Kamis, 18 Oktober 2018

PROLONGED DROUGHT TRIGGERS WILDFIRES ON MOUNTAINS IN JAVA by Fardah

  Jakarta, Oct 18, 2018 (Antara) - Some parts of Indonesia's regions have entered the rainy season, while several others, such as Java and Nusa Tenggara Islands, are experiencing prolonged severe dry season, causing drought, water shortages, and also wildfires.
         On Java Island, the prolonged dry season has triggered wildfires in forest areas located on the slopes of several mountains in Central, East, and West Java Provinces.
         Among the mountains hit by wildfires were Mount Merbabu, Mount Sumbing, Mount Slamet, and Mount Sindoro in Central Java Province; Mount Argopuro and Mount Sadran in East Java Province; Mount Ciremai in West Java Province; and Mount Lawu located in the border of the provinces of Central and East Java.
         Fortunately, vigilant local authorities, supported by volunteers, have managed to control and finally extinguish the wildfires in a relatively short period of time.
         In Mount Merbabu, two fires gutted two different forest areas located respectively in Boyolali District and Semarang District.
        The wildfire that ravaged part of a forest area on the slope located in Boyolali District was put out on Oct 12, 2018 by a joint team comprising military and police officers as well as volunteers.
         Another fire, however, broke out in an area located in Semarang District and razed a forest area measuring 400 hectares. 
   Some 100 people were deployed to put out the fire, according to Edy Sutiyarto, head of the Mount Merbabu National Park Office.

FLOODS STRIKE SUMATRA AS RAINY SEASON BEGINS by Fardah

Jakarta, Oct 18, 2018 (Antara)- Rainy season has begun in some parts of Indonesia, particularly on Sumatra Island, but the dry season has continued in other regions, such as on Java Island and East Nusa Tenggara.
        Such a weather phenomenon is quite normal in Indonesia, as the country is prone to hydrometeorological disasters, such as flooding in rainy season and wildfires or severe drought during the dry season.
          In East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), for instance, 11 districts have been hit by the severe dry season. The districts, which include East Manggarai, Nagekeo, Ende, Lembata, East Sumba, Rote Ndao, Kupang, North Timor Tengah, Malaka, and Belu, have received no rains for more than two months.
   In Central, East and West Java Provinces, wildfires, triggered by severe dry weather, hit forest areas on at least nine mountains, but local authorities managed to extinguish the blazes.
         Among the affected mountains were Mount Merbabu, Mount Sumbing, Mount Slamet, and Mount Sindoro in Central Java Province; Mount Argopuro and Mount Sadran in East Java Province; Mount Ciremai in West Java Province; and Mount Lawu located on the border of the provinces of Central and East Java.
         On Sumatra Islands, however, floods triggered by incessant downpours have inundated several provinces, including Aceh, North Sumatra, West Sumatra and Riau.
         In Langkat, North Sumatra, floods submerged rice fields measuring 118 hectares in Stabat and Binjai Sub-districts, while Sei Blengking river spilled over its bank, said Miswandi, a local agriculture officer.
         Additionally, seven hectares of corn fields, located in Banyumas and Kwala Bingei villages in Stabat, were also flooded.
        The local agriculture office has deployed several officers to monitor the conditions of flood-affected farming areas in Langkat, and to help local farmers.

Sabtu, 13 Oktober 2018

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION CRUCIAL TO DEAL WITH CYBERATTACKS by Fardah

  Jakarta, Oct 13, 2018 (Antara) - Effective cybersecurity reduces the risks of cyberattacks and protects companies, organizations, and individuals from the deliberate exploitation of systems, networks, and technologies.
        As cyberattacks tend to increase worldwide, vulnerability of information technology must be given special attention, as its risks could affect million of internet users, individuals, and businesses as well as harm the national economy.
         To discuss cybersecurity issues, the National Cyber and Encryption Agency (BSSN) of Indonesia organized the fourth CodeBali cyber security conference in Bali on October 9-12, 2018.
        This year, CodeBali, held for the first time in 2015, was themed "Cyber Security Solutions for The Emerging Threat: Protection in Critical Information Infrastructure and IoT Word."
   IT experts, government and private institution officials, researchers, and students majoring in IT participated in the international conference.
       Technological progress of Internet of Things (IoT) could deliver various positive outcomes, particularly in supporting the development of national critical infrastructure information (IIKN) and the national economic growth, according to BSSN Chairman Djoko Setiadi.
       Through CodeBali 2018, the agency has urged stronger cooperation, synergy, and collaboration in cybersecurity.
       The event was aimed at unifying capabilities of experts and youngsters from several Asian countries to deal with massive cyberattacks.
         "This event is significant, as cybercrimes not only take place in Indonesia but also in other parts of the world," he noted in his opening remarks.

Jumat, 05 Oktober 2018

INDONESIA PLEASED TO WITNESS RISE IN CHINESE TOURIST SPENDING by Fardah

Jakarta, Oct 5, 2018 (Antara) - China has overtaken Australia in contributing the largest number of foreign tourists to Indonesia, and Chinese tourist spending too has increased.
           Every Chinese tourist, on an average, spends about US$1,000 in Indonesia per visit, with the length of stay averaging five days.
           Chinese tourists have become an increasingly lucrative segment for Indonesia. Earlier, their spending averaged only US$700-$800 each per visit, but now, they have become bigger spenders.
           Some 200 thousand Chinese visit Indonesia per month, Vincent Jemadu, director of Great China Promotion of the Tourism Ministry, stated on September 25, 2018.
          The best seller among Indonesian tour packages in China is that for five days, inclusive of flights.
           The Tourism Ministry has set this year's target for Chinese tourist arrivals at 2.6 million.
           The Tourism Ministry is optimistic of the target of 2.6 million visits being achieved this year.
         Some 1.5 million visits by Chinese tourists to Indonesia have already been recorded in the first eight months of the year. 
      During the 2016-2017 period, Chinese tourists were recorded as the largest group of foreign travelers visiting Indonesia, outnumbering Australian visitors and those from Singapore and Malaysia.
           However, the target to draw more Chinese tourists to Indonesia faces a roadblock, with only limited number of Mandarin speaking guides in the country.
           Some 40 percent of the Chinese tourists arriving in the country flew in directly to Bali, 30 percent entered the country via Jakarta, and 20 percent via the Riau Islands.
           However, lately, a sharp increase has been recorded in the number of Chinese tourists entering the country via Manado, North Sulawesi.

Selasa, 02 Oktober 2018

WORLD LEADERS EXTEND SYMPATHIES OVER DEADLY SULAWESI EARTHQUAKE by Fardah

Jakarta, Oct 2, 2018 (Antara) - Indonesia is not alone in grieving over the devastation caused by a deadly earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit several districts in Central Sulawesi Province on September 28, 2018.
         Several world leaders have expressed sympathies and condolences over at least 1,234 deaths, 799 injured, 99 missing, and nearly 60 thousand displaced people in Central Sulawesi. Some of the leaders have also offered assistance.
        Among the world leaders are US President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, United Arab Emirates President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
        "It sends across a strong message that we are not alone in these difficult times," President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) wrote on his Facebook account, according to information on the Cabinet Secretary's official website on October 2, 2018.
        Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Wiranto revealed that 18 countries -- the United States, France, Czech, Switzerland, Norway, Hungary, Turkey, the European Union (EU), Australia, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, India, and China -- have pledged help.

Sabtu, 29 September 2018

FIFTH OUR OCEAN CONFERENCE TO ENSURE SUSTAINABLE LEGACY by Fardah

          Jakarta, Sept 29, 2018 (Antara) - Aspiring to become a global maritime axis, Indonesia, with 140 million citizens, including 2.6 million fishermen earning a livelihood from marine and coastal ecosystems, believes its future depends on oceans as two-thirds territory is water.      
     In fact, life on Earth depends on the ocean. A healthy ocean is central to human well-being. The ocean feeds billions of people, employs millions of workers, and generates trillions of dollars to the world economy.
          Lying between the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean, Indonesia is one of the world's largest maritime countries, with some 5.8 million square kilometers of marine territory.
          The country is entrusted to host the fifth Our Ocean Conference (OOC) to be organized in Nusa Dua, Bali, on October 29, 30, 2018.
          This year's OOC is themed "Our Ocean, Our Legacy," as it reflects choices and actions to maintain the sustainability of the oceans' resources and to preserve the ocean's health, as a heritage presented for the children and grandchildren.
          People have an option to choose the kind of legacy they will leave for the future generations; and that choice depends on the actions they take today.
          The oceans carry not only living artifacts and history but also the promise of the people's future. Its undulating vastness holds the key to economic growth, food security resources, as well as solution to curb the impact of climate change.
          However, the oceans are under immense pressure due to adverse impact of human activities. Marine pollution, bleaching coral reefs, raising sea temperature, and unsustainable fishing continue to occur. Indirect threat to the oceans also uncloaked with the recent findings on human trafficking in fishing operations, wildlife trafficking, as well as arms and drugs smuggling.

INDONESIA HOPES TO EMULATE ASIAD SUCCESS IN ASIAN PARA GAMES by Fardah

     Jakarta, Sept 29 (Antara) -    Many international media and several world leaders lauded the smooth and well-organized implementation of the 18th Asian Games held simultaneously in two cities, namely in Jakarta on western Java Island and Palembang in South Sumatra, from Aug 18 to Sept 2, 2018.
          Indonesia successfully held spectacular opening and closing ceremonies of the Asian Games. Most importantly, the Games were organized smoothly without any serious problems, including in terms of security.
           The sport fiesta does not stop with the Asiad 2018 alone as it will be followed by the third Asian Para Games, which will take place in Jakarta from Oct 6 to 13, 2018.
          The Indonesian government hopes to emulate the success achieved during the Asian Games in the upcoming largest multi-sport event for athletes with disability in Asia.
          One of the many factors that make the Asiad a successful event is the support from the public. Therefore, the government has been intensifying the promotion of the Asian Para Games 2018 to make the public aware of it.
         Head of the Indonesia Asian Para Games 2018 Organizing Committee (INAPGOC), Raja Sapta Oktohari, recently reported to President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), during a closed-door meeting at the Bogor Presidential Palace, that the preparations for the implementation of the event were nearly complete.
        Jokowi told ministers and institutions to treat the second-largest multi-sporting event for the disabled after the Paralympic Games and the Asian Games.

Jumat, 28 September 2018

INDONESIA TO OFFER TOURISM INVESTMENT PROJECTS DURING IMF-WB MEETINGS by Fardah

   Jakarta, Sept 2018 (Antara) - The Indonesian government has pinned high hopes on the upcoming annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) to be held in Nusa Dua, Bali, on October 8-13, 2018.
       The host country will use the world's largest financial meeting to promote its tourist destinations and to attract investment in various fields, particularly in the tourism industry, among other things.   
    Hosting the IMF-WB Annual Meetings, Indonesia will be in the global spotlight and also gain immense benefits in various fields, including in economy, politics, banking, investment, and tourism.
          Themed "Voyage to Indonesia," this year's IMF-WB Annual Meetings will bring together some 19,800 participants and delegates, including finance ministers and central bank governors of 189 countries in "a journey to a new place of discovery."
    The tagline is selected, as Indonesia is the largest maritime country in the world and the center of the event where several countries in the world will anchor their ships.  
  Bank Indonesia has estimated that some 3.5 thousand to five thousand foreign investors will attend the IMF-WB Annual Meetings, which are viewed as offering a positive momentum to promote Indonesia's economic potentials to investors from around the world.
        The Indonesian government is planning to offer investment opportunity valued at US$42.2 billion, with total projects worth $86 billion, during the IMF-WB Annual Meetings 2018, State-Owned Enterprises Ministry's special staff member Sahala Lumban Gaol stated on September 17, 2018.
        Those offered projects will be compiled in a specific book of investment opportunities and be delivered to the investors attending the meeting.
         The book will provide complete information on investment-worthy projects, including some of which are publicly known, such as toll roads and power plants.

Senin, 24 September 2018

CORRECT VOTER LIST CRUCIAL FOR FAIR DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS by Fardah

  Jakarta, Sept 24, 2018 (Antara) - The campaign period kicked off in Indonesia, with the General Election Commission (KPU) organizing an event for the signing of a declaration pledging a peaceful campaign in Jakarta on September 23, 2018.
         The campaign period will last until April 13, 2019, for the presidential and legislative elections next year.
         The pledge to hold peaceful elections was declared by presidential hopefuls and their pairs, coalition parties' leaders, as well as legislative candidates simultaneously across Indonesia.
         Presidential and legislative elections will be organized directly, democratically, and simultaneously across Indonesia on April 17, 2019, which will be the fourth so far. Indonesia had, in fact, held its first elections since 1955, but it was not direct elections. 
    Next year's race will be a re-run of the bitter 2014 presidential election that showcased the country's divide, as Jokowi went head to head with Subianto.
         In the direct presidential election five years ago, Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and his running mate Jusuf Kalla had won 70,997,833 votes, or 53.15 percent of the total 133,574,277 valid votes, while their rivals Subianto-Hatta Rajasa secured 62,576,444 votes, or 46.85 percent.
         Jokowi has picked prominent ulema Ma'ruf Amin as his pair, while Prabowo Subianto has chosen successful and young businessman Sandiaga Uno as his running mate.

Rabu, 19 September 2018

BIGGER DREAM FOR TOUR DE SIAK by Fardah

Jakarta, Sept 19, 2018 (Antara) - The Siak district administration is currently organizing the Sixth Tour de Siak on September 18-21, 2018, with more ambitious plans for the sport tourism event in the future.
          The ambition is supported by the fact that the 2.2 cycling race, featuring the Men Elite category, has been recognized by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), which is the world governing body for sports cycling and oversees international competitive cycling events.
          Hence, the Riau provincial government has proposed the inclusion of Tour de Siak into the Wonderful Indonesia calendar of events.
          Riau had three tourism events -- Bakar Tongkang in Rokan Hilir District, Pacu Jalur in Kuantan Singingi, and Bono Surfing in Pelalawan -- that have so far been included in the national tourism calendar of events, according to Riau Governor Arsyadjuliandi Rachman.
          Another big plan for Tour de Siak is to extend its route up to Malacca, Malaysia.
          "Hopefully, next year, it would be materialized," the governor stated while expressing hope that in the long term, its route would also cover other regions in Riau.
          The Riau governor, accompanied by Siak District Head Syamsuar and Deputy Chairman of the Indonesian Cyclist Association Beni Subaggia, officially kicked off the Tour de Siak, on the evening of Sept 17.
          Earlier on the same day, hundreds of people participated in a fun bike organized to highlight the implementation of Tour de Siak.
          "The fun bike is part of a series of activities to kick off Tour de Siak 2018. It is aimed at giving an opportunity to the public to participate," Wan Saiful Efendi, spokesman of the Siak district administration, remarked.

Sabtu, 15 September 2018

PROLONGED DROUGHT TRIGGERS FOREST FIRES IN KALIMANTAN AND JAVA by Fardah

 Jakarta, Sept 15, 2018 (Antara) - The Indonesian government has been working all out to prevent forest fires over the last couple of years and been successful in drastically reducing hotspots and fires, particularly in Sumatra.    
    Lately, however, the country has been experiencing severe dry season that has induced forest fires on the islands of Java, Kalimantan, and Sumatra.
         The ongoing prolonged drought has caused water shortage in several regions, such as in the provinces of East Nusa Tenggara and West Java, and triggered fires in forest areas, particularly in West Kalimantan and Central Java.  
    In West Kalimantan, schools were recently closed, as forest fires produced smoke that could affect the health of students.
         The national disaster mitigation office has deployed four helicopters to help extinguish the fires.
         In Central Kalimantan, the East Kotawaringin district police recently named four suspects in land and forest fires in several areas in the district.
         Chief of the East Kotawaringin District Police Adjunct Chief Commissioner Mohammad Rommel remarked on September 11, 2018, that the police had investigated the cases of land fires in Ujung Pandaran, Samuda, Baamang, and Mentawa Baru Ketapang.
         The police are also investigating the case of large land fires in Mentaya Hilir Selatan District, he noted.
         In South Kalimantan, the local inhabitants are optimistic of rain falling again to disperse the haze of the smoke that had begun to blanket some areas in the province.
         The people in Banjarmasin and Banjarbaru as well as the surrounding areas recently breathed a sigh of relief after rainfall, lasting for two hours, cleared the air of haze.

AFTER ASIAD, PENCAK SILAT EXPECTED INCLUSION INTO UNESCO ICH LIST by Fardah

 Jakarta, Sept 15, 2018 (Antara) - Indonesia has delivered its best-ever achievement in the Asian Games history by ranking fourth in the medal tally, with 31 gold medals, nearly half of them from the pencak silat martial art.
        Indonesia won 14 out of the total 16 gold medals up for grabs in pencak silat also participated in by Malaysia, Japan, Brunei Darussalam, India, Nepal, Laos, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam, Chinese Taipei, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan in the 18th Asian Games co-hosted by the Indonesian capital city of Jakarta and Palembang from August 18 to September 2, 2018.
        Pencak silat debuted in the largest multi-sport event in Asia. This is because Indonesia had the privilege to propose pencak silat, its traditional martial art, in which it had hopes of winning gold. The country certainly did not miss the opportunity to make pencak silat as its "gold mine" in the Asiad.
        At the closing ceremony of the Asian Games 2018, dozens of performers, wearing white clothes and red headscarves, demonstrated the movements of pencak silat to spectators at the Bung Karno Main Stadium in Senayan, Jakarta.
        In the presence of rain that began in the afternoon, the performers displayed a variety of Indonesian martial arts movements, which included strikes, kicks, sweeping, and take down.
        Pencak silat is a traditional martial art that has played an important role since Indonesia's ancient history. West Sumatra and West Java are believed to be the origins of the sport, but it later spread across the country.

Kamis, 13 September 2018

INDONESIA RECORDS TWO SUCCESSES IN ASIAN GAMES 2018 by Fardah

   Jakarta, Sept 13, 2018 (Antara) - Having a chance to host the Asian Games for the second time after waiting for over 50 years, Indonesia did not want to miss the opportunities to show the world that the nation is capable of successfully organizing the largest sporting event in Asia and upgrading its rank in the Asiad's medal table.
            Many international media as well as several world leaders lauded the smooth and well-organized implementation of the 18th Asian Games held simultaneously in two cities, namely in Jakarta on western Java Island and Palembang in South Sumatra, from Aug 18 to Sept 2, 2018.
         Headlines of major media on the Games read "Asian Games Stir Indonesia's Pride, Boost Jokowi's Campaign", "Indonesia proved their credibility with a successful show at Asian Games", "Games-Hosts Indonesia bid emotional farewell to 18th Asiad," and "Asian Games close: Indonesia shows it's the 'Energy of Asia'".
        Besides, Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), during his state visit to South Korea on Sept 10,  received congratulations for successfully organizing the 2018 Asian Games.
        Ahmad Al Sabah Al Fahad, president of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), in his remarks during the closing ceremony of the Asian Games in Jakarta on Sept 2, 2018, lauded the Indonesian Government for successful organization of the Games and, in particular, the country's security authorities for maintaining safety during the Games.
       "I especially convey my appreciation to the security and traffic police who have worked hard (to overcome traffic jams) enabling athletes to come to the venue on time," Al Fahad stated.

Senin, 10 September 2018

INDONESIA BRACES FOR PROLONGED DROUGHT by Fardah

 Jakarta, Sept 10, 2018 (Antara) - Hydro-meteorological disasters have over many years dominated natural disasters in Indonesia, which is often flooded during rainy season and very dry and even extremely dry in certain regions during dry season.
         Located on the equator line and between Asia and Australia, Indonesia has only two seasons -- rain and dry. The dry season is usually between March and September, while rainy season between September and March.
         September is usually transitional period where rains begin to fall across the country. But, up to September 10 this year, many regions remain very dry as rains have not come for months.  
   Currently, drought hits some regions in Indonesia, especially on the islands of Java and Nusa Tenggara. The drought hit 4,053 villages in 888 sub-districts located in 111 districts and cities in 11 provinces.
        Some 4.87 million people in the country are affected by this year's drought, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).
        "The dry season is forecast to last until September 2018 and reach its peak during the August-September period. Those islands are hit by the drought almost every year," BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho noted on Sept 7, 2018.
        The drought has also affected the agriculture sector, as farmers had to spend additional funds of some Rp800 thousand to rent water pumps and buy diesel fuel to water their paddy fields.
         "Some farmers have modified their water pumps by replacing diesel oil with LPG and saved some Rp100 thousand to Rp150 thousand," he remarked.

Selasa, 28 Agustus 2018

INDONESIA GLORIOUS IN PENCAK SILAT DEBUT by Fardah

  Jakarta, Aug 28. 2018 (Antara) - Indonesia has clean swept all gold medals in eight finals of pencak silat, traditional martial arts originating from Indonesia, which is making its debut in the 18th Asian Games this year.
         The finals held in Pencak Silat Hall, which is located in the Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park (TMII), East Jakarta, on Aug 27, 2018, comprised women's individual arts, men's 85-90 kilograms, men's team arts, men's 50-55 kilograms class B, women's 50-55 kilograms class B, men's 55-60 kilograms class C, women's 55-60 kilograms class C, and men's 65-70 kilograms class E.
        Puspa Arumsari won the first gold medal for Indonesia in Pencak Silat in the 2018 Asian Games, after achieving the highest point in the women's single finals.
          Other Indonesian gold medalists include Yola Primadona Jampil and Hendy (in the men's doubles category), Nunu Nugraha, Asep Yuldan Sani, and Anggi Faisal Mubarok (in the men¿s arts team), Aji Bangkit Pamungkas (in the men¿s 85 kilograms), Adi Putra (in men's class E of 65-70 kilograms), Iqbal Candra Pratam (in men's D category of 60-65 kilograms), Sarah Tria Monita (in the women's C category of 55-60 kilograms), and Abdul Malik (in the men's B category of 50-55 kilograms).
         In one day, Aug 27, the national pencak silat athletes contributed eight gold medals, raising Indonesia¿s medal standings from rank fifth, with 14 gold medals on Aug 27 morning, to rank fourth, with 22 gold medals in the evening, beating Iran, which was previously in the fourth rank, in the Asian Games medal tally.
          Indonesia still has chances to win more gold medals in pencak silat in five final matches scheduled for Aug 28, also at Pencak Silat Hall, TMII, where Prabowo Subianto, chairman of the Indonesian Pencak Silat Association (IPSI), concurrently president of the International Pencak Silat Association (Persilat), is expected to be present during the matches. 
      ¿Alhamdulillah (Thank Allah), our athletes have made great achievements, thanks to their hard work. We are grateful that they could uphold the image of the nation," Subianto stated in Jakarta on Monday (Aug 27).
           Manager of Indonesia¿s pencak silat contingent, Edhy Prabowo, expressed his satisfaction over his team¿s achievement, which is double than the target set by IPSI as well as the government.
          ¿This is a surprise and is beyond our expectation. I thought we would have half of it, and another half tomorrow. But, Alhamdulillah, we have achieved it all already," Prabowo remarked.
         Since the beginning, Indonesia has been optimistic of winning gold medals in pencak silat in the eight finals of the Asian Games 2018.
         Indonesia's pencak silat athletes competing in the Asian Games 2018 are Komang Harik Adi Putra, Iqbal Candra Pratama, Abdul Malik, Wewey Wita, Pipiet Khamelia, Sarah Tria Monita, Hanifan Yudani Kusumah, and Aji Bangkit Pamungkas.
             Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, Brunei Darussalam, India, Nepal, Laos, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam, Chinese Taipei, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan are the 16 countries participating in pencak silat in the largest multi-sport event in Asia.
        Meanwhile, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has expressed his appreciation to the country's athletes for the remarkable achievement made so far in the current 18th Asian Games 2018.
             He wrote in his official Facebook account on Aug 27 evening that despite having still another week more for the Games to conclude, Indonesian athletes have been able to surpass the target of 16 gold medals.
            "Today, Indonesia has collected 22 gold, 15 silver, and 27 bronze medals," he noted.
             He added that most of the gold medals won on Monday were from pencak silat.
          "Most of the gold medals were won by pencak silat athletes at the Padepokan Pencak Silat Taman Mini Indonesia Indah venue today, reaching a total of eight medals," he noted.
         The president, in particular, expressed appreciation to a married couple who had contributed a gold medal each to the country.
         "Two gold medals were even won by Iqbal Candra Oratama and Sarah Tris Minifa, who are husband and wife. In addition, two gold medals were collected from men's and women's sport climbing event in Palembang," he remarked.
          He continued to motivate athletes to keep on fighting until the end of the Games to do their best for the country.
          "Efforts to collect medals must still continue. Our athletes will still fight at the sports venues to promote the name of the country," he pointed out.
         As of Aug 28 evening, Indonesia has achieved a total of 72 medals, comprising 24 gold medals, 19 silver medals, and 29 bronze medals, ranking fourth after China, Japan, and South Korea in the medal tally of the ongoing Asian Games.
          Being co-host by Jakarta and Palembang in South Sumatra Province from Aug 18 to Sept 2, 2018, the 18th Asian Games is being participated in by some 17 thousand athletes and officials from 45 member countries of Asia.  ***4***
(f001/INE)

Jumat, 17 Agustus 2018

ASIAN GAMES TORCH RELAY COMPLETES 18 THOUSAND KM-LONG JOURNEY by Fardah

Jakarta, Aug 17, 2018 (Antara) - The Asian Games 2018 torch relay has finally completed its one-month-long journey covering a total distance of 18 thousand kilometers and touring 53 cities and districts in 18 provinces across Indonesia.
        Arriving in Jakarta on August 15, the torch was handed over to President Joko Widodo at Merdeka State Palace on Aug 17, coinciding with the celebration of the 73rd anniversary of Indonesia's independence.
       Flanked by Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi, the President ran for a short distance to welcome the torch as it entered the gate of the palace and accepted it from Verawati Fajrin, a badminton legend from the 1980s.
          Holding the torch in his right hand, President Jokowi, as he is also known, said, "I accept the torch to start the Asian Games 2018."
    Also flanked by a line of athletes, President Jokowi then ran with the torch to the front of the honorary stage at the palace.
         On the stage, he then handed over the torch to the Indonesia Asian Games Organizing Committee (INASGOC) chief, Erick Tohir.
          Tohir then ran with the torch out of the palace to the National Monument close to the palace where it will be kept for a night before it will be taken again and brought to the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium for the opening ceremony of the 18th Asian Games on August 18.

Rabu, 15 Agustus 2018

JOKOWI, INCUMBENT WITH OVER 100 SPOKESMEN by Fardah

 Jakarta, Aug 15, 2018 (Antara)- Despite a controversy concerning  his running mate choice,  incumbent Joko Widodo and his team have been busy coordinating  a large political party coalition and a huge backup  to ensure his way to victory in next year's presidential election.
         Seeking second term, Widodo, who is popularly called Jokowi, has picked Ma'ruf Amin, chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), as his partner, to everyone's surprise.
         They will face retired military general Prabowo Subianto, who selects Sandiaga Solahuddin Uno, young and successful entrepreneur, as his running mate, in a re-run presidential race.
         Next year's race will be a repeat of the bitter 2014 presidential election that showcased the country's divide as Jokowi went head to head with Prabowo. 
    In the direct presidential election five years ago,  Jokowi and his running mate, Jusuf Kalla, won 70,997,833 votes, or 53.15 percent of the total 133,574,277 valid votes, while their rivals, Prabowo Subianto-Hatta Rajasa secured 62,576,444 votes, or 46.85 percent.
         The Indonesian Government has planned to organize simultaneous legislative and presidential elections on April 17, 2019.
         To achieve  victory for the second time, the political machine of Jokowi  has been working intensively by involving nine political parties joining the government coalition.
         The nine parties are PDIP, the Muslim-based United Development Party (PPP), Golkar Party, National Awakening Party (PKB), National Democratic Party (Nasdem), People's Conscience Party (Hanura),the Indonesian Justice and Unity Party (PKPI), the United Indonesia Party (Perindo), and the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI).  

Selasa, 14 Agustus 2018

CENTRAL SULAWESI GEARS UP FOR SECOND TOUR DE CELEBES by Fardah

Jakarta, Aug 14, 2018 (Antara) - Central Sulawesi is gearing up for the Second Tour de Celebes (TdCC), an annual international cycling race and tourism promotion, following its success in organizing the first one last year.
         The Central Sulawesi government showcases nature sceneries, unique culture and traditions, and hospitality during the sports tourism event in which foreign and domestic cyclists participate.
         The three major events of the TdCC 2018, Wonderful Palu Nomoni Festival, and Wonderful Lipuku Festival, planned by Central Sulawesi from September until November this year, were officially launched by Tourism Minister Arif Yahya in Jakarta on July 17, 2018, in the presence of Central Sulawesi Governor Longki Djanggola and Palu Mayor Hidayat. 
    The third Wonderful Palu Nomoni Festival will be held by the Palu administration from September 28 to October 3, 2018, while the Tojo Unauna District will organize the second Wonderful Lipuku Festival on November 2-6, 2018.
         In fact, the Central Sulawesi provincial government has planned 32 sports tourism, cultural, and art events, comprising 26 local and national-scale as well as six regional and international-scale, in 2018.
         The Wonderful Palu Nomoni Festival and Wonderful Lipuku Festival are considered to be national-scale events.
         One of the six international events is the TdCC that will be organized on Oct 14-18 and at least five domestic cycling clubs and 16 foreign cycling clubs from 16 countries are expected to participate.  

Sabtu, 11 Agustus 2018

SAFETY OF TOURISTS PRIORITIZED IN LOMBOK QUAKE RESCUE OPERATION by Fardah

Jakarta, Aug 11, 2018 (Antara) - Lombok, which was rocked by three powerful earthquakes on July 29, Aug 5 and 9, 2018, is one of Indonesia's ten priority tourist destinations, beyond Bali.
         Located in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) Province, Lombok Island is blessed with beautiful white-sand beaches, forest-covered mountainous areas, and a distinct culture.
            Thanks to intensive tourism promotional activities at home and overseas, NTB, which is situated not far from Bali and scenically no less beautiful than Bali, has attracted much domestic, as well as foreign tourists, and seeks to attract four million foreign tourists by 2018.
       So, when powerful earthquakes rocked Lombok Island, the main concerns of the authorities include the safety of local inhabitants and tourists.
        The Indonesian foreign ministry recently briefed foreign envoys on the latest developments in Lombok, particularly following a powerful magnitude-7 earthquake on Aug 5 that devastated 75 percent of the buildings in North Lombok district.
          The briefing, organized by the consular directorate of the foreign ministry, was attended by envoys of 30 foreign countries and officials of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBN), the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), and the Meteorology, Geophysics, and Climatology Agency (BMKG).
   The foreign ministry has since established a "Foreign Visitor Help Desk" (FVHD) to assist foreigners seeking information related to the natural disaster.  

FOREIGN COUNTRIES, ORGANIZATIONS SHOW SYMPATHY TO LOMBOK QUAKE VICTIMS by Fardah

Jakarta, Aug 11, 2018 (Antara) - Indonesia is mourning after Lombok Island in West Nusa Tenggara had been devastated by deadly earthquakes of 6.4 magnitude on July 29, 7 magnitude on Aug 5, and 6.2 magnitude on Aug 9, 2018, respectively.
         The Aug 5 quake killed at least 387 people, caused dozens to go missing, injured, 13,88 and displaced 387,067; while the previous 6.4 magnitude earthquake claimed 16 lives, including a Malaysian tourist.
         None of the victims (of the Aug 5 quake) was foreigners, according to Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBN).
         The Indonesian foreign ministry recently briefed foreign envoys on the latest developments in Lombok, which is often packed with foreign tourists holidaying on the island resort, which is not less beautiful than Bali.   
    The ministry informed the foreign diplomats about rescue efforts, including the evacuation of the affected local residents and foreign tourists, from Lombok.
          Evacuation operations are crucial because aftershocks are expected to continue to jolt Lombok Island over the next four weeks. Since the Aug 5 quake, 451 aftershocks have been recorded, as of the morning of Aug 10.

Kamis, 26 Juli 2018

INDONESIA SHOWCASES MAIN TOURIST DESTINATIONS DURING ASIAN GAMES TORCH RELAY by Fardah

 Jakarta, July 26, 2018 (Antara) - The Asian Games 2018 torch is currently being relayed in 53 cities and districts in 18 provinces, covering a total distance of over 18 thousand kilometers, via land, air, and even under the sea, similar to what happened when it arrived in Raja Ampat on July 26.  
   The flame, a merging of flame from India, the first host of the Asian Games in 1951, and Merapen flame from Central Java, Indonesia, this year's host of the Asian Games, was kept in a tinderbox while diving.
        The diver who took the torch while diving in crystal clear turquoise sea waters off Piaynemo Island, West Papua, was Tri Suswati, wife of General Tito Karnavian, Chief of the National Police.
        Suswati was accompanied by Nadine Chandrawinata, a beautiful Indonesian actress, and eight other divers grouped under the Indonesian Female Divers (WASI) Cub headed by her.
        She dove at a depth of three meters for nearly one minute with the torch in her hand and later returned the torch to Chandrawinata.
         Raja Ampat is currently one of the best marine tourist destinations in Indonesia, if not the world. It is a crown jewel, thanks to its crystal clear turquoise sea waters and several isles covered by a thick green carpet of dense forests and mangrove swamps.
             The stunning natural beauty of Raja Ampat isles, located on the northwestern tip of the Indonesian province of West Papua, is often seen as a heaven on earth, where dreams of divers come true and nature lovers find a perfect place.

Sabtu, 21 Juli 2018

POVERTY REMAINS CHALLENGE FOR INDONESIA by Fardah

  Jakarta, July 21, 2018 (Antara) -The Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) recently spread the good news that the poverty rate in Indonesia has dropped to the lowest compared to the ratios in the earlier periods. 
       The number of people living below the poverty line has dropped to 25.95 million, or 9.82 percent of the population, in March 2018 from 27.77 million, or 10.64 percent of the population, a year earlier.
         BPS head Suhariyanto told reporters in Jakarta on July 16, 2018, that nationally, the number of people categorized as poor in March 2018 dropped 1.82 million from a year earlier.
         The success in the drop in poverty rate was thanks to all priority programs of the government, such as infrastructure development for better connectivity; village funds; improvement in logistics distribution; and several social allowances for health, family welfare, and education, among others.
        Social Affairs Minister Idrus Marham lauded the achievement and was convinced that it was due to the successful government programs.
         "It indicates that the government programs, such as KIP (Indonesian Smart Card (KIP), Indonesia¿s Health Card (KIS), Family Hope Program, Joint Business Group (Kube), and social insurances (BPJS), have worked,¿ the minister remarked.
          He is optimistic that the poverty rate will decrease further to nine percent, lower than the poverty reduction target set by the President Joko Widodo Administration, which is at one digit, by the end of his administration.
         However, despite the success, Widodo reminded the citizens that poverty reduction and social gap cut are still challenges and homework that need to be dealt with.
        "Again, I reiterate that social gap and poverty remain our common challenges,¿ he added.
         The head of state expressed concern over the social gap and wealth disparity between western and eastern Indonesian regions.
         He believed that infrastructure development could become a solution to inequality between the country¿s eastern and western regions.
          "Infrastructure is crucial, and once again it is not merely related to economic matters. As a huge country with 17 thousand islands, Indonesia needs seaports, airports, and roads, including toll roads. We can deliver unity and equality from west until east and from north until south," he explained.  
      Basically, the percentage of people living in poverty in the eastern part of Indonesia in March 2018 was still higher than that of the western part.
             "It (the poverty rate) mostly fell, but it remains a major homework in the eastern part of Indonesia, as the percentage of its poor people is far higher than that of the western part," BPS Chief Suhariyanto pointed out.
            Sharing the president¿s view, Suhariyanto believed that several infrastructure projects being implemented in the eastern part of Indonesia would help reduce the number of people living in poverty there.
          Meanwhile, National Development Planning Minister, who is concurrently the Head of the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), Bambang Brodjonegoro, emphasized the importance of manageable inflation to reduce the poverty rate.
         "The key factor to reducing the poverty rate is the government's intervention. However, there is still one important aspect needed to manage the inflation rate. It is not 100 percent dependent on the government, but there are several factors involved," Brodjonegoro explained.
        He remarked that a high inflation rate will make the increase in income worthless.
            "Hence, it is crucial for us to maintain the inflation rate," he explained.
            According to data of the Central Statistic Agency (BPS), food commodities that have a significant impact on the poverty rate in rural and urban areas are rice, cigarettes, eggs, chicken, instant noodles, and sugar.
            Non-edible commodities that have a significant impact on the poverty rate are housing, fuel oil, electricity, education, and toiletries.
            "Rice has a 27 percent contribution (to the poverty rate). It means that the price of rice should not be increased," the minister stated.
            Cigarettes have a 10.21 percent impact on the poverty rate. Any increase in the price of the commodity would have a significant impact on the poverty rate.
            "However, it does not mean that we could not increase the price of cigarettes. Their consumption must be reduced," he noted.
            The impact of cigarettes on the poverty rate is higher than those of the housing sector, fuel oil, sugar, instant noodles, chicken, and eggs.
           "It is a big task to create public awareness in Indonesia, in order to reduce (cigarette) consumption, which is not only unproductive but also unhealthy," Brodjonegoro noted here on Thursday.
            He elaborated that if smokers would spend money to buy cigarettes, they would have to spend more money for tobacco-related health problems in the longer term.
            "The national health insurance (the healthcare BPJS) would also become another victim. The more the money people spend on cigarettes, the more funds BPJS would have to spend for their healthcare costs," the minister explained.
            According to Brodjonegoro, one concrete move to reduce cigarette consumption is to increase its price. ***4***
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Jumat, 20 Juli 2018

ASIAN GAMES TORCH BEGINS TOUR OF 53 CITIES, 18 PROVINCES by Fardah

Jakarta, July 20, 2018 (Antara) - Several Indonesians are enthusiastically welcoming the 18th Asian Games torch relay touring 53 cities and districts in 18 Indonesian provinces, covering a total distance of over 18 thousand kilometers.
              The torch relay of the largest multi-sport event, held every four years in Asia, began from Yogyakarta on July 18 and will end on Aug 17 in Jakarta, a day before the Asian Games 2018 to be officially opened by President Joko Widodo.
              The torch relay will pass through Solo, Central Java Province; Blitar, Malang, Probolinggo, and Banyuwangi in East Java; Gilimanuk, Kuta, and Denpasar in Bali Province; Mataram in West Nusa Tenggara; Raja Ampat and Sorong in West Papua; Makassar in South Sulawesi; Banjarmasin in South Kalimantan; Banda Aceh in Aceh Province; Lake Toba in North Sumatra; Pekanbaru in Riau; Bukit Tinggi in West Sumatra; Jambi, Palembang, Banyuasin, and Prabumulih in South Sumatra; Bandar Lampung in Lampung; Serang in Banten; and Purwakarta, Bandung, Garut, Cianjur, and Bogor in West Java Province, among others.
              For Indonesia, the Asian Games is not merely a sporting event but also a huge international gathering that offers a rare opportunity to promote its tourism. Hence, most of the cities and districts, such as Raja Ampat, Banyuwangi, and Lake Toba, to be covered as part of the torch relay, are major tourist destinations.
              Yogyakarta, the start of the torch relay, is known as a city of cultural, historical, educational, and tourism attractions, which is home to the largest Javanese sultanate and ancient Hindu temple, Prambanan.

Selasa, 17 Juli 2018

ASIAN GAMES TORCH RELAY TO START FROM HISTORIC, CULTURAL YOGYAKARTA by Fardah

Jakarta, July 17, 2018 (Antara) - Yogyakarta, which is known as the city of culture, history, education, and tourism, has the honor to be the start of the Asian Games torch relay, which will begin on July 18, 2018.
         Choosing the right city as the start line of the Asian Games torch relay is important because the Games is not just a mere multi-sport event but is also a means to promote the tourism and image of Indonesia worldwide, Erick Thohir, Chairman of the Indonesian Asian Games Organizing Committee (INASGOC), has revealed.
         "Yogyakarta is a historic city, and we want to promote its tourism," Thohir stated on July 17, 2018, upon his arrival in Yogyakarta from India, the host of the first Asian Games in 1951, to pick up the torch.
         In India, the flame was generated from a parabolic mirror directed straight at the sun.
         The 2018 Asian Games torch relay began its 18,000-kilometer journey on July 15, 2018, from the Major Dyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi, where the flame was lit for the first time at the inaugural edition in 1951.
         "India always holds a special place in the hearts of sportspeople in Asia, because the nation, specifically New Delhi, was the birthplace of the Asian Games. The torch relay today will bring the two countries even closer," Thohir stated while in New Delhi.
         From India, the torch was transported to Indonesia. It arrived at the Adi Sutjipto Air Force Base in Yogyakarta, in the morning of July 17, aboard a Boeing 737-500 aircraft of the Indonesian Air Force.

INDONESIA MANAGES TO LOWER POVERTY RATE by Fardah

Jakarta, July 17, 2018 (Antara) - The Indonesian government has prioritized programs on reducing the poverty rate, and the efforts seem to have yielded positive results.
         The Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) revealed that the number of people living below the poverty line had dropped to 25.95 million, or 9.82 percent of the population in March 2018, from 27.77  million, or 10.64 percent of the population a year earlier.
         "The poverty ratio (in March 2018) was the lowest in comparison with the ratios in the earlier periods," BPS Head Suhariyanto informed reporters in Jakarta on July 16, 2018.
         Across Indonesia, the number of people categorized as poor in March 2018 had dropped to 1.82 million from that recorded a year earlier.
         In urban areas, the number of poor in urban areas in March 2018 totaled 10.14 million people, or 7.02 percent, and in rural areas, 15.81 million, or 13.2 percent.
         In March 2017, the number of poor people in urban areas had reached 10.67 million, or 7.72 percent, while in urban areas, the figure totaled 17.1 million, or 13.93 percent.
         Food commodities having a major impact on poverty in urban and rural areas are rice, cigarettes, eggs, instant noodles, and refined sugar, while non-food commodities include housing, gasoline, electricity, education, and toiletry.  
    At the regional level, the lowest poverty rate was recorded in Kalimantan, at 6.09 percent, totaling 982,300 people.
         The number of poor in Java reached 13.34 million, followed by Sumatra, 5.9 million; and Sulawesi, two million.

Sabtu, 14 Juli 2018

BALI'S TOURISM REMAINS UNAFFECTED BY ACTIVE MOUNT AGUNG by Fardah

Jakarta, July 14, 2018 (Antara)- Mount Agung, located in Karangasem District, Bali Province, erupted again early this month, but it had no impact on the tourism industry on the famous resort island.
        The tourism industry was unaffected as the eruption was relatively of low intensity, and the volcano was quite far from most of the attractive tourist destinations.
        The 3,142-meter-high Mount Agung had been rumbling since August 2017 and had erupted in November. The volcano later became relatively calm until the most recent eruptions, which occurred on July 2, when it sent out burning lava up to 1.5 kilometers high.
         According to Devy Kamil Syahbana of the Center for Volcanology and Geology Disaster Mitigation (PVMBG), the condition of Mount Agung was still unstable, and it was likely to erupt again at low intensity.
           Records since 1800 reveal that Mount Agung had experienced four mega eruptions, namely in 1908, 1823, 1843, and 1963.    
   Following the latest eruptions, the PVMBG had declared the alert status of Mount Agung at third level and has ordered people to stay away from a radius of four kilometers from the mountain's top until now.

      "People living outside the 4-kilometer radius zone are urged to remain calm," he added.
       Despite the volcanic activities, the Association of the Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies (Asita) believes that the tourism industry in Bali is not affected by the strombolian eruption.

Kamis, 12 Juli 2018

INDONESIAN POLICE TO GIVE PRIORITY TO ASIAN GAMES SECURITY by Fardah

Jakarta, July 12, 2018 (Antara)- Indonesia is committed to giving a priority to the security during the implementation of the 18th Asian Games to be co-hosted by Jakarta and the South Sumatra provincial capital of Palembang from Aug 18 to Sept 2, 2018.
        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 countries.  Around 3,500 journalists from all over the world are expected to cover the largest sport event in Asia.
          President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) in his remarks during the 72nd anniversary of Bhayangkara (Police) Day on July 11, lauded  the National Police (Polri)  for   successfully maintaining the country's law and order so far. 
    He cited the 2018 Global Law and Order report compiled by consultancy firm Gallup which found that Singapore and Indonesia are among the top ten safest countries in the world.
       Singapore is at the top of the Law and Order Index, while Indonesia ranks ninth, below Switzerland and Canada and just above Denmark, seasia.co reported.   
    The Head of State, however, reminded Polri to not being easily satisfied with the achievement because  there are a number of huge tasks waiting for police in the near future, such as the 18th Asian Games, the third Asian Para Games, and the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings which will be held this year.    
       Polri Chief General Tito Karnavian on the occasion disclosed that the Indonesian police began to focus operations to maintain order and security to ensure success in the implementation of the 2018 Asian games.

JOKOWI LAUDS DEDICATION, HARD WORK OF INDONESIAN POLICE by Fardah

Jakarta, July 12, 2018 (Antara)- President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), while acting as the inspector at a ceremony to celebrate the Indonesian Police's Bhayangkara Day on July 11, 2018, conveyed his congratulations and gratitude to the members of the National Police (Polri) for their hard work and dedication to the nation so far.
         The Bhayangkara Day has been observed annually since July 1, 1946, based on a decree issued by Soekarno, Indonesia's first president, 72 years ago.
         "On behalf of the people, the nation, and the state, I convey my congratulations on the 72nd anniversary of Bhayangkara Day to every police officer and the big family of Polri in Indonesia, wherever you are assigned, from Sabang to Merauke, and from Mianggas to Rote Isle," the president stated before Vice President M Jusuf Kalla, Chief of Polri General Tito Karnavian, House Speaker Bambang Soesatyo, Chairman of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Zulkifli Hasan, as well as thousands of police officers attending the ceremony.
        He also lauded the success of Polri in maintaining security during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan; Eid Fitri; guarding travelers joining the Eid Fitri exodus; and the third regional head elections held in 171 regions last June.
        The President was also proud that Indonesia has been included in the list of the top ten safest countries in the world.

Rabu, 11 Juli 2018

OBSERVATORY WITH LARGEST TELESCOPE IN SE ASIA BEING BUILT IN KUPANG by Fardah

Jakarta, July 11, 2018 (Antara) - Lying on the equator and having a tropical climate, Indonesia has several observatories mostly located in the western part of the country and is now planning to build another one in the eastern region.
   
       The country's Institute of Aeronautics and Space (Lapan) is building an observatory to be equipped with a telescope, believed to be the largest in Southeast Asia, in the Mount Timau area, Central Amfoang Sub-district, Kupang District, East Nusa Tenggara Province.
   
       The construction of the observatory, expected to cost some Rp400 billion, began on July 9, Jasyanto, spokesman of Lapan, noted recently.
          
"Indonesia is entering a new chapter in aeronautics to be marked by construction of the largest national observatory facility in Southeast Asia, to be located in Timau mountainous area," he said.
         Research, Technology and Higher Education Minister Prof Mohamad Nasir officially designated Mt Timau area as a national observatory site and as a national dark sky park. He has also officially named the facility as Timau Observatory.
        LAPAN builds the observatory with the cooperation of the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), the University of Nusa Cendana (Undana) in Kupang, and the Kupang district administration.
        The observatory will be equipped with a telescope having a diameter of 3.8 meters, believed to be the largest and modern telescope in the Southeast Asian region.

Jumat, 06 Juli 2018

UN COMMISSION OF INQUIRY URGED TO INVESTIGATE ISRAELI ATROCITIES by Fardah

Jakarta, July 6, 2018 (Antara) - Health officials in Gaza said Israeli forces have killed at least 135 Palestinians and wounded over 15 thousand, including over 180 journalists, since the Great March of Return began March 30.
         The Great March of Return rallies culminated on May 15 to mark what Palestinians refer to as the Nakba, or Catastrophe -- a reference to the forced removal of 750 thousand Palestinians from their homes and villages to clear the way for colonial Israel's establishment in 1948.
         Until now, Israel's atrocities and genocidal tendencies have continued to satisfy its lust for more Palestinian land.
         Under the protection of its main ally, the United States, Israel has been committing blatant violations of international laws leading to the ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Palestinian people, while the United Nations and the international community stand by helplessly.   
    The latest violence has seen Israeli forces viciously attacking and beating up residents, including women, in the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar in the West Bank, which has been targeted for years.
         Israel has tried to demolish the Palestinian village for the expansion of its illegal settlements, but the villagers in Khan al-Ahmar have been determined to fight the demolition. Unarmed Bedouin women and men have held protests, preventing the demolition from being carried out by heavily armed Israeli forces.
         Israel has arrogantly breached many international laws and ignored UN resolutions against the colonist's atrocities in Palestinian land.
         The occupying power continues to target civilians, impose sieges, carry out land theft, attack religious places, and destroy infrastructure.
         It has also continued to practice apartheid and adopt racist laws, which has resulted in over 6,000 Palestinians, including members of parliament, being detained by Israel.
         All Israeli violations were documented in the report of the High Commissioner, as well as the report of the Secretary General.
         The Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council on July 2 held a general debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.
         Most members of the Council, including Indonesia, condemned the Israeli atrocities and demanded that Israel stop its human rights violations against Palestinians.
         They also urged the Commission of Inquiry to investigate the latest atrocities.
         In the ensuing debate, speakers condemned the disproportionate use of force by Israeli forces against Palestinian protesters. 
    Delegations urged the Human Rights Council to keep agenda item 7, which focuses on the ongoing Israeli atrocities against Palestinians, as a standing item, saying that ignoring the discussion would only serve to embolden Israel.
         Speaking in the debate, Hasan Kleib, Indonesia's permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva, expressed serious concern over the continued violation of the human rights of Palestinians. 
    Violations became particularly evident earlier this year when peaceful Palestinian protesters were killed, Kleib said.
         He also said persistent Israeli attacks violated United Nations resolutions, making agenda item 7 a constant reminder of the needs of Palestine.
         Lauding the creation of the Commission of Inquiry to probe human rights violations, Indonesia has urged the UN to speed up the appointment of a team of international war crime investigators to probe reports of human rights violations by Israeli forces.
         "Israel's policies on illegal settlements, building a separation wall, and limiting the rights of Palestinians cannot be tolerated," Hasan said. "They are obstacles to the realization of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital."
    Israel's policies are blatant violations of international human rights law and a series of UN resolutions, he added.
         "Indonesia will continue to condemn Israel's policies and actions, not only because they are wrong and illegal, but also because they are dangerous," Hasan stated.
         Meanwhile, the United States recently withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council over what it called chronic bias against Israel and a lack of reform, a move activists warned would make it even more difficult to advance human rights globally.
         US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley claimed that the "disproportionate focus and unending hostility toward Israel is clear proof that the council is motivated by political bias and not by human rights." Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the US decision.
         The Human Rights Council, which was founded in 2006 to oversee and investigate rights abuses, has never seen a serving member drop out voluntarily. The US boycotted the council for three years under George W. Bush, but joined again in 2009 under the Obama administration. ***2***
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