Friday, March 31, 2017


Jakarta, March 31, 2017 (Antara) - Indonesia and France, as the world's two largest exclusive economic zone countries, share a common belief that a strategic partnership is crucial to protecting the seas and ensuring sustainability of the oceans.
         To this end, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and his French counterpart Francois Hollande, at a bilateral meeting in Jakarta on March 29, 2017, had agreed to strengthen strategic partnerships between the two countries, mainly for developing the maritime and creative economy sectors.
         Jokowi noted that for cooperation in the maritime sector, Indonesia has called for cooperation in fighting against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, including categorizing IUU fishing as a transnational organized crime.
         Illegal fishing activities have risked the sustainability of oceans and harmed the fishery resources of Indonesia.
        The government has claimed that illegal fishing activities in the country's waters have caused annual losses worth hundreds of trillions of rupiah to the state.
         Hence, over the past years, Indonesia has actively cracked down on illegal fishing activities in the country's maritime territory.


   Jakarta, March 31, 2017 (Antara) - Indonesia has welcomed the historic visit of President of France Francois Hollande, as it has been over three decades since a French president had last visited the country.
         Hollande's visit on March 29 was part of his official trip to three Southeast Asian countries: Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
         He was accompanied by around 40 French business executives, several ministers, and parliamentarians. 
    President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and Hollande bore witness to the signing of five memoranda of understanding (MoUs) between several officials of both countries at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta on Mar 29.
         "I laud the signing of these five MoUs comprising those in the sectors of sustainable urban development, tourism, defense, science and research, as well as research manpower exchanges," President Jokowi stated during a press conference with his French counterpart.
         Jokowi welcomed the new commitment made by 40 French business executives who expressed interest to invest at least US$2.6 billion in several sectors, including energy, retail, and infrastructure.
         "This investment intends to bolster the two countries' relations, mainly in the economic sector," Jokowi stated.
         The bilateral relations between the two countries have strengthened since the signing of the strategic partnership agreement in 2011.

Thursday, March 30, 2017


  Jakarta, March 30, 2017 (Antara) - The Leuser ecosystem located in Aceh and North Sumatra is among the most biodiverse and ancient ecosystems to be ever documented by science and the last habitat of Sumatran orangutans, elephants, tigers, rhinos, and sun bears.    
    Countless other biological treasures, including clouded leopards, hornbills, and the biggest flowers in the world, can be found in the teeming forests of the Leuser Ecosystem, where over 460 thousand acres of carbon-rich peatlands exist.  
    An animal called the "Thomas Leaf Monkey," or known as Monkey Kedih, is an endemic species of Leuser, and is not found anywhere else in the world.
         The ecosystem is part of the 2.5 million-hectare Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra site that comprises three national parks: Gunung Leuser National Park, Kerinci Seblat National Park, and Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park.
    The site holds the greatest potential for long-term conservation of the distinctive and diverse biota of Sumatra, including many endangered species.
         The protected area is home to an estimated 10,000 plant species, including 17 endemic genera; more than 200 mammal species; and some 580 bird species of which 465 are resident and 21 are endemic. Of the mammal species, 22 are Asian, not found elsewhere in the archipelago and 15 are confined to the Indonesian region, including the endemic Sumatran orang-utan. The site also provides biogeographic evidence of the evolution of the island.      

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


 Jakarta, March 28, 2017 (Antara) - Indonesia has decided to file a civil lawsuit against PTT Exploration and Production Company (PTTEP) Australasia in April 2017 over an oil spill in Timor Sea in East Nusa Tenggara that occurred eight years ago.
        The explosion that took place on August 21, 2009, in the Montara oil field, which was operated by Thailand-based PTTEP Australasia in Timor Sea, had resulted in an oil spill that contaminated the Timor Sea.
        Following the incident, fishermen in Oesapa in the district of Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, found thousands of dead fish floating in the Timor Sea.
       During the August-November 2009 period, the Montara well leaked uncontrollably for more than 70 days, destroying fish stocks in the Indonesian territory. 
   The explosion in August 2009 spilled 500 thousand liters of crude oil per day into the sea, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
        As a consequence, 40 million liters of crude oil were released into the Australian waters and eventually spread to the Indonesian maritime area. An area spanning some 70,341.76 square kilometers of the Timor Sea bordering the East Nusa Tenggara Province was polluted.
        In mid-January of 2010, the leak was finally plugged and secured permanently. However, during the first year of the Montara oil spill-triggered pollution, fish catches from the Timor Sea waters dropped by 80 percent.

Friday, March 24, 2017


Jakarta, March 24, 2017 (Antara) - In the era of information technology, digitization is a fundamental driver of economic growth, as it helps to create jobs, boost innovation, ensure diversification of products, and improve services.
        Digitization of the tourism industry is also deemed necessary, as at least 70 percent of the tourists use digital media for searching, booking, and making payments.
        As part of the digitization program, the Indonesian Tourism Ministry has developed a digital travel marketplace platform called the Indonesian Travel X-Change (ITX Marketplace) and has used Mobile Positioning Data (MPD) to collect information on the number of tourist arrivals since last year.
        At present, some 70 percent of Indonesia's travel agents have joined the ITX platform.
        "Initially, travel agents using a manual system had protested against the online travel agent (system) and had called on the government to close the online platform. However, I told them that the use of an online system is a must. Hence, instead of banning online travel agents, we provide an online travel platform for manual travel agents," Tourism Minister Arief Yahya stated during a workshop titled "The Use of Mobile Positioning Data for Tourism Statistics" held in Nusa Dua, Bali, recently.
        The use of a manual system has become outdated and might no longer be used, he noted.
        The Tourism Ministry has organized road shows in several regions to introduce and encourage the tourism industry players, such as hotels, restaurants, theme parks, water parks, car rentals, souvenir shops, airlines, tour operators, tour agents, and tour guides, to join ITX.
        Thousands of travel agents have used the free ITX platform. With the ITX Market Place, travel agents do not have to invest individually on digitization.

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Jakarta, March 21, 2017 (Antara) - Indonesia considers drug abuse to pose a real threat to the nation, as the country has about four million drug users.
          According to the National Narcotics Agency (BNN), drug abuse is responsible for the deaths of 33 Indonesians, mostly young men, every day.
          Indonesia is one of the few countries to have imposed the harshest drug laws in the world. The country executed 14 drug convicts in 2015 and four last year.    
     President Joko Widodo, who has declared that Indonesia was in a drug emergency, vowed that he would not grant clemency to drug convicts, despite protests from several countries and parties at home.
           But the capital punishment does not stop drug trafficking in Indonesia, which has become a target market of some 70 international drug syndicates from 11 countries, with China as the major supplier, followed by Malaysia and Nigeria.
           In 2015, police arrested 50,178 suspects in 40,253 drug-related cases and confiscated 23.2 tons of marijuana, more than 1 million ecstasy pills, and 2.3 tons of crystal methamphetamine.
           Last year, BNN dealt with 807 illicit drug cases across Indonesia, with a total of 1,238 people arrested, including 21 foreigners. The agency also confiscated 6.2 tons of dried hashish, 1.16 tons of methamphetamine, and 765 thousand ecstasy pills.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


Jakarta, March 21, 2017 (Antara) - The Central Sulawesi provincial administration and local farmers are pleased over the success of the government's program to boost the production of paddy, maize, and soybean in the province.
         With the support of military officers and other concerned institutions, Central Sulawesi has managed to achieve a surplus in rice production, reaching 280 thousand tons in 2016.
          "The surplus has increased compared to those recorded in previous years," Trie Iriany Lamakampali, head of the local food crops and horticulture office, stated in the Central Sulawesi capital of Palu recently. 
     Central Sulawesi has set a target to produce 1.3 million tons of dried paddy in 2017. The province has adequate  seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides to boost the production of paddy, maize, and soybeans.
         The local farmers who had planted crops during the Oct-Nov planting season last year are expected to harvest their crops during the April-May 2017 period. The paddy production is estimated to reach 500 thousand tons during the season.
          Farmers hope that the state-owned Logistics Agency (Bulog) would purchase more produce from the local farmers.
         In response to the farmers¿ wish, the Central Sulawesi unit of Bulog noted that it was set to reach its target of rice procurement this year.

Saturday, March 18, 2017


Jakarta, March 18, 2017 (Antara) -The Indonesian government, in parallel with its sound political relations with and Africa in general, is currently intensifying economic ties with several countries in the continent.
         In fact, Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP Marsudi has stated on several occasions that the Indonesian government is giving priority to forge closer economic relations with Africa this year.  
   "Africa has great potentials, and therefore, it is important for Indonesia to expand and strengthen relations with that continent, including South Africa," the minister said while visiting South Africa earlier this year.
        The government has encouraged the private sector to expand business and trade in the continent.
          "We have paved the way for the expansion of international relations with African countries, and we expect the business sector to follow with business expansion," Niniek Kun Naryatie, Director General of Information and Diplomacy of the Foreign Ministry, stated recently.
           "It has to be hand in hand. We have invested politically and that should be followed by economic investment," she added.
           The government functions to create a conducive condition. It is like opening the door for the private sector to enter.
          Business people from other countries are seeking to invest in Africa, which is predicted to grow faster in the coming years, and Indonesia does not want to be left behind.


Jakarta, March 18, 2017 (Antara) - Biak Numfor District was a popular tourist destination in Papua in 1990s, before Raja Ampat was "discovered."
    The district offers several types of tourist attractions from the beauty of nature, historical wreckage of World War (WW) II, and eco-tourism of biodiversity-rich forests of Papua, as well as the unique traditional art and culture of Papuan tribes.
         These attractions will be promoted in the annual Biak Munara Wampasi (BMW) to be organized in Biak from July 1 to 4, 2017.  
     Held for the first time in 2012, the BMW festival has been included in the national tourism calendar. Other festivals in Papua that have been included in the tourism calendar include Baliem Valley Festival and Asmat Festival.
        The festival will be officially launched in the Jakarta Convention Center here on March 30.
         The launch, to be organized by the Tourism Ministry and the Biak Numfor District Administration, would coincide with Deep & Extreme Indonesia event and is meant to promote the festival, particularly among divers, adventurers, underwater sports lovers, and e-tourism tourists, Biak District Head Thomas Ondy stated recently.
          Ondy hoped that the festival would be able to attract both domestic and foreign tourists. For that purpose, the Biak tourism office is promoting the festival on social media.
           "Social media platforms, such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and Line, have been used to promote Biak's tourist attractions," Turbey Ony Dangeubun, head of the Biak tourism office, stated on March 18.

Friday, March 17, 2017


Jakarta, March 17, 2017 (Antara) - Identifying terrorism as a global challenge, nations located in the Indian Ocean rim have shown determination to maintain security and stability to protect the region from terrorism.
         For this, member countries of the Indian Ocean Rim Association, (IORA) during its first summit held in Jakarta, early March 2017, issued a Declaration on Preventing and Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism, which is expected to have a significant influence on economic cooperation across the Indian Ocean region.
         In the declaration, the member states have denounced terrorism and violent extremism in all its forms and manifestations.
         They have resolved to stand together to prevent and counter terrorism and violent extremism, and to work to support each other's efforts to counter the threat from terrorism and violent extremism, including through enhanced cooperation and coordination of efforts, dialogue and sharing of information, expertise, best practices and experiences, as well as by stemming the funding for terrorism.
         They have agreed to cooperate against terrorist and violent extremist ideology and propaganda by, promoting positive messages of respect, tolerance, co-existence, inclusion, diversity and social cohesion, among others.    
    Besides these, they have also vowed to promote the role of education and society in building resilience against violent extremism, including fostering inclusion and respect for different cultures and beliefs, as well as enhancing women's role in preventing and countering terrorism and violent extremism.

Sunday, March 12, 2017


Jakarta, March 12 , 2017(Antara)- The just ended visit of King Salman bin Abdulazis al-Saud to Indonesia is historic as this is for the first time a sitting Saudi King has visited Indonesia in 47 years.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
   The visit is also memorable as enthusiastic crowds always lined the routes of the King¿s convoy to welcome and greet the 82-year-old King while visiting Jakarta, Bogor or Bali. 
    The King and his 1,500-member entourage that included 25 princes, 10 ministers, and businessmen, stayed for 12 days in Indonesia that comprised a three-day state visit and an eight-day vacation in Bali, one of the world¿s most famous tourist islands.
          The state visit was productive as eleven memorandums of understanding (MoUs) was signed by high ranking officials of Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.
            One of the MoUs is the commitment of the Saudi government to invest in a project development worth US$1 billion, called The Saudi Fund Contribution to the Financing of Development Project.  Besides the 11 MoUs, both countries have also agreed to conduct annual Joint Commission meetings.
        After concluding his state visit, the King went to Brunei Darussalam for a half day and then returned to Indonesia for holiday in Bali.
        Initially, the King and entourage planned to stay in Bali from March 4 to 9, but later they decided to extend the vacation on the island until March 12, as they seemed to very much enjoy the white sand beach of the Indian Ocean.  

Saturday, March 11, 2017


    Jakarta, March 11, 2017 (Antara) - Indonesia remains one of the fifth most favored place for investment by Australia, according to a survey by Austrade.
        The result of the survey was in fact revealed during a meeting of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) with 13 Australian business leaders in Australia on Feb 25, while Jokowi was paying a two-day state visit to the immediate neighboring country.
         During the meeting, several Australian businessmen expressed interest in investing up to US$5 billion in Indonesia, according to Thomas Trikasih Lembong, chairman of the Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), who moderated the business meeting.
         They are mostly interested in mining and processing, food and beverage industry, tourism, water supply, and hotel industry and infrastructure.
         Based on data at the BKPM, Australian investment in Indonesia in 2016 had reached $174 million, up four percent from $167 million in 2015.  
   Within the next three to five years, Australian businessmen have planned to invest a total of Rp39 trillion, according to Lembong.
        BKPM invited Austrade, an Australian government institution in charge of promoting and attracting investors to Australia, to visit Indonesia.
        Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP Marsudi said the Australian business players expressed their interest to expand businesses in Indonesia.
          One of the investors personally expressed his expression of confidence to Jokowi in the business climate in Indonesia .


 Jakarta, March 11, 2017 (Antara) - Indonesian Tourism Minister Arief Yahya is delighted to have Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud holidaying in Bali, as it serves as a major promotion for the resort island.
        The minister expressed gratitude to the King, as the visit received global attention that has turned out to be a huge though free promotion for Bali.    
   The Ministry of Tourism has recommended several places in Bali that can be visited by the King of Saudi and the royal family.
        As the King and his entourage, comprising several princes, seem to enjoy their stay in Bali, they have decided to extend their vacation until Sunday (March 12), from Thursday (March 9) as earlier scheduled.
         The Saudi embassy in Jakarta had sent a letter informing the stay duration extension to the Indonesian Foreign Ministry, confirmed Adjunct Senior Commissioner Hengky Widjaja of the Bali Police, on March 7.
         In the letter, the Saudi embassy informed the ministry that the King and his entourage decided to extend their holiday in the world's most famous resort island of Bali until March 12, 2017, with the duration of their stay now being eight days.
          Despite intensified security efforts, the activities of King al-Saud while vacationing in Bali have been kept firmly under wraps to safeguard their privacy.
          The Saudi King and his 1.5 thousand-member entourage, have booked five luxury hotels located on the beaches lining the Indian Ocean.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


Jakarta, March 8, 2017 (Antara) - The issue of women's empowerment has been taken up as one of the priorities in regional cooperation among the 21 member countries of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
         Certainly, this has happened, thanks to three female foreign affairs ministers who actively promoted the importance of women's empowerment in order to improve public welfare, while chairing the IORA Council of Ministers' Meeting held in Jakarta on March 6, 2017.
         The three female ministers were Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi as the chair of the ministers' meeting and her two counterparts, namely Maite Nkoana-Mashabane as the vice chair of the meeting from South Africa, and Julie Bishop as the former chair from Australia.   
    "This is an exceptional occasion where there are three female figures leading the IORA ministerial level meeting " Retno stated.
         Retno considered the occasion to match with one of the priority areas discussed in the summit, namely women empowerment.
         Her Australian counterpart Bishop viewed that economic empowerment of women is a necessary step for the economy to flourish in the region.
         The IORA groups Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, and Yemen.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


Jakarta, March 7 , 2017 (Antara) - The Atlantic Ocean region had enjoyed a golden era for many decades, and it was followed by the glorious era of the Pacific Ocean region for the last three decades.
        Currently, it is believed that it is the turn of the Indian Ocean region to experience a golden era, given its huge economic potential and increased awareness of the nations in the region to move forward and progress.
         Such form of optimism was voiced by several leaders, including President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), while hosting the First Summit of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) in Jakarta, on March 7, 2017.   
     The 2017 IORA Summit is being held under the theme "Strengthening Maritime Cooperation for Peaceful, Stable and Prosperous Indian Ocean" and coincides with the 20th anniversary of the association.
          "In Indonesia, we believe that the Indian Ocean is currently developing into a key axis in the world," Jokowi stated in his opening remarks.
         The Atlantic Ocean has dominated the world events for hundreds of years. Following rapid progress in several East Asian countries, many believed that it has become the era of the Pacific Ocean for the last three decades.
        "However, we believe that at present, the Indian Ocean is flexing (its might), with significant progress of its community, and its economy is playing a significant role in East Asia, the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Australia," he stated.

Saturday, March 4, 2017


 Jakarta, March 4 , 2017(Antara) - The Indonesian government and people have extended a warm welcome to King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud and his family who are on a vacation in Bali on Mar 4-9.
         The holiday is a private affair, but the Indonesian authorities are making all-out efforts to ensure no untoward incident occurs that could pose a risk to the Saudi King and 25 princes as well as other family members vacationing in Bali, one of the world's most famous resort island.
       A joint security team, comprising military and police personnel, will tighten security measures around several tourist attractions expected to be visited by the King and or princes.
         Commander of the Udayana/Regional Military Command IX Major General Kustanto Widiatmoko confirmed in Denpasar on Mar 3 that security measures will be tightened without posing an inconvenience to the entourage.
        The Indonesian military has deployed six vessels, including two warships, to secure the waters of Nusa Dua.
        "We have prepared six vessels of which two are warships, while the others are smaller ships," he revealed.
         He claimed that the Saudi delegation had not informed him regarding which tourist attractions they would like to visit during their stay in Bali.
         The Saudi King, who is accompanied by 25 princes as part of his 1.5 thousand-member entourage, has booked five luxury hotels located on the beaches lining the Indian Ocean.