Thousands protest braving tear gas against new law that trade unions say undermines labour rights and weakens environmental protections.

8 Oct 2020

Nationwide protests and labour strikes against a polarising new jobs law in Indonesia continued across the country for a third straight day on Thursday.

The “omnibus” jobs-creation bill, passed into law on Monday, has seen thousands of people in Southeast Asia’s largest economy take to the streets in protest against legislation they say undermines labour rights and weakens environmental protections.

In the past two days, nearly 600 people have been detained, and two students seriously injured, while police have used tear gas and water cannon to disperse demonstrators.

On Thursday morning, crowds gathered across major cities on the most populous Java island, including Jakarta and Bandung, according to local media and video footage shared by Kahar S Cahyono, a spokesman from the Confederation of Indonesian Workers’ Union (KSPI).

“We ask that the law be repealed immediately,” said Maulana Syarif, 45, who has worked at Astra Honda motors for 25 years, and joined the protests in Jakarta to fight for the rights of future generations.

“This is our struggle for our children and grandchildren and our future generations…If it’s like this (with the new law) our wellbeing will decrease, and we will lack certainty in jobs.”

In conjunction with 32 other trade unions, Said Iqbal, KSPI president, said its strike would continue for a third and final day on Thursday.

The government of President Joko Widodo has championed the flagship legislation as key to boosting Indonesia’s ailing economy by streamlining regulations, cutting red tape and attracting more foreign direct investment.

Met with cautious optimism by some financial analysts, the bill has sparked a significant outcry, with labour unions, students and academics criticising it for a perceived lack of consultation, expedited passage, and problematic clauses they say will harm workers and the environment.

Police officers disperse student protesters in Cikarang, West Java. [AP Photo/Septian]
Police officers disperse student protesters in Cikarang, West Java. [AP Photo/Septian]
Two students have been seriously injured in the past two days of protests. [Dita Alangkara/AP Photo]
Two students have been seriously injured in the past two days of protests. [Dita Alangkara/AP Photo]
Protesters say the “omnibus” jobs creation bill, passed into law on Monday, undermines labour rights and weakens environmental protections. [Willy Kurniawan/Reuters]
Protesters say the “omnibus” jobs creation bill, passed into law on Monday, undermines labour rights and weakens environmental protections. [Willy Kurniawan/Reuters]
The government has championed the flagship legislation as key to boosting Indonesia’s ailing economy. [Fauzan/Antara Foto via Reuters]
The government has championed the flagship legislation as key to boosting Indonesia’s ailing economy. [Fauzan/Antara Foto via Reuters]
The bill has sparked a significant outcry, with labour unions, students and academics criticising it. [Fajrin Raharjo/AFP]
The bill has sparked a significant outcry, with labour unions, students and academics criticising it. [Fajrin Raharjo/AFP]
Plain-clothes police detain a protester in Tangerang. [Fajrin Raharjo/AFP]
Plain-clothes police detain a protester in Tangerang. [Fajrin Raharjo/AFP]
Nearly 600 people have been detained during the protests. [Bay Ismoyo/AFP]
Nearly 600 people have been detained during the protests. [Bay Ismoyo/AFP]
A student holds a sign reading "the motherland is on stand-up comedy" during protests in Tangerang. [Fajrin Raharjo/AFP]
A student holds a sign reading “the motherland is on stand-up comedy” during protests in Tangerang. [Fajrin Raharjo/AFP]

Indonesians rally against ‘omnibus’ jobs law

Thousands protest braving tear gas against new law that trade unions say undermines labour rights and weakens environmental protections. 8 … Read more

Hong Kong (CNN)The death toll from the Wuhan coronavirus has topped 100, with more than 4,500 cases confirmed across China, as US authorities warned against all “non-essential” travel to China.Authorities in Hubei, the Chinese province at the center of the outbreak, said an additional 1,300 cases had been confirmed, bringing the total in the region to over 2,700. The majority of those are still in hospital, with more than 125 in critical condition.Elsewhere in China, cases have been confirmed in every province and territory except for Tibet, which this week announced the indefinite closure of all tourist attractions and a mandatory two-week quarantine for all travelers entering the region.On Monday, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a level 3 alert warning against “all nonessential travel to China.” — its highest alert on a scale of 1 to 3.”There is an ongoing outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that can be spread from person to person,” the CDC said in a statement, warning “there is limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas.”

Worldwide concern

More than a dozen countries around the world have confirmed cases of the Wuhan virus, as authorities struggle to stop its spread.Across Asia, numerous countries have put in extra screening at airports and warned citizens to avoid travel to China. To China’s north, neighboring Mongolia has imposed stringent border checks on travelers coming into the country, while the semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong in the south has banned all visitors from Wuhan, amid calls for tighter controls on travel from the mainland.Indonesia and the Philippines have both introduced extra restrictions on Chinese tourists, while Japan has upgraded its response, allowing authorities to “force the suspicious cases for hospitalization and testing.”Speaking at a meeting with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres Monday, China’s ambassador to the UN said the country has “full capability and confidence in winning the battle against the epidemic.””Putting the interests of the people first, China has taken rapid and strong measures, putting in place a nationwide prevention and control mechanism,” Ambassador Zhang Jun said.”China has been working with the international community in the spirit of openness, transparency and scientific coordination. With a great sense of responsibility, China is sparing no effort in curbing the spread of disease and saving lives. Now is a crucial moment, and China has full capability and confidence in winning the battle against the epidemic.”Some 60 million people have been placed under travel restrictions in Hubei, with almost all movement in and out of Wuhan itself stopped and much of the city on lockdown.Officials have also cracked down on the trade of wild animals, after the Wuhan coronavirus was linked to a seafood market selling exotic live mammals, including bats and civet cats, which have previously been linked to the 2003 SARS outbreak.

Rapid spread

The first cases of the coronavirus were detected in Wuhan in mid-December. Since then the number of confirmed cases has increased a thousandfold, and infections have been reported worldwide.Hospitals in Wuhan are already massively overstretched, and hundreds of emergency medical personnel have been dispatched to the city to help out. Two new hospitals are also being built on the city’s outskirts, due to be operational by next week.Wuhan and Hubei officials have faced criticism for apparently downplaying the danger of the virus in the early weeks of the outbreak. There was a marked shift in the handling of the crisis once the national government got involved on January 22. woDespite the colossal effort — and potential social and economic cost — of effectively quarantining Hubei, it appears that this has come too late to stop the virus’ spread. By the time Wuhan introduced even basic screening of travelers leaving the city, the virus had been reported in Japan, Thailand and South Korea, and spread to most of the rest of China.Part of the problem is that the virus can apparently be spread before symptoms appear, according to China’s health minister, Ma Xiaowei.”It means the infection is much more contagious than we originally thought,” William Schaffner, a longtime adviser to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told CNN. “This is worse than we anticipated.”While the current outbreak does not appear to be as deadly as SARS, which killed over 700 people worldwide, it may be spreading more rapidly. That could be due to being more contagious, or the increased interconnectedness of both China and the world than in 2003.As of mid-March 2003, roughly a month after the World Health Organization (WHO) was alerted to SARS by Chinese authorities, and three months after the first cases were detected in China, the number of confirmed cases worldwide stood at around 3,200, with 159 confirmed deaths.

Growing fears

Fears of the virus’ spread have led to calls for increased action in multiple countries and territories, not least in Hong Kong, where memories of SARS still run deep.On Tuesday, the city’s government announced that government workers would be encouraged to work from home when the Lunar New Year holiday ends on Wednesday. The directive, which excluded emergency service workers and people who work for essential public services, urged the private sector to enforce similar arrangements.The move follows calls from one of the city’s leading health experts for “substantial draconian measures” to limit population mobility in order to rein in the virus. Speaking at a news conference Monday, Gabriel Leung, chair of public health medicine at the University of Hong Kong, warned that the number of cases could potentially double every six days in the absence of decisive government action.”This epidemic is growing at quite a fast rate and it’s accelerating,” said Leung, who is also the founding director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Infection Disease Epidemiology and Control in Hong Kong. He predicted the actual number of cases — including those who are incubating the virus but not yet showing symptoms — could be 10 times what has been reported.Leung’s team modeled two scenarios — one with a population quarantine as has been seen in Wuhan and one without — but found more or less identical results, because the virus has already spread to other major population centers in China, which could soon see their own self-sustaining epidemics.Leung said the findings had concerned the team enough that it felt the need to alert the authorities and the public, predicting a peak of cases between April and May.He added people need to prepare for a potential global pandemic — though “not a certainty by any stretch of the imagination … we must prepare better for it,” he said.There have been numerous calls within Hong Kong for the city to close its border with mainland China, and attempts to convert unoccupied apartment buildings in the northern town of Fanling to a quarantine center were met by fierce protests, eventually forcing them to be abandoned.

Contributors: CNN’s David Culver, Yong Xiong, Natalie Thomas and Steven Jiang in Beijing; and Helen Regan, Pauline Lockwood, Carly Walsh, Eric Cheung, Yuli Yang, Chermaine Lee, Alexandra Lin, Isaac Yee, Angus Watson and Sophie Jeong in Hong Kong contributed reporting.

#Source: CNN

Death toll from Wuhan coronavirus tops 100 as infection rate accelerates

Hong Kong (CNN)The death toll from the Wuhan coronavirus has topped 100, with more than 4,500 cases confirmed across China, … Read more

Spokesperson for the police in the state, DSP Abdullahi Haruna, confirmed that a self-acclaim professor, Solomon Tafa, who operates the home, has been arrested.

The police in Kano has uncovered an illegal orphanage home suspected to be involved in child trafficking and rescued 27 children alleged to have been kidnapped or born for trafficking from the home known as Du Merci Orphanage.

Spokesperson for the police in the state, DSP Abdullahi Haruna, confirmed to Channels Television that a self-acclaim professor, Solomon Tafa, who operates the home, has been arrested.

He said, “We were able to rescue nine children here, after the arrest; he was not able to present any document that shows how these children are being sourced.”

DSP Haruna also revealed that the suspect, Tafa, works alongside a hospital that helps him take care of the pregnant women before and after delivery.

He added, “He procures pregnant women, gives them all the necessary ante-natal attention and care. After delivery, he then hands over the newly born babies to the owner of the orphanage home.”

Meanwhile, Channels Television, in a bid to ascertain the suspects claim, was informed by the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development in Kano, Zahra’u Umar-Muhammad, that the suspect was yet to register with the ministry and there was no record showing the existence of any Du Merci Children Home in the state.

The police said that investigation was ongoing and the children are now in the custody of the Kano State Children’s home, while the alleged baby-making factory remains under lock and key.

Suspected Baby Factory Uncovered In Kano, 27 Children Rescued

Spokesperson for the police in the state, DSP Abdullahi Haruna, confirmed that a self-acclaim professor, Solomon Tafa, who operates the … Read more

At least, four people were injured after an improvised bomb exploded on Saturday morning in southern Philippine province of Sultan Kudarat, local Police said.

Police said the improvised explosive device (IED) went off at around 7.00 a.m. local time in front of a market along a highway in Isulan, the provincial capital of Sultan Kudarat.

“The suspected IED was placed at a terminal for motorcycles in front of the public market,’’ Isulan Police Director, Junie Buenacosa, said.

No other details were made available to the media as government security forces rushed to the scene to investigate.

No group has claimed responsibility for the explosion.

Last year, two successive bombings rocked Isulan that claimed the lives of five people and injured 45 others.

In April this year, another home-made bomb went off in front of a chicken barbecue stall, also in the same stretch of the national highway.

Four injured in Philippine explosion

At least, four people were injured after an improvised bomb exploded on Saturday morning in southern Philippine province of Sultan … Read more