Criticism of teens was off the mark

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion Mr. Barry Groat’s April 5 letter labeled Americas teens as inexperienced or uneducated because of their ages. He also claims they are pawns of the “terrible liberals,” exploited by dictators in government. I didn’t note any references as to his level of education or degrees in psychology. Or even if he has kids of his own. Throwing around words of “lunacy” and “riots” for an actual show of solidarity and legal marches is a display of ignorance on his part and indifference to others’ suffering. Not one word in his opinionated, ridiculous claims is there any sympathy for the increasing occurrences of mass killings by white, male terrorists.  Education and exposure to information has come a long way in these last decades. Lumping all teens together as naive and inexperienced is stereotyping. Your claim that they “don’t get this” is totally off mark. New York state has had many teens awarded for work and discoveries in health and science, to name one example. They’ve attained levels of knowledge far beyond my capacity.You know what the teens do get — a world that’s in chaos; a country more influenced by money than concerned with the welfare of its citizens; and a current government so dysfunctional it rivals the worst unscripted reality show in history.To you, Mr. Groat, I say take a cue from Americas children and grow up.Elizabeth LernerRichmondville More from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristslast_img read more

Where are they now?

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Bouncing Czechs

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

‘Don’t be scared’: Aceh hosts ultramarathon to soften image

first_imgIndonesia’s westernmost province, Aceh, plans to host the West Coast Aceh 250K ultramarathon from April 4 to 6 in an attempt to boost a positive public image.“Aceh has been portrayed as ‘unsafe’ and that’s the problem. We expect the ultramarathon to be able to convey a message to the public, both at home and overseas, that Aceh is a friendly and comfortable destination,” Aceh Tourism and Culture Agency head Zulkifli told the press on Monday as quoted by Antara.The implementation of sharia in Aceh has been considered unfriendly to potential visitors.The province, for example, enforces public flogging for those found guilty of adultery, gambling and homosexuality, which are regarded as crimes under sharia.Human rights groups have condemned the punishment, calling it “cruel, inhuman and degrading”, but the province stands firm behind the law.The ultramarathon’s organizers said they wanted to promote the scenic view along Aceh’s west coast. The 250-kilometer race is to start in Meulaboh and end in the province’s capital Banda Aceh.”I hope the event could eliminate any impression that Aceh is scary and turn it around into a positive one: that the province is safe and a comfortable destination to visit,” said race director Lexi Rohi.Despite the warm welcome, the organizers expected participants to wear clothes that are in line with sharia.”We have announced to the participants that [under Aceh’s sharia] the race requires proper clothing, especially for women. There is a list [provided] of sports apparel that accommodate such requirements,” Lexi said.The race is the first multi-stage ultramarathon to ever be held in Aceh. For further information about the event, visit westcoast250km.com. (hol)Topics :last_img read more

Indonesia hopes to attract $87b investment, create 3m jobs through omnibus bill: Airlangga

first_img“To reach the [economic] growth target of 6 percent, we need faster decision-making, a faster licensing process and to ease the doing of business for small and medium businesses,” Airlangga added during an interview with The Jakarta Post. He referred to gross domestic product (GDP) growth targets in the 2020-2024 National Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMN).“We are targeting 3 million new jobs in the manufacturing sector, start-up companies and part-time workers.” Indonesia at present adds around 2 million jobs per year. With a young and growing population, this number is not sufficient to keep up with high school and university graduates entering the labor market.Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto in Jakarta on Monday, February 24. 2020.(JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration submitted the omnibus bill on job creation on Feb. 12 to the House, expecting deliberations to be concluded within 100 working days so as to attract more investment to help boost the country’s flagging economic growth rate. The government is upbeat that the sweeping omnibus bill on job creation will bolster investment and open up more jobs for Indonesians, as it braces for tough public scrutiny during the bill’s deliberation at the House of Representatives.Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto said that the omnibus bill on job creation could help the government inch closer to its 6 percent economic growth target through Rp 1,200 trillion (US$87 billion) in projected investment.Under a “business as usual” scenario, he added, Indonesia would attract between Rp 800 trillion and Rp 900 trillion in investment per year, therefore the bill could “add more than Rp 300 trillion” in investment into Indonesia. The country booked Rp 810 trillion in investment in 2019 from domestic and foreign investors, Coordinating Investment Board (BKPM) data shows. Airlangga added that the government’s planned omnibus bill would open up financial access for small and medium businesses (SMEs). He went on to say that the proposed bill would also relax regulations to allow SMEs to become formal companies. “This will change the informal sector into a formal one.”Indonesia’s economy grew 5.02 percent last year, the lowest growth rate in four years, as investment and exports cooled. Investment – the second-largest contributor to GDP growth – expanded 4.45 percent last year, a far cry from the 6.67 percent growth rate recorded in 2018.“The omnibus bill is the government’s plan to boost investment and we really need to kick-start economic growth. The misnomers we are seeing right now are being caused by a lack of communication between the government and related stakeholders, such as investors and labor unions,” Center of Reform on Economics (CORE) Indonesia research director Piter Abdullah told The Post.“Indonesia needs a breakthrough and the omnibus bill is that breakthrough. But the government should have communicated the proposed plan more clearly. The omnibus legislation should be drafted carefully and not be rushed.”Read also: Guide to omnibus bill on job creation: 1,028 pages in 10 minutesThe 2020-2024 RPJMN planning document shows that Indonesia’s mid-term economic growth target is well short of the ambitious 8 percent target stipulated in the previous 2015-2019 plan. The government now hopes to realize growth of between 5.4 percent and 6 percent.This year’s economic growth target of 5.3 percent, as documented in the 2020 state budget, has been criticized by economists as unrealistic, especially now that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is expected to drag down economic growth in China, Indonesia’s largest trading partner and second-largest foreign investor.“A drop of just one percentage point in China’s economic growth rate will result in a drop of 0.3 to 0.6 percentage points in Indonesia’s [growth],” Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said during a recent media briefing in Jakarta.Topics :last_img read more

India’s coronavirus cases tick up despite immense lockdown

first_img“India got rid of polio by breaking it by breaking it down to the village level. All the way through the system, it broke down the problem, it went after the polio virus district by district by district by district. And India won.” “If India does the same thing, breaks down the problem, puts in place the measures that are needed, then there is a way out.” India has tested 24,254 people as of Wednesday, according to the government run Indian Council of Medical Research, a small number compared to the population. Only recently has the government authorized the private sector and some nongovernmental research laboratories to run the tests for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.  Topics : Police have strictly enforced the lockdown even though Modi said essential services would be maintained. Ram Prakash, a shopkeeper in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area, said supplies of some essential goods had improved although bottled water was still a problem. “We are still facing supply issues with a few things, but slowly things are getting better,” he said. The health ministry said the number of cases of coronavirus had risen to 649, of which 13 had died.The numbers are still small compared with those in China, Italy and Spain, but health experts have warned that the world’s second most populous country faces a tidal wave of infections if tough steps are not taken. Dr. Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergencies expert, told a Geneva news conference that with the lockdown in place, India had a window of opportunity to expand testing, surveillance and quarantine facilities and said its success with eliminating polio was an example.  Hikers stranded near Everest The number of cases rose to 1,102 in neighboring Pakistan with eight deaths, with most cases in Sindh province that is under a lockdown. But infections in Punjab, the most populous province, are picking up now, government data showed. On Wednesday, Pakistan said it was seeking a fresh $1.4 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help it deal with the economic slowdown from the coronavirus. Pakistan is already on a three-year rescue package that began last year as the country of 208 million people wrestles with a balance-of-payments crisis. In Nepal, authorities were trying to evacuate tourists stranded in different parts of the country due to a nationwide lockdown, bring them to Kathmandu and arrange to send them home, the government said.Shyam Thapa of the Himalayan Expedition company said about 125 foreign hikers were stranded at Lukla, the gateway to Mount Everest. “They are safe and have no problem,” Thapa told Reuters.  Three more people infected with coronavirus died overnight in India as the government sought on Thursday to improve basic services to 1.3 billion people locked indoors to slow the spread of the disease.Streets were silent across India’s cities and towns on the second day of a three-week, 24 hour shutdown as people heeded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call not to step out of homes except in emergencies or to buy food and other necessities. Lines of people, wearing masks and some with gloves, could be seen outside small neighborhood shops in Delhi and Mumbai, among other cities. Trucks were stranded at state borders and public transport was withdrawn. last_img read more

Ireland cautiously begins to lift virus lockdown

first_imgTopics : Social distancing still applies At Dublin’s Howth Golf Club, play resumed with a steady trail of players — in groups of no more than two, and teeing off on a carefully staggered schedule.”It’s great to see the people back,” club professional Alan O’Sullivan told AFP.”I think the biggest issue with people that have been cocooning — over 70s or if they have an ongoing issue — is that they haven’t seen many people over the last couple of months.”They will be able to play golf here with one other person but they won’t see too many other people.”Citizens are now allowed to meet people from different households in small gatherings outside.But Harris urged caution as the republic took its first steps in trying “to live successfully and safely alongside the virus.”Just because somewhere is open doesn’t mean we need to go,” he said.On the airwaves, a government radio broadcast urged people to “stay the course” by adhering to social distancing.There have been 1,543 deaths from COVID-19 recorded in Ireland, according to the department for health.Reported daily deaths peaked at 77 on April 20, and by Sunday the figure had fallen to just 10. Ireland took the first tentative steps to ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions Monday, with outdoor workers returning to their jobs, some shops reopening and sports facilities unlocking their doors.The modest tweaks to the restrictions in place since March 28 start a staggered process that is set to last until August.”I’m both pleased and nervous,” Health Minister Simon Harris told state broadcaster RTE. “I’m pleased that we’ve gotten to this point because of the incredible efforts of the Irish people in suppressing this virus.””I’m nervous because the virus hasn’t gone away, there still isn’t a vaccine, there’s still people in our country getting very sick, and there’s still people dying every day.”Shops such as garden centers, mobile phone shops and farmers’ markets were permitted to reopen. People working outdoors such as builders and gardeners also returned to work.Across Dublin, construction workers could be seen unloading equipment and the cranes above sites lurched back into motion after weeks of inaction.center_img Hardware stores also reopened and Irish media reports spoke of large queues forming outside.Traffic was also up in the center of the capital, but many premises remained boarded up and buses were largely empty.Football pitches, tennis courts and golf courses were also allowed to resume business, provided they practiced strict social distancing. ‘Reason to hope’ As with other nations, officials remain fearful that a second wave of infections could overwhelm the healthcare system.But Prime Minister Leo Varadkar confirmed on Friday that Ireland would press ahead with the first stage of its five-step plan to reopen the nation.”This gives us reason to hope, but it is not a cause for celebration.  We have a long way to go yet,” he said.The effects of the lockdown changes will be monitored for three weeks before the government decides whether or not to move to the next stage.”Coronavirus is an inferno that is raging around the world”, said Varadkar.”In Ireland it is now a fire in retreat but it’s not defeated — we must extinguish every spark.”last_img read more

Saudi virus cases top 100,000 with new spike ahead of the haj

first_imgTopics : On Friday, the kingdom announced a renewed lockdown in the city of Jeddah, gateway to the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, to counter the jump in cases.The measures include a curfew running from 3 pm to 6 am, a suspension of prayers in mosques and a stay-at-home order for public and private sector workers in the Red Sea city whose airport serves pilgrims.After an easing of precautions in the kingdom in late May, the ministry said that strict measures could also soon return to Riyadh, which was “witnessing a continuous increase during the last days” of critical cases of the pandemic.The kingdom has said it will continue to suspend the year-round “umrah” pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina over fears of the coronavirus pandemic spreading in Islam’s holiest cities. The number of coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia surpassed 100,000 on Sunday, the health ministry said, amid a new surge in infections just weeks ahead of the start of the haj.The total number of infections rose to 101,914 — the highest in the Gulf — while the death toll climbed to 712, the ministry added.The kingdom has seen infections spike as it eases stringent lockdown measures, with the number of daily cases exceeding 3,000 for the second day in a row on Sunday.center_img Authorities are yet to announce whether they will proceed with this year’s haj, scheduled for the end of July, but have urged Muslims to temporarily defer preparations for the annual pilgrimage.Last year, some 2.5 million faithful travelled to Saudi Arabia from across the world to take part in the haj, which all Muslims must perform at least once in their lives if able.last_img read more

Retracted COVID-19 studies expose holes in vetting of data firms

first_imgTopics : “Whenever you don’t know where data comes from, and precisely how it was managed, then the number of incorrect conclusions you can draw is large,” said Kenneth Mandl, director of the Computational Health Informatics Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. “The field is young enough that those best practices may not be well established across the scientific community.”The Lancet study, which concluded treating COVID-19 with hydroxychloroquine increased the risk of death, drew scrutiny from scientists worldwide. They suggested that patient outcomes data from several countries did not add up.Mandeep Mehra, a Harvard Medical School professor and researcher with Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and his co-authors retracted the Lancet study and a second study in NEJM, saying they could not vouch for the veracity of the data and that Surgisphere would not provide its underlying data to independent auditors.The retractions “are great examples of why science needs more of a ‘In God We Trust, everyone else needs to show their data’ approach,” said Ivan Oransky, vice president of editorial at Medscape and co-founder of the Retraction Watch blog. The scramble to research the novel coronavirus has exposed weaknesses in the vetting of healthcare data being supplied by a growing number of US firms, a flaw that forced two of the most respected medical journals to pull studies last week.The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) retracted COVID-19 studies over questionable patient health data supplied by a small company called Surgisphere.US researchers say they are routinely peppered with pitches from similar firms, with no widespread standard of how to verify their datasets.center_img Over the years, more than 1,500 studies have made it into Retraction Watch’s database because of data concerns such as data falsification by the authors, Oransky said. There have been about 15 medical paper retractions related to COVID-19, according to the website.For years, US healthcare data was concentrated in medical claims compiled by large insurers such as UnitedHealth Group Inc and the government. As hospitals have moved to electronic health records, independent analytics firms are buying hospital data sold without patient names.The US Food and Drug Administration now allows data gathered outside of clinical trials to be considered in its reviews of new drugs, providing another boost to the healthcare analytics industry.’Reviewing our procedures’It is not clear how Surgisphere accessed the data used in the two studies. Surgisphere did not return requests for comment.At a time when researchers are scrambling to find a cure for COVID-19, data sets like those used in the now retracted studies can appear to be a “goldmine,” Mandl said.A spokesman for Lancet publisher Elsevier said it will re-assess about 20 additional published articles that contain Surgisphere data.A spokesman for Brigham and Women’s Hospital said its data oversight mechanisms “were not applicable” to the Lancet and NEJM studies, adding it only provides “support, guidance and oversight on all agreements that involve the use of our institutional resources, including our patient data.”Harvard Medical School would not comment on its role in vetting the data. Harvard and the Brigham declined to say whether further steps would be taken regarding the researchers’ handling of the matter.While the NEJM and Lancet articles had external peer review, they relied on the authors to vouch for the data.“We are reviewing our procedures, including how we assess research analyzing large datasets based on electronic medical record data,” said NEJM spokeswoman Jennifer Zeis.After the retraction, the Lancet said it was conducting a review, and that serious scientific questions had been raised.Dr. Deneen Vojta, executive vice president of UnitedHealthcare’s global research and development division, said it is important to ask questions about how a group obtained their data, and that it must be made available for scrutiny.Dr. Peter Bach, from Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York, said his research team regularly assesses data offered by these new firms to make sure it jibes with its own knowledge, such as ages of people having a certain surgery or the number of prescriptions the firm says were dispensed.”We do lots of tire kicking,” Bach said. last_img read more

North Korea ready to send millions of leaflets to South

first_imgNorth Korea has millions of propaganda leaflets ready to send to the South by an aerial armada of balloons, it said Monday, heightening its rhetoric against Seoul after blowing up a liaison office.In recent weeks Pyongyang has issued a series of vitriolic condemnations of Seoul over anti-North leaflets, which defectors based in the South send across the border — usually attached to balloons or floated in bottles.The North says it will have nothing more to do with Seoul, and last week blew up a liaison office on its side of the border that symbolized inter-Korean rapprochement, while threatening to bolster its military presence in and near the Demilitarized Zone. Topics : “The time for retaliatory punishment is drawing near,” it said.One of the leaflets shown in the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper carried an image of South Korean President Moon Jae-in drinking from a cup and accused him of having “eaten it all, including the north-south Korea agreement”.Both Koreas used to regularly send leaflets to the other side, but agreed to stop such propaganda activities — including loudspeaker broadcasts along the frontier — in the Panmunjom Declaration that Moon and Kim signed at their first summit in 2018.In a commentary this month, KCNA described leaflet-scattering as “undisguised psychological warfare” and “an act of a preemptive attack that precedes a war”.At times it has led to escalation — in October 2014 the North opened fire on an air balloon carrying anti-Pyongyang leaflets, triggering an exchange of shots at the border.But most South Koreans largely ignore leaflets they find sent by the North.The flyers often boast of its military prowess or criticize the US and Southern presidents, accompanied by offensive images and language. A 2016 flyer showed then South Korean president Park Geun-hye, with one eye photo-shopped to look bruised and her hair messed up, with the message: “Idiot president and devil.” Sanctions relief Inter-Korean relations have been in a deep freeze following the collapse of a summit in Hanoi between Kim and US President Donald Trump early last year over what the nuclear-armed North would be willing to give up in exchange for a loosening of sanctions.The impoverished country is subject to multiple United Nations Security Council sanctions over its banned weapons programs.Moon initially brokered a dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington, but the North now blames him for not persuading the United States to relax sanctions. Analysts say its actions appear to be carefully calibrated, with Pyongyang drawing out the process by issuing multiple incremental warnings from different official sources — leadership, government departments and the military — ahead of each step it takes.The North’s latest declarations come after Kim Yeon-chul, South Korea’s point man for relations with Pyongyang, resigned as unification minister over the heightened tensions, expressing hope that his departure “will be a chance to pause for a bit”.South Korea has also announced it will ban sending leaflets north — raising concerns over freedom of speech in the democratic country — and has filed a police complaint against two defector groups over the campaigns that have offended Pyongyang.The two Koreas remain technically at war after Korean War hostilities ended with an armistice in 1953 that was never replaced by a peace treaty. Analysts say Pyongyang has been conducting a series of staged provocations aimed at forcing concessions from Seoul and Washington with nuclear talks at a standstill. Ostensibly the source of its anger is the leaflets which it says insult the dignity of its leadership — a reference to leader Kim Jong Un.It is preparing to retaliate with its “largest-ever distribution of leaflets against the enemy”, the official Korean Central News Agency reported Monday.Altogether “12 million leaflets of all kinds reflective of the wrath and hatred of the people from all walks of life” have been produced, it said, and more than 3,000 balloons prepared to send them far to the south.last_img read more