‘Unhealthy in a democracy’: Concerns mount over govt using ‘influencers’ to promote policies

first_imgEditor’s note: This article has been updated with more statements from Donny.Topics : Antigraft and human rights activists have raised concerns over the government’s use of social media “influencers” to promote its policies, demanding transparency over the partnership amid fears that it could be misused to sway public opinion on problematic issues.Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) researcher Egi Primayogha said ministries and state institutions under President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration often involved the so-called influencers for governmental purposes, including to promote programs and public policies.The latest research by ICW — conducted by compiling publicly available data — found that the government had spent at least Rp 90.4 billion (US$6.1 million) on goods and services procurement containing the keywords “influencers” and “key opinion leaders” from 2017 until this year.Read also: Jokowi administration spends Rp 90.4 billion on ‘influencers’: ICWAlthough involving influencers to promote public policies was not wrong, Egi argued that the government appeared to make use of them with intention to cover up problems related to certain policies.”The information conveyed by influencers is not always valid. Sometimes they even spread misinformation,” Egi said in a discussion on Thursday.”The influencers also often spoke beyond their capacity.”One notable case occurred in late February when the government announced it had allocated Rp 72 billion (US$5.2 million) to pay influencers to promote the country’s tourism in an effort to shield the industry from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which at that time had yet to be detected in Indonesia.The move was met with criticism, since at a time when countries around the world were scrambling to mitigate the virus, the Indonesian government seemed to downplay the threat of the pandemic and send out the message to welcome tourists from around the world instead.Read also: ‘We can’t afford BTS’: Minister talks plan to hire foreign influencers to promote tourismLast week, a number of influencers and internet personalities also came under fire for posting content supporting the controversial job creation bill using the hashtag #IndonesiaButuhKerja (Indonesia Needs Jobs). Some of them claimed they did not know that the campaign — which was reportedly offered to them in return for payment — actually championed the bill.Many, including protesters against the bill, criticized the celebrities, accusing them of lacking knowledge about how the bill — if passed — could heavily affect workers’ rights.A leading expert at the Presidential Office (KSP), Donny Gahral Adian, denied that the campaign was an order from the government.Egi of ICW went on to say that the use of influencers suggested that Jokowi was not confident in his own policies, adding that it could create a trend in which the government uses internet personalities to sway public opinion on controversial policies being deliberated.”This is unhealthy in a democracy because it has the potential to blur the substantial points of certain policies,” Egi said.He urged the government to be more transparent with regard to the amount of state funds they spend on influencers and how they use it, adding that the government should also disclose how they determine which social media personalities to hire.Read also: Indonesia wants civil servants with large social media followings to be ‘government’s influencers’Indonesian Legal Aid Institute (YLBHI) chairwoman Asfinawati said influencers should also disclose paid partnerships with the government in the content they create and post to prevent possible public deception.In response to the concerns, Donny of the KSP said hiring influencers to promote government policies was fair as long as they did not deceive the public.Officials usually briefed the influencers on the substance of certain programs or policies beforehand, Donny said.“These influencers have many followers and subscribers. If they are capable of public communication and understand the substance of the policy, I don’t see any problem,” Donny told The Jakarta Post, “Involving influencers in education and promotional programs is common, similar to public service announcements that use public figures.”Donny explained that the Rp 90.4 billion was actually meant for general public relations activities, including public service announcements and education programs.He also refuted allegations that Jokowi lacked confidence in his own policies, saying that by partnering with influencers, the government could, in fact, reach a broader audience. “These influencers have social media platforms that have a lot of followers and […] a broader reach, especially among millennials.”last_img read more

BlackRock wins mandate to manage assets at RESAVER scheme

first_imgFor nine years now, Previnet has been in charge of member administration for the multi-country, multi-currency NATO pension plan, just one of the more than 220 pension plans it administers using its bespoke software.Senior manager Martino Braico said: “With the RESAVER IORP, Previnet will include a large set of online functionalities and learning tools, such as risk profilers and country-specific pension projections.”Also at the event in Budapest, KPMG was appointed RESAVER’s external auditor, Deloitte its internal auditor, BDO its accountant and Lydian CVBA its compliance officer.The pension fund said it hoped to have selected an actuary, a custodian and a reinsurer by the end of this month.Gabriella Kemeny, chair at the RESAVER Consortium and director of human resources at the Central European University, said the selection of these providers was a “crucial step in ensuring the programme will fulfil its promise to support pan-European mobility for individuals in research and related fields with a top-quality pension plan”.Thierry Verkest, a partner at Aon Hewitt in Brussels, confirmed that the fund would include a life-cycle model, as well as a model of free choice for individual members.Aon Hewitt had been selected at the beginning of last year to help set up the IORP as a Belgian OFP.Regulatory approval from Belgium’s FSMA is expected this summer.Now that the providers have been chosen, a fee structure is to be negotiated.Kemeny said it was “important to have competitive fees”, adding that, given the possible future size of the fund, the economies of scale would help to keep costs low.Initial contributions are expected to flow into the RESAVER in the autumn from the Central European University in Budapest, the Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste and the Istituto Italiano di Technologia.The other 20-odd members of the consortium that set up the fund are expected to contribute to the fund at a later point.All research institutes – both in the private and public sectors – can join the group and contribute to the RESAVER fund.Carlos Moedas, European commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “By participating in RESAVER, employers can ensure adequate and fair supplementary pensions for their staff while boosting their international reputation as employers.”The European Commission has pledged to finance the set-up of the fund for four years until 2018, drawing on the Horizon 2020 funds. BlackRock has been selected as the asset manager for the RESAVER pan-European pension plan for researchers following a tender process, while Italy-based administration service provider Previnet is to be in charge of member record-keeping, web services and central reporting.RESAVER is a defined contribution scheme that will provide second-pillar pension benefits to researchers and research institute employees.Speaking at an event in Budapest to announce the scheme’s service providers, Tony Stenning, managing director at BlackRock, said RESAVER’s launch would be a “momentous evolution” and “is the first but not last step” towards more growth in the pan-European pension market.He confirmed the asset allocation details for the fund were “under discussion” but the major challenge would be to accommodate the investment regimes of the various EU member states, as they must be met for each fund member in each country.last_img read more

LIAT launches new routes with Caribbean Helicopters Charter Agreement

first_imgAntiguaNevisLI 810516:3517:00Daily FromToFlight NumberDepartArriveFrequency Share Tweet Nevis and Dominica Canefield become LIAT’s 19th and 20th destinations respectively.All services will be able to accommodate seven passengers and one piece of checked baggage. The permitted weight is no more than 50 lbs (23 kgs), which is the inclusive amount for both checked baggage and hand baggage.Commenting on the new agreement, David Evans, LIAT’s CEO said “We are pleased to be working with Caribbean Helicopters, as this new arrangement allows us to extend our network, open up new markets, and offer more choice to our customers. It is also an example of how locally based airlines can come together to improve connectivity throughout the region.”Neil Dickinson, Managing Director of Caribbean Helicopters commented: “This is a great opportunity for us and allows us to support LIAT in the expansion of services. Our aircraft are ideally suited to serving the smaller markets in the region.”LIAT will shortly announce the commencement of further services between Antigua and Guadeloupe. Sharing is caring! 363 Views   no discussions Sharecenter_img ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, January 06, 2016 – LIAT, The Caribbean Airline, has entered into a bespoke charter agreement with Caribbean Helicopters, based in Antigua & Barbuda, whereby the company will provide LIAT with charter flights into specific markets in the region.Caribbean Helicopters operates a fleet of Piper Navajo Chieftain PA31-350 and Britten Norman BN2 aircraft, which are ideal for services into some of the smaller Caribbean islands, where demand is limited and a smaller aircraft is required. Customers can continue to book these flights through LIAT, and they will operate with LIAT flight numbers.Beginning January 22, Caribbean Helicopters will operate new services into Dominica Canefield and also to Nevis, on a daily basis. Services to Canefield depart Antigua at 1130 and return at 1240 daily. Flights from Antigua to Nevis depart at 1635 and return from Nevis at 1720. BusinessLifestyleLocalNewsTravel LIAT launches new routes with Caribbean Helicopters Charter Agreement by: – January 6, 2016 Dominica CanefieldAntiguaLI 810412:4013:30Daily Share AntiguaDominica CanefieldLI 810311:3012:20Daily NevisAntiguaLI 810617:2017:45Dailylast_img read more

Bengaluru FC clash with Maziya for a spot in AFC Cup group

first_imgMale (Maldives): Indian Super League champions Bengaluru FC are set to face Maldivian side Maziya S&RC in a Playoff Round first leg clash of the 2020 AFC Cup, at the Maldives National Football Stadium on Wednesday.Despite having qualified with a massive 10-1 aggregate win over Bhutan’s Paro FC, Blues’ boss Carles Cuadrat says his side will have to work hard to claim a result in humid conditions. “I remember winning against Maziya S&RC with a late goal and when New Radiant got the better of us in 2017. We are in a good place with the big win in this competition against Paro FC, but this is a completely different situation and previous results don’t matter,” Cuadrat said.The Blues’ first-ever win in continental competition came against Maziya S&RC, and despite having the upper hand in clashes between the sides, Cuadrat maintains that past form counts for little. “It’s true that we have had a decent run against teams from the Maldives. But if you notice how we won some of the games, it was tough. Nishu scored in injury time at Kanteerava once, Johnson scored late on in the Maldives. It’s difficult to say that we are favorites,” he added.The Blues will be without skipper Sunil Chhetri, who continues his return from a muscle injury while midfielder Suresh Wangjam serves a one-game suspension, having picked up yellow cards in both clashes against Paro FC.The Marjan Sekulovski-coached Maziya side qualified for the playoff rounds with a victory on away goals over Bangladeshi Premier League side Abahani Dhaka, having returned with a 2-2 result from the Bangabandhu National Stadium in the first leg. (IANS) Also Read: AFC Cup: Bengaluru FC take on Bhutan’s Paro FC in reverse legAlso Watch: ‘Dehal Kasirodam Utsav’ by Karbi Community observed in Guwahatilast_img read more

Update on the latest sports

first_imgUNDATED (AP) — The Baltimore Ravens won’t have Michael Brockers on their retooled defensive line after all, and now he’s headed back to Los Angeles. Baltimore reached agreement on a three-year contract with the Rams free agent last week but the deal was never sealed in part because Brockers could not take a physical at the team’s training facility due to restrictions by the NFL regarding the coronavirus.The Ravens had concerns over a lingering ankle sprain after Brockers had a physical administered by two independent doctors. Baltimore and Brockers ultimately failed to reach an agreement on an amended contract.In other NFL news:— The Dallas Cowboys say they have agreed to deals with kicker Greg Zuerlein and defensive tackle Dontari Poe. The Zuerlein agreement gives Dallas competition at kicker because they’ve also re-signed Kai Forbath. He was last year’s replacement for a shaky Brett Maher. Zuerlein was similar to Maher in being strong from 50-plus yards but struggling on shorter kicks. Zuerlein’s accuracy has tailed off since making a career-best 38 field goals on 40 tries in 2017. A deal with the nearly 350-pound Poe is another sign of the Cowboys seeking bigger defensive tackles under new coach Mike McCarthy.— Former Chargers running back Melvin Gordon says one of the biggest takeaways from his futile holdout in Los Angeles last year was realizing he still has so many detractors. This despite scoring 49 touchdowns at the University of Wisconsin and another 47 in the NFL. Gordon says he’s driven to prove he’s still an elite running back after scoring nine touchdowns in a dozen games once he ended his holdout last season. Gordon will now be teaming up with fellow Pro Bowl running back Phillip Lindsay in a dynamic Denver Broncos backfield. — Santa Anita has stopped live racing because of the coronavirus after receiving instructions from the Los Angeles County Health Department. The track in Arcadia, California, was preparing to run eight races when the cancellation was announced. It’s not immediately known when racing will be allowed to resume. The Santa Anita Derby won’t be run on April 4 as scheduled. It’s the major West Coast prep for the Kentucky Derby, which itself has been pushed back from May 2 to Sept. 5.— Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson has joined the field for IndyCar’s inaugural online race as he contemplates driving in that series following his retirement from full-time stock car racing. IndyCar has followed NASCAR, IMSA and Formula One in setting up a virtual racing series to give fans content during the coronavirus pandemic that brought sports to a halt. IndyCar’s first race is Saturday and Johnson is the 26th driver to enter.— Commissioner Roger Goodell has told NFL teams that the draft will go on as originally scheduled next month. In a memo obtained by The Associated Press, Goodell said the draft will still take place April 23-25, but will be scaled down and “televised in a way that reflects current conditions.” It was originally planned as a big outdoor production in Las Vegas, but those plans were scrapped because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Teams were told to plan “to conduct draft operations in a location outside of your facility, with a limited number of people present, and with sufficient technology resources to allow you to communicate internally, with other clubs, and with draft headquarters.”— The Evian Masters women’s golf tournament has been moved to August because of the coronavirus outbreak. The event originally scheduled for July 23-26 will now be held on Aug. 6-9 at the Evian Resort Golf Club. Evian is one of the five majors on the women’s circuit. The decision was made by the LPGA Tour, the Ladies European Tour and Evian organizers.— The Russian anti-doping agency is suspending all tests for 10 days in response to measures implemented by the government to fight the coronavirus. The move comes after President Vladimir Putin told Russians except those working in essential sectors to stay home next week. Tests stopped today and will resume on April 6. Associated Press Update on the latest sports NHL-NEWSDucks sign ZegrasUNDTED (AP) — Trevor Zegras has signed a three-year contract with the Anaheim Ducks. Zegras was the ninth overall pick in last year’s NHL draft. The center had 11 goals and 25 assists in 33 games as a freshman at Boston University. He was tied for second among NCAA freshmen in assists and tied for third in points and points per game. Zegras was on the United States team at this year’s World Junior Championship. He was only the second player since 2004 to have nine primary assists in a single tournament.COLLEGE BASKETBALL-GEORGIA-HAMMONDS-NBAGeorgia’s Hammonds entering NBA draft, protects eligibility Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditVIRUS OUTBREAK-SPORTSBaseball ‘til Christmas?UNDATED (AP) — The final pitch of the 2020 baseball season could be thrown closer to Christmas than Halloween. Major League Baseball owners ratified a 17-page agreement with the union that provides for $170 million in salary advances and guarantees service time to players even if no games are played due to the new coronavirus.  The season was to start Thursday and Game 7 of the World Series was on track to be Oct. 28. Union head Tony Clark says big leaguers would play as long as they could to get in as many games as possible. — Top-ranked tennis player Novak Djokovic (NOH’-vak JOH’-kuh-vich), his wife and their foundation are donating about $1.1 million, to help buy ventilators and other medical equipment for hospitals in Serbia. Djokovic says his foundation’s staff “will be monitoring everything” to get the equipment in place.—Anyone who scoffs at the idea of shutting down sports to deal with the coronavirus outbreak needs a primer on the 1919 Stanley Cup Finals. It’s right there on the silver chalice, engraved alongside all the championship teams. The words: “Series Not Completed.” A little over a century ago, the final between the Montreal Canadiens and the Seattle Metropolitans had to be called off before the decisive game when Spanish flu swept through the teams. One of the Canadiens’ star players even lost his life. That series serves as a sobering, worst-case scenario of what can happen during a pandemic.— Ottawa Senators radio color commentator Gord Wilson has tested positive for the coronavirus. Wilson’s wife, CTV Ottawa anchor Patricia Boal, confirmed the news Friday night during a newscast. The 59-year-old Wilson is recovering at home and both he and Boal, who has not tested positive for the coronavirus, have been in self-isolation since March 18. Boal said the diagnosis was confirmed Friday, about 11 days after Wilson was first tested.NFL-NEWSRavens lose DT Brockers, who returns to Rams for 3-year deal ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Georgia junior forward Rayshaun Hammonds says he is entering the NBA draft while protecting his college eligibility.The 6-foot-9, 235-pound Hammonds averaged 12.9 points while leading the Bulldogs with 7.4 rebounds per game. He was second on the team in scoring, behind freshman Anthony Edwards, who also has entered the draft.While Edwards could be the top pick in the draft, Hammonds’ draft outlook is far less certain. When announcing his plans on his Twitter account on Friday, Hammonds said he is protecting his option to return for his senior season.In other men’s basketball news:— Kentucky reserve guard Johnny Juzang will enter the NCAA transfer portal after one season with the Wildcats. The 6-foot-6 freshman from Los Angeles can transfer to another school without restrictions per NCAA rules. Juzang played well down the stretch for Kentucky, scoring in double figures twice the final nine games. He made 10 of his final 20 3-point shots to finish the season shooting 33% from beyond the arc. OLYMPICS-FINANCIAL LOSS-VIRUSOrganizations veering toward crisisUNDATED (AP) — Olympic sports organizations in the U.S. are veering toward crisis. With the coronavirus spreading across the globe, they have canceled no fewer than 8,000 events and are on pace to lose more than $121 million. A database analyzed by The Associated Press shows projected losses of more than $32 million for one of the country’s national governing bodies between February and June. Two others will lose more than $10 million. In all, the organizations combined to total $685 million in revenue last year. About half of the 50 companies operate on budgets of less than $5 million a year. One of their best hopes might be applying for small-business loans that will be available in the $2 trillion stimulus package on its way to being passed by Congress.OBIT-HUNTERLes Hunter has died March 28, 2020 In other developments related to the coronavirus pandemic:—Olympic officials have confirmed that the 6,200 or so athletes who had already punched their ticket for the Tokyo Olympics will keep their spots for the rescheduled games in 2021. It resolves one of the key questions for marathoners, open-water swimmers and hundreds of other athletes whose qualifying process came early in the 2020 sports calendar, before the coronavirus started shutting down sports across the globe. Still to be determined is how the rest of the spots at the rescheduled games will be allocated. Typically, the individual sports determine their qualifying procedures.— The NCAA Division I Council is scheduled to vote on Monday whether to provide another year of eligibility to spring sport athletes. That includes sports such as baseball, softball and lacrosse. Those players had their seasons wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic. Providing similar relief to winter sport athletes, such as basketball and hockey players and wrestlers, will also be considered although there does not appear to be support for that.— Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens says guard Marcus Smart is doing well and remains in good spirits following his positive test for coronavirus last week. Smart announced his diagnosis on March 19, seven days after Utah Jazz All-Stars Rudy Gobert (goh-BEHR’) and Donovan Mitchell tested positive for COVID-19. Boston played the Utah Jazz on March 6. Other Celtics players and staff were also tested as a precaution and those tests have all come back negative.— ESPN NBA broadcaster Doris Burke has tested positive for the coronavirus. Burke made the announcement Friday on an ESPN podcast. Burke says she started feeling extreme fatigue on March 11, the day the NBA was shut down once it was learned that Utah center Rudy Gobert had tested positive. Burke was assigned the Denver-Dallas game on that date and fought through her symptoms to work that night. She said she had a three-day period of such deep fatigue that she couldn’t remain out of bed for more than five minutes at a time. She was eventually tested and received the results on Wednesday.   — The Detroit Lions have agreed to a contract with linebacker Reggie Ragland, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. Ragland started 32 games over the past three seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs. He played 14 games last season for the Super Bowl champions, making seven starts. He had two sacks.— The Minnesota Vikings re-signed two more of their own free agents, with new contracts for running back Ameer Abdullah and center Brett Jones. Abdullah had 203 yards from scrimmage with one receiving touchdown in a reserve role. Jones joined the Vikings in a trade with the New York Giants in 2018.— The Las Vegas Raiders have announced the additions of free agent linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, safety Jeff Heath and defensive end Carl Nassib. All three players agreed to deals last week but those weren’t announced until after they all passed physicals. The Raiders also announced that long snapper Trent Sieg has signed his exclusive rights tender.— Terry Tausch, an All-American offensive lineman at Texas and eight-year NFL veteran who played for the Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers, has died. He was 61. The Longhorns announced that Tausch died Wednesday night at his home in Plano, Texas. His older brother, Gary Tausch, told San Antonio TV station KENS that the death was “sudden.” Tausch was a second-round draft pick by the Vikings in 1982, playing seven seasons for them. He was their starting right guard for five years, until joining the 49ers in 1989 in what was his final NFL season. It ended with a Super Bowl ring.—Stefen Wisniewski’s (wihz-NOO’-skee) nomadic football journey has come full circle. The veteran NFL offensive lineman is now a Pittsburgh Steeler after agreeing to a two-year deal with the club. Wisniewski grew up in Pittsburgh and played on Heinz Field as a high schooler. Wisniewski helped the Kansas City Chiefs win the Super Bowl in February. Though the Chiefs expressed interest in bringing him back, Wisniewski says the chance to play for the Steelers was too good to pass up. CHICAGO (AP) — Les Hunter, a star on Loyola Chicago’s barrier-breaking 1963 NCAA championship team, died Friday. He was 77.  Hunter helped Loyola — with four black starters — break down racial barriers and capture what remains the only NCAA Division I championship for an Illinois school by beating Cincinnati. The 6-foot-7 center from Nashville averaged 17 points and 11.4 rebounds as a junior that season and followed that up by turning in 21.4 and 15.3 as a senior. In an era when freshman did not play with the upperclassmen, Hunter had 1,472 points in three seasons and 1,017 rebounds — second on the school’s career list. He and LaRue Martin are the only Loyola players with 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6last_img read more

A Nonprofit NotSoShaggy Dog Tale Rescuing Lab Beagles

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares November 10, 2014; CBS Los AngelesCompanies often use beagles for chemical and pharmaceutical testing, but CBS’s Los Angeles affiliate reported on a local group giving some of those dogs a life outside of a cage and in “forever homes.”The Beagle Freedom Project saves beagles used in research labs and has rescued more than 300 from across the country since 2010.“These dogs have spent their lives in a cage,” said the group. “We were told directly by the people in the lab that they have never been outside, that they had never seen sunlight, that they had never had a toy.”The TV report tells the story of Riley, a three-year-old dog who met his family in July. He first showed some signs of being a lab dog, but he quickly learned the ropes around the home.What goes on in many labs is usually well hidden from the public, although the animal rights advocacy group PETA has made its name showing videos from investigations; in one, a worker is shown force-feeding a beagle Oxycontin. Another investigation showed beagles suffering mental trauma after years of confinement. “It’s important to note that there is no experiment on dogs that’s illegal. Experiments have to be approved by committees within a laboratory, but nothing is against the law, so they’re put through all kinds of cruelty,” says a PETA spokesperson, adding that most dogs end up euthanized.Dogs bred for the lab rarely end up in a loving home, mostly because the labs want to keep a low profile—they understand the power that anti-cruelty advocacy campaigns can have on public opinion. While there is strong support for the medical necessity of such experimentation, the details of it repulse the public.The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the agency in charge of overseeing animal testing, turned down CBS’s request for an interview.—Larry Kaplanimages/newswire/Mex-City.jpgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more