Letters to the Editor for Monday, April 29

first_imgBe consistent when correcting the pastIt wasn’t long ago when statues commemorating former Confederate soldiers were torn down because of the of their past actions and who they offended. Now they’re tearing down Kate Smith’s statue because she sang two songs that spoke of slaves and “darkies.”Yes, those terms are offensive to many. Now explain to me why Mount Rushmore is still standing.  Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionTrump fans should rethink their supportI want to thank Dave Edwards for bringing a bit of mirth into my life with his April 22 letter:  “Trump stands up for American people.”I agree that Hillary Clinton was an imperfect candidate in 2016. A better candidate would have won the election in spite of the documented interference by the Russians.However, to claim that Mrs. Clinton is corrupt and greedy, especially when compared to Donald Trump, is quite bizarre.  Donald Trump is the most dishonest and corrupt president in my lifetime. He makes policy decisions based on what is good for him, instead of what is in the best interest of the country.He has encouraged violence against members of the news media. He has encouraged local and federal law enforcement personnel to violate the law. It honors both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Both were slave owners. Are you saying it’s OK to own slaves as long as you don’t sing about them? Anything with their picture on it should be abolished.I’m sure a new Mount Rushmore could be created easier than the original.It could have the busts of Frederick Douglas, Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall and Martin Luther King. I’m sure others would want Barack Obama included.As long as you’re correcting past injustices, please be consistent. A clean sweep of everyone and everything.Pete PidgeonScotia He has encouraged people who work for him to not cooperate with law enforcement. He lies about things big and small on a daily basis. He has tarnished the presidency.I would suggest that people stop watching the propaganda spewed by Fox News. Use the time to actually read the Constitution of the United States, the Mueller report and the Federalist Papers.After that, ask yourself if you still believe that Donald Trump has fulfilled his oath to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”Victor RobertsBurnt Hills Agree with writer on faith, sex abusesI would like to say one word in regard to Jerry Bubniak’s April 22 letter, in which he maintains his faith while condemning the Catholic Church for enabling child sex abuse: Amen.Sandra SarnowskiScotiaMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18Cuomo calls for clarity on administering vaccineFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homeslast_img read more

A mall order?

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Fleet sets sail as local rents grow

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Key to the cities

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Lifelong ambition

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Key points of labor reform in omnibus bill on job creation: What we know so far

first_imgThe government submitted the controversial omnibus bill on job creation to the House of Representatives on Wednesday, marking a milestone that will kick start deliberations on labor reforms that are intended to woo investors, boost economic growth and create jobs.  Some of the key highlights of the bill, a draft of which has been obtained by The Jakarta Post, cover issues related to foreign workers, wages, work hours, redundancy and social security. A one-off extra payment as a “token of appreciation” for workers, which the government calls a “sweetener”, is also introduced in the bill.“This is purely to create jobs amid the global uncertainty and the coronavirus crisis by transforming the country’s economy through the omnibus bill,” Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartato told the press at the House after submitting the bill. “As for now, we will raise the public’s awareness regarding the bill by involving government officials and lawmakers.” The office of the coordinating minister has formed a consultative team consisting of government officials, businesspeople and labor representatives. Still, the government has not yet published the bill for general scrutiny.Major labor groups including the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI), the Congress of Indonesia Unions Alliance (KASBI) and the All-Indonesia Workers Union Confederation (KSPSI) have refused to join the coordination team. They have also rejected the bill because of its potential detrimental effect on labor rights.Here are some key points and changes related to labor reform in the omnibus bill on job creation compiled by the Post.Severance pay The calculation for basic severance pay remains unchanged, but overall rights for severance payments beyond basic allowances are either reduced or scrapped completely.The omnibus bill on job creation no longer mandates employers to pay for compensation of rights (UPH) for laid-off workers and instead stipulates that the rights can be regulated in a work contract, work agreement or corporate rules. According to Article 156 of the prevailing manpower law, UPH includes unredeemed annual paid leave, transportation costs and a certain sum from workers’ expenses for housing and medicines. The bill also cuts the upper limit for payments for recognition of service period (UPMK) to a maximum of eight months’ salary for a worker’s services of more than 21 years in a company. Article 156 in the manpower law caps the awards value higher at 10 months’ salary for more than 24 years of service.Meanwhile, rigid calculations on rights for severance payments, UPMK and compensation of rights (UPH) that are differentiated based on reasons for the lay-off, as stipulated in the prevailing manpower law, are all scrapped. Instead, the omnibus bill on job creation only requires employers to make severance payment and UPMK according to their time of service.Foreign workersIndonesia will open more chances for expatriates to work in the country, especially in start-ups.In the omnibus bill, foreign workers will also be allowed to work in Indonesia without a permit in positions that range from members of boards of directors and commissioners, and diplomatic or consular staff, to researchers and emergency engineers. Foreign workers in start-ups will also be exempted from work-permit requirements.This compares with a previous stipulation in Article 42 of Law No. 13/2003 on Manpower that only exempts diplomatic and consular staff from work permits for foreign workers.OutsourcingOutsourcing requirements would be significantly relaxed under the omnibus bill on job creation.Currently under Article 66 of the Manpower Law, workers from outsourcing agencies are prohibited from doing core tasks or those that directly relate to the production process. The prevailing rule stipulates workers from outsourcing companies can only have supporting functions.The omnibus bill on job creation amends this stipulation to open the possibility for outsourcing agencies to hire workers for various tasks, including freelance and full-time workers. This stipulation will be further regulated in a separate Government Regulation (PP).RemunerationGovernors across Indonesia will determine the minimum wage of each region, based on the inflation rate and economic growth in the region, to better reflect the need for salary adjustment. A so-called council for wages can provide input during the process, which would comprise government, business, labor and academic representatives. This stipulation is basically unchanged from the existing regulation.However, the significant difference under the omnibus bill on job creation is that labor-intensive industries will not have to adhere to regional minimum wages and the governors of respective provinces will use different formulas in their calculations. More details will be covered in a separate PP, according to the draft bill.Micro and small businesses are exempted from minimum-wage stipulations but must pay their workers above the poverty line rate, the draft states.Labor rightsMembers of the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI) protest against the omnibus bill on job creation in front of the Parliament Building, Senayan, Central Jakarta, on Wednesday. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)A prevailing article that stipulates workers’ rights for paid leave under certain circumstances has been deleted from the omnibus bill on job creation.Article 93 of the Manpower Law allows paid leave of three days when workers get married, two days when their children are circumcised or baptized or get married, or when their wives are in labor or undergoing an abortion. Workers whose family members pass away get one to two days’ unpaid leave in the current regulation.The omnibus bill, however, deletes this stipulation and will only cover regular paid leave rights that include at least 12 days a year for workers that have been with their companies for 12 consecutive months. “Companies can grant long leave, which is arranged in the work contracts, company regulations or work agreements,” the draft bill reads.Further, in a case where a company goes into bankruptcy or is liquidated, labor rights are to be prioritized prior to other payments including to creditors – a stipulation previously uncovered by the existing law.Work hoursEmployers can implement work hours beyond stipulation for specific types of work or business sectors. These special conditions will be further regulated in a separate PP, which were not previously covered by the existing Manpower Law.Work hours as stipulated by the omnibus bill on job creation are eight hours per day and 40 hours per week—five days in a week. Beyond that employers must pay overtime to workers but not exceeding four hours a day and 18 hours a week, according to the draft omnibus bill.LayoffThe omnibus bill on job creation aims to provide a better safety net for workers with a minimum of one year’s service as a separate PP will stipulate compensation payments, according to Article 61A.Employees can be laid off for reasons that include mergers, acquisitions, divestment, business efficiency, business closure after two years’ uninterrupted financial losses or as a result of force majeure, debt restructuring and bankruptcy, among other factors, based on Article 154A.Workers are still entitled to receive their salary and other rights –also including their work responsibilities— during dispute-settlement processes at industrial relations agencies or in court, according to Article 157A. These three stipulations were previously not covered by the current law.Meanwhile, the omnibus bill revokes Article 159, which allows workers to file a lawsuit to an industrial relations court or agency if they want to challenge the reasoning behind the decision to lay them off.Social securityA new social safety net mechanism is added to the omnibus bill on job creation to revise Article 18 of Law No. 40/2004 on the National Social Security System (JSN) and Article 6 of Law No 24/2011 on the Social Security Organizing Agency (BPJS).The social security program for laid-off workers was introduced on top of existing programs that currently cover health, work-related accidents, pensions, old age and life insurance. The BPJS will be responsible for the fund so long as the workers or their employers pay the premiums.“Sweetener” bonusThe government has long campaigned about a “sweetener” in the omnibus bill on job creation that will include an immediate salary bonus depending on workers’ length of service in their companies.According to the draft bill, workers will get the “sweetener” or bonus as follows: one year’s salary for service of less than three years, twice the salary for three to six years of service, three times the salary for six to nine years of service, four times the salary for nine to 12 years of service. Finally, five times the salary for workers with over 12 years of service.The bonus will only be applicable to medium and large companies as micro and small enterprises are exempt from the stipulation. The bonus is a one-off payment to be made within one year after the omnibus law on job creation becomes effective and details will be further regulated in a PP.Editor’s note: The article has been updated to include a section on severance pay.Topics :last_img read more

PREMIUMMRT Jakarta, SAJV ink phase 2 contract, look to break ground in 2021

first_imgForgot Password ? Topics : LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here Google The second phase of the Jakarta Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) rail development project has kicked off on Monday with the signing of a contract between city-owned PT MRT Jakarta and Shimizu-Adhi Karya Joint Venture (SAJV), a partnership between Japanese engineering company Shimizu Corporation and state-owned construction company Adhi Karya.MRT Jakarta construction director Silvia Halim and SAJV representative Yutaka Okumura signed the deal, worth Rp 4.5 trillion (US$336.2 million), at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle (Bundaran HI) MRT station in Central Jakarta.Phase 2 involves building a 6.3-kilometer track from HI to Kota Station in West Jakarta.SAJV won the tender for the 58-month initial stage (CP201) of phase 2, which commences in March and is expected to be completed by December 2024. T… Log in with your social account Linkedin Facebook MRT-Jakarta MRT MRT-phase-2 JICA Transportation public-transportation rail-project undergroundlast_img read more

New normal in virus-hit China: High-tech tracking and fever checks

first_imgConstant temperature checks, a “no mask, no service” ethos, and high-tech people-tracking: welcome to the new normal in China, where reminders of the country’s national mobilization against the coronavirus lurk around every corner.China appears to be coming to grips with the virus, which emerged late last year and has infected more than 80,000 people and killed nearly 3,000 in the country, but has slowed markedly in recent weeks.But that has come at the cost of new preventive policies that have turned life upside down and are not likely to be swiftly abandoned. The changes wrought by a contagion spread by humans and their travels is particularly felt when trying to move around within China, as AFP journalists discovered during recent trips from Shanghai up to the borders of the viral epicenter of Hubei province.Reminders of the virus begin as soon as one leaves home, with masked cab drivers in white gloves quick to admonish any passengers who forget to wear masks.Some drivers are going even further. In the city of Wenzhou, about four hours by train from Shanghai, AFP reporters jumped into car called via Didi Chuxing — China’s answer to Uber — in which a clear plastic barrier was stretched over a makeshift frame to separate driver and passengers.Didi Chuxing piloted the project in a handful of hard-hit cities and plans to spend 100 million yuan ($14 million) to expand it. Topics : ‘Sold-out’ trains Travellers booking tickets aboard the country’s efficient high-speed rail network lately are surprised to find that, despite travel being depressed by virus fears, popular booking apps like Ctrip invariably list most trains as “sold out” or with only a handful of seats left.But one such Wenzhou-bound train was full of empty seats. That is because only a fraction of tickets are being made available to prevent travellers sitting too close to each other.”We are sorry for the confusion, but China’s high-speed rail systems are contributing to the patriotic hygiene campaign. We hope you find this convenient,” said a young female train attendant.With the government calling for an all-out “People’s War” against the virus, tech champions like Alibaba and Tencent have rolled out digital mobile-phone apps that use big data to track a traveller’s movements going back as far as a month.Users are rated as green, yellow or red based on whether they visited any high-risk zones.Showing one’s code to security personnel is now compulsory in a number of cities to exit train stations, or use public transport.In Wenzhou, cab drivers, hotels, and virtually any business will ask to see the color code before letting someone pass.The system has fuelled new grumbling on China’s internet over previous accusations that the big tech firms were doing the Communist Party’s surveillance work.But most complaints seem to involve “green” ratings inexplicably turning “red”, which can result in mandatory 14-day home quarantine.The pervasive measures attest to the one-party state’s ability to marshal huge resources — financial, material, and human — for mass campaigns couched in 1950s Communist rhetoric.Red banners hang throughout now largely shut-down cities like Wenzhou, lauding the “War of Resistance Against Pneumonia”, and declaring that “Everyone Must Contribute to the Patriotic Hygiene Campaign.”  Elbow bumpHotel check-ins have become mini health inspections by masked staff who measure guests’ temperatures by aiming hand-held sensors at foreheads and forearms and record the result.”Have you experienced any fever, felt unwell or visited Hubei recently?” a Wenzhou front-desk clerk asked.The temperature obsession can be taken to absurd lengths, with some hotels re-measuring guests who had stepped out only minutes earlier. On one day, an AFP reporter moving around Wenzhou had his temperature taken a dozen times, including by cab drivers, restaurant owners, convenience-store clerks, hotel security, front-desk staff and a final late-night knock on the door by a female hotel employee.”Do not walk forward! Be still please,” she snapped, before a light beep announced the result.”It’s normal. Enjoy your evening.”Beijing is pushing a long-term fight and local governments will no doubt be fearful of letting up even slightly anytime soon and being blamed for a new outbreak.That means even some of society’s most time-honored practices are on hold.When an AFP reporter presented a business card to a government liaison officer in Wenzhou, she recoiled and asked that it be placed on a table.And when it came time to shake another official’s hand, the man refused, laughing nervously.”For safety, we don’t really shake hands at the current time,” he said, instead sticking forward the crook of his arm for an “elbow bump.”last_img read more

Trump criticizes China expulsion of US journalists as tensions soar

first_imgTrump has incessantly sparred with major US media outlets, often castigating them at raucous rallies and branding them as “fake news” or the “enemy of the people” over coverage that shows his administration in a poor light.China’s government appeared to be taking a rhetorical cue from Trump as it defended its largest expulsion of foreign journalists in recent memory.”We reject ideological bias against China, reject fake news made in the name of press freedom, reject breaches of ethics in journalism,” tweeted foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying.Tensions have soared in recent years between the United States and China on a host of issues but the global coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated friction. Trump again on Wednesday insisted on calling SARS-CoV-2 the “Chinese virus,” a term that Beijing calls stigmatizing and which is discouraged by the World Health Organization.In turn, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman last week outraged Washington by tweeting an unfounded conspiracy theory that the US military brought the illness to Wuhan, the metropolis where cases were first reported in late 2019.While Beijing has long criticized foreign coverage, it said the expulsions were retaliation for new restrictions on the number of Chinese nationals who can work for its state-run media on US soil.Secretary of State Mike Pompeo quickly rejected the comparison, noting that US newspapers are not run by the government and are free to ask critical questions, and asked China to reconsider. US says options availableA senior State Department official said the United States still has “lots of other things we can do” after the journalist expulsions but declined to elaborate.”We’re just looking for reciprocal treatment. If you want to be a great power, then you should expect to play on a level playing field, and media should be allowed to operate freely in China as you do here in the US,” the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.The State Department initially said it was curbing the number of Chinese nationals from state-run outlets to correspond to the number of visas issued to US journalists by Beijing — which has been increasingly assertive against what it sees as unfavorable coverage.The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said that China may have made it easier to block reporting on sensitive issues including its mass incarceration of Uighur Muslims — as well as the novel coronavirus, news of which authorities initially tried to hide.”It is unfortunate that US moves to restrict Chinese media operations gave China the perfect cover to suppress reporting that it has always complained about, under the phony banner of taking ‘reciprocal’ measures,'” said Steven Butler, the group’s Asia program director.Reporters Without Borders, however, stressed a difference between actions taken by the two countries.”The media targeted by China enforce and abide by the principles of ethical journalism — including editorial independence and the verification of facts for the public benefit — while the Chinese state media officially serve as mouthpieces for the Chinese Communist Party,” said the group’s East Asia bureau head, Cedric Alviani.China last month expelled three journalists from The Wall Street Journal after the newspaper ran an opinion piece on the coronavirus crisis with a headline that Beijing called racist. President Donald Trump on Wednesday criticized China’s unprecedented decision to expel American journalists from three major US newspapers, as media advocates feared that tensions between the two powers provided cover for Beijing to target the press.All US journalists from The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal — about 13 people — have been told to hand back their credentials to Chinese authorities within 10 days.”I’m not happy to see it. I have my own disputes with all three of those media groups — I think you know that very well — but I don’t like seeing that at all,” Trump told reporters at the White House. Topics :last_img read more

Spurs’ Son to begin military service during league suspension

first_imgTottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-min will begin mandatory military service in his native South Korea while the Premier League remains suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, the London club announced on Monday.Son, who returned to South Korea at the end of March, is currently in quarantine and will begin service later this month.The 27-year-old, who has been sidelined since he fractured his hand in February, was originally meant to serve 21 months but earned an exemption when he led South Korea to gold at the 2018 Asian Games. “The club can confirm that Son Heung-Min will commence his mandatory military service in South Korea this month,” Spurs said in a statement https://www.tottenhamhotspur.com/news/2020/april/son-update.”Our medical staff are in regular contact as he concludes his recovery after fracturing his arm in our 3-2 win against Aston Villa on Feb. 16 and continues to train.”Tottenham, who were eighth in the league table when the season was suspended, said Son would return to London following the conclusion of his military service in May. Topics :last_img read more