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. …

Friday, April 30, 2010

Elite Anti-Terror Outfit Arrests Suspect at East Java Mosque

Jakarta Globe, Nivell Rayda, April 30, 2010

The National Police announced the arrest of suspected terrorist Eko Prasetyo on Friday. Police also released a list of terrorism suspects. On Monday, National Police Chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri said police would launch a terrorism crackdown in the near future. (Antara Photo)

The National Police’s Detachment 88 counterterrorist unit has arrested suspected terrorist fugitive Eko Prasetyo in Lamongan, East Java.

National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Edward Aritonang said on Friday that Eko, who goes by the aliases of Zubeir and Suheir, was a member of the armed paramilitary training camp in the Jalin Jantho mountains of Aceh Besar, Aceh.

“The suspect was arrested on Monday at 11 a.m., at the Mbabat Mosque complex in Lamongan,” Edward said.

In late February, police arrested scores of suspects who were being trained at a paramilitary camp in Aceh’s remote Jalin Jantho region.

Those arrests prompted a massive manhunt across the province. Since the initial raid, dozens of suspected terrorists have been arrested, both in Aceh and in Java.

Police have also killed as many as eight suspects, including Dulmatin, an alleged terrorist mastermind who was gunned down during a raid in Pamulang, Tangerang, in March.

Police had also confiscated 29 firearms, 21,000 rounds of bullets and more than Rp 100 million ($11,000) in cash along with several military training outfits from the alleged terrorists, Edward said.

“Some of the firearms were bought from a police officer. At least 12 pieces I believe. The officer sold them for something like Rp 6 million,” he said, adding that the rest were smuggled in from the Philippines

At least 11 people suspected of having ties with the alleged terrorist group are still at large, including Umar Patek, who is believed to be behind a string of bombings in the country.

National Police Chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri said on Monday that the police’s elite antiterrorism squad would soon launch a major crackdown on suspected terrorists operating across the country.

“God willing, we will launch the crackdown in the very near future. Suspects will hopefully be arrested,” Bambang told lawmakers during a hearing with House of Representatives Commission III, overseeing security affairs.

“These networks are linked to members of older cells that we have already arrested,” he said.

Bambang told lawmakers that, as a report released by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group claimed, the recent arrests of terror suspects revealed corrupt police officials had helped militants acquire weapons.

“It is ironic because now we know that they used our own guns to kill three police officers during a gun battle in Aceh,” Bambang said, referring to an incident in the Lamkabeu subdistrict of Aceh Besar on March 4.

The International Crisis Group report detailed how one alleged militant linked to the Aceh paramilitary group, a policeman identified as Sofyan Tsauri, was able to purchase weapons from the logistics department of National Police headquarters.

He also arranged shooting practice for militants inside the headquarters of the elite Mobile Brigade (Brimob), on the outskirts of Jakarta. Sofyan, who was found to possess a vast collection of extremist literature, was arrested in early March.

“Sofyan had 12 AR-15 rifles and about 12,000 bullets. He had been influenced by a militant cleric,” Bambang told legislators.

Related Article:

Indonesia Police Officials Arranged Weapons, Training for Terrorists: Report

A Man and His Robot Make the Most of a Golden Opportunity

Jakarta Globe, Putri Prameshwari, April 30, 2010

Rodi Hartono is draped in a national flag after winning gold for his country at the Robogames in San Francisco with his robot, DU-114 . The robot had to maneuver through a labyrinth and put out flames.  (JG Photo/Unikom)

Amid a barrage of criticism of the national education system and the recent dismal exam results, a team of Bandung-based university students this week brought home a gold medal from a prestigious international robot competition.

Team member Rodi Hartono, from the Indonesian Computer University, or Unikom, and his lecturer, Yusrila Kerlooza, received the honor of best performance with their robot, DU-114, in the “open fire-fighting autonomous robot” category at this year’s Robogames in San Francisco on April 24 and 25.

Rodi said it was the second time he had won with the same robot, but the challenge had been more difficult this year.

“More teams joined the competition this year,” he said. “They were all there with their upgraded robots.”

The DU-114, he said, had to walk through a labyrinth, which had candles placed in random positions. The robot had to spot the fires and extinguish them with an automated spray.

Rodi said the same robot had been used during the 2009 Robogames and they had spent the past year upgrading its software so it could spot random fires more quickly.

“The robot and software cost about Rp 10 million [$1,100] to make,” he said, adding that the cost of research made the total cost much more.

Unikom’s rector, Eddy Soeryanto Soegoto, said the university, together with the Ministry of National Education, would give each member of the team scholarships up to doctoral degree.

“They can pick whichever university they want,” he said.

But Rodi said he was unsure what his next step would after winning the competition, noting that scientific research was still often overlooked by the government and businesspeople.

“Most students and researchers keep entering and winning competitions,” he said, “but there is no follow-up from the government or industry that wants to use our creations.”

His said his personal aim in creating the robot had been to make it useful to assist less privileged people, including the disabled. “My motto is to create technology for peace, for humanity,” he said.

Rodi said he hoped all his creations, not only the DU-114, could be used by disabled people to help make their everyday lives easier.

“That’s why I hope someone will come forward who wants to work together with us,” the inventor said.

This year, 17 countries participated in the 7th Robogames, with 508 robots and 667 engineers competing against each other in 59 categories.

Eddy said Unikom was preparing about 30 students to compete in various robot competition in the coming year, including the next Robogames.

The biggest challenge, Rodi said, was the difference in the humidity in Indonesia and the United States, which had shortened the robot’s visibility.

“We will try to tackle this problem next year,” he said.

Desi Anwar: Losing a Language

Jakarta Globe, Desi Anwar, April 30, 2010

According to an article in The New York Times, New York City is home to as many as 800 languages, many of them in danger of disappearing. This makes it a laboratory of world languages in decline. As official national languages tend to domi n ate because they are a country’s main tongue and English creeps into even the most remote corners of the world, many local languages are fast dying out.

New York, on the other hand, finds itself a Tower of Babel for all sorts of exotic languages and dialects brought in by immigrants who keep their languages alive, at least while there are enough people around who remember how to speak them.

Bukhari, a Persian language spoken by the Bukharian Jews of Central Asia, has more speakers in Queens than in Uzbekistan, the article said. Daniel Kaufman, a professor of linguistics at the City University of New York has addressed the problem by starting the Endangered Language Alliance to research the city’s exotic tongues. Kaufman found, for example, Husni Husain, 67, who speaks Mamuju, a language of West Sulawesi, which he learned as a child.

A large number of ethnic languages are fast disappearing as the original native speakers grow old and die, burying their languages with them. Efforts are being made by Kaufman and the alliance to record and identify these dying languages, which often have no written form, and to encourage native speakers to teach them to compatriots.

It’s always sad to hear about anything dying out. A language can only last, develop and thrive if it is used. In an increasingly globalized world, many languages are becoming strangers in their own homelands as indigenous cultures become marginalized and perhaps even abandoned altogether. Betawi used to be the spoken language in Jakarta. Now it is rarely heard except in the fringes among low-income native Jakartans. People living in Jakarta speak Bahasa Indonesia, except when they’re at home with their parents or back in their home villages.

Many of us are now brought up in a multicultural environment speaking or exposed to different languages through mixed marriages, upbringing, education and our social environment.

A language is a window to an identity, the speaker’s culture, character and tradition, even his or her general temperament, sense of humor and values. However, when the language you speak is different from that of your parents, that sense of continuity diminishes.

When my parents were alive they would speak to each other solely in the West Sumatran Minang language. Being born and raised in Bandung and having never been to their villages in West Sumatra, I naturally assumed it was their own special language, as everybody else around spoke the local Sundanese dialect or Indonesian with a Sundanese accent. My parents spoke to me in Bahasa. When we moved to England, they continued to speak to each other in Minang, while they switched to English with me as my Bahasa diminished with the passing years. So while my parents continued to hold on to their identity until they died, Minang through and through, I was not so clear.

I speak Bahasa to the family, but if people ask me where I’m from, if they are Indonesian I always say I’m Minang. I understand the Minang language. But I don’t speak it and have never lived where it’s spoken. My stomach cannot even tolerate the region’s spicy food.

Meanwhile, I have a niece who lives in Taiwan and speaks Mandarin, and another studying French in Paris. My sisters definitely don’t speak to them in Minang. No one among us professes any desire to live in the home village, though we are fiercely proud of it.

My good friend has an even more complicated identity. Her father is Batak from North Sumatra and speaks Batak with people from his side of the family, while her mother is German. She understands German when her mother speaks to her but rarely responds in that language. Similarly, she understands a bit of Batak but doesn’t really speak it and has never lived in the region. The languages she feels comfortable conversing in are Bahasa and English. She describes herself as either Batak or German whenever it is to her advantage, but for the most part, she feels neither.

As more and more of the older generation in the villages pass away, and more and more of the younger generation settle in the cities to work and raise their families, it is only a matter of time before local languages fade away for good — perhaps until they are rediscovered by a professor in New York who’s compiling a list of endangered languages.

Desi Anwar is a senior anchor and writer. She can be contacted at and

Rock for Bali's Shore

Jakarta Globe, Sylviana Hamdani, April 30, 2010

A beach clean-up with Make a Change Bali draws a fair-sized crowd. Saturday’s concert will promote clean beaches and green living. (Photo courtesy of Gary Bencheghib)

Over his two-week Easter break from school, 15-year-old Gary Bencheghib was hard at work. Set on a mission to save Bali’s beaches, he believes the only way to do this is to get more people involved, locals and tourists alike.

“Balinese young people seem to be very influenced by famous Indonesian rock bands,” Bencheghib said. “So I decided to organize a ‘green’ concert. I hope to touch a large number of people and make them individually more concerned about maintaining Bali’s pristine beaches.”

With his 12-year-old brother, Sam, he developed a concert plan, sending proposals to sponsors and NGOs, and designing posters, banners and televised animations to advertise the event.

Thanks to their efforts, this Saturday afternoon six Indonesian rock bands — Superman Is Dead, Navicula, De Buntu, Dialog Dini Hari, Natoena and 55 Frets — will perform live at Bali’s Kuta Beach. About 1,000 people are expected to turn up for what Bencheghib calls the Bali Environment Day Concert.

“With big bands like Superman Is Dead performing, more than a thousand people will come,” he said.

For a first-time concert promoter, Bencheghib has landed some big sponsors, such as Rip Curl and Quiksilver, and some high-profile promotional spots on Bali TV and Hard Rock Radio Bali.

In between the music performances, a number of Bali-based environmental organizations will present short lectures and video presentations on their missions to preserve the island’s pristine environment.

“In the long run, we want to organize this concert as an annual event by making the first of May a day for Bali’s environment,” Bencheghib said.

Organizing the concert meant a huge amount of work and responsibility for the teenager.

Bencheghib enlisted the help of Faiz Lovell, his father’s secretary, to act as translator when he met with local village communities and police to ask for their permission and support for the big event.

“I certainly grew up faster over this past month,” he said.

Since his family relocated from the metropolitan city of Paris to Bali five years ago, Bencheghib has become infatuated with the island’s pristine beaches.

“Coming from an urban place like Paris, where stress floats within the streets and the buildings, my first impression of Bali was that it resembled a paradise,” he said. “It’s a little island that possesses natural and cultural riches. Living here is an existence less superficial and more authentic. It’s like an endless vacation.”

Inspired by his new, pristine surroundings, the eldest son of Catherine and Malik Bencheghib has become more in tune with his musical talents. He is learning to play piano, guitar, bass and drums, and composes his own songs. Last year, he received the internationally recognized grade-five Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music certificate for piano.

Bencheghib, who loves the humanities, also excels at school. Last semester, he passed his exams with high honors. In

March this year, he attended the Global Issues Network Seminar in Hong Kong, hosted by the Chinese International School.

“It was a real opportunity for me to meet young students from different backgrounds, all with the hope to make a change in this world,” he said.

The ocean, however, remains Bencheghibs’s true passion. He loves diving and surfing, as well as running on Bali’s golden beaches in the afternoon.

The copious litter, he says, mars the image of a paradise island.

“Cigarette butts and candy wrappers are scattered everywhere in Kuta,” he said. “In Sanur, the ocean has become a dump of plastic bags and dead seaweed, only meters away from where tourists are sunbathing and local children are swimming. Up north on Amed Beach, syringes lie in between the black oval stones.”

“I couldn’t bear to see these once-pristine beaches turn into trash heaps,” he said.

In October 2009, Bencheghib recruited Sam and five schoolmates to establish Make a Change Bali, an organization aimed at saving Bali’s beaches. They organize weekly beach clean-ups, during which these young students scour the beach to collect inorganic waste.

“Our beach clean-ups often last for an hour,” he said. “On average, we’re able to collect seven bags full of garbage.”

The garbage is then sent to the Eco Bali recycling company.

“It’s a puzzle,” said Paola Cannucciari, founder of Eco Bali, referring to the huge amount of waste collected during the beach clean-ups. “Our lives have become modern and sophisticated, yet in the matter of throwing garbage, we still behave like 2 year olds.”

Since 2005, Cannucciari’s company has been working on sustainable solutions to Bali’s waste disposal problems.

“Almost all waste can be recycled or composted if properly disposed,” she said. “It’s necessary to raise awareness of that. People should start taking responsibility for the waste that they produce.”

Ani Yulinda, program officer of Gelombang Udara Segar (Waves of Fresh Air) Foundation, agreed with her.

“If the people care more about their environment, they’ll certainly look after it,” she said.

The foundation has prepared a 10-minute presentation to be shown during the Bali Environment Day Concert to educate people about waste management.

Through its beach clean-up programs, Make a Change Bali has been gaining popularity. Today, the organization has more than 1,100 members on Facebook. Its first major project will be the Bali Environment Day Concert.

“We’re very excited about this concert,” said Lia Pasaribu, manager of punk band Superman Is Dead. “We admire the efforts of these young people in organizing the concert. It’s about time the young generation takes the initiative to do something for the environment.”

Lia added that environmental issues had long been at the top of the band’s concerns. On several occasions, the band members have joined the beach clean-ups organized by Make a Change Bali.

As a major independent music group in Indonesia, Superman Is Dead has a lot fans who look up to it, Lia said. She said she believed this presented it with an opportunity to make a major difference in society.

“People listen to SID,” Lia said. “Therefore, we try to voice these environmental concerns more loudly and give a good example for people to follow. It may not leave a big impact now. But in time, if we’re all consistent in our efforts, people will become more concerned and protect their environment.”

Before every performance in Bali, SID cruises along the beach on low-rider bicycles to encourage people to reduce their carbon footprint.

“This has now become an icon for our shows,” Lia said. “Our fans look forward to it and local bike communities often join us on our cruises.”

Superman Is Dead has prepared a set list of 15 songs to perform during the Bali Environment Day Concert.

Navicula, a Bali-based grunge band, is also excited about taking part in the concert.

“It’s remarkable how an expatriate 15-year-old student cares enough to organize this big event to save Bali’s beaches,” said Dankie, guitarist of Navicula. “The locals should learn from this effort. In fact, local communities should be front-liners in conserving their own natural surroundings.”

The band will perform eight songs, including “Pantai Mimpi” (“Dream Beach”), which comments on the current deteriorating state of Bali’s beaches.

“My dream is that one day everybody, including the Balinese, tourists and surfers, will be aware and make an effort to protect Bali’s beaches,” Bencheghib said. “But until then, one thing is certain: that I will always be involved in preserving and protecting the environment.”

He said his next projects would include educational videos on natural conservation to encourage people to get more involved and working with local NGOs. He also plans to finish high school in Bali and obtain his International Baccalaureate diploma before pursuing his secondary studies either in the United States or Australia .

Bencheghib has traveled to more than 24 countries for short trips and vacations, but he says that he feels at home in Bali.

“Wherever I’ll be in the world, I’ll always come back here,” he said. “I’ll always try to protect my sweet home, Bali.”

Alila receives ASEAN Green Hotel Award

The Jakarta Post, Fri, 04/30/2010 12:24 PM

UBUD: Alila Manggis in East Bali and Alila Ubud in Gianyar received the ASEAN Green Hotel Award for their commitment to supporting responsible tourism.

The ASEAN Green Hotel Award is one of six ASEAN Tourism Standards considered essential for supporting ASEAN to become a world-class destination.

The award is presented to hotels that measure up to 11 environmental and energy conservation criteria.

Among the criteria are environmental policies and actions for hotel operation, use of green and local products, collaboration with the local community on environmental protection, the hotel's steps to providing staff training programs on environmental management, as well as efficient management of water, energy, waste, air quality and noise pollution.

Organizers of the award said Alila Manggis and Alila Ubud fully embraced Alila's philosophy that commerce, conservation and community could and should be integrated. - JP

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Number of Cultural Conservation Areas to be Increased

Tempo Interactive, Thursday, 29 April, 2010 | 19:18 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Yogyakarta: The Yogyakarta Cultural Office will include more cultural conservation areas in addition to 13 areas already listed by the office. This is in line with the Yogyakarta Regional Regulation no. 11/2005 on the Management of Cultural Conservation Areas. “There are some areas which we must prioritize,” said the office chief Djoko Dwiyanto, in a workshop titled Discussion on Recommendations for the Revision of the Cultural Conservation Law, yesterday. The regulation was seen as a step forward, considering the Law no. 5/1992 on Cultural Conservation Objects only regulate objects and sites, and not the areas themselves.

The areas to be added are Baciro in Yogyakarta, which has Dutch colonial-style homes and Mlangi in Sleman, which is a traditional area. Meanwhile, the 13 cultural conservation areas which have already been listed are Kotagede, Kota Baru, the Palace, Puro Pakualaman, Ambarbinangun, Ambarketawang, and Prambanan . “We will establish an organization to preserve the areas found in districts in Kotagede,” said Kantil Foundation coordinator, Muhammad Natsir.


Papua coast key of Austronesian culture

Antara News, Wednesday, April 28, 2010 22:44 WIB

Jayapura (ANTARA News) - Papua`s southern coastal areas are quite strategic for the entry and development of Austronesian culture.

Researcher of the Jayapura Archeological Institute Hari Suroto said here Wednesday Papua is geographically the most western part of the Pacific connecting Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

"This point is a strategic area for migration traffic from the west to the east," ujarnnya.

Hari said many archeological factors and sustainable forms of culture found in Papua`s coastal areas indicated the presence of Austronesian culture in Indonesia`s most eastern parts.

Austronesian culture, he added, is known and spread by nations using Austronesian dialects in areas between Madagaskar in the west, to Easter Island (in the Pasific) in the east, and Formosa in the north.

The result of archeological research shows that the areas in Papua which speak Melanesian are Yapen island, Raja Ampat regency, Biak, Waropen, and the areas of Wandamen Bay, the coastal areas of Cenderawasih Bay, the most eastern part of Papua island from Sorong regency to the south along Sele strait coastal region, Bintuni Bay, Arguni Bay, to the coastal regions of Etna Bay.

Papua people lived in Fak-fak and Raja Ampat regencies, and Yotefa, Waena and Sentani bays north of Jayapura, also applied communal organization based on the hierarchical system under which the leaders are their descendants.

Such culture is not found in the Central Mountains who considered their fellowman equal.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Government Investigating Foreign 'Treasure Hunter' After New Discovery

Jakarta Globe, Markus Junianto Sihaloho, April 28, 2010

A piece of porcelain from the Tek Sing shipwreck dating from 1822. Michael Hatcher, who discovered the historically important wreck, is again drawing the attention of government officials after a new discovery. (Photo courtesy of

The government said on Wednesday that it had launched an investigation into the activities of alleged treasure hunter Michael Hatcher, who has a lengthy history with Indonesia and is believed to again be operating on a new discovery.

Aji Sularso, an official with the National Committee for Salvage and Utilization of Valuable Objects from Sunken Ships (Pannas BMKT), said it had established a joint investigation team comprising related government institutions.

“We are investigating the case,” Aji said.

Aji was responding to complaints by the Consortium for Rescuing National Assets (KPAB), which alleged the ministry had not responded to its report regarding Hatcher, who may hold both British and Australian passports.

Speaking during a news conference in Jakarta, Endro Soebekti Sadjiman, a member of the consortium of nongovernmental organizations, said they believed Hatcher and his associates had been operating in Indonesia since 1986 and had surfaced in a “secret mission in Blanakan waters” near Pamanukan, Subang, West Java.

“The government must arrest him,” Endro said.

Daniel Nafis from Inside Indonesia, another member of the coalition, said Hatcher began operating in Indonesia salvaging the Vec De Geldermalsen shipwreck in East Bintan waters, Riau Islands province.

Items from the ship reaped $15 million during auction at Christie’s Amsterdam, he said.

It was this incident that led the government to establish Pannas BMKT to supervise any further salvage missions, Daniel said.

In 1999, Hatcher allegedly discovered the Tek Sing shipwreck near South Sumtra waters. According to some Internet accounts, the vessel is described as the “Titanic of the East,” given the loss of life associated with the sinking in 1822.

It has been described as one of the most important antique shipwrecks ever discovered.

Along with local company PT. Pratama Cakra Dirga, Hatcher was able to salvage Rp 500 billion ($55 million) worth of treasure, mainly Chinese porcelain, he said.

“The government found out about this illegal operation only after Australian customs officials contacted Indonesian officials,” Nafis said. “They said 43 containers full of porcelain were ready to leave for Germany,” Nafis said.

He said Hatcher had been working with officials from local company PT. Comexindo Usaha Mandiri in Blanakan since 2008.

Nafis said they had already confirmed that the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) had not issued authorization for Hatcher to be operating in the area.

Pannas BMKT, meanwhile, said it had issued permit for Comexindo, but Nafis said it was issued on August 11, 2009, which he alleged meant activities prior to 2009 were illegal.

“We have a copy of a letter from the local Navy commander that Hatcher was allegedly involved in the illegal salvage by Commexindo,” Nafis said.

“It’s clearly legal violation. We had submitted this complaint to the Marine and Fishery Ministry since April 14, but until now the government do nothing,” he said referring to the complaint that Pannas BMKT now said it was acting on.

Nafis said the activity violated Article 27 of Law No. 5/2002 on Cultural and Heritage Objects, which carries a maximum jail term of five years in prison and or a fine of Rp 50 million.

The latest find in Blanakan is also understood to be a shipwreck, though no other information was available.

Treasure hunter Michael Hatcher is said to be operating on a new discovery in Subang, West Java.

Related Article:

Heat Turned Up on Shipwreck Treasure Hunter

‘Cowboys in Paradise’ angers Balinese leaders

Ni Komang Erviani and Wasti Atmodjo, The Jakarta Post, Kuta | Wed, 04/28/2010 9:37 AM

Bali's 'beach boys' are said to target foreign women on the resort island's beaches. Photo: AFP

Balinese community leaders have voiced objections to the screening of what they call a misleading portrayal of Bali in the documentary film Cowboys in Paradise.

Streamed on YouTube and other social networks, Cowboys in Paradise was directed by Singaporean Amit Virmani. The film documents Kuta Beach as a paradise for gigolos, male sex workers preying on rich foreign and local women.

Virmani describes the gigolos as local muscled boys with brown skin. The director also portrays them as competent surfers who speak English quite fluently.

“If the content of the film is a true picture of Kuta, we must take real action to revitalize Kuta in particular and Bali in general as a spiritual island. We don’t want such things happening here,” Governor Made Mangku Pastika said Tuesday after a meeting with legislative members.

Commenting on a raid on gigolos by Kuta community leaders, the governor reminded people to abide by the law. “All action must be based on existing regulations and laws,” Pastika added.

The news of the film’s appearance on YouTube had sparked angers among residents of traditional villages in Kuta, one of the island’s famous tourist destinations. Led by Gusti Ngurah Tresna, community members cracked down on alleged gigolos operating along Kuta Beach.

During the raid, they caught 28 young men, most of whom carried no identity cards.

“They are not residents of Kuta and they do not even have any legal identity cards. We are suspicious that they are gigolos,” Tresna said.

Kuta residents have expressed their anger at the film. “I was so furious and sad at the same time when I saw the film for the fist time. I thought somebody was trying to ruin the image of Kuta,” Kuta Beach lifeguard I Ketut Artayasa said.

He said he believed the director was taking aim at local Kuta surfers and lifeguards in particular. “If this was a real documentary, we don’t recognize the ‘actors’ in his film.”

The director, he said, assumed that all men on the beach in Kuta were male sex workers. “I don’t think it is a fair portrayal. There are probably one or two boys who are gigolos but certainly the film presents a false picture to the world.”

I Nyoman Sutiari, a handicraft seller in Kuta, also complained that the film was groundless. “In one of the scenes, a local woman allows her husband to sell his body to foreign visitors. This is disgusting and misleading,” he said.

Kuta traditional village head I Gusti Ketut Sudira acknowledged that Kuta was a powerful magnet that drew many people in search of leisure and business opportunities.

“The film’s setting is indeed in Kuta Beach and we acknowledge that Kuta is not free of commercial sex activities. But we should not make generalizations that all Kuta boys are gigolos,” he said.

A photo from a scene from the documentary featured on the film’s Facebook page. The film traces the interaction of Indonesian gigolos and tourists. (JG)

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"Cowboys In Paradise` sparks uproar in "island of gods"

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Hundreds to take part in Sail Indonesia

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 04/27/2010 4:27 PM

Around 220 participants from 22 countries across the world have confirmed their participation in the 10th of Sail Indonesia, which will start on July 24.

According to the annual sailing rally’s official website, the participants will depart from Darwin, Australia, and enter Indonesia through Kupang, the capital of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT).

Provincial tourism agency official Ubaldus Gogi told on Tuesday the participants would visit Rote Ndao, Alor, Sikka, Nagekeo, Ende, South Central Timor and Labuan Bajo.

After spending a few days in Kupang, some the participants would take part in the Sail Banda in Maluku, while some others would visit Bali.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Animal Activists Bemoan Fate of Gili Island Horses

Jakarta Globe, April 26, 2010

Workers in tourist island, Lombok, load boxes in Gili Meno Village. (Antara/Budi Afandi)

The Gili Islands off the coast of Lombok are famed for their near pristine coral, world-class diving and horse-drawn carriages that ply the islands’ roads in the absence of motorized transportation.

However, animal rights groups are claiming that these very horses are being cruelly mistreated by the islanders and it could threaten the tourist industry on Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno.

The Jakarta Animal Aid Network and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals urge the Ministry of Tourism “to take action to improve the condition of the animals,” JAAN spokesperson Femke den Haas said in a press release on Monday.

“If not the number of tourists will decrease,” she was quoted by as saying.

She said both organizations had received a number of complaints, which JAAN had then investigated.

The investigation revealed that the animals were treated poorly, and often given neither shelter nor fresh water among a host of other violations.

She said the local government needed to formulate standard procedures regarding how to treat the animals.

Culture or Cruelty?

Jakarta's carriage driver Sain brushes down Imron, a horse he bought for only Rp 3 million ($249) because of its badly emaciated condition. (Photo: Titania Veda, JG)

Related Article:

Culture or Cruelty?

Femke den Haas: Rescuing endangered animals

Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN)

Jl. Jeruk Purut Buntu 2A

Cilandak, South Jakarta /

Tel: (021) 7802556

The Moluccan dream – still alive at 60

Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 26 April 2010 - 4:04pm | By Marina Brouwer

After 60 years, many Moluccans living in the Netherlands still hope their islands – now part of Indonesia – will be independent one day.

How long can you go on believing in a dream? The Moluccans in the Netherlands have been clinging to the dream of an independent homeland for 60 years, although many might deny that. Younger Moluccans, born and raised here in the Netherlands, seem to have other things on their mind.

The Moluccan community in the Netherlands hails from an archipelago that is now part of Indonesia, but just over 60 years ago still formed part of Holland’s colonial empire, the Dutch East Indies.

Once a year, the Moluccans hold a ritual flag-raising ceremony, commemorating the declaration of independence from Indonesia by their islands, the South Moluccas (known within Indonesia as the Province of Maluku), on 25 April 1950 – 60 years ago this month.

This independence - officially recognised by one country only - was to be short-lived. Just four months later, Indonesian troops put a violent end to the largely Christian Republic of South Molucca (RMS). A flow of refugees to the Netherlands resulted.


The Moluccan community in the Netherlands numbers some 50,000 people and is ‘led’ by a government in exile. The aspiration for an independent homeland is still passed on from father to son, mother to daughter. Any expression of doubt about the ideal of the RMS is almost regarded as an act of treason by the older generation. Nonetheless, many young people have dropped the whole notion, says Chris Soukotta (37).

“There are more and more young people who don’t care much about it. It seems to me that they’ve become Westernised. The ‘French Fries’ generation - that’s what we call them”.


The feeling that they were betrayed by the Dutch unites the Moluccan community almost as much as the struggle for an independent country. After Indonesia won its independence in 1949, many Moluccan soldiers who had fought on the side of the Dutch were sent to the Netherlands for demobilisation, with the promise that they would return very shortly.

The Dutch authorities housed them and their families in camps. They believed their stay in the Netherlands would indeed be short, and that they would soon be able to go back home. But Indonesia’s rule took a firm hold, and the Dutch failed to do anything to bring about Moluccan independence or the safe return of its former soldiers. Most South Moluccans were Christian, part of the Dutch-speaking colonial elite who had fought on the losing side. Their islands were subsequently absorbed – although not totally - into a predominantly Muslim Indonesia and the world they had known started to disappear.

The powerlessness of the Moluccan community led to a radicalisation of their young people in the 1970s. The result was a number of terrorist incidents, including the occupation of and taking of hostages at the Indonesian embassy in The Hague.

The independence cause made international headlines again when, in December 1975, a group of determined Dutch Moluccan youths seized a train, taking 50 passengers hostage, two of whom were shot and killed in front of television cameras. The Netherlands was thrown into a state of shock by the hijacking. Another train hijack took place in 1977, along with the seizure of toddlers and teachers at a primary school, again causing a wave of disbelief in the country.

Since then there have been no more terrorist incidents. As John Wattilete, the newly-appointed president-in-exile of the RMS, points out, violence doesn’t advance your cause at all.

“We’re living in different times now. We believe that to achieve our aim – the establishment of an independent state – we don’t need to use violence. It’s better to choose the path of dialogue, lobbying, and all that. That way we’ll actually achieve more”.

Mr Wattilete, a busy lawyer here in the Netherlands, has a more pragmatic approach than his predecessors. While he advocates an independent RMS as his ideal, he hints at a more realistic solution – some degree of autonomy from Indonesia. And he has demonstrated a willingness to talk to the old adversary, unlike the old diehards within the Moluccan community who cling to the image of Indonesia as the bitter enemy.


Josina Soumokil, the widow of one of the men who read out the RMS’ declaration of independence 60 years ago, is part of the old guard. Her husband, Chris Soumokil, died at the hands of Indonesian military forces in 1966. Chris had urged his wife to continue the struggle in the Netherlands.

“The way I see it, if the RMS is only a dream, why is the Indonesian government frightened of us? A dream is what you have in the evening, at night, while you’re asleep in your bed. When you wake up in the morning, it’s gone, forgotten. But if you look at what happened on the island of Ambon - why does the army arrest peaceful people who raise the RMS flag? Why are they thrown into prison if the RMS is only a dream in the eyes of the Indonesian government?”

It’s not yet known how the Moluccans plan to commemorate this special 60th anniversary of the short-lived independence of their republic.