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Two million jobless motorbike drivers show Covid’s toll on Indonesia’s gig economy

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Millions of sidelined motorcycle taxi drivers in Indonesia are bracing for a long recovery as the country’s coronavirus outbreak shows no signs of abating.

The taxis – known locally as “ojek” – are a fixture in congested Indonesian cities where transport infrastructure is limited and gridlock is among the worst in the world. They’re also the inspiration for Indonesia’s most valuable startup, the ride-hailing and food-delivery app Gojek.

The ojek drivers are a bellwether for South-East Asia’s largest economy, as they facilitate consumer spending and business activity. Roughly 40% of the country’s estimated five million ojek drivers have lost their jobs in the pandemic. President Joko Widodo has been hard-pressed to tame unemployment and pull the economy out of recession, while keeping a lid on Covid cases that have topped 700,000.

“We pray to God every day that the situation can recover as soon as possible,” said Igun Wicaksono, who heads the industry association Garda in Jakarta. “These are very basic jobs we have.”

Spikes in Covid-19 infections and deaths have ushered in a raft of stricter social-distancing measures this month, threatening to undercut a gradual improvement in ridership since the worst of the crisis. Amid gaps in social-safety nets, drivers are resorting to lower-paying gigs. Wicaksono estimates that drivers are seeing only about half their prior business.

The government is aiming for 5% economic growth next year, hoping that stimulus spending and an aggressive vaccination plan can boost private consumption. The economy is expected to shrink as much as 2.2% this year, Indonesia’s first annual contraction in more than two decades.

Amid gaps in social-safety nets, drivers are resorting to lower-paying gigs that may not be enough to pay down loans they took for their motorbikes, according to Joanna Octavia, a doctoral researcher at the UK-based Warwick Institute for Employment Research.

“For an ojek driver, their most important asset is their motorcycle. It’s the way to get around and the way they generate an income,” she said. “If that was taken away, it would be very difficult for them to start all over again.”

That could have broader implications for the economy, where the ranks of the jobless are growing. The sector has been crucial in absorbing low-skilled labor, Octavia said, since all drivers need is a license and a bike to earn money.

Aid gaps

Ohci Heavyani, 35, used to earn about 300,000 rupiah (RM86) a day as a driver for Gojek. A mother of two and her family’s breadwinner, she works full time and her pay is well above Jakarta’s minimum wage.

Heavyani currently makes about seven trips a day, mostly to deliver food or parcels. That’s up from almost zero at the height of Indonesia’s lockdown, but still a fraction of the 20 daily trips she used to make.

With only a one-time assistance of food and cash vouchers from Gojek, Heavyani has had to slash expenses and borrow money from friends and family to make ends meet.

“A lot of my driver friends are selling food or stuff to generate other income,” she said. “They usually use the government social-assistance money as capital, but I don’t qualify for that.” – Bloomberg



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Buford Lands Gig With Big Machine Racing

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Jade Buford

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Scott Borchetta, president and founder of the Big Machine Label Group, has created the Big Machine Racing Team to compete in NASCAR Xfinity Series.

The team will race full-time in the series with Nashville-based driver Jade Buford wheeling the team’s No. 48.

Borchetta, who has worked with artists including Tim McGraw, Sheryl Crow, Thomas Rhett and Florida Georgia Line, took up racing during the 1980s. He was a regular competitor at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, winning several track championships.

“I’ve always been involved in racing, it’s a part of my DNA,” says Borchetta. “Whether as a competitor, a fan or a sponsor, racing is a constant in my life and is a part of our Big Machine culture. The formation of the Big Machine Racing team only broadens the integration opportunities for our recording artists and the sport.”
The Mooresville-based team will be overseen by longtime crew chief Patrick Donahue.

“The opportunity to partner with Scott and all things Big Machine is one that I just could not pass up,” Donahue said. “He’s driven to succeed in everything he does and I have no doubt that with our hard work ethic and determination, we will find our way to the front.”
Buford, who made several road course starts in the Xfinity Series in 2020, is well known for his road racing prowess.

“I’m thrilled and honored to pilot the Big Machine Xfinity Chevrolet Camaro in 2021. I’ve dreamed of being in the NASCAR Series and I intend to make the absolute most of this opportunity,” he said. “I know it’s a steep learning curve, and we face great challenges, but I have the utmost confidence in what we’re building and I just can’t wait to get to Daytona.”

Big Machine brands will be the primary sponsor for the No. 48 Chevrolet.



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30 Years On: That Time INXS Headlined A Gig In Brazil To 140,000 Punters

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In yet another example of bloody life going way too bloody quick, it’s 30 years ago to the day that INXS headlined a HUGE festival gig in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

When we say huge, how’s 140,000 people sound? January 19, 1991. A hot summer’s night in Rio!

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Of course, this was just the entree for what would be the main course, their epic festival gig at Wembley Stadium, in July of the same year.

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We dipped into the archives and found this, an interview with Michael Hutchence where he explains what it took to get them to the top of their game. Basically, a sh*tload of hard work. An apt conversation, coming off the news that the architect of their ambitions for worldwide domination, manager Chris M Murphy, sadly passed away last weekend.

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Never miss anything from the world of rock with the Best of Triple M Rock playlist!

Make sure you get the Triple M app on iTunes or Google Play so you never miss any of our best stuff!

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Flyers Notebook: Morgan Frost’s first-line gig a measure of other lines’ chemistry | Sports

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PHILADELPHIA — Alain Vigneault said Monday his decision to replace Sean Couturier with rookie Morgan Frost had much to do with the opinion that it’s time for Frost to manifest his innate skills on the ice.

But that chance might not have been given easily to Frost if the Flyers’ other three lines hadn’t started the season so in sync.

With the loss of Couturier, out for at least two weeks with a rib cartilage tear, Kevin Hayes becomes the Flyers’ No. 1 center. But during the team’s brief training camp and through the first two games against Pittsburgh, that had seemingly already been established.

That’s because Hayes has clicked so well with new linemate Claude Giroux, the former top-line center and longtime captain who is still in the midst of a career renaissance at left wing. They clearly complement each other, so much so that it’s even obvious to them.

“He’s a great player, one of the best in the league, and has been for a long time,” Hayes said of Giroux. “It makes the game easier. He’s responsible defensively, and he’s very offensive as well. He played center for a lot of his career, and he (still) takes faceoffs on his strong side.

“He makes it a lot easier for myself and the other guys on the ice, as well.”

Volleying back, Giroux saluted Hayes for his ability to protect the puck, his superb vision on the ice and his sense of defensive responsibility.

“We’re trying to find our chemistry,” Giroux said. “We have some shifts where it goes pretty well, and a few shifts that maybe it’s not as good. Without a preseason game, that’s been a little tough. But I think we’re on the right path.”

While that pair seems a natural match, it has been enhanced by right wing Joel Farabee, who at 20 appears much stronger on the puck and on Opening Night registered four points against the Penguins.

In addition to Farabee’s four, Giroux and Hayes have registered three points each over the first two games. But that’s not the only line that’s been clicking offensively.

A not-so traditional third line of center Nolan Patrick, James van Riemsdyk and Jake Voracek has chalked up seven points, while Couturier’s wing comrades Oskar Lindblom (two goals) and Travis Konecny (three goals, two assists) have also lit up the scoreboard.

Then there’s the Flyers’ one true checking line, which had Vigneault tossing more raves Monday prior to the team’s game against the Buffalo Sabres.

“I like the identity of the fourth line,” Vigneault said of center Scott Laughton and wingers Michael Raffl and Nik Aube-Kubel. “I think that line brings energy, it brings physicality, and all three of those guys are penalty killers. I didn’t want to play with that.”

Given how well the Flyers’ forwards have melded so quickly in the early going, Vigneault did want to play Frost in one of the most visible positions on the ice, plugging the huge hole created by Couturier’s injury.

“Morgan has earned the opportunity,” Vigneault said. “He’s considered a very skilled player. A young player, but very skilled. … At some point, if he develops the right way with the right work ethic and the right attitude, he’s a player who should develop in a top-six, top-nine role.

“I believe that Morgan with this opportunity is very excited, and he’ll step in and do well for us.”

• • •

NOTES >> It’s been presumed that for the past week Shayne Gostisbehere has been dealing with coronavirus issues. Details on that have been limited, but it appears Gostisbehere has a ways to go in his recovery, as Monday he was placed on Non-Roster Status. The Flyers have recalled minor league forward Connor Bunnaman from the so-called taxi squad in his place. … The Sabres began the season with the unpleasant task of a two-game series with the Washington Capitals. Buffalo lost both games, but Vigneault warned of its upbeat offense, especially the top line of Jack Eichel, Taylor Hall and Sam Reinhart. He called Eichel and Hall, “one of the best duos” in the league.

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