‘Indonesia’s new capital city will be very special,’ Tony Blair says

first_imgFormer British prime minister Tony Blair has said he is confident Indonesia’s new capital city will be a special place, describing the capital relocation plan as an outstanding vision for Indonesia as well as an inspiration for the whole world.“I think the project is enormously exciting. It’s going to be a project that doesn’t just mean creating a new capital city, but a capital city that is going to be very special in the way that it’s developed,” Blair said after a meeting with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Friday.The former British prime minister has been appointed to join the steering committee for the new capital city development project, alongside SoftBank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son and United Arab Emirates (UAE) Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed al Nahyan. What would make the new city special, Blair went on to say, was the fact it would be built by not only prioritizing environmental considerations, but also the country’s economic growth and development.“The President’s vision for this capital city is one in which the city itself is going to be attractive. It’s going to be a place where people want to come, live and to work, [and] also a capital city that is able to offer a whole new dimension to the Indonesian economy,” he said. Read also: Foreign, local investors lining up to help develop Indonesia’s new capital city, says LuhutCoordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan announced after Friday’s meeting that the government would work with American engineering company AECOM, consulting firm McKinsey & Company and Japanese architectural and engineering firm Nikken Sekkei to design the new capital city.The new capital city, which is set to be located in East Kalimantan, is to be designed with the latest technology and an environmentally friendly concept.The government stated earlier that the project would cost Rp 466 trillion (US$ 34.06 billion), with one-fifth of the funds to come from the state budget.The UAE government is also prepared to invest $22.8 billion in the project through a sovereign wealth fund, alongside SoftBank and the United States International Development Finance Corporation. (dpk)Topics :last_img read more

West Sumatra reports first COVID-19 case, linked to Malaysia’s mass prayer

first_imgThe mayor separately informed the public about the findings on his Instagram account @ramlannurmatias, where he also mentioned the death of another patient who had been under observation for COVID-19. The patient was a resident of Solok Selatan regency, also in West Sumatra. He died on Wednesday afternoon. Authorities, he further said, had contacted the patient’s family members and screened them for testing and isolation.”We’re tracing the patient’s travel history as well to identify others who have interacted with her recently,” he added.Read also: How a 16,000-strong religious gathering led Malaysia to lockdownA number of Indonesian citizens who participated in the mass prayer in Malaysia have tested positive for the life-threatening respiratory illness. Malaysia itself has reported hundreds of COVID-19 cases connected to the event, which was attended by roughly 16,000 people from various countries. The administration of Bukittinggi in West Sumatra announced its first case of COVID-19 on Thursday, saying it was related to a massive Islamic gathering in neighboring Malaysia.The patient is a 48-year-old woman whose husband had returned from Malaysia after participating in the four-day gathering held near Kuala Lumpur from Feb. 27 to March 1.She was admitted to the Dr. Achmad Mochtar General Hospital Bukittinggi on March 21, and her test result came back positive on Thursday, Bukittinggi Mayor Ramlan Nurmatias said.center_img “I call on all Bukittinggi residents to refrain from going outside their houses to break the transmission chain. Please practice social distancing,” the mayor said, adding that he would ban any mass gatherings in the meantime.As of Thursday afternoon, five cases of COVID-19 have been detected in West Sumatra, according to a statement released by the provincial administration, two in Bukittinggi and one each in Padang city, Tanah Datar regency and South Pesisir regency.On Monday, Governor Irwan Prayitno issued a circular calling on West Sumatra natives living in other regions not to return home for now so as to curb the spread of COVID-19. West Sumatrans are known for their aptitude to travel outside of the province to other areas of the archipelago. Many of them work as merchants selling various products in their new places of residence.Topics :last_img read more

Student association hosts panel on US-Iran relations

first_imgOn Thursday, the USC  International Relations Undergraduate Association hosted a panel discussing the United States’ renewed engagement with Iran, “US-Iran Relations: Into a New Era,” featuring Muhammad Sahimi, chair of the National Iranian Oil Company and professor of chemical engineering and materials science at the Viterbi School of Engineering.Tension · Panelist Muhammad Sahimi (second to right), discussed the tenuous relationship between the United States and Iran. – Kevin Fohrer | Daily TrojanThe event was hosted in conjunction with USC Model United Nations and the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics and moderated by student Luke Phillips of MUNSC. Other panelists included USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences undergraduate students Shikhar Gupta and Mustafa Zaffer, both of MUN.Sahimi began the discussion with a background on the tenuous relationship between the United States and Iran over the issue of Iran’s nuclear program. He stated that though Iran’s nuclear program was initially supported by the United States under President Dwight Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” program, the new Iranian government  ended nuclear activities after the 1979 Iranian Revolution.Sahimi gave a personal anecdote about how the politics of the time affected his own studies in the United States.“I came actually to this country with a promised scholarship from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran,” Sahimi said. “I came here to study to get my Ph.D. and go back to work for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. But when I came to this country, it was fall of 1978, and that was just when the Iranian Revolution was gathering steam. So in February of 1979, the Iranian government overthrew the regime of the Shah and I never got my scholarship.”Sahimi shared a candid view on the sometimes-controversial rhetoric from current Iranian leaders.“Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [the former president of Iran] was a radical,” Sahimi said. “He started using very fierce and hot rhetoric against the West, and talked about— stupidly, I must say — Israel, and he denied historical facts like the Holocaust.”Phillips asked Sahimi about the international community’s assertions that Iran intends to develop nuclear weapons. Iran has claimed that its program is for peaceful purposes only.“These are not things that one can talk about with 100 percent  certainty,” Sahimi said. “If someone put a gun to my head and said, ‘Would you guarantee with 100 percent  certainty that Iran never used its nuclear technology to research or develop nuclear weapons?’ I would say, ‘Pull the trigger,’ because I cannot guarantee it.”Sahimi maintained, however, that though Iran might have had a nuclear weapons program in the past, current reports suggest that there is no proof of such a program in place.“All evidence suggests that Iran actually never took any practical steps to develop nuclear weapons,” he said.The panelists suggested that the nuclear issue may be tied to hegemony in the Middle East.“I think other countries around Iran have been voicing their opinion, to the U.S. especially, that if Iran is capable towards going to a nuclear bomb, would that not start an arms race? If Iran needs a bomb, it’s in the case of deterrents to Israel,” Zaffer said.Gupta agreed and stated that Iran and Israel were engaged in power politics within the region.“Iran has a lot to offer with such a young and educated populace with vast natural resources,” Gupta said.He also believed that economic issues played a role in the Iran-Israel relationship.“Should Iran become a country that has gotten western legitimacy, then that would be a lot for Israel to worry about,” Gupta said. “Because with all that present in Iran, that would mean the U.S. would start investing money [in] Iran and that would mean money pulled away from the large amount of investment in Israel.”Andre Gray, a freshman majoring in economics (mathematics) and international relations, was interested in potential economic effects in the region.“Something I found particularly interesting was the discussion on economic stability of the Middle East and especially the contributions of countries like Saudi Arabia who are worried about bettering relations between Iran and the U.S., and how that could potentially lead to more competition in terms of natural resources like oil in the marketplace,” Gray said.Jack Cannice, a sophomore majoring in philosophy, politics and law, stated that he was doubtful about some of the issues discussed.“It was interesting how the professor took his viewpoint that there wasn’t really any credibility to the nuclear threat,” Cannice said. “I’m not entirely sure that’s true, because I did read in my IR class last year that [the Iranian government] had more nuclear centrifuges developed that they could ever possibly want for just clean energy. I didn’t agree with everything, but it was enlightening.”last_img read more