Jumat, 30 Juni 2017

INDONESIA'S PEATLANDS HOLD HUGE CARBON RESERVES by Fardah

 Jakarta, June 30, 2017(Antara) - Indonesia has played a crucial role in curbing the impacts of climate change, as the country has vast forest and peatland areas that can store huge amount of carbon emissions.
        Around 50 percent of the world's total carbon reserves are reportedly in Indonesia's forests and peatlands. The country's tropical rainforests have a total carbon storage capacity of 60 gigatons (billion tons).
        Its tropical peatlands are annually able to hold one gigaton of carbon reserves due to which they should be preserved to help address the impacts of climate change.
        Indonesia has 20 million hectares of peatlands, or the world's largest. The country's peatland areas are located on the islands of Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Papua.
        "Peatlands in Indonesia play a significant role in coping with the impacts of climate change," he confirmed.
        Nazir Foead, head of the Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG), said recently that peatland areas existing in seven Indonesian provinces and the damaged ones that are being restored could reduce carbon emissions amounting to one gigaton annually.
        President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) installed Nazir Foead, former conservation director at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), as head of the BRG on January 20, 2017.

CORAL BLEACHING DETERIORATES CONDITION OF INDONESIAN CORAL REEF by Fardah

 Jakarta, June 30, 2017 (Antara) - The El Nino natural phenomenon, which has increased water temperatures in many coral reef regions across the globe between 2015 and 2018, has triggered coral bleaching in many countries, including in Australia's Great Barrier Reef and in Indonesia.
        The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States has even declared the environmental disaster as the longest and most widespread coral bleaching event in recorded history.
        In Indonesia, the first signs of bleaching were reported in April 2016, and El Niño has impacted Indonesian coral reefs since 2015, according to a report published on www.biogeosciences.net. 
   However, a team of researchers studying Indonesian corals found that it is not the increase in rising water temperatures that caused the recent die-off of most corals globally but rather the decreasing sea level.
        While conducting a census of coral biodiversity in the Bunaken National Park, located in the northwest tip of Sulawesi (Indonesia), in late Feb 2016, the researchers noticed widespread occurrences of dead massive corals. Similar surveys carried out in the springs of 2014 and 2015 found the corals to be alive and thriving.
        The clear link between mortality and sea level fall also calls for a refinement of the hierarchy of El Niño impacts and their consequences on coral reefs, the report stated.

Kamis, 29 Juni 2017

IDUL FITRI HOLIDAY SEASON OFFERS BOOST TO DOMESTIC TOURISM by Fardah

Jakarta, June 29, 2017 (Antara) - The current Idul Fitri Islamic holiday season has helped boost Indonesia's domestic tourism, among other things, thanks to the government's policy to grant additional holidays, after Muslims celebrated Idul Fitri, or Lebaran, on June 25-26.   
    President Joko Widodo had signed Presidential Decree No. 18 of 2017 on joint leave for extra holidays during the Idul Fitri celebration.
         The joint leave enables employees to avail additional holidays on June 23, 27, 28, 29, and 30 in addition to the weekend on July 1-2.
         Most Indonesian Muslims follow the tradition of celebrating Lebaran in their hometowns with their families. They usually also spend time with their families to visit recreational centers and tourist attractions during the holiday.
         In Sabang, located on Weh Island, Aceh Province, some three thousand domestic tourists, mostly from North Sumatra and Java Island, enjoyed the white sandy beaches located in the northernmost Sumatra Island.
         The number of domestic tourists visiting Sabang had increased since the second day after Idul Fitri, according to Abdurani, a local official of Balohan Seaport, Sabang.

INDONESIA, MALDIVES STEP UP COOPERATION IN TOURISM by Fardah

Jakarta, June 29, 2017 (Antara) - As archipelagic countries, Indonesia and Maldives share common interest in tourism sector and concerns over climate change impacts.
          Indonesia has more than 17 thousand islands, while Maldives has nearly 1.2 thousand. 
    The two countries have been blessed with white sandy beaches having crystal clear turquoise waters where various species of coral reefs and fish live abundantly.
        Almost similar to Indonesia, tourism is the largest economic industry in the Maldives, as it plays an important role in earning foreign exchange revenues and generating employment.
        Climate change, however, has threatened the two countries as some of their low-lying islands are being flooded by rising sea levels. Climate change may wipe some of their islands off the map.
        Therefore, bilateral cooperation in tourism and climate change were among issues discussed by Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP Marsudi and her guest, Foreign Minister of Maldives Mohamed Asim, in Jakarta on June 21, 2017.
         "Maldives is famous for its tourism, and Indonesia also has a huge potential in tourism sector," Marsudi said.
         They agreed to share experiences in developing the tourism sector and its promotional strategy.   
    Based on data from tradingeconomics.com, tourist arrivals in Maldives increased to 119,774 in April from 112,665 in March 2017. Tourist Arrivals in Maldives averaged 99,803,25 per month from 2012 until 2017, reaching an all-time high of 125,336 in January 2017 and a record low of 59,379 in June 2012.
          Maldives, which has become the world's most popular tourism destination, has been developing hotels, in which most of the decorating furniture are from Indonesia.

Selasa, 27 Juni 2017

OBAMA'S BALI VACATION TO PROMOTE INDONESIAN TOURISM by Fardah

 Jakarta, June 27, 2017 (Antara) - Barack Obama has fulfilled his promise to spend holidays with his family in Indonesia, which he often referred to as "pulang kampung," or homecoming.
           During his visit to Jakarta in November 2010, Obama had expressed keenness to bring his two daughters to Indonesia one day.
           Seven years later, on June 23, 2017, he along with his wife, Michele and two daughters, Malia and Sasha, aboard a Gulfstream N50JE chartered jet, finally landed at the I Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali.         
     Apart from his immediate family, Obama also brought along his stepsister Maya Soetoro and her family and some employees, with the number of people in his delegation reaching 14.
           The 44th US president was welcomed upon arrival by Bali's Governor Made Mangku Pastika, Chief of the IX/Udayana Military Command Major General Komaruddin Simanjuntak, Chief of the Denpasar Resort Police Senior Commissioner Hadi Purnomo, and Commander of the Ngurah Rai Air Base Colonel Wayan Superman.
          The Obamas plan to stay for five days until June 28 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sayan, Ubud, Gianyar District, which is located about 40 kilometers from the airport.
          This is Obama's second visit to Bali. During the first visit, he had attended the ASEAN Summit in 2011 as the US president. At that time, however, he was not accompanied by his family.
          This time, his holiday is a personal trip; hence the Indonesian authorities do not have the details of their agenda.

Sabtu, 24 Juni 2017

INDONESIA, NIGERIA STEP UP DIRECT TRADE by Fardah

Jakarta, June 24, 2017 (Antara) - Indonesia and Nigeria, which are among the most populous countries in the world, realize they have untapped potential in the areas of trade and investment that are waiting to be explored further.  
   Besides this, Indonesia and Nigeria are two major economies in their regions, with economic advantages that complement each other.
        Hence, it is only natural for the trade and investment relations between the two countries to be forged and stepped up.
        Both countries are also aware that they need to address the fact that Indonesia's trade with Nigeria has, so far, been conducted through third parties, leading to inefficiency and additional costs.
        Direct trade will be more beneficial to both countries.
        Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi, during a visit to Nigeria on June 5, 2017, conveyed to Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who is also the country's acting president, that bilateral trade between both nations should be conducted directly, particularly in oil and gas.
   "The acting president of Nigeria agreed that direct trade is an attempt to reduce prices," the minister stated.
   The total value of trade between Indonesia and Nigeria in 2016 was recorded at US$1.5 billion.

Jumat, 23 Juni 2017

INDONESIA, MALAYSIA, PHILIPPINES ENHANCE COOPERATION IN COUNTERTERRORISM by Fardah

 Jakarta, June 23, 2017 (Antara) - The neighboring countries of Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines have agreed to collaborate to address the common threats of terrorism and violent extremism confronting the region, as terrorism is an extraordinary crime that transcends borders.
        The nations are committed to effectively addressing existing and emerging transnational challenges and threats that have the potential to undermine the stability and well-being of countries in the region.
        The commitment was stated in a joint statement issued during the Trilateral Meeting on Security held in Manila on June 22, 2017, and attended by Indonesia's Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi, Malaysian Minister of Foreign Affairs Anifah Hj. Aman, and Filipino Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alan Peter S. Cayetano.
        During the meeting, the ministers raised concerns over the recent incidents of terrorism and violent extremism in their countries and reaffirmed their commitment to working together to jointly develop and implement counterterrorism measures and strategies.
        They deliberated and agreed to task their senior officials to consider the proposed plan of action, in the context of several measures and to report thereon at their next meeting.
        The measures include enhancing efforts and cooperation to address the root causes and underlying conditions of extremism, including those not limited to poverty, narcotics or illegal drugs, crime, and social injustice.

Kamis, 22 Juni 2017

ENSURING SAFETY OF IDUL FITRI EXODUS TRAVELERS by Fardah

    Jakarta, June 22, 2017 (Antara) - Most Indonesian Muslims follow the tradition of celebrating Idul Fitri Islamic Holiday, or locally called Lebaran, in their hometowns with their families.
         As a result, there is an exodus of travelers, particularly from cities to villages, during this time of the year.
         Of the country's over 250 million population, more than 85 percent are Muslims.
         This June, an exodus of homebound travelers has begun across Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim population in the world, to celebrate Idul Fitri (Eid El Fitr) which falls on June 25.
         The number of homebound travelers this year is expected to reach over 19 million, up from 17,698,484 in 2016, and from 17,404,575 in 2015.
         To ensure people's safety during the exodus, more than 170 thousand police and military personnel have been deployed for Ramdaniya Operation being carried out from June 19 to July 4, 2017.
         As part of safety measures, the Transportation Ministry has checked the worthiness of transportation means for the travelers.  
    In early June 2017, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi noted that only 60 percent of intercity and inter-provincial (AKAP) buses operating during Idul Fitri were roadworthy.
         "In general, we are satisfied with the results of a ramp check, except land transportation in which only 60 percent of the buses are roadworthy," he stated in a discussion on the government's preparations to anticipate safe, secure, and comfortable homecoming at the Transportation Ministry recently.
         Data from the Directorate General of Land Transportation in early June showed that 5,026, or 43 percent of 11,605 buses checked were roadworthy; 1,632 buses, or 12 percent, must be repaired; and 4,947 buses, or 42 percent, were not roadworthy.

FAMILY PLANNING KAMPONGS VITAL TO IMPROVING FAMILY WELFARE by Fardah

Jakarta, June 22, 2017 (Antara) - The Family Planning (FP) Program holds significance for Indonesia, as the country has a population of over 250 million, or is the world's fourth-most populated nation after China, India, and the US.
          From 1970s to the early 2000s, the Indonesian government had intensified the FP program to stem population growth, as the country's fertility rate was rather high at that time.
         With a strong political will, determination, and hard work, Indonesia had one of the strongest and most successful national FP initiatives in the world during the period.
         The country had managed to double its contraceptive prevalence rate to nearly 60 percent between 1976 and 2002 and halved its fertility rate from 5.6 to 2.6 children per woman.
         Indonesia was a leader in the FP program and viewed as a role model by developing countries.
         However, following the country's major political reform, the FP program seemed have to slowed down. 
    To revitalize the FP program, in 2016, the Joko Widodo administration came out with several strategies, including by establishing the so-called FP Kampongs or FP Communities.
        More than merely providing easy access to contraceptives for married couples, its goals are also to increase the welfare of Indonesian families through the FP program, increasing societal awareness on the population condition in Indonesia, and to ensure that every family in Indonesia can pursue its life goals.
        A FP kampong is a village or hamlet where there is a systematic and systemic integration of FP, population, and family development programs.

Selasa, 20 Juni 2017

CAPITALIZING ON OPPORTUNITIES OFFERED BY OBOR INITIATIVES by Fardah

Jakarta, June 20, 2017 (Antara) - A good connectivity is crucial for Indonesia, a huge country whose distance between the westernmost part of the archipelago and the easternmost is equal to the distance between London and Dubai or Los Angeles and New York.
         The vast Indonesian archipelago and its waters are rich in natural resources and tourist spots, but many of its outermost and remote regions are underdeveloped due to the lack of infrastructure and facilities.
         To improve connectivity and to address the underdevelopment in the country, the Joko Widodo (Jokowi) administration has accelerated infrastructure development in various regions, particularly in remote and eastern regions of Indonesia.
         The government has planned to build, among other things, airports, seaports, and roads.
          While speaking in a Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing, China, last May, Jokowi explained that the country's potentials are yet to be exploited optimally due to the lack of adequate infrastructure.
          "Hence, the biggest infrastructure development in the country's history is now going on," he pointed out.
          Addressing 28 heads of state and government, as well as chiefs of international organizations at the meeting, Jokowi stated that Indonesia, as the world's largest maritime economic zone located between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, has a strategic and important role to play.
        He lauded the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative and invited the leaders attending the Beijing forum to participate in the Indonesian development programs.

Sabtu, 17 Juni 2017

NORTH SULAWESI OPTIMISTIC OF ATTRACTING MORE CHINESE TOURISTS by Fardah

 Jakarta, June 17, 2017 (Antara) - To support the Indonesian government's target of attracting at least 12 million foreign tourists, including some 2.4 million from China, several regions are gearing up to receive them this year.
         Tourism promotion events organized by Indonesia in China have resulted in a significant increase in the number of Chinese tourists visiting the country's tourist destinations, particularly Bali and North Sulawesi.
         Chinese tourists constituted 28.15 percent of the total 1.81 million foreign tourist arrivals in Bali between January and April this year.
         North Sulawesi has also enjoyed a sharp increase in the number of Chinese visitors in the first quarter of 2017.
         During the period between January and March, North Sulawesi had recorded a five-fold increase in the number of foreign tourists reaching 17,335, of which most were Chinese, from 3,467 during the same period last year.
         Chinese tourists have dominated, in terms of the number of visitors to North Sulawesi. In March alone, 3,889 Chinese tourists had visited the province, or 75 percent of the total number of foreign visitors.
         Other tourist arrivals were from Singapore, Germany, the United States, and Hong Kong.
         In April 2017, Chinese also constituted the largest number of foreign tourists visiting North Sulawesi.
         "In April 2017, the number of Chinese tourists visiting North Sulawesi reached 4,477, constituting 72.84 percent of the total foreign tourist arrivals," Moh Edy Mahmud, head of the North Sulawesi statistic office, stated in Manado, recently.

Rabu, 14 Juni 2017

SEEKING GOVERNMENT'S INTERVENTION IN FREEPORT'S LABOR PROBLEM by Fardah

Jakarta, June 14, 2017 (Antara) - Over the past several years, labor strikes have hit PT Freeport Indonesia (FI), but the subsidiary of the US mining giant Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold has managed to find win-win solutions to the problems.
        Having operated the Grasberg mine in Papua, Indonesia¿s ''easternmost province since 1967, PT Freeport Indonesia is into the business of exploration, mining, processing, and worldwide marketing of minerals such as copper, gold, and silver.
        PT FI, one of the three biggest gold and copper mines on the planet, has provided jobs to local people and supported developmental programs in Indonesia's easternmost province of Papua.
       However, since May 1 this year, thousands of PT Freeport workers have been on strike following a dispute between the management and its labor union. 
   The workers of Freeport's contractors have also joined the strike. The labor union has even proposed to extend the strike until June 30, 2017.
        The dispute began when the government banned the company from exporting copper concentrate as it failed to build a smelter for its minerals. The company was forced to lay off many workers for efficiency as it had to stop production.
        As a consequence, PT Freeport and its sub-contract companies fired more than 2.5 thousand workers.
       The layoff caused major concern for the authorities and the affected workers as well as their families, in particular.

Selasa, 13 Juni 2017

INDONESIAN MILITARY TO PLAY BIGGER ROLE IN COUNTERTERRORISM by Fardah

Jakarta, June 13. 2017  (Antara) - Terrorism is an extraordinary crime that could threaten Indonesia's sovereignty, therefore the fight against it needs participation of every possible stakeholder, particularly police and military.
        In Indonesia, the National Police (Polri) is indeed the main law enforcement institution that has carried out the fight against terrorism so far, through their  counterterrorism special squad Densus 88, and CounterTerrorism Agency (BNPT).
         The Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI), however, has frequently supported the Police in operation to fight terrorists in several cases so far.
       But, the government wishes to see a bigger role of the military in eradicating terrorism.
        Currently, a special committee of the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR RI) is in the process of revising Law No. 15 Year 2003 on Counterterrorism.         
   President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has expressed his hope that the DPR could conclude the revision as soon as possible and the revised law could clearly describe the role of TNI in the counterterrorism efforts in this country.         
    "I would like the anti-terror bill to immediately be pursued in the house and with the minister of political, legal, and security affairs, and I would like the discussion related to the bill to be completed as soon as possible," President Jokowi said recently.   
    The president also wants the revised law to mention the involvement of the Indonesian military in fighting terrorism.

Sabtu, 03 Juni 2017

PT INKA'S COMPETITIVE PRODUCTS PENETRATE AFRICAN, ASIAN MARKETS by Fardah

Jakarta, June 3, 2017 (Antara) - Indonesia's state-owned railway manufacturer PT Inka has been producing a variety of locomotives, trains, and cars that are competitive both in terms of their pricing and quality.
         As the first fully integrated rolling stock and automotive manufacturer in Southeast Asia, PT Inka has targeted to export its products to developing countries, particularly in South Asia and Africa.
         In fact, without much publicity, its products have been exported to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, and even Australia.
         Last year, PT Inka had exported a shipment of 150 Shovon-type passenger carts ordered by Bangladesh Railways in a deal worth US$73 million. The coaches were made specifically catering to  Bangladesh's needs by the Indonesian company.
         Shawkat Jamil, the divisional traffic officer of Bangladesh Railway (BR) West Zone (Rajshahi), was last year quoted by Dhaka Tribune as saying that BR had imported the coaches under a bilateral agreement between Bangladesh and Indonesia.
         This year, PT Inka is preparing to produce 250 railway carriages for exports to the South Asian country.
         "The process is now underway. All necessary requirements have been fully met. A total of 250 carriages will be exported to Bangladesh and 90 others to Sri Lanka," Agus Purnomo, the president director of PT Inka, had noted in Madiun, East Java, last February.
         The total value of export contracts from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka reached $200 million. Purnomo admitted that his company had faced stiff competition from China in the two projects.