Reports of leisure’s demise are premature

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RAF site fills urban need

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Brighton’s Guggenheim

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Bristol agents: Cracking the inner sanctum

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Permission to take off

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Regus rollercoaster rolls on

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Cannabis coffee: Indonesia’s sharia stronghold sidesteps drug ban

first_imgAgus, not his real name, is part of a clandestine economy in the region at the tip of Sumatra which, despite its no-nonsense reputation, is Indonesia’s top weed-producer with fields covering an area nearly seven times the size of Singapore, according to official estimates.Pot was once so common in Aceh that locals grew it in their backyards and marijuana was sold to the public.But it was outlawed in the Seventies and Muslim majority Indonesia has since adopted some of the world’s strictest drug laws, including the death penalty for traffickers.The nation has declared itself in the midst of a drug “emergency” because of soaring methamphetamine use. Agus plunges a wooden paddle into his coffee and marijuana-filled wok, taking care to roast just the right mix of ingredients — and stay one step ahead of police in Indonesia’s Aceh province. His contraband brew is a hit with locals and buyers in other parts of the Southeast Asian archipelago, who pay 1.0 million rupiah ($75) for a kilo of it.But this is risky business in Aceh, where even drinking alcohol or kissing in public can earn you a painful whipping under its strict Islamic law. But the situation is Aceh is muddled. Police hunt weed farmers, imprison users and torch mountains of confiscated marijuana — more than 100 tons last year alone.Yet just last week a lawmaker from the province proposed in Parliament that the drug should be legalized, so the country could export it for pharmaceutical purposes. He was quickly reprimanded by his Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), while the national narcotics agency slammed the proposal claiming it would discourage Aceh ganja farmers from adopting its suggestions to switch to vegetables and other crops.Despite the risks, Agus, claims he has little fear of going to jail.”How can you ban something that’s everywhere?” he said, adding: “It’s all over Aceh. This huge crackdown just makes it rarer to see in public but people still use it.”Most days, his biggest concern is hitting the perfect ratio for his java —  70 percent coffee and 30 percent marijuana.”If you put more than 30 percent ganja in there then you lose the coffee taste,” he explained. For two decades Agus was a white collar professional but he swapped his prestigious career for a more lucrative trade in order to better support his family.”I wanted to focus on coffee because this is my area of expertise,” he added.Agus insists his recipe offers a pleasant, less intense high than smoking it or eating popular dodol ganja. The local specialty mixes marijuana with a fudgy sweet made from glutinous rice, palm sugar and coconut milk. “That stuff can really make you hallucinate,” Agus said.How marijuana became a thing in Aceh is a matter of debate. Some say it was brought by Dutch colonists hundreds of years ago as a gift for a sultan in the jungle-clad region.But local historian Tarmizi Abdul Hamid counters that marijuana use — for everything from medicine and cooking to repelling pests from crops and preserving food — can be found in manuscripts that pre-date the Dutch arrival.”It shows that ganja can be used to cure baldness or high blood pressure,” he said of one text. “Ganja was also used for cooking and medicine. Smoking, however, is not mentioned in the ancient scriptures,” he added.Centuries later, marijuana was on the front lines — literally — of a separatist insurgency in Aceh.Former weed farmer Fauzan remembers harvesting his crop when bullets started flying across his field in a shootout between government soldiers and rebels back in 2002, three years before a peace deal ended the bloody conflict.Fauzan estimates that some 80 percent of the people in his hometown Lamteuba, about 50 kilometers from provincial capital Banda Aceh, were once ganja farmers.Locals in the one-time rebel stronghold created secret pathways to their lucrative crops and even built hiding places to stash their weed harvest in a cat-and-mouse game with authorities.”This village is like heaven. Whatever you plant here it’ll grow,” Fauzan said. “Throw a ganja seed on the ground, leave it and then come back for the harvest.”But, fearing arrest, he later quit the trade.Fauzan, who now grows chilies to support his family, works with the government to convince farmers to switch to vegetables and other crops. That’s a hard sell in an impoverished village with few job opportunities.”If the government doesn’t take care of people and supply assistance, they’re likely to go back to their old routine,” Fauzan acknowledged.For pot enthusiast Iqbal — not his real name — the only thing prohibition has done is make locals better at hiding pot in a cup of coffee or plate of noodles.He mused: “It’s impossible to get rid of ganja in Aceh. Cracking down on meth by destroying a lab is easier. But when police destroy a ganja plantation, it’ll just grow somewhere else.”Topics :last_img read more

COVID-19 suspect in Palembang tests negative after second examination

first_imgA patient at Mohammad Hoesin General Hospital (RSMH) in Palembang, South Sumatra, has been declared negative for COVID-19 following a second examination.Head of the RSMH emerging infectious disease team Zein Ahmad said that the 62-year-old patient was first tested on Feb. 17. The patient was experiencing breathing problems after returning from a trip to Malaysia. On Feb. 21, the examination result stated that the patient was free from coronavirus infection. On Feb. 22, the hospital’s research staff examined the patient’s blood sample and larynx tissue.“The result of the final diagnosis has been released already, and the patient officially tests negative for coronavirus,” Zein said on Monday. “[The patient’s] condition is stable with a normal temperature,” he added.The hospital decided to conduct a second laboratory examination on the patient given that Malaysia is one of the countries that has reported COVID-19 cases. The patient’s health record from their previous hospital revealed that they also suffered from heart problems. Read also: South Sumatra resident put in quarantine for showing symptoms of pneumoniaAlthough the hospital was satisfied that the patient suffered from an acute lung inflammation due to a bacterial infection, RSMH decided to put them in an isolated room after seeing their travel record to Malaysia. South Sumatra Health Agency head Lesti Nuraini said that she had already received the report on the patient. The information had also been delivered to the patient’s family, which allowed them to publish the news. Lesti said that the patient’s family was in constant contact seeking treatment updates.  “We’ve always communicated about [the patient’s] condition in the isolation room with the family. The family might feel very worried considering that they saw the patient being treated in an isolation room with special equipment,” she said. She added that her team had already quarantined 40 South Sumatra residents who had returned from trips to China since Jan. 29. The quarantine period is 14 days as stipulated in the standard procedures. The health agency is being assisted by community health center workers from the patients’ respective areas.The latest update states that 34 people have tested negative, while six others are still in quarantine. “So far we can declare that South Sumatra is safe, we have no cases here,” Lesti said. Read also: Palembang won’t let coronavirus fears spoil Cap Go MehTo prevent further virus transmission, the South Sumatra administration has inspected every entry point to the province, as well as instructing every hospital in the regencies and cities to provide isolation rooms.The government is also urging the public to maintain healthy and hygienic lifestyles. Fenty Wardhapada of the Palembang Port Health Authority’s (KKP) quarantine and epidemiology surveillance said that he was keeping an eye on aircraft, cargo vessels and passenger ships at the international arrival sections of airports and seaports, especially for vessels from China, Malaysia and Vietnam.“We’ve already inspected four vessels from Malaysia and Vietnam today with 71 crew members in total. There is also an incoming direct flight from Malaysia with 100 passengers in total. All is under control,” he said. (dpk)Topics :last_img read more

Newcastle ban handshakes to guard against coronavirus

first_imgSports events across the world are increasingly being affected by the spread of the virus.The clash between Juventus and title rivals Inter Milan is among five Serie A games that will be played behind closed doors this weekend because of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy.The Swiss government on Friday said it was suspending all events in the country involving more than 1,000 participants. All matches in the top flight will be postponed to a later date.In cycling, the UAE Tour was abandoned on Thursday after two Italian staff members of one of the teams taking part tested positive for the coronavirus.The virus has proliferated around the globe over the past week, emerging in every continent except Antarctica, prompting many governments and businesses to try to stop people travelling or gathering in crowded places.It has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 83,000 worldwide — the vast majority in China — since it emerged apparently from an animal market in a central Chinese city in late December. Premier League club Newcastle United have introduced a handshake ban to protect against the spread of the coronavirus, manager Steve Bruce said on Friday.”There’s a ritual here that everybody shakes hands with everybody as soon as we see each other every morning — we’ve stopped that on the advice of the doctor,” Bruce said.”We are like everybody else. Thankfully, we’ve got a superb doctor here and he will keep us informed of what we have to do. Topics :center_img “We’re like everybody else, we’re glued to the TV for where it’s going to go next and let’s hope it doesn’t get any worse in this country.”Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said the club took the threat of the coronavirus seriously but there was no current advice not to shake hands at the club.”We don’t do some things that we maybe usually would do but that’s when the flu is going around it’s for us the same,” he told his pre-match press conference. “We cannot do anything different to that.”He added: “In the end nobody has told us yet that we don’t have to play football so as long as that doesn’t happen we will play football, which is a contact sport, not to forget.”last_img read more

PREMIUMGovt to cap growth of SOEs’ capex at 7 percent as focus shifts to profitability

first_imgFacebook Topics : Linkedin Google Indonesia SOE-Minister SOEs capex reduction profitability Mandiri-Outlook Muhammad-Ikhsan Log in with your social account Forgot Password ? The government will limit the increase of capital expenditure (capex) at state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to about 7 percent this year as part of an SOEs restructuring program, an advisor to the SOEs minister has said.Mohammad Ikhsan, an advisor to State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir, said the growth of SOEs’ capex this year would be far lower than the average growth of 15 percent between 2012 and 2018.“In our new RPJMN [National Medium-Term Development Plan], the increase in capex for SOEs is limited to between 5 and 7 percent,” Muhammad said at the Mandiri Investasi Market Outlook presentation in Jakarta on March 5.SOEs nationwide are currently part of a restructuring program on improving profitability, as the increase in asset growth at SOEs is not proportional to their profit growth.Muhammad said the total assets of more than 140 SOEs almost … LOG INDon’t have an account? Register herelast_img read more