West Java traces additional COVID-19 cases in two major clusters

first_imgHealth authorities in West Java are tracking additional COVID-19 cases belonging to two major clusters in the province.West Java Health Agency secretary Siska Gerfianti said the two clusters emanated from a religious seminar held by Bethel Church of Indonesia (GBI) in Lembang in March and the National Police’s Officer Candidate School in Sukabumi.“We found one [additional] positive COVID-19 case from the GBI cluster. [The patient] works in a factory and has possibly given the virus to other people. Rapid testing of several people in the factory shows that some have tested positive. We suggested the factory be closed,” Siska said. She added that some students of the officer school had returned to their respective hometowns, although they had previously been quarantined after some tested positive during an earlier round of rapid testing.“We found five COVID-19 transmission chains in this cluster. We have to really pay attention to this cluster because of its high potential for disease transmission,” Siska said.The health agency has detected five COVID-19 clusters in the province. In addition to the Lembang and Sukabumi clusters, there is a cluster from an anti-riba (usury) seminar, a cluster from a religious seminar held by the Protestant Churches of Western Indonesia (GPIB) in Bogor and a cluster from a West Java Youth Entrepreneur Forum in Karawang.Read also: Jakarta’s satellite areas extend COVID-19 curbs for second time, with stricter rules The agency also recorded an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in several cities and regencies in the province, including Sukabumi, Banjar, Karawang and Garut.“There are 11 chains of local transmission spread throughout 11 districts in Karawang. We also detected a cluster in Garut as a result of Bangladesh nationals [who had COVID-19] visiting the city.”West Java has performed 113,000 rapid tests out of its target of 300,000 as of the time of the writing. It has also conducted 2,999 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests daily. The total daily capacity of the eight laboratories in the province currently capable of performing PCR tests is 5,838.Health agency head Berli Hamdani said the poor quality of the testing kits had caused them to spend more time and use more reagents to verify test results.“The newly opened laboratories are still using manual extraction methods with a limited number of operators,” said Berli. “Our laboratories need more reagents – especially for PCR testing – and other equipment to extract swab samples from people.”The West Java administration is preparing 11 laboratories, in addition to the current 8, for COVID-19 PCR testing. (dpk)Topics :last_img read more

Governor Wolf Announces Disaster Relief Funding Available for Philadelphia, Delaware County Farms

first_img Environment,  Human Services,  Press Release,  Public Health,  Weather Safety Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today notified farmland owners in Philadelphia and Delaware counties that they are eligible to receive disaster relief funding from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).“This year was unprecedented and unpredictable, with weather conditions that challenged farmers across the state,” said Governor Wolf. “This funding will be crucial to help those producers protect their investments and recoup some of their losses. I encourage anyone eligible in Philadelphia or Delaware counties to apply for this valuable federal relief.”The funding will help with losses caused by disasters that occurred during the 2018 crop year, such as excessive heat and drought. It is the result of a Secretarial disaster declaration and can include emergency loans from the federal Farm Service Agency (FSA).Eligible farmers can apply for loans for up to eight months after a Secretarial disaster declaration, and should contact their local FSA office for assistance. More information on USDA’s disaster assistance program, including county lists and maps, can be found at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov. Governor Wolf Announces Disaster Relief Funding Available for Philadelphia, Delaware County Farms November 08, 2018center_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

Spanish pension funds return 2.7% over 2016

first_imgAt the end of December, total assets under management for the occupational pensions sector stood at €35.4bn, a reduction of 0.3% over the past year. The number of participants in the occupational system remained stable at just over 2m.For Spanish pension funds as a whole, the continuing shift away from domestic assets accelerated towards the year-end: they formed 57.2% of portfolios at end-December 2016, compared with 62.5% at end-September.Non-domestic holdings grew from 22.8% at end-September 2016 to 26.3% three months later.There was a similar shift from fixed income to equities during the final quarter of the year, although a large factor was the relative outperformance of equities over the period.Fixed income investments made up 54.3% of portfolios at the end of the year, down 3.3 percentage points since end-September. This compares with 27.2% invested in equities, an increase of 3.5 percentage points over September.Of this, 9.6% is in Spanish shares, with 17.6% in non-domestic shares.However, the biggest single component of pension fund portfolios – 29.4% – is still invested in Spanish government bonds, with a further 16.2% in dometic corporate bonds.David Cienfuegos, head of investment for Spain at Willis Towers Watson, said:  “Clearly the trend is towards lower returns, and given the current state of the global economy, we believe it will be lower for longer.” He said the best-performing assets during 2016 for the firm’s Spanish pension fund clients had been the more illiquid ones such as private equity, infrastructure, and private debt. Clients using larger managers with global exposure also saw a boost to returns.Cienfuegos added: “More traditional asset classes had a difficult year, and in equities there were concerns about China’s slowdown, although the rally in the last few weeks of 2016 helped performance.”According to Cienfuegos, there is now a divide within Spanish occupational pension funds between those that have stayed within traditional asset classes, and those that have diversified into assets such as alternative credit and private markets.“We are now starting to see divergences in performance,” he said. “Those funds – generally the larger ones – who have done their homework and are diversifying into alternatives had returns around 4-5% in 2016, rather than the industry average of 2.7%.”Cienfuegos said that one of the main concerns in terms of risk management for his firm’s clients was currency exposure within global mandates, especially in US dollars.He said: “The cost of hedging has increased dramatically because of the divergence between US dollar and euro interest rates, with the difference of about 1.5% on any US dollar exposure.”Cienfuegos said large pension funds are now reviewing their currency hedging policies and considering how they can hedge without the increased cost.Meanwhile, preliminary estimates from Mercer’s Pension Investment Performance Service (PIPS) gave a more upbeat picture of performance, with a 3.6% investment return for Spanish pension funds over the 2016 calendar year.The PIPS covers a large sample of pension funds, most of them occupational schemes.Over the calendar year, within the sample universe equities outperformed fixed income by a wide margin. Non-euro-zone equities did best with a return of 14%, while euro-zone equities made 4.1%. Fixed income returned 2.8%.However, the month of December had seen an upsurge in euro-zone performance, with a 7.9% return for euro-zone equities, compared with 2.2% for non-euro-zone equities. Spain’s occupational pension funds made average returns of 2.74% over the 2016 calendar year, according to the country’s Investment and Pension Fund Association (INVERCO).This compares with a 3.48% return for the 12 months to end-September, and is also lower than the 2.88% for calendar 2015.However, INVERCO pointed out that this performance was achieved in spite of the periods of uncertainty that dominated the markets throughout the year. Equities performed well towards the end of 2016, the association added.Average annualised returns for Spanish occupational funds were 4.28% for the three years to 31 December 2016, and 5.76% for the five years to that date.last_img read more

Trojans fall to the Cardinal, lose 20th game this season

first_imgThe USC men’s basketball team lost its fourth consecutive game on Sunday, falling to the Stanford Cardinal (17-8, 7-6) 59-47. USC’s defeat was their 20th of the season, the first time the Trojans have lost at least 20 games since 1989, when they finished 10-22.For the second time in four days, the Trojans (6-20, 1-12) played a competitive first 20 minutes but were unable to keep up with their opponents in the second half.USC trailed 20-18 going into the break after forcing 10 turnovers and holding Stanford to an 8-24 shooting performance. But the Trojans didn’t fare any better, shooting 7-24 (29 percent) in the first half and 15-48 (31 percent) for the game. They were outscored 39-29 in the second half of play.“We played pretty hard, but when you’re not making, you’re not making,” USC coach Kevin O’Neill said. “When you force 18 turnovers and basically hold them to 40 percent shooting, that’s enough to win only if you score.”USC received 13 points apiece from junior guard Greg Allen and freshman forward Byron Wesley. Wesley, however, was just 1-6 from the floor after pacing the Trojans with 10 early points.“They made defensive changes,” Wesley said. “They switched to zone in the second half. That slowed me down a bit.”USC’s leading scorer of the season, sophomore guard Maurice Jones, struggled offensively, finishing 2-14 and 6-7 at the free throw line en route to 10 points.“Mo’s shots when he’s at the point are not nearly as good of shots for him when he’s off the ball,” O’Neill said. “He had a lot of wide-open looks that didn’t go down. The guy’s got to be fatigued, let’s face it, playing that amount of minutes all year long as a sophomore.”Stanford was led by freshman guard Chasson Randle’s 16 points, while senior forward Josh Owens added 15 points and five rebounds of his own. Coach Johnny Dawkins utilized his entire roster on Sunday, as Owens was the only Cardinal player on the court for more than 30 minutes.USC, meanwhile, had six players with at least 20 minutes of playing time, a point O’Neill made after the game.“Every one of these guys is playing too many minutes,” O’Neill said. “They’re doing as well as they can.”The Trojans have two days to prepare for their cross-town rivals, the UCLA Bruins, whom they will face Wednesday night at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. The Bruins (14-11, 7-6) lost their previous game on Feb. 11 to the Cal Golden Bears, 73-63.Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Prime Ticket.last_img read more