JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – The Food and Drug Agency or BPOM has moved to disassociate itself from the development of the homegrown Nusantara vaccine, as tests for the treatment went on a month after the Agency did not recommend it for further stages.
Indonesian flag carrier Garuda Indonesia balked at transporting smartphones made by Chinese manufacturer Vivo, after a consignment of the phones caught fire in the holds of a cargo plane in Hong Kong.
Carrion flowers, like their close cousins the Rafflesia Arnoldi, are expected to bloom and die, a cycle seemingly justified by their foul, deathlike stench. Yet one flower defied the odds after it grew fruits, even as it is seemingly on its last legs. All this and more on Indonesia Highlights:
BPOM Disavows Clinical Tests of Homegrown Covid-19 Vaccine
Indonesia’s Food and Drug Agency or BPOM has disavowed the trial run of the Nusantara vaccine developed by former Minister of Health Terawan Agus Putranto, after the tests have been carried out on parliamentarians at the Gatot Soebroto Army Hospital in Jakarta.
“The [Nusantara] vaccine tests have nothing to do with BPOM’s procedures to determine if it is suitable for mass production,” explained BPOM head Penny Lukito of the tests, one of whose volunteers is deputy parliament [DPR] chairman Sufmi Dasco Ahmad.
“Since it is carried out in a hospital, any risks the tests entailed will be the responsibility of the medical staff at [Gatot Soebroto Hospital]. We just hope that the tests done on the Nusantara vaccine will not mislead the public into thinking it is a new, mass produced vaccine.”
Aside from legislators, controversial personages such as former general Gatot Nurmantyo and tycoon Aburizal Bakrie endorsed the vaccine, which its creator Terawan assured is based on his research of dendritic cells.
BPOM decided to halt testing of the Nusantara vaccine at the second and third clinical stages last month, after it determined that the vaccine does not meet ethical standards on good clinical practice, as well as discrepancies of data on its efficacy.
Indonesian Flag Carrier Garuda Indonesia Prohibits Shipment of Chinese Manufactured Smartphones
Indonesian flag carrier Garuda Indonesia has prohibited the shipping of Chinese manufactured Vivo smartphones in its cargo hold, after a consignment of the company's Y20 smartphone caught fire in Hong Kong Airport.
Garuda Indonesia President Director Irfan Setiaputra confirmed the ban. “We have suspended the shipment of [Vivo smartphones] after it caught on fire in Hong Kong," he said.
"[Garuda] has issued an internal Cargo Information Notice [CIN] warning against transporting the commodity. The step is an cautionary measure to ensure that safety are followed. Prior to our decision, a number of airliners also decided against transporting the phone,”
Vivo’s offices in Indonesia acknowledged Garuda’s concerns. “Vivo Indonesia is following this incident closely. We will work closely with [Hong Kong authorities] on this matter,” the company said.
“We will do our utmost to ensure that [Vivo] contains nothing less than the most rigorous safety standards.” Vivo and Oppo are among the leading smartphone brands Indonesia.
Carrion Flower in Indonesia’s West Sumatra Province Bears Fruit
The Agam regency of Indonesia’s West Sumatra province is host to a very rare natural phenomenon, after a carrion flower of the Amorphophallus titanium or titan arum strain has borne fruit in the wild.
"A carrion flower bearing fruits is a very rare phenomenon, so we raced to the scene when local people notified [the BKSDA],” said Nature Conservation Agency [BKSDA] head for the Bukittinggi region Vera Ciko said to Kompas.com on Wednesday, April 14.
“Usually carrion flowers like the titan arum would wilt and die within ten days, which seemed to be the case as it happened to the petals and leaves of the carrion flower," Ciko asserted about the bright red plants, which grew cylindrically in the flower's cylindrical corner.
"We believe that the fruits are produced by the flowers’ successful pollination from flesh eating flies and carrion beetles or self-pollination.”
The Amorphophallus titanium species is endemic to West Sumatra, though it is regularly grown in botanical gardens around the world.
Like the closely related Rafflesia Arnoldii, which is found throughout Sumatra and Kalimantan and the rest of Borneo, the titan arum is infamous for its smell. Observers note that the stench ranges from, among other things, rotting flesh, garlic, to strong Limburger cheese.
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