Sabtu, 17 November 2018


   Jakarta, Nov 17, 2018 (Antara) - Peatlands, which are natural areas of the accumulated decayed plant material known as peat, have huge importance as carbon sinks and are believed to hold 30 to 40 percent of global carbon despite covering only three percent of the world's land area.
      Indonesia's peatlands store a huge amount of carbon of up to 60 billion metric tons, which makes it a virtual carbon bomb. Globally, the amount of carbon held in tropical peat is around 88.6 billion metric tons.
       Peatlands also act as giant sponges, soaking up water and helping to mitigate flooding.
       During the dry season, peat releases water slowly and can be a source of fresh water for surrounding communities.       
  Indonesia's peatlands are also habitats for endangered species such as orangutans and tigers.
       The country used to have 22.5 million hectares of peatlands, but nearly half of them have already been deforested and drained.
        Given the important functions of peatlands globally, Indonesia and the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo have joined with international organizations to push forward a sustainable peatland agenda at a launch event for the new International Tropical Peatland Center (ITPC) in Jakarta on Oct 30, 2018.
         The three countries - all home to extensive areas of tropical peatland - comprise the founding member states of the center, which are expected to become a holistic platform for peatland science and practice.
         ITPC is also a center for information and knowledge about peat management that can be accessed by countries across the world.
         When managed sustainably, tropical peatlands offer not only substantial environmental gains but also potential livelihood benefits to those living in and around them.

Kamis, 15 November 2018


Jakarta,  Nov 15, 2018 (Antara)- A report released by United Nations-appointed investigators in August 2018, underlined the horrific and organized nature of the brutality meted out on civilians in Myanmar's Rakhine state since 2011, as well as Kachin and Shan states.
        The investigation was conducted by  a team called the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, following the mass exodus of more than 700,000 Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh last year - events previously described by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights as a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing", according to UN News.
        The investigators - Marzuki Darusman, Radhika Coomaraswamy and Christopher Sidoti - recommended that top military commanders in Myanmar should be investigated and prosecuted for the "gravest" crimes against civilians under international law, including genocide.
        Myanmar has denied most of the allegations in the report.
       The genocide in Rakhine State  is a disgrace to ASEAN as it happens in its own yard, namely Myanmar, one of  the 10 member countries of ASEAN - Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.
         During the 33rd ASEAN Summit held in Singapore on Nov 11-15, 2018,  ASEAN called the refugee crisis in Myanmar "a matter of concern" , a rare departure from ASEAN's principle of noninterference in the internal affairs of members.
        "We discussed and received a briefing from Myanmar on the humanitarian situation in Rakhine State, which is a matter of concern," said the chairman's statement from the ASEAN summit held on Nov 13, without mentioning the word "Rohingya," the name of the Muslim minority group fleeing persecution in Myanmar.

Sabtu, 10 November 2018


Jakarta, Nov 10, 2018  (Antara) - China's decision to reverse the 25-year ban on the trade of tiger bones and rhino horns has triggered an outcry from various conservation groups internationally and considered the move a regress in wildlife conservation efforts.
        In response to the move, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued a statement in Beijing on October 29, 2018, expressing its profound concern over China's announcement on the same day that it has legalized the use of tiger bones and rhino horns from captive-bred animals by hospitals and domestic trade in antique tiger and rhino products.
        "It is deeply concerning that China has reversed its 25-year-old tiger bone and rhino horn ban, allowing a trade that will have devastating consequences globally," Margaret Kinnaird, WWF Wildlife Practice Leader, affirmed.
        A similar concern was voiced by Greenpeace Africa's Senior Political Advisor Fredrick Njehu, saying that China's decision to reopen trade of rhino horns and tiger bones will not only reactivate the demand for rhino products but will also contribute to a rise in poaching and other illegal activities
   WWF and Greenpeace Africa urgently call on China to not only maintain their 1993 ban on tiger bone and rhino horn trade but to also extend it to cover trade in all tiger parts and products, regardless of whether they are from captive-bred or wild animals.
        An Indonesian environmentalist has also expressed his concern over China's decision to legalize tiger bone use for medicines, as it has the potential to trigger the poaching of Sumatran tigers.
        "For us, this is a regress and leads to bad impacts on conservation efforts in countries having wildlife. China has been viewed as an illegal importer and export destination of protected wildlife so far," Osmantri, coordinator of the Wildlife Crime Team, a working unit of the WWF program in Central Sumatra, stated in Pekanbaru, Riau, recently.

Jumat, 09 November 2018


Jakarta, Nov 9, 2018 (Antara) - The rainy season has set in quite late over certain regions but has already induced floods and landslides, claiming more than 25 lives, particularly in parts of Sumatra and Java Islands.
        Since October 2018, floods have reportedly hit many villages in several provinces, such as West Sumatra, North Sumatra, Riau, Aceh, West Java, and East Java.
        At least 22 people were killed and 15 missing due to flooding in North Sumatra and West Sumatra, while in West Java, floods claimed six lives and rendered one missing recently.
       Indonesia is indeed prone to hydrometeorological disasters, such as flooding, landslide, and whirlwind, in the rainy season and wildfires or severe drought during the dry season.
       Hence, the Indonesian Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has warned of possible floods, landslides, and whirlwind during the current rainy season.
        "Entering the rainy season, the possibility of floods, landslides, and whirlwind increases," Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the BNPB spokesman, noted in a statement on November 8, 2018.
         Precipitation will continue to increase, and the rainy season will peak in January, so the disaster threat is higher.
         In Riau, Sumatra Island, floods submerged a total of 4,384 homes located in 44 villages in 11 sub-districts in Indragiri Hulu (Inhu) District on Nov 7.
        The affected sub-districts were Pasir Penyu, Rengat, Kuala Cenaku, West Rengat Barat, Lirik, Lubuk Batu Jaya, Peranap, Rakit Kulim, Batang Peranap, Kelayang, and Sei Lala, Edward Sanger, head of the Riau disaster mitigation office, said on Nov 8.
        The flooding was triggered by incessant heavy rains that caused the Kuantan River to overflow its bank.

Senin, 05 November 2018


Jakarta, Nov 5,2018 (Antara) - Indonesia's most famous international cycling race and sport tourism event, Tour de Singkarak (TdS), is more challenging this year because of heavier rains and longer race track.
          Bad weather in the current rainy season has become a real challenge because downpours are expected to fall in several regions along the route of TdS, which is being held from Nov 4 to 11, 2018, in West Sumatra Province.
         The West Sumatra provincial capital of Padang, in fact, was flooded on Nov 2, 2018, killing two children, destroying two bridges, and submerging some 1.4 thousand homes in seven sub-districts.
       Deputy Governor of West Sumatra, Nasrul Abit, concurrently chairman of the TdS 2018 organizing committee, officiated the TdS 2018 in Kantin Square, Bukittinggi District, on the evening of Nov 3.
         The TdS' theme this year is "One Decade for All," in order to mark a decade of the organization of the cycling race classified by International Cycling Union (UCI) as 2.2 category race and listed in the UCI Asia Tour calendar of events.
         Besides having to brave heavy rains, participating cyclists have to ride longer because the TdS' race track this year is extended to 1,267 kilometers, from 1,250 kilometers in the previous year, although its stages are reduced from nine to eight stages.
         A total of 224 cyclists, grouped in 21 cycling teams from 26 countries, including four domestic teams and one local team, are participating in this year's TdS, with total prizes worth Rp2.3 billion to be won.  

Sabtu, 03 November 2018


  Jakarta, Nov 3, 2018 (Antara) - Indonesia, which was still grieving the devastation caused by powerful earthquakes and tsunami in Lombok and Palu, was once again shocked by the crash of a Lion Air flight JT 610 plane on Oct 29, 2018, which claimed all 189 people aboard.
         The cause of the accident is still under investigation, but the Boeing's 737 MAX aircraft that plunged into Tanjung Karawang waters in West Java Province, after some 15 minutes taking off from Jakarta en route to Tanjung Pinang, Bangka Belitung, was relatively new.
         The ill-fated aircraft joined the Lion Air fleet in August 2018 and had 800 hours of flight time, according to National Committee of Transportation Safety (KNKT) Head Soerjanto Tjahjono.
         Corporate Communication Strategic Officer of Lion Air, Danang Mandala, remarked that the crashed Boeing 737 Max 8 plane was airworthy and had been operated by the airlines since Aug 15, 2018.
         The aircraft departed from Jakarta at 6:20 a.m. local time and was scheduled to arrive in Pangkalpinang at 7:05 a.m. local time, according to the Depati Amir Airport authority in Pangkalpinang.
         Before it lost contact, the aircraft had sought permission to return to Jakarta due to a problem.
         The aircraft carried 178 adult passengers, including an Italian national; three infants; six crew members; as well as an Indian pilot and an Indonesian co-pilot. 
    Among the passengers were tens of civil servants including 20 officers of the Finance Ministry, six legislators of Bangka Belitung, and three police officers.
    Few hours after the accident, the plane's wreckage and several body parts were found floating in the sea not far from Jakarta.
         The same aircraft, while serving Denpasar-Jakarta flight the previous day (Oct 28), had encountered a technical problem, which was later reportedly resolved.