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Kneeling players show courage of convictions

first_img“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial ‘outside agitator’ idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.You deplore the demonstrations taking place… But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes.” — Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.These words from Dr. King are as relevant today as they were on April 16, 1963, when he wrote his very necessary letter from a Birmingham jail after he was incarcerated for peacefully protesting injustice. In solidarity, he protested, understanding that the injustice experienced by one should be shared by all. It’s this spirit of Dr. King that was evident in a few Niskayuna High School football players and a cheerleader who courageously kneeled in solidarity against injustice.In solidarity, we wish to applaud these young leaders. It’s their courage that lets us know that there’s hope for our world. Niskayuna High School may have had a lower score on the scoreboard that night, but Niskayuna High School won. To cultivate minds that unite in solidarity against injustice is to win.Stay encouraged, beautiful spirited young people. We, too, hope that one day, liberty and justice really will be “for all.” Let us all continue to move forward to make this dream a reality for all.Deb PrivottJay PrivottNiskayunaMore from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Niskayuna girls’ cross country wins over BethlehemEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the census Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

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Shaking up and shipping out

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Why did they leave?

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Stuck in the middle

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Insignia wins Olympic gold

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Regal proceedings

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Why rational people are panic buying as coronavirus spreads

first_imgThe worldwide spread of the novel coronavirus is leading to some curious side effects: Store shelves are being stripped bare from Singapore to Seattle. Supermarkets in the UK have started rationing items. In Hong Kong a delivery man was reportedly robbed at knife-point of hundreds of toilet-paper rolls. Australia has seen brawls break out at supermarkets prompting police to taser one man. And France effectively nationalized all production of face masks after people began depleting the supply.Panic buying has emerged as reliable a feature of the coronavirus epidemic as a fever or dry cough.Psychologists view control as a fundamental human need. With a disease that’s highly infectious and can turn deadly, this epidemic violates a sense of control in fundamental ways. Unless policy makers can find a way to restore that feeling, the cycle of panic buying, hoarding and scarcity only stands to escalate. “People are really not equipped psychologically to process this type of thing,” said Andrew Stephen, a marketing professor at the University of Oxford’s Said Business School. “So that just makes it worse for a lot of people in terms of uncertainty, and then they do whatever they need to do to try and get back some control.”The panic buying is already threatening to do real damage. The US Surgeon General has pleaded with Americans to stop buying face masks to ensure that health care workers have them, while Japan has said it will introduce penalties for reselling masks. EBay Inc. banned new listings for health products after instances of price gouging became common, with packs of hand sanitizer that usually sell for US$10 popping up for $400.And the prospect of extended confinement at home has sent people scrambling for other items. Oat milk has become a hot commodity due to its longer shelf life than dairy-based products, survivalist gear popularized on the National Geographic show “Doomsday Preppers” is in demand and Hostess Brands Inc. reports sales of their famously indestructible snack, the Twinkie, are soaring.Early panic As one of the first places the virus touched down, Hong Kong in late January became a case study in how panic buying can escalate. When Rona Lai, a 23-year-old who works in financial services, was first asked by her employer to work from home, she stocked up on about a week’s worth of food. But as reports coming out of China grew more dire and supermarket shelves ran dry, she began hoarding food in earnest.Then the rumors started that Hong Kong’s supply of toilet paper would be affected by the epidemic spreading in China, from where the city imports most of its goods. So when Lai noticed stores were being cleared of toilet paper, too, she joined the buying. Now boxes of toilet rolls take up her entire sofa, and tissue paper, detergents and snacks are stacked under her dining table. ”I readied myself for a protracted war against the virus,” she said.Similar panic buying often precedes snow storms and typhoons, but the global nature of the coronavirus’ spread — along with access to information facilitated by social media — means hysteria today is traveling in ways not seen in previous epidemics, like the 2003 SARS outbreak caused by a similar virus.The disease’s spread to more countries seems to be being accompanied by the rumors from Hong Kong about impending toilet paper shortages, for instance. It wasn’t long after coronavirus cases started appearing in Singapore that toilet paper started disappearing. In Australia a growing number of people have racked up charges related to toilet paper induced fighting, as hashtags #toiletpapergate and #toiletpapercrisis have trended.“Even people who were queuing up in the supermarket line to buy toilet paper, they have no idea why they are buying toilet paper,” said Andy Yap, a professor of organizational behavior at the Singapore campus of INSEAD business school. “They just see other people doing it and start doing it themselves because they are afraid they might lose out.”Quelling this kind of panic can mean assuring people there’s enough toilet paper for everyone, but more important may be making people believe the situation in general is under control, Yap said. Perhaps no government has done as good a job of that so far as Singapore’s.Seeking calmThough the city state initially had bare shelves, too, things returned to normal after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong released a video message outlining steps residents could take to prevent the virus’ spread. He assured them there was sufficient supply of basic goods and said the disease appeared less deadly than the SARS epidemic. Following the message, extensive control measures were rolled out.“This is information that gives people control again,” Yap said. “And now we know transmission isn’t that widespread, people are going out.”Other countries have been less effective at imparting this message. Chinese officials were slow to report the outbreak. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe abruptly abandoned his initially mild approach in a shock announcement urging schools to close, sending parents into a frenzy. Iran’s deputy health minister appeared on television to downplay the virus’ threat, even as he showed visible signs of infection.Whether these governments can bounce back to inspire confidence will depend not just on their leaders’ decisions, but also the characteristics of their respective countries. Sociologists rate various countries on metrics like how individualistic or communal their people are, how much trust they generally have for each other and their government, said Amy Dalton, a marketing professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology who studies consumer psychology. More communal societies, where people have a lot of trust in each other and their government, like Singapore, are better equipped to deal with things like epidemics.On the other hand, “this every-man-for-himself thing is really going to be exacerbated in the US,” she said. “They’re low trust, they’re very individualistic, and of course, they have no faith in their government.”Topics :last_img read more

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PREMIUMAnies unimpressed as City Council sets up special committee on flood mitigation

first_imgGoogle Topics : Forgot Password ? Facebook Linkedin Log in with your social account Although opinions were divided at first, Jakarta’s councilors have finally come to an agreement on forming a special committee for flood mitigation amid public criticism over the weak measures taken to prevent the recent floods in the capital.City Council speaker Prasetio Edi Marsudi approved the formation of the committee during a meeting on Feb. 24. The committee will start work after a confirmation hearing for Jakarta’s new deputy governor on March 23.The city councilors claimed the formation of the special committee was not intended as a rebuke to Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan regarding his handling of the recent floods but rather was aimed at helping the governor find better solutions.Anies, meanwhile, appeared unimpressed with the council’s decision, claiming his administration had organized mitigation programs and was still focusing on the… LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here flood-mitigation Jakarta-flood Jakarta-council DPRD anies-baswedan committee flood-class-action flood-control PUPR South-Tangeranglast_img read more

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Jokowi nixes lockdown, opts for mass testing

first_img“I am instructing hospitals to devise a clear contingency plan while we accelerate construction of the COVID-19 hospital on Galang Island in the Riau Islands,” he said.The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), which has spearheaded the government’s fast-response team to contain COVID-19, will roll out rapid test procedures and ask stakeholders, such as private hospitals and research institutions, to identify possible cases as soon as possible.Read also: COVID-19: Does Indonesia need a lockdown? It depends on how you define itThe agency asserted that the country was not in a lockdown but that the government would push people to be more disciplined in practicing social distancing. “We have to comply with the central government. The President will not give lockdown status,” said BNPB head Doni Monardo. “Social distancing is enough. If it is obeyed then we can limit transmission. If it is not being followed faithfully then any measures [taken to contain the disease] will not succeed.”Experts have expressed their support of the government’s plan to implement rapid testing procedures but have added that it will not be enough to properly contain the virus.Nurul Nadia Luntungan, a public health expert at the Center for Indonesia’s Strategic Development Initiatives said that for regions with apparent community transmission, such as Jakarta, a partial lockdown could be imposed in parallel with mass testing efforts. Nurul considered a lockdown necessary to prevent the virus from spreading within the city and into more regions across the country, given the high mobility of people in Jakarta.She added that the dual measure would aim to flatten the curve of COVID-19 transmission, meaning that the outbreak would be slowed down, thereby lowering the possibility of transmission to high-risk populations and easing the burden on the country’s already limited healthcare system. “We have now seen a spike in cases in healthcare facilities, and after discussing with medical workers on the field, they’ve expressed their worry about the lack of safety and protective gear.”Ahmad Utomo, an investigator at the Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute in Jakarta said that a lockdown would be necessary to “buy time” as the government was only now trying to fix its diagnostic procedures by implementing rapid tests.He said that in addition to the new measure, which he considered too late, the government should still import more PCR test kits as it could not rely solely on rapid tests for containment efforts. Rapid tests, however, could be usefully implemented at entry points to the country, he added, as results would be available quickly and the kits were cheaper than those for PCR testing.Read also: Indonesia to welcome foreign help in support of nationwide COVID-19 rapid testsPanji Fortuna Hadisoemarto, an epidemiologist at Padjajaran University, said that rapid testing would only effectively suppress transmission if follow-up measures, such as isolation for positive cases and massive contact tracing, were undertaken.Details of patients’ travel history, he said, should also be disclosed to the public, so that those in contact could self-isolate or report themselves to further suppress transmission. Such data could also be used to determine whether a lockdown should be implemented, as such a measure had been proven to slow transmission elsewhere, Panji said.The Jakarta administration, meanwhile, is conducting a campaign to enhance social distancing by working with subdistrict heads to ensure that no mass gatherings occur in the province and that all residents are informed about the virus and prevention methods.Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan also announced the postponement for two weeks of Friday mass prayers for Muslims and church services for Christians in Jakarta.Topics : President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has ruled out the possibility of imposing a lockdown on the virus-stricken capital and has instead ordered mass testing to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which has claimed thousands of lives worldwide.The decision has come at a critical time for Indonesia, which now finds itself in danger of a massive outbreak that could overwhelm hospitals and medical officers, just a short time after government health authorities claimed that the nation of 270 million people was free of the virus.Up until Thursday, Indonesia recorded 309 cases with 25 deaths, the highest toll in Southeast Asia, a region that was mistakenly thought to be less prone to the lethal virus due to its tropical climate. Nearly 70 percent of COVID-19 deaths in the country have been recorded in Jakarta, according to the Jakarta administration.    “I demand rapid tests be carried out across the country for early detection of infection,” Jokowi said during a limited meeting at the State Palace on Thursday. “I also want more test kits to be distributed to medical laboratories and more laboratories to conduct the tests.”Read also: People with COVID-19 symptoms still need to perform full tests: Health MinistryRapid tests are easier to perform than regular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. They require only blood serum as a sample, meaning the tests could be performed at all health laboratories across the country. Everyone, whether they have shown COVID-19 symptoms or not, could be tested.During the meeting, the President urged hospitals to prepare contingency plans in case they were overwhelmed by patients. Hospitals have been advised to use the athletes’ apartment complex in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, which can accommodate 15,000 people, and state-owned hotels as emergency wards.last_img read more

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Starbucks closures can’t stop coffee’s massive rally. Here’s why.

first_imgBrazil, the world’s top exporter of arabica beans, won’t start the 2020-21 harvest until May. Colombia is the second-largest arabica supplier, followed by Honduras.In Honduras, exporters have special government authorization to continue operating and “are doing so” said Miguel Pon, executive director of Adecafeh, the country’s main exporter association.“The government has extended the absolute curfew until March 29 and this week will be crucial to learn of new cases of COVID-19 and what new determinations the government will make,” he said.Central American countries “have very little coffee,” said Ernesto Alvarez, managing director for Coex Coffee International in Miami. “I see a problem that is now getting worse. Coffee inventory is flying.”While a Colombian presidential decree states that people involved in agricultural supply chains have free mobility, some mayors are contravening that, said Manuel Rueda, general manager of Integra Trading SAS.“It may take some time to sort out all the details that surround this mandate,” he said, adding that the company “will try to continue operating as usual and continue to monitor how everything is evolving.”The labor concerns aren’t restricted to farm workers. In Brazil, for example, stevedores at the giant Santos port are threatening to strike.“As Latin American countries feel the ripple effect of the virus grow into bigger waves, our market is exposed,” said Alex Boughton, a broker at Sucden Financial in London. “Supply concerns are still prevalent, and that’s not going to go away any time soon.” Coffee is defying the global market rout fueled by the coronavirus outbreak partly amid signs that traders are encouraging consumers to secure supplies ahead of possible disruptions. Also helping are comments by the exchange that it can’t ensure the sampling and grading process will be completed in time for the expiry of May contracts.Now possible labor disruptions — particularly where bean picking is labor intensive such as Central America and Colombia — are giving further price support. In recent years, Venezuelan migrants have become an important part of the Colombian workforce. Now that border has closed.“So far things are okay, but the harvest is yet to start,” said Roberto Velez, chief executive officer at the Colombian Federation of Coffee Growers, referring to the mid-crop collected from April. “We are yet to coordinate with authorities on permission for pickers to move freely.”Even coffee supplies are under threat amid global transport woes. Topics :center_img Not even Starbucks Corp. closing most of its US and Canadian locations is enough to damp coffee’s rally as potential supply disruptions outweigh demand concerns.With more governments enacting nationwide lockdowns and many people staying home, there’s growing fears that labor and logistical interruptions will curb the flow of beans.Arabica coffee for delivery in May was up 2.8% at 11:57 a.m. in New York, heading for a fifth straight gain to the highest level since early January.last_img read more