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)


"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. …

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Krakatau Fest to charm and bring tourists to Lampung

Oyos Saroso H.N., The Jakarta Post, Bandarlampung

Kite-flying at popular Mount Krakatau, fishing in Kiluan Bay and a Japanese couple's wedding ceremony atop elephants are just some of the highlights of the 2007 Krakatau Festival, which kicks off in Lampung province Thursday.

Participants of the festival, which will continue through to Aug. 30, will also be able to witness traditional Lampung arts performances, buy handicrafts or join the International Kite Festival.

The Krakatau kite-flying event, which will be held July 25, is part of the international kite festival.

"Several world-renowned kite enthusiasts will join the event," said Anshori Djausal, chairman of the Indonesian Kite Association in Lampung.

He said the International Kite Festival itself would be held at three places in Lampung; the Bandarlampung city forest, Kalianda resort in South Lampung and on Krakatau island.

"Participants can enjoy fishing in the waters around Mount Krakatau while flying kites," Anshori said.

He said the volcano was selected to host the international festival since the mountain, which is located in the middle of the Sunda Strait, is known around the world.

"The mountain is Lampung's icon. Even in European countries, the volcano is better known than Lampung itself."

The festival will also include an aerial photography event on July 24-25 at Kalianda resort.

A kite-making workshop for children will be held July 22-23, while an exhibition of various forms and colors of kites is scheduled for July 22-25.

Anshori said the festival will also include exhibitions of kites from several regions around the country.

He said foreign participants could take part in the International Kite Festival in Lampung on July 22-25, before going to other regions to watch other kite exhibitions.

A kite exhibition will be held in Padang, West Sumatra, on July 28 and another in August in Kendari, South Sulawesi, and Bali.

"Before going to Lampung, foreign participants can take part in a kite exhibition at Ancol beach, in Jakarta, from July 20-22," he said.

The annual Krakatau Festival involves many communities. The event will also involve the Cikal Foundation, which has organized the upcoming Kiluan Fishing Week, from Aug. 10-17.

Cikal's coordinator, Rico Stevanus, said tourists from Finland, Switzerland and England have expressed interest in taking part in the fishing event.

"Fishermen have even prepared their homes, so tourists can stay overnight. Participants will also be able to enjoy grilled fish along the shore," he said.

Head of Lampung Tourism Office, Suresmi Ramli, said the 17th Krakatau Festival will also feature the wedding of a Japanese couple in Lampung tradition, while riding a pair of elephants.

"The wedding will be held on Aug. 25 at Way Halim sports center in Bandarlampung. The Japanese couple want to get married according to Lampung custom.

"They want the wedding ceremony to take place while they ride atop elephants."

Lampung Arts Council secretary-general, Harry Djayaningrat, said the Lampung Art Festival will also be held as part of the Krakatau Festival.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Bali hotels go green

The Jakarta Post

DENPASAR: The Bali Hotels Association (BHA) has registered its 76 member hotels to take part in a community-led environmental campaign, Clean Up the World, joining 35 million volunteers in more than 120 countries that will take action to reduce the causes of climate change.

From national clean up campaigns to recycling and water reuse projects, volunteers across the globe conduct a variety of environmental projects throughout the year with activities culminating over the Clean Up the World Weekend, celebrated this year on Sept. 14-16.

"In Bali we will be organizing clean-up activities in many of our members' communities, beaches, rivers and scenic sites and attractions," said Urs Klee, the BHA's environmental committee chairman.

"With the support of Clean Up the World, we hope to bring together the tourism industry, banjar (traditional neighborhood associations), schools, tourists and local citizens to collect as much rubbish from their own communities in order for others to reconsider their waste management on the island of the gods."

He urged the local community to join and do their part to create a cleaner and safer world.

Clean Up the World Chairman and Founder, Ian Kiernan, AO, congratulated BHA for joining the global effort and on its plans to clean up their local environment.

In 2007, Clean Up the World is encouraging and supporting members to take action at a local level to help address climate change.

Energy conservation education programs, planting trees, walking to school or workplaces, and waste reduction projects are just a few of the possible options the members can choose from.

Clean Up the World originated in Sydney, Australia, in 1993 and is held in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme.

For more information on Clean Up the World or Bali Hotels Association contact:

Bali finds Aussies still lucrative

Ary Hermawan, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The latest travel warning slapped against Indonesia by the Australian government, particularly against Bali, will not discourage the exotic and culturally-rich island from continuing to lure visitors from the southern neighbor it warmly calls "the land of the kangaroos".

"We are currently eying emerging markets such as China, India and Russia, but Australia will remain a lucrative market.

"Australian visitors are one of the largest groups coming to Bali, seconded only by Japanese," Gde Nurjaya, head of the island's tourism agency, said Tuesday on the sidelines of a hearing with regional councilors.

Nurjaya said the Australian travel advisories, which have been consistently renewed and reissued each time the country has received what it calls reliable information of an "imminent" terror attack, should be understood in the proper context.

"If Australia is a father, then it is just trying to protect its children. It is indeed understandable," he said.

Many officials, especially lawmakers, have reacted negatively to the travel warning and feared the adverse impact it could have on Bali's tourism industry.

However, Nurjaya said he remains upbeat that the warning "would not severely affect" the number of foreign tourists visiting Bali.

"We can only evaluate the impact of the latest advisory after the next three months have passed," he said.

The Bali Tourism Board says that on average around 215,000 Australians have visited Bali annually since 2001. The figure fell to 139,000 in 2003 as a result of a first deadly Bali bombing, but rose back to 267,000 in 2004.

However, after the second Bali bombing in 2005 in Jimbaran and Kuta -- which was perhaps amplified by the complications surrounding the Bali nine case in which three Australians were sentenced to death for drug trafficking -- the number plunged to below 120,000.

Despite all this, with the number of local and foreign tourist arrivals on the increase and confidence that the island's tourism industry has somewhat recovered from the damaging reputation of being a terror target, travel agencies and tourism officials were optimistic about 2007.

As of May this year, the number of Australian tourists had reached 65,551, accounting for 10 percent of all foreign tourist arrivals on Bali. Around 129,000 Japanese tourists flocked to Bali's beaches in the same period. "International tourist numbers from the Asia Pacific increased by 35 percent," Nurjaya said.

However, the Australian government's travel advisory early this month shook the island's newfound confidence as it abruptly followed a European Union flight ban on Indonesian airlines. Travel agencies believe that the number of tourists traveling from Europe to Bali will likely drop by at least 30 percent as a result.

"Australia is of course a market that we have to continuously develop," he said when asked if the travel advisories from Australia would force Bali to turn to other markets such as China and Russia.

He said the island's tourism agency was currently looking into training a portion of its workforce to speak Russian, Indian or Chinese in a bid to begin developing those markets.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Netherlands, NZ to take part in Bali's kite festival

DENPASAR(Antara): The Netherlands and New Zealand will take part in Bali's four-day national kite-flying festival to be held from August 9 to 13, 2007, organizers said Tuesday.

"Two kite-flying organizations from the Netherlands and New Zealand will take part in the national kite-flying festival," committee organizer Nyoman Adnyana said.

He said that the number of foreign participants could increase because many foreign kite-flying lovers were interested to take part in the festival while holidaying in the Indonesian tourist resort island of Bali.

"While taking a vacation in the island of god, the kite-flying lovers could also show their expertise in flying kites," Nyoman Adnyana said.

At least 18 provinces in Indonesia have confirmed a plan to send participants to the festival which will be held at Padanggalak beach, Sanur, one of the most popular beaches in Bali.

Australian PM to open Bali clinic dedicated to bombing victims

The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA (AP): Australian Prime Minister John Howard will open an eye clinic dedicated to victims of the 2002 Bali bombings during a visit to Indonesia next week, a senior official said Tuesday.

Howard will open the new clinic at a hospital on the resort island before meeting with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda said.

Australia lost 88 citizens in the Oct. 12, 2002, Bali nightclub blasts that killed 202 people.

Regional terror network Jemaah Islamiyah, which officials say wants to create an Islamic state across much of Southeast Asia, has been blamed for the blasts, as well as attacks in 2003 and 2004 on the J.W. Marriott Hotel and Australian Embassy in Jakarta, and triple suicide bombings in 2005 on restaurants in Bali.

Together they killed more than 240 people, many of them Western tourists.

Jakarta Fair wraps up 'most successful' year ever

The Jakarta Post

This year's Jakarta Fair completely outdid its predecessor and not only because it recorded sales of Rp 1.5 trillion (US$166 million).

Governor Sutiyoso spoke at the closing of the 40th annual city fair and said the fair's success "was not only measured by the high number of transactions and visitors, but by the security and transportation access."

Fair committee chairwoman Siti Hartati Murdaya said total sales were three times that of the city's 39th fair.

According to the survey conducted by the University of Indonesia, sales of automotive products led with Rp 800 billion, followed by electronic products, home appliances, food and beverages, furniture and handicrafts.

"The numbers will keep increasing as many transactions need to be followed up after the fair is finished," Hartati said.

The 32-day event was held from June 14 to July 15 at the Jakarta Fair Ground in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, as part of the commemoration of the capital's 460th anniversary on June 22.

"More than 3 million people have visited the fair, which is an increase of 10 percent from last year," she said.

Hartati said the fair was also good for employment with some 30,000 people hired for the event.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Old Town site excavation ruins artifacts

Anissa S. Febrina, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Excavation during the construction of a pedestrian tunnel in Old Town, West Jakarta, has destroyed artifacts and hampered historical analysis, an archaeologist said Thursday.

"The cultural and museum agency should have been informed about the excavation at the Old Town site... a permit should have been sought before the project began," University of Indonesia professor of archaeology Mundardjito said.

"Digging beneath a historical site without an excavation permit is illegal," he said.

Late last year, workers who were excavating at the Old Town site -- to make way for a western entrance to the pedestrian tunnel in front of Bank Mandiri Museum -- found an old tram track, timber poles, terra-cotta pipes and a thick brick and andesite wall.

A preliminary analysis carried out by the agency's archaeological team revealed the wall position did not match that of the old city wall.

According to the team, the old city wall was a leaning structure, while the wall uncovered during excavation stood erect.

But since the structure was found near the possible location of the old city wall, experts and heritage buffs assumed it was part of the old wall. Further research was conducted.

A terra-cotta pipe, found several meters from the underground wall, was identified as resembling the pipes used in Banten's water purification system during the 18th century.

Similar pipes were later found inside the Bank Indonesia Museum.

According to Mundardjito, anything found buried in the vicinity of the old city wall area is worth analyzing.

"A Dutch map was not drawn to scale, so it is difficult to determine where the exact location of the wall is," he said.

It takes meticulous calculations to determine a suitable spot for excavation.

For archaeologists, he said, it was important to know what was found in which location, to be able to build a contextual historical analysis.

Unfortunately, the old buried structure, and other artifacts found during the construction of the pedestrian tunnel, have been removed from the site.

A source close to the agency confirmed there was no archaeological study conducted before the tunnel project began.

The project was led by the Jakarta Transportation Agency. Projects involving an official heritage site should involve the cultural and museum agency, Aurora said.

Education to get biggest state budget allocation

JAKARTA(Antara): President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said he had agreed to give education the biggest state budget allocation among all state-financed sectors in order to support the improvement of the quality of education in the country.

"The education sector will be given priority and the largest amount of subsidy. Believe me, the government with a clear and rational mind will strive to manage and spend the budget more fairly," he said at a meeting with participants of the 3rd national meeting of the Association of Indonesian Private Universities (APTISI) at the State Palace.

The President, flanked by Education Minister Bambang Sudibyo, Minister/State Secretary Hatta Rajasa, Manpower and Transmigration Minister Erman Suparno, said he had agreed to continuously increase the education budget to fulfill the mandate of the constitution.

According to the Global Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum 2006-2007, Indonesia now ranks 50th out of 125 countries or 19 grades higher than before in the matter of economic competitiveness.

In the same period, the quality of the country`s education system ranks 23rd. "It is improving. Only Singapore and Malaysia rank above us while other Asean countries are below us," the president said.

Indonesia working to fix lights in venue for Asian Cup final

The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA (AP): Technicians were working to boost the power capacity at Indonesia's Soviet-era soccer stadium after a blackout stopped play between South Korea and Saudi Arabia in Wednesday night's Asian Cup match.

"It was embarrassing, no question about that. Everyone was panicking," John Halmahera, a spokesman for the local organizing committee, said Thursday. "But the stadium guys are sure it will not happen again."

The 25-minute blackout late in the second half was the latest snag to hit the event in Indonesia, which is hosting all the Group D matches, a quarterfinal and the July 29 final.

On Monday, hundreds of fans attempted to storm the stadium after failing to get tickets for Indonesia's first home match. The Saudi coach called the state of the training pitches a "disaster" and also questioned the quality of the turf at the 88,000 capacity Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta.

Halmahera said the power went out at the stadium because the electrical system was overloaded.

"They are trying to add capacity now," he said, adding that the Asian Football Confederation had full confidence in Indonesia to stage the final.

The South Korea vs. Saudi Arabia match ended in a 1-1 tie.

Gelora Bung Karno stadium was built in 1962 to host the Asian Games with money from the former Soviet Union, which was then trying to expand communist influence in Asia.

The arena, where former president Sukarno made historic speeches against the West to massive crowds in the 1960s, remains one of the biggest in the region.

Indonesia spent around US$8 million on renovations to get the venue ready for this year's tournament.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Rock 'n' roll marketing to promote Bali worldwide

Trisha Sertori, Contributor The Jakarta Post, Ubud

Jakarta-based band Hallo Mister has taken a novel approach to promoting Bali.

Band manager David Stone said the band recently released a royalties-free song and video clip to promote Bali via marketing's back door -- the music industry.

"It doesn't get any better than this", a bouncy little rock and roll number, is about the fun that can be had in Bali and the fact life doesn't get better than a week or two on the island of the gods.

"Bali has always been promoted for its traditions and culture. We wanted to add to that by showing the fun of Bali, the dancing and clubs as well," Stone said.

The song and its video clip have been given free to Bali and Indonesia for the purpose of promoting the area around the world on music video programs such as MTV Asia, Much Music, Canada and music shows in the UK, U.S., Europe and India.

"The song and video are royalties free so it makes it very easy for music shows, tourism expos, radio and the print media to use any part of the song and video. It can be cut to fill any available space in air time, and that makes it a very attractive package for media around the world," Stone said.

He said the high cost of buying commercial air time for promotional advertising campaigns was a major stumbling block for the promotion of Indonesia around the world.

"It doesn't matter how brilliant a promotional campaign is, the cost of getting the message out is always going to be prohibitive. Singapore spends around US$150 million a year to promote the country, but that's tough for Indonesia.

"Hallo Mister wanted to do something to try and get promotion for the country without the costs. We've done this as a gift to Indonesia and we believe that because of the royalties free status, the song and video will be picked up around the world," Stone said.

Some clever marketing planning has gone into the production of the video and song, with cartoon images and generic information that does not advertise any specific product or company, he said.

"As soon as you put merchandise or specific products into a video or song lyric for that matter, you are going to be coming up hard against the gatekeepers of programming. Specific products turn the video and song into advertising and it won't get the free run, which is the whole point.

"We have kept the video generic so it can be placed anywhere without programmers having to sift for potential hidden advertising in the work. It can also be cut just about anywhere, which again makes it very attractive as a filler for programs around the world."

Stone said the band has had great support from the Bali Tourism Board, which has endorsed the song as a promotional tool for the island.

Written by Hallo Mister's lead vocalist, Canadian singer song writer Gary Gray, the song forms part of a full album released recently in Ubud and Canggu by Hallo Mister.

The band is made up of four lads that love to play music, and do it well. They can be seen having a musical ball in Jakarta most weeks at Eastern Promise.

Their album is available at hotels, restaurants and record shops.

Stone said when people purchase the album as a souvenir, they will be doing their bit to promote Bali to the world.

GromSearch surf comp visits Kuta

The Jakarta Post

KUTA: The second-to-last event of the Rip Curl GromSearch series will be held at Kuta Beach on July 15.

The waves off Kuta Beach are a perfect venue for the under-17 grommet surfers, who are expected to go all-out to win the event in front of the many tourists who throng the beach.

This is the fourth leg of the 2007 season. Previous event locations included Cimaja, in West Java; Lakey Peak, in Sumbawa; and Medewi, in North Bali.

The final event in the series will be held in October at Keramas Beach, in Gianyar, with the winner of the under-17 category pocketing an all-expenses-paid ticket to Australia to compete in the World GromSearch Finals, which will take place at Bells Beach in April 2008.

The winner of the under-15 category will win a brand-new surfboard.

The current leader of the under-17 category is 14-year-old One Anwar from Lakey Peak, in Sumbawa, who is closely followed by Putra Hermawan from Nusa Lembongan and One's older brother Gazali Hamzah.

The GromSearch has been sanctioned by the Indonesian Surfing Championship (ISC) and the points collected over the series will determine who will be crowned the 2007 ISC Junior Champion.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Government encourages development of creative economy

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government will encourage the development of a creative economy which produces culture-based products to increase the state`s foreign exchange earnings.

"The challenge to us is giving an added-value to the products and branding both on the local and global market," Minister of Trade Marie Elka Pangestu told a seminar on fourth stage development: "Cultural Heritage and Creative Economy", here on Wednesday.

Right now, products of the culture-based creative industry contributed only 1.9 percent to the GDP, while in the industrialized countries the contribution reached 30 percent.

Singapore started developing a creative economy in 2005, and its contribution to their foreign exchange revenue had reached 3-4 billion US dollars.

Globally, culture-based creative economy contributed 2 trillion US dollars to the world`s GDP, and may reach 10 trillion US dollars by 2010.

Therefore, the seminar and discussion held during the Cultural Exhibition dedicated by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Wednesday (July 11), are expected to produce an action plan and blueprint on the development of creative economy.

In the meantime, the Central Bureau of Statistics is determining the share of cultural products of the creative industry in the GDP. And the trade ministry is finalizing the mapping of a culture-based handicraft industry scheduled for completion in October this year.

"All of Indonesia`s cultural creative industries have good prospects on the export market, and it is therefore necessary to be boosted," she said.

She also said that some of the commodities which could be developed as cultural creative industrial products are food spices, advertisement, work designs, the art of dancing, and some other arts and cultural product, like coffee, tea and spices.

"Imagine a country like Korea which has only ginseng, but it can produce beverages, cosmetics and other products from ginseng only," she added.

The minister also said that Indonesia needed a new promotion agency carrying Indonesia`s good image around the world.

"A favorable image will boost investment and trade," she said.

Players in the cultural creative industry would have to make an adaptation on the domestic and overseas market to develop cultural creative products and improve human resources.

Giving an example, she said that "lurik" (kind of striped woven cloth) can be developed into a kimono, and sold to Japan. "Sasando" from East Nusa Tenggara if electrified becomes an electric bass guitar.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Booming business at tourism school

The Jakarta Post

DENPASAR: The struggling tourism industry in Bali has not discouraged the island's newest high school graduates from enrolling in vocational schools of tourism.

The Kertayasa vocational school of tourism in Singakerta, Ubud, Gianyar regency, has received applications from 230 new graduates.

The applicants come not only from Gianyar, but also from Badung, Bangli, Klungkung and Karangasem.

The school's head, A.A. Gede Sugiantara, said the number of applicants had increased from last year. He plans to add one more class to the current four.

"Each class will have 48 students. An increase like this happened two years ago," he said.

Surf competition in south Bali

The Jakarta Post

DENPASAR: Oakley Indonesia will hold the third annual "Oakley Thump Pro" surf competition at the infamous razor-sharp reef of Bingin Beach, on the Bukit Peninsula in south Bali, on Friday and Saturday.

Internationally known to surfers for its hollow and mechanically perfect tubes, Bingin Beach is also a delight for spectators, who can view the action from beachside warung.

The event will begin early Friday morning with 60 of Indonesia's best pro surfers taking part, including Rizal Tanjung, Marlon Gerber, Tipi Jabrik and Dede Suryana, as well as four international surfers. They will be competing for their share of the Rp 30 million (US$3,300) prize and valuable Indonesian Surfing Championship (ISC) points.

Also participating in the event are wildcard Oakley International Team riders Adam Melling from Australia and Sebastian Zietz from Hawaii. There will be a Masters Division on Saturday for surfers 35-years and over currently on the ISC circuit.

An awards presentation will be held Saturday afternoon, which is to be followed by a BBQ and live performances by Bondan Prakoso, Fade 2 Black and DJ James Hendrix and a special appearance by the FHM 2007 Girl Next Door contestants.

The Oakley Thump Pro is a six-star ISC event, where points are awarded and tabulated at the end of the year to crown a champion in the Pro, Masters, Pro Junior and Junior divisions.

For more information log on to

Nusantara arts expo being held in Jakarta

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - A total of 81 Indonesian artists from 21 regions are displaying their works of arts at "The Nusantara Arts Exhibition" being held at the Indonesian National Gallery (GNI) here, from July 11 to 27, 2007.

The works of arts being displayed include paintings, statues, sculptures, photos, and videos.

Of the total 81 artists, some 70 percent of them are young and talented artists capable of producing original works of arts.

A seminar discussing the Indonesian arts would be held on July 12 and 13, as part of the expo`s activities.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Govt`s agencies to hold cultural products weeks 2007

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - For the first time 12 government agencies with the Chamber Of Commerce and industry (Kadin) and the National Handicraft Council will hold an "Indonesian Cultural Products Week 2007" at the Jakarta Convention Center on July 11-15, 2007.

The activity, which will carry the theme: "A Bunch of Flowers of Indonesian Cultural Products for the World", will present the best handicraft products from various areas in Indonesia.

It will also show traditional food from 33 provinces, arts performance from 5 tourist destination areas and cross-Malay traditions from six regions.

Several provinces that will present performance of arts are East Nusa Tenggara, Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam, Riau, Riau Islands, West Nusa Tenggara, West Sumatra, and West Kalimantan.

Chairman of the Cultural Product Week 2007 committee, Sakri Widianto said the event constitute a meeting site of policy makers, professional associations, businessmen, artists, craftsmen, financial agencies and the community.

"This meeting is important to increase the commitment and synergy in developing cultural products as the strength of national economy," said Sakri.

During the Cultural and Tourism National Coordinating Meeting June 27-29 in Jakarta, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stated that the economic prospect in the fourth wave of civilisation would originate in the cultural wealth, including the legacy of the past that was united with tourism, including ecotourism as one integrity.

"To welcome this matter and to develop the positive image for the Indonesian cultural product in the eyes of the world, we will hold this event in one week time by producing exhibitions, seminars and training as well as performance of cultural art," said Sakri.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Bearded, graying baby a gift from God, say family

Ruslan Sangadji, The Jakarta Post, Parigi

A gray beard and whiskers might be common on adults, but in Parigi Moutong regency in Central Sulawesi they can be seen growing on a one-month-old baby.

Rasya Alansya -- the son of Muhammad Rifai and his wife Mitra Jayanti of Maesa subdistrict, in Parigi Kota district -- has attracted many visitors wanting to see the rare sight with their very own eyes.

There was even a rumor he was born with the Arabic word for "God" written on his ear. That rumor was found to be untrue, but the gray beard, some five centimeters long, and the whiskers are clearly visible.

"I don't have the medical explanation for the beard and whiskers on this baby," Central Sulawesi Health Office head, Abdullah, told The Jakarta Post.

Parigi Moutong Regent Longky Djanggola was among the onlookers. He advised the baby's parents to keep the beard and whiskers unshaved as a sign of gratitude, and to monitor growth on a day-to-day basis.

The 4.5 kg baby appears to be blissfully unaware of all the attention he is receiving. His parents say he loves to smile and rarely cries like other babies.

The baby's mother, 16-year-old Mitra, said she never thought her child would be born with a beard and whiskers.

At first, she thought the beard and whiskers were pieces of cotton and tried to brush them away, but couldn't. "So, I just let it be and it turned out there was a beard and whiskers," she said.

But the boy's father, 20-year-old Rifai, said the placenta was extraordinary; colored red, white and blue.

"I was surprised when I saw the placenta upon burying it," he said.

Burying the placenta after birth is a common practice throughout the country. In Central Sulawesi, the placenta must be buried next to the family home, after being wrapped in a clean, new white cloth.

Mitra said she was grateful for what God had given them.

"I hope my son grows up to have a special gift."

Patients, doctors should be more open

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

A doctors' seminar concluded Saturday with a call for both doctors and patients to do more to improve the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

"The relationship between doctors and patients must be based on trust," Tini Hadad, a member of the Indonesian Council for Doctors, told the seminar organized by the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Indonesia.

Tini said doctors had to respect patients, while patients had to be up front and honest about their conditions with doctors.

She said patients would only be able to trust doctors if they gave patients proper medical care and respected them as human beings in need of help.

"Unfortunately, most of the time the relationship becomes imbalanced since patients know nothing about their disease and the medical processes they should go through... That's what makes patients act passively," she said.

"On the other hand, doctors are unwilling and too impatient to ask further about their patients' conditions since they lack the time," she added.

Agus Purwadianto, who chairs the Legal and Organizational Bureau at the Ministry of Health, admitted that doctors often had difficulty bridging the knowledge gap with their patients and effectively communicating with them.

"Doctors in Indonesia lack the social education that would help them communicate better with patients," he said. "So far, doctors in Indonesia have been taught that patients are only bodies, even though they consist of a body and a spirit."

He said the government had tried to improve the quality of the universities' medical curricula to teach doctors communication skills such as using uncomplicated words that could be easily understood by their patients.

Asked by a seminar participant why two doctors could give different diagnoses of the same patient, Agus said that the time of the examination and the methodology used by each doctor could influence their different analyses.

He said that, as an example, a patient could visit one doctor while his or her condition was still not serious. "But, when he goes to another doctor, his condition has already worsened... That's what makes the two doctors give different diagnoses (to the same) patient," Agus said.

Tini, however, said that doctors were not the only people responsible for delivering quality medical treatment. "There are many factors affecting the quality of medical services, such as the medicine taken by the patients and support personnel such as nurses," she said.

"But since doctors are the ones that diagnose a disease and give medical treatment to patients, full responsibility therefore lies in their hands," she said.

Budi Sampurna, another speaker at the seminar, said people putting all the blame on medical personnel should view healthcare as a whole system.

"Sometimes doctors must take risks when treating a patient. So incorrect treatments are not always the result of mistakes," he said.

A member of the Indonesian Hospital Association, M. Natsir Nugroho, said recent news of malpractice cases had a negative impact on doctors.

"Doctors are afraid of making any decisions about their patients without approval from the patients' family, even though they need to make a snap decision at the time," he said.

Bali tourism scared by Australia`s terror alert

Denpasar (ANTARA News) - Australia`s warning over possible terrorist acts again in Indonesia including Bali has scared tourism businesspeople in the resort island, a businessman has said.

"Only reading the news (on the warning), I was directly depressed. The result of a struggle to increase the number of foreign tourists would as if disappear," Managing Director of PT Pacific World Nusantara, Ida Bagus Lolec, told Antara here Monday.

Lolec who is also a manager of the Indonesia Congress & Convention Association believed that Australia as a developed country must be serious with the information on the terrorist threat.

He said tourism businesspeople in Bali are still traumatized by the 2002 and 2005 bomb attacks which had hit the tourism business in the resort island and Indonesia in general.

However, he said, it was not easy to recover the tourism condition, especially to build the international community`s confidence that Indonesia and Bali in particular are safe.

Australia is a big market for Bali`s tourism sector besides Japan and other countries which send more than 2,000 tourists to the Goddess island annually.

"Let alone the terrorist threat, the European Union`s ban on flying with Indonesian airlines has bothered us," said Lolec who dealt with many tourists from Europe, the United States and Australia.

Lolec expressed hope the government would soon respond to the information by stepping up security in the country and taking strategic measures through diplomacy, especially to countries known as Indonesia`s tourism markets.

"Make sure that terrorist acts would not recur, then convince the world mainly tourist-supplying countries like Australia that our country would remain safe," he said.

He also hoped tourism businesspersons in Bali and Indonesia in general would continue to work hard to help the government recover the country`s tourism image at the eyes of the international community.

"The feeling of being scared is indeed inevitable but we have to be able to convince the world that Bali remains to be a favorite place for vacation," he said.

Singapore Tiger Airways enters Australia

Gold Coast (ANTARA News/Asia Pulse) - The Singapore-based budget carrier Tiger Airways has sparked an all-out airfare war in Australia's domestic market, by announcing a new range of cut-price fares.

Tiger Airways chief executive Tony Davis said the carrier had invested in Australia for the "long haul" and promised consistent, cheap fares for consumers in the face of competition from Jetstar and Virgin.

A subsidiary of international carrier Singapore Airlines, Tiger Airways announced today direct routes from Melbourne to the Gold Coast, Rockhampton and Mackay, starting on November 23. A one-way ticket from Melbourne to the Gold Coast will cost $A49.95 ($US42.79), with the other routes costing $59.95.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Children harmonize with nature

Jerry Adiguna, The Jakarta Post

Central Kalimantan is enormously rich in culture and natural resources. Large rivers not only beautify the land but also serve as a source of life for local people.

Since their birth, Dayak people have been exposed to rivers. Indeed, the magical power of Dayak people is believed to be rooted in them.

Modernization and a growing number of newcomers have forced local people to adapt to change. Illegal logging and mining have damaged the environment, too.

Still, local people love their surroundings.

The strong emotional link between people and rivers is shown in the faces of children. They continue the interaction with nature through swimming, boating to school and fishing.

Lake Toba: Samosir, world's largest island within an island

Andrew Greene, Contributor The Jakarta Post, Samosir, North Sumatra

Looking out over Lake Toba, it is evident that is a basin of superlatives.

With a surface area of 1,130 square kilometers and possessing a maximum depth of 529 meters, it is the world's largest and deepest crater lake.

Resting in the planet's largest caldera (collapsed volcano formation) on the world's fifth-largest island, the flat waters of Lake Toba belie the violence that gave it birth.

The Toba caldera is believed to have been created in stages by super eruptions taking place about 840,000, 700,000, and finally 74,000 years ago. The last, probably two weeks in length, is thought to be the world's largest in the last two million years.

The ash and gases it shot into the atmosphere triggered a six-year volcanic winter which, according to some geneticists, killed all but 10,000 humans worldwide.

The ash from the blast blanketed the entire Indian subcontinent with an approximately 15-centimeter-thick coating. The global climate did not to recover for a millennium. Fortunately for today's traveler much has changed in the last 74,000 years.

Now, embraced by a chain of mist-swaddled peaks, the lake is North Sumatra's leading tourist destination.

Stretching from northwest to southeast, its landscape sprinkled with Protestant Christian church steeples and ribbons of cascading waterfalls, Toba's setting is among the most spectacular in the archipelago.

Attached by an isthmus to the middle of the lake's west coast towers a testament to the lake's great size, Samosir Island. The peninsula-island's emerald walls climb a nearly vertical 700 meters straight out of the lake's surface, dominating the scene.

Nearly the size of Singapore, Samosir is the world's largest island within an island and serves as the area's main tourist hub.

Specifically, Tuk Tuk, a tiny circular peninsula hanging onto Samosir's east coast, is the foothold for most of Toba's visitors.

With restaurants pushing magic mushroom omelets, bookshops, bars, tourist shops and hotels strung along its circumference, Tuk Tuk is the ideal base for those wanting to explore Samosir or simply to relax.

The frequent ferries from Parapat on the lake's east coast stop at nearly all of Tuk Tuk's hotels. All a traveler needs to do is tell the ferry workers where one would like to stop and the ferry, colored like a Philippine truck, will pull up to that hotel's private dock.

Center of Batak culture

The rest of Samosir is well-worth investigating. The island is the heart of the Batak culture.

Originally Neolithic mountain peoples from northern Thailand and Burma, the Bataks were displaced by traveling Mongolian and Siamese populations.

Once they had found their way to Lake Toba the Batak lived, cocooned by the neighboring mountains, largely unaffected for centuries by the outside world.

Today, with a population of six million they are one of Indonesia's largest Christian communities. Lutheran German and Dutch Calvinists missionaries introduced the Batak to the faith in the 19th Century.

Though the majority of Bataks are practicing Christians, the area is replete with reminders of their animistic past. The ubiquitous traditional rough-hewn wooden-planked Batak houses, with their upswept roofs, have three levels.

Each represents a different plane of their world. The high roof corresponds to the home of the gods; the middle elevated level, where the family lives, represents the space that humans occupy; the final bottom space beneath the house is for the dogs, pigs and chickens and is the lair of a mythological dragon.

These houses are ornately decorated with large, carved animal heads at the ends of the side beams. These heads are protectors and, as is believed by some Bataks, are able to radiate positive energy, shielding the residents from disease and evil.

More common than the traditional houses are the family tombs. In fact, they are so widespread that it may be impossible to find a vista from which one cannot see at least one.

The tombs range from the simple to the elaborate. Some are whitewashed concrete boxes with the rounded tombstones that are ordinary in the west. Others are many meters in height, tiled and topped with large crosses and life-sized statues representing the departed.

These tombs are everywhere: in the rice fields, buffalo pastures, next to houses, beside the road. A day or longer could easily be spent just examining and photographing these extraordinary tombs in their picturesque surroundings.

There is no public transportation on the Tuk Tuk peninsula so to travel inland one needs to walk or rent a car, motorcycle or bicycle.

Traveling by foot is a pleasant way to experience the countryside and meet the outgoing people. Even with stopping to take photos and shake hands it should take no more than an hour from anywhere on Tuk Tuk to reach Samosir's main road.

10 Foreign teams take part in Indonesia's kite festival 2007-07-07 12:10:54

JAKARTA, July 7 (Xinhua) -- At least 10 teams from Malaysia, Singapore and China are taking part in "Pangandaran Kite Festival 2007" being organized in Pangandaran coast of West Java, Indonesia on Saturday.

From Indonesia, 20 teams are joining the two days competition. They are from islands of Java, Bali, Sumatra, Kalimantan and Sulawesi, Asep Nurdin of the Pangandaran Kite Festival organizing committee said here on Saturday.

"They are teams which have had a lot of international experiences," Nurdin was quoted by national Antara News Agency.

The categories of kites competing in the festival include those of two and three dimensions.

The international kite festival was aimed at promoting Pangandaran coastal tourist resort.

RI not to stop tourism promotion in Europe despite flight ban

Padang, W Sumatra (Antara News) - The Indonesian government will not stop promoting its tourism industry to Europe despite the European Union banning all 51 Indonesian airlines from flying to the region, Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik said.

"We will not stop tourism promotion in Europe," he said here Saturday.

He said European tourists were divided in responding to the ban on the Indonesian airlines flying to the 27-nation block.

Some European tourists were frightened at the ban, while others wanted to visit Indonesia despite the ban, he said.

"If they are looking forward to visiting Indonesia, they will definitely do so," he said.

He said the ban would certainly have an adverse impact on the number of tourist arrivals, particularly those from Europe to Indonesia. "Of course there will be impact. European tourists will certainly be disturbed," he said.

On average, 700 thousand European tourists visited Indonesia every year, he said. "The number will likely decline due to the flight ban," he said.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

RI gets support in EU air squabble

Abdul Khalik and Alvin Darlanika Soedarjo, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The government has received the backing of a global aviation body for negotiations with the European Commission to lift its ban on Indonesian airlines flying to the 27-nation bloc.

International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) president Roberto Kobeh Gonzales said Thursday in Jakarta that Indonesia was on the right track to improving its air safety standards, and that the ban might have resulted from "misinformation".

"We hope that they can get more transparent information on what Indonesia is doing with its aviation industry. And the best way to solve this problem is through negotiations," he said.

Transportation Minister Jusman Syafei Djamal had said the government would seek to hold talks with the EC regarding its decision Wednesday to ban all Indonesian airlines from the bloc.

Gonzales was speaking to the media after inspecting an aircraft maintenance hangar run by national flag-carrier PT Garuda Indonesia near the capital Jakarta.

Aircraft belonging to Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, Adam Air and Merpati were among those parked around the hangar, while foreign aircraft included ones operated by Air Atlanta, Icelandic, Air Asia, Saudi Arabian Airlines and China Southern.

"I think the facility is good. They have so many customers from around the world, that means that they are good," Gonzales commented.

Indonesia signed an agreement with the ICAO on Monday to improve air safety standards so as to bring them up to an international level.

Meanwhile, the Australian Embassy in Jakarta announced that Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) had confirmed that a series of spot checks carried out on Garuda so far this year had not identified any major problems.

The embassy said that the results of the checks echoed Australian Prime Minister John Howard's statement this week that the federal government had no plans to ban Garuda from Australia.

It also said that senior Australian and Indonesian transportation officials had met in Bali to discuss details of how Australia's Rp 178 billion transport safety assistance package for Indonesia would be utilized.

The head of Australia's delegation in Bali, Transport Deputy Susan Page, said that the assistance program would allow for training and technical cooperation with Indonesia to address priority aviation and maritime transportation safety challenges.

Meanwhile, visiting Belgian Minister of the Economy, Energy, Foreign Trade, and Science Policy Marc Verwilghen expressed hope that the fight ban would be lifted soon.

"The decision was made by the EC, not the individual members. But once the ban is lifted, we would be very eager to establish direct flights from Belgium to Jakarta to boost trade," he told The Jakarta Post.

Japan satisfied with Garuda`s Air safety standard

Tokyo (ANTARA News) - Japan`s Civil Aviation Bureau (CAB) said a Garuda Indonesia GA-881 plane can continue to fly to the Japanese destinations following its spot checks carried out on the plane over the weekend.

"The CAB`s inspection team is satisfied with the air safety standards of Garuda planes," Arif Wibowo, Garuda Regional Manager for Japan, China, Korea and the United States, said Saturday.

The results of the spot checks suggested that Japan differed from the European Union (EU) about the air safety standards of Garuda planes, he said.

The spot checks came nearly a week after the EU`s aviation experts issued a recommendation for the 27-nation block to ban all 51 Indonesian airlines from flying to the region, citing unsafe flights as a reason.

Japan is the second country that believes Indonesian airlines remain airworthy.

The Australian Embassy in Jakarta said this week that Australia`s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) had confirmed that a series of spot checks carried out on Garuda so far this year had not identified any major problems.

N Nakamura, who led the spot checks on the Garuda plane on Friday (July 6) said the Indonesian flag-carrier was highly committed to complying with air safety and security regulations.

It took a day for the CAB`s inspection team to carry out the spot checks on the Garuda plane serving the Tokyo-Denpasar-Jakarta route.

Given the results of spot checks, Japan had no reason to ban its citizens from using Indonesian airlines, Arif said.

Jakarta will have carnival to mark its 480th anniversary tonight

JAKARTA (JP): A cultural carnival to mark the city’s 480th anniversary is scheduled to be held Saturday night.

The third annual event will start at 7 p.m, taking route from governor’s office in Jl. Merdeka XXX to Jl. Thamrin, Hotel Indonesia boulevard, and back to National Monument (Monas), Elshinta radio reported.

Public is warned to anticipate traffic congestion around the areas suring the event, which will be participated by many decorated cars, marching bands, cavalry, and several traditional dance performances.

The carnival is predicted to cost the city some Rp 500 million (US$55,500).

Friday, July 6, 2007

EU to send aviation experts to RI

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The European Union (EU) will soon send a team of aviation experts to Indonesia to make a comprehensive assessment of the country`s flight safety, the union`s envoy said.

The EU earlier held a meeting with the Indonesian Transportation Ministry to discuss its ban on 51 Indonesian airlines to fly to Europe. At the meeting, the Indonesian government had called on the EU to review its ban, EU Ambassador Jean Breteche said here Friday.

At the Indonesian government`s request, the EU would soon send a few of its aviation experts to Indonesia, he said.

"Since the request was made only recently, I cannot say when exactly the experts will come. But surely, they will come in the near future, not later than in three months," he said.

Breteche said the EU was likely to review the ban in three months` time after the ministry had made the request.

The European aviation experts` findings in the field and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)`s recommendation would serve as the basis for the EU to decide whether or not it would lift the ban, he said.

This did not mean that the EU would not consider changes or developments in the country`s flight safety, he said.

"We are fully aware of the national airlines` efforts to improve themselves, for instance, Garuda," he said.

It must be realized that the ban was one of the ways to press the Indonesian government to pay serious attention to flight safety, he said.

The decision to ban all 51 Indonesian airlines from flying to Europe was not made all of a sudden because the EU, through its Directorate General for Energy and Transportation, had on April 16 written a letter to the Transportation Ministry for consultations with Indonesian authorities, he said.

However, the Indonesian government had yet to respond to it, he added.

The EU sent another letter on the same subject to the Indonesian authorities on May 21, and to each of the Indonesian airlines on May 30, he said.

It was not until June 22 that the European Commission called a meeting in Brussels with representatives of the Directorate General of Air Communication by issuing a recommendation to ban Indonesian airlines from flying to the region, he said.

The ban will become official when the commission endorses the recommendation on July 6 by adding the Indonesian airlines to the EU`s list of unsafe airlines.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Govt told to promote aviation industry mergers

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

With safety concerns now haunting the nation's aviation sector, which could in the end have a serious impact on tourism, the government should consider a drastic restructuring of the industry by promoting mergers so as to improve safety standards, a forum was told Tuesday.

Aviation observer Dudi Sudibyo told the forum, which was organized by the Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies Association (ASITA), that Indonesia must learn from other countries in restricting the number of major airlines, but expanding the number of commuter airlines, in order to improve service quality.

The forum was held in light of a likely ban by the European Union on Indonesian airlines flying to Europe. The European Commission (EC) is now studying the issue and will announce its decision July 6.

"We need only a few major airlines, but more commuter flights linking the whole country.

"China used to have a lot of major airlines, but after a series of crashes in the 1990s, they reduced the number of airline companies to three, and now they are among the best in the world," Dudi said.

He added that Indonesia might need only five major airlines, pointing out that China's three major airlines carried up to 250 million passengers a year.

Indonesia's 25 airlines, by comparison, could carry only about six million passengers a year.

Indonesia's aviation industry has come under the spotlight lately with the EC not only planning to ban all Indonesian airlines from flying to Europe, but also to warn its citizens not to use Indonesian airlines, even within Indonesian territory.

"Although we our suspicious about the decision, we should also consider our safety standards. We should fully comply with international standards before complaining," said Dudi.

The recent regulation ranking airlines into three categories should also be replaced with tighter criteria next year, he added.

And the best way to restructure the industry would be to promote mergers among domestic airlines. State-owned airlines Garuda and Merpati, for instance, would be ideal merger partners, he added.

Herna Danuningrat, chairperson of ASITA's Jakarta branch, said that the proposed ban would, if it came to pass, badly affect the tourism sector. She urged the government to act quickly to limit the damage that had already been caused.

"The entire tourism industry will be affected, especially second-tier tourist destinations in eastern Indonesia, such as Maluku, Sulawesi, Papua, Lombok, Nusa Tenggara and South Kalimantan, where foreign airlines have no direct access," she said.

Darma Trisnawinata, an executive of Panorama Tours DMC, said that since the shock announcement of the proposed ban last Thursday, his company was already facing difficulties with hundreds of its European customers now in Padang, West Sumatra.

They had planned to visit a number of destinations within Indonesia, including Java, Sulawesi, Bali and Lombok.

Darma said his company was would not cancel the tour. It, would instead fly the tourists to Kuala Lumpur with Malaysia-based budget carrier Air Asia, from where they would take flights back to Indonesia to continue their trips.

"We will cover the additional expense this time, but we won't be able to do it the next time. We know they won't be happy because, even if they agree to our plan, they'll have a longer journey and will have to get on-arrival visas twice."

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Ban on all RI airlines politically motivated: executive

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The plan to ban all 51 Indonesian airlines from flying to the European Union (EU) is politically motivated, an executive said on Tuesday.

"I think it is politically motivated. Japan, Australia, Singapore and the United States themselves known for their sensitiveness do not impose such a ban. So, what is behind this?" Chief of the Indonesian Congress and Convention Association (INCCA) Iqbal Alan Abdullah said.

Indeed, Indonesia had a weak position in international fora given the onslaught of global campaigns to fight terrorism, he said.

"I wonder why the issue is raised at the time of school holidays. Perhaps they (the European Commission) do it intentionally so people will refrain from traveling by plane," he said.

So far, the looming ban had had no impact on the number of European tourists to Indonesia, he said.

"For the time being, it has no significant impact on the number of European tourists to Indonesia. It is more likely to cause a psychological impact in that foreigners may hesitate to fly by national airlines," he said.

The INCCA chief said the government must soon restore the image of Indonesian airlines by convincing the EU of the progress it had made in the aviation sector.

"The government through the Foreign Ministry and the Transportation Ministry must soon respond to (the EU`s decision) by asking for clarification from them on why Garuda will be banned from flying to Europe. It is the government`s task to inform the international community of what has developed and changed in Indonesia," he said.

Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik said all the Indonesian airlines must improve their performance to convince the international community of safe flights.

"The looming ban will definitely have an impact on the domestic tourism industry. If it lasts too long it will be dangerous. I hope it will not drag on. That`s why, domestic airlines must improve their performance and security," he said on Monday.

The European Commission said last week all Indonesian airlines and several from Russia, Ukraine and Angola will be banned from flying to the region due to safety concerns.

The ban will become official when the commission endorses its experts` recommendation to ban Indonesian airlines on July 6 by adding them to EU`s list of unsafe airlines.

Currently, no Indonesian airline has scheduled flights to European destinationa. The national flag-carrier Garuda ceased its flights to Amsterdam and Rome in 2005.