Rabu, 31 Oktober 2018

PALESTINE HOPEFUL OF INDONESIA'S UNSC NON-PERMANENT MEMBERSHIP by Fardah

 Jakarta, Oct 31, 2018 (Antara) - Indonesia will officially fill the non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), starting January 1, 2019.
       Indonesia will serve for two years along with other non-permanent members: South Africa, Dominican Republic, Germany, Belgium, Côte d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Kuwait, Peru, and Poland, as well as with five permanent members of the UNSC: the United States, China, Russia, France, and the United Kingdom.
          At the same time, Palestine will chair the Group of 77 developing nations at the UN as of January 2019. As the chair of the G77, Palestine will be able to act more like a full UN member state.
         Palestine gained de facto recognition as a sovereign state after being approved by the UN General Assembly in 2012, upgrading its status as a UN non-member state.
        Being the G77 chair, Palestine's status will be further upgraded, allowing the nation being colonized by Israel to make statements, submit and co-sponsor proposals and amendments, on behalf of the G77 and China, among other things.
         As Indonesia, a staunch supporter of the Palestinian struggle for independence, and Palestine are both holding important positions in the UN, hopes ride high over strengthening international solidarity to end atrocities and crimes against humanity being committed almost daily by the Israeli occupation forces in Palestinian land.  
   During a visit to Jakarta on Oct 14 for participating in the Solidarity Week for Palestine organized by the Indonesian Foreign Ministry, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki expressed optimism that Indonesia's position as a non-permanent member of the UNSC would voice not only the interests of Indonesia but also Palestine.

Sabtu, 27 Oktober 2018

BALI GEARS UP FOR FIFTH OUR OCEAN CONFERENCE by Fardah

Jakarta, Oct 27, 2018 (Antara) - After successfully hosting the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings in early October, Bali is currently gearing up for the implementation of the Fifth Our Ocean Conference (OOC) to be held in Nusa Dua on Oct 28-29.
        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 oceans' health, as a heritage that serves as a legacy for the children and grandchildren.
       People have an option to choose the kind of legacy they will leave behind for the future generations and that choice depends on the actions they take today.
       The OOC is expected to be attended by nearly two thousand people from some 70 countries.
       At least, six heads of state and government, two vice presidents, and 36 ministers from several countries have confirmed their participation in the OOC.
        Among the leaders expected to be present are Prince Albert II of Monaco, President of Nauru Baron Waqa, President of the Republic of Palau Thomas E. Remengesau, President of Micronesia Peter Christian, President of New Caledonia Philippe Germain, President of Marshall Island Hilda Heine, Vice President of Seychelles Vincent Meriton, and Vice President of the Republic of Panama Isabel De Saint Malo de Alvarado.
        The gathering will also be attended by representatives of 200 civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations.
        To be officially opened by President Joko Widodo, the conference will present prominent keynote speakers, such as the Prince of Wales via a video message, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway Ine Eriksen Soreide, and Visiting Distinguished Statesman at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace John Kerry.
        Other speakers present at the conference will include Head of the Indonesian Board for Disaster Management (BPBN) Willem Rampangilei, former prime minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull, coordinator of the Marine Programme World Heritage Center at UNESCO Dr Fanny Douvere, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine of Ireland Michael Creed, and Ocean Unite, and former president of Costa Rica Jose Maria Figueres.

Jumat, 26 Oktober 2018

CELEBRATING ONE DECADE OF TOUR DE SINGKARAK by Fardah

Jakarta, Oct 26, 2018 (Antara)- Indonesia's most famous annual cycling race, the Tour de Singkarak (TdS), to be held in West Sumatra Province from Nov 4-11, marks its 10th anniversary this year.
        Having the fifth largest audience in the world, TdS has enjoyed worldwide fame and attracted many top international cyclists to compete.
         TdS is classified by the Union Cycling International (UCI) as a 2.2 category race, and has enjoyed  recognition by the Amouri Sport Organization (ASO).
        On Oct 22, 2018, Tourism Minister Arief Yahya and Deputy Governor of West Sumatra Nasrul Abit officially launched a major promotion for the 2018 TdS in Jakarta, in the presence of mayors and district heads from West Sumatra's municipalities and districts.
        It was announced that this year's theme for TdS is "One Decade for All". Also, thepromotional launch was enlivened by various traditional dances from West Sumatra.
       The Tourism Ministry has included TdS, together with two other events from West Sumatra - the Sawahlunto International Music Festival (SIMFes) held Oct 19-21, and the Pagaruyung Festival to be organized Nov 29-Dec 2, in the National Tourism Calendar of Events 2018.
           Minister Yahya expressed his optimism that TdS remains effective in promoting West Sumatra's tourist destinations internationally.
         West Sumatra received 56,313 foreign tourists and 6.5 million domestic tourists in 2017.
         Twenty one cycling teams from 26 countries, including four domestic teams and one local team, will participate in the 2018 TdS, with total prizes worth Rp2.3 billion.  
    The foreign teams include Matrix Powertag of Japan, Trengganu Cycling Team of Malaysia,  Sapura Cycling of Malaysia, Nex- CCN of Laos/The Netherlands, LX Cycling Team of Korea, 7-Eleven Cliqq of the Philippines, Ningxia Sports Lottery Livall of China, Qinghai Tiayoude of China, Java Partizan of Russia, St. George Continental of Australia, Forca Amskins of Malaysia, Interpro Stradalli Cycling of Japan, McDonalds Dawnunder of  Australia, Thai Continental/Thai National Team of Thailand, PCS-CCN of Cambodia, and Bike Aid of Germany.
         The Indonesian teams include KFC Racing Team, Advan CCC, PGN Cycling Team and Brcc, while the local team is Padang Road Bike (PRB) sponsored by Bank Nagari.
        Inspired by the 200-year-old Tour de France, the TdS was first organized as part of the recovery program following a powerful earthquake that devastated West Sumatra in 2009, in a bid to boost the tourism industry through a sports-based promotional activity.  
  The world-class TdS event takes renowned international cyclists on an exciting tour across the picturesque West Sumatra countryside's scenic landscapes, comprising beaches, blue lakes, and numerous hairpin bends, as they climb up to the foot of the volcanoes.
          Its race track this year is extended to 1,267 kilometers (km), from 1,250 km in the previous year.
          The race track has been extended, but its stages have decreased, according to Ony Yulfian, head of the West Sumatra tourism office.
            This year, TdS is made up of eight stages, from nine in 2017, as the districts of Mentawai, Padang Pariaman, and West Pasaman will not participate in the event.
        The 2018 TdS route covers 16 districts and cities.
        The first stage of TdS is Bukittinggi-Sijunjung, stretching 140.5 km. The start from Bukittinggi will be on November 4, 2018. 
    The second stage, beginning Nov 5, will start in Sawahlunto and end in Dharmasraya, covering a total distance of 204.1 km.
        The third stage is Singkarak-Tanah Datar, stretching 150.4 km, on Nov 6, while the 144-km-long fourth stage covers Padang-Agam; the fifth stage is Limapuluh Kota-Pasaman, 170.5 km; sixth stage is Solok-Payakumbuh, 105 km, on Nov 9; and seventh stage is Padangpanjang-South Solok, 194.4 km, on Nov 10.
        The final stage is from South Pesisir to Pariaman, stretching 158 km, to be held on Sunday, November 11, 2018. 
   Solok, which will host the sixth stage of TdS, has been busy with preparations for TdS, by conducting road repairs and providing accommodation and modes of transportation.
        The preparations have reached some 85 percent completion, said Elvy Basri, head of the Solok tourism office.
        "To welcome TdS, we are repairing damaged roads and sidewalks, as well as other public facilities," she noted.
         Preparations have been made through cooperation among relevant ministries, including the public works, public housing ministry and transportation ministry, as well as hotel owners and travel agents.
        A day prior to the race, Solok will hold a city tour event for the participants of TdS. The city tour will take them through Laing Park, Pulai Belibis, Syekh Kukut Park, Solok rice fields, and Solok Water Park, among other areas.
         Traditional dances and culinary arts of Solok will also be showcased for TdS participants. ***1*** (f001/INE)

Sabtu, 20 Oktober 2018

FINANCIAL BODIES OFFER FUNDS FOR POST-EARTHQUAKE RECONSTRUCTION EFFORTS by Fardah

Jakarta, Oct 20 , 2018 (Antara) - Indonesia is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, as it is located on the "Pacific Ring of Fire" where a large number of volcanoes and earthquakes occur.
           At least four major earthquakes rocked two provinces -- West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) and Central Sulawesi -- during the July-September 2018 period. The earthquake victims are still struggling to recover from the trauma and devastation caused by the natural disasters.
           Three powerful earthquakes rocked Lombok and Sumbawa Islands in NTB respectively on July 29, Aug 5, and Aug 9, 2018.
           The powerful magnitude-7 earthquake on Aug 5 devastated 75 percent of the buildings in North Lombok District.
           The death toll on Lombok Island reached 555. More than 1,300 people were injured, and nearly 353 thousand have been internally displaced. Damage and losses are currently estimated at Rp7.7 trillion ($528 million).
           While Lombok was still bleeding, a magnitude-7.4 earthquake and a subsequent tsunami struck the districts of Palu, Donggala, Sigi, and Parigi Moutong in Central Sulawesi on September 28, 2018.
           The Central Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami claimed 2,102 lives, injured 4,612, and rendered 680 others missing. A total of 68,451 homes were seriously damaged, and 78,994 people were displaced. Material losses inflicted by the twin deadly disasters are estimated to reach more than Rp10 trillion.
           Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla recently informed the press that the government will request assistance, including long-term loans, in accordance with the country's needs.

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.