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11
September

Illustration — Health protocols, vaccinations, and tracing, testing, and treatment (3Ts) remain effective solutions to prevent the spread of the Mu variant, an epidemiologist has said. (ANTARA/Shutterstock/pri/FR) - 

Epidemiologist from Griffith University's Centre for Environmental and Population Health in Australia, Dicky Budiman, has highlighted a number of ways to effectively prevent the spread of the Mu variant of COVID-19.

In a statement received here on Friday, Budiman said that health protocols, vaccinations, and tracing, testing, and treatment (3Ts) remain effective solutions to prevent the spread of the Mu variant.

Moreover, the health protocols should not extend to just the 3Ms, but also 5Ms, which involve wearing masks, washing hands with soap and running water, maintaining distance, avoiding crowding, and limiting mobility and interaction, he added.

The Mu variant of COVID-19 must be monitored since it has a fast infection rate, he opined. He pointed out that the variant had been detected in 43 countries in nine months.

The Mu variant can lower the efficacy of vaccines and antibodies, he noted. People who have been infected with the Alpha and Delta variants of COVID-19 can still get infected with the Mu variant, he elaborated.

Budiman approved of the government's policy to tighten the entry of visitors into the country. It is not enough for a citizen to merely show a negative test result for COVID-19 to gain entry into Indonesia, he said.

According to member of Commission IX of the House of Representatives (DPR), Nurhadi, Indonesians must remain on alert for the Mu variant that has been detected in several countries.

Indonesia needs to learn from the entry of the Delta variant into the country from India, he added.

"During that time, an Indian citizen entered Indonesia through the air (airport) without a tight selection and procedure. To this end, a case like that cannot happen again," Nurhadi said.

He opined that health protocols, especially wearing masks, should become the new protocol in citizens' daily life.

"We hope that the government will continue to disseminate the importance of the health protocols, including after the pandemic is over," he added//ANT

11
September

#Indonesia4Climate Video Competition - 

 

A video competition to find Indonesian youth with great ideas to tackle global heating and who are taking action to stop it – has attracted 218 video entries, with many thousands of views online.

The theme of the competition – many roads lead to Net Zero (#Indonesia4Climate) – emphasises that to stop contributing to climate change, people all need to be involved, and many different actions need to be taken. Together these actions can add up to big changes, and make othe world safe for future generations.

 

Ideas from Indonesian youth included: planting mangroves to absorb greenhouse gas emissions and protect fish stocks for local communities; using solar panels to generate cheap electricity anywhere in Indonesia; changing the fashion industry to emphasise more sustainable practices; reducing the amount of waste we make and recycling waste we do create; making more food with less space by using hydroponic agriculture; and many many more great ideas.

 

The Award Ceremony take place via Zoom, and streamed live on the FPCI’s YouTube Account. It is hoped that by highlighting the ideas of Indonesia’s young and talented youth - government, businesses, and financial institutions will step up to support their efforts, so their innovations can be expanded quickly and at scale.

 

The Competition was organised by Foreign Policy Community of Indonesia (FPCI), and funded by the British Embassy, Embassy of Italy and Embassy of Sweden. Prize winners and finalists will receive prizes originating from the UK, Italy and Sweden.

 

The Competition comes ahead of COP26, the big international conference to tackle climate change, which this year is organised in partnership by the UK and Italy, and is due to take place in Glasgow, UK this November.

 

According to a press release received by Voice of Indonesia on Friday (10/09/21), Founder of Foreign Policy Community of Indonesia, Dr. Dino Patti Djalal said that the strongest voice calling for safe climate future must come from the youth. He was glad to see from this video contest young Indonesians calling out that climate security is by far the most critical issue of the time. 

On the same occassion, British Ambassador to Indonesia and Timor Leste, Owen Jenkins said that Indonesian young people have incredible ideas for making Net Zero happen. One small act of kindness for the environment is already worth doing, and when many millions of small acts are added together you can get something really big. By unlocking the ideas of Indonesia’s youth – in a country where 50% of the population is under the age of 30 – we can save our planet by implementing innovative ideas, and make the world better for everyone.

Meanwhile the Ambassador of Italy to Indonesia Benedetto Latteri said that Italy, as Partner Country of the UK Chair of COP26, prepares to host the Youth4Climate event in Milan, He welcome the high level of engagement, ingenuity and positive thinking that the Indonesian youth have shown in participating in this video competition. Indonesia is and will be a key player in shaping up a greener and more sustainable future for the planet and its young people are the driving force behind the contribution that the Country can offer to the global community in fighting climate change.

Attending the event, Ambassador of Sweden to Indonesia Marina Berg said that Climate change is the defining crisis of the time. It is happening faster than predicted, but people can all contribute to prevent its most dangerous effects. The proportion of young people in the world is the largest in history and people need to recognise youth as true agents of change. She was so happy to see the engagement and activism of Indonesian youth during this campaign. The actions are in line with Sweden’s climate objectives to achieve Sustainable Development Goals//VOI-NK

 

 

11
September

People hold candles as they attend a 9/11 commemoration religious ceremony at the Greek Orthodox St Nicholas National Shrine adjacent to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York City on Sep 10, 2021. (Photo: AFP/Roberto Schmidt) - 

America marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11 on Saturday (Sep 11) with solemn ceremonies given added poignancy by the recent chaotic withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and return to power of the Taliban.

Heart-wrenching commemorations will unfold at each of the three sites where 19 Al-Qaeda hijackers - mostly from Saudi Arabia - crashed packed airliners, striking the cultural, financial and political hearts of the United States and changing the world forever.

The memorials come with US troops finally gone from Afghanistan, but national discord - and for President Joe Biden, political peril - are overshadowing any sense of closure.

In a video posted on the eve of the anniversary, Biden urged Americans to show unity, "our greatest strength".

"To me, that's the central lesson of September 11th. It's that at our most vulnerable, in the push and pull of all that makes us human, in the battle for the soul of America, unity is our greatest strength," Biden said in a six-minute message from the White House.

At New York's Ground Zero, where two pools of water now stand where the Twin Towers used to, relatives will read out the names of the nearly 3,000 people killed, in a four-hour-long service starting at 8.30am (8.30pm, Singapore time).

Six moments of silence will be observed, corresponding with the times the two World Trade Center towers were struck, and fell, and the moments the Pentagon was attacked and Flight 93 crashed.

At Ground Zero, about 2,753 people, from all over the world, were killed in the initial explosions, jumped to their deaths, or simply vanished in the inferno of the collapsing towers.

At the Pentagon, an airliner tore a fiery hole in the side of the superpower's military nerve center, killing 184 people in the plane and on the ground.

And in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, the third wave of hijackers crashed into a field after passengers fought back, sending United 93 down before reaching its intended target - likely the US Capitol building in Washington.

Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will stop at each of these places on Saturday to "honour and memorialise the lives lost", the White House said.

In his video address on Friday night, Biden urged Americans to come together as they reflect on the tragedy.

"Unity doesn't mean we have to believe the same thing, but we must have a fundamental respect and faith in each other and in this nation," Biden said.

The president had planned for this to be a pivotal day in his nearly eight-month-old presidency.

However, instead of presiding over a moment of unity, Biden will traverse a country angry about the messy Kabul evacuation, which included 13 US soldiers killed by a suicide bomber, and stung by the broader realisation of failure and defeat.

For the relatives of victims, the anniversary, as always, is about keeping the memory of their loved ones alive.

"It's like Pearl Harbour," said Frank Siller, whose firefighter brother Stephen died at the World Trade Center.

"People who weren't alive don't have the same feeling about it as those who were alive. But America has never forgotten about Pearl Harbour and America will never forget about 9/11."//CNA

11
September

An undated handout picture released by the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), shows an unaccompanied Afghan boy evacuated from Kabul playing football in Doha, Qatar. (Photo: AFP/QF) - 

 

The daily life of unaccompanied Afghan refugee children in Qatar is punctuated by recurring questions, "where are we going?" and "can I have some chips".

About 200 uprooted young Afghans arrived in Doha aboard flights from Kabul in recent weeks and are being hosted at a reception centre, where they grapple with the trauma of their ordeals.

They are now being cared for by Qatar Charity, a humanitarian organisation that has sought to protect them from prying eyes and keep them out of the reaches of people traffickers.

Officials are picking a path for the future of the children who have adopted new routines, playing football, exercising and enjoying arts and crafts.

"It's very hard to imagine the trauma that they've been through," said an aid worker based in the Middle East who declined to be named.

"All of them are in a state of shock and trauma, similar to what we've seen in places like Iraq or Syria with kids who have lived in (Islamic State group) areas."

The Taliban's shock takeover rekindled fears among Afghanistan's people of a return to the hardline rule between 1996 and 2001 which was marked by public executions, floggings and amputations for misdemeanours.

Many fled, including the youngsters, some of whom cannot recall the circumstances of their abrupt departure from their homeland, while others give contradictory accounts of how they came to be in Qatar.

According to the UN children's agency UNICEF, around 300 unaccompanied children were evacuated from Afghanistan to Qatar, Germany and other countries after Aug 14.

Questions are swirling about how they came to be at Kabul's airport and then embark on planes bound for Qatar, and drastically different lives, but answers are in short supply.

The US Embassy in Doha did not comment on the specifics of the children's case.

A French police officer who was present at the Kabul airport gates described seeing a woman "desperately throw her baby into the barbed wire towards the French special forces who recovered and handed the child to American medics".

"The baby was treated and evacuated to Doha. He was really tiny. His mother just disappeared into the crowd," he added.

The officer witnessed other dramatic scenes.

"One man arrived at the gate with three young children who he passed off as his own. They were orphans, he probably used them to get the gate open, but they were also evacuated.

"Stories like that highlight the chaos. They'll be part of the history of this fiasco."

Qatar Charity and other agencies are now taking care of the group who are mostly aged between eight and 17 years old, with the youngest housed at a separate facility.

In Doha, children were settled at accommodations, to which AFP was not granted access, and grouped by age or family group if they arrived together.

As far as possible they were also grouped according to the friendships and bonds forged during their respective journeys.

"They can get attached to other children very quickly. They feel things stronger than anyone," Fatima-Zahra Bakkari, a Moroccan in charge of international cooperation for Qatar Charity.

She singled out two children aged 12 and 13 who had become inseparable in just over a week.

When the older child learnt that they were soon to move on, he offered to move out of the younger child's bedroom so they could prepare for possibly never seeing one another again.

"We all cry a lot," Bakkari said about the aid workers. "We laugh a lot too," she added recounting the occasional child waking up to "steal" a packet of crisps.

Despite their homely surroundings, the youngsters still face uncertainty.

"We tell them the time will come, we don't know when but it will come," for them to move on, said Bakkari.

Children separated from their parents are "among the most vulnerable children in the world", according to Henrietta Fore, head of UNICEF.

"It is vital that they are quickly identified and kept safe during family tracing and reunification processes."

Qatar has provided shelter, physical and psychological care, food and emotional attention.

"Then comes the delicate part," said the humanitarian official who requested anonymity.

"The-best case scenario is we manage to find first-degree relatives, a grandmother, an aunt, an uncle. But in many cases we might not be able to do that."

Qatar Charity has set up a hotline for the children to call their relatives, but for those with no one to call their carers will need to ensure they are looked after in the long-term.

"Then eventually the child can integrate in a safe community so they are equipped with the things they need to become a normal adult," the aid worker added//CNA

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