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. …

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Gone with the wave

The Jakarta Post   |  Sat, 02/28/2009 10:02 AM  


Tourists mill around on Kuta Beach in Badung regency on Thursday, seemingly oblivious to parts of the beach lost through erosion. The phenomenon has hit the beach again after the completion late last year of a project to guard the beach from this very threat. (JP/Ni Komang Erviani)

Minister launches Balinese culture study center

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 02/28/2009 1:38 PM  

State Minister of Culture and Tourism Jero Wacik launched Balinese Culture Study Center at the University of Udayana in Denpasar, Bali on Saturday, Antara has reported. 

"The study center is expected to help study and collect the existing and developing positive points in the Balinese culture," the Minister said. 

Minister Wacik said that the Balinese culture has a lot of potential which could be further developed to help boosting creative industry in the local economy by empowering the local communities. 

Separately in the occasion, I Made Bakta, the university's rector, explained that the study center was a program initiated by the Culture and Tourism ministry in cooperation with the National Development Planning Agency.

He said the study center was indeed aimed at using the local cultural values in developing creative industry and economy of Bali Province. 

"The study center is expected to issue study reports on Balinese culture and produce a creative cultural industry," he said. 

With the launching of the Balinese culture study center, there are currently seven local cultures study center in seven universities in Indonesia. (dre)- JP

Bali to hold int'l yoga festival

Ni Komang Erviani, THE JAKARTA POST, DENPASAR | Fri, 02/27/2009 2:49 PM  |  Bali 

The Bali India Foundation will hold an international yoga festival from March 3-10 that will feature some 100 yoga practitioners from Indonesia and overseas, including from India, Germany, Sweden and the United States. 

The festival will be spread out over the island, with events taking place in the capital Denpasar, Bangli, Klungkung and Ubud, as well as sessions held at the foundation office. 

"Bali is believed to be the best place in the world to practice yoga," Bali India Foundation chairman Somvir said Thursday. 

"This event will also promote Bali as a destination of spiritual tourism." 

The festival will not only involve yoga practitioners and enthusiasts but also artists and intellectuals who will discuss various issues related to yoga. 

Various seminars will be held on yoga-related themes such as the arts, beauty, ecology, health, lifestyle, peace, pluralism and philosophy. 

The festival also aims to answer a controversy following a fatwa or edict issued by the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) banning the practicing of yoga that contains Hindu chants. 

MUI head of research Salman Harun has already confirmed his attendance to discuss the edict declaring yoga haram (forbidden). 

"We will hold a special seminar to discuss yoga from an Islamic perspective," Somvir said. 

The festival will kick off at the Bali People's Struggle Monument on March 3 with a yoga parade. 

Tourism industry analyst Nyoman Sirtha said the yoga festival would strengthen the image of Bali as a spiritual tourism destination.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Safari Park to get six kangaroos from Australian Zoo

The Jakarta Post  |  Fri, 02/27/2009 9:38 PM  

Indonesia’s biggest public zoo, Safari Park, in Cisarua, West Java, is expected to receive six kangaroos from Australia in late March or early April 2009, to mark cooperation between the Australian Zoo and Safari Park. 

The cooperation between the two zoos was initiated several years ago, when Steve Irwin was still active in managing the Australian zoo, Safari director Tony Sumampau said as quoted by Antara news agency in Cisarua on Friday. 

Irwin, a 44-year-old TV presenter known as the "Crocodile Hunter”, was killed by a stingray barb that went through his chest, while filming an underwater documentary last September 2006. 

Terri Raines Irwin, Steve Irwin's widow, visited Safari Cisarua last year, for some agenda on wildlife conservation. 

The six kangaroos would be part of 15 kangaroos to be given to Indonesia by Australia, Sumampau said. 

However, the zoo's staff would first monitor to see whether the six kangaroos could adapt themselves to the Safari environment, he said. 

Only if the six kangaroos were successful, the rest would be sent to Indonesia, he said. 

Based on the past experiences, Australian kangaroos could not survive long in Indonesia, and therefore the Australian zoo had halted the cooperation program previously, he said. 

However, Safari’s management had learned the lessons from the past experiences and would assign two keepers and one veterinarian, who had been trained in Australia, to watch over the kangaroos, he said. 

The Australian Zoo would also give a pair of Koala bear to Safari, he said. 

The Indonesian natural resources and forest protection director general last year signed a memorandum of understanding on the plan to receive two Koala bears from Australia, Sumampau said. 

The two Koala bears might arrive in 2011 because Safari needed to plant more eucalyptus trees as the animals eat eucalyptus leaves, he said. 

Safari Park has so far had Papua's kangaroos known as 'Walabi', which is smaller than Australia's kangaroos. 

New Life for the Grande Old Dame of Jakarta

The Jakarta Globe,  Ade Mardiyati, February 27, 2009 

After three years of major reconstruction that retained most of its original external design, the iconic Hotel Indonesia will officially be back in operation on Saturday under a new brand, Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta. 

“To build a hotel within a hotel is among the most difficult jobs in the world,” Gerhard E. Mitrovits, general manager of Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta, said during a press conference in Jakarta on Wednesday when asked why the reconstruction took so long. 

Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno, inaugurated Hotel Indonesia in August 1962. It was the first hotel in the country to offer international-standard service  and became a city landmark. 

US architects Abel Sorensen and wife Wendy were retained by President Sukarno to design the 25,082-square-meter building. The couple successfully outlined and brought to life a modern hotel that included elements of Indonesian architecture. 

The first important event to involve the hotel was the 4th Asian Games in the same year the hotel was opened. State guests and world leaders who have been  hosted at the hotel include US Senator Ted Kennedy and Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia. 

In its golden years, Hotel Indonesia was a symbol of Jakarta’s urban lifestyle. Meetings and social functions of the wealthy and socialites were held at the hotel. 

During the 1970s, the Nirwana Supper Club was frequently filled with Jakarta’s leading lights enjoying dinner and live entertainment by  both local and international musicians. Going for a dip in the hotel’s swimming pool became a status symbol for young people of the time. 

A number of the hotel’s original art masterpieces have been maintained. The Dewi Sri statue sculptured by Trubus, President Sukarno’s favorite artist, and an enormous wall painting of Indonesia’s fauna by world-renowned Chinese artist Lee Man Fong are among the hotel’s treasures.

Indonesia rediscovers long-lost hero Sjahrir

The Jakarta Post, Fri, 02/27/2009 2:29 PM

Indonesia will brush the dust of its history books this month to celebrate the 100th birthday of the late Sutan Sjahrir, the notoriously obscure yet influential nationalist, a group of journalists and historians said Thursday.

Sjahrir remains to this day the only prime minister Indonesia has ever had and was a close ally to the country's founding fathers, Sukarno and Hatta.

"Sjahrir achieved enough himself to be called a founding father as well, yet even history teachers nowadays know very little about him," chief editor of the Sinar Harapan daily Aristides Katoppo told a press conference.

He said the once-renowned nationalist preached pluralism and pacifist approaches to conflict resolution, ideas that could be inspiring for todays' politicians and Indonesians citizens on the whole.

A number of institutions will commemorate Sjahrir's 100th birthday on March 5 by staging a series of events about his life.

A photo exhibition documenting his life will commence on Feb. 28, a number of discussions will be held throughout the year and heater performances towards the close of 2009 will round out the celebrations, Sjahrir's daughter Siti Rabyah Parvati Sjahrir said.

Born into a privileged family, Sjahrir paid scant attention to the fight for independence until he was captivated by a fiery speech from Cipto Mangunkusumo, a pro-independence campaigner.

Inspired, he experimented with socialism before joining Hatta and his allies in their struggle to free the country from the colonial rule of the Dutch and Japanese.

Following the success of the independence movement, Sjahrir held various posts, such as prime minister during the country's brief parliamentary era, as well as foreign affairs minister and internal affairs minister. He also played important diplomatic roles during the Netherlands's resurgent attempts to take back control of the nation.

"Sjahrir had definite ideas about peaceful diplomacy and democracy. He was strongly against fascism, racism and militarism," former journalist Rahman Tolleng said, adding that in 1945 the then prime minister condemned the anti-Chinese riots sweeping the nation.

However, after falling out with then President Sukarno in 1950, Sjahrir was ousted from his post as the president's advisor. In 1962, he was arrested without trial along with over 1,000 former independence fighters and imprisoned, where he stayed until he suffered a stroke. He died in 1966 during medical treatment in Switzerland.

Sjahrir's name remained hidden throughout Soeharto's militaristic rule. "We hope we can refresh the public on this great figure, especially as we near the election period." (dis)

Dutch minister queries Aceh governor on security

The Jakarta Post | Fri, 02/27/2009 7:35 PM  

Visiting Dutch Justice Minister Hirsch Ballin was curious of the security situation in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam (NAD) ahead of the legislative election in April, Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf said in Banda Aceh on Friday. 

"The Dutch justice minister is visiting Aceh to obtain first-hand information about the security situation and law enforcement in the run-up to the legislative election in the province," Irwandi said as quoted by Antara news agency. 

Yusuf said the Dutch minister also asked about the realization of the Helsinki peace agreement and Law No.11/2006 on Aceh province's administration. 

Speaking to reporters after a closed-door meeting with Hirsch Ballin, the governor said law enforcement in Aceh had improved significantly but the political atmosphere in the run-up to the elections was heating up. 

"I hope the situation will return to normal following President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's visit to Aceh last Monday," the governor said. 

When in Aceh to dedicate a number of infrastructure projects, President Yudhoyono said so-called Military Operation Area (DOM) and Free Aceh Movement (GAM) would no longer exist in Aceh. 

According to Irwandi Yusuf, the Dutch justice minister also asked about a plan to close the Europen Union representative's office in Aceh in conjunction with the end of the Aceh-Nias Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Board (BRR) program. 

In response to Hirsch Ballin's question, the governor said the Aceh provincial administration had never asked for the closing of the EU representative's office because the EU's presence in the province was to supervise the peace process after the Helsinki agreement and it had nothing to do with BRR. 

"We continue to expect the presence of foreign observers in Aceh during the election this year because according to point 127 in the Helsinki peace agreement, the 2009 election should be monitored by the EU," Yusuf said. 

He added the presence of foreign observers was much needed to ensure that the elections will run fairly, safely, and honestly.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Night to remember at museum

Prodita Sabarini, THE JAKARTA POST, JAKARTA | Thu, 02/26/2009 11:14 AM

A community of history enthusiasts is organizing a Saturday night tour around Jakarta’s Old Town, West Jakarta, complete with a sleepover in a museum and a chance to watch the sunrise from the museum’s tower.

The rare event — the group claims it will be the world’s first museum sleepover — aims raise the public’s interest in the city’s history and heritage sites.

Asep Kambali, founder of the Community Concerned with Indonesian History and Culture (KPSB), known as Komunitas Historia, said 60 people would tour the Old Town area Saturday evening, spending the night in Mandiri Museum.

Old Town area was the center of the Batavia administration during the Dutch colonial era. Jakarta was named Batavia under Dutch rule.

The area contains several old buildings, including the former Dutch Batavia town hall, now the Jakarta History Museum. The area spans 1.3 square kilometers, straddling North and West Jakarta.

Asep said the tour would start at Jl. Pintu Besar, once the entry gate to Batavia.

“Old Town Jakarta once had a big door at the street now named Jl. Pintu Besar. It was built in the 1600s by the Dutch East Indies Company. In the 1800s, Daendels destroyed the fort and used the materials for the city’s canals,” Asep said.

Asep was referring to Herman Willem Daendels, the governor general of the Dutch East Indies between 1808 and 1811. Dandels moved the town center to an area called Weltevreden, now Jl. Medan Merdeka.

The group will meet at Mandiri Museum on Jl. Pintu Besar. The museum, which was built in the late 1920s, was once the building of Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij (NHM) or Factorji Batavia, a trade company from the Netherlands.

The group will continue to Bank Indonesia Museum, which was built in 1928, and then pass Jl. Kali Besar, a street that has historical buildings from the 19th century.

They will stop at the Fatahillah Museum or Jakarta History Museum and continue to Cipta Niaga building, built in 1912. Asep said the building was in a fragile state and was a popular place to film horror movies.

“Not that I don’t agree with films being shot there, but people should also appreciate the building’s architecture and history,” he said.

Asep said the group would explore the building with flashlights.

A discussion on the participants’ aspirations for the preservation of Old Town, will be held after the film.

“The participants will sleep in sleeping bags. Then we will wake up at dawn to watch the sunrise from the museum’s tower,” he said.

Asep said they announced the event on their website and through their mailing list last week.

Three days after the announcement, the tour was fully booked.

“A lot of people still ask about the tour — up to 250 people,” he said. Participants were charged Rp 65,000 for the tour.

Asep, a history graduate from the State University of Jakarta, founded Komunitas Historia in 2003. The community is well-known for its heritage trips, Jakarta Trails and Jakarta Night Trails, and has a mailing list with some 3,000 subscribers.

Rory Hie eyes top 20 at Indonesia Open

Indah Setiawati, THE JAKARTA POST, BADUNG, BALI | Thu, 02/26/2009 9:03 AM 


 Indonesian Open: Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand watched the ball during the first day of the Indonesia Open golf tournament at the New Kuta Golf Course in Pecatu, Bali, Indonesia, on Thursday. AP/Firdia Lisnawati

Indonesia’s hopeful Rory Hie is determined to make the cut and finish at the top 20 of the Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia Open 2009 to be kicked off Thursday in the New Kuta Golf and Ocean View in Pecatu, Badung regency, Bali. 

The 20-year-old golfer, who turned professional last October,  said he was happy to play here as he would get an overwhelming support from the home crowds. He said he tried not to make it as a burden. 

“It feels great. Playing at home is very special as a lot of people will support me. I’ll try not to think about the burden. I’ll just play my own game,” the champion of the Mercedes-Benz tour 2008 said Wednesday. 

Rory, who ranked second in the world amateur list last year, said he believed his fellow countrymen would make the cut this year because four Indonesian golfers — pros Denny Supriadi, Ilyassyak, Maan Nasim and amateur Suprapto — made it through the cut last year. 

Indonesia is fielding seven professional and six amateur golfers in the US$1.25 million event co-sanctioned by the European Tour and the Asian Tour. 

The Indonesian Golf Association (PGI) is fielding an amateur pack of Fahmi Reza, Hari Budianto, Harjito, Ian Andrew, Suprapto and Ujang Zarem. 

Meanwhile, the Indonesian Professional Golf Association (PGPI) is deploying Agusnam, Maan Nasim, Ilyassyak, Junaidi Ibrahim and Sarmilih. Andik Mauludin, the winner of Man Amateur Open 2008, will make his debut as a professional in the tournament.   

Talking about the golf course, Rory, who spent the last nine years in the United States and won several titles, said the front nine holes would be his best chance to score. 

“I would try to get on par on the back nine while trying to gain as many birdies as I can on the front nine,” he said, particularly pointing to hole 14 that would be tough as it was going towards the sea and would be very windy. 

Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand, ranks 14th on the Asian Tour Order of Merit and 87th in the world, said hole 17 as well as the greens would provide a challenge for most golfers, who play in the course for the first time. 

“The greens are going to be tricky. The par-5 hole is challenging. On hole 17, the green is trickily sloping right to left. I will try my best,” he said, adding that iron game and putting was the key to handle the course. 

US PGA Tour star Daniel Chopra of Sweden was upbeat to play in the 72-par golf course, which reminded him of Kapalua golf course in Hawaii and Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore. 

Chopra is pleased to be back in a country where he spent most of his days as a junior golfer. 

“Indonesia is probably the place I’ve spent the most time. So I always feel comfortable coming back here because I have so many great memories,” he said, as quoted by Associated Press. 

“So I’m looking forward to the week, even though I’ve not been feeling that great. But hopefully the hot weather will sort out my sinuses.” 

The four-day prestigious competition will feature 144 golfers from 30 countries, including defending champion Felipe Aguilar of Chile. 

Aguilar said he was ready to retain his title as he was in a good form after a month of preparation in Marbella, Chile. 

“Where I can take advantage is on the greens because it is very similar to the green at my house. So that could work in my favor,” said the 34 year-old, who was a joint-runner up with amateur Danny Lee of New Zealand in the latest Johnnie Walker Classic in Australia. 

He said he would take a local caddy as he did in last year’s event at the Cengkareng Golf Club, west of Jakarta.

Related Article:

Bali champion: Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand proudly shows off his trophy after winning the Indonesia Open golf tournament at the New Kuta Golf Course in Pecatu on the resort island of Bali, Sunday.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Memorial for Tsunami Victims Pays Tribute to Acehnese Culture

The Jakarta Globe, Nurdin Hasan, February 23, 2009 

A grand building shaped like a cruise ship stands proudly in Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh Province. The tsunami museum cost the Aceh-Nias Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency, or BRR, Rp 67 billion ($5.6 million) to build and is said to represent the strength of the Acehnese in surviving the Dec. 26, 2004, Indian Ocean tsunami. 

The 2,500-square-meter museum, which stands on a 10,000-square-meter plot north of Blang Padang field, was opened by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Monday. 

Eddy Purwanto, operations deputy for BRR, said the concept for the tsunami museum was “Rumoh Aceh [traditional Aceh house] as Escape Hill.” A traditional Aceh house on stilts is a symbol of local wisdom, and has been incorporated into the museum’s design. When Aceh was struck by a tsunami, many houses on stilts were able to survive the raging water. 

“If you look at the walls of the museum, you will see thousands of people doing the s aman dance,” Eddy told the Jakarta Globe. “The philosophy behind it is that the Acehnese are a disciplined and orderly people. The saman dance is another symbol of the strength of the Acehnese.” 

In 2007, a nationwide design contest was held for architects and planning consultants. From the 125 submissions, the Acehnese jury chose a design by Ridwan Kamil, a professor of architecture from the Bandung Institute of Technology, or ITB, in Bandung, West Java Province, for its portrayal of Acehnese characteristics. 

The contours of the building, according to the jury, show the designer’s efforts to delve into the Acehnese culture and psyche. A chamber in the museum is shaped like a tapering chimney with the Arabic inscription for God written on its top. This reflects the religious nature of Aceh’s people, who believe that God holds supreme might and power over all things. 

The museum’s first floor is an open space, as is traditional in an Acehnese house. In addition to its use as a public space, the space allows floodwater and tidal waves to run unencumbered. 

The building’s exterior expresses the cultural diversity of Aceh through its use of transparent, decorative ornaments. The interior takes the visitors through a “tunnel of sorrow” that invites contemplation of the disaster. 

The museum also has an escape hill, a park on a knoll that people can run to in the event of a flood or tsunami. It also features a hill of light, in addition to a garden with space where people can lay flowers. Another memorial room is located underground, complete with an exhibition hall. 

The chimney wall will be inscribed with the names of tsunami victims. Eddy said the names had been listed by the Aceh government. “More than just a place to remember the martyrs who died in the tsunami, the museum will serve to educate people and can serve as a refuge in the event of another tsunami,” he said. 

The inner room features a two-meter-wide alley with waterfalls on both sides to simulate a tsunami. The museum also sets aside a room where visiting families can pray. A conference room has been made available for community meetings. 

The museum’s memorial hall is dimly lit in preparation for displays of electronic data. The building’s oval roof is covered with grass where visitors can sit and relax. 

To the south of the museum lies the graves of hundreds of Dutch soldiers, called Kerkhof or Peucut , who died in battles against Aceh’s armies. To the northeast lies Taman Sari, where residents often go for picnics. Some 150 meters away lies an urban forest park, Taman Putroe Pahang. In the 16th century the place used to be the bathing house of Puteri Pahang, an Aceh queen in the days of Sultan Iskandar Muda. 

Eddy said BRR had only been assigned to build the museum, at the request of the Acehnese and members of the House of Representatives in Jakarta. The contents of the museum will be supplied by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, in collaboration with Aceh’s government. 

“The initial idea [for the museum] came from looking at memorials in other countries,” he said. “There was no memorial for the many people who fell victim to the tsunami. Victims of the Kobe earthquake in Japan have their own memorial. Pearl Harbor has a museum. So we built a memorial for the tsunami victims in Aceh after we consulted with the public.” 

Eddy hopes an international trust fund will be established to ensure that the tsunami museum is properly maintained. 

Muhammad Nazar, Aceh’s deputy governor, welcomed the tsunami museum. “This is a masterpiece to be viewed not only by us, but by future generations as well. They will be grateful and proud of our generation, which has produced such a fine work for them to inherit.” 

Nazar said that in addition to becoming a historical icon with potential as a tourist destination, the museum would also serve as an educational facility that supported research and teaching about tsunamis. 

“Professional management is needed,” he said. “The Aceh government does not have the capacity to manage the museum because we are short-staffed.” 

He said that he hoped the management of the tsunami museum would involve the government of Aceh, the central government and Unesco, including a team of museum experts with international experience.  

Photo: Visitors exploring the completed Aceh tsunami museum in Banda Aceh during its inauguration on Monday. (Hotli Simanjuntak, EPA)

Related Articles:

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SBY Launches Projects for Aceh

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sacred dance

The Jakarta Post  |  Mon, 02/23/2009 10:01 AM  |  Bali


Girls perform the sacred Rejang dance to mark the commencement of Tumpek Wariga ritual Saturday at Puputan Badung Square, Denpasar. The Balinese Hindu ritual is a tribute to plants and trees. JP/Zul Trio Anggono

AirAsia Offers Free Seats For Four New Routes

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23 (Bernama) -- AirAsia is giving away free seats to mark the launch of four new routes -- Bali-Singapore, Bandung-Singapore, Jakarta-Singapore and Yogyakarta-Singapore. 

The booking is open for travel from Feb 24 till Feb 28 for travel between March 24 and Jan 31, 2010. Booking is also available online via the website 

The four new routes further enhances AirAsia's present vast network, especially across the Asean region. 

With brand new routes being constantly introduced, countries across the region are efficiently connected with each other and the rest of the world through the budget carriers' hubs in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. 

Indonesia AirAsia chief executive officer Dharmadi said: "These new routes are a significant achievement for us as it signifies our drive and commitment in expanding our network, providing an extensive choice of destinations to our guests." 

"For a start, there will be one daily direct flight from Bali, Bandung and Yogyakarta to Singapore and two daily direct flights from Jakarta to Singapore. 

"With these new routes, more people in Indonesia will get to enjoy accessibility to Singapore. Through our extensive network, covering over 114 routes and 64 destinations, it opens the door to other destinations in the Asean region, Japan, China, Australia and Europe," he said. 

The new routes will be operated by AirAsia's Indonesian operations, currently the only airline flying the Bandung-Singapore route and the first low- fare airline to service the Yogyakarta-Singapore route. 

AirAsia Regional Head of Commercial Kathleen Tan said: "It is also convenient for Indonesians to visit Singapore, renowned as a shopping paradise, leisure centre and food haven. 

"The daily direct flights from out of four Indonesian cities will definitely enhance accessibility for the republic and continue to attract guests with our low fares and innovative services. 

"This enhanced passenger traffic will definitely boost tourism and stimulate local economies between Indonesia and Singapore," she added.

Related Article:

ASEAN citizens will get hotel discounts in Indonesia 

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Unesco Atlas Details Languages in Peril

The Jakarta Globe, February 21, 2009 

Nearly 2,500 of the world’s 6,000 languages, including a number of Indonesian dialects, are in danger of extinction, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, or Unesco, warned on Friday. 

Unesco’s “Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger of Disappearing,” which was released in Paris in conjunction with International Mother Language Day, which falls on Monday, indicated that a significant number of languages in Indonesia, India, Brazil and Mexico were in peril of extinction. 

In the atlas, previous editions of which were released by Unesco in 1996 and 2001, languages were classified into five categories: not safe, threatened, extremely threatened, critical, and extinct.

The atlas revealed that of the world’s 6,000 languages, over 200 had gone extinct in the past three generations, while 538 were categorized as critical, 502 were extremely threatened, 632 were threatened, and 607 were not safe. 

Two hundred languages have less than 10 speakers, while another 178 have between 10 to 50 speakers, it said. 

The language of Manx, from the Isle of Man in Britain, became extinct in 1974 after Ned Maddrell, its last speaker, passed away. The Eyak language from Alaska died with Marie Smith Jones in 2008. 

“The extinction of a language leads to the disappearance of all forms of cultural heritage, especially the legacy of tradition and the linguistic expression of its speakers, from poems and stories to proverbs and jokes,” said Koichiro Matsuura, director of Unesco, on the agency’s Web site. 

Over thirty linguists were involved in the atlas’s preparation, which showed that language extinction happened everywhere across all economic conditions. 

Almost two-thirds of world’s languages are found in sub-Saharan Africa, and linguists have predicted that some 10 percent of those languages could be extinct by the next century.

In France, 13 languages are also under threat. 

At least 169 of Indonesia’s 742 languages have less than 500 speakers, and were therefore listed as being under threat. 


In tune with Indonesia

The Jakarta Post | Sun, 02/22/2009 10:31 AM 

Darunnajah Marching Band members perform at the opening of “The 6th Darunnajah Marching Band Competition 2009” at Senayan Sports Hall in Jakarta on Saturday. Based on the theme “Indonesian Music Archipelago”, the competition was opened by Vice President Jusuf Kalla. (JP/PJ. Leo)

National airport operator to increase services tax

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sun, 02/22/2009 9:41 AM  

State-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura II has officially announced on Sunday that it would be increasing all services tariffs by 20 to 30 percent across the country. 

"The increase isn't for individual passenger services like luggage, passport and fiskal," Angkasa Pura II spokesman Trisno Heryadi said, as quoted by 

He said the increased funds would be allocated to renovate and improve various airport facilities like washrooms, air conditioning, electricity and security. 

Heryadi explained that under the new arrangement, the airport tax for domestic and international travellers at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport would be Rp 40,000 and Rp 150,000 respectively. 

"It's not a new tax altogether, but rather a new fee," Heryadi said, adding that the tariff increase would be part of airport tax fee. 

He argued that among the factors behind the increase was the fact that the airports services were exhausted beyond capacity. 

"The overstretch has led to an outstretch of airport capacity in serving passengers," Heryadi remarked. 

At Soekarno-Hatta, he added, over 34 million passengers were served annually, well beyond the carrying capacity of 18 million travellers. (amr)

Related Article: 

New airport tax tariffs start March 1

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Indonesia Vice President to invite Guus Hidink

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Vice President  M Jusuf Kalla has said that mutual approaches are being carried out to invite Dutch soccer coach Guus Hidink to train Indonesia's national soccer players under the All-Indonesia Football Association (PSSI). 

"I have asked Indonesian Ambassador to Russia Hamid Awaluddin to find out whether Guus Hidink still has the time to train our soccer players,"  Jusuf Kalla said after Friday prayers in Jakarta Friday. 

He also said that talks had already been held with the Russian  version of KONI on the possibility of  Guus Hidink coming to Indonesia, because he is now a coach of the Russian national soccer team. 

In the meantime,  Guus Hidink has signed a contract with the  Chelsea soccer club.

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ASEAN citizens will get hotel discounts in Indonesia

The Jakarta Post, JAKARTA | Sat, 02/21/2009 10:46 AM  

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism plans to intensify its promotional campaigns targeting the Southeast Asian market, including a special ASEAN discount program. 

“The details on the program will be discussed at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Bangkok, Thailand, in March,” the ministry’s marketing directorate general Sapta Nirwandar said on Friday. 

“One of proposed programs is to have hotel discounts effective among ASEAN nations. This means if tourists can prove they are citizens of an ASEAN nation, they will automatically get a special discount,” he added. 

Sapta said that the hotel discount program had not yet been officially agreed by the ASEAN nations. “But the Indonesian and Malaysian governments have planned to try the program on a voluntary basis.” 

Sapta said that the ASEAN market could play a key role in maintaining the Indonesian tourism industry while the global economic crisis is hitting Western countries so badly. 

Around 6 million tourists came into the country in 2008, bringing in around US$7.5 billion in foreign exchange income. 

Indonesia managed to record the highest increase in tourism  in the ASEAN region from 2007 to 2008, with a volume growth of around 15.25 percent. However, the ministry has not set a higher target for 2009, due to the global downturn. 

As for this year’s income target, Sapta said that the ministry forecasts around $6.5 billion of foreign exchange from the tourism industry. 

But while the ministry has set a lower income target, it increased the promotional budget to $24 million in 2009 from $22 million last year. 

Sapta said that the ministry would allocate the budget more to niche markets rather than to global advertising,  since Indonesia’s tourism budget is very small compared to those of neighboring countries like Malaysia, which spent around US$100 million in 2008. 

“That is why we cannot afford a mass promotion such as airing advertisements on international television networks. It costs around Rp 75 million just for a 30 second ad-spot,” Sapta said. 

The ministry has scheduled several niche-specific events in West Sumatra, such as bicycle riding in Singkarak and an old locomotive tour project in Padang Panjang. “We also plan to develop tourism in Lombok and Sumbawa. Currently, only around 130,000 tourists visit these areas annually. We plan to increase this by 1 million visitors in 2012,” Sapta said. (hdt)

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Clinton ends visit with charm offensive

Erwida Maulia, THE JAKARTA POST, JAKARTA | Fri, 02/20/2009 8:49 AM 

Down to earth: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (above) visits USAID-funded maternal health and childcare and sanitation facilities in the impoverished neighborhood of Petojo, Central Jakarta, on Thursday. JP/J.ADIGUNA 

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton looked to waste no time during her tightly arranged visit to Indonesia, which wound up Thursday. 

Her mission to put a new face on US foreign policy, one that was friendlier and willing to be a “better listener” than ever, has seemingly been accomplished. 

The new US secretary of state did everything from holding serious talks with Indonesian leaders, to sharing her fancy for classical music in front of a local TV audience. 

After meeting with Indonesia Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda, visiting the ASEAN Secretariat and having dinner with civil society figures on Wednesday, Clinton appeared on a local TV show, paid a courtesy call on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and visited a slum area in Jakarta on Thursday before departing to South Korea later in the afternoon. 

On Thursday morning, Clinton, her face wreathed in smiles, appeared in music program Dahsyat on local broadcaster RCTI, in which the relaxed former first lady shared with the audience her love of classical music. 

“I like listening to classical music while working. It's soothing... My husband usually listens to jazz and rock and roll,” Clinton said when model-cum-presenter Luna Maya asked her about her favorite music. 

Clinton also said she enjoyed the Beatles and the Rolling Stones when she was younger.

However, she turned down a request to sing, saying, “The problem is people will leave when I sing.” 

The TV show also presented famous local singers Melly Goeslaw and Agnes Monica, who asked for a photograph with Clinton.

Down to earth: Earlier in the day, Clinton appears on popular youth show Dahsyat (Awesome) on local TV station RCTI, hosted by presenter Isyana Bagoes Oka (Second left) and model and film star Luna Maya (left). (RCTI.TV) 

RCTI corporate secretary Gilang Iskandar told newsportal that Clinton enjoyed the talk about music so much that she forgot the interview should have lasted for only 10 minutes instead of 20. 

Gilang said RCTI had worked hard to secure Clinton’s approval to appear on the TV show. 

During the meeting with President Yudhoyono, Clinton reiterated Washington's willingness to build a “comprehensive partnership” with Indonesia, while praising the latter’s “leading roles” in a number of environmental issues. 

She also said predominantly Muslim Indonesia could serve as a model of how Islam, democracy, modernization and the fulfillment of women’s rights could all grow in harmony, according to presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal. 

Yudhoyono, in return, asked the US to play a bigger role in resolving the Palestine-Israel conflict and to take the lead in global environmental issues. 

The President called his meeting with Clinton a “wonderful” and “productive” meeting. 

Also present at the 45-minute talk were Acting Coordinating Minister for the Economy Sri Mulyani, Coordinating Minister for the People's Welfare Aburizal Bakrie, State Secretary Hatta Rajasa and Cabinet Secretary Sudi Silalahi. 

Through Clinton, the President renewed his invitation to US President Barack Obama to come to Indonesia on the sidelines of the upcoming APEC meeting in Singapore. 

Obama has said he would visit a major Muslim nation, in a move aimed at reconciling the US and the Islamic world. 

After bidding farewell to Yudho-yono and before stepping into a waiting car, Clinton greeted enthusiastic journalists lined up nearby and shook hands with the lucky ones, leaving others disappointed. 

She then paid a visit to Petojo Utara, a residential area in Central Jakarta, where USAID has built a public toilet equipped with a waste treatment facility. 

Clinton walked on foot to reach the toilet, during which dozens of neighborhood school students, who had been watching, waved at her. She waved back at them. 

However, Clinton missed the chance to have a taste of fried bananas and fried tempe prepared by local housewives. 

She stayed only around 15 minutes in Petojo before heading to the airport. 

During a press conference at the neighborhood state junior high school SMPN 38, Clinton said she had planned this brief visit as part of her people-to-people approach to diplomacy. 

“Through this kind of interaction, I can find out what the public feels and can encourage them to better their quality of life,” she said. 

Due to her tight schedule, Clinton failed to attend a cooking demonstration that local housewives had organized.

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Hillary`s humane approach creates new atmosphere 

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The presidium chairman of the Association of Alumni of the Indonesian Nationalist Students Movement, Palar Batubara, said here on Thursday that Hillary Clinton had created a new atmosphere in the relations between the two countries. 

"Although actually the US know exactly what is just going on here the spirit that she brings here and her warmth must be given a good welcome," he said to ANTARA. 

On her view on democracy, Batubara said that it was also a valuable lesson for Indonesia which she considered the world`s third biggest democracy. 

"She was able to produce fresh, peaceful and interesting diplomatic statements regarding particularly democracy at a time when we are just preparing for legislative and presidential elections," he said. 

He said Hillary Clinton with her friendly style had also explained about her competition with Barack Obama in the US presidential election. He said it was what she said that to lose or to win in an election was common and could help develop good relationship for building the nation that was important. "This is a plus value for us," he said. 

Batubara further said the ethical democratic style that Hillary had explained was indeed found not only in a political speech but also in the reality. 

"The winner and the loser as shown by the US could in fact complete each other and jointly build their nation and were not dragged into creating further hostility," he said. 

He said he considered a number of points Hillary Clinton had often raised such as about the environment, health and cleanliness very important and significantly correlated with Barack Obama`s past stay in Indonesia and therefore had invited their attention. 

"The role of women and civil society are also things that draw US attention because in other Moslem countries the situation is concerning while in Indonesia the women are given an opportunity to progress and develop," he said. 

In view of that he shared Hillary Clinton`s statement that Indonesia could possibly become the world`s biggest but modern Moslem country.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thailand hopes new cocktail can lure back tourists

The Jakarta Post, The Associated Press, Bangkok | Thu, 02/19/2009 6:34 PM  

Cuba's got the Mojito. There's the Singapore Sling and the Manhattan. Thailand hopes a newly created drink called "Siam Sunrays" will enter the world's cocktail lexicon and help draw tourists back to the country. 

The Tourism Authority of Thailand unveiled the drink Thursday, calling it "Thailand in a glass - the new punch in Thai tourism." 

The cocktail consists of a shot of vodka, coconut liqueur, a dash of chili pepper and sugar, lime juice, a few slivers of lemongrass and ginger - shaken not stirred, then strained into a glass - with ice and soda water. 

It's the latest strategy to revive Thailand's key tourism industry, 

which was battered by political protests last year that culminated in a weeklong shutdown of Bangkok's two main airports. The airport seizure stranded more than 300,000 travelers at the start of the peak holiday season, dealing a devastating blow to Thailand's tourist-friendly image. 

"Successful signature drinks are one way to fast-track holiday detinations onto the world tourism map," the tourism authority said in a joint statement with the Thai Hotels Association. 

Siam Sunrays was the winner of a competition sponsored by the two agencies to create a national cocktail. 

"Thailand's new signature drink is based on very Thai ingredients," the satement said, adding that the drink was now available at hotels and resorts across the country. 

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Clinton Arrives in Indonesia

By MARK LANDLER, The New York Times,  February 18, 2009

 Adi Weda/European Pressphoto Agency 

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, accompanied by her Indonesian counterpart, Hassan Wirajuda, in Jakarta on Wednesday. 

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Reaching out to the world’s most populous Muslim nation and the boyhood home of her boss, President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived in Indonesia on Wednesday, saying she wanted to pay tribute to its hard-won democracy. 

“Indonesia has experienced a great transformation in the last 10 years,” she said, hearkening to the Asian financial crisis of 1998, which triggered the ouster of the autocratic regime of President Suharto. 

Mrs. Clinton said that her decision to come here — a 3,600-mile detour from her tour of Japan, South Korea, and China — was also driven by a desire to recognize Southeast Asia, a region that senior Obama administration officials said had been neglected by the Bush White House. 

To underscore that point, she announced that the United States would move toward signing a treaty with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which would draw it closer to the 10-member group, which includes Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Philippines. 

But Mrs. Clinton sharply criticized another ASEAN member, Myanmar, and said that the United States was reviewing its policy of economic sanctions against the military junta that runs the country, formerly known as Burma. 

“Clearly, the path we have taken in imposing sanctions hasn’t influenced the Burmese junta,” Mrs. Clinton said after a meeting with Indonesia’s foreign minister, Hassan Wirajuda. She added, “Reaching out and trying to engage them hasn’t worked either.” 

Mrs. Clinton said the United States sought a broader partnership with Indonesia, particularly in the area of climate change. Indonesia is one of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases, largely because of its extensive deforestation. She also praised the Indonesian government for its fight against Islamic extremism. 

In his first annual threat assessment, submitted to the United States Senate last week, the director of national intelligence, Dennis C. Blair, said Indonesia’s counterterrorism efforts, which were aided by the United States, had resulted in the arrests of hundreds of operatives of Jemaah Islamiya, the radical Islamist group responsible for the deadly Bali bombings in 2002. 

While he said the group remained a threat, the Indonesian government’s efforts had “degraded their attack capabilities.” 

Indonesia is, in many ways, a good-news story: an Islamic society that has made a transition to democracy and rebuilt its economy after a devastating collapse during the Asian financial crisis. 

At the airport in Jakarta, Mrs. Clinton was serenaded by children from the grade school Mr. Obama attended as a fourth grader. She seemed delighted and swayed in unison with the children. 

“President Obama has a very strong constituency in Indonesia – of course without the right to vote,” said Mr. Wirajuda, the foreign minister. 

He urged Clinton to convey an invitation to Mr. Obama to visit Indonesia soon. 

“We cannot wait too long,” he said. 

Mrs. Clinton has asked experts whether Indonesia holds any lessons for Pakistan, a similarly large, but much less stable Muslim country. The answer is not clear, given the distinct differences in Pakistani and Javanese culture, and the different role religion plays in the two societies. 

Indonesia has felt reverberations from the economic crisis that originated in the United States, and its recent history makes it feel vulnerable to the ravages of a cross-border economic contagion.

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Warm welcome 

The Jakarta Post    |   Thu, 02/19/2009 11:34 AM  

Warm welcome: Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (right) greets US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, shortly after her arrival at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta on Thursday. During her first overseas visit as America’s top diplomat, Clinton is expected to revitalize US economic and development ties with Indonesia and Southeast Asia. JP/R. Berto Wedhatama