The screeching sound of the roller shutter door as it inched its way down to the bare cement of Hall B cruelly broke my silent farewell to the outside world.© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd
What we do to others shapes what we become. This is the take of Asma Barlas, a retired professor of politics in New York, on why America is what it is.© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd
All over the world, governments are trying their best to save both lives and livelihoods, which have been heavily disrupted due to the Covid-19 virus and are implementing measures in addressing it.© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd
My reason was simple: I had seven days of annual leave and I would like to check on my health status just to be sure that I was virus-free before starting work the next day.© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd
Healthcare workers, who represent two to three per cent of the population in the world (World Health Organisation 2020), are undoubtedly in the frontline in battling the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic.© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd
According to the World Health Organisation, the Covid-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or nasal discharge when an infected person coughs or sneezes.© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the bellwether of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in evaluating the viability of the Chinese global infrastructure development strategy prior to its kick-off.© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd
LONDON, Jan 19 — Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has defended Bruno Fernandes after the Portuguese playmaker drew criticism for his performance in the 0-0 draw against Liverpool.
The 26-year-old has hit the ground running after arriving from Sporting Lisbon last January, scoring 19 goals and providing 14 assists in just 32 Premier League appearances.
Fernandes’ player of the month award for December was a record-breaking fourth of the year but the midfielder has failed to scale the same heights in the opening weeks of 2021.
He was below par in Sunday’s match between the champions and league leaders at Anfield — something pointed out by former United captain Roy Keane.
But Solskjaer described the playmaker as “absolutely immense” and does not believe the hectic festive schedule has taken its toll on him.
“His form is very good, he’s just been voted player of the month (for December),” the Norwegian boss said today. “He’s not tired, no chance.”
“He is one of the players who covers the ground in every game. He’s very good at recovering and recharging his batteries.
“If he scored his free-kick (against Liverpool) or if it just had a little air on the ball when Luke (Shaw) put the cross in he’d have been lauded as the best player in the Premier League again.”
The United boss has underlined the importance of maintaining the club’s strength in depth during the January transfer window, meaning he will have to be careful when deciding who can follow Timothy Fosu-Mensah out of the club.
Marcos Rojo and Sergio Romero have been told they can leave before their contracts expire in the summer, while there is speculation over the futures of Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard.
“One of the strengths we have is that we have had a fit and deep squad, strength in depth,” said Solskjaer. “So, we don’t want to give our advantage away by easing off on our players.”
United are seeking to equal their club record of 17 successive unbeaten away games in the Premier League at struggling Fulham, where Solskjaer is expecting a tough challenge.
“They have had a very good turnaround from a slow start,” he said. “They have made some very good signings and are very well coached.
“They trust their own team shape. They are one of the hardest teams to break down. They are well structured on and off the ball. They have players who can make a difference.” — AFP
NEW YORK, Jan 19 — US stocks rebounded early today after the three-day holiday weekend, boosted by the proximity of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration and prospects for a big spending package to boost the economy.
After a down week, the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.4 per cent at 30,940.39, about an hour into the first session of the week.
The broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.5 per cent to 3,788.06, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 0.7 per cent to 13,096.47.
The gains also came as major banks reported earnings, but with mixed results amid the pandemic.
But Patrick J O’Hare of Briefing.com also pointed to the absence of bad news in the final days of outgoing President Donald Trump’s tumultuous administration.
“There weren’t any jarring ‘events’ over the extended weekend. That has relieved a little bit of Friday’s selling pressure,” he said in an analysis.
In addition, he said, “market participants also appear to be heartened by Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen’s belief that the US needs to ‘act big’ with its coronavirus stimulus response.”
Yellen, the former Federal Reserve chair, is speaking at her confirmation hearing Tuesday before the Senate Finance Committee, and urging legislators to support Biden’s massive US$1.9 trillion (RM7.7 trillion) rescue package to help the pandemic-damaged US economy.
In individual stocks, shares of Goldman Sachs fell 1.6 per cent after reporting a massive 153 per cent surge in profits in the final quarter of the year.
Bank of America slipped 1.1 per cent after reporting that profits fell, and revenues fell short of expectations. — AFP
BERLIN, Jan 19 — Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick said today they “expect” to lose David Alaba at the end of the season, but the defender’s father and agent has denied reports the Austria international will join Real Madrid for next season.
“It looks as though he will leave the club, we have to expect that,” Flick said ahead of Wednesday’s league game at Augsburg.
“When a player of that quality leaves, it’s clear you’ll have to get — and will get — another player.”
Alaba is out of contract in June and has repeatedly stalled over signing a contract extension, amid reports he wants a substantial pay increase.
Bayern have already been linked to RB Leipzig’s French defender Dayot Upamecano, 22, as a possible replacement.
The 28-year-old Alaba, who joined Bayern as a junior in 2008 from Austria Vienna, has won 25 titles for Bayern, including the Champions League twice, since his Bundesliga debut in 2010.
According to magazine Kicker, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City are all interested in signing Alaba.
On Tuesday, Alaba’s father and agent denied press reports from Spain that the Bayern defender has already penned a four-year contract with Real.
According to Spanish newspaper Marca, Alaba would earn an annual salary of around eleven million euros (US$13 million) at Real.
“No decision has been taken yet and David hasn’t signed with Real,” George Alaba told Sport1.
“There are other clubs also interested,” he added.
Flick has made clear he wants to keep Alaba, who routinely brushes off any questions about his future. — AFP
PARIS, Jan 19 — Formula One pre-season testing will take place at the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain from March 12-14, F1’s promoter and the International Automobile Federation (FIA) confirmed in a schedule released today.
Testing was originally slated for Barcelona in early March but was moved following the postponement of what should have been the season-opening Australian Grand Prix to November.
The record, 23-race 2021 season will now begin in Bahrain on March 28, a week later than the originally scheduled start in Melbourne.
No new date has been set for the Chinese Grand Prix, normally held in April, which has also been postponed.
Winter tests have been reduced to three days instead of six in 2021, the cars remaining essentially the same as in 2020 as a cost-saving measure in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. — AFP
KOTA KINABALU, Jan 19 — A total of 51,294 Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) and Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) students in Sabah will return to school for face-to-face learning from tomorrow, said State Education director Datuk Mistirine Radin.
“A total of 33,503 students are candidates who will sit for the SPM examination while the remaining are 17,791 STPM students,” she said in a statement, today.
Meanwhile, Mistirine said, Sabah recorded a total of 63,895 students for the school session this year, including 36,174 Year One students, Form One (27,401) and Remove (320).
However, all the students involved will follow the learning session through the teaching and learning at home (PdPR) method starting tomorrow due the Covid-19 pandemic.
Commenting on the flood situation in Sabah, Mistirine said, a total of 21 schools in four districts namely Beaufort, Kota Kinabalu, Beluran, and Tuaran were affected by floods following continuous rain since last week.
She said among the schools affected in Beaufort were Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Lago, SK Bangkalalak, SK Suasa, SK Garama, SK Bukau, SK Pekan Membakut, SK Kampung Brunei, SK Mampagar and SK Kebulu.
In Kota Belud, the schools closed are SK Sembirai, SK Kesapang, SK Tamau, SK Pituru, SK Jawi-Jawi, and SK Menunggui while in the other two districts, Beluran and Tuaran, SK Sualok and SK Pekan Tuaran were affected, she said.
According to her, all 4,891 students and 433 teachers in the schools can conduct PdPR to ensure that the learning sessions run as usual according to the schedule.
Meanwhile, a total of 28,637 SPM candidates for year 2020 will also start face-to-face learning sessions in schools throughout Perak from tomorrow.
State Education, Higher Education and Human Resource Committee chairman Ahmad Saidi Mohamad Daud said the State Education Department was ready to ensure the smooth running of face-to-face school sessions, including from the safety and health aspects.
“The advice from the state government to all educators is to ensure compliance to the new norms and to ensure all students who register tomorrow wear face masks, maintain physical distance and wash their hands often,” he told reporters in Lumut, today.
He said this after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU), between City Harbor International School and Pusat Pendidikan Al-Amin Berhad at City Harbor International School, in Lumut.
On the MoU, Ahmad Saidi said it is aimed at implementing strategic cooperation to establish Al-Amin Primary School at the City Harbor International School Campus in Manjung.
He said the collaboration could create a unique environment encompassing international schools with national-stream schools integrated with the elements of Islamic religious education.
At the event, Pusat Pendidikan Al-Amin Berhad was represented by its chairman, Shaharom Md Shariff while City Harbor International School was represented by its founder and managing director, N.S.Lal Muhuthan. — Bernama
SIBU, Jan 19 — A total of 48 police personnel and civilian staff of the Sibu Central police station were screened today after a Criminal Investigation Department photographer from the Sibu district police headquarters tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday.
Sibu police chief ACP Stanley Jonathan Ringgit who confirmed the matter said the screenings were conducted at the police station this morning.
According to him, the CID staff tested positive after undergoing screening at Sibu Indoor Stadium on January 12.
“A complete sanitisation process was conducted at the Sibu Central police station including the Sibu CID,” he said when contacted today.
Jonathan said he has also instructed his officers and personnel to be more careful when carrying out their duties. — Bernama
NEW YORK, Jan 19 — FedEx plans to cut up to 6,300 jobs in Europe as it eliminates staff duplication across following the 2016 takeover of TNT, FedEx announced today.
FedEx said the downsizing will take place over an 18-month period following consultation with works council representatives across Europe and in accordance with local rules across the region.
The reorganisation will cut between 5,500 and 6,300 jobs, the company said. — AFP
PETALING JAYA: A temporary storage den adjoining the Sri Maha Mariamman Alayam Temple in Taman Desa Ria here was destroyed in a fire, on Tuesday evening.© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd
BEIJING, Jan 19 — TikTok owner ByteDance has begun rolling out an electronic payment service connected to Douyin, the Chinese version of the popular short video app, the tech giant said today.
Douyin Pay, which functions similarly to reigning Chinese electronic wallets WeChat Pay and Alipay, aims to “supplement existing major payment options, and to ultimately enhance user experience,” ByteDance told AFP.
The move sees the tech giant wade into China’s lucrative market for electronic payment services, which are used by hundreds of millions of consumers for everything from street food to fast fashion and online purchases.
Users of the app will be able to connect bank accounts to the service, which can then be used to pay for products promoted by video influencers as well as to tip content makers.
ByteDance said it would gradually roll out the function to users.
Douyin, which listed over 600 million daily active users last year, has quickly grown from its short video roots to include livestreaming and e-commerce.
Livestream shopping is a nearly US$70 billion (RM283 billion) industry in China, attracting influencers who scour markets and malls for items to peddle to live audiences via social media. — AFP
SINGAPORE, Jan 19 — The Singapore Ministry of Health (MOH) today confirmed that one of the five symptomatic imported cases reported today is a 28-year-old female student from Malaysia.
Labelled as Case 59,422, the Student’s Pass holder arrived from her home country, said the ministry in its full data released here.
As at noon today, Singapore recorded 26 new imported cases of which 21 are asymptomatic, while five were symptomatic.
The republic also reported four new cases of locally transmitted Covid-19 infections with two asymptomatic and two symptomatic.
In all, 30 new cases were reported here today, thus, bringing the total number of infections to 59,157.
A new cluster was also formed today linked to Case 59,343, a 33-year-old male Chinese national who works at Golden Bridge Foods Manufacturing Pte Ltd.
The new cluster takes the total clusters here to five. — Bernama
COPENHAGEN, Jan 19 — Denmark’s staunchest sausage fans marked the 100th anniversary this week of the arrival of hot dog stands in the country by ordering the snack from many of the popular trailers along central Copenhagen’s main shopping street.
The stands are still allowed to open as they offer a takeaway snack. All indoor hospitality has closed in the city due to the pandemic.
Known among Danes as “Restaurant Cold Feet”, because you have to stand outside to eat, the simple hotdog wagons were introduced in 1921 from Germany. They are still steered by hand around the cobbled streets of Danish towns and cities with just a simple engine to move them along.
As a 10-year-old Kresten Larsen, now 74, worked as an errand boy for a hot dog stand, making sure his employer never ran out of bread.
“It is a very nice sausage,” he told Reuters. He didn’t order from multiple stands, but rather two sausages from just one by Copenhagen’s city hall. “I think they’ve become better over the years.”
The most popular hotdog costs about 30 krones (RM20). — Reuters
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 19 — The prime minister describes the operation of the Covid-19 Quarantine and Low-Risk Treatment Centre (PKRC) which was set up in three days at the Malaysian Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS), as an unusual action in an unusual situation.
Expressing pride with the efforts of the frontliners from various agencies to develop the facility, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said it was a move to ensure the best facility and service for patients.
“I am very proud to see their determination and patience in carrying out their duties to ensure the welfare and best treatment for all patients,” he said in a post on his official Facebook site tonight.
Earlier, the Prime Minister visited the MAEPS 2.0 Integrated Hospital in Serdang to inspect the management of PKRC and Covid-19 patients for himself.
He was accompanied by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba in a closed-door briefing on the operation by Selangor Health director cum Central Region Covid-19 Unified Command Centre commander, Datuk Dr Sha’ari Ngadiman.
In the update, Muhyiddin also said he managed to interact with patients being treated at one of the halls and gave them words of encouragement.
“Alhamdulillah, they all looked cheerful and satisfied with the service as well as treatment provided. During the interaction, I reminded them to remain strong and patient in the situation,” he said.
He also prayed for all Covid-19 patients to be strong in going through this difficult time and recover as well as for the frontliners to be blessed with patience and strength to continue fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
The MAEPS PKRC now covers seven halls which could utilised for a maximum capacity of 10,000 beds and as at today, 9,200 beds are occupied.
The facility has been upgraded in phases as MAEPS 2.0 Integrated Hospital and is expected to be fully operational on Jan 24 to treat category three, four and five Covid-19 patients and stabilised them before sending the patients for intensive care in hospitals. — Bernama
MADRID, Jan 19 — Two Spanish footballers were sentenced to two years imprisonment today for broadcasting a sex tape with a woman on social media.
Eibar striker Sergi Enrich and the club’s former defender Antonio Luna will avoid jail as according to Spanish law any sentence of up to two years does not need to be served.
The decision was made by a San Sebastien judge and the pair pleaded guilty to “divulging personal information of a sexual nature”.
A third individual, the Basque side’s former midfielder Eddy Silvestre, was acquitted.
The incident occurred in 2016 and the woman had not given permission to the filming. — AFP