Saturday, December 29, 2018


Jakarta, Dec 29, 2018 (Antara) - The Joko Widodo (Jokowi) - M. Jusuf Kalla administration has intensified infrastructure development across Indonesia during their first four-year term, starting October 2014, as the projects are expected to strengthen connectivity, economic growth, and national unity.
        Seeking a second term in office, incumbent Jokowi pledged that the government will next focus on making massive investment in human capital development to produce high-quality and competent human resources.
        The human resources development program, however, will be in synergy with other programs, including with physical infrastructure projects and technology innovation program.
        Hence, the government continues to allocate funds amounting to Rp400 trillion in the State Budget for the development of infrastructure in 2019, despite shifting its focus to the development of human resources.
       Funds for the 2019 State Budget will reach a total of Rp2,461 trillion for expenses, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani stated recently.
        Allocation for infrastructure will reach Rp400 trillion; health sector, Rp120 trillion; and education, Rp500 trillion, she outlined.
        During the 2015-2018 period, the government had developed new roads, stretching a total of 3,432 kilometers (km), in Kalimantan and Papua border areas as well as East Nusa Tenggara, among others. The new roads exceed the target of 2,650 km by 2019.
        The government has also built new bridges, spanning 39,798 meters, exceeding the target of 29,859 meters by 2019.

Friday, December 28, 2018


Jakarta, Dec 28, 2018 (Antara)- Surabaya, the second largest city in Indonesia, is similar to other metropolitan cities, being characterized by traffic and crowds, and it never sleeps.
         Having quite a hot and humid weather, the city has a few nature tourism attractions, namely Kenjeran Beach and the Wonorejo mangrove forest. Other tourist attractions include the museums, monuments and parks.
         Under the leadership of Mayor Tri Rismaharani, the city has won a lot of international awards, with the latest one from "The 4th Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation".
         Surabaya, the capital of East Java Province, won an award for its project dubbed "Public Participation in 3R Waste Management for a Better Surabaya".
         Mayor Risma recently revealed that the city would have an urban forest to help curb flooding and pollution in Warugunung, Karang Pilang Sub-district.
         A small reservoir will also be built in the location to hold rainwater, and at least one thousand trees, mostly of fruit-bearing varieties, will be planted around the small reservoir.
         Beyond the monuments and the beach, Surabaya is dubbed as the City of Hero and actually has many historical and religious tourist destinations.
         The Surabaya Heritage Tract will take tourists on a tour around North of Surabaya or also known as Old Surabaya, by bus, to see old buildings constructed during the Dutch and Japanese colonial eras.
         The Surabaya Municipality is currently renovating old buildings as part of its program to promote its old city as a tourist destination, in cooperation with paint companies.
         Risma suggested that bright colors be used to beautify the old city. Irawan Bahtera, director of PT ICI Paints Indonesia, said a total of 117 old and historic buildings would be repainted as part of the urban tourism development program. The buildings are located on the Veteran, Karet, and Kali Mas streets, among others.
         Surabaya, which was the Dutch Indies port town in the 16th century, has a large modern port of Tanjuk Perak and a traditional harbor of Kali Mas, which are both located in North Surabaya.
         As a result, the city has a multiethnic population, with the majority being Javanese and others including people of Madurese, Chinese, Arab, and Indian descents.
         Its old city area is located in North Surabaya, specifically around "Jembatan Merah" or the Red Bridge, where one can find several of the best historical buildings, including structures with colonial Dutch architecture and Chinese temples.
         The most striking landmark in Surabaya's old city area is the 15th-century Ampel Mosque, which stands within the vibrant Arab quarter.
         The Grand Mosque of Sunan Ampel was built by Sunan Ampel, one of the Wali Songo, or the Nine Muslim Saints, in the 15th century and has become one of Surabaya's main religious tourism destinations.
         Born in 1401 in Champa, Cambodia, Sunan Ampel's real name was Mohammad Ali Rahmatullah and was a descendant of Ibrahim Asmarakandi, a prince of Champa, who lived and stayed in the town of Tuban in East Java.
         Sunan Ampel spent his entire life in the Ampel Mosque until his death in 1481. His tomb is located on the right side of the mosque.
         The Sunan Ampel Grand Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in Indonesia and has been built using a combination of Javanese and Arabic architecture and strong teak wood.
         Meanwhile, Surabaya hopes to significantly improve tourist arrivals in East Java Province, which has surpassed its tourist target of 60 million people this year.
         "In East Java, the number of domestic tourist arrivals exceeded the target of 60 million, while the number of foreign tourists reached more than 600 thousand," Saidi, head of the East Java culture and tourism office, said recently.
         East Java has many diverse tourist destinations, including religious sites and eco-tourism destinations.
         Most of the domestic tourists visited religious sites, while foreign tourists visited eco-tourism destinations such as Mount Bromo (2,329 meters above sea level), Mount Semeru (3,676 meters), and Banyuwangi.
         The Central Government has helped promote the province's tourist destinations and improve the relevant facilities and infrastructure, including toll roads, airports and seaports.
         Tourist cruise ships have entered the province through seaports in Surabaya and other ports, including Gili Labak Island in Madura.
         Saidi stressed that tourism promotion would be optimized to attract more foreign tourists from varied countries to visit East Java.
         The government has planned to build a toll road connecting Kertosono, Kediri and Tulungagung, and to construct an airport in Kediri.
         In fact, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) expressed optimism that the toll road from Jakarta to Surabaya would be ready in December 2019.
         "I am very happy that this morning, we will inaugurate the Solo-Ngawi toll road in the Sragen-Ngawi segment. It means that soon, from Jakarta to Surabaya, at the end of this year, God willing, everything would be connected," President Jokowi remarked while inaugurating the Sragen-Ngawi toll road in Sragen, Central Java, last November.
         Jokowi believed that with the completion of the Jakarta-Surabaya toll road construction, the integration of the tourism industry would improve.

Thursday, December 27, 2018


Jakarta, Dec 27, 2018 (Antara) - Vacationers, mostly constituting state electricity company PLN employees, were enjoying music played by rock band "Seventeen" under full moon at Tanjung Lesung Beach, Banten, when a tsunami struck without warning on late December 22, 2018.
        Over 100 people, including three musicians and a crew member of Seventeen, as well as 41 PLN employees and family members, were found dead in Tanjung Lesung alone, following the volcanic tsunami affecting five districts in Banten and Lampung District.
        The reason behind the lack of warning is the surprise source of the waves. Unlike past events triggered by earthquakes, this tsunami was caused by a landslide associated with the eruption of Mount Anak Krakatau, or the Child of legendary Mount Krakatoa.
        A large part of the southern flank of the volcano slid into the ocean in the evening of December 22, 2018, according to images from the European Space Agency's Sentinel-1 satellite, reported by
        Some 20 minutes after the flank collapse, a wall of water roared ashore, sweeping up everything in its path, including boats, tables, and people along coastal regions facing Sunda Strait, where Mount Anak Krakatau is located.
        Anak Krakatau, situated between the islands of Java and Sumatra, had been undergoing a stuttering eruption since June 18, and an alert status has been declared for it.
        The death toll from the Sunda Strait tsunami reached 430. At least 1,495 people were injured, 159 people went missing, and 21,991 others displaced.
        Spokesman of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) Sutopo Purwo Nugroho stated on December 26, 2018, that the number of casualties might increase, as rescuers and volunteers were still attempting to reach remote coastal villages in Lampung and Banten that might have been affected by the tsunami.

Monday, December 24, 2018


Jakarta, Dec 24, 2018 (Antara)- Indonesia will organize presidential elections on April 17, 2019, considered by many as a repeat of the bitter 2014 presidential race, wherein incumbent Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and Prabowo Subianto are again set to go head-to-head.
        Seeking a second term, Jokowi, furniture businessman, has picked Ma'ruf Amin, chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), as his partner, while retired general Subianto has picked Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, a young and successful entrepreneur and former deputy governor of Jakarta, as his running mate.  
   The Jokowi-Amin pair is backed by a coalition called Working Indonesian Coalition (KIK) involving nine political parties which have set up a national campaign team (TKN) for Jokowi.
         The nine political parties are the Indonesian Democratic Party for Struggle (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).  
   The Subianto -Uno pair is supported by only four political parties, notably Gerindra, which is founded by Subianto; the National Mandate Party (PAN); the Justice Prosperous Party (PKS); and the Democratic Party (PD) established by former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY).
         In addition to the political parties, the two candidates have competed in gaining support from major mass organizations, such as the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Indonesia¿s largest Muslim organization, and Muhammadiyah, the second largest after NU.
         Muhammadiyah has so far maintained its neutral stance and has let its members to decide their choices.

Friday, December 14, 2018


Jakarta, Dec 14, 2018 (Antara) - Indonesian waters occupy at least 70 percent of its national territory, and in most parts of the country, there are numerous people who earn a livelihood related to and dependent on the oceans.   
     The world's largest archipelagic country with a 260-million population and over 17 islands has 5.8 million square kilometers of marine territory, and some 92 thousand km-long beach and coastal areas, or the world's second longest coast line after Canada.
               Indonesia has various coral reefs, which are spread across an area of 25 thousand square kilometers, or around 10 percent of the world's coral reefs measuring 284,300 square kilometers.
              Besides, Indonesia has the highest number of coral reef species on the planet, notably 569 species from 82 families and 15 tribes, out of the total 845 coral reef species in the world.    
    Coral reefs are not just beautiful but are also crucial for maintaining the food supply of millions of people living along the coast all over the world.
              Coral reef fisheries are a critical source of protein for tens of millions of people, and coral reef tourism provides a significant source of foreign exchange for Indonesia.  
     Besides, biologically diverse coral reefs are also vital for protecting the shoreline of the country's low-lying islands.
              To help manage its costal region and preserve coral reefs, Indonesia carried out the Coral Reef Management and Rehabilitation Program (COREMAP), which is supported by a multi-donor group.     
  The Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), as one of the executive agencies of the COREMP, has claimed that the program has been able to improve the rehabilitation and management of coral reefs in the country.

Thursday, December 13, 2018


  Jakarta, Dec 13, 2018 (Antara) - Indonesia is a haven for those preferring to use plastic, as plastic products can be found easily and bought at relatively low prices in the country, with a population of some 260 million.
         As an oil producing nation, Indonesia has manufactured various types of goods made of plastics, whose basic ingredient is crude petroleum.
        Despite several benefits that plastics have offered and made life easier, plastic use has environmental consequences, such as land and marine pollution due to plastic waste and deaths of wildlife after ingesting plastics or becoming entangled in plastic trash.
        Plastic has toxic pollutants that harm the environment and cause land, water, and air pollution. It can take hundreds or also thousands of years for plastic to break down, so damage to the environment is long-lasting.
        As to dangers it poses to wildlife, recent public outcry and protests erupted against the effects on wildlife from ingesting or becoming trapped in plastic debris.
         In Indonesia, three sea turtles were found dead some 150 meters off Pari Island, Seribu (One Thousand) Islands District, Jakarta, on November 27, 2018, apparently due to plastic litter found in their mouths and front claws.
         On Nov 19, a carcass of a 9.5-meter-long sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) was discovered by local fishermen, as it was washed ashore the Kapota Isle, Wakatobi District, Southeast Sulawesi. A total of 5.9 kilograms of plastic waste were found in the whale's stomach, including flip-flops and 115 drinking cups.
        As concern over plastic waste is mounting, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan has ordered inclusion of plastic waste education in the school curriculum.


Jakarta, Dec 13, 2018 (Antara) - Cyberattacks have threatened elections in several countries, and one of the major hacking cases was alleged foreign interference using cyber networks during the US presidential elections in 2016.
          Any form of interference in the election results, be it through money politics or cyberattacks, could endanger democratic well-being of the targeted country. Hence, cybersecurity must be taken seriously to take precautionary measures and prevent threat of cyberattacks.
       On April 17, 2019, Indonesia will hold simultaneous presidential and legislative elections believed to be among the most complex and largest elections in the world. Indonesia is the world's fourth most populous nation, with some 260 million people, and the world's largest archipelagic country, with over 17 thousand islands.
         Four months prior to the elections, cyberattacks have already increased in Indonesia, according to the National Cyber and Encryption Agency (BSSN).
        "From January to October 2018, BSSN had detected 207.9 million trojan attacks and 36 million malware activities, mostly targeting domains of,, and," Djoko Setiadi, the chairman of BSSN, revealed while addressing participants of a seminar themed "Materializing Conducive Cyber Space To Support Implementation of the 2019 Legislative and Presidential Elections," organized in Jakarta on December 12, 2018.
       Earlier, the agency had reported that a total of 143.6 million cyberattacks occurred during the January-June 2018 period.
        Moreover, some 2,363 complaints were lodged by the public, of which 61 percent were related to cyber fraud.
        He expressed concern over cyberattacks having developed fast, even swifter than the progress in technology and the capability to take precautionary measures, so it is risky and could trigger a crisis in every field at a massive scale of dissemination.

Thursday, December 6, 2018


Jakarta, Dec 6, 2018 (Antara) - The fact that President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has visited Papua nine times since December 2014 shows that his administration gives special attention to the development programs in the country's easternmost province.
        Jokowi's first visit was in December 2014, just over a month after he was sworn in as Indonesia's seventh president in October 2014. At that time, the president promised the Papuans that he would frequently visit the province. 
    His latest visit was on Nov 16, 2018, where he personally reviewed the construction works of Trans-Papua road development project. The section he checked was on Kilometer 23 between Merauke and Sota in the district of Merauke.  
  The Trans-Papua road, spanning 4.6 thousand kilometers, is expected to improve connectivity on Papua Island, which comprises Papua and West Papua Provinces.
       Trans-Papua will cut time in the transportation of goods, logistics, and people's movement in Papua, which has difficult terrain as a large part of its land area is still covered by thick forest and swamps.
        The implementation of the Trans-Papua development project has so far been smooth, until Dec 2, 2018, when the public was shocked by reports of murders of more than a dozen workers of the road development project.
        Indonesia's security officers have, so far, discovered 16 bodies of slain workers employed by PT Istaka Karya Construction Company.
        Jimy Aritonang, one of the survivors of the terror attack, recalled that some 50 armed men belonging to an outlawed group, led by Egunius Kogoya, had taken 25 workers from their camp to Mount Kabo.
       On arriving in the remote mountainous area, the criminals shot the workers, whose hands were bound. Some 14 men died on the spot, while 11 others pretended to be dead and later attempted to escape. However, five were later recaptured and killed by the criminals, while several others managed to reach a military post.
       The criminals chased them and later got engaged in a shootout with several military officers. One officer, identified as First Sergeant Handoko, was killed in the attack, while another one was injured.
         Jokowi on Dec 5, 2018, expressed condolences on behalf of the Indonesian people, who mourned the deaths of the workers.

Friday, November 30, 2018


Jakarta , Nov 30,  2018  (Antara) - Three sea turtles were found dead some 150 meters off Pari Island, Seribu (One Thousand) Islands District, Jakarta, Nov 27, apparently due to plastic litter and oil spill, Jakarta Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) stated.
        The turtles were covered in mucus, and plastic litter was found in their mouths and front claws, Chief of Conservation Section of the BKSDA Office in Hajarta Ida Harwati testified.
         Earlier, on Nov 19, a carcass of a 9.5-meter-long sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) was discovered by local fishermen, as it was washed ashore the Kapota Isle, Wakatobi District, Southeast Sulawesi.
        Researchers of the Wakatobi Fisheries and Maritime Community Academy were shocked to find 5.9 kilograms of plastic waste in the whale's stomach, including flip-flops and 115 drinking cups.
        Globally, thousands of marine animals were killed by plastic wastes in ocean. Every year, some one-third of the marine biota, including coral reefs and also seabirds, die owing to plastic wastes that end up in the ocean.
        This situation is a matter of grave concern, considering that coral reefs play a major role in protecting the coast from erosion, coastal flooding, and other destructive events caused by the sea water phenomena. Coral reefs also offer food and shelter for the growth for various marine biota.
        A low turtle population is also concerning since sea turtles play a crucial role in the ecosystem by keeping the wetlands and rivers clean.      
    According to the WWF Indonesia's official website, four of the six species of sea turtles -- green turtles (Chelonia mydas), "belimbing" or leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea), "sisik" or hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), and "lekang" or olive Ripley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) -- lay their eggs on Indonesian beaches.

Thursday, November 29, 2018


 Jakarta, Nov 29, 2018 (Antara) - Indonesia, as the largest economy in South East Asia and the fourth most populous country in the world, has huge potential to further develop its creative economy.
        In contrast to other sectors that are heavily dependent on the exploitation of natural resources, the strength of creative economy is based largely on the superiority of human resources. Artwork, architecture, books, technological innovations, and animations, derive from creative ideas of human thought.
        Given the country's potential, the Joko Widodo (Jokowi) administration is determined to make the creative economy a backbone of the Indonesian economy.
        To this end, President Jokowi established a new non-ministerial institution called the Creative Economy Agency (Bekraf) on January 20, 2015, with tasks including assisting the president in formulating, defining, coordinating, and synchronizing policies in the creative economy.
        Bekraf has envisioned to build Indonesia into one of the world's economic forces in the creative economy in 2030.
        To realize this vision, Bekraf has designed six major missions, including by encouraging innovation in the creative field that has added value and competitiveness in the international world.
        As Indonesia believes that it is the time for global community to take up and seriously discuss opportunities and challenges of the creative economy, the country initiated the World Conference on Creative Economy (WCCE) held in Nusa Dua, Bali, on November 6-8, 2018.
        During the conference, at least 15 hundred participants from 30 countries vowed to promote stronger international political commitments to address challenges and seize opportunities in the creative economy.

Thursday, November 22, 2018


Jakarta, Nov 22, 2018 (Antara)- The creative economy has no single definition, as it is an evolving concept that builds on the interplay between human creativity, ideas, intellectual property, knowledge and technology.
         Essentially it is the knowledge-based economic activities upon which the "creative industries" are based, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
         The products could be cultural, artistic, and designer goods and services, among other things.
         During the First World Conference on Creative Economy (WCCE), initiated and hosted by Indonesia, at least 15 hundred participants from 30 countries vowed to promote stronger international political commitments to address the challenges and seize the opportunities in the creative economy.
         "In this era of globalization and advanced technology, the creative industry has become a game changer. As one of the most dynamic sectors, creative economy contributes significantly to the economic growth in many countries," Triawan Munaf, chairman of Indonesian Agency for Creative Economy (Bekraf), stated in his opening remarks during the 1st WCCE held in Nusa Dua, Bali, Nov 6-8, 2018.
         The participants expressed their commitment to strengthening the role of government, the private sector, media, civil society, business council, and academia in the creative economy.
         Indonesia has initiated the establishment of a virtual and/or a physical center that promotes exchanges, collaborations, and international cooperation in the field of creative economy.
    The Center of Excellence for Creative Economy to be based in Indonesia is expected to help the advancement of the objectives of a creative economy at the global level and the achievement of sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Wednesday, November 21, 2018


Jakarta, Nov 21, 2018 (Antara) - The carcass of a 9.5-meter-long sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) washed ashore the Kapota isle, Wakatobi District, Southeast Sulawesi, on November 19, 2018.
       Researchers of the Wakatobi Fisheries and Maritime Community Academy were shocked to find 5.9 kilograms of plastic waste in the whale's stomach, including flip-flops and 115 drinking cups.
          The giant mammal had ingested 750 grams of 115 plastic cups, 140 grams of 19 hard plastic, 150 grams of four plastic bottles, 260 grams of 25 plastic bags, six pieces of wood weighing 740 grams, two flip-flops of 270 grams, a 200-gram nylon sack, and over a thousand pieces of raffia string weighing 3,260 grams, Laode Ahyar, an official of the Wakatobi National Park, informed an Antara correspondent in Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi, on November 20, 2018.    
    The cause of the whale's death was not known, but considering the large lump of plastic waste in its stomach, it is mostly likely that the plastic waste caused the animal's death.
          This is the second whale stranded ashore the Wakatobi waters this year, after a 13-meter-long whale was found dead in the Bombana waters, last February.
         Plastic waste is littering oceans and threatening the lives of millions of marine animals. Seals, whales, dolphins, seabirds, fish, crabs, and several other marine animals are dying and falling sick after being contaminated by plastic waste, thereby raising serious environmental concern.
         Indonesia, the world's largest archipelagic nation rich in marine biodiversity, is known as one of the major producers of plastic waste.
         According to data of the Environmental Affairs and Forestry Ministry, the amount of plastic waste used in Indonesia continues to increase, from nine percent in 1995 to 16 percent this year.
       Disposable plastic bags, plastic straws, styrofoam, and plastic bottles are widely used in Indonesia, which is an oil-producing country and the world's largest archipelagic nation, with a population of some 260 million. 
   Every year, around one-third of the marine biota, including coral reefs and also seabirds, die owing to plastic wastes that end up in the ocean.

Saturday, November 17, 2018


   Jakarta, Nov 17, 2018 (Antara) - Peatlands, which are natural areas of the accumulated decayed plant material known as peat, have huge importance as carbon sinks and are believed to hold 30 to 40 percent of global carbon despite covering only three percent of the world's land area.
      Indonesia's peatlands store a huge amount of carbon of up to 60 billion metric tons, which makes it a virtual carbon bomb. Globally, the amount of carbon held in tropical peat is around 88.6 billion metric tons.
       Peatlands also act as giant sponges, soaking up water and helping to mitigate flooding.
       During the dry season, peat releases water slowly and can be a source of fresh water for surrounding communities.       
  Indonesia's peatlands are also habitats for endangered species such as orangutans and tigers.
       The country used to have 22.5 million hectares of peatlands, but nearly half of them have already been deforested and drained.
        Given the important functions of peatlands globally, Indonesia and the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo have joined with international organizations to push forward a sustainable peatland agenda at a launch event for the new International Tropical Peatland Center (ITPC) in Jakarta on Oct 30, 2018.
         The three countries - all home to extensive areas of tropical peatland - comprise the founding member states of the center, which are expected to become a holistic platform for peatland science and practice.
         ITPC is also a center for information and knowledge about peat management that can be accessed by countries across the world.
         When managed sustainably, tropical peatlands offer not only substantial environmental gains but also potential livelihood benefits to those living in and around them.

Thursday, November 15, 2018


Jakarta,  Nov 15, 2018 (Antara)- A report released by United Nations-appointed investigators in August 2018, underlined the horrific and organized nature of the brutality meted out on civilians in Myanmar's Rakhine state since 2011, as well as Kachin and Shan states.
        The investigation was conducted by  a team called the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, following the mass exodus of more than 700,000 Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh last year - events previously described by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights as a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing", according to UN News.
        The investigators - Marzuki Darusman, Radhika Coomaraswamy and Christopher Sidoti - recommended that top military commanders in Myanmar should be investigated and prosecuted for the "gravest" crimes against civilians under international law, including genocide.
        Myanmar has denied most of the allegations in the report.
       The genocide in Rakhine State  is a disgrace to ASEAN as it happens in its own yard, namely Myanmar, one of  the 10 member countries of ASEAN - Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.
         During the 33rd ASEAN Summit held in Singapore on Nov 11-15, 2018,  ASEAN called the refugee crisis in Myanmar "a matter of concern" , a rare departure from ASEAN's principle of noninterference in the internal affairs of members.
        "We discussed and received a briefing from Myanmar on the humanitarian situation in Rakhine State, which is a matter of concern," said the chairman's statement from the ASEAN summit held on Nov 13, without mentioning the word "Rohingya," the name of the Muslim minority group fleeing persecution in Myanmar.

Saturday, November 10, 2018


Jakarta, Nov 10, 2018  (Antara) - China's decision to reverse the 25-year ban on the trade of tiger bones and rhino horns has triggered an outcry from various conservation groups internationally and considered the move a regress in wildlife conservation efforts.
        In response to the move, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued a statement in Beijing on October 29, 2018, expressing its profound concern over China's announcement on the same day that it has legalized the use of tiger bones and rhino horns from captive-bred animals by hospitals and domestic trade in antique tiger and rhino products.
        "It is deeply concerning that China has reversed its 25-year-old tiger bone and rhino horn ban, allowing a trade that will have devastating consequences globally," Margaret Kinnaird, WWF Wildlife Practice Leader, affirmed.
        A similar concern was voiced by Greenpeace Africa's Senior Political Advisor Fredrick Njehu, saying that China's decision to reopen trade of rhino horns and tiger bones will not only reactivate the demand for rhino products but will also contribute to a rise in poaching and other illegal activities
   WWF and Greenpeace Africa urgently call on China to not only maintain their 1993 ban on tiger bone and rhino horn trade but to also extend it to cover trade in all tiger parts and products, regardless of whether they are from captive-bred or wild animals.
        An Indonesian environmentalist has also expressed his concern over China's decision to legalize tiger bone use for medicines, as it has the potential to trigger the poaching of Sumatran tigers.
        "For us, this is a regress and leads to bad impacts on conservation efforts in countries having wildlife. China has been viewed as an illegal importer and export destination of protected wildlife so far," Osmantri, coordinator of the Wildlife Crime Team, a working unit of the WWF program in Central Sumatra, stated in Pekanbaru, Riau, recently.

Friday, November 9, 2018


Jakarta, Nov 9, 2018 (Antara) - The rainy season has set in quite late over certain regions but has already induced floods and landslides, claiming more than 25 lives, particularly in parts of Sumatra and Java Islands.
        Since October 2018, floods have reportedly hit many villages in several provinces, such as West Sumatra, North Sumatra, Riau, Aceh, West Java, and East Java.
        At least 22 people were killed and 15 missing due to flooding in North Sumatra and West Sumatra, while in West Java, floods claimed six lives and rendered one missing recently.
       Indonesia is indeed prone to hydrometeorological disasters, such as flooding, landslide, and whirlwind, in the rainy season and wildfires or severe drought during the dry season.
       Hence, the Indonesian Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has warned of possible floods, landslides, and whirlwind during the current rainy season.
        "Entering the rainy season, the possibility of floods, landslides, and whirlwind increases," Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the BNPB spokesman, noted in a statement on November 8, 2018.
         Precipitation will continue to increase, and the rainy season will peak in January, so the disaster threat is higher.
         In Riau, Sumatra Island, floods submerged a total of 4,384 homes located in 44 villages in 11 sub-districts in Indragiri Hulu (Inhu) District on Nov 7.
        The affected sub-districts were Pasir Penyu, Rengat, Kuala Cenaku, West Rengat Barat, Lirik, Lubuk Batu Jaya, Peranap, Rakit Kulim, Batang Peranap, Kelayang, and Sei Lala, Edward Sanger, head of the Riau disaster mitigation office, said on Nov 8.
        The flooding was triggered by incessant heavy rains that caused the Kuantan River to overflow its bank.

Monday, November 5, 2018


Jakarta, Nov 5,2018 (Antara) - Indonesia's most famous international cycling race and sport tourism event, Tour de Singkarak (TdS), is more challenging this year because of heavier rains and longer race track.
          Bad weather in the current rainy season has become a real challenge because downpours are expected to fall in several regions along the route of TdS, which is being held from Nov 4 to 11, 2018, in West Sumatra Province.
         The West Sumatra provincial capital of Padang, in fact, was flooded on Nov 2, 2018, killing two children, destroying two bridges, and submerging some 1.4 thousand homes in seven sub-districts.
       Deputy Governor of West Sumatra, Nasrul Abit, concurrently chairman of the TdS 2018 organizing committee, officiated the TdS 2018 in Kantin Square, Bukittinggi District, on the evening of Nov 3.
         The TdS' theme this year is "One Decade for All," in order to mark a decade of the organization of the cycling race classified by International Cycling Union (UCI) as 2.2 category race and listed in the UCI Asia Tour calendar of events.
         Besides having to brave heavy rains, participating cyclists have to ride longer because the TdS' race track this year is extended to 1,267 kilometers, from 1,250 kilometers in the previous year, although its stages are reduced from nine to eight stages.
         A total of 224 cyclists, grouped in 21 cycling teams from 26 countries, including four domestic teams and one local team, are participating in this year's TdS, with total prizes worth Rp2.3 billion to be won.  

Saturday, November 3, 2018


  Jakarta, Nov 3, 2018 (Antara) - Indonesia, which was still grieving the devastation caused by powerful earthquakes and tsunami in Lombok and Palu, was once again shocked by the crash of a Lion Air flight JT 610 plane on Oct 29, 2018, which claimed all 189 people aboard.
         The cause of the accident is still under investigation, but the Boeing's 737 MAX aircraft that plunged into Tanjung Karawang waters in West Java Province, after some 15 minutes taking off from Jakarta en route to Tanjung Pinang, Bangka Belitung, was relatively new.
         The ill-fated aircraft joined the Lion Air fleet in August 2018 and had 800 hours of flight time, according to National Committee of Transportation Safety (KNKT) Head Soerjanto Tjahjono.
         Corporate Communication Strategic Officer of Lion Air, Danang Mandala, remarked that the crashed Boeing 737 Max 8 plane was airworthy and had been operated by the airlines since Aug 15, 2018.
         The aircraft departed from Jakarta at 6:20 a.m. local time and was scheduled to arrive in Pangkalpinang at 7:05 a.m. local time, according to the Depati Amir Airport authority in Pangkalpinang.
         Before it lost contact, the aircraft had sought permission to return to Jakarta due to a problem.
         The aircraft carried 178 adult passengers, including an Italian national; three infants; six crew members; as well as an Indian pilot and an Indonesian co-pilot. 
    Among the passengers were tens of civil servants including 20 officers of the Finance Ministry, six legislators of Bangka Belitung, and three police officers.
    Few hours after the accident, the plane's wreckage and several body parts were found floating in the sea not far from Jakarta.
         The same aircraft, while serving Denpasar-Jakarta flight the previous day (Oct 28), had encountered a technical problem, which was later reportedly resolved.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018


 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.

Saturday, October 27, 2018


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.

Friday, October 26, 2018


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)

Saturday, October 20, 2018


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.

Thursday, October 18, 2018


  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.


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.

Saturday, October 13, 2018


  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.

Friday, October 5, 2018


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.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018


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.