Government steadfast despite growing calls to postpone elections

October 19, 2020 0 Comments

first_imgThe government is facing mounting pressure to postpone the regional elections this December amid concerns about greater COVID-19 transmission across the country, as officials prepare even stricter curbs.Indonesia saw another daily high for new COVID-19 infections on Monday, with the 4,176 new cases recorded adding urgency to calls to postpone the elections to prevent the virus from spreading further among the population.The two largest grassroots Islamic organizations in the country, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah, are among the latest civil society groups to call for a delay to the simultaneous elections, in order to minimize the risk of coronavirus transmission. The two groups expressed concerns that the election process, particularly campaigning, would inevitably involve a large number of people and would therefore pose a greater risk of COVID-19 transmission around the country.“At every stage of organizing the election, even with stricter health protocols, it is difficult to prevent concentrations of people in large numbers,” said NU chairman Said Aqil Siradj and secretary general Helmy Faishal Zaini in a statement.They also asked the government to divert funds allocated for the elections to be used instead to contain the spread of COVID-19.Muhammadiyah, meanwhile, urged the General Elections Commission (KPU) to hold talks with the Home Ministry and the House of Representatives to review their decision to hold the December elections. “The KPU will do well to carefully deliberate whether to delay the 2020 elections until it’s possible [to hold the poll]. The safety of the people takes precedence compared with organizing the elections, which could potentially act as [a means of] COVID-19 transmission,” Muhammadiyah chairman Haedar Nashir and secretary general Abdul Mu’ti said in a statement.The postponement of an election during a health crisis, which is regarded as a non-natural disaster, is justifiable, according to the Regional Elections Law, if the government, the KPU and the House agree to do so.At the moment, all three sides still insist on going through with the December polls.In addition to NU and Muhammadiyah, former vice president Jusuf Kalla has also called for a postponement of the elections, pointing out that at least 71 countries have already taken similar actions.In an op-ed published by Kompas daily on Monday, Kalla said that countries like Australia, France and Iran, which eventually allowed their citizens to cast their ballots, had invariably recorded low voter turnout.“The best way, in the interest of the people, is to postpone the regional elections until next year after vaccines have been discovered and proven effective in containing the spread of COVID-19. We could hold [the regional elections] in 2021,” Kalla wrote.The government has already once postponed the regional elections, but is intent on holding them on Dec. 9, during which 270 regional leadership posts will be contested, comprising nine governorships, 224 regencies and 37 mayorships.Officials have argued that the electoral process could be used as an opportunity to spur administrations into acting on the COVID-19 outbreak in their respective regions.“This is the moment, if we can set it right, to encourage the regional administrations to seriously tackle COVID-19,” said Home Minister Tito Karnavian in a virtual discussion on Sunday. “The next regional elections, if the regulation is not amended, will be in 2024, which means that they [regional leaders] will have less than four years [in office]. If [the pandemic] still lasts into 2021 and 2022, they will eventually face the same issues [as at present].”The wider public, on the other hand, appears to be in support of a postponement.A July survey held by Jakarta-based pollster Indikator Politik Indonesia found that 63.1 percent of respondents preferred to have the elections postponed. A similar poll by Charta Politika revealed that 54.2 percent of the respondents disagreed with the decision to hold the December elections.Riris Andono Ahmad, an epidemiologist at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, one of the regions holding an election this year, recommended that simultaneous elections be postponed until the government could take control of the outbreak. Otherwise, the number of COVID-19 cases would only soar higher, putting the healthcare system at risk of collapse.Expecting candidates and voters to follow health protocols to reduce transmission risks was almost impossible as had been observed so far, he said, especially after the relaxation of restrictions saw people’s mobility increase and cases spike.”When there are crowds, transmission risks will increase. It’s not only about the number of people there; there are also ventilation, duration and distance factors that need to be taken into account,” Riris said.The latest KPU regulation allows candidates to host physical campaign events that could attract crowds, including general meetings, concerts, art performances, festivals, competitions, bazaars, blood donation drives and commemorations of party anniversaries, all with no more than 100 attendees and by following health protocols. Specifically, for general meetings, they must be held outdoors and commence from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the latest.Of the total 309 regencies and cities holding elections, including 39 regencies and cities in nine provinces where voters will elect governors, 45 are in red zones at high risk of COVID-19 infection, according to government data on Sept. 10. Among them are Medan, North Sumatra, where President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s son-in-law Bobby Nasution is running for mayor.Meanwhile, three KPU commissioners have contracted COVID-19, and the KPU discovered earlier that 46 prospective candidates across the country had tested positive for the illness.Furthermore, a total of 243 prospective candidates were found to have violated health protocols earlier this month.The election watchdog the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem), which has consistently called for postponement over concerns about public health since March, has urged the government to heed the calls by NU and Muhammadiyah.“The government’s insistence on holding elections in December despite opposition from the vast majority of the public will only result in people becoming politically apathetic. It will discourage people from voting,” Perludem executive director Titi Anggraini said.Tito said the government was now considering issuing either a regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) specifically regulating sanctions against those who violate health protocols during regional elections or an all-inclusive Perppu covering everyday public compliance with health protocols.But Titi said: “The blueprint of regional elections was based on the situation before the pandemic, therefore, any adjustment to sanctions for health-protocol violations will not deter cavalier behavior.”“The only adjustment we need is for the government, the House and the KPU to postpone the elections until the pandemic shows signs of abating, or at least until mid-2021,” she said.She suggested the government issue a Perppu to push back the elections.Topics :last_img read more

Cuba battling first major cholera outbreak in half a century.

September 26, 2020 0 Comments

first_img Sharing is caring! 24 Views   no discussions More than 50 people have reportedly been infected and authorities say the cholera outbreak is under control but four hospitals have been prepared to quarantine patients.HAVANA, Cuba, Monday July 9, 2012 – At least three people and as many as 15 are said to have died in Cuba over the past few weeks as the island’s first major cholera outbreak in more than 50 years spreads.Most of the cases were in Cuba’s south-eastern Granma province but it appears now that the disease has travelled the more than 750km (470 miles) to Havana.The latest reports from the BBC are that a 60-year-old woman admitted to a Havana hospital last Wednesday (July 4) has been confirmed with the disease. As she was diagnosed early, doctors say she is in a stable condition.According to the BBC and Reuters, official reports are that three people have died of cholera and another 50 have been diagnosed with the illness in an outbreak caused by contaminated well water, while about 1,000 have received medical attention. The three people who died ranged in age from 66 to 95-years-old and reportedly suffered from other chronic health problems.However, according to the CMC, Havana independent journalist Calixto Martinez reports that the outbreak has killed at least 15 people and affected hundreds more. He said he had obtained information from residents and health workers in the region.More than 50 people have reportedly been infected and authorities say the outbreak is under control but four hospitals have been prepared to quarantine patients.On Tuesday (July 3), the Cuban government said the illness was caused by contaminated well water and it blamed recent heavy rains and high temperatures for the water problems, which forced the closure of some wells and the chlorination of the water system in the hardest hit areas.The Public Health Ministry said in a statement that the township of Mazanillo in the southeast province of Granma had suffered the most cholera cases, which have occurred in the last few weeks, but that the outbreak is slowing.Cholera is an intestinal infection that can lead to death if not treated promptly and properly. Cholera outbreaks have been rare, or at least not publicized, in Cuba since the 1959 revolution and the creation of a national health system by the communist government. The Health Ministry said the last reported cholera outbreak on the island was soon after the 1959 Revolution.According to the BBC, while it is not clear what the source of the cholera is, there is speculation that there is a Haiti link.Hundreds of medical professionals from the centre of the Cuban infection, including nurses, have worked and continue to work with patients in Haiti, where tens of thousands of people were infected after the devastating earthquake in 2010.Cuba’s health ministry has stated that it has the “resources necessary for the adequate attention to patients in all the health institutions” during this cholera outbreak.They said they had taken a series of measures, including taking samples of water and adding chlorine to purify it, to combat the outbreak.Caribbean 360 News Share Sharecenter_img NewsRegional Cuba battling first major cholera outbreak in half a century. by: – July 9, 2012 Share Tweetlast_img read more

Immersive B2B focus sees Premier Punt rebrand to Incentive Games

August 30, 2020 0 Comments

first_img FES and Incentive Games launch esports prediction game June 2, 2020 StumbleUpon John Gordon, Premier PuntIndustry fantasy sports operator Premier Punt Group has fully rebranded its business entity to Incentive Games.Issuing a market update, the company detailed that its rebrand reflects the company’s move towards becoming an industry sportsbook games and application developer.In recent months, Premier Punt has restructured its operations, seeking to deliver a broader portfolio of products to betting incumbents, with its development team focused on creating immersive applications, enhancing player sportsbook experiences.Furthermore, Premier Punt’s rebrand to Incentive Games follows the firm’s successful ‘six-figure’ crowdfunding round, which saw industry figurehead Victor Chandler join the enterprise as an investor and advisor.Updating the media, John Gordon, CEO of Incentive Games, detailed that his restructured outfit would now seek to become the leading B2B sportsbook development studio, focusing delivering unique customer engagements through dynamics such as gamification and immersive tech.“We took this opportunity to rebrand based on the success and market penetration we achieved as Premier Punt Group,” said Gordon. “We realised that our solutions are much more widely applicable than we first thought. Our mission is simple – we want to change the way that businesses do business by revealing the hidden potential of their existing and future customer base.“Our rebranding package represents a sharp new visual identity which encapsulates this goal and we are very excited to be scaling up our operations in a big way over the next year to align with our ambitions. All businesses want to acquire new customers and retain them. Many businesses want to monetise their user base, and they are coming to us to do so. We are specialists in Acquisition, Retention and Monetisation or as we say; Play, Stay and Pay.”Victor Chandler commented: “This is an incredibly exciting time for Incentive Games and this rebrand marks a significant milestone in the company’s evolution, redefining who they are while capturing their core values and future strategy. Incentive Games are looking forward to expanding their team throughout this year so that they can use this new brand identity as a foundation to enter a diverse range of markets and further capitalise on what they already know is a winning formula.” Share Related Articles Submit John Gordon: Incentive Games – Putting the Reality into Virtual April 24, 2020 Share BtoBet integrates Incentive Games content July 29, 2020last_img read more

William Hill pursues HMRC FOBTs rebate

August 30, 2020 0 Comments

first_imgShare Betfred counters Oppenheimer bid in race to rescue Phumelela August 26, 2020 Share StumbleUpon William Hill has followed counterparts Betfred and Rank Group Plc in issuing an HMRC claim on compensation owed from tax charges related to fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs). The FTSE bookmaker could stand to secure a multi-million £ tax rebate on FOBT charges issued between 2005 and 2013.William Hill’s HMRC rebate stands from an April High Court ruling that favoured a joint appeal issued by Betfred and Rank which contested HMRC VAT charges on machine duties, as operators could exempt charges in accordance to EU taxation policies and its precedent on fiscal neutrality.The High Court sided with the betting operators on the grounds that HMRC had made no distinction with regards to the ‘supply of games’ until it updated its VAT policy in January 2013.Having lost two separate court rulings against Betfred and Rank, HMRC announced last week that it would no longer pursue further tribunal judgement on the tax dispute.Following the High Court ruling, William Hill became the first bookmaker to seek compensation from the government. Updating investors, William Hill stated that it was examining scenarios related to its rebate fee.“Whilst William Hill currently expects the net cash recovery to be material, its precise quantum remains uncertain. Nevertheless, the board has considered a number of scenarios which suggest a potential net cash recovery of between £125 million and £150 million,” the bookmaker detailed in a statement issued to the media. SBC Magazine Issue 10: Kaizen Gaming rebrand and focus for William Hill CEO August 25, 2020 Betfred extends World Snooker Championship deal until 2022 August 17, 2020 Related Articles Submitlast_img read more