Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners

Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners
Widodo has pledged to bring reform to Indonesia

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has pleaded to Indonesia to stop the execution of prisoners on death row for drug crimes. AFP PHOTO

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person
The pope wrote that the principle of legitimate personal defense isn’t adequate justification to execute someone. Photograph: Zuma/Rex

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison   (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)
US President Barack Obama speaks as he tours the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Oklahoma, July 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)
Woman who spent 23 years on US death row cleared (Photo: dpa)



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.
"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Indonesian transportation minister tests positive for COVID-19

The Jakarta Post, March 14, 2020

Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi (center) walks at Kertajati International
Airport in Majalengka, West Java, on March 1. The minister tested positive of
COVID-19, State Secretary Pratikno announced on Saturday evening. (Antara/
Dedhez Anggara)

Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi has tested positive for COVID-19.

State Secretary Pratikno announced on Saturday evening that Budi was identified as Case 76 in a previous Health Ministry announcement and was being treated at the Gatot Subroto Army Hospital.

He declined to say when Budi had been admitted to the hospital or when he had likely been infected.

Budi reportedly attended a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Pratikno said President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had appointed Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan as ad interim transportation minister.

Gatot Subroto Army Hospital doctors said Budi’s condition was improving.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Building an equal partnership of mutual respect

The Jakarta Post, Retno LP Marsudi, Foreign Minister of Indonesia, Jakarta,March 11, 2020
President Joko Widodo (right) accompanied by First Lady Iriana Joko Widodo (second left)
and Dutch King Willem Alexander (second right) accompanied by Queen Maxima planting
trees during a state visit to Bogor Palace, West Java, Tuesday (10/3/2020). (Antara/
Sigid Kurniawan)

“The ongoing global economic and geopolitical volatility will not keep Indonesia and the Netherlands from advancing their long-standing cooperation” — that may be the right tone to begin the narrative on the state visit of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima to Indonesia.

On Tuesday, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo greeted the Dutch king and queen at Bogor Palace in West Java.

The visit sends the clear message that the two countries aspire to advance their ties going forward. It will surely create a new momentum for the Indonesian-Dutch partnership. The visit also instils not only increased confidence of Dutch investment in Indonesia but also strategic trust in the long run.

The visit produces numerous concrete deliverables in various sectors at the government-to-government as well as the business-to-business level. These include eight government initiatives in important sectors such as sustainable palm oil production, cooperation on infectious diseases control, waste management, the circular economy, water management, aviation cooperation, capacity-building of healthcare professionals, as well as women, peace and security.

On the business side, the king’s 190-strong business delegation has met with hundreds of Indonesian business counterparts and concluded investment and business deals amounting to US$1 billion. These include agreements on dairy products, oil and gas, agriculture, infrastructure and renewable energy.

However, these achievements did not come overnight. In fact, in the last seven decades, both sides have taken significant steps to strengthen bilateral ties.

I was the Indonesian ambassador in The Hague in 2013, when Indonesia and the Netherlands signed a joint declaration on a comprehensive partnership that laid out the modalities for concrete cooperation. This was an important building block to mature our bilateral cooperation into what we have today and what we will harvest tomorrow.

After more than 70 years, it is undeniable that the bond between the two countries has had its share of challenges. While we cannot deny the past of Indonesia-Netherlands relations, we can choose to fully capitalize on the potential of future cooperation for the benefit of both nations.

Read also: A time to remember

Therefore, the goal for our shared future must be clear, which is pursuing a forward-looking partnership that really benefits both countries and peoples.

There are three things that the two countries should advance together to attain common goals for a solid and mutually beneficial partnership.

First and fundamentally, both countries must remain committed to the common values of mutual respect and principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Second, the Indonesian-Dutch partnership must produce long-term and concrete economic benefits for our two peoples.

The Netherlands is and should continue to be Indonesia’s strategic partner for trade and investment. In 2019, the Netherlands was Indonesia’s largest investment partner in the European region, the second-largest trading partner and the fourth-largest tourism partner.

Our political solidarity in furthering the common cause of sustainability is also strong. In promoting sustainable palm oil in Europe, for instance, it is evident that we can rely on the Netherlands as our friend. Last year, together with my colleague, Sigrid Kaag, the Dutch minister for foreign trade and cooperation development, we signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on joint production of sustainable palm oil in New York, the United States. King Willem-Alexander’s current visit has also brought an impetus toward the progression of sustainable production of palm oil through the conclusion of a technical arrangement that will focus on capacity-building for Indonesian smallholder farmers.

This is a good reflection of how trust is an important pillar of bilateral cooperation, as also exemplified through the Netherlands’ support in the establishment of the Indonesia-European Union Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade in 2016.

Third, Indonesia and the Netherlands must continue to promote the universal common values of multilateralism, diplomacy and democracy, promoting habits of dialogue and peaceful dispute settlement to tackle shared global challenges amid rising tensions, intolerance and unilateralism.

Peacekeeping and counterterrorism are among our signature areas of collaboration on the world stage.

Indonesia and the Netherlands were among the core countries facilitating and supporting the Untied Nations' secretary-general’s Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative to rally member states and other crucial stakeholders to fulfil their obligation in strengthening UN peacekeeping operations.

Both nations also need to stand shoulder to shoulder in the global fight against terrorism and violent extremism.

Deepening the promotion of democracy, pluralism and tolerance are other important areas of cooperation to further develop. The Bali Democracy Forum could become the platform to jointly advance these shared values.

Women, peace and security shall be another hallmark of our bilateral cooperation. The partnership aspires to deepen the capacity of women to promote peace and security, in line with the formation of the ASEAN Women Mediators Network and the Afghanistan-Indonesia Women Network last March.


In conclusion, another historical step was taken with the king of the Netherlands’ visit to Indonesia, in the very year when Indonesia celebrates its 75th year of independence.

The history binding our two countries together is not an easy one. This dark period should not be repeated in the future.

King Alexander stated that “today, we warmly congratulate the people of Indonesia as you celebrate 75 years of independence. The past cannot be erased and will have to be acknowledged by each generation in turn.” King Alexander also expressed his regret and apologized for excessive violence on the part of the Dutch in those years.

Let us together build a better and stronger relationship, one that is based on mutual respect and mutual interests.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.

King Willem-Alexander and Indonesian president Joko Widodo. Photo: AP Photo/
Achmad Ibrahim, Pool 

Related Articles:


From left, Dutch Queen Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti, Dutch King Willem-Alexander, 
President Joko Widodo and Education and Culture Minister Nadiem Makarim observe 
Prince Diponegoro's golden kris at the Bogor Palace in Bogor, West Java, on Tuesday. 
(Antara Photo/Sigid Kurniawan)

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Dutch King Returns Prince Diponegoro's Golden Kris to Jokowi

Jakarta Globe, 10 March 2020

From left, Dutch Queen Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti, Dutch King Willem-Alexander, 
President Joko Widodo and Education and Culture Minister Nadiem Makarim observe 
Prince Diponegoro's golden kris at the Bogor Palace in Bogor, West Java, on Tuesday. 
(Antara Photo/Sigid Kurniawan)

Jakarta. After nearly two centuries, a golden kris belonging to Indonesia's national hero Prince Diponegoro was returned by the Dutch King Willem-Alexander, here on a three-day state visit with Queen Máxima and a 130-strong delegation, to President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo at the Bogor Palace on Tuesday.

The golden kris was placed in a glass box not far from the podium where President Jokowi and King Willem-Alexander held a joint press statement.

Education and Culture Minister Nadiem Makarim was seen explaining how the golden kris came into Dutch hands to the President and the King.

The Dutch government had returned several of Prince Diponegoro's belongings in 1968, but the golden kris was not included. 

The kris was reportedly lost but was later found at the Volkenkunde Museum in Leiden.

A team of Dutch and Indonesian researchers has confirmed the authenticity of the golden kris.

Prince Diponegoro was a Javanese royal, the eldest son of Sultan Hamengkubuwono III of Yogyakarta, who led a crusade against Dutch colonial rule in the 1825-1830 Java War.

The war, in which 200,000 people died including 8,000 Dutch, ended with the prince's capture on March 28, 1830.

His famous golden kris was seized by the Dutch government during his famous capture when he was tricked into a fake negotiation – the subject of one of Indonesian painter Raden Saleh's most well-known paintings.

Colonel Jan-Baptist Cleerens gave Prince Diponegoro's golden kris as a gift to King Willem I in 1831.

Apart from returning the heirloom to Indonesia, the Dutch royal visit is intended to increase bilateral cooperation between Indonesia and the Netherlands.

"This is an excellent opportunity to work together for a future relationship between Indonesia and the Netherlands," King Willem-Alexander said.



Dutch monarch offers apology for past ‘excessive violence’

The Jakarta Post, Marchio Irfan Gorbiano, March 10, 2020

Dutch King Willem-Alexander (second right) and Queen Maxima (right) return after
laying a wreath during their visit to the Heroes Cemetery in Jakarta on March 10.
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands are on a five-day
visit to Indonesia, a former Dutch colony. ( AFP/BAY ISMOYO)

Dutch King Willem-Alexander has offered an apology over "excessive violence" suffered by Indonesians during the early years of Indonesian independence, acknowledging the period as a "painful separation".

The statement was conveyed by the king after he and Queen Maxima were hosted by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo in an official ceremony at the Bogor Palace in West Java on Tuesday.

"In line with earlier statements by my government, I would like to express my regret and apologies for the excessive violence on the part of the Dutch in those years," Willem said during a joint press statement on Tuesday.

"And I do so in the full realization that the pain and sorrow of the families affected continue to be felt today."

Willem's statement reversed previous Dutch monarchs’ stance of refusing to apologize for the nation’s past war crimes in the country. During the last state visit by a Dutch monarch in 1995, Queen Beatrix was prevented by then-prime minister Wim Kok from offering an apology, saying the Netherlands was not ready.

Indonesia declared independence on Aug. 17, 1945, but the Dutch only recognized its sovereignty on Dec. 27, 1949.

The Dutch government had apologized several times for its colonial troops’ war crimes conducted between 1945 and 1949 in Indonesia.

In 2013, then-Dutch ambassador to Indonesia Tjeerd de Zwaan addressed an apology to 10 widows of men who were summarily executed in a series of mass killings in South Sulawesi between December 1946 and February 1947 during military operations by Dutch troops under Raymond Pierre Paul Westerling.

The king’s four-day state visit kicked off on Tuesday. It went ahead despite the recent announcement of 19 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Indonesia.

The Dutch king also expressed his desire to see a stronger tie between Indonesia and the Netherlands.

"Indonesia has a long tradition of religious tolerance and can play a constructive part in this respect. It's important to continue working together to foster peace, justice and the protection of minorities based on respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity," King Willem-Alexander said.

"And we are keen to work together with you toward this end."

Speaking before Willem, Jokowi emphasized the need for the two countries to forge ahead in a relationship of mutual respect.

"Of course, we cannot erase the history, but we can learn from the past. It serves as a lesson for our commitment to grow a relationship that is equal and with mutual respect and mutually-beneficial," the President said.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Southeast Asia feels the burn as virus keeps Chinese tourists at home

Yahoo – AFP, Aidan Jones, with Dene-Hern Chen in Pattaya, Thailand, February 16, 2020

Across Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, tourist takings have plummeted as
Chinese travellers find themselves subject to a host of travel restrictions (AFP Photo/
Mladen ANTONOV)

Elephant parks unvisited, curios at markets unsold as tuk-tuks sit idle: Southeast Asia is facing billions of dollars in losses from a collapse in Chinese tourism since the outbreak of a deadly new coronavirus.

From Luang Prabang in northern Laos to Pattaya in Thailand, Hoi An in Vietnam and the Cambodian casino town of Sihanoukville, takings have plummeted as Chinese travellers find themselves subject to a host of restrictions at home and abroad.

"We haven't had any Chinese for 10 days since they closed the road from Yunnan," says Ong Tau, 47, from behind her stall of fruit shakes in the temple-studded Laotian colonial town of Luang Prabang.

"Business is down 20-30 percent... it will get worse."

Tour guides, mall workers and restaurant staff are all feeling the burn as Chinese -- the world's biggest travellers -- stay at home in the middle of a global health crisis.

"My friend has lost four or five big tour groups... they would have paid for his low season," said Tee, a guide in Luang Prabang, giving only one name in the tightly-controlled communist country, a mass of tuk-tuks standing idle behind him.

Business is also slow at the Chang Siam Elephant Park in Pattaya, a few hours 
south of Bangkok (AFP Photo/Mladen ANTONOV)

But in one of Southeast Asia's least well-resourced countries, there may be one bright side to the sudden economic pain.

"We don't know how to protect ourselves," he added. "The government doesn't tell people anything... so maybe less Chinese is a good thing for now."

Loans and job losses

The slump is being felt sharply in Thailand, where tourism authorities say arrivals from China -- usually close to one million a month -- have plunged by 90 percent so far this February.

At the Chang Siam Elephant Park in Pattaya, a few hours south of Bangkok, owner Nantakorn Phatnamrob fears he will soon be pressed into debt to float a business which has lost nearly $65,000 since the outbreak.

"People are afraid to visit," he told AFP. "If it stays like this, I will have to get a loan from the bank."

In Cambodia's Sihanoukville, a southern beach resort known for its casinos, the 
tourist take has shrivelled (AFP Photo/TANG CHHIN Sothy)

Crocodile farms and tiger sanctuaries -- controversial tourist beacons where visitors can pet the animals -- are also deserted, leaving owners to feed expensive star attractions.

The outbreak has also spooked western tourists at the height of peak season in what has already been a tough period for Thai tourism thanks to a strong baht.

Thailand anticipates shedding five million tourists this year, taking with them "250 billion baht (over $8 billion) in revenue", according to Don Nakornthab, director of economic policy at Bank of Thailand.

"Our hopes that the economy will do better than last year are very low... it's possible it could grow below 2 percent," he added.

That will spell bad news for the untold number of Thais working in the tourism sector.

Ma Mya, 22, who sells trinkets in Pattaya, says she may soon have to return to her home in northern Thailand.

"There's no more profit -- everything has gone bad."

Vendors wait for customers at the main tourist market in Luang Prabang, northern 
Laos (AFP Photo/Aidan JONES)

Things can only get better

With so much riding on the seasonal influx, some Mekong countries are desperate not to deter those Chinese still travelling.

Thailand offers visa on arrival for Chinese tourists despite having one of the highest numbers of confirmed infections -- 34 -- outside of the mainland.

At least two of those cases were Thais who contracted the virus after driving infected Chinese passengers, raising fears that the economy was taking priority over tackling the health crisis.

For staunch Beijing ally Cambodia, where only one case of the virus has been confirmed so far despite a large Chinese presence, strongman leader Hun Sen has repeatedly played down the risk to his country.

Still, Cambodian tourism is taking a hammering.

Ticket sales at the famed Angkor temple complex in Cambodia have fallen
between 30 and 40 percent (AFP Photo/Manan VATSYAYANA)

Ticket sales at the famed Angkor temple complex in Siem Reap have fallen between 30 and 40 percent this year, while in Sihanoukville, a southern beach resort notorious for its casinos, the tourist take has shrivelled.

"I used to make $100 a day," said Chantha Reak, a ride-hailing driver. "Now it's $10."

Businesses are praying for a bounce back if and when the virus is controlled.

With 10 million Chinese visitors each year, Thailand hopes the pain will ease in a few months.

Regular visitor Yen Ran, 25, from Chengdu, came to Pattaya despite the health warnings.

"I am a little concerned how other countries perceive us," she told AFP. "But when there's a cure, things will get better."

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Bat for sale at Indonesia's wildlife market despite virus warning

Yahoo – AFP, February 12, 2020

Scientists are debating how the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than
1,100 people in China and spread to dozens of countries around the world,
was transmitted to humans (AFP Photo/Ronny Adolof Buol)

Bats, rats and snakes are still being sold at an Indonesian market known for its wildlife offerings, despite a government request to take them off the menu over fears of a link to the deadly coronavirus.

Vendors at the Tomohon Extreme Meat market on Sulawesi island say business is booming and curious tourists keep arriving to check out exotic fare that enrages animal rights activists.

But scientists are debating how the new virus, which has killed more than 1,100 people in China and spread to dozens of countries around the world, was transmitted to humans.

A wildlife market in Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus, is thought to be ground zero and there is suspicion it could have originated in bats.

The possible link wasn't on many radar screens at the Indonesian market, however.

Vendors at the Tomohon Extreme Meat market on Sulawesi island say
business is booming (AFP Photo/Ronny Adolof Buol)

Its grubby stalls feature a dizzying array of animals including giant snakes, rats impaled on sticks and charred dogs with their hair seared off by blowtorches -- a gory scene described by some critics as "like walking through hell".

Bat seller Stenly Timbuleng says he's still moving his fare for as much as 60,000 rupiah ($4.40) a kilogram to buyers in the area, where bats are a speciality in local cuisine.

"I'm selling between 40 and 60 kilograms every day," the 45-year-old told AFP.

"The virus hasn't affected sales. My customers still keep coming."

Restaurateur Lince Rengkuan -- who serves bats including their heads and wings stewed in coconut milk and spices -- says the secret is preparation.

"If you don't cook the bat well then of course it can be dangerous," she said.

Stalls at the Tomohon Extreme Meat market on Sulawesi island feature
a dizzying array of animals (AFP Photo/Ronny Adolof Buol)

"We cook it thoroughly and so far the number of customers hasn't gone down at all."

This despite a request from the local government and the health agency to take bats and other wildlife out of circulation -- a call that has been all but ignored.

"We're also urging people not to consume meat from animals suspected to be carriers of a fatal disease," said Ruddy Lengkong, head of the area's government trade and industry agency.

Indonesia has not yet reported a confirmed case of the virus.

In the capital Jakarta, vendors selling skinned snakes and cobra blood on a recent Saturday night didn't have any trouble finding takers.

"It's good for you, sir," said one vendor of his slithering fare.

"Cures and prevents all diseases."

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Landmark case says Aboriginal Australians cannot be deported

Yahoo – AFP, Holly ROBERTSON, February 11, 2020

Australia's highest court says immigration law does not apply to Aboriginal
Australians (AFP Photo/SAEED KHAN)

Aboriginal Australians are exempt from immigration law, the country's top court ruled Tuesday, in a historic decision that found indigenous people born overseas cannot be deported.

Australia had been trying to deport two men -- Papua New Guinea citizen Daniel Love and New Zealand citizen Brendan Thoms -- under laws that allow a convicted criminal's visa to be cancelled on character grounds.

Both men identify as Aboriginal Australians, each has one indigenous parent, and they have lived in the country since they were small children.

Love, who served time for assault, and Thoms, who had been jailed for domestic violence, have been battling in the courts to stay in Australia, arguing that they may be "non-citizens" but they are also not "aliens".

The High Court ruled in a decision that split the judges 4-3 that Aboriginal Australians "are not within the reach" of constitutional provisions relating to foreign citizens.

Indigenous people have inhabited the vast continent for more than 60,000 years, while the modern nation's constitution only came into force in 1901.

Thoms -- who was already recognised as a traditional land owner -- was accepted by the court as Aboriginal.

But the judges could not agree on whether Love was under a three-part test that considers biological descent, self-identification and community recognition.

Lawyer Claire Gibbs, who represented the men, hailed the decision as "significant for Aboriginal Australians".

"This case isn't about citizenship, it's about who belongs here, who is an Australian national and who is a part of the Australian community," she told reporters in Canberra.

"The High Court has found Aboriginal Australians are protected from deportation. They can no longer be removed from the country that they know and the country that they have a very close connection with."

The case marked the first time an Australian court has considered whether the government has the power to deport indigenous people.

But it also touched on the contentious question of how Aboriginality is defined in the law.

Gibbs said she was "confident" that they would eventually be able to prove Love's status as he was "accepted by his community as Aboriginal" and had "biological proof" that he was a descendant of the First Australians.

Lawyers will now pursue compensation claims on behalf of both men, who Gibbs said had suffered "severe embarrassment" and been "subject to ridicule" as a result of being Aboriginal men held in immigration detention.

Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge described it as a "significant judgement" that has "implications for our migration programs".

"On the face of it, it has created a new category of persons; neither an Australian citizen under the Australian Citizenship Act, nor a non-citizen," he said in a statement.

The government was reviewing the decision and its implications, Tudge said.

Thoms was freed from immigration detention following the ruling, while Love had been released back in September 2018.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Indonesians protest use of island for virus quarantine

Yahoo – AFP, February 3, 2020

Health officials disinfect the evacuees from Wuhan, who will be quarantined on
the island of Natuna for two weeks (AFP Photo/HANDOUT)

Hundreds of residents of a remote Indonesian island protested Monday at the government's decision to use it to quarantine evacuees from the Chinese city at the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.

Indonesia has evacuated 237 citizens and one foreign national, married to an Indonesian, from Wuhan.

The evacuees, mostly students, landed Sunday and will be quarantined for 14 days on Natuna island, which lies between Borneo and Peninsular Malaysia.

"The government's decision to quarantine Indonesians who returned from China has made people feel uneasy, so we strongly reject it," Fadillah, one of the protesters who like many Indonesians goes with one name, told AFP.

The protesters, wearing green surgical masks, demonstrated in front of the local parliament building, demanding the local authorities relocate the evacuation centre away from a residential area.

"Whatever the reason and the explanation, we don't believe it. We believe this virus is very dangerous for people in Natuna," Fadillah said.

In response to the growing protest on the island, President Joko Widodo said the returnees had to be quarantined to ensure they were in good health before they can return home.

"Those people are healthy, however several stages are needed in health protocol before they can be returned to their family," Widodo said.

Following the evacuees' arrival on Natuna, the local government has shut down schools for two weeks and urged students to limit outdoor activities.

The coronavirus epidemic has infected more than 17,000 people across China and reached 24 nations, although Indonesia has not reported any confirmed cases so far.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Right fire for right future: how cultural burning can protect Australia from catastrophic blazes

The Guardian, Lorena Allam, Sat 18 Jan 2020

Traditional knowledge has already reduced bushfires and emissions in the top end, so why isn’t it used more widely?

Kija Rangers conduct prescribed burning in the East Kimberley in 2019.
Photograph: Supplied/Kimberley Land Council

Indigenous fire practitioners have warned that Australia’s bush will regenerate as a “time bomb” prone to catastrophic blazes, and issued a plea to put to use traditional knowledge which is already working across the top end to reduce bushfires and greenhouse gas emissions.

“This is a time bomb ticking now because all that canopy has been wiped out,” says Oliver Costello of the national Indigenous Firesticks Alliance.

“A lot of areas will end up regenerating really strongly, but they’ll return in the wrong way. We’ll end up with the wrong species compositions and balance.

 “That’s why we need to get Indigenous fire practices out into the landscape in the coming months, to start to read the country and look at areas that need restoration burning in the short term.”

As Australia comes to terms with this season’s catastrophic fires, Indigenous practitioners like Costello are advocating a return to “cultural burning”.

What is cultural burning?

Small-scale burns at the right times of year and in the right places can minimise the risk of big wildfires in drier times, and are important for the health and regeneration of particular plants and animals.

Different species relate to fire in different ways, Costello explains. Wombats, for example, dig burrows to escape, while koalas climb into the canopy.

“When you understand the fire relationships they have, their own fire culture, then you are really applying the right fire for that culture so that you’re supporting the identity of that place.

“When you do that, you get more productive landscapes, you get healthier plants and animals, you get regeneration, you discourage invasive elements, which are sometimes native species that might belong in the system next door.

“It’s so important to apply that right fire for right country, so you can maintain the right balance.”

Aboriginal rangers and traditional owners conduct burns in the Katiti-Petermann
 Indigenous Protected Area, in the remote desert country near the Western
Australia and Northern Territory border. Photograph: Helen Davidson/The Guardian

Dr David Bowman is a professor of pyrogeography and fire science at the University of Tasmania. Bowman describes Indigenous fire management as “little fires tending the earth affectionately”.

“The affectional is the opposite of mechanical. It’s with emotion. So it can be reverence, affection, fear, a whole range of emotions, but it’s an emotional relationship you have with land using fire to create mosaics and flammable habitat mosaics, which are really good for biodiversity and a really good way of managing fuel load.”

Where is it used in Australia?

In northern Australia, Indigenous land ownership is widespread. Caring for country and ranger programs in protected areas has delivered a degree of autonomy to traditional owners to walk the country, burning according to seasonal need and cultural knowledge.

Indigenous fire management involves “cool” fires in targeted areas during the early dry season, between March and July. The fires burn slowly and in patches.

In the Kimberley, the Land council holds community fire planning meetings throughout the early dry season to ensure the correct people are burning their country.

“Traditional owners are consulted and native title holders design burn lines and fire walk routes,” the KLC acting CEO Tyronne Garstone says.

“These burn lines are approved by the group and Indigenous rangers perform the on-ground work, backed up by modern technology with rangers taking constant weather readings and recording the conditions of the day.

“They work very well at combining the old people’s fire practices with modern techniques.”

Even so, climate change is affecting their ability to do “right way” fire management, Garstone says.

“These ‘right way’ fire days are getting fewer and fire behaviour is changing along the same lines as over east. Late season conditions are also driving more fires in unusual ways due to the climatic conditions we are currently facing.”

Kija Rangers conduct prescribed or ‘cool’ burning in the East Kimberley
in the dry season, 2019. Photograph: Supplied/Kimberley Land Council

How effective is it?

The Darwin centre for bushfire research at Charles Darwin University maps bushfires weekly. Since traditional burning was reintroduced on a large scale, the centre has collected enough data to show that the area of land destroyed by wildfires has more than halved, from 26.5m hectares in 2000, to just 11.5m hectares in 2019.

“We have annual fires up here,” the centre’s research fellow Andrew Edwards says. “Forty per cent of the top end could burn every year. So we had to do something about that.”

“We were originally much more interested in biodiversity, Aboriginal employment and getting people back on country to manage it properly, but when the carbon economy came along we saw a way to manage fire to abate greenhouse gas emissions.

“It was pretty bad before that happened,” Edwards says. “It was just fires running wild across huge tracts of north Australia that nobody was doing anything about.”

Edwards says the top end cooperative model can be adapted to southern conditions.

“That’s what needs to be looked at. Obviously there’s a lot more infrastructure to set up, but it’s collaboration and education.

“If we want to manage our natural environment properly, we need to be doing prescribed burning. There’s so much cultural knowledge out there still, and it’s being totally ignored. There’s hundreds of Indigenous rangers out there now doing this work.”

The Oriners and Sefton Savannah Burning Project creates carbon credits, using
strict scientific methodologies, approved through a rigorous accreditation process
with the Department of Environment, to store carbon in the natural landscape.
Photograph: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia

Will these practices be widely adopted?

In southern Australia, Oliver Costello says, Aboriginal knowledge systems are far less valued but hold important solutions.

The Coag national bushfire management policy includes a commitment to “promote Indigenous Australians’ use of fire”, but Indigenous fire groups like Firesticks Alliance say they need more resources to build capacity.

“There are a lot of policy settings at a high level that support us, but there’s nothing in between. There’re no resources,” Costello says.

“There’s no investment really outside of northern Australia Indigenous fire management of any significance, and they had to build a whole new economy to support it through carbon.

“There’s always investment going into future firefighting capacity, more trucks, more helicopters, more this, more that. What we need is people getting out into the landscape now, with the knowledge to start to heal it.

A small cool burn managed by Indigenous firesticks alliance.
Photograph: Firesticks Alliance Indigenous Corporation/PA

Professor Bowman says it is possible to “blend Aboriginal with European and modern scientific approaches to create an opportunity for all land users and land owners”.

He suggests small-scale local “Green fire” groups modelled on the Landcare program.

“I would like to see a crossover between Indigenous and mainstream fire management groups, where there can be exchange and recognition.

“Because in the end there’s two things which are important to [remember]: all humans have come from a fire management background in their cultures, it’s just that some cultures ended up obliterating that knowledge because of industrialisation.

“We should really prioritise employment of Aboriginal people. But when there’s a gap we could be filling that gap with community groups. And there’s a really good opportunity for Aboriginal people to be involved in training.

“We need to encourage and promote the philosophy of Aboriginal fire practice because that’s going to be a really important pathway for sustainable fire management and also for healing because so many communities have been traumatised and shocked by the scale of the burning.”

Costello says the areas that haven’t burned this time around are now even more vulnerable.

“They are critical parts of the landscape [that need] to be able to support the animals and plants that have survived. And so those areas are going to be under increasing pressure and they’re also at risk of a future fire.

“There was an economy before settlement that supported this, a resource economy based on people looking after the land and having all that they needed.

“Now in the modern society it revolves around money. So we need to build economies that support cultural practice and acknowledge traditional custodianship.

“There’s all this canopy that’s been burnt away. We’ve got knowledge and techniques that can help heal that country in the future. It’s going to take some time. We’ve got probably two or three years before we can really be effective in some of that country because it needs to recover. But if we don’t get in there after that, then we miss our chance.”


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