.6 percent this year. The central bank also announced measures to calm the market rout and stabilize the rupiah.The rupiah recorded its lowest level in history of Rp 16,800 to a dollar in June 1998 after widespread rioting that led to the downfall of former President Soeharto, who led Indonesia for 32 years.last_img read more