Kamis, 16 November 2017

W SUMATRA SET FOR NINTH TOUR DE SINGKARAK by Fardah

 Jakarta, Nov 16, 2017 (Antara) - West Sumatra Province is ready for the implementation of the Ninth Tour de Singkarak (TdS) cycling race, which will take place from Nov 18 to 26, 2017. 
    Some 230 cyclists, grouped in 20 domestic and foreign cycling teams from 30 countries, will participate in the sports tourism event.       
    Part of the Union Cycliste Internationale race series, the TdS will involve 18 of the total 19 districts and cities of the province.  
    The TdS, themed "The Biggest Sport Tourism" and part of a tourism promotion initiative, will be divided into nine stages, covering a total distance of 1,150 kilometers.
         The grand start will be from Tanah Datar District and the grand final in Bukittinggi.
             The  first stage is Istano Basa Pagaruyung-Padang covering 109.3 kilometers on Nov 18; the second stage, South Pesisir-Sawahlunto measuring 155.9 kilometers on Nov 19; the third stage, Sijunjung-Dharmasraya spanning 161.3 kilometers on Nov 20; the fourth stage, Solok-Payakumbuh District  reaching 106.4 kilometers on Nov 21; the fifth stage, Solok City-South Solok covering 153.2 kilometers on Nov 22; the sixth stage, Pariaman-West Pasaman measuring 145.7 kilometers on Nov 23; the seventh stage, Limapuluh Kota-Padang Panjang spanning 112 kilometers on Nov 24; the eighth stage, Padangpariaman-Agam reaching 135.2 kilometers on Nov 25; and the ninth stage, Pasaman-Bukittinggi covering 117.2 kilometers on Nov 26.

Selasa, 14 November 2017

ROHINGYA CRISIS BECOMES SPOTLIGHT ON SIDELINES OF 31ST ASEAN SUMMIT by Fardah

Jakarta, Nov 14, 2017 (Antara)- The international media have reported that a draft of the statement to be issued at the end of the 31st ASEAN Summit held in Manila on Nov 13-14, would not mention the ongoing prolonged humanitarian crisis happening in Myanmar's Rakhine State, home to over one million Rohingya ethnic minority.
         This is not a surprise for ASEAN which follows principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of one another. But, individually and in bilateral meetings held on the sidelines of the Manila Summit, Rohingya plight is not totally forgotten.
         During a bilateral meeting held in Manila on Nov 13, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres agreed to the need to immediately address the humanitarian crisis being faced by the Rohingya minority in Rakhine State.
         "If it is not solved (immediately), the crisis could affect regional stability and security. A prolonged crisis could trigger radicalism and even terrorism," President Jokowi said.
         Jokowi and Guterres shared a common concern regarding the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine State, where Rohingya people were prosecuted and discriminated.       
    They called for a speedy solution to the problem and for the signing of a memorandum of understanding on repatriation between Myanmar and Bangladesh, the neighboring country that has some 600 thousand Rohingya refugees.
         In September, Guterres said the situation in Rakhine was best described as ethnic cleansing.  
    During the bilateral meeting, Guterres lauded the Indonesian government and people for helping the prosecuted Rohingya people.
         The Indonesian Government has approached the Myanmar Government to return peace in Rakhine, and sent humanitarian aid for the affected communities both in Rakhine and in the border of Bangladesh.
         The Indonesian government will again send humanitarian aid comprising 30 tons of rice, one ton of sugar, 2,004 packages of instant food, 14 thousand blankets, 20 emergency tents, 10 water tanks, 600 packages of family kits, and 900 packages of clothing to Bangladesh.

Sabtu, 11 November 2017

INVESTMENT CONTRIBUTES SIGNIFICANTLY TO INDONESIA'S ECONOMIC GROWTH by Fardah

  Jakarta, Nov 11, 2017 (Antara) - The Indonesian government is optimistic of its economic growth, as the nation has managed to record a seven percent growth in investment this year, the highest over in the past several years.
         The country's economy grew 5.06 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2017, driven mainly by the consumption sector, and partly owing to the growing investment rate, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.
         "The growth rate of 5.06 percent, perhaps, was not up to expectations, but some areas, in terms of the data, were very interesting. Investment grew seven percent, the highest in the past several years. This is what we want," Head of the National Development Planning Board and Minister for National Development Planning Bambang Brodjonegoro noted while opening the Indonesia Infrastructure Week 2017 in Jakarta on November 8, 2017.
         Moreover, the construction sector grew seven percent, and positive performance was also recorded in the manufacturing sector, which grew more than four percent, though not up to expectations.
         "The investment sector grew seven percent, the manufacturing sector grew four percent, and the construction sector also grew seven percent. This means there has been a lot of investment in the construction sector, either in property or infrastructure. We begin to see that investment in infrastructure is not only from the government but also from the private sector," he noted.

PARTNERSHIP CRUCIAL TO ACHIEVE INDONESIA'S PEATLAND RESTORATION TARGET by Fardah

Jakarta, Nov 11 , 2017 (Antara) - Peatland restoration is one of the priorities of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi)'s environmental agenda, which is aimed at partly preventing forest fires and addressing climate change impacts.
        In January last year, Jokowi established a Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG), through Presidential Regulation No. 1/2016, in order to coordinate and accelerate the recovery of peatlands.
       Indonesia's peatlands are estimated to cover an area of 20.6 million hectares, or about 10.8 percent of Indonesia's total land area.
        Peatlands help to preserve water resources, mitigate flooding, prevent seawater intrusion, support biodiversity, and control the climate through carbon absorption and storage.   
   According to BRG's target, a total of 2,492,527 hectares of peatlands would be restored within a five-year period, with the completion target set at 30 percent in 2016; 20 percent each in 2017, 2018, and 2019; and 10 percent in 2020.  
     This year, the BRG plans to build some 5,600 canal dams that could wet 400 thousand hectares of peatlands, thereby preventing forest fires.
         The restoration program in that area is carried out in cooperation with the local people trained to build water canals in line with the concept of the BRG to wet the dried peatlands.
         Forests and peatland fires in 2015 affected the health of millions in Sumatra and Kalimantan, in particular, as well as in several neighboring countries. The forest fire disaster has cost Indonesian economy an estimated US$16.1 billion.
        The agency has allocated some Rp152 billion, or some 36 percent of its total budget this year.
        "Some Rp117 billion (of the Rp152 billion) will be channeled to build infrastructure and revitalize the economy, while Rp35 billion will be allocated to strengthen the agency, as well as to boost its capacity and empower the agency," Myrna Safitri, BRG's deputy of education, socialization, participation, and partnership, noted in Jakarta on Nov 1, 2017.
        According to Safitri, the BRG has maintained partnership with some civil groups and the local governments to restore peatlands in several targeted provinces, such as Riau, Jambi, South Sulawesi, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, and Papua.
       Safitri revealed that the peatland office, along with the civil groups, have built some supporting infrastructure, such as canal partitions and wells in dozens of villages.
        She remarked that the office has launched a pilot project to manage land without setting fire to trees and initiated the development of the local commodity, maritime and livestock businesses, and honey culture.

Rabu, 08 November 2017

SAFETY PRIORITIZED IN DECIDING VENUE FOR 2018 IMF-WB ANNUAL MEETING by Fardah

Jakarta, Nov 8, 2017 (Antara) - The increased activity of Mount Agung located in Karangasem District, Bali Island, has raised Indonesia's concerns, as preparations for the 2018 Annual Meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) are underway.
          The next IMF-WB annual meeting is scheduled to be held in Bali in October 2018.
          Some 15 thousand to 17 thousand people from 189 countries, including country officials, international observers, academics, journalists, and representatives of non-governmental organizations, are expected to participate in the annual event.
         Mount Agung has been active since August 2017, but the volcano has not yet erupted, and most parts of the island remain safe.
          The Indonesian government, as the host of the important meeting, however, has prepared an optional venue, as part of the precautionary measures in case the volcano erupts.
          "Everyone's safety is our main priority while taking any decision regarding the venue," Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indarwati had noted on the sidelines of the 2017 IMF-WB annual meeting in Washington D.C., the US, last October.
          Any change concerning the next meeting's schedule or venue will be discussed with the IMF and WB, she revealed. 
     Moreover, the IMF and WB have been monitoring the developments of Mount Agung that has been active since last August.
          "They are also monitoring the developments of Mount Agung, and at certain points, if the risks could be controlled, we will be able to host the 2018 meeting of (IMF and WB)," the minister had noted on the sidelines of the 2017 IMF-WB annual meeting held in Washington D.C., the US, last October.

Selasa, 07 November 2017

NOVEL BASWEDAN CASE REMAINS MYSTERY by Fardah

Jakarta, Nov 7, 2017 (Antara) - More than 200 days have passed since Novel Baswedan, senior investigator of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), was attacked with acid that has caused him to lose vision in his left eye, but the perpetrators are still at large and unidentified.
         Until now, both the Jakarta Metro Jaya Police and the National Police's Crime Investigation Department are incessantly investigating the case.
         The National Police does not intend to either slow down the investigation into the case or lose focus in dealing with it, according to Brigadier General Rikwanto, a spokesman of the National Police (Polri)
    He, however, admitted that the investigation has failed to trace the attackers.
         "It remains uncertain as to who the perpetrators are. We do not have strong evidence to name someone as a suspect," Rikwanto told the press on Oct 6, 2017.
         He urged anyone with information on the attackers to report it to the police or the KPK.
         He confirmed that the National Police Chief General Tito Karnavian will, in the near future, report to President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) about the ongoing investigation into the unsolved case.
         Earlier, President Jokowi said he will discuss Baswedan's case with Karnavian.
         "Later, I will invite the Police chief. I will call him," President Jokowi stated recently in response to questions posed by the press regarding a suggestion to establish a joint fact finding team (TPGF) to probe the case.
         He said every case has to be dealt with in a clear and transparent manner. "For sure, every case must be open and clear," Jokowi noted.

Senin, 06 November 2017

MOUNT AGUNG STILL ACTIVE, BUT LESS THREATENING by Fardah

Jakarta, Nov 6, 2017 (Antara) - Thousands of Balinese evacuees returned home after living more than a month in evacuation centers on the Island, following the decision of the Indonesian authorities to lower the alert status of Mount Agung from Level 4 (dangerous) to Level 3 (high alert) on Oct 29, 2017.   
     "According to the images observed by the drone, the magma activity has dropped for the last nine days, and the volume of ashes ejected from the crater has decreased," Kasbani, head of the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry's Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center (PVMBG), said in Karangasem District, recently.    
     Located in Karangasem, Bali Island, the 3,142-meter-high Mount Agung has been rumbling since August, but the volcano has not yet erupted.
        In the last two months, the officials had recorded the activity of the volcano to be high. "(However), for the last three days, the tremors were stable from 100 to 200 shocks per day," he remarked. 
   Apart from the tremors, the GPS-based observer and tiltmeter have pictured that the deformations at the crater were slowing down.   
   "There is no pressure (in dropping the volcano's alert status). Our decision is based on some observations on the crater's deformation and other indicators," he explained.
        Since PVMBG declared the highest alert level of Mount Agung, about 144,389 people living in the affected zones in Karangasem, had been evacuated to several regions, including the neighboring districts of Klungkung, Buleleng, Bangli, Gianyar, and Denpasar.  

Kamis, 02 November 2017

TECHNOLOGY PLAYS CRUCIAL ROLE IN ATTAINING FOOD SUSTAINABILITY by Fardah

Jakarta, Nov 2, 2017 (Antara) - The world faces a fundamental challenge to sustainably provide a healthy diet to a population of over nine billion by 2050.
          As the most populous region in the world, Asia and the Pacific plays a decisive role in combating several interlinked issues at hand, such as malnutrition, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, and rising greenhouse gas emissions.
          Long-term discussions, however, are needed to tackle the issue of feeding a population of some four billion in the Asian and Pacific region, Vice President M. Jusuf Kalla stated while opening the First EAT Asia-Pacific Food Forum organized jointly by the EAT Foundation and the Indonesian Ministry of Health on Oct 30-31.
          "When we speak at the Asia-Pacific forum, it means we highlight the interests of four billion people. If everyone eats thrice a day, then we are speaking about 12 billion plates a day," the vice president remarked.
          Several challenges lie in the path towards boosting food productivity, including those related to land and the huge population that has put pressure on the agriculture sector.
          However, all these challenges can be addressed by using technology that enables the nation to cater to the food demand, although it is not perfect, according to Kalla.
          The government is finding a way to improve the food quality and productivity by utilizing technology in Indonesia, Kalla remarked.
         Technology could help increase food production. For Indonesia, the increase in food production should be above 3 percent to achieve food security and self-sufficiency.

TAKABONERATE, HIDDEN MARINE PARADISE IN S SULAWESI by Fardah

Jakarta, Nov 2, 2017 (Antara) - Besides Raja Ampat, which has been known worldwide as a hidden marine paradise on Earth, there is another hidden marine paradise, which is less known, notably the Takabonerate, which is located in Selayar District, South Sulawesi Province.
         Stretching south of the main island of Sulawesi into the Flores Sea, the Takabonerate National Park is a predominantly rich marine park and is also habitat to several bird species.
         Takabonerate is the third-largest atoll region in the world after Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands and Suvadiva in the Maldives.
      Apart from atolls, this national park comprises of 21 islands and has 242 species of corals, 526 species of colorful and strange reef fish, as well as 112 species of macro algae.
        The Island of Selayar is a gateway to this extensive 530,765-hectare-national park, of which 220 thousand hectares form an expanse of atolls and lagoons.
        The administration of Selayar Islands had organized the Wonderful Takabonerate Festival, or the Ninth edition of the Takabonerate Island Expedition (TIE), themed "Showcasing the Marine Potentials of Selayar towards a Golden Marine Tourist Destination 2019," from Oct 23 to 27, 2017. 
   Benteng and Takabonerate diving spots are the two locations where the festival was held.
        Among events held in Benteng were a canoe race, a decorated pedicab parade, a duck-catching swimming race, and traditional art and cultural performances, particularly those of the Bajo sea nomad tribe.  

Rabu, 01 November 2017

PREPARATIONS FOR WEDDING OF JOKOWI'S ONLY DAUGHTER COMPLETED by Fardah

Jakarta, Nov 1, 2017  (Antara) - Kahiyang Ayu, the only daughter of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), will get married to her university sweetheart Bobby Affif Nasution in her hometown Solo, Central Java, on Nov 8 this year.        
    Ayu and Bobby Nasution are both aged 26 and students of the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB). The duo had dated for a year and got engaged in June 2017.
         "My sister will get married on Nov 8," Gibran Rakambuming Raka, Jokowi's eldest son, had informed the press at the president's private residence in Solo or Surakarta last September.
         Speaking as the spokesman of his family, Raka was accompanied by Ayu and First Lady Iriana during the press conference.
         The wedding ceremony will follow Javanese traditions, and preparations for the wedding have been completed.
         The Graha Sabha Buana Hall, owned by the Jokowi family and located near his private home in Solo, will serve as the venue for the wedding ceremony, and the food will be provided by catering company Chili Pari owned by Raka.
         "One of the dishes to be served is martabak," Raka said as quoted by tempo.co.
         The 30-year-old entrepreneur is no stranger to the popular Indonesian pancake, as he also owns cafe Martabak Kota Barat, or Markobar, having outlets in several cities across Indonesia.
         Both martabak manis, or sweet pancake, and martabak telur, or stuffed fried pancake, will be served at the wedding. The pancake delights will be prepared at the venue.
         "Guests will be able to witness the cooking process," Raka added.
         Ayu's elder brother said the media will be given access to cover the ceremony, adding that he will set up a media center for the event.
         "Do not worry. We will set up a media center for the journalists. It will be operational in the run-up to the wedding," Raka told reporters.
         Ayu, or Ayang, was born in 1991. She has completed an undergraduate degree in food technology at the state-run Sebelas Maret University in Solo. She has attended a postgraduate degree course at IPB since 2015.
         Bobby Nasution is the third or youngest son of Erwin Nasution, former executive director of state-owned plantation holding company PT Perkebunan Nusantara II, who passed away in January this year.
         He has two elder sisters: Mayang Sari Nasution and Inge Amelia Nasution.
         Bobby Nasution had received his undergraduate degree in agribusiness from the Faculty of Agribusiness and Management at the IPB in 2014. 
    Nasution is now a postgraduate student in Business Management Magister of the IPB.  
    Jokowi said he is looking forward to his daughter's wedding and is excited to be a member of a big Batak family, as his future son-in-law is an ethnic Batak from Medan, North Sumatra.
         President Jokowi led the final meeting on the wedding preparations in Solo on Oct 29. Following the meeting, he confirmed that all preparations were completed.
         The meeting was attended by Minister/State Secretary Pratikno, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Solo Mayor FX Hadi Rudyatmo, and Commander of the Diponegoro Military Command Major General Tatang Sulaiman, among others.
         "Everything is set, and we just need to distribute the invitations," Jokowi informed the media.
         He revealed that there will be some eight thousand invitees, more than double the number of people invited to his eldest son's wedding held at the same venue in 2015.

Selasa, 31 Oktober 2017

INDONESIA KEEN TO CONTRIBUTE TO PEACEBUILDING EFFORTS FOR LASTING PEACE by Fardah

Jakarta, Oct 31, 2017 (Antara) - Indonesia, which deployed its first peacekeepers for the United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping Missions in 1957, has sent 2,871 troops, including 64 women, for UN peacekeeping operations worldwide this year.
            The Indonesian government has been consistently contributing to the efforts aimed at achieving the principles and purposes of the UN Charter in maintaining international peace and security, particularly in light of the major dynamic changes that are taking place in the current global arena.
          The country accords high priority to the cause of UN peacekeeping missions and has actively participated in the UN Peacekeeping Operations since the past six decades through its contribution to the UN Emergency Force (UNEF) in the Middle East. 
     Indonesia is one of the biggest contributors, as it has deployed its security personnel in the UN Peacekeeping Forces in addition to providing weaponry systems for peace missions in 10 countries.        
     In fact, Indonesia is the 10-largest contributor among 124 countries that have deployed personnel in the UN Peacekeeping Forces.
          Indonesia's contingents have been among the peacekeeping forces sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cyprus, Sinai, Gaza, Lebanon, Iraq, Kuwait, Bosnia, Sudan, South Sudan, Haiti, Central African Republic, Mali, and Western Sahara. Indonesia had sent its largest contingent to Cambodia in the early 1990s.
          It is currently the top contributing country in UNIFIL, headquartered in Lebanon, where the Indonesian contingent has some 1,300 personnel. Furthermore, three Indonesian officers have been assigned to hold leadership positions as force commanders or chief military observers in three UN Peacekeeping missions: UNEF, UN Protection Force, and UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara. 
    As part of the commitment, Indonesia has established an Indonesian Peace and Security Center, which was inaugurated by then president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Sentul, Bogor District, West Java Province, on December 19, 2011.
         Indonesia is keen to enhance its participation further by increasing the number of its personnel to four thousand peacekeepers by 2019.
         To this end, the government has formulated a "Roadmap on Vision 4,000 Peacekeepers" as guidance that lays out means and ways to materialize such a goal.
        Maintaining peace is an integral part of Indonesia's DNA, as it is mandated in the country's Constitution, Foreign Affairs Minister Retno L. P. Marsudi remarked.
         "Throughout our experience, a key lesson learnt was that countries emerging from conflict often face shortages in capacity, which is needed to sustain peace, such as teachers, medical doctors, nurses, engineers, and law and also policymakers," Marsudi noted.
         To this end, civilian capacity and expertise in post-conflict areas can complement the military and police personnel in peacekeeping operations, she observed.
         Building civilian capacity to sustain peace in conflict-ridden countries is crucial.
         "For Indonesia, the agenda of civilian capacity is an opportunity to share our experience and expertise," Marsudi remarked during a seminar on "Building Indonesia's Civilian Capacity and its Role in Sustaining Peace" held at her office, recently.
        The lives of some 65 million people in the world are at risk in conflict-hit regions, and the number is the highest since World War II, UN Resident Coordinator for Indonesia Anita Nirody noted during the seminar.
         Hence, Indonesia is keen to contribute to the advancement of peace-building capacity for sustaining peace.
        Minister Marsudi concluded that it was important that Indonesia's contribution to peace building included strengthening the post-conflict civilian institution and creating a conducive environment for inclusive and equitable settlement to prevent the recurrence of conflicts.
        Meanwhile, Indonesia's Permanent Representative to the UN Dian Triansyah Djani remarked that the main challenge in maintaining peace was to ensure that countries liberated from conflict continue to maintain peace.
         "What we are talking now is how to change the mindset from peacekeeping to peace building," Djani affirmed.
        Under a UN mandate, the Peace Building Commission has been formed as an intergovernmental advisory body that supports peace efforts in conflict-affected countries and is a key addition to the capacity of the International Community in the broad peace agenda.
         In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly had adopted through a consensus Resolution A/66/255 on "Civilian Capacity in the Aftermath of Conflict" that was proposed by Indonesia and Canada as the co-chairs for the Consultative Group of Civilian Capacity Review.
         At the regional level, with the support of the UN, Indonesia and Norway had co-hosted the first Regional Consultation on "Strengthening Partnership for Civilian Capacity in the Aftermath of Conflict" in Bali in March 2012.
         Under "Vision 4,000 Peacekeepers," the Government of the Republic of Indonesia is also currently undertaking efforts to develop a national mechanism for the deployment of Indonesian civilian experts to UN peacekeeping, peace building, as well as Special Political Missions.
         Indonesia had rendered its constructive and unwavering support to the 2015 review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture.
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(F001/INE)
EDITED BY INE/H-YH

(T.F001/A/BESSR/A/Yosep) 31-10-2017

Sabtu, 28 Oktober 2017

PALESTINE ALWAYS AT VERY HEART OF INDONESIAN FOREIGN POLICY by Fardah

Jakarta, Oct 28, 2017 (Antara) - Palestine is the only country in the world that has remained under Israeli occupation since nearly 70 years ago.   
      Having experienced what it means to be colonized by foreign forces, Indonesia, which gained independence on Aug 17, 1945, has always been against colonialism and, therefore, supportive of the Palestinian struggle for independence.
        Indonesia's commitment to help Palestine achieve its freedom through diplomatic means was reiterated by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi, while giving a briefing in her office on Oct 26, 2017, on Joko Widodo (Jokowi) administration's achievement in terms of Indonesia's foreign policy.
         "The struggle of Palestine has been at the very heart of Indonesia's foreign policy. In every aspect of Indonesian diplomacy, the Palestinian cause is present," Marsudi affirmed.
         Indonesia's Honorary Consulate in Ramallah was established in 2016 and has become a path for closer relations with the Palestinian people.
        Marsudi had traveled a long way from Jakarta to Amman, Jordan, to induct Maha Alkhus Hussein, who is also known as Maha Abu-Shusheh, as Indonesia's first-ever lady honorary consul to Palestine.
       Peace in Jerusalem has also become Indonesia's concern that it hosted the Fifth Extraordinary OIC Summit on Palestine and Al-Quds Al-Sharif in Jakarta in 2016 and attended the OIC executive committee discussing Jerusalem in Istanbul in August 2017.
        Furthermore, the Indonesian government has provided technical assistance for capacity building and development to the Palestinian people.

ACEH PROVINCE GEARS UP FOR SAIL SABANG 2017 by Fardah

Jakarta, Oct 28, 2017 (Antara) - Sail Sabang, this year's edition of annual international maritime event Sail Indonesia, will be centered on Weh Island, Aceh Province, from Nov 28 to Dec 5, with the aim of promoting tourist destinations in Indonesia's westernmost province of Aceh.
         Themed "Developing Sabang as a Gate of Global Marine Tourist Destination," the event will be held at four locations, namely Sabang Bay, Sabang Fair, Gapang Resort, and Kilometer Zero.
         On Dec 2, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) is scheduled to officially inaugurate the event at Pasiran beach, Sabang Gulf, where a cargo harbor will be built.
         The sail event will be highlighted with mass traditional dance performances, Sabang Wonderful Expo, Aceh Fun Dive, International Aerobatic Show, International Diving Competition, and a Coffee and Culinary Festival, among other things.
         Indonesian warships, such as KRI Bima Suci and KRI Dewa Ruci, will also participate in the event.
         The Tourism Ministry has planned to turn Sail Sabang into a momentum to launch a Sabang-Phuket-Langkawi shipping route, which is considered as a golden triangle axis.
         Tourism Minister Arief Yahya hoped that the event would help promote Weh Island as a marine tourist resort of international standard.
          The opening of Phuket-Langkawi-Sabang route is expected to boost yacht or cruiser business.
          "We have reached a cooperation agreement with the marinas in Phuket and Langkawi. We have to make the goal to open a triangle route with Sabang a success," the minister noted.  

Jumat, 27 Oktober 2017

D-8 VOWS TO FORGE STRONGER COOPERATION, INVOLVE PRIVATE SECTOR by Fardah

Jakarta, Oct 27, 2017 (Antara) - Developing-8 (D-8) Organization for Economic Cooperation's summit in Istanbul, Turkey, Oct 20, highlighted the need to strengthen sectorial cooperation through private sector involvement in economic activities to attain 20 percent of the total intra-D-8 trade.
             The agreement was included in the Istanbul Declaration issued at the conclusion of the Ninth Summit, hosted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and attended by Indonesian Vice President M. Jusuf Kalla, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, Azerbaijani leader Ilham Aliyev, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and Iran's first vice president Eshaq Jahangiri, among others. Azerbaijan and Guinea attended the summit as state guests.
             The need to intensify cooperation among D-8 member countries by involving the private sector was in fact suggested by Kalla while speaking at the summit.  
        A correlation exists between the economy and private sector. Cooperation between the D-8 governments and private companies will increase economic empowerment and strengthen the capacity of the private sector, he emphasized. Hence, he proposed regular business forums to discuss the matter.
             Kalla, in fact, proposed two other approaches to strengthen D-8 cooperation in order to improve the living standards of their people.
            He suggested strengthening cooperation in the maritime sector as a key sector for trade and promoting South-South cooperation to develop economic opportunities in the D-8 organization.
            The D-8 member states are Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Turkey.

Kamis, 26 Oktober 2017

CENTRAL SULAWESI GEARS UP FOR TOUR DE CENTRAL CELEBES by Fardah

 Jakarta, Oct 26, 2017 (Antara) - Central Sulawesi is gearing up for the implementation of the international sports tourism event of Tour de Central Celebes (TdCC) to be held on November 6-8, 2017, in a bid to attract more foreign tourists.
         Central Sulawesi is striving to emulate West Sumatra, which has been successful in organizing the Tour de Singkarak cycling race.
         "This is the first time that we are organizing the TdCC. We have conducted a comparative study along with West Sumatra. We hope this event would be successful in attracting foreign tourists to visit Central Sulawesi," Zalzulmida Longki Djanggola, the wife of Central Sulawesi governor and initiator of the TdCC, noted in Palu on October 25, 2017.
         Tourism Minister Arief Yahya is scheduled to flag off the first TdCC, which will cover only three stages, though the next edition of the race will have six stages.
         The TdCC will start from Ampana Town and cover the Toko Una-Una District, Tentena, Poso District, Parigi Town, Parigi Moutong District, and finish in Palu, the capital city of Central Sulawesi.
         As many as 120 cyclists, grouped in 15 teams from 30 countries, will participate in the event that will cover the four districts of Tojo Unauna, Poso, Parigi Moutong (Parmout), and Sigi as well as Palu City.
         "After visiting several regions, the participants will have beautiful memories that they can share with others," Djanggola noted.
        The three stages of the TdCC will cover a total distance of 486.9 kilometers. The event route will run through various tourist destinations and sites, including marine tourism attractions.

Rabu, 25 Oktober 2017

BRIGHT PROSPECT OF INDONESIAN TOURISM INDUSTRY by Fardah

Jakarta, Oct 25, 2017(Antara) - The country's tourism industry development has seen significant progress, thanks to the hard work and efforts that the Joko Widodo (Jokowi) Administration has been putting in over the last three years.
         Various infrastructure and other supporting facilities have been built to improve connectivity and accessibility to tourist destinations.
         Deregulation investment policies have been issued and incentives have been offered to lure investors to invest their money in the tourism sector in Indonesia.
         The government has set a target to receive 15 million foreign tourists to Indonesia this year and 20 million by 2019. Besides, 275 million domestic tourists are expected to travel by 2019.
         Tourism is projected to be the largest contributor of foreign exchange earnings, worth Rp280 trillion.
         The Indonesian tourism competitiveness index is also expected to rise to the 30th position, with a workforce of 13 million.
         Based on data of the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS), the number of visits by foreign tourists in the first four months of the year reached 4.20 million, an increase of 19.34 percent, from 3.52 million visits recorded in the same period last year.
         From January to July 2017, the number of foreign tourist arrivals was 7.81 million, up 23.53 percent from 6.32 million in the same period last year.   
    Indonesia's tourism sector has also recorded a 25.68 percent growth in recent years. The tourism industry in the ASEAN region grew only by 7 percent, while a 6 percent growth was recorded at the global level.  
    Moreover, 500 thousand human resource professionals are targeted to receive certifications by 2019. Until 2017, some 300 thousand workers in the sector have been certified.
         English media outlet The Telegraph has identified Indonesia as one of the top 20 countries with the fastest growth in the tourism sector. The country's tourism growth is recorded to be fourfold higher than the regional and global growth.

Selasa, 24 Oktober 2017

MANDALIKA, NEW ATTRACTION OF W NUSA TENGGARA TOURISM INDUSTRY by Fardah

Jakarta, Oct 24, 2017 (Antara)- Mandalika Resort, located in Kuta Bay, Central Lombok District, Lombok Island, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), is developing into a new attraction of tourism industry in the province.
         The Mandalika Special Economic Zone (KEK) project, worth around US$3 billion, is believed to have a multiplier effect on the economy of NTB to help achieve the government's target of receiving at least 20 million foreign tourists by 2019.
        According to Abdulbar M Mansoer, Chief Executive of PT Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), the operator of Mandalika KEK project, at least 10 business units such as home stays, restaurants, cafe, and retail shops have begun operating in the zone.
        Currently, ITDC is continuing to prepare a number of infrastructure projects to be completed in 2018, such as a 17-kilometer thoroughfare in the zone, clean water pipes, and electric networks of the state electricity company PLN.
        There is also a project of the first phase of Sea Water Reverse Osmosis (SWRO), which started operation in November 2016. The Mandalika zone also has a big mosque Masjid Nurul Bilad Mandalika with local architecture.
       In a bid to boost the people's economy, ITDC is arranging a public area on the Kuta Mandalika beach and developing small and medium enterprises in the area.    
   Acceleration of the development of the Mandalika KEK was supported fully by the Finance Ministry, through the Customs and Excise Directorate General.

Jumat, 20 Oktober 2017

INDONESIA, JORDAN AGREE TO ENHANCE COUNTERTERRORISM COOPERATION by Fardah

  Jakarta, Oct 20 , 2017 (Antara) - Indonesia and Jordan are moderate, tolerant, and democratic Muslim-majority countries where people of different ethnicities and religions co-exist peacefully and in harmony.       
   Diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Jordan had been initiated in 1950. The Indonesian Embassy in Amman, Jordan, was opened in 1985, while Jordan had established its embassy in Jakarta in November 1986.
        The two governments have been active in promoting world peace and inter-faith dialog as well as in supporting Palestine in its struggle to gain independence.
        Leaders and high-ranking officials of both nations have often exchanged visits to strengthen bilateral cooperation in various fields.
        In early October this year, Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi had visited Jordan to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.
        The minister paid a courtesy call on Jordanian King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein in Amman on Oct 4.
         The discussions between King Abdullah II and Marsudi chiefly focused on the threats of terrorism and radicalism to world peace, including foreign terrorist fighters and regionalization of terrorism.
        The King stated that Jordan is ready to establish cooperation with Indonesia for the exchange of information and intelligence, de-radicalization program, and capacity building of the law enforcement apparatus.
         Marsudi expected a memorandum of understanding on counterterrorism and radicalization to soon be inked between both nations.

Kamis, 19 Oktober 2017

NEW INFRASTRUCTURE PROVIDES BETTER MOBILITY TO N SUMATRA PEOPLE by Fardah

Jakarta, Oct 19, 2017 (Antara) - North Sumatra has enjoyed rapid infrastructure development over the last several years, thanks to the economic policy of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) administration to improve the mobility of the people and make Lake Toba in the province a world-class tourist destination.
        Various infrastructure projects, such as constructions of airports, highway, toll roads, and seaports, have been underway to improve connectivity in North Sumatra.
        On Oct 13, Jokowi inaugurated the Medan-Binjai and Kualanamu Airport-Sei Rampah toll road sections, spanning 52 kilometers, in Kualanamu, North Sumatra.
         Jokowi, in the presence of State Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno, Public Works and Housing Minister Basoeki Hadimoeljono, Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung and North Sumatra Governor Erry Nuradi, pressed a siren to mark the inauguration of the two toll road sections and expressed hope that the operation of the two toll road sections would increase the mobility of people and goods.
        He believed that if the mobility of goods increased and the transportation cost declined, then the cost of goods would be cheaper.
         Owing to high prices of goods, Indonesia has lost to other countries that offer lower prices, thanks to their solid infrastructure, he noted.
         He added that the construction of some toll road sections in North Sumatra has not been completed due to land clearance problems.
         The toll road sections include the 3.3-kilometer Tanjung Mulia- Sei Semayang section and the 10.15-kilometer Sei Rampah-Tebing Tinggi section.

ALL REFUGEES DISPLACED BY MOUNT SINABUNG ERUPTION TO BE RELOCATED BY 2018 by Fardah

Jakarta, Oct 19, 2017 (Antara) - Some 2,117 families, being displaced by the eruption of Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra Province since 2010, are still waiting to be relocated to permanent resettlement areas. 
    Normal life of these people has been thrown out of gear. They could neither make a normal living nor could their children attend schools since their villages had been destroyed by the volcanic eruptions that has been going on and off.

       Having been inactive for four centuries, Mount Sinabung has been coming back to life since 2010 and has been erupting sporadically. 
   Inhabitants of 10 villages located within a radius of three to five kilometers from the mountain top are waiting to be relocated to new settlement areas in three stages. 
   More than 30 thousand people across 34 villages were displaced from September 2013 to February 2014 as a result of the eruptions of the 2,600-meter-high mountain.

         President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) had signed a Presidential Decree No. 21 of 2015 on a task force for accelerating the relocation of victims affected by the eruptions. 
    In the first stage of the relocation program, 370 families, comprising of 1,212 people, were relocated to Siosar village, Merek sub-district, Karo District, in 2015.

         They had previously lived in three villages, namely Sukameriah, Bekerah, and Simacem, which are located on the slope of Mount Sinabung.
         Jokowi visited the natural disaster's victims in Siosar for the second time on Oct 14, 2017, after his first visit two years ago.
       He had held dialogs with several villagers and asked them whether they had planted and harvested crops, and they responded that indeed they had planted potatoes.

Rabu, 18 Oktober 2017

News Focus - IT IS TIME FOR NEW JAKARTA GOVERNOR TO WORK HARD by Fardah


       Jakarta, Oct 18 (Antara)   After waiting for six months, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) inaugurated Anies Rasyid Baswedan and Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno respectively as the Jakarta governor and deputy governor for 2017-2022 term at the State Palace on Oct 16.
             Baswedan and Uno, both aged 48, won the Jakarta gubernatorial election in April 2017 after competing with incumbent Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok) and Djarot Hidayat in a run-off election.
             Their victory in the election was officially announced by the General Election Commission of Jakarta on May 5, 2017.
             The Jakarta Metro Jaya Police and Military Command had deployed some seven thousand personnel to guard the inauguration of the new Jakarta governor. The joint police and military team guarded the palace and the City Hall, the office of Jakarta's governor.
             During the ceremony broadcast live on television, Baswedan, dressed in a white uniform, pledged to perform his duties to the best of his abilities during his five-year term.
             Following the inauguration, Baswedan, the former education minister and university rector, said with the conclusion of the campaign phase and the inauguration, it is now time to focus on work and on fulfilling the promises he had made while campaigning for the regional head election.
             Baswedan and Uno, a successful businessman, will have to work hard to fulfill their 23 campaign promises that include zero down payment for housing schemes and entrepreneurial programs to create 200 thousand new jobs.
             Uno had earlier said entrepreneurial programs are crucial to solving the unemployment problem in the capital city.  
        From the palace, the new governor and deputy governor headed to the Jakarta City Hall where thousands of well-wishers were waiting to greet and congratulate them.            
        "We can't wait to get to work right away. We have been waiting for six months. Insha Allah, Jakarta will be better," Baswedan said in his first official speech as governor after a handover ceremony at the City Hall during which his predecessor Hidayat was away on vacation in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara Province.

Rabu, 11 Oktober 2017

STRENGTHENING CYBER DEFENSE TO PROTECT INDONESIA'S SOVEREIGNTY by Fardah

 Jakarta, Oct 11,2017 (Antara) - In the current cyber era, cyber threats and attacks could affect sovereignty of a country; therefore, strengthening Indonesia's cyber defense is crucial to protect its national interests.
          Several government institutions, such as the National Intelligence Agency (BIN), the Defense Ministry, the Headquarters of the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI), and the National Police (Polri), have, respectively, had independent cybersecurity unit.
        Cybersecurity has become a major issue, given the large number of internet users in Indonesia, which is around 132 million. In fact, Indonesia is viewed as having the potential to develop reliable cybersecurity mechanisms.
        In June 2017, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) inaugurated a national cyber agency called National Cyber and Encryption Agency (BSSN), which is expected to become operational soon.
        BSSN was launched following a global ransomware attack by the WannaCry virus, which affected more than 150 countries around the world, including Indonesia, in May this year.
         BSSN, which will function under the coordination of Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Wiranto, is expected to serve as an umbrella for all cybersecurity units to prevent overlapping and to strengthen coordination.
        Wiranto has said that the government would appoint a BSSN chief this October.
        "(The chief will be appointed) as soon as possible. I hope this month," he told the press after chairing a limited coordinating meeting on BSSN in Jakarta on Oct 4.
          The meeting was attended by Communication and Informatics Minister, Rudiantara, and State Apparatus' Empowerment and Bureaucracy Reform Minister, Asman Abnur, among others.
         Discussions on the agency's organizational structure have been completed, he stated.

Selasa, 10 Oktober 2017

JAKARTA BAY RECLAMATION PROJECT RESUMES AS MORATORIUM LIFTED by Fardah

 Jakarta, Oct 10, 2017 (Antara) - Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, on Oct 5 issued a Ministerial Decree No S-78-001/02/Coordinating Minister/Maritime/X/2017 to revoke a decree on moratorium of Jakarta Bay reclamation project issued in 2016 by his predecessor, Rizal Ramli.
        Pandjaitan sent a letter informing outgoing Jakarta Governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat that the moratorium was officially lifted as developers had fulfilled several requirements demanded by Ramli.
        The requirements included a revision to the Environmental Impact Analysis (Amdal), taking into account technical designs for power plant pipes, sedimentation mitigation, and sailing routes for traditional fishermen.
        Pandjaitan's decree was issued just 10 days before the upcoming inauguration of Jakarta Governor-elect Anies Baswedan and his deputy, Sandiaga Uno, who during their regional head elections (pilkada) campaign had promised their constituents, particularly traditional fishermen, to cancel the reclamation project. 
   Pandjaitan, however, affirmed on Oct 9 that Baswedan cannot cancel the reclamation project in Jakarta Bay, because the project was under the central government's control.
        Following the revocation of the moratorium, projects of the C, D, and G Islands in North Jakarta Coast would resume.
        He explained that he had demanded the developer to find a solution for the undersea cable network of coal-based power plants (PLTU) in Muara Karang, which were affected by the project.
        "The interest of local fishermen has also been duly taken into consideration for carrying out the reclamation project. A channel has been provided for fishermen going out to or returning from the sea. Thank God, there is no injustice committed against fishermen. This is in line with the program of the Maritime and Fisheries Ministry to develop the port at Muara Baru into a modern fish market," Pandjaitan added.

PROMOTING SCIENCE TOURISM IN ACEH by Fardah

Jakarta, Oct 10, 2017 (Antara) - Indonesia's westernmost province of Aceh offers unexplored natural beauty comprising rivers, mountains, and intact forests that are home to various rare and endangered animal species, such as orangutans, elephants, Sumatran rhinos, and tigers.
          The Mount Leuser National Park (TNGL), which is partly located in Aceh, is one of the world's most biodiverse and ancient ecosystems having countless biological treasures, including clouded leopards, hornbills, and giant flowers.     
     The TNGL along with two other national parks -- Kerinci Seblat and Bukit Barisan Selatan -- is part of the 2.5 million-hectare Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra site, which was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2004.   
     Spread across 7,927 square kilometers, the TNGL is an ideal location for science tourism, a niche area within alternative forms of tourism, that shares specificity of learning, adventure, cultural, and experiential tourism.
          The protected area is home to an estimated 10 thousand plant species, including 17 endemic genera; more than 200 mammalian species; and some 580 bird species of which 465 are resident and 21 are endemic.
          Of the mammalian species, 22 are Asian, not found elsewhere in the archipelago and 15 are confined to the Indonesian region. The site also provides biogeographic evidence of the evolution of the island.    
     Several experts believe that linking science and tourism seems to meet the challenge of boosting socio-economic growth of the local communities and potentially improving the conservation of highly fragile ecosystems.

Jumat, 06 Oktober 2017

DO NOT HESITATE TO VISIT BALI, IT IS SAFE by Fardah

Jakarta, Oct 6, 2017 (Antara) - Despite Mount Agung being active, it has not yet erupted, but news reports on it have deterred several foreign tourists.
           Tourism industry is the backbone of Bali's economy. Bali has set a target to attract 5.5 million foreign tourists this year.
           The number of foreign tourist arrivals in Bali from January to August 2017 had reached 3.99 million, an increase of 25 percent as compared to that recorded during the same period last year.
           However, lately, hotels in Bali have reported several cancellations of room reservations due to the increased volcanic activity of Mount Agung.
           In response to news reports, Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika has convinced tourists to visit the resort island without hesitation, adding that it remains safe and conducive despite the increased activity of Mount Agung, which is located in Karangasem District, Bali Island.
          The governor made assurance during a meeting with tourism stakeholders, such as travel operators, in Denpasar, Bali, on Oct 3.
          If Mount Agung erupts, it will have a direct impact on only 28 villages located within a radius of 12 kilometers from the volcano's crater.
          Bali's main tourist attractions, such as Nusa Dua, Kuta, and Sanur, are situated tens of kilometers from the location of the mount, he added.
          He said Karangasem has 78 villages, of which only 28 villages could be directly affected. The remaining 50 villages and other tourist destinations in Bali will remain safe.
               "Therefore, do not hesitate to visit Bali, except for climbing the mount, which will be forbidden as it is dangerous," Pastika explained.
            Besides, the current condition is different from how it erupted in 1963.

Selasa, 03 Oktober 2017

CYBERSECURITY EXPERTS IN HIGH DEMAND by Fardah

Jakarta, Oct 3, 2017 (Antara) - Following rapid technological advancements, digital communication has become an intrinsic part of the people's lives.
        Billions of people are now connected to the internet following a major transformation in the digital world that has the potential to affect everyone and every business.
        The internet, however, is not free from cyber threats, such a malware, phishing, Denial-of-Service Attacks, Malvertising, and compromised passwords.
        A cyber attack is usually intended to inflict damage or expropriate information from an individual, organization, or public entity for the purpose of theft of payment card data, customer details, company secrets or intellectual property, unauthorized access to networks, compromised official records or financial and/or reputational damage.
        Unfortunately, cybersecurity mechanisms in place are unable to handle cyber threats that are growing at an alarming level. Currently, cybersecurity experts are in high demand and are being offered handsome salaries and great promotion prospects. 
   According to data compiled by Burning Glass, postings for cybersecurity jobs grew by 74 percent during the period between 2007 and 2013, two times faster than other positions in the information and technology sector. 
   Cybersecurity comprises technologies, processes, and measures that are designed to protect systems, networks, and data from cybercrimes.
        Effective cybersecurity reduces the risks of cyber attacks and protects entities, organizations, and individuals from the deliberate exploitation of systems, networks, and technologies.
        In Indonesia, the number of internet users reaches some 132 million. Indonesia is viewed as having the potential to develop reliable cybersecurity mechanisms.

Senin, 02 Oktober 2017

TOURISM IS ECONOMIC BACKBONE OF EAST NUSA TENGGARA by Fardah

Jakarta, Oct 2, 2017 (Antara) - The Indonesian government has been paying greater attention to economic development in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) to help the province catch up with other regions that are more developed.
         The development of a Special Economic Zone in NTT has been given priority, while Laboan Bajo has been designated as one of the country's 10 top priority tourist destinations.
         Sports tourism activities, such as the Tour de Flores and Tour de Timor, are organized annually as part of the tourism program to promote NTT globally.
         As a result, the number of foreign and domestic tourists visiting the province has increased from year to year, especially with the opening of more international routes for air transportation.
         Moreover, the contribution of the tourism sector to the economy of the province has exceeded those of other sectors.
         Economic observer Dr James Adam has even claimed that the tourism sector has become a new economic backbone of NTT Province.
         The tourism sector contributed Rp2 trillion to the gross domestic product of the province, with a population of 5.2 million in 2016, Adam had said in Kupang, NTT's capital, on Sept 22, 2017.
         "This means the tourism sector has become a new economic strength, with 80 thousand foreign tourists visiting the region in 2015, increasing to more than 100 thousand in 2016. It was a 20 percent increase, or exceeded the growth target of 10 percent," he pointed out.
         Adam, a member of the International Fund for Agricultural Development for the empowerment of coastal people of NTT, made a statement on the tourist arrivals in the province and the impact on the regional economy and purchasing power of the local people.
         "The parameter is clear. The numbers of visits by domestic and foreign tourists rose sharply, thereby making NTT known across the world," he added.  

Sabtu, 30 September 2017

TOUR DE BANYUWANGI OFFERS UNIQUE, MEMORABLE EXPERIENCES by Fardah

 Jakarta, Sept 30, 2017 (Antara) - The international cycling race of "Tour de Banyuwangi Ijen" (TdBI) 2017 has combined sports and tourism events to offer unique and unforgettable experiences to some 100 participants from 29 countries.
          The participating countries included Iran, Japan, South Korea, South Africa, Eritrea, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, Australia, Colombia, and New Zealand.
          Held on Sept 27-30, the international professional cyclists and tourists have enjoyed the special hospitality offered by the host, according to Banyuwangi District Head Abdullah Azwar Anas.
          "The TdBI has become the best cycling race event in Indonesia, so we will use it to promote Indonesia, in general, and Banuwangi, in particular," he noted.   
     During the race, cyclists passed through iconic locations in Banyuwangi, which has been known as the Sunrise of Java.
          The TdBI, first held in 2012, has become an annual agenda for the Union Cycliste Internationale.
          A total of 20 teams participated in the event ranked as "excellent" by the World Cycling Race Federation that has declared it as the best in Indonesia.
         The cycling teams include the PCS Cycling Team from the Netherlands, Pishgaman Continental Team from Iran, LX Cycling Team of South Korea, 7 eleven RBP of the Philippines, BRCC of Indonesia, Bikelife Dong Nai of Vietnam, and Sapura Pro Cycling Team of Malaysia.
        The 533-kilometer-long race was divided into four stages. The race route covered Watudodol Beach, Bangsring Underwater, cacao village in Glenmore, and Ijen Mountain, among others.
        Hundreds of local artists performed traditional dances to welcome the guests to mark the opening and start of the event in Banyuwangi City.

Kamis, 28 September 2017

PUBLIC SAFETY PRIORITIZED AMID MT AGUNG'S INCREASED VOLCANIC ACTIVITY by Fardah

 Jakarta, Sept 28, 2017 (Antara) - Mount Agung has been rumbling since August, with an increase in the magnitude of tremors, though the volcano has not erupted so far.
        The volcano is located on the resort island of Bali, but it is quite far from the island's main tourist destinations, such as Kuta Beach, which is some 75 kilometers away.
        Several key Balinese destinations, such as Tanah Lot, Uluwatu, Lake Beratan Bedugul, Tampak Siring Palace, Bali Safari and Marine Park, Garuda Wisnu Kencana, Sanur and Kuta beaches, Tanjung Benoa, Goa Gajah, and Nusa Penida, are quite far from the volcano and not affected by the increase in volcanic activity at Mount Agung.   
   Bali has set a target to attract 5.5 million foreign tourists this year.
        The number of foreign tourist arrivals in Bali from January to August 2017 had reached 3.99 million, an increase of 25 percent as compared to that recorded during the same period last year.
        According to data of the Bali statistics office, the resort island had received 4.92 million foreign tourists in 2016, an increase of 23.14 percent as compared to 4.001 million in 2015.
        In the wake of Mount Agung showing signs of increased volcanic activity, the Indonesian authorities have ensured that Bali remains safe for tourists, and its Ngurah Rai International Airport remains open and functions normally.
        Several ministers had visited Bali to monitor the disaster mitigation handling activities and to coordinate measures and preparations to be better prepared to face the worst in case the mountain erupts.
        On Sept 26, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) had visited the Mt Agung refugees in Klungkung District, Bali, and urged them to abide by the instructions given by the officers following an increase in the mount's volcanic activities.

NTT WORST AFFECTED BY CURRENT PROLONGED DROUGHT by Fardah

Jakarta, Sept 28 , 2017 (Antara) - The East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Province is categorized as among the most arid regions in Indonesia due to which it is prone to severe drought that hits the province annually.
         Currently, every district in the province has been hit by prolonged and severe drought since the past several months.
         Springs have dried up in thousands of villages in the province's 22 districts, and the local authorities have sought clean water supplies for the local inhabitants.
         Last August, the Sabu Raijua district administration declared a severe drought emergency status, as the entire region had been affected by the extreme dry season.
         Several district administrations are supplying clean water sufficient only for drinking and cooking but not for bathing and washing. The local villagers have to draw water from rivers for bathing and washing purposes.
         The Kupang meteorology, climatology, and geophysics station has forecast that the rainy season in NTT will begin in late October and last until December 2017 for NTT.
        There are several seasonal zones in NTT, according to Apolinaris Geru, head of the Kupang meteorology and climatology stations.
         For seasonal zones in the districts of northern West Manggarai, Manggarai, East Manggarai, and northern Ngada in western Flores Island, the rainy season will begin in October 2017.

Sabtu, 23 September 2017

SOME INDONESIAN REGIONS HIT BY DROUGHT, OTHERS BY FLOODS by Fardah

 Jakarta, Sept 23, 2017 (Antara) - Indonesia is prone to hydrometeorological disasters such as flooding in rainy season and wildfires or severe drought during dry season.
        This September is the peak of dry season, and several regions have experiences drought that has led to clean water shortage.
        In East Java Province, for instance, at least 169 villages have been hit by drought and scarcity of clean water supply this year.
        The worst dry season is yet to come by the end of Sept 2017, so that the impact could be more disastrous, Sudarmawan, head of the East Java disaster mitigation office stated.
        In East Nusa Tenggara, the provincial government has declared emergency status of drought as several regions have not had rains since Aug, and wells, rivers, and springs have dried up.
        In South Karawang near Pangkalan Sub-district, Karawang District, West Java, several springs have dried up during the current drought.
        "Not only springs but the rivers in our region have also dried up. The local inhabitants have been facing a shortage of clean water," Usep Supriatna, the Pangkalan sub-district head, noted in Kerawang on Sept 23.
        Eight villages have been hit by the drought, and some 10 thousand people have been affected over the last several weeks.
        "The BPBD (local disaster mitigation office) has provided clean water to our regions several times," he noted.
        According to data of Karawang's BPBD, the drought has affected 30 villages in the district, an increase from 25 villages last year.
        In response to the disaster, the central government has outlined precautionary measures to handle drought in some regions in Indonesia.