Senin, 31 Juli 2017

CLOSER REGIONAL COOPERATION VITAL TO FIGHT AGAINST FOREIGN TERRORIST FIGHTERS by Fardah

Jakarta, July 31, 2017 (Antara) - Indonesia, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, New Zealand, and the Philippines have agreed to strengthen cooperation and collaboration in counterterrorism amid the growing threat of radicalism resulting in violent extremism and terrorism in the region.
         The six neighboring countries reached the agreement during the First Sub-Regional Meeting On Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF) and Cross Border Terrorism held in Manado, North Sulawesi, on July 29, 2017.
        The meeting, co-hosted by Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Wiranto and Australian Attorney-General Senator George Brandis, was focused on developing and coordinating responses to the threats posed by FTF returning to and operating in the sub-region.
         FTF pose a real threat to the Southeast Asian region, according to Commissioner General Suhardi Alius, head of the Counterterrorism Agency.   
    "FTF are a real threat in the Southeast Asian region that needs to be dealt with jointly," he had noted in a press statement.
          Southeast Asian countries need to step up vigil against the threat of FTF following a military operation by the Philippines in Marawi against armed groups allegedly belonging to the ISIS network, he remarked following the Manado meeting.
         Members of Indonesia's delegation in the meeting included Foreign Affairs Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi, Chief of the Indonesian Police General Tito Karnavian, Chief of Staff of General Affairs of the Indonesian Defense Forces Vice Admiral Didit Herdiawan Ashaf, Communication and Informatics Minister Rudiantara, Justice and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly, Head of the Indonesian Financial Transaction Report and Analysis Kiagus Ahmad Badaruddin, and Suhardi Alius.

Kamis, 27 Juli 2017

BETTER EFFORTS NEEDED FOR DISASTER PREPAREDNESS AND MITIGATION by Fardah

Jakarta, July 27, 2017  (Antara) - Natural disasters that have hit Indonesia up to June 2017 include floods (37.4 percent), whirlwinds (29.2 percent), landslides (28.9 percent), earthquakes, and forest fires, among other things.
          Floods have claimed a total of 88 lives, landslides have claimed 84, and whirlwinds have claimed 19 lives across the country in the first semester of this year.
          Natural disasters, in fact, have been forecast by the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), as the country is prone to flooding in rainy season and wildfires during drought.
         In Dec 2016, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) had given warning to several regions for anticipation of natural disasters.
         Anticipation and disaster mitigation preparedness are crucial, given the fact that last year, Indonesia was battered by 2,342 natural disasters, the highest in the past 14 years, making it one of the most violent years in recent times. As many as 522 people were killed in the disasters.
         Natural disasters have inflicted material losses and caused a lot of suffering, mostly among the poor, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB spokesman, stated. He called on the media to help promote greater awareness of disasters among the public.
        In East Bangka District, Bangka Belitung Province, recent flooding inflicted material losses reaching Rp338 billion.
         "We do not have the exact figure, but our estimate is that the material losses have reached Rp338 billion," Yuslih Ihza, East Belitung District Head, noted on July 24, 2017.
           Losses from destruction of infrastructure were estimated at Rp300.7 billion, while losses from agricultural and animal husbandry were worth over Rp16 billion.
         He planned to seek assistance from the central and provincial governments to repair the affected infrastructure particularly.
         "It happens that this Thursday (July 27), there will be a meeting with President Joko Widodo, the Governor of BI (central bank), and the Public Works and Public Housing Minister. I think this is the right momentum to talk about infrastructure that was destroyed or damaged by the disaster," he stated.
         The Bangka Belitung chapter of Bank Indonesia (BI) has predicted that flooding and extreme climate that affected the province lately could cause economic sluggishness.


         The flooding in East Belitung has affected food stock and damaged infrastructure, which consequently disturbed logistic supply and distribution, Bayu Martanto, head of BI Office in Bangka Belitung, noted.
         Paddy harvest failure due to flooding in Belitung and East Belitung Districts would also affect food supply, he added.
         The local BI office has taken several measures to guarantee food supply and stabilize the economy.
         Besides, the provincial government of Bangka Belitung Islands has distributed 40 tons of rice to help flood victims in Belitung and East Belitung Districts, by addressing food shortage following the disaster.
        The Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) of Bangka Belitung (Babel) Province has deployed a helicopter to distribute aid and evacuate flood victims in Belitung Island.
          Meanwhile, in Tulungagung, East Java Governor Soekarwo remarked that salt crisis in the province currently is due to bad weather that has cause a decrease in salt production.
         "Hence, salt production in East Java is 174 thousand tons per month during summer. But lately, there has been more rains, and the weather is cloudy. Hence, salt production has dropped to 123 thousand tons," Soekarwo revealed.
         Salt quality has also decreased because of rains.
         He claimed that in this case, he felt helpless because it was caused by nature.
          Indonesia has been facing a salt scarcity over the last three weeks due to bad weather.
          Floods have also affected 21 villages in five sub-districts in Murung Raya District, and North Barito District, Central Kalimantan Province, after the Barito River overflowed its banks recently.
           Personnel of the Murung Raya disaster mitigation office's swift reaction team had been deployed in the flood-affected areas to help victims.
          Flooding has affected a village in Pertama Intan Sub-district, five villages in Murung Sub-district, two in Laung Tuhup Sub-district, three villages in Barito Tuhup Raya Sub-district, and two villages in Sumber Barito Sub-district.
         Floodwaters, reaching a height of up to more than a meter, submerged the villages of Sumpoi, Purul Cahu Seberang, and Juking Pajang in Murung Sub-district, as well as the villages of Muara Laung I, Muara Laung II, and Muara Teweh in Laung Tuhup Sub-district.
         Thousands of villagers were forced to evacuate to higher ground. School buildings and medical facilities were also flooded.
        In addition to flooding, several provinces in Indonesia are also currently being hit by forest and plantation fires.
        The fire-affected provinces include Aceh, Jambi, Riau, South Sumatra, South Kalimantan, and West Kalimantan Provinces. As of July 25, a total of 179 hotspots were detected in those provinces.
         In Aceh Province, wildfires have gutted some 70 hectares of peatland area in West Aceh District over the past one week, according to the Aceh disaster mitigation office (BPBA).
         The wildfires were found in six sub-, namely Johan Palawan, Meureubo, Samatiga, Kaway Enam Belas, Woyla Barat, and Arongan Lambalek in the district of West Aceh, Yesmadi, BPBA head, revealed here on Wednesday.
          The efforts to extinguish the fires were difficult because the fires occurred in peatland located deep in forest.
          Haze coming from the fires has forced temporary closure of several schools in Meulaboh.
         At least 23 people were given medical treatment in Cut Nyak Dhien Hospital in Meulaboh for respiratory infection.
             West Aceh has asked the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) to help extinguish the fires by deploying water bombing helicopters.
         "Thank God, BNPB is ready to send two helicopters. One has arrived and another is coming today," he explained.
          Besides, the Environment and Forestry Ministry deployed its land-forest fire task force to extinguish the raging blazes.  ***4***
(f001/INE/a014 )
EDITED BY INE


(T.F001/A/BESSR/A. Abdussalam)

HAPPY CHILDREN FREE FROM VIOLENCE AND MALNUTRITION by Fardah

Jakarta, July 27, 2017 (Antara)- A family is a place where children can find love, security, safe shelter, and nutritious food. The family is the beginning of the formation of individual maturity and the personality structure of a child.
         To highlight the important roles of family in child rearing, the Indonesian Government had chosen "Protection of Children Begin from Family" as the theme, and "I am Indonesian Children, I am Happy," as the main message of the commemoration of National Children's Day 2017.
         The function taking place in Pekanbaru, Riau, on July 23, was led by President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), who was accompanied by First Lady Iriana.
          Some 3,000 children from every province in Indonesia participated in the event, where President Jokowi performed several magic tricks to entertain them.
         In his remarks, the Head of State reminded children to avoid and prevent bullying among them.
    "I have a message for you. Like in the play just now you must not bully your friends. Do you agree? You must not insult or make fun of your friends," he said, adding that they must respect and help each other.
         "If one of your friends is ill you must visit him/her and do not forget bringing her/him food so that he/she will get well soon," he told children attending the event.      
     Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa in her remarks she reminded parents to provide education, health needs, love, protection as best as they can to their children.
         She urged parents and teachers to not hurt children, but to make them happy.
         On the occasion, Minister of Women's Empowerment and Child Protection Yohana Yambise said number of cases of violence on children especially in Riau province was still very high.
         "Riau is ranked second with regard to the number of cases of household violence, child marriage and also child trafficking in Batam including Tanjung Pinang," she said.
          Ahead of the National Children's Day Commemoration, some 525 children from across Indonesia attended the 2017 National Child Forum being held in Pekanbaru, on July 19-22.
            During the forum, the children discussed about conditions in their regions and schools and play creative games.
  The forum was organized by the Women's Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry as part of a series of activities to celebrate National Children's Day that falls on July 23.
         As results of the Forum, the children issued ten demands and submitted them to President Jokowi.
        "First, we, children of Indonesia, demand to improve access to birth certificate services especially in remote areas," a representative of the Forum read out the demands.
         The second demand is to increase the role of the National Child Forum (FAN) in development process. The third demand is to involve community's figures in the implementation of marriage after reaching adulthood. The fourth is to support child friendly rearing and the fifth is to enhance control on narcotic distribution and protect children from cigarette advertisement.
          The sixth demand is to improve children health facility and save children from poor nutrition. The seventh is to increase education quality by implementing five days of school and admission zoning system. The eighth is to increase the use of healthy Internet based on the spirit of children literacy.
        The ninth is to improve learning for disaster safety for children residing in disaster-prone areas.The last is to protect children from any kinds of exploitation and sexual abuse.
         The number of children in Indonesia reaches some 80 million, or one-third of the country's population, according to Lenny Rosalin, deputy in charge of child rearing issues in the Women's Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry.

JAKARTA'S LRT PROJECT EXPECTED TO BECOME OPERATIONAL IN EARLY 2019 by Fardah

Jakarta, July 27, 2017 (Antara) - Jakarta, with a population of some 10 million people, is notorious for being one of the world's most traffic-congested and populated cities.
        The government has provided several means of public transportation, such as the Trans-Jakarta bus services and commuter train KRL Jabodetabek to serve the Greater Jakarta or Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, and Bekasi (Jabodetabek) areas.
        However, traffic jams persist, and the use of KRL Jabodetabek as well as the Trans-Jakarta bus services has become inconvenient since they are always crowded during peak hours.
        To solve the congestion problem, the authorities have been constructing Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) that will connect Greater Jakarta.
        The KRL has between eight and 10 coaches that are capable of carrying up to some two thousand passengers per trip. The MRT will have up to six coaches that will be able to transport around 1,950 passengers per trip or 173 thousand passengers per day, while the LRT will have three coaches, with a maximum of 628 passengers per trip.
        At least 23 percent of the Greater Jakarta LRT has been developed as of June 2017. The system will cover three lines: Cawang-Cibubur covering 14.5 kilometers (km); Cawang-East Bekasi, 17.1 km; and Cawang-Kuningan-Dukuh Atas, 10.5 km.
        In total, the first stage of the Greater Jakarta LRT railway will stretch around 42.1 km, according to President Director of PT Adhi Karya Tbk Budi Harto.
        The Jabodebek LRT project is expected to be completed in 2018, and the LRT service to become operational, starting early 2019. 
        Currently, the government has been striving to streamline the budget for the mass transportation project.  However, efficiency will be sought without reducing passenger comfort.
        Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan claimed that the government could save Rp6 trillion by using a moving block signaling system for the LRT railway connecting Jakarta with Jabodebek.
        The figure was arrived at after a recalculation following a change in technology applied in the project, he said while speaking at the National Technology Congress held in Jakarta recently.  
   Moving block signaling is a system in which the blocks, or sections of track, are defined in real time by computers as protected zones around each train.
        "The LRT project had already been started, but we made a recalculation. We saw that the technology could be changed, and in fact, the cost could be reduced to up to Rp6 trillion," he noted.
        Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi explained that initially, the government had chosen to use a fixed block signaling system, which determines the headway, or time interval, between trains for the LRT project.
        Later, however, the government decided to apply the moving block signaling system, which would allow more trains to operate.
        With a moving block system, trains can transport more passengers as compared to a fixed block system, according to the transportation minister.
        The LRT could transport up to 750 thousand passengers per day, while with the fixed block system, it would only be able to transport 500 thousand.
        "With more passengers, as they are a dividing factor, it can be ensured that the returns on investment will be faster," he explained.
        The government has adjusted the budget allocation from Rp21.7 trillion to Rp22 trillion for the project.
        "There is a small additional cost, notably only between Rp200 and Rp300 billion," he added.
        Meanwhile, the State Asset Management Institute has allocated a total of Rp1.6 trillion to compensate for the land procured in 32 areas for the LRT in Jabodebek.
        "There are two big areas, such as in (Cibubur) scout camping round, measuring 4.5 thousand square meters, and in East Bekasi, nearly 10 hectares, for a depot and a station," Prasetyo Boeditjahjono, the railway director general of the Transportation Ministry, stated recently.
        Land procurement is concentrated in those two areas in addition to several others, Pundjung Setya Brata, operation director III of PT Adi Karya Tbk, noted.
        The location in Cibubur will be the final station. In East Bekasi, five hectares of the total 10 hectares belong to Adhi Karya, so the depot construction could be carried out immediately.
        Minister Pandjaitan has instructed that the procurement of land should be completed by this July.
        "There are 32 locations to be cleared, and it is almost completed. I want it to be completed this month," he said.
        The government has hired independent appraisers to suggest compensation for private land.
        He said the average progress of the LRT construction project in the first phase has reached 15.5 percent, comprising 31.4 percent for Cawang-Cibubur, 2.7 percent for Cawang Dukuh Atas, and 15.1 percent for Cawang-East Bekasi. 
   By the end of this year, the progress in the construction of the LRT project is expected to reach at least 60 percent.
    ***1***
(f001/INE/O001)
EDITED BY INE

(T.F001/A/BESSR/O. Tamindael) 27-07-2017

Selasa, 25 Juli 2017

PROMOTING FLORICULTURE TO BOOST INDONESIA'S ECONOMY by Fardah

Jakarta, July 25, 2017 (Antara) - Various varieties of flowers and fruits are found in Indonesia, though most of them are seasonal, while others are available all year round.
          Indonesia is believed to have a huge potential to become one of the world's largest exporters of flowers and fruits, as the country is blessed with fertile land and fruits as well as flowers that are abundant both qualitatively and quantitatively.    
     Owing to the high fruit production in Indonesia, the country can export them, thereby reducing their imports. According to data of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, in 2014, Indonesia had ranked 20th on the world fruit exporter list.
          President Joko Widodo, in his opening remarks at the Fourth Fruit Indonesia 2016 festival held at the Senayan eastern park area, Jakarta, on Nov 17, expressed optimism about the country's potential in floriculture and horticulture commodity exports.
          This year, a similar optimism was also voiced by Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Darmin Nasution while opening the Indonesian Floriculture Expo in Jakarta on July 24, which is also designated as Indonesian Floriculture Day.
          The role of floriculture and horticulture commodities in the national economy is growing, according to Nasution.
                "We should invite small- and medium-scale businesses to promote floriculture commercially. Only by doing this can we develop it better," he noted.    

INDONESIA HAS NO HESITATION TO SHOOT DOWN FOREIGN DRUG TRAFFICKERS by Fardah

Jakarta, July 25, 2017 (Antara) - Illicit drugs could be worse than terrorism as more Indonesians, particularly young people, had died because of drug abuse, than terrorism.
         Some six million Indonesians are reported to be drug users, and 30 to 40 people, mostly youths, die every day because of narcotics consumption.   
    President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has declared that the nation was in a state of drug emergency and ordered for firm action against narcotic drug traffickers to save the younger generation.
         "Do not give them any tolerance, because we are now under an emergency situation with regard to narcotic drugs," the president said on Friday (July 21).
         Indonesia is one of the few countries to have imposed the harshest drug laws in the world. Since 2015, 18 drug convicts have been executed. But it seems that the measure does not stop there.
         He remarked that the police and TNI (military) have also taken firm actions against those involved in drug abuse cases.  
    "Now Polri (police) and TNI have indeed been firm, especially while dealing with foreign drug traffickers entering the country. They will just shoot them if they defy arrest," he warned.
         Chief of the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) General Gatot Nurmantyo has warned that drugs are no less dangerous than terrorism threat to the survival of the nation.
         "We need to always be on guard against the potential threats of both terrorism and drugs. Unfortunately, we tend to see only terrorism as a big threat, while the damage caused by drugs has also been widespread," the general said on July 14, 2017.

Senin, 24 Juli 2017

INDONESIA'S BID FOR UNSC SEAT GAINS INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT by Fardah

Jakarta, July 24, 2017 (Antara) - Since the Indonesian government officially announced its bid for a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) seat in September 2016, the country has received support from several countries, such as Turkey, Chile, Sierra Leone, and Angola.
        It was Vice President M. Jusuf Kalla who announced Indonesia's bid to be a non-permanent member of the UNSC for the 2019-2020 period while addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York last year.
        Indonesia has, so far, been a non-permanent member thrice during 1973-1974, 1995-1996, and 2007-2008 periods.
        In pursuing its bid in the election to be held in the UN Headquarters in June 2018, Indonesia is promoting the theme "A True Partner for World Peace," according to Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi.
        Peace is a prerequisite to development, Kalla noted, adding that Indonesia had learnt first-hand from the internal conflict and regional strife and a diversion away from development during the 1950s and 1960s.
        In line with its constitutional mandate, Indonesia is committed to fully participating in and contributing to the maintenance of world order based on freedom, lasting peace, and social justice.
        The Indonesian government has been consistently contributing to the efforts aimed at achieving the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter in maintaining international peace and security, particularly in light of the major dynamic changes taking place in the current global arena.
        The country accords high priority to the cause of the United Nations peacekeeping and has actively participated in the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations since 1957.

Sabtu, 22 Juli 2017

INDONESIA STRONGLY CONDEMNS ISRAELI AGGRESSION AT AL AQSA by Fardah

  Jakarta, July 22, 2017 (Antara) - In Indonesia, from the president to it's the people, many have strongly condemned the violence and blatant aggression committed by Israeli forces that killed three Palestinian worshipers and injured more than 100 others around Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Al Quds (East Jerusalem) on July 21.
        For Muslims, Al Aqsa belongs to every Muslims in the world, not only Palestinians. Al Aqsa Mosque is Islam's third holiest site after Masjidil Haram in Mecca and Nabawi Mosque in Medina; the first qibla (direction faced while praying); and the second mosque to be ever built on Earth.
        Therefore, the Indonesian Government and people are always concerned over Al Aqsa Mosque, which is in danger due to Israeli occupation and blatant aggression.
        "Indonesia asks the UN, the UN Secretary General (in particular), to allow the UN Security Council to convene a session soon to discuss the Al Aqsa Mosque crisis," President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said in Yogyakarta on July 22.
         The Indonesian government has also demanded Israel not to change the status quo of Al Aqsa compound that guarantees access to Muslims to pray in Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock Mosque.
          "Indonesia once again strongly denounces the restriction of prayers at Al Aqsa Mosque. Likewise, it strongly denounces the death of three citizens," Jokowi said at the Ahmad Dahlan University compound.   
   Indonesia has also urged that the OIC can immediately hold an emergency meeting to discuss the situation in Al-Aqsa complex, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry said.   
   Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi, on July 19, had a telephonic conversation with the foreign minister of Jordan to discuss the situation in the Al Aqsa Mosque.      

News Focus - PRESERVING EXOTIC NATIVE ORCHIDS OF PAPUA ISLAND by Fardah


 Jakarta, July 22, 2017 (Antara) - Visitors to Papua, Indonesia's easternmost island, would earlier hunt for the stuffed Bird of Paradise, or Passeriformes Paradisaeidae, locally called "Cenderawasih," and the very rare and exotic Black Orchid, or Ceologyne Pandurata, as souvenirs.
         Such practices no longer exist, as the government has placed a ban on them. Both the Bird of Paradise and Black Orchid are very rare and strictly protected.
         Black Orchid is one of the most wanted orchids in Indonesia and can also be found in the deep forests of Kalimantan, although the shape of the flower differs from that found in Papua.
         The form, color, and details of the Black Orchid are beautiful and unique. It has a honeyed tongue, and the petals emit a fresh fragrance.
         The Black Orchid derives its name from the brownish-black and purplish black color of its petals. The Black Orchid's petals are shaped in the form of a bright purple tongue.
         In fact, orchids are a part of Indonesia's natural wealth. More than six thousand species of orchids grow in Indonesia's rainforests, the second highest after Brazil.
         Of these species, some are endemic orchid varieties of Indonesia, which is home to various exotic and rare species of orchids.
         The number of the species continues to grow, as some new ones have been found in their natural habitat deep within the rainforests in Borneo, Sulawesi, and Papua.
         Apart from Black Orchids, Bulbophyllum Graveolens, or Papuan Orchid, is among the very rare and exotic species of orchids.
         Growing in the temperate forests of Papua, this orchid is also known as the Papuan Orchid. The plant is large, with the flower head measuring up to 10 inches.

Jumat, 21 Juli 2017

SYNERGY BETWEEN PRIVATE, STATE ENTERPRISES KEY TO LAKE TOBA'S DEVELOPMENT by Fardah

 Jakarta, July 21, 2017 (Antara) - Being developed into a world-class tourist destination, Lake Toba in North Sumatra Province needs to have better connectivity and accessibility as well as facilities for both international and domestic tourists.
          Lake Toba has been designated as one of the 10 priority tourist destinations selected alongside the Borobudur Temple in Central Java, Mandalika in West Nusa Tenggara, Labuhan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara, Bromo-Tengger-Semeru in East Java, Seribu or One Thousand Islands in Jakarta, Wakatobi in Southeast Sulawesi, Tanjung Lesung in Banten, Morotai in North Maluku, and Tanjung Kelayang in Bangka Belitung.
           In accordance with the instructions given by President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) during a limited meeting on February 2, 2016, the government, in cooperation with the private sector, has been developing infrastructure, such as airports, roads, and ports, to improve connectivity in North Sumatra.
          Tourism Minister Arief Yahya had last year stated that on an average, revenue worth US$1 billion is expected to be annually generated from foreign tourist arrivals to Lake Toba. Lake Toba's tourism industry is expected to contribute Rp30 trillion by 2019.
          Investment in the initial stage for Lake Toba's development will reach Rp20 trillion, of which the government will allocate Rp10 trillion and the rest will be sourced from the private sector, he revealed.    
    In June 2016, President Jokowi had signed Presidential Regulation No.  49 of 2016 on establishment of the Board of Lake Toba Tourism Strategic Zone Management Authority to help expedite  the development projects in the area.

Rabu, 19 Juli 2017

ISRAELI GRIP ON AL AQSA VIOLATES HUMAN RIGHTS by Fardah

Jakarta, July 19, 2017 (Antara) - Indonesian Muslims are very concerned about the situation in Al Aqsa Mosque, following a recent closure and ongoing stricter control of the third Islamic holiest mosque by occupying Israeli forces.
        Besides, radical Jewish settlers, under the protection of heavily armed Israeli forces, often break into the premises, and the forces often blocked Muslim worshipers from praying, in order to pave the way for the Jews.
     

Selasa, 18 Juli 2017

CONSTRUCTION WORKS OF PALEMBANG LRT TRAIN ON TRACK by Fardah

Jakarta, July 18, 2017 (Antara) -  The 18th Asian Games, a regional sporting event for Asian nations, will be co-hosted by Palembang and Jakarta simultaneously from August 18 to September 2, 2018.
         Thousands of athletes from 54 countries are expected to participate in the games.
         This will be the second time that Indonesia will host the Asian Games, with the first one being held in Jakarta in 1962, under President Soekarno.
         The South Sumatra provincial administration, in general, and the Palembang municipal government, in particular, are determined to use the event to promote its tourism attractions in order to attract as many tourists as possible.
         To this end, they have been busy improving and renovating several tourist attractions in the city and developing infrastructure and facilities to support the tourism industry. 
    Among infrastructure being developed in the capital of South Sumatra  is a Light Rail Transit (LRT) system. The vital LRT is expected to help reduce traffic in Palembang particularly during the implementation of the upcoming Asian Games.
         The 25 km long LRT track will stretch from Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II International Airport to Jakabaring Sport City.
         The construction work has, so far, been on track, and proceeded smoothly without serious problems.
         The Rp10 trillion (US$751.9 billion) Asian Games 2018 project has earmarked Rp2 trillion (US$15.04) for LRT project development.

Sabtu, 15 Juli 2017

APPEAL TO PROTECT LEUSER ECOSYSTEM by Fardah

  Jakarta, July 15, 2017 (Antara) - The Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (TRHS) is prioritized after UNESCO's World Heritage Committee's decision, in its 41st session, to retain TRHS on the List of World Heritage In Danger following threats to remaining rainforests.
         The 2.5 million-hectare TRHS site comprises three national parks: Mount Leuser National Park located in Aceh and North Sumatra; Kerinci Seblat National Park in Jambi, Bengkulu, West Sumatra, and South Sumatra; and Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park in the provinces of Lampung, South Sumatra, and Bengkulu.
         A large part of the TRHS lies within the Leuser Ecosystem, which is among the most biodiverse and ancient ecosystems to be ever documented by science and the last habitat of Sumatran orangutans, elephants, tigers, rhinos, and sun bears.   
   The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has identified Leuser as one of the world's "irreplaceable protected areas."
    UNESCO says the site "holds the greatest potential for long-term conservation of the distinctive and diverse biota of Sumatra, including many endangered species."
   According to UNESCO, the area is home to some 10 thousand plant species, including 17 endemic genera; more than 200 mammal species; and about 580 bird species, of which 465 are resident and 21 are endemic.

TOUR DE FLORES THROWS GREATER CHALLENGES THIS YEAR by Fardah

Jakarta, July 15, 2017 (Antara) - The second Tour de Flores (TdF) cycling race and tourism event being held on July 14-19 is expected to be more challenging, as the number of regions to be covered during the tour has increased.  
   The 2017 TdF covers a total distance of 808 kilometers (km), an increase from 661.5 km in 2016, due to the addition of the Aegela-Mbay route in Ngada District.     
   Some 20 cycling teams comprising more than 150 cyclists from 11 countries in Europe, America, Asia, and Australia are participating in the tour.
        Last year, 20 teams from 16 countries had taken part in the TdF that was held for the first time in May.
        East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Governor Frans Lebu Raya flagged off the cyclists participating in the 2017 TdF race at the start line in front of the East Flores district head's office in Larantuka on July 14, 2017.
        The cyclists started in Larantuka and later headed to Maumere, Ende, Mbay, Borong, Ruteng, Aegela, and Mbay until finishing in Flores Island's westernmost town of Labuan Bajo.
        The first stage, covering a distance of 148 km, started from Larantuka in East Flores District and finished in Maumere in Sikka District, on Friday.
        The governor was optimistic that the cyclists would do their best to reach the finish line, as they love taking up new challenges.  
   "This year's cycling race is more challenging than that in the previous year due to the number of regions to be visited, longer distance, and the quite rough terrain," Governor Raya explained.
        He also reminded them to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Flores Island.