Month: October 2020

Warwickshire Relocation attraction

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Store-bought towns

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Donnygate pair jailed over corrupt land deal

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More London nets Norton Rose prelet

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Trump’s India trip to produce huge crowds, little trade progress

first_imgUnited States President Donald Trump anticipates a hero’s welcome in India on Monday, but the glitzy events filling his two-day visit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi will paper over growing trade frictions.The visit is intended to strengthen the personal relationship between Trump and Modi, a fellow nationalist whose country is regarded by the US as an important regional counterweight against China. And for Modi, the visit may distract from controversies over a new citizenship law that his critics say discriminates against Muslims, as well as a souring domestic economy.Trump, with his re-election campaign in top gear, has sought out large, friendly crowds at football games, professional fights and the biggest auto race in America to ensure he’s never far from the minds of American voters. Trump predicted that the crowds in India will make his domestic campaign rallies, typically attended by 10,000 to 20,000 people, “look like peanuts from now on.”The president’s visit might boost his appeal among Indian American voters, an emerging voting bloc in the US that has traditionally backed Democrats. Trump compared Modi to Elvis Presley last year after “Howdy Modi,” a Houston event arranged for the prime minister’s visit that drew about 50,000 Indian Americans.“Politically I’m sure there’s at least a modest dividend to be achieved on that,” Richard M. Rossow, an India expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told reporters at a briefing.But India’s red-carpet treatment of Trump, which includes the construction of a 1,640 foot-long wall to hide a slum from view along Trump’s motorcade route, as well as a state dinner, belies a simmering trade dispute.While their security and political partnership remains close, the US and India have slapped retaliatory tariffs on each others’ imports.Officials have tried to hammer out a modest trade deal opening up India to US agricultural products and medical devices in return for the restoration of preferential export status that Trump stripped from India in 2019.Chances a deal would be announced soon appeared to dim when US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer scrapped a planned visit to India, according to people familiar with the negotiations.“We’re going to India, and we may make a tremendous deal there, or maybe we’ll slow it down. We’ll do it after the election,” Trump said at an event on Thursday in Las Vegas.Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Friday said he doesn’t expect “a big trade component in this visit,” and called on India to open its markets to direct foreign investment and the “normal” trading of goods and services.“I don’t expect any details or much progress at all,” Kudlow said on Fox News.Rossow said Trump and Modi may announce an agreement on a few narrow trade issues. That could include a reduction of Indian tariffs on Harley-Davidson Inc. motorcycles, a US company Trump has championed.The leaders are expected to deepen their nations’ defense ties, with the possible announcement of India’s $2.6 billion purchase of Lockheed Martin Corp. naval helicopters. The US State Department has also approved a potential sale to India of $1.8 billion in arms, including air-defense radars and missiles, rifles and other equipment, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced.The US has sought to become a top arms supplier to India, the world’s fourth biggest defense spender, and elbow out Russia. Washington has pushed New Delhi, unsuccessfully so far, to cancel a contract worth more than $5 billion to buy Russia’s S-400 air-defense missile system.Modi’s domestic controversies are a potential minefield for both leaders. His new religion-based citizenship law sparked large protests, and his government has lost three consecutive state elections including in the Indian capital. He’s also suffered criticism for an attempt to enforce Indian sovereignty over the disputed territory of Kashmir.The Trump administration has had little to say about the law, which allows undocumented immigrants from neighboring countries to seek citizenship as long as they aren’t Muslim. Modi may gain political capital if Trump remains relatively silent on both the law and Kashmir, Hall said. A senior administration official said Friday, though, that Trump plans to press Modi on the topic of religious freedom.“Modi will derive a bigger dividend from this trip than Trump, because of the distraction it offers from the domestic controversies, but also because the Indian public simply cares a great deal more about international opinion than its American counterpart,” said Hall, the Australian professor.But Trump could cause headaches for Modi if he repeats an offer to mediate over Kashmir, a region divided between India and Pakistan. India has rejected the offer, while Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed frustration over Trump’s visit to India and meetings with Modi.Topics : Modi plans to provide Trump a similar spectacle on Monday in Ahmedabad in the prime minister’s home state of Gujarat. Trump says the Indian leader has promised that millions of people will line 22 kilometers (13.7 miles) of roads between the airport and a new, 110,000-seat cricket stadium where both leaders will speak just after noon local time.The event is billed as “Namaste Trump” and is to be followed by a presidential visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra before official meetings on Tuesday.“The visit is a low-risk and characteristically showy distraction from domestic controversies” for the populist leaders, Ian Hall, professor at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, and author of the 2019 book “Modi and the Reinvention of Indian Foreign Policy,” said via email.Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said last week that “tens of thousands” of onlookers and artists showcasing performing arts from different states and territories are expected to greet the president in Ahmedabad.last_img read more

Smoke, but no fire: System malfunction triggers false alarm in House of Representatives complex

first_img“In the second-floor corridor, the aerosol [system] turned on for no apparent reason. The fire department is currently looking into why the system was triggered,” he said on Monday. “Right now, everything is clear and clean. There was no damage and no victims.”Indra added that the smoke had originated from fogging that was triggered by the system.“From outside the building, it did look like something was on fire,” he said.Jakarta police chief Insp. Gen. Nana Sudjana, who was also at the scene, confirmed that there was no fire.“There was only smoke. There was no fire,” he said. (ydp) A malfunction triggered a false fire alarm at the House of Representatives’ compound in Central Jakarta on Monday, officials said. According to reports from the Central Jakarta fire brigade, smoke was first detected from the second floor of the Nusantara 3 building, which spread to the eighth floor by 12.15 p.m., causing dozens of people to evacuate the building.However, House secretary-general Indra Iskandar assured that the smoke had not come from a fire but from a glitch in the fire extinguishing aerosol system. Topics :last_img read more

Buttigieg dropping out of presidential race

first_imgButtigieg took center stage when securing a narrow victory in the Iowa caucuses and earned national attention for his unflustered and professional approach in an often bitter Democratic nomination race.But his showing in South Carolina on Saturday confirmed polls suggesting he struggled to attract support among black voters — a key demographic.Joe Biden’s resounding victory in South Carolina has thrust him back into the race just days before voters go to the polls in 14 “Super Tuesday” states.  With 48 percent of the vote in South Carolina, the former vice president more than doubled the 20 percent won by national frontrunner Bernie Sanders, reviving Biden’s campaign and positioning him as the leftist senator’s main rival.Trump responded rapidly on Twitter, claiming that the Democratic party leadership would act to halt Sanders winning.”Pete Buttigieg is OUT. All of his SuperTuesday votes will go to Sleepy Joe Biden. Great timing. This is the REAL beginning of the Dems taking Bernie out of play,” Trump wrote.Topics : Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay US presidential candidate from a major party, on Sunday ended his campaign to be the Democratic nominee in the November election against Donald Trump, US media said.The 38-year-old had risen rapidly from being a virtual unknown to becoming a national political figure, but he scored poorly in the latest primary in South Carolina, coming fourth with just eight percent.He was scheduled to address supporters later Sunday in South Bend, Indiana, where he was previously the mayor.last_img read more

Jakarta’s Paloma Bistro confirms Indonesian, Japanese COVID-19 patients visited in February

first_img“Unfortunately we don’t have any detailed information about the visitors as it was an open event that anyone could come to. Besides, they are not our regular hotel guests,” Darmawiharto said in a press conference on Tuesday.The Japanese woman, 41, was Malaysia’s 24th coronavirus patient who, according to the Malaysian Health Ministry, tested positive for COVID-19 on Feb. 27 after traveling from Japan in January and to Indonesia in early February.Case 1 and her 64-year-old mother, known as Case 2, had been in contact with the Japanese citizen before the two Indonesians tested positive for coronavirus, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said on Monday.Read also: Jakarta bar Amigos visited by COVID-19 patient suspends operation amid virus fears The management of Des Indes Hotel in Central Jakarta has confirmed that an Indonesian patient who tested positive for coronavirus visited the hotel’s Paloma Bistro last month, where she reportedly encountered a Japanese woman who was later diagnosed with COVID-19 in Malaysia.Darmawiharto, the hotel’s manager, said on Tuesday that the 31-year-old woman, also known as Case 1, and the female Japanese citizen were not staying at the hotel, but they had come to Paloma Bistro on Feb. 15 at about 8 p.m. to attend a routinely held “Latin Dance” event.He added that approximately 30 people had joined the event that night. The two patients are currently in an isolation ward at the Sulianti Saroso Infectious Diseases Hospital (RSPI Sulianti Suroso) in Jakarta. On Feb. 14, Case 1 and the Japanese woman had also reportedly visited Amigos Bar and Cantina in Kemang, South Jakarta, where the two danced together, according to Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto’s account.Darmawiharto went on to say that three Des Indes Hotel’s staff members who were on duty in Paloma Bistro at the time when the event took place had all passed the 14-day coronavirus incubation period and had also taken part in medical checks supervised by health authorities.”The three have shown no signs of illness. […] All of our staff are healthy” he said, adding that all 63 hotel staff members were in good condition and no one had taken sick leave since the event.”We would like to confirm that our hotel is a safe place. We do regular cleaning just like any other hotel, and we have also prepared preventive and precautionary measures against the virus by providing face masks and hand sanitizer in public spaces around the hotel,” Darmawiharto said.He added that the hotel was still operating as usual. (trn)Topics :last_img read more

African churches swap holy water for hand sanitizer, crowds for videos

first_imgGlobally, measures by authorities have included closing or limiting worship, disrupting Sunday services just before Easter.So far the confirmed incidence of the disease in Africa has been relatively small – almost 1,200 cases and more than 30 deaths, compared with a worldwide total that has reached more than 305,000 cases, with more than 13,000 deaths.But part of Africa’s battle to stop the virus from taking hold could be fought in its churches. It has the highest number of Christians of any continent, 631 million people as of 2018, or 45% of the continent’s population, according to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity.As worshippers trickled into services across the continent on Sunday morning, temperatures were taken, hands were sanitized and people sat apart. In some places, measures were more extreme.In Sierra Leone, which has included religious services in a list of banned gatherings, churches in the capital Freetown stood empty on Sunday. Some parishes found ways to broadcast their services so people could worship from home.An empty cathedral Behind the locked doors of Sacred Heart Cathedral in downtown Freetown, the country’s oldest Catholic church, a priest and his deputy delivered a sermon to an empty room.A camera broadcast the sermon live over Facebook, while a microphone relayed the audio to Radio Maria — a church sponsored station broadcasting across the city.”People need to hear the word of God now more than ever,” said Father John Peter Bebeley who manages the radio station. “If we can play our part in keeping this virus at bay while also providing consolation to people in these trying times, we have every responsibility to do that.”Similar scenes have played out across the continent.Churches in Ghana, South Africa, Liberia and other countries are moving to radio, television and the internet.”If I go out there and I am infected, I won’t have the opportunity to worship God next,” said Chika Paul-Oboh, a finance manager in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos.”If I can stay alive to worship God, any medium is fine.”Some worshippers disagreed with that stance.”Nothing can stop me from not being in church,” said Anna Ohere, a salon manager, who attends and works at another church in the Nigerian capital of Abuja.”I must be in church to serve my God, I can’t be at home because of any one disease.”Thousands at Abuja church On Sunday, thousands of people in Abuja flocked to the 100,000-capacity Dunamis Glory Dome, a squat, sprawling monolith.The service, which was live-streamed on YouTube, was in open defiance of a government ban on gatherings of 50 people or more.People stood side by side for hours, singing hymns and listening to the pastor, Paul Enenche, sermonize on the dangers of plagues. He acknowledged the ban on gatherings and the effects of coronavirus on Christianity everywhere.”In most parts of the world churches are closed completely, but that devil is a liar,” Enenche said. “Church is our only hope. God is our only hope.”However, the church will move towards home services for small groups and online worship, he said.He also announced a possible solution to skirt the ban on large gatherings: erecting canopies that would each hold 50 people.  Topics :center_img Hand sanitizer replaced holy water at Nairobi’s Holy Family Basilica Catholic Church, and attendance was far lower than usual, but Sunday Mass went ahead. “God’s intention is that we worship him in the church,” preached Father David Kamumue to about 300 people, instead of his usual congregation of some 5,000.”Let us pray. May God keep us safe.” In Kenya, where there have been seven confirmed cases of coronavirus, the government has imposed restrictions including closing schools and has urged people to practice social distancing as it tries to prevent the disease from spreading.Later on Sunday, Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe announced at a news conference that all religious gatherings were banned indefinitely. That tightened up a previous request by authorities for churches to limit crowds as much as possible.last_img read more

P2P lending firms upbeat SMEs can repay loan on time during pandemic

first_imgPeer-to-peer (P2P) lenders to small and medium enterprises (SMEs)  believe the coronavirus outbreak, which has disrupted most economic activities in Indonesia, will not affect their loan repayments.Aria Widyanto, the chief risk and sustainability officer of Amartha, a P2P lending platform that primarily funds SMEs owned by women in villages, said that he was sure that the financial technology (fintech) company’s borrowers would be able to repay loans on time because he believed the rural economy remained resilient despite the COVID-19 pandemic’s catastrophic effect on many other sectors.“The economies of villages are more resilient because they are more isolated,” he said on March 26 during a video conference. “These SMEs will conduct business as usual despite the turbulence in the macroeconomy.” “This is the best option given the current force majeure,” Aria said. “Hopefully, we can continue business as usual soon.”Amartha provides an insurance option for lenders to SMEs through its app. If the borrower cannot repay the loan, the insurance will cover 75 percent of the outstanding debt.Amartha has disbursed Rp 2.3 trillion (US$140 million) in loans to 490,000 borrowers with a 0.5 percent non-performing loan (NPL) rate.Another P2P lender, Crowdo said it used artificial intelligence to determine risk and provide lenders with more comprehensive information about borrowers’ businesses.The fintech system classifies businesses’ risk exposure to COVID-19. It classifies hotels and restaurants as high-risk. It also explains potential risks in business factsheets. “We have yet to see a significant change in our business,” said Crowdo Indonesia commercial officer chief Ikram Jeihan in a written statement. “The loan payment due date is still on schedule.”Crowdo has funded 5,000 projects in Indonesia and has an NPL ratio of 1.89 percent.Modalku has also implemented risk-mitigating measures such as tighter selection criteria for new and existing SMEs that want to raise funds through the fintech company.Modalku said it would examine food and beverage businesses, the travel sector and cross-border trade in evaluating loan applications since those businesses were the most affected by the pandemic.“We will also adjust each borrower’s loan limit and terms depending on their business profile to mitigate the effect of the spread of COVID-19,” Modalku co-founder and CEO Reynold Wijaya said on Tuesday.Modalku offers loans of up to Rp 2 billion to SMEs without a collateral requirement. The company also operates in Malaysia and Singapore under the name Funding Societies. As of March, it had disbursed a total of Rp 13 trillion in business loans in the three countries.According to the Financial Services Authority (OJK), fintech lending had grown 225.6 percent year-on-year (yoy) to Rp 95.4 trillion in February. P2P lending contributed Rp 60 trillion to the Indonesian economy last year, mainly by enabling wider financial inclusion of SMEs.Topics : Aria said that Indonesia had faced many crises but that people continued to buy daily necessities, which are often provided by SMEs.He added that SME entrepreneurs were resilient because their businesses were often the main source of their income and they needed to keep working in order to survive. “Some of them are producing clothes, but since they are not selling well during the outbreak, they can switch to selling tempeh the next day to have an income,” he said.He added that Amartha would not disburse or collect loans until April 6 to comply with government’s social distancing policy. Afterwards, the company would resume collecting payments only from the leaders of borrowing groups so borrowers could repay their loans with less physical contact.The fintech company disburses loans and collects repayments at a biweekly group meeting. However, since the government has urged people to stay at home, Amartha has decided to suspend its on-field activities.last_img read more