SoftBank proposes three new board members as Alibaba’s Jack Ma resigns

first_imgSoftBank will also propose the election of Lip-Bu Tan, CEO of chip design software firm Cadence Design Systems who is also chairman of venture capital firm Walden International, and Yuko Kawamoto, a professor at Waseda Business School as outside directors. Kawamoto will become its only female board member.That meets a demand from activist investor Elliott Management, which has pressed SoftBank to improve board diversity, and also wants a new subcommittee to oversee the investment process at the US$100 billion Vision Fund.The pressure comes as Son’s top-down management style is under increased scrutiny with the fund expected to report its third consecutive quarterly operating loss later on Monday, plunging the group as a whole to a record loss.The board is largely comprised of SoftBank insiders and confidants. It also includes Yasir al-Rumayyan, who heads the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund that is the Vision Fund’s biggest outside backer.Ma’s exit follows the departure of Tadashi Yanai, founder and CEO of Uniqlo parent Fast Retailing, who resigned from the board late last year to focus on his fashion business.Separately, SoftBank said the board had approve a second 500 billion yen ($4.7 billion) tranche of share purchases, part of a 2.5 trillion yen buyback programme announced in March to prop up the group’s share price as its tech bets flounder.SoftBank has bought back more than 250 billion yen of its shares at the end of April. It has pledged to sell down or monetize $41 billion of assets to raise cash, with its stake in Alibaba – the portfolio’s most valuable asset – seen as a likely target.Topics : SoftBank Group Corp said on Monday that Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma will resign from its board, in the latest departure by a high-profile ally of CEO Masayoshi Son.The departure of Ma, who retired as Alibaba’s executive chairman in September, comes as he pulls back from formal business roles to focus on philanthropy.SoftBank will propose three new appointments to the board, including group Chief Financial Officer Yoshimoto Goto, at its annual general meeting on June 25. The number of board members will expand to 13.last_img read more

Pandemic antibiotics surge will cause more deaths: WHO

first_imgSouth America yet to peak The novel coronavirus has infected at least 6.2 million people and killed more than 373,000 since the outbreak first emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP. WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan said that infection rates in South America were “far from stable” following a rapid increase in cases.Brazil, Peru, Chile and Mexico were among the 10 reporting the highest new number of cases in the past 24 hours.”Central and South America in particular have very much become the intense zones for transmission of this virus,” Ryan said.”I don’t believe we have reached the peak in that transmission and, at this point, I cannot predict when we will.” Disease treatment disrupted Meanwhile the WHO said the prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) had been severely disrupted since the COVID-19 pandemic began in December, following a survey of 155 countries.”This situation is of significant concern because people living with NCDs are at higher risk of severe COVID-19-related illness and death,” it said.The survey, during a three-week period in May, found that low-income countries were most affected.Some 53 percent of countries reported partially or completely disrupted services for hypertension treatment.The figure was 49 percent for diabetes treatment and related complications; 42 percent for cancer treatment, and 31 percent for cardiovascular emergencies. The most common reasons for discontinuing or reducing services were cancellations of planned treatments, a decrease in available public transport and a lack of staff because health workers had been reassigned to COVID-19 treatment. Increased antibiotics use in combating the COVID-19 pandemic will strengthen bacterial resistance and ultimately lead to more deaths during the crisis and beyond, the World Health Organization said Monday.WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said a “worrying number” of bacterial infections were becoming increasingly resistant to the medicines traditionally used to treat them.The UN health agency said it was concerned that the inappropriate use of antibiotics during the coronavirus crisis would further fuel the trend. “The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased use of antibiotics, which ultimately will lead to higher bacterial resistance rates that will impact the burden of disease and deaths during the pandemic and beyond,” Tedros told a virtual press conference from the WHO’s Geneva headquarters.The WHO said only a small proportion of COVID-19 patients needed antibiotics to treat subsequent bacterial infections.The organization has issued guidance to medics not to provide antibiotic therapy or prophylaxis to patients with mild COVID-19, or to patients with moderate illness without a clinical suspicion of bacterial infection.Tedros said the guidelines said should help tackle antimicrobial resistance while saving lives. He called the threat of antimicrobial resistance “one of the most urgent challenges of our time”.”It’s clear that the world is losing its ability to use critically important antimicrobial medicines,” he said.Highlighting inappropriate usage, he said there was an “overuse” of antibiotics in some countries, while in low-income states, such life-saving medicines were unavailable, “leading to needless suffering and death”. Mass gatherings risk The WHO warned about the dangers of mass gatherings, as protests rage in the United States and elsewhere over the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd, and as sports events begin a tentative resumption.”Mass gatherings have the potential to act as super-spreading events,” warned Tedros, highlighting WHO guidance designed to help organizers determine how such events can be held safely.The WHO was asked about the street protests in the United States and the fear that they could increase the spread of the virus.”With increasing social mixing and people coming together, particularly in areas if the virus is not under control, that close contact between people can pose a risk,” answered the organization’s COVID-19 technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove — stressing that she was speaking about mass gatherings in general.People planning mass events should undertake a “very serious, rigorous risk assessment”, she said.”Physical distancing remains a very important aspect to control and suppression of transmission of COVID-19. This is not over yet,” the expert said. Topics :last_img read more

Iran will execute a CIA agent involved in commander Soleimani’s killing

first_imgThe Pentagon said US President Donald Trump ordered the killing of Soleimani, who died in Baghdad “in a decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad.”The strike, which occurred at Baghdad’s international airport also killed the deputy chief of Iraq’s powerful Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force.Topics : An Iranian citizen who provided information to US and Israeli intelligence services about whereabouts of Iran’s slain top commander Qassem Soleiman will be executed soon, Iran’s judiciary spokesman said on Tuesday.”Mahmoud Mousavi-Majd, one of the spies for CIA and Mossad has been sentenced to death. He gave the whereabouts of martyr Soleimani to our enemies,” said Gholamhossein Esmaili in a televised news conference.On Jan. 3, a US drone strike in Iraq killed Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force.last_img read more

China offering coronavirus candidate vaccines to state workers, Global Times says

first_imgTopics : China is offering candidate vaccines for the new coronavirus to employees at state-owned firms travelling overseas, as it seeks more data on their efficacy, state media Global Times reported on Thursday.No proven vaccines have been developed yet for the virus, although mass trials for a number of candidate vaccines are expected to get underway soon in countries around the world.Employees in China can volunteer to take one of two vaccine candidates being developed by affiliates of state-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), the newspaper backed by the Communist Party reported, citing a written notice sent to the state-owned companies. It did not name the two candidate vaccines, which are being tested on more than 1,000 people each and are among five candidates China has in clinical trials that showed “no distinct adverse reaction” in the first two phases of human trials.The plan is also part of China’s effort to resume overseas projects such as the Belt and Road Initiative, a scheme to link China with Asia, Europe and beyond through large-scale infrastructure projects, according to the notice.”For better prevention and quicker recovery of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects, Sinopharm has given priority to supporting workers intending to go overseas to vaccinate for urgent needs,” it said.Before regulatory approval for sales, a vaccine normally has to go through large-scale, “Phase 3” trials to observe to what extent they provide protection against infection.center_img That ideally requires exposing people in a real-life environment with relatively high infection risk.China, where the virus first originated in late December, has seen a sharp drop in the number of new cases, making it less favorable as a late-stage clinical trial site.Vaccinating people travelling abroad, especially those going to high-risk areas, is one option for conducting a Phase 3 trial, Zhu Fengcai, deputy director of a local branch of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told financial media service Caixin in April. last_img read more

KPK detains three councilors in Jambi graft case

first_imgThe antigraft body suspects each councilor of accepting between Rp 100 million (US$7,077) and Rp 600 million, KPK deputy chairman Alexander Marwata said.“The three suspects will be detained for 20 days from June 23 to July 12 at the KPK detention center,” Alexander said during a press briefing on Tuesday, adding that they would be put in quarantine for 14 days as part of the COVID-19 health protocol.The KPK has charged the three suspects with violating articles 11 or 12 of the 2001 Corruption Law, which prohibit state officials from accepting bribes and gratuities.Read also: Zumi Zola spent illicit money on Marvel collectibles, says KPK indictment The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has detained three members of the Jambi Legislative Council for alleged graft in a case that also implicates former governor Zumi Zola Zulkifli.The three councilors are former Jambi Council speaker Cornelis Buston of the Democratic Party as well as his two former deputies: AR Syahbandar of the Gerindra Party and Chumadi Zaidi of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).The three politicians, who served as councilors between 2014 and 2019, allegedly demanded money from the regional administration in exchange for their approval of the provincial regional budget for fiscal years 2017 and 2018. In addition, they also allegedly demanded kickbacks from projects handled by the provincial administration. Alexander went on to say that the antigraft body had named 18 suspects in the case – 12 of whom had been brought to trial. One of them was Zumi, who was found guilty and sentenced to six years in prison in December 2018.Among the suspects were regional administration officials, local council members as well as businesspeople who allegedly involved in the rigged projects.The case began with a KPK operation in 2017 that led to the arrest of a legislator and three regional administration officials over alleged bribery related to the 2018 provincial budget plan.Alexander said politics had become one of the most corruption-prone sectors, as the antigraft body had arrested 184 national and regional legislative members since its formation in 2003.“This is a bad side of our democracy. The KPK strongly urges representatives in the House of Representatives and regional councils not to misuse the public’s trust for personal gain.”Topics :last_img read more

China puts half a million people in lockdown as Beijing fights new cluster

first_imgOnly one person from each family will be allowed to go out once a day to purchase necessities such as food and medicine, the county’s epidemic prevention task force said in a statement.The move comes after another 14 cases of the virus were reported in the past 24 hours in Beijing, taking the total to 311 since mid-June and spurring the testing of millions of residents.The outbreak was first detected in Beijing’s sprawling Xinfadi wholesale food market, which supplies much of the city’s fresh produce, sparking concerns over the safety of the food supply chain.Nearly a third of the cases so far have been linked to one beef and mutton section in the market, where workers are being made to quarantine for a month, city officials said Sunday. China imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people in a province surrounding the capital to contain a fresh coronavirus cluster on Sunday, as authorities warned the outbreak was still “severe and complicated.”After China largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in neighboring Hebei province in recent weeks.Health officials said Sunday that Anxin county — about 150 kilometers from Beijing — will be “fully enclosed and controlled”, the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year. Businesses in Anxin county had supplied freshwater fish to the Xinfadi market, state news agency Xinhua reported.Some 12 cases of the novel coronavirus were found in the county — including 11 linked to Xinfadi, the state-run Global Times reported.The new cases in Beijing have prompted fears of a resurgence of the virus in China.The capital has mass-tested wholesale market workers, restaurant workers, residents of medium and high-risk neighborhoods and delivery couriers over the past two weeks. At a press conference on Sunday, officials said 8.3 million samples have been collected so far, of which 7.7 million have already been tested.Testing has now expanded to include all employees of the city’s beauty parlours and hair salons, the Global Times said.Beijing city official Xu Hejian told reporters Sunday that “the epidemic situation in the capital is severe and complicated,” warning that the city needed to continue tracing the spread of the virus.City officials have urged people not to leave Beijing, closed schools again and locked down dozens of residential compounds to stamp out the virus.But Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiology expert at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters last week the new outbreak had been “brought under control”, and officials lifted a weeks-long lockdown imposed on seven Beijing communities on Friday.Topics :last_img read more

N. Korea reports first suspected infection as global cases top 16 million

first_imgNo fireworks Around a quarter of the world’s 16 million confirmed COVID-19 cases are in the United States, which recorded more than 68,000 new infections in the past 24 hours.After a drop in transmission rates in late spring, the country has seen a virus surge — particularly in California, Florida and Texas, which is also bracing for the first Atlantic hurricane of the year.Daily US fatalities have exceeded 1,000 for the past four days, rapidly increasing the country’s death toll to more than 146,000.”I’m still concerned that America doesn’t take it as seriously as the rest of the world,” said British golf star Lee Westwood, voicing his hesitation to travel there despite a new quarantine exemption for professional golfers.In Latin America and the Caribbean, which also count for a quarter of total cases, governments are not planning a return to normality any time soon.New Year’s Eve celebrations on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro have been cancelled as Brazil grapples with a spiraling virus crisis.”There is no great reason to celebrate, with more than 80,000 deaths” from coronavirus in Brazil, an official told AFP. Holiday woes Meanwhile Europe has reported around three million infections — despite being largely open for summer holidays within the continent.However in a snap decision, Britain’s government said passengers arriving from Spain will have to self-isolate for two weeks, after a surge in cases in the Mediterranean country, with health officials pointing to nightlife as a possible culprit.The move, effective from Sunday, has reportedly caught out its Transport Minister Grant Shapps who is holidaying there.”Various government ministers would have known in advance there was a possibility of imposing a quarantine on holidaymakers returning from Spain,” tweeted opposition MP Diane Abbot.”But apparently no-one bothered to tell @grantshapps,” she joked.It marked another hit to Spain’s tourism industry, which is desperately seeking a rebound after lockdowns and border closures pushed around 13 percent of bars, hotels and restaurants to permanently close.It mirrors the fiscal pain wrought around the world by the pandemic, particularly in precarious economies where livelihoods are fast crumbling.In India, for instance, millions of migrant workers who fled cities when COVID-19 hit say they are too scared to return.Asia’s third largest economy has reported more than 1.3 million virus cases and is the third worst hit country behind the US and Brazil.”We are trying our best to bring back migrant workers, even going to the extent of giving them air tickets, COVID-19 health insurance … [and] weekly checkups by doctors,” real estate developer Rajesh Prajapati said.”But it has not reaped any positive signs yet.” North Korea declared its first suspected coronavirus case on Sunday, becoming one of the last countries to do so as the number of people infected worldwide passed 16 million.The isolated, impoverished state had until now insisted it had not detected a single COVID-19 case — even as the pandemic swept the planet, overwhelming health systems and trashing the global economy.At least 645,000 people around the world have succumbed to the respiratory disease, with North Korean arch-rival the United States the worst-hit country by far. “The vicious virus could be said to have entered the country,” leader Kim Jong Un said, according to the official KCNA news agency.Authorities locked down the city of Kaesong, near the frontier with South Korea, as state media said a defector who left for the South three years ago had returned and was suspected to be infected with the coronavirus.But experts believe the contagion is likely to have already entered North Korea from neighboring China, where the new disease emerged late last year.The pandemic’s spread is still accelerating, with more than five million cases declared since July — a third of the total number of cases since the catastrophe began.center_img Even in recent days there has been an alarming uptick in infections, including in places that had appeared to have controlled their outbreaks.One of those was Australia, which on Sunday suffered its deadliest day since the pandemic began, with 10 fatalities and a rise in new infections despite an intense lockdown effort.”These things change rapidly, but we have to say these numbers are far too high,” said Daniel Andrews, premier of Victoria state, where the latest outbreak is centered. Topics :last_img read more

Astra aims to maintain majority market share amid plunging car sales

first_img“The automotive segment contributes around 30 to 40 percent to Astra’s bottom line, so we will likely see further contraction in the bottom line despite the economic recovery,” Koneksi Kapital analyst Alfred Nainggolan said, expecting the profit shrink to continue until year-end due to the low vehicle sales.However, the situation is expected to only be temporary with Alfred believing that the company has the opportunity to grow in 2021 due to improving automotive sales, rising crude palm oil (CPO) prices and growing property business.Astra, which has over 230 subsidiaries working under seven business segments, reported a 23 percent annual decline in revenue to Rp 89.8 trillion (US$6.19 billion) as of June 30. Its net profit, excluding revenue from the sale of Bank Permata shares, nosedived 44 percent annually to Rp 5.5 trillion. Net profit in the company’s automotive segment crashed 79 percent yoy to Rp 716 billion, making it the third-largest contributor to the conglomerate’s net profit, after having contributed the most in June last year.Astra director Johannes Loman expected the company’s motorcycle sales to fall 40 to 45 percent this year. This means Astra projects to sell a total of 2.7 million to 2.95 million motorcycles this year from last year’s 4.91 million units.The pandemic has also affected Astra’s financing business. Director Suparno Djasmin said the company’s financial services subsidiaries had restructured a total of Rp 30 trillion in loans from 1 million customers as of July.“Most of the restructured credits were coming from motorcycle ownership loans because the pandemic disrupted customers’ ability to repay their loans,” he said.He said the rate of loan restructuring had slowed down since June following the government’s decision to ease the PSBB.Astra, a publicly listed company, currently has no plan to expand its businesses despite gaining a significant profit from the sale of its stake at Bank Permata to Bangkok Bank.Bangkok Bank acquired in May a 89.12 percent stake in Bank Permata from Astra and United Kingdom-based Standard Chartered Bank for Rp 33.66 trillion, 1.63 times Bank Permata’s book value. “We are focusing on strengthening our balance sheet, but we are always open if a good opportunity presents itself,” Astra president director Djony Bunarto Tjondro said on Monday.The company announced in June that it halved capital expenditure to between Rp 10 trillion and Rp 11 trillion this year as part of its effort to conserve cash.Astra International shares, traded with the code ASII at the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX), had lost 23.47 percent of its value so far this year. The company’s share prices jumped 0.94 percent as of 2:02 p.m. Jakarta time on Tuesday to Rp 5,350 apiece.Topics : Diversified conglomerate PT Astra International is aiming to maintain its car market share at 52 percent this year despite the automotive market’s sluggish performance during the pandemic.The Association of Indonesian Automotive Manufacturers (Gaikindo) has projected that this year’s car wholesales will only reach 600,000 units, a 42 percent plunge compared to last year’s number, as the outbreak hits purchasing power.“We still intend to keep our share at the same rate as last year despite the slump,” Astra director Henry Tanoto said during a virtual press briefing on Monday. This means that Astra expects to sell around 300,000 cars this year, well below Astra’s total car sales in 2019 at 536,402.The market share of Astra, which has around half its revenue sourced from its automotive business, plunged to just 31 percent in May, when national car sales plummeted 95.7 percent year-on-year (yoy) to 3,500 cars following the introduction of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) to contain the coronavirus spread. Astra usually dominates the market with a share of around 50 percent.Its market share slowly recovered in June to 38 percent and 40 percent in July in line with rebounds in sales nationwide. At least 25,283 cars were sold in July across the country, higher than 12,623 in June but far lower than 89,254 cars in July last year, according to Gaikindo data compiled by Astra.Head of investor relations Tira Ardianti said the company had prepared several strategies to maintain its market share. The strategies include strengthening its product lines with new and revamped models and providing the best customer experience from presales to after-sales, she told The Jakarta Post on Monday. last_img read more

All September matches to be broadcast live in UK, says Premier League

first_imgTopics : All 28 Premier League matches scheduled to be played in September will be broadcast live in the United Kingdom, the league announced on Tuesday after a shareholders meeting.The new season kicks off on Saturday with eight matches on the opening weekend and the clubs agreed they will be broadcast via Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon Prime Video and the BBC.All matches are being played without any spectators in attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Sky Sports and BT Sport have already selected 17 matches for live broadcast for the first three match rounds of the 2020-21 season,” the Premier League said in a statement.”Of the remaining 11 matches, Sky Sports will broadcast an additional six, BT Sport a further three and BBC and Amazon Prime Video one each.”The season kicks off with Arsenal’s visit to newly-promoted Fulham while title holders Liverpool host Leeds United who won the second-tier Championship last season.The league said they were also in discussions with BBC Radio and talkSPORT for a similar solution for radio and were talking to stakeholders about arrangements for matches from October.Manchester City and Manchester United are not involved in matches on the opening weekend due to their participation in the latter stages of last season’s Champions League and Europa League respectively, which only ended last month. last_img read more

Locals cut up dying beached whale shark for consumption in West Java

first_imgLocals and fishermen have cut up a dying whale shark stranded on Ciwidig Beach, Cianjur regency, West Java for consumption. The residents found the 7-meter-long shark swimming in shallow waters near the beach on Sept. 24 and pulled it to the beach.They then reportedly sliced up the 1 ton dying shark on the beach and took the meat home for consumption.Technical management unit (UPTD) head of the Cidaun Fishery Agency, Eli Muslihat, said fishermen living around Cidaun coastal areas had not been out to the open seas for days due to bad weather.”Seeing a huge whale shark stranded on the beach, they immediately used the opportunity to get something to eat,” Eli said as reported by also: Beached dwarf sperm whale cut up, extracted for oil in Bali”Their financial situation has worsened due to the pandemic and bad weather exacerbates the problem,” she added. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has included the whale shark on its red list of threatened species, calling it “endangered”. The species’ population is believed to have decreased by more than 50 percent over the last 75 years.Indonesia, through the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry, lists the whale shark as a protected animal as its population continues to decrease due to massive hunting. (nal)Topics :last_img read more