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Acting Coordinator of Marketing for XX Papua National Sports Week Organizing Committee Karsudi (left) and Head of Division II of the committee Roy Letlora (right) at the event's theme song launching press conference on September 11, 2021. (ANTARA/Roy Rosa Bachtiar/uyu) - 


The XX Papua National Sports Week Organizing Committee (PB PON) launched an official song and video to enliven plans for the national event, which will be held in Papua from October 2-15, 2021.

"It brings a message of enthusiasm for the implementation of the National Sports Week (PON), which will be held for the first time in Papua. In the song, there is a spirit given from Papua to the event’s participants, as well as welcome for the athletes from all over the nation," Head of Division II of the committee Roy Letlora said at a press conference here on Saturday.

Before it was officially launched in Jakarta, the song -- sung by Vien Mangku and Qibah Mansawan -- had already been introduced in Papua to bring together the local community.

On the same occasion, the committee also revealed the long process of creating the song.

Before choosing it, the committee began by conducting a theme song contest in March 2021, which was registered by 24 contestants from both Papua and outside the region.

In the process, there were only 15 contestants who submitted their songs for the assessment stage.

After going through a long judging process by Papuan artists, the song by Hebat Fatahilah, entitled ‘Torang Bisa’ – literally meaning ‘We Can’ -- was chosen as the winner.

"It has a very deep meaning. Every lyric describes the spirit of Papua. Its location at the easternmost part of Indonesia making Papua the first region that welcomes the sunrise. It means that there will rise a spirit which will never run out. Through this song, we want Papua to be better known,” Acting Coordinator of Marketing for the committee Karsudi said.

The lyrics also tell about four things reflected in the spirit of the athletes in Papua -- maintaining national unity, instilling a spirit of sportsmanship, uniting differences, and unifying to become champions.

In addition, the song expresses the issue of equality, which becomes the concern of all Indonesian.

"We feel that we become one, so that Papua can rise from being left behind. We want all to be equal and free of the assumption that there is unequal welfare. All of them are described in the theme song," Roy Letlora added//ANT


An Army soldier donates blood at the Blood Transfusion Unit of the Gatot Soebroto Army Central Hospital, Jakarta, Tuesday (August 18, 2020). (ANTARA FOTO/NOVA WAHYUDI/RA) - 


Scientists have predicted that the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, which peaked in Indonesia on July 15, 2021, may not be the last, as the coronavirus continues to mutate.

Experts from the Alliance of Indonesian Scientists for Pandemic Resolution said the situation is like a trap in which the cycle would revolve at high transmission rates with the emergence of new variants - longer pandemics - economic crises - and the lessening of public activities.

According to the COVID-19 Task Force report, from November 2020 to January 2021 Indonesia recorded an increase in daily cases from 24,932 to 89,052. In the second wave, from May to July 2021, there was a spike in cases from 35,470 to 253,600.

The government also has been working to reduce the number of cases through implementing Public Activity Restrictions (PPKM), fulfilling health care facilities, and accelerating vaccinations.

As a result, COVID-19 cases at the national level, as of August 29, 2021, decreased by 86.9 percent compared to the second wave.

"We have not succeeded in controlling the pandemic. We are still trapped in a vicious circle. Cases will continue to fluctuate if government policies are still patchy, where the program only focuses on dealing with the current situation, not on anticipatory measures," said Epidemiologist from the University of Indonesia (UI) Pandu Riono.

Riono added that Indonesia was still vulnerable to the pandemic due to the handling of the Corona outbreak, which tended to be sporadic. When there is a spike in cases, the government immediately imposes social restrictions.

However, when the easing is carried out, ironically, the mobility and activities of the community are the ones that trigger the increase in the number of cases again.

The presence of a new, more virulent variant, he said, could make it more difficult for Indonesia to get out of a protracted public health crisis. For this reason, a way out of the pandemic must be considered and realized to reduce the mortality and morbidity of COVID-19 at this time, and get Indonesia out of the pandemic crisis in the long term.

The COVID-19 Handling Task Force reported that as of Wednesday (September 1), a whole-genome sequencing (WGS) examination had been carried out in Indonesia on 5,790 samples, and it was found that 2,323 of them were variants of concern, namely Alpha, Beta, and Delta.

Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said the efficacy of m-RNA-based vaccines decreased quite dramatically when dealing with the Delta variant of the coronavirus. He observed that this condition occurred in the second wave of cases in some countries with high vaccination rates, for example, the United States.

For that reason, the Health Ministry has also changed its strategy to reach herd immunity from initially reaching 70 percent of the population to targeting as many as citizens vaccinated.

"We have carried out a series of situation evaluation analyzes, where the achievement of herd immunity is no longer 70 to 80 percent (of the population vaccinated), but most of the people in Indonesia can be vaccinated," Deputy Minister of Health Dante Saksono Harbuwono stated.

The Alliance of Indonesian Scientists for Pandemic Resolution has proposed a solution, in the form of a post-pandemic scenario.

The three main principles in the scenario are 'empathy' or care for others, which is the foundation in handling every humanitarian crisis, 'equity' as equality and justice that guarantees access for all citizens, without discrimination in obtaining the right to a healthy and happy life. Finally, 'episteme' is an effort in scientific knowledge needed to guide the uncertainty and risk of a pandemic.

Based on these three principles, the Alliance of Scientists emphasizes two crucial points needed to resolve the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen the government's capacity to anticipate future pandemics. These include the roadmap for resolving the pandemic and developing pandemic governance through institutionalizing disease outbreak control agencies//ANT


(FromL to R) Former President Bill Clinton, former First Lady Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, former First Lady Michelle Obama, President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg attend the annual 9/11 Commemoration Ceremony at the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP) - 


President Joe Biden commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Sep 11 attacks on the United States on Saturday with visits to each of the sites where hijacked planes crashed in 2001, honouring the victims of the devastating assault.

In the first of his wordless tributes, Biden stood in somber silence with former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton at the New York City site where planes brought down the World Trade Center's twin towers.

The three leaders, flanked by Jill Biden, Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton, shared a moment of silence with the crowd at 8.46am EDT to mark the time that the first plane hit, heads bowed. They listened as relatives read the names of those who died.

The Bidens then flew to Shanksville, Pennsylvania, before heading back to the Washington area to visit the Pentagon memorial.

Nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks in New York, at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and in Pennsylvania, where passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 overcame the hijackers and the plane crashed in a field, preventing another target from being hit.

Biden did not deliver remarks at any of the sites. He released a video on Friday to express his condolences to the loved ones of the victims and highlight the national unity that resulted, at least initially, after 9/11.

"The core of who we are is not divided," Biden said Saturday during a visit to a fire station after the Shanksville ceremony.

In New York, on a clear, beautiful day similar to the weather 20 years ago, the New York Police Department pipes and drums band played Hard Times Come Again No More, an American folk song from the 1850s. Bruce Springsteen, playing an acoustic guitar, sang I'll See You in My Dreams.

Rudy Giuliani, mayor of New York at the time of the attacks, attended the ceremony. Former President Donald Trump, a New York native, did not.

In Shanksville, the Bidens participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Flight 93 National Memorial where names of the dead are etched on a white marble wall.

The passengers who stormed the cockpit had stepped up in a crisis, Biden told reporters later.

"That's genuine heroism," he said.

He praised a speech given in Shanksville earlier in the day by former President George W Bush, the Republican who had been in office less than a year when the hijacked planes changed the country, and the world.

In a rare public address, Bush warned of the threat from domestic terrorism. He recalled how Americans came together after the attacks and urged a spirit of greater unity amid growing political division in the country.

Bush also urged a common front against violent extremists both domestic and foreign, saying "they are children of the same foul spirit, and it is our continuing duty to confront them".

Biden's last visit of the day was to the Pentagon, the symbol of US military might that was pierced by another of the planes used as missiles that day.

The Bidens, Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff touched a memorial wreath at the site where a series of benches have been erected representing each of the 184 victims. They put their hands on their hearts, with Biden raising his in a salute, while "Taps" played.

The anniversary comes shortly after the end of the US-led war in Afghanistan that Bush launched 20 years ago to root out the al Qaeda militant group that carried out the 9/11 attacks.

Biden's withdrawal of US troops in August, months after a deadline set by his Republican predecessor Trump, and the resulting rapid fall of the country to the Taliban has drawn criticism from members of both political parties//CNA


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to call snap elections on Sunday, according to local media - 


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to pull the plug on his minority Liberal government and call snap elections on Sunday (Sep 12) despite a nationwide uptick in COVID-19 infections that is worrying voters.

Trudeau is to visit the governor general to ask her to dissolve parliament and announce voting will be held on Sep 20, according to public broadcaster CBC and other local media, citing unnamed sources.

He and opposition leaders have been crisscrossing the country in recent weeks making election-style announcements as talk of a possible fall ballot has heated up.

In power for six years, Trudeau was re-elected in 2019 but lost his majority in his second term amid scandals.

Despite rolling out massive pandemic aid, passing a federal budget and other key legislation with opposition backing over the past year, he has lamented that parliament in recent months has become dysfunctional, with a "level of obstructionism and toxicity in the House that is of real concern".

Opposition leaders have pushed back on the move, with one urging Governor General Mary Simon to rebuff Trudeau, informing her in a letter that his party was prepared to continue propping up the minority Liberal government to pass key legislation until the pandemic ends.

"While Justin Trudeau wants to act like (the pandemic) is over ... it's not over and people are still worried," New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh told reporters, echoing public health warnings of a looming Covid surge despite rising vaccination rates.

Erin O'Toole, who has struggled to make himself known to voters since becoming head of the main opposition Tories last year, said earlier this week: "We shouldn't be rushing to an election."

O'Toole has been at odds with his rank-and-file over policy proposals such as curbing climate change, but on Thursday he tweeted that his party "is ready" to fight an election.

Royal Military College of Canada politics professor Stephanie Chouinard said Trudeau had valid reasons for wanting to seek a new mandate "to steer Canada through a post-pandemic recovery".

"The timing is good," she argued, "as Canadians are generally in a good mood" since most public health restrictions have been lifted and life is "close enough to being back to normal".

Authorities have been preparing for a possible election, ordering in advance millions of single-use pencils, bottles of hand sanitizer, masks and plexiglass shields.

They could face challenges finding people to staff election stations as seniors who usually volunteer are reluctant due to COVID-19 risks.

Securing locations for polling stations has reportedly been challenging too. Schools, for example, are reluctant to jeopardize September reopenings by allowing use of their facilities for voting booths.

If a general election were to be held now, the Liberals would be in striking distance of a majority in parliament, according to the latest poll by Abacus Data, with 37 per cent support.

The Conservatives and the New Democrats trail on 28 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively.

Abacus found that 38 per cent of Canadians would be happy to cast a ballot in the fall while 17 per cent are firmly opposed.

If COVID-19 cases spike, however, one in five voters, including many Liberal backers, "would be angry enough not to vote Liberal," the polling firm said in a statement//CNA