RSS Feed for Voice Of Indonesia Tue, 31 Jan 2023 04:59:17 +0700 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb China's Sichuan Frees Unmarried people to legally have children




 Health authorities in China's southwestern province of Sichuan will allow unmarried individuals to raise a family and enjoy benefits reserved for married couples, in the latest effort to bolster a falling birth rate.

The government dictates that only married women are legally allowed to give birth, but with marriage and birth rates having fallen to record lows in recent years, provincial authorities revamped a 2019 rule to cover singles who want to have children.

From Feb. 15, married couples and any individuals who want offspring will be allowed to register with the government in China's fifth most populous province, with no ceiling on the number of children they can register for.

The measure aims to "promote long-term and balanced population development," Sichuan's health commission said in a statement on its website.

Until now, the commission had allowed only married couples who wanted to have up to two children to register with local authorities.

China's population shrank last year for the first time in six decades, a historic turn expected to usher in a period of decline. That prospect is pushing authorities to roll out incentives and measures to boost the population.

A nationwide registry system for couples to register with local authorities ensures maternity insurance to cover medical bills, while letting married women keep their salary during maternity leave.

These benefits will now be extended to single women and men in Sichuan, which ranks seventh in the nation in terms of those older than 60, or more than 21% of its population, government figures show.

Much of China's demographic downturn stems from its one-child policy imposed between 1980 and 2015. (Reuters)

]]> (Nur Yasmin) International News Mon, 30 Jan 2023 17:26:17 +0700
Russian Business Offers Cash Bounties to Destroy Western Tanks in Ukraine




A Russian company said it will offer five million roubles ($72,000) in cash to the first soldiers who destroy or capture western-made tanks in Ukraine, after the Kremlin vowed Russian forces would wipe out any Western tanks shipped to Ukraine.

The United States, Germany and several other European countries are lining up to send Kyiv dozens of advanced combat tanks over the next few months to help boost Ukraine's military capacity as the war approaches the 12-month mark.

The decision has been criticised by the Kremlin as a dangerous escalation, and spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the tanks would "burn" on the frontlines.

Now a Russian company - Fores, a Urals-based firm which makes proppants for the energy industry - is offering cash payments to Russian servicemen who "capture or destroy" German-made Leopard 2 or U.S.-made Abrams tanks.

The company said it will pay five million roubles to the first Russian soldier to destroy one of the tanks, and 500,000 roubles ($7,200) for all subsequent attacks.

Echoing language used by Russian officials and pro-war state TV hosts, Fores said NATO was pumping Ukraine with an "unlimited" amount of arms and escalating the conflict. It also said it would pay a 15-million rouble ($215,000) bounty on Western-made fighter jets, should they ever be delivered to Ukraine.

The tanks have not yet been dispatched to Kyiv, and it could take several months before the bulk of the promised deliveries are sent.

Since the start of the conflict, Russia's defence ministry has claimed to have destroyed hundreds of pieces of Western weaponry.

Kyiv has previously dismissed those statements, highlighting for instance that Russia has claimed to have destroyed more U.S.-made HIMARS rocket launcher pads than were ever delivered to the country.

Previous deliveries of advanced Western arms, particularly HIMARS, have been credited with turning the tide of the 11-month war, helping Kyiv to secure a series of surprise victories and pushing back Russian forces from territory captured at the start of the invasion. (Reuters)

]]> (Nur Yasmin) International News Mon, 30 Jan 2023 17:24:56 +0700
U.S. Issues Another Warning of Possible Terrorist Attacks in Turkey




The U.S. embassy in Turkey warned Americans on Monday of possible attacks against churches, synagogues, and diplomatic missions in Istanbul, marking its second such notice in four days, following Koran-burning incidents in Europe.

In an updated security alert, the U.S. embassy said "possible imminent retaliatory attacks by terrorists" could take place in areas frequented by Westerners, especially the city's Beyoglu, Galata, Taksim, and Istiklal neighbourhoods.

Turkish authorities are investigating the matter, it added.

On Friday, several embassies in Ankara including those of the United States, Germany, France and Italy issued security alerts over possible retaliatory attacks against places of worship, following separate incidents in which the Muslim holy book, the Koran, was burned in Sweden, Netherlands and Denmark.

On Saturday, Turkey warned its citizens against "possible Islamophobic, xenophobic and racist attacks" in the United States and Europe. (Reuters)

]]> (Nur Yasmin) International News Mon, 30 Jan 2023 16:23:07 +0700
Australia Prepares for Thousands of Chinese Students to Return as Relations Improve




Australia is preparing for the arrival of thousands of Chinese students, the education minister said on Monday, days after China's education ministry warned students enrolled overseas that online learning would no longer be recognised.

Australia's education sector, which generated A$39 billion ($27.66 billion) in export earnings before the pandemic, has strong ties to China, with roughly 150,000 nationals enrolled in Australian universities. Tens of thousands remain offshore after pandemic restrictions and strained diplomatic relations led many to return home.

But with three weeks to go before Australian universities start, the Chinese Ministry of Education's Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange (CSCSE) said on Saturday it would no longer recognise overseas degrees obtained via online learning and urged students to return to overseas campuses as soon as possible.

"At present, the borders of major destinations for international study have reopened, and foreign (overseas) colleges and universities have fully resumed offline teaching," it said in a statement.

China dropped nearly all of its COVID curbs in December, leading to a surge in COVID cases and deaths as Beijing shifted focus to salvage a faltering economy.

The normalising of educational ties comes weeks after Chinese officials relaxed import bans on Australian coal as both countries work to improve diplomatic relations after more than two years of Chinese trade sanctions that have frozen trade in barley, coal and wine and other goods and services.

Minister for Education Jason Clare on Monday welcomed the move and said he would work with his counterpart in the home (interior) ministry to help universities resolve any short term logistical issues.

Phil Honeywood, chief executive officer at International Education Association of Australia, an advocacy body for international education in Australia, said there were currently about 40,000 Chinese students still offshore.

"We anticipate a lot of Chinese students will be scrambling as we speak to get on flights to Australia. However, we imagine there will be a number of deferral applications where students just won't be able to get back in time," said Honeywood.

The University of Sydney expects the "vast majority" of students to be on campus when classes start in late February. It plans to phase out on-campus remote learning later this year.

The move by China's Ministry of Education has been met with anger from Chinese students.

"There are only 15 days left before the school starts - I have no visa, no flight, nowhere to live. With such a short notice, do you want us all sleeping on the streets?" said one comment on social media platform Weibo. (Reuters)

]]> (Nur Yasmin) International News Mon, 30 Jan 2023 16:21:47 +0700
Japan Will Continue to Monitor COVID Situation in China, Govt Says




Japan will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in China and deal "flexibly" with border control measures, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said on Monday.

The comment came a day after the Chinese embassy in Japan said it had resumed the issuance of ordinary visas for Japanese citizens travelling to the country.

China had stopped issuing visas for Japanese nationals earlier this month after Japan toughened COVID-19 border control rules for travellers coming directly from China. (Reuters)

]]> (Nur Yasmin) International News Mon, 30 Jan 2023 15:20:30 +0700
South Korea Drops Indoor Anti-COVID Mask Mandate, Infection Fears Linger




South Korea on Monday scrapped a face mask mandate for most indoor public places in a major step to loosen COVID-19 rules, but many residents opted to keep wearing coverings due to lingering concerns over infections.

The lifting of the face-covering rules in the majority of indoor locations is South Korea's latest step in easing COVID rules as new cases show signs of a slowdown. People are still required to wear the masks in public transport settings and in medical facilities.

Most restaurant owners and visitors in Seoul's bustling Gwanghwamun district, where government and corporate buildings are located, welcomed the new policy. But many citizens also said they will still wear masks with the pandemic not fully over.

"I'd thought it was kind of meaningless we had to put the masks on just to enter and leave a restaurant, so it's nice that has changed now," said Yoon Seok-jun, a 30-year-old office worker at Gwanghwamun.

Kim Jae-jin, 28, also said he was glad he could now work out at a gym without wearing a face mask. Still, he said he will continue putting on the coverings in most public facilities.

"It would be much more comfortable to run on treadmill but I am still concerned about a new respiratory disease after COVID," said Kim, an office worker.

South Korean health authorities have warned the easing of mask rules could result in a temporary surge in new cases, urging people to stay vigilant when in high-risk areas, especially for those more vulnerable to infections.

"COVID-19 isn't over yet and it looks like masks do protect me from getting cold and other diseases, so I think I'll wear them for the time being," Jeong Hye-won, a 28-year-old Seoul office worker said.

The easing of rules come about three years after South Korea reported its first outbreak of COVID infection on Jan. 20, 2020.

The country has since scrapped most of its pandemic-related precautions, but it maintains a seven-day isolation rule for those testing positive for COVID. (reuters)

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