Cruelty on immigration is un-American

first_imgThe message: “You think your native country is cruel? America is even crueller.”That’s the logic behind a proposal under consideration by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen that would try to discourage migrant families from crossing the border by threatening to separate parents from their children when they are taken into custody in the United States.Until now, that approach has been beyond the pale for U.S. officials, who rejected it as inhumane and coldhearted in the extreme, given the trauma it would inflict on children, who by definition are innocent.If Nielsen gives the green light to break up migrant families, she would be responsible for a policy whose heartlessness would rival that of Executive Order 9066, which authorized the forcible internment of some 110,000 U.S. citizens and noncitizens of Japanese descent during World War II.Four decades after that act of mass inhumanity, President Ronald Reagan signed legislation formally apologizing for it.In November, more than 7,000 “family units” were taken into custody at the border, a 45 percent surge compared with October; in the same month, the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the border shot up by a quarter.U.S. officials are correct that those families take tremendous risks, often at the hands of coldblooded smugglers who guide them north to the border. Categories: Editorial, OpinionThe following editorial appeared in The Washington Post:Families and unaccompanied children detained at the Mexican border are often fleeing horrific conditions in Central American countries, especially El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, where violent gangs, drug trafficking and rampant criminality contribute to some of the world’s highest murder rates.Now the Trump administration, alarmed at the recent surge in border crossers, is considering a new strategy to deter them. They are also justified in wanting to discourage migrants from undertaking the journey, in which ransom, rape and other forms of abuse are rampant.The right way to do that is not to double down on the cruelty with which those families already contend by tearing children from their parents’ arms.What’s more, it is unlikely to work in the case of families and children who flee their native countries in fear for their lives.Heedless of horrendous conditions in Central America, the Trump administration cynically believes border-crossing families are trying to game America’s system, with its yearslong backlog in immigration courts and legal protections that allow many people to live and work freely while they await adjudication of their cases. In fact, many have legitimate asylum claims based on the threats they face in their home countries, and all are entitled to due process.The idea of wrenching children from their families was first entertained in March by then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, now the White House chief of staff, who said the minors would be “well cared for as we deal with their parents.”Has a U.S. official ever issued a more chilling “assurance”?More from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censuslast_img read more

CWC hangs up on UK £800m outsource deal

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Global enterprise

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The Euro sceptic

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Agent merry-go-round gathers pace in the City

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Minister, the industry needs you …

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MWB waits on Malmaison bid

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Art attack

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Grab teams up with BRI to support start-ups through GVV program

first_imgEditor’s note: The article has been updated to include more detail on investment schemes and channels in the second and last paragraphs for clarity.Topics : Ride-hailing decacorn Grab is working with Bank Rakyat Indonesia’s (BRI) investment arm, BRI Ventures, to help start-ups grow to the next level through the third Grab Ventures Velocity (GVV) accelerator program.Under the program, Grab and BRI Ventures expect to commit up to US$10 million to Indonesian startups in cash investment, in-kind benefits, capacity building and mentorship, said BRI Ventures CEO Nicko Widjaja.”The start-ups will receive cash as well as the opportunity to use Grab’s and BRI’s ecosystems,” he said during a press conference on the 2020 GVV launch in Jakarta on Tuesday. “This investment will be made both through new start-up initiatives that Grab and BRI Ventures will implement jointly and through the existing GVV program.” “The two sectors have huge potential,” she told the press. “Food services are trendy while logistics is important in the country. Both are prominent in the digital economy, too.”Grab is currently opening registration for the third GVV batch until March 31 for start-ups in Southeast Asia to join the program.“Grab will provide training for businesses so they can benefit from our ecosystem,” Neneng said, adding that the GVV program would start in April or May and run for 16 weeks.She went on to say that Grab could include a widget of the start-ups’ application in Grab’s app. One example was Grab integrating Sayurbox into its app so Grab’s customers can directly buy Sayurbox products from the ride-hailing app.Read also: Government’s plan to empower MSMEs through omnibus bill faces backlashGrab reported that the 10 GVV graduates had helped 117,000 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country since the program started in 2018. In the second batch, GVV trained six Indonesian start-ups and four foreign start-ups from 200 applicants. Neneng said she was hopeful there would be more applicants this year.GVV was part of Grab’s Rp 3 trillion (US$212.321 million) investment in Indonesia last year during which Grab selected 10 start-ups to train.Five of the start-ups are involved in the empowerment of MSMEs, namely MyCash Online, PergiUmroh, Porter, Qoala and Tamasia, while the remaining — Treedots, GLife, Eragano, Sayurbox and Tanihub — are part of the emerging agriculture technology (agritech) industry that focuses on farmers.The third batch of the GVV is part of Grab’s $250 million investment commitment for Indonesia’s technology ecosystem through GVV and other Grab Ventures programs.center_img Read also: Gojek, Grab prices now included in inflation calculation as they ‘grow significantly’Nicko said the two parties were discussing funding the GVV through equity in the future.”BRI invested in two start-ups in the second batch of GVV and we will be more involved in this third batch.”Meanwhile, Grab Indonesia managing director Neneng Goenadi said the third GVV would focus on start-ups involved in small-scale food services, such as warung makan (small restaurants) and business-to-business (B2B) logistics.last_img read more

Hotel occupancy rates fall to as low as 20 percent as coronavirus fears take hold

first_img“We can [even] see it over the last two days. [Hotel occupancy] has taken a battering,” he told reporters after a meeting with the Trade Ministry in Jakarta. “Occupancy rates everywhere have dropped as this is a domestic market problem.”Since news of COVID-19 broke in January, Indonesia’s travel industry has been dealt a massive blow, with mass cancellations of flight and hotel bookings.President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced on Monday that two Indonesians living in Greater Jakarta had tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the government to hold off on its plan to provide incentives to attract foreign tourists.Yet only last week, the government announced a Rp 10.3 trillion (US$742 million) incentive package to boost consumer spending and support tourism. The COVID-19 coronavirus has hit the hotel industry hard with occupancy rates well down on the seasonal average across Indonesia, an industry group has said.Indonesian Hotels and Restaurant Association (PHRI) secretary-general Maulana Yusran explained that the country’s overall occupancy rate had fallen below the regular low season average of 50 to 60 percent to 30 to 40 percent since the outbreak of the coronavirus in China in early January.Occupancy rates at some hotels have dropped as low as 20 percent after Indonesia confirmed its first two cases last Monday. Maulana said Bali, Jakarta, Manado in North Sulawesi and Batam and Bintan in Riau Islands were currently the worst-hit areas. Read also: Indonesia announces $742m stimulus to shield economy from virusAs part of the package, the government had planned to provide Rp 298.5 billion in incentives to airlines and travel agents to boost foreign arrivals to Indonesia and another Rp 443.39 billion in discounts to domestic tourists who visited any of the country’s 10 worst-affected tourist destinations.National flag air carrier Garuda Indonesia, along with its low-cost subsidiary Citilink Indonesia, has already started offering discounts of up to 50 percent for 25 percent of seats on every flight to 10 destinations for the next three months.Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Wishnutama Kusubandio clarified on Thursday that authorities would continue to provide tax exemptions for hotels and restaurants as planned, despite postponing incentives to attract foreign arrivals.Read also: Government delays incentives for foreign tourists after COVID-19 hits IndonesiaThe government announced last week that it would provide support to 10 tourist destinations by not collecting hotel and restaurant taxes for six months. In return, it will grant Rp 3.3 trillion to regional authorities to compensate for losses in tax revenue.”We are now trying to encourage domestic tourism so the hotel industry and other related sectors will not see any layoffs,” Wishnutama told reporters after the Trade Ministry’s meeting.Meanwhile, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) revealed on Monday that tourist arrivals totaled 1.27 million in January, around 5.85 percent higher than the 1.20 million recorded in the same month in 2019. However, the growth rate was much lower the 9.5 percent increase in arrivals seen in January 2019.According to BPS data, the occupancy rate of star-rated hotels stood at 49.17 percent in January, a decline of 2.3 percentage points compared with 51.47 percent in same month last year. BPS will announce February’s tourism data in early April.Chinese tourists made up the second-highest number of foreign tourists visit to Indonesia, after Malaysians, last year. Topics :last_img read more