Senin, 27 Februari 2017

JAKARTA REMAINS FLOOD ALERT UNTIL MARCH by Fardah

Jakarta, Feb 27 , 2017 (Antara) - Indonesia's capital city of Jakarta is always flooded during peak rainy season annually and now is still prone to flooding.
        This year, extreme weather is forecast to bring heavy rainfall that could cause floods until March.
       Widespread flooding hit at least 54 areas and submerged thousands of homes in the metropolitan city following incessant downpour on Feb 20 and 21, 2017.   
  Some 11 of the 54 flood-hit areas were in South Jakarta, 29 in East Jakarta, and 14 in North Jakarta. 
   Floodwaters reached up to 30 centimeters in height in Grogol; up to 1.5 meters in height in Gunung Sahari; and up to 2 meters in height in Cipinang Melayu. Flooding was also reported in Kelapa Gading, Kemang, Kebayoran Baru, and Cawang.
          The flooding disrupted traffic and caused congestion on several roads, according to information from the Jakarta Police's Traffic Management Center.
         In Cipinang Melayu, East Kalimantan, over 900 flood victims took refuge in Borobudur University's mosque.
         A total of 304 schools located in Central, North, West, South, and East Jakarta were inundated on Feb 21, forcing their temporary shutdown.
          In Central Jakarta, flooding affected 45 elementary schools, 12 junior high schools, 4 senior high schools, and 3 vocational high schools.

Sabtu, 25 Februari 2017

TOURISM SECTOR TO BE PRIORITIZED WHILE PROMOTING INVESTMENT by Fardah

Jakarta, Feb 25, 2017 (Antara) - The Indonesian government has realized that investing in the tourism industry is a means of stimulating growth over the long term and enabling the poor to share in the economic gains.
         Indonesia has huge potentials in the tourism sector that has yet to be optimally tapped. The country is blessed with serene natural beauty, unique and rich culture and local traditions, and one of most mega-biodiverse regions in the world. 
    The government has set a target to receive 15 million foreign tourists this year and 20 million by 2019. To achieve this goal, better infrastructure and facilities in the tourism industry are needed.   
   Tourism Minister Arief Yahya and Chief of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) Thomas Lembong delivered presentations on the country's tourism potentials before some 400 investors attending the 2017 Regional Investment Forum (RIF) held in Nusa Dua, Bali, which is one of the world's most famous tourist resort island, on Feb 23, 2017.
         The tourism sector is the most inexpensive and easiest means for the government to boost economic growth and foreign exchange as well as create jobs, according to the minister.
         Indonesia's growth in the tourism sector in 2015 was far above that of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and also across the world, he noted.
         "In general, Indonesia's tourism sector grew by 10.3 percent, above the five percent growth recorded in the ASEAN and 4.4 percent in the world," he pointed out.

Rabu, 22 Februari 2017

PEATLAND RESTORATION TARGET ACHIEVABLE by Fardah

Jakarta, Feb 22, 2017 (Antara)-  When delivering his State of the Nation Address on August 16, 2016, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) vowed to not tolerate arsonists of peatlands and forests because their acts are considered crimes against humanity.
        The statement particularly referred to the devastating forest and peatland fires of 2015,  which impacted the health of millions in Sumatra and Kalimantan in particular as well as in several neighboring countries. The forest fire disaster cost Indonesia¿s economy an estimated $16.1 billion.  
   The President  has so far kept his promise, as since then the Government has  taken various steps to conserve and restore peatland and prevent it from being set on fire.
        "No more concession permits for palm oil plantations in peatland areas. The government will impose a moratorium," the president said last year.
         In addition, Jokowi also 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 sea water intrusion, support biodiversity, and control the climate through carbon absorption and storage.    

Selasa, 21 Februari 2017

INDONESIA TO INTENSIFY ECONOMIC TIES WITH AFRICA by Fardah

 Jakarta, Feb 21, 2017 (Antara) - Political relations between Indonesia and Africa, in general, undoubtedly have been sound and close, particularly since Bandung hosted the Asia and Africa Conference for the first time in 1955.
         The historical conference had contributed to the independence of several African and Asian countries, and since then, Indonesia and Africa have continued to support, assist, and communicate with each other.     
    Economic ties, however, need to be pushed further. Hence, the Indonesian government is committed to prioritizing its cooperation with African countries this year.
         "Africa will become Indonesia's priority in 2017. We will enhance our relations with Africa," Director of African Affairs of the Indonesian Foreign Ministry Daniel Tumpal Simanjuntak stated recently.
         To forge closer cooperation with African countries, Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi had visited South Africa on Feb 6-7 and Mozambique on February 7-8, 2017.
         Marsudi led a business delegation comprising representatives of state-owned companies and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
        While in Cape Town, she met with South African President Jacob Zuma and Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.  

Senin, 20 Februari 2017

BALI SURPASSED ITS TARGET FOR FOREIGN TOURIST ARRIVALS IN 2016 by Fardah

Jakarta, Feb 20, 2017 (Antara) - Bali Island is optimistic of achieving its target to receive 5.5 million foreign tourists this year, as it had managed to surpass its foreign tourist arrival target at 4.2 million in 2016.
          It is not surprising that the number of foreign tourist arrivals has continued to increase, as Bali has been awarded the title of "the best island destination" for the 12th consecutive year by the DestinAsian Readers Choice Award (RCA) 2017.
          In 2016, some 4.92 million foreign travelers had visited Bali, an increase of 23.14 percent as compared to 4.001 million in the previous year.
          Of the total, 4.85 million tourists arrived through the Ngurah Rai International Airport, and 75,303 arrived aboard cruise ships or boats, Adi Nugroho, head of the Bali statistic office, stated here, Saturday.
         In December 2016, some 442,800 foreign tourists had visited Bali. They comprised 437,947 people who landed at the Ngurah Rai International Airport, and 4,845 who arrived at seaports.
          The number increased by 19.47 percent compared to that in December 2015, or 7.16 percent in comparison to that in November 2016.
         Of the 10 countries contributing tourists to Bali, eight countries saw a surge, while two experienced a decline.

Sabtu, 18 Februari 2017

INDONESIA AGAIN PASSES TEST OF DEMOCRACY IN SECOND SIMULTANEOUS PILKADA by Fardah

Jakarta, Feb 18, 2017 (Antara) - Millions of eligible Indonesian voters exercised their rights to directly vote for regional heads in the second regional head elections, or locally called pilkada, simultaneously held in 101 regions across the country on Feb 15.
        A total of 41.8 million people were registered to vote in 31 provinces, while the voter turnout was expected to reach 77.5 percent, in accordance with the target set by the National General Election Commission (KPU), the executor of pilkada.    
    The regions from the westernmost province of Aceh to the easternmost province of Papua organized the local elections to elect governors and deputy governors in seven provinces, district heads and deputy district heads in 78 districts, and mayors and deputy mayors in 18 cities.
          The seven provinces were Aceh, Bangka Belitung, DKI Jakarta, Banten, Gorontalo, West Sulawesi, and West Papua. A total of 337 pairs of candidates competed for the gubernatorial seats in these provinces.
          President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) on Feb 16 praised the smooth and peaceful implementation of the pilkada. He also thanked all community members who took part in the elections.
          "We must be grateful that the simultaneous elections had taken place peacefully and smoothly," he said at a press conference at the Merdeka Palace.
           "I wish to thank all the members of the General Election Commission (KPU), the General Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu), the police, the military, and all security personnel who had worked very hard so far," he stated.

Jumat, 17 Februari 2017

INDONESIAN FLOODING SPREADS TO MORE AREAS by Fardah

Jakarta, Feb 17, 2017 (Antara) - As forecast by the National Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysic Agency (BMKG), the rainy season in Indonesia has peaked in February, triggering hydrometeorological disasters such as floods and landsides in several provinces.
          In the last few days, floods have been reported in Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, East Java, East Nusa Tenggara, West Nusa Tenggara, West Kalimantan, North Maluku, Banten, and North Sulawesi, among others.     
     Floods in Jakarta since February 15, have hit 7,788 people, or 3,393 households, following incessant rainfall that caused the Ciliwung River to spill over its bank.
          "Heavy downpour in upstream and central areas of Ciliwung River triggered flooding along its bank in Jakarta," Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBN), said in a statement.
           Flood waters, reaching a height of up to 1.5 meter, submerged several areas in East Jakarta, such as Cawang, Cibubur, Rambutan (Ciracas Sub-district), Cililitan, Kampung Melayu, and Bidakara Cina (Jatinegara Sub-district).
           In Cirebon, West Java, floods have hit seven sub-districts, following incessant rains that caused several rivers to swell and overflow, leaving thousands of homes inundated.
         Senior Commissioner Yusri Yunus, spokesman of the West Java Police Office, here, Thursday, confirmed the natural disaster in Cirebon on February 14.

Rabu, 15 Februari 2017

REGIONAL HEAD ELECTIONS IN PAPUA RELATIVELY SMOOTH, PEACEFUL by Fardah

Jakarta, Feb 15, 2017 (Antara) - Although reports on the implementation of gubernatorial election in Jakarta overshadowed simultaneous regional head lections (pilkada) in 100 other regions across the country on Feb 15, Papua still received a special attention because the province is considered risky in terms of security.
          Eleven districts and cities in Papua held pilkada, with the number of eligible voters reaching 1,445,976, and the number of candidates reaching 38 pairs.  
     The 11 regions were Jayapura District, Mappi, Sarmi, Nduga, Tolikara, Intan Jaya, Lany Jaya, Dogiai, Puncak Jaya, Yapen Island, and Jayapura City.

         Voting was held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. local time across 3,864 polling stations throughout the province.
         However, voter turnout during the implementation of the mayoral election in Jayapura City, the capital of Papua, was less than 60 percent, which is considered quite low, according to Governor of Papua Lukas Enembe.
          It appears that several residents of Jayapura were not aware of the mechanism of the pilkada, with only one pair of mayoral and deputy mayoral candidates, the governor stated.
         "I think the General Election Commission (KPU) has not done its best in disseminating information on the pilkada, either due to the lack of time or since the city was facing too many problems," he added.
           He also cited the fact that only one pair had taken part in the pilkada in Jayapura City, which might have discouraged several residents from exercising their right to vote.      

Sabtu, 11 Februari 2017

INDONESIA FACES MORE HOSTAGE-TAKING CRISES by Fardah

Jakarta, Feb 11, 2017 (Antara) - From March to July 2016, Indonesia faced at least five hostage-taking incidents, with a total of 24 Indonesians being kidnapped for ransom by the Abu Sayyaf terror group hiding in the Philippines forests.
         However, most of the captives from the hostage-taking crises were gradually released unharmed until Oct 2016.   
    Four more Indonesians were also kidnapped in two separate incidents before 2016 ended. 
    On Nov 6, 2016, two Indonesian sailors, La Utu bin La Rali (52) and La Hadi bin La Adi (46), were abducted by the same Filipino kidnappers while fishing off Sabah in Malaysian waters.
         The two were taken from different ships by gunmen. La Utu bin La Raali worked on SSK 00520F ship and La Hadi bin La Adi on SN 1154/4F ship of Malaysia.
         The two Indonesians were believed to be held in Sulu region in the Philippines, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said following the kidnapping in Nov 2016.
         "(They are) in Sulu. A day after the kidnapping, I received information from my colleague in the Philippines that they had been taken to Sulu," Retno said.
         Retno did not have any further information on whether they had been taken hostages along with two other Indonesians who were kidnapped earlier by the Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines waters.

Jumat, 10 Februari 2017

INDONESIA COMMITTED TO CONTRIBUTING TO UN PEACEKEEPING MISSIONS by Fardah

   Jakarta, Feb 10, 2017 (Antara) - Indonesia has been participating in the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions since 1957 and until now remains committed to contributing to the organization's efforts to maintain peace in the conflict-torn parts of the world.
        The Indonesian government's strong commitment was recently reiterated by Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi during a coordination meeting held to discuss the deployment of Indonesian personnel in the UN Peacekeeping Forces.   
   Indonesian peacekeepers play an important role in maintaining international peace and security, according to Marsudi.
        "Indonesia's participation in the UN peacekeeping mission is the implementation of the mandate of the fourth paragraph of the preamble of the 1945 Constitution to create world order and is an integral part of its foreign policy and diplomacy," the minister noted.
        Indonesia is one of the biggest contributors in deploying its security personnel in the UN Peacekeeping Forces, in addition to providing the equipment of its main weaponry system for peace missions in 10 countries.        
   In fact, Indonesia is the tenth-biggest contributor among 124 countries that contribute to the UN Peacekeeping Forces.

Rabu, 08 Februari 2017

HOPING FOR A CALM COOLING-OFF PERIOD OF SIMULTANEOUS "PILKADA" by Fardah

Jakarta, Feb 8, 2017 (Antara) - Over 40 million eligible voters are expected to go to polling stations in 101 regions across Indonesia for the upcoming regional head elections, or locally called pilkada, which will take place simultaneously on Feb 15, 2017.
    A total of 337 pairs of candidates will be competing for gubernatorial seats in seven provinces, namely Jakarta, Aceh, Banten, Bangka Belitung, Gorontalo, West Papua and West Sulawesi; mayoral seats in 18 municipalities; and district heads in 76 districts.

         According to information from the General Elections Commission (KPU), which executes the simultaneous pilkada, the elections need at least 45.59 million pieces of ballot papers.
   Of the total, over 22.91 million pieces are for voters in district head and mayoral elections and 22.67 million for voters in governors (provincial head) elections.

         The hustle and bustle of the elections during the campaigning period (from Oct 28, 2016 to Feb 11, 2017) will end soon and a cooling-off period will be imposed from Feb 11 to 14, 2017, to give voters a chance to contemplate on who to vote as their future leaders.
         During the cooling-off period, all candidate pairs, campaign teams, volunteers and supporters must refrain from any activities considered as campaigning activities.      
   Local election commissions have asked the candidates to remove all banners and other campaigning materials in public places.

Senin, 06 Februari 2017

BANYUWANGI, BEST FESTIVAL CITY IN INDONESIA by Fardah

Jakarta, Feb 6, 2017 (Antara) - Banyuwangi District in East Java Province deserves to be called the city of cultural and traditional art festivals for successfully organizing annual festivals since 2012 for tourism purposes.
         Last year, Banyuwangi had planned at least 58 festivals, including 20 new attractions, such as the Canal Rafting Festival, Sailing Ship Festival, Underwater Festival, and Badeng River Tubing Festival, in addition to the Paddy Planting Festival, and Fishery Festival, District Head Abdullah Azwar Anas stated. In 2015, the district had held 38 festivals. 
   This year, Banyuwangi has planned 72 activities to enliven the 2017 Banyuwangi Festival.
        For successfully holding festivals in the last five years, the Tourism Ministry has adjudged Banyuwangi District as the best festival city in Indonesia.
         Tourism Ministry Arief Yahya bestowed the title on Banyuwangi during the launch of the Banyuwangi Festival 2017 in his office in Jakarta on February 3, 2017.

Sabtu, 04 Februari 2017

INDONESIA HOPES US WOULD REMAIN OPEN, TOLERANT COUNTRY by Fardah

Jakarta, Jan 4, 2017 (Antara) - Thank God, Indonesia, the largest Muslim-majority country, is not on the list of "Muslim travel ban" executive order signed by new US President Donald Trump on Jan 27, 2017, a week after his presidential inauguration.
            The controversial executive order restricts immigration from a number of Middle Eastern and African countries, temporarily bars most refugees from entering the United States and blocks visas from being issued to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, namely Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
        In response to a press question, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has urged Indonesians not to worry about the US policy because it would not affect Indonesia.
        "There is no direct impact on Indonesia," Jokowi said recently, adding that, however, the constitutional principles of equality and justice should be pursued.
      Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi has advised Indonesian nationals living in the United States to stay calm after the executive order was signed.