Trump threatens to adjourn Congress to push through nominations


first_imgTrump accused Democrats in the Republican-controlled Senate of stalling the nominations of several top administration officials whose appointments require hearings and Senate confirmation.Past presidents have made what are known as “recess appointments” when Congress is not in session and Trump said he may adjourn the chambers to allow him to fill vacancies.Although both the House and Senate have not been meeting amid the coronavirus pandemic they have not formally adjourned and have been holding what are known as pro forma sessions.They are scheduled to return in formal session on May 4. “The Senate should either fulfill its duty and vote on my nominees or it should formally adjourn so I can make recess appointments,” Trump said.”If the House will not agree to that adjournment I will exercise my constitutional authority to adjourn both chambers of Congress,” he said.Trump said some of the vacant positions needing to be filled were vital to the response to the coronavirus epidemic which has left more than 27,000 people dead in the United States.”Perhaps it’s never been done before,” Trump said of adjourning the House and Senate. “But we’re going to do it.”We need these people here. We need people for this crisis, and we don’t want to play any more political games.”Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution gives the president the power to adjourn the House and Senate if they cannot agree between themselves on when to adjourn.Among the vacancies Trump cited as needing to be filled was the director of national intelligence, two nominees to the Federal Reserve Board and a senior post in the Department of Agriculture.He also complained that the Senate had yet to approve his nominee to head the body which has oversight over the Voice of America broadcasting network. Trump’s nominee for director of national intelligence, Congressman John Ratcliffe of Texas, has not yet appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee, the first step before his nomination would be sent to the Senate floor.Jonathan Turley, a constitutional scholar at George Washington University who testified against Trump’s impeachment in Congress last year, warned the president against adjourning Congress.”This power has never been used and should not be used now,” Turley wrote on Twitter.”I have long been a critic of such recess appointments,” he said. “A pandemic should not be an invitation for pandemonium.” Topics :center_img US President Donald Trump threatened on Wednesday to take the unprecedented step of adjourning Congress to allow him to appoint officials whose nominations he claimed were being blocked by Democrats in the Senate.”I will exercise my constitutional authority to adjourn both chambers of Congress,” Trump told reporters at a press conference in the Rose Garden of the White Hous”I’d rather not use that power,” he said. “We’ll probably be challenged in court and we’ll see who wins.”last_img read more

‘C’mon, lift their spirits’: Neighbors wave away COVID-19 stigma in Jakarta


first_imgHarmony in a number of communities in Indonesia is at risk as perceived COVID-19 carriers are stigmatized, even by their next-door neighbors, despite posing no actual threat.Some residents of Jakarta, the epicenter of COVID-19 outbreak in the country, however, have found a way to allay fears and help their neighbors.In Central Jakarta, residents of community unit (RW) 04 in Gunung Sahari Utara subdistrict have reached out to three siblings in the neighborhood during the absence of their parents amid the COVID-19 outbreak. RW 4 head Kustiadi said the father, initially diagnosed with dengue fever, had been admitted to Husada Hospital in Central Jakarta four weeks ago. A few days later, the man died.It is unclear whether he died of COVID-19, but a relative of the deceased told Kustiadi that the body had been buried according to the pandemic safety protocol.The deceased was alone on his deathbed, as his wife had been admitted to the city’s makeshift hospital Wisma Athlete Village in Central Jakarta as a patient under surveillance (PDP) only a few days before his death.Their children, aged 15, 13 and 10 respectively, were left alone for self-quarantine at home. Kustiadi recalls that the neighbors were shocked to see the mother picked up by medical workers wearing head-to-toe protective gear.“Many residents seemed to avoid passing the house after that,” he told The Jakarta Post on Monday.RW management immediately tried to calm down residents and distributed information about coronavirus in a campaign involving neighborhood unit (RT) heads and the Karang Taruna youth community, the Dasawisma housewives community, jumantik (mosquito larvae controllers) and the health service posts (Posyandu).”We explained to residents that being infected with the coronavirus is not a disgrace but a sheer misfortune. Everyone should provide mental support instead of insulting them,” Kustiadi said.Read also: COVID-19: Companies, communities band together to provide food for medical workersThe campaign eventually bore fruit.“The siblings are under the RW’s responsibility to fulfill their needs for food and vitamins. Fortunately, neighbors are now willing to help with their resources,” he said.The RW management checks on the children every day via phone call.“At night, we would ask what they wanted to eat the next day. Usually, we gave them chicken porridge for breakfast. The neighbors would spare some portions for lunch and dinner,” Kustiadi said.When the mother was discharged from the hospital on Saturday after having been declared medically fit, the neighbors accompanied her to her house.Read also: Family moves to forest to avoid stigma after being examined for COVID-19A video obtained by the Post shows residents standing in front of their houses and applauding the mother as she passed through the neighborhood. A person was heard saying “Applause, please. Come on, let’s lift her spirit”.A similar campaign to put out stigma over COVID-19 occurred in community unit RW 4 in Bidara Cina subdistrict of Jatinegara, East Jakarta.RW 4 secretary Dwiyanto recalled a recent moment when neighbors finally changed their attitude toward one resident, an office boy working at the Wisma Athletes Village hospital.“I initially received a report that the man was sleeping in [an Islamic prayer room] because his neighbors had asked him [to leave his house]. When he bought cigarettes from a kiosk, the seller asked him to drop the money directly into a jar. [Such rejection] lasted about a week,” Dwiyanto told the Post.The tension receded when the subdistrict management deployed additional personnel and volunteers, including the Family Welfare Movement (PKK) cadres, to increase awareness on COVID-19 handling in the area.”Little by little we convey the message to them to accept the situation,” Dwiyanto said. “The man has now returned home.”Read also: Fashion shops, civil groups work hand-in-hand to cope with virus impact in YogyakartaThe Jakarta administration’s large-scale social distancing measures have also impacted most people living in Bidara Cina — a residential area of low-middle income families. This led a local initiative to hold a lumbung pangan (food barn) program for the past month, aimed at distributing staple food weekly for those impacted in Bidara Cina.“If residents could no longer afford LPG [liquefied petroleum gas] and cooking oil, we will build an open kitchen,” Dwiyanto said, adding that the staple food was donated by well-off families as well as religious communities and political parties in Jakarta.Stigma against COVID-19 patients, health workers and their families has been reported worldwide after the highly infectious disease rapidly spread outside China. World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in early March that stigma was even more dangerous than the virus itself.President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has addressed the issue and praised residents nationwide who have joined hands to assist those struggling with the disease.“Gotong royong [mutual cooperation], [public] participation and [everyone] helping each other can be built from the grassroots. I am very pleased to see […] harmony between neighbors. This has to continue […] instead of alienating them,” he said last week.Topics :last_img read more

Gay weddings boost US economy by $3.8 billion since landmark ruling


first_imgThe total has since more than doubled, with more than half a million gay and lesbian couples marrying in the United States.The United States is one of 28 United Nations’ member states that recognizes the right of same-sex couples to marry after Costa Rica joined the ranks on Tuesday.According to advocacy group Open For Business, gay marriage in Costa Rica could boost the economy by up to $592 million.The Williams Institute study included figures and estimates based on data from the US Census Bureau.  Topics : Gay and lesbian weddings have boosted state and local economies by an estimated $3.8 billion since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide in the United States in 2015, according to a study published on Thursday.Nearly 300,000 gay and lesbian couples have tied the knot since the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, according to researchers from the Williams Institute at California’s UCLA School of Law.”Marriage equality has changed the lives of same-sex couples and their families,” said the study’s lead author Christy Mallory, state and local policy director at the Williams Institute. “It has also provided a sizable benefit to business and state and local governments.”center_img Some $3.2 billion has been spent on weddings, while thousands of traveling wedding guests spent $544 million. The events generated an additional $244 million in state and local taxes, the research found.About 45,000 jobs also were supported by same-sex weddings, according to the study.Gay marriage was first approved in the state of Massachusetts in 2003, with several states following suit.By the time of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision, some 242,000 same-sex couples had wed, the study said.last_img read more

Man held for planning attack on Muslims in Germany


first_imgGermany has been rocked by a string of extreme-right attacks over the past 12 months.A gunman with apparent far-right beliefs killed nine people at a shisha bar and a cafe in the city of Hanau, near Frankfurt, in February, while two people were killed in an attack targeting a synagogue in Halle, near Leipzig, in October.In June 2019, pro-immigration politician Walter Luebcke was found shot dead at his home in the central state of Hesse, and a far-right sympathizer has been charged with his murder.Interior Minister Horst Seehofer proclaimed in March that right-wing extremism and right-wing terrorism were “the biggest danger for democracy in Germany”, promising a beefed up security response. The suspect referenced the attacker who killed 51 people in two mosques in Christchurch in March 2019, and said he wanted to carry out a similar attack. “His aim was to kill Muslims,” prosecutors said.Police found weapons in the suspect’s home, as well as electronic files containing right-wing extremist content. He was detained on Saturday and faces charges of threatening to commit criminal offences and financing terrorism through the purchase of weapons. Police in Germany have detained a man on suspicion of planning to kill Muslims in an attack inspired by the 2019 mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, prosecutors said Monday.The 21-year-old from the northern city of Hildesheim had announced his attack plans “in an anonymous internet chat”, the state prosecutor’s office in the town of Celle said.Initial investigations show the suspect “has for some time been considering the idea of committing an attack in which he wanted to kill numerous people in order to attract worldwide media attention,” prosecutors said.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Southeast Asia budget airline boom turns sour for planemakers, lessors


first_img“One area that I’m concerned about generally is just those low-cost carriers who ordered too many aircraft,” Robert Martin, chief executive of Singapore-based lessor BOC Aviation told Reuters.”I think there will still be work to be done on those during the third quarter,” he said, referring to negotiations over current lease contracts.Boom timesUntil now, a fast-expanding middle class with disposable income and greater liberalization have made the region lucrative for planemakers and their suppliers.At the Singapore Airshow in February – before the pandemic spread broadly outside China – Boeing predicted Southeast Asian airlines would need 4,500 airplanes over the next 20 years, with Vietnam topping the traffic growth charts.With that came predictions of jobs for 182,000 new commercial pilots, cabin crew or technicians.Now employees are being laid off and furloughed and dozens of aircraft are undelivered, except for airlines still using financing arranged before the crisis, with manufacturers and leasing companies absorbing losses.Consultancy IBA estimates there will be an oversupply of up to 2,500 planes globally over the next 20 months.Lessors are offering payment deferrals to customers with grounded planes, but a possible cash crunch looms when the payment holiday ends, said Singapore-based aviation analyst Brendan Sobie.”Even with a domestic recovery, you don’t have international,” Sobie said. “They are carrying too large of a fleet and can’t fully utilize the fleet because you can’t operate it back of clock on international flights at night.”That threatens the delivery pipeline, though VietJet last month told shareholders it plans to add 12 Airbus jets to its fleet this year.Before the crisis, VietJet had ordered planes from both Airbus and Boeing, in part to launch subsidiaries in multiple countries. But so far, it has only set up one offshoot, in Thailand, where it competes against subsidiaries of AirAsia and Lion.AirAsia, which has said it is looking for additional debt and equity financing, expects to reach around 70-75% of normal capacity by the end of the year.But the group has told Airbus it does not expect to take any new planes in 2020, prompting Airbus to put at least six undelivered aircraft up for sale.”Airbus is working closely with all its customers at this most challenging time,” a planemaker spokesman said.AirAsia declined to comment.In Indonesia, Lion Air had already threatened to cancel its order for Boeing 737 MAX jets after a 2018 crash.Bankers say the group has sharply cut spending due to the crisis. Lion Air declined to comment on its order plans.Boeing said that although passenger traffic might take a few years to recover, it was confident in long-term demand in Southeast Asia. Topics : Southeast Asian low-cost carriers, a key growth engine for planemakers and leasing companies for a decade before the pandemic, are faltering financially as demand plunges, raising questions over whether they can replace and double their fleets.Auditors for Malaysia’s AirAsia Group Bhd and Vietnam’s VietJet Aviation JSC are concerned about cashflows and funding, while Indonesia’s Lion Air has put the brakes on a planned flotation.Even before the pandemic, bankers and leasing bosses were worried about whether aircraft ordered during a decade-long buying frenzy by Southeast Asian carriers would end up being delivered. The carriers, which have offshoots in multiple countries, have 938 planes on order and lease most of their existing fleets of 476 planes, according to Aviation Week data.To be sure, budget airlines with large domestic operations are well-placed for a post-pandemic recovery, despite having less financial support than state-owned rivals.Their lower cost structure helps reduce the rate at which they burn cash and gives them the flexibility to benefit first from any recovery, analysts say.But with borders shut and economic growth stunted, a return to the low-cost international travel needed for them to afford all of the planes they have on order looks increasingly doubtful – a worrying sign for the companies that make and lease aircraft.last_img read more

Netanyahu: UAE deal marks ‘new era’ for Israel and Arab world


first_imgPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed “a new era” between Israel and the Arab world on Thursday following a historic US-brokered deal to normalize ties with the United Arab Emirates. The pact first announced by President Donald Trump includes an agreement from Israel to “suspend” its plans to annex Jewish settlements and territory in the occupied West Bank. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas voiced his “strong rejection and condemnation” of the deal called for an emergency meeting of the Arab League. Netanyahu told a televised news conference: “Today a new era began in the relations between Israel and the Arab world.”Netanyahu, like many in the Jewish state, refers to the occupied West Bank as Judea and Samaria and claims the territory as part of the historic homeland of the Jewish people. Israeli plans to annex roughly 30 percent of the West Bank, as outlined in a Trump Middle East peace proposal unveiled in January which triggered global outcry and threats of retaliation against the Jewish state, including from the European Union.  Israel’s alternate prime minister and Defense Minister, Benny Gantz, called the agreement “important and significant”.”I call upon other Arab nations to advance diplomatic relations in additional peace agreements,” he said.Once the deal is signed, the UAE will become the third Arab nation to have full diplomatic ties with Israel, following Israeli peace deals with Egypt and Jordan.Hours after the deal was announced, the Emirati flag was projected onto Tel Aviv’s town hall. In a statement, Abbas called the deal an “aggression” against the Palestinian people and a “betrayal” of their cause, including their claim to Jerusalem as a capital of their future state.Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, rejected the Israel-UAE pact as “a reward for the Israeli occupation and crimes” and said it “does not serve the Palestinian people”.Speaking after Trump’s announcement, Netanyahu said he had agreed to delayed annexation plans, but that the project remained “on the table”.”I will never give up our rights to our land,” the right-wing premier said. center_img Topics :last_img read more

Conte commits to Inter Milan next season


first_img“It has been a very tough season from all points of view, the best decision must be taken for the good of Inter, with the utmost cordiality.””I didn’t like some situations.”The former Chelsea and Juventus boss took over in May 2019 on a three-year contract worth a reported 12 million euros ($14 million) a season.But his relationship with club management and CEO Giuseppe Marotta in particular was reported to be tense.On the final day of the domestic season Conte slammed the fact that players had been offered “little protection from the club”.”I don’t want another year like that.”Marotta, however, insisted last week that “everything was forgotten” after Conte’s heated criticism.It was not the first time Conte has publicly complained about the club.Conte was also critical after the club’s Champions League group-stage exit which he blamed on a lack of investment despite the signing of Romelu Lukaku for 75 million euros.But he still managed to build a competitive team around strikers Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez, which Zhang said made the club “optimistic for the future”.”Conte and his technical staff are doing a great job,” said Zhang.Former Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri had been ready to succeed Conte, whom he also replaced in Turin in 2014, should the former Italy boss quit, according to reports.Allegri parted company with Juventus in 2019 and has also been linked with Paris Saint-Germain, but preferred to stay in Italy. Inter opted for continuity after finishing second just one point behind champions Juventus, with the Chinese owners also confirming confidence in the entire management team.Conte will now lead the club’s bid to topple Juventus with coaching novice Andrea Pirlo having replaced Maurizio Sarri as coach at the nine-time reigning Serie A champions.The 51-year-old Conte’s departure was being heralded following an outburst after Inter Milan’s 3-2 Europa League final defeat to Sevilla last week.”Now we’ll return to Milan, we’ll take a couple of days off. We will try to plan the future of Inter with or without me,” said Conte, after the team missed out on a first trophy since 2011. Antonio Conte will continue at the helm of Inter Milan next season, the club confirmed on Tuesday, only days after the fiery Italian hinted he was ready to quit after just one campaign.Conte held a “constructive meeting focused on continuity and strategy” with the club’s Chinese president Steven Zhang and team management which lasted just over three hours in a villa outside Milan.”The two parties laid the foundations to continue working together on the club’s project,” the club said in a statement.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Indonesia to conclude data protection bill in November


first_img“Hopefully, we can ‘step on the gas’ to finish the bill’s deliberation soon,” the minister said.The personal data protection bill, a draft of which had been assessed by the ministry since 2014, reportedly adopted several principles and aspects of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which focuses on five main areas: data collection, data processing, data security, data breach and the right for individuals to have their personal data erased.The country is lagging behind as hundreds of countries around the world have already adopted their own version of the GDPR, including neighboring  Singapore and Malaysia. (vny)Topics : The House of Representatives plans to conclude deliberations on the personal data protection bill in November, a delay from its initial target of finishing it in October.“Based on the schedule set by the House Commission I [overseeing information and defense], the bill will be concluded in the second week of November,” the commission’s deputy chairman, Abdul Kharis Almasyhari, said during a meeting with the government on Tuesday.Communications and Information Minister Johnny G. Plate, who attended the meeting, expressed his hope that the bill could be passed into law immediately to build a sense of security among internet users.last_img read more

Another Belarus opposition politician is taken away by masked men


first_imgAll the rest have fled or been forced abroad or been detained in a crackdown by Lukashenko’s security forces as he seeks to maintain his 26-year grip on power in the former Soviet republic.Znak’s lawyer was cited as saying that his client’s flat was also being searched by the state investigative committee and that he was subject to legal proceedings.State investigators were also searching the headquarters of jailed opposition politician Viktor Babariko, a witness in Minsk said.On Tuesday, prominent opposition leader Kolesnikova thwarted an attempt to deport her by tearing up her passport to avoid being forced to cross the border into Ukraine, two of her allies said.She remains in detention.  Topics : Belarusian opposition politician Maxim Znak was detained on Wednesday by masked men wearing plain clothes, the Interfax news agency cited his allies as saying.Znak’s reported detention followed the similar disappearance on Monday of Maria Kolesnikova, one of the leaders of mass protests against President Alexander Lukashenko that have rocked his government since a disputed Aug. 9 election.Znak was the last member of the opposition’s Coordination Council still active inside Belarus, other than Nobel prize-winning author Svetlana Alexievich, who has acted as a figurehead for the movement.last_img read more

PREMIUMProperty sector hardest hit by pandemic: Moody’s


first_imgGoogle property-sector pandemic Moodys-Investors-Service revenue profit demand retail Linkedin LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here Forgot Password ? Property is expected to be the sector hardest hit by COVID-19, as the health crisis will continue to limit demand, credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Service has forecast.Moody’s vice president and senior credit officer, Jacintha Poh, said on Thursday that the agency projected that the aggregated earnings of property companies would decline by 40 percent in 2020.The figure is double the agency’s overall earnings projection for all business sectors, which is expected to fall by 20 percent this year.Property companies generating a substantial proportion of earnings from the retail and hospitality business will feel the deepest pain, Poh said.“Companies like PT Pakuwon Jati and Lippo Malls Indonesia Retail Trust [LMIRT] will suffer the biggest decline in earnings due to mall closures and rental rebates,” she said during a webinar.Publicl… Topics : Facebook Log in with your social accountlast_img read more