City deals top £175m mark

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On the precipice

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A touch of class

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RICS predicts sluggish growth across all sectors

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Sheffield a big city contender

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Property industry attacks ‘woolly’ RDAs

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ADB projects Indonesia’s economy to grow 2.5% in 2020

first_img“If decisive actions to contain the health and economic impacts of the outbreak, particularly to safeguard the poor and vulnerable, can be effectively implemented, the economy is expected to gradually return to its growth trajectory next year,” he added.Indonesia GDP growth forecasts by Asian Development Bank (ADB). (ADB/Asian Development Outlook 2020)ADB is among a slew of institutions predicting that the COVID-19 pandemic will significantly slow Indonesia’s economic growth this year. The World Bank, for instance, predicted that growth will sit at 2.1 percent in 2020, down from 5.1 percent initially projected, if the situation starts to normalize by June.This compares with the government’s expectation of 2.3 percent economic growth in its baseline scenario this year, the lowest since 1999, which could deteriorate to a 0.4 percent economic contraction in a worst-case scenario. Indonesia’s economy is expected to grow by only 2.5 percent this year, from a four-year low of 5.02 percent in 2019, according to a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) report. The situation, caused largely by the COVID-19 outbreak, is expected to gradually improve in 2021.ADB’s flagship annual economic publication titled “Asian Development Outlook 2020” indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic, along with lower commodity prices and volatile financial markets, will have severe implications for the global economy and Indonesia this year, with the economies of the country’s key trading partners expecting to suffer. “Despite Indonesia’s strong macroeconomic fundamentals, the COVID-19 outbreak has changed the course of the economy, with the external environment deteriorating and domestic demand weakening,” ADB country director for Indonesia Winfried Wicklein said in a press statement released Friday. Read also: Indonesia’s economy may contract 0.4% in worst case scenario: Sri MulyaniThe ADB report says domestic demand is expected to weaken, as business and consumer sentiment wanes. However, as the global economy is poised to recover next year, Indonesia’s growth is expected to gain momentum, with recently introduced investment reforms providing an additional impetus.Inflation, which averaged 2.8 percent last year, is forecast to edge up to 3 percent in 2020, before declining to 2.8 percent in 2021, the report reads. Inflationary pressure from tight food supplies and currency depreciation is expected to be partially offset by lower prices for non-subsidized fuel, as well as additional subsidies for electricity and food.Meanwhile, export earnings from tourism and commodities are projected to decline, leading to a current account deficit of 2.9 percent of GDP in 2020. As exports and investment resume in 2021, a higher volume of imported capital goods will keep the current account deficit at the same level as 2020.ADB says the government and financial authorities have deployed “well-coordinated” and “targeted” fiscal and monetary measures to mitigate the impact of a pandemic on the economy and people’s livelihoods, including the “timely” disbursement of social transfers for the poor and vulnerable, as well as tax cuts and loan-payment relief for workers and businesses.”Externally, risks to Indonesia’s economic outlook include an extended outbreak of COVID-19, further declines in commodity prices, and increased finance market volatility. Domestically, the outlook will depend on how quickly and effectively the spread of the pandemic can be contained. Constraints in the healthcare system, along with the challenges of imposing social distancing, could worsen the impact on the economy,” the press release reads.Topics :last_img read more

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Closed-door matches not an option, says PSSI chief

first_imgThe Soccer Association of Indonesia (PSSI) has assured that it will not be continuing its Liga 1 and Liga 2 soccer leagues over the course of the COVID-19 outbreak, the association chief confirmed, casting off speculation of possibly organizing matches behind closed doors.During a recent teleconference with House of Representatives lawmakers, PSSI chief Mochamad “Iwan Bule” Iriawan rejected the idea of continuing the competition without spectators, an idea proposed by several members of the House Commission X overseeing sports.“We have discussed this option. FIFA hands over the decision to each federation regarding the matter but still urges safety on top of everything,” he said in a recent discussion. The Liga 1 competition, which kicked off on Feb. 29, had only entered its third-match week, while Liga 2 only held its first official match on March 14.Lawmakers were split between those who favor continuing the competitions for entertainment value in a time of crisis, and those who worry the COVID-19 outbreak is too much of a risk.“Sporting events, just like other shows on television, have lost their soul. But at least they are a source of entertainment for citizens [to weather the crisis],” said former entertainer Rano Karno, a House Commission X lawmaker from the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP-P).On the other hand, Democratic Party lawmaker Yoyok Sukawi insisted that organizing matches behind closed doors would not be effective in efforts to curb the spread of the disease, as league clubs are required to be highly mobile during competitions.“Regions on the island of Java have now been categorized as red zones for COVID-19 cases. It will be difficult for clubs to obtain permits to host matches,” said Yoyok, who is also the CEO of Semarang-based soccer club PSIS.“[Organizing matches without spectators] would also result in losses for both clubs and operators. If sponsors withdraw, PSSI and the operators could go bankrupt, as 80 percent of the income comes from them.”The COVID-19 outbreak that has swept the country in the past few months has exacerbated the conditions of Indonesia’s national soccer industry. With both leagues postponed and physical distancing measures in place, there was barely any opportunity for players and coaches to prepare for the FIFA Under 20 World Cup in 2021, which Indonesia will be hosting.PSSI has long been on the receiving end of criticism, as the association battles decades of entrenched corruption and poor management.Djohar Arifin Husin, a Gerindra lawmaker and former PSSI chief between 2011 and 2015, warned the association not to forget to prepare for the Under 20 competition, noting that the PSSI had yet to discuss its plans with the House Commission X.He also criticized the association for stalling on a presidential mandate to speed up national soccer development.“It’s been a year, but there’s still nothing. The PSSI can actually make use of the opportunity to involve several ministries to work together in improving the country’s soccer industry.”President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo specifically instructed Youth and Sports Minister Zainudin Amali at his appointment last year to “fix Indonesian soccer”, which is marred with deep-seated problems like match fixing and hooliganism.Iriawan said the association had assembled a team headed by the PSSI’s West Sulawesi regional chapter to work on a road map for the industry.He said the PSSI was maintaining communications with the world soccer body on whether or not it was planning to go ahead with the World Cup. FIFA had planned on visiting the country last month to determine the host cities, but the plan was scrapped.From a total of 11 stadiums that the PSSI had proposed to FIFA for the competition, only six would be getting the nod to host cup matches. These include Gelora Bung Karno stadium in Jakarta, Gelora Bung Tomo stadium in Surabaya, East Java, and Si Jalak Harupat stadium in Bandung regency, West Java.“We will wait for the guidelines from FIFA and the government. If the coronavirus pandemic lasts only until September, we can start renovating the stadiums for the 2021 World Cup,” he said.Topics : “Looking at the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, we decided it was best to postpone the league. Even if we continued the league without spectators, there would still be at least 50 people gathering for a match.”The Jakarta administration became the first province last week to impose large-scale social restrictions (PSBB), a partial lockdown that calls for strict physical distancing measures. One such measure is to prohibit gatherings of more than five people.Other provinces soon followed suit.PSSI has moved to halt all competitions until May 29.last_img read more

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In shadow of coronavirus, Muslims face a Ramadan like never before

first_imgAcross the Muslim world the pandemic has generated new levels of anxiety ahead of the holy fasting month, which begins on around Thursday.In Algiers, Yamine Hermache, 67, usually receives relatives and neighbors at her home for tea and cold drinks during the month that Muslims fast from dusk till dawn. But this year she fears it will be different.“We may not visit them, and they will not come,” she said, weeping. “The coronavirus has made everyone afraid, even of distinguished guests.”In a country where mosques have been closed, her husband Mohamed Djemoudi, 73, worries about something else. “I cannot imagine Ramadan without Tarawih,” he said, referring to additional prayers performed at mosques after iftar, the evening meal in which Muslims break their fast.In Jordan the government, in coordination with neighboring Arab countries, is expected to announce a fatwa outlining what Ramadan rituals will be permitted, but for millions of Muslims, it already feels so different.From Africa to Asia, the coronavirus has cast a shadow of gloom and uncertainty.‘Worst year ever’Around the souks and streets of Cairo, a sprawling city of 23 million people that normally never sleeps, the coronavirus has been disastrous.“People don’t want to visit shops, they are scared of the disease. It’s the worst year ever,” said Samir El-Khatib, who runs a stall by the historic al-Sayeda Zainab mosque, “Compared with last year, we haven’t even sold a quarter.”During Ramadan, street traders in the Egyptian capital stack their tables with dates and apricots, sweet fruits to break the fast, and the city’s walls with towers of traditional lanterns known as “fawanees”.But this year, authorities have imposed a night curfew and banned communal prayers and other activities, so not many people see much point in buying the lanterns.Among the few who ventured out was Nasser Salah Abdelkader, 59, a manager in the Egyptian stock market.”This year there’s no Ramadan mood at all,” he said. “I’d usually come to the market, and right from the start people were usually playing music, sitting around, almost living in the streets.”Dampening the festivities before they begin, the coronavirus is also complicating another part of Ramadan, a time when both fasting and charity are seen as obligatory.‘All kinds of togetherness missed’In Algeria, restaurant owners are wondering how to offer iftar to the needy when their premises are closed, while charities in Abu Dhabi that hold iftar for low-paid South Asian workers are unsure what to do with mosques now closed.Mohamed Aslam, an engineer from India who lives in a three-bedroom apartment in downtown Abu Dhabi with 14 others is unemployed because of the coronavirus. With his apartment building under quarantine after a resident tested positive, he has been relying on charity for food.In Senegal, the plan is to continue charity albeit in a limited way. In the beachside capital of Dakar, charities that characteristically hand out “Ndogou”, baguettes slathered with chocolate spread, cakes, dates, sugar and milk to those in need, will distribute them to Koranic schools rather than on the street.Meanwhile in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, some people will be meeting loved ones remotely this year.Prabowo, who goes by one name, said he will host Eid al-Fitr, the celebration at the end of the fasting month, via the online meeting site Zoom instead of flying home.”I worry about the coronavirus,” he said. “But all kinds of togetherness will be missed. No iftar together, no praying together at the mosque, and not even gossiping with friends.”  Days before the holy fasting month of Ramadan begins, the Islamic world is grappling with an untimely paradox of the new coronavirus pandemic: enforced separation at a time when socializing is almost sacred.The holiest month in the Islamic calendar is one of family and togetherness – community, reflection, charity and prayer.But with shuttered mosques, coronavirus curfews and bans on mass prayers from Senegal to Southeast Asia, some 1.8 billion Muslims are facing a Ramadan like never before.center_img Topics :last_img read more

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COVID-19 pandemic forces Indonesian mothers to do it all

first_img“My son gets so much homework from his kindergarten, be it written tasks, arts and crafts or practical assignments. He must wait until I get home to finish the tasks […] Moreover, it must be well-documented in pictures or videos, which are supposed to be submitted daily to the teachers. Doing this straight after work, while pregnant, makes me feel like I want to pass out,” Niken told The Jakarta Post on Monday.Schools have been closed in Jakarta, the national epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, since March 16, well before PSBB measures went into effect on April 10. Since then, many other regions have followed suit.The Education and Culture Ministry issued a circular letter on March 24 calling for schools to provide distance learning activities for students while they stayed at home and announcing the cancellation of national exams.It remains unclear when schools will reopen. The government predicts the outbreak could reach its peak in the country by the end of May. Five months pregnant, 33-year-old Niken Fajarsari has to juggle work, domestic chores and teaching her son, as schools have been closed in Jakarta to curb the transmission of COVID-19.Despite Jakarta’s large-scale social distancing (PSBB) measures, Niken still has to commute to her job at a ministerial office in the heart of the capital city periodically, as her family is now relying solely on her income.Her husband resigned from his job at a financial technology company in February to start a toy store and a coffee shop, both of which have been badly affected by the outbreak. The couple will sometimes accept catering orders for extra money. The uncertainty has taken a toll on mothers in Indonesia, where women are expected to bear the responsibility of child-rearing on top of other domestic chores.A 2016 Asian Development Bank (ADB) economics working paper found that childcare responsibilities limited Indonesian women’s engagement in the compensated labor market. Women who had young children, the report said, were significantly less likely to work than their childless peers.Although women did appear to reenter the labor force as their children got older, they did so through family work or self-employment as there was little re-entry into wage-based work as the children aged, the report found.These have been among the reasons provided for women’s low – but slowly growing – participation in the country’s workforce, despite sustained economic growth since the 1980s.As of February 2019, the rate of women’s participation in the workforce was 55.5 percent, a slight increase from 55.44 percent in February 2018. The figure was a stark contrast to men’s labor force participation rate at 83.18 percent.Role reversal: Painted by Bernardus Prasodjo when he was an art student at Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) in the 1970s, the family portrait depicting a mother, her son, and her daughter indulging in tea-time with an assortment of Khong Guan cookies has been appropriated as a comical Internet meme by the predominantly millennial Indonesian users of popular social networking sites in recent years. (JP/-)Niken said that prior to the outbreak, she had to take care of house chores while looking after her son on her own, without the help of a domestic worker, who are often employed by middle- and high-income households in Indonesia.Furthermore, there were growing expectations from Niken’s mother-in-law to follow in her footsteps as a working mom who had managed to handle everything by herself.It was only after her husband resigned that they started sharing the domestic work, although it was no easy task in the beginning. Fights could not be helped as both tried to adjust to the new normal, she said.”I’m afraid that my son won’t be able to study optimally. Sometimes, I can’t help but grumble in front of him because I’m tired from work. I sometimes feel guilty and sad because he is supposed to enjoy learning at home […] It’s important for mothers to stay sane,” Niken said, just before Kartini Day.Kartini Day, celebrated annually on April 21 to commemorate the birth of the eponymous national heroine Raden Ajeng Kartini, offers Indonesians the opportunity to appreciate and express their gratitude for the role of women, especially mothers.Hailed as a symbol of women’s empowerment in Indonesia, Kartini’s life demonstrates the idea that women’s empowerment cannot be separated from education and contributions to public life, goals that are still often sacrificed for motherhood and marriage in general.After leading a life enlightened by the promise of equal education opportunities for girls and women, Kartini was pushed into marriage and died giving birth.During times of crisis, women are often burdened with greater expectations to carry out domestic responsibilities, including tending to children and ill members of the family, said Lily Puspasari, a program management specialist at United Nations Women in Indonesia.With schools closed and disruptions at the workplace becoming the norm, including working from home, Lily said there was bound to be “more roles expected from women”.”Our data shows that women do domestic work four times more than men,” she told the Post on Monday.A recent UN Women report, titled The First 100 Days of the COVID-19 Outbreak in Asia and the Pacific: A Gender Lens, also highlights this impact on women, noting that across the region, “the unequal distribution of unpaid care and domestic work between women and men is a major barrier to gender equality and women’s empowerment.”The report also highlights how women were growing increasingly vulnerable economically, as they are found to be over-represented in sectors and jobs hardest hit by the COVID-19 outbreak – in manufacturing, textiles and garments, care services, hospitality and tourism – and in employment with the least protections, including in the informal domestic sector and self-employment.It also notes that women were at an increased risk of domestic violence during quarantine measures.Breadwinner: A woman in the village of Jerakah in Selo district, Boyolali, Central Java, works on a farm while carrying her child. Most women in the district get married when they are 15 years old. (JP/Ganug Nugroho Adi)Sari Saraswati, 31, a marketing executive who now works from home, said she found it challenging to balance work and teaching her children, a 6-year-old kindergartner and a 2-year-old who is learning to speak.She said that her conference call schedule was so intense that she could sometimes only spare an hour to help with school work or accompany her child in a Zoom meeting with teachers.”I share work with my husband but my husband can only help in the afternoon because he sometimes sleeps from morning to noon,” Sari told the Post.Working from home might be fun for some but it might be “work from hell” for others, as 44-year-old lecturer and mother of one, Aprilia Kartini Streit, often says jokingly.Aprilia, who teaches visual communication design at a private university in Jakarta, said there was much work to do at home and also virtually, as she had to be on standby for her students all day to assist them with their coursework. She also had to teach her daughter as she was being assigned lots of homework by the early childhood education center (PAUD) she attended.Despite being an experienced teacher, Aprilia said she was not prepared to teach young children.”My husband and I tried to share the work equally […] But at certain times, when she had to eat, take a nap or drink milk, I had to be the one in charge. So I had to teach an online class while putting her to sleep or excuse myself from my students to take her to the bathroom. I have to do it all at once,” Aprilia said.Topics :last_img read more

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