Jumat, 30 September 2016

INDONESIAN TAX AMNESTY PROGRAM RECORDS BIG SUCCESS by Fardah

 Jakarta, Sept 30, 2016 (Antara) ¿ It is in the nature of many people to wait until the last minute to deliver their duties, and that also applies to tax evaders who have finally decided to apply for the tax amnesty offered by the Indonesian government since July 2016.
       The government has launched its tax amnesty program in an effort to increase tax revenues to help finance infrastructure development programs.  
    The government asked applicants to pay a two percent penalty in September, but if they pay after September, the penalty will be higher.    
   The first period for the tax amnesty program is from July 18 until September 30, 2016, offering redemption tariffs of two percent; the second is from October 1 until December 31, 2016 (three percent); and the third period is January 1 until March 31,  2017 (five percent).     
      In the beginning, some people were pessimistic about the tax amnesty program. Yet, as the first period is nearly over, long queues were seen at banks and tax offices participating in the program, as the tax amnesty applicants wanted to take advantage of the lower redemption tariff offer.
          President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) made an impromptu inspection at the Grogol tax office in West Jakarta on Sept. 28 to view the services being provided to those applying for tax amnesties, two days before the closing of the first period.

Kamis, 29 September 2016

JAKARTA BAY RECLAMATION TO BE HOT TOPIC IN ELECTION CAMPAIGN by Fardah

Jakarta, Sept 29, 2016 (Antara) - Indonesia's electorate is looking forward to a very exciting and fierce gubernatorial election campaign in Jakarta as three pairs of prominent candidates joust for the Jakarta governor and deputy governor offices.
          The Jakarta regional head election (pilkada) will be organized  on February 15, 2017, simultaneously with similar local elections in 100 other regions, including six other provinces, and 76 districts across Indonesia.
        The campaign period for the 2017 pilkada will be from October 28 2016 to February 11, 2017.
         The Central Government has warned that the campaign must not touch on race, tribe or religion.
          But that would not render the campaigning boring. In fact, some observers have predicted that the controversial Jakarta Bay reclamation project would emerge as a hot topic, and the incumbent pair, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok) and Djarot Saiful Hidayat, is set to rake it up as they take another shot at the office.
         Among the contestants are former education minister Anies Baswedan who has paired with a successful businessman, Sandiaga Uno; and son of former president Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono and his pair former mayor Sylviana Murni. They are relatively young, non-political and considered competent.
           Indeed, Jakarta Bay reclamation project will be a hot issue for Ahok's rivals during the campaign, Executive Director of Voxpol Center, Pangi Syarwi Chaniago, recently said in Jakarta in response to questions from the media.

HOPING FOR PEACEFUL, DEMOCRATIC GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION IN JAKARTA by Fardah

 Jakarta, Sept 29, 2016 (Antara) - The next gubernatorial election in Jakarta is expected to be both exciting and interesting, since important political figures are sponsoring each candidate pair.
        To be held simultaneously with other regional head elections (pilkada) across the country on February 15, 2017, the Jakarta gubernatorial election will be contested by three pairs, namely incumbent Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok) and Djarot Saiful Hidayat, former education minister Anies Baswedan and successful businessman Sandiaga Uno, as well as rising military star Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono and former mayor Sylviana Murni.
        Ahok and Djarot are supported by former president Megawati Sukarnoputri, who is concurrently chairperson of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party for Struggle (PDIP). Baswedan-Uno has been nominated by ex-presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, who is also chairman of Gerindra Party, and Agus-Sylviana is promoted by former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, is chairman of the Democratic Party and the father of Agus.
        The three pairs are considered competent, with every candidate having their own characteristics, qualities, and shortcomings. Further, most of them are relatively young, and they represent different races, tribes and religions.
         Of note, their staunch supporters have already begun their campaigns using social media, such as Facebook.

Rabu, 28 September 2016

THE BEST OF RAJA AMPAT TO BE REVEALED YET by Fardah

Jakarta, Sept 28, 2016 (Antara) - Raja Ampat is a crown jewel, thanks to its crystal clear turquoise sea waters and several isles covered by a thick green carpet of dense forests and mangrove swamps.
         The stunning natural beauty of Raja Ampat isles, located on the northwestern tip of the Indonesian province of West Papua, is often seen as a heaven on earth, where dreams of divers come true and nature lovers find a perfect place.
        Raja Ampat, which literally means "Four Kings," is located in the Coral Triangle, the heart of the world's coral reef biodiversity.
        The seas around Raja Ampat Isles are home to the richest varieties of species in the world, including 75 percent of all known coral species.
        The Raja Ampat archipelago encompasses 15 thousand square miles of land and sea. There are around 1.8 thousand isles in Raja Ampat District.
       The name Raja Ampat, or "Four Kings," is derived from a local myth. It has four major islands: Waigeo, Salawati, Batanta and Misool, which are home to ancient rock paintings.
         In total, the Raja Ampat district has around 1.7 thousand islands, including the unoccupied and most beautiful Isle of Wayag, which is made of karst or limestone from other isles.
       Its four major islands --- Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati and Misool --- shelter a vast array of terrestrial species and valuable forests.
          The region includes the Pacific's most important Leatherback Turtle nesting site, the Nature Conservancy writes on its website.
         Offshore reefs protect some 1,427 species of fish and more than 550 species of coral.    

Selasa, 27 September 2016

ACEH POISED TO BECOME HALAL TOURISM DESTINATION by Fardah

Jakarta, Sept 27, 2016 (Antara) - Aceh Darussalam, located at the northern tip of Sumatra Island, is all set to promote its outstanding natural beauty, ranging from the coast to the mountains and its unique culture and arts, to domestic as well as foreign tourists.
         As Indonesia's only province that has enforced sharia (Islamic law), it is natural if Aceh has decided to develop halal (permissible according to Islamic teaching) and Muslim friendly tourism as its core economy.
         Aceh has plenty to offer to tourists, from religious sites such as Baiturrahman Mosque which was built by Sultan Iskandar Muda in 1612, to the enchanting nature like Blang Kolam and Suhom waterfalls, Lampuuk and Lokhnga beaches, Pantan Terong hill and the Kuala Merisi beach.
         At the 2016 National Halal Tourism Competition (KPHN), Aceh won three awards. The award in the category of Muslim Friendly Airport was won by the Sultan Iskandar Muda International Airport in Banda Aceh, and the Muslim friendly cultural destination and best tourist attraction awards went to the Baiturrahman Grand Mosque.  
    The results of the competition were announced in Jakarta on Wednesday (Sept. 22).

Sabtu, 24 September 2016

FIGHTING INEFFICIENCY, ILLEGAL LEVIES TO CUT DWELLING TIME IN INDONESIAN SEAPORTS by Fardah

Jakarta, Sept 24, 2016 (Antara) - Several Indonesian seaports are notorious for their long cargo dwelling time due to inefficiencies, poor infrastructure and illegal levies that lead to logistics costs multiplying for businesses.
         Dwelling time is measured from the moment the container is unloaded, until it leaves the gates of the container terminal.    
    Due to port inefficiencies and poor port-hinterland connectivity, many basic commodities in eastern Indonesia are twice as expensive as in Java.
         For instance, the dwelling time in the country's main Tanjung Priok Seaport handling over two-thirds of Indonesia's entire international trade, was twice as long as that in Malaysia and five times longer than Singapore.
         Other Indonesian ports take even longer to move containers in and out of their vicinities. Producers pass those higher costs on to consumers.
         Shortening long dwelling times and introducing simple payment systems can help make the port, and hence businesses, run more smoothly.
         President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), whose ambition is to make Indonesia a global maritime axis, has since the beginning of his administration, instructed that the dwelling time be reduced, particularly in major seaports such as Tanjung Priok located in North Jakarta, Tanjung Perak in Surabaya, and Balawan in North Sumatra.

INVOLVEMENT OF YOUTH IN SAIL KARIMATA STRAIT 2016 by Fardah

Jakarta, Sept 24 (Antara) - The annual international maritime event, Sail Indonesia, being dubbed as Sail Karimata Strait this year, is being implemented quite differently than its previous editions.
         Hundreds of university students and some 300 scouts from 34 provinces across the country are actively involved in the organization of the Sail Karimata Strait.    
    They come from the Jakarta-based University of Indonesia, the Bogor University of Agriculture, the Bandung Institute of Technology, the Jakarta-based Trisakti University, the Yogyakarta-based University of Gadjah Mada (UGM) and the Banda Aceh-based Syiah Kuala University.
         All of them have come together as Sail Karimata Strait task force, a group of some 2,000 people, including naval officers. The task forces are called Surya Bhaskara Jaya and Pelantara (Nusantara Circle Sailing), and the Nusantara Jaya expedition.
         Surya Bhaskara Jaya Task Force aboard the Indonesian warship KRI Makassar-590, and Pelantara aboard KRI Surabaya-591 have been assigned in civic missions in Indonesian remote areas, prior to the peak event of Sail Karimata Strait.
         They departed from the Tanjung Priok Seaport in North Jakarta on Sept. 22, and were seen off by the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan.
         "The involvement of the younger generation, the future of the nation, is expected to improve their awareness about the maritime wealth and potential of Indonesia," Luhut Pandjaitan said.   
    The minister called upon the participants to help promote Indonesia, which is one of the largest maritime nations in the world.

Jumat, 23 September 2016

TOUR DE TIMOR RACE TO START IN DILI, FINISH IN KUPANG IN NOVEMBER by Fardah

Jakarta, Sept 23, 2016 (Antara) -  East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) will sponsor Tour de Timor (TdT) in November, in a bid to repeat the success of last May's Tour de Flores (TdF).
        TdF directed foreign and domestic cyclists cum tourists on a tour around Flores Island, while TdT will be a complete tour of Timor Island, and continuing up to Rote. 
   The Island of Timor is divided into two, East and West Timor.  West Timor is part of Indonesia's NTT Province with its capital in Kupang, while East Timor is now known as a country called Timor Leste, whose capital is Dili.

        To be organized by the two countries for the first time, TdT will be a unique cycling and sport tourist event, because it covers two countries - Indonesia and Timor Leste.
        Initially, the Tour de Timor was a race organized by the Ministry of Tourism, Art and Culture and the Cycling Federation of Timor-Leste to boost tourism, shift perceptions, strengthen peace, and harmony.
        TdT is a national pride and provides opportunities for economic development of the tiny country sharing the border with Indonesia's NTT Province.
           The seventh annual Tour de Timor set off from Dili to Laclubar, then on to the sparkling waters of Betano on the south coast in September 2015 .

Kamis, 22 September 2016

RELIEF AID, EQUIPMENT RUSHED TO VICTIMS OF GARUT FLOODING by Fardah

     Jakarta, Sept 22, 2016 (Antara) - Indonesia is in mourning following the tragedy in Garut District, West Java Province, where flash floods have led to at least 23 deaths and left 18 others missing, four seriously injured, and 27 slightly wounded.
         The natural disaster that displaced more than one thousand people, was triggered by incessant heavy rains, which caused the Cimanuk and Cikamuri rivers to overflow on Sept. 20 evening.
         Dr Slamet Public Hospital, Tarogong Kidul police office, main roads, school buildings, and residential areas were submerged by floodwaters, which reached a height of up to two meters in one area, according to an eye witness.
         The flood-affected sub-districts included Bayongbong, Garut City, Banyuresmi, Tarogong Kaler, Tarogong Kidul, Karang Pawitan, and Samarang. 
     Search efforts are still underway for the missing people, involving a joint Search and Rescue Team, which includes officers of the local Search and Rescue office (Basarnas), the Regional Disaster Mitigation office (BPBD), the military and the police, as well as Red Cross agents and volunteers, according to spokesman of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.  

Rabu, 21 September 2016

BALI GEARS UP FOR INTERPOL GENERAL ASSEMBLY by Fardah

Jakarta, Sept 21, 2016 (Antara) - Indonesian Police Chief General Tito Karnavian has reviewed preparations for the 85th General of International Police (Interpol) to be held in Bali, November 7-10, 2016.
        Being able to host an Interpol general assembly is an honor and a very rare opportunity that might not come twice in a century, given the number of Interpol members, including 190 countries, said the general.    
     The Interpol general assembly is believed to be the second largest international gathering, after the UN General Assembly in New York.
         More than one thousand delegates representing 190 countries will participate in the meeting.
         The Indonesian police will pull out all stops to ensure the success of the General Assembly. It will take actions to assure the security of all delegates and international government officials attending the event.
          "Indonesia is the second country, after China, with the largest police force, comprising 430,000," he noted.
           During the inspection, the general was accompanied by Head of the National Police International Relations Division, Inspector General Ketut Untung Yoga, along with Bali Provincial Police Chief Inspector General Sugeng Priyanto.
           After conducting the field inspection, Karnavian chaired a closed-door meeting to discuss technical preparations for the international meeting. Several immigration and other officers also attended.
           Counter-terrorism measures will be one of the main topics to be discussed during the meeting.   
      "There will be a special panel (on the issue of counter-terrorism) and I will be there as one of the speakers," said Karnavian, a former Chief of the National Counter-Terrorism Agency (BPTN).

GOOGLE SHOULD PAY TAX IN INDONESIA by Fardah

Jakarta, Sept 21, 2016 (Antara) - Google has become part of the daily routine for most people.
        The giant Internet-based search engine company provides access to billions of pages of information in micro seconds without directly charging its users.
        It serves people looking for data, documents, maps, pictures and even recipes.
          Founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1996, Google's search engine was registered as Google.com in September 1997 and then incorporated in 1998.
         Google offers an array of products and services including search tools, advertising services, communication tools, publishing services, and development and security tools, as well as map-related products, statistical and mobile-based software, and hardware.
        Because it is so popular, Google earned US$75 billion in revenue in 2015 from its proprietary advertising service, Google AdWords. Of that revenue, over 77 per cent, or just over $52 billion, came from Google's own websites.   
  With a population of over 250 million, where at least 100 million are Internet users, Indonesia is one of the largest online markets worldwide.
        Digital advertising expenditure in Indonesia in 2016 is estimated to increase significantly to more than $1 billion.
        As a result of the Indonesian government's efforts to increase the state's revenues from taxes in order to narrow the budget deficit and fund infrastructure development, Google is one of several companies that have been targeted to pay tax in the country.  

Sabtu, 17 September 2016

INTERNATIONAL SYNERGY CRUCIAL TO COMBAT ILLEGAL FISHING by Fardah

  Jakarta, Sept 17, 2016 (Antara) - Indonesia's future depends on the ocean as two-thirds of its territory is water and at least 140 million of its people, including 2.6 fishermen, rely on marine and coastal ecosystems for their livelihood.
        Being one of the world`s largest maritime countries with about 5.8 million square kilometers of marine territory, Indonesia has abundant fishery potential, and is the world's second largest producer of wild-capture fish, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). 
    However, close to 65 percent of Indonesia's coral reefs are considered under threat from overfishing, while unreported and illegal fishing leads to some US$20 billion worth of lost revenue, World Bank data showed in 2015.
         Life on Earth depends on the ocean.  A healthy ocean is central to human well-being.  The ocean feeds billions of people, employs millions of workers, and generates trillions of dollars to the world economy.
          Internationally, however, between $75billion and $125 billion of global output annually goes waste due to ineffective fish stock management and illegal fishing.
         Given the enormous threat of illegal fishing activities, Indonesian Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti highlighted the issue in her presentation during 'Our Ocean' conference held in Washington DC, the United States, on September 15 and 16. 
   "Indonesia continues, and incessantly fights illegal fishing," the minister stated.

REITERATING NAM'S COMMITMENT TO SUPPORTING PALESTINIAN STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE by Fardah

Jakarta, Sept 17, 2016 (Antara) - Indonesia has been consistently voicing its support to the Palestinian people in their struggle against occupation by Israeli Zionist regime over the past 68 years.
         Having experienced what it means being colonized by foreign forces, Indonesia, which gained independence in August 1945, has always been against colonialism. It, therefore, has been calling for international solidarity with Palestine at various regional and international meetings.
         Speaking during a ministerial level meeting of the Palestine Committee of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), held in Venezuela, on Sept. 16, Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP Marsudi reiterated a call to every NAM member country to continue to support the Palestinian people until Palestine becomes a sovereign nation with East Jerusalem as its capital.
          The minister particularly appealed to NAM members, who have not yet recognized the Palestinian state, to accord their full recognition soon.
          She also emphasized the importance of NAM member countries' support for the resumption of the Palestinian peace process.
           The Indonesian government fully supports the French government's initiative to reopen the peace talks.
           Indonesia was one of the 28 countries that participated in the Paris Meeting held in June 2016.
          Besides, stronger international pressure is needed to stop Israel from committing further violence and human rights violations against the Palestinian people.

BALI BECOMES MORE POPULAR AMONG INDIAN TOURISTS by Fardah

 Jakarta, Sept 17, 2016 (Antara) - Bali Island, Indonesia's most famous tourist resort, and India, have a striking similarity, namely that both have a Hindu majority population.
         The people of Bali, and even those in several parts of Indonesia, also share the Ramayana and Mahabharata epics of India. 
    Bali and India, however, also have their own unique culture, traditions and characteristics.
         It is reported that during his visit to Java and Bali in 1927, Rabindranath Tagore, an Indian poet, was so enamored by Bali that he said, "Wherever I go on the island, I see God."
     Then, 23 years later in 1950, India's then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru hailed Bali as the "Morning of the World".
           In the past, Bali was not a favorite destination of Indian tourists. But lately, thanks to intensified promotional activities in India organized by the Indonesian government, the number of Indian tourists visiting Bali has shown a relatively significant surge.     
      A Wonderful Indonesia campaign, for instance, was organized by the ministry during the Sale Mission India 2016 in Kolkata, India, on August 22, with the objective of attracting more tourists. 
     In addition to tourist promotion, the Indonesian government's visa free policy has also helped to significantly boost the number of foreign tourists. India is one of the nearly 100 countries that receive the visa-free facility.
         The Indonesian government hopes to attract some 12 million foreign tourists, including 350 thousand from India, this year.

Kamis, 15 September 2016

CONTROVERSY OVER JAKARTA BAY RECLAMATION PROJECT CONTINUES by Fardah

Jakarta, Sept 15, 2016 (Antara) - Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan's statement on the resumption of G Island's reclamation, which is part of the multi-trillion rupiah Jakarta Bay reclamation project, has again triggered controversy.
         The decision to resume the G Island's reclamation has been seen contradictory to a verdict issued by the Jakarta State Administrative Court (PTUN) on May 31, 2016, that had cancelled the permit for the development of G Island among other things because of a problem concerning environmental impact assessment of the project.
         Those who are against the Jakarta Bay reclamation project believe the project could potentially damage the environment and disrupt the livelihood of local traditional farmers for the interest of property investors.
         One of serious questions often asked is from where the sand, coral and other solid materials needed for building the man-made islands in the Jakarta Bay will be sourced. Massive sand and coral mining will endanger or even make an island and several islets vanish.
         Because the Jakarta Bay project is relatively close to the Thousand Islands (Kepulauan Seribu), several environmentalists suspect the reclamation project might source sand and coral from the Thousand Islands and as a result it might lead to disappearance of several islets in the area.  

Rabu, 14 September 2016

EXPANDING AND MODERNIZING TANJUNG PRIOK HARBOR VITAL by Fardah

 Jakarta, Sept 14, 2016 (Antara) - Development must never stop in order to catch up with technological  progress and demands of the current era, particularly with regard to the Tanjung Priok Seaport, Indonesia's largest and busiest harbor.
       The Joko Widodo (Jokowi) administration has put in place an ambitious plan to transform Indonesian seaports into modern ones to support the government's maritime axis program.
         Therefore, since the construction of New Priok Container Terminal One (NPCT1) started in 2012, President Jokowi has personally checked its progress twice.
         This is to ensure that the port will help increase the nation's competitiveness by developing facilities using innovation and sophisticated technologies.
         Moreover, the Indonesian Port Corporation (IPC), or Pelindo II, has been asked by the president to speed up efforts to increase port capacity.
         This was reiterated by the president while inaugurating the operation of the New Priok Container Terminal One (NPCT1) or Kalibaru container terminal at Tanjung Priok Main Seaport, North Jakarta, Sept. 13.   
    NPCT1 is built on a plot of land measuring 32 hectares and has a capacity of 1.5 million twenty foot equivalent unit (TEUs) per year.

Selasa, 13 September 2016

NEW BIN CHIEF EXPECTED TO STRENGTHEN SYNERGY AMONG INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES By Fardah

Jakarta, Sept 13, 2016 (Antara) - September 9 has to be one of the happiest days for Budi Gunawan, who was installed as the new chief of the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) and at the same time promoted to become a four-star general.
        "Alhamdulillah (Thank God), today I officially became the chief of BIN and at the same time I have been promoted to become police general. This is the mandate I have to bear," said Budi, who entered the Palace as a commissioner general, and came out as a full general after President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) installed him as the new BIN Chief.
        General Budi was appointed as the new BIN chief after securing a seal of approval from the House of Representatives (DPR) at a plenary meeting on Sept. 8.
        Better known as BG, he was earlier deputy to the national police chief, and was the sole candidate for the post of BIN chief. He had to undergo a fit and proper test at the House of Representatives (DPR) before his nomination was endorsed.
        Budi replaced Sutiyoso, the former Jakarta governor, who had held the BIN top post since July 2015.
        Jokowi's decision to appoint Budi as the agency's chief was lauded by many parties, who have seen him as a competent figure.
        The Chairman of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Zulkifli Hasan, for instance, has described Budi as a capable officer equipped with the required experience to lead BIN.

INTENSIFYING PROMOTION OF "NEW BALI" TOURIST DESTINATIONS by Fardah

 Jakarta, Sept 13, 2016 (Antara)- Indonesia, famous all over the world for its Bali island, is now ready to reveal its other hidden paradises to foreign as well as domestic tourists.
       Trying to duplicate Bali's tourism success, the nation is working to develop 10 new destinations located across the country.
        The 10 places are Borobudur in Central Java, Mandalika on Lombok Island (West Nusa Tenggara), Labuan Bajo in Flores (East Nusa Tenggara), Bromo-Tengger-Semeru in East Java, Pulau Seribu in North Jakarta, Lake Toba in North Sumatra, Wakatobi in Southeast Sulawesi, Tanjung Lesung in Banten, Morotai in the northern region of Halmahera in the Maluku islands and Tanjung Kelayang in Belitung (Bangka Belitung).
        The government has focused on developing and promoting the 10 new destinations, particularly through the "Wonderful Indonesia" promotion, to improve its tourism competitiveness globally, Tourism and Culture Minister Arief Yahya confirmed.
        The various international tourism awards won by Indonesia so far has reflected the world's recognition of country's strength in the tourism field, he said.
        The awards help promote Indonesian tourism, which is expected to lure 20 million foreign tourists and 275 million domestic tourists by 2019.
        Indonesia won four PATA Gold Awards 2016 at the PATA Travel Mart (PTM) held at the Indonesian Convention Exhitibion (ICE) in Bumi Serpong Damai (BSD) in Banten Province, recently.

Sabtu, 10 September 2016

ARAFAH, WHERE MUSLIMS GO TO ANSWER PROPHET IBRAHIM'S CALL by Fardah

Jakarta, Sept 10, 2016 (Antara) - Over 2 million Muslims from all over the world started moving from Mecca towards Arafah on Saturday for Wuquf, which marks the peak of the Hajj pilgrimage rites.
         Wuquf falls on Sunday, September 11 or 9 Dhu'l-Hijjah 1437, according to Islamic calendar.
         On Monday, September 12 or 10 Dhu'l-Hijjah 1437, Muslims all over the world will celebrate Eid-ul-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice). Eid-ul-Adha is also known as the Greater Eid, which is the second most important festival in the Muslim calendar after Eid-El-Fitr.
         The festival commemorates the Prophet Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son when God ordered him to. On that day, Muslims who can afford it, sacrifice a sheep (sometimes a goat) as a reminder of Ibrahim's obedience to Allah.
         Dhu'l-Hijjah is the final month in the Islamic calendar, when Muslims are urged to perform the Hajj pilgrimage, a spiritual journey to "answer the call of Prophet Ibrahim" as obliged by Allah.
         The fifth pillar of Islam urges all Muslims to undertake a pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, at least once in his/her lifetime. It is obligatory for every Muslim, regardless of gender, to make the pilgrimage if he/she is physically and financially capable of doing so.
         The Day of Arafah is the day on which Muslim Hajj pilgrims gather on Mount Arafah, which is located some 20 kilometers southeast of Mecca, for Wuquf, which means `standing before God,' one of the most significant rites of Hajj.

PRESERVING BIODIVERSITY FOR A PROSPEROUS PAPUA by Fardah

Jakarta, Sept 10, 2016 (Antara) - The Agirway dancers of Papua performed the exquisite Ballads of Cendrawasih (Birds of Paradise) dance, marking the opening of an International Conference on Biodiversity, Eco-Tourism and Creative Economy (ICBE), and showcasing Papua's famed biodiversity.
         Indonesia's easternmost island of Papua is, in fact, often referred to as the last remaining fortress of the world's biodiversity.
         Held under the theme of "Biodiversity and Ecotourism, Papua Economic Solutions", a number of countries and international institutions participated in the conference held in Jayapura from September 7-10. 
    Discussions also revolved around the sub theme of "Utilize Natural Resources, Increase Livelihood, Protect the Golden Generation of Papua."
    An exhibition featuring 60 stands, and screening of 20 short films on Papua's culture and environment marked the conference.
         The gala opening ceremony was attended by Norwegian Ambassador to Indonesia Stig Traavik and diplomats from the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, the Netherlands, and Papua New Guinea, among others.
         Voicing high expectations, Papua Governor Lukas Enembe hoped the ICBE would boost the efforts to set up biodiversity parks and cultural parks to preserve the environment, particularly protect bird of Paradise, Papua's iconic bird.  

Kamis, 08 September 2016

CLOSER COORDINATION, COOPERATION NEEDED TO COUNTER TERRORISM, EXTREMISM by Fardah

Jakarta, Sept 8, 2016 (Antara)- Terrorism is still considered to be a major potential threat, and thus, it was selected as an important topic of discussion at the ASEAN Summits and ASEAN Plus dialog partners' Summits in Vientiane, Laos.
          In almost all speeches and presentations during the summits, every leader highlighted terrorism and extremism as a common enemy that should be tackled through regional and international cooperation.
          President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) was one of the ASEAN leaders whose speeches also warned of the dangers of extremism and terrorism in Southeast Asia.
          He, therefore, called on every ASEAN leader to optimize all ASEAN mechanisms to counter terrorism and extremism.
          The ASEAN member nations must take common actions and strengthen security in their respective countries, Jokowi, who was accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP Marsudi and Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung, stated during the ASEAN Leaders' Retreat in Vientaine, on Sept. 7.
          Meanwhile, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong warned ASEAN leaders of the changing face of terrorism and its growing threat to the region that makes it one of the three big issues confronting the ASEAN.
          "The conclusion is we have to work together more closely, share intelligence and our analysis of threats, counter extremist doctrines and exchange views, and take concerted actions against terrorist groups," Lee was quoted as saying by Straitstimes.com.

SEEKING BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF INDONESIAN SEAS THROUGH OCEANOGRAPHY EXPEDITION by Fardah

Jakarta, Sept 8, 2016 (Antara) - Indonesian waters occupy at least 70 percent of its national territory, and in most parts of the country, there are numerous aspects of livelihoods that are related to and dependent on oceans.  
    Being one of the world's largest maritime countries, with about 5.8 million square kilometers (km) of marine territory, Indonesia has around 92,000 km-long beaches and coastal areas, the second longest after Canada.  
    Indonesia is the biggest archipelagic country in the world, with around 70 percent of its territory made up of waters and it has around 17,480 islands.
         So it is normal that the country's economy traditionally depends on the oceans and its natural resources. The country's future basically lies in oceans that are expected to help sustain food security.
         A lot of researches and several expeditions have been carried out in the nation's seas, yet the ocean is mostly unexplored and hides mysteries waiting to be revealed.
         Recently, the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry, in cooperation with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), launched an oceanography expedition to record information and data on maritime conditions in eastern Indonesian.  
    The expedition team had set sail from the Benoa seaport in Bali on August 27 and will take a route divided into three cruises: the Banda Sea Cruise, from August 27 to September 5; the Maluku Sea Cruise, from September 6 to 15; and the Makasar Strait and Lombok Strait, from September 20 to October 1.
         The expedition involves over 25 researchers and is using the Baruna Jaya research boat owned by LIPI, according to Zulficar Mochtar, head of the ministry's Research and Development Department.

JOIN HAND IN REALIZING DRUG-FREE ASEAN by Fardah

           Jakarta, Sept 8, 2016 (Antara) - A drug-free ASEAN by 2015 might deem a failure, but it does not mean that the ASEAN member countries have abandoned the dream. The ASEAN countries, in fact, have determined to pursue the goal.
         It was at the 31st ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in July 1998, when ASEAN foreign ministers signed the Joint Declaration for a Drug-Free ASEAN by 2020 that affirmed the Association¿s commitment to eradicate illicit drug production, processing, trafficking and abuse by the year 2020 in ASEAN.
           And two years later, at the 33rd ASEANMinisterial Meeting in July 2000, the governments agreed to advance the target year for realizing a Drug-Free ASEAN to 2015. 
     In 2015, many ASEAN countries were still struggling to deal with the drug abuse and trafficking that have many young people and could threaten the regional security and stability due to the transnational crimes.
         In Indonesia, for instance, drug abuse is responsible for the deaths of 50 Indonesians, mostly youngmen, every day.
          Indonesia is one of the few countries to have imposed the harshest drug laws in the world. And President Joko Widodo had emphasized that he would not grant clemency to drug convicts, , despite protests from several countries and parties at home.  The country executed 14 drug convicts last year, and four this year.    
   Indonesia is not the only ASEAN member countries that have declared a war on illicit drug abuse and offences.

Selasa, 06 September 2016

TIGHTENING ZIKA VIRUS SURVEILLANCE AT INDONESIAN PORTS by Fardah

Jakarta, Sept 6, 2016 (Antara) - Many countries, including Indonesia, are reeling under the scare of Zika virus that has spread rapidly in American and Asian regions after the outbreak occurred in Brazil in early 2015.
         Zika virus is transmitted primarily through the bite of infected Aedes species of mosquitoes.
         Although not deadly, Zika virus can cause spontaneous abortion and birth defects, including microcephaly, during pregnancy.
        In adults, Zika infection has also been linked to a rare neurological syndrome known as Guillain-Barre, as well as other neurological disorders.
         There is no vaccine or treatment for Zika, a close cousin of dengue and chikungunya that causes mild fever, rash and red eyes.
         Zika outbreak is affecting large parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, with Brazil being the hardest hit, though cases have been cropping up in Asia.
        Singapore has reported more than 240 Zika cases since the first locally infected case was detected on Aug. 27 Neighboring Malaysia and the Philippines had reported one such case each until Sept. 5.
        Several countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia and Taiwan, have issued travel advisories for tourists visiting Singapore after the city-state announced a further rise in Zika cases.
       There are no human cases of Zika infection in Indonesia so far, but the country has to be on alert because its warm climate is a potential and ideal breeding ground of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.