Viral hysteria: Hong Kong panic buying sparks run on toilet paper

first_imgThe footage — and photos of shelves emptied of toilet rolls — sparked a call from the government for the public to halt panic buying. “In response to various rumours recently that there are shortages of goods such as rice and toilet papers, leading to panic buying and even chaos, a government spokesman today expresses regret over the malicious act of spreading rumours when the city is fighting against the disease, and condemns those rumour mongers with evil intentions,” the statement said. While Hong Kong has closed most of its land borders to mainland China, where the coronavirus outbreak began, freight services have not been affected, the government said.”There are sufficient stocks of staple food including rice and pastas. There is no need for the public to worry,” the statement said. Harold Yip, founder of Mil Mill, a Hong Kong-based waste paper recycling company, told AFP they received over 100 enquiries from members of the public about toilet paper on Wednesday alone.RTHK news reported that toilet paper and rice at one supermarket in the district of Wanchai — which had been fully restocked overnight — were cleared within 30 minutes of the store opening on Thursday morning.The supermarket chain Wellcome said rumours of shortages were unfounded. The coronavirus has killed more than 550 people in China since spreading from the central city of Wuhan late last year. Hong Kong now has 21 confirmed infections, including one patient who died.The majority of those infected came from mainland China. But in recent days there has been a spike in carriers with no history of travel to the mainland sparking fears local transmissions were growing.The city’s pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam has faced growing calls to close the border with China, a step she has been reluctant to take saying it would be economically damaging and discriminatory. Her administration has gradually cut the number of land border crossings to just two.On Wednesday, she announced anyone arriving from the Chinese mainland from Saturday would face a mandatory two-week quarantine. While Hong Kong maintains close economic and cultural links to the Chinese mainland, as seething distrust of the authorities in Beijing permeates the city.The 2003 outbreak of the SARS virus, which Beijing initially covered up, killed 299 people in Hong Kong and left lasting psychological scars on the densely populated city.Lam already boasts record-low approval ratings after using riot police to quell seven months of huge and often violent pro-democracy protests. Topics : Panic buyers in Hong Kong have descended on supermarkets to snap up toilet rolls as the government warned that online rumours of shortages were hampering the city’s fight against a deadly coronavirus outbreak.Videos obtained by AFP showed long queues of frantic shoppers packing trolleys with multiple packets of toilet rolls, with some arguments breaking out.Rice and pasta have also become a popular target for panic buying.last_img read more

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Rupiah may slide to Rp 20,000 per US dollar in worst-case scenario

first_imgThe rupiah could hover around Rp 17,500 or even slide to as low as Rp 20,000 against the US dollar, the weakest in history, if Indonesia’s economy contracts and the COVID-19 downturn is prolonged, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati has warned.The local currency, already the worst performer in Asia, is currently trading at Rp 16,450 per US dollar, according to Bloomberg data. It has depreciated around 15 percent since the end of December last year. The rupiah touching Rp 17,500 to Rp 20,000 per US dollar would be a record low, surpassing the Rp 16,950 against the greenback during the 1998 financial crisis.“This is the worst-case scenario […] We will take measures to prevent this materializing,” Sri Mulyani told a teleconferenced media briefing on Wednesday. The projection was part of macroeconomic assumption scenarios and exercises carried out by the government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, she added. The government has also prepared the worst-case scenario of an economic contraction by 0.4 percent if the pandemic lingers. The baseline scenario is that Indonesia’s economy will grow by 2.3 percent this year, the lowest in 21 years, Sri Mulyani said.“We are forward-looking, so the steps we’re taking are preventive measures,” Sri Mulyani said, adding that COVID-19 had disrupted household activities, hampered firms’ sales and revenue and had hit micro, small and medium businesses.Bank Indonesia (BI) has been stabilizing the rupiah through its “triple market intervention” measures, focusing on the foreign exchange spot market, domestic non-deliverable forward (DNDF) market and secondary bond markets.The central bank has bought a total of Rp 172.5 trillion worth of government bonds, including Rp 166.2 trillion from foreign investors in the secondary market. “We will always be in the market to maintain liquidity,” BI Governor Perry Warjiyo said.Perry added that the central bank was seeing signs of a slowing down in capital outflows, which had caused the rupiah to depreciate. Capital outflows eased from Rp 167.9 trillion during the height of the coronavirus outbreak from Jan. 20 to March 30 to Rp 145.1 trillion so far this year until March 30.The latest government bond auction was also oversubscribed, Perry added, indicating that interest in Indonesian financial assets remains intact.“The government absorbed Rp 22.2 trillion from the Rp 15 trillion indicative target from the auction, having received total bids of Rp 35.5 trillion,” Perry said.Topics :last_img read more

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December regional polls to cost more than planned, pose health risk

first_img“If we make it more efficient, we could reduce the proposed amount by Rp 641 billion, but the branches would have to approve this first,” KPU chairman Arief Budiman said.He suggested that the central government be the one that provides the budget needs, not the regional administrations, as their cash flow had been affected by the pandemic response.”Therefore, we need backup from the state budget. We can process it more quickly with the central administration’s support,” added Arief.Law No. 10/2016 on regional elections requires regional administrations to provide the election budget. However, many regional administrations have reported cash flow issues affecting the elections budget.The government previously put the cost for the 2020 simultaneous regional elections at Rp 14.98 trillion, to be sourced from the regional administration budgets and disbursed around Rp 5.78 trillion.Read also: ‘We should not stop being democratic’: Govt insists on holding regional races in DecemberAs the election day has been postponed from the initial date of Sept. 23, the government, the KPU and the House agreed to “freeze” the remaining balance of around Rp 9 trillion.“In April 2020, the Home Ministry issued a circular to freeze the money to avoid it is being used for the COVID-19 handling,” Tito said.The plan to go through with the elections in December has sparked concern about higher costs and further virus transmission.Health experts have warned that holding the elections in December could raise the transmission of COVID-19, given that the preliminary stages of the elections will start in June, which involve assembling many people, including election officials, the candidates’ campaign team members and voters.The Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem) stated that the forced implementation of simultaneous regional elections amid a pandemic could do more harm than good.They cited concerns such as the risk of virus transmission, the politicization of social aid, the lack of a level playing field for incumbents and challengers as well as a decline in voter participation.Topics : Election organizers and regional administrations have requested extra funds from the state budget for the 2020 simultaneous regional elections as the central government insists on holding year-end regional polls amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.Home Minister Tito Karnavian proposed a total of Rp 1.4 trillion (US$98.78 million) in extra funding for the General Elections Commission (KPU), the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu), the Election Organization Ethics Council (DKPP) and at least 204 of 270 regions across Indonesia that are set to hold elections in December.“The central [election organizers] need Rp 391 billion and the regional ones needs Rp 1.02 trillion. Therefore, we need Rp 1.4 trillion in extra budget funds,” Tito said on Thursday in a virtual hearing with Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati and House of Representatives Commission II, which oversees home affairs. Tito said the budget allocations were Rp 908.4 billion for regional KPU branches, Rp 76.36 billion for the Bawaslu branches and Rp 35.78 billion for the election security budget, while the remaining Rp 391 billion would be allocated to the central KPU, Bawaslu and DKPP.“The amount could increase once the KPU issues its regulation on the COVID-19 health protocol for the regional elections. They might need to add more equipment later,” he said.Read also: Year-end regional polls risk low turnout due to virus fearsDuring the meeting, the KPU proposed Rp 4.7 trillion in extra budget funds, which included allocations for implementing health protocols and an increase in the number of polling stations due to the physical distancing requirement.last_img read more

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New York cuts police budget amid ‘defund’ calls

first_img“The budget being voted on tonight does NOT cut $1B from the NYPD,” he tweeted.The NYPD has approximately 36,000 police officers, more than any other force in the United States.It faces criticism for using force against largely peaceful protesters who demonstrated against the death of Floyd on May 25. De Blasio defended the heavy-handed tactics.Activists outside city hall said they did not believe the cuts were genuine. “I feel like this City Council is making a mockery of our demands. They say that they’re going to defund the police but they’re just finding sneakier ways to fund them,” 17-year-old Mary-Kate Mahaney, told AFP.The annual budget for New York has been slashed from $93 billion last year to $88 billion due to the COVID-19 outbreak that has crippled the Big Apple’s economy.De Blasio recently estimated that the epidemic, which has killed approximately 22,000 NYC residents, has cost the city $9 billion in lost revenues.The mayor says that another $1 billion in labor savings needs to be found in the budget or 22,000 employees face being laid off in the fall. Topics : New York City lawmakers have approved a disputed budget that purports to slash $1 billion from the NYPD’s annual budget as calls by anti-racism protesters to defund law enforcement sweep the United States.”Defund the police” has become a rallying cry of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations that erupted following the killing in custody of African-American George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.Protesters have camped outside New York’s city hall the past week demanding that money be shifted from America’s largest police force to social services to help fight racial injustice. Late Tuesday, members of New York’s city council approved the government’s budget for the new fiscal year starting Wednesday that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says cuts the NYPD’s operating budget from about $6 billion to roughly $5 billion. The cuts include scrapping the planned hiring of about 1,160 new police officers, as well as reducing overtime costs and redeploying administrative staff.But some council members accused the government of just moving money around, arguing that around $400 million of the cuts come from shifting responsibility for protecting public schools from the police to the education department.Brooklyn councillor Brad Lander said he was voting no to the budget because it did not propose “real, meaningful cuts,” including a hiring freeze on cops.last_img read more

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Governor Wolf Statement on Eric Frein Conviction

first_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitter National Issues,  Press Release,  Statement Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf released the following statement regarding Eric Frein’s conviction on all charges related to the fatal ambush at the Pennsylvania State Police barracks in Pike County:“Today justice was served and a brutal murderer will be held accountable for his heinous and cowardly acts against members of the Pennsylvania State Police. On behalf of all Pennsylvanians, I want to express my sincere gratitude for the sacrifices made every day by the men and women of the Pennsylvania State Police and their families to keep their fellow citizens safe.” April 19, 2017center_img Governor Wolf Statement on Eric Frein Convictionlast_img

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Governor Wolf Encourages Travelers to Utilize Online Traffic Tool for Labor Day Travel Planning

first_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Governor Wolf Encourages Travelers to Utilize Online Traffic Tool for Labor Day Travel Planning Holidays,  Press Release,  PSA,  Transportation Harrisburg, PA – The Wolf Administration is encouraging the public to visit the “Historic Holiday Traffic” page at www.511PA.com so they can plan optimal travel times on major roadways across the state for the Labor Day holiday.“This is another great opportunity to put our traffic information tools into action for the public,” Governor Tom Wolf said. “Providing this real-time information allows travelers to choose the route that best works for them as they explore Pennsylvania’s many tourism attractions this holiday weekend.”The site, which is compatible with mobile devices, allows users to see how traffic speeds on the Friday before and day of Labor Day in 2015 and 2016 compare to traffic conditions during a typical, non-holiday week. Users can choose their region and view an hour-by-hour, color-coded visual of traffic speeds to help them decide the best times to travel during the holiday. 511PA also offers real-time, traffic speed information for thousands of roadway miles throughout Pennsylvania.“We aim to help motorists plan ahead by providing them with as much travel information as possible,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said. “We encourage drivers to check 511PA before they leave so they can be aware of traffic conditions and adjust plans if necessary.”PennDOT will also remove lane restrictions and suspend construction projects wherever possible through the holiday period. Motorists can see remaining construction projects at www.511PA.com before they travel.Traveler information is also available through Waze (www.waze.com), a real-time crowdsourced navigation app through which drivers share road conditions, and with which PennDOT has a free, two-way data-sharing partnership. The partnership promotes more efficient traffic monitoring by sharing free, anonymous, crowdsourced incident reports and slow-down data from Waze users (called Wazers). Waze receives PennDOT’s road condition reporting data to share with its users, while the department uses data reported by Wazers to supplement internal traffic-condition monitoring.The public can use 511PA to check conditions on nearly 40,000 roadway miles in Pennsylvania. The service is free and available 24 hours a day, and provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 825 traffic cameras.511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices. Information can also be accessed by calling 5-1-1 or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.center_img August 30, 2017last_img read more

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Nordea invests in property financing through Kinnerton fund

first_img“Investments are focused on Denmark, and our ambition with future vehicles is to expand them over time to the Nordics,” he said.The fund was set up to offer loan financing to real estate construction projects, providing an alternative to bank financing, Bisgaard-Frantzen said.It is focusing on smaller projects, typically providing loans of between DKK20m and DKK100m.“We lend the money via a special purpose vehicle (SPV), where the property and the liquidity are ringfenced, so we are in total control of all liquidity going in and out of the SPV,” he said.The loans are meant to provide up to 90% of the cost of a project, he said, which equates to a 75-80% loan-to-value ratio.The return on these loans is 12-13% a year, Bisgaard-Frantzen said.Although the risk of this type of lending is arguably high, Bisgaard-Frantzen said that, in practice, this was lowered by close monitoring of the lending, as well as the fund’s ability to get involved in projects should anything go wrong.“Because we are very close to these projects, we feel we are in control – also because of the fact we release the loans in tranches,” he said.“In the event of a default, we can go in and take control of the project, so we feel really confident our losses will be very limited if there are any at all.”Bisgaard-Frantzen has two ideas to expand the investments offered by Kinnerton, which received authorisation as an alternative investment fund manager in March 2016.The first of these is to expand into other Nordic countries providing property development loans, and the second is to provide second-lien commercial mortgages, typically at 50-85% loan-to-value at rates of between 8% and 9.5%, mainly to existing property owners.“The whole rationale is that, once Basel 3 is implemented, several of these loans will be unprofitable for banks to have on their balance sheet,” he said.He said interest from institutional investors in these types of fixed income investments was beginning to pick up particularly strongly right now.“With the current interest rate level, it is providing an alternative, and if you look at where we are in the credit cycle, we are convinced the level of defaults are acceptable if you are cautious or conservative in your underwriting,” he said.“Also, because of regulation, banks are unable to take on the projects the way pension funds and other investors can.” Nordea Life & Pension in Denmark is investing DKK500m (€67m) in real estate financing through a fund it launched alongside other investors.The fund aims to raise DKK2bn of capital from Danish and other European institutional investors.Nordea Life & Pension was one of the lead investors in the fund, Kinnerton Opportunistic Credit C, alongside the Danish investment adviser and the UK firm Kinnerton Credit Management, which expects to take over management of the fund subject to regulatory approval.Jens Bisgaard-Frantzen, chief executive at Kinnerton Credit Management, told IPE the fund had already raised DKK570m of its intended total of DKK2bn, and that pension funds made up the bulk of investors so far.last_img read more

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Home loan arrears highest in years, but no worries, says RBA

first_imgNon-performing household loans — share of loans. Source: RBAMr Kearns said weak economic conditions drove cyclical upswings in arrears.“What we can see across Australia is there is a clear pattern of more loans going into arrears in locations where the unemployment rate is higher. Notably the unemployment rate has increased and income growth slowed in Western Australia and parts of Queensland with the end of the mining boom. These areas have seen larger increases in arrears.” He said while housing arrears had risen, it was “by no means to a level that poses a risk to financial stability”. Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:58Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:58 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD432p432p216p216p180p180pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenHow much do I need to retire?00:58 Banks’ non-performing household loans: Share of loans outstanding, domestic books. Source: RBAThe vast majority of Aussie borrowers have prepayment buffers on their mortgages, according to his figures.“Around two-thirds of borrowers have accumulated buffers of prepayments of their mortgage, and some others have other assets outside of their property,” he said.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus12 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market12 hours ago“Households with financial buffers can withstand some period of unemployment, but if that extends too long and depletes their savings, they risk falling into arrears.” How this woman made $100K in eight weeks Coast’s first penthouse sells under the hammer Around two-thirds of Aussie borrowers have prepayment buffers on their mortgages. Picture: Penny Stephens.The Reserve Bank had a typically Australian response to home loan arrears rising today – no worries – thanks to the phenomenal chunk of Aussies blitzing mortgages ahead of schedule.Reserve Bank of Australia’s head of financial stability Jonathan Kearns told the 2019 Property Leaders’ Summit in Canberra this morning that “an increasing share of housing borrowers are behind in their mortgage repayments” but he also revealed the percentage of Australians that are blitzing payments. MORE: Free pontoons on offercenter_img “Several factors have been interacting to drive the rise in housing arrears. Economic conditions are undoubtedly part of the story. Weak income growth, housing price falls and rising unemployment in some areas have all contributed,” he said.“But they have not acted alone, interacting with earlier weaker lending standards, and the more recent tightening in lending standards.”He warned “the arrears rate could continue to edge higher for a bit longer”.“But with overall strong lending standards, so long as unemployment remains low, arrears rates should not rise to levels that pose a risk to the financial system or cause great harm to the household sector.” FOLLOW SOPHIE FOSTER ON FACEBOOK The Reserve Bank of Australia board dropped its cash rate target to a record low 1.25 per cent at its June meeting, with experts predicting more to come this year. Picture: AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi.He even seemed to applaud the fact that the arrears rate was not too low: “Making loans involves risk, and banks are used to managing this risk. If the arrears rate was persistently very low, that would suggest that lenders were being too cautious in lending. In that world, some people who could almost certainly repay a loan would struggle to get one”. “The share of banks’ housing loans in arrears is now back around the level reached in 2010, the highest it has been for many years. But arrears are still well below the level reached in the early 1990s recession,” he said, adding that Australia’s rate of arrears was “still relatively low internationally”.He revealed that a phenomenal “over 99 per cent of housing loans are on, or ahead of, schedule”.last_img read more

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Champions League: Barcelona vs Napoli could be postponed

first_imgRead Also: Coronavirus: Barcelona close La Masia for two weeksBarcelona are set to play Napoli next week after drawing the first match 1-1. The match has not been postponed yet, although if it were to take place, it would be without any fans in attendance.There is a chance that things improve by next week, although at the moment that doesn’t seem to be the case.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Advertisement “As a result of the travelling restrictions between Spain and Italy imposed yesterday by the Spanish authorities, the following UEFA Europa League Round of 16 matches [Sevilla-Roma and Inter-Getafe] will not take place as scheduled,” UEFA said in a statement. Roma’s plane was not authorized to leave Spain, and therefore their match against Sevilla could not be played. In addition, Getafe said they would not travel to play Inter as well, with their president, Angel Torres, insisting it would be wrong to put his players at risk. Loading… center_img Promoted Content14 Hilarious Comics Made By Women You Need To Follow Right NowCan Playing Too Many Video Games Hurt Your Body?6 Extreme Facts About Hurricanes10 Risky Jobs Some Women Do7 Ways To Understand Your Girlfriend BetterPortuguese Street Artist Creates Hyper-Realistic 3D GraffitiBirds Enjoy Living In A Gallery Space Created For ThemFantastic-Looking (and Probably Delicious) Bread Art7 Ways To Understand Your Girlfriend Better6 Incredibly Strange Facts About HurricanesWhich Country Is The Most Romantic In The World?It’s Time To Show How Bad Some Women Can Really Be Barcelona’s clash with Napoli at Camp Nou might be postponed, if Europa League fixtures are any guide, due to the coronavirus. Matches between Roma and Sevilla, as well as Inter Milan and Getafe have already been postponed. Both involve an Italian and Spanish club, just like Barcelona-Napoli.last_img read more

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Kveta Peschke /Demi Schuurs win women’s doubles title

first_imgNEW YORK: Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic and Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands won the women’s doubles title at the Western & Southern Open with a strong performance against American Nicole Melichar and Xu Yifan from China in the final on Saturday.Peschke and Schuurs, seeded third at the event, took one hour and 18 minutes to seal the victory at 6-1, 4-6, 10-4. “Everything I think came together somehow,” Peschke said. “In the first round, you’re still a little look for each other and trying to put everything together where you have been left off, which is five months.” “So it was a long time that we hadn’t had a chance to practice, we hadn’t had a chance to play any match. So the first match is obviously, almost at any tournament, one of the crucial ones. So we were fighting the first match through, and I think with every day, we became stronger and better as a team.” Schuurs and Peschke are the No. 4 seeds at next week’s US Open, where they will take on Croat Darija Jurak and Canadian Sharon Fichman in the opening round. “Of course you have a nice feeling,” Schuurs said of the pair’s confidence level heading into the US Open. “I think confidence is better than before. We played matches together. We didn’t lose yet. So of course it’s nice to go into a tournament like the US Open and you didn’t lose.” IANS Also Watch: Abhijeet Sharma,APW President addressing a Press Meet at Gauhati Press Club.last_img read more

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