Preferential car loans expanded to electric cars – Business – Kommersant

The government has officially increased the budget of the preferential car loan program to 22.5 billion rubles. and approved new rules for access to such state support. For example, families with at least one child, health workers and those who give the car for a trade-in on the down payment now have the right to a discount of 10–25% of the price of the car. You can take a soft loan only for a car no more than 1.5 million rubles, localized in the Russian Federation. Although formally the program now extends to electric cars, it is actually impossible to purchase them because of the localization requirement, since such cars are not manufactured in Russia.

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin approved the amendments to the “First Car” and “Family Car” preferential car loan programs, as follows from Decree No. 907 of June 23. The government’s website notes that the program budget this year will be 22.5 billion rubles.

As part of preferential car loans, the buyer is entitled to a 10% discount on the cost of the car, but for the Far East its size is 25%. Now the maximum discount can also be obtained when buying an electric car. At the same time, there remains a requirement for the localization of cars purchased on credit in Russia – they must gain 1.4 thousand points under the 719th decree.

Since electric cars in Russia are not produced at all, in practice it is impossible to buy them with a soft loan.

New rules reinforce the opportunity to buy a car with it worth up to 1.5 million rubles. Price limit of 1 million rubles. acted in 2015, after which the cost steadily increased until 2019, when it was again reduced from 1.45 million to 1 million rubles. In fact, this fact, coupled with additional requirements for the level of localization of cars, significantly limited the list of cars covered by the preferential car loan program – the main financing was focused on Lada. From foreign cars, only Renault, two Hyundai models (Creta, Solaris), as well as one model Volkswagen (Polo), Skoda (Rapid) and Kia (Rio), fall into the program.

At the same time, with an increase in value, the range of brands acquired through preferential car loans did not increase.

Under the new rules, access to preferential car loans was given to families raising at least one child (previously two children), employees of medical institutions, as well as those who handed over the old car for a trade-in in payment of the initial payment.

Only a car older than six years old, which was owned by the borrower for at least a year, can be handed over to the trade-in, the resolution says.

In May, in the first month of easing restrictions amid the coronavirus, according to the United Credit Bureau (OKB; it also has data from Sberbank), citizens took 28.2 thousand car loans worth 22.4 billion rubles. The number and volume of loans issued compared with April more than doubled.

In practice, both the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the concerns participating in the programs informed about the launch of new access rules even before their approval – from the beginning of June. In addition, the document itself says that the new maximum cost of a car in preferential car loans (1.5 million rubles) applies to cars purchased from March 1, 2020.

Olga Nikitina

In Russia, there is a short-term surge in demand for cars after an almost two-month downtime of the dealer network. Against this background, AvtoVAZ postponed the transition to a shorter work week until the end of summer. The manufacturers and dealers interviewed by Kommersant agree that sales have grown compared with the failed April-May indicators, but this is due to temporary factors in deferred demand and increased government support. The real picture will be clear only in September. So far, the industry believes that by the end of the year the market will fall by 30%, with some players assessing this scenario as optimistic.

Read more


salute from the cable-stayed bridge, hovering above the water Assol and space suits

The brightest evening of the country’s graduates ended, which the guys were looking forward to this year. So, as always, the Scarlet Sails Festival 2020 became a beautiful chord of the All-Russian holiday. This year it was both traditional and completely unusual at the same time. We tell you what the Scarlet Sails 2020 surprised.

The main innovation of this year is the change of locationPhoto: Oleg GOLD

Well, firstly, the main innovation is the change of location. For several years in a row, a snow-white brig passes through the water area Not you along the Peter and Paul Fortress, the Hermitage and right under the Palace Bridge. This year, another, no less picturesque place was chosen, with very recognizable sights. Petersburg – stadium “Gazprom-Arena “, Lakhta-center and cable-stayed bridge ZSD.

Access to all locations was closed due to the difficult epidemic situation both in the city and throughout the country. Photo: Artem KILKIN

Access to all locations was closed due to the difficult epidemic situation both in the city and throughout the country.Photo: Artem KILKIN

The second innovation: live Petersburgers and visitors could not see all this beauty. And all because this year there are special requirements: because of the pandemic, access to the park is closed, it was also impossible to see from the water, since part of the Neva and the Gulf of Finland were blocked. GIMS boats and various services went around the water area and made sure that no one violated the ban. Law enforcement officers were also on duty on land: if they met people in a territory where there should not be anyone, they politely asked to leave the place and go home.

Everyone was politely asked to leave the coast Photo: Artyom KILKIN

Everyone was politely asked to leave the coast.Photo: Artem KILKIN

And at home, by the way, everyone would have considered it in the best possible way: there was a live broadcast of a concert and a pyrotechnic show on the Internet and on TV. By the way, on the screen you can see what on the shore would definitely not be accessible to the eye. And all because along the Neva and the Gulf of Finland there were several scenes at once and on each of them there was an action.

The main stage was next to the Gazprom Arena stadium, it was also very unusual – as if soaring in the air, and with it the stars acting on it. Leading the holiday were Ivan Urgant and Daria Александрова.

The hosts of the holiday were Ivan Urgant and Daria Alexandrova Photo: Oleg GOLD

Leading the holiday were Ivan Urgant and Daria AlexandrovaPhoto: Oleg GOLD

Timur Rodriguez, Vera performed their hits Brezhnev, RASA group, Dima Bilan and Surganova. And there were surprises in the form of a show of pirates and drummers, yes, it is worth noting separately what costumes the artists had – just space ones. Be sure to watch Bilan’s performance if you missed. And also a salute, well, the passage itself of a sailboat!

The cable-stayed bridge of the WHSD was both a platform for light and a launch site for fireworks. Photo: Oleg ZOLOTO

The cable-stayed bridge of the WHSD was both a platform for light and a launch site for fireworksPhoto: Oleg GOLD

By the way, the pyrotechnic show lasted almost half an hour, hundreds of volleys were launched into the sky, the first cable-stayed bridge of the WHSD was used. It was both a platform for light, and for launching a salute.

But the highlight, of course, was the passage of a snow-white brig with Scarlet Sails along the Gulf of Finland Photo: Oleg ZOLOTO

But the highlight, of course, was the passage of a snow-white brig with Scarlet Sails along the Gulf of FinlandPhoto: Oleg GOLD

And at the end of the extravaganza, the romantic Assol soared above the water to meet her dream. By the way, this year the holiday was dedicated to the author of the fairy tale about Scarlet Sails Alexander Green – marks 140 years since his birthday.

If you missed the broadcast live, there is an opportunity to watch the best moments of the show.

Graduation Scarlet Sails in St. Petersburg ended with a grandiose salute.Alena CHICHIGINA


“Let them try to do it in Russia” – Sport – Kommersant

Former Formula 1 promoter and actually the creator of the world’s most prestigious racing series in its current form, Bernie Ecclestone has responded to allegations of racism that fell upon him after saying that “many blacks are more racist than white.” According to Mr. Ecclestone, it is not his fault that he is white, or that he did not come out tall. “I realized that I had to put up with this. And Black should take care of himself, ”said Bernie Ecclestone, noting that he was not afraid of threats to deprive him of access to the race. “Let them try to do it in Russia. I’ll somehow get a pass, ”he said.

Bernie Ecclestone’s statement that “many blacks are more racist than they were before” provoked the expected sharp reaction in Formula 1. So, six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton called the position of Ecclestone “sad and disappointing.” “Bernie left our sport, and he is from another generation. But it is precisely such ignorant comments that show how far we are from making real equality possible. Now I understand completely why nothing has been done and said in our sport so that it becomes more diverse, and in order to respond to the racial harassment that I have encountered throughout my career, ”said Hamilton.

In turn, the current head of “Formula 1” Chase Kerry hastened to disown Bernie Ecclestone, calling his position unacceptable and saying that the status of honorary chairman of “Formula 1”, which Ecclestone received after the control over the series passed American Liberty Media , “Expired in June.” Also, the leadership of Formula 1 discusses the possibility of denying Ecclestone the right to attend races.

“Prohibit me from appearing on races? “I would not advise doing this,” Bernie Ecclestone told the Daily Mail. “They can try, for example, in Russia.” I think I’ll get a pass. ”

Bernie Ecclestone spoke more than once flattering about Russian President Vladimir Putin, with whose assistance it became possible to host the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi.

We also note that Ecclestone still has good relations with team leaders and national stage organizers. That is, in fact, excommunication from his presence at the race is really not easy.

Bernie Ecclestone also touched on his relationship with Chase Kerry and his words that he is no longer the honorary chairman of Formula 1. “When Chase asked me to resign, he talked a lot about how important my title was. He said that in the USA people are ready to kill for such a thing. But that doesn’t matter to me, ”said Bernie Ecclestone.“ I got my doctorate from Imperial College London 20 years ago. But I do not introduce myself as Dr. Ecclestone. And I’m glad that I have no relation to the management of Formula 1. After all, now I can’t be blamed for everything that they did. They raised this topic with racism because of what is happening in America. But maybe Chase will do something that could please the shareholders? COVID is luck for him. All failures can be blamed on a pandemic. ”

As for the allegations of racism, they are sure, Bernie Ecclestone, unfounded.

“I am not against blacks. On the contrary. I always helped them. In my life I have met many whites that I did not like, but not a single black. I was robbed a couple of times. Once they were three black guys. I got to the hospital then. But even after that, he never opposed black. Yes, and I do not perceive Hamilton as black or something else. He’s just Lewis, ”said Bernie Ecclestone. However, he believes that “if a person was refused work, then you must first find out why,” and not go straight to the marches, which, in his opinion, are now “quasi-Marxists”. “If you ask them what exactly they need, they won’t say it,” says Ecclestone.

“It’s not my fault that I’m white,” continued Bernie Ecclestone. “As well as the fact that he did not come out tall. At school they called me shorty. But then I realized that I had to deal with it. So Black should take care of himself. ”

Arnold Kabanov


The FDA approves a kit to take the COVID-19 test at home – Telemundo San Antonio (60)

WASHINGTON – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved this Tuesday a test that allows the diagnosis of COVID-19 through the study of samples obtained by patients themselves from home, They must then send them to a laboratory for analysis.

This was announced by this federal organization in a statement published on its website, in which it explains that this PCR test – that is, that looks for fragments of genetic material of the pathogen – developed by Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp) allows the study of samples Nasally collected by the patients themselves using a kit that has swabs and a saline solution.

Once patients collect the sample, they will have to send it in an isolated package to LabCorp, where it will be studied.

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn stressed the safety and effectiveness of the new test: “We work with LabCorp to ensure that the data obtained from the collection of samples from patients at home is as safe and accurate as the collection of samples in a doctor’s office, hospital, or other testing site. “

On its website, Pixel, a company owned by LabCorp, announces that the general consumer will be able to access this test in the coming weeks, although at the moment it will only be available to healthcare personnel, although its price is $ 119 for everyone.

In its statement, the FDA stresses that patients should only use the cotton swabs provided by LabCorp in the package that makes up the test, as there is concern about the possible cross contamination that could cause the use of cotton swabs other than those supplied .

Also, remember that this authorization does not mean that all the SARS-CoV-2 tests that can be performed at home have been authorized or will be.


One-click access to studies selected by Nobel laureate Ignarro

FLORENCE, Italy, June 11 / PRNewswire / – The collection of the most important and influential scientific publications on the subject of Covid-19, compiled by the Fondazione Internazionale Menarini, is constantly being added and updated under the direction of the Nobel Laureate in Medicine, Louis J. Ignarro, member of the Foundation’s Science Committee updated and can be found on the Foundation’s website: ( Access to this library is completely free and gives healthcare providers worldwide quick and easy access to verified data and information. The online library already has more than a hundred publications and also includes video interviews with the most important international experts. This initiative is part of the mission of the Fondazione Internazionale Menarini: to promote scientific education and to ensure the online further education and training of healthcare providers. The scientific articles are stored and classified in an easily and quickly accessible database so that the studies can be called up with a simple click. They are sorted by topic, from ongoing studies to epidemiology and clinics to therapies and official guidelines.

“We are all in the worst global nightmare of our life”




The corona virus, the causative agent of COVID-19, is a highly contagious and aggressive virus that has totally changed our lives in a very short time. Faced with this catastrophe, the Fondazione Internazionale Menarini takes the initiative and publishes a constantly updated and expanded list of the most relevant articles from the most famous international medical journals and medical journals in the world. We sincerely hope that you will appreciate and use this service to gain insight into this important and complicated subject. ”

“An easy-to-access, clear, and certified tool is even more important at a time when all common medical education is suspended or difficult to perform due to the coronavirus crisis,” added Andrea Cossarizza, president of the International Society for Advancement of Citometry . The “virtual” multimedia library, which is specifically designed for the coronavirus and focuses on coronavirus, guides all healthcare providers involved in the fight against Covid-19 through a large number of publications and thus improves knowledge about the coronavirus. ”

Photo –

Logo –

Press contact:

Alessandra Cannone
+ 39-05556801

Original content by: Menarini Group, transmitted by news aktuell
Original message:


Where to report non-payment of sick days and unsafe working conditions? – Telemundo New York (47)

The new coronavirus, officially called COVID-19, spreads from person to person through droplets of saliva ejected by coughing, sneezing and talking, according to the latest CDC findings.

The virus can also be spread by contacting a contaminated surface or object and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an updated guide for workplaces and employees to avoid exposure to the virus.

This is the information from the OSHA headquarters in the tri-state area:

Region 1- Boston Regional Office

(CT *, ME *, MA, NH, RI, VT *)

JFK Federal Building

25 New Sudbury Street, Room E340

Boston, MA 02203

(617) 565-9860 (617) 565-9827 Fax

Region 2- New York Regional Office

(NJ *, NY *, PR *, VI *)

Federal Building

201 Varick Street, Room 670

New York, NY 10014

(212) 337-2378 (212) 337-2371 Fax


While OSHA ensures that workplaces are safe, it is the Department of Labor and state attorneys general that enforce sick day pay.

You can file a complaint for any of the following reasons:

  • If you are forced to work in a non-essential business.
  • You work in an essential business, but do not perform essential functions.
  • Your employer requires you to report to the place of employment when your job can be done from home.
  • Your employer does not follow health and safety requirements
  • You fear because you are over 70 and / or have an underlying disease.
  • Your employer has not paid you wages due for hours worked, sick leave, or time off.
  • Your employer threatens or has already fired you for reasons related to COVID-19.
  • You meet the requirements for COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave and your employer refuses to pay it
  • His employer forces him to work while he is sick.


HERE you will find the form of the State Attorney to file a complaint for non-payment of sick days or any other related work matter.

You can also call 311 or visit the website of the work Department in Spanish for more information.


HERE you will find the guide of sick days paid in Spanish.

In this link you will find the form in Spanish for unpaid wages.

You can send it by post to

New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development

Division of Wage and Hour Compliance

P.O. Box 389

Trenton, NJ 08625-0389

Or by fax to (609) 695-1174.

You can also submit it online HERE.

For more information in Spanish open here


You can file a complaint in Spanish and online HERE.

HERE You will find the guide in Spanish on paid sick days.

You can also call the Wage and Workplace Standards Division at (860) 263-6790 or the Program Policy Office at (860) 263-6755.


Employers of workers at increased risk of contagion should follow the following preventive measures, OSHA requires:

  • Assess the hazards to which workers may be exposed.
  • Assess the risk of exposure.
  • Select, implement, and ensure workers are taking protective measures to prevent exposure, including the use of physical barriers (face masks, latex gloves, face shield, coveralls) to stop the spread of
  • Germs
  • Limiting social contact and the use of appropriate personal protective equipment are required.

OSHA requires workplaces:

  • Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick.
  • Require workers to cover themselves when coughing or sneezing.
  • Provide a place to wash hands as well as hand wipes containing
  • minus 60% alcohol.
  • Limit access to the workplace to only essential personnel, if possible.
  • Establish flexibility for the workplace (work from home) and the
  • working hours (staggered work shifts) as soon as possible.
  • Discourage workers from using phones, desks, or other
  • tools and work equipment of your colleagues.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect surfaces, equipment and other items in the work environment.
  • Using cleaning chemicals with disinfectant labels approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the use of all cleaning and disinfection products.
  • Encourage workers to voice any concerns about occupational safety and health.


Although there is no OSHA standard that specifically covers exposure to SARS-CoV-2, some requirements may apply to prevent exposure in the workplace. Among the most relevant are:

  • OSHA standards for respiratory protective equipment (PPE) (in general industry, 29 CFR 1910 Subpart I), which require the use of gloves, eye and face protection, and respiratory protection. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
  • When masks are necessary to protect workers or when employers require their use, employers must implement a comprehensive protection program in accordance with the respiratory protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134). MORE HERE.
  • The General Duty Clause, Section 5 (a) (1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, 29 USC 654 (a) (1), requires employers to provide every worker with “a job and workplace that is free from recognized risks that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm. ” COMPLETE INFORMATION HERE.


Workers’ risk from occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, during an outbreak could range from very high risk to high, medium, or low (caution). The level of risk depends in part on the type of industry, the need for contact with less than 6 feet of people known or suspected to be infected with SARS-CoV-2, or the requirement for repeated or prolonged contact with people. known or suspected to be infected with SARS-CoV-2.

To help employers determine appropriate precautions, OSHA has divided job duties into four levels of risk exposure: very high, high, medium, and low.

The Occupational Risk Pyramid displays the four levels of risk exposure in the form of a pyramid to represent the likely distribution of risk. Most American workers are likely to be at low (precautionary) or medium exposure risk levels. MORE INFORMATION HERE.


Costco will give priority access to health employees – Telemundo San Diego (20)

SAN DIEGO – The Costco company announced that it will provide priority access to employees belonging to the health sector, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Doctors, nurses, first aid teams, firefighters, and police will now be able to avoid the long lines to enter the facility. The only thing they must present They are your Costco credential accompanied by your professional credential.

Costco is temporarily allowing priority warehouse access during all open hours to healthcare workers and first …

Posted by Costco on Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Other new measures that Costco has implemented include the special schedule for people over 60 from Tuesday to Thursday from 8 a.m. at 9 a.m., as well as not allowing more than two people to enter through Costco membership.

If you want to know more information about the precautionary measures that the company is taking to prevent the spread of coronavirus, click here.


COVID-19: Starving to death from coronavirus | Future Planet

In this delicate food chain, a single interruption can pose a problem for any of its components. And now, the Covid-19 epidemic, which already affects 53 countries on the continent, where more than 10,000 cases have been reported, threatens to dismantle it from top to bottom: global restrictions to contain it, such as the closure of borders, air and sea traffic and periods of confinement, can threaten the food security of millions of people if mismanaged .

“We are concerned about the impact of Covid-19 on vulnerable countries that are fighting hunger, especially those affected by conflict or insecurity, such as those in the Sahel, and others in East Africa now suffering from the desert locust outbreak. But it is difficult to know what effects will be seen, “summarizes Heléne Pasquiere, head of food security at Action Against Hunger (ACH). The essential thing is to maintain food supplies and access for all, “because at the end of a health crisis we can face another food crisis,” he warns.

Pasquiere is not the only one with this fear. A good number of organizations and experts in health and food have already warned that the impact of the epidemic can pose a problem in world food security. In developing countries, more, because these are the highest percentage of people with some form of malnutrition and malnutrition. Africa, in particular, has more than 256 million hungry, according to the latest United Nations count. Malnourished people, whether acute or chronic, have a weaker immune system, so they have fewer weapons to prevent the spread of the virus. Once they have been infected, they may have severe symptoms, something that has already been proven to occur with Ebola sufferers: his previous nutritional status conditioned his evolution.

But, while the stereotypical image of Africa is that of a continent of starvation, the data says that overweight and obese people are found in higher percentages in developing countries, and there are a good number of them on this continent. People who earn little money do not buy healthy food, but many ultra-processed ones that are cheaper and easier to find. In Africa, the situation is exacerbated in the thousands of impoverished neighborhoods in urban settings, such as Kibera in Kenya or Khayelitsa in South Africa. “It is very likely that, if people do not have an income, instead of buying higher quality food, they will buy other low-cost ones that are less suitable from a nutritional point of view,” confirms Pasquiere.

A woman receives food on April 2, 2020, during a distribution by a group of Kenyan volunteers called Team Pangaj. They deliver flour, beans, milk and juice to some 900 people in Kibera, one of the poorest suburbs in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.

A woman receives food on April 2, 2020, during a distribution by a group of Kenyan volunteers called Team Pangaj. They deliver flour, beans, milk and juice to some 900 people in Kibera, one of the poorest suburbs in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. AFP

This population group also faces greater risks if they contract Covid-19, based on data collected in the UK. For starters, your immune system is chronically activated to respond to cellular damage caused by inflammation. Then, the obese also have more difficulty dealing with pneumonia, since excess weight sometimes compromises the ability of the lungs to take oxygen; Furthermore, they are more likely to have poor cardiovascular health, and in many cases they are also physically inactive; all this compromises the immune system.

“The situation of Covid-19 adds to the problems that we already had,” says Lola Castro, regional coordinator of the World Food Program (WFP) in southern Africa, to illustrate the state of affairs in this area of ​​the continent. . “Here we are extremely affected by climate change; in the last three years we have had in at least eight countries very intense droughts that have destroyed not only crops, but in Namibia, Botswana and Angola have precipitated animal mortality and created a an unprecedented situation of food insecurity for people who were more or less well before and could feed themselves, “he describes. In this region alone, WFP has requested 450 million dollars (413 million euros) to ensure the food of those who already depended on them before the coronavirus for the next three months. Not everyone was helped because it was not reached, and now they will be more if the crisis continues. “We are trying, first of all, to maintain the activities that we were already carrying out. We need to do it on time because, if we wait, it can be a disaster,” warns Castro, recalling that WFP has been the first to declare the global food emergency for the first time. time in its history. “It takes 1.9 billion dollars 1.7 billion euros]to respond to this alert worldwide, “he adds.

Day-to-day workers in the informal sector, especially in the urban context, have run out of sources of income

Many states have closed their borders and this also brings complications, according to Abebe Haile-Gabriel, deputy director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Agency (FAO) and regional representative for Africa. His organization estimates that one in five calories that people consume has crossed at least one international border, more than 50% than 40 years ago. “Most countries depend on imports. In small island developing states, for example, up to 80% of their food comes from other regions, but it is not just them.” And the same goes for exports: “Africans export primary products like cocoa, oil, minerals, coffee … Demand is falling, so incomes will drop and further undermine the ability to get food even if they are available. “he predicts. It must be borne in mind that in poor households in developing countries such as these the population is spent between 60% and 80% of your income from eating.

Price increases are a reality in quarantined countries like Rwanda, where the cost of goods has increased significantly since closing due to a lack of carriers. Also in South Africa, with 30% unemployment and an economy that is highly dependent on tourism now non-existent. There, more than 300 complaints have been registered with the Consumer Commission about the increase in prices of basic necessities such as toilet paper, medicines and masks.

Bad in the country, worse in the city

Workers in the informal sector [trabajo no declarado] living daily, especially in urban contexts, have run out of sources of income. “You have to reduce the transmission of Covid-19 with infection prevention and control, but you also have to support these people so that they can cover their immediate basic needs, such as food, but also rent. Because if not people he will find himself on the street from one day to the next, “warns Pasquiere.

A busy morning at Tapiwa Chiroodza's home in the Mbare neighborhood of Harare, Zimbabwe, on March 30, 2020, the first day of the quarantine period. The most impoverished and daily living people are the most vulnerable to this new situation.

enlarge photo

A busy morning at Tapiwa Chiroodza’s home in the Mbare neighborhood of Harare, Zimbabwe, on March 30, 2020, the first day of the quarantine period. The most impoverished and daily living people are the most vulnerable to this new situation. AFP

In Zimbabwe, for example, in the city of Harare, WFP has been making money transfers for several months due to the food crisis exacerbated by the economic crisis and a prolonged drought. Pure and hard food is distributed in rural areas. “If local markets work, we prefer to give money transfers that allow people to have a minimum basic basket, and we also promote local production. But in this case the food does not reach the markets and what is available has an unbearable price due to inflation, “Castro describes.

It is in the smallest and most remote towns in Africa, where the paved roads do not arrive and everything happens later, even the bad news, they can feel a little more protected than in a suburb. While the transporter and wholesaler who distributed and bought the potatoes are left without business and without income, there are those who will think that the imaginary Bakoro farmer will always be able to eat his own potatoes, even if he only feeds on them for a time, or exchange them for onions with the next door neighbor.

It is urgent that governments immediately provide financial aid to those who have lost their livelihood

But people living in rural areas in many cases continue to have very strong ties to cities and restrictions on movement affect them in consumption, but also in production. About 60% of the African population is engaged in agriculture and in many countries, the main planting season begins now, which means that they have to get seeds, fertilizers and other inputs. “If the commercial market is interrupted, these inputs will not arrive on time, and if the planting season is lost, then there will not be enough harvest and that would again aggravate the problem, particularly nutrition,” explains Haile-Gabriel.

Another difficulty that the Action against Hunger cooperator brings to the table is that in Africa many families depend on remittances from migration from other countries, generally European, where the crisis is also having an impact, and shipments are being reduced.

Equally concerned are residents in refugee and IDP camps, who were already having a difficult time eating. Pasquiere warns that food distribution will continue depending on the restrictions that governments impose on the movement of aid organizations, something that in principle is not happening.

In search of urgent solutions

For Lola Castro, it is urgent that governments immediately provide economic aid to all the people who have been left without work and without means of support. “Africa is very different from Europe and locking people at home for many days is very difficult. There are many who say ‘I am going to starve to death rather than coronavirus because I have no money to buy my basic basket”, illustrates.

Thus, in South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a series of measures to help affected small businesses and workers including an unemployment benefit for informal workers and tax exemptions. In Namibia, those who have lost their income after the quarantine period will receive a grant of 750 Namibian dollars, about 37 euros. “I am concerned about countries like Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique … The situation is not so buoyant that the government can give subsidies immediately,” says Castro, who also supports the participation of the private sector to weather the storm.

Another measure that, yes, already works, has been the opening of a humanitarian corridor in the south of the continent. “We made a request to the Government and it has maintained the port of Durban [Sudáfrica] open, so we are unloading containers of specific nutritional foods for children, corn flour … And the carriers are being able to cross the borders. We are asking the governments of all countries not to close for urgent food aid, “Castro said.

During the telephone interview with this newspaper, the FAO deputy director, Haile-Gabriel, warns that in half an hour he will participate in another video call with members of the African Union and several ministers of Agriculture. The idea is to propose urgent recommendations to face the problem. “It is deafening the silence on the food crisis that hangs over our heads as a result of measures to contain the virus; in Africa we should speak about it without diluting efforts to contain the spread of the pandemic,” he says before saying goodbye.

Reinventing aid delivery

Several women wait to receive their monthly help while respecting social distance in a cast of the World Food Program.

Several women wait to receive their monthly help while respecting social distance in a cast of the World Food Program.

L. H.

Lola Castro, regional director of the World Food Program in southern Africa, says that the Covid-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented situation. “We look for solutions as problems arise,” he acknowledges. And one of the first they found is that they had to find the way to distribute the aid following the new indications of social distancing, hygiene, etc. “We can no longer have many people in one place, we have to make sure that people do not touch each other and that we can safely distribute food for both beneficiaries and humanitarian personnel.”

“Before you could have two or three thousand people in a food distribution; now each group is 150 or 200 people at most. We also have infrared thermometers to evaluate everyone who comes. If someone has a very high temperature, they are sent to the health centers run by the ministries and the WHO. The people who wait do so in separate groups and go one by one to the distribution, collect the food without physical contact and then, as we have a biometric card to identify the beneficiaries , we have managed to unlink the biometric from the fingerprint, so now they only have to put the card near a machine that registers the data and they do not have to put the fingerprint, so there is no contact either, “sums up Castro.

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Between Turkey and Syria, access to water used as a weapon of war

Turn water into a weapon of war. This is the strategy pursued by Turkey in the “Safety zone” which she conquered last October in northern Syria. This narrow strip of territory, some thirty kilometers deep, served to cut the Kurdish area of ​​influence in two. It also allowed him to get his hands on the Allouk water supply station, very close to the city of Ras al-Ain (in Arabic), or Serekanye (in Kurdish).

→ READ. Nine years of war in Syria: “It would take billions to rebuild”

460,000 people depend on it in the area controlled by the Kurds for their access to water, whether in the city of Hassaké itself or in the IDP camps surrounding it. However, on March 29, Turkish authorities stopped pumping, warns the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW).

He has “Since been restored”, informs Ahmed Benchemsi, spokesperson for the Middle East at HRW. But this situation has already happened “Several times since the beginning of the year, and the problem is recurrent”. On March 23, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) had already alerted the situation.

Pressure way

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH), these interruptions are caused voluntarily by Turkey. Turkish authorities are said to be using water as a means of pressure to force the Kurdish forces, who in turn control the Al-Mabroukeh power station (north of Ras-al-Aïn) and the Tishreen dam (upstream of the dam from Tabqa on the Euphrates), to bring electricity into the Turkish “safe zone”.

Turkish authorities allege a lack of electricity supply to the Allouk station from the dams in Kurdish areas. This is strongly denied by humanitarian groups on the ground. “It is a war tactic. Turkish authorities turn water into a weapon “Says Ahmed Benchemsi, who describes the process as “Violation of the laws of war” : “All parties to an armed conflict have an obligation under international humanitarian law to provide people with enough to survive, including access to water. “

While Syria officially counts two deaths caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has alerted to the health situation in the country. Nima Saeed, WHO Representative in Syria, confided in the Kurdish media Rojava Information Center : “After nine years of conflict, the Syrian health system has suffered greatly. Today, its capacity to respond to the pandemic is estimated to be 40%. “

Increased risk in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic

In this already critical context, these recurrent water cuts are worrying. Thousands of Syrians and Iraqis who have fled from areas controlled by the Islamic State live crammed in camps for the displaced, where sanitary conditions do not allow to effectively fight against the pandemic.

Local humanitarian organizations also face a shortage of medicines and other supplies. At the request of Syria, the UN Security Council decided in January to close the al-Yarubiyah crossing on the border with Iraq, which is frequently used by WHO to supply the north of the country. Syria.

While United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres last week called for a global ceasefire, several organizations, including HRW and UNICEF, are calling for stronger cooperation between the United Nations, Turkey, the Syrian government and the Kurdish authorities to guarantee the water supply of the civilian population.

→ READ. Coronavirus: Pope calls for “global and immediate ceasefire”

“Water and water related infrastructure should not be used for military or political purposes, recalls Fran Equiza, representative of UNICEF in Syria. The interruption of water supply, in the midst of the spread of the new coronavirus, poses unacceptable risks to children and families. “