Councilors defer selection of Anies’ deputy governor until after COVID-19 emergency

first_imgPresident Joko “Jokowi” Widodo himself has urged everyone to stay at home.Farazandi said the committee had ensured that COVID-19 precautionary measures would be properly implemented at the meeting, including body temperature scans and the use of disinfectant. It has also decided to limit the meeting to two hours only.The Jakarta City Council initially planned to hold the confirmation hearing on Monday. Council speaker Prasetyo Edi Marsudi said on March 20 that the hearing would be delayed until further notice as a result of the coronavirus.The deputy governor’s seat has been left vacant for more than a year since the former deputy governor, Gerindra Party politician Sandiaga Uno, resigned in August 2018 to become the running mate of then-presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto in the 2019 election.Read also: Jakarta’s long search for deputy governor postponed over COVID-19 fearsAfter the emergence of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, the feasibility of holding the plenary meeting has come into question as the central government and the city administration have advised against large-scale meetings to prevent wider transmission of the coronavirus.As of Thursday, Indonesia had reported 790 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 58 fatalities. The capital city itself had 472 cases with 43 deaths, making it the country’s COVID-19 epicenter.The Jakarta administration has promoted physical distancing by closing schools, tourism destinations and entertainment venues in the capital, as well as by urging corporations to allow their employees to work remotely until April 5. Jakarta civil servants are now allowed to work from home, including those working at City Council.Titi Anggraini, the director of the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem), an election watchdog, criticized the councilors for using the outbreak as a justification “to speed up” the plenary meeting.“As if the coronavirus situation legitimizes their sluggish performance over the past months. Now the people are the ones impacted,” she said.She said that good governance must be upheld, calling on Jakarta City Council to start the confirmation hearing only after the outbreak is completely over to allow the standard process to take place.Topics : The Jakarta Council has agreed to defer the search for Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan’s deputy governor until April 6, after the city’s COVID-19 state of emergency is set to end.Anies has declared a state of emergency in the capital until April 2 in an effort to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the policy can be extended depending on the situation.“We [the councilors] agreed to reschedule the plenary meeting [for the selection of the deputy governor] to April 6, right after the end of the capital’s state of emergency,” Farazandi, the council’s selection committee chairman and a member of the National Mandate Party (PAN), said on Thursday. He was referring to a plenary meeting that is expected to consist of a confirmation hearing and a vote to choose between Gerindra Party politician Ahmad Riza Patria and Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) politician Nurmansyah Lubis to be Anies’ second-in-command.Fazarandi said that having a deputy governor remained essential to help Anies handle the devastating COVID-19 outbreak in the capital even after the status was lifted.“We hope the governor is always healthy, but surely he will need a backup,” he said. “[Selecting a deputy governor] will be a contribution that the counselors can make for now.”The councilors plan to hold the plenary meeting in April despite the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) having extended Indonesia’s COVID-19 emergency disaster status until May 29 to contain the spread of the virus.Read also: It’s a non-emergency emergency, BNPB says regarding COVID-19 pandemiclast_img read more

Bankruptcy looms over US energy industry, from oil fields to pipelines

first_imgUS shale producers, refiners and pipeline companies are scrambling for cash and face likely restructuring as they struggle under heavy debt loads and a dual supply/demand shock in the worst crisis the oil industry has faced.Fuel demand has tumbled roughly 30% worldwide due to the coronavirus pandemic, and just as the health crisis worsened a price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia flooded markets with crude. The industry was already struggling to satisfy investors unhappy with weak returns, even as the United States surged to become the world’s largest oil producer in the last few years.That perilous position was before US prices crashed deep into negative territory on Monday, as much as $38 per barrel in the red. This sudden rout came despite substantial spending and output cuts having already been announced by US producers, and reflected a price environment well below levels that companies and advisors had modeled in worst-case scenarios, according to energy lawyers. One midstream company, Salt Creek Midstream, which operates in the Delaware basin in Texas, had already hired Jefferies Financial Group and law firm Kirkland & Ellis for debt advice before the week’s events, according to three sources aware of the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss non-public information.Salt Creek and its advisers declined to comment, as did private equity investors Ares Management Corp and ARM Energy.More shale producers are expected to seek bankruptcy protection in coming weeks, industry and banking sources say, following Whiting Petroleum, which announced such steps earlier this month. Many small and mid-sized producers, including Chesapeake Energy Corp, have retained debt advisers.The forecast loan default rate for 2020 among energy companies is 18%, according to Fitch Ratings, while nearly 20% of all energy corporate bonds are trading below 70 cents on the dollar, indicating distress, according to data from MarketAxess.Occidental hoped asset sales would help reduce its debt pile, which stood at nearly $39 billion at the end of 2019 after its massive acquisition of Anadarko Petroleum last year. It has since cut costs twice and slashed its prized dividend.Producers and pipelines Privately held pipeline operators are considered the most vulnerable among midstream companies, bankers said. As shale producers hit bankruptcy, they’re expected to try to use court proceedings to exit pipeline contracts which charge transport fees based on oil and gas prices well above current levels, according to Buddy Clark and Charles Beckham, another Haynes and Boone partner.Privately owned Glass Mountain LLC earlier this month sued troubled producer Chesapeake Energy for allegedly defaulting on an oil transportation contract, according to court documents.Midstream companies are also threatened by a slow fall in production, as wells are being plugged due to poor market conditions. Based on company estimates, at least 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) of US production cuts have been announced, and that cuts off transportation fees earned by pipeline companies.A number of these midstream operators borrowed heavily to finance pipeline systems, built to support producers developing new, costlier shale plays when oil prices were higher, but are no longer profitable.Debt belonging to private midstream operators is trading at distressed levels, with many between 40 and 50 cents on the dollar, such as Brazos Midstream, a Delaware Basin operator whose long-term debt was downgraded to CCC+ by Fitch Ratings last week, a rating described as implying substantial risks.Refining Oil refiner PBF Energy built up a network of six US refineries over a decade, including this year’s nearly $1 billion purchase of a San Francisco-area plant. With the market’s slide, the entire company is currently worth less by capitalization than that purchase.PBF last month said it would sell hydrogen gas plants for $530 million to raise cash. That sale “solves some short-term problems for them,” said one person familiar with the transaction, but cautioned that this alone will not stabilize the company unless fuel demand begins to recover. The person declined to be identified because the matter was not public.The company declined to comment.Demand, however, is down by roughly 25% in the United States, and oversupply is expected to linger for months.An April survey of energy producers by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City found nearly 40% would be insolvent within a year if oil prices remained around $30 a barrel. US crude prices closed under $14 a barrel on Wednesday.”The restructuring guys are extremely busy. I don’t think they’ll be busy for just this year – I think it’s a multi-year process,” James West at investment bank Evercore ISI told investors on Wednesday. Approximately half of the top 60 independent US oil producers will likely need to review options for securing more liquidity, according to energy lawyers at Haynes and Boone.”The reverberations from this price collapse will be felt throughout the industry and by everyone who provides services to the industry,” said Buddy Clark, an Houston-based partner at the firm.Companies that used debt to fund acquisitions before prices crashed, such as oil giant Occidental Petroleum Corp, are focusing on placating shareholders and preserving cash.Numerous midstream companies backed by private equity are in danger of bankruptcy, according to some of the more than a dozen industry and financial sources Reuters spoke to for this article, while large banks are preparing to become owners of oil and gas fields as they seize energy assets.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Japan to approve first coronavirus antigen test kits on Wednesday

first_imgTopics : “It is difficult to keep track of all those who are infected with PCR tests alone,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a regular news conference on Tuesday.”We will try and get a good grasp of the infection situation with various measures such as antigen tests and antibody tests.”Japan has reported about 16,680 confirmed infections, including 712 from the cruise ship previously quarantined in Yokohama, and 670 deaths to date, public broadcaster NHK said.Although those tallies are relatively low given its population of 126 million, critics say the low rate of testing has made it difficult to trace the virus, which has led to a series of in-hospital infections, crippling some facilities. Japan has conducted 188 PCR tests per 100,000 people, versus 3,159 in Italy and 3,044 in Germany, data from a panel of medical experts advising the government showed.Faced with criticism, Japan eased access to PCR tests this month. Antigen tests, once approved, will likely supplement PCR tests, Health Minister Katsunobu Kato has said.It takes about 30 minutes to get a result with Fujirebio’s palm-sized antigen test kit, compared with four to six hours for a PCR test, the health ministry said in a statement.Fujirebio can produce 200,000 kits per week, roughly on par with the number of PCR tests conducted in April in Japan.Demand for rapid testing kits has surged with governments scrambling to contain the pandemic that has infected more than 4 million people worldwide and killed over 285,000.The United States has approved its first antigen kit, made by Quidel Corp, while Malaysia has approved the use of rapid test kits from South Korea.Japan has approved Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir as a treatment for COVID-19, making it the country’s first authorized drug to tackle the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government aims to approve by the end of the month Fujifilm Holdings Corp’s anti-flu drug Avigan as a treatment for COVID-19.center_img Japan plans to approve its first coronavirus antigen testing kits on Wednesday, a health ministry official said, to boost the number of diagnostic tests available to battle the pandemic.Fujirebio, a subsidiary of Japanese diagnostics and laboratory testing service provider Miraca Holdings, last month applied for government approval for its antigen kit.Antigen tests scan for proteins found on or inside a virus, and typically test a sample taken from the nasal cavity using swabs. The tests can detect the virus quickly but produce false negatives at a higher rate than the currently dominant PCR, or polymerase chain reaction, tests.last_img read more

Italy proposes 60,000 volunteers for post-virus vigilance

first_imgThey would answer questions and remind the public of social distancing rules, or the need to wear masks, in crowded areas such as beaches, parks and city streets. The volunteers would not be able to fine people. Decaro said Monday that some of these potential volunteers had already “helped deliver groceries or medicines to those who could not leave their homes during the crisis.” “In this new phase, they will help control access to parks or markets, counting the number of people entering or leaving, or explaining the rules of access to beaches when they reopen,” Decaro, who is also president of the Association of Italian Municipalities, said in a statement.Some authorities said they welcomed the idea of more help in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis as they struggle with crowd control at bars, cafes and beaches after two months of lockdown.  “Civic assistants can be useful,” said Paolo Truzu, mayor Sardinia’s capital Cagliari, adding that he envisioned them helping on his city’s beaches. Others, however, scoffed at the idea. “How can we think that 60,000 people found who knows where, trained who knows where will be going around Italy telling Italians what to do on the basis of rules that nobody understands?” asked former government minister Carlo Calenda, leader of the small centrist Azione party, on Twitter. “Is this normal and legitimate in a democratic country?” Giordano Masini, member of the pro-European Piu Europa (More Europe) party, said what Italy needed was more capable professionals. “We need doctors, nurses, social workers, teachers, educated people,” Masini said. Topics :center_img Italian officials have proposed creating a 60,000-strong corps of volunteer “civic assistants” who would remind people of the need to observe measures against coronavirus infection as the country emerges from lockdown. The force, to be drawn from among pensioners and the unemployed, is the brainchild of Regional Affairs Minister Francesco Boccia and Antonio Decaro, mayor of the southern city of Bari.The civil protection unit, which manages the various volunteers helping to fight against the COVID-19 epidemic that has caused nearly 33,000 deaths in Italy, would be charged with the recruitment.last_img read more

Indonesia receives first shipment of ventilators from United Nations organizations

first_imgThe first shipment of five ventilators from a total of 33 units jointly procured by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for Indonesia arrived in Jakarta on Monday.“The ventilators will be symbolically given to the BNPB [National Disaster Mitigation Agency],” communications head of UNDP Indonesia Tomi Soetjipto said in a press statement on Tuesday.“Ventilators are important devices that are greatly needed for COVID-19 patients,” he added. For severely ill COVID-19 patients whose lungs have been damaged by the coronavirus, a ventilator pushes oxygen-rich air into the lungs, helping the patient to breathe normally. The ventilator is expected to give the patient time to fight off the virus and recover. However, the survival rate for COVID-19 patients on ventilators is not yet clear. “Globally, there has been a high demand for essential equipment to treat COVID-19, so these ventilators will make a significant impact in providing critical care to those patients worst affected, across the country,” WHO Representative to Indonesia N. Paranietharan said in the statement.The joint effort of UN organizations to assist Indonesia will provide a total of 33 ventilators over the course of four weeks at an estimated cost of US$762,460. The WHO will provide a total of 27 ventilators supported through a partnership with the Japanese government, meanwhile, the IOM and the UNDP will provide three ventilators each.“In complement, the UNDP together with the rest of the United Nations development system will intensify its support to cushion the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic on the Indonesian people and prepare for a green sustainable recovery in close partnership with the government,” UNDP resident representative Christophe Bahuet said.Chief of mission of the IOM, Louis Hoffmann, added that the delivery of the ventilators was funded by the Australian government as part of a larger package of critical, life-saving supplies and equipment that the IOM will deliver to the country.Previously, Indonesia was set to receive the first delivery of ventilators from the United States in early June, as a result of a call between President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and US President Donald Trump in April.Domestically, the Research and Technology Ministry along with the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) had stated that Indonesia would start producing 100 to 300 ventilators starting in early June, with state-owned weapons manufacturer Pindad, hospital equipment maker PT Poly Jaya Medikal, electronics manufacturer PT LEN and automotive holding company Dharma Group among those involved in the manufacturing process.Topics :last_img read more

Istiqlal Mosque may reopen in July, Jokowi says while inspecting renovations

first_img“I only reminded him that we need to prepare health protocols so people will be safe from COVID-19 when they are allowed to pray at Istiqlal,” the President said.Read also: Grand renovation of Southeast Asia’s largest mosqueThe renovations kicked off in May last year to give the largest mosque in Southeast Asia a facelift. The renovations included increasing the parking capacity, revamping the landscaping and the plaza and upgrading the toilets, ablution blocks, electrical system and plumbing. The Rp 475 billion (US$32.85 million) project is the first renovation of the mosque since it was inaugurated in 1978.In a circular letter issued on Friday, Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi set guidelines for houses of worship that are set to reopen soon under the “new normal” of the post-pandemic era. Among the requirements for houses of worship to reopen is for the COVID-19 basic reproduction number (R0) and effective reproduction number (Rt) to fall below a certain threshold. Furthermore, houses of worship must obtain a letter from the government’s COVID-19 task force confirming that the area is virus-free, while large houses of worship must also obtain permission from regional heads.People have turned to virtual congregations in recent months as houses of worship were temporarily closed as part of the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. (trn)Topics : The government is preparing to reopen the Istiqlal Mosque in Central Jakarta in July in accordance with the “new normal” approach amid the COVID-19 pandemic as renovations on the mosque near completion.President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo visited Istiqlal on Tuesday to check on the renovations. He said that according to the Mosque’s grand imam, Nasaruddin Umar, the large-scale renovations were 90 percent complete and would be finished in July, several months later than the initial schedule for March due to the pandemic.“Will it be reopened after the renovations are completed? It has yet to be decided. The grand Imam said Istiqlal would be opened in July,” the President said.last_img read more

Support for Sweden’s coronavirus response falls: Poll

first_imgTopics : Confidence in the Swedish authorities’ ability to manage the coronavirus pandemic has fallen, a poll published on Tuesday showed, as the death toll has soared amid a highly-publicized light approach.Unlike most European nations, Sweden never closed society down, opting instead to keep schools for under-16s open, as well as cafes, bars and restaurants and most businesses.The Public Health Agency argued that lockdowns only work temporarily, insisting that drastic short-term measures are too ineffective to justify their impact on people. That compared with 56 percent in April, while those who had “little confidence” rose from 21 to 29 percent.And 57 percent now have “strong confidence” in the Public Health Agency, down from 69 percent in April.Support for the agency’s state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, who has become the face of Sweden’s strategy, remains relatively strong although it has declined from 69 to 60 percent.Those who believed the center-left government was coping well with the crisis meanwhile dropped from 50 percent in May to 38 percent in June.Prime Minister Stefan Lofven’s support also dropped from 49 percent to 39 percent.”The differences are big enough that we can say with certainty that there has been a real change. The view of authorities’ capabilities has taken a clear negative turn,” Ipsos analyst Nicklas Kallebring told Dagens Nyheter.center_img The country of 10.3 million has reported 5,122 COVID-19 deaths, far exceeding the combined total of its Nordic neighbors which all adopted much stricter measures.As a result, many countries now opening up to tourism have barred Swedes from entry, including closest neighbors Denmark, Finland and Norway.Stockholm has also been slow to roll out mass testing.An Ipsos poll of 1,191 Swedes published in daily Dagens Nyheter showed that in June, 45 percent had “strong confidence” in authorities’ ability to handle the crisis.last_img read more

Safety first: Indonesia applauds Saudi Arabia for capping number of pilgrims

first_imgHouse of Representatives Deputy Speaker Sufmi Dasco Ahmad of the Gerindra Party echoed the government’s statement, saying the move was in line with Indonesia’s decision to cancel this year’s haj trips over coronavirus concerns.“We must respect the decision,” Sufmi said.Read also: Lawmakers grill religious affairs minister for ‘sudden’ haj cancellationIndonesia – the world’s largest Muslim-majority country which holds the largest quota of haj pilgrims – decided earlier this month to cancel this year’s haj trips over health concerns, forcing 221,000 would-be pilgrims to put their haj plans on hold.The minister, however, asserted that those who had already paid for their pilgrimage could embark on the haj in 2021.According to the Saudi General Authority for Statistics, nearly 2.5 million people went on the haj pilgrimage last year, including 1.85 million from outside the country.Topics : The Indonesian government has lauded Saudi Arabia’s move to limit the number of haj pilgrims this year in an effort to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.Saudi Arabia announced on Monday that it would allow pilgrims already in the kingdom to proceed with the annual ritual, which is scheduled to take place next month. This means that only Saudi nationals and foreigners currently living or staying in the country can do the pilgrimage.“In the name of the Indonesian government, I express appreciation for Saudi Arabia’s decision to prioritize the pilgrims’ safety,” said Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi in a statement on Tuesday.last_img read more

Experts, business players urge COVID-19 response team to evaluate fiscal stimulus

first_imgRead also: Don’t ‘misinterpret new normal’: Govt expects new team to meet health, economic goalsThe government approved on Monday a Rp 16.5 trillion loan for the Jakarta and West Java administrations, which will be disbursed gradually, to revive the provinces’ economic activity during the pandemic. However, Faisal suggested that the government should increase the allocation for regional administrations and transfer the funds instead of lending them.Meanwhile, Indef executive director Tauhid Ahmad urged the team to reduce the allocations for the five government and agencies with the biggest budgets and use those funds instead to increase cash transfers to those affected by the pandemic.“Those ministries and agencies should sacrifice their budgets so that we can reduce our debt, because the fight against the coronavirus will last for the next few years,” he said.In the 2020 state budget, the Defense Ministry has the biggest allocation of all ministries at Rp 127.4 trillion, trailed by the Public Works and Housing Ministry, the National Police, Religious Affairs Ministry as well as the Social Affairs Ministry.From the total of stimulus package, Rp 203.9 trillion have been earmarked for social safety nets, including the Family Hope Program, the staple food card program and cash transfers.Tauhid suggested that the government increase the monthly cash transfers from currently Rp 600,000 per family to Rp 1.5 million per family, which accounts for around 70 to 80 percent of the average monthly spending.“More people are experiencing job and salary cuts as the pandemic continues. The increase in cash transfers could help to reduce their burden during this trying time,” said Tauhid.The government expects 4 million people to fall below the poverty line and some 5.5 million to lose their jobs this year, as the pandemic is ravaging the economy.Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) chairman Rosan Roeslani said on Tuesday that the government should focus on incentivizing labor-intensive industries during the pandemic.Rosan proposed for additional six-month working capital stimulus for the private sector affected by the pandemic, which Kadin estimates to reach around Rp 303.76 trillion.“This is an estimate from various industries that have been greatly impacted by the virus,” he said.The figure includes Rp 141.5 trillion stimulus for the textile and textile products industry, Rp 100 trillion for the food and beverage industry, Rp 40.5 trillion for the footwear industry, Rp 21.3 trillion for hotel and restaurant industry as well as Rp 407 billion for the electronics and home appliances industry, according to Rosan.Read also: Business players demand Rp 625t in additional stimulus Experts and a business player association are urging the newly established COVID-19 response team to re-evaluate the government’s fiscal stimulus and boost its effectiveness amid the continuous rise in the number of cases.Institute for Development on Economics and Finance (Indef) senior economist Faisal Basri said that the newly established National Economic Recovery and COVID-19 Response Team should focus on disbursing more funds to regional administrations to fight the pandemic in their areas.“The funds to fight the coronavirus has been heavily centered on the central government, but regional administrations actually need more funding than the government does, as they are the front guard in fighting this virus,” he said in a webinar on Tuesday. Faisal further argued that the pandemic had hit provincial, regency and city administrations’ revenue, which in turn reduced the administrations’ COVID-19 response funds amid the continuous surge in cases.The total national case number reached 104,432 on Wednesday.As the crisis impacted car sales, administrations would collect less revenue from vehicle ownership transfer fees, while the slump in tourism would affect tax revenue from lodging, restaurants and entertainment centers, Faisal added.The government has allocated Rp 10 trillion (US$688.7 million) in government loans to administrations from the overall stimulus package worth Rp 695.2 trillion for the COVID-19 response to boost the cooling economy and strengthen the healthcare system. It has also been working to expedite the disbursement of the funds for social assistance, business incentives and more, as it has only spent 19 percent of the total as of July 22.center_img Topics :last_img read more

US on brink as vigilantes, guns and hate stoke fears ahead of election

first_imgOne of them, Gregory Bennett, said he no longer feels safe in the town where last Tuesday night, a 17-year-old who had joined a far-right militia protecting private property shot dead two protesters.Local white people “are in fear, they look for a reason to defend themselves and we have people over here [the militias] looking for a reason to attack,” said Bennett, a social worker and former member of the military who said he no longer leaves his house without a bulletproof jacket and a pistol in his belt. In the United States, where the right to defend oneself is part of the national identity, some 30 percent of the adult population owns at least one firearm. ‘All kinds of populists’ Shots were also fired over the weekend in Portland, Oregon, where left-wing protesters have regularly faced off with police for the past three months.As a group of Trump supporters clashed with the protestors, one of them, who was wearing a baseball cap with a local far-right group’s logo, was shot dead on the fringes of the confrontation, in circumstances that are still unclear.Between now and the election, “certainly there could be more shootings,” said Spencer Sunshine, who researches far-right groups in the United States.  “It could get a lot worse because I don’t think either side is going to back down,” he warned.Extremist groups have always existed in the United States, said Sunshine, an independent expert. After Trump’s election, radical right-wing and left-wing groups regularly faced off in Seattle, Washington, as well as in Portland.What is new, he said, is the widespread presence of firearms at demonstrations. “More than four years ago, you would only see an armed demonstration like in Arizona, where they have very liberal gun laws,” he said.Weapons have been particularly visible since May 1, when hundreds of men armed with assault rifles tried to enter the state capitol building in Michigan to protest against lockdown measures introduced to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.Sunshine said that show of force also illustrated the arrival of new recruits to the extreme right. “It’s no longer really white nationalists during the clashes, or white nationalists’ collaborators,” Sunshine said, indicating that right-wing populists, militias and conspiratorial Trump supporters were now also showing up, motivated by “social anxiety about what’s going to happen to the country.” ‘Zeal of new converts’ “The radical right is actively looking to exploit today’s historically polarized political climate –- one that has become even more uncertain under the strain of the coronavirus pandemic and protests for racial justice,” warned the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremist groups.”With the 2020 presidential election fast approaching, the prospect that extremists might resort to political violence is a very real one,” it said.Up against the extreme right is a more diverse coalition of activists that Trump collectively calls “Antifa,” short for “Anti-fascist,” whom he accuses of being “rioters, anarchists, agitators and looters.”Its members “vary from thugs who like to fight… to those who are more truly defensive to those who are active on social media, trying to dox white supremacists,” said Daniel Byman of the Brookings Institution. He said they were less organized than their far-right adversaries but warned that “an increase in violence is quite possible, indeed likely.”Fueling the threat, Sunshine said, is a heady cocktail made up of “the zeal of the new convert added with lots of guns and hysterical narratives.” Shootings that left three dead at protests against police brutality have stoked fears of rising violence as a deeply divided US heads into elections amid economic collapse, a deadly pandemic and the worst social upheaval since the 1960s.President Donald Trump, hoping to secure a second term in November despite the crisis, heads Tuesday to Kenosha, the Wisconsin town which descended into violence last week after police shot a young black father seven times in the back. The governor of the state, Democrat Tony Evers, called on Trump in vain to reconsider his visit, warning it would “hinder our healing” and arguing that the citizens of the town are already traumatized.  Topics :last_img read more