Minggu, 31 Desember 2017

GOVERNMENT COORDINATES IMPLEMENTATION OF ASIAN PARA GAMES, ASIAN GAMES by Imam Santoso/Fardah

Jakarta, Dec 31, 2017 (Antara) - The Indonesian Government has been very busy making preparations for the implementation of the 18th Asian Games on Aug 2-Sept 2, 2018, and the Third Asian Para Games on Oct 6-13, 2018.
         The Asian Games will be held in Jakarta and Palembang, South Sumatra Province, and the Asian Para Games will be organized in Jakarta particularly centred in Bung Karno Sport Stadium at Senayan area.
         The Asian Games will be participated in by some 9,500 athletes, 2,500 personnel of the Asian Olympic Council, and 5,500 technical delegates from 45 Asian countries.  At least 3,500 media representatives are expected to cover the Games.
         While, the Asian Para Games will be participated in by around 3,000 differently-abled athletes and 1,000 officials from 43 Asian countries.
         Another difference is that the Asian Games is under the supervision of the Asian Olympic Council (AOC), while the Asian Para Games is under the Asian Paralympic Committee (APC), which is the only official representative of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) in Asia, and the owner of the Para Games in the region.
         The Government began preparations for the Asian Para Games 2018 in March 2017, following the appointment of Raja Sapta Oktohari as chairman of the Indonesian Asian Para Games 2018 Organizing Committee (INAPGOC).
         The chairman of the Indonesian Asian Games 2018 Organizing Committee (INASGOC) is Erick Thohir, a businessman.

Sabtu, 30 Desember 2017

SINGLE-PRICE FUEL PROGRAM TO CONTINUE DESPITE DIFFICULTIES by Fardah

Jakarta, Dec 30, 2017 (Antara) - The Joko Widodo (Jokowi) administration is determined to continue the implementation of the single-price fuel program for remote and outermost regions despite difficulties posed by rough terrains and long distance.
         The hardship is worth it for the sake of just and equitable economic development across Indonesia, including in the remote and outermost regions.
            The single-price fuel policy demonstrates strong political will of the government, which believes that development is not only for Java Island or to cities but also to every region in the country, such as in the hinterland areas located in Indonesia's easternmost province of Papua.
         Jokowi recently described the difficulty in transporting and distributing oil fuel all across the vast archipelago, through the seas and mountainous areas. 
    "However difficult it is, we have to go on with the program," the president stated, while addressing a ceremony officially inaugurating 17 units of oil fuels (BBM) terminal in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, on Dec 29, 2017.   
  As many as 17 terminals for oil fuel distribution, under the program of selling BBM at the same price all over the vast archipelago, were commissioned by the president.   
    The 17 BBM terminals include 16 units of public BBM filling station and a BBM filling station for fishermen, all under the same administered price.
          So far, BBM prices have been much higher in eastern Indonesia and other remote areas. In Java, the price of subsidized gasoline is around Rp6,550 per liter, but in interior mountainous areas of Papua and Kalimantan, the price could be as high as Rp100 thousand per liter.

Jumat, 29 Desember 2017

Year Ender - INDONESIAN LAND CERTIFICATE PROGRAM FOR ECONOMIC JUSTICE by Fardah

Jakarta, Dec 29, 2017 (Antara) - The government has issued and distributed at least 4.2 million land certificates across Indonesia in 2017, out of the targeted five million certificates, according to Sofyan Djalil, Agrarian and Spatial Planning Minister.
         The land certificate provision is part of the agrarian reform being carried out by the government for economic justice and equality, as well as for the reduction of economic gap between the rich and the poor.
         The government's economic equality and equity program is based on three things, namely land, job opportunities and human resource improvement.
         By having land certificates, the public will have legal certainty over the land areas and could use the certificate to have access to capital from financial institutions.
         The recipients of the millions of free land certificates were workers employed in the field of agriculture, plantation, aquaculture and cattle breeding, as well as manual laborers, and those living in natural disaster-prone areas, who do not own any land.
         "The certificates that were issued have been distributed to the Indonesian people," Minister Djalil said, while presenting several land certificates to the local inhabitants of West Sumatra on December 23.
         The land mapping carried out by the agrarian agency has reached 5.2 million so far, he added.
         However, the ministry still holds certificates of several land areas due to land ownership conflicts, including those claimed to be owned by the adat or traditional communities.
         The minister stated his office had found several land ownership problems, particularly in West Sumatra, East Nusa Tenggara and Bali.

Rabu, 27 Desember 2017

PELINDO SUPPORTS CRUISE TOURISM IN INDONESIA by Fardah

Jakarta, Dec 27, 2017 (Antara)- Surabaya, the East Java's capital and the second-largest city of Indonesia, offers a blend of both religious and historical tourism attractions, as the metropolitan city was an important Dutch Indies port town since the 16th century.
         The coastal city has a large modern port of Tanjuk Perak and a traditional harbor of Kali Mas, which are both located in North Surabaya. As a result, the city has a multiethnic population, with Javanese as the majority and others, including people of Madurese, Chinese, Arab, and Indian descents.
         Its old city area is located in North Surabaya, specifically around the Red Bridge (Jembatan Merah), where one can find several of the best historical buildings, including structures with colonial Dutch architecture and Chinese temples.
          The most striking landmark in Surabaya's old city area is the 15th-century Ampel Mosque (Mesjid Ampel), which stands within the vibrant Arab quarter.
         This year, a total of 24 million tourists, with 40 percent of them being foreign tourists, visited Surabaya, which is dubbed as the City of Heroes because of its brave citizens who fought against Dutch and Japanese colonialists in the past. Many of the tourists used sea transportations.
         State-run seaport operator Pelinda III has expressed its support to the Tourism Ministry in the efforts to lure more cruise ships to dock at Tanjung Perak Seaport.       
    The Indonesian Tourism Ministry has invited the Genting Dream cruise ship to serve new routes from Singapore to Tanjung Perak in Surabaya and later to the Celukan Bawang seaport in North Bali.
         Dream Cruises, comprising Genting Dream and World Dream, is Asia's luxury cruise line that aims to redefine vacation travel with a transformational journey at sea.

2018 ASIAN GAMES EXPECTED TO HAVE LONG-TERM ECONOMIC BENEFITS by Fardah

 Jakarta, Dec 27 , 2017 (Antara)  - Jakarta and the South Sumatran provincial capital of Palembang will co-host the 18th Asian Games from August 18 to September 2, 2018.
        Some 9.5 thousand athletes, 2.5 thousand personnel of the Asian Olympic Council, and 5.5 thousand technical delegates from 45 Asian countries will participate, or be involved in the event. At least 3.5 thousand media representatives are expected to cover the games.
           This is the second time that Indonesia is hosting the Asian Games, the first one was held in Jakarta in 1962.
         For South Sumatra, the largest regional sports event in Asia is expected to provide long-term benefits for the province's economy.
        In accordance, the South Sumatran administration has prepared several plans to boost the province's economy after the Games.
         Hosting the Asian Games 2018 will help improve the local economy in the long-term, Yohanes Toruan, assistant-in-charge of economic affairs in the South Sumatra administration, stated on December 21.
         "Currently, South Sumatra is focusing on preparations for the Asian Games. But, on the other hand, we must also think of what we should do to keep the economy growing even after the Asian Games," he remarked.
            South Sumatra became internationally known after successfully hosting the South East Asian (SEA) Games in 2011, he stated.

Selasa, 26 Desember 2017

PREPARATIONS FOR 2018, 2019 ELECTIONS CARRIED OUT WELL by Fardah

Jakarta, Dec 26, 2017 (Antara) - The National General Elections Commission (KPU) has been very busy preparing the third simultaneous regional head elections (pilkada), to be held in 2018, and the legislative as well as presidential elections in 2019.
         Indonesia will organize the simultaneous pilkada in 17 provinces, 39 municipalities, and 115 districts across the country on June 27, 2018.  
    The legislative and presidential elections will be held on April 17, 2019, with a campaign period from Oct 13, 2018 to April 13, 2019.    
      The number of eligible voters for the 2018 pilkada is 158 million, or some 80 percent of the total number of eligible voters for the presidential and legislative elections in 2019, which is around 197 million.
        The Commission recently completed the rechecking of the results of the corrected administrative verification of 14 political parties, and two of them failed to pass.
          Twelve political parties have passed the administrative verification and will advance to the process of factual verification, Arief Budiman, KPU chairman, noted.
         The two political parties that failed are Berkarya and Garuda. The 12 parties that passed include Perindo, Solidaritas Indonesia (PSI), Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) for Struggle, Hanura, Nasdem, PAN, PKS, Gerindra, Golkar, PPP, Democratic Party, and PKB.
          The factual verification process to check the existence of the party officers and 30 percent allocation for women's representatives in the parties' organizations began on Dec 15, 2017.
  For the 10 old political parties, the factual verification was carried out only in North Kalimantan and five new districts in Southeast Sulawesi.    

Senin, 25 Desember 2017

CHRISTMAS SPREADS MESSAGE OF PEACE ACROSS INDONESIA by Fardah

Jakarta, Dec 25, 2017 (Antara) - Some 25 million Indonesian Christians, constituting 10 percent of the Muslim-majority country's population, celebrated Christmas by spreading a message of peace not only in Indonesia but also all over the world.
         Speaking at the largest and oldest Catholic Cathedral, located in central Jakarta, on Dec 25, the Conference of Indonesian Bishops (KWI) has called on all Christians to maintain peace during Christmas 2017.
         The theme for Christmas celebration at the Cathedral Church was "Diversity Starts from Home."
    "We long for an Earth, which is full of peace, and human beings, among whom the spirit of brotherhood grows stronger. This Christmas offers the momentum to renew personal or common life together," Mgr Ingatius Suharyo, the KWI chairman, noted at the Cathedral Church, which is located next to Istiqlal Grand Mosque.
         The call for peace is based on the current condition in the community, as many people are harboring concerns over the recent threat to Indonesia's unity due to stiff political competition by those using all means possible, including those running counter to the Pancasila state ideology, according to Suharyo.
         "Our country's wish to create peace and prosperity has become difficult to realize," he pointed out.
         Religions have called on the people to maintain peace with fellow faith followers and all creatures created by God, he remarked.

VILLAGERS IN PAPUA, WEST PAPUA RECEIVE SPECIAL GIFT FOR CHRISTMAS by Fardah

   Jakarta, Dec 25, 2017 (Antara) - President Joko Widodo recently delivered a special Christmas gift by inaugurating an electricity distribution network for the inhabitants of 74 villages in the provinces of Papua and West Papua, whose majority population are Christians.
          In celebrating Christmas this year, for the first time, the residents of Papua and West Papua were able to adorn their Christmas trees with colorful lamps, as state electricity company (PLN) has supplied electricity to 74 additional villages in the two provinces.  
     The 74 villages are part of the 191 villages in Papua and West Papua to which PLN will supply electricity.
          "This is a special gift for the people in remote villages in Papua and West Papua from PLN," Ahmad Rofik, the business director for Maluku and Papua regions, noted in a press release on December 19, 2017.
          During the inauguration of the Nabire Power Plant in Papua Province on Dec 20, President Widodo stated that three thousand villages in Indonesia are yet to have access to power networks, and two thousands of them are in Papua.
          "I have ordered the ministry and PLN, so next year, all of them would have received power," the president remarked.
           Despite the high cost of construction in Papua, the government is committed to building infrastructure in Papua, including the power lines, to realize social welfare, Widodo remarked.  
    The government will fulfill the electricity needs of Papua's residents by utilizing solar cells and PLN's power lines.

Sabtu, 23 Desember 2017

BALI RETURNS TO NORMAL FOLLOWING MOUNT AGUNG ERUPTION by Fardah

Jakarta, Dec 23, 2017 (Antara) - Bali Island has returned to normal after the eruption of Mount Agung, which affected the tourism industry in the one of the world's most famous tourist resorts.
         Before the volcano eruption, Bali received some 15 thousand foreign tourists daily, and during the natural disaster, it dropped to 2 thousand foreign tourist arrivals. Currently, it has increased to 12,300 foreign tourists, or around 80 percent of the normal number.
         The Indonesian Government will carry out a major international tourism promotion to assure the world on the safety for tourist visiting Bali.
         Tourism Minister Arief Yahya stated that the government has given Rp100 billion to the Governor of Bali Province for the promotion.
         Besides, the Tourism Ministry and the Transportation Ministry have discussed plans to improve transportation services for tourists.
         President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and Vice President M Jusuf Kalla on Dec 22 chaired a limited cabinet meeting in Bali to assure the world on the safety of Bali and its readiness to receive as many tourists as possible.
         Following the meeting, the government also declared that it had revoked an emergency status of Mount Agung, which is now quite calm.
         The government opined that the emergency status had scared many foreign countries, prompting them to issue a travel warning, travel advisory, or even travel ban, which are unnecessary because most parts of Bali remain safe and unaffected by the eruptions.

Jumat, 22 Desember 2017

GOLKAR REMAINS COMMITTED TO SUPPORTING JOKOWI by Fardah

Jakarta, Dec 22, 2017 (Antara) - In its extraordinary national congress on Dec 20, 2017, the Golkar Party unanimously appointed Airlangga Hartarto, Industry Minister, as its new general chairman to replace Setya Novanto, who has resigned although his term will end only in 2019.       
    The congress has decided that Hartarto will hold the top post until 2019. His term could be extended during a national leadership meeting.
         The extraordinary congress was held because Novanto is a suspect in a corruption case and is being detained in the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK)'s prison cell.
         In the congress, Golkar also reaffirmed the party's commitment to supporting the current administration of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), who is from the Indonesian Democratic Party for Struggle (PDIP), a stance that has been upheld since the chairmanship of Novanto.
         Jokowi will contest the 2019 presidential election for his second term in office.  
    Golkar Party's re-declaration of support to Jokowi, as a presidential candidate in the 2019 election, is important to demonstrate Golkar's commitment to supporting Jokowi's government and his candidacy in the 2019 presidential election.
         "Despite a change in leadership in the Golkar Party, the commitment to support President Jokowi's government for two terms has not changed," Hartarto emphasized.
         The party's provincial and district or municipality chapters, as well as its 10 mass organizations, support Jokowi, Hartarto stated recently.
         Denying any frictions in the party, Hartarto remarked that it is a regular practice for senior politicians of Golkar to have their "own cadres," but the party stands united in lending support to President Jokowi.  

Rabu, 20 Desember 2017

TOUR DE INDONESIA TO HELP PROMOTE ASIAN GAMES 2018 by Fardah

 Jakarta, Dec 20, 2017 (Antara) - The Tour de Indonesia (TdI), themed "The Ultimate Race is Back," is a quadrennial international cycling and tourism event to be held early next year.  
  Since last being organized in 2011, the TdI has been revived again by the Indonesian Cycling Federation (PB ISSI) following the Union Cycliste Internationale's (UCI's) decision to upgrade its level from 2.2 to 2.1.
        The upcoming TdI will be organized on January 25-28, 2018, and its official launch was held in Jakarta on December 11, 2017.
       In addition to promoting Indonesia's tourism, the Borobudur-Bali TdI 2018 will help to promote the implementation of the Asian Games and Para Games 2018.          
    "We have lent support. We hope the two major sports events would have synergy with other sporting events," Raja Sapta Oktohari, the PB ISSI chairman, stated, recently.
        Logos and banners of the 18th Asian Games and Para Games will be put up at every venue of the TdI.
        This will be the second time that Indonesia will host the Asian Games, with the first one being held in Jakarta in 1962.
         Some 9,500 athletes; 2,500 personnel of the Asian Olympic Council; and 5,500 technical delegates from 45 countries will participate or be involved in the Asian Games, which will be co-hosted by Jakarta and Palembang in South Sumatra Province from Aug 18 to Sept 2, next year.
        At least 3,500 media representatives are expected to cover the games.
        Furthermore, Indonesia's national cycling team, being trained for the Asian Games 2018, will be tested during the TdI.

Senin, 18 Desember 2017

News Focus - INDONESIA UNITES FOR PALESTINE by Fardah

Jakarta, Dec 19, 2017 (Antara) - Rallies against the decision of the US administration to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel have been frequently held in several regions in Indonesia, and the largest one was being the one held in Jakarta on Dec 17, 2017.
            Fully supported by the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the Jakarta rally dubbed "Indonesia Unites For Palestine" or #Aksi1712 (#Action1712) wished to become the largest pro-Palestine rally in the world on that day, but similar major rallies, or even larger, were also held in other countries, particularly in Jordan and Pakistan.      
   The pro-Palestine rally was attended by members of many Muslim mass organizations, including Indonesia's largest Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and second largest Muhammadiyah.
         Among prominent figures present in the rally were Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, former sports and youth affairs minister Adhyaksa Dault, noted poet Taufik Islmail, West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan, and politicians like Hidayat Nur Wahid, Fadli Zon and Fachri Hamzah, as well as prominent ulemas like Bachtiar Nasir, Abdullah Gymnastiar and Zaitun Rasmin. 
    A day prior to the rally, Ma'ruf Amin, MUI Chairman, hoped that some two to five million people would join the gathering. On Dec 17, the National Monument (Monas) area was full. But no body came up with an exact number of the participants of the rally. 
    Spokesman of the Jakarta Police Senior Commissioner Argo Yuwono said the number of the rally participants was recorded at 80,000. Head of the Central Jakarta Police Senior Commissioner Roma Hutajulu estimated the number was some 200 thousand.
         Commissioner General Syafruddin, deputy chief of the National Police (Polri) said he expressed appreciation to more than 100 thousand participants who joined the rally peacefully and orderly. General Tito Karnavian, in Nov 2016, said the National Monument (Monas) area could accommodate some 600-700 thousand people.    

Sabtu, 16 Desember 2017

MEDIA PLAYS IMPORTANT ROLE IN SUCCESS OF ASIAN GAMES 2018 by Fardah

Jakarta, Dec 16, 2017 (Antara) - After more than five decades, the Asian Games will finally return to Indonesia's capital city of Jakarta, a metropolitan hosting more than 12 million people during the work week.
        Next year, the 18th Asian Games will be co-hosted by Jakarta and Palembang, South Sumatra Province, from Aug 18 to Sept 2. The first and last time Indonesia hosted the Asian Games was in 1962.  
   Some 9,500 athletes, 2,500 personnel of the Asian Olympic Council, and 5,500 technical delegates from 45 countries will participate or be involved in the event. At least 3,500 media representatives are expected to cover it.
        A total of 40 sports, comprising 462 events of 32 Olympic sports and eight non-Olympic sports, will be competed in during the 18th Asian Games.
        For many Indonesians, the largest regional sports event in Asia will be a chance to showcase the country's sporting and economic success. 
    To help promote Indonesia's success stories in general and the implementation of the Games in particular, the government will, among other things, rely on the media, both national and international.   
    Government public relations services across the country and community information groups have expressed readiness to make the four-yearly event a success through traditional, print, electronic, and social media.

JERUSALEM FOREVER BELONGS TO PALESTINE by Fardah

  Jakarta, Dec 16, 2017 (Antara) - Meet Dr Norman Gary Finkelstein, 64, an American political scientist, activist, professor, author, and Jewish.
         His primary fields of research are the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the politics of the Holocaust, an interest motivated by the experiences of his parents who were Jewish Holocaust survivors.
         Finkelstein, who is one of the most courageous Judaics in the world and has been a real thorn in the side of the Zionist machine, has an answer to Christians and Jews who refer to the Bible as their base for their claim over Palestinian land.
         "If I came with a Bible in one hand and came to your home, I knocked on your door and said 'according to my Bible, my family lived where your home is, my family lived there two thousand years ago,' would you pack up your bags and leave?" Finkelstein asked a Zionist Israeli, who claimed that he and his parents just followed the Bible as a guide to claim Palestinian land as their ancestor's land.
    Having been decisively anti-war and an ardent defender of First Amendment rights to free speech, he has called Israel a "lunatic state" and asked, "Why should these Palestinians, who have lived in Jerusalem for hundreds of years, be evicted from their homes so that Jews from Brooklyn can live in them?"
    Jerusalem is the Holy Land for three major religions, namely Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.

Jumat, 15 Desember 2017

JAKARTA INTENSIFIES PROMOTION ACTIVITIES OF ASIAN GAMES 2018 by Fardah

Jakarta, Dec 15, 2017 (Antara) - In less than a year, the 18th Asian Games will be organized in Jakarta and the South Sumatran provincial capital of Palembang, with the participation of thousands of athletes from 45 Asian nations.
         The Asian Games 2018 is the most important event in Jakarta next year, so promotion efforts are being intensified by raising more advertising banners in public areas.
         Some 9,500 athletes, 2,500 personnel of the Asian Olympic Council, and 5,500 technical delegates from 45 countries will participate or be involved in the event. At least 3,500 media representatives are expected to cover it.
         As the co-host of the largest regional sports event in Asia, Jakarta hopes that every Jakartan is aware and proud of the Asian Games, which will run from Aug 18 to Sept 2, 2018.     
    Deputy Governor of Jakarta Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno has instructed his subordinates to promote the Games next year in residential areas of the capital city.
         "We have ordered the provincial administration's apparatus, including those operating at the neighborhood level, to promote the Asian Games," Uno told reporters on Dec 12.
          Intensified promotion is necessary because not every inhabitant of Jakarta is aware of the Asian Games, according to Uno.
          "Based on the monthly survey we conducted, only the middle and upper class are aware of the Asian Games, while the lower-middle class and working class have not felt the impact of the Asian Games," he revealed.
          Ratiyono, head of the Jakarta youth affairs and sports office, confirmed on Dec 13 that the provincial administration would step up promotional efforts in accordance with the governor's instructions. "We are intensifying the promotion of the Asian Games 2018, in cooperation with the Indonesian Asian Games Organizing Committee (INASGOC)," he said.

Selasa, 12 Desember 2017

HUNT ON FOR NEW GOLKAR CHAIRMAN, HOUSE SPEAKER by Fardah

Jakarta, Dec 12, 2017 (Antara) - Setya Novanto, senior Golkar politician, has resigned from his position as the Speaker of the House of Representatives (DPR) for the second time.
         The first time that he had given up his top post in the parliament was over the "Papa asks for share" case on Dec 16, 2015.        
  Vowing to support the Joko Widodo (Jokowi) administration, Novanto won the position as Golkar chairman on May 17, 2016, replacing Aburizal Bakrie, who stepped down to end an internal conflict within Golkar.
          At that time, Golkar had leadership split between Bakrie, who declared to be outside the government and played a check and balance role, and Agung Laksono, who was in favor of the Jokowi government.
         After holding the Golkar chairmanship, Novanto was reinstated as the House Speaker on Nov 30 2016, because he was not proven guilty in the scandal concerning Freeport shares.
         Being currently temporarily detained by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) over a graft case, Novanto recently sent a letter to again resign as the Parliament chairman.
         Sarifuddin Sudding, deputy chairman of the House's Ethics Committee (MKD), told the media about the resignation of Novanto on Dec 11, 2017.
        The leadership of the House of Representatives received two letters from Novanto, respectively, on Dec 4 and 6.
         In another letter, Novanto appointed Syamsuddin as the House Speaker, Sudding noted on Dec 11.
         A least 60 members of the Golkar Party faction in DPR, however, signed a petition rejecting the appointment of Syamsuddin by Novanto.

Jumat, 08 Desember 2017

INDONESIANS HOLD RALLIES TO PROTEST TRUMP'S JERUSALEM DECISION by Fardah

Jakarta, Dec 8, 2017 (Antara) - Joining "the day of rage" called in by various Muslim-majority countries, Muslims in Indonesia held peaceful rallies in several regions, such as in Jakarta, Surabaya (East Java Province), Aceh Darussalam Province, Yogyakarta, Makassar (South Sulawesi Province), Semarang (Central Java Province), and Bengkulu, after performing their Friday prayers on Dec 8, 2017.
           US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and to relocate the US embassy to Al Quds (Jerusalem in Arabic) has triggered condemnations from various parties, including President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), Parliament, and Ulemas in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation.  
   "Indonesia strongly condemns the US' unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and urges it to reconsider the decision," Jokowi told the press at the Bogor Presidential Palace, West Java, on Dec 7, 2017.
          In Istiqlal (Freedom) Grand Mosque in Jakarta, the Friday prayer sermon on Dec 8. was dedicated to the Palestinian people's struggle for independence, particularly to Jerusalem, and called for Muslim solidarity and unity to fight for the liberation of the Holy Land from the colonization of Israel.
          Several hundred people congregated outside the US Embassy in Jakarta during a peaceful rally held as a mark of protest following US President Donald Trump's statement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
         Bearing the flags of Islamic community organizations and banners reading "Trump is enemy of humanity" and "Jerusalem will never belong to Israel," several hundred people staged a peaceful protest to express their support for the Palestinian people following the US' move on Jerusalem.
             "Trump's decision has violated international laws and could endanger the peace process in Palestine," Agus Sudarmaji, a spokesperson of the Al-Aqsa Working Group, remarked during the rally in front of the US embassy in Jakarta.
           As a leader of a superpower, Trump has lost his mind, Sudarmaji asserted.

Kamis, 07 Desember 2017

INDONESIA SEEKS TO ENSURE SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION OF DEMOCRACY THROUGH BDF by Fardah

Jakarta, Dec 7 , 2017 (Antara) - The Bali Democracy Forum (BDF), initiated by Indonesia in 2008, is an annual, inclusive, and open intergovernmental forum on the development of democracy in the Asia Pacific region.
        BDF is aimed to promote and foster regional and international cooperation in the field of peace and democracy through dialogue based on sharing experiences and best practices that adhere to the principle of equality, mutual respect and understanding, with the participating countries sharing its ownership.
        Indonesia believes that democracy is a key element in the promotion of peace and stability in the region. Many nations in the region accept that universality of democratic values, such as respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and a shared adherence to these values, should help consolidate peace, stability and prosperity in the region.
         After a decade of the forum's existence, Indonesia has chosen "Does Democracy Deliver?" as the theme of the 10th BDF held in Serpong, Banten, on Dec 7 and 8, 2017, in order to find out whether democracy has been successfully implemented.
         BDF is usually held in Indonesia's famous resort island of Bali, but the current forum has been moved to Banten Province, because of the ongoing eruptions of Mount Agung, which forced temporary closure of I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar last week.
         Indonesian Vice President M. Jusuf Kalla officially opened the 10th BDF, in which 103 delegations from 96 countries and seven international organizations are participating, on Dec 7.  
  Among the participants are Nauru President Baron Divavesi Waqa, 14 ministers, and 11 deputy ministers, while the rest include director generals and other senior officials.

INDONESIA CONDEMNS TRUMP'S DECISION ON JERUSALEM by Fardah

 Jakarta, Dec 8, 2017 (Antara) - US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel capital and to relocate the US embassy to Al Quds (Jerusalem in Arabic) has triggered condemnations from various parties, including  the Head of State, Parliament, and Ulemas, in Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim population nation.
         President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has voiced Indonesia's strong condemnation of the unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital by the US and has called for a UN meeting to discuss the matter.
        The US should reconsider the decision, as it has violated various resolutions issued by the UN Security Council and General Assembly, Jokowi said at the Bogor Palace, Dec 7.
        "This could disrupt world peace and stability," he stated.
         Jokowi reaffirmed that he and the Indonesian people remain consistent in standing with the Palestinians in the struggle for independence and fulfillment of their rights, which are in line with the Preamble of Indonesia's 1945 Constitution.
         The president said he has urged Foreign Minister Retno L. P. Marsudi to call the US ambassador to Indonesia to convey Indonesia's stance.
         The Indonesian government has communicated with several member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
        "It is clear that the OIC has decided to immediately convene, and I will attend the OIC Assembly," he stated.
          Jokowi noted that the OIC Assembly is planned to be held in Istanbul, Turkey, on Dec 13.
         Minister Marsudi earlier remarked that Indonesia had condemned the announcement made by US President Trump on Jerusalem.
         "We condemn this recognition. Democracy means respecting international laws. Thus, the recognition disrespects various resolutions of the UN Security Council," she pointed out.

Rabu, 06 Desember 2017

INDONESIA OPPOSES CHANGE IN STATUS OF JERUSALEM by Fardah

Jakarta, Dec 6, 2017 (Antara) - A plan by US President Donald Trump to relocate the US embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has triggered strong objections from a number of countries, including Indonesia, and regional organizations such as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
         Opposing the plan, Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi stated in Jakarta on Dec 4, 2017, that any move by the US to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital will endanger the peace process in Palestine.
         "Indonesia has clearly expressed its deep concern over the issue. Any change in the status of Jerusalem will jeopardize the peace process and peace itself," Marsudi said.  
    On Dec 3, Marsudi spoke to the US ambassador to Indonesia and conveyed to the envoy that the US leadership must resolve the Palestine issue with discretion.
         However, the US ambassador informed that Trump was yet to take a final decision on this matter.
         On the same day, the Committee of Permanent Representatives of OIC member states held a meeting in Jeddah and issued a final communiqué.
         The communiqué called upon all states to abide by the resolution of international legality on the city of Al-Quds, which is an integral part of the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967, Marsudi remarked.
         "The message of Indonesia is very clear. The message of the OIC is also very clear," Marsudi noted.
         She called on the international community to unite in their efforts to assist the Palestinian people in their endeavor to realize the status of a fully independent country.
         Indonesia is a strong supporter of the two-state solution and creation of an independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital living side-by-side with Israel, Marsudi remarked during the commemoration of International Day of Solidarity with the Palestine People in Jakarta on Nov 30, 2017.
         Ambassador Designate of the State of Palestine to Indonesia, Zuhair al Shun, noted that the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital will be a radical change in its traditional position on the issue of Jerusalem and demanded "immediate and quick action before it is too late."
    "We hope that the peace process will continue and the situation in Jerusalem will be sorted soon within the framework of the two-state solution," al Shun remarked.

Selasa, 05 Desember 2017

IMPROVING WELFARE OF INDONESIAN TEACHERS by Fardah

 Jakarta, Dec 5, 2017 (Antara) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) led a ceremony to celebrate National Teachers' Day and the Association of Indonesian Teachers' (PGRI's) 72nd Anniversary at the Patriot Candrabhaga Stadium in Bekasi, West Java, on December 2, 2017.
         During the celebration attended by nearly 40 thousand people, the head of state greeted and reverently paid tribute to all teachers of Indonesia by bowing down in front of tens of thousands of teachers present at the event.
          President Jokowi has stated that the teachers' quality must be offset with their welfare.
          "Of course, their welfare must be improved in line with the ability of the state; hence, I request that the (teachers') certification process be implemented properly. I also call for the timely payment of the appropriate professional allowances for teachers who have been certified," Jokowi stated.
          The president further noted that he will monitor the entire process of disbursement of allowances to teachers, who have been allocated by the government.
          The second point included in the president's directive is the simplification of administrative affairs that have posed a barrier to teachers.
          "I entrust the minister of education and culture, minister of state apparatuses and administration reform, governors, district heads, and mayors to deal with the issue. If public service is better, open, and transparent, then the system of governance of teachers working at the central and local levels can also become faster, more effective, and efficient," the president remarked.
          The head of state then pointed out that the government will overcome the shortage of teachers in stages in line with the government's ability.
          The president also remarked that while appointing teachers, the government will prioritize meritocracy and those having devoted a long period of time in teaching as a career.

Senin, 04 Desember 2017

INDONESIA FACES SEVERE WEATHER WARNING by Fardah

Jakarta, Dec 4, 2017(Antara)- Severe weather has hit several regions in Indonesia, triggering hydrological natural disasters, such as floods, landslides, huge sea waves, and strong winds, that have affected thousands of people during the current rainy season.
         Cyclones, which are quite rare in the country, have also built up lately, with Cempaka and Dahlia cyclones becoming the famous ones.
         Several provinces that have been hit by natural disasters include Aceh Darussalam, Yogyakarta, East Java, Central Java, West Java, North Sumatra, Batam, West Sumatra, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, North Kalimantan, Central Sulawesi, West Nusa Tenggara, and Riau.
         Few of those regions, such as Yogyakarta, East Lombok, Pekalongan Sidoarjo, and Kulon Progo, have declared emergency alert status because of the hydrological natural disasters.
         Karangasem District in Bali Province has also declared an emergency status due to eruptions of Mount Agung, forcing thousands of people to evacuate to safer places.
         On Nov 28, the Yogyakarta Special Autonomous Provincial Administration has declared an emergency alert status following natural disasters, such as floods, landslides, and whirlwinds, which hit Bantul and Kulon Progo.
         The National Meteorological, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency had reported that extreme weather will continue for three days, but Yogyakarta has declared an emergency status for two weeks, Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X, the governor of Yogyakarta, has stated.
         The decision to declare the emergency status was taken during a coordination meeting on disaster mitigation, attended by officials of the Yogyakarta disaster mitigation office.

Sabtu, 02 Desember 2017

SAIL SABANG TO HELP MATERIALIZE YACHT DESTINATION DREAM by Fardah

Jakarta, Dec 2, 2017 (Antara) - Sabang coastal town, located on Indonesia's western most island of Weh, is known for its beautiful marine panorama.
         Sabang has become a favorite place for marine tourism lovers for performing various activities, such as diving, snorkeling, fishing, sun-bathing, and visiting interesting spots.
         Weh Island is very exotic and romantic, as it is surrounded by a number of small islets. Besides, its strategic location, Weh Island, located between the Indian Ocean and the Malacca Strait, is easily accessible by both domestic and foreign tourists.
         Therefore, many parties have called for making Sabang a tourism icon of Aceh Province, and even of the country.
         Sail Sabang, held from Nov 28 to Dec 5, 2017, is expected to help materialize a dream of turning Sabang into a world-class yacht destination. 
    The peak event of Sail Sabang was inaugurated by Vice President M Jusuf Kalla in Sabang on Dec 2, 2017.

         Kalla has reminded inhabitants of Weh Island in Aceh Province that friendliness and good services remain key to lure tourists.
         He lauded the implementation of Sail Sabang, which focuses on the development of tourist destinations.
         Indonesia is blessed with scenic maritime areas, and the government and the Tourism Ministry should promote them, he stated.
         "The ministry should spread good information. People must visit the places out of curiosity and not just to enjoy the beaches," he remarked.