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first_imgTopics : Researchers from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) and Zoologische Staatssammlung in München, Germany, have discovered four new beetle species in North Maluku.The four new beetle species have been identified as Epholcis acutus, Epholcis arcuatus, Epholcis cakalele, and Epholcis obiensis. The Epholcis genus is a nocturnal beetle.The beetles were found through joint collaboration between LIPI researcher Raden Pramesa Narakusumo from LIPI and Zoologische Staatssammlung researcher Michael Balke during an exploration of the Maluku islands.  Pramesa said two of the beetles were named based on their physical appearances, acutus means “sharp edge”, while arcuatus means “bow-like”, referring to the species’ curved back leg. The cakalele beetle is named after a traditional Maluku dance, and obiensis is named after Obi, the island where it was found. Pramesa also explained that the researchers used classic taxonomic methods to identify the species as new discoveries. He said that Indonesia had a lot of potential for new beetle species discoveries. Currently, most beetle specimens are kept in the Zoologicum Bogoriense Museum in Bogor, West Java. (dpk)last_img read more

first_imgThe ongoing threat of the novel coronavirus now raises questions about the timeline of the Tokyo Olympics, slated for July and August of this year. Indonesia has shown firm support for the games to proceed according to schedule.Indonesia’s National Olympic Committee (NOC) chief Raja Sapta “Okto” Oktohari said on Monday that his party had sent a letter to both Japanese and Chinese NOCs regarding the current situation of the coronavirus outbreak, which had affected both countries. In addition to offering sympathy, Okto said, his organization offered any support that Japan might need to overcome the difficulty of organizing the event amid the outbreak.“We are offering any assistance to and support for our friend Japan, which has been working hard to stage the Tokyo Olympics,” he said on the sidelines of Indonesia’s annual NOC meeting in Jakarta. As of Monday afternoon, Japan recorded 256 cases of the coronavirus and six deaths. The Tokyo Olympics is set to be held from July 24 to Aug. 9.Last week, International Olympic Committee (IOC) senior member Dick Pound said it was not impossible to reschedule the Olympics to next year but wanted athletes who were training for Tokyo to know the IOC was fully committed to having them at the opening ceremonies on July 24, Reuters reported.The World Health Organization has met the 2020 Olympics organizers to advise them on the coronavirus situation, and “no decision has been made to cancel the major sporting event in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak”, CNBC reported.Okto said Indonesia had displayed similar support for the Philippines SEA Games last December, which had been criticized over lack of readiness in organizing the multisport event. “We showed some support while others opted to criticize the organizers during the Philippines SEA Games,” he said.“And the result was positive as we got many services and positive feedback from the host, the Philippines.”Team Indonesia’s Tokyo Olympics chief of mission Rosan Roeslani said the current coronavirus outbreak had caused him to postpone his plan to visit Japan to conduct a survey before the games in Tokyo. The survey was previously scheduled for the third week of March.“Our preparation is still ongoing. We will keep communicating with the IOC,” he said.Earlier, Youth and Sports Minister Zainudin Amali said that his ministry would wait for the IOC or the decisions of other world authorities on the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. He said Indonesia would obey any final recommendation issued regarding the Olympics.This is similar to the minister’s gesture when facing the same crisis with the Philippines Para Games, which were eventually postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak.Topics : Indonesia’s full support of Japan in staging the quadrennial event may also aim to aid the country’s mission to win its bid for the 2032 Olympics.The Indonesian NOC plans to use the Tokyo Games to showcase the country’s readiness to host the Olympics by establishing Rumah Indonesia (House of Indonesia) to promote the country and garner support from other Olympic participants.Rumah Indonesia is projected to cost Rp 200 billion (US$13.8 million). The house will be built in a strategic location inside the athletes’ villages in Tokyo.Indonesia will compete against Brisbane, Australia, and a joint bid by North and South Korea to host the 2032 Olympics.last_img read more

first_imgSeveral media outlets and news agencies have reported over the last 24 hours that Saudi Arabia had asked Muslims to “postpone” plans to perform the obligatory pilgrimage this year as the kingdom grapples with its COVID-19 outbreak.Saudi Arabia confirmed 1,720 COVID-19 cases and with 16 deaths on Thursday morning, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.“We have asked our Muslim brothers around the world to wait on making hajj plans until there is clarity,” Benten told state-run broadcaster Al Ekhbariya, as reported by Bloomberg.Read also: COVID-19: 42 Indonesian pilgrims stranded as Saudi Arabia imposes travel restrictions The Religious Affairs Ministry has made assurances that this year’s haj is still on schedule for July, dismissing reports that the Saudi Arabian government has asked Muslims around the world to put the annual pilgrimage on hold due to COVID-19 pandemic.Ministerial spokesman Oman Fathurahman said that Riyadh had not formally informed Jakarta of a suspension of the haj.“The Saudi government has not decided whether the haj will be deferred. We will continue with preparations as long as there is no official announcement from Saudi Arabia regarding the haj,” Oman said in a statement on Wednesday. However, Oman said that international media had failed to accurately translate Benten’s statement, which was made in Arabic.Rather than asking Muslims to put the haj on hold, Oman claimed that Benten had asked pilgrims to postpone any “haj contracts” for the time being, pending new announcements from the kingdom.“The Saudi minister […] only suggested that they not be hasty in booking accommodation for the pilgrimage. This might be because the Saudi government is still preparing the haj facilities,” said Oman, adding that Benten’s statement was similar to the letter the Indonesian ministry had received.The latest correspondence that the ministry received on the matter was a letter on March 6.In it, Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah Mohammad Benten asks Jakarta to delay finalizing the government-sponsored haj program until further notice, including transportation, accommodation and catering arrangements.Read also: Saudi king offers to pay for coronavirus patients’ treatmentOman added that the government had a backup plan if the haj was canceled, that Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi had promised to refund all pilgrims in such an eventuality.In the meantime, the government has asked Indonesian pilgrims to pay their haj travel fees in full by May 19.By Tuesday, more than 94,000 pilgrims had fully paid their travel costs, which ranged from Rp 31.4 million (US$2,169) to Rp 72.3 million per pilgrim.Around 221,000 Indonesian pilgrims have signed up for this year’s haj, with the first batch of pilgrims scheduled to depart on June 26.Topics :last_img read more

first_imgIndonesia has set aside Rp 436.1 trillion (US$28.12 billion) from the 2020 state budget for medical needs, social safety net programs, relief for small and medium businesses, as well as relief for manufacturing and tourism-related companies to handle the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.Some 9.46 million taxpayers have filed their annual tax returns as of Friday, a decrease of 8.8 percent from 11.33 million taxpayers recorded during the same period last year, according to data from Finance Ministry’s Taxation Directorate General. Meanwhile, 412,166 firms have filed their tax returns this year, a decline from last year’s figure of 452,027 firms.“Businesses who have already filed their tax returns will get corporate tax cuts,” Suryo told reporters, calling for more businesses to file their annual tax returns.The government will cut corporate income tax from the current 25 percent to 22 percent for this year and next year, according to Regulation in Lieu of Law No. 1/2020. It will further cut corporate income tax to 20 percent starting in 2022.The Taxation Directorate General has canceled direct face-to-face services and is advising all taxpayers to use online facilities for filing their annual tax returns in compliance with the government’s social distancing policy to help limit the spread of COVID-19.The pandemic has infected nearly 3 million people around the globe, including 9,096 in Indonesia, forcing factories, retail shops and schools to close amid government-imposed lockdowns and social restrictions. This will result in a decline in tax revenue for the government as it expects a widening budget deficit of 5.07 percent.State revenue in the first quarter was up 7.7 percent year-on-year (yoy) at Rp 375.9 trillion after state-owned banks paid large dividends. Tax revenue, however, contracted 2.5 percent to Rp 241.6 trillion in the first quarter.Topics : Indonesia’s tax office has decided to keep the annual tax return (SPTs) filing deadline of April 30 for individuals and firms as filings have dropped significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic.The government, however, will postpone the deadline for individuals and firms to submit required documents to June 30, as the pandemic has disrupted businesses and social activities, said tax office chief Suryo Utomo.“This annual tax payment is crucial to handle the COVID-19 crisis, which needs huge funds,” Suryo told a teleconferenced press briefing held by the country’s COVID-19 task force on Monday. “Please file your tax returns before the deadline.”last_img read more

first_imgThe breach comes at a time when e-commerce has become an essential need as people opt for online shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic. New sellers on Tokopedia, particularly in the personal health category, have seen a 250 percent surge, while business research and consultancy firm Inventure Indonesia categorizes e-commerce as one of the few sectors to benefit from social distancing. A recent data breach jeopardizing more than 15 million user accounts of Indonesian unicorn Tokopedia has exposed the vulnerability of personal data on digital platforms as Indonesians increasingly turn to e-commerce to meet their needs from home.The cybersecurity research collective Under the Breach told The Jakarta Post in an e-mail correspondence that large companies such as Tokopedia were at a disadvantage by having a lot of employees with access to the companies’ internal systems.“Hackers often use social engineering tactics to send phishing emails to employees, which in return allows them access to different systems inside the company,” the e-mail reads. Furthermore, big companies usually rely heavily on third party companies’ products that integrate with their systems, which means the third parties have access to the company’s internal and sensitive systems further exposing it to the risk of hacking.The collective first reported the massive data leak on its official Twitter page @underthebreach on May 2. It also revealed that data on 91 million Tokopedia users was allegedly being sold online for US$5,000.center_img Communication & Information System Security Research Center (CISSReC) chairman Pratama Persadha said the incident would cause concern among consumers shopping in online marketplaces, especially those which held payment data such as credit and debit card information.“It’s possible that other e-commerce platforms have been hacked too,” he said referring to the 2015 Bukalapak data breach. “It’s just that Tokopedia’s hackers opted to publicize and sell the data to the public while others might have asked for money directly from the company.”Read also: Small businesses resort to online channels to survive pandemicThe Hacker-Powered Security Report 2019 published by bug bounty platform HackerOne suggests that data leaks among retail and e-commerce platforms are happening more frequently than is recognized as more than two-thirds of all retailers consider cybercrime their top security issue.Meanwhile, recent research by security firm Kaspersky shows that identifiable personal information such as name and age are the type of data most often targeted by cybercriminals. Once hit by a cyberattack, 29 percent of the targeted companies said that they had difficulties attracting new customers.Read also: Hacking against corporations surges as workers take computers homeInstitute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) said Tokopedia as a digital platform and data holder must notify its users, especially those whose data were breached, in accordance with Government Regulation (PP) No. 71/2019.Communication and Information Ministerial Regulation No. 20/2016 allows for a notification process of up to 14 days, whereas the personal data protection bill would require it to be done within three days.“Unfortunately, although [the data leak] happened a few days ago, there has still not been any written notification from the platform provider to its consumers as personal data owners,” ELSAM wrote in an official press statement.Indonesia has yet to have its own version of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as deliberations have stalled since the government submitted the draft bill to the House of Representatives in January.Read also: Data protection bill: House, activists warn of abuse of powerTokopedia held a meeting on Monday with Communications and Information Minister Johnny G. Plate and the National Cyber and Encryption Agency (BSSN), after which the minister said financial and user data were “safe”.“Tokopedia has explained that user accounts and financial data are safe. It was conveyed [during the meeting that Tokopedia’s] security system cannot be breached, although data relating to names, emails and telephone numbers may have partly been accessed by hackers,” Johnny said after the meeting. “Tokopedia is conducting an in-depth evaluation.”Tokopedia spokesperson Nuraini Razak stressed that users should change their passwords periodically to prevent further data breaches and phishing.Indonesia E-Commerce Association (idEA) chairman Ignatius Untung said that people should not be worried about using e-commerce sites as each platform would try to improve security regardless of whether a data breach has happened.He went on to say that every platform that has experienced data leakage must be regarded as a victim rather than the perpetrator as he believed no e-commerce platform would intentionally create a faulty security system so that data could be leaked.Read also: E-commerce dominates in 2019 with Tokopedia topping the list“It is unfortunate that the platform is often considered as the only party responsible in cases of a data breach,” he said. “While the hackers are often spared from scrutiny, even though they are the culprits.”The term “hacker” often has negative connotations associated with criminality. However, there has been a growing trend of good bug bounty hackers whose job it is to detect companies’ privacy gaps and report them to be fixed.“Bug bounties are getting more popular in the cybersecurity industry and they go hand-in-hand with penetration testing as a form of defense-in-depth solution,” said Singapore-based HackerOne hacker Samuel Eng.According to HackOne data, in the past year, the retail and e-commerce industry saw a 23 percent growth in hacker-powered security programs but it still only accounted for 4 percent of all hacker-powered security programs.Topics :last_img read more

first_imgThe next pandemic could come from the Amazon rainforest, warns Brazilian ecologist David Lapola, who says human encroachment on animals’ habitats — a likely culprit in the coronavirus outbreak — is soaring there because of rampant deforestation.Researchers say the urbanization of once-wild areas contributes to the emergence of zoonotic diseases — those that pass from animals to humans.That includes the new coronavirus, which scientists believe originated in bats before passing to humans in China’s rapidly urbanizing Hubei province, probably via a third species. HIV, Ebola, dengueSimilar patterns can be seen with HIV, Ebola and dengue fever — “all viruses that emerged or spread on a huge scale because of ecological imbalances,” he said.So far, most such outbreaks have been concentrated in South Asia and Africa, often linked to certain species of bats.But the Amazon’s immense biodiversity could make the region “the world’s biggest coronavirus pool,” he said — referring to coronaviruses in general, not the one behind the current pandemic.”That’s one more reason not to use the Amazon irrationally, like we’re doing now,” he said.And one more reason to be alarmed by the surge in deforestation by illegal farmers, miners and loggers, he added.Bolsonaro, a climate-change skeptic who wants to open protected indigenous lands to mining and agriculture, deployed the army to the Amazon this week to fight deforestation, in a rare protective move.But Lapola said he would rather see the government reinforce the existing environmental agency, IBAMA, which has faced staffing and budget cuts under Bolsonaro.”I hope under the next administration we’ll pay more attention to protecting what may be the planet’s greatest biological treasure,” Lapola said.”We need to reinvent the relationship between our society and the rainforest.”Otherwise, the world faces more outbreaks — “a very complex process that is difficult to predict,” he said.”We’d better just play it safe.” Last year, in far-right President Jair Bolsonaro’s first year in office, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon surged 85 percent, to more than 10,000 square kilometers (3,900 square miles) — an area nearly the size of Lebanon.The trend is continuing this year. From January to April, 1,202 square kilometers were wiped out, setting a new record for the first four months of the year, according to data based on satellite images from Brazil’s National Space Research Institute (INPE).That is bad news, not just for the planet but for human health, said Lapola, who holds a PhD in earth system modeling from the Max Planck Institutes in Germany and works at the University of Campinas in Brazil.”When you create ecological disequilibrium… that’s when a virus can jump” from animals to humans, he said. Lapola, 38, who studies how human activity will reshape the future ecosystems of tropical forests, says the same processes are in play in the Amazon.”The Amazon is a huge reservoir of viruses,” he told AFP in an interview.”We’d better not try our luck.”The world’s biggest rainforest is disappearing at an alarming rate. Topics :last_img read more

first_imgGreater Surabaya in East Java officially ended its large-scale social restrictions (PSBB), a partial lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19, on Monday. Surabaya and its satellite cities, Gresik and Sidoarjo, will implement a transition phase for the next two weeks.The decision was made on Sunday evening after a PSBB evaluation meeting, which was also attended by East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa. In the meeting, leaders of Greater Surabaya agreed not to extend PSBB in the region for the fourth time. Greater Surabaya started implementing PSBB on April 28. Despite the partial lockdown measures, on June 3 Surabaya became a “black zone” as confirmed COVID-19 cases skyrocketed, with the region recording nearly 3,000, the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country.Surabaya Mayor Tri Rismaharini said it was better to end PSBB so the city could resume its economic activities.”I am concerned because many people have complained that they cannot earn a living during PSBB. We hope [by ending PSBB] we can resume economic activities while still following health protocols,” Risma said on Sunday as reported by also: COVID-19: Surabaya mayor feuds with East Java governor over mobile PCR labsRisma also explained that the city administration was preparing a mayoral regulation containing strict health protocols for residents to follow. The protocols, she claimed, would be very effective in curbing the spread of COVID-19.”We have prepared health protocols for markets, malls, factories, coffee shops and minimarkets,” Risma said.Although the city administrations could not impose sanctions for violators, Risma said she would coordinate with the National Police and the Indonesian military to make sure that residents follow the health protocols.She reminded residents that the pandemic was not over yet and they had to remain disciplined in following the health protocols.”There are still many residents in hospitals [for COVID-19] right now, don’t add to the number [of patients] just because we are not disciplined [in following health protocols],” she said.On Sunday, East Java recorded 365 new COVID-19 cases bringing the total number of infected patients in the province to 6,313 with 502 fatalities. (nal)  Topics :last_img read more

first_imgChina will set up a “national security agency” in Hong Kong to oversee a forthcoming new law aimed at cracking down on dissent in the city, state media said on Saturday.The new law also would override any existing Hong Kong laws that may conflict with it once it is implemented, Xinhua news agency said in a report detailing the draft legislation.The report followed the conclusion of a meeting in Beijing of China’s top law-making committee that reviewed draft provisions aimed at snuffing out the pro-democracy movement that has rocked the semi-autonomous city.  If Hong Kong laws clash with the provisions of the upcoming legislation, the power of interpretation lies with the Standing Committee of China’s rubber-stamp national legislature, Xinhua added.’Beijing’s hand’ The city’s leader Carrie Lam said Saturday the government agreed with the proposal to establish “specialized departments in the police force and the department of justice” to safeguard national security.In a written statement she said the territory’s government “expressed gratitude” over Beijing’s handling of the situation.But Alvin Yeung, a Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmaker, said the details on what will constitute a crime are “highly vague, which is of course, extremely worrying.” “More importantly, it is almost like Beijing’s hand is getting right in the center of the administrative and judicial reins of Hong Kong.”Leung also expressed alarm at Xinhua’s mention of a separate security “council” to be headed by the territory’s chief executive whose duties would include choosing judges to handle security cases.”What worries me more is if any judges, in the future, when they try the cases and in (rule) favor of the defendant, would those judges be removed? That could be possible,” he said.China’s parliament endorsed the planned legislation last month, sending the draft to the Standing Committee.The Group of Seven foreign ministers on Wednesday urged China to reconsider the proposed law, saying they had “grave concerns” it threatens Hong Kong’s rights and freedoms.In response, senior Chinese foreign policy official Yang Jiechi said at a high-level meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Hawaii that Beijing’s “determination” to introduce the law was “unwavering”.Under a “One Country, Two Systems” agreement before Britain handed the territory back to China, Beijing agreed to let Hong Kong maintain certain liberties and autonomy until 2047 — including legislative and judicial independence and freedom of speech.Hong Kong has been convulsed by a year of huge and often violent rallies that began with an eventually aborted criminal extradition bill but morphed into a popular call for democracy and police accountability.Beijing says the national security law is needed to end the political unrest and restore stability. Xinhua said the Standing Committee would “soon finalize” the legislation.Topics : The fast-tracking of the bill — which is bypassing Hong Kong’s legislature — raised international concern that it will end the financial hub’s limited freedoms and usher in a new era of Communist-style repression.Xinhua gave no details on its make-up but opponents of Beijing’s control have repeatedly voiced fears that the final wording of the law will allow mainland security organs to openly establish a presence in Hong Kong.The future security agency would be established by China’s central government and would “supervise, guide, coordinate, and support” the maintenance of national security in the territory, Xinhua said.Xinhua said the eventual law would criminalize “secession, subversion of state power, terrorism, and colluding with foreign and external forces to endanger national security.”last_img read more

first_imgJapan’s Yoshihide Suga was voted prime minister by parliament on Wednesday to become the country’s first new leader in nearly eight years, appointing a new cabinet that kept about half of the familiar faces from predecessor Shinzo Abe’s lineup.Suga, 71, Abe’s longtime right-hand man, has pledged to pursue many of Abe’s programmes, including his “Abenomics” economic strategy, and to forge ahead with structural reforms, including deregulation and shutting down bureaucratic turf battles.Abe, Japan’s longest-serving premier, resigned because of ill health after nearly eight years in office. Suga served under him in the pivotal post of chief cabinet secretary, acting as top government spokesman and coordinating policies. Suga, who won a ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leadership race by a landslide on Monday, faces a plethora of challenges, including tackling COVID-19 while reviving a battered economy and dealing with a rapidly aging society.With little direct diplomatic experience, Suga must also cope with an intensifying U.S.-China confrontation, build ties with the winner of the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election and try to keep Japan’s own relations with Beijing on track.About half of the new cabinet are carryovers from Abe’s administration. Only two are women and the average age, including Suga, is 60.Among those retaining their jobs are key players such as Finance Minister Taro Aso and Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, along with Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto and Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi, the youngest at 39. “It’s a ‘Continuity with a capital C’ cabinet,” said Jesper Koll, senior adviser to asset manager WisdomTree Investments.Abe’s younger brother, Nobuo Kishi, was handed the defence portfolio, while outgoing Defence Minister Taro Kono takes charge of administrative reform, a post he has held before.Yasutoshi Nishimura, Abe’s point man on COVID-19 response, remains economy minister, while Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshi Kajiyama, the son of a politician to whom Suga looked up as his mentor, also retains his post.Rough Road Ahead?Katsunobu Kato, outgoing health minister and a close Suga ally, takes on the challenging post of chief cabinet secretary. He announced the cabinet lineup.Tomoya Masanao, head of investment firm PIMCO Japan, said Suga’s goal of a more digitalised society could widen the gap between rich and poor and would require political capital.”Abe’s administration built political capital for itself with loose monetary and fiscal policies, a balanced and skillful diplomacy with the United States and China, and implementation of flexible domestic politic,” he said. “The new administration, on the other hand, faces a rough road ahead.”In a move that resonates with voters, Suga has criticised Japan’s top three mobile phone carriers, NTT Docomo Inc , KDDI Corp and SoftBank Corp, saying they should return more money to the public and face more competition.He has said Japan may eventually need to raise its 10% sales tax to pay for social security, but not for the next decade.Clues as to whether and how Suga will push ahead with reforms could come from the lineup of government advisory panels such as the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy, Koll said.”The ambition of Mr. Suga to speed up and reinvigorate the process (of reform) is absolutely clear, but the next layer of personnel will be interesting,” he said.Speculation has simmered that Suga might call a snap election for parliament’s lower house to take advantage of any rise in public support, although he has said handling the pandemic and reviving the economy were his top priorities.Topics :last_img read more