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, December 31, 2009

Malaysian court rules Christians can use 'Allah'

The Jakarta Post, The Associated Press, Kuala Lumpur | Thu, 12/31/2009 3:54 PM

A Malaysian court has ruled that Christians have the constitutional right to use the word Allah in reference to God.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court also said a government ban on non-Muslims using the word was illegal.

A Christian group hailed the ruling Thursday as a victory or freedom of religion in the Muslim-majority country, where the issue has become a symbol of religious grievances of minority groups.

The court was ruling on a lawsuit filed by Malaysia's Roman Catholic Church in late 2007 after the government blocked non-Muslims from translating God as Allah in their litrature.

Authorities have insisted that Allah is an Islamic word that should be used exclusively by Muslims to refer to God, and its use by other religions would be misleading.

Related Article:

Malaysia Court: 'Allah' OK for Catholic Newspapers

US Embassy: Bali governor warns of possible attack

The Jakarta Post, The Associated Press, Jakarta | Thu, 12/31/2009 4:25 PM

The U.S. Embassy warned Thursday of a possible New Year's Eve terrorist attack on Indonesia's Bali island based on information from its governor.

It sent e-mails to U.S. citizens quoting the resort island's governor as saying, "There is an indication of an attack to Bali tonight."

No additional details were released by Indonesian authorities and the governor's office could not immediately be reached to confirm the warning.

The Bali Tourism Board widely distributed the alert, the embassy said, adding that U.S. citizens should monitor local media and be aware of possible threats in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation.

"While Indonesia's counterterrorism efforts have been ongoing and partly successful, violent elements have demonstrated a willingness and ability to carry out deadly attacks with little or no warning," the e-mail said.

The warning came six months after suicide blasts by a group claiming to be Southeast Asia's arm of al-Qaida killed seven people and injured more than 50 others at the Ritz-Carlton and J.W. Marriott hotels in the capital, Jakarta.

Bali has been hit hard by Islamic militants, with more than 220 deaths in suicide bombings in 2002 and 2005 targeting Westerners. Those attacks were carried out at restaurants and clubs frequented by foreigners.

Gov. Mangku Pastika called on people not to panic but to be alert, and gave no details about a specific threat, the statement said.

Indonesia's counterterrorism unit said it had received the warning but could not independently verify its accuracy.

Brig. Gen. Tito Karnavian said the information "still needs to be examined. We are still cross-checking."

(Photo: Reuters)

Related Articles:

Bali denies warning of New Year's Eve attack

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Bali Didn’t Issue Terror-Attack Warning, Governor’s Office Says

Police to set up checkpoints on New Year’s Eve

Surakarta to Build a Rp 5.5 billion City Border Monument

Tempo Interactive, Wednesday, 30 December, 2009 | 16:12 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Surakarta:The Surakarta city government plans to build a city border monument in Adisucipto Street. The budget is planned to amount to Rp5.5 billion.

“The monument will reflect Surakarta’s character as cultural city,” said the Head of the Surakarta City Planning Office Agus Djoko Witiarso yesterday.

The monument will have eight sides and its form resemble Kresna’s hat, the hero of a shadow-puppet story.

According to Agus, the monument will be 38 meters high, with a diameter of 23 meters and it will be installed lying across the street and sheltering it.

Head of the Surakarta Revenue, Financial Management and City Asset Office Anung Indro Susanto said that the monument construction will amount to Rp5.5 billion.

The expense, he said, will not be taken from regional funds.”But from a third party source,” he said.


Tributes Pour in for Gus Dur

Jakarta Globe, April Aswadi & Nurfika Osman

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Wednesday ordered flags in the country to be flown at half-mast for the next week to mourn the death of former President Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid, who will be accorded a state funeral in his hometown in East Java.

Wahid, who was the country’s fourth president, serving from October 1999 to July 2001, died from health complications at Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital in Central Jakarta at 6:45 p.m., presidential doctor Aris Wibudi said. He was 69.

“I invite Indonesians nationwide to pay him their highest respects,” Yudhoyono said in a nationally televised address. “I say this with prayers and hope that he is accepted at the side of God for his enormous service to the public, the nation and our beloved state.”

Yudhoyono said he would personally lead the state funeral in Jombang, while the chairman of the People’s Consultative Assembly, Taufik Kiemas, would lead an official ceremony to see Wahid’s body off from Jakarta.

Aris said Wahid fell into critical condition at 6:15 p.m. and passed away 30 minutes later “due to health complications, including diabetes, kidney problems and stroke.”

Wahid’s sister, Lily Wahid, said the body would be transported to Jombang to be buried at the Tebu Ireng Islamic boarding school, which the former president founded. The body is scheduled to leave Jakarta at 8 a.m. today from Halim Perdanakusuma Air Force Base in East Jakarta.

More than 100 people gathered at Cipto Mangunkusumo upon hearing news of Wahid’s deteriorating condition, and a constant stream of officials, politicians and friends came seeking news of his health.

Across the country, prayers and vigils were held to mark Wahid’s death. His private residence in Ciganjur, South Jakarta, was filled with dignitaries and public figures wanting to pay their final respects, and although access to the residence was limited, hundreds of people waited and prayed outside in the street.

Hasyim Muzadi, chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama, the Muslim organization that Wahid chaired for 15 years until 1999, said “no other figure could have built the NU to what it is today.”

“His understanding and appreciation toward other religions was remarkable,” said the Rev. Nathan Setiabudi from the Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI). “He had a strong vision but was not too particularistic about Islam. … He has made great contributions, especially toward minority groups.”

Budi Santoso Tanuwijaya, secretary general of the High Council of Confucianism (Matakin), called Wahid “a person who genuinely defended marginalized ethnic groups.”

“For him, discrimination was the ultimate violation of human rights,” he said.

Sidney Jones, a Jakarta-based Southeast Asia analyst for the International Crisis Group, said Wahid promoted pluralism, and more important, “he was one of the biggest promoters of the [civil society] movement.”

Dharmawan Ronodipuro, one of Wahid’s former presidential spokesmen, remembered his former boss as being “very human.”

Gus Dur: A Tolerant Leader Respected in Indonesia and Abroad

Abdurrahman ‘Gus Dur’ Wahid passed away at 6:45 p.m. on Wednesday at Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital in Central Jakarta. The former president and chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama will be accorded a state funeral in his hometown of Jombang, East Java, which will be led by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. (JG Photo/Afriadi Hiikmal)

Although a scion of a respected East Java family of Islamic ulemas and educators, Abdurrahman Wahid forged his name as an ardent proponent of religious tolerance and moderate politics. His commitment to those causes remained strong throughout his life, earning him recognition both at home and abroad.

He was the eldest grandchild of Hasyim Asy’ari, founder of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), which later became the country’s largest Islamic movement. Wahid, popularly known as “Gus Dur,” joined the organization, albeit reluctantly, in the early 1980s as a member of its Religious Advisory Council.

He gradually rose within the ranks and in 1984 he was elected as chairman of the NU, a position that he skillfully managed to keep, despite the disapproval of autocratic President Suharto, for 15 years. Despite leading a conservative religious organization, Wahid consistently maintained that faith was a personal matter, a stance which drew criticism from Islamic circles but earned him the respect of non-Muslims across the archipelago.

When the Asian financial crisis began to hit in mid-1997 and gradually eroded Suharto’s political control, Wahid allied himself with other prominent opposition figures, including Megawati Sukarnoputri and Amien Rais, who establish a reform movement.

He later approved the establishment of the National Awakening Party (PKB) in 1998 to accommodate NU’s political aspirations. In February 1999, the PKB nominated him as its presidential candidate and by that October he had wheeled and dealed enough to be elected as the country’s fourth president by the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) despite being almost totally blind and needing assistance to get around.

Wahid’s first moves as president included abolishing the Ministry of Information, which had long been Suharto’s tool to control the media, and the notoriously corrupt Ministry of Welfare. Although he failed in his peace gambits in restive Aceh and Papua, he was credited with making the first approaches to settle the separatist conflicts through negotiation.

As president, Wahid will also be remembered for declaring Chinese New Year an optional public holiday in January 2001. The following month, he lifted Suharto’s three-decade ban on the display of Chinese characters and culture.

But his liberal ideas and sometimes erratic public statements left him never far from controversy. His suggestion in 2000 that a 34-year ban on Marxism-Leninism be lifted met with strong opposition, as did his suggestion that Aceh be granted an East Timor-style independence referendum.

His conciliatory stance with Israel, with which Indonesia has no diplomatic relations, brought him the scorn of many Muslims, and his open disdain for members of the House, whom he once likened to kindergarten children, earned him their undying hostility.

They would eventually have their revenge by rebuking him in February and April 2001, enabling the MPR to impeach him in late July of that year. His desperate bid during those dark days to cling to power by declaring a state of emergency was ignored by his top ministers, and remains the only blotch on his image.

He is survived by his wife Sinta Nuriyah and their four daughters.

Thousands of mourners turning out to honor Gus Dur as his funeral procession passes a mosque in Jombang, East Java. (AFP Photo / Mochammad Risyal Hidayat)

Related Articles:

Catholics hold Gus Dur joint memorial prayers

Bridge-builder deepened Indonesia's fragile democracy

Editorial: Indonesia Says Goodbye To a True Statesman

Gus Dur Mourned, Praised at State Funeral

Indonesians bury popular former President Wahid

Chinese community pays last tribute to Gus Dur

Farewell cleric of pluralism

Gus Dur leaves legacy in pluralism: Muhammadiyah chief

Tributes Pour in for Gus Dur

President to lead Gus Dur's funeral

Gus Dur's body to be buried in Jombang

Former President Abdurrahman Wahid Dies

Oil and politics prove fatal mix for the people of West Papua

Genocide accusations and dire conditions call for urgent joint action., Greg Poulgrain, December 31, 2009, opinion

WHEN Indonesia officially became independent of the Dutch 60 years ago this week, Australia's role as midwife was crucial. The conflict that continued for four years in the East Indies after the end of the Pacific war stopped only when America threatened to withhold post-war aid for the Netherlands. Only three-quarters of the former colony - 5400 kilometres of islands draped like emeralds around the equator - became Indonesia because the Dutch crafted a partition to keep Netherlands New Guinea (now West Papua).

Australian diplomat Thomas Critchley, who died earlier this year, intervened when this delay threatened the first breath of the new nation. It was a difficult birth and West Papua was placed in the too-hard basket, where it festered until 1963 when Indonesian rule replaced the Dutch - and it's still festering today because West Papuans have never been accepted as equals. Since its inception, this problem has been unwanted on Australia's doorstep yet both Jakarta and Canberra agree that it must be solved to safeguard good relations.

When the Dutch did not leave New Guinea in 1949, the most disgruntled was the giant Rockefeller company Standard Oil. After its first taste of the territory's potential in the mid-1930s, Standard Oil wanted unfettered access. Before 1949, there had been Dutch rule in nearby parts of Indonesia for 350 years, but not in West Papua where only 5 per cent was under Dutch control. Because it was a foreign land of black-skinned people, not all Indonesian nationalist leaders wanted to include West Papuans in their new nation.

One of the Japanese agents who helped prepare the Indonesian Proclamation of Independence explained to me why he wanted West Papua included in the new territorial extent of Indonesia.

Speaking in his house in Tokyo, Nishijima Yoshizumi told me his wartime commander, Admiral Maeda, had personal control of the West Papuan territory during the war. Near the westerly tip oil was found, and in the central range an expedition explored the copper and gold deposit. Nowadays these resources are mined by the American company Freeport Indonesia, and its Grasberg mine is the largest producing gold mine in the world.

The large Sele oil field that was rediscovered in the mid-1970s - a record for South-East Asia in barrels per day - was the same Japanese oilfield used during the war. Of course, none of this information on natural resources surfaced when the Dutch handed over Indonesia in December 1949. Nor was it mentioned before Indonesia reclaimed the territory in 1963.

The territorial dispute over West Papua between Indonesia and the Dutch was very visible, unlike the Dutch struggle with ''Big Oil'', the name given to the major petroleum companies. In the 1950s, the Dutch government was in a hurry to colonise their long-neglected West Papuan territory and hoped the Netherlands New Guinea Petroleum Company would provide much-needed revenue, but it did not. It was comprised of 60 per cent American oil interests and Royal Dutch Shell (which sided with its American counterparts), and spent the 1950s deliberately not finding any oil - because they knew precisely where it was.

After 1963 when all Dutch inhabitants left New Guinea, it was arranged for Admiral Maeda to hold a concession over the ''undiscovered'' Sele oilfield, preventing all other exploration until the political climate in West Papua was suitable under president Suharto.

Some Dutch politicians were aware of the vast potential in natural resources. One of these was Joseph Luns, Dutch foreign minister for 17 years. When I interviewed him in Brussels in the early 1980s, he was NATO secretary-general and he told me frankly he had actually suggested that America and Holland together benefit from the West Papuan territory's great potential in natural resources. But the Americans had no intention of sharing and the blunt reply came back: ''We will (benefit), as soon as Holland is out.''

President Sukarno's anti-colonial campaign against the Dutch in New Guinea was supported by both the Indonesian communist party (PKI) and the Indonesian army. Millions of dollars came ''from an American source'' to fund the army's campaign against the Dutch in New Guinea, so I was told, at different times, by two former Indonesian foreign ministers. Military dominance in West Papua began in the 1960s and documents released under freedom-of-information from the US embassy in Jakarta in 1968 refer to the possibility of genocide occurring even then.

In 1983, I was sent by the London-based Anti-Slavery International to investigate reports that infant mortality along the southern coastline (where the army was rapaciously timber-felling) was 600 per 1000. Such a figure was unprecedented, but correct. More recently, among indigenous West Papuans, the incidence of HIV/AIDS is 20 times the national average, according to a Voice of America report last December.

Indonesia and Australia, neighbours for 60 years, need to work together to address accusations of genocide in West Papua.

Democratic reform will sooner or later end the impunity of the Indonesian army, but the dire conditions in West Papua demand an immediate halt to the army's territorial command.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

President to lead Gus Dur's funeral

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 12/30/2009 11:03 PM

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Wednesday that he would lead the funeral of former Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid or known as Gus Dur tomorrow in Jombang, East Java.

“I will be the inspector of the (funeral) ceremony. I have coordinated with leaders of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) who will lead to bring the late body from his home to East Java,” the president said during a brief press conference.

Gus Dur, the fourth Indonesian president, died at 6:45 p.m after undergoing a tooth operation at the Cipto Mangunkusumo hospital in Central Jakarta.

For several years, Gus Dur had been suffering from complicated diseases, including diabetes and stroke.

Related Article:

Gus Dur's body to be buried in Jombang

City braces for new year eve’s celebration

Indah Setiawati, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 12/30/2009 9:34 PM

The city will see big celebrations of the new year ’s eve, including fireworks and various entertainments throughout the city.

Head of the city’s Public Information division Cucu Ahmad Kurnia said on Thursday, residents could see fireworks in Ancol, North Jakarta, Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII) in East Jakarta and Kelapa Gading.

In Ancol, the fireworks will be set in Carnival beach, Festival beach and Putri Duyung.

“There will be many musical band performances in Ancol. In Pasar Seni, we can see a nightlong puppet show and betawi lenong (drama performance),” he said on Wednesday.

General Manager of Corporate Communication of Summarecon, Cut Meutia, said La Piazza Kelapa Gading would offer carnival and circus town concept to the visitors.

Meanwhile, TMII also promises a merry celebration in Plaza Arsipel, Northern Park and Southern Park from 2 p.m to 2 a.m, featuring band performance, traditional performances, games and 2010 kinds of fireworks, according to its official website.

Cucu said many people were predicted to go to Ragunan zoo in South Jakarta and the city landmarks, including the National Monument (Monas) in Central Jakarta and the Hotel Indonesia Traffic Circle.

As of Wednesday, he said the agency had received permit requests from 150 organizers who held 192 events in the city.

Data from the agency said Central Jakarta topped the position in event celebrations which would be held in 55 locations, followed by South Jakarta with 52 locations, West Jakarta with 24 locations, North Jakarta with 16 locations and East Jakarta with 3 locations.

Cucu said some Muslim religious events that were open for public would be held in Kemang in South Jakarta, At Tien mosque in TMII and Tugu Proklamasi in Central Jakarta.

Bali in Budget Beds Battle

The Jakarta Globe, Irvan Tisnabudi

The new Tune Hotel in Kuta, Bali, which some hoteliers claim is using ‘predatory pricing.’ (JG Photo/J.P. Christo)

Hotel owners in Bali are crying foul over the latest arrival in Indonesia’s premier tourist destination.

They claim that Tune Hotels, the Malaysian budget accommodation chain owned by Air Asia founder Tony Fernandes, will “damage” the island’s image by offering spartan rooms for as little as Rp 98,000 ($10.5) a night.

Perry Markus, secretary general of the Bali Hotels and Restaurant Association, told the Jakarta Globe on Monday that other low-cost hotels were unhappy with the arrival of Tune in Kuta and Legian. “With such a low tariff, it is damaging to Bali’s image, which is to uphold quality tourism,” Perry said.

Perry declined to name the unhappy hotels but warned that if Tune does not increase its tariffs, they may report the company to the Business Competition Supervisory Commission (KPPU) for unhealthy business practices.

“We don’t want them to screw up the current situation, which we have been trying very hard to maintain. It’s been very difficult to increase hotel rates since the Bali bombings,” Perry said, referring to the bombs that killed 202 people and injured 204 in Kuta 2002 and another attack that killed 20 in Jimbaran and Kuta in 2005.

Using a similar model to Air Asia and other budget airlines, Tune Hotels eschew the usual frills such as swimming pools, spas and room service, but offer cut-price rates for basic, clean rooms with just a bed, hot shower and ceiling fan. Guests must pay extra for every additional service from towels to air-conditioning.

“Sometimes, all you really need from a hotel is a hot shower and a good night’s rest. Without risking robbery either stepping out of the room, or paying the bill,” Tune says on its web site.

Perry said the association will gather the protesting hotels together to share their views and plans to invite the management of Tune to talks at a later date.

Sendjaja Widjaja, director of Tune in Bali, dismissed the suggestion that the group is pursuing predatory pricing. “Not all the rooms will cost Rp 98,000. No hotel can survive on such a low tariff if it's fixed for all of the rooms.” He added that Tune would be happy to talk to the other hoteliers.

Several business leaders argued that the Tune concept will go down well in Bali.

“As long as the hotel can serve its guests well and satisfy them, then I think it has good prospects because tourists are now very service-oriented,” said Levita Supit, Chairwoman of the Indonesian Franchising and Licensing Society.

Anton Sitorus, head of research at property consultant PT Jones Lang LaSalle Indonesia, noted that Bali attracts many backpackers, for whom the Tune approach may well be appealing.

“These types of visitors look for low-budget hotels and Tune hotels has made some breakthroughs because unlike many cheap hotels in Bali, it is managed professionally,” Anton said.

However, Jacky Yatno, owner of the Barong Hotel, a low-cost establishment in Kuta, insisted that most incumbents were not bothered by Tune’s arrival.

“Tune is way behind a lot of hotels in terms of facilities, as they lack services such as swimming pools and gyms. All they're trying to do is maximize every inch of the small space they have and this does not result in good quality service,” he said.

Former President Abdurrahman Wahid Dies

Gus Dur (Antara Photo)

Indonesia's former president Abdurrahman Wahid, better known as Gus Dur, died in Jakarta's Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital on Wednesday. He was 69 years old.

Hospital director Doctor Akmal Taher said Gus Dur died from complications of kidney and heart problems. The former president had been undergoing regular dialysis for some time. He was hospitalized last week after traveling in East Java.

"Gus Dur was in good condition. He had a tooth pulled out yesterday, he had returned to his room and he ate well. In the afternoon his condition went downhill. We moved him to intensive care but we couldn't save him," Dr. Akmal told Metro TV.

Gus Dur served as president from 1999-2001 during the turbulent years following the resignation of strongman Suharto in 1998.

“The one thing that I found him … it sounds like a cliche; I found him very human," said Dharmawan Ronodipuro, a palace spokesman under Gus Dur.

“On the one hand he could be brilliant, but on the other hand sometimes he could just be wacky. There were two sides. He’s a very complex person. It’s difficult to try to describe him.”

The former president remained influential at home and abroad. In late October he visited the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) office to lend his support to embattled deputies Bibid Samad Rianto and Chandra Hamzah. He was listed as one of the world's 500 most influential Muslim figures in a book published by Washington's Georgetown University last month.

Gus Dur was born on September 7, 1940 in Jombang, East Java. He became head of the Islamic organization Nahdlatul Ulama in 1984 and founded the National Awakening Party (PKB) in 1999 before running for president.

Family members and friends carrying the body of former president Abdurrahman Wahid, popularly known as Gus Dur. He will be buried in his home town of Jombang, East Java. (JG Photo/Safir Makki)

Related Article:

The Wit and Wisdom of Gus Dur

Former RI president Abdurrahman Wahid passes away

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 12/30/2009 7:52 PM

Ex-Indonesian president Wahid dies

Former Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid, popularly known as Gus Dur , died Wednesday at Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital, Central Jakarta.

Gus Dur's brother, Sholahudin Wahid, or Gus Sholah, confirmed the information as quoted by

Maman Imanulhaq from the National Awakening Party (PKB) said Gus Dur passed away after undergoing a dental operation at the hospital.

Journalists are waiting for an official press conference from the late family about his death. (ewd)

Disasters, Triumphs and Everyday Life: 2009 Through the Lenses of Jakarta Globe Photographers

Christians prayed and cried in front of a Mary statue still standing among the ruins of a Padang Catholic church damaged by the 7.6 earthquake that rocked the region in October. (JG Photo/Safir Makki)

The Jakarta Globe's staff photographers are always on the frontline of the news and in the past year they have covered everything from disasters and sporting triumphs to everyday life in the capital.

Jurnasyanto Sukarno, Afriadi Hikmal, Yudhi Sukma Wijaya and Safir Makki have picked some of their favorite images of the year for this online gallery.

View the gallery here

Meet the photographers

Safir Makki

Jakarta Globe photographer Safir Makki sees his photos as a way of informing the public about injustice in society. His photos, often shot from unusual angles, tell human stories of struggle and sacrifice, hope and charity.

Safir studied at the Indonesian Institute of the Arts in Yogyakarta. He was a finalist this year in the prestigous Anugerah Adiwarta Sampoerna journalism awards in two categories for best news photographs, business and the economy, and law.

Yudhi Sukma Wijaya

My name is Yudhi Sukma Wijaya. During the past year, I have worked as a photographer for the Jakarta Globe, using my images to help tell the story of a myriad of political, social, cultural, economic and legal events. Each of my photos presented its own challenges and obstacles, from dealing with government or corporate bureaucracy to obtain a single shot, to waiting for hours to capture one perfect moment.

This year, two of my photos won Anugerah Adiwarta Sampoerna awards, one for best political news photograph and another for best arts and culture photograph. I hope the year ahead brings more opportunities for me to capture important images for Globe readers, and to immortalize the stories of our time for future generations.

Jurnasyanto Sukarno

As a photojournalist, each day is different, and I always have to prepare for the worst. I may be at a political event, full of rules and bureaucracy, and suddenly a natural disaster calls me elsewhere. The most important aspect of my job is timing — I have to get to the field in time, otherwise I’ll miss the news. I can’t do much from behind a desk.

During my year with the Jakarta Globe, I’ve covered major events, like the presidential election, the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton bombings, the Situ Gintung dam disaster, the terrorist raid in Tangerang and the 25th SEA Games in Vientiane, Laos.

Afriadi Hikmal

There is always something worth photographing, even a moment of rage or loss is a fragment of human life. Capturing each fragment in pictures will tell a story — and the best story-telling technique is to tell things honestly and objectively.

This year, Afriadi Hikmal has won many awards for his work, including second place in the Photo Essay category of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand Photojournalism Contest, for his story about children with cerebral palsy. He also came first in the Nature category of a National Geographic Indonesia contest, and won first prize for photography in a competition focusing on reporting labor issues, organized by The Alliance of Independent Journalists Indonesia.

Jakarta athletes receive awards for SEA Games achievements

Indah Setiawati, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 12/30/2009 4:34 PM

Governor Fauzi Bowo presented awards for 64 athletes from Jakarta who participated in the recent 25th SEA Games in Vientiane, Laos.

Of the 64 athletes, 10 clinched gold medals, 12 silver medals and 19 bronze medals.

"This proves that Jakarta has held its predicate as a warehouse of athletes," Fauzi said in his speech.

Head of the Jakarta chapter of the National Sports Council (KONI) Winny Erwindia said the funds for awards for the athletes would be taken from the 2009 city budget.

"Individual gold medalists will receive Rp 70 million (around US$ 7,000), silver medalists will receive Rp 25 million while the bronze medalists will receive 12.5 million," she said.

She announced the awards for athletes in pairs and groups as well as coaches.

She said athletes who did not win a medal would still get Rp 2.5 million.

The city spent Rp 1.85 billion for the awards according to data from KONI’s Jakarta chapter.

Fauzi said the city's athletes should watch East Java and Central Java in the upcoming National Games (PON).

Jakarta topped the medal tally contribution, followed by East Java that sent 74 athletes and got 10 gold medals, 11 silver medals and 15 bronze medals.

Central Java, which sat in third position, sent 39 athletes and secured 10 gold medals, 9 silver medals and 15 bronze medals.

Indonesia, ranked 3rd after Thailand and Vietnam, got 43 gold medals, 53 silver medals and 74 bronze medals

Christmas celebrations, the Indonesian way

ID Nugroho and Anissa S. Febrina, The Jakarta Post, Wed, 12/30/2009 11:01 AM

Celebrating Mother Earth: Young people from Ngandong hamlet, Argosoka, Dukun, Magelan perform a play titled Bumiku Ibuku or My Earth, My Mother, at the foot of Mount Merapi, to celebrate Christmas 2009 with an environmental message. JP/Suherdjoko

For any religious or cultural celebration turned universal, there’s sure to be a streak of local hue.

While most Christians tend to commemorate the birth of Jesus on Dec. 25, they celebrate Christmas in more diverse ways than we can imagine.

Santa no longer only sports a vivid red attire, spreading joy along with us humming “Jingle Bells” in English, and Christmas dinner means a different menu at tables across the country.

If you’re bored with the Western-style Santa, try finding a local one in Central Java’s Magelang. One that knocks on doors and speaks in polite Javanese. One that has forgone his white-trimmed costume and fake white beard, opting for a traditional striped lurik (an Indigenous Javanese handwoven fabric) and a real beard instead.

Living in a tropical country, this Santa doesn’t ride a sleigh pulled by Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, but pedals a rickshaw, followed by his elves also dressed in Javanese attire.

Meanwhile, Christmas Eve and Day masses take on a local feel in different churches.

In East Java’s Poh Sarang Church, the choir sings songs in Javanese along the pentatonic melody of a group of traditional musicians playing gamelan. Hours away from there, in the Maduranese-dominated Jember, the East Java Christian Church holds a service in Maduranese.

“We combine Bahasa Indonesia, Maduranese and Javanese in our church activities,” Sapto Wardoyo, the head of the church says. Not only that, this church also uses a special Maduranese Bible, which was translated in 1982 by Cicilia Jeanne d’Arc Hasaniah Waluyo.

In Bekasi’s Kampung Sawah, the congregation follows a service in Betawi and sings gospel songs in the same language. And guess what the local Christmas treat is? Yup, dodol. The sweet sticky cake made of glutinous rice replaces the Western style Christmas cakes or ginger bread.

Aside from church services, Santa and the Christmas tree, food has always been part of the celebration. And what’s on the dinner table depends on where you’re celebrating.

Betawi Christmas: Catholics wearing traditional Betawi clothes walk in a procession at the Christmas mass in the Betawi Church of Santo Servatius, in a kampung in East Java, on the Dec. 24. JP/P.J. Leo

“Celebrating Christmas in Ambon, my hometown, means attending the midnight mass on the 24th and then spending time until dawn with my extended family in the house of my mother’s older sister,” says housewife Monica Tinangon who comes from a mixed Ambon and Manado background.

“We chat, we sing and we have a lot of catching up to do on Christmas Eve as most of us live in different cities. And for the families who came all the way from Jakarta, it’ll be the wrong time to be wanting to rekindle with papeda [traditional porridge made of sago],” she explains.

“On Christmas day, we want something extraordinary on the table. Pork in soy sauce, pork rica, basically pork becomes the symbol of our celebration. The savory treats are then topped with cakes and tarts, an influence from the Dutch culture,” Monica goes on.

“Usually, there’ll be two separate buffet tables, one covered with pork dishes and another with halal food like grilled fish for our Muslim guests.”

After the night’s feast and hours of chat, families will go for a second mass the next morning and visit friends and relatives for the rest of the day.

“For us, Christmas is that night we spend together. Back as a family, after months of being busy with our own lives. Gifts are not important, so long as we’re together.”

But celebrating the traditional Christmas in Jakarta where she resides requires a bit of adjustment.

“If we don’t get to go back to Ambon, we decide to go for a simpler celebration. I go to the morning mass with my husband and children and cook simple food just in case guests are coming. No pork, just the cakes and klapertaart [coconut tart] remain.”

Just like Monica, Ronny Poluan who originates from Tomohon, North Sulawesi, has had to tone down his Christmas celebrations since living miles away from his extended family.

For the country: The Vokalista choir performs a play titled God is good to everyone at the Jakarta Convention Center, Jakarta, on Sunday, Dec. 27, in front of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, for the national Christmas celebration. JP/P.J. Leo

“The traditional Christmas dinner in my hometown usually involves canine meat. It’s not only the highlight of the feast, it has a deeper philosophical meaning as dogs are considered our soul guardians,” Ronny explained.

Canine meat dishes or known locally as RW – a short for rintek wuuk or soft fur, a term referring to dogs – originate from Manado and Minahasa local customs. Other customs didn’t survive the Spanish and Dutch introduction of Christianity, he added.

“Unlike the Batak, frankly speaking, we’ve sort of lost parts of our customs. Thus, the way we celebrate Christmas is not that different from the general way.”

Slightly further to the south, in East Nusa Tenggara’s Atambua, Mateus Guides agrees that whatever is served on the plate, togetherness is the main ingredient of Christmas celebrations. A table with a simple meal and beverages becomes the centerpiece of the living room in his wooden-walled and dirt-floored home. No sparkly Christmas tree with piles of gifts underneath.

Despite the humble setting, his relatives come from different parts of the province to spend a day or more there. Uniquely, if others like Monica and Ronny have a list of special dishes to serve, Mateus’ family makes a point of not serving certain foods on Christmas day, namely fish.

“No fish for Christmas,” he said, adding that it was an inherited belief he could not explain. The closest possible explanation for the custom is that fish comes from the sea, which represents a form of higher power and thus off limits for celebrations.

East and west, north and south, wherever and however one celebrates it and whatever becomes the highlight of the feast, Christmas – like perhaps any other religious celebration – boils down to being together and sharing joyous moments with family and friends.

Justice for all

The Jakarta Post | Tue, 12/29/2009 8:22 AM

Grandma Minah, a villager living near Purwokerto, Central Java is embraced by actor Butet Kertaredjasa after receiving a cacao seedling from the anticorruption organization Kompak in Jakarta on Monday. The woman, who made newspaper headlines after a local court sentenced her to 45 days in jail for stealing three cacao pods from a plantation company, was named one of Kompak’s People of the Year. JP/Nurhayati

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