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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