Office overview Middle of the road

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Social policy threat to redevelopment

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Chief executive leaves Mentmore Abbey

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Property managers reach for the top

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Thieves hit GVA Grimley in £40,000 computer heist

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REITs can mix it up with the old guard

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Japanese woman confirmed as coronavirus case for 2nd time, weeks after initial recovery

first_imgTopics : A woman working as a tour-bus guide in Japan tested positive for the coronavirus for a second time, Osaka’s prefectural government said on Wednesday, the first person in the country to do so amid growing concerns about the spread of the infection.The second positive test comes as the number of confirmed cases in Japan rose to 186 by Thursday from around 170 the day before. Tokyo has urged big gatherings and sports events be scrapped or curtailed for two weeks to contain the virus while pledging the 2020 Olympic Games will still go ahead in the city.The 186 cases reported by Japan’s health ministry are separate from 704 reported from an outbreak on a cruise liner that was quarantined off Tokyo earlier this month. A total of seven people have died, including four from the ship. The woman, a resident of Osaka in western Japan, tested positive on Wednesday after developing a sore throat and chest pains, the prefectural government said in a statement, describing her as being in her forties. She first tested positive in late January and was discharged from the hospital after recovering on Feb. 1, according to the statement.The health ministry confirmed the case was the first in Japan where a patient tested positive for coronavirus for a second time after being discharged from hospital, the Nikkei newspaper said.Though a first in Japan, cases of second positive tests have been reported in China, where the disease originated late last year. The outbreak has spread rapidly and widely, infecting about 80,000 people globally and killing nearly 2,800, the vast majority in mainland China.”Once you have the infection, it could remain dormant and with minimal symptoms, and then you can get an exacerbation if it finds its way into the lungs,” said Philip Tierno Jr., Professor of Microbiology and Pathology at NYU School of Medicine.center_img He said much remains unknown about the virus. “I’m not certain that this is not bi-phasic, like anthrax,” he said, meaning the disease appears to go away before recurring.Asked to comment on prospects for the Olympic Games going ahead in Tokyo this summer, Prof. Tierno said, “The Olympics should be postponed if this continues … There are many people who don’t understand how easy it is to spread this infection from one person to another.”Japan has changed its strategy in combating the contagion, seeking to slow its spread and minimize the number of deaths.As part of the attempt to contain the outbreak, Tokyo Olympics officials are considering scaling down the torch relay, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said on Wednesday.The government is also considering scaling back this year’s March 11 memorial ceremony for victims of 2011’s massive earthquake and tsunami, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters on Thursday.Meanwhile a major Japanese bank reported an employee had tested positive for coronavirus. MUFG Bank, part of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc, the country’s largest lender by assets, said a member of staff at a branch in central Aichi prefecture, had been confirmed to have the virus on Wednesday. last_img read more

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Kamala Harris backs Biden, while Jesse Jackson campaigns for Sanders

first_imgBelow is a summary of Sunday’s events. From attacker to backer Harris, who has taken Biden to task over his civil rights record, planned to campaign with him on Monday in Detroit, which has a large African-American population. “There is no one better prepared than Joe to steer our nation through these turbulent times, and restore truth, honor, and decency to the Oval Office,” said Harris, a first-term senator from California and the state’s former attorney general. One of the most talked-about moments of Harris’ campaign was her blistering attack on Biden during a June presidential debate. She called his remarks about working with segregationist senators hurtful and questioned Biden’s 1970s opposition to school busing.  Democratic presidential contenders Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders touted dueling endorsements on Sunday, with onetime Biden rival Kamala Harris supporting the former vice president, while civil rights leader Jesse Jackson campaigned for Sanders.The backing of Harris, a black US senator and former 2020 presidential candidate who clashed with Biden during the party’s early debates, could give him a boost as he and Sanders battle for voters before the next round of nominating contests in six states on Tuesday. Biden, the Democratic front-runner, campaigned in Mississippi, and the more liberal Sanders was in Michigan, both seeking the party’s nomination to challenge Republican President Donald Trump in November’s election.  Still, black voters have backed Biden overwhelmingly, propelling him to big victories in South Carolina’s Feb. 29 presidential primary and on Super Tuesday last week. They will be crucial in Michigan, where they make up almost 14% of the population and as much as 80% of some areas of Detroit. A number of Harris backers switched their support to Biden after she dropped out of the race in December. She had struggled to build support and raise money.Even before she endorsed him, Biden said he would consider Harris as a potential vice presidential running mate. Biden has received a number of high-profile endorsements from establishment Democrats and former rivals in the 2020 Democratic race, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Like Harris, they are more moderate Democrats. ‘Taste for justice’Sanders garnered his own endorsement on Sunday from the Rev. Jesse Jackson, a well-known civil rights leader, especially among older African Americans. Jackson described black Americans as those most left behind socially and economically and that the progressive path laid out by Sanders offered the best chance for them to catch up. At a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Sanders introduced Jackson, 78, and said Barack Obama was able to become the first black US president in 2008 because of the achievements of Jackson, who ran for the presidency twice in the 1980s.center_img Topics :last_img read more

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What impact is COVID-19 having on Middle East conflicts?

first_imgSyriaThe COVID-19 outbreak turned into a pandemic just as a ceasefire reached by the two main foreign power brokers in Syria’s nine-year-old war — Russia and Turkey — was taking effect.The three million people living in the ceasefire zone, in the country’s northwestern region of Idlib, had little hope the deal would hold.Yet fears the coronavirus could spread like wildfire across the devastated country appear to have given the truce an extended lease of life. The novel coronavirus has put global trade on hold, placed half of the world population in confinement and has the potential to topple governments and reshape diplomatic relations.The United Nations has appealed for ceasefires in all the major conflicts rocking the planet, with its chief Antonio Guterres on Friday warning “the worst is yet to come”. But it remains unclear what the pandemic’s impact will be on the multiple wars roiling the Middle East.Here is an overview of the impact so far on the conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Libya and Iraq: According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the month of March saw the lowest civilian death toll since the conflict started in 2011, with 103 deaths.The ability of the multiple administrations in Syria — the Damascus government, the autonomous Kurdish administration in the northeast and the jihadist-led alliance that runs Idlib — to manage the coronavirus threat is key to their credibility.”This epidemic is a way for Damascus to show that the Syrian state is efficient and all territories should be returned under its governance,” analyst Fabrice Balanche said.However the pandemic and the global mobilisation it requires could precipitate the departure of US-led troops from Syria and neighbouring Iraq.This in turn could create a vacuum in which the Islamic State jihadist group, still reeling from the demise of its “caliphate” a year ago, could seek to step up its attacks.YemenThe Yemeni government and the Huthi rebels initially responded positively to the UN appeal for a ceasefire, as did neighbouring Saudi Arabia, which leads a military coalition in support of the government.That rare glimmer of hope in the five-year-old conflict was short-lived however and last week Saudi air defences intercepted ballistic missiles over Riyadh and a border city fired by the Iran-backed rebels.The Saudi-led coalition retaliated by striking Huthi targets in the rebel-held capital Sanaa on Monday.Talks have repeatedly faltered but the UN envoy Martin Griffiths is holding daily consultations in a bid to clinch a nationwide ceasefire.More flare-ups in Yemen could compound a humanitarian crisis often described as the worst in the world and invite a coronavirus outbreak of catastrophic proportions.In a country where the health infrastructure has collapsed, where water is a rare commodity and where 24 million people require humanitarian assistance, the population fears being wiped out if a ceasefire doesn’t allow for adequate aid.”People will end up dying on the streets, bodies will be rotting in the open,” said Mohammed Omar, a taxi driver in the Red Sea port city of Hodeida.LibyaMuch like Yemen, the main protagonists in the Libyan conflict initially welcomed the UN ceasefire call but swiftly resumed hostilities.Fierce fighting has rocked the south of the capital Tripoli in recent days, suggesting the risk of a major coronavirus outbreak is not enough to make guns fall silent.Turkey has recently played a key role in the conflict, throwing its weight behind the UN-recognised Government of National Accord.Fabrice Balanche predicted that accelerated Western disengagement from Middle East conflicts could limit Turkish support to the GNA.That could eventually favour forces loyal to eastern-based strongman Khalifa Haftar, who launched an assault on Tripoli one year ago and has the backing of Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.Western countries have been hit hardest by the pandemic, which could prompt them to divert both military resources and peace-brokering capacity from foreign conflicts.A report by the International Crisis Group said European officials had reported that efforts to secure a ceasefire in Libya were no longer receiving high-level attention due to the pandemic.IraqIraq is no longer gripped by fully-fledged conflict but it remains vulnerable to an IS resurgence in some regions and its two main foreign backers are at each other’s throats.Iran and the United States are two of the countries most affected by the coronavirus but there has been no sign of any let-up in their battle for influence that has largely played out on Iraqi soil.With most non-US troops in the coalition now gone and some bases evacuated, American personnel are now regrouped in a handful of locations in Iraq.Washington has deployed Patriot air defence missiles, prompting fears of a fresh escalation with Tehran, whose proxies it blames for a spate of rocket attacks on bases housing US troops.Topics :last_img read more

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Galang COVID-19 hospital opens to step up fight against Indonesian epidemic

first_imgThe hospital has 15 specialist doctors, 110 nurses and other support staff, and 241 volunteer staff.“This hospital was initially designated for [returning] migrant workers, but it will now also receive referral patients from hospitals in other regions,” Indonesian Military (TNI) Regional Defense Joint Command I (Kogabwilhan I) commander Vice Adm. Yudo Margono said on Monday during the hospital’s inauguration ceremony.Galang hospital is under the supervision of Maj. Gen M.S. Fadhilah, the commander of the Bukit Barisan I Military Command that oversees the provinces of North Sumatra, West Sumatra, Riau and Riau Islands.Fadhilah is leading the integrated operational command in the region, which consists of medical workers, state officials, military personnel and police officers. The specialist hospital on Galang Island, which was purpose-built to treat COVID-19 patients from across the nation, opened on Monday to bolster Indonesia’s fight against the outbreak.Galang Island COVID-19 Specialist Hospital, located in Riau islands province, has 340 beds for patients under observation and a 20-bed isolation ward for providing intensive care. It also has a cemetery for burying the bodies of patients who have died of COVID-19, as many regions have reported heated public objections to burying COVID-19 patients at local cemeteries.Read also: Tensions arise between residents, officials over burials in Depok, Medan Galang hospital head Col. Chairul Ihsan, who also heads the Bukit Barisan I command’s Army hospital in Medan, North Sumatra, said that the hospital would be admitting patients from Batam, the largest island and maritime hub of Riau Islands province, as well as from other regions across the country.“This hospital has been designated for [treating] infectious and contagious diseases, which in this case is COVID-19,” said Chairul. “We have been assigned to lead the hospital until the COVID-19 emergency is over.”Read also: Indonesia to turn former Vietnamese refugee camp into hospital for COVID-19 patientsBatam Deputy Mayor Amsakar Achmad said that the administration had also provided a plot of land near the specialist hospital to use as a cemetery for patients who had died of COVID-19.“The [Batam] mayor has prepared and proposed the [land] for use in consideration of the local populace’s objections toward the bodies of COVID-19 patients,” he said.Several cities across the archipelago have reported widespread public objections to burying people who had died of COVID-19 in local cemeteries. In some areas, the local community has blocked streets to prevent ambulances from transporting the bodies of those who had died of the infectious disease to public cemeteries, citing fears that the bodies of confirmed cases would spread the disease in the area.Read also: Palang Hitam runs 24/7 to care for Jakarta’s dead during COVID-19 outbreakThe protocol for burying the bodies of those who died of the disease includes wrapping the body in plastic sheeting and placing in a coffin, which is also wrapped in plastic. Those who assist in the burial must also wear protective gear, such as a hazmat suit, mask and gloves. (mfp)Topics :last_img read more

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